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Archive for September, 2013

Weird Together.

“I travel a bit and go to conferences and events where there are people who have diabetes, too.  It can be kind of isolating, diabetes, so knowing other people who have it makes it easier to manage on all levels.  Does that make sense?”

“Yeah.  It’s like, ‘Hey, we’re weird together.’  And when you’re weird together, you get closer.”

That Guy George From the Plane (TGGFtP) and I spent the flight from San Francisco to Chicago sitting next to one another, talking first about how hung over he was (he was in San Francisco for a bachelor party and had a collection of air sickness bags in his seat pocket, jokingly at the ready) and then touching into trickier topics, like religion, politics, healthcare, and other topics that Miss Manners suggests keeping to yourself.

But honestly, after all the time I’ve spent in planes this past week (BOS -> LHR -> BCN -> SFO -> MDW -> PVD = WTF), I was happy to talk to someone, instead of picking through emails.

I laughed, harder than I’d meant to.  “Yes, that’s it.  That’s it, exactly, and a very eloquent description, at that.”

It’s true, though.  Even though I don’t have friendly feelings towards every person with diabetes I’ve ever encountered due to personalities, preferences, and proximity, there still is a strange draw to them.  It’s intrinsic.  At the MedX conference this past weekend, I was in a conference room with three PWD I knew (Sara, Chris, and myself), but when I heard a Medtronic pump go off somewhere a few rows behind me, I was intrigued and started doing the math.

“Sara and I are on Animas, so we don’t make the boop beep boop sound, and Chris is on MDI, so that’s not him going off.  Who is it?”

The boop beep boop’er didn’t make their presence known, and I didn’t pry, but if that person came up to me and needed to bum a fresh lancet or a test strip or a fistful of glucose tabs, I would have emptied my pockets for them, no questions asked.  There’s a level of understanding in play that’s automatic, and feels downright autonomic.

George was right:  I like having people to be weird together with.  And I like the fact that being weird together makes us closer.

Diabetes Reality, Reframed.

Recently, I read a blog post about the concept of “reality reframed,” which is basically the photo practice of cropping-out of the tougher stuff in life, and giving focus to the positive and “prettied up” stuff.

As Tracey wrote:

“I figure instead of abandoning the art I love, I will show the reality along side of it. This is how the idea of reality reframed came about; sharing a snapshot of the bigger picture first and right next to it the snippet of I choose to look at it. I’ve never really done anything quite like this before but by revealing this part of the picture I hope that anyone watching will feel less alone in their own imperfect life. And I also hope that I can really drive the point home that you can excavate photo-worthy magic from everyday life, no matter how messy it gets. It’s part of the practice of elevating the everyday.”

I thought her statement was brilliant, and it really got me thinking about how diabetes bloggers, and all patient communities online, reframe the reality of their health condition.  We write about the stuff that sucks and the stuff we celebrate, and all the mess in between.  I love sharing a bright, shiny 100 mg/dL on my meter, or a Dexcom no-hitter, and documenting those moments gives me a lift on the days when numbers aren’t so bright, or shiny, but the Big Picture also needs to be shared, giving context to those blood sugar numbers.

Diabetes isn’t a perfect math where you can just solve for X.  Usually, we’re solving for ‘why.’  And part of that equation is acknowledging, and appreciating, the sum of our community and what we document, every day.  We are reframing the reality of our disease by sharing, showing people, and ourselves, that diabetes is a constant exercise in solving for why.  Managing diabetes takes a ton of hard work, and we work hard for the health we maintain.

Some days are easy, others are difficult, but none are absent effort.

Today, I’m appreciating the fact that so many people with diabetes are willing to share their stories, letting strangers look into their lives via a window on the Internet, finding pieces of themselves in the words written by others.  Telling our stories, and expanding the perceptions of what diabetes really requires, can be so powerful.  To tweak Tracey’s sentiment, you can excavate magic from everyday life with diabetes, no matter how messy it gets.

European Blogger Summit: Photo.

The time zone shuffle isn’t doing much for me, in terms of finding words to describe this meeting and Internet to send out those words, so for now I have a photo of the amazing fellow PWD I’ve had the pleasure of seeing here at EASD, and a big thanks to them for doing all the work they do.

Flight Risk.

I’m not a fan of traveling by air (major understatement) and my flight-related anxiety has ebbed and flowed over the last few years.  Actually, it’s been way more flow than ebb, because traveling by plane has a direct and predictable influence on my blood sugars, in that the anxiety of air travel causes my blood sugar to rise with the plane.

What amazes me is that even with a 200% basal increase and a conservative correction while I watched the double-up arrows on my Dexcom graph, my blood sugars still went berserk.  (Thankfully, the Dexcom showed me up in the 300′s, while my meter only had me in the 230′s.  But still.  And yes, I know I need to calibrate.  You can also see where my connection flight took off, riiiiiight there at the 3.30 am-ish mark.)

Even though I know emotions are on the long list of variables, it still amazes me how something as intangible as stress can be as powerful as food or insulin when it comes to tangling up my blood sugars.

Zookeeper.

I am the zookeeper today.  The keeper of the zoo of chaos.  The same zoo that the cat keeps walking through, like Loopzilla.  With a test strip in her Zoopzilla mouth, no less.

Whoops.

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