Until next time.
Tallygear is awesome, and I’ve been a big fan for many years. After switching over to the Dexcom G4 continuous glucose monitor, I was so happy to see that Donna at Tallygear had created a case to protect the G4 (and have been using it daily since). And now she’s up and running with a lot of new cases for the Dexcom G4 unit, as well as some other colorful ways to dress up the otherwise drab world of diabetes devices.
Check out some of her new designs!
Donna was kind enough to send some samples to me, and I’d like to turn that favor around to you guys. But there’s a catch. I have three Tallygear “gift packs” (in quotation marks because there are things from Tallygear that I’m including, but I’m sending the packages myself, so there will be some additional surprises to be determined by how much cat hair I can collect from Loopy and Siah … just kidding … sort of …) to give away, but I want to couple this up with the recent, and important, discussions about diabetes stigma.
To win one the Tallygear giveaways, you’ll need to leave a comment here on this blog post or Tweet about this giveaway (see the Rafflecopter widget below), but not in the “promote me!” sort of way. Instead, I want you to answer this question:
As a community, we can help change the face of diabetes, one moment at a time. Dealing with diabetes-related stigma isn’t something that can be “fixed” overnight, but every time we make diabetes visible in an accurate, educated way, we’re taking a bite out of stigma. Kind of like McGruff the Crime Dog. So let’s keep talking.
You can follow Donna from Tallygear on Twitter @Tallygear and on Facebook. The official Tallygear website, with a complete product listing and a catalog of colors to choose from, is at Tallygear.com. If you’re one of the winners, I’ll contact you for your mailing address (so be sure to leave a valid email).
And thanks for playing along. I’m excited to see the discussions that have cropped up about diabetes stigma, and I hope to contribute to them.
During one of the discussion groups at Friends for Life, one of the attendees took a look at their Dexcom, gave it an exasperated sigh, and threw it into the middle of the room in frustration.
“I don’t want it near me.”
There was a brief pause.
“Ante up,” someone quietly said, their own Dexcom case hitting the floor alongside the first.
And within a matter of seconds, a diverse pile of diabetes devices met in the middle of the floor in solidarity.
This is Friends for Life.
As a family, we went to dinner and Birdy’s sequin-covered shoes sparkled furiously in the afternoon sunlight. Her shoes were downright distracting and I found myself low-staring at them, focusing on the individual sparkles being projected onto the tablecloth at the restaurant. My brain had hit an uncomfortably steady pace with the anxiety of being under 60 mg/dL for more than two hours, adjusting to the panic but still needing an outlet. Staring at the glitter on my daughter’s shoes calmed my brain down just enough.
We ordered and ate, and a meal plated with carbs and less-than-normal bolusing still didn’t battle back against the low alarm from my Dexcom. I felt like a failure, asking Chris to grab a glass of juice from the waitress as my empty dinner plate sat in front of me.
“I’m still low.” I tested my blood sugar again, hoping to see a number that didn’t require more glucose tabs, hoping the Dexcom was wrong, but a bright 43 mg/dL grinned back at me. I knew the food would hit but not fast enough. “Yeah, I need juice now.”
In a quiet hurry, I heard the background noise of hypo management done from a distance. “I need a glass of juice.” “Would you like lemonade?” “No, juice. Do you have orange juice?” “We have apple juice.” “That, then. Please.” Chris sat back down at the table while Birdy bounced and played beside me, her shoes throwing sparkles onto the table that were spreading out everywhere, my eyes starting to cave to the low blood sugar. Peripheral vision was being replaced by these starbursts that were sparkly, like her shoes. I felt my body pulling in tight and rallying glucose, sending it to the places that were necessary and not caring that I couldn’t hold a fork or keep my mouth from twisting into a resting bitch face/uncomfortable grimace.
Dinner tumbled into a pile of apologies and distractions because I couldn’t get my wits about me, and even once my blood sugar was stable (back up to 72 mg/dL), it still wasn’t staying up, and tumbled again a few more times before bed.
It doesn’t look like much, from the outside. It’s hard to explain how silent the panic is, how evacuated my brain feels when the hypos hit and stay for too long. I don’t know how to show someone a Dexcom graph that looks like this and explain how it’s not just the blood sugar number, but the cumulative effect on my body – the exhaustion in my muscles from being clenched in fight-or-flight mode, the sleep my brain needs after a five hour low blood sugar experience, my inability to find the words for what I want to say because my mind is just like, “We’re DONE.”
I woke up with a blood sugar of 230 mg/dL this morning, the product of answering low alarms with frustration and marshmallows, and I corrected the number with the predetermined, carefully calculated amount of insulin. And I hoped that, for today, diabetes would leave the sparkles on my daughter’s shoes.
Last night closed out a long week+ of travel, and it closed out with style at the JDRF TypeOneNation Texas event, where I was honored to be a presenter at the conference (talking about balancing diabetes – HEY-O! – and getting the most out of your medical appointments). More on those sessions once I dive into this basin of coffee, but I did want to share one of my favorite visuals from the conference: this board –>
This was a board where people could write who they were at the conference in support of, and they could share their thoughts on the theme of the conference, which was “I’m the ______ type.” Fill-in-the-blank sorts of things used to remind me of school, but now they remind me of some of my favorite #dsma chat nights, so watching this board fill up was eye-opening.
Perspectives (and hand writing) varied, but common threads were support and determination.
Mine was, “I’m the never let it define me type.” But I could have filled that little blue circle out a dozen times with a dozen different answers. What type are you?
Copyright © 2014 Kerri Sparling & Six Until Me. 2005 - 2013 . All rights reserved.
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