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Giving Tuesday: Diabetes Edition

In keeping with the theme of doing more good, here are a few diabetes organizations that I personally support because their mission is also to do more good.  I mean, it’s Giving Tuesday.  So would you consider giving?

T1 Today (aka Children with Diabetes) is an organization I feel powerfully connected to on a dozen different levels.  As a board member and an adult with type 1 diabetes, the Friends for Life conference that Children with Diabetes puts on is diabetes camp for adults.  It’s an overwhelming sense of community and inspiration condensed into a few days that somehow fill me up for the rest of the year.  With support from generous people like you, the Friends for Life conference can be part of diabetes landscape until we’re all sporting our own islet cells.

Kate’s Cause is an amazing organization born from grief that has the capacity to do a tremendous amount of good.  Lindsay Rhodes, mom to the gorgeous and very loved Kate Rhodes, started this non-profit to push for funding, awareness, and a cure for the disease that took her child.  Lindsay has a type 1 diabetes connection (she has T1D) and she is a friend.  Please consider giving to Kate’s Cause.

A Sweet Life is a diabetes magazine (disclosure: I have done some editorial work over there) that aims to provide people with diabetes the information, entertainment, and inspiration they need to live a healthy life.  Their mission is pure and their team is hard-working.  Your donation will help them continue to provide a dose of digital support to our DOC.

Life for a Child provides a child in a developing country with the insulin and supplies they need for just a dollar a day.  This is the same organization that the Spare a Rose campaign supports every February, but with insulin access at the forefront of so many diabetes discussions, supporting Life for a Child today, and in February, makes a lot of sense and also makes a difference you can hug.

If you’re not in a position to give financially on Giving Tuesday, go back to that whole “do more good” sort of thing.  Give someone a hand with getting their groceries into the cart.  Hold the door for someone.  Tell the bank teller you like their shirt, or the cashier that their earrings are awesome.  Hand out some smiles today.

And thanks for being part of the diabetes community and for making a difference.  You’re awesome.  If there are charities/organizations you’d like to highlight on Giving Tuesday, please leave a link in the comments!

Ordinary but Extraordinary

I will admit right here, right now that I admire people who accomplish incredible physical feats while also doing the whole diabetes thing.  Climbing Everest?  Hell yes!  Ultra marathon?  Hell yes!  Hang-gliding across Iceland while knitting a sweater onto your body as it hang-glides?  Hell to the absolute yes, why hasn’t anyone tried this?

And I’ll also admit right here, right now that I may never be one of those Everest climbing, ultramarathon’ing, hang-glide-knitter PWDs.  Not because I can’t or shouldn’t but because my goals don’t rest in that arena.  And that’s okay.

Sometimes the inspiration I’m searching for doesn’t come from the big, incredible-feat stories.  They inspire me like whoa, but not as much when I was sitting looking at my stupid CGM graph that was frustratingly elevated while traveling yesterday.  I needed someone to post a shitty CGM graph at that moment, so I could see that I wasn’t the only one not rocking “perfect” blood sugars, and that I could also regroup and move on.

I mean, I know I can regroup and move on.  But it’s nice to see your own struggles/successes reflected in the stories from others.

The inspiration that I benefit from daily comes through social media, via ordinary, everyday stuff.  These folks aren’t necessarily posting photos of their pump sites from the top of a mountain (although some do), but are showing their regular lives with diabetes.  What they’ve overcome that day might have been an insurance battle.  Or they finally paid off a medical bill that’s been looming for months.  They might be snuggling their baby, who may have been marked as an impossible dream.  Putting in a pump site on their arm for the first time.  They might have just crossed the finish line on their first 5k, or gone for a run for the first time in their life, or went for a walk around their office building on a lunch break, making time for exercise even during the work day because they are worth it.

Ordinary as f^ck!  And yet heroic, to me.

It’s parents of kids with diabetes shouldering the burden of the disease so their kid can roll through their childhood as unaffected as possible.  It’s the adults with diabetes fighting back against societal stereotypes and insurance denials and insulin access issues.  It’s the voices of people with type 2, who remain the majority of PWD but are woefully underrepresented in the online community.  There are so many “small stories” that are making big differences, and I wish they were perceived as sexy/aspirational/inspirational as summiting a mountain.

I’m sometimes daunted by the Big Things being accomplished at times, wondering where smaller stories fit into the narrative of diabetes.  Like, am I weird if I feel accomplished for renewing all my prescriptions?  Or from losing 4 lbs of relentless baby weight by way of just walking?  The small victories seem so small sometimes, especially on days when diabetes lives a little large, but they remain victories nonetheless.

Props to everyone who is doing something powerfully positive with diabetes … like living with it.  Whether that’s climbing a mountain.  Or raising a family.  Or hang-gliding across Iceland while knitting that sweater onto your body as you hang-glide around.  Or making toast.  These stories – all of them – show diabetes in the context of real life.  And all of these stories are inspiring in their own way.

It’s not about attention.  Or accolade.  Or high-fives for big deal things.  It’s about looking at how diabetes is presented and seeing your story – the good, the bad, and the ugly – represented.

 

Guest Post: My Sister Has Diabetes

A diabetes diagnosis doesn’t just affect the life of the person who is diagnosed … diabetes, for better or for worse, is a family affair.  I didn’t think about the influence of diabetes on my siblings until I was older, and I wish we has talked about it at home more.  Which is exactly why I’m honored to host a guest post from Grace Rooney, who wrote a book from the perspective of the sibling of a PWD.  Read more about why she wrote her book and how you can grab a copy of your own!

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Hi guys, my name is Grace, and I’m excited to be a guest blogger for Six Until Me. I have an older sister, Paige, with type 1 diabetes who was diagnosed 17 years ago.

Growing up, I was aware of carbohydrates, blood sugars, and insulin, things other kids my age didn’t have any idea about. My parents’ attention was often turned towards my sister, and I was left feeling confused and scared. My parents and my sister had a lot of resources to help them navigate the daily challenges. However, we were never able to find any support for me. When I was six, I wrote a book called My Sister Has Diabetes and How That Makes Me Feel. It was a way for me to express myself and my emotions, but at that time, my book was just for me. I wasn’t aware that it could become a resource that would benefit other people.

I think growing up in the shadow of diabetes gave me a unique perspective. I am now 19 and care about diabetes advocacy, especially for siblings. Two years ago I self-published my book and started a nonprofit called Support for Siblings.

This year I was fortunate enough to be a first timer at the Children With Diabetes’ Friends for Life Conference in Orlando where I tracked down Kerri and introduced myself. She was gracious and hilarious, as anyone who reads her blog knows, and she invited me to write a guest blog post to introduce another perspective on living day to day with T1D. Although I don’t have diabetes, it is very much a part of my life.

At the conference I partnered with the “Orange Team” who works with the kids who don’t have diabetes but whose lives are still affected by T1D, just like me. There I read and gave out copies of my book to siblings and parents. Interacting with the kids, sharing my story, and hearing theirs was inspiring and validating. Many of the kids I met experience similar situations and emotions that I had. I remember growing up wishing there was someone who could relate to me and my feelings, and now I want to help siblings who are scared and confused like I was.

My goal is to continue to get the book to as many type 1 siblings as possible. If you weren’t at the conference but know someone who may benefit from my book, you can find it on Amazon.

I’d also love to hear from you at supportforsiblings@aol.com. Out of the struggle and pain and longing to sympathize with my sister, I have become an advocate and hope I can provide support for siblings.

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Thanks so much to Grace, for making a difference in the world for PWD and their families.  You can order a copy of her book on Amazon by clicking here.

 

100% Panc-tato

All day pancreas-shaped sweet potato. We ate it and the bolus to cover it felt pleasantly vindictive.

Panc-potato

A post shared by Kerri Sparling (@sixuntilme) on

Seeing Arrows Everywhere.

 I totally want to rage bolus that truck.  #diabetesproblems

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