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Posts tagged ‘empowerment’

Diabetes Blog Week: I Can.

Decades ago, my body did whatever it did to reroute the purpose of my pancreas, and left me with a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes at the age of seven.

As a result, I can’t make insulin.

Diabetes was presented as a series of “You can’ts” to me, back in 1986.  You can’t eat that, you can’t do that, you can’t try that, you can’t be that.  It was an unsettling feeling, being a child and living by a series of perceived restrictions.  But not knowing any differently, I spent way too much time thinking that there were things I just could not do instead of recognizing and celebrating how capable my body remained.

It wasn’t that I didn’t make insulin.

It’s that I had to coax out the instinct to live beyond diabetes.

I had to relearn how to trust myself, which was a weird paradigm shift because I was used to not trusting my body.  (When your immune system unexpectedly turns on you, you might develop a trust issue or two.)  It’s a learning curve, even to this day.  I trust my body to run for miles and hold my daughter in one arm, grocery bags in the other, but there are hiccups thrown out by diabetes here and there.  Like last night, when my low alarm went off for an hour and a half because my blood sugar was cemented in the 50′s for that long and I had to put reason and restraint into practice by treating the low cautiously instead of devouring the contents of the fridge with reckless abandon.  I had to trust the food and trust myself to bring my blood sugar up enough but not too much, aiming for that balance without caving to frustration.

I don’t know how to achieve balance, but I do know how to remain in pursuit of it.  I’m still learning.  I’m always learning.  Diabetes is not a hole in me or the whole of me.  It’s a thing that requires thinging, and I’ll thing the hell out of it until my last breath.

But not at the cost of giving in to it.

I need to remember that I can do this.  I can conquer this.  I can design this and devour this and delight in this.

I can.  I fucking can.

*   *   *

This is part of Diabetes Blog Week, where blog prompts help generate a series of posts by folks in the Diabetes Online Community.  Here’s today’s prompt:  “In the UK, there was a diabetes blog theme of “I can…” that participants found wonderfully empowering. So lets kick things off this year by looking at the positive side of our lives with diabetes. What have you or your loved one accomplished, despite having diabetes, that you weren’t sure you could? Or what have you done that you’ve been particularly proud of? Or what good thing has diabetes brought into your life? (Thank you to the anonymous person who submitted this topic suggestion.)”

Click for the I Can – Monday 5/11 Link List.

Stigmatized Secrets.

I’ve spent the last few weeks keeping watch on the My Diabetes Secrets Tumblr account (a version of Diabetes PostSecret – more here) and these two submissions keep leaping out at me:

The submissions as stand-alone pieces make me feel like I’m trying to shove limitless emotions into a Ziploc bag, but what kills me is that these were submitted anonymously.  There’s still something about diabetes, and the fear and stigma associated with this disease and all its iterations, that keeps people from feeling empowered/supported enough to say this shit out loud.

This week, I received an email from some PR company professing that diabetes is a disease of numbers and control, and when lab work is “in range,” the disease essentially melts away into insignificance.

Oh yeah?

It’s high time for the psychosocial impact of diabetes to be acknowledged.  People living with diabetes aren’t ruled entirely by our pancreases … there’s a lot of heart thrown in there, too.

For more anonymous secrets, check out My Diabetes Secret.


I test my blood sugars between 8 – 15 times per day, depending on trends, travel, exercise, food, and other variables.  I correct highs.  I treat lows.  I make a lot of decisions based on these numbers, and it scares the hell out of me to think that they might not be right.

Food for thought.

Batman Princess.

“So when do we go to the confwence, Mawm?”

“In two weeks.  And did you know there is going to be a big fancy dress-up ball?  Like a big party for princes and princesses?”


“Yeah.  And you get to dress up as a princess, if you’d like.  Would you like to dress up as a princess that night?”

“I would.  I want to be …”

And here’s where I expected a response of “Cinderella,” or some other generic Disney princess.

“I want to be a Batman Princess.  Can I be a Batman Princess?”

Oh hell yes you can.

My DIY craftiness is not a skill I’ve finely tuned.  It’s rarely indulged, and frightfully makeshift.  I’m not known for my Pinterest prowess, and the closest I’ve come to crafty is my insatiable urge to crochet while low.  But I can work the Google, so I set out to figure out how to make a Batman Princess costume for my curious little anti-princess.  It was a short, but laborious process going from “hey, that’s a dungeon ballerina” to “nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah BATMAN … PRINCESS!”

The glittery mask and the Batman dress.

  • First, we needed a mask.  Thank you, Amazon, for providing a cheapo plastic Batman mask that was perfectly sized for the Bird’s head.
  • And, of course, a black leotard (courtesy of Amazon once again) to put the Batman insignia on.
  • Then I had to pick up some black glitter, because it was time to bedazzle that mask.  I though it would be hard to cover the mask with glitter, but I used my finger to spread a thin layer of Elmer’s glue over the mask, and then I dumped black glitter onto it.  I did this in stages, and it worked out perfectly.  (I also used a pie dish to catch all the spilled glitter, which immediately made me want to make a glitter-goth pie.  Next time, Baker Kerri.)
  • Making the insignia for the leotard was a little trickier, because I’m out of practice with my freehand Bat Signal.  (As evidenced by the front of my chemistry notebook from high school.  Lots of really decent Batman symbols, but no solid and properly solved scientific equations.)  What I did was very simple:  I held a piece of printer paper to my computer screen, with the Batman logo on the screen, and traced it with a marker.  Then, I took the paper and traced over the outline, pressing down hard, against the paper side of a piece of bright yellow adhesive sheet of felt (found at a local fabric store), leaving an imprint.  Using the teeniest, sharpest pair of scissors in my sewing kit, I cut out the Batman logo from the sheet of felt and stuck it to the leotard.
  • Birdy tried on the leotard, and after wearing it for the briefest of minutes, the felt started to peel away from the fabric.  So, using offensively bright yellow thread, I reinforced the Batman logo.
  • And then I made the tutu.  A no-sew tutu which required like six yards of tulle and lots of cutting and tying and the blasted black satin ribbon that I used to tie a bow ended up getting lost in the massive folds of the bright yellow chaos.  (I followed this post as a guide.)  It was nice and full and looked fun, but my only regret is that it wasn’t soft enough, as about an hour into the Friends for Life banquet, Birdy was telling me that she itched and eventually ended up ditching the tutu skirt.
  • Just as a note:  The tutu ended up being so big and so insane looking that it took up most of the room in Birdy’s suitcase, and when I unzipped said suitcase in the hotel room, the tutu leapt out like the snake from a Snake-in-a-Can-of-Nuts.
  • Paired with some gold ballet slipper from the bowels of Target and we were off and running.

We didn’t get any photos from the FFL Banquet, but she didn’t mind putting her costume back on at home for a quick shutter snap.

And there you have it:  proof that not every princess needs to be plucked from a Disney movie.

Check Yourself.

Sometimes it’s not about the actual “pricking of the finger” but more the “finding out what the number is.”  Here’s a new video post about the power of knowing your numbers, in efforts to not wreck yo self.


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