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Posts tagged ‘insulindependence’

D-Blog Week: Diabetes Life-Hacks.

I feel like the beginning of Diabetes Blog Week had so many prompts that really tapped the emotionally-saturated side of my diabetes management that I’m spent.  But I didn’t want to phone it in today for the last weekday post, so I’m pulling myself up by the bloggy bootstraps and putting my hacker hat on.  (Damn, Gina – that sounds like a complicated metaphorical outfit.)

For today’s blog post, centered on diabetes life-hacks, here’s a compilation of “sum” (OH HA?) diabetes hacks from the past:

I like “diabetes life hacks” because they make it easier, and more streamlined, to actually live with diabetes without succumbing to all the rules.  I don’t want to work my life around my diabetes; I’d much rather work diabetes around my life.

But the ultimate diabetes hack, IMO?  Is from Dana and Scott, who are creating their own do-it-yourself-pancreas system.  Necessity is the mother of invention, for real when it comes to life with diabetes.

Hack on!!

Guest Post: See You in the Slipstream!

Virtue Bajurny calls herself  “a Type 1” and has had diabetes for 20 years. Until finding Connected in Motion she hadn’t been able to meet and befriend another Type 1. She lives in Toronto, but now calls Connected in Motion home. She is a social worker and is currently working as the Community Manager for Connected in Motion.  And today, she is writing about the Slipstream.

“The term ‘slipstream’ describes the wake of fluid or air behind a moving object, which (because of its velocity and air pressure) helps create a suction that pulls following objects forward. This means that if you are, for example, a cyclist following another cyclist you will require much less power to maintain the same speed than if you were riding solo. In other words: you’re still doing a lot of work, but not as much as you would be if you were doing the exact same activity on your own.

So, why are we talking about this effect in a diabetes blog post? Well, for me, the two have a lot to do with one another. Every year for the past five year’s Connected in Motion has hosted something it calls Winter Slipstream. It’s a weekend where a bunch of type 1s get together for outdoor activity, indoor chat sessions, and hanging out. Like the slipstream described above, there is always a funny thing that happens that weekend: diabetes feels easier when you’re dealing with it in the group.

This past year was my third Winter Slipstream and early this fall I was fortunate enough to attend the Western Slipstream event on Vancouver Island, in British Columbia, Canada. Something that struck me at this last event is where I am now, a place I don’t think I could have arrived out with Slipstreams. First, I went from knowing no one else with diabetes for fifteen years to have a ridiculous amount of friends with type 1 now. Those friendships have proven an awesome source of support.

Second, I keep thinking about high ropes courses: the first time I encountered them at an event I only just got up the ladder to the high ropes; the second time I made it part way across the first challenge; and then at Western Slipstream I did the whole course!

To me, this point just illustrates the support and encouragement of Slipstream weekends—people are there to help you through however far you want to challenge yourself. I feel like often we, as people with diabetes, are told what to do with our diabetes. Having people around that get what the challenge of diabetes is like, trust that I know my own situation best, and meet me wherever that might be really feels like a breath of fresh air in my life with diabetes. I feel so lucky to have this ‘slipstream’ in my life now; it’s allowed me to achieve things personally, professionally, and diabetes-wise that I never could have imagined if I were outside of it and on my own.

The CIM Team, in partnership with Riding on Insulin and with the support of Insulindependence, are excited to bring the energy of the Slipstream to the Pacific Northwest in October. This will be the first time that the Slipstream has traveled outside of Canada and they are excited to see where it will take them in the future. Click here for more information and to register: Pacific Northwest Slipstream.

In the meantime, keep in touch with the CIM Facebook Page or Twitter, and check out some previous Slipstream experiences on their YouTube Channel. 

Hope to see you in the Slipstream!

On Being An Athlete.

If this was college, and it was the night before the paper was due, I’d grab a dictionary and start feverishly typing the following:  “Webster’s dictionary defines ‘athlete’ as ‘a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina.  Middle English, from Latin athleta, from Greek athlētēs, from athlein to contend for a prize, from athlon prize, contest.”

(Let’s pretend it’s college, because I like that opener.)

Athletes, and the definition of who or what an athlete is has been on my mind for the last few days, especially after serving as co-host for the Insulindependence Greatest Awards Show in DiabetesSebastien Sasseville and I had the honor (and the fun experience) of MC’ing the awards show from the House of Blues in San Diego on Saturday night.  The greatest honor that night, for me, was being able to announce Scott Johnson as the winner of this year’s Athletic Achievement Award, voted for by members of the diabetes community.   Scott, for me, is the EWD (Everyman With Diabetes).  His good days are good.  His tough days are combination of frustration and exhaustion.  But he keeps pushing, and keeps trying, and his daily journey is our daily journey, as people with diabetes.  He keeps his eye on the prize:  health.

That’s the part of the definition of “athlete” that really resonates for me, the etymology of the word.  “To contend for a prize.”

That is what I strive for, as a person with diabetes – the prize of a life that, whether hard-earned or thankfully easy, is healthy, fun, and worthwhile.  So many of us may never achieve, or want to achieve, the prize of being a world-class athlete, but every single one of us can be inspired to exercise and be healthy.  You don’t have to go up Everest (even though – good for you, crazy Seb), but you do have to move.  Go for a walk.  Dance in your kitchen.  Take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible.  MOVE YOUR BODY, even if you’re intimidated.

Be an athlete in pursuit of the prize of life.  We can all be that athlete.

Sounds a little cheesy?  Yes, indeed – straight-up gouda.  But sometimes the simplest things are what can make the biggest difference.  For the last few weeks, I’ve had trouble fitting regular exercise into the mix (more on that later), and I’m feeling the effects of being so dormant.  My blood sugars are harder to control, my body feels tired, and my brain feels slower on the uptake than usual.  Exercise might not be as  crucial a component in my diabetes toolbox as insulin, but it’s up there.  Tapping my inner athlete helps keep me healthy.  And seeing people in this community who are doing impressive things, great things, and consistent things motivates the hell out of me.

Congrats to Scott, and all of the other nominees and winners on Saturday night, for inspiring people with diabetes to remain in hot pursuit of that prize.

George Simmons, me, the little piece of fake bread that Birdy asked me to bring on my trip, and WINNAH Scott K. Johnson

Pumped for the Pizza Man.

The oven broke.

It took me a while to notice, because it was upwards of 90 degrees inside of my house (no central air … we will not be making this mistake with our next house), but once I realized the stove was kaput, it was about 6.30 pm and very much time for Birdzone’s dinner.  While I’d like to say that I walked out to our garden and picked enough fresh green beans, tomatoes, and lettuce for a healthy salad, then followed up with chicken on the grill, with a dessert of fresh blackberries and cream, I can’t.  Because I never ended up planting the garden I wanted to (too much time on the road) and we don’t have a grill (still haven’t bought one) and the frigging birds keep snaking our blackberries so, to this day, I haven’t had a single blackberry from the huge bush outside due to the aforementioned dickheaded birds. /digression

So we ordered a pizza.  Judge all you want.

Birdy and I were playing in her air-conditioned room when the door bell rang, signaling the arrival of the pizza man.

“The pizza man is here!”  Birdy opened her door and let in the dragon-breath heat from the kitchen, scurrying towards our front door with her yellow Batman Princess tutu flapping at her waist.  (She wears pieces of that costume all the time.  Even the itchy bits.)  I handed her a few dollars so that she could tip the delivery person.

I opened the door and the guy handed us our pizza and drinks.

“Here you go, miss.  It’s hot, isn’t it!”  It wasn’t a statement, but a declaration, as the heat was undeniable.

“Yeah.  Our stove broke, so there was even less of a chance of me cooking.”

He smiled as Birdy said, “Hi!” from behind my legs and darted out to hand him the money.

“Thank you … um, Batman,” he said, slightly confused but offering her a friendly smile.

“You’re welcome!”  and she took off.  I thanked him, and shut the door.  A few seconds later, the door bell rang again.  (The pizza man always rings twice?)

“Hi again.  Sorry, but I forgot to have you sign the debit card slip.”  He handed me a slip of paper, and as I signed it, he asked, “Do you have diabetes?”

“Excuse me?”

“Diabetes.  Do you have diabetes?  I noticed the sticker on your car said ‘insulin’ or something on it, and I wondered if you were diabetic.”

I laughed, surprised.  “Yes, I do have diabetes.  Type 1, diagnosed as a kid.  Do you?”

“Yeah.  Diagnosed as a kid, too.”  He reached into the pocket of his cargo shorts and pulled out a Minimed insulin pump.  “I’ve been pumping for about six years.”

I lifted the corner of my shirt and flashed him my silver Animas Ping.  “Almost ten years for me.   Small world!  And that sticker on my car is for Insulindependence.  It’s a diabetes organization focusing on sports and exercise.”

“Cool – I’ll check it out,” he said, winding his pump tubing around his fingers as he shoved the pump back into his pocket.

“Cool.”  I paused, and the words tumbled out like I was confessing.  “I don’t normally eat pizza, you know.”

The pizza man grinned.  “It’s like the most complicated bolus ever.  No matter what, I never get it totally right.”  He started to walk back towards his car, waving at Birdy.  “Have a good night!  Stay cool!”

Birdy appeared from behind the door.  “Mawm, he had a pump, too!  He has diabeedles!”

“He does!”

The diabetes world is a small, small one.  Never before had I been so pumped to see the pizza man.

(Yes.  We went all that way for a horrible pun.)

Also, today has been unofficially designated as a “day to check in” (hat tip to Chris Snider) with the DOC blogs that we’re reading.  I read a lot of diabetes blogs, but I don’t often comment because I usually want to say something meaningful, instead of “I like your post.”  (But I do like your post!)  But instead of finding that meaningful comment, I usually roll on and forget to return to comment.  NOT TODAY!  Today I’m commenting on every blog I read, because that’s the name of the game.  I love this community, and today I’ll show that through comments.  So please – if you’re here, say hello!  What’s your favorite color?


Summiting the Everglades.

Seb is a patient man, as well as an elite athlete.  And in August, he and I will be co-hosting the Greatest Awards Show in Diabetes as part of next North American Conference on Diabetes and Exercise, hosted by the incredible team at Insulindependence.

For more on how to enter to win the 2013 Athletic Achievement Award, check out the details here.  And if you are wondering, “Can I still submit, even though my achievements aren’t that ‘extreme,‘” don’t fret.  There’s an FAQ page you can read through for even more details.

But, for the record, you don’t have to summit Everest to be eligible.  Or the Everglades (which would be a bit easier to summit, I’d imagine – watch the video for the joke).  You don’t have to be participating in elite races or trot your little self across the Sahara desert in order to consider your athleticism an achievement.  Celebrating diabetes and exercise isn’t a right limited only to people who cross the finish lines first, or even at all.

Celebrating diabetes and exercise is about being inclusive and recognizing that our lives, our health, and our community as a whole are better for keeping our bodies moving. So get up.  Go run around a little bit.  And consider submitting a video TODAY, showing everyone how diabetes doesn’t have to be a conduit to chaos, but can be a catalyst for healthy change.

Turn your 5K into 5K.  🙂


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