Category Archives: Emotions

Grief Then. Grief Now.

I woke up in the middle of the night last night from a nightmare.  My heart was pounding so hard I swore Joe could hear or feel it.  It was about finding out my father passed away.  When I woke up I realized it wasn’t really a dream, but a recollection.

Today marks ten years that my father passed away.  Ten years.  As much as I hate it, my life has gone on.  So much has happened in the past ten years, especially in my diabetes life, that I wish I could share with him.  I know he is watching over me but I wish he was here in real life.  I still have those moments where my heart truly aches from missing him.

I would give anything to be able to talk to him again.  Hug him.  Hold his hand.  Make tea for him.  And as long as I live, I will hate diabetes for taking that away from me.  But today I won’t let diabetes win.  I’m not going to reflect on what I lost.  I am going to celebrate the wonderful father I had.  I am going to remember the good times we shared.  I am going to cherish his memory.

In my dreams
I’ll always see you soar
Above the sky
In my heart
There will always be a place
For you for all my life
I’ll keep a part
Of you with me
And everywhere I am
There you’ll be
And everywhere I am
There you’ll be
Lyrics from There You’ll Be by Faith Hill, the song we danced to at my wedding

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T.G.I.F.

Since I whined like a little baby yesterday, I just wanted to reflect on the fact that indeed things could be much worse.  I am still a very blessed person and just have a bit on my plate at the moment.  I’ve seen a quote a few times recently “It’s a bad day, not a bad life”.  In my case it’s been a bad week but it still holds true and I know that 🙂

 

I’m looking forward to the weekend and hope that you all have a great one!

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Frustrations Galore.

This has been one rough week and I cannot wait until it is behind me.

  • My boss is on vacation so I’ve been filling in for him.  That has lead to some hectic times in the office.  It’s great being in charge sometimes but I am looking forward to having that extra load lifted come Monday!  Also at work, being part of a huge organization can create complicated processes and frustration that are truly unnecessary.
  • I was expecting a shipment at home from Modell’s (new sneaks baby) this week.  It was initially shipped via FedEx SmartPost which means that FedEx brings it to the US Post Office who then delivers it.  In tracking this shipment, I saw that it went from my city, to the next one over, then to New Jersey, a whole other state.  I cannot begin to tell you the frustration I had in trying to get to the bottom of where it was going to wind up.  Sitting silent on your end of the phone because you cannot get passed the automated voice prompt in order to speak to a real person.  USPS needs to improve their telephone customer service system!
  • Insurance.  I admit I’ve never really had to deal with insurance woes.  My coverage is above average and never resulted in denied claims or anything of that nature.  This year, my employer switched to Anthem BCBS and I hate them.  Every shipment of pods that I get from Edgepark is initially denied, they request medical records (of what kind, I have no idea) and take 2 months or more to finally approve.  My last order from 5/22/13 is still not approved.  This is the third time they’ve done this and Edgepark will rightfully be hesitant to send my next shipment which is scheduled for 8/3.  I’ve attempted to work something out with them so that this does not happen every time to no avail.  This has become so frustrating and now also worrisome that I will not receive my pods in a timely manner.
  • My employer offers a health advocate service and I figured my insurance approval for pods issue was the perfect opportunity to engage such a service.  This is what I was told by them today “Unfortunately, the distributor has the right to hold any shipment if payment is not received.  Your only option would be to pay the charges and submit the bill to the insurance carrier for reimbursement as the request for medical records are to determine medical necessity.”  Hello more frustration.
  • Insurance.  I admit I’ve never dealt with insurance woes.  My (previous) pump was an Animas Ping that came out of warranty last month.  I received a new one with word from Animas that no preauthorization was required and that it was covered 100% under my durable medical equipment coverage.  Anthem has approved this claim with the amount of the pump not covered.  Animas claims they are working on it and assured me I would not have to pay for the pump.  I informed them more than once I am NOT paying $6,000 for the pump.  So incredibly frustrating.
  • My endo appointment was last week and not only did my A1c go up a bit, so did my cholesterol.  This is the first time ever that it’s been slightly elevated so I’m not terribly concerned.  However I am trying to think of what could have possibly caused it and am extremely frustrated that I can’t seem to narrow it down to anything in particular.  If anything, I’ve been exercising more and eating a bit better!
  • In the 18 months I’ve been using the OmniPod system, I have had very few issues with pod failures and other problems.  Last week when it was about 100 degrees in NY, I changed a pod to my lower back only to sweat it off in 5-10 minutes flat.  Since I was afraid of sweating more pods off, I was mainly using my abdomen for pod sites, although still rotating areas as much as I could.  One pod turned into a bleeder and when I took it off looked possibly infected.  Luckily I tended it to right away and it was not actually infected.  The pod after that started leaking insulin and left a huge welt on my belly.  Thinking I should give my abdomen a break and with slightly cooler weather, I turned to my top butt for the next pod.  Which also turned into a bleeder.  Three pods in a row that had to come off early and resulted in high BG.  Insulet is replacing 2 of the 3 pods however that does not replace the frustration it has been to deal with this issue.  I am extremely thankful that I have an alternate pump to use instead for the time being.

Can I scream now??!  I hope you are having a much less frustrating week!

Ashamed American.

This isn’t really diabetes related.  But it’s about a huge part of my life – my twin sister.  Many of you may know that her house in Staten Island, NY was ruined by Hurricane Sandy back in October of last year.  Her and my brother in law have been through absolute hell since then, trying to get their house repaired so they can move back.  Sadly, that is not feasible and they are trying to work out an alternative plan.  I actually wrote this some time ago and forgot about it.  It came up while talking with her over this past weekend and I thought I’d put it out there.

Imagine living in a country where you pay a decent amount of money each year toward government provided services.

Imagine paying for insurance every month, year after year, to cover your home and belongings in the event of a disaster.

Imagine living in a flood prone area and paying extra in insurance to protect your home and belongings in the event of a flood.

Now imagine surviving a major flood resulting from a super storm with a house, the one that is covered by both flood and home insurance and state and city taxes, that is almost completely destroyed. You would think your house could be rebuilt with the coverage you’ve been paying for, right?

Think again. In the US, NYC and NJ no less, there are thousands of families who have homes and businesses ruined from Hurricane Sandy. It has been just about 8 months since the storm and not one thing in terms of recovery has changed. The red tape that President Obama claimed would not play a role in the recovery from Sandy, is all over the place. Insurance companies are not paying for total damages, sometimes nothing at all. Banks are withholding insurance checks from clients. Mortgage companies are penalizing homeowners for not being able to pay mortgages on a home that is unlivable. And even padlocking those homes illegally.  It is a disgrace that this is how our state, city and government officials are allowing the recovery efforts to go. I am ashamed to live in a city, state and country where this kind of thing happens and its citizens are allowed to suffer like this.

An Amazing Weekend.

I am way overdue in posting this.  I finally had some downtime (see also: being sick.  again.) and figured it was about time I wrote about my time at the Diabetes Sisters Weekend for Women conference at the beginning of this month.  This was my third year attending and you can find my posts about previous years here and here.

Like the past conferences, I had a wonderful time.  I don’t think you can find any more solidarity than being surrounded by about 100 other women with diabetes.  It doesn’t get much better than that 🙂  There were sessions about learning to love exercise from the fabulous Ginger Vieira, how to ignite your diabetes power from the legendary Riva Greenberg, information on dietary supplements and how they affect or do not affect diabetes, the down low on diabetes technology from Amy Tenderich of Diabetes Mine, unlocking the secrets of a long, happy life with diabetes, creating better relationships marriages which was a very open, intimate conversation with the likes of Kerri Sparling.  Our keynote speaker for the weekend was Mother Love.  I admit, I didn’t know much about her before meeting her there.  But let me tell you, she is one funny woman.  She also brought to light for all of us how it is important for us to take care of ourselves.  Something that all of the attendees were doing by attending the conference!  There was also the annual Orange Will walk to start the day on Saturday.  It’s always nice to see a group of people walking for a cause.

Something new this year were offsite field trips – one option was a tour of the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle Teaching Farm in Raleigh and the other option was the Novo Nordisk insulin manufacturing facility in Clayton.  I opted for the Novo Nordisk plant and was so glad I did!  It was phenomenal to see how they manufacture something like insulin, that is a life saving medication used by so many people.  Talk about a high standard of sterility!  It gave me a new appreciation for the people who take their job very seriously to give us that life juice 😉

I honestly think the most valuable thing about this conference is the relationships that are built.  The friendships that are made.  The deep camaraderie that is felt.  The entire weekend concentrates on how to make you better.  How to make your life as a woman with diabetes more manageable.  How to help you feel less alone.  And living with diabetes, who doesn’t need that?

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In case you missed the conference in Raleigh, or live closer to the west coast, there is also a conference coming up in October in San Francisco.  Check it out for more details.

Day Three of Diabetes Blog Week, 2013.

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Today we’re going to share our most memorable diabetes day. You can take this anywhere…. your or your loved one’s diagnosis, a bad low, a bad high, a big success, any day that you’d like to share.

Some people are sharing their diagnosis story for today’s topic.  I don’t really remember my diagnosis since I was only 5 (and have a horrible memory!).  Some are sharing stories of scary low or high experiences.  I am blessed to not have any true life or death experiences to share.  Some may be sharing successes worth celebrating or of friendships made worth cherishing.  While I do have some of those, I have a more memorable day relating to diabetes.  I usually focus on the positive and do not like to dwell on the negative.  I hope if you know me, you have picked up on that.  However, the most memorable day in my diabetes world happens to be a very sad one.  The day my father passed away.

Some people may even be sick of hearing about this.  And I apologize if that is true.  But that day, my life changed forever.  Not just because I lost my father.  But also because what caused his death was diabetes.  The very disease that I live with and have had for almost as long as he had.  As much as I remind myself that things were different during his diabetes lifetime.  As much as I tell myself that his tools were very unlike the ones I use today.  As much as I try to focus on my attitude being different than his was.  The fact still remains that diabetes took my father’s life.  Even before he died.  And that will forever be etched in my soul.

Diabetes Art Day. 2013.

Diabetes Art Day is a fun event started by my friend Lee Ann to “encourage individuals and families with diabetes to engage in creative visual expression to communicate their experience with diabetes, connect with others, raise awareness, and promote insight and positive coping skills”.  One thing that I have learned over the past few years participating in this is that I’m really not all that creative 😉  But I still have fun and especially love seeing the entries by others in the community.

My submission for this year is about the ups and downs of diabetes. Figuratively and literally.  There are both good and bad times living with diabetes.  And even though the bad times can seem overpowering and never ending at times, in reality, the good times are bigger.  And this I believe is what gets us through.

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My Diabetes is 31 Today.

31 years going strong.

On Christmas eve 31 years ago, my life changed forever.  And my family’s.  Instead of celebrating Christmas with family and gifts like planned, I was brought to the hospital by my parents for a type 1 diabetes diagnosis.  To this day, I am grateful that my parents recognized the symptoms of insatiable thirst and never ending trips to the bathroom as soon as they did.  They saved me from becoming seriously ill.

I dislike having to live with diabetes.  There are days or moments when I absolutely hate it.  I’m not going to hide it.  But as I am reading “Breakthrough: Elizabeth Hughes, the Discovery of Insulin, and the Making of a Medical Miracle“, I cannot help but feel extremely thankful that I live in a time where there are treatment options.  Back in the early 1900’s, the prognosis of being diagnosed with diabetes was a death sentence.  And a short one.  In my first years of being a person with diabetes, we relied on urine testing and only 1-2 daily injections of insulin to manage blood sugar.  But it was still better than nothing at all.  And today, 31 years later, even though I have some mild complications, I am still overall a healthy person.

So happy birthday, Diabetes.  I’m sorry to be stuck with you but in a way I hope we get to celebrate many more together.

Mixed Emotions.

As most of the world knows, Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast with a vengeance on Monday.  Joe and I were extremely fortunate that there was no damage to our apartment building or car and we never even lost power.  It was mostly my nerves that took a beating.  However I have been watching the news, pretty much nonstop, the past 3 days and I cannot say the same for many, many people.  As many pictures and video clips as I have seen or as many stories as I have heard I cannot wrap my head around the force of the water and wind from this storm.  The damage is just catastrophic.  I don’t think anyone can remember a time when the NYC schools were closed for a whole week due to weather related conditions.  The last time the New York Stock Exchange was closed for two consecutive days relating to weather was in 1888.  Was the transit system ever inoperable this long before?  I’m not sure.

 

All I know is that my emotions are completely torn.  On one hand I am forever grateful today.  Not only am I grateful that I still have a roof over my head with food and electricity and my husband by my side.  I am thankful that my sister, brother in law, niece and nephew are alive and unharmed.  Then on the other hand I am heartbroken for all the people who are dealing with such tremendous losses.  Houses that have exploded and burned.  Neighborhoods still under water.  Buildings collapsed.  People still missing.  Lives lost.  Things will not be “normal” in the tri-state area  for quite some time.  I can only pray for those who are struggling and are forced to rebuild their entire lives.  And heed the reminder to hold dear those people and things that we have and love.

No D Day.

Today is No D Day.  A day set aside each year for the d*&$%#@!* online community to take time off from speaking of, blogging, tweeting or Facebooking about d*&$%#@!*.  I’m all for it so thanks G for coming up with the idea!  What I’m going to focus on today is the things I love 🙂

Number one, my husband.  I am reminded daily (yes even when I am cleaning up after him constantly) of how blessed I am to have a husband that treats me with respect, consideration, love and affection.  We will be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary next year and I honestly love him more now than I did then.  He is the most mild mannered, patient person I think I have ever known.  He always seems to try and motivate me to do things when I am lacking.  (see: all the time)  His heart is as big as the world and I know I can count on him for anything.  We share something very special and for that I am eternally grateful.

Number two, my sister.  Being an identical twin, you share a special bond with your sibling that is scientifically proven to begin in the womb.  Although I see my sister nowhere near as much as I would like, we communicate frequently each day via phone calls, texts, emails, etc.  We have never had a serious fight.  Ever.  And with us being so close, I feel as if my niece and nephew are a special part of me as well.  And with a new baby on the way, I couldn’t be more excited.  Probably more than she is 😉

Number three, food.  I admit it.  I love food.  Of all different varieties.  My newest crazes are Pumpkin coffee and Müller Greek yogurt.  I tried Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte and fell in love.  The stuff is absolutely delicious!  I thought Dunkin’s pumpkin coffee would taste a lot different since they’re lacking the “spice” but it’s actually just as good.  And a bit better nutritiously, even if only a smidge.  I tried the Müller Greek yogurt for the first time yesterday and love it.  I had the caramelized almond and strawberry flavors.  Both very, very yummy.

Number four, exercise.  One would think that if I love exercise, I would do it all the time right?  Well I unfortunately struggle with this.  However when I do exercise, whether it be a run on my elliptical, some Zumba-ing, a bike ride or the few times I go to the gym, it makes me quite happy.  It feels wonderful to sweat out all your frustrations.  To push yourself when you feel like quitting sooner.  Knowing that you are helping your body work better is a huge plus too.  Now I just have to embed that in my brain somewhere so I can remember the next time I don’t feel like working out!

Number five, technology.  I’m not even certain how I became so obsessed with technology.  But I’ll be the first to admit that I am.  If I’ve had a device for more than 6 months, that seems like a long time to me!  My newest toy is the Kindle Fire HD 7”.  I like that it’s lighter and smaller to carry around with me than the iPad but the screen on this one is fantastic.  My next toy may very well be an upgrade to the iPhone 5 however I think I have some time to decide since it seems none of the stores in my area have them in stock!

Number six, nature.  Whether it be sunsets in the Caribbean or beautiful greenery in Boston Common or the autumn color of trees in NYC, I love it all.  Whatever kind of trip we take, I enjoy finding the greatest scenery for pictures.  And then when I look back at them, I think wow, that view was really before my own eyes.  The earth has much to offer for us to appreciate.

I could seriously go on and on about things I love.  There is a lot in my life that I am happy with and sometimes I need to remind myself of this when times get tough.  I hope you can take a moment and think of the things you love and make you happy too 😀

(image credit: digital-photography-school.com)