30 Days With Diabetes: Sick

Because my body isn’t ever operating at 100 percent (with blood sugar mayhem and all), I am more prone to illness and infection (gotta get that flu shot). Today, I ended up at urgent care with one such infection. Antibiotics will cure it, but let’s just say I’m not at my best right now. And this is not how I had intended to start my long weekend.

But maybe it’s what I needed? I’m not saying I appreciate being sick. I certainly would have loved to have gotten some sleep last night and spend my day catching up on some creative endeavors. But I have been pushing my limits these past two weeks, and even I recognize it’s time to re-evaluate my priorities and how I’m spending my time.

I need balance. I constantly feel like I’m playing catch-up. So, my body is forcing me to slow down. I’m listening. Continue reading

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30 Days With Diabetes: Diabulimia Research

I’m not a stress eater. In fact, when I’m stressed, I typically lose weight from “not eating.” Back in 2014, when I was commuting 5.5 hours per day to and from Baltimore and DC and nearing the end of a long-term relationship, I dropped down to 118 pounds (my lowest adult weight to date).

Fortunately now, the people closest to me know this about me and are great about checking me on this matter. So is diabetes. Before (and even after) I was diagnosed with Type 1, I struggled with a positive body image. I engaged in unhealthy behaviors, and although never diagnosed, I exhibited the signs of an eating disorder.

Even when diabetes came along, this was a hard habit to break. I ended up developing a binge eating disorder because I resented diabetes for not allowing me to indulge in certain foods anymore, and then I started omitting insulin so I wouldn’t gain weight from the binge eating. This is called “Diabulimia.” It’s something I’ve written about before on this blog.  Continue reading

Not Another Chronic Condition

I love growing older – there is something about the introspection and wisdom that comes with age that very much appeals to my self-aware self.

With a chronic disease like Type 1 diabetes, getting older also means my body may not be able to manage as well after years of undue stress. The fatigue has been quite noticeable in the past year so much so that I once thought there may be something wrong with my thyroid. But my blood work continues to show positive signs (well, minus the incurable chronic condition).

But diabetes is not the only ailment I’ve had to face in the last 10 years. It’s an issue I don’t often talk about because I am somehow ashamed of its existence. It took me years to feel comfortable telling folks I had Type 1 diabetes. But diabetes, at least in today’s day and age, is somewhat understandable. And there’s scientific proof it exists.

So, what about another incurable chronic condition, that while it has a name in the scientific community, is often dismissed by health care providers because there’s no evidence the pain exists? And just like diabetes, researchers do not know where it comes from or why it exists. But it plagues more than 12 million people in the US (mostly women). Continue reading

Tomorrow I Turn 30 and I Am Jumping For Joy

I am less than 24 hours from officially surviving the most heart wrenching, traumatizing, emotionally charged, tumultuous, unforeseeable, devastating decade of my life (Jane Austen would disapprove of that many adjectives).

Speaking of Jane, 10 years ago I was obsessed with the movie Becoming Jane (I also had a huge crush on James McAvoy, that is until his overdramatized portrayal of mental illness in Split). Like Austen’s character in the film, I wanted to experience a great love story but then spend my life dedicated to my writing (and writing six of the greatest novels in the English language couldn’t hurt either). Continue reading

How to Choose a Life Partner ‘Single-Style’

Enjoy not knowing where life is going to take you.

Apparently I said this a few years back. I have no recollection, but often when I am giving advice to others (as I imagine most of us do), I say things I would never say to myself. And only recently have I learned to value all that I want to contribute and give to those around me and the world.

I don’t expect to be famous or rich. It’s never the life I envisioned for myself, but I always imagined I would give something back even if to those I didn’t even notice. That’s already happening. We are each impacting people we hardly know, maybe even people we’ve never met. We will never know the impact we’ve had, but we should learn to value that unknown impact. There is nothing wrong with me. There is nothing wrong with us.

Maybe we have characteristics and personalities that do not mingle with this society or its system? But that does not make us wrong. In fact, throughout most of history, that makes us visionaries. And I am not including anything that violates human rights or life itself. I am talking about those of us who maybe don’t fit in with the life society has drummed up for us. But we’re not backing down. We’re taking a different path. Continue reading

Are We Special? A Millennial Year in DC

Today a doctor put a scalpel to the skin beneath my left bicep. She removed another birth control method, the last I will try for a while. And although the implant was the best I’ve had, after about six months, it interfered with a cycle that should come natural, and the consequences no longer seemed worth it.

Oh the things we women must endure.

But this isn’t just about reproductive rights for women. It’s about the child I am not ready to bring into this world. I am a Type 1 diabetic. I would not take reproduction lightly normally, but with a chronic disease that could do irreparable developmental damage if I’m not monitoring it carefully enough, I especially do not take it lightly.

After the application of a burning numbing agent, the doctor pierced my skin and opened the wound. I watched with a side view anxious to have this hole repaired. I knew I was making the right decision for myself and my body but I couldn’t help but be abhorred by the whole procedure. What was I doing to myself?

She used her gloved fingers to dig around beneath the skin, and what seemed like seconds turned into minutes. How big is this thing? She asked for help from her assistant. Is it stuck inside me? Will I never be free of this thing that can’t be more than the size of a blunt razor blade? But then I realized she was removing scar tissue from the implant. After all, it had been in my body for almost a year.

And then it was out. As thin as a paper clip, it was no bigger than my pinky finger. And to think of all the hassle that tiny strip caused. Incredible. Continue reading

Today I Bought a Scale

I recently bought a scale… to measure my weight… over time.

My former negative body image-self is terrified.

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But every time I come to grips with my single status again, I need something to focus on whether that be my writing, my work, or my fitness. Four months ago I started building muscle. I didn’t have much of a strategy. I just started lifting weights and varying my exercise routines.

And then I did gain muscle. I could feel definition in my biceps and abs. I could do things in yoga I’d never been able to do before, and I ran my fastest mile… ever. So I thought if I just put a little more thought and energy into it, I could actually be fit. Okay fitter.

But in order to do that I would need to start watching what I ate. I would need to start monitoring my fat and protein intake. I would need to start counting calories and checking my weight. I struggle with counting calories. I already have to watch my carb and sugar intake for my diabetes. I monitor my blood sugar constantly. Did I really want to add more to my daily math excursions?

Five Weeks

So I’m giving myself 5 weeks (only because after 5 weeks I’m taking my first week-long vacation in five years). See what I can accomplish with a strict regimen. I am a perfectionist after all. But that’s the catch. I have body image issues. I used to struggle with different types of eating disorders. I haven’t had a scale in my home in more than 10 years. The counting, the weighing – it encourages my obsession with an unrealistic body image.

Or at least it did. But it’s been 11 years since I’ve been that close to a scale. And I’m not doing this to lose weight. I’m doing this for my diabetes. I’m doing this for my physical being. I’m doing this for my health. I’m doing this for my mental and emotional well-being. I’m doing this for me not because I think I have to but because I want to. Continue reading