Sunday, November 1, 2015

In the Advocacy Spirit

Last time this year, I was not in the advocacy spirit; I was going through burnout and honestly just didn't want to yell to the world, "I'm diabetic!" If you're in that boat right now, don't feel bad. Everyone goes through it and I totally get it. Advocacy for an entire month is overwhelming, to say the least. This year, I'm ready to jump back in to the advocacy game. It probably helps that I've been gone for months, but I ready to wear blue on Fridays, post photos on Instagram on the daily, and talk it up about diabetes all month long. I can guarantee that I won't be blogging every day because I don't have the time to write actual blog posts daily. (College applications, standardized tests, and school can be to blame for that) Either way, I'm going to be more present this month and tell anyone that wants (or doesn't) to listen about diabetes because it's important and here until there's a cure.

If you're looking for somewhere to start, advocacy wise check out some of these websites:
  • T1D Looks Like Me // A JDRF initiative that requires a simple selfie and a quick filter to show that there is no specific person that looks diabetic. They are also hosting meetups throughout the US during November for Diabetes Awareness month
  • Beyond Type 1 //  A social media based advocacy platform with ideas for fundraising, advocacy, and resources for any diabetic in the modern age.
  • #DiabadassChallenge // An Instagram challenge for November centered around diabetes, which is great way to educate others about diabetes while also helping you find other diabetics by simply searching through the hashtag.
  • World Diabetes Day // The IDF's yearly campaign focused on diabetes awareness and advocacy. A great place for so much information about diabetes and advocacy that your head might explode!
  • Blogs // Blogs are great places to find inspiration for advocacy. A few of my favorites are Six Until Me, Diabetesaliciousness, Texting My Pancreas, Coffee & Insulin, and Very Light, No Sugar.
I hope you are as excited as I am for this month!

Friday, June 12, 2015

A New Adventure

At #dsma on Wednesday, we were asked a simple question: "What's missing? What isn't working? What doesn't need to be changed? What would you like to see?" I thought about it for a moment and then tweeted this:

I was honestly surprised that more people hadn't noticed this gaping hole in the #DOC, but then I remembered that the #DOC is mostly filled with (amazing) adults. While there are places for college-aged diabetics, there aren't many places for diabetic teens that want a positive community of people to talk to. Project Blue November has a panel of teens that answer submitted questions about a given topic each month, but there isn't really room for discussion there. Tumblr is also a place where most teens go to talk diabetes, but it is often a negative place for a teen to go. Many people on tumblr go to escape, so there is a lot of negativity (I'm not bashing this awesome project, just giving everyone an example of how tumblr seems to be for teens) surrounding diabetes there.

I've been hoping that someone else would realize this and get on it, but after seeing this tweet, I've come to accept that I'm going to have to do something about this. So here I am telling you that I will start a tweet chat for type 1 diabetic teens. I don't have a hashtag, (though I'm thinking about #t1tchat. It hasn't been used and is short and sweet.) I have no website, haven't talked to many people about it, but it will happen. I'm hoping that I can start it by the beginning of August, but I need your help to get it done.

How can you help? Simple. Find blogs, tudiabetes accounts, twitter accounts, facebook pages, google + accounts, tumblrs, and anyplace else on the web there is a teen with type 1 diabetes and send their links my way. You can email them to me, ( tweet/ direct message me, (@sarahspillerr on twitter), use any other social media link on the sidebar, or just comment on my blog to let me know.

I'm on the hunt for people too and I'm definitely going to create a home for this chat on the internet soon. If you have any suggestions or think you could help, I'd love if you could comment below or email me!

Moral of the Story: I'm ready for a new adventure.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Necessary & Proper Adjustments

You know how there is always the tiny caveat in the fine print on the registration page for that new yoga class you're dying to take or at the end of that article you just read about running? The one that tells you to, "consult a doctor before participating in physical activity." Yeah that one. You know else they need? One that tells you to consult yourself before you participate in physical activity.

I'm enrolled in online gym and health (it's about as exciting as it sounds) because of scheduling issues at my school because I'm in chorus and STEM at my school. I'm required to keep an exercise log throughout the class which means that I actually have to do more than yoga, since I have to participate in physical activity that gets my heart rate to my 'target range.' Today I innocently decided to try running.

I put on an old t-shirt and my trusty (read: 4 years old) norts and laced up my Nikes (read: also old) to prepare for my run. I decided to bring our chiweenie with me, so I sneaked the leash past our fast asleep Yorkie and our preoccupied outside Heinz 57 and ventured outdoors with the dog. My blood sugar was 152 and my CGM said gave me a , so I assumed I was good to go. Wrong.

This may be completely irrelevant, but who cares? I like it.
I spent 34 minutes torturing myself walking and running with the dog and was exhausted/ hot/ sweaty/ thirsty/ miserable. I took a shower for obvious reasons (see aforementioned sweaty) and went to my room to call the local Apple-fixing store to see if they could explain an issue I'm having with an old iPhone. As I was struggling to read the IMEI number off of the back of the phone to type it in, I realized I was probably low. (I think Apple uses size 3 font on their phones.) I checked my blood sugar and there was an unpleasant number on my blood tester: 32.

I freaked out and ate about 90 carbs consisting of two juice boxes, a slice of peanut butter toast, a banana, and an unknown amount of pringles, in that order. That probably wasn't the wisest of decisions, but at the time it felt right. (This sounds like someone explaining a bad decision. Oh wait...)

What I'm trying to say is: adjust your insulin or eat something before you decide you're going to start your next health kick. Otherwise, you'll end up, as my mother so eloquently puts it, "inhaling everything without covering it."

Moral of the Story:  +  = 

Thursday, June 4, 2015


It's a real word, according to the Oxford Dictionary. We all know (or if you don't know, you do now) that it stands for the fear of missing out, but is there a word for knowing that you're missing out? That's how I'm feeling at the moment while my little sister is at camp while I'm here not doing much at home.

I wake up every morning at 11:30 AM (mostly because I stay up way too late watching the X-Files) and think, "Wow, they're about to eat lunch and I'm laying in my bed doing nothing." (#livingthedream) I read The Skimm, (an awesome email service that finds the important news, summarizes it, & puts it in less daunting terminology) test my blood and take my Synthroid, (yay endocrine system problems) and then watch X-Files to wait my required 30 minutes before eating. (Or in this case I forgo that ritual to instead write this blog post.) I'll forget my feelings of missing out for a while, but then at night, while I stare out of my window into the not-so-dark sky, (because there's a full moon tonight) I feel it again. That sounds super dramatic, I know, but that's my story and I'm sticking with it.

Camp is my favorite place in the whole wide world and it makes me so sad that I couldn't go with Anna this year, but I know second session is going to be amazing and that CITing is going to be the best. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? Well if that means that wanting to be at camp right now will make me camp even more fun, then I REALLY can't wait for camp this year.

I'll leave you with a video of one of my favorite camp songs ever:

Moral of the Story: Love is wider than the miles between you and me, camp.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

It's the Dexcom: Parenthetical Pediatric Edition

So now that I've had my mandatory mental breakdown, I think it's time for things to resume to their normal operations. So first let's go ahead and talk about my newish toy: the Dexcom with Share. It's actually the same thing as my old Dexcom. Except it actually charges and it seems to be more accurate than my old one. Maybe it's the software update? Whatever it is, I like it. I also have the special pediatric (in parentheses) edition because apparently there is a difference between the normal G4 with Share and the pediatric G4 with Share. (Update: there are two additional warning screens to tell me that my CGM is not 100% accurate. Because apparently that makes a medical device suitable for children?) I'm also hapy that Dexcom printed the 'Rx only' text on the back in a darker color so maybe potential thieves will get a clue and realize that what they are about to steal is a medical device. Not an iPod. (I can't believe I wrote that post as a freshman. Now I'm about to be a senior. Oh my gosh.) I digress. I haven't actually tried the all-important 'share' feature because I have a Galaxy S5 and having to carry around my iPod just to see my blood sugars seems kind of counter-intuitive. I am debating getting an iPhone because a) share app and b) the Apple health app looks so cool.

In other good news, Monica Vesci is coming back! The brand used to make tons of adorable clutches that had enough space for your diabetes and regular essentials. I always had my eye on their clutches, but they shut down their store for a while and basically disappeared. Now the brand is back and is soon starting up a Kickstarter to begin selling clutches again! I'll let you all know when clutches can be bought because I am super excited for these to be sold again. (FYI, I'm not endorsed by the brand, but I wouldn't be sad if they sent me a free clutch... #desperate) And also cute accessory/clothing related: I found out after buying some of J.Crew's chino shorts that their pockets are big enough to hold my pump! That means I don't have to wear my pump on my shorts all the time! YAY!

And here is my obligatory blurb about camp. Because it's about to be Summer and everyone knows that means Camp Kudzu! I have the amazing opportunity to be a CIT (Counselor In Training) for camp, which means I'm almost a counselor and I'll get my own cabin to be with during the week and I am so excited! I won't be going to cap with Anna because my parents accidentally signed her up for first session instead of second session, but I'm still super excited to be going. I can't wait to be back at camp walking way too much and having way too much fun! And did I mention that this year's music party theme is Disney? How awesome is that?

Moral of the Story: I'm currently in need of money for cute accessories and Disney themed attire. Donations to my non-existent bank account are appreciated and encouraged.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

#DBlogWeek Day Three: Clean It Out

Yesterday we kept stuff in, so today let's clear stuff out.  What is in your diabetic closet that needs to be cleaned out?  This can be an actual physical belonging, or it can be something you're mentally or emotionally hanging on to.  Why are you keeping it and why do you need to get rid of it? 

I'm sitting on my bed surrounded by a shopping bag filled with shorts from J.Crew, my viola lesson books, and my AP Calculus binder writing the prompt for #DBlogWeek three days late. I never promised I would be on time, did I? Even if I did, I'd probably still be late. So why have I decided to even start writing for a prompt due two days ago? Frankly, I'm in desperate need of TLC from the DOC. I've been running high every day for the last few months and I just don't seem to care. It doesn't help that I've been sans CGM for the same amount of time, but that's still no excuse. Anna got her t:slim a few weeks ago and I'm trying not to be, but I am completely jealous. She had to work so hard to get her pump and her A1C was lower than mine when we went to the endo last and I feel like a failure because here is my 13 year old sister who has been diabetic for four years dealing with her diabetes better than I am. I'm supposed to be a great role model and positive when in reality I'm over here eating three cookies and forgetting to cover them and/or just not caring enough to cover them at all. 

This all started because I read some blog about how the healthy habits of type 1 diabetics are the same as the habits of people with eating disorders and considering the fact that in seventh grade I spent a good portion of my time not eating for vast expanses of time because I thought I was overweight and ugly and worthless made me equate healthy diabetes to unhealthy eating, so now I'm here supposed to be writing some blog about how I can do everything I want with diabetes even though I'm just writing about all of the things I do wrong, so that's just great. 

I'm not one to incessantly complain about my diabetes because I hate it when all someone does is talk about how miserable his or her life is because of diabetes, but I'm just sick of it all today. My positive 'diabetes doesn't ruin my day' facade is not going to work because I'm honestly experiencing the worst diabetes burnout of my life. I'm miserable with high headaches and feel low when I'm in the 80's and 90's because I'm high so often and sometimes I spend too much time thinking about the fact that my feet might be trash by the time I'm in my 50's or 60's and how my whole body might shut down and I might be absolutely miserable before I die. Normal teenage stuff, right? 

Have I ever talked about how when I get home I probably eat 100 carbs worth of snack food and I just don't care? Or how when I was in elementary or middle school I ate an entire bottle of glucose tabs? Yeah I don't think so. Because those are things I don't like to talk about. I don't like being the weak one and complaining, but if anyone else on this whole entire would understand any of that, it would be the DOC. So here I am cleaning out my metaphorical closet because I don't want to carry this anymore.

Do you feed off of the thoughts of other diabetics like yourself or are you just interested in reading more about cleaning physical and metaphorical trash out of people's lives? If so, here is the link for today's #DBlogWeek post.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Weather Advisory: Cold with a Chance of Malfunctioning Pumps

I want to throw my pump at a wall. It is making sounds that remind me of the national weather service alarm and I have a headache because of it. (Well, it could be because I have a blood sugar of 402 right now. But that's also my pump's fault.)

"But wait," the intrepid reader thinks, "Why is Sarah's pump making strange noises? Why is her blood sugar so high? How does she know what I'm thinking?"

Well, intrepid reader, let me answer those questions for you.

1. My pump's battery cap is stuck. As in so-attached-to-the-pump-that-it-won't-come-off-so-I-have-to-listen-to-multiple-strange-beeping-noises-for-hours stuck. Thankfully, Animas is overnighting me a new pump, so I'll have a brand new (hopefully) green pump tomorrow. For now I'm using my old Ping that still works, but is very picky about batteries.

Trust me, I would remove the battery if I could.
In my house, we have a plethora of AA batteries floating around the house. To find a battery for my pump, I went through four Wii remote batteries and one TV remote battery before I found a battery that worked. I was convinced that my pump was broken because every time I would put a battery into it, it would give me the "Replace Battery or Face Imminent Doom" alarm. Thankfully, my plucky sticktoitiveness (and my general loathing of having to give myself shots) helped me find a battery that worked and I was relieved. However, my relief was short-lived. I have realized that I have no earthly clue what my insulin sensitivity factors are because I have approximately 5 or 6 different ones throughout the day. My insulin to carb ratio is the same all day and my basals are recorded on mySugr, so for now I'm attempting to figure out my ISFs based on my logbook. (Aren't you just super jealous of how I get to spend my morning?)

2. My blood sugar is so high for two reasons: the battery died last night and I didn't wake up until 9:29 this morning to the alarm going off, so I had probably been without insulin for a few hour and my blood sugar went low last night and I probably over-treated for that too.

3. I'm obviously psychic.

Moral of the Story: Now that I've answered those questions, I have a question for you: where is the best place to put something that is making really loud noises, so it won't be heard? (I'm asking for a friend.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Resolutions and Realizations

So I've had the realization that I should just never post my goals or resolutions on the internet because that's a great way to make them not happen. I don't know why it happens, it must be because of the magical evil of the internet. Whatever it is, I'd rather not bother it. (In case you haven't figured it out, my New Year's resolutions failed miserably.) I'm not too worried about it because no one (shockingly, not even me) is perfect.

I think I've come to realize that perfection is an absolutely ridiculous idea since there is no static definition of perfection for every person on this planet. Some people define perfection as having flat lines on their CGMs. Others think a certain A1C will suddenly make life easier. The great thing about perfection is that once you realize there is no perfect, you won't feel as terrible about not having that A1C of 6. While someone may have your ideal A1C, another aspect of his or her life is probably not stellar. After all, life is a huge balancing act. And nothing is ever balanced in the way you hope it will be.

Schoolwork. Diabetes. Emotions.

None of these are ever balanced.

I can give you a few currently deprived areas of my life:

  • Sleep (I'm writing this at 1:29 AM, if that tells you anything.)
  • The information that is magically bestowed upon a person that tells one what to do with her life
  • Health (ha hA HA)

My life isn't perfect and neither is anyone else's on this planet. I have to remind myself that because I constantly fall victim to comparing myself others. I'm friends with extremely intelligent people, which is a blessing and a curse because they push me to do as well as they do, but they also make me feel inferior, intelligence-wise. I've gotten better when it comes to comparing grades, but I need to desperately work on not comparing myself to others in different parts of life. That's tough for me because whenever I'm in an awful mood, I tend to want to just stay angry and sad for a while, so comparing just enables me to feel worse for longer.

I also need to work on being less defensive because I'm very used to be attacked for my views or just my personality/ If someone doesn't agree with me or says something insulting I get really defensive. Really quickly. 

I'm not really sure what this was supposed to do, but it was nice to write out what I've been thinking about lately.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

In Defense of Twitter (and Other Forms of Social Media)

I've been inspired to write at a kind of late hour, again. (It's 11ish right now, so at least it's dark.) This time I wanted to tackle a little issue that I have to talk to a plethora of people about, and that is the good side of social media.

Oh Twitter, everyone loves to hate you. (Seriously. I have to defend you to people that say social media just makes us too narcissistic and is a useless tool. A lot.) So many people tweet that they are deleting their twitter accounts because they, "ruin their priorities" and they need to "focus on the real, important things." And then these people think they are wonderful people. After all, they have rid from their lives a man-made evil. Right? I don't think so.

Twitter and other forms of social media are not a collective form of Satan. (I think that's 4chan, but let's not talk about that.) Twitter allows people to connect and know that they aren't alone in their struggles. #DSMA (aka DIZMA) let's people chat every Wednesday with other PWDs (Type 1, 1.5, 2 & Awesome) about living with diabetes and just normal life as well. On every other day of the week you can still find people supporting others on twitter using that exact same hashtag! Seriously, how could a tool that helps people get support (of the emotional and sometimes technical variety) be that evil?

So which roller coaster does it look like I'm riding today?
Social media also gives people a sense of anonymity that cannot be achieved elsewhere. I know so many teens that use Twitter and Tumblr to express their feelings of hatred towards diabetes. And while it may make you sad to see things like this (it definitely doesn't make me feel like a ray of sunshine), it allows people to release their angry feelings towards having to constantly deal with a chronic illness. Social media gives people ways to have an outlet for their feelings without being destructive or terrible to themselves or others. There is no harm in that.

And speaking of not harming, remember that social media is a great place to continue and start advocacy efforts. Who remembers the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? (I think that would be anyone that ever went on the internet last summer.) That challenge that took the internet by storm raised $115 million dollars to go towards research for improving the lives and finding a cure for people with ALS. Imagine if a challenge like that happened for diabetes. (Seriously, someone needs to get on that. ASAP.) No harm at all. I think that counts as all help.

Honestly, I get it. For most people social media is just a way to keep track with friends and family and a way to gauge popularity. For others, social media is an place for an outlet, a lace for advocacy, a place to get support, a place that reminds them that they are not alone. So before you make a huge deal about the pure evil that is social media, remember that it's not just a place for popularity and pettiness for everyone.

Moral of the Story: Shockingly, Twitter is not Satan!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

Hello everyone and Happy 2015! I am super excited for this year and I just know it will be great! I usually don't like to make new year's resolutions because, well, we all know how those usually turn out... This year, however is going to be awesome and different, so I wanted to share my goals with you guys!

source unknown
  1. Do yoga. I've discovered yoga this week and fallen in love with it. I love it because it isn't just good for the outside, but it's also good for the inside. It has an affect that makes my day seem 10 billion times better, so I will be practicing yoga throughout the year. Right now, I'm doing Yoga with Adrienne's 30 Days of Yoga, and I am so excited to see where this leads me!
  2. Be punctual. Ask anyone I know and they will all tell you that I am perpetually late. Was I supposed to be at your house at 7:00? Count on me being there at 7:15. And I hate that, so I am going to be ready to leave 15 minutes before I actually need to. And also, I need to put things on my Google calendar, so I'll be doing that too, (You're welcome mom and dad. :))
  3. Use Facebook. This sounds super weird, but I want to use Facebook more so I can have a better record of what I'm doing and I also want to be able to let my family see what I'm actually doing. 
  4. Do Project 365. Project 365 is a fun photo taking challenge where all you have to do is take one picture every day for a year. Sounds simple enough, right? Let's hope so! I'll be posting my weekly photos on Saturdays, so if you're interested stay tuned for that!
  5. Chart chart chart. I hate charting, But it's important. So I will suffer for the sake of good blood sugars.
  6. Charge my CGM. I have an awful habit of just forgetting to charge my CGM after it dies. For days. It's dead right now. Oopsies.
I hope you have an absolutely fantastic year this year, and I'd love it if you shared with me what your resolutions are (if you have them!)

Moral of the Story: I think I'm going to go charge my CGM now.