Tuesday, June 21, 2016

I Feel Personally Victimized by Food

On the way home, I was thinking about Waffle House and how it ruined my BG the one time I ate there, and then I thought about all of the restaurants and foods that seem to always wreak havoc on my blood sugar. So I bring you my definitive list of places and foods I can't eat (at).

Movie Theaters
Every single time I go to a movie theater, my blood sugar is high or it goes up really quickly. I blame the butter-filled tub of popcorn I enjoy eating and the strange movie theater carpets. I should also probably cover my popcorn before I eat it, not in the middle of the movie when I suddenly realize that I've forgotten to cover it.

Waffle House
I already don't like Waffle House because it's just kind of gross in there, but the following story definitely adds to my distaste for the place. The morning before my AP Macroeconomics exam, my class met up at a Waffle House near to school to eat and chat before the exam. I got a waffle and some eggs and of course put syrup on my waffle. Needless to say, my blood sugar went up to the 300's (even though I covered my breakfast) and stayed there until their convenient drop to the 100's right as the exam ended. My site may have also been bad, but I'm not 100% positive. Thanks Waffle House.

No one likes pizza's strange effects on blood sugar. My sister told me that on her first day of camp this summer, pizza was served and all of the counselors and clinicians were not exactly happy because a couple hundred diabetic campers were about to have some weird blood sugars. I'm pretty sure way too much of the camp's supply of insulin was used that night. And I'm also pretty sure that I use up way too much of my own insulin on pizza night as well.

A picture from one of my many Starbucks runs. Also featuring the keys that are currently lost.
This is the most tragic item of all on my list. If you know me, you know that I love Starbucks and frappuccinos, so when my dad mentioned to me that I should consider putting them on my banned food list because I always complain about being really high hours after drinking them, I was not very happy. I'm still mourning it to this day. Now I enjoy Iced Chai Tea Lattes and Strawberry Açaí Refreshers with coconut milk to make sure I get my Starbucks fix.

Ice Cream
After years of experimenting with combo boluses, I've finally figured out how to bolus for ice cream. (I do a 60:40 combo bolus over 1 hour, but of course YDMV.) But before approximately a month ago, I would cover my ice cream and then go low an hour later. Every single time. (Who knew ice cream could actually lower blood sugar. Maybe I should eat it more when my A1C needs to go down...) My sister also complained about how that wasn't really a problem, but it stopped me from eating ice cream. And does a teenage girl deserve to be deprived of her ice cream? I think not.

Instant Oatmeal
This super easy to make version of oatmeal is not so easy to deal with when it comes to my blood sugars. It causes a major spike and then a huge drop all within a few hours after breakfast. The instant oatmeal phenomenon also affects my sister, and I'm pretty sure she's more hurt about it than I am.


What is one of the foods/ restaurants on your banned list? Or do you have any bolusing suggestions for frappuccinos? (Because I really miss them. #addict)

Thursday, June 16, 2016

My Tips for High School Students with Diabetes

As an official high school graduate, (and as a person that appreciates advice) I thought that it would be a good idea to share what I learned, diabetes-wise during high school. This includes anything from dealing with teachers and students to having fun. (And the crowd was shocked when they heard people with diabetes could have fun.) I hope these tips can help a few people out. Or just provide you with entertainment for the next couple of minutes.

1. Introduce Yourself
Seriously. Go introduce yourself (and your diabetes) to the school nurse and all of your teachers at open house or during the first few weeks of school. Having a school plan and supplies in the nurse's office will make your life and her life easier if anything ever happens to you/ if you're having a really bad blood sugar day. My school nurse usually emailed my teachers to let them know I was diabetic, but I also took it upon myself to introduce myself to my new teachers. I would always do this because teachers often skim through emails and it's a lot easier to put a name to a face when you introduce yourself, rather than by looking through an email and roster.

2. Get a 504 Plan
Not having a 504 plan is one of the (many) mistakes I made in high school. Luckily, I didn't ever need one at school because my teachers were very understanding about my blood sugars and didn't mind if I had to take a test at another date or time because of an awful high or low. I recommend a 504 plan because if you ever want to apply for accommodations for standardized testing, or if you have a less-than-understanding teacher. If you want accommodations to allow for extra breaks due to blood sugar issues during your SAT or ACT, they will ask for legal proof of your disability and the accommodations you already receive at your school for testing; it is so much easier to apply for these when you already have a 504 in place. You can find info about making your own 504 plan from Children with Diabetes and Beyond Type 1.

3. Figure out a spiel, if you want to answer people's diabetes questions
Tons of people will see your pump, look at your CGM site, and watch you test your blood, and some of these people will have questions. If you don't want to answer their questions, you can just tell them you don't feel comfortable talking about it. If you're fine answering questions, come up with a short blurb that explains what this whole diabetes thing is and what your devices do. Mine goes something like this:
"I'm a type 1 diabetic, which means that my body can't convert the food I eat into energy, so I give myself my insulin, medicine that allows my body to do this conversion through my pump. I test my blood so I know how much insulin I need to take, along with using a CGM. My CGM is a tiny device with a wire under my skin that tests my blood sugar every five minutes and this displays on my receiver. It tells me what my blood sugar is and if it rising or falling, which helps me figure out what I should eat and how much insulin I can give. Any questions?"
Short-ish and simple. (Kinda...) Having this little speech already in the back of your mind makes it easy to explain everything to the general public, without using up too much of your own time.

4. Take advice from the boy scouts and be prepared
There will seriously be days when your pump site leaks, your blood sugar is through the roof, and your parents won't be able to bring extra insulin/ sites/ shots. Learn from the billion times I forgot to bring extras to school, (I may be the most forgetful person I know. Oops.) and keep an extra site change, shots, insulin, and glucose tabs with you. Throw them in your locker, backpack, purse, or leave them in the nurse's office so you'll always be prepared for the worst.

5. Know your limits and respect them
Recognize the point when you can no longer focus in class, take a test, or properly study due to your blood sugar and figure out what to do about it. Ask to go up to the nurse, so you can get your blood sugar up or down and be able to step away without getting too worked up over it. I tried to stick it out my physics class when my blood sugar starting going low and let me tell you, it didn't work out well. (Learning about the intricacies of torque while having a blood sugar of 60 just doesn't work.)

6. Learn how to react to people's words
Sometimes people, even your friends, can make a comment that suddenly puts you in an awful mood because it reminds you that you are the different, diabetic one. Most people don't realize how harmful their words are and end up making some pretty dumb commentary on diabetes and the things people with diabetes have to do. If your friends or others consistently say stuff that is rude and hurtful, call them out on it and ask (preferably nicely) for them to stop. If they don't, they really aren't worth spending your time with.

7. Remember that most people won't make diabetes a big deal
Unless you are constantly bringing up your diabetes, people usually won't care at all about it. Of course, know that sometimes making a deal out of it (if you need to slow down because of high or low blood sugar) is necessary and okay. You shouldn't feel bad about your own self care.

8. Find a support system
Having a group of people you can vent to about diabetes, without having to explain the entire backstory of diabetes to is vital. Talk to camp friends, go on twitter, instagram, or tumblr and search through #diabetes to find someone to talk to. Everyone needs friends to help them get through the worst of DKA/ diabetes burnout/ life with diabetes in general so find these friends and stick with them.

9. Don't take diabetes too seriously
High school is stressful enough as it is, and adding in diabetes to the mix can make it even worse. Don't worry about having bad blood sugar days or the high you get after going out to an amazing restaurant with friends. Don't forget to cover your food, but don't forget to have fun too. Find a cute bag to throw your diabetes stuff in, (I'm partial to this bag from Myabetic or this clutch from Prikkedeif) cover your devices with cute stickers from PumpPeelz, (I love the citrus print, these cute blue flowers, or the option for your own custom skin), and hold your site in place with a cute seahorse. Do fun stuff and don't let diabetes be something that stops you. High school is a time to have fun, (and of course to do schoolwork to get into college) so take advantage of that.

Now that you've read through these, do you have anything to add? Or could you do your girl (aka me) a favor and give me some tips for surviving college with diabetes, since that will be my next endeavor?

P.S. I totally wasn't sponsored by any of the companies I linked to in this article; (even though I would love to be!) I just love their products and wanted to pass them on to others.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

As Usual, I Forget Everything

When one of my friends invited me (and a bunch of of my other friends) to go to a house in, and I quote, "the middle of nowhere," I wasn't the most eager. (I'm not exactly a fan of the middle of nowhere, especially when there is no internet connection.) But after a little convincing from my family and friends, I decided to go. I packed up all of my things for a three day adventure to a house on a river and of course, ended up with an entirely full carry-on bag, Northface backpack, and tote bag. I like being prepared, and a trek into the middle of nowhere definitely required that much stuff. (Obviously.)

As I packed up everything the night before, I realized that I didn't have any extra insulin in the fridge or in my bag. Of course, it was probably 12 in the morning, so I just decided to ignore it and hope I could take my sister's extra insulin, instead of doing anything about it. Fast forward to the next morning. I wake up and tell my dad that I have no insulin and he kind of freaks out, (sorry Dad) and of course, Anna's extra insulin has also gone missing. My dad desperately tried to fill my prescription and then we had yet another great revelation: my dad can no longer fill my insulin prescription because I turned 18 a few weeks ago. (Imagine how much more happy my dad was after that...)

My dad frantically made me an account, so he could fill my prescription and then we had our third realization: CVS doesn't open until 9 and my friends and I had to leave by 8. This story ends with me calling a random CVS in Birmingham on the way to the river house and all of my friends laughing at me as I explained to the random pharmacist why I needed my prescription transferred from where I live to Alabama. Comments included: "Sarah you told that person way too many details!" and, "They probably didn't even care."

We stopped at the CVS and I picked up my insulin; I asked if anyone had a cooler in the car after I grabbed it, and then I found out that my friend's mom's car has a cooler built in to it. Who knew? She, of course, let me use it. (And was also as excited about this new discovery as I was, since she had been waiting to find a practical use for the cooler box.) After that little adventure involving insulin, a few more things seemed to go wrong.

The beautiful view we had at the house. Photo credit goes to Michael, since I apparently forgot to take pictures.

At one point on the river, my pump site came out, so I had to walk up 207 steps to get back to the house. (Those steps were evil and let me tell you, my legs burned after walking up them.) My blood sugar also seemed to always be obscenely high before meals, so I sadly had to wait until 10:30 pm at one point to eat some absolutely delicious ice cream. (I'm sure the billions of bags of doritos/ cookies/ cheez-its I ate were the cause of that, though. #irresponsibleeating)

All of the mishaps didn't cause too much of a dent in the fun I had that weekend. I jumped off of a cliff into the river, (side note: don't cannonball from a two story high cliff) helped rescue a canoe my friends flipped over (my t-rescue skills from camp finally came in handy), swam in the lake for forever, and played a ton of fun board games. (I brought Sorry and it was everyone's favorite.)

Moral of the Story: Bring a site with you on the 207 step trek to the river. Because your current one will fall out. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

When Sisters Share Everything, Including Pumps

I'd like to categorize this under weird stories that only diabetics with diabetic friends would really understand. As soon as my dad witnessed this happen he told me that I had to put it on the blog. So here's a post for you, dad.

The other day, I was at my robotics team's banquet, which I had spent the last week planning and the 5 hours preceding the it buying food and making awards to make sure this event actually happened. In the midst of all of this errand running, my sister and I were home for about an hour, so I could make awards and we could both get ready. While frantically running around, finishing making awards, and stuffing four cheesecakes, two pans of baked ziti, and a bag filled with pictures and more all into a single car, my sister forgot her pump.

Of course, no one realized this until after we had gotten to our destination: a lake house 30 minutes away from our own home. Suddenly my sister looked and me and said, "Sarah, I forgot my pump." I looked through my tiny purse (life lesson: don't carry around a tiny purse, in case of emergencies) and realized that I didn't have any extra insulin or shots floating around. So, when it was time to finally eat, I did the most logical thing possible: I gave my sister insulin through my pump. Sketchy? Absolutely. Weird? Definitely. Successful? Yes.

Medically, I can't (and won't) recommend this to anyone. It just felt so weird and wrong on some sort of fundamental level, but it did technically work, so I can't disapprove of it too much. A few days later, we were sitting in the car drinking frappucinnos (which are now blacklisted, but that's a story for another day) and I made a comment about how my pump had run out of insulin. Anna offered me her pump for a quick bolus, but I laughed and declined. It was a only fifteen minute ride home and it wasn't worth committing another pump sacrilege.

Friday, May 20, 2016

#DBlogWeek Day Five: Tips and Tricks

I'm currently sitting in my last mandatory class of high school writing this, so that is exciting. I'm also very tired because I stayed up way too late working on yesterday's AP Lit time capsule and I've netted maybe 4 hours of sleep at the most; if I seem like I'm rambling a ton or I just don't make sense, that's probably why!

Let's round out the week by sharing our best diabetes tips and diabetes tricks. From how you organize supplies to how you manage gear on the go/vacation (beach, or skiing, or whatever). From how you keep track of prescription numbers to how you remember to get your orders refilled. How about any “unconventional” diabetes practices, or ways to make diabetes work for YOU (not necessarily how the doctors say to do it!). There's always something we can learn from each other. (Remember though, please no medical advice or dangerous suggestions.)
 As soon as I read this prompt, I thought back to #DBlogWeek two years ago and remembered writing for a similar prompt. I loved reading through everyone's tips and I learned a few new tricks myself. I'm excited to look at everyone's new tricks and happy to share a few of my own!
  • CGM Sites: Seriously, I have no clue how Dexcom expects their sensors to stay on for seven days with the adhesive they put on sensors. Without any help, my sensor lasts maybe three or four days. To solve this problem, I use Opsite Flexifix to keep my CGM in place. I cut out a rectangle a little bigger than my CGM and its adhesive, then cut out a hole in the middle to make sure the sensor itself isn't covered in tape for a week. I usually keep an old CGM site around (even though that sounds kind of gross) so I can make sure I'm cutting things out correctly.
  • Keeping Your Pump Attached: This is more of a girl issue because dresses are a major problem when it comes to figuring out where to put my pump. Nike running shorts (or compression shorts) are perfect to wear under a dress and won't fall when you clip your pump to them. Some people attach their pumps to their bras as well, but I have no clue how to do that without it looking like I have a strange rectangle in the middle of my shirt.
  • Priming Your Pump: Whenever you're priming your pump, put your pump on its side with the tubing being held straight up in the air. This will get rid of those pesky air bubbles at the top of your cartridge. I feel like I read this on either Kerri's or Kim's blog (so there's me giving credit for the idea) and it changed my life completely. I can't believe I had never thought of this before.
  • Organizing Supplies: I organize my supplies using these fabric bins and putting them inside of a shelf and it makes my life so much easier. They are color coded for ease of access when I'm frantically trying to find a site. I use green for my sites, since my sites are green; blue for my cartridges; and orange for my CGM sites, since the boxes they come in are orange. It's a super simple system and it's so much nicer looking than having cardboard boxes all over my room.
Those are my newer tips and tricks that I have discovered since last #DBlogWeek's post and I seriously hope that I learn a bunch more by reading through everyone else's posts as well! This has been an awesome #DBlogWeek and I'm so glad Mrs. Dugan convinced me to come back to blogging, especially because it was just in time for me to jump in to the week's topics. I'll be writing a lot more often, so stay tuned for more!

If you love learning about new tips and tricks that make your life a little easier, check out the page with all of today's blog posts here!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

#DBlogWeek Day Four: The Healthcare Experience

I apologize for how late this is going up; I've been finishing up my final project for AP lit and am currently taking a tiny break from that to write up a blog post. Well, let's jump into it!

Most people who live with a chronic illness end up with a lot of experience when it comes to dealing with healthcare. How would you improve or change your healthcare experience? What would you like to see happening during medical visits with your healthcare team? How about when dealing with your health insurance companies? What's your Healthcare Wish List or Biggest Frustration? Today is the day to share it all!
I go to the doctor. A lot. More often than most do, to say the least. I'm at the endocrinologist four times per year, my pediatrician once a year, the dentist twice a year, and my eye doctor once per year. That's probably six more doctor's visits yearly than the average person has in two years. To say that I have plenty of experience with doctors in an understatement. This means that I also have plenty of time to form opinions and gripes about what I'm constantly having to deal with, whether it has to do with my actual endocrinologist visits or The System. (Capitalizing it makes it seem more menacing. It worked, right?) Here, in bulleted form (because I love lists) is my list of potential improvements for The System.

  • For the endocrinologist: Please. Please. Please. Make the wait time shorter. I really abhor sitting in your office for 45 minutes waiting for my doctor's appointment. Sitting and watching other people wait just isn't that exciting. I also wish that you guys could download data from my blood tester and CGM at your office, so if I forget my logs at home, or if you want to see certain data, you can get all of it there. That would make life for everyone so much easier. (And I wouldn't have to use all of the printer ink for my CGM graph.)
  • For the health insurance company: Actually, the insurance company my family gets coverage from, Cigna, is pretty amazing. We (knock on wood) have never had issues involving getting new pumps, getting permission for CGMs, or choosing what insulin or blood testers we want. Hopefully that will stay the same after Anthem and Cigna officially merge
  • For Neighborhood Diabetes: You guys are required to distribute my CGM supplies. Why? I don't know. If you all could kindly actually put my supplies on auto-refill, instead of forcing me to call every three months, order supplies, and ask for auto-refill for the 80th time, that would be lovely.
  • For Animas customer service: You guys rock. I called you all one at 3 am and you still helped me out. A+.
Honestly, I am lucky enough to have an awesome endo and insurance company. I know not everyone is this lucky, and wish that other insurance companies could get it right, instead of forcing people to pay out of pocket for CGMs, to use only one type of insulin, or to only use one type of pump. That is awful and I wouldn't want to live without having a choice of what I get to use to deal with this condition that I didn't choose. I want all insurance companies to remember that patients are people too, and that all people deserve choices.

Thanks for sticking around through #DBlogWeek day four! If you want to share your opinion or read other's on The System, you can chek out all of the posts for today's topic here

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

#DBlogWeek Day Three: Language and Diabetes

Well, today am officially an adult, so that obviously means that I now have a new, enlightened viewpoint on life itself and I will be showcasing that today. (Just kidding... Do I really even count as an adult if I just turned 18 today? I digress.) I woke up at 5 this morning to take a shower and it's currently 7:05 AM as I begin writing this, so I'm super early to the blogging game today.

There is an old saying that states “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. I'm willing to bet we've all disagreed with this at some point, and especially when it comes to diabetes. Many advocate for the importance of using non-stigmatizing, inclusive and non-judgmental language when speaking about or to people with diabetes. For some, they don't care, others care passionately. Where do you stand when it comes to “person with diabetes” versus “diabetic”, or “checking” blood sugar versus “testing”, or any of the tons of other examples? Let's explore the power of words, but please remember to keep things respectful.
When I read the prompt this morning, I thought of something John Green said in his latest video: "Language exists to facilitate communication; to make my thoughts transparent to you and yours transparent to me." This statement can be considered a universal truth, after all what else could language be used for? Language enables me to share my perspective with you and allows you to respond and share your own perspective with me. That being said, I honestly don't mind being called diabetic or someone saying I'm testing my blood, rather than checking it.

I use these words all the time, and they don't have negative connotations for me. When I hear someone ask, "Are you testing your blood sugar?" I don't automatically think that he or she is implying that I am just some big human science experiment or that every blood sugar is a grade that I either pass or fail. I call myself diabetic, so I don't have a problem with others calling me this. Yes, I am a person with type one diabetes, but I am also a type one diabetic. Either works for me.

Often, it isn't the words themselves that hurt me when it comes to diabetes, it's the tone. A person's tone can completely change what something means; if someone asks me, "What is that?" in a confused tone of voice, that is an innocent question. If someone asks me the same question in a judgmental tone, of course I'll be offended. It isn't this person's (or anyone else's) place to judge the chronic illness I live with or how I manage it daily, and that is honestly the reason why so many have been hurt by people's words. Because they feel judged or chastised for something they simply cannot control. (Have you seen how annoyed I get when people are judgmental?)

Something I have come to realize, which I touched on a little yesterday, is that being offended by people's words, being angry about them, and dwelling on them won't help anyone. It won't help teach someone why what he or she said was offensive and rude. It won't make you feel better or live a happy life. It will just breed more anger and hatred in both parties. When someone's thoughts and actions are full of stigma, instead of yelling at him or her, take the opportunity to speak up to explain the reality of your situation. If someone makes a joke about eating too many sweets causing diabetes, calmly explain that diabetes, no matter what type, is influenced by genetic predisposition, as well as a variety of other factors. It's as simple as that. If he or she doesn't listen, don't stress out, just move on. Laugh off their ignorance later with the DOC and some friends and move on.

We all give words the power to make or break our days; I know some words hurt more than others, but us humans seem to focus on the negatives much more than the positives. Focus on the good. Focus on the friendships, the fun camp memories, and the great times you've had because of your diabetes; don't focus on the few complaints or jokes people have said at the expense of you and your diabetes. Others' language can make their uninformed thoughts transparent to you, and yours can make the truth of the matter transparent to them. It's a simple as that.

Do you have some of your own thoughts about language that you want to share with others? Do you want to read more posts about today's topic or just learn more about #DBlogWeek? If so, check out all of the info here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

#DBlogWeek Day Two: The Other Half of Diabetes

In the midst of graduation, my birthday (I turn 18 tomorrow), and all of the stresses associated with life, I was reminded by my amazing AP Language teacher from last year (the person that had me write this) that this blog existed and she encouraged me to start writing again. #DBlogWeek is happening at a perfect time because I have no clue what to write about at the moment, so I am super thankful for the week of prompts! Let's jump into my first blog post of the year! (Oops...)

We think a lot about the physical component of diabetes, but the mental component is just as significant. How does diabetes affect you or your loved one mentally or emotionally? How have you learned to deal with the mental aspect of the condition? Any tips, positive phrases, mantras, or ideas to share on getting out of a diabetes funk?  
Diabetes, thankfully, hasn't put too much strain on my mental health. I am so grateful that I was diagnosed at 5 1/2 years old because I don't have to live with memories constantly reminding me that I was once non-diabetic. I watch my little sister struggle sometimes with her diabetes and I know that part of it is because she can remember being able to eat what she wanted without covering her blood sugar or having to test her blood. While my mental strain is never too high because of diabetes, I do still have little worries here and there: the possibilities of complications; how annoying testing my blood is; and how easy it is to forget insulin are a few of these small worries that ebb and flow through my mind.

Unfortunately, diabetes does affect my emotions. A lot. High blood sugar = being annoyed at everyone, difficulty focusing on anything (which is especially fun while I'm taking tests or my AP exams), and me being a general pain for most people I'm around. Low blood sugar = being shaky, talking too fast and nonsensically for others and myself to understand, and staring down other people's food as I search for something to make my hunger disappear. After over a decade of diabetes (wow, that's quite a long time), I've learned that sometimes I just have to be patient. Trying to do a physics problem when my BG is 504 is just not going to happen. Eating only four glucose tabs will do the trick when I'm waiting for my blood sugar to go up, even though I feel like 8 is a better short term plan. Diabetes is a huge lesson in patience (and I've been in a love/hate relationship with patience for years). I've also learned that the people that make the most ignorant comments of all, often just need more education than your average person. There's no point in wasting my time or energy on being bitter and angry, when instead I could be educating and changing someone's view of the world.

Whenever I'm have a worry-filled day or just a bout of burnout, I try to treat myself. Whether I am watching my favorite movie, reading a new book, or just making some of my favorite tea, I try to do something for me to make myself feel better after having a rough day. Doing something for myself makes my day a thousand times better and gets me out of a negative mood (which I'm trying to work on). Talking with the #DOC, whether it is through twitter, blog, or video, always helps. Misery loves company and sharing your experiences with others that actually understand what I'm going through helps me get through my rough days and I'm sure it will help you, too.

Remember when times get tough, that you are more than your diabetes and that you always have the DOC, friends, and family to talk with.

If you want to get involved with #DBlogWeek or read more posts about today's prompt, you can check out the link up to the responses to today's prompts here!

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, (inulinpensink@gmail.com) 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.