The problem with type 1 diabetes organizations (this is a rant).

Disclaimer that I have to put, even though – duh: all thoughts and opinions are my own and not that of my employer’s. 

There is no space for competition or animosity among diabetes organizations if any of us are actually truly aligned to our purpose – wiping diabetes off the map.

I have been involved with both JDRF and ADA since my type 1 diabetes diagnosis in 1997. I have done advocacy, hill visits, fundraising events and volunteered with both. When Beyond Type 1 was founded more recently, I hopped on their amazing community app, have shared their resources, and attend their events too.

I have worked for JDRF for a little over 2 years and have as much respect for this organization, ADA, and Beyond Type 1 as I always have. I STILL use each organization’s resources and go to each organization’s events. I donate to and fundraise for each.

I’ve found that almost anyone I talk to who actually has T1D knows that not only CAN these organizations coexist, but they should. Continue reading “The problem with type 1 diabetes organizations (this is a rant).”

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Doctors: How do you best help patients? Try asking questions.

In the early 2000s on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, a healthcare group was having trouble improving health outcomes for certain populations of native peoples.

The problem they were trying to solve was not unique – this population of native peoples tended to be obese, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and died young – 30s to 40s – from complications of all. The healthcare group wanted to help these native peoples fix the problem.

izTo paint the picture, you may know the remake/mash-up of “Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World,” sung in a soothing manner by a man with a high voice playing a ukelele.

The song is by Bruddah Iz – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. He died at 38 from complications of obesity – he was 6’2″ and at one point, 757 pounds. He is of the group of native peoples the healthcare group was aiming to help. Continue reading “Doctors: How do you best help patients? Try asking questions.”

Don’t be a hard rock when you really are a gem.

lalaI’ve seen a lot of posts on IG from women along the lines of “other girls are just mad they don’t look like me” or whatever else. There’s a ton to unpack there, but I’ll say this:

If you feel as though your best accomplishment is your looks, you’re missing the bigger picture of who you are. I promise there are more interesting things about you. Your value is not based on your ability – perceived or actual – to make others jealous of your looks.

I think you’ll find that when you’re busy growing and developing your mind, your abilities, your character, your spirit, you start to realize there is no competition physically. It’s just not where the real work exists. That contest stops mattering.

I am with you that I love being called beautiful by a partner or a close friend – but it’s because when they say that, I know they’re saying it based on knowing the whole me. When they comment on my beauty, I know it’s for the whole package. Continue reading “Don’t be a hard rock when you really are a gem.”

My superpower is transparency

Speech HugVideo from my keynote below! This past weekend, I had the really wonderful opportunity to give a closing keynote at the Students with Diabetes national conference. I spoke about the superpowers we gain from the challenges we go through. I shared some stories from others and a few of my own –

– At the start, I taught hula, because that’s how I wake people up at 8:30am on a Sunday.

– At 12:34 I tell a story about how my mom taught me to use my superpower of voice.

– At 20:30, while talking about the superpower of vision, you’ll see why I think some of my superpowers are transparency and vulnerability, because I share an incredibly tough and personal story from last year.

– And at 42:02, Continue reading “My superpower is transparency”

On not being allowed to love.

My earliest memories start around three or four. In one, I have climbed up a wooden fence, trying to balance my weight against the top while I reach out to feed a neighbor’s horse, that I have named Cow, a piece of my apple.

In another, I am wandering down the street back toward our mobile home, having just returned from the post office a half mile away. I had told my mom I was going and she had said yes, but when I asked to go to the post office to mail Mema some leaves I had burned holes into with a magnifying glass, she assumed I meant the “post office” that I had imagined in my bedroom. The leaves did not make it to my Mema; I had remembered a stamp but the address “Mema, Raleigh” was not specific enough.

In one of the most vivid young memories, I am on our home phone, sometime in the evening because I was in my soft, pink footie pajamas. I was about as high as the counter, my eyes just barely reaching to see its top. I was speaking to my dad – my biological dad whom I wouldn’t know I looked like were it not for pictures – and I was about to hang up the phone to go to bed. Continue reading “On not being allowed to love.”

Yaz birth control made me suicidal.

In May, I started taking a new birth control pill – the generic of Yaz. I talked about why I started taking birth control again after a three-year hiatus here.

Hindsight is everything. But at the time, I hadn’t linked two really crucial happenings in my life –

1) Starting to take Yaz birth control pills.
2) The start of the worst anxiety spiral I’ve ever experienced, eventually leading to multiple daily panic attacks and suicidal thoughts.

My Experience with Yaz

I had been a bit worn out and experiencing some chronic pain flares in May but was also coming off birthday month – for the entire month of April I celebrated the big 3-0 – so I hadn’t thought much of it. I was tired, but I still felt like myself and was able to process my emotions in a way that was normal for me – calm, balanced, able to maintain perspective, and able to remove myself from situations if I felt like I needed to take a break.

By late June/early July, I started to feel off. However, because it was a continuation of the fatigue I felt in May, it didn’t feel different ENOUGH to raise my alarms. I thought it was a continuation of *me* rather than anything different being introduced. Continue reading “Yaz birth control made me suicidal.”

I watched the bullshit documentary What the Health so you don’t have to.

TL:DR – this goddamn documentary kept me in a state of rage for about 30% of the thing, rolling my eyes for another 45%, and mumbling “fine, whatever, that’s valid” to myself for the other 25%.

I’ve yet to find a nutrition documentary that I think accurately represents the topic because Do-Your-Own-Research-Because-Every-Human-Body-Needs-Specific-Kinds-of-Fuel-and-You-Must-Learn-Whats-Best-For-Yours wouldn’t sell. These documentaries are designed to shock you because that’s how they get watched. That said, What The Health was particularly full of inaccuracies.

What set off my TOTAL bullshit alarm: 

Continue reading “I watched the bullshit documentary What the Health so you don’t have to.”

Let’s talk about birth control.

About three years ago, I chose to go off of hormonal birth control. I hadn’t had a long story with it – I never used it in college; I relied on condoms. After college, I went on the pill and then switched over to Depo Provera shots for two years. During that same period of time, I gained about thirty pounds, also went on depression medication, and experienced a massive autoimmune crash. I subsequently decided to remove anything from my system that I felt could be contributing to the steady decline of my health. In a relationship at the time, we switched over to condoms and carefully paying attention to where I was in my cycle to make sure we stayed #TeamNoBabies.

I’m 30 now. I’m not in a stable long-term relationship and the way my finances and life goals are set up, I don’t want to have a kid right now. But I do know that I’m in a much better mental state, far healthier, and stable *enough* that were I to get pregnant, I would choose to go ahead and have the kid, and that’s not a life-experience I want to accidentally put myself through right now.

I never really had the sex talk. When I was 16, I vaguely remember my mom asking me if I needed birth control and my response being something along the lines of “OH MY GOD, NO MOM.” As I talked about in a previous post, I didn’t have sex until after high school, but there was a very short period of time between starting to have sex and – what is the inevitable when someone hasn’t had sex education since 5th grade – getting pregnant. Continue reading “Let’s talk about birth control.”

My justice is more important than yours.

Mitch McConnell, ol’ wax turtle lookin’ ass himself, is one of the major supporters of the Special Diabetes Program, a critical program that provides $150 million annually for type 1 diabetes  research at the National Institutes of Health. One great action. Check.

He also just struck down the call to get a special prosecutor or independent commission to essentially investigate whether or not our country’s government has been infiltrated by Russia. An interesting action, to say the least. Check.

He also became a new level of infamous a few months ago by uttering the words, “nevertheless, she persisted” while trying to shut down the voice of Senator Elizabeth Warren on the senate floor as she was attempting to speak out against the Attorney General nomination of Jeff Sessions, the Scar of the Keebler Elves (not my quote but I don’t remember where I saw this – let me know who to credit if you know), on the grounds that he is racist as fuck (you can quote me on that, though). Additionally, he has consistently rejected any call to actually include WOMEN when making healthcare decisions for women. To McConnell, it’s absolutely fine to not have women included in decisions about women’s bodies. Mountain of fucked up actions. Check.

mitch

Continue reading “My justice is more important than yours.”

We create these broken families.

I’m not a parent, but I am the big sister of a kid whose dad walked out on him when he was a baby so I got used to him accidentally calling me mom.

I was twelve and a half when he was born. It was a few weeks before Thanksgiving of 1999. He looked like an alien, all yellow and pallid and big-headed. I didn’t get why people called newborns cute and it was weird to know that he was an attempt-to-save-the-marriage baby so I think I probably looked at him differently.

nanyo3As soon as he could start laughing though, he was mine. He was all belly laugh, all heart. All climb-in-your-lap-and-kiss-your-cheek-when-he-wanted-something smooth. He was rambunctious and brave, all adventure and love.  Continue reading “We create these broken families.”