Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Flip Flop Grinch

Are you familiar with the Grinch?  Unlike the Grinch, I am not going to have a change of heart about flip flops.

Flip flops are not shoes and are not good for your feet.  And let me add that they are particularly not good if you have diabetes.  Yes, they are better than bare feet only because they offer a slight protection for the soles of your feet.

5 reasons why you should not wear flip flops

1.  As a person with diabetes, you need to take great care of your feet.  You need to wear shoes or sandals that will protect your feet cuts, scratches, and punctures.  Nails, glass, and other foreign objects can puncture the thin plastic of flip flops and cut your foot.

2.  Everyone's feet need support.  Flip flops do not offer any support to your arches or your plantar fascia.  This makes it much easier to have foot problems.

3.  Flip flops are plastic. Plastic does not absorb the half pint of sweat a day from your feet. That moisture stays caught between your foot and the plastic and causes your skin to break down.  That break down can lead to openings for bacteria to enter and infect the foot.

4.  You do not walk the same when you wear flip flops.  This abnormality in your gait can lead to knee, leg, and hip soreness.

5.  People who wear flip flops have a tendency to injure their ankles by falling more often.  Since the flip flops do not hold or support your foot, it is easier to slip out of the flip flops and fall  Also they often do not have good traction in the rain.  

I know this viewpoint does not make me
 the most popular girl on the playground

Yes, I realize that you may disagree with me but I am pretty stuck on this viewpoint.  I think that people with diabetes need to be so careful with their feet that I don't see that flip flops are worth the risk.

Let me know what you think.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Interview with a Podiatrist - a re-post

This post is a visit to days gone by..  The post was originally posted 5/19/2012.  

I know I have mentioned several times how important foot care is for diabetics.  To further the point, I met and talked to Dr. Tayeb Hussain of Evanston Podiatric Surgeons P.C.  I had the chance to ask him some questions about diabetic foot care.  

Why is foot care so important for diabetics?

There are two main reasons.  The first is that diabetics are very prone to foot complications due to decreased circulation in the feet.  What looks like a simple callus can be the start of a problem.  A callus can lead to an ulcer (infection) which can lead to the loss of the toe, foot, or even leg. 

There are 15 MILLION amputations on diabetic patients A YEAR!

The second main reason is that diabetics can lose sensation in their feet and this loss of sensation makes them at increased risk. For example, a diabetic patient with loss of sensation in their toes can accidentally nick the skin while trimming their nails, not feel it, and that can lead to infection.

Should diabetics have a daily foot care plan?

Yes!  First thing every morning, a diabetic should check their feet with a mirror for sores and signs of infection.  This means thoroughly looking at the whole foot (top, bottom, sides, and between toes) for any indications of a problem.

The foot check should be repeated again at the end of every day.

Is there anything in particular to watch for when checking your feet?

Calluses are a big issue.  If you have calluses, you should use a moisturizer.  Do not try and pare calluses  down yourself.  Because calluses can lead to infection, a diabetic is much better off having the doctor treat the callus than trying any self treatment other than moisturizer.  .

How often should a diabetic patient see the Podiatrist? 

This depends on their age and how stable they are.  A healthy diabetic patient who is under 50 years old should see the podiatrist every six months.  A diabetic patient who is over 50 should have their legs and feet checked every three months.  It the patient is over 65, they should come in every 2-3 months to be checked and also to have their toe nails clipped.

What happens at a visit to the Podiatrist?

The Podiatrist performs a Comprehensive Diabetic Foot Exam (CDFE) which is a non-invasive examination of the feet and legs.  The exam evaluates the condition of the skin and checks the circulation of the leg and foot.  It also looks for neurological changes in the sensations of the foot.

Diabetics are told to exercise - is there an exercise that is better for diabetic's feet? 

 Any exercise that increases the circulation to the feet is good.  Walking is great exercise and is easy to do.  While circulation can be helped, the sensory changes cannot be helped by exercise.  Controlling your blood sugar level is really important for maintaining your health.

Is there anything to be careful of when buying shoes? 

There are two important things about buying shoes.  The first is that the length of the shoes should be longer than the length of the foot.  You should be able to press your thumb in between your toe and the top of the shoe.  The second thing is that the shoe should have extra depth.

In summary, what is the one thing that every diabetic patient should know?

Every diabetic patient should have their feet checked each time they go to the doctor.  This is not something that physicians did on a regular basis in the past.  Increased education both for the doctors and patients has helped with implementation of this necessary exam.  The diabetic patient should take off their shoes and socks and make sure the doctor checks their feet.

Dr. Tayeb Hussain is the founder of Evanston Podiatric Surgeons, P.C. in Evanston, IL.  His web site is  He is licensed for Podiatric Medicine, Illinois and Wisconsin, Board Certified in Podiatric Orthopedics, Board Certified in Primary Podiatric Medicine, a Certified Wound Specialist, a Fellow, American College of Foot and Ankle Orthopedics and Medicine, andCertified in Pulse-Dye Laser and Carbon Dioxide Laser Technique.

Thanks for reading!

Have a great week!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Have you heard of "Give it 100?"

Have you heard about Give it 100? I think that it is incredibly interesting.

The theory is that you pick something that you want to do, learn, or change. After you pick something, you sign up on the web site and each day for 100 days, you practice doing what you want to do and take a 10 second video of yourself doing whatever it is and post it on the Give it 100site 

You don’t have to stop at 100, you can continue as long as you want to keep going. The idea is that you can look back at yourself over the 100 days and see the changes. Some use it to learn something new like dancing or playing the guitar and some use the 100 days to work on losing weight.

What would you use your 100 days for? 

There has to be something that you would want to learn or do that you don’t do it because you don’t know how or you don’t think that you are good enough. Here it your incentive to change that. These days you can get instructions from the internet for just about everything.  So, pick your "thing" and then look for an instructional video online. 

Your video does not have to be public. You can set it so that it is only seen by you. You can also have up to three projects at a time if you have several ideas and can’t decide where to start.

An instructional video on how to transfer a video
 from your iPhone to your desktop computer

Now, don’t tell me that you can’t do it because you don’t have a video camera. I think you do. It is called your phone. Your digital camera will probably even take a short video. Maybe one of the side benefits would be that you learn to take and upload the video to this site. (It would be for me! I know how to take a video but I have never uploaded a video from my phone to a web site.

This is my suggestion for the week. Think out what you would use 100 days for and then check out the site. See if there is anything there that others have done that is interesting to you. Is it time for you to learn to ride a unicycle? I bet someone there has done it. How about juggling? How about decluttering your house? That might be great – you could see the before and after which would be gratifying but also you could see how much you got rid of each day.

How to ride a unicycle

There is the tried and true, weight loss. But why not make it more interesting than just weight loss. How about something like walking for 10,000 steps each day for 100 days and showing your measurements at the start and at the end?  On the days in between, you could take a short video of your walking path. (Vary the path you take to make it more interesting.)   You might just find it the incentive to keep going. Seeing the change over that period of time might just get you over the hump of not wanting to exercise.

Are you ready to try it?  Let me know and I will join you.  I am not sure what I will do but we can have a group!  Support is always good, right?

Thanks for reading!

P. S. By the way, to go back to a post a few weeks ago, we are still avoiding our “c” foods. (candy, crackers, and Coke) We did allow a break on Memorial Day weekend and we ate some of the crackers that were still in the house but after Saturday and Sunday, we stopped again. I still have not had a coke. It has now been 58 days. To be honest at this point it isn’t as bad. I have popcorn as a snack occasionally and we have carrots as a snack. On the sweets front, I have had a few cupcakes.(Mother’s Day and Memorial Day) In what I consider a brilliant move, we have switched to having cupcakes instead of cake.This was Silent Sam's inspired idea. So, overall, there have not been sweets around here. And… (are you ready?) WE HAVE SURVIVED!

I will say that I have found abstinence easier than maintenance with these foods.  

Friday, May 22, 2015

What? Diabetes Blog Week Was LAST Week?

If you follow this blog, you probably noticed that last week was Diabetes Blog Week and perhaps you noticed that I made it through Day 4.

If at first you don't succeed, try try again.
                                                                            Thomas H. Palmer

Wildcard topic

If you could personify your diabetes or that of your loved one, what would it be like?  What would it look like, what would it say, what kind of personality would it have?  Use your imagination and feel free to use images, drawings, words, music, etc. to describe it.

I think of Silent Sam's diabetes as being like Beetlejuice.  Since he has been able to so well so far, we are happy to keep it in our mind and at bay.  But there is the background worry that the self care will falter or his metabolism will change and there will will be ready to taunt us.  That someone will say "diabetes" three times and there it will be to change our lives in a new way.  

Thanks for reading!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Diabetes Blog Week–Day 4–CH CH CH CHanges

 Day Four Topic
Today let's talk about changes, in one of two ways.  Either tell us what you'd most like to see change about diabetes, in any way.  This can be management tools, devices, medications, people's perceptions, your own feelings – anything at all that you feel could use changing.  OR reflect back on some changes you or your loved one has seen or been through since being diagnosed with diabetes.  Were they expected or did they surprise you?


I would like the BIG change!  I would like for there to be a cure – a way for people not to live with diabetes any longer.  For them to be able to be free from the toll the disease takes on your body. 

In our family, we are dealing with Type 2, I wish there was a way for people with Type 2 diabetes to know that they have the disease so that they take better care of themselves.  You know, something like they break out into bright purple spots when they are not taking care of themselves. Maybe the spots would start slow as a warning and if ignored the color would intensify.  Yep, that is what I would like as a change. 

Do I sound too flippant?  I’m not really.  I think I have said frequently enough that I think one of the problems is that the damage caused is silent. Patients feel fine until something really goes wrong and it goes wrong because they felt fine and didn't acknowledge their disease.
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Cleaning Out

Day Three Prompt -

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?  (Thank you Rick of RA Diabetes for this topic suggestion.)

Gathering the stuff to go

This day’s topic is right up my alley right now. 

We have been cleaning out.  Yes, Silent Sam and I have decided that our little house has too much stuff.  We have lived in this house for 30 years (gulp!) and now it is just the two of us here.  The kids are married and living in their own places.  As small as our house is, we don’t need three floors (including the most dangerous of spaces – the basement) full of stuff. 

I think that a light bulb went on last fall when we were looking at houses.  We were amazed at how much stuff people had in their houses – especially the closets.  The closets were jam packed.  We were feeling pretty smug about it until I really looked at our closets.  While not crammed, there was plenty of stuff in each.  Hmmm.. Maybe we weren’t in such great shape after all…  Then I realized that all the closets in our house were being used and we weren’t using all the bedrooms as bedrooms any longer. 

Do we actually wear all those clothes?

It was time for a change.  Articles on the topic began to catch my attention.  I read in various places that actually cleaning out can help you lose weight.  Yea, sure.  The theory is that if you are not weighted down by all the things in your house that you will concentrate more on your health.  That cleaning out the clutter will help free you to pay more attention to yourself. 

We are deep into our clean out.  We will make our third trip to Half Price Books today to sell off books.  The first trip was just for all the CDs that were sitting not being used.  Then there were 4 boxes of books.  Today there are three more boxes of books.  We have had the Amvets donation truck 4 times so far and they are coming again on Monday.  We feel that we have gone through the house once but know that there are several more rounds to go. The first round – especially in the basement was probably the easiest and produced the most items to get out of the house.  The next round will be harder but every little bit counts.  The mindset is in place. 

This is what it feels like each time the Amvets truck pulls away

It feels GREAT! Do I think that it will help us lose weight?  I am not ready to discount that theory completely.  I think cleaning out brings to your attention all the money you have wasted (or at least it did for me) on things that don’t matter.  Things that you don’t really need.  Distractions. When you get rid of those things and you stop shopping for things you don’t need, you do have time to think about what is really important and what you need and don’t need.  You make space in your head to be more intentional about what you want to do.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Diabetes Blog Week–Sixth Annual

This is the third year that I am participating in the Annual Diabetes Blog Week.  The idea is that many of the bloggers blog each day for a week and we share not only among ourselves but tell you about some other blogs you might want to read. 

Not completely typically, I am behind already.  I was not feeling well yesterday and did not start on time.  So today, I will cover the first two days.  I am usually late at the end – not the beginning!
Each day has a topic and we are all to write on that topic.  If there is a topic that you prefer not to wrote about, there are a couple “wild card” topics. 

While I have found that many of the topics don’t necessarily apply to Silent Sam or our situation, I still think that it is a great unity exercise and I love finding all the other bloggers.  So, off we go…

Monday’s topic -

In the UK, there was a diabetes blog theme of "I can...”  that participants found wonderfully empowering.  So lets kick things off this year by looking at the positive side of our lives with diabetes.  What have you or your loved one accomplished, despite having diabetes, that you weren't sure you could?  Or what have you done that you've been particularly proud of?  Or what good thing has diabetes brought into your life?

I would say that in our case, the “I can” was that Silent Sam decided that he could start exercising and eating right and reduce the medicines that he was taking when he was diagnosed.  In case you never read the beginning of this process for us, Silent Sam was diagnosed when he was in the hospital for a different issue and he went from nothing to shots and pills.  He was able to work hard and reduce his use of medicine.  I am very proud of all the hard work he put in. 

You know, if you follow this blog that there have been some missteps along the way and we have had to kick start the process a few times.  We are currently back in the kick start phase again.  We are doing well – Silent Sam always does better than I do – but we are both working on diet and exercise. 
But to those of you wondering if you can work your way off the medicine or reduce the amount that you need to take, I will tell you that you really might be able to do it.  The rewards are well worth the effort. 

Tuesday’s topic

Many of us share lots of aspects of our diabetes lives online for the world to see.  What are some of the aspects of diabetes that you choose to keep private from the internet?  Or from your family and friends?  Why is it important to keep it to yourself?  (This is not an attempt to get you out of your comfort zone.  There is no need to elaborate or tell personal stories related to these aspects.  Simply let us know what kinds of stories we will never hear you tell, and why you won't tell them.)

This is hard because I think that I share most of what happens around here.  I do try not to concentrate on or write about the long term affects of diabetes.  I think that they are so scary that I just try and concentrate on trying to work with Silent Sam to keep his levels in a good place.  

Because really, not taking care of your diabetes is a path that leads to major problems.  The loss of body parts is bad but the loss of your mind is even more serious.  I know that diabetes is a hard disease to come to grips with because you don’t necessarily know there is any thing wrong with you.  They call high blood pressure the silent killer but I think the same can be said for diabetes.

I think that when I find something truly scary, I don’t want to talk about it.  I certainly don’t talk to friends and family about the long term issues of diabetes.  It is almost like tempting fate.  I keep that as the stone in my pocket that I occasionally peek and then hide it away again.  

I will try to keep on top of my daily posts for the rest of the week now!

Thanks for reading!