Saturday, October 18, 2014

Discussion with the FDA on MONDAY

I just found out about an upcoming event - ON MONDAY - and I wanted to let you know.

The people behind put on great virtual programming.  If you have not checked them out, I urge you to take a few minutes and see all that they do.  

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Diabetes Sisters Virtural

Hi Everyone!

Sorry, this will be a quick update this week.  I am wildly behind.  I did want to tell you

about something new I found out about this virtual group that may interest the women in the group.

Instead of paraphasing the information from Karen Graffeo from Bitter~Sweet Diabetes blog, I

would like you to go to the page with the information.  You can find it here.

I have talked before about how important it is to have support when you have a disease like diabetes.

This organization offers virtual support for those of you who do not have any support groups in their

area or are not interested in attending meetings.  You can attend these meeting in your jammies and

no one will know!

Have a wonderful week!  Somehow, I think next Thursday will be here before I am ready for it!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Take a HIke

I don't know how it is where you live but here in the Midwest, Mother Nature is truly showing off. The trees are turning and it is just beautiful.

I think you should grab your camera (or grab your phone) and go out for a walk and take pictures of the beauty you find along the way. Pick out your favorites and keep them close by so that you can remember what a great walk you took. Also, you can take pictures today and then walk the same route in another week and take pictures again and have a visual record of the changes.

Take the time to walk and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Your body and mind will be thankful.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

What does a vacation look like to you?

We all have different ideas of what our perfect vacation looks like.  Some like to go and explore while some like to go somewhere to sit and rest.

Why do we want a vacation?  Is it our chance to re-charge our battery?  Time to make memories - store them like a hamster for later in the year when you need a pick me up?  Is it to experience different cultures and foods?

Whatever the reason, we all perk up when it comes time for our vacation.  No matter what you are doing, you will be taking a break.

What if you could never take a break?  What if it was the same thing more or less every day?

While those of us without a chronic disease don't really want to imagine it, many live managing a disease every day of their lives.  The need to care for themselves in specific ways doesn't change although the disease may not react the same way each and every day.

What kind of a break can you take with diabetes?  How tired do you get of managing an invisible disease?  While you get to know your limitations, how much can you push the envelope?

What can you do when you are sick of it?

The Joslin Diabetes Center suggests that you work to stay motivated but not "perfect".  When you are feeling low, don't make it harder on yourself to be perfect.  Don't use the feeling of burnout to stop exercising or raid the candy drawer.  Give yourself a break without going off the rails.

They also suggest that you identify barriers to good care.  These will be specific for you.  Ask someone to help - not nag you but help you with these barriers.

I have also found an article entitled "13 Tips for Fighting Diabetes Burnout".  There might be something there to help you also.

One of the main things the I have read is to make sure you can express your frustration sometimes.  It is a hard disease to manage and hopefully you have your diabetes team to support you.  If you just need to vent sometimes, talk to  your loved one but before you start to vent, explain to them that you are not looking for solutions but just need to talk about how you feel and how frustrated you are.  Tell them that if they have ideas that perhaps you can talk about it at a later time (even set a time) but that you just need to talk about your frustrations right then.  This way they will know just to listen and will not have the feeling that they need to "fix" the situation.  By setting another time to discuss any ways to help, both of you can be "in the moment" without trying to fix anything.

There is also a book from the American Diabetes Association entitled Diabetes Burnout: What to Do When You Can't Take It Anymore.  It is available from the American Diabetes Association  or from Amazon.  (buying from the American Diabetes Association means you are contributing to a great cause.)

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

I hate to ask but are you ready for cold and flu season?

Michael Ancher, "The Sick Girl", 1882, Statens Museum for Kunst

I am not ready for the cold snap that has hit the Midwest. I will certainly not turn on the heat – it is just too early to do that – but I am cold. I am also feeling just a bit nasally. You know that feeling that you might be catching a cold. Just those little twinges…

This has me thinking about cold and flu season. Back when Silent Sam was diagnosed with diabetes, we were told that we should be prepared for when colds and the flu will strike so that we have supplies on hand. 

Just like everyone else who read or saw that instruction, we did not prepare. Although, I will admit that I do go through the over the counter medicine drawer (yes, we have it in a drawer) to check for expiration dates and see what supplies we need a couple times a year. And this is definitely that time of year. I have only done this for the last couple of years and it is not foolproof but it has helped. There is just something about feeling sick and going to the drawer and finding either nothing in there or finding out of date medicine. 

So, I think I will let this cold snap be my guide and I will take the time to check out the drawer and see that we are stocked for winter. If you have not discussed with your doctor what over the counter medicines you should use, then now is the time to ask. People with diabetes need to be careful about the ingredients in their over the counter medicines.  It is far better to ask than to find out that your blood sugar is spiking because of your cold medicine.  Your levels will be affected when you are sick and you don’t want to add to the problem with the medicines that you are taking. 

You might want to check your kitchen cabinets also. Are you prepared with food for when you are sick?  One of the hazards is dehydration. Make sure you have fluids that you will drink to help keep you from getting dehydrated. Soups are good but they also can be a source of lots of sodium.  Check those labels and select soups that the sodium levels are not as high. Once again, talk to your doctor and/or dietitian for their recommendations.   

I suggest that while you are getting out the sweaters, putting up the storm windows (does anyone do that anymore?), and getting your heating system serviced, you take a few minutes to make sure you are ready with a plan for if you get sick. You will appreciate your efforts if you wake up feeling awful one morning. 

Thanks for reading!

I have to say, I love the colors of fall
Happy Fall!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Support (and I am Not Talking About Underwear)

Diabetes is a chronic disease. There is not a vacation from diabetes. Granted, there are times that are worse than others but it is still constant. 

Come on, we all need a break!

Unfortunately, you can’t take a vacation like you would from work. But there are things you can do to give yourself some help when times get a bit hard. 

Have you thought about a support group? Did your lip just curl with the thought of that? Keep with me here for a minute. I know, when I think of a support group, I think of some church basement, folding chairs, and bad coffee. A group of sad people talking about their problems is what comes to mind. That certainly does not sound like a vacation.

In-Person Groups

Let’s think about what would make a great support group. To raise your spirits, it would have to have people that you would want to spend (granted a small amount of) time with and the group should be pretty upbeat. If it wasn’t upbeat then what kind of vacation would it be? Then what would you want to the group to do? I would suggest to you that while discussion is nice, if there were a mix of programs you might be happier about attending. What if one week there was a demonstration of an exercise that you might not have tried but wanted to know about. Failing that, what if one week the group met outside (where possible) and took a walk? What if one week there was a cooking or nutrition demonstration? What if another week there was a discussion about an aspect of diabetes management? And then to round out the month, how about a group lunch so that there could just be socializing. 

Would you join a group like that? Are you wondering if that group exists? I don’t know but it could. You could start it. How? I think I might start at my doctor’s office or the local Y or the local health department. Talk to them about starting such a group and ask for space to hold meetings. Actually by talking to all groups, you might find people who can help with the meetings.

Also by talking to your doctor’s office or the local Y or your local health department, you might find that a group actually exists and you could join a group that already exists.  

On-Line Groups      

Let’s say you are not the go out and join a group person. How about an on-line group? There are actually a lot of resources and a large on-line diabetes community.  (Commonly referred to as the DOC – Diabetes On-line Community). There is support for all the different kinds of diabetes. You should look for a group that shares your type because you will be able to relate to each other and your issues.  The latest issue of "Diabetes Forecast Magazine" suggests the following groups:

Please remember that you need to be careful with any on-line group.  This is really not the place to reveal your inner secrets. You never know who is listening.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Sun, the Surf, and Your Feet

I am going to talk about feet today. But not perhaps what you might expect. 

Yes, I have talked several times about diabetes and feet. Today, my foot thoughts are for everyone whether they are diabetic or not. 

Things that surprised me about foot melanoma -

1.        It is the most deadly form of melanoma. It is deadly because it is so rarely caught before it has spread.

2.       You can get skin cancer under your nails. If you see a spot under your nail and it does not grow with the nail, you need to go to the doctor right away.  Women should make sure that they look at their nails without polish so that they can see if there are any spots under the nail. 

3.       The bottoms of your feet and between your toes are susceptible to skin cancer.

4.       Melanoma is not as common as other types of cancer but its rates are increasing.

5.       One person dies of melanoma every 57 minutes

You should do periodic self-exams for skin cancer. For directions on how to do a self-exam, there are guidelines from the Skin Cancer Foundation

When you go out, you should be applying sunscreen. Even if you are just making a quick trip to the store. Always apply sunscreen and re-apply it often especially when you are at the beach or pool. Don’t forget to apply it to your feet – top and bottom. 

And for goodness sake, don’t use tanning beds. 

End of lecture for today.

Thanks for reading!