Thursday, January 21, 2016

Diabetes and Frostbite


The look on the face of the man above is about how I feel during the winter. I am not a fan of being cold (or for that matter hot) and I think of winter as kind of thing one just lives through.

While I was doing some research the other day, I was reading about frostbite. Frostbite is one of those things that they talk about on the news when it is so bitterly cold.

Did you know that people with diabetes are more susceptible to frostbite? The article I was reading did not go into specifics as to why this would be true but I imagine it is because of reduced feeling in the feet of some people with diabetes. Also, people with peripheral neuropathy would have decreased circulation which would also cause the hands and feet to have a harder time warding off frostbite.


What can you do to avoid frostbite? The easy answer is to stay inside when it is bitterly cold. But that doesn't work for most people. You need to limit your time outside and dress in layers. Areas of the body most susceptible to frostbite are the hands, fingers, feet, toes, ears, and your nose. Make sure that you cover those areas when you are outside in the bitter cold. Keep them protected from the elements. Make sure that your clothing is not restrictive - as in not so tight that it obstructs blood flow. (If you are diabetic you should not be wearing tight shoes or socks at any time of the year.)

If you think you have frostbite, it is time to go see your doctor or the ER and have it checked. One of the important things is that if you have an area that you think might be frostbite make sure you don't thaw it and then re-freeze it. That is particularly bad. Also, if you think you have an area that has frostbite, warm that area slowly. You can soak it in warm water but not hot water.

Mostly, I hope you live somewhere that is not as awfully cold as it has been here. If you do live somewhere warm, how come I am not visiting you?

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Do You Have FONK?


Do you have trouble being realistic in areas of your life? I do.

Take my emails. I always seem to have emails that I have not opened but I am sure I will. The subject line has led me to believe that there is something interesting there. For example, I have kept an unopened email for the last three days that has a subject line of something like “100 things to do this winter”. I almost opened it and then thought about whether or not I needed 100 things to do this winter. After all, I am in the middle of cleaning out our house and getting ready to move. Do I have time for 100 things to do? I can name 100 things I need to do within the walls of my house.
So, why did it take me three days to delete that email?

Have you heard about FOMO – the Fear Of Missing Out? That is when you have a terrible time deciding what to do because there are options and you are worried that by choosing one thing that you will miss out on another. A quick Google search of “FOMO” brings up over a million entries in 0.37 seconds. Yea, it is a thing.

I think my problem is not as much FOMO as FONK. Yes, that’s right, I suffer from FONK. (This is completely different from funk. Which I don’t’ have – at least not right now.) What is FONK? The Fear Of Not Knowing. I don’t worry about choosing between things. I just like to know about things. I like to know what the new movies are about but I never go to the movies. I like to know about the activities around town but I generally don’t participate. I just like knowing what is going on. Because of this, I keep magazines and emails when I shouldn’t. 

 So which do you think is worse FOMO or FONK? Even though I asked the question, I don’t know if one is worse than the other. Being human, I think that FOMO must be worse than FONK because I don’t have it.

I think that having FONK has led to clutter whether it is in my email box or in my home. Several years ago, I started using an app called “” The purpose of this app is to help clean out your email inbox. You decide if you want to see an email in your inbox, if you want it “rolled up” (put into a once a day email) or if you want to unsubscribe to that email sender. I have gotten more ruthless over time but I still get some emails that I should hit the unsubscribe button. I look at my daily rollup and think that I should unsubscribe from most of those emails. While I can easily do it, I still haven’t.
I also go through spurts of feeling that I should be reading certain magazines. And then they sit and I never read them. Since we are moving, I have been letting my magazine subscriptions lapse but why did I wait? 

Wondering how this applies to diabetes? Well, they say that reducing clutter will help you lose weight. Reducing my FONK tendencies might help me with my perpetual goal of weight loss.

 I think it is time to let go of some of my FONK tendencies. Are you afflicted with either FOMO or FONK?

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Happy New Year!

Let me be the millionth person to wish you a Happy New Year! I wish you a year filled with wonderful surprises and lots of wish fulfillment.

Did you make resolutions for this new year? Have you started them yet? Have you broken them yet? I have so many things that I would like to change! It would take a notebook to keep track of them. Do you find it easy to make a list of changes you would like to implement?

While I am by no means an expert on making personal changes, I have read widely on the subject. As a result, I have some suggestions.

1.  Start with one change. Do not try and change more than one behaviors at a time.That is a recipe for disappointment. If you have a list of things that you want to change, make the list but plan to start each one a month apart. So, let's say you want to start going to the gym and you want to lose weight. So maybe you start going to the gym in January and plan to start changing your eating habits in February.Don't try and be a juggler with your changes - those balls will fall down.

2.  Look at the changes and make them measurable  Don't just say, "I am going to start going to the gym".  Instead say, "I am going to the gym on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for 30 minutes." That way you know when and for how long it will take you to meet your desired change.

3.  Plan for problems  Maybe once a month you have to go to a meeting at the normal time you would go to the gym. Think about how you will adjust your schedule for occurrences that will crop up.Will you go at a different time of day or will you go on a different day? If you have a plan in mind for when you will have to adjust, it will help you when the time comes.

4.  Find a way to enjoy whatever you are going to do. If it is going to the gym, do something that will be more fun for you. Maybe you need a kickboxing class. Maybe running on the treadmill and listening to books on tape is better for you. Think about what you like and incorporate it into your whatever you decide that you have to change.

5.  If you have a big change that you want to make, break it down into pieces. Then you can see how to accomplish the change and see yourself moving toward the goal.

6.  Tell someone about your goal. Supposedly this will help you keep to it. I am not a fan of this. I think that I will stop whether or not I have told someone. You know if that would motivate you so if it would, tell someone. (or everyone)

Overall, just think of the little engine that could.  I think I can. I think I can.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

It hit when I least expected it.  Last Saturday afternoon I started to cough a little more and then before I knew it I was into a full fledged chest cold.  This is a little unusual for me.  I usually get head colds - you know those messy waste baskets filled with used tissues days.  But this hit me right in the throat and chest.  I am on day 5 without a voice.

I wasn't ready for this yet.

Sometime each fall I realize that cold and flu season is upon us and I check to make sure that we have medicine ready so that if one (or both) of us gets sick that we have supplies.  I had not gotten to that point yet this fall.  So, there was a quick trip to get some Mucinex and throat lozenges.

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. 

Don't wait until it is too late.  Take a few minutes to check your stock of over the counter medicines to see if you are prepared.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 and turning up the heat, 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!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Sometimes there are issues that are so well explained by others that I don't think I should mess with their message.

So this week, I urge you to check out Karen Graffeo's blog, Bitter~Sweet  about urging Congress to approve GCM's for Medicare patients.

You can also check out the message from JDRF. (Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund)

Thanks for reading this message.  I urge you to contact your Congressional representative and tell them that this is an important issue and changes should be made.

Friday, October 30, 2015

November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Are you wondering if that makes any difference to you? Well, probably not. (Honest, right?)

I am so bored with my recipes. Not only that, since Silent Sam is living by his job during the week that means I am cooking for myself. That is not easy. I suppose if you cook for one all the time, you get better at it. I find that since I work from home that I have a tendency to have my bigger meal at noon. I am not as tired then and it is easier. But even those meals are not anything to write home about. And sometimes I find that the dinner I have is not very healthy.

(In case you have missed this in the past, I am not much of a cook. I don’t care that much. )

So where to get new recipes? The ADA website is a good source. On their site, you can sign up for free recipes and meal plans. You can also sign up for a free 12 month program that includes recipes and 6 months of their magazine. There is also the recipe section of the site. With the holidays coming, you might appreciate the holiday meal planning section.

My favorite recipe book

I often use Pinterest for recipes. If you use the search term “diabetes recipes” you will see an amazing array of recipes come up. There are also some other search terms that they suggest like “easy” (that’s my kind!), “crockpot”, and “Type 2”. As with all things you find on the internet, please think about what you are reading and if it sounds too good to be true, check it and make sure it is true. When you look something up on the internet and it is contrary to something that your diabetes team has told you, listen to your team first and foremost. You can always ask at your next visit. 

Do you have recipes that you think would be good for you but you aren’t sure? There are several web sites that you can use to evaluate the nutritional facts and calorie count for a recipe. I have used one called Calorie Count before but if you use the search term “recipe nutrition calculator”, you will find several different calculators and you can find the best one for you.

My other suggestion is to buy a binder and those dividers that they make for binders. When you try a new recipe, put a copy of the recipe in the binder. This has really helped me over the last few years. I find that I forget about recipes that we like and will find them in the binder.  Also when making out our grocery list, it really helps to have the recipes all in one place. 

I hope you have a great week! Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Taking a New Way

                                                                                         Photo by Radion Kutsaev

I have a confession to make. I collect quotes. I have a subscription that sends me daily quotes and if I like the quote, I print it and glue it in a  little book. I would like to say that they are all by famous people that inspire me. I do not know the person quoted most of the time; nor do I know the context for the quote. The words speak to me so I keep a copy.

I did not immediately recognize the name Misty Copeland. Thanks to the internet, it takes just a second to find out who she is and why she would be quoted. Misty Copeland is the first African American female dancer with the American Ballet Theatre. If you would like to know more about her, you can see an interview from CBS Sunday Morning. I had seen another interview with her and she has quite an interesting story.

But the point of me sharing this quote with you today is that I think sometimes we box ourselves in to thinking that we have to do something a certain way to get to a goal. Using myself as an example, I had success using walking as exercise. Yes, it was combined with an eating program but I enjoyed walking. I had a path by a lake and I would see lots of different people and enjoy the fresh air. Unfortunately, my knees have betrayed me and taking long walks are not possible for me right now. I do like to swim but it is can be an expensive form of exercise and there is something about going to a pool and changing in a drafty changing room in the winter.

So, since I can’t walk as I did, I have found lots of excuses not to exercise.

The path to your success is not as fixed and inflexible as you think

You can probably guess what the upshot of this is – I have gained weight. I find it very easy to get up in the morning and come in my office and work all day. Before Sadie the rescue dog came into the house, I didn’t even get up and just walk around as much as I should. Now, I have a little face that comes in and bothers me to get up and take her outside. As much as the interruption sometimes drives me nuts I know it has been a good thing.

The problem is also that I let myself stop because I could not do one form of exercise. It was as if that was my only choice and since I could not do that, I could not do anything. I have been so busy looking at what I can’t do, that I am not looking for what I can do. What can I do? I can ride a stationary bike. I can do exercises that strengthen my legs (which helps my knees) and I can work on upper body strength (of which I have none.)  There are classes that I can take that I might even enjoy if I tried them.

How about you? Are you stuck on thinking that you have to do something one way but yet you can’t? Is it time for you to think about how you are going to change and accomplish your goal by taking a different path? Here is a suggestion. Go outside with a pad of paper and a pen. Look at the sky, the clouds, trees, and the roofs around you. Just look for a few minutes. Then think about your obstacle. Think about what changes you can make to get around it. Write them down. Let your mind go and write down silly nonsensical ways around it. The sillier the ideas the better. Laugh while you are writing. Write down 5 -10 ways around your problem. Then stop. Look at the sky again and think about that color blue and wonder how many types of birds live in your neighborhood. Think about your best experience outside and smile at the thought. Then revisit your list. I think you might find an idea of how to reach your goal in those silly (and not so silly) ideas. Take that idea and start to incorporate it slowly into your life. If you find it doesn’t work out, what have you lost? Not much. Try the exercise again. Or you might find that you wake up some morning with the answer. You just need to seriously pose the question to yourself and let you mind have a chance to work on the answer without you trying so hard.  

Sorry, I need to go there is a little face that wants some fresh air.

Thanks for reading.