Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Not Such a Secret

"I'm from New Jersey. I'm seventeen. I'm Pakistani. I'm Pre-med. I'm majoring in Biomedical Engineering. And, oh, I'm a diabetic."

This statement came out of my mouth several dozen times when I started my undergraduate studies. From the first time I was away from the cocoon of my family, I always disclosed my diabetes. But I also treated it as an afterthought. Therefore, everyone around me didn't really notice the diabetes. Usually it was exactly what I wanted except for the few occasional times people forgot.

Why did I tell them? Because it made me feel safe to know the people closest to me knew well about my "serious" medical condition. And because my mother always told everyone for me. Loudly. And vehemently. But after freshman year, the splurge train about my diabetes didn't roll out very often. Mostly because I felt too independent (read: cocky teenager) to share about my life with the big D everyday. It was my own mental hurdle to overcome. I nonchalantly told my research advisers about it and they never really cared about the days off or extra snack breaks. I'm lucky that nothing horrible has ever happened with my diabetes, but planning for the worst case scenarios has always given me a safety blanket.

Since becoming an active participant in the DOC, I bring up my diabetes more often than I used to, but my "it's no big deal" attitude towards it hasn't changed at all. I'm still learning about what kind of people to tell in what manner. Sometimes inundating people with facts is not the right way to go. Sometimes not telling them enough makes them feel less important or unintelligent. Sometimes they just figure it out by watching me inhale glucose tabs or stab my fingers.

What I recently realized is that I shouldn't be ashamed of my diabetes and all it entails. I can scream that I have diabetes from the roof tops. I shouldn't be embarrassed by the beeping or the bleeding. Now, I do have stuff to be embarrassed about (like my guilty pleasure music or not zipping up my fly) but all in all my slacker pancreas and the havoc it causes shouldn't ever bring about shame. Because I can't control everything. I try to do my best and remember all the things I am without diabetes ever coming into the picture.

I am adventurous.
I am a rock climber.
I am smarter than the average bear.
I am a student.
I am caring.
I am a daughter, a sister, and an aunt.
And I am thriving with diabetes (in case you didn't know).

This post is my March entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival. If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at http://diabetessocmed.com/2012/march-dsma-blog-carnival-2/

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The New, The Old, and the Restless

The New: I ventured to the Sanofi US Headquarters on Monday for a super tiny focus group with Joslin Diabetes Educators for a new training program: "Are You on the Road to Living Well with Diabetes?" Most of my excitement stemmed from the fact that I found out about all of this through Twitter. While I thought the material was pretty repetitive, I realize that they're hitting their target audience (newly diagnosed / searching for better control) really well. I did learn a few things here and there, and I love their new analogies for diabetes control. Plus, there's a magic number for your microalbumin that you should know: under 30 for happy kidneys. I spent the better part of the session trying to keep myself from blurting out answers to questions for the program mangers and hug the other people in the session (must pretend to be polite, right?). The really cool part was that I got a free HbA1c just for answering some questions. My results show that I'm still at the same spot (6.2) even though I'm eating differently and working out more. I'm much happier about that, because I'm doing it without being low 24/7. Curious to see about my cholesterol levels with the new diet but my lipid panel must wait until June.

The Old: My car is all better. No check engine light. I'm not sure if I can feel a difference in how it drives (or if I'm supposed to) but I will find out very quickly in the next week with copious hours driving from state to state (it's spring break, don't cha know?). Despite the many hours in my car, I still have a ton of work to get done so that's going to be... interesting?

The Restless: I WANT TO KICK MY BUTT INTO GEAR. To do anything. I don't know what's up with my motivation lately. I want to scream. I want to run and jump and tumble. I want to accomplish something. Any recommendations on how to do so would be helpful.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Lemon Laws

I spent my Friday morning waiting for three hours to find out what was wrong with my car. The waiting rooms at automobile dealerships kind of remind me of the waiting rooms of doctor's offices. It's especially bad when medical issues arise while at a car dealership but more on that later...

In the United States, the have laws to protect consumers who buy new cars from manufacturing defaults. No process is perfect. With thousands of parts going into creating one machine, there's just an inherent chance for something to go wrong because of part defects when putting something together on a factory line. They're called Lemon Laws. They vary from state to state but essentially covers any performance problems in a new car in the first few weeks.

Now I've been having some issued with a evaporation purge valve in my fuel line. It's been going on for about a year. It just decides to not play nice once in a while. Doesn't seriously affect the car's performance (as far as I know) but it does keep the car from passing the NH state inspection next week. Usually they test this valve and it tests out fine. Every dealer I've shown it to has said if it keeps acting up, to replace it. Me being stubborn, I won't replace it until the tests definitively say this part is broken. Much to my chagrin, the test on Friday declared this valve broken. Unfortunately, my car is well past the lemon law stage.

Apparently, there is no Lemon Law for body parts. I'd gladly swap my pancreas out but I guess I'll just keep rocking my pancreas impersonation skills.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

HOPE for a Cure Day

March 1st was Hope for a Cure for Diabetes Day. That's a mouthful to type to label just one day. Here's my hand.

For more shots of people hoping, check out the Facebook page!