12 Lists of Christmas

It is officially mid-December, which means there are less than TWO WEEKS until Christmas (but who’s counting?). In keeping with the spirit of the holidays, I’m sharing my personal 12 lists of Christmas. It’s off-topic for this blog, but bah humbug, I’m doing it anyway. Tell me your own faves in the comments!

12  favorite Christmas songs:

1. Ho ho Hopefully-  The Main

2. Christmas Time Again–  Amely

3. Baby Please Come Home- Josh Ramsay and also check out Anberlin

4. Christmas With You- Artist vs. Poet

5. December- Neck Deep ft. Chris Carrabba 

6. There Will Be No Christmas- Crown the Empire

7. Mittens- Carly Rae Jepsen

8. Sing in Celebration- Faber Drive

9. Maybe this Christmas- For All Those Sleeping

10. Down to Us- Let’s Get It

11. Merry Christmas, I Miss You- Farewell for Now

12. Christmas Lights- Yellowcard

Here’s a link to my Spotify playlist with all of my personal favorites

11 Christmas Movies

  1. Home Alone
  2. Elf
  3. To Grandmother’s House We Go
  4. The Santa Clause
  5. Polar Express
  6. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
  7. The Santa Clause 2
  8. A Christmas Prince
  9. The Muppet Christmas Carol
  10. Nightmare Before Christmas
  11. The Santa Clause 3

10 Christmas Specials

  1. Rudoph the Red Nose Reindeer
  2. Santa Claus is Coming to Town
  3. A Charlie Brown Christmas
  4. Frosty the Snowman
  5. Rudolph’s Shiny New Year
  6. The Year Without a Santa Claus
  7. The Little Drummer Boy
  8. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
  9. Annabelle’s Wish
  10. Grandma got Runover by a Reindeer

9 Christmas Cookies

  1. Sugar
  2. Gingerbread
  3. Peanut Butter
  4. Snickerdoodles
  5. Chocolate chip mint
  6. Thumbprint
  7. Red Velvet
  8. Dulce de Leche
  9. Snowballs

Almost all of these recipes can be found at this link

8 Universal Christmas Gifts

  1. Socks
  2. Candles
  3. Books
  4. Cookies/candy
  5. Gift cards
  6. Coffee/mug set
  7. Lotion/shampoo/toiletries
  8. pajamas

7 Stocking Stuffers

  1. Candy
  2. Cookies
  3. Tea light candles
  4. Gloves
  5. Pens/pencils
  6. Playing Cards
  7. Chap stick

6 Cookie Cutter Shapes

  1. Snowman
  2. Reindeer
  3. Christmas Tree
  4. Star
  5. Angel
  6. Snowflake

5 Christmas Dinner Items

  1. Ham/Turkey
  2. Baked Ziti/lasagna
  3. Cranberry suace
  4. Bread
  5. Potatoes

4 Christmas Traditions

  1. Decorating the tree
  2. Putting up lights
  3. Making cookies for Santa
  4. Watching Christmas specials

3 Christmas Drinks

  1. Apple Cider
  2. Hot Chocolate
  3. Eggnog

2 Christmas Faux Pas

  1. Peeking under the tree at presents
  2. Digging into the food before it’s been put on the table

1 Christmas greeting

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT.

 

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20 Stages of Type 1 Diabetes

  1. Waking up low and eating breakfast like

2. Then your body decides you over corrected and need insulin NOW

3. When you get to a public place and your pump decides it’s time for a new battery

4. But there is literally no convenient way to change it at the present moment

5. But you break out your pump anyway because, ya know, you need it to live, and people around you get all curious

6. So you have to explain your long-winded diabetes saga yet again, boring even yourself

7. And feel them watching you the rest of the day to make sure you don’t pass out

8. Get at least three people telling you, “I know all about diabetes, my grandmother’s cat has it!”

9. Coming home to find out that someone raided your secret stash

10. Knowing the difference between being intoxicated and high/low blood sugar

11. “So like, is it contagious?”

12. When someone asks if I got diabetes from eating too much sugar

13. And you lie to avoid the long conversation

14. Then they try to tell you what you can and cannot eat

15. But you stuff it in your face anyway just to spite them

16. …and regret it two hours later

17. When you finally come down to a normal range

18. …and you realize you have an endocrine appointment next week

19. Accepting that your life is a roller coaster of health issues anyway so might as well buckle up

20. And finally, the feeling of relief after you see your endocrinologist and he doesn’t scream at you

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Diabetes Awareness Month!

Happy November!

November is full of widely recognized holidays in the US, including Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and Black Friday (if you believe that a day of extreme discounts is a holiday. I do). But a lesser known month-long event that takes place in November is diabetes awareness month.

Officially, diabetes is defined as a disease in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin is impaired, resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated levels of glucose in the blood and urine. What does that mean in English?

It means reading the nutrition facts on every packaged food you consume, or knowing estimated carbohydrate counts on foods without labels. It means eyeballing measurements like a cup of pasta or potatoes. Figuring out if you can eat something based on carbohydrate to sugar ratios.

But my goal for diabetes awareness month is for people, even just a few of them, to understand what doctors can’t tell you about the disease. It may differ from person to person, but nearly all diabetics will understand this.

  • Diabetes is going trick-or-treating on Halloween, and hoping that your blood sugar will drop just enough to allow yourself a piece of candy.
  • Diabetes is carrying around extra supplies everywhere you go just in case.
  • It means being pat down and man handled at the airport when all you want to do is get from point A to point B.
  • It’s explaining to people that your insulin pump is not some sort of cell phone you have attached to your hip.
  • Being self conscious of the scars all over your body from injection sites.
  • It’s knowing the difference between high or low blood sugar and normal intoxication when drinking alcohol.
  • It’s the struggle you have managing weight, and knowing healthy people wouldn’t have this much of a problem.
  • The plethora of other health issues that come with it, like kidney disease or heart issues.
  • Knowing that people mean well when they pretend to understand the disease because their grandmother has it too, even though it’s probably type 2.
  • The list goes on.

One day, I hope that no one will ever have to know these things because there will be a cure and it will be affordable to everyone. Until then, I want people to know that diabetes is more than a medical condition. It’s a way of life, and it’s never easy, no matter how long you’ve been dealing with it. Diabetes is more than a physiological illness; it’s a source of self consciousness and doubt. Knowing you’re not, and will never be, “normal,” but trying your best to be anyway. Diabetics are strong, not because we choose to be, but because we have to be.

All anyone can do is live the lives they’re given. We are diabadasses, and November is the time to take note of that.

Feel free to leave your personal struggles in the comments!

Quarter century goals

As I was reading through a journal I used to keep, I came across an entry from what I’m assuming was a few years ago about future goals. Particularly, goals I wanted to reach by the time I turned 25. Now being about a week and a half away from that, I feel like I need to check in and readjust some of those goals– or at least write about them as a self-motivator.

  1. Fitness– I am in a better place than I was a year ago, but I still need a lot of work. I didn’t have any solid goals then either, so I’ll be setting some for myself starting this week. I’ll check off this box for my 25 year bucket list, but 26 better watch out because I’m coming for ya.
  2. Write a blog– Well, here we are! My next goal is to update more consistently. (PS talk to me if you have any ideas for me to write about, I’m running low).
  3. See more of my friends and family– Sorry to those of you I haven’t seen or even checked in with in a while, I’m coming back real soon.
  4. Watch more movies and shows– There are a few shows I keep up with consistently (and am anxiously awaiting more seasons) like Stranger Things, 13 Reasons Why, and Riverdale, but I always feel like I’m behind on pop culture. Leave me suggestions!
  5. Learn to play an instrument– I don’t actually have an instrument to play, but I think learning something new would keep me sharp.
  6. Travel somewhere new– I just have a consistent case of wanderlust that I need to satiate.

That’s all I have for now, but I’m sure I’ll add on later. Let me know if anyone wants to embark on any of these journeys with me! Cheers to 25. ♥

New beginnings (again)

Well, I kind of took a hiatus from this blog for a while because firstly, I got a bit complacent. Also, nothing new or interesting had been happening. However, I’m finally taking a step– maybe not too far forward, but at least in the right direction, which is still progress. I started a new job as a receptionist/front desk person at a dance studio. This means normal hours, consistent hours, and less dirty work.

I really like my co-workers from the kitchen. They became friends, and some like family. The job just isn’t right for me. Maybe a receptionist job isn’t completely right either, but I won’t know until I try. It’s certainly something different than what I’ve been doing, which is exactly what I want right now. No substantial physical labor, no uniforms and no coming home smelling like soggy vegetables. (Full time and a pay raise is a great motivator, too.)

Perks include being around music, dancing and happy people, and occasionally petting the puppies that come to work with one of the owners. The best part about the job though is that I’ll be able to use some of my skills and training from school and previous related experience in real life. They want to use my skills. I’m already brainstorming what I can do.

I really think this will be a long-term home for me. The kitchen I’m at now has been long-term too, but I never intended it to be. I never wanted to get comfortable there, but I think I’m okay finding comfort at the dance studio. I can grow there.

It’s not that I was embarrassed to say I worked in a kitchen when people asked what I did for work, but I always felt like I should have been doing more. My answer to the question, “What do you do?” usually started with “I’m only in a kitchen right now,” and always ended with “…but I’m looking for something in communication.” I worked hard, especially my last year in college, to finally get my Bachelor’s degree and I wasn’t even using it. So while this may not be my ending point, it’s a good place to get comfortable for a while. I can take a break from searching.

So wish me luck on this new adventure and I’ll be sending good vibes to everyone else who needs them in their job search right now. Updates to follow!

When you realize…

…That you don’t have to shop in the plus size section anymore. I recently went shopping with my mom at the mall, and the first store we went in was Forever 21. Now, I’m sure that almost anyone who shops there can admit that their sizes are reasonable compared to other stores, but are still cut just a little small. So, naturally, I head upstairs toward the “Forever 21+” section. After looking for a while through their very limited selection of plus size clothing, my mom says to me, “You know you don’t have to shop in this section anymore, right?”

But I didn’t know. I wasn’t aware that my body had changed that much. Thirty-five pounds sounds like a big number, but I didn’t see what the scale was telling me in my reflection. However, I broadened my horizons and wandered through the rest of the store. I didn’t know where to start, honestly. The clothes on the hangers looked so small, there was no way they were going to fit me. But I picked out a few shirts to start and guess what?

They fit. Comfortably.

I haven’t been that excited in a very long time. Shopping is always an emotional process when you’re plus sized.

  1. Pick up a cute piece of clothing
  2. Doubt that it will fit, or look good on your body if it does
  3. Try it on anyway, secretly hoping it will fit you like the jeans in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
  4. Look in the mirror, immediately take it off, and explain to whoever you’re shopping with that you “just didn’t like it”
  5. Repeat

Being used to that step-by-step process, I was hesitant to buy anything that was labeled normally. However, when I did buy it, get it home, try it on and still like it in my own mirror, it was such a good feeling. It’s a beautiful feeling to see beauty in your own reflection.

I know, I know, beauty is on the inside. But it’s nice to like yourself as a whole rather than in parts. I still have a long way to go, but for the first time I actually think I can get there.

 

progress

Babysitting

I’ve grown to really like my co-workers. And when you see the same people so often you learn things about each other, so obviously they all know that I have diabetes, and most know about my memory loss. In fact, I think my boss may have had an in-service type meeting with all of them to tell them to keep an eye on me.

I appreciate the concern, I sincerely do. They let me know when I look pale or especially red in the face. Most of the time though it’s because the conditions we work in are very hot. It’s a kitchen, and not only is there something constantly cooking, but the dish machine emits a lot of heat as well.

Sometimes I do need to stop and have some juice or eat something. But it feels like I’m being babysat when they make me stop and list everything I’ve eaten in a day. My medication limits my appetite, but I know when I have to eat whether I’m hungry or not. It’s nice to have people caring about my well-being. I just wish people would understand that I can (and I will) take care of myself. The constant checking up on me isn’t so much annoying as it is insulting. They don’t mean it that way, but it makes me feel like a child; it’s demeaning.

I can’t see myself so I don’t know when my appearance changes drastically or suddenly. I get that. I would be concerned too. I’m not in any way blaming my co-workers, because I would be concerned if I saw changes in them too. It’s just a circumstantial thing that, simply put, sucks.

Is there a way to show concern differently? I’m not even sure there is. And how could they trust me to know my own health? They barely know me medically, even with as much time I spend there. I haven’t exactly written up a full report on my medical history.

This is just something I’ll have to deal with as I spend time with new people. And I’ll say it again, I appreciate their concern so much. I just don’t want to feel like other people think they’re responsible for me. Not only does it feel like I’m always being watched, but I feel almost a little guilty that they think they need to babysit me in a sense.

Like nausea or extreme thirst, this is just a side effect of being a melting pot of medical abnormalities. Every reaction is only human, including mine. I know I owe a huge thank you to all of the people who have expressed concern. And I’ll fully acknowledge that later. But in the moment, being frustrated comes much easier.

Life Changes

Me again. Not much new happening, but I just thought I’d update because, well, I haven’t written in a long time and I’m starting to miss it.

Last I left you I had just started a new medication called Trulicity. It was supposed to help my blood sugar, reduce my appetite and consequently, help me lose a little weight. On top of the medication I’ve been eating healthier and exercising more.

I used to eat because of my love for food; now I eat out of necessity. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy eating my favorite foods, but I’ve learned to control how much I eat, aka, stop eating when I’m full. It’s stopped the majority of cravings too, which is a beautiful relief.

This morning I reached a big goal of mine when it comes to weight. From my heaviest weight I’ve lost almost 30 pounds. I still have quite a way to go but for the first time, I’m seeing results without suffering from hunger or cravings. And it’s a steady loss; no more of this up and down stuff.

Of course, I wish I could do this without the help of medication. But my body functions differently than most in more ways than one. My health has been a chain reaction with diabetes; it has caused hypothyroidism (slow metabolism), kidney dysfunction, hyperglycemia (high blood sugar, resulting in the storage of insulin in fat cells) and other complications that may or may not have affected my weight. Sometimes, people with specific health conditions have to accept that they work differently. I’m finally accepting it; but I’m not letting it defeat me.

Like I said, I still have a way to go before I reach my ultimate goal but it’s finally seeming realistic.

Pictures to follow when it’s more final that I’ve really hit this goal.

“Going through these life changes, gotta keep my head moving.”

Meds meds meds

When you have a medical condition like diabetes, it seems like a hundred other minor conditions pop up. Either a new one sprouts with every doctor visit, or the old medication stops working and you need to start a new one. Very few have caused the side affects on the warning lable in my case, until the most recent one I’ve started.

My endocrinologist  (diabetes specialist) recently put me on a medicine called trulicity. It’s taken mostly by type 2 diabetics, but he believes it will help my blood sugars, and even help moderate body weight.

He was very honest about how it works as well as the other effects it would have on my body. He told me it would curb my appetite, lower my alcohol tolerance and may cause nausea.

So far, I have experienced all three. I haven’t had the urge to snack or overeat at all in the week that I’ve been on it. I’ve had minor stomach pains, usually a hollow pain or slight cramping. Lastly, I felt almost hungover from one beer after a night out with some friends. I’ll spare you the details, but I just couldn’t keep it in my system. It was like I skipped the intoxication part and went straight for the aftermath.

However, my blood sugars have been better and I don’t mind the decrease in appetite. I’ve dropped 4 pounds in the one week I’ve been on it. I still have quite a way to go, but I’m thrilled with the result so far. It’s hard for anyone to lose weight, but much harder when you have diabetes.

While I’m not thrilled about having to be dependent on man made prescription drugs to do what human bodies are supposed to do naturally, I’m excited about the potential to stop struggling with things that healthy people may have an easier time with.

Sometimes you have to weigh the side affects against the issue that a drug will be resolving. It’s an almost balanced scale, but it always leans slightly heavier one one side. All I can do is hope that my doctors know best. They’ve gotten me this far, so I’m going to trust them until I have a reason not to.

Updates to follow.

Done but not finished

Exactly 3 weeks from tomorrow I will be done with cognitive therapy. My therapist feels that she’s done everything she can for me and there will be no grounds to submit to my insurance company for more visits.

I have many mixed feelings about being done. On one hand, it will be nice to not have to schedule my week around therapy visits. On the other, it’s like they’re saying, “this is as good as you’re going to get.”

I don’t want to be given up on. I know in my mind that this is not what’s happening, but it’s what it feels like. I described it to my best friend who let’s me rant about absolutely everything like this: I feel like a cookie that’s being taken out of the oven about 3 or 4 minutes too early. While still delicious, they aren’t very easy to get off the tray in one piece. They’re not solid.

I know that I have to take more initiative in my own recovery. I have to use the strategies that I learned in therapy and apply them to real life situations. For the first time since my incident, it’s all up to me.

I’m not so much scared as I am defeated. While therapy gave me strategies to help cope with my memory loss, it did not fix the problem. I always knew it was a long shot, but I guess I sort of hoped for a miraculous change. Like I would walk out of therapy one day and be completely healed. Unrealistic, I know, but now that I won’t even be going anymore it’s even more impossible. I don’t feel like I’ve reached the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m not sure the tunnel ever ends, to be honest.

I know I’ll never be 100 percent of what I used to be. I’ll always struggle. But what gets me through is looking back on where I was and seeing how far I’ve come. I’m improving every day, sometimes it’s just hard to see because the change is so gradual. Regardless, life goes on, and I am eternally grateful I get to experience it for a little while longer.

“I’m not where I should be. I’m not what I could be. But I’m not who I was.” -Real Friends