Bab's Blog

It's just me, in words.

National Health Blog Post Month, Day 2 November 2, 2012

Filed under: Diabetes — babscampbell @ 10:01 am
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Day 2-Write about the weirdest thing about your health

Albert Einstein once said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  Apparently, Mr. Einstein did NOT know anyone with diabetes.

This has to be the most frustrating piece of the diabetes puzzle.  I can, literally, eat the same thing, at the same time of day, with the same amount of insulin administered and get a different BG (Blood Glucose) reading every time.  And, I’m not talking about a small difference of 10-20 points.  For example, on Sunday, I had oatmeal for breakfast and my BG only went up to 147 before coming back down.   Today, same time of day, same oatmeal, same amount of insulin and my BG shot up to 268, before leveling off and heading back down.

When I mention a high BG, many times, someone will ask, “Well, what did you do?”  Well, oftentimes, nothing different.  So many factors affect your BG throughout the day, other than carbohydrates and insulin; stress, body temperature, infections, sleep. . .I can control some of these factors, but not all of them, all of the time.

So for those of you who’d ask, “What did you do?”  Here’s my answer EVERY.TIME.“I attempted to act as my own pancreas.  However, I AM NOT A PANCREAS and I can only do so much to maintain a healthy BG level.”

As I visited with my Dr. today he made a joke about fixing my low BG by eating a pizza and watching the Chiefs game.  Yep, that’d fix it alright!  The pizza would keep me high for at least 10 hours and the Chiefs?  Hmmmmm  I’m likely to NEVER go low again, if I try to watch them play football.

Which brings us back to the definition of insanity. . .doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  I’m changing up my game plan, HOW ABOUT YOU, CHIEFS?  I’d like to watch a game without having my blood pressure AND my BG’s rise!

Happy Blue Friday everyone!  Hug someone with diabetes today!

 

It’s National Health Blog Post Month! November 1, 2012

Filed under: Cancer,Diabetes,Organic Living — babscampbell @ 3:53 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,


Day 1- Why I write about my health

I’ve signed up to participate in NHBPM for the last couple of years.  Unfortunately, I never make it past the second week.  I get too busy thinking about other things, projects. . . SQUIRREL!

But, this is an easy prompt to answer.  I write about my health because I want others out there, going through the same struggles, to know they’re not alone, and hopefully share some ideas that have worked for me or others that didn’t.

You’re NEVER alone.
This world is a big place.  There are a lot of people, each with their own difficulties, pressures, illnesses and worries.  You know that great feeling when you run into someone who knows EXACTLY what you’re going through?  It’s magical.

Somewhere out there, there’s a woman who’s just been diagnosed with breast cancer and her Dr. said they’re going to do this. . .this. . thing, with needles and . . .oh, it’s so hard to remember what he said.  I really didn’t hear anything after he said, “cancer.”  Is this going to hurt?  How will I feel after?  Can I go back to work?  I wish I could ask someone. . .  That’s who I write for.  Hi, I’m Barb and I’ve had breast cancer and I’m 19 months out from that dreadful day and let me help you know what to expect and what some of those big words mean.

In another city, there’s someone who’s just been diagnosed with diabetes.   They’re office-mate says; “hey, my grandma had diabetes. . they cut off her feet. . .then, she died.”
Hi, I’m Barb and I’ve had diabetes since 2009.  While it was really overwhelming at first, I PROMISE you will make sense of it.  Take my hand. . .let me show you some tricks I learned from other online writers.

I say it all the time. . but, since this is what I’m writing about today, I’ll say it again.
This journey of health and wellness is like being on a dirt road.  Some people are further ahead, they were diagnosed a long time ago.  Some are behind, they just found out their pancreas stopped working, or they have a lump.  The people up ahead, had others pointing the way and now they turn back to those just starting the journey and call to them. . .”hey, follow me, I’ll show you the way.  Watch out for that rut in the road and the river off to the side.” One day, it’ll be your turn to turn back and help someone else along the way.  Until then, here’s my hand, here’s my heart, listen for a familiar voice. . .follow along, we’ll do this together.

 

Be Deliberate; Celebrating Life’s Sweet Victories June 22, 2012

Filed under: Diabetes — babscampbell @ 6:00 am
Tags: , , ,

Happy Diaversary to ME!

This was me LAST year. . celebrating:

Why do I recognize the anniversary of such an awful day; the day of my diabetes diagnosis? Well, I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me, it’s all about celebrating the victories won.

There have definitely been battles lost. Diabetes may have contributed to the very quick growth of my breast cancer. Diabetes seems to have lengthened the lifespan of the peripheral neuropathy in my feet and legs, originally caused by chemo. Having diabetes and cancer will exclude me for an individual life insurance or medical insurance policy. Diabetes means I will never again enjoy the wonders of scuba diving (Unless I CAN find a school that will certify a T1 PWD, no luck yet.) Diabetes means I will continue to enjoy the groping of TSA officers. Diabetes means I will continue to carry a rather large purse around with me, with all my gear.

These are not the things I celebrate.

Today, I celebrate the change in my nutrition and overall health. I’m probably healthier today than I was prior to my diagnosis. I celebrate the many, many friends, now considered family, I’ve come to love through the Diabetes Online Community (DOC). I celebrate the difference I can make in others’ lives because I’ve become an advocate. I celebrate what I’ve learned about my own health and body and the fact that I can spot a change much sooner than any Dr. can. I celebrate that I am living well with diabetes, in a time with modern conveniences like insulin pumps, simple glucometers, glucose tablets, continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) and fast-acting insulin. I celebrate my family, who don’t just rely on me telling them about diabetes; especially my DH, the best Type Awesome in the world, who has become an advocate himself. He is constantly researching, explaining, tweeting, writing, planning, organizing and explaining again to those around him. He’s owned this journey from the first day and I’m so fortunate to have him joined at the hip! I celebrate resources available to me, like Team WILD and our local JDRF AT1 group. And, the reason so many of us eat a big, ol’ sloppy, chocolaty gooey cupcake (or other form of sugary death on a plate? . . .to thumb our collective noses at the disease that would try to tell us “we can’t.”

There ARE things I can’t do with diabetes. . .there are so many more that diabetes can’t stop me from doing.

Be Deliberate about celebrating life’s sweet victories.

 

When we get in the way of our own success. . . May 21, 2012

Filed under: Cancer,Diabetes — babscampbell @ 11:15 am
Tags: , , ,

We attended an event this week at Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center, which had the potential of being AMAZING.  Unfortunately, one person got in the way of her own success and it really detracted from the event.

Before I get going here. . I want to add that all the volunteers, servers and staff were FABULOUS!  They were gracious and warm.  I was never told directions when asking where to find the restroom, the elevator or the event, I was always taken and shown by a smiling, interactive person.  Kudos on choosing such wonderful personnel to work your event!

And. . .Let me say:
I’ve had the privilege of planning large-scaled events for work and other causes, so I will consider myself a bit of a specialist on the subject.  I’ve hosted as many as 250, and as few as 5.  I’ve been involved with differing types of events as well: sit-down breakfasts, buffets, evening cocktails, customers, board members, the CEO of a VERY large organization coming to  town to greet his troops on the ground.  I feel that each event was a success, as the response has always been favorable.

So, “Lady in the Bright White Suit”, here’s where I think you got in the way. . .and I’ll turn the spotlight on me at the end.

First of all, you only wear a blinding white suit to an event like this if you want to be seen and stand-out.  I appreciate the fact that you were “in charge” here, but whenever I’ve been “in charge” I try to blend into the crowd and bring the speakers to the fore-front.  I want each of my guests to feel that THEY are the most important person attending. . .THEY are the reason I threw this party.  If you wanted the guests to know you were in charge and able to answer questions, you should’ve been wearing the same shirt as your staff so we would know you were approachable.

Next,
You were ill-prepared.  Rather than talking about yourself, your church, your pastor and his wife, etc.  I would’ve liked to have more time hearing about the speakers, their backgrounds and their experiences.  You had a moderator present. . step back and let her moderate.  You didn’t even have the forethought to learn about HER accomplishments prior to introducing her.  AND, BTW. . LADA Diabetes stands for Latent-Autoimmune-Diabetes of an Adult.  Not “Ladened Auto. .uh. .latered. .uh, diabetes.”  This was so important to me, because it’s MY diagnosis too.  If you’re going to throw a party for a specific group of people, learn their lingo.

Next,
I know your church was sponsoring this event, however, the volunteers and church members present should’ve been sitting near the back of the room, rather than at the front three tables.  Most of them didn’t even have diabetes!  All of the PWDs (people with diabetes), asking questions were sitting in the back of the room and either had a hard time hearing or being heard when asking a question.

Next,
Even I know. . if you’re going to serve a buffet lunch during an event, open the buffet earlier so people are finished asking questions about the food and being served PRIOR to having your speakers begin.  One of the speakers, from whom I REALLY wanted to hear, was having to speak over the serving line conversations the entire tim. PWDs will always need to have conversations with servers regarding the food being placed on their plates.  We shouldn’t have to choose whether we’re listening to a speaker (the reason for our attending in the first place) or the server letting us know the ingredients in the soup.

Speaking of being able to hear. . .
It is SO VERY DISTRACTING for you to stand in the MIDDLE of the room gesturing to the speakers that you think they should speak with more gusto.  Seriously, you wandered all over the room as if you were an aerobics instructor, making all kinds of motions and mouthing instructions to your staff, who obviously had no idea what you were doing. Next time, if the sound quality is such a factor to the presentation, test the microphones prior to the event, then test them again, and maybe one more time.   If you want your guests to have a good time, be as invisible as possible .  .that’s always been my M.O.

Allow enough time for Q&A
I would like to add here that if you’d not spent as much time talking about yourself, your church and the pet names you have your Pastor’s wife, there may have been more time for the wonderful questions your audience had been asking.

These events need to ALWAYS be focused on your audience.  You had some wonderful, kind, grateful guests there.  They had fantastic questions.  Each one I interacted with stated that they were really looking forward to learning from the speakers.  I hope they didn’t go home feeling cheated.

I have attended a diabetes event at Samuel U Rodgers Health Center in 2009, just after diagnosis.  That event was warm, inviting and well-run.  Whomever planned that event, should be left in charge, because I felt that the focus was on diabetes, patient self-management of their disease, etc.

Why does all this matter anyways?  I mean, it was a free event, free food and time to get together with other PWDs to learn some new things.  Of course, I have thought about this ever since I attended and have come to the conclusion that I oftentimes get in the way of my own success too.

I wear the “flashy white suit” of wanting to be noticed on occasion.  Who doesn’t?  I am also a Christian and try to remember the first shall be last.  My goal is to always elevate others before me, but, I’m human and will admit that I like being noticed too.  There is a little bit of green streak that runs through me when I hear of cool trips others are taking and invitations to attend pharma events or other D-related conferences.   I’m so happy for them, but, I just wish I were able to go to.  Who doesn’t want to be included in the fun, right?

Sometimes I’m ill-prepared to face the challenges life has thrown at me.  I can choose to remain that way, or I can choose to learn all I can, every day, to be ready to fight, to help or to teach.  If I’m going to present information regarding a medical condition (or two), even with the disclaimer that I’m not a medical professional, I need to make sure my information is well-researched and thought through.  Anytime I speak, write or have an opinion, I want to be prepared.

There are times in which I have mis-placed people in my life.  I have made some more important than they probably should’ve been and discounted others who really needed to be “sitting at the front tables.”  A common example of what I’m trying to say here is. . there are times when work seems to take precedence over family.  We may be working on a volunteer project that takes more time than it should and our kids feel ignored.  It’s important to know who is really important to you and let them know that by seating them up close to you.

Sometimes I “serve lunch while someone is talking.” The people we care about should never be part of a multi-tasking exercise. There are times when we need to stop, look someone in the eye and hear what they’re saying to us.  How many times have I been with someone and distracted by my phone, my email, my text messages, pinterest, facebook or twitter.  I want to give people the attention they deserve.  Sometimes, they can change your life!

I don’t want to stand around directing people with motions and lip service.  I want to be prepared enough to make sure everyone can be heard, prior to giving them the floor.  They deserve to be heard and I need to step out of the way and not distract from their message.

I need to remember to stop talking about what I think is important and learn what is important to my audience, whether that audience is the Diabetes Online Community (DOC), my family, my church, my neighbors or a stranger that lands on my blog.

The reason I write this blog, is to share my experience and let others know they are not alone.  I try to share information that has been helpful for my diabetes and cancer treatments.  I hope you’re able to hear my heart as you read my words.  If not, I give you permission to call me out.  Just address your comments to “The Lady in the Bright White Suit.”

Be deliberate about getting out of the way. . .

 

Changing Vessels January 30, 2012

Filed under: Diabetes,Faith,Organic Living — babscampbell @ 1:09 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

“In a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.” -Warren Buffett

I found this quote today and felt it was appropriate.  My health has deteriorated over the past few years and I am NOT going to let that continue.  I’m not going to keep “patching leaks” and placing band-aids. Things must change. . .

I posted last week about some of the immediate changes I had made to improve my health and I’ve even surprised myself. . .I’m more committed to this today than when I first started.  That’s not characteristic of me.  I’m a quick starter, less follow-through.  You have a project for me?. . great!  Let’s do that!  But, a few weeks in, I’ve been distracted by the next new idea.

In the past week, I’ve tried to eat fresh, organic, home-spun meals and have been quite successful.  We went to dinner one night at Dodge City Distillery and I will admit to you all that I ate some deep-fried haystack onions.  My BG numbers were up that night, and hovered awhile. I learned my lesson.  I’ve also been to Oklahoma Joe’s, AMC Fork & Screen movie theater and Minsky’s Pizza this week.  However, my choices were MUCH better than before.  A green salad, a plate of hummus and veggies and Chicken Tagliata (Veggies sauteed in olive oil) were my choices and I had no issues with my BGs.  YAY!  I’m REALLY grateful my better food choices are leading to better diabetes control.  I have surgery coming up at the end of February and the better I manage my diabetes, the better I’ll heal.

So. . on to the other changes we’ve made toward becoming a greener, healthier home.

I tried making my own body wash. . didn’t like that recipe, so I’ll try again.  Once I perfect that, I’ll share the recipe with you all.

I made my own dusting spray, which smells really great and leaves the whole room smelling clean with just a hint of lavender.  I’ll post that recipe later too.  I need to find the original author to properly credit them.

Today, I made this AMAZING toothpaste as instructed by “Crunchy Betty.” I’ve scoured this website for all sorts of information and have really liked many of the recipes she’s come up with.

Toothpaste:
3 Tbsp coconut oil
3 Tbsp baking soda
25 drops peppermint oil
1 packet of stevia
2 tsp vegetable glycerin (optional)

Place the ingredients in a bowl and mash it all up with a fork until blended.  It really does form a nice “toothpaste” consistency.

Crunchy Betty states that she placed hers in a jar and dips her toothbrush in it each time.  I thought, just in case DH wants to try it too, I’d try to make it as toothpaste-like as possible.  I formed a cone with waxed paper, as my mama taught me for cake decorating, and pushed the toothpaste down into the tip.  I rolled down the remaining waxed paper and VOILA!  TOOTHPASTE!

I never realized it was so hard to take a picture of your own hand, squeezing toothpaste onto a brush!

This is made with baking soda, so there is a definite baking soda feel and taste, but you can also taste a hint of coconut from the carrier oil and the peppermint essential oil is just yummy. I did use it this morning, prior to buying the peppermint oil and while it worked and tasted fine, I did miss a minty feeling and taste.  I’m so glad I added the peppermint, it is just the kick it needed.

Why am I messing with such things?

  • Well, for one, it will save us some money.  The ingredients sound expensive at the beginning, but when you see how little you use of each of item, it will absolutely be a cost savings.
  • More importantly. . these are all natural, organic ingredients. You know that warning on the label that says you can’t swallow the toothpaste? Supervise children while brushing and teach them to not swallow it?  Yeah. . .no worries here.  You can actually eat this if you were so inclined.
  • Deliberate-This is my word for the year.  I can either continue my old habits without thinking, using the same products over and over without ever reading a label.  Or I can be DELIBERATE about my health.  I WILL deliberately look at what I ingest, I wear, I wash with and make sure that it is healthy for me.  God gave me this ONE body and after this past year of cancer, diabetes, surgeries and side effects, I plan to be a much better steward of His gift.

Let me know if you try this recipe. I’d like to know your thoughts.  What products have you replaced with more healthy, or organic versions?

 

D-Blog Day-A Trip to the Endo November 9, 2011

Filed under: Diabetes — babscampbell @ 10:11 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Today I had my quarterly visit with my Endocrinologist.  I. LOVE. MY. ENDO.

The visit starts off with the usual catching up. . “what’s been going on in your life since the last time?” he asks.  Well, I went into a narrative of my surgeries, my infection, my neuropathy, my radiation treatments. . . he listened, leaned back in his chair and smiled at me, then said,”you are pretty amazing to me.”  What?  Wha?  He continued, “You’ve really been through alot this past year and you’re in good spirits and thriving.  In the medical profession, I see so many people in different situations and coping at different levels.  I just think you’re a really strong, amazing person.”

Wow!  I do hear that from others and I’m happy they see my strength, (which is not my own, btw. .rather from my faith) and my warrior mentality.  He told me that he admires a Buddhist saying. “There are two kinds of problems; those with solutions and those without.  If yours is a problem with a solution, then apply the solution and move on.  If there isn’t one. . move on anyway and stop fretting about it.” That was a Dr. R paraphrase. . but, I like it.  I told him that I definitely have moments when I break down.  My poor husband and mother get to hear most of that.  But, I try to be a positive, upbeat person, so I allow myself to feel the down times, but refuse to wallow in it.  I give myself an hour to really cry, boo-hoo and blame everything under the sun for my situation and then, I need to go clean something.

After all this mutual admiration, he checked my eyes, my neck and lymph nodes and my feet.  Ahhh, my feet.  The last four treatments of chemotherapy left me with peripheral neuropathy. It’s most painful at night, with my feet burning and feeling like someone is stepping on them, but numb on the bottom.  I’ll never figure out how I can be numb and in pain at the same time. . but, there it is.  The pain radiates up into my calves and feels like someone is grinding away at my calf muscles.  I’ve been taking narcotic pain killers, just to be able to fall asleep at night and I end up waking up exactly four hours later, requiring another dose.

He poked around my feet and said, “how did you injure your foot here?”  What?  I haven’t injured my foot.  He continued poking around in front of my left ankle, “Oh, this is definitely an injury of some kind, you have a large swollen area here; looks like you’re building up quite a hematoma.”  Seriously, I have NO recollection of hurting my foot.  I insisted I had no idea that I’d injured my foot recently.  He smiled up, “Aha. . that’s what neuropathy is all about.  That’s why we check for you.  You’re obviously unable to feel your feet correctly and something has happened here.  It looks like a sprain maybe or you banged your foot against something.”  I have no idea. . but, I’m supposed to ice it up at any rate.

So some refilled prescriptions, a different med to help with the nerve pain, some sample insulin to keep in case my pump dies again, some more small talk and admiration and another appointment in 3 months.  Oh, and did I mention? My A1c is 6.3!  Woot!  I expected it to be much higher with all the surgeries and infection.  I head toward the door and he stops me to say. . “if you need anything, you call me, even if it’s not diabetes related.  I don’t offer that to everyone. . just the fighters.”  Thank you Dr. R.  I’ll be back soon enough.

 

It’s the little things. . . October 27, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — babscampbell @ 8:51 pm
Tags: ,

I can’t believe the little things that I have found myself celebrating:

  • I’ve been able to stand in the shower, for the whole shower AND while drying off.
  • My hair has finally grown enough that it lays down on top of my head. (this was today’s celebration!)
  • I changed both my infusion set AND my CGM sensor last night with no “stingers” or “bleeders.”
  • I reached out with my left arm as I worked on things today and the pain is gone.
  • I stopped by my office yesterday and they were in the middle of a computer conversion.  To help with the stress, the wonderful executive team arranged for a reflexologist to come in and give the employees a foot massage. Talk about being at the right place at the right time! They had one opening available and I jumped on it.
For every moment of feeling exhausted, not sleeping, the neuropathy pain at night, the lack of strength during the day, the appearance of my body. . these moments of celebration propel me forward.  One step forward, three steps back?  Feels more like, one giant leap forward, 1 step back.  It’s sort of like watching the stock market; it’s up one day, down the next, but over time, it continues to go up.

So, I guess you could say, my stock is rising.  I like that.

It’s easy to focus on the badness; the pain, the fear, the setbacks, the bad A1c, the high BG, the low BG, the feeling that you’re out of control. . . .

Or, you can realize that things go up and down and up and down, but they’re always trending up.

Think back over your life and think of some times when you were really feeling low.  Aren’t you better off today than you were back then, even on your worst day?

So, I can think back to 2009 when I was diagnosed with diabetes, my A1c was 13.8, I had no idea what to do or if I was going to die.  I changed Drs., got on insulin, met some people who’ve really helped, done alot of research online, read a few books. . and today, I’m managing quite well with an A1c of 6.8.

Then in March of this year I was told I had breast cancer.  Again, I had no idea what that meant, what was in store for me or if I was going to die.  Guess what? I’ve made it through the worst of it. I’ve been told I’m going to live a long and healthy life and now we just work on getting my body back.

Up, down, up, down. . . and so it goes.  Celebrate the “moments of wonderful,” (to borrow a phrase from Sara) even if it seems like a tiny, little accomplishment to others.  In fact, it’s the little things that propel us ever upward.

 

 
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