Friday, August 29, 2008

Some people wait a lifetime...

Tell the world what you believe are the 10 Defining Moments of your Generation - and then tell the world what you believe are YOUR personal 10 Defining Moments. Then tell the world why you chose the moments you did. (I bent the single moment rule a bit...)

I may be young, but I've lived long enough to experience some defining moments and things that have changed the world we live in. So here goes.

10 Defining Moments of your Generation

Boy Bands
If you were a girl between the ages of 7 and 18 during the late 90's boy bands were probably a part of life. Friendships were made or broken over your love for a Backstreet Boy (Brian) or your favorite *Nsync member (Justin). My first concert was *Nsync! Some may argue that it's not good music, but it provided the feel good sing-a-long soundtrack for so many lives.

Columbine I was only 7, but I remember watching news and talk shows for days soaking in the information, fear, and sadness. For weeks it was all the neighborhood mom's could talk about. Everyone began assessing their peers in a different way. It instilled a sense of fear in school aged people across our country that still remains today.

2000 Election Al Gore "lost"...and the rest is terrible history.

September 11, 2001 Everyone can tell you where they were the day the world stopped.
I was in 5th grade. I saw some of it happen live. My teacher turned on the class room television to watch a school wide fund raising video and before she found the right channel we watched a plane fly into the second tower. 15 minutes later my neighbor was at my school picking up 7 kids from the neighborhood to bring us home to be "safe". I spent the afternoon watching the news and drawing in my friend's basement.
Our country will never be the same.

Cell Phones From huge car phone carrying cases to the sleek and slim versions of today, cell phones have changed the way people communicate. Blackberries and iPhones, oh my! Some people don’t even have land lines anymore, we are a wireless generation.

iPod Steve Jobs is a genius. Everyone needs one, everyone has one. As soon as you get one, there's a new generation or an update. Only 99 cents for a song! Sign me up! Music became portable and hip.

Book reports would never be the same. Every question had an answer. Arguments between friends would be proven with the simple phase, 'Google it.'

Because calling someone is just too much work. You have to stay connected! A distraction in class or a meeting. You can do it in the car, on a train, on a bus, in a coffee shop. I hate texting it drives me crazy, but apparently my generation finds it as beneficial as breathing.

Facebook Once only for college students the expanded version connects friends, family, coworkers, and classmates. Whether it's the privacy worries or high school students making hate groups, Facebook is always in the news. It's changed the way people connect. I don't know what I would do without mine it's one of the only ways I can keep in touch with my friends from public school.

2008 (Democratic) Election Process Watching as two faces that looked like mine, one biracial and one a woman, make strides in a way that no others could do before has been amazing. You can't help but feel how monumental this is. 18 million votes towards ending discrimination against women. A grass roots effort provides a Democratic nominee for President. Young people getting involved in politics. You don't have to be an Obama supporter or even a Democrat to feel it, we are truly living history.

My 10 Defining Moments

September 19, 1991 at 8:05 PM without this moment none of it would be possible.

Diagnosis September 21, 1996. Five short years without Type 1 Diabetes came to an end, and so began the struggle that life with this disease is.

My Sister's Lupus Diagnosis I was in 3rd grade. My sister was in an out of doctor's offices with mysterious symptoms, and then finally we had an answer. The same disease that my father's sister died from when I was only a few years old.

The DC Sniper Shootings At 11 years old I'd witnessed a few national tragedies, but this one hit closer to home than even 9/11. Going to school seemed unsafe. Recess and PE were held indoors. Afternoons were spent playing with friends in the backyard or basement, but never in the street. Fear became a way of life until the suspects were arrested.

Anxiety & Depression My freshman year of high school brought a lot of changes. A new school, a bigger student body, harder work, and distance from my friends. Things started going down hill quickly. I would get up every morning and force myself to school. I had never been so unwilling to go to school in my entire life. School was my thing. Some days were easier than others. Some days I couldn’t get out of bed or past the bathroom. At the time I wasn’t exactly sure why school just didn’t fit.
Coincidentally at the same time my father started to spiral out of control (later we would find out it was a symptom of Bipolar disorder). He lost his job and did things he can never take back, causing major turmoil in our family.
I struggled. With school not feeling like a comfortable place and home in shambles, my anxiety manifested as a stomach issue. So my mom, tired and weery, took me from doctor to doctor trying to figure it all out. It wasn’t physical it was mental/emotional. By January it had gotten so bad that I couldn’t/wouldn’t go to school. I spent a week in an adolescent psych ward after a suicide attempt. I was only 14. I eventually returned to school and finished the year, but everything wasn’t perfect.
Looking back I wonder if things could have been different. Could I have dealt with my school issues if home had been stable? I’ll never know. The sky was falling and the ground beneath me was crumbling, all I could do was try to hold on. I’m here now and that’s all that matters.

Leaving Public School After the trials of my freshman year returning to school was a daunting task. Would it happen again? Could I survive it? Did I have the coping skills to get through the year? At the same time things at home were still difficult. It’s safe to say the cycle repeated itself. The school tried to help, but nothing really worked for my situation. By the end of sophomore year it became obvious that I could not keep up with the day to day of intense school work and the problems at home. Putting on your happy face at school, trying to get good grades, and dealing with family issues became too much work. I basically lost a year of school work because of my inability to attend school regularly and the school’s inability to find solutions that worked for me. By June I had already chosen the home schooling program I wanted to use, and I had been taken out of the public school system.
I don’t know if things could have improved if I had stayed. The other option would have been to be transferred to a different school for kids with behavioral problems (not really the issue I was dealing with, but the only option the county could offer). I know that would not have worked for me. I can’t say that I regret the decision to leave because I was so unhappy at the time, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t wonder. I don’t look back and think I could have changed anything. I was in a terrible place mentally. I was so shut down that nothing but time and hard work could change the circumstances. The hardest part has been being away from my friends. I still struggle with the fact that each day they evolve together, and I’m here alone. Thankfully they try to keep me included by sneaking me into school events, sharing gossip, and calling frequently, but it’s just not the same.

Starting on my pump I don’t share much about my beginnings with diabetes because it was a difficult time. My family has gone through a lot over the years, and I don’t think I could tell the story of my life with Diabetes without placing blame on someone. I just don’t want to do that. I had a terrible time with doctors when I was younger. The office was always booked for months, sometimes going 5-7 months without an appointment. I hated getting blood drawn so the doctors would compromise with me. I had one doctor who would push the pump at every appointment, yet never explain a single thing about how it worked. I was on Humulin L and R for longer than most patients, mostly because I refused to take shots at school. So my decision to start on a pump was many rough years in the making, to those close to me it’s almost a miracle. It had to be on my terms. Now instead of hating life with diabetes, I’m content and proud of all that I can do to manage this disease.

First A1c Under 7 It was along time coming. I worked hard for it, and I'm still just as happy about it as I was that day.

Learning to drive So I failed the test the first time, but I was driving a Town and Country. Can you parallel park a Town and Country under pressure? No! I can however do it in real life.
Driving has been a way for me to exert my independence. I love picking up my friends and going somewhere just because we can. No parents listening in on our conversations. Rescuing a friend in need. Now that I know how to drive I feel so in control, and you know how I love control! It's wonderful. Now I just have to start saving money for my dream car.

This Blog I love the Diabetes OC! This blog and those of you who read it have helped me so much in the past year. I don't think I would have felt so confident starting my pump without you guys. I don't really talk about Diabetes in real life and this outlet has allowed me to express what almost 12 years with this disease is like. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

(In case you didn't know...The post title is from the Kelly Clarkson song, "A Moment Like This" because what is my generation without American Idol?)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Set your DVR's

This past weekend I caught a wonderful special on the Discovery Health channel called Diabetes: Demystifying the Myths. It was perhaps the most comprehensive and well explained presentation on Diabetes in general, but it really defined so many of the differences between Type 1 and Type 2. Topics like, "Diabetes is caused by eating to much sugar" and "Because you have Diabetes you can't have any sugar," were demystified in detail including how these things applied to Type 1 or Type 2. They talked pumps, exercise, eating habits, diagnosis stories, and emotions. From Gary Hall Jr. to a Pre-Diabetic to a Type 1 man and his Type 1 father, the most impressive thing had to be the varying faces of Diabetes the program showed. If you have ever thought, "if only I could summarize life with Diabetes in the perfect way" this is the program for you. If you have the chance it's definitely worth the hour out of your day, and I would encourage you to share it with others to spread education. You can click the link above for the scheduled airing times.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The numbers look excellent.

Or at least that's what my doctor thinks.

I had an endo appointment this morning, and everything seems to be looking good. A1c is holding steady at 6.9%. My meter averages look okay, although they could be a bit better. I've lost 3 pounds. I'm cutting back late night/early morning basal rates to avoid overnight lows and borderline wake up numbers like the pesky 78mg/dL that has greeted me almost every morning this week. I'm going to start using Symlin again at a lower dosage, but if it causes the same problems I'll stop. As we walked out of the office I thought to myself, "I'm pretty good at this whole diabetes thing." After the years of terrible doctors in the beginning of my life with Diabetes, I never thought that I would be able to achieve what I have. I have had 3 consecutive A1c's under 7%, and I usually walk out of my appointments with a smile. Although my management is solely my responsibility, I did not do this all on my own. The DOC has played a huge role in my ability to achieve what I have in the past year. Thank you so much!

My next appointment is in November, and I hope by then I'll be able to share an even better A1c report. I'm aiming to get closer to 6.5%, and with your help I know anything is possible.

I apologize for such scattered posting these past few months, I haven't had much to say. Although I have not been commenting, I have been reading a lot of DOC blogs. I hope everyone is well! I'll be back soon. Who knows, I might even jump on the vlog bandwagon just to switch things up...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Quilt For Life

Yesterday, I took my first solo trip into DC to view Quilt for Life and meet a few OC bloggers.
The quilts were beautiful. As I wandered through the display a few of the quilts even made me a little emotional. Seeing diagnosis dates and birthdays only a few years apart was difficult. Looking at the faces who had known this disease longer than I have wasn't easier either. We need a cure, pure and simple.
Towards the end of the display I spotted Allison. A few minutes later she walked over, with open arms to greet me. Then we found Kevin, his wife, and the twins (absolutely adorable) a few rows away. After a photo op in front of the Capital and a chat in the grass, Kevin had to get back to work so we all said goodbye and parted ways for lunch. Allison, Wendy, and I walked to a Ruby Tuesday's a few blocks away. We covered a variety of topics during the trek and lunch; crazy endos, my northern New Jersey culture shock, college, JDRF walks, if my was blog pink or purple and more. After lunch we walked to the nearest Metro stop where I had to help Allison and Wendy navigate purchasing fare cards. I found this extremely entertaining, because I rarely use Metro. After we made it through the gate we said our goodbyes, and I made my way home.
It was interesting to put real live faces, voices, and personalities to some of the blogs I read. Like that final missing puzzle piece. If you haven't met another blogger yet, I would recommend that you try to make that happen. It's definitely a worthwhile experience.

I'm sure Allison will have a post later with pictures, so be on the look out!