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Never Been So Happy To Schedule A Doctor’s Appointment!

15 Aug

I’ve posted before about the following: 1) I hate going to the doctor 2) I have a doctor I really like that I found through ZocDoc. So, you can imagine my distress when I went to schedule my regular appointment with my doctor to see his page had disappeared all together from ZocDoc!

I, being the worrywart (with a flair for jumping to the worst-possible conclusion) decided he must have left the practice or even the left the City and I’d have to start from scratching finding a new doctor. I was immediately worried I’d get a doctor that’d make me take insulin and pills to lose weight, disregard all my wishes, and make me cry regularly. (Yes, I cry at the doctors. I can be such a baby– I’m so sensitive!)

Figuring I’d call the office first thing in the morning just to be sure– I nearly jumped out of my seat when his page was back the next morning! Phew!

Image representing Zoc Doc as depicted in Crun...

ZocDoc Website (Image via CrunchBase)

So, I’ve got my next visit scheduled: September 27th at 8am. I’m hoping to lose a few more pounds by then and that my blood pressure and lab work all come back showing significant improvements.

It’s now been two years since I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. My health is still improving, but I know I’ve made vast strides since then. In the next few days I’ll be posting about my last two years living with Diabetes so be on the lookout for that.

When’s your next Doctor’s appointment? Do you have any goals you want to reach before then?

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Diabetic vs. Living with Diabetes

11 Aug

You might have noticed that I often refer to myself as a person with diabetes, or living with diabetes. But, I’ve never once referred to myself as a diabetic. Sure, by definition, I am. But– that’s not what I identify as.

It might seem like a subtle difference and just a difference in nomenclature; however, it’s a significant one.

In college, one of my majors was in Psychology. I remember in my Abnormal Psychology class they addressed the importance of this difference with regards to mental illnesses. It should be a person who suffers from schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, not a schizophrenic. A person is so much more than their illness– whether mental or physical.

By saying that I am diabetic, it makes it sound like that is all of my being. It is a part of me and my life, yes, but there is so much more to me than that. I am also a daughter, sister, friend, coworker, reader, blue-eyed, and freckled. Get the idea?

It’s amazing the implications of such small differences in the way we say things. I’m working on being much more conscious of things like this… in how I think about myself and how I think about others.

That’s It! Thursdays: I Am Not Scared Of My Diabetes

9 Aug

“Our medical records indicate that you may have diabetes. And it’s up to you to manage it. If you don’t, the consequences can be serious and life threatening.

No joke. That’s the first line of the letter from my insurance company that I came home to last night. Really? Is that supposed to motivate me to get healthier? To sign up for their “Diabetes Control Program” that they say is a personal health campaign?

Maybe some people. But not me. I’ve never been very motivated by fear, or threats, for that matter. All the POSITIVE things that can come about from me becoming a stronger, healthier, and happier person are what gets me moving. By making myself a priority and understanding my current health status and future goals, I can move forward.  Fear makes me freeze in place. It paralyzes me. It makes me feel like what I have is a death sentence. But in reality, I know it isn’t. For me, my diagnosis was a second chance– a reality check if you will.

“Get Healthy” Diabetes Threat Letter from my Insurance

And really, don’t you think I already know that when not managed diabetes can have terrible consequences?  Is this really supposed to be some sort of eye-opener for me?  Not quite. Everyone knows that.

But what many people don’t know is that when managed, a person with diabetes can live a healthy, happy long life.  If this letter started with that– maybe tempting me with learning better ways to be successful instead of threatening me to be compliant, I could have potentially taken it seriously. Instead, I find it almost insulting. Don’t worry though. I’ll make today a good day– I’ll work out, eat healthy, take my medicine, and check my blood sugars. I’ll be a model of good health. Not because of you, though, insurance company. Because of me. For me. For my loved ones. So, for this That’s It! Thursday, I’m focusing on the positive results I can have by managing my diabetes well– rather than the negative things that could come about should I decide not to take care of myself.  I need to focus on my goals and how to achieve them. That’s how I’ll move forward.

Do I Love My Blood Sugar Meter? Or Hate It?

28 Jul

That depends on what reading it’s giving me!  It’s easy to blame the little machine rather than hold myself accountable for what I did (or didn’t do) that’s causing the number I’m getting.

Today, I’m going to Catalpa Music Festival on Randall’s Island here in NYC with my sister. And, of course, with my trusty meter (it comes with me everywhere).

Blood glucose meter and testing strips

Blood glucose meter and testing strips (Photo credit: DeathByBokeh)

So, I’m going to leave you a link to an article that I was interviewed for earlier this year: “Exploring Our Love and Hate Relationships With Glucose Meters” by Amy Stockwell Mercer and posted on DiabetesMonitor.com. I highly suggest you check it out! And, check back in tomorrow for my weekly results and maybe even some fun tips about surviving a music festival.

Are you all doing anything great today? Whatever it is, I hope it’s fantastic!

How To Find A Good Doctor For You

27 Jul

What I look for in a doctor, might not be what you look for in a doctor. Besides areas of expertise, some of us what our doctors to have a certain type of personality or bedside manner. Some want to chat for 15 minutes before the exam starts and others are in and out the door before you even knew they were there. How do you find the right doctor for you? It can seem a bit intimidating; after all, as I’ve told you all before Doctors scare me silly.

It’s like any relationship. It can come from an introduction from a friend, family member, of colleague. It can come from chance. Or, in today’s society, it’s increasingly more likely that it’s coming from the internet.

I personally found mine through ZocDoc.com. Here, I was able to research all the doctors under the specialty I was interested in– that accepted my insurance none the less! I could explore their background, certifications, research, and areas of expertise. And, my favorite part of all, is that I could see many reviews from patients who had been to see that doctor. Once I found a doctor that I thought would be a good fit, I could then schedule an appointment with them directly on the website and fill out all registration forms online in advance of the appointment. How cool is that? I’m all for less time waiting (and stressing) at the office.

Conversation between doctor and patient/consumer.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now, here’s the important part. If it turns out that the doctor you go to see isn’t the right fit– you need to keep looking. It’s absolutely crucial that you find a doctor that you are able to trust, work with, and that you feel comfortable with. I think I probably drive my endocrinologist crazy. But, he calls me if I’m trying to ignore my lab results and helps me stay accountable. Which we all know is what I need. He apparently gets that too!

Do you have a doctor you really like? How did you find them?

FIRE Drills: High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

25 Jul

One thing is for sure– HIIT drills are not for the faint of heart. They let you push yourself harder than you thought you could go. And, as the familiar adage goes– when you push your body out of your comfort zone that’s when you begin to see change.

Let’s back up for a minute. What is this HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) non-sense? As some of you know, I’ve started TurboFire. At the heart of the TurboFire workout series are Fire Drills.  When the siren goes off, that’s when you k now you’ll be working at the utmost intensity for the next 30 seconds to a minute. At the end, you’ll be kindly rewarded with 30-40 seconds of rest as recovery time (but, don’t you dare stop moving!). According to the wikipedia on the subject, usually HIIT cardio sessions last between 9-20 minutes. The HIIT workouts in the TurboFire series seem to follow that, so far.

US Navy 050215-N-8796S-068 Chief Hospital Corp...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It also is supposed to give you the following benefits: improved fat burning and increased glucose metabolism. (If you’re interested in reading more about HIIT and it’s relationship to Type 2 Diabetes, I’d highly recommend the article at Precision Nutrition which you can find here.) I like how that sounds.  In fact, Chalene Johnson often says during the videos that you burn 9x the amount of fat. I’m no expert so I certainly don’t know about that, but I do like the challenge. I also like how much bang for your buck in terms of time that you get. We all try to cram so many things in our day– but can I really not find 15 minutes for one of these workouts? Even I, master of excuse making, have trouble with that one. So, I do. And by the way, you’ll feel so good when it’s over.

Have you ever done a HIIT workout? What did you think?

Restaurant Week NYC Riverpark: A Tom Colicchio Restaurant

21 Jul

One of my most intense memories from after my diagnosis was in a grocery store. I remember vividly wandering up and down the aisles mentally clinging to each item that I was convinced I’d never taste again. Brownies. Pretzels. Pancakes. the list went on and on. While I was right in thinking that my eating habits had to change, I was wrong by thinking that all these things had to be eliminated from my life all together. And, I do occasionally indulge. The thing is, instead of having a half dozen bagels or a whole box of cookies, I can have half a whole wheat bagel with natural peanut butter or an agave sweetened cookie.

Last night was one of those nights that I let myself “enjoy” a little more than usual. It’s Restaurant Week in NYC and my boyfriend and I took the opportunity to try out Tom Colicchio‘s restaurant Riverpark.

(Source)

It’s right on the East River with stunning views and usually would have been out of our price range. Instead, for $35 per person we each got an appetizer, entrée, and dessert. All generous portions and absolutely delicious. I started with a grilled calamari salad (baby greens, grapefruit and a vinaigrette), enjoyed a Berkshire pork chop (with grilled peaches, collards, and cippolini onions, pictured above) as my main, and finished with the most delicious caramel ice cream and peanut caramel chocolate tart. I also had a glass of wine and ended with a great cup of coffee to go with dessert. It was an all round amazing meal and overall experience.

And, I don’t regret it at all. I enjoy food. I especially enjoy good food. (Who doesn’t?) I know this was a special occasion and today I’m right back to eating healthy and working out. I’ve learned that I need to treat myself occasionally or else I end up burning myself out and binge eating. I’d rather eat one amazing, high quality meal then a box of oreos. I think the difference is that one is a conscious decision, and the other is mindless eating– which I’m trying to eliminate completely.

How about you– do you ever let yourself indulge? If so, what’s your favorite way?

Exercise: Time, Consistency, and its Effect on Blood Sugar

20 Jul

I know there’s a lot of different schools of thought about what time of day is the best for exercise. Should I go for a morning run right after waking up or should I take that aerobics class after work? If you ask me, it’s whatever time of day I can actually get my butt moving and of the couch.

But, it’s really not that simple. Especially when you take your blood sugar levels into consideration. As this article in Health magazine explains “Exercise Causes Blood Sugar to Go Down — Most of the Time.” Of course, all of our bodies respond differently to exercise and we all know that we’re supposed to be exercising. In fact, this article says “exercise can even cause a drop in blood sugar for up to 12 to 24 hours). But, our blood sugar levels reaction to exercise is also very individualized.

RUN Hills Pullover in action!

RUN Hills Pullover in action! (Photo credit: lululemon athletica)

Surprisingly, the article explains that the time of day you exercise can also have an effect on your blood sugar and what is best for you might not be best for the next person (whether they have diabetes or not!). If you’re having trouble figuring out when your body reacts best to activity, add it to your list of questions to ask your doctor.  My doctor, for example, suggested that I might do well with exercising after a meal to help with any post-meal sugar spikes. By finding this ideal time for exercise (both physically and mentally ideal, hopefully!) and making it into a routine will help with consistency. For those of us with diabetes, the consistency has added benefits. It helps us keep our blood sugar levels at a good level, without lows or extreme highs that can be caused by random bouts of activity. To put it simply, your body begins to adjust to the activity level and even to expect it.

To me, what’s important about the consistency is that it provides a regular routine. Something you can hold yourself accountable to. I’m still trying to figure out what mine is– but I was really proud that I woke up early this morning to work out since I knew I wouldn’t be able to get my TurboFire in this evening. TurboFire is giving me a scheduled workout to fit into my day (with rest days scheduled out too), and now I need to figure out the best way to make it a routine that can last. Part of that, is finding my own “ideal” workout time of day.

What time of day do you like to exercise?

The Non-Medical Costs of Diabetes

17 Jul

I recently read a study in NPR called “Diabetes Economic Toll Goes Far Beyond Medical Bills.” As many of you know, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes at Age 22, so this article certainly hit home.  It goes on to detail the many ways that the increasing number of people with Diabetes has a huge financial impact on this country– not only with medical expenses but also even goes on to say “young people diagnosed with the disease are [5-7%] more likely to drop out of high school and [8-13%] to forgo or fail to finish college.”

The stats they provide are definitely alarming. Though, for me, what’s jarring isn’t the focus of the article– which says that the increased number of dropouts is estimated to cost society $7 Billion to $11 Billion Dollars.

A kit used by a woman with gestational diabetes.

But instead, why are these young people dropping out at such higher rates?

I have a few theories, but would love to hear what you think.

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Why I Quit Gymnastics At Age Five

16 Jul

When I was little, I was signed up for gymnastics. I remember fondly swinging around the metal bars and liking that I got to wear my hair in pig tails.

But, I wasn’t doing gymnastics for long. My mom offered to buy me a brand new Barbie and a chocolate ice cream cone in exchange for no longer going to gymnastics class. (I guess I wasn’t very good!)

Chocolate ice cream

Barbie + Chocolate Ice cream > Gymnastics

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