Food food food

I’ve been trying to eat healthier for the past week or so. I started telecommuting (working from home) last week, and after day 2 I realized that the temptation to get something to snack on from the fridge every hour was going to be detrimental. So I started filling the house with healthy snacks. 


I have many friends who are beachbody coaches, or have done competitive body building, or follow IIFYM, or are just legit amazing people who are all on a journey to better themselves. I want to be like that too, so that’s another aspect of my drive to eat healthier. 


My husband, who is the pickiest eater on the planet, decided he wants to try eating better as well. I’ve been making healthier meals, and even bought the ingredients for protein and fruit-packed smoothies and have been having one every weekday morning. 


Of course, it’s been wreaking havoc on my blood sugar numbers, because my body is used to taking in so much junk and much higher amounts of carbs! (Plus I am move physically active now that I started softball – there will be a post on that later). 


Overall I’m feeling more energetic and I’m hoping that I might see a few pounds come off between eating healthier and being more active, but we’ll see. For now the biggest struggles will be finding recipes that both Allen and I will eat (the fajitas were full of compromise lol) and just to not fall off the wagon! The most important thing for me to remember is small compromises are okay – like having a diet pop once in a while (rather than 2x a day, or going cold turkey on them entirely). 

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I’m Okay

I have really been slacking off in blogging. Unfortunately, diabetes doesn’t slack off. Ever. 

I reached my four year diaversary in July without much fuss. I just didn’t have the energy to “celebrate” this year like I have in years past. 

I think I’m dealing with a bit of diabetes burnout. My numbers are still okay, I’m just feeling more.. Blah about the whole process. I’m not nearly as excited to educate others here recently. That’s a weird realization and an uncomfortable thing to be saying [writing], considering that is my entire platform on this blog. But I think we all go through ups and downs and phases. I know I wasn’t always a super vocal advocate so I suppose it would be normal to go through a period of time where I tone down the advocacy a bit. 
Not that I’m any less passionate about the subject. Just less vocal, for now. 


We’ve been very busy on the photography side of the house this summer and it will continue well into the fall as well. 

I’m not ready for summer to end. I’ve been involved in a lot of other activities this summer, including a dodgeball tournament for my work, playing LOTS of Pokemon Go (and even dressing the part), making new friends, hitting up the beach and getting some horrific tan lines, getting my hair colored for the first time in 8 years, and preparing to be part of a pilot program for telecommuting for my work. 


So overall, I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time. I have some of the most amazing friends on the planet. I’m enjoying life and of course not letting diabetes ruin any experience for me, even the beach. 

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Filed under diaversary, LeWayne Productions, Photography, Real life, Support system

“Use Me On Medical Supplies!”

My insurance changed July 1. I changed to a HSA account, after weighing it out against the other traditional plan my company offered and determined the HSA would be cheaper in the long run. And when I submitted the request for my first new order on this insurance to my medical supply company, this is what I got back:

90 supply of sensors is $1215.48

g4 transmitter is $571.20

90 days of pump supplies is $433.80

12 boxes of  test strips is $284.04

 

Grand total is $2504.52 but you have a $2000 deductible so the charge will be $2000. Since you’re meeting your deductible, you have a 0% coinsurance, so your next order will be no cost to you.

Yes, I met my deductible 18 days into my new insurance plan year, on my very first order for the year. And I’ll have to meet it again in January. Because I definitely have $2000 just sitting around in an account screaming “Use me on medical supplies!” 

Sadly, those of us with chronic conditions look at insurance plans and think, “How quickly can I meet this deductible?” Because usually, the question isn’t IF we’ll hit it, but rather WHEN. 

Oh, and the kicker: the medical supply company screwed up the calculations at first and were going to charge me $1300 but it kept declining. Turns out my HSA card only lets me spend $1000 max per transaction. Because that makes a lot of sense. 

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Things My Mother Doesn’t Know About My Sexual Assault

This post is written anonymously by a dear friend of mine who approached me recently with an important story to tell, and needed a space in which to tell it. Although this post does not have anything to do with photography or diabetes, it hits close to home for me and so many others as well. Please note, this post may be difficult to read for those who have suffered through sexual assault.

 

The first time my father sexually assaulted me, I was almost precisely twelve and a half years old. It was a cold, cold night in late February, and I had awakened from a terrifying nightmare and run into my parents’ room. Later, I would look back on this and viciously curse myself for having been such a baby. Who goes into their parents’ room after a nightmare, when they’re twelve? Idiot. You should’ve known better. But in that moment, Mom and Dad’s bedroom was still synonymous with safety. Comfort. Peace. The first few minutes after I climbed into their bed, on my dad’s side of the bed, cuddling with him to shake off the remnants of the nightmare that were still embedded in my mind, were the last time I would ever associate such words with my parents’ room.

My mother was barely awake when I ran into their room, which is why I got into Dad’s side of the bed, and she was fast asleep and snoring lightly within a couple minutes of the time I got into their bed. I thought my dad was asleep, too. It took me years—years—to admit to myself, and later to others, like my therapist and my husband, that he wasn’t.

He wasn’t.

He wasn’t asleep the other half dozen times he sexually assaulted me over the subsequent six months or so, most of those violations occurring in my bedroom. My mother never knew. In fact, there’s quite a bit that my mother doesn’t know—or, perhaps, refuses to admit, or simply does not care to know—about what happened to me during those six months. The first thing that she apparently does not know is that what happened is sexual assault. Not “inappropriate touching” or “a horrible mistake your father made”, as she tends to classify it on the rare occasions we discuss it. “Honey, sexual assault means rape. You weren’t raped. So you can’t go around telling people you were sexually assaulted. They’ll assume you were raped, and that’s not what happened. It could’ve been worse, Honey. Don’t you see? You could’ve been raped, and you weren’t. What happened to you was…was…” She always struggles for words at this point in the description. She always hesitates. “Well, it was certainly wrong, and inappropriate, and I guess you could call it sexual molestation.”

“Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.” (United States Department of Justice, Apr 1, 2016)

The first time, that night in their bed, he slipped both hands under my shirt and started fondling my breasts. I wasn’t wearing a bra. I never wore a bra to bed back then. I was wearing an oversize t-shirt as a pajama top, a t-shirt with a picture of Amelia Earhart on the front. She was one of my childhood heroes, and my grandfather had bought it for me. I never wore it again after that night. I don’t remember what underwear I was wearing, but it was probably something with flowers or hearts or pink and purple stripes. Because I was, after all, still a child.

A child.

More to the point, I was his child.

I can guarantee you that I never once gave “explicit consent” to any of the things he did to me. Not that I was ever asked, but even if I had been, I would never have consented to that. It escalated quickly over the following weeks and months. A lot of it hurt. I bled. I was never technically raped, which I’m supposed to be grateful for, but in every other way, my sexual education came from my father, when I was 12.

“Inappropriate.” “A huge mistake.” Years later, when I finally confessed the abuse to our family therapist and everything came out in a tidal wave of ugliness, my father would tell me that he “just fell into sin. I listened to the voice of Satan rather than the voice of Jesus, when I touched you.” At 16, when he made that confession, I believed that wholeheartedly. That explanation was sufficient for me. It wasn’t until nearly 10 years later, when I began to have suffocating flashbacks that resurrected the memories in horrific detail, that I started to consider the possibility that maybe that explanation wasn’t enough. I started to think that maybe I had been truly, horribly violated, and “the devil made me do it” wasn’t a sufficient enough explanation for the evil that had been forced on me. It took another couple of years for me to be able to admit, to myself and to others, that my father had committed these actions on purpose, with full knowledge of what he was doing and the impact it would have on me later. That realization, paltry as it may sound, shook my foundations and threw my entire world into chaos.

In the years after my father confessed to sexually assaulting me (except he referred to it as inappropriate touching, never using such “harsh, awful” descriptions such as incest, sexual assault, or child abuse), I had toed the family’s party line about the “incidents”, which was: “Your father made some awful mistakes, and he’s so, so sorry for them. He’s repented, and Jesus has forgiven him, and we’ve all forgiven him as a family, so that’s that.” The general expectation was that there would be a shelf life on “dealing with all this”, which meant that by the time I was out of high school, only two years after he confessed, I was met with eye rolls and sighs of disapproval any time I mentioned “all that stuff from the past”.

My parents are still married. My mother never pressed charges against my father. He is not on the sex offenders’ registry and has never been prosecuted, or punished in any way. Only my immediate family knows what happened to me; none of the rest of my relatives are aware. The family’s party line is still firmly in place, all these years later. Therefore, when I reached the point of admitting that my father had intentionally, willfully forced me to perform sexual acts when I was barely into puberty, and that he had violated my innocence in every sense of the word, I couldn’t really deal with it, at first. Now, thanks to a wonderful support system of my husband, dear friends, and a great therapist, I can say this unabashedly: my father sexually assaulted me repeatedly when I was 12 years old, intentionally and without regard for the impact it would have on my life.

And with that admission, there are others, the things my mother does not know and probably will never know about the sexual assaults I endured when I was twelve. Here are some of them:

I thought he was asleep the first time, that night in their bedroom. I had to believe that; I couldn’t accept any other explanation. So I was really confused when he pulled me aside the next morning, before we left for church, and said he was so sorry for accidentally touching me the night before. “We probably shouldn’t bother Mama about this, okay, Princess?”

The next time, he came into my bedroom in the middle of the night. I slept with a couple of teddy bears, and my bedspread was patterned with multi-colored hearts. I still played with Barbies during the day, and some of them were sitting on my desk. Later, I wondered if he had hesitated at all, seeing the teddy bears and the Barbies and the bedspread, remembering that I was still very much a little girl. His little girl. Maybe he hesitated, maybe he paused to think about what he was about to do, but that didn’t stop him.

That was the last time my bedroom felt like a safe haven.

It hurt. I cried. There was some blood, after he left. I was too young to understand why I was bleeding. I assumed I had started my period.

He eventually made me give him hand jobs and a blow job. I never told anyone that until a year ago, because I was so ashamed and so afraid to admit it, even to myself.

He called me Princess, which had always been his nickname for me, but he used it in such a vile way. To this day, the hairs on my arms stand up when he calls me that.

He told me I was so pretty, just like my mama.

He told me to be a good girl and be quiet.

Near the end, a few weeks before the last time he assaulted me, he became increasingly angry and cruel. He put his hand over my mouth and ordered me, between clenched teeth, to “keep your damn mouth shut. If you tell anyone about this, I will beat you so bad you’ll want to call the law.” He threatened to do to my little brother, four years younger than me, what he was doing to me. He knew that that would keep me quiet and compliant, and it did.

I was terrified to go to sleep at night.

I was terrified all the time, actually.

Because I didn’t know anything about sex except that you had to sleep in the same bed as the other person, and my dad was coming into my room and getting into my bed with me, I assumed I was pregnant. I agonized during those six months about how I would explain that to my mom.

The time he asked me to give him a blow job, I initially refused. I cried. I didn’t know what a blow job was, but I had an inherent sense that it was wrong for him, an adult, my dad, to be asking me to give him one. I cried and I said no. At first, he took me in his arms, settled me on his lap, and cuddled me like he used to do when I was little. He held me until I stopped crying, and for a few brief moments, as that scared, shy, awkward, homeschooled, sheltered 12-year-old who didn’t understand what had been happening to her but knew deep down that it was wrong, I thought that maybe it was over. Maybe all this was going to stop and he’d go back to just being my daddy again. That’s what I thought. I remember so vividly, thinking that and sighing with relief for the first time in months.

Then he backhanded me across the face. He took his clothes off and dropped his voice down low, which let me know he meant business more than any of his words could. “When I tell you to do something, you obey. Do. You. Understand. Me?”

I understood. I gave him a blow job. I cried the entire time, because my face hurt where he had hit me, and because I couldn’t breathe with the pressure of him in my mouth, and because I knew I had done something to deserve all of this. I had been a bad, bad little girl, even though I didn’t understand how. I cried because it left an awful taste in my mouth, and because he didn’t tuck me back into bed before he left my room. He just put his clothes back on and walked out. I thought he didn’t love me anymore.

Now, as an adult, I wonder if he ever did.

It took a full year after the sexual assaults stopped for me to believe that they were really over. I lived in a nearly constant state of terror that entire year. I remember almost nothing about that year, except a vague sense of fear and foreboding.

Those are some of the things my mother doesn’t know about my sexual assaults. Those are the things she does not want to know and can’t accept about her husband, the father of her children, the man she’s built her life around for the past thirty-plus years. Those are the things that haunt me at night, that creep up on me in the form of flashbacks and nightmares, the things that make it hard to get out of bed in the mornings, sometimes. These are the things that sometimes make me wish that my mother knew how to be my mother, first, instead of my father’s wife. These are the things that stole my childhood, that damaged my soul, that inflicted more pain than I can ever explain. These are the things that were not my fault, although often I can’t make myself believe that I didn’t play some role in what was done to me. These are the things that make it difficult to have an intimate physical relationship with my husband—not because I don’t want to, but because I can’t. My mind and my body remember all the trauma and won’t let me, sometimes. These are the things that my husband and I have spent nights crying over, when we should have been enjoying intimate moments together. These are the scars I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

And that, Mom, is what sexual assault really is.

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Call it Magic

I can never say enough about how grateful I am for the Dexcom Share technology, which is a direct result of the Nightscout developers and the #WeAreNotWaiting movement. They made wizardry with diabetes supplies and pressured companies to make data more accessible. I don’t know how they did it, other than some kind of tech magic. 


I had an engagement session today and I watched my blood sugar on my Pebble watch throughout it. Nothing major happened at this shoot. My life wasn’t in danger due to a rapidly rising or falling blood sugar. 


However, simply HAVING the technology and KNOWING that I was fine the entire time? It’s so beyond the thanks I could ever say. The peace of mind is truly priceless, because when I’m not distracted by wondering what my BG is, I’m able to give 150% of myself into what I’m doing. And that’s when the magic happens. 

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#DBlogWeek: They Don’t Care About You

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Check out my other #DBlogWeek posts here. Learn more about #DBlogWeek here.

Today is my fourth post for #DBlogWeek. Here’s today’s topic!

Most people who live with a chronic illness end up with a lot of experience when it comes to dealing with healthcare. How would you improve or change your healthcare experience? What would you like to see happening during medical visits with your healthcare team? How about when dealing with your health insurance companies? What’s your Healthcare Wish List or Biggest Frustration? Today is the day to share it all!

I’ve discussed the insane cost of my supplies here, and I’ve also written about how Obamacare saved my life. However, I’ve mentioned a little more quietly that I was hoarding supplies all last year.

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So here’s what I’ve discovered in my short time of being type 1 and dealing with lame adult things like insurance companies.

  1. Know what your deductible is and how long it will take you to meet it. Sometimes this can take a little estimating, but it’s worth figuring up if your work/insurance offers more than one deductible level like mine does. I went for the higher premium/lower deductible plan this year because I am able to hit a $1000 deductible in 2 months time – and that made the overall year’s cost lower than the seemingly cheaper $1500 deductible plan.
  2. Never stop hounding. Your supply company is at your mercy, not the other way around. If you know it’s authorized, or you’re supposed to have your shipment on a certain day and it isn’t there (AHEM, Solara), hound them. Email them every day. Call them twice a day. Ask for supervisors. This is your LIFE on the line – and you are your own biggest advocate. They don’t care about you, so you have to do everything in your power to get what you need.
  3. Know and accept that you may have to choose a job based on insurance. This is a reality we have to face. The state of American healthcare today means that we have to do whatever we can to have the best opportunity at survival – which means never ruling out the fact that your company may change their insurance to something completely terrible (as my husband’s did this last year) and you may need to look for a new job with better insurance. Dear America, please stop sucking and revolutionize healthcare a la Australia or Canada, please!
  4. If your medical care team isn’t working for you – switch! My initial misdiagnosis led me to seek other options for care, and that ended up being in my best interest. I found a doctor who trusts my judgment and listens to what I want, and we work together to find the best treatments for me. I can’t say enough about him and I wish everyone had a doctor as great as mine!

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I hope this helps someone in some way!

Read more posts for #DBlogWeek here.

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#DBlogWeek: Please Don’t Say…

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Check out my other #DBlogWeek posts here. Learn more about #DBlogWeek here.

Today is day three of #DBlogWeek! Here’s today’s topic:

Many advocate for the importance of using non-stigmatizing, inclusive and non-judgmental language when speaking about or to people with diabetes. For some, they don’t care, others care passionately. Where do you stand when it comes to “person with diabetes” versus “diabetic”, or “checking” blood sugar versus “testing”, or any of the tons of other examples? Let’s explore the power of words, but please remember to keep things respectful.

Am I a person with diabetes? Am I a diabetic? There are a whole bunch of articles discussing the differences, what is proper, etc.

Here’s my take: I don’t care if I’m described as a person with diabetes or as a diabetic. But that’s because I have bigger fish to fry.

do care when people say I’m “suffering from diabetes.”

Yes, I have a chronic, as-of-yet incurable autoimmune disease. But is this the face of someone who is suffering?

No. No, it isn’t.

So please, be mindful of your wording when it comes to that. I am not suffering, so please don’t say I am!🙂

Read more posts for #DBlogWeek here.

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#DBlogWeek: Over-Teched

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Check out my other #DBlogWeek posts here. Learn more about #DBlogWeek here.

Today’s #DBlogWeek topic is:

We think a lot about the physical component of diabetes, but the mental component is just as significant. How does diabetes affect you or your loved one mentally or emotionally? How have you learned to deal with the mental aspect of the condition? Any tips, positive phrases, mantras, or ideas to share on getting out of a diabetes funk?

This is so timely for me because I just took a couple short technology breaks last week. One was because my husband and best friend both took me to the Prom!

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Okay, so it was an adult Prom, but Allen and I were not allowed to attend Prom in high school, so we went the full 9 yards and got flowers and everything.

And although I’m sure I could have stuffed my pump somewhere, or even gotten a dress with pockets, I decided I wanted to be free for a night of fun with my husband and friend so I switched to MDI for the evening. I did keep my Dexcom on though.

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Then later in the week, I decided I wanted to be free from my pump again, since I had to pull my Dexcom sensor anyway because after almost 4 weeks, it was starting to get pretty wonky. So I took a couple days and went back to old fashioned MDI.

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“So why did you switch back to pens?”, asked a girl on Instagram. While technology is great and I am hopelessly addicted to my cell phone, I do get overwhelmed sometimes. I get frustrated that it’s time to change my site (AGAIN!?!), I get annoyed with the incessant beeping and vibrating of the pump and CGM, and I get tired of having all the things all over my body.

Sometimes I just want to be ABBY, not ABBY+TECH.

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It’s something that [probably] doesn’t make sense to those of you who don’t deal with a medical device attached to your body, keeping you alive, 24/7/365, but to those who go through this like I do, I’m sure I’m not alone. Diabetes burnout is real, and so is technology burnout. For me, occasional tech breaks help me avoid both of these burnouts.

Read more posts for #DBlogWeek here.

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#DBlogWeek: Shout from the Rooftops

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#DBlogWeek is this AMAZING Diabetic Online Community event where for one week, all us bloggers have a broad topic given to us for each day and we all tackle it in our own way. It’s hosted by Karen over at Bitter~Sweet and this is year 7 of the event!

The first topic for the week is as follows:

Lets kick off the week by talking about why we are here, in the diabetes blog space. What is the most important diabetes awareness message to you? Why is that message important for you, and what are you trying to accomplish by sharing it on your blog? (Thank you, Heather Gabel, for this topic suggestion.)

So why am I here? If you’ve just started following, I was diagnosed at a PM Care facility with diabetes on July 10, 2012. Unfortunately, I was misdiagnosed as type 2 for five long months before being reclassified as type 1 in December 2012. I was 22, married and fresh out of college at diagnosis, and have no family history of type 1 diabetes.

I’m not a typical diabetes case, which is why I was misdiagnosed. I’ve always been on the thin side, and at 22, I was seen as “too old” to have type 1 diabetes. Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common misconception, and too often with fatal consequences. I am thankful every day that I am alive.

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(This photo is from the day I was diagnosed)

Unfortunately, children are misdiagnosed as well, and I’m tired of seeing obituaries for children who have been lost to this disease. It’s hard enough to stay alive when your body is trying to kill you from the inside out 24/7, and the insurance companies are trying to make it impossible for you to afford to survive. So I advocate in the only way I know how: never shutting up.

I won’t stop telling my story. I won’t stop tweeting politicians to support important legislature, I won’t stop blogging about the truth even when it’s SO hard to write, I won’t stop connecting with any and every diabetic I meet, I won’t stop sharing the signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes, all because I don’t want to attend any more funerals.

So this is the most important diabetes awareness message to me: simply be aware. It can – and does – happen to absolutely anyone. But we keep going, holding out to see a cure someday.

Read more posts for #DBlogWeek here.

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When the Only Choice is No Choice

UnitedHealthcare reached an agreement with Medtronic to become the preferred, in-network durable medical equipment (DME) provider of insulin pumps, effective July 1, 2016. (Source)

Even if you and your doctor decide a different company’s insulin pump is right for you, you won’t be able to get it through UnitedHealthcare unless you pay out of pocket for it, because their preferred company is now Medtronic. This is kind of like how the insurance companies currently dictate the brand of meters and test strips you’re able to get.

And it’s bad news bears for those with T1D and UnitedHealthcare. 

When an insurance company dictates my therapy, they’re possibly inhibiting my quality of life. If I have to be attached to a medical device 24/7 for 4 years, I want it to be 1) something I like and 2) something that works for me. And my diabetes is not the same as others’ diabetes, and pumps are not one-size-fits-all. 

I appreciate Tandem immediately issuing a statement. Their CEO is quoted in the image below, and I couldn’t agree more. 


If this is the new direction medical insurance and healthcare is going, then it’s going to get really, REALLY bad for us. It’s not like I can very easily (if at all) choose a different insurance provider that works with the pump company I prefer! 

So what do we do?

Well, I’m making as much noise as possible on social media. And a lot of others are too. I’m tweeting with the hashtags #mypumpmychoice and #patientsoverprofits and tagging UnitedHealthcare in those tweets. I’m sending information on this change to every diabetic I know so they can make noise too. 


It may be a dull roar right now, but this is very quickly blowing up. I’m hoping for a firestorm, and for UHC to realize how asinine, degrading, and greedy their new policy is. 

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