How I got (and kept) my A1C under 7

Before I say anything… if you read only one blog post today read this one on Mashable: Diabetes Is Already Psychologically Demanding, So Cut the Stigma Too. I’m proud to have been a part of it. Hopefully you’ll come back and read this post too.

Everyone’s diabetes is different and they way that they manage it has to be different. The following should not be taken as medical advice, and you should talk to your healthcare team about making changes to your diabetes care.

I’ve had type 1 diabetes for 3 years now, and for the past 2 1/2 years I’ve been able to keep my A1C under 6.5%. It hasn’t been easy, but the hard work has been totally worth it.

For reference purposes, at diagnosis in the middle of August of 2011 my A1C was 11.9%, by the end of September of 2011 it was down to 8.3%. My A1C hit it’s lowest of 5.9% in February of 2012, but it wasn’t the best 5.9% it could be.  From August 2012 until now, I’ve been able to keep it steady between 6.1 and 6.3%. I keep saying “I” because the ins and outs of daily management are my responsibility, but a whole team of doctors and other healthcare professionals have been there for me and helped the process.

Here’s how I did it, and keep doing it (*spoiler alert* most of it has to do with attitude):

I got serious. And I did it right away.

The moment I was out of the woods after diagnosis, I started researching to understand the best that I could, what I needed to do. I followed all of my discharge instructions for taking insulin and how many carbs to eat per meal. Then I started looking at other options including insulin pumps and new doctors.

I ask for what I want and/or need. Continue reading

Guest Blog: How Social Media Opens Jennifer’s World

My former classmate Jennifer asked if I would let her share a guest blog post. It’s nice to get a peek into the mind of another social media enthusiast and coffee lover. Without further ado, meet Jennifer.

JenniferI’m Jennifer: amateur writer, Facebook junkie, comic enthusiast, and never without something to read in arm’s reach. I drink way too much coffee. I’m engaged to the best man I’ve had the luck of meeting, Josh, and am headed back to school for a degree in Organization Communication and Public Relations. We’re shacked up in a little bungalow in Canton with our four cats. 

There’s no question that technology has expanded our horizons far beyond what they were even five years ago. Our access to news and information is unprecedented and vast, and I use the internet for these reasons as much as the next person. For me, however, the most valuable resource that technology has to offer is the myriad of ways I can explore my world through social media. After all, I’ve always been able to find information on, for example, the lifespan of a fruit fly.

I just had to work a little harder to get it. I’ve always had TV news networks, they were just not quite as current as the information I can get now. What is different is my ability to connect.

See, I have fairly severe social anxiety. At its best, it’s a little inconvenient but I can work past it pretty easily. At its worst, it’s debilitating and the mere thought of going out to meet a friend for coffee or picking up a phone can give me a full-blown panic attack. With the evolution of social media and the way it’s increasingly entwined with nearly everyone and everything out there my options for being involved and interacting with the world around me have broadened significantly.

The most used apps on my phone? Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Pinterest. Tumblr. Continue reading

Not a Bad Way to Spend a Wednesday Evening

On Wednesday evening, I had the opportunity to attend an event at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens. It’s one place that has been on my list of things to do since moving to Cleveland three years ago.

Somehow, it’s not terribly easy to convince my man that an afternoon spent in the gardens is an afternoon well spent. I’m working on it though, because I want to go back.

I had been planning to park a few blocks away in a parking lot that offers public charging for electric vehicles. Unfortunately, when I arrived the five spaces with access to the four chargers were parked up. Which would have been fine if 4 of the 5 cars weren’t regular, internal-combustion-engine powered cars (aka ICEd). So I headed over to the garage at the Bontanical Gardens.

The first thing I noticed before even entering the building was how nice everyone was! I took the stairs instead of the elevator and ended up one floor too early to enter, a security guard gave me directions and was very nice. The lady who validated my parking at check-in was also nice.

As part of the event, we were allowed access to the gardens and glass house. I only walked some of the gardens and across the terrace area and it was beautiful! I wrapped up my visit with a tour of the Glass House, which is a great place to go in general but would be especially fun on a rainy or cold day.

All of the brightly colored statues are made of Legos and are part of the Building Blocks of Nature, Nature Connects Experience. Continue reading

Throwback Thursday: Meet Sally

Last August I got Sally. She’s my dress form and she’s got great style…

She’s been a great addition to my refashioning, and if I you sew and ever have the opportunity to get such a steal on one of these, definitely do it!

There are tutorials for DIY dress forms on the internet that look great! I tried the Duct Tape Dress form and it turned into a disaster. Let me know if you’ve successfully made your own dress form!

Here’s the story of how I got her and the sweet lady who told me to name her!

Now She Needs a Name

Continue reading

The Driver’s Seat

For a good chunk of my childhood, the family cars were: Dad’s truck and Mom’s van. But it never really mattered which vehicle we were in, if dad was going, dad was driving.

I never questioned this as a kid. When I was learning to drive, I asked my dad about it. I can’t remember his exact answer, but contributing factors included: his family’s dynamic, my mom’s driver/passenger personality and the fact that my father sometimes felt car sick in the passenger seat. I’d be willing to bet that most in my generation experienced the same parental dynamic, when together, dad drives.

I knew girls in college who would get in the passenger seat of their own cars to allow their boyfriends to drive. I wasn’t that type of girl. My car was mine. I bought it, I maintained it and I paid the insurance on it… I was going to drive it. It didn’t hurt that I drove stick-shift cars until my sophomore year of college and for the most part my peers didn’t know how and I wasn’t going to let them screw up my transmission trying to learn. During the entire time that Brad and I were dating, he only drove my car when I was teaching him how to drive stick shift.

In our marriage, there isn’t a “passenger spouse” and a “driver spouse.” There are two drivers. Brad and I tend to take the more fuel-efficient car when we go places… most recently that became my car, the Volt. When we get in my car to go somewhere, there’s typically no question who is going to drive. I know that Brad enjoys driving my car so sometimes I offer for him to drive.

So when we hopped in the car earlier this week for a quick Chipotle run, Brad decided to be a goof and ride in the backseat. Unbeknownst to me, he took a picture and posted to Facebook about riding in the back seat to go to Chipotle and that it was comfortable back there. Some of the comments it got made me scratch my head. Primarily: “Way to go Rachel!”

Way to go on what? On driving? On having a cool car? On properly placing my hands at 10 and 2 (which also received a comment)? On going out for Chipotle instead of cooking?

Then there was a comment from someone about enjoying it when he “lets” his wife drive.

When i read it, I said to Brad, “You don’t ‘let’ me drive. It’s ‘my’ car.”

I’m a woman with wheels. I drive places. I just happen to be married to a guy who occasionally likes to ride in the backseat.

Is it really that unusual?

Linking up with The Grits Blog.