27 Acts of Kindness: Days 5, 6, and 7

Long weekends are weird when you’re quarantined.

Normally, I’m a big fan of long weekends…for obvious reasons. But the fact that I had this past Friday off from work just felt bizarre. I put a lot of pressure on myself to use the time off wisely and be super productive, but to be totally honest, I just…wasn’t. I got tired halfway through the day and did nothing but perform my best couch potato impression.

And I was disappointed in myself for being so lazy.

I’m trying to reconcile the compulsion to make good use of all my time in quarantine with the desire to lean into my feelings and allow myself to be down in the dumps over the whole situation. It’s hard to find a happy medium between the two. Luckily, though, my determination to complete 27 acts of kindness each day leading up to my 27th birthday does help me feel like I’m putting a small iota of goodness back into the world during a time that I feel so listless.

Plus, it was a special weekend: a holy weekend. It only felt right to celebrate the holiday (in part) by continuing my kindness acts…

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Acts of kindness over Easter weekend carried a special meaning.

Friday, 4/10 – Act of Kindness #5: I decided to do an act of kindness that would benefit my parents, so I did a semi-detail of their cars. I say “semi” because it wasn’t the full detail that I wanted to give them; I’d planned on washing the cars, but the weather forecast prevented that from happening. But I still managed to vacuum the heck out of their cars’ interiors, as well as wipe down the windows and remove as much dust and dirt, in general, as possible from the seats and dashboards. This act of kindness was only half-fulfilled in my book…but at least the effort I put into it yielded great blood sugars, so it was technically a fairly successful act nonetheless. It’s “to be continued” another day!

Saturday, 4/11 – Act of Kindness #6: Nobody in the house felt like cooking Saturday night, so we placed an order with an area restaurant for takeaway instead. I was in charge of ordering, so when it came time to pay I decided to leave an extra-large tip for the restaurant waitstaff because I know that this small, local business is struggling to support its employees during these difficult times.

Sunday, 4/12 – Act of Kindness #7: I felt so much gratitude on Easter Sunday this year. I was thankful for nice weather and a large, delicious meal cooked up by my mother, as well as the opportunity to experience a semblance of normalcy by attending church virtually. I decided to write to my church’s priest to thank him for his dedication to our parish, and for calming our anxieties in this uncertain time. This particular act of kindness might seem minor – especially since I’ve already done a couple acts of kindness that involved me using my writing skills – but this actually brought me out of my comfort zone a bit because I simply had no idea how to properly express my thanks. But eventually I found the words that felt right, and I’m glad that I got over my hesitations and sent the note.

And with that, one full week of acts of kindness done…and I’m just getting started.

 

Spare a Rose this Valentine’s Day

It’s Valentine’s Day in a couple of days. Whether you celebrate the holiday or not, I’d like to make you think about something that represents the day well: a bouquet of a dozen roses.

A dozen roses is a classic Valentine’s gift, right? But what if you received 11 roses in your bouquet, instead of 12? What if you knew that a rose was spared because the value of that flower helped support a child living with diabetes in a less-resourced country?

I bet you wouldn’t mind getting one less rose in that case.

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Who knew that the value of a dozen roses could pay for a child with diabetes to live another year of life?

This Valentine’s Day, please consider sparing a rose. Life for a Child is a nonprofit charity that created the Spare a Rose campaign. They’re able to support nearly 20,000 young people living with diabetes by using donations to buy them insulin, syringes, clinical care, diabetes education, and more. Anyone who’s familiar with diabetes realizes that access to care, education, and resources is critical to living a healthy and normal life. No one would want to deny another, especially a child, from having to forgo these resources because of the financial burden associated with them.

I’ve written about the Spare a Rose campaign for the last few years because I think it’s a beautiful way to celebrate a day that makes some swoon and others sick to their stomachs. A common complaint among people in this day and age is that too many holidays are all about raking in the dough for companies like Hallmark; in other words, most holidays have lost their original meaning and have become too commercialized.

So here’s your chance to bring back some significance to Valentine’s Day, whether you’re single, partnered, or married.

Spare a rose and save child this Valentine’s Day.

Merry Christmas!!!

Dear Reader,

Merry Christmas (and if you do not celebrate, happy holidays)! I am taking today (as well as Friday) off from blogging in order to give myself a much-needed break – though I will republish an old blog post on Friday, just to keep pace with things. I’ll return with fresh content on Monday, December 30th.

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This silly, seasonal GIF of me is too funny (and appropriate) to not use today – and all throughout the holiday season as my blog’s banner.

Until then, here is a friendly reminder to be kind to yourself. I understand that this is not the most wonderful time of the year for everyone, and no matter how you feel about it, know that it’s okay – I hear you. Don’t beat yourself up over your blood sugars. Forgive yourself and look for the bright side when things don’t go your way. And whether you do or do not have diabetes, it’s important that you know that I genuinely appreciate you for visiting this blog and that I wish you nothing but the best today, and every day.

Warmly,

Molly

It’s the Most Bolus-Worthy Time of the Year

It wouldn’t be the Christmas season if I didn’t attempt to rewrite a classic Christmas carol…

I apologize in advance for the cheesiness of this “new” tune, but I was thinking about how there are just so many parties, gatherings, and opportunities to eat absolute junk food this time of year. But even though I’m feeling pretty disgusting by the time January rolls around, I don’t regret it because I love everything about this season…so you might say that I think it’s worth every extra unit of insulin I have to take to cover the food I eat, making it the most “bolus-worthy” time of the year.

So naturally, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” was the perfect song to redo for this blog post.

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Please sing along to this blog post in your best Andy Williams voice!

I sprinkled in references about questions that people with diabetes commonly get, as well…because with all the time that’s spent with family and loved ones, they’re bound to come up again just as they do year after year.

Without further ado, here is my rendition of the song…please feel free to read (sing!) along to the tune of the original – it makes it so much more fun, trust me!

It’s the Most Bolus-Worthy Time of the Year

It’s the most bolus-worthy time of the year
With the Dexcom CGMs yelling
And everyone telling you “what’s that I hear?”
It’s the most bolus-worthy time of the year

It’s the ca-carb-iest season of all
With those holiday sweets
And so many treats when friends come to call
It’s the ca-carb-iest season of all

There’ll be parties for pumping
Temp basals a-bumping
And answering the same old,
There’ll be “can you eat that?”
And all that chit-chat
You can’t help that your eyes rolled

It’s the most bolus-worthy time of the year
There’ll be so much indulging
And insulin will be flowing when goodies are near
It’s the most bolus-worthy time of the year

There’ll be blood sugar for checking
Marshmallows for correcting
And sensors and sites to change
There’ll be silly relatives’ questions
And answers in your irate expressions
They should know by now ‘betes isn’t so strange

It’s the most bolus-worthy time of the year
There’ll be so much indulging
And insulin will be flowing when goodies are near
It’s the most bolus-worthy time
It’s the most bolus-worthy time
It’s the most bolus-worthy time
It’s the most bolus-worthy time of the year!

Christmas Caroling: Diabetes Style

I am exhausted from the Thanksgiving and National Diabetes Awareness Month activities from last week and didn’t have time to write a brand-new post. But…we are now in December, and this means I’m starting to feel festive! So I thought it was appropriate to repost this Christmas carol that I changed the words to last year to make it diabetes-related. Enjoy, and I’ll be back on Wednesday with new content.

I love Christmas. And I love Christmas carols. Why not express my love for Christmas carols here, on my diabetes blog, by switching up the words to some Christmas tunes and making them about the ‘betes?

Have a magical Christmas!

Here’s attempt #1 of two to transform a classic Christmas song and make it about diabetes. First up, we’ve got the words to “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” changed to reflect to something else that comes ’round this time of year…high blood sugar. Oh yes. I can’t be the only one who seems to experience higher blood sugars in the month of December, largely due to the fact that there’s tons of tempting treats to be enjoyed, potlucks to attend, and dinners to savor. So I wanted to recognize that episodes of hyperglycemia may be an unwelcome, but inevitable, aspect of the holiday season by singin’ about it. Because what else are you going to do while you wait for your insulin to kick in?

Without further ado, here’s my rendition of High Blood Sugar’s Comin’ to Town…(please, please, PLEASE sing along to the tune of the original song. It really is so much more fun to read that way!)

High Blood Sugar’s Comin’ to Town

You better carb count,
You better take care
You better have the right amount,
Or else you will swear
High blood sugar’s coming to town
High blood sugar’s coming to town
High blood sugar’s coming to townGrab your glucometer,
Check your bg twice;
Gonna regret eating that cheesecake slice,
High blood sugar’s coming to town
High blood sugar’s coming to town
High blood sugar’s coming to townIt keeps you from sleeping
You’re forced to stay awake
It makes you super thirsty,
So stay hydrated, for goodness sakeWith buzzing Dexcoms and beeping pumps,
Beep bop boop and now-I’m-a-grump,
High blood sugar’s coming to town
High blood sugar’s coming to town
High blood sugar’s coming to town

It keeps you from sleeping
You’re forced to stay awake
It makes you super thirsty,
So stay hydrated, for goodness sake
Goodness sake!

You better carb count,
You better take care
You better have the right amount,
Or else you will swear
High blood sugar’s coming to town
High blood sugar’s coming to town
High blood sugar’s coming
High blood sugar’s coming
High blood sugar’s coming to town

(Coming to town)
I’m a busy girl, I’ve got no time to play
I’ve got tons of sweets to enjoy on Christmas day
(High blood sugar’s coming to town)
(Coming to town)
(High blood sugar’s coming to town)
(Coming to town)

Diabetes, Diets, and Holidays are Naughty, Not Nice

Ahh, the holiday season…it’s been in full swing for just about a month now, and with that arrived a bevy of parties, potlucks, and poor dietary decisions. In a week, the new year will be here and it’ll bring a fresh start with it, but for now…I’m trying to find a way to make peace with all the indulgences I’ve enjoyed in the last several weeks.

Takeout Chinese food, pizza, homemade roasts, and baked goods galore are among the gamut of glutinous grub responsible for transforming me into a guilty gourmand over the course of the holidays. (Can I get a round of applause for that alliterative sentence?) I wish I could say that I had the willpower to resist the temptation of these foods that have been provided at the various holiday parties I’ve attended; alas, I couldn’t stop myself from noshing on them just as much as the other guests at these gatherings. A fair share of my fellow party attendees commiserated with me about diets flying out the window this time of year, but very few of them could understand that the fattening fare impacts more than just my waistline.

My blood sugars, of course, have been a victim of holiday feasting just as much as my size six jeans.

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Instead of sugarplums, I’ve got visions of wacky blood sugars and too-tight pants dancing in my head. Fun!!!

Truthfully, they’re not as terrible as they’ve been during past holiday seasons. But that doesn’t mean I’m satisfied with them, or okay with the fact that they tend to rise and crash at equally rapid paces when I eat too much of the carb-y stuff and correct accordingly with insulin. The roller coaster ride combined with the feeling that I’m turning into the Pillsbury dough girl is what I’m fed up with, and I’m trying to figure out a way to stop punishing myself for it. After all, a new year IS right around the corner, and like many others in the world, I can and should use it as a reason to start eating more mindfully and healthfully, leaving the dietary mistakes of 2018 in the past.

It’s definitely cliche, but I’ve got to get back into the routine and replace all the cookies and fancy chocolates I’ve been consuming with leafy veggies and lean proteins. It won’t be easy, but I know that it’ll be worth the improved blood sugars and looser pants that are bound to follow.

 

6 Holiday Gift Ideas for T1Ds

Holiday shopping can be hard. Especially if you’ve got a long list of people to shop for, and you’d like to give them thoughtful, practical gifts.

While I don’t have tips and tricks on how to pick out the perfect present for everyone on your list, I do have some ideas as to what you can get that special T1D in your life. The following six items can make fun stocking stuffers or gifts that your beloved T1D is sure to appreciate.

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  1. Pump Peelz – Is your T1D’s meter or pump in need of a makeover? A fresh stack of Pump Peelz can take care of that. Consider stocking up on prints and patterns that your T1D will love. You can even create your own one-of-a-kind design on the Pump Peelz site!
  2. T1D clothing – There are SO MANY styles out there these days, and they’re all extremely creative! Beyond t-shirts, I’ve seen sports bras, leggings, sweatshirts, and dresses all specially designed to either cater to a T1D’s medical gear or raise diabetes awareness. Whether you want to find a style that captures your T1D’s sense of humor or one that they’ll proudly don along with an insulin pump, you’re sure to come across T1D clothing that is funny, functional, and fashionable.
  3. Fun patches and pins – Okay, so maybe your T1D has a more subtle sense of style and doesn’t want to literally wear diabetes on their sleeve. No problem! Perhaps some cute T1D-related patches or pins are more their thing. Personally, I’m a big fan of the ones available on the T1D Lyf shop – they’re absolutely adorable and make a bold statement using a tiny surface.
  4. Myabetic gear – I admit that I went ahead and bought myself an early Christmas gift this year: a frosty pink Myabetic backpack. I’ve started carrying it around instead of a purse and I love it! Myabetic designs all of their wallets, bags, and other gear with diabetes in mind. Every pouch and pocket has a specific purpose that makes carrying diabetes supplies around much easier. I’ve got a Marie crossbody, Banting wallet, and now a Brandy backpack, so clearly, I’m no stranger to their awesome products. You can definitely find something that suits your T1D’s style on the Myabetic website.
  5. The Diabetic Health Journal by Lauren Bongiorno – Instagram introduced me to Lauren last year, and let me tell you, this girl is a powerhouse. As a diabetic health coach and a fitness guru, she knows what she’s talking about in her journal, which is designed to help people with T1D lower A1c, gain insight on blood sugar patterns, boost mood/energy levels, and so much more. This could make a great gift for a T1D who enjoys writing, or someone who is including diabetes in their New Year’s resolution goals.
  6. Vial Safe Insulin Protector – Alright, this sounds totally boring, but it’s one of the most practical gifts you could get a T1D who might be a little, er, clumsy. I’ve certainly shattered an insulin vial or two back in the day, and it’s a really crummy feeling when all that insulin is wasted. But these protective casings can help your T1D avoid the risk of breaking precious insulin vials, which are infinitely valuable. Look them up on Amazon for more information!

Of course, these are all just some suggestions. If you’re still stumped, I often stumble across amazing products just for T1Ds on Instagram. Who would’ve known that there’s virtually an endless array of goodies for T1Ds out there? With a little research and thoughtfulness, the T1D in your life is bound to be grateful for not just your gift to them, but also for your support in the fight against diabetes.

 

Disclosure: I am not paid to promote any of these products. The intent of sharing these items is to provide useful information to readers of my blog. Please visit the links I’ve shared to learn more about the products featured in this post.

Planning for Office Potlucks with T1D

Today is my office’s 10th annual holiday potluck! I’m looking forward to sampling a wide variety of dishes prepared by my coworkers. I know that it’ll be a carb heavy feast, though, so I’m going to have to do a little planning in order to prevent my blood sugar from spiraling out of control.

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I feel like I consume the amount of carbs that this gingerbread house contains on office potluck days (okay sort of exaggerating but that’s how it FEELS).

Honestly, my strategy for office potlucks is a little similar to what I do on other food-centric holidays: test often, extend boluses as needed, consume everything in moderation, and so forth. But there’s a few additional things I like to take into account when it comes to potlucks:

  1. Request labels for the food. I want to know precisely what’s in front of me. No, I don’t expect or want someone to write down every single ingredient they used to prepare a dish, but I do think it’s not too much to ask for the name of the dish. Labels are everything!
  2. Ask the cook if more explanation is needed. Case in point: At our last potluck, I tried noodle kugel without knowing what was in it. I mean, it’s obvious that NOODLES are a main ingredient, but pasta aside, I had no clue that sugar, cinnamon, and raisins were also used to make it. Needless to say, my blood sugar was sky high after sampling this (delicious) carb bomb, and I think I could’ve mitigated the situation if I’d only spoken up.
  3. Find someone to share the sweet stuff with (or save it for later). Chances are, I can find a coworker who’d gladly split a cookie with me so we save ourselves from the calories and carbs in a whole one. But if I truly can’t resist having a big piece of cake to myself, then there’s no problem in saving it for later – I never know when my next low blood sugar will strike!
  4. Load up on low carb options. Typically, I take as much as I want of the veggies, salads, cheeses, and meats that people contribute to the potluck spread. I know that if I fill up on lower carb items first, then I won’t overdo it as much on the heavier pastas, breads, and cakes.
  5. Be upfront with coworkers. My colleagues are very understanding when it comes to my diabetes, which is awesome in certain situations – like a potluck! But every now and then, I encounter someone who just doesn’t get my diabetes (even if I’ve tried to explain it to them). They’ll insist upon me eating whatever they’re offering to me, and take it personally if I turn them down. So I’ve decided that the best way to cope with this is to be totally honest with my coworkers and tell them why I can’t or don’t want to have what they are offering. So if Edgar* is begging me to try a slice of the chocolate torte he slaved over, I’ll straight-up tell him my reasons for skipping it (whether it’s due to high BG or simply being too full!). There’s a reason it’s said that honesty is the best policy, and this certainly applies in an office setting.

Either way, I look forward to this potluck every year and I won’t let my diabetes prevent me from enjoying it. Here’s to an afternoon filled with food and festivities!

*Edgar isn’t a real coworker. I just made him up for the purpose of this post. But I bet his hypothetical chocolate torte is amazing.

It’s the Holiday Season!!!

Only 21 more days until Christmas! I’m so excited that the most wonderful time of year is here. To celebrate, I’ve changed the header on my site to…

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…this dorky T1D dancing lady (me)!!!

It was like kismet when I saw this sweater in the store a few days ago. It’s a cactus that lights up and has the phrase “hug me” on it. How could I not buy it?! Hence, I decked myself out with the sweater and danced gleefully with my OmniPod PDM in hand to bring some Christmas cheer to my type 1 diabetes blog, Hugging the Cactus.

I want to take a moment to say how special HtC is to me. Truly, the first two months I’ve spent putting this blog together and writing new material have brought me, in the spirit of the season, joy. It makes me so happy to share with readers, near and far, who take time out of their days to click through my posts. I’ve learned quite a bit from the DOC in the years that I’ve spent blogging, and I know that I will continue to do so!

Besides the holidays this month, I’ve got a major milestone coming up: 20 years with type 1 diabetes as of December 24th. What do you think I should do to mark the occasion?

Again, thank you for reading my blog. I have some big plans in the works for it in 2018, so stay tuned! And if you want to make sure that you don’t miss any of my new posts, please feel free to subscribe – the widget to subscribe is located on the right-hand side menu on the homepage here.

Christmas time is here!!!