Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I am featured at ASweetLife.org!

Wow.  Just wow. I seriously never thought I would see the day that I would have a feature about me.  I am honored that I get to express myself and reach out to others who are dealing with diabetes.  Thanks to ASweetLife.org for giving me this opportunity.  I hope you enjoy it and now I am off for the holidays!

Merry Christmas to all and to all awesome blood sugars!

My Pas de Deux with Diabetes

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Diabetes Christmas Presents!

Merry Christmas to all!

Since the festive season is upon us I thought it would be fun to share some "Christmas Presents" with all my fabulous diabetic friends.  Here are some random little tips and tricks that I've picked up over the past year.  If you have any nuggets of wisdom for me please share.  I am always interested in learning new things to make the big D less of a pain!  Enjoy!

Also, the Tummietote belts by Tallygear are AMAZING!  Here is the website if you're interested visit Tally Gear for more information.

The music is a selection from "A Celtic Christmas" by the Dunloes


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Marsha, Marsha...Marsha!

Marsha, Marsha...Marsha!
Why am I jumping for joy shouting the name Marsha?  I’ll tell you why!  After my abusive relationship with my Omnipod Scotty ended yesterday I have added a new friend to my team of diabetes technology.  Her name is Marsha and she is an Animas One Touch Ping.  I got started using ContactD infusion sets with 43” tubing and it is absolutely perfect.  The kinking, stinging, blocking of insulin and pod failure days are over...for the most part!

My trainer did a fantastic job getting me up to speed on all the ins and outs of a One Touch Ping and even though it’s been 24 hours I feel like a pro, or at least someone who isn’t panicking anymore.  It’s a little new and different but things I thought I would have trouble with like sleeping or getting into my awkward ballet stretches are not a problem.  I actually try bumping my hip into things to see if it’ll hurt, which is never does.  
Hooray Animas, what a job well done!  
For those who are wondering, I hadn’t been with Omnipod for my 4 years but if you don’t like your pump and really want to change before your warranty is out you can reverse your claim and switch.  Sometimes you need a note from your doctor too.  Just call your insurance to see first.  So, moral of the story is; if you are in pain or suffering you have the power to switch, it is possible!

So why the name Marsha?  And why isn’t it spelt Marcia?  As anyone who knows me knows that I have a severe affinity for candy.  Not all the time of course, but if I had my way I would reside in Candyland and never leave. The name Scotty came to me because I thought my pods looked like scotch mints.  I happened to see pink marshmallows in the store a week ago and the color reminded me of my new Ping.  Hence, the name Marsha was born.  I also happen to love the Brady Bunch and if you catch me on a good day I can do a pretty authentic Marcia Brady impression.  

PS: One more Vlog is coming up this week before I take a break and head to Ireland for Christmas.  Stay posted, it’ll be fun...it always is!
-Exit Stage Left

Monday, December 5, 2011

I am interviewed by the fabulous Ginger!

Hey everyone!

In lieu of a blog post today I shall present to you a link to my friend Ginger's website Living in Progress.  She did a little interview with me and I must say, Ginger makes me look good!


Friday, December 2, 2011

Breaking up is Hard to Do...

Breaking up is hard to do.  Especially when you’re a lifesaving medical device.

Dear Scotty my little Omnipod,
We’ve been together 10 months so in terms of insulin pumps we haven’t had too long of a relationship.  You’ve been with me all along when I was new and scared.  You made it easy to insert my cannula and you made pumping a little less scary when I began.  Sigh...I can already tell this is going to be hard.
Oh, please don’t cry.
You’ve kept me alive and functional since my diagnosis and I am forever thankful but I think it’s time I see other insulin pumps.  It’s not you, it’s me.  I am just not squishy enough for you.  The more I dance, the more my pump padding aka fat is disappearing at an alarming rate.  I know you’re happy that I’m finally healed from my surgery and dancing so I hope you understand.  I am sick and tired of you getting kinky on me every time I move.  It hurts, cuts off my insulin and turns me into a very angry diabetic.  I wish you could just change your cannula to a 90 degree steel set, but you know what they say, people never change.
Also, I need to tell you that you’re too clingy.  I need to be able to disconnect from you sometimes for when I am doing ballet partnering or arial dance.  It’s so sweet that you love me enough to never leave my side but you got to let me breathe.  Then you’ll go and fail on me, beeping and wailing like a firetruck.  You’re a little flakey Scotty.  I don’t know if I can depend on you.
I know pumping my insulin is a tough job.  It must be so hard to get it perfect and I understand that.  I know your replacement won’t be perfect either but at least I won’t be getting kinked up.  
So actually it is you, not me!  Kinking your cannula, blocking my insulin and causing me huge amounts of pain is not the relationship I want in a pump.  Why do you hurt me so?  Don’t you love me anymore?  We’ll I’ve shed too many tears over you.  I’ll let you reside in my closet but as of this afternoon I am breaking up with you.  
Well, just one more pod change, for old times sake.
-Exit Stage Left

Monday, November 28, 2011

Diabetes feels like...

Everyone always asks me "Diabetes?  What's that?  What is it like having diabetes?"  Sometimes I pretend I'm a Certified Diabetes Educator and pull out my trusty white board and flashcards but that doesn't seem to get many good responses.  It's like I am speaking Swahili, which I can't. 

So, I thought up different ways to explain what the big D feels like to our non-D friends, family and strangers on the street.  It starts as a bit of a rant and ends with me singing.  Not quite sure how that happened but enjoy!  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Let me see your feet!

For Wordless Wednesdays I present to you my diabetic ballerina feet complete with a Neuroma scar, two permanently numb toes, scars from abscesses and my newest scars from my arthroscopic ankle surgery.  My foot looks like a map of Europe during World War One!  At least my toenails are blue :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

World Diabetes Day with My Mom!

Hello fabulous people!

Diabetes awareness month is still in full swing and since my Mother came to visit me during World Diabetes Day I thought I would interview her.  Everybody asks how we as diabetics feel about our disease but what about our Moms?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What's Big, Blue and Awesome? World Diabetes Day!

Good evening everyone!

I finally have an evening to relax and reflect on Diabetes Awareness month as well as the whirlwind of World Diabetes Day.  It was my very first Diabetes Awareness month.  I think about myself one year ago and I remember that I was already beginning to feel ill from what turned out to be Type 1 Diabetes.  How far I have come in just one year!  

November started off with a splash of tweets from all of my beetus buddies talking about The Big Blue Test, the artificial pancreas project, education and even blue hair dye.  Every time I would open up twitter a stream of diabetes topics would pour out.  It was wonderful to see such support for diabetes and we’re only halfway done the month.  Facebook friends shared gorgeous photographs of blue fountains and buildings lit with blue lights all over the world.  We are truly a global community.

The Big Blue Test is a special event that allows Diabetics as well as non-D folks to check their blood sugar and get as active as humanly possible.  By logging the results donations are made to help serve those who need it most.  The more active you are, the more times you can log and the more donations you can get.  Sounds like a win-win to me!  For more information about the Big Blue Test check it out!  http://www.bigbluetest.org/

So when my very first Big Blue Test arrived I wanted to greet it in style.  I painted my fingers and toes with an old shade of blue polish that I found deep in my makeup kit.  I seriously think the last time I wore it I was 12 years old!  I pulled on blue shorts, a blue tank top, my insulindependence t-shirt (it wasn’t blue but close enough) and a sweater.  I was a walking smurf ready to share the diabetes love with any poor unsuspecting soul I came in contact with.  I even decorated my window with a blue circle I got crafty with.  I used some ribbon and christmas lights and made a huge mess, but I'm a grown up so it was ok.  My ballet coaches were good sports as well as my physical therapist.  They took photos and tried to feed me their old halloween candy...which I may have used to treat a low or two!  

The best sports of all were my boyfriend and mom.  I made them honorary diabetics for the day.  They didn’t ask to be but come on, who wouldn’t want to be a diabetic right?  My boyfriend showed up on the dime covered in blue and I handed him my emergency test kit so he could check his own blood sugar as well.  We decided to go trail running as our activity.  The leaves were falling and crunching under our feet as we tried to race each other.  Turns out that both our blood sugars rose when we checked afterward!  His by 6 points, mine by 30.  All that adrenaline and excitement got the better of us but it was still a blast.  Adrenaline does this for me for ballet class and especially for performances.  As a matter of fact I rarely reduce my basal for ballet class.  That’s my only exception though.  Any other activity makes me drop like the jaws of diabetics when the FDA finally approves some cool technology for us.

The next evening I decided to make my Mom my next diabetic victim.  She pulled forth her blue wardrobe and we took my little doggie Max for a walk.  There wasn’t much blue I could dress him with besides my Bands4Life pump band so we went with that but he wasn’t too excited about it.  Sure enough our walk gave us a drop.  Well...ok, it gave mom a drop 8 points and I just stayed there at 93 but I’ll take it!  It was really interesting to see what the blood sugars of my non-D loved ones was and how they behaved in comparison to mine.  Brings us a little closer I think.

I have never felt so plugged in to my diabetes comrades.  We are all together in this fight.  I think next year I will try to attack even more loved ones and friends to become honorary diabetics for the day and have them join me on my quest to keep active.  After all you know what they say, “Fingers of a feather, bleed together”

-Exit Stage Left

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Backstage Blogging

Last week was my company's first show of the season.  It was called Duos and it was a collection of 5 duos to signify the 5 years my company has been running.  Nothing like an anniversary season!

Since I had my surgery on my ankle recently I wasn't able to make rehearsals for this first show.  So, my way of helping was working the back rigging of the stage.  Something I am NOT familiar with.  I had to pull the curtain, place props on stage and fly in and out arial equipment and scenery.  I pulled heavy ropes that I couldn't see (the theatre tech people gave me a head lamp!) and sat for hours watching my fellow company members perform beautifully.  I desperately wanted to be on stage and it hurt to not be out there with them.  Luckily, those days are now over but it's good to remind myself how much I love my job.

As I sat and watched waiting for cues, for hours and hours, I noticed some interesting things that as a performer you never notice as you're onstage dancing.  One dancer did a step in the wrong direction and a look of terror splashed on her face and her body lost its confidence.  Another dancer was nervous about a certain piece and there was tension in the muscles of her neck.  I've been told I can sometimes look a little tense when I'm dancing so it is always something I'm trying not to do but seeing others go through it made me realize how apparent it can be.

Which got me thinking about a little dance analogy for diabetes, I can't help myself!  Imagine yourself as the technical director of your own show.  Your body performs onstage and is relying on you backstage to have everything ready for every piece performed.  As you watch yourself perform, what do you notice?  Tension, dancing lacking in technical skills, is it sloppy, how about expression?  How do you react to seeing yourself in this "out of body experience".  What would you change about what you see?  Take a step back and took at your actions.

For me, I sat in the dark thinking about my obsession for perfection.  A low A1C, no lows, no highs and still be able to go out to dinner with my boyfriend and eat more than a lettuce leaf.  Of course, this perfection doesn't exist but I can still see myself onstage striving for it.  Is it wrong for me to strive?  No way, it gives me the strength to take care of myself.  On the other hand it makes my life very difficult with too much rigidity.  Human beings aren't rigid, we are people who are constantly moving!

With diabetes I need to remind myself that I have the technical skills perfected, the tools and the support to take good care of myself.  With dance, I have good balance, flexibility and strong technique.  In both instances the bases are covered...so what am I worrying about?  It's time to enjoy the dancing, and live with (I couldn't say enjoy) the diabetes.  Even though we don't enjoy having diabetes lurk around in our lives, we could have a little fun.  What disease requires you to eat candy when your low?  That's all the excuse I need, please hand me some sweet tarts!  Sometimes you need to let go, live through the movement, the highs and lows.

In the words of my fabulous head of the dance department at the University of Alabama, Cornelius Carter "Ya'll better LIVE!"

So what do you see on the stage with your diabetes?

-Exit stage left

Monday, November 7, 2011

You, Yes You, Can Do This!

So, I've never done a vlog before but I thought what better excuse to break that barrier than with the You Can Do This Project.  I'll be calmer with less rambling next time...unless you like that sort of thing!  Let me know!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Happy Blue Fridays!

Hello to all!
I hope that your first week of November has been as exciting and inspiring as mine has been.  I love nothing more than to fire up Twitter and see post after post being diabetically centered.  Some celebrating Blue Fridays, others busting myths I enjoy them all so much.  I did have to miss Diabetes Social Media Advocacy this Wednesday but I have a good reason!  (Just so you know, DSMA or Diabetes Social Media Advocacy is a live Twitter chat every Wednesday evening discussing every topic under the sun.  I must admit I am horribly addicted to Twitter.  You know, they say that the first step is admitting it!)

My week has been spent in the theatre preparing for my companies new show Duos.  It's our 5th year anniversary so it has to be excellent!  Since I was healing from surgery and not going to rehearsal for the past 3 months I'm not in the show...well I'm in the show, you're just not supposed to see me.  I'm the creepy tech girl with her headset all dressed in black panicking about getting the rigging set at the right moment or if the curtain is closed on time.  I messed up pretty badly in dress rehearsal last night but I think tonight will be better.  I'm just not used to being the backstage personnel!  I have some great blogging ideas I've picked up while sitting backstage for hours this week for future blogging, so stay posted.

Anyways, this is a little wee post as I need to keep going with my day.  Tonight is opening night!  I just wanted to say to all a Happy Blue Friday and if you're confused as to what Blue Fridays are let my handy video companion explain it for you!


I searched in my wardrobe for blue items and I think it's time for me to go shopping.  I did paint my toenails blue for some added detail.

And with that, I humbly submit to you, my very very very first Blue Friday!  This photograph was taken by my Physio Therapist Lisa in therapy this morning.

Enjoy, and happy Blue Friday to you all!

-Exit Stage Left

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A New P.I.C. in the D.O.C!

Plush red velvet curtain opens...
"Come one, come all to the greatest show on Earth!  Tonight for your viewing pleasure you shall witness the miraculous talent of our lead ballerina as she walks a tightrope balancing high and low blood sugars, weight management, and the art and technique of professional ballet...all in pointe shoes no less.  She will amaze you, shock you and make you laugh till your abdominals have been thoroughly exhausted.  You will never know she fights hard against a difficult disease on the surface but it lies within every fiber of her being.  She is painted with exquisite makeup and dressed in a sparkly tutu but underneath that tutu is a Dexcom 7 and an Onmipod keeping her alive.  She is a survivor, a thriver and even a brilliant driver.  You will will be filled with awe when you watch her work her magic.  So ladies and gentlemen, sit back and enjoy the show!"
...thunderous applause 

Ok, so if I ever had an announcer before one of my shows I hope he would be as enthused as this fellow I dreamed up.  A dancer can dream right!

So hello all in the DOC (Diabetic Online Community) I have created a new blog to share my story and add a new PIC (partner in crime) to our merry band of diabetics.  This is my first post as you have noticed and so I think a little introduction is in order.  

Type 1 Diabetes was my Christmas present this year.  I became so ill over the Christmas break that as soon as January 2011 rolled around I had a hefty diagnosis on my hands.  I didn't know much about diabetes back then so I immersed myself in the DOC and found a buffet of blogs and websites to give me the information I so desperately wanted, but couldn't seem to get, from my doctors.  I have learned considerable amounts of information and I think it's my turn to share my story and help others.  

I was just starting my dance career in Montgomery Alabama (roll tide) at the Montgomery Ballet.  My rehearsals were filled with blood sugar checks, panicked phone calls and texts to various medical professionals and me spouting swear words in the dressing rooms when ever I got a high number...which was 95% of the time.  It was extremely difficult.  I was immediately labeled the sick dancer in the company and lost all roles that could have existed if I were healthy.  To make matters worse I sustained a severe ankle sprain that took 6 months as well as a freaking scary surgery to fix.  After the injury I finished my short stint at the Montgomery Ballet and was offered an amazing opportunity with Arova Contemporary Ballet in Birmingham.  So I moved to Birmingham Alabama (again, roll tide) to heal after my surgery and get back to my job of performing.  As I write I am almost healed from it.  I am happy to announce that I have been reconditioned and am fit to return to rehearsals next week a soloist.  I am so happy to be in a company like Arova.  I remember my early diabetic days when the artistic director would yell at us and I would check my blood sugar and sure enough it would be 200 plus.  Stress is a nasty little thing.  Arova is my family and nobody bats an eye at my pump or my dexcom in my spi-belt during class.

I also have just started working with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation chapter here in Alabama.  I'm a part of their junior board and also answer to the name "envelope stuffer", "bags of hope builder" and "coffee collector".  They are my diabetic family here.  

So I have my dance family, my diabetic family, my real family and my online Beetus buddies.  What more could a girl want?  I know... a venue to over share on the internet!  Ok, not crazy over sharing... I know I'll be getting a lecture from my mother if I give out my phone number, address and a list of my fears on my blog so I'll leave that out.  

I'm just so excited to share the fusion of ballet and diabetes that is my life.  It's been extremely difficult trying to keep both sides of my life happy and I almost quit ballet in the process but somehow I kept going. I hope you enjoy my blog now, and for years to come.  

I shall make it as entertaining as my announcer...announces.  

-Exit Stage Left