There are some things that I would like to tell my diabetes. So I decided to write it a letter. Well actually, record a video letter. So, in a way I'm skyping with my diabetes. I wish my diabetes would listen to my letter but alas, it has no ears...but you do! What would you tell diabetes given the chance?
I was goofing around at Sephora yesterday and found a glorious package of "Boo Boo Bling". They're these plastic jewels that are supposed to be placed overtop of bandaids to make bandaids a little less...bandaid like. I'm not sure who would actually buy them. (Obviously me!) They remind me of the sparkly tattoos that I used to think was the coolest thing since sliced bread...when I was 13.
A lightbulb went off in my diabetic head. I had to purchase them. I felt the need to explain their intended use to the checkout lady and just got a strange and confused look. I guess I thought I was being clever by using them to decorate some mechanical body parts as opposed to real body parts.
So, I decided to bedazzle my diabetes gadgetry, because everything is better with sparkles.
Happy Friday everyone! So... normally I have rehearsals during weekends, every weekend, all day for the rest of my natural born life, except for this weekend! I have the weekend off. While I miss dancing ballet like I miss cupcakes and DOC unicorns I am also thoroughly enjoying being a lazy lady. My dear friend Liz over at The Angry Type 2 Diabetic suggested I photograph my fierce laziness in leu of my regular dance photo.
“You keep diabetes in your way and let me keep it in mine!”
My quote was originally from Ebenezer Scrooge saying “You keep Christmas in your way and let me keep it in mine!” from Alistar Sim’s famous A Christmas Carol.
This post has nothing to do with Christmas so if you’re in need of some post holiday eggnog this isn’t the blog for you!
Since starting classes at UAB I’ve had the opportunity to meet new and exciting people. My human anatomy class draws people from all walks of life and even a few diabetics. On my second day of class a girl leaned precariously over my shoulder as I checked my blood sugar before class. She said pointed to my overflowing pile of diabetes related gadgetry and said “Oh, me too”.
I immediately dropped what I was doing, flashed a huge grin, and launched headfirst into my patented “YAY! I made a new diabetes friend” conversation. It is always the same. I get excited, the other diabetic gets excited, we share information, give hugs, laugh about the stupid things people tell us and so on, but not her.
I asked her what type she was, she hesitated and said type 1.
I asked her if she had a pump, she said she used to, but not anymore and couldn’t remember the make of it.
I asked her what meter she liked to use, she couldn’t tell me.
I asked her what her favorite thing to treat lows was, she didn’t have anything specific.
She was quiet and reluctant to talk about it, even though she started the whole conversation. I eventually took the hint and promptly aborted the diabetes talk.
I realized that she just didn’t want to talk about it. She didn’t feel like connecting on the level that I am used to with other diabetics. I’m not sure if she was ashamed or embarrassed. We all have our reasons we act the way we do around our heath and that is A-ok by me. Diabetes is such an individual condition and it makes sense that we all deal with if differently. I think she just wanted to let me know I wasn’t alone in my battle and that’s all.
So I smiled and told her if she ever needed anything that I was there for her. Then we pulled out our notes for class and I let her keep her diabetes in her way and she let me keep it in mine.
I thought it would be fun to have a regular dance and diabetes related photo from company rehearsal every Friday! So here is my first one.
I never have talked about my tattoo but here it is. It's my medical alert bracelet that is stuck with me for life, just like diabetes. On one side it says "Type 1 Diabetic" and the other says "I Kept Going".
Exhausted from 4 hours of ballet
The quote came from a conversation I had with my mother many years ago when I was recovering from a foot surgery to remove a damaged nerve. She asked me that once I had achieved my dreams and was being interviewed for Dance Magazine what would I say was the secret to my success. I told her "I Kept Going" To this day I have unhappy, frustrating, even life threatening times but I know that if I keep going even if just by an inch I will make it through.
I've had people ask me what factors go in to making a professional dancer as well as how to manage my diabetes effectively. Here are just a few snippets of what I do on a daily basis to keep myself healthy to continue doing the job I love.
So, how do you make a diabetic ballerina? Besides taking a ballerina and punching her in the pancreas? Watch my new Vlog and find out!
Happy New Year fabulous people! I hope you enjoyed my Ireland video and are ready for some fresh blogging. I can’t believe it’s 2012 now. I have overcome so much in the past year and this new year feels like a fresh and exciting start. My diabetes is now sufficiently caged, like a wild animal. Sometimes it still sneaks out but I usually find it and attack it with a rolled up newspaper before it pees all over my apartment. My horrible injury and surgery are now fully healed. I’ve been in pain for so long that I’ve forgotten what it feels like to be pain free. Let me tell you, it’s amazing. My company, Arova Contemporary Ballet, has begun rehearsals for The Snow Queen which I am so excited about. We had our first company class of the new year yesterday and besides a few pounds I collected from my love affair with shortbread, I feel like my technique hasn’t skipped a beat.
The most important exciting thing is that I am going back to school! TODAY! In a few hours! Gosh, I’ve got to stop working myself up like that. Anyways, I will be going to the University of Alabama at Birmingham, forever known as UAB because I’m too lazy to write it out every time. Many, if not all ballet dancers are always involved in outside jobs to supplement the small income they receive from dance. Other dancers go to school as well. We are still devoted to our art but we need to think about the future as well. So it feels a little funny to have two lives but in the long run it’s beneficial to have a second career waiting in the wings for when my feet tire of pointe shoes.
Me! Aren't I cute?
What will I be getting my masters in you ask? Nursing! I’ll be working on an accelerated program for those who don’t have a bachelors in nursing. Perfect for me as I have my bachelors in dance! I have one year of foundational courses then another year of nursing classes and then 2-3 years of the masters portion. It’s going to be a wee bit long but absolutely worth it.
I have always wanted to be a doctor ever since I wanted to be a dancer but I knew that dance was time sensitive so I began that career first. I bought medical textbooks for fun and when I took clinical anatomy at University of Calgary in Canada (which they’re making me redo as it didn’t transfer, sigh) I adored learning about the human body and running about in my lab coat. Medicine was always a dream that floated around in my head but I couldn’t figure out how to make it come true. The dream was almost too elusive for me to grasp while also having a thriving dance career. I watched an old friend of mine currently in med school struggle with all of the behind the scenes difficulties (ie. insurance, drug companies) with being a doctor and it made me question if this was the right career for me. I would never knock doctors at all. As a matter of fact one of my favorite doctors back in Canada listens to me, works with me and doesn’t have an ego the size of jupiter. I know that there are great doctors out there but was being a doctor the best path for me to help in the way I wanted?
Who says I have to grow up!
I thought back to all of the medical professionals that have helped me with my journey in diabetes and realized, that those who were there for me and truly helped me were the nurses. All well educated, brilliant, empathetic, think outside the box people that I have a lot of respect for. I never wanted to be a walking prescription pad, I wanted to color outside the lines a little to help those who really need it. I will be specializing in pediatrics and would love to help children with diabetes achieve their dreams.
When I attended DTreat Tampa (diabetes camp for 18-25 year olds) this summer I was full of joy and leaned over to my friend who happens to be a nurse. I told her “Once I can’t dance, I want my second job to be like Dtreat every day! I want to spend my day with amazing diabetics. What should I do?” She smiled and said “Go into nursing” That clinched it!
Not to worry I will still be a diabetic ballerina for a long time to come. I just want to get this degree underway and be proactive about my future. I guess I’m growing up...just a little!
So, I survived my Christmas in Northern Ireland! I'll blog about the TSA experience later. I visited my huge family, ran on the wrong side of the road, ate strange new foods like shortbread and christmas cake and had a fabulous time. No dancing but that will start up next week again! It was incredible getting in touch with my roots and experiencing a different way of life. Well actually it was more similar to Canada than you would think. I spent too much time running around the big supermarket Tesco recognizing all my favorite foods that I couldn’t get in The States. Oh the lovely UK junk food!
This was also my first Christmas with full blown diabetes and it wasn’t pretty. I really hope it get’s easier as it put a little rain cloud over my holiday (I tried to suppress it though) This Christmas was one of numbers, carb counts and math problems. I suppose you could say I had a Christmas by the mg/dl. In normal life I really do maintain steady sugars so don’t judge me, Christmas was crazy! I tried to stay at 100mg/dl but as you can see from my list there were a lot of pluses and minuses from that 100mg/dl. So, here it is... And if you stick through my list you get a prize! A brand spanking new video!
2.5hr plane ride to Newark- Steady at 100mg/dl fabulous!
5.5hr plane ride to Belfast- No clue what my BG’s were. I was a zombie.
First day in Ireland- Plus 100mg/dl (I made friends with shortbread)
First evening in Ireland- Minus 50mg/dl (realized I overbolused for shortbread, too much fat in shortbread)
First run out by the countryside- Minus 20mg/dl (ahhh, that feels better)
Discovered a big bag of Monster Munch- Plus 50mg/dl (still fine)
Discovered Schoeler soda- Plus 50mg/dl (still ok)
Discovered Walkers roast chicken chips- Plus 40mg/dl (hmmm)
Discovered custard- Plus 60mg/dl (Uh oh, getting high)
Subsequent rage bolusing- Minus 54mg/dl (pass the glucose tablets)
Waking up early- Plus 40mg/dl- (whatever, I’ll take it)
Staying up late- -Minus 25mg/dl (not sure why I dropped there)
Christmas Day- Steady at 100mg/dl. I don’t know how I did it! I barely ate any carbs!!!
Christmas Evening- Plus 123mg/dl (Scratch that! I drank a full bottle of Baileys)
Boxing Day- Fasting 160mg/dl (Feeling horrible, hungover with the dreaded tooth sweaters)
More running- Plus 30mg/dl (my infusion set fell out, so no drop from that)
Wandering around the Giant’s Causeway- Minus 30mg/dl (Yes!)
Bringing all my own dinners- Plus 5mg/dl (Yay! I’m in control again!)
Guessing on bolusing for greek yogurt- Minus 59mg/dl (epic fail. I was a mess at the airport)
7.5 hr plane ride to Newark- Plus 115mg/dl (Ugh, feeling like I was going to die. Incredibly dehydrated to the point my lip split. Gross.)
2.5 hr plane ride to New Orleans- Plus 25mg/dl (not bad at all. Still feel crappy)
Arrive home- steady at 100mg/dl Sigh, what a roller coaster
Now that I have bored you with my numbers here is Ireland in pictures and videos! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and are ready to get back to our steady blood sugars! I know I am!
Click the link to get to the video. For some silly reason I can't get it to post. I'll fix it after dinner!