Pay Attention To Your Body

When your body sends you messages, listen.  It’s telling you something for a reason. Right before thanksgiving I had a little health scare. I noticed a lump that had started growing. At first it didn’t hurt or anything so I ignored it. Then it started hurting and became hard. I immediately made an appointment with my doctor to have it checked out.

At first glance we thought it was just a small cyst and with meds it would go away. No big deal. Just to be on the safe side she ordered an ultrasound for a closer look. Turns out it wasn’t a cyst but a hard mass sitting on one of my blood vessels. That is what was causing the pain.

At this point I had two options. The first was to essentially watch it to make sure it doesn’t get bigger and just take meds for the pain. The other was to have surgery to remove it and have it tested. Of course I opted for the surgery. If it doesn’t need to be there then take it out!

So I had surgery the Monday after Thanksgiving and am not recovering. The surgery went well and the mass was nothing more than that. Just a mass. Everything is right again in the world! For now at least.

Listen to your body. When something doesn’t feel right have it checked out. I know most people, especially men, feel like whatever the problem is that it will just go away on its own. While that may be the case for some things it is not for all. Have it checked out by a PROFESSIONAL. That’s what they are there for. I’m glad I was able to get my situation checked out and resolved. Also it is a good idea to do a monthly self check to make sure things are in order and where they need to be. That is how I discovered the lump on the first place.

Thanksgiving Meal Practice Run

I decided to do a quick run through of my thanksgiving meal today. Since this is my first time making it I didn’t want any surprises. I cooked 2 Cornish hen in my slow cooker, some white rice with corn, broccoli, cream of chicken soup and cream of mushroom soup in the rice cooker, candied yams, mixed greens, stuffing and gravy, and Mac and cheese.

I am proud to say that everything turned out great!! The only thing that I will tweak is that I didn’t anticipate how quickly the sides would be done compared to the rice and Cornish hen. The Cornish hen takes 6 hours so I started that process way ahead of time. I didn’t realize that the rice would take as long as it did t it didn’t take any longer than normal I guess. More like I didn’t anticipate the sides being so easy to make and finish so quickly. So on thanksgiving the only change is that I will cook the sides once the rice and meat are completely done.

I’m so proud of myself. I cooked an entire meal by myself. I feel like such an adult.

My First Thanksgiving Dinner

So this year I’ve decided to make thanksgiving dinner myself. Since it will only be me and I didn’t want to actually go out I thought this would be a good time to try out some cooking skills? Am I crazy or nah? This shouldn’t be that hard right? I mean just because I’ve never cooked anything besides eggs, hamburger helper, and some turkey chilli in a slow cooker doesn’t mean I can’t do a bang up job on this dinner.

Here’s the menu;
2 Cornish hen – no need for a large turkey just for me.

Mac and cheese – my favorite all year round

Stuffing and gravy – 2nd favorite all year round

Rice with cream of chicken soup, corn, and veggie medley – I do make this all the time i n my rice cooker

Cornbread – never made it before but how hard could it be?

I’ve decided since its just me that I’m going to make all my favorite thanksgiving dishes only. These are all pretty simple to make. I think. I’m just putting the Cornish hen in the slow cooker, rice in the rice cooker. The only thing I’m actually worried about is the cornbread. I don’t know how to make the gravy for the stuffing but that’s where Google and YouTube come into play. Anyway, we’ll see how things turn out and I’ll post pics of the finished products and maybe some along the way.

Carb Counting

Carb counting is a must when you are a diabetic. Counting the number of carbs in your meal and dividing that by the number of units of insulin you need to give yourself is time consuming and can be downright confusing at times. Yet and still it must be done for every meal. The difficult part is when you go out to eat. You’re never quite sure how many carbs are in the meal because they don’t supply you with a nutrition label to read from so you have to guesstimate. After many years I kind of have it down to a science and I can kind of eyeball the amount of carbs in the meal but that is not a given every time. I have had episodes where I over estimated or underestimated the amount and found myself in a bit of a pickle.

Reading nutrition labels on all packages is a must. You do not want to go grocery shopping with me, trust that. Once I find something that I like and learn how it affects my body I will eat only that. There are only a few things that I eat on a constant basis. This is more because I know the carb count and it is easier when it comes time to administer insulin. I do like to eat different types of food but I have to be careful with experimenting.

Diabetics are natural mathematicians whether they know it or not.  I thought I was horrible at math until I got carb counting down. Now I can do it without a calculator and almost on auto pilot, I automatically know that this amount of food will equal this amount of insulin. 98.5% of the time I’m right.

Clutter free

Being able to reinvent myself is such a good thing for me. I can start all over fresh with a clean slate.  I think a minimalist lifestyle works best for me.

I used to be all about collecting things. I felt like having things gave me purpose. I was so wrong. All that did was weigh me down. For example, at one point I had over 300 pairs of shoes only to wear about 10 or 15 on a regular basis. I had some of them just to have them. Ridiculous.

The less I have the less cluttered my brain can be. The less cluttered my brain the better I can think. The better I think the better I write.

National Diabetes Awareness Month

November marks national Diabetes Awareness month. As a type 1 diabetic, this is kind of a special month for me. Not only is thanksgiving one of my favorite holidays but I also get the chance to spread awareness about type 1 Diabetes and its affects on me and my fellow t1d’s.

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First, let’s dispel the myth of the look of a person with Diabetes. Not all diabetics are unhealthy people that didn’t eat correctly and/or exercise. I am a type 1 diabetic, so this is something that is an auto immune disorder that occurred naturally. My pancreas just decided to stop working. I am an avid runner and I’m all about healthy living. I didn’t create this because of my lifestyle choices.

Another myth is that I can’t have sugar. Umm… Without sugar I would die. My pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin aka glucose aka sugar to support and breakdown the food that I consume. While in the case of most type 2 diabetics, they may over produce insulin and yeah maybe they should stay away from the sugar because their body produces too much.

I stick myself at least 10-12 times per day to test my levels and that is on a light day. I test once when I wake up, before and after every meal and again before I go to sleep. I give myself an insulin shot in the morning on my long lasting/slow release insulin and a shot of my fast acting insulin before every meal. So imagine getting a flu shot at least three times a day everyday of your life. Not to mention the numb fingertips from the constant pricking to test my blood in the morning, before and after each meal, and whenever I feel a little out of whack.

This life is not easy. When you see a diabetic, especially a type 1 diabetic, hopefully you’ll understand a bit of what we go through. Oh and did I mention the carb/calorie counting and converting to units of insulin? Oh my gosh!! You need to be a mathematician to understand it all. We do what we have to do to stay alive and hopefully one day there will be a cure. Until then we just keep pushing.

My First Slow Cooker Meal: Turkey Chili

So I’ve decided to make my first slow cooker meal. Since this is my first meal I didn’t’ want to do anything really difficult. I chose turkey chili as the first victim.  The recipe didn’t seem like it was too hard to do so I just dove right in.

IMG_20150822_200136The ingredients are pretty simple. I’ll list the ingredients and recipe below:

2 cans of tomato soup (10.75 oz)
2 cans of kidney beans, drained (15 oz)
1 can of black beans, drained (15 oz)
1 pinch of ground allspice
1/2 tablespoon of garlic powder
2 tablespoons of chili powder
1/2 tablespoon of ground cumin
1 pound of ground turkey

So I cooked the meat first until it was brown. After that I combined all the ingredients in my little crock pot and set it on low for 8 hours or it can be set on high for 4 hours. Since I wasn’t in a rush I simply set it on low and let it do its thing for 8 hours. Once it was done I threw some cheese in and voila!!
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This was my first attempt and I must say, it came out well.

Lace ’em Up

Lately I’ve been dealing with a number of stress inducing issues. One of the ways I’ve decided to deal with some of them is to lace up a pair of my many running shoes and hit the road.

Running is not a new stress reliever for me, but a goody.  Usually I hit the treadmill but I think I need the scenery to help with the calming process. Not only will I be less stressful but a little healthier in the process.  Some people turn to smoking, some drinking or other forms of narcotics but why do more harm to your physical self in addition to the mental/emotional pain?

I’ve developed a system. I run 4-5 times per week regardless, but I also do a mile whenever things start to become too much (weather permitting of course). This has allowed me in the past to clear my head long enough to make a decision that I don’t think I’ll regret later.

The problem with all this running is that I’m going to end up losing too much weight. I don’t eat enough as is so with the added running its going to be a struggle to get those extra nutrients in. I’m of the mind of eating to live and not living to eat. Not to say I don’t eat but I’m very particular about what and how much I eat. Portion control is a must with me.

I think I may incorporate other training into the mix as well just so I don’t waste away. Being stressed about things I can’t fix or control is driving me insane so hopefully this old habits of running will help.

Diabetes Sucks

Anyone with any type of auto immune disease can relate. Diabetes sucks! It’s like my body is attacking itself and I’m pretty much helpless.  There is no real control just management when it comes to making sure that your levels are in a certain range to keep you somewhat healthy.

Yesterday I did something stupid. I went to give blood. That’s not the stupid part. The stupid part was that I didn’t eat right before I have blood. This ended up dropping my blood glucose levels down to dangerous levels.  I ate breakfast so I figured that I would be okay. Yeah, I thought wrong. I ended up in the emergency room because I couldn’t get my levels to come up and needed some injections to help. I ended being admitted for observation because it seemed to be taking too long for me to get back to normal do they wanted to watch over me as a precaution.

Now I’m sitting here in this hospital room reevaluating my life and some of the health choices that I make. Now I have to be more diligent in checking my levels. As most people that have something like this for a long time, I have this thing of instead of checking my levels for accuracy I go by how I ‘feel’. Well, that ‘feeling’ let me down yesterday. I need to be careful about what I eat and don’t eat.

Even though the diabetes struggle is real, there are things that I can do to make it less of a struggle. Proper diet and exercise are too priority and key to keeping my levels where they need to be. I have the exercise portion down but I definitely need to work on the diet part. It’s really tough and time consuming to manage this disorder but it’s something that I have to do. I’m just so mad and frustrated with myself for this little mistake that lead to me being in this hospital. I shouldn’t be here right now.

Depressed

Depression. This is something that people in my community don’t talk much about. I don’t think it’s as much a taboo subject as it is just a misunderstood topic. People don’t understand depression or anxiety disorders.  Oftentimes they just think that the person is being rude by not wanting to go out or they think ‘oh well, they must be going through something so I’ll just leave them alone’.

I have had some battles with depression at times. It was because I was unable to deal with a very stressful or overwhelming situation and I felt I didn’t have anyone to turn to for help. Suicide has crossed my mind but I was never “that far gone” to actually go through with it. There were moments when I had that George Bailey moment and wished I wasn’t born, thinking that life would be better for everyone else if I wasn’t around.

One of the ways that helped me kind of snap out of my funk was my online community. When I felt I couldn’t turn to real life friends and family, they became my family. I think of them all as family or as we affectionately call each other framily.  I felt like I could confide in this group and get real answers without judgment.

Being able to deal with emotions is something that I still struggle with. I tend to internalize things to the point where it begins to be too much. What may seem like not much of a deal becomes a big deal because it is added to all the other little problems tucked away.  I have seen therapists, done the meditation, prayed about it and all but still the problems still persist.

I know one of the issues is that I tend to push back/away. I feel as though I’m an introverted soul. I like to be alone most of the time. This is good and also bad. This is good in the sense that it gives me time to think without all the noise and opinions of others. This is bad in the sense that people realize that I like to be left alone with my thoughts so they do just that. Leave me alone with my thoughts.  They don’t check in on me like they normally would with someone else because they feel like they would be encroaching on my space or something similar. While I appreciate the courtesy, there are times when I need someone to pick up the phone and call or send a text message, email or tweet or Facebook post to see how I’m doing.

Wow. Writing this is making me depressed. Bottom line, check in on your people every now and again. Especially when you know they are going through some things. A simple ‘hi’ makes a big difference.