Thursday, October 30, 2014

Factually speaking...

Have my posts felt a little heavy lately?  If its not moving its diabetes. If its not diabetes its talking about my BFF leaving. Lets lighten it up around here shall we? I'm going to hop on the tail end of Blogtober do a quick and easy facts post. I know its ridiculous to only do one of these prompts, especially when the point was to blog everyday in October! Judge not/forgive me? Thanks!

Random facts:

I have 3 siblings. Brother, Sister, Me, Sister. My older sister tries to claim she is a middle child, and technically she is. But I think I am more middle than her.

My siblings and I were each born in a different state.  I was born in the Florida panhandle.

My family thinks I'm quiet, my friends think I'm loud. Funny thing is, I think I'm the same no matter where I am. Perspective...

I lose EVERYTHING. Yesterday alone, I lost my phone 4 separate times. I'm the sort of person who can never find her keys.

I am a deep sleeper. Sleep through fire alarms, deep sleeper. Thank goodness it has never been a real fire!

I am a total scaredy cat. I hate scary movies and Halloween is my least favorite holiday. (Though I do like the well-thought out costumes that aren't scary.)

My sister and her husband as Jenni and Forrest
I used to be terrified of swimming without goggles when I was a little kid. If my goggles ever filled up with water, I would forget how to swim and start drowning. I had to be rescued more than once. The irony of the situation being, I went on to become a competitive swimmer in high school and college.

Shelly is a nick name. My real name is Michelle but no one, not even my parents, has ever called me Michelle.

Helene in Between Blogtober

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

So Your Boyfriend has Type 1 Diabetes: Part I

Over the history of this blog,  I've held back from talking too much about my boyfriend and the fact that he has type 1 diabetes.  It did not feel like mine to share. But as long as I'm with Chris, Diabetes is a part of my life too, so I put it all out there a few weeks go. Was it an over share? Maybe. But if one person benefits from hearing about my experience, then it was worthwhile.

Through trial and error I've learned some "best practices" for life with a friend/boyfriend/someone close to you with diabetes. CAVEAT, WARNING, DISCLAIMER: I am not a health care professional, nor a diabetes educator. I just want to share what I've learned through my perspective as a non-diabetic, non-professional, who found herself having to tackle the disease and all of its complexities.

Here we go:

1. Do your research. I was ignorant about diabetes before Chris. In fact when he told he was diabetic, my first question was "are you on dialysis?" because I thought that was the treatment for diabetes. Its not. Just no. Oh Shelly of three years ago, you have so much to learn!

Many people don't know the difference between 1 and 2, or that there are even two different kinds.  I know I didn't. It's an easy mistake to make, they share the same name and have somewhat similar problems.   Type 2 is more prevalanet,  therefore most people know more about it and assume that is what Chris has. There's a lot of "but you're not over weight!  and "Its reversible if you eat better so why don't you fix your diet?"   The fact is, type 1 is not reversible. It's a chronic condition with no cure, only daily management therapies. Chris takes it in stride, but I see how tiresome it is when well meaning stranger doles out advice based on misinformation.

If someone opens up to you about their condition, don't be afraid to ask questions but its likely you won't cover everything.  After you've talked, go read. There are plenty of resources like Mayo Clinic or WebMD with well written, lay-explanations of T1D so you can be fully educated on the causes, symptoms and treatment. 

2. Don't steal their food. Sounds silly but each carb is counted and insulin is calculated for that specific amount. A small nibble won't throw everything off, but maybe ask first before stealing half of their french fries.

3. Say yes to dessert.  Constantly saying no to sweets is just depressing for everyone involved. Besides, diabetics CAN eat sugar, they just have to take enough insulin to cover it.  But instead of keeping sweets around the house,  make going for dessert a date itself.  Honor it. Enjoy it. Split it even. This can extend to other carb-heavy indulgences like french fries or pasta.   (Cleveland ice cream  tip: We like to get a scoop at Mitchel's on W25th  and then walk across the Hope Memorial Bridge. That way we burn a few carbs in the process, all while taking in a great view of CLE.)

4. Go on dates that are physically engaging. Watching a movie on the couch is nice, but moving around helps burn carbohydrates and moderate blood sugar. Go bike riding, hiking, swimming, or just go for a regular old walk around the neighborhood. But just remember to...

5.  Keep a supply of fast acting carbs around. Chris always keeps snacks on him in case of a low, but one time we got lost on a hike once (trying to do the tip above!) and Chris had eaten all of the snacks he had.  His blood sugar was dropping and we were still lost.   Fortunately we found our way before things escalated. However, I never want to be caught unprepared again. Now I keep glucose tabs on me as well. I tried stashing Skittles at first, but I kept eating them myself. Whoops.  Find what works for you. I suggest something that has a long shelf life and won't make a mess in your purse/car at extreme heat or cold (or be so deliciously tempting that you eat them all.)

WOW this post ended up being way longer than I expected! I am going to Harry Potter 7/Hunger Games Mockingjay this sucker and break it into two parts. Part Deux the Diabetes-ing, coming at you soon.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Notes on Denver...

I spent the last week out in what will be my new state of residence come November. I was apartment hunting, and while I'm glad I took the time to look at over 12 different places, I ended up renting the first apartment I saw.  Go figure. But I have never spent any time in Denver itself, so this was a good chance to get a feel for the city.
I haven't quite gotten the slight smile down for pictures. But I swear I'm happy in this picture, albeit dying from exhaustion trying to hike in the higher altitude. 

In general, I think it is a good match for me and I feel approximately 40% less anxious about moving now that I've visited, liked it, and found a place to call home. But its only natural to draw comparison to your old city. Here are my first impressions/weird things (to me) about Denver:

On the weather channel when they show the regional weather, they show the west coast. I'm so used to seeing the eastern half  that when they pulled up the map and I saw the Pacific, I had to internally recalculate my location. You're not in Kansas anymore, Shelly. (Although you are a lot closer to it now than you have been before...)

Apartment complexes: Lots of new construction. Many apartments I saw were built within the last 5 years. Some were quite nice, others were fancy finishes slapped on top of shoddy construction. Places where you would surely hear your neighbors every last move. They also have this terrible habit of pumping smells into the lobbies and hallways. It would be like living in an Abercrombie.  Pet rent is a thing. Pet deposits, sure,  but not rent. I'm sorry, but my cat is not using electricity or the community pool or the gym. I call shenanigans on pet rent on top of pet deposits. Its one or the other, not both.

ITS SO SUNNY. I never realized how blazing-bright it was here. I guess some preliminary research could have told me that, but I'm more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, type of gal. Tip for you? Buy stock in Banana Boat sunscreen because its relentlessly sunny here, and I'm relentlessly pale. I'm gonna need it year round.

Mountains are your geographic navigator. Obvious, I know, but I am used to asking myself which way to the lake? OK that way is north. or which way to the beach? Ok that way is east.  Now its which way to the mountains. Ok I've found west.

People are nice but not necessarily enthused to find you're an out of stater. Denver's population is, and has been on the rise for quite some time. Its hard to find a born and bred local. Again no one is mean about your non-native status, but the attitude feels tired towards newbies. On the flip side, because there are so many transplants, often time when you tell people where you've moved from they will counter with their own origin story. Its quite a contrast from Cleveland, where most people are local to the city, if not the North East Ohio region.

My general feeling is still one of standing in line for a water slide, which is to say anxious because its not a fun easy going slide you ride in a tube with friends. No its the one that drops straight down and looks like you might fly off the face of the earth, and when you finish you have a wedgie and your skin hurts. Yup, still 60% anxious.

For now its back to Cleveland for just a few more weeks. Insert the gritted teeth emoji.