Author Archives: smashleeca

About smashleeca

I am a lot of things...a Californian, a T1 diabetic, a Crohn's pt, a daughter, friend, former athlete, forever student, blogger, worker, and most of all life-embracer. That sounds corny...but I'll leave it. I'm just your average 24 y/o girl with a story to tell.

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Sometimes it’s hard to love yourself.

I don’t mean in the “I wish I was prettier,” “I wish I was thinner,” “I wish I was richer,” or any other -er kind of way.

I mean diabetes is really damn rough on you. It’s hard to love your body when it’s against you. Juicing, eating right, exercising enough, all the supplements in the world aren’t going to fix your pancreas. I pride myself in handling life’s frustrations pretty well, but when I’m high I’m a little more transparent. Presently I’m 569, higher than I’ve been in I don’t know how long. So, apologies for the less than motivational and chipper post.

I blew a site, hence the 569, so I changed sites. My stomach is looking pretty beaten up, so I opted for my arm. The first attempt resulted in a very painful insertion and blood in the site. After taking it out and waiting to make sure I wasn’t going to need to clean up a bloody massacre, I got another site, for my other arm. Much less painful. In using my left arm to insert the new site in my right arm I saw the bloody massacre had occurred, it just took its sweet time. Even before diabetes I was clumsy. Scars and bruises were typical.  So, in the last 3 hours I’ve bruised my knee on a coffee table and my arm bad enough that it hurts to move it, with a malfunctioning life – saving device.

My point, diabetes is a pain and being happy with my body is not easy. Diabetes isn’t pretty, I have blood smeared clothes, bruised limbs and  scarred legs and stomach to prove it.

Most days diabetes is kind of like an annoying younger sibling tagging along for the ride. You deal with it because you have to and you make it through. (Yes, this is a juvenile analogy)

Today, diabetes has been my opponent in a lost boxing match that I’m trying to recover from. It’s won this round, and gave me quite the pounding. I’m sure I’ll win the match, I just need a few seconds to get back on my feet.

Tomorrow is bound to be a better day. Maybe I’ll have that round end in my advantage. Through my bruised arm and scarred body I’ll find a way to love what I’ve got…I may not have a functional pancreas, but I’ve got enough grit and heart to make up for it…or at least that’s what I’ll keep reminding myself. You’ve got to have down days to appreciate the really great ones. :)


Nashville

I’ve been there once.

I spent a week there in June. It was a great, drama-free week…until my last 9hrs. Then someone hit my rental car in a parking lot and didn’t leave a note. A kind stranger did, though it lacked some essential information, but it was MUCH appreciated. I also found the situation at about 3am. Yes, that’s THREE in the morning. I didn’t sleep at all, missed my flight, got delayed 3hrs on the next flight, missed my connecting flight and got back to CA approx 9hrs after the original plan. …it was quite a day. A nice farmer almost made me cry when he gave me a free peach at the farmer’s market…I don’t normally cry, it was due to my over-exhaustion. However, I was incredibly grateful and touched.

In spite of my limited knowledge and experience in Nashville, it’s becoming my new home.

Yep, home.

That’s huge for me. I haven’t felt at “home” anywhere since I was a kid. 16 years ago kind of kid. I had a “home” 11 years ago, but I wasn’t there very long. I feel like I’ve always been in transition. Now, I have a home.

Or at least that’s the plan. Looking at experience, plans are a bad idea…in my case. But I’m moving forward with faith and hope this is THE plan. The plan that’s going to be…finally.

I feel like it’s pretty solid since I have very few plans for this “plan”.

Things have kind of fallen together.

Very fast.

Very, very fast.

In June I was in Nashville for work. I had gotten a new job, a REAL job. I haven’t had a decent, full-time, grown-up job in 6 years. Craziness!

Back on topic: While in Nashville for work, I inquired about what the process may be to relocate to the TN office. It was kind of a far away dream, a “maybe someday” thing.

They advised me to speak to a couple people in the SF office. And, it’s about time I grew a pair, so I gathered the braveness I could, and asked. The first answer was “Yeah, definitely, that’d be great! Who knows when though, maybe a month, maybe a year.”

Woah, woah, woah! I laughed when I was told a month.

A couple weeks went by and there was no mention of timing or a plan. So I brought it up again, with a more direct supervisor. Who was on board and we came up with the plan of December/January.

Quick, but not too quick.

…a week later they came to me and said they’d like me to move in September. Ideally the first week, the second week would be fine, but definitely by the third.

Say what?!

I asked for a couple days to think about it, look at my finances, etc. They agreed, and cautioned me that time was of the essence.

Two days later, I agreed.

The week after getting back from Nashville I bought a car. So, I now have something reliable to move across the country in. I’ve gotten roommates. I’m in the process of getting a mattress. I’ll be starting work the day after Labor Day…in Nashville.

Could this finally be my move out of California?! I’ve waited so long for this. SO long.

I’m excited: this will be an awesome adventure, I’ll finally be able to start my life, I’ll be somewhere I WANT to be, it means my family and I will be on better terms (I hope), it’s a new season in my life.

I’m scared: every time I’ve left CA or tried to leave CA something falls apart (diabetes, getting disowned, Crohn’s, tonsils), I’ll be 2200mi away from where I grew up, I’ll be on my own.

I’m nervous. I’m happy.

Hopefully, life agrees with the plan. You know what they say about plans and God laughing…it’s the story of my life. Though, I feel like while I’ve been working really hard to get everything set up, I haven’t been doing much planning. Maybe planning isn’t the word, I haven’t been doing much to force the plan. I decided what I wanted to do, felt out the waters, dove in and it’s all coming together.

Moyer and I will be beginning our lives in Tennessee.

It’s really strange for me to think of him in Tennessee. He’s spent all three years of his life in California and now I’m taking him to Tennessee. I wonder if he’ll forget CA. Or if he’ll like TN. Or if I’ve babied him too much and he’s a weird dog in TN. (I realize these are very strange concerns to have, he’s a dog) But what if people laugh at him when he needs a coat to go out in the rain, because he refuses otherwise? Or what if I’m a weirdo for loving him as much as I do? I hope he doesn’t get too homesick. He’ll probably never come back to CA or see my sister’s dog or who knows if my family will ever come out to TN, so he may never see them again either…it’s just weird. I hope he’ll be happy in TN. I’ll be there, and he’s pretty happy when he’s with me, so it would make sense for him to be happy.

One thing’s for sure, life’s an adventure.

I’m glad I’m getting to embrace it. :)Image


Consistently Inconsistent

Pretty much sums me up.

 

This last week or so has been pretty difficult. I’m behind in school, work seems a bit messy at the moment and my personal life is taking its toll. As a result my blood sugars have been a mess and my Crohn’s symptoms have returned with a vengeance. And as a result of that I’m falling farther behind in school, work is more difficult and my complicated personal life is harder to manage.

 

I feel incapable of having a positive attitude. I mean, life goes on, it always does. It dishes out what it dishes out and you find a way to survive. But, I like to be honest and life is kicking my ass right now. I’m not sure it really has to do with my attitude or outlook, more so I’m stuck pausing my life to deal with my health and I’d rather be doing something else…being productive. Perhaps I need to accept “pausing and dealing” as being productive. Reality is that if I don’t pause, I’ll make myself sicker and less able to have a life. …which is just frustrating.

 

Less than a month ago I was in Montana, was doing great, school was great, work was working itself out and I felt awesome. The last week and a half has been hellish. I think I’ve slept twice as much because it’s the only real way I’m able to deal with the pain.

 

The only consistent thing about my health is its inconsistency. It makes me feel like a flake.

 

There doesn’t seem to be much I can do, except trudge on through…again. However, I’m looking into some more natural approaches to helping my body out. I’d like to hope that if you treat your body well enough it’ll start treating you decently. I took some evening primrose oil today and that seemed to help a little with the pain. I think I’d rather be a hippie and take a natural approach than dependent on drugs that have almost as many bad effects as its positive results. Too bad medical insurance doesn’t cover herbs/remedies and they’re willing to cover drugs. :-/

 

I’m not always doing poorly, and when I’m not I like to do the best I can at enjoying life. When my body acts up, I feel like I’m stopped in my tracks and unable to really function.

 

I’d really like to be consistent at something besides inconsistency.


No D Day

No D Day…being that I rarely blog specifically about D, I thought this would be easy. Then I realized it’s always brought up some way, because it’s a huge part of my life. So here’s my attempt of a no D day post…

Consequences are a you know what. I don’t believe in karma, but I fully believe in consequences and fully support them. Coming from that perspective, consequences are really frustrating. I made a poor choice, which led me to more poor decisions, and things progressed from there. I am dealing with the consequences. It’s unbelievably frustrating to know it’s completely your own doing that puts you in a crumby place.

It’s fairly common for people to think I’m a cold person. I don’t get emotional about things, I can be rational to a fault. Seriously, I get myself in trouble way too often. Yet, I made irrational decisions; I knew better. Not that there’s anything I can do about it at this point, but I’m disappointed in myself. All I can do is pray for grace.

I have a friend whom I admire greatly. When I was in high school he told me whenever asked how he’s doing he’ll always respond “better than I deserve”. I understand not everyone can identify with that statement, but to me, it’s an incredibly humbling perspective. Because, honestly, I am always doing better than I deserve to be. Yes, the world is full of injustice, and life is cruelly unfair; but it’s still better than what I deserve. By this I mean, I don’t deserve to be with God in my life. None of us do; it’s really only by His grace I have the choice to have a relationship with Him. (I know you may disagree, and I’m not trying to argue, I promise)

The last few months have been incredibly emotionally draining. But it’s a position I put myself in, by choice. It’s been so hard, so much harder than I expected. And I’ve spent a lot of time asking “why?” And, yes, someone else’s choices and behaviors could have made this less draining; but people are free to make their own choices. When you involve yourself with others, you put yourself at their mercy.

When you tell a friend a secret, you’re trusting them to be kind with it. When someone chooses to open up to you, they are being vulnerable. My past has made me very weary of allowing myself to be vulnerable…and I’m clearly not great at identifying the right people with whom to share. But, you live and learn.

I guess that’s why I’ve been able to remain joyful, despite the challengingness of this Summer; perspective. I’m still alive, still learning and have a life so much better than what’s deserved.


Diabetes Art Day!

I’m definitely not an artist. And I wasn’t really brought up to appreciate art. As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to respect it a bit more, and even enjoy it…just don’t ask me to go to a ballet or musical…I’ll fall asleep.

In school I’m making teeth. I’ll be a toothsmith. The thing that’s so great about it is that it’s the perfect marriage between art and science. It’s practical art!

My biggest issue with art has been it’s apparent impracticality. Diabetes Art Day proves all art can be practical.

You look at how many people it brings together, its therapeutic process and all the recycling that gets done. Anyone on a pump knows how absolutely un-environmentally friendly diabetes can be. Also, it’s a great gateway for non-DOC members to get educated.

Frankly I kind of forgot about it this year until the day of and made two plaster dental model bases to start my project. I did the model making, gluing, and drilling in class. At home I did the painting. My family is oddly pretty uneducated when it cones to diabetes, but when they saw my finished project it opened the door to some conversations…and an explanation of what D.A.Day is all about.

You probably still won’t see me frequenting any galleries, but Diabetes Art Day is definitely important and incredibly awesome.

Here’s my contribution this year:

image


On Hold

I’ve been on hold for almost 30mins now & have run out of Twitter updates and Facebook statuses to read. After a moment of pondering, blogging was the obvious next course of action!

Life has felt like it was kind of on hold for a while…by a while I really mean the last two years. Right now is a really exciting, albeit scary, time for me. It’s mostly little things, but it’s still pretty awesome!

I’m in a toothsmithing program and loving it! What is toothsmithing?, you ask…it’s making teeth. Dentures, crowns, bridges, implants: the whole shebang! It’s the perfect combination of art and science. It’s also the first time I’ve been a full-time student in 8yrs…totally scary!! But I got my first two tests back today and both were 100% A’s! I think I maybe can do this whole student thing!!

I started teaching swim lessons last week. As a kid, when I was learning to swim, I remember wanting to one day teach kids to swim. It’s kind of a weird early memory I suppose, being that I was about four at the time. Now with diabetes though, holy moly, it’s scary. But I’m determined to prove I can do it!

Why is swim teaching such a big deal with diabetes? Lots of reasons! I’m in the water for 5hrs at a time with kids depending on my ability to help them and keep them safe. My insulin pump is waterproof (thank you Animas!!!) which is incredibly helpful. Dexcom is not…meaning my ability to monitor my blood sugars during that fairly active time period of 5hrs is pretty challenging. Testing on a meter is also hard, since my fingers turn to raisins and my hands are covered in chlorinated water. BUT, thus far I’ve made it work and am determined to keep making it work. Gatorade has become ny new best friend and watching what I eat before teaching has become a much bigger deal. It’s exciting and scary; which means it’s totally awesome!

Yeah, I’m still on hold…lame!

I’m also taking this hour long hips, thighs & ab class this semester and it kicks my butt! And makes it hard not to be paranoid. I’m a control freak and exercise makes my blood sugars anything but stable. So far things are going well, which is great! Even better, things have been going well even without wearing my dexcom!

Like I said, it’s nothing too big or amazing, but it’s awesome anyway.

At this point I kind of want to hang up…but I’ve already invested all this time…and mobile battery.

This Summer has been pretty trying on my emotional sanity. And I’ve managed to keep things mostly in control diabetes & Crohn’s-wise. Minor issues yes, but overall pretty okay. I’m hoping the catalyst for my issue has been removed & I will try to be smarter with my relational choices from here on out.

I’ll be headed to Montana for a few days in 2 and a half weeks. I’m totally stoked! I’ve missed the West so, so much.

Life is exciting right now…and pretty “boring.” It’s a totally new concept for me. Usually life is not so pleasantly exciting and I’m being pulled in a million directions. But now it’s exciting and normal; I have a routine & it’s working!

Before I go…because let’s face it, blogging from a smartphone is a pain & makes your fingers tired…I’d like to point out how I started with my life being on hold & I’m writing while on hold…pretty clever, right? Hopefully I’ll be ending with no longer physically being on hold, since my life isn’t really anymore.

One can always hope, right?

…I think so, since I had on tattooed on my wrist and all…


Thank you…Really

It’s funny here in the DOC.

Granted, I haven’t been as active as I once was. But I always know we’re all here and I can always come back. I wish I came back more often…that I could take part in FFL and the Roche summit so I could actually meet so many of you.

Recently, I was inspired by some “real life” experiences to, once again, re-up my membership to the DOC. All the FFL pictures and posts have also contributed. But, really, my actual experiences are the ones that have made me so grateful for what we have.

My work situation right now is not ideal (but we can discuss that some other time). Due to this less than ideal situation, I am working in a lot of different locations and with a lot of different people. Thankfully, I love people so it’s actually good in that regard. I met a guy not too long ago in one of our stores; someone told me he had T1 too when they’d seen me injecting. I found it to be an interesting fact, but didn’t rush to go tell him I was T1 as well. A week or so later he saw me inhaling some Skittles and I said what a pain it was to be low at work. He did a double-take and asked if I’d just said “glucose” (apparently I said glucose in whatever I actually said…I was low, I can’t quite remember). I said yes, and then he was SO excited and asked a million questions and we talked about diet, low correctors, insulins…all the diabetes-lingo. Turns out I was the first person he’s met with T1. He has been T1 since he was 8 or 12 years old and I think he’s 21 or 22 now. I was shocked.

I first stepped into the online world of diabetes with Diabetic Rockstar, in January 2008. I double checked my dates, so I know I became a member of the DOC only 3.5 years after my diagnosis. I was so shocked by this whole new world that knew what I was experiencing and was SO grateful. This guy I met, he’s gone about 10 years without really knowing anyone with T1. TEN YEARS!!

Hands down, there’s no way I’d be even half as functional without the support I’ve gained from all of you.NO WAY. NONE.

Shortly after I met this guy, I met this girl. She too has T1. She’s on a Medtronic pump. We were at In-N-Out together, in the same group of people, but didn’t know each other very well, I took out my pen (we can also discuss my pump vacation later) and she was shocked too! We don’t talk much about T1, but being in the same general circle of friends, we had an instant connection. It’s odd, we’re not as close as I immediately became to all of you, but we definitely did have a sudden quasi-closeness.

I’ve always been grateful for everyone I’ve met through diabetes, especially those online. Crystal, Ashley and Sarah are some of my closest friends now…as well as so many others. It wasn’t until the last month or so that I’ve been able to see exactly how grateful I am.

You’ve been with me through figuring out diabetes. Dating with diabetes. Moving to a forest. My health falling apart in the forest. Moving back in with my parents because of my health falling apart. Becoming not just a diabetic, but having Crohn’s too. Family craziness. New dogs. New jobs. Everything. I could never have asked for better friends or a more accepting surrogate family.

I love all of you, you’re all amazing and matter so much to me!

…Sorry for being a giant sap.


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