Monday, March 29, 2010

I Refuse

In the face of overwhelming odds, I refuse to surrender. I refuse to give up. I will NEVER quit trying.

Should I fail, I will never EVER give up. I will simply start again, look the failure in the eyes and tell it to take a good look as it sees me continuing to move forward, step by step. I am NO victim. I simply have diabetes. And all that means is that I'm a man who is very much alive, who is day by day attaining goals, fulfilling dreams, reaching for more and more of the precious and awe-inspiring life I am privileged to live, never settling, but continuing to strive for any and all that comes into my sphere of understanding and knowledge. I just happen to have a dead pancreas. And?

This message brought to you by a momentary need to verbally kick the ass of a few lingering stray thoughts of self doubt that had been hiding out in my formerly weak and unmotivated brain. They're all dead now... They were long ago replaced by a continued sense of determination, and just a little more heart than I had before hand. It's good to remind yourself how far you've come every once in a while... I feel better now... Thanks for listening

Sunday, June 28, 2009



What is it about diabetes that gives it the ability to play with our emotions so well? Recently, I found myself in a situation, which gave me an opportunity to help a very close friend of mine. Within a 24-hour period, I found myself going from feeling elated, grateful, and awestruck to feeling like a complete and utter failure. I felt all the former things from simply having been given an opportunity to try and help, and then felt even more of the same after finding a way to actually make it happen. All of my BG tests during this timeframe were pretty much in what I would consider a normal range for me, which would be anywhere from 100 to 150.

On the other hand, about three hours ago, I came home after having run some errands. I exercised for a short while, and then took a restroom break. My brain must've been in slow motion, because it seemed like it took a long time to register that the thing hanging down by my foot was the obviously less than durable medical device formally attached to my thigh. I immediately reached for my meter, did a quick test, and upon seeing a most less than awesome 320,000 (it might just as well have been, from the way it made me feel), [okay it was more like 320] I immediately began to feel a rage welling up inside. For those of you that know me even a little bit, you know that this is not normal Tim territory. I tend to stay fairly even most of the time. “cha mon man! Not now!” All I knew was that I didn’t want to deal with this at that particular moment (can you say NEVER!?!?), nor did I want to have any memory of it later. Where’s my brain bleach anyway?

Image can be found at:

What is it about diabetes that gives it the ability to mess with my mind so easily, especially when I am high or experiencing a low? And the larger question for me is, knowing that it can and does mess with me if I let it, what can I do about that? I may never know the answer to the first question, and I'm okay with that. As to what I can do, and what I often end up doing, is sharing those emotions and feelings with people I care about, people that care about me, and people that understand because they have been there. Some of those people are in my family. They love me, and I love them. They care about me. I care about them. It works. I tell them how I feel, physically, mentally, and diabetically (btw, if I just made up a word, I SO own it, but hereby officially give it to the DOC) but the ability of my family to completely and totally understand is a bit limited, because try as they might, which they do, they haven't been inside of my head, my body, my emotions, etc.

So in addition to my family, it is usually during these times that I am drawn to run to the DOC. Sometimes I post, but often during these times of highs or lows I simply read some of the twitter posts or a blog without commenting. I will sometimes withhold comment simply out of fear that what will come out will not be interpreted as I meant it because of what the high or the low is doing to me. Other times I withhold comment because I know that it WILL be interpreted exactly as I meant it, and because of the altered state my brain is in during those moments what I might say and even think is 180° the opposite of what I would ever say or even think when my numbers are in the normal range. The point here is that simply being around those that I know will understand helps. Because they've been there. Because they are there. And until the day the cure comes for all of us, unfortunately we will all continue to be there. But the absolutely cool thing is we are all there.

Together. Listening. Learning. Challenging and encouraging each other. Leaning on each other. Standing back-to-back, swords drawn, ready to slay the lame poser of a sucky dragon called diabetes. How cool is that? Not only is it wicked sweet, it’s approaching dope/badass territory. Just sayin’. And oh yeah, thanks DOC. I owe you big. And just know, when and if you need, I got your six. citas: mamacitas

Thursday, June 4, 2009


How many times have you . . .
Gone for a checkup, hoping for a good A1c test, and come away disappointed, discouraged, and basically feeling like, "Why bother"?

How many times have you . . .
Miscounted the carbs in a meal, only to be shocked when your meter shows you to be at a toasty 307?

How many times have you . . .
Forgotten to bolus altogether before eating, and then remembered when you were not in a position to do anything about it?

How many times have you . . .
Found yourself startled from your sleep, only to find yourself covered in sweat, your heart pounding, your ears ringing, barely able to think straight? Simply because you took too much insulin, or you didn't eat enough. And then found yourself 'panic-eating' yourself to a rebound that would make the NBA interested in your technique?

How many times have you . . .
Left the house without your supplies?
Or been tempted by that all too familiar 'starchy-off the glycemic-index chart' munchy thing . . . and given in?
Or found yourself too exhausted to exercise, or too tired to participate in an activity, only to feel like a failure?
Or [insert your own life-scenario here]

How many times? Like a failure?

You, my friend, are SO NOT a failure! Let me say that again. You DID NOT FAIL! You are human. It happens.

Years ago, when I was just starting college, one day my mom sent me a newspaper clipping. Of the many, many things my mom did that I can now look back on and say, "Wow, I'm SO glad she did that", this was one of them. Basically here is what it said.

Everyday, you are gonna get up, and no matter what you do, stuff is gonna happen to you. Some of it may be good, some of it may even be great, and some of it may fall into that category I call 'major suckage'. What determines which category it falls into? You do.

What I am saying is that you, and you alone are going to be the one who ultimately decides how you are going to view all of the things that will happen to you during your day.

You, and you alone.

Oh, other people will try to tell you how you should feel, and even how you should act and react to all of these things. But ultimately, it's up to you. It's that inner voice we all hear in our head all day long. Not voices, that's quite another thing. Me? I talk to all of those voices, all day long. :-)

What I'm talking about here is your own self dialoging. And my thought is this; if ultimately, you are the only one who can decide how you feel about something, that also means that you are also the only one who can and will ultimately decide if whatever your inner voice is talking to you about is a failure or not! It's all about attitude! In addition to that, here is what it's not about; it's not about the attitude, the words, the feelings, and the 'well-meaning but often SO misguided' statements of those around us. And . . . sometimes that even means those who care about us the most. Because try as they might, they most likely haven't been where you are. Don't get me wrong, that's not a bad thing. One of my friends says it this way, "It is what it is". And in this case, what is, is that it's what you think, and what you feel about 'the stuff' that matters.

So . . . what is your inner voice telling you? Because it's talking to you. ALL DAY LONG. What is it saying? I believe it's all about attitude. I mentioned in my last post that I tend to see things from a fairly optimistic point of view. And my attitude? I try my best to see all of the 'junk' as things I hope to improve on; IF, and only if it's something that I can control to any significant amount. You see, most of the time the way I see many of the things that "didn't work out as I may have hoped for the first time" as an opportunity. Sometimes it's an opportunity for growth. Sometimes for a do-over. And sometimes, simply as a life lesson of something to avoid. But as a diabetic, I DO NOT see any of the above-mentioned things by themselves as failures. It's simply part of the package. The package of being human. And of being a person with diabetes.

There are some things that I do consider to be things that I can and do fail at. No need to spell them out here. Just know that I, like you, do fail. It happens. We're human.

I think it bears repeating, I do not see any of the above-mentioned items all by itself as a failure. But taken as a whole, collectively, they do add up to give me an indication of where I am at any given moment in my D-Life. And regarding my D-Life as a whole, Failure is SO NOT An Option! BUT, what does it mean to fail in the life of a diabetic? And WHO is the one that gets to consider ANYTHING that we go through other than US a failure?

YOU are the only one that gets to decide that. You. And you ALONE!
Not the Dr.
Not the Nurse
Not the "You can't eat that" 'food police'
Not the 'bolus checker'
Not the non-D friend.
And . . . not even the D-friend. And certainly not me. OK, I think I've hammered that point quite enough.

:::stepping off of the soap box:::

You guys still here? Great! Thanks for hangin'. I promise I'm really about to make my point.

:::takes a deep breath:::

So now that you have somewhat of an understanding of my view of the word 'fail', I can ask this question. What are you going to do if you fall? What are you going to do if you fall/fail more than once? How about 3 times? How about 5? Or 10, or . . . even 100 times?

true failure for me is SO NOT an option. You see, for me, falling is not the failure. For me, not trying is the failure. So for me, I keep going. I try again, and then I TRY AGAIN! Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. If it doesn't, I may get a bit discouraged. It's in those instances, with the help of my family and friends, I deal with that, and then, I try again. Over and over and over and over and over . . . You see, even if I never, ever make it, it won't matter. For me, what matters is to keep going, and to NEVER, EVER stop trying. Because it's only with 'the trying' that success has a chance of becoming reality. In most things in life, I'm pretty realistic. (OK, all of you who just said "No you're not", you be quiet! This is my blog. You go commentate on your own blog)

Hmmm. OK, maybe they were right. Maybe I am dreaming here. But my ultimate point is this. I do not have a choice. I did not choose to be a diabetic. BUT, I AM CHOOSING TO LIVE! And I am going to live the D-Life the best I can, which for me means a 'full steam ahead' 'pedal to the metal' 'dam the torpedoes' "warp 10 Mr Scott" kind of attitude! You see, my pancreas stopped working, not my brain, and most certainly not my 'spiritual' heart! Until the day my physical heart joins my pancreas and God calls me home, I WILL keep trying!

:::climbing down off the tower:::

Sorry, I get excited. And when I do, sometimes this stuff just comes rushing out. It's part of the 'tude. When that happens, I've learned to just get out of the way, and let the 'tude say whatever it's gonna say. I find that I usually agree with it. And when I don't?

Not pretty.

:::shaking head:::

Not pretty at all. :-)

OK, enough silliness.

I am not saying that this is what you should do. I only offer it as an example of what I try to do. And I offer it in an effort to be an encouragement.

All over the planet, right now, D's are finding themselves dealing with "the stuff'. The 'baggage'. And 'the voice'.

What is your voice saying to you? And what is your 'tude?

Watch this video, and I think you will be moved. And in a good way. All I can say is I was, and am, humbled. And encouraged!


I think we can all learn something from Nick Vujicic. Nick was born without arms or legs. On top of that, no Dr. has been able to provide a medical reason for his condition. Faced with countless challenges and obstacles, he has found the strength to surmount what others might call impossible. Along with that, he has an unquenchable passion to share that with people all over the planet.

If you want to now more about him, you can find it here.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

My First Low

(Attention K-Mart shoppers, orange juice is on sale over on aisle 6. In addition, stay tuned to the very end on this one. That is all)

Lows, from the latin: LOZ, meaning to suck. Used as a noun: suckage. We all have them. Lows. Hypoglycemia. It goes by a hundred different names, and we all experience them in different ways. The D-tang knows this. That's why it does it. It makes it that much the harder to treat.
This picture shows me 6-7 months before onset.

No matter what the cause; too much insulin, not enough food, (can someone please tell me the difference here???) too much exercise or activity, (especially the activity from 3 days ago that is just now manifesting itself in my body. Jeez!), stress, incorrect carb count, on and on. No matter what the cause is, it happens. I've had them. You've most likely had them. But what I'd like to do is tell you about my very first low.

I'm including a few pictures from those days so long ago. Two of them were taken in the year before my symptoms began to appear. One was taken fairly soon after diagnosis, and then the final two show me progressing to a more stable condition in the year or so afterwards. It's amazing what diabetes can do to your body, but even more amazing is the body's ability to deal with it. My pancreas was no longer functioning, but I felt like the rest of my body did amazingly well after an initial period of adjustment.

The picture to the left was taken just a few months before onset. I was 17, felt great, and was having an awesome senior year of high school. Little did I know what was just ahead.
My first low occurred shortly after I had been admitted to the hospital following my initial diagnoses. After being there for several hours, visiting hours were over, and my parents kissed me goodbye and headed for home. They wanted to stay, but the hospital rules wouldn't allow it.

A little while later, I was given my first shot of insulin. (BTW, by a rough estimate, that was way over 45,000 shots ago. I've been on the pump now for right around 6 months, and I LOVE IT!)

Anyway, I was given my first shot of insulin, not really told anything except "you'll feel better now", and left alone in the room. Well, not only did I experience my first shot, after a little while, I began experiencing my first "low". Except I had no idea what was going on. It must have been a very good one (is there really any such thing?) I started to sweat, my heart began to race, my ears were ringing, and for some unknown reason all I could think about were the candy machines I had seen up on the top floor by the observation deck of the hospital.

I called for the nurse on the intercom, but no one came. I called again . . . and again . . . and again . . . but no one came. I thought I surely must be dying! I opened the door, looked out into the empty hallway, and called out, seeking a nurse . . . a friendly face . . . or anyone who could help me. I wasn't sure what was happening, but I did know 3 things.

(1) I knew I felt like I hadn't eaten for months, (2) I knew where those candy machines were and (3) my wonderful dad had left me with some money for "Just in case". (thanks Dad!!!)

I vaguely
remember a lady dressed in white wearing a funny hat calling my name as I screamed past her somewhere near the 2nd set of elevators. My feet may have even touched the floor, but really kind of doubt it. And even now, over 32 years later, I can still remember thinking that surely nothing had ever tasted as good as those 3 . . . well maybe it was 5 . . . Ok Ok, it was probably closer to 10 candy bars I literally shoved down my throat.

Here I am some months afterwards, proudly showing off not one but two medic alert necklaces (why?), 3 chest-hairs, and one TOTALLY less than hip belt buckle. Lisa and Bev, why oh why on earth didn't you run? ha ha

(But getting back to the hospital; please cue the dream-like harp glissando) . . . . And so it was, a bit later, after listening to those 'way off in the distance sirens' turn into the voice of one panic-stricken nurse calling my name over the hospital intercom, as I slowly made it back to my room, my happy face now covered in after-low chocolate goo and peanut butter filling, that I also experienced my first after-low crash. I hadn't felt that tired since, well, ever! And yes, the nurse was shocked when she checked my BS, only to find it incredibly higher than when I had been admitted. I think I remember hearing her exclaim, "Jeez!" But the peanut buttered chocolate covered smile on my face said it all. And at that moment, I didn't care. It was time for my very first self-induced after-low 'coma-nap'. And sleep I did. With a smile on my face. And now you know . . . the rest of the story.

What's yours?

on the road to recovery

I realize I've attempted to make this a bit humorous, simply in an effort to keep your attention. But the reality is, lows are neither funny nor something to be taken lightly. They really suck. Big time. And they can be frightening. And even more unfortunately, they can be deadly. Never turn your back on a low. 'Cause as soon as you do, that's when it's gonna get ya.

The majority of my posts will never end on a down note. But sorry gang, this time I sucker-punched you. I brought you this far into the post with a bit of humor, and some grainy pictures of a formerly studly young man turned outrageously studly (in his own mind) 30 year old. You remember that's how old I feel in my head, right?

I did all of that to bring to this moment. I seriously thought about trying to capture myself on video during a low, and believe me, during the writing of this post, I've unfortunately experienced a few of them. I just couldn't pull it off. But my good friend George (@ninjabetic) recently did. And with his permission, I'd like you to experience what I can only say is for me, one of the suckiest, most awful sucky parts of being a diabetic. The Low. Watch this, and then feel free to share your experiences in the comments. We can only learn from each other what we share with each other.


Here is my good friend George.