Masks

If it is too much to wear a mask

for thirty-four seconds

in the peppers and carrots aisle,

Imagine what it feels like

to stab your abdomen

with a gigantic Dexcom CGM needle

every week or so,

Taping a foreign device on your body

through showers and swimming pools,

on your wedding day

donning a mask again at happy hour

To be privileged by virtue of the pain

we don’t discuss

The incessant buzzing in your ear

that something is almost always ‘wrong’

What if we were just kind enough

to care about it all

about each other

anyway?

Listening

I’ve done my fair share of tweeting (eh, venting) recently.  The constant struggle of survival with chronic illness is a challenge only truly appreciated by those who live it, day in and day out, for decades.  We never get time off, and our feelings and exhaustion are valid.  Add a pandemic to that, and the Covid reverberations amplify this specific pain.  But, it’s not all about me.

As for here, on this blog, right now, I am all about listening.  I can never write a blog post that says I truly know how it feels.  I acknowledge that privilege, often dictated by zip code at birth, has affected my life and its opportunities.  Although I empathize with their struggles, I would not purport to know exactly what others go through, as influenced by lenses of psychology,  disease, war, socioeconomics, race, lived experience, and so much more.  Frankly, we only know our own stories best, and it is a disservice to others when we claim, via logical fallacy, to represent everyone.  The current headlines are an example of why.

I simply want to write a note here saying that I am listening, and I hear you.  In the niche example of the diabetes world, the ripple effects of Covid-19, racism, and healthcare, combined, are a costly threat.  Our society snuffs out its promising people by these intertwined inequities by design.  The voices of those affected the most should guide our way as our world demands change now.

 

Much love,

Ally

April as a List

I find us at the conclusion of yet another month, and perhaps my hopes to get back into blogging more frequently have lapsed or feel too self-centered, as evidenced by this last minute post for April.  The hectic pace of work, life, healthcare appointments, advocacy, and, a pandemic!!!, have certainly taken up my time lately.  But I do miss this space, and connecting with you regularly. I hope that you are staying well during all of the chaos in the world right now.

My main superficial, positive takeaways from self-imposed quarantine:

  • There are never enough books to read! But reading voraciously again is a nice perk.
  • The show, Power, on Starz is totally binge-worthy.
  • Reconnecting with friends and family via phone calls or emails
  • Long, quiet walks

 

Superficial Cons:

  • I understand the need for telehealth, but it is just not my thing.  I can’t wait to get back to in-person care once it is safe to do so.
  • Iced coffee at the drive-thru was a bigger part of my life than I realized!
  • Too much pressure to Zoom!

 

To be continued in the future, as health/safety/time permit:

  • Much-needed vacation with friends this summer / fall
  • Perhaps more blog appearances
  • Coffee dates!

 

How about you?  Stay well!

 

 

 

 

#TuesdayRain, Continued

Tuesday precipitation brought us all together again in 2019, with folks from Twitter, healthcare, work, and beyond taking notice of the water droplets on their windshields or their Tuesday raincoat necessities.  #TuesdayRain is here to stay, it seems.  The first two Tuesdays of 2020 have followed the precedent thus far.

2018 provided lofty goals, ending the year with 29 Tuesday precipitation events involving rain and snow.  Admittedly, I had my doubts that we could surpass those numbers in our 2019 southern New England / Boston Tuesday-rain-tracking calendar, particularly given that March 2019 was a “dry Tuesday” month.  However, an end of the year Tuesday precipitation rally yielded big results; we concluded 2019 with 31 total Tuesday precipitation events!  In our geographical region’s recent history, it is more likely than not to precipitate on Tuesdays.

As we collect more Tuesday data, it has been interesting to compare the calendars from different years.  Often, similar trends appear in the respective months.  For example, May 2018 and 2019 both experienced 3 Tuesday precipitation events, while October 2018 and 2019 each logged 4 Tuesday rain storms.  Often, the precipitation events occur around the same dates in these successive years.

At the risk of sounding corny, I have enjoyed the simplicity of shared human connection through #TuesdayRain endeavors.  A single umbrella or snowflake emoji, a coworker pointing at the window in awe of the weather, a trend that my friend, Krissy, and I will always be happy that we discovered together- all of that brings joy to the weekly routine of life.  Thirty-one precipitation events will be a tough bar to raise in 2020, but here’s to many more.

 

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*November Calendar photo credit: “Sunrises & Sunsets 2019 12 Month Calendar” imported by Greenbrier International, Inc.

Awake

What have I learned during this November, another ‘National Diabetes Awareness Month’ (NDAM)?

Call me jaded, but I am already quite aware of diabetes every time I poke my skin with one of hundreds of thousands of needles involved since my T1D diagnosis almost 29 years ago; or, when tweeting out the bat signal during a 4:07 am low blood sugar yet again interrupting a healthy sleep cycle, and seeing dozens of Twitter folks nodding in solidarity.

During NDAM this year, I felt a sense of “been there, done that.”  Frankly, at times, I did not even like this month- having the unwanted spotlight on me per se, as one member of the diabetes demographic.

November has its merits: sharing the warning signs of diabetes to prevent future death and disability related to preventable DKA; highlighting the high price of insulin; detailing why #weneedacure; finding much-needed new voices here in the diabetes community; involving people without diabetes in the diabetes cause.  All good stuff.

I suppose for me, personally, the pivotal “woke” advocacy moment did not occur this November, though.  Rather, it was in September 2019, when watching the peaceful protest video of Nicole Smith-Holt, hearing the anguish in her voice as she said her son’s name then, and continuing to hear it resonate now.  That is good advocacy- the kind that wakes you up, makes you think many months later.

Some media coverage of that September citation moment was passive in its reporting.  ‘Protester tripped and fell into a cop car’ sort of stuff.  Far from it.  Given the circumstances, Nicole and other advocates see a need for change, and they bravely and gracefully take action to get us there.

During November, I shared a few random tweets about life with diabetes, the hope for a cure, etc.  But mostly, I tried to do more listening than talking this time around.  As I tackle other challenges lately, diabetes has not taken up as much space in my world.  Perhaps that is a change of interests, my admitted privilege, or a combination of these and other factors.

But at the end of the month, it’s not all about me.  It’s simply about making our world better for all people touched by diabetes- honoring the past, present, and future.  Whether it is November or December, we have no other choice but to continue showing up to the diabetes fight.

Perhaps, here in the informed online diabetes realm, we are aware enough already.

The real question may well be: Are we awake yet?