Hope the holiday hangover is a smooth one so far, especially with New Year's still on the way!
With Hanukkah and Christmas 2014 now behind us, we're gearing up for the year's end -- and with that, want to share some of the "Good Vibes" you all sent us earlier in the month during our holiday giveaway for this season.
We were thrilled to be able to give out five fantastic gifts for this holiday season to some very excited winners, chosen at random from the dozens of replies to our call for responses to the question:
"How has learning to manage diabetes improved your relationship with others?"
Here are some of our favorite picks from the many submissions:
"When I am confident in my diabetes care, I am more confident in my relationships with others." -- Laddie
"It has increased my patience and tolerance." —Nikki
"I have learned how influential we can be by sharing our daughter's story. I have also learned to be VERY patient with people, while many people have the very best intentions, and think they are helping, they need to be taught about what is really going on with a person with diabetes." — Nathan Durham
"When I learned that one of my students was diagnosed, I quickly had to learn many new things to help her manage her diabetes. This has improved my relationships with her, her family and many more of my students. My eyes are open to so many things. Each day I learn something new. I'm truly blessed to have her in my class." — Alicia Fletcher
"I have no idea how many times I've helped others (especially older T2`s) become more comfortable with their own diseases because of my comfort in discussing my own. I've also drawn on my own experiences with a chronic disease as I have ministered to others dealing with life-changing diagnoses. Plus I truly believe being in touch with and open about my own vulnerabilities with my friends and loved ones improves the quality of our interactions in many ways." — Charity
"After years of hiding it from everyone at work, including my students, I realized it's important that they are aware of it. The kids never asked directly about the migrating lump that was usually on my back (OmniPod), but one day one of my cheerleaders bumped into me at practice and asked 'what is that?' Rather than try to come up with an excuse, I explained what it was and why I had it. The team was curious but there was no 'ewwww gross' that was common when I was in 9th grade myself, and since that time the kids have felt comfortable enough to ask me questions and I've felt comfortable enough to answer them. Occasionally they'll see me look at my Dexcom and grab a juice, and they seem to know to keep an eye on me. So I think technology has definitely opened some communicative doors. Plus whenever my husband hears the Dexcom he asks 'what can I do?' Or if he doesn't like my answer he'll take it himself, read it, and grab treatment accordingly." — Michelle
"My son was diagnosed four years ago at the age of 14. As a parent, I was devastated wondering what I did wrong. My pity party turned quickly into advocating and educating. We learned as a family, sometimes the hard way, but learned nevertheless. He has flourished in confidence, and has recently started pumping. He recently told me as he started his first job that his disease will always be first in his life and not to worry. He is my hero!" — Sandy Guyer
"I have learned that the better I take care of myself, the better able I am to actually be present in my family's lives. They know that unless I'm low, they can relax and not be scared something will go wrong because I'm doing a good job managing my blood sugars. They can recognize when I'm low better than I can and know how to step in and help me." — Sandy Brooks
We turned again to Random.org to help us select a handful of giveaway winners to receive one of two Jerry the Bear cuddly diabetes teaching toys or one of three stylish and practical ChillMED carrying case for D-supplies. We featured most of those winners' stories last week. And today we'd like to introduce one of our final winners, sharing her thoughts on diabetes and winning a ChillMED:
Michelle O'Brien, in New York
"I was diagnosed 30 years ago at age 14 in August, with the usual symptoms -- constant thirst and urination and scary weight loss. My mom knew something was really wrong when I asked to go to the doctor! He gave us the diagnosis and my logic was, 'Well, at least it's not terminal.'
"I went to the local endocrinologist once and was completely turned off by him -- all I really remember was him taking a Polaroid picture for my file (?!) and telling my mom to put fiber in my orange juice. She bought a big can of it, and I had one glass and said 'No thanks.'
"I returned to school as a high school freshman, not really concerned because I didn't have to take shots during school time. The nurse was aware, and I'm guessing as a result my teachers were also. It didn't bother me until one day some snotty sophomore in my Studio Art class asked about my Medic Alert bracelet. My response was 'It's because I have diabetes' and her response was 'Ewwwww.' That was the end of the public display of that bracelet; I camouflaged it under my watch from then on out.
"I was on injections for years, even while I fenced competitively in high school and college. Then a few years back I was frustrated because my A1C was never consistent -- the tests I did were always good, so the problems had to be happening at night while I slept. Then I discovered there were these amazing things called glucose monitors, and after having one as a three-day trial with someone in the endo's office (not Polaroid man!) she told me I was behind the times with the injections. I said I cannot wear tubing, as I will tie myself in a knot somehow, and since I am now teaching deaf students, they are very visual and I didn't want all the questions. Plus it would mean the staff would know (again, the nurse was aware as was the administration, and I was fine with that). She told me there's one insulin pump without tubes. I talked to my boyfriend (now husband) at the time, went to a training, and filled out the paperwork. Wow, a wireless pump! So much easier!
"When my friend at work's son was diagnosed at 2 years of age, I decided it was time to 'come clean' and admit to having the disease, and that's around the time I started discovering the DOC (diabetes online community). Occasionally I get questions from my fellow staff as well as students, and I am fine with answering them. Over the summer we did a cheer camp on Fridays and had to bring one of the girls to the nurse for medication; she was upset she had to go. I told her I would go for meds too and I changed my OmniPod while in the office. It eased her feelings and made her comfortable with being in the nurse's office.
"I'm excited to win one of the ChillMED bags because it's one of those things you come across online and then forget about if you don't order it immediately, then it pops into your mind at inopportune times (no computer access), and I actually had meant to put one on my Christmas list this year! So it was a great surprise and I look forward to using it to transport supplies when my cheer squad goes to compete in Pennsylvania next February.
"The picture above is me with our dog Sarge over the summer. He occasionally steps on the Dexcom or OmniPod when he jumps on or off the bed, but he (fortunately) has never knocked either off!"
Thanks to everyone for sharing your thoughts. We hope the holidays are treating you well so far, and wish you all a wonderful start in the New Year!