Thursday, June 13, 2013

Diabetes Aspirations... This is my year.

It's already half-way through the year already, where has the time gone? I've had quite the roller-coaster ride with my diabetes in the past 12 years. I've always had great intentions to start better ways of caring for myself, but we all know how hard it can be to really stick to things. This year is going to be my year. My year to make a difference. I want to help improve the lives of others with Type 1 Diabetes somehow, but in order to do that, I must first improve my own health. How can I expect to be a role model for other Diabetics when I am still struggling myself?
So this year WILL be the year I get this thing under control, for good this time!
My goals this year are:

  1. Get my A1c down to 8.5 (I know this doesn't seem like a big deal, but I feel it's best to start with an attainable goal, then strive for more once it's reached)
  2. Come up with a care system that works well for me. A schedule for testing, medicating, etc. Something that will help me stay on track. Whether that means going back to the log-book with the multi-colored markers, changing meters to something that has a better log system, using a smart phone app, or whatever it is that will help.. I need to find it.
  3. Really get my business up and running, so I can afford to donate portions of my revenue from my D-Cuff Line to PROMISING Diabetes Research.
  4. Figure out the best way to get health insurance as someone who is self-employed with a pre-existing condition. (I'll go into this one further in a later post)
  5. Finally go to Cosmetology School. Furthering my education will help me reach my professional goal of opening a salon and boutique with my mother. This will be a place where I can sell my jewelry and accessories, including my D-Cuff line.
  6. Keep reaching for my dreams, and show other young people with Diabetes that you don't have to sacrifice your goals, dreams, and ambitions because of this disease. You can do anything, be anything you want to be. 
I'm going to be more active in making sure that I am in better health. I really need to get my blood sugar under control and get my A1c to target range. That is my biggest goal right now. I may not be the model of perfect diabetes care, but I refuse to let this disease slow me down and keep me from achieving all that I set out to do. And if I can inspire just one person, then I believe I've done my job... And that's a beautiful thing. 

If any of you have any tips or tricks that help you stay on track, something that you think may help... Please leave me a comment or email me. I'd greatly appreciate it!

Never Surrender! I know I won't!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Something to Believe In.

Two weeks ago my incredible mother told me she was writing a letter to Bret Michaels. She said she felt compelled to write him because he has been such and inspiration in my life and she just wanted to thank him for that and tell him how much he's inspired me as a young person living with Type 1 Diabetes. This man has shown me and the world that being diabetic doesn't mean you can't follow your dreams and be all that you want to be... Hell, you could even be a ROCKSTAR.
The outcome of this letter was more than I could ever imagine would happen. The letter she wrote, and a photo of Bret and I circa 2006(?) was the featured story on The Life Rocks Foundation website, Bret's website, and it was shared on his Facebook fan page and his personal twitter! I honestly could not believe it! 
You can see the story on Bret's website here
Since then I've designed a new bracelet, specifically for Mr. Michaels. My mother and I also decided that we will be taking a short road trip to see Bret in concert again this July in Albany! 
This whole experience has showed me that anything could happen, and I can't wait to see what's next!

Never Surrender, my friends! 
Until Next Time,

Monday, May 20, 2013

Artemis Hand Forged Jewelry Contest!

Hey guys! I wanted to say thank you for all of your love and support! So I thought I'd give back a little! Once the Artemis Hand Forged Jewelry page hits 100 likes on Facebook, ONE LUCKY PERSON will receive 10% AND free shipping on their order from my etsy store! In order to be in the running for the drawing, you must like the Artemis page and the contest photo. Your chances of winning increase if you share the Artemis contest photo on your wall for all of your friends to see!
You can use your 10% on ANYTHING in my etsy store, or even a custom order!
Good luck, and Never Surrender! :)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Diabetes Art - D-Blog Week Day #6

So, yesterday was a busy day for me so I didn't get to do the daily blog post. 

This year Diabetes Art moves up from the Wildcard choices as we all channel our creativity with art in the broadest sense. Do some “traditional” art like drawing, painting, collage or any other craft you enjoy. Or look to the literary arts and perhaps write a d-poem or share and discuss a favorite quote. Groove to some musical arts by sharing a song that inspires you diabetes-wise, reworking some song lyrics with a d-twist, or even writing your own song. Don’t forget dramatic arts too, perhaps you can create a diabetes reality show or play. These are just a starting point today – there are no right or wrong ways to get creative!

Today's blog post, diabetes art, is definitely my favorite topic of the d-blog week! It gives me a chance to share with all of you my wearable art that I create! On May 8th (my 12th diaversary) I started my Diabetic Cuff Line. If you've read my about me section, you know that I have my own business, Artemis Hand Forged Jewelry. I make leather and copper jewelry and accessories. My latest thing has been making leather cuff bracelets, so I came up with the idea to do fun and good looking MedicAlert cuffs for my fellow diabetics! I always hated the way that the boring diabetes bracelets looked, and always wanted something with more pizzazz. The designs are all hand drawn, and then hand carved by yours truly. These bracelets I am about to show you are all available on my etsy store, but if you see something that you'd like in another color or a different font you can always message me and order a custom one. I will work with you on whatever design you wish to have and honestly, any color you can dream of, I can make it! Anywho... enough talk, let's take a look! I hope you all enjoy these as much as I enjoyed creating them! :)
Never Surrender,

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Accomplishments, Big and Small - D-Blog Week Day #4

We don’t always realize it, but each one of us had come a long way since diabetes first came into our life. It doesn’t matter if it’s been 5 weeks, 5 years or 50 years, you’ve done something outstanding diabetes-wise. So today let’s share the greatest accomplishment you've made in terms of dealing with your (or your loved one’s) diabetes. No accomplishment is too big or too small - think about self-acceptance, something you’ve mastered (pump / exercise / diet / etc.), making a tough care decision (finding a new endo or support group / choosing to use or not use a technology / etc.). (Thanks to Hilary of Rainie and Me for this topic suggestion.)

After high school I went onto being a Theatre Major at Buffalo State College. My numbers have always run a little high, and I've always struggled with keeping my blood sugar under control... But things got really bad after my first semester. I had a full course load, extracurriculars, rehearsals... I could have done it. Tons of diabetics get through college. Between the stress, the busy schedule, and going out with friends my health went on the furthest back burner you could find. My sugar was high all the time, I had ketones all the time. I was getting sick. My mom had to drive to Buffalo to pick me up when I would get sick. I started missing classes because I was too worn out to go, which took a major toll on my grades. Instead of gaining the "freshman fifteen" I was dropping weight. Don't get me wrong, I loved the friends I made, and the experiences I had in college. But there came a time to make a decision... and that decision was to finish my second semester, and come home and get healthy and focused on my diabetes.
It was a hard decision to make. I loved Buffalo, I made some of the most amazing friends I will ever have, and I actually enjoyed (some aspects of) being a college student. You can't exactly be a functioning college student if you're dead, though. So I finished out my 2nd semester, packed up (on one of the sickest ketone days I've ever had), and I went home.
I got with my diabetes educator and my endo and we hatched out a plan. My A1c was 12.4 (Yeah, I know... Spare me the criticism) Within the next year I managed to get down to 9.5. I realize to many of you, this is not an amazing number, but to me... It was a huge step! An A1c finally out of the double digits. 
So in the grand scheme of things, it was a small accomplishment. But in that moment, it was a huge accomplishment.
Today, I'm still struggling. I have really good weeks, and really bad weeks. I'm working on it. It's always going to be a struggle, but it will get easier. I will find the right method and get into a good routine. My goal for this year is to get down to at least 8.5. I will never give up on myself again. I will never surrender to my broken pancreas! :)

Never Surrender, my friends!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Memories - D-Blog Week Day 3

Today we’re going to share our most memorable diabetes day. You can take this anywhere.... your or your loved one's diagnosis, a bad low, a bad high, a big success, any day that you’d like to share. (Thanks to Jasmine of Silver-Lined for this topic suggestion.)

I have LOTS of very memorable diabetes moments. The most memorable diabetes day would be my D-Day.. But I've decided not to talk about that today, and to share another memory instead. I will not be talking about one specific day, but an incredibly life changing week, instead. My first week at a diabetes camp! 
A few short months after my diagnosis, my parents and I set off from Syracuse, NY (my hometown) to Camp Setebaid in Winifield, PA. I was TERRIFIED. I didn't give my own injections, I could barely test my own blood sugar, and I still wanted a new bandaid for every finger poke (which wasn't very realistic, in retrospect). Up until that point I was attached at my mother's hip at all times when I wasn't in school. I got off the bus at my parents' salon, and was never away from them for more than a few hours. The reality that I was going to be without them for a whole week didn't hit me until we pulled up at the camp. 
The first day was the scariest. My parents left, and there I was in a new place with people I'd never met...
Fast forward a few days... Pick up day. I was so upset that camp was over and that I had to say goodbye to my new diabetes family. I went home checking my own sugar, giving my own injections, and told my mom exactly what insulin pump and infusion sets I wanted. I had even tried an infusion set to see how it felt. I broke out of my shell and learned so much about diabetes and myself in just a few short days. 
Since that first camp experience, I found a camp closer to home and started going to Camp Aspire in Rochester, NY. Talk about a diabetes family! I attended Camp Aspire until I was too old to be a camper, and then I got to be a counselor. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life... To be able to make an impact on those kids' lives, the way my counselors made an impact on me. To be able to teach them things the things that I learned as a camper. To be able to do that was as life changing as being there for the first time. I wouldn't trade those experiences for anything. Unfortunately because of work I haven't gotten to go back as a counselor since the summer of 2011. But I plan on making my return soon enough!
All of my diabetes camp memories are my best memories. I couldn't ask for a better group of people to have grown up with!

Never Surrender,
Sam :)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

We, The Undersigned. D-Blog Week Day #2

Today's D-Blog Week topic is "We, The Undersigned"
"Recently various petitions have been circulating the Diabetes Online Community, so today let’s pretend to write our own. Tell us who you would write the petition to – a person, an organization, even an object (animate or inanimate) - get creative!! What are you trying to change and what have you experienced that makes you want this change?" (Thanks to Briley of inDpendence for this topic suggestion.)

So, what I would propose is a petition to educate the general public on what life with Diabetes is really like. To end the stigma, the ignorance, and the idiotic questions we're asked on a daily basis. What that would include is telling people some of the following:
1)Yes, I can eat that. I can eat a lot of that. That is what my handy dandy NovoLog pen is for.
2) No, there is nothing that I ate or was fed that "caused" me to get diabetes; In fact, before I was diagnosed I ate healthier than most of my classmates and I had the most balanced diet of any 8 year old around. Hell, I didn't even know what white bread was.
3) "You have diabetes? But you're so skinny and healthy looking!" Yeah, that's because there is more than one type of diabetes.
I have nothing against anyone with any type of diabetes. We can all understand one another's experiences. I may come across as pretty blunt here(it is my blog), but the main point I think I am trying to make is that there is more than one type of diabetes, but "diabetes" has become a generalized term with more than one definition and as a direct result of that there are stereotypes that a particular group of us have to deal with that does not apply to us at all. Type 1 and Type 2 are very different things, but are grouped together because of a common name. I think that causes ignorance and idiocracy from our non-diabetic peers... But it's not their fault. The two different things sharing the same name causes confusion, so really, as annoying as it may be it isn't their fault. The general public is confused, and uneducated about the difference. I want people to know that there is a difference. It is caused by different things, it effects us in different ways, it effects different kinds of people. We can all relate to one another's experiences, both type 1 and type 2. But at the end of the day these are two different things.

 I strongly believe that people should be educated on these differences, and that all diabetics(myself especially) should try to be patient with our non-diabetic peers while explaining things to them. Trust me, I know it gets tiring and irritating. But we can educate people so that they better understand, and so they are no longer confused. Nothing can change until we put forth an effort to help administer that change we wish to see.

Never Surrender,