Married to the Mountains

Let me just start off by saying these past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind! From getting a promotion at work to getting engaged, I honestly haven’t had a moment to sit down and reflect on what has been going on in my life…until now, when Nick told me to get to writing 😉

From the both of us, we want to thank everyone for the well wishes- we are so appreciative of your love and support. But let’s get real, I know you are all here for the juicy details.

Although I was surprised by the actual engagement, Nick and I knew this day would come. We looked at rings in December and Nick asked my parents for my hand in marriage back in March. So, for me, the engagement wasn’t a question of “if”, but “when”. There were times when I tested Nick’s patience… or maybe he tested mine? Let’s just say I was eager to be his fiancé. Not just because of the ring and the wedding, but because I was ready to begin the next chapter of our life together. I will save the gushy stuff for another time, but Nick is my person and he loves cats so it’s a win-win.

Details? I’m getting there, people! Nick always dreamed of vacationing in Glacier National Park but unfortunately never got the opportunity. I guess if you are a camper, this place is like Disney World. There are grizzly bears, no cell service, and no toilets – just like Disney World. I’m kidding. I told Nick to take a friend, but he insisted that I go on the trip. I began working out in March to get in shape for the hike. NEWS FLASH: Ellipticals do not prepare you for altitude sickness. All jokes aside, we had an amazing time in Montana. We saw moose, bears and fat little squirrels. As we began our hike to our campsite at Red Eagle Lake, it didn’t seem so bad. It was unseasonably hot in Montana- about 93 degrees instead of the typical 70-degree weather. There had been a large forest fire back in the early 2000’s, so the trees were still bare and charred for the most part. Basically, it was hot as hell. We hiked 7.5 miles and had super heavy backpacks on. Once we got to mile 5, I was getting a little crabby to put it nicely. When we saw the lake I literally cried happy tears! For me, the process of hiking is so rewarding. It’s a great feeling knowing that you must work hard to get to your final destination- it was totally worth it. Nick and I got settled and then took a little stroll by the lake to cool off. He wanted to snap a picture of me looking at the mountains for a blog post. As I faced away from him, he asked me to turn around. There he was, down on one knee asking if I would marry him. I cried… a lot. What else is new? It was perfect.

Although we were sad to come back to reality, we are so excited to begin the wedding planning process. We have started looking at venues and creating our guest list. Please don’t ask me if you’re invited to the wedding. If you have to ask, chances are you aren’t my first pick 😉

Over the next few weeks, I plan to share more details of my Glacier trip and wedding updates. I am ecstatic for what is to come!

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Birthday Betes!

If you know me at all, you know I LOVE birthday. It is the one day that is ALL about me (and my wonderful momma). As Drake would say I like to “turn my birthday into a lifestyle”. I would just like to thank everyone who wished me a happy birthday! Oh, and if you didn’t… well bless your heart. And I would just like to point out that I had my “Drake” cake and ate it too 😉 It was so delicious- shout out to one of my bestie’s, Rachel, for hooking me up. I made sure to take a double shot of insulin that day. Everything in moderation!

Stay tuned for my next post! xoxo

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Sun’s Out, Pump’s Out!

With the warm weather in full swing down in the lone star state, the only way to stay cool is to be near the water! Summer is one of my favorite seasons because I absolutely love swimming, laying by the pool and buying super cute bathing suits. This will be my second season flaunting my insulin pump and to be honest- I’ve had to alter my lifestyle a bit and totally embrace my body the way it is. Before getting the Omnipod, my biggest fear was how others would portray me now that my diabetes would be “visible” but in the end those fears quickly faded away. The only thing that matters is that you are happy, healthy and confident in your own skin! For most, getting in a bathing suit is already hard enough-trust me, I understand! So adding something new that makes you different from the rest can definitely be scary. For me, I like to express my confidence through fashion because if I look beautiful, then I feel beautiful as well. Fashion also allows me to express different aspects of my life that I like to tap into. There are no rules (unless your outfit is fugly)…but seriously anything goes! My pump has not prevented me from buying backless bodysuits or crop tops. Yes, I occasionally get a few weird looks but if you stare at them long enough the creeps will eventually go away, I promise. I once had a man ask me how long I had been wearing my nicotine patch for. All jokes aside, last summer really helped me figure out what works for me and what doesn’t in regards to my pump. I thought I would share some different tips and tricks to rock your insulin pump in your favorite two-piece.

1.) Show off your pump!

Like I said, I had a hard time with this at first. Once I got over the fact that most people weren’t actually staring at my pump, the easier it was for me to own it. I normally place my pod on my lower back or even right above my booty/hip area. That way, you have the option for it to be visible or a little more discrete.

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Top: Maaji

2.) Don’t show off your pump.

Do what makes YOU feel comfortable! If you are not ready for that little sucker to be seen, you can hide it! The Diabetic community will not hate you, I promise. Try on your bathing suit bottoms first and then place your pod underneath the fabric. I know that this can be hard sometimes since bathing suits have so many different fits- low rise, high rise, and thongs (if you’re into that). But really, it might take you a few times to get it right but you’ll be happy in the end.

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3.) Don’t forget to bring your supplies!

The last thing you want to do on a sunny day is to forget your damn insulin. I just purchased this new diabetic supply case last week and it is seriously AMAZING! Not only is it super cute and discrete but it holds everything I need. It also has space to store your ID and credit card. The company is called Myabetic and they also sell some of their products in Target. Make sure you check them out! https://www.myabetic.com/ 

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If at First You Don’t Succeed…

Sticking with something is never easy to do no matter what people say sometimes. You finally find a light at the end of the tunnel and then life gets in the way. Well let’s just say life has been a big cock-block lately. I am not here to complain about my life because that would be a waste of your time, however, I am here to reassure you that it’s okay to fail. Whether it’s failing at taking care of your diabetes or failing to keep up with your blog- you can always start back up, you can try, try again.

I used to go months caring for myself and doing everything a type 1 diabetic should be doing, and then something sudden would happen in my life. A boy dumped me, I failed a test, or I drank too much trash can punch at that one frat party. Then the cycle begins again. It’s so easy to hop right off the regimen you tried so hard to maintain. You suddenly don’t have the urge to pick it back up again and you become careless. I used to think I was such a horrible person for doing that not only to myself, but my family. It’s like a bad habit you can’t kick or something. BUT we are diabetics, not alcoholics, and we can do better than that. Once I stopped feeling bad for myself for missing an insulin dose or having a high blood sugar, the easier it was for me to pick up my healthy habits again.

I always thought that I was the worst diabetic in the world. When I was younger, my mom would make me have phone calls with mentors who were about my age that were living with type 1 diabetes. I remember one girl saying that she never had a blood sugar above 150 and she checked her blood sugar 7 times a day. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?! That is not normal and anyone who says it is should be stuck with 1,000 insulin syringes. There is no such thing as a “perfect” diabetic. You already have diabetes so you aren’t perfect at all. What I am trying to say is that we have good days and bad days. It’s always a good day when you don’t have any highs or lows but if you are having a bad day, please don’t give up on yourself. You are worth so much more than that number on your glucose meter.

As for me, I have failed at maintaining my blog. Simple as that. I have officially turned into another blogger in her early 20’s who tried to attract more followers. I don’t want that. Lucky for me, I can keep trying because that is what life is all about, right? 🙂 I will never give up on writing and sharing my advice.

If you have any advice, tips or questions, please feel free to reach out! I am already working on my next post!

With love,

Alex

Follow Your Arrow (or syringe)

I know that my last post left many of you guessing so I am back with news! For those of you who don’t know me, I have a slight obsession with JoJo Fletcher from season 12 of the Bachelorette. I will keep this short, so basically JoJo’s hair is literal perfection and I wish I could be her. And yes, we DO have a lot in common…well I think we do anyways. Not only do I look like her 😉 but we are both from Dallas. Cool stuff, I know! That’s not all though, in episode 9 the cast took a little trip to Thailand. ME TOO, ME TOO. Yes ladies and gentleman, I will be traveling to Thailand in October for a little vaca. with my main squeeze. We will be visiting Chiang Mai and the beautiful Phi Phi Islands. Nick is traveling to Taiwan for his MBA capstone course a week prior, so I will momentarily be traveling by myself. I’ve never been out of the country before so this is definitely new territory for me. After my parents had a momentary freak out for a couple of weeks, it was time to get down to business. The first piece of business is how do I handle my diabetes?! Normally when I travel I have everything under control, but being on an airplane for almost 48 hours and gallivanting through the jungle is a little different.

Alex’s Worry List/ Q&A

1.) Do I wear my insulin pump in Thailand?

My biggest worry was the dang pump! Although it is the most amazing thing in my life, I still had concerns about it. I always bring extra pods and back up insulin with me when I travel but I didn’t know if my Omnipod would cause me more issues than Vogue. My pump is set to my specific time zone and expires exactly 72 hours from when the pod is inserted/activated. Since it will take me about 40 hours to get to Thailand and with the major time difference, I didn’t know how that would affect my body. However, my blood sugar levels are better controlled when I wear my pump so not wearing isn’t even an option. My doctor definitely encouraged me to wear my pump while traveling overseas and totally made me feel at ease. I was instructed to bring extra pods, insulin and needles in case anything happens and to leave the pump alone until I get off the plane in Chiang Mai. Once I arrive I will change the date/time on my pump and I should be good to go!

2.) Do I bring paper prescriptions?

My doctor told me there was no need to bring paper prescriptions. He said that people in Thailand know what diabetes is…he’s a gem. He did tell me to locate the nearest hospital from where I am staying in case of an emergency. If for some reason I needed to go to the hospital, the medical staff would be able to assist me.

3.) Do I need a letter of proof from my physician?

I did receive a formal letter from my endocrinologist stating that I was a type 1 diabetic and that I am allowed to travel with medication, including syringes.

4.) Do I alter my basal (background) insulin?

Since I will be extremely active while vacationing in Thailand, I will be adjusting my background insulin to prevent any low blood sugars.

 

My appointment with my P.A. was super positive! I left having no reservations or doubts about my decision to go to Thailand. Sometimes you can’t help but think of the worst possible scenarios but I am confident that I will be able to handle any obstacle that comes my way!

I hope you didn’t think that was the end of my exciting news. SPOILER ALERT for those of you that have been living under a rock but JoJo picks Jordan Rodgers! I’ll admit, I had my doubts about him at first and I didn’t particularly like how Jordan put his brother, Aaron, on blast (or how ABC twisted it) but let’s be real… I’m all for it now! I’m actually hoping that the brothers make up so that Jordan, JoJo and I can hang out together at the Green Bay Packers game at Lambeau field on Christmas Eve! Not sure if that is going to happen but I will be there regardless!

I have a busy few months ahead of me but I am all smiles! I would love to hear any advice that you might have for me in regards to traveling to Thailand whether you or a diabetic or not. Like I said, this will be my first time traveling outside the U.S. so any tips that can help me, on my plane ride especially, will be much appreciated.

 

Stay Sharp,

Alex

Dia-versary

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Today marks 14 years of having type 1 diabetes. It was been an uphill battle but I am still fighting each and everyday! It has been a long time since I have written anything but that just means I have been living life to the fullest 😉 My OmniPod pump has been life changing to say the least. I have big plans coming up so STAY TUNED! Let’s just say JoJo Fletcher and I have a lot in common right now…(I am not engaged or getting engaged)

If you are a type 1 diabetic, please share how you celebrate your Dia-versary! I am “dying” to know<3

Stay sharp,

Alex

New Year, New Pump.

I know that it has been a while since I have written a blog post, but that just means A LOT of exciting things have been happening in my life. I spent Thanksgiving in Wisconsin with Nick and his family, celebrated Christmas in Dallas with my family, and my brother got engaged! Oh and there is a new addition to the family… a cute little kitten named Tex. I have truly been living life to the fullest and I couldn’t be happier. And now for the big announcement (drum roll please)… I have purchased an INSULIN PUMP. Wow, let me just say that its been a long time coming!

Let me explain what a pump is to those of you who might not know what it does. Instead of injecting insulin with a syringe, the pump will do it for me. It is connected to my body at all times, and will match up with my daily activities. I control a handheld device that releases the insulin into my body. In other words… NO MORE SHOTS.

I originally wanted the pump about 10 years ago, but Dr. White said I wasn’t “ready” for that responsibility yet…he was such a gem. I thought it was going to be an easy fix for all of my problems, but I quickly realized it wasn’t. There was a lot of prep work that needed to be done and I was too immature to start that process. Once I entered high school, I was presented with the opportunity to revisit getting the pump. However, at that point I was too self-conscious to wear a contraption with tubing everywhere I went. I was a cheerleader and taking dance classes, so I definitely thought the pump would get in the way. You can’t see diabetes…but when you are sporting something like that, it makes you feel insecure; at least for me. I didn’t want to be seen in a bathing suit with it or explain to people what I was doing with a beeper in 2010. But then things changed when I met Nick (cue John Mayer song). When I met Nick, he knew I had diabetes so there wasn’t much to hide from him. He quickly learned my daily medical routine and knew about insulin pumps. He didn’t understand why I didn’t have one or why I didn’t want one. The last thing I wanted to come off as was insecure…but I couldn’t help it. I am not proud saying this, but being a young woman and having a bulky device on you at all times did not seem attractive to me. I mean who would want to be with someone who wears a beeper still? But Nick didn’t care because this was more than just a measly device…this was our future. My health is extremely important to both of us, and if this was going to make me healthier and happier, then why the hell does it matter what I look like? Nick makes me feel absolutely beautiful, and I can proudly look at myself in the mirror now and just see me… not just a diabetic. Once I realized that, I couldn’t wait to get my pump!!

Wait… there can’t always be a happy ending, right? About a year ago, my insurance company could not cover the insulin pump. I felt like I was finally doing something right and I got turned down. I began to lose hope in myself again, but I knew I couldn’t give up that easily. I started wearing my Continuous Glucose Meter everyday and waited patiently for the insurance gods to help me out. Shout out to my awesome job for this amazing opportunity! I will be using the OmniPod which is wireless, so no tubing!

I cannot wait to share my progress with you all!

-Alex

^Medtronic insulin pump                     ^OmniPod insulin pump

 

Livabetes

For most of you that know me, know that I am not a very “outdoorsy” person. My favorite outdoor activity is laying poolside with a nice, cold…Diet Coke. Well, I guess it’s true when people say that love makes you do crazy things because I can proudly say that I LIKE CAMPING. I know, I can’t believe it either.

Flashback to a year ago… I was an intern with the American Diabetes Association during my senior year of college. The Texas Department of Transportation was hosting a health fair and the ADA had a booth set up there. As I was sitting at the table, this very handsome guy came up to me and all I could think to say was, “Do you know anyone with diabetes?” (I am cringing just typing this). Long story short, that handsome guy is actually the weirdest person I have ever met. But, he is the love of my life. Nick grew up loving the outdoors and camping with his family on the weekends. (I may or may not have told him I enjoyed the outdoors so that he would like me).  We decided to go camping last Valentine’s day, and I actually had the greatest time! I guess you can never be too quick to judge a book by its cover. I am actually referring to when I met Nick.

About 3 weeks ago, Nick and I took a weekend trip to Big Bend National Park. We’ve heard great things about it and decided to give it a shot…since I’m an experienced camper and all. Little did I know that this was going to be a weekend for the books. I packed light since we were going to be carrying our belongings on our hike. But don’t worry, I made sure to pack my Patagonia sweatshirt (like I said, I am an experienced camper).  I also made sure to pack EXTRA glucose tabs and apple juice in case of a low blood sugar. Big Bend has no reception or any kind of water source, which is probably a diabetic’s worst nightmare. For those of you that don’t know, I wear a Continuous Glucose Meter (CGM) which monitors my blood sugar constantly. It actually looks like an iPod. Having that on this trip was amazing because I always knew where my levels were at. Strenuous exercise causes your blood sugar to drop, so when I do work out, I give myself less insulin.

As soon as I put my backpack on, I began to panic a little. This backpack was almost the same size and weight as me, 50lbs. Let me also mention that I don’t work out on a regular basis. So about 30 minutes into our hike, the struggle became all too real. I was gasping for air and becoming delirious. I had to stop and rest every 5 minutes… I felt like I weighed 300lbs. At one point, Nick carried both of our backpacks! I cried twice. There were so many times during that climb that I wanted to give up, but I wouldn’t. The reason for that is because I was too weak to even make it down the mountain. I was definitely stuck between a rock and a hard place. But then I remembered why I was at Big Bend in the first place. Nick wanted to experience this with me and he believed that I was strong enough to do it. Well I’m here to tell you that this story has a good ending. I made it up that damn mountain and it was the best feeling I’ve ever had. I can honestly say that was physically and mentally the hardest thing I’ve

ever experienced in my life, but it was SO WORTH IT! Me, a type 1 diabetic, hiked 17 miles in 24 hours. I guess you could say I am pretty proud of myself. You can truly do anything you put your mind to!

I also want to note that during that time I took little to no insulin, in fear of having a low, and I had stable blood sugars the whole time. I find that pretty amazing!

Thank you for all of the love and support,

Alex

The Sweet Life

To most, I am just a typical 22 year old college grad living in Austin, Texas. I love vodka, chocolate, and McDonald’s hamburgers. Oh, and I am a type 1 diabetic. I was diagnosed on August 1, 2002 at the age of 9. Diabetes is a disease that cannot be seen, but that does not mean it is easy to accept.

“Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, a hormone needed to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy. The far more common type 2 diabetes occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin or doesn’t make enough insulin.

Despite active research, type 1 diabetes has no cure. But it can be managed. With proper treatment, people with type 1 diabetes can expect to live longer, healthier lives than people with type 1 diabetes in the past”.

Having diabetes has been a huge obstacle in my life and has caused my family and me so much heartache. Being diagnosed at a young age was difficult because my whole world turned upside down without any warning and I was extremely angry about it. I began to ignore the disease and ended up in the hospital many times due to my carelessness. I stopped checking my blood sugar and stopped taking my insulin injections. I was turned away from doctors because of my own neglect. I remember one of my doctors’ telling me if I kept up my ways, I wouldn’t live past the age of 30. I had nowhere to turn… and no one to turn to. My parents tried so hard to help me, but I had built such a high wall around myself that no one could save me. I slipped into a deep depression in my early teenage years. I began to see a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with clinical depression and prescribed me anti-depressants which I still take to this day.
When I went away to college, I made a promise to my mom. I promised her that I would take care of my health so that she didn’t have to worry about me slipping into a diabetic coma alone in my apartment. I had already put my parents through so much; I couldn’t let them down again… I wouldn’t allow myself to hurt the people who loved me the most. I wanted to prove to everyone that I could be in control of this disease.  Well I am happy to say that I graduated college in four years and I am still alive to talk about it.

Here are a few misconceptions about type 1 diabetes:

  1. You can’t eat sugar.

Alex’s Advice- You CAN eat sugar, you just have to take your insulin. I wouldn’t advise eating it every day, but hey… get that Sonic Oreo Blast if you’re having a bad day.

  1. You got diabetes because you ate too much sugar.

Alex’s Advice- BYE.

  1. You can’t drink alcohol.

Alex’s Advice- Vodka has no carbohydrates 😉 Actually, I try to stay away from sugary drinks (margaritas, cherry vodka sours, etc.) Try vodka soda with a lime or vodka Diet Coke. You can’t go wrong! For beer drinkers, you always have Michelob Ultra.

So why does this matter? I am here to write my memoir and hope that others can read about my experiences and find a common ground. When I was diagnosed with diabetes, I had no one to guide me through that difficult time. I so badly wish I had a role model that knew what I was going through. (That gives me an idea for a diabetic Barbie). I am living proof that you can do anything you put your mind to. DON’T EVER let anyone tell you different… yes I am talking to you Dr. White!

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL…insulin pumps, bruises and all.

I hope you will follow me on my journey<3

-Alex

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Resources

 “Type 1 Diabetes.” – Mayo Clinic. N.p., 2 Aug. 2014. Web. 07 Nov. 2015.