D Blogging

Note: Day 6 of DBlogWeek. If you have been blogging for a while, what is your favorite sentence or blogpost that you have ever written?  Is it diabetes related or just life related?  If you are a new blogger and don’t have a favorite yet, tell us what motivated you to start sharing your story by writing a blog?  (Thank you Laddie of Test Guess and Go for suggesting this topic. I don’t think I’ve ever written anything that I can say is my all time favorite. Often I read someone else’s article, essay, novel, blog post, or interview, and I think “Man, I wish I had written or said that!” It took me a while to garner enough courage to blog. Envy and frustration made me do it. cloud-709095_1280 Continue reading

Lunch

Note: Day 5 DBlogWeek. Taking a cue from Adam Brown’s recent post, write a post documenting what you eat in a day!  Feel free to add links to recommended recipes/shops/whatever.  Make it an ideal day or a come-as-you-are day – no judgments either way.  (Thank you, Katy of  Bigfoot Child Have Diabetes for this topic.)

Pardon me for deviating from the topic but I thought this DBlogWeek prompt would be an apt opportunity to answer a question I often receive from friends and strangers, diabetic or not: What do I eat for lunch? I get this question because I live and work in Tokyo, where rice and noodles are among its staples. Since I do not bring my own lunch to the office, many wonder how I manage. Actually, it is not that difficult to find suitable dishes and restaurants in Tokyo, which is among the world’s top food meccas. In most cases, rice is either served in a separate bowl or placed at the bottom of the bowl (as in rice bowls). Instead of describing food options, which I’ve done before (here), I’ll let you see for yourselves some of the reasonably priced choices available at restaurants and food courts near my office.

Western

Another Garb lunchGarb lunchLunch salad

 

 

 

Chinese

Chinese pork dishMabodofuChinese lunch

 

 

 

 

Japanese

Negitorodon

Rice bowl – the rice is separated by dried seaweed

Japanese lunch

Oyakodon

Chicken and egg rice bowl – the rice is under a layer of cooked egg

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bento

Thai bentoBeef bentoSalad bento


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unsticking a stigma


Note: Day 4 of DBlogWeek. Today let’s talk about changes, in one of two ways.  Either tell us what you’d most like to see change about diabetes, in any way.  This can be management tools, devices, medications, people’s perceptions, your own feelings – anything at all that you feel could use changing.  OR reflect back on some changes you or your loved one has seen or been through since being diagnosed with diabetes.  Were they expected or did they surprise you?

weeping-41879_1280I would like to rid Type 2 diabetes of the social and moral stigma it carries.

Type 2 diabetes is not a moral failing. It is not a result of lack of willpower and resolve. It is not God’s punishment for gluttony and sloth.

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Diabetes trash


Note: Day 3 of DBlogWeek. Yesterday we kept stuff in, so today let’s clear stuff out.  What is in your diabetic closet that needs to be cleaned out?  This can be an actual physical belonging, or it can be something you’re mentally or emotionally hanging on to.  Why are you keeping it and why do you need to get rid of it?  (Thank you Rick of RA Diabetes for this topic suggestion.)

Last month, I did some spring cleaning and found several books, as well as printouts of articles from different so-called health websites, about diabetes. I love books and it pains me to throw them away but those books on diabetes which were hiding in my diabetic closet did not deserve to be seen or read by another person, so I dumped them in the garbage bin. I wish I have the power to burn all copies of those books, punish their authors and prevent those same authors (and others who want to follow in their footsteps) from peddling their quackery, and the power to do the same to their Internet equivalents.

snake-92764_1280

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Secret number

Note: Day 2 of DBlogWeek. Many of us share lots of aspects of our diabetes lives online for the world to see.  What are some of the aspects of diabetes that you choose to keep private from the internet?  Or from your family and friends?  Why is it important to keep it to yourself?  (This is not an attempt to get you out of your comfort zone.  There is no need to elaborate or tell personal stories related to these aspects.  Simply let us know what kinds of stories we will never hear you tell, and why you won’t tell them.) (Thank you Scott E of Rolling in the D for this topic.)”

number-70828_1280When I started blogging about diabetes, I decided that I will not divulge my blood glucose and A1c numbers. I will talk about trends in my blood glucose, results of exercise and food on my BG, and lessons learned from my numbers but not the numbers themselves. This was not the case when I first discovered the DOC. When I first joined diabetes online communities and forums, I was enthusiastic about posting my numbers just as many others happily put up theirs. I even considered adding my A1c numbers to my signature. I wanted to inspire others. But after a few months of doing this, I noticed certain undesirable changes in me. Continue reading

Despite diabetes

Note: I’m participating in this year’s Diabetes Blog Week. Here is today’s theme – “In the UK, there was a diabetes blog theme of “I can…” that participants found wonderfully empowering.  So let’s kick things off this year by looking at the positive side of our lives with diabetes.  What have you or your loved one accomplished, despite having diabetes, that you weren’t sure you could?  Or what have you done that you’ve been particularly proud of?  Or what good thing has diabetes brought into your life?  (Thank you to the anonymous person who submitted this topic suggestion.)” 

Tokyo marathon medal

See my Tokyo marathon medal?

In September 2007, I was officially diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. I was scared, confused, depressed and very angry. I asked my doctor two questions.

Are you sure?” to which he said, “Yes”.

Can I still run?” My doctor, who was a runner himself, responded without any hesitation, “Of course. What has diabetes got to do with running?” Then in a softer but emphatic voice, he ordered, “Don’t stop running.” My doctor’s words and demeanor assured me that I would be fine.

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Quarterly A1c

“I’m surprised it’s not any higher. You cannot have your cake and eat it, too, you know.” That was my husband’s reaction to my latest A1c* number. My own reaction was no different – a combination of relief and self-admonition. [* “What’s an A1c?” Please scroll down to the end of this post for a brief answer.]

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Look up

anonymous-376540_1280On a recent visit to the gym, I noticed a new gym member. She was noticeable because she was almost inside the locker while changing into her gym wear, and she walked around the gym with her head down and her hair covering her face. I instantly recognized myself in her.

Like her, I used to walk around the gym looking at the floor. I avoided eye contact with others, I refused to look at the ceiling-to-floor mirrors, and when I stepped on the scale, I made sure there was no one close by. I used to change into my gym clothes while still wearing my office shirt. I was carrying extra weight (a lot of it), I was embarrassed and worried that the fit and slim gym goers would think I did not deserve to be in the same room as them, and I did not want anyone to notice me until I reached my ideal weight.  I don’t know if this woman’s reasons are the same as mine but I’m willing to bet that they’re not that different.

It took more than a few trips to the gym before I peeled my eyes off the carpet. It could have been the constant cheerful greetings from the gym staff, or the small helpful gestures and encouraging words from fellow gym patrons, or the sense of pride that slowly swelled in me every time I stepped inside the gym, but one day, I looked up. Then I looked around me. Then I smiled at the lady struggling with the leg curl and later asked a beefed up stranger to teach me how to use the rowing machine. Then, I looked at a mirror and noticed the promising outlines of my biceps. I remember thinking, “Why didn’t I look up much earlier?”

I wasted a lot of time worrying about what others thought of me, when in fact my fellow gym users were too focused on themselves and their workouts to even notice me, much less judge me. Contrary to my fears, those who noticed were supportive and helpful to insecure beginners like me who had no clue how to use exercise machines or do squats properly and safely. Many of them were once overweight and beginners themselves. Not once did I encounter anyone who laughed at me, at least not openly. And, forget about being invisible – if you are the only one who goes around the gym obsessed with the parquet flooring or who changes into your sports wear while fully clothed in your business outfit, you will be noticed. 

Maple leaves by the roadside

Maple leaves by the roadside

I’m not saying you shouldn’t look down once in a while. You don’t want to trip while walking, do you? And sometimes you’d find art on your pavement.

 

 

 

 

 

But most of the time, all you see is asphalt, a gray brownish sidewalk, or just plain old dirt.

Pavement

Pavement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, when I run I’d rather see this:

Fishing boats

Fishing boats

Wouldn’t you? So, the next time you are feeling insecure and feel your head bowing down, look up. The view is usually so much better. And, more importantly, you (yes, you) deserve to be seen, to walk around with your head high, to be confident, because regardless of how you look, or how imperfect you feel, or how small you think you may be, you are not; you are awesome.

Look up.

The last days of autumn

Autumn never stays long enough and winter arrives too early; this year, winter arrived far too early. Over the past four weeks, I’ve watched the golden trees along my running path discard their red, gold and yellow leaves; I’ve suffered the autumn breeze turn into a blustering frosty wind; I’ve observed the migrating birds fly south.  Continue reading

My exercise-induced sugar levels

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First post-run BG
When I started self-monitoring my blood glucose, I was a zealous tester, testing up to ten times a day. But I tested only for food and not for exercise. Testing for other things meant using more strips, which were not cheap, and pricking more times than my fingers could handle. In addition, I did not consider it necessary because exercise is crucial to controlling diabetes and lowering high post-meal BG level, which I thought meant that exercise automatically gobbled up my BG. But one blood test laid bare my ignorance. Continue reading