Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Rachel and Lamar tied the knot!

Last Saturday, my friend Mario Icari invited me to shoot Rachel and Lamar's wedding day with him. We started off at Rachel's mom's house, where the girls got ready. The ceremony took place at The Arbor atop Presidio Park, then we headed back to Rachel's mom's house for the reception.

These cheery flowers set the tone for the day.
Rachel's granny had the honor of tying up her gown. I love her hands in this shot!
A bride can never be wearing too much lip gloss! ;)
Rachel's flower girls (and now sisters-in-law) helped her make sure her gown was on just right!
The gorgeous bride:
Rachel and Lamar's patient pup, Cyrus, was the ring bearer! He did a great job!
Rachel and Lamar watch patiently as their mothers light the candles for the Unity ceremony.
I just love the look Rachel has in her eyes!
Husband and Wife!
All in a hard day's work...
Lamar's Best Man made the gorgeous bride's bouquet!
Add ImageI caught Lamar trying to steal Rachel's bouquet! ;)
The delicious cake had beautiful yellow flowers cascading down its layers.

Big thanks to Rachel and Lamar for allowing me to be a part of their big day! Congratulations again, you two!!


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Senior Portraits with Mark and Caroline

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to take senior pictures for two siblings: Mark and Caroline. They are both graduating this year: Mark obtained a B.S. in Psychology from Texas A&M University, and Caroline is graduating from T.M.I. (high school) this weekend. Isn't he the most handsome college graduate and she the most gorgeous high school graduate this year?!?

Ok, ok, ok. Mark and Carline are my brother and sister! I wasn't going to tell you, but I'm really proud of them, so I'm happy to say, Congratulations to them both! :)


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dream a little dream!

Well, since I was diagnosed at such a young age, I don’t know what it would be like to live without diabetes constantly in the back of my mind. I suppose the calluses on my fingers would eventually heal, and people would no longer think I was still living in the 80s since I wouldn’t have a “beeper” on my hip anymore. It would be great to go to work every day and NOT worry about going low in the afternoon. I guess I’d be able to scuba dive and workout without worry. Traveling would be easier, since I wouldn’t get stopped and searched while going through airport security (rant coming soon) and I wouldn’t have to worry about making sure I have enough supplies to last through my trip. I don’t think my diet would really change, and I’m not sure anything else would change much.

But… who knows? Maybe we’ll all find out a few years down the road! PLEASE support the research efforts of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to make this dream come true sooner!

And now, here’s my airport security rant. Skip ahead if you don’t care to read it!

When I first started wearing a pump about 10 years ago, I would always get stopped and searched at the airport since people didn’t know what an insulin pump was. Then, after a few years, the TSA folks were trained to recognize them, and I was able to breeze through security, just like anyone else. However, within the past 18 months, another shift has happened. Now, when going through security, when the TSA agent sees my pump, they immediately call someone over. That person grabs all my belongings and I am swept away to be searched. And they search everything! My neatly packed bag with all my camera gear is soon tossed about the TSA table as if it were a case of Legos. Why? I suppose they caught on that liquid is stored in this little plastic case. It is extremely frustrating. As if traveling weren’t stressful enough, someone at TSA decided to make it worse by allowing all belongings to be searched simply because I’m wearing an insulin pump. Annoying! So, what’s my solution? I hide it. Yes, that’s right… I get around this search by temporarily putting my pump somewhere that the TSA personnel won’t be able to see as I walk through the metal detector. Pumps don’t set off the metal detector, so they don’t have any idea that (gasp!) a pump-wearing diabetic has just passed through! And… the thing is… it works! When I flew out on Wednesday, before going through security, I went to the bathroom and attached my pump to my bra. Then, once in the gate, I removed it and put it back in my hip pocket. Success!

Ok, rant over.

And that’s it for Diabetes Blog Week! Thanks to all of you who have stopped by to read a little more about the crazy life I lead! MANY thanks to Karen of Bitter-Sweet Diabetes Blog for getting this idea out there! I thought it would be tough to stick with the blog-a-day thing (have you seen my track record???) but it was easier than I thought, and I hope that it has brought a little insight to everyone who checked in.

We’ll now get back to our regularly scheduled programming. :)

Thanks again!


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Diabetes Blog Week - Day 6

Diabetes Snapshots

I started a D-365 project a couple years ago, but never finished it. You can check out some of those images in a D-365 set on my flickr.

I was planning to take some shots this week to show some current aspects of life as a diabetic, but I got caught up with hanging out with my family and forgot to take them! Oops! So, instead, I'm going to give you some verbal snapshots by telling you a couple stories about my diabetic childhood that my family reminded me of after reading the earlier posts this week.

My aunt Carol reminded me about how, when I was young, we'd go to Fuddrucker's/McDonald's, and I'd order a Happy Meal, but my diet only allowed me to eat either the bun on the hamburger or some of the fries. So, my mom would give me the option: bun or fries. I don't remember this, but apparently I would always ask for the bun because my cousin Greg (Carol's son) would sneak me some fries anyway. :)

Another story is about how my mom had trained by older sister, Kay, to cut the lines at restaurants to get me a Coke to treat a low. (This usually would happen at amusement parks or places where she would have to go to a snack bar to get something to raise my bloodsugar.) Mom had taught her what to say so that people wouldn't get pissed off at her, and she would be able to bring me the Coke faster.

A pretty amusing story happened when I was sitting down for lunch one day at home. Mom had made me a hamburger, and I was in the middle of eating it when my bloodsugar unexpectedly dropped. I apparently had had many of these same hamburgers before and loved eating them (as I do most foods). Mom was on the other side of the kitchen when I suddently slammed my fist on the plate, breaking it in the process, and yelling, "I hate this hamburger!" It's crazy what happens when your bloodsugar drops.... ;)


Friday, May 14, 2010

Diabetes Blog Week - Dr. Ian Smith

Hey everyone!

Earlier this week, I got the opportunity to speak to Dr. Ian Smith to ask him a few questions about diabetes. We went over the importance of diet and exercise in maintaining the health of a type 1 diabetic. Check out the video below!


Diabetes Blog Week - Day 5

Let’s get moving!

Oh, exercise. How I love and hate you. Right now, I am not in a good exercise habit. In fact, I usually am not. Every so often, I get into an exercise mode where I’ll hit the gym every night when I get off work. That lasts several weeks, then I fall off the train again.

Exercise is really important for me to maintain my health, and yet I still struggle to get moving. I enjoy going hiking and riding my bike, but I haven’t made those activities part of my regular routine. At the gym, I feel great after spending 30-45 minutes on the elliptical, but getting to the gym really is the hardest part for me. Besides being diabetic, I also have high cholesterol, so it is really dumb of me to not be in a better workout routine.

My husband is a great motivator to work out, but he often works out while he’s at work, so I find myself wanting to just chill out at home with him in the evenings.

Speaking of working out…. Hm… I think I’ll go for a walk. :)


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Diabetes Blog Week - Day 4

To carb or not to carb; that is the question.

Well, my answer is: carb! I love my carbs. I know I shouldn’t eat refined sugars or refined foods in general, but it has been difficult for me to stick with eating only fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. One summer, I was on a South Beach-like diet, and felt fantastic. But, when I returned to school in the fall, my fresh food habits fell to the wayside. I do eat plenty of fruits and vegetables every day, but I also supplement those with snack foods such as soy crisps (my snack of choice right now), granola/cereal bars (Larabars are awesome!), rice cakes, cereal (Banana Nut Cheerios!), and other carb-y goodies. Did I mention my love of chocolate? Recently, I’ve been getting my chocolate fix with pre-made, 60-calorie Jell-o brand pudding cups. I also eat my fair share of whole wheat or sourdough bread, since sandwiches are such an easy lunch to take with me to work.

For dinner, my husband and I are pretty good at balancing our meals. We usually prepare some sort of protein with a carb and a salad and/or vegetable. Since he works out a lot, he likes to load up on carbs, while I usually pile on the veggies a little heavier. We like making potatoes, pasta (I buy the wheat kind), rice/couscous, or just some toast. He really likes asparagus, so we’ll throw that in the broiler or on the grill with a little olive oil for a delicious side. We also eat a lot of green beans with almonds (from the freezer section). Lately, I’ve been eating a lot of Kashi frozen pizza. They are (relatively) low calorie, made with whole wheat crust, and really delicious! My favorite is the vegetable variety with broccoli and artichoke. Yum!

Having said all that, as you can see, I don’t deprive myself from enjoying carbs. I have tried to do so in the past, but always end up binging on chips or candy bars, which is not good for me. My new thought is to keep my diet balanced between the different food groups and between fresh fruits and vegetables and processed foods. Though I don’t stay away from refined foods completely, I do keep myself from pigging out on them, and I think that is working for me so far.

The other important part of my diet regimen is that I don’t eat out as often as I used to. Besides saving money, my husband and I are also able to keep our calorie intake down, which is important for the both of us. This weekend doesn’t count though! I am in Texas to go to my brother’s college graduation (yay Mark!) so I’m getting my fill of good Texas cooking while I can. Last night was Alamo CafĂ©, tonight we’ll be in Aggieland, and Sunday we’re definitely hitting up Rudy’s with my extended family. I joked that I might come back to California 5 pounds heavier… but it might be true. ;) However, I don’t punish myself for indulging like this. Even though I will be eating out, I’ll make smart choices about what I’m eating, and I’ll get back to my regular diet when I return home.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Diabetes Blog Week - Day 3

Today’s blog topic is your biggest supporter.

My mom has always been a great supporter. I was diagnosed when I was 4, so she was always the one to take care of me from day 1. She checked my bloodsugar and gave me my insulin shots before I learned to do those things myself. She managed my diet and made sure I was doing well. Many nights, she was the one to wake up at 4am to check my bloodsugar, and she would come running when my older sister would yell for my parents if I was low in the middle of the night. (not that I really remember those moments! And, to clarify, my dad would come running too… but I think it was usually mom who would make it up the stairs first.) Here's a picture of my mom and I at my baptism (before the big D). I'm pretty sure my dad took this photo.
My entire family has always given me fantastic support. As I already mentioned, it was my older sister who would sound the alarm when I’d have a low over night. She also stole and ran away with a huge syringe of insulin that a babysitter once tried to give me while my parents were out at dinner one night. (Hello, lifesaver!)

Now that I’ve flown the nest, so to speak, my husband has been awesome. Though he and I don’t necessarily follow a recommended diet for someone like me, he does always remind me to “check my bloods,” encourages me to work out, and checks in to make sure my “bloods are ok.” (Oh, and the diet thing is not his fault! I like my refined carbs! But you’ll read more on that tomorrow…)

I know Mom was nervous when I went off to college, but she was relieved when we found out that my (random) freshman roommate, Maria, was an EMT. (Shout out time: Hey Maria!!) Then, I met up with fellow diabetics when I joined an on-campus organization called WHOOP (Women Helping Out Other People). In fact, it was because one of the co-chairs, Leah, had an insulin pump that I even decided to join WHOOP! Moving to another state for grad school was stressful because I didn’t know anyone out in California yet, so, when I moved in, Mom helped me teach my roommate what to do in case of a low. Then, a few weeks later, I taught a handful of my grad school friends (after I got to know them a little) though, thankfully, none of them ever had to use those skills. It really has been a group effort of all my family and friends. So, a big thank you is due to everyone I know who has helped me deal with this disease! But, special thanks to my family! Y’all are the best!


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Diabetes Blog Week - Day 2

Today's topic for Diabetes Blog Week is "Making the Low Go." This topic is especially relevant today because I woke up low and had to treat it before I could get on with my normal routine.

This morning, I woke up and had that weak/dizzy/awkward feeling that comes with being low. I practically fell down the stairs to check my bloodsugar. It was 58. 58 is not REAL low, so I was a little surprised that I was feeling so bad, but I was probably lower while I was still asleep and it had come up a little by the time I woke up. Anyway, I grabbed a glass out of the cabinet and the milk out of the fridge. I poured about 1.5 cups, and practically chugged it with a Lactaid tablet in the first gulp. I went back upstairs and attempted to get on with my routine. Needless to say, waking up low set me back several minutes, so I was late to work. (I guess I should say I was later to work than normal... I'm usually running a few minutes late!)

Now you've already read what my snack of choice is for treating a low at home: milk. Sometimes it's soy milk and sometimes it's cow milk, depending on what's in the fridge (I stock soy if my husband is away for work for a while but cow if he's around). If I'm really low, I'll mix in some Hershey's chocolate syrup to kick it up a notch.

When I'm not at home, my snack of choice varies. Sometimes it's the granola bar I keep in my purse. At work, it is usually the fruit snacks I keep in my desk. I prefer something liquid (milk is good because it has carbs to bring up my bloodsugar immediately and protein to keep it up) but carrying a liquid is my bag is not always practical. Fruit snacks usually raise my bloodsugar faster, but don't always do a good job of keeping it where it should be. And granola bars work, but at a slower rate, though they do keep it up decently well. Sometimes juice will do the trick, but I don't usually drink juice so I don't really keep it in the house. I usually tell people to pour Coke into my mouth if I pass out somewhere. But Coke really isn't a great choice for raising a low because I'll probably drink too much and have a rebound high afterward. (which is alright if I'm literally passed out from a low!) Thankfully, that hasn't happened recently! In fact, I can't remember the last time I passed out from being low--and that's a good thing!

So, there you have it! Check back tomorrow for Day 3!


Monday, May 10, 2010

Diabetes Blog Week - Day 1

Hello readers!

Welcome to my first post for Diabetes Blog Week! Today I'm going to talk about "a day in the life... with diabetes."

The truth is, I like to ignore the disease. I like to pretend that it doesn't play a large role in my life. I often find myself downplaying how serious it is because I don't want anyone to think differently about me because I deal with diabetes on a day to day basis. Sometimes, I don't check my bloodsugar when I should because I don't want people to see me do it. It's not that I'm embarrassed. (I got over that in elementary school. Eating out and giving myself a shot of insulin at the table will do that to you.) I think it's more about showing my coworkers and friends that I, too, have a "normal" life. In reality, diabetes plays a big role in the way I live. Here's a look at a "typical" day in my life. We'll pretend it's a Monday and I had to change my insulin pump site this morning. So here it goes:

5:00am: Alarm 1 goes off; turn it off.

5:15am: Alarm 2. Get up. Begin the getting dressed process by grabbing the supplies to change out my infusion set: syringe, tubing set, and skin prep (alcohol) pad. I keep these things in a "diabetes drawer" in the closet. The other thing needed to change out the infusion set is the spring-loaded inserter, but I keep that in the bathroom already. I draw up the insulin before I get in the shower, so the bubbles have time to rise to the top by the time I get out. I take my shower, and insert the new set when I get out. It goes a little like this: remove bubbles from syringe (this process takes anywhere between 30 seconds and 10 minutes, usually dictated by the age of the bottle of insulin: I get smaller and more bubbles when I first open a bottle); rewind the plunger in the pump; connect syringe to tubing; insert syringe into pump; prime the air out of the tubing; clean the site on my abdomen and allow to dry while placing infusion set into inserter; remove protective covering on infusion set; cock inserter; place inserter on site location; hold breath; count: one, two, and click release on three! Then I smooth down the tape to make sure it adheres correctly, the needle comes out, and prime 0.3 units. Phew! Breath normally. :)

Get dressed, go downstairs to make my lunch for the day and grab something for breakfast, and head to work! It's now 6:15am.

6:30am: Get to work. Check email and do work things. Eat breakfast around 7:00am.

10:00am: I usually check my bloodsugar around now.

11:30am is lunchtime! Check bloodsugar; eat lunch at my desk (usually).

12:00pm: Get back to work! I have a tendency to go low in the afternoons, especially if work is significantly hectic or if I'm stressed out in some way. I always keep snacks at my desk in case this happens.

4:00pm: Done with work! Head home. Check bloodsugar when I get there.

The evenings are tricky. In the past few weeks, I haven't been on a good workout schedule, so I haven't been going to the gym much. If I am going to the gym, I usually change and go right when I get home from work (4:30pm). Then, hubby and I will make/eat dinner and watch something we've DVR'ed or spend time on our computers until it's bedtime. Oh! I like to catch Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! on weeknights. :) I like to start winding down for bed around 8:00pm so I can get in bed at 9:00 and fall asleep before 10:00. Then...... restart!

There are many times when diabetes interferes with my life that aren't reflected in this "typical" day, but I'm sure those will be revealed later this week. Stay tuned!!


Sunday, May 9, 2010

R&T are married!

I'll start this post by saying that it is LOOONG overdue!

At the end of March, Corina of Steadfast Photography invited me to join her at the Grand Tradition Estate in Fallbrook, CA, to photograph the wedding of this fun couple! R was absolutely gorgeous in her pink-trimmed gown, and T was so excited that he could hardly contain himself! Both the ceremony and reception were at the same location, perfect for this prince and her princess.

Below is a (somewhat) random sampling of the moments I captured during the course of the afternoon and evening. I'm stuggling with the format of my blog here, so please bear with me. A new look will be coming later this year!

Candice Benjamin was also present to capture the memories of this day; check out her amazing shots here!

R's mom had the honor of tying up the back of her dress. She did a great job, too! :)
The tables were set in various hues of pink and white:
The lovely bridesmaids before the ceremony!
T is ready to get down that aisle! Is it go-time yet?!?
And they're off! Here is T seeing his beautiful bride walking down the aisle:
R was presented by her loving father.
I love weddings, but I don't think this girl feels the same way! (Yet!)
Here come the new Mr. and Mrs.!
You could feel the love they share!The Groom and his Men.
The bouquets were gorgeous!
And there they go! R&T were sent off while being showered by bubbles.
Thanks again to Corina (and Candice) for allowing me capture these moments with you! And many congratulations to R and T!!

Happy Mother's Day, everyone!

p.s. Don't forget to check back tomorrow for Day 1 of Diabetes Blog Week!