Wednesday, October 29, 2014

National Learning Disability Month

It came to my attention that it was National Learning Disability Month. This is the first time I have shared my diagnosis of dyslexia publicly, maybe you can understand now why I am so bad at spelling :) . Recently I wrote an article for the Nebraska Dyslexia Association that was also included in the Lincoln Kids Newspaper. So here it is.....     
     I remember our reading groups in first grade. There was the advanced group, the normal speed group, and the slower group and no matter how hard I tried I was always in the slower group. I would sit there and wonder why I could never get to the level of reading that my friends were at. I was always labeled as a slow reader. There was never a reason to question it further because my grades were always in the honor roll range. Fast forward to the fall of 2013 as I began my freshman year of college at Regis University in Denver Colorado. 
     At the age of nine I was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes and, because of this, I take all of my tests in the disabilities center. As I was setting up my testing accommodations with my coordinator she asked if there was anything else she could help me with. I pondered for a moment and responded with “I read really slow”. Caught off guard she began to ask me about my struggle with reading. Together we came to the conclusion that I should look into being tested for a reading disability.  I completed the testing a few weeks later and the results were as expected. My IQ is ranked as “high average” and yet my grades failed to reflect that, especially when it came to the ACT. I was told that I had a moderate reading disability, reading at the speed of a seventh grader. The school granted me audio books, which cut my homework time by over half, and extended time to complete my tests. I completed two of the hardest semesters of nursing school with a cumulative 3.5 GPA. 
     It was not until  I returned home for a little summer break in Lincoln that I finally put a name to my reading disability. My mom told me one night that we were going to attend a movie about dyslexia hosted by the Nebraska Dyslexia Association. I was confused and adamant about the fact that I was not dyslexic. I never flipped numbers around or read backwards. As I sat through the “The Big Picture” there were pieces I related to and pieces of the film I did not. I soon learned that dyslexia is a spectrum and everyone has different components to it. This whole new world of dyslexia for me is huge. I am still in the process of learning what it all encompasses. It is nice to have a label for something I have struggled with for so many years and at the same time it is hard to accept. With having Type One Diabetes, I can work on my management to have my blood sugars as close to normal as possible. With Dyslexia, there will always be a component that I cannot change or make more “normal”.  I will always struggle with reading and spelling and writing and memorization. However, at the same time people with dyslexia are known for their creativity. So as I face this new journey I will use the gift I have been given as my motivation and not my crutch. Acceptation and adaption is what will help me, us, to thrive.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Betics r da best....

Since I have spent a substantial amount of time with my diabetic friends lately I feel that it would be proper to write about nothing other than them.
The relationship between diabetics is something that I can describe but unless you are diabetic, it is impossible to fully grasp. People are always asking why my diabetic friends are so special to me, so I will give it my best shot to explain.

There is crazy thing with diabetics where if you see one testing or giving themselves insulin you fell an instant connection with them. You feel like you have been friends with them for a bazillion years even though you met them about 1 minute ago. I believe that we feel this instant connection for the simple fact that we experience the same thing every day. We know what it feels like to be different, to feel high with headaches, and low with the shakes. They know the added stress of controlling those crazy blood sugars, and how hard it is to find a spot to put your pump when you wear a dress. What most people don't think about though is that they know the joy and happiness we feel also. When everyone else is playing the pity party on us, they are the ones who are pushing you to climb mountains and run half marathons :). They want the best out of you and don't want you to give anything less. It's funny to see how they respond to things differently than everyone else. For instance, if you are high and are feeling like poop their reaction will be "Me too" where your friends or parents would be "Drink water, dose, check again with your hands washed, change your site, and stop snacking", don't get me wrong both are great and appreciated, just different.

The benefits of having AMAZING diabetic friends are numerous.
I have been lucky in the fact that I have never experienced this phenomenon called the DENIAL PERIOD. Yes this may sound crazy, but I have never hated, neglected (on purpose), or denied my diabetes. Normally when children who are diagnosed with diabetes hit their teen years they have this denial period, mainly because they are gaining independence and are seeing where they fit in and the last thing they want is the betes. Now do NOT get me wrong. There is absolutely nothing abnormal or wrong with this. Yes it is not good to leave your diabetes unmanaged, but once diabetics get through this they realize how important taking care of their diabetes is. They know the consequences of not taking care of themselves and they know how crappy it feels. So I believe the positives out way the short term negatives. Anyways, I give credit to my diabetic friends (John, Brian, Karlee, Katie, Michelle, Ashley, Stefanie and so many others) for showing me that diabetes is not something that should ever stop you, you have control of it and if people are going to be your friend they are going to accept it. It is really as simple as that.
Another benefit I have gained from my betic friends is that I can seriously do anything. They showed me that I can climb 14,000 ft. mountains, now it is my favorite thing to do. They showed me that I could run (and walk) half marathons, I just finished my 5th. Now I have reached the point where I have grown my wings and am starting to fly on my own. I am being that leader in younger kids lives now through mentoring and it is the crazy chain reaction ever!

So thank you to allllllllll my diabetic friends. You are the people who have shaped me into who I am today. You have pushed me to do more than I ever thought I would in life and have showed me what's important. I strive to be like all of you when I grow up. I love you guys more than you will ever know!
John, Me, Erin (awesome diabetic and best friend), and Brian




Wednesday, November 9, 2011

National Diabetes Blog Day!

Yeah I know. I'm a slacker. I can't seem to find the time to write these.
So much has happened since the last blog that I have no idea where to start so I will give some brief highlights.
* I am one of 12 runners up for Nick Jonas's simple inspirations contest which means I will have my picture out in a calendar that will be motivation for newly diagnosed kids. To read my words click here.
*I received a good bill of health from my doctor this weekend at my endocrinologist appointment. My blood sugars have been amazing the last couple of days ranging from 90-140 no highs and no lows! It is rare that this ever happens.
*I received an award from the American Legion Auxiliary in recognition of my community service.
*Speaking of service I have 160 of community service hours done to reach my goal of 300 by June of next year!
*I have started ACT classes through a local learning center.For 4 hours every Saturday for 6 weeks I get to spend my morning learning the tips and tools to take the ACT.
*The ACT approved my accommodations which means that whenever I need to use the restroom, test, or eat they will stop the clock which will be nice.
*I have recently gone on two college visits. One to Regis University in Denver which would be awesome to be so close to my diabetic support system and not to mention they have an outstanding school and nursing program. The other Visit was to the University of Iowa which followed my doctors appointment there. It was interesting seeing a large school.
* I finished my 3rd half marathon in Denver with my diabetic friend Zyler. He is 12 years old and had a lot of determination to finish.
*Last weekend I got to see my diabetic friend Karlee, who plays volleyball for Michigan, play against Nebraska and Iowa. She has taught me a great deal about life and I couldn't thank her enough for being a positive role model to me.
*Cross country is over. I had a fantastic season filled full of fun times spent with friends. My teammates and coaches where supportive and so helpful when it came to my diabetes. My coaches stationed themselves along the race course with kits in case I went low.

Well I'm sure I missed some events but those are the main ones, now on to my actual blog.

A big theme in my life lately has been stress and nerves with and around diabetes. Like I said before we have been on the topic of college and with that comes stress on how to manage my diabetes alone at night. I have never been one to wake up with a low blood sugar and if I do it is once in a blue moon. What do we do when I am on my own possibly hundreds of miles away from my parents? I have such tight control with my diabetes that lows are quite commons and especially at night time. This is something we will have to work to find a solution to whether it be setting alarms and training myself to wake up or maybe new technology will be coming out! This school year has been challenging for the fact that it has been hard to focus and learn in school when I have a bad bg. I am taking strides to prevent this from happening but we all know that bgs arent perfect 24/7. I have to face this issue like any other and work with my teachers to find solutions to this. If it is during a test I find a later time to take it, if it notes in a class I work with my teacher or a tutor. Everyone is very understanding and I am blessed to have teachers that will put sticky notes on the top of tests or on their computers to remind me to check my bg before a test.
I hope that these issues I face can help others in their life with diabetes and that when younger kids get to this point they will be prepared or at least now what battles lie ahead.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Nearly my whole summer in one blog?!

As I sit here I think of how I can possibly nearly my whole summer into a blog but I will try.

1. Mountain Climb.
At the top of the 14er
Brian, Me, Zyler, and Erin
~For the second summer in a row I climbed a 14er. It was an great time climbing with 3 of my closest diabetic friends and their families they are just simple
awesome and I love them!

2. Diabetes Camp.
~ Another awesome year at camp. I got to go on an overnight backpacking trip with 3 other teen diabetic boys, 3 med staff, and 2 eagle lake counselors. The hike lead us down into a canyon that was absolutely gorgeous! We found many streams and waterfalls which by the way are my favorite things in the world. Then to top it all of we slept out under the stars and yes that means no tents, just our sleeping bags and the great outdoors! I also conquered my fear of scrambling which can be defined as climbing over a lot of lose rocks. The whole teen camp went white water rafting again this year and I enjoyed it a whole lot more this time. Even though the water was high I felt a lot safer and didn't find it that bad at all. This was my 7th year in a row going to diabetes camp and I can't believe that I only have one year left. Its going to be sad but then I will get to be on med staff so yay for that! Going to camp for me is like being with my second family we are all in the same boat and for a short time we are the majority instead of the minority.

3. Diabetic Hangout
Zylers hand :)
Best Friends :)
~The week after camp was set aside to spend time with Zyler, Erin, and Brian along with their families. I think I was just as excited for this as I was for camp. It started off with a fishing trip with Brian, his friend Mark, Zyler, Brian's two dogs, and me.  We left Brian's at the weeeee hours of the morning and headed to a lake up in the mountains a couple of hours away. When we got to the lake it was covered in fog which I personally though was beautiful. It was a fun relaxing day out on the water.
Erin is a big fan of Harry Potter I mean big. She was looking forward to going to the midnight showing of the newest Harry movie. Her mom and I were going to go to a different showing while she saw it at midnight. In preparation for this I had to catch upon my harry potter by watching multiple movies and asking Erin a lot of questions but by the end I knew what was going on. I loved Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
My last night in Denver was spent at Zyler's house celebrating his mom Melissa's birthday. All in all it was an outstanding week.
 4. Medical Camp
~I was privileged enough to be able to attend medical camp at one of our local hospitals college. We had so much hands on learning. We learned how to intubate, put a catheter in, start an IV, see the ICU, give ultrasounds, write college applications, conduct interviews, and give someone anesthesia. At the end of the week Coach John Cook came and spoke to us. The funny thing about the group was that out of 40 kids we had 4 diabetics. CRAZY!

My small group- B5
We represent Hong Kong, Taiwan, South
Korea, Canada, and the US
HOBY on the Bean
~No matter what I write here you will not understand how amazing of an experience I had. I have 402 best friends from 10 countries around the world now after attending the Hugh O'Brien World Leadership Congress in Chicago for 8 days. These kids taught me so much about what life has to offer. They showed more hope, excitement, and determination than I have ever seen before. The kids from South Korea see peace and unity between North Korea and them in the next couple of years and they are fighting for it. Ambassadors from Mexico are working to see their country grow and becoming safer.  These are not  your normal kids. They have been selected from millions of teens in their countries including our own to represent where they are from. It was (and still is as we all talk to each other every day) a special group of people.

We stayed at Loyola University right next to downtown Chicago. Everyday we had panels of speakers that would talk about topics ranging from volunteerism, religion, goal planning, team work, bullying and so so so much more. We had people who wrote books, started organizations, owned TV shows, and even work for the CSI . We met some famous people along the way including Tererai Trent and Jesse Jackson. The moment I heard we were hearing Tererai Trent speak I FREAKED OUT! I could not believe it. A couple months ago I saw Tererai on Oprah. I never ever ever watch her show but for some reason on this day I did. I was amazed by Tererai and her dreams, she made something that seemed impossible become a reality. I am now one of her 300 facebook friends. Yes she only has 300 when she could have 300,000. She is one of the most sincere and loving ladies in the world.
Here is a video of her story
and her is a video of what she is doing now and how oprah helped
Please watch these they are simply amazing!
The neat thing is that she has never spoken to anyone before except on Oprah so we were some pretty dang lucky kids.
Working on our Night the Light project
One of the days that we were there  we got to split up and volunteer around Chicago. Some kids set up an Alex Lemonade Stand  downtown, others volunteered at retirement homes, homeless shelters, and other various locations. My group stayed at Loyola and worked with an organization called Light The Night their work is simply amazing and it has grown close to my heart. PLEASE PLEASE check them out!
Here is a youtube video sharing some of their story

At the banquet and dance
I can't even describe how World Leadership Congress changed my life. I learned so many lessons like every time I look at someone I tell myself to find something good about them to prevent me from judging and instead of asking a person "how are you?" I say "tell me something good?" then you get more than a one word response. The spirit I felt there is what impacted me the most. I feel closer to those 402 kids than I do most of my classmates. The kids at HOBY were OUTSTANDING (hoby word :) and yes it even has a cheer) they are making organizations such as this one my friend from Texas is working on or this one!/pages/heARTS/235156706525937 they aren't just organizations that are being made and nothing done with them, they are actually reaching out into the community and making an impact.
Our pizza at the orchestra
Eating at Soilder Field
Some of the extra fun things we got to do were watch an orchestra downtown next to the Bean and eat Chicago's most famous pizza, have a banquet and dance at the end of Navy Pier, watch fireworks downtown, and eat lunch at Soilder Stadium. There is so much more to the trip but this blog will never end so I must stop myself.

At least once a week I skype my HOBY friends. One night I had Canada, Mexico, and the UAE all going at once.
No foreigners, Just neighbors....these are the words Jessie Jackson spoke to us.

This brings me to now. I am on my 3rd week of school and cross country. My memories haven't faded a bit but I wish I was still back at all of these places. I thank everyone who made my trips so special.

Hopefully my blogs won't be this long anymore.

Monday, June 27, 2011

I'm not perfect....

I would call it a slight  case of diabetes depression. Last week I got my A1c results back. I thought it might be higher because in the beginning of summer I had a week where I upper 200's for whatever reason. I also hadn't been running because of my surgery. These though are not excuses, I could have taken more initiative and made changes instead of waiting them out. The results of this was a A1c of 7.0, one of my highest ever. I have never rebelled against my diabetes or full on not taken care of it. I have to think on the positive side and remember that I have eliminated a lot of my lows which doesn't balance out that A1c as much but I am still mad. I have gotten back to my normal activity level the last couple of days and have even cut back my basal. Yesterday I ran between 70-80 most of the day but I forgot to dose for dinner and shot up to 330. I get stressed and everyone gets mad that I forgot but these things happen, I am not perfect and I make mistakes. It becomes a problem if I did this every day or if I did it on purpose. I don't and all I can do is try harder.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Back in the swing of things...

To start off with our donation drive for Joplin was a hug success! We received over $10,000 in donations that we delivered to the ADA chapter in Joplin. After we delivered the supplies I got to spend some time with Bethany who will be doing a half Ironman next year with Insulindependence. Bethany and her husband lost their house in the tornado but have handled it amazingly. I can not wait to see Bethany finish that Ironman!
A couple weeks ago I spent 9 days in California. I had an awesome time hanging out my favorite diabetics. Each one of them teaches  me lessons that I don't think they even realize. While I was out there I got to walk by the cliffs along the ocean  with Katie, go on a hike with Ashley and Katie, have dinner with the Insulindependence crew, go to Julian and the Padres game Michelle, take a tour of the largest hospital under construction in the U. S. with Ashley, and many many more things that you can view in this Video! I hate saying goodbye to them. They are the people that understand what I am going through the best. I realized the other day that a majority of the people in my life will never understand what a high or low feels like. I find this crazy since I seem to always be feeling one of those.
Two weekends ago I went to HOBY Nebraska with two of my classmates. We had an awesome time meeting representatives from schools across the state. We got to listen to some wonderful speakers. A point one of the speakers made was that if we have potential we should get ride of it. He said when he died he did not want his gravestone to read "had potential" but instead "all used up". I need to use all the God given gifts I have because not using them does no one good. The speaker went on to say that there is no point in asking why because you cant change the past, you can only better the future. I have never asked why I was given diabetes there really isn't any point. It will not take it away, and why wouldn't it be me? Instead I can better my future by using diabetes to my advantage and strive to be a role model for others. There was also an amazing video that was shown to us. Watch the whole thing :) Here is the Video
HOBY adopted my Joplin Drive as one of the service projects that we did during the weekend. In one hour we collected over $100 in cash and received more diabetes supplies as well. HOBY challenged us to do a 100 service hours by next year. In two weeks I have a little over 20 done and coming up this next week I am volunteering as an assistant for Bright Lights along with Vacation Bible School so that should give me another 30.
I am  also back to running! I did a 2 mile race last weekend that went extremely well. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I had cross country camp where we worked on technique. Then today I did a gorgeous 5k run out a Pioneers Park that got me pretty soaking wet from all of the rain.
I planted my annual garden last week which is one of my favorite activities of Summer :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

This post has been in my draft box for about a month now. I never seemed to find time to finish all of it and now the list of things to talk about keeps getting longer so I am finally going to finish this blog! Please bear with me as it may be long! :)

So yeah you know about that half marathon 4 weeks ago. The one that I was really nervous about. Yeah it didn't go quite as "good" as I thought it would. I mean I thought I would just have some bad cramping and still  finish. What happened was not something I could have ever expected. Chelsea and I were making good time. We were on pace to finish around 2:30. For some of you that is slow but for me that is pretty dang good. We were running along, got past the hills and the boring parts. We passed our friend Hannah's house where our friends were waiting for us. We stopped for a quick second. About a minute later we passed the 10k mark and in my mind I'm thinking this is my favorite part. We are on the count DOWN. This is where I pick up the pace and finish on the 50 yard line in Memorial Stadium (COOL RIGHT?!). About 20 yards past that 10k mark I knew something was wrong. My foot dropped and felt like it was being pushed down by cement. My calf muscles were rolling in my leg. I couldn't move my foot, I couldn't move my leg I knew this was bad. I was in a load of pain and it wasn't going away. I somehow fell to the ground and began screaming. Some runners stopped to help me. Chelsea went looking for help. Since we were so close to my friend Hannah's house we got in contact with them and they ran over to help. Since I couldn't move they had the ambulance come get me and take me to St. Elizabetes were they gave me pain meds and told me that I had compartment syndrome (DUH). They called one of my orthopedics and he said to go on crutches. This also meant that I get to have surgery this coming Thursday and I am NOT happy ( I actually got it 2 weeks ago) . This brings us to now. I got the surgery and have three scars on the lower part of my leg. My leg and foot were HUGE for about a week. I couldn't do the motion of walking
for quite awhile which frustrated me. They told me that I would still be on crutches till the middle of this week but Saturday I ditched them :). My perseverance worked and now I am walking normally even though my calf is still bruised and swollen. Today was also the first day that my foot didn't look like the size of Texas, it actually looks normal! No running for probably another 4 weeks! UGH ...
 Now to the exciting stuff !  Three weekends ago my parents and I went to St.George Utah to watch 10 of the Triabetes Captains in the Ironman. This weekend was amazing! We got into St. George around 3:30 after driving from Las Vegas where we flew in from (we didn't know there was a hour time difference between the two places). So we got there and got ready to eat with the captains and their triabuddies and all the family and friends that came! The dinner was filled with both happy and sad emotions. It wrapped up early so the athletes could get to bed as the next morning was going to be EARLY. I went 3 days in a row waking up around 4! This didn't mean I had to go to bed early though so I stayed up with the triabuddies and went swimming with them in the pool OUTSIDE yes it was warm outside a perfect temp none the less and I was not jealous of the weather my friends were having here in Nebraska! The parents talked while we played in the pool so it was a win win for all. The next morning we got up bright and early so that we could drive to a parking lot where there would be shuttles that would take us to the swimming portion of the Ironman. The lake that it was at was gorgeous as we saw the sun rise while we waited. The cut off for the swim was 2 hours and 20 minutes so we waited for everyone to come out of the water before we could be shuttled back. We went back to the hotel and ate lunch. While we were relaxing the athletes were biking 112 miles! Crazy! We all then got in a van and drove to the tent were we cheered on the racers as they did the full marathon run (26.2)  and passed by us 8 times! A lot of running, cheering, and clapping went on but before we saw the triabetes athletes Josiah one of the adult type 1's took 3 other kids and me up on a hike up some of the rocks that were nearby. The view was awesome and we got to see the first runners come through. We spent most of the day at the triabetes tent listening to music and cheering on the runners. At the end of the run it was hard to see the runners go through pain and start to hallucinate. I hate seeing people in pain. I found one runner siting on the side of the road oblivious as to what was going on. He was so close to the finish line but he couldn't go any farther, I stopped and gave him my glucose tabs and I think they ended up carting him to the medical tent. Only five of the triabetes captains made it to the run. Each one would come buy with people cheering them on, standing there helping them test their blood sugars, and continue running along the side with them.  Towards the end of the night when most of the fans had left and it had gotten dark I went up the course a was to a spot where nobody was. It was pitch black and I stood there in the dark cheering them on in a spot that seemed like it would suck to run through alone. I was waiting to see Brian. Brian hates running.  He had an awesome swim and bike but the run just isn't his thing. The amazing  thing is that Brian doesn't let this stop him he pushes through even when it sucks. I don't think I have ever prayed as much as I did when I was waiting for him to come by. Brian came by and he finished the Ironman with 10 minutes to spare. Everyone has to be done by midnight which gives you 17 hours to finish. The weekend was amazing and I truly learned that diabetes puts no limits on what you can achieve in life.
The next day after the Ironman we made a trip to the Hoover Dam which eventually lead

Bg at Hoover Dam!

 us the Grand Canyon (I wanted to see it and begged my parents) which we thought was a lot closer to the Hoover Dam than it was....oooppsss. The trip to the GC lead us on gravel roads through Indian reservations, there were also cows that roamed freely and would be in the middle of the street while you were going 60! It was cool to see though even if it was an hour and a half hours farther than we thought.
Other new developments-
School is out!  Monday and Tuesday consisted of four 90 min
ute classes each day so we could take finals, let me tell you every final I took I was using all 90 minutes! I normally have eight 45 minute classes in a day so it was a bit of a change but the day did seem to go faster. We had awards night where I received All Conference Academic Excellence, Academic Letter Award, and my National Honor Society award.
There was a time not that long ago when I thought that people that did cross country were crazy! I never ever thought I would ever do it! Well I am officially signed up to run cross country this fall and not play volleyball (GASP). This is a huge life style change. I have played volleyball since 3rd grade and have only run for like 9 months. Our CC team at our school is good they work hard and are one of the most successful sports at our school. I have decided to make this change because I see running as something I can greatly improve on and something I can do for the rest of my life. I am nervous and excited at the same time.Everyone on the team is really supportive and they seem to always be having fun. I hope I made the right decision.
There have been some huge natural disasters lately and decided I want to do something to help these people. I, schedule wise, cannot go out and personally help so after having a diabetic friend lose her house in Joplin MO I  made the decision to collect diabetes supplies and ship them to the people who need them the most. We are asking for any supplies weather it be money, batteries, testers, syringes, pump supplies, alcohol wipes, anything...
If you are interested in donating you can send items to 8111 Leighton Ave. Lincoln NE 68507... We would love and appreciate everyones help!
I am sure I have missed many things! I will keep you posted on my activities as summer gets into full swing!
Thanks for reading ~ Ash

Picture I took while leaving the GC...Pretty Gorgeous!