Typical Diabetes Freak-Out

I’m not normally one to lament on the fact that I have diabetes. I don’t usually get depressed or feel sorry for myself that I have to be my own pancreas. I don’t ask questions like “why me?” unless I’m thinking about it in a very scientific way, like literally why me (since no one seems to know). Was it environmental, genetic?

I’m not in denial or even angry about my disease. Do I have occasional moments where I feel angry? Of course. Do I have moments where I wish I could enjoy a margarita or a piece of pizza without worrying about my blood sugar? Definitely. Do I wish that I didn’t have to lug around meters, glucose, and other paraphernalia whenever I want to make a simple trip to the grocery store? Always. But I think those are all normal things to wish and feel.

My diabetes freak-outs usually come in quick anxious bursts, as do most of my freak-outs over anything. And let me clarify that when I say freak-out, I’m not literally freaking out. Usually no one knows I’m having a mental freak-out because that’s what it is: mental. These little bouts of anxiety literally can hit me at any time in any situation and usually pass in a minute or two. Some might say I’m experiencing a mini panic attack. I get kind of sweaty, my heart rate increases and I can only think about whatever is making me anxious.

This morning, it hit me in my car. I was on my way to work, about 10 minutes from the office when I started thinking about my upcoming trip to Florida and how much insulin I would need to pack. Then I started thinking about how great my blood sugar has been since I started working out in the morning. That led me down a path where I started thinking about what I would do if my numbers all of a sudden got really high and what that would mean. If you don’t know, I’m LADA. I was diagnosed in September 2011 and have only needed one injection of Lantus in the morning for my numbers to be within range, meaning I don’t need to inject before meals. My doctor has made it clear of course that that could change any day. When that day comes, I will have to inject at least four times a day. Thinking about all of that led to the diabetes freak-out.

Lately, I’ve been having issues with my injection site. I inject in my stomach, as I have since I first started injections. One day last week, I injected and not only did it hurt like a bitch, but when I pulled the needle out it bled and left a hard lump. The hard lump has happened before, but the nasty bruise that followed had not. I began injecting on the other side of my stomach until that bruise went away, but there is still pain, slight bruising and bleeding at my injection sites. I know that this is normal and I haven’t had an issue in the past few days, but realizing that I will have to inject four more times a day than I already am made me feel really anxious. Where am I going to inject? What if every part of my stomach becomes bruised? Can I deal with the sting of injections multiple times a day?

It’s a bit overwhelming to think about your whole life and to realize that the daily routine of injections and testing won’t ever go away. Luckily, the anxiety of worrying about the “real estate” on my body went away relatively quickly and I was back to jamming out to the latest pop song on the radio. Until the next bout of anxiety hits…

Do you deal with diabetes anxiety or health anxiety in general? What do you do to calm yourself down?

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NHBPM-Day 21

The prompt for NHBPM, Day 21- “Write about mental health”

Guys, I’m going to come right out and say it. Mental health is huge! It’s so important for a person’s overall well-being. Unfortunately, mental health isn’t emphasized in the United States.

That’s evidenced by the recent tragedies in Newtown, Connecticut at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Would that have happened if Adam Lanza had received help sooner in life? Would that have happened if his mental health had been taken care of from an earlier age?

The tragedy would have been avoided if Lanza had received help. Mentally well people do not do what Lanza did.

When you live life with a health condition, whether it’s Celiacs like my best friend, MVP like my Mom, or Type 1 diabetes like myself, mental health and well-being is just as important in maintaining as is keeping the body healthy.

One of the things I like about holistic approaches  (in conjunction with Western medicine and science) is that they focus on mental health. The state of your mind is extremely important.

My previous roommate, Kelly (she is training to become a shaman) and I had many discussions about holistic medicine, mental health and overall well-being. She really enlightened me about a lot of things that I should have taken as common sense. One of the biggest things she urged me to do when I was first diagnosed with diabetes was to de-stress. Stress makes everything 10 times worse and deteriorates both your mental and physical health.

It’s for that reason that I started doing yoga and meditation. I started working out. I started to de-stress. For anyone that knew me growing up, they’ll tell you that I was a stress ball. I would cry before tests from the sheer stress of taking them. I would stay awake the night before something big and constantly run through all the different (and worst) scenarios of what could happen. I would obsess over little things and things that I had no control over.

I’m happy to say that I’m not like that anymore. Sure, I still stress about things but I’ve learned to manage my stress much better. It doesn’t cripple me anymore or leave me lying away for hours and hours. It doesn’t consume me in the way it used to.

I made a conscious decision to maintain my mental health in the same way I made the conscious decision to maintain my physical health. I’ve learned over the past year that the two are intertwined. If you’re feeding yourself nutrient rich foods and exercising, you’re not only improving your physical health but also your mental health because you feel better about yourself (there’s also proven brain chemistry that happens when you treat your body well).

I think this post may be a bit jumbled, but if you take one thing away from it, it’s that your body is a temple. All parts of it must be fed and maintained. A happy mind is a happy body (I think I made that  up, but you get what I’m trying to say).

 

NHBPM- Day 10

Day 10 of the NHBPM challenge is to write an LOL post. I laugh a lot. Sometimes uncontrollably. Sometimes to the point of crying. Sometimes to the displeasure and embarrassment to those around me. I laugh unabashedly. I love to laugh.

Here’s a story about my laughing.

Three coworkers and I were en route to a cooking class in Alexandria, VA from Arlington. As we were walking from work to the Metro, we were all talking and laughing animatedly. I’m lucky in that my coworkers are also people I consider friends, so we all have a great relationship and act in the same way one does with friends.

As we neared the elevator that would take us down to the station, we came upon a fairly large group of people waiting for the same elevator. There were a couple groups of people also talking loudly and laughing with each other while they waited. When the elevator came, everyone piled in. I was facing an older man and one of my coworkers, while my other coworkers were to my side. I’m sure that the groups of people who had been clumped together outside the elevator were standing near each other.

However, the laughter and chatting that was so vibrant just a minute before boarding the elevator came to a complete standstill once inside. The only noise that could be heard was the grinding of the elevator as it started its descent. I started looking around at everyone and noticed the same look on everyone’s face. The averted eyes, neutral expressions. I looked up at the older man in front of me, willing him to look at me, but his eyes remained at a fixed point somewhere above my head.

I started to laugh. First, it started as a giggle but quickly turned into a full on fit of laughter. Here were all of these people, my group included, who had been having a conversation and probably cut it off as soon as they were in the elevator. Here were all of these people trying so hard to avoid eye contact, clearly uncomfortable in an elevator full of strangers. It was hilarious.

What made it even funnier is that absolutely no one said anything. No one started laughing with me. No one did anything. In fact, I probably made everyone a bit more uncomfortable because they thought I was crazy.

When I think back to that elevator ride, and most elevator rides I’ve had since, I can’t help but laugh. I also can’t help but be happy that I’m the kind of person who doesn’t mind making a fool of themselves so they can laugh.

“I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t laugh”

NHBPM- Day Two

Today’s prompt for NHBPM is: “Find a quote and use it as inspiration”

I’m not entirely sure how this should be interpreted, but I’m going to use the quote that continuously helps me get through my days, especially when I begin to struggle with the idea of having a lifelong chronic disease.

“The mind is everything. What you think you become.”- Buddha

Everyone can derive inspiration in their own way from this quote… or maybe not at all. Obviously, everyone has their own quote that touches them.

Since my diagnosis, I’ve tried to adopt a very zen attitude about life. This quote inspires me to put my best foot forward every day. If I’m having a bad day and think negatively, my day only gets worse. If I begin to look at the positives, my mood usually gets better. The mind is a powerful tool and has the ability to transform a person. I try to always remember that.

“Welcome to Miami”

It’s been a busy month for me between work commitments and social obligations, including an awesome mid-month trip to Miami to visit one of my closest friends. I’ve wanted to go down to Miami for a while and after a few hiccups in my summer that left me not only drained, but also with abandoned vacation plans, I decided to buy a ticket and go. I had such an amazing time! It’s been almost a month (already!) since I’ve been back and I’m still missing it (I’m the worst at coming back from vacations!).

James was sent to Miami as part of the Teach for America program, but is originally from Baltimore. We met three years ago working at Superkids Camp, an amazing program for Baltimore City children during the summer, and became friends instantly. We’ve always had kind of a long-distance friendship because he was in NYC during the school year while I was in Baltimore, but we’ve been able to maintain our friendship through visits (I would go to NYC- he would come to Baltimore) and phone calls.

This is us in 2010

Summer 2012 at Brewer’s Art in Baltimore

September 2012 in Miami

My trip came at a great time because I was definitely feeling the stress from work and the weather in DC is starting to do that weird in-between Summer and Fall thing (I absolutely LOVE Fall, but the weather is so finnicky and goes from hot to cold in a matter of hours). Plus, I was pale as a ghost and knew Miami would put some color into my skin.

James lives in Midtown and has an amazing view of downtown Miami.

My first morning in Miami

I spent my first day exploring South Beach by myself while James was at work. I loved the retro signs and buildings in Miami beach (I felt like I was walking the set of Burn Notice), the vibrant atmosphere, the different cultures, the clubs that had their music going at 11 in the morning (were people even in there?). I spent most of the day lounging on the beach, soaking in the gorgeous sun, and relaxing in the cool, crystal blue water.

When I was done lounging, I stopped by the grocery store to pick up some snacks (and booze) and headed back to the apartment. James and I headed to the Marlin’s game in the new, completed air-conditioned stadium. It was a fun time, but neither of us are into baseball (unless we are seeing the O’s) so we mostly went for the beer and food.

After the game, we hit up a couple of bars that were very “Miami.” And that’s how most of my trip was. Lounging on the beach by day, partying Miami style by night.

We hit up a really cool bar called “Wood” in Wynwood, which is the arts district in Miami. It was a very colorful section of town with lots of art on the buildings. I met someone who claimed to be a stunt double on Burn Notice, but I think he just used that line to impress me. It’s still a mystery to me, and I wasn’t too impressed. 🙂

Before I knew it, I was gearing up to travel back to DC. My liver and wallet were probably pretty thankful, even if I wasn’t.

On my last night in Miami, James and I made dinner and sat out on the balcony rehashing my trip and a lot of our past memories together. James is one of my best friends, and I was really sad to have to leave so quickly. But, that just means I’ll have to plan another trip to Miami soon. I’m certainly not complaining about that!

Until next time, Miami…

Inspiration

I’ve been feeling kind of blah this past week. It all started one early morning when I woke up tortured with thoughts about the rest of my life. The fact is, I’m not at a job that relates to anything I went to school for.

I’m not even sure if I want a job in the field I went to school for.

I’m 22 years old living in suburbia and every time I just want to go to a hole in the wall bar in a cooler location, I have to drive a half hour. My commute to work is long  and I constantly think about how the large amount of money I spend on gas could be spent on the numerous endocrinologist appointments, diabetes supplies and student loans that seem to suck all the extra money I have out of me.

It’s not that I’m poor or struggling to survive. But I think everyone would say they could use a bit more money. Some more cushioning. A nice, padded bank account. I could save a lot more if I didn’t live so far from work. And I’d be a lot happier, emotionally, if I lived closer to D.C./Arlington and further from suburbia/almost the sticks Virginia.

I’ve spent my entire life living closer to a city than I do now. And quite honestly, the chain restaurants, which are pretty much my only option where I live, are stifling. And the creepy guys who hang out at Jackson’s are unnecessary. C’mon! You’re 50 years old hitting on a 22 year old…

Anyway, I need culture. I need diversity. I need dive bars. I need kitschy. I need pizza at 3 in the morning. I need the Metro to not be a 20 minute drive away from my house. And I need to never have to drive through Tyson’s Corner during rush hour again!

Mostly I just need to be closer to work. I think that will alleviate this stress that has been hanging over my head all week long.

As far as the job thing… not so easy. But, I’ve got one for now and that’s all that matters.

So, in case you are stressed out, angry, tired, sad or whatever other emotion you want to insert into this sentence, here are some inspirational pictures. A little pick me up. They at least picked me up:

LL and LL

We have the same initials.

We both wear glasses.

We both manage to get lettuce stuck in our hair at inopportune times.

We both like blazers.

We both like writing.

We both like Star Wars.

We are both kind of nerdy.

She has a much cooler job than I do, though. But, she’s humble, so that’s ok.

Who am I talking about?

Liz Lemon!!

Ok, so I know 30 Rock has been around forever! One of my really good friends is OBSESSED with 30 Rock. My parents have been DVR’ing the show since they learned how to DVR. So, how am I just watching it now for the first time? Don’t ask me that question.

Just know that I am now in the deep grip of 30 Rockefeller with Liz, Jenna, Tracy, Jack and Kenneth.

To be honest, I think this stemmed from the fact that EVERYONE loves this show. I always hear about how funny it is, and with Tina Fey, how could it not be? So, this past Friday night when I was alone with Netflix, I discovered they have all of the 30 Rock seasons.

Right there in their shining glory. I started with Season 1 Episode 1 and haven’t looked back since.

If you ever wonder what I might be doing at any given time, if I’m not working or sleeping, I’m probably watching this gloriously hilarious show. Yup, I’m watching it while eating, exercising, cleaning, showering (ok, I am wishing I could be watching while showering), talking to my roommates, talking to my boyfriend, talking to my parents, ta… ok. I think you get the idea.

Liz Lemon, we have the same initials, the same first name, the same weird eating patterns and the same strange sense of humor. I get you and your awkwardness. And I just wanted to thank you for making nerdy look cool.

Rock on Ms. Lemon!

Monday Night Musings

Hey everyone! Hope the three day weekend was fabulous! I actually titled this post “Sunday Night Musings” because I kept thinking today was Sunday.

Sure feels like Sunday night.

Netflix and wine… usually the way I spend my Sunday nights. Tonight, it’s a 30 Rock marathon and a Pinot Noir from California.

My weekend was pretty relaxing. Besides waking up at the crack of dawn to go to the dentist on Saturday morning (just to be told I have lovely teeth) I spent the day with my parents eating lunch and watching movies. It was nice to see them, considering I haven’t seen them since we got back from Jamaica.

I was quick to get away too. I spent about two minutes at their house after getting back from the airport before getting in the car and driving back to my house in Northern Virginia.

Then I spent the next week and a half communicating with them through e-mail. I love my parents. A lot. They are one of my greatest support systems and are always there for me, no matter what stupid thing I’ve decided to go through with. I truly got lucky. I also realized spending a week straight with them after living by myself for six months is a hard thing to do.

Anyway, I was more than happy to spend the day with them and was a bit disappointed to say goodbye later in the day.

I spent the rest of my weekend running various errands, watching a lot of 30 Rock, tackling a big pile of laundry and napping with Lilly.

I, of course, saw a lot of A. We went out for a bit when he got off work on Sunday night. And then we came back to my house and had a silly photo shoot with my Photo Booth. We have issues.

Monday’s plan was to get out and go somewhere. I was thinking somewhere in the sticks of Virginia, or maybe go into DC for a bit since I had the day off and A had his first day off after a busy week at work.

But, A was called in, so plans were cancelled. Flexibility. It’s not always an easy thing to be. So, I let myself be disappointed for a minute. And moved on.

With plans cancelled, I was able to have what I like to call, “Single Girl Dinner.”

This is what I eat when I’m not around anybody else. It’s also what I eat when I don’t exactly feel like cooking and don’t have many ingredients to make anything anyway. This tends to happen around the end of the week.

My “Single Girl Dinner” tonight was a cup of the rest of the roasted red pepper soup I opened on Friday with a bit of goat cheese on top. Some fried up polenta slices (this log of polenta has been sitting in my cabinet for months!). Also with a bit of goat cheese on top. Then I roasted the almost going bad broccoli and cauliflower that has been sitting in my fridge for about a week.

Roasting is amazing because it really brings out the flavors of the veggies. Plus, you can’t go wrong with all that olive oil and salt.

I also cooked up some frozen green beans in the pan and added some slivered almonds.

And that was my dinner. Yes, I know it isn’t crab stuffed flounder or a filet mignon, but it wasn’t terrible. And it filled me up.

Although not enough to deter me from the last of the coffee frozen yogurt in my freezer. That and some chopped up extra dark chocolate.

Can’t go wrong.

It’s never easy saying goodbye to the weekend. Especially when it was a nice one. But after a week of being sick with fevers, headaches and sore throats, I’m definitely happy to start this week fever free and relaxed.

“There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want”

 

The Hiatus Is Over

Where have I been? Question of the day… actually, question of the past 2 weeks (almost 3) since that’s how long it’s been since I’ve posted.

Well, I went home for Christmas where I proceeded to get really sick and ended up spending Christmas Day alone.

Actually, I wasn’t quite alone. While my parents and brother fled the house to my grandparent’s little shindig, I had a cozy fire, some chicken broth and Bridgette Jones keeping me company. So, it wasn’t too bad of a day. Plus, I had presents. Seriously, how can you be miserable when you just opened up a bunch of new loot?

Including a fuzzy hat with little ears on the side, a beautiful leather journal, chocolate (!), books and scarves!

Then, I was all of a sudden in the middle of the ocean on a tiny island called Jamaica.

    

Ever heard of it?

If you’ve never been to Jamaica, you need to go. Now. It is the most beautiful place I have ever been with its lush green foliage, bright flowers, colorful houses, cerulean ocean, white beaches, fun music (hey, Bob Marley) and wonderful people. Without getting into too much detail, because I think I want to write a longer, more detailed post about my trip, my vacation in Jamaica was absolutely amazing. I had never felt so relaxed and care-free in my life.

It could have been because of my lack of connection via telephone and internet to the world back at home. Maybe it was the calming sound of the water lapping against the sand. It could have been the rooster cock-a-doodling at the crack of dawn (I’m so serious!). Maybe it was just the fact that I had been transplanted to a warm, tropical island where the sun was shining, the birds were chirping and the reggae was playing.

The care-free and relaxed attitude Jamaicans have also helped me realize life doesn’t need to move so fast, mon. Nothing is a problem. Nothing is so urgent that it needs to be stressed over to the point of nausea (guilty!).

The resort I stayed at in Montego Bay, like all of the other resorts on the island, had amazing food. I could go on for days talking about the food. So, without getting too carried away (at least in this post) I will tell you that pineapples in Jamaica are white not yellow and they are the sweetest fruit ever! The amount of squid, octopus and conch I ate shouldn’t have been legal. Jamaican jerk chicken tastes a lot better IN Jamaica. And I ate dessert at every meal. It’s true. I always ate dessert. Even at breakfast, I would have a bite or two of some yummy pastry.

The best part of the whole trip is that I forgot about having diabetes. Ok, I mean, not really. But it wasn’t at the forefront of my mind, like it usually is. It was almost like an afterthought. Probably because my blood sugar stayed absolutely perfect the entire time. My body must love warm weather. Maybe I should have stayed there for medical reasons. Maybe I need to move somewhere warm all year round if my perfect numbers in the 80s and 90s were any indication. I sure would have some nice A1c’s.

Anyway, it was a total bummer getting on the plane to come back home. I could instantly feel the stress levels rising as soon as I saw we were flying over the Washington D.C. area getting closer and closer to Baltimore. And right on cue, my blood sugar had crept up to a lovely 140.

I told you. Warm weather and no stress.

So, after getting back it took me the whole week before I felt like I knew what I was doing again. Translation- I was semi-depressed the week after I got back from Jamaica and didn’t know how to get back into my routine.

Luckily, Saturday came and I felt better. I had a much better handle on my life and didn’t feel like a floundering fish out of water.

Let me tell you, peeps. This past weekend was pretty darn amazing. It was definitely the perfect weekend after a rough week. Friday night was nothing to write home about. Just me and Lilly (the cat) lounging around watching movies and reading. Saturday during the day was much of the same. But Saturday night, whew. I needed a good party night and I got it!

I headed over to a friend’s house with both of my roommate’s (a rare thing for all of us to party together). We were celebrating a friend’s birthday so it was a pretty small gathering of about 12 of us. Our one friend DJs, so he had his booth up playing some awesome House music, getting us ready for a long night of dancing. Of course, there was alcohol. And cupcakes! The most delicious, yummy cupcakes you could ever eat.

Those were brought out really late at night when everyone had had quite a bit to drink, leading to the devouring of cupcakes. I, the diabetic, was somehow tasked to cutting up the cupcakes into quarters. I probably ended up eating a few more quarters than I would have if I hadn’t been drinking all night, but luckily the wine kept my blood sugar pretty low.

Yes, diabetes police… I know that is not the healthiest thing to do nor is it the smartest. But I don’t indulge in such behavior very often and it was a really great time J

So, my night was made even better when A, my boyfriend, made an appearance at around 3 am. He had been working hard all night, so I was really surprised and happy when he showed up. We did a bit more partying but people started to either fall asleep or trickle out the door.

It definitely was a fun night with great friends.

Sunday was another lazy day and while I usually go a bit crazy with guilt when I lay around all day, I didn’t on Sunday. It was perfect!

That brings me to this past week. Not so wonderful, again.

I started feeling really sick with a horrible headache and a sore throat about a half an hour before my roommate brought home the new dog she bought (a Morkie- he’s precious!). I really wanted to hang around and play with Max (the Morkie) and Skylos (Michael’s dog- PomPoo) but I was feeling so miserable.

I had a fever all night and my sore throat turned into barely being able to swallow. And when I did swallow, my ears hurt so bad. My glands were swollen and my head felt like it was full of pressure.

So, after spending all day in bed on Tuesday and most of Wednesday, and with the constant urging of A and my mom to get to the doctor, I finally went. I was prescribed some antibiotics and hopefully that will kick whatever this thing is into the ground.

Of course, being real people sick has led to some crazy numbers for my diabetes. This morning I woke up at 145. Not a number I’m used to seeing first thing in the morning. So, after a carb light breakfast (after waiting an hour or so to eat) I tested and found I was 199.

Diabetes.

After not eating all day, I tested and was 98, so I figured that was low enough for me to eat some soup for lunch.

If only I didn’t have to eat. My numbers might be perfect on sick days like today.

Luckily, I’m feeling a bit better today. No fever, but extremely tired. The only thing on my mind is my bed.

But I have to change the sheets first (and again for the 2nd time in 2 days). Fevers are not conducive to fresh sheets.

Hope everyone stays fever and wacky blood sugar free!

Also, on a final note- I promise not to stay away for so long again! Completely unacceptable!

Happy New Year!

7 Minutes In Heaven

No, not that silly game teenager’s play at their first boy-girl party. I’m talking seven minutes of relaxation for your soul… which, to me, translates into heaven.

I’ve always known yoga is good for the mind, body and soul. Every time I get done a yoga session, I always feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle whatever comes at me in my often chaotic, messy days. I always tell myself to do more yoga. Seriously… here is a mental clip I have quite often.

“Wow, I feel so relaxed after those 15 minutes of yoga. I really need to do this more often.”

My inner monologue is so poetic, I know.

But, the truth is, I don’t do yoga as much as I want. I find much inspiration from my dear friend Sarah, who is a faithful yogi (waking up before the sun comes up on Monday mornings to practice yoga at a studio takes serious dedication). You can check out all of her yoga adventures, as well as her baking creations on her blog at http://collegekidyoga.wordpress.com/.

I guarantee you will find her full of life and as inspiring as I do. Shout out! She’s also my favorite walking buddy. Early morning conversations during long walks with great friends is also great for the mind, body and soul. But I digress…

Back to yoga. Now if only I was as flexible as Sarah…

Maybe that’s part of the reason why I don’t engage in yoga as much as I would like. My flexibility has always been, how should I put this… non-existent. I’m serious. Ok, not really. I’m actually more flexible now than ever, but that’s probably in part to the sporadic yoga. Which means I should probably do it more so I can get into bendy positions like this:

Actually, I really just want to be able to do this without feeling like my legs are on fire and going to fall off:

Anyway, this morning I woke up, showered and decided I didn’t give a damn about my hair. Au natural aka curly, I was letting it air dry as I put on my makeup, made breakfast and danced around my room to Stereophonic’s “Maybe Tomorrow” (you know you like that song too!).

Then I had a brilliant idea as I looked at the clock to see I still had plenty of time before I had to leave the house and fight through traffic.

Tara Stiles morning yoga! Bingo. A seven minute YouTube video that will transform your morning.

And my morning was transformed. Introduced to Tara Stiles through Sarah, I knew this woman had to be amazing.  While I’m not quite as flexible as Ms. Stiles (who makes folding her body in half look so darn easy), she is an awesome inspiration with a whole slew of yoga videos on YouTube from beginner (oh, me me me!) to advanced.

I finished up that seven minute video (it went by super quick) and went on with the rest of my morning, feeling better than I had all week.

I’m thinking yoga might be a good addition to my morning beauty routine. My roommates will hopefully be able to sleep through all the noise when I fall over from trying some yogitastic move.

Namaste!