Monday, May 2, 2016

Welcome to May!!

So the month of May is here already.  It means flowers and warmer weather and nightfall happening a little bit later each day.  And in my world, it means Diabetes Blog Week.

200x200I want to thank everyone who took the time to fill out my DBlogWeek survey - there were more than 70 of you!  And I received so many fantastic suggestions.  Some I’ve already worked on and some I’m still trying to make happen.  Some may have to wait until 2017 (provided you guys want to do this again next year.)

But for now, some new things are in place.  First of all, Diabetes Blog Week will run Monday, May 16th - Friday, May 20th this year.  Almost 60% of you indicated that five days of blogging would work better for you than seven days.  I completely understand that!  Those of you who still want to blog a full seven days of posts can use the two wildcards as your weekend prompts.  In this way, I hope I’ve found a solution that works for everyone.

Another popular suggestion was to have more advanced notice of what the topics for the week will be.  With that in mind, I’ve published the topic list here - a week earlier than I normally release them.  I hope that’s helpful to those who want to get a jump on things.

It was also suggested that a Facebook page for Diabetes Blog Week would be helpful.  That’s a fantastic idea, and I’ve created it here!  All important information will be added when available.  Also, during DBlogWeek, each day's topic will be posted on the page.

I’m still working my way through the rest of the suggestions - I’ll be using as many as I can.  And stay tuned next Monday, when I’ll be posting more information and this year’s sign up form!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Betes - The Patient Voice . . .

Two weekends ago I attended The Betes Organization’s event, "The Patient Voice".  I went on behalf of (and with assistance by) DiabetesSisters, and I was excited to see other members of DiabetesSisters and of the DOC.

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But, to be honest, I wasn’t quite sure I’d “get” the event itself.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved and supported the idea of the event, which was to bridge the gap between patients and healthcare providers.  I watched Marina’s interview on TuDiabetes and was blown away by her passion and enthusiasm.  But the thing is, although I do have intermittent sparks of creativity, overall I don’t consider myself a very creative person.  So I was concerned I might not connect with the puppetry.  I was afraid the whole thing would kind of go over my  head. 

I could not have been more wrong.

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The first performance piece involved a heavy box and The Betes (hand)puppet.  From the minute Marina took the stage, I was drawn right in.  I laughed.  I nodded.  I choked back tears.  I sang along with everyone in the room.  That sounds corny, right?  But somehow, it wasn’t.  We all sang together about the weight of carrying diabetes (a la The Beatles) and it was amazing.  And this is coming from someone who DOES NOT sing.

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The second half was part of a new piece being created entitled “The Elephant in the Room”.  It deals with complications.  Emotionally, I didn’t react quite as deeply to this piece, probably because I haven’t really dealt with any complications (yet).  But it still resonated with me quite a bit.  Complications are a thing many of us don’t even want to thing about, much less openly discuss, so to see work being done the change that and the open the doors?  It was wonderful.

During the discussions that followed, I came to understand that these pieces seemed to touch different people in different ways.  Patients, healthcare providers, caregivers - what we saw meant different things to each of us.  But in the end, I believe we all were impacted by what we saw on stage and I think each of us left feeling a little bit closer to one another.

And in the end, that’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it?

Monday, March 28, 2016

Looking Ahead . . . .

April will be here at the end of the week, and then before we know it May will arrive.  Which means the seventh annual Diabetes Blog Week is just around the corner.

Online-Survey-IconSeven!  Wow, I never imagined, way back during that first Diabetes Blog Week in 2010, that #DBlogWeek would have such staying power.  Which makes me wonder, does it need to be updated?  What would make it run more smoothly?  What suggestions do you have for #DBlogWeek?  How can I make it better for everyone who participates or lurks?

And so, I’ve created a little survey to collect your opinions, ideas and suggestions.  You can find it here.  I’ve tried to make it short but inclusive, with space at the end to tell me anything else on your mind.  I can't promise I'll be able to make every suggestion happen, but I do promise to try my best.  Please take a minute to fill the survey out, so together we can make Diabetes Blog Week is the best it can be.  Thank you!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wordless Wednesday - Ooops . . .

That moment when you’re treating a low and decide to refill your “low bin” . . . .

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Jelly beans everywhere.  On the island and on the floor.  Also, not shown in this picture, under the stove, in the pantry and in the dining room.   It seriously looked like the Easter Bunny threw up.  And it took me FOR-EVER to get them all gathered and into the garbage.  I think my cat might still be batting a few around.

#lowproblems

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Spinny Thoughts . . .

I’ve been attempting to write about this year’s Diabetes Unconference for over a week.  Every day I open a blank blog page and start typing.  I ramble and reflect and edit and write some more . . .  and in the end, I delete the whole thing and decided to try again tomorrow.  Sometimes, unfortunately, a well-crafted cohesive post just won’t come.  Instead I just have a bunch of spinny thoughts rolling around in my head.  And so, bullet points will just have to do . . .

  • This year’s Unconference felt different.  Not better and not worse, just different.  It wasn’t The First Year, so things felt more familiar this time around.  I knew how to get around the hotel.  And I had a better idea what to expect.
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  • Sessions with other PWDs, where the things we say go no farther than the space we are in, is important and much needed.  Even when the topics feel heavy and dark.  In fact, that is probably when it is most important.
  • And although things can get heavy and dark, things can get just as silly and goofy and light.  Thank goodness for that!!
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  • Red eye flights?  Not so much my thing.  And conferences on the West Coast, in general, will take me far longer to recover from than I anticipate.  (Daylight Savings doesn’t help matters either.)
  • Companies who sponsor conferences like this are awesome.  I’m thankful that they see the value in peer-to-peer support.
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  • Even if you’ve had diabetes since 1979, there are still new things to learn.

Disclosure:  I received travel assistance by way of a scholarship from DiabetesSisters, which helped me be able to attend the Diabetes Unconference in Las Vegas this year.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Bolus . . . .

I’m really good at multi-tasking.  However, I’m not so good at functioning in a pre-caffeinated state.  Which explains why I ran into a bit of trouble while trying to simultaneously brew the coffee and feed the cat on a recent morning.  I suddenly needed a third hand, but luckily my husband was standing in the kitchen with me.

CoffeeAndCat“Hold this?”  My request was met with a blank stare.

“HOLD THIS PLEASE!!”

As he reached out to take K.C.’s food dish, he commented “Your words say please but your tone says something else.”

“Because I asked for your help and you just stood there!!  I said 'hold this' and you just gave me a blank stare.”

“Oh.  (pause)  I thought you said 'bolus'.  I was waiting for you to tell me how many units to punch into your pump.”

Oops.  Maybe I’m not the only one who doesn’t do well in a pre-caffeinated state  . . .

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Sick Day Plan . . .

Having a Sick Day Plan in place is one of the D-Shoulds for me.  You know, that list of things I’ve been told ALL PEOPLE WITH DIABETES SHOULD but somehow I kind of don’t always.  You know, things like change my lancet before each finger-stick (hahahahaha), never walk around without shoes on (hmmmm), don’t treat off my CGM (right) and always always wear medical I.d.  (even just around the house?).  And always have a Sick Day Plan in place.

Errr, well.  The thing is, I get a lot of colds.  A lot.  If someone even looks at me, I swear their cold germs rush over and take root in my system.  It’s been like this ever since I can remember and I just deal.  But I hardly hardly ever get a stomach virus.  Almost never!!  But yesterday was a different story.

intestinal-party-2400pxWhen Pete’s alarm went off yesterday and I couldn’t drag myself out of bed, I just figured I was tired.  I let myself sleep ( a perk of freelance / unemployment) and at 9 I finally got up and made some coffee.  But when the coffee didn’t stay down, I realized what was gong on.  And I thought about my Sick Day Plan.  Or actually,  my lack of one.

Luckily, I feel like I do know the basics through my interactions with the DOC.  I knew to check for ketones (negative, yay!), keep a  close eye on  my blood sugars (70s - 130, yay!) and stay hydrated.  By mid-morning I was able to keep down crackers and diet soda.  I didn’t bolus for the crackers until I knew they would stay.  And I had glucagon ready just in case things with my blood sugar went south.  All in all, I’d say I did okay.

But still, I think I should probably add a Sick Day Plan to the list of things to talk over at my next endo appointment.  Right?  Do you have a formal Sick Day Plan in place?  And if so, what does it include?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Check, Check, Check . . .

raemi-Check-mark-2400pxI recently interviewed for a job that would involve some travel, and I decided if I was hired I would apply for a Known Travelers Number for TSA Pre-Check.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get the job but I decided to apply for a KTN anyway.  Even without the job, I'll be flying at least three times this year alone (or six flights / trips through airport security) so it seemed worth it.

I wasn’t really sure what was involved, and as is my nature, I was very nervous.  But it was really easy.  First, I filled out the pre-application on-line and then booked my in-person appointment.  I’m happy to say that the staff at the Application Center could not have been nicer.  We simply went over the information I had submitted and they checked my passport.  Then they took my fingerprints electronically.  We laughed a bit when I admitted that I had expected ink pads and paper,  like in the ‘70s cop dramas.  Maybe I need to remember it’s 2016 and almost everything is done with computers these days.

Anyway, my clean, ink-free fingertips and I were finished in about  10 minutes or so.  Once I paid my $85 fee, I was given a receipt with an id number so I could check on-line and see where my status stood.  I was told I should see my KTN on-line in about a week and receive a confirmation in the mail in about a month.   For me, who is a total goodie two shoes, my KTN  was assigned by the following day!

Life with diabetes is full of hassles.  For me, spending the $85 for 5 years of TSA Pre-Check is well worth the (hopefully) reduction in travel hassles it will bring.  I’m excited to fly without being groped by a stranger first!