Friday, November 20, 2015

Winners Winners Winners . . . .

1390714768-2400pxJust a quick post today to announce the winners of the six pairs of blue circle #LaceUp4Diabetes laces that Novo Nordisk was kind enough to provide for me to give away.  Yay!

Over all, between Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Bitter~Sweet, there were 36 entries.  I wish I had a pair for each and every one of you.  But the six people I do have pairs for are . . . . . .

Briley Boisvert
Liz Wedward
Aliza Chana Zaleon
Martin Wood
Stacey Divone
Tarra Robinson

Congratulations to you all!!  I will message or email each of you to collect your addresses and send your laces out next week.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

#LaceUp4Diabetes . . . .

Humor me for a minute as we flash back to my college years.  (Disclosure:  This time period may involve any and all of the following: big hair, day-glo colors, large geometric prints, piles and piles of black rubber bracelets, and guy-liner long before it was known as such.)  A young version of me is late for class and frantically tying my Keds when a lace snaps.  In a hurry, I pull out both laces, throw them away and rush off the class.  And I decide I like these new slip-on Keds I’ve created.  And since then, each time I buy a new pair of Keds, the first thing I do is take out the laces.  I used to throw them away, but now they get hung on a hook to be used as K.C.’s cat toy of choice  (She loves a good string to swat at and it keeps her away from my yarn.)

So why are we strolling down memory lane (in our lace-less Keds)?  Because I now have a reason to put laces back in my sneakers, thanks to Novo Nordisk’s #LaceUp4Diabetes campaign and these lovely blue circle laces.


When these laces started popping up around the DOC a few years ago, I longed for a pair.  And last year I was fortunate to score them from Scott Benner.  And this year, I’m thrilled that Novo Nordisk has sent me the 6 pairs you see above to give away!

Why is this important to me?  Well, because exercise motivation is probably the portion of diabetes management I struggle with the most.  But when I actually do exercise, it’s so easy to see the benefits to my blood sugar,  my mood and my energy level.  And seeing the blue circle laces helps with motivation.  They remind me of those health benefits, but more importantly they remind me of all my friends in the DOC who have a regular exercise regime that I admire.  And although we aren’t actually exercising together, we kind of are in a virtual way.  And that helps get me moving.

So, would you like a pair of these laces to help get you moving too?  Simply leave me a comment and I’ll enter you into a random drawing.  I’ve also been taking entries from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, so I’ll gather them all together and pick six winners on Friday.  Good luck!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

What I Don’t Know CAN Hurt Me . . . .

"Ignorance is bliss." "What you don't know can't hurt you."  I suppose in some instances these statements may be true, but mostly I don't agree with them. And I especially don't agree with them when it comes to my life with diabetes.

Over the past decade or so, I’ve become increasingly hypoglycemic unaware.  Not every single time, but more often than not.  As a rule, by the time I feel any low symptoms I am pretty damn low, like in the 50’s or below.  And that’s why I depend on my Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM).

It’s scary to think about living without a CGM.  I’ve heard that if you run your blood sugars higher for a while, you can get back some of the sensitivity to lows.  But that’s not  a great trade off because high blood sugars can come with terrible consequences as well.  So I depend on my CGM to let me know that I’m heading into a potentially dangerous blood sugar situation.  It often helps me correct the plunge before things get scary.  And it not only helps the dangerous lows, but it alerts me to highs as well.  My CGM helps me correct out of range blood sugars, when without it they might stay too high or too low for far too long, causing damage to my body.

I am 47 years old and I’m lucky that my insurance covers my CGM.  Those who have aged into Medicare aren’t as lucky.  I find this ridiculous and scary, because I know just how vital a CGM is to my diabetes management ( and I’d guess the diabetes management of many others as well). 

Medicare-CGM Infographic

Why doesn’t Medicare cover CGMs??  Honestly, I have no idea.  It doesn’t make sense.  And I’ve been part of the JDRF movement to try and change that.  At Government Day last spring, I joined my fellow Advocacy Team Chair volunteers from around the country and we spoke to leaders and staff on Capital Hill about this issue.  I believe it was discussed again at Children’s Congress in July.  Action alerts continue to go out about the bills aiming to facilitate Medicare coverage of this vital technology.


We’re getting there, but we have a long way to go.  Please, if your Representative hasn’t signed on to HR1427 yet, email them and urge them to do so.  Even if you’ve sent an email in the past, now is a great time to send another!

support map

And the same goes for the Senate and S804.  If your state isn’t colored dark greenish (teal??) on the map above, click here and email your Senator.

People on Medicare need access to CGMs.  Because what we don’t know can hurt us.  #MedicareCoverCGM

**  I hope that by the time you read this post and click the graphics above, the sponsorship numbers will be higher than shown here.  Because I hope new cosponsors are signing on every day! **

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Dear Cigna . . .

I got your letter a while ago.  Quite frankly, I couldn’t deal, so I stuck it in a folder but it’s been nagging at my brain anyway.  I’m getting ready for my endo appointment next week, so I pulled the letter back out.

"Starting January 1, 2016, your Cigna plan won't cover the medications listed below.  This means that if you continue to use any of these medications past January 1, 2016, you'll have to pay the full cost of the medication."

Now I’m sure you have no idea what this means to me, so let me try to explain it to you.  Pretend you’re going to buy a new pair of shoes.  And you are told that shoes now only come in size 5 or size 9.  And your foot?  It is a size 7.  Oh, but don’t worry, it’s all still shoes!  Look at all these people happily walking around in size 5 and size 9 shoes with no problems whatsoever.

Ridiculous, right?  Those happy people clearly have size 5 or size 9 feet.  But you don’t.  Those sizes won’t work for you.  Sure, you can cram your foot in a size 5 and walk around, but soon you’ll be dealing with blisters and bleeding and foot cramps to start, and it will only get worse from there.  Or you can slip right into the size 9 and then trip and fall and lose the shoes.  Neither are an actual solution for your body.

This whole analogy sounds preposterous, right?  That’s because it is.  And so is your letter.  Apidra is my size 7.  Humalog and Novolog are my size 5 and 9.  I’ve tried them.  They are not a solution for my body.

I will fight for my size 7 shoes.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Another Thing to Carry Around . . .

It’s been about a month since MiniMed Connect began shipping.  I was fortunate to be part of a pilot group testing MiniMed Connect before it’s official launch, so I’ve actually been using it for about two months now.  (Disclosure: As part of the pilot group, I received my Minimed Connect free of charge, in return for providing feedback about my experiences with the system.)  I’ve done a post for The Loop about my first impressions, which you can find here.

One of the most frequent concerns I hear about MiniMed Connect is that the uploader is just one more thing to carry around.  And I’ll admit, that was a concern of mine too.  Not just for the hassle, but for the fear of losing it.  The first time I put it in my jeans pocket I could see this wouldn’t be a secure place to store it.  My DKNY jeans have ridiculously shallow pockets and it seemed like it would be way too easy for the uploader to fall out.  So I came up with another way to carry my uploader that feels both secure and hassle free.  I use a cell phone charm strap!


First, I perused Amazon and found 100(!!) straps for about $5.  I’ve actually broken one so far, but I’ve got 98 more on hand should the one I’m currently using break.  Anyway, I threaded the strap through hole in my phone case for the mute switch thingie (official technical term - not!!).


And then I attached an old key chain loop to the top of the uploader and clipped that to the charm holder.
And it’s been working perfectly.  The uploader just needs to be within about 6 feet of my pump, which is fine because my phone is usually just a few feet away.  The only problem I’ve had is when my laptop is between my phone and my pump.  Some electronic devices can disturb the frequency, but solving it is as easy as moving the phone next to my pump instead of next to my laptop.

There you go, my solution to the “I don't want to carry around one more thing” dilemma of the uploader.  It’s now part of my phone, which I’m carrying around anyway!

I’m hoping that between this post and the Loop post, I’ve answered any questions you might have about MiniMed Connect.  But if I’ve missed anything, leave your question in the comments and I’d be happy to share my experience!

** My Medtronic disclosure can be found here. **

Monday, September 28, 2015

Sneakers and Purses . . . .

Yesterday I made a quick stop at Marshall’s.  They are selling JDRF Sneakers and I wanted to support the fundraiser.  Of course, I needed to bring something up to the register in order to buy my sneaker, right??

This isn’t the best picture.  The main body of the purse is actually a gorgeous forest green, with tan sides and black handles, and it kind of reminds me of a cute little Italian sports car.  I had to have it.  I should’ve gotten a better picture, but I loved that my cat photobombed so I had to use this one.

Anyway, the cashier asked me right away if I wanted to buy a donation sneaker, and I told her “absolutely” and then I told her why.  I thanked her and told her we discussed the Marshall’s sneaker sales at our JDRF board meeting on Thursday and that we appreciate the support they give and fundraising they do every year.  I really am grateful when people with no diabetes connection pitch in to help our causes, and it was wonderful to get to thank her.

And getting a new purse wasn’t too bad either.

Friday, September 25, 2015

That Loaf of Bread . . . .

As I made my way down one of the last few grocery store aisles, I started to feel that familiar fuzzy feeling.  A glance at my continuous glucose monitor showed that my blood sugar was indeed trending downward.  (Stupid grocery shopping, why do you almost always make me low??)  I gobbled a packet of fruit snacks from my purse and pressed on.  If it all worked out as I hoped, I could grab the last few things on my list and check out while the fruit snacks brought up my blood sugar.  I’d be back in a safe range just as I was ready to drive home.

But then again, diabetes often has a way of not working out as I hoped.

breadI suddenly realized I had been loitering in the bakery section.  Then I noticed how sweaty I was.  Then I looked down at my phone.  My grocery store has this cool app that allows me to scan my groceries with my phone as I shop, and bag them right in the shopping cart.  My phone showed that two loaves of wheat bread had been scanned.  How weird, I didn’t buy any bread yet.  And I was looking for sourdough, not wheat.  (I bake my own wheat bread from scratch these days.)

And then I looked in the bag in my shopping cart, and there was a loaf of wheat bread staring back at me.  I had no recollection of taking it off the shelf, scanning it (twice!!) and putting it in  my bag.  That?  That really freaked me out.

I took a deep breath.  I deleted the bread from my phone and put it back on the shelf.  I then found the sourdough,  grabbed and scanned one loaf, and added it to my bag.  I also took a look through the rest of the charges on my phone and the items in my bag, to make sure they matched.  They did.  But what would have happened if they didn’t?  What if my hazy low found  me putting something in my bag without scanning it, and I happened to be chosen for a random audit that day?

These thoughts really freak me out too.  Since that day, I won’t go to the store unless my blood sugar is nearing 200.

And I really hate that.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Day of Diabetes . . .

Have you heard of #dayofdiabetes?  It’s a day when the Diabetes Online Community documents our day of diabetes together by tweeting using that hashtag.  I have to admit, I usually forget to participate but this time I marked it in my calendar so I’d remember.  It worked!!

So yeah, I tweeted a lot yesterday. (I've even left a few out because this post is already way too long. But perhaps my most important tweet yesterday was . . .