Thursday, August 28, 2008


I have diabetes . . . and I'm lucky.

I count and weight and measure . . . and I'm lucky.

I prick and jab and bleed . . . and I'm lucky.

I inject and pump and bolus . . . and I'm lucky.

I walk and dance and (occasionally) lift some weights . . . and I'm lucky.

I'm lucky because I have options. I have choices. Yes, sometimes I slip. Other times, I make all the best choices and the numbers are still off. But that's okay. I can correct . . . adjust . . . make my next choice a better one.

My uncle has been battling cancer. He's had multiple surgeries, chemo, treatments and procedures. Last week the doctors said it still isn't working. He is out of options. There are no more choices. There is nothing left to try. No reason left to fight.

So today, I know I am lucky. I'll go to my endo appointment tomorrow. If my A1C doesn't meet my secret expectation of well under 6.5, I won't let myself get upset this time. I'll be thankful for my choices and thankful for my options. I'll remember how lucky I am . . . and fight some more.

Friday, August 22, 2008

"Pumping Insulin" - Basal Rate Testing

A week from today is my next endo appointment.  It will have been three months since I saw him last.  I never in a million years thought I'd say what I'm about to say now . . .  I can't wait to see what my A1C is.  Wow, imagine that!!  But yes, for once I'm (cautiously) optimistic that I will see a big improvement.

No matter how good (or not) my A1C results are,  reading "Pumping Insulin" has me raring to do some basal rate testing.  I think my basal rate are really good, but I also think they can be tweaked a bit  to really nail things down.  I often go pretty low throughout the morning.   And sometimes high before dinner.  A smidge less insulin here and a smidge more there could make things easier.

So last night, I used what I learned from Chapter 11, "Select and Test your Basal Rates", to run my first over-night basal test.  When testing daytime rates, you monitor your blood sugar every two hours.  During the over-night test, the book says you only need to test every four hours.  But because I'm crazy . . .  an over-achiever . . .  very interested to see exactly what is going on while I sleep, I decided to get up and check every two hours.  At bed-time I found myself higher than usual (153).  Since I wanted to run the test, I decided to leave it rather than bolus a correction.  At 1am, I had risen a bit more. At 3am, I was back down to where I had started.  At 5am I was down a bit more.  And at 7am, I ended my test with a 101.  Ah ha, if I had gone to bed at 100, I may well have ended my test down at 48.  Yup, a little tweaking may be needed.

I love knowing that the pump will allow me to make the slight changes I might need to keep things stable over-night.  It's empowering to know I can run these tests and really act on the results I get.  I plan to do another test Tuesday night, and bring both results in for discussion at next week's visit.  But for now, I just need another cup of coffee.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

An inspirational story . . .

The other day, I received an interesting e-mail from Meyrick. He had come across my little blog, and he thought I might be interested in reading a post that his friend wrote about a duathlon they completed.

I've never considered myself much of an athlete, so I have the highest respect for those who work and train so hard and compete in events such as this. And I'm even more impressed by Meyrick's friend Harley. He's competed in several triathlons and in this duathlon he's posted about. But that's not the most impressive part. You see, Harley has been a Type 1 diabetic since the age of 16. And he's never let that stop him from competing. In fact, his day job? Director of physical education at West Point. Pretty cool!

Go on over and read all about his duathlon experience. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. It's a great example of how, although we may have to plan a lot more than the "average" person, we don't have to let T1 keep us from reaching our goals!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My Sugar-Free Walk Socks

Over the past few of weeks, I've enjoyed reading a couple of posts on Six Until Me about people who've found innovative ways to do diabetes fundraising. And it got me thinking about "my" socks. My story isn't as inspiring as those featured on Kerri's blog, but I thought it would be fun to share it with you anyway.

As I've mentioned before, I knit. (Okay, I knit a lot.) And I might have a bit of yarn. Well okay, maybe I have around 98,000 yards (that's over 55 miles) of yarn. No, I'm not kidding. I have it all logged in an excel spreadsheet. (dork) With columns that add up the yards and also convert it to miles. (super dork) And that doesn't even count a few more skeins I picked up on vacation that still need to be logged in. (obsessed dork) But I digress.

Two years ago, Pea and I decided to participate in the ADA Walk-a-thon. One of the first things I did was to put up a post on my knitting blog. I was overwhelmed by the response. Knitters not only began donating immediately, but they also posted about it on their blogs - and soon donations were coming in from people I didn't even know. They also donated yarn and other knitting loot so I could raffle off prizes to people who donated. I had set my fundraising goal at an amount that I thought was unreachable - $500. In just a couple of weeks, we had passed that goal.

But wait, I haven't even gotten to the best part yet. One of my blog friends was just starting to design her own knitting patterns. And she decided to donate her first sock pattern to me. She named it Karen's Sugar-Free Walk Socks, and donated the entire proceeds from every pattern sold until the walk-a-thon to my walk. I proudly walked every step of the walk-a-thon in socks I had knit myself, from a pattern named for me! In the end, she sold 90 copies of the pattern, and donated $450 to my walk. That brought me well over the top of my new unreachable goal of $1,000.

Hang on, it still gets even better!! To this day, Chrissy continues to donate $2 to the ADA each time that pattern is sold. It's so amazing to me that someone would be so generous with their talent. I am extremely proud to be able to think of that pattern as "my pattern" - and I get such a thrill every time I come across a pair of "my socks" on a knitting blog. I truly hope the pattern continues to be a hit, until the day when a cure for all of us is found.

And yes, Pea and I are walking again this year, in October. I don't think I'll have a cool fundraising story to go with this walk . . . . but hey, you never know!

Monday, August 11, 2008

More ups and downs than a see-saw!!

Perhaps you remember a few weeks ago, I was bitching about discussing the fact that my blood sugars had been running really low. Well, diabetes can be like a see-saw. One minute you are down, and the next you are up.

That's right . . . I'm smack dab in a spurt of highs. Tell me if you do this when you are high:

#1: Play the blame game. "maybe I've been slacking off on my exercise" "I haven't been as careful with what I've been eating" "man, I'm really screwing up"

#2: Decide time will make it better. "well, it's almost that time of month - a few more days and things will settle down" "it's just stress - a few more days and things will settle down" "I know, I'll be diligent about exercise - a few more days . . . you can see where I'm going with this.

#3: Have an ah-ha moment. Yes, it's almost that time of month - but my BS isn't usually thrown so out of whack. Yes, I have been slacking on exercise and eating - but not enough to warrant so many highs. Stress - eeeehhh, I'm not really all that stressed. But, AH-HA, I recently opened a bottle of insulin that had come on vacation as a spare. Could the problem be that it didn't travel well? An hour ago, I threw it out, opened a fresh (and untraveled) bottle of insulin and changed my site.

I still think there are multiple factors at work here, but I'm hoping a better bottle of insulin will help get things moving in the right direction. I've had enough of the see-saw!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Second nature

I've been on my pump for almost four months now.  It took me years to come around to the idea of even trying the pump.  I was "happy" with MDIs, because I had been doing them for so long. They were what I knew, and what I was comfortable with.  But I wasn't happy with my control.  My A1C's hovered in the high 6's and low 7's.  I'd only achieved a 6.4 once, and it didn't last.

I began reading about pumping on diabetes blogs and talked to other pumpers on a knitting site that has a great forum section.  And I spotted a pump on one of the instructors at the ballroom studio where Pea and I take lessons.  I decided I could do it too.

It was scary.  My first insertion set changes were done with every instruction guide I had spread out in front of me.  And it took forever.

Today I did a set change.  The instructions now stay somewhere in my Diabetes Drawer.  And the whole process takes only a couple of minutes.  It's all second nature.  That great, right?  Right.

But for some reason, it's making me really sad.  Not sad that I'm on the pump - I couldn't be happier with it and it's the best decision I've ever made (diabetes-wise).  But a bit sad that another diabetes-related thing has become second nature.  Sad that there STILL is no cure.