Thursday, December 30, 2010

Bitter~Sweet Chips: 2010 Wrap Up

Before we bid a fond farewell to 2010 and head off into 2011, here are some fresh tasty morsels you shouldn’t miss  . . .
  • Do you use Apidra brand insulin?  Or are you considering giving it a try and looking to hear from others who already use it?  Well Lorraine of This Is Caleb has created a fabulous Apidra Linky List.  Here Apidra users can link blog posts they’ve written about Apidra, and those seeking info can find just what they need.  Visit Lorraine’s Apidra Linky post to learn all of the details.
  • Are you looking to take your diabetes management to the next level in 2011?  You might consider attending Type-1 Diabetes University, an on-line school offering live and pre-recorded classes that go beyond just the basics.  T1 University founder Gary Scheiner MS, CDE, explains “This is nothing like a basic diabetes education class. These courses are for insulin users who want focused, expert information on specific topics that are relevant to their daily lives.”  There are quite a few courses listed already that will start on January 4th, with plans for more to be added over time.  I may check out Blood Glucose Control During Sports & Exercise or Weight Loss for Insulin Users myself.
  • How about ending the year right by supporting some great diabetes organizations?
  • TuDiabetes and Diabetes Hands Foundation, who have done great things in 2010 including The Big Blue Test, need help reaching their end of the year goal.  Donate before we ring in 2011 and you’ll be eligible for some nifty thank-you gifties.  (I’d like to thank WEGO Health for a panel opportunity I was able to participate it, which resulted in a donation to DHF made on my behalf.)
  • Diabetes Research Institute is wrapping up their Be Part of the Cure campaign, which I posted about earlier in the year.  It’s so exciting to see how much the collage has filled in over the past two months.  There are still a few spots left, so be sure to make your donation and upload your picture before we bid adieu to 2010!
  • Have you heard about the Children with Diabetes Friends for Life conferences held each year?  You do know that in 2011 there will also be a bunch of sessions that are geared specifically to adults with Type 1 diabetes, right?  And you’ve seen the list of 2011 FFL Faculty?  It sounds like it’s going to be a wonderful event and I’m all signed up and counting down the days!!  If you are thinking of going too, remember that early registration (with a bit of a discount) ends tomorrow.  Check out all the details and let me know if I’ll be seeing you there!
  • In case you missed it yesterday, I was honored to do a guest post for Kerri over at Six Until Me.  Click on over if you want to find out why I always carry glucose tablets.
  • I want to say a big thank you for the wonderful responses to my Wish List post, both in the comments section and by email.  Seeing the enthusiasm is very encouraging and there are so many great suggestions I never would have thought of.  We’re compiling a list for our next meeting, so if you haven’t left your ideas please do.  We appreciate your help as we work to gets this local T1 Adult Outreach Group up and running!
Thank you all for your friendship in 2010.  It’s a wonderful thing to be a part of the D-OC Bubble after feeling so isolated with this disease for most of my life.  I look forward to all of the great things we will do together in 2011!!   HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wish list . . .

WishListI’m hoping you can help me out with a little wish list of sorts.  No, I’m not talking about what you wanted to see under your tree on Christmas morning.  Or what you hoped for during the eight nights of Hanukkah.  I’m not even asking about what you’d like the New Year to bring.  Nope, what I want to know is this . . .

If a brand new Adult Diabetes Outreach Program was starting up in your area, what would you wish for it to include??

You see, the dinner meeting I referred to in my last post was with a small group of T1 ladies and our local JDRF Outreach Coordinator (who is also the fabulous mom of a T1 daughter).  Our mission?  To work with JDRF to coordinate a local T1 Adult Outreach Program.  Our area is lacking any kind of group like this and we’re all very excited to be working on getting one up and running. 

Our first step - besides spending a large amount of time just socializing and enjoying each other’s company - was to brainstorm for ideas on what this program can and should include.  Obviously, we are hoping to make this group a huge success!  And who better to help us brainstorm for ideas than all of you?  Some of you may already be involved in programs such as this, and I’d love it if you would share your advice and experiences.  And most of you probably have thoughts about what a great Adult Outreach Program should or shouldn’t include, and I'd value your input!  Please leave your comments here - or if you’d rather go “off-the-record” you can email me at

As we work to bring our T1 Adult Outreach Program though the planning stages and into reality, I’ll continue to blog about the process.  I’m hoping others will be interested to hear what we’re doing . . . and perhaps inspired to start up an outreach group in your own area!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Force of habit . . .

Last night I was out for a dinner meeting.  (More to come on this, we’re working on something I’m excited about.)  Pete was left to fend for himself for dinner and decided to cook up some ravioli.  And when I got home and looked at our memo board, I had to laugh.

Click to enlarge!!

Even though I wasn’t home and wouldn’t be eating the ravioli, he worked out the carb count!  Silly boy, he can eat all the carbs he wants.  (Such a show off with his working pancreas.)

And yes, we need to stick the E-Z-Pass to the windshield of the not-so-new car.  And we’re out of Triple Sec for Pizza and Martini Fridays.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

True love???

“True love is eternal, infinite, and always like itself.”  ~Honore de Balzac
Diabetes is eternal.  Diabetes is infinite.  And I suppose Diabetes is always like itself . . . because it sure is different from anything else.


In any case, my “true love” and I are celebrating our 31st anniversary one day this month - although in all honestly, I’ve been saying we’ve been together for 31 years since about September or so.  Maybe that’s because it just seems like diabetes has been with me for-freaking-ever!!  In any case, we may have officially passed our big day last week.  Or maybe it is next week.  Or possibly yesterday or tomorrow.  As I’ve said before, the unfortunate fact is that I don’t know exactly when my Diaversary is, but we know I was diagnosed in 1979 and we think it was in December.  I usually pick December 15th to “celebrate” because it is smack in the middle of the month.  This year I suppose I need to push the party back a bit because Pete has an important meeting today and I’d hate to leave my REAL true love out of the celebration.

So tell me, what is a suitable 31st Diaversary gift for my so-called true love to get me?  Perhaps good health after 31 years with my life partner is the best gift I could have asked for!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

If Santa had a crew of diabetic elves . . .

Elf Hypos

one of these peppermint sticks we saw while shopping on Saturday could treat their hypos for the next decade!!  Ho ho ho!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Dear Shadow . . .

Don’t like pump tubing on your head?  Of course you don’t . . . who would??  After all, pump tubing is so much better between your teeth!!


Happy Weekend!!!!


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Paranoia or Diabetes

Last night, I woke up in the middle of the night, listening to strange noises in my house.  It was very windy, and our house is almost 90 years old, but these didn’t sound like the normal creeks and grunts of an old house.  My imagination flew straight to the assumption that a prowler was trying to get in . . . . or already had.  I stared into the black night, wide awake, scrutinizing every sound.  (In my defense, my house was robbed about seven years ago, so when I hear a strange noise in the night my mind goes right there first.)  After a little while, K.C. jumped down from her favorite sleeping place (aka: on me) and ambled downstairs.  Once I heard the crunch-crunch of her midnight snacking, I knew all was well with our house.  If a crook had gotten in, my little fraidy cat would be cowering under our bed!

Since I was now wide awake, and since I haven’t done a middle-of-the-night finger-stick in a while, I decided to get up and test my blood.


Which made me wonder - how much of my late night paranoia is caused by diabetes throwing me a low, and how much is just me being a fraidy cat?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Late Last Best Blessing

DBlessingsWeek1 So I seem to have flaked on my weekend posts for Diabetes Blessings Week, which is a shame because I was saving my best blessing for last.  SO, even though Diabetes Blessings Week ended yesterday,  I’m going to share my last blessing today.

Without a doubt, the absolute best thing that has come to me as a result of diabetes is my friends!!!


The friends that are pictured, the friends that are not.  The friends I have met, the friends I will be meeting soon, the friends I may never get to meet.  Each and every one who has read or commented or emailed or shared your life on your own blog.  You make me stronger, you make me happier, you make me a better person.  Thank you for the blessing of you!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Diabetes Blessings Week - Exercise

It is day five of Diabetes Blessings Week!!


I do not like to exercise.  It is no secret that I’m a lazy slacker.

But diabetes plays so much nicer when I exercise.  My numbers stay more stable.  My A1Cs are better.  My basal rates are lower and I use less insulin.  So, although I still haven’t really found an exercise routine I can stick with long term, I do keep trying.

TurkeyTrotYesterday Pete and I ran our third 5K since August - also our third 5K since ever.  It was a Turkey Trot here in town.  We honestly thought about skipping it even though we paid the registration fee months ago.  Why skip it?  Well, you see, we hadn’t run, not even a training jog, since October 8th.  BUT we are cheap and had already paid for it we knew a morning run would make the Thanksgiving Feasting so much easier on my blood sugars.  So we decided we wouldn’t worry about our run-time, we would just enjoy being out in the fresh air for a walk/run.  In the end, we were thrilled that, at 45 minutes, it took us only five minutes longer than our best run-time.  (Not to say 40 or 45 minutes are good times for a 5K, but at least we get out there and try.  And yes, I hurt the whole rest of the day, but wine helped!!)

Diabetes has blessed me with a reason to keep trying to exercise, even when I really really really really really really don’t want to!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Diabetes Blessings Week - Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving on Day Four of Diabetes Blessings Week!


I’m taking a bit of liberty with my blessing today, because it doesn’t exactly qualify as a blessing that has come to me because of diabetes.  It’s more of a blessing that helps me live well with diabetes.

Today is Thanksgiving in my corner of the world.  And on holidays I am extra thankful for advanced carb counting, an extended bolus, a temporary basal and my CGM.  These tools are a true blessing on a day filled with grazing followed by feasting followed by dessert followed by late evening left-over nibbling.

K.C. says remember to test a lot, bolus or inject a lot and then, eat a lot!!  And have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Diabetes Blessings Week - You Are What You Eat

Here we are on Day 3 of Diabetes Blessings Week and I’m still going strong!!


Without a doubt, diabetes has made me more aware of what I eat.  In fact, it’s natural that Diabetes and Food are woven into each other in my life.  After all, I was diagnosed during a time when sugar was 100% off limits and The Exchange Diet was the law.  Meals and snacks came at the same exact time every day and involved the same food groups in the same amounts. It was not a lot of fun.


Thankfully, we have progressed over the past 31 years and that stringent diet is no longer my reality.  In theory, armed with my trusty insulin pump, I can eat any food I love.  And I love desserts.  And foods that has been fried.  And especially dessert foods that have been fried!!  (Have you ever tasted a fried Oreo??  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  Get yourself one NOW.)  I’m also a big fan of butter and rich sauces and basically anything that should be enjoyed “in moderation”.  But I don’t eat as much of these yummy yum-yums as I would like to, because they tend to be very hard to bolus for.  And because they are not heart healthy - and diabetes is already one strike again my heart health.

So thank you, Diabetes, for helping me make healthier food choices than I would probably make otherwise.  Without you, I would probably be a much less healthy, and much much much larger, person!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Diabetes Blessings Week - My Voice

Welcome to day two of Diabetes Blessings Week.


Diabetes can bring us new blessings all the time, regardless of how long we’ve been living with it.  In fact, over the past year, diabetes has brought me a huge blessing . . . my voice.

In school, I was the student who almost always knew the answer, yet almost never raised my hand.  I was too shy to speak up.  Too shy to share what I knew.  Too shy to have attention on me.

And yet, here I am.  A blogger and a health activist.  I have raised my voice and participated in many diabetes awareness events.  Diabetes brought me to the Wego Health site and to two health activist meet ups.  And last month, Wego Health brought the most incredible opportunity to use my voice.  Last month, the same girl who was afraid to raise her hand in class participated on a panel and talked to a group of pharma reps about the dos and don’ts of social media.

The Goofy One
Very serious panel picture courtesy of Kerri.

Thank you, Diabetes, the D-OC and Wego Health for blessing me with the gift of a voice I’m no longer afraid to use.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Diabetes Blessings Week - Handling Lows

Mike at My Diabetic Heart has proclaimed this week to be Diabetes Blessings Week.  Time to reflect on the blessings that have come to us because of diabetes.  I’d like to post seven, one each day this week, but I can’t promise I’ll be diligent enough to post every day.  We’ll just have to see how that goes . . .

Today I am thankful that although I have diabetes, I have also been blessed with a really good tolerance for handling very low lows.  Take, for instance, Friday night when I was home alone (okay, knitting) and was surprised by this, out of no where, on my meter.


Yes, it sucked.  I got really really scared.  I cried.  I ate more than I should have.  I realized why I has spent the past hour overwhelmed by paranoid thoughts that 1) Pete would have a terrible car accident on his drive home and 2) every tiny noise outside meant someone was trying to break into my house.  But, I was okay.  I was able to function.  I was able to get myself frosting . . . . and Skittles . . . . and Swedish Fish.  My blood sugar was 22 but I could fix it on my own.

This is not to say I haven’t had a few bad experiences with lows.  In 31 years, I have had one seizure that led to a quick trip to the ER.  I can think of three times when I was too disoriented to help myself - once in high school, once in college and once about a year ago.  I’m careful to take every low seriously and remember how dangerous a low blood sugar can be.

But today, I’m giving thanks that I tolerate lows really well 99.9% of the time.  I am blessed that, although diabetes has brought low blood sugars, it has also brought me the ability to treat them when I need to.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Mini Big Blue Test

Since writing my post on depression, I’ve started feeling better.  Writing it all down was a big step in working through it, and of course the wonderful and supportive comments I received meant so much to me.  Working on a fun project Thursday night was great for giving me something productive to focus on.  And a trip to NYC to see the insulin exhibit at the New York Historical Society with some (but sadly, not all) of my favorite D-OC members was the icing on the cupcake.

Treatment for AllManny and Kerri

In a nutshell, I’ve been feeling so much better.  Well, emotionally I’m back on track.  Physically, not so much.  Along with wonderful memories of my trip to NYC, I seem to have brought home a bad cold.  I spent World Diabetes Day coughing, sneezing and napping.  In fact, I was dismayed to wake up and discover I had napped right through the Big Blue Test.

As disappointed as I was to miss the fun of the Big Blue Test, it turns out it wasn’t a total loss.  My friend Bob wasn’t able to do the test on Sunday either, and he graciously agreed to do a Mini Big Blue Test with me yesterday at 2 pm.  We each tested "together", walked "together" and tested once more.


Before our Mini Big Blue Test, my feline assistant K.C. noted that my blood sugar was 111.  After two days spent resting on the couch, my 14 minutes on the treadmill was quite a workout.  K.C. confirmed that my blood sugar rang in at 94 after my walk.  I was in great shape for a late lunch.

Thank you, Bob, for being such a good sport and humoring me with our Mini Big Blue Test.  I had a lot of fun taking a virtual walk with you!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Other Big D

There are times when I become a little absent.  I’m sure it’s not blaringly obvious, but it’s true.  I’m not on Twitter all that much.  I become very lax at commenting on blogs.  I put off emails for another day.  My Facebook page begins to grow cobwebs.  And maybe, I blow NaBloPoMo as early as Day 8.  In a nutshell, I’m scarce.

Sometimes this happens because I’m busy with off-line things.  Sometimes I simply need a little computer break.  But more often than not, the reason is The Other Big D.  I’m feeling Depressed.

depressedI’ve never been officially diagnosed with depression, but the signs are all there.  It comes intermittently, but it always hits in the fall when the days begin to get shorter.  I lose my focus and my energy.  I can’t seem to get myself dressed and functioning until late afternoon.  I spend hours on the computer, wasting time on silly games.  I feel very unhappy with my life, and I’m sure nothing can be done to fix it.  I feel fortunate that it’s never gotten so bad that I’ve contemplated hurting myself - but I have entertained fantasies of just *poof* disappearing.  And in those moments, I’m sure I wouldn’t be missed.

And then, I start to feel guilty.  I know I have a good life.  No, not a perfect life, but nobody has a perfect life.  But I have a very good life.  I have a husband who loves me - and I see the pain in his eyes when he asks “What can we do to help you?” and I say “Nothing.”.  I’ve got a nice home and a family who loves me.  I have friends - even when I feel like nobody would miss me, I know I have friends who would.  I have a lot going for me.  So I shouldn’t feel depressed, right?  I’ve got a lot of nerve to be moping around.  And being depressed becomes just one more way I have failed, which then makes me feel even more depressed.

Mixing depression with diabetes makes things harder too.  How do you work up the energy to cook healthy meals, count your carbs, exercise and check your blood sugar a dozen times a day when you can’t even work up the energy to brush your teeth?  Yesterday afternoon when Pete asked how my blood sugar has been, I simply replied “I don’t know”, because I hadn’t tested since 6 a.m.  And my sensor ran out but I didn’t bother to restart it.  And I had been randomly bolusing and grabbing junk food all afternoon.  That’s no way to take care of yourself.  It’s no way for a Health Advocate and Diabetes Blogger to set an example.  It’s another way to fail, which is again depressing.

Depression.  It’s a hard thing to write about.  It’s a hard thing to talk about.  It’s a hard thing to admit to.  At least, for me it is.  Often I try very hard to participate just enough in the D-OC so no one would ever guess how I'm really feeling.  Why is that?  Being depressed is nothing to feel ashamed of, and yet, I do.  But recent posts by Elizabeth and Rachel gave me the courage to write this.  Because I have a suspicion depression runs deeper in our community than we really know.  And I think it’s okay, and even good, to talk about it more.  Writing this post was scarier than I can ever convey.  But in a weird way, it also makes me feel like I may have turned the corner with this particular bout of depression.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Diabetes Blog Day!!!

Today is the 6th annual Diabetes Blog Day.


Our topic this year is “six things you want people to know about diabetes”.  Here is what I wish everybody knew . . .
  1. It’s not my fault that I have diabetes.  Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease, and there was nothing I could do to keep the insulin producing cells in my pancreas from being destroyed.
  2. It’s not anyone’s fault that they have diabetes.  People with Type 2 diabetes don’t get it because they are fat or lazy or ate too much sugar.  Women with gestational diabetes don’t get it because the babies they are carrying hate them.  Diabetes isn’t anyone’s fault!
  3. High blood sugar and/or low blood sugars don’t mean I’ve done something wrong.  I do my best to fill in for my pancreas.  However, I am not an actual pancreas and I don’t have the skills needed to keep my blood sugars in range all the time.  Blood sugar is affected by food, exercise, stress, amount of sleep, hormones, germs . .  . the list goes on.
  4. An insulin pump does not fix everything.  I once had a conversation about diabetes with someone and I mentioned that I was on an insulin pump.  I was really surprised when she responded by saying “That’s really great, that means you don’t need to do anything, right?”.  Wrong.  My pump is helpful in dosing my insulin, but it takes a ton of work!!
  5. Insulin is not a punishment.  Being on insulin doesn’t mean I, or anyone else with diabetes, has “really bad” diabetes.  It simply means we need to take insulin to stay as healthy as we possibly can.
  6. Insulin is not a cure.  No further explanation needed.  INSULIN IS NOT A CURE.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday Rewind - Jackpot

Arg, we're supposed to blog on the weekends for NaBloPoMo??  Well, how about on Sundays, we look back at some very old posts?  Here's one from September 22, 2008, just a few months after I stared this blog.  And yes, my blood sugars still often feel like a gamble!!

Things have been pretty busy around here lately. Pea and I are starting to feel like the only time we see each other is when we collapse glassy-eyed in front of the TV. So yesterday we decided to take time out for an adventure to our favorite playground for grown-ups, Mohegan Sun Casino. Pea's game of choice is Roulette, while I'm more of a Slot Machine girl.

Oddly enough, I couldn't help but compare the one-armed-bandit to my blood glucose monitor. They both sing out to me - with a Ling-Ling-Ling from the slots and a Beep-Beep from my monitor. I feed shiny round quarters into one, and red droplets into the other. Then I wait patiently for the results. Sometimes I'm up. Sometimes I'm down. When I break even, I consider that I've won!

Are there days when you feel like you have as much control over your blood sugar as you do over the slot machine reels? Sometimes it all just feels like a gamble to me. With the slots, I try to cash out when I'm ahead. I wish diabetes had a "collect your winnings" button too. Instead, I just keep feeding in those red droplets.

Yesterday was a good day. I hit the jackpot on both counts. I ended the day with an extra $200 in my pocket and a daily blood sugar average of 108. I hope Lady Luck decides to stick around for a while!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Were you Blue on Friday?

Yesterday was cold and rainy.  I didn’t have anywhere in particular I had to be.  So I admit it - I hung around in my jammies until well into the afternoon.  But at least they were blue!!


Were you decked out in blue yesterday for #wwdbluefridays?  Did you post or tweet a picture?  Did it help you raise awareness?  And remember, we still have three more Fridays left to proudly wear our blue!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Bitter~Sweet Chips

What are Bitter~Sweet Chips?  Well, they are some tasty morsels for you to enjoy!  Seriously, there is a lot going on the in the D-OC these days.  And more and more great info is finding it’s way into my email in-box.  So Bitter~Sweet Chips will be my place to share these tasty morsels with you on an ongoing basis.  It may become a weekly feature, or it may just be a once in a while thing, depending on what is going on in the world of diabetes.  So settle in and enjoy these yummy tidbits . . . .
  • Today is Friday and Cherise of Diabetic Iz Me has come up with the great idea of Blue Fridays.  Every Friday in November let’s wear our blue loud and proud to raise awareness of World Diabetes Day and diabetes in general.  Better yet, snap a picture of yourself dressed in blue and post it to your blog or tweet it with the #wddbluefridays hash-tag!
  • If you live near Bethesda, Maryland, you might be interested in attending the Diabetes Research & Wellness Foundation’s Diabetes Transplant Summit taking place this Thursday, November 11th.  You’ll hear from leading researchers and surgeons in the islet transplant field.  You’ll also hear from patients who have already received islet transplants.  You can find a press release, event flyer and registration information on the Event Information Page.
  • Do you shop at Acme®, Albertsons®, Cub Foods®, Farm Fresh®, Jewel-Osco®, Shaw’s/Star Market™, Shop ‘n Save®, or Shoppers Food & Pharmacy®?  If so, you might be interested in a new program the SUPERVALU family of grocery stores has launched.  It’s called “Living Healthy with My Diabetes”.  From November 7th - 20th special services such as free blood glucose screenings, reduced cost A1C, cholesterol and liver screening, and coupon booklets will be offered.  Other on-going programs such as diabetes-friendly menu planning and in-store diabetes education and monitoring will be offered.  For more information, simply visit the customer service desk of your favorite SUPERVALU store  for a list of specifics on what your store is offering.
  • And don’t forget to start thinking of the six things you want people to know about diabetes for Diabetes Blog Day (#dblogday) on Tuesday.
  • Oh, and also remember view the Big Blue Test video!  And make your donation to DRI and Be Part of the CURE!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


People living with diabetes need a lot of things.  We need support.  We need education - for ourselves and for the “clueless masses” who may try to judge us.  We need medication and insurance.  We need exercise.  We need strength and patience. 

But above all else, the one thing every person with diabetes needs is a CURE.  I have to admit, I’ve never really believed in a cure for diabetes - especially in my life-time.  But the Diabetes Research Institute, and their commitment to finding a real cure for diabetes, is starting to instill some optimism in me.

And that’s why I have made a donation to the DRI’s Be Part of the Cure campaign.  For a donation of $10 or more, you can upload your picture and story into the CURE mosaic, which will be printed as a giant banner upon completion and hung at the Diabetes Research Institute.  You even get to chose which efforts your donation will help fund.  If you donate $50, you will receive a mouse-pad that sports the final CURE mosaic.  I informed Pete that he is getting me one for Christmas - which really means I donated some of the money he would have spent on me for Christmas towards this campaign.  After all, a better chance for a cure and a mouse-pad mosaic of some of my favorite D-OC members are the best Christmas gifts I can think of!

To help build the mosaic and find a cure for diabetes, go to Be Part of the Cure and make your donation today!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Now With More Words!!


Today I’m using the prompt from the ADA’s Blog 30 Days of Diabetes in November - and beyond.  We are asked to post a Wordless Wednesday picture that answers the question  “What are the three most important things – in your opinion – that help with your diabetes management?”  And because it’s not like me to be “wordless”, I thought I’d add my thoughts about what I chose to include in my picture.

Number one is my insulin pump.  For me, I have a level of control with the pump that I never had with MDIs.  Part of this is because Lantus never gave me a true 24 hours of coverage, and even splitting the dose didn’t work well for me.  Also, I use my pump’s dual-wave feature a lot to (hopefully) better match my insulin delivery to the way my body processes some foods.

Number two is my meter.  Knowing my blood sugar level is the key to planning what and when to eat, when and how much insulin to take and what to do before and after exercise.  I love my CGM too, and it helps me a lot, but my meter is more important.  After all, the readings from my meter are used to calibrate my CGM.

Number three is . . .  my cat?  Well, sort of.  Number three is actually the things in my life that make me truly happy, the things I enjoy.  K.C. is one.  My husband, family and friends (including the D-OC) are a few more.  And yes, knitting (and all my yarn) are yet two more in this list of things that I love.  Diabetes is tough.  It takes a lot of focus, a lot of management, a lot of energy.  Focusing on the things in life that lift my spirits when the going gets tough is so important to energize me and keep me going!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

One simple click can help a child in need get insulin.

Last year I was proud to participate in the Big Blue Test, in which over 2,000 people with diabetes joined together to test our blood, exercise for 14 minutes, and test our blood again.  We showed just how much impact even a small amount of exercise can have on our blood sugars.

But for many people with diabetes, exercise alone is not enough.  Many of us need insulin to live.  I’m excited to aid in promoting a viral campaign to help bring insulin to children in need.  Here are the details, quoted from the press release I received:
For 2010, the Big Blue Test is even bigger! Together with Roche Diabetes Care, makers of ACCU-CHEK® diabetes products and services, DHF is aiming for a minimum of 100,000 views of its Big Blue Test promotional video. To help the foundation reach this goal, Roche has underwritten the production of the video and will make a donation for every view the video receives up to $75,000. DHF will use the donation to help Insulin For Life and the Life for a Child program, run by the International Diabetes Federation. These two global, humanitarian organizations provide diabetes medication and supplies to children in the world’s poorest countries.
“Every time someone watches this video, it will make a real contribution to someone actually staying alive,” said Ron Raab, President of Insulin For Life. He added: “These donations go a long, long way. In places we assist, like Ecuador, less than 50 dollars keeps a person needing insulin alive for an entire year as it covers the transport cost for us to send the donated insulin.”

Visit to watch the video (starting Nov.1) and participate in the event (Nov. 14).  The video is available for embedding at: 
Helping is easy.  Simply click to watch the Big Blue Test video.

And now help spread the word by promoting this video using what ever tools you have: through twitter, Face Book, emails to your friends and family, posts to your blog, anything you can think of to help spread the word.  For more information, you can read the entire press release here.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Diabetes Awareness Month is here!!!!

November is quite a busy month in the D-OC.  To kick things off, my blog has gone blue for diabetes thanks to a wonderful idea by Mike at My Diabetic Heart.

The month also kicks off strong today with Sugabetic's SAE Day Campaign.


SUPPORT!!  ADVOCATE!!  EDUCATE!!  How will you do these three things today?  And how will you continue them this month?  As a start, I’ve decided to post one random blood sugar reading each day to my Facebook status, along with a quick note about how that reading will affect my day.  Today’s status was “Karen is waiting for my pre-breakfast blood sugar of 78 to come up enough for me to get a quick workout in. (Day 1 of Diabetes Awareness Month - I plan to post one random blood sugar reading each day in November with a quick note about how it affects my day.)”.  And I won’t just post the “good” blood sugars.  I’ll post the scary low ones.  I’ll post the cringe-worthy high ones.  I’ll tell it like it is.

I’m also planning to take my best shot at blogging every day in November.  So many d-bloggers have taken on the challenge and I’m inspired to give it a go too.  Do you want to blog every day this month, but you’re afraid you won’t be able to come up with enough post topics?  Well, take a look at “Blog 30 Days of Diabetes in November - and beyond” over at the ADA website.  To encourage D-Bloggers to blog throughout the month of November, they have listed a suggested blog topic for each and every day.  It’s like “Diabetes Blog Week” in overdrive!

Is the thought of posting for 30 consecutive days enough to make your head fly off?  Well, how about committing to the 6th annual “Diabetes Blog Day”?


On November 9th Gina Capone (our diabetes bff) wants to hear about six things you want people to know about diabetes.  Remember to link your post on the Diabetes Blog Day page and tweet it loud and proud with the #dblogday hashtag.

What other plans do YOU have for Diabetes Awareness Month??

Friday, October 29, 2010

What is that???

Yesterday I happened to look down at my thigh and I noticed this . . .

Instead of tucking my tubing into my waist band like I usually do, I had left it snaking down the leg of my pants.  And when I sat a certain way, it was quite noticeable.  It looked almost like a bow hidden beneath my jeans.  It made me laugh.

And then I wondered what someone who doesn’t know anything about tubing and insulin pumps and diabetes would think if they saw my leg.  What exactly would they think I stashed in the leg of my pants?  And I didn’t feel embarrassed or self-conscious in the least.  Oh no, instead I laughed even harder at the absurdity of it all.  Because after all, life with diabetes isn’t all bad.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Opening up communications . . . .

Do patients think pharma companies should be involved with social media?  Do pharma companies think pharma companies should be involved with social media?  Can both “sides” learn a little something from each other?

These were some of the issues we discussed yesterday, when I was a panelist at the WEGO Heath #socialpalooza event.  The fabulous crew at WEGO brought together patients and pharma reps to delve into the sometimes touchy subject of social media and pharma.  I was thrilled to have the opportunity to share my views, along with Alicia the Awesome Cancer Survivor, Rosalind the Chronic Illness Career Coach, and Kerri the D-OC rock star.  And by “thrilled”, I mean so freaking nervous that I had a highly detailed dream the night before in which Kerri sat me down for a long talk about why it would be very wrong and quite offensive to knit socks during the panel discussion.  (Don’t worry, I never once considered knitting while speaking on the panel!!)  However, WEGO had assembled such a great group of people that once the panel started my nerves quickly melted away.

Although we panelists hadn’t discussed the topic before hand, it didn’t surprise me that we shared many similar views.  Be transparent - make it perfectly clear you are pharma and not a patient.  Don’t use social media simply to sell - use it to support and interact.  And apparently, bring cookies . . .

While I was thrilled to share my point of views with the pharma crew, I was just as glad to hear more about social media from their side.  It was interesting to hear about all of the regulations and legal issues that can hold them back from social media.  As Alicia pointed out, that’s a side of things patients may not be aware of.  And while most patients are only representing themselves and sharing their personal opinions in social media, these pharma reps are often representing their whole company.  I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a lot of pressure to me!

Should pharma and health companies get involved in social media?  I say yes.  In my closing statement yesterday, I voiced my opinion as follows:
By engaging through social media, you gain insights to the issues and needs of real patients.  At the same time, using social media can show the community you care about more than profiting from their disease.”  (Yes, I am directly quoting myself, which seems a bit weird to me but oh well . . . )

You can read Kerri’s take on Socialpalooza here, and a wonderful view from the pharma side here.  Kerri also grabbed some great, serious and (yay!!) goofy pictures of our panel with the moderators.  Being the photo slacker that I am, I only snapped one picture.  Although in my defense, it does show just how great the WEGO crew is at putting together an event.

That’s right, they left something to treat a pesky low at each participant's seat!  Although the Red Velvet Whoopee Pies served after lunch kept my blood sugar stable during our presentation.

Cookies, Skittles and desserts aside, the sweetest part of the day was opening the lines of communication between pharma and patients.  I hope this is a trend that will continue and grow.  Because when it comes right down to it, learning more about each other can only help us all.

Monday, October 25, 2010


My blood sugars seem to be running on the low side lately, so I wasn’t surprised when I felt that shaky low feeling yesterday morning.  It felt more like a mild low than a scary LOW.  I pulled out my meter, squeezed out some blood and waited to see my number . . .

imposter166.  Okay, not a terrible number, but a weird one since I was feeling more like 66.  I washed my hands and tried again.  177.  Okay, I get it.  Although I feel low, I’m not.  I wondered if perhaps I was dropping quickly but that wasn’t the case either.  I ran above 150 all day long.  Heck if I know why.  I didn’t sweat it too much.  I do try to run closer to 100, but I’m certainly not going to let a few 150s stress me out.

Fast forward to last evening.  As we arrived at my parent’s house for weekly Sunday dinner, I felt that same shaky mild low feeling I had in the morning.  Once again, I pulled out the meter to test.

And a 27 stared back at me.  WTF?  Again I washed me hands and re-tested.  26.

This is what annoys me about diabetes.  We try our hardest to listen to the signals our bodies are giving us.  We try to stay alert to signs of blood sugars that are too high or too low.  But when a 177 can parade around with the same symptoms as a 26, how can we ever win??

**  PS: During both the 177 and the 26, my CGM showed me holding steady near 100.  I wasn’t surprised to see a “bad sensor” error right before I went to bed last night.  Here’s hoping the new sensor I insert today is a little more on the ball!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


You didn’t think I forgot to pick a winner for the Jammie Days contest, did you?

Nope, I’m just having a busy day.  But fear not, I have drawn a winner for one pair of PJs for the Cure.

Want to know who the winner is?

Well, I’ll tell you.  The random number generator chose lucky comment number thirteen.

Who left the thirteenth comment?

Wendy from Candy Hearts

Congratulations, Wendy. I'll email you tonight to get your information. And thanks to everyone who entered the contest!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Jammie Days . . . .

We’ve had lots of cold, rainy weather here last week and part of this week.  As a result, I spent most of last weekend with a stuffy head, sore throat and aches - curled up on the couch in my jammies.  And my favorite jammies when I’m feeling under the weather (and also when I’m feeling fine) are PJs for the Cure.

Womens PJFTC
Yes, this is what I look like - even when I'm sick.  NOT!

What are PJs for the Cure?
“Komar, the #1 sleepwear manufacturer in the country, launched PJs For The Cure in 2009 as a means to raise awareness and funds to support Juvenile Diabetes. PJs For The Cure was founded by Charles Komar, CEO of Komar, after his wife was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (juvenile diabetes). Komar has specially designed women’s and children’s pajama sets in an effort to raise $1 million to support the JDRF. What’s so great about PJs For The Cure is that 100% of all sales go directly to the JDRF. For more information about PJs For The Cure please visit”
The cause isn’t the only thing that is great about these jammies.  My pair sports the WDD blue circle.  They are snuggle soft and they even have a built in pump pocket!  I love mine so much that I packed these pajamas when I went to BlogHer in August.  You see, I knew my room-mate LeeAnn was packing hers too.  We were matching jammie buddies, because we’re cool like that.  (Okay, yes, I’m dorky.  But LeeAnn is cool!)

I bet after I’ve gushed so much about these PJs, you’re wishing for a pair of your own or for your child, right?  Well, I’m happy to tell you that I was contacted to host a give-away for one pair of PJs for the Cure.  Simply leave a comment on this post between now and midnight on Tuesday.  I’ll announce the winner on Wednesday.  Good luck!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Power of Twins

I believe there are things in the world we don’t quite understand.  To some extent, I believe in spirits and psychics and energies that have no explanation.  (Although I also believe many cases are pure flim-flam.)  My mom is not much of a believer in these things, but there is one we both agree on.  And that is the power of twins.  The “other-worldly” connection twins have that defy any reasonable explanation.


You see, my father is a twin.  Uncle J, my godfather, is my Dad’s twin brother.  My mom tells me that long ago, when I was very little or perhaps before I was born, my dad caught a terrible flu and came home from work early for the first time since she had known him.  That afternoon, my uncle called to see how my dad was feeling.  Mom asked who told him my dad was sick.  Uncle J said nobody told him, he just had a feeling and knew he should call to check on his brother.  ** cue Twilight Zone music **

The instance that really convinced me of the power of twins happened a few years back.  You see, Uncle J had been diagnosed with cancer and had a tough surgery coming up.  A few weeks before the surgery, Dad came down with what seemed to be a terrible cold.  He got worse and worse and worse, until he finally went to his doctor.  She immediately called an ambulance and rushed him to the hospital.

Tests confirmed there was some kind of virus that had attacked the fluid around his heart.  The problem was, the doctors couldn’t figure out what the virus was.  They ran test after test and tried treatment after treatment - just like an episode of House.  We didn't find out until later just how serious things were and just how dire the situation was.

A week went by, with Dad in the hospital getting worse and no answers to be found.  The day came for Uncle J to have his surgery.  It took hours longer than the doctors had expected, but in the end it was a success.

As soon as Uncle J was out of surgery and starting to recover, my dad started to recover too.  The doctors couldn’t figure out what caused the sudden improvement.  They continued to test and test until the insurance companies balked at keeping Dad in the hospital since he no longer needed to be there.  In the end, the doctors had to admit they would never know what virus had attacked his heart.  They also admitted they would never know which medication had healed him.

A few weeks later, Dad suddenly got sick again.  This time, he went straight to the ER and was admitted.  They believe it was a reaction to one of the medications he was being weaned off of.  That evening, we found out Uncle J had also been admitted back into the hospital that day.  It seems a sponge was left in his body during his operation and they had to do emergency surgery to remove it.  Two days later, Dad and Uncle J were both better and were both released from the hospital on the same day.

I know doubters will laugh at me and say that this story is just a bunch of coincidences.  But I disagree with my whole heart.  I know for sure, with every fiber of my being, that what happened is an example of the connection twins have that we just don’t understand.

** Today’s post was written for No D Day.  You can find other No D Day posts on the No D Day Blogroll.

Friday, October 1, 2010

D-Feast Friday - Wilted Spinach with Artichokes

When Elizabeth, Lorraine and I were organizing the first D-Feast Friday we debated if it should be a weekly / monthly / quarterly event.  In the end, we decided to just focus on getting the first one going and worry about the rest later.  I've been thrilled to see so many bloggers continuing to share recipes on Fridays!  It looks like we’re almost up to 150 recipes and I’m just so excited the see the list continue to grow.  So I guess it’s high time I posted another recipe myself.


I’m pretty picky when it comes to vegetables.  Okay, I’m pretty picky in general, but today lets just talk about vegetables.  There are A LOT of them I don’t like.  But I do love spinach.  And I recently discovered that I really love artichokes.  A few months ago I was at Bertucci’s and noticed Spinach & Artichokes listed under their side dishes.  “A delightful combination, gently sautéed with roasted garlic butter sauce and sprinkled with cheese.”  The description had me sold and I ordered it.  And it was so good that I’ve made it at home over and over again.  Here’s how:

In a large pan, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.  Chop up a bunch of garlic (I use about four or five cloves, but you can use as many or as few as you like) and sauté it for a minute or so.  Don’t let the pan get too hot or the garlic cook for too long or it will burn and burnt garlic is nasty!!

Open one can of quartered artichoke hearts and drain them.  I usually rinse them with cold water too.  Once the garlic starts to soften, dump the drained artichokes into the pan.


Sometimes I add a pat of butter too - if I feel like splurging.  This dish is still good without the butter, so I’ll leave that up to you.


At this point, I usually season it with some sea salt and fresh ground pepper.  A few red pepper flakes would be fabulous too.  The last step is to dump in a whole bag of baby spinach and stir together as it wilts down.  This will only take about a minute or so - you’ll want to be all set to eat before you add the spinach.  Once it’s all wilty, plate it up and sprinkle some Parmigiana cheese on top.


In my house this makes just two servings, as Pete and I really love it and eat huge portions.  I don’t need to bolus for vegetables, so this is a free side-dish for me.  If you count the carbs in your veggies, simply tally them up from your artichoke can and spinach bag.

Click here to download this recipe in .pdf form.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Oven Mitts

During the summer, we do a lot of cooking on the grill.  Okay, by “we” I mean Pete.  I don’t actually step near the grill.  Although I do prep the food so that makes it a “we” effort, right?  I usually wrap our vegetables in foil packets in an attempt to have Pete cook our entire dinner outside on the grill during those sweltering days of summer.  When we try to unwrap them, hot off the grill, Pete always complains about the foil burning his fingers.  I usually call him a wimp and unwrap them with my bare hands.

The other day, we went to Starbucks.  I grabbed a seat to check my blood sugar while Pete ordered our coffees.  As he brought them over, he said they were so hot they were burning him and went off to get us those thermal sleeve thingies.  Call me pig-headed, but I had to see how hot the paper coffee cup really was.  And it wasn’t hot at all.  Wimp!!


Cue the guilt-music.  Now re-read the paragraph above.  Especially the line about checking my blood sugar.  You see, I test between 8 and 12 times every day.  I’ve realized that the scar tissue I’ve developed on my poor over-pricked fingers are my permanent little oven-mitts.  And the perhaps my husband isn't such a wimp after all.  Sorry, Sweetpea!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What 44 in the Grocery Store Looks Like . . .

It isn’t uncommon for me to go low when I grocery shop.  Usually I'm okay.  Yesterday?  Not so much.  Yesterday I could barely fight back the tears that wanted to burst forth.  I did fight the tears, but not the urge to load my cart with the junk food in the picture.  And that completely humiliates me.

I really hate grocery shopping.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Breaking out of the D-OC Bubble . . .

I love the D-OC Bubble.  I love our happy place where I can say “I’m so high” and nobody thinks I'm a stoner.  I love using short-hand d-lingo like CGM and SWAG and knowing I don’t need to explain what the heck I’m talking about.

But it is also great to break out of the D-OC Bubble and meet health activists who are advocating for other conditions.  So I was very excited to make my way back up to Boston last week for the second WEGO Health Activist Meet-up.


I blogged about the first one back in April, and the format of last week’s meet-up was the same.  We introduced ourselves with three Twitter #hashtags.  This time mine were #owneroftheworldscutestcat #totallyobsesssedwithknittingandyarn and #OMGthatgirlisSOlongwinded.  (But yes, I dropped the #shy #hashtag!)  We had time to mingle and I got to chat with some of the people I met in April and meet some new activists who attended.  I met activists for allergies, cancer, addiction recovery, stress resources and more.  But I wasn’t completely outside of the D-OC Bubble, because Jeff was also in attendance!  It was awesome to finally get to meet him in person - even if he did “scold” me about the racket my meter made during one of the discussions.


Once again, it was difficult to pick a break-out session because all three sounded so valuable.  In the end I chose “Using Multimedia as a Health Activist”, fabulously presented by Carissa.  I came away with some great tips and ideas from Carissa and the other activists who attended the session.  One important tip was to remember to capture photos / videos / audio / etc. to spark and enhance topics you post about.  I put that tip to good use right away as I snapped a (sorry so blurry) picture of Paul and Jeff presenting wrap-ups of two of the sessions.


Apparently the cheese covered flat-bread snacks also inspired me because I snapped a picture of those too.  Yum!


To be honest, I had fought a long string of lows since the night before, followed by a high that left me feeling cruddy upon my arrival in Boston that afternoon.  So I was particularly thrilled to see a 111 on my meter and feel free to indulge in a slice of the flat-bread.

I'm very fortunate to live close enough to Boston to attend these WEGO events.  I learn so much from the people I meet and leave feeling inspired and ready to do more!  The D-OC Bubble is a great place to be.  But don’t forget to interact and share with health activists from other fields as well.  Our conditions may be very different but so many of our concerns, needs and goals are very similar.  I firmly believe we can all learn so much from each other.

** You can read more about the meet-up on the WEGO Health Blog.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It’s Complicated . . .

I’ve had diabetes for a long time.  I often say I feel lucky and proud to have come this far without any complications.  Or sometimes I say with almost no complications.  Because I’m not really sure how to classify myself.

For the most part, everything is fine.  Everything except my eyes.  A couple of years ago, for the first time ever, my eye doctor found a tiny bleed.  Six months later, it was gone but a new one had appeared in the other eye.  Every six months I go in for another dilation exam.  Every six months, the last tiny bleed has cleared up but a new tiny bleed is found.

My latest six month exam happened a few days ago.  This time the tiny bleed from six months ago has remained.  It’s way off in the peripheral and so small that Dr. C had to look very very hard to find it.  No other bleeds have cropped up.  Dr. C said this is amazing for someone who has been diabetic as long as I have.  She also thinks it may be time to go back to annual dilation exams instead of bi-annual.  We’ll do one more exam in six months, but if things continue to not-progress I won’t have to come back for a year.

Happy news indeed.  But now where do I stand in complication status?  I have small leaks in the vessels of my eyes.  Extremely small leaks that are not affecting my vision at all.  So how do I classify myself?  As far as I’m concerned, I do not have retinopathy.  I still think of myself as being complication free.  But is that actually true?  Or at this stage of the game, does it even matter if one tiny bleed is considered a complication or not?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Highlights of a conference . . . .

Two Saturdays ago, Pete and I got up really really early (or wicked early, as they say in Rhode Island) and drove up to Providence for the Taking Control of Your Diabetes conference.  I’ve tried over and over again to figure out how to put the experience into words.  I’ve drafted and redrafted post after post.  But I just can’t get it right.  Luckily, Stacey and Kerri both wrote great and timely posts about the day so you should probably start by checking those out.  As for me?  I think it’s time to resort to a bullet list of the people and things that stand out the most . . .
  • Dr. Steve Edelman and Dr. William Polonsky:  They both presented during the morning sessions.  They also co-moderated the afternoon break-out session I chose.  They have a delightful was of getting their point across while making you laugh and keeping you thoroughly entertained.
  • The lunchtime address:  Urban Miyares, a Vietnam vet whose courage and positive outlook are completely indescribable, simply blew us away.
  • Charlie Kimball:  His closing address drove home (at over 100 MPH, hahaha) the point that diabetes doesn’t have to keep us for doing anything in life.  We were also lucky enough to have lunch with him.  Pete especially enjoyed the video on Charlie's phone of his crash from few weeks earlier.  (What is it with boys and crashes?  Trust me, the video was cringe-inducing!!)
    Charlie Kimball
  • Diabetes Celebrities: This was the term the TCOYD photographer came up with for the picture below, and she was spot on!  I was thrilled to meet Kelly Close, of diaTribe and Close Concerns.  And I was equally thrilled to catch up with my celebrity-friends Kerri and Bernard.
    Celebs Kelly Kerri Bernard
  • D-OC Pals:  Sessions and stars are great, but spending time with some of my favorite D-OC members is even better.  We got to hang with our friends Kerri, Stacey, Tina, Bernard and Val.  And I finally got to meet Ashley and her dad, and Faye and her husband.  That alone made the 16 hour day worth it!!
So this is pretty lame for a recap, right?  But basically, if a TCOYD conference comes to your area, I say GO!!  Go for the incredible sessions and speeches.  Go for the information and potential swag in the expo hall.  And by all means, go for the experience of spending a day surrounded by others who live with diabetes each and every day too.  I hear they’ll be hitting Albany, NY in 2011 . . . . and I’m already planning to go!