Thursday, August 26, 2010

Share your T2 Diabetes experiences and feedback . . .

Are you a member of WEGO Health?  You should be!!  If you aren’t familiar with the site, WEGO Health is a great place to connect with Health Activists who advocate for just about any condition you can think of.  You might remember my post about the inspiring Health Activist meet up last April.  A second meet up is planned for mid-September, so if you are in the Boston area and are interested in attending you should check out the Event Page.

Another exciting opportunity you should check out is an online panel to discuss Type 2 diabetes.  WEGO is looking for people with Type 2, people who are caregivers to someone with Type 2, and people who participate in discussions about Type 2.  I have Type 1 but as a member of the D-OC, I've had plenty of great discussions with my Type 2 friends and read some wonderful Type 2 blogs. (Hi Rachel!! Hi Bob!!)

Want to learn more?  Marie was kind enough to send me the following information to share with anyone who might be interested. 

Join WEGO Health’s new Online Panel for Diabetes Health Activists
In their ongoing work to empower Health Activists, WEGO Health is hosting an Online Panel of Diabetes Health Activists.  The panel will “meet” monthly (meetings are held virtually – on the phone and online) to share their feedback and experiences with Type 2 Diabetes communities online.  Panelists will get a $25 gift certificate for each meeting they’re able to attend, and WEGO Health will also make a $200 donation on behalf of each panelist to the diabetes non-profit of their choice.  Please note that this panel is being held on behalf of one of WEGO Health’s sponsors.

Interested in joining the Online Panel of Diabetes Health Activists?
Get started by taking the Diabetes Community Insight Survey from WEGO Health:

Questions about the Panel? Contact WEGO Health at:

Please spend a minute to take the survey.  Your insights could be extremely helpful to WEGO and their sponsor.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Invisible Illness Week Meme

Did you know that Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week is just a few weeks away?  This year it runs from September 13th to 19th.  I came across a post on WEGO Health about the annual meme 30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know and knew I wanted to participate.

I struggled somewhat as I filled my meme out.  Part of me wanted to type in the safe answers, the first things that popped into my head as I read each item.  But that won’t raise much awareness.  So I decided to really give each item some thought and type in the answers that were most honest.  Some may surprise you.  Some may sound overly dramatic.  Hopefully one or two will make you chuckle or nod your head in agreement or teach you something about diabetes that you don’t know. 

30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know
1. The illness I live with is: Type 1 Diabetes
2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: 1979.
3. But I had symptoms since: at least a few months before my diagnosis.
4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: realizing that sometimes, even if I do everything exactly right, my blood sugars will still go out of whack - and that this doesn’t mean I’m to blame.
5. Most people assume: I can’t eat anything with sugar in it.
6. The hardest part about mornings are: the same things that are hard all day long.  Diabetes is happy to mess with me at any time of the day or night.
7. My favorite medical TV show is: House M.D., although I suppose that doesn't count since it’s completely fictional.
8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: literally as well as figuratively, my insulin pump.  Okay, I could live without it if I went back to multiple daily insulin injections (between 5 and 10ish injections a day), but my diabetes control would surely suffer.
9. The hardest part about nights are: getting to sleep despite the fear that my blood sugar could go low and this could be the time I’m not able to wake up and treat it . . .
10. Each day I take __ pills & vitamins. (No comments, please) I take 2 pills a day, plus iron, plus a weekly dose of Vitamin D.  I also do finger sticks to check my blood sugar 8 to 12 times a day and am connected to my insulin pump at all times except while showering.
11. Regarding alternative treatments I: get so angry at “snake oil” cure claims that do harm by spreading misinformation.  There is no cure for Type 1 diabetes.  There is no seed, oil, berry or magic potion that will make my body start producing insulin again.
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: an invisible one - I suppose that is partially because I have no idea how it feels to live with a visible one.  I also kind of like knowing that I can chose who gets to know about my illness.
13. Regarding working and career: diabetes was a big reason why I left the stressful and unhealthy environment of my former job.  As for my future, I am hoping to find a job that will allow me to draw on my passion for Health Activism.
14. People would be surprised to know: that I feel broken and I fear being a burden to my loved ones.
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: the realization that a cure in my lifetime is not likely.
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: live into my 40s and be free of complications.
17. The commercials about my illness: sometimes say “with our meter you no longer have to prick your finger for blood”.  What they don’t tell you is that you have to prick your arm instead.
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: just sitting down and eating.  No weighing food, no timing insulin doses, no need for a freaking math degree to calculate carb grams and insulin units.
19. It was really hard to have to give up: the notion that a low or high blood sugar means I failed.  I’m still not 100% sure I have given that up.
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: knitting?  Cooking?  Gardening?  I was 11 when I was diagnosed, so there are a lot of them.  However, I have given up playing with Barbie dolls.
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: start my day off with a huge bagel, and maybe a donut.  Then I would swim and lay in the sun without worrying about my insulin pump.  I’d eat as much Mexican food as my stomach could take.  And follow it with ice cream.  I’d do this all without having to squeeze blood from my finger onto a stupid strip to see how this day has wrecked my blood sugar.
22. My illness has taught me: that I can be strong and weak at the same time.
23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: “You’re not supposed to eat that!” Can I give you another one?  Because a close second is “My grandmother / uncle / other random relative had diabetes and went blind / had to go on dialysis / had their foot amputated.”  Really, what would make you walk up to me and say something like that? 
24. But I love it when people: ask questions because they truly want to understand my disease instead of buying into the myths about diabetes.
25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: It doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to be better than it was.
26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: you can do this.  Some days it will seem very very hard.  But some days you’ll just be on auto-pilot and everything will become a mindless routine.
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: that I’m not alone.  There is a huge community on-line who will love me and support me and know exactly what I’m going through.
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: let me know he loves me, in good times and bad.
29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: I want to do my part to spread awareness of all invisible illnesses.
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: a bit self-conscious but very grateful that you took the time to learn more about my illness.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

I believe in telling the truth.  Honesty is the best policy and all that.  Even little white lies can cause a lot of trouble.  So I was surprised to realize that my pants are, in fact, ready to burst into flames.

It seems I tell lies on a regular basis.  Every day I lie about what it is like to live with diabetes.  Sometimes I wonder exactly who I’m lying to - the world in general or myself?  Either way, here are the most popular items on my Liar’s List.
  • It doesn’t hurt.  This is the lie I tell about finger sticks and insertion sets.  The truth?  Lancing my finger and squeezing blood out does hurt.  Duh!  So does the needle that plunges into me during a site change.  Um, of course!  But I guess I’m so used to it and so desensitized by it that the pain usually doesn’t register or I just don’t acknowledge it.
  • My CGM is awesome.  Don’t misunderstand.  I do love having a CGM.  As soon as a sensor expires, I put in a new one.  The information it gives is so helpful.  But the truth?  The technology still has a long way to go.  At times the readings are way off.  The weak signal errors drive me batty.  Some day CGMs will be awesome, but right now they are just better than nothing.
  • Diabetes can be a pain sometimes, but it’s not that bad.  You say this all the time too, don’t you?  When people give you that pity face when they find out you have diabetes?  The truth?  Diabetes is a twenty-four hour a day, seven day a week, no time off for good behavior life sentence that I put a ton of time and energy into managing.  Yes, I can manage it, but it sure isn’t as easy as I may make it sound.
  • I love having a pump.  I love my husband.  I love my cat.  I wouldn't ever trade them for anything in the world.  But my pump?  Well, making the decision to start pumping was absolutely the right one for me.  My diabetes control has gotten so much better since I attached myself to that little purple gadget I carry everywhere.  But would I trade my pump for a working pancreas? You bet I would.  That's not love - it’s just making the best of the options I do have.
  • I can eat anything I want as long as I punch the carbs into my pump.  Ah, my favorite.  Of course, this one isn’t exactly a lie.  But a more truthful statement?
    I can eat anything I want as long as I punch the carbs into my pump - but some foods will make me spike up too high anyway - well, most of the time they will - unless they make my blood sugar crash, which might happen at random - and some foods are just too hard to figure out the correct bolus for so I just don’t bother eating them - although some are worth eating once in a while even if I spike up some because I love them so and I can correct my high blood sugar back down without feeling too crappy - and really I can go on and on for days trying to explain to you the intricacies of food choices and how to bolus for them and all of the factors that can throw everything off but I see you are starting to doze off already so I won’t even go there . . . .

How about you?  What is on your Liars List? 

Friday, August 13, 2010

Calling All Artists . . . . yes, I mean you!!

I know I’ve said it before but it bears repeating.  If you ask me what fresh ideas are out there for the D-OC, what we can do that hasn’t already been done, without hesitation I’ll say “nothing”.  We’ve thought up all of the great ideas.  And happily, I soon find out I’m wrong!

This time around it is my good friend and awesome BlogHer room-mate Lee Ann who had the brainstorm.  She has announced Diabetes Art Day slated for September 1st. 

Diabetes Art Day

The quick explanation is that Diabetes Art Day is a call for anyone with diabetes to create an art piece and post it on September 1st.  Please hop over and read her post for all of the details.

Don’t consider yourself an artist?  Guess what?  I don't consider myself one either.  But I’m going to participate and you should too.  We are all artists, whether we realize it or not.  Every day we do a million little things that are artistic.  Just the simple act of getting dressed in the morning involves art - you are coordinating colors and textures and creating an ensemble.  So unless you walk around stark naked today, you are an artist and you should participate in Diabetes Art Day!

My mind is already spinning with thoughts of what I’ll create.  Being a knitter, I’ve often wondered if it is possible to knit with pump tubing.  This is the perfect chance to find out.  I’ve begun to collect the 8 to 12 test strips I use each day, because they are begging to become art.  I’ve got Play-Doh that followed me home from BlogHer - I may revise my plan of gifting it to my godson and use it for art instead.  Those paper craft supplies and beads in my craft room may finally get some glory too.  Although this is beginning to sound like one tacky piece of D-Art!

I hope you’ll join in for Diabetes Art Day.  You don’t need fancy supplies.  You don’t need to consider yourself an artist.  You just need to think about diabetes and then let go and create.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Summer Sprinklers

This summer has brought more tropical weather than I ever remember experiencing in New England.  When I was younger, I would have loved it.  (Although now that I’m older, not so much.)  As a kid, I loved spending hours and hours in the pool.

When my mom needed to get stuff done in the house and couldn’t be out to watch us take a dip, we’d settle for the next best thing.  Mom would set up the hose and sprinkler and we’d have a blast running through the icy spray.

This morning, I encountered a spritz that brought my sprinkler days back.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t a cool mist from the garden hose.


It was a warm splash from my veins.  Seconds after I withdrew my lancet and applied gentle pressure to my finger tip, blood splattered all over my right arm and leg.  Not exactly the happy treat I remember from my youth.

But there is always a bright side if you look for one.  At least I wasn’t dressed all in white.  And at least I sprayed myself instead of my beige couch.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Open letter to my favorite restaurants . . . .

Hello lover,

How are you this morning?  I adore you.  I adore you even more during this steamy summer when it’s too hot to even think about stepping near the stove.  We had a little fling last evening, when I returned home from BlogHer completely exhausted.  I think we can agree I showed you just how much I love you last night.

But every relationship has it’s rocky parts.  And ours is no exception.  There is something I need that you just aren’t giving me.  I think you know what I’m talking about.  Remember last night, after our little tryst, when I got hit with that bad low?

Carb Counts

I Need Carb Counts!!

That’s right.  I said it.  I need carb counts.  And I don’t really think I’m asking too much.  After all, I’m beginning to see calorie counts popping up on many menus.  If you can post calories, I don’t see why you can’t post carbs.

Honestly, calorie counts are nice to see, but they really don’t do much for me or my diabetes-pals.  It’s the carbs that make us squeal.  It’s the carb information that can make the difference between a wonderful evening out at a restaurant and an aggravating evening trying to keep blood sugars from crashing or fighting to get stubborn highs back into range.  Either of these scenarios could likely be avoided if you just give us some guidance on the carb counts.

Oh dear restaurants, we’ve had a long history and I see many more tête-à-têtes in our future.  So please, please, help a girl out and give me the low-down on your carbs.  It will show me you care and could save me a world of hurt.

Dotingly yours,

Friday, August 6, 2010

Plotting World Domination - Feline Style

Happy Friday!  While Karen is away at some silly conference, I'm taking advantage of the quiet time to take over the world.  (And also, to nap . . . )  I was going to get my BFF Siah in on the domination ploy, but I think that girl may have taken one too many dips into the cat-nip, if you know what I mean.  I've decided it's much better to team up with a couple of other tuxedo cats, so head on over the Tales of Rachel to see what Perl, Casey and I are cooking up!

>^..^<    ~ K.C.

Monday, August 2, 2010

5K Sundae

Yesterday Pete and I ran in our very first 5K.  The race I chose for us to start out on was called the Walnut Beach Ice Cream 5K.  (Get it??  That why the title of this post is "5K Sundae" instead of "5K Sunday" - thank to inspiration from Bob via Twitter last week.)  Every participant got a free ice cream cone - although I was disappointed to find out that the cones weren't handed out at the finish line.  Instead, we need to bring our race bibs to the creamery, where they'll give us our cones.

We've been using the Couch to 5K program to train, and just finished our last session on Friday.  So we were nervous, but we hoped we were ready.

In retrospect, I'm pretty sure we weren't.  Oh my goodness, it was HARD.  Much harder than our normal training runs.  In the end, Pete ran the whole thing without any walking breaks.  His time was 35:54 and he placed 300th out of 337 runners.  I needed to walk a few times, but I think I tended to psyche myself out and I probably didn't really need to walk as much as I did.  But I let the negative thoughts in my head convince me that I couldn't do it, and at one point I even muttered "I suck" under my breath.  In the end, I finished 322nd out of the 337 runners, with a time of 39:55.

As tough as it was, I have to admit I did okay.  My goal had been to finish somewhere between 40 and 45 minutes.  I just eked in under my goal.  My blood sugar spiked higher than normal, probably due to the nerves, but settled to a happy 129 by the end of the run.  And I learned some great things that I think will help me next time - such as don't listen to the doubting voices in my head.  I'm going to sign us up for a few more 5Ks through out the fall, and I'm hoping to get my finish time down to 35 minutes.

Up next is an informal 5K in Central Park on Friday in conjunction with BlogHer!  I signed up for the 6:15 am slot - which seemed like a good idea since I'm slow, but also seems like a bad idea because I'll be so tired.  I'm not really worried about meeting any time goal for this run, I just want to do it and have fun.  At least I have a cute new top to wear for the occasion!

K.C. looks like she isn't quite sure she approves.  After all, it is blatant self-promotion of my blog!