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??