Wednesday, December 21, 2011
I was kind of sad though, because my meter got blinged (blung?) out at Friends for Life!! I was going to miss my happy little stickers. Unless . . . .
Unless I pick up some fun stickers at Target when I buy the meter!!! Oh yes!! My new meter sports a cupcake and a sock monkey - what could be more perfect for me than that? Sure, I am (supposed to be) an adult. But let’s face it, all that testing is a drag. The numbers sometimes make me sad. Why not have some fun and bling out my meter?? At least I know I’ll smile when I look at it - regardless of what shows up on the screen!
Monday, December 19, 2011
Saturday was the night of our annual Christmas party with a group of close friends. I knew there would be lots of food - Barb was hosting this year and she always goes all out. I also knew there would be lots of yummy drink options, with alcohol. I knew this party might make it tough to keep my blood sugar under control.
Saturday afternoon my CGM sensor conked out. I had hoped to make it last until Sunday, but it didn’t work out that way. I decided to go to the party without it. I’d be flying blind, but part of me just wanted to relax and have fun without hearing my high alarm passing judgment on what I was consuming. I just wanted to enjoy the company of my friends. I just wanted to eat, drink and be merry!
When I left the house, my blood sugar was in the 80s. I bolused for everything I ate and drank. I cranked up a higher temp basal to cover the merriment. I made sure I didn’t pile my plate too high - even though the home-made potato skins sure were tempting. We talked, we laughed, we played some Christmas party games that were hysterical (like the Reindeer Antler Game). I didn’t worry about my blood sugar once. And when I came home and tested, I was in the high 70s. It was almost a Christmas miracle!!
I have no idea what my blood sugar did during the party. It might very well have spiked into the high 200s and then came back down by the time I got home. With diabetes, what you don’t know CAN hurt you and I’d never advise someone to go out and ignore their blood sugar. But I did, just this once. And it was okay. And when you are feeling completely worn out by diabetes, sometimes one night off is just what you need. I sure did!
Thursday, December 15, 2011
So today it is. Today marks 32 years I’ve lived with diabetes. And I’m struggling with what to say about that. I thought about looking at all of the changes I’ve seen. Urine testing to glucose meters the size of bricks to tiny meters to CGMs to non-invasive measures some day. One shot a day to MDIs of long and short acting insulin to a pump to the artificial pancreas some day. Exchange diets and no sugar to carb counting and yes I can eat that.
It’s amazing to see how far things have come. I know I should be proud and thankful to be here and healthy. But honestly, I’m struggling with this Diaversary like I never have before. I’m not happy. I don’t feel like celebrating. Pete bought me chocolate truffles and champagne to celebrate, and when he gave them to me I burst out crying. I just feel tired. I feel really sad. It’s been too long, and there is no end in sight.
I don’t know why I’m having such a hard time this year. It’s not a milestone like 25 years or 50 years or something. It doesn’t mark a significant portion of time, like next year when I’ll have lived with diabetes for 75% of my life. It’s just a random number, thirty-two years. And deep down I am proud and I do know how lucky I am to be here and healthy. I can appreciate the really wonderful things, amazing people and great opportunities that have been brought into my life because of diabetes. But I still feel like I’m struggling a lot with this Diaversary.
I guess it’s just that 32 years seems like a very very long time. Probably because it is.
Monday, December 12, 2011
So my husband has a hobby . . . . he loves to fly remote control helicopters. He has even gotten my dad interested in it - which is great because it means Dad and Pete can go do helicopter things together and I don’t get dragged along. (Selfish? Sure, but trust me, “Fun Flys” aren’t really very much fun.)
Saturday was their Heli Club’s annual Holiday Party, and that’s one event my mom and I always attend with the guys. They serve a nice dinner, raffle off some door prizes, and pass out song sheets so everyone can join together and sing carols. It’s not so bad . . . . until after we sing. Because then comes what seems to be the highlight of the evening for the
This year we sat with a friendly gentleman named John. He chatted with us throughout the evening. When dessert came and we saw a huge dollop of whipped cream on the cake, we knew my dad wouldn’t eat it. (Dad hates anything with whipped cream - except for the sopapillas served at our local Mexican restaurant. He loves them, so we tell him they are topped with “frosting”. Ssshhhhhh) None of us had room to eat a second slice of cake, so we offered it to John. He declined by saying “I’d love a second slice, but my diabetes doctor wouldn’t be very happy with me”.
Diabetes doctor? Diabetes doctor!!!! I unhooked my pump and held it up for him to see, and his face broke out in a big grin. We talked about his diagnosis at age 50, and how the oral meds he took didn’t work all that well for him and he asked his doctor to add insulin to his regime. We talked about my diagnosis 32 years ago. He asked if I had a family history of diabetes, and told us of his diabetic grandmother. Then he began to beat himself up a bit, saying that he isn’t a very good diabetic because sometimes he doesn’t eat at exactly the right time and sometimes he slips a bit on his diet plan. I responded by saying “I think that’s pretty normal, John. After all, it’s a lot of work and we never ever get a break. Sometimes just a week off would be great, wouldn’t it?” The look that came over his face still makes me happy when I think about it. His smile was joyful and his eyes showed just how relieved he felt to talk to someone who didn't judge and really understands because she’s going through it too. I felt like I was in exactly the right place at exactly the right time - and I was grateful to help John see he isn’t a bad diabetic at all. He just struggles sometimes, and he sure isn’t alone in that!
I wish I could give John a break from diabetes during the holiday season. But hopefully we got his diabetes guilt to board his paper airplane and fly off for a little vacation. And I look forward to sitting with him again at next year's holiday party!
Monday, December 5, 2011
“In December, the online health community and WEGO Health will be celebrating all the awesome achievements made in health leadership and patient advocacy in 2011! WEGO Health,a different kind of social media company dedicated to empowering Health Activists, has just launched the first-ever Health Activist Awards program, to recognize Health Activists (both new and established) for all of their great work over the course of the year.
This interactive program lets everyone get involved by nominating their favorite Health Activists and sharing what has inspired them, moved them, and made a difference in the online health community. I’m looking forward to nominating some of my favorite Health Activists and I hope you’ll take some time to recognize your favorites too.
You can check out WEGO Health’s Health Activist Awards 2011 homepage for details on the 10 different awards, how to join the Health Activists Awards Jury to help select the Award winners, and to find out what Health Activists will win if they’re chosen.”
Nominations begin December 1, 2011 and winners will be selected in early 2012 - so get your nominations in now and celebrate the Health Activists that have made the biggest difference to you in 2011.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
At midnight the phone rings. It’s Pete, calling from his hotel in California. He’s arrived safely and checked in. He’s had dinner and is getting ready for bed himself. I miss him so much already, even though I saw him just this morning. We say goodnight, I turn off the TV, and I fall asleep.
Although I don’t realize it, I’m having “that dream” again. The one I can’t really explain. My mind is racing overtime. I am counting and sorting and trying to fit something into place. I manage once, but I have a few left and I just can’t do it. I keep trying. My mind keeps racing. I am restless. It’s not working.
I’m sort of awake now, lying flat on my back with K.C. sprawled across my chest sleeping. I don’t know how one little ten pound cat can throw off so much body heat, but I am drenched in sweat. I guess it doesn’t help that the weather has been mild. But oh my gosh, it is hot in here. I drift back and forth between sleep and a feeling that I will spontaneously combust at any moment. I’m so hot and sweaty. I finally wake up and decide to go to the bathroom, just so I can get out from under the covers . . . .and from under the cat. It occurs to me that since I’m up, I might as well check my blood sugar.
38. My blood sugar is 38. Of course it is. That’s why I was having “that dream”. It’s my low dream. Why didn’t I realize that sooner? And that’s why I’m soaked in sweat. It all makes perfect sense and I feel like an idiot for not thinking of it. I almost didn’t even bother to test my blood, how stupid is that?
Aside from feeling like a total moron, I also feel the need to eat . . . . a lot. I down a bunch Swedish Fish, but I really want something salty. I climb into bed with a mostly empty bag of chips and finish them off. I know I’ve eaten way too much. Moron. And now I’m so cold, I can’t stop shivering. I wish K.C. would come snuggle on me again, but she’s back in her own bed happily sleeping. Me? Not so much.
I feel like hell when I get up Tuesday morning. I’m upset that I didn’t realize I was low sooner. I’m afraid to tell Pete what happened because I hate to make him worry. I’m scared to sleep alone for the next two nights until his trip is done. In fact, I barely sleep at all Tuesday and Wednesday night. I intentionally eat larger than usual dinners and under-bolus. I see more 200s in those two days than I’ve seen in months. I’m not sure I care.
Even after 32 years, diabetes can still really scare me.
***This post was inspired by one Kerri wrote. And, I suppose, by that f’ing blood sugar.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
This month the DSMA blog carnival is all about Social Media. We are asked “What advice would you give someone who was trying to figure out how to use social media?”. The first thing that pops into my head is JUST DIVE RIGHT IN . . . . but I suppose that’s not really much of an answer.
Instead, here are a few things I wish I had realized when I was just starting out.
- Don’t be so shy!! When I first started out, I often held off on leaving comments on blogs because I figured “these people don’t know who I am, they won’t want to hear what I have to say”. I could not have been more wrong!! The great thing about the Diabetes On-line Community (or DOC) is that we can (respectfully) share our thoughts and opinions. You never know when something you say will really help someone else.
- Don’t get overwhelmed!! There is a lot of social media out there. Blogs, twitter, Facebook, message boards, etc. etc. This is a good thing . . . . until you tell yourself that you must read each and every post and tweet out there and immediately get completely overwhelmed. (Actually, I still get overwhelmed often!) Remember that it’s completely fine to participate as little (or as much) as you have time for.
- Do be sincere and friendly!! Nobody is the perfect diabetic, so don’t worry that you need to be. If you feel like sharing mistakes, do it! If you want to share triumphs, do that too. Commiserate and celebrate with the DOC - that’s what we are here for.
- Find the SM tools that work best for you!! You might be a blogger. You might not want to write a blog of your own, but you love to read other’s blogs. You might be super at leaving blog comments. You might find the 140 character updates of Twitter are more your speed. Maybe you’ll love message boards. The great thing is that you are free to choose as many or as few social media tools as you see fit!
- Have fun!! Okay, that one goes without saying. And also, once you get started, I bet you will automatically have more fun that you can imagine!
This post is my November entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival. If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at http://diabetessocmed.com/2011/november-dsma-blog-carnival/.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Today I am very thankful and very blessed. I am lucky to have a very wonderful husband, and family and friends who support me, love me, and are proud of me.
The biggest blessing diabetes has brought me, of course, is you!!!! The DOC, the friends I always needed, even when I didn’t know it. The only people who really get what the whole diabetes thing is like. You help me and support me and inspire me. You have filled a huge void in my life!
Happy Thanksgiving to you!!!!!
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
I’m not shy about sharing how much I despise exercise. I know it’s important. I know it’s good for me. I know it will help my blood sugar. But I still don’t like it.
I’ve tried time and time again to get motivated for a regular exercise routine. Sometimes it lasts for a few months. Sometimes it lasts for a few weeks. And yes, sometimes it only lasts for a few days. I still haven’t quite figured out how to make exercise a lasting part of my life.
But here’s the thing. I hate the way I look. I am fat. I see pictures of myself and cringe. Over the past several years, weight has crept on steadily. I’ve been talking about losing weight for quite some time now. As with exercise, I start strong and quickly sputter out. But every pair of pants I have is unbelievably tight. I am NOT going up yet another clothing size. And so, I’m starting over. Yesterday was Day 1 - and I did pretty well. I pulled out Your Diabetes Science Experiment and looked over my notes from last time I was working out. I went to the store and stocked up on healthy foods. I put in 45 minutes on the treadmill and I made good food choices all day long. This morning, I did 50 minutes. And it didn’t seem like a struggle. It seemed like a blessing.
Yes, I have a chronic illness that makes diet and exercise a bit more tricky. But I am blessed to still have a strong body that can move. I am blessed to have the tools I need to navigate a successful workout. I am blessed that although I’m unhappy with how I look right now, I have the power to do something about it.
Monday, November 21, 2011
Last week Pete was on vacation from work. We didn’t really go anywhere, although we did sneak in a trip to the casino on Wednesday (where those mean little slot machines sucked down all our gambling money). Instead we did some much needed work around the house - painting, updating, organizing. As far as I’m concerned being on vacation means you certainly don’t cook, so we went out to dinner or ordered take-out every night.
I made a vacation decision about diabetes too . . . . I decided to give my CGM the week off. Lately I’d been feeling a bit of CGM info overload - where I just got annoyed by all the alerts and found myself ignoring them. So a CGM break seemed just the ticket. And it was wonderful. No alarms trilling about highs and lows. No beeping waking me up in the middle of the night. No worries about making sure my pump is clipped near the sensor so it stays in range. I felt a little more free.
Friday meant vacation was drawing to a close, so I popped a new sensor in. And as much as I loved taking a break from the CGM last week, it’s really nice to have it back on again. It's nice to know with one glace what my blood sugars are doing. It’s nice to catch a high before it hits 200. Although an alarm may wake me during the night, I still sleep a little more soundly knowing the CGM is doing its best to keep me safe. I’m back in love with my CGM.
Our diabetes technologies are blessings for sure. But sometimes having the option to take a break from one of my d-tech devices is an even bigger blessing.
Friday, November 11, 2011
That would be blue hand-knit socks, of course!!
Speaking of blue, have you done the Big Blue Test yet?? If you haven’t, go do it now!!! If you have, go do it again!!! And then get everyone you know to do it, whether they have diabetes or not. Why? Because each big blue test logged results in a life-saving donation to someone in need. The goal is 8,000 tests logged by the end of World Diabetes Day - which is this Monday - and there is a long way to go to reach that goal. So let's get moving this weekend and get that the Big Blue Test progress bar filled in!
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Questions?? Yes, the big Diabetes Awareness circle is made out of yarn. Yes, the little blue circles are “Q”s from my Quick-set box. Yes, there are two martini glasses on my page. Yes, you also see a cat, yarn stickers, a shoe that looks like a ballroom dance shoe to me, and some sparkly unicorns. Yes, I did have all of the materials for this page in my office/craft room.
What would your diabetes scrapbook page include??
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Tell us 3 things that are true about you, your condition, your Health Activism, or your life. Now tell us 1 lie. Do you think we will be able to tell the difference?I’m the first to admit I’m a terrible liar. And on top of that, there isn’t much I haven’t shared on this blog already. So figuring out a lie that might be believable was tough, but I gave it a shot (no diabetes-pun intended).
- For most of my life, I didn’t want anyone to know I had diabetes and went to great lengths to hide it.
- I can remember lying awake as a teenager thinking that I'd never be alive to see my 30th birthday.
- In my almost 32 years with diabetes, I've been lucky enough to never have had a seizure from a low blood sugar.
- During my entire four years at college I never once tested my blood sugar.
This post was written as part of NHBPM – 30 health posts in 30 days: http://bit.ly/vU0g9J
Monday, November 7, 2011
Write about something that gets you down, burns you out, or makes you sad. Purge it in a blog post. Turn it around at the end. Tell Tuesday why you’re ready for it.This time of the year, it’s not so much about the Mondays. It’s about the Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The days are cold. It’s dark when I wake up, and it’s dark before I’ve even started making dinner. That fun, carefree “it’s summer, lets kick back in the sunshine and have some fun” feeling is replaced with dreary winter doldrums. I start to feel isolated, I start to feel apathetic. I start to feel like a huge loser for still not having a real job. I start to feel like a waste of human matter. And one big D starts to eclipse the other big D. Granted, this can (and does) hit any time of year - but autumn always seems a little bit worse.
This year, these Fall blahs are hitting at a particularly hard time. A little over a month ago, we lost my father’s twin brother, who was also my godfather. A little over a week ago, we lost Pete’s grandmother, who was 100 years old and lived on her own in a second-story walkup in Queens until just a couple of months ago. It was easy to believe Grandma would outlive us all, given how amazing she was. On top of that, Pete has been away on business almost every week (although luckily it looks like his business trips are finished for a while), leaving me plenty of time to sulk pathetically without anyone to interrupt my crying jags. It also makes it far too easy to load up on comfort foods instead of cooking healthy, well-balanced dinners for one. Which makes the scale move ever farther upward instead of down. Which makes me feel even worse about myself. Which makes me want more comfort food. Rinse, repeat . . .
So now, I’m supposed to turn it around and tell Tuesday why I’m ready for it. Ummmm . . . . I gotta be honest, I don’t have any answers. I can tell you I dragged myself off of the couch yesterday to go out for a run with Pete, and I’ll make myself get on the treadmill today. I can tell you I’ve planned a week of healthy, home-cooked dinners and after I hit “Publish” I’ll go buy the ingredients for them. I can tell you I’ll work hard on being a good advocate - with my blog, with other Social Media, with my volunteer JDRF work, with Diabetes Awareness Month, and with any other opportunities that come along. But I can’t promise I’ll feel any less isolated. I can’t promise I’ll feel like less of a loser. I can’t promise I’ll figure out any answers. All I can promise is that I’ll try.
This post was written as part of NHBPM – 30 health posts in 30 days: http://bit.ly/vU0g9J
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
- Yes I CAN eat that . . .
- Slacker Pancreas
my adventures standing in for an internal organ that retired early
- Because I have diabetes
answers to “why is your blood sugar high?”, “goodness, what made you go low?”
and dozens of other inane questions.
- I’m Stuck
with lancets, with needles, and with a chronic illness
- Bitter-Sweet . . . because life with diabetes isn’t all bad.
This post was written as part of NHBPM - 30 health posts in 30 days.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Yes, I will admit that the have been days when I’ve wanted to give diabetes the finger. And I’m not talking about my pointer-finger either . . . .
In a show of solidarity and support for the DOC, K.C. wants to give diabetes the finger too. Or, I suppose, she wants to give diabetes the paw??
Are you celebrating T1Day? How will you help spread diabetes awareness throughout the month?
Monday, October 24, 2011
. . . gushers?? I pulled my site during yesterday’s site change and ended up with blood down my leg, all over my hand, and in a huge splotch on my favorite pajamas.
. . . huge blood sugar spikes after a healthy meal?? The other day I had one slice of low-carb whole grain toast, a piece of low-fat cheese and 15 grapes for breakfast. And I spiked so high you'd have thought I ate a big plate of pancakes.
. . . needing to change your CGM sensor when it is reading perfectly??? It makes me really sad to have to yank out a sensor that is working really well.
. . . exercise?? Okay, okay, I know exercise is a great thing. Some people even enjoy it a lot. I guess I just wish I was one of them. For me, it always feels like torture.
. . . dead batteries?? It always seems my pump’s battery decides to run out of juice just when I’m falling asleep.
. . . middle of the night lows?? I’m usually pretty good about not over-treating my lows. But all bets are off when my meter flashes a reading in the 40s at 1:00 a.m.!!
Come on, don’t leave me here griping alone. What could you do without??
Thursday, October 20, 2011
This is what came to mind when I thought about the DSMA Blog Carnival topic for this month. We’re writing about the types and frequency of diabetes related decisions we make in any given day. Do you sometimes feel like all you do is make diabetes related decisions during every waking moment? Because I sure do. And it often feels like those decisions are just like playing the slot machines . . . . I can follow my instincts, but it won’t always work.
First thing in the morning, I take my fasting blood sugar. And if I’m a little bit low, I have to decide if I should eat something right away. Or if I should skip my 1 unit coffee bolus and just wait for
Now it’s time for breakfast. Maybe I’ll have a healthy bowl of oatmeal. But oatmeal always spikes me, do I really want to deal with that today? I could have a Greek yogurt. That spiked me last week but yesterday I ate one and my blood sugar was fine. Should I push my luck and go for it a second time? Maybe I’ll just have some toast. Should I put some peanut butter on it for protein, or should skip the peanut butter in favor of keeping the carbs down?
Am I going to exercise today? Because if I am, I need to start making some decisions about that. Do I feel like going out for a run or walking on the treadmill? Both of those will make my blood sugar drop. Or do I feel like weight training? That might raise my blood sugar. Should I decrease my basal a bit before I workout? Or should I eat a snack instead? Maybe I should work out right after breakfast, and just under bolus for that toast. But then I might end up going too high.
And on and on it goes. Which finger should I test my blood sugar on? If I’m planning to knit today testing on my pointer fingers sometimes makes them sore when I hold the needles. Should I change out my pump site right now? I’ve still got quite a bit of insulin in my reservoir, so maybe I’ll wait until later in the day so it’s not so wasteful. But then there is a chance that my site will crap out and my sugar will spike. Oh, and my CGM sensor!! Do I change it out today, like the FDA recommends, or do I leave it in for another three days since it’s working well (and is damn expensive)? Do I cave in to my craving for a bowl of ice cream and possibly suffer the blood sugar consequences?
Life with diabetes is full of decisions. And they aren’t always black and white. Sometime the right decision turns out all wrong. Sometimes it’s all a gamble. You just use your best judgment, spin the wheels, and hope Lady Luck is on your side today.
This post is my October entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival. If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at http://diabetessocmed.com/2011/october-dsma-blog-carnival.
Monday, October 17, 2011
So there we were. Over a dozen people with diabetes (and a couple without) gathered at a chic bowling alley in New York City. (I know, “bowling alley” and “chic” don’t usually get used together - but this place had quite an atmosphere.) And do you know what? We didn’t talk about diabetes!! We were just a bunch of good friends (some of whom were just meeting for the first time) hanging out and bowling. We laughed. We goofed around. We ate the most amazing cupcakes!!
Diabetes? It flew under the radar that day. Sure, the was some D-Talk as I took the train from Connecticut with Kerri and Briley. And at the bowling alley, people chugged water to combat highs or passed around the glucose tabs to treat lows. But the day was all about the epic meet-up we were attending, and not really about diabetes at all. It was simply about spending some precious time with some very good friends.
I love that we educate and advocate and focus so much on diabetes. But do you know what I love even more? I love that on Saturday, diabetes spent the day in the background. Because sometimes, that’s just the way it should be.
(Thanks to Kerri for loaning pictures to the girl who always forgets her camera!! Otherwise this poor post would be picture-free.)
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
I spotted this blankie in Marshalls last week, and I couldn’t resist!! Since I keep my thermostat very low during the winter, we already own quite a few blankies. However, this one reminds me of the DOC and was too cute to pass up. I figured K.C. could have my old
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
True confession time . . . . . . I was unbelievably nervous about doing my first Promise Meeting. I’ve never met with a government official before. And now I was in charge of coordinating and running the meeting. Yikes!! So, I decided to vlog the Before and After of my Promise Meeting (complete with my messy home office in the background and a quick cameo by K.C.).
As I said in the vlog, the group of advocates who attended the meeting with me were amazing! We had 45 minutes slated for the meeting, but we talked for almost an hour. The Congressman told us that this was his fifth Promise Meeting in five years, but it was the first time the meeting involved such lively conversation and interactions! My team did an excellent job and made the meeting such a success, you’d never know that none of us had ever done a Promise Meeting before.
If the thought of face-to-face advocating with government officials has you nervous, don’t be! Remember, you are an expert on life with diabetes and sharing that is such a rewarding experience. You can sign up here to attend a meeting in your area.
Have you done any off-line, in person advocating? Do you have some insights to share?
Monday, October 10, 2011
I bet you never knew that I’m jinxed. Not in a horrific, terrible, rotten life kind of way. But in an “oh my goodness the weirdest things happen to me ” kind of way. It’s true - my life is one big Murphy’s Law.
Like way back in high school, in junior year. That popular guy in the senior class, that gorgeous hunk on the football team that every school has . . . . . . dropped his lunch on me. Mind you, I don’t mean his sandwich bounced cheerily off my arm. I mean he dropped his tray, his tray that contained the standard cool kid lunch of pizza and french fries (with plenty of ketchup), over my shoulder and down both my back and my front. I was so taken by surprise that I stood up and froze, as the entire lunch room turned to stare. He muttered an apology as I ran to the ladies room. He then apologized to my entire lunch table. It would’ve made a really cute story if he ended up taking me to prom and we married and had beautiful children . . . . . but in reality our paths never crossed again. (Which I'm actually very glad about!)
But the best example of my mega-jinxiness probably has to do with jury duty. I know people who have never gotten called for jury duty - but not me. I get called every three years like clockwork. In fact, I’ve been called more often and had to remind them that it wasn’t yet time for me to serve again. I’ve also received summons to both my married and maiden names, and had to remind them that I’m just one person.
The thing I dislike about jury duty is that it’s kind of a drag, but I could live with that. I'm also not keen on the fact that I always get questioned for the scary criminal cases, like a stabbing of a girlfriend or sexual assault on a minor, but it is jury duty so what can you expect. The worse thing about jury duty is the courthouse I have to report to. It’s in one of the most dangerous cities in the state. I’m always very nervous about going there, but one of the first few times I was called my mom tried to reassure me. “Oh Karen, don’t be silly!” she said. “During the day it is completely safe, the offices are all open and there are nothing but businesspeople around.” So off I went to fulfill my civic obligation.
It was a quiet morning and I got a lot of knitting done while I waited to be questioned. (Uninterrupted knitting time is the bright side of jury duty, for sure!!) When we were dismissed for an hour lunch, I decided to hit the closest food option, the McDonalds a few doors down. As I was walking back with my take-out I contemplated eating my lunch on the courthouse steps to enjoy the warm weather and sunshine of the day, but at the last minute I decided to just head back to the jury room to eat so I could be sure to be back on time. Little did I know what an excellent decision that was!
As I was finishing lunch and getting ready to resume knitting, we suddenly heard what sounded like gun-fire. We would-be jurors rushed to the window in time to see a policeman chasing someone. He caught up with him right across the street from the courthouse and we watched as the perp was apprehended all CSI style. The noise we heard HAD been gun-fire - someone had been shot at a lunch place up the street. Many of the people serving jury duty were there ordering their lunches. Lucky them (note the sarcasm), they got excused from serving for the rest of the day and were taken to the station to serve as witnesses to the shooting. Okay, okay, I suppose if I was really jinxed, I would have been one of those witnesses, so I really can’t complain too much. But my whole jury duty experience was unlike any I’ve ever heard of before!!
This post is dedicated to my godfather, Uncle Joe, who was the subject of last year’s No D Day post. We lost him just two and a half weeks ago, on September 22nd. I love you, Uncle Joe.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
The Diabetes Co-Stars are actor Paul Sorvino and his actress daughter Mira. In 2006 Paul was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, a diagnosis he chose to hide from his family. Mira learned of her father’s condition when he became ill after eating a big plate of pasta fagioli (a carb-filled tomato based soup full of beans and macaroni, for you non-Italians out there!!). Mira was inspired to learn all she could about Type 2 diabetes and to become a great support system for her dad. Paul has since lost 20 pounds and they both work hard to eat a healthy diet. Although they admit the dietary changes were tough at first, they said eating healthy has now become second nature.
The big keyword at the event was “diabetes friendly”, which was mentioned time and time again. I’ll admit, those words usually make me bristle a bit because I think healthy food is important for everyone -whether you have type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes or NO DIABETES! Lower fat and lower carb choices are good for everyone. That said, I really did like these recipes!!
The two contestants in the cook-off were Lauren (pictured with Mira above) and Hidemi (pictured with Paul below), and they both have family members with diabetes. They also were cooking yummy pie recipies - although I’m not sure if the contests called for only dessert recopies to be submitted. Lauren’s pie was an Apple Rhubarb Fantasy Pie, which was made healthier by swapping the white flour for whole wheat flour and by using vegan butter, which is lower in fat. She also bakes with Splenda because it’s one-for-one swap with sugar makes substituting easier.
Hidemi made a Berry Soy Milk Cream Pie with a Panko Crust. They soy milk makes it a dairy-free pie and she used sugar-free honey as her sweetener.
Once they demonstrated how to make the pies, the judges sampled them both. And so did the audience!! Little pies were passed around for everyone to try. (No carb counts though - I had to swag it and ended up low during my walk back to Grand Central Station.) Here’s my Pie-Opinion . . . . they were both very good. The soy milk in the Berry Soy Milk Cream Pie was cooked down into a pudding layer that was then topped with the berries. It was light, but in my opinion it was very bland and needed some more flavor and some more sweetness. While Lauren was cooking the Apple Rhubarb Pie she made the comment that it was “a very sweet pie”, and it was, but not overly sweet. It had a crumble topping and it was delicious!! I couldn’t tell the crust was made with whole wheat flour instead of regular flour and I couldn’t taste the rhubarb (which I’m not a fan of) - it just tasted like a yummy apple crumb pie!!
I guess the judges didn’t agree with me, because Hidemi’s Berry Soy Milk Cream Pie was declared the winner. Not to say it wasn’t a good pie - it was - I just liked Lauren’s Apple Rhubarb Fantasy Pie better. (Click those links to see the recipes and bake them at your house!!)
What do you think of recipes that use the words “diabetes-friendly”? And what is your favorite healthy meal?
Friday, September 23, 2011
- My eyes are good. We ramped my eye appointments up to every 6 months a couple of years ago when my eye doctor started to see some small leaks. As of Monday, my right eye is 100% clear. And my left eye has “just a ghost of the tiny spots” she had seen in prior exams. My eye doctor said that eye is “as close to a non-diabetic eye as you can get”. Which sounds pretty good to me.
- The rest of me is doing okay too. The results of my blood draw and urine sample were pretty darn great. The only thing we’ll keep an eye on is my thyroid level, which had crept up a tiny bit. It's still in the "good range" but it's something to keep tabs on.
- A Diabetes High-Five is priceless. My endo greeted me with the following sentence: “Hi! Did you know you are my greatest success? You are the pumper success story I tell other patients about.” In that moment, any shred of Diabetes Burn-Out I may have been feeling melted away in a pool of pride.
- Maybe being a neurotic perfectionist isn’t such a bad thing. After all, if I’m going to be totally invested in something, what better thing to totally invest in than my health? And this week’s appointments and tests all showed that I’m doing something right. So yay for neurotic perfectionism?
- Life is fleeting, so enjoy it while you can. So this is the bullet point where I completely contradict my last bullet point . . . sort of. Yes, working hard to stay healthy is very important. But so is enjoying life. We never know how much time we have left. We can spend time with a loved one and never realize it will be the last time we’ll get to see them. So don’t forget to take a break sometimes, don’t forget to slow down a little and enjoy the moment, and don’t forget to tell your loved ones exactly how much they mean to you.
Monday, September 19, 2011
I am perfect at being a perfectionist!! This week (and beyond) I’m going to work on letting go a little bit. Hopefully that will help with my endo appointment stress??
Thursday, September 15, 2011
So, before I go any further, let me clarify that I am not saying an insulin pump is the answer for everyone, nor do I believe everyone should pump. We are all different. What works for one doesn’t work for everyone. Let me also say I am not trying to brag about my A1C at all. Okay, but, for me the pump has been kind of magic. Since going on the pump about three and a half year ago, my A1C has been right where my endo and I have wanted it to be. Sound the bells, strike up the band, everything is great, right?
Well, not quite. I think back to when I was working so hard and not getting any results. I think about how much I dreaded each endo appointment. I remember wishing I could just get my A1C in line because then all of the stress and fear would be gone!!!
And I did. My A1C has been in line since August of 2008. Each and every lab slip comes back with nothing but the numbers we've been shooting for. But guess what? The stress and fear, the dread before each endo appointment? They are just as strong. What . . . the . . . . fructose??
I see my endo on Wednesday. I procrastinated getting my blood drawn at the lab until today. I secretly toy with the idea of coming up with some excuse to push back my appointment. I’ve had several dreams about being in that tiny exam room and finding out that my A1C is HORRID. I am convinced I am doing terribly - even though when I download and analyze my numbers they are right where they should be. It's not just the average that is good (because to paraphrase my friend Rachel Y, a 210 and a 30 on the meter work out to a perfectly acceptable 120 average.) The numbers, the pie charts, the standard deviation- they all check out just fine. And yes, I pour over the numbers from both my CGM and my meter, never really believing that either of them are telling the true story.
All of those years I spent wishing I could get my A1C where I needed it to be, sure that once I did I could stop worrying neurotically over each number and appointment, seem kind of like a waste. Because I’m finally there . . . . yet I am still just as neurotic. Why can’t I relax? Why can’t I trust that I’m dong well? Why am I sure I’m gong to get blindsided by a sky-high A1C, even when everything points to that not happening? Why am I so afraid of letting myself, and my endo, down? Why did I think that once I got my A1C to a certain number all of my diabetes problems would be solved? And when, oh goodness when, does it get easier?
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
What gets drilled into a diabetics head over and over? “You have to take care of yourself or you’ll go blind, lose your feet, wreak your kidney, die, etc. etc. etc.” Thirty plus years of hearing those scare tactics boil down to a feeling that high blood sugars equal complications. And thus, high blood sugars are bad. This is true enough, but we all know that no matter how hard we try, sometimes highs are bound to happen. That’s why it’s so important to start taking the emotion - and the fear - out of those highs and instead applaud ourselves for catching and treating the high blood sugar! Positive reinforcements beat scare tactics any day - at least when it comes to my motivations.
How about those lows? How on earth has my twisted brain come to view a low as a success? After all, lows can be just as dangerous as highs! The easy answer is that lower blood sugar means lower (which we’ve been told time and time again equal better) A1Cs and less chance of complications. But there’s more to it than that. The more I thought about my reaction to lows, the more I realized that my response is quite Pavlovian.
From the moment of my diagnosis, and for the decades to follow, sugar was taboo. No more cake, candy, donuts, sweet treats - unless they were sugar-free, and back then the sugar-free “treats” were just plain gross. But there is an exception to every rule, and growing up the exception to the “no sweets” rule was a low blood sugar. Even now, I often treat lows with Starbursts or jelly beans or a spoonful of chocolate frosting. If a low gets “rewarded” with candy, it’s pretty easy to start seeing it as a great thing, right? Perhaps I need to treat lows with my least favorite flavor of glucose tablets instead . . . .
So there is a peek inside my warped
Monday, September 12, 2011
Until this week!!! Look!!!!! I remembered to do a Mirror Mantra!!
This one is to remind me that I need to take some emotion out of my blood sugar readings. And also that low blood sugars are not “good” - they are just as out of range as high ones are. This one also reminds me that I need practice taking these mirror pictures. (Hello, my whole head should be in the picture . . . . and the camera should not!!) But that’s what next week is for, right?
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
I can’t even begin to describe how much I’m enjoying getting trained and starting work in my new volunteer Advocacy Team Chair position! Have you signed up for your local JDRF Advocacy team? Have you signed up to participate in the Promise to Remember Me campaign?
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
As far as I know, the reasons Uncle Joe is in the hospital right now are not diabetes related, although they are still running various tests to determine what is going on. But naturally, diabetes usually comes up in our conversations. This morning he asked about my pump - how I like it and how it works. I know he has a hard time with diabetes. A few months ago he had a really bad low and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. He was switched from oral meds to insulin years ago. He seemed genuinely fascinated as I explained my pump and he asked to see how it connected to me. As I showed him the infusion site on my leg and explained how I change it every three days, he asked “Could I get an insulin pump?”
I told him I thought he could if his doctor prescribed one for him. I do think it might help him. I know he struggles with both high and low blood sugars, and his A1C is never where he and his doctor would like it to be. But alarm bells went off in my head when I thought about insurance. He has great insurance, but I honestly have no idea if it is difficult for a Type 2 to get approval for an insulin pump. So I’m reaching out for advice and information. Who better to ask than the DOC? Does anyone have any information I can pass along to Uncle Joe?
Thursday, September 1, 2011
What is the second reason? Well, September 1st is also Diabetes Art Day, a wonderful project organized by my good friend Lee Ann to let our creativity tell our diabetes story.
Last year, I made a Diabetes Voodoo Doll to show how diabetes makes me feel like a human pin-cushion. This year I was having trouble coming up with a project. I wasn’t sure what I was going to create until just this morning. I pulled out my beading and jewelry making supplies and thought about the pretty diabetes necklace Lorraine was wearing at Friends for Life. I’d been thinking about making one for myself, although I’m certainly no jewelry maker. But I got to crafting and it didn’t come out half bad.
It’s a blue circle inspired by the World Diabetes Day symbol. I added a couple of tiny red beads to represent blood - blood sugars, finger sticks, A1Cs . . . . diabetes is quite a bloody disease. I strung my circle on invisible wire to represent that diabetes is an invisible illness.
Believe it or not, after I finished my necklace I did come up with an idea for another diabetes art project. I think I’ll note it on my calendar for next year!! Did you participate in Diabetes Art Day? What did you create?
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
While I’m recuperating and enjoying some mindless T.V., I’ll leave you with a quick update about the Wego survey I blogged about earlier.
“You may remember that I’m currently participating in WEGO Health’s Reader Insight Program – helping me to improve my blog with direct feedback from you, providing you with instant social media tips, and finding the Health Activists among you for exclusive invitations to WEGO Health programs.
The program has been going on for about a week, and WEGO Health just sent me an update. Here’s a quick breakdown:
Visits to the Survey: 15
Completed Surveys: 7
The program will be going on until next week so if you haven’t taken a moment to take the survey and share your thoughts yet, I hope you will! Here’s the link to share feedback with me: http://www.wegohealth.com/quick_quiz?source=bittersweet&actigrader=2”
Monday, August 29, 2011
On the downside, we're going on twenty four hours with no power. Not to mention the wire the fell from our house yesterday evening and is drooping precariously close to traffic coming down the street - the garbage trucks barely cleared it this morning. The fact that the crews haven't been by yet to fix it is probably a bad sign. News reports are saying it could take a full week to restore power to everyone.
Thank goodness for my iPhone, which has kept us from feeling cut off from the rest of the world. (My laptop is now simply a large iPhone charging device.) Thank goodness also for my neighbor with a generator who remembered that I'm diabetic. He came over yesterday to take my spare insulin and will store it in his refrigerator until our power is back. It may have lasted the outage, but better safe than sorry - or better safe than insulinless.
I hope all is well in your corner of the world. Until the power is back, you'll find me knitting and reading and cleaning (but not vacuuming).
Sent from my iPhone
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
. . . . glittery unicorns!!!! So fun!
Do you ever wish you’ll open your mail and find something fun? Email your address to me and you just might!!
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
To say I researched exactly what to do would be an understatement. I re-read the basal testing chapter in Pumping Insulin and I photocopied the basal testing worksheet. Coincidentally, Penny at A Sweet Grace wrote a post about basal testing yesterday that was full of great information and useful links to articles Gary Scheiner has written explaining basal testing. At 5:00 I bolused for dinner and ate. At 8:00 someone in my neighborhood was grilling something really tasty and the smells wafting in the open windows almost broke me, but I stayed strong and fended off the urge to have a snack. And at 10:00 the testing started.
So, how did it go? Like most things in life, there was some good and some bad. Obviously, waking up every two hours to test my blood sugar isn’t fun. (Seriously, a HUGE shout-out to you D-Parents. I loved you before, but after getting up all night for blood sugar checks I have an even deeper appreciation for you!) In fact, I was restless the whole night just knowing I had to get up again soon to test - so basically my entire sleep pattern was thrown off. Also, eating dinner at 5:00 is way too early for me. I was so hungry all night. I may have even wished for a good hypo so I’d have to end the basal test and have a snack.
Despite my griping, the test was very worth it! In the morning I had some really solid data to show me what is going on at night. Here is how it stacked up:
|10:00 pm||. . . . 69|
|12:00 am||. . . . 89|
|2:00 am||. . . . 98|
|4:00 am||. . . . 118|
|6:00 am||. . . . 117|
Now waking up with a fasting number of 117 would be okay by me. But the thing to consider here is that my blood sugar rose almost 50 points over the course of the night. On a normal night, when I’m not planning to wake up every two hours to check my sugar, I wouldn’t go to bed with a blood sugar under 70. I’d probably shoot to be around 100 to 120, which could give me a fasting in the 170s. It was also interesting to see that by 6:00 my blood sugar is starting to head back down again. So based on this overnight basal test and on the other blood sugar trends I’ve been seeing, I did some small basal tweaking across the board. And so far today, my numbers have been 105 (after coffee but before breakfast), 104 (after breakfast) and 93 (before lunch).
Am I looking forward to running my next basal test? Nope, I can’t say that I am. But I most certainly will, because the data I collected was pretty valuable! Are you a basal testing novice like me, or a basal pro? Do you have any insights or tips to share for my next round of testing?
Monday, August 22, 2011
So I’ve once again started to work on getting healthier and smaller. I’ve had several false starts - way too many to link all of my “I’m going to start exercising regularly” and my “I’m really going to lose some weight this time” posts here.
I’ve begun doing an overhaul on what we’re eating and swapping out some staple foods for healthier options with fewer calories. And last week, Pete and I started running again. For the first run my blood sugar was too high, but I took a chance that the run would bring it down. It didn’t. I was stuck in the 200s for hours while I took correction after correction and drank enough water to make me float away.
For our next run, my blood sugar was in the low 70s. So I drank some juice and ate a few glucose tabs. I was sure I had it all worked out and was ready for a successful run this time.
But diabetes had other plans. As we were doing a slow walk back home for a cool-down, I knew I was in trouble. I felt like I wouldn’t make it around the corner to our house. So I pulled my meter out of my runner’s pack and wasn’t surprised to see that 39 glaring back at me. Here’s the weird thing . . . . . I didn’t eat the icing tube in my pack. Our house was in sight and my low-brain somehow convinced both Pete and myself that I could simply finish the walk home and treat there. (I know, crazy, right??)
Running is hard. But sometimes, diabetes is harder. But I’m not going to let it get me down and I’m not going to let it sidetrack me from my goals. I’ve simply taken notes on what my blood sugar was, how much I had eaten, and how much more I should’ve eaten to keep me from going low during that run. And when we run tomorrow night, I’ll use that information to determine what to eat before we head out. It might work. It might not. It
Thursday, August 18, 2011
I’ve been blogging about my involvement in T1 Adult Outreach Planning with one of the local chapters (here, here, here and yes, here). But after reading a great post from George last month, I was inspired to do a little more and I signed up to participate in the Promise to Remember Me campaign. A short time later, I was contacted by JDRF Grassroots Outreach in D.C. about the need to fill four volunteer advocacy positions at one of the other JDRF chapters in Connecticut. After some emails and phone calls and an in-person meeting with the local chapter’s Executive Director, I’m ready to take another step forward with my advocacy efforts.
I’m very excited to say that I have accepted the volunteer position of Advocacy Team Chair! I’m getting ready to do my training and then jump in and get started on organizing and engaging local advocates for our community. I’m also extremely pleased to be fortunate enough to work with two local JDRF chapters!
I will admit to being a little bit nervous . . . . I’ve never really done any government advocacy before. However, I understand that JDRF has been working very hard to provide all of the resources needed to succeed. I’ve already been in contact with my wonderful regional mentor. There are training programs set up, both self-guided and staff-guided. There is plenty of support and guidance in place for me. Once I learned this, it was easy to chase those nerves away!
Twice the advocacy, twice the outreach . . . . twice the fun!! I couldn’t be happier!
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
With that in mind, I want to share a new project from Wego - The Reader Insight Program. The idea is that you take a survey to find out what kind of Health Activist you are and you have the opportunity to sign up for information from Wego. (If you’d like to opt out of the Wego emails, simply uncheck the last box on the survey page before hitting the submit button.) Now here is the cool thing . . . you also get to answer a few questions about my blog and tell me what you like and what you want more of! For the details, directly from Wego, read on . . . .
I wanted to share this new project I’m working on with WEGO Health to learn more about my blog and about all of you who read it!
First some background: For those of you who aren’t familiar with WEGO Health, they’re a different kind of social media company focused on helping Health Activists – folks like me who use the internet and social media to connect with others around health topics. WEGO Health’s mission is to empower Health Activists to help others, and they offer Health Activists the chance to get involved with video through WEGOHealth.tv, to learn and connect through webinars and chats, and to gain a voice in the healthcare industry through insight panels and the Health Activist Speakers Bureau.
Now WEGO Health is launching the Reader Insight Program – helping Health Bloggers like me to gather feedback from their readers, while telling you a bit about yourself. At the same time, WEGO Health has a chance to see if any of you are Health Activists eligible for their programs. I know many of you out there are dedicated to sharing health info and I have a feeling you’re Health Activists too!
I agreed to try the Reader Insight Program because I’m excited to learn more about why you visit my blog and how I can make it even more valuable for you. I hope you’ll take a moment to share your thoughts with me by taking WEGO Health’s Quick Quiz. By taking the quiz, you’ll help me learn what you need – and you’ll also receive customized social media tips for yourself!
A few things to know about the program:
- WEGO Health will gather your quiz responses and feedback for 2 weeks starting today. After the 2 weeks are up, they’ll create a Reader Insight Report for me (then I’ll share it with you!)
- Your responses will be shared with me anonymously – please be candid!
- Your information will not be shared or sold by WEGO Health
Thank you for helping me make my blog even more engaging! I can’t wait to see you what you think!
So if you are interested in exploring your own Health Activism, would like to hear more from Wego, and would like to give me some anonymous feedback on my blog, please do take the unique Wego Health Quick Quiz that has been set up for me! I'm very excited to hear what you have to say about Bitter~Sweet!!
Thursday, August 11, 2011
We were quite a varied group. Diagnosis ranged from about 2 years ago to over 50 years ago. We had Animas, Minimed and Cosmo pumpers, along with MDI-ers. We had Dexcom and Minimed CGMers. We had Accu-Chek, Freestyle and OneTouch meter users. It made for some great conversations. We all talked about the pros and cons of whichever d-equipment we each use. It was interesting to see how things some considered an important pro were not of much consequence to others of us. And some features (or lack of) that people hated, others didn’t mind. It really comes down to figuring out what is important to you and what works best with your lifestyle. Personally, I’m less concerned about a meter taking the smallest blood sample needed and more concerned with the convenience of my meter being all-in-one. It would be nice if my pump was waterproof, but since I don’t do much swimming I’m happy to trade that benefit for the convenience of having my CGM read right on the pump. It was pretty cool to hear the reasons why others love the d-equipment they use and to compare and contrast our choices.
As I drove home that night, I thought about everything we discussed and I realized it wasn’t our differences that were foremost in my mind. Instead it was our common thread. I thought about my conversation with the woman next to me, diagnosed about five years ago, and how she said she sometimes wished she could just eat the same thing every day. And how relieved she was hearing about the time my endo reminded me that I can’t shoot for “perfect all the time” blood sugars because that will never happen. I thought about one of the ladies, who like me has been living with diabetes for over 30 years, saying something along the lines of “I really feel like it's just constantly trying to figure things out - I'm adjusting and reacting on a daily basis”. Those words really stuck with me. Because our common thread was this:
None of us, whether we’d been living with diabetes for two years or fifty years, none of us had it completely figured out yet. Diabetes is constantly changing. What works today might not work tomorrow. We are all just trying to do the best we can every day.And to me, that’s what a support group is all about . . . .