Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Weather Havoc . . . .

UnderTheWeatherI have a bone to pick with the weather lately.  First the hurricane knocked out our power on Sunday morning.  We finally got it back last night.  And now, I’m under the weather.  I can’t fully enjoy having electricity because I’ve got a blaring head-ache, a very upset stomach, and blood sugars that won’t come down.  (Luckily, no ketones though - I’m keeping a close eye on that.)  At least I have the television to keep my mind off how cruddy I feel.

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:

Monday, August 29, 2011

Irene and iPhone

Hurricane Irene hammered my little costal town over the weekend. Luckily we came through safely with very little damage.

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

Mail Call . . . .

You know you’ve got friends in the DOC when you open your mail and find . . . .

. . . . 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

A night with my basal rates . . . .

When you’ve had diabetes for almost 32 years, there aren’t a lot of Diabetes Firsts left to encounter.  But last night, I had one.  When Pete told me he had a work dinner to attend, I knew it was the perfect time to eat an early supper and run my very first basal test.

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.

BasalTestSo, 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

Running is hard, Diabetes is harder.

Choosing to become a pumper was a good decision for me.  Along with better management, it’s brought me more freedom when it comes to food.  I can work in foods that I used to avoid.  I have more flexibility on when and what I eat.  But those benefits came with a price.  And for me, that price has been going up two clothing sizes, at least  Just because I can eat all those tasty foods, doesn’t mean I should have.

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 might be will be kind of frustrating.  But as long as I keep trying, diabetes won’t win!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Twice as Nice . . . .

It’s a fact - Connecticut is a small state.  If you drive an hour in any direction, you’re pretty much guaranteed to cross a state line.  The interesting thing (as far as today’s post goes) is that for such a small state, we have three JDRF chapters.  Pretty great, right?

jdrf_logoI’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

Boost your activism & share your thoughts . . .

A few weeks ago I participated in a Blogger Insight Discussion with Wego Health.  While the participants all blogged about different health issues and measured effectiveness in different ways, there was one common insight all of the bloggers on the call shared.  We all agreed that we are never quite sure what kind of content our readers enjoy the most.  Granted, we all write what we know and what we are inspired to share - but we all agreed it would be nice to also have some feedback on what the people who visit our blog like to read about and what they want to see more of.

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, 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

The common thread . . . .

Tuesday evening we held our second Adult T1 Outreach event with my local JDRF chapter.  The gathering was a bit smaller than our first event - probably due to summer schedules and rainy weather - but we had a nice sized group of ten.  Once everyone arrived and settled in we went around the table and introduced ourselves.  We shared how long we’d been living with diabetes and what d-stuff we use.

thread2We 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 . . . .

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Free Shower Day

(Yup, my mom saves her humongous coffee vats for me to use as sharps containers.)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Hacker?

BigBadWolfIt's a fact of life that bad things happen.  There are people out there who don’t even know you, yet are looking to do you harm. Trust me, I know that all too well.  And yes, I tend to be pretty paranoid and generally afraid.  But I believe in taking necessary precautions and living life.

There is a lot of buzz in the media about pump hackers.  Yes, the bottom line is that an insulin pump can be hacked.  My laptop can also be hacked.  It’s probably pretty unlikely that someone would want to hack into my boring little computer, but I still have precautions in place such as a secure network and firewalls to help keep me safe.  The same thing goes for my pump.  It’s pretty unlikely someone would want to waste their time giving me a bolus or suspending my pump, but if they did there are status screens and audible beeps on my Medtronic pump that would keep me safe and let me know someone was fiddling with my pump.

The bottom line is that I’m pretty sure hackers have larger targets in sight than me.  I can’t say I’m all that worried about someone wasting their time and talent on my little insulin pump.  What does scare me - a lot - is what this news and the panic it can create might do to my future treatment options.  I wrote last month about my hopes of having my pump, meter, CGM and iPhone all connected and talking to each other.  It doesn’t seem like a stretch for an engineer to be able to make this happen.  What scares me is that the sensationalism surrounding this pump hacking story will cause the FDA to put the brakes on these kinds of advancements even more than they already have.  And that threat of stagnation to diabetes technology?  Well yes, that has me very afraid.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Friday’s Sundae

Remember the Diabetic Ice Cream Social I mentioned on Friday?  I indulged and I enjoyed every bite!!


I chose a hot fudge sundae with mint Oreo ice cream.  It had plenty of yummy whipped cream.  I passed on the cherry (yuck).


My before bed blood sugar was a happy 103.  I did need to correct a 166 around 3:30 in the morning, but my fasting was spot on at 86 when I woke up Saturday.  And that is how a diabetic successfully manages a hot fudge sundae!  #TakeThatWendell

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday Fun

It’s a sunny August Friday here in New England.  The weather is perfect - bright and warm but not too humid.  I’m ready for some fun!  Are you?

You know what is a lot of fun?  Giving away prizes.  So let’s give away that Lauren’s Hope Medical ID Bracelet!  It looks like you guys really love these bracelets, because there were 45 comments left to enter the contest.

Click to enlarge

The random comment picked was lucky number 28.  Which belongs to . . .

Congratulations Denise and Ms. Bean!!!  I’ve already emailed you so we can get your prize coordinated!!

Okay, ready for some more fun?  How about a Virtual Ice Cream Social?  We all know PWDs can have ice cream.  The article that stated giving a diabetic some ice cream was like giving an alcoholic just one beer seems to have been taken down.  The so-called apology is still there, although it is also full of misinformation and most of the comments have been deleted.  In any case, incorrect myths have been spread yet again, and it’s time to help raise awareness.  Tonight Pete and I will be popping in to our local Old Fashioned Ice Cream Shoppe for sundaes.  Because it’s absolutely okay to indulge on occasion.  It doesn’t make my diabetes any worse and I’m not doing anything wrong.  Won’t you join me in a scoop??

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Adding Words to the Story . . .

So the one time my Wordless Wednesday post was actually, you know, WORDLESS was the one time I should’ve added a few words to it.  Words like “Don’t worry, my pump is fine!”  The error actually happened on Saturday and I thought about blogging it on Monday - but honestly I felt like my blog has been very whiny lately and I didn’t want to be all “look what happened now, an ERROR” - so I focused on the flowers and good blood sugars instead.  But after reading the comments on yesterday’s picture I know I should tell the whole story.

MotorErrorIt was about lunchtime on Sunday when Pete and I decided we needed to make a run to Home Depot for topsoil and mulch and a few more flowers.  McDonalds is right across the street from Home Depot, so we decided we’d whip through the drive-through on our way home.  After we placed our order I got my bolus going - and as we pulled into the driveway the Motor Error alarm went off.  My first thought?  “I don’t care what I have to do, I am eating those darn fries!!

As I cleared the error, the pump rewound itself.  So I reinserted the cartridge and primed a lot just to ensure insulin was really flowing.  It was, so I checked the status of my bolus.  Most of my “Now” insulin was delivered, so I bolused in the last 7/10th of a unit needed, and then reset the “Square” portion of the bolus.   I also checked my pump manual and put a shout-out to the DOC on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.  I had a quick conversation with Mike and then went back outside to finish the yard work.

By the time I got back to my computer, I had many urgent replies from DOC-ers that had gotten the Motor Error.  It seemed in some cases their pumps were dead, and in other cases their pumps were fine.  Everyone urged me to call Minimed to report the error so the service techs could run some diagnostic tests with me.  Which is, of course, the smart thing to do and is absolutely what I should have done the minute I saw the Motor Error.  (Bad bad bad pumper!!)

Let me just say, 5:00 pm on a Sunday seems to be the perfect time to call about pump problems!  The tech got right on the line with no wait.  She asked a series of questions, including what my pump was doing when the error occurred.  It’s just  my luck that my pump would error on the rare day I’m eating McDonalds and my lunch bolus is 115% bigger than normal.  (No, the tech didn’t judge me.  Yes, I would tell anyone else that it doesn’t really matter how much insulin you use, as long as it keeps your numbers happy.  Yes, I also know PWDs can eat McDonalds on occasion.  But I still felt like a bad diabetic!!)

So the pump passed all its tests with flying colors.  My blood sugars have been fine.  Things seem to be in working order.  If I see the error again, I’ll call back right away and I think my pump will need to be replaced at that point.  But for now, my pretty purple pump with the cat and yarn pump skin that I love so much is hanging out on my hip doing its job.

And they lived happily ever after . . . .

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Medical IDs - do you or don’t you?

While dining with my local Fairfield County Diabetes Dinner group two weeks ago, the discussion rolled around medical ID’s - do we or don’t we wear them.  We all agreed on the importance of wearing a medical ID, but not all of us actually do.  Part of the problem seems to be that many medical IDs are just plain ugly.  But they don’t have to be!!  I told my Fld County Dinner friends to keep an eye on my blog for an upcoming give-away - and here it is!!

Jenna White, of Lauren’s Hope Medical ID Bracelets recently emailed me and offered to provide a bracelet to give away to one lucky blog reader.  After hearing the story behind the company and seeing how pretty these ID bracelets are, I could hardly refuse!

Here is some information about Lauren’s Hope, directly from Jenna:
When you or your child was diagnosed with diabetes, your life instantly changed forever. As your doctor explained medical procedures, medications, and other lifestyle adjustments, you may have been overwhelmed thinking about all the things that would have to change. One thing that your condition shouldn't affect, though, is your individualized sense of style! In the past, medical bracelets have been big, bulky, impersonal and unattractive - which meant a lot of people would opt not to wear them.

That’s why Lauren’s Hope was founded - to create medical alert jewelry that people would actually want to wear. This inspiration for the business came from a family friend of the company’s founders. As a teenager with diabetes, Lauren refused to wear medical ID jewelry because it was “ugly” and could “draw attention” to her illness. Lauren’s mother asked for a fashionable medical ID to keep her daughter safe, and the rest is history.

Today, Lauren’s Hope is still dedicated to making beautiful medical ID jewelry for people of all ages, with any condition, and with any sense of style! Whether you have a style-savvy teenager with a penicillin allergy or you feel self-conscious wearing your own chunky diabetes ID to a dinner party, we can help you find a fashionable alternative that will keep you safe. People with diabetes, severe food, drug, and insect allergies, heart conditions, asthma, autism, a visual or hearing impairment, epilepsy, or any chronic illness need to wear medical alert jewelry with that information engraved, as well as people who are on certain medications or are gastric bypass, lap band or organ transplant patients.

In the event of an emergency, your medical ID will do more than just make you look good - it can also save your life! Your medical ID bracelet should be custom engraved with a few important details so medical personnel will know how to treat you best. They will need to know your name, your medical condition(s), any allergies and important medications that you have, and emergency contact numbers.

The winner of this contest will be able to chose from one of five bracelet choices.  The prize includes one complete bracelet, including the tag, custom engraving and shipping.  Your bracelet choices are:
B90 MoodBeadThis is the Mood Bead medical ID bracelet. Don't like to keep your emotions all bottled up? Set them free with this psychedelic, color-changing mood bracelet! Featuring color changing mood beads surrounded by Swarovski crystals and sterling silver Bali beads, this medical ID bracelet will take you all the way back to the 70s. Attach your custom engraved medical ID tag to complete the look and show the world what you're feeling. The lobster clasps attach to your custom engraved medical ID tag. Slap on your medical ID bracelet and see what kind of mood you are in today!
C232 Fiona with TagThis is the Fiona medical ID bracelet. Everyone loves stylish simplicity - especially when it comes to medical ID jewelry. If you want a style that is elegant-yet-modest, you can't go wrong with this triple strand medical ID bracelet. This sophisticated design features black tubing and gray Swarovski crystals to create a look that is subtly stunning. Simply attach your custom engraved medical ID tag with our signature lobster clasps for instant, trouble-free elegance.
C-7MulticrystalpastelThis is the Multi Crystal medical ID bracelet. A simple yet fun combination of Swarovski crystals in pastel tones, sterling silver, and Bali beads makes this medical alert bracelet a must-have for any jewelry lover! This bracelet has it all: a little sparkle, a little shine, a lot of color and, as always, our signature lobster clasps that make it oh so easy to attach your custom engraved medical ID tag. If you need to wear a medical bracelet, you can still be fashionable!
A148 Into The Dark with tagThis is the Into the Dark medical ID bracelet. Are you a fan of glow in the dark beads? This unique medical ID bracelet features 2 lime green glowing beads. The sides of the bracelet feature black tubing and you can attach this medical ID bracelet to your custom engraved medical ID tag with lobster clasps.
A194 Undercover Stainless Steel Medical ID BraceletThis is the Undercover medical ID bracelet. If you are confident and strong, with a bit of an edge, this stainless steel medical ID bracelet is perfect for you. The unique crisscross pattern and durable stainless steel are things you might not want to keep under wraps! This stylish bracelet can hold up to 3 lines of your important medical information. Combine safety with style when you snap on this medical ID bracelet.

If you’d like to enter the drawing, simply leave a comment on this post telling me if you wear medical ID  a) always, b) often, c) on occasion or d) never.  The winner will be drawn on Friday morning!  Good luck!

For more about Lauren’s Hope, check out their Facebook page, Twitter account and blog!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Conquering McDonalds . . .

About once a month (ahem) I find myself craving McDonalds.  Usually I try to hold out and in a few days the craving passes (ahem again).  But some months I let myself cave in to a Quarter Pounder and french fries.  I dial up a dual-wave bolus and hope for the best.

Yesterday was a McDonalds Cave-In Day.  As it so happened, I found a sure-fire way to conquer the blood sugar drama that sometimes occurs despite my careful bolusing.

The key to conquering McDonalds seems to be a major landscaping project!!  Pete and I dug out stumps from the old ugly bushes that used to be in front of our porch.

We dug up a garden patch and put down a “stone wall” border.

We filled it in with heavy bags of topsoil and even heavier bags of mulch.

And we dug new holes to plant some pretty flowers.  I’ll be adding more to fill it in, but I love the way it is starting to shape up.  I also love what all the lugging and digging did for my blood sugars.  My post-McDonalds-prandial was 95.  And before dinner I was in the 60s.  Next time I want to cave to my McDonalds craving I’m going to need to find another spot in my yard to dig up and landscape!