Monday, October 24, 2011

Couldn’t you do without . . . .

Ugh, it's Monday morning. I can certainly do without Monday mornings, especially chilly ones like today.  So please allow my crabby self to indulge in some serious griping.  (Would that make me a complex crab??)  Is it just me, or couldn’t you do without . . . .

. . . 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.

ComplexCrab . . . 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

Just a game of chance . . . .

MM900236314I’ll admit it, I’m kind of a casino nut.  I have a lot of fun playing slot machines.  Yes, I know, slots are mostly games of luck.  But I like to think there is a little more to it.  Like when you are on a winning streak, you have to decide when to keep playing and when to take your winnings and walk away.  When you aren’t hitting, you have to decide if you should give the machine a chance to turn it around or if you should cash out and move on.  You follow your instincts . . . and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

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 my hot mug of love the caffeine to bring my blood sugar up.

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

Monday, October 17, 2011

Diabetes in the Background

Saturday was one of those once-in-a-lifetime, amazing kind of days.  Saturday was the New York City stop of #Simonpalooza.  What is Simonpalooza?  It’s what happens when a handsome guy with Type 1 diabetes works many long hours to save up for an epic trip from Australia to the US, with stops in L.A., Kansas City and NYC.

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

Wordless Wednesday - New Blankie

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 dingy blanket and the cupcake blankie that makes me smile would be all mine.  Looks like K.C. has decided she likes it too.  What can I say, my cat loves the DOC just as much as her mom does!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Advocating in Real Life

Part of my duties as a volunteer Advocacy Team Chair for my local JDRF chapter include setting up and attending Promise Meetings with our local legislators.  In a Promise Meeting, advocates thank the legislators for past support of diabetes issues and funding, talk about what issues are currently important (right now it’s FDA guidelines for the Artificial Pancreas Project) and tell our story of life with diabetes.  This real life interaction is very powerful because when the government officials are voting on issues concerning diabetes, they will remember the faces and stories of people these issues affect.

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


Friday was the third annual No Diabetes Day, organized by my terrific friend George to give us a bit of a break from diabetes chatter and to encourage us to share other parts of our lives.  I didn’t quite get my post finished in time because I was busy all day with my first Promise Meeting (more on that coming soon).  But I didn’t want to miss the No D Day fun, so I’m stretching the celebration a bit and posting today.

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.  jinxedI 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

Co-Stars Cook-Off

Last Friday I was invited to the the Diabetes Co-Stars: Cook-off in New York City.  Since I love to cook and bake, I was excited to see what this cook-off of “diabetes friendly recipes” would be all about.


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?