Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Today is Pete’s last day of work.  Although he was notified of his lay-off two weeks ago, it still seems a bit unreal.  And scary.  As of today, we are both jobless.  And I’ve never felt so frightened in my life.

Everyone has tough financial times during their life.  (Okay, maybe not EVERYONE, but everyone I know.)  But even when I’ve had to keep a close eye on my budget, I’ve never worried about my diabetes supplies and my insurance.  I’ve been very lucky and I always knew I could get what I need to stay alive and healthy.  Now the tide has changed.  It feels a bit like my luck has run out.  Although we will keep our insurance until the end of March, I’ve already begun to ration supplies.  I’m wearing my pump sites one day longer.  I’m stretching my sensors as long as I can.  I’m trying to save now, because if we need to go on COBRA in April, the premium will cost a fortune.

I’m also worried about the coverage we will get once we find jobs and have a new insurance to deal with.  Will I still be able to see my awesome endo?  Will my CGM be covered?  Will I get as many test strips as I need?  Or will I have to fight for coverage on my supplies?  And what will our new co-pays be like?

adriftI know I’m not the first one who has been in the situation.  I know Pete and I will get through this.  I know it will all work out . . .  somehow.

But for now, I feel like I’m adrift on a sea of uncertainty . . . waiting to see when the tide will come in and where it will take me. And that is a very scary place to be.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Just One Thing for 2012 . . . .

NewYearThis month the DSMA Blog Carnival asks what one diabetes related thing we are most looking forward to in 2012.  Just one thing?  That’s a tough one for me because I’m looking forward to, and hoping for, quite a lot from the New Year.  Advances in technology and new products on the U.S. market would be wonderful (like the Enlite sensors and the iBGStar meter, which I’d love to see this year).  Doing more advocacy work will be awesome (like heading to DC in March for JDRF Government Day and hopefully presenting at TCOYD next month).  Finding a  way to turn my diabetes passion into a part-time source of income would be amazing (although I’m not sure it’s a very realistic dream).  Brushing up on my personal diabetes care is important (breaking the “ignore my CGM alarms” habit and finally getting fit and losing weight is something I’m already working on - and I’m proud to say I have shed 5.6 pounds so far this year).

However, I’m only supposed to write about ONE thing.  So I stopped to think about what one thing I’d chose if I had to give up the others.  I’d love fancy new d-gadgets, but I could continue just fine with the ones I’m using now.  Advocacy is very important to me and I’d be disappointed to miss out on new advocacy opportunities, but I could still continue with my local adult support group and the JDRF stuff I’m already involved in.  Finding my dream job is what everyone hopes for, but in reality paying the bills must come first.  And if I didn’t exercise or lose any weight this year?  Well, I’d just keep working on it.

When it comes down to the one thing I’m most looking forward to - the one diabetes thing I absolutely don’t want to miss out on this year - it’s pretty simple.  It’s the connections and the support.  I value my local diabetes groups and am looking forward to more dinners and discussions and sometimes, diabetes rants.  And  I can’t wait to attend more meet-ups and conferences and spend time with my DOC family.  I’m unsure if I’ll be able to attend Friends for Life this year but I’m going to try my hardest to make it happen.  And even if travel and in-person DOC meet-ups aren’t an option, I’m really looking forward to continuing to connect on-line - through blogs, Twitter, Facebook, #dsma, emails, and any other ways I can find.  The DOC has changed me from a person who hid the fact that she was diabetic and never wanted to discuss it, to a person who talks about it every opportunity she gets.  The DOC has taught me that I’m not broken and helpless, and that I can be strong. 

Giving up the connections and support I’ve found is unthinkable - and continuing and growing the relationships I’ve made is the one thing I’m most looking forward to in 2012.

This post is my January entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival. If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at http://diabetessocmed.com/2012/january-dsma-blog-carnival/.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

“Deader than my Pancreas”

castleSo yeah, the other night I had an odd dream involving the show Castle.  I was part of the team working on some murder case.  We were in a big hotel that looked oddly like a set of dorms at my alma mater called “The Trees”.  (I lived in Maple one year and in Elm the next - but I digress.)  Anyway . . . . um . . . . in the dream . . .  I may have kissed Nathan Fillion.  Or I guess I actually kissed Richard Castle.  But whatever, no need to split hairs here.  (And yes, he really was ruggedly handsome.) 

So that dream stuck with me all day yesterday and it got me thinking . . . . I should be on an episode of Castle!  (Lets forget for a minute that I can’t act, okay?)  The episode would be called “Deader than my Pancreas”.  I would be the expert dia-consultant (or is it consulta-betic??) and I’d work a case involving the murder of a pancreas.  After all, I do have more than 32 years of hands on experience!  When the team is alarmed by the blood splatters and hemoglobin blobs all over the place, I’d be the one to assure them it’s a normal state for any PWDs house to be found in after all those finger sticks and site gushers.  When they want to follow the trail of used lancets to the killer, I’d be the one to tell them the trail is clearly a ruse . . . .  because real diabetics don’t change their lancets often enough to leave a trail.  Instead I’d show them how to follow the trail of discarded test strips to the real diabetic.  Luckily we wouldn’t have to worry about being too engrossed in our crime solving to stop for dinner because, like any prepared diabetic, I’d have enough snacks in my bag to fuel our whole team through the night.  And I’d look pretty cute in one of those fancy police / writer bullet-proof vests - personalized especially for me, of course!!

Okay, so I SERIOUSLY need one of these!
Medic alert tag meets bullet-proof armor - to keep me safe from bad guys AND bad lows!!

The only problem is that sadly, the case would end up going unsolved.  Even after interviewing the top scientists in the field, we wouldn’t ever know what caused the death of that poor pancreas.  We would end up sending the crime to the Cold Islet Case Files.  My work as a dia-consultant would prove to be as useless as a bottle of insulin left on the beach in July.  But hey,  it wouldn’t be a total loss.  Because a sweet sweet day spent hanging with Rick Castle sure would be bolus-worthy, now wouldn’t it?

Monday, January 9, 2012

What it’s really about . . . .

It’s not about post hits, blog stats and number of comments received.  It’s not about “in crowds” and cliques.  It’s not about complimentary products for review and conference invites and blog awards.  Yes, it’s nice when opportunities come along, but that’s not what it’s really about.  It’s not what drives me to blog and advocate and share.

I think what it’s really about is opening the mail and finding this . . .

with a card that reads “I kept the other one as a souvenir of the week that changed my life . . .

The minute I saw this little pom-pom pen, I knew exactly where I had seen it before.  During Diabetes Blog Week, Kathy (Minnesota Nice) over at Purple Haze stepped outside of the box and posted a vlog about her journey with diabetes.  (Sorry that the video is no longer available - it was really inspiring.)  The video ended in a cheer - with two silver pom poms - for D-Blog Week.  I was so touched that I cried when I watched that video.  And I cried even more when I opened the box and saw the pom-pom pen and read the card.  This $1 Pom-Pom Pen is worth more to me than a treasure chest full of jewels - and knowing Kathy has its mate makes it even more special and makes me feel even more connected to my friend.

This is what it’s really about.  This is why I blog and advocate and share.  This is why, even if only one person ever read my posts, I’d still be here blogging.  Because if I can help just that one person feel less alone, feel like someone out there gets it, feels their struggle lighten just a bit . . . . then I’ve accomplished everything I’ve hoped to.  Thank you, Kathy, for such a thoughtful gift.  And thank you, to everyone whose blogs and comments changed my life too.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Going Downhill . . . .

** Warning: If you are currently eating or very squeamish, you may want to skip this post. **

I thought it was bad when my d-supplies decided to conspire against me.  Little did I know, it was nothing compared to what my kitchen tools had in store.  Or specifically, one very sharp kitchen knife that was apparently quite upset with me.  It showed its displeasure by slicing clear through my nail and into my finger.

It didn’t hurt because the knife was so sharp, but it bled.  It bled a lot.  I briefly considered testing my blood sugar but realized I’d probably gush way too much blood all over my meter.  So I grabbed a wad of paper towels, held pressure on it, and began to panic.  Then I did what any grown, 43 year old woman would do.  I called my Mommy and Daddy.  (Okay, and tweeted too.)

My Dad used to be an EMT.  As soon as I described what had happened, he hopped in his car and headed over to take me to the Urgent Care Clinic.  Luckily, by the time he arrived, the bleeding had finally begun to slow.  I told him I probably didn’t need to go to the clinic after all.  And he said, “If it was anyone else I’d say no, but because you have diabetes I think you should go.”  Oh how I hated to hear that!  I hate when diabetes makes me “different”.  I hate when diabetes brings extra worry to non-diabetes occurrences.  I hate when diabetes permeates every tiny aspect of my life.

In the end, I talked Dad out of Urgent Care.  He agreed that there really wasn’t anything they would be able to do.  I promised to keep a close eye on the wound and to go to the doctor if I saw the tiniest sign of infection.  So Dad put on a special bandage and told me to call him if I bled through the gauze and he’d take me to the clinic.

A few hours later, my slashed up finger started hurting.  It still hurts - especially when I try to type.  But it is healing up just fine.  This time, diabetes didn’t barge in and make things worse, and for that I’m very thankful.

Has diabetes ever made an injury more complicated for you?  And does that annoy you as much as it annoys me??

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Revenge of the D-Supplies

I don’t know what I did to piss off my diabetes supplies, but for the past couple of days I would swear they’ve been conspiring against me.  Oh sure, they look so sweet and innocent, having a party in the supply drawer while waiting to be called into action.

Don’t believe it for a minute.  Those things are pure evil . . . and they are out to get me!!  It all started on Monday.   I changed out my site as usual.  I’d been seeing some less than stellar numbers due to that mean germ I mentioned yesterday.  But the sticky  high my meter showed all afternoon had me questioning the new site.  And when I touched it, it felt really sore.  So I decided to change it out.  I pulled out the site, checked it for problems - and as I determined that it looked just fine, my CGM blared out a fall rate alarm.  Grrr!!!  The site was great and I could’ve kept it in . . . if only my CGM had alarmed me 90 seconds earlier.

Unfortunately, this was nothing compared to what my D-Supplies had in store for me yesterday.  I woke up feeling better, had some breakfast, and got a workout in.  I bolused for and ate lunch.  As I was walking up the stairs to take a shower, my rise rate alarm sounded.  And as I disconnected for my shower, I found that my site was flapping around on my back.  The tape was only half stuck on, and the cannula was smashed flat against my skin instead of happily hanging out in my sub-"Q".  Nothing felt wet, so I was hoping my lunch bolus had delivered fine.

But apparently, it didn’t.  It took five hours of feeling like hell and three corrections to get back into range.  Not that I knew what was going on, because . . . . .

soon after I took the picture above, I headed out to the grocery store.  And  I caught my CGM on the steering wheel and ripped it clear out of my thigh!!!  I have NEVER accidentally ripped out my CGM.  And I think I’ve only accidentally ripped out my pump site once or twice.  And here they were, both pulled clean out within hours of each other.

I don’t know what I did to piss off my d-supplies, but I certainly hope their revenge is over.  I can’t take another day like yesterday.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Swagless Christmas

I had intended to get this post up last week, but the combined forces of Pete being on vacation and a mean germ that has been leaving me feeling quite cruddy completely disrupted my normal routine.  But  now the New Year has begun, my husband is back at work, and hopefully that mean germ will be taking its leave soon as well.

But back to Christmas.  To me, a huge part of Christmas is baking Christmas cookies.

Christmas Cookies
Over the years, my “must bake every Christmas” list has grown and it now includes some candy treats as well.  I look forward to my Christmas goodies, but home-baked goods are a bit trickier to bolus for without that handy nutrition label to consult.  This year, I decided to fix that problem and banish the Christmas Swagging for good!

First, I made an Excel spreadsheet with a tab for each Christmas recipe.  I listed the ingredients, and then used Calorie King to look up the carb counts.  This was time consuming and mind-numbingly boring, but I knew it would be worth it in the end.  (I also looked up the calorie counts.  Scary, but necessary because I am determined to log my calories and lose weight in 2012.)  I added a row in my Excel spreadsheet to tally up the carbs (and calories - ugh).  I then typed in how many cookies each recipe made, and let Excel do the math again.  Voilà, carb counts for my Christmas treats!!

I typed all of the information into a table and printed out a few copies.  One goes with my “Christmas Cookie Recipe Packet” so it’s ready and waiting for me each year.  One went on the dining room table where all of the treats were stored.  And one went in the drawer of our coffee table, just in case.  And my blood sugars thanked me for putting in the effort and making this a Swagless Christmas!