Thursday, December 19, 2013

Hard to Resist . . . . .

When you awake around 2 a.m., nightshirt and sheets drenched in sweat, pump suspended, and a blood sugar of 47, resisting what is downstairs in the refrigerator is pretty impossible.  Especially when it’s these.


These are Cookie Dough Truffles I made yesterday for a Christmas party on Saturday and I could think of nothing else when that low woke me.  Although I am proud I only ate two . . . . .  instead of two dozen.  Of course, I also polished off the last of our crackers with some cheese, but you can’t win them all.  And yes, I rebounded, but I managed to wake up with a fasting sugar of 123.  Not too shabby, I guess.

What do you find hard to resist when you are low?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Thirty-Four . . . .

Diaversaries strike me as somewhat odd.  Wishing someone a Happy Diaversary can feel awkward because I certainly would never wish diabetes on anyone.  Yet I do want to cheer them on for the hard work they put into each year with diabetes.

diaversaryOver the years my reaction to my own diaversary seems to vary.  I’ve been reflective, I’ve been light and cheery, I’ve been sad and tired, and I’ve been fed up and feeling guilty.  All of last week I sifted through emotions trying to figure out how I feel this year, and in the end I realized I feel nothing.  Pete and I could have celebrated yesterday, the day I usually choose to symbolize whatever day in December I was actually diagnosed, but it didn’t seem worth the effort.  Yesterday symbolically marked 12,418 days I’ve lived with diabetes.  Just a day like any other in the past 34 years.  Today I make my way through my 12,419th day with diabetes.  Hopefully I have at least 12,000 more ahead of me.  It doesn’t feel like something to celebrate.  It doesn’t feel like something to morn.  I’m not angry or proud or much of anything.  It just is what it is . . . . . .  just another day in my life as I trek onward.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Looking Back - A Holiday Poem . . . .

*** I was absolutely sure Christmas was three weeks from today . . . . until I looked at my calendar.  WTF, there are only two weeks until Christmas?  (That is "What The Fudge", as in the Christmas fudge I make every year, by the way.  What were you thinking??)  I am way too behind so today seems like a great day to revisit a post from 2008 in which I gave "A Visit from St. Nicholas" a diabetes (and knitting) spin.  Enjoy! ***

'Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the blog,
Not a new post was stirring, your time it won't hog.

Friends started e-mailing notes filled with care,
HolidayPoemWondering why updates had now become rare.

There's shopping and knitting and holiday crap,
I know I should post, but I all I want is a nap!

I'm cranky and blue and just keep feeling sadder
So I test my blood sugar to see what's the matter.

First it's too high, then it's too low
Holiday stress wreaks havoc on blood sugar, you know?

Bolus a correction when the highs appear,
And for those lows, gobble eight tiny reindeer.
(um, reindeer cookies!)

Then grab the knitting needles, so lively and quick,
And work on those gifts, just like St. Nick.

Less rapid than eagles my gifts how they came,
But I whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, mittens! now, scarves! now, socks and toys!
On, lace! on cables! for girls and for boys!

To the top of the skein! to the top of the yarn ball!
Now knit away! knit away! knit away all!"

Then off to the mall in my car I flew,
To buy other gifts for the people I knew.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard in my head
The buzzing sound I've long come to dread.

I drew in my hand, and again pricked my finger,
Knowing I'd have a low that would linger and linger.

Shopping makes blood-sugar crash, from my head to my foot,
I need to sit down, eat something, stay put;

A bundle of candy I had flung on my back,
It's the reason my purse is as large as a sack.

The blood sugar woes make it hard to be merry!
And my muscles ache from the supplies I must carry!

I wish I stayed home to knit one more row,
Instead of braving the mall and fighting this low;

But soon after the SweetTarts are safe in my belly,
My legs stop feeling as if they are made of jelly.

I'm feeling much better, a right jolly old elf,
And I laugh as I shop, in spite of myself;

A few more gifts from the list in my head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

I make my way home, but then remember more work,
I've forgotten to bake cookies; I feel like a jerk!

A batch of shortbread, shaped like Christmas bows,
Just thinking of them and my blood sugar rose.

So much left to do, as my blog drops out of sight,
"Happy Blood-Sugar to all, and to all a good-night."

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Lucky Moment . . . .

luckyMy morning routine always starts with a humungous cup of coffee and a bolus of insulin to cover it.  An hour or so later, my bladder is beyond full and it’s time for a bathroom break.  I know . . . . over sharing, but trust me this is relevant.

This morning as I was relieving myself of some coffee I consumed my CGM High Predicted alarm rang.  A quick glance showed me in the 160s and rising fast with one up arrow.   I finished up in the bathroom and started to tuck my pump tubing into my waistband when I got a surprise.  You see, my tubing was not actually connected to me!  After I finished my shower an hour earlier I must not have properly clicked my site connection back together.

Why do I consider this lucky?  After all, I had been without insulin for about an hour, right?  Well, if I hadn’t been in the bathroom when my alarm sounded, I would have simply tested my sugar and bolused a correction . . . . . .which would have likely ended up absorbed into my jeans.  I don’t know how long it would have taken me to realize I wasn’t connected, because this is the first time I can remember something like this happening.  So I’m very lucky that my small bladder placed me in the bathroom with my tubing exposed at the exact moment the high alarm sounded.

There is so much about diabetes that seems like a big heap of bad luck.  So when a bit of good luck comes along, it’s really nice to acknowledge it.  Have you run into any diabetes good luck lately?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Low Glucose Suspend . . . .

It’s been just over a week since I’ve been using the MiniMed® 530G with Enlite® system. I’ll admit that at first the Low Glucose Suspend feature kind of scared me.  In my mind, this feature is for emergency use only.  Unless I’m passed out cold I’m going to treat my low as usual and take my pump out of suspend mode.  (When the CGM reaches a pre-set Threshold Suspend setting, between 60 and 90, the pump alarms, blaringly loudly as it suspends.  The screen displays the option to continue suspend mode or resume your basal.  If you choose to continue suspend mode, the pump does not deliver basal insulin for two hours.  Once the two hours are up, it resumes normal operation.)

But I started to get curious about how my blood sugars would react if I let the pump suspend itself instead of treating a low.  And hey, it might make for a good blog post, right?  So when my pump began alarming at 3:45 a.m. Saturday I decided it was the perfect time to give the Low Glucose Suspend a whirl.  (Also I just wanted to go back to sleep instead of dealing with the low.)  I did a finger-stick to verify that my blood sugar was really 60, which is where I have my Threshold set.  I was actually 68 but trending down, so I decided to let the Suspend do its thing.

I woke again at 6:30 to use the bathroom.  My pump was back to delivering insulin and a quick check clocked me in at 72.  That’s a little low, but I figured the 2 hours of missed basal was still working to bring me up so I just went back to bed.  I woke up at 8:30 and did my fasting check, which revealed . . . .


I couldn’t have asked for better.  I posted to Facebook and InstaGram and got a couple of interesting questions.  Was I nervous to let my pump suspend overnight?  I wasn’t, because I have a bad habit of ignoring low alarms in favor of sleep anyway.  So for me, knowing my pump was suspended was better than knowing I was just ignoring a low.  Also, the CGM will still send out high and low alarms if my blood sugar isn’t rising or is rising too much. Did it feel uncomfortable waiting out a low to go higher by the insulin suspend rather than the quick fix of juice?  If I had run this experiment during the day, yes, I’m sure it could have felt very uncomfortable.  But in the middle of the night, I just went back to sleep so I didn’t feel any low symptoms.  (And often I don’t feel them anyway, because I’m fairly hypo-unaware.)

All in all, I’m thrilled with how well this worked for me.  As the  morning wore on my blood sugar stayed pretty level - 115 at 10:10 and 107 at 12:45.  In the future  I don’t plan on using it as a regular low treatment - I do think I’d rather treat lows myself but know it’s there in case of emergency.  At least during the day.  I have a feeling I will be pretty tempted to let the pump suspend when I’m low during the night, so that’s something I should probably run by my health care team for a little more guidance.

If you have any questions I didn’t address here, feel free to leave them in the comments!

** My Medtronic disclosure can be found here. **

Monday, November 18, 2013

Tired . . . .

I thought I was just distracted and busy.  Wrapped up in the kitchen remodel and the excitement and stress that goes along with it.

Then I thought I was just having a bit of writer’s block.  Feeling like everything I could say I’ve already said before.

Then I felt guilty.  What kind of diabetes blogger finds herself at a loss for words during Diabetes Awareness Month?

tiredBut the more I think about it, the more I realize that I’m just very tired.  Tired of all the finger sticks.  Tired of the carb counting.  Tired of feeling too high and too low.  Tired of waiting for better.  Tired of learning to adjust to new devices and new treatments.  Tired of the fight and the effort and the every single day of it all.

This will pass.  It has to, because diabetes isn’t going anywhere.  I’ll find my motivation again.  I know I will.  But today, still, I am just plain tired of diabetes.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Prepping . . . .

Today is World Diabetes Day, and in my own little diabetes world there is some excitement.  Because I’m prepping for training first thing tomorrow on this  . . . .

It’s taken every bit of willpower I have not to just tear open the boxes and wing it.  But I know it’s important to be properly trained . . . . so I will.  Tomorrow.  Yay!!

** My Medtronic disclosure can be found here. **

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Lows I Despise . . . . .

All lows are not created equal, and Sunday I experienced one of the lows I despise.  It was the kind that has me feeling absolutely terrified until my blood sugar comes back into range.

The number wasn’t all that low, at least not for me.  I’m fairly hypo-unaware, so I usually don’t feel a 61 at all.  (In fact, I just did a finger stick before starting this post and saw a 65 and I feel just fine.  Don’t worry, I’m snacking on a Clif Bar and should be back up in no time.  /digression)  The 61 on Sunday, however, was not the least bit fun.  I was trying to get ready to go out for brunch (since we still don’t have a functioning kitchen) but this low was not having it.  I felt completely terrified.  I felt like any minute I was going to drop dead.  It was the worst feeling in the world.  I treated and then I treated a bit more.  Then I curled up on my bed in the fetal position.  I tried to be logical and tell myself I would be just fine, but my mind wouldn’t accept that fact.  I finally called out the window to Pete, who was in the driveway installing new wiper blades on his car, and asked him to come inside and sit with me.  I hate when diabetes makes me feel needy and weak.  Of course, by the time he finished up with his car and got inside, I felt just fine and was doing my hair so we could go eat.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month.  You should know that sometimes low blood sugars aren’t so bad.  I treat and move on with my day.  But sometimes, they feel completely terrifying.  Sometimes they leave me curled up in a ball waiting to die.  Luckily for me, lows like that are rare, but they happen.  And nobody should live like this.  We need a cure.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Free Stuff Friday at Lauren’s Hope

Things have been a little quiet over here on the blog while the big kitchen renovation has pretty much taken over my life.  Noise, dust, workmen and lots and lots of mess is the story of my life these days - but I do know it will be so worth it once it’s all finished.

However, you can find me today over at the Lauren’s Hope blog, kicking off Diabetes Awareness Month by explaining how the different seasons can turn diabetes management upside down.  Even better, if you leave a comment over there you can win a $50 gift certificate toward your purchase of an awesome Lauren’s Hope medical I.D.  Check it out!!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Thankful but still Needing Better . . . .

metersThis month the DCAF blog carnival revisits a very important subject - the accuracy of our test strips.  We imagine we are speaking at a Diabetes Technology Society meeting and are asked what our comment would be on meter accuracy at the Diabetes Technology Society meeting?

This isn’t a question I take lightly and I’ve put a lot of thought into my answer.  I think it would be important to start by expressing my thankfulness that diabetes technology has progressed greatly since I was diagnosed.  I remember well the days of urine testing instead of blood sugar testing, and of one insulin injection per day followed by a strict exchange diet.  It was tough, and things today are better than they were in 1979.

That said, better than 34 years ago is not always good enough.  Insulin today has improved and is more powerful, but that also makes it more dangerous.  I need to know exactly what my blood sugar is because proper dosing of my insulin depends on it. And improper dosing means hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia - both of which are dangerous and can bring deadly consequences.  Today's test strips often give errors, sometimes more than the 20% accuracy standard allowed.  Even an incorrect result within 20% can screw up my dosing, and over 20% can really muck things up.

I'm glad our technologies are better than they were more than 3 decades ago.  However, diabetes is still really hard.  Yes, it’s hard in different ways than it was in the late ‘70s but it is still really hard.  We still need better.  Our lives depend on it.

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

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Renovation

Good bye portable dishwasher and cheap cabinets!!
 I spent the last two days packing up my entire kitchen in preparation for the big kitchen renovation, which starts today!  I’m stressed and busy, but mostly I’m very excited!  We’ll see how diabetes management goes during this very out of the ordinary (for my life, anyway) experience.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Yay for TSA

This morning when I got up it was still pitch black and the sun wouldn't wake for a couple of hours. Pete and I waded through barely moving traffic and he dropped me off at the airport with just enough time to catch my flight. (More about where I am and why as soon as I get the go-ahead to share the project.)

No sun, but plenty of traffic.

As if the barely crawling traffic wasn't enough to stress me out, I approached the TSA bins at the security line and could see a full body scanner ahead. *sigh* When I got to the front of the line I politely informed the TSA agent that I was wearing a medical device that can't go through the full body scanner and I'd like to request a pat-down. I was waiting for the response I've always gotten in the past -assurance that it's fine to go through the scanner and that others with insulin pumps do it all the time. I've even been told once that "the pump companies just say the full body scanners can cause damage because they want to be able to void the warranty". I always politely stick to my guns and continue to request the pat-down, and eventually they comply.

I'm thrilled to say this experience was different. I was immediately shown to the waiting area where someone met me for the pat-down. No resistance, no arguing, no trouble at all. It felt much like I would expect the experience to go if I had contacted TSA Cares before my trip. (I didn't do so because the website said to call 72 hours before your flight and this was a very last minute trip.) My pat-down was thorough but respectful, and after a quick swab of my hands I was on my way.

Had my experience been less than stellar, I certainly would have blogged about it. So since it was wonderful I felt a responsibly to write about it too. Thank you to the TSA Agents at JFK this morning for making my security experience go smoothly and just as I hoped it would.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Delicate Balance . . . . .

Friday morning I headed to my endo appointment.  I have a really great endo, but I’m still a bundle of nerves as my appointment approaches.  What if I’m not doing as well as I think I am?  What if something comes back floopy in my labs?  Even though my appointments have been going great for a while now, I find myself always waiting for the day I get a really bad surprise.  And I’ve decided I’m okay with the nerves, because it means I still care.  And caring about diabetes is a big part of the battle.

I love the bright open waiting room at my endo’s office.

So there I was, weight and blood pressure taken (both are higher than I’d like) and pump information uploaded.  Paperwork for a new 530G with Enlite filled out.  A new script for my blood pressure medication electronically sent.  We turned to my labs results and pump reports.  Liver and kidney tests are perfect.  Cholesterol is excellent.  Vitamin D is finally in a good range.  And then . . . . . my A1C . . . ..  hmmmmmm.  We take a look at the blood sugar graphs from the pump and CGM.  Hmmmmmmm.  Mostly good.  We discuss some of the big spikes and both agree that they don’t warrant any basal changes - just some tighter carb counting and acknowledgement that hormones throw my overnight numbers out of whack for a few days every month.  We agree that those highs aren’t too much of a problem.  The real concern during this appointment is the lows.  Lots of lows, especially between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m.

This all leads to a sentence I never ever though I’d type.  My A1C is too low.  Sounds impossible, right?  Sounds like a fantasy.  It’s not.  After decades of beating myself up for having a high A1C, of working so hard to bring it down and feeling like I always failed, I now have to worry because it’s too low.  And it feels like just as big a failure as my too high A1Cs.  It means I spend way too much time with hypoglycemic blood sugars.  It means my health is at risk - perhaps not from the complications I was threatened with during those years of highs, but with the fact that lows can stress my body, specifically my heart.

So here I go again.  Instead of working to bring down the highs, I need to focus on avoiding lows.  I’ll be honest - it’s completely frustrating.  It feels like no matter how hard I try, it’s never enough.  I’m chasing a delicate balance I’m not sure I can ever achieve.  I still care and I’ll still work hard, but my goodness it is exhausting.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Walk the Walk, Talk the Talk . . . .

It’s that time of year again when my Facebook feed fills up with people raising money for their JDRF Walks.  My chapter had its walk on Sunday and I love to see so many come together to raise funds and promote diabetes awareness.  It’s a good thing to walk the walk.

As the Advocacy Team Chair for my chapter, I was also there to talk the talk . . . . about advocacy.  And to urge everyone to talk the talk to our legislators.  This is another important way to raise much needed funds for diabetes research.

What was I talking about at the Advocacy table?  Well . . . . .
  • Did you know that for every dollar JDRF donates to research, the federal government donates more than $3?
  • The more advocates speak up to their representatives about issues like research funding, the more likely we are to succeed when they come up in Congress.
  • Congress must renew the Special Diabetes Program to ensure federal funding continues each year (currently $150 million annually).
**  talking points provided by the JDRF Grassroots team.

I want to thank everyone who has walked their JDRF walk this year.  And those who have supported a walk participant.  And now I want to urge you all to talk the Advocacy talk as well!  Sign up as a JDRF Advocate and let our government know how important diabetes research funding is.  Given the economic crisis happening right now, it’s more important than ever to speak up!

Friday, October 4, 2013

A Little Bit Low . . . .

Every so often I take a short CGM break.  Sometimes it’s because they’re leaving behind welts and I need some time to heal.  Once in a while I mess up my supply order timing and run out of sensors.  Occasionally I just need a break from the beeping and arrows and information overload.  None of these things happen very often and usually I pull an old sensor and insert a new one right away.  But the nice thing about these breaks is that they remind me just how grateful I am to have a CGM in my life.  Because it’s on these breaks that this happens . . . . .


Pete and I were at Barnes & Noble buying a book for a course I’m taking when that familiar fuzzy feeling started.  “Sweetheart, I think I might be a little bit low.”  We found a chair and I tested, and sure enough I was more than “a little bit low”  It’s scary how low my blood sugar has to drop before I feel a hint of a symptom.  It’s a not at all subtle reminder that CGM breaks aren’t the best idea for me.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sick Day Chips

We’re less than three days into Fall and I’m already nursing my first cold of the season.  (We are less than three days in, right?  Any counting errors are surely the fault of my aches.)  So while my eyes and brain take a little rest, I thought I’d resurrect “Bitter-Sweet Chips” and share some tasty morsels from around the DOC.
  • Do you live in the Tucson area?  If so my friend John, the co-founder of ShugaTrak, may need your help!  ShugaTrak is an app being developed that plugs into a meter and shares blood glucose readings by text or email.  John is looking for some people willing to sign up as test users.  You’d head to the Tucson office of the company that makes the ShugaTrak bluetooth adaptor to test and troubleshoot issues.  You need to be an Android phone users and use one of the following meters:  OneTouch Ultra, OneTouch Ultra2, OneTouch UltraMini, OneTouch UltraLink, FreeStyle Lite, FreeStyle Freedom Lite, Bayer Contour, or Bayer Breeze2.  If you’re interested in helping out, please email John Fitzpatrick at
  • The 2013 World Diabetes Day Postcard Exchange is underway!  The WDDPE is a great event in which participants send and receive home-made postcards, and the exchange has been revamped this year to make it even more fun.  Click here to see all the rules and to sign up!
  • A couple of years ago I was fortunate enough to meet and chat with RDN / CDE Hope Warshaw at a TCOYD event and I’m happy we PWDs have her in our corner.  So I’m flattered to be included in a wonderful resource she has put together to spread the news about the DOC not only to patients and caregivers, but also to healthcare professionals.  You can read all about it and download the flyer here.
  • Speaking of the DOC and HCP interaction, that’s the topic of this month’s #DSMA Blog Carnival.  Check it out on the DCAF website, where all #DSMA business now resides.  September is flying by, but you still have time to participate!
Phew, okay, I need a cup of tea and a nap.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Confessions of a Data Nerd . . . .

My latest Loop post is up, and this time I’m talking about my nerdiness.  I wish I was an adorable, cool nerd like Sheldon or Leonard or even Amy Farrah Fowler.  Instead I’m just the kind of dork that loves to pour over my CareLink graphs and charts on a weekly basis.  I sometimes plug the data into formulas to try to predict my A1C or to decided just how well (or not) I’m doing.  Crazy, huh?

If my  nerdy confessions haven’t scared you off, click on over to read all about my data addiction on the Medtronic blog.  And please, if I’m not the only one with nerdy diabetes tendencies, I’d love to know!!

** My Medtronic disclosure can be found here. **

Monday, September 23, 2013

Pinning Diabetes . . . .

For a long time, I resisted joining Pinterest.  I can't keep up with the social media sites I’ve already joined and I’m perpetually behind on blog reading, so creating another social media account didn’t make sense.  But, of course, in the end the curiosity got the best of me and I found myself logging in.

I got sucked in pretty quickly.  I’ve found Pinterest is pretty great for finding recipes and planning out my weekly menu.  (I “like” the recipes I plan to cook that week, and "unlike” them after I’ve made them.)  I turned to Pinterest when I decided I wanted to change my hair, and it was easy to show my hairdresser the cuts I liked.  (Thank you Pinterest iPhone app!)  I have a whole board dedicated to our kitchen renovation.  I’m pinning cleaning tips and fashion stuff and decorating ideas and things I want to bake.  How did I ever manage without Pinterest?

About the only thing I don’t use Pinterest for is diabetes.  So I wonder if I’m missing out?  To those of you who are dedicated Pinners, I’d love to know if you use Pinterest for diabetes stuff.  Are there some great d-related boards I should be following?  Or is Pinterest not really helpful diabetes-wise?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Ouch . . . .

After almost three decades of finger-sticks (not counting that big block of time during and after college when I didn’t bother) it’s rare that I feel anything more than a slight discomfort when the lancet plunges into my finger.  Most times I don’t feel anything at all  (thank you, callouses!).

But suddenly . . . . ouch!!  Each and every prick started hurting!!  #soundsdirtybutisn’t  The first time I thought “Well, yeah, sometimes they do just hurt”.  The second time I thought maybe I had hit a nerve.  The third time I thought I should make sure I wasn’t pricking the same exact spot over and over.  The next few times I just ignored it.  I knew I didn’t need to change my lancet, because I change it every morning.  (Weird, I know, whatever.)  Finally I had enough of the pain and looked at my lancing device.


What??  A depth setting of 4.5????  How ever did it get switched to 4.5??


Ahhhhh, that’s more like it.  Back to comfortable finger-sticks.  Well, relatively speaking - because it’s still puncturing my finger and making it bleed.  Thank goodness for those aforementioned callouses!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Guy at the Bar . . . .

GuyAtBarDear Guy at the Bar,

I’m not sure if my friends noticed you eavesdropping on our conversation, but you were in my direct line of view from my seat at the dinner table.  I could tell you were listening in, but we were in a public restaurant so to me it wasn’t a big deal.  We had already chatted about personal stuff like a new boyfriend, visits to college, and plans for a new kitchen.  But as our talk turned to diabetes I did notice you were listening in.  You listened at we talked about glucagon.  You listened to us talk about DKA.  You listened as we discussed new CGMs and exercise.  You listened as we talked about our last support group meeting and you listened as we got down to the business of planning our next one.  I didn’t really  mind - for all I knew, you could have been interested because you had a diabetes connection too.

As we hunkered down over our photocopied pages of topic ideas and discussion suggestions, you finally leaned in to ask us “Are you all teachers?”.  We all kind of snickered - I did so because I certainly don’t feel expertly qualified to teach anything to anybody, I’m just trying to fake make my way through this life as best I can.  After we told you we weren’t teachers you asked “Well, what kind of meeting are you having?”.  My friend to the right said “Ladies, do you mind if I share?’ and none of us did.  Hey, advocate when and where the opportunity arises, right?  Except that’s not exactly how it went down.

When my friend told you we were planning a T1 diabetes support group, you said “Oh, you are all nurses.”  We explained that no, we weren’t nurses, we were people with and parents of children with diabetes.  (In fact, our table of five included four people with diabetes and two parents of kids with diabetes.)  And then it happened.  You launched into a tirade of how the problem with our country is obesity.  I think we were somewhat taken aback and stunned into silence - I know I was.  We tried to explain some facts to you but it was clear you weren’t listening.  When my friend told you that she was exactly where she is supposed to be on the BMI you blatantly ignored her, even though it was you who had brought up BMI in the first place.  You said something about making your living in insurance - trying to keep people from having to pay too much or something like that.  In all honesty, I’m not really sure what you were blathering on about because by then I had pretty much tuned you out.  I think we all had, because it was clear you had no interest in anything we tried to tell you.  So we turned back to our notes and continued our meeting without giving you another glance.

It made me sad to realize something I know to be true, but luckily don’t run into all that often . . . . . .

sometimes people are just jerks.

An offended girl who thinks next time you should mind your own business and leave others alone with theirs.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

An Easy Decision . . . .

TheLoopMy latest post is up over at Medtronic’s blog The Loop.  This time I’m talking about why I decided to add a Continuous Glucose Monitor to my diabetes routine.  It’s funny, because my decision to start pumping was a very slow and gradual one.  But my decision to use a CGM hinged on one moment I always remember, which I’ve shared in my post.

Were your d-tech decisions gradual, like my pump experience?  Or did you make up your mind in an instant, like my CGM decision?  Or like me, have you had a mix of both?

** My Medtronic disclosure can be found here. **

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Little Mysteries . . . .

detectiveFor the past week or so, my blood sugars have been running high.  They weren’t hugely terrible, but mostly between 150 and 200 without a low in sight.  I was also having huge two-up-arrow spikes every time I ate, no matter what I ate and no matter how long I timed my pre-bolus.  I even went so far as to wait for my CGM to throw a “low-predicted” alarm before starting to eat.  It didn’t help one bit.

And then on Sunday, the highs just stopped.  Even during a birthday party I threw for Pete, with lemonade based cocktails and a chocolate peanut butter cake, I hovered in the 50s and needed to have some Starbursts.  It was crazy!

Of course, me being me, I want to know WHY my blood sugars completely misbehaved so I can fix it next time.  After some sleuthing, I’ve got three clues . . .  .
  1. I put my site back in my favorite spot - I get great absorption from (and have plenty of real estate for) “ upper-butt” sites.  But I still worry about building up too much scar tissue there, so I try to rotate around sometimes.  My previous two sites had been in my abdomen and upper arm.  I wouldn’t be surprised if neither of those sites worked all that well.
  2. Fresh insulin - When I changed my site on Sunday, it was time for a brand new bottle of insulin.  In fact, it was also from a new batch.  When I fill my prescriptions I get three bottles of insulin at a time. It could be my imagination, but often it seems that third bottle doesn’t quite work so well.
  3. Girl stuff - I know this is TMI, but my period started on Sunday.  Yeah, happy birthday to my husband.
So those are my clues.  But diabetes makes it hard to be Sherlock Holmes, because I can’t quite solve the mystery.  Was it the site rotation?  The new insulin?  The hormones?  Any combination of the three?  I suppose this will just have to go into the cold case files.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Diabetic without a Kitchen . . . .

As I sit here typing this, I’m waiting for a floor guy to come measure our kitchen.  This seems to be a normal occurrence these days, as I believe this will be the third set of measurements taken . . . at least.  But thats okay, because in the next month or two we will be deep in the throws of a complete kitchen remodel.  If you’ve ever seen my kitchen, you’ll understand just how excited I am.  I have the ugliest kitchen in the world.  You probably think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not.

renovationOf course, along with being excited, I’m also stressed out and neurotically nervous about the renovation - because I wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t completely stressed out and expecting the worst.  When you live in a house built in 1921 there are a lot of things that can go wrong with any house project.  And then, of course, there is diabetes.  Because diabetes adds an extra layer of stress to just about anything, right?

Here’s the thing.  In the next month or so my kitchen will be gutted.  For approximately five weeks I’ll have no stove or sink, and the contents of my cabinets will be in boxes.  Hopefully we can stick the refrigerator in the dining room to hold some food . . . . and cream for coffee made in a borrowed Keurig.  As long as I have coffee and some fruits and vegetables I’m good for breakfast and lunch.  But dinner is what I’m worried about.  Dinners for five weeks with no kitchen.  Dinners at restaurants for five weeks.  I don’t see how my blood sugars (or my pants size) are going to handle that.  Help!!!

Have you ever gone through a similar renovation?  How did you manage to eat healthy when you had no kitchen?  I could sure use any tips!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Pretty Purple . . . .

I’ve been really loving purple lately.  My pump is purple, my iPad cover is purple, and many of my newest pieces of clothing are purple.  I’m even sporting a big purple bruise where my last CGM sensor was.

I wasn’t surprised that the sensor left a bruise, because upon insertion it bled.  It bled a lot.  But it finally stopped and I hooked up the transmitter, and for the entire life of the sensor my readings were SPOT ON.  The accuracy of that sensor made me smile, much like the smiley face I see where the sensor used to be.  (You see it too, right?)

Purple bruises may not be all that pretty.  But if they give my CGM super accuracy?  They are pretty darn gorgeous in my eyes!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

When the Scary Crashes In . . . .

Living with diabetes is a delicate balance for me.  I need to be mindful of the horrible things this disease can bring.  But I can’t let myself dwell on them too much because I have to LIVE my life.  Sometimes, though, the scary just crashes in.

Sunday night, for the first time in my life, I needed Glucagon.  I actually don’t remember that part at all and was completely shocked when Pete said “You remember I gave you Glucagon, right?”.  I vaguely remember some juice I wouldn’t drink, and that’s about it.  Pete was pretty intimidated by the LONG list of instructions and HUGE needle - when he stuck it in my leg he expected me to jump up screaming like they do on T.V.  Apparently all I did was tell him to “Stop pinching me” - but then again, the needle was in my thigh, not in my heart like on T.V.

I spent all day yesterday feeling like I’d been run over by a truck.  (I was unprepared for how awful I’d feel, either from the Glucagon or the low itself or the combination of the two.)  But anyway, I’m okay.  Well, I’m physically okay.  Mentally?  I’m still kind of freaked out.  I don’t quite know what to write, what to think, what to say.  I’m not quite ready yet to dive in to any more details of the night.  For now, I just need to put it behind me and keep going . . . . .

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Over-Treater: An Exposé

Created using this cool meme maker I found.

There are many facets of my diabetes routine that could use some improving, but treating lows had never been one of them.  I pretty much had the “low-treat-move on” routine down.  But lately, something has changed.  I’m in a cycle of “low-treat-treat-treat some more-high-correct-correct-correct some more-low again-repeat-repeat-repeat”.  What’s up with that?  It’s time for some in-depth analysis, yes?

After some keen observation and deep-down soul searching, I’ve uncovered two causes of my newly developed over-treating addiction.  Discomfort and fear.  In the past I didn’t mind lows so much.  Sure I felt a bit fuzzy and shaky, but it was fine.  Lately, however, my lows seem to be accompanied by an indescribable feeling that is, for lack of an actual description, downright majorly sucky.  I treat and try to wait it out, but every five minutes feels like five miserable hours.  So instead of re-testing after 15 minutes, I find myself eating a little bit more every five minutes just to make that “OMG make it stop” feeling go away.

You would think uncomfortable and scary would go hand in hand, but for me and my lows that isn’t the case.  Or maybe the fear just over-rides the discomfort . . . . I don’t know . . . . it’s not like I’m thinking all the clearly in that situation.  All I know is lately some lows have been popping up where I feel like my rational thought and state of consciousness are slipping away.  It’s usually when I’m home alone and it always scares the daylights out of me.  It sends me to the kitchen determined to eat anything and everything I can get my hands on.

I bet you can guess where both of these paths lead once the low is gone.  I’m left with a high blood sugar from hell.  I hate to be high.  I really really hate to be high.  So I correct.  And when it doesn’t budge, I start to rage bolus.  And we all know where that leads . . . . .

I guess it’s time to check myself in to Over-Treater Rehab.  I’ve figured out what makes me over-treat and I know what I have to do to stop it.  But come on, when I’m sweaty and shaky and my brain isn’t working right and I feel completely horrible and I’m really scared, calmly eating the correct number of grams feels like the most difficult thing in the world.  I know I should believe I can absolutely do it, but I’m pretty sure I can’t.  And that is a huge part of what makes diabetes so freaking frustrating for me.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Free Stuff Friday . . .

LaurensHopeToday I’m so thrilled to be posting over at Lauren’s Hope as part of their Free Stuff Friday series.  I’m talking about summer, and the challenges it can bring to dealing with diabetes.

High temperatures can make my insulin spoil. Summer barbeques and cocktails are a challenge to my blood sugar management. Water from the pool or the ocean (or even my own sweat, eeewww) can be dangerous to my insulin pump. And vacation travel can really throw me off.”

To read the rest of what I had to say, head on over to the Lauren’s Hope blog.  Actually, you should head over there even if you couldn’t care less about what I had to say.  Because as I said, today is Free Stuff Friday and Lauren’s Hope is giving away THREE medical i.d.’s - one cuff, one stainless steel bracelet, and one necklace.  That’s three chances to win, but you need to leave a comment on my guest post over at Lauren’s Hope blog to enter!

Thank you, Lauren’s Hope, for inviting me to guest post and for involving me in Free Stuff Fridays!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Hello, Old Friend . . . .

** I’m not calling today’s post a “Wordless Wednesday” or even an “Almost Wordless Wednesday” because I blabber too much! **

I know, I woke up low.  No worries, my coffee will boost me right back up!

Yesterday I inserted a fresh CGM sensor and started it up . . . . . and it felt like such a relief!  You see, I had been without my CGM for over a week.  Somehow I had lost track of how many sensors I had left until I inserted my last one right before I left for Friends for Life.  I could’ve ordered a new box right away, to be delivered while I was away, but that seemed like a really bad idea.  It was blazing hot out, and I knew the box of sensors could easily sit on my porch in 90+ temps and beating sun for hours until my parents came in the evening to collect the mail and feed the cat.  So I decided to wait until I got home to order a new box of sensors.

I lived with diabetes for 30 years before starting on a CGM.   So I was unprepared for how odd it would feel to go just one week without it.  It wasn’t all bad - I tested a lot more often and I learned to listen to my body more.  But it’s still a relief to have my blood sugar graph on my hip and hear the alarms blaring to alert me to lows I don’t feel.

Hello, old friend, good to have you back.  How did I manage all those years without you?  I sure will keep better track of your supplies from now on!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Here’s Your Sign . . . .

You know the Bill Engvall “Here’s Your Sign” bit, right?  Stupid people should have to wear signs that say “I’m stupid” on them, so we don’t waste our time taking to them.  Makes me laugh every single time.

But I’m not so concerned with people handing me an “I’m Stupid” sign . . . . I say stupid stuff all the time so I’m pretty sure I’ve already got one plastered across my forehead.  Instead I’m thinking about a sign that says “I’m D-Brained”.  You know, for all the times diabetes takes over your brain and injects diabetes into every single situation.  And I earned my “I’m D-Brained” sign the other day, while doing laundry.  I was folding Pete’s running shorts when I saw this . . . .


and my first though was “Why does Pete have an insulin pump pocket in his running shorts?".  Ummm, duh, the pocket is for i.d. and keys, not pumps - here’s your sign.

Do you have any “D-Brained” moments you’d like to share, or it is just me who thinks of diabetes 24/7?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Being “The Rule” . . . . .

Most days, diabetes makes me feel like the “exception to the rule”.  In almost any social situation, I’m the only one who needs to check my blood sugar.  I’m the only one worried about the carb content and glycemic index of the food and beverages served.  I’m the only one who has to pause in the middle of a physical activity to treat a low and wait for it to come back up.  I’m the only one who runs to the bathroom dozens of times because a high blood sugar is making my bladder fill up faster than my twitter feed during a #dsma chat!  Most days I truly feel like I’m the exception and the rest of the world is the rule.

But for the last six days I was at Friends for Life, and a huge part of the magic for me is that I’m the rule, not the exception.  At FFL when I pop a 250+ blood sugar after breakfast, I can look around the room and know a bunch of others are fighting down a post-breakfast high with me.  If I run out of test strips, someone will probably have my back.  If I forgot my glucose tabs, just about everybody will have my back!  When it’s time to eat, each buffet item is beside an index card displaying the carb count.  Everywhere I look there are pumps clipped to clothing, CGM sensors peeking out from sleeves, tubing trailing down from waistbands, and fingertips rife with callouses.  If I need to vent and cry during a session it’s okay, because most of the room is venting and crying right along with me.  At Friends for Life, I just feel like everybody really understands because they are living it too.

Key chain tangled up in your pump tubing?  Yup, I’ve been there too!

It’s not always so bad being the exception.  These days I’m usually confident enough not to care that diabetes makes me different.  But sometimes?  Well sometimes it is just such a relief to be the rule.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Blue Fridays . . . .

Quite often the only ones I see on Blue Fridays are my husband and my cat.  Not that they aren't supportive of raising diabetes awareness . . . . but still.


So celebrating Blue Fridays at Friends for Life, with my blue bracelet right next to my green one?  I have to admit, it's pretty awesome!!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Never Say Never . . . . .

As a teenage girl with diabetes, I developed a strong hatred for medical i.d.  For one thing, back in the 80’s medical i.d. was downright ugly and most certainly clashed with my oh-so-fashionable lace fingerless gloves, big jewelry and even bigger hair.  Of course, my i.d. disdain went much deeper than that.  I suspect the real reason I refused to wear medical i.d. was that it felt like a huge sign hanging off my body reminding me and everyone else that I was different from my friends, at a time when I just wanted to be like all the other teenaged Madonna-wanna-bes.

My teen years are long behind me now, but I still never wear medical i.d. - a fact that got me scolded during the Diabetes Hope virtual conference.  I did buy a cheap silicone bracelet marked “Diabetes” to wear at the gym, but other than that I figured I’d never wear medial i.d.

Well, never say never!!  I was contacted by Lauren’s Hope asking if I’d be willing to try one of their medical i.d. bracelets and write a review.  I figured it was about time I acted like a responsible grown woman instead of an insecure gawky teen (even if I still am more insecure and gawky than responsible and adult).  As I browsed through the women’s selections I was surprised at the huge array of styles available to meet everyone’s tastes and needs.  I had a hard time picking my favorite but in the end I went with a really pretty stainless steel bracelet (that is unfortunately out of stock for the foreseeable future.  Although this is it in white and also this one is very similar).  I was pleased to find that Lauren’s Hope also offers a bunch of different choices for the medical i.d. tags, so I didn’t have to settle for the (ugly to me) red style of years gone by.

Here is my finished bracelet and the tag.


Tara from Lauren’s Hope helped a lot in suggesting useful info to include on the five lines for the tag.  I’ve got my name, “T1 diabetes on a pump”, my parent’s number listed as “ICE” (or in case of emergency), my home number, and NKA (or no known allergies) and instructions to see my wallet card.  (Ummm, yeah, which I still need to fill out and put in my wallet.)


So now I have my bracelet, how has it been going?  I’m pretty surprised to tell you that I love this thing!  I’ve worn it every day.  I even tried sleeping in it - it didn’t bother me that night, but by the next afternoon it was really bugging me so that may be a bit of an adjustment.  It has been hot here so almost everything touching skin feels uncomfortable but when winter rolls around I’ll try keeping it on overnight again and I have a feeling I’ll get used to it pretty quickly.


I will admit that I’ve taken to wearing the bracelet with the i.d. tag turned in on my wrist, as shown above.  I’m not embarrassed to wear medial i.d. but I do like it to look more like “real jewelry”.  In fact, the first time I wore it to my parent’s house I kept waiting for my Mom to ask about it.  Turns out, she thought it was just a regular bracelet until I showed her the tag.  And my Dad, who used to be an Emergency Responder, was glad to see me wearing it because on calls he always checked the wrists first for medical i.d.

My biggest worry now is breaking it, because I’m a pretty big klutz.  Luckily, Lauren’s Hope has a great repair policy:
“Regarding the repair policy, we are proud to have the most generous and comprehensive repair policy in the industry. A medical ID bracelet is of no use to anyone if it's broken in a drawer. If one of our bracelets breaks, we really want our customers to send it in so we can fix it and get it back in use. :)
1. In the first six months, repairs are free. Period. We have only a $7.25 shipping and handling charge, and that's it. Doesn't matter what happened to it; we fix it. We also offer ONE free resizing in this time period, with the same shipping charge. This is super helpful for people who experience a weight change or find that they simply want their bracelet to fit differently.
2. After the first six months, repairs are only $10 plus the same $7.25 shipping and handling charge. Much less expensive than replacing your whole bracelet!
Also, it's important to note that Lauren's Hope allows people to order replacement ID plaques without bracelets and vice versa, something most companies do not allow. This is very important if your ICE (In Case of Emergency) numbers, diagnosis/es, or other information changes and you just need a new tag, not a whole new bracelet. 
There are some exclusions. We cannot change a custom engraving once it's been done, nor can we add colored fill to your engraving after the fact. The repair warranty only covers your bracelet or necklace, not accessories such as charms.”

So this girl, who said she’d never wear medical i.d.?  She’s not only wearing it . . . . she is loving it.  She also might have her eye on a second one that she’ll strongly hint would make a wonderful Christmas gift from her husband!  (And she needs to stop referring to herself in the third person because that’s just kind of creepy.)  Never wear medical i.d.?  Never say never!

** Disclosure: I was contacted by Lauren’s Hope  and provided my choice of bracelet and engraved tag at no charge.  I was asked to consider posting a review, which I was happy to do because I was obviously very satisfied with the product.**

Friday, July 5, 2013

Looking Back: Nutella Dreams

I was looking through some of my older posts and thought it might be fun to revisit a few every so often.  Today I’m sharing one from three years ago that featured one of my favorite bolus-worthy treats.

You know those dreams where you wake up and it still seems real?  Those dreams where you are disappointed to wake up?  I had one of those dreams just before the alarm when off this morning.

In my dream, Pete and I had slept over at my parents house.  (That is the first clue that it was a dream and not real.  You see, my parents only live two miles away, so no matter what, we can always make the trip back home.)  Anyway, in the dream, I was just waking up and my mom was making breakfast.  I found myself trying to figure out the proper bolus for what she was serving.  I was also trying to figure out just how many calories this breakfast would cost me and how to plan it into my day.  What was this breakfast??

Toasted French baguette smothered in Nutella.  I swear, my butt got bigger and my blood sugar spiked just from dreaming about it!

And no, the protein bar that I ate for my real-life, fully awake breakfast just didn't measure up.

These days, I don’t even keep Nutella in my pantry.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love it, but I’m much better off not having that temptation around the house.  Instead I keep organic dark chocolate peanut butter on hand for a little spoonful treat that is hopefully a bit more healthy.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


So I really feel like my blog has pretty much been one big yawn lately.  That’s probably because I also feel like diabetes has been one big yawn lately.  Luckily I have some excitement today because I get to pick the winner of the Extend giveaway!  (The photo below is a stock photo Extend sent me.  I can’t promise the prize will look like that.) Extend Nutrition Gift Basket
As always, I use a random number generator to pick a winner, and it picked . . . . . . .

Congratulations, Laura, I will email you to iron out the details!!  And for those who didn’t win but plan to order some snacks, remember that discount code KARENG will save you 20% at the Extend on-line store.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Extend Snacks Review and Giveaway

extend nutrition_bars_shakes_crisps_drizzlesAfter being diagnosed in 1979, when sugar was 100% off the table for people with diabetes, my mom always bought me snacks that were labeled “for diabetics”.  They were full of artificial ingredients and didn’t taste very good, but at the time a mediocre cookie seemed better than no cookie at all.  (Unless I snuck the "real" cookies, not that I ever did that.  Much.  *lying*)  Anyway, today we have better insulin and carb counting and such, and I usually run screaming from anything labeled “diabetic friendly” because I assume they are laden with chemical substances.  But when a representative from Extend emailed asking if I’d like to sample their products, I made an exception.  And I did so because the Extend line was created by Dr. Francine Kaufman, past president of the ADA and chief medical officer at Medtronic.  I’ve been lucky enough to meet Dr. Kaufman when I attended the Medtronic summits.  I really respect Dr. Kaufman and I know she is an advocate for healthy food choices.  According to Extend, the products are “clinically proven to help control blood sugar for up to 6-9 hours”.

ExtendCrisps WhiteCheddarI was interested in trying either the Crisps or the Drizzles, and they were kind enough to send me a sampling of both.  The first ingredient in both products is soy, which I’m not a huge fan of so the first bite I had each time was kind of weird tasting to me.  BUT only the first bite, then my taste buds adjusted and the snacks were quite tasty.  My favorite was the White Cheddar Crisps.  They kind of remind me of SmartFood, which I love!  When I ate the snacks before bed I did find my CGM graph stayed level overnight with no pesky alarms.  For me, the single serve packs work well too, because crispy snacks are a huge weakness of mine and I will tend to eat way more than one serving at at time.  I also like that I can easily toss a bag in my purse for a snack on the go - the rest of my stash will be great for travel snacks as I head to Friends for Life next week.

Would you like to try Extend products for yourself?  Well, Extend has offered a wonderful prize package to be given away to one of you!  It includes:
Extend Nutrition Gift Basket
  • Your choice of 5 bags of Extend Drizzles (Caramel Bliss and/or Chocolate Dream)
  • Your choice of 5 bags of Extend Crisps (Cinnamon, BBQ, Zesty Ranch, Italian Herb, White Cheddar, or Variety)
  • Your choice of 5 Extend Shake mixes (Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry, or Variety)
  • And your choice of 15 Extend Bars (Chocolate, Peanut, Peanut Butter Chocolate, Apple Cinnamon, Mixed Berry, or Variety)
I’m going to make it really really easy to enter - just leave a comment on this post and you are in!  Yay!!  The contest will close at midnight tomorrow and I will announce the winner on Wednesday.

As part of the promotion, Extend has also offered a discount code that will save you 20% off your entire order with no minimum purchase.  If you order more than $42 worth of products you’ll also get free shipping!  Just use promo code KARENG at checkout to get your discount.

** Disclosure - I received this sample Extend products free of charge.  The give-away and discount is also provided by Extend.  As always, my opinions are my own. **

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Anniversary

5 bride & groom - color
Our first date was 14 years ago today.  Our wedding was 9 years ago today.  I don’t know what I’d do without my favorite Type 3.  Happy anniversary, Sweetpea!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

White Coat Syndrome

WhiteCoatSyndromeTo say that going to the doctor stresses me out would be a huge understatement.  I hate doctor appointments.  I get all tied up in knots for over a week before my appointment looms.  Funny thing is, I really don’t know what I’m so worried about.  I love all my doctors.  I know I can talk to them and they will listen.  I know they only want me to be at my best and healthiest.  But even so, it’s still really hard and stressful for me.  So I fully support the recent initiative by Diabetes Advocates to help with What to Say to Your Doctor by providing some tips and links to resources. And even though I don’t have all the answers, I can tell you what has helped make my white coat syndrome a little less severe over my past appointments.

The first thing is to find The One.  Yup, in a way it’s almost like dating.  That blind date my neighbor fixed me up on was easy - I knew within 10 minutes I would not be seeing this guy again.  It can be the same with health care professionals - you might know right away it’s not a good fit.  Sometimes it’s a little tougher than that.  I think back to some really nice guys I’ve dated.  They treated me well and I liked them a lot.   But I didn’t "LIKE like them” (official teen girl speak flashback!!) - something was just missing and I knew I wasn’t doing either of us a favor by continuing our relationship.  It was scary and sad but we both deserved better.  It can be the same with a healthcare professional.  You might like the doctor a lot but something is missing.  You’re not getting what you need and your appointments almost seem like a waste of time.  It can be scary and take some work to move on and find a new doctor, but it’s probably better for both of you if you do.

So now that I’ve found The One, my appointments should be a breeze, right?  Well, not exactly.  I’m still a bundle of nerves.  So how do I make sure I’m getting the most out of my appointments and the best care I can get?  First, I make a list of all my questions in the weeks or even months before my appointment.  I type them in the Notes section of my smartphone so it’s easy to add things as I think of them and I know I’ll have them with me when appointment time comes.  Next, I ask all of my questions - even the ones that seem stupid once I’m in the doctor’s office.  And yes, when I’m feeling stressed I often look at a question on my list and want to skip it because I think it might sound stupid.  But I force myself to ask it, and my doctor has never once made me feel silly for asking anything.  (By the way, if your doctor doesn’t take the time to listen to and answer all of your questions, you probably have not yet found The One.)  And lastly, I remember that my appointment is a two-way street.  My doctor will probably also have a list of questions for me, and the most important thing is that I answer them HONESTLY.  Even when I don’t want to.  At my last appointment my endo was concerned about a huge 300+ spike on the printout of my CGM graph and asked about it.  Did I want to tell him that I had a major moment of weakness with my Easter basket?  I sure didn’t.  But I told him anyway because I’m human and I wanted jelly beans and chocolate that day and even though I tried to bolus for them there was no way I could eat what I ate without a mega-spike.  I’m not proud of it, but he understood, he didn’t chastise me, and he also didn’t waste our time trying to figure out a problem that wasn’t really a problem at all.

Sure, I still get nervous and stressed before my appointments.  These days, at least I’m less nervous and stressed than I used to be because I know the doctors I see are people I respect and trust and because I show up at my appointments prepared.

Do you have any advice for making the most of medical appointments?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Busy Weekends = Bad Dreams

Sometimes my favorite weekends are quiet, lazy and restful.  This weekend was none of that, but it was still a lot of fun.  We did some “kitchen shopping” because we’re in the beginning planning stages of gutting and re-doing our hideously ugly kitchen.  Then I scrubbed that ugly kitchen, and the rest of the house, and cooked for a small dinner party we had.  There was plenty of food, and there was also a fair amount of alcohol to partake in as well.  Toss in a long Father’s Day hike with the in-laws yesterday, and by last night I was beyond tired.  No surprise, I was also battling some pretty sticky lows.  The alcohol and exercise combo gets me every time.  As much as I wanted to just fall into bed early and drift off to sleep, I had to stay up a bit longer to overtreat that low.

I was in a safe range when I finally went to sleep, but my brain must have had a low-hangover.  (What is the fun term for that?  Hang-lowver?  I always forget . . . . )  The weird dreams I had were the kind that usually happen because of a low.  The good thing?  The dreams revolved around members of the DOC.  The bad thing?  I was fighting with almost everyone in my dream.

ChristmasAs the dream started, Cherise had a new job as a manicurist.  (I’m convinced that dream storyline had to do with the pictures of Cherise’s painted OmniPods that I had been admiring on Facebook.)  Stacey had an appointment but very rudely said she was not paying Cherise.  I yelled at Stacey, and she yelled back at me.  I turned around to see the small rocking chair that I’ve had since I was little (that’s it, and me, on the right).  Sarah came along and stood on it, and it cracked.  I told her the chair was not for adults, and she said she didn’t care and sat on it until it broke.  As I yelled at her, Sara came along and told me to stop being so mean.  Then she said that when Pete talks he sounds really stupid.  (Poor Pete!!)

What the heck is it with low dreams - especially this one that happened when I wasn’t even low anymore?  Why did it have me fighting with my friends?   I swear, next time I’m low at night I’m skipping the pineapple juice and going for GlucoLift instead!  Maybe I’ll dream that I’m having a lovely vacation on a rocket ship!!  Either that or I need to go back to quiet, lazy, restful weekends!

Please tell me this isn’t just me, and that you have some weird low dreams to share too . . . .

Monday, June 10, 2013

Travel Ready . . . . . .

Over the weekend Pete and I took a quick overnight trip to New York City.  I love travel adventures, but packing really stresses me out.  I know I’m a chronic over-packer.  And even still, I’m always terrified that I’m forgetting to pack something very important.  Of course, in reality there is very little I could forget that I couldn’t live without for my time away.  But diabetes supplies . . . . well yes.  Some of those things I quite literally could not live without.

A while back I got the idea to keep a small travel pack ready with about everything I need, diabetes-wise, for a quick trip away.  I pulled out a small clear bag I picked up one year at Friends for Life and tucked in a bunch of supplies.

Here’s a closer look at what I keep inside.

It’s filled with spare Tegaderm, IV prep wipes and alcohol swabs, a new vial of test strips, two AAA batteries and the wall charger for my meter, an infusion set and reservoir and two full travel packs of GlucoLift.  All I need to do is throw in a bottle of insulin and I’m good to go overnight or for a long weekend, because I know I also always have more test strips, batteries, low treatments and supplies for a full pump site change in my purse.

When I return home from a trip, I restock the bag before stowing it in the drawer where I keep my diabetes supplies.  Knowing it’s organized and waiting makes packing a bit less stressful.  I also like knowing it’s ready and easily accessible if I ever need to quickly leave the house in an emergency situation.

Our weekend trip was a quick one, but Pete and I had a fantastic time walking around the city, eating a wonderful dinner, finally seeing Wicked on Broadway (something I’ve been dying to do for a very long time and it was more than worth the wait) and just sharing an adventure together.  Travel should be all about the fun and not about the stress, and my pre-packed travel bag helps fend off some of that travel stress.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

(Late) Wordless Wednesday - Sick

The horrible sore throat is bad enough.  But seeing that big spike after I eat, no matter what I eat or how early I pre-bolus?  Sometimes that seems even worse.  (And it makes me as cranky as Jack Skellington.) Being “real-people-sick” with diabetes is a drag.  (It also throws off my week so Wordless Wednesday ends up on Thursday.)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

30 Years of Meters . . . .

Today I’m over at The Loop blog talking about the latest blood glucose meter I've been using.  It was fun to think back to my very first meter in the early ‘80s.  I think it looked similar to the meter in the upper left corner of this picture.

Picture courtesy of Christopher Tidy via

Every so often I get frustrated because I feel like diabetes technology is crawling at a snails pace compared to entertainment technology (like cell phones, e-readers, etc.) .  But when I think back to the tools I used 30 years ago, I start to appreciate how far my diabetes devices have come.

Do you remember the first meter you used?  Was is very different from today’s meters?

** My Medtronic disclosure can be found here. **

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Strengths and Weaknesses . . . .

This month the DSMA blog carnival wants us to share “What do you consider to be your Diabetes Strengths? What do you think are your Diabetes Weaknesses?".


What am I weak at?  Oh I can come up with a huge list of things!!  What am I good at?  Well, that’s a tough one.  It’s so easy for me to see my flaws and so hard to give myself credit.  Is that human nature, or is it just me?  Anyway, mini-therapy session aside, I've narrowed my list down to one strength and one weakness. 

I guess my Diabetes Strength is that I’m really good at pre-bolusing before eating.  It helps me fend off those pesky post-meal spikes that fall right back into range after an hour or so. But it isn’t always easy.  When I’m cooking my focus is on the timing of the food and it’s so easy to forget about that pre-bolus.  When I’m starving it’s pretty hard to wait before I have a snack.  At a restaurant it’s extra tricky to time insulin to when the waiter will serve my meal.  But I really try and usually I do pretty well.  My CGM high alarm is set at 170, and if I carefully pre-bolus I can often get through all my meals and snacks without it blaring that I’m high.

I narrowed down my long list of diabetes weaknesses to the one that I want to conquer the most.  It’s the fact that I’m terrible at taking the emotion out of the blood glucose numbers.  When that CGM does blare I curse myself for screwing up.  A sticky high or low makes me feel like I’m being punished for doing something wrong.  I would tell anyone with diabetes to look at out of range numbers as information they can act on, not as personal failures.  But when those undesirable numbers flash on my own meter I forget my own advice.  I’m weakest at blaming diabetes instead of blaming myself.

This post is my May entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival.  If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at