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

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

No Days Off . . . . .

UnhappyBdayI think for me, the hardest thing about diabetes is that there are no days off.  Even if you’re trying to celebrate, say, a birthday weekend.  A weekend that, for several reasons, ends up being particularly crappy can be made even more crappy by diabetes.

I woke up on Sunday another year older and with a high blood sugar that just wouldn’t quit.  If ever there would be a day I’d wish for diabetes to give me a break, it would be on my birthday.  Instead I played “why the eff can’t I get back into range” and wasn’t able to eat a thing until well after 4:00 pm.

In the end, diabetes just likes to remind me that it doesn’t care what is going on or that I'm trying to have a special day.  In the end, it sometimes just wants to remind me that I have to work a little harder.  In the end, it just wants to make it clear that it isn’t giving me a day off.  Happy Birthday?  Well, maybe next year . . . .

Monday, May 20, 2013

Wrapping Up the 4th #DBlogWeek

2013DBlogWeekBigEvery year I’m a bit surprise at how quickly Diabetes Blog Week speeds by, and this year is no exception.  The week has ended and it was a wonderful busy blur of feeling ultra-connected to the DBlog Community and the DOC as a whole.  We had over 200 bloggers signed up again this year, and right now there are 814 DBlogWeek posts linked on the Link Lists.  Wow!

I’d like to give a huge thank you to everyone who participated, because without you Diabetes Blog Week would just be me posting a bunch of topics that nobody saw.  Thank you to everyone who posted on all or even some of the prompts.  Thank you to everyone who commented on the posts others put out there and let them know someone was reading and was touched by what was said.  Thank you to everyone who read a post, even if you didn’t comment, because you’ve let us share a little of our lives and a few of our thoughts with you.

As always, there is a little housekeeping to take care of:
  • Every day I blogged and Facebooked the Link List to that day’s topic.  But don’t forget there were two WildCard options and many did use those prompts.  I’d hate for those posts to be overlooked, so I want to make sure you don’t forget the Dream Diabetes Device List and the Diabetes Wild Kingdom List.
  • Speaking of the Link Lists, if you forgot to add your posts you can still do so.  I will keep the lists open for another week or so, at which point they will be locked (closed to any additions) in order to guard against spammers.  If you need to add something after I’ve locked them, please email me and I can easily take care of it for you.
  • If you haven’t yet, please check your listing on the Participants List to be sure I didn’t mess it up.  If I did, please shoot a quick email to my DBlogWeek email and I will fix it.  Also, if you participated but didn’t officially sign up and would like to be added to the Participants List, you can email your name and you blog address and I can add you.
  • The week always seems to fly by and sometimes we get behind on our posts.  No biggie - I had a busy weekend and almost didn’t get my posts up too!  If you missed some days and would like to finish your posts this week (or beyond), that’s great!!  Or if you don’t want to, that’s fine too.  I’m grateful to everyone who participated and for each post that was done.  I haven’t gotten very far on reading and commenting yet, but I will try my best to read each and every post and to leave as many comments as I can.

Looking ahead, will there be a fifth Diabetes Blog Week?  Probably.  I did have a few rough patches with the week this year, but I suppose that is to be expected.  The excitement from all of you far outweighs any tough spots, so if the DOC is up for another go next year, I think I am too.  Thank you all for making Diabetes Blog Week such a success.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Spread the Love - #DBlogWeek Day 7

You can find more Spread the Love post on the Sunday 5/19 Link List.

 As another Diabetes Blog Week draws to a close, let’s reflect on some of the great bloggers we’ve found this week. Give some love to three blog posts you’ve read and loved during Diabetes Blog Week, and tell us why they’re worth reading. Or share three blogs you’ve found this week that are new to you. (Thanks to Pearlsa of A Girl's Reflections for inspiring this topic.)

Until I sat down to write this post I didn’t realize how very tough this topic would be for me.  First of all, there are SO MANY fantastic posts that I’ve read this week that it’s really hard to pick just three to share.  And secondly, of course, I’m so far behind on reading DBlogWeek posts that I can’t even imagine the posts I haven’t gotten to yet.  (I will get to them all though, I promise!!  It may take me quite a while, but I do plan to read each and every one!)  So anyway, tough or not, today I’m sharing three of the many many many post that I’ve read and loved so far.

  • I thought this Day 2 petition to artificial sweeteners from Unexpected Blues was brilliant.  Be sure to read all the way to the end, because the names of those who signed the petition should not be missed!!
  • When I watched this Day 4 video post from Melissa at Sweetly Voiced  I cried and smiled and was amazed at her talent and touched by her lyrics.  And yes, she absolutely is “sweetly voiced”.
  • The thing I look forward to the most during DBlog Week is finding new or new to me blogs.  That’s why I really loved finding this accomplishment post for Day 4 from newish blogger Jessica at One Girl’s Diabetic Life.  I admire that she’s challenging herself to share even though it’s out of her comfort zone.

Is that three posts already?  I could easily link a dozen  more!  How about you - what have you read this week that touched your heart?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Diabetes Art - #DBlogWeek Day 6

You can find more Diabetes Art posts on the Saturday 5/18 Link List.

This year Diabetes Art moves up from the Wildcard choices as we all channel our creativity with art in the broadest sense. Do some “traditional” art like drawing, painting, collage or any other craft you enjoy. Or look to the literary arts and perhaps write a d-poem or share and discuss a favorite quote. Groove to some musical arts by sharing a song that inspires you diabetes-wise, reworking some song lyrics with a d-twist, or even writing your own song. Don’t forget dramatic arts too, perhaps you can create a diabetes reality show or play. These are just a starting point today – there are no right or wrong ways to get creative!

I’ve always loved Diabetes Art Day.  It has challenged me and helped me create things I never could have dreamed I’d come up with.  So today, I thought I’d put a bit of a spin on our topic and take a look back at the Diabetes Art I’ve created.

The first year I made a Human Voodoo Doll that eventually became a book cover.  (That’s probably the coolest thing I’ll ever do in my life!!)


The second year I made a necklace.  I’m certainly no jewelry designer, but I’m still pretty proud of  it.


The third year I decided to knit myself a new pancreas.    Unfortunately, it worked about as well as my real pancreas.

And this year, I channeled the good and the bad of diabetes.

But I think my favorite piece of “diabetes art” - the one that makes me smile the most - is the collage I made of my DOC friends.  It used to contain everyone I’ve met in real life, but I’m fortunate enough to keep meeting more and more on-line friends, so one day I’m going to need to add some of my latest pictures to it!


Friday, May 17, 2013

Freaky Friday - #DBlogWeek Day 5

You can find more Freaky Friday posts on the Friday 5/17 Link List.

Just like in the movie, today we’re doing a swap. If you could switch chronic diseases, which one would you choose to deal with instead of diabetes? And while we’re considering other chronic conditions, do you think your participation in the DOC has affected how you treat friends and acquaintances with other medical conditions? (Thanks to Jane of Jane K. Dickinson, RN, PhD, CDE and Bob of T Minus Two for this topic suggestion.)

The old saying goes that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.  But when I think about dealing with any chronic illness, I find that statement to be completely false.  When it comes to chronic illnesses, none of those affected have plush green lawns.  But we tend to them as best we can.  We try to keep them watered and well fed, and we try to pluck out the weeds that spring up.  This is my convoluted way of saying that I think I’ll keep diabetes rather than swap it out for another chronic illness.  No chronic illness is easy.  Diabetes is the one I was dealt, and I think I’ll stick with what I know.

Has the DOC affected how I treat others with chronic illnesses?  I really hope it has.  Reading other people’s experiences and frustrations with diabetes has shown that even though people may not seem to be struggling on the outside, they can be on the inside.  It has reminded me how deeply a careless word or seemingly harmful joke can hurt.  Hearing the misconceptions others have encountered reminds me that the things I think I know about other conditions may also be misconceptions.  And most of all, it makes me want to help others with chronic illnesses find a safe and supportive community like our DOC - because everyone deserves just that.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Accomplishments - #DBlogWeek Day 4

You can find more Accomplishments Big and Small posts on the Thursday 5/16 Link List.

We don’t always realize it, but each one of us had come a long way since diabetes first came into our life. It doesn’t matter if it’s been 5 weeks, 5 years or 50 years, you’ve done something outstanding diabetes-wise. So today let’s share the greatest accomplishment you've made in terms of dealing with your (or your loved one’s) diabetes. No accomplishment is too big or too small - think about self-acceptance, something you’ve mastered (pump / exercise / diet / etc.), making a tough care decision (finding a new endo or support group / choosing to use or not use a technology / etc.). (Thanks to Hillary of Rainie and Me for this topic suggestion.)

I used to be a pre-teen girl who had to check her urine.
I am now an (almost) 45 year old woman who checks her blood.

I used to be tied to a strict exchange diet which forced me to eat certain things at certain times and forbid sugar.
I am now able to count carbs and make food choices and bolus to cover what I’m eating when I want to eat it.

I used to be required to take 5 or more injections a day to get the insulin I needed.
I am now hooked up to my pump and insulin is continuously dripping into my body.

I used to be surprised to find a very high or very low number on my meter.
I am now usually given a heads up by my trusty Continuous Glucose Monitor.

I used to be embarrassed and ashamed for people to know I had diabetes.
I am now proud to educate and advocate and let people know what life with diabetes is like.

I use to be a brand new diabetes blogger who hoped to fit into a community of people like me.
I am  now thrilled and excited to be sharing Diabetes Blog Week with over 200 other bloggers around the world.

I used to be alone with diabetes.
I am now a grateful and happy member of the Diabetes Online Community!

But I still hope to some day say . . . . .
I used to be a person with diabetes.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Memories - #DBlogWeek Day 3

You can find more Memories posts on the Wednesday 5/15 Link List.

Today we’re going to share our most memorable diabetes day. You can take this anywhere.... your or your loved one's diagnosis, a bad low, a bad high, a big success, any day that you’d like to share. (Thanks to Jasmine of Silver-Lined for this topic suggestion.)

It’s easy for me to share the good stuff.  It flows onto the page with barely any effort.  The hard stuff is much more difficult, but I think it’s necessary too.  So today I’m sharing a story of ketoacidosis and a very different me from the person I am today.

It was back in June of 2003.  Pete and I had been engaged for a month.  We had a big weekend planned - a friend’s wedding on Saturday, a Van Morrison concert on Sunday, and the day off on Monday to sleep in and rest up.  But Sunday night things started to go awry.  As "Van the Man" performed I started feeling pretty cruddy and exhausted, so much so that I was actually grateful when the concert was over.  On the way home, I threw up all over Pete’s car.  And things went downhill from there.

I was home sick for several days, and a lot of it is a blur.  I couldn’t keep anything down, but my body kept trying to vomit.  I barely had the strength to drag myself upstairs to the bathroom.  Everything seemed to have a golden halo around it.  My sleep was restless and filled with weird dreams and hallucinations.  Pete stayed up late into the night searching WebMD to figure out what to do for me.  He went out and bought me a meter, because I hadn’t tested my blood sugar in many many years.  He kept checking my blood sugar but all it ever said was “HI”.  Yet I was sure I would just get better, and I refused to see a doctor.  That changed after a phone conversation with my mom.  As we hung up, I said “Okay, I love you, bye.”  This is going to sound really strange, but when she heard “I love you” it was a sign to her that something was wrong.  You see, I do love my parents and I’m close to them.  And they love me back, I know.  But we don’t ever say it on the phone.  It was such an out of the ordinary thing for me to say that Mom come right over and told me she was calling 911.  I protested, I insisted I didn’t need them, I refused to go to the hospital - but before I knew it I was in the back of that ambulance headed for the ER.

My endo at the time came to see me and told me I was in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).  I had no idea what that was.  It was at that moment that I realized how much I didn’t know and how important it was for me to make a huge change and start taking care of myself and educating myself.  I mean, really, how could I have lived with diabetes for almost 25 years (at that point) and not know about DKA.  When I was finally released from the hospital I bought Diabetes for Dummies and started trying to learn about my disease.  I started seeing my endo every few weeks (instead of every few years, like I had been).  I started to realize that she wasn’t the best endo for me when I would see only 300s and 400s on my meter no matter what I did, and yet she continued to reduce my insulin doses.  She was sure I was having lows I wasn’t feeling and the high numbers were rebounds.

A few weeks later I started getting sick again.  I called the endo’s office and was told that I didn’t need to go to the hospital.  The doctor on call told me to just eat a banana to settle my stomach.  I hung up, vomited in the sink, and headed to the ER.  I was just on the edge of another bout of DKA, and I was admitted for a few days.  My endo was away, so I was visited by an endo from another practice who was covering.  Within a few minutes of conversation with this doctor, I realized the poor care I was getting and knew I would be making a switch to that practice and my new endo - who I am still seeing today.

Ten years later I am in the best diabetes health of my life.  I’ve carried an A1C below 6.5 since I went on a pump and CGM in 2008.  I don’t know everything, but I feel like an informed and educated patient.  I went from never wanting anyone to know I have diabetes to never shutting up about diabetes.  I am not perfect.  I still have problems and crappy numbers and fears and days when I’m ready to give up.  But I also have good days and I have a wonderful support system both on-line and off.  This is the silver-lining to my DKA story.  It’s why I believe what happened in June of 2003 happened for a reason.  And I want anyone who is going through a dark diabetes time to know that if I can turn things around, anybody can.

PS: And the fact that Pete stuck through me through all of this, including putting up with a seriously smelly car for a while, and married me one year later?  Yup, he's one of the best!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

We, The Undersigned - #DBlogWeek Day 2

You can find more We, The Undersigned posts on the Tuesday 5/14 Link List.

Recently various petitions have been circulating the Diabetes Online Community, so today let’s pretend to write our own. Tell us who you would write the petition to – a person, an organization, even an object (animate or inanimate) - get creative!! What are you trying to change and what have you experienced that makes you want this change? (Thanks to Briley of inDpendence for this topic suggestion.)

We, the undersigned People with Diabetes (PWDs) and caregivers and loved ones of PWDs (Type 3s) do herby petition our insurance companies for the following:
  • Test Strips, the number the doctor says we need, not the number you think we need.  (I test when I wake up, before and after each meal, and before bed.  If I’m unusually high or low, I need to test a few more times.  That is why my doctor prescribes 10 strips a day, which I then need to fight you for.)
  • The freedom to chose our own meters.  (As if fighting for strips wasn’t bad enough, why do you get to dictate which meter I use?  Why is it okay to make me pay a higher co-pay for my strips if I prefer a meter that you don’t consider “preferred”.  I’m the one who had to prick my finger 10 times a day and bleed on a little strip.  It’s not fun.  I should at least get to pick the meter that works best for me.  The strips for the current meter I use and love have a co-pay that is twice as much as the meter you think I should use.  Unfair!!)
  • Not to mention, the right to use which ever insulin my doctor and I have determined works best for my body.  (Newsflash - insulin is not “one size fits all”.  I’m a unique person with an individual make up.  What works for someone else might not work for me, and vice versa.  Of course, the insulin that works best for me is another that you deem “non-preferred”.  Diabetes is expensive enough, I resent that you are making it even more expensive for me.)
  • The understanding that I might know what I need better than you do.  (You don’t wear my diabetes devices every day, so you probably don’t know what is needed.  For example, you cover my CGM sensors - for which I’m grateful.  But you won’t cover the Tegaderm tape I use with them.  Do you understand that without the tape, each sensor wouldn’t stay put for more than a few hours?  Sensors won’t do me any good if they don’t stay on long enough to give me readings.  Duh.)
There is more I could add, but even if we just started here you would reduce my stress quite a bit.  And you know what, health insurance company?  Stress is not healthy!!
It isn't too late to sign up and join in on Diabetes Blog Week!!  You can find everything you need to know here.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Share and Don’t Share - #DBlog Week Day 1

You can find more Share and Don’t Share posts on the Monday 5/13 Link List.

Often our health care team only sees us for about 15 minutes several times a year, and they might not have a sense of what our lives are really like. Today, let’s pretend our medical team is reading our blogs. What do you wish they could see about your and/or your loved one's daily life with diabetes? On the other hand, what do you hope they don't see?  (Thanks to Melissa Lee of Sweetly Voiced for this topic suggestion.)

My endocrinologist doesn’t read my blog.  I mean, I don’t think he does.  I’m 97.3% sure my endo doesn’t read my blog.  But he knows I have a diabetes blog.  He knows I’m also a regular contributor to The Loop.  He knows I often come prepared to discuss various things I’ve learned from the DOC.  But I highly doubt he has the time or the desire to Google my blog and read it.  But what if he did?  Eeep!!

I’d love him to see that sometimes I can be working really really hard even if my numbers don’t reflect it.  I’d like him to see how hard I try and the huge volume of time diabetes takes up every day.  I’d like him to understand how really scary a bad low can be so he’d get why sometimes I over-treat.  (I had another one of those scary bad lows at midnight last night, and ate far too much chocolate frosting while contemplating how close I might have come to not waking up.  He should see that stuff.)  I hope he would read something that would help him better understand the emotional side of diabetes.  I’d love for him to see how important emotional support is, both from our peers and from professionals.  And I wouldn’t mind him seeing how awesome I think he is!

Is there anything I might write about that I wouldn’t want him to see?  You bet there is.  I could do without him knowing about the times I say “eff it” to diabetes and feast on Mexican food even though it will totally wreck my numbers.  I don’t want him to see the times I know I should check my blood sugar but I’m too lazy.  I wouldn’t want him to know that I sometimes mute my CGM during the night if it’s robbing me of too much sleep.  (Yes, I know, stupid thing to do!)  I wouldn’t want him to see the Diabetes Burn-Out, which is pretty silly since I just said I wanted him to understand the emotional side of diabetes and I think that’s a huge part of burn-out.  What ever.

So basically, if Dr. F were to read my blog (hi Dr. F!!), I’d want him to see all of the times I’m a “perfect” patient but skip all of the times I’m just a normal human PWD.   How crazy is that?

It isn't too late to sign up and join in on Diabetes Blog Week!!  You can find everything you need to know here.

Friday, May 10, 2013

A Lot Going On . . . .

There is quite a bit happening in the Diabetes Online Community over the next few weeks, and I wanted to make sure nobody misses out!
  • Diabetes Blog Week!

    Sign ups are rolling along for the 4th Annual Diabetes Blog Week, with about 110 bloggers participating right now.  Diabetes Blog Week starts on MONDAY so please join in!  You can use this form to sign up, preview the topics here, and find all of the details over here.  I could not be more excited to see what next week brings!

  • The Diabetes Hope Conference

    The Diabetes Hope Conference is a free virtual event that is open to all and will be held via Google+ Hangouts.  We’ll be discussing life with diabetes, life with diabetes complications, and living with diabetes and hope.  I think this virtual conference is a really cool idea and something that is much needed, and I’m thrilled to be participating on one of the panels.

  • Diabetes Co-Stars Video
    Last weekend a new Diabetes Co-Stars Video premiered at the ADA Expo in L.A.  It stars actress Elizabeth Perkins, who has T1, and the winners of last year’s  Diabetes Co-Stars casting call.  It’s a great video showcasing the need for support, but that’s not the only reason you should watch it.  Once the video gets 10,000 views, Sanofi will donate another $10,000 to the Diabetes Hands Foundation.  (This is in addition to the $10,000 donation they made last year.)  The DHF runs many important programs and it’s great that taking just 15 minutes to watch the video can help bring in more funding!

Enjoy your weekend, rest up, and I’ll see you here on Monday for Diabetes Blog Week!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Fourth Annual Diabetes Blog Week!

Wow, I never would have imagined we’d be doing Diabetes Blog Week for the fourth time, but I couldn’t be more thrilled!  As I look back on that first year, and then the second year and the third year I'm so grateful for all of the enthusiasm and support Diabetes Blog Week has received year after year from the D.O.C.  So what do you say we do it all again?

What is Diabetes Blog Week?  For those of you who haven’t participated before, the idea of Diabetes Blog Week is that bloggers sign up to post about a set topic each day for a week.  This way, readers can jump around the D-Blog Community and get a plethora of different perspective on a single topic.

When is Diabetes Blog Week?  The fourth annual Diabetes Blog Week  will take place next week, from May 13th through May 19th.

Where can I find the Diabetes Blog Week topics?  You can find the topics for next week on the Topics and Posts page.  They’ve been posted in advance, just in case you want to start drafting your posts this week.  Use these topics as a starting point for your post each day and see where it takes you.  Write as much or as little as you like.  There are no right or wrong answers - just read over the topic and start blogging!  I've also included two wild card topics to choose from.  If one day’s topic doesn’t inspire you, feel free to post about one of the wild card topics instead!

Who can participate in Diabetes Blog Week?  DBlog Week is open to anyone who blogs about diabetes - be it Type 1, Type 2, LADA, or gestational, and it’s also for parents, spouses and caregivers to someone else with diabetes.  If you blog about diabetes in any capacity, please join us!  If you don’t have a blog but have thought about starting one, now is the perfect time.  There are free blogging sites you can use (such as Blogger or Wordpress) and members of sites such as TuDiabetes or Diabetes Daily have a blog built right into their profile!

Can blogs done by groups, organizations and companies join?  I like to make Diabetes Blog Week as inclusive as possible, so yes, group blogs and professional blogs are welcome to join.  However, the posts should be written by a blogger with a diabetes connection and product plugs / advertising will not be allowed.

What if I can’t write posts for all seven days?  Of course, the idea for Diabetes Blog Week is that everyone who signs up to participate will post on all seven days.  Although that is the goal, I understand that life sometimes gets in the way, so if you end up falling short of seven posts that’s okay.  Diabetes can be stressful enough, so let’s keep DBlog Week fun and stress free!

How do I sign up?  Once again, I’ve created a form to submit your information.  Fill it out and you will be signed up and added to the Participant's List within 24 hours.  There is a space on the form for you to let me know if you have any questions, and you can also email me at any time at  

Fill out my online form.
Will there be a master list of posts for each day?  There sure will!  I’ve included daily Link Lists on the Diabetes Blog Week topics page.  Be sure to add your blog posts to the corresponding list each day so we’ll have all posts linked in one central location - this makes it easy for people to hop around and read all of the posts.

How about the banner or button?  This year the banner and button are so much more beautiful than they were in other years - because this year I had help!!  My wonderful friend Sarah of Sarah J. Design took my idea and made it into the wonderful banner and button we'll be using this year!  (I highly recommend her if you're looking for graphics.)  If you’d like to display the banner or button on your blog you’ll find the HTML Codes below -just to make things a little bit easier.

Grab the Banner
Diabetes Blog Week
Grab the Button
Diabetes Blog Week

What if I want to Tweet about Diabetes Blog Week?  That would be awesome, you can use the hashtag #DBlogWeek.

I’ve tried to cover everything, but I’m sure I missed something, so please leave any questions in the comments below or email them to me at

Thank you all again for the overwhelming support during the last three Diabetes Blog Weeks, and I’m thrilled to be doing it a fourth time!