Thursday, December 18, 2014

35 years . . . .

cupcakeOne day this month is my 35th diaversary.  We don’t know my exact diagnosis date, so I always just pick a day somewhere during the middle of December to observe the demise of my pancreas.  Today seems as good a day as any.

I find myself with conflicted feelings about living 35 years with diabetes.  It seems like such a huge chunk of time.  And as I like to say, life with diabetes hasn’t been all bad.  I’ve met some of my best friends because of diabetes.  Real-world friends.  On-line friends.  And, perhaps the most dear to me, on-line friends who have become real-world friends . . . . or actually more like family.  And even my “twin”.  I’ve had some great experiences and opportunities that probably wouldn’t ever have come about if not for diabetes.  For all of that, I’m thankful.

But honestly, at this moment I feel the good is no match for the bad.  There are things about diabetes that make me so angry.  And I’m going to vent them here, today, because I’ve decided after 35 years I have that right.  Here goes . . .

Diabetes, I hate that on Sunday morning I was sleeping soundly and in the middle of a dream when I awoke to Pete putting his hand on my back.  He explained that I wasn’t moving and he couldn’t see me breathing, so “I got scared and had to make sure you still felt warm.”.  That moment showed Dead in Bead is a real fear for my husband, and I despise that.

Diabetes, I hate that 11 year old me had to watch other kids eat cake that I was denied at birthday parties in the days of exchange diets and crappy insulin.   I hate that I still carry scars from that.

Diabetes, I hate that every time someone judges my diabetes management, a small piece of my confidence is chipped away.  And I hate that every time someone judges someone else’s diabetes management, a small piece of my heart breaks.

Diabetes, I hate that no matter how badly I need to take a break from you, that isn’t possible.  Pete and I have talked about giving me a Diabetes Day Off, but I think he’s so afraid of hurting me he just can’t do it.  We joke about wanting to bribe hire a D-Mom to come take over for a day.  Truthfully, it isn’t really a joke because I would absolutely love to be able to do that.

Diabetes, I hate that as a teen I would lay awake at night counting how many healthy years I thought I had left.  I didn’t think I had many, maybe 5 or 10.  I was sure I’d be long dead by now.  I really thought there was no use trying to take care of myself, because complications and early death were guaranteed.  Yes, I’m happy I was wrong about that, but I hate that I felt I had no future.

Diabetes, I hate that you make my loved ones worry about me.  I also hate that their worry probably runs far deeper than I can even imagine.

Diabetes, I hate the fear you bring to every eye exam and lab test.  I hate feeling like I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

In 35 years I’ve built up a lot of diabetes hatred.  But, of course, I know diabetes is here and it isn’t going anywhere.  So in the end, after I’ve let myself have this good venting session, I’m picking myself up and just continuing on . . . . . .

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

New Blogging Venture . . . .

I’m excited to share that I’ve recently contracted with ReliOn to contribute some posts to their new blog.  The posts are meant to be short and easy to read, with basic information and actionable tips.  As someone who tends to be very long-winded, this has been a fun writing challenge for me. 

relion_logo_new7.25The first three posts I’ve contributed are up, if you’d like to take a look.  I tackled the topics of involving family in diabetes management, ways to stay positive with diabetes, and tips for traveling.  Feel free to let me know what you think!

** My disclosures can be found here. **

Monday, December 15, 2014

Reboot my Pancreas . . . . .

Last week was a craptastic one.  The coffee maker went from leaving a small spot of water behind after brewing coffee to completely saturating the cloth I’d been putting underneath to catch that bit of water. So off I went to Target for a new coffee maker (since coffee is priority #1 in my house).  Of course, I went low in Target (like you do) and probably made a bit of an ass of myself at the register because I was pretty damn confused by the checkout process.  After several Starbursts and a GoGo Squeeze apple sauce I was okay to drive home, only to find my laptop’s hard drive had died.

So obviously most of my weekend revolved around my computer-less status.  Words like reboot . . . . reinstall . . . . . import . . . . backup . . . . pepper my vocabulary more than I’d like.  Which made me think, although this whole process is like spending some quality time with Lucifer, wouldn’t it be worth it if we could do for a pancreas what we do for a computer?  First, before diabetes comes to visit, we backup.  At the first diabetes symptoms, we do a virus scan on our immune system and send the virus to the vault.  Then, import that healthy immune system and pancreas that we backed up and reinstall them.  And then, do a reboot and no more diabetes!

Ah well, it’s nice to dream, isn’t it?  But I suppose a pancreas reboot isn’t happening today.  I’ll have to settle for the import / restore that is happening on my brand new laptop instead.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Holiday Strategy . . . .

‘Tis the season . . . . for a bazillion articles with advice on how to handle diabetes during holiday parties.  Everywhere I turn I’m reading game plans for resisting festive treats and eating healthy at celebrations.  And can I let you in on a little secret?  I ignore all of them!

partyI work really hard on my diabetes management all year long.  I’m not perfect - not even close.  Shit happens.  But I follow the game plan my endo and I have come up with and, for the most part, my labs are all good.  We are happy with my A1C.  My standard deviation is fine.  The small bleeds found in my eyes several years ago are long gone.  My hard work is paying off for now.

So, quite frankly, I’m NOT going to eat an apple before leaving for a party so I’m not tempted by the appetizers.  I’m NOT going to fill up on crudité without the dip.  I’m NOT going to choose only lean proteins and vegetables at the buffet.  I’m NOT going to drink sparkling water instead of wine.  I’m NOT going to have only one bite of dessert to taste and pass on the rest.  Don’t get me wrong, if those tips work for you then I certainly respect that.  I’m just not willing to do any of it.

Here is what I will do.  I will pump up a temp basal.  I will estimate carbs and bolus.  I will keep an eye on my CGM graph.  But most of all, I will eat, drink and be merry.  I will have fun at holiday parties instead of worrying too much about what diabetes is doing.  It’s okay if I spike.  It’s okay if I go low.  It’s okay if things are a little off track.  It’s okay,  because it’s Christmas and I deserve to splurge a little and enjoy the season.  I may not get a true break from diabetes, but I’ve earned the right to loosen up a little and just have fun.  And THAT is my holiday strategy this year.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Motivation . . . .

When I’m really in the throes of diabetes burn-out, I can’t seem to muster the motivation to wear my CGM sensor.  That is where I have been lately.  Until this happened the other night.

Five hours later, when I got up for the day, you can bet I put a new sensor on.  It seems waking at just after 2:00 am with a dangerously low blood sugar was all the motivation I needed.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Hurts so Good . . . .

Over the weekend, Pete and I worked on reconfiguring our bedroom T.V. stand so it would be more functional and organized.  I needed to retrieve one of my big, lined baskets from the basement to hold the old VHS tapes we weren’t ready to part with.  Our basement is unfinished, meaning it’s a dimly lit space comprised of cinder blocks and spider webs.  This also means it has become the dumping ground for stuff we aren’t using right now, but will probably need in the future.  Like big, lined storage baskets.

hurtI slid my sock-clad feet into the old pair of Crocs I keep at the top of the basement stairs and headed down to dig through the disorganized mess that is our cellar.  Just as Pete called “Be careful” behind me I felt a sharp pinch on the bottom of my foot.  I ignored it and dug out the basket and returned upstairs, feeling a pinch every few steps.  So I sat down on the bed, pulled off my sock and investigated.  I could feel a thin splinter sticking out of my heel, so I did what I always do in this situation.  I called Pete to come remove it for me.  (Disclosure:  I walk around in socks, or even bare feet, all the time.  So splinters in my feet happen every few months.  Not at all diabetes-recommended, but I'm being honest.)

Since whatever was in my foot was still mostly sticking out, it only took Pete a second or two to pull it out with tweezers.  Once he was done, he remarked “That was really thin!  I’m surprised you even felt it.”.  And to me, that’s a pain that hurts so good.  I may not know what was in my foot.  Maybe it was a stinger from a bug (but let’s say no because I hate to think my foot was in a shoe with an icky bug in it) or maybe it was a tiny splinter of wood.  In the end, whatever it was, it put my mind at ease.  Because after about 35 years with diabetes I can still feel the tiniest jab in my foot.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

New Low Symptom . . . .

I was a mere 2 hours into my 6 1/2 hour flight Sunday (which was almost more like 7 because we boarded on time but took off over 30 minutes late). Suddenly a wave of homesickness hit. It didn't seem odd - I like to travel but I also always miss home too. But when the homesickness got so strong that I found tears streaming down my cheeks I knew something wasn't right. The first thing I thought to do was check my blood sugar. 34. It seems that I had silenced my low alarm while napping in my seat.

Once I treated it, I found I didn't feel the aching homesickness any more. But during the remaining (LONG) hours of the flight, my low alarm would go off every time I started to feel the homesick feelings creeping back in.

Just when I think I know all symptoms of a low, diabetes tosses a new one at me. How about you? Have you found any new low symptoms recently?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Awkward Moments . . . .

awkwardIn my opinion, I’m one of the most awkward people around.  And I have diabetes, which is awkward in its own ways.  Misconceptions, being tethered to a medical device, lows and highs that mess with my head . . . .  diabetes is rife with awkward landmines.  And that’s the topic of my latest post over at The Loop.  Feel free to check out my most memorable awkward diabetes moments.

How about you?  Do you have any awkward diabetes moments you’d care to share?

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

Friday, November 7, 2014

Bernd das Brot . . . .

When Pete and I used to take ballroom dance lessons, our half-German instructor told us about a puppet called Bernd das Brot.  Pete and I stumbled across his “Musikvideo" on YouTube and it stuck with us.  Our American Muppets have nothing on Bernd!

Anyway, his name translates to Bernd the Breadloaf, but I’ve always thought of him as Burnt Bread.  So why am I thinking of him today?  Well, unlike Mr. Breadloaf (who isn’t really burnt), I have moved well beyond lightly toasted and fallen full on into the flames.

The worst part of my current bout with burnout is that I have an endo appointment on Monday.  I did get my labs done, so there is one point in my favor.  However, the fact that I haven’t worn a sensor all week is going to leave a pretty big info gap in my pump download.  Every day I promise myself I’ll insert a new sensor tomorrow.  And every tomorrow I put it off yet another day.  I’m also randomly grazing and bolusing instead of counting carbs and eating actual meals.  My Fitbit is laughing at me because I’m barely getting any steps in.  And the leftover Halloween candy considers me its new best friend based how often I visit.

So I’m dreading Monday’s appointment even more than usual.  My endo is great and I’ll be completely honest with him about what is going on.  But I can’t help but be very embarrassed to admit how little I care about my diabetes these days.

Just call me Burnt das Karen.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

My New Low Glass . . . .

I used to treat low blood sugars with juice all the time.  I bought juice boxes marketed to toddlers because they had just enough carbs and I didn’t have to measure anything out while low.  But then some (probably fake) disgusting“news” item was going around Facebook about juice boxes, and because I’m so easily grossed out I haven’t been able to drink a juice box since.

Pete likes juice so we always have a large bottle in the refrigerator.  But determining how much of it I should drink while low is pretty impossible for me, so I don’t bother with it.  Until now!!  Because National Etchings sent me their measuring glass to try out.  I.  Am.  In.  Love.


Seriously, this is a beautiful glass all on it’s own.  It’s shiny and pretty and feels nice and solid in my hand.  The quality is so good that I’d expect it to be priced higher than it is.  But the big draw for me is the measurements etched into the side.  It means I can pour out three ounces of juice to treat, even when a low blood sugar has my brain pretty scrambled.

Want a new low glass for yourself?  Well, you are in luck, because National Etchings has offered a second glass for me to raffle off!  To enter, simply use the widget below to “Like” the  National Etching Facebook page.  The contest will close on Friday, October 31st.  Good luck!! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Harder for Others . . .

dsmaI believe diabetes is hard for everyone, regardless of type.  However, I also believe there are some things that are harder for other types than for me, as a Type 1.  And that is the focus of the #dsma blog carnival this month.  The question is from a September chat that asked “anything easy about living with your type of diabetes that isn’t easy for another type?".

Yes, yes, oh yes!!  I believe there are plenty of things that are harder for Type 2s and people with gestational diabetes and LADAs and every other kind of diabetes.  Don’t get me wrong, Type 1 is hard too.  And some things are equally hard for all types.  But some things are harder for one type or another.

Today I’m thinking of my Type 2 friends and the thing that I believe is tougher for them is STIGMA.  Yes, I’m yelling it.  STIGMA.  I hate the stigma that comes with diabetes.  Diabetes is not anyone’s fault, no matter what type a person has.  And I think sometimes T2s get stigma not only from the general public, but also from people who have other types of diabetes.  It’s wrong and it isn’t fair.  And I wish I could take the stigma away.

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 22, 2014

What’s That Wednesday - Meters #WalkWithD

I have identical meters - a purse meter and a home meter.  My home meter is older and also gets a lot more use.  (Apparently I don’t get out much.)   Lately I’ve been  nervous that it might be time to replace it.  So I decided to do a side-by-side test with both meters.  I used the same drop of blood and strips from the same vial.  And I held me breath to see how closely the two tests would line up.


Yeah baby!!!  This really put my mind at ease.  And it was a perfect slice of diabetes life for me to share as part of the Walk With D campaign.  Have you shared some moments of your #WalkWithD yet?

Friday, October 17, 2014


There is an important discussion with the FDA coming up, and diaTribe has arranged a short survey you can take to make sure your opinion is heard.  Read the flyer below for all of the details:


You can find the survey at  I believe it's only open through the weekend, so be sure you share your thoughts now!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

How to Lose my Mind . . .

Fasting blood sugar - fine.  Bolus for and consume coffee.

Pre-breakfast blood sugar - fine.  Pre-bolus for breakfast smoothie.  Make and drink breakfast smoothie.  Blood sugar remains stable.

Two and a half hours after drinking breakfast smoothie - CGM high alarm.  Test to confirm, and yes, I am high.  I figure it’s the smoothie, even though it seems odd that the spike didn’t start sooner.  Whatever.  Take the 1 unit suggested correction and head the the grocery store.  The grocery store is a drag, but I’m secretly happy to go because grocery shopping always brings my blood sugar down.

Come home from grocery shopping, put everything away, dust the entire house.  Still high.  Hmmm, that’s odd.  Correct again and set a higher temp basal for good measure.

FrustrationCGM high alarm repeat is set to 1 hour, meaning that it will alarm once an hour as long as I remain high.  All afternoon it continues to blare hour upon hour upon hour, despite continuing to up my basal bit by bit.  At 4:00 I finally admit that the 200+ blood sugar I’ve been stuck with all day can’t be due to the smoothie I drank at 8:30.  Decide to change my site, and am happy to see that it’s also time to open a new bottle of insulin.  Yay for eliminating two variable at once!

Insert new site, but it feels “weird” going in.  Not sure exactly what I mean by that, but my gut tells me something isn’t quite right.  Already frustrated enough that I haven’t been able to make my blood sugar budge all day, so immediately pull the new site and replace it again.  Then take a 20 minute walk, confident that I’ve now got this under control.

Two hours later blood sugar is STILL the same and that confidence I felt is replaced by complete exasperation.  Curse the fact that I keep forgetting to check for ketones, and give in to the temptation to rage bolus.  When even that doesn’t help, decide it’s time to do a third site change.  Pull the practically new site and it looks fine, but a few small drops of blood dribble out of my body.  Insert new site yet again and call husband and cry.

Finally make it into the 190s.  Pretty sure it’s a bad idea but decide to eat dinner anyway.  Eat a half portion and test again to see that I’m in the 120s.  Yay!!  Eat the other half of my dinner!

Watch a little TV with Pete.  We chat a bit and then he says “Do you think you're low?  You kind of sound like you're low?”.  I’m sure I’m not low but agree to test before getting up to wash the dishes.  41.  WTF.  (Also, what is this "sound low" symptom Pete can spot??)  Must be falling fast because CGM shows me in the 80s, but soon after the rapid down arrows appear.  Eat but still feel like I’m going to die.  Curl up in a ball on the couch while Pete is stuck doing the dishes.  At this moment, I feel like I absolutely can not live one more day with diabetes.

There are many hard things about life with diabetes, and this is one that people outside of the diabetes bubble probably just don’t understand.  I’d stick a million needles a day in my body - that pain only lasts for a moment.  But the emotional pain of trying every single thing you can think of to get your blood sugar back into range and nothing works?  Knowing that people think diabetes is no big deal because you just need to take your insulin and not eat sugar and that’s it?  On days like this one, these are the parts of diabetes that will truly make me lose my flippin’ mind.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What’s That Wednesdays - Smoothies!!

So far, the breakfast smoothie trial is going well.  I scale down the servings so they equal about 30 carbs and I tweak the ingredients to suit my tastes and what’s in my pantry.  (Like using plain yogurt with my own honey and vanilla added.)



Monday’s smoothie was more chunky than smooth, but as each day goes by I’m getting a feel for how long the blender needs to run in order to make a smoothie that is actually smooth.  But these were all really tasty, and also quick and easy to make.  I may be a breakfast smoothie convert, so I think I’ll need a few more recipes so I don’t get tired of these three.  Do you have a favorite smoothie recipe to share?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

DiabetesSisters Virtual PODS

DiabetesSisters runs a lot of great programs and events.  One that sounds fantastic is the PODS Meetups.  PODS stands for Part Of DiabetesSisters, and the meetups are in person, monthly gatherings that happen in many locations around the country.  Each month a different topic is up for discussion, so women with all types of diabetes can offer support to and learn from each other.  I've thought of looking into starting a PODS in my area, but since our local JDRF chapters already to a great job of schedule Adult T1 events I didn't think there would be much interest.  This is actually a good "problem" to have because it means the need for local support is already being met.

But what about areas that aren't so lucky.  What about places were there is no local support?  More importantly, what about places where the population is spread out and gathering in person isn't as easy as it is in a tiny state like Connecticut?  Well, I was thrilled to hear DiabetesSisters is starting a Virtual PODS Meetup.  And when asked if I'd like to lead it, I was even more thrilled to accept!  This month's Virtual PODS will happen this Thursday, October 16th at 8:00 p.m. EST!


Here is a little more information on PODS from DiabetesSisters:
Whether you were diagnosed with diabetes yesterday or 30 years ago, PODS meet ups offer you a safe, nurturing place that you can go for personalized peer support. Hosted monthly, PODS meet ups are designed to provide informal support and education to women of all ages with all types of diabetes (prediabetes, gestational, type 1, type 1.5, type 2, etc.).

At each meet up, participants are encouraged to focus on their own health and share their life experiences with other women who understand their unique challenges.

Our Virtual PODS meetup will be held using GoToMeetings and our topic this month is a great one.  We'll be discussing "Tips for Making It Easier".  If you would like to join us please email me at so I can send you the meeting link.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Two Weeks . . . . .

Yesterday marked two weeks since my terrible 5K.  And, quite honestly, they haven't been good - from a health or a diabetes perspective.  Before that 5K I had gotten myself into a pretty good routine.  Pete and I ran two or three times a week.  I wore my Fitbit every day and tried to hit 10,000 daily steps.  I was drinking 72 ounces of water a day and logging all of my food and calories.  I had lost a little over 8 pounds.

But that 5K really defeated me.  I didn't want to run anymore and took off my Fitbit.  I stopped logging my food.  The pounds are creeping back on.  If I drink 24 ounces of water it's a good day.  I just stopped caring and stopped trying.  I came down with another cold.  And even now that the cold is gone, I'm still not feeling great.

I think if there is one thing diabetes has taught me in the past 34+ years, it's that times like these will happen.  Something will take the wind out of your sails, burn-out will hit, and you just won't care for a while.  What seems to help me the most is to go ahead and roll with it - but not for too long.  So yesterday, I started to think about all those running goals Pete and I did hit - things we thought we'd never be able to do but did, and how great it felt when we high-fived each other after a great training run.  I started looking for some new healthy recipes to try out.  I am ready to start over a little bit at a time until I get myself back to that routine I was following two weeks ago.

Today I will start logging my food and calories again.  I will have healthy smoothies for breakfast every day this week and see how that goes.  (The idea of breakfast smoothies has never appealed to me and I've been happy with my organic cereal bars, but I want to try something less processed and not pre-packaged).  Maybe I'll try to log a few workouts on the Wii this week.  And next week, maybe I'll pull my Fitbit out of the drawer and give that a go again.

Breakfast smoothie in a martini glass?  Why not?
Martini glasses make anything seem more appealing!!

So thank you, diabetes.  Thanks for teaching me that one failure isn't the end.  That it's okay to feel burnt out and take a break.  That it's okay, as long as you remember to start over again and never give up.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

NOT a serving of fruit . . .

Yesterday I tweeted the following:


Yes, I know an apple muffin is not a serving of fruit.  I know I need to eat a better lunch, complete with some protein and vegetables.  I even tried to talk myself into a fresh apple topped with peanut butter instead, but my craving vetoed the idea.  So I caved.

It wasn’t even a home-made muffin either.  It was a ginormous bakery muffin from the grocery store.  It was delicious and it was just what I wanted.  But . . . . you guessed it.  I was high all afternoon.  It took several corrections to get back into range.  In the end, it probably wasn’t worth it.

I think (and hope) it’s normal for everyone to give in to a craving now and again, even when we know better.  But I can’t help but wonder what that feels like for someone without diabetes.  I bet they enjoy it a whole lot more.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

It’s Temporary . . . . .

I’m not a fan of winter.  I’d almost say I hate winter, but when I think of moving out of New England to somewhere warm year round I get the feeling I’d miss the changing seasons.  And as vile as snow is, I really love a white Christmas.  I guess it would be nice if it could snow on Christmas Eve, all melt away by Boxing Day and spring could arrive on New Year’s Day.  I could live with that kind of winter.

I love snowmen too.  Unfortunately, you need snow to make a snowman . . . .

I have a feeling this winter will be long and rough.  At least for me.  Why?  Because it’s only October and I’ve already been sick twice.  That’s right, once in September and once over this past weekend.  At first I thought it was allergies (both times) but I’m more inclined to think I was hit with colds.  Especially on Monday when I couldn’t get my blood sugar out of the 200s, even thought I hadn’t eaten.  Bolus after bolus did nothing, and I pulled a perfectly good site thinking it might be crimped or something.  (It wasn’t.)

It’s times like these, when my body is fighting germs and my blood sugars are out of whack, that I rely on a Temporary Basal to get me through.  I upped my basal rate a little at a time until I found the rate that finally helped my blood sugar settle down.  This time it was 150%, which I needed to keep in place for 24 hours.  Next time it might be 125% or 140% or 170%.  I’ve found the key for me is to just keep tinkering around until I find the temp basal that works for that day.

Today I’m feeling much better and my blood sugars and basal rate are both back to normal.  (Not that the word “normal” ever really applies when dealing with blood sugar . . . )  But it’s really nice to know I can turn to a temporary basal when I need it.  Speaking of temporary, it’s also nice to know that word also applies to winter weather.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

My Worst 5K . . . .

Sunday I ran my absolute worst 5K ever.  And diabetes was (mostly) to blame.


I will admit that we’d slacked a bit on training over the past few weeks.  We tried to train on our cruise, but it just didn’t work.  And then I got sick when we got back, and then life got busy.  It sounds like a pile of excuses, and maybe it is.  But the bottom line is that we knew we wouldn’t set any PRs during this race and we were okay with that - we just planned to go and have fun.  Unfortunately, I really didn’t have any fun at all.

I think the problem all started the day before.  We spent most of Saturday redecorating the living room.  We hauled away our old couch (in pieces, because otherwise it wasn’t going anywhere) and carted off other old furniture and carried in new furniture and rearranged and reconfigured and basically were busy all day.  I found myself fighting low after low after low, and it was no surprise when I woke up Sunday morning to a lower blood sugar than I liked.  I drank my coffee but skipped my coffee bolus, made sure I had plenty of gels in my running pack, and grabbed an apple sauce to eat before the race.

Once we got to the race site I ate the apple sauce, still with no bolus.  Ten minutes before the race I checked my sugar again, and I was still lower than I liked.  Figuring out what to eat was a little tricky though.  I’m used to running with a bit of insulin on board from breakfast, but Sunday I hadn’t bolused a thing.  So I wasn’t quite sure how much to eat to hit that fine line between being high enough to run without crashing, but not so high as to feel a sluggish, syrup-in-my-veins crud.  I decided a Clif Blok should do the trick.

Things started out fine.  At about a mile in my CGM hit my high threshold (set at 165) and showed two arrows up.  Usually that’s pretty perfect, because it’s about the time the exercise is starting to kick in and level the spike out.  Usually, but not on Sunday.  We hadn’t even gone another half mile before I started getting that fuzzy feeling.  I slowed to a walk and tested and was only at 90.  So I ate a couple more Clif Bloks.  At the two mile mark I wasn’t feeling any better, so when we spotted a little fence I could lean on and test again, we stopped.  I was even lower.  Pete handed me a gel and as I sucked it down we noticed the safety van that follows the runners.  It pulled up behind us to collect the cones marking the run route. 

“Are we the very last runners?”, I asked Pete. 
“Wait, there’s nobody behind us?’
“No.  Don’t worry about it, baby.  It doesn’t matter  Take another minute to rest.”

But to me, it sure did matter.  We were going to come in dead last and I still felt low and I was really frustrated that diabetes was making me a loser.  And that is precisely when the tears started.  I began walking that last mile and I cried.  Sprinkled along the route were people cheering us on - telling us we were doing a great job and that we were almost done.  The more they cheered, the harder I cried.  The harder I cried, the more embarrassed I felt.  Which in turn make me cry even more, which then made me absolutely humiliated.  I knew it was the low making me overly emotional but there was nothing I could do to stop it.  I was mortified and I wished more than anything that I was back home.

We were almost to the three mile mark when I started to get angry at diabetes.  I wiped away my tears and ran the last few tenths of a mile.  I gave a half-hearted smile to those who cheered as we crossed the finish line, and then I asked Pete to take us home.  Our official race time was our slowest 5K ever, and a full 5 1/2 minutes slower than the one we ran in September.  As it turned out, one person finished after us, about 7 minutes later, but that didn’t really matter to me.  And I can’t help but wonder what his story was.  Did he have an injury?  Was he sick?  Did a chronic condition mess with him?  And did he feel completely discouraged and frustrated too?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Toast . . . .

ToastI believe Diabetes Burnout is a real thing, and I’ve had it many times.  But right now I’m not there.  It’s definitely not smooth sailing, but I’m not burnt out.  I guess maybe I’m lightly toasted.

When I’m burnt, I don’t count my carbs.  I bolus random amounts where the Guess in my SWAG is more Wild Ass than Scientific.  Pre-bolus is replaced with bolus while eating.  Testing happens about twice a day, if I’m lucky, only so I can calibrate my CGM.  None of that is happening now.  I’m counting and testing and pre-bolusing.  I’m not burnt.

So what tells me I’m toasted?  Well, when my CGM rings a high or low alarm, I immediately yell “Fuck you, just fuck right the fuck off”.  (But if my mom is reading this, I mean that I say “Oh gee, gosh darn fiddle dee dee”.  Sorry Mom.)  During the day, I don’t bother treating a low until I really feel the low symptoms - pretending that I’m not hypo-unaware.  And during the night, I might dip into the 40s before I feel motivated enough to leave my bed and eat something.  Yes, I’m testing, but I’m starting to forgo a finger-stick here and there in favor of bolusing off my sensor if I know it’s been spot-on.  Yup, not burnt, but definitely getting pretty toasty.

I’m hoping by acknowledging that I’m firmly between the red coils of the toaster, I can pop myself out before I’m fully burnt.  Maybe I need to take a “Diabetes Day Off”, kind of like a Wallow Day but with less wallow and depression (since I’m not quite there yet) and more just giving myself a break for a day.  Will that turn the heat down and keep me from getting too crispy?  Any other ideas to halt the toasting?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Guest Post: Denouncing the Charlatans . . .

Today I'm delighted to share another guest post from Rick Phillips, who was kind enough to write about Spring Rains here last month.  Take it away, Rick!

First, thank you to Karen for giving me another chance to do a guest blog. I was once told any time a lady says you can come visit again you have done alright. As a matter of fact thinking back on my 57 years that only happened once and I married her (though she did turn me down for a first date 3 times before she called and asked me). Ha go figure.

Today I stumbled on another supposed ‘cure’ for diabetes. This one a 28 day cure. These things always make me think of the awful situation my mother faced years ago right after her diagnosis with type 1 diabetes in 1962. In those days mom and dad were alone and struggling with how to go forward. Now mom knew about diabetes, her sister (my aunt) was diagnosed at age 7 and she lived 3 years (she did not die of diabetic complications), but still as a thoughtful person mom felt alone with big decisions to make.

My mother’s (Marjorie Hale Phillips) senior picture before her 1954 HS graduation, she was 17 and Valedictorian of her class when this picture was taken. (Mom skipped 3rd grade)

Of course we now live in a world of social media, something my mom never had, but she would have used if it were available. I think mom would have found virtual supporters and helpers, just as easily as she found supporters in her in regular day to day activities (there were many). The difference being that today, mom would have found both more knowledge and well to be generous more stupidity about diabetes.

Some folks think these miracle diabetic cures are the invention of the internet age. I know better. When my mother was first diagnosed in 1962 she was confronted with a choice. When diagnosed she saw a doctor who gave her a very precise diet, including a multitude of herbs and vitamins. She was told to stop insulin immediately and pick up this diet and in time (perhaps 6 months) her Type 1 diabetes would be ‘cured’. She rejected that idea in favor of insulin.

What I admire so much about my mom was that she always looked forward, never back. Once (15 years later) I asked mom about that diet. She said it was so tempting to stop insulin and do that rigid, unattainable diet. I asked her why she didn’t stop insulin. She said it didn’t make sense; the science just did not support it. Today of course mom would search the internet for this crazy diet, she would find supporters and detractors of that approach and a dozen more. I think she would come to the same conclusion however. I think she would still choose insulin over lunacy.

A site like Karen’s is a beacon for giving good information and we need to celebrate that. But we also need to be just as loud in denouncing the charlatans. Yes I want a special diet to cure my diabetes. I want Okra water to cure it; I want cinnamon to cure it. But the science just does not support it. As for me I will choose insulin and that is the best advice I can give a type 1 diabetic today. Well that is until we get a Cinnabon (eat 2 Cinnabons with extra icing a day) cure. When I get that specific diet cure I may follow along. (no don’t worry, not really)

*** Lawrence ‘rick’ Phillips Ed.D.  is a 40 year type 1 diabetic who blogs about diabetes, life and films at  You can also find him on twitter @LawrPhil.  He is a notorious misspeller of words, and sometimes he tells humorous stories.  He has been married for 37 years Sheryl and has two sons and three grandchildren which he will tell you about ad nauseam if you let him.  You can contact him at ***

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

WTW: Me and Dr. Oz . . .

What's That Wednesday: Did you know I was on The Dr. Oz Show?


Well okay, I wasn’t REALLY on The Dr. Oz Show.  But right behind Dr. Oz?  That’s a picture of me that I tweeted as part of #showmeyourpump.  (Yes, that is my unmade bed in the background.  Had I known I'd be on national T.V. I would've taken a minute to make my stupid bed first . . . . )  It was included in a segment that featured Miss Idaho, Sierra Anne Sandison.  Ah, my 5 seconds of fame.  But seriously, anything that can help spread awareness and education is a great thing, so thanks Sierra!!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Crowd Sourcing: Packing Insulin

Pete and I are just back from a fantastic cruise to Bermuda.  Although there was lots of food (and maybe alcohol), there was also a lot of walking and stair climbing and we even worked in one 5K training run.  So my blood sugars were looking great . . . . right up until the last two days.  Then I found myself skyrocketing after everything I ate and taking quite a while to come down.  Once back in range I did manage to stay there, until the next time I ate even the smallest bite of food.

There is a lot that can throw off my blood sugar when I travel.  Lack of sleep due to late nights and a bed that isn’t my own.  More treats and food indulgences than I eat at home.  Stress.  (Yes, even on vacation I manage to stress.  Over possibilities of missing flights, sleeping through breakfast, leaving belongings behind in the hotel . . . . I can always find something to worry about).  But more often than not, I think my problem is my insulin.  I really think my little vials also suffer from travel stress.  I feel like they just lose their zing halfway through any trip.  I use Apidra, and I understand it’s more volatile than other insulin brands but I’m kind of tired of tossing out nearly full vials when I come home from a trip.

So can you help a girl out?   I’m looking for your suggestions on how you pack and store your insulin when you travel.  Because in my experience, the best place to crowd source is the DOC!  Got any tips for me?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Notes to Self . . . .

Note to Self:  Taking a few days off from a CGM sensor in order to insert a fresh one right before a trip is fine.

Note to Self:  On occasion, if blood sugars are in the “pre-run happy place”, it’s okay to leave the meter at home for a quick mile or two.

Note to Self:  A snack before a run is a good thing.

FailNote to Self:  Running with no meter and no sensor is NOT OKAY.  Even if it’s just 2.25 miles, and you had a snack because your pre-run blood sugar was only 86.  Do you hear me?  NOT OKAY.

Note to Self:  When running without a meter or CGM (but don’t ever do that!!) AND feeling low, for goodness sake, LISTEN TO YOUR HUSBAND!  Stop and eat the Level Life Gel he’s trying to give you.  Insisting you will be fine for the last 15 minutes of the run even though you feel like you’re made of Jell-o is NOT OKAY.

Note to Self:  Yes, you finished your run and it all worked out okay, but come on.  You know better.  Stop being so stubborn!  (Although I did agree to eat the gel before finishing the run.  Point in my favor??)

Do you ever make “Notes to Self”?  And do you actually listen??

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Looking Back - Oven Mitts . . .

****  Today I’m revisiting a post from a few years ago, in which I realized just how calloused my poor little finger tips are.  And yes, I still do feel guilty for all those times I called my husband a wimp when he complained things were too hot touch!! ****

During the summer, we do a lot of cooking on the grill.  Okay, by “we” I mean Pete.  I don’t actually step near the grill.  Although I do prep the food so that makes it a “we” effort, right?  I usually wrap our vegetables in foil packets in an attempt to have Pete cook our entire dinner outside on the grill during those sweltering days of summer.  When we try to unwrap them, hot off the grill, Pete always complains about the foil burning his fingers.  I usually call him a wimp and unwrap them with my bare hands.

The other day, we went to Starbucks.  I grabbed a seat to check my blood sugar while Pete ordered our coffees.  As he brought them over, he said they were so hot they were burning him and went off to get us those thermal sleeve thingies.  Call me pig-headed, but I had to see how hot the paper coffee cup really was.  And it wasn’t hot at all.  Wimp!!

Cue the guilt-music.  Now re-read the paragraph above.  Especially the line about checking my blood sugar.  You see, I test between 8 and 12 times every day.  I’ve realized that the scar tissue I’ve developed on my poor over-pricked fingers are my permanent little oven-mitts.  And the perhaps my husband isn't such a wimp after all.  Sorry, Sweetpea!

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Guess what greeted me when I took my fasting blood sugar this morning?

 I get unreasonably excited about that elusive perfect 100.  You do know that when you get a #hundy you also get $1.00, right?  I showed my meter to Pete as he left for work, and he pulled out his wallet and handed over my dollar.  I folded it up and put it in the pocket of my meter case, along with other dollars from other 100s.  I have no idea what I’m saving them for, but they make me happy.

Do you play the 100 = $1.00 game?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What’s That Wednesday - Just Keep Swimming . . .

Back in 2010, Pete and I ran a few 5K races.  I was slow and I took a lot of walking breaks, but I really did enjoy it.  But then we took a four year break.  (I don’t know why, but we did).

This year we’ve been training again, and our first 5K of the season is on Saturday.  I’m not quite ready, but I’m doing better than I did in 2010.  I can run just over 4K without walking.  My plan is to have fun and do the best I can.  We’ve also signed up for another 5K in September and my goal is to run the whole 5K for that one.  And if I do meet my goal I can apply for my Athletes with Diabetes medal!

Oh, and why did I call this post “Just Keep Swimming”?  After watching Finding Nemo a few months ago, I’ve taken to singing this when I feel like I just can’t run anymore, and it works!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Guest Post: Spring Rains . . . .

Every year during Diabetes Blog Week I get to meet a few members of the DOC I hadn’t had an opportunity to interact with - and I love it!!  This year one of the people I got to meet was Rick Phillips and I’m so glad to have made his acquaintance.  When he offered to write a guest post for me I jumped at the chance!  I think you’ll enjoy getting to know Rick just as much as I have.

*** First let me say what a joy it is to be a guest blogger for Karen.  I caution I am not up to her high standards but it is nice to swing the bat in the big leagues of blogging every once in a while.  (No worries, Rick, my blog has low standards and isn’t big league, but if it was you’d be up to the task!!  -- K.G.)   I hope you will indulge my ramblings this one time, even though I know nothing about knitting. ***

I used to love spring rains.

I especially loved the gentle water falling that would soak my yard and that sound so pleasant on the roof.  This was especially true as a boy when I would camp out.   There is something dangerous yet tamed about being inside a canvass tent with the gentle rain falling on the fabric.  It was soothing for my spirit to hear those rain drops.

In 1973 and 1974 I had the privilege of backpacking in New Mexico the first year for 12 days and the second for a full month.  (People who know my history probably find that interesting since I was diagnosed with diabetes about 1 month before I left for a 30 day high adventure in New Mexico)  Today we would never allow a kid to do that but my mom and dad sort of had an evolutionary approach to child rearing.  I know what they were thinking, if he dies we have insurance so it’s ok.  LOL  In the mountains in New Mexico it rained every day and that was a special time for me. 

Yes I loved spring rains until I was placed in charge of a city sewer system.   After that every spring rain brought on a slew of hateful calls. As sewers would flood basements I would receive more and more angry calls. My mother (a wonderful person) could never have done all those things she was being accused of by the callers.  Likewise my father and his mother (my beloved grandmother) could not have done those things he was being accused of.  Certainly I was not guilty of the offenses I was being accused of.  Those offenses ranged from causing rain to making people want to move oh if I had that power just once I knew I could use it to good advantage.

The thing is it took less than about 3 months to cure me of loving spring rains.  By the time I was 29 I had come to dislike spring rains which was different than a poem I had written in in high school celebrating the romance of the soft noise of rain beat on the roof.  Instead around age 29 my love affair with spring rains was over.  One might say I had grown up and put a childish indulgence behind me.

The same in a way happened with my diabetes.  Some 40 years ago I was wide eyed and wanted to learn all I could about diabetes.  I really drank it in after I was diagnosed.  Even with my mom being a type 1 diabetic I still had lots to learn.  I practiced the exchange system learned about the wonders of the clinitest and the fabulous promise of the fasting blood sugar.  I learned it even though I had lived it because it was new.  In a way it was a romance of youth, I wanted to beat this disease and besides I only have five years to hold out.

I suppose that was sort of the problem.  I realized soon after release from my week in the hospital that I could not successfully live the way I was instructed.  I am certain the educators meant for me to pick and choose what I could live with, adapt what I could not live with and over time became a ‘better’ diabetic.  Trouble is I threw all that knowledge away.  I decided if I cannot do it all, I am not going to do any of it.  It was obvious to me almost immediately the clinitest was not a good measure of anything except failure.  The fasting blood sugar was a ridiculous test.  Let’s face it one could easily manipulate the fasting blood sugar.  Finally I decided to bank on the 5 year cure.

Therein I think lays the issue with diabetic education.  We tell new diabetics to change their life immediately.  Certainly change is for the better, we can feel better, live longer, and still be productive if we follow the path of total compliance with this new set of rules.  But following those rules is an onerous burden if one has to follow them all at once.  For that reason I believe a different form of diabetic education needs to be practiced for new diabetics.  One that accounts for behavior as well as the practical changes that are required when we are told we have this disease.  In particular this is true for children and parents of children with diabetes. I see way too many fail not because they do not have the tools to do it, rather because it is next to impossible to make a sudden 180 degree shift in lifestyle.

Dieticians, doctors and CDE’s never seem to give practical advice, like how do you explain to a date you need to test your blood sugar?  Or what is that thing with a tube coming out of you.  Or my favorite question, (probably because it was mine), what should I do when everyone goes for pizza at 10 PM after the football game?  I know we can preach the science but we also have to give strength for the practical and accept the failures as part of growth

When the practical is not addressed, more often than not people (kids are my main concern) throw the baby out with the bath water.  They simply reject the concept of meaningful change and put it off until bad things start to happen.  So I ask how do we allow people to enjoy the spring rain, and be as healthy as they can be at that moment?  There has to be better ways than our current take it or leave it diabetic education system.

*** Lawrence ‘rick’ Phillips Ed.D.  is a 40 year type 1 diabetic who blogs about diabetes, life and films at  You can also find him on twitter @LawrPhil.  He is a notorious misspeller of words, and sometimes he tells humorous stories.  He has been married for 37 years Sheryl and has two sons and three grandchildren which he will tell you about ad nauseam if you let him.  You can contact him at ***

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Exhausted . . . . .

I feel very lucky that the people in my life do their best to understand how tough diabetes can be sometimes and to support me when I need it.  But no matter how hard they try, I feel like they won’t ever really understand how exhausting diabetes can be - both physically and mentally.


Lately it’s been the physical exhaustion that has been hitting hard.  I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older or what, but lows seem to sap my energy more than ever these days.  Especially those sticky lows that hang on even after being treated, and those very low lows that come in an aggressive whirlwind.  It gets harder and harder to shake them off and continue with my day, when all I want to do is curl up and nap.

Last night brought my exhaustion to a whole new level.  My low alarm woke me in the middle of the night and a finger stick confirmed its claim.  So I treated the low and settled in to go back to sleep . . . . but that was not happening.  My mind raced.  I was tired but just couldn’t fall asleep.  I went downstairs to find K.C. but she was too busy with whatever kittens do in the middle of the night to come cuddle with me.  I got my phone and read my entire Facebook feed, then tried to go back to sleep again but it still wasn’t happening.  I played stupid games on my phone.  I stared at the ceiling and listened to the air conditioner cycle on and off.  I listened to Pete snore.  It took several long  hours before I finally managed to fall back to sleep.  And this morning?  There is just not enough coffee in the world.

Sometimes I wish people on the outside understood just how physically exhausting diabetes can be.   And that my endo could write a prescription for naps!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What’s That Wednesday - Solution or Problem

So I’ve given up calling posts “Wordless Wednesday” because I’m pretty sure I am never, ever Wordless.  Instead I’ve come up with “What’s That Wednesday” since I always show you a picture and then proceed to explain it.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I use to treat my lows.  I’ve gotten pretty sick of juice over the years.  I’ve also gotten tired of glucose tablets, even delicious ones like GlucoLift, so I reserve them for when I’m out and about.  (They’re portable and durable!!)  I’m also trying to break my Pavlovian habit of treating lows with candy, so instead I’m relying on small packets of organic fruit snacks and apple sauce.  But still, sometimes I can’t help but want to treat with candy.  Enter these:


These are Watermelon Rings I found at Whole Foods.  I’m hoping I’m not misguided in believing they don’t have as much bad stuff in them as regular gummies.  Even so, there is still a big problem with these.  THEY TASTE WAY TOO GOOD.  I know I only need one of these to bring up a low.  And it is nearly impossible for me to eat just one of these.  (By the way, I’m not low now but I may have just bolused for and ate one ring while taking this picture.)

And so, my low solution has become my low problem.  Okay, diabetes, you win this time . . . .

****  Update: After doing  more research, I have determined these are Surf Sweets Watermelon Rings.   They are vegan, organic and free of gluten, dairy and soy.  Some Target stores are test marketing them, so I'm on the lookout!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Going Old School . . . .

****  Happy #dblogcheck day!!  And a big thank you to Hannah and Chris for helping motivate us (okay, okay, ME) to stop slacking on leaving blog comments. ****

MeasuringCupsWhen I was younger, and the Exchange Diet ruled diabetes management, my mom carefully weighed and measured everything I ate.  A small food scale was a permanent and much used fixture in our kitchen, as was the multi-colored set of plastic measuring cups.  To this day I still grimace at memories of meals composed of “2 meats, 3 breads, 1 fat, 1 fruit, 2 vegetables” with no regard to how hungry I was or what I was in the mood to eat that day.  Portions were precisely measured and I ate them whether I wanted to or not.

Thankfully, those days are long gone and instead I count my carbs and dose my insulin for (almost) what ever I’m in the mood to eat.  (I say almost, because I do still try not to overindulge in carbs or else my blood sugar will pay the price.)  When counting my carbs I’ve definitely become more of an “estimator” rather than a “measurer”, simply eyeballing my portion sizes.  It works well for me, maybe because I’m a good eye-baller but more likely because there are so many other factors at play making carb counting somewhat of a gamble anyway.  (Am I going to exercise soon?  Have I exercised recently?  Am I full of hormones this week?  How stressed out am I?  Any of these can assure that even the most accurate carb count ends up a miss.)

But lately, I’ve hopped into my time machine and have begun making regular use of the food scale and measuring cups again.  Why would I subject myself to that?  Calorie tracking.  (YUCK)  I’m working on reversing the steady forward creep my weight has been taking over the past few (or more than a few) years.  I don’t want to do any fad diets and I’m not looking to eliminate anything from my menu - after living years of “diabetics can’t have sugar” I refuse to deny myself anything.  So the solution is careful calorie tracking, allowing myself to eat foods I want but only in portions that keep me within a calorie range for the day.  And while guesstimating carbs works really well for me, guesstimating calories doesn’t work at all.  I find I tend to overestimate portions sizes and underestimate calories.  So the hands of time have rolled back and I’m making regular use of measuring cups and food scales again.  It kind of sucks, but it is working.  I’ve lost almost 7 pounds so far (and I really hope the “blog jinx” won’t kick in now and I’ll gain it all back this week!!).

Are you a measurer or a guesstimator when it comes to food?  What works best for you and why?

Friday, July 18, 2014

3rd Time’s a Charm?

As I sit down to write this post, I realize I haven’t really done a very good job at blogging about my Enlite sensor experience.  I guess the reason is that I seem to only blog about problems.  I just don’t feel inclined to write a post saying “Hey, everything is good and I have nothing to say”.  And, of course, I always feel like the minute I blog about how perfect something is going, it all immediately goes to crap.  Stupid blog jinx.

But, for the most part, my experience with the Enlite sensors has been fantastic.  I think my only complaint is that the sensor wire kinks up quite easily.  (Is it still called a cannula on a sensor?  Or is sensor wire the right term?)  I don’t remember ever having a kinking problem with the Sof-Sensors, so my guess is that the trade-off for the much thinner needle and wire is that it’s more prone to kinking.  If that is the case, I think I would be willing to have some sort of middle-ground - a thickness somewhere between Sof-Sensor and Enlite, so there is more comfort than Sof-Sensor but less kinking than Enlite.  (And with both systems I still wish warm-up time took less than 2 hours and range was better.  And that my CGM data went to the cloud.)  But overall, I’m really happy.  The accuracy, for me, is terrific right from the start and the new tapes hold everything in place perfectly.

Yesterday, however, I had a lot of trouble.  It was sensor change day, so I inserted a new sensor while my morning coffee was brewing.  I like to eat breakfast late, and my coffee bolus is spot on and keeps my blood sugar flat, so that’s the best time for me to start up a new sensor.  Two hours later it was ready to go and I entered my first blood sugar.  Six hours later it was time to calibrate.  The sensor said I was 83.  My fingerstick said I was 93.  A few minutes later?  Beep beep beep, CAL ERROR.  I was surprised to get a CAL ERROR when the sensor and fingerstick values were so close, so  I tried calibrating again.  Beep beep beep, BAD SENSOR.

I thought about turning everything off and restarting it as a new sensor in a few hours, but decided it wasn’t worth it.  I pulled the sensor out and got everything ready to put in a new one.  Loaded up the serter, pressed the button, waited 45 seconds to be sure the adhesive stuck, and began to draw off the serter . . . . when I could see that the sensor needle was only halfway in my skin.  Great.  I carefully pulled everything off and decided to try to load the sensor back into the serter and try again.  But the same thing happened.  SO I pulled that second sensor and got out a third.  It inserted fine, but as I removed the serter the needle came off with it.  The sensor was properly in me, but the needle was stuck in the serter and wouldn’t come out.  That was when I realized I was long overdue for a call to the Medtronic HelpLine.

Two dead sensors & a serter with a needle stuck in it.

I’ve always had great experiences with the HelpLine and yesterday was no exception.  Here are the tips I learned.  1)  When I got that first CAL ERROR, I should have cleared it but then waited 45 minutes to an hour before trying to calibrate again.  The error comes up when the interstitial signal doesn’t jive with what the meter says your blood sugar is.  Waiting an hour gives it time for the signal to hopefully recover and for some of the sensor data to clear out.  2)  When the second sensor didn’t go in on the first try, I shouldn’t have tried it again.  Once the serter tries to insert it and fails, it’s pretty much a given that the sensor wire has been damaged and the sensor won’t work.  3)  When the needle is jammed in the serter, hold down the green button and shake the serter in the same motion as if you are ringing a bell.  But in my case, this didn’t actually make the needle come out.

Old serter with stuck needle on the left, new serter on the right.

Bottom line, by 9:30 this morning a new serter and two replacement sensors were on my doorstep, along with canisters to send the bad serter and sensors back for analysis.  And that third sensor that I put in yesterday is working just fine.  I don’t know what exactly made so many things go wrong for me yesterday, but I guess I was just having one of those day.

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

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Still Learning . . . .

It was lunch-time on Friday at Friends for Life.  (Or maybe it was Thursday.  I’m not exactly sure because the days kind of blur together in a rush of activity and fun and exhaustion.  But I’m pretty sure it was Friday, our second official day of FFL sessions.)  As I checked my blood sugar and dosed for my food, one of the hotel’s dining room attendants struck up a conversation.  It was obvious right away that she had a diabetes connection (turned out her nephew has T1), but also that she didn’t quite understand all the details.   (As in “My nephew has a pump, oh you do too, so it does everything for you.”.  I explained that it wasn’t exactly as easy as that.)

We talked about the fact that I’ve had diabetes for almost 35 years.  We talked about how this was my fourth time at Friends for Life.  And then she asked “You’ve had diabetes for so long and have been here so many times, are you really still learning anything new?”.  And the more I thought about it, the more I realized what a great question that was.

Life with diabetes is, for now, a never ending journey.  And I am always still learning.  My first few years at Friends for Life the things I learned were more “technical’'.  I learned in-depth stuff about sensor data and glycemic indexes and how to best manage exercise.  And I’m still always picking up more snippets and tips on stuff like this.  But largely the things I learn these days have shifted from the “nuts and bolts” to the “touchy feely”.  IMG_2253I get the most out of the sessions that deal with the emotional burden of my chronic illness.  I learn the most in sessions where we sit in a circle and let our guard down and pour out our hearts . . . .  to a room full of people who really get it because the same things are in their hearts.  I get the most out of sessions where I’m surprised to suddenly find tears streaming down my cheeks.  I get the most out of the sessions that I can’t really tell you about, because at the start we all make a pact that what is shared goes no farther than the walls of the room we are in.  I get the most out of sessions led by psychologists like the fantastic Jill Weissberg-Benchell.

Over 34 years with Type 1.  Four trips to Friends for Life, not to  mention a big bunch of other diabetes conferences.  Still learning?  Oh yes.  Never underestimate the importance of still learning.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Hangover . . . . .

I’ve spent the last week with what I can best describe as a Friends for Life Hangover.  Lethargic, moody, emotionally achy and just feeling the need to avoid the internet.   Don’t get me wrong, I love the DOC and am so grateful to be able to connect on-line any time day or night.  But there is something crazy special about being in the same room, talking face to face, and hugging it out. 

Meeting friends for the first time in real life.
IMG_2234 IMG_2204

Reconnecting with friends I don’t get to see enough.
IMG_2221 IMG_2231
IMG_2233 IMG_2236

Acting silly.
IMG_2214 IMG_2215

And just hanging out.
IMG_2254 IMG_2225

Sometimes I forget how much I need the real-life stuff, in addition to the on-line stuff.  I miss it.  And I have a Friends for Life Hangover.  I kind of wish I could stay there forever.

But. of course, someone at home needs me too.  And she showed me how much she missed me the second I walked through the door.
I missed her.  But still, I miss my Friends for Life too. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Talk to Each Other . . . .

I like when my “toys” talk to each other.  (And now my head is filled with images from Toy Story.)  My new Fitbit wirelessly syncs to both my iPhone and my laptop.  When I log food into LoseIt, I can see it on the LoseIt site or the LoseIt app, and it’s magically reflected in Fitbit too.  When exercise has earned me a few more calories worth of snacks, Fitbit tells LoseIt that I can eat some more.  Life is easier when everything communicates seamlessly.

TalkingNow imagine a world where diabetes devices had the same seamless communication.  My stuff probably communicates better than most because the devices I use are designed to work with each other.  My Bayer Contour Next Link sends my blood glucose numbers directly to my 530G insulin pump.  My 530G works hand in hand with my Enlite CGM, showing all of that data too.  Good, yes?  Yes.  But it could be better.  What if, like Fitbit, my meter and CGM could also sync up to an app on my iPhone?  What if I could use that app to send a bolus to my 530G?  Oh my goodness, that would be awesome.  It would mean I could wear a dress without worrying about flashing too much leg or some boob every time I need to access a pump that is tucked into some unmentionables when I have no pockets.  In the winter, when my pump is buried under layer upon layer of wool, I could still see my CGM graph.  And it would mean I could put an app on Pete’s phone so that when I’m travelling and sleeping alone in a hotel room, he can take a peek from home and know I’m okay.

My world would work so much better if all of my diabetes stuff would not only talk to each other, but to the other electronic devices which have become a staple in my life.

More about the #WeAreNotWaiting campaign.

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

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Little Encouragement . . . .

As much as I try to focus on the bright side of living with diabetes, the truth is that it’s tough.  Day in, day out, relentless and often unreflective of the work we put in.  So when I received an email from Betsy Bush about her involvement in creating a line diabetes greeting cards for kids I immediately loved the idea.  Betsy, along with fellow artists Corrie Kuipers, Doreen Erhardt, and Sharon Fernleaf, and writer Nene Adams, are currently selling the cards online at Greeting Card Universe.  Nene Adams was kind enough to provide a little more information on the creation of their diabetes greeting card line . . .


“My partner, Corrie Kuipers, and I have been designing and selling specialty greeting cards since 2007. In 2011, I was diagnosed with diabetes. Of course, I wanted to read everything I could about the disease. During my research, I was surprised to find very few greeting cards for diabetics, especially children and teenagers.

According to the American Diabetes Association (, 25.8 million adults and children in the U.S. have diabetes. We feel the need exists for special greeting cards to serve the diabetic community. Creating positive greeting cards addressing issues like insulin pumps, body image, lifestyle changes, emotional reactions, feelings of isolation and other concerns seemed like an obvious choice, especially paired with Corrie’s whimsical and often humorous art.”

“We invited other uniquely talented artists - Doreen Erhardt, Sharon Fernleaf and Betsy Bush - to join us and make one of a kind greeting cards for diabetics.”

“If there’s a child or teenager (or adult) who’s been recently diagnosed with Type I or Type II diabetes in your life, send them a “hug in the mail.” A little encouragement accompanied by a colorful greeting card will go a long way toward making a diabetic feel like they’re not alone.

Thank you, Nene!!  Want to hear a little secret?  I may supposedly be an adult, but I’d love to find one of these in my mailbox.  After all, we could all use a little encouragement now and then, couldn’t we?