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!!