Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Embracing Change…….

Remember when my hard drive bit the dust two years ago?  I invested in a new PC.  A pretty pricy one that was supposed to be great.  Except it wasn’t.  It was a LEMON.  Within a month it was sent out for repair.  I got it back 5 weeks later and absolutely nothing had been done to fix it.  After fighting with the manufacturer, a tech was sent out who replaced the mother board and fixed it.  But it’s never been right.  Little random weird problems happen intermittently, and lately they began to happen more and more.  I decided it was time to cut my losses and move on.  And I quit my long Windows history and went with a shiny new touch-bar MacBook Pro.

I couldn’t wait for it to arrive!  It took four long weeks but at last it was here.  And I hated it…….

Everything was different.  I had to think about how to do things I did mindlessly on Windows.  Everything took me three times longer to accomplish.  And I may have cried.  Several times.  I do not deal well with change.

But it’s been two weeks and I am over the drama.  I love my new Mac.  I can do lots of stuff mindlessly again, and every day it feels more and more normal.  And the adjustment has been a good lesson.

I started pumping in 2008.  And I have upgraded my Medtronic pump many times through the years.  New features have been added, but the pump has remained much the same.  I can use it mindlessly.  I can do a quick bolus or clear an alarm without even looking at it.  It feels comfortable and natural.  But next year, when the 670G is available I plan to upgrade.

The 670G will be very different from the 530G I have now (and all of my past pumps).  There will be a learning curve.  Things won’t be mindless.  I won’t be able to do things without looking.  I hopefully won’t cry, but I am afraid I might hate it for the first week or so.

But that’s okay.  I’m going to try to remember my Mac transition.  I will try to embrace the change.  Because, really, change is good.  Change helps us grow.  And I need to learn not to be so stuck in my ways.

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

** Second disclosure: I maybe have only 99% embraced the Mac change.  I am writing this post from my old PC.  The one program I can’t seem to give up is Open Live Writer and I have yet to find a good Mac equivalent.  But suggestions are more than welcome!! **

Monday, November 28, 2016

Between Big and Napping…

The other day I was wasting time on Facebook and I came across this . . .

flipflap - 12/28/2015 1:31:47 AM

And I chuckled and thought about how nice it would be to take a nap and then I moved on.

I later came across this post from Riva Greenberg about advocacy burnout.  And it resonates with me.  As always, Riva has a remarkable way of always getting to the heart of what I’m feeling.  November is Diabetes Awareness Month, but this year I don’t feel that I’m “going big” like I have during Novembers past.  I’m tired and maybe a bit jaded from the years I tried so hard to promote and educate and raise awareness and felt like I was screaming into a void.  That the only ones listening were us, the DOC, the ones who already get it.  I’ve felt bad about feeling this way, but once again Riva has reminded me that this is part of being human and it’s okay.

That isn’t to say I haven’t been working on stuff.  I’m part of a couple new projects - one that has launched and is shaping up nicely and one that is still in the very beginning stages.  I’m really excited about both and will be telling you more very soon.  I’m also busy off-line with support groups and events and in-person stuff.  I’m not exactly “napping”  yet.

I’m here.  Somewhere between Big and Napping.  A little bit glad that Diabetes Awareness Month is almost over.  And for now, right where I think I need to be…..

Friday, October 14, 2016

Why I SHOULDN’T do the Big Blue Test…

The Big Blue Test starts today, and I’m certain you can find numerous posts around the DOC telling you why you should participate.  But it’s Friday and I’m tired and cranky and probably need some more coffee (or a cocktail but it’s too early for that, right?).  So I decided to let my cynical narcissistic exercise-hating side take over and come up with some reasons why I shouldn’t do Big Blue Test.  Please read each lazy-ass excuse in the most whiney voice you can conjure up.
  1. I can’t find any information on what Big Blue Test even is.  Wrong.  There is a whole post right here that does a great job of explaining Big Blue Test. It even has a video.
  2. It takes too much time.  Nope.  It takes as little as 14 minutes.  That’s less time than a mid-day Starbucks run.
  3. Nobody else is doing it.  Untrue.  More than 100,000 people have done Big Blue Test since it launched in 2010.
  4. If so many other people are doing it, nobody needs me to participate.  Incorrect.  The goal this year is to reach 150,000 entries.  That is a lot, and every single participant matters if the goal will be reached.
  5. There is no benefit to me.  False.  On the average, people doing Big Blue Test see their blood sugar drop by around 20%.
  6. Okay, but there is no benefit to anyone else.  Erroneous, and also not very narcissistic, by the way.  The truth is, each Big Blue Test logged results in $3 donated to diabetes charities.  $1 each goes to DiabetesSisters, We Are Diabetes and Riverside Community Diabetes Collaborative.
  7. It is way too hard to log the results.  Inaccurate. You simply answer the quick form found to the right of this page.  Or, you can download the Big Blue Test app to your mobile device for even easier logging.
  8. I don’t have diabetes.  Okay, so obviously I do.  Even the cynical narcissistic exercise-hating side of me.  But if you are reading this and don’t have diabetes?  You aren’t off the hook.  Look at question 2.  If you answer Yes, fields pop up to record your blood sugars.  And if you answer No, you won’t see those fields but can still record your Big Blue Test participation.
Well, son of an expletive, it looks like my cynical narcissistic exercise-hating side has run out of reasons not to do the Big Blue Test.  There is no reason I can’t manage an entry a day from now through November 14th.  And the same goes for you, right??

Thursday, October 13, 2016

What Would You Do If . . . .

Question-Girl-2400pxWhen I was a tween . . . well . . . when I was a tween the word “tween” didn’t exist, actually.  But that’s beside the point.  Anyway, when I was a tween we had a favorite game at sleepovers called “What Would You Do If . . . “.  Shocking scenarios were imagined and we had to confess what we would do.  For example, “what would you do if you were walking home from school with insert name of current crush here and . . . HE TRIED TO KISS YOU?!?!?!”.  As you can imagine, our tween selves did a lot of giggling and blushing but not a lot of sleeping at these sleepovers.

As silly as this game was, it turns out What Would You Do If was somewhat useful.  Because living with diabetes kind of has me in a constant round of WWYDI. 

What would I do if my blood sugar crashed at 2a.m.?  I keep a jar of GlucoLift on my night table.

What would I do if I was traveling and my bottle of insulin broke?  I pack a spare bottle or two.

What would I do if my blood sugar went dangerously low and I passed out?  We have glucagon in Pete’s dresser drawer and also in my purse.  And it isn’t even expired!!

What would I do if my pump had a major meltdown and stopped working?  I have a old pump as a backup.  I also have some syringes and long-acting insulin. (But I'm pretty sure that has expired . . . )

Living with a chronic illness means I need to prepare for the unexpected and consider what I would do in various situations.  It’s a good skill to have, even though the diabetes version isn’t as silly or fun as our tween sleepover version.  So what’s on your Diabetes What Would You Do If list?

Friday, October 7, 2016

When Worlds Collide - #AADE16

My world is the patient world, the Person With Diabetes world.  So when I decided to attend the AADE Annual Meeting this year, I was a little bit nervous.  Sure, I've been to plenty of conferences. But they have all been geared towards patients. This conference was different. This was my first diabetes conference that was geared towards health care professionals. I’d be in a whole different world than the one I’m used to.  I worried that maybe I wouldn’t fit in, and maybe I would feel like I was intruding.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The sessions I attended reminded me that there is a whole group of people out there that want to help us live the best lives we can.  They want to help us get the tools we need to thrive - and there was recognition that our tools are both physical and emotional.  It’s hard to pick a  favorite session because they were all so good.  But I think I’ll go with “Culinary Medicine Helps Overcome Hurdles to Healthy Eating" presented by Leah Sarris, Program Director for the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University.  I loved hearing about programs in which patients come in and learn how to make healthy foods that are less expensive and quicker to prepare than zipping through the drive-thru.  It’s easy to see that learning these skills sets a patient up for much more success than sending them home with a vague order to “eat more lean protein and vegetables”.

I also spent a little time at the DiabetesSisters booth and I was thrilled to see how excited the CDEs I spoke to were about the peer support we provide.  I’m always careful to explain that our PODS meetings don’t include any medical  advice, but everyone I spoke with understood that already.  I didn’t need to explain myself or the things I write about or volunteer for.  I was just welcomed and accepted as part of this conference, and it felt great.

I’ve come away considering the patient world vs the HCP world.  Hours put in to managing diabetes.  Knowledge learned and shared.  A desire to make tomorrow better than today.  Which world am I referring to?  That of the patient or that of the educator?

The answer is both. When what I thought of as two worlds collided, I saw it isn’t about the PWD world and the CDE world.  It’s about the world we share together.  And I’m happy to have so many talented educators out there, dedicated to making our journey through this life with diabetes as successful as possible.  Thank you, #AADE16, for making a first timer feel like she fit right in.

(Okay, okay, it wasn’t all sessions and education.  Just as with patient-centric conferences, there was time for some silly fun too . . . . . )

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Shopping my Yard . . . .

I’m a haphazard gardener.  Pete says I love the planting and I love the harvesting but I hate the tending.  He isn’t wrong.  But as he started tending my neglected garden, he found the garden upkeep to be soothing so I guess we make a good team.  (#thanksPete)

This morning I harvested, and the harvest was really good.  Especially considering the fact that this year we planted a last minute garden that we haphazardly tossed in during our spring plant shopping.

A bunch of cherry tomatoes.  Some kind of peppers - I wish I could remember what they are but I just randomly picked up a plant that looked interesting and have now forgotten the variety.  And an eggplant.  This is our first year growing eggplant and I’m thrilled!!!  That is the second one we've picked, and there is a third little one on the plant that I hope to harvest in the near future.  (If a squirrel gets it, I'll be really really mad!!)

A bunch of larger tomatoes that will become tonight’s dinner, along with a ton of basil and parsley from my herb garden.

Healthy eating doesn’t come so easily for me.  I grew up hating vegetables.  My taste buds really like junk food.  And carbs.  But I like planting and harvesting and I get excited to cook and eat (or just wash and snack on) the produce I’ve shopped from my yard.  And we’re currently working with a designer to put a nice patio and fence in our sad little backyard, and next spring we hope to have a bigger and better and well thought out garden bed. 

Small steps to less processed, healthier, lower carb foods in our diet - that are about as local as they can get!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Tune-Out . . . .

This isn’t Diabetes Burnout.  At least this isn’t what burnout looks like for me.  But there is definitely something going on.  And I’ve realized it’s best described as Diabetes Tune-out.

When I’m in burnout, things get really sloppy.  I swag bolus more than I carb count.  I dose off my CGM rather than doing finger sticks.  I don’t pre-bolus.  I graze and randomly dose.  I take CGM breaks.  I feel really really aggravated with diabetes and I just want to ignore it.  (I don’t ignore it . . . . because I want to live . . . . . but when I’m burnt I really really want to ignore it.  And maybe I ignore bits and pieces of diabetes.)

None of that is going on here.  But something is.  I just don’t want to think about diabetes.  I don’t want to write about it.  Or Tweet or Facebook.  Or comment on blogs.  Or participate in #dsma.  Or do all those other things I usually love to do.  Instead I’ve just wanted to tune out.  And so, I have.

ToungeInstead, I’ve been cooking and baking and working on the house.  I’ve been gardening in the sunshine.  I’ve been shopping and going out for cocktails.  I’ve been texting my friends with pictures of my cat sticking out her tongue.  I’ve been doing fun stuff, quietly and without tying it to diabetes.  In a way, I’ve been sticking out my tongue at diabetes.

I realize that Diabetes Tune-Out is maybe something I need to let happen every so often.  I think (and hope) it might be the break I need to fend off  Diabetes Burnout.  But today, I felt like writing a post.  And I’m looking forward to participating in #dsma tonight.  I’m ready to tune back in.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Four Lows, A High and A Snuggly Cat . . .

Last night I slept without a sensor.  I’ll be traveling later in the week and delayed inserting my new sensor so its life will span the entire time I’m sleeping solo in a hotel room.  I don’t know how diabetes inherently knows that I’m lacking the safely net of my sensor, but somehow it does.  And it picks that time to go completely off the rails.

Pete and I are working our way through The West Wing on Netflix, and we settled in to watch another episode from Season 2 before bed.  I did a finger-stick to make sure things were good.

They were.  But I did another about an hour before bed to see which way my numbers were heading.

Ugh.  While 73 isn’t too terrible a number for me in general, the fact that it flashed up an hour before bedtime, and that I had dropped 20 points in 30 minutes, was not what I was hoping for.  So I had four fruit Tootsie Rolls and we watched the end of the episode.  An hour later I was ready for one last finger-stick and some much needed sleep.

Diabetes had another plan.  54 is an unsafe number for me at any time, and the fact that I continued to drop after treating was troubling.  So I ate three Orange Cream Glucolifts (yum) and brushed my teeth.  Then I played with K.C. until the 15 minute mark had passed so I could confirm I was back up and finally sleep.

Nope, diabetes was really laughing at me now.  My swearing woke Pete up, who saw the 43 and headed downstairs to get me some juice.  Juice isn’t really my low treat of choice, but it always brings me up and works very fast when I’m really low.  So juice it was, and a good amount at that.  My only symptom during this long bout of lows was some hefty anxiety, which melted away.  So I brushed my teeth again and drifted off to sleep.  Until I woke up two hours later with my mind nagging me to finger-stick again.

Okay, WTF??????  I didn’t want to wake Pete again so I was much quieter when I swore.  I knew I probably needed more than just the Glucolift on my nightstand.  So I stumbled downstairs, where I ate two Peeps horded from Easter, some Dots and four crackers with crunchy peanut butter.  I went back upstairs to brush my teeth a third time, during which I dropped the toothpaste and knocked over a cup and ended up waking poor Pete up anyway.  I played on my phone a bit until I was confident it was safe to sleep.  And it was a nice three hours of rest until K.C. meowed me awake to give her a snuggle.  She does this several times each night.  She’s very sweet and loving, which means I’m  generally very tired.  But in this case, I was glad she got lonely, because as she settled in next to me and I began petting her I could tell things weren’t good.  The palms of my hands and the soles of my feet felt like sandpaper.  My lips felt like they would start cracking at any minute.  And my mouth was so so dry and I was so so thirsty.

Yeah.  I don’t even know what to say.  I took a correction plus one unit, as is usually needed when I find myself over 250.  I got up yet again to have some water and check for ketones (which thankfully were negative, so at least one thing went right last night).  When the alarm went off two hours later, I was still 207 but with enough active insulin working to bring me back into range.  However, I don’t think there is enough active caffeine working to rid me of feeling like I’ve been run over by a truck.

Okay, diabetes.  You won the battle last night.  But tonight we spar again, and I’m really hoping to win this time.  Because I really need to sleep . . . .

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Diabetes Around the World . . . .

I’ve been leading DiabetesSisters Virtual PODS for almost two years now.  I love getting together each month to discuss diabetes with women all over the United States.  I’ve learned so much from each and every “sister”.  It’s been especially interesting to hear some of the different challenges we may face based on where in our country we live.  Weather can cause challenges.  Urban areas may have different resources than rural areas.  Different types of foods may or may not be available.  It really gives me something to think about.

Global-HeartAnd when I co-hosted our first Global PODS in February, with Elizabeth from T1International, all of these things got bumped up to the next level.  There are challenges faced by women with diabetes in other countries that I have never fathomed.  And still, we also have so much in common, which is a comforting and uniting circumstance.  So I am very excited to co-host our second Global PODS tomorrow.  I can’t wait to reconnect with some of the women from around the world that I (virtually) met last time and get to know some new attendees.  We’ll be discussing access, comparing and contrasting pressing access issues in each of our countries and brainstorming for possible solutions.

If you are women living with any type of diabetes and would like to join us, please email me or Elizabeth so we can send you the meeting link.  We’ll be holding the Global PODS tomorrow, Friday July 29th, at 3pm GMT.  (Click here to see what time that is in your corner of the world . . . . )

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Feeding the Mind - #cwdffl16 Part 2 . . .

In my last post I talked about how Friends for Life is very much a social occasion for me.  Spending time with my d-family is important for my mental health and happiness.  But Friends for Life is also about the sessions and learning new things and learning more ways to live a happy and healthy life with my chronic illness.  In addition to feeding my soul, FFL feeds my mind.

slidesOne might think that after living with diabetes for over 36 years,, there isn’t much new to learn.  But that isn’t true.  New treatments and technologies are being developed continually and I want to know what my future might hold.  So the opening keynote, delivered by Ed Damiano who updated us on the iLet, set the tone for the buffet my mind was embarking on.  And since I’ll no longer be attending JDRF Government Day and hearing annual research updates, I was really excited to hear what Aaron Kowalski had to say about things such as encapsulation, smart insulin and closed loop systems - all in various stages of development and / or clinical trials.

Mark-HeymanFeeding the mind and becoming an educated patient isn’t just about learning what treatment options may be coming in the future.  It’s also about learning to take care of ourselves.  During MasterLab, Dr. Heyman gave a fantastic, and (for me) a much needed, session entitled "Don’t Forget About You: Taking Care of Yourself While Advocating for Others".   It was a great reminder that we need to make sure we are not overextending ourselves,and that we shouldn't feel guilty about taking time for self-care.  Or maybe that is just what I took away from it.  In any case, it’s something I need to be reminded of.

Then there are the (as I call them) "touchy-feely" sessions.  These are sessions that I can't really tell you much about, because we discuss things in a safe space where nothing said will leave the room.  We open up about issues such as dealing with complications and diabetes burn-out and topics that tip more on the emotional end of the scale than the medical one.  I need that safe place and the bonding that occurs as we bare our souls, and that ah-ha moment when I realize that being bogged down by my chronic illness doesn't make me a failure - it kind of makes me normal.

The truth is,  more often than not I look forward to Friends for Life because it’ feeds my soul.  But I shouldn’t undervalue the fact that is also feeds my mind.  It’s like a gourmet dinner followed by a decadent dessert, and I appreciate every minute.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Feeding the Soul - #cwdffl16 Part 1 . . .

In 2011, Pete and I attended our first CWD Friends for Life.  And we happily went back for the following three years.  But last year, we decided Pete deserved a vacation that DIDN’T revolve around diabetes.  #blamePete  Okay, okay, that isn’t entirely true.  We decided together that we both needed a year when our vacation dollars were spent on something without a diabetes focus.  Sure, we can’t really take a vacation from diabetes, but going somewhere non-diabetes related is important sometimes.  And so we took a Canada / New England cruise, which was a fantastic adventure.  But we missed FFL.  A lot.

So this year, it was time to go back.  And we’re both thankful that we did.  Friends for Life is more than just a conference for us.  It’s also a family reunion and a vacation and a second home and a bunch of other indescribable things with a ton of happy feelings.  It’s a week when I get to hang with some of my most favorite people from the internet.  In short, it feeds my soul.  And here is why . . .

DisneySpringsI got to spend time with Cara and Becky.  Cara and I call ourselves twins because we were born on the same date and are so much alike. So time with her is always wonderful. And finally meeting Becky in real life, who came all the way from the UK, was a huge treat this year.

RickTripI've been Twitter pals and blog pals with Rick and Trip for quite some time. Finally getting to hang with them in person was priceless!

NewEnglandersI reunited with my fellow New Englanders in the expo hall.  Funny thing is, I don’t think I’ve ever actually been in New England when I’ve seen any of them.

DinnerDinner and silliness are always important!!  I love this crazy bunch.

WilTripI had no idea Wil would be attending, so seeing him was a very nice surprise.  He wrote a great post about his experience as a first-timer this year.

DontStopBelievinDiabetes can feel so isolating at times.  Working primarily from home in the on-line world also feels very isolating.  So spending the week in a place where I felt decidedly not-isolated was exactly what my soul needed.  And exactly what Friend for Life gave me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Eight . . .

eightEight years ago today I started Bitter-Sweet.  Yes, there are a few posts written in the beginning of 2008, but those were originally published over at TuDiabetes back when members had the capability of creating a blog on that site.  But June 21, 2008 was the day I created this blog site and my Bitter-Sweet journey began.

Now I will admit, given the chance I would opt out of diabetes in a minute.  But since that isn’t about to happen any time soon, I’m so thankful I have this blog to help me connect with other fabulous PWDs and share all my ups and downs.  With that in mind, here are eight wonderful things that probably wouldn’t have happened if not for my blog . . . .
Thank you to everyone who had read or commented or tweeted or befriended me in the past eight years.  My world is a much better place because of you.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Insulin for Syrians #insulin4all

It is easy to complain about living with diabetes.  It is easy to be frustrated by insurance policies and the hoops we jump through for our diabetes care.  It is easy to be angry about how much of our income we spend on diabetes supplies.  And it is easy to get burned out on diabetes advocacy at times, because there are so many important causes out there that need our attention.  I’m sorry to say I’ve felt the burnout quite a bit in the past few month.  But then, something comes along to put it all in perspective.

What if you didn’t know how or when you will get your next bottle of insulin?  What if you didn’t have test strips?  What if the healthcare system was completely shut down?  What if war forced you from your home?  How would you survive?

I'm fortunate to know I have the supplies I need to live with diabetes.

I have NEVER faced a question like that.  In over 36 years with diabetes, I always knew I could get the insulin I needed.  So the Insulin for Syrians appeal launched by T1International last week was a huge wake up call about how lucky, how privileged I am.  I made my donation last week, and I’m grateful to be able to help spread the word about this initiative, especially since today is World Refugee Day.

If, like me, the thought of wondering where your next shot of insulin is coming from scares you and makes you sad, please consider a donation to Insulin for Syrians.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Admitting I Was Wrong . . . .

I’ve thought long and hard about whether I should write this post.  For weeks I was certain I would never put this out there.  But then I thought about how it is important to me to be truthful.  So here comes the part where I admit I was wrong.

At the end of last year I found out my insurance company would no longer pay anything toward the brand of insulin I use.  There would be no co-pay on Apidra.  If I continued to use it, I would pay 100% of the cost.  Later I received the same letter about my Bayer test strips.  I spoke to my endo and he agreed we would appeal.

The test strip fight went well.  My insurance company called me to verify what pump and what meter I use.  I confirmed that I use the Medtronic 530G and the Bayer Contour Next Link.  They talk to each other so my blood sugar number automatically transfers to my pump, reducing the risk of user error when dosing my insulin.  (Meaning I wouldn’t accidentally manually type in the wrong blood sugar number.)  My test strips were approved and my co-pay is the same as it was in 2015.

The insulin fight was another story.  In the end, my endo wrote a new prescription for NovoLog and I said good-bye to my beloved Apidra.  The insulin that has helped me keep my A1C at target levels for eight years.  The insulin I had no interest in ever switching away from.  The insulin I was sure was the best fit for my body.

Or maybe not.  I filled that first reservoir with NovoLog and waited to watch my blood sugars turn to crap.  But they didn’t.  The NovoLog is working just fine.  Sometimes I think it’s working better.  I feel like my overnights are flatter.  Last night I stayed between 116 and 82 for eight hours and woke up with a fasting blood sugar of 99.  I can’t complain about that.

I also feel that I’m having a lot less low blood sugars than I had when using Apidra.  And it isn’t coming at the cost of more highs either.  I do need to admit that Pete and I are working on shedding our many extra pounds, so I’m eating better and moving more.  And I know that is helping to smooth things out.  But I also honestly feel the new insulin is working better for me.  I have to admit I was wrong when I said Apidra was the best fit.

BUT!!!!  And here is the important part . . . . I am still 100% opposed to insurance companies dictating what brand of medications and devices we are able to use.  I believe that decision should rest wholly in the hand of patients and their medical teams.  Which is why I thought long and hard about putting this post out there.  In the end, I feel I was lucky.  I’m lucky that my new insulin works great for me.  I do believe trying new brands might not be a bad idea once and a while, because maybe something out there will work better.  But overall, people with chronic illnesses need to use what ever keeps them the most healthy and fits the best in their lives.  We should not be at the mercy of what our insurance companies dictate.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Tips & Tricks - A Guest Post

*** During Diabetes Blog Week I received an email from my friend, Dan Patrick, sharing a tip / trick he finds helpful.  Dan doesn’t have a blog of his own so I asked if I could share his tip here and he agreed.  But first, some background.  I originally met Dan in Vegas at the 2015 Diabetes Unconference.  He is friendly, he is smart, he always presents a positive attitude and he quickly has become a favorite person of mine.  (He is also very tall.  Which is neither here nor there but for some reason I feel compelled to mention it.)  Dan is a hero of mine because he doesn’t back down from a fight and he is always willing to share his experience in order to help others.  You guys, he fought Medicare for CGM coverage and WON!!  So I am truly honored to share the following tip from Dan.

“I buy glucose tablets in bulk to save money, and re-use old pill containers to carry just the right amount when traveling.”

It is the beginning of my day.  Before I leave the house to begin my travels, I check my backup system of glucose tablets.  Carrying glucose tabs gives me the opportunity to quickly respond to the onset of falling blood glucose levels and raise my low blood sugar quickly.  The local grocery store sells glucose tablets in a tube container of 10 tablets or a container of 50 tablets. I usually purchase two 50 tablet containers of different flavors so that I can mix up the taste.

I have found the best storage for glucose tablets is to select various used pill containers and fill them with different quantities of glucose tablets, and I have some with me most of the time.  Whether traveling during the day or night, glucose tablets are close at hand.  The used pill containers protect the tablets and I have a visual check on the number of tablets with precise carb amounts.

In conclusion, I now have old pill containers in many locations.  No one consumes my glucose tablets, like they raided my emergency candies.  When I take a tablet, I know precisely how many carbs I have consumed in order to avoid or turn around a possible hypoglycemic event.  This micro control has allowed me to minimize roller coaster rides from a low to a high blood sugar range.  This hack results in a lower purchase cost for glucose tablets, protects the tablets based upon the safety of the used-pill containers, and assists me with better control to minimize hypoglycemic events.


Oh, btw the pill containers are very hard and with child-proof lids will stay dry when dropped in water.

*** Thank you Dan!  What a great idea.  I appreciate you letting me share your tip!!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Seventh Annual #DBlogWeek Wrap Up

200x200Last week seemed to go by in a flash, and this year’s Diabetes Blog Week is officially over.  I will admit, I was a little bit afraid this event had run it’s course and maybe it was time to retire #DBlogWeek.  I could not have been more wrong!  (I usually don’t like to be wrong, but I’m completely fine with it this time!!)

This year saw 131 bloggers officially signed up to participate.  The link lists contain about 450 wonderful blog posts written last week.  Did you forget to add yours?  Or did you fall behind but still want to tackle the prompts?  Don’t worry, the lists will remain open for two more weeks so you can add your post.  (In fact, I have a few more posts I plan to do myself, including those wildcard topics that I never got to last week.)  After the lists will are officially closed to new entries, they will remain on-line for future reference.

As always, I couldn’t have done Diabetes Blog Week without a lot of help.   Thank you to Cherise for featuring DBlogWeek in last week’s #dsma chat.  Thank you to everyone who answered the #DBlogWeek survey and contributed great topics and suggestions for improving the week.  Although I didn’t get all of the ideas implemented, I will be working on more of them to make next year even better.  (But first I’ll be trying to catch up on reading all those posts that I missed last week!)

I can’t close out the 2016 Diabetes Blog Week without a HUGE THANK YOU to all of you!  I’m so grateful to everyone who blogged, read posts, tweeted, Facebooked, left comments and lurked with us once again for DBlogWeek.  This whole week, and the six #DBlogWeeks that came before,  wouldn’t be possible without all of your enthusiasm and participation.  I’m more thankful than you know.  And I’m already getting excited for next year and the Eight Annual Diabetes Blog Week!!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Tips and Tricks - #DBlogWeek Day 5

200x200Welcome to the last official day of Diabetes Blog Week 2016!  Bloggers who decide to keep a seven day blog week schedule will be posting over the weekend using our Wildcard Topics.  You 7-Day #DBlogWeek-ers have my complete admiration, but I think I’ll be using the weekend to try to catch up on reading and commenting - which I have fallen dreadfully behind on.  I’ll be back Monday for the #DBlogWeek Wrap Up.  But first, it is time for some Tips and Tricks.

Our topic today is Tips and Tricks.  Let's round out the week by sharing our best diabetes tips and diabetes tricks. From how you organize supplies to how you manage gear on the go/vacation (beach, or skiing, or whatever). From how you keep track of prescription numbers to how you remember to get your orders refilled. How about any “unconventional” diabetes practices, or ways to make diabetes work for YOU (not necessarily how the doctors say to do it!). There's always something we can learn from each other. (Remember though, please no medical advice or dangerous suggestions.)

I think as diabetes bloggers and #DOC members, we are constantly sharing our tips and tricks just by talking about our daily lives with diabetes.  I’ve learned so much from our community, and I always try to share day-to-day diabetes things that work for me.  Like test strip containment and where I put my MiniMed Connect and cute meter pouches and more.  So I wondered if I’d be able to come up with anything new to share today.  And then I realized my most important tip of all - the tip I use all the time - the tip that I value most.

Don't ever stop learning!!!

I’ve had diabetes for over 36 years.  But that doesn’t mean I’m not constantly learning new things.  Pump trainers can help explain advanced options of  a pump.  Dieticians can help improve the way I eat.  CDEs are a wealth of information.  My endo often has the latest d-info to teach me.  But there is so much more beyond these "official" sources of information.  There are diabetes conferences like TCOYD and FFL and Diabetes UnConference.  And blogs.  And Twitter.  And Facebook.  And diaTribe.  And #DSMA.   Connecting with other people living with diabetes is probably where I’ve learned the most.  The day-to-day tips and tricks have helped me become an engaged, educated, empowered person with diabetes.  I’m thankful for our community for that.  And I can’t wait to see what things you still have left to teach me!

Find more Tips and Tricks over here.


What is Diabetes Blog Week?  Click here for an explanation and to sign up.  You can also check out the Participant’s List here.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Healthcare Experience - #DBlogWeek Day 4

200x200Welcome to day four of Diabetes Blog Week!  I hope you’re having a great time and are ready for our last few days.  So, let’s get to it.

Our topic today is The Healthcare Experience.  Most people who live with a chronic illness end up with a lot of experience when it comes to dealing with healthcare. How would you improve or change your healthcare experience? What would you like to see happening during medical visits with your healthcare team? How about when dealing with your health insurance companies? What's your Healthcare Wish List or Biggest Frustration? Today is the day to share it all!

Overall I guess I’d say my healthcare experience isn’t so bad.  I mean, if I compare myself to my husband, whose only issue is some heartburn, then yes, things could be a lot better.  So at the top of my Wish List is not to have a chronic illness and my Biggest Frustration is diabetes.  But when you put that aside, I know my situation is pretty damn good.  I have a great medical team and am able to receive the things I need to stay alive.  But still, I have a few wishes on my list . . . .

Liste-2400pxWish List for My Endocrinologist:  Not much on this one.  We respect each other and take on my care as a team.  You never make me feel rushed during my appointments, and yet you are also always on time.  (I never have more than a few minutes to wait once I arrive for my appointment.  Somehow you and the office staff have scheduling down perfectly!)  You explain things thoroughly and also answer each and every question I have.  Although I have to mention, when I saw you two weeks ago and we gave my basal rates and carb ratios an overhaul, we definitely dialed the insulin back too much.  I was stuck in the 200s for days and couldn’t come down until I rage bolused!  It’s okay though, you’ve taught me well and I’ve tweaked things a bit more and have landed somewhere in the middle between the old settings and the new and things are going splendidly.

Wish List for my Optometrist:  Not much here either.  I’m trying to remember how long I’ve been your patient, and it might be about 30 years now, right?  You’ve always made me feel respected.  Back when we discovered some small bleeds in my eye, you found a balance of treating the matter seriously without making me panic more than I should.  We stepped up my monitoring, but as you predicted, things cleared up on their own.  If things should ever start to decline again, I am confident that you will help me get the best care and the best outcome possible.

Wish List for my Insurance Company:  Yeah.  This is the part when I have some major grumbles.  “We’re in this together.”  No, we aren’t.  You make me fight for the number of test strips I need.  You make me fight to keep the meter that communicates with my pump.  You’ve forced me to change my insulin, when I’ve been doing so well on my current brand for eight years.  You leave stupid messages on my voicemail that insinuate I’m an idiot.  Seriously, if I have questions about taking my medications, I’m certainly not going to ask your pharmacist, who doesn’t know me at all.  I have enough common sense to call my doctor, who knows me well and is the one who prescribed the medication in the first place!  And while one-on-one coaching with a health advocate for my chronic condition sounds like a good idea, it was somewhat discouraging when I spent an hour on the phone with her only to hear her say “Wow, you know more than I do.  You could be doing my job.”  You think??  (Although I will dial back my rage a bit and acknowledge that the health coaching is probably very beneficial to many patients who haven’t already received the proper education.  So okay, you get a point for that.)

Wish List for The Healthcare System Overall:  I feel the healthcare system in our country is so freaking broken, I don’t even know where to begin.  All patients need access to the tools they require to stay healthy.  And that access need to come at an affordable cost.  I know I have my grumbles (see above) but I also realized that I am so so blessed and yes, privileged, to have the things I need - even if the costs are very high and the insulin isn’t the best brand for me.  People over 65 should not have to give up devices that are crucial to their care and wellbeing.  People should not be on the brand of device that their insurance company dictates they use, but should be able to use the brand that works best for their personal situation.  Same goes for medication brands.  And mostly, people should not have to choose between buying the things they need to stay alive and healthy or paying their mortgage and putting food on their tables. 

This is just the tip of the iceberg, and I realize my Wish Lists didn’t turn out to be actual lists but are discussions instead.  (Oops)  But there are probably about 100 other posts to be read today, so I’ll end here and pass the torch to other #DBlogWeek participants who have important things to say on this topic . . . .


You can find more posts about The Healthcare Experience on this list.

What is Diabetes Blog Week?  Click here for an explanation and to sign up.  You can also check out the Participant’s List here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Language and Diabetes - #DBlogWeek Day 3

200x200Welcome to Day Three of Diabetes Blog Week. If you have signed up to participate, please check the Participant’s List to make sure I’ve added your name and linked your blog correctly. I try my hardest but the chances are slim that I didn’t mess up an entry or two - especially since we are up to 125 participants as of right now. So please email me if your listing needs to be corrected and accept my apology for the error. Also if you are blogging along with DBlogWeek but haven’t officially signed up yet, please do so here so I can add you to the participant’s list. The list will remain available well after Diabetes Blog Week is over so I’d love to include your blog on this Blog Roll of sorts.

Our topic today is Language and Diabetes.  There is an old saying that states “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. I'm willing to bet we've all disagreed with this at some point, and especially when it comes to diabetes. Many advocate for the importance of using non-stigmatizing, inclusive and non-judgmental language when speaking about or to people with diabetes. For some, they don't care, others care passionately. Where do you stand when it comes to “person with diabetes” versus “diabetic”, or “checking” blood sugar versus “testing”, or any of the tons of other examples? Let's explore the power of words, but please remember to keep things respectful.

bullyWords are so important.  Words can hurt so badly.  I’ve been accused of being “too sensitive” and maybe it’s true.  But I take perceived judgements and criticisms to heart.  I’ve cried more than once over things said to or about me - both on-line and off.

With that in mind, I try really really hard never to do that to anyone else.  (And if I have even written or said anything that has hurt you, I am very sorry.)  I try really hard not to ever say or write anything that might sound critical or judgmental.  I try to choose my words carefully, even in the smallest of ways.  For example, I don’t mind being called a diabetic, but since I know some people do, I try to always say person with diabetes instead.  I no longer test my blood sugar, but instead I check it so others won’t feel like it’s something they can pass or fail (even though saying test would be okay with me).  I don’t care if you eat low carb or a billion carbs, if it works for you, who am I to criticize.

I guess what I’m really trying to say is this:  In the DOC, and in life in general, I wish we could all try to be a little kinder to each other.  People need to realize the power of their words.

Ready to read more perspectives on Language and Diabetes?  Click here for a list of posts.

What is Diabetes Blog Week?  Click here for an explanation and to sign up.  You can also check out the Participant’s List here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Other Half of Diabetes - #DBlogWeek Day 2

200x2007Welcome to Day Two of Diabetes Blog Week.  Are you having fun?  I sure hope so.  If you don’t have a blog but would like to participate, there are a few ways.  You are welcome to leave your thoughts in the comments section here each day.  I’ve also been posting the daily topics on the Diabetes Blog Week Facebook page, and you can use the comments section there each day to post your perspective.  And, last but not least, every day tuDiabetes will host a thread in the forum where you can share - you can find today’s here.  I hope this helps open things up for anyone interested in participating.

Our topic today is The Other Half of Diabetes.  We think a lot about the physical component of diabetes, but the mental component is just as significant. How does diabetes affect you or your loved one mentally or emotionally? How have you learned to deal with the mental aspect of the condition? Any tips, positive phrases, mantras, or ideas to share on getting out of a diabetes funk? (If you are a caregiver to a person with diabetes, write about yourself or your loved one or both!)

I won’t lie.  For me, this is a tough subject to write about.  Not that I haven’t written about depression before, because I have.  But I still feel some level of discomfort in admitting that I struggle emotionally.  And I think that’s part of why it’s so important to talk about it - because we shouldn’t feel uncomfortable.  We need to break down the stigma.

depressedAnd so, how does diabetes affect me emotionally?  Sometimes it doesn’t, not at all.  But other times, it really drags me down emotionally.  Sometimes the weight of life with a chronic illness feels crushing.

When I was younger, in my teen years, diabetes was something that made me different from everyone else at a time when being different was the worst thing in the world.  So I pretended I didn’t have it - I pretended to my friends and to myself.  Diabetes made me feel broken and defective.  And I hated it.

Now that I’m (supposedly) an adult, I don’t feel ashamed about having diabetes and I don’t try to hide it.  But sometimes I do still feel broken and defective.  Sometimes I feel like I just can’t do diabetes for one more day.  And I don’t mean the nuts and bolts of diabetes - the needles and finger sticks don’t really cause me any pain.  The pain comes from trying my hardest to do my best and still getting crap blood sugar numbers.  From arriving someplace late because I was too low to hop in the car and drive.  From snapping at my husband because I’m high and I feel physically awful.  From being a huge bundle of nerves before each and every endo appointment and eye screening,  because this appointment might be the one where I find out diabetes had done irreversible damage to my body.  From seeing my friends with diabetes struggle with all of these things too.

This is my other half of diabetes.  And it is by far the largest and most difficult half.

*** Disclosure:  I know there is no such thing as a smaller half and larger half.  After all, I’m married to an engineer, so I should know half means 50%.  But for the sake of this post, work with me here, okay??   ;)  ***

You can find more The Other Half of Diabetes posts over here.

What is Diabetes Blog Week?  Click here for an explanation and to sign up.  You can also check out the Participant’s List here.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Message Monday - #DBlogWeek Day 1

200x200Welcome to the first day of the seventh Diabetes Blog Week.  I’m so excited and thankful for everyone participating this year!  If you’d haven’t yet signed up but would like to join in, sign ups are still open using the form found here (just scroll down a bit).

Today’s topic is Message Monday.  Lets kick off the week by talking about why we are here, in the diabetes blog space. What is the most important diabetes awareness message to you? Why is that message important for you, and what are you trying to accomplish by sharing it on your blog? (Thank you, Heather Gabel, for this topic suggestion.)

You are not alone!!!!

I started this diabetes blog in 2008.  The reason was simple . . . . to connect with others who live with diabetes.  I had always felt alone when it came to living with diabetes and when I realized the internet could put me in contact with others on similar journeys to mine, I knew I had found what I didn’t even know I was looking for.

I soon realized that the reason I was craving connections with other People With Diabetes (or PWDs) was because what I really needed was SUPPORT.  Soon it become important that I not only found people who would support me, but that I also, of course, was longing to give support back.


Of course, in the (almost) eight years I’ve been blogging about diabetes, both the Diabetes Online Community (or DOC) and my involvement here has grown and developed and changed.  Advocacy has become an integral part of what we are doing here, and I think that’s important.  But I also feel like I have drifted away from the support aspect quite a bit, and I’ve been feeling lately like it’s time to get back to my roots.  Time to scale back a bit on other things and put more time and energy into support.  With that in mind, I’ve stepped down from volunteering as a JDRF Advocacy Team Chairperson.  I wouldn’t trade the time I spent working on JDRF Advocacy for the world and I’m lucky to have served for almost 5 years.  But I find myself craving getting back to support.

I’m excited to continue leading the monthly DiabetesSisters Virtual PODS group.  We also hope to schedule another Global PODS in the near future, to connect women from all over the world for support.  I’m still enjoying volunteering on another chapter’s JDRF Type 1 Adult Outreach committee.  A few of the local Medtronic reps have launched a new monthly support group in my area.  And I need to get back to reading and commenting on blogs and spending more time connecting on Twitter.

I love that the DOC and my involvement here has grown to reach places and do things I never could have imagined.  I’m so thankful for each and every opportunity that has come my way.  And I’m excited to spend some more time getting back to my roots, and the message that you, all of you out there, are not alone.

You can find more Message Monday posts listed here.

What is Diabetes Blog Week?  Click here for an explanation and to sign up.  You can also check out the Participant’s List here.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Seventh Annual Diabetes Blog Week!!!

When I first started Diabetes Blog Week way back in 2010 I had no idea it would have such staying power.  Each year I become more and more grateful that so may of you continue to show so much support and enthusiasm for this event each year.  I’m also thankful for all of the help you’ve given, with topics for us to write about and suggestions to help things run more smoothly.  Diabetes Blog Week has continued to evolve and grow in a way I couldn’t have ever imagines.  And so I’m beyond excited to kick off the SEVENTH!!! Annual Diabetes Blog Week.  Here we go!

What inspired Diabetes Blog Week?  For those of you who haven’t participated before, Diabetes Blog Week was originally inspired by a fiber-blogger event called Knitting and Crochet Blog Week.  When I participated that first year on my knitting blog I loved the way it united the community, and I knew I wanted to try to do the same for the DOC.

How does Diabetes Blog Week work?  The main idea for 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 DBlog Community and get a big variety of different perspectives on a single topic.  The hope is that new DOC connections are made, and that our voices are raised to spread a little more diabetes awareness.

When is Diabetes Blog Week?  The seventh annual Diabetes Blog Week  will take place next week, from May 16th through May 20th.

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.  (But please remember not to publish your post until that specific day!)   Use the 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.  Or, if you’d like to extend DBlogWeek to a full seven days, you can use the wild card topics as your weekend prompts

200x2005 Who can participate in Diabetes Blog Week?  DBlog Week is open to anyone who blogs about diabetes - be it Type 1, Type 2, LADA, gestational, etc., 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!  The more perspectives that are shared the more connections we can make and understanding we can foster.  If you don’t have a blog but have thought about starting one, now is the perfect time.  There are free blogging sites (such as Blogger or WordPress) that you can use to get started.

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 must be written by a blogger with a diabetes connection.  Also product plugs / advertising will not be allowed.  Posts that do no adhere to this policy will be removed from the master link lists.  (More about those lists below.

What if I can’t write posts for all five days?  The idea for Diabetes Blog Week is that everyone who signs up to participate will post on all five days.  Although that is the goal, I absolutely understand that life sometimes gets in the way, so if you end up falling short of five 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 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!  Before things kick off on Monday will add daily Link Lists on the Diabetes Blog Week topics page.  Once you’ve published your post each day, be sure to add it to the that day’s list by entering your blog name and the url of that day's post.  This way we’ll have all posts linked in one central location, which makes it easier for people to hop around and read all of the posts.  Please do not “pre-post” your links - links may only be added on the day that we’re blogging about that topic and your post must be live on your blog when you link it.  (Early posts will be deleted from the list.)

How about a button or banner for my blog?  Why yes, of course!  If you’d like to display the button or banner on your blog you’ll find the HTML Codes below - just to make things a little bit easier.  Highlight the code in the box, then copy and paste it into the HTML section of your blog’s sidebar or post or where ever you want to display the graphic.

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

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

What else do I  need to know?  Great question.  I’ve tried to cover everything, but I’m sure I missed something.  So please leave any questions in the comments section below or email them to me at  I'll be sure to answer you as soon as I can.

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