Wednesday, April 26, 2017

May is almost here.....

And you know what May means, don’t you?  It means Diabetes Blog Week!!

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I’ll admit, I’m a little bit behind on things this year.  I’ll also admit it has crossed my mind more than once that perhaps #DBlogWeek has run its course.  But I have had a few questions and seen some interest- so I’m game to give it another go.

Sign ups will open on Tuesday, May 9th.  Yes, they normally open on a Monday, but I have an endocrinologist appointment on Monday, May 8th and that’s just too much stress in one day.  This year we’ll do Diabetes Blog Week for just five days again, May 15 - 19.

I’m still working on finalizing the topics, so if you have suggestions I’d love to hear them.  Please email them to me at dblogweek@bittersweetdiabetes.com.

A million thanks for all of the enthusiasm and support for #DBlogWeek over the last seven(!!) years and I’m looking forward to getting year eight underway!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Why Don't You Change it Out?

“Ouch!”

From the moment I inserted the infusion set, it hurt.  Not a constant throbbing pain, but a soreness that spiked up every time something brushed up against it.

“That site still hurts?” Pete asked.  “Why don’t you change it out?”

I can tell you exactly why I didn’t.  This sore site was working really well.  You know what I mean, that blissfully flat graph on the CGM that can be so difficult to achieve.  There was no way I was wasting a good site just because it hurt when something touched it.

Let’s read that last sentence again.  There was no way I was wasting a good site just because it hurt when something touched it.  The more I think about it, the more I realize how weird the way I think is.  What rational person does not try to relieve something painful?  Why is wasting a site given a higher priority than my own comfort?  Good blood sugars are important, but isn’t being pain free just as important?

Honestly, the answer is no.  I had planned to keep that painful site in until today, when it would be time to change it out.  I did get a bit of a reprieve towards the end of the day yesterday when I started to struggle with unexplained highs that wouldn’t come down.  I decided the painful site was starting to go bad, so I swapped it out 12 hours ahead of schedule.

It’s nice to be back to an infusion site that doesn’t shoot stabs of pain every time it’s touched.  But I can’t help being annoyed with myself because I value a stupid infusion site more than I value my own comfort.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Turning a Failure into a Success....

Yesterday was not really my best day.  I got engrossed in a project and it was late afternoon before I realized the only thing I had to eat or drink was my morning cup of coffee.  It’s definitely a weakness of mine - the fact that I can get so absorbed in what I’m working on that hours fly by unnoticed.

I was pretty annoyed with myself as I changed out of my pajamas and hopped into the shower while realizing it was almost time for dinner and I hadn’t gotten to the store to pick up something to cook.  And I was starving, considering I hadn’t eaten all day.  A whisper of a thought drifted through my mind…….”hadn’t eaten all day, great time to do a finger-stick and calibrate”.  My finger-stick came back one point off from my CGM.  And according to my graph, I had stayed between about 80 and 120 all day.


To which another whisper of a thought replied…..”well, look, a basal test got done today, and those daytime basals are spot on”.

Now I don’t recommend getting distracted and skipping breakfast, lunch, snacks and water all day.  And I did make sure I had a (fairly) balanced and (somewhat) healthy dinner.  But instead of beating myself up for failing yesterday, I’m going to cut myself a break this one time.  After all, I did manage a very successful test of my basal rates.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Box of Needles.....

When I was in high school, I didn’t want my friends to know I had diabetes.  I did everything I could to hide it, pretending I was just like the other kids.  But as I went off to college, I felt I had a fresh start.  I didn’t know anyone who was going to the same college I'd be attending  So I felt that telling classmates I had diabetes wouldn’t be awkward, since I hadn’t been hiding it from them for years like with my high school friends.

The fresh start worked and I no longer hid diabetes, but I also didn’t talk about it much.  I was still the only person I knew who had diabetes.  And it still made me feel different, and also ashamed because I knew I wasn’t doing very well with my diabetes management.  So even though I wasn’t hiding it, I wasn’t exactly loud and proud either.

One evening I was at a friend’s apartment for a party.  The bathrooms in our on-campus apartments had storage closets with sliding doors for stuff to be stowed.  Someone had left the sliding door open, and I couldn’t help but notice an oh-so-familiar-to-me box of syringes.  I wondered who it could belong to and I couldn’t get it out of my head.  So I asked my friend about it.  As it turns out, his roommate, who I didn’t know all that well, had diabetes.  “Yeah, he always ends up in the hospital because he'll eat a big bag of M&Ms.”  I was kind of shocked.  Shocked because I wasn’t the only one with diabetes.  Shocked because I wasn't the only one who wasn't doing very well with my diabetes management.  And also shocked because this poor guy kept ending up in the hospital.  After all, I ate more than my fair share of M&Ms as well, but I was okay.  I couldn’t imagine what I was doing, or actually not doing, could land me in the hospital.

I wish I could say this was a wake-up call and I started working harder at diabetes.  But that wouldn’t come for many years later.  I wish I could say I talked to this roommate and commiserated about life with diabetes.  But I didn’t.  I didn’t know how to.  I didn’t have the tools.

I honestly believe things would be different for me if I was a college student today.  I lacked support back then, but today support is ready and waiting.  One great source is The College Diabetes Network.   They have launched Off to College Booklets for students and parents. You can check out a preview of the Parent Booklet and the Student Booklet and can request free copies to download here.

I really wish resources like these were around when I was in college.  And I wish my college had been a part of The College Diabetes Network.  Maybe it would’ve helped me feel comfortable enough to talk about diabetes with my friend's roommate.  And maybe, all these years later, we’d still be in touch.

Instead I wonder how things turned out for him and hope that he’s doing well.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Diabetes Day Off....

“Closed”Pete and I have often discussed giving me a Diabetes Day Off.  Of course, it wouldn't really be a day off from diabetes because that just isn't about to happen any time soon.  But the idea is that Pete would take over all of my diabetes tasks for a day.  When my blood sugar needed checking, I'd give him the finger (so to speak) and he'd do the rest.  He would do all the carb counting and I'd happily let him program the bolus on my pump.  He would follow my CGM data on his phone.  I'd even put him in charge of a site change if I needed one.  Basically diabetes would be out of my hands (and hopefully off my brain) for one complete day.

As I've said, we've talked about this often.  He's even gone as far as to say "Let's give you that Diabetes Day Off on Saturday.".  But as soon as I agree, he begins to think of reasons to postpone.

I get it.  I'm sure the thought of doing diabetes is scary for him.  Insulin can be very dangerous, and too much or too little can have some very serious consequences.  I'm pretty sure he is terrified of really hurting me.  And if I take a moment to try to see it from his perspective, I totally get it.

So onward we go.  He is a fantastic supporter and he helps out a lot.  I often give him the finger (so to speak) and he'll do a sugar check.  When I'm low he'll get me the juice or candy.  But the overall diabetes management continues to be all mine, all day, every day.  And I guess I'm okay with that.  I don't want to put stress and pressure on him to take over when it makes him so uncomfortable.

It sure is nice to dream about a Diabetes Day Off though.....

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Choosing UnConference

About a year ago I had a decision to make.  I could attend JDRF Government Day or I could attend The Diabetes UnConference.  They overlapped in 2016 so I could not attend both, as I had in past years.  It wasn’t an easy choice to make.

Government Day is a great event, focused on advocating to our elected officials in their offices on Capitol Hill.  We educate them about diabetes and the need for continued government funding.  We educate them on issues they will be voting on, explaining why these issues are so important to people with diabetes.  It is a great event and I’ve felt extremely lucky to be involved with it for several years.

The Diabetes UnConference is also a great event.  It is a peer to peer conference where the attendees set the agenda.  More importantly, the attendees are the experts.  We learn from each other.  We share openly and honestly with others who are going through many of the same things we are.

So, as you probably already know, I ended up picking the UnConference.  Both events were important and both were places where I felt I could make a difference.  But in the end, I thought about the huge backing and large reach that JDRF has.  I knew there were others who could attend Government Day in my slot.  They would do a great job getting our message across.  And they deserved their chance to attend.

On the other hand, my perspectives and experiences are my own.  I am the only one who can share them at the UnConference.  And if doing so helped just one person feel understood and less alone, then being there was necessary.  And so, I chose UnConference, and never regretted the decision for a minute.

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This year I will be returning to the Diabetes UnConference as a facilitator.  I’m nervous, of course, but I’m so excited for the chance to hopefully help even more.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to help make the conference the best it can be for everyone attending.

Time is running out for you to choose UnConference.  The deadline to register is Tuesday, January 24th.  The deadline to book your hotel room at the special conference rate is just a week away on Tuesday, January 10th!!  So now is the perfect time to choose UnConference.  I'm sure you will find it the right choice.