Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - My New Workout Pal

Clif Shot Bloks

While chatting at Government Day last month, my friend Barbara mentioned she uses Clif Shot Bloks during her workouts.  Although she doesn’t have T1, I believe she said she’s hypoglycemic and I know she enjoys doing long, intense workouts.  She mentioned that these Bloks are great for fueling her through her routine and that each individual Blok has 8 grams of carbs.  She suggested they might work for me too, so when I saw them at Whole Foods I decided to give them a try.

Yesterday as I left for the gym I tested at 147.  I was nervous after a pretty bad low at the gym over the weekend, so I ate one Shot Blok.  Post workout number? 107!!  WIN!

Thanks for the great tip, Barbara! 

*Yes, yes, I know, this post isn’t even close to being Wordless.  Oh well . . . .

Monday, April 22, 2013

Diabetes Blog Week Help!!

I can hardly believe it, but the Fourth(!!) Annual Diabetes Blog Week is just around the corner.  If you’ve never participated before, Diabetes Blog Week was started in 2010 after I participated in a similar event in the fiber blog community.  I loved the way Knit and Crochet Blog Week brought the fiber blog community together and helped me discover other knitting blogs, and I really wanted to try to do the same for the DBlog Community.  I wasn’t sure anyone would sign up, but oh did you ever, and each year I’ve been so happy that participation has grown and grown!!

I’m so excited for 2013 Diabetes Blog Week, but this time I sure could use some help.  You see, I’ve always felt that the most important thing I need to do for DBlog Week is to come up with some really really good topics.  After all, if I’m going to ask you guys to blog for a full week on topics I’ve given you, they had better be some good prompts.  They also need to be open-ended enough to work for everyone in the DOC - T1, T2, LADA, gestational and T3 (which includes all caregivers and loved ones of people with diabetes).  For the first time I’m having some trouble coming up with awesome topics, so I thought I’d open it up to suggestions!  What would you like to write about?  What issues do you think are important for us to lend our voices to?  What would be a a lot of fun to post about?  If you have ideas and suggestions, please leave them in the comments section, or email them to

Also, although I have fun creating the banners and buttons, I will admit they are pretty lame.  If anyone would like to whip up the graphics for this year, please let me know!

Thanks everyone, and stay tuned for sign up information in just two (yikes!!) weeks.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

An Easy Swap . . . .

In addition to the insulin I need to take to, you know, stay alive, I’m on a vast array of oral meds.  In the morning I take a blood pressure pill, a baby aspirin and iron.  In the evening I take a cholesterol pill and an allergy pill and one evening a week I take a mega-dose of vitamin D.

Night and Day
Well, okay, that’s not exactly right.  See, my morning pills don’t always get swallowed.  I’m excellent at taking my evening dose because it fits easily into my routine.   Take out my contact lenses, wash my face, brush my teeth, swallow my pills.  I do the vitamin D on Wednesday, because I use #DSMA as my reminder.  It works well.

My problem is remembering my morning dose.  I’ve found that taking them on an empty stomach bothers me.  So I need to wait until after breakfast, but I have no set routine to tie them to and I usually just forget.  After trying and trying to make this work, it occurred to me that maybe I should ask my endo if I can switch any of the morning pills to the evening.  His response?  “I don’t see why you can’t switch all of your pills to the evening”.

Yay, problem solved!  Since my appointment on Friday I have not missed a dose of anything.  I wish all of my health problems were so easy to solve!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Insurance Company Math . . . .

I had my endo appointment on Friday.  I’m always nervous about what the labs might reveal, and this time I was extra nervous because we were testing my thyroid.  Luckily that came back fine and there was no evidence of any anti-bodies present that would be hell-bent on thyroid destruction, so that auto-immune bullet has been dodged so far.  My other labs came back fine as well.  In a cruel twist of fate, the fact that my A1C was the lowest it’s ever been wasn’t really good news.  It’s getting into the “too low to be safe, you need to stop having readings in the 40s” range so we did some basal tweaks to tighten up my standard deviation.  Not that my deviation is horrible, but a higher A1C with less lows would be better.

One of the things I was most looking forward to at this appointment was getting a new prescription for test strips so I could officially change meters from OneTouch Ultra Link to my new Bayer Contour Next Link.  Yes, I could have called the office at any time for a new prescription, but I’m lazy I wanted to finish up  my 3 month supply of One Touch strips first so I just waited until my appointment.  And it couldn’t have been easier.  Dr. F asked me where I wanted to fill them, and I picked my local pharmacy so I could use my Contour Choice savings card, which can’t be used with my insurance mail order service.  (At least, that’s what I’ve been told.)  Anyway, I picked my pharmacy, Dr. F typed a few things into his laptop, and zingo, the order was ready and waiting for me!  Fast and easy, right?

Right.  Except . . . . when I got home and opened the package, I found I had gotten 2/3s of my test strips and a nice (ha ha ha) note about insurance coverage.

Yes, that is a cat paw in the bottom left corner.  K.C. loves any papers, even stupid insurance denial ones.  Anyway, I had gone through the “you can't have that many strips” - “but I need that many strips” dance less than a year ago.  Apparently my insurance company is having memory problems or something.  So I called them and explained that I had been approved for a larger amount of test strips, and that a new meter brand didn’t change how often I need to test.  The customer service guy was nice, and “fixed” the problem so when I refill the order from now on I’ll get all of the strips I’m supposed to get.  Good . . . . . but what about the other 1/3 of the order for this month?

According to Cigna, I’m just out those strips.  So basically I’ve paid 100% of my co-pay for 67% of my order, and that’s just the way it is.  I can’t think of any other situation where it’s okay to be charged 100% for only 67% of your goods, but I guess I just don’t understand the tricky insurance company math.  Sure, I got A’s in Accounting at a very good business college, but I guess Cigna has a different accounting system that I’m not privy to.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m thankful to have insurance.  I’m thankful to get some kind of coverage for the supplies I need to stay healthy.  But really, when I feel like I’m being flim-flammed and given the run- around, I can’t help but feel aggravated.  You’ve been there too, right?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Nope

Every once in a while I manage to convince myself that if I just keep trying, I can figure out the perfect bolus / timing / portion combo to have a bowl of cereal without completely wrecking my blood sugar.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Excuses, Excuses . . . . .

“Regular” people (aka: people without diabetes) can have plenty of reasons for not going to the gym.  Busy schedules, poor sleep, feel like they’re getting sick, or don’t want to disturb the cat on their lap.  (By the way, I’m totally going to start using that last excuse!!)

Clearly she is thrilled that she has to skip the gym because there is a cat on her lap!

When I add diabetes into the mix, I can come up with about a million other reasons not to go to the gym.  For the past couple of weeks the main excuse I was fighting was one that was actually a first for me . . . .

Going to the gym makes me high.

Now I know weight training can push your blood sugars up.  I also know strenuous workouts can push your blood sugar up.  But, for the first time ever, moderate cardio was pushing my blood sugar up (and keeping it there) instead of down.  And I found it frustrating!!

I will give myself a little bit of credit.  I refused to let the fact that going to the gym would lead to an afternoon in the 200s deter me.  I tried upping my basals after my workout was done.  (Didn’t work.)  I tried adding a post-workout bolus into the mix.  (Didn’t work.)  But most importantly, I reasoned it out.  Is it good to spend an afternoon stuck over 200?  No, of course not.  However, is it better to be a couch potato with in-range numbers, or be an active fit person who is working on taming some post-exercise highs?  I decided the second definitely wins out (even if I don’t exactly qualify as active and fit yet).

So the gym is happening.  It’s hard - both physically and “diabetically”.  But it’s happening.  And after my last trip I felt awesome and managed to stay under 200 . . . . .  so I guess I’m getting there.   I’m absolutely determined to keep it up this time.

You know, unless I’m stuck under a sleeping cat or something.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Long Overdue . . . . .

So I’ve been putting off writing about Government Day because it’s really hard to write event recap posts, isn’t it?  Or am I the only one who feels totally overwhelmed and unequipped to put all of the experiences and inspirations into words.  It’s almost like trying to explain what a low blood sugar feels like - I can rattle off the symptoms but you won’t really get it unless you’ve had a low too.  But going to Government Day is a million times better than having a bad low, so I really want to try to bring some of the experience to you.

When I look back on my four days in D.C., three major components stand out.  The people I was with, the information that was shared, and the time spent advocating to our government representatives.  I’m going to start with the whole reason more than 160 volunteers traveled to D.C. - advocating on Capitol Hill.

I never would’ve imagined I’d right there in front of the U.S. Capital building.

When we storm “the Hill” on our last day and a half in D.C., we are well prepared with a clear mission. Last year it was to urge our officials to support the renewal of the Special Diabetes Program. The SDP has two components and each piece provides $150 million towards diabetes research. It was renewed as we rang in the New Year as part of the Fiscal Cliff package, so our mission this year was to thank our representatives for the renewal. However, it was only renewed for one year, so we also let them know we’d be contacting them later in the year to ask for support again.  It’s important to lock in a renewal as soon as possible, because the funding ensures that the research being done now on things such as the Artificial Pancreas will continue.  After all, if I was a researcher working on a project whose funding was about to run out, you’d better believe I’d look for a new project to work on that had funds locked in.  There are so many exciting treatments and technologies being developed for Type 1 Diabetes right now and it’s important to ensure they will continue.  (More on that when I write about the information presented at Government Day!)

There is an amazing feeling that comes from being up on Capital Hill working for something you are passionate about.  I walk the halls of the Senate and House offices knowing that many aren’t lucky enough to get the chance to experience what I’m experiencing.  Honestly, I’m complete crap when it comes to fundraising - always have been and probably always will be.  But when I’m advocating on the Hill, I’m helping to raise $300 million for diabetes treatments and technologies.  Not too shabby!  I team up with the advocates from the other Connecticut JDRF chapters and we educate our officials about the research going on and about what living with diabetes (or being the parent of a child with diabetes) is like.  I often can give them a first hand example, as all that walking around Capital Hill usually has my low alarm blaring as I chomp glucose tabs in the Congressional offices!

Participating in Government Day also reminds me of how lucky I am that the members of Congress from Connecticut are all very supportive of diabetes issues and funding.  It’s eye opening to see that not all states can say the same.  Hearing stories from other advocates about tough meetings on the Hill makes me appreciate the reps I meet with all the more.  It also  makes me appreciate my fellow JDRF Advocacy volunteers who don’t give up even when their representatives aren’t receptive to our cause.  It helps me remember just how much each and every constituent's voice counts and how important it is to let the government know how crucial diabetes funding is.  It’s why I’m proud to volunteer as a JDRF advocate and why I hope everyone who reads this post will sign up too.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - HOPE


Today is “Write Hope on your Hand” day for diabetes awareness.  I have hope on my hand, and hope in my heart.  Yes, it’s a bit blurred and a bit bumpy both on my hand and in my heart.  But the hope is still there.  Even after 33 years.