Friday, July 26, 2013

Free Stuff Friday . . .

LaurensHopeToday I’m so thrilled to be posting over at Lauren’s Hope as part of their Free Stuff Friday series.  I’m talking about summer, and the challenges it can bring to dealing with diabetes.

High temperatures can make my insulin spoil. Summer barbeques and cocktails are a challenge to my blood sugar management. Water from the pool or the ocean (or even my own sweat, eeewww) can be dangerous to my insulin pump. And vacation travel can really throw me off.”

To read the rest of what I had to say, head on over to the Lauren’s Hope blog.  Actually, you should head over there even if you couldn’t care less about what I had to say.  Because as I said, today is Free Stuff Friday and Lauren’s Hope is giving away THREE medical i.d.’s - one cuff, one stainless steel bracelet, and one necklace.  That’s three chances to win, but you need to leave a comment on my guest post over at Lauren’s Hope blog to enter!

Thank you, Lauren’s Hope, for inviting me to guest post and for involving me in Free Stuff Fridays!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Hello, Old Friend . . . .

** I’m not calling today’s post a “Wordless Wednesday” or even an “Almost Wordless Wednesday” because I blabber too much! **

I know, I woke up low.  No worries, my coffee will boost me right back up!

Yesterday I inserted a fresh CGM sensor and started it up . . . . . and it felt like such a relief!  You see, I had been without my CGM for over a week.  Somehow I had lost track of how many sensors I had left until I inserted my last one right before I left for Friends for Life.  I could’ve ordered a new box right away, to be delivered while I was away, but that seemed like a really bad idea.  It was blazing hot out, and I knew the box of sensors could easily sit on my porch in 90+ temps and beating sun for hours until my parents came in the evening to collect the mail and feed the cat.  So I decided to wait until I got home to order a new box of sensors.

I lived with diabetes for 30 years before starting on a CGM.   So I was unprepared for how odd it would feel to go just one week without it.  It wasn’t all bad - I tested a lot more often and I learned to listen to my body more.  But it’s still a relief to have my blood sugar graph on my hip and hear the alarms blaring to alert me to lows I don’t feel.

Hello, old friend, good to have you back.  How did I manage all those years without you?  I sure will keep better track of your supplies from now on!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Here’s Your Sign . . . .

You know the Bill Engvall “Here’s Your Sign” bit, right?  Stupid people should have to wear signs that say “I’m stupid” on them, so we don’t waste our time taking to them.  Makes me laugh every single time.

But I’m not so concerned with people handing me an “I’m Stupid” sign . . . . I say stupid stuff all the time so I’m pretty sure I’ve already got one plastered across my forehead.  Instead I’m thinking about a sign that says “I’m D-Brained”.  You know, for all the times diabetes takes over your brain and injects diabetes into every single situation.  And I earned my “I’m D-Brained” sign the other day, while doing laundry.  I was folding Pete’s running shorts when I saw this . . . .


and my first though was “Why does Pete have an insulin pump pocket in his running shorts?".  Ummm, duh, the pocket is for i.d. and keys, not pumps - here’s your sign.

Do you have any “D-Brained” moments you’d like to share, or it is just me who thinks of diabetes 24/7?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Being “The Rule” . . . . .

Most days, diabetes makes me feel like the “exception to the rule”.  In almost any social situation, I’m the only one who needs to check my blood sugar.  I’m the only one worried about the carb content and glycemic index of the food and beverages served.  I’m the only one who has to pause in the middle of a physical activity to treat a low and wait for it to come back up.  I’m the only one who runs to the bathroom dozens of times because a high blood sugar is making my bladder fill up faster than my twitter feed during a #dsma chat!  Most days I truly feel like I’m the exception and the rest of the world is the rule.

But for the last six days I was at Friends for Life, and a huge part of the magic for me is that I’m the rule, not the exception.  At FFL when I pop a 250+ blood sugar after breakfast, I can look around the room and know a bunch of others are fighting down a post-breakfast high with me.  If I run out of test strips, someone will probably have my back.  If I forgot my glucose tabs, just about everybody will have my back!  When it’s time to eat, each buffet item is beside an index card displaying the carb count.  Everywhere I look there are pumps clipped to clothing, CGM sensors peeking out from sleeves, tubing trailing down from waistbands, and fingertips rife with callouses.  If I need to vent and cry during a session it’s okay, because most of the room is venting and crying right along with me.  At Friends for Life, I just feel like everybody really understands because they are living it too.

Key chain tangled up in your pump tubing?  Yup, I’ve been there too!

It’s not always so bad being the exception.  These days I’m usually confident enough not to care that diabetes makes me different.  But sometimes?  Well sometimes it is just such a relief to be the rule.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Blue Fridays . . . .

Quite often the only ones I see on Blue Fridays are my husband and my cat.  Not that they aren't supportive of raising diabetes awareness . . . . but still.


So celebrating Blue Fridays at Friends for Life, with my blue bracelet right next to my green one?  I have to admit, it's pretty awesome!!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Never Say Never . . . . .

As a teenage girl with diabetes, I developed a strong hatred for medical i.d.  For one thing, back in the 80’s medical i.d. was downright ugly and most certainly clashed with my oh-so-fashionable lace fingerless gloves, big jewelry and even bigger hair.  Of course, my i.d. disdain went much deeper than that.  I suspect the real reason I refused to wear medical i.d. was that it felt like a huge sign hanging off my body reminding me and everyone else that I was different from my friends, at a time when I just wanted to be like all the other teenaged Madonna-wanna-bes.

My teen years are long behind me now, but I still never wear medical i.d. - a fact that got me scolded during the Diabetes Hope virtual conference.  I did buy a cheap silicone bracelet marked “Diabetes” to wear at the gym, but other than that I figured I’d never wear medial i.d.

Well, never say never!!  I was contacted by Lauren’s Hope asking if I’d be willing to try one of their medical i.d. bracelets and write a review.  I figured it was about time I acted like a responsible grown woman instead of an insecure gawky teen (even if I still am more insecure and gawky than responsible and adult).  As I browsed through the women’s selections I was surprised at the huge array of styles available to meet everyone’s tastes and needs.  I had a hard time picking my favorite but in the end I went with a really pretty stainless steel bracelet (that is unfortunately out of stock for the foreseeable future.  Although this is it in white and also this one is very similar).  I was pleased to find that Lauren’s Hope also offers a bunch of different choices for the medical i.d. tags, so I didn’t have to settle for the (ugly to me) red style of years gone by.

Here is my finished bracelet and the tag.


Tara from Lauren’s Hope helped a lot in suggesting useful info to include on the five lines for the tag.  I’ve got my name, “T1 diabetes on a pump”, my parent’s number listed as “ICE” (or in case of emergency), my home number, and NKA (or no known allergies) and instructions to see my wallet card.  (Ummm, yeah, which I still need to fill out and put in my wallet.)


So now I have my bracelet, how has it been going?  I’m pretty surprised to tell you that I love this thing!  I’ve worn it every day.  I even tried sleeping in it - it didn’t bother me that night, but by the next afternoon it was really bugging me so that may be a bit of an adjustment.  It has been hot here so almost everything touching skin feels uncomfortable but when winter rolls around I’ll try keeping it on overnight again and I have a feeling I’ll get used to it pretty quickly.


I will admit that I’ve taken to wearing the bracelet with the i.d. tag turned in on my wrist, as shown above.  I’m not embarrassed to wear medial i.d. but I do like it to look more like “real jewelry”.  In fact, the first time I wore it to my parent’s house I kept waiting for my Mom to ask about it.  Turns out, she thought it was just a regular bracelet until I showed her the tag.  And my Dad, who used to be an Emergency Responder, was glad to see me wearing it because on calls he always checked the wrists first for medical i.d.

My biggest worry now is breaking it, because I’m a pretty big klutz.  Luckily, Lauren’s Hope has a great repair policy:
“Regarding the repair policy, we are proud to have the most generous and comprehensive repair policy in the industry. A medical ID bracelet is of no use to anyone if it's broken in a drawer. If one of our bracelets breaks, we really want our customers to send it in so we can fix it and get it back in use. :)
1. In the first six months, repairs are free. Period. We have only a $7.25 shipping and handling charge, and that's it. Doesn't matter what happened to it; we fix it. We also offer ONE free resizing in this time period, with the same shipping charge. This is super helpful for people who experience a weight change or find that they simply want their bracelet to fit differently.
2. After the first six months, repairs are only $10 plus the same $7.25 shipping and handling charge. Much less expensive than replacing your whole bracelet!
Also, it's important to note that Lauren's Hope allows people to order replacement ID plaques without bracelets and vice versa, something most companies do not allow. This is very important if your ICE (In Case of Emergency) numbers, diagnosis/es, or other information changes and you just need a new tag, not a whole new bracelet. 
There are some exclusions. We cannot change a custom engraving once it's been done, nor can we add colored fill to your engraving after the fact. The repair warranty only covers your bracelet or necklace, not accessories such as charms.”

So this girl, who said she’d never wear medical i.d.?  She’s not only wearing it . . . . she is loving it.  She also might have her eye on a second one that she’ll strongly hint would make a wonderful Christmas gift from her husband!  (And she needs to stop referring to herself in the third person because that’s just kind of creepy.)  Never wear medical i.d.?  Never say never!

** Disclosure: I was contacted by Lauren’s Hope  and provided my choice of bracelet and engraved tag at no charge.  I was asked to consider posting a review, which I was happy to do because I was obviously very satisfied with the product.**

Friday, July 5, 2013

Looking Back: Nutella Dreams

I was looking through some of my older posts and thought it might be fun to revisit a few every so often.  Today I’m sharing one from three years ago that featured one of my favorite bolus-worthy treats.

You know those dreams where you wake up and it still seems real?  Those dreams where you are disappointed to wake up?  I had one of those dreams just before the alarm when off this morning.

In my dream, Pete and I had slept over at my parents house.  (That is the first clue that it was a dream and not real.  You see, my parents only live two miles away, so no matter what, we can always make the trip back home.)  Anyway, in the dream, I was just waking up and my mom was making breakfast.  I found myself trying to figure out the proper bolus for what she was serving.  I was also trying to figure out just how many calories this breakfast would cost me and how to plan it into my day.  What was this breakfast??

Toasted French baguette smothered in Nutella.  I swear, my butt got bigger and my blood sugar spiked just from dreaming about it!

And no, the protein bar that I ate for my real-life, fully awake breakfast just didn't measure up.

These days, I don’t even keep Nutella in my pantry.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love it, but I’m much better off not having that temptation around the house.  Instead I keep organic dark chocolate peanut butter on hand for a little spoonful treat that is hopefully a bit more healthy.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


So I really feel like my blog has pretty much been one big yawn lately.  That’s probably because I also feel like diabetes has been one big yawn lately.  Luckily I have some excitement today because I get to pick the winner of the Extend giveaway!  (The photo below is a stock photo Extend sent me.  I can’t promise the prize will look like that.) Extend Nutrition Gift Basket
As always, I use a random number generator to pick a winner, and it picked . . . . . . .

Congratulations, Laura, I will email you to iron out the details!!  And for those who didn’t win but plan to order some snacks, remember that discount code KARENG will save you 20% at the Extend on-line store.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Extend Snacks Review and Giveaway

extend nutrition_bars_shakes_crisps_drizzlesAfter being diagnosed in 1979, when sugar was 100% off the table for people with diabetes, my mom always bought me snacks that were labeled “for diabetics”.  They were full of artificial ingredients and didn’t taste very good, but at the time a mediocre cookie seemed better than no cookie at all.  (Unless I snuck the "real" cookies, not that I ever did that.  Much.  *lying*)  Anyway, today we have better insulin and carb counting and such, and I usually run screaming from anything labeled “diabetic friendly” because I assume they are laden with chemical substances.  But when a representative from Extend emailed asking if I’d like to sample their products, I made an exception.  And I did so because the Extend line was created by Dr. Francine Kaufman, past president of the ADA and chief medical officer at Medtronic.  I’ve been lucky enough to meet Dr. Kaufman when I attended the Medtronic summits.  I really respect Dr. Kaufman and I know she is an advocate for healthy food choices.  According to Extend, the products are “clinically proven to help control blood sugar for up to 6-9 hours”.

ExtendCrisps WhiteCheddarI was interested in trying either the Crisps or the Drizzles, and they were kind enough to send me a sampling of both.  The first ingredient in both products is soy, which I’m not a huge fan of so the first bite I had each time was kind of weird tasting to me.  BUT only the first bite, then my taste buds adjusted and the snacks were quite tasty.  My favorite was the White Cheddar Crisps.  They kind of remind me of SmartFood, which I love!  When I ate the snacks before bed I did find my CGM graph stayed level overnight with no pesky alarms.  For me, the single serve packs work well too, because crispy snacks are a huge weakness of mine and I will tend to eat way more than one serving at at time.  I also like that I can easily toss a bag in my purse for a snack on the go - the rest of my stash will be great for travel snacks as I head to Friends for Life next week.

Would you like to try Extend products for yourself?  Well, Extend has offered a wonderful prize package to be given away to one of you!  It includes:
Extend Nutrition Gift Basket
  • Your choice of 5 bags of Extend Drizzles (Caramel Bliss and/or Chocolate Dream)
  • Your choice of 5 bags of Extend Crisps (Cinnamon, BBQ, Zesty Ranch, Italian Herb, White Cheddar, or Variety)
  • Your choice of 5 Extend Shake mixes (Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry, or Variety)
  • And your choice of 15 Extend Bars (Chocolate, Peanut, Peanut Butter Chocolate, Apple Cinnamon, Mixed Berry, or Variety)
I’m going to make it really really easy to enter - just leave a comment on this post and you are in!  Yay!!  The contest will close at midnight tomorrow and I will announce the winner on Wednesday.

As part of the promotion, Extend has also offered a discount code that will save you 20% off your entire order with no minimum purchase.  If you order more than $42 worth of products you’ll also get free shipping!  Just use promo code KARENG at checkout to get your discount.

** Disclosure - I received this sample Extend products free of charge.  The give-away and discount is also provided by Extend.  As always, my opinions are my own. **