Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Diabetes Hope Conference!!

Remember yesterday when I confessed to being a bit of a Diabetes Conference Junkie?  Well there is a conference coming up next month that you should not miss.  It’s a virtual conference, so you can tune in from where ever you are.  And even better, it is free!  It’s the second annual Diabetes Hope Conference.

I really loved participating on a Diabetes Hope Conference panel last year as well as watching the other panels.  And I am extremely excited to be back as a panelist this year!  (Especially given the fact that my phone rang while I was speaking last year, interrupting my thought process.  And then my cat decided to jump up on my dining room table, which had this germaphobe completely freaking out but hopefully I hid that well.  But then she must have thought I had really lost my mind since I was talking to my computer, so she ran over to give me a kiss on the nose . . . . which meant a broadcast of nothing but her butt on screen.  So I am truly grateful for a second chance.  Trust me, you won’t see those bloopers this year!)  Anyway, in the panel entitled “The Doctor Will See You Now” Christel and I will be presenting YOUR questions to Dr. Anderson.  Two more great panels will follow - “The Value of Blogging in Chronic Illness" and "Who’s In Charge? Who Says What? And Why?".

Be sure to RSVP for your ticket in and then head to the Diabetes Hope Conference site to read up on the rest of the details.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Stepping Stones . . . . .

Over the weekend I finally attended my first Diabetes Sisters conference.  Over the past few years I’ve been hoping to go, but each year something would pop up and I’d have to take it off my calendar.  Luckily this year was the year, and I’m so glad I finally attended.  I think I may be a Diabetes Conference Junkie, but honestly these events are so important for kick starting me and getting my butt back in the game.

There are some great posts already shared about the weekend. Stacey gave a wonderful recap of the conference as a whole.  Rachel shared fantastic thoughts about the need for us to judge less and stand together more.  And Kelley captured the whole feel of the conference for a first timer (like me).

The theme this year was Stepping Stones and I’ve been thinking a lot about what that means to me.  The journey with diabetes is a long one, and quite frankly there isn’t a finish line.  Treatments may change over the years, but the path still goes on and I often lose my way.  So for me, Stepping Stones are the small changes I can make to get back to where I need to be.  I came home and decided this week I’ll work on making healthy food choices.  I’ve worked hard to figure out how to bolus for almost anything without completely wreaking my blood sugar.  Deep down inside I feel I’ve earned the right to eat anything I want, because I did my time during my teenage years on the highly restrictive exchange diet.  But both the “Diabetes from Head to Toe” and the “Body Wars” sessions were a big wakeup call that eating healthy foods is more important than feeling entitled to eat junk if I can keep my blood sugar in range.  My Stepping Stone this week has been to make the choice to eat nutritious foods and log what I’m eating.  Because I’m less likely to scarf down half of my Easter basket if I have to see all that chocolate staring back at me from my LoseIt app.  One dessert after dinner is fine for the day’s indulgence, thank you very much.  (You can find descriptions of the sessions here.)

DiabetesSistersI think my favorite part of the conference was the dinner on Saturday night.  One by one we walked on stage to celebrate our years living with diabetes and to accept a small gift.  I admit to getting a bit teary eyed when we applauded collectively living with diabetes for 923 years and 3 months.  We each received a small stone inscribed with one of several words.  It was perfect that my stone says “Inspire” because that is what I needed and what Diabetes Sisters Weekend for Women did for me.

The other thing I really needed, and am thankful to have gotten, was to connect with my friends, old and new.  I spend a lot of time alone and feel more and more disconnected and isolated and lonely with each passing day.  I’m so grateful for the on-line support of the DOC but haven’t been making those social media connections the priority I should lately.  I needed that weekend spent together, off-line and in real life, even more than I realized.

Thank you, Stacey, for letting me use your picture!!
These ladies, quite simply, inspire me more than they know.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Grief and Diabetes Management . . .

It’s been one piece of bad news after another around here over the past couple of weeks.  And I’m beginning to understand that grief sends my diabetes management in two completely different directions.

ComfortFoodThe first is the “eff it all” mentality.  And there is nothing like bad news to make me crave curling up with a big bowl of carby indulgence.  Hello Macaroni and Cheese.  Bring on all the warm, gooey, creamy treats.  Hey, it’s called Comfort Food for a reason, right?  Grief makes it hard to care about what all those carbs do to my blood sugar.  That whole “life is too short, enjoy while you can” thinking sets in, along with the urge to take as many diabetes shortcuts as possible.  Because, you know, it can be hard to care when your hurting inside.

But then thinking about “life is too short” brings the realization that “life IS too short so we had better not waste a minute”.  And that actually inspires me to work harder at diabetes.  Times of grief  make it easy to see how much family members and loved ones need one another.  I am reminded of how important it is to do all we can to stay around for as long as possible.  Diabetes is tough and takes a lot of work and doesn’t always respond in a way that reflects the effort put in, but I’ve been managing pretty well for 34 years.  And I owe it to my family and friends to keep trying my best, because they need me.

So yes, a good cry is fine.  A bit of an indiscretion with some comfort food is okay once in a while.  But for the most part, I’m reminded that I owe it to my loved ones to do all I can.  And so, I will.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Two Diabetics, a Low and a Pizza Place . . .

Imagine you head out for pizza with the love of your life, and every few minutes you hear your pump’s low alarm.  But when you check your pump, it wasn’t alarming.  That’s exactly what happened to me and it was weird!!


Pete and I had just finished packing for a long weekend in Florida with his family so I checked my purse, thinking that perhaps I had stashed my old, spare, backup pump in there while packing.  But no, the backup pump was safely at home in my  The beeping happened again when our waiter came to take our order.  I asked him if he heard it too, just to be sure I wasn’t completely losing my mind.  He did hear it, and judging from the reactions of those at the tables around me, they could hear it too.  I explained what the alarm was to my waiter, showing him my pump as if to prove I knew what I was talking about.  “Somebody is low and needs a glass of juice.”, I told him.  He just smiled and went to deliver our order to the kitchen.

A few minutes later the low alarm sounded again.  Each time I instinctively grabbed my pump even though I knew it wasn’t me beeping.  Except this time, it was!  Talk about REALLY freaking a PWD out - a dozen low alarms that weren’t mine followed by one that actually was.  It felt like someone was trying to gaslight me.  A sip of Pete’s soda quieted my alarm, but soon I could hear the telltale siren of either a 530G with Enlite suspending, or an older Medtronic pump whose low alarm has been ignored way too long.  “Someone is going to pass out”, I told Pete, but we still couldn’t figure out where the alarm was coming from.  I was becoming a bit obsessed with the whole situation, but Pete convinced me to concentrate on eating my own pizza before I too went low again.  As I ate I made up a elaborate story that the pump alarm was coming from someone in the band that was performing in the bar area.  I decided the person couldn’t hear his alarm over the sound of his music, but we could hear it over the restaurant’s sound system.

As our waiter came to check on us, the siren alarm sounded again.  The waiter took one look at me and said “I know.  I hear it.  It’s coming from that table in the corner.”.

Ah ha!!!  I wasn’t any more crazy than usual!!!  I looked across the room and saw the tiniest, oldest couple sitting in a booth next to their walkers - and I didn’t know what to do.  Maybe their hearing wasn’t what it used to be and they just couldn’t hear the alarm.  But maybe they would be embarrassed by a stranger coming up to talk about diabetes with them.  Maybe my fellow pumper was diagnosed at a time when PWDs were taught diabetes is something to hide and to be ashamed of.  I didn’t want to make this person feel uncomfortable, and they were both eating, so I decided to stay at my own table and leave well enough alone.

There is a part of me that is still kicking myself for not going over to the couple, just to ask if they needed some help.  (What would you have done?)  And there is another big part of me that can’t believe two diabetic were out at an Italian restaurant and we both had low alarms!  What are the chances of that?  #freaky

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

(Not Very) Wordless Wednesday - Crumpled

After inserting a new sensor yesterday I began getting “Sensor Error” messages during the warm-up period.  I called the HelpLine, who went over insertion techniques and did a bit more trouble-shooting, and we decided to give the sensor some more time to see if it worked itself out.  I was later able to start and calibrate it and it worked fine . . . . . for a few hours, until the Sensor Errors started up again.  I decided to pull it this morning and saw the problem immediately.  The sensor cannula was crumpled up under my skin (left picture) and even after stretching it out you can see it was completely kinked (right picture).  But I’m glad to say the new sensor I put in this morning is faring much better!

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

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Be There

When the bad days are increasingly outweighing the good ones, it can help to know others understand.  Don’t miss this important Diabetes and Depression chat today on TuDiabetes.