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!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Welcome to May!!

So the month of May is here already.  It means flowers and warmer weather and nightfall happening a little bit later each day.  And in my world, it means Diabetes Blog Week.

200x200I want to thank everyone who took the time to fill out my DBlogWeek survey - there were more than 70 of you!  And I received so many fantastic suggestions.  Some I’ve already worked on and some I’m still trying to make happen.  Some may have to wait until 2017 (provided you guys want to do this again next year.)

But for now, some new things are in place.  First of all, Diabetes Blog Week will run Monday, May 16th - Friday, May 20th this year.  Almost 60% of you indicated that five days of blogging would work better for you than seven days.  I completely understand that!  Those of you who still want to blog a full seven days of posts can use the two wildcards as your weekend prompts.  In this way, I hope I’ve found a solution that works for everyone.

Another popular suggestion was to have more advanced notice of what the topics for the week will be.  With that in mind, I’ve published the topic list here - a week earlier than I normally release them.  I hope that’s helpful to those who want to get a jump on things.

It was also suggested that a Facebook page for Diabetes Blog Week would be helpful.  That’s a fantastic idea, and I’ve created it here!  All important information will be added when available.  Also, during DBlogWeek, each day's topic will be posted on the page.

I’m still working my way through the rest of the suggestions - I’ll be using as many as I can.  And stay tuned next Monday, when I’ll be posting more information and this year’s sign up form!