Thursday, December 22, 2011

I wish you...

Happy Holidays, whatever you're celebrating!

Anthony and I will be visiting both sides of the family for Christmas.

A new glucose sensor has been locked and loaded on my leg in preparation. I have a good understanding of what works and doesn't work for me during family functions. I can enjoy a few of my Mom's No Bake Cookies, but I lay off the sandwich bread and eat a lot of veggies. I can enjoy a few glasses of Anthony's aunt's homemade wine, but I have to dial up for it because it's so sweet.

Being with family and friends who we see only a few times a year calls for indulgence, so keep in mind that blood sugar works with the same principle as gravity - what goes up WILL come down.

Also, I will be celebrating my seven-year diaversary on New Year's. Maybe I'll bake a cake!

Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!

Monday, November 14, 2011

World Diabetes Day

Today is World Diabetes Day, when people across the globe will observe and remember those who are challenged with this disease. There's not much else to say, so I'll leave you with some visuals that show how diabetes impacts my life every day...

Friday, November 4, 2011

Diabetes Awareness Month

Welcome to November! You know - that month that everyone likes to skip over to get straight to Christmas/whatever else you celebrate.

I, for one, am glad that it is November. In addition to Thanksgiving, which is a big deal in my family, November hosts Diabetes Awareness Month. November 14th is World Diabetes Day.

During Diabetes Awareness Month, the JDRF and the International Diabetes Federation are asking people to wear blue on Fridays during the month of November, since our symbol is a blue circle.

I'm wearing blue today, and maybe you'll see some others in blue. It seems like you can't get away from all the breast-cancer pink in October, and they've done a spectacular job to raise awareness. Now it's our turn. Do your small part on Blue Fridays and help spread the word!

Another way to participate in Diabetes Awareness Month is to take just 90 seconds to help us Type 1's by electronically signing this petition to the U.S. FDA:  By signing, you are asking the FDA to remove any delays on the Artificial Pancreas Project - a device that would have an enormous impact on the management of Type 1 Diabetes. The FDA is set to make a recommendation on December 1, so time is running out to help them see the immediate importance of a device like this.

Happy Diabetes Awareness Month!

Monday, October 17, 2011


A month ago, I posted about my A1c A1wtf, when I had inexplicably gotten a reading that didn't match up. It was a 7.5, not terrible of course, but not where I want or expect to be. My follow-up appointment was last week.

Since I couldn't get an A1c at the doc's office due to insurance, I bought a Bayer A1c Now test (insurance only covers a blood test every three months; six months if you're a type 2). For the price of an office visit, you can get two tests to do whenever you want between your regular checks.

I assembled the kit, mixed my blood drop with the chemicals...








Yay! Almost a full point drop in just four weeks! My pump was reporting a month average of 130, and my sensor was showing 128, so this is just what I was expecting for a three-month average. That means I can expect to be in the low 6's next time.

Dr. K was very excited to see my reports, and even gave me a high-five and a free vial of Novalog for all my hard work!

Some of my non-diabetic readers may be wondering what all the fuss is about regarding the A1c test. The scientific explanation is this: red blood cells in your body live for three months, and during their lifetime, absorb the glucose in your body. There is a chemical reaction between glucose and hemoglobin (red blood cells) that produces glycated hemoglobin. The A1c test measures the percentage of glycated hemoglobin in your blood. Since your cells only live a few months, the reading represents an average percentage for that time frame.

The non-scientific explanation is this: going from 7.5% to 6.7% in just one month is pretty freaking awesome!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


As you may or may not have noticed, I've been absolutely ignoring this blog for the past month or so. I have no explanation other than a general burnout. We've all been there, I know.

Adding to this feeling, I had my endocrinology check-up last week. I took an at-home A1c test a month ago, just to self-monitor, and was pleased that it showed a 0.3 drop from my last appointment. Needless to say, I went to my appointment last week feeling very confident that I would be solidly in the "under 7" category.

As my fellow T1's know, every endo appointment comes with that hold-your-breath moment when you get your report card A1c number. This appointment felt different. I was confident and upbeat, excited even, to hear my number. As Dr. K flipped through my electronic chart, I just KNEW he would say 6.5. Imagine the sheer disappointment when he reported that it was a full point higher than that at a 7.5. With the at-home test that registered a 7 only four weeks ago, coupled with my last appointment at a 7.3, I just don't get it! I've had my CGM on almost constantly in the past several weeks, and I've seen nothing to verify this higher number. Could it be a fluke?

Dr. K understood my frustration, and practically (and comically) panicked himself when I teared up a little while I explained my at-home test and confusion over this number. We went over my CGM graphs and tightened some settings on the pump. I go back in a month for a retest, which I am again expecting to be better. While Dr. K wouldn't say if he thought the number might be an error, he agreed that it didn't make sense.

Logically, I know that this A1c is just a blip on the radar. Emotionally, though, I am so disappointed and despondent over this number. Until the next appointment, I am stalking my numbers in a borderline OCD fashion, and aiming for the best! Because, really, what else can we do?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Playing Catch-Up

First off, I apologize for not updating in a few weeks. Long story short: I still have no laptop cord, took an awesome beach-house vacation with ten of our closest friends and got out of the habit of writing.

My diabetes was very well behaved on vacation, including long stints without the pump attached because of the heat on the beach. In fact, my numbers were almost too good, resulting in lots of minor lows. But, being out in the hot sun and being pretty active all day will do that. The only downfall was the night when we were playing beach volleyball and got swarmed by mosquitoes. I lost count at thirty bites, and one of our friends probably had double that!

Since vacation, we haven't slowed down. Two weeks ago, we spent a weekend visiting my college roommate, her husband and their adorable almost-one-year-old. Then, this weekend, we attended The Greenbrier Classic Golf Tournament with a couple of great friends. The tourney included a concert. I don't listen to country music, but I have to say that Miranda Lambert and Keith Urban gave great shows!

In addition to all of our travels, Anthony and I have been keeping up our running. We haven't found a 5k to attend yet, and our training has slowed a bit due to the heat.

To help supplement some cardio for our missed days, I stopped by Brickhouse Cardio to try their hour-long $5 Zumba class last night. Wow! What a workout, and what a lot of fun! I did have a really stupid low blood sugar mishap (checked in at 50 halfway through class, after a granola bar) and had to run next door to get a Coke (stupid moment for forgetting to unpack my sugar tabs from this weekend's trip). While I'm not going to sign up for membership yet, I will definitely be going back soon. For just $5, it's great exercise, and, it's air-conditioned!

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Diabetes Gold Star

Last week, I had my three-month endocrinology appointment, which was technically a five-month appointment thanks to scheduling issues on both ends.

Dr. K was pleased that I had lost some weight and I had great bloodwork returns. Most important, though, we were both excited to see that over the last two appointments, my A1c had dropped by 1.5! Which means I am almost at my goal of under 6.5. All in all, I gave myself a gold star for the appointment. I take my appointments seriously, and I'm a people-pleaser, so I frequently leave Dr. K frustrated and have a pity-party car cry on the way back to work. Walking out with a positive report is always a relief!

As for 5k training, we have been keeping it up this week despite the stormy weather. The muscle strain I mentioned last time is feeling better, and I hope it will be completely healed soon. I've been able to up my distance, anyway. Anthony and I have decided not to do the 5k this weekend because neither of us feels ready yet. It's summer, though, so I'm sure we'll find one in a month or so.

I tried typing this post from my new iPad 2, but couldn't get it to load pics or scroll correctly. The iPad is not Blogger format compatible, I guess. It's a hand-me-down from my mom, who won it in a weight-loss competition at her school (she's an educational aide). She is uncomfortable with the Apple foreignness, so I inherited it. It arrived just in time for my laptop cord to melt through and start throwing sparks. Yeah, fun stuff.

I've been having fun playing with the iPad. It's a pretty cool product. Especially the ridiculous options in the photobooth app...this kaleidoscope photo goes out to all my fellow type 1s, who, I know, love Diet Coke as much as me...

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Peroneus What-us?

As you may have read here before, I'm training for a 5k. All has been progressing well and I am actually starting to make some gains!

But, last week, I started to have some soreness in my lower legs which has progressed into a searing pain and tightness this week. It pops up about 10 minutes in, and sticks around until I stretch it. Which means I'm stopping to stretch every five minutes or so. The pain is not my calf, not shin splints, but on the outside of the leg, between the ankle and knee. There is no discernible swelling or heat, so I'm thinking it's just a strain and not a tendon problem. And while the immediate pain stops shortly after running, it feels fatigued pretty much constantly, in the same way your arms muscles feel after doing a lot of reps.

After some speculation from Anthony that there IS no muscle there to pull, I turned to my next-trusted research source, Google, and I learned that the muscle is called the peroneus longus. It controls eversion (lifting the pinky-toe side of the foot) and plantar flexion (like pushing your gas pedal). And, ouch ouch ouch, pushing the gas pedal on the way home after a run hurts!

Really...leave it to me to strain a muscle no one's ever heard of! My calves, hamstrings, quads, etc. all feel great, but this odd side-stabilizing muscle is killing my training!

I am trying to work through it at a slow pace, but am definitely going to have to put the 5k training program on repeat for a couple of weeks. I'm also icing after runs, which seems to give some relief.

There are some specialized stretches for the longus that I am trying to do a few times a day and extensively before running.  Yoga stretching and rolling onto the outsides of my feet are practically the only way I can feel a good stretch in the muscle, but it does seem to help a bit.

Surprisingly enough, there are a lot of discussion hits for this type of strain. It seems like it will lessen within a couple of weeks with rest and care. While this is a frustrating set-back, hopefully it will clear up soon so I can get back to pushing myself! I still don't enjoy running, but I am enjoying seeing gains and reaching new milestones.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

It's Hard Out Here for a Pump

After weeks of rainy, stormy weather, we had a weekend of sun and hot hot heat. And it seems to be here for the season, finally!

Summer entered with a bang just in time for Memorial Day Weekend, during which Anthony and I did lots of yard work, golfed, partied and generally spent a lot of time outside in the 90+ degree sun. In other words, we were sweating our asses off for the better part of three days!

As a type 1 diabetic on an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor (cgm), this presents a whole set of problems the average person doesn't consider. This weekend's sweatfest caused me to lose a four-day old cgm sensor, which just seemed to melt off my leg, and caused a pump infusion site's adhesion to lose its sticky, which meant I was leaking insulin. Luckily, I guess, insulin smells weird, so I noticed pretty quickly.

Another consideration is the effects of the heat on the insulin being stored inside the pump and then transferred to me. If I let the pump get too hot or expose it to too much direct sunlight, the insulin can start to go bad by losing its potency. Think of leaving a beer out in the hot sun then re-refrigerating it...eww, right?

So, how does one get around these issues? Usually, if I know I'll be outside and sweating, I'll just unhook my pump and leave it somewhere cool. On beach vacations, I'll leave it shaded in a purse or insulated bag next to me. If I'm not being physically active enough to keep my blood glucose in the normal range, I'll go reconnect for a few minutes and give myself a bit of insulin to get by. As for the cgm and infusion sites melting off due to heat and sweating, there's not much you can do to prevent it. I tend to lose three or four sites every summer to this issue, and since the hubby and I are being decidedly more outdoorsy this year, it's bound to happen more often.

Anthony and I are still going strong on the Couch-to-5k program, now in week four. Week three seemed like a breeze, but bumping up to five-minute runs plus the new 90-degree weather has made this week's jump a little more difficult. We're planning to do a 5k in Huntington at the end of June, intimidatingly called the WV 5k Championship. It says the race is for runners of any skill level. I hope so, but the name alone is scary!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Highs and Lows

While trying to compose my thoughts for this post, I felt like I was all over the place with things I wanted to say, but I did pick up on a theme: highs and lows. Not just in specific reference to type 1. 

On the diabetes front: At the beginning of last week, I was under a lot of stress, which, for me, means highs. By Tuesday, I was tripling my insulin rate and still couldn't come down under 140. It's a vicious cycle of being stressed in my personal life and then going high, only to then stress over the numbers I'm seeing on my meter. A kind of circular reasoning takes place and it takes hours or days to break it. After I got myself back under control, I had a great week and weekend numbers-wise, only to have a site go bad today. Note to self - if the infusion site itches and burns, pull it out because you're not getting your insulin! And of course, this happened when I'm not wearing my continuous glucose monitor. Sometimes a girl needs a break from her machinery.

A great weekend: Anthony and I had a full weekend that started out at the Charlie West Blues Fest in Charleston. Great show, great friends and a great time! Saturday, we saw the new Pirates movie (a good pick if you liked the others) and Sunday we caught up on some much-needed yard work. After breakfast, we washed our vehicles, went for a run, grilled out, trimmed hedges, mowed, cut down a dead rose bush and then I "helped" at Anthony's first soccer practice. By the time we finished all of that and got home, it was almost 8. It was a busy but fun day. And I didn't have any major low sugars, which was a high point!

And just because I want to share: To the "dude" who works on the second floor of my office building...your white-guy fro, bicycle riding and style of dress all make me think that you are probably a hippie. I am intrigued by the way you leave your office door open as if our building is a college dorm. However, thanks to your odd door habit, I get to listen to your music choices after work everyday. Death Cab, REM, Garth Brooks, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, jam bands...I just never know what I'll hear walking from stairwell to stairwell. I must say thank you for giving me this interesting afternoon guessing game!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

JDRF Walk for a Cure Review

The Good:
First off, I'd like to thank our great friends who donated to our Walk Team - we set a first-timers goal of $100, but due to your generosity, we ended up at $200! Thank you for donating, and when a cure is found, you will have been a part of the all-important research process.

There were an estimated 500 people at the event, which set a goal to raise more than $129,000. Their numbers aren't in yet, but I'm willing to bet they made it.

The Not-so-Good
All of that said, I am sad to admit that I was disappointed with the event organization on many levels. Weeks before the event, I emailed the local branch to ask how I could volunteer three times. All I got in reply was one email asking me to sign up as an advocate for the Children's Congress. (My husband and I both signed up.) 

Very little information was made available before the Walk. We received an email telling us to arrive at 12:15 p.m. for photos, but when we arrived at the registration booth, no one seemed to be able to tell us where to go for the photo-op. Three tables and twenty minutes of wandering later, we finally found an answer. Since the walk wasn't scheduled to start until 2 p.m., we had some time to kill and spent it at the adjacent Cruisin' for a Cure Car Show, which was fun. But, as far as Walk-hosted activities, if you weren't under the age of twelve, you didn't matter. There was a bouncy house, a clown, face painting and all sorts of fun kids' activities. Which was great - all the kids there had a blast. BUT...every announcement, note and sign was about kids with type 1. No mention was made of all of us there who were adults. (And when we finally got to start the walk, there was so much confusion about the course that people were going in three different directions at one intersection.)

Why Does it Matter?
This is prime time for public education! Here's the kicker - at the event, I heard someone say: So, how old do you have to be until it's not Juvenile Diabetes anymore? There was so much opportunity for advocacy at this event, and it was lost.

While I support the cause, I was let down by the execution.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Blog Week #7: What We've Learned

As blog week ends, we have been asked to say what we learned from other bloggers in the diabetes online community (the d.o.c.).

The things I have learned from fellow bloggers in the past week, and long before that, are too numerous and profound to name. The d.o.c. is a place to gain perspective, comfort, ideas, humor and so much more.

I could never name all the reasons I'm glad to have the d.o.c., so let me just say THANK YOU to all of my online "friends" who inspire me everyday. It was wonderful seeing the camaraderie this week and I've now picked up even more blogs to follow.

On another note: I'd also like to thank our wonderful family and friends who donated to today's JDRF Walk for a Cure. While the experience was not exactly what I expected (more on that this week), it was for a great cause, and I'm thankful for all of your donations.

And one more note: A big congrats to my husband who graduated this weekend with his MBA. I'm so proud of him!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Blog Week #6: Snapshot Saturday

Mustard, ketchup, taco sauce, eggs, insulin...the usual.

My supply closet. Very organized after spring cleaning!

Glucose tabs next to the alarm clock for middle-of-the night lows.
Fruit punch and orange are the best!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Blog Week #5: Awesome Things

Let's take a look at the bright side - being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes has come with some perks. Every finger prick, shot, pump-site change and SWAG (scientific wild-assed guess) insulin dose comes with a balance of learning (on a bad day), gratification (on a good day) and wonder (where the F did that number come from?!).

Here are some of the finer points of diabetes:
  • I love being right.
    Exhibit A: my three-hour readout after a lunch of beef stir-fry, fruit and a handful of almonds.
  • Learning about nutrition. Most people eat what they want and don't think much about it unless they are trying to be healthy or lose weight. Diabetes and insulin pumping have taught me a lot about the delicate balances in meals - carbs, proteins, fats, fiber - and how they all work together and affect the absorption of glucose into cells and the bloodstream.
  • Real food is way better than sugar free. A lot of non-D people eat sugar free because they think it's healthier. It's really just chemically enhanced. I learned the hard way that "sugar-free" treats are, first, not really "sugar-free"; and second, made with sugar alcohols. You remember when Olestra hit the potato chip market and the problems that caused to peoples' digestion? Yeah. Sugar alcohols do that, too.
  • Having a really good reason to exercise. Aside from the obvious benefits to overall fitness, exercise is also instrumental to keeping blood sugar regulated. I can tell a big difference if I take more than a few days off from physical activity.
  • I honestly believe I am healthier because of my diagnosis. I pay attention to details I never bothered with before, and would probably still ignore.
  • Having cool technology is a must. At any given time, I am carrying no less than three pieces of life-saving technology. My insulin pump, my glucose meter and my continuous glucose monitor are almost always with me, and in two of the cases, actually attached to me. While carrying all of this stuff can be cumbersome, it's tolerable when I think about how much easier they make my life.
  • Other bloggers. I have learned so much about diabetes and life in general from all of the other people who have put their stories into the world wide web. The diabetes online community is a great place of learning, camaraderie and venting.

Keep on the sunny side!

Eggs - 2 carbs, 31g protein!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Blog Week #4: Wild Card Post "Outside the Box"

Today's Blog Week post was supposed to be "Ten Things I Hate About Diabetes." However, since I did my own Top Ten List a couple of weeks ago, I'm picking a wild card today: "Thinking Outside the Box" to produce something creative.

So, while many talented bloggers will probably express their "outside-the-box" posts in inspiring and much more creative ways, I have decided to take this post verbatim and show you something "outside-the-box", literally.

Yay for new shoes! Anthony and our good friend Jacob have decided to take up the Couch to 5k training program and I am tagging a much slower pace, a few laps behind. The program seems do-able, and should be a great way to help shape-up my layer of chub A1c number. (FYI, non-D readers, the A1c test is like a report card for your blood sugar numbers, averaging from the last few months.)

For the record, after our first two sessions, I still hate running. It is definitely an outside-the-box activity for me! Wish me and my shoes luck!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Blog Week #3: Bloopers

Funny/embarrassing moments thanks to my diabetes:
  • During an excruciatingly boring meeting, my insulin pump fell out of my pocket and banged on the chair leg. The entire room jolted upright and later said they were glad for the distraction because everyone was dozing off. 
  • When my pump was hidden in my cleavage and notified me that my blood sugar was low by buzzing and lighting up, someone said "Why are your boobs glowing?"
  • Saying "I'm high" and having someone take it the wrong way.
  • The many times I've had to explain that my insulin pump is not a pager/phone/iPod.
  • Or better yet, having my friends jump in with something like "she's a robot" or "yeah, it's a pager since this is 1995" 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Blog Week #2: A Letter to Me

A letter to myself, the day before diagnosis.

To me, on December 31, 2004...

Your life is about to change.

Right now, you are celebrating because you fit into those jeans even though you know you shouldn't be losing weight. You're drinking champagne at a New Year's Eve party off campus and really want to chase it with a gallon of water. You woke up last night with terrible leg cramps and your pinkie fingers were tingly all day yesterday. By tomorrow, it will all seem so obvious.

You will cry. You will ask every new doctor who visits your hospital room if the last one was wrong. You won't understand, and you will mourn your state of oblivion. Your parents will mourn, too, and you will cry for their guilt too. Because it's not anyone's fault. You'll learn that type 1 is a numbers game. Dad will get it pretty quickly, as will you. Mom is worried, as she usually is, and overwhelmed - cut her some slack.

When you call Anthony from the hospital, know that he'll be scared too. When you get back to campus, he will look at you like he's trying to figure out if you're okay. Tell him you're okay, because it's the truth. The day you get back to campus is the first day you'll see a normal blood sugar number, so you're feeling pretty confident by now. You will give your future husband his own crash course, and later, your roommates and your friends...and you will feel better knowing that those close to you know what you're dealing with. You will learn about all of this together. They will all look out for you.

Don't get bogged down by the worries and the what-ifs. You will learn so much about yourself. You will learn about nutrition and all of the nuances of how food is used by your body that it will become second nature to you. You will have days when your blood sugar is high for seemingly no reason and you will take too much insulin out of sheer anger that you will then have to treat the resulting low. You'll get the hang of it, most of the time.

Tomorrow, your life will change. But, I promise, you'll be just fine.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Blog Week #1: Admiring our Differences

Before we get into the differences among the diabetes community, let's have a quick overview of what happens in our bodies.

When you eat, your body absorbs the nutrients in your food and takes them to various places in your cells. One of these nutrients is a carbohydrate. Carbs are turned to glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream, and are then taken into your cells to be used as energy. Insulin, a hormone released by the pancreas, acts as a key to unlock your cells and allow the glucose into your cells. Without adequate insulin (type 1) or without cooperation from your cells (type 2), glucose will stay in your bloodstream and build to dangerously high levels. This is the root definition of diabetes.

The basic types of diabetes can be broken down as follows:
  • Type 1, in which the pancreas produces little-to-no insulin. Type 1s must take insulin through shots or insulin pump therapy to replace it in their body. The amount of insulin required by each person is different based on weight, age, diet, activity level, etc.
  • Type 2, in which the body gradually loses its ability to effectively use its own insulin through either poor usage by cells or insulin resistance. This can be treated through some combination of diet, exercise, oral medicines or insulin shots. Each individual's treatment is personal and varied.
  • Gestational diabetes, in which a pregnant woman develops some degree of type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Generally, pregnant women are placed on insulin therapy for the safety of their fetus. High glucose levels during pregnancy can lead to large babies and birth defects. Although pregnant women with any kind of diabetes are classified as high risk, they can have normal, healthy pregnancies as long as they monitor their blood glucose closely.
  • Latent Autoimmune/LADA/Type 1.5, in which an adult develops a combination of symptoms from both types 1 and 2. These symptoms can be slow-onset like type 2 and may eventually adopt the appearance of type 1. Patients with this form are often misdiagnosed.

Although there are many different types and treatments, we all have the same goal: to have healthy and normal lives.

As I admire our differences, I see that it doesn't really matter what type you have or what treatment you use, as long as you do what you need to do to stay healthy.

*A note to anyone who found this post from the D-Blog list: I realize this isn't 100% on topic, but since this blog is new, I thought this would be a good topic to personalize and use as a tool for my friends who read but may have no idea about diabetes. While I absolutely admire all the bloggers I read, I felt a post about them might be lost on my readers.

Friday, May 6, 2011

2nd Annual Diabetes Blog Week

DBlogWeek2011ButtonNext week is the Second Annual Diabetes Blog Week. From May 9-15, diabetes bloggers across the web will be participating in this event organized by one of the blogs I have followed for some time, I've been reading other people's blogs for several years now, and am excited to be able to participate now as a blogger.

Each day features a themed writing prompt, designed to show different perspectives on some common issues facing the diabetes community.

Here's a preview of what you'll see here next week:
  • Monday, 5/9: Admiring our Differences
    • The differences and similarities in the diabetes community - types, treatments, goals, etc.
  • Tuesday, 5/10: Letter Writing Day
    • Write a letter to someone/something involved in your d-life. It can be a doctor, your disease, parents, spouses, medical devices, etc.
  • Wednesday, 5/11: Diabetes Bloopers
    • Funny moments inspired by your screw-ups.
  • Thursday, 5/12: Wild Card - Diabetes Art
    • Step "outside the box" for creativity.
  • Friday, 5/13: Awesome Things
    • Great things you've done or learned since your diagnosis.
  • Saturday, 5/14: Snapshots
    • Photo day
  • Sunday, 5/15: What We've Learned
    • What have you learned from others in the diabetes community?
I hope you'll follow D-Blog Week with me, and also, please remember that next Sunday May 15 is the JDRF Walk for a Cure. Please give what you can for this great cause.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

How do ya like them apples?

When I came home from spending a nice weekend with the family, I found that, sadly, one of our apple trees decided to give up on life and inexplicably fall over sometime last weekend.

Maybe from all the storms and wind? Who knows, but at least it didn't hit anything, and at least we still have about two dozen more apple trees to spare. Not that we know what to do with all that fruit, plus the cherry tree and pear tree.

The fallen tree is several feet from the shed, as you see in the photo, and it will be leaning there until Anthony returns from Europe this weekend. Upon when I will no doubt be clingy and needy from missing him and he will go cut up the tree just to get away from me for a while!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Type 1 Top Ten List

Borrowing a page from Dave Letterman, I present The Type 1 Top Ten List, a.k.a., some things that your Type 1 friend would like you to know!

10. It's pronounced dia-bee-teez. Despite what Wilford Brimley may tell you, it is not dia-beet-us. It is also not called "having sugar."

9. Yes, I can eat that. So long as I take the appropriate amount of insulin to cover the carb content, I can have anything I'd like. So please don't judge my food choices - after all, chances are you really don't need that cookie either!

8. Don't tell me about your family member/distant acquaintance who lost a foot/went blind/had kidney failure. It's not helpful, and it's slightly offensive. Would you say to a cancer patient Oh, I knew somebody who died from that!...?

7. Don't make me a spectacle! A few years ago at a business dinner, as I was buttering a dinner roll, a board member with pill-and-diet controlled Type 2 SHOUTED across a table full of ten or twelve near-strangers, "Isn't that going to make your sugar high?!"  Now, I don't have a problem discussing this among friends, and even strangers. However, singling me out at a table of ten people, while we're on opposite corners, is not the appropriate way to ask questions. Especially when I'm with my company reps who, quite frankly, are on a need-to-know basis.

6. But don't be afraid to ask me questions! In fact, it's encouraged. Constructive questions are the only way to overcome stereotypes and misconceptions. If you're curious about what I'm doing, or how something will impact my blood sugar, go ahead and ask. Just don't follow the example in #7!

5. I've heard more than once: hey, at least it's not cancer! Well, no, it isn't. But on the other hand, it IS something I will have to deal with and monitor for the rest of my life. Minimizing my concerns or brushing off my depressed days makes me feel even worse. While I generally don't get down, we all have days where nothing goes right, and diabetes management is no different.

4. Having low blood sugar can be scary, weird and unpredictable. A few weeks ago, I was with a friend while our husbands were playing golf. She is familiar with Type 1 Diabetes because we lived together for a while in college and have been friends since before my diagnosis. When I got to her house, I felt low and asked for a glass of juice. An hour later, I was still low, and begrudgingly, had to ask her to stop for food because I had gone through my entire sleeve of glucose tabs. I have never had such a persistent low, and of course, it happened away from home and husband. It took glucose tabs, a glass of juice, a soft pretzel and two handfuls of jelly beans to finally level off above 80 a few hours later.

3. Type 1's can guess the carb count in just about anything. When I'm out to dinner, I mentally tally not only my food, but YOURS too. Just because.

2. I also have learned all sorts of useful nutritional information. In addition to carb-counting, Type 1's need to be aware of the effects of fats, proteins and alcohols in their food, because all of these can change the rate at which insulin is absorbed.

1. Please understand that all the contraptions I wear make my life easier and serve as a treatment, but they are not a cure. Do what you can to help our walk team find one.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tax time!

In honor of the April 18 cutoff for tax filing: did you know that charitable donations are tax deductible? Donate to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund's Walk for a Cure through our team page today for a tax deduction!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sponsor a Walk Team because...

Please sponsor my team for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund's Walk for a Cure by clicking the tab above, or by visiting here 

Children are diagnosed everyday with Type 1 Diabetes. Here is what they'll have to live with for the rest of their lives if a cure is not found. These are the "tools of the trade" that help me, and most other Type 1's, live:

This is my insulin pump. It is an alternative to taking my insulin through multiple daily injections. Instead, the pump pushes insulin through a small plastic tube inserted about a half-inch under my skin. It gives me a varying dose every few minutes all day long and when I push the buttons, it sends extra insulin based on what I eat or my activity level. For comparison, it is shown here next to my phone. I usually carry it tucked in my pocket or clipped (like a cell phone belt clip) somewhere on my clothing.

This is where my infusion set, the plastic tube that provides my insulin, is inserted on my side. I pull it out like a band-aid and insert a new site on either my belly, lower back, or outer thigh every three or four days. If you look to side, you'll see a small red circle from a week-old site change.

This is a bottle of insulin. One bottle lasts about three weeks for me, but everyone's usage varies.

This is how I test my blood sugar. After pricking your finger, you touch the drop of blood to the center of the strip, and it sucks a small amount into the meter for testing. A "normal" reading is 70-120.

In addition to finger-pricking, there is another way we can monitor blood sugar. This is a Continuous Glucose Monitor, or CGM.

It is inserted under the skin, and the needle pulls out, leaving behind a very thin wire. You manually input a current blood sugar reading from finger-pricking, and it then calibrates and begins checking your blood sugar on its own every six minutes. The round white part at the top is a wireless transmitter that, in turn, sends the readings right to my insulin pump, which will beep to alert me if my blood sugar falls below 75 or raises above 150. It requires a new calibration, or finger-prick reading, every six hours so it can stay accurate.

Last, but not least, is my medical identification bracelet. Should I ever pass out, be in a car accident, etc., this will let people know the kind of treatment I need. EMTs and other medical professionals are trained to recognize jewelery like this.

Please sponsor my team for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund's Walk for a Cure by clicking the tab above, or by visiting here.