Monday, February 28, 2011

Backlight: A Parody.

Have you ever read a book, watched a movie or television show, or listened to a song and wondered: How would the story change if the protagonist had diabetes?

I do it all the time, especially with books - and more especially with ones I've read over and over.

Today's post looks at one of my favorite guilty pleasure stories, and how I'd view it through the lens of diabetes: The Twilight series. (Henceforth renamed "Backlight".)

The beginnings of the story would go unchanged: Bella moving to Forks, WA to live with her dad; starting a new high school and being incredibly uncomfortable with the attention she gains from being "new". She'd have that awkward encounter with Edward, he'd disappear for a few days, then come back and be super awesome. 

Remember the meadow scene, where Bella sees Edward for the first time in the sunlight - one of the most laughable parts of the movie? In the novel and movie Twilight, Bella finds out that vampires glitter "like diamonds" while in direct sunlight.

In Backlight, she notices that they glow like back-lit glucose meters.

In Twilight, Bella's friend Jacob Black lets her in on a few secrets about what the Cullens are, and alludes to what he and his friends can morph into. Twilight has Jacob able to morph into a wolf.

In Backlight, I'd rather have him morph into something more fun. Like... um... a unicorn. A glittery unicorn.

Twilight, as a series, casts Edward's sister, Alice, as a friend and protector of sorts. She's able to not really see the future, so much as she can see what will happen via the decisions that people make.

In Backlight, she's a Carb Counter for Bella. She can look at an unmeasured bowl of pasta, a plate of pizza, or Chinese take-out and know exactly what it will do to her blood sugar.

And Edward? Edward's her CGM. He first realizes it when he has to drink her blood after she gets injured during the James Incident.

He later learns that he can sense her BG value from smell, as well as taste. This is convenient, since getting bit by a vampire every couple of hours isn't a good idea - and neither is trying to do blood tests around them.


This is what happens when I have a free weekend, a sore throat that commandeers my voice, and decide to download Paintbrush. Sorry for the copious amount of ridiculous.

Oh, and I have not own rights to or have any affiliation with anything Twilight, etc. etc. Just a fan. :)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Happy: A List.

Things that make me happy (and things I will think about, instead of how having a cold is super lame, and makes me talk like dis becuz my noze id so stuffy):

Sandy beaches.
Spring - because the snow will be gone.
(Can you tell I need some away-from-Nebraska-and-snow-time?)
Hugs from Aaron. (They're the best - ask anyone!)
Being on the inside of jokes.
Bringing people to the "inside" of jokes.
Cardigan sweaters.
Music with a beat. (Techno?)
Captain 100:
Bonfires in the firepit in our backyard, and the smore parties that naturally follow.
And in place of sleeping - COFFEE.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Feeling Stab-y.

I seem to have this way of doing things that many don't share - a habit, you might say.

Of the people I know who use an insulin pump, most use something like this to set up their infusion sites:

It's a pod thing that automatically inserts the cannula for you - click a button, and the pod does the work, like some sort of magician. I actually have no idea how they work, because... ready for this? I've never used one.

Yep. I'm a manual inserter of insulin pump sites. I was brought up, so to speak, on these:

That's what I was taught to use with my first insulin pump in 2005 - which was the good ol' Cozmo. When I switched to the Ping a year ago, they told me that I could stick with what I'd been using, and so I did. I figured that since I'd never had any issues with them in those four years - why mess with a good thing?

The whole idea of using an automatic inserter freaks me out a little bit. (Shouldn't it be the other way around - shouldn't I be freaked out by having to do stick the needle in myself?) I like the idea that I'm in control of exactly when and at what speed that needle comes at me, and I can angle it in whatever way I choose. It does have drawbacks, though - I've never tried an arm site, because it's nearly impossible to do all of the unpeeling of tape backing (while not accidentally removing the cannula) when you're working with one hand only.

Maybe some day I'll work up the courage to try one - but I guess I'm not there yet.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I Have A Few Questions.

Why do the most accurate CGM sensor sites also have to be the itchiest?

Why do I only start to drop low after I've brushed my teeth?

Why can't Dexcom covers come in colors like aqua blue, orange, green or purple?

Why, on the nights I most need sleep, does Jim decide to make stuff up about my blood sugar and thusly wake me up every half hour with a BRRR BRRR BRRR BRRR! from the nightstand? (That's my impersonation of him vibrating, by the way.)

How is it possible that I can access the internet from my phone, but I can't access my basal rates from my meter remote?

Why do the Animas cartridge needles make my Humalog bottles leak drops of insulin while I'm filling them? (I've learned recently that I'm not the only one this happens to...)

Why do I sometimes feel like I'm dropping low, when I'm really not?

Why, when I get sick, does it take me three weeks to recover, instead of the three days it appears to take everyone else?

Why can't I keep myself from smirking when the nurse giving me my flu shot says "This might hurt a little"? (And why do I almost always feel the need to tell her that I'm used to it, because I have diabetes?)

And why does the world not yet have an integrated Animas/Dexcom system?!


Got a question you'd like to ask, too?  Leave it in the comments section.  Who knows?  Someone might just come along and answer it.  I'm looking at you, Animas and Dexcom.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Moving On.

R.I.P., old buddy.

Hey, Elle.

I can't believe we're having "the talk" already. It seems like I just introduced you to my friends not that long ago, but it appears that it's already time to say goodbye.

I knew you were older, but I thought you had a lot of spunk left in you - I guess I was mistaken. That accident you had a few weeks back (the one that left your "leg" broken) wasn't something you could come back from, and Aaron and I have kicked you to the curb. (Literally.)

I need someone who can keep up with me - who can teach me a thing or two, and push me to be a better version of myself.

You've probably noticed the new hotness we invited into the house last weekend - all clean lines and brightly-lit display; sitting there like it owns the place. Ms. Elliptical doesn't have a name yet, but we'll get there. I don't want to rush into things so quickly with her, as I did with you.

It's not that we didn't like you, Elle - you just weren't as good of a fit as we thought you'd be. I hope you don't take this personally. But, really - we only lasted about three weeks. We weren't that serious about each other, were we?


You were?


Monday, February 21, 2011

Diabetes (is not) Working for the Weekend.

Diabetes isn't very prominent on my radar on the weekends - and I'm not sure I want to change that.

It's part of the reason my A1C came back last week at a much higher 6.9, compared with the 5.8 I dominated with in November. (A lot of other things are to blame for that, as well.) But I think it also might be part of what helps me feel some balance with all of this super-regimented stuff I do during the week. After all, everybody "goes off the deep end" sometimes, and "needs a second chance". (Loverboy = lyrical geniuses?)

Monday through Friday, I'm getting up at the same time. I'm taking my pills at 6:12 each morning, pre-bolusing while I blowdry my hair, and eating breakfast - always an egg, Canadian bacon or turkey sausage with egg whites and organic provolone on a bagel thin, made by my awesome husband - on my way out the door.

I'm in one location for most of the day. Jim hangs out on my keyboard tray, and my testing stuff is sitting there, ready for me when I need it. I bring an easily-carb-counted lunch from home, and I go walking for 15 minutes twice a day, always at the same time.

On Saturdays and Sundays? HA! I dare you to find any kind of pattern.

I sleep late. I eat whatever, whenever. I SWAG bolus - a lot. I sometimes go hours without doing a blood test; relying heavily on my CGM for guidance. Weekend nights might find me with some wine in hand, or a Malibu and Diet Coke, or a shot of Patron. Or maybe more than one. A model diabetic, I am not.

Sometimes, too, I ignore Jim. Yesterday I helped throw a bridal shower for a good friend of mine, and my Dexcom receiver sat in my purse, in her laundry room, for three hours. I honestly didn't have the time or energy to feel badly about it either.

For me, it's helpful to have some time here and there where I do just the bare minimum. I test a few times throughout the day, take insulin, but try not to worry about much past that. I wish I could say that I'm okay with being super attentive to diabetes every single day, but the truth is that I'm not. It's mentally exhausting.

Some days you just want to pretend to be "normal" and not worry about dealing with all of this crap.

Friday, February 18, 2011

D-Feast Friday: Baked Tomatoes.

I absolutely love this recipe, which was created by one of my best buds (the one in Kansas City). It made a great breakfast this past weekend when I attempted it, and Aaron agreed with me that we'll be making it a part of the regular rotation.

Baked Tomato with Egg and Pesto

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees, with the top rack up as far as it will go. (Those are her instructions - I had to put it down one notch, as the "top shelf" usage woke my smoke alarms up. I'm a bad broiler.)

Cut about the top 1/8 off of the tomato and "gut" it out. (I used a melon baller/scoop, because it's easier and doesn't scrape the sides, but a regular ol' spoon will work too.) Place it, or as many as you're making, in a ceramic or stoneware baking dish sprayed with oil/Pam/whatever. If the tomato doesn’t sit upright in the dish, just bevel the bottom of the tomato by cutting off a tiny sliver to make it flat.

Spoon about a tablespoon of pesto - I bought the stuff in the jar, or you can make your own, if you're ambitious - into the bottom of the hallowed tomato, and crack one egg into it.

Season with salt and pepper to taste, and bake for 20 - 25 minutes until the egg whites are set and the yolks are a little bit runny, still.

Then, take the tomato(es) out of the oven and turn your broiler to "high". Sprinkle (or smother - whatever, I don't judge) with a shredded cheese. I used mozzerella.  Broil for 4 - 5 minutes, or until the cheese starts to get crusty and golden.

I counted the tomatoes as a "free food", but did serve it with some golden yukon potatoes (they have a lower GI than Russett potatoes, which is handy) that I cut up and tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Ta da!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Link To The Past.

I never knew my mom's father.

I have some idea of what kind of man he was, through the stories I've heard. There were always photos of him at my grandma's house, so I have some idea of what he looked like. (He looked an awful lot like my brother, by the way.) He passed away when my mom was young, so I never had the chance to meet him.

But I've always felt a connection to him. (I have a hard time thinking of him my "grandpa", as my grandma remarried and I always knew that man as my grandpa. Maybe the more formal "grandfather" fits here.)

You see, he's the closest blood relative I have that also had type 1 diabetes. He was diagnosed in his mid-20's, shortly after he and my grandma were married (she made donuts one morning; he got really sick - you can guess how the rest of the story roughly goes). A lot of the diabetes-related technology we use now wasn't around yet - home glucose meters, carb counting, disposable needles, etc.

Sometimes I think about what it would be like to talk with him. Did his lows have the same symptoms that mine do? What would he think of insulin pumps and CGMs? What did his complications feel like when they started? Would he have the same tongue-in-cheek view on life with diabetes as I do? Did living with it make him feel angry, scared, frustrated, defiant?

Every so often, when I see a triumphant 111 mg/dL (Yahtzee!) or something similar on my meter, I imagine a spiritual high-five with him. (Is that weird?)

As I sorted through those boxes of childhood stuff last weekend, I came across something that was handed down to me. It's a "Cookbook for Diabetics", published by the ADA in 1959. I thought I'd share a few of its pages with you. Some of it is surprisingly still relevant, and some of it made me chuckle. It also made me feel all mushy and emotional, as it's something that was his.

Can you imagine a world where people don't know
what a "calorie" is?

An ADA endorsement of cheese.  Love it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I realized on my way in to work today that I forgot to do something very important.

My "endo" visit with my P.A. is today, and I don't have anything printed off or downloaded to hand her - no CGM data, no pump settings, no blood sugar logs.


Then, as I was downing my morning coffee and getting signed into everything at work, I realized I hadn't bolused for that coffee (and loads of creamer). And so, I tweeted about it.

Five minutes later, I remembered:  I still hadn't bolused for that coffee.

Can I go home, go back to bed, and start today over? Please?

(At least I remembered to refill my pump before leaving the house today... something tells me that the two units I woke up with wouldn't have cut it.)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Deciding on Disclosure.

Life is weird.

Even though I see the amount of traffic this blog receives, I don't often think about who is reading what I write here. My mind doesn't tend to connect those numbers with actual people, and certainly not with people I'd encounter "in real life". Okay, so my mom reads this, and so do several of my friends - but strangers who I might meet one day? It's hard to wrap my brain around that.

See? They're awesome!
This past Saturday, I grabbed some lunch at one of my favorite places with a couple of my DOC friends, who were visiting from Kansas City. I've written about this restaraunt before and how cool it was that they had so many JDRF sneakers displayed last fall as they raised money for the Walk to Cure. As we stood in the foyer, I was telling them this was that place, and gesturing to where the sneaker displays had been. And as is customary for me when I get excited about something, I was using my "outside voice".

Then, I heard from behind the hostess' table:  "Wait - are you the infamous blogger?"

Bewildered and slightly uncomfortable with that wording, I turned around and incriminatingly answered, "....maybe?" The hostess told me that they had seen my blog post, printed it off, and it had been laying around for people to read.

Then, my friend chimed in: "And she's in a magazine!" She pulled the new issue of Diabetic Living out of her purse, flipped to page four, and pointed me out. The girl's eyes widened, and she responded, "Oh... wow!"

I wanted to hide under a booth.

When I started out this blog, I put as little personally-identifying information about myself as I thought was necessary out there. I didn't have my picture anywhere on here, I didn't specify what city I live in, and I didn't (and still don't) use my last name on my blog. I didn't use people's real names when I spoke about friends or family.

Some of that has changed over the past few months - if you really look, you can find a lot of those pieces of information in different places now. And, when you Google my name, a lot of diabetes-related stuff comes up. I guess the cat's sort of out of the bag, now.

I'm still not comfortable being "totally out there" with everything. My hesitation and reasoning for not using my last name on my blog, or anywhere in the DOC, had been that I didn't want to give any future employers a reason not to hire me when they searched for my name online. Due to some recent happenings (which are really, really cool, and I'm super appreciative of the opportunities I'm having - more to come on this), this won't be a "clear" search anymore - and I think I'm starting to be sort-of okay with that. The job I'm in right now is totally okay with my DOC involvement (and very supportive in the time off I've requested to participate in some of these things), which is super - but this isn't the sort of thing I can see myself doing for the rest of my life.

They say there are three criteria for the perfect job: Something you're good at, something you enjoy doing, and something you can get paid to do. When you can find something that fits all three, it's like magic - and I haven't found that magical trifecta yet.

I feel like I've smooshed two completely different topics into one very incohesive post here, but that's how I'm rolling today. I realize the irony of someone who writes about their personal health (and submits a photo to a magazine) being shy and protective of their identity, but that's where I am.

Life is weird, and to some extent, so am I.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Fortune Telling.

Apparently I haz psychic abilities? 

As of this past weekend, I've assumed possession of the last of my "childhood stuff" that my parents had been storing for me. As I sorted through one of the boxes on Sunday, I found some old writing assignments from high school. I flipped though a few pages in one of the binders. Somehow, I happened to land on this particular page.

And I creeped myself the heck out with this little gem, circa 1996.

Aaron and I did meet in college. (But that wasn't until 2005.) As for the kids and 2-story blue house - well, we'll see.  ;)

Happy Valentine's Day, all!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Reaching The Unreachable.

How do you reach those that need help the most?

A better question may be: how do you reach those same people when they have no idea where or what that help is, or that it could help them in a meaningful way?

When I say "help", I'm not referring to therapy (in the conventional sense) or rehabilitation. I'm thinking of the people out there who live their lives with diabetes, yet without an awareness of how much lighter that burden could be.

Over the last year, I've had the opportunity to read and interact with a variety of views on how living with diabetes affects people. I see accounts from people of all varieties, in all walks and stages of life. I see the good, the bad, and the very ugly. Because I'm a responder for an online diabetes support resource, I interact with some of the concerning, devastating and sometimes heart-wrenching situations that are only shared under conditions that ensure the comforts afforded by anonymity and confidentiality.

For those same reasons, I can't say exactly what I've been alerted to recently.

What I can say is that my heart feels heavier today.

A family member of someone with type 1 diabetes contacted me recently.  The T1 is experiencing a lot of the burnout, frustration, complacence and outright depression that so many of us have faced.  Reading through this email with blurry eyes, it felt as though I was reading what someone could have written about me ten years ago, with a few different dramatic twists.

These aren't new issues to our online community - they happen.  But when they do, we rally.  We sympathize.  We relate.  We check in.  We motivate, and we encourage, and we support.

We do this as a community because we all know the power of what this brilliant sum of kind hearts and strong voices can do. It's what we're good at, frankly.

But how do we reach the ones outside of our mostly-well-adjusted bubble? How do we reach those who need us in ways they may not even realize right now? The ones who may be resistant to accept any kind of help?

How do we reach the unreachable?

My imagination likes to write its own stories. (Maybe you've noticed.) I often envision these folks as living in some sort of alternate yet parallel version of themselves - of the person they could be. As the saying goes, "they don't know what they're missing". I can remember what it's like to be that version of yourself; the lonely frustration coupled with a bit of self-reliant defiance. Me, need help? Oh no, no. I've been doing this for ____ years. I don't need "help". It sucks, but I'm doing the best I can with it.

In fact, that version of myself might be a little pissed at me for writing this, and for insinuating that she didn't have herself as together as she thinks. She's be a little put-off by the fact that I claim to know what she's going through - because no one gets what it's like.

I want to hang billboards for these people. I want to flood the airwaves with PSAs. I want a freaking Superbowl commercial. I want people in sandwich boards walking around the downtown of every city in the world. I want people in chicken suits. I want blimps at sporting events. I want a sheet with online resources shoved into every damn test strip box on the market right now.

And I want to give all of these people a huge hug, without me looking like a totally crazy idiot.

That last part might be totally unavoidable, but I'm willing to take that risk considering the potential payoff.

This Sister- and Brotherhood of the People With a Broken Pancreas - we have an amazing ability to help people live better by being open and honest about life with diabetes, and there are so many more that can be brought into the fold. We ourselves are proof of the power that community has, because of the changes we've seen it bring to our own lives. We have all felt that void - or recognized its existence only after having brought to light and sealed up - before.

Let's find a way to share this, folks. We need more rooftops to shout from.

Friday, February 11, 2011

It's Ridogulous.

Aaron and I had a date night last night. We got our Thursday Night Sushi, and topped it off with a stop for some ice cream (the real stuff!) on the way home. As I worked through my butterscotch sundae, something crossed my mind, and I thought I'd throw it out there to see what he thought.

"What if we got a Corgi?"

image credit here

(Sidenote: Corgis are my favorite dog. The short and stubby legs, the fur, the huge ears, the fact that they always look like they're grinning..... OMG.)

Anyway - Aaron knows how I feel about Corgis, but he also knows my apprehension about having a dog. Unlike Aaron and most other people in the world, my brother and I never had pets when we were growing up. My one experience with living with a cat as an early twenty-something left me sneezing like it was my job, and on a Zyrtec regimen (that I'm still on). Aaron and I have never had pets, nor do we have kids. It feels like we should add to the fam, in a furry way.

But there's also the whole puppy training thing, and the part where the dogs I find cutest seem to be the same ones that shed like crazy. I'm a bit of a neat freak, and I'm not sure how I'd handle that.

But I'd have a walking buddy, who wouldn't let me slouch on exercise, and a snuggle buddy. And a furball that would make me smile every time I looked at him.

Aaron made the mistake of indulging me. "What if we got two Corgis? They need a buddy, you know."

My eyes widened. And then the puns started, and I couldn't stop them. It was as if the weight of all those puns sitting in my brain had finally given way to gravity, and I couldn't do anything but fall right along with them.

"{insert friend's name here} knows a lot about dogs. Do you think we should collar?"

"I'll tail you what I think."

"Are you fur real about this??"

"Man, having a corgi would be ruff."

"Know why I love them? Beclaws they're cute."

"What if it doesn't like living with us? It might try to flea."

And then, when we were leaving the building: "Wait, where did we bark the car again?"

I may have done more harm than good to my dog-acquiring chances. I don't know if we'll actually get a Corgi or not - or if we do, when that will be - but it's a pawsibility.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

"Ignorant Mary".

My friend Greg, who is the guy behind the I hate Diabetes (Type 1) Facebook page, has been creating some giggle-worthy videos. The series is called "Ignorant Mary", and is centered around some of the annoying insulting idiotic misconceptions the general public has about diabetes. With his permission, I'm sharing the first of the series with you here.  Please note: the audio for this video is possibly not suitable for viewing at work/around children. Check out his channel on YouTube to see more of the episodes.

Do you have a suggestion for a diabetes myth or stereotype that you'd like to see Greg address in his next video? Leave your ideas in the comments section!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

They Buy Me Splenda.

Some people have life-long friends; friends they grew up alongside since childhood. Some people have friends they can call up at any time; friends they can talk to about anything; friends who know (and keep) your secrets.

I don't really have anyone who fits that first sentence - that's a story for another time. But I'd like to say that I very much cherish the few people I can count in that second category. 

Of my three closest girlfriends, one of them lives in Nebraska - but not in the same city as me. One of them I visited this past weekend in Kansas City, and the other lives in Connecticut. (You know, from when I thought it was a brilliant idea to move halfway across the country? She's the best outcome I could have asked for from that situation.) It's hard, because I'd love to have them all here; to have people I can just meet up with spontaneously - my imagination would have us all living fabulously like the Sex and the City girls, going out together and lunching on Sunday mornings. But, sadly, it's not quite like that - geography and real life keep us apart far more than we'd all like.

That bird hat would make a great
insulin pump hide-out. And they'd
totally get it.

When I do get to spend a few days with either of the non-Nebraskan girls, the little things they do for me are just... endearing. They get that I might need a snack, or that the time we're eating dinner that day will matter, or that I'll need to see food labels (when available). It's no big deal for me to check my blood sugar right in the middle of the waiter taking our order - they don't flinch. They ask how my numbers are doing; how I'm feeling. They keep juice on hand. And, bless their hearts, they keep a box of Splenda in the cabinet for me.

Having people that not only "get me" as a person, but who "get me" as a person with diabetes too - that's rare. And I love them for it.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Flying Solo.

Jim is showing signs of dementia.

It could be because it's somewhere around day 12 for this sensor, and the accurate days of its youth are quickly fading from memory. It could also be because, I realized this morning, my transmitter is over a year old and likely needs replacing soon. Whatever the cause, he's losing it, and I can't rely on him today.

Even his jacket is greying.
He's the elderly man who lives in my purse - we've had such good times together that I don't want to part with him just yet (the adhesive situation on this sensor, while a mosiac of tape, is holding on like a boss), but I know he's at the point of needing to retire. Right now, he's taking a very confused nap in my purse, and I just want to pet his imaginary head and tell him everything is going to be okay. Poor guy.

Today I'll be "flying solo"; just finger sticks and I. I'm hoping that flying solo doesn't become flying "so low".

And now I have that Jason Derulo song stuck in my head.  Sigh.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Charlie Brown and a D-Meetup.

I spent the last few days in Kansas City, staying with a friend of mine from high school. We try to get together every few months; spending a weekend at the other's place. It's nice to have some "girl time" sometimes, you know?

The weekend was full of fun, and some new experiences. (Diabetes might disagree on the "fun" part, as Jim's graphs resembled the stripe on Charlie Brown's shirt for most of the weekend - but, whatever.)  I tried tapas for the first time, spent some quality time at Crate and Barrel, and helped my friend hang a super heavy mirror on her wall (turns out I'm handy after all!).

I also might have had some alcohol on Saturday night, which led to some dancing and shouting along to techno-infused rock classics (She took the midnight train going aaaaanyyyyyywheeeeeeeeere!)

The frosting on that cupcake of a weekend was getting to meet up with some fellow d-bloggers for lunch yesterday! (Once we finally found a place that was open on Sundays, that is.)  :)  Our group included Scott of Strangely Diabetic, Bob from T Minus Two, Jess of Me and D, and Babs from My Glycated Life; along with some friends and "type 3"s. It was great spending time with you all, and I hope we can do it more often.  :)

What a good lookin' group!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Same Cake, Different Icing.

My friend Megan writes this blog, see. It's this wonderful collection of stories she's assembling about the ungodly process she and her family are going through while (eternally) remodeling their house. They've been dealing with things like indoor water fountains. Ginormous built-in cabinets that don't make sense.  Walls made of tile, concrete, and steel meshLove toilets. She's insightful, witty, and a great writer with a panache for clever delivery. Reading these accounts leaves me feeling slightly more knowledgable, and a bit more glad that Aaron and I bought a house that didn't need work. (We're not handy.) Her posts leave me feeling entertained.

Until this week.  Until this post.

You see - it turns out they've got massive termite damage. In most every room they've torn apart. I read through this post the other day, and saw passages like the following; sentences spliced between the graphic photos of the termite's havoc:
When I was in college my car was broken into. The contents of the glove box and center console were strewn everywhere. I felt so violated. It was this tightness in my chest. Someone had been in my place. A trusted, safe sanctuary. And they messed it up. Perhaps you’ve found sanctuary in a friend. Put your complete trust in them, only to be betrayed. Suddenly, they are not what you always saw. Seeing what lies beneath can be very upsetting. It sticks with you. You can’t shake it. There are days that I feel betrayed by our house. After all the time and money we’ve invested, how can it do this to us? How can an entire wall just be… gone? How did we not know?
 And then, this:
The decay and destruction are so quiet, but you can hear the despair, the defeat. The room is haunted by the spirit of its old self. It did not mean to betray us. It’s a ghost that whispers "help me" as the cold winter wind blows right through it.
Now, it might be the tequila talking.  Or the subsequent box-o-wine.  But I truly adore this house, and I tell him that.  It is a part of me.  I love it for what it is, and for what it can become.  I love the beauty in the remodeled, and the potential in the yet-to-be. I think about the beauty that can be found in those that need repair.
And that's where I lost it.

Maybe I'm just overly emotional, or too quick to shed tears. Maybe I saw something implied in that writing that was ever intended. Or maybe, for me as well, it's the wine talking.

In any case, her words drew a beautiful parallel. Though she was speaking about home renovation, the emotional foundation she spoke from is beneath all of us. As I poured through the post, I couldn't escape thinking that this is precisely how many of us diagnosed with diabetes feel. We can all relate to feeling betrayed by our bodies. To wondering, "How could my pancreas just... stop producing insulin?" We know that feeling of violation; of something being messed up that was never supposed to be. We know our bodies did not mean to betray us, and yet, they did. You can do everything "right" - food, exercise, whatever - and it still comes for you. It still tries to defeat you.

What really got me about this story was that last bit, because that's where I tend to be at this point in my life with diabetes: I "love it for what it is", because it is a part of me. (I know. You're thinking, What? You LOVE it?)

Don't think that I'm saying that I'm happy I have diabetes - I'm not. I wouldn't wish this on anyone; no one deserves to have to live this way. But with the passage of time, the acquisition of experience, and the support of the online community especially, I can "love it for what it is". Diabetes is, for better or worse, a part of me. And if it's a part of me, (because I don't really remember life without it, being diagnosed at six), I'd sure as heck better find something good about it - because I do like "me". Diabetes helped to shape me into that person - good and bad.

And, oh, is there ever room for remodeling... I can look forward to better treatments. I can look forward to continued support and encouragement from others. I can look forward to having something to write about each day, and to the lovely people who read it. I can look forward to being able to connect with others who share my heart.

There is beauty in those that need repair, you know.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

SUM Guest Posting.

I'm totally tickled to be able to tell you all that my post today can be found over at Six Until Me. Like it was for many of us, Kerri's blog was my introduction to the world of diabetes blogs, so I was a little floored and quite honored to be asked to write something for SUM.

Thanks for the opportunity, Kerri!

Here's the post:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

New Uses.

"This insulin pump's user manual
can double as a doorstop!"

Real Simple magazine has a column titled "New Uses for Old Things".  Being a RS addict subscriber, I've had several months of exposure to this charmingly clever string of ideas. (I think I've learned at least twelve new ways to use aluminum foil. Wait - are they sponsored by Reynolds? Hmm. I digress.) I'm always left thinking, "Oh! Why didn't I think of that? That's perfect!"

It got me to thinking about all of the diabetes things that could have "new uses". Here's my list*.

  1. Logbooks make excellent beverage coasters, as well as kindling for the fireplace.  Shoving them under an uneven table leg gives new meaning to the phrase "finding a balance between highs and lows".
  2. In the middle of wrapping a birthday gift and can't find the scotch tape? Try Tegaderm.
  3. Used CGM needles can find new life as letter openers. Hemming pants? Use one as a sewing pin, in a pinch.
  4. Happy Laundry Day! Empty glucose tab sleeves can provide a home for a roll of quarters. 
  5. Used test strips make excellent bookmarks. (Tip of the hat to Jacquie for that one.)
  6. Discarded insulin pump tubing can be braided and find new life as a snazzy bracelet.
  7. Pump clip? Or really huge hair clip???
  8. Have a small village of old, outdated meters? Find some glue and try your hand at an abstract sculpture. 
  9. Meter cases can double as wallets. (Or, you can actually buy a real one that does both.)
  10. You say alcohol swab; I say miniature cleaning wipe. (It might take a while to do your kitchen counters with those - but hey, are Clorox wipes FSA-reimburseable? Didn't think so.)

*This is completely facetious. Don't actually do number three. Or any of it, really.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Guess What Showed Up?

My drive home through the "Snowpocalypse", the "Snowtorious B.I.G.", the "Oh Snow You Didn't"...  whatever you'd like to call it...  was well worth the hassle.

Guess what was waiting for me when I got home?

Who's ready for some hot chocolate, with a side of ROCK?!

Lulled Into Forgetting.

Maybe it's because I see and work with so many numbers throughout any given day. Perhaps it's because I'm on Twitter so often that my brain patterns have started to mimic the news feed - constantly updates, with information that's only seconds old getting shoved out to make way for the new. Maybe it's because I'm getting old...ish.

Whatever the reason, my short term memory is totally biffing it sometimes.

Thank goodness my One Touch meter doesn't have this problem, because I often forget the number it spits out immediately after it's off the screen and have to wake it back up to check what the result was. The same goes for the bolus history on my insulin pump. Asking me to recall when I took that last correction dose is like asking me what I ate for lunch on Thursday, two weeks ago. (Which was probably a salad and some greek yogurt - but that's because I eat that pretty much every day. You get my point.)

How the heck did I do this before having a meter with a history on it? Or before an insulin pump?

Oh, right. I actually wrote things down then. And I did a whole lot of guessing - educated and otherwise.

I forget about downloading my CGM and pump data for weeks at a time. When I was new to the Dexcom party, I was diligent about downloading everything once a week. The data was a fascinating new window I could look at my body through. And it's still that, most of the time - but other times, it's just that really annoying reminder of how much I sucked at guessing how many carbs that pasta/sandwich/espresso drink had. Those brightly colored CGM graphs and pie charts have lost some of their initial sparkle, and I don't get as excited about seeing them.

And I feel like a complete moron when the meter battery finally dies - because even though it reminded me before every single blood test I had done for the past eight days, I'd forgotten about the warning by the time each test was completed.

I appreciate that technology is helping me with the remembering - but it also is a glaring indication of how dependent I am on it in order to not do the forgetting.