Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dang It.

Ever think to yourself, "If only I could be asleep all of the time..."?

Diabetes gets really frustrating during those times that any little bit of any kind of food seems to send you to the moon. The last 24 hours have been one of those times.

On the bright side, at least my overnight basals seem to be tip-top. :)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Things I Imagine My Pancreas Might Be Doing With All Of Its Free Time.

Thinking up really bad jokes that are funny to no one but him.

Drinking Mai Tais while laughing at the organs actually doing their jobs.

Catching up on all of those books it has been meaning to read.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Little Steps.

Thanks in part to all of the supportive comments and tweets I received on Monday, I'm feeling a little refreshed on this whole diabetes thing. I subbed a couple of salads for "other stuff I would have eaten" this week, Billy and I went for a long walk last night, and I've actually had some rather pretty CGM graphs - with the fingersticks to back them up.

There were many nights where, handful of (proper) pills in hand, I did what I am supposed to do. I thought of you guys.

And pump supplies? Ordered. Much more expensive than I expected them to be, but I have them in my clutches.

I'm feeling a little more confident; a little less tired.

I'm feeling ready to get back on the unicorn horse.

Thank you for that.

* * * * * 

In other news, I'll be hosting the first round of the freshly reorganized Best of the 'Betes Blogs awards this coming Wednesday, February 1st. 

What's new about this version, you ask? Here's an explanation, in Sara's words:

When George and I came up with the idea for the Best ‘Betes Blogs, the purpose was to bring attention to the great blogs posts from around the diabetes community. There are so many tremendous bloggers and well-written posts, with new bloggers joining us almost daily; it can be difficult to follow everything. By giving people the opportunity to nominate blogs, the hope is to connect everyone’s circles together and allow people to expand their network of support and encouragement.

Finding more people and expanding support networks? I can totally get behind that.

So here's what you can do, to help us get the ball rolling on this new format: 

Nominations are now open all month long. If you read a post that deserves a nomination, send an e-mail to mailto:bestbetesblogs@gmail.com?subject=BBB%20nomination with a link to the specific post and the category in which the post fits OR use twitter to direct message the Best of the ‘Betes Blogs Twitter account (@bestbetesblogs) with the same information.


Keep in mind that you don't have to nominate in ALL categories - if you want to just nominate one or two, that's totally fine.

And in case you are not familiar with the categories, here they are:

Best Use of Humor
Best Vlog
Best Recipe
Best Use of Photography
Best Advocacy
Best Reference to a D-Celebrity
Best Story of a D Meet-up
Best non-D Related Post
Best Post by a Type 1
Best Post by a Type 2
Best Post by a Type Awesome
Best Post by a LADA/ Type 1.5/ Not otherwise specified
Best story of a D-mistake
Best Motivational Post 
Best Diabetes Art

Happy voting, and I look forward to seeing the posts you all nominate!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

That's My Dog!

Billy Corgin happens to be the featured dog on The Daily Corgi today. Go check it out... you know, if you're into that sort of thing.

There is a dog in there! Welcome to my house, dog! Let me sniff you.

Monday, January 23, 2012

I'm Not Great At This.

I rely on my CGM for insulin dosing decisions, and I wear those sensors until they sputter out. The ends of the adhesive get so frilly they start to resemble a tutu.

My A1C has risen each of the last 3 times it's been tested in the past year. Not dramatically, but steadily. It is not currently under 7%. I have mixed feelings about that.

I make food decisions that could stand to be improved. I order a cheeseburger when I should order a salad. With the exception of the past few days, I usually have a few diet sodas a day. (I've switched to coffee, iced tea and water for the time being.) I'm sitting here eating a spoonful of peanut butter with chocolate chips on it as I type this. Low carber, I am usually not.

I don't test as often as I used to, or as I "should". My testing frequency ebbs and flows, and right now, it's ebbing like a boss. I bribe myself with new (not originally intended to be) meter cases to get myself to test more often. (Sometimes, that works. Sometimes it doesn't.)

I reuse insulin pump tubing and cartridges. I fill cartridges from multiple insulin bottles and pens, because I don't want to waste the little bit that's left at the end.

 I don't log my numbers. At all.

There are nights where I don't take my thyroid meds and vitamins because I'm just too tired to mess with it. It literally would take me 30 seconds, but I don't do it. I can always remember my morning ones, but evening is a different story.

Exercise is... well, you can guess. I don't work out often - it's either that I don't have workout clothes clean (lame), or I'm already tired (hello, exercise and taking all of my meds would help this), or my blood sugar is already dropping (or too high, or planking, or or or...).

I often don't notice that I'm out of pump supplies until I try to do a set change, only to find that I've nothing left to change with. (This is where that "reusing" comes in.)

I learn the same lessons over and over... or, rather, I'm reminded of them. Sometimes I change my behavior, sometimes I do not. A lot of times I change, but it doesn't stick.

I don't have this all figured out. I don't have all of the answers. I'm not great at being "perfect" (whatever the heck THAT is).

I'm living with this the best way I can at any given moment.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Life's A Taco.

It's almost like this song was written for the diabetes online community... almost.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

MTV True Life: I Have Diabetes.

image credit
Last night, MTV aired an episode of its series "True Life", called "True Life: I Have Diabetes". It shared stories of three people with diabetes - Kristyn, a 25 year-old with type 1 and an insulin pump that badly needed replacing; Matt, a college student with type 1 trying to find the balance between "college life" and "life with diabetes"; and Jen, a pregnant 19 year-old who we are told was diagnosed with type 2 four months prior (it is clarified at the end of the episode that she now has a diagnosis of type 1) and struggles with the changes in lifestyle that she was told to make.

I went into this episode thinking that I'd come out the other side feeling riled up and angry. I assumed, like so much else of popular media's "coverage", that people with diabetes would be portrayed as having done something wrong; as having brought their condition on themselves; as people who can't make good, healthy choices for themselves.

I was pleasantly mistaken in most cases. While MTV's portrayal of life with diabetes wasn't without its flaws, I actually thought it was... good. (And I did DVR it, so I'll need to go back and rewatch... but these are my initial thoughts.)

We saw rational people dealing with the same real-life diabetes crap that we all know. We saw young adults grappling with the expenses - of money, time and brain space - of this disease. We heard a doctor being realistic instead of derogatory with his young patient who consumes alcohol, and who provided some advice and guidance for partaking in those activities. We saw these people with diabetes surrounded by friends who cared enough to ask questions, know what to do if and when their help was needed, and watched out for their friends with compromised pancrei.

Then again, we also heard nurses reminding Jen (the pregnant one) multiple times that her baby could die if her blood sugars were "too high". You know, "because of the diabetes". (And yes - they really called it "the diabetes".) We saw parents with what I felt to be extremely high (read: unattainable/unrealistic) expectations for their child's health goals. We also heard soundbites that were probably taken out of context.

The overwhelming, heartstring-pulling, need-to-do-something-about-this feeling I was left with was this:

You are not alone.

As I heard these people talk, I heard echoes of my own past ways of thinking in their words. I remember thinking that it was one of two options: live a "normal college life", or take care of diabetes. So many of us who went through college with type 1 felt that way. Like Matt, we were the only people in our circle of friends who had diabetes. We knew we needed to take care of ourselves, but we also wanted to just have fun and LIVE.

I also felt for Jen, who apparently was misdiagnosed with type 2 before being correctly diagnosed with type 1. I know a few people to whom that has happened, as well. Being diagnosed as an adult by a doctor who isn't looking for the right things can do that.

And struggling to find ways to pay for medical supplies? Yep, those of us are out here, too.

I don't think I'm the only one who hopes that MTV sees some of our tweets from last night, and somehow finds a way to connect Kristyn, Matt and Jen with the diabetes online community. Not because we have all the answers for them... but because we know. We know what this life is like, because we live it too. We talk to each other and support each other and make a difference in each other's lives by what we say and do.

There is help that is needed. There are lives to be changed; people to be supported.

There is work to be done.

UPDATE: Kristyn found me on Twitter, after finding this blog post. In related news, the internet is amazing. Find her @followkristyn!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

"That Looks Like My Music Player!"

Disclosure: Last week I was contacted by a PR agency representing LifeScan/OneTouch. They asked if I'd like to receive their brand new VerioIQ meter for free and provided me the meter along with all of the parts I've pictured here, as well as a box of 50 strips. While they hoped that I would write an evaluation of their product, I was not required to do so in order to receive it.

Let me start off by saying that I'm a little biased. OneTouch made one of the very first glucose meter I can ever remember using - that big, clunky gray brick of a meter in the snap-shut case. Anyone else remember this thing?

Image source: TuDiabetes. Also, this is not the VerioIQ.

I used that thing for years. I used it so long, in fact, that when I met with a brand new CDE after college and we were trying to figure out my blood sugar patterns, she finally asked what kind of meter I was using. When I told her, her eyes grew to three times their normal size. "WHAT? Oh, no. NO. That thing's ancient. We're getting you a new one."


Given that backstory, it tickled me just a bit that I got to test out this very fancy, high tech (but super easy to use) meter. If you've ever wanted a meter that paid attention to what your readings are (even when you don't) and gave you feedback, this is the one. If you've ever wanted one that was rechargeable, lights up in the dark like nobody's business, or has a vivid and animated color screen, this is the one. And if you've ever wanted one that a friend will mistake for an mp3 player, this is totally for you.

There's quite a bit that I like about this meter, and that was before I even tested my blood with it. It's kind of sexy-looking, right? Nothing about it really screams, "I have a chronic illness! Medical equipment alert!", and I appreciate that. Even my co-worker, upon finding out what it was, was aghast. "Really? Holy crap, that's awesome! It looks just like my music player." And she was right: brothers from a different mother, if you will.

The meter has a USB cable to download readings to your computer, and an AC adapter so that it can be plugged in to recharge. (Cool!) The charge is reported to last two weeks, and so far I believe that to be true. I've been using it out of the box for the past five days, and only one of the three bars on the battery display have vanished.

There is also a "Pattern Guide" that was included with my set, but apparently won't be included in the for-sale version. (What?) From the press release: "A companion OneTouch® Verio™IQ Pattern Guide is available to patients from healthcare professionals or by contacting OneTouch directly at 888-567-3003. It offers possible causes and potential solutions for High and Low patterns based on guidance provided by leading diabetes healthcare experts."

The big deal about this meter, besides how it looks, is what it does. Also from the press release: 
“All meters will tell you your blood sugar level at a particular moment in time. But, the OneTouch VerioIQ System is the only one to compare your current result with your previous results and to proactively alert you to important patterns you might not even be aware exist,” says Michael Pfeifer, Chief Medical Officer, LifeScan, Inc. “Our goal is to make a real difference for people with diabetes by providing simple tools that help patients discover ways to improve their glycemic control. By analyzing the information after each test and identifying patterns as they occur, this system helps patients and their healthcare professionals focus on fixing a potential problem instead of trying to find it.”

I've been using this meter for a few days now, and I really like it - the feel, the usability, the visual happies (like the graphics when it's counting down from 5, and the icons for "Before Meal" [a whole apple] and "After Meal" [an apple with a couple of bites missing]). I'm a visual person. This kind of stuff pleases me.

Other things to take note of:
  • This meter uses a completely different kind of gold test strip, and they only work with this particular meter. The strips don't use a whole lot of blood - yay! - and it kind of zips across the strip. They "will soon be available wherever diabetes supplies are sold".
  • The VerioIQ stores 750 test results and 50 pattern messages. It will also display 7-, 14-, 30- and 90-day blood glucose averages.
  • High and low thresholds can be customized by the user.
  • The OneTouch VerioIQMeter has a suggested retail price of $69.99. OneTouch Verio Gold Test Strips are covered by Medicare Part B5 and private insurance co-pays for test strips will vary by health plan.
  • Apparently this meter is "shipping now, with availability increasing steadily...it will vary by retailer but typically it takes 4-6 weeks for broad availability", according to the email exchange I had with LifeScan's PR agency.
If I could change anything about this meter, I'd want it to double as the remote for my Ping insulin pump. That would be rad.

Other than that? Yep; I'm a fan. I can see this being an especially popular meter with kids, based on the way it looks (for them) and the feedback it can provide (for their parents). Or, with people like me, who like those visual happies.

Neat-o robot-themed case not included.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Pinterest Is To Blame For This.

I made this a couple of weeks ago, but forgot to mention it on Ye Olde Blogge, so here it is.

My friend Meredith found a recipe on Pinterest that involves both avocado and eggs, so I was totally game to try it out. And it's so super easy! I wasn't a huge fan of the textures, but someone else might think it's totally awesometown.

Here's what the picture looked like on Pinterest:

And here's what they looked like when I made them (plus some lemon bread):

Not quite as pretty, right?

Here's what you do, via the Apron Strings Blog:

Heat a non-stick skillet to medium low heat. Lightly spray with oil. Slice an avocado with the skin ON lengthwise, forming one thick slice in the middle. (You will have some leftover avocado pieces – so, Hey! Make some bonus guacamole if you want! Guacamole for Breakfast? Why NOT? It’s the Holidays!) Remove the seed and use a small cookie cutter {Editors note: or, you know, a spoon.} to make a hole in the center of your thick slice. Place the avocado slice in the pan. Crack a medium sized egg into the center of the hole. Cover and cook for a minute or two, until the egg is as you like it. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

I feel like I didn't cut enough of the avocado out, so my eggs spilled over everywhere. (Is that an eggalanche?) So watch out for that.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I Don't Give A Sheet.

I dare you to not care what other people think about your diabetes.

Be fearless with me!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Shake It Out.

It's Monday morning, which may mean that you need some cuteness to get your day going. Enjoy watching our dog shake his tailfeather and repeatedly nosedive into the bathmat.

Friday, January 6, 2012


Yesterday morning, I woke up to the prettiest overnight graph I've seen for some time.

And later that day, I received this sign at work (which is now hanging in my gray castle cubicle):

I feel like these two things must be somehow related - like the universe was winking at me, just a little.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Wishing.

Staring longingly at the food we wanted to eat half an hour ago. That number hasn't come down yet. Correction? Walk? Failed site? Time? When will I finally get to eat?


This could be the results of years with diabetes, or maybe it was one of the other conditions, or maybe it's genes, or maybe it's dumb luck. What do I do now? How do I know what the right answers for me are? Do other people feel this way, too? How many other people are going through this and not talking about it?


I don't know what this means for my future. What do I try? What have others done? What effect will this have on me; on the ones I love? Am I stuck on this path, or can I alter it? Will what I decide make any difference in my outcomes? Is this giving up? Am I doing everything I can? Giving it my best?


I never wanted this; not for me, not for you. No one should have to do this alone. I want to fast-forward to the day this gets plucked away, like petals from a flower.


At times, it feels like that's all this is - waiting; wondering; worrying.

What pulls me out is hope. The sharing; the bond. The reminder that life doesn't operate on anyone else's timeline, and negativity won't bring it to now any faster.

But the last? The last I'll keep. I'll keep the wishing.

For me, for you.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Blue Heels: The Diabetes Advocate's Weapon.

I drew a little something for my friends over at the Blue Heel Society and it went live today, so go take a look!

And here's a little bit about the organization, in their words:

This organization is dedicated to all people living with, caring for, or interested in diabetes. The Blue Heel Society was formed on November 13th, the eve of World Diabetes Day, 2011 by a dedicated trio of spirited advocates who committed themselves to promoting awareness, pursuing the continued fight for a cure, highlighting obstacles people diagnosed with diabetes are faced with, and promoting advocacy for the diabetes community as a whole.

The Blue Heel Society accomplishes this NOT by raising funds, but by fueling our crusade with the strength, dedication, and passion of our partners.

Rock on!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Wait, You Do That Yourself?

When I first started using a Dexcom, I exclusively utilized my stomach for sites. I was simultaneously placing insulin pump infusion sites on the belly region as well, so as you might guess, I started to run out of "good" real estate. There are only so many places you can put those things, and I was growing frustrated. And itchy.

It wasn't until I started finding other people with diabetes (and Dexcoms) online that I learned of other places those little gray suckers can go: hips, side-butts, lower back, legs and arms. I tried each new terrain and found success, but saved the arms for last. More honestly, I procrastinated trying them as long as I could self-justify, because the idea of wearing a sensor there freaked me out. What if I did it wrong? (I haven't, yet.) What if I kept knocking the transmitter on door frames? (That happens. The sensor still survives.) What if it was completely inaccurate, and I end up wasting a sensor? (Again, no. The arm sites actually seem more accurate to me than other sites.) What if the adhesive sticks to my shirt sleeve, and I rip it off while getting dressed in the morning? (Hasn't happened... yet.) What if some stranger comes up and starts fondling it? (Yep - it happened.)

A few months back, I finally summoned the courage needed to give an arm site the old college try. My heart raced. WHAT IF I HIT A NERVE AND RUIN THIS ARM? (I didn't. And I've never heard of it happening, either.)

Turns out arm sites are NBD. They are so much so that I'm wearing them more often than any other site, and enjoying that "out of the way" feeling they provide me. I've also discovered that I don't need to call in my husband reinforcements when jabbing a new sensor in - I can handle this myself, like a real grown-up lady, thankyouverymuch.

There may be some who wonder, "How?" And for you, I made this.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Splenda Tastes Gross To Me, And It's All International Delight's Fault.

As I have for the past few seasons, I've been borderline-stalking the dairy section of Walmart in search of the best coffee creamer I've ever had the pleasure of guzzling.

It looks like this:

My supply from last year. If you find this stuff, will you
let me know? I will pay shipping. And I will send a fleet
of invisible monkeys who will do your house cleaning
while you sleep. No, wait, that's probably way more creepy
than helpful. Forget that last part.

This year, however, it would seem that International Delight doesn't want me to revel in their mint-and-mocha goodness. If I could have found a store that actually stocks (instead of their website saying they do, but the local store saying they don't) this sweet nectar, I would have bought out their supply in a heartbeat.

It's partly because of this inventory fail, and partly because on a whim I tried a non-sweetened latte a few weeks back and really dug it, that I've started transitioning to this person who drinks non-fancy coffee. I've historically been a "I'd like sugar and milk with a side of coffee, please" type of coffee drinker for a good long while now. I don't order black coffee, EVER, so this is a little huge for me.

And oh yeah, there was that article on MSN that totally freaked me out about my sweetener of choice, calling it "one of the worst" out there. (It also said that Truvia is one of the better ones - and so I now have a jar of that at home. It isn't as bad as I remembered it being the first time I tried it. It's pretty okeh!)

The bottom line is that I haven't added Splenda or sugar-free syrups to much of anything for the last two weeks, and I'm a little amazed at how much I don't currently miss it. In fact, I added a couple packets to my coffee the other day - just to see how it would taste - and I actually made an "Eww!" face.

2012 is the year I plan to make some good, but not foolproof, changes in life. My choice of coffee condiments might seem an insignificant alteration, but I think it's as good a place as any to begin.