Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Giving Glooko A Go.

Have I ever told you guys that I never log anything, ever, when it comes to diabetes?

It wasn't always like this. As a child, my parents were very diligent about making sure we wrote down everything we were supposed to - food, blood sugars, insulin, exercise, you name it. But as I got older, I somehow lost the skills/motivation/energy/desire to do it. Logging is something I struggle with. (And not typing "Loggins" was something I struggled with just now. Typos are my danger zone?) I'll download my Dexcom data and insulin pump settings in a last-minute frenzy before doctor appointments, and that's about as far as I go.

The reason I'm telling you this is that I recently got to try out the mobile app (which is free) and corresponding cable (which can be purchased for around $40 in the U.S.; $50 in Canada) from Glooko, which are "simple tools for people with diabetes to download their meter to their iPhone or iPod touch" (wording taken from the original email they sent me). And it really is that easy - I downloaded the app on my phone, plugged in my purple UltraMini, and with a few touches of the screen, off we went.

Thanks for the heads up, dude.

History in list form...

...and in the traditional chart.
I do like the fact that Glooko is "plug and play" - hooray for no manual entry, because I would never bother with it if that was required - and when it's done downloading, I can email the logbook file to myself, my doctor, or whomever. The app is super easy to navigate, and I had options when it came to sharing my logbook:

I can't see any reason why I won't have logbook entries to take with me to the doctor now. I mean, really. This cable and app combination couldn't make it any more simple. And, there is a food database included in the newest version of the app - convenient, but I haven't played around with that feature much yet.

What I do wish is that 1. the app was available for Android phones, and 2. more glucose meters were compatible with it. (The good news is that Glooko is already aware of and is working on those "wish list" items, so hopefully we'll see more integration soon.) The list of currently compatible meters includes:

In my dreams, I'd be able to download from my Ping meter, the Verio and the UltraMini all into one glorious, colorful chart. And Kenny Loggins would be there, wistfully gazing into a pond, while a unicorn tries his best to photobomb us. (See? It all comes full circle.)

Disclosure: Glooko kindly offered to send me a free cable to try out, with the hope (but not the requirement) that I would share what I thought of it. They probably weren't expecting the unicorn tie-in, but that's how the cookie crumbles sometimes.

 UPDATE: I couldn't help myself:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Oh, Would You Just Shush Already.

That annoying moment when you're right in the middle of being extremely productive and your pump battery decides to finally bite the dust...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Diabetes and Batman.

I will not let wonky, impossibly stubborn, unpredictable numbers thwart my exercise efforts.
(Four days in a row with the dancin', y'all.)

I will not beat myself up over this.

"Why do we fall?
So we can learn to pick ourselves up."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Feedback = Action.

Thank you to everyone who filled out the You Can Do This Project survey last week - I got so many responses that I had to close the survey early. Wow! (SurveyMonkey only allows 100 responses. I didn't think I'd get that many.)

I learned some things, I gained some reassurance about some things, and I received some new ideas that I wish I had thought of earlier.

Here are some of the results:

In short, I have some work to do. In the coming weeks I'll be revamping http://www.youcandothisproject.com/ to make it easier to navigate (I hope) and get all of the stuff in one place (read: no link list on this site anymore). Also, I apparently need to start tracking down some Camera Corgis.

Question 7 was especially enlightening, because a couple of those options were in the far-fetched category of my brain. They were the kind of "dream big" items I assumed could only happen at some point in the distant future. And as such, I tweeted this after seeing the feedback that was coming in:

And then something a little bit astonishing happened.

People started asking me where they could donate.

I got a flood of tweets and private messages, emails, and texts. I started realizing that the distant future might, in actuality, be this July.

I emailed the folks at CWD (who run the Friends For Life conference) and found out what it takes to get a booth there, and while I can afford to get myself there, I can't also cover the costs associated with running a successful booth. I've never done anything like this before, and I'm still trying to figure out how this is going to happen.

That's where I'm hoping you'll come in.

(You can also find this appeal on the You Can Do This Project website, under the "Donate" tab.)

If you're feeling inspired to help this happen, you can donate through the Paypal button found below. (Hopefully it works? First time I've done this.) Much in the same way that just one of the videos can impact multiple people, every dollar donated can help the project reach hundreds of people. No donation is too small. 

Fingers crossed - let's get You Can Do This to one of the biggest diabetes conferences in the U.S.!

Thank you in advance!!

UPDATE: $205 raised in the first two hours!

UPDATE #2: GOAL REACHED after five hours!!! Thank you SO MUCH - You Can Do This Project WILL be at FFL this year, thanks to you! (Donations from here on out will help fund table setup for FFL, and a table at TCOYD this year in Des Moines on 9/22!)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dancin'! Dancin'!

Ever since the beginning of the year, I've been meaning to find some different ways of getting my exercise on. Originally Aaron and I thought we'd give P90X a go, but when we realized what was actually involved (holy crap, are you kidding me?) we knew that wasn't a realistic program for us to start with. I then set my sights on something dance-based, because I knew I'd likely enjoy that more than anything else - and if you enjoy it, you're more likely to actually do it, right?

I had talked to a few people on Twitter who had done stuff like Zumba and TurboJam. I'm sure those programs are wonderful for some, but really, they just intimidated me. I mean, look at the blonde lady on the TurboJam site. She looks way too happy about working out. I don't trust her face.

Then my friend George wrote about getting a Kinect, and using Dance Central 2 for exercise. For one, George has good taste so I probably would have tried it based on his recommendation alone, but secondly, the trailer video he shared in his post made that game look SO FUN. Who doesn't want to shake it to some Montell Jordan or Missy Elliott?

Or Chingy. Five stars. NBD.

Long story made blogable, Aaron was able to find a Kinect and DC2 on that list that Craig has (we already had an XBox), and now our basement living room has become a dance floor. I did my first "real" workout with it yesterday, and I'm telling you - it didn't feel like 30 minutes! I actually had to double check the time because I didn't believe I'd been at it that long. I also love that unlike using the Wii for example, I don't have to hold a remote or stand on a board for it to give me feedback on how I'm doing.

So, for now - that's what I'm doing. What exercise do you all enjoy when it's too cold to venture outside?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Insulin Pumps In The Wild.

You know that moment where your diabetes-related spidey sense kicks in, and you can't help but stumble all over yourself?

It could be triggered by a familiar-sounding "beep-boop-beep!" from outside of your personal bubble, a glimpse of pump tubing flapping in the breeze, or the accidental eavesdropping of a conversation not aimed at you.

But sometimes, it's seeing a purple pancreas clipped to the pocket of a Target employee as you pass by. You don't want to be "that crazy lady", so you bite your tongue and keep walking. But then, minutes later, that pump and its owner are mere steps away again, and you can't help yourself. It's like word vomit. It has to come out.

"Is that an insulin pump?", you offer cheerfully. (You know very well that it is - right down to the brand name - but you want to ease into this.)

"Yep!", she responds cautiously.

You motion to the silver pump tucked into your own pocket, as if performing some sort of secret handshake maneuver known only by those who have joined The Club No One Wants To Join. "Me too! I have a Ping." Your voice is tinged with a tad too much enthusiasm.


*awkward pause*

"Yeah. Well, rock on." You realize that you had no road map for conversation past this point, and with the one word replies you've accumulated, you retreat.

Cut to the checkout line, as the cashier rings up the last of your items: she's back. In your line. Standing right next to you.

You debate. You know you should just shut up, pay for your multi-pack of dry erase markers, and walk out the door. But YOU JUST CAN'T.

"So how do you do this? I mean, every time I'm here, I drop low from walking around so much. It's like you guys have inhalable insulin in here."

She politely laughs, albeit uncomfortably. "Oh? Um, I don't know. It, uh... it doesn't really happen to me that much."

You smile, say "Oh, okay", and get the heck out of there.

(And, sometimes, diabetes-related spidey sense happens while you're in a bathroom stall at the mall and can overhear the conversation at the sinks:

Friend 1: "Geez, you always take forever!"

Friend 2: "It's the insulin pump! I have to hold it in one hand and then try to do everything else with the other."

But fortunately for you, the Target experience happened first. You've learned your lesson, and zip it.)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Gestational Diabetes.

Last night, a dear friend of mine who is currently pregnant with her first child sent me an email. Within the first couple of sentences, my heart sank. She has been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, and was searching for some "help me know what to do and how to not freak out about this" insight in the meantime, before she goes to see a dietician next week.

Admittedly, I do not know as much about gestational diabetes as I'd like. I pointed my friend to Diabetic Mommy as a resource, but past that, I didn't have much to share with her.

Can any of you recommend good resources for her, or advice regarding the journey she's now on? Past the regular exercise and good food choices that we all are supposed to make, what else can she expect to focus on? What will likely be on her checklist of things to do? What words of encouragement can we give her?

Any help you can offer is greatly appreciated.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Asking For Feedback.

Over the past several months, I've been running this video project thing called You Can Do This. It has been awesome, and while I'm so very proud of everything that's been contributed and the impact it's had on people, I feel like there is potential for it to do so much more to help people feel okay about this whole 'living with diabetes' thing. There are so many more people to reach. So much more good to do.

(I also will mention that there have been some behind-the-scenes things that almost happened last year, but because of timing or other reasons, just didn't. Which is a huge bummer, because they would have been awesome. Those doors aren't closed yet, however.)

My feeling is that while I may have created the project, I may not necessarily know everything there is to know when it comes to carrying out all of my ideas, or when it comes to expanding the project's reach. I am a fan of crowdsourcing, and I'm hoping you'll help me a bit with this.

In an effort to figure out both where it's been and where the people who are helped by this stuff would like to see it go, I created a survey that you can find by clicking here. It's just 9 questions (but two pages - just click "next" at the bottom to find the last five questions) and shouldn't take too long, but I'd really appreciate any feedback you can give me. I want to make sure I'm staying true to what people expect and want from You Can Do This - because it's about you guys, not me.

What's that? You'd like to be bribed in order to take the survey? Well, fine. Here you go.

Updated: I should mention that I'm leaving the survey up through the weekend, so it will close on 2/19/12 at midnight.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Shooting Arrows At Diabetes.

Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
Your pancreas is busted?
Hey! Mine is, too!

Let's all give a hand;
A pat on the back
For every one of us
Who picks up the slack.

For that lazy organ,
That over-sleeper.
"Would it kill you to try,
you little creeper?"

So Happy Valentine's Day
With a little bit of sass -
Because diabetes is a pain
In our pancre-ass.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Things I Appreciate.

  1. Sleep. It's really hard to do it when you can't breathe through your nose. I miss it.
  2. The fact that diabetes has actually been playing nice through all of this sinus crap - usually I have to amp up my basal rate, but this time? Smooth-ish sailing.
  3. The fact that being sick usually means I'm not eating much, which in turn means I'm losing weight. I realize it's temporary, but I'll still take it.
  4. Gotye. Seriously. Can't get enough of that album.
  5. Fur-fighting cleaning products. They magically turn the large furry objects in my living room back into recognizable furniture.
  6. Dogs, even when they immediately snuggle up the the aforementioned sofas I JUST CLEANED.
7.   Sunshine, and the fact that it's Friday. I'll ignore that there is an expected high of 21 degrees today. Ignoring!

Thursday, February 9, 2012


image credit
I'm on day three of feeling like some green gooey monster armed with sand paper has taken over my sinuses and throat (I know - eww), and I have a doctor appointment set for this afternoon so that hopefully we can banish this beast with some antibiotics. Thankfully, diabetes has been playing nice through this bout of The Sickies (maybe because I haven't eaten much?), so I'm hoping the addition of new meds won't mess that up.

In the meantime, here are some pictures of Billy being a lazy bum.

Action shot!

Yes, that's a dish towel sewn to his doggie bed. Sometimes he gets chewy,
and sometimes you have to patch that up with whatever fabric
feels most like his doggie bed so that he won't notice and will

I'm feeling very... slee... zzzzzz

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

When Online Friends Go Offline.

Last weekend, I drove to Kansas City to spend some offline time with some of my online friends. (I think they're really just "friends" at this point, right?) Jess and Josh, Jacquie and Bob, Scott, Bob, C, Amanda and her mom, Brian, Sara, Barb and Jon, Charli and Tim, and I spent some time bowling, eating, laughing and learning, and I think all of our souls might feel a little more soothed because of it.

Several of us attended an event put on by the Kansas City JDRF chapter - typically called a "family retreat" (I went to a similar event in Omaha the weekend before). We heard from people like Dayton Coles, JDRF International Board Member; Patrick Clay, Pharm.D. (who is currently running a T1 clinical trial in KC); and Nan Borchardt, RD, LD, CDE (a veteran T1 herself). I picked up a few new things to try from Nan, like ensuring that your first few bites of breakfast are protein, not carbs (she says this helps to minimize the post-meal spike), making sure that you never give yourself two days in a row off from exercise (working on it!), and that those cardio workouts need to be at least 35 minutes long to burn enough calories for it to be worth it (already making that my new rule!).

There was so much more to the weekend than what I'll share here, but I can say that it was just the pick-me-up I needed. (And that this year's Friends For Life conference can't come soon enough - I'll see many of these people again, there!) Hearing other people's beeps, checking their Dexcom graphs while they sleep to determine if I needed to wake them up, witnessing (and then cheering) someone else putting a new sensor in their arm, comparing meters, defending other people's low blood sugar admissions... it's a nice feeling when all of that is "normal".

The drive home. You people are good for my soul AND my pancreas!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hitting "Refresh" On Normal.

A new diagnosis, new medications, new ways of preparing food. New amounts to eat or not eat. New rules, new goals, new fears.

A new Normal.

Food = fingersticks. Injections or pump sites. Counting the carbohydrates in every single thing you ingest, then worrying about how accurate that count really was.
image credit

A new Normal.

That big stupid black meter case following you around everywhere. A jar of glucose tabs in the bottom of your purse. Back-up infusion sites. Do I have enough test strips to get through today? Do I have enough pen needles? Do I have enough energy?

A new Normal.

Yosemite Sam highs. (As in, "#!*%#$@!" escapes my mouth when I see the number on the meter.) Lows that shake you to your core; no symptoms, just post-realization panic. Sites that don't absorb anymore; pump sites that clog up; injections that leak back out. Spots of blood on everything you own. Blunt lancets.

A new Normal.

"Why didn't it click when I downed three glasses of water in a row?" "How could I have misjudged the carbs so badly?" "How do they pack so many hidden carbs in sushi?" "Why do I keep thinking I can eat breakfast cereal?"

Normal is a spectrum, and we are champion chameleons.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Best of the 'Betes Blogs: January Selections.

As I mentioned on Friday, I'm hosting the "Best of the 'Betes Blogs" carnival thingie today. (Carnival thingie! Technical term!) This round-up of posts exists with the idea that there are likely a whole slew of blogs and posts out there that some of you haven't discovered yet, and by pointing those out in an organized way each month, everyone's circles of support might expand a wee bit.

Nominations are in, and posts have been read. Thank you to everyone who sent in their selections!

And now, let the linkage begin:

Sometimes low blood sugars involve Yoda, gummy bears, and molasses legs. [Humor]

"I missed! I'll try again." [Vlog]

"The one thing you know right away is that it’s going to be tough to dress this up." [Photography]

Not talking is not the same thing as not caring. [Advocacy]

I think many of us might be happy to wear one of those vests, if this is what it involves. [Celebrity]

There's no time like the present to get things out in the open. [Non-D Post]

Searching for kindred souls. [Type 1]

Twitter, and the people who "get it". [Type 2]

"And then I learned." [Type Awesome]

"I cried, gasped, and winced. But it was what I needed."[Type 1.5/LADA]

Mistakes happen, and sometimes they involve an ambulance. [Mistake]

"Never abandon yourself." [Motivational]

Congratulations to everyone who was nominated - you had some great company! 

Next month's Best of the 'Betes Blogs will be hosted by Sue from RFamHere's Ramblings, so be sure to check in with her for February's results!

If you'd like to embed the BBB logo on your blog, here's the script. (Just replace all [ ] characters with < >, and you'll be golden.)

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