Friday, June 29, 2012


As I pack myself up to fly to Florida tomorrow, I'm also cleaning a few things out - like my inbox, and all of the pictures on my phone.

* A company called Orpyx (they sell sensor-based devices for both medical and athletic stuff, and are currently focusing on technologies involving DPN [diabetic peripheral neuropathy]). Complications are one of those topics that can totally shut down a conversation for us PWDs - who wants to talk about that kind of stuff, right? But the more we know, the more we can do - for ourselves and others. In that spirit, here's a flashy (but kind of long) animated infographic they put together on the topic of DPN and foot care.

* Glooko announced earlier this week that they've launched in the EU - read the press release here.

* Medtronic Diabetes has a couple new things up their sleeves: a Facebook app that will feature patients' milestones right along with Medtronic's product launches and updates. A synopsis:
The app allows customers to upload photos and stories about the important moments in their lives – whether its climbing a mountain, learning to cook or just spending time with family. The app captures the information as a life event and shares on that individual’s Facebook wall. In addition, it allows us to post that life event as a milestone on the Medtronic Diabetes timeline. So, essentially we’re crowdsourcing our Facebook timeline. We did this because we want our timeline to be filled with more than just the innovation milestones of new products – we also want it to include the milestones of the people who use our technology every day.
Also, on the MySentry front, coverage has expanded:
Wellmark of Iowa has established coverage for mySentry for individuals who are currently using insulin pump therapy and CGM and are still experiencing glucose fluctuations or nocturnal hypoglycemia. We also just found out from our reimbursement team that BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico have all lowered the documentation requirements for CGM, expanding access to the technology to more people with diabetes in those states.

* On a more self-promotional front, the You Can Do This Project website has a couple of noticable changes. First: you know that link list that I had to keep on this site (because won't accept the link widget)? Well, it's going away soon.

I've wanted everything involving YCDT on that site for a while, and now that most of the videos have been added to that site, now seems like a good time to make the transition. This may leave you wondering, "So if there's no link list, how do I submit a new video?", which is a nice transition to my second point, so thanks for that. New videos will now be submitted through the online form on the "how to participate" page - go take a look!

* This made me laugh, and then immediately made me feel guilty for laughing.

* And now for the photo dump portion of this post:

Billy Corgin says Hi.

Nice try, Jif, but I'm not falling for it.

My first No Hitter in weeks. WEEKS. Boom!

* And lastly, be warned that things could be pretty quiet around here for a bit as I'll be spending the week in Florida - first with Sara and then at the CWD Friends For Life conference. I don't have any guest posts or anything lined up while I'm gone, nor do I know how often I'll have the ability to blog while I'm there, but if you follow me on Twitter (or like my Facebook page) I'll be updating those frequently. I plan to take many, many pictures and record a lot of video, so look out for that ahead, too.

Later, dudes!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

YCDT Swag at FFL.

You may have seen me hinting during the earlier parts of this month that I'd secured some "giveaway" items for the You Can Do This Project table at the Friends For Life conference next month... and now I can finally talk about them!

Thank you to the extreme generosity from both individuals and companies for making these possible!

Here we go:

Each of the following two items will be won by a drawing we'll have at the exhibit hall:

And freebies to give away to conference attendees? We have those too!

I want to draw special attention to those last two items, because they are being completely paid for by the indicated parties. Brian volunteered to make these stickers happen, and I'm really excited and grateful! Hope Paige Medical could have easily and understandably turned down my lofty (and, frankly, uncomfortable for me) pitch of "Hey, you should let me design a silicone bracelet, and then make several hundred of them and ship them to me for free. Yes?", but instead they're doing exactly that, and I'm once again thankful for their generosity! (This is the same company who sponsored twelve medical ID giveaways last year to support You Can Do This.)

I'm also going to hint that I have another very cool giveaway lined up... for TCOYD! Details to come.

In the meantime, will someone jump up and down with me a bit? THIS IS SO EXCITING!!

To find out more about these kind folks, follow the linkage:

Cari's Etsy Shop:

Kewl Innovations (makers of the ClimaPak):

Not My Cell (Brian):

Hope Paige Medical:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Spaceships: The Saga Continues.

I think I'm giving up on Insets (as soon as my supply runs out, that is - frugal living FTW). Begin rant... nnnnow.

First, the adhesive area needs to either be bigger, or more sticky, or maybe both. Have you ever tried to stick a "Hi, My Name Is" tag onto your skin, after it's already been stuck to your clothing? It's like that, only a lot more expensive.

Tubing seems to curl up more with these than any other set. I have no scientific evidence to back up this claim, nor do I have a problem with curly things in general. Hair, ribbons, fries... they're all good. Tubing? Not so much. It gets everywhere, and doesn't stay where I put it.

While not impossible, I find it difficult to dislodge the key from the lock. The in from the out? The part that's attached to my tubing from the part that's attached to me. Yes, those things. It's probably a result of the "part that sticks to me" being sort of triangularly-shaped and smooth, which makes securing a good grip a challenging exercise in patience.

Most disappointing popsicles ever?
image credit
 And - this is my biggest quarrel - getting the spaceship removed from the newly-inserted infusion site (while not dislodging the site) is like trying to deactivate a bomb, except that no one is going to create a television series about this. Red wire? Green wire? Should I lean it to one side a smidge? Careful, careful now... no sudden movements... Okay! I think I've... AH CRAP NOT AGAIN. It's a design flaw... if the spaceship wouldn't eclipse (so many outer space metaphors!) the outer portion of the adhesive, I could hold down the set with my fingers while prying it lose - but no. All I have is the tail tubing, and that helps only marginally. I inserted a new set just a couple of hours ago, and there's a good chance that the cannula didn't make it under my skin... but I won't be able to confirm that (downside of the non-angled sets) for a couple more hours, still.

If you have tips for how to avoid the whole "how do I safely dislodge this thing" situation, especially, I'd gladly listen. I'm not sure which set I'll go back to - Spring or Comfort - but let it be known; the Inset is on my sheet list.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Thanks, Dress Gods.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank whomever is in charge of the world's fashion right now, for stuff like this:

Not my actual dress, but the cut is similar.
image credit

I don't even know what the style is called - not exactly a drop waist (because it hits at the waistline, not the hip - learned something today; thank you Google), but close. Whatever it is, I'm in love with it. Why?

Because when you go to a wedding and don't realize until you arrive that the reception is outdoors - in late June, in Nebraska, when temperatures are in the mid-90's and the sun is blindingly bright - you just can't keep your insulin pump clipped to the inside of your Spanx. (If you've never worn or seen Spanx, it's important to know that the top of the garmet ends pretty much right under the bra line - not a good place to have a weird, pager-looking lump.) So, you'll excuse yourself to the far corner of the tent, and through the dress fabric attempt to unclip the pump from the waistline of that slimming but holy crap am I warm right now and I would not have worn Spanx if I had know there was no air conditioning undergarment, and somehow, through some kind gesture from the decency gods, be able to reclip the pump to the outside of that body sock while never having to do an up-the-dress manuever.

And once you're done, that "drop waist" creates a billowy atmosphere in which your pump can retain its chameleon prescence.

Love it.

Friday, June 22, 2012


You guys, this is really happening.

I immediately teared up when the nice FedEx lady
brought this up front. She very likely thinks I'm nuts.

I also have some exciting things to share about the You Can Do This Project booth at the Friends For Life conference (which is less than two weeks away, now), but that will have to wait until next week. (Hint: remember that stuff in this post that I said we likely wouldn't have? And notice the "big, cool sign" I've pictured above?)


Thursday, June 21, 2012


It feels a little bit like this idea was crafted with the DOC in mind...

Postcards? We dig those.

Proudly borrowing ideas from other social movements? Yep, we do that.

Transferring online advocacy into real-life connections? Totes!

Combine all of those things, and it sounds a lot like an upcoming project from WEGO Health, dubbed "HealthSecret" - inspired by the PostSecret community. (If you remember Kerri's post from last year, and the MULTITUDE of comments it generated, you're already familiar with this idea.)

To better understand what HealthSecret is all about, take a gander at this helpful video:

And from the WEGO Health website:

Tell us something about yourself, your condition, or your health community that could be considered secret or not well-known enough. Maybe it’s a secret from back when you were first diagnosed – or something you’d confronted in your community recently. Maybe it’s something you wish you could tell the people in your life about what it’s really like to live with your condition. Maybe you want to confess something, share a thought for newly diagnosed patients, or just reiterate something that’s important to you. Tell us something that you want us and the wider online health community to know.

Let's flood the WEGO office (and, in turn, the ebook they're putting together) with homemade postcards full of diabetes "secrets", shall we? I'm planning to send in a postcard - how about you?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Looking Back: Diabetes Superhero.

Last night, I fell into a YouTube vortex consisting of a lot of "why do I keep clicking on these" and "holy crap, 1960's Batman fight scenes are still hilarious". That last bit reminded me of a post I wrote a couple of years ago - before I knew that diabetes superheroes really do exist - so let's revisit it, shall we?

* * * * *

I want a Diabetic Superhero.  And I want to call her Betey.  (Pronounced like "Betty".)

No guilt, no frustration, no sadness.  No unexplained rollercoaster, no worry over complications, no mental struggles.  Just a whole bunch of compassion, strength, and ass-kicking ability.

Some superheroes have a utility belt with a grappling gun, stun grenades, and smoke pellets; Betey's belt would have glucose tabs, a glucagon kit, and an insulin pen.  And probably a Diet Coke.  And maybe some throwing stars made out of lancets.

Her outfit would be blue, of course.  Boots of steel, to protect her feet.  Betey's insulin pump would double as a flamethrower.  Instead of a regular bow and arrow, she would have a really, really huge crossbow, and over-sized CGM sensor needles for arrows.  (The mere thought of that setup actually existing would deter me from crime all-together.  Terrifying.)

But most of all, she'd be invincible.  Her strengths would be a direct result of her weaknesses.  Each encounter with a low blood sugar would make her fear them less and less.  Challenge and adversity would lay the way for motivation and determination.  Pump sites wouldn't dare clog up, for fear of what she'd do to them in return.  And with every person she helped, Betey would grow more and more confident.

I try to be more and more Betey-like every day.  I try to learn from my mistakes, and not let the daily challenges of diabetes get me down.  Some days are harder than others.  When do I get my darn cape?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Friday, June 15, 2012

Happy Birthday, YCDT!

The You Can Do This Project turns one year old today!

It all started with this:

...and it keeps going strong.

Things are never perfect. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't try to do our best when it comes to living with and managing this disease, but it does mean that we can let go of the idea that we're not good enough; that we aren't worthy of happiness; that it's too late for us.

It's never too late.

We may be down a road we never thought we'd be on, and the way back looks scary. It means admitting that we're on this road to begin with. It means trying harder than we ever have; harder than we think we can.

It's never too late.

Have you been meaning to do a video, but just never got around to it?

It's never too late.

Chances are there's someone out there dealing with the very same thoughts, feelings and frustrations as you who needs to hear your story. Someone who thinks it's just them; who thinks that no one understands; who feels so completely alone.

They need to hear from you.

Use whatever means you have necessary to record video (camera phones work too, ya know...), upload it to YouTube, Vimeo, etc., and shoot me a link to it so that I can get it on the You Can Do This website and YouTube channels.

Share your story - be a light in someone's darkness.

* * * * *

It would appear that a few other people are celebrating this one year mark as well - here are the posts I've found so far. Wow!




Meredith: (with a video!)


Lorraine and Caleb:









Mike: (with a new video contribution!)




Thursday, June 14, 2012

Highway Robbery.

Pulling the keys from my car's ignition, I opened my door and began to lean out of the car.

I felt the familiar tug coming from my hip - the body part whose current turn it was to host to my infusion site. Ugh, fine. I scooted back in and reflexively reached for the cupholder in the console beside my seat, fully expecting to find that my pump had fallen out of my pocket and onto the console, as it has done so many times before. Shallow pockets = accidentally adventurous pump.


Like Hansel and Gretyl and their bread crumbs, my pump has its own trail I can follow. The tubing made it look as though my pancreas might have been in front of the console, so I reached around blindly. My hands met nothing but carpeted upholstery and phone chargers.


Trying to grab the tubing in an effort to follow it (or pull up my insulin pump from whatever place it had been napping) I was met with resistance. The tubing didn't want to lift.


A little more investigation revealed its location, finally: it had not only fallen to the floor; it had wedged itself snugly underneath my seat. And I do mean SNUGLY. It took several seconds to dislodge it. Finally having it back in my paws, I gave it a stern look. "What the eff were you doing under there?"

Between this and the time last week when my tubing got tangled around my door handle (don't ask), I think my car might be trying to steal my insulin pump.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Whatever It Takes To Remember.

[Not So Wordless: Sometimes, I know my Dexcom will reach it's 7-day expiration intermission during an inconvenient time, like while I was going to be out of town last month, and I'll "stop sensor" and "start sensor" a wee bit early to avoid that situation. It's not quite like having a Bigi, but it helps.]

Monday, June 11, 2012

Where Do The Spaceships Go?

In the last year, I've gone from someone who had only used one kind of infusion set for her whole insulin pumping career to someone who is trying new things all over the place.

I feel that the title of "Comfort" is quite misleading... nothing about needles is comfy.
The old standby - Comfort sets. (image credit)

The first "new" set I tried was last summer at Friends For Life - the Animas booth folks gave me one each of the Inset and Inset 30 sets to try, since I'd never used either one before. (That's one more thing to love about FFL - freebies abound!) I decided to try the Inset 30 while I was still at the conference, with some help from my friends and Twitter, but never ordered more of those sets. They just weren't my thing, and I returned to the manual sites to which I had grown accustomed.

Fast forward to a couple of months ago: I had the opportunity to try some of the Spring Universal sets. (Which I keep intending to write about but never get around to it... maybe later this week?) I do actually like these for a number of reasons, which I'll get into later, but for now my supply has been depleted.

Which brings me to what I'm using right now (thanks to an inheritance from someone who switched pumps and had leftover sets they kindly shared with me)...

...and the reason for this post. When I used the Comfort sets, there was minimal "throw-away" after inserting the set. In fact, all that was left was the needle and its handle, so those could easily fit into the top of my sharps container of choice:

With all of the extra packaging that comes with using Insets, I'm at a loss as to how to discard these little spaceship-shaped things properly. Normal sharps containers (like the kinds you buy for that specific purpose) all seem to have a small opening up top. I'm left to amassing a growing village of them on my kitchen counter, apparently.

Sharps and bananas. It's what's for breakfast.
Help me out - where do the spaceships go? Do I tape the lid down and throw it in the normal trash? Is there a different kind of container I should use? Do I chuck it into a corn field and hope it takes flight?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Birthday Wisdom.

Today I turn 33 years old, and I'm perfectly okay with that.

I don't view myself as particularly old or young - I see myself instead as an accumulation of experiences, mostly. I'm just me, you know? I've made (and still make) plenty of decisions that could be deemed poor in nature - some might call them "mistakes". Fans of cliché might call them "learning opportunities".

I like to think that these experiences have taught me things, though. The more you stumble, the better you get at picking yourself back up, right? (And also, better at avoiding the things that make you stumble in the first place.) It has also been my good fortune to be surrounded, most of my life, by people who possess a very large amount of common sense. Here's hoping some has rubbed off on me.

Not that I think I'm Yoda or anything, but now is as good of a time as any to share a handful of things I believe to be true, and remind myself to follow often.
  1. Being happy is being grateful - both for what you do have, and for what you do not.
  2. When someone says something terrible to you, walk away and let them own it. (Make sure to watch the video in that link.)
  3. Before I do anything I ask myself “Would an idiot (feel free to insert other unflattering nouns here) do that?” And if the answer is yes, I do not do that thing. (My dad also calls this "the newspaper test" - would you want your friends, family, colleagues to read about whatever you're thinking of doing in the paper the next morning?)
  4. When I find myself thinking, "Wouldn't it be cool if... but...", I'm training myself to go for the no. What's the worst thing they can say? "No". What is the answer if you don't ask at all? "No." Asking loses you nothing except for the unknown.
  5. More times than not, the scariest parts of life - the ones with the most risk - are worth pursuing. It's getting over that mind hurdle that's the tough part.
  6. Remold "I don't care what people think of me" into "I don't care if people agree with me". Your reputation is important, and one of the most valuable things you possess. You should care what people think of you. This doesn't mean that people need to agree with you, but there should be reason for them to respect you. Earn that respect.
  7. Nobody likes an attention hog and the same rules that apply in real life are still applicable in social media. Self-worth isn't measured in retweets, blog comments or Facebook Likes. Would you ask every person you knew face-to-face to do whatever you're asking in that tweet, email, etc.? If what you're doing has value for others, people will share it. There's no need for you to ask them to do so, in most cases. People get so "LOOK AT ME!" when it comes to social media... some of that is okay, but seeing that over and over grates on me. Think about it. And quit being irritating. Just stop. (/end rant) (And if you don't agree with this viewpoint, that's okay. Please see #6.)
  8. If you've done something wrong, apologize. If you have not done anything wrong, apologize. The apology costs you far less than what its absense could: relationships, reputation, respect.
  9. And lastly: hugs are free. Dispense them as often as you can.
Here's to what I hope are many more years of creating "learning opportunities"!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Shift.

This is me making a short little announcement and update to my disclosure policy:  this Sunday's cartoon over at DiabetesMine will likely be the last one you'll see from me over there, as I've elected to end my time as a "regular contributor" over there. (So be sure to go check it out on Sunday!)

I'll still be publishing cartoons here on TMP, when the inspiration and free time (HA! Ha ha ha ha! HAAA!) strike me... and I'll also be putting some of the images I created for DMine (like the one with the unicorns and the phrases that change meaning once you're diagnosed) on stuff in my Zazzle store, as was requested by a few people. 

And, a note about that... my gig there stipulated that I wouldn't republish the images for six months from the date they were originally posted, so some of those more popular ones (like the cute dudes on the meters) will have to age a bit more before they're ready to flex their t-shirt muscle. I will totally keep you posted, though, and I appreciate the heck out of the fact that anyone would want to wear a t-shirt with something I've drawn on it.

Thanks for supporting my work over there with your comments, RTs Facebook shares, etc. over the past nine months! Knowing that I made you smile or outright laugh (even better!) makes my heart sing. :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

It May Only Make Sense To Me(me).

I'm not through finding diabetes-themed memes hilarious.

(Does this one make sense to anyone else? It might be humorous only in my head.)

Monday, June 4, 2012

I Hate The Color Purple.

Not the movie... this.

Among the long list of things I probably don't do "right" when it comes to diabetes, getting myself to check for ketones (or even remembering that it's something I'm supposed to be doing in the first place) is pretty up there. It's right by "using the touch bolus button instead of dialing it in like a normal person" and "changing my lancet more than once a month".

I experienced some pretty wicked stomach problems early Sunday morning and throughout the day, with my Dexcom graph showing 200+ results pretty much the whole time. Even after the worst of the Real People Sick symptoms subsided, I still felt awful - flip-floppy stomach, a mild haze resembling but never quite crossing over to a headache, immense exhaustion and a desire to never look at or think about food ever again.

As the day drew to a close, I thought, "Hey, I wonder if I still have some ketone strips hanging around. I should probably test for those." I did, and I did.

I was greeted by a royal purple - somewhere between moderate and large.


And since even being cognizant of ketones is unfamiliar to me, I had to consult Google and some of my fellow PWDs. Large ketones with large glucose numbers seemed to point to an ER visit, but with my numbers staying in the low 200's, I didn't seem to fit that criteria. I drank as much water as I felt comfortable with (I wanted it to stay down, after all), slept a lot, and kept the correction boluses on repeat. I ate a few bits of food here and there, when I thought I could stomach it. At 2:00 am (I made myself get up every 3 hours overnight to check everything again), my blood sugar was down to 99 (YAY!) and ketones were down to small (YAY!).

Unfortunately I then made the dumb mistake of not eating anything then, so I'm now back up to "moderate" ketones as of this morning.

I'm recommencing the chugging of water and eating of crackers as we speak, as well as the self-chiding.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Free Dance.

Let's not dwell on the fact that I accidentally bolused twice for dinner last night. Let's... no. We're not going there.

Instead, allow me to re-bask in the glory of this moment:

My sensor had been sputtering for several hours. My reservoir was down to 3 units. I was due for a site change.

Some people like a free shower. I enjoyed a free dance party.

It's funny; I've worn a pump for so long now that I forget what it's like to move about freely - not trying to compensate, baby one extremity or otherwise modify my movements to accommodate my hardware. I had forgotten what it's like to just dance. It was lovely.

I wish I could do it more often.