Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Medicine X.

Tomorrow I'll be heading to Palo Alto, CA to attend a conference at Stanford University called Medicine X (#MedX for short). In the words of conference organizers, Med X is "a catalyst for new ideas about the future of medicine and health care. The Medicine X initiative is designed to explore the potential of social media and information technology to advance the practice of medicine, improve health, and empower patients to be active participants in their own care. The “X” is meant to evoke a move beyond numbers and trends—it represents the infinite possibilities for current and future information technologies to improve health."

A conference that merges health, technology, and social media (and focuses on the patient)? Heck yes.

What's especially cool about this particular event (aside from "holy crap it's Stanford" and "the guy who designed half of the stuff I use in my kitchen and closets will be giving a keynote" and the obscene number of coffee breaks built into each day) lies in the thoughtful persistence that resulted in around 35 ePatients, myself included, being able to attend through some scholarship help. From what I understand, the historical problem with health conferences is that while they may talk about patients' needs and concerns, they don't typically make efforts to include and engage with them. (This year's ADA Scientific Sessions, for example.) Other DOC faces you might recognize include DanaCherise, Chris, Jewels, Lizmari, Amy, and Mike. What a great group!

If you are interested in tuning into the conference via webcast, Stanford recently announced that they'll be offering a high-quality live stream of the event. (Rock!) Find it here, and access the webcast by creating an account and registering for the "2012 Global Access Program". You may also follow the conference conversation via the hashtag #MedX, and you know we'll be tweeting and posting to Facebook as we go, too.

See you next week!

Wordless Wednesday: Don't Hurt Me No More.

Haddaway + #sweatbetes = WINNING

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

App Photobomb.

I've been using the iBGStar a bit more lately, now that my insurance is finally covering (at second tier pricing, but whatever) the strips for it. I'm finding that when my meter is attached right to my phone it's pretty hard to forget to check my blood sugar, and that serves as a helpful reminder for me.

Cases will be available from the
iBGStar website "soon", I'm told.

Another benefit is the giggling that takes place when the meter is transferring data to my phone. If you're not familiar with the app, there's a little cartoon iBGStar that pops up in the bottom left corner of the screen while data is being pulled. It appears for only a couple of seconds, and then it slides out of view again.

Which, to my brain, makes it look like the little meter is photobombing my glucose readings.

Cheeky little meter, that one.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Diabetes Art Day 2012.

My entry this year was inspired by a moment on Saturday night (Procrastinating until the last minute, party of one.), as a few of us who went to the TCOYD Des Moines conference wandered the downtown sculpture park.

We found a circle of stone chairs (well-lit, as all of the other pieces of art were) with a table in the middle, and there happened to be as many seats as there were people with compromised pancreases. Scott commented that it was pretty creepy to be sitting in the middle of a park when it's pitch black, as you can't see what's coming up behind you. But then again, that's the beauty of a circle.

Find out more about Diabetes Art Day at and on Facebook, and find entries on Twitter by searching the hashtag #DArtDay!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Sara, Meet Crazy Eyes.

The eagle has landed!

(And when I say "eagle", I mean Sara.)


Tonight, along with Aaron, we'll drive to Des Moines, IA for the Taking Control of Your Diabetes (TCOYD) conference, which takes place tomorrow. We'll be exhibiting a table for the You Can Do This Project, and I also will be helping to co-present a session on CGM use. (!) Good times! Unfortunately, Billy won't be part of them, but he'd probably just end up tripping people in the exhibit hall anyway.

More to come next week - Sara and I are off to do some cornhusker-ish sight seeing before we head out of town. :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Spaceships Are Conquered.

(In reference to this post, where Sarah and company were totally right. Just tuck n' toss.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Just Not That Into You.

Hey there; it's me
Your CGM sensor of two weeks.
I see that you've noticed
My data-grabbing leaks.

How I'm speaking out of turn;
How I itch like mad.
How I can't even spit out
Most of your numbers - sad.

I was once so accurate;
So error-free.
You threw caution to the wind
And put your trust in me.

But now, my dear
It's time to part ways.
This dingy old sensor
Has lived out his days.

You're clinging to hope
It's yourself you're fooling.
I'm calling this game;
I'm issuing this ruling.

We had a good run
But now I'm afraid we're through
Because the truth, dear friend, is that
I'm just not that into you.


Friday, September 14, 2012


Some of the kindest words
this diabetic could hear:

"Your eyes look beautiful.
Nothing's changed from last year."

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Flirty Little Dexcom.

Some people like to show some skin. I like to show some sensor.

Or maybe it's that I didn't place the thing high enough on my arm this time, but hey... I'll own it.

Monday, September 10, 2012


Over the course of several months I've been making small but cumulative changes to things like what I eat, how much I eat, how much I exercise, and most importantly, how my mind frames all of those activities. This isn't an entirely comfortable post for me to write because it touches on some things that I'd rather keep locked away in my mind somewhere, but I'm charging ahead with some of it anyway because that's how I roll.

I don't think I want to get into specifics about everything I'm changing (partly for reasons I'll explain below)... but I'll mention a couple.

Busting A Move

Starting in February-ish, I made a renewed vow to get in the exercise I need. It seems to go in cycles for me - I'll be on a streak for a while (three to five workouts a week), and then something trips up my pattern and I go weeks - or months - without. I'm proud to say that, at least over the summer, I've been pretty consistent. That's kind of a big deal for me. 

What changed was that I finally found exercise I not only enjoy doing, but that I actually look forward to all day - and not only for its calorie-burning properties, but because it makes me feel good. I change it up occasionally with a walk outside or some time on the elliptical, but for the most part, it's a Dance Central 2 party in my basement every day after work. The exercise I'm doing is fun enough that it doesn't feel like work, most of the time - and if I'm horrible at it, the only creature who has to witness it is my dog. He doesn't mind.

That Pesky "Eating" Thing

Whatever it is about attending diabetes conferences - the change in routine, the running around, the excitement of seeing friends and doing something that excites me - they sure do seem to diminish my need for the whole food thing. Especially during that first week of July while in Florida for FFL, I discovered that I wasn't eating nearly as much as I was used to, and... nothing bad happened. I didn't feel as hungry as I typically had, and when I did want to eat, I wanted smarter choices (fruit, veggies, protein, and the least-processed forms of most of those). Huh. 

This began an experiment for me, which is is still running: can I eat smaller portions and still be "okay"? Can I eat just until I stop feeling hungry, instead of eating until I feel "full"? Can I distinguish the difference between eating to ease boredom and eating to ease true hunger? Can I cut stuff like diet soda almost completely out of the picture? Can I steer myself towards vegetables more often?

Can I view food mostly as fuel, and make choices based on that viewpoint?

So far, the answer is "yes". And, as much as I hate to admit it, I am feeling so much better lately.

And Here's Where Things Get Uncomfortable

(This is the part where I imagine that you say, "Why does she hate to admit that?") Well, it's a complicated answer. The short version is that I don't like being wrong, or having to admit that I can't eat/exercise/whatever like those around me and stay in the kind of shape I'm comfortable being in. My metabolism will bring me to - well, where I was at the start of this year, if I do nothing. And I don't like that place one bit.

I hesitate even talking about this part of it, because I don't want anyone else who may be in a similar situation to feel that they're doing something "wrong". I don't want anyone to say "But I'm larger than/shaped like she is...what is she trying to say?" I don't want to make anyone else feel bad about their own situation by talking about my own. 

But for me - I miss feeling "in shape". I've missed that feeling for a while now.

Anyway, my point here is that I'm making a concerted effort to do things that result in better health for me. From what I can tell by weigh-ins at my doctor appointments, how my clothes fit, how I feel while exerting myself, and how I feel overall - things are going well. I'm not going to talk numbers here, though. You won't find any weigh-ins, nor mentions of pounds lost.

Instead, you'll probably find me tweeting about successful workouts (and feeling pride in how not-out-of-breath I am during them) or how I feel. Because how I feel matters more to me than my pants fitting better - but I hope that one can continue to lead to the other.

Yesterday's 1.5 hour walk - and only one of us was ready to fall over at the end of it.
Stubby Corgi legs are not made for distance, it seems.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


For those who aren't familiar with the tem "hipster", here you go.

And if you thinking having an insulin pump with a rotary dial is actually kind of awesome... you might be one. (Spoiler: I'm raising my hand.)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Celebrating Small.

Yesterday afternoon, I realized I that hadn't gandered at my CGM in a while. I dug it out of my purse, clicked a button, and saw that I was planking nicely around 121. "Oh, cool", I thought, and tossed the Dexcom receiver back in my purse, all non-chalant like.

It didn't really strike me until later how messed up that reaction is.

Let's think about this for a second...

Crashing lows are so memorable and impactful on my life that I'll take the time to write about them, draw cartoons about them; heck, I'll even draw cartoons about other people's low blood sugar experiences. And when things go the other way - oh hiiiiiiiiigh! - I'll take the trouble to recount the whole experience via video. I'll spend time retracing my steps - was it the carb count? Was it an infusion site gone bad? Was it one of those times where I decided to just throw some insulin at food and hoped something good would happen?

Highs and lows get tweeted, Instagramed, Facebooked, texted about, and yelled at. But numbers that are actually where they are supposed to be?

The problem lies in the reinforcement. If I'm low, I pay attention to what's happening and probably get to eat something that tastes good. If I'm high, I pay attention to what's going on by testing, keeping hydrated, and tweeting that I feel like maple syrup may have taken over my cardiovascular system. In either case, I might share what's going on with me via social media, and I would likely get supportive well wishes from my friends. It's then that I'm taking the time to acknowledge and think about what is happening. I'm reflecting on what the cause may be, what I might do to avoid it happening the next time, and reassuring myself that it's just one number.

When that "one number" is in range, however, I generally don't pay it much mind. How messed up is that? In a more perfect world, I'd be spending all of that brain power enjoying those pretty numbers. I'd be congratulating myself for finally being able to guess what my body needed at that exact moment. I'd be positively reinforcing those times.

Why is it so difficult to celebrate the good like I would problem-solve the bad?

And yes, "good" is subjective, and probably not the best word to associate with things like glucose numbers, but let's just go with it for now. I'm deciding to celebrate those moments a bit more. They may be small, but they will (hopefully) add up to something worthwhile.

Some "small" highlights from the past week.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Lost For Words.

Words escape me, at this time.

My friend Meri, who is truly one of the most wonderful people you'll ever meet, lost her husband to cancer over the weekend. Sara puts it well: "I only met him for five minutes in a hotel room in Florida when I dropped off dinner for his family. [But] if you can tell the character of a person by the other people in their life (and I believe you can), Ryan Schuhmacher was an amazing man." 

The road ahead for their family will be difficult in ways that no one but they can know. Ryan was the family's sole source of income, and with four growing boys - three of whom have type 1 diabetes - that road begins to look even more steep.

If you're inclined to lend some support during this immensely difficult time for the Schuhmacher family, please consider doing so here.

My heavy heart is in California, with the Schuhmachers. Much love to you all.