Monday, March 31, 2014

Encouraging Independence.

I couldn't be more proud of the video You Can Do This Project published this morning. It features a group of parents that are in the midst of encouraging independence in their own children and teens when it comes to the responsibilities of diabetes care. They were willing to open up about their struggles and successes in the hopes of reassuring other parents that if they can do this, you can do this too. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Watch Your Step.

I'll now be Googling "steel-toed slippers" to wear around the house and grippy gloves for set changes.

Luckily this happened AFTER I filled the cartridge but that didn't diminish the post-incident mental freakout. (And yes, it landed like this. Inches from my bare foot. AAAAAAH.)

And I apologize for all the dog hair. #CorgiProbs

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


I have been wearing some version of a Dexcom continuous glucose monitor (CGM) since 2010. Last October I received an email from someone with a "" email address who asked if I'd be interested/willing to be featured on Dexcom's website.


::cough:: Pull yourself together, Vlasnik! Play it cool! I mean, yes, those terms would be agreeable.

Several months went by, but I can now say that as of today and until they realize this was a really bad idea, you'll find me listed in the "Heroes" (awkward!) (update: warriors?) section of Dexcom's website. I very much appreciate their willingness to share some patient stories there, which hopefully connect more of us with each other as a side effect.

It should come as no surprise to anyone who has read this blog over the past few years that I am a big fan of CGM technology. Aside from insulin, it's the most valuable tool I have in my arsenal. I wish more people had access to them.

Stuff like this can justifiably raise some eyebrows, so allow me to be clear about what this means (and what it doesn't) disclosure-wise. A short Q&A:

So does this mean you're getting free sensors now? Are they sponsoring you?
No, but it did mean that Dexcom sent me one box of G4 sensors one time at no charge. This is not on-going thing; my insurance and I will still be buying my sensors moving forward. 
Does this mean you are endorsing Dexcom now? 
Not in a "paid spokesperson" sort of way, no. I remain a paying customer of theirs and am under no obligation to write or otherwise share about my experiences in using their products. This feature was Dexcom's idea and they were the ones who did the approaching. They have no editorial influence on this blog or any other social media endeavor of mine. You'll still find me relating my graph shapes to animals, venting about error messages and accuracy issues, and celebr-tweeting when my 3-hour trend is a flat line. Good and bad, always. 
But kind of "yes"? 
That said, the release I signed does indicate that certain images and/or the words included in the "Heroes" feature can be used by Dexcom in any future promotions and at their discretion, so for all I know I could be Photoshopped next to a CGM-wearing, unicycle-riding squirrel* next week. C'est la vie!

If you have any questions or concerns I'd be happy to address them. In the meantime, here's where you can find the feature.

*Dexcom products are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use by squirrels, just so we're clear.

Wordless Wednesday: Bring The Beat In!

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(She's my daughter, so of course she sneezes in sunlight.)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Spring Cleaning.

There must be something in the air this time of year that compels we People of the Pumps to clean, consolidate, and reorganize our stock. The weather warms up, the sun shines, the breeze blows, and logically this leads one to think, "man, wouldn't it feel nice to have all of those infusion sets corralled and cartridge boxes stacked neatly by order of expiration date?". (Consider it FIFO for my diabetes life-o.) This is how I spent part of my Saturday afternoon, and I felt so much better when I was done trimming off box tops and neatly Tetris-ing everything into the available drawer and shelf spaces.

image via Pinterest; sadly with no additional credit
It got me thinking about how the way I pine for pretty ways to organize my diabetes supplies is similar to that of a dreamy Pinterest-board-worthy craft room design.

Do you hear me, Container Store?

I mean, yeah, a scrapbooking cart or something similar could work, but I want colorful, custom-made compartments for all of my diabetes stuff. Trays that perfectly fit Insets (like an egg carton); cups that can house one each of everything I need for each cartridge change-out; a docking station for my pump (and an expandable antennae thing to hold up the tubing while it primes?); a shelf with pop-in custom-sized compartments for my various meters; something like a soda can organizer, but for glucose tab jars or test strip vials. Fabric bins that can house extra cartridges, with a clear viewing window to slip in the cut-out label from the box. Color-coordinating clips or ties that tame all of my charging cords. A dry erase board where I can write down the last day/time of my infusion site or CGM sensor change.

Multiple color and pattern options for each part, if you please. Chevron? Yes. Ombre chevron? Oooooh myyyy.

I want the times I have to attend to my insulin pump to feel less obligatory, medical, and "ugh", and more "ooooh, shiny!", special, and fun. And why shouldn't they?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Starch Madness.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...Let's dance!

Amendment: Bennet of Your Diabetes May Vary has taken things up a notch by creating a survey based on this bracket. Go vote and we can start trash talking about our favorite carbs and see who shall be named champion!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Helpful Little Screens.

I don't know if it's due to the amount of diabetes stuff I've been trying to cram into my brain or what, but recalling something like what my fasting BG was even this morning is sometimes a task. Did I bolus for lunch? When am I going to need to change the cartridge again? What's my carb ratio right now? Is this real life? Are we at Chili's?

The t:slim has some very nice bits of info that I wasn't used to having access to with my Ping, and I've been using them liberally. For example:

Touching the top right corner of my homescreen (where it shows how much
insulin is left in the cartridge) brings you to just about all the information
you'd want to know about what your insulin pump is doing right that minute.

In the History menu you can see a visual breakdown of your insulin
use that day (they call it a "delivery summary"), or an average over the
past 7, 14, or 30 days.

If you can't remember when you did the last cartridge fill (hi, me, I do this
all the time), your pump remembers for you.

Struggling to recall all of the BGs you entered today? Dude's all over it.

Or maybe you want to see everything your pump did today -
Complete History it is.

Tomorrow is my first visit with my endocrinologist after starting on the t:slim - let's see if she's as pleased with the availability of some of my data as I am.

P.S. Things have been kinda quiet over here because I've been having fun posting over here instead.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Good One.

Shuh-shunk. Click!

That one didn't feel right, but in case I'm wrong my left index finger is immediately embraced by my right thumb and the side of my right index finger. The tiny area of my fingertip where the lancing device had just been pressed is white, while the rest of my finger turns a bright pink as I work to get the familiar red drop to appear. 

Squeeze, squeeze, massage, squeeze. As I suspected, nothing.

I'll try again on the opposite side of that same finger.

Shuh-shunk. Click!

Mother-father!, I think. That one really hurt. Guess I need to advance to the next lancet. Again grasping my finger, I squeeze harder than last time. Nothing.

Groan. Let's try a different finger. A different hand, even! I select my right ring finger as the next victim. 


With a new lancet now ready to go, I aim again.

Shuh-shunk. Click!

Ah, now this! This one felt right. A solid-feeling twinge of pain lasting a half-second at best, before it begins rapidly fading. The heavens part for a millisecond; the lancing device gods smile down on me; rays of sunshine magically appear and then vanish. There's a very distinct difference in feeling between a successful poke and a failure, and this one is definitely a winner. The new lancet provides a sharper weapon that succeeds in its mission, and I know what the blood drop will look like before I even begin squeezing my finger.

With only a slight bit of pressure, I am greeted by that desired drop of blood. Bright red; glistening; perfectly round. I take a victorious moment to marvel at it before it's whisked away by a test strip.

* * * * *

The result of this particular test doesn't matter much in the context of this story, but something else does - I know what a "good" finger stick feels like, and it feels like victory. The sensation of a successful finger stick almost feels... good to me.

How messed up is that?! 

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Good Distractions.

That time when your daughter wonders what's so funny about that shiny, glowing thing Mom is laughing at:

(For the record, it was this, and thanks go to Charli for pointing me to it and all its fluffy, well-coiffed glory. I don't know why I find this so funny, but I was giggling endlessly about it yesterday.)

Friday, March 7, 2014

50% Chance.

I'm finding that the acts of using a USB cord and programming a bolus on a t:slim insulin pumps have a lot in common.

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You'd think I'd be able to remember which one is on the left or right as I'm whizzing through the screens to get a bolus going....

You'd think wrong.

(Possibly helpful suggestions: make it alphabetical, so BG comes before Carb? Or just use icons like a blood drop and an apple, for example, instead of words?)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Back On The Unicorn.

Back in the day, I had a fairly consistent workout routine in place that involved our Xbox Kinect and games like Dance Central (2 is my favorite, but 1 and 3 are pretty okay too) and Just Dance. I was able to stick with it because 1. no matter how crappy the weather might be, I could still enjoy what I was doing, 2. I didn't have to pack up a bunch of stuff or wear a backpack of some kind, 3. I didn't have to exercise in front of other people, and 4. did I mention it's dancing? 

It was fun, and I was good at it. I could genuinely say I liked it, and being consistent with exercise was a habit I had fallen out of, so this was kind of a big deal for me.

Then I got pregnant and working out became so uncomfortable (can't! ::pant:: breathe! ::gasp::) that I just gave up for a while. And then I had a c-section and sitting up, let alone, dancing, was a challenge for several weeks, so I had to take time to recover from that. And when I started to feel like a version of myself again I just put it off, because who wants to work out when you could snuggle a baby instead?

But one can only make that excuse and wear stretchy pants for so long - plus your kid can watch you work out from the safety and amusement of a nearby Pack 'n Play, so really, no excuses here - so I'm getting back on the unicorn/horse. I also know that regular exercise decreases my insulin requirements, and this "new normal" post-pregnancy but sans exercise is reminding me that I need to get back to it. (My "old" daily insulin total was about 75% of what I'm currently requiring.)

Last night was my first workout - one that would have been really easy pre-pregnancy; a 20-minute "easy start" preset list in Dance Central 2's "Fitness" option - and I did not like it. My body didn't move as quickly as I recalled; things jiggled that never did before; I felt sluggish and anything but nimble. I was uncomfortable the whole time. I felt like trying to dance in jar of peanut butter; my limbs slow to react and heavy with muscle memory loss. "But you've done this before!", I lamented. No matter; I was starting from below zero, all over again.

But I did it. I completed a workout, and I'll do it again until those feelings come back. I already feel better today (funny how that works...), and that helps remind me how important it is to make time for this each night.


Monday, March 3, 2014

Full Circle.

I spent this past Saturday morning at the "T1D Motivational Summit", held by a local diabetes camp, in a hotel ballroom in Omaha. I had met the camp's director last fall when You Can Do This Project exhibited at TCOYD Omaha (his table was right next to ours) and he kindly asked if we'd come to this summit event as well.

For the record, if there is a group of people connected to diabetes gathering somewhere, I want to go to there.

I expected there to be people I hadn't met before and plenty of people who had never heard of You Can Do This, but what I hadn't anticipated is how small of a world this is.

I didn't expect to see kids approach my table, pushing up their shirt sleeve, to grin and show me that they were still wearing their bracelet (was it from TCOYD last year, or the JDRF walk the year before?). My heart soared every time it happened.

I didn't expect to reconnect with an old buddy from the diabetes camp I attended twenty years ago. (Nevermind that it took about 45 minutes after we were "introduced" to come to the realization that we already knew each other!) Did I say twenty? My god.

I didn't expect to re-meet a nurse from the pediatric endocrinologist's office I went to as a child - nor did I have any expectation that she'd remember me when I told her my maiden name. ("Little Kimberly!!!! Oh my gosh, this is wild! I absolutely remember you.")

And I certainly didn't expect, later on in the day, after I had packed everything up and was ready to head back out into the snow, to see that endo in the lobby. I'm fairly sure that the last time I saw him was when I was 15.

"Dr. Corley? Hi, I'm a former patient of yours."

I introduced myself and watched his eyes widen with recognition.

"Oh, my! How are you?? What are you up to now?"

We only had a few moments to talk, but it meant so much to me to be able to have this full circle moment where I could tell him a little about what I'm doing, and how healthy my daughter is, and how thankful I am for everything he did for me. He disagreed - "you were the one who did all the work!" - but I know that the kindness, knowledge, and guidance that he and his staff shared with my family and I made a significant difference in my health, then and even now.

It's not often that you get to say "thank you" to someone who has had an impact on your life like this, and it just made the day that much brighter.