Wednesday, May 28, 2014

T:slim Improv.

Sometimes you promptly lose the "keys" that come with your pump - the ones required to loosen the cartridge from the pump body when you need to change parts out - and really the job is only suited for a skinny, hard, plastic thing, so you have to improvise.

Welcome to The Pumpered Chef.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Adventures In Coconut Flour.

Aaron and I have been exploring a culinary world free of gluten for the past several months. Not for us, but for our daughter. She doesn't have any aversions to gluten (that we know of), but if there's even a small chance that something we do can maybe lower her risk for developing type 1 diabetes, then we definitely want to do that maybe-thing when possible. Consuming gluten before the age of 12 months appears to be one of those maybe-things, so okay, sure. There are plenty of good things to eat that don't have gluten.

Sadly, this bread I made with coconut flour was not one of them.

Behold, a doorstop

It sounded so promising; I scoured Pinterest and found a popular recipe that inferred good results if I sifted the flour twice; I sifted the sift right out of that flour and it helped exactly zero percent.

I'm slightly ashamed to say that I took one bite and had to spit it out (I know, so dramatic). SO BAD. Super dense, super dry, super no thank you.

This made me sad, because as my friend Bigfoot puts it:
Before D, Bigfoot love baking for feeling of make something out of nothing. Now w. use alternative flours, more like feeling of Make Something Out of Eight Dollars. And since almond flour so dear, not want make anything crappy. Ever.
 I did get a couple of recommended recipes from friends to try in the future, but I wonder: if you've used this stuff, what's the secret? Was there a secret password I wasn't told? I have half of the bag left and am now a bit shy about trying to make edible things out of it.

Good thing the Rabbit girl likes her fruit and veggies; she doesn't know what she's missing.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Been There.

I'm really encouraged to see attention being brought to the link between living with diabetes and living with mental health issues. In case you've missed some of them:

  • Diabetes Advocates issued a press release, raising awareness of "diapression"
  • The American Diabetes Association also issued a release specifically addressing depression in patients with T1D (though I didn't like the tone at the beginning; tastes a little blame-y)
  • You Can Do This Project has been sharing guest posts written by people in our community who balance the management of diabetes with mental health (if you'd like to write one, we'd love to feature it), and released that group video earlier in the month
  • Diabetes Blog Week instigated a flurry of blog posts from around our community about how diabetes impacts us emotionally

It's one of those really uncomfortable topics for a lot of us to talk about, but I'm so glad when we do. I've always admired the way people draw strength from the very things that supposedly make us weak. I know I'm cherry-picking the following quotes; forgive me:

"I know that the night is not the same as the day: that all things are different, that the things of the night cannot be explained in the day, because they do not then exist, and the night can be a dreadful time for lonely people once their loneliness has started. 

The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places." 

- Ernest Hemingway

I hope that by knowing we are not alone in the night, we will find some of that strength.

Monday, May 19, 2014

#DBlogWeek: My Favorite Things.

Today's Diabetes Blog Week prompt: As we wrap up another Diabetes Blog Week, let’s share a few of our favorite things from the week. This can be anything from a #DBlogWeek post you loved, a fantastic new-to-you blog you found, a picture someone included in a post that spoke to you, or comment left on your blog that made you smile. Anything you liked is worth sharing!

* * * * *

So I'm a day late; who cares, so what

Lots of things to like about Diabetes Blog Week; here are but a few:

Thanks go to Karen Graffeo for once again organizing Diabetes Blog Week - I know it has to be a bit like herding cats, but we appreciate what you do so much, Karen. I love it when we all focus on something together!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

#DBlogWeek: Saturday Snapshots.

Today's Diabetes Blog Week prompt: Back for another year, let’s show everyone what life with diabetes looks like! With a nod to the Diabetes 365 project, let’s grab our cameras again and share some more d-related pictures. Post as many or as few as you’d like. Feel free to blog your thoughts on or explanations of your pictures, or leave out the written words and let the pictures speak for themselves.

* * * * *

A couple of highlights from the past couple of days:

The Rabbit takes a nap; the Billy wishes it was a two-creature stroller

It only took me three years to finally get around to applying!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

#DBlogWeek: Mantras And More.

Today's prompt: Yesterday we opened up about how diabetes can bring us down. Today let’s share what gets us through a hard day. Or more specifically, a hard diabetes day. Is there something positive you tell yourself? Are there mantras that you fall back on to get you through? Is there something specific you do when your mood needs a boost? Maybe we've done that and we can help others do it too?

Find out more about Diabetes Blog Week here.

* * * * *

I thought about skipping this topic, because, you know.

However, there are certainly things I do to cheer myself up in a bad diabetes moment (more of the "More" than the "Mantra", I guess):

  • Instagram or tweet whatever crap is happening and feel comforted and amused by the emoji-filled replies of those who get it
  • go read blogs like Bigfoot Child Have Diabetes or i have the sugars or Typical Type 1
  • try to think of something to post on Diabuzzfeed and probably not succeed but feel amused anyway
  • refocus my energy into planning for FFL and related exhibit space for You Can Do This Project this summer (mentally waves at Glucolift across the hall)
  • remember that whatever issue I'm having, it's temporary and one little speck of dust in the universe of my diabetes history

Bingo. That last one.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

#DBlogWeek: What Brings Me Down.

Today's Diabetes Blog Week prompt: May is Mental Health Month so now seems like a great time to explore the emotional side of living with, or caring for someone with, diabetes. What things can make dealing with diabetes an emotional issue for you and / or your loved one, and how do you cope?

* * * * *

From the outside, a life with diabetes may look something like:

  • get medications
  • see a doctor; determine doses and diet plan
  • follow all of the rules and instructions from your doctor between appointments
  • your health reflects your efforts
  • everything is awesome, like this:

But from the inside, we know differently.

We know that, for the most part, health doesn't happen in those 15 short minutes we may have with an endocrinologist or CDE every few months (so that's, what, an hour a year?). Health happens in those thousands of moments in between: calculating, dosing, measuring, deciding, reacting, guessing, and worrying at home.

It happens in all of the fingersticks, the injections, the pharmacy refills, the stubborn highs, the fights for insurance coverage to gain the privilege of using the devices and medications that maybe can help you remain healthy, the act of remembering to TAKE those medications, the time and sleep and precious moments lost to hypoglycemia, the management of all of that data.

And you know what? None of that, to me, is the hardest part about living with diabetes.

No - the hardest part of living with diabetes is what it does to your mind; your emotional state; your spirit.

The hard part is feeling proud that you remembered to do everything "right" the night before and then having that pride immediately deflated by a number you didn't expect to see on your meter the next morning.

The hard part is seeing the look of disgust on a parent's face as they shield their children's eyes from you as you inject (in what you thought was a discrete way) insulin in public, so that you can eat the meal in front of you.

The hard part is knowing that someone out there wonders if wearing a medical device that could improve their health will come at the cost of their self-esteem.

The hard part is knowing that on my hip and inside of a tiny machine resides a potentially lethal amount of a very potent drug that I have to administer in order to live. If I get the dosing wrong it could kill me, and I have to accept this. I have to be okay with this.

The hard part is having to always assume, and plan for, the worst case scenario.

The hard part is not letting the warped version of what society has defined as an "ideal" prevent you from taking the amount of insulin your body needs.

The hard part is knowing that maybe, no matter what you do or how hard you try, you may still experience complications.

The hard part is not letting depression run the show

The hard part is talking yourself out of a "why bother?" attitude, self-harm, or even suicide, because if my best has no guarantee of being good enough.... then what is the point?

I'll say it again: the hardest part of living with diabetes is what it does to your spirit. It gives you so many reasons to just throw up your hands and not even try.

This is exactly why we need each other. This is why being connected to other people with diabetes is one of the most important things we can do for our health. Seeing your own experiences in the words of others gives us relief... so it isn't just me. This is a version of "normal". I'm not alone. This is something I can actually talk about, and people will understand me. Other people get what this is like; even the parts I don't dare say out loud.

It's really, really hard to allow ourselves to be vulnerable with each other but I find that there is a certain empowerment that comes with allowing ourselves to let go of a little fear. Add in humor, and you've hit my sweet spot of emotional support.

This is how I cope.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

#DBlogWeek: Poetry Tuesday.

Today's prompt: This year, Diabetes Blog Week and TuDiabetes are teaming up to bring out the poet in you! Write a poem, rhyme, ballad, haiku, or any other form of poetry about diabetes. After you’ve posted it on your blog, share it on the No Sugar Added® Poetry page on TuDiabetes, and read what others have shared there as well!

Editor's note: For the past couple of years I have had a mildly obsessive desire to rewrite, and then get a bunch of people together to act out, various SNL Weekend Update sketches with a diabetes slant. So I guess this isn't so much poetry as it is facetious scriptwriting. Rules? I break them!

* * * * *


So Anthony, what have you been hearing news-wise about diabetes?

Aaaaaah (looks both ways)... did you hear about this thing? Yeah, some strip clubs are being graded now, but none of them have popular names and GPS can never find them.

No, no, you've got it wrong. I think you're talking about test strips being marketed as "generic", and people are concerned about their accuracy.

I'm pretty sure it was about stripping, Seth. Yeah, and you can only touch the strippers once.

No, no, no. The strips work with One Touch meters.

IIIIIIIII'm pretty sure it was about strippers.

Okay, okay. What else is in the news?

(looks around) Did you uuuuuh.... did you hear about this one?

I won't know until you tell me about it.

Yeah, some people are on this really restrictive diet. Can you believe it? They eat exactly what the Berenstain Bears eat - it's nothing but salmon and honey. 

Ah... well, actually the salmon part might be true, but no - you're talking about the Bernstein diet. It has nothing to do with bears or children's books.

IIIIIII'm pretty sure it's about bears, Seth.

It's not. I promise.

IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII'm pretty sure people are eating like bears!

Stefon, people are looking for great places to travel this summer. What can you tell us?

Okay, okay.
New York's hottest club is BEEP BEEP BEEP.
Opened in 2015 on the Upper East Side of your stomach, club owner Dexter Comrade has gone all out.
This club has EVERYTHING:
Tabs, gels, smushed granola bars, exotic juice box flavors, tube trimmers....

I think I'm afraid to ask... what are "tube trimmers"?

It's that thing where a midget on a unicycle rides around with a pair of giant scissors, and cuts all of the insulin pump tubing he finds because he thinks it's a string hanging from your shirt.

That... is really offensive. And that cannot be a real thing.

Monday, May 12, 2014

#DBlogWeek: Change The World.

Today's prompt: Let’s kick off Diabetes Blog Week by talking about the diabetes causes and issues that really get us fired up. Are you passionate about 504 plans and school safety? Do diabetes misconceptions irk you? Do you fight for CGM coverage for Medicare patients, SDP funding, or test strip accuracy? Do you work hard at creating diabetes connections and bringing support? Whether or not you “formally” advocate for any cause, share the issues that are important to you.

* * * * *

Diabetes Blog Week! Woo!

(In years past I've had the time to write posts ahead of time and actually thoroughly think through the answers but not the case this year. Bear with me?)

There are times where I find it difficult to focus my diabetes advocacy efforts. There are so many issues and causes that I know are important and I have a lot of feelings about so many of them. It's becoming apparent that, for me, it's best to narrow it down and do a few things really well (or at least, be able to put enough effort into them to make some kind of impact) than say yes to everything but not do any of it particularly well. A more concise way to say that: "work on a few things and RT the rest".

Sometimes that means stepping away from things. It's not been an easy feeling to say "no" to helping with issues to which I very much want to say "yes", but I'm learning to live with the discomfort. (I have to - there's just only so much of my free time I can commit.)

I think my diabetes advocacy passions will always default to the psychosocial and emotional aspects of living with diabetes, but the more I learn about access issues - to test strips, to continuous glucose monitoring, to insulin pumps, to insulin itself - the more I feel the need to do something about making sure that everyone with diabetes has access to the same life-saving medications and technologies that I currently do. I am incredibly lucky/privileged to be able to use a brand new insulin pump; to wear a CGM at all times; to have an insurance plan that covers the majority of my diabetes-related health costs (even if I have to fight them for that coverage sometimes); to have an adequate supply of insulin in a refrigerator and pump supplies in the drawer(s); to be under the care of doctors who work with me to decide how to best care for myself; to have access to the internet and the support of so many people who understand, intimately, what this life with diabetes is like.

This is where I'm going to be focusing more of my attention, and I hope that when the call sounds, you'll raise your voice too. (I'm actually working on something very specific, but I don't want to distract from the #DBlogWeek shenanigans. Check back with me next week.)

If you're interested in working with others on a broad spectrum of diabetes advocacy issues, consider becoming a member of the Diabetes Advocates organization (united voices are louder, you know). We're working on some great initiatives, and we need your help. (And if you can make it - come to Orlando on July 2nd for the MasterLab event.)

Find out more about Diabetes Blog Week here.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Video: Diabetes and Mental Health.

You Can Do This Project has really ramped up the video production lately, yeah?

Today we published the latest in the "We Can Do This" video series - a discussion on how living with diabetes impacts our mental health. I know this isn't an easy conversation for many to have, but talking about it is important. When we don't see or hear anyone else mentioning it we start to believe we may be the only one who feels depressed, anxious, or hopeless. We feel overcome and overwhelmed. We wonder if it's worth it to even try.

Isolation is like a poison for mental health.

I hope that if any of this sounds familiar to you, you'll take some comfort in seeing these faces and hearing their words. Depression, for example, affects people living with diabetes at twice the rate of the general population.

You are not alone.

Be sure to check out our video on diabetes and anxiety, too, if you haven't already seen it.

If you'd like to share your story of how living with diabetes impacts your mental health, You Can Do This Project is also looking for guest posts to feature in the month of May. Get a hold of us - what you say could be exactly what someone else needs to hear.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Banana Pancakes.

I saw Briley tweet a while back about making banana pancakes. Not only did they sound delicious, but she promised me they were super easy to make - only two ingredients.

Only two? How good could they be?

OMG, you guys. So good.

Things to like about these:

  • easy to make - just need bananas, eggs, and a bit of oil
  • bananas tend to be nice to my BGs, but YDMV
  • they are paleo and gluten-free, if that matters to you
  • they received stamps of approval from both my daughter and my dog

You can find instructions on Briley's blog, and this recipe is the one I also consulted. Can you really call it a "recipe" if it's only two ingredients?

Whatever it is, it's delicious and doesn't cause the BG spike that typical pancakes cause for me. Wins all around.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Celiac Awareness.

You may or may not know this, but May is Celiac Disease Awareness Month. Did you know (I didn't) that 1 in 10 people living with type 1 diabetes also have celiac? By comparison, only about 1% of the general population has celiac disease.

ONE IN TEN! That's a lot!

The You Can Do This Project released a new group video today: "We Can Do This - Living With Diabetes and Celiac Disease". We hope that if you live with both diseases, that the stories and advice from the people in this video are helpful to you. At the very least, you'll know that you are not alone.

Click on over to the You Can Do This Project site to check it out.