Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How We Spent November.

The highs and lows,
The post-meal spike;
We spent this month
Sharing what it's like.

Diabetes Awareness Month is ending,
And with it, November -
Let's recap the month, and
See what we remember!

We took the Big Blue Test
and our results, online we would post
We watched the video over and over
To get insulin to the kids who need it most.

World Diabetes Day was busy,
As it also played host
To Type 1 Talk events
That took place from coast to coast.

We learned Six Things about each other,
We discussed our "Civil War".
We counted our diabetes blessings,
And celebrated a new "score".

I talked about That Other Thing,
And others shared theirs.
Our diabeTees were so awesome
They probably drew stares.

We wore these pins,
We wore our blue.
We wrote our letters,
And shared our view.

We can look forward to a lot,
But there's much yet to do.
The road to better technology and treatments
Starts with me and you.

People with diabetes want understanding and respect -
And some glitter and Diet Coke; sure.
But awareness and advocacy will keep on going
Until we can victoriously shout, "Cure!"

Monday, November 29, 2010

Diabetes: 1. Kim: 0.

There are times I let diabetes "win", and this morning is one of them.

On weekday mornings and afternoons, I usually I go for a quick 15-minute walk with some co-workers.  The fresh air, chatter, and chance to get my blood circulating again are all a healthy break from my otherwise mostly sedentary job.  Typically, I turn off my pump's basal delivery for an hour, starting about 30 minutes before the walk, and sometimes eat a few carbs as well. 

But this morning, it just doesn't seem to be worth the work.  I tested 20 minutes prior to our scheduled walk, and I was 80 mg/dL.  Jim told me I was constant.  Normally, this would be a great scenario, except that walking now meant I'd have to eat something - and I just wasn't hungry.  So here I sit.

While I do feel bad about skipping out on exercise (which is healthy for me, in general), I can't help but think it's for a good cause, as I'm maintaining a good BG level (which is healthy for me, diabetes-wise).  Should I feel guilty, or triumphant?

Exercise is giving way to a pretty number, this morning.  Living well with diabetes, much like being in a relationship, means living with compromise sometimes.  Having things my way all of the time isn't fair, and sometimes it isn't healthy, either.  So here you go, diabetes.  You win this round.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday Seven.

30 Posts In 30 Days is almost over - and I'm secretly a little glad.  There's a reason I don't normally post something every day - and you can see why in places like here and here.  It's tough to come up with something I really want to write about 30 days in a row.  Hence, you've got another Sunday Seven coming your way.
  1. My Christmas cookie ingredients have been secured, and the marathon of baking commences tomorrow evening.  I am soooo excited.
  2. I didn't take as many rides on the glucoaster this weekend as I thought I might, despite unmeasured meals and sparadic exercise.  I have no explanations for this.
  3. It's fun to put an actual voice to the blogs you read.  Holly from Arnold and Me was the guest on the podcast "Just Talking" last week, and you can listen to it here
  4. Sometimes, I'm easily persuaded.  I tried some different ice cream this weekend - "Sweet Freedom" from Blue Bunny (the ice cream sandwiches), based on this post from Kelly Kunik.  Peer pressure - it works!  (And it's delicious.)
  5. One of our fellow DOCers, and a good friend of mine, "C", wrote a brave post about the medical issues she went through growing up, and how that journey helped to shape her purpose in life.  You can visit her blog here and read that post here.
  6. Online communities are great for those super-specific questions that only a fellow diabetic can answer.  This thread on Juvenation.org discusses what to do with an insulin pump while you're getting a massage, and I was relieved to see I'm not the only one who tends to drop low during them!
  7. A and I will be flying next month, and that whole situation gets me a little worked up.  I've posted before about the parts of flying that make me anxious, and I'm sure this will only be amplified with all of the new TSA screening rules.  To calm myself, I'll be reading this over and over.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Diabetes, Cookies And Tradition.

There are some things in life that I'm just not going to cater to diabetes on.

A tray full of assorted homemade Christmas cookies has been a staple at our family December gatherings, for as long as I can remember.  It had always been an aunt or uncle of mine who made these beautiful and delicious creations of my childhood.  There had to be a dozen different kinds, and you had to choose wisely, because there weren't enough of each cookie for everyone to have one of each.  They were in no way healthy - real butter, frosting, icing, etc. - but that wasn't the point.  They were a treat you looked forward to each year.

As years go on, we lose some of those we love, but we don't have to lose the traditions, too.  My aunt and uncle who always did the cookies have passed on, and so for the past 2 years, I've volunteered to pick up those reigns.  I love baking - or anything involving food prep - and specifically, I've come to love baking cookies.  There's something very calming about taking the chaos of a dozen or more ingredients and transforming it into dozens of small, perfect-looking treats.  I enjoy the process probably more than I enjoy the end product.  (Which says a lot - I love cookies.  I totally get this guy.)

The kitchen at my old townhouse, circa 2008.  Counters
were covered in cookies - I think I made 8 varieties that year. 
Which was "parring it down".

So that's where I am - the girl with diabetes, who makes the Christmas cookies.  Ironic?  Maybe.  I think it's important to not let diabetes dictate the things that are really important to you.  If that means eating Christmas cookies, then do it - and bolus accordingly.  The emotional impact of not being "allowed" might be worse than the health impact of a few hours in the 200's.

Diabetes dictates enough in my life.  It doesn't get cookies, too.

Friday, November 26, 2010

D-Feast Friday: Sweet Potato Biscotti.

I know what you're thinking:  anything with the term "feast" in it has no place in a post on the day after Thanksgiving.  The last thing you want to think about is food.

This one's pretty light, though, and made a yummy mini-breakfast yesterday, paired with some coffee (of course).  It even got a thumbs-up from A, too!

(Disclosure:  the nice people at the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission sent me a free sample of this biscotti, in the hopes that I'd mention the ol' sweet potato here.  Considering the fact that I already loved those yummy orange dudes, I said, 'Sure!'.)

Sorry, the recipe doesn't call for the pretty bow.  That was
just a bonus.

Sweet Potato Biscotti

2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups unpeeled coarsely grated sweet potatoes (about 8 ounces)
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease large baking sheet. 

In medium bowl, beat together sugar and butter; add eggs; beat well.  Add flour, baking powder, orange zest and salt, beat on low speed until combined.  Fold in sweet potato, walnuts, and coconut.  Divide dough into two equal pieces; with oiled hands, shape each piece into a log about 2 inches by 11 inches; place on baking sheet.

Bake until firm and golden, 25 to 30 minutes.  Transfer to cooling rack; cool 15 minutes.  Trim thin slice from ends of logs; cut logs into 1/2-inch-thick slices.  Place slices on 2 ungreased baking sheets with cut side down.  Bake 12 minutes; turn and bake until crisp and golden, 10 to 12 minutes longer.  Cool completely.  Store in tightly covered container.

Yield:  about 4 dozen biscotti

Nutritional information provided, per 2 biscotti:  16g carb, 116 calories, 1g fiber, 7g sugar, 5g total fat.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


On this Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for a day full of family.

I'm thankful that I only hit 200 once today, and because that crap only lasted for about a half hour.

I'm thankful for little brothers who fall asleep on my shoulder, as a result of copious consumption of deliciousness earlier in the day.

I'm thankful for leftover fruit salad, with which I'm currently treating a stubborn bout of hypoglycemia.

I'm thankful for my 94-year-old grandma and her great stories, like the one I heard today about the first (and only) time she tried a cigarette.  (She tried to light the wrong end.  Gotta love her.)  I think she's where I get my ability to deliver straight-faced wit from.

I'm thankful for my in-law's puppy, who I got to spend quality time playing fetch with.  (He's a goldendoodle.  Sooooo cute.)

I'm thankful for my CGM and insulin pump, who helped me rock most of my bolusing on such an impossible-to-carb-count day.

I'm thankful for that underlying layer of understanding with my husband's stepdad, who has type 2, and has to "shoot up" at meals, too.

I'm thankful for my husband, who puts up with so much from me, always with a smile and a kiss.

I'm thankful for my life, and everyone and everything in it.  It's a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Everyone needs a mascot, right?  If you look around the DOC, you'll find a consensus - that felines rule.  You can find the evidence in places like here, here, and here

Cats seem to be a ubiquitous mascot for our diabetes community - but I can't quite agree with that.  For one, I'm allergic to cats, so it's hard to jump on board with that (without sneezing).  But the bigger reason for me is that dogs are just freaking adorable.  Case in point - this picture cracks me up every time.  I dare you to not laugh...

(You guessed it - writer's block has struck.)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Top Ten Blessings.

My friend Mike, over at My Diabetic Heart, came up with an interesting concept for all of us d-bloggers to ponder this week:  what has diabetes given us that we can be thankful for?

Here's my Top Ten.
  1. Diabetes helped to shape me into the mostly-responsible, and freakishly organized person I am today.
  2. The high tolerance for pain that thousands of injections and blood tests have given me comes in handy.  Take for example, that time in my self-defense class, when the instructor was demonstrating some sort of crippling thumb-bend move on me.  Tried as he might, it didn't hurt.  The look on his face was priceless - half disbelieving, half awe.  Apparently I was supposed to scream in agony?  I didn't get that memo. 
  3. The aforementioned blood tests have built up some handy scar tissue on my fingertips.  Hot drinks in paper cups don't feel so scalding anymore.  It's like my fingertips are wearing their own little protective oven mitts.  (Thanks to Karen from Bitter-Sweet for coming up with that.  Genius.)
  4. It gave me justification to start blogging, and a way to connect with the great people that make up the DOC (diabetes online community).
  5. Hypoglycemia = guilt-free candy consumption.
  6. I've met some pretty great people because of diabetes, and look forward to the people it will help me meet in the future.
  7. I can use double entendres, like "That prick really hurt me", "I'm totally pumped about this", "I'm actually 87", or "Man, I'm so high right now".
  8. Going to the doctor every 3-4 months ensures that I'm current on all blood work and examinations, so if I end up with anything else, it should get caught early.  (That doesn't always work, but I'm still hopeful.)
  9. Carrying around all of my d-gear makes me feel a little bit like MacGyver.  I think I could probably substitute some IV3000 tape for duct tape in a bind.
  10. Like Kanye says:  "That, that, that that don't kill me can only make me stronger".  (One of my favorite workout songs, by the way.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Things I Don't Think About.

I'm a planner.  I like to make lists, I value the RSVP, and I tend to do a lot of research before making big decisions.  But that's in "real life" - that philosophy doesn't always extend to my diabetes life.  Especially on days like today, I wish it did.

For example, I often forget about the concept of the free shower.  For those unfamiliar, the "free shower" is that beautiful point of intersection where the end of life for your CGM sensor and insulin pump site sync up.  It is one of the few showers where you can scrub away without fear of dislodging something; where you don't have to worry about the pressure and angle of the water messing up your mosiac of adhesive tape.  It's glorious - and I often forget about that option.  (But this morning, I didn't!  Happy Monday to me!)

While remembering the free shower was exciting, it apparently meant that I had that much less brain space to remember other things, like how I should grab a new bottle of test strips before I headed to work.  Which is doubley unfortunate - as the first several hours of a new CGM sensor tend to be pretty inaccurate, and I'll be wanting to test more frequently than normal.  (Not-So-Happy Monday to me!)

Sort of like this, but not orange.
Then, there's the matter of insulin pump site placement.  I've been trying to use some thigh sites in my rotation, to give my stomach a bit of a break.  I've found that the side of the top of my leg works best - there's some squish there that accomodates a pump site quite well.  But here's what I forget about - for some reason, that exact place on my leg is where the arm of my chair at work hits my leg.  So, every time I sit down, my site hits a wall of hard plastic, and it feels weird.  I'll be spending the next two days sitting slightly sideways in my chair.  Don't mind me.

What do you tend to forget about?  Tell me I'm not alone here.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Target Practice.

There aren't many meals more challenging to bolus for than a Thanksgiving dinner you didn't make yourself (or sometimes, even one you did make yourself).  You're not sure what's exactly is in each dish, and you're probably doing educated guessing in lieu of exact measurements.  Even with tools like an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor, it's tricky.

My parents hosted my brother, husband and I for a "pre-Thanksgiving" meal today.  It was delicious, and we got to have a bit of everything I crave at this time of year - sweet potatoes, turkey, mashed potatoes with real gravy, green beans with bacon (because bacon always has a place at the table), and pumpkin bars.  It can be a fairly carb-heavy meal, which meant that I got to try some "target practice" for the real deal next week.

It's one of the many times that I'm thankful for having a CGM.  (Thankful at a Thanksgiving meal?  Weird.)  I knew I'd need a combo bolus for this, and usually I'd take the majority up front, with only about a 15 - 25% tail over three hours.  I'm not even sure how I arrived at that forumla, but since that scenario hasn't been keeping up its end of the deal lately, I thought I'd try something different - a 40/60 split over 2 hours, with a temp basal of +100% for four hours.

And guess what? I managed to slowly creep up to the low 180's, flatline there for an hour, and then glide back down to the 90's. 

Boom.  I'm ready.  Bring it, Turkey Day.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Never Satisfied.

My breakfast excursion this morning has me concerned.

I picked up a spinach, egg white and cheese breakfast wrap from Starbucks this morning, along with the largest skinny latte they make - which comes out to around 70g of carbs.  I was already trending down slightly on the Dexcom, so I opted for the combo bolus.  I did a 50/50 split over an hour, and set it up while sitting in my car, so I'd have a little bit of time for it to get to work before I got to my desk and could dig in.

That was an hour and a half ago, and right now I'm 108.  Here's my question:  should I be concerned or happy?

Even with a "great" BG like that, I can't help but worry that it means I'm about to drop too low any minute now.  A high-ish carb breakfast, which includes coffee, will normally send me up anywhere from 50 to 100 mg/dL, so I'm not sure what to think of this.

How sad is that?  A reading like 108 is pretty rad - but I can't enjoy it, because I'm too worried about the circumstances surrounding it.  I guess I'm never satisfied - the future is too uncertain, diabetically speaking, to have the luxury of feeling that way.

I'm also right in the middle of that two-hour calibration window with my Dexcom, so I can't watch what's happening.  I just have to go by how I feel, and test every half hour.  It feels like I'm trying to walk across a highway with a blindfold and noise-cancelling headphones on.

Normally, I'm just wearing the blindfold.

Friday, November 19, 2010

My Wish List.

Dear Santa Animas (SantAnimas?),

It is somehow that time of year already; the time where friends and family are asking me what they might get me as a gift during the holidays.  To tell you the truth, I'm having some trouble coming up with a list for them.  There are some special things I'd like, but you, dear SantAnimas, are the only one who could deliver them!  So here's my list - check it twice.
  1. I would like a "Back" button.  Over the last 11 months, I've cumulatively spent hours scrolling through menus, trying to get to things like my I:C ratio.  It's unnecessary, and annoying.
  2. Please consider using a higher quality ink on that "OK" button.  Right now, mine says "C :"
  3. Is there any way you could make the "empty cartridge" alarm a bit less cute and sing-songy?  I slept right through the harmonious warnings for two and a half hours the other night, and thusly woke up to cotton mouth and a reading of 257 at 3:30 am. 
  4. I'd like the ability to override the IOB amount.  Because, dear Santa, there are times when I administer a bolus, and then smell band-aids.  I rip out my site, because it's not absorbing, and an undetermined amount of insulin leaks out - yet my pump still thinks I have all of those units on board.  You let me control just about everything else on that little robot - why not IOB?
  5. When I change out the battery, it would be great if the pump could remember how much insulin was in the cartridge. 
  6. And lastly, it would save me a lot of trouble if I could make basal adjustments from the meter remote.  Pretty please?  It's not always convenient to dig my pump out from wherever I have it hidden under my clothing. 
Thanks, SantAnimas, for listening.  Cookies and milk are on the counter.  Don't forget to bolus.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Didn't See That One Coming.

"And what are you here to see the doctor for today?", the nurse asked; her eyes remaining on the three-inch-deep pile of paperwork that is my medical file. 

It's a question that gets asked at every visit, even though I'm always there for the same reason.  "Oh, just the usual diabetes check-up, you know?"  I watched her scribble a few things down, and then she asked what medication I'm taking, which I always have to struggle to not laugh at.  "Well, it should all be the same as the last time.  Do you want me to list them all again?"  She shook her head.  More scribbling.

She checked my blood pressure - 126 over 76 - and we talked about pregnancy (hers in the past, and the one I'm hopeful for in the future).  She drew some blood.  She wished me luck, and left the exam room.  I relaxed, and waited.

The wait was so long that I began to wonder if they'd forgotten I was in there.  I Facebooked, I Twittered, I checked my blog stats.  I browsed the forums on Juvenation.  I considered reading an issue of People, but decided against it.  (Magazines in medical offices have to be some of the most germy things out there.)

Eventually, the door swung open, and my P.A., "D", walked in, smiling like usual - except this time, there was a little something behind that smile.

"Hi Kim!  How are you?"  We exchanged pleasantries, but she knows me well, and got to the point she knew I was anxiously waiting for.

"You know we checked your A1C today, right?", D said, with a bit of teasing in her voice.

"Yep!  How'd I do?" 


Oh, this game.  We do this every time.  Like always, I had brought all of my "reports" - the Dexcom data, two weeks of logs I had downloaded from my pump and meter, and my pump settings.  Jim's memories of the past two months led me to believe that I might have actually broken the 6.5 line, and I went a little bit gutsy with my response.  "6.3?"

Her smile broke into a grin.  "Nope.  Guess again."

I turned my head slightly and squinted at her; disbelieving.  "6.2?"

"Nuh-uh.  Guess again."  Her grin grew even wider, as did my eyes.  "What?  Seriously?  Okay, I can't guess anymore.  You'll just have to tell me."

There seemed to be an inaudible drumroll.  Then....  "5.8!"

My jaw hung open, and the corners of my mouth slowly turned up into a goofy grin.  I started laughing.  I didn't know what to do - but she did.  D wheeled over and showed me the proof, right there on the lab report. 

All I could do then was let out a single "Huh", and then, "Are you sure that's right?  I mean, I figured I'd be lower than last time, but... wow.  Wow!"  She assured me that it was, indeed, correct.

I don't remember what we really talked about the rest of the appointment.  I was in too much of a daze - first shock, and then amazement, and then realization - that I'd finally achieved that impossible dream I had of an A1C under 6.  I still can't really believe it, even as I'm typing this.  I know she asked me if I was having a lot of lows (I asked, "Um, define 'a lot'?"  We determined I was doing okay.), and she wrote me some new prescriptions.  She told me that she was proud of me, and of all of the hard work I'm doing.

My head was swimming with thoughts, with one treading water a little bit better than the others:  that's a great baby-building number.

On her way out, she chuckled.  "Well, I think I can guess what you'll be blogging about tonight!" 

She knows me well.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Little Blue Conversation Piece.

It's funny how perspective can completely change.  Even just a few years ago, my diabetes wasn't something I really talked about in public.  It was a burden I wanted to keep to myself - this horribly irritating pet that would never die. 

Last night, I attended my local JDRF chapter's Walk to Cure Family Award Dinner, where the most successful fundraising teams from this year's Walk got pretty plaques and glass sneakers with their names on them.  I attended first as a volunteer, but when it became apparent that I wasn't needed in that capacity once the program started, I made the executive decision to sit down for some free dinner.

A few things surprised me about the evening.  One was that my name was listed in the program, as one of the top three individual walkers in my category.  (What?)  Another was the choices at dinner.  There was pasta...  and then another kind of pasta.  And dinner rolls.  And then some mini-cheesecakes.  (Hello, Combo Bolus?  Come save me.)

And the third surprise was that I actually got to meet another adult with type 1.  If you remember my recap of the JDRF Walk from September, you might recall all of the "I'm Walking In Honor Of..." stickers I saw with the name Molly on them.  Well, guess who I got to meet?  (She's lovely, by the way!)

As we wrapped up the evening, she noticed my Dexcom receiver sitting next to my plate, in all of its blue glory (for Diabetes Awareness Month, of course).  She asked, "Hey, what's that blue thing?", and that was all that was needed for the flood gates to open.  Excited Fast Talking kicked into full swing, and I might have gotten a little too enthusiastic about my Dexcom.  I found myself frequently saying things like, "Oh my god, you have no idea...", and "It's so awesome!".  I sometimes wonder if Dexcom realizes how much positive (and free) word-of-mouth promotion they get out of me.

Situations like that are fun now.  The support of the DOC (diabetes online community), and coming to a place where I can finally accept diabetes as a part of myself, have helped give me the emotional confidence to be able to share this rather large body of knowledge and experience I have.  I love having the opportunity to share those parts of my diabetes life that make it easier to handle (like what it's like to wear a CGM, and how wonderful this online community is), because I remember very well what it felt like when life wasn't like this.  I'm also now able to see my own previous hesitations and concerns in others, and I'm able to respond in a relatively helpful way.

It's not that I think I have it all figured out - I don't.  I know I'm not an "expert".  But, what I am is a person who has lived with diabetes for a while, has some things figured out, some tricks she'd like to share, and wants to grab everyone's hand and help get them to that place, too.

Sharing my experiences is what I do, and I'm happy to do it any time I think it can do some good for someone else who's walking the same road as I am.  I couldn't have forseen that I'd ever be this open about my diabetes life, but it turns out to be one of the best health decisions I've ever made.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

It's Working.

I've written about trying to get my A1C down.  And I've talked about retraining myself on what "normal" is, BG-wise, so that I can be well practiced for "when that time comes".  I've been trying to be a more disciplined diabetic - moderation, not elimination, as someone so eloquently put it.

As I checked out the averages on my meter this morning, I have to cautiously think, "It's working!"  At least, for now.

I still have work to do, but it seems as though the diabetes stars have been aligning for me lately.  Some of it is carefully planning and diligence, but honestly, some of it is just plain luck.  I'm hoping it doesn't run out any time soon.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Type 1 Talk - A Review.

This past Sunday marked the first Type 1 Talk, a JDRF-initiated effort to organize local type 1 diabetes communities.  Anyone who wanted to participate tuned into an hour-long Ustream broadcast and listened to a panel of experts discuss the topics we voted on weeks prior.

I had a handful of people at the event I hosted, and enjoyed getting to have face-to-face conversations about things like the artificial pancreas, beta cell regeneration, and my Dexcom CGM.  We heard the panel discuss topics like getting the artificial pancreas approved by the FDA for use in the U.S., how to increase public awareness of type 1 diabetes and how to educate others about it, and healthcare coverage for type 1 adults. 

I thought the topics were handled well, but I wished we had more time.  It's certainly difficult to try to fit five topics of that magnitude and importance into an hour, but to then try to have time for real-time questions - it just didn't happen.  There is talk of holding events like these on a semi-regular basis in the future, and I'll be glad to participate if this idea comes to fruition*.

With that said, I thought the variety of panelists was just what it should be.  Each presenter brought something important to the conversation; we had people from the science and research end of things, the public relations side, and the online community side.  We had both type 1's and type 3's**.  We also were fortunate to have some of the brightest minds out there in the diabetes community, and it was fun to watch them interact all in one room.

Nice work, JDRF. 

* I'd like to make a disclosure here.  While I have ties to JDRF in different capacities as a volunteer, my choice to mention them here, and to ask others to help in their efforts is just that - my own choice.  They have never asked me to mention them; I do so because I like the organization, and feel that they have the loudest voice when it comes to diabetes advocacy at this time. 

** A "type 3" is defined as someone who cares about and/or for someone with diabetes.  This could include parents of a child with type 1, a spouse, a brother/sister, a friend, etc.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Seven.

This weekend was super busy, so I'm allowing myself a Sunday Seven post (in lieu of something more coherent, and less list-y). 
  1. Happy World Diabetes Day!  Although I wasn't able to participate in the Big Blue Test, as the timing coincided with my Type 1 Talk event, it's awesome to see that so many participated.  It's also great news that we achieved our goal of 100,000 views of the Big Blue Test promotional video, which means that Roche Diabetes Care will be donating the full $75,000 to Diabetes Hands Foundation.
  2. Speaking of Type 1 Talk, I hosted my own event today!  More on that tomorrow.
  3. One of my best friends spent this weekend with us.  She, myself, my husband and his brother all went to the Nebraska vs. KU game on Saturday.  (She's a KU alum.  I'm a NU alum.  It's a rivalry.)  It was quite cold, but hey, that's what ski gear is meant for.  It was a lot of fun, and my BG levels even cooperated!  *high fives myself*
  4. One thing I've found about owning my own home is that things I previously might have thought of as "lame" are now kind of exciting.  Like shelving for the basement storage room that we got from Lowe's tonight, for example.  I am now listening to the sounds of A hammering shelves together, and fantasizing about the point in time where I'll actually be able to see the floor in there again.
  5. I've found recently that the states of over-caffienation and rapidly-falling BG can have very similar symptoms.  I get that jittery, vibrating feeling with both.  Thankfully, today's experiences were only attributed to the former problem, and not the latter.
  6. THIS IS SUPER IMPORTANT.  If you live in the U.S., we have a huge piece of diabetes legislation coming up this week.  The Special Diabetes Program funds 35% of the diabetes research (annually)  in this country, and Congress is voting on whether or not to continue it this week!  We need to step up and let our representatives know how important this program is, and that it needs to continue.  We stand to lose a lot (clinical trials funding, artificial pancreas research, etc.) if this doesn't pass.  Head over to the JDRF Advocacy page to find out how you can help.
  7. There are several places you can find World Diabetes Day blogs much more eloquent than mine.  :)  Mike of My Diabetic Heart has started compiling a list here
I hope you all had a great weekend!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Old School Flashback.

Recently, I came across something I thought you guys might get a kick out of seeing.  A piece of the past, so to speak.

It's a posterboard I made back in grade school, shortly after I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.  We had a science fair at school, and since my newly-found disease was new to most everyone in my class, I decided to teach them a bit about what diabetes was, and what having it meant for me. 

Ah, how things have changed since the late 80's!

So I was correcting above 110 even
back then?  Huh.  Also, please notice my
shout-out to the Babysitters Club book
series at the bottom.  Stacey 4 life!

Soooo glad we do carb counting now. 
It's a lot easier than that ADA
exchange diet stuff.

Wasn't I a wee bit young to be doing shots? 
....Oh, wait, of insulin.  That makes more sense.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Guest Blog.

Today, I have the honor of being a guest blogger at Diabetes Social Media Advocacy.  You can find my post for today (which continues my look at the Artificial Pancreas) here.

Thanks for having me, Cherise! 

P.S. My friend Jeff (of International Diabetes T-Shirt Day fame) and I discussed this post ahead of time, and coordinated it so that he already has a response to my post on his website today, here.  (My d-blogging as of late is starting to resemble the movie Memento, isn't it?)  Go read and enjoy!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Fascination With The Artificial Pancreas: Episode 3.

Yesterday, the FDA and NIH held a public meeting on the Artificial Pancreas (AP) technologies; specifically, to discuss the next step - which is to take clinical studies from in-hospital to out-patient.  The day-long meeting was shared through an online webcast, and I listened to nearly all of it while at work yesterday, hoping to absorb as much as I could.

I felt like I learned so much - as I did the last time I tuned into a webcast on AP technology - but I'm not sure how to properly convey it all here.  I tried to explain everything I learned to A when I got home; and, as he is prone to do, kindly listened to my Excited Fast Talking for as long as needed. 

My mind stove.

I'll pre-emptively apologize for the likely scatterbrained organization of this post.  I honestly have more information than I know how to handle, so I'm just doing a short post of the main points that stuck with me.  I need to let the rest simmer a bit on the back burner of my mind stove.  Also, I'll be exploring more of my AP concerns in my post appearing tomorrow... somewhere else!

There are just so, so many intricacies to getting an AP in the hands of those who need it here in the US - just in the technology development itself, not even counting the FDA approval process.  I knew it was a complicated technology unlike any that's been developed before (the technology required for the AP was often compared to flight engineering - but even then, that doesn't cover it all), but I underestimated how many hundreds of small decisions have to go into getting it "finished".  And while I still find the wait irritating, I'm starting to understand the need for it a bit more.

For example, it sounds like the first version of the AP that might get approved would be a system with only the ability to shut off insulin delivery, for probably a two-hour period, to mitigate hypoglycemic events.  It sounds a lot like what we insulin pump users already do with temp basals, right?  Except, it's not that easy.  At what point will this feature kick in - and do you really trust the CGM's accuracy in acknowledging these events?  Do you wait for the reading to cross a certain BG threshold for this feature to engage (which is a reactive approach), or do you find a way for it to respond to a specified downward trend (which is proactive)?

This version of the AP is missing a key component though - it doesn't do anything to correct high BG levels.  And when you suddenly give the AP the ability to increase insulin dosing, instead of merely being able to reduce it, you're entering a whole new world of risk.

One issue that got a good deal of air time was the matter of who the AP trial clinicians should be looking for to participate in this round of study.  Who could "benefit most" from the technology?  (I'd argue "all of us", but I guess that's why I wasn't on the panel.)  You could argue for those with hypoglycemic unawareness.  Or for those who experience a significant number of "severe hypoglycemia excursions" each year (Their words, not mine - although I kind of love this phrase.  It makes me think of giraffes, and safari hats.)  Many suggested a group who was already "well controlled", with an A1C under a certain number, and who was already familiar with CGM and insulin pump technology.

Which leads me to my last point - one of the panelists expressed concern over the amount of education that would need to be provided for these out-patient clinical trial participants.  They were mostly concerned that the problem would lie with the amount of knowledge and skill in using the technology away from a hospital environment.

I think they're missing a big point.

The use of an artificial pancreas as a treatment option presents a huge paradigm shift for people with diabetes.  We're used to the ones being in charge of our own care; of making educated guesses based on our personal experiences with our disease.  It's hard to imagine a place in time where someone who is used to that amount of mental involvement could suddenly put complete trust in a mostly-autonomous diabetes management system.  I think the acceptance rate for the AP is going to be a big obstacle to overcome.  Which means that a question the researchers should be looking to answer is this:  How do we get people to trust this thing?

**The title of "Episode 3" might be a little bit misleading.  I wrote a post about the AP back in August (hence, episode 1), and I've written another (episode 2) which hasn't been published yet.  It will show up Friday.  :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Where Can I Go?

Living with diabetes isn't easy, by any stretch.  (That's an understatement, if I've ever heard one.  Er, typed one.  Read one?  Anyway.)  The weight we carry every day - the routine, the financial burden, the fear, the guilt, the worry, and for some, the shame - can sometimes feel like more than we are able to handle.  And for some, we don't realize how much we needed the help until we reach out for it.

I wanted to share a few resources for when those times come around.  There's a lot of value in simply having someone there who can listen, and maybe offer a bit of insight or advice, too.

If you have questions about anything diabetes, or just need to hear some encouragement, consider sending a question to JDRF's Online Diabetes Support Team.  (I've mentioned this resource before, but haven't ever really explained it...  my bad.)  This team provides a way for anyone affected by diabetes to get some one-on-one contact and support from someone who has "been there".  Anyone can submit a question through the online form on the JDRF website, and our goal is to have a response back to you within 48 hours.  I began volunteering with ODST earlier this year, and have gotten the chance to tackle some pretty tough subjects - depression, burnout, diabulimia, fear of hypoglycemia, etc.  There's no judgement or criticism - just someone who will do whatever they can to help you out.

There are many online diabetes communities that give you a chance to meet other people living with the same condition(s) and challenges as you.  My favorite community, which is specific to type 1, is Juvenation(Can you tell I'm a fan of JDRF?  I volunteer there, too, as a moderator.  I'm a smidge biased.  You'll find me here.)  You can create a profile, read blogs created by other Juvenation members, and post questions to forums used by thousands of others who deal with diabetes on a daily basis.  There's nothing like getting to talk to someone who has "been there”, and I've met some of the kindest people I know on sites like these.  Other great communities (for any kind of diabetes) include TuDiabetes, dLife, the ADA's Diabetic Connect, and Children With Diabetes.

If you're hip to Twitter, check out a weekly diabetes chat called Diabetes Social Media Advocacy (#dsma).  The chat takes place for an hour on Wednesday nights at 9 pm Eastern Time, and is run by Cherise Shockley.  DSMA discusses all things diabetes, and is attended by some of the most funny and smart people with diabetes out there.  Check it out by using TweetChat, or by searching the hashtag #dsma during that hour.  Feel free to participate, or just lurk.  :)

And lastly, visit some diabetes blogs.  You can find some of my favorites in my blogroll list to the right, or search sites like this one, this one, or this one to find more.  There's a whole community of us out there - come find us!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Six Things I Want You To Know About Diabetes.

Today is the Sixth Annual D-Blog Day, and the DOC is blogging about the Six Things We Want You To Know About Diabetes - so, here is my list.
  1.  I don't expect you to know everything, or even most things, about diabetes.  What I do hope for is an open and curious mind, and your ability to patiently listen to me blather on about it.  I also hope that you'll retain at least some of what I'm saying, and pass it on to others who need to know.
  2. "Sugar-Free" foods don't really do me any good.  All food (even protein) is eventually converted to glucose by the body, and even sugar-free foods still have carbs.  The sugar-free stuff doesn't taste as good, and I rather like to enjoy the food I eat - so hand me the real stuff, please.
  3. Checking my blood sugar and inserting a new insulin pump or CGM site hurts.  It hurts every time, and I can't even tell you how many thousands of times I've stuck some sort of needle in myself during the past quarter century.  It's just a sort of hurt you get used to tolerating.
  4. I am not my A1C.
  5. But, when I have a "good" A1C, I will totally brag about it.
  6. As much as diabetes can suck, it can also have an upside. As a side effect of our obstacles and challenges, I think we become stronger, more resilient, more compassionate, and more highly in tune with our bodies than most. Diabetes teaches us some tough lessons, but also makes us appreciate life a little bit more - because we recognize the fraility of it.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Spiders, Archery, And Bonfire Poems.

Things got pretty heavy around here yesterday, and I want to extend a big thank you to everyone who read, responded to, emailed about, or retweeted that post.  I don't think I realized how badly I needed to get that story "out" until today, when my steps and disposition were a bit lighter and brighter than normal.

The process of writing yesterday's post got me thinking about the two years I attended diabetes camp.  I went to Camp Floyd Rogers in '93 and '94, and I don't think it's possible for me to overdo expressing how positive the experiences were for me, as a child with diabetes (also known as a "CWD").  It was one of the first times I had been surrounded by a bunch of people who "got it".  It was also one of the few times as a child that I felt "normal" about all of the diabetes parts of my life.

I can remember us all trudging to the food hall, standing in line to have our blood tests, and then meeting with the staff endo to figure out our doses for the day.  I can remember not having to worry about exchanges (this was in the dark ages, before carb counting), because they had it all figured out.  You were assigned a calorie group, and what group you were in determined where you sat.  Each table ate the same exact meal, and everyone knew what that meal would be as a result of a projector, transparency, and marker presentation before each meal.  (Old school - no PowerPoint!)

I also remember eating cheese, bread and butter sandwiches in the middle of the night to treat lows.  The camp counselors were tasked with checking all of our blood sugars at 2am, and anyone who tested under a certain threshold had to eat a sandwich, and maybe eat some glucose tabs, too.  (This was were I learned to over-treat lows, apparently.)

During my second year there, on the last night of camp, I remember having a big bonfire party.  All of the "older kids" sat around the fire, and everyone shared what the week had meant to them.  The one speech I remember was from a counselor who recited a poem he wrote about us campers.  His poem expressed how he felt so helpless when he saw one of us with a low BG level.  His words said something to the effect of "And all I can do is sit there, watching the energy drain from their faces.  I want to make it better right away, and I can't.  I have to suffer right along side of them."

I also have a lot of memories that aren't diabetes-related, like choosing the archery course because I had a crush on the counselor who was teaching it.  His name was Clay, and his birthday is January 7th.  (Why, and HOW, on earth do I remember that?)

I remember shaving the back of a girl's head, because she wanted me to (she was away from her parents, so obviously this was a good decision), and wondering if she realized that I had never even held a pair of clippers until right at that moment.  I kept my mouth shut and shaved.

The building with the showers was a long walk from our sleeping cabin, and the shower stalls were covered in spiders.  You couldn't kill them all, so you just had to shower with them hanging out on the walls.  This may help to explain my irrational fear of spiders.

My last year there, we "older kids" put on a carnival for the "younger kids".  We had face painting, an obstacle course, a kissing booth (on the cheek!), and a lot of other things I don't remember at the moment.  What I do remember is how much fun we had, and how I never wanted it to end.

In fact, I'd like to keep that party going.  I'd like a d-camp for adults - or maybe a d-prom?  Someone, please make this happen.  We can all wear our insulin pumps as corsages, and party mints will be replaced with glucose tabs.  Diet Cokes would be on the house, naturally.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

That Other Thing.

I'm setting the snarky humor aside on this one.  (Well, most of it.)

This wasn't an easy post for me to write, and I've been going back and forth for a while about whether or not I want to share this part of my personal history.  I've also spent several days writing and rewriting this story, as I want to make sure to tell it the "right way".  Some part of me, the part that won this internal debate, feels that this story needs to be told - because I hope that sharing it might help someone else.  And, unfortunately for me, the story needs visual aides.  You've been warned.

Aside from type 1 diabetes, I also have hypothyroidism.  It's another auto-immune condition, and it essentially means that my thyroid gland is not making enough of the thyroid hormone.  It is fairly common in women, and is also common in those with type 1 diabetes (as it seems a diagnosis of one auto-immune condition makes it more likely that you'll have another).  It's usually no big deal (compared to diabetes, I guess) if you catch it in a timely manner.  You show a few symptoms, they prescribe you some Synthroid, and you're golden again. 

Unfortunately, "no big deal" wasn't the case for me.  It took a significant toll on my physical and emotional well-being, and I can say with reasonable certainty that it caused me to become a totally different person for a few years.  It felt like I didn't even know the person I had always been.

I was diagnosed sometime in 2003, and I'm reasonably certain that my thyroid had started to slack off long before then - years before.

Here's why I'm reasonably certain of that.

Aside from the whole diabetes thing, I was a healthy person up through college.  See?  Here I am in high school - actually, this picture was taken at diabetes camp, the last year I went.  I had permed hair.  (It was the early 90's.  Don't judge.)  I did cheerleading.  I took Tae Kwon Do (I wasn't kidding about that black belt).  I tried some ice skating lessons, as well as a good decade of dance classes.  I was a happy, active, and optimistic person, much as I am now.

I went off to college out-of-state, and things began to change.  My mom has described it as "sending me off to college one person, and returning from the first year as someone completely different".

Case in point: here I am, junior year of college.

Aside from my gothy transformation, you can tell that my skin had lost some color.  I also gained weight, but I attributed that to different eating habits and less exercise (as I was then living on my own, several hundred miles from the parents who had encouraged those good habits).  I never felt like I got enough sleep, and I would frequently miss my morning classes (which, again, is "typical college behavior", and so I didn't think much of it).  And here I am, about a year after that - notice that my skin is even paler, which hardly seems possible, and even my eyebrows have thinned out.

Aside from the physical manifestations of undiagnosed hypothyroidism (which for me were thinning hair, paler skin, relentless exhaustion, feeling cold all of the time, and weight gain), it also had a significant impact on my mental health.  I dealt with a great deal of depression back then - some of it diabetes-related, and some of it not.  The smiles in both of these pictures are misleading, as I never truly felt happy during those years in my life.  Moments of contentment existed, but in between those times, I felt lost.  I felt trapped in my own life, and wasn't sure I could do it anymore - or that I wanted to.

I did things during that time of my life that I wouldn't have ever done previously, and I wouldn't ever do again.  I know that college is a time for stupid decisions, but it was more than that.  The worst part may be that I never thought anything was wrong with me.  I knew I was a changed person, but I felt that was because the realities of life had finally settled on me, and this was how I was intended to exist.

One thing I always did, as a child and up through my teens, was to express myself through journaling and art.  I recently found some of that stuff from my college days, and even I can't believe some of what I wrote and drew.  (The picture below is the most tame one I could find.)  If I could time-travel myself back and give myself a reassuring hug, I would.  It all turned out okay, but it was hard to see back then that it ever could be.  Instead, I drew things like this:

By the way, I'm not wearing a headband
in this picture.  I had bleached my hair,
and dyed the bangs black.  Badass!

The aforementioned "stupid decisions" included things like dropping out of college (I went back and finished later on), and moving from Nebraska to Connecticut to go live with a dude I met on the internet (I eventually realized how dumb that was, and moved back).  Stupid decisions also involved hurting myself physically in ways I won't share here and would rather forget, but I can say that there are still marks on my arm to remind me. I can very vividly recall the night my mom noticed what I had done. Watching my mother's heart break right in front of me is something I won't ever forget, and I unfortunately can never take back.

The happy news is that I finally did "come back".  Getting my thryoid levels straightened out with the proper Synthroid dosage (and subsequently adding in Cytomel, too) got me back to feeling like myself; and the support of my parents, who never gave up on me even when it would have been so easy to, helped me to come out the other side.

Why my hypothyroidism wasn't caught early on, I'm not sure.  It's a big part of the reason I refuse to see one of the endocrinologists in town - I was under their care as this change took place.  It took an endocrinologist in Connecticut to get an accurate diagnosis. 

That diagnosis was a tough one for me.  I was already struggling with the idea of a lifetime of diabetes (even though I'd already been at it for 17 years), and having to add "pills you'll take every day for the rest of your life" didn't go over well.  It upset me that another one of my organs was giving up.  First my pancreas, then my thyroid gland... what else was next?  It felt like I was falling apart.

But, like most things, the body and mind adjust to the "new normal".  And I learned a lot of things:
  1. Doctors aren't always right, and sometimes you need a second opinion.  And a third.  And maybe a fourth.
  2. Severe changes in personality aren't just "life hitting you", and there's nothing wrong with asking for help.
  3. Some of the toughest parts of life can have good outcomes - you just have to hang in there for a bit to see them.
The good I can see from living through this situation is the ability to empathize with and help others who are going through tough times, depression, etc.  It's a large part of what I do when I respond to Online Diabetes Support Team questions, and it's a topic that catches my eye on diabetes discussion boards. 

I also learned that you're never alone.  Sometimes you're just looking in the wrong places for help.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Plague, And Other Things I Avoid.

I tend to go back and forth between two schools of thoughts when it comes to diabetes and food. 

The first says that people with diabetes can eat whatever they want - you just have to figure out how to bolus for whatever it is you're eating.  The second says that some foods are just too evil, and should be avoided.

I'm not sure I can totally jump on board with either one.  I do believe that I can eat just about anything (in moderation) and figure it out, but I do have one exception.  In the spirit of that second school of thought, I thought I'd share which food I've totally given up on.  (Or, that I'll eat when I'm feeling spiteful and defiant.)  Try and try as I might, I just can't get it right bolus-wise.

The offender:

Man, I think my blood sugar jumped a few points just from looking at that picture.  It doesn't matter what kind - sugary, healthy, high fiber-y, small portion, not-so-small - all breakfast cereal messes with me.  I've tried bolusing 20 minutes prior.  30 minutes prior (and promptly dropped low before eating, then spiked like crazy).  I've tried a combo bolus.  I've tried a super bolus.  I've tried yelling.  Nothing works, and it bugs the heck out of me that I can't figure it out.  It's funny, because I'm pretty sure that cereal has always messed with me - but until I started using a CGM, I never noticed it.  And now that I know, I can't justify risking it most of the time.  Even though I Really.  Love.  Cereal.

Are there any foods you avoid, diabetically speaking?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Check Out My DiabeTee!

My friend Jeff challenged the DOC (diabetes online community) to come up with their own diabetes-themed t-shirts, and post them on their blogs today.  It's International Diabetes T-Shirt Day, and here's what I came up with - I know it's a little bit cheesy.  Don't be cruel.  Now if only I could find some blue suede shoes for World Diabetes Day, my outfit could be complete!

**Special thanks to my buddy Desiree for getting me a t-shirt hookup on such short notice!  It turned out great!  :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Test That Is Both Big And Blue.

What's the Big Blue Test? If you haven't already heard about it (which is hard to do - it's all over the place online, which is awesome!), here's the deal, and why you should support it.

The Big Blue Test is a global initiative designed to raise awareness of the benefits of moderate exercise for people with diabetes, and it's also a way to raise money for two diabetes charities that provide diabetes medication and supplies to children in the world's poorest countries.

Here's what you should do.

Number one, watch the promotional video below this paragraph about the Big Blue Test, created by the folks organizing it - the Diabetes Hands Foundation. It's less than two minutes long - you can do it! Besides being a pretty cool video starring some of my favorite faces in the diabetes community, your viewing of it will translate to a donation made by Roche Diabetes Care, up to $75,000, towards that pot o' money going to charity. To be specific, the money will be going to the Life For a Child program (run by the International Diabetes Federation), and Insulin For Life.

Number two, for those of us with diabetes, participate!  (This will be slightly challenging for me, as the timing coincides with JDRF's Type 1 Talk, but maybe I can work something out.  Hey, if I can get exercise in the restroom stall at work, I should be able to pull this off, right?)  At 2:00pm local time, people with diabetes are invited to test their blood sugar, do 14 minutes of activity, test again and share the results.  (14 minutes, on the 14th of the month, and taking place at 14:00 hours!  Genius!)  Share the results of your own Big Blue Test on the Big Blue Test website, on Twitter by using the hashtag #bigbluetest, on Facebook, or any other way you choose.

Please share this video with others, if you don't mind.  I'm even giving you a cute little link to share it online:  http://bit.ly/bCFJdn

I hope you'll join in!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


There's something delightful and familiar about meeting someone else with T1 for the first time.  On Saturday, I had the pleasure of meeting up with fellow T1 and erstwhile diabetes blogger Kay while she was in town for the football game.  My husband and I joined her and her friend downtown, as they were on their way to pick up their tickets. 

Is it just me, or are people with diabetes some of the most friendly and awesome people on earth? 

Kay and Kim.
We walked around UNL's campus for about an hour or so, and never ran out of things to talk about.  Kay brought up, and I totally agreed, that there always seems to be a sense of familiarity among T1's; even if you've just met, you feel as though you've known the person for some time.  There seems to be an undercurrent of understanding among us.

We talked about her insulin pump scare the day before; how others are never as excited about the straight line on our Dexcom graphs as we are; what our favorite flavor of glucose tabs are (fruit punch for me; grape for Kay); her meet-up with Lorraine in NY, and my meet-up with the TCOYD Des Moines folks in September.

We also discussed another point.  As I get to know more and more PWDs, I find that there is a segment of the population who seem to have it all "figured out" - or, at least they sure make it seem that way.  They do the same thing every day, and get the same results.  I asked Kay, "Is it like that for you?  Because most of the time, I feel like the numbers have the lead, and I'm just chasing after them, not the other way around.  I mean, everything works sometimes, but it's definitely not all the time."  It's as if my whole regimen has to be rehauled every few months, because what worked before just doesn't anymore.  While I am so happy for others who have an A1C significantly lower than mine, or who don't experience the fluctuations I do, some part of me feels a little bit left out.  Knowing that others deal with this too gives me some encouragement and motivation to keep at it.

It was a pleasure meeting you, Kay!  (And Go Big Red!)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I Might Be A Diabetes Snob.

Recently, I attended an insulin pump class at one of my local medical clinics.  I've never gone to a pump class before, and I was hoping this could be a good place to meet some other people with type 1, while learning some new tricks.  In my most wildly imaginative version of how this could go, I envisioned us all bolusing simultaneously, comparing notes and strategies, with glucose tabs and test strips flowing freely.  Perhaps some diabetes-related cartoons or video clips would be shown.  Someone would finally reveal to me The Mystery That Is Bolusing For Breakfast Cereal, and I'd tell everyone about D-Prom.

 The title of the course was "Advanced Insulin Pump Class", and the description told me that I'd be attending a "holiday meal planning session that includes information on how to adjust bolus dosing".  And, there would be free dinner.

I don't want to sound like a know-it-all, but... in this class, I apparently did know it all.  I didn't learn a single thing, and I'm feeling disappointed. 

My top hat and monacle felt
slightly out of place.
Is it simply because I am a very engaged patient?  Is it because I expected, with a description like "Advanced", that we wouldn't spend time discussing the difference between a basal and a bolus?  Is it because I spend most of my free time blogging, advocating, and using social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to discuss diabetes, and have learned so much more than your average Jane Diabetic because of it?  Is it because I actually read the manual that came with my pump (and downloaded a copy to my work computer for referencing)? 

Whatever the cause, I felt very out of place, and I wasn't expecting that.

My husband and I were the youngest people there by quite a margin.  Some of the people there already had insulin pumps, but didn't know how to use the extended/dual wave/combo bolus option.  (That was me at one time.)  Some people were considering getting an insulin pump.  (That was me at one time, too.)  One lady asked at the end of the class, "I need to ask, what exactly is diabetes?  Like, what does it do to the body?"  And then we all had to sit there while the dietician leading the class explained it to her.  (She said she had "pre-diabetes", and I wondered who had recommended an Advanced Insulin Pump class to her.)

I was also shocked to find that there was no nutritional information provided about our meal.  I mean, come on.

There were so many times I wanted to interrupt the dietician teaching the class.  I kept wanting to add something to what she was talking about, or to rephrase it.  For instance, when talking about extended boluses, she showed a slide of the different types of extended boluses, but then only explained what the combo bolus is.  What about the square wave?  What about the super bolus?  (I love that it sounds like a superhero, by the way.)  At another point, she told someone that if they "programmed their pump right", their blood sugar should be back in normal range at the two-hour mark after a meal - as if the pump user's ability to program would be the only possible issue at play.  She also remarked that when eating pizza, she "definitely wouldn't recommend testing every hour or anything".  It was at this point that my husband and I both involuntarily let a chuckle escape.  We couldn't help it.

It got me to wondering...  is my level of knowledge in handling my own disease really that advanced, or am I just a Diabetes Snob?  Am I engaged to the point of being arrogant?  Is it out of line to think that I might know more about the subject at hand than the person teaching it? 

And would anyone else attend a class for the So Super Advanced We Don't Know What To Do With You?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Diabetes Awareness Month.

Call it what you like - "National Diabetes Awareness Month", "American Diabetes Month", "Diabetes Awareness Month" - but November is a month to raise awareness of what it's like to live with diabetes, and to advocate for research towards a cure.  In that spirit, I'm planning to post a blog about diabetes every day this month - 30 posts in 30 days.  (I hope.)  I don't typically blog that often, but I think I'm feeling up to the challenge.

I hope you'll join me - and if you don't already blog, this is the perfect time to start!  You can start a blog (for free) on sites like Blogger.com and Wordpress.org, or start one on diabetes communities like Juvenation.org, TuDiabetes.org, and the ADA's new "Connect" community.

I'll be talking about a few different ways to get involved over the next 30 days, and I'll be doing a guest post for another website as well.  You'll still find me discussing my day-to-day with diabetes here, and I might even find a guest blogger or two to help me out here. 

Does anyone else find it funny that the acronym for Diabetes Awareness Month is almost a swear word?  Kind of appropriate, I think.

Photo credit: TuDiabetes.org