Friday, December 31, 2010

Wrapping Up 2010.

As I'm looking around the DOC to my favorite d-blogs, I'm seeing that most people like to do a "year in review" meme.  I like this idea, but I've got a problem:  I don't have a years' worth of material to summarize - only about half of that.  So while it won't fit the "typical" format, I'm giving you The Highlights Of The Year In Review - Of My Life (And Diabetes) In General.  (And Maybe Make The Title A Little Bit Longer?)

January:  Two very special characters came into my life, as I made the switch from a Cozmo pump to the Animas Ping; and also by getting my first CGM.  I officially became half-robot.  Oh yeah, we also bought and moved into our first house.  I love it here.

April:  Spending all of my free time on the interwebz got me thinking:  "Hey, if I have time for all of this browsing, I surely could fit some volunteer do-gooding in there, too."  I "tried out" for and got accepted into JDRF's Online Diabetes Support Team as a cyber volunteer (which means I respond to requests, based mainly on my personal experiences), and then was selected to be a volunteer moderator for  I still do both of these things (some disclosure for you - I do a lot of JDRF-ing! - but maybe you already knew that).  My A1C also clocked in at 7.1 - which was a great improvement from my pre-CGM numbers that started with 8's.

May:  I did something that I never thought, in a zillion years, I would ever want to do.  I completed my first half-marathon!

June:  A and I celebrated a year of marriage (geez, that went fast).  I started this little blog here.  I also had a birthday, and flew out to Connecticut to visit one of my best friends for a week.

July:  Sometimes, I felt a bit like diabetes had the steering wheel, but it didn't win all the time.  I also wrote my first strongly-worded letter to let a nationally syndicated columnist know that he was straight-up wrong about his diabetes-related "advice", and blogged about it.

August:  I posted a picture of my bra on the internet.  Yep, that happened.  I also talked about how much of a difference our little online community (which, actually, isn't that little at all) has made in my life.

September:  A very busy month that included my local JDRF walk, and my first diabetes conference - which is how I got my first chance to meet some DOCers in person.  I also time-warped back to what my childhood was like with diabetes.

October:  I got my first chance at doing a guest post on The Diabetes OC. Jim helped me achieve my first No Hitter.  And you guys helped me come up with some awesome rules - but I'm still waiting for that puppy.

November:  Things got a lot more wordy around here with Diabetes Awareness Month, and my goal of posting 30 times in 30 days (which I did!).  One might say I'm a diabetes snob, but at least I dress well.  I also had something very surprising to celebrate, and something a little bit awkward to talk about.

December:  We all got introduced to a 90's rock band called Blunt Lancet, I was flattered to see my name on this list and my voice on this radio show, and I got to meet some more awesome d-bloggers on a wonderful (but brief) trip to New York.

Bring it, 2011 - I've got big plans for you.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Talking About Humor And Diabetes.

A couple of weeks ago (actually, the night before our 6:00am flight to NY), I had the honor of being the guest on an internet radio show run by the nice folks at DSMA.  It's called "Continuing the Conversation", and is based off of the Wednesday night #dsma chats on Twitter - which if you have diabetes and haven't participated in yet, I hope you do soon!  (The chat is from 8pm - 9pm Central time, and you can participate by adding the hashtag #dsma to your tweets, or by using the TweetChat room.)  "DSMA" stands for Diabetes Social Media Advocacy.

We spent an hour discussing things like how humor and diabetes are related, what Blunt Lancet is all about, and the eternal debate of cupcakes vs. ice cream.  (I'm on the ice cream side, by the way.)

If you've got an hour to kill, give it a listen.  And please, be kind...  it was my first time doing anything like this.  :)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Passing For Normal.

I kind of love that of all the things my hair lady remembers about me, diabetes isn't one of them. 

image credit
Yesterday was Haircut Day, and I hadn't been there in over a year.  She didn't know it would be me ahead of time, because the receptionist had put me down as a new client (because apparently I was still under my maiden name, the last time I was there).  And when she saw me walk in, she exclaimed, "Oh, it's you!  I wondered when I'd see you again!"  As I settled into the chair and she started brushing away, we caught up.  I was amazed at the things she rememerbed - where I worked, my husband's name, and even where we usually travel to for Christmas. 

And when she asked me how I'm spending my time these days, I ended my sentence with, "...and I started a diabetes blog a few months ago, so that's been pretty fun."

Reflexively, she responded, "That's cool."  A few seconds went by, before she paused, a lock of my hair in her hand as she met my eyes in the mirror.  "... wait.  You have diabetes?"

"Yep, I do.  Type 1.  I wear the insulin pump and everything.  You never noticed?"

"Really?  Oh, wow, I guess not.  Huh."

And then we moved on to New Year's plans.

Even though I'm glad to talk about diabetes to anyone, I took some joy in the fact that I had passed for a "normal person" with her for the last 5 or so years.  It also got me wondering how many others in that outer circle of familiarity have me mistaken in the same way.  I think I count that as a victory - I'm a person, first.  And oh, by the way, I also have diabetes.  And fabulous hair.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It's Going Around.

I wasn't planning to post anything today, but reading Kerri's post yesterday, and Scott's post today struck a nerve.  Their words echoed what I've been feeling for a while now, and I started looking a little harder at my own situation.  I realized that I'm not doing anyone any favors - especially not myself - by not talking about what's going on.

I've got a touch of the Diabetes Burnout, folks.

It's horrible timing, too, for me to not be testing as often - as I mentioned yesterday, I'm not consistently feeling low symptoms the way I used to.  I'm still wearing Jim all the time, so I think that somewhere in my mind, I'm softening it for myself:  "It could be worse."  The problem is, it could also be a lot better. 

I talked about getting back on the horse (or unicorn, if you prefer) a couple of weeks ago, and I had hoped that writing a blog post about it would be the accountability nudge I needed to ramp things back up.

"Seriously, Kim, I'm right here. 
Ready when you are. 
Aaaaaanytime now."

But it didn't work.  I'm still not "feeling it" when it comes to the super-attentive self-care I once had.  I'm still doing the necessities - taking insulin (though not usually 15 minutes before eating anymore - something changed, and now doing that makes me go low before eating), taking pills, and doing a fasting BG check.

Past that?  It's a bit of a jumble.  It's "Jim is probably right".  It's "I'll test in 10 minutes", but I space it off, and 10 minutes become a few hours.  It's "This looks like 65 carbs.  Yep."  It's "I'd rather eat something right now to head off this low, than take 20 seconds to pull out my pump and decrease my basal rate".  There is slackery of epic proportions going on here, and when I start to think about where I was a few months ago, and where I am now, it's a bit of a downer.

When you then throw in my wish to start a family sometime in the near future, it transitions from downer to "What the heck are you doing?".  Except that my response to that right now is:  "Meh."

I haven't had any ODST requests thrown my way lately, and I'm embarrassed to say that I'm a little glad for that.  How do you comfort, guide, or otherwise advise someone else who is struggling, when you can't even get your own sheet together?  (And by "sheet", I mean a logbook, of course.  Wait, no I don't.)

Then last night, while at dinner with friends, I mentioned wanting to have a party (and cake, dammit) for my 25-year diabetes anniversary coming up in April - to which I was met with blank stares.  No one seemed to get why I'd want to celebrate that, much less with cake.  I don't expect everyone to understand this whole diabetes thing, but it wasn't the response I expected.  The whole thing left me feeling a bit down.

I've got an appointment with my P.A. tomorrow (who plays the part of endocrinologist for me), and I'm hoping she has some ideas - because I'm all out.

Monday, December 27, 2010

New Year, New "Gift".

It's almost a new year, and I've got something to adjust to besides writing a new date:  a new diabetes issue.

I've noticed it happening here and there over the last several weeks, but didn't think much about it as a pattern until recently.  I've reflected on why it's happening, and it's a reasonable guess that it is a result of my recently-tightened blood glucose control.  I'm also coming up on a quarter century with the worst roommate ever (because diabetes and I live together in this body, you know), and I guess I was bound to lose some of my magical diabetes powers at some point.

I'm discovering that I'm not always able to feel my lows anymore.

A little help, here?
Every time I'm at the doctor, I get that same question:  "Are you still feeling your lows?".  I had always thought of it as a silly question - how could anyone not notice that eating a horse, on a rollercoaster, while drunk feeling?  But as I interact more and more with the DOC, I'm discovering that it's apparently fairly common, especially when you've had diabetes as long as I have - which is frightening.

If I didn't have a CGM to alert me otherwise (Thanks, Jim), I'm sure that more than a few of these episodes would have gone on a lot longer than they did.  Walking to dinner the other night, I had a ridiculous low of 35 mg/dL that I hardly felt.  This morning, I woke up to a surprising 51 - which felt completely ordinary.  Which is a scenario that is entirely unordinary, for me.

A part of me feels a little bit defeated.  Having 24 years of diabetes with no major complications is something I've been proud of, and I feel like that's slipping away, bit by bit.

Where do I go from here?  It's scary to think that taking a break from my CGM now is risky, rather than just inconvenient.  And it's even more concerning, knowing that I tend to sleep right through the low alarms while sleeping.  Even though the feeling of hypoglycemia may be unpleasant, I'd rather feel that than feel nothing.

It's a "gift" I'd rather not receive.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

NYC = Insulin.

A few funny things happened over the weekend.

I came to realize that relentless exercise (walking most everywhere, and doing the subway stairs several times a day) almost completely diminishes my need for insulin.  At one point I drank an entire 20 oz. bottle of Welch's grape soda - which has 85 ungodly grams of carbohydrates - with a 0% basal rate, and saw no significant change in my BG level.  Maybe I should consider relocating?  (By the way, I'm still fighting these lows - I'm throwing candy at them like I'm on a parade float, and not making much of a dent.  As Liz Lemon would say:  Blurgh.)

The airport security screening process that I worried so much about?  No big deal.  At all.  I disconnected my insulin pump right before getting in line, and tucked it into the Ziploc bag with my other "Don't X-Ray" diabetes stuff.  I made it through each scanner without setting off anything.  Not even my CGM sensor raised a flag!

A picture of A taking a picture.  Like you do.

Apparently, I must look like a trustworthy person.  In the process of getting to see the view from the top of the Rockefeller building, and then before getting a tour of the NBC studios, everyone has to walk through a metal detector, and put their belongings through an x-ray.  In each case, I told them I was wearing an insulin pump and couldn't go through, and they just waved me around - without checking me in any way.  Um...  okay.

I can be a mostly-functioning and blood-testing-while-walking person at 35 mg/dL - that's how low I dropped while our group walked to dinner.  Jim began speaking loudly about 4 blocks from the restaraunt:  "Um, Kim?  You're 53!"  (At least, that's what I interpreted his outlandish beeping to mean.)  I thought to myself, "That can't possibly be right.  I downed half of a bag of Skittles when we started walking."  I tested, and though I was right that 53 wasn't a correct reading, I wasn't fond of those numbers being reversed.  You really couldn't ask for more understanding company in such cold weather, as I leaned against the landscape wall, downing glucose tabs.

Going 11 hours without food, and coupling that with an army of temp basal rates, somehow got me to a place of Blood Sugar Nirvana the first day of our trip.  I have no idea what I did right, but it was a nice surprise.

And lastly, I'm totally bad at ordering food.  That's not to say that I don't enjoy what I get - I do.  But when I'm at a place that's known for a certain kind of food, I more often than not don't end up ordering it.  Not on purpose, really - that's just how it ends up.  It happened four times this weekend, and though we did have an encounter with a Magnolia Bakery - I went the entire weekend cupcake-less.  Because the mini-cheesecakes looked like cupcakes, and because the store was stuffed full of people, and because I couldn't see that there were more cases of yumminess farther down the line.  This is what we call a cupcake fail.

It was a trip that left me recharged, joyful, and thankful.  You couldn't ask for much more.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Insulin and Dinner: a D-Meetup.

This past Saturday, I had the absolute pleasure of meeting up with a few of my fellow diabetes bloggers (and their significant others).  Jeff and Caroline joined A and I at the famed Insulin Exhibit (at the New York Historical Society), with Allison and Gina joining us later to round out our group for dinner.  We took a few pictures, and I thought I'd share.  It was a pleasure meeting you all!

A Diet Coke action shot, at Grand Central.

It's a Pump Sandwich! 

Meter Power!  (Because we're nerdy like that.)
Kim, Gina, Jeff, Allison, and Caroline.

Juvenation 4 Life!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Catching Up.

There is so much to recount from this weekend, but I sadly don't have the time right now to give you all of the details - I'm at work, and there is soooo much to catch up on.  So, here are some highlights and thoughts from my weekend, and trip to NYC.  More details coming later.
  1. Airport security proved to be No Big. 
  2. NYC street vendor hot dogs are delish.
  3. The subway is not as scary or confusing as it first seems, but you need to make sure that your train is going to correct direction before you hop on it, and ride it for 8 stops.
  4. Shake Shack is where it's at.
  5. Somehow, I never ate a cupcake the whole time I was there.  (I know.)
  6. I have never done so much walking and so many stairs in a 3-day period in my life. 
  7. I could save a lot of money on insulin by moving to NYC (see #6).
  8. The PWD I met up with this past weekend were just as awesome as I imagined they would be!
  9. I'm converting from my old PC to a Mac.  Trying to figure out a Mac after so many years is making me doubt my intelligence.  But I'll figure it out.
  10. I want to go back to NYC!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Guest Post from Ronald, "The Poor Diabetic".

Today's post comes from Ronald, who blogs at The Poor Diabetic.  Ronald has type 2 diabetes, and I'm happy to share his viewpoint here on Texting My Pancreas.  Take it away, Ronald!


I can't believe that this is my first guest posting opportunity, but when I heard Kim was going on vacation, I was compelled to play the house-sitting part.  On her blog and as with any house sitting gig, you wanna make sure you take care of the pad and keep it at the accustomed standard.  In my zeal to create a compelling post that will rank in the level of her usual standards , I practically almost lost track of time and she had to jolt me a reminder a few days before she left.

So here I am talking about partying like its 1999 and I am a
Blunt Lancet groupie, all in the name of taking a vacation from diabetes.

In many cases when you are on a stringent routine of sorts, it is recommended that you take a break to recharge and refuel so you can come back strong; I wondered if I could use this logic with the '

So for one day and one day only:

1.  No more testing

2.  No carb counting
3.  No gym
4. Insulin/

Would I come out the better on the other side if I just walked away from diabetes for a day?  Because I believe my psyche is really pushing me to do it.

In the "Diabetes Burnout," book, William
Polonsky, Ph.D., says that "Part of taking care of diabetes is to remember that safe breaks now and then are a necessary, allowable part of your treatment plan."

So this is by no means a precedent move and taken in a “controlled environment” it might actually work.  I might not be able to promise you what the other side of the safe break might look like, but I for one am intrigued enough to try it.

But then again, I am a T2 and the effects of a day without insulin might not be as devastating as for a T1, so the parameters of said "controlled environment" might just have be different for everyone.

If you could, would you go just one day without diabetes?

Thanks Kim for giving me the chance to house-sit your blog and I hope you have a great time in NYC.

Ronald Gregory is a type 2 diabetic, blogger, and author.  He's also on Twitter!  Thanks for lending your voice, Ronald!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Guest Post: The To-Don't List.

Today, I'm thrilled to share this post from Becky, of Instructions Not Included.  Becky, who resides in the United Kingdom, recently took the leap to insulin pumping from MDI (multiple daily injections).  She shares her experiences, sense of humor, and affinity for charming words (like "settee", and "niggles" - which , truthfully, I had to Google) with us in today's guest post. 

The floor is yours, Becky!


So, today is the start of week three with my pump. So far things are going pretty well for the most part. However, it's to be expected that there will always be a few 'bumpy' moments along the road. With this in mind, I've compiled my anti to-do list; the "to-don't" list. This summarizes my wisdom (or lack thereof) gathered so far.

Here we go:

1: Do not catch tubing on doorknobs
(So far, no cannulas have been hurt in the process of closing doors, and similarly drawers)

2: Do not buckle tubing into belt
(This makes standing up straight difficult)

3: Do not drop pump in toilet
(Always a good piece of advice - thankfully this remains unaccomplished)

4: Do not disconnect pump to take a shower then forget where you put it
(It is not your phone - you cannot get someone to call it to find it)

5: Do not forget to put pump back in your pocket when you take it out
(Otherwise you will stand up in a rush, and forget you left it on the settee. You will remember quickly, though)

6: Do not underestimate how few 'pocketed' items of clothing you own
(You will spend an inordinate amount of time wearing hoodies, since you've had no time to shop)

7: Do not decide to hook pump tubing over your jumper whilst trying on clothes
(You will somehow get it tangled between layers and get in an extremely panicky mess)

8: Do not confuse your pump, mobile phone, and meter
(Whilst they are all wearing purple silicone skins, and you are extremely tired, you cannot text on your pump, and you cannot insert a test strip into your phone)

9: Do not be afraid of a few weeks of erratic scores
(Things take time to settle down - this is an entirely new way of doing things)

10: Do not be surprised when you discover that despite the niggles, you actually quite like this pumping thing
(Quite a number of people did tell you that you would)

And I won't even touch the subject of reading advice via text message on how to hide the pump in your bra when you're inside York Minster. Reading the text there, for the record. As far as I'm aware, York Minster doesn't have specific protocols for wearing pumps!
Becky can be found blogging about her life with diabetes here, and you can also find her on Twitter.
Thank you, Becky!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Guest Post: Armed (with a lancet) & Dangerous.

This weekend, A and I are taking a brief trip to New York City to visit friends and to do what tourists do (there will also be a d-meetup while we're there, but more on that later!).  Some friends in the diabetes online community graciously offered to guest post for me while I'm "out", and today I'm honored to share with you this post from Holly, of Arnold and Me.  I love her attitude, humor, and the timely reference to one of my favorite movies!


Living with diabetes means living with a lot of numbers and wondering about numbers. “I wonder what my blood sugar is right now.” “Am I dropping? And how fast?” “I feel sleepy, maybe I have ketones.” My brain is constantly wondering where I am and where I’m headed. Having a CGM helps ease my ever-wondering mind, but the scientist in me still wonders about . . . other people.

My poor husband, he is the main target of my “data collecting” for normal-people’s blood sugar readings. Whenever he gets a cut on his hand or fingers, he comes to me inquiring where the bandages are located. However, before I find the bandages, I scream, “Let’s test your blood sugar first!” And I hurry to get a strip into my meter before his blood clots. This isn’t the first time my dear husband has indulged my curiosity, so he just shakes his head and puts his finger out as I ready the meter. The guy has never had a reading over 99 mg/dL, lucky pancreas-working stud.

But he isn’t the only one who’s endured my wrath of curiosity. One holiday weekend while at my parents’ house, my brother made an off-the-cuff comment about what his blood sugar might be. I was already preparing the lancet before he said, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, what are you doing?” “Testing your blood sugar,” I said, pointing the lancet at him. “No way . . . I ummm . . . I was just kidding.” “Chicken,” I teased. Well, my big brother will never allow his little sister be deemed tougher than him, and nothing is tougher than drawing your own blood 8-10 times a day. So, he reluctantly agreed to let me test him the next morning before he had any coffee. And the poor baby whined the rest of the day about his wittle hurting finger.

Several other family members have allowed me to test them, but none have let me do it more than once. And they know better than to make even a suggestion to the idea within ear shot of me, because before they know it I’ll be coming at them with a very intimidating little finger-pricker. This seemingly small action that we (diabetics) do multiple times a day seems to be emotionally scarring to normal folk. I just keep imagining Buddy the Elf over and over in my head saying, “My finger has a heartbeat,” as they hold a napkin to their tested finger. Most of them look up at me, wide-eyed and frowning, “That kinda hurt.” Then they think I’m all tough and Amazon-like when I prick my finger, squeeze the blood out, and lick the blood off my finger, all seemingly in one motion.

“How do you do that?” they ask, pondering my numbness to the whole action. “Oh, it’s just part of my day,” I say with a grin. Nothing makes them more impressed with me managing diabetes than imagining me redoing the single scarring act they endured over and over.

So the next time you want to sympathize with your diabetic loved-one, try empathizing instead. Stick out your finger and say, “Here, go ahead!” Don’t worry, we don’t mind when you wince.


You can find Holly and her wonderful diabetes blog here, and you can also find her on Twitter.

Thanks again, Holly!  :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Freaking Out. A Little.

There are few things in life that get me more worked up and stressed out than flying, and I'm doing just that this weekend.  All of it - the flying, the getting worked up, and the stress.

I'm going to my Happy Place.
The actual flying isn't what gets me - I feel as safe in an airplane as I do anywhere else.  For me, the issue lies in all of the "other" parts of flying.  For instance, the part where things can get mixed up, or run late, or I can't find parking, or my flight gets delayed/cancelled and I get stuck in Detriot overnight (that's happened to me), or I only have 42 minutes between flights (that's happening tomorrow), or I realize too late that I forgot to pack something totally important.

I'm also kind of freaking out about the new TSA security procedures.  A little bit.

The last time I flew, I had some good and bad experiences.  I've read through the TSA's guidelines for people with diabetes, and I'm coming up with a gameplan to make this process as un-lame as possible - I'm planning to disconnect my pump when I'm in the security line, and will put it in the huge ziplock bag of d-stuff that I'll ask to be visually inspected/wanded/whatever.  Since my Animas pump is mostly metal, I know I can't get through the scanners with it on, so I'm not even going to try. 

I'm also fairly confident that my Dexcom sensor is going to set off the scanner, too, so I'm preparing myself mentally for that creepy full-body patdown.  (Fun!)

Add into all of this the lack of sleep I'll be getting, as we're flying out at 6:00 am, and the part about how my glucose level drops significantly in response to anxiety (I already had to start decreasing my basal rates on Tuesday, when it actually "hit me" that our trip is this weekend already), and it's sounding like a pretty eventful morning. 

But totally, totally worth it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Donut Hole.

There are some rules to know when putting in a new CGM sensor.  One of the things I learned during from Dexcom during my initial training was that the skin you're inserting the sensor wire into should be completely clean of everything - oil, lotion, and even antiseptic wipe residue.  If not, the sensor won't read correctly.  (Sometimes, it doesn't read correctly anyway, but that's another story.)

This is hard to do, though, since something like those sticky, yet helpful, antiseptic wipes (I use the IV Prep ones) are exactly what I need to use to help the sensor's adhesive stick to me for more than a few measly hours. 

What I end up doing (and I'll bet I'm not the only one) is to first wipe the whole area with an alcohol swab, let that dry, and then make a swipe in the shape of an oval (roughly the size of the sensor) with the IV Prep wipe.  This leaves a small area in the middle, which is clean from the alcohol, and untouched by the antiseptic.

The biggest challenge here, aside from the part where I need to be okay with this huge needle jabbing into me, is that after the antiseptic dries on my skin, it's really hard to tell where that middle spot is.  I often need to have A come look at the area for me, from a different angle, to tell me where the non-shiny part resides.  When I did this on Monday night, it came out this way:  "Um, I can't see it anymore.  Could you come here, and tell me where the donut hole is?"

I have no idea why I called it that, but think I'll be working that term into my regular vocabulary.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Warning:  This post contains details that are kind of icky.

One of the benefits (or drawbacks, depending on how you look at things) of living with diabetes is that you develop a pretty high tolerance for all things Gross.  The sight of blood doesn't phase you in the same way it seems to bother most other people.  Needles?  Pssh.  Please.  Give me a real challenge.

That said, living with diabetes doesn't mean you won't still get a few moments of Gross that surprise you.  Last night, for reasons that escape me, I had a "gusher".  For those unfamiliar, a "gusher" is what soemtimes happens when an insulin pump infusion site is removed, and the hole it leaves consequently starts spurting or leaking blood.  (A Blood Faucet, if you will.)  I had been readjusting the bottom of my shirt, and somehow caught my pump tubing when I yanked - and, as you might guess, my less-than-24-hour-old pump site came with it.

And so did a whole lot of blood.

You'll notice that the cannula didn't even have blood
in it.  He was perfectly clean!  Jerk.

In my five years of pumping, this is only the second one I've had - which are pretty good odds, I guess.  It wasn't something I handled gracefully, either - I could be heard yelling, "Awwww, crap!" when I saw the blood on my hand (because yes, it splattered everywhere).


Monday, December 13, 2010


My streak has come to an end - or, it's at least on a hiatus.  I'm a human with robot parts, not a machine, after all.  There's a difference.

And it means that, lately, I'm slacking a bit in the blood testing department.

It wasn't a conscious decision.  I had a busier day, which made it easy to fall out of my routine.  Twelve tests a day became six, and then four.  I've been leaning on Jim pretty heavily, and on most days, he's capable of picking up the slack for me.  (And I'm ever-so-grateful to have him, even if he misbehaves sometimes.)  Even though it wasn't my original intention, I can tell myself afterwards that I'm "just giving my fingers a break".  You know, scar tissue build-up, and the like.  My ability to justify my (in)actions is pretty developed.

But then, there's the guilt.  Much as a parent might coax a child to finish their plate of food ("There are starving children in [insert name of third world country here]!"), I know that I am in a fortunate position.  I don't have a shortage of test strips, and my current insurance company has never argued with me over how many strips I need.  I know that isn't the reality for many, and sometimes I can talk myself into believing that I somehow am obligated to use all of these test strips I'm so fortunate to have.

Or do I need to hoard them for a while, to build up a supply, in case my situation reverses?

In any event, I know I need to get back on this horse.  I need to use Jim for what he's intended for - trending information; and not for what I like to pretend he can do - like giving me accurate BG readings.  He gave me a stark reminder of that difference yesterday, as he spent much of the morning and afternoon in a state of confusion.  (When the Dexcom gives me the ??? display, I like to think that Jim's overworked, and needed a nap.  Or maybe he's disoriented.  Neither situation lends itself to blood sugar math, so I try to cut him a break.)  It forced me to test more often, and I kind of went, "Oh yeah - this stuff.  I'm supposed to be doing this all of the time."

So, here I am.  Getting back on the horse.  Or is it the unicorn? 

"You can do it!  Or else... glitter."

Friday, December 10, 2010

DOC Awards.

It's that time of year again...  awards season.  I'm not talking about the Oscars, Golden Globes, or Grammys...  I'm talking about something far more awesome, and close to my heart.  And pancreas.

The DOC Awards!

There are five nominees in each of the 14 categories, and I was completely floored to see that I was nominated in the "Most Creative" category.  That's really about the highest compliment I can think of (in accordance with what's a big deal to me, personally, anyway).  Thanks so much, all!

If you'd like to cast your vote for this year's DOC Awards, you can get started here

Congrats to my fellow nominees, and happy voting!

*Editor's Note, Because Kim Is Sometimes Forgetful:  I just realized that this is my blog's 6 month birthday.  What a nice gift, this made!

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I am posing a question for which I do not have a good answer.  I can argue either side it, and I want to know where you stand.

In regards to diabetes:  Is discretion a personal choice, or a selfish act?

"Don't tell anyone, but my pancreas
is kind of a slacker."
On one hand, I can make the point that my diabetes is just that - mine.  It's something I live with, deal with, curse at, and wish away; all on my own.  How I manage my diabetes ultimately isn't up to anyone else, and aside from the occasional advice and prescriptions of my medical team, I'm the one running this circus every day.  Everyone with diabetes has the right to decide, in every situation, whether or not they want to share this part of themselves - and they should also get to decide how and when.  Diabetes may not be something you want to be "loud and proud" about, for any number of reasons - and that's okay.  I totally understand that, and in some situations, I choose to exercise that exact option.

On the other hand, it can be argued that being discrete doesn't serve a very noble purpose, nor does it accomplish much of anything.  As a community, we often express frustration over the misconceptions that the general public has about diabetes.  We grumble, and rightfully so, about the relative inattention this collection of diseases called "diabetes" attracts.  It can often feel like many people don't actually care about diabetes until it affects them personally.  And yet - who better is there to correct misconceptions, to demand attention, than us?  As an awesome dude said once, "You must be the change you want to see in the world".  The next time someone makes an inaccurate or hurtful comment about diabetes, call them on it.  If you want diabetes research funding supported, call your members of Congress.  (I get so nervous every time I do it, but it ends up being NBD.  It takes two minutes!)  When you see the media get it wrong, tell them.  Write a letter; an email; make a phone call - every time. 

What do you think?  Do you view keeping diabetes to yourself as a personal right, or as a disservice to the diabetes community-at-large?  Something in between?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


This one is for my fellow Dexcom users.

Several people have asked me recently where I found the skins for my Dexcom CGM receiver.  (I call them "jackets", but I also named my CGM "Jim", so take that for what you will.)  You know, these?

I ordered them from Dexcom's online store when I started on the CGM earlier this year, but that feature of the website has since been taken down. I called Dexcom yesterday to get the official scoop, so if you want to order some of these, here's what to do.

The Dexcom phone number is (877) 339-2664.  Choose option three from the menu.  From here, you can place an order for one or more of the skins - they're $10 each individually, or $28 for the set of four. That price does not include shipping, which will add about $5 to your total. The Dexcom rep told me that it usually takes about 5 - 10 days for them to arrive.

My Jim is always wearing one of his jackets, and they serve a few purposes for me. 

It keeps him protected, both from scratches to the housing (the skins, unfortunately, leave the screen uncovered), and from moisture (like the times where he's sitting on my bathroom counter, and I wash my face a little too enthusiastically - wipes right off!). 
The skins are a stretchy, silicone/rubbery material, which means that the surface has some degree of "sticky".  This comes in handy when Jim is forced to balance himself in precarious places, like the towel bar while I'm showering.

I wanted to caption this with "You missed a spot!", but
decided that's possibly too creepy.

And lastly, they're kind of fun - I appreciate being able to customize, to some degree, my robot parts.  Medical equipment doesn't have to be boring in order to work properly.

They aren't something you "need", but they're sure nice to have.

*Dexcom did not ask me to mention any of this here, though I did warn the customer rep I spoke with that I would be posting the information he gave me on my website.  The middle photo is one he sent me. 


Tuesday, December 7, 2010


When you do "what you're supposed to do", diabetes is supposed to play along - isn't that what we're always told? - but we all know that isn't always the case.  And yet, sometimes you do "what you're supposed to do", and it goes inexplicably well.  Without the benefit of hindsight, you never know for sure which way it's going to end up.

In fact, some days, things go so well that I start questioning the accuracy of my equipment, instead of congratulating myself on my success.  And the last 10 or so hours have been exactly that way, folks.

I didn't take a picture of what preceded this, but I should have - a very ugly spike, up to 359.  For some reason, I chose The Plague for dinner, thinking I could conquer it.  I could not.

I felt tired, grumpy, and frustrated.  My brain was telling me, quite obnoxiously, "I told you so!"  I rage bolused my way out of that BS (and "BS" does not stand for "blood sugar" in this case), and expected the usual rebound low - but it never came.  Instead, I had that flat line you see on the left of the screen all night. 

To amplify my confusion, my daily breakfast and coffee routines produced little in the way of ramifications.  Coffee always makes me spike.  Multiple blood tests confirmed this anomaly.

How? Why? I have no answers.

Monday, December 6, 2010

VH1 Behind The Music: Blunt Lancet.

They were the biggest-selling rock band of the 1990's.  The group known as Blünt Lancet rode a glucoaster of staggering highs and debilitating lows for years, but what set Blunt Lancet apart from their counterparts was the unending, crazed loyalty of the fans that stuck with them, and the scandals that came to define their career.  While the band's line-up may have changed every few months, weeks, and in some cases, daily - the group always had the same message:  "We knew we needed to dial this all the way up to 10, so we gave it our all at every show.  And our fans loved it - I think they would have bled for us, if we asked them to."  After almost 30 years as a band, the group is still driven by a need for their numbers to be "perfect".  "We're not going anywhere."

Today, we explore the agonies and triumphs of the band, Blünt Lancet: the story Behind The Music.

It all began in a quiet New England suburb called Dis-maah.  As students at the University of Twitter, these five friends shared a need for health information, and a panache for puns and trouble-making.  The core of the band consisted of  Simon "Syringe" on lead vocals and guitar, Kelly "RawSugar" on keyboard, Moby "Testkit" on bass, Kim "Pancreas" on drums, and their invaluable roadie/booking agent, Jeff "Lancer". 

The friends formed a band and released their debut album, Control Solution, in 1984, but their sound just didn't stick.  RawSugar suggested the group try a variety of styles, and thus began their journey into rock infamy.  Follow-up albums included the country/western classic, "Blood On The Meter"; a forray into R&B, titled "Rhythm and Bruise"; a regrettable rap/rock album, "The CGM-C"; and of course, the power rock classic, "Rage Bolus", which debuted at 5.6 on the A1C charts in the spring of 2006.

Aside from their musical diversity, Blünt Lancet was also an innovator in music technology.  Syringe partnered with Luthier Music Corporation to develop a line of guitar strings made from discarded insulin pump tubing, and guitar picks from the tops of test strip tubes.  "We'd never seen anything like it - but the concepts stuck with me.  We had to give it a shot.", said Luthier's CEO.

The band's fans, who dubbed themselves "Lancetheads", like to gush about how powerful the Blünt Lancet live concert experience is.  One fan, Dr. Strange, shared his experience:  "It's like they infuse the audience with some kind of hormones.  I mean, the songs just get stuck in your head.  People would hold up their backlit glucose meters like lighters during the ballads, and I just felt like part of one big community.  There's never a dull moment with these guys.  I hope this never changes." 

Blünt Lancet has had their share of difficulties.  Record sales often fell out of their target range at the end of the 1990's, and the group had to wait years for the rebound.  Blunt Lancet added some back-up lancers for the "Use Once And Destroy" tour, which ended up being a waste of money when the lancers got lost in the back of the venue "The Supply Drawer" in downtown L.A.  "I didn't think we'd ever have a need for them, and after that incident we decided that, ultimately, we weren't going to use them", confided Testkit.

Original image credit: Sara Knicks
Scandals plagued the group throughout much of the 90's, which only seemed to spike their popularity.  Frontman Simon Syringe was busted by the diabetes police for possession of syringes in 1995, claiming that they were for "insulin".  Kim Pancreas would often show up to band practices with a hanglowver, and was known for throwing her Ketostix into the audience after performances - she was briefly kicked out of the band in 1996.  Moby Testkit confirmed:  "She could be a real prick."  There were also rumors swirling in 1999 of the band's relationship with some frequent "strippers", but the band's manager woud not confirm or deny the allegations.  The fall from grace forced the band to downsize; performing at smaller venues for several years in the early 2000's under the alias, "Dull Poke".

The stars re-aligned for Blünt Lancet with a reunion performance at the much-anticipated D-Prom event in 2011.  They debuted a new rock ballad, Let's Stick Together, and the band saw their post-prandial record sales skyrocket.  The band plans to release a collection of "overwrought, Fall Out Boy-esque" songs this fall, with titles such as If You Were Any Sweeter, There'd Be A Bolus Involved and I Don't Need Your Alcohol Swabs (I'm A Licker).  A subsequent worldwide tour is being considered, and the band is testing different sites.  "We're trying to rotate, so we don't run out of real estate with this thing", said Lancer.

What does the future hold for Blünt Lancet?  Kelly RawSugar:  "We want our fans to know that we'll always stick with them.  I can't gauge what the future holds, but Blunt Lancet has staying power." 

Lancetheads all over the world are, as they like to say, "pumped".

*Editor's note:  A friend of mine was kind enough to create the logo and album cover art for me in this post - if he manipulated an image of yours and you would like credit for your work, please let me know!  I'd be happy to credit you.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Happy Friday!

I thought I'd throw a note up to let you all know about a few things. 

  • Writing a post every day in the month of November kinda burned me out, a bit.  I'm taking a few days-long hiatus from blogging, but I'm thinking about trying to make this a more regular thing after that.  I don't want to lock myself into saying that I'll always post something every day - I'd rather go the route of quality than quantity, and at this point, posting every day would force me to make that choice - but I'd like to post more often than I historically have.  So, there's that.

  • Secondly, I've lined up some awesome guest bloggers for you guys.  A and I are going to NYC for a weekend later this month (if you live in the area, and are interested in a d-meet-up while I'm there, shoot me an email or Tweet!), and I'm honored to have these folks lend their voice and viewpoint to Texting My Pancreas for a day.

  • And lastly, you may have noticed a while ago that this site quietly changed from to  I'm also wanting to make some adjustments to the design of this site, so please hang in there with me during this time of transition.

I hope you all have a great weekend!  :)