Friday, September 30, 2011

Vlog: Yell At Your Meter.

A lot of times we blame ourselves when blood sugars are higher or lower than we like, but it isn't always the case that it's something we've done to cause it. (You've heard of blood sugar fairies, right?)

We can come down pretty hard on ourselves at times like that, and it helps me when I remember that it's not always my "fault". It also helps me when I can have a little bit of fun attacking the very robot parts that keep me alive.

Sometimes you just need to let it all out.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thanks, Universe.

Today, I'm grateful that my universe is attempting some balance for me.

Because while I may have realized mid-drive this morning that I was headed to work with only enough insulin in my pump for basal (good thing I keep that insulin pen with me - and you KNOW I shot myself in the calf at a stoplight to cover breakfast, because that's how I roll), and the only coffee creamer I had left to bring with me was the Bailey's Irish Cream (it's non-alcoholic, but that doesn't make bringing it to work look any less awkward), I got to wake up to this graph. It happened after completely SWAGing a late-night dinner of fast food "Mexican", and I have absolutely no idea how to replicate this.

I'm not going to question it. I'm just going to appreciate it.

Sometimes, you have to celebrate the little victories.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My Dog Got Fan Mail, And It Is Awesome.

(Alternate titles: "What The What?", "It's Not Every Day That The Postman Brings You Questionable Dog Photos", and "Billy Corgin: Ladies' Dog".)

Well, this is a first:

It appears that my dog has an admirer. That admirer sent a love letter. Which also included some borderline salacious canine photos.

Note the lewd pose on the left. 
In case you can't read the letter, it says:

Dear Billy,

My mom knows your mom, and I think I love you. She says we should be friends first, and get to know each other, maybe at a park together. You are a smart, happy dog with short legs. Do you like small, feisty, fluffy and slightly older girls? I hope you do.



As it turns out, I may not be the only crazy dog lady out there. (Also, thank you for making me laugh so hard that I scared the dog, C. Totally worth it.)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Screw You; I'm Awesome.

I was minding my own (and my dog's) business on the bike trail, which parallels a well-traveled road near my house. Billy and I had just thrown down three miles on that bright, sunshiney afternoon, and were on the homestretch when Billy decided he needed to stop and do a stretch of his own RIGHT THAT MINUTE AND IT COULDN'T WAIT.

The enabler in me had crouched down to pet him while he rested, when from the road, I heard:


Since no one else was on the bike trail at that moment, and I could therefore make no other logical conclusion than he had been regarding me, I looked up. What greeted my eyes was a teen-age male, holding a very large beverage with a Sonic logo on it, rolling by in his pick-up truck.

My first thought was, "Wow."

My second thought was, "Dude, screw you. I'm awesome."

That's the thing - here I was, being the one getting exercise, and he was the one spectating from a vehicle.

I was doing something - he was merely the critic. It reminded me of a favorite quote of mine; part of which in engraved on a tiny paper weight that a family member gave me many years ago.

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat." - Theodore Rosevelt; April 1910

Because that is what matters, in diabetes and in life. It matters that you're in the arena, and you're trying.

So screw them - you're awesome.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lift and Shake.

Tip of the day:

If you're wearing a black shirt and manage to sprinkle some glucose tab dust onto it, do yourself a favor and lift the shirt to shake the powder off. Don't bat, flick, or rub.

It just makes things worse.

Not my actual shirt.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tune In And Comment.

There are a couple of very important things happening today, and I hope you'll consider engaging in one or both.

First, today is day two of the U.N. Summit on non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and the United Nations website has a live webcast going. I tuned in yesterday while I was at work (sound only), and I thought it was definitely worth the listen. That makes me either super nerdy or an engaged stakeholder in the future of diabetes care - either way, I'm okay with it. Head over to the webcast by clicking here. Note: you may need to click on a different "channel" than the one it defaults to - so watch out for that, and the webcast doesn't begin until 10:00am EST, so don't panic if you tune in and it's just video of an empty chair. :) (And if you missed Monday's sessions - good news! The U.N. archives their webcasts, so you can go back and watch whatever interests you.)

And second, today is the LAST DAY you can submit comments to the FDA regarding the Low-Glucose Suspend device (the first step in the Artificial Pancreas Project). Comments are due at 11:59pm TODAY. My friend Bernard wrote a great post about this already, and I hope you'll consider sharing your own thoughts with the FDA on why this technology needs to be pushed through the approval process as expediently as possible. As a fellow advocate says, "This is truly the absolute best way to have your voice heard and to be part of the regulatory process at FDA. When you submit comments, they are taken very seriously. Each and every comment is read, and all comments become part of the federal register. Your comments, if you submit them, become part of the file that each member of the committee receives, along with all of the data, statistics, information about trials, and all of the medical documentation. What I'm trying to say is that your comments are very powerful, and could possibly (and they have done so in the past) sway the decision of some of the members of the committee."

Make your voice heard!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Football And Diabetes.

This past Saturday's activities reminded me of one more "Awkward Moment With Diabetes"...

...trying to do a blood test, without dropping anything, while smushed into a stadium with 85,000 other football fans.

And if you're wondering what the heck is on that guy's head in the middle of the front row, it's one of these.

Friday, September 16, 2011

My Mind Casserole.

When someone asks me a question about something I have had a lot of thoughts about, I don't consistently come up with the "best" thing to say on the spot.

And when I say "best", I'm referring to the moment several minutes (or hours) later when I decide, "God, why didn't I say ___?" I tend to think and rethink the conversation, mulling over things I *could* have said, or things I *should* have brought up.

I don't know why this is, or what pattern dictates its occurrence. Sometimes I nail it, but sometimes... not. Sometimes I say exactly what I mean in the exact way I want it conveyed, and sometimes I totally muck it up (in my opinion, anyway - no one else knows that I'm second-guessing those particular responses).

There tends to be so many things I want to share about whatever that topic is - and how do I choose? All of the bits of information I've collected about it have melded together in my brain to form some sort of cranial casserole that makes sense to me, but trying to isolate just the eggs or salt at this point is pretty challenging.

Let's take, for example, the question I'm likely to get this Sunday as I work at the Government Relations booth at the JDRF Walk: "What does an advocate do?"

It's such a big question, with so many right answers. Advocating can be sharing your own story, thoughts, feelings about what life with diabetes is like to the people in your life. Advocating can be bringing that story to policy makers and community leaders. Advocating can be speaking up to the media; writing letters, emails and memes; making phone calls; writing blog posts. Advocating can be wearing a blue pin. It can be so many things.

What I hope is that I can convey that to the people who approach the table this Sunday, willing to hear me out. I hope I can be a good advocate for advocacy. (Um, this is getting really meta.)

What I also need to remember is that concern over saying the "right" thing shouldn't prevent me from saying anything in the first place.

And I hope that it doesn't prevent you, either.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Guest Posting For Victoria.

My friend Victoria started a new job this week (doing awesome things at an awesome place), and asked a handful of folks if they'd supply some guest posts for her while she's adjusting to the new regimen.

I'm honored to be featured on her blog today (Billy is excited, too - the post is about him, after all), so please go visit her blog today to read my post!

P.S. Don't forget that the Hope Paige Medical ID giveaways for the You Can Do This Project community have moved over to - today is the first giveaway over there, so be sure to leave a comment there before midnight!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Post Where I Shamelessly Ask For Donations.

The air is cooling (sort of), the sun keeps setting a little bit earlier each night, and college football has arrived.

This can only mean one thing (aside from the first signals of autumn): it's once again Walk season.

I'll be participating in my local JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes this Sunday with Aaron, Billy and my family. As much as asking for money makes me uncomfortable, it's for a good cause (and people can't help you if they don't know you're looking for it), so here's my one post a year where I ask for donations. I would super duper really appreciate any help I can get to achieve my personal fundraising goal of $500. If you're feeling so inclined, visit my Walk page here.

And if donating isn't in the cards (I completely understand that - all of the fundraising efforts going on right now can make your head spin), an encouraging text or tweet the day of the Walk (we take off at 12:30pm CST) would be appreciated, too. :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

I'm A Lobster.

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels performed an air show here yesterday, and it was quite a sight to see.

And speaking of a "sight to see", check out my epic sunburn. 

A smart person would have worn sunscreen.
I was not one of those smart people.

This was my first real sunburn of the summer (I can still call mid-September "summer", right?), so I don't quite remember how sunburns affect my numbers. I seem to remember that I tend to run higher, but my Dexcom graph post-air show has been a complete nosedive (flying pun totally intended). I'm at a loss for how to temp basal my way through this one.

I'll just be over here, desperately clutching my aloe vera gel and trying not to move around too much, in case anyone needs me.

Friday, September 9, 2011

How Do You Infomate?

(I know, "infomate" isn't a real word. Um... just go with it.)

Someone I know in "real life" sent me an email this week asking me how I filter through all of the diabetes information that's out there. (His wife has type 2 diabetes, and he has been told he's pre-diabetic.) I gave him my best answer, but I also asked him if it would be okay if I shared his query with you all. (I love crowdsourcing!)

Here is what he sent me, and I'm hoping you can provide some insight in the comments section below for my friend. Thank you in advance, all!

Kim... How do you keep up? And how do you know that the information you're getting is the best available?

We kicked this around when my wife was diagnosed several years ago. Her doctor read up on all of the material in 1976 or 1978 or whenever he went through school. He's since kept up with various journals and seminars and so on, but there is a lot of room for stuff to fall through the cracks.

His assistant went to school in 1987 or 1988. When she learned it all, it all had changed. She also goes back for seminars and she reads a couple of the journals, but again, there is a lot of room for stuff to get by her.

We went to a series of classes and workshops at the local hospital, learning how to cook and eat and exercise and what to watch out for and so on. Okay, fine. But there were at least three or four times when our doctor told us one thing, his assistant told us another, and the hospital crew said something different.

Alan Rubin's "Diabetes for Dummies" is in its third edition. My wife had a copy of the 1st. I recently got the new one, and we can't talk about it because we disagree on what it says.

It's like you talk to one person, or read one book, and they say, "always eat six grapes" and then you come upon a book or see something on the Scary Health Channel that says "Never eat more than four grapes". Next week, Oprah's got a guest on saying the best treatment is a diet full of grapes.

Or eggs. Or bacon. Or orange juice. Or popcorn. Or whatever. How do you evaluate the little pieces of news that show up in your face every week?

A reporter was once surprised to find Warren Buffett didn't have a ticker-tape machine in his office. Buffett explained that he couldn't deal with that much information. If the tape said Coke just moved at $52 a share, what then? Should he buy more, or should he sell? Whoah! Now it's up to $53 per share! What does THAT mean? Should he buy more, or should he sell what he's already got? Now it's down to $50 a share. Damnit! Why didn't he sell when it was $53? Hey, maybe it'll go back to $54 or $60? Maybe he should buy more? Or maybe just hang on to what he has.... Buffett does much better reading daily and weekly newspapers, rather than trying to drink from the firehose of the internet.

So how do you decide what to believe, in diabetes news?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Disclosure Update.

image credit
Keeping things transparent is important to me, because I know that as a reader of blogs myself, it's nice to know what people's "deal" is.

I like knowing what may influence a person's opinions and preferences when I read their blogs/articles/videos/tweets/whatever. If someone's making money somewhere, that's a good nugget of information to know. It helps me understand where they're coming from, and how I might filter what they're saying/doing.

Generating an income from an online presence isn't a bad thing at all - heck, that's something I've dreamed about for a while now - from my perspective, as long as everyone knows what the situation is.

In that spirit, I need to update my disclosure statement a bit. My "situation", as it were, is changing.

If you saw my Facebook post or tweets from last weekend, you may have seen that I drew a cartoon that appeared on on Sunday. As was expressed at the bottom of that post, DMine was/is still looking for people who create diabetes-related art in the "snarky but true" category, and they're offering a cash stipend for those contributions.

I wanted to make sure you guys knew what the deal is with me and them - I'll be contributing cartoons for DiabetesMine on a once-a-month basis for a few months (Yay!) as a "testing the waters" sort of thing. We want to make sure that all parties (DMine and myself) are happy with things before we make anything official out of this.

This means that I'm getting paid to draw cartoons (hang on a sec while I do a little happy dance - never thought I'd get to say that!). Not a quitting-my-day-job kind of income, but it's money, and I'm grateful for the opportunity. And in the interest of being straightforward, I want those who read this blog to know about this relationship.

I can also tell you - without being able to tell you very much at all - that there will be some other things over the next few months that I'll be wanting/needing to disclose as well. Exciting things! I just can't tell you, yet.

What I can tell you is that I think it will be awesome, and I hope that you'll think so, too.

Also, thanks for sticking with me, my ramblings, arguably childish drawings, and incessant dog pictures. You guys are troopers. :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What We Aim For.

Most people put their hard work into something with tangible results.

Chopping, dicing, mincing, stirring, baking, grilling, zesting... these things result (hopefully) in a satisfying meal.

We study hard and stay up late into the night and morning to cram for exams, so we can hold that hard-earned diploma in our hands.

We wake up early and throw ourselves into whatever it is we do as a vocation, and can find gratification in reputation, self worth, and means to earn a living.

We sweat and stretch and exert, so that our bodies stay healthy. So that we can win a medal. So that we can beat someone in a round of basketball.

We meticulously count calories and track exertion, so that we might lose (or gain) weight.

In all these things, there is a goal to reach. An achievement to celebrate. But when it comes to diabetes, the ideal end game of all our hard work is... nothing.

We work hard so that nothing happens. So that we keep our eyes, kidneys, feet, and everything else free from harm. We do all of this so that diabetes remains an invisible monster.

(What sort of motivating tool is that, anyway? Aiming for nothing? Nothing is a lousy reward.)

I think that's part of why living with diabetes can feel so burdensome at times - not only do we deal with the counting, the equations, the guessing, the emotions, the never-endingness of it all, but we do it all just to "keep up". Just to be "normal". We do it all so that nothing seems out of the ordinary.

We hope that all of that "something" we do leads to nothing.

The best possible result of our work is that you will never know there was any work to be done in the first place.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Labor Day.

I'm reveling in some awesome weather (sunny, breezy, lower 70's) and a day off of work over here. I may have almost walked into an intricately constructed yet extremely creepy spiderweb that was built overnight on our deck stairs this morning while taking Billy outside, but by golly, I'm not letting that set the tempo for today.

  • In case you missed it, my cartoon for DiabetesMine went live yesterday! I love the idea of high five-ing with a unicorn, but as one reader pointed out, it probably hurts. You know - hooves and all. I'm going to say that whoever trains the unicorn would teach them to high five in a very gentle manner. (Because if this is all coming out of my imagination, I'm going to be thorough about the details.)
  • Speaking of unicorns, (how often does one get to say that?) I went to a bridal shower yesterday, and the house it was held at had more unicorns in one place than I've ever seen in my life - plates, figurines, knick knacks of every sort. Combine this with the fact that there were a variety of cupcakes as well, and I suddenly wished the entire DOC were there with me. It was awesome!
  • Saturday was the first Husker game of the season, and yes, I made Billy wear his football jersey. He doesn't like the getting it on or off part, but once it's on he's okay. He's such a good sport. 
  • It's a short bullet point list - on the advocacy front, check in with the UNite for a Healthy Future group (the one that's meeting the day before the U.N. Summit in Central Park, NYC on 9/18) on Facebook and with the JDRF Promise To Remember Me campaign. In different ways, both of these initiatives aim to grab the attention of lawmakers and world leaders to say "Hey, you need to pay attention to this. You need to pay attention to how diabetes is affecting the world, and us".
And, the obligatory Billy Corgin photo from this weekend (video coming soon):

Crazy dog playing fetch!

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Morning Full Of Yuck.

(This is the first time I'm trying to do a blog post through email, instead of signing into Blogger [which I can't do at work] and posting from there - so my apologies if this ends up being all goofy-looking.)
When I woke up this morning, I saw this:

Then this:

Followed by this discovery:

I was sulking, and hungry (no breakfast until I'm under 200 at least), and feeling pretty grumpy. I checked my Twitter mentions - part of my waking-up routine - and saw this one from Martin:

"Love the smell of insulin & discovery of a leaky pump set at bedtime. You're still number 1 diabetes! ()"

I had to laugh, which significantly reduced The Grumpy I was feeling. Then, later, I saw this tweet from my friend Sara:

"Ugh! Diabetes fail last night. Sensor fail. Site fail. BG sky high. No extra sensors."

Even though I'm still feeling like crap warmed over, it helps to know that I'm not the only one having a rough time of it today, or ever. Thanks, fellow pancreatic warriors, for helping to remind me that I'm not doing this alone.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Diabetes Art Day: Van Low.

It's Diabetes Art Day! Here's my piece:

Title: Van Low (An Interpretation of Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night, But With A Low Blood Sugar)

Medium: Paintbrush (for Mac)

For more Diabetes Art Day pieces, visit! (There's also a Facebook page.) Thanks for putting this all together, Lee Ann! :)