Friday, March 30, 2012

Guest Post: The Weight.

Today, I'm so very pleased to bring you a post from Kate - a fellow d-blogger with type 1 diabetes whose posts always leave me chuckling. (You'll see what I mean in a minute.) Thank you for sharing both your words and these adorable pictures of you and your husband, Kate. :)

* * * * *

First of all, thank you, thank you, Kim!!! For reading my blog, and asking me to guest post. I am honored to be posting on one of my absolute favorite and resourceful dia-blogs, and am excited to reach and connect with a whole bunch of new peeps in the DOC.

Secondly, if anyone is a tried-and-true Muppet fan like I am: I can't help but imagine Kermit, instead of introducing the guest star on each show, introducing me like this, complete with flailing arms, here:

"It's the Muppet Show, with our very special guest blogger, Kaaaaate Boylaaaannn! YAYAYAYayayayayAYyYAY!"

My imagination is far too active sometimes.

[Tiny voice in the back of my head: "Get back to the post, Kate."]

[Kate: "Oh, yeah. Right. That's why I'm here.]

[Tiny voice: And, keep it short.]

[Kate: Can't promise anything. Stop talking so I can get to it.]

 Soooo, I've been thinking a lot about weight recently.

Body weight: Since age eighteen, when I decided to give my shoulders a rest and stop competing in the pool, I've gained a pesky fifteen pounds that refuse to shed from my body no matter the months of intense workouts, or low insulin averages. I feel good and healthy by being active and athletic; I feel strong. I do, however, still feel (even after eleven years), heavy and uncomfortable in my own skin, and that weighs on me emotionally as well.

Emotional weight: This diabetes thing has been in my life since age four, for 25 years, never once taking a break. (The nerve! But, on the other hand, you have to admire diabetes' stamina for sticking around so long, and with such consistency.) It's HEAVY to carry around all the time. It's HEAVY to face day-in and day-out, when things are good, and when they are not so good. It's also super heavy when you've got other heavy things happening in your life, and you still have to pay attention to it. Just as diabetes has stamina, you have to muster up an equal amount, or more, to psyche yourself up and face it every day.

The weight of guilt: When I slack on testing, or know “I-shouldn't-eat-this-now-but-when-am-I-going-to-get-to-eat-and-bolus-oh-who-cares-it'll-be-ok-I'll-bolus-later-and-just-this-once-it-won't-effect-the-A1C-I'm-desperately-trying-to-lower.” Or, feeling guilty when I am sitting on my own little pity pot while on the T (you can't call it a subway and make it easy, Boston?), thinking to myself about how tired I am of carrying around/battling/wrangling diabetes along with life's other emotional issues, when at that very moment, I move aside for a man about my age (29) zooming into the car, smiling to me and saying "Thanks for making room," as he bends down and locks his wheelchair wheels. It's then I feel like a real... tool.

All of this weight adds up to emotional turmoil. For me, when I am emotionally flummoxed by any and all of this, I experience the physiological effects of said flummoxed-ness. Cortisol streams through my system and I get physically bloated. My blood sugar rises and hovers around 200. Anxiety sets up a permanent storefront in my brain. The weight of everything actually gets heavier.

This week, some of this weight was lifted. Upon realizing this, I recognized easing the burden of some of the weight is why I sought out the DOC in the first place: to share the load emotionally, therefore having positive effects on all sorts of different aspects in my life.

I approached the DOC about two years ago, when it dawned on me that other people have to write, converse, kvetch and ask questions about the very same boat I am in everyday. At the time, I was working at a college library's reference desk, and mentally smacked myself for not thinking and researching earlier being that it was my job to help find answers to people’s general queries. I stumbled upon Six Until Me and Texting My Pancreas. I read every day, thinking to myself about how these women were living my life and thinking very similar thoughts, not only about insulin, pumps, injections, endocrinologists, and health insurance, but music, cats, dogs, travel, exercise, and life aspirations. They made me feel comfortable for the first time in a long time that I have diabetes.

At that point, I had been a person with diabetes for 23 years. When I was diagnosed, my parents and I attended group meetings for parents and children with diabetes up until I was nine or ten. My mom was always scouting out other diabetes support groups for kids my age, and I even went to diabetes camp (having a pretty bad experience when they put me on THE WRONG INSULIN-- but I'll save that for another post). For the most part, however, I lived with diabetes solo: I was the only person in my family, my school, my neighborhood with Type 1, and didn't want or feel the need for camaraderie. I felt very much that it was my battle to fight, and that it wasn't going to stop me from doing anything; I could handle it all myself (a theme in my life) and be diabetically unique while doing it all. Furthermore, I felt that other people didn't need to be bogged down by "my problem."

When I approached the DOC, I was shy: I didn't know what vocabulary to use, or even what questions to formulate and ask. I wanted to be able to dive in with ease, immediately starting to write and connect with people, but having never done that, I sat back, observed, and used my research skillz to learn that there is this incredibly diverse, supportive, world-wide community of people who all want to learn and support each other as WE fight this battle every day. As clichéd as it might sound, knowing that I wasn't the only one lifted a huge emotional weight off of my shoulders.

I started writing a blog this winter, as I finally felt as though sharing my experiences and words could be useful to and appreciated by the DOC. I bucked up and told myself, "Who cares if my experience was exactly the same as so-and-so's? Doesn't that make us stronger?" I wanted to advocate for furthering research, and to advocate and be a catalyst for connection among folks with diabetes. Rather than sitting back half-heartedly searching for hash tags like #Type1, #diabetes and watching conversations like #dsma happen on Twitter, or not commenting on people's blog posts, I started saying, "Me, too! I know what this is like!"

A few weeks ago, the stars aligned and a group of Boston-based d-ladies got together after starting a conversation via Twitter and email. Some of them knew one another and had hung out before, and some of us were newcomers. I was nervous, thinking, "Will I be the only one who has had Type 1 since childhood? Will I be the only one who is thinking about pregnancy? What if I am on a completely different page than these gals? Can I do this? I haven't really done this since I was nine. Maybe I should just be quiet, or bail." If you know me, being quiet is not exactly my strong suit. I LOOOOOOOVE connecting and communicating with people, and I HATE bailing on things because I then feel guilty and resentful of myself for poor decision making and missing out on opportunities. I decided to go for a run before our dinner (and get those happy, confidence-boosting endorphins flowing), and found that as we introduced ourselves, talked about our careers, our frustrations with diabetes, our interests, our pumps, our situations--how diabetes weaves in and out of our lives-- it was GREAT. It was cathartic, fascinating, helpful in terms of tips and tricks and learning about what people have researched and what kind of groups they are involved with, and FUN. Who knew that talking about all things CGM could be fun? I came home that night, happy and light, reporting to The Hub that I felt like a stronger woman.

Then, this week, I met up solo with a gal from the group who is also thinking of and preparing for trying to get pregnant. It was a balmy 75 degrees in Boston all week this week, and we sat outside a burger joint, sipping vino (yes, at a burger joint) and talking about being English majors, OmniPods vs. tubing, husbands who are attorneys (something we share), doctors, and how even when we do our very best to "control" diabetes, we feel as though diabetes controls US. I talked about being self-conscious about the fifteen pounds I've put on since my 'retirement' from competitive swimming, and how frustrated I get because diabetes, and stress, and life seems to keep the pounds on. Just being able to say those words to a person, and them understanding the reasons behind all my individual frustrations, while sharing her own frustrations different than mine, and yet being on the same page about everything was pretty... enlightening. Our night out defined why I sought out the DOC.

Our night out also made me realize I want to do more. Connect more. Kvetch more. Accept myself-- and my dia-mistakes, body image issues, even my own emotional turmoil more. Sharing and learning from all of our experiences with diabetes in our lives, in our families, in our minds 24/7, collectively lift the heavy weight of diabetes and all of it's heavy, heavy baggage from my life. I not only want to help lift that burden from other people's lives, but want to know I can look to a place or person and cry out "WHY?!," and get answers and encouragement. [Yes, that was a gratuitous U2 reference.] I also want to know that I can look to a place or person, and say, "By any chance, anyone have tips for decoupaging an end table? Do you find when you decoupage, your blood sugar drops?" [I've never decoupaged in my life.]

I live in constant hope for a cure for diabetes, but until then, I know I will have to carry the weight of diabetes all the time. I know that I'll struggle with my small frame and a few extra pounds. I'll struggle (and maybe sometimes excel) at wrangling emotions and tough situations in life, and diabetes will be there in the pounds and in the wrangling. But, I don't have to do it alone. I can quietly seek out reassurance. I can read, and research. I can loudly commiserate. There are plenty of people out there saying, 'Take a load off, Kate. And put the load right on me."

That notion alone lifts worlds of weight off my shoulders.

"The Weight" by The Band, featuring The Staple Singers, from The Last Waltz uploaded by dogheadio on YouTube.

* * * * *

Here's a bit about Kate, in her words: 

Kate Boylan is an incredibly persistent (read: tenacious), stubborn yet bubbly, people-loving and lively Italian-Irish kid from Staten Island, New York. (Though she has mixed feelings on the isle settled by the Dutch at present, it is definitely NOT [all like] the [show] "Jersey Shore," and she's proud of her hometown.) She lives in, and is still getting used to Boston (even after a decade), with her best partner in crime, "The Hub."

Kate has had Type 1 diabetes for 25 years (diagnosed at age four), and recently switched from multiple daily injections (Novolog & Lantus) to a Minimed Paradigm Revel pump (Novolog), and she's loving it. Kate is contemplating seeking out a CGM, and welcomes pros and cons!

She is way into music, tries to maintain being athletic and stuff; loves food and cooking and good red wine, and scotch nice and neat, and baking, and art and museums, and movies and film theory, and libraries and old books, and family and friends and traveling everywhere and people. Whew, right?

By day, Kate is an Information Specialist (read: fancy new term for Librarian), and is interested in the sociopolitical and economic impact of emerging media and technology on, well, the world. She gets jazzed by thinking about information and media preservation, information literacy, information creativity, and critical inquiry of all of the above, not just relative to her job, but in all aspects of life.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Guest Post: Diabetes Anonymous.

As I mentioned on Monday, I'm heading out this morning to attend the Medtronic Diabetes Advocates Forum for the first time - it's a reaching-out-to-the-DOC event at Medtronic headquarters in the L.A. area. Disclosurey stuff: Medtronic invited me to attend this event and will be covering the costs of my transportation, lodging, and food while I'm there. I am not required or paid to write anything about the event, but c'mon. You know I will anyway. (And I'm sure they know that, too.) And speaking of writing...

Have you ever read something that you wish you had written yourself? It's so clever, so perfectly worded, so "Yes! THAT!" that you want to reach into your computer screen and hug the ever-living glitter out of the person who wrote it?

That's how it feels when I read Martin's blog, Diabetically Speaking.

I hope you'll enjoy reading this post from him as much as I did. Take it away, Martin!

* * * * *

Hi. My name is Martin, and I have diabetes.

“Hi Martin!” the room responded, cheerfully. I could hear the welcome in the chorus of voices, and see the look of acceptance in their eyes, everyone excited that I was there, encouraging me, urging me to “Please, tell us your story!”

Everyone in the room knew what living with diabetes was like. They all either had diabetes or loved someone who did. The only “type” in the room was Type Awesome. The room was filled with children and adults of all shapes, sizes, genders, and colors. There was no room for judgment, or an ignorant “type war.” Diabetes doesn’t discriminate, so neither did anyone in the room. They didn’t care if they were called “diabetic” or “people with diabetes.” Those are just words, and what mattered most was that we, of a similar circumstance, were there together.

I joked to the group that I had “the bad kind” of diabetes. They laughed. We all know that there is no “good” kind of diabetes. At the same time, we also know that diabetes is far from the death sentence that it was 100 years ago.

People live as full and productive lives with diabetes today as people without diabetes. Charlie Kimball races Indy cars for a living. Jay Cutler is a quarterback in the NFL. There is an entire professional cycling team that races with Type 1 diabetes. Living with diabetes requires us to pay attention to our bodies, and it’s arguable that many of us with diabetes are in better health than someone without diabetes who may procrastinate and ignore what their body is trying to tell them.

I told them about how I was diagnosed with “the beetus” when I was two years old, and that a life with diabetes is the only life I’ve ever known. I looked around the room for understanding, and a few people were nodding their heads, understanding what it’s like to not know a life without finger pricks and needle sticks.

I shared how I feel like those of us that have had diabetes all of our lives have it easier than those diagnosed later in life. Those later in life have a lot more to overcome. They have routines to break, habits to change, and a lot more to “get used to.” But for the most part, we do get used to it, because people with diabetes are resilient. Change, for a person with diabetes, is a normal everyday occurrence.

I briefly mentioned about the frightening times I’ve gone low and needed help, and the times that my blood sugar was stubbornly high and it took me a day of dosing a steady stream of insulin and not eating to get it back down to normal. That kind of stuff just happens sometimes, regardless of how good of “control” we may have with our diabetes. And that is okay. Nobody’s perfect, and nobody (doctors, parents, significant others, or even ourselves) should expect perfection. With diabetes, most of the time good enough is good enough.

Finally, I told the crowd how I celebrated 30 years with diabetes by jumping out of an airplane. I told them about the times I pedaled my bicycle 150 miles for fun and to raise money for charity. I told them about the time I rode my bike in the Five Boro Bike Tour in New York City. I told them about the Warrior Dash that I have coming up where I get to traverse a 3-mile obstacle course that includes, fire, mud, and probably a ton of other not-so-insulin-pump-friendly environmental hazards. I also told them how the day after that, I fully intend to be on my couch in front of the TV and do absolutely nothing.

That is life with diabetes. A person with diabetes can do anything that anybody else can do, including nothing at all, and still be awesome.

Then I sat down, checked my blood sugar, and had a complimentary cupcake and a Diet Coke.

* * * * *

And in keeping with my opening statements, I'm not editing the bio he sent me one bit:

Martin Wood is the creator/author of Diabetically Speaking, a Type 1 PWD for more than 30 years, a medical librarian, a cyclist, and a purveyor of all things awesome. He has an affinity for all things plaid, likes long walks on the beach, piña coladas, and getting caught in the rain. If you need a laugh and some encouragement to not take life so seriously, visit his blog at and follow him on Twitter @woodonwheels. And don't eat yellow snow...unless you know how many carbs are in it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Looking Back: In Pump Failure, And In Health.

There has only been one time in my life that my insulin pump has bit the dust - and it just so happened to be on a pretty important day. Main takeaway: do not, under any circumstances, wear your pump under a pair of Spanx and multiple layers of satin and tulle in 80+ degree weather. Trust me on this one.

* * * * *

Some of the most common advice about wedding planning is that while you can try to plan out every detail, it is nearly inevitable that something will still go wrong.  Aaron and I heard this from many people as we planned our wedding, which took place in June of 2009.  A lot of times, however, you don’t realize how good the advice you’re getting is until it becomes reality.

I’ve mentioned before that our wedding day had a couple of minor catastrophes. I’m not talking about flowers being the wrong color or reception food being cold. I’m not talking about hung-over groomsmen or rainy weather. No, when I have a catastrophe, I go big – I’m talking about our photographer not showing up, and my insulin pump dying.

(Let me preface this story by telling you that I’m not sure how I didn’t freak out in a ridiculous fashion about either of these issues. I think my Bubble of Wedding Day Happy must have prevented me from feeling the full force of either situation.)

Pictures were scheduled to start at 9:00 am, with the guys first, then the girls, then all of us as a group. At 9:05, with our photographer nowhere in sight, Aaron got a little worried and got out his cell phone. “Hey, it’s Aaron, just wondering where you are. Hope everything’s okay. Give me a call back.” After a few moments, the photographer called back.

Incompetent Jerk: “Hi, Aaron. What do you need?”

Aaron: “What do I need?  I need you here! Where are you?”

Total Loser: “Um, I’m at home. Why… what’s going on?”

Aaron: “You’re supposed to be here! Right now! It’s 9:10!”

Guy I Wanted To Strangle: “Oh, sh!t. It’s today? I had it written down as next weekend! Oh sh!t! I’m on my way right now….” (Important Detail:  he lived an hour's drive away from where we got married.)

Aaron: “Don’t even bother. We’re done.” *click*

And thus began the couldn’t-be-more-last-minute search for a new wedding photographer. On a Saturday morning. In June; the peak of Wedding Season. (HA!  AHAHAHAHA!  HAAAAA!  /crazed and delusional laughter)

Sheer luck and chance led us to finding someone. And not just someone – a super great guy who’s a well-established photographer in the area. As fate would have it, we caught him on the one Saturday in June he hadn’t booked himself out, because it was his daughter’s birthday. As fate would also have it, his wife was willing to wake him up so we could talk to him (he was still sleeping when we called), and he was willing to give us his whole morning and as much of the afternoon as we needed.  We’ll never be able to fully express our gratitude to him for that.

I also owe thanks to my brother, who was elected as the person who had to go tell me that the photographer wasn’t showing up. That takes courage.

My wedding day preceded my involvement (or even awareness of) the DOC. I didn’t know that other ladies had pockets built into their wedding dresses for their insulin pumps – so I did on my wedding day what I did every other day; which was to hide it under my clothing via undergarments. More specifically, my Deltec Cozmo pump was between my Spanx and I, and both of us were all wrapped up in layers of satin and tulle.

In retrospect, I can see the trouble brewing. At the time, I thought nothing of it. It’s a waterproof pump! I've had it for four years with no problems!  It’ll be fine!

And fine it was, until Aaron and I were in the vehicle that transported us from ceremony to reception. We were sitting in the back seat, being excited and nervous (and hungry), when all of a sudden my pump starts incessantly vibrating.

Spanx + wedding dress + sitting down in a car = a pump that’s REALLY HARD TO GET TO.

Upon retrieving it, I noticed that the screen had a bunch of gibberish on it, and that none of the buttons were responding. It kept vibrating, then beeping… and I couldn’t do anything to stop it. Nor did I know if it was delivering any – or way too much – insulin. I had to disconnect and take out the battery.
And that's when the tears came.  Why now, Mr. Pump?  Of all days in my life, why did you die today?  And not only today, but two days before I'm leaving the country on my honeymoon trip? 
In addition, Deltec/Smiths Medical (the manufacturer of my insulin pump) had announced a couple of months prior that they'd decided to discontinue the Cozmo and leave the diabetes supply market.  In my mind, I was imagining horrid scenarios where I'd try to call the customer service 800 number, and that pre-recorded robot lady would tell me "This number is no longer in service".
I was also imagining horrid scenarios where I wouldn't get to eat my own wedding cake.
Thankfully, for the first time in my insulin-pumping life, I had asked my internist at my last appointment for some back-up supplies.  It never occurred to me that a pump failure could happen on the actual wedding day - I was thinking about the overseas trip.  My brother once again stepped up to the plate by quickly driving to my house, getting the specified supplies out of my fridge, and bringing them to the reception for me. 
After the reception, I got on the phone with Smiths Medical.  Let me just say, they were wonderful.  I explained the whole story.  About how it was my wedding day, and my pump had up and died with no prior warning.  About how I was flying overseas within 48 hours.  And you know what?  They had a new (well, refurbished, but a working) insulin pump at my door within 12 hours of my phone call.  Awesome.
That very same wedding advice can (and always should have been) applied to my diabetes life, as well.  You can plan and plan, but things can still go wrong.  The best robot parts can still malfunction, and they can have spectacularly bad timing.  Having back-ups of everything helps to make those small bumps in the road seem a bit less like mountains.
And that cake?  It was delicious.

Possibly the most worthwhile use
of a back-up Humalog pen ever.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Looking Back: That Half-Marathon I Did.

In lieu of fresh material this week, I'll be looking back on some old (can they really be "old" if this blog isn't even two years old yet?) blog entries and sharing some posts from friends gracious enough to temporarily take the reins for me here on TMP. The reason for the break? I've been invited (for the first time!) to the second annual Medtronic Diabetes Advocates Forum which occurs later this week, and I'll be busy getting ready to be gone for a few days. You understand, right? I'm sure I'll be sharing some take-aways with you all once I get back! (And until then, feel free to follow the hijinks on Twitter.)

In the meantime, here's a post I wrote after doing the first (and only?) half-marathon of my life. With my recently renewed interest and resolve to exercise regularly, I hope to be back in this kind of fighting form again soon.

* * * * *

Last month, I attempted (and completed!) my first Half-Marathon. I had never done anything like that before, and have never historically been a fan of running. A few years ago, I forced myself to try it again, and it wasn't so bad. A friend of mine (non-diabetic) does this Half-Marathon each year, so I decided to give it a go with her. While the race itself was fun, my diabetes didn't agree. I was able to finish, but was very slow (this may also be attributed to my less-than-stellar dedication to training). Here's my marathon story:

I woke up at 5:00, and although my numbers had been good while I slept, I shot up to 175 for no reason as soon as I woke up (according to the CGM). I did a blood test to verify, and yes, that was right. I took one unit of Humalog, which brought me down to 125, almost literally right away. This kind of speedy drop is not normal for me.

I got ready, and my brother was here at 6:00 for us to go downtown to the start line, with my husband. (My brother, who is not T1 - and a phenomenal athlete - also ran. My husband met up with me in between aide stations to refill Clif Gels, give me some additional water, and whatever else I might have needed. As another runner said during the race, "He just earned Husband of the Year".) I ate a Snickers Marathon Nutrition bar on the car ride, with no bolus taken for it. I should also mention I turned down my basal to "OFF" at 6:00 am, and didn't turn it back on until after the race was over.

We lined up around 6:40, and my CGM said 83. Then, a few minutes later, 72. Really? I hadn't bolused for the bar I ate, and that was 22g of carb! This is where I panicked a bit. I ended up eating two Clif Shot gels - also about 25g of carb each - before the start. By the time we got to the starting line around 7:15, I was shooting back up, and was 157. I thought, "Awesome! Don't know what happened there, but at least I'm back up where I want to be, now."

Fast forward to mile 2 - I notice I'm over 200. Okay, not panicking yet. I "peaked", or so I thought, around 280 and then it showed that I was coming back down pretty quickly. Again, as a precaution, I ate another gel. This may be where my biggest mistake was, because I didn't drop too much more after that. In fact, I did most of the race over 300, and a good chunk of it "HIGH", which means I was over 400. I started taking a unit here and there after mile 8, not wanting to overdo it and drop too quickly.

Ponytail. No makeup. Utility belt full of
diabetes crap. Awesome!
By the 12th mile, I was back down to the 300's, so I was probably about 325 when I finished. Who knows how high I really got - but I tested before and after the race, and the CGM was accurate both of those times - so I have to believe those numbers are true. I felt pretty throw-upy feeling around mile 10, and I'm not sure if that was hyperglycemia-related, or not - but I slowed down, and the feeling subsided. I drank half a cup of gatorade around mile 5, and stuck to water after that.

It feels so good to know I was able to finish. I was very slow, and didn't run as much of it as I walked, but I finished, darn it - and that was the point. Finish, no passing out or throwing up. Check, check and check! I am usually very diligent about keeping my numbers in check, but for this race, I wanted to focus on finishing - whatever that meant, diabetes-wise. I tried to not let the sight of such high numbers bum me out, and just focus on moving forward.

I feel like I did learn alot for next year. If I'm able to, I'd love to do this race each year, with a new goal - cut time, run more of it, have better numbers during the race, etc. Let's be clear: T1 does not hold me back from anything I want to do. It merely takes a little more effort and work to get there.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

1 Sweet Life.

My late teens were a time when diabetes really started to weigh on me, and I didn't always feel equipped in dealing with the whole "I'm going to have this forever, probably" thing. Testing didn't happen often, taking insulin wasn't a consistently timed routine, and I somehow got to a place of thinking that I was the only one struggling so much to be that "good diabetic" I kept hearing so much about. 

It seems like it's that way for a lot of folks - the teens and early twenties can be some of the worst in terms of management - physically, emotionally, socially, everything. There's a bit of a gap in support systems for this age group.

That's where a new social networking site called 1 Sweet Life comes in: is a new social networking site designed for teens with type 1 diabetes and their families. The founder, Brad Lowder, is the father of a type 1 teen and he is really passionate about creating a place for teens to feel normal and accepted.

A little about their vision:

Our vision is to motivate our members to take better care of themselves so they can lead healthier, happier, longer, and more fulfilled lives. We’ll use fun, creative strategies, and cutting-edge tools and technology to address common challenges.

Thanks to Mike Lawson for the heads up on this new community! Go check it out at and on Facebook.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Week In (Random) Photos.

Things are a wee bit crazy around here this week and the next, and so without further ado, here are a few of the less crazy parts. Have a great weekend!


And again! (These workouts seem to doing magical things
to my numbers. Sometimes. I mean, c'mon - diabetes
never really does anything consistently. I'll enjoy these
while they last.)
Defiant Daffodil is back.
Last year, I couldn't grow cilantro to save my life. This year,
it was the first to sprout. Get on with your bad self, little guy!
After years of only using IV3000 for adhesive tape, I've made the
switch to Opsite Flexifix. (Thanks, Sara, for letting me try a piece of
yours.) It stays in place so well! It's like duct tape, but far less
painful. I had to order this stuff on Amazon because my supply
place doesn't carry it. Yet.

Speaking of Sara, we both learned this week
that apparently you can spell it "asterix". I
always thought it was "asterisk". Hmm. Also,
I really wanted this to be a curse word.

It's been a few months now, and I think I can (maybe)
confidently say that I've kicked my soda habit. I've stuck
to coffee, water and iced tea; specifically, this stuff.
Sure, it contains Splenda, but it has to be better
than soda. Right?
Falling asleep in the one patch of sunlight in the living
room - do I own a dog or a cat?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Girl Walk. All Day.

In the spirit of Wordless Wednesday but without actually following any of its rules, I'm sharing this film trailer. If you're not familiar with the mashup artist Girl Talk, he smooshes a bunch of great songs together and what results is nothing short of brilliant. He can use tracks from Jay-Z, Radiohead, Lady Gaga, The Ramones, Remy Ma and the Jackson 5 and somehow it all just works together. I unapologetically love his music - it's my go-to music for feeling happy, spontaneously dancing, and generally perking up my mood.

Please note that the music he samples is not censored, so whatever language was in the original song will be in his version of it. In other words: NOT SUITABLE FOR WORK. This isn't for everyone, I realize. The film is quirky and a little weird. But "quirky and a little weird" is probably why I love it, and on the small chance that you'll love it too, I'm sharing.

Anyhoo, what does that have to do with a film? Someone made a 77-minute film with Girl Talk's album "All Day" as the soundtrack. It is the reason I'm a little bleary-eyed today; I only got through the first four "chapters" before I needed to let me head slam into the pillow last night. The premise, according to Boing Boing::
A young dancer finds herself disgruntled with her low-paying, mundane waitressing job. One day, she impulsively quits, then takes a ferry to the city. Feeling incredibly inspired by what she sees, Anne dances her way across New York, using the city as her stage. Throughout her journey, she meets characters of all types, including a series of like-minded dancers, who'll inspire new movements, engage her in small battles, and teach her to fear, love, laugh and live anew. From the ferry to museums, subways, ball games, bridges, bodegas, graveyards, flower shops, and more, Anne's journey will bring her far and wide. See the trailer, in full, at
And so, here you go. I hope it brings you the joy it brings me.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I'm Not Sick, But I'm Not Well.

It's tough to say where it started; I only know that it's here, now.

A need to force a smile. Joker's block. (That's like 'writer's block', but for humor, right?) A propensity to tear up at the small things (which, actually, is how I am all the time). More than one person asking lately, "Are you okay?", with me dismissing their concern.

I hesitate to call it depression - because I've felt that before, and what I'm feeling now both disseminates far less deeply and disappears far more quickly.  I'm thankful for my friends who share their experiences with depression, because it causes me to be more self-aware of my own state of things, and it helps me feel more okay about seeking help if that should be the case for me. (And this time, it really is me, not you guys.) But no, I don't think it's that. Not this time.

It's a general sense of "feeling down", and it's looming like a small raincloud over my head these past few weeks. Like Eeyore, but less endearing.

I'm working my way through it, day by day. Whether my mood actually becomes better or just becomes more manageable - I'm not sure.

And why? It has been a number of small things; things that when they occur don't seem like much, but when I zoom out to the big picture, I go "Oh. That. That's a lot of things. Makes sense now." (Apparently my internal monologue is full of staccato sentences.)

The difference here, and most of the reason I'm fairly certain this is more "being down" and not "being depressed", is that I am more equipped to work on these things. And - this being the big part - I don't let my stubbornness get in the way of deciding to act on those. I can recognize myself feeling this way about a particular aspect of life, and within a relatively short amount of time, I can say to myself "Okay, I can either continue to be mopey, or I can actually do something to improve my situation." I can identify tangible things I can do to help myself - for example, frustration with a current job could translate to brushing up the resumé and looking at what else is out there - instead of allowing myself to aimlessly wallow.

The part I've come to now is more difficult - dealing with the things I cannot effectively change. In the past week I've experienced loss of two sorts: an old friend, my age who had also had T1, passed away (not sure if that played into what happened or not), and I've gone through the emotional roller coaster with family as my sister-in-law first learned she was pregnant, and subsequently found she had miscarried. There are other situations as well.

I'm not sure what I'm really trying to say, other than to say that I'm here, and I'm waddling through a bit of stuff at the moment. Writing this also helps me mark down when I've felt this way - blogs are often an online journal, after all.

I'm reminding myself that I'm not powerless to work on some of it, and perhaps I just need to be a bit more patient with other aspects. And the rest? I'm not sure, but I'm doing what I can to deal with it in a healthy way.

(Post title nod to Harvey Danger.)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Billy Corgin Flashback.

Was he ever this little? And was that really just nine
months ago? And how did we get him to pose as if
he were the Most Interesting Man In The World?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cause and Effect.

Sometimes it takes me a bit to see the dotted lines connecting my blood sugar to the one specific thing that has caused it this time. With so many variables, there's a mental checklist I go through when I see a graph like this (after I indulge myself with a couple seconds of feeling deflated):

  1. When was the last time I ate?
  2. Did I forget to bolus?
  3. Did I eat more than I planned for when I took that bolus? (Related: am I horrible at carb guessing?)
  4. Did my infusion site clog/kink/come loose?
  5. Was the insulin skunky/old/ineffective?
  6. Has the site been in too long? Wait, when did I put this site in?
  7. Is it Tuesday? (read: diabetes is on its own schedule and doesn't always need a good reason to mess with me)
I decided to give my day-old infusion site a looksie, and as it turns out, it had been collecting something.

Not one to enable a hoarder, I ripped the site off and slapped a new one on. I did a quick check to make sure that CGM graph was right, and it was in the ballpark: 317, according to the Verio. I puffed my cheeks in frustration, trying to do that very specific kind of not-really-math where you go, "Okay, I bolused X half an hour ago, but Y probably leaked out when I pulled the site, so I guess I'll do a correction bolus of Z and hope that's somewhere near close enough".

One more gross picture of that infusion site? Okay, here you go.

Note: if you're wondering what sort of infusion set this is, it's made by Spring Diabetes. They were kind enough to send me some free samples, which I'm trying out for a couple of weeks before I form a solid opinion on them. Don't let the blood and guts deter you - any infusion site has the ability to hit a blood vessel, yaknow? User error!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Things I Learned Yesterday.

  1. Thom Yorke sounds just as great live as he does on Radiohead albums, and he still dances as though he's halfway between a caffiene binge and a seizure. And I love him for it.
  2. Diabetes isn't particularly fond of 7 hours spent in a car within a 12 hour period.
  3. Diabetes is also not fond of margaritas. But I am.
  4. Did you know the Sprint Center serves margaritas? I didn't, either. Huh.
  5. I realized too late that my glasses, scarf and long cardigan sweater combination gave me the appearance of being a hipster, except that I'm not. (If only I had worn skinnier jeans!)
  6. When it comes to doing what I need to do, I truly don't give a sheet about where I am or if anyone else cares. If my pump only has enough insulin left in it to cover my basal dose for the rest of the concert (three plus hours in the car, and I couldn't do a cartridge change? I know. Blame Draw Something. Also, it's really hard to draw when you're the passenger in a moving car. /digression), I will do an injection in the middle of standing room-only general admission. And no one seemed to notice.

    7.   And lastly, Arby's at midnight is never a good idea, no matter how hungry you are. The mild food-borne illness you'll contract is not fun times. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Kevin Bacon seems to be one of those pop culture references that comes up a lot.

Example: earlier today, I tweeted about how yucky a high blood sugar was making me feel, and a friend mused that it was the perfect time for some dancing. I agreed, but seeing as how I was at work, it wasn't really possible and I'd just have to deal. I then included the hashtag #whereiskevinbaconwhenyouneedhim, and the conversation eventually derailed to this.


Not Photoshopped. It really happened.

It's a fun *kapow* to have in those Bacon-flavored bouts of banter.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Beads and the 'Beetus.

As much as I love interacting with the diabetes online community, I very much appreciate the offline opportunities I get to hang out, too. It's tough to beat the chance to be face-to-face; to wear our insulin pumps out in the open air; to compare glucose meters by some other way than holding them up to the ol' webcam.

Because diabetes gives you super powers, identities have been protected.
(Except that I'm the only non-Medtronic user in the bunch. Foiled!)

A few months back, I found a couple of ladies my age-ish who also have type 1 and live where I live. We met for dinner (it felt very much like a blind date, as we connected online first, and I brought them roses) (kidding, I didn't) and found that we clicked really well. We talked about a lot of things that night, and one sticking point was, "Why isn't there a support group here for adults with type 1?". (The local JDRF chapter has a kids group that has been going strong for several years, but the adults version never really took off, so they stopped.)

The conversation then transitioned to, "Well, we could always just start one..."

And so we did. We meet once a month, and we've grown our numbers a wee bit. Not everyone comes each month, and not everyone who RSVP's shows up, but that's okay. We're providing the resource we wished had been there for us, and it needs some time to grow. It's kind of like that Gandhi quote, if I may get all philosophical for a moment: "Be the change you want to see in the world". It might as well be us, right?

Last night we met at a bead store (not a bread store, much to Amanda's chagrin) and made some jewelry - some of us made medical IDs, and some of us made the normal stuff. We even got to do some advocacy, as the store owner had many questions for us about what type of diabetes we had, how insulin pumps work, and what we can or cannot eat. Boy, did she ask the right people...

I'm especially in love with the blue one I made, and plan to wear it at least every Friday. Thanks for a great time, as always, ladies! :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

PANIC! No, Wait, Everything's Fine.

For about five seconds, I thought today was a first: after arriving at work, I rummaged through my purse (and because my purse is huge, it took a while) for my CGM. I came up short. I thought, "Noooo! I finally left it at home for the first time!".

I was all ready to post this:

I felt defeated. I mentally counted how many test strips I had with me, and wondered if I should set up some reminders to test every hour. (Have I mentioned that not wearing my CGM makes me feel a little helpless?)

But then, as I reached in the wrong pocket for my insulin pump, I discovered:

Apparently my hip is dead? How did I not feel that in my pocket? Ixnay on the anicpay. We're good.

(Sidenote: I am really, really going to miss Picnik when it shuts down next month.)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Billy's Birthday Blowout.

Billy Corgin turned one year old yesterday, and because I'm slightly ridiculous, I baked him a cake. And put a hat on him. And made him pose for pictures.

Totally normal, yeah?


Birthday car ride! (If only I were a bit taller...)

Homemade doggie cake - recipe lost to the Internet Gods. RIP 

Yes, I made him wear a stupid hat. With notches cut
out for his ginormous ears. Not that it stayed where
I put it, but I tried - and he was a good sport.

One good shot! Yes! (Notice I had to hold him back
from diving nose-first into that cake. He was EXCITED.

Nom nom nom...

Stick a paw in it. He's done.

Friday, March 2, 2012


Today's post is a smattering of randomness, reaching many places on the emotional spectrum. Let it begin!
  • You may have noticed a new purple button over on the left side of my blog this morning. My friend Meri, who writes the blog Our Diabetic Life and is the mom of four boys - three of whom have type 1 diabetes - could use your help. Her husband was recently diagnosed with metastasized melanoma, with tumors on his brain, lugs, and in his abdomen. Please send any positive thoughts, healing vibes, prayer, or whatever you're comfortable with, their way. There is also a donation page set up, should you be so inclined, which can be found by visiting the Facebook page.
  • For those who don't follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you might not know that You Can Do This officially has a table at Friends For Life (!!!!!!) - you can check out the map here to see where I'll be! Thank you, again, to all who have offered their help in making it happen. 
  • Speaking of You Can Do This, I was interviewed by this week. You can read the interview here.
  • Either my body just laughed off the antibiotics I took last month, or I've developed a new sinus infection. It's been a month now. I'm done being "real people sick", okay?
  • And lastly, I came across what I think might be the most beautiful analogy I've ever heard regarding what online community support for PWDs is like. It was written by Babs on a post that Scott wrote recently.
I have this picture in my mind of this wide dirt road, where each of us is walking, toward the same goal. Some are walking ahead of me, some behind. Some are running, others are taking their time. I see you further up the road than me, looking back and waving, "hey, try this side of the road, it's less bumpy up here!" I don't know what my health would be like today without your guidance.
I think it's very much like that - we're all on the same road, and we're helping each other find the less bumpy ways of traveling it.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


I saw some whisperings last week on Facebook about March 1st being "Hope for a cure for Diabetes day".

I have hope for a lot of things - better ways of living with diabetes, better ways of FEELING about living with diabetes. Hope that no one feels alone when they struggle. Hope that I can, at some point, not shoot up over 200 after breakfast.

Hope for a day when none of us have to worry about this anymore, because that one thing called "diabetes" was cured a long, long time ago, and no one remembers much about it.

Here's hoping.

Check out the event on Facebook for hundreds of hands expressing hope for people they love with diabetes. (Over 2,800 people participating as of this posting!)