My Blue Valentine

14 Feb

All the years of monitoring my bg’s, fumbling with basal and bolus rates and midnight lows have added up to a 5.4% A1c and a very healthy growing baby boy. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Thanks A Lot, ABC News!

28 Jan

Ugh. I can’t tell you how much it pisses me off when I read a story from a nationally accredited news source where horrendous misinformation leaks in.

It happened again today. “Girl, 9, Saves Mom from Diabetic Attack While Driving.” I can give kudos to the daughter who knew how to treat her mother’s low blood sugar. That’s where the praise ends.

A diabetic attack? Really? WTF is that even supposed to mean? High blood sugar? Low blood sugar? Blood starts spurting from all previous injection/infusion sites?

Then, towards the end of the article, they throw in this gem:

Sheridan said that she is now using an insulin pump, which is designed to eliminate lows in blood sugar in diabetics.

Oh? A pump does that now? Last time I checked, an insulin pump helps to regulate blood sugars when paired with rigorous management and blood sugar checks. In NO way does it eliminate lows.

It frustrates me to no end that someone will read this article and believe every last word. This article is now fact to that reader.

In my opinion, a trusted news source should have to do some research. Crazy, I know. I refuse to believe that he (Kevin Dolak, @kdolak on twitter) did more than 10 minutes of some Google-work before this article was written and published. Shame on ABC News for publishing this and shame on Kevin Dolak for not fact-checking.

Moving Forward

29 Nov

Here we go, the last post for the Joslin Blog Project. Has it already been a month? Our prompt is: What tech/management tools/delivery systems have helped you live more normally? How could these things be better?

When I was diagnosed I never had to test my urine to see what my blood sugar was and I didn’t have to boil syringes on the stove before using them. The dark(er) ages were behind me and I didn’t even know it. When I was diagnosed I was on multiple daily injections (MDI) of Lente and Rugular. I ate on a schedule and there was little flexibility in changing that ever rigid diet plan. (Only 10 french fries?! What 10 year old eats 10 french fries…).

By the time I made it to high school, I was on Lantus and Humalog. I could sleep in and had much more flexibility around meals and mealtimes. I was becoming more and more independent. I knew that pumps existed but was terrified of the idea of standing out in any way. A thing stuck to me all the time? No thank you.

College started and I was still doing injections. This coupled with late nights, crappy food and some social drinking (hah) lead to some pretty awful A1c’s. I knew I had to get my proverbial shit together. With the support of my then boyfriend (now husband), I made the leap to a pump. A pretty pink Animas. I had my training session with a very pregnant representative at home. I won’t lie…I was really nervous. It seemed so much more gruesome than my little tiny syringes upstairs, but I was in. My mom always taught us never to do anything half-way, this included.

Then I heard about a CGM. I wanted one reeaaaal bad but there was no way I could afford it with my previous insurance. I could barely afford my infusion sets let alone sensors for a CGM. (Note: Diabetes is not cheap. At all.) Then, after doing a little research after Cash was offered a new job lead us to discover that durable medical equipment would be covered. At 100%. Such beautiful words have never been spoken. I had the rep confirm that information a few more times before immediately calling Dexcom to get set up with sensors and such ASAP.

With all of the advances that I have been so lucky to take advantage of, I’ve been able to keep my A1c right around 6%. There is a lot of extra work in the way of carb-counting and avoiding bagels like the plague, but I could never be where I am now without my robot parts helping me along. I know that there are people working every day to make my life easier and it makes me excited to see what the future holds.

_____________

I have been invited by Joslin Diabetes Center to participate in a blogging contest this November – National Diabetes Awareness Month. Myself and a select few other amazing bloggers are taking part in hopes of raising $5,000 for the Joslin Diabetes High Hopes Fund.

Click here to donate today! Every little bit helps and will make a difference.

Talking…

24 Nov

For the third post for the Joslin Blog Project, we were asked to talk about how and why we got into blogging. Also, what have the best and worst parts of doing so?

I jumped on the blog train a little late. After years of reading stories from others, I felt that adding my voice to the mix would only help to diversify and build on the strength of this ever growing D-community. I tend to take a more…sarcastic tone and try to lighten up the darkest times with humor. In living with diabetes, you see it all. Highs for no reason, infusion sites turned vampires and lows that appear to be an acid trip to outsiders. All can be scary but they can also be hysterically funny. Diabetes certainly isn’t always rainbows and sunshine, but I’ve found that focusing on the good and making myself laugh when life throws a mean left hook will only help.

The best parts are when I get a comment letting me know that someone gets it. They know what I’m talking about, have been through the same thing and are on the other side with words of wisdom. I hope I’m doing the same for people who read my blog. Knowing that there’s someone out there who knows what it’s like to wake up and not have the words to say “I’m low.” Or to get pissed when you can’t find a good spot for your infusion site because you’re riddled with scar tissue. I want people to know that they aren’t alone in managing their diabetes. Even if we don’t hold hands and check our blood sugars, we’re all in it together.

The worst parts? Writers block. Plain and simple. Having an ounce of an idea and just not being able to put one sentence after another blows. I  have at least have a dozen drafts of blog posts just waiting for some coherent thought to bring it all together. My one-to-two sentence blog posts might make a mean coffee table book someday…

_____________

I have been invited by Joslin Diabetes Center to participate in a blogging contest this November – National Diabetes Awareness Month. Myself and a select few other amazing bloggers are taking part in hopes of raising $5,000 for the Joslin Diabetes High Hopes Fund.

Click here to donate today! Every little bit helps and will make a difference.

Changes

13 Nov

For the second post for the Joslin Blog Project, we were asked to talk about the biggest changes we went through after our diagnosis and what (if any) small things we didn’t realize would change. 

The biggest changes are felt immediately when you’re diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Obviously, injections and the finger pricks were a big change, but there were two things that really stick out in my memory as being the biggest changes.

  • Food.

    Gone were the days of sitting on the couch in the summer eating popsicles and push-pops. No more all-you-can-eat birthday cake or late night snacking at a friend’s sleep over party. Every item that I ate had to be calculated and accounted for. When you’re 10, you start picking up on the notion that eating is a social behavior. You can talk about what happened on Saved By The Bell (or whatever the kids are watching these days) while munching on some popcorn. You can mingle, albeit awkwardly, with the grown-ups at a family function and eat cheese on a cracker.

    Some days I try and think about what it would be like to mindlessly eat something. I would love to not know the carb count of almost every item on the Dunkin Donuts breakfast menu. I would love to just sit on my couch and eat pizza and an ice cream sundae without fearing the resulting spike in spite of my bolus’s best efforts.

  • Forever.

    When I was 10, my concept of forever was limited. Waiting for the end of the school year could feel like for-everrr (I say this in my head like Squints a la The Sandlot). Forever, in reality, at that age is a short-term feeling.

    At my diagnosis, I was told that I would likely have this disease forever. It wasn’t something I would grow out of like my short-lived grunge phase. This was something I would manage and live with until the day I died.

    I would have diabetes when I went to high school AND college, bought a house and got married. It would be with me when I slept, when I was at school, when I was with my friends. It would be there when I laughed so hard I spit milk out at the dinner table and when I bawled like a baby during Titanic. It wasn’t going away.

The little things that change are just as important as the big things. Things that might start off as a little change can easily transform into a big thing later on in life and vice-versa. It’s how we adapt to the changes that makes the difference.

_____________

I have been invited by Joslin Diabetes Center to participate in a blogging contest this November – National Diabetes Awareness Month. Myself and a select few other amazing bloggers are taking part in hopes of raising $5,000 for the Joslin Diabetes High Hopes Fund.

Click here to donate today! Every little bit helps and will make a difference.

Wordless Wednesday

7 Nov

The Beginning

6 Nov

“Breathe on me.

Again. Breathe on me.”

I breathed into the doctor’s face at least 10 times. His bug-eyes were tightly closed behind his coke bottle glasses. It was as if he was breathing in a fine wine, making sure his nose was firmly planted in the glass (in this case, the glass was my face…).

“Yes. It’s fruity. A sign of Juvenile Diabetes.”

Since I don't remember smelling my own breath at the time, I imagine it smelled something like a bowl of Fruit Loops? Maybe?

I was 10 years old, but could pick up the “huh?” look from my parents as I lay in my hospital bed. I was embarrassed mostly because there is no way I brushed my teeth that morning and now the whole world would know. It would be in my diagnosis chart. “Female. 10 years old. Horrible breath. Obviously did not brush teeth before coming to the hospital.” I was also embarrassed because breathing on someone’s face is just a strange thing to do. Right? Maybe in a foreign culture it’s commonplace where you let them guess what you had for dinner. Beef stroganoff? Yum.

After he left the room, my mom (the nurse), came over and had me breathe in her face too. Was the fruity breath something she should have known about? She shut her eyes gently, waiting to smell it. Wanting to smell it. She wanted to pick up on the subtle cues. My dad, the constant joker, would make me laugh by impersonating the Dr. and his out-of-this-world bug eyes.

The months leading up to my diagnosis were as subtle as fruity breath. Three signs are all we can look back on: thirst, frequent urination, and weight loss. I didn’t have some dramatic scene of collapsing into the arms of a stranger calling out, “Mama, I see the bright light.” It crept up slowly and quietly.

Diabetes isn’t always about the big, obvious signs. More often than not, it’s the subtle cues and learning what they are (and what to do when you notice them) that can make the difference.

_______________

I have been invited by Joslin Diabetes Center to participate in a blogging contest this November – National Diabetes Awareness Month. Myself and a select few other amazing bloggers are taking part in hopes of raising $5,000 for the Joslin Diabetes High Hopes Fund.

Click here to donate today! Every little bit helps and will make a difference.

National Diabetes Awareness Month

2 Nov

It feels strange to say, but I’m happy it’s November. I love the fall, my wedding anniversary is this month AND it’s National Diabetes Awareness Month (which in turn holds World Diabetes Day.)

I wish that when I was first diagnosed that I knew just how many of us there were out there. More than just a small handful in my city, we are millions of people who are joined together by one common thread. We are constantly learning, adapting and changing. We are dynamic. We are strong. We share in each other’s wins, no matter how big or small, and understand each other’s struggles.

So whether you  have diabetes yourself, or just know someone with diabetes – this is a month to spread awareness and for all of us to recognize the amazing achievements we have made so far and all of those to come in the future.

 

 

Behind Green Eyes

1 Nov

Did I say that getting my eyes checked was like looking directly at the sun? What I should have said was that it was like looking directly into the Eye of Sauron. Not even kidding and yes, I am a dork.

This is what I saw. It hurt.

During the appointment, I had to pull back and apologize. I had no idea if my eye was even looking in the direction she asked. Right? Down? Was my eye even still inside of my head? I’m pretty sure if my eyes would just stay still, the entire staring process would be cut down to a minute or two. Unfortunately for me, the involuntary eye spasms when asked to look into said Eye of Sauron, creates a delay.

The good news? My eyes are free and clear of any changes. Whew!

I was out of the chair with my coat on before she could even see if I had any questions. I had my good news and could head out into the world, armed with my trusty sunglasses of course.

I wished her happy holidays and told her to enjoy next summer. Unless anything happens, I won’t have to see her ’til next fall…

My First D-Halloween

31 Oct

My first halloween as a diabetic was…interesting. My diet was strict and rapid acting insulin was a few years away. I couldn’t really “cover” what I ate with insulin, so certain foods had to be avoided. By certain foods, I mean candy.

Happy Halloween from my pups! Killian (left) wanted NO part in her Wonder Woman ensemble.

I had just turned 11 and my mom, trying to keep me from eating my weight in M&M’s, suggested that we go out to dinner for a girls night. On Halloween. She told me that I could still dress up, but rather than going all-out I wore a leather jacket and a fake nose piercing. I was a rebel, or a punk…or whatever you want to call it. I can only imagine how ridiculous I looked at our little table for two. I may be remembering incorrectly, but it felt like I was the only one in costume.

I remember thinking of my friends and wondering how much candy they had socked away already. I was jealous. This was my first holiday in my new life and so far, I hated it. I can’t remember what I ordered to eat for dinner, or what my mom and I talked about. I knew that I was a kid and this was a holiday for kids that I couldn’t take part in.

Shortly thereafter, my mom would find empty candy wrappers hidden behind the microwave, cookie jar, under the couch….you get the idea. I would eat the candy one way or another. It wasn’t a matter of my health at that point, it was the basic principal that I was a kid and should eat candy on Halloween. It was my adolescent duty to do so. My destiny. (It made more sense to me at 11 years old…I swear.)

My punk costume may have been more telling than I could have ever realized at the time. I was a little diabetic anarchist.