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I can be your hero

20 May

Let’s end our week on a high note and blog about our “Diabetes Hero”.  It can be anyone you’d like to recognize or admire, someone you know personally or not, someone with diabetes or maybe a Type 3.  It might be a fabulous endo or CDE.  It could be a d-celebrity or role-model.  It could be another DOC member.  It’s up to you – who is your Diabetes Hero??  Find More Posts Here

If I’m being completely honest, I am my own diabetes hero. On a day to day basis, I do the footwork. I check my glucose, change my pump sites. I wake up in the middle of the night. I manage ordering prescriptions. It’s all about me, but as we in the DOC know, it takes a village to raise a child with diabetes.

I can’t thank my mother enough for being my only diabetes care provider for the majority of my adolescent and childhood years. Although I am the only one steering this diabetes ship these days, she still checks in with me from time to time. Offering helpful words, encouragement, and reality checks.
Thank you to my current endo, who has seen me through the brutal early teen years. From A1c’s around 12 to the under 7 happy place. For pushing me, but letting things be my decision. For saying he’s proud of me and meaning it. It means a lot.

I encourage everyone to pat themselves on the back and also thank those who lift you up. Everyone is a hero when they face diabetes.

Hero – Enrique Iglesias

Just in time…

19 May

Today’s D-Blog Week prompt: “Back for the third year, let’s show everyone what life with diabetes looks like! With a nod to the Diabetes 365 project, let’s grab our cameras again and share some more d-related pictures. Post as many or as few as you’d like. Feel free to blog your thoughts on or explanations of your pictures, or leave out the written words and let the pictures speak for themselves.”

Only 3 sugar checks. A slushie. French Fries. Sometimes you need a diabetes vacation. Here’s how I spent my day:


Just one breath in a chain of thought

18 May

Click for the What They Should Know – Friday 5/18  Link List.
Today let’s borrow a topic from a #dsma chat held last September.  The tweet asked “What is one thing you would tell someone that doesn’t have diabetes about living with diabetes?”.  Let’s do a little advocating and post what we wish people knew about diabetes.  Have more than one thing you wish people knew?  Go ahead and tell us everything.

Open letter to the uninitiated:

I’ll start by saying there aren’t enough words to sum up what you need to know.

I’d say walk a mile in my special diabetes socks, but I don’t wear them! Hell, I hate socks. I wear flip flops from May to September, and I know that there are people out there that think this is a terrible idea. To that I say I also eat cake, so sue me. Before you judge, educate yourself. As a so called healthy person you wear whatever silly shoes you want and probably consume your fair share of carbohydrates (FYI that’s what matters in Diabetes not SUGAR), and somehow because you haven’t been invited to our club it is totally okay. Actually, I’m pretty sure that anyone would say good health is about balance. So, do I eat a loaf a bread a day or eat from a can of frosting (I know someone who is perfectly healthy and thin who does this regularly)? No, I actually don’t even like bread and I always scrape my icing off. But sometimes I really want a friggin’ panini and I too have birthdays. So if it’s the right choice for my health and I’m willing to take the time to think about how it will impact my diabetes management, I’ll have the Chipotle Chicken from Panera or yellow cake with just a tad of chocolate icing. Enough with the humor though, although that’s a necessity when you live with Type 1 Diabetes, or any chronic disease.

You couldn’t know what this disease does to the body or the mind, until you’ve lived it.

So think about this:
I was 10 years old when I hit the point that I’d been living with it longer than I’d ever lived without Type I Diabetes. What were you doing when you were 10? If you aren’t a part of this great and terrible club I can bet you probably were not afraid to go to sleepovers and you weren’t being walked to the nurses office because your blood sugar was too low to go alone or being called “fruit roll up girl” because snacks weren’t something to look forward to but were more of a prescription dictated by insulin.
Have you ever been 20 years old and wondered when the 15 year streak of good luck will stop and the complications will kick in from all those years where so called good control seemed impossible?  Do you worry that everyday is a step closer to vision loss or kidney failure? I bet you had fun in college. Thirsty Thursday? Never happened for me. Not just because I’m underage or because you can’t consume alcohol when you have Type 1 Diabetes (it’s possible, like everything else it just requires balance and planning). It’s because the very few times I’ve stepped out on that ledge have been the scariest experience of my life with Diabetes. For me it’s not worth it, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt that I’m the decidedly sober friend who doesn’t get invited to parties much. I crave the idea of a normal college night, but I’ll never have it. I hate that I’m 20 years old and content with my life, but painfully aware that the second biological clock of Diabetes makes me doubt if I’ll find a man to marry in time to fulfill my dream of being a mother or will diabetes take that from me too. Tick tock.

This disease is a game with no rules, a minefield, and it is so psychological. It’s quiet, but it’s there. We are constantly trying to figure out which choices to make, what risks are worthwhile. What basal rate? What other medications? How to incorporate exercise, alcohol, special foods… But none of us are experts, so we try to stay calm and work through the situation knowing full well it could all just blow up in our faces.

So before you tell someone not to eat that or to put on special shoes, think about it for a second because I think you’d occasionally want some cake if you lived this way. I’m not asking for a spotlight, special treatment or sympathy, just thoughtfulness.

Never Know – Jack Johnson

Here’s to the future for the dreams of youth

17 May

Today let’s tackle an idea inspired by Bennet of Your Diabetes May Vary.  Tell us what your Fantasy Diabetes Device would be?  Think of your dream blood glucose checker, delivery system for insulin or other meds, magic carb counter, etc. etc. etc.  The sky is the limit – what would you love to see? Read the rest  here

At first I thought…I’ve got the CGMS and Animas Ping I don’t really need much else. But then, I thought about it a little more. I guess my one wish (out of many) would be if my pump, meter and CGMS were all connected. I’m not exactly asking for closed loop, artificial pancreas grade communication, but there are definitely some communication improvements that could be made.

The first is that I hate calibrating my Dexcom. Sugar check then punch it into the Dex? No, why can’t the meter just send it to the Dex automatically???

Another communication problem. Sometimes I check my sugar, but I’m not ready to bolus just then from the meter remote. What if somehow the meter could send the glucose number to the pump and it could be stored on both the pump and meter (which it already does) for about 10-15  minutes? That way when the time comes around to bolus, I don’t have to think about what my glucose was just a few minutes ago and dial it in, it will already be there.

Seems simple enough, says the art major to the programmer.

Speaking of cool technology… Went to the endo yesterday. Finger stick A1c  (where were you all of my childhood?!) is 7.1 Not my best, but I’m okay with it. I also saw this unit and bunch of a brochures for this bad boy:


I Want It All – Queen

The hips…they don’t lie.

16 May

One Thing to Improve – Wednesday 5/16 Yesterday we gave ourselves and our loved ones a big pat on the back for one thing we are great at.  Today let’s look at the flip-side.  We probably all have one thing we could try to do better.  Why not make today the day we start working on it.  No judgments, no scolding, just sharing one small thing we can improve so the DOC can cheer us on!

So here it is. My confession.

I’m terrible with site rotation. I’m a creature of habit. I only use my hips, above the belt line 3 days left, 3 days right and back again. Nothing else is comfortable. Arms burn, never had a leg site that didn’t bleed or rip out. Below the belt is out of the question because I always become super paranoid about the sites ripping out and they usually do. Comfortable real estate is limited and I always wear my Dexcom sensor. Lately, I’ve noticed my sites are dying at a rapid pace. I used to be able to go beyond day 3 without a second thought. Now by day two my numbers go a little wonky. I’ve had more leaky sites in the past few months than I’ve had in my 4 years (HOLY CRAP) of pumping. I know what I need to do. Be brave, take a little arm burning or wear dresses three days straight for a leg site.  Give my hips a break, so they can continue to serve me. I guess I’ll take the plunge…literally and switch it up.

Hips Don’t Lie – Shakira

I caved…

15 May

Okay I signed up. I’ll probably fail, but I can’t miss the opportunity to join this wonderful celebration of all things D. So here’s today’s topic: One Great Thing

Living with diabetes (or caring for someone who lives with it) sure does take a lot of work, and it’s easy to be hard on ourselves if we aren’t “perfect”.  But today it’s time to give ourselves some much deserved credit.  Tell us about just one diabetes thing you (or your loved one) does spectacularly!  Fasting blood sugar checks, oral meds sorted and ready, something always on hand to treat a low, or anything that you do for diabetes.  Nothing is too big or too small to celebrate doing well!

What’s my one great thing? If I’m not prepared, I’m always ready to improvise. I can only think of 4 times when I haven’t had exactly what I needed to handle a diabetes situation and even then I always found a way to make it work.

Dead pump battery? Pulled one out of a calculator. Another time, ran to the school book store and paid a regrettable sum for regular alkaline double A’s. I’m a lithium girl, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

Insulin is running low in my pump and I forgot to replace the vial that I fill cartridges from which is basically empty. Turn the basal down and draw up a syringe from dregs of the insulin bottle.

Flooded infusion site and the only spare I had was one I used to show people how they worked. Well, I popped it in because I didn’t have much of choice being 30 minutes from home in the middle of a school day and having class until 5 PM.

All of these instances have taught me. I know to always have extra everything. Two spare infusion sites, two bottles of strips, emergency glucose tabs, a syringe, batteries in my backpack, my kit and my purse. A car emergency box. It even goes beyond typical diabetes stuff. I’m the person to ask for a bandaid, antibiotic ointment, pain reliever, hand sanitizer, two pairs of scissors in art class. You name it, I probably have something that can solve your problem. I have friends that call me “boy scout mom” because I’m always prepared. It’s a diabetes thing.

This cycle never ends. Gotta fall in order to mend.

13 Dec

Whoaaaaa. I can’t believe I left that last post up for so long. Sorry for that… if anyone is even still reading this.

The fall semester is over for all intents and purposes. I just have 3 final exams over the next week. I can’t believe I made it. There were points where I hit lows I didn’t feel I could recover from. So much changed from my community college life to the 4 year school I’m currently attending. It’s been difficult. I miss the closeness, the “community” of it all. One thing I’ve discovered this semester is a certain skill with 3-D art… I thought my final piece in particular would be of interest to the DOC.


It’s a body extension sculpture. Basically, I created a hood from insulin pump tubing, insulin bottles, and cartridges. The hood restricted the movement of my arms and required some balance to keep steady; restriction of diabetes. The supplies surround my head as a symbol for the way diabetes is always on my mind and impacts my decision making. I even left one tube hanging and connected it to my pump site during the presentation. It was a great success. A lot of the feedback included how delicate I was able to make the materials seem and the contrast between that and the harshness of the medical condition. One of my classmates even said something to the effect of “it’s so pretty, but it kind of freaks me out”. Mission accomplished.


I’ll be back over break. I’m hopping back into this blogging game. Happy Holidays!


Brand New Day – Joshua Radin

What a waste, where did the time go?

21 Sep

It’s crazy how quickly your life can change. Had I sat down to write this post 3 days ago it would have had a different tone, a different subject. But here goes.

I’m adjusting well to Scholarship University. It’s a lot of change, but I’m handling it. Crazy professors, new friends, and reconnecting with old friends. So far, so good.

On Monday I turned 20. It’s kind of a weird age. Not that I care about 21 being on the horizon, but 21 feels more special and 19 was a good year. I feel older with this one though. I can see the difference between myself and freshman who I call classmates. It’s odd. I hate birthdays though. I haven’t had a good one in so long. I can think of only bad memories from the past few I’ve had; friends not showing up, mice in a movie theater, and this time deciding that my dog needed to be put down.

How do you decide something like that?

It honestly happened over my birthday dinner. For about a month my five year old dog Finn had been experiencing severe pain from an unknown neck/back injury. We tried steroids, limiting his mobility, consulted a neurologist. The options were continuing the medication, which really was not working, or an extremely expensive surgery that may or may not have worked. In the end, we knew that it was best to let him go. To see an animal so helpless, he literally would scream and scream as he paced around from discomfort, was more than we could handle. I miss him so much.
I got Finn when I dropped out of school because of anxiety and depression. Some days he was the only thing that encouraged me to get out of bed. I had to take care of the puppy if I did nothing else. I needed him just as much as he needed me. He was more mine than my first dog because I was old enough to truly take care of him. There was a running joke that guests loved Finn, but the family loved Massi more. It’s not true. We loved him, so much. He was the sweetest, calmest, most playful dog. He was quiet and fun, to our other dog’s loud and serious personality. He kept Massi young. There is nothing I loved more than hearing the two of them scamper across our hardwood floors, tags jingling. I’m glad we had the pair, because it’s easier to still have one dog. We are not getting another dog anytime soon. I can’t even think of “replacing” him. I think it’s kind of a sign though. I needed him for so long, we depended on each other when he was a puppy. In the end he needed me to help him escape the pain, so I did. I’ve grown so much since I got him and now he’s gone. If that’s not poetic, I don’t know what is.

Today is my 15 year Diaversary. I don’t really have anything to say. It’s been the best and worst 15 years. I’m complication free. I continue to strive for the best management possible, for me. Sometimes I’m scared about my future, but I’m okay today and that means a lot.

Tomorrow is my mom’s birthday. I love her so much, there aren’t even enough words. I don’t know if she’s reading this. LOVE YOU MOM!

Something good better happen on Friday to balance out this crazy week.


Think Good Thoughts.

25 Aug

Sorry, things got hectic around these parts. Just wanted to let you know it was a fluke. Probably had something to do with exercising in the days prior to the test. So party on!

Think Good Thoughts – Colbie Caillat

All that I know is I’m breathing now

4 Aug

The good news or the bad news? Is there a difference? In the end I’ve still got this awful disease. It will always be the enemy I keep closest and care for like it’s best friend, because I have to, because it’s a part of me.

I had my quarterly endocrinologist appointment today. The news was so-so. I’ve gained weight, even though I’ve been working hard to exercise 5 days a week. My A1c went up to 7.2. Not bad, but not my best. And the kicker…

My yearly urinalysis showed slightly elevated levels on the albumin/creatinine ratio test.

The plan is to go in for another urine test tomorrow, the results I got today were about a week old. It could have been a fluke, according to my doctor. Only tomorrow will tell. I hope that’s all it is. If it’s not, the next step is blood pressure medication. I have no problem adding another pill to my regimen, it’s just the reason for it is so upsetting. This is basically early stage kidney disease we are talking about (if we are even talking about it)…

I’m 19.

I’m a month shy of 15 years living relatively well with Type 1 Diabetes and also a month from my 20th birthday.

I don’t want this. Complications never really seem real, until you hear something like this. I’ve always been most worried about my vision, which is perfectly fine. Kidneys were an after thought and now here they are, in my face and I don’t know how to react. I thought I’d have more time to be complication free.

Maybe I do.

I’m crossing my fingers…I’m counting on a fluke.


Keep Breathing – Ingrid Michaelson