Thursday, March 31, 2011

It Started as Just a Cute Story

Yesterday was a crazy day.  

After dropping Girl Genius off at school, I was over 370.  An hour later after finishing #sweatbetes at the gym, I was 70.  Then 50s.  Then 30s.  Then 50s.  Then 80s.  Then 200s.

This is Coffee
I wasn't a happy camper.  Except that I was because it was sunny and warm and I get to go skiing at my favorite of all weekends up at Sunday River this weekend.  I would try to talk with Girl Genius and the words coming out of my mouth made no sense whatsoever.  We needed to go to the dry cleaners, and Starbucks is right across the street.  I wanted something, but I'm limiting myself to one cup of coffee per day during Lent, and I knew what I was going to order walking in.  And what did I order?  My usual coffee.  And as we're driving back, Girl Genius is talking about how Coffee makes his own coffee if we're not at the house.  When we're at the dry cleaners, or school, or the grocery store, or this, or that, I just zoned.  It can be mentally challenging to follow the logic of a really smart 4 year old!  And then I hear 

"juice. Because he has diabetes too.  And sometimes he goes low.  And he wears an insulin pump like you.  But when he doesn't have his insulin pump on, he takes shots until we can get to the store to get him another one."

Seriously child?!  I mean, you know I take juice if I'm low.  And you know that when we eat snack or lunch I push buttons on the pump.  But you put all that together for the dog?!  And I know that imaginative play is a way for children to help themselves understand something really complicated.  So not only is she asking questions, noticing my diabetes, paying attention when I talk to her, but she is actively trying to understand it.  

And then I'm thinking about it.  And I relate diabetes to a foreign language.  I took Spanish & French in junior high, German in high school and American Sign Language in college.  And I know very little of any of these.  Why?  Because I don't use them on a regular basis.  Diabetes for nonPWDs must be the same thing.  You hear us get angry, frustrated, and flabbergasted trying to explain diabetes.  But I don't remember or understand things I don't use a lot.  So why would people who don't experience it a lot understand it?  When it comes to explaining diabetes, I am really patient with Girl Genius, because, ya know, she's four.  But maybe that's just how it needs to be done.  Answer people's questions as they have them, not when we want them to know.  Let's all find a new friend who doesn't know much about diabetes and through the course of getting to know them better, they'll know diabetes better, and they'll be able to correct that third person, and so on.  Baby steps.  I'm taking baby steps.  Who's with me?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Synchro Surprise

(I am the second to walk out)

"We define ourselves by the best that is in us, not the worst that has been done to us." Edward Lewis

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I'm Just A Social Butterfly

Here is my DSMA March Carnival Entry all about exercise!  It took me a long time to sit down and write this blog.  Mostly because I don't feel like I belong in the exercise buff category or the dreading exercise all together.  I've always been active, and at camp as a kid they would over-feed us so we wouldn't go low; I was in the 300s because I was just as active at home as I was at camp.

Plymouth State tennis team (that's me with the Fischer bag)
On the exercise buff side: *side note: I am not an exercise buff by any means, but I also am not a complete hater of exercise* I love doing things with other people.  You might have heard that I like to ski.  And skiing is something I have always done with my family.  I have friends who ski too, and who have supported me while I was super low while doing it, but for me it will always be a family activity.  It isn't what I would call a workout by any means, but it is what I would call fun, active, getting fresh air, and enjoying myself.  My other favorites are synchronized swimming and tennis.  Synchronized swimming is something I do with one of my best friends, my mother, and a few other women.  We laugh, we talk, we make faces at each other under water, and we work hard.  Holding your breath and kicking your legs up in the air and spinning are hard work.  And then when you come out of the water you need to not look dead and be smiling.  It's hard work, and quite often it sends me to the low range.  As for tennis, I've been playing since I was four, and started with my grandparents.  I took lessons with them, played in the driveway, and even against the garage door (sometimes I even won - sending the ball through the window).  As I got older, I'd take lessons throughout the school year with my friends, and in high school I joined the tennis team.  And in college I joined the tennis team.  That was another four years of working out, working hard, playing hard and having fun.  As a kid, I also did dance, softball, swim team, track along with any sort of pick up games you could imagine.  In high school, I ran cross country, was on the ski team, and tennis team (as I mentioned).  My junior year I ran winter track too.  It's easier to do the working out, working had & playing hard if you're having fun while you're doing it.  I guess that is where my motivation comes in.  My motivation is to have fun; because at the end of every day, that is what it's all about.  I know that if I work hard, and keep up with exercising constantly, I'm going to be able to enjoy it alot more.  If not, I'll be stopping to take breaks, I'll be going low inconsistently & worrying and worst of all (in my opinion), I might not be able to keep up.

Onto the I hate exercise side:  I can always find things that are more appealing.  Because, ya know, working out by yourself is BORING!  I go to the gym and I go running, but no part of that is appealing. Unless of course there is a tennis court or pool at said gym...but I digress.  But the easiest and cheapest way to stay in shape is to go for a run.  Living in the city gives me great loops, that are flat or hilly and that I can repeat or not.  I generally don't go on routes that I have to repeat because I find myself lured back to my apartment.  I haven't been running as much I would like lately, but I'm okay with that because I've been going to the gym.  The biggest thing that I find gets in the way is the time I leave myself to go low after.  Yes, I plan this in.  Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't, but if I'm working out in the morning, I need to make sure I have time to come back up before getting back to work.  When I go for a run, I have my keys tied into my shoes, my glucose tabs in my sports bra, and if I'm feeling really ambitious I bring my phone so I can listen to music.  Having these things with me is much easier at the gym because of the cup holders and shelves on the equipment.  And, if I do feel low, I can slow down, take some tabs and not feel as scared that I'm out all by myself.  As time goes on and I exercise more and more, the lows and such are more predictable.  The one thing I do find difficult though is the lack of predictability in my schedule, therefore my workout schedule can also be hard to figure out.  The days that are the hardest are when I'm free after work one night, and in the morning the next day since I know exercise stays in my body for 24 hours.  I haven't paid attention to patterns when this happens, but if it happens more regularly, this is something I will need to pay attention to.

This post is my March entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival.  If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at

Monday, March 28, 2011



This is one of New Hampshire's gems, Tuckerman's Ravine.  It's also something that as a skier being able to say you've done it puts you in a different league.  My plan is to do it this spring.  I am concerned about diabetes though.  

First of all, the group of people gathered at the bottom are on the "lunch rocks."  It is a 2 mile hike up to these rocks.  This is not what I am concerned about.  And by hike, I mean not quite a hike, not quite a walk.  (Or so I'm told).  I have seen Tuckerman's before, but only while skiing Wildcat, not while being right there.  For this, I am sure that a temp basal while toting lots of snacks & juice boxes will be fine.  However, after you get to the lunch rocks, you hike up.
Second, I'm scared of heights.
Third, there are specific lines to hike up and everyone follows in a line.  My father has seen one person fall and have it be dominoes all the way down.  I don't want to be that person.  And I could easily be that person, not being low.
Fourth, if I'm hiking up and I feel low, will it be possible to stop, test and take something?  Or even to just take something?  Will I be able to get something out?
And last, I'm just plain excited.  If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know!  Especially if you've ever skied Tuck's before.

Friday, March 25, 2011


When I woke up Saturday morning, I had no idea what to anticipate my BG as.  I've actually been waking up quite well lately, (and I'm sure that will change now) but the "oh no what will it be" is apparently automatic right now.  I was 152 mg/dL, which is darn near perfect for a day of skiing.  When you stick 11 people in a hotel "room," breakfast is a little chaotic.  But I grab a bagel and I'm totally all set and diabetes is great.  Our goal was first chair, and we were almost successful.  We got second.  And at the end of that run, I felt low.  So I took out my pump, pushed the basal down to 70% and went on my way.  And after the second run, I still felt low.  Grab the meter and I'm in the 60s.  Scoff down some tabs (of which I didn't bring enough, but wasn't about to admit that then and there), and take out the pump again and push the basal down to 50%.  And I was on my way.  No more feeling low for this girl! And we skied about half the mountain.

As a ski family, we've always taken snack breaks.  A few people have even mentioned that.  So when a few of us were in need of warming up and energizing, we stopped in at the lodge.  Now I still remember the days when the food was homemade, and the eternal optimist in me still believes that I might walk in one day and it will be there again.  But on this day, it was nearly true.  I grabbed a hot chocolate, and my cousin even showed me the container of marshmallows.  And then I turned around and saw the cinnamon buns.  I ran over to my mother and asked if she wanted to share.  I don't remember why she didn't want to, but I decided to go for it anyways.  And I felt better because said cousin was also getting one.  Not only did it at least look  kinda homemade, it was giant and it was swimming in syrup/frosting.  I am not sure what I bolused for this delicious treat, but I do know that it was definitely bolus-worthy.  And then I was wondering whether I would need a temp basal for the rest of the ski day.  I decided to reset the temp basal, because I could always do another bolus if I didn't need it, and a high BG wouldn't stop me from skiing.  The whole family skied around a lot of the mountain, and then the cousins took off to ski some more.  When we went inside at lunch time, I was 179 mg/dL.  So I probably didn't need such an extreme temp basal, but things definitely could've been worse.  We went back out after lunch, with another temp basal, and at the end of the ski day, a 70 mg/dL was staring me back.  Not so bad either.

The reason these temp basals are perplexing me is because when I first got the pump in 2002, I needed temp basals while I was skiing.  And I of course always thought I would.  And then I slowly needed more and more insulin during a ski day.  But now, I'm needing more extreme temp basals during my ski days, making for some trial and error days.  (But maybe that's all diabetes ever is?)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Low Mistakes

On Tuesday Girl Genius didn't have any school, so we spent the whole day together.  It started with grocery shopping where I decided to buy mango lemonade rather than the berry juice as my low treatment of choice.  And it's good that I did because I was low for about three hours that day.  It started when I was mixing together breading for chicken for dinner that night.  She was helping me crunch up the cereal, and I was glad that there was nothing actually cooking at that moment.  We stopped making the breading to make lunch, which I enjoyed more than I should've (mac & cheese, but I put broccoli in mine).  And then after lunch I had a pounding headache, with a stomachache and I still felt low.  Girl Genius was in the playroom making families out of plastic ducks & markers, and dancing.  And I was low again.  I poured myself the third glass of juice, and this time I poured some of it down the front of me.  At this time I was extra glad I decided to go with the lemonade, considering my light pink shirt.  And glad that I get cold easily and prepare for that, so I zipped up my sweatshirt and no one was any wiser about my low mistakes. Or so I thought.

When it was time to get Girl Genius changed for ballet, she said.  "Why does it smell like juice?  Or fruit?"
"I spilled some down the front of my shirt."
"Were you low?"

I don't think she quite understands how being low makes me feel weaker or shaky, but she does know the only time I drink juice is when I'm low, and that sometimes when I'm low I can't play with her.  But experience of mine expands her knowledge of diabetes, and that's all I can ask.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Successful SWAGing

As part of Uncle Pepere's birthday celebration, I took the day off of work last Friday.  Last year I used 4.5 out of my 5 sick days, but I never took a day.  Needless to say, on Thursday, I was a happy girl.  So happy in fact, that I forgot to either make myself a sandwich or stop at Panera for one.  So as I got on my way, I realized I'd be stopping at McDonald's for my dinner.  I am not a fan of McDonald's, in fact, I gave it up in high school and only started eating it again last year because of the convenience.  Anyways, I pulled up to the drive through and saw the sign that the Shamrock Shakes are back.  I like these, and I've only ever had one.  And I don't plan on being back at McDonald's any time soon.  But now, how on Earth do I bolus for this?!  Especially if you're feeling low, and have a 3.5 hour drive in front of you?  I bolused for 90 grams of carbs, with the correction for 30 happening right away, and the other 60 over the course of the next half hour.  I finished the shake about 40 minutes later, so I thought at least my timing was right.  When I bolused, I had a BG of 126 mg/dL.  When I got to the next rest stop in Maine about an hour and a half later, I was 101 mg/dL.  I was freaking ecstatic!  I am never a successful SWAGer, and mostly because I haven't paid enough attention over the last eight years to know whether I'm successful or not.  But I didn't want to jinx it, so I didn't say a thing online.  Getting off the highway I was 129 mg/dL and when I reached my family at Sunday River I was at 151 mg/dL.  I had successfully SWAGed!!

*For those of you who don't know what a SWAG is: Scientific Wild Ass Guess

Monday, March 21, 2011

Happy Birthday

This weekend I went up to Sunday River to celebrate a 75th Birthday for one of my most favorite people in the world: 
Uncle Pepere turns 75!
We skiied
Megan, me, Michael & Karolyn

We love good trails

And we enjoyed time with family
The whole gang to celebrate the man front & center

cousins :)

And we had a lot of laughs in the process.  I hope everyone else had a great weekend too :)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Short, Sweet & Powerful

Last weekend some amazing, talented, devoted, inspirational, & awesome people invaded Washington D.C. for JDRF Government Day.  I didn't think that I'd be moved, but I was.  And if you have an hour, check it out, I bet you will be too.

"The bravest sight in all the world is someone fighting against the odds." Franklin Lane

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Diabetes Research

Every so often, I like to search diabetes on to see if there is anything new and interesting.  As I read this on Tuesday night, I felt bad.  I felt bad because during the day I said I want the number of T1s to stop increasing.  My understanding from this brief article is that once a patient is diagnosed, or aware that they are capable of developing T1 in the future, the drug otelixizumab would protect what is left so that the onset of T1 can be delayed.  

When I searched "Tolerx diabetes" on Google, I found that it is not only being tried for diabetes, but RA as well.  When I was in college, I read a lot of research papers on diabetes as they relate to classrooms, but I haven't read scientific information in a long time.  It took me quite a few tries to get through and understand.  So it doesn't seem that this study has been successful.  (If you don't agree with eternal optimists, then you might want to stop reading now)  But how cool would that be?  I mean, someone could get diagnosed with T1 (not cool), but people believe this drug has the ability to hold you where are in the "progression."  To continue producing insulin if that is  what your body is doing, or to produce C-peptide.  And even if it can't do it forever, delaying someone's official diagnosis date sounds pretty awesome to me.  

When I first started reading, I was disappointed, sad & upset that it didn't work.  And yea, it kinda sucks.  But I'm amazed that there are people out there who can actually think of this stuff.  But watch out, if this stuff works someday, maybe Scott will give up Diet Coke?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sun, Friend, City & Starbucks

Saturday was beautiful day up here in the Boston area, so I got together with my friend and we went walking through the city.  We walked around the common and down Newbury St. talking and talking and talking and ending up at the far end at Starbucks.  We have walked around the city before, and I quite often end up low.  Before we left, I was 134 mg/dL, but I didn't want to go low, especially since I was flatlining around 70 earlier in the day.  I set my temp basal for 50%.  I don't consider walking through the city exercise, but I won't discredit my diabetes for thinking it.  And I won't say that it's not good for me.  And as we stood in line at Starbucks, I was 65 mg/dL.  So not too low, but I was feeling it.  And as I walk up to the counter deciding what snack to get, I see this small, delicious treats staring me back.  (Now keep in mind that I was low.)  I am trying to figure out what these treats are, since there are no signs.  And I'm not really a "Starbucks" person.  I enjoy their coffee, but I don't broaden what I get because ordering at Starbucks is seriously intimidating to me.  But during Lent I am limiting myself to one cup of coffee per day.  
So I walk up and I ask "Is that a, um, red, um velvet......"
"whoopie pie?"
"Yes, that.  Can I get one of those?"
"Did you know that they're free with any beverage?"
*I got seriously excited* "No"
"Are you getting a beverage?"
"Yes.  Haven't gotten that far yet."
I move on down to the man at the cash register at which time I've decided I'm going to have a white chocolate mocha.  And I went for the whipped cream.  And I got the red velvet whoopie pie.  And my friend scored a table in the busy Starbucks.  So we sat down and talked more and more and more and my whoopie pie was delicious beyond delicious.  I bolused for 30g. of carbs.  And as we got ready to walk back, Not only was I 143 mg/dL I was trying to talk myself out of getting another mocha.  I was not successful.  I decided that I would have that instead of a temp basal for our walk back.  This was inspired by Holly and using diabetes to our advantage.  I mean, I wanted it and I didn't want to go low again.  Win win.  So we stared heading back after I ate my Rocky Road Cake Pop (the Red Velvet Whoopie Pie was so so so so much better; but I'm also not a big chocolate person.)  As we were walking back towards the Common, we passed a CVS, and I was pretty sure I forgot to pack extra test strips, so went in.  And this was what I like to call a double decker CVS, which I had never seen before, so we went downstairs towards the pharmacy.  I stood in line after making sure they had One Touch, and my friend was still standing over near the diabetes supplies because it was pretty cramped.  She comes back over and asks me a question.  Not only did she ask me this, but she pretended to be in a sword fight (yes, we're adults).  Sometimes, you just need a friend with a new perspective to make you laugh at this thing that can suck the life out of you sometimes.   We finished our walk and got back on the T, and I was a joyous 60-something.  I didn't want to get rid of the delicious tastes that were previously occupying my mouth, so I ate 1 glucose tab.  Yes, I realize this is not the recommended amount of low correction and yes, I realize this might sound crazy, but I was sitting and my friend lives right next to the T stop.  So I hung out with my friend for a little while, and then before I got ready to leave, I was around 120.  Perfect driving number :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

"Sickness comes on horseback but departs on foot."

Last year on March 13, we had a great St. Pattie's Day party, with the intention of going downtown the next morning for the parade.  It was the first time most of our friends saw our apartment, and so many of our college friends came over.  Even people who said they couldn't make it were knocking on our door.  It was our first time hosting a party as adults, but still kinda in college mode.  So we went all out and bought cheese, chicken & sandwich platters.  Most of the food was gone by the end of the night, so at least we tried to help, but we still all ended up feeling quite nice at the end of the night.

When I woke up the next morning, I had a hangover, but not as intense as I thought it would be.  I stumbled to the kitchen for water, and made a pot of coffee.  I ended up in the living room in front of the TV.  I double-fisted my water and coffee, and I was starting to feel better.  Time for food.  The thought of eating one of the left over sandwiches didn't sound good.  So I opted for a yogurt.  I ate about half, and didn't think it was sitting well, so I stopped.  A little while later, off to the bathroom I ran.  Back to the couch with my water.  Drinking, drinking, drinking.  And kept needing to run to the bathroom.   I was in contact with my mother all day, and as I would start to feel better, I would try to eat.  Nothing worked.  When our friend woke up and was getting ready to leave, I was able to stay on the couch.  I didn't want him to think I was that hungover, since I've never vomited as part of a hangover.

As the day went on, I knew that this was not a hangover.  This was something else.  Especially since I didn't start vomiting until after I ate (which was quite a few hours after I woke up).  I was in constant contact with my mother, and around 9PM when I was vomiting bile, and possibly blood, she asked me to go to the ER.  I live less than two miles from a hospital and that is where my roommate brought me.  I couldn't even stand up to give the check in lady all my information.  As soon as she had it, I asked where the bathroom was.  I hung out in there until the nurse called my name to evaluate me.  I was so weak at that point that it took all of my energy to hang over the toilet seat, and not lay down on the floor.  I had my roommate come with me everywhere (she stayed right outside the bathroom), and was there as I was talking to the nurses.  The nurse tested my BG, and I don't remember what it was, but I do remember that it was high. *I had been testing my BGs all day.  They were high, and I was taking insulin, and testing my ketones, but I didn't have any all day until right before I went to the ER.

I got admitted to the ER, and I got some fluids, some diet gingerale, and I immediately started feeling better.  (That wasn't saying much though.) I still felt awful, and around 2AM, my roommate went home.  They wanted me in the ICU, but the only open bed was in the RICU, so there I went.  This was after I got x-rays (I think), and something else that required me to be wheeled out of the ER.  I got to the RICU and my nurse was straight off the boat from Ireland.  A big thick woman with the same type of accent.  And just as nice.  It's funny how when you're in your twenties and sick, everyone immediately treats you much younger, and I'm totally okay with that.  I wanted my stuffed animal, and my mom, and sleep.    I did get some sleep.

When I woke up the next morning, an endocrinologist came to see me, and told me what my A1C was.  In the event of full disclosure, here we go.  11.1% and DKA.  No wonder why I was sick.  My guess is that she's a nice person if you fit exactly within how she views taking care of diabetes should happen, but clearly I wasn't doing that.  She asked me why I didn't come in as soon as I tested positive for ketones.  When I told her that I did, she didn't like that I followed procedure and was still in the hospital.  I was on an IV with Regular insulin (I believe).  I slept a lot.  My roommate called in sick from work (from lack of sleep), so she brought me clean clothes (underwear!), my phone charger,  a magazine and other various trinkets to survive an unknown length hospital stay.  My parents were there with me pretty early in the morning, but I don't know how long they stayed.  I know that they stayed long enough to talk to the doctor.  I'm not sure if they talked to the endocrinologist or not, but they did talk to the other doctor.  

I slept most of that Monday (March 15), and then had a hard time falling asleep that night.  But finally it happened.  And then the nurse tried to wake me up to have me take a potassium pill at 3AM.  First of all, I can't swallow pills (up until about a month ago).  Second of all, if you're going to make me swallow a pill, don't wake me up to do it.  My response: Can't I just have a banana?  I'm not sure if the nurse laughed or not, but I was pretty proud of myself for knowing that.  Needless to say, I didn't take the pill.  But no one ever mentioned that on my chart.

I was hooked up to all sorts of machines and wires, and completely uncomfortable.  Besides not being able to test my own blood sugar, I was okay.  I would call the nurses when I needed to use the bathroom.    The other time I was concerned was after I noticed my hand was all sorts of puffy.  Of course, I sent the picture to my best friend and mom before seeing if they thought I should ask the nurse.  My arms both had IVs in them, so they thought the puffiness was from that.  It was something they were keeping an eye on, but not something that was overly concerning.  On Tuesday, I was restless.  My father came to visit during the day, and it was good to see him, but I was completely embarrassed as well.  I like unexpected visits with my parents; but the cause was not a reason I'm proud of.  To prepare me to leave on Wednesday, I got a dose of Lantus at 3PM on Tuesday.  My BGs went back up after that, but my body has never really accepted Lantus.  The nurses were concerned, but I asked for Humalog and we were on our way.  Of course, it took a lot of convincing to get the Humalog.  No one ever said it, but the "you're the patient, not the one with a medical degree" was being tossed around.    Tuesday evening I buzzed the nurse because I was getting antsy.  My awesome Irish nurse came back to see what was happening, and I asked if I could go for a walk.  I'm not sure what being a nurse is like, but something I guess from her reaction is that ICU nurses aren't used to people asking to go for a walk.  And as we walked out towards the hallway, I could see why.  All my neighbors were flat in their beds, some grunting.  I'm a healthy, active person.  I did not make it very far.  I made it back to my bed, but I was exhausted.

Wednesday was St. Patrick's Day, and the day I was going to get to go home.  My mom showed up around lunchtime, and was there for quite a while.  On Wednesday I had a nurse I hadn't seen yet.  If they had met under different circumstances, my mom & her would be best friends.  Sometimes people walk into your lives and make an impression.  This nurse was mine.  Her husband is a T1.  I told her the story of how I got there, and there was no "you should have done this or that."  It was, wow, I'm so sorry.  I hope you get better.  Based on your charts, you're already getting there.  She was knowledgeable, but also admitted to not knowing it all since she's an ICU nurse, not an endo nurse.  At 3:15PM, I buzzed her.  I've been watching the clock for hours knowing that they need to discharge me by 3PM so I can get back to my insulin schedule.  I am freaking out at this point because I'm used to not being taken seriously by most of the nurses/doctors.  In walks savior nurse, and after the coaching of my mother, I tell her straight-forward what has happened.  At that instant, I was without any insulin because I got my lantus shot 24 hours ago, and I need another one, or I need to go back on my pump.  This is not an exact quote, but pretty damn close: You've had diabetes for 20 years.  You know better what you need than the doctors who don't have time for you.  Get back on your pump if that's what you need.  But can you wait 2 minutes so I can watch and tell my husband about it?  Those two minutes didn't hurt, and I set everything up.  Savior nurse and another nurse came in and I explained all about the pump.  The type of site I use and basals & boluses.  I changed my site for them to see, I got dressed, and the doctor came to give me my discharge papers.  I came home, took a real shower, and my roommate, mother and I went out to dinner.  There was no alcohol; there was no big celebration; there were laughs and good food.  There was a commitment to get better, work harder, and lower the A1C.  It took me a long time, nearly all summer.  But I'm here, and working harder than I have - possibly ever.

"Trouble is a part of life, and if you don't share it you don't give the person who loves you a chance to love you enough." Dinah Shore

Friday, March 11, 2011

Stage of Life

Today I wrote about Beauty over at Stage of Life.  I had an experience with Girl Genius this week that really heated me up, even got me to change my facebook status.  I've been told that being a nanny isn't a real job before, and I know that it'll happen again, but I work hard every day to make sure these kids are well taken care of and that they're developing the best way for them.  Head on over to see what happened.

Skiing, Eating & Talking Low

When I was on vacation, I took one day and went skiing with my mom and aunt.  We went to Loon, which is where I remember our family vacations starting.  It was a beautiful day and we skied and skied and took a coffee break (where my BG was high) and skied some more until we met up with another family friend who has two young children.  We ended skiing with the little boy so that he didn't have to wait while they tried to coax the younger sister out on the slopes.  At 11:30 when we picked him up, I was starting to get hungry.  We usually try to wait to eat lunch until about 1:00 or so that we can ski while the rest of the skiers are eating their lunch.  Skiing with the little boy was great, but by the time we met back up with his mother an hour later, I was starving.  And we were on the opposite side of the mountain from my favorite lodge, which is where we had said we'd get lunch.  We skied over and I was working from memory.  I knew I was low.  I walked into the lodge and couldn't even talk to people to see if they were leaving so we could have their table.  I took off my mittens, helmet, etc, etc, and had mom hand over the meter and some sort of 50 number was staring me back in the face.  Whether it was tabs or juice, I don't remember, but I finished it as quick as possible, that's all I know.  But I was certainly still "low" for quite a while.  I went through line and ordered my soup and talked with my mother about what to get to drink and I heard my name.  When I hear my name, it's a seriously good chance that it's someone I know.  I'm trying to figure out who is talking to me, and it's one of my college tennis teammates.  She wasn't just a teammate though, she was my very first roommate.  And I was in the midst of a "shitfaced low!" We talked for a few minutes, catching up, and me staring at my food.  Knowing I needed it in my belly.  By the time I finished my lunch, she was gone, so I couldn't go back and have a real conversation.  But it was still good to be able to talk to her, even it was in the midst of a low blood sugar.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Minimed vs. Animas

Last week I met with the Animas pump rep (AR).  I am a nervous nelly when it comes to meeting new people and I freak out every single time.  But clearly some things are worth it.  And this definitely was.  I got to Starbucks, and was low, and there were no empty tables.  I got there early, so I got a coffee and freaked out a moment on twitter, until I looked up and saw a table with a laptop and a lonely pump on it. It made me happy to see a pump, just hanging out on a table in Starbucks.  I walk over and introduce myself and we start talking about the pump.  I had a "you know you're a diabetic when" moment because I was so excited.  I was on the edge of my seat learning about this.  The thing that amazed me is how fast the animas delivers insulin.  We went through all the screens, the differences in temp basals, the different kind of screen and then the meter remote.  I left feeling completely excited.  I told AR that I wanted to talk to my nurse before making any decisions.  She returned my call yesterday saying that they are both equally good and as long as I was willing to go through learning Animas that I would be fine, and the only advantage Minimed has is that it has the CGM synced with it.  While I have this job, and this insurance, I know I will not have a CGM (unless I win the lottery), so as much as I say I want one, it is not a concern of mine right now.

Minimed Cons

  • smaller reservoir
  • not a lot of information available about pump without CGM
Minimed Pros
  • My autopilot thumb knows Minimed
  • I haven't had serious issues with it
  • I already know insurance will the cover the Revel
Animas Cons
  • I would have to re-learn terms (Active Insulin vs. Insulin On Board) and thumbs
  • The speed of delivery makes me nervous
Animas Pros
  • larger reservoir
  • brighter screen, easier to read
  • waterproof
  • remote
  • smaller increments; could help lead to better control
  • random people email me just to say that they love animas
If you look at my list, you can see where my decision lies.  I know that I have more "bullets" in these lists, but of course I was driving when I was thinking of these lists.  When I got the message from my nurse last night, I was ready to start filling out my paperwork from AR, but I was at work, and the paperwork was in my apartment.  So now I am starting the process to see if Animas will be approved my insurance.  I don't see why it wouldn't, since Minimed already has been, but updates to come as I reach them!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Happy Place

I went up to Sunday River with my family for the weekend.  I don't know if it's Maine, or the fact that in high school cell phones wouldn't work there, or just family, but Sunday River is my happy place.  And I'm not trying to steal their slogan, it just is.  I left right from work on Friday, and I was a little bit nervous about my drive.  The last time I made the drive, I was pretty tired.  But this time I looked good  (so I felt good) since I had my meeting with the Animas rep that morning (more on that soon).  I get there, text my friend so she knows I achieved my travel goals, and join the family who's already had a few drinks with dinner and dominoes, and since I'm the last one there, and the one with a tough week, we all head down to the bar.  It's not something that we've ever really done before, but we've got some great memories.  We learned about doo-yahs in Maine (I want to see if anyone out there knows what it is), and we held our faces from laughing to much, and we wondered how many people at the bar would be there when the chairs opened with us.  It was the perfect start to a weekend following a not so good week.

White Heat: my favorite
On Saturday, we woke up early to get the good runs in.  We started making our way through the fog and up and around to the groomed trails.   This included White Heat.  When I was nine, I started doing White Heat and it's partner, Shockwave.  At the time, they had a sign warning you of the dangers including severe injury or death from falling.  This sign was at a point of no return. I started crying and it took me 45 minutes to get down, for fear of falling.  As my mom says, "if you hadn't been able to read, you would've been fine."  I don't know if that's why, but every time I make it to the bottom of these, I get a huge surge of pride.  Well White Heat had been groomed and Shockwave had not.  My dad, uncle and cousin headed over there while the rest of headed down White Heat.  We got to the intersection and waited for them and I'm starting to feel low.  My mom carries my meter because she has a lot more pockets than I do.  She gets it out, and I'm expecting a number in the 60s.  Except that a 31 mg/dL stares me back in the face.  I get out my gluco-shot, which tasted so bad I thought I was going to throw it up.  And then my mom asked me the fateful question.  "Do you need to go in?"  I hate this question as it relates to diabetes.  I didn't feel that low, so I didn't feel like I needed to go in.  But the number staring me back told me otherwise.  So my mother and I headed inside while everyone else stayed skiing.  I got inside and waited  for my numbers to come up.  They did, but I wanted to stay a little longer, make sure I didn't start to drop again.  I didn't, but the tired feeling never left.  The rest of the day had decent numbers, though they were rising the rest of the day.  Whether it was the 31, or the fog & rain, I definitely felt tired the rest of the day.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Other People Can Say What I'm Feeling Better

My grandfather is diabetes? 
I'm not feeling diabetes today, and I was trying to come up with the right words, and the way to tell my stories that put them in a positive light, and to show how excited I was about them.  But nothing sounds right.  Head on over and you'll see how I feel too.  Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Friday, March 4, 2011


Last week I went back to Joslin a second time, this time to meet with the optometrist to see about getting contacts again.  I have them!  But I wasn't allowed to wear them right away because of my cold.  It also means I have to go back in a month so he can see how my eyes actually accept the contacts.  Not only do I like the way I look without glasses, but I don't have to adjust my contacts like I do my glasses.  And oh, did I mention that I can wear sunglasses like
I'm a simple girl who appreciates and enjoys the simple things in life. :)  Yesterday I went for option #1.  Haven't decided which option to go for today.  

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Snapshot in Time

This little girl stayed over at my neighbor's house for a few days one summer, and we spent a lot of time together. The neighbor's and the little girl's parents wanted to go out one night, so she stayed with us.  She was captivated by my diabetes, so I explained everything I did before dinner time.  I poked my finger, gave my shot, and she was intrigued by it all.  I guess I've been an advocate/teacher a lot longer than I thought :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Hip Site

I've been a little worried about "real estate" lately.  I talked about scar tissue with Allison a little bit, but I really should talk to the doctor about it, however I always forget about it because when I'm there I am always more concerned about the extreme highs/lows and my overall A1C.  Asking about my scar tissue that's been there for at least ten years just isn't on the front burner when it comes to the questions I need to ask.  Especially because my scar tissue is on my arms, and the thought of putting my pump site & tubing into my arms not only scares me, I think I would need to be a human pretzel to do it.

Where I wear my pump, tubing & all.
So I decided to try out my hip.  If you're wondering; yes, directly under the seam of my jeans.  It felt a little weird going in, but after I scratched around the site, I felt good to go.  And I was.  I was completely impressed with my numbers.  Only occasionally did I feel it, when my pump was right over it, but I moved my pump and I was good to go.  And then I went to bed.  I tend to fall asleep on my side, and oh boy it hurt.  Don't get me wrong, I did eventually fall asleep, but it took a lot of extra fidgeting and moving and rolling around to get to a place where I didn't feel the whole weight of me on my site.  I managed it, and did so for the next few nights, but I haven't made up my mind yet.  Awesome BGs = yay!  Having extra trouble falling asleep at night = not so yay!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Internal Pump Debate

A few weeks ago, two different reps from Minimed contacted me about a pump upgrade.  I wasn't sure what this process would entail, so I waited until my vacation to return the call.  The rep I talked to was very nice, and talked to me about the new pump, but mostly about me.  He asked me if I was interested in a CGM, and was shocked to hear me say that I know I don't have insurance.  And then he checked and realized I am right.  It's not something that I like, it's just something that is.  He asked me about my highest and lowest BGs (30s and ^500), which I didn't want to say.  Diabetes happens, but then he didn't ask why, and I felt a little judged.  I hope that I wasn't, but that is how I felt.  The conversation ended with him saying that they would send the information to my insurance and then I will hear back again soon.

As I was thinking about this, I was wondering if Minimed is the best option for me.  The thought of learning a whole new "auto-pilot" is what makes me nervous.  But I contacted Animas yesterday to start finding out more information about their pump.  The thing that I find most appealing about Animas is the remote.  On Sunday night, I went to Mary Poppins with my mother and our family friends.  We all got dressed up and went out for a nice Italian dinner before hand.  And I had to run to the bathroom in order to bolus.  Taking my pump out of my dress even felt inappropriate within the walls of the bathroom while these young, proper, sophisticated girls were watching me.  And then throughout the show I was running near 200, but I couldn't really do anything about it.  How could this be fixed?  My thoughts seem to point to a remote.  I started looking at Animas yesterday, and asking if people had switched, and started keeping  a list of questions, and calling my insurance.  I even started emailing the Animas rep.  I have not made any decisions yet, but here are some of my questions.  If anyone has any experience with this switch, advice on questions to ask,  or any other information which will be beneficial, please share it with me!

How long does the warranty last?

My insurance only covers one pump per lifetime.  What does this literally mean?  What if it breaks?

Can I trial the new pump before deciding?  Will this cost me anything?

What can the Minimed Revel do for me without the CGM technology?

My insurance doesn't cover One Touch test strips, so right now I only use One Touch during my "trouble" times.  If I go with Animas, do I want to carry two meters during the day?