Friday, May 31, 2013

Strengths and Weaknesses

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

As with most things in life, it is easier to see the negative in yourself and diabetes is no exception. I have many weaknesses and strengths. In fairness I will list an equal number of each, and end with the strengths.

  1. Bolusing 15 minutes before eating. This is HARD, and not just when eating out. Even at home I have a tendency to bolus as I'm walking to the table with my plate. I want to make sure I know the amount of carbs I'm going to be eating, and the best way to figure that is to have my plate filled first. That creates the problem of sitting there while everyone else is eating and my food is getting cold. So I bolus right as we start to eat.
  2. Carb counting. This is HARD. I've taken the classes. I've studied the books. I've read every label in my house and I still S.W.A.G. it most of the time. One of the items that really throws me for a loop is homemade bread. I make the bread for my family (ok.. that sounds way better than it really is. I throw the ingredients in my bread machine and hit start. Three hours later.. voila!) and my bread machine doesn't attach a label telling me the carb count, nor does my cutting skills make the same size slice each time.
  3. Logging my numbers. To be truthful, I don't do this at all. Between my meter, my pump, and my CGM they are all basically logged for me, right?
  1. Keeping supplies on hand. This may sound simple, and it truly is, but oh so nice. A couple years ago I had the great privilege of switching insurance companies right after having my three month's supply of insulin, test strips, and pump supplies filled. This meant I had to get new prescriptions for everything BUT I could get them filled right away without there being a delay because of the "too soon to reorder" issue. There are times it is tempting to let my reorder slide a little longer because of what I have on hand, but then I remind myself that there may be a time when I can't get them or afford them. By having a good stockpile I feel I'm a little better prepared.
  2. Keeping my doctor appointments.  I hate going to the doctor as much as anyone.  Even though I always have my book and my phone with me to keep my occupied while waiting, I still hate the wait.  There are a couple doctors I REALLY don't like to go to.  For the most part, they are nice, but I just don't like it.  The eye doctor for instance.  Dr. I is pleasant and thorough, but oh so monotone.
  3. Changing my infusion site every three days.  Ok.. this one is a cheater strength (but not logging numbers was a cheater weakness.. so fair is fair).  We're supposed to change sites every three days no matter what.  It helps prevent scar tissue, and absorption issues, and darker than necessary funky tan lines from the tape (it's summer now).  Right now, I go through a full cartridge in my pump every three days, give or take a few hours depending on the occasion.
How about you?  What are YOUR strengths and weaknesses??

One chapter complete

Last week was the close of a big chapter in my daughter's life.

She graduated high school.

She was excited to have cords with tassels. Her reasoning?
"So I have something to play with during the speeches."

It's been a long and short 18 years. We've had the long nights where a project was put off until the last minute (coffee was my friend.. and life juice). We could also swear that the first day of Kindergarten was just a couple months ago (wasn't it?). We couldn't be more proud of her.

Dad gave a great speech at her BBQ afterwards. Yes, there were tears.

I could ramble on and on about all of her accomplishments and her plans and all the embarrassing moments of her life (I've been banned from posting THOSE pictures), but I'll put it simply...

Her next chapter will be an even bigger one.  College schedule is set and dorm room is reserved. 

And many .. many boxes of mac n' cheese and ramen have been purchased. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

I finally heard it...

I have ready many a blog post and twitter post about how irritating (and wrong) it is to be called "fragile" when referring to diabetes. Until recently, I had never heard it first hand.

My daughter recently graduated high school (I am working on a post about that too.. I am a Proud Mama Bear, after all) and she wanted to tell the world, or at least everyone she's known for the past 18 years. One very dear couple moved away a few years ago, and I couldn't find their updated address. I really should get an address book, but who sends snail mail anymore? Anyways... my daughter called and left a message to call me back. J called me back and we played catch up for about 20 minutes. They are a retired couple, and traveled in accordance with the seasons. Snow birds. J and her husband lived in our area around the time I had my diagnosis corrected. She is a retired nurse and thoroughly enjoyed hearing about all the new information I had, and all the new technology. She had never seen an insulin pump before, so that was a lot of fun. 

Needless to say, she asked how I my diabetes was doing.  Yes, that is a frustrating question, but you gotta pick your battles, right?  I explained that I have my good days and bad days depending on what I ate, how I slept, the direction of the wind, and if the butterflies in Africa had beans for dinner or not.  Lately, I had been running really high, and my recent A1C came back .6 higher than my last one.  It's not like I'd been running non-stop for two months or anything.  Nope.. not at all.  I told her that it had been a rough little while, and she replied, "Oh.. so you're still fragile?" (hear concerned grandma voice).  REALLY?!  Had it been anyone else I might have said worse, but I bit my tongue (literally), and said, "No.. not fragile, just human." 

I know her comment wasn't meant as insulting.  In her defense, she is from the time period that "fragile" was an actual description, and she has been retired for many many a year and isn't up on all the latest.  It still hurt.  I'm still mad.. not at her.. just mad. 

We're all fragile.  Everyone, whether their pancreas works or not.  Don't call me fragile, diabetically speaking.  Call me fragile and yourself fragile and everyone fragile, humanly speaking. 

I saw a plaque not too long ago, and I think it's appropriate here:

Life is fragile.. handle with prayer.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Let's Trade

Just like in the movie, today we’re doing a swap. If you could switch chronic diseases, which one would you choose to deal with instead of diabetes? And while we’re considering other chronic conditions, do you think your participation in the DOC has affected how you treat friends and acquaintances with other medical conditions? (Thanks to Jane of Jane K. Dickinson, RN, PhD, CDE and Bob of T Minus Two for this topic suggestion.)

I've been sitting her most of the day thinking about this post. I've read many a blog post and for the most part, everyone feels the same. We don't really want to get rid of the monster we know and trade it for a monster we don't know.
Lets set some ground rules:
  1. The trade would last for only 24 hours.
  2. You would have to work as hard as you could to maintain and manage your health during that time. (ie: no cupcake parties at 11:30pm just because you knew you were almost done.)
Ok.. rules all agreed upon? Good. Now lets trade...for everything. We all get to experience every chronic illness for 24 hours each. The downfall of this would be that it would take quite a bit of time to get through all of them. The benefit would be the better understanding of what everyone goes through. Think of all the misconceptions that would be gone because everyone would "get it". Think of the dedication to finding cures because after experiencing (insert chronic illness here) everyone would understand the need. I also think that there would be a DOC style groups for every condition.  THAT alone would be worth it.

BIG/small Accomplishment

{Ok.. Ok.. so this is a day late.  I promise not to list punctuality as one of my accomplishments.}

We don’t always realize it, but each one of us had come a long way since diabetes first came into our life. It doesn’t matter if it’s been 5 weeks, 5 years or 50 years, you’ve done something outstanding diabetes-wise. So today let’s share the greatest accomplishment you've made in terms of dealing with your (or your loved one’s) diabetes. No accomplishment is too big or too small - think about self-acceptance, something you’ve mastered (pump / exercise / diet / etc.), making a tough care decision (finding a new endo or support group / choosing to use or not use a technology / etc.). (Thanks to Hillary of Rainie and Me for this topic suggestion.)

I have not mastered carb counting.  I don't exercise anywhere near as often as I should.  I could do a lot better on my meal choices.  Don't ask about a bg or food log. 

There are many things I have not accomplished.  One thing I have is having other people give me my shots and/or change out a pump site. 

From the first day I started on shots I had everyone in my house give me one.  They had to draw it up and inject.  No one was exempt.  My daughter's friends have all had their turn.  Even one of the youth at my church has taken a turn.  When I started on my pump, I went through the process again.  Each member of my household (well... those with opposable thumbs that is) got to perform a complete site change. 

It may not seem like much, and maybe a little odd, but I look at it this way.  If ever I am not capable of doing it myself there will be someone right there who can do it for me, and do it with confidence.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Today we’re going to share our most memorable diabetes day. You can take this anywhere.... your or your loved one's diagnosis, a bad low, a bad high, a big success, any day that you’d like to share. (Thanks to Jasmine of Silver-Lined for this topic suggestion.)

Memories. They can be good, bad, pretty, ugly, or weird. Have you ever done something that you hoped no one would remember? You made a complete fool of yourself and you just knew that everyone would remember it for time and all eternity? Then years later you ask your child if they remember the time (insert embarrassing event here) and they say, "I totally remember the dog with the polka dotted bow on it's tail!" You then wonder if YOU remember the event correctly because you could sware that there was no dog, or spoon. Sorry.. I digress.

Back to un-tweaked memories. I have many memories about personal diabetes victories and failures I've dealt with. That high that stayed that way for hours, no matter what I did. The low that caused my grocery bill to skyrocket for the week. We've all had those. I'd like to focus on memories of my interactions with others on big diabetes days. After all, it's the people that help us get through every day.

Good memories:

The weekend I was diagnosed was a big one. I was diagnosed on a Friday. Saturday morning was our church's annual ladies retreat in the mountains. Saturday evening, one of my co-workers was getting married. Sunday was my 29th birthday.

The ladies at the retreat knew my birthday was that weekend, so they brought a carrot cake with a Pooh Bear figurine on it. They didn't know, but they felt horrible when they found out. I reassured them, that I hadn't died from carrot cake before, and I wasn't going to die that day either. Many hugs were given, and cake was consumed. I still have that Pooh Bear. He rides on the dashboard of my car. I love those ladies.

My co-worker was so concerned about my doctor's visit the previous day, that when we got to her reception and started going through the line, she stepped out, came up to me and asked how I was doing. It was her wedding. It was her day. She thought of me. She has assured me over and over that my diagnosis was not then, nor ever will be, a cloud over that day. I continue to hope not. Her husband used to bring me a large bottle of Dr. Pepper when he wanted to take her for a long lunch, or out for an early dinner. After that day, he changed it to a large bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper. I love that couple.

Not so good memories:

To say the relationship with my biological mother is strained would be the best way to put it. (I won't delve into the reasons behind that here.. the proper place or format.) It was about a week or two after the correction of my diagnosis from Type 2 to Type 1. I had the approval for my insulin pump from my insurance company. I had ordered my pump, and was waiting to hear back from the supplier on the details. I was on the phone with my mom when the call came in. I quickly interrupted her (one of my pet peeves - btw.. but this one was kind've justified), said I had another call but I would call her back. I was ecstatic! My pump would be delivered in just two days to my endo's office!! I called my mom back and apologized for the quick exit and then filled her in. Her response? Her EXACT words? "Oh.. Well.. I hope that works out for you." Ya... thanks for the support Mom.

So those are just a couple of my memories.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Dream D Device - The Life Long Test Strip

Today's suggested topic was to create a petition.  I've been reading through many blogs today and I really love all the petitions I've seen.  As it is, I would need to have a rubber stamp made to keep my hand from cramping from signing so many.  So I've decided to use a wildcard suggestion and tell you about my dream diabetes device.

My Dream Diabetes Device:  Permanent Test Strip
Think about it.  One test strip.. FOR LIFE!  No more random strips found literally everywhere.  no more money spent on an item smaller than my pen cap, but costs more than the entire pack of pens. 
I got to thinking about this at lunch.  About a month ago, a couple of us were chatting on Twitter about how many test strips we go through.  Jenny of Sugar Beat started collecting hers in a plastic container.  On April 14th I started collecting mine in my meter case. 
One Day

One Week

Almost One Month

I'm not sure I would want to see the size of the pile after six months, let alone a year.  What do you think?  Would you like a permanent test strip?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Hey Dr. Endo!

Often our health care team only sees us for about 15 minutes several times a year, and they might not have a sense of what our lives are really like. Today, let’s pretend our medical team is reading our blogs. What do you wish they could see about your and/or your loved one's daily life with diabetes? On the other hand, what do you hope they don't see? (Thanks to Melissa Lee of Sweetly Voiced for this topic suggestion.)

I love my doctors, especially my endo. Well, she not technically an endo, but she is who I see every three months for insulin adjustments, A1C tests, prescriptions, and life updates. I have mentioned in passing a little about my blog, ie: a post I had about a particular thing. I don't think she reads it. I could be wrong, I have been known to be wrong before, but I would be surprised. That being said, if she DOES read my blog, there are just a couple things I'd like her to know.

I may write about a lot of things, and not always my diabetes, but trust me.. it is ALWAYS first (or second) on my mind. I have a life outside of diabetes, and by golly that is what I find more interesting. My daughter is SUPER important to me and I try my darndest to not let diabetes interfere with me being with her and doing things for her. If that means I run higher for awhile because of the stress (Did you know that the HS senior year is a pain in the butt for the parents?! I sware it wasn't this way when I was a senior.. right?) it doesn't mean I'm not trying, it just means that diabetes is a pain in the butt and doesn't play well with others.

I am scared to make adjustments without your approval. I have done them, and I'm feeling more confident in doing them, but the kid in me still expects to be scolded for changing something without permission. I know ultimately I'm the one taking care of me, and I need to feel better about taking control of little things like that. I'm getting better, I really am, especially when the change I make actually works.

For the most part, things I don't want anyone to know I don't write about, so if she does read my blog, there is nothing there I want to hide. However, there are a few things I do (and I know others do as well) that aren't exactly best practice. I have changed my infusion set at 2am because my pump ran empty. I don't like wasting even 1 unit of insulin.. that stuff is expensive.. so I have had a snack before bed just to use the last little bit of insulin in my pump so I can replace the cartridge before going to bed so I don't have to get up at 2am. Yes.. this usually makes me run high all night, and I have a hard time getting it back down even after breakfast. Ok.. ok.. this is something I may need to reconsider. Is 1 or 2 units worth it? Hmm... let me consult my checkbook.