Battery Operated Pancreas

Just another day in the life of a diabetic…

Superbowl Sunday!

Superbowl Sunday is here at last! How the hell did that happen? It seemed like football season just started! Oh well, I digress. I love Superbowl Sunday! I like the gatherings, the parties and the food that all goes with the big game. I’m not the biggest football fan in the world, in fact, using the word “fan” would be a huge stretch! To be honest, I’m more of a “Puppy Bowl” fan! 🙂  As a diabetic this day can be a tricky one. For me, it’s a total crap shoot. There are tons of chips and carb-laden foods, which I love, but can wreak havoc on blood sugars. My favorite game day foods are chips and salsa or guacamole, wings and you guessed it, chili! Both of these foods can be really deceiving in how many carbs they actually have. But days like this happen but once a year, so I’m OK with that! There will be a LOT of swagging going on today! Besides, that’s what extended boluses and temp basals are for, right? 😉 I hope everyone enjoys the big game, and let the best team win!

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What is your preferred way to treat a low?

If you’re a diabetic and you’re reading this, you already know each and every low can be totally different. I’m wondering how others like to treat lows… Juice? Skittles? Jelly beans? Nerds? Soda? Glucose tabs? Glucose gel? Growing up, my lows were (almost) always treated with orange juice or a regular Coke. (A Coke especially if it was a super bad low) My parents would tape Charms candies into the inside of my lunchbox. I preferred Lifesavers, but looking back, Charms were individually wrapped, so I guess I understand their logic. I learned the joys of glucose tablets in my 20’s. I also learned the nastiness of glucose gels in my 20’s. YUCK!!! If I am low, and not completely out of my mind, good luck on trying to treat me with gel!! At some wonderful point, when lows were a part of my daily life (sometimes 2, 3 or more times a day…) I learned that 7 Pixie Stix had 15g of carbs! Pure, easily digestible sugar! Woo hoo! Except you need water to go with 7 of those things, they do tend to dry out your mouth. Since meeting my boyfriend, David, we both have navigated our way though different candy to treat our lows. I believe we started out with Starbursts. But when you’re low, the last thing you want to do is unwrap this tiny thing and try to chew. Skittles were a popular favorite for a while. I believe 1 Skittle = about 1 carb (give or take) At Easter time, Starbursts have great jelly beans that David loves to stock up on! He buys so many that we still have bags left! You will always find him with one form or another to treat a low. I, on the other hand, have gotten a little sloppy with it, because I always depend on him. I’ve found myself without more than once and I am looking to change that. I now carry a tube of 10 glucose tabs, and I also like to carry these fruit strips made by Archer Farms, usually mixed berry or raspberry. They are quite tasty and have 12g of carbs, they work really well when I’m at 70 and feel like I could drop, but don’t want to get too crazy. Go-Go Squeeze is another favorite of mine. It’s squeezable apple sauce and the mixed berry flavor has exactly 15g of carbs, no OD’ing there!

Now it’s your turn! I’m really interested in what you guys use to treat YOUR lows!! I don’t care if you think it’s boring or stupid, I want to hear it! I’m always open to new ideas, because I’m sure I’ll be treating lows for a long time, or at least until there is a cure 😉

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Thoughts…

Diabetes

My friend Cara, over at Every Day Every Hour Every Minute posted this on Facebook today, with the caption reading “November is over. The official Diabetes Awareness Month has come to an end. But for those living with diabetes it continues on. We need a cure.”  I have to say, it really made me think. I’ve been diabetic for so long, I’m not sure what it would be like to live without it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I am my diabetes or it owns me or anything like that. It’s just that diabetes is such a huge part of my life, such a big part of who I am, and has been for so very long, that I’m not sure how I would go about separating myself from it. (The image that comes to mind is of myself trying to take off a sopping wet neoprene wet-suit, kinda difficult!) I have wondered how long it would take for me to stop checking my pump or CGM or reaching for my meter. How long it would take for me to stop wondering if what I am feeling is due to a bg spike or drop, or bg related at all. All of these things have been so ingrained into me and who I am, I question what life may be like without the constant monitoring, need for control and worry that comes with d. Deep down, I know I would still be the same person, but in a different way. And for me, the thought of a cure is a very powerful good and yet a tiny bit scary thing. I still have hope for a cure. I pray I am able to see it in my lifetime.

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Diabetes Awareness Month

I feel like such a slacker this year. I’ve done diddly to advocate for Diabetes Awareness Month, with the exception of a few posts on Facebook and a loved ones meeting on WDD (World Diabetes Day, November 14th) I feel I’ve done very little.

Last year, I was all into it. I proudly took part in the WDD Post Card Exchange created by my friend Lee Ann Thill of The Butter compartment. I took part in Type 1 day, which is on November 1st, by going to the Today Show and standing in the square in NYC to get the opportunity to shake hands with Ann Curry & Al Roker, and raise awareness of Type 1 diabetes, with JDRF. There were all sorts of things I was involved in last year. I donned blue nails, hair and clothing for Blue Fridays, too! Let’s not forget about the Blue Heel Society! I keep seeing heels that fit the bill and think to myself: “Those would make GREAT shoes for the Blue heel society!”

To the point: I feel like a total slacker this year:( But I guess I can’t beat myself up too much, or feel too bad for myself, either. Like the rest of the east coast, we were affected by Superstorm Sandy. We were without electric, heat and hot water for ten days, yea, that was NO fun. But I can’t complain too much, because I know there were many, many others who lost everything and have to start over from scratch. I find myself between feeling so sad and incredibly lucky (and a bit guilty, too) when hearing about and seeing these people. But I digress, that could be a whole other post. I haven’t done a whole lot this month for Diabetes Awareness Month, but at least I got to attend the ACT 1 Loved Ones meeting on WDD and got to go out to eat afterwards with some pretty awesome peeps (d and non d) and I have a super awesome pic to prove it!

I also got to see the Empire State Building lit in blue for WDD! (WIN!) And my not so awesome pic…

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Day 7 of dBlog week – Diabetes Hero (or in my case Diabetes Heroes!!)

Today”s Topic:

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??

Wow! This week has flown by in a heartbeat! I have enjoyed this week immensely and the writing really got me thinking. While I have read only some of the posts, so far, I definitely plan on taking my time and reading through them all. I love the idea of ending on a high note! That being said, I’m not sure that I could just pick one person to be my Diabetic Hero. You see, until about 5 years ago, I had never met another type 1 in real life! I knew they existed in the wild, or so I heard, but never really saw one with my own eyes! Since then, I have met so many truly amazing type 1’s! I got to meet many of my friends from the DOC in person, which is always an amazing treat! I got the chance to chat with Phil Southerland at the UN Conference back in September. I have to say I got a little “star struck” over the thought, but thank goodness I got past that pretty quickly and was able to chat with him! I also got to say hello to Nicole Johnson of dLife, at a TCOYD seminar I attended almost a year ago. All my DOC friends I interact with almost daily on Twitter and Facebook, who cheer me on or pick me up when the going gets rough. All of the people participating in dblog week, who remind me I am not alone. Let’s not forget my personal friends who just happen to live with diabetes. Every day these people never cease to amaze me and are truly my heroes! Each and every one of these people inspire me to live life to the fullest and reach for the stars! You guys are my heroes, and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart!

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Day 6 of dBlog week – Saturday Snapshots

Today”s Topic:

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.

I snagged this while David and I were walking over the Pulaski Bridge from Long Island City into Brooklyn.  I happen to like it a lot:)

David low and being awfully cute posing for the camera with a gummy lifesaver!:) (lows don’t usually look this way! lol)

NYC Tour de Cure 2011….GO RED RIDERS! Best experience EVER! From l-r myself, David, Soara-Joye, Emily and Caroline! Gotta say, I felt pretty bad-ass riding along side of traffic in NYC!  (slightly blurry, wish I had a better picture!)

I’m always appreciative of help in the kitchen! David cleaning up after dinner on WDD 11/14/2011….Like the shirt?!;)

David and I last summer, Fire Island.

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Day 5 of dBlog week – What They Should Know

Today’s Topic:

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.

I was doing so well with keeping up with the posts and today just….happened. Life happens. Diabetes happens. There is so much I want to teach non-diabetics, where to begin is a bit overwhelming to me. I guess I can start at the beginning and if I forget something, oh well, sh*t happens. I enjoy teaching people who are not in the know about diabetes, but sometimes all I want to do is fade into the background and be invisible. I am not just a diabetic, I am a whole person, with a life, who just happens to be living with diabetes. Sometimes I’d like a break, but such is life.

I’ll start off by saying diabetes is something that affects every single part of my life. Physical, emotional, mental, from what to wear to what I eat, how I eat it and when I eat. It affects every single second of every single minute of every single hour and you get the point. Not that I am always thinking about it, but it is a constant thought. Will this high blood sugar now affect me down the line? Will it be the cause of another complication? Is this low causing me brain damage? (or drain bramage, as I like to say) I just tested 20 minutes ago, but I better test again before I get into that car to drive. It is hard. Very hard. But, we as humans are extremely adaptable and we somehow tend to manage. But sometimes all we want is a d-vacation. Our lives are constant battles with numbers. We are the epitome of eating disorders. Seriously. We are constantly counting carbs, fat, (supposed to be) weighing and measuring the food we eat. Some days it feels like a constant uphill battle and other days life throws us a bone and our CGM’s plank. (I Thank God for those days!) It really isn’t all bad, and I certainly don’t want sympathy, I’ve been doing this for a very long time. All I’d like is some understanding, some slack on the days when I’m not up to whatever the day brings me. I wish there was a social experiment for diabetes, kind of like the ones where they give high school students eggs to care for, simulating a baby. Maybe give non-diabetics a huge bag to carry, a pump filled with saline, that beeps all the time and a meter and someone to remind them “you can’t just stuff that huge brownie in your face, you gotta test!” lol I really am more of an advocate for education, usually. I guess I’m just having an off day. It happens.

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Day 4 of dBlog week – Fantasy Diabetes Device

Today’s Topic:

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?

As diabetics living with such awesome technology, we all have these amazing ideas on how to make things better, or invent the coolest gadget that could do this or that…but in reality, these ideas rarely come to be. I use a Minimed Paradigm pump where as David uses a Animas Ping. I see the ins and outs of both on a daily basis. We each love our pumps respectively, but, sometimes I wish I could take the best things from his pump and meld them with the best things from my pump to make an awesome super-pump! He’s got such great features on his. For example, his meter doubles as a remote for the pump, so that sucker could be tucked away and you still bolus (very cool, in my opinion) the meter also has carb counts of many foods, again also very awesome, the super bright screen and it’s waterproof (need I say more?) But then there are the things that bug the ever-living hell out of me with his pump. The excessive noise it makes while pumping! (WTH?) The super loud beeps while you’re pushing the buttons to bolus, the stupid song that NEVER shuts up when it’s low or out of insulin!! I used to like the song Fur Elise until his pump came along! And that God-forsaken clip that breaks if you look at it cross-eyed!! I would take all the things I love about my pump: solid construction, shape, color, quiet beeps and virtually soundless delivery and the way you can bolus in very few button pushes (proprietary to Minimed) and pair it with all the good things about his pump that I mentioned. I would make the device smaller, that would be great! I would integrate the pump, CGM and meter all into one small device. Add one more feature to this all in one device, a scanner that could read the amount of carbs on the plate of food you’re about to eat and send that info to the pump before bolusing, now we’re talking!!

All of these ideas are nice, but if I could just get my pancreas to work again…now that would be the ultimate !

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Day 3 of dBlog week – One thing to Improve

Today’s topic:

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!

While I believe yesterday’s blog subject was super awesome and gave me lots of confidence in the good things I do, I know there are plenty of things I can improve on. One thing I used to be super awesome at was logging. I would test and log like a fiend. I’m not sure what happened exactly, or how I “fell off the wagon” but at some point shortly after starting my pump, I just didn’t log anymore. I stopped logging, period. I don’t know if it was because I felt overwhelmed about starting on my pump, or just was excited about getting my pump and decided to skip the logging. But it stopped, kind of like when a smoker quits cold turkey. I think in my head I felt justified for not keeping records after logging for so many years. I now had this medical device that would hold all of my info for me, so why bother with old school log book, right? Who knows?? What I do know is that I have the resources to log, and I really should start again. Logging helps determine trends and can help catch those things we may miss if we’re not looking at our results in patterns. Logging can also help in setting new basals when needed. I can upload my pump and have the software to do it. I also believe I have the software for my meter as well. While I’m sure these numbers could help my endo, he never asks for a log book, but rather asks me how I run and relies upon my memory. My memory is good, but sometimes I feel I could definitely use some help. Like the intro says, no judgments or scolding, so this is something I could benefit from….

Now for all that swagging I do that I like to call “carb counting”….;)

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Day 2 of dblog week: One Great Thing

Today’s Topic:

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! 

I feel this is a great topic, but I have to say: I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep my post to just one great thing! You may or may not know, my boyfriend, David and I are both type 1 diabetics. Sometimes I feel we are like a superhero duo fighting against D! (OK, well, that might be a slight exaggeration, but I assure you we do make an excellent team!)  My super-power is how I am able to spot lows, not so much for myself and not only on my boyfriend, but I can spot lows for other diabetics I barely know, as well. (It’s more like a curse, though. Because, really, who wants to be “that person” who points out that it may be time to test…I kind of hate it, at times.) But something I am proud of is how good I am at the testing thing. I’m always testing, I’m good for 8 to 10 times (and sometimes more) a day. I test so often, I have gotten David to test more often because of it, too!

I have to give kudos to my man, though. He carries around a 40 lb backpack full of all kinds of supplies. D and non-D related supplies, as well. He is ALWAYS good for some amazing kind of candy to treat a low. Be it jellybeans, Starbursts or Skittles, he’s your man!! He knows the carb counts for all of those candies, too.  He’s also your man if you’re in need of a syringe, Humalog, glucagon, some One-Touch test strips or a site for a Minimed OR Animas pump! (Yes, REALLY!) He is very impressive, and I’m not just saying that because I love him, but because it’s the truth! He’s also got this cool way of clearing a path on crowded NYC sidewalks for me:) and we do this little thing where we hold each other’s meters for one another while testing on those crowded city streets (or the mall, or wherever we happen to be!)

All in all we’re a pretty awesome twosome, in my opinion! 🙂

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