Thursday, June 12, 2014


I blame my new flip flops.

Something has irritated the skin between my big toe and its neighbor on my right foot. It's nothing major, just a bit annoying.

Part of me is relieved I can feel the discomfort on my foot. How morbid is that?

Oh, how diabetes messes with our heads.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


I don't think I can say things any better than Kim did. She hit the nail on the head, precisely.

For me, what gets me down about diabetes is the mental and emotional side of things. As a person living with diabetes and mental health issues, life gets pretty rough sometimes. Diabetes + disordered eating + anxiety + depression = one hot mess Jess.

Sometimes it's hard to tell where diabetes ends and my mental health issues begin. They are all so completely intertwined. That's not to say that every day is awful. Because that's not true. I have good days and bad days. And the bad days seem to come in clumps. I'll have stretches of bad days. To be honest, I've been in the middle of a difficult stretch for the past few weeks. There's been a lot going on in my personal life. A myriad of smaller stressors that have left me feeling completely overwhelmed.

Stress can trigger my binge eating. Which triggers my anxiety. Which can trigger my depression. All of which can do a number on my blood sugars. It's all inexorably linked, like a spiderweb.

I may be a hot mess, but I've come a long way. This Mental Health Month, here's what I want you to know: you are not alone, and don't be afraid to seek help. Seeking treatment from a mental health professional was the best decision I could have made. Yes, I still have bad patches, but I've come so far. And things are so much better overall. I am better equipped to handle and process my feelings. The difficult patches don't last as long as they once did.

Like my grandma always said, this too shall pass. And depression lies.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Diabetes is strong.
Some days, it is a cunning villain
Taking me by surprise.
Other days diabetes plays nice
Being cooperative
Lying in wait.
And other days, diabetes is a roaring dragon.
A foe so fierce I can barely stand.

One those days when I cannot stand
When I am losing ground
I cling to hope
I cling to those I love
Knowing I am not alone.

Diabetes is strong.
But what diabetes does not know
Is that I
I am stronger.

"The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places." - Ernest Hemingway

Banish the Blame Game

Diabetes Blog Week

"If I could chaaa-aaaa-aaange the world..."

Anyone else have Eric Clapton running through their head right now?

Today for #DBlogWeek (technically yesterday- I'm a bit behind), we're supposed to write about a diabetes topic that gets us really fired up. I've written about my issues discussing complications before. And I'm working on being able to have a civilized conversation on the topic.

In doing some reflecting on why complications elicit such a gut reaction from me, I've realized something. It's not discussing the complications themselves that irks me. It's the judgement and blaming behavior that so often accompanies these conversations.

Judgement and blame can be found in all kinds of conversations about diabetes, not just complications. Your A1c went up? How did that happen? Should you be eating that chocolate cake? If you just eat right and lose weight, you can control your diabetes.

Unfortunately, these types of comments are not only from people outside the diabetes community. They can come from healthcare professionals. Family members and loved ones. From other people with diabetes. And from myself. Boy howdy, am I good at internalizing guilt and blame. Oh, my blood sugar is 340? What did I do to cause that?

Here's the deal. Nothing constructive comes from judgement and blame. These actions and feeling are not empowering. In fact, they're debilitating. Want to help motivate someone to take better care of his or her own diabetes? Complication scare tactics are not helpful. Nor is blaming them for having a rough time. We need to help empower people living with diabetes and their loved ones. Break things down into reasonable goals. Be encouraging. Remind people they're not alone. Kindness and compassion are empowering. When I'm having a hard time, a simple tweet or text from a friend can make a huge difference. The compassion and encouragement I've received from many in the Diabetes Online Community has changed my life. I mean that with all my heart.

Let's banish the blame game, and focus on empowering each other. Kindness and compassion, FTW.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

My Dog Ate My Pump Clip

Well, he didn't actually EAT it.

Let me back up a bit. Vader has been almost a perfect dog since we brought him home. Other than having complete meltdowns when we pass other dogs on a walk, but I digress. (We're doing training for that one).

But at home, he's tremendous. Was already housebroken and crate trained. And he leaves our stuff alone. The only things he's chewed up are his own (two stuffed crate pads and a stuffed toy, but who's counting?).

Our furniture, shoes, and everything else is safe. Vader doesn't bother any of it. So I'm not mad. It's an extra pump clip that I left on the floor. Which he picked up and accidentally broke. And it's the only thing of mine he's broken.

Besides. How could you stay mad at this face?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Pleasantly Surprised: MiniMed 530G with Enlite

So, um, hi.

I'm so WAY overdue for an update on my MiniMed 530G with Enlite trial. Oops.

I've been using the system for six weeks now. And in a nutshell? Karen was right. Karen told me she hated the system for the first couple weeks, and then she loved it. There's a learning curve. She told me to be patient. And she was totally right.

I HATED the system for the first couple weeks. There is definitely a large learning curve. I was ready to quit and give up about every day. The only thing that kept me from giving up was Karen's advice, and that I'd promised myself I'd give the system a month before throwing in the towel. Calibration errors, insertion problems, inaccurate sensor data. AAAAHHHHH. I was so frustrated.

But after a couple weeks, I started to get the hang of things. The algorithms that Medtronic uses are very different than Dexcom. So the sensors function differently. There are subtle differences that you can only learn by trial and error. I began to figure out those differences. When best to calibrate. The best direction and placement of the sensor. Had successful insertions on the first try. And I no longer hated the system. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised.

I'd forgotten how nice it is to have your pump/cgm integrated into one device. It's really nice. Except when your pump is in your bra, but that's a whole 'nother blog post. And predictive alerts are awesome. The system alerts me 10 minutes before it thinks I'll go low. Which helps catch lows early. The Enlite has good accuracy for me. But accuracy wasn't an issue with the Sof-sensor for me either. I quit the Sof-sensor because of pain, not accuracy. I will say that the Enlite doesn't quite keep up with rapid rising/falling as well as Dexcom. I'll have double up/double down arrows, but the number won't be as close as Dexcom is as a rule. (Saving Threshold Suspend for another post).

While I've seemingly mastered the insertion process (and it hurts a hell of a lot less than Sof-sensor), it's still WAY more complicated than Dexcom insertion. I hope Medtronic's next generation sensor will be simpler to insert. The transmitter is also the same as the Sof-sensor. They did add a little adhesive flap to hold the transmitter down, and each box of sensors come with special tape specifically designed for the Enlite. But it's still a decent bit of tape to hold the thing down.

Another part of the system is the Bayer Contour Next Link meter. Which may in fact be my favorite part of the whole system. Rechargeable battery, color screen, easy to read display, automatically sends bgs to the pump so you can choose to calibrate and/or correct when needed. And it has a port light, though it doesn't turn on automatically. At first I found this annoying. But I discovered that it helps the battery last a long time. I've only charged it twice in six weeks, and I've been exclusively using this meter the whole time. Before inserting a test strip, press the power button twice to turn on the light. Extremely helpful for testing in the dark. And if you don't get enough blood on the strip? The meter will tell you, and you can add more blood to the same strip! No more wasted strips! Amazing!

Overall, I'd say the 530G with Enlite has delivered on what I was told it would be. Not perfect, but a million times better than the Sof-sensor. I'm not even joking. While I plan on going back to my Revel pump and Dexcom after the trial, I do like this system. I can honestly say that for me, it works pretty well. And I can actually recommend others try it if they're interested.

I've been pleasantly surprised. And am hopeful about the future of CGM technology.

Disclaimer: You may have noticed the silicone pump cases in some of my pics. I love them! Helps give the pump fun color, while also protecting the pump from my tendency to run into things. I purchased the purple one myself. Medtronic sent me a pink one and a gray one to keep at no cost.

Medtronic has provided supplies for the duration of my 90 day trial. This includes the MiniMed 530G pump, MiniLink transmitter, Bayer Contour Next Link meter, Enlite sensors, infusion sets, reservoirs, and test strips. The pump, transmitter, meter, and any unused supplies will be returned to Medtronic at the conclusion of the trial. Medtronic has no say in what I write on this blog. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. (Disclosure Policy)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


I feel stupid. I don't like feeling stupid, especially when diabetes is the cause.

I have a small cut on my thumb from a kitchen knife. Emphasis on small. Deeper than a paper cut, but not that deep. Nowhere near needing stitches or anything. Enough to smart some and be highly annoying, mostly.

Psychically, I'm fine. But a small moment has the wheels in my head spinning. Because diabetes.

I was cutting up an avocado. I'd already cut it in half, and stuck my knife into the pit to twist it out. Somehow the knife blade slipped and I nicked my thumb. I found out after the fact that I was low. I was low and didn't know it and cut my thumb.

Now I'm clumsy by nature, and if this had happened with a higher bg, I'd attribute it to clumsiness and not give it a second thought. But I was low. And I make a point of not using sharp things while low. Because I'm afraid I'll hurt myself.

Am I being overly dramatic? Yes. Definitely. But still.

I hate being low. I hate that diabetes has the ability to take away my ability to control my own body. That I can't trust myself when I'm low. It's frightening and infuriating all at the same time.

My thumb is fine. I still feel stupid, but am totally blaming diabetes.