Friday, February 25, 2011

Say What?

So yesterday was fantastic!  Why, you ask? Because of this:



Say what?  A no hitter!!!!  OMG!

I've been fighting a nasty case of strep for the last two weeks, and needless to say, the bgs have not been stellar.

True confession--I upped my high alarm to 300.  Didn't back it down to 200 until yesterday.  I shudder to think what my 14-day average would be if I looked it up on my meter.  So I haven't.

Two rounds of antibiotics later, and I'm finally feeling better.

Evidently my bgs agree.

I know this won't last, but I'll take it while it does!

Have a great weekend, everyone!  Sending happy bg vibes your way!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday (But Not Really)

To all my friends (DOC and real life)-




P.S.- I love you more than cupcakes too.  And glitter.  And maybe even unicorns...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Growing Up (DSMA Blog Carnival)

The most awesome thing I have done in spite of diabetes is...

Wow.  That's a loaded question.  How does one even begin to think about answering it?  There's just so much!  I can't even imagine picking one thing.  I like how Briley and Meredith made lists for their posts.

Because there's just so much. But if I have to narrow it down, the most awesome thing I have done in spite of diabetes is...become an adult. 

I've talked before about how amazing my mom is, and all her and my dad did to take care of me.  But at some point, all children with diabetes become adults.  We have to learn how to manage D on our own.  To switch from our parents doing most of our D care to doing it ourselves.

My first solo foray into this came when I was 17 (sorry, couldn't find any pictures of this adventure).  I traveled to Italy with my high school choir .  Without my parents.  Yikes!

Not sure who was more nervous, me or my mom.  But I did it!  Totally packed enough D-gear to supply an army, and had a wonderful trip with no major incident.  I'm sure my sugars weren't stellar on that trip, but I did it.  All by myself.

Beatles tour, anyone?
The biggest challenge came when I went off to college.  I was now in charge of my own life, and D, by myself, 3 hours away from home.  And I LOVED it!  Made a few not-so-bright D choices in my college years (reserved for later posts), but again, I did it.  And with an A1C that didn't make my endo cringe too much.  Thanks to some wonderful and supportive friends and roommates (along with a certain boy), I had a great college experience.

This college experience included another trip abroad, this time for 3 weeks.  I had the opportunity to go to England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland.  Again, I was nervous.  Traveling with D can be complicated.    

At the Scotland/England border!
I took probably at least twice as many supplies as I could possibly need, and had the experience of a lifetime!  I'm  so glad I went, because I will never have that kind of opportunity again.

It's quite amazing, really.  We are amazing.  Living our life, every day, in spite of D.  And doing some pretty amazing things to boot.  For me, becoming an adult and all that comes with it has been a pretty big deal.  Graduating college, getting a job, getting married, buying a house.  Just living my life.

Although I do still ask my mom for advice all the time, both D and non-D related.  That doesn't make me less of an adult, right? ;) 

This post is my February entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival.  If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at http://diabetessocmed.com/2011/introducing-the-dsma-blog-carnival/

Thursday, February 17, 2011

There's A First Time For Everything

This post is about trying something new.

As I mentioned before, I've been pumping since I was 14, which will soon be 14 years ago (sidenote: I'm starting to feel old).  When I first starting pumping, I would only put a set in my stomach.  I had a mental block, and would not even consider putting in someplace else.

Eventually, someone (probably my mother) convinced me to try my back fat.  I finally did, and discovered that it was a great spot!

So that's what I've been doing.  Rotating between stomach and back.  For years.

Since becoming a part of the DOC, I've learned all kinds of things.  Like using a hair dryer on CGM sensor tape after showering.  How to SWAG bolus for a ginormous cupcake.  That I'm never alone.

Something else I've learned?  People actually put sets in--GASP--their arms and legs!  Shocking!  

Super Jess! Look closely and
 you can see the arm set.
At first, I shuddered at the thought.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how beneficial it would be to give my stomach a break.  So before I talked myself out of it, I decided to try it.  Thanks to Holly, Virtue, and Jennifer for some encouragement and advice.

So guess what?  I LOVE IT!  Currently, I'm on my third arm set.  At first, it was really strange to have the tubing hanging from my arm, but I'm getting used to it now.

So thanks, my DOC friends, for inspiring me to try something new.  But don't ask me to try my leg.  No way that's happening--for now, at least...

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Valentine

WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS EMOTIONAL MUSHINESS!

You can't say I didn't warn you.  It is Valentine's Day, after all.

My Valentine this year is of course, J.  However, we usually don't really celebrate Valentine's Day.  We celebrate on February 13th.

Six years ago yesterday, J and I had our first date.  I was a sophomore in college.  When he asked me out, I totally freaked.  I was a little mental, and absolutely REFUSED to go out with him on Valentine's Day (don't judge me- I was 20 and stupid).

So we had dinner on February 13th.  And then I decided I just wanted to be friends.  By the following October, I had changed my mind.  We started dating, and I've never looked back.


J is my best friend.  He is my rock.  He is my Type 3.  J is always there for me in all areas of my life, D and non-D.


As soon as we started dating, he started researching D.  He's the one who helps me keep up and understand new research advances.  He helps me with my set changes and sensor insertions when they're in tricky places.  He gets me juice boxes when I'm low.  When I'm high and have ketones, he holds me.

Sometimes I feel guilty about the D.  About the burden it must be for him.  But he never complains.  If I bring it up, he gives me that look and tells me how ridiculous I'm being.

J loves me, D and all.  And I love him.

We didn't get to celebrate our first-date-night this year.  We went to visit my grandparents, who've been having health problems.  When I said I wanted to make the 8-hour roundtrip drive there and back in less than 36 hours, he didn't hesitate.

So Happy Valentine's Day, to my best friend.  And thanks for everything.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Memories

Sarah over at www.igotthasuga.com issued a challenge last week in her post The Connection.  In the post, she challenges us PWD bloggers to blog about our memories of growing up with D.  A lot of parents of CWD read the blogs of adult T1s.

I wrote this post as a thank you to my parents a few weeks ago.  It talks about some of the memories I have.  What I remember varies.  I do remember certain events, or certain things my parents did for me (hence the earlier post).  But I also remember other snippets--feelings, thoughts, images.  

I remember my mom taking me to the store the day I was diagnosed.  We walked around, looking at the sugar-free candy and ice cream.

The nurse at the hospital showing me how to give myself a shot with the Inject-Ease.

Lying to my teacher about my blood sugar so I could go to recess.  And being so ashamed.

My mom weighing/measuring everything for me at dinner every night.

My little brother hiding under the kitchen table when it was time for my shots.

Mom making sure I always had dessert so I didn't feel left out.

Going into the hospital for three days when I was 14 to learn to use my pump.

Making the trip to Italy with my high school choir by myself.  Being terrified and doing it anyway.

These are a few of the things that stick out in my mind.  But I don't really remember feeling different or left out.  I'm sure I must have, at least some of the time.  How could I not?  Because having a chronic illness as a kid does make you different.

Kids are funny about stuff like this.  I wasn't the popular kid in high school--not at all.  I'm sure some kids thought I was weird.  Part of it could have been the D, but I am absolutely positive that it was also that I am actually kinda strange and a total geek.

I may not have been in the in crowd, but I had friends.  Because while some kids may respond in a negative fashion, others don't care.  I have always had, and still have, wonderful friends who support me in all areas of my life.

When I think back on my childhood, it makes me proud.  Proud of me, of my parents, of my brother.  Because we all survived.  It wasn't fun or easy (and I know there were times when my parents wanted to kill me), but we did it.  

My parents did the best job they could to prepare me to deal with D as an adult.  It couldn't have been easy for my mom, especially for her to watch the transition to me doing most of my own D care.  

So do all the D-parents out there, try to take a moment to breathe.  I know it's hard, but you will make it. Your child will grow and learn to deal with D on their own.  And there will be a lot of bumps on the way.  But your child won't remember all the bumps.  I know I don't.

I do remember that my mom was there with me, every step of the way.  She never let me feel sorry for myself, never let me use D as an excuse for anything.  Did she do everything perfectly?  Definitely not.

But she did her best.  And that's all any of us can do.  Do your best, and trust that it will be enough.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Fear

Those of us in the DOC have been dealing with the recent loss of six PWDs (people with diabetes) around the world for the last few weeks.  Six people whose lives were cut short by D.  There have been some beautiful, and quite moving, posts about it by Kelly, Scott, Lindsey, and Lexi.

But the one that really got me was Scott's follow-up post, Chillingly Familiar Graphs.  You should read it, really.  Because it deals with the one thing that scares the living daylight out of me.

When someone asks me what my greatest fear is, that's what I tell them--night time lows.  And I'm not exaggerating.  Just thinking about it makes me break out in a cold sweat, so I try to to really ever think about it.

But after reading Scott's post, how could I not think about it?  Lows during the night happen to all T1s.  And usually we wake-up and we're fine.

But sometimes we don't wake up.  I myself have had three occasions where I did not wake up.

When I was 12, I had three low-induced seizures in the middle of the night.  Two were at home, and the third was at an overnight camping trip with a church group.  Paramedics were called for the two I had at home.  Somehow, someway, my parents woke up when I could not.

And the one at camp succeeded in traumatizing my Sunday school leaders (good family friends whom I adore).  I was in a cabin full of girls, so someone must have woken up and gotten the grown-ups.

I don't really remember much about any of them.  The one thing I do remember about all three--throwing up afterwards! Did I mention I HATE vomit?

The seizures were quite traumatic for my parents too.  They remember it.  I don't.  As I've mentioned before, aftter the seizures, my mom woke me up every night at 2-3 am to check my blood sugar.  Check, eat, back to bed.  All to prevent another seizure.

My pediatric endo determined that my long-acting insulin was peaking in the middle of the night and causing me to drop like a rock.  Remember NPH and Ultra-Lente?  Anyone?

This led to me getting an insulin pump less than one month after I turned 14.  They didn't stick pumps on kids back then like they do now. Pumps just weren't as common overall.  But my parents and my endo fought the insurance company tooth and nail to get that pump for me.  It was epic.

So it's not an exaggeration to say that my pump saved my life, not to mention my sanity (and my mom's).     Not that I don't still have lows at night.  Because I do.

And that's what scares me.  I may not remember the seizures, but I know they have affected me.  Because there's few things I can think of that scare me more than the thought of having another seizure...or worse...

It's not like I think about it all the time, but all it takes is a night time low here and there to send my mind reeling.  Since I've gotten the CGM, I do feel a little better about it.  My CGM has woken me up for a few lows already, so it provides a certain level of security.

But still.  I'm trying to retrain myself not to be nervous about a bedtime bg of under 150 if I'm holding steady.  The fear is always there, buried in my subconscious, lurking.

What's your greatest fear?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Tweet-Up Time!

So yesterday, I attended my first D tweet-up! Yay!

Bob, me, Kim, Jon, Babs, and Scott

It was awesome to finally meet some of these wonderful people in real life!  And eat some yummy cajun food...

Seriously though, it was great.  I haven't really been around any other diabetics since high school.  And D camp?  Well, I went once, the summer after I was diagnosed.  Don't really remember it, to be honest.  But I never went back, due to the fact that I always got severely homesick whenever I went anywhere.  Yes, I was the kid who's mom would have to come get her from a sleepover at midnight.  Not because of D, but because I would get so homesick.

Of the top of my head, I can name three other T1 kids I talked to on a regular basis at my high school (which had about 2,000 students).  Also in high school, I had the good fortune to be a part of the Teen Advisory Board at my local children's hospital.  There were five of us with D on the board.

But that was all a long time ago.  I'd forgotten how great it was to hang out with my fellows PWDs.  To be out at a restaurant and not be the only one whipping out a meter.  To not be the only one SWAGing carbs.  To not be the only one pressing buttons on a beeping pump.  To commiserate, and tell stories that only those with D and their T3s can truly appreciate.

It was strange and wonderful at the same time.  Strange, because I'm so used to being the only one.  Wonderful, because I felt normal (yeah, I know, there's no such thing as "normal," but you know what I mean).

Joining the DOC has made me feel less alone in living with this thing.  That's what gets us sometimes, I think.  D tricks us into believing that we're alone.  But we're not.

So thanks Bob, Scott, Babs, Jon, and Kim.  For welcoming me into this wonderful community.  For making me laugh so hard my sides hurt.  And for reminding me that I am never alone.  Can't wait till next time!

Friday, February 4, 2011

How Did That Happen?

So I've been pumping for a long time.  It'll be 14 years in August.  One of the hazards of pumping is getting stuck on things like doorknobs.  There's a lot of blogs (and vlogs) about this--my favorites happen to be Kerri's and Kelly's.

So getting tubing caught on a door knob is not new to me.  Happens all the time.  But this is a new one:


How did that happen?  Somehow, the doorknob managed not only to catch the tubing, but also to rip my pump out of my pocket.  And leave my set intact (yay).  Gives new meaning to the term "hanging out."

I can honestly say that in my almost 14 pumping years, this has never happened before.  And so I laughed a lot and took a picture.  Better than my pump falling on the floor! :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Test Strip Village

I love my husband!  He is a wonderful Type 3 (non-D loved one).  I'm planning on writing a post soon detailing just how wonderful and amazing he is, but this story was too funny not to share.

So, since I'm trying to get back on the unicorn, I've been testing more lately.  My nighttime testing has really increased also due to my CGM.  That thing can really move and wake me up!

At night, I keep my meter on the nightstand next to my side of the bed. It's no big deal.  If I need to check, I just turn on the lamp and do it.  J doesn't usually even move.

The other evening, I was feeling lazy, and asked J to bring my meter in from the bedroom to the living room, where I was being a total couch potato.  Of course, he said yes, and headed for the bedroom.

Several minutes later, and he still hadn't returned.  "Honey, are you ok?" I ask.  "Just a second!" he hollers back.  A few more minutes, and he still hasn't reappeared.

"Babe, seriously, do I need to come get it?"

"Chill out!  I'm coming!"

Sigh.

Finally he comes in, meter in tow, and glares at me.

"What were you doing?" I ask.

"Cleaning up the test strip village!" he replies, clearly exasperated.

Of course, I burst into a fit of laughter and giggles.  J is not amused.  I did have quite the pile of used test strips accumulated on the nightstand.  Apparently, J couldn't take it anymore.  It was hilarious.

And shhhh, don't tell J, but it looks like they're moving back in...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Your Life Hasn't Really Changed, Right?

In real life, I can be kind of shy.  I don't tend to be very talkative around people I don't know.  Also, I HATE being the center of attention.  All this having been said, I wish I could have a do-over for the other night.

Last week, I had to stay after work for First Aid training.  We do this yearly, and it's no biggie.  But I always wind up being the center of attention for a few minutes, when we get to the section on diabetes.  All my co-workers look at me, and the paramedic doing the training usually asks me a few questions.

Typically, I'm fine with all of that.  All my co-workers are wonderful and know I'm diabetic.  I'm not shy about discussing it, especially if someone has questions.  That part was fine.

The very nice paramedic lady asked me a couple basic questions, like when I was diagnosed, which was fine too.  Here's the part I wish I could do over.

She looked right at me and said, "Your life hasn't really changed, right?"  I just stared at her and sort of shrugged.

Now, bear in mind, I had a horrible week last week, and was totally preoccupied with other things.  But now, looking back, I am shocked that she would say that to me.  I am also angry.

I've spent the last several days thinking about this, wishing I could go back and set her straight.  Or maybe it's good I was too wiped to deal with it at the time--I might have said something I'd later regret.

Because now I'm furious.  How dare she?  This woman is supposed to know about chronic disease.  How could she possibly think that something like D hasn't changed my life at all?!!??  Careful, there might be smoke coming out of my ears right now.

I understand that she was trying to make the point that I am not really different from anyone else.  She may have been worried about what my co-workers were thinking, and was trying to normalize things.  Who knows.

I really wish I could go back and respond.  But what would I tell her?

I would tell her yes, yes my life has changed quite a bit.  Just because I don't really remember not having D doesn't mean I don't realize how different life would be without it.

It changed how I relate to food.  I can't put anything in my mouth without doing some serious math (or SWAGing, depending on the day).  It changed my childhood, as it does for every CWD.  I had to learn to be way more responsible than my peers; it forced me to grow up more quickly.  D adds challenging elements to any task, whether it's shoveling the driveway (yes, I've gone low doing that) to spending a night away from home (all the extra supplies required).

The D diagnosis forces myself and my loved ones to deal with all the physical and emotional stress that comes with it.  From being exhausted the next day from fighting overnight lows, to dealing with hardcore burnout.  The fear of nighttime lows leftover from three (count 'em--THREE) middle of the night seizures.

Not to mention the fact that without a continuous supply of insulin, I would DIE?!??! Remember that part?

So, dear paramedic lady, I understand you didn't mean to offend me, I do.  But I am offended anyways.  Yes, I can live with D.  Yes, I am grateful because there are a lot worse things out there.  Yes, I have no intention of letting D stop me from accomplishing anything and everything I want to do.

But it has changed my life.  How dare you think otherwise.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Low

I hate lows.  I know most people with D hate it, but I was reminded just how much the other night.

I was doing a little shopping.  Walking into Marshalls,  I hear the familiar beep of my CGM.  It says 77 with a down arrow.  Hmmm.

So I stop in the shoes to check my bs (btw, those shelves they put the shoes on are at the perfect level for holding a meter).  A 60 pops up on the screen.  Ok, 60's not bad.  So I pop three glucose tabs in my mouth and start shopping.

A few minutes later, I hear the CGM beep again.  This time it says 65 with a down arrow.  Hmmm.  You know, I really should be feeling better by now.  So I stop again (this time in housewares) and a big, ugly 42 is staring back at me.  42? Really?

My low symptoms have hit me like a ton of bricks now.  The shakiness, the sweating, the fuzzy feeling--ugh!  Ok, fine.  So I pop my remaining three glucose tabs in my mouth, and find a nice leather ottoman to sit on and wait.  Because of course I'm by myself.  Have to drive myself home, but I ain't goin' nowhere for a while.

So I get on Twitter to vent my frustrations.  After some urging from Kim and Alexis, I make my way over to the candy aisle.  After glancing at the shelves, I find something I actually really love--chocolate covered cherries.  Yum!

I manage to limit myself to only 8 or 10 (and yes, I paid for them, after ripping into the bag).  After a while, there's a much more pleasant 97 staring up at me.    That's more like it!

The other annoying thing?  I only went to Marshalls for some kitchen tongs, and of course they didn't have any.  Oh well.  At least they have candy!