Thursday, September 29, 2011

I Still Wince

I still wince.

Every single time.

Not for fingersticks, but for the infusion sets and CGM sensors.  It's like a reflex.  I can't help it.  It's like a preemptive wince.  Like if I just go ahead and wince, then it won't hurt.

Sometimes it hurts.  Especially that big effing harpoon of a CGM needle.  And sometimes, it doesn't hurt.

But the potential for it to hurt is there every time.  Last night, I stood there.  Quick-set in the Quick-Serter, locked and loaded, pressed against my side.  I put my finger on the grey buttons that will send that needle into my skin.  My stomach tightens.  I take a deep breath.


I tell myself, "It's ok, this is not going to hurt."

My fingers sit on the buttons, hesitant, not wanting to push them.  One more deep breath, and I force my fingers to squeeze.  The needle shoots in.

And this time, it doesn't hurt.  My breath releases, and I pull the needle out, prime that cannula, and go back to my life.

I have had Type 1 Diabetes for 18 years.  I have been using an insulin pump for 14 years, and my CGM for almost a year.

"Aren't you used to this?" you may be thinking.

Yes, yes I am.  Set and CGM changes are part of my routine.  As routine as these needles are, that doesn't mean it's easy to stab myself every few days.  The potential for pain is always there.  Sometimes, when you hit just the right spot, it hurts so much the tears and stream of profanity start immediately.  The needle is ripped out and thrown on the ground, and I cry and put pressure on the insertion site, because there's a good chance it's a gusher.

Thankfully, this doesn't happen very often, but it's hell when it does.

And so I still wince, every single time.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Hot Mess

So I'm kinda of a messy person.

Ok, so I'm actually quite a messy person, as anyone who has lived with me can attest to.  I mean, I clean the bathroom and dust, not that kind of messy.  I just tend to pile up things and kind of...just...leave them.

I'm working on it, ok?

In my great attempt to get more organized, yesterday I decided to do something about the state of my diabetes supplies.  Shockingly enough, they were mostly in the sameish place.

yeah, yeah, I know...

at least I brought them inside...?

Suffice it to say that my supplies are a little disorganized.  So yesterday, I went to Target, and after going low (of course), bought this:


And I attacked that hot mess of a shelf!

And now my diabetes supplies are all neatly put away in the corner of my bedroom.








Or so I thought.  And then I saw it.  ANOTHER Medtronic box on top of the hot mess shelf!  NOOOOO!  My pretty new white drawers are full!  Oh well...



It'll have to do.  And today, I'm calling Medtronic and taking myself off of automatic shipment.  This is ridiculous people.  I think I could outlast another ice age with this stuff.

Not really.  And I'm grateful to have the supplies, and insurance to help pay for it.  I am extremely blessed.

And that shelf is no longer a hot mess.  Woot!  Even if it still does have a couple D related items on it...




Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dear Babs

Dear Babs-

I hope your surgery goes smoothly today, my friend.  I will be thinking about you and praying for you.

I hope you know how much I admire the grace and humility with which you've handled all of this.  How you have not let either the diabetes or the cancer steal your joy.  How you refuse to back down.

You've kept your sense of humor.  And when you couldn't find anyone else out there who had experienced both Type 1 Diabetes and breast cancer, you decided to share your story.  Because, as you said, there has to be more women out there dealing with both diseases.

You have been through so much.  I can't even imagine how difficult this journey has been and will continue to be.

I can always count on you to be honest, and tell it like it is.

I am honored to be your friend.  Love you, Babs!

Love,

Jess

Friends, please keep Babs and her husband Jon in your thoughts and prayers.  And go check out Bab's Blog.  She seriously is amazing!




Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Visting Victoria

Today, I'm guest posting for my friend Victoria Cumbow.  She is awesome.  And I get to meet her in real life soon!  Yay!

So go check out my post, and some of Victoria's too.  She's good people. :)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

My Turn


So this past week was Invisible Illness Week.  And lots of my blogging friends have done this meme, and I've enjoyed reading them all!  So here, on the last day of this week, I decided to go ahead and do the meme myself.

Also, please be sure to check out the posts from Kerri, Abby, George, Babs, Reyna, Meri, Penny, Joanna, Kim, and Alexis.  Please forgive me if you did the meme and I missed it.

My turn! :)

1. The illness I live with is: Type 1 Diabetes

2. I was diagnosed with it in the year:  1993

3. But I had symptoms since: several months before (see this post)

4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: Well, I can't really remember not having diabetes.  But I would say being different from other kids

5. Most people assume: People assume that I can't eat sugar..

6. The hardest part about mornings are: When I wake up either too low or too high.  Throws the bgs off for a good part of the day, and makes my I-am-so-not-a-morning-person self even more of a grump.

7. My favorite medical TV show is: I used to be a big Grey's Anatomy fan, but not so much anymore.  Turned into too much of a soap opera.

8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: Only one?  Cause I need my meter, insulin pump, and CGM.

9. The hardest part about nights are: Nighttime lows are my greatest fear.  No question.

10. Each day I take a few pills & a couple vitamins.  And INSULIN!  Without it I would die.

11. Regarding alternative treatments: There are none for Type 1 Diabetes.  No, losing weight and eating a crapton of cinnamon isn't going to help!

12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: I like that I can hide my diabetes when I choose to.  But sometimes I wish other people could tell just by looking at me how effing hard this is.

13. Regarding working and career:  I HATE it when my diabetes interferes with my ability to do my job effectively.  HATE it.  And I would love a career helping other people with diabetes with the emotional aspects of coping with the disease.

14. People would be surprised to know: How emotionally exhausting and draining living with diabetes is.  I may act like it's no big deal, but that's not true.

15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: Like I said, I don't remember not having diabetes. Not a new reality for me. 

16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: I've never thought of my diabetes preventing me from doing anything.  I've accomplished everything I've wanted to do in my life thus far, and I'm proud of that.

17. The commercials about my illness: Vary.  Most are aimed at Type 2.  Some are ok.  Some are full of crap and make me angry.

18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: being able to be a kid for just a bit longer.  Diabetes forces kids to grow up too fast.

19. It was really hard to have to give up: Again, can't really remember.  But sometimes I wish I could just eat food and not have to think.

20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: Same answer as about everyone else- blogging! :)

21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would:  Go to my favorite restaurant and eat nothing but desserts.  Then go for a nice long walk without carrying anything but my iPod.  And not carry a purse all day!

22. My illness has taught me: Diabetes has taught me that I am stronger than I think I am.  And that perfect strangers can become my best friends.

23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: Oh, you can't have sugar, that must be so difficult.  Grrrr....

24. But I love it when people: ask me about my diabetes instead of assuming things about me.

25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: You Can Do This!  And Zephaniah 3:17.

26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: This is a difficult journey, but you can do this.  And you are NEVER alone!

27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: I am never alone.  And our shared pain brings us all closer together.  I love the DOC!

28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: my wonderful husband does more for me than I can type here.  He lives this disease every day with me, and does so much to help.  I love you, babe!

29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: I want other people to know that they can do this, and you are not alone!

30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: happy and honored.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Five Words

I dedicate this post to my friend George.

Last week, George tweeted this.



I LOVED this!  And so I responded.


And some other Twitter friends had great ideas too!






And this one had me rolling on the floor!


I love this hashtag.  A lot.  Diabetes is hard work.  A little personalization goes a long way, as does a sense of humor.

The #5words game inspired me.

I decided I was done looking at my boring meter.  So I decorated it.  With Duct Tape.

Purple tape to match my purple pump!

The light's kinda funny, so in case you can't read it, on the top it says, "It's just a number!"  And on the bottom, "Does not reflect my worth."

So now, I see both of those lines every time I check my blood sugar.  And you know what?  I think it's helping a little.

What are your five words?

*Ok kids, when I covered the meter, I made sure to work around the opening where the strip goes in and the battery case.  If you choose to cover your meter in Duct Tape, or anything else, please use common sense.*

Monday, September 12, 2011

Pulling Me Out of the Rut

So I meant to get this post up last week, but didn't get to it.  Hee hee.  So you get to read about it now. :)

My Labor Day weekend was AMAZING!

The weather was incredible, which just put a blanket of joy over the entire weekend.  We went to visit some of Josh's family, and they live out in the country.  Got lots of quality outside time in.  And my blood sugars liked it very much!

I actually had my first no-hitter in a long, long time.  And I was ecstatic!


When we arrived on Saturday evening, Josh and I spent almost an hour in the front yard with our niece and nephew, playing frisbee.  Or rather, Josh and I were throwing the frisbee, and the kids ran around the yard chasing it down.  And did I mention that it had rained that day?  We laughed and laughed as we watched the kids chase down that frisbee.  They would run and run, and try to stop.  But that wet grass sent them flying across the yard.  Every single time.  I hadn't laughed that hard in a long time.  We played till it was literally too dark to see the frisbee.  We might have kept going longer if Josh hadn't thrown the frisbee on the roof.  Way to go, Uncle Josh.

Sunday we bummed around the house for a while.  After lunch, I started rising quite rapidly and wanted to nix that, so Josh and I went for a walk.  And his parents joined us.  And the rise stopped and leveled off.  Did I mention that I have the best in-laws ever?

For dinner, we went to a local pizza place.  Now, I don't usually eat pizza, but I have been working on my bolusing for high-fat meals.  And I'll be damned if I was going to let pizza ruin the no-hitter I had going.  So I ate pizza and ice cream, rocked the dual-wave bolus and cranked up my basal to 180% for 8 hours.

Here's my CGM graph from about 10:00 that night:


And here's the graph from when I woke up on Monday:


 Look at that flat line!  And it matched the meter bg!  Holy amazing blood sugars, batman!  I was simultaneously flabbergasted and thrilled!  Woohoo!  After pizza AND ice cream!  Take THAT, Wendell!

Unfortunately, my glee was short-lived.  About a couple hours after breakfast, I went to change my set.  When I ripped the set out, several units of insulin came spilling out of the hole in my skin left from the set.  Uh-oh.  I don't mean a small dribble.  I mean like most of my breakfast bolus worth.  What the fructose....


And so the no-hitter came to an end (my high alarm is set at 180).  Oh well.  I had a no-hitter for about 36 hours, and I'm quite proud of that.  I've been stuck in a rut lately, and that amazing weekend helped snap me out of it.  I'll talk more about the rut in a later post.  I just wanted to thank my in-laws for the most fun weekend I've had in a while.

Before we left, Josh and I went traipsing through the fields looking for cool rocks, which helped bring the number back down.

Oh, and also, if you're ever playing Sequence, don't pick me or Josh for a partner.  We didn't do so hot.  We'll get you next time, guys!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Today

Today is a sad, difficult day for so many.  Full of so many mixed emotions.  Trying to celebrate life while dealing with crushing grief.

I personally do not know anyone lost on 9/11.  But today has been hard for me too.  One of my best friends  from college lost her father this week.  And she is too far away for me to be there with her.

And my grandma fell and broke some bones earlier in the week.  On her birthday, no less.

Now I realize that this doesn't compare at all to how people directly affected by 9/11 are feeling.

There are a few things I want you to do.  Please take a moment to go read the following posts:

I'm sitting here in Starbucks crying after reading their beautiful, powerful posts.  Thank you both so much for sharing.

Switchfoot is my favorite band.  And I've been listening to them on my iPod as I sit here trying to get some posts written.  And their song You came up as I was reading Jeff's posts.  And that's when the tears started.

I listened to this song over and over again almost 10 years ago when I lost one of my best friends.  Please take a moment and listen.  Because even in the midst of crushing grief, there is still hope.



Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Only Thing Worse...

The only thing worse than not having a CGM...


is having one that IS NOT WORKING!

So.  Aggravating.

CGM, I am really upset with you right now.  However, I suppose I'll forgive you once I have a fresh and FUNCTIONING sensor in...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Apping and Vloging

Yes, I realize that "apping" is not a word.  But I was really struggling with a title for this post, so I made it up.  Get over it.

Sorry, I haven't had my coffee yet.  The grumps should go away shortly...

Anyways, about that "apping."  So last month, Medtronic released an iPhone/iPad app, which I have lately been playing with on my iPod.  No iPhone for me, we have Android phones.  Which is the major issue I have with the app: I WANT IT FOR ANDROID!!!!  Please? :)

I love the app!  Sara wrote a great review here.  But I thought I'd throw in my two cents after using it for a while.


First of all, I love the reminder alarms!  Especially the infusion set reminder and sensor reminder.  Cause this girl has a hard time remembering when I put and infusion set and sensor in.  More specifically, sometimes I can't remember how many times I've restarted a sensor.  I mean, what, no, I never wear a sensor longer than three days...

I also love that the app allows you to save ALL your pump settings.  Basal, bolus, sensor, and stuff in utilities.  Now if my pump dies, I won't have to rely on my endo's office to tell me what my basals were.

Oh come on, like you have all your basals memorized?

Another helpful feature is the "Troubleshooting Alarms and Alerts."  It covers both pump alarms and sensor alarms.  It lists alarms I've never even seen, which is a good thing I guess.  The app won't take the place of the 24-hour helpline, but helps you know when it's a try-it-again-and-see-how-it-goes alarm or a call-the-helpline-right-away alarm.  And if an alarm I was unfamiliar with ever popped up, the app would be the first thing I reach for.  Right before I call customer support, that is...

(Shout-out to Medtronic customer support!  I love you guys!)

Anywho, there's more to the app then that, but those are the things I am most excited about and have been using.

One more feature of the app is that it links you to Medtronic's blog, The Loop.  And speaking of The Loop, I was super-excited to see this post from them yesterday!

That's right, Medtronic Diabetes has made a You Can Do This Project video!  Woohoo!  And I had the opportunity to meet Naomi at Friends For Life, and she is just as enthusiastic and passionate as she seems in the video.

So thanks to everyone at Medtronic for the video.  Go check it out!

*Disclaimer: I received an email from Medtronic when the app was released, but I was not asked to blog about either the app or the You Can Do This video, nor was I compensated in any way.  As always, all thoughts are my own.*

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Both Sides



Today is Diabetes Art Day! Yay!


And here is my project:


I call it Both Sides.  Oil pastel on white construction paper, FTW!  Which means for the win, in case you were wondering...
Diabetes Art Day
Please go to the Diabetes Art Day site to see everyone else's artwork and participate yourself!  Share your creativity!

I strongly believe in the importance of getting your feelings out.  Diabetes causes A LOT of messy feelings, and creating artwork is a great way to let some of those feelings out.

And many thanks to the amazing Lee Ann Thill for working so hard and putting this day together!