Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Tide You Over

Things have been kind busy lately. I'm hoping to get back to regularly posting next week.  This will have to tide you over till then. :)

New frames!

Vampire cannula. Ew.

#planking #iwishmycgmgraphalwayslookedlikethis #butheniwouldnthavediabetes

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Geeking Out About Infusion Sets

You may remember a while back, I called Medtronic's help line and asked for some samples of a couple different sets.  I've used the 9mm Quick-Sets with 43" tubing for years.  Years.  But it felt like I was getting a lot of bloody sites, and I wondered if 9mm was becoming too long.  I've lost a little weight over the last year.  Not a lot, but enough that I felt that I needed a shorter cannula length.

I was planning on just switching to the 6mm Quick-Set, but Sara convinced me that I should try a Sure-T.  I had always shied away from the Sure-T, as the thought of leaving a steel cannula in my body for multiple days didn't sound appealing.  Also, I am a total wimp, and didn't like the fact that the Sure-Ts are manual insertion only.  No serter.  Not appealing.

But with Sara's encouragement nagging, I asked for a couple 6mm Sure-Ts as well.  Two 6mm Quick-Sets, and two 6mm Sure-Ts.  I used the sample Quick-Sets right away, but I left those Sure-Ts sitting in the box.  For multiple weeks.

Finally, I decided to stop putting it off and try them.  Sara let me watch her put one in (thank you Skype) and gave me a few pointers.  So finally one day, I took a deep breath, and stuck one in.

The first Sure-T hurt a decent bit going in, but that was because I hesitated too much when I was inserting it.  I didn't use enough force.  I thought I'd be able to feel the steel cannula while the set was in, but I couldn't.  The second one I put in went better.  I made sure to use more force when inserting, and actually didn't feel a thing!  Say what?  Seriously?  A painless set change?  I didn't think it was possible.

So here I sit today, fully converted into a HUGE Sure-T fan.  Medtronic made it easy to swap most of my Quick-Sets for the Sure-Ts, even overnighting me a box of Sure-Ts once I'd decided to switch.  I seriously love their customer service.

There are two main reasons why I switched.  The first I already mentioned: inserting a Sure-T hardly hurts at all!  I'm still amazed when I change my set.  As long as I make sure to use enough force, I barely feel it going in at all.  I love it!

The other reason is the fact that the cannula cannot kink.  It's steel.  No kinking, bending, or pretzeling itself into weird shapes.  It's really nice not to have that variable to consider when blood sugars go wonky.

Not that the Sure-T is perfect.  I still hit bad spots.  I had to change my set at work Monday afternoon thanks to some stubborn highs.  And when I took the set out, I was greeted with a spurt of that lovely mix of insulin and blood.  When you hit a bad spot, it doesn't matter what set you use.  A bad spot is a bad spot.

There are a couple things I don't like about the Sure-T.  One is tubing length.  I like my tubing LONG!  (Yeah, yeah, that's what she said, I know).  But I really do.  I've used 43" tubing for as long as I can remember.  The longest tubing for the Sure-T is 32".  I really do miss those 11"!  For me, the switch is still worth it, but I would LOVE it if Medtronic would come out with 43" tubing on the Sure-T.  Pretty please?

The other thing I don't like so much is taking the Sure-T out.  Taking it out is worse than putting it in!  Since it's a steel cannula, you can't just rip the set out at any angle.  Well, you could, but OUCH!  When I take a set out, I meticulously peel up all the edges of the adhesive, grab the little butterfly plastic tabs used for insertion, and pull it straight out.  And that adhesive is sticky!  Yanking that off my skin smarts more than putting the stupid set in in the first place!

In spite of those things, I am so happy with my decision to switch to the Sure-T.  And I have no plans to use any other kind of set for the foreseeable future.  Thanks to Sara, Dana, Sarah, and Lili for their encouragement and advice.

So yes, Sara, you were right.  But I am NOT titling my post that.  Sorry.  ;)

EDIT TO ADD: Thanks to Meredith's comment, I realized I forgot to explain the extra adhesive.  The Sure-T has another adhesive patch that contains the spot where you disconnect the tubing.  My understanding is that it's extra security against the steel cannula being tugged on or ripped out (see also: OUCH!).  This way, the connector adhesive is what handles all the tugs and drops, making the actual set more secure.  It's annoying having two things stuck to me, but I do like the added security.

Note: I chose to write about the Sure-T because I really do love it that much!  No one at Medtronic asked me to write this post, and I was not given any sets other than the four samples.  Myself and my insurance company pay the full cost for all of my Medtronic supplies.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Visiting A Friend

Briley is one of my most favorite people I've never met.  Her enthusiasm and great sense of humor are easy to spot, even through Twitter.

Today, I have the honor of guest posting over at Briley's blog, InDependence.  I wrote about the time I went here, among other things:

Go check it out!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

These Words

I had my yearly eye exam yesterday.  I LOVE my opthamologist.  I've been going to him for a number of years, and I feel confident that my eyes are in good hands, so to speak.  He's firm when I need to be doing more to take care of my diabetes, and supportive when things are going well.  He was as pleased with my latest A1c as I am!

I got some new frames, which is highly exciting.  Can't wait to show them off!  I decided that I needed some sweet frames for Friends For Life this summer, since I don't enjoy wearing contacts till three in the morning.  Or turning around and putting said contacts back in at seven the same morning.  No thank you.

The best part of the appointment?  These words: "Everything looks great.  No sign of diabetic retinopathy."

Woo to the hoo!!!!

Oh, and here's an obligatory scary dilated-eye picture.  Yes, I know it's hard to tell because my eyes are so dark, but they were dilated, I swear.

If you want to read about how you know when it's time to switch eye doctors, check out Sara's post.  Because we're twins or something,

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How Did I Do This Without You?

There is something magical about having this space, this little corner of the internet, to share my thoughts and feelings.  And you wonderful people are what make it magical.

I received such overwhelming support after the verbal vomit in my last post.  Not that I expected anything else.  This love and support is what changes people's lives.  It has changed mine.

I've been thinking a lot about that today.  About how in the world I did this for so long without the DOC. You all have become like family to me, and I can't imagine dealing with diabetes without all of you anymore.  Victoria and Cheri both wrote some beautifully fantastic and poignant posts on the topic yesterday.  Please take a moment to read them.

Two weeks ago today, I went to my endo appointment.  I hadn't gotten around to writing about it yet (because I have a problem with procrastination, not because it was bad).  I was nervous that my A1c had gone up, and didn't really want to go.

But on the morning of the appointment, I wasn't nervous.  I was calm, and confident that I could handle whatever the number turned out to be.  It is just a number, after all.  I know the reason I felt so at peace was all of you.

And you know what?  My A1c was 7.2%!  Only 0.1% higher than the last one, which is basically no change at all!!!  I was ecstatic!  Happy endo, happy CDE, and happy Jess.

You wonderful people give me hope.  You remind me each day that I can do this.  Thank you.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Cling To Hope

If you read many diabetes blogs, then I'm sure you've heard about what Meri, Ryan, and her wonderful boys are going through.  It breaks my heart.  Meri is one of my most favorite people.  And even though we've never met, I feel like I know her.

If you aren't familiar with what's going on, please take a moment and read about it in Meri's own words.

The family is asking for prayers, especially today.  Please keeps them in your heart.

You can like the Schuhmacher Family Miracle Facebook page for updates.  If you'd like to help the family with medical expenses, you can donate here.

Thank you.

And keep praying, as we cling to hope.