Thursday, May 31, 2012

That's How It Should Be

The DSMA blog carnival topic for May is "I wish my insurance company paid for __________ because ________."

I'm going to go a different direction with this prompt.  I'm not going to fill in the sentence.  Why?  Because I have incredible health insurance.

I've written about health insurance before.  This is far and away the best health insurance I've ever had.  Hands down.  Yes, it's still expensive, but I've yet to have anything rejected that I've asked for.  When I first got my CGM, it was approved in two hours.  They cover the new VerioIQ strips.

For the first time, I don't feel punished for having a chronic condition.  I never want to leave this insurance, ever!

So my wish?  My wish is for everyone to have health insurance as good as mine.  Because that's how it should be.  We have a chronic condition, and do not deserve to be punished for it.  I firmly believe that.  Yet that's how a lot of insurance companies make people feel.  I know I've felt that way before.

People with any chronic condition, diabetes or otherwise, should have access to any and all care and tools available to take care of themselves.  Without going bankrupt in the process.  Period.  End of discussion.

I really wish I had a magic wand I could wave to make this happen.

To find out more information about the DSMA Blog Carnival, click here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

New Toys

So I'm carrying a few extra devices for the next few days.

I've been badly wanting a VerioIQ meter ever since it was released.  And my amazingly fantastic kick-ass CDE was able to get me one.  SWEET!  (My health insurance is incredible, but doesn't pay for meters. And this one's expensive.)

It does seems to run higher than my Ultra Mini, so that will be interesting.  I'll keep you posted.

In addition to picking up the Verio meter at my endo's office yesterday morning, I began a trial of the Dexcom system.

Why am I doing a trial of the Dexcom, you ask?  Well, because I never have.  I'm happy with my Medtronic CGM.  I love it, I really do.  But I also want to know what all my options are.

I would also like to share that wearing two different CGM systems at the same time is hazardous to your health.  Despite the lovely numbers in that snapshot, I can say with confidence that having two high alarms going off at the same time is more than slightly infuriating.  So I'll keep comparing the two CGM systems until my Medtronic sensor dies later today, and then I'll just have the Dexcom going.  For the sake of my sanity.

I'll let you know what I think when the trial is over.  Meanwhile, I'm having fun playing with my new toys.

To see some other posts about the VerioIQ, check out these from Stacey, Kim, and Kerri.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

In Complete and Utter Awe

To me, if you live with diabetes or love someone who has diabetes of any kind, you are a hero.  I truly mean that.

This disease is exhausting, scary, emotional, and never-ending.  Those of us who live with diabetes and our loved ones have a courage and quiet strength that comes from living with chronic illness.

There is one group of people though, of whom I stand in complete and utter awe.  And one person in particular.  The parents of children with diabetes are my heroes.  And no one more so than my own mom.

I read a number of blogs by parents of children with diabetes.  And I am amazed by these moms and dads every day.  Though I myself am not a parent, I know how difficult it is to watch a loved one deal with illness or injury.  I cannot even begin to imagine how much this is magnified when caring for and watching your child live with diabetes. Your courage and the courage of your children is truly inspirational.  You share your joys and struggles, and never give up.  Ever.

Especially BennetScottTimMeriPennyJoanneAlexisLorraineLaura, WendyReynaKatyShannonNicole, and Hallie.  I read every single post you write.  Every one.  And I am in awe of you all.

After I began reading parent blogs, I gained a whole new appreciation for everything my parents, my mom especially, did for me.  I've written about my amazing mother before, multiple times.  Because she truly is my hero.

Growing up, she never let me feel alone with my diabetes.  We were a team.  From the beginning, I did my own finger sticks and injections, but it was OUR diabetes.  My mother's and mine.  She did everything in her power to raise be to be the best Jessica I could be, diabetes and all.  Diabetes made me different, but that was ok.  I wasn't ashamed of my diabetes, and that was because of my mom.

When I was in middle school, we had to give a speech demonstrating how to do something.  So with my mom's encouragement (and it may very well have been her idea, I can't remember) my speech was about diabetes.  More specifically, my speech demonstrated how to give my pre-lunch insulin injection.

That's right.  I got up in front of the class, and showed my classmates how to draw up insulin in the syringe, and then inject it into my leg.  BOOM, there it is.  No big deal.

And then my speech was picked to be given in front of the entire school.  I don't remember being nervous, but I'm sure I was.  I can remember standing up on that stage in the multipurpose room, in front of all my peers, and injecting insulin in my leg.  I remember the collective cringe and gasp in the room.

And I remember being proud of myself, for showing my classmates a little piece of diabetes.  Mom always pushed me to be myself.  And diabetes is a part of me.

As I got older, I did become ashamed of my diabetes.  I liked to pretend it wasn't there.  But that was my struggle.  My mom did everything in her power to empower me to care for myself.  And she's been there for everything.  She is always supportive, and I know I can count on her to always be there.

Because we're still a team.  Only a bigger team.  My incredible husband is part of that team now.  Yes, I'm the one with diabetes, but it's OUR diabetes.  Though Josh and I are the major players, my mom is still on the team, ready to be called upon at any time.

So thank you, parents of children with diabetes.  Thank you for teaching me what it's like to be the parent of a CWD.  To deal with the exhaustion, the corrections, the middle of the night checks, and everything in between.  You've given me a chance to walk a bit in my mom's shoes.

Thanks mom, for everything you've done and continue to do for me.  And thanks to all the D-parents out there.  You truly are my heroes.  Forever.

For more Diabetes Hero posts, click here!

Saturday Morning


Somehow this sensor worked perfectly until the end.

Not so great...

That sensor and transmitter leave a mark!


Jess and Kim. Photo taken by my husband, edited by Sara

Friday, May 18, 2012

Even When It Doesn't Look Like It...

"What is one thing you would tell someone that doesn't have diabetes about living with diabetes?"

I don't even know how to pick just one thing.  There are so many, many things I wish other people could understand.  I love Jacquie's post from yesterday.  Sometimes it would be nice to be able to "give" someone else diabetes for a couple days, just so they could better understand what it's like.  Only temporarily, I promise.  I wouldn't wish this on anyone.

If I have to narrow it down to one thing, it would be this: even when you don't think I'm thinking about diabetes, I am.

I woke up this morning to this lovely graph:

If you have diabetes, then you know how waking up with a blood sugar of 314 feels.  You know the tooth sweaters, the parched feeling in the back of your throat, and how gross it feels getting up all sweaty.  You also know the frustration I feel.  About how waking up with a high can completely throw off your whole day.  That I won't be eating breakfast for a while.

I'm headed to work shortly.  Will I tell my coworkers about my morning?  No.  Maybe they'll catch me checking my CGM a lot (because I will be) and ask if everything's ok.  If they do, my answer will likely be, "Yep, I'm fine, thanks."
I will be thinking about diabetes off and on all day.  Every day.  Every time I check my CGM, I'm clearly thinking about diabetes.  But just because my pump is hidden away in my pocket, that doesn't mean I'm not thinking about it.  Whether at work, out to dinner with friends, driving in the car, or watching TV at home, diabetes is always there.

I do think about other things, of course.  Every moment of every day is not consumed by diabetes.  But more moments than I would like are consumed by it.  I try very hard to make diabetes look like it's no big deal.

But it is a big deal.  And sometimes I wish other people could understand how exhausting it is.  Because even when it doesn't look like I'm thinking about diabetes, I am.

For more What They Should Know posts, click here!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Only One Answer

What is my fantasy diabetes device?

This prompt is probably supposed to get our creative juices flowing.  To suggest new and amazing ideas and technology for diabetes.  But I can't do that.  When I think about a diabetes device that I want, there's only one answer.

I want an artificial pancreas.  I really, really, really do.  I've written about this before, but I'm going to say it again.

I don't expect to see a cure in my lifetime.  I truly don't.  I do think that finding a cure is important, and that one will be found someday.  But I don't think I'll live to see it.  That's not where I place my hope.

My hope is in technology that will make my life better.  That will take the strain off of us, and give more of the work to a machine.

This hope has grown even stronger since my visit to Medtronic in March.  Meeting Lane and the rest of the closed-loop team was an incredible experience.   These people are so passionate about what they do.  And there are many, many people just as determined at many different companies and organizations working toward an artificial pancreas.  It takes my breath away to think about it.

The visit made me want a closed-loop system even more than I already did.  Some days I want it so badly it hurts.  But the visit also gave me hope.  Because this will happen.  We will have an artificial pancreas.

This fantasy will become a reality.  I have to believe that.

For more Fantasy Diabetes Device posts, click here!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Caring Enough

I am my own worst critic.  Totally and completely.  No one is harder on me than I am on myself.  Ever.  Yesterday's topic was a challenge.  Today, I could write a novel.

"One thing we could try to do better."  Only one thing?  Okay, I'll try to focus.  I'd like to share the thing that I've been focusing on lately.  Something I'm working on learning how to do.

Caring enough without caring too much. 

Let me explain.  Before I found the DOC, I spent several years living in apathy.  I was numb to diabetes; I went through the motions but didn't care.

And then after I found the DOC, I was a born again person with diabetes!  I counted my carbs meticulously.  I tested like clockwork.  I got a CGM and watched it like a hawk.  I was determined to take care of myself.

But I soon burned out, and was battling apathy again.  I cared too much.  My goals were unrealistic and unsustainable.  No one can be a perfect person with diabetes.  Not possible.

Somewhere there is a balance.  A place where I care enough to take care of myself.  But I don't care so much that one rouge blood sugar makes me give up.  That's hard for me.  Some days are easier than others.

photo by Andy Wright
Flickr Creative Commons

Struggling with binge eating makes all of this infinitely more difficult.  I usually start out well enough in the morning.  As I move through my day, I do my best to make good choices in what I eat, and to carb count and bolus accordingly.  All it takes is a random high bg to make me throw in the towel.  When I'm following all the rules, when I didn't eat those cookies, when I tripled-checked my bolus.  And I'm still high.  My brain's response is to get incredibly frustrated and think, "Why the hell do I even try?  There's no point."

And frequently, I respond by binging, which only makes the high worse.  It's not a fun cycle.  I want to learn to see the number as a number, as data, and not have such a viceral emotional response.  I want to learn to care about the high number, but not so much that it overtakes everything else.

I want to find the balance between caring enough and caring too much.  I know it's there somewhere.  And I'll keep looking till I find it.

For more posts about One Thing To Improve click here!

Also, yesterday I had the great honor of guest posting over at Medtronic's blog, The Loop.  Head on over and check it out!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Today's prompt for Diabetes Blog Week is one great thing.  I'm supposed to write about one diabetes thing I do really well.

To be perfectly honest, most days I feel like I totally suck at the whole diabetes thing.  Especially lately.  I can think of a laundry list of things at which I am terrible.  I'm having a hard time coming up with something positive.  But there is one thing that I know that I do really well.

I am good at encouraging others.  I always have been.  I'm more of a listener than a talker.  I want to know what's going on in your life.  What are you struggling with?  How can I encourage you?

I like to take care of people; to make them feel better.  Which has not gone unnoticed.  Like when I was in college, and one year my roommates got me a Mother's Day card.  Because they may or may not have called me mom.  Ahem.

And a certain Scott may have been known to call me mom upon occasion.  What?  I like to check up on people, is that so wrong?

This desire to be a cheerleader, to be encouraging, has carried over into the DOC as I've gotten more involved.  I don't comment as much as I'd like to, but please know that I do read blogs and tweets and pay attention.  And that if I see someone having a hard time, I try to be encouraging.

photo by Corey Kubber
Flickr Creative Commons

So if you're having a hard time, know that I am here.  That others are here.  We're in your corner, cheering you on, even if you can't see it.  You can do this.  I know you can.

For other One Great Thing posts, click here

Monday, May 14, 2012

How Blogs Changed My Life

I found the Diabetes Online Community through blogs.  So it seems fitting that the topic for the first day of Diabetes Blog Week is diabetes blogs.

The first blog I ever read was C's.  And then I found Kim.  And Kerri.  They were young women with diabetes, living lives a lot like mine.  Their blogs led me to others.  Blogs of boys living with diabetes (who don't have cooties, after all).  Blogs of parents of children with diabetes, who help me better understand what my parents went through.  And I've learned so much from my friends living with Type 2 Diabetes.

When I discovered the DOC, I'd been living with diabetes for 17 years, and for the first time I felt understood.  I finally felt like I wasn't alone.  And as my 19th diaversary approaches this summer, I cannot imagine my life without the DOC.  Blogs are what started all that.

See that REALLY long blog roll over there?  I recommend all those blogs because I really do read them.  I do my best to read every post.

There are so many dblogs out there, that it's impossible to keep up with all of them.  So I read what I can, when I can.

To all my fellow bloggers, thank you.  You have changed my life, and what you write helps people every single day.  Thank you.

And if you're a D-Blogger and don't see yourself on my link list, let me know.  The more, the merrier!

And happy Diabetes Blog Week! :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sometimes We Step Backwards

So I've had my first meeting with my new psychologist.  In fact, it's almost time for my second meeting with her.  I've been processing that first session and deciding what I want to say.

The good news is that I think this is going to work out.  This new psychologist was very nice and definitely has a lot of experience working with food issues and eating disorders, which is what I need.  Based on my first impression, she doesn't seem to know as much about Type 1 Diabetes as my old therapist, but I'll have to investigate that further.  And if she doesn't, then it's an opportunity for me to do some educating.

But there are two main reasons I think this is going to work.  First of all, I felt comfortable with her.  She was easy to talk to, and I cried about 10 minutes in, so we've gotten that out of the way.  The second thing is that I now have my own regular appointment time.

This is SO IMPORTANT!  This is why I switched.  I am ready to get better, and I feel like I am on the path towards that.

Part of why I got so emotional has to do with feeling like a failure.  After I started therapy initially, I was doing so well!  I was very conscious about what I ate, and was able to stop coping with food cold turkey, at least for a while.  I lost weight and felt great.

And then the newness wore off.  And there was a long lapse in my sessions.  And I backslid.  A lot.  Especially lately.  I hinted at it in my last post, but I was having some serious anxiety about a health issue. A small but extremely frustrating non-diabetes health issue.  One that I had about convinced myself was actually a big scary issue.

Now, I can thankfully report that it's not big and scary.  It is minor, being taken care of, and less frustrating.  Whew!  Not knowing what was going on was difficult.  I don't do well with the unknown.  I didn't even realize just how incredibly anxious I was about it until I wasn't anxious anymore.  Holy cow.

I was talking about all this with my therapist.  About how when I started therapy, I finally had hope that the emotional and binge eating would go away.  But somewhere in the last six months, that hope disappeared.

I'm trying to find it again.  Hope.  And all of you are helping me on that path.  Having my family, friends, and this community cheering me on helps so much!

My new therapist is helping me find hope too.  In my first appointment, she said that sometimes we move forward, and sometimes we step backwards.  And that's ok.  I'm ready to start moving forward again.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Half Free

Actual conversation between Josh and I last night:

     Me: "I need to take a shower and change my set."

     Josh: "Is it free shower day*?"

     Me: "Nope, sensor's staying put.  So it's only half free."

     About 30 seconds pass...

     Me: "This shower is 50% off!!!!"

     I laugh hysterically and Josh slowly shakes his head.

     Josh: "You need to tweet that."

A shower free from one of these!

Josh, I see your tweet and raise you a blog post!  Ha! 

We're no Jenny and Victor (warning: this link is kinda inappropriate but highly hilarious!), but we have fun.

*From the Diabetes Terms of Endearment: "Free Shower Day: Taking a shower on the day that your infusion set and/or CGM sensor are being swapped out, leaving your skin site-free."

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

They're Not Mine

Doing some #sweatbetes with mom on Saturday.  Saw this jar of glucose tabs in the road.  

They're not mine.  :)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Best of the 'Betes Blogs April 2012

This was so much more difficult than I thought it would be!  So many fabulous posts were nominated.  I love the DOC, and this process reminds me again why.  We are so much stronger together than we are alone.  No matter what kind of day I'm having, I can open Google Reader and find posts from my friends that inspire me to keep going.  Thank you all for that.

So without further ado, I present the Best of the 'Betes Blogs for April 2012!

Best Use of Humor: Sometimes there's nothing you can do but laugh at the strange things family members say...

Best Vlog: I heart the You Can Do This project.  It reminds us that we are not alone, and that there is power in numbers.

Best Recipe: Mmmm, pasta.  I'll be over for dinner tomorrow, ok?

Best Use of Photography:  These pics will make you do a double take.  So neat!

Best Advocacy:  A post from a parent of children with diabetes that appeared on the blog of a person with diabetes.  Cause he's awesome like that.

Best Reference to a D-Celebrity: Highly jealous of the attention this blogger was given by a certain fabulously attractive D-celeb.

Best Story of a D-Meetup: Any opportunity to meet friends from the DOC in real life is magical!  I've felt this way myself, many times.  Warm fuzzies.

Best non-D Related Post: One of the most powerful posts I've read in a long time.  Loneliness is something we can all relate to.

Best Post by a Type 1: Getting blood drawn is pretty routine for people with diabetes.  Except when it's not.

Best Post by a Type 2: Not judging yourself based on the number on the meter is hard, no matter what type of diabetes you have.

Best Post by LADA/ Type 1.5/ Not otherwise specified: An incredible post from one of the most inspirational people I know, reminding us that defeat is optional.

Best Story of a D Mistake: You know when it seems like the world is out to get you, at least when it comes to diabetes?

Best Motivational Post: I often feel like a failure.  But this inspirational post tells us what failing DOESN'T look like.

Best Diabetes Art: I wish my pancreas had a brain and could do all this for me.  But then it wouldn't be broken!

Thanks to everyone who sent in nominations, and congratulations to all the nominees!

Bab's Blog
(Buzz, Buzz) Not My Cell
Candy Hearts
The Chronicles of D-Boy and Ribbon
Every Day Every Hour Every Minute
I Run On Insulin
Jeff Mather's Dispatches
KD- And It's Not Kraft Dinner!
Kayla's Life Notes
Lisa From Scratch
Our Diabetic Life
Rolling in the D
Sweet Success: My Life with Type 2 Diabetes
Texting My Pancreas
This Is Caleb
Typical Type 1
Victoria Cumbow
Your Diabetes May Vary

Want the Best 'Betes Blogs button on your page?  Grab away!

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And that's a wrap for April!  Remember you can send nominations all month long!  Email, or direct message @bestbetesblogs on Twitter. 

Keep writing and reading!