Friday, June 28, 2013

Five Favorite Words

Had my annual eye exam yesterday.  And my ophthalmologist uttered five of my most favorite words in the universe: "No signs of diabetic retinopathy."

Whew!  I feel like I can breathe again for another year.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Feeling Adventurous

1998.  That's when I started on my first insulin pump.  August of 1998 to be exact.  That's almost 15 years ago.

Which is a long time.  And a lot of pump sites.  After exclusively using my stomach for years, I can't use that area anymore.  I have insulin pooches there that will probably never go away.  My arms work well, as does my lower back.  But I want to find some new spots.  And avoid wearing out the ones I've got.

Legs?  I've tried thigh sites multiple times over the years, and they just don't work for me.  They always kink up within 24 hours.

And I can't go too low on my lower back, or I get bleeders.  The sites have to be around my love handles.  Any lower, and they turn into a hot mess.

Last week, I was feeling adventurous.  So I decided to try a new spot: my butt.  The side butt, as Jacquie says, to be exact.  I used to wear Medtronic sensors there with good results, so I decided to try my luck with sets.

I'm now on my third butt set, and they're working wonderfully.  A huge sigh of relief for me.  And my arms and lower back are enjoying the break.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Equally Magical

Diabetes follows me everywhere.  It followed me to Washington, D.C., as I knew it would.  But I wasn't expecting three wonderful diabetes in the wild moments on our trip.

The first was at a CVS near our hotel.  Shortly after arriving in D.C., we went to pick up some provisions.  As we walked around, I saw a teenage girl with an Omnipod on her arm.  I grinned and was instantly excited.  Diabetes nerd alert.

Now it's decision time.  Do I say something or not?  I stared at the girl, willing her to look at me.  But no such luck.  So I took a deep breath, and walked towards her.

"I spy an Omnipod!" I said, simultaneously smiling and trying not to look creepy.  The girl looked up, and I pointed at my pump on my hip.

She grinned, threw her hands in the air, and said, "diabetes unite!"  Totally and completely made my day.  It was awesome.

The second diabetes in the wild encounter happened a few days later.  We were at the Library of Congress (sidebar: one of my most FAVORITE buildings in the world!) in the security line.  Metal detector and an x-ray machine for bags.  So I launched into my this-is-a-continuous-glucose-monitor-and-can't-go-through-x-ray spiel.  The security personell were very nice and respectful (as they were everywhere we went).  After inspection by a couple guys, I was given the all clear.

Can I live here? Please?

As I walked out of the metal detector, another guard was standing there.  "What is that?" he asked, gesturing towards my Dexcom.

"It's a continuous glucose monitor," I replied.  "I have Type 1 Diabetes and it graphs my blood sugar."  I pressed the button so he could see the graph.

"Wow, that's amazing!" he said.  "I have Type 2 Diabetes.  I've never seen that before."

I wanted to hug the guy, but decided that might not be the best idea.  Instead, we chatted for a few minutes.  I wish I could have talked to him longer, but there was a line of people behind us.  I just hope I brightened his day a little.  He certainly brightened mine.

The third diabetes encounter was on our way home.  We had a short layover, and were waiting at the terminal for our next flight.  My pump was almost out of insulin and I didn't want to refill on the plane, so I decided to just go ahead and fill a new reservoir.  I just did it right then and there, in the terminal.

A couple people were looking, but it didn't really bother me.  I expected that.  What I didn't expect was the woman sitting across from us to say anything.

My set was in my arm, so switching out the tubing and reservoir was easy enough.  As I clicked the tubing back into the set, she leaned over and said, "So you put your pump site in your arm?"

Turns out her (now adult) son has Type 1 and wears a pump.  He doesn't put sites in his arms, hence her interest.  Her son was diagnosed at 14, and is now grown with kids of his own.  Josh and I spent the next half hour talking to this woman.  It was wonderful!  Thankfully, it sounds like her son has a great support system and is doing quite well.

When it was time for us to go, I told her I was glad she said something so we could chat.  She smiled and said, "You take care, hon," in that way that moms do.  It made my heart happy.

Three very different diabetes in the wild moments, but all equally magical.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Sometimes Diabetes Plays Nicely

Diabetes is a fickle beast.  Sometimes it plays nice, and sometimes it doesn't.  Thankfully, diabetes played pretty nicely on our trip to D.C.

Travel usually throws my blood sugars way off, so I came prepared.  Plenty of glucose tabs, as well as extra insulin and syringes.  You never know.

Flying stresses me out and I forgot to sent a temp basal, so I was stuck in the upper 200s for most of our journey to D.C.  Once we arrived and I was no longer stressed (and the corrections FINALLY kicked in) things were looking more normal.

Overall, I am amazed at how on target my blood sugars were during our trip.  I had highs and lows of course, but not really any more than usual.  Which was surprising.  My daily routine was completely out the window.  We were eating out for every meal.  And I was indulging in foods I couldn't get at home, SWAGing my heart out.  I was on vacation, damn it!

So why did things go so well on the diabetes front?  Walking.  I walked my ass off.  We didn't have a rental car.  Our hotel was within a couple miles of most of the monuments and museums.  We did use the Metro, but it can only get you so close.  So we walked.  A lot.  On two of the days, we walked about 28,000 steps.  Thirteen miles!  Yikes!

From our hotel to the Washington Monument, to the World War II Memorial, to the Korean and Vietnam memorials, the Lincoln Memorial, MLK, FDR, and Jefferson.  Not to mention the museums.  Quite a hike, but more than worth every step.

World War II memorial.

Eleanor Roosevelt.  Amazing woman.

Lincoln.  Need I say more?

I was worried about lows, but only had a few.  I bolused quite conservatively and had snacks, and it all seemed to balance out.  A little planning, a whole lotta luck, and I couldn't have been happier.

So thank you diabetes, for playing nicely.  It'd be lovely if you'd do that more often.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Flying With Diabetes Can Be an Adventure

I'm back!

And this time I actually went somewhere.  This year, instead of going to Friends For Life, Josh and I decided to take a vacation for just the two of us.  We haven't done that since our honeymoon.  Skipping FFL wasn't an easy decision.  And I know I'll be quite sad during that week when I see all the tweets and pictures of so many friends having fun.

But it was the right decision.  We spent an entire amazing week in Washington, D.C.  And we had SO MUCH FUN!  Josh and I are both big museum people.  We made it to four of the Smithsonian museums, and as many monuments and memorials we could squeeze in.

Thanks Dayle for taking this shot!

Couldn't resist.

I have a number of diabetes related stories to share from the trip.  A cupcake run with Chris and Dayle, the Air and Space Museum with Brian, and several diabetes in the wild encounters.

The stories will be forthcoming.  But I wanted to start with the TSA.  Because of my pump and cgm, I request a pat down when flying rather than going through the scanners.  Usually this is not a big deal.  On the way to D.C., I did have a first.  The nice lady wanted to see my Dexcom sensor.

I usually wear sensors on my thighs.  I have good accuracy luck there.  And I had jeans on.  So in order for her to see it, we had to go into a private screening room with a second female agent.  Both agents were incredibly professional.  They were just doing their jobs.  I however, was completely flustered and embarrassed.  And surprised.  Usually when I have a pat down, I tell the agent, "This bump here is my pump site, and this pump here is my continuous glucose monitor sensor." And usually that's fine.  This time, she felt she needed to see the sensor.

I get it.  I'm not mad.  By the time the flight took off, I'd had time to process and the flustered feelings passed.  From now on when I fly, I'll know that they might ask to see the sensor.

When we flew out of D.C. to come home, I was expecting security to be tight.  I got another pat down from another very professional agent.  She didn't ask to see my sensor.

I did tell the agent by the x-ray machiene that I had insulin and diabetes supplies in my carry on bag.  They were fine with all of that.  The liquids and needles passed the x-ray screening with flying colors.

What did they send through x-ray three times before clearing it?  My flat iron.  For my hair.  I found this incredibly ironic.  And also hilarious.

Flying with diabetes can be an adventure.