Thursday, October 23, 2014

You Know When...


You know when your pump site is too close to the waistband of your pants? And your pants rub and rub and try to rip it out? But the site is working beautifully so you don't want to pull it?








Tuesday, October 14, 2014

This Is Real

I wrote this last night. About 10pm. With absolutely no intention of posting it. But today, I took another look at what I'd written. It's real. It's what happened. And I try to be honest on this blog. So here it is.


This is real. This is what it's like to live with disordered eating and diabetes. 

Spent an emotional weekend helping prepare my grandparents' house to be sold. Coping last night and today by binge eating. A lot. This is the worst binging episode I've had in years. 

Here I sit, with a self-inflicted bg of 426. Feeling like crap, trying not to let the guilt win. I know that this too shall pass, but it sure feels shitty right now. I'm so angry at myself. Absolutely furious. 

This is real. This is what it's like sometimes.

Today has been a better day. If you ever feel this way, please know you are not alone. And it's ok to seek help. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

"Walking" to Las Vegas!


Last year, I flew to Las Vegas to join Sara and George in the JDRF walk to cure diabetes. Go team TriSaraTops!

Photo courtesy of Sara Nicastro


This year, I'm not able to be there in person. But I want to support Sara and help her reach her goal. So I am virtually "walking" to Vegas!

Flyer created by the fabulous Sara Nicastro.

The walk is only 16 days away. I don't expect to raise as much as last year. But every little bit helps. No amount is to small. I strongly believe in what the JDRF does. Not only research towards a cure, but treatment and prevention too.

Will you help me reach Vegas? Thank you.


Friday, October 3, 2014

Best of the 'Betes Blogs: September 2014


"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird 
I would fly about the earth seeking successive autumns." - George Eliot

Autumn is my favorite season. No contest. So I'll sit here all cozy with some tea and read some dblog posts. I think I can handle that. 

Best Use of Humor: Diabetes is hard, but Catherine points out some good things about diabetes.

Best Vlog: Melissa is one of my favorite people. Ever. Check this out and see why. And this. And this. Basically all of her parody videos are the best.

Best Use of Photography: Break out the tissues. A beautiful post celebrating an amazing girl and an amazing dog. So much adorableness.

Best Advocacy: This one is a tie. I couldn't choose. Reva shares a story of advocating for herself at her endocrinologist's office. And Craig advocates for all people with diabetes by educating a local politician. Both are advocacy. and both are important.

Best Story of a D-Meetup: This story from Alexis gives me chills. Even chance meetings can be important. The power of "me too."

Best Post by a Type 1: Thank you, Dayle, for sharing this story with us. Love you.

Best Post by a Type Awesome: However you feel about beauty pageants, Hallie explains why seeing an insulin pump in the Miss America pageant matters to her.

Best Motivational Post: George has a way with words. This post lifts my spirits a lot.

Best Diabetes Art: Heather's idea brought vividly to life by Mike Lawson.

Best Comments: There are a lot of great comments on Kerri's post, but Ria's is especially awesome.

Thanks to the other nominees and those who nominated!


Grab that button and display it proudly. And thanks for helping me catch up on some reading.



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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

So Behind!


Hi there.

Still here. Still have diabetes. Just haven't been blogging for a while. I've just been...living my life. Connecting with the Diabetes Online Community in other ways. And I don't feel like that's a bad thing.

But I do miss writing. And have some stories to share. But those can wait.

I am SO BEHIND on DBlog reading! So behind. Will you help me catch up? 

I am hosting Best of the Betes Blogs this month. Woot! Give me a lot of posts to read! Nomination is super easy. Just fill out the form and submit. Nominations will be accepted until midnight on Wednesday, October 1st (technically, that's the 2nd, but you get the drift. So you still have over 24 hours to nominate.



Help a girl out and point me to some good posts. And thanks!



Thursday, June 12, 2014

Discomfort


I blame my new flip flops.

Something has irritated the skin between my big toe and its neighbor on my right foot. It's nothing major, just a bit annoying.

Part of me is relieved I can feel the discomfort on my foot. How morbid is that?

Oh, how diabetes messes with our heads.





Thursday, May 15, 2014

Spiderweb


I don't think I can say things any better than Kim did. She hit the nail on the head, precisely.

For me, what gets me down about diabetes is the mental and emotional side of things. As a person living with diabetes and mental health issues, life gets pretty rough sometimes. Diabetes + disordered eating + anxiety + depression = one hot mess Jess.

Sometimes it's hard to tell where diabetes ends and my mental health issues begin. They are all so completely intertwined. That's not to say that every day is awful. Because that's not true. I have good days and bad days. And the bad days seem to come in clumps. I'll have stretches of bad days. To be honest, I've been in the middle of a difficult stretch for the past few weeks. There's been a lot going on in my personal life. A myriad of smaller stressors that have left me feeling completely overwhelmed.

Stress can trigger my binge eating. Which triggers my anxiety. Which can trigger my depression. All of which can do a number on my blood sugars. It's all inexorably linked, like a spiderweb.

I may be a hot mess, but I've come a long way. This Mental Health Month, here's what I want you to know: you are not alone, and don't be afraid to seek help. Seeking treatment from a mental health professional was the best decision I could have made. Yes, I still have bad patches, but I've come so far. And things are so much better overall. I am better equipped to handle and process my feelings. The difficult patches don't last as long as they once did.

Like my grandma always said, this too shall pass. And depression lies.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Stronger



Diabetes is strong.
Some days, it is a cunning villain
Taking me by surprise.
Other days diabetes plays nice
Being cooperative
Lying in wait.
And other days, diabetes is a roaring dragon.
A foe so fierce I can barely stand.

One those days when I cannot stand
When I am losing ground
I cling to hope
I cling to those I love
Knowing I am not alone.

Diabetes is strong.
But what diabetes does not know
Is that I
I am stronger.



"The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places." - Ernest Hemingway


Banish the Blame Game


Diabetes Blog Week



"If I could chaaa-aaaa-aaange the world..."

Anyone else have Eric Clapton running through their head right now?

Today for #DBlogWeek (technically yesterday- I'm a bit behind), we're supposed to write about a diabetes topic that gets us really fired up. I've written about my issues discussing complications before. And I'm working on being able to have a civilized conversation on the topic.

In doing some reflecting on why complications elicit such a gut reaction from me, I've realized something. It's not discussing the complications themselves that irks me. It's the judgement and blaming behavior that so often accompanies these conversations.

Judgement and blame can be found in all kinds of conversations about diabetes, not just complications. Your A1c went up? How did that happen? Should you be eating that chocolate cake? If you just eat right and lose weight, you can control your diabetes.

Unfortunately, these types of comments are not only from people outside the diabetes community. They can come from healthcare professionals. Family members and loved ones. From other people with diabetes. And from myself. Boy howdy, am I good at internalizing guilt and blame. Oh, my blood sugar is 340? What did I do to cause that?

Here's the deal. Nothing constructive comes from judgement and blame. These actions and feeling are not empowering. In fact, they're debilitating. Want to help motivate someone to take better care of his or her own diabetes? Complication scare tactics are not helpful. Nor is blaming them for having a rough time. We need to help empower people living with diabetes and their loved ones. Break things down into reasonable goals. Be encouraging. Remind people they're not alone. Kindness and compassion are empowering. When I'm having a hard time, a simple tweet or text from a friend can make a huge difference. The compassion and encouragement I've received from many in the Diabetes Online Community has changed my life. I mean that with all my heart.

Let's banish the blame game, and focus on empowering each other. Kindness and compassion, FTW.


Saturday, May 10, 2014

My Dog Ate My Pump Clip


Well, he didn't actually EAT it.


Let me back up a bit. Vader has been almost a perfect dog since we brought him home. Other than having complete meltdowns when we pass other dogs on a walk, but I digress. (We're doing training for that one).


But at home, he's tremendous. Was already housebroken and crate trained. And he leaves our stuff alone. The only things he's chewed up are his own (two stuffed crate pads and a stuffed toy, but who's counting?).

Our furniture, shoes, and everything else is safe. Vader doesn't bother any of it. So I'm not mad. It's an extra pump clip that I left on the floor. Which he picked up and accidentally broke. And it's the only thing of mine he's broken.

Besides. How could you stay mad at this face?





Friday, April 18, 2014

Pleasantly Surprised: MiniMed 530G with Enlite


So, um, hi.

I'm so WAY overdue for an update on my MiniMed 530G with Enlite trial. Oops.

I've been using the system for six weeks now. And in a nutshell? Karen was right. Karen told me she hated the system for the first couple weeks, and then she loved it. There's a learning curve. She told me to be patient. And she was totally right.

I HATED the system for the first couple weeks. There is definitely a large learning curve. I was ready to quit and give up about every day. The only thing that kept me from giving up was Karen's advice, and that I'd promised myself I'd give the system a month before throwing in the towel. Calibration errors, insertion problems, inaccurate sensor data. AAAAHHHHH. I was so frustrated.

But after a couple weeks, I started to get the hang of things. The algorithms that Medtronic uses are very different than Dexcom. So the sensors function differently. There are subtle differences that you can only learn by trial and error. I began to figure out those differences. When best to calibrate. The best direction and placement of the sensor. Had successful insertions on the first try. And I no longer hated the system. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised.

I'd forgotten how nice it is to have your pump/cgm integrated into one device. It's really nice. Except when your pump is in your bra, but that's a whole 'nother blog post. And predictive alerts are awesome. The system alerts me 10 minutes before it thinks I'll go low. Which helps catch lows early. The Enlite has good accuracy for me. But accuracy wasn't an issue with the Sof-sensor for me either. I quit the Sof-sensor because of pain, not accuracy. I will say that the Enlite doesn't quite keep up with rapid rising/falling as well as Dexcom. I'll have double up/double down arrows, but the number won't be as close as Dexcom is as a rule. (Saving Threshold Suspend for another post).



While I've seemingly mastered the insertion process (and it hurts a hell of a lot less than Sof-sensor), it's still WAY more complicated than Dexcom insertion. I hope Medtronic's next generation sensor will be simpler to insert. The transmitter is also the same as the Sof-sensor. They did add a little adhesive flap to hold the transmitter down, and each box of sensors come with special tape specifically designed for the Enlite. But it's still a decent bit of tape to hold the thing down.

Another part of the system is the Bayer Contour Next Link meter. Which may in fact be my favorite part of the whole system. Rechargeable battery, color screen, easy to read display, automatically sends bgs to the pump so you can choose to calibrate and/or correct when needed. And it has a port light, though it doesn't turn on automatically. At first I found this annoying. But I discovered that it helps the battery last a long time. I've only charged it twice in six weeks, and I've been exclusively using this meter the whole time. Before inserting a test strip, press the power button twice to turn on the light. Extremely helpful for testing in the dark. And if you don't get enough blood on the strip? The meter will tell you, and you can add more blood to the same strip! No more wasted strips! Amazing!

Overall, I'd say the 530G with Enlite has delivered on what I was told it would be. Not perfect, but a million times better than the Sof-sensor. I'm not even joking. While I plan on going back to my Revel pump and Dexcom after the trial, I do like this system. I can honestly say that for me, it works pretty well. And I can actually recommend others try it if they're interested.


I've been pleasantly surprised. And am hopeful about the future of CGM technology.


Disclaimer: You may have noticed the silicone pump cases in some of my pics. I love them! Helps give the pump fun color, while also protecting the pump from my tendency to run into things. I purchased the purple one myself. Medtronic sent me a pink one and a gray one to keep at no cost.

Medtronic has provided supplies for the duration of my 90 day trial. This includes the MiniMed 530G pump, MiniLink transmitter, Bayer Contour Next Link meter, Enlite sensors, infusion sets, reservoirs, and test strips. The pump, transmitter, meter, and any unused supplies will be returned to Medtronic at the conclusion of the trial. Medtronic has no say in what I write on this blog. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. (Disclosure Policy)


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Slip

I feel stupid. I don't like feeling stupid, especially when diabetes is the cause.

I have a small cut on my thumb from a kitchen knife. Emphasis on small. Deeper than a paper cut, but not that deep. Nowhere near needing stitches or anything. Enough to smart some and be highly annoying, mostly.

Psychically, I'm fine. But a small moment has the wheels in my head spinning. Because diabetes.

I was cutting up an avocado. I'd already cut it in half, and stuck my knife into the pit to twist it out. Somehow the knife blade slipped and I nicked my thumb. I found out after the fact that I was low. I was low and didn't know it and cut my thumb.

Now I'm clumsy by nature, and if this had happened with a higher bg, I'd attribute it to clumsiness and not give it a second thought. But I was low. And I make a point of not using sharp things while low. Because I'm afraid I'll hurt myself.

Am I being overly dramatic? Yes. Definitely. But still.

I hate being low. I hate that diabetes has the ability to take away my ability to control my own body. That I can't trust myself when I'm low. It's frightening and infuriating all at the same time.

My thumb is fine. I still feel stupid, but am totally blaming diabetes.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Um, Siri?


"Remind me to call Medtronic tomorrow at 9am."


 


Um, Siri?



Happy Friday, everyone!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Puppy Love


Josh and I have been thinking about getting a dog for a long time. We both wanted one, but were we ready for the responsibility?

A few weeks ago, we decided to visit a local shelter, "just to look." We saw a handful of dogs, but there was one that tugged at my heartstrings. But I had an appointment, so we had to leave and only got to spend a couple minutes with that dog.

I couldn't stop thinking about him. We rushed back to the shelter the next night, and thankfully he was still there. Nervous and uncertain, we decided to go for it and adopt this guy.




Meet Vader! (Yes, I'm a giant Star Wars nerd. But no, we didn't name him. That's the name he came with. And It's perfect.) He's part Shiba Inu, and part some other things we're not sure about. Vader is two years old, and he's doing great!






Josh and I are both SO HAPPY we decided to take the risk and adopt Vader. He's the perfect dog for us. We already can't imagine not having him in our lives.

And to bring this full circle here, Vader is having an impact on my diabetes and mental health. His endless energy is keeping us both more active, playing in the yard and going for walks. And it's hard to be in a bad mood with this sweet face wagging his tail at you, wanting to play.

Welcome home, Vader. We love you.






Saturday, March 15, 2014

One Week In


Yesterday marks one week using the MiniMed 530G with Enlite system. If someone getting ready to start the system asked me for advice, there's only one thing I would say: be patient. Very patient.

There were multiple points over the last week when I was so frustrated I was ready to quit. But thankfully, Karen had advised me to be patient. And that she too hated the system at first. So I persevered.

The training went well. The first sensor I inserted with the trainer didn't stick. This is a problem I've heard about from others--there's no way to physically hold onto the sensor while you remove the serter, so you have to press firmly and give the adhesive some time to stick. I also went through two sensors at home when I did my first solo insertion, but that was because I forgot a step or two. I think the next insertion will go better.




Most of the reason for my initial frustration was due to a (then unknown) faulty sensor. The sensor I inserted with the trainer bent upon insertion. Which I couldn't see until I removed it several days later. I got several calibration errors when starting the sensor, but it eventually took a calibration. It was way off on the first day, as the trainer warned me they usually are. And Dexcom is the same way for me. The second day, it worked beautifully. But on the third day, it was way off and full of calibration errors. I've had enough calibration errors to last me a while.

A call to the helpline determined there was a problem with the sensor. The rep advised me to pull it and insert a new sensor, which I did. It was then that I noticed the bent tip. My guess as to why it wasn't working. Medtronic sent me an envelope to return the faulty sensor so they could examine it. (The Enlite is supposed to be at a 90 degree angle. It's only the tip of the sensor that's bent).



So after the faulty sensor saga, things have been going much better. My first solo insertion wasn't too traumatic. Like I said before, the insertion process is still much more complicated than Dexcom's, but a million times better than the Sof-sensor. This insertion did hurt more than the first one, but nothing like the harpoon.




Sensor number two was a bit off the first day, but has since been pretty much spot-on. The meter, Enlite, and Dexcom have been in agreement most of the time. Which is impressive. I'm starting to feel comfortable relying on the Enlite. I think when this Dex sensor dies, I won't insert a new one. I'm about ready to try flying solo with the Enlite.




Bottom line: a rough start, but things have vastly improved. While I'm not ready to switch systems, I'm starting to be impressed.










Disclaimer: Medtronic has provided supplies for the duration of my 90 day trial. This includes the MiniMed 530G pump, MiniLink transmitter, Bayer Contour Next Link meter, Enlite sensors, infusion sets, reservoirs, and test strips. The pump, transmitter, meter, and any unused supplies will be returned to Medtronic at the conclusion of the trial. Medtronic has no say in what I write on this blog. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. (Disclosure Policy)



Sunday, March 9, 2014

Trying Something New: MiniMed 530G with Enlite Trial


Friday morning, I began a 90 day trial of the MiniMed 530G with Enlite. A few months ago, Medtronic contacted me to offer a 90 day trial of the new system. Back when I was using the Sof-Sensor, I wanted the Enlite SO BADLY! So although I'm happy with my Dexcom G4 Platinum, I'm excited to have the opportunity to try a new (to the U.S. at least) piece of diabetes technology.

Medtronic is loaning me the system for the duration of the trial. They are providing the 530G pump, cgm transmitter, Bayer Contour Next Link meter, Enlite sensors, infusion sets, reservoirs, and test strips. The pump, transmitter, meter, and any unused supplies will be returned to Medtronic at the end of the trial.

At the conclusion of the trial, I will be providing feedback to Medtronic through a survey and a one hour phone call. Those are the terms of the loaner agreement. Medtronic did not ask me to blog about the trial, though I likely will. And they have no input or say in anything I write on this blog. All thoughts and opinions shared here are mine and mine alone (Disclosure Policy).

I met with a Diabetes Clinical Manager from Medtronic at my endo's office for training Friday morning. Since I've only been on the system for 48 hours, I'm not ready to share a lot yet. But I will say this: the main reason I switched from Medtronic to Dexcom cgm was pain. The Sof-sensor was incredibly painful and difficult to insert. While Dexcom's insertion process is still more streamlined and overall easier, I am thrilled to report that I could barely feel the Enlite sensor on insertion. The process is still a bit complicated, but the harpoon (as Martin called it) is no more. It hurts about a billion times less. No need to psych yourself up or listen to Eye of the Tiger before insertion.

I'm still wearing a Dexcom sensor so I can do some comparing. I can also say that once the sensor had been in for 24 hours, the Enlite has been impressively spot on. So far.




I'll be sharing more after I've been on the system a little longer. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Honesty is important to me. And the contract I signed actually stated "I will be honest and candid in any review of the Medtronic Diabetes products and services."

Here we go.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Unintentional Basal Testing

A few weeks ago (yes, I'm WAY behind on blogging) I found myself face to face with one of the things I hate most: the stomach flu.

Give me a head cold or sore throat any day. I  HATE the stomach flu with a passion. Having Type 1 Diabetes makes it even more complicated. Puking + lack of carbs + dehydration = a hot mess.

A stomach bug has landed me in the ER before. So now when I get it, I have one goal: avoiding the ER. And by avoiding, I mean trying to stay hydrated and keep ketones at bay. I'm willing to go if necessary, but I'd rather not.

Thankfully, this stomach bug wasn't bad. I was able to keep down ice chips and some carbs, and my ketones never passed small. VICTORY!

Thank goodness for heavy fruit syrup. Someone at my pediatric endo's office recommended it to my mom when I was a kid. And it's still my fallback for carbs with a stomach bug. I keep a couple cans of fruit in heavy syrup on hand. A couple tablespoon fulls of just the syrup is enough carbs to keep ketones in check. Without trying to keep down actual food.

I'm so thankful this case of stomach flu was so mild, comparatively speaking. And it provided some unintentional basal testing. And my basals are right on target. I'll take that win.




Friday, February 21, 2014

Disappointed


The internet can be a vicious place. And today, I feel so disappointed to see that creeping into the Diabetes Online Community.

This community is precious to me. Sacred even. This community has saved me time and time again. Carried me when I couldn't stand on my own. So the way some are responding to Miss Manners is breaking my heart.

Here is the original column. And here are posts by Kari and Sara that I agree with wholeheartedly. A reader asked Miss Manners a question, and she responded with her OPINION, as one does in a column like that. I am shocked at the response by some online to the opinion of one person. Miss Manners thinks it would be more polite to check one's blood sugar in an airplane restroom rather than at one's seat. Do I agree with her? No. Was I angry when I first read her response? Yes.

Here's the thing. It's ok to be angry. Totally and completely ok. But to attack this little old lady is such a vicious manner for sharing her opinion? Not ok. Not at all.

Where is the compassion, empathy, and understanding that made me fall in love with the Diabetes Online Community? This is a tremendous opportunity to educate, that is being lost in words of hate and defensiveness.  I've shared a lot of opinions on this blog. A lot. And I would be crushed if something I wrote was attacked in the way Miss Manners has been attacked.

It's her opinion. And she has every right to hold and share that opinion. It doesn't mean we have to agree with her. I certainly don't. I check my blood sugar in my seat when I fly, and I plan to continue doing so. Hell, I've done a complete set and site change in an airport terminal in full view of others. Do some people think it's rude and gross? Probably. And they have the right to think that. Just as I have the right to disagree with them.

And like Sara said, the comments on Miss Manners' column by regular readers heavily disagree with her. Most people don't seem to have any problem with people with diabetes testing in their seats. That is so encouraging! I love that. To me, that response is way more important than the opinion of one woman.

Miss Manners has her opinion. This post is mine. And you don't have to agree with either of us.



Wednesday, February 12, 2014

"This Child Died"


"This child died."

Dr. Kaufman's words keep echoing in my head. A beautiful little two-year-old girl, who died because there was no insulin.

I wish I'd taken a picture of Dr. Kaufman's slide so I could show you that precious face. It's a face I won't forget. Big brown eyes. Curly black hair. Hands laying above her head, curled into fists. Her tiny, malnourished frame.

"This child died."

There I sat, staring at the picture of this little girl, with an insulin pump full of insulin. In a room full of people with Type 1 Diabetes, carrying pens/pumps/vials full of insulin. Unfair doesn't even begin to describe it.

"This child died."

Even now, as I sit here at home, there are three full vials of insulin in my refrigerator, mostly paid for by my health insurance. And when those run out, I'll call for a refill and pick up three more.

Injustice. That's what this is. It's an injustice that this little girl died. It's an injustice that children are dying every day due to lack of access to insulin.

"This child died."

We cannot save that little girl. But we can do something. Spare A Rose, Save A Child. Just $5 can provide enough insulin to give a child a month of life. You can quite literally save a child's life. At my house, there'll be no flowers given this year. We're giving hope instead. Giving life.

We can change what happens to these kids. You can change it. Because of YOU, we can change the story: "This child lived."

This child LIVED.




Tuesday, February 4, 2014

I Wish I'd Known


I loved college. I attended a small, liberal arts school, and had a fantastic experience. I wouldn't trade those memories for the world.

My diabetes was definitely on the back burner. I mean, I didn't totally ignore it. But I didn't go out of my way to accommodate the disease either. My friends knew, and my roommates had the if-I-pass-out-call-911 talk, but that was about it. My A1cs were ok, but definitely could have been better.

There weren't many times that diabetes affected my classes or work. And when it did, I was lucky to be at such a small school. I knew all my professors on a first name basis, and they were wonderful and understanding.

But still. I wish I'd known about the rights and protections I was guaranteed as a student with Type 1 Diabetes. And I wish I'd known I wasn't alone.

Tomorrow night, Wednesday February 5th, 2014, there is a free webinar addressing those things, among others: "Know Your Rights- For College Students With Diabetes." My friend Sara is helping to present the info, along with the American Diabetes Association and College Diabetes Network.

If you or someone you know is facing college and diabetes, please register and join them tomorrow. Know your rights. And that you're not alone.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Break Out the Art Supplies



I love art. As a teacher, I understand how important it is for kids to have access to art supplies and be able to freely express themselves. It's something we as adults tend to forget.

Lee Ann is one of my favorite people. And she's passionate about using art to help people with diabetes and their loved ones. This coming Monday, February 3rd is Diabetes Art Day.

Diabetes Art Day


Won't you please join us? Create something to share. As I tell my students, there is no wrong way to make art. All art is beautiful. Think you can't create something beautiful? That's a lie. You can. And someone will love it. Not only does creative expression help you feel better, but sharing your art might help someone else.

And this year, Lee Ann is conducting research on visual expression and people with diabetes. Help her out by completing a survey both before and after #DArtDay.More information here.

Create, share, and see what others have made. We're all in this together. Might as well have some fun and break out the art supplies!


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Phantom Pump Sites


There's a lot of things about living with diabetes that can makes us feel alone. Some are big, and some are little. But if there's one thing the Diabetes Online Community has taught me, it's that we are never rarely the only one to experience something.

I was pondering a little thing earlier today. Last week, I had a set on the side of my butt. At least once a day, that spot starts to itch and/or hurt a bit, and I think "Yikes, that set is annoying!" Only to then realize there's no set there. Nor does the skin appear red or irritated at all. Seems like it's all in my head. Phantom set pain, maybe?

It's happened to me before too. I sat there, wondering if I was the only one who ever had this problem. So I decided to take to Twitter.



And my suspicions were confirmed. Phantom pump site pain is totally a thing.


It's a little thing, but that "me too" is an awesome feeling.





Thursday, January 16, 2014

Golden


I have more to share about the Medtronic Diabetes Advocates Forum, but today, there's something else on my mind.




Sara was kind enough to pack this in her suitcase and bring it to me. Remember when I did the JDRF Las Vegas Walk to Cure Diabetes back in November? And I harassed people with requests for donations?

It paid off. I got the Golden Sneaker Award! This award is given to anyone who raises at least $1,000 for the Walk to Cure Diabetes. My official total was $1,070! Which completely blew me away.

This is the first time I've actively participated in a JDRF walk since I was a teenager. And I've never even come close to raising this much money before. So this silly little sneaker means a lot to me. It means even more to share it with a friend.

And I couldn't have done it without you. Thank you. Seriously, thank you. For putting up with my donation requests. For donating. For spreading the word about the walk. I didn't do this. WE did this.

Thank you.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Together


My brain has been swirling since I returned from California. Trying to figure out what to say about the Medtronic Diabetes Advocates Forum has been difficult. There's so much I want to say, I'm having trouble deciding where to start.

Photo courtesy of Medtronic Twitter stream

Kim, Meri, Sara, Kerri, Christel, CatherineJacquie, Chris, and Heather have all already written about it. Stop now and go read their posts. REALLY. Go do it. I love what they had to say. And if I repeat something they said, I apologize. It's unintentional.

There was so much information presented and discussed, and so many fabulous ideas tossed around that it's impossible for me to recap everything. I was too busy listening and trying to absorb it all to take decent notes. What I do what to tell you is what I've been thinking about. What I carried home in my heart after the forum was over.

This was my second time attending Medtronic DAF. The last one was almost two years ago now. This year, it was sponsored by both Medtronic and Bayer. (Disclosure time: Medtronic and Bayer paid for my flights, hotel, transportation, and food. But not my thoughts. Those are mine. Full disclosure policy here).

Like Kim said in her post, I went into the last event feeling quite intimidated. And nervous. I had never participated in anything like it before. I wasn't even sure I belonged there. What did I really have to offer? But I learned a lot, and had a great experience.

This time around, I went in a different person. I've grown and changed a lot in the last two years. I'm not the same person I used to be. I've found my voice. Not that I have all the answers, but I've learned some things. That my voice matters. What advocacy looks like to me.  I was ready to learn, question, and discuss.

Like I said earlier, I can't even begin to recap everything that happened. There was a lot. But what I keep thinking about is Saturday afternoon. Dr. Francine Kaufman is freaking amazing. I love her. Her talk is what I remember most from the event in 2012. And it's what I remember most from this year as well. There is so much that needs to be done to care for people with diabetes around the world. As I sat there listening to her talk about her trips and the work she does with Medtronic Philanthropy and the International Diabetes Federation, I felt overwhelmed. There is so much need in the world. Where do we even start? The tears stung at my eyes as I looked a slide with a picture of a two year old girl with Type 1 Diabetes. Dr. Kaufman told us, "This child died."

I've been thinking a lot about this. And here's what I've learned: we pick a need, and start there. That's what Dr. Kaufman does. She's not trying to save everyone in the whole world. She found a need and dove in. Her work has made a difference in the lives of children with diabetes in Haiti. Has improved the outcomes for thousands of people with diabetes in Kazakhstan. And there's work starting in China too.

We can't save every person with diabetes in the entire world. But we do have the power to enact change. The brainstorming session we had following Dr. Kaufman's talk was nothing short of magical. There are big plans for Spare A Rose, Save A Child this year. An action plan that roomful of people worked to create. It's going to be BIG this year. That's what we can do. Support Life For A Child and raise funds to get insulin and supplies to children with diabetes in need.

That's what I brought home with me from Medtronic DAF. I left feeling inspired and empowered. Yes, there is a lot of need out there for people with diabetes. But we can do something. I cannot wait to see when happens when the entire Diabetes Online Community comes together.

We are ALL advocates in our own way. Imagine what we can do together.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Not Packing My Winter Coat!


I'm headed to California! I'm not packing my winter coat! It's warm, there's no snow, and I get to hang out with other people with diabetes. Woot!

From Thursday night until Saturday evening, I'll be participating in the Medtronic Diabetes Advocates Forum. This will be my second time attending the event. (Full disclosure: Medtronic is paying for my travel, hotel, and food).

If you have any input you'd like me to share, please let me know. I'll be sharing my thoughts about the event after I get back. If you have Twitter, please follow the conversation using #MedtronicDAF.

Now if you'll excuse me, back to packing. With my high tech diabetes travel bag…





Forgiving Myself


Trigger warning: disordered eating.

One of the hardest things for me to do is forgive myself. Mostly when it comes to my binge eating. The guilt and shame can be so overwhelming. Sometimes it's impossible to see past those emotions.

But I've been working on it. Forgiving myself is something all three of my therapists have stressed. How important it is to learn how to forgive yourself for binging and move on.

I binged Monday night. I was upset, and I binged. Sat there on the couch and ate most of a bag of granola. Made an effort to bolus for it. Went to bed feeling guilty and fat.




In the morning, I woke up with a blood sugar of 377. Not a great way to start the day. Especially when I know it's my fault. But you know what? Somehow I was able to move on. Yes, I felt guilty. Yes, I binged. It happened, and there's nothing I can do to change it. Time to forgive myself and move on.

So surprisingly, yesterday was an excellent day. Forgiving myself means the guilt doesn't take over. It means starting the day with a clean slate, and doing my best. Progress, not perfection. And learning to forgive myself is part of progress.