Category Archives: Community
Otherwise known as my conflict over mowing the lawn.
A Real Reel
When we bought our house we opted for a reel lawn mower over the traditional gas-powered mower or a quieter electric mower. The reel mower isn’t your grandfather’s lawn mower (in my case, grandmother’s), it’s made by Fiskers and is the definition of environmentally friendly and neighborly (completely silent! I could mow at 6am and no one would care except for me.).
It takes a fair amount of effort to use though… it’s actually a really good workout… legs, arms and core if you do it right.
I got home early one evening last week and decided to mow the lawn (not my normal chore) and set to work. I enjoyed mowing the lawn. But here’s the problem… Read the rest of this entry
I haven’t participated in the DSMA Blog Carnival in awhile… But this topic resonates with me. Diabetes Gadgets.
Here’s the prompt:
How do you select the diabetes devices you use? To others looking into new or replacement devices, what would be your best advice to someone shopping around?
Brad and I talk about the gadgets and gear that keep me chugging along a lot. There are things that we wish would be different about them and things that we love… as much as you can love medical devices.
The Pump (The Pod)
I’ve said in the past that I love my OmniPod… I don’t really though. I like the control and management I get by being on an insulin pump, but I shocked Brad’s socks off the other night when I said I would switch to a tubed pump if I don’t get the new OmniPod system soon and if I keep having pod failures (My recent failure rate is: 1 in 4 pods during filling or priming) . I followed that up by saying I wished there were more tubeless pumps on the market… I wish I had options. Right now, for someone like me who wants an insulin pump that they can wear, hide and not have tubing to deal with there aren’t options. There’s the OmniPod and… the OmniPod!
Overall it’s a good system even if the PDM looks like a kid’s toy of an old BlackBerry. I did a lot of research but really “found my moving buddy” when we learned about OmniPod. I didn’t want to deal with needles more than necessary, I didn’t want to get tangled in tube and I didn’t want to have to clip something to my clothes all the time.
I found out that OmniPod “wastes” less insulin since there isn’t any caught up in the tube, so I’m saving liquid gold too… Although with my recent string of pod failures and only being able to get at most half of the insulin back from the podds I’m not sure about how much overall I’m saving.
I’ve had a lot of people ask me about my pod in their research… many go with OmniPod. So many that I wish I could get a commission from Insulet! (Or at least the new system. *wink*wink*)
We don’t always realize it, but each one of us had come a long way since diabetes first came into our life. It doesn’t matter if it’s been 5 weeks, 5 years or 50 years, you’ve done something outstanding diabetes-wise. So today let’s share the greatest accomplishment you’ve made in terms of dealing with your diabetes. No accomplishment is too big or too small – think about self-acceptance, something you’ve mastered (pump / exercise / diet / etc.), making a tough care decision (finding a new endo or support group / choosing to use or not use a technology / etc.). (Thanks to Hilary of Rainie and Me for this topic suggestion.)
One thing I can say 100% for sure is that diabetes has made me better at math. Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, graphs, patterns, fractions, confidence intervals… those things that I hated in school came back to rule my life.
You’ve heard the saying “numbers don’t lie” before, I’m sure of it. One of my most recent victories has been understanding that number can, in fact, lie. Most medical professionals want to know one number for people with diabetes: the A1c. Here’s my A1c history since my diagnosis less than two years ago:
- August 2011: 11.3 at diagnosis
- September 2011: 8.3 (big drop!)
- February 2012: 5.9
- August 2012: 6.1
- March 2013: 6.2
I parroted these numbers to medical professionals when asked and was judged on them. In fact when the 8.3 was reported, I got scolded by a PCP (who I won’t be seeing again) for such a “high” A1c. She saw that 8.3 in a vacuum. She didn’t see the diagnosis date one month prior and she didn’t see the massive 3-point drop. Likewise, I was praise by other members of my medical team for the 5.9… but what they didn’t know about those two numbers were that they were lies. LIES!!
The 5.9 reflected a lot of changes in my basal rates, my carbohydrate ratios and diet. It reflected a lot of low blood sugars. It didn’t reflect excellent numbers all the time. It wasn’t a real representation of my diabetes management. What the last two number reflect are a better grasp on my numbers, new insulin and the introduction of a CGM. They’re stable. Admittedly, they’re pretty good. Even if it’s not my personal goal.
Numbers other than A1c values can lie also. For example, this morning I had a reading of 77 but I felt like I was 27. Since meters are only required to be accurate within 20%, I could have actually been in the low 60s. Prices for our supplies can even lie, if you look at an insurance EOB you can see that.
Honestly, accepting the fact that numbers can lie is only a tiny accomplishment in my life with diabetes, but I was thinking about it today. Bigger D-accomplishments include:
- Advocating for my own health when I need to
- Educating others when I have the opportunity
- Getting every high blood sugar back into range and appropriately correcting the lows
- Giving myself that first shot
- Pushing the paperwork through to get on my OmniPod and Dexcom
- Having a normal life with a chronic health condition
- Making it on time to doctors appointments without the aid of a personal assistant
To read other accomplishment posts, go here.
I’ve said several times before that I really don’t know people in my “real life” with type 1. I finally had the opportunity to meet DOC member Amy in person and discovered how truly small the world is (we found out that she’s known members of my family longer than she’s “known” me!). When I read today’s prompt directly followed by some tweets about diabetes in the wild, I thought back to a day… not my most memorable day with diabetes but one worth sharing.
Today we’re going to share our most memorable diabetes day. You can take this anywhere…. your or your loved one’s diagnosis, a bad low, a bad high, a big success, any day that you’d like to share. (Thanks to Jasmine of Silver-Lined for this topic suggestion.)
I was diagnosed with diabetes in the middle of August 2011. My husband and I moved to Cleveland in September and that October we were shopping at Crocker Park (an amazing outdoor shopping center). I wasn’t yet on an insulin pump but was in the process of getting started with one.
Brad and I had finished our shopping and were returning to our car in the parking garage. When we reached our garage, there was a group of three teenagers talking and laughing in the stairwell. The girl who was sitting on the step scooted over so we could walk past, as she scooted I saw it. It looked like a purple pager clipped to the outside of her pocket with a clear tube sticking out of it.
I wanted to exclaim, “I have diabetes too!” but the calm, rational adult in me reminded me that having a stranger point out your medical condition as a teenager could possibly mortifying, so instead I smiled and said thanks to her when we passed.
On the second level of the parking garage, when we were safely out of earshot I turned to Brad and said, “That girl on the steps has diabetes too and she was wearing an insulin pump.” He hadn’t noticed.
I learned two things that day:
1. There were other people in the world having “normal” lives while having diabetes. I hadn’t yet achieved a “normal” life since my diagnosis.
2. It’s completely possible to for the condition that had taken over my life to go completely unnoticed by others.
Sometimes I wish I had said something to the girl in the stairwell, especially after moments when my insulin pump being visible helped others feel less alone.
Other Memorable Days:
Today’s D-Blog Week topic is about petitions. Here’s the prompt:
Recently various petitions have been circulating the Diabetes Online Community, so today let’s pretend to write our own. Tell us who you would write the petition to – a person, an organization, even an object (animate or inanimate) – get creative!! What are you trying to change and what have you experienced that makes you want this change? (Thanks to Briley of inDpendence for this topic suggestion.)
This prompt inspired thoughts not related to writing a petition but about the fact that we shouldn’t need them. Not that long ago, a petition to standardize TSA screenings for people with self-monitoring medical equipment failed to reach the required number of signatures to move forward. This disappointed me. I wrote about my experiences flying out of Cleveland with TSA and the multiple refusals to be scanned, and the not terrible pat down. My security experience flying out of Seattle was in some ways worse and some ways better. Had the petition been successful in its goals, the overall flying experiences of people with diabetes would be better, but we shouldn’t have needed a petition in the first place.
The travel story:
Are you ready to be scared? I again turned down the body scanner at the airport and respectfully requested a pat down. I again received the “it’s totally safe lecture” this time a little more sternly. I was then sent through the metal detector, didn’t set it off and TSA agent number two was about to just let me go about my business when Agent #1 yelled, “she’s wearing an insulin pump!” Read the rest of this entry
Ever come across a deal that you just have to tell someone about?
That happened yesterday… but let’s rewind and put it in context. Several months ago, I got two great dresses from Target on a BOGO sale and spent $19.99 for two dresses that were each originally $19.99 a piece. It was a good deal and I love my dresses that I got for 50% 0ff… even though they look completely shapeless and unflattering when thrown on the bed for a quick pic.
Yesterday, I stopped at Marc’s on my way home for white chocolate to make Brad’s birthday dessert (Baily’s Irish Cream Cheese Cake… yum). I also needed duct tape, so I headed through the closeout section and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a dress that I knew was hanging in my closet. The clothing section of Marc’s was filled with Target clothes, including the dress above in green. It was market at $2.99. That’s 85% off of the original price! I also picked up another dress for $2.99 and t-shirt for $1.99. Along with my duct tape and white chocolate chips, my shopping total didn’t even meet the original $19.99 for one dress!
These are also shapeless when thrown on the bed for pictures:
Have you found any good deals lately?
When I agreed to participate in a survey-based research study, I found out that I could choose to have a donation made to one of two charities, or split it between both. One of those organizations was call Life for a Child. I decided to do a little research and found that this organization helps children with diabetes have access to insulin.
For many reasons, I’m thankful that I received my diabetes diagnosis as an adult and my family was never saddled with the emotional and financial burden of diabetes. For some families,the obstacles to having the treatment their child with diabetes needs are great, which is why this organization is amazing. I’m joining many other d-bloggers in talking about this organization and encouraging our readers to support it. This Valentine’s Day, members of our community decided to encourage those around them to donate what they might spend on flowers to this organization, which in my opinion is a very loving, giving and wonderful idea.
This year felt like it flew by! 2012 has been my first full year of living with Type 1 diabetes, this month’s DSMA Blog Carnival prompt spurs a long summary of a short-feeling year.
Take a moment to reflect on diabetes in 2012 – on a personal level, on a community level, on a technological level, anything you can think of. What things stand out to you the most? What did 2012 and Diabetes mean to you?
- I made a lot of friends this year online
- I had the pleasure of sharing thoughts with members of the community and a company that makes my life better every day
- When I had questions, people answered
- I was able to advocate and educate those around me more this year
- I’ve been able to celebrate successes with friends online and offline when it comes to their health
Technology Read the rest of this entry
Normally thankful stuff is reserved for Thursdays… but I’m going to shake things up! For the rest of the month, Tuesdays are thankful days.
One thing for each day. What I’ve been thankful for in the past week:
- Humor. Jokes and general fun make life much more enjoyable. Being able to laugh with people I love is truly a gift.
- Grocery stores. Everything I need/want is waiting on a shelf for me to take home. It’s a convenience that is often taken for granted.
- Good conversations. Nice catch-up sessions with friends and family are always wonderful. Topics ranging from weddings to politics and wine to technology.
- Quiet weekends. Having a day at home without a massive to-do list is very relaxing. Weekends are supposed to provide us rest and we often choose to spend them running around or working. A break is nice.
- Excellent deals. Good prices that make things we love but don’t need acceptable to bring home are always nice.
- Seasons. Not everyone gets the variety that we do in Northeast Ohio. The vast range of temperatures from below zero to above 100 added to the various types of precipitation makes us very resilient and versatile people. Each season carries its own unique loveliness that I would miss living somewhere else.
- Insurance. After being afraid of a lapse in coverage between plans, we received our cards and didn’t have even a day without it. Not everyone appreciates insurance, anyone with a chronic health condition understands the importance of being covered.
What thing(s) are you thankful for this week?
We have some dinners at our place planned with friends so I turned to Twitter asking about the Go-To meals they make when people are coming over. I got some great responses that made me hungry… I thought I’d share the idea gold with you!
- Lasagna. This is a great idea, I’m not a fan of lasagna in general, but I’ve run across some recipes (on Pinterest of course) I think I might like. Brad loves it and it’s a nice cold weather food.
- Burgers on the BBQ. These are a K-fam favorite that we often asked for prior to becoming the owners of Monster Grill. If weather checks out, it’s top of the list along with the beloved cheesy potatoes. (Recommended with a big salad)
- Roast. Easy to prepare in the Crock Pot, no one minds leftovers either. (Also recommended with a big salad)
- Salad, pizza and wings. This was recommended by a local pizza place (that has good food at 2am… I may or may not know for a fact). It’s a great idea for food that accompanies game night or airing a sporting event on the big screen. Bonus: I wouldn’t have to cook!
- Chicken in a red wine sauce with red mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach. My mouth watered at that recommendation and that’s all I have to add.
- Anything in the slow cooker. I love my crock pot, I also love being able to do a little prep and have a wonderful meal with little work. Very helpful for company because you don’t get locked in the kitchen making it.
What about you? What are you go-to meals for company?
Or for an average day?