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Friday Five: Hello August!

Happy August friends!

August kind of feels like a big month for me this year. I can’t seem to keep everything organized into neat posts today so you get bullets:

  • Love and Marriage. My Matron of Honor duties are beginning to wrap up (still weird being a “matron”). I’m finalizing little things and preparing for a last hurrah for my friend as a “miss.” Of course my friend is getting married this month! I’ve been looking forward to this wedding for probably about 2 years. I’m also ashamed to admit that I’m looking forward to the last wedding on the books for  this year to wrap up so that I have a bit of a break before the 2014 weddings start coming (The calendar already has 3 on it!)
  • Home. Next week is one year since actually moving into our house. It feels like yesterday, but it also feels like forever ago.
  • Blue. So far I like my G4 Dexcom.. I’m liking the blue but keeping an eye on Pump Peelz for a decal patter/color combo that I like. I feel like there used to be one I liked but now that I actually have the Dexcom nothing speaks to me so far.

  • Low. Speaking of my Dexcom and that lovely 55 (don’t worry I’m eating as I type!) My newest low symptom is blurred vision… which is also a high symptom. Also… not being able to keep my fingers on the right keys.
  • Sewing. My new dress form… yet to be named. Might be christened with a refashion for a work social event this weekend. That is contingent on finding time to sew this weekend.

What’s August hold for you?

Related Posts:

What a weekend!

Friday Five: Tea Party Edition

Friday Five: Links

It’s been awhile

It’s been awhile…

  1. since I stuck a piece of wire into my body with a large needle… and it hurt.
  2. since a device buzzing on my night stand woke me up.
  3. since I’ve needed to carry a receiver around with me.
  4. since I’ve had access to my blood sugar trends.
  5. since my old Dexcom stopped working… I can’t find where I put it.
  6. since I pressed the button on my G4 to turn on my screen. It takes a couple seconds huh?

If you can’t tell, I’m officially back to continuous glucose monitoring. I received a box full of Dexcom goodies yesterday and got everything up and running after work yesterday. I haven’t been back to it long enough to give an official report on my thoughts, but for now, I’m just happy to see my trends… and in color! (What a bonus!).

I’d like to think that blogging about not having a Dexcom helped… but at the end of the day, the cold, hard numbers and a fantastic letter from my endocrinologist probably pushed it over.

Related Posts:

When I’m old

A high-tech life

Numbers lie

When I’m Old

At Christmastime we were visiting with my grandmother, who has Type 2, at her nursing home when it was almost time for dinner. One of the nurses came in to test her blood sugar and give her insulin for dinner. She asked my grandmother if she wanted us to leave. “Oh, it doesn’t bother me,” she responded. Grandma is a very laid-back lady. The nurse tested her blood sugar and recorded it, then asked if we would like to step out while she gave my grandmother a shot.

I kind of chuckled and said, “I have type 1 diabetes, if it doesn’t bother grandma, it doesn’t bother me.”

Let me tell you, the needle that she gave my grandmother her insulin with was huge

We wrapped up our visit to let grandma get to her dinner, but on the way home I told Brad, “If anyone ever came at me with a needle that big for insulin, I would probably hurt them.” Honestly the needle looked as large as the syringes I use to fill my pods.

Watson likes to rest on my pods (that’s my leg if you were wondering)

That got me thinking… what’s my life with diabetes going to look like when I’m old? Read the rest of this entry

A High-Tech Life

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)

Image Courtesy of Insulet

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.

Omni-Arm, out of the way during a service project

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*)

The CGM

Read the rest of this entry

What you should know

My heart hurts each time I hear a story about someone passing away because they had undiagnosed, or misdiagnosed, type 1 diabetes. There are a lot of things being passed around the online diabetes community trying to alert parents to the symptoms of diabetes that they should recognize, this is important to me. It’s also important to recognize these symptoms in adults because diabetes (in general) does not discriminate on age, weight, race, general health, anything.

People have died because someone (themselves, parents or doctors) thought their diabetes was just the flu or something else. My doctor thought I was pregnant. If you see these symptoms in someone yourself or a loved one, go to the doctor:

  • Extreme, persistent thirst.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Extreme hunger.
  • Explainable weight loss.
  • Fatigue or extreme tiredness.
  • Unusual behavior including mood change and irritability.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Yeast infections.
  • Vomiting.

My mouth was always dry and a craved a cool, clear glass of water. I remember filling a glass, gulping it all down, then refilling it. I thought it was dry mouth from allergies. And because I drank so much, I was going to the bathroom all the time. I was exhausted all the time, but I thought it was from getting up to go to the bathroom from drinking so much and not getting enough sleep.

I remember being out and not being able to read a menu because everything was fuzzy. Then I couldn’t eat my meal despite being extremely hungry because with every bite I thought I was going to vomit. My stomach was upset all the time, then the morning I got out of the shower and immediately threw up, I decided that I must have the flu. I thought I would rest, stay hydrated and push myself through it, but I honestly forgot when the last time I felt well was.

Brad convinced me to go to the doctor.

He saved my life. Read the rest of this entry

Friday Five: This Week

1. The short work week has been weird with so many people extended it one way or another for vacations.

2. On Tuesday we celebrated our second wedding anniversary. The past two years have flown by.

3. Apparently wearing my pump on my arm is strange. I had my annual exam this week and when I took off my sweater for the nurse to check my blood pressure, she asks, “What’s on your arm?” Of course I answered that it was my insulin pump and she commented that she’d never seen anyone wear their pumps somewhere other than their stomachs. When my doctor came in she goes, “Hey, you’ve got your pump on your arm!”

4. I missed out on my morning coffee yesterday… There are no other words.

5. I’ve been flying blind for the past week without my Dexcom. Here’s the story: Read the rest of this entry

Numbers Lie

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.

Related Posts:

Do you really think that?

Diabetes Hero

The Quest

 

D-Blog Week: Share and Don’t Share

Last year, I double-timed it for D-Blog Week. This year, I’ll see what I can do.

Often our health care team only sees us for about 15 minutes several times a year, and they might not have a sense of what our lives are really like. Today, let’s pretend our medical team is reading our blogs. What do you wish they could see about your and/or your loved one’s daily life with diabetes? On the other hand, what do you hope they don’t see?  (Thanks to Melissa Lee of Sweetly Voiced for this topic suggestion.)

When I go to any of my doctors, I feel like I turn into “super patient” and answer all questions precisely as if I’m being tested and just let the medicals lead the appointment. I’m married to a man with “white coat syndrome” so I know that’s not my issue, my issue is that I need to take control of my appointments. I did better at my last endocrinologist appointment, when I started a sentence with “while we’re talking, I need to ask you about travelling.”

I try to schedule my appointments online so it’s handy that I can type into the comments/reason for appointment box what I need to talk about and it ends up on my chart… whether or not that gets seen before I do, I don’t know.

Look at that! I’ve already strayed from the prompt!

What I wish they could see.

I wish they could see the life around my numbers. I mentioned about a year ago that I had an issue with a resident fixating on a string of low numbers and kept trying to change my basal programs to avoid them and somehow she didn’t understand they were outliers (because three days with lows in a row couldn’t be an outlier when you’re painting an entire house!). I explained over, and over, and over that those were not normal numbers. At that very point in time I wished I could snap her back to those days movie style so she could watch not only how active I was, how on top of treating those lows I was.

I wish that my healthcare team could see the things that I may not think to tell them about. I’m “new” at this whole living with diabetes thing and don’t always identify things they should know about. Although I doubt they should know about my sore neck from sleeping oddly, but I bet they should know about the tingly feeling in my hands that I only get in the mornings.

What I don’t want them to see. Read the rest of this entry

Stop Scolding

As a person with a large medical team (six right now), a lot of time and careful planning goes into getting the medical stuff that I need while still having this wonderful thing people like to call “a life.”

Lately, I’ve been fed up with being scolded by medical office staff and emails from my pharmacy. Today I just need to vent.

Last year, all of my medical visits hit at the same time and I was completely overwhelmed by everything. Because of that and our insurance all of my visits needed to be spaced out. I looked at the state of my health and decided to push my annual exam back a couple of months. When I scheduled my appointment, I let the nurse know that I would run out of my current prescription a couple of weeks before my appointment. She assured me that would be fine and to just call their refill line and explain that I need an additional month to hold to my appointment. I thanked her and that was that… Until yesterday.

Yesterday, I got a voice mail from Debbie in my doctor’s office. I’m definitely paraphrasing but it said something like: We got a call from your pharmacy requesting a refill on your prescription. You haven’t been seen since February so we can’t refill your prescription unless you make an appointment. You need to call our office and make an appointment.

The message would have been fine if a few things were different: 1. If her tone were pleasant or at least not so freaking rude. 2. If she had checked to see my appointment on the books for May. 3. If she had left the office number instead of making me look it up. Read the rest of this entry

In the Office

The nice thing about having online access to my test results is that most of the treatment decisions are made and communicated before I even make it to the doctor’s office.

A week and a half after getting my blood drawn, I went to see my endo. She had already advised me to start taking a supplement AND complimented my numbers via comments on my labs.

#WaitingWithDiabetes

When I wound my way up to the endocrinology department I answered the standard questions from the nurse got weighed and then offered her my left arm for blood pressure, “If you don’t mind, I’ll have you do my blood pressure on my left arm since I have my site on my right arm.”

“You have your what?” she asked me as I shrugged off my cardigan.

“My insulin pump,” I explained and turned my arm to show her the OmniPod on my arm.

“So that doesn’t fall off of your arm?” she asked. I said no and that is stays put just fine. “So you like your pump?”

“Yes I do, I love that it’s tubeless,” I responded. Then it was like something dawned on her and she took a closer look at my right arm.

“Your pump is tubeless! So it has a cartridge in the white thing? How often do you have to change that?”

I explained that I wear an OmniPod and I fill each pod with insulin and put a new one on every three days.

“I know it’s stuck on there pretty well, but have you ever had one fall off before?” she asked.

“None have ever fallen off, but I have accidentally ripped one off my leg before.” She responded that it was interesting and finally took my blood pressure. Read the rest of this entry