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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

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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

I dropped a glass

After things were finally dry enough outside, Brad mowed the grass. While he showered, I cleaned up the clippings then launched a last minute assault on the morning glories and other assorted weeds that were taking over the shrub out back. It was warm and muggy outside so when I came in I was craving a nice glass of iced tea. 

A finger stick found me at 82mg/dL so I grabbed a couple of pretzels and poured the two of us some nice, cold iced tea and settled in the living room. When I picked up the glass for my second sip, it slipped out of my hand, bounced off the corner of the coffee table (shattering) and sent tea, ice and glass everywhere.

The sound of the glass falling and breaking frightened Holmes and Watson out of their standard afternoon naps and they ran away from the sound… then in their frenzy ran back across the glass (that had somehow managed to send shards flying nearly across the room) to hide behind the couch. Brad sprang into action, grabbing his slippers and the trash can, then tried to capture the cats and take them upstairs. In the chase process that I watch while helplessly trapped on the couch, the cats both ran through the ice/glass/tea mess a total of three times before being successfully wrangled into an upstairs bedroom.

Hurts worse than it looks

After ascertaining that my leg was bleeding due to a cut from falling glass and not a piece lodged in it, we cleaned up the mess. Brad asked me while searching for shards in the carpet, “Was it low blood sugar?” For all of the annoying, frustrating and inconvenient things in my life that I can blame diabetes on, this was not one of them. This was a sweaty glass in an unstable hand.

I cleaned up and bandaged my leg then checked the cats’ paws. Both of them were fine but still scared. Watson still hadn’t come downstairs over an hour later even though Holmes has resumed his nap right where he left off.

In other news, I revamped my About Rachel page… it was probably time.

Related Posts:

A high-tech life

What You Should Know

Rachel Takes on Cedar Point

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

Rachel Takes on Cedar Point

I’m almost ashamed to admit that I’ve only been to Cedar Point a handful of times and I’m an Ohio native. *gasp*

Last weekend I took on Cedar Point, my first amusement park since being diagnosed with diabetes. At this point, you may be thinking, how are visiting Cedar Point and diabetes linked? I was curious/concerned about some aspects of visiting the park with diabetes including how the rides my affect my pump, if the stress from roller coasters would drive my blood sugar up, the entire food situation and if the constant walking would drive my blood sugars down.

I did some incredibly last minute research about handling diabetes at amusement parks and the good people of Twitter pointed me in the right direction… Among many of Bennet’s posts covering diabetes at Disney especially, I found this one. The main points I took with me to Sandusky were:

1. Scientific study found: “That severe short-lived mental stress, as documented by markedly increased heart rate and blood pressure and salivary cortisol, barely affected glucose control in patients with type 1 diabetes.”

2. This advice (which came in the form of a concise tweet later): have fun. check blood. <– in that order.

We drove up the night before and stayed at the Breakers Express, which got us early admission to the park on Saturday. That evening we walked to a nearby bar to enjoy time with our friends and celebrate our friend Tyler’s college graduation. 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

 

A memorable day

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:

Hiding

Would I Ever Feel Better Again?

A Pregnancy Test Saved My Life