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July 31, 2007

An Update on Shoes.

Another Open Letter to Shoes.Dear Shoes,

You had been quiet for a few weeks, my dear neighbor, but I heard you today.  Oh thank goodness!  I was worried about you.  My ceiling has been eerily quiet lately and I was mildly worried for your well-being.

However, this morning at a crisp 5 a.m. you let me know you were okay.  The clomping and stomping told me that you were indeed back in your apartment and that all was well.  And the barking told me that you brought a new friend home with you.

The barking.  Oh hooray Shoes - you got a dog. 

DogShoes sounds like a hearty, robust breed, with a low, sonorous bark and feet that are apparently clad in tap shoes.  No little yappy teacup dog for you, eh Shoes?  You go all out in your little condo unit.  DogShoes must be weighing in at close to 70 lbs, judging by the noise he made this morning running from your kitchen to your bedroom.  I hear his joyful barking sounds and could almost feel the swish of his massive tail as he galloped down the hallway.

DogShoes likes to bark when the sun is rising.  Maybe he thinks it's a big ball that he can bound outside and play with!  I like when the sun rises, too, but I don't necessarily want to see it rise on a Tuesday morning.  Sunrises are for camping trips or pub crawls - not for a work morning, you silly DogShoes!  If I had a newspaper nearby, I would roll it up and bludgeon your owner.  Silly!

Oh Shoes, I know you have plenty going on in your life, what with the boyfriend you banish to sleep beneath the mailboxes and the friends who come over to tell you "Oh.  My.  God.  You are so going to piss her off with that skirt!"  You are a busy girl.  I know you're out often because sometimes DogShoes goes nuts when he's bored up there.  I can hear him trying to burrow through the floor.    

While I would love to have more sleep in my life, it's DogShoes.reassuring to know that you are back, Shoes.  Your absence has made the bags under my eyes go away, and I missed those almost as much as I missed you. I'm so happy you have a new member of your family now - DogShoes sounds like he could eat a ham hock whole!  I'm sure he's very cuddly.

Let me know if you need anything, at any hour, my dear neighbor.  I'm awake all the time now.

Best,

Kerri.

July 30, 2007

Thresholds.

Pastiche on the Hill.Thresholds.  Levels of tolerance.  For an English major like me, numbers take on a more connotative and emotional meaning.  And diabetes numbers play into a whole host of variables.

Like when I'm about to get behind the wheel.  I've heard people discussing what numbers are "safest" to drive at, and I think that's a personal preference.  For me, numbers like 131 and 92 are friendly and make me feel road-worthy.  I'll drive at 180 - 250 mg/dl as well, so long as I'm making attempts to correct it down.  But numbers close to 70 mg/dl or over 250 mg/dl are key-passers for me.  As in "Hey, you drive."  (See:  yesterday, when a freak incident caused me to throw a blood sugar over 400 mg/dl.  Chris drove.  I drank water and slept.  Miserable.)

Or when I'm going to bed.  Bedtime basals have been nailed down solid for just over a year now, allowing me to go to bed at 99 mg/dl and wake up at 110 mg/dl.  There's barely a flux.  A few years ago, I would have stolen a swig of juice or popped a few glucose tabs to keep me steady through the night.  At Clara Barton Camp, anything under 120 mg/dl warranted a "double snack" coupon (which was awesome when it was pudding and graham crackers night but sort of sucked on apples and peanut butter night).  My thresholds for nighttime sugars are much tighter now.

Different numbers at different times.  Go to bed at a blood sugar of 90?  Yes, please.  Go to the gym at 90?  No way - time for some crackers, a swig of juice, and a pump disconnection.  I don't like starting a cardio workout at anything under 150 mg/dl, because exercise hits me like a ton of treadmills. 

A blood sugar of 150 mg/dl at the beach?  I'd leave that one alone because the sun and just five minutes in the ocean makes me drop hard.  

Feeling anxious?  If I ring in at 120 mg/dl and I'm feeling very keyed up, I know that a half of a unit of Humalog needs to course in to counteract the stress hormones that hijack my A1c sometimes. 

Each number plays different offense in varying situations.   It's a challenge to follow the playbook. 

The human body is absolutely amazing in the way each organ works together with such precision, maintaining our homeostasis and keeping us kicking.  But the mind of a diabetic is pretty damn amazing, too.  We have trained our minds to think like a pancreas.  We are the people who know how many carbs are floating around in a bowl of pasta.  We are the ones who can take a blood sugar number and fold it into any situation - 140 on the soccer field means more orange slices while 140 at the dinner table means correcting the high and navigating the meal.  We are the ones who are trying to compensate for some cells that simply gave out on us.  It's not an easy task, crawling inside the thoughts of a working pancreas and trying to mimic it's performance.  There are moments of elation.  There are moments where we stumble.  And moments when we just plain fall flat on our faces. 

This is very tough some days.  I had a bad weekend, blood-sugar wise, hitting both the 442 mg/dl and the 36 mg/dl ends of the spectrum.  I felt like I had been hit by that truck with the penguins, who are all carrying suitcases filled with bricks.  It was a perfect storm of crummy conditions, sending my meter average into complete disarray. 

I felt damp and wrung out with frustration at a few points. 

But then I had a cappuccino and a fruit dessert with Chris at Pastiche on Federal Hill.  I tested before at 87 mg/dl and two hours later at 132 mg/dl.  And then I found this in Newbury Comics:

For Shannon and Darrell.

And thought of how much Shannon and my brother Darrell would enjoy it.  Toofuses for all!  (Toofi?)

My threshold for certain numbers varies every day, but my threshold for laughter is without boundaries. 

July 27, 2007

Six Friday Bits.

Irony.  I keep a stockpile of DVDs of the dLife shows (different versions) at my desk at work.  They are tucked neatly into a large Godiva chocolate box.  Irony, anyone?

English majors.  Chris and I designed the invitations to our engagement party and sent the proof to the printers.  However, my editor/writer eyes and his editor/writer eyes did not notice that one of the E's had taken a bit of a jaunt off the proof.  The invitations are sitting on my desk, all printed out and ready to send, inviting people to our enGAGment party.  Oh dear.  I've consulted with several Typos suck.friends, family members, and co-workers and they say "Send them out like that!  You two are silly enough to get away with it."  Okay.  But for the record, we are going to proofread the actual wedding invitations until our eyes start to bleed.  Misspelled invitations from the writers.  Perfect. 

Dexcom.  Dexcom and I will reunite next week for a few days because my afternoon blood sugars look a little dodgy and require some reigning in.  Posts to follow.  Possibly graphs.  And Siah may use a laser pointer to go through the Power Point presentation.  Or she may run like a fool after the laser pointer until she tires herself out and falls asleep on my head.  Again.  Blasted cat.

Wedding.  I bought a dress yesterday for a wedding we're going to in August.  I love Ann Taylor to the point where I drove an hour of my way last night in commuter traffic to go pick up this gorgeous dress (they didn't have my size in Westport and I couldn't control the impulse).  I am considering Ann Taylor for my bridesmaid dresses - classic, elegant, and they won't make anyone's wallet keel over and seize.  I'm also seriously considering hiring a wedding consultant because I can't seem to make it all happen without issue.  (See above "enGAGment" party.) 

Sleep.  Where fore art thou, sleep?  I caught an article in Women's Health last month about how today's twenty somethings aren't catching nearly enough naps.  Whatever do they mean?  Isn't it normal to be up until 2 in the morning working on assorted goodies?  Don't most people get 5 hours of sleep?  Isn't sarcasm detectable over the internet?  I think the hands on my internal clock are spinning wildly, because I haven't had a solid 8 hours of sleep in a few months.  It's always go-go-go all the time - I'm itching to take a whole weekend and do NOTHING.  Are we, as young people, cramming too much into one day?  Is it normal to have a list of "to do" lists?  Does anyone else stay up all freaking night? 

Weekend.  Heading home to RI as soon as possible, hoping the weather holds out and I have the chance to hit the beach for a few  hours.  Have a good weekend, and ... oh for crying out loud, Sausage.  Get off my laptop.

July 26, 2007

A Kid's Hero.

Sure, I read the trashy magazines while I'm standing in line at the grocery store.  (And then, when it comes time to pay, I clumsily mush the US Weekly into the slot where the Good Housekeepings are standing at attention.)  And yes, I catch myself humming along to the theme song of Entertainment Tonight when it comes on at the gym.  But I've never been one for celebrity heroes. 

However.

I had a hero as a little kid and she wasn't even real.

When I was a little kid, I was a big ol' book worm.  (Currently, I am a big ol' Book Nerd.  I've evolved.)  My room was a pile of dog-eared books, some of which were bloated from bringing them into the shower.  The librarian in my hometown knew me by name.  I would get in trouble for bringing books to the dinner table.  Bottom line:  I wouldn't stop reading.

Shortly after I was diagnosed, Ann M. Martin started a series of books called The Baby-Sitter's Club.  Telling the story of a group of girls who start a baby-sitting business, I was hooked from the first page of Kristy's Great Idea.  Tomboy Kristy, fashion-plate Claudia, mousy Mary Anne, Dawn the California gThe truth about Stacey.irl, and Stacey.

Stacey was my hero.

Here I was, all of about nine years old, my friends and I devouring every new Baby-Sitter's Club book that was published and talking about starting our own baby-sitter's club.  Then the book The Truth About Stacey came out and the world cracked open. 

Stacey had diabetes.  This well-known character in a series read by millions of kids (and most of my friends), was smart, pretty, popular, and had diabetes. 

My heart soared.  (My blood sugar probably did, too.  Hormones were a bitch on my A1c's.)  Mainstream diabetes!  Most people talk about Shelby in Steel Magnolias as the pop culture diabetes icon, but for me it was Anastasia "Stacey" Elizabeth McGill.  She talked with her friends and tested her blood sugar at the same time

My nine-year old brain could barely handle it.  "I talk to my friends and test my blood sugar, too!"  I thought she was the coolest.  She may as well have had a superhero cape as far as I was concerned. 

Even now, almost twenty years later, I think about Stacey McGill and feel so connected to her stories.  Fiction or not, the Baby-Sitter's Club books were like prehistoric diabetes blogs, serving as a lifeline between diabetic kids.  In a town where I was one of the only kids with diabetes, Stacey confirmed that there were others out there like me.

Oh, and I wanted to dress like Claudia.  ... and I've digressed yet again.

July 25, 2007

Larry Potter.

I'm still not done with the Harry Potter book, but I only have about 200 pages left to go, so I'm getting there as fast as my tired, strained eyes can take me.   Working full-time and negotiating a number of side-projects has my reading time painfully limited.

Oh, but there's always the gym.

Chris and I are at the gym for about an hour every night, excluding most weekends.  Usually 33 minutes of cardio on a treadmill, stepper, or elliptical machine (sometimes doing 11 minute increments on each machine to mix it up a bit, or banging out the whole 33 in one swoop) and then about 15 - 20 minutes with resistance training and an ab workout.  My iPod, my meter, and my water bottle and I are a constant fixture at Undisclosed Gym, bouncing from machine to machine and occasionally singing out loud by accident.

But this week, not so much.

I'm the biggest geek of all time these days at the gym.  I have my water bottle, my meter, a bottle of juice, and a 750 page book balanced on the edge of the treadmill.  Forget the resistance training.  Forget any abdominal exercises.  I'm clutching the side of the seventh Harry Potter ... brick, really, and walking along for almost a full, joyful hour just so I can read the book.  I'm not willing to let the need to read supersede (whoa, holy rhyme time) my fitness goals.  And it's obvious that I have no shame and will bring the book to even the most meat-head of moments.

I can almost hear the guy behind me thinking out loud.  Larry Bird is a Deathly Hallow.

"Why is that girl reading a dictionary at the gym?  And why the hell is she muttering happily to herself every few minutes?" 

In my mind, he nudges the guy next to him.  "Do you see this?"

"Dude, I so see it.  Maybe she's learning English and that's why she's readin' the dictionary and stuff." 

They high five.

And I keep reading.  And walking.  And hoping that I don't drop this massive book on my foot.

Larry would be proud.

July 24, 2007

The Wedding Crashers.

We started at Narragansett Beach on Saturday morning - early.  Armed with bathing suits, trashy magazines (oh how I love trashy magazines), and the company of some of my college roommates, we were on the beach and relaxing in the sun by early morning. 

"Kerri, only you would have that little pouch that matches your bathing suit."  My roommate said, gesturing towards the flowered blue case my pump was nested in.

"What?  I need to keep it fashionable!"  (Thanks, Donna, for the insulin pump pack!  It was a hit at the beach!)

Wearing the pump at the beach usually isn't an issue at all.  Infusion set on my thigh, pump tucked underneath a shirt to keep it shaded, and a spare pump cap for going in the water and I'm all set.  No one notices.  I've only caught people looking at those moments when I'm first arriving at the beach and the pump is clipped to my bathing suit bottom.  (Wires are essentially untuckable in those situations, so they are a bit exposed for a few minutes.) 

However -

The sand/ocean/stickiness from sunscreen presents a unique problem:  reattaching the tubing.  When I disconnect and put on a spare pump cap to go in the ocean, the salt water cakes up around the infusion set, making it sticky and tricky to reconnect once I get out.  I have to rinse the site profusely with clean water to unstickify it and even then the site clips back in place with a chalky groan.  (I use the Minimed Quick-Sets.)  At one point, I couldn't get the site clipped back on until I rinsed the site off in the bathroom sink.

Aside from those pumping glitches, blood sugars held steady in the sun, ranging from 80 - 212 mg/dl (forgot to bolus for that iced coffee - dang!). 

Lindsey, Kate, Heidi, and me - we couldn't decide which camera to look at, apparently.

After dinner at Crazy Burger (where something that looked like spinach with chocolate sauce was served, but it was actually spinach with a balsamic reduction) and some sangria at Turtle Soup, we hit the Coast Guard House. 

Standing out on the upper deck, a woman in a black dress came stumbling towards us.

"You girls need to come inside."  Her shoulder strap slid down a bit but she was too drunk to notice.  "Seriously.  You need to come inside and dance.  This wedding is so fun and you need to come inside."

We shot her a collective confused look.  She shook her blond head and smiled sloppily.

"I know.  I would be like, 'Who is this lady?'  But you should come inside and dance.  Come on!"

I think we were too taken aback to argue with the lady.  We filed in, watched as assorted bridal attendants danced like fools, and laughed our asses off watching the drunk blond lady girate all over the place. 

Is it possible to be invited to crash a wedding?

July 23, 2007

What Everyone Else is Writing About.

Yay!I spent the weekend in RI with some of my college roommates (we hit the beach, took foolish pictures, and ended up mistakenly crashing a wedding ... more on that once the pictures are loaded up), but first Chris and I made the loo-ong drive home from CT. 

Starting out at 10:30 pm and not even breaking free from New Haven until after 11:30, it was already shaping up to be a very long drive.  My constantly-nurtured Inner Book Geek was slightly itchy at the fact that the last Harry Potter book was being released at midnight and I was trying to play it cool.  I had plans to be at the beach in Narragansett with my roommates all weekend, so I didn't want to be obsessively toting around a 750 plus page book.  I wanted to relax and enjoy myself.

But as we shuttled past the exits on 95 North, I started to become very antsy.

"I may need to stop in Warwick at the Barnes and Noble and grab the book," I said to Chris, glancing sideways to gauge his reaction.  He smiled at me and my Inner Book Geek purred.   

"Of course.  Whatever you want to do.  I don't mind if we stop."

After another 45 minutes, we finally made it to Rhode Island.  And pulling into the parking lot of Barnes and Noble at 1:10 am, I was shocked to see hundreds of cars in the parking lot.

"Holy crap, are we serious with this?"

People dressed in robes were running back and forth.  Bookstore employees were holding brooms in one hand and megaphones in the other, ushering people into lines so purchases would be quicker.  I watched one little girl, no more than eight years old, clutch at her mother's hand and say, "Mom, I am so excited to read this book!"

Excited to read a book.  The concept just about made my brain melt.  It doesn't matter if you have read all the books, if you are against the series conceptually, or if you even care about the young, bespectacled wizard - the fact that kids and adults alike are lining up to read a book is astounding. 

I joined the line as one of the last and purchased my book.  Chris and I got back in the car to finish our late-night journey.  And as excited as I was to spend the next two days with my college roommates, I was thrilled to have this damn book in the car. 

These people standing in line - they were all waiting for a book.  There were no celebrities in the bookstore.  No one was signing autographs or giving away a trip to St. Thomas.   Just a book that people wanted to read.  And in this time of instant online information, YouTube clips, and podcasts, it's refreshing to hear the words, "I am so excited to read this book!"

I'm pretty excited, too.  My Inner Book Geek is very smiley these days.

July 20, 2007

Dr. Vineyard

Last weekend on our adventures, Chris and I visited part of the Connecticut wine trail.  We made our way up the western portion of the state, starting with the beautiful White Silo Vineyard where we had sweet rhubarb wine.  Our next stop was the Hopkins vineyard, where Chris found the "most delicious wine ever, seriously" (aka the ice wine they were featuring) and I tasted a wine that was more black pepper than grapes.  Lastly, we drove back towards the shore and stumbled upon a vineyard that wasn't on our Official Winetrail Map - DiGrazia Vineyards

View from the hilltop of White Silo Vineyard.

It was almost four in the afternoon and food had been spare so far, so when Chris and I took our seats at the wine bar and I spied the little plate of crackers, I couldn't keep my hands still.  Testing in at 90 mg/dl and knowing that there was more delicious wine on the horizon, I thought it would be good to snack.  So my fingers kept grabbing a few crackers, snaking them into my mouth, and then venturing back for more.

So many more that Dr. DiGrazia, the owner of the vineyard, came over with the box of crackers to refill our plate. 

"Hungry today, eh?"  His 70 year old brow furrowed slightly and he gave me a small smile.

I blushed, cracker crumbs on my shirt and one on its way to my mouth.

"Yeah." 

"Well don't be shy.  Eat up, and enjoy the wine."

Not needing to be told twice, I snacked on crackers freely and tasted a delicious blush wine, then a port, then a few dessert wines.  Blood sugar held steady at 130 mg/dl.  Feeling very smiley and wandering out into the vineyard garden with Chris, we were among the last at the winery that day. 

Dr. DiGrazia came out onto the porch and beckoned me to sit and chat with him while Chris wandered off with the camera.

"Did you enjoy the wines?"  He asked me, settling back into one of the Adirondack chairs.

"I did.  I enjoyed the crackers, too."

"That's fine.  Can't drink without eating."

"Agreed.  I'm actually a type 1 diabetic, so the wine definitely needs to be countered by something else."

He shifted in his seat and gave me a hard stare.

"Ah, diabetic?  Since you were a kid?"

"Yessir."

"Plenty of shots, then, eh?"

"I used to do shots.  I use an insulin pump now."  I pulled my pump from the pocket of my skirt. 

"Ah!  Never seen one of those before.  Aside from the vineyard, I actually have a practice in town.  I'm a doctor."

"No kidding!  Do you have any diabetic patients?"

He laughed.

"No.  I'm a gynecologist."

"Oh, I see.  Well, diabetics go to the gynecologist.  And they have babies.  So I bet you have some diabetic patients."  I gave him a wink.  He tipped his glass to me.

"Maybe.  I don't see many diabetics, or at least patients who talk about it if they have it.  So what do you do?"

"I work for a diabetes media company in Westport called dLife.  We have a tv show on CNBC.  And I also write a diabetes blog."  Chris came up and joined us on the porch.  "And we're getting married next year, so I'm a pseudo-wedding planner as well."

"Marriage, eh?  Well, when I deliver your baby in a few years, I can be on that dLife TV show.  And I'll talk about the health benefits of a good glass of wine."  He laughed.  Grapes on the wine vine.

"TV show?  Sure, once you deliver my future-baby, we'll put you on the show."  I smiled.  He was such a sweet old man and he made wonderful wine.

"But not on your blog."  He laughed at the kids these days and their blogs.

No, Dr. DiGrazia - never on my blog. 

July 19, 2007

A Handful of Items

Item One:  Arching in as topic one (oh ha, the puns!), I will be at the Annual AADE meeting in St. Louis this year.  (My poor editor-in-chief is my travel companion.  I hope she doesn't mind when I'm half on the moon from xanax for my fear of flying and rambling on nonsense about my cat until the medication wears off.)  Will any of you be there?  I'm very excited to participate in this event as a member of the dLife team.  And I'm very excited to see the big ol' Arch. 

Item Two:  Back when we went rafting, the raft guides has some rogue kayakers who skipped ahead, perched themselves on the rocky sidewalls, and snapped photographs of the rafters as we passed by.  Here is how we rolled:

Rolling down the river.

Item Three:  Wedding planning, though having taken a bit of a backseat to different work projects for both Chris and I, is in full swing.  We've booked our reception hall and nailed down our actual wedding date, so now it's time for all the other stuff - like the photographer, the church, dresses, and deciding how many flowers is really "too many."  Admittedly, I have no idea what I'm doing.  I have several books and have consulted with The Knot on several occasions (only to notice that my post about Oliver's gas was linked from their discussion boards - I laughed until I cried), but time is going by so quickly and I fear I'm falling behind. 

Our engagement party invitations came in, so that's all set to take place on August 18th (yay!), but aside from that, I'm sort of lost.  How exactly do you find a photographer?  (If anyone has any recommendations for a photographer in the RI area, I'd love to hear from you.)  How far in advance do you need to find a wedding dress?  How hard is it to wrangle all the bridesmaids into one style of dress or can I have varying styles along the same color theme?  How much wood would a woodchuck chuck, were he so inclined? 

Item Four:  Social networking is all over the place these days.  LinkedInTwitterFacebookNing networksMySpace.  Whoa.  (No, "whoa" isn't a social networking platform.  At least not yet.)  There are plenty of networking opportunities.  I'm sure there are plenty that I have no clue about.  Any new ones that you know about?

Item Five:  I don't know if you caught this link on my sidebar, but I want one of these in the worst way.  And I can't figure out why it appears to have a hand brake.  Bizarre indeed!

July 18, 2007

Aghast.

Chris and I went into NYC over the weekend for a delicious meal in Greenwich Village and some general wandering.  Dinner was wonderful - fantastic bruschetta and parmesean-encrusted chicken with grilled asparagus - and the city was warm and alive.

Walking through the subway labyrinth, we saw a gathered crowd.  They were all staring at this:

The full farting scene.

So we stared, too.  People dropped dollar bills into the bucket and the performers would shift their scene slightly.  I noticed that one of the actors was sporting a rather unusual hindpiece:

This man needs a specialist.

His fellow performers reacted accordingly:

Aghast.

Ah New York.  I can't think of anything this city doesn't have.

July 17, 2007

An Interview with My Friend, Demarco.

The Interviews at SUM

My friend Demarco from Australia has returned for another visit at Six Until Me, and this time he brought his new hypo-dog friend Chino!  Fresh from Australia's Paws for Diabetics, Chino and Demarco are taking care of each other and having some fun.  Demarco and his mom, Kate, spent some time with me and gave me a glimpse into their diabetes lives. 

Kerri:    Can you tell me about when you were diagnosed with diabetes?

Demarco:  I was only 23 months when I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I don't remember much about it, but some of the bad things I will never forget. I had these terrible pains in my legs and tummy, and because I couldn't tell Mum, she couldn't help me. I just screamed at her, the only times I stopped screaming was for water. I also remember getting my nappy changed a lot. I remember Mum taking me to a new doctor, and he did a prick on my toe. A little after that, my Mum screamed, and cried and she couldn't even walk to the car. The doctor had to take her to the car and my Dad had to drive. She was shaking a lot too. The strange thing was that I stopped crying and screaming for the first time in days because I finally knew that SHE knew that there was something seriously wrong with me, and she was going to get me help. She hugged me tight, and I clutched on to her long red hair, because it made me feel safe. I remember 4 men with stethoscopes trying to hold me down to put a huge needle in my arm, and looking at my Mum and wondering why she wasn't stopping them. Whenever I hear the song 'Tomorrow', from the musical, Annie, I think of hospital too. My Mum used to sing it to me when I had to have an injection or a fingerprick, but instead of singing, 'The sun will come out, tomorrow,' she changed the word to ' Demarco.'  I remember there was lot  of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger stuff given to me. I have a strange feeling when I see Winnie the Pooh now.

Kerri:    I know you’ve had some very cool experiences as a diabetes advocate – can you tell me Demarco and his hypo-dog pal, Chino.about your favorite one?

Demarco:  Since I have been fundraising, I have now made in total $5500 for JDRF Australia. The best thing that has ever happened from being an advocate is that a lady from Sydney rang my Mum and asked if  I would like to go an event called 'Kids in the House', where 100 other kids with Type 1 got together to tell politicians just how much we all need a cure. It was a pretty serious event, but the best thing was that I got to play basketball with the Australian Sydney Olympians at the Australian Institute of Sport.  I met one player, also with Type 1 Diabetes. He told me that I was the bravest kid he ever met.(I felt my ears go red.)  He said when he was diagnosed at 7, he was horrible to his parents, he used to steal lollies out of the cupboard and lie about his readings. He even said he hated himself. It wasn't 'til he became good at basketball that he realised that Diabetes could stop him at nothing. He changed his life completely. He shook my hand, and introduced me to the team. They lifted me up high in the air, and one guy tried to slam dunk me! The other cool thing was John Howard walked past our table, and I said to Mum' Wow! He looks like George Costanza from Seinfeld!!) I thought world leaders would be big and powerful. Mr. Howard looks like a grandad with caterpillar eyebrows!!! He DOES know a lot about Type 1 Diabetes though, and he is very passionate about finding us a cure. So I guess he is a pretty decent guy then. He’s just very small!

Kerri:  You and your mom are a good team and you work together to manage your diabetes.  Do you have other friends with diabetes?

Demarco:  I have met lots of people with Type 1 Diabetes. When older people find out that I am a diabetic, they sometimes say that I will grow out of it, or I should cut back on sugar. This hurts my feelings,but I am getting better with it now. I have my best American friend, Brendon, who is my penfriend, and I have met lots of kids who are a bit older than me who are great to talk to. There is nothing like talking to someone who has diabetes, because they walk in your shoes. My mum is a mentor to a girl named Jelly, and she is probably my best girl friend. She goes to high school, but we are on the same insulin, and we both feel the same way about having diabetes. I really like her a lot. She is really, really pretty too.

Kerri:    Being diabetic means there will be some low blood sugars sometimes.  I heard that you recently added a new friend to your diabetes team – Chino!  Can you tell me about your new friend?

Demarco:  Chino is a 4 month old pure bred whippet. He is the best thing that has ever happened Demarco and Chino have a cuddle.to me. He goes everywhere with me. The law says that he can go everywhere except an operating theatre of a restaurant kitchen. We have cool ID Cards with our pictures on them. He has picked up so many hypos before they turn dangerous. He has a few different ways of alerting. He will either nudge my chin and whine like he is crying, he will  howl like a dingo, he will jump up on Mum and start biting her jewelry or her collar, or he will bite my fingers, and won't stop when I say 'no.' If he does any of these things, we test, and each time, I have had a problem with my blood sugar that I wouldn’t have known about until much later when I started feeling sick. I have had less hypos. It's such a good feeling not to feel that way all the time. I am a happier boy now! Chino came to me because my Mum got in contact with a lady from a company called 'Paws for Diabetics.' She has matched up dogs with people all over Australia and their lives have improved, as well as having a new friend! When he gets older, he will be even better at his job. His sense of smell is 500 times better than ours, so he is able to detect when my sugar levels are changing through sweat. He has all the same rights as a guide dog. As he is so friendly, he has to do a lot of training so that when we are out, he is totally focused only on me. I can't imagine life without him now. I used to only like cats, and there were three breeds that can detect hypo attacks. A Chinese Crested (it has no fur except a tuft on his head-a little creepy) A Shetland Sheepdog, (too big and lots of fur to look after) and that left a whippet. I kept thinking that he would look like the dog off the Simpsons, Santa's Little Helper! He doesn't though. He is beautiful, and he cares for me so much.

Kerri:    Aside from doing things to raise awareness about diabetes, what other things do you like to do? 

Demarco:  I really am into Yugi-Oh Collector Cards, I guess because I can speak a bit of Japanese, and I like Anime cartoons. I am also doing pretty well at karate now that I have swapped insulin. (I am on Novorapid and Levemir). I love hanging out with my Mum, she is a good teacher, and she sure knows how to look after people with Diabetes! I just love talking to people, Kerri. They don't have to be six, they can be 30, or 80 or 13, just as long as they have a good heart and treat themselves and me with respect. I want to be a good swimmer too, so when it gets warm again, I will start swimming again. (When I was on Protophane, I couldn't do many sports. I was always hypo even after loads of carbs and less insulin.)

Kerri:    Demarco, if you could ride around in a hot-air balloon, what would you want to fly over? 
 
Demarco:  If I got to go in a Hot Air Balloon, I would probably wanna check out Heaven, just to say hello to my Uncle Paul, and my Grandmother. I would ask my uncle if he could use some heaven magic to keep my eyes and kidneys well. I would want to say hi to Jesus and the angels too. Oh, and the Artic Circle, so that I could spy on Santa, to see what he's got in store for me this Xmas. (I have been pretty good for the first half of the year!)

Kerri:  Thanks, Demarco!  Enjoy your new friend!

July 16, 2007

Hope, Dreams, and Reality - A Mom's Perspective.

Mom posts again.  :)Once again, my mother is making a cameo appearance on Six Until Me.  She has a permanent "right to post" on this blog, and it's always an honor when she voices her perspectives.  Thanks, Mom, for another "Mother's Perspective."

"So my daughter, Kerri, is getting married.

Wow!

When Kerri was first diagnosed as a little girl and having almost no knowledge of Type I Diabetes, the thought flew through my mind one day that maybe a wedding was not in her future. What did I know then? Not much! Through the years of experiencing the growing pains of a child with diabetes and educating myself, I knew on an intellectual level that it was indeed possible.

However, as a parent, I was always waiting for the “other shoe to drop” so to speak. Things go wrong, things happen. I would tell myself not to think “too” much or I would make her and myself crazy. After all, it was paramount in my mind that she be a normal child doing normal things and not being held back in anyway, shape or form because of her diabetes. (Not that she would allowed herself to be held back – she takes after her Grammie, independent!).  But, it was always there in the back of my mind.

I am so happy that she has found Chris who is a wonderful person who accepts the total package of Kerri Lynn Morrone as she accepts him. He watches out for her, not unlike I used to.   (Editor's Note:  Mom, you still do look out for me.)  She is very capable of taking care of herself but all the mothers and fathers out there reading this will know exactly what I mean. We could all use a second pair of eyes watching our children, it just makes us feel better. It makes them safer.

It will be a glorious celebration of love and life next May. Diabetes is a part of Kerri’s life and of her family that loves her. But, I will try to stop waiting for “the other shoe to drop” because no one knows what the future will hold and worrying is wasted energy. When there is something to worry about, then I will worry.

I have three wonderful kids, two beautiful grandchildren that are so dear to me, and I look forward to having more of the latter. (No pressure or anything!!)

-- Kerri’s Mom"

To catch up on my mom's other cameos, you can find them here and here.  Enjoy! 

July 15, 2007

dLife Season Premiere!

Tonight on dLife, catch the all-new season premiere, featuring Chris Matthews from Hardball (who I had no clue was diabetic until this show).  Also, keep your eyes peeled for all the new shows this season, including one featuring both my maid of honor, along with the blogosphere's own fabulous Shannon, and another dLife cameo from yours truly. 

One more dLife-related thing:  If you are a type 2 diabetic, a senior citizen, and interested in joining the dLife Viewpoints columnist team, I'd love to hear from you.  Please send me an email at dLife - and thanks!

July 13, 2007

Magic Tongs Included.

Standard discussion between my mother and I when I was about nine years old.

"Ma, can I have this twix bar?"

"No, Kerri.  Let's save it for when you're low."

This logic always sucked, as far as I was concerned.  When I'm low, I can't enjoy anything I'm eating.  Saving the "good snacks" for a low sounded like a waste.  Usually, I'm sucking down a can of juice or munching on something laced with sugar, but not tasting it.  Panic eating.  My tastebuds are in time-out when I'm rocking a low blood sugar.  They're in bed with the comforter pulled up to their tastebuddie ears, pretending they can't hear the Twix bar knocking at the door.

"Let me in!  I taste good!"

Now that I'm older, I don't bother "saving treats" for when I'm low.  That's akin to tossing them into a kiln.  I'd rather treat with bland tasting juices and save that Twix bar for when I can actually enjoy the taste.

Yesterday, at the diner near my office, I went in for an iced hazelnut coffee and became distracted by a candy display on the counter.

"Oh, I've seen those before.  My son has had them.  He loves them."  My co-worker nodded approvingly.  I grew up with Nerds candies and Fun Dip - what is this Lightning Bugs Gummy Candy?  (Made by Kandy Kastle, Inc, the company formerly known as Kan't Spell, Ink.) 

Oooh!  Magic tongs are included!

Magic tongs are included.  Yay!

Apparently, this candy comes with like seventeen gummy worm things and a pair of purple plastic tongs that light up.  Therefore, grabbing the gummy wormy thing with the "magic tongs" creates a lightning bug effect.  Therefore making the candy tremendously creepy to eat and difficult to mentally grasp, but tremendously cool at the same time.

Therefore, I had to buy it.

Unlit, squishy buggies.

Packing 31g of carbs for the whole package, this diner-sponsored treat wasn't much to taste.  The gummy worms were a diasppointment and they felt oddly squishy.  Little sugar slugs.

But they did light up. 

Oh, they light up alright!

And I proceeded to light them all up, eat a few, and toss the rest in the garbage.  I then proceeded to test the "magic tongs" on other things in my office, including the English ivy, a loose test strip, and my fingertip.

"Phone home,"  I whispered.   Was food ever this fun and pointless when I was a little kid?  Can this candy even be loosely classified as "food?"

Lazy SausagesLazy Sausages

Overall, Lightning Bugs Gummy Candy gets Two Arbitrary Lazy Sausages out of Five. 

July 12, 2007

A View from the Train.

They were older than me by decades, edging gently towards eighty.  They were just a few rows up from me on the train back to RI.  She wore a white blouse with a necklace of bright green beads, most likely awarded to her by a grandchild.  She kept fingering the beads as she talked with her husband, who sat close and leaned in so close to her that the brim of his hat touched her gray hair.

Their quiet conversation caught my attention as I read the bridal magazine I had picked up in the train station.  I cast a glance at them, smiled, and went back to flipping the glossy pages.  Until -

“Oh my goodness.  Oliver!  Did you …”

I looked up.  The old man flashed a grin to his wife and tipped his hat.

“Yes, yes I did.”

She waved her hand underneath her nose, her green beads shuffling around her collar like horses around a track.

“Oh Oliver!  That is the smelliest fart I have ever, ever smelled!  You are a disgusting old man!”

I didn’t expect it.  A laugh escaped me and I quickly ushered my hand to my mouth to cover my smile.

The old woman turned to me.

“I’m sorry, sweetheart.  You’ll know when it hits you.  He’s such a nice man, aside from the gas.” 

Her voice was smiling.  Her husband leaned over her and gave me a wave.

“Sorry, miss!  I had bacon for breakfast."  He took a little bow.  "Oh, a wedding magazine!  You must be getting married.  Is he gassy?” 

I laughed until I almost cried, hiding my face in my wedding magazine.

Chris, I look forward to being weird and old with you.

July 11, 2007

The Disconnect.

I do not like needles.

The feeling of the tip of a needle against my skin makes me cringe a little bit.  Having blood drawn makes me sick to my stomach and very light-headed.  Even watching shots being administered on TV causes my fear to prickle. 

I'm a big baby.

When I was first diagnosed with diabetes, injections were our weapon of choice.  I started out with one injection of Regular and NPH in the morning.  Time progressed and I tried out all kinds of insulins:  Regular, NPH, Lente, UltraLente, Lantus, Humalog, synthetic and animal varieties ... you name it, I shot it up.  I went from one shot a day to two, then to three, and so on.I don't miss filling these every week.  Blech. 

When I was 24 years old and using a Lantus/Humalog regimen, I realized I had hit an average of 11 shots per day.  It wasn't that I was taking a ton of insulin, but I was taking eensy doses all day long.  My arms were peppered with bruises.  The scartissue in my thighs causes my little doses to leak.  I had dozens of coffee cans with used syringes stashed in them underneath my kitchen sink, taped tight with duct tape and regularly disposed of at the local CVS sharps drop-off.

There was one night when something inside of me broke in two piece and I felt my fear and my strength mix together like sands in a timer.  I had taken my ninth injection of the day.  The needle caught slightly in my arm and a hot, red drop of blood spilled out immediately after I pulled back the needle.  I wiped the blood with my finger - it smelled like the dentist's office, letting me know that some of what I just injected had leaked out.

"I'm done."  I announced to no one in particular.  Abby strolled by and gave my hand a lick in acknowledgement.  This hot rage built up inside of me and I threw the syringe against the television screen. 

"I am DONE!"  I screamed with all the power in my lungs.  Cell phone in hand, I dialed my doctor's number, leaving her a crazy message at ten-thirty on a Sunday night.

"I am tired of shots.  I am sick and tired of them.  I want to start on an insulin pump.  I can't deal with this anymore."  Hearing the frantic pitch in my voice, I caught hold of my composure.  "Um, this is Kerri Morrone.  If you could return my call at your earliest convenience, that would be nice." 

Click.

That was almost four years ago.  And over the last four years, I've had pinched cannulas, kinked tubing, and air bubbles.  I've felt frustrated by being tethered to a machine.  The damn cat has chewed through the tubing and tossed me up high.  Sometimes I have no idea how to wear it.  Sometimes I'm tangled in every possible way.

But after last week's pump vacation, I realized that choosing pump therapy was one of the best decisions I've made in my diabetes management.   Despite all the frustrations, shots just don't cut it for me.  After disconnecting and reverting back to Lantus, my skin immediately remembered how to recoil from a needle and how to bruise up with a vengance.  I realized how easy it is to forget that Lantus shot.  I recalled how frustrating it is for me to take a dozen shots a day, totalling no more than 30 units.  Toting around insulin pens, making sure my bottles of insulin stay cool, and seeing those orange syringe caps making appearances on my kitchen counter - these are not things I missed.

I'm not of the mentality that pumping is better than injections.  Different therapies work for different people, so I'm all for whatever keeps you healthiest.  But for me, pumping is the way I need to roll.  My sugars stay steadier, I'm able to administer precise eensy doses, and I don't have to whip out a needle every few hours.

One needle every four days versus eleven times per day is the kind of ratio I can handle.

July 10, 2007

White-Water Rafting.

I was completely terrified of getting on the raft.  Jenn (Chris's sister), Steve (her husband), Chris and I fastened on our life jackets.  Armed with a yellow helmet, a paddle, and a life vest, I looked like a Nintendo character and I felt like I was going off to war.  We carried the raft down to the edge of the Kennebec River and got ready to climb on.

"I don't know about this.  I am scared, dude."  I grabbed Chris by the arm and shot him a panicked look.  (I also briefly wondered why I called him "dude," but that's neither here nor there.)

"It's going to be fine.  Once we start, you'll love it.  I promise."  He rubbed my arm and we climbed into the boat.  Scott, our rafting guide, shouted to us from the back of the boat.

"Okay, so the pace-setters in the front," Chris and Steve took the front spots.  "And then file in behind them."  Jenn and I sat behind them and the other four rafters filed in behind us.  Eight rafters, one guide, and one jam-packed fanny pack filled with my meter, glucose tabs, tubes of cake gel, juice, and insulin pens. 

Two seconds into it, I was beside myself with fear.

About 30 seconds into it, I thought it was awesome.

And despite my terror, this whole trip was awesome.  I'm not the woodsy-type (contain your shock), so the idea of being out in the middle of class 4 or 5 rapids with nothing but a paddle in my hand and my legs locked against the center pontoons of the raft to keep me from falling out didn't sound terrific to me.  I was also worried about the diabetes-related implications.

But something about being in the middle of nowhere with water raging on either side and feeling scared, excited, and completely alive all at the same time was worth every damn second.

The great outdoors!

We stayed at the Northern Outdoors lodge in a cabin tent, so we camped out at night, cooked s'mores on the fire, and had the benefit of a bathhouse (read: cabin where there were flushable toilets) within walking distance.

We suited up in our wetsuits and conquered the Kennebec River (read: didn't fall out of the raft).

Chris, me, Jenn, and Steve.

After our day on the raft, we went out and drank with our rafting guide.  Here he is, rather drunk, telling me that I wasn't the only diabetic he's seen on these rafting trips and dagnabit, I did it!

Scott, lecturing me.

Diabetes-wise, this trip wasn't easy.  After spending the week reacclimating myself to Lantus and readying myself with insulin pens and syringes, I felt confident that my blood sugars would remain semi-stable.   My blood sugars were a little higher this past week, but nothing too obscene.   However, the anxiety and excitement of rafting sent my sugars skyrocketing, tossing me up into the 350 mg/dl range about halfway through the trip.  Thanks to the trusty insulin pens I brought with me, I came down quickly, but it was annoying to reach that peak (mainly because it made me have to pee and peeing in the woods is not my thing.  blech). 

After considering all the options, it was a good idea for me to stay off the pump for the trip.  I wasn't confident that it would remain dry, even if I had an aquapack or something similar.  Rolling pumpless allowed me to jump into the "swimming rapids," where we could swim in the class 2 rapids, let me leap off the raft when we were easing down the last part of the river, and I didn't have  that constant worry of "Is it okay?  Am I still connected?  Is it dry?"

My main (Maine?) concern was bringing enough reaction supplies.  Thanks to the terrific rafting guide and my traveling companions, there was enough cake gel on that raft to sponsor a Barbie birthday party.  Chris and Steve each had a tube in their pocket, I had three tubes on me, and the rafting guide had a stash of juice, cake gel, and an insulin pen in his dry pack. 

Testing on the boat proved to be a bit of a challenge.  I had my One Touch UltraMini encased in two plastic bags, so it remained mostly dry, but finding a moment to unearth it from within both bags, set up the strip, test, and keep things dry was tough.  I tested every 30 minutes or so, despite these conditions, and the Green Mini kept things controlled.  (Although the tampons would have been helpful from an absorption standpoint.  It was soggy on that damn raft.) 

I missed my pump terribly, though.  More on that tomorrow.  But pump and I have been reunited, I am now a white-water rafting veteran (or at least I can say I did it), and I'm looking forward to going again next summer. 

I DID IT.  I am quite proud of myself.  Diabetes be damned!

July 09, 2007

And the Award Goes To...

I will be loading up the rafting pictures tonight (including the one of the raft guide yelling at me to stay tough), but in the meantime, I've had the honor of receiving two very nice bloggy awards.

Thinking Blogger Award.Amy Mercer over at Dreaming of Water awarded me the Thinking Blogger Award.  She chose a handful of chronic illness blogs to highlight.  Since this is a diabetes-focused blog, I'm chosing to deviate from diabetes and highlight some of my favorite non-diabetes blogs:

1.  Aprigliano.  He makes me laugh, he's tech-savvy, and he's married to one of the only people who can make me laugh with a mere syllable. 

2.  M.O.M.  Monica paints pictures with her words that have the most vibrant colors.  Her perspectives always make me think.  And she tolerates the fact that cartoons are based on my life. 

3.  Breathe.  This blogger, new to the blogosphere, finds words for the moments that render others mute.  The moments that Lynn chooses to capture are beautiful and poignant.Rolling out the red carpet for my fellow bloggers.

4.  The Full Stop.  Nothing makes me happier than reading Kieran's musings.  His musical talent is undeniable and he quips about in ways that bring me great joy.  He makes me think as well as makes me laugh.

5.  Que Sera Sera.  I've been reading this blogger for about a year now and she makes me snicker at the most mundane things.  Definitely a blog to check out.

Here are the rules, should any of these bloggers choose to accept their mission to share their thinking bloggers of choice.  If the bloggers choose to participate, please make sure to pass the rules on to the next Thinking Blogs you tag:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think.

2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.

3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote (here is an alternative silver version if gold doesn’t fit your blog).

This award was began by Ilker Yoldas at The Thinking Blog. The mission is to create a linky thinky trail (my ridiculous phrase, not theirs, as they sound much brighter when they talk) to spread the word about great blogs. 

Rockin!And Julia at Major Bedhead has awarded me a Rockin' Girl Blogger award.  (YAY!)  Dude, I am so passing this one around the dBlogosphere.  My nominees are:

Birdie at Aiming for Grace.  She hits her target every time.  I am always impressed by her writing.

Shannon at Mom Wants a Cure because she makes me laugh, cry, and fear being poked on Facebook at all times.

and Jill at Navigum.  Diabetes doesn't appear to define her, either, and her stories about tofu pups and bizarre life happenings make her blog a must-read.

Thanks for thinking of me!  Cheers to the blogosphere!

July 08, 2007

Technical Difficulties

On July 4th of last week, my blog asserted its independence, the little bugger. 

It up and left me.

I went to sign in on Wednesday afternoon to publish some comments and leave a "Gone Raftin'" post.   When I logged into the Movable Type platform, I received this:

Couldn't load blog; perhaps you have not upgraded your MT database? - Loading data failed with SQL error Can't open file: 'mt_blog.MYI' (errno: 145)

Perhaps I had what?  Most of those words didn't make sense to me.  Beads of sweat on my forehead, I tried to log in again, only to have the computer flip me the finger and start making ticking sounds.

Addicted to blogging and having no clue how to access my portal to the blogosphere, I panicked and called the yahoos at Yahoo! customer service.  Press "one" twice.  Press "three."  Count alphabetically to 80, in German.  Juggle three cats and a chainsaw while humming the theme to The Facts of Life.  Oh, and don't put them on speakerphone because they'll hear you bitching once they finally pick up.

After being transferred seven different times, speaking with four different Yahoos, and allowing my voice to start issuing forth comments like, "You don't have a supervisor and you cannot transfer my call?  Unless you work at the bottom of a well on the moon, I am inclined to believe you are lying," I was transferred to Ryan.

"Hi, Ryan.  I was just told you didn't exist.  It's nice to meet you." 

All seven IT people had told me my blog was murdered by the Yahoo! mySQL (my Squirrel?) database and that I would have to rebuild the whole damn thing.  I couldn't believe what I was hearing.  I needed Ryan to tell me everything was okay.

"Kerri, your files were deleted during the course of the error.  You will need to rebuild your entire blog."

Ryan and I exchanged pleasantries.  In my mind, I was pinching him.

And then I went away on vacation, leaving my blog wounded and without updates.

So I apologize to anyone who has been trying to leave comments and received the "We cannot display this page because Yahoo! is run by third graders, thank you." page.  I'll be reposting the last few entries here for those of you who sent emails.  Unfortunately, old posts will not be able to receive comments anymore, but they will remain in tact in the archives.

And I apologize for leaving Michael Moore's goofy face staring at you since last Tuesday. 

Things should be in normal working order now, but if anyone runs into any technical difficulties on this new platform, please email me and let me know.  I'll be rebuilding Ye Olde Blogroll and Your Story this week, so bear with me for a few more days.

For now, I'm off to download the pictures from the white-water rafting trip (Jenn, I'm emailing them to you tomorrow!) and reunite myself with my insulin pump. 

More tomorrow! 

July 04, 2007

SiCKO, Revisited.

SiCKO, the encore.We saw it last night - SiCKO.  And I have to admit - I walked out feeling a bit tangled.

Michael Moore gets people talking.  You don't have to like him and you can call him "un-American."  You can hate his films.  You can love his films.  The fact of the matter is that his films start discussions, and these discussions are necessary.

That disclaimer tossed out there, the film generated a big "sigh" from me.  The first half of it, showing images of people working three jobs to cover their healthcare expenses, negotiating "which finger to reattach" after an accidental amputation based on what a patient can afford, and the stress of making sense of insurance denials.  This portion resonated for me on several levels.  The battles faced not by someone without health insurance but by the Americans who have it.

I thought about my own insurance battles.  Like the hoops I had to jump through to have my insulin pump covered as a "medical necessity."  Or when insurance companies told me that "four test strips a day is enough for a type 1 diabetic," not taking into account any hypoglycemic unawareness, jaunts to the gym, or the need to know if I'm steady before going to bed.   I thought about the pump infusion sets I've used for more than their prescribed length because I couldn't afford the copays for an extra box of sets.  The phone calls to insurance representatives that include phrases like, "Um, I need it to live," and "I can't believe you're telling me, a diabetic, that testing my blood sugar isn't necessary."

Michael Moore makes several talking points that Chris and I talked about for the rest of the night.  Moments in the film where Moore illustrates how keeping a society blanketed in debt makes them more dedicated (desperate?) members of the workforce.  This was disturbing to me, as I thought about people I knew who worked 70 hour work weeks at incredibly trying jobs, just so that they can have medical insurance. 

The part of this film that I didn't like was Moore's blinders-on view of universal health care.  No system is perfect.  He made it seem as though after the film finished, I needed to grab my passport and go ex-Pat, heading off to France or Britain or even hopping the border to Canada.  I do think that countries practicing preventative care vs. acute care are far smarter than the reactive United States, but I don't want to pack my bags and trot off to France.  I would rather help change to happen within our own borders and take measures to fix a problem instead of abandoning it.  Aren't we a force to be reckoned with, the blogosphere?  Aren't we some of the voices that Big Pharma thinks about nervously, right before they fall asleep at night?

(Whoa, Kerri.  A bit idealistic today.  Don't you want to go to France?  They have unlimited sick days.  And government employees who do your laundry.  Stop humming "The Greatest Love of All ...")

I'm fine with doing my own laundry.  I'm fine with working hard and earning my medical insurance.  But I'm not fine with being told that my medicine isn't "covered" or "necessary" or that insurance companies would rather pay for my dialysis vs. my insulin pump.  Preventative care is what protects people with diabetes, keeping our potential diabetes-related complications quiet longer.  Being plucked for every cent we earn, or worse denied, for that preventative care is cruel.

Go see this movie.  See what gnaws at you. 

July 02, 2007

All or Nothing (once more).

Saturday afternoon, I removed the Dexcom sensor. 

For the record, that Dexcom is worth the design flaws and I was very impressed with the results.  (More on that later.)  But also for the record, pulling out the sensor was extremely painful - that adhesive is intense!  I had to use a damp cloth around the sticky gauzey bits to help alleviate that "peeling my skin from my body" feeling.   Why didn't I apply a new sensor?  Due to the upcoming July 4th holiday and the white-water rafting trip this weekend, I didn't feel comfortable toting around an additional gizmo that couldn't get wet.  So off it came, to be reintegrated next week.

Saturday night, I removed my insulin pump.

I decided to take a "pump vacation" for the rafting trip, based on my insecurity about being able toLantus in lieu of my pump. properly protect it and my fear of it being busted on the excursion.  (I thought a lot about the advice to order a back-up pump, use the AquaPack, etc. but I had to go with my gut on this one.)   So late Saturday night, I disconnected my pump and took my first shot of Lantus in almost four years.

I was at Batman's house, spending the night before I headed up to Boston to retrieve Chris (yay!) from the airport.  

"Ah, the red ladybug bag!"  Batman exclaimed.  (It was a Clinique "free gift" from several years ago - a red circular zippered case that was plastic and held my insulin bottles when I was on injections.)  "I remember that thing!  I also remember when you went on the pump in the first place.  Is this weird?"

"Definitely."  I uncapped the syringe with my teeth and put the needle tip into the new bottle of Lantus, drawing back 16 units.  "This is completely bizarre.  But it's only for a week.  Just until Sunday night."

It's been two days without it and I'm feeling pretty good.  I am back on my old dose of Lantus (15 1/2 units at 10 o'clock at night) and I'm bolusing with an insulin pen.  Between you and I (and the entire internet), I miss my pump and I feel like I'm walking around naked, but this brief vacation is just that:  brief.  Blood sugars have been closely monitored and in a holding pattern of about 150 mg/dl, which is higher than I shoot for but I'm happy to have them steady instead of bouncing.

This is weird, though, going from two savvy devices to nothing more than an insulin pen in my purse.  Weirder still (yet comforting) is the fact that Chris has never known me without my pump.  It's always been a part of our life together.

After rescuing my fiance from the airport (at 7 am in Boston - damn that's early), I gave him a huge hug and then shared my secret with him.  "I'm not wearing a pump today."

His arms circled my waist and he gave me a kiss on the head.

"I never notice even when you do." 

Welcome home, Chris.  I'm so happy you're home!

Visitors since November 7, 2005