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September 28, 2007

Six September Bits.

The Friday Six:  September 28thAnother week all tied up?  Holy crap.  I can't believe how fast the days are going by lately.  Here's The Friday Six:

ONE!  As you may have heard from the buzz in the blogosphere, Blogabetes is booming over at dLife.  There were a few glitches with the comments at the outset, but we're en route to a permanent fix and things look like they're working fine at the moment.  One thing - you need to have a dLife profile to leave a comment, including a username.  So make sure you're signed up for dLife and then offer up some feedback for your fellow bloggers!

TWO!  Courtesy of a co-worker, I've stumbled upon a singer called Sia who has created one of those songs that you find yourself humming as you are answering a plethora of emails.  The song is called "Breathe Me" and the video is a crescendo of growling vocals, lilting piano, and Polaroid pictures.  Aside from the singer being named after my cat, it's pretty cool.  See for yourself.

THREE!  Team dLife is on the move for this Sunday's JDRF walk in Stamford.  We'll be the ones with ... well, my loud laugh, I guess.  Pictures to come on Monday after the event!  (Schneble.)  And October 21st is the next JDRF walk, only this time in RI!  Team SUM rides again. 

FOUR!  It's another mad-dash weekend, with a bachelorette party in RI on Saturday night and the walk on Sunday morning.  Not exactly sure how I'll pull off that timeframe, but I'm willing to make an effort. 

FIVE!  I like this dress:  Scoll to the dress marked "I."  What do you think?  It's definitely in my Top Three and I'm contacting the bridal shop to see if this is The One.  Oh this wedding is coming ever-closer!  And for those of you who emailed with photographer suggestions, thank you so much!  I have made appointments with several.  If you know of any good RI / Southern MA / Eastern CT wedding resources, please pass them on.  I'm organized when it comes to career stuff but this wedding is currently being woefully neglected.  All help appreciated!

SIX!  Dude, I'm spent.  Have a great weekend and I'll see you all on Monday.  :)

September 27, 2007

Oh Ridiculous.

It's been a very long day.  No, I would rather not wake up early, thanks.

Wake up early, pry the cat from the top of my head (this morning, she was actually combing through my hair with her paws.  This needs to stop.), toddle off to the shower, dress for this once-again freakishly warm late September day, scurry to work. 

Once the apartment door clicks locked behind me, remember that my lunch and snacks are still waiting patiently on the kitchen counter.  Fumble with my janitor-worthy set of keys, grab the sandwich, cucumber slices, tupperware of green beans, and the Balance bar off the counter and shove it all into the depths of my purse. 

Drive to work.  Sing loudly in the car as I wait at the stoplight, only to notice that a co-worker is behind me.  Pretend to be yawning.  Blush furiously.  Upon arriving in the parking lot, ask co-worker if she saw me singing my lungs out.  She nods no.  Blush subsides.

Work is a whirlwind of articles, columns, Blogabetes, Photoshop fun, iced coffee, a random fashion show (please, don't ask), a visit from a co-worker's adorable trio of little kids, and emails.  Lots and lots of emails. 

Stress is at a solid high, but my blood sugars aren't reflecting it.  For some reason, blood sugars are remaining well-behaved, playing gin rummy and occasionally complaining about the heat. 

Come home.  Hug fiance.  Change clothes and head off to the gym.  Workout hard.  Blood sugars still behaving, hovering around 170 mg/dl despite the amped up cardio and the no-breaks weight routine. 

Shower.  Make a delicious chicken and vegetable soup.  Add way too much salt.  Add more broth to counter against the salt.  Now there is too much broth.  Cut up more chicken and vegetables.  Add in and watch as the pot almost overflows.  Soup is now in two pots and could feed an army of soup-eaters.  (No creativity there, sorry.)  As soup is cooking, go to office and set up the blood glucose meter on my desk.  Prick finger.  Squeeze gently.

Watch in horror as a huge stream of blood spurts from my teeny little fingerprick and hit me in the throat.  Throat warm.  Stomach not pleased with this turn of events and starts to turn a bit.  For some reason, keep squeezing? 

"Oh for crying out loud."

"What?"  Chris doesn't look up from his laptop, where he is writing an article. 

"Does it look like someone tried to murder me?"

He stops and looks over.  "Oh man."

Clean off throat in bathroom.  Realize even when blood Adorable sleeping kitten.  Unlike Siah, who is a bedtime menace.sugar numbers aren't being intrusive, sometimes just the darn blood is.

Write blog post.


Cat climbs on head.

September 26, 2007

Workout Plateau

I'm bored at the gym.

I am there, though, working hard at least five days a week.   (As opposed to the lady I saw there yesterday who was just sitting on the bike and watching tv.  She was there for a full 45 minutes.  Just sitting there.  Not pedaling.)  I hit the treadmill.  I'm on the stepper.  I'm trying to make sense of the elliptical machine without looking like Bill Murray in Lost in Translation.  (If you know where I can find a video clip of that, please let me know.  I've scoured the internet but came up with nothing.  And it's a very funny clip.)

The point is, I work out and push myself, but not as hard as I could be.  And I've reached a bit of a plateau.

It was at this moment of realization that the fictional phone rang.  (Ahem.)

Kerri:  Hello?

Larry Bird:  Kerri.  Hey!

Kerri:  Larry!  Oh my God, I haven't talked to you in ages.  What's up?  How's your weight?

LB:  Honestly, I've been up and down lately.  You know, all the cookouts in the summer and late nights out.  I'll tone back up this winter. 

Kerri:  Me, too.  I feel bored working out lately.  I've started changing my weight routine so that's more cardio-based, you know?  No breaks between sets.  It's exhausting!

LB:  Good move.  Tip from Chris?

Kerri:  Yeah.

LB:  I'm trying out pilates.  And yoga.  I'm feeling pretty Zen lately, Ker.  Soon I'll be back to practicing my three-point shots with my eyes closed.

Kerri:  Any suggestions on how to beat these workout doldrums, my friend?  I'm bored, dude.

LB:  Honestly?  I know you change your cardio workouts gently so you don't hit the hypos hard, but how about a new playlist for your shuffle?  Didn't you pick up a sweet shuffle from the AADE event?

Kerri:  That sounds good.  I've been listening to the Beastie Boys lately.  And mixing in some Arctic Monkeys.Where's Waldo Morrone?

LB:  Sometimes new music goes a long way.  How about some Kenny Rogers?  Man, I love me some Kenny Rogers.

Kerri:  He looks like my Spanish teacher from 8th grade.  But I'm not too into country music.

LB:  Well, find what works for you, Miss Kerri.  Whatever keeps you sticking with it.  I'll check in on you later.  Tell your mom I said hi.

Kerri:  Will do.  Thanks for calling, Larry.

LB:  No problem. 

Ah, Larry.  Thanks for seeing me through this bout with fitness fatigue. 

Comments on Blogabetes

Where my blogs at?The comments are working on Blogabetes are working!  Go leave some love for the Blogabetes crew.  And please let me know if you run into any problems.  (Just as an FYI, you need to have a dLife account to leave a comment.  But it just takes a few seconds to set one up, and it's free!)

September 25, 2007

Pump Grump.

Where does the pump go?For my own diabetes management, I'm pro-pump.  Pumping has helped me keep my A1c on a steady decline.  The pump has helped me control those insane morning for-no-reason spikes and has helped protect me from frightening lows.  I lived seventeen years without my pump and I'm happy to not be sticking myself with syringes every few hours.  I appreciate the convenience and fluidity of pumping.

Except.  For.  This morning.

I woke up early to a comfortably cool bedroom temperature.  Long, hot shower.  Running right on time - early, even! - and I even knew where my keys were.  I found a nice (ironed - imagine that!) outfit in the closet - red floral skirt, off-white sweater, fancy Monsoon Artisans necklace.  Perfect for the warm beginning of fall.   

All dressed.  Just about ready to walk out the door.  Oh, one more thing! 

The pump.

I reattached the pump to the site, snaked the tubing up from my thigh, and clipped the pump to my waistband.  The light fabric of the skirt buckled under the weight and the skirt lurched to one side.  No problem, I'll just slip on the "thigh thing."  Okay, so that's all mangled and stretched and doesn't stay up right today.  How about tucking the pump into my bra?  Nope, the v-neck shirtline doesn't leave room for a medical device.  Maybe in the side of my bra, underneath my arm?  I did that on Saturday night in the black dress and no one was the wiser.  

Unfortunately, this light shirt made the pump look like a budding appendage. 

"Fricka-fracka dag nab it..." I muttered.  (Yosemite Sam's got nothin' on me.)  No matter how I wore the pump, it was the most blantant accessory.  Not even McGyver Morrone could figure out a quick way to solve this one.

So ... I plugged in the iron, grabbed my khaki skirt (with pockets) from the clean laundry pile, and gave it a quick steam.  Tossed the red skirt aside, determined to wear it someday but apparently not today.  I scurried off to work and made it just in time.

I was a bit of a Pump Grump.  In somewhat of a Pump Slump.  Until I tested at around 9:30 and saw that the 157 mg/dl I had woken up with had settled back down to 97 mg/dl.  It is worth it, even if it steams me up now and again.

September 24, 2007

Apple Demons and Dress Decisions

Chris and I were driving home to Rhode Island on Saturday morning.  I brought along a few apples to munch on while we traveled. 

"Want your apple now?"  I asked him, reaching into my massive purse that was home to my wallet, my meter, some gum, assorted lip gloss tubes, one lone syringe, and various pieces of fruit.


I handed it to him, but as I did, I saw the apple demon.

The apple demon, from afar.

"Oh my God your apple has a face."  We looked closer.  And right at the stem, where the leaves were once attached, was this little face staring back at us.

This apple demon is wearing a hat.  Of course.

So we took the apple demon's picture.  Like you do.

I spent Saturday up on Boston with my college roommates and we hit the Seaport for a booze cruise event.  The boat, playing host to almost 1,000 people, was listing severely to one side and we thought it was going to tip over.  Or maybe it didn't have a V-8.  Either way, we were dressed to match the "black-and-white" theme and we partied proper.

(Note:  While I'm not shy about admitting that I do drink, I didn't on this cruise.  Wasn't in the mood.  But I did have an arsenal of sugared orange slices in my purse in case of a low blood sugar.  Since I wasn't drinking and my blood sugar held steady without any issues, I handed out orange slices like I was some kind of candyman.  I mixed it with love and made the world taste good.)

The band played.  We danced and had a good time.  And when I excused myself to the bathroom to test my blood sugar, I was accosted by a happy, drunk pharma rep.

"You!  You are testing your blood."  She pointed at me and smiled.

"I am indeed.  Thanks!"  I glanced at the result - 109 mg/dl - and zippered up the black case. 

"I work for a pharmaceutical company.  I know what you're doing."  She turned to her friend.  "She is diabetic.  She's testing her blood sugar.  I know!"  She swayed slightly.

Ah, drunk and informed.  I grinned back at her.

"Yup.  Have a good night!"  I started to walk away.

"You too!  Good luck with your numbers!"

It's nice to be understood. 

(And I wore the black Ann Taylor dress on the cruise - the blue one made its last appearance of the season at the wedding Sunday night.  Now I have to find something to wear to the two weddings I have back-to-back in October.  My girl Ann Taylor, you can't fail me now!)   

September 21, 2007

Six Things - and Blogabetes!

In française, in honor of Shannon and her pretty pink prom dress.

Un:  We have a wedding this weekend, and I'm tousling between the blue dress or the black dress.  Is it too late in the season for bright blue?  Ladies, please help me out with this.  I'm a fashion nightmare.

Deux:  Generation D has been updated over at dLife.  This month's column touches upon what happens when technology fails.  Because it does.  And I was none too pleased about it.  (Also be sure to welcome Manny to the Viewpoints team!)

Trois:  Our home has been invaded by royalty - and he lives in our fridge.  Sir Strawberry of the Royal House of Trader Joe has become a silly, reaction-treating staple in our home.  Chris initially bought it because of the very stodgy looking knight on the label, but the juice tastes delicious and is all-natural, so Sir Strawberry is a win-win fella. 

Quatre:  I received (well, Siah received, but I read it to her) an email from Mark Neven from the Diabetes Federation of Ireland.  His group of diabetic kids went away on an adventure weekend and they've created a site so the kids could keep in touch.  The site, Diabetes Camp, has some very funny bits on it, and they've linked back to LOL Diabetes.  Check it out, and be on the lookout for some LOL contributions from the Emerald Isle!

Cinq:  Thank you, International Diabetes Federation (IDF) for mandating that blood sugars need to be under 140 mg/dl two hours post-meal.  I needed more pressure.Blogabetes!

Six (not very Frenchy, but that's what it is): 

And now for something fun! 

dLife has launched a new blogging forum - Blogabetes!  Staffed by some familiar faces from the Blogosphere, Blogabetes is diabetes, unscripted.  Check out the latest from Nicole, SuperG, Julia, Kim, Carey, Robert, Scott Marvel, Lori - and some new voices, like Andy and Rebecca! 

Check out the new posts and leave them some love!

And congratulations to all the Blogabetes bloggers - your hard work and dedication to this project makes it all worth it. 

Have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday!

September 20, 2007

The Necklace.

When the mail comes around in the early afternoon, I don't usually receive anything.  Sometimes the occasional contract or W-9 from one of the writers, or a note from a diabetes educator, or my Shape magazine that, for some reason, is delivered to dLife instead of my home.

But yesterday, I received a nice, puffy envelope.  With a box inside.

The box.

Oooh.  Because I have no self-restraint, I opened it right up to reveal ... the little green bag. 

The little green bag.

(Cue Reservoir Dogs soundtrack.) 

I opened the bag and out slid the necklace from Moonson Artisans, courtesy of the contest I had entered on TuDiabetes.  After some back and forth with our own talented Beth, she created a necklace using the Six Until Me logo.

The Kerri Necklace - front

I think it is just beautiful.  This piece is so lovely and ... unique.  I am so impressed with their work.  She inscribed the back, too.

The Kerri Necklace - back

I have never had anything quite like this before, something from my mind made concrete.  It is exactly as I had pictured it.  Huge thanks to Beth and Daniel at Monsoon Artisans for their exquisite handiwork, and to Manny for putting the contest together at TuDiabetes

Wearing it proudly.
I'm wearing it proudly.

September 19, 2007

Time Wasted on a Meme.

Ah, memes.  Oh how I love a good meme.  And I love being tagged.  (Thanks to Julia for this one!)

Total Number of Books Owned: I couldn't even begin to count how many books I own.  Or have owned.  Or will ever own.  I know that the library I had compiled in my childhood numbered in more than several hundred volumes.  I also know that when Chris and I moved to CT, we didn't bring any books with us, yet somehow there are three full bookcases, a stack of books on my dresser, and for some reason my four shelves at work at crammed tight with books, too.  Hmmm...  how many in total?  I'll guess three. 

Last book bought:  Shoot.  I think it was "Flat Stanley."  I loved this story as a kid (I read it in my 3rd grade 'Special Happenings' scholastic reader) and when I saw it in hardcover at the bookstore, I couldn't resist.  Not the most grown-up book I could mention, but it's the last one I bought and I think the story is charming. 

Last Book Read: The last book I read was Flat Stanley.  (See above.)

Five Books That Mean a Lot to You: Ooh.  But there are so many!

1.  The Princess Bride - I loved this movie.  Then I read the book, and the book blows this movie right out of the water. 

2.  Sweet, Invisible Body - How many times have I mentioned this book?  Several.  And how many times have I re-read it, giving the cover that weathered look and appreciating the dog-eared pages?  Plenty.

3.  Andrew Henry's Meadow - This book has been out of print for years and years, but Oh my goodness, this book is just amazing.I have one completely mangled copy in my house right now.  It was written by Doris Burn and it's about a little boy whose imagination outgrows his own house, sending him off to build a bunch of cottages in the woods for his friends.  He builds the bird observatory for the girl who likes birds, the underground burrow for the kid who likes bunnies, the house with the waterwheel and moat for the kid who likes boats, etc.  This book made me want to embrace every little bit of myself that was creative and inspired and go build myself a house in the woods.  But alas, I have no talent in that field.  (Puns puns, everywhere!)  So I read and re-read the book until the cover fell off and I had every illustration etched to memory.  I have searched high and low for another copy, but it's out of print.

Update:  Upon Googling this, I learned that Zach Braff (who I just adore) is making this into a movie.  And there are copies on Amazon.  I need a copy with a cover!  I'm ordering one of these for every niece and nephew I have, and for my yet-to-be conceived family.  Totally excited.

4.  My Sister's Keeper - This was the first book I read by Jodi Picoult, and it took my breath away.

5.  The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More - This compilation by Roald Dahl is among the most cherished in my book collection.  I think Roald Dahl was an incredible writer, and his stories have inspired so much of my fiction writing. 

Best Five Books You Read in the Last Year:

1.  Writer's Market 2007
2.  1001 Ways to Save Money and Still Have a Dazzling Wedding
3.  Movable Type Bible V. 3
4.  The 3 a.m. Epiphany
5.  Busy Bride's Essential Wedding Checklist

(I'm sensing a theme in these reading materials.  Blogging, writing, and weddings.  Good thing there's a little Flat Stanley to throw in the mix.)

Now it's time to tag.  I'm throwing this meme at any book lovers out there.  Nicole, I'm looking at you.  ;)  And if you don't have your own blog to muse on, feel free to muse in the comments here.  I'm always looking for new reads. 

Now I need to go admire the necklace I received via the U.S. Postal Service today and take some pictures for tomorrow's post. 

September 18, 2007

Grand Rounds 3.52

Hmm.  Kitchen is looking a little bare.  (Or bear, as it relates to Rocco.)  Time to do some shopping, Grand Rounds-style.  Since I'm a New Englander, I'm off to Stop & Blog.

Grand Rounds v. 3.52

Always in pursuit of healthy foods, I headed into the produce section, where I saw a fantastic special on Healthline Pufferfish Salmon.  "But aren't those pufferfish?"  I wondered.  Maybe I'll pass on those.  Ooh, but what about a nice, healthy pomegranate?  Good for hypertension, which is on the rise in children, according to MedHelp.  And some organic lettuce, which is crispy and tasty but probably doesn't cure diabetes, right DiabetesMine?

Brrr.  It's always freezing in the produce section.  There should be a mandatory uniform for this arctic section, much like the new UK policy guidelines for healthcare uniforms, says On The Wards.

I need to warm up.  Off to the bakery, where I can grab a nice, hot coffee.  The lady in front of me is yapping away on her cell phone - doesn't she know too much cell phone use could cause cancerDr. Anonymous should give this lady a call (on her landline). 

"Hazelnut, please.  With Equal."  I tell the barista.  "No, Equal is okay.  There's that new study about aspertame - turns out it's safe.  I know!  Yeah, Tara at The Diet Dish told me, too."

She hands me my coffee.  "May want to cut back on this stuff.  Liana at MedValley High told me SUM Grande coffeethat."

Sipping my coffee, I hear Tony from Hospital Impact talking fluent hospitalk to Doc Shazam, who counters with a discussion about cervical spine injuries.  I push my cart towards the in-store pharmacy, wondering if there will ever be a mini-clinic in Stop & Blog, like the Health Business Blog was talking about.

The pharmacy is a unique slice-of-life jigsaw puzzle, with one woman talking about the ectopic pregnancies and methotrexate treatment that she read about on Healthline.  Her friend nods, countering with "Pregnancies?  Shoot, I can't even figure out how to talk about s-e-x with my teenagers.  And they need the Teen Health 411!"  They both nod in agreement. 

I pick up my script for insulin.  The pharmacist asks me if I'm type 1 or type 2.  Chronic illness can be invisible sometimes, like Laurie from A Chronic Dose mentioned.

"Type 1."  I wonder if he's going to blur the boundaries and tell me he's diabetic, too, like in the post from Diabetes-Wise.

"Oh.  Just checking.  I'm sure you've heard about that piece on DiseaseProof, where Dr. Furhman talks about insulin making things worse for some type 2's."

"I'm more concerned about making sure my insurance covers this.  I'm glad I have good insurance, but I think about what it's like to teeter between good coverage and crummy coverage.  Some people aren't able to enjoy good health benefits, like the military veteran from Reflections."

"Yup.  Rachel was just here, talking about that.  Hey, you heard about InsureBlog's post about Arnold-Care, right?" 

Grab some band-aids and toss them in my cart.  For Michelle, who had a cyst removed from her thumb and had all that trouble managing her blood sugars that day.  (Spiderman bandaids okay with you, Michelle?)

I scurry down the cat food aisle and grab some chow for my arsenal of animals.  These stupid cats are my buddies.  I remembered the post on Fat Doctor about the woman who was almost overcome with grief for the loss of her pet.  I'm not sure I'd be too far off. 

The security cameras are hidden in the ceiling along the aisles.  I think about the post I read on NY Emergency Medicine about the guy who swallowed the crack rocks.  I wave to the cameras, just in case. 

Cart filled to the brim with tasty bits for people and cats alike, I venture off to my favorite aisle - Magazinesthe magazine aisle.  All the news I can use!  I thumb through the latest National Blogger Weekly and check out an article from MedJournal Watch on the war on obesity.  I read about patients in the UK falling out third story hospital windows in an article from The Interested-Participant

Grabbing the latest Highlight HEALTH, I read up on how what you believe can kill you.  (Then I read a story about Batboy, but that had just about nothing to do with healthcare.  It was just an interesting photo.  But then I found Tara Smith's article on the history of outbreaks, which did involve both bats and healthcare.  Score!) 

This week's SharpBrains featured some interviews with neuroscientists and psychologists on the value of mental exercise.  I made a conscious effort to make my brain cells do some crunches. 

Blogger News National had a moving interview with an Iraq war veteran with PTSD, pulled from Healthline.  As I flipped the pages, I saw an ad for breast cancer genetic testing and remembered the article from Eye On DNA.  The post from Dr. Val's blog jumped to mind, about the doctor's friend who was diagnosed with terminal cancer

A comic book featuring the funniest health journal articles is wedged between the shelves, probably stuck there by TechMedicine.  I read about medical professionals gettin' their hugs from their patients, thanks to an article by Hope for Pandora.  Celebrities with diabetes were on the front of several magazines - good thing I had taken that quiz on dLife!  Hiding underneath the latest SUM News Daily, I saw the Healthcare Zagat guide, complete with an article from How to Cope With Pain about a grading system for doctor's offices

Oh shoot - I mistakenly nudged a precariously stacked pile of HealthBlogger Magazine and all thoseSubscribe today! blasted subscription cards came raining out.  Little cards fluttered everywhere, each with a different article printed on them.  One from Emergiblog proclaimed Down with Stereotypes!  Another was about surgical blog carnivals, held at Surgexperiences.  Another was about the startling connection of dreams and reality from the Rickety Contrivances of Doing Good.  Shoot, there's another from ER Nursey about patient satisfaction scores.  And the last card I saved before it slid underneath the magazine case was about how to save a life from Monash Medical Student. 

I grab some Nutrigrain bars from the cereal aisle, a carton of milk for Chris's protein shakes, and then I'm off to the checkout line.  While I'm standing there, I notice the candy selection within arms' reach.  If I was ever to experience a low blood sugar while waiting in line, I'd be safe.  I thought about the irony of Type1EMT at the D-Log Cabin being chosen to demonstrate hypoglycemia for her EMT test

Ugh, this is a long line.  I practice stretching like I read about in the Fitness Fixer.  The checkout line is so random - some trashy magazines, assorted packages of Mentos, and a pack of lighbulbs.  The article from GrrlScientist, about light therapy, sprang into my head.  Stop and Blog

Finally, I'm at the cashier.

"Do you have your Stop & Blog card?"

"I do."  I hand her my keychain. 

She rings out my healthy foods, my mess of magazines, and the cat food. 

"Would you like a coupon for a free medical blogger's survey?  It's being offered by Envision Solutions and Trusted MD."

"Sure.  Would love to."  I swipe my debit card. 

"Here's your coupon for next week's Grand Rounds.  It's at Kevin, M.D.  Thank your for shopping at Stop & Blog." 

September 17, 2007

Moose Wars.

Moose WarsIt was an oddly incongruous weekend, with Chris and I brainstorming at a diner in western CT at one in the morning on Friday night, espresso martinis with the girls on Saturday night, and the Moose Wars on Sunday morning.

Yes, Moose Wars.

Little MP (Chris's niece) has a stuffed animal moose, picked up during the course of the Great White-Water Experience of 2007.  At breakfast on Sunday morning, it was decided that there would be a contest:  Who could walk from the breakfast table, around the living room, and back to the kitchen with the moose on their head?

"First prize is Mommy!"  MP smiled, satisfied with this answer. 

"Mommy?  What?"  Chris's sister pretended to reel back in horror.  "I'm a prize?"

MP scrunched up her nose.  "No, wait.  First place is ... a lightbulb!  Second place is Mommy."

Makes perfect sense. 

Steve!  Now with more jazz-hands!

So, after breakfast, we all took turns racing around with the moose.  MP's father, Steve, sported both the Moose and jazz-hands, making him the winner of a very fine lightbulb.  Fortunately, Jenn came in second and won herself.  And since I have been working on my night moose (will I ever, ever learn?), I did okay, too.  I take my Moose Wars very seriously, as you can see. 

I'm all sophisticated and shit.

In completely unrelated news, I'm excited to be traveling off to Los Angeles again this October (I had a great experience the last time I was out there) and I'm stoked to check out some new places.  I'm also going to be on the hunt for free-internet, so if you know of any coffeehouses or cafes that cater to an editor-on-the-go, I'd love a head's up. 

Can you still go to the beach in October in California?  Is there a wireless signal on the beach?  That may be the best (read: most fun) option. 

See you tomorrow, for Grand Rounds 3.52, hosted here!  I just have this feeling that there will be some diabetes bloggers featured.  :D

Don't Mess with Emma

This week's Your Story is a must-read from Nicholas Holmes in Texas, recounting their terrible customer service experience at SeaWorld in San Antonio.  

More later, but this one couldn't wait.

September 14, 2007

Six September Friday Bits

Banging out a quick post on a Friday afternoon, before heading home to RI for the weekend.  Here goes!

First off, I check out the I Can Has a Cheezeburger site all the time.  I'll admit it.  Many times, the pictures make me smile.  Occasionally, they make me snicker.  And once in a great while, I actually laugh out loud.  This is my favorite one of all time.  It makes me laugh every freakin' time.  I present:

Ha!  Ha ha ha ha!

Invisible Bike.

Secondly, Grand Rounds are hosted here next week.  Here's the call for submissions.  No theme, as a departure from the last time I hosted.  Send your post!  And in other calls for submissions, don't forget to send in your LOL Diabetes moment to Siah, or your diabetes story to Your Story

Chicken Soup for the Teenage SoulThricely, I'm proud to say that a story I wrote a waa-ay long time ago has been picked up by the folks over at Chicken Soup for the Soul and is being published in their third edition of Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul.  The story is called "Our Masterpiece" and was written when I was in high school.  It's being released in early October, so check it out!

Fourthish, the JDRF walks are rapidly approaching.  If you are in the CT area, feel free to join up with Team dLife on September 30th (I'll be far from daisy-fresh, as I'll be coming straight from a bachelorette party in RI the night before, but I WILL BE THERE, damnit).  And Team Six Until Me is walking on October 21st in RI. 

Fifthesque, the hunt for a wedding photographer is on, big time, for our May 18th wedding.  I've been scouring websites and calling for quotes - apparently this venture is not as cheap as I had originally hoped.  Considering getting one of those court illustrators to draw pictures.  Or maybe a fleet of seven year olds will follow us around and create crayon renditions of our nuptials.  Either way, I need to buckle down.  This wedding, despite my encouragement, refuses to plan itself.

And Sixy, the weather is gorgeous.  Go out and enjoy it, for crying out loud.  Have a great weekend! 

September 13, 2007

No Chocolate to Blame

Here's a snapshot of the last 24 hours:

Wednesday, 8 am:  Stupid pump.  Still not working.  Can't even tell how much is left.  Grrrr. 

11 am:  YAY!  FedEx has arrived!  New pump is here!  I'm healed!

2 pm:  All hooked up with new pump, cruising around with a nice blood sugar of 112 mg/dl.  Feeling good.  Hey, the phone is ringing. 

"Hello, Dr. CT!  Nice to hear from you, too!  What's that?  The Protein C test came back negative?  That's great news!  And my A1c is lower?  Excuse me?  Under 7%?  AWESOME!  I haven't had an A1c under 7% in several years.  Yes, I will.  Okay, thanks for the good news."

7:30 pm:  Home.  Skipping the gym tonight.  Going to Chocopologie for nice, romantic dinner with my handsome fiance.  Pulled out the old infusion set, took a nice, hot shower, and then primed my new pump for the first time.  Ah, new pump.

7:45 pm:  Hmmm.  The Quick-Serter didn't have that same solid *thump* that it usually does.  But the infusion set appears to be in there okay.  Hope all is well.  Blood sugar is 142 mg/dl, so I'm ready to roll!

10:30 pm:  Back from a delicious dinner of portabella mushroom Paninis and a hot cappuccino from Chocopologie.  No chocolate this time - trying to be fit for that white dress!  But I did have a good amount of carbs and my mouth is pretty fuzzy.  Come to think of it, the words are swimming around on the computer screen.  Can't focus correctly.  I'll test just to make sure I'm not close to 200 mg/dl.

10:31 pm:  What.  The.  Fuck.  483 mg/dl?  Fantastic.  Lace in 6.5u of Humalog.

11:40 pm:  Oh nice.  418 mg/dl.  Nice.  Way to scream in the face of my finally-solid A1c. 

11:41 pm:  Drinking bottles of water by the minute.  Pull the set out from my leg and replace it.  Rage bolus in a few more units.  This had better work.  I feel like garbage.

12:45 am:  298 mg/dl.  Ah.  Even that feels better.  At least the set is working now.  Let's see how fast I fall.  Will work on assorted bits for a little longer.

1:40 am:  189 mg/dl.  Damn straight. 

"How are you feeling, baby?"  Chris asks as we climb into bed.Alarm clock.  Couldn't you tell?

"Much better.  I could go south in the middle of the night, so if you wake up, wake me up and make me test."

He smiles.

"It's the middle of the night now."

4:49 am:  He's shaking my shoulders.  "Wake up, Kerri.  Kerri.  Baby, you're really sweaty.  Drink the juice."

I reach over to the bedside table and click on the lamp.  Grab my meter. (Why, oh why, can't I just drink the damn juice?  Must I test every time?  Am I on autopilot to that degree?) 

36 mg/dl.

In one movement, I uncap the juice that was next to the lamp and drain it in a few shaky sips.  Sweat on my forehead.  My pillow is damp.  Abby the Cat is meowing up at me pitifully from the floor.  I lay back and fall asleep almost instantly.

7:30 am:  The alarm goes off.  Unzip ... 98 mg/dl.  After falling fast and furiously from almost 500 mg/dl and crashlanding at close to 30 mg/dl, my mouth is a confused tangle of dryer lint and fruit punch.  My body is aching from the wide blood sugar swings.

And I didn't even eat any damn chocolate.

September 12, 2007

Yay for FedEx!

FedEx has arrived!!

For about fifteen minutes, I had two insulin pumps on my desk at work.  I felt like I was on a diabetes version of MTV's Cribs, all pimped out with two pumps.  (All pumped out?)  Approximately $12,000 worth of medical equipment in my hands.  Whoa.

I hadn't programmed a new pump in four years.  After setting the time, date, programming in my sensitivity factors and insulin-to-carb ratios, I was ready to set the new one up with my basal rates and start the transition.Enclosed please find my wonderful new pump.

Only ... I couldn't press the 'down' button on Old Pump to access the basal review.  And I had NO CLUE what my rates were.  They were written down somewhere at home, but I was at work.  Damn it!!

After talking to myself, to the Old Pump, and to God, the 'down' button finally gave in and allowed me to scroll through the basal review menu.  (Coercing the button to work took almost fifteen minutes.)  I quickly wrote my basal rates on a post-it note and entered them into the New Pump.  Snagged the reservoir from the Old Pump, inserted it into the New Pump, primed it up and reconnected to my infusion set.  Ahh, insulin bliss.

In accordance with the letter I received from Minimed, I bade Old Pump a fond farewell and tucked it into the return envelope. 

New Pump is shiny and blemish-free, completely devoid of the dings from doorknobs and scuffed with paint from the doorjambs in every apartment I've lived in over the last four years.  It was strange, placing my Old Pump into the envelope to mail back to Minimed.  I've worn that pump for years.  I've had it in bed with me.  It's gone on planes.  It was there the night I got engaged.  It has almost fallen in the toilet and has been stashed in my bra and has ended up wrapped around my thigh while I sleep.  Strange attachment to this inanimate object. 

Holding New Pump and knowing full-well it had previously been a part of someone else's life was strange.  But now it's part of mine.  It may have missed the engagement, but it will be there at the wedding.  (Unless I upgrade in January.  Hmmm.  Maybe I need to stop forming attachments to inanimate objects entirely, as their turnover is inevitable.)  

So for now, I'm 179 mg/dl (too much pump excitement, I think).  New Pump and I are bonding.  He knows I like iced coffee and I don't like using the bolus wizard unless I'm over 240 mg/dl.  I know he likes long boluses, being tucked into my pocket, and boop beep boop-ing. 

I didn't tell him that Old Pump liked boop beep boop-ing, too.  I want him to think he's the only one.  ;-)

Midnight Calls to California

Click.  Click.

"No backlight?  That's odd."

Click.  Hit the button with the arrow.  Try and scroll down.

Click.  Click.  Clickity-clickity-damnit-whatthehellisgoingon-click-click.


Before I went to bed last night, I clicked on the "arrow" button to show me the pump stats - the time, my last bolus, and most importantly, the insulin left in my reservoir.  I usually check my reservoir supply every night before bed, to keep myself from running out on the overnights.  I knew I had changed the infusion set on Saturday morning, so I had to be close to running out.

The "arrow" button clicked fine.  But the "down" button was not having it.

"What.  The.  Hell.  Is.  Wrong.  With.  You?"  I punctuated every word with the click of the button, hoping it would catch and everything would be fine again.

No luck.

I tested my blood sugar.  214 mg/dl.  I pressed the "up" button in hopes of being able to manually click my way through a bolus, then hoping the insulin would still be delivered.  As my wounded pump boop beep boop'ed its way to a correction, I called my customer service pals at Medtronic.

"Hello, this is Damien."Thank goodness for Minimed.

"Hi, Damien.  My name is Kerri.  I have a Paradigm 512 and it's still under warranty.  The 'down' button is toast and I can't access the prime function, my insulin totals, or the bolus screen.  Or a self-test." 

"Hi, Kerri.  I can help you out with that.  Let's try a few things first."

We changed the battery.  No luck.  We talked about the most recent alarms that had been thrown and how they may have impacted.  No solution there, either.

"Okay, Kerri.  I'm going to recommend that you stop using the pump now.  Do you have back-up insulin and syringes?"

I thought about the bottle of Lantus in my fridge from the rafting trip and the boxes of syringes I've been stashing for the last few years.

"I have plenty of back-up."

"What was your blood sugar when you checked last?"


"Were you able to correct for that?"

Nice question.  I didn't think they cared what my blood sugar was. 

"I was.  I could manually bolus using the 'up' button."  I answered, affixing a gold star for Medtronic in my mental chart.

"Great.  Okay, Kerri.  I'm going to see if I can get this overnighted to you for delivered tomorrow morning.  Where can this package be delivered?"

"My office."  I gave him the address.  "Yes, that's 'd' as in 'diabetes.'  It's a diabetes-media company." 

"Wow.  You work in diabetes, too?"  I heard him clicking on his computer keyboard.  "And what email can we send an update to?"

"Kerri at sixuntilme dot com.  Six is spelled out."

"Nice.  Got it.  Six until me?"

"It's my blog.  It's a diabetes blog, actually."  It was one in the morning, my insulin pump was busted, and it was my 21st anniversary with this disease.  I was burnt out.  "I know.  I'm surrounded by this stuff."

Damien shook off his professional demeanor and laughed freely.  "No kidding?  That's pretty cool, I think."

"I have a good time.  So this pump should arrive tomorrow morning?"

"It should.  You'll have a FedEx confirmation email in a few hours."

"Great.  Well, I'll be sure to write about you tomorrow.  You've been very helpful."

He laughed again.  "Make me sound nice, okay?"

"It'll be easy."

And now I wait for my "certified pre-owned insulin pump" to arrive at my office.  I have a bag filled with pump supplies, syringes, a bottle of Lantus, and some back-up Humalog pens, in case FedEx doesn't make it in time.  I have no idea how much is left in my pump, or if it's working properly, but I woke up at 84 mg/dl and I'm sitting currently at 126 mg/dl.  It appears to still be able to administer insulin, I just can't access anything or prime the damn thing.  Even though I'm going against the recommendation of Minimed to remove the pump and revert to injections again, I'm holding out for the new insulin pump and closely monitoring my blood sugars in the meantime. 

Here's hoping FedEx arrives soon. 

September 11, 2007

Twenty One Years.

Over the last twenty-one years, I've seen:

26,700 insulin injections.

480 insulin pump infusion sets.

60,200 blood sugar checks.Moving on.

112 health insurance battles.

Seventy-two endocrinologist appointments.

27 eye dilations.

Two years of blood pressure medication.

Two parents who worry endlessly.

A brother and sister who fear their own gene pool.


A few hundred lows, with shaky hands and tears.

A few hundred highs, with unfocused eyes and sweaters on my teeth.

Countless moments when I couldn't do it.
Countless moments when I could.

Call for Submissions to Grand Rounds 3.52

Grand Rounds 3.52Next Tuesday, I will be hosting Grand Rounds - the weekly rotating carnival of the best of the medical blogosphere.  The theme?  HA!  There is no theme! 

Send your submission by Sunday, September 16th at midnight to kerri @ sixuntilme dot com with the subject line "Grand Rounds."  Please include the following in your email:

Blog Name:
Post Name:

I'm looking forward to your entries! 







September 10, 2007

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Dryer Lint

I am so excited to try on wedding dresses.

After a weekend including completely ransacking our home office and trying to make sense of all the business/wedding chaos, I've come up for air.

Update on the Wedding Front:  I'm shaking the dust off my wedding planner hat (which is bright blue and has a long feathery plume, at least in my mind) and kicking things into high gear.  We've booked the reception hall, we've booked the church as of today, and we have chosen our bridal party.  Next on my list:  photographer, DJ, and try on wedding dresses.  I cannot wait to try on every wedding dress I can get my little hands on.  My mother is convinced that we'll "just know" which one is perfect, but I have a feeling I may try on several (read: is a hundred too many?) dresses before I can narrow it down.  I'm so excited, though.  Our wedding date is just a few months away! 

Update on Diabetes-Stuff:  To follow-up on my eye dilation appointment from Thursday, my eyes are looking very healthy.  I used to see an optometrist for my dilations, with bi-yearly checks at the Joslin Eye Clinic.  Since moving to CT, I've started seeing a retinologist, who shines that light into my eye to the point where I feel like I'm having an out-of-body experience.  I wonder if I had any of these spots a few years ago, but my optometrist wasn't trained to detect them.    

"What do you see?"  I asked him, tears streaming down my face as my eyes revolt against what feels like the sun shining directly into them.

"Nothing, Kerri.  One teeny hemorrhage, but I can barely see that."  He hands me a tissue to blot my eyes.  "What do you see?"  I can hear the smile in his voice.

"I can't see a damn thing, Dr. Retina." 

He laughs and takes the light off my eyes.  "Looks good, kid.  No need for a three month follow-up.  Let's move to six.  I'll see you the month before you become Mrs. Sparling, okay?"For Darrell.

And on the A1c front, I'm hoping to have that result soon.  And taking a cue from the fact that a blood sugar of only 202 mg/dl makes me feel like I'm sucking on a popsicle made of dryer lint, I'm hoping it's a good result.

Update on Indiana Jones:  This is just as crucial as the wedding, and in about the same timeframe.  The fourth (and final?) Indiana Jones installment, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, is being released in May 2008 and the title was announced last night.  I am a huge Indiana Jones fan - "You call him Doctor Jones, doll!" - and I can't wait until this movie is released. 

He is just too cool. 

September 08, 2007


It’s there when my sleepy hands reach out from underneath the comforter and connect with my meter case. It’s there when my eyes close at night.

It’s there when I look at wedding dresses, imagining where I will nestle my insulin pump. It’s in my car, as I open the glove compartment to retrieve the ubiquitous bottle of glucose tabs. It’s there when I edit articles at work, or filter through press releases, or when I weed through the web. It’s there when I write, sneaking its way into blog posts and articles, attaching itself to secondary characters in my fiction.

It’s there when a friend talks about their incessant thirst or their tired eyes, or waking up in the middle of the night to pee. I raise an eyebrow and they stick out their fingertip, allowing me to “just check.”

It was there when he asked, and when I said yes.

Sometimes it makes my stomach hurt from laughing. Sometimes my face is hot with tears.

But it’s there when I look deep inside myself, at what takes my already-steely core and tempers it into something fierce. It doesn’t make me strong, but stronger. It doesn’t make me brave, but braver.

It doesn’t own me. It doesn’t make me. It doesn’t define me.

It just helps explain me. 
Red flowers from The Dutch Iris Inn.

(Originally posted on my TuDiabetes profile as part of the "Living with Diabetes" contest.)

September 07, 2007

Sex - with a Side of Diabetes.

(Cue sleezy saxaphone music, dimmed lights, and the extremely uncomfortable mental image of my mother reading this post.)

Even though I've been thinking about writing this post for a few weeks now, I can't keep the blush from creeping up my face.  But I'm a twenty something, engaged woman, for crying out loud.  There is a sexual element to my relationship.  There is also a diabetes element to my sex.

I can't compare sex with diabetes to sex Sex and Diabeteswithout diabetes.  On the cusp of my twenty-first year with type 1, there's not much of my life that I've lived without diabetes.  Sex and intimacy dredges up a whole host of issues, diabetes notwithstanding.  Is my body appealing?  Am I feeling pretty?  Do I think my arms /ass /ears look fat in this shirt /skirt / hat?  Will the cat just freaking stop pawing at our ankles?

Now add diabetes to the mix.  Is my blood sugar at a stable level?  Is there juice within reaching distance, in case of a low?  Where is my pump infusion set these days?  Can I disconnect easily or do I have to go foraging around for it?  Whoops, watch those underwear on that infusion set ... don’t want to tear it out by accident.  Are the blinds closed?  (Okay, so the last bit has nothing to do with diabetes, but it’s crucial to make sure the blinds are drawn.)

Wearing an insulin pump adds a whole new level to sexual relationships.  It’s a machine.  And yes, being healthy is sexy and there’s nothing sexier than someone who is taking care of themselves, but once you have adjusted to that comfort level, it’s still a machine.  And it’s attached to you at all times, even when you’re feeling amorous.  I’ve received a number of emails about sex and an insulin pump.  Do I feel self-conscious?  Is it awkward during moments of intimacy?  Does it get in the way?  Does he notice it?  Are the blinds drawn? 

I wear my infusion set on my thigh specifically to keep it out of my way – away from the waistbands of pants and skirts, away from the abdominal muscles I am working furiously to uncover, and away from my fiancé’s hugging arms.  For me (I only speak for myself here), I feel sexier when my infusion set is safely adhered, working flawlessly, and out of my sight.  Diabetes incognito – still well-managed, but not the focus.

Since I have been pumping – almost four years now – I have always disconnected my pump during sex.  Whether it’s off before anything starts in earnest, or whether I’m discreetly disconnecting it and tossing it underneath my pillow or on the bedside table, I am not wearing it during sex.  (FYI - I also don’t wear my pump while I exercise.  And this is a form of exercise, no?)  I also make sure I keep a pump cap on the site during intimate moments, to keep the sharp edges of the infusion set from scraping up against skin, blankets, etc.  Occasionally, I’ve had the site get tangled up in the undressing moments, but it’s never been an issue.

There have been a few occasions over the last few years when a low blood sugar has entered into my intimate moments.  Instant mood ruiner, as my low symptoms are crying, sweating, confusion, and irritability.  (Not a sexy scene, trust me.)  Once or twice, I’ve had to stop everything completely and treat a hypoglycemic moment.  This is a part of my diabetic sex life.  I can’t lie and pretend it hasn’t happened, but I will say that it hasn’t made a difference in my relationships. 

Sure, there have been awkward moments where I’ve felt self-conscious about my “hardware.”  I’ve also felt self-conscious about my fingernails – it all depends on how the proverbial wind is blowing.  Sex is a normal part of my life.  So is diabetes.      

I’ve asked Chris a few times if he ever notices the infusion set or the pump or any of the diabetes paraphernalia in our sex life and he has honestly answered, “No.”  I’ve also asked him if he’s lying about that.  Again, and this time with a bit of a smile, “No, Kerri.”  I’m not sure if it’s the way I handle my disease or if it’s the way Chris handles it or if it’s a combination of how we manage diabetes as a family, but it doesn’t affect our physical relationship.

So long as the blinds are closed.  ;)

September 06, 2007

The One-Two Punch.

My least-favorite kind of vampirism is Morning Vampirism.  I much prefer Afternoon Vampirism, when I've had a chance to wake up and eat some snacks.  Afternoon Vampirism lets me get some work done first.  Afternoon Vampirism allows me to sleep in.

Damn Morning Vampirism drags me from the soft embrace of my bed and shoves me into the car, well before the sun has touched the treetops.  Morning Vampirism is cold and groggy, with barely one blood sugar check to show for the day and not even a cup of coffee to ease me into my morning.  Morning Vampirism had me in the lab chair with that blasted elastic band chaos tightly wound around my bicep, causing my veins to wake up faster than they would have liked. 

"We will do your HBA1C, yes?  And then your other lab work?"  Emma the LabTech smiled at me, dangling the alcohol wipe above the crook of my arm.

"Yup.  An A1c and the protein testing."  Apparently there is recent evidence of a protein C deficiency in my gene pool - my mother has been on me to have this tested, so I figured I'd couple it up with my A1c test.

"No problem.  I'm just going to use this needle and ... hey, you okay?  All the color just gone whoosh," she made a swooping motion with her hand, "from your face."

"I'm good.  Just not a fan of having blood drawn."

She was very gentle and it wasn't too bad, aside from the fact that I was copy paper-pale when Chris and I walked out of the building.  As I was about to get in the car, Chris laughed and pointed over my shoulder.

"Ker, look at that."

I turned to the minivan a few spots away and saw this:

What the hell is that?

Upon closer inspection, I realized that someone had put sunglasses and a necklace on an enormous stuffed bear, then took the care to strap that bear into the passenger seat of their van.

Well-dressed bear, that.

This startled me to such a point that it may very well have made my whole damn day.  I whipped out my Q and snapped a few pictures. 

Morning Vampirism completed. 

Now on to Medical Task No. 2:  Eye Dilation.

I'm off for a follow-up appointment with Dr. Retina this afternoon to check on the status of my EyeSquirrels.  Hopefully, they're laying low and not acting too nutty.  (Can't ... resist ... puns.) 

September 05, 2007

Captain Glucose and Meter Boy!

Captain Glucose and Meter Boy

Living with diabetes sometimes requires us to be as vigilant and brave as ... well, superheroes.  Good thing we have Captain Glucose and Meter Boy!  These two heroes, sporting tights and a friendship as tight as Dangermouse and Penfold, are champions of diabetes awareness and are doing their part to educate the public.  I had the pleasure of spending some time with Bill Kirchenbauer (Captain Glucose) and Brad Slaight (Meter Boy).

Captain Glucose and Meter Boy!KERRI:  Captain Glucose and Meter Boy aren’t your average superheroes.  How did this dynamic duo come to be?

CAPTAIN GLUCOSE/BILL KIRCHENBAUER: Since you asked so nicely we’re going to answer your questions as our secret identities…but don’t tell anyone.

METER BOY/BRAD SLAIGHT: Uh, Bill, Kerri has a very successful blogsite which is read by many, many people.

BILL: Oh, well I guess it’s too late now …okay, but make sure to tell them not to tell anyone else. 

BRAD: The characters of Captain Glucose and Meter Boy came about shortly after Bill was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. 

BILL: It really caught me off guard.  I went to the doctor because I started having blurry vision. He did some tests…and then I got the news.  Brad has had diabetes for a long time so I called him right away to help me sort things out.

BRAD: Not too long after that, Bill and I decided that we wanted to help other people. We thought the best way to do that was to create these comedic characters as a way to focus on diabetes in an entertaining yet informative way.

BILL: We made them a cross between Batman and Robin and The Incredibles

BRAD: …or as we like to call ourselves The Not So Incredibles

BILL: …it was a way to have some humor along with a serious message. The humor comes from us being well meaning, but somewhat bumbling superheroes. Captain Glucose and Meter Boy have no real powers and despite their good mannered ineptness, succeed at helping others.

KERRI:  Was there a physical fight over who got to be Captain Glucose?  And are the tights a bit itchy?

BILL: The tights are itchy…like right now.

BRAD: You’re wearing your tights now? Under your street clothes?

BILL: Uh…no…I’m just saying. Forget about that; let me answer the part about who goBill Kirchenbauer - Captain Glucose!t to be Captain Glucose. There was no physical fight about it…but if there was I surely would have won. 

BRAD: In your dreams.

BILL: Because it’s a parody of most superhero duos it made sense that I play the role of Captain Glucose. Since Brad is shorter, looks younger....
BRAD: ...and has hair! 
BILL: …it was only fitting that he play Meter Boy.
KERRI:  A little diabetes advocacy goes a long way.  What made you want to be involved in spreading the facts about diabetes?

BILL: Good question. We saw a need and wanted to do something to fill that need.  We’re trying to offer a different approach to those facts than others are doing. Our mission is to Educate, Enlighten, and Entertain people of all ages.

BRAD: We feel that it will take many voices and many different approaches to get the word out and communicate to those who have diabetes, to those that don’t know they have it yet, and to those at risk for getting it in the future. 

BILL: We kind of see Captain Glucose and Meter Boy as characters who might be able to grab the interest of some people where traditional methods might not. We’re hoping that what Smoky the Bear did for fire awareness we can do for diabetes.
KERRI:  So you’re not only the superheroes, but you both also have diabetes.  Like the Sy Sperling's of diabetes.  What kind of diabetes do you have, how long ago were you diagnosed, and how do you manage your disease?

BILL: I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes about five years ago and currently take Metformin and Brad Slaight - Meter BoyByetta. I’ve slowly but surely been changing my lifestyle and have lost some weight and working on losing more. 

BRAD: I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes 23 years ago. My diabetes is managed with Humalog and Lantus…and exercise. To me, exercise to as important as any medication on the market.

BILL: Managing my diabetes is something that I realize is a 24/7 thing. I can’t take a day off from it.

BRAD: Good point…you must have gotten that from me!

BILL: No, I’m pretty sure I invented that.

BRAD: Yeah, right. (to Kerri) We both have really good endos (endocrinologists) who have no doubt made that point to us many many times. Having a doctor you trust and that is current with their diabetes knowledge is very important.

KERRI:  Alan Thicke, the Commissioner of Diabetes (complete with jazzy red phone, no less), has a child with diabetes.  You both have diabetes.  Is everyone on the Captain Glucose and Meter Boy Team affected by diabetes in some way?

BILL: Alan was great to help us out with the PSA and a total pro. We hope that when we do the full length DVD he will be able to play The Commissioner of Diabetes for that as well.  He is perfect for the role. I owe a lot to Alan, not the least of which is the character I played on his show Growing Pains lead to me starring on my own sitcom Just the Ten of Us.
BRAD: Everyone in the PSA was definitely affected by diabetes in some way. The actress in the clip has Type 2 diabetes.  When we do our longer DVD we plan on casting other actors who have diabetes. 

BILL: Unfortunately we’ll have plenty to choose from. Seems like every day we hear about another friend or acquaintance in the entertainment industry who has diabetes or has just been newly diagnosed. 

KERRI:  What’s the goal of your adventures as Captain Glucose and Meter Boy?

BRAD: To offer people a humorous and informative way to learn about diabetes.

BILL: We have the first script written which contains a lot of important diabetes information but presented in a way that will be extremely fun to watch. We’re looking for a corporate sponsor, like a meter company, to help us get this important DVD out into the marketplace.

BRAD: We want the people who watch it to both laugh and learn at the same time.  It’s important that we as diabetics develop a sense of humor about diabetes to go along with realizing the serious nature of it. I hate this analogy but it really does fit for what we’re trying to do “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.”

BILL: Can’t you find something better than that?

BRAD: I’m working on it. 

BILL: How about “If life gives you diabetes, make lemonade with Splenda!”

BRAD: You think that’s better? 

BILL: Hey that’s your department, I’m just trying to help.

BRAD: Maybe Kerri can come up with something better. She’s a very clever writer.  How about it, Kerri?

KERRI:  I'll throw it into the Think Tank.  (clunk)  The public perception of diabetes is generally tangled and confused, ranging from “Can you eat salt?” to “Can I catch it?”  What diabetes misconceptions have you experienced in your life?

BILL: There are so many misconceptions out there like: “Eating sugar caused your diabetes.” Not true.

BRAD: Or “You can only get Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes when you’re a kid and Type 2 when you’re an adult.” Not true.

BILL: “Diabetes can be cured.” Not true...not yet.

BRAD: “You can get rid of diabetes just by eating better.” Not true.

BILL: “Having diabetes makes you incredibly good looking.”

BILL/BRAD: That one is TRUE!

KERRI:  Living with diabetes means dealing with daily maintenance and monitoring.   How do you ward off “diabetes burnout?”

BRAD: Most days I don’t even notice the inconvenience of testing and taking my insulin. I’ve been doing it so long it has become part of my daily routine that just seems so natural. However, there are those days when it just becomes a big pain, figuratively and literally.  For me, the glucose meter is my saving grace. When I see a good number I consider it a reward. It motivates me to keep on being in good control. 

BILL: I don’t think we should beat ourselves up if we have a bad day. There are times when I have “slipped up” in the past where I really let it get to me. But those times are few and far between and I concentrate on the 99% of the time when I do the right thing. We’re all human and we’re vulnerable to making mistakes. The important thing is that you move on and do better…there’s always tomorrow!

KERRI:  What advice, as the Superhero fellas you are, would you have for someone who has recently been diagnosed?

BILL: It’s not the end of the world…

BRAD: …it’s just the start of a new life.

BILL: We’ve spoken to so many people with diabetes who have actually said, “Diabetes made me healthier.” Most people won’t understand that, but many diabetics will.  It’s the ultimate wake-up call and for most people it scares them enough to start making some major lifestyle changes for the better.

BRAD: I eat better, exercise more, and am more in tune with my body than I would have been if I wasn’t diagnosed with diabetes. 

BILL: Our motto is “Be your own personal Superhero.” That basically means that you are in control of your diabetes and you are the one who has the most at stake.  You have the ability to control diabetes instead of it controlling you.

KERRI:   Okay, so you have the keys to the Six Until Me Hot Air Balloon.  What do you choose to fly over and why?

BILL: Your hot air balloon needs keys?  In their finest.

KERRI:  They're just for show. 

BRAD: Bill, she’s just giving us an “imagine if you will” kind of question to let our imaginations run wild.

BILL: Oh, I knew that. And your imagination doesn’t need any help running wild.

BRAD: I’d fly over cities and drop leaflets down on the people below that said: “Diabetes is a treatable disease and you might have it. See your doctor to find out if you are at risk.”

BILL: My leaflets would say, “Auditioning for new Meter Boy.  Be a sidekick to one of the most handsome and fearless diabetes superheroes working today.”

BRAD: Captain Glucose and Meter Boy would fly that hot air balloon all over the world looking for people to help. Because…Whenever a Type 2 wonders what he should have for lunch, we'll be there. Whenever someone flunks a Glucose Tolerance Test, we'll be there. Whenever a Type 1 needs help learning how to inject, we’ll be there.  Whenever…

BILL: We’d better go now before he cues up the music and turns this interview into some kind of corny old movie. Thanks for having us, Kerri. And thanks for all you do for diabetes. You are the real Diabetes Superhero…all you need now is a costume. No doubt you will look better in tights than we do!

For more information on Captain Glucose and Meter Boy, visit their website.  And stay tuned for updates on their Superhero adventures!

September 04, 2007

Escaping the Stress

Our escape.

It was starting to get to me, I admitted to Nicole on Saturday morning before Chris and I left for our weekend away.  The stress, the chaos, the spin-cycle my brain has been in for a few weeks now - all starting to make me a small bit bonkers.

So we packed it all up and disappeared for a few days, to The Dutch Iris Inn.

It was perfect:  waa-ay in the middle of nowhere, with our laptops deserted at home and our cell phones turned off, Chris and I found ourselves feeling quite at home at this pretty little bed and breakfast in northern CT.

"Any special dietary concerns?" The innkeeper asked, after explaining that breakfast would be served at 8:30 the next morning. 

"I'm diabetic, so ..." 

"Ah, low-carb would be good, wouldn't it?  I'll make you something good and healthy."

Her husband nodded.

"She's a great cook."

The following morning greeting us with a delicious zucchini and cheese omelet and a fresh fruit cup instead of the high-carb bread pudding that was served to the other guests.  My blood sugar, which rang in at a solid 90 mg/dl first thing, stayed steady at 107 mg/dl two hours after my healthy - and damn tasty - breakfast. 

After breakfast, we explored the waterfalls in Enders State Forest.  I wasn't anticipating climbing over rocks and traipsing down steep hillsides, so my flip-flops made for treacherous footwear.  And I'm pretty sure I was the only living creature in the woods with a purse.  It was to keep bears away.  (It actually had our car keys, my meter, and some juice in it.  But I could swat at a bear if necessary.) 

Wave to the camera, Purse-Lady.

The purse is to ward off bears.  Silly.

We spied a number of waterfalls, watched the sunlight turn the surface of the water to copper, and saw a pile of discarded clothes near the bank of one of the inlet pools. (Yet there were no swimmers.  Perhaps they were eaten by bears?  Good thing I had my purse.)

Traveling further down Rt 219, the road opened up and we saw the impressive and completely breathtaking Barkhamsted Reservoir.  The view was remarkable.  And the gate house, stemming from the Saville Dam, had the most lovely and English-looking door I'd ever seen.  If only I had my wedding dress - I would have loved to have staged some photos.  Instead of wedding shots, Chris and I have a series of photos that eerily resemble some kind of English countryside trick-or-treating. 

The Gate House

We weren't completing articles.  We didn't answer emails.  We didn't think about the wedding guest list or what color the bridesmaid dresses would be.  (For the record, I'm leaning between lavender and green.) 

We explored.  We talked.  We took naps. We watched TV and lounged about on the king-sized bed.  We held hands.  We weren't attacked by little gray cats or their over-fed puffy counterparts.  We dined together.  We ate cookies and drank tea in the middle of the night. 

We chased away the stress.

Yellow flowers.

And now we're ready to get back in the game. 

Visitors since November 7, 2005