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December 31, 2007

The Year in Review: Part Deux.

I'm not sure how it happened so quickly, but here we are again, on December 31st, peering out intoFarewell, 2007. the promise of the New Year.

This past year has cruised by at a speed unrivaled by any Volkswagen (or at least the VWs that I've owned).  Here on the blog, I marked my second anniversary blogging at Six Until Me, proud as hell to be a member of the diabetes community.  I also experienced a complete blogging disaster, when my blog was sucked into the vortex of the internet, but I learned to heal its wounds.  I muddled my way through NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo again this November, learning that sleep is hard to come by in that month.  I met fellow bloggers, like SuperG and Christel and Rob and Schuyler, who confirmed for me that the writers are as wonderful and kind as their words.  I wear a beautiful bit of the blogosphere every day, thanks to Manny and Beth.  And every day, I'm proud of what we've all created.

Blogabetes debuted as a new part of the blogosphere and brought some of the finest diabetes writers to center stage.  New blogs and new writers have been adding their voices to the chorus all year long and social networking platforms like TuDiabetes have turned up the volume of our message considerably.  And I have had the honor and the pleasure of joining Kelly Close's diaTribe team and also AOL's Aisledash blogger crew this past year. 

There were plenty of pump moments, from poetry to mucked up infusion sets to pumping meltdowns and upgrades and new site locations.  There were also moments when I ordered diabetes supplies and received ... something else entirely.  (But I did laugh hard.)  I spent some time as a Dexcom Warrior, and am beginning my journey as a Minimed Maven in the next few days.  I had some sad lows, some sweater-toothed highs, and several moments of diabetes burnout.   

There were rounds of beer and some difficult moments from my past.  We saw Broadway plays and sidewalk artisans, I spoke with one of my writing heroes, and had the pleasure of meeting another oneLarry and I kept up our training calls, and I have achieved new levels of fitness as a result of our fictional relationship.  Friggin' Shoes and DogShoes and the new addition, BoyfriendShoes, have spent the year taunting my sleep patterns.  I went white-water rafting, flew alone to St. Louis, and visited the West Coast.  We saw a handful of concerts, visited bed and breakfasts, and raced ducks.

And I took a life-changing vacation to St. John, where Chris proposed on the balcony of our cabin and I said yes through my surprised and excited tears.  We have spent many months planning this wedding, from finding the perfect dress to the EnGAGment Party, that I can't wait until May.  To be this in love feels good.

2007 has been a year of wedding crashing and wedding planning, love and laughter, and whole new chapter of my life.  2008 has already shown me a glimmer of what it's holding for me, and I can't wait to enjoy every moment.

Happy New Year, Blogosphere!

Have a safe and happy New Year!  See you in 2008.

SUM Tags: , , , , , ,

December 28, 2007

Question for the Blogosphere.

From the mailbag.Hey FR's. 

I received an email from Rachon about life insurance for someone with diabetes.  I asked if I could repost her question and she said sure.  Here it is:

Hi Kerri.

Could you recommend any life insurance companies that will provide life insurance for a diabetic person?  My father needs life insurance and he is always getting turned down.
 
Thanks

I haven't had to scope out any life insurance policies for myself yet, but maybe some of you out there have.  If you have any words of advice for Rachon, could you please leave a comment below?

Thank you, as always, for your limitless amounts of perspective and information.  Damn, the internet is terrific.

The Year in Review: Part One.

Year in Review:  Part One.To be consistent with last year, here are the first lines of a definitive post from each month in 2007:

January:  The microphone drops down and Mills Lane plucks it out of the sky.

February:  When I opened my email a few months ago and saw something from "Lisa," I sat there staring at the screen for a few minutes. 

March:  He insisted on making dinner, cooking up a meal of pasta accompanied by a bottle of wine, and we dined on the porch of our cabin, overlooking Salt Pond Bay and out to the southern-most tip of the island.

AprilWhile it left me be for the weekend, I had a very diabetes-bloggable evening.

May:  On a tip from Jill, I was itching for yet another new meter.

June:  The wheels on the grocery cart clatter against the store's tile floor as my Internal Motivational Speaker and My Stomach wage war inside my head.

July:  I was completely terrified of getting on the raft.

August:  "This is our new normal, our new way of dealing with life."

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

October:  "Just lift your arms up and ... okay, dive in!"

November: We were talking about meeting with Christel and how long she and I have both had diabetes. 

December: It had just opened two weeks ago, but the Christmas lights around the door and the promise of fine, French cuisine drew us in.

Thanks, 2007.  You've definitely filled my memory with good moments.

December 27, 2007

Sounds.

I was reading through the November issue of Men's Health at the gym a few weeks ago and came Sounds from my childhood with diabetes.across an article written by Jeremy Katz, the father of a child recently diagnosed with diabetes.  There were parts of this article that really resonated with me, but this sentence caught in my throat.

"The clink of the insulin bottles against my wedding ring was hauntingly familiar: I'd heard my father make the same sound a hundred times."  - Jeremy Katz

I immediately thought back to my own childhood, with the sound of the bottle of NPH as she rolled it against her wedding rings.  Every morning, she would wake up at 5 am to get ready for work, stopping by my bedroom to test my blood sugar.  Even though I was still asleep, the sound of her approaching slippers made my finger automatically stick out from underneath the mountain of blankets.  She would then roll the NPH to mix it up in preparation for my morning injection.

Clink ... clack ... clink ... clack.  

The glass bottle rolling against her rings in the early hours of my school days.  The stale and hollow beep of my old Accu-Chek meter after it had counted for 120 seconds in efforts to offer up a result.  The scratchy sounds of the cellophane wrapper on my Nabs crackers, or the shunk of the straw easing into my Capri Sun.  The hot fizzing of the urinalysis tablets as they cackled from their glass test tubes on the bathroom counter. 

These are the sounds of my childhood with diabetes.

Now, after 21 years and easing ever-faster into a new phase of my own life, there are new sounds that define my diabetes life.  The boop beep boop of my insulin pump as it boluses for lunch.  The whirring of the pump as it primes itself.  The quick thwap of the lancing device as I prick my fingertip.  The chalky scrape of glucose tabs rustling against one another in the jar.  The gentle click of the beads on my medic alert bracelet. 

These sounds have replaced those of my childhood.  I wonder what twenty years from now will bring.

Even though I now use Humalog insulin that doesn't need to be mixed, I'll roll the bottle against my rings and make myself feel like a child again. 

December 26, 2007

Uncle Traveling Matt ... and Kerri.

From the far corners of CT to the nooks and crannies of RI, we've done so much driving over the last few days that Uncle Traveling Matt has nothing on us. 

It's been a very nice Christmas holiday here at home, with some time spent catching up with Batman, NBF, and my college roommates.  We spent the holidays with our families, opening gifts on Christmas morning with my mother, having breakfast with my father, and a big family dinner hosted by Jenn (Chris's sister).

New Pump and I are hooked up and getting to know one another.  So far, it's been a very smooth and seamless transition.  (Seamless in the technological sense -- there were a few wild blood sugars moments over this holiday - more on those later.)  And like my fellow 522 pumpers, I'm enjoying being able to see the time without clicking the button to the left.  I'm touching base with my Minimed rep this week, so hopefully I'll be linked up with the CGM by next week at the latest.  Very excited to try that out. 

Yesterday, I managed to catch a hometown tradition on my camera - the Route 78 Christmas Tree.  Someone, no idea who, has been decorating a pine tree on the side of a highway in my hometown.  Every holiday season, this tree ends up with tinsel and ornaments on the lower portion of it.  I don't know who has been decorating for the last ten years, but every year I'm impressed at the continuation of this bizarre tradition. 

On Christmas morning, we pulled over on the highway and snapped a quick picture.  I love odd little holiday traditions.

The mysteriously decorated tree on Route 78.
We're driving home to CT in a few hours, so this is my quick internet stop-over before the long drive.  I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and I'll be back to regularly-scheduled blogging tomorrow.

December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you all!(Quick check-in ... more later!)

MERRY CHRISTMAS, Everyone! 

December 21, 2007

Quick Friday Bits and Pieces

The Friday Six:  December 21, 2007Heading out the door for the holiday weekend -- but first:  The Friday Six!

1.  I'm a huge fan of Pandora, with its station creation capability and how it shows me all kinds of different bands that are in line with other bands I already like.  Today, a co-worker led me to SeeqPod Music, which is like a programmable Pandora.  You don't have to download any music and it's safe for work environments that won't allow you to download software to your computer.  It's like iTunes on the go. 

2.  Ye Olde Bridal Shoppe called me today and told me that my wedding gown has arrived and I need to schedule my first fitting.  I.  Am.  So.  Excited.  I'm curious to work out the pump pocket plan.

3.  Speaking of pumping, I will start on my Paradigm 522 tonight.  My arm site, which has served me well this week, is finally starting to feel a bit sore when I bolus, so it's time to pull it out.  New infusion set will bring out the New Pump.  And next week, I'll trial the Minimed GCM component for a few months.  More on this later.

4.  Last night's run proved that even the most awkward parts of me can eventually be trained to a higher level.  I felt stronger during my run last night than I have over the past two (grueling) weeks.  Chris tells me that running is a great way to burn fat fast, in preparation for May.  My plan is to keep at it at least through the end of January and see what kind of headway I've made.  Who out there has done some running?  How do you manage those rapidly-falling numbers?  Ed suggested working in some protein to my pre-workout snack.  I'm game to try anything.

5.  Can't focus.  Silliness reigns supreme.  What the heck are these cats doing wearing Santa hats? And how can I get Sausage to sit still long enough so I can do the same to her?

6.  We're off to RI for the Christmas holiday, spending some quality time with friends, Romans, and countrymen.  After we brave 95 North for 59,047 hours first.  Grrr, highway.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you.  Stay healthy!  And for crying out loud, have some fun.

December 20, 2007

Tune Up.

I spend a lot of time thinking about health and fitness.  

There's my job, where I am often found perusing diabetes-related press releases, checking out the latest websites about endocrine health and wellness, and writing about what day-to-day life with diabetes is all about. 

Then there's my handsome fiance, who has spent time as a personal trainer, writes for various fitness venues (including AOL), eats a regimented, healthy diet, and has a physique that is evidence of time well-spent at the gym.

Oh, and then there is the whole "white wedding dress" thing, where everyone will be looking at me in a few months on a (hopefully sunny) May afternoon.  Not to mention my disease, which I manage with an insulin pump, my meter, attempts at healthy eating, and regular exercise.

So I'm constantly checking out different websites about health and fitness, as the themes touch so many different parts of my life.  My magazine collection is a mish-mash of Women's Health, Shape, and Modern Bride.  These pages are dog-eared and occasionally ripped out and pinned to my cube wall or my office bulletin board. 

Never mind the daily webcrawl I make, bouncing from my daily check of Women's Health online for some daily tips and inspirations, FitDay to continue on with my goal of keeping a food journal for a full month, Slashfood for some foodie snippets.  Recently, I've been checking out iVillage's Your Total Health site, Healthbolt, and Lift Magazine for some newer viewpoints. 

It's all bit-sized bits of health information, which fit into my multi-tasking sort of lifestyle.  But the part that I'm having trouble with is cutting down the workout to a sensible size.  Fitness doesn't appear to come in teeny bits for me.  I need to work out long and hard in order to see results, constantly fighting the uphill battle of treating low blood sugars and the demanding schedule of any fully employed twenty-something.  (Scratch that - the schedule of anyone is demanding, ranging from kids to senior citizens to circus clowns.)  I need to buckle down and make efforts to really reach my goals.  Bit of a tune-up.

A few months ago, I decided I needed to change my workout.  My legs were killing me.  But, as with anything else, my body adjusted and I needed to switch things up again.  I now have a few different methods of attack:  keeping a food journal, avoiding all holiday sweets until the New Year (it's like the Pre-New Year's Resolution), and making some awkward attempts at bringing running into my routine. 

Oh how I hate to run.  I feel awkward and like a great, traipsing gazelle.  But over the last two weeks, I've been trying to work in a circuit of running to help me tone up a bit more before the wedding.  (Five months!)  A combination of weight training and running was constantly touted by all those fitness sites as a killer fat loss program.  So I'm trying it.  First, I did five minutes running, five walking.  Then seven on, five off.  Last night, I did twelve on, five off. 

And I watched as my blood sugar fell from 160 (started the whole workout at 200 mg/dl) to 68 I only wear two sneakers, unlike my little pal here.mg/dl.  When my workout changes, my diabetes management methods need to change, too.  Hopefully I'll find a way to trot with a bit more grace.  And hopefully my body will shift into shape by the time I'm donning my white dress for my big walk down the aisle.

Oh hell, maybe I'll run.  Just to prove a point.  ;)

December 19, 2007

Paradigm Shift.

UPS arrived this morning, dropping off an early Christmas present from Medtronic. (Okay, it was from my insurance company, too.) 

Inside?

Pump and link!

My new Paradigm 522 and accompanying Paradigm Link meter.

My new pump pal.

In a festive "smoke" color.

Working on getting those sensors sent out just after the New Year.  Oh how I love new diabetes gadgets.

December 18, 2007

Armed.

When I got home from the gym last night, I ripped out that belly site with relish.  (And a small bit of ketchup, as it bled a teeny bit and that makes me wonder if I had nicked something and if that had contributed to excess pain.  But I've digressed.  Again.) 

After showering, I slid a little IV prep on the back of my left arm, where I took daily injections for so long, and held the circular, blue Quick-Serter against my arm.  Leaving no time for anticipation, I hit the buttons on the side and plunged the needle into my skin.  No real pain, not much impact, and when I pulled the Quick-Serter back, I exposed a neatly nested circle of white on the back of my arm, with the blue needle sticking out of it. 

"Gotcha now," I muttered. 

Pulled out the blue needle and fixed primed the set with 0.3u of Humalog.  No burn.  I clipped the pump to my yoga pants.  It felt weird to have the tubing all "up north" instead of the southern hemisphere of my body.  I laced the tubing underneath the side of my sports bra and kept it along the side of my body.  This worked for the most part, aside from the fact that it tickled a bit on the underside of my arm.

I pulled on a black t-shirt and surveyed the scene.  I could see the set bulging out a little bit underneath my arm, but since it was on the back, it seemed barely noticeable.  I fell asleep more aware of the fact that the pump wasn't on my leg, instead of hyper-aware of the set on my arm.

This morning, not much different.  Showering proved to be no issue, as the shower poof didn't come into direct contact with the site (it does when I'm using my leg -- I'm obsessive about shaving).  I got dressed in a pink sweater and black skirt and snaked the pump tubing underneath the side panel of my bra and along the side of my body again, coming to a rest tucked into the top of my skirt.

Pros to wearing it on my arm are that the area has been virtually untouched for the last four years, save for the rare injection.  It's up and out of the way, so using the bathroom isn't a tricky "hey, did I just skim the site with my pants?" excursion.  It's not creating a bulge that I can see without lifting my arm a little bit, and once the tubing is secured under my bra, it doesn't budge.

Cons to this site are that dressing/undressing is a bit tricky, as there's plenty of braided tubing to contend with.  It aches a teeny bit, but nothing too dissimilar from a thigh site and nothing even close to the ache of an abdomen site.  It's a bit tricky to connect/disconnect because I can't really see it, but since I don't usually look when I reconnect, I can do it by feel.  The main con is that I can't extend the tubing to my sock and hide my pump there, so I'm experimenting with different "above-the-belt" hiding spots.  Today it's tucked inside my tights, against my hipbone.

So, thanks to your encouragement, I think I have a new spot to rotate my infusion sets to.  And it wasn't too scary!  Now it's your turn to try something new.  :)

December 17, 2007

Site Unseen.

About 90% of the time, I do not mind wearing an insulin pump.

Yes, of course, I would much prefer to be cured of this disease and I don't enjoy the day-to-day maintenance of a chronic condition, but for me, pumping these past four years has been far superior to multiple injections.   I can hide it in the folds of my clothes.  I can disconnect for exercise, intimacy, and beachin' it.  And it delivers my insulin with a precision and stealth unrivaled by my orange-capped syringes.

However, the past few days have been holy hell.

Instead of sticking the infusion set on my thigh, like I usually do, I opted to give my legs a rest and revert back to my abdomen.  I originally started using my thighs because I thought stomach sites burned and felt like fire in my sensitive, nerve-riddled skin.  I liked having the tubing snaking down my leg instead of jutting out from underneath my shirts, and I preferred to have my infusion set nested on my out-of-the-way leg instead of my front-and-center abdomen.

But, in the interests of site rotation and absorption tests, I stuck the site in my stomach and went about my merry way.  Unfortunately, it was far less merry than usual.

The site is currently about three inches to the right of my naval, about two inches down.  While wearing sweat pants, this site location is not an issue because the waistband of the pants rests about two inches below the site.  HOWEVER.  The waistband of my jeans rest, with precision, where the infusion set sits, rubbing and pressing and making the site incredibly sore.  Every time my arm brushes against it, here on its third day, it's as though the cannula has made its home in a pile of ultra-sensitive nerves.

We're out at dinner the other night, and one big laugh had me squirming because the site had caught against the edge of my pants.  Driving home to RI was entirely uncomfortable because my seatbelt was snug against the bulge of the site.  Every bolus has a bit of a burn to it.  The sweater I wore to work today shows the faint outline of the infusion hub orbiting near my naval.  Even sleeping has me rolling over, folding my arm underneath myself, and mashing up against the site. 

For the last three days, that infusion set has gone from "something I barely notice" to "alien in my belly."  An alien in my belly has been a bit of a startling enterprise, to say theNow he's wearing an infusion set.  Gotcha. least.

I admire people who can do a full site rotation, hitting places like their rear ends, their arms, and even their breasts.  (Note:  I will never, ever use my breast as an infusion set site.  I cannot imagine that kind of ouch.)   But I officially hate the belly sites.  I can't stand them.  I feel like a stubborn kid, crossing my arms over my chest and pouting, "No more belly sites.  I'm going home."

So, in efforts to be more of a grown-up, I'm going to give an arm site a pass.  Once I'm home from the gym and neat and clean from the shower, I'll be trying out the back of my left arm as a home for my infusion set.  You guys have given me the confidence I needed to at least give it a whirl.

If an alien takes up residence in my arm, I'll be back to legs by Friday.   

December 14, 2007

The Day-Off Six.

The Friday Six: December 14Jumping right in.

One!

I took today off from the office to finish up some shopping, finally send out the holiday cards I've been plodding through (and keep finding bits of glitter on my face as a result of my efforts), and spend some time knotting up loose ends for 2007.  It's funny how I think I have all the time in the world to complete things, only to realize last minute that I'm crunched for time, feeling like when Indiana Jones is reaching for his hat as the stone slab is hurtling downwards.  That's a Christmassy image, no?

Two!Yesterday's stormy snowy self made me realize how ineffective a VW Jetta is in wintry conditions.  Fortunately, I know how to drive in the snow and am very careful.  Unfortunately, half of western CT does not share this aptitude and I spent the commute home yesterday with a black BMW truck inches from my bumper, as the Soccer Mom inside applied her lipstick, texted her nanny, and smoothed her bangs.  Note to CT Drivers:  Snow is slippery.  Your car is not a day spa.  Please stay off my ass.

Three!

Instead of using my thigh to host my infusion set last night, I opted for my abdomen.  My legs need a bit of a break sometimes, so I figured a belly set would be best for a few days.  Reverted to a stomach site reminds me how much I hate wearing them "above the belt."  It's sore, the tubing is not well-concealed, and the waistband of my yoga pants (remember - day off) keeps bumping into it.  I do not like abdomen sites.  I'm already excited for Sunday night, when I go back to my thigh. 

I did entertain the thought of putting it in my arm instead, but I'm a bit daunted at the idea of snaking the tubing down my sleeve.  Have any of you used your arm as a site?  Did it drive you nuts?  Does it get in the way?  Do I ask too many questions?  Do you believe in ghosts?  Can you drive stick?  Who was your favorite Monkee?  ... ahem.  Arm site?

Four!

Another edition of SUM Musings is published in diaTribe.  Have you signed up to receive this newsletter yet?  I'm a bit biased, but I recommend taking a spin through Kelly Close's publication and making your own opinion.  :)

Five!

I'm still on my Mimined upgrade journey, talking with reps from Medtronic and working to trade in my 512 for a 522 with the CGM option.  A few of you had asked if I was pro-Minimed, and I have to say that I am.  I've been using a Minimed pump for the last four years and I'm happy with the level of service I have received.  I also found the Minimed pumps to be less bulky and the more streamlined of the tubing models, which was important to me because I like to pump relatively incognito-ish-esque.  :)  I've enjoyed the last four years with Medtronic, and I'm ready to sign up for another four.  (Sounds like an election - four more years!)

Six.

This weekend, we're off to RI to visit friends and family.  But for today, I'm off to finish my errands, wrap presents, take some pictures, and get Siah out of the damn Christmas tree.  that cat is a menace. 

Have a great weekend!

December 13, 2007

New England Snow Day Survival List.

1.  Bread.

2.  Milk.

3.  Shovel or soup pot to shove aside snow with.

4.  Bucket of sand to throw on the icy sidewalks and porch, or cat litter, which is a weirder yet still effective alternative.

5.  Ice scraper to remove the caked up layers of winter wonderland from your windshield.

6.  Moments consulting the "Dopplah radah," which advises as to the track of the storm.

7.  Warm, fat cats to sleep on your feet to keep your toes warm yet awkwardly immobile.

8.  Enough insulin in your pump to make consuming mass quantities of bread-and-milk soup possible.

9.  Job that makes it easy to work from home while the snowflakes fall fast and furiously.Onward!  To French toast!

10.  Internet connection.

11.  Extra carton of milk, just in case a pack of wild Vikings come to visit and clamor for French toast.

12.  And more bread.

December 12, 2007

Wake Up, Test, and Repeat.

It's like that scene in The Graduate, where Dustin Hoffman is floating at the bottom of the pool while life mills around above him.  That feeling of water clouding my vision, leaving the numbers on the alarm clock looking blurry and projected from miles away.  A strange, floating feeling to my limbs, like there are layers of helium between my muscle and my skin.   Yet my hearing is honed to a fine precision, taking in the steady sound of Chris breathing, the cat snoring at the foot of the bed, and the sounds of the wind in the trees outside.

I also hear my own heart beating.

38 mg/dl.

3:42 am on Tuesday morning.

I thought about possible causes for the low blood sugar.  There were plenty, as Monday night was spent laughing, drinking, and partying hard with co-workers.  Then there's the fact that I'm on the "off week" for my birth control pills.  Plenty of factors to consider.  Even though I went to bed at a blood sugar of 173 mg/dl, I knew the chances of an early morning low were elevated. 

I set my alarm for 4 am, but found myself awake, staring at the ceiling, and willing my arms to reach over for my testing kit at 3:42 am instead.

Chalk it up to a moment of miscalculation.  I drank the juice on my bedside table and then eased myself back into sleep.

But last night, I didn't go out.  I didn't drink anything with alcohol in it.  I didn't go to bed excessively late or entertain any dodgy blood sugars.  The only variable I could find was the absence of birth control hormones this week.  Taking that into account and remembering Monday night's low, I lowered my basal rates last night and went to bed, again, at a blood sugar above 150 mg/dl.

4:02 am.

The cat opens her mouth into a wide yawn, exposing her tiny pink tongue, as I scramble for my kit.

38 mg/dl.Wake up, rinse, and repeat.

Nothing freaks me out more than scary lows, two nights in a row.  The same frighteningly low number.  I'm short on sleep and even shorter on confidence in my body.  Tonight, I will lower my basal rates further.  I will set my alarm for 3 am and see if I can catch this low as it happens (it's like tracking a hurricane sometimes).  I'll try and figure out if it's just the off-week for the pill or if my basal rates have suddenly found themselves to be too much on the overnight. 

Calculating, factoring, estimating, guessing, hoping, trying, remaining determined.

Wake up, test, repeat.

December 11, 2007

Not So Grrrrrrrreat!

The games we play.  Not grrrrrreat.Sometimes I come across odd bits of news.  And often, these news bits have to do with diabetes.  Last year, it was this newsflash about Santa Claus being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and how he ho-ho-ho's his way back to good health.  Today, I stumbled upon a write-up about the unfortunate death of Tony the Tiger ... from type 2 diabetes complications.

Now I'm all about a laugh.  Laughter is part of my genetic make-up (we have very giggly DNA) and I think that poking fun is one of my methods for dealing with difficult situations.  There's LOL Diabetes, for crying out loud.  I get the jokes.  Often, I'm making them. 

But this crap about fictional characters being diagnosed with diabetes makes me less than amused. People spend plenty of time raising awareness.  Diabetes, either type 1 or type 2, is serious stuff and the consequences of not actively managing it can be devastating.  Pointing the finger at Santa's jolly belly or Tony's sugar habit might bring more attention to diabetes, but it's not the right kind of attention.  This sort of stuff makes diabetes the butt of jokes.  Would you point your finger and laugh at someone who is dealing with cancer?  Of course you wouldn't.  So why would people think it's okay to mock someone who has diabetes?  Because they assume a diabetic caused their own disease?  Explain that to my mother and father, who dealt with my diagnosis when I was a little girl.

"Kerri, those jokes are aimed at people with type 2 diabetes.  Geez, don't you know that?"

No, I don't.  And how does that make it right?  Regardless of the types of diabetes, the complications caused by uncontrolled blood sugars are essentially the same.  And besides, most people don't know the difference between type 1 and type 2.  Most people don't know there are even different types to begin with.  Jokes are aimed at "diabetes" in general, and I fall into that broad category.  Even if they do recognize the difference, does anyone with diabetes deserve to have the guilt, shame, or blame placed on them?  Jokes aimed at them?  Is it easy because the jokers assume the diabetic is also overweight?  That is a horrendous excuse.  How is "fatism" still an acceptable prejudice?  

I watched Super Size Me the other night.  During one part of the documentary, someone pointedly mentioned that "diabetes will cut 17 - 27 years off your life."  The factoid crept into the part of my brain that fears diabetes-related complications.  Yes, I can take every precaution to keep my A1C as tight as possible and do everything I can do avoid complications, but people don't realize that my life is already complicated by this disease. 

Adding the burden of "guilt" or "shame" doesn't help. 

How about more diabetes education that actually educates, instead of mocks?  That would be grrrrreat.

December 10, 2007

I Like Your Hair.

Maybe Paris for our honeymoon?It had just opened two weeks ago, but the Christmas lights around the door and the promise of fine, French cuisine drew us in.  He ordered steak tartare again and I opted for a chicken dish.  We ate, drank, and generally felt quite merry.

"I need to duck into the ladies' room for a second."  I said, taking my napkin from my lap and excusing myself from the table.

"Sure," he said.

I walked over to the small, two-stall bathroom, dimly lit by several lamps with gilded shades.  It was like peeing in the vault of a bank only known to celebrities, or maybe to Scrooge McDuck

As I conducted my bathroom activities, the main bathroom door swung open and in clicked a pair of ladies' heels.  She leaned in towards the mirror and smoothed out her smudged eye makeup with her index finger.  Then she stopped.  And stared from the mirror. 

Right into the stall I was hiding in.

Feeling a tad exposed, I leaned to the left to avoid her gaze, quickly finished my business, and rescued my purse from the hook on the door.  She was pinning back her flyaways, still at the mirror.  I rolled up my sleeves and ran the water over my hands at the sink next to her.

"I like your highlights."

Her accent was thick.  French?  Faux-French?  Maybe German?  Not New England, that's for certain.

"Thank you," I replied, the water hot on my hands.

"I like them very much.  I look at them while you pee."

(My goodness.  Is there an appropriate response to that?)

"Well that's very kind of you."

She brought her face next to the glass and peered into her black-lined eyes. 

"I look so fan-tahs-tic."  She nodded to herself.   "Very fan-tahs-tic."  Adjusted her hemline.  "I go now."

She opened the door with a flourish - this woman who admired my hair while I peed - and strutted out into the dining room, leaving me wondering what the hell just happened.

December 07, 2007

Six Snowy Bits.

Late afternoon blogging on this snowy Friday.The Friday Six:  December 7th edition

Gold star sixer. Today, December 7th, is Larry Bird's birthday.  Always an inspiration and one of the key members of my fictional healthcare management team, Larry has helped me overcome some difficult moments and keeps my fitness goals attainable and challenging, all at the same time.  Larry, here's to you.  I hope you got the card I sent.  Chris signed it, too.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LARRY!!!

Gold star sixer.In this article, discovered by my always-on-the-ball brother, do you think the redaacted words here are "diabetes?"  Scroll down and see if you think this was another case of diabetes leaping into the news or just another moment of (thanks, Shannon) Mad Libs.

Gold star sixer.

Chris and I are starting to work through the nitty-gritty parts of our wedding planning, including favors, invitation design, and the all-important honeymoon destination.  Our wedding colors are green and ivory, so I was thinking about little potted ivy plants as the favors.  Only drawback to this green idea is that I am forced to deal with over 250 little, potted ivory plants.  For you Married Folk out there, what did you do for favors?  Since our wedding invite list is enormous (we both come from very large families), I'm trying to think of something classy and simple, yet relatively inexpensive.    Suggestions?

Gold star sixer.I love popping bubble wrap.  Everytime something sizable is delivered to dLife, I paw around in the packing materials and grab the bubble wrap.  Pop pop pop!  I found a website with virtual bubble wrap.  Cannot resist it.  Wouldn't make my wedding gown out of it, but it's an excellent way to de-stress. 

Gold star sixer.Secret Santa is in full swing here at work and I've been tormenting my target for the last week.  (Cannot discuss too much here, as people in my office read my blog and I could end up giving away the identity of said Secret Santa target.  More on this later.) I love the holidays.  I think this sort of thing is so fun.

Useless Tidbit:  When I was in college, I lived with seven other girls.  We were hard-working college students and wallets were always a bit on the light side.  So instead of buying gifts for everyone, we would pull a name and do our version of Secret Santa.  Only we did Secret Psycho, where we pulled a name and pranked that person for the month of December. 

One morning, I woke up to find a plastic pile of dog poop on my pillow.  Another time, one roommate gave the other roommate fish-flavored candies.  And the best bit was when I came home and found my bedroom switched with another housemate's bedroom, complete with my cat asleep on my blankets, which were on her bed.  The whole event culminated in a real gift exchange before winter break.  Looking back, it was wicked fun and I wish we still did it.  Hey Roommates, can we do Secret Psycho again?

Gold star sixer. It's snowing a ton here today.  Winter is on in full effect and I, for one, am looking forward to exploring the snowscape with New Camera.  Chris and I are going to try and do some relaxing this weekend, after being sick for two weeks and having very stressful work weeks.  There's a new French place downtown that just opened up, and with Chris being a Francophile now, it might be on our list to try.

Have a great weekend, FR's, and stay warm! 

December 06, 2007

Upgrade.

Light a fire of good control in me?  Maybe.It's frustrating to think how obsolete a computer becomes in four years.  "Four years old?  You must be ready for an upgrade!" So they order a new computer - the latest Mac or a zippy PC - and it arrives in all it's brand-new glory, promising to be light years ahead of the last model and melting the walls with its tangible power.

It's strange, though, to think that I've been pumping for four years now.  Today's technology seems to be moving at the speed of light sometimes, with new versions of softwares being developed almost daily and gadgets being invented and reinvented by the hundreds, but my 512 and my soon-to-be ordered 522 won't be much different, save for small upgrades and the option for a continuous glucose monitoring system (which will be the subject of an insurance battle, I'm sure). 

I understand that this medical device has come a significant way from its origin as a backpack-sized monstrosity to a beeper-sized gadget.  I also understand that this is a strategic and precise medical device, something that helps to sustain and prolong my life.  Bells and whistles don't matter as much as precision and accuracy.

But. 

I would love to open a new model, one that's four years ahead of the version I'm trading in.  I would love to toss aside the packing peanuts,  pull out that little plastic device, and marvel in what medical technology has done with four years.

I'm hoping that once I'm linked up to the constant glucose monitoring portion of my new pump and making use of real-time results every day, the walls will start to melt for me.  

December 05, 2007

Chilled.

With a smiley face on it, it actually looks a bit friendly.It's fricking freezing here lately.  Gone are the winters of 2006 where I barely turned on the heat and didn't bust out my wool jacket until almost February.  Here come the constant snow showers, rotten and battered hands, and frozen meters.

Yes, frozen meters.

Last night, after going to the gym, Chris and I stopped at the grocery store to pick up the ingredients for another attempt at soup.  (Pearl onions, chicken, black pepper, and celery.  It was definitely another good recipe from that book.)  Since we were just popping in for a few minutes, I left my gym bag in the car - with my iPod, water bottle, and glucose meter.

The wind was bitterly cold and biting through my sweatshirt.  I scampered over to the car and started it up while Chris loaded the groceries into the back seat.  (What a guy - always protects me from the elements!)  Feeling a little light-headed, I rescued my meter from my bag and unzipped the case.

"Whoa.  This thing is like a block of ice!"  I said. 

"What?"  Chris asked from outside the car, over the rustle of the plastic bags. 

I popped a strip into the meter. 

TEMPERATURE ERROR.  OUT OF OPERATING RANGE. 

Oh fantastic.  I rubbed the meter between my hands and blew on it, trying to thaw out its innards.  After a minute, I stuck the strip back in.

TEMPERATURE ERROR.  GOOD TRY, THOUGH.

Arghhhh.  Still feeling foggy, I cracked open the juice in my workout bag and took a few sips.   Then I opened the battery compartment and breathed onto the disc batteries, hoping they'd warm up. 

TEMPERATURE ERROR.  KERRI, TRY YOUR ARMPIT.

"Excuse me?"

STICK ME IN YOUR ARMPIT.
IT WILL WARM ME UP.
REFER TO OWNER'S MANUAL.

Is this thing serious?  I removed the meter from the plastic holding case, looked from side to side to see if anyone was watching, and then shoved the meter into the armpit of my sweatshirt.  After waiting another minute, I tried again with another test strip.

AH, THANKS.  CODE 22. 

I pricked my finger and applied a drop of blood.  Five second count down.  68 mg/dl.

DO YOU NEED A SNACK?

"I already had some juice.  I'll just wait to come up."

OKAY.  MAKE SURE YOU TEST LATER JUST TO MAKE SURE.

"I will." 

Chris opened the door and settled into the driver's seat.  "You will, what?"

"Nothing.  I was just ... nevermind."

LOL.

December 04, 2007

Paint By Numbers.

Carb management is a paint-by-numbers for me.I looked into the bottom of my purse and saw the Cliff bar and a pack of gum.  "46 grams of carbohydrate."

I poured a cup of coffee this morning and added a little cream and Equal.  As I stirred the contents of the cup and chatted with co-workers, I thought "0.2u of insulin for the 2 grams of carbohydrate."  I eye-balled the bagels being offered up and watched as one morphed into a whole-wheat "8" and another into a sesame-seed covered "0."  80 grams of carbs.

The kiwi fruit, sliced and captured in a tupperware container, looked ripe and grass-green through the plastic window.  It would be a delicious morning snack.  Ten grams of carbs.

Nineteen carbs in that yogurt, five grams in a fistful of almonds, fifteen in that slice of whole-grain toast.  Convert how many units of insulin that I need to cover X amount of carbs.  Base these values on previously calculated insulin-to-carbohydrate ratios.  Make sure you take recent and future activity levels into account, in addition to factoring in some cushion time for the insulin to work.

It's a lot of math for this intrinsic English major to handle.  If I keep my brain tuned into the numbers only, I'm admittedly rattled and overwhelmed. 

Instead, I picture the culinary world as one, big paint-by-numbers picture.  Carbohydrate content calls out a value and insulin is my paint.  Some days the portraits are just breath taking, a sea of yellows and blues and a smattering of greens, blending together and keeping my blood sugar numbers from spiraling out of range. 

It's tough to keep my hand steady some days, especially now with all the holiday treats on every countertop, but I'm doing my best to stay within the lines.

December 03, 2007

Slow Recovery.

Since just after Thanksgiving, I've been battling against this messy conclave of germs that have taken up residence in my body.  Starting with strep, morphing into what may have been the flu, and then culminating in a nasty little cold, it's been a very arduous few days. 

Blood sugars have been a testament to the worst of diabetes, hitting excessive highs of 477 mg/dl (no ketones - I checked) and a rage-bolus low that caught me in the 50's.  It's amazing how fragile my body is when I'm under the weather.  Something as simple as a cup of coffee without an accompanying bolus is enough to toss me into the stratosphere, leaving numbers orbiting for hours.  And blood sugars like 180 mg/dl feel more like 300 mg/dl, with every fiber on the teeth-sweaters thicker and the lead in my fingertips heavier.  My schedule was mucked up beyond recognition, with random fits of napping every few hours, no time at the gym, and a bedtime in the single digits (vs. in the wee hours of the morning).  Mugs upon mugs of herbal tea.  Add a few documentaries (courtesy of Netflix online) to the mix and I was one hunkered down sicky.

And Chris ended up with it, too.  Poor guy.

Instead of heading out for some late-night fun, my fiance and I holed up in the apartment for the weekend and festered.  It felt like winter, with the soft gray skies and the dusting of snow on Sunday morning. 

To celebrate the beginning of December and to drum up a little holiday cheer, we unearthed the Christmas tree from the depths of our storage closet.  Last year, we did blue bulbs.  This year, we went for red. 

Red ornaments on our Christmas tree this year.

Something about having the Christmas tree in the living room made it feel like Christmas.  (Of course, Sausage couldn't keep her little mitts off the thing and she's been prowling around the edges of it, batting at ornaments and meowing plaintively.)  Chris and I are ready to celebrate our first holiday season as an engaged couple, and our last before we become husband and wife in May.

Just the thought of our wedding helps me feel a little bit better. 

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