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April 30, 2008

SEO: Get a Pancreas!

Get a pancreas, will ya?After checking my statcounter today, I saw too many search terms leading readers here that made me laugh out loud - I had to share.  Here are today's search terms that made my brain melt:

"finger tips hurt when urinating"
(What the heck?)
"insulin pizza party time"
"I believe in love and rockets" 
(I agree.  I love 'Love and Rockets.')
"squirrels are in my pillow"  
(This is an issue that should be addressed promptly, no?)
"diabetes don't want to prick" 
(Too much of an open door with this one.  Let your mind have it's way with it.)
"needles hurt and make me want sausage" 
(A Siah Sausage?)
"do not have a big wedding" 
(Too late.)

And my personal favorite:

"Get a pancreas!"

Damn straight.  :)

AccuChek Spirit Pump: Help!

Hey guys.  I'm sending out the BatSignal for a reader who is looking for some information:Sueprfriends, unite!

Hi Kerri,
 
I'm looking for information on the AccuChek Spirit pump.  I currently wear a Cozmo insulin pump and LOVE it, but my new insurance only covers Medtronic and Disetronic insulin pumps.  I have worn a MiniMed pump in the past, so I know what that's like, but I'm looking for any user experiences or advice on the Accu-Chek pump.
 
Thanks very much!
Jenni
If you are an AccuCheck pump user, or if you have any advice regarding this pump, please leave some love for Jenni.  Let's show her what this community can do (which is to show what real life with diabetes is all about)! 

April 29, 2008

Licensed to Wed.

License to wed ... Yesterday we went home for my final dress fitting (and choose a veil as well.  I absolutely love the veil and plan on wearing it to work for weeks after my wedding), to get our marriage license, to confirm arrangements with our florist, and to attend our marriage classes.

The fitting was perfect, the license was quick and easy, and the florist was efficient.  But what surprised me most was our meeting with the priest.  I don't often discuss religion here on my blog because, to be honest, I am not a very religious person.  I have my beliefs but I do not have a specific church that I follow.  I've seen religion come between couples, refuse to recognize certain relationships, and alienate people who need support the most.  Needless to say, my view of organized religion is one that is respectful, yet highly skeptical.

However.

Last night we met with the priest who will marry us nineteen days from today.  He was warm and approachable, making me feel welcome in his Catholic church instead of feeling ostracized for being the only non-Catholic in the room.  (He was also a big Red Sox fan, so I liked him instantly.)  He talked to the group of engaged couples about the importance of communication and respect in a relationship.  "Talk to each other.  Be honest with one another.  There is nothing more important than the strength of your relationship.  Be lovers.  But also be friends.  There are so many different religions, but we're all on the same road."

I've never been married before, and most of my friends are unmarried, but I know that relationships are different now than they were in the past.  People spend more time working than they do having fun with one another.  There are more infidelities, or more time spent talking to strangers on the internet than people in their real lives, more time focused on things that, in the long run, don't matter nearly as much as love.  Relationships today seem far more selfish than those of the past, with couples more focused on "me" than "we." 

It made me think a lot about my own relationship.  I am thankful that my fiance and I have a healthy romantic relationship, but he is also my best friend and the person I trust most.  We share trials and triumphs alike, and he has made caring for my disease a seamless part of "what we just do."  The priest talked about communication as the cornerstone of a strong relationship, and I am thankful that I am able to talk freely to my future husband.

"The world is burning out there.  You need to hold one another close."

I am looking towards marriage with joy and excitement.  I am thankful for the opportunity to feel such hope. 

April 28, 2008

dTOEs: Second Edition

Diabetes comes with its own set of jargon, that's for sure.  From "carbage" to "zombied," we've got the latest diabetes sniglets here on Six Until Me.  Submitted by readers who are living with diabetes (and some from me), these entries made me laugh out loud!  I present, for your reading and laughing pleasure, Diabetes Terms of Endearment:  Second Edition!

Diabetes Terms of Endearment:  Second Edition

 

 

3 am Break
For couples where one partner has diabetes, this refers to 3 am low blood sugars, wherein one person drinks juice and the other goes to pee.

Beedies (see also "Diabetus")
Expression used to refer to diabetes, usually spoken in the voice of an old man. ex. "I gots the BEEDIES!"

Bloodletting
Not using perfectly good blood from a cut from a knife or other household item for a glucose test because you recently tested. 

Blood Suckers
Collective term for test strips, blood drawing devices, and vampire cannulas.

Carbage
Term indicative of the collective carbohydrate content in an item, rhymes with "garbage."  ex.  "What's the carbage on that bagel?"

CCB
Crazy correction bolus.  See also "SWAG" or "Rage Bolus"

Cheap Date
Also known as "diabetics," as we don't normally order dessert on dates. 

Cramming
The act of over-eating to treat those pesky midnight low blood sugars.  See also "Sleep-Eating" or "Panic Eating"

Creepy Fingers
A term Jillian's sister uses for what over pricked fingers look like after a long swim in the summer, all pruney and holey and mangled.

CSI Dream
The blood stains on sheets and clothing from glucose tests.

Cured
Word often muttered under your breath when you end up low after precision-bolusing for a meal, as though your body didn't need the insulin.  ex. "I have no idea how I ended up low.  I must be cured."

Diabetes Medicine
What Shannon calls juice boxes so that her other kids don't clamor for one while she's treating her son's low blood sugar.  See also "It's Her Medicine."

Diabetes Sheriff
Any non-diabetic who feels it is their job to give their opinion on what we should eat.  Classic ex. "You can't eat this - you have diabetes."  Note that it's never a question - always an imperative statement.

Diabetus
Wilford Brimley's preferred pronunciation of the word "diabetes."  Usually followed by laughter and the viewing of YouTube clips. ex. "Hi.  Are you using Liberty Medical to get your diabetus medications?"

Diablandic
Sugar-free or diabetes marketed food that tastes horribly bland (ex: - Girl Scout Sugar-Free Brownies)

Dial in
The act of taking a bolus with an insulin pump. ex. "Dial in for that panini." Note: this expression does not make sense, as there is no dial on an insulin pump, but that reasoning makes me like it even more.

Dead Bees
Term given to diabetes by the classmate of a small child.  ex. "He needs juice because he has dead bees."

Droopy
Terri-Lynn's son's term for feeling low.  Also known as jiggly, fuzzy, d-fogged, and lost.

"Get The Machine!"
Can be said to anyone who is already familiar with your diabetes and has done something to make their finger bleed out a drop, i.e. a papercut, sewing needle prick, small scale kitchen knife or razor incident, etc.

Glucose Goblins
The fiendish critters that make our blood sugars high after an insulin set change.  ex. "I changed my site, didn't eat anything, and still ended up at 250 mg/dl.  Damn glucose goblins."

Gusher
After pulling out a needle or infusion set, blood spurts out all over the dang place. 

"Give Mommy the Finger."
A phrase often used by parents of children with diabetes, referring to a parent's request to test their child's blood sugar.  Often met by amused stares from strangers.

Flat Line
A welcome sight for people using CGMs. Refers to rock stable, flat, normal, wonderful blood sugars over a prolonged period (3 or 9 hr screens on the D7). Especially gratifying after pizza, chinese or bagels.

Flicked
Or "to flick" - When an infusion set is nudged or grazed by a doorknob, child's foot, random cat paw, etc.

Hangover
The resulting headache after recovering from a low or high blood sugar

Hans n' Franz
To change one's infusion set, to get "pumped up."

"Have You Checked Your Checkins?"
Phrase used by Seonaid's father, which means "Have you checked your sugar?"  Editor's Note:  It made me laugh out loud, so I wanted to make sure it made it to the list.  ;)

Insulate
The act of taking insulin.  ex. "Have you insulated yet - it's almost dinner time."

Insulint
The act of exhibiting a bad attitude, while also being diabetic.

"It's Her Medicine."
A phrase used by a friend once, when her date wanted to eat the emergency crackers I had in my purse.  "Can I have a cracker, Kerri?"  Before I could answer, friend leaned in with a knowing look and said, "No, it's not a cracker.  It's her medicine." 

Leash
Pump tubing.  ex. "I walked by the doorknob and it grabbed me by the leash."

Multiple Choice
When you don't even need to use a lancet to test because you can simply squeeze your fingertip and have blood come out of several previous lancings.

Non-Carbonated
Foods that do not have any carbohydrates.  Also known as "free foods."  ex.  Jell-O, pickles, air.

"Not A Toy"
Phrase used to explain to a young child why they can't grab your insulin pump or testing meter and run off with it.  ex.  "No, Abby, that's not a toy."

Old School Shot
Reverting back to injecting insulin via syringe after becoming used to bolusing with an insulin pump.  May also be known as "rockin' it old school" or "shootin' old school."

"Oh Donuts"
Phrase used by Michelle and her son as the preferred curse word to utter after seeing a high blood sugar reading.  Origin:  Started after they consumed donuts and her son said "oh donuts mumma."  She responded "Exactly."

Pepper Jolly
From the jump rope rhyme "HiLo PepperJolly."  In diabetes terms, "pepperjolly" refers to being in your glucose target range.  Note:  Origin credited to Fairlight.

Red Gold
After pricking your finger, blood comes out in geyser-like spurts instead of forming a droplet.

Shooting Up
The act of taking an insulin injection. This expression is most often noticed in public by uneducated bystanders who look over and raise an eyebrow. (see also "I'm high.")

Sleep-Drinking
The ability to consume juice while still actually asleep. 

Sugar Boogers
Little gummy candies that Lea's son Noah eats when low

Sugar Shy
Not telling anyone that you're diabetic

Sweaters
The furry, sticky feeling your teeth may get when your blood sugar is high.  ex. "I was almost 400 mg/dl, and I definitely had sweaters on my teeth."

Vampire Cannula
An insulin pump plastic cannula that has sucked up blood and refuses to push out the appropriate insulin dose.   

YDMV
"Your diabetes may vary."  Phrase used as a caveat after explaining how something affects your diabetes.  ex.  "Pizza makes my blood sugar spike, but ydmv."

Zombied
Fingers that are too cold to get any blood out of them.  Most easily remedied by sucking on them or rubbing them against your clothes to get the blood flowing.

April 25, 2008

Friday Six: The Short List.

The Friday Six:  April 25, 2008 editionNo intro.

1.  Last night I attended the premiere screening of Life For A Child in NYC, a moving documentary profiling children with type 1 diabetes who are living in developing countries.  I'll have a write-up for this next week, but suffice to say that there is so much work that needs to be done, both around the world and here at home.  I ended my evening with a low blood sugar as I left the screening and with mounting frustration on how much worldwide attention diabetes needs, yet doesn't receive.  More on this next week.

2.  The dTOEs that were sent in are AWESOME!  I'll be posting the dTOEs, Second Edition on Monday.  :)  If you have any others you want to add, pop them in the comments section for yesterday's post, or email them to me at kerri [at] sixuntilme [dot] com.   

3.  I spent at least a few minutes siphoning through this list of Smurfs to figure out which one I would be.  I think I'm Jokey Smurf (or Schtroumpf Farceur ... are they French or something?) - I love the idea of his alter-ego, the Masked Pie Smurfer, "a cloaked figure known for sneaking up on other Smurfs and throwing pies at them."  Which Smurf would you be?

4.  Speaking of blasts from the past, one of my favorite books growing up was The Monster at the End of This Book, Starring Lovable, Furry Old Grover.  Come on ... you remember this, don't you?  If not, here's a slide show of all the pages in this book.  I remember being terrified of turning the pages when I was little, entirely unsure of what the monster was going to look like.  I read it to my nephew a few years ago - as we turned the pages, he looked up at me with his big, blue eyes, put his hand on my wrist, and whispered, "Auntie, please don't turn the page, okay?"  The world keeps spitting out all this garbage but at least children's books are still wonderful.

5.  Want to be on dLifeTV?  We're looking for people in good health who have lived with type 2 diabetes for 25 years or more. Send our production team an e-mail and tell us about yourself, including your name, age, contact information, number of years living with type 2 diabetes, plus your thoughts on how you have handled your diabetes, especially what you have done to maintain good control.  Thanks in advance!

6.  It's going to be a long weekend, but not exactly a relaxing one.  Tomorrow night we have the pleasure of attending the wedding of two friends in Brooklyn, then a Cirque du Solelil show on Sunday night, then we're spending Monday in RI to finish up last-minute wedding stuff like finalizing the floral arrangements, the marriage license, our marriage classes, and my final wedding gown fitting.  May is right around the corner, and I couldn't be more excited.  :)

Have a stellar weekend, and look for the dTOEs on Monday!   

April 24, 2008

Diabetes Sniglets: dTOE II ?

Waaaaaaaay back in the day (like in March of 2006), I wrote about the special language that diabetics, and the people who love us, use every day.  Phrases like "I'm so high," make people encourage you to take an injection instead of taking a drug test.  Or terms like "rage bolus," when you take a massive dose of insulin as response to the frustration and annoyance of a prolonged high blood sugar.  Or the ol' SWAG (Scientific, Wild Assed Guess) bolus, where you use more instinct than data to bolus an unexpected or uncalculated meal.

Just like the genius IT guys in my office, we've got our own unique jargon here in the diabetes community.  We walk the walk and talk the talk!  I'm looking to compile another edition of the Diabetes Terms of Endearment (dTOE?) - and I need your help again.  If there's a special diabetes-related phrase, or an inside joke, that you and your family use, send it to me!  Or leave it in the comments section. 

dTOE:  Second Edition?

Either way, I'm looking forward to laughing my arse off and nodding my head in recognition as I read the dTOEs.  (The "Daylight Savings Time" one gets me every time.)

April 23, 2008

Lunchtime Lows.

I'm standing at the counter at the bank and I hear my cell phone buzzing.  Then I hear the Dexcom wailing out its BEEEEEEEP.  My pump starts to buzz from inside my bra (wearing a dress today).  Every bit of technology I have is exploding all at once and I'm just trying to make a damn deposit.

"Miss, I just need your account number."

"Account number, sure.  I can get that for you."  BEEEEEEEEP again.  Why is it beeping again?  It should only beep once when I'm high.  My goodness, I'm awfully warm, despite standing underneath the bank air conditioning unit.

I stick my hand into my bag and forage about.  My fingertips feel like they're trapped in cotton balls and I can't quite get a good handle on my wallet.  Instead, I grab the Dex, which is BEEEEEPing again, and press a button.

Oh shit, LOW.  Below 40 mg/dl.  I press the down button and see "39 mg/dl" next to the blood sugar graph, which now looks like the Cliffs of Insanity from The Princess Bride.

"Here is my license.  Can you pull my account numbers by looking up my name, please?  I'm diabetic and having a little low blood sugar at the moment and I need to drink this juice."  I hand the teller my license and raise up the bottle of juice with my other hand, like one of the Price is Right models.

"No problem.  I'll get your account numbers.  Do you want to have a seat?"

"No, no thanks."  I drain the bottle between words.  "I'm good.  I just need to focus a bit and let my blood sugar come up."

He typed some numbers in on his keyboard and passed my receipt through the bank printer.  "This isn't some elaborate plan to rob the bank, is it?"

I laughed.  Just drinking the juice alleviated the low-panic enough for me to act like a normal (slightly sweaty) person.  "I'm not robbing the bank.  But I may take one of those free lollipops, if that's okay."

He hands me my receipt, along with three purple lollipops.  "Here you go.  Why don't you wait a few minutes over there," he gestures towards the bank reception area, "for your blood sugar to come up?  I don't want you to drive yet."

SUM lollipops from the bank."Okay.  Thanks for your help."

And I teeter carefully on my heels (far too high for such a low blood sugar) over to one of the plush, blue chairs.  Sinking into the chair and waiting for the juice to do its thing, I unwrapped one of the lollipops.  My feet didn't quite reach the floor, as I was sitting so far back in the chair.  But I was starting to feel better.

People came in and out of the bank over the next ten minutes while I rested, looking over and most likely wondering what that grown woman was doing there, face flushed, swinging her feet, and sucking happily on a lollipop. 

April 22, 2008

Beeeeeeeeep!

Image credit to Maplenet.netWell hello - I'm rather grumpy today.

I had a moment of cyborgy-ness yesterday, when I was dressed for bed at the end of the evening, yoga pants and a sports bra, and I realized that my pants were sort of falling down, thanks to all of the gadgets hooked to my waistband.  The pump and the Dexcom, separately, are not heavy items, but together they are a bit weighty.  Even though I welcome the protection from lows and highs that Dex is offering, I felt a bit unattractive and robotic.  And my blood sugars have been troubling for the past few days, causing the Dex to sing at me with that loud, loud, loud BEEEEEEEEP!

(Note to readers:  If this post is making you feel like you want to chime in about how being sexy/attractive is far less important than good diabetes control, now is not the time.  I understand how important diabetes control is, and I work hard to achieve a relatively respectable rein on things.  But for that moment last night, I wanted to feel like a girl, not a robot.  I am entitled to these desires.  I am a real human being, not a spokesperson of any kind.  :: steps off soapbox, though laughing at the literal illustration of the bar of soap on the box over there on the right.  Hee hee. ::)

Dex and I are linked back up again this week, only this time the sensor is on my right thigh.  (My pump infusion set is on my left.  I'm sporting diabetes saddlebags this week.)  I'm hoping that having the sensor in a place that doesn't bend, flex, and deal with waistbands will help keep in place more than four days.  The numbers have been pretty precise all day long, except I've seen my first "???" indicators popping up.  According to the user manual, this means that the sensor may be disrupted by my clothes rubbing against the sensor face.  With the site on my thigh and sporting jeans today, that may be the case.  It seems to help if I keep the Dexcom clipped to my pocket, closer to the sensor itself.  However, numbers are still relatively accurate.  My faith is still strong in this product.

But the annoying bit I'm noticing the most, and which is sending me into a bit of grumpiness, is the beeeeeeping.  The "Above 180 mg/dl BEEEEEEEEP" that permeates my office.  It's not the fault of the product but more of an alarm that announces my body's failures.  It bounces off the wall, ricochets into my ears, and shaves off a bit of my ego.   "BEEEEEEP - Kerri, you're high.  Your diabetes is uncontrolled at the moment - HEY EVERYBODY!  She's high!"

Over the past two weeks, stress levels have once again crept up, and I'm finding myself a bit looped out at times.  The wedding is closer, finances are spoken for before they arrive, work is extremely busy, and personal projects are ramping up, thus grabbing and needing more of my attention. 

Most often, I'm very upbeat, quick-witted, and pretty damn smiley.  But today - meh.  I'm grumpy and frustrated with stress, the snowglobe of ideas in my mind, and that damn BEEEEEEEEEP.  I become disheartened when my efforts at good diabetes control - hell, good LIFE control - are thwarted by these unseen little factors, like stress, or maybe weak insulin, or the pile of wedding things that still need to be wrangled ... it's a bit much today. 

I would love a personal assistant.  Or, better still, a vacation.  Instead, I have a headache.  And BEEEEEEEEEP

April 21, 2008

Self-Made (Wo)Man.

Over the weekend, Chris and I visited the Stamford Museum and Nature Center (and thank God for our GPS - without it, we would be lost and eating tree bark in New Hampshire, I'm sure).  The grounds of the museum were so pretty that we snapped a ton of pictures (more on my Flickr acccount), but one of the best things we saw was the LEGO exhibit in the main building.  According to the site, "New York-based 'brick artist' Nathan Sawaya has elevated LEGO® construction to an art form. Besides recreating objects and buildings - which he does, brilliantly - Sawaya uses the LEGO® brick as other artist's use canvas, stone, or clay: to express himself and to challenge viewers to interpret his creations."

The art this fella created, using the building blocks from my childhood, was amazing.  He created a whole minature city, complete with working trains.  He made an enormous T-Rex that touched the ceiling.  And his portraits of people were amazing.

Diabetes breaks us down, but we rebuild.

This piece touched me, in particular.  I was very taken with the idea of a literally self-made man, piecing himself together, brick by brick.  It made me think of how we are constantly battling a condition that does its best to break us down, leaving our bodies needing to be reconstructed. 

Diabetes breaks us down, and we do our best to build back up.  While I don't like diabetes, I do like the idea that nothing can truly break me down.  I'm always ready to try again, ready to rebuild.  Never, ever giving up.

April 18, 2008

The Friday Six: Randomness.

The Friday Six:  The April 18, 2008 editionThis week has been very, very busy, what with the Raise Your Voice event on Monday, a pile of work at dLife, and not to mention that my wedding is exactly one month from today.  (Oh my goodness, one month?)  Welcome to the Random Friday Six.

1.  First things first:  the Raise Your Voice event was a huge success and there were so many posts across the blogosphere that were touching, educational, and several that just plain made me cry because they were so beautiful.  And I wore my RYV shirt to the gym last night and had two people ask me about it.  So, once again, I'm so proud to be a member of this supportive and inspiring community.  

2.  There are plenty of new articles on ye olde Internet about the power of blogging.  The health writers at SheKnows.com have profiled Six Until Me and how blogging can impact a chronic illness patient.  Studies are being conducted on blogging.  Articles have even cropped up, showing how bloggers are suffering the consequences of their 24/7 lifestyles.  Blogging is taking the world by storm (as we knew), and it's changing lives (even in Canada)!  We're part of a movement that's changing the face of business, and it's just simply awesome.

3.  On the work front, dLife has been nominated for a Webby Award!  Thanks to the power of a crack editorial team (ahem) and the incredible diabetes resource that dLife has become in the last three years, we've been nominated for Best Health Site.  It would be great if you could take a few minutes and cast your vote for dLife - for all of our diabetes lives. Voting closes on May 1st.  Thanks!

4.  In the land of mindless links, here are a few that have brought me great joy:  Ridiculously fat Garfield cat.  This comic from xkcd about social networking.   And this awesome link that spells out any word or phrase using funky letter photos.  Like SixUntilMe.  Or Kerri.  I was sucked into this for about 15 minutes.  Then I thought about David Bowie and had a quick "Let's Dance" office party.  Oh we put on our red shoes for sure.

5.  Grammar question:  I drink plenty of cold coffee with ice.  I call this concoction "iced coffee."  But I've heard - way too many times - this drink called "ice coffee."  Ice coffee?  This does not compute in my editor head.  Ice coffee?  Like little frozen ice cubes of coffee?  Blargh.  It's iced, right?

6.  After realizing how expensive a train ticket home to Providence has become, and after also realizing how long it's been since I've spent the weekend in CT, I'm digging in my heels and staying put this weekend.  No traveling.  No chaos.  (No eating anything fancy, either, because my final wedding gown fitting is next weekend.)  Maybe Chris and I will head off to the city for the day when he comes home from his business trip.  Either way, it's going to be mellowed-out central in my little world.  And that sounds pretty damn good to me.

Have a kick-arse weekend!  

April 17, 2008

Unsticky.

Apparently, the Dexcom sensor has improved to the point where it can be worn for seven days and is now waterproof.  So YAY for being able to use one sensor for more than three days and YAY for not needing to use those insanely painful shower patches when bathing.

I have found one drawback to the Dexcom so far, though.  

Another Dexcom site starting to peel away.  Damnit.
 Day Four:  The Unsticky.

It's coming undone.  Over the course of a normal day, I shower once in the morning before work and once after my hour at the gym.  Is it my shower that causing this thing to come loose?  Is it my workout routine?  Is it my clothes?  Am I tugging on it at night without meaning to?

Whatever the case, I'm fearful that this sensor will also come loose before the seven day mark.  Last time, I taped it down with medical tape and made quick use of a bandaid at work, but there has to be a better way.  I'm prepping the site with sticky IV prep before insertion and I'm doing my best to install the sensor in a section of my abdomen that doesn't contact the waistband of my pants, yet it's still starting to peel away.

What do you guys do to keep your sensors stuck?  How about a pump site that comes loose? I'm thinking about installing the next sensor on my hip or thigh to see if that helps keep things more securely attached.

In any event, I can't be bothered too much.  It doesn't hurt and it's giving me solid numbers.  All I need now is some super glue

April 16, 2008

Dexcom's Laboratory.

The Dexcom has added a whole new dimension to my existence:  Muttering.

Kerri:   (muttering, of course)  Okay, so you say 176 mg/dl.  My meter says 150 mg/dl.  But you say I'm rising. 

Dex:  (silence)

Kerri:  (checking her pump for any insulin on board)  Hmm.  I don't want to end up high.  I can see that the numbers are climbing on the Dex and ...

Dex:  (like a lion roaring through a megaphone, or maybe a jet plane taking off inside an empty pool)  BEEEEEEEEP.  High - above 180 mg/dl.

Kerri:  Ahhhh!  

Kerri's Office Mates:  Kerri, are you beeping?

dLife CEO:  (from office)  Is that you or me?

Kerri:  Yeah, it's me.

Dex:  Beeeeeeeeeeeep!

Kerri:  (muttering again) I don't want to be high.  Dex says I'm high.  I should take a little bolus to correct this.

Pump:  Boop beep boop.

Dex:  Beeeeeeeep!

dLife CEO:  (from office)  Did you bolus?

Kerri:  Ahhhhhhhh!

Working with the Dexcom has really enlightened me as to how quickly my blood sugars skyrocket during times of stress.  It has also shown me that my overnights are so finely-tuned that my numbers are flat-lined throughout the night.  (That makes me very, very happy.)  But Dex is also making me a little more OCD than usual, and I'm feeling oft-compelled to correct blood sugars when I should instead let them ride and settle neatly on their own.  I'm quickly developing a nasty habit of pinch bolusing for EVERYTHING, which is causing some tricky little lows. 

I need to learn to be patient with this new technology.  I also need to remember that the Dexcom updates much faster than my insulin works, so I can't be chasing every Dex result with the boop of a bolus.  Sometimes I just need to let my insulin work and learn to better manage the emotional blow of an upward cresting graph.   

(Unrelated:  I saw llamas today on my lunch break.  They did not have diabetes, but they did have wonderful personalities.)   

April 15, 2008

Congratulations!!

You guys are something else, you know that?  Everyone's posts yesterday were amazing, and the unity of the community (I love a good rhyme) was remarkable.  Thanks to everyone who raised their voices to make people more aware of our community. The whole day had such an inspirational feeling, and I'm so impressed by everyone's dedication.  Rock on!

In other news that is completely and utterly unrelated to diabetes, I was driving along the highway this weekend and saw this here truck:

The Bimbo Truck - Awesomely funny.

Bimbo?  I couldn't shake the mental image of a truck filled with bimbos, held captive by that cuddly looking bear - it was too much for me.  Then I made the mistake of checking out the website advertised on the side of the truck.  Turns out that this company, with their bread baking up in a rocketship and the giggles of their chef-hat-wearing mascot, appears to have a direct line into the thought patterns of my brain.  I laughed so hard at this that I almost fell out of my chair.    

Laughter is good for the soul, damnit.  There's the diabetes tie-in. 

April 14, 2008

My Raised Voice.

I wear it draped around me like an invisible cloak, one you can't see until I show you the sharp edges.  This disease, this type 1 diabetes that you can't see or smell or taste unless I bring you in.   It's my hidden disease, my quiet battle.

Look at me and you'll see my father's eyes.  My mother's smile.  You might notice my engagement ring, or the earrings I bought a few weeks ago, with the little moonstones.  You might see that my jeans are hemmed because I'm slightly on the shorter side, or that my purse has a few little bite marks in the strap from where Siah nibbled on it as a kitten.

But look closer and you'll find my insulin pump, tucked into a pocket or resting in my sock.  My fingertips, dotted brown from testing my blood sugar.  My thighs, dotted red from past insulin pump infusion sets.  My stomach, dotted red and smudged from Dexcom's patch.  A pattern of stinging stars on my body, left by diabetes.

Listen to me and you'll hear my loud laugh.  You'll hear my off-color jokes and my foolish attempts at puns.  You'll hear me talking fast.  Or maybe you'll hear my music, either coming from my desk or my home or my car.  You'll hear me talking about my fiance, or my family, or my cats, or my much-loved nieces and nephew.  You'll hear my passion, my ideas, my voice.

But listen closer still and you'll hear the quiet 'boop beep boop' of my insulin pump, the gentle shunk of the lancet as it pierces my skin, the sound of the meter bag being re-zipped.  And if I let you in, you'll hear the veiled tone of uncertainty when I speak about my future.   

Its presence is folded into everything I do.  My wedding dress is fitted to my form, but also to my insulin pump.  A night out with my friends includes laughter, a few drinks, and someone gently asking, "Have you tested?"  A kiss is interrupted by "you taste ... high."  It explains so much of why I worry and why I work so hard.

I have lived with type 1 diabetes for over 21 years, and my future holds decades with this disease.  Diabetes is every day, and there is no cure.  But just because you can't see it doesn't mean it isn't there.  Those of us who live every day with diabetes feel it every day, physically, emotionally, and financially.  Type 1 diabetes deserves the attention of the nation and the promise of a cure. 

RAISE YOUR VOICE and let people know that diabetes is not invisible - we see how it touches every day of our lives, and the lives of our loved ones.

We deserve to be heard.  We deserve to be cured.      

Raise Your Voice For Type 1 Diabetes!

I can hear you, loud and clear!  Here's a running list of the posts people are writing, which will be updated throughout the day:

Visit these sites and let them know that you hear them!  And check back often, as these links will be updated all day!

April 11, 2008

Raised Voices.

A quick look around the medical blogosphere has people already raising their voices.  Here are a few examples: 

I'm off for the weekend to enjoy a night out with my friends to celebrate my upcoming wedding.  Have a great weekend and I'll be listening for all of your Raised Voices on Monday.  Please email me a link if you post something so I can include it in the live-blogging on Monday!

April 10, 2008

Clearing Our Throats.

Monday, April 14th, is Raise Your Voice For Type 1 Diabetes Awareness Day.  Are you ready?

What kind of information can I pass on?

I have a blog.  Any ideas for what I can write about?

  • Write about a "day in the life of a type 1 diabetic," and what every day includes for you.  Capturing the minutiae can help let people know what it takes to manage this disease that some people call "invisible."
  • Offer up your diagnosis story.
  • Vent about your diabetes frustrations and other people's misconceptions.  What do you wish people knew about type 1 diabetes?
  • Write a poem about your life, or your child's life, with diabetes. 
  • Bernard has some great ideas for things we can do to raise awareness both on April 14th and beyond.  Check out his post about the price of diabetes test strips.
  • Share a photo that represents a piece of your type 1 diabetes life. 
  • If your child is diabetic and would like to share their voice on your blog, have them guest post for the day and really raise their voice!
  • Talk to Big Pharma - do you feel like they forget who they're selling to in the first place?  Write a post and remind them about the community they should be listening to - us!

I want to make this awareness last beyond just one day.  What can I do?

  • Visit the JDRF website and check out different ways that you can get involved with raising awareness.  Even if you aren't walking on April 14th, it's a great day to sign up for a JDRF walk team and get the ball rolling towards research.
  • Join Diabetes365 and participate in one of the most active diabetes groups on Flickr.  It's all about how diabetes is every day, showing the life of a diabetic through pictures.  Both type 1's, type 2's, parents, and caregivers alike are joining forces and sharing their lives, one photo at a time. 
  • Find, or even start, a diabetes support group in your area!  Check your local JDRF and ADA chapters, and any local medical facilities, for a support group near you.
  • Join an online diabetes community, like dLife, TuDiabetes, CWD, or DiabetesDaily, and connect with other people who are living with diabetes.

If you post something re: April 14th, please send me a link!  And if you have any pictures that you want to share here, send those, too!  On Monday, I'll keep a running list of all the awareness that's being raised in the blogosphere and beyond!

Straight Dex'ing It.

It's official:  I'm applying to have my Dexcom 7 covered by insurance.  I'm choosing to make the Dex part of my management plan.  Over the next week or so, I'll be battling my insurance company to cover my sensors.  Yes, I'm taking the leap.  I don't plan to wear it every single day, but I know I will be sporting it several times a month, more so when I'm closer to planning a pregnancy.

"How's the accuracy?"

It's as accurate as can be expected for new technology - and by accurate, I mean that the Dex7 says I'm 143 mg/dl, my meter says I'm 154 mg/dl.  Those it's higher than I'd like to be (more on that in a minute), those numbers are close enough for me to trust both the trends and the snapshots of Dex.  If I'm going to bother wearing a second device, I want it to be worth it.  And for the last four days, these numbers have been close to one another, so long as my blood sugars are under 260 mg/dl.  Above 260 mg/dl and the gap starts to widen, but I'm not shocked by that considering how my MiniLink trial played out.

"How about comfort?  Is it comfortable to wear?"

I have to be completely honest - comfort is the other deal-breaker for me.  My criteria for a CGM is a. be accurate and b. be comfortable.  Accuracy is reasonable (as stated above).  The only other CGM I've used is the MiniLink, but the Dexcom is far more comfortable.  And I know exactly why.  The MiniLink sensor is not completely adhered to the skin, leaving the "shell" part flopping about a bit.  Even when I taped it down, the sensor still had mobility and the needle shrugged around uncomfortably in my skin.  It made the site ache something awful, regardless of whether I wore it on my arm, my thigh, or my abdomen.  The benefit to the Dexcom sensor is that it's all one piece that is backed by an adhesive, leaving every part of the sensor stuck to my skin and holding steady. Therefore, it didn't hurt me at all and once it was installed, it didn't feel much different than a pump infusion set (only it's slightly bigger). 

I realized this crucial difference in the sensors this afternoon.  For the last three days, my Dex sensor has been securely stuck to me.  But I shower every morning before work and go to the gym every night (then shower again), and the combination of shower, intense workouts, and snug clothing rubbed the sensor a bit the wrong way.  Even though it's meant to last for seven days, it peeled away from my abdomen and came loose a few minutes ago.  Blast.  And for the last 12 hours, it's been floppy and felt sore, leading me to believe that it's the steady adhesive of the Dex that makes it way more comfortable than the MiniLink.  It makes sense - who wants a wire scraping haphazardly around in their skin for hours on end?  Not me. I want that wire to sit still and behave itself.

The Dexcom 7 sensor after it leapt from my body.

"I heard software comes with this one?" 

I loaded up the Dexcom software this morning for the first time.  It's remedial-looking (much like the OneTouch software I have at home), but it serves its purpose of downloading and organizing blood glucose results.  This is a definite upgrade from the old Dexcom software, which was nonexistent. ;) And thanks to my ridiculously awful blood sugars all week long, I've been able to really see all the pretty colors that the Dex software has to offer. 

Screenshot of Dexcom software

"So what now?"

Now I'll make use of the sensors I've received (taking a few days off and reinstalling another one on Sunday morning, post-bachelorette party) and move forward on the insurance verification and approval.  I'll be sure to document my progress with the insurance approval, because I know that's a concern for many people considering a CGM.   

"You mentioned a rough week of numbers.  What's going on?"

Dude, I have no idea.  My numbers have been grossly high all week long, highs in the "Hey, I'm a newly diagnosed diabetic" range like 409 mg/dl, 363 mg/dl, and my favorite, the stubborn 212 mg/dl that visits me without calling first.  I'm changing out my infusion set tonight after work, in hopes that a dodgy set may have been the problem.  Or maybe it was a busted bottle of insulin.  Either way, these blood sugars are reflecting a botched set, or raggedy old insulin, or work/wedding stress, or just plain Blech.  Or maybe all of these things.  One way or the other, I know I need to get things under control FAST because I feel like garbage.  My days with Dex showed me just how bouncy my numbers have been. 

Time to buckle down and focus on what matters most - not deadlines or scheduling or planning, but getting these numbers back under control.  It all starts here.

April 09, 2008

Can't Change The Spots.

Good thing he went to college.Scene:  Last night at my local grocery store.  I'm standing in line with my purchases, thumbing through a trashy magazine that I don't intend to buy.  I overhear Grocery Manager and Cashier talking about a customer they just had in line.

Cashier:  You know what?  I am sick and tired of that guy treating me that way.  He talks to me like I'm an idiot - I can't freaking stand him.

Grocery Manager:  That guy?  He's a jerk.  He'll always be a jerk. He's been coming here for years.

Cashier:  I'm going to tell him off the next time he is in my line.  Let him know he can't treat me that way.

Grocery Manager:  (squaring off his shoulders and looking down at the Cashier)  Nah, don't bother.  I went to college.  I'm educated in the ways of these kinds of people.  I know his type, so don't waste your breath.  You can't get a lion to change its spots.

Cashier:  (staring blankly)  What?

Grocery Manager:  A lion ... you can't get that thing to change its spots.

Cashier:  I think you mean a leopard.  Right?

Grocery Manager:  (grunting)  Hey, you've got a customer here.  Start ringing, okay?

I laughed so hard that I ended up buying the trashy magazine by accident. 

April 08, 2008

Dexcom Seven: The Warrior Returns.

I made the mistake of saying the following to Chris the other morning:

"You know, I haven't had a low in like two weeks!"

The next morning, the alarm went off and my eyes slowly opened, as though there were weights attached to each lash.  Brushing my hand against my forehead to wipe off the sweat, I reached for my meter and loaded in a strip.  For some reason, the lancet wasn't pricking my finger.  Shunk.  Shunk.  Shunk.  Chris stirred beside me. 

"It won't bleed."  Said as though the blood wasn't mine, the finger someone else's.

Finally, a ruby red spot leapt up from my fingertip.  Five seconds later, 48 mg/dl winked at me from the meter.  I drained the small bottle of juice on my bedside table and snuggled back underneath the comforter, waiting for my body to catch up.

I had two more lows that day, one that left me shaking at my desk at work and another that had me stumbling on the treadmill at the gym.  The next day, I hit a sticky high of 409 mg/dl after a site change, the sweaters knitting up in my mouth and lethargy wrapped around every movement.

The DexSignal

So when the Dexcom Seven arrived at my office, courtesy of the reps out in California, I didn't think twice about suiting up for another round as the Dexcom Warrior.  I installed my first Seven sensor on Sunday night.

I know what you're thinking:  "You had a rough experience with the MiniLink - why are you doing this again?"  

Why?  Because I found the Dexcom to be a superior CGM product.  Minimed makes my pump and therefore has my appreciation, but their CGM unit is sub-par.  Aside from the flopping sensors and the painful insertions, the darn thing just wasn't right.  I know CGMs aren't supposed to be a substitution for manual blood glucose testing, but I had little confidence in even the trends offered by the MiniLink - and I was very frustrated by the errors that were cropping up.

The Dexcom, however, had a more reliable trending ratio and the actual results correlated tighter with my meter.  I'm not thrilled about using a second device (the receiver being its own entire hub device), but if I'm going to make use of a CGM on occasion, I want things to be as "right" as possible.  Like right now:  Dex says I'm 146 mg/dl.  Meter says I'm 137 mg/dl.  It also says I'm on the rise, which is true - I was 92 mg/dl an hour ago.  

So I'm spending this week with the Dexcom Seven, making it part of my work day, my workouts, and my wedding stress.  With wedding planning coming to a wild and all-consuming crescendo, I'm hoping Dex can help me stay more tightly controlled.  Because, between you and I (and the entire internet), I'm having trouble keeping my numbers steady these days.  Diabetes is rearing its head and I, for one, am not feeling very armed for battle.  Hopefully I can sharpen my Dexcom skills and have it as my secret weapon. 

April 07, 2008

Raise Your Voice: Ideas.

With the logo developed and the CafePress shop created, it's on for Raise Your Voice for type 1 diabetes awareness next Monday.  If you want to purchase a t-shirt, check out the Raise Your Voice shop (all profits to be donated to the JDRF).  And if you'd like a logo for your site, check out the new color schemes that Gina whipped up (and she's in the final countdown to her wedding date, so thanks for all your help, G!).   Just click on the link, then right-click on the image to save it to your computer. 

Raise Your Voice!
(Just right-click on this to save it) 
 
There are other options:

Green Version

Green V.2

Primary Colors 

Purple Version 

Blue Version 

Purple and Green Version 

This week, we can brainstorm ways to raise awareness, both on and off the blogs.  For me, I'm planning on blogging about what I wish people knew about type 1 diabetes in hopes that people will recognize how all-consuming this disease can be for diabetics and their families.  How will you mark the day?  Will you talk to a co-worker?  Will you write a post on your own blog about how type 1 diabetes affects your life?  Share your ideas and let's see how we can raise awareness for the disease we live with every day.

April 04, 2008

Winnah!

(Thank you, RI accent I wish I had.)

The polls are closed and we have a winner in the RYV logo competition

WINNAH!

Gina Capone's logo!  Congratulations, Gina!  The fine folks over at EatSmart will be contacting you for your shipping address for the nutrition scale

G has also offered to create a bunch of color options for everyone to download that I'll be loading up on Monday.  Thanks, Gina for all of your hard work, and thank you to everyone who submitted a logo!  They were all awesome, and your contributions stand as yet another example of how diverse and deep the talent pool is here in the diabetes blogosphere.  And while Gina is the "official" contest winner, feel free to use whichever logo you prefer to represent your personal raised voice.

On Monday, I'll have plenty of info for RYV on April 14th, including informational downloads, t-shirts, and ideas for making a difference in your town.  In the meantime, have a great weekend and wish me luck as I meet with my DJ, photographer, and the reception hall.  :)

Have a good weekend! 

April 03, 2008

Raise Your Voice: The Logo Contest!

There have been some seriously awesome logos submitted to the Raise Your Voice logo contest.  Now it's time to cast your vote for your favorite logo!  The winner will be announced tomorrow at the end of the day.  (Note - the creators of the black and white entries said that any color can be applied to the logo if it's voted as winner.  FYI.) 

Here are the entries (with their numbers underneath):

ONE
 
Logo ONE
 
TWO
 
Logo TWO 
 
THREE
 
Logo THREE 
 
FOUR 
 
Logo FOUR
 
 FIVE

 

Logo FIVE

 

SIX

Logo SIX

SEVEN

Logo SEVEN

EIGHT

Logo EIGHT

And that's it!  The polls are open (over there in the sidebar up near the "About Kerri" section - take a look!) to vote for the logo you want to represent Raise Your Voice day.  Polls close tomorrow at 5 pm, so cast your vote now! 

April 02, 2008

Wedding Shower.

My wedding shower was this past Saturday, hosted by my wonderful bridesmaids and my family in South County, RI.  (Funny story about South County.  There actually is no "real" South County.  RI only hosts five real counties, with South County being something that residents of the southern-most portion of the state just plain made up.   But I've digressed.  Again.)

The shower was gorgeous.  I've posted a whole slew of pictures in my Flickr account (the ones in the Wedding Shower set), with the talented Batman serving as both bridesmaid extraordinaire and photographer.  NBF held down the fort by keeping me sane and keeping track of gifts.  I had the pleasure of my family, Chris's family, and friends from all parts of my life in one room, at the same time.  It was such an honor to feel so much love from so many people all at once. 

The gifts - holy crap are people ever generous. Chris and I received so many nice gifts and so many unexpected surprises, like this absolutely breathtaking quilt, handmade by my very talented Aunt Linda. (More pictures of the quilt to be uploaded later tonight.)  And the special purple frying pan, courtesy of my cousins. 

And yes, there was a hat made out of a paper plate and the gift ribbons.  And yes, I wore it.  :)

But if you want to know why I received a basket of fancy toilet paper, or why packages of Nutter Butter cookies were part of the festivities, you'll just need to skip on over to Flickr and see for yourself.  

Kerri and the Cookies.

THANK YOU to all of my bridesmaids, my family, and my friends who made this day so special for me.   

April 01, 2008

Raise Your Voice: Two More Weeks

No, I'm not going to pull any fast ones this fine April Fool's Day.  I'm all business today.  ;)

Two weeks from today, on April 14th, we'll Raise Our Voices for Type 1 Diabetes Awareness.  With "diabetes" being one term that covers such diverse territory, it's important to make the distinction that not all "cures for diabetes" or "new diabetes drugs" benefit the type 1 community.  We need progressive and aggressive awareness of type 1 diabetes.  But in order for people to listen, we need to be loud. 

LOUD!

So far, I've received several logo designs and they are wicked cool.  :)  The judging panel is assembled and ready to view your submissions (to win the cool scale).  Here are the rules, in case you missed them the first time around:

  1. Design a logo (the size cap is 200 x 300 pixels). 
  2. Include the event name:  "Raise Your Voice!" 
  3. Have fun designing it.
  4. Maybe have a snack while you're designing - apples are tasty.   
  5. Email it to me as an attachment to kerri [at] sixuntilme [dot] com with the subject line "LOGO CONTEST" no later than 3 pm on Thursday, April 3rd
  6. Grin because it's done and submitted.

So what can we do to raise awareness on April 14th?  You can write about your diagnosis story.  Maybe a post about your most challenging diabetes moment and how you handled it.  How about when you first explained diabetes to your date/co-worker/client/inquisitive family member?  When people ask you "Ah, you use insulin ...  you must have it really bad," how do you respond?  What do you wish people knew about the condition you, or your child, lives with every day? 

Here's our chance to raise our voices together - so let me know if you have any ideas or suggestions on reaching as many ears as possible!

Visitors since November 7, 2005