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December 31, 2008

The Year In Review Part Deux: 2008.

2008 came crashing in with too much to drink and a crew of elephants in my skull the next day, but the year quickly shaped up to be one of the best I've ever had.  From diabetes advocacy to adventures exploring to the most romantic and wonderful day of my life, 2008 was one to remember.

I had the opportunity to test out the MiniLink Medtronic CGM in January, sporting the sensor on my arm, grappling with the emotions of it, and learning what's best.  The trial was one of the best learning experiences I've had, as a diabetic.  I'm grateful for the opportunity. 

The silliness didn't stop, either.  Shoes didn't change her ways, and I had weird fits during which I pictured shoving Siah into a banana.  Then someone actually shoved Siah into a banana.  (Cartoons are based on my life.)  Siah made the ICHC.  She also wore a toupee.  The gym machines told me offLarry Bird touched base as I tried to stay fit.  I was attacked by a spider.  And I saw soldiers with vacuum cleaners.

I cooked a little bit this year, too.  (Stop.  Laughing.)  I made my Seriously Zippy White Bean Salad.  I made soup.  I took a stab at a cake and some cookies.  And popovahs.  I need to buy a few cookbooks and see if I can keep this trend up!

I visited lots of places, too, or at least as many as I could.  Chris and I went to Philadelphia and didn't eat cheese steaks.  I spent St. Patrick's Day in Newport. We explored museums, believed it (or not), and the wilds of Maine.  We saw Eddie Izzard, The Swell Season, Wintuk, and Oasis. We ate cupcakes in NYC and dined with fancy pants types at the JDRF gala.  We explored as much as we could and tried to really take it all in.

And there was diabetes ... of course, right?  Over this past year, I got to meet and hang out with so many wonderful members of this community.  A theater date brought me together with some of my favorite local bloggers.  I had a lovely breakfast with Mollie.  I got to hang with Sara, Mandy, Manny, and many others for the first time at CWD.  We, as a community, marked Diabetes Alert Day and World Diabetes Day.  We raised our voices for diabetes.  We created another edition of the dTOES.  SUM turned three!  My diabetes turned 22.  I worked hard to keep my diabetes fashionableHannah Montana got her nose in it.  Coworkers took on diabetes for the day.  It was great to attend my first CWD conference, and my first BlogHer session.  I met some wonderful fellow diabetics at the Fairfield County Dinners, and also reconnected with old friends.  I vlogged.  I am on the verge of completing Diabetes365 (thiiiiiiis close!).  And I got to hug my diabetes crush.

I returned as The Dexcom Warrior and applied to my insurance company for coverage.  While I fought my insurance company's denials, I learned to manage the BEEEEEP!-ing, respond to the alarms, and place the sensors.  We, as a community, fought the denials.  I appealed like crazy, and I finally WON.  Now I'm living with this machine, with both the pros and the cons of it, and so thankful that I have access to this kind of technology.

And I had such a great time preparing for my wedding.  I had my wedding gown fitting, where they created a pocket for my pump.  The wedding shower was beautiful.  The bachelorette party was ... hey, look, something shiny!  We attended our wedding classes.  We had our rehearsal dinner.  And Chris and I got married.  (I still get goosebumps when I write that.)  Diabetes behaved itself on my wedding day.  We honeymooned and fell in love all over again.  And I returned to more balloons than I knew what to do with.  Now, my husband (!) and I are married and I'm preparing my body for baby, complete with TMI posts comin' at you live from the blog.

I'm a wife.  His wife.  That is the most incredible thought.   

Year in Review:  2008

I can't believe it's already the end of December, bringing to a close one of the most emotional and amazing years of my life.  Next year will be another one filled with plenty to learn and so much to appreciate.  I'm excited to see what it brings for all of us.

Happy New Year, and thank you so much for reading in 2008.  See you in '09!

December 30, 2008

The Year in Review: 2008.

Year In Review:  2008Sticking with a meme that's been circling for a few years now, here are the first lines of a definitive post from each month in 2008:

January: Last night, Chris and I wrapped up on the couch and watched Signs.

February:  Six Until Me has existed for almost three years now and over the last three years, I've had the opportunity to meet some of the best people. 

March:  Last week, I was scraping snow off my car.  [Note:  This is the origin of the Siah in the banana bit.]

April:  I can hear you, loud and clear!

May: Dear Blogosphere, I'm off to get MARRIED!

June:  The night before my wedding, NBF and Batman holed up in a hotel room with me, keeping me company and aiming to keep me sort of sane.

July:  Dear Insurance Company,I got your letter yesterday.

August:  Last night, I started the long trek back to RI for today's Joslin appointment.

September:  There's a lot of buzz in the blogosphere today about insurance denials and appeals, starting with an article in the Wall Street Journal about "Pushing Back When Insurers Deny Coverage For Treatment."

October:  Anyone who hasn't been storing their brain in a shoebox underneath the bed has probably realized that the economy is tanking.

November:  Happy World Diabetes Day, everyone!

December:  As with everything diabetes-related (or maybe just life-related), there are pros and cons to this whole continuous glucose monitoring thing.

Picking through my posts from this year has revved up my brain to write the Year In Review Part Deux: 2008.  A full recap for tomorrow.  For now, have fun in ye olde archives!

December 29, 2008

Insulin Issues.

What to do about cheesecake??"Now I thought you couldn't eat that?  Or can you just dose for it and it's okay?"

She wasn't being the dreaded "diabetes police," but she was just asking a question.  Type 2 diabetes is a familiar disease for some of Chris's relatives, so I can understand his aunt's confusion about how my type 1 diabetes is handled.  Wasn't I supposed to just avoid sugar?

"I can eat this," I gestured to the slice of cheesecake on my plate, "So long as I check my blood sugar beforehand, take the appropriate amount of insulin from my insulin pump, and I avoid a high blood sugar spike afterwards."

"So you can eat anything you want with that insulin pump?"

And this is where I get a bit confused.  Being a type 1 diabetic since I was a kid, I've always taken insulin.  Always.  I don't know anything about type 2 oral medications and I have no concept of managing diabetes solely through diet and exercise.  It's either been multiple injections or the insulin pump. 

Insulin is cool stuff.  It keeps me steady and solid on days when I'm following "the rules," but for things like holidays (where there is a whole dessert table and all kinds of sugary treats), I do have the option to up the bolus ante.  But a cure?  Nope.  Using insulin requires a lot of work.

The thing is, I think that insulin makes it seem like I can eat anything I want.  While I indulged in that piece of cheesecake after Christmas dinner, it was a risk I took.  I took more insulin, and I've read all these obtuse reports about how taking more insulin is tougher on our bodies. (Is that true - does anyone have a study they can point us to that states how insulin ages us or something?  I'm so curious.)  I risked the immediate spike and the latent spike in my blood sugar after eating the cake.  I wanted to indulge and I weighed the risk of this indulgence.  It's a split-second decision that my brain is programmed to make by this point.  Diabetes is all about coloring in the lines, i.e. keeping blood sugars well-controlled to minimize the impact on my body.

But I wonder what people think sometimes when they watch me eat.  How does it look from their eyes?  They know I have diabetes, and from their less-familiar vantage point, they view it as "serious" because I take insulin.  I use Equal in my coffee and I never drink the eggnog or have regular soda.  I almost always avoid the mashed potatoes and sweet potato casserole, and at family gatherings, there is usually a "sugar-free" dessert.  They hear me talk about blood sugar control and they know I work in diabetes advocacy.  They understand as much as they can, not actually living with the disease themselves.

But what to they think when I reach for a piece of cheesecake?  Do they think I'm "off the wagon?"  Do they think I'm being irresponsible because I'm eating a sweet?  Responsible because I'm testing and shooting accordingly?  Does it confuse them to see me clamor for a glass of grape juice when my blood sugar is low?  Do they wonder why every time they see me, there appear to be new "rules" for managing my type 1 diabetes? 

Diabetes is a constantly shifting platform that we're trying to balance on.  Every day is different, every diabetic is different, and the rules do seem to change every day.  On Christmas, I ate cheesecake and never sported a spike.  Last night, a cup of tea tossed me towards 200 mg/dl.   

"A pump isn't a cure, though, right?  I mean, you still have to prick your finger and tell the pump what to do, don't you?"

She's learning, petal by petal.  And despite all these years, so am I.   

December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

(Siah is in this tree somewhere.)
 
Merry Christmas, everyone!
 
Love,
Kerri. 

December 24, 2008

Christmas Puns.

'Twas the night before Christmas, and we're on the road.
Driving home to Rhode Island, the traffic was slowed.
The stockings were hung, but they weren't hung by us.
We're en route to see family, to bond and to fuss.

Flanked on all sides by the cars in their lanes,
We tried to distract ourselves with silly games.
"Let's sing a song," he suggests, and she tries.
But the lyrics that she knows are all improvised.
"A night moose?  What is that?"  He laughs as he steers.
And they're laughing so hard that they almost shed tears.

But then, in the distance, the brake lights do flash.
And our heroes press hard with their hands on the dash.
For what, in the distance, do they spy through the glass?
It looks like a sleigh, but what's that gray mass?

"That's Santa!"  she yelled, her hands through the sunroof.
"That's his red hat, his jacket ... but those aren't reindeer hooves."
And they stared out in awe as the wind gently tosses
A Santa sleigh lead by ... is that Siah Sausage?
"No way,"  he remarks, as he pulls to the side
Of the road as we watch Siah fly through the sky.

Her gray coat was dusted so lightly with snow
And her little gray nose had a slight reddish glow.
Behind her, the rest of the reindeer troop flewSiah Sausage leads Santa's sleigh!!
With Ms. Sausage in front of this Christmassy crew.

"Wasn't she sleeping when we left the house?
Wasn't she quiet, on top of the couch?
Is this really happening?  Or am I just low?"
"How she knows Santa is what I'd like to know."

They stared as the sleigh was pulling out of sight
With Miss Siah flying with all of her kitty might.
She soared above cars and she pulled the big sleigh,
She aimed to help Santa deliver that day.
And with the roar of a kitty who know a good pun,
She yelled, "Meowy Christmas to you, everyone!"

December 23, 2008

Thanks, SuperG.

Sometimes something makes me laugh so hard and smile so widely that it makes my face hurt, in that wonderful way.

Great video, SuperG.  I can't wait to see what YouTube Tuesday #200 brings!! 

December 22, 2008

Dexcom Pros and Cons.

As with everything diabetes-related (or maybe just life-related), there are pros and cons to this whole continuous glucose monitoring thing.  For those of you who are still thinking about whether you want to make this CGM leap, here are my pros and cons of CGMing to shed some light on the subject.

CGM CONS:

The sensor is bulky.  The sensor isn't tiny (about the size of an iPod shuffle), but it's held securely down by the adhesive gauze, so once it's in place, I can't feel it.  This is a big deal for me, since the Minimed CGM was painful for me.  However, it's visible underneath the sleeve of my shirts when I wear it on my arm and it's slightly uncomfortable to sleep on when it's on my back.

Can be "too much information."  Having blood sugar updates every five minutes is awesome, until you find yourself checking it every five minutes and obsessing over each result.  I needed to be psychologically ready for a CGM, and I need to be able to keep it from ruling my life. 

Receiver is enormous.  The Dexcom receiver is pretty big - bigger than my Blackberry - and it's cumbersome to wear.  I usually keep it on my desk, in my purse, or in my coat pocket when I'm out.  At night, I strap it to the headboard of the bed using a headband.  Not a big deal, but it's hard to miss.  Especially when it ...

Beeeeeeeeeeeps! The beeps are LOUD.  Mega loud.  Loud enough to wake me up during the night if I'm low (thankfully), but during the quieter parts of the workday, it's loud enough to distract my coworkers.  I recognize that the beeping is important, but it's not always convenient.

Adhesive sort of sucks.   This is my biggest compliant about Dexcom sensors.  The things do NOT want to stay stuck for more than five or six days.  I shower twice a day (before work and after the gym) and I wear clothes that rub up against the sensor, no matter where I place it.  Even with SkinTac, the edges of the sensor start to peel up at about the five day mark, and it's loose and ready to fall at the 7 - 8 day mark.  (And sometimes, the SkinTac and the Dexcom adhesive and a not-so-helpful bandaid create a huge and ugly problem:  frigging ouch.  See the photo on Flickr for a full rundown.) 

Ouchy Dexcom

I do not like when a $60 sensor starts to peel away.  This is highly annoying.

Insurance coverage battles. While others have had their requests approved without batting much of an eye, my insurance coverage for the CGM had to be fought for.  I battled my insurance company for over eight months before receiving my approval letter.  The insurance hurdles are a definite con, and might make some people reluctant to fight for their right for a CGM.  (Cheerleader note:  But don't let it stop you!  Go for it!)

Doesn't feel "sexy."  (Yes, I know this "shouldn't matter," but these are my personal pros and cons, so roll with me, okay?)  With the pump infusion set stuck into one part of me and the CGM sensor in another, wearing two devices doesn't exactly feel like I'm ready to model for Victoria's Secret.  There have been plenty of times when a moment has been interrupted by the CGM beeping or the sensor getting stuck on my clothes and whatnot. 

CGM PROS:

Low blood sugar safety net.  This was a huge part of why I wanted to use a CGM in the first place:  hypoglycemia unawareness.  I was exhausted and frightened of the lows at 3 am, so having the added safety net of the CGM has been a huge improvement.  The CGM does its job and protects me from plummeting blood sugars.  When Chris is away on business, he prefers that I wear the CGM to keep an eye on those lows.  It makes me feel safe, and I value that "pro" above all others.

Helps me avoid staying high.  My body reacts to blood sugars that are over 260 mg/dl or so, but those 160's and 180's often go unnoticed.  The Dexcom helps me wrangle in these "minor" highs and tighten up my blood sugar standard deviation overall.  Staving off both the lows and the highs will be particularly helpful during my future pregnancy.

Excellent for exercise.  I go to the gym at least five days a week, and my workouts range from walking/jogging on the treadmill to cardio circuit training.  The CGM has been AWESOME at detecting fluctuations in my numbers while I work out, helping me avoid those crash-and-burn lows at the gym and also the highs that sometimes crop up after a hard workout.  (And it was great on our hikes when we went to Acadia - excellent tool!)

Driving safety.  I spend a lot of time in the car driving back and forth to RI, and the drive time is anywhere from 2 1/2 hours to 4 hours (depending on traffic - I hate CT highways).  Having the Dexcom in the center console next to me while I travel is another big bonus.  With hypoglycemia unawareness and blood sugars that seem to be affected as much by my moods as by what I'm eating, having an extra eye on those numbers is crucial to keep be safe behind the wheel.

Integration-free works for me.  I trialed both the Minimed CGM and the Dexcom and for me, the Dexcom being a seperate device worked best for me.  With the Minimed CGM, I couldn't hear the pump alarming in the night because it was buried underneath the blankets.  Having the Dex receiver separate from the pump is convenient for the nighttime alarms and also if I want to avoid having to deal with the CGM for a little bit.  I can shove it into my purse, bury it in a desk drawer, or even walk away from it for a little while if I want.  I like the freedom from being beeped at sometimes.  It sounds counterproductive, but in the longrun, this is a bonus for me.

Trending and tracking.  Here's the point of CGMs - to track the trends of my blood sugars.  The Dex doesn't replace my meter, but instead works with it.  I test on my meter and see a result of 100 mg/dl, but with the Dex, I know I'm "100 going down," "100 going up," or "100 holding steady."  This makes it easy to go into long meetings at work without fearing a crash, and also lets me go to bed at a blood sugar of 90 mg/dl with confidence.

Pretty darn accurate.  I don't expect this thing to be right all the time.  I already have my head programmed to accept that a CGM doesn't replace finger sticks, so when things don't match up all nice-nice, I don't flip out.  Overall, though, I've found that the CGM rides pretty close to my meter.  Dex works better when I'm running a bit steadier, so it's actually a weird sort of incentive to maintain better control to retain the integrity of the sensor.  Don't ask me to mentally make sense of that - I need to take whatever motivation I can and run with it.  ;)

But it does feel sexy.  And this is the flip side to that "con" coin.  The Dexcom is sexy.  It's stuck to me to gain better control of my diabetes.  Good control helps everything from my weight to my hair to my internal organs to my smile.  Being healthy is sexy as hell.  And being confident enough to wear this machine, despite its cons and because of its pros, makes me feel stronger all the way around.  For me, after weighing all these pros and cons, the CGM is definitely worth it.

Conquering diabetes, damnit.

Readers Beware!!:  These are MY pros and cons.  I chronicle my personal experiences with diabetes here on SUM and I'm not a doctor or a CDE or a medical professional of any kind.  I have decided to use the Dexcom CGM after trialing both the Minimed and the Dexcom, but I know plenty of people who are using the Minimed CGM without issue.  For me, the Dexcom was a more comfortable fit into my life, literally and figuratively.  It's all about personal preferences, and these are mine. 

If you're thinking about trying out a CGM, I recommend trialing as many kinds as you can before making an informed decision.  Your mileage on these devices will vary, so it's important to find out what works best for YOU.  Contact your CDE and see if you can schedule a week trial session with different devices. 

If you want to share your perspectives, feel free!  I love that the online diabetes community has become a real source of information for diabetics everywhere who are looking for real information - we are the true mavens of patient experience!

December 19, 2008

The Snowless Snowday Six.

The Friday Six:  December 19, 2008 editionEveryone is bracing for the winter storm that's aimed at New England today.  Schools are closed, people are working from home, and cars across the region have their windshield wipers pointed to the sky.  Yet there isn't a flake to be found yet.  (Stop laughing - I am not a flake.)  It's a snowless snowday here on SUM.  Time for the Six!

1.  Okay, this is from a release sent to me by a PR company, but the horse's name was enough to make me want to write about it.  Apparently, Justin Credible, a horse that has the first documented case of type 1 diabetes, is now sporting an Omnipod.  The article also states that Justin may be hooked up with a Dexcom.  And after I stopped giggling at the name, I had to share with all of you. 

2.  Yesterday was our work Yankee Swap (where the heck did that name come from?), and since I came into work only for the afternoon, I missed the actual swap.  But, since my coworkers are awesome and always remember me, someone participated on my behalf.  And I scored this calendar:  Porn For Women.  (Google, have your fun with me.)  This calendar made me laugh my arse off, especially the last page, where the handsome hunk looks into the camera, smiling sweetly with the cat litter scoop in hand:  "Who would object to cleaning up after the cutest thing on four legs?" 

3.  Also, I wrote about stumbling upon the "secret features" (they're not so secret - I'm just clueless) on my insulin pump yesterday.  But you guys trumped me out big time, because I learned so many other tricks from the comments section that my technoJOY! was in overdrive.  Thanks for sharing your tips!

4.  In other news, I saw a release this morning about a "common infant virus may trigger type 1 diabetes."  The whole virus/type 1 connection has always been of interest to me, because I was diagnosed a few months after a weeklong bout with a high fever.  My doctors and my parents have always cited this "birthday virus" as the trigger for my diabetes.  If you have type 1, does your medical team site an illness as your trigger factor?  I'm curious.

5.  Re: D365, I'm in the home stretch for this yearlong project.  And it hasn't been easy.  Marking each day with a diabetes connection wasn't as difficult as I had hoped it would be.  Somehow, everything plays in to disease management.  Diabetes is truly a lifestyle, and the D365 project has proven that to me over and over again.  I have a lot of admiration for the D365 members who have crossed the finish line, and I'm hopefully joining their ranks at the turn of the year! 

6.  Lastly, since we haven't seen any snow yet here in CT, I found a cool online tool to make virtual snowflakes.  Check out this site and snip up your own snowflake in preparation for this blizzard that's a-comin'! 

Stay safe, stay warm (make bread and milk soup, like you do), and I'll see you on Monday.  

December 18, 2008

Minimed Trick I Didn't Know About.

I have had this Minimed 522 for over a year now, and just yesterday I discovered an option I hadn't previously known about:  Daily Totals Screen.

My old pump had daily totals.  I would hit the utilities option, scroll down to daily totals, and I'd see a running tally of how much insulin I took in total on the previous two or three weeks.  This was a cool option I clicked on every few days so I could keep track of my total daily dosage (and it also helped me isolate the days when I was running higher, because those TDDs were higher).   

Purely by accident (because I do not read the manuals that come with any technological device - technoJOY!), I realized that my new Minimed 522 not only gives my total daily dosage, but it also gives me averages of my blood sugars.  This is AWESOME because, thanks to the One Touch UltraLink that shoots my results over to the pump and thanks to the CGM sensor lodged in my arm, I have a really good sense of how crap my blood sugars have been for the last week and a half.  

Minimed pump features I had no clue about.

(Oh how I kid.)  Actually and unfortunately, I'm not kidding at all.  Last week was a veritable ping-pong match in my body and there is concrete evidence of this terrible run in both my Dexcom receiver and my pump.  My daily insulin totals have leapt from 22 units of Humalog a day to a whopping 35 units.  (And before you start thinking, "Hey, that's not a lot of insulin," remember:  your diabetes may vary.  It's a lot for me.)  Seeing my blood sugar averages and the number of correction boluses I'm taking during the course of a week shocks my brain into lurching into action.  "Average of 189 mg/dl?  Must ... improve ... control ..."

I think this Minimed bolus/TDD/blood sugar tracking feature is very handy, and a great tool for anyone who wants to see their diabetes in a customizable snapshot.  Like I said, I now know that my numbers truly have sucked for the past week, but I'm hoping that when I take a peek at my 14 day averages next week, I'll see some improvement. 

I wonder what other secrets this pump holds. Maybe if I press a few buttons in unison and hop on one foot while wearing bunny slippers, I can unlock this cryptex to find where Siah's been hiding my wallet ...

EDIT:  Just realized I didn't specify how to find the feature, if you haven't already.  Go to Utilities, then Daily Totals, then Daily Averages. Set the number of days you want, and hit ACT. Viola! 

Things That Are Awesome.

To counter yesterday's grumped up mood, here's a clip from the show last night.  A little Wonderwall action:

We hit a pub before the show, had a few drinks, and by the time we arrived, Oasis was about to go on.  I've never seen them live before (Chris has, several times - they're his favorite band.), but they were pretty damn good.  

I'm off to work (took a 1/2 day today so I wouldn't be all bleary-eyed), but enjoy the clip!   

December 17, 2008

Things That Are Evil.

Things That Are EVILWell hello, snowy Wednesday morning. I see you've brought along many Things That Are Evil.  Let's count them, shall we?

  • Delicious coffee items that are frothy and wonderful and have about eight zillion grams of carbohydrates in them even though you told the home-from-their-first-semester barista that you needed the sugar-free kind.
  • Alarm clocks on the bedside table and across the room that are timed to go off 2 minutes apart from one another, having me lurch from bed to shut off one alarm only to tumble back to bed and lash out at the other one merely 120 seconds later.  And repeat.
  • The realization that a deadline has, indeed, passed and I completely forgot.  Need calendar that I actually look at.   Or a personal assistant-type person who can tolerate my absent-mindedness and the little gray cat's propensity for chewing on shoes as though she's a teething golden retriever. 
  • The BEEEEEEEEP! of the Dexcom as it tells everyone in the office YOU HAVE DIABETES, OKAY?!!
  • Coming to work and realizing that one of those mega tins of packaged popcorn has arrived - and Dex starts beeping in anticipation.
  • Carrying a shoulder-mangling work bag that has everything from hair ties to stamps to gum to a folder of articles but not a single safety pin to quick-fix the hem of my skirt. 
  • Red pens (I think having a red pen makes me an official "editor.") that leak all over my hand and I don't realize it until I go to itch my nose and then - WHAMMO - red smudgy nose.  Awesome.  Just in time to lead the sleigh.
  • "Chick lit" books that I bought to read with reckless abandon that instead ended up being about infertility and were not the escape I was looking for (as I detox from a decade of the pill). 
  • The ebb and flow of the heating system here at work.  Goes from tropical to arctic in less than five minutes. 

I believe I may need a bit of a vacation.  Our honeymoon in May was waaaay long ago.  Hopefully tonight's Oasis show in NYC will liven me back up a smidge.  I'm going to dig out my soul.

December 16, 2008

Diabetes Fashion Trends.

Hiding my pump behind the scarfBig sunglasses?  Tucking my pants into a pair of thigh high boots?  Ridiculous white plastic 80's earrings? 

No, no, and NOPE.

But if there's one fashion trend I'm embracing whole-heartedly, it's the scarf thing.  Scarves, pashminas ... whatever you're calling them, I love them.  Every time we're in NYC, I spend way too much time perusing the pashmina color selections offered up by the street vendors. 

Five bucks for one scarf?  Don't mind if I do! 

These handy little numbers come in a whole rainbow of colors - I have everything from midnight blue to pink to purple.  They add a splash of color to an otherwise drab ensemble, and the fabric itself is soft and flowy.  I'm frigging smitten with the things. 

And in addition to being fun and fashionable, these scarves are also my new weapon in diabetes device discretion.  One scarf, draped casually in any way that falls past my hip, can cover the bulge of the insulin pump or the Dexcom receiver.  Since I've been rotating my sites more frequently and making use of the real estate on my lower back, the tubing doesn't always reach far enough to hide the pump in my sock.  In these instances, I clip the pump to my pocket or waistline.  And the lovely scarves are awesome for keeping my devices incognito.

Even though the cold weather is chapping the hell out of my hands and making me shiver as my car warms up in the morning, I'm thankful that this chilly weather offers up plenty of opportunities to be fashionably healthy.  (And they're sort of snuggly, too, these scarves.  Almost forgot that part.)

How do you make your insulin pump or other diabetes device part of your ensemble?

December 15, 2008

Drug-Free Monday.

No more The Pill.Today's post is brought to you by the letters "T," "M," and "I."  And also "Y," for "why the heck am I telling you this?"

Because it may not be just me.  So I'm inclined to both share and draw on the genius of the blogosphere.

My period came when I was 13 years old - textbook "time to become a woman" sort of thing.  And it came for the first time at church.  During Sunday school.  Fantastic.  I knew what was going on (health class + MomTalks = educated Kerri), but the timing was a bit entertaining.

For the first few years, my cycle was more seasonal than monthly.  I only had my period once a season, skipping months at a time, but because I wasn't sexually active, it didn't raise any concerns.  My doctors and my parents decided I was going to take a few years to acclimate to a monthly cycle, and since I was only 16 at the time, it wasn't a raised concern.  I was under the medical microscope at that time anyway, being in my teens, having trouble controlling my blood sugars and/or hormones, and enjoying yeast infections, urinary tract infections, and other high blood sugar added bonuses. 

Once I became sexually active at the age of [hey look, something shiny!], I talked with my doctor about starting on a birth control pill.  Being the paranoid peanut that I am, I talked extensively with my endocrinologist and my gynecologist before deciding on a pill, and kept in close contact when them for the next few years.

But then there were some hiccups in the system that made me rethink the regular pill regimen.  First, I entered my late twenties and realized I had been on hormones for over ten years.  Second, I got engaged, which made me think BABIES and made me want to confirm that my reproductive system was in fine working order.  And thirdly, there was the diagnosis of the Factor V gene, which made regular birth control pills a risky choice and forcing me to try the minipill.

So, with all of these factors (literally and figuratively) in play, I've decided to come off the pill.  Effective last night. 

I've come off the pill once before, in college.  At that time, I was between serious boyfriends and wasn't sexually active.  So, under the advice of my doctor, I stopped taking the pill for eight months.  And during the course of those eight months, I did not get my period even once.  I decided to go back on the pill to re-regulate my cycle and it was only after taking a medication to induce my period did I get one.  Once I was back on the pill, my cycle came predictably and without issue.  But this "gap" concerned me, and I want to make sure I'm okay.

With my marriage behind me, my thirtieth birthday ahead of me, and my desire to start a family becoming more of a "now" than a "later," it's time to make sure my body is ready.  And not just from a diabetes perspective.  From all perspectives.

But - FOR THE RECORD - I am not pregnant.  I am not trying to get pregnant.  And I'm not ready to get pregnant.  When I'm there, I'll definitely share that news proudly!  But for now, I'm going to enjoy being a newlywed for a bit longer.  :)

So ... who out there was on the pill for years and came off it?  I am not sure what to physically expect (Will I cycle right away?  Will my body become sore or more sensitive?  Will I be an emotional wreck?  Will my face fall off?) and I could use some guidance.  Or advice.  Or maybe some coffee would suffice. 

December 12, 2008

Low Blood Sugar Woes. (And Whoas)

Next week will be better.

Because this week has sort of sucked, on the diabetes front.  

On Wednesday afternoon, I stopped home for lunch to make a quick sandwich and grab my laptop. It was a warmer day, so I felt a little sticky as I brushed my teeth in the bathroom.  I was delaying putting on my coat.  My forehead was damp.  And the sounds of cars going by outside and the radio in the living room were tumbling around in my ears like socks in the dryer.  My brain knew I was low.  My body was slower to acknowledge this.  I went to the fridge to get the juice, my legs operating much slower than usual.

And I stood there with the fridge door open for several minutes, just staring into it and trying to remember what I was doing.  I kept looking at the juice, my brain poking at me frantically - "Um, some sugar would be nice.  Why don't you get that?" - but I wasn't moving and instead stood there a few minutes longer, letting the cold wash over me as I found myself sitting on the floor.

I've been diabetic for a long time.  Even I should know better than to let my lows eat my brain like this. (Zombie lows?  Whoops, digression.)  Finally, I fully tuned into the fact that I was low and I drank juice until it ran down my jawline. 

I tested.  45 mg/dl.  Stupid lows.

Low blood sugar:  45 mg/dl.  Damnit.

I can rebound physically from a low that happens in the middle of the night or the wee hours of the morning, but the aftermath of a low during the day sucks the life out of me.  I felt exhausted and shaky for several hours afterward.  These moments make me angry at diabetes, because there is so much out of my control.

Last night, at our holiday party, it happened again.  I was talking with my husband and some coworkers and drinking a diet soda (avoiding the alcohol because ... well, then I may have been inclined to sing karaoke and that would have been a crisis), but then the headache came on.  Again with the damp forehead.  Again with the dizzy feeling and the swimmy sounds in the room.

"Excuse me, I'll be right back," I said to Chris and our friends, walking over to the open bar.

"Orange juice, please?"  I used the bar to prop myself up a bit, hoping no one was noticing how rattled I looked but hoping someone would notice if I needed them to.

"And vodka?"  The bartender put some ice in my glass.

"No thanks.  Just orange juice, please."  He gave me a big glass and I downed it as quickly and discreetly as I could. 

Everyone knows I have diabetes.  It's not discussed and it's not avoided, but it's common knowledge.  Yet I didn't want anyone to see me in that vulnerable state.  The waves of nausea and light headedness were washing over me, but I did what I could to appear "normal."  It doesn't make sense - these people know and like me and I have nothing to be ashamed of, yet I still felt warm with both hypoglycemia and embarrassment.

It passed.  It always passes.  And the night went on without issue.  (And we had fun.)

But these lows.  I can track my blood sugars and attempt to plot the trends. I can wear the CGM and test often.  I can carry fast acting glucose and be all "responsible."  But they still come.  Prevention is a good effort, but it doesn't completely eliminate these nasty lows.   

it's been a crappy week.  I have felt "off" all week long and my the fallout has been visible in my numbers, my mood, and my motivation.  I hope an easy weekend will realign me. 

Next week will be better.    Next week I will be better.

December 11, 2008

Irony: The Thrice Edition.

(No, I'm not sure if that title makes sense either.)

After my last few days of completely screwing up, I tried to do at least one thing to improve my diabetes - I finally created a real emergency kit for work.  

This little gem has everything I need for a diabetes moment on the job:  I have a backup infusion set, some lancets, several boxes of test strips, a Humalog insulin pen, a spare One Touch UltraMini, and even a SkinTac wipe for any CGM sensors or pump sites that go rogue.

Neat and tidy and prepared.  Hang on .. let me adjust my Boy Scout badge.  It's the one for diabetes preparedness. 

But what's missing from this kit?  Fast-acting sugar?  Nope - my office has a handy stash of candy for low blood sugar reactions and sweet teeth (sweet tooths?) alike.  How about the Quick-Serter for the infusion set?  Nah, I live five minutes from my office, so if the site isn't working out, I can pop home and fix it right quick.  Battery for the pump or a just-in-case syringe?  Both are safely tucked into the meter case.  This little box appears to have everything I'd need for a short-term fix ... what could be missing?

Oh, I know!  Irony!

Godiva!  You saved me!

Irony once again:  keeping backup diabetes supplies in a Godiva chocolate box. 

December 10, 2008

Stupid Diabetes Move.

Glucose meter, home aloneMy brain hasn't been attached this week.  I overslept one morning and was late to work.  I left my wallet at home another day.  I completely blanked out on a meeting I had at work.

And yesterday, I left my meter at home by accident. 

You would think that working in a diabetes media company, with another diabetic, would have me existing in a constant state of able-to-be-bailed-out.  But no!  I went foraging for my meter around 9:30 in the morning and couldn't find it.  I dumped out the contents of my work back on the floor (making a clattering sound against the concrete, but my coworkers have since learned that I'm a disaster and they anticipate the random noise), but couldn't find that blasted black zippered case.  

"Where are you?"  I said out loud.  (Coworkers are also used to me talking to myself.  Poor coworkers.)  My meter didn't answer.  Apparently it did not hear me because it was rested quite happily on top of the basket of folded laundry in my bedroom at home.

"Hey, Howard?  Do you have an extra meter hanging around?"  Nothing like paupering for diabetes supplies to the CEO.  While he didn't have an extra meter, he did have a strip I could use in my back up Freestyle meter. 

"Do you need more than one?"  

"Nah.  I'll go home at lunch and find my meter.  No problem - thanks!"

It was a weird feeling of relief to finally test.  Not having the option of knowing my numbers made me feel uneasy.  And it was an even weirder feeling of unpreparedness.  I felt like the diabetes anti-Boy Scout.

And then Real Life took hold.  A meeting that ran late prevented me from going home for lunch, and I had to instead pop out quickly to grab a bite from the deli down the street.  Howard (and his diabetes supply stash) had to leave the office for a meeting for the rest of the afternoon.  Diabetes took a big time backseat to the rest of the day, and all of a sudden, I realized it was 3:00 in the afternoon and I hadn't tested since 9:30 in the morning.

And the Dexcom sensor fell off on Monday evening and I've yet to stick the next one back on.

I felt like I was driving blindly - nervous about eating anything with more than few carbs because I didn't want to chance the spike, reluctant to bolus because I feared not feeling the low.  Yes, I should have gone home to get my meter.  Yes, I should have been more prepared.  Yes, yes, yes, I did the self-nagging and the guilt-tripping.  But NO, I wasn't prepared.  I wasn't even remotely ready.  It was the diabetes equivalent of that dream where you are naked in you 10th grade classroom.

I've talked about this before, but there's a LOT of packing that goes along with diabetes.  A weekend home in RI is never just a bag with clothes and my toothbrush - I bring a whole backup medical kit to account for everything from pump failures to yeast infections (thank you, stash of probiotics!).  And my work desk is more than dLife papers and columns - there's a rotation of meters, infusion sets, and other diabetes supplies kicking around.  I'm always preaching about being prepared, and for the most part, I am. 

Those moments of being caught with my meter down prove why being well-stocked is the best option.  But blah blah, it's not always that easy to get it right every time.  Yesterday sucked, and I felt like a fool, and I was rewarded with a blood sugar of 300 mg/dl when I came home.

I'm off my game this week.  I think it's because I forgot to call Larry on his birthday.

December 09, 2008

SUM Bloopers.

I like to vlog, but I talk nonsense about 80% of the time.  (Those of you who know me in real life can attest to my ability to spew nonsense.) Only a small portion of what I end up rambling on about makes it to the vlog post, and the rest remains on the cutting room floor (also known as the folder on my laptop marked "Vlog Crap").

Since I haven't had a chance to vlog recently, I thought I'd share the running blooper reel of outtakes from SUM vlogging attempts.  Unfortunately, I could do a new blooper reel every damn month, but eventually the cats would tire of being pulled in front of the camera. 

I present ... the sad little blooper reel:

Being awkward is my specialty.  :) 

December 08, 2008

Robot Warrior.

Diabetes hardware is FUN!  ;)I love a good bargain.  So when I saw the BCBG Max Azria gray sweater dress on the rack at Marshall's for $30, I had to grab it.  (Consider it my economic stimulation effort.)  The dress is a soft gray with a flattering A line cut and a nice V neck.  Clingy fabric.  Fun.

But.

This dress doesn't hide much.  And it definitely didn't hide anything diabetes-related.

Normally, I'm able to hide my diabetes hardware to the point where I feel comfortable - the sock trick lets me wear the pants I like and not have to worry about pockets, the bra trick works with most dresses, and when it's a big event, pockets can be created

But this gray dress wasn't having it.  The pump set on my outer thigh stuck out.  The tubing snaking up the side of my body and into my bra (where the pump was clipped) was completely obvious.  And the pump itself looked like a cell phone shoved in my shirt.  Not okay.  Nevermind the Dexcom sensor on my right arm that the clingy dress fabric was gathering around. 

"For crying.  Out.  Loud."  I shifted things around to see if I could get the dress to settle smoothly, but every piece of diabetes hardware was on display.  

I don't care if anyone knows I have diabetes.  I don't care at all because it's not this big deal that I want to hide from people.  I am very open about diabetes and I don't mind explaining things to strangers and friends alike.  This is evidenced by my blog, my job, my decision to network with others like me.

What bothers me is when I want to look "normal."  I want to put on a dress and not grapple with wires.  I want to grab a small clutch purse that doesn't howl with a "BEEEEEEEEEP!" when my blood sugar drops or rises.  I want to be able to have a beer at the bar without fumbling to bolus.  I felt frustrated and furious and like a diabetes robot warrior.

"But isn't the pump best for you?  And the CGM?  Isn't that best?"

I know what's best for me.  I completely understand that using a pump with the help of a CGM and all the other technology I have access to is best for me, but in that moment, I wanted it to all be invisible.  I wanted to be living with that version of diabetes that everyone on the outside thinks is so manageable.  "Oh,  you do so well with it!  You seem so well-adjusted!"  But inside I'm screaming. 

Frustration got the better of me and I replaced the pretty dress with jeans and a black shirt.  (This is the abridged version - the full version included me creating some unique curse word combinations and throwing the dress into my bag in a satisfying tangle.)  Shoved the pump into my sock and hide the CGM receiver in my purse.  Tried to forget that the pump on my thigh and on my arm wasn't natural.  Tried to remind myself that this is part of diabetes and part of trying and part of my life.  Tried to remind myself that tomorrow is another day, and it will be another day with diabetes, so rebelling against it won't do me any good.  Acknowledge, accept, and move on.

The dress is balled up in my weekend travel bag, and I think I'll leave it there for a few weeks.  Maybe I'll make another attempt.  It could look different on a different day.  I could feel differently about it.  The emotional ebb and flow of chronic disease management is ongoing.

Some days, diabetes is a better fit than on other days. 

December 05, 2008

Chocolate Cookies.

There may be something wrong with me, but I'm not a huge fan of chocolate.  Sure, I'll grab a fistful of Hershey's Kisses when the urge strikes me, but it's never my first choice.  A dish of strawberry shortcake?  A fruit tarte?  Cheesecake?  Peanut butter cookies?  These are my preferred indulgences.

But when my husband asks for chocolate cookies, I do my best to deliver.

Tonight, we're heading home to RI for my mother-in-law's annual cookie party.  There's good food, plenty of people, and more cookies than even Chris can eat.  This year, I asked Chris to pick a recipe and he chose the most chocolatey cookies EVER.  The recipe barely calls for any flour, it's so inunndated with chocolate goodness.  Stolen from Cooking.com, here's what I spent the whole night making:

Chocolate cookies.  Yummy!

Awesome Chocolate Cookies 

3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Because I decided to triple the recipe (classic overachiever), there were chocolate chips by the pound on my counter last night.  I melted 1/2 my stash of chocolate chips on the stove on low heat until they were completely smooth.  Then I put them aside while I mixed up the batter.

Using my brand new Kitchen Aid mixer that I got from my wonderful aunts as a wedding present, I combined the eggs, corn syrup, sugars, and vanilla into a big bowl and beat the mixture until it was thickened.  Then I poured in the chocolate I had melted and mixed that all in.  Then the flour and the sugar made its way into the bowl, and the whole thing was churned together until it was combined.  And if that's not enough batter for you, now you have to add the rest of the chocolate chips and stir it together just enough to mix it up.   

I stuck the bowl into the fridge and let the dough chill for about an hour.  When it was ready, I preheated the oven to 350 degrees F.  Then I buttered up 2 cookie sheets and prepared to bake my face off. 

For hours, I dropped rounded tablespoon sized balls of cookie dough into a dish of powdered sugar, then put the balls on the baking sheets.  I stuck them in the oven for 16 minutes, or until the cookies were spread and cracked at the top.   Removed from the oven and let them cool, then put them in an airtight container for storage.

Chris ate two cookies, hot from the oven, and said they were awesome.  Hopefully the cookie party people agree. And according to the website, we're looking at approximately 29 grams of carbohydrate per cookie.  PER COOKIE.  That's some serious cookie going on there.  No wonder people gain weight over the holidays! 

December 04, 2008

Santa Sausage.

Well here's something that made me laugh out loud.

Siah as Santa ... Claws.  HA HA HA! 

HUGE thanks to Jaimie, who is working her magic on people's Twitter avatars and took on Ms. Siah Sausage as a favor.  According to her Twitter feed: "@JaimieH can do Santa Hat for ur Twitter image. She's collecting donations for TuDiabetes.com: $1.50/hat." Good fun, good cause, and who doesn't look good in red?

Santa Sparling 
The Island of Misfit Bloggers?  But I wanted to be a dentist!  ;)

Wintuk.

With a year that's gone by in a blink and a holiday season that's already at my doorstep, I needed a little something to get myself into the spirit of the season. 

So last night, while New York was celebrating the lighting of the big tree in Rockefeller Center, Chris and I went to Madison Square Garden to see Cirque de Soleil's "Wintuk."

I had never seen a Cirque show until this past summer, when we saw Kooza in Hartford.  It.  Was.  Awesome.  Kooza was a circus for grown ups, and Chris and I spent the entire show with our mouths hanging open, muttering, "Did you see that?"  So when we saw tickets for Wintuk on sale in NYC, it made sense (not economic sense, but life sense) to take in that show.

And it, too, was awesome.  Different from the circus-esque feats of Kooza - more of an actual show than an interactive performance.  Trampoline acrobats, this flexible lady with a stash of sterling hoola hoops, and performers in the best dog costumes I have ever seen.  

And at the end?  Massive birds (like you do).

Wintuk in NYC

And thousands of snowflakes raining down from the "sky."

Paper snowflakes at Wintuk

With this weekend's cookie party on tap, Wintuk still fresh in our minds, and holiday parties cropping up at every turn, it's beginning to feel an awful lot like Christmas.  I may have to force Siah to wear some kind of Santa hat and join in the fun.  ;)  

December 03, 2008

Be The Filling.

Toofus, revisited.In many ways, I'm an adult.  I am married.  I have a job.  I am responsible (to a certain extent) and I make the bed without being asked.  This makes me a grown up, I think.

However, I'm scared of the dentist, and the idea of going for something as simple as a routine cleaning makes me tremble like a child.

I have good reason, though.  My family has good looking teeth, but they not the best, structurally.  Our teeth are exceptionally sensitive, and we require more novocaine than your average dental patient.  As a kid, I spent some time in the dentist's chair having cavities filled (so did my brother and sister) and I wore braces for three years in middle school.  As an adult, I've had my share of weird little toofus problems - like grinding down my molars while I sleep and these pesky sensitive spots at the base of a few of my front teeth.

It's these sensitive spots that cause me the most trouble.  About ten years ago, my dentist decided that he needed to cap the base of my sensitive teeth.  "No, I don't want that," I thought.  But becuse I was in Milgram Mode, I caved and let the dentist do his thing.  He shaved off a bit of the very bottoms (near the gumline) of four of my teeth and put a ceramic filling over them.  Sensitivity issues?  Solved.  But the procedure left me sore and bleeding for days. 

And, three years later, one of the ceramic fillings popped off, exposing that vulnerable nervy area.  I had a different dentist, and his repair included not using enough novocaine, accidentally drilling my lip, and earning many bloody cotton balls.

Two and a half years after that, this shoddy workmanship cracked off again.  Another dentist took a literal stab at it, mangling my gums and leaving aching teeth and bruises on the side of my face.   Bastard dentist.

So when this God forsaken filling popped off yet again Monday morning, I was filled with panic.  "Oh, for crying out loud."  The exposed spot wasn't so painful, but past experience told me that repairing it would be a nightmare.  

Without letting my brain reach maximum nervousness, I called a new local dentist and made an appointment.  "Tomorrow morning?  Great, thank you."  Pause.  "Um, is Dr. B nice?  I'm nervous."

The receptionist laughed.  "She's very nice.  We have plenty of nervous patients, and they all like her a lot."

"Awesome.  See you at 8." 

I showed up to the small practice, nerves of all kinds exposed, and Dr. B greeted me at the door.   

"Hi, are you Kerri?"

"Yes.  You knew it was me?"

She consulted my chart.  "They said you were nervous.  You look a little nervous."  She smiled and closed the folder.  "Nothing to worry about.  This is going to be just fine."

Faithful Readers, let me tell you that I sent a thank you note to the dentist this morning because she was awesome.  Aside from being this friendly looking woman with an easy smile, she took great pains to make sure I wasn't in any pain.  She made sure I was novocained to the fullest extent so I wouldn't feel any discomfort at all.  She told me what she was going to do before she did it, and she advised me to close my eyes when the instruments in play weren't the friendliest-looking.  (I told you I was a big ol' baby.)  She also had a DVD player mounted above the chair, and using headphones to listen, I watched two episodes of The Office while she fixed my tooth.  I know this sounds melodramatic but I can't properly explain how scared of the dentist I am, and how much this particular experience didn't suck.

After it was over, she smiled at me.  "I hope that wasn't too bad.  Are you feeling okay?"

"It wathn't bad at aw.  Fank you," I said, trying to look grown up, but it was hard with the drool and one side of my mouth completely uncooperative.  I smiled a lopsided, pathetic smile, but I meant it.  And when I got in the car, I called Chris.

"Chrith!  The dentith wath awefum.  It didn't huht at aww.  I aweady scheduwed a cweaning."

Cwisis avewted. 

December 02, 2008

FiveHumans: Curing Ignorance.

At the WDD event in NYC, there was this really nice guy who came up to me and said, "Okay, this is going to sound completely weird, but I think I know you from Facebook.  Are you Kerri?"

And this is how I met Lee Fine from FiveHumans.com. 

He was attending the World Diabetes Day event as one of the Discovery Health Ambassadors, and his words inpired the crowd.  The company slogan of FiveHumans is "Ignorance is a curable disease."  I'm so on board for that.

Lee Fine of FiveHumans at WDD

According to their website, "Dan Grunvald and Lee Fine (read Lee’s story here) first dreamed up the concept of producing t-shirts with slogans and information related to a variety of diseases, which they called Disease Tees. Their goal was to help raise awareness and provide a tangible opportunity for people to support a cause near and dear to them." 

In 1999, Lee was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.     

Lee's diagnosis, in his own words:  "The memory of sitting in the doctor’s office reviewing my blood test results is still fresh in my mind today. I was in complete disbelief. I had never felt so alone, so vulnerable, so nervous.

Since becoming a diabetic, my life has changed significantly. At times, I’m the model patient, while at other times, I’m the guy questioning my decisions, wondering when the heck I’ll get my act together. Hey, I’m Human, and as anyone with a disease will tell you, it’s a day to day affair. One thing I have done consistently is become an advocate for my disease. Before my diagnosis I knew more about the JFK conspiracy theories than I did the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, but through life experience I’ve become an expert on all things related to diabetes and I’m always eager to enlighten anyone who’s interested in learning."

It's remarkable to see people really taking advocacy to a higher, more tangible level. Their products are cool looking, yet they make you ask questions.  Nicole (self-proclaimed Fourth Human) contacted me a few weeks ago and offered to send me one of their diabetes t-shirts.  It arrived last week, and it is awesome.   

FiveHumans t-shirt
 One Test at a Time.  Don't we know it.

To contact FiveHumans and share your story, click this link.  And if you want to check out their clever selection of inspiring t-shirts, check out their online store.  Take note:  FiveHuman will be offering the 12 days of holiday giving starting December 1st, 2008. For 12 days they will offer a daily holiday promotion on their website.

Ignorance is a curable disease.  And by spreading the word about diabetes, we're doing our part to at least cure ignorance.  That's a change we can make today. 

December 01, 2008

Dexcom Discard.

Holy December - I can't believe it's the end of the year already!  Holiday chaos reigns supreme, starting with this past weekend's Thanksgiving holiday and stemming straight into New Year's.  Since I've been wearing the Dexcom pretty regularly (approximately five or six days in a row, then a day or two off), I realized how awesome it is to have that little thing attached during holidays like Thanksgiving. 

I slapped on the new sensor last week and it stayed pretty solid until last night, when the adhesive was peeling too much for me to handle.  (It gets itchy once it starts to peel, and that makes me craaaazy.)  

Dexcom sensor before I pulled it off.  All tattered.

This is the sensor after six days of changing clothes, working out, spending hours in the car, wool sweaters, multiple showers, and the general wear and tear that I put my body through in the course of a week.  The sensor is still attached, but the gauze around it isn't in good shape.  So I decided to pull the site and reapply it this afternoon.  Dexcom discard.  I'm freewheeling without the Dexcom at the moment.

The graphic on the Dexcom receiver that indicates ending a sensor run makes me laugh every time.  The little guy tosses off his sensor with reckless abandon into the garbage can.  Then it asks me, "Okay?"  Okay, let's throw the whole thing out.  (Note:  You don't throw the whole thing out.  You remove the EXPENSIVE transmitter first, then throw out the sensor housing.)

Bye bye, Dexcom sensor!

This past sensor was a bit of a needy one - it didn't want me to shower, apparently, because it kept throwing the "???" at me (meaning it's "confused" and needs a few minutes to catch up) every time I was in the shower.  It also wasn't as tolerant as usual when it came to distance, so instead of keeping it on my bedside table or on the back of the headboard, I had to tuck it under my pillow.   Maybe wearing the site on my lower back instead of my arm caused the difference in transmission - I'll have to see if it happens next time.

Watching my numbers closely for the holiday really helped out a lot.  I saw that a glass of white wine on an empty stomach actually made my blood sugar spike almost instantly.  I also saw that lemon meringue pie (de-li-cious) didn't do much after 15 minutes, but the 40 minute mark showed a real intense spike.  Insulin?  Yeah, it takes at least 35 minutes to impact my blood sugars, but knowing that made me more precise in when I bolused.  The result?  Elevated blood sugars during Thanksgiving (avg. about 195 mg/dl) but I didn't hit the wicked highs, and once I was high, I wasn't stuck there for hours.

Thanksgiving has come and gone, but I'm thankful to have another effective tool in dealing with diabetes.  Now it's time to get to the damn gym and work off that pie. 

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