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February 27, 2009

We Didn't Buy These.

A trip to the grocery store brought home some very tasty items, like brie cheese and fresh avocados and a bag of salty-sweet kettle corn.  We love grocery shopping, grabbing cups of Greek yogurt, blueberry tea, and organic meats.  Everything we needed for healthy meals.

Oh, and there was a sale on blank-faced cats.  Two-fer-one. 

We did not buy these.

 A special on Sausage.

Send it back.

 She sat in the bag for hours.  Stupid cat.

February 26, 2009

SUM Reader Needs a Hand!

You guys are total super heroes!Hey again.  I received a question from a reader I'll call "NC Mom" and "NC Daughter," but it's out of my geographic grasp.  Maybe one of you can help?  Here's her question: 
"Kerri, my 28 year old daughter (who has diabetes) and I love your blog.  I have a question I am not sure you can help with, but it's worth asking ...
Do you know of any resources to help preggo diabetics in North Carolina? We are so excited that she is pregnant, but also are concerned about the costs. She has to see her Dr. every week with a $50 co-pay, since he is a specialist.
I know the costs are going to continue to sky rocket, with pump supplies, test strips, etc.  I am just reaching to everyone I know (and don't know) and asking about resources.  Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated!"
I edited out some things from the email, but one point to make is that our pregnant North Carolina reader is employed, but her insurance has a wicked high deductible and her income is above the poverty level, so she doesn't qualify for Medicaid.  Do you guys know of any North Carolina resources - or ones she can tap from the Internet or phone - that can help NC Daughter maintain a healthy pregnancy with diabetes?  Leave it in the comments section.
Thanks in advance!  I appreciate all of your help. 

24 Hours with Diabetes.

This clock is obviously wrong.  Should say 7 am.7:00 am:  The alarm goes off for the first time.  I stumble from bed, find out where my pump has landed during the course of the night, wander off to the alarm clock, bang my hand against it, and then shuffle back to bed to claim another 9 minutes of sleep.

7:09 am:  Alarm goes off again.  Snooze one more time, grab my meter from the bedside table, and hope to test when it goes off again.

7:16 am:  Okay, this is it.  No more snooze, test blood sugar. Whatever the result, it kind of sets the tone for my day.  I’ll correct it, treat it, or celebrate it, depending on the number.  Calibrate the CGM, disconnect the pump, and head off to the shower.

7:20 am:  Connect CGM to my bathrobe on the bathroom door so it’s close enough to pick up a signal while I shower.  Shower quickly so I’m not disconnected from the pump too long.  Carefully dry off to keep CGM sensor and pump site from becoming loose.

7:30 – 8:15 am:  While getting ready for work, put at least underpants on to have something to hook the pump to.  Dress in clothes that make me feel comfortable, fashionable, and able to wrangle in any diabetes technology I’m trying to wear. 

8:20 am:  Grab enough snacks to get me through the day, but make sure the food is d-friendly enough to keep my numbers in line.

8:30 am:  Drive to work.  Check the CGM to ensure I’m not sailing out of range.  For the record, my car has glucose tabs in the glove compartment, in case I go low.

8:45 am:  Time to buckle down.  I’ve got my coffee, my computer, and my meter at the ready.  During the course of my morning at work, I’m testing my blood sugar every hour or so to make sure I’m in range.  Sometimes the blasted dawn phenomenon grabs me and I end up fighting a high for hours.  Other times, a tricky little low sneaks up on me and I have to down some juice and then muddle through the aftermath.  And lots of times, my body behaves and numbers hold steady.  But I still have to check and confirm this, so I’m still actively maintaining diabetes stuff.  And I usually have a snack in the morning at some point. 

Lunch time.  I test beforehand, I react to this number, and I try to anticipate what I’ll be eating for lunch.  Most often, I eat carbs at lunch, either in the form of a sandwich or soup or something like that, but food is always consumed at this time.  (I get hungry!)  

1:30 – 5:30 pm: 
Work afternoon.  Looks a lot like the morning, only for me it tends to be a little more even with blood sugars and a little less even with stress levels.  (Something about the afternoons at work tend to bring on the meetings, wacky emails, etc.  Either that, or maybe in the morning I’m too sleep to mind the difference.)  Lots of testing blood sugar and/or scoping out the CGM line during this period.

6:00 pm:  Homeward bound.  But it’s not over, yet.  From here, I have about 30 minutes to change up to head out to the gym, and make sure my blood sugars are high enough to take on an hour of exercise.  (This is one of the only moments in my day when I’m intentionally a bit higher.)  Aiming to be at around 180 mg/dl, I head off to the gym toting my bag crammed with my meter, music, water bottle, CGM receiver, and a fast-acting glucose stash. 

7:00 pm:  (We’re here already?  Man, this day goes by fast.)  Gym is ovah.  Time to test before heading home to see if I need to act on a number, make sure I’m good to disconnect and take a shower. (Yes, two showers.  I hate to stink.)  A shower is followed by dinner.  Dinner is followed by testing.  Testing is hopefully followed by sugar-free pudding with cool whip or something.  ;)

From Dinner to Bedtime:  Evenings are sort of status quo, with lots of options.  Heading out for a movie?  Going into NYC for the night?  Grabbing a drink downtown?  Staying home and working on computer crap?  Perhaps some [hey, something shiny!]  Or grocery shopping, changing out the CGM sensor, cooking (ha!) ...  Whatever the hours of my evening are filled with, I’m still keeping close to my meter and maintaining an eye on my body.

Before Bed:  Go through the whole before bed routine (washing face, flossing, brushing teeth, fighting to keep the cat out from underneath the bathroom sink), and then head into bed.  One of the last things I do every night is test my blood sugar and check my pump reservoir and battery life to ensure I'm good for the night.  After that, I try to fall asleep, with all hell usually breaking loose when the cats run races at the foot of the bed around two in the morning.

Sleep:  Awesome.  Hopefully, there aren't any hypoglycemic episodes throughout the night.  If there are, the Dexcom usually BEEEEEEEEP!s until I wake up.  (No snooze button on that thing, that's for sure.)

7:00 am:  Lather, rinse, and repeat. 

A team of students contacted me and asked me to tick through a day in my life with diabetes.  I tried to do a standard day - one without a wicked low or high - but it's hard.  Variables come raining in from everywhere, and it's nearly impossible to account for all of them.

I've written those kinds of "day in the life" posts about diabetes before, but they never really capture what can and does happen.  I even attempted to do a video, but it didn't cut it, either.  It's hard to show how much instinctive management comes into play, like those moments when we don't realize we're managing diabetes (but we are). 

How would you describe a day in your diabetes life?  Or, when you try, do you get tangled in the same set of variables?  How do we describe something so random and far-reaching?

February 25, 2009

Diabetes Snake Oil.

Snake oil - he haz it.There is no way I’m going to name the person who contacted me, nor would I even think about linking out to their ridiculous product.  But I received an email over the weekend from a tool who I will call Peddler.

Peddler started their email to me by saying, “Hello Kerri.  You can cure diabetes.”  Then there was a link to a YouTube video.  (With instructions on how to cure me, I assumed.)  I clicked through and watched their video and did the whole “rolled eyes” routine.

I am a relatively well-educated patient.  I am by no means a doctor, but I could pretend to be one for at least 8 minutes (until someone asks me to recommend treatment options or draw blood, and then I pass out and they find out I’m a lowly editor).  False claims of a “cure” don’t sit well with me, so I decided to email Peddler back and see what kind of web he would weave.

“Dear Peddler.  I have type 1 diabetes.  I have been diabetic for over 22 years.  Are you telling me I missed a cure?  Best, Kerri.”

His response:  “Yes, it must be possible.  Although it’s not easy.  Did you watch the video?  You can try [product name] and [other product name] to cure diabetes type 1?  The [product 2] keeps my blood sugar between 5 – 6 (European measure).  When normally it will go like a roller coaster.  It are the most advanced products ever made.  I use them myself.  You can find them here.  [Link]. “

My goodness. 

My response:  “You can cure my type 1 diabetes when no doctors at the Joslin Clinic, no researchers, etc. have that ability?  Can I stop taking insulin when taking your recommended product?  My body doesn’t have active islet cells – you can reverse this?  How much does your product cost and what is your personal involvement?”

Peddler’s response:  “No sure, you can’t stop taking insulin.  But if you take the product it might reverse it over time.  I have absolutely no involvement into this.  I just use it myself.  Have been looking for years to try and find a cure myself.  But you must read the information and watch the video.  But there are a lot of products and research outside of the conventional research.”

Then Peddler loses it a little bit, emailing again:  “[Another guy’s name], the health ranger, healed himself of type 2 diabetes through dieet and supplements.  You can read a lot of information on [website].  Do you know anything about farmaceutical companies and their research?  They only want to make money.  They cannot use natural vitamins and minerals because they cannot pattent them.  It’s a big money industry.  I was a shareholder, been very active on the stock market.  I know a lot about these companies.  It’s just like the oil industry.”

The snake oil industry that wants in on my “dieet” and “pattents” and “farmaceuticals?”  And what the hell is a "health ranger?"

I emailed him back:  “It will reverse my need for insulin?  Type 1 diabetes means my insulin-producing cells were attacked by my own immune system.  This product can reverse my own auto immunity?  I am shocked.  Are you involved with this supplement company, because I have to be honest - I doubt the integrity of your intentions.”

Radio silence.  Maybe he had to call back the Mother Ship for guidance. 

Then Peddler comes back out at me.

"Ok, no I'm really not. I'm 27 years old, working in a pipe factory here in Holland. I really am not involved into this company,  I'm a person just like you."

Then he sent me YouTube clips of different people talking about the supplement, and others of people showing how a certain diet plan "cured" their diabetes.  How if I just authorized some payments from my PayPal account, I'd be right ready for a life without diabetes.  (Come on, Mr. Pipe Layer from Holland.)  After clicking around for a while, I had a good sense of how much snake oil is being peddled to people with diabetes. 

And the thought made my stomach spin.

I can't help it.  This shit makes me crazy!  Don't market your false cures to me.  Nothing I eat is going to cure me.  No amount of raw vegetables or coffee or protein powder or amino acids or special high-fiber, low carb, strapless, backless nutrition bars.  Unless you have a way to keep my immune system from taking out my body's own insulin-producing cells, do not email me.  Stop preying on people with diabetes.

And for crying out loud, use spell check, would you?  

February 24, 2009

Jay Cutler Says He Likes Blogs.

Jay Cutler plays football and knows a lot about it.  Quarterback for the Denver Broncos, Jay know what all those flags and whistles and snaps and other football terms mean. 

So far, Jay Cutler and I have very little in common.

However, last April, Jay was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.  

Jay and I now have a whole lot in common.

Jay took a few minutes to talk with me about his diabetes diagnosis, bringing diabetes onto the football field, and his passion for the Inspired by Diabetes campaign.  

Jay Cutler and I have plenty in common now.
Kerri: When, and how, were you diagnosed with type 1 diabetes?

Jay: I was diagnosed in April 2008. I knew something was wrong through most of the 2007 season, and I lost about 35 pounds. People said it was the stress of playing in the NFL, but all kinds of things go through your mind, like maybe I have cancer. After six months not feeling well, the doctors diagnosed me with type 1. My blood sugar level was about 550. It was a relief, really. It’s not easy to live with diabetes, but I was glad to know it was something I can manage.

Kerri: Most people with type 1 are diagnosed when they are small children, leaving us with no real sense of "before" and "after."  Do you feel that there is a benefit to being diagnosed as an adult?

Jay: I just can’t imagine what it would be like to be diagnosed as a kid. I visited a children’s hospital in Tampa during Super Bowl week and met a 4-year-old boy who had been diagnosed when he was 1. And I’ve met a lot of other kids who were still young but are really veterans because they were diagnosed at 4, 5, 6 years old. Those are tough kids, and tough parents, to have to deal with this at such a young age.

Kerri: What has been the most challenging part of the "diabetes learning curve"?  Or the easiest part?

Jay: I think the toughest part is that first few weeks, while you’re getting used to taking insulin shots and pricking your fingers so many times every day. The easiest part? There’s nothing easy about diabetes. But I’m lucky to good people around me to help manage every day.

Kerri: How do you manage your diabetes during a game?  Have you had any lows on the field?  Felt affected by highs?

Jay: I usually check my blood sugar four different times, about an hour before the game. I try to stay around 150-160 before the game. In the first half, I’ll test a few times to make sure I’m not getting low. The adrenaline and emotions of the game can make me drop in a hurry, so I try to stay in check. If I’m steady in the first half, I don’t check as often in the second half. I’ve had one time, when we played Kansas City earlier this season, when I felt low during a series on the field, but we always have some Gatorade ready in case I need it.

Kerri: What are you using, technology-wise, to manage your diabetes?  Do you have any interest in an insulin pump?  A continuous glucose monitoring system?

Jay: I tried a pump and a continuous monitoring system right after I was diagnosed, but using the pen just fits better into my line of work and lifestyle.

Kerri: Since you're in the public eye, do you feel you have a responsibility to disclose your diabetes?  Do you feel pressure to be the perfect diabetic?

Jay: I didn’t want to shy away from it at all. I think I can be an inspiration for people dealing with diabetes, especially kids. I think it’s important to let kids know they can achieve their goals and dreams, and that even though having diabetes is tough, it’s possible to do what you want to do in life. That’s why I wanted to team up with Lilly on the Inspired by Diabetes campaign. But it is tough, and I know I’m not going to be perfect. I’m going to have my ups and downs too, just like everybody else.

Kerri: You're probably used to being interviewed by ESPN junkies and football fans, but now kids with diabetes specifically are looking up to you.  What kind of message do you have for kids in the diabetes community?

Jay: I love the message of the Inspired by Diabetes contest being run by Lilly. First, we want to hear the stories of people affected by diabetes, especially kids, to hear how they’re dealing with it. A lot of people know my story, but all these stories can be inspiring to other people. There’s also a great message behind the campaign, that by telling your story you can help other kids with diabetes through the donations Lilly is making to the ADA for diabetes camps. It’s a great cause with a great message.

Kerri: Since you are new to diabetes - less than a year since your diagnosis - what kind of message do you want the diabetes community to offer you?  Do you turn to things like blogs, message boards, and other online resources for that sense of "community?"

Jay: When I was diagnosed, I noticed there’s a lot of information on the internet, but not as many personal stories. I think blogs are a great forum for that.

Kerri:  Thanks, Jay, for being part of the community.

February 23, 2009

Health 2.0 and Bloggy Bits.

I'm so blogging this.  Dude.I wrote this post on Diabetes Daily a few weeks back, but I wanted to share this here, too.  When it comes to patient blogging, there are plenty of people who want to know more and who benefit from the collective sharing of our stories … including those of us who are blogging:

Who Benefits From Patient Blogging?
I blog, therefore I am … a better diabetic?

Not exactly.  Even though I’m blogging about diabetes, I am not “a perfect diabetic.”  My blood sugars still ping all over the place at times and I’ve confessed to consuming more than my share of E.L. Fudge cookies.  I am not a perfect patient, and I won’t ever be.  (Is there even such a thing?)  Blogging about a disease doesn’t make me any less “diabetic.”  There is a misconception about patient bloggers – that we have it all figured out.  

Patient blogging is so powerful because it isn’t about finding perfect control or flawless diabetes management, but about sharing what real life with diabetes is like. This was a topic I blogged about early last week and the response from the community was overwhelming.  Patient blogging brings people with diabetes together, confirming time and time again that we aren’t alone.  It’s about sharing best practices and little coping mechanisms and those resonating moments of “Hey, me too!”  It’s the support community we need when diabetes becomes a little “heavy.”

But patient blogging doesn’t just benefit the patients.  Writing daily about diabetes has connected me with doctors who read to better understand the challenges of diabetes “au natural.”  Even though they take care of us and help us make sense of our medical condition, the closest they get to “understanding” is through our blogs.  Patient blogs offer a window into the personal side of disease management, one that our doctors wouldn’t see unless they bugged our homes or camped outside our windows.  By simply tuning in to the lives of bloggers who represent their patient base, doctors can better understand, and better treat, their patients.

My own doctor at the Joslin Clinic reads my diabetes blog.  Sometimes she emails me links to articles she’s come across that speak to my personal goals.  Other times she helps me out with things like insurance appeal letters.  She knows what kind of insulin I’m on and how I attempt to dose.  But through reading my blog, she also knows that there is so much more to me than my diabetes.  She sees stories about my life – my wedding, traveling, stupid cat stories – intertwined with diabetes moments.  It’s not just managing my diabetes specifically, but helping me manage diabetes in my life as a whole.  

The beauty of patient blogging is that it touches so many lives:  the doctors who want to learn more about their patients, the parents of children who cannot yet describe how they feel; the spouses of people living with this disease; the friends and families; the readers who tune in every day; and the bloggers themselves.  “Health 2.0” and other buzzwords don’t properly capture the positive influence of the diabetes community.  Through these moments of sharing, we learn from and support one another, and live fuller lives as people with diabetes.

And my health - my life - is better for it.

Thanks for hosting my post, Diabetes Daily, and feel free to share how you've benefitted from patient blogging, either as a blogger, a reader, or as a medical professional.

February 20, 2009

The Banana Bunker Friday Six.

The Friday Six:  February 20, 2009 editionWhat a hectic morning already.  Between an early start with my dLife email and then a quick commute to Boston for the day (complete with low blood sugar on the sidewalk of the city, making me look like a homeless person who stole a laptop), I'm glad to be finally chilled out and getting things done.

Not much going on diabetes-wise, but I do have some fun crap to share with you this morning.  Here is this week's Friday Six, starting off with this:

1.  The Banana Bunker.  I can barely remember what made me Google bananas at work earlier this week (Shhhh, dLife ladies.  Don't tell Helen!), but once I found this photo, I couldn't stop laughing.  A banana bunker, in four jazzy colors.  It will "keep your fruit safe until you're ready to go!"  It will also look so much like an inappropriate toy that you'll be sure to embarrass yourself by sharing it with the the whole Internet.  Like now.  Hi!

2.  The Hero Factory.  Want to see a superhero version of yourself?  Yes, you do.  I spent altogether too much time mucking around with this (I had to see what I'd look like with laser beam eyeballs!), but here's my final version.  (Over there.  On the right.)  Do not mess with me.  I know the guy from Reading Rainbow.  (Hat tip to SicklyKitty!)

3.  Holy Sh*t.  This is a mega-dog.  I actually whispered "Holy sh*t," under my breath before reading the post beneath this photo.  Do dogs actually get that freaking big?  Not normal.  If a cat was that big, it would be put in a zoo.  Or at least a stable.  Check it out and see if you can contain your expletive.

4.   OMGWTFBBQ.  I tend to find out about things after they've already peaked, but that doesn't make them any less funny to me.  My coworker threw a "OMGWTFBBQ" at me this week and it caused great joy for my brain.  The illustration on the Urban Dictionary makes it even better.  Have you heard of this before, or am I mentally still on my TRS-80 computer from Radio Shack?

5.  The Yip Yips.  I purged this YouTube clip from my brain on Twitter last week, but I must share it here.  I remember the Yip Yips from back when our neighbor used to babysit for us.  This bit with the telephone gets me every time.  "Brrrrrrrriiiiiiing!"  "Um ... brrrrrrrriiiiiiiing!  Uh huh, uh huh.  Yip yip yip yip."  You remember this, don't you?

6.  And this last one is just for me.  Totally self-serving.  Do any of you guys have experience with a Bamboo Fun?  I bought one this week and haven't had a chance to fiddle around with it, but is this a good tool for photo editing, etc?  Any informal reviews?

That's all I've got.  (And still laughing about that obscene banana bunker, but anyway.)  Have a great weekend!!

February 19, 2009

BlogHer '09 - PatientBloggers.

BlogHer '09 - Are they ready for PWD??Hey guys - I've been wanting to share this news for weeks now but just received the "green light."  I'll be at BlogHer '09 this summer in Chicago as part of the PatientBlogger panel!  (I'm grinning so big right now that my face actually hurts.) 

Along with two other panelists (who are announcing their good news tonight or tomorrow, so I won't steal their thunder), I'll be representing the diabetes blogosphere PROUDLY, talking about the power of PatientBlogging.  Here's the panel description:

Identity/Passions: PatientBloggers - You Are Not Your Disease, You Just Blog About It Every Day: 

Chronic or acute disease can change your life overnight…and make you feel as though you’ve lost control of your own body. PatientBloggers find support, information and resources, and regain a sense of control via their blogging. But are there also down sides? Privacy concerns abound. Being identified as just a person with a disease can feel confining. And what if you’re cured or in remission? Where does your blogging (and more importantly: That close-knit, supportive community you've developed) go from there?
YAY!  I'm already a mix of nervous/ecstatic/honored/OMGWTFBBQ and I am so excited for this opportunity. 
If you are going to BlogHer '09 in Chicago, please let me know!  I'm looking forward to meeting you!!

Length Matters.

Since I started pumping back in 2004, I've been using the Minimed Paradigm Quick-Sets with 23" tubing and a 6 mm cannula.  (For folks who aren't pumping or who have no idea what I'm talking about, the tubing is the part of the pump that connects the physical pump to the infusion set on my body.  The cannula is the tiny plastic tube that goes into my skin.)

I'm a creature of habit and I'm pretty resistant to change.  But insulin absorption has been crummy on my thighs lately and I've been trying to use my lower back "real estate" more often.  

Thing is, the shorter pump tubing doesn't reach from my back to my sock - no sock trick on those days.  And while I liked the reliable absorption of a new site, I still prefer to keep my pump on the downlow - literally.

So I sucked it up and made a change to my last order of pump supplies: 

A little tubing goes a long way.

Cannula is the same length, but the tubing is 20 " longer.  Now I can wear the pump on my back and still snake the tubing down my leg and into my sock

This tubing is looooooong.  It took over 13 units to prime (versus the 6 1/2 units for the 23 " tube).

The stuff is long enough for the pump to not only hit the floor if it happens to drop from my hand while changing, but even has enough slack for the tubing to coil around like a snake.  It's also long enough to become completely tangled in while changing into my gym clothes after work.  Long enough to take over a full minute to check for air bubbles. 

It's long enough to wrap around my waist and tie into a jaunty bow. Long enough that I can leave my pump on my desk at work and make it home without missing a unit. Long enough that I could knit up a freaking scarf with this tubing and still have enough left over to go fly fishing.

This new tubing gig is just about 2/3 the length of my whole darn body!  I feel like I'm part spider, weaving this weird insulin-filled web.  But this new length option is letting me explore different infusion site real estate while keeping with my fashion preferences

It's all about hitting a blood sugar stride ... and not having my pump fall into the toilet in the process.* 

(*Kerri: 40,800, Pump: Almost 3.)

February 18, 2009

Blood Sucking Meter.

Normal blood sugar test:  Unzip meter, put s strip in it, wait until it gives me the "Hey, apply blood now" signal, and apply a droplet of blood.

This has been the routine for years now.  

So imagine my surprise when I put in a new strip, got the go ahead, and applied a blood sample only to have the meter continue to grin at me.

This meter is so confused it must be related to the cat.

"Apply blood!"


Blink, blink.

"Apply blood!"

Um, we tried this already.

"Hey, um ... apply blood!"

"Meter, I already did this.  Count down already, would you?"


"You have enough blood on there.  It's good to go.  Give me a result!"

"I like ... your shoes?  Apply blood!"

"Stop.  Being.  Miserable!  Give me the number, you bastard!"

"Hey look over there - is that Rocco?  Apply blood!"

It took three different strips before one actually gave me a result.  This has never, ever happened to me before.  Mind you, on Monday night, I wasn't able to get a result from six different strips from this bottle - kept throwing "Error 5" type-messages and absolutely refused to let me in on the result. 

I switched bottles (with 14 strips left), and all I could picture was tossing actual cash into the garbage can.  Those test strips are expensive!

Can a whole bottle go rogue on you? 

February 17, 2009

Larry Bird, At Home.

Larry doesn't let me slack.  Damnit.Brrrrrrrrrriiiiiiing!



"Larry!  dude, how the hell have you been?"

"Dude, don't call me out on being MIA.  You're the one who has been hiding out lately.  Eating kettle corn by the fistful.  Skipping the gym to have dinner with those Fairfield County Dinner ladies ..."

"Hey, wait a second.  I'm not allowed to have a social life?"

"No, you can, but you need to stick with the workouts.  And not just going, but like you need to mentally be there."

"What?  I go!  I'm there!"

"Kerri, you know what I mean.  Over the last two months, you have read seven books while working out.  You can't work out hard when your nose is buried in a book!"

"I'm trying to relax a little bit, too.  Managing stress just as important as exercise!"

"It totally is.  You don't think I got stressed out that January day in '85 against Portland, when I had to hit that baseline jumper at the buzzer?  But you aren't de-stressing.  I've seen you with your Blackberry while you're working out.  Your BLACKBERRY?  That's how you avoid stress?"

"Larry!  How the hell did you see me?"

"Skylights.  I climbed up on the building.  But anyway, you need to tune back into those workouts, Kerri.  You are going through the motions, and that's not going to help you lose those 10 pounds you've gained since the wedding."

"Five pounds, smartass.  And wait, did you say you were peeping through the skylights?"

"Five.  Whatever.  And yeah, the skylights are comfortable.  I usually bring headphones.  But anyway, I want to see some serious effort from you this month.  You were doing really well, and I want to see you back in better shape by the end of March, okay?"

"I can do that.  Actually, we're buying an elliptical this week for the house, so now I can do you at home."  

"That joke never gets old for you, does it."


"Okay, Ker.  Keep it real, and don't let me see you with that frigging Blackberry on the treadmill anymore.  Got it?"

"Got it.  Thanks for checking in, Larry."

"No problem.   Happy belated birthday!"

"Thanks!  Stay off the damn skylights."


February 16, 2009

Friends for Life Scholarship!

This summer, the Children With Diabetes "Friends For Life" conference is taking place in Orlando, FL in July.  Last year was my first time at the FFL event, and it was beyond inspiring.  Now there's a chance for people with diabetes to attend through the help of the Diabetes Scholars Foundation!

Here are the details: 

"The Diabetes Scholars Foundation will provide financial assistance for at least ten young adults (ages 18 to 24) to attend the 2009 Children with Diabetes Friends for Life Conference at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort from July 7-12, 2009 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The conference is a gathering of world-renowned clinicians, researchers, physicians, adults, children and families with diabetes. It offers many opportunities to learn the most current information in diabetes care."

If you are between the ages of 18 and 24 and you want to apply for this scholarship, download the application and go for it!  Entries must be postmarked by April 15th - so there's still time to apply! 

Friends for Life is an event that can change your life. I'm so excited to be attending again this July - hope to see you there!

Stealing Stars.

Abby doesn't get much visibility on this blog because Siah is a scene stealer.  So when there was a chance to be a star (a stah!!), Abby got first dibs.

Abby the cat - FINALLY in the spotlight
She looks so happy.  And serene.  Yet in the background lurks a Sausage.  Abby wore her little makeshift crown just long enough, then she abandoned it for a visit to the food dish.  (Surprise, surprise.)

This cat is a menace.
Siah decided that she wanted a little attention.

Frigging theif!

But instead of wearing her crown, she ate it.

I hate this cat.

February 13, 2009

Mushy Stuff: Diabetes Edition.

A little love and diabetes never hurt anyone.  :)I love Chris. 

Not that I need to tell you guys - I think it's pretty obvious - but sometimes I lose sight of how much I appreciate him.  I don't tell him how much he means to me as often as I should.  He is a wonderful partner.  There's all the regular relationship stuff- he pumps the gas for my car so I don't have to stand in the cold, he takes out the garbage, he laughs at my stupid jokes, he reads my written messes and helps me make sense of them - but our relationship has an extra, special component that others don't.

He is the significant other of a person with diabetes.  

I don't know what it's like to fill that role.  I am the diabetic, so I only know things from my perspective.  But he makes it look so easy.  A 3 am low blood sugar that has me in tears?  He knows how to quickly give me juice and wipe the sweat from my forehead.  Weeks of working out with no visible results?  He knows what words will soothe me:  "You are healing from the inside out."  Those moments when I feel like I'm crumbling emotionally?   His hugs seem to put my pieces back together again.

And it's not just the serious stuff.  We aren't always talking about complications and fears.  He makes this diabetes stuff feel so normal.  He makes me feel like everyone is wearing multiple devices attached to their body when they climb into bed.  Disconnecting a pump before sex?  Who doesn't do that?  Attaching a new sensor becomes something we do together, with me inserting the needle and Chris wielding the hairdryer like Johan

Chris celebrates the victories with me.  When my wedding dress was perfectly fitted with a pocket to conceal my pump, he knew that was an important moment.  When my period fell perfectly into monthly step after going off the pill, we actually high-fived.  When the Dexcom shows a nice, nine-hour flatline, we do a dance.   And when my A1C dropped a full point, he knew it was a step towards success.

Even though his pancreas works properly, he lives with diabetes, too.  Just as every loving caregiver of a PWD lives with diabetes.  They don't feel the highs and lows as acutely as we do, but they have their own individual variations on these moments that are just as poignant and just as evocative.  Chris understands what this disease means and how it can unfold, but he's as committed to my health and to my life as I am.

Some would say that he loves me, and my diabetes

But I can say that he just loves me.  It's not about diabetes.  It's not like "Kerri" and "diabetes" have to be separate entities, just like "writer" and "uncoordinated" and "messy-hairdo in the morning" and "hot-tempered" remain parts of my whole.  I'm one big mess, and he loves me just as I am

This Saturday will be my first Valentine's Day as his wife

"What I really want is to celebrate a 50th anniversary with you, Chris," I said to him over the weekend.  "Do you think we'll do that?"

He knows what I mean.  Not "Will we be together," but "Will I be okay?" 

"Of course we will."  He knows this.  It's a certainty.  "You'll be 79.  I'll be 81.  And Siah will be 53." 

He's a ridiculous man and I'm lucky to have him.

(And I'll always, always write his name in the peanut butter.) 

February 12, 2009

Staying Stuck: The Dexcom Sensor Condundrum.

I've been using the Dexcom on and off for a year now, and most often, I don't experience accuracy problems.  I also don't have lot of issues wearing the sensor (especially now, in the winter, when most of my body is under some kind of clothing).  Overall, it works well for my diabetes management.


There's that sticky issue.  

Or, better said:  the unsticky issue.

The sensors are FDA approved to last for seven days.  (Hence, Dexcom SEVEN.)  But I'll be damned if I can get it to stay stuck for more than five days.  Between my morning shower before work, my excursions to the gym five days a week and the subsequent shower at night, and the regular wearing clothes/sleeping/moving around bit, that sensor comes loose before its time is technically up.Hair dryers + Dexcom + SkinTac = Awesomely stuck

I've tried several ways of keeping the sensor stuck, and after a ton of trial-and-error, there seem to be a few methods to my madness.  Here they are, alphabetically arranged by their last letter:

SkinTac.  This stuff is the shit.  Seriously.   SkinTac is made by a Rhode Island company (yay Rhode Island!) and it helps keep the sticky adhesive stickier.  I run the SkinTac pad around the inside of the sensor, staying away from the wire itself, and then I put the gauze against my skin.  Chris (who almost always helps me apply a new sensor) then uses the SkinTac to really soak the outside of the gauze pad to ensure it's secure.  A little blast of heat (more on that in a second) and the sensor is stuck solidly.

Hair dryer.  Most often, I'm wearing my sensors on my arm because it's the most out of the way place and one that has unused space to spare.  After I cover the sensor gauze with SkinTac, Chris points the hair dryer at the sensor and dries it on a very low heat until it's completely dry and adhered to my skin.  A little blast of heat keeps the tape dry and also keeps it from peeling back when I put my arm through a sleeve.

Long Sleeve Shirts.  Once the sensor is in place, it helps me to keep a sleeve over it.  During the work day, this is usually the case, but for the gym, I often wear tank tops.  However, it's not the daytime activities that wear and tear my sensor most.  I've found that wearing a thin, longsleeve shirt to bed to protect the sensor from being jostled while I sleep.  It's like extra insurance that the edges won't peel back. This works for a sensor on the arm, obviously.  Otherwise, you're sporting sleeves purely for fashion reasons.  ;)

Playing Memory.  Sometimes I just need to plain remember where the hell I stuck the sensor in the first place.  With pump sites and CGM sensors scooting to new homes on my body every few days, I need to keep in mind where the sensor is so I don't accidentally rip it off.  Wearing it on my arm can cause some problems when putting on a sports bra or even a regular bra, so I need to be careful and make sure the bra strap completely clears the sensor when I'm getting dressed or undressed.  This isn't so much a "tip" as a knock on my apparently limited memory. 

Maybe this information will STICK with you?  Or are we all becoming a bit UNGLUED?  Whoops, looks like my caps lock is STICKING.  Maybe I should quit with these puns while I'm still ADHERED to my desk.  (Not.  Funny.  If you have a better pun, STICK it in the comments section.)

[Dexcom disclosure]

February 11, 2009

Wrist and Shout.

It's like the metal arm that Beyonce wears in "Single Ladies," sort of.  Or not.About two weeks ago, I had this little, nagging pain in my right wrist.  Not so much at the bendy part, but on the outside of it, right on the bone.  It was sore to the touch, aggravated by movement, and hurt when I woke up in the morning.  It seemed to get worse every day.

So, because I'm a very bright girl, I didn't do anything about it.  Instead, I went to the gym, continued to work feverishly in efforts to meet some writing deadlines, and even finished a scarf I was working on.  (Crochet.  Yes, I am a Grammie-in-Training, it seems.)

Thanks to all of this injury aggravation, I finally had to get myself to the doctor's office yesterday.  The phone call to the nurse/receptionist, as always, was awkward.

"Hi.  It's Kerri Sparling.  I think I have carpal tunnel or some nonsense."

The nurse laughed.

"Hi, Kerri.  Sure, can you come in this morning at 11:45?  So we can check out your nonsense?"

(They are so patient with me.)

"Thanks, see you at 11:45!"

When I arrived, my wrist was throbbing after a morning's worth of mouse-clicking and typing at work.   After being weighed (five pounds since the wedding - more on that later.) and having my blood pressure checked (120 over 72 - good to go), I waited for Dr. CT to visit me.

"Carpal tunnel?"  She said, walking into the room with a concerned look on her face.  "And hi, Kerri.  Carpal tunnel in diabetes is common, but let's make sure that's what you have going on."

"It hurts here," I said, pointing to the outer right hand side of my ... well, my right hand.  "And when I lift it in a pulling motion, it doesn't hurt.  But a pushing motion and a lifting motion kills."

She took my hand and pressed on the sides, asking me to flex the tendons.  "Here is the worst?"  

"Yes.  Yup, right there."  

"Well, the good news is that it isn't carpal tunnel.  It is tendinitis, though.  I'm sorry because I can tell this is making you very uncomfortable.  What I want to do is start you taking Advil three times a day, wearing a wrist brace while you sleep, and layng off the mouse as much as you can.  We need to let this rest so it can heal properly, okay?"

I'm like an addict.  My Internet-itchy fingers started to quiver.  

"Ah, staying off the mouse will be tough because I work all day on computers and I have a tendency to write a lot when I get home at night."   

She shot me a look.  

"Okay, okay, Dr. CT.  I will be mouse-free as often as possible."  Possibly a lie, but I'll try, anyway.

Tendinitis.   Another side dish that seems to come with diabetes.  Fantastico.  Anyone else have any experience with this one?  I'm looking for fast recovery and yet the ability to remain bloggy.

Edit:  Great idea from George and some folks on Twitter - might need to Bedazzle that shit! Now I just have to order one.  ;)

February 10, 2009

What Begins With F ... ?

What the F?Karen has graced me with a letter with which to meme ... and it's the almighty F.

I have a good relationship with F.  F and I go waaaaay back.  And Karen made me promise to keep this clean, so I will just say now that there will be no mentions of "f-bombs" or my inability to watch my mouth.  I promise.

According to the meme rules, I'm supposed to list ten things, in no particular order, that begin with F and pertain to my existence.  Here's the F-ing List: 

  1. Farts.  Classy or not, I cannot pretend to not be entertained by a good fart joke.  Even though it's crass and juvenile, I'm still giggling when someone quips a clever one about gaseous emisions.
  2. Fancy Feast.  The Fancy Feast commercials are entertaining, and I once had the desire to force Abby to eat daintily from a crystal bowl, her whiskers barely skimming the edge of the tasty morsels and a napkin raised to her lips every few moments.  Instead, that image was shattered by Abby's tendency to place her whole face into a bowl of food and inhale until every bit is devoured.   
  3. Flying.  Am not a fan.  Though I am already scheduled to take several trips this year, I'm already looking forward to refilling my xanax prescription and achieving my own, personal cruising altitude before taking off. 
  4. Friends.  I love my friends.  From my college roommates (all six of them) to my childhood buddies to newly-minted friendships to my dear NBF and Batman, I cherish every friendship I have.
  5. Frickafrackin'.  Yosemite Sam had a temper problem, and he was notorious for spewing off a creative and borderline indescribable string of curse words when he was angry.  I indentify with Yosemite Sam, and have often substituted "frickafrackin'" for the other words I'm thinking of. 
  6. Fired up.  In keeping with the aforementioned "frickafrackin'," I tend to get fired up pretty quickly.  Italian temper?  Just plain short-fused?  Either way, I'm quick to get loud and I don't shy away from confrontation. 
  7. Flippant.  This is a word that my father throws at me all the time.  "Don't be flippant, Kerri."  I remember him saying this to me when I was seven years old.  I also remember him saying this last week.  Whoops.
  8. Fandango.  This word has been stuck in my head since those paper bag puppets started singing about it.  I would use this service to order movie tickets but I'm terrified that the paper bag puppet people will show up somehow.
  9. Film. Even before Chris, I was a movie buff.  And now that I'm married to a filmmaker, I'm just about up to my eyeballs in films.  We see a lot of movies, and there's nothing quite like the experience of a movie in the movie surround sound, with the red seats and a bucket of buttery popcorn.
  10. Funny.  Back in middle school, I wasn't voted Most Likely to Anything or Best Something Else - I was Class Clown.  It happened again in college.  I cannot figure this out - I do my best to be serious, but I am not often successful and usually I end up ferreting out the funny in most situations.


If you want to take a stab at this meme, leave a comment and I'll toss a letter your way. 

February 09, 2009

Thirty Reasons.

Birthday!!!!!My birthday was happy.  I have thirty reasons.

  1. We stayed at a bed and breakfast that was so out of the way that it was like being in another country.
  2. The bed was king-sized with many fluffy pillow and ZERO cats milling about.
  3. Our room had a jacuzzi tub and a fireplace.
  4. I'm now mature enough to write "jacuzzi tub and fireplace" without feeling like pointing out something shiny.
  5. Hey!  Something shiny!
  6. (Being 30 doesn't mean I am devoid of the ability to blush.  Scratch off No. 4 - it's obviously a lie.)
  7. An early day-before-dinner included onion rings.  That, in and of itself, means certain joy.
  8. My cell phone stayed OFF for hours on end, only checking occasionally for birthday messages from my friends and family.
  9. An early birthday message from my oldest friend in the world included a link to this photo, which made me smile and think about first grade.
  10. I woke up on my birthday without setting an alarm, and had the most delicious coffee and eggs for breakfast.
  11. I didn't feel any different, and I felt good that I was marking another healthy year.
  12. The weather was edging towards warm, the sun was bright, and my husband is excellent company.
  13. I had a beer and French Toast for lunch.  That was a first.
  14. When we returned from lunch, we found that the woman who ran the B&B had left an African Violet for me as a birthday gift
  15. The woman who cleaned the room also didn't fuss about the used test strips that almost made it into the garbage can.  Instead, she stacked them up quite nicely on the bathroom sink, in case I needed them.
  16. This made me laugh.  I can't exactly explain why.
  17. We watched movies, took a nap, and talked about our future.
  18. You couldn't see my pump at all in the black dress I wore to dinner. 
  19. Thanks to the magic of the GPS, we made it to the restaurant for dinner without getting completely lost.
  20. We consumed eggplant, fresh bread with olive oil and sea salt, fried mozzarella, and lemon meringue dessert and my blood sugar stayed so well-behaved I thought I might be cured.
  21. When I mispronounced "meringue" as "merengue," Chris didn't die laughing.
  22. Birthday text from NBF:  "It's the beginning of the best part!"  Damn straight.
  23. Champagne makes the best POP! noise ever.
  24. My pump infusion site needed to be changed after only two days due to excessive time spent in aforementioned jacuzzi tub.
  25. I can't think of a better reason to have to change a pump site.
  26. We came home early in the afternoon and discovered that the cats cleaned up decently enough after the party they surely threw.
  27. In unpacking, I found a pair of shoes in the closet that I have never worn, making them new all over again.  Unintentional birthday gift to myself, it seems.
  28. I checked the Internet out and saw so many wonderfully kind birthday messages that I got a little bit emotional.
  29. My handsome husband gave me a hug.
  30. Life is good.
(Now I just have to wait a few years until my Larry Bird Birthday.  Look out!)

February 06, 2009

It's a PR Friday Six.

The Friday Six:  February 6, 2009 editionIt's the Friday before my birthday (turning 30 on Sunday - holy crap!), and I'm feeling very happy today.  Here's a quick Friday Six for you before I disconnect from the ol' Internet and escape to a bed and breakfast with my husband for a long weekend!

Here we go ... 

1.  Nick Jonas has a good PR team, and they're reaching out to the blogosphere.  Nick and the folks at Bayer are selling diabetes dog tags to benefit his foundation.  According to the email I received from his agency, "The dog tags can be purchased for a donation of $5 at NicksSimpleWins.com. All orders placed before this Friday, February 6, will be delivered in time for Valentine's Day. Bayer donates a portion of the proceeds of each dog tag to the Jonas Brothers' Change for the Children Foundation."  Visit NickSimpleWins for more information!

2.  On the meter front, our friends at Agamatrix have their new Jazz meter available through mail order diabetes supply companies.  Jennifer at their PR agency said, "WaveSense Jazz is available exclusively at www.diabeticcareservices.com for patients with insurance and at www.diabeticexpress.com for patients without insurance and is free with the purchase of 100 test strips or more."

3.  And on the dLife front, a whole new season of dLifeTV starts this Sunday - featuring Jim Turner (who I LOVE).  Be on the lookout this season for some familiar faces from within the dLife office - including my stupid head rambling on and on.  Tune in at 7 pm eastern on CNBC and get your fix. (Personally, this has to be my favorite clip of all time, because it includes both Adorable Jim and Cutest Old Guy on the Planet.  Beware of becoming smitten!)

4.  And if we're talking about video clips that I love, I have another favorite other than Old Guy.  This clip from the Ellen show made me cry, I laughed so hard.  Something about the blunt perspective of Gladys on the phone makes me very happy.  Also, watching people laugh makes me laugh.  And then there's this mess, from the Pink Panther movie with Steve Martin.  I can't help it - the last bit of "de burger!!" makes me laugh so hard every damn time.  Poor guy looks like he's trying so hard!

5.  In completely random news, apparently, Siah really gets around.  That annoying little piglet has gone and set up her own Facebook page -  and I can't be held responsible for anything she posts.  (Who am I kidding?  I'm like a pageant mom.)  She's aiming for world domination.

6.  And now I'm done.  I've run out of things to say.  (Except that here's a photo of what happens when you're working on a project for dLife and the IT department is left unattended at your desk for more than three minutes.  Pesky pranksters!)  Okay, now I'm really done.

I'll be offline until Tuesday morning and with very, very limited access to email over the weekend.  In the meantime, Siah will be manning the blog.  Oh.  Dear.  Lord.  See you Tuesday!

February 05, 2009

Vlogging While Low.

A funny thing happened to me on the way to the Internet last week.  I wanted to record a vlog post on my lunch break, but my blood sugar took a bit of a dip. 

Moron that I am, I still recorded and talked my face off.  

The point I made at the end of the video is one that I've thought about a lot - diabetes is an invisible disease, especially for those of us who are younger.  Even though we are dealing with diabetes every day, it's not a disease that is visible to people on the outside.  There's a certain blessing to people not knowing we're "sick," but does it make it seem like we don't need our cure?

Oh hell yes we need our cure.

February 04, 2009

Sick Day.

Taking a sick day.  I am a sick cat, apparently.Yesterday's blood sugar problems were just trying to tell me I'm sick.  

"You are sick, Kerri," they whispered.

Only instead of whispering in my ear, they tagged me on the head with those over-packing penguins.

I'm taking a sick day today and recovering from this flu. Hiding out under the covers with Tylenol, tea, and television.

See you tomorrow!

February 03, 2009


I am absolutely furious.

Last night (after a very nice dinner with Karen and J), I went to bed at a blood sugar of 101 mg/dl.  My Dexcom showed a flat line throughout the night, and I woke up at 89 mg/dl.


So I showered and got ready for work.  Dexcom has climbed to 130 mg/dl, but I took .5 u after getting out of the shower (to cover when I was disconnected), so I expected things to be cool.   Commuted to work (10 minutes) and settled in at my desk. 

But I'm already starting to climb.   

Cup of coffee - drained.   I decided not to correct the climb because I had already taken that 0.5 u and besides, I didn't want to completely compromise my new basal settings.  I needed to give this at least a week or two to see how it really worked.

Started answering emails at work.  Checked Twitter.  Sent off a few columns.  

BEEEEEEEEP!  Still climbing.

I tested and saw 189 mg/dl.  Fine, I'll correct this now.  Laced in a few units to correct and to cover my morning snack, and went back to work, headphones in a music blaring.  About an hour went by.

Then I noticed that everything seemed "off."  My eyes felt sticky in my head, like every part of my body was dehydrated.  My mouth was dry, my skin felt too tight, and I was exhausted.  The words were swimming around on the computer screen, and the papers on my desk were a blur of type fonts. 

So I tested.  And motherfucker (sorry):  364 mg/dl.

Taken with my KerriBerry - and it shows the ridiculous climb.

If I had not been at work, I would have thrown something.  Instead, I ripped the headphones out of my ear and grabbed an insulin pen from my emergency kit at work.  I dialed up a correction dose and injected into my stomach.  I wanted relief from this high - I felt like absolute garbage.

While my overnights are completely fine and stable, my mornings have turned into a chaotic tumble of terrible numbers.  I don't know how to fix this, so I am consulting my logbooks, my battered copy of Smart Pumping, and drafting a "HELP!" email to my endocrinologist.  My A1C goal of under 7% will not be achieved while these mornings are mucking up the works. 

But besides all that, I'm pissed.  These highs feel very frustrating and they aren't little, peaky "180s" but instead whopping "360s."  My ability work feels compromised, and I can't chew enough gum to get these sweaters off my teeth fast enough.   I'm drinking water by the liter and skin is so dry and so cracked that my hands started bleeding while I was typing.  I feel "sick."  That makes me mad, because for the most part, I don't feel very sick. I usually feel capable enough to move past whatever is chewing on my nerves.

Today?  I want to crawl back into bed and ride out this high under the covers, hiding from the reality of life with diabetes. 

Except that Siah is most likely face-planted into the bed.  So no hiding for me.

My only option is to relax, try to get some work done, and wait for my blood sugar to come back down.  No need to add more stress to an already-stressful moment.  But when I get home from work tonight, I need to figure out what needs to be done.  This can't go on.  Not for even one more day.  I have a birthday to celebrate this weekend (mine!), and I'm sure as hell not going to do it at 360 mg/dl.  ;)

February 02, 2009

Feeling the Burn.

Handy way to hide an insulin pump - sock it to me!In the winter months, one of my favorite places to stash the pump is in my sock.  (Need a visual?  Here you go.)  When the infusion set is in my leg, the tubing is just long enough to feed down into my sock and rest quietly against my shin bone.

This worked out fine for years and then my old Minimed 512 died on me.  (On my 21st diabetes anniversary, oddly enough.)  Quick work by the Minimed reps had my new and improved Minimed 522 at my doorstep the next day. 

The new pump looks a lot like the old one, but it had one significant update:  my blood sugar results from my One Touch UltraLink were sent directly to my pump.  I test, the result would show up on the meter screen, and a second later, it would beeeep up on the screen of my pump.

But I've noticed this weird thing over the past few months:  When I remove my pump from my sock at the end of a work day, there's a red irritation.  At first, I thought it was just the mark of my pump against my skin (sometimes I can see the imprint of the buttons when my socks are too tight).   It's not a burn so much as a pink raised irritation. 

Then it dawned on me:  I'm sending electrical signals to my pump.  I'm frying my skin with every blood sugar test that pings through the ether.  (I have the most sensitive skin on the planet, it seems.)

And then it made me think - there's a lot of infrared bits going about in my day-to-day.  Whenever I have the Dexcom receiver above my  head, I wonder if the transmittal waves are beaming through my brain.  When I have my body between my meter and my pump, I wonder what cells of mine are being zipped through to transmit those results.   Between diabetes technological bits, my cell phone, and all the other waves being generated by our savvy society, I have to wonder how much of it is embedding itself into my body.

Paranoid?  Oh sure - but curious about this, too.  Do I need to start wearing a tin foil hat

To be honest, I'm so burnt out this morning from a low at 5:30 am that I can't think in normal thought patterns today.  I'm back to my Siah in the banana mind-chaos.  (I think I need a bit of a break.  Looking forward to spending this coming weekend hiding from the Internet at a bed and breakfast.) 

But seriously - is anyone else using the sock trick from time to time with their Minimed 722 or 522?  And are you getting that weird little red burn?  I have to know if I'm the only one.  Because if I am, I may need to shove myself into a banana and get my brain in order. 

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