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May 29, 2009

Old School Diabetes: Meters.

A few weeks ago, when I was poking through some old photos, I found my first teaching manual from Joslin.  (The big, red book.)  And tucked inside of that book were some old advertisements for glucose meters.

Like this brick from Accu-Chek:

Old meter from the dark ages of diabetes.

This thing was huge, took two minutes to produce a result, and it was heavy enough to double as a hurricaine doorstop.  It's remarkable how much this technology has changed in the last twenty-two years.  Here's another oldie:

Another oldie.

I love the instructions - they're a freaking mile long!  Blood glucose monitoring has come a very long way since my own diagnosis - from urine testing to blood testing to the Dexcom that reads me every five minutes - but I'm not as impressed as I'd like to be.  I heard a few months back that the accuracy requirements for today's meters are the same as they were back in the late 1970's.  (Is that true?!)  Color options are great and shorter instruction manuals are also nifty, but I'd like this thing to give me results that are SPOT freaking ON. 

Like this morning.

I tested and got 77 mg/dl on my meter.

The Dexcom said I was 39 mg/dl.

I tested again and saw 101 mg/dl.

How can I respond to a number that doesn't sit still for even a second?  How is a diabetic supposed to aim for that moving target?

Most days, diabetes doesn't get into my head and scratch around.  Most of the time, I feel emotionally and mentally equipped to handle the disease management and "life" management.  It's never fun, and never simple, but it's something I feel at peace with.  But this morning, I couldn't even get a sense of what blood sugar number to react to.  And when I peeled off the Dexcom sensor to replace it, a ripe, red dot of infection had brewed up underneath.  My blood sugar, when I arrived at work, was 123 mg/dl but after I ate my snack, it crested up to 234 mg/dl for some ungodly reason.  I don't know which end is up.  And technology isn't doing anything to make type 1 diabetes any easier.

Today, I'm spent.   

May 28, 2009

SuperG Takes the World By Song.

George Simmons rocks!Diabetes brings us together, that's for certain.  Since I started blogging, I've had a chance to meet so many other people with diabetes, and I've had the distinct pleasure of forging friendships with these kindred spirits.

George Simmons is a guy I'm proud to call a friend.  

And he's written a beautiful song called "Not By Choice," which he has recorded professionally and loaded to iTunes (where you can purchase it)!  George and I shared a cup of virtual coffee and he humored me by letting me interview him:

Kerri:  SuperG, I'm honored to count you as a friend, but there are some people out there who don't know who you are. (I know, dude. I, too, am shocked.) Can you tell them who you are?

George:  My name is George Simmons. I am a 36 year old, father of 2, husband of 1, and a type 1 diabetic for 18 years. I love to play music, sing, write, play video games, and make people laugh as often as I can.

Kerri:  You've written a song in tribute to your own diabetes - that is so awesome. What is the inspiration for the song?

 
George:  I wrote "Not By Choice" last November for World Diabetes Day. I knew I wanted to do something special for that day on my blog and literally started the singing the chorus on my way home from work one day. By the time I got home, I worked out the chords, wrote the lyrics for the verses and recorded a video of myself playing it. The inspiration was really just wanting to express some of the journey of this disease and in turn hopefully help others to see that they are not alone.

Kerri:  What made you want to record it and put it out there for the world?


George:  After the vlog post went up I had a lot of people asking for it. I was so flattered but was not sure I could pull it off. The more I read the lyrics and heard the song it was like something was telling me that I had to do it. I had to tell this story because the more I heard from people, the more I realized that it was not just my story. And I saw that it was not only a song for people with diabetes but really anyone living with a chronic condition can find their own story in these words.

Kerri:  You've been diabetic for a long time, but you've made incredible strides in your own health over the last few years. How has the diabetes community helped you take better care of yourself?

George:  I often tell of how the online community saved my life. I mean that with deepest sincerity. Before I found this community I was a pack a day smoke who never checked his blood sugar, and who had an A1C of 12.5! After finding all these people online and starting my own blog, I have lowered my A1C significantly, quit smoking, started insulin pump therapy, check my BG 8-10 times a day, and just recently won a battle with insurance for CGMS!

All this I did with the help, support, and guidance of this community. I love it so much.

Kerri:  And it loves you, too, George.  Seriously.  So what can we, as your d-crew, do to help you?

George:  Spread the word! If you know someone who lives with diabetes maybe they will find some comfort in these words. Here is a direct link to where you can get the song using iTunes.

Kerri:  What's your goal/dream for this song? What kind of a difference do you want to make?

George:  My dream would be for this song to help raise awareness about a disease that does not get, in my opinion, the attention it needs. But my goal is to just help touch someone's life and make them feel less afraid, less different, and not alone.

Kerri:  And is your offer to take Siah serious? Because I have a box with airholes, postmarked for California, right here beside me ... :)

George:  I would in a heartbeat if only my wife was not allergic to cats. Although, now that Siah has started blogging, I would be a little afraid to leave her alone in the house. Click to download "Not By Choice" today!

Kerri:  Good point.  Thanks, George.  You are something else, my friend. 

This song is gorgeous.  Chris and I listened to it last night and applauded like mad at the end.  I recommend that everyone who has diabetes, or cares for someone with diabetes, downloads this song and adds it to their playlist to provide some much-needed inspiration. 

So what are you waiting for?  Go!  Download!  Listen!  And for another FOG (Friend Of George) post, check out Scott's post at Diabetes Daily.

May 27, 2009

Gelled to Perfection.

One thing I didn't pack last week on my vacation was my Dexcom, but I had my reasons.  Even though I'm working very hard to lower my A1C in preparation for starting a family and even though diabetes has been a big focus this year, I wanted a VACATION.  From just about everything.

So my diabetes moments on the cruise were minimal.  I brought my meter everywhere, wore my pump, and had glucose tabs stashed in my bag, but I didn't lament every number or guilt myself silly over every meal.  I ate, drank, and was quite merry, thanks.  

But when we got back last weekend, the first thing I did was put the Dexcom back on.  (Okay, that's a bit of a lie.  The very first thing I did was open the apartment door and greet the furry army with a "Hi, buddies!!!" and then I collapsed into bed.  But after I woke up?  Dexcom sensor slapped on my right thigh.)  While I traveled, I had a few high 200's and a nice, ripe 309 mg/dl thanks to some delicious dessert indulgences, so I wanted to get back on track and attempt to find the flatline again.

Smurfy little Dexcom receiver.

The people at Dexcom sent me two gel receiver "skins," very similar to the ones that Bernard wrote about ages ago.  On the Dexcom website, these suckers go for about $10 apiece. But they are wicked cool.  The original case that comes with the receiver is pretty bulky, making the receiver looks much bigger than it actually is.  The skins are nice because they offer up some protection and also give the device a more streamlined look.

And since I'm known for my grace (ahem), the skin has protected my receiver from two falls from my desk, a few tumbles from my bedside table, and countless tosses into my work bag.  Also, the bright blue case makes it a helluva lot easier to find in the mess that is my purse. 

So Dex and I are reunited.  And now that I've made another Joslin appointment for July - this time with my full pre-pregnancy team, including my endo, ob/gyn, nutritionist, and teaching nurse - I'm back to focusing hard on my numbers.

And logbooking.

(Sigh.) 

May 26, 2009

Sotomayor and Diabetes Get All Media'd Out.

I can't pretend to have all the information on Judge Sotomayor and her Supreme Court appointment.  But I do know that my first day back here at work has been one email after the other about Sonia Sotomayor and the effects of her type 1 diabetes on her potential new gig. 

Total media deluge.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • Time Magazine provided an article that made me wonder if I'll make it to 40 years old, never mind to tomorrow, complete with heroin-esque photo to represent an "insulin injection."  They unfortunately paint diabetes as a disease that will rot you in a month's timeframe and leave nothing but your shoes.  (Hey Time, why don't you visit the Diabetes365 project to get a feel for what real diabetes photos look like?  Sorry for that digression but mainstream media needs to get their hands on some better, more accurate stock photography!)

  • The Wall Street Journal asks the question, "Should Sotomayor's diabetes be considered in the nominiation process?", citing the ADA's press release applauding Obama's selection.  Apparently, Sotomayor's weight is under attack as well as her diabetes status.  Are only the uber-healthy capable of just rulings?  The news, she is going berserk.

  • The Newsweek "Human Condition" blog comes right out and says not to worry about Sotomayor's diabetes, stating, "And while Sotomayor's condition may lead to complications that force her to retire after twenty years of hard work on the court, there's also the chance that if appointed, she could be hit by a bus on her second day and be forced to retire then."  (Morbid, but good point.)

  • The Huffington Post is in on the action, too, calling out a few Twitterers for running their 140 characters:  "Glenn Beck's Twitter - wondered if Obama, the 'messiah,' has healed Sotomayor's diabetes yet. Michelle Malkin proved that Twitter's 140 character cap isn't too strict to include both a vague sexist and racist remark."  And the Wonkette takes sarcasm and snark to a new level with their "Sotomayor has diabetes - good or bad?" column.

  • Yet this article from the New York Times doesn't even mention her diabetes at all.

  • Of course, this topic hasn't escaped us, the diabetes community, either.  Amy wrote about Judge Sotomayor last week, David posted on Diabetes Daily, the dLife Today blog has a piece, and TuDiabetes members are sharing their perspectives, too, like Jenny's post and Ann's discussion.  The JDRF also issued a statement regarding Sotomayor.  And I'm sure there are others who weigh in.

Holy media overload.  The Internet is exploding, it seems. 

I admittedly do not know much about Judge Sotomayor or her background other than what I've read over the last week or two about her potential appointment.  But I do know quite a bit about type 1 diabetes after 22 years with it.  And in my opinion, her diabetes shouldn't play a role in this consideration process - at all.

A "defective pancreas" does not mean a defective mind. 

Back Home.

I'm back from vacation and slowly trying to catch up on all the stuff I missed (including reading all the blog posts, returning emails, and sucking down iced coffees now that the weather has finally made the turn to Officially Summer).  I'm not even sure where to start ...

... so I'll start with a quick and dirty rundown of our vacation, with photos:

Mega ship, yo.

The boat was enormous, and we never really quite got our bearings, and we always ended up late to dinner because we took a wrong turn.  (This is partially because the ship is huge and partially because we get lost in our living room at times.)  During the course of the week, we went from Miami to Grand Turk in Turks and Caicos and Half Moon Cay and Nassau in the Bahamas.  The weather was decent, but just being away was awesome.  

I liked the elephant best, I think.

Every night, we dressed up for dinner and when we returned to the room, a towel animal creation greeted us.  (As I've mentioned before, towel animals bring me unparalleled joy.)  The animals we could identify were a bulldog, a manta ray, and an elephant.  We also received what appeared to be a vagina walrus (judge not until you click through, love).

Our creation!

As a playful preemptive strike, we built our own towel animal - the rattlesnake.  Complete with eyes, tongue, and a scary rattle tail (read:  hairbrush shoved in the end of the towel).  We thought we had bested the housekeeping staff, but they trounced us with their cobra.

Damn talented Carnival staff.  We'll best you yet.

Stephen Wunder, perhaps?

And we also may have seen Stevie Wonder perform, but I'm not completely convinced it was him.  At the end of a talent show one night, the cruise director announced, "Okay folks, stay in your seats for a special treat!"  And the lights went down again, the stage was roped off, and this man who looked JUST LIKE STEVIE WONDER was escorted on stage and performed "Superstitious."  It may have been a lookalike, it may have been just some guy randomly named Stephen Wunder or something, but could it have been the actual Stevie Wonder? 

If anyone can confirm that Stevie Wonder was traveling on the Carnival Cruise ship "Destiny," please tell me.  Google is no help to me on this one. 

Not quite sugar-free, but the thought counts.

The food was tremendous.  And some of the many dessert options claimed to be 'sugar-free,' like the one pictured above.  Sugar-free?  Maybe.  But carb-free?  Oh hell no. 

Decked out for dinner.

We celebrated our one year anniversary in style and in love, and it was a good break from all things Internetty.  We needed a few moments from the chaos. 

It was so nice to get away. 

But it is also nice to come back home.  And take my blog back from that little gray Sausage cat.

(More photos are over on Flickr, but beware of many, many, many shots of the ocean.  I was overzealous.)

May 22, 2009

Guest Blog: Siah Steps In.

I'm not sure why I'm even letting her do this, but she asked like a million times.  So here is a guest blog from Ms. Siah Sausage. 

Siah laughs at all of us.

Sigh.

*   *   *

I'm not as bad as she makes me out to be. I'm a little gray cat and I barely cause any trouble at all, so I'm not sure why she's always complaining about me.

Sure, I like to use the litter box and then attempt to snuggle with her, but I'm just as shocked as you are that she doesn't want to appreciate my olfactory contributions.  Every scent I make is lovely, I assure you.

And of course I have to pad around the bed while they're trying to sleep. But how am I supposed to know which side of the bed is softest and comfiest unless I try both out, repeatedly?  She's just grumpy because she goes to bed late and gets up early.  It's not my fault.  I just lay there, against her ankles, forcing her to sleep like she's the Vitruvian Man.  (I looked that up.) 

Yes, there's also some truth to her issues with me stalking her in the bathroom. But that's just fun for me.

Also, this whole "the cat ate my pump tubing" complaint is just plain silly.  I am a cat.  If something plastic and bouncy dangles in front of my face, I will go after it.  Instinct, people!  I haz them.  Besides, insulin has a nice, chewy band aid sort of taste to it. Same goes for playing with and hiding test strips.  Toys are toys - I don't care if they have your DNA on them.  (Yes, I also looked up "DNA."  I may be a cat but I can use Google.)

The plain truth is this:  She loves me.  When people aren't looking, she picks me up and snuggles me.  She balances used test strips on my head and laughs at how I walk around without knocking them off.  She talks to me when Chris isn't home, and I wouldn't be surprised if she was on the verge of issuing a commemorative plate in my honor.  

So don't listen to her rantings about what a pain I am.

The woman thinks I'm my own pajamas. 

*   *   *

I don't even know what to say.

May 21, 2009

Guest Blog: 8.5 or Bust!

Today's guest post comes from blogger Jeff Kuhns.  His daughter Olivia had type 1 diabetes and his blog, Team Olivia, was among the first that I found after I started SUM.  I'm honored to have him posting here, sharing the perspective of the parent of a child with diabetes.

*   *   * 

10.2!  10 point freakin’ 2!  I was aghast, shocked, astounded, and flabbergasted.  At least I felt the need to be.  Play the part for the dietitian and the CDE.  But I guess I knew.  Being father of the year was going to take a little more work.  I’m taking this hard because I had the unfortunate duty of being the one to take the day off and hit the doctor’s appointments.

As a father of a 10-year old Type 1 daughter.  I always struggle between the need for my daughter to gain independence with her diabetes and the need to make sure that she remains healthy.  This time I apparently erred in the wrong direction.  (I say I because I am writing this but really it is we – my wife takes a tremendous amount of responsibility.) Never have either of us been “helicopter” parents.  We were raised to be independent and have lived away from our families for almost 20 years. 

So, 10 point freakin’ 2.  Let that settle in and wrap your head around it.  That’s an average blood sugar of around 300 – AVERAGE!  And, Olivia, my daughter, is on a pump.  “Horrible,” as the CDE reiterated to me. What is going on?  (This is where I think it is pertinent to mention that Olivia was also recently diagnosed with ADHD.)  Forgotten boluses!  Incorrect basals! Not putting insulin in before she eats! 

I had to reconcile it with myself.  All of these things could have been better reinforced by my wife and me.  We are ultimately responsible for our daughter’s well being.  It was time to take back the responsibility for now.  Independence will come – but in small steps.  Now we have a goal, 8.5 or bust.  This means an average blood sugar around 200.  How?  Phone calls when we are not eating together.  My wife and I manipulating the pump at meal times.  Consequences for forgotten boluses.

Okay, so “Father of the Year” may have to wait a while but, there are more important things!

Olivia pretending to eat a giant cupcake.  :)
(Olivia pretending to eat a giant cupcake.)

*   *   *

Jeff, we'll be pulling for you.  I know Olivia (and you guys) can hit that 8.5!  Thanks for posting, and let us know what happens! 

May 20, 2009

Guest Blog: ePatient DaveTalks Participatory Medicine.

Today's guest post is from ePatient Dave, who beat stage IV, grade 4 renal cell carcinoma with the help of fantastic doctors, supportive family and friends, and the power of the ePatient movement.  Today, Dave writes at The New Life of e-Patient Dave and he's offered to post here on SUM about the true power of patients online.  (And we, as PWDs, know how important the patient community is!)

*   *   *

One year ago today I finished reading e-Patients: How they can help us heal healthcare, the ePatient Davee-patient white paper. It turned my head around because although I’d experienced excellent care in almost all ways, it showed that I as a patient have far more to contribute than I ever would have imagined.

The people who assembled that report (not me) are smart, perceptive, and insightful about the future. When I “synopsized” each chapter in posts on my own blog last summer, here’s what I wrote about chapter 2.

This chapter was my personal favorite, because it exploded so many myths and provided so much evidence that the change is already well underway.

Remember, I didn’t read this until late January 2008, six months after my treatment had ended. When I read it, my immediate question to the e-patient working group was, “How the (#@$! could I have gone through last year without ever hearing about this?? We need to get the word out!” So here we are.

From the introduction:

“John Seely Brown… notes that when established experts first consider the effects of new information technologies and the cultural transformations they produce, they typically do so from within the cultural constraints of their established professional paradigm … We were no exception. Our findings were so unexpected that we were forced to consider alternative points of view… But as Brown discovered, ‘Really substantive innovations – the phone, the copier, the car, the PC, the Internet – drastically alter social practices.’”

The authors – mostly doctors, remember – said “Our most helpful insights came from a growing awareness that e-patients use the Internet in three fundamentally different ways: to access content, connect with others, and collaborate with others in ways never possible before.”

See what I mean about how this had strong echos for me? They continue:

… many who have attempted to study or explain e-patients and many leaders in medical reform have overlooked, ignored, downplayed or even actively opposed some of the most innovative developments in modern medicine.

Presenting their findings, they said “We modestly suggest that the tentative conclusions below are no more ‘anti-doctor’ or ‘anti-medicine’ than the conclusions of Copernicus and Galileo were ‘anti-astronomer.’” The preliminary conclusions:

1. e-patients have become valuable contributors, and providers should recognize them as such.
“When clinicians acknowledge and support their patients’ role in self-management … they exhibit fewer symptoms, demonstrate better outcomes, and require less professional care.”

2. The art of empowering patients is trickier than we thought.
“We now know that empowering patients requires a change in their level of engagement, and in the absence of such changes, clinician-provided [information] has few, if any, positive effects.”

3. We have underestimated patients’ ability to provide useful online resources.
Fabulous story of the “best of the best” web sites for mental health, as determined by a doctor in that field, without knowing who runs them. Of the sixteen sites, it turned out that 10 were produced by patients, 5 by professionals, and 1 by a bunch of artists and researchers at Xerox PARC!

4. We have overestimated the hazards of imperfect online health information.
This one’s an eye-opener: in four years of looking for “death by googling,” even with a fifty-euro bounty for each reported death(!), researchers found only one possible case.

    * “[But] the Institute of Medicine estimates the number of hospital deaths due to medical errors at 44,000 to 98,000 annually” … [and other researchers suggest more than twice as many]
    * We can only conclude, tentatively, that adopting the traditional passive patient role … may be considerably more dangerous than attempting to learn about one’s medical condition on the Internet.” (emphasis added)

5. Whenever possible, healthcare should take place on the patient’s turf.
(Don’t create a new platform they have to visit - take yourself wherever they’re already meeting online.)

6. Clinicians can no longer go it alone.

    * Another eye-popper: “Over the past century, medical information has increased exponentially … but the capacity of the human brain has not. As Donald Lindberge, director of the National Library of Medicine, explains ‘If I read and memorized two medical journal articles every night, by the end of a year I’d be 400 years behind.”
    * In contrast, when you or I have a desperate medical condition, we have all the time in the world to go deep and do every bit of research we can get our hands on. Think about that. What you expect of your doctor may shift - same for your interest in “participatory medicine.”

7. The most effective way to improve healthcare is to make it more collaborative.
“We cannot simply replace the old physician-centered model with a new patient-centered model… We must develop a new collaborative model that draws on the strengths of both systems. In the chapters that follow, we offer more suggestions on how we might accomplish this.”

Great stuff! An awakening for all players in the “ecosystem,” as we say in the business world: patients, providers, equipment developers, everyone.

Wake up to the new world of participatory medicine: equip, enable and empower patient participation.

*   *   *

I love it - "participatory medicine."  We, as health bloggers, are part of an enormous revolution.  And I'm proud we're all a part of it, from the bloggers to the commenters to the lurkers.

(Note:  This post originally appeared on e-Patients.net.)

Guest Blog: Cyclebetes.

The guest blog today is from Willie Cromack, the CEO for Accu-Chek Cyclebetes.  Willie writes passionately about Cyclebetes and their mission to keep the promise for a diabetes cure.  That sounds pretty darn good to me. 

The floor's yours, Willie!

*   *   *

I don’t have diabetes.  I don’t know what it is like to monitor my sugar levels.  I don’t know the emotionalThe cyclebetes logo. levels that accompany being a type 1 diabetic or even the parent of a child with diabetes.  I am not an official insider.

However, I am loyal.  I am aware.  I understand the consequences.  I am a parent. I am passionate about leaving the world a better place than when I came into it. And I must help my friend fulfill his promise.

In 2007 a group of five friends bandied around one man who had made a promise to his daughter.  I was one of those men.  The father’s promise: to cure juvenile diabetes before his daughter’s 18th birthday.  In 2007 she was 12.

As it turned out we decided to take our passion for the outdoors, sports and events and create a cycling event like no other. Team Halifax to Vancouver [Team H2V] was born.  The idea: relay race across Canada [just over 6000km] in the shortest period of time ever.  Long story short: we succeeded in crossing in only 8 days and raised nearly $1 million for the JDRF.  More than that the media we gained, we raised the awareness of juvenile diabetes in Canada by an enormous level.  Watch the story unfold here.  

When we returned I resumed my life as a bike shop owner, an event creator/promoter, and a dad.  However, I was haunted by the idea that we had created something amazing and I did not want it to die.

We continued with our ideas and proceeded to write a book on the attitude it took to create our amazing ride.  It was called the Principles of the Ride: How to maximize what’s inside You.  Of the physical copies proceeds would continue to aid the JDRF.  (If you want a free copy, you can get one here.)

Still it was not powerful enough to create a long-term legacy.  We needed young people around the world to take action, see their power and we needed our original ride to inspire their efforts.  For years I had done a lot of promotional charity work through my bike store and these efforts ended up yielding the final piece of the legacy puzzle.  In particular, I had done some 24 hour rides within my store to raise money for charity.  I would use a bike trainer to ride continuously for an entire day and our customers would throw a few dollars into the jar.  The money raised was always a significant amount but paled in comparison to the money we raised going across Canada.  Coming from the category of “you just never know who is paying attention or what will happen” a friend and racer at John Henry Bikes wanted to talk to me, inspired by the race across Canada.  He had also been a person who had threatened to join me on my 24 hour spins.  Together we decided to create a 24hr spin-a-thon at the high school where he taught.  But rather than being the heroes we would emphasize school leadership committees taking on the production.  The Team H2V ride across Canada would be the inspiration for a modified version of relay teams indoors and at a high school.  The focus would be - students leading students to help their friends, family and others with type 1 diabetes.

The idea was a huge hit.  The students loved it and attacked the organizing of it with zest and zeal.  They created the name Cyclebetes and decided teams of 1-12 would participate … the aim being as many teams as possible.  In the end each team was to attempt to raise $1000, our goal being $50,000 from the one school.  

Cyclebetes, version one, exploded! Thirty five teams, a student driven organization and $82,000 raised!

This was it. The true legacy.

Cyclebetes cools off!!

In 2009 Accu-Chek Cyclebetes officially became a charitable business.  In 2009, over 20 schools will participate in the spin-a-thons, a tandem relay engaging thousands of participants will relay over three weeks across Canada.  A relay team of ten will begin the process of moving Cyclebetes into Australia and a small relay team of ten will cross the United States stopping at local high schools to unveil what a father’s promise has yielded.

In 2009 the rock dropped in the ocean and the small ripples are beginning to spread.  

In 2009, Accu-Chek Cyclebetes will bring the promise back into the public eye, helping everyone realize that they can have an impact on the world.  In 2009 the start of something absolutely huge has created roots.

Goal: 10,000 schools, millions of riders, cure juvenile diabetes.

The promise revolution is alive.  What’s your promise?

*   *   *

Thanks for letting me host your post, Willie!   

May 19, 2009

Guest Blog: Loving the D-OC.

Power of community.Thanks to my friend Landileigh at Landileigh's Little World for guest blogging today.  (Hopefully, as you're reading this, I'm drinking some kind of tropical concoction from a coconut and laying out on a beach.)  She's one of the kindest souls here in the diabetes community, and I'm proud to host her post.  Take it away, Landi! 

*   *   * 

I want to thank Kerri for allowing me to be a guest blogger on SixUntilMe! She is one of the main reasons for this post, and I hope to explain why.

So often we are asked about our “diabetic team.” Videos and brochures you receive from your doctor’s office always talk about your “diabetic team.” They explain that this is your endocrinologist, your nutritionist, your CDE, family, and friends. I believe that these days my team also includes my Online Community.

My online community began with the Diabetes 365 project in October of 2007. The support from the other photographers that were participating, through comments and then through the mail, was outstanding. Soon I was to learn that their support was not just relegated to this particular project. There were blogs, and social networks, and messaging. It was reaching out to me in all sorts of mediums of communication.

In February of 2008, I met my first diabetes online community member, then another, then another. These online people were now no longer figments of my imagination, but flesh and blood who responded in kind, like true friends.

At any given moment in time, there is a D-friend online, either on Twitter, or Facebook, or Juvenation or one of the other social media outlets. Someone to commiserate with, laugh with, cry with, or just to hold your hand – virtually. I value these friendships as much as I do the ones within my real life. They are real, just thousands of miles away.

Recently my dearest D-friend went on a vacation for a week. Far from time zones where we could really talk, I missed her more than I thought I could. I awaited for her return as if I was awaiting any loved one from an airport. During her time away from the internet, I knew that she was so much more than just a face/name on the internet that went away when I closed the lid of my laptop. She was in my thoughts, and prayers until I knew she was home safe and sound.

I love the D-OC and all that it stands for. The community of people that we are striving to become grows by leaps and bounds, and that feeling of no longer being alone in this crazy ass disease gets smaller every day.

If you have a chance, reach out to a fellow D-OC’er and give ‘em a virtual hug today. Since you are reading this, I’m giving you one right now too! Remember, we are all part of your diabetic team!

*   *   *

Thanks, Landi!  I can see the t-shirts now:  "Have you hugged a blogger today?"  For more on the power of community, check out my post on "Who Benefits From Patient Blogging?"  

May 18, 2009

Guest Blog: Looking In.

Hello from my cruise!  (Only sort of, because I'm loading these guest posts in ahead of time, so right now I'm home with a gray cat circling like a shark.  But I'm pretending to be on the cruise, and that's a nice thought.  Whoops!  Digression again.) 

Today's post is from Christine who blogs at By The Numbers.  Her son, Thomas, was diagnosed two years ago with type 1 diabetes, and she's offered to tell her story here at SUM.  And, as always, I remain in awe of the parents of diabetic kids.  They're truly amazing.

*   *   *

Two years ago, at age 5, our son Thomas was diagnosed with diabetes.  We were blindsided.  I knew absolutely nothing about this disease, treatment, long term effects.  Nothing.  That first night in Children’s Hospital the nurse told us TJ would be receiving his first insulin dose and I wondered aloud what form that dose would take – a pill?  How many doses until he would be over this diabetes thing?  We were planning on a Celtics game the next day - would be out of the hospital in time?  Seriously clueless.Christine and her handsome family.

One week later I was home, in a fog. I had a binder full of information, a list of appointments at the Joslin clinic, and pages of questions.  I was like a new mother again – too many questions, too few solutions.  When my babies were little, I belonged to a new mother’s support group.  The women in that group were a lifeline, and I am lucky to call them great friends ten years later.  In search of something similar, I began scouring the web.  I didn’t find support groups, but I did find heaps of blogs (SUM included).  Those became my first peek into life with diabetes.

Slowly, the care became easier.  The questions became answers, the treatment became an insulin pump, diabetes became a part of our life instead of a massive intrusion.  Less and less I found I wanted the answers for right now, more and more I wanted answers for the future.  Although none of us can see the future for our children, I can imagine a sports event, a sleepover, a first dance.  I can’t imagine an adolescent and adult life with diabetes.  What would it be like for TJ to play sports, go on a date, go to college, get a job, all with diabetes in tow?  It’s the desire to know the answers to those “long-term” questions that have driven me to become like a voyeur of adults with diabetes, staring in at the lives of adult (and adolescent) diabetics (or PWD’s). 

The first summer after Thomas’ diagnosis, when things were still quite fresh, we were sitting on the beach when I noticed a mother on a nearby blanket.  I was watching at first because she was pregnant and in a bikini – a fashion statement I was never brave enough to attempt.  But then I noticed the tubing of her pump snaking around her bikini bottom.  And shortly after she took a test kit out of a little makeup pouch, tested, and promptly drank a juice box.  It was amazing to me – I had just witnessed someone treat a low.  Sitting right there, without the big to-do that ensued in my house.  I wanted to jump up and scream to all my friends, “look!  That lady over there is diabetic, and more than that she is LOW!”  It was then that I realized I was being rude – staring in at someone’s private life.
 
So, in an effort to remain socially acceptable, I have curbed my initial voyeurism a bit.  But, I do allow myself a few peeks into the lives of people with diabetes.  Although I stopped reading most of the blogs I found (I did have to go back to work, after all) I became addicted to SUM.  Kerri (unknowing – I’m a world class lurker) became a constant source of information about life as a diabetic.  While pondering a management or logistical question I will often remember back to a post I have read.  Kerri’s blogs about sleepovers, for instance, allow me to see the possibilities for Thomas to also spend a night with friends.

The two adults I know find themselves the constant recipients of diabetes related questions (How much did you bolus for that?  Do you ever go low while you are teaching? How often will you test now that we just finished three martinis? What kind of pump do you have? How often do you change your site?).  When I am with them, they must feel as if they are under a microscope, but they are both gracious, kind, and caring individuals who have answered question upon question without so much as a sigh.

So far, I’ve been lucky.  Kerri continues to update her blog daily.  Those amazing adults don’t run when they see me coming, and they continue to share ideas, thoughts, and personal information.  I might not be able to know what TJ is going through, and I certainly can’t predict his future, but because so many in the diabetic community are willing to offer a glimpse into their own adult lives, I have a better idea.

*   *   *

Thank you so much, Christine!  (And hi to Thomas!)

En Route!

Cruisin'!!

I'm off on vacation this week to celebrate my first wedding anniversary, but thanks to the power of scheduled publishing, there are some great guest posts on tap. (Comments will be saved and published when I return - promise!) Have a good week, and enjoy the posts!

May 15, 2009

Marking Our First Year.

A year ago this coming Monday, 

They helped me put my wedding gown on.

my mom and my two closest friends helped me into my gown.

The Sparlings, full-length this time!

And I walked down the aisle and married my hero, my love, and my best friend. 

Oh, and there was cake!

(Bonus: There was cake!)

 The Sparlings.

Almost a year ago, I became his wife.

I love you very much, Chris.  And I'm looking forward to growing old with you.
 
We're leaving for our cruise on Monday, so I'll be MIA from the Internet until the 24th.  I have some really great guest posts lined up that I'm honored to be hosting, so check back in and meet some new writers and some old favorites.  :)

Have a great week! 

May 14, 2009

I'm Sorry ... Glucose Spray?

Tuesday night's meeting did more than introduce me to some fantastic fellow type 1s ... I was also ushered into the wonderful world of glucose spray.

I know.  My face made that "Excuse me?" look, too.

One of the women at the meeting, Christina, was talking about her low blood sugar treatment methods and then she whipped out this little bottle of what looked like my dad's binaca spray

My world was once just glucose tabs.  And then they juiced 'em up and developed liquid glucose shots.  And gels.  (I love the gels, to be honest.)  But spray?  A glucose spray?  That was new to me.

So I took a picture of it, for posterity.  

The mystical, magical glucose spray.
 
(Hand model is Karen, because if I took a picture of my rotten hands, you'd force me back into my gingerbread house to wait for Hansel.  And not the other Hansel, even though he's so hot right now.)
 

According to myth, and what was written on the back of the bottle, you spray this stuff into your mouth and it absorbs into your cheeks.  The bottle says five sprays, but Christina dismissed that recommendation with a distracted wave.  "You need like 10 or 15 sprays, honestly."  

I seriously thought this was the coolest thing.  Because I'm skeptical about anything that involves "change," I'm wary of its effectiveness, but I'm so curious to see if it would work as fast as my beloved juice. I have never seen this in my local CVS, but their website lists it as available in Rite Aid, Wal-Mart, and several online distributors.  And I haven't tried it yet, but I think I'm going to have to. 

Just to satisfy my own curiosity.    

May 13, 2009

Guest Listener.

I boarded the train in Connecticut and from the time I found Karen (of Bitter-Sweet fame), I was downing Dex4 liquid things, glucose tabs, and Smarties constantly.  The Dexcom kept BEEEEEEP!ing, my meter kept confirming, and I kept infusing the sugar.  I was under 70 mg/dl for the entire train ride, the cab ride, and then the first ten minutes of the support group meeting in NYC.  By the time the group arrived and we were doing introductions, I was punchy from the sugar rush.

"Hi, I'm Kerri Sparling and I've been low since Karen and I got on the train in Connecticut." 

This is how I decide to introduce myself to the support group in NYC?  Great.  Already off to a decidedly awkward start.  (But I'm nothing if not awkward.)

But these women were patient with my ramblings.  And they truly are something else.  Katie Savin, organizer of the NYC support group for young women with type 1 diabetes, has found some of the most compassionate, open, and well-spoken women in the NYC area to share her space with.  I was invited at their guest speaker, but I was humbled to be more of a guest listener.

They share openly.  Someone asked a question about CGMs and three people leapt up to show their sensors.  A woman shared her emotional journey with complications and guilt and the rest of the group immediately offered words of support and validation.  Another woman is getting married nine days from today and went on her pump barely a month ago, and the group offered tips on hiding her pump in her dress.  Another (with the best hair I've EVER seen) is marrying in November but proactively preparing her body for pregnancy, and I felt her frustrations intimately. 

We talked about what it's like to be newly diagnosed, or a diabetes veteran.  Some on pumps, some on shots, some on CGMs, some on the fence - it was a melting pot of personalities and passions, all lives laced with type 1 diabetes.

It.  Was.  So cool. 

(And I finally had a chance to meet LeeAnn from The Butter Compartment and author Elizabeth Joy. I love putting smiles and inflection to the writers I read, and I was very happy to say "Oh my gosh, hi!" in person.  They are two lovely and extremely talented writers, that's for damn sure.)

The hour and a half meeting ended too soon, and we found ourselves tumbled out onto the sidewalk and chatting out there.  Sidewalk chats lead to sidewalk photo shoots.

And photo shoots lead to "Are you going to put that on the blog?"  

Of course I'm going to put this on the blog, damnit!  :)

(Answer:  Yes.) 

And then we blinked and about ten of us were sitting at the Gramercy Diner and still talking our faces off.  I am constantly amazed by the steady and comfortable flow of conversation between diabetics, and how quickly the conversations stray away from diabetes stuff.  We are not short on things to say, it seems.  (Just short on islet cells.  :: rimshot ::)

Much like the Fairfield County dinners, the group is comprised of people who have nothing in common but diabetes.  But at the same time, that gives them everything in common that they need to sit and talk for hours on a Tuesday evening and become friends.

Thanks for having me, Katie - I was very honored to be your guest.  I hope to see you guys again soon!! 

May 12, 2009

A Little Bit Naked.

For the last five months or so, I've been wearing the Dexcom with frightening regularity.  Having it on the bedside table or on the headboard became commonplace, and the receiver laying on my desk at work was as normal as my Blackberry sitting there.

The Dexcom Seven Plus upgrade bit made a difference for me, too.  It updates in accordance with my calibrations wicked fast now, instead of taking anywhere from 15 - 30 minutes to synch back up.  The trending arrows are awesome and very helpful for me, because my blood sugar skyrockets and tumbles fast at times.  I know when I heard about the new system I was a little "Ooooookay,"  because it didn't LOOK any different.  The sensors are the same, the transmitter is essentially the same (gray instead of black), and the receiver is the same.

I missed this thing.

Only it's not.

The size and shape of the device and it's components hasn't changed, but whatever they tweaked on the inside there really made a huge difference.  Since switching to the Seven Plus back in March, I've seen big changes in how this system performs.  It was accurate enough before, but now it's scary accurate.  To the point where I've eaten based on double-down arrows, and I've conservatively corrected the highs.  (Note to readers:  CGMs aren't supposed to replace blood tests, so this is definitely a "do as I say, not as I do" moment.  Test before you treat any number.)

So anyway, I'm all nice-nice with the Dexcom these days.  But just like with the pump, my skin gets a little irritated from overuse.  Shuffling around pump infusion sets and Dexcom sensors for weeks on end, coupled with my abdomen avoidance techniques, left my hips and thighs a little tender.  I needed a few days to let my sites heal.  So I went home to RI last weekend without my Dex.

And I felt a little bit naked.

I didn't miss the sensor being on me, but I felt weird not having access to that information.  I took my mother out to breakfast for her birthday on Saturday morning and I felt the need to test three times over the course of a three hour breakfast because I "needed to know" how I was trending.  Same thing at dinner that night.  I've grown accustomed to the graphs and charts and instant blood sugar information, and being without it made me feel exposed.  My numbers were roaming around unsupervised, or at least not with the supervision I was used to. 

I went to calibrate it before bed and didn't realize it was MIA until Chris said sleepily, "It's at home."  I spazzed out when I couldn't find the receiver in my purse.  And when we were driving on 95 on the way back, I checked the center console (where it lives when I drive) and actually felt sad that it wasn't there.  I missed it - is this possible?  To miss a device? 

So weird.

I wondered how long it would take for this to happen.  I felt the same way about my pump when I took it off two summers ago for a white water rafting trip.  I was used to the pump, so to be without it was odd.  And now, I'm finally used to the Dexcom, so taking a break for a few days threw me off my game.  Even though I am not always comfortable wearing the physical hardware, I'm more comfortable managing all this diabetes crap when I'm wearing the devices.  More information, at least for me at this stage in the game, is better.

The Dexcom is back on.  I haven't decided fully if it will travel on our cruise with us, but at least for now I'm fully dressed.

[Dexcom disclosure]

Guest Blog: Springing Into Action.

I'm in vacation prep mode BIG TIME (prep = mega spazzing), so I'm grateful that Tony Rose has offered to guest post here today.  Tony blogs over at Blogging Diabetes and has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1998.  He's been pumping for the last 3 years and is a diabetes advocate.  You can find Tony actively participating in the diabetes online community on Twitter (and you can also find me there, too).

He's got some insights on handling diabetes as the weather starts to warm, so take it away, Tony!

A guest post from Tony Rose.
 
*   *   *

As we come up on the nicer weather, many different activities start happening.  People are getting out more, there’s yard work to do, traveling, vacationing and just more all-around outdoor activities.  With these activities come some important considerations in order to effectively manage diabetes and stay safe.

Activity/Exercise
With more exercise and activity from outdoor tasks and enjoyment, comes a new level of difficulty with controlling blood sugar levels.  The first nice day of Spring had me outdoors doing some yard work that had a dramatic impact on my blood sugar.  I didn’t need nearly as much of a basal dose and found myself eating just to keep my sugar up.  The temporary basal rate on my insulin pump comes in very handy for yard work and that round of golf (walking).  Also, it might be a good time to look at and test your basal rate’s effectiveness.  This can be dome by testing your sugar, fasting for 4 hours and then retesting to see if your blood sugar level goes up.  Consult your doctor to fine-tune that basal.

Traveling
I have had diabetes for over 10 years and travel frequently.  Over this time, I have never had a problem going through airport security with diabetes supplies, like syringes, pump supplies, insulin vials, and so on.  Never have I carried a letter from my doctor saying that I am a diabetic and require medical supplies.  Sadly, I think the security people are accustomed to seeing the supplies and don’t question it.  For more detailed information check out the American Diabetes Association’s web site.  A very important consideration that is important to make is taking extra supplies with you.  When I travel, I typically take 1.5 times the supplies I would typically need at home.  You never know when a flight may be canceled or you could be stranded on a deserted island.  I found myself in a situation early on with the pump where one infusion set had lost its stickiness and I was down to my last one.  Having no supplies left is not a good feeling and can be avoided by a little proper planning.

Glucagon

To this day, I have never needed a Glucagon injection because my sugar was so low I couldn’t eat/drink to bring it up.  What I found is that they expire after a year or two.  I know it’s not rocket science to figure that one out, but it’s kind of like, out of sight out of mind.  Since I have never used it, I don’t tend to think about it that often.  As the fire department recommends in regards to smoke alarm batteries, I would say to check your Glucagon expiration date every year at a minimum to ensure it’s ready if you need it.

Reading
I am a big fan of reading when I can and try to do a little every night in bed.  As the nice weather arrives, more people may be lounging outside, at the pool or at the beach.  One of my favorite things to do while vacationing is to read by the water.  I just finished an exercise where I solicited feedback from either people with diabetes or have a family member with diabetes on what they think is the best book related to diabetes.  Here are a few that you may want to pick up for when you have some down time.

1.    Pumping Insulin by John Walsh and Ruth Roberts
2.    The Mind-Body Diabetes Revolution by Richard Surwit
3.    Know Your Numbers, Outlive Your Diabetes by Richard Jackson and Amy Tenderich
4.    Sweet Invisible Body by Lisa Roney
5.    Cheating Destiny: Living with Diabetes by James Hirsch

Thank you for this guest post opportunity and keep up the great work on SUM!

*   *   * 

Editor's note:  Thanks for guest blogging, Tony! 

May 11, 2009

Diabetes Mor(r)on(e).

Is this thing on?I just felt off.  For like an hour.  My head was wrapped in cotton balls and my reaction time was just a half second slower than it should have been.

Internal Motivational Speaker whispered in:  Hey.  You've been a bit of a work nut lately.  How about taking a few minutes and maybe walking around?  

"No, no.  I'm good.  I have to finish this and I have the cruise the week of my anniversary, so I'll have a whole week to collapse and lay on the lido deck."

Hmmm.  So explain the dizzy?  Why are you feeling so dizzy right now?

"I don't know.  Maybe because I've been staring at this computer screen for like five hours straight without much of a reprieve.  Maybe my eyes are fried."

Could be.  Or you could have some kind of brain deformity.  

"What?  Why the hell would you say that?  I'm just a bit burnt out.  And I've had like a LOT of caffeine.  So I'm sure I'm just a little rattled."

Or suffering from some undiscovered, undiagnosed illness that starts with dizziness as a symptom.  Google it.

"No.  I am not consulting Google.  NO.  Back off and let me finish this."

Dr. Google calling.  Come on, Kerri.  You've been dizzy and sort of disoriented for over an hour now.  

"You ... stop it.  I'm not going to let you get me all frantic.  I'm fine.  I just want to finish editing this one article and then I'll take a break for a few minutes.  I promise."

Fine.  Don't say I didn't warn you.

"Warn me?"  I took quick stock of how I was feeling.  I was very irritable, short-tempered, and this weird feeling of swimmy dizziness was dominating my brain.  Granted, I'd been sitting at my desk for at least an hour and a half straight and focusing intently on my column, but maybe I should think for a second and address this nagging feeling of disorientation.  So, despite my better judgment, I Googled "causes of dizziness."

And five minutes later, I was convinced I was dying.

"Oh em gee, I'm dying.  Like today."

I told you.  You can't let something serious like dizziness go undiagnosed.  

"Wait."

And it's also important that you listen to me when I talk to you because I know what I'm talking about.  Finding out what's wrong with you, at least physically, is part of my job and ...

"Wait a second."  I took out my meter. 

Your health takes priority and you need to stay very tuned in to your body and thank goodness you have me because obviously you'd be lost with me and ... 

53 mg/dl.  I reached for some glucose tabs.

Oh.  And then there's that. 

I think it's waaaaaay past time for a vacation. 

May 08, 2009

Local Support.

Sitting at a table with five other type 1 diabetic women, I ordered a cheeseburger for dinner.

What?!  I didn't eat the bun!  And it was downright delicious.

Last night, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting up with the local diabetic ladies of Fairfield County.  Karen and Erin were there, as well as Julie, Rachel, and Judith.  Six of us at a big, round table being waited on by the world's nicest waitress. 

I was telling Chris - it was so cool and borderline surreal to hear six pumps beeping and six lancet devices shunking and six meters flashing results.  One woman was both diabetic and the mother of a boy with diabetes.  Another was 21 weeks pregnant.  One was about to mark her 30th year with diabetes.  Another was closing in on her second.  We're an eclectic and diverse group of women with different backgrounds and desires and families and lives but there's this one huge thing that we all share - diabetes.

I really appreciate having this in-person kind of support.  It stems from our interactions online, but putting faces and smiles and voices to these email addresses and blog posts really makes me appreciate what this community has become over time.  It's so nice to hang with people who really understand - and who are so much more than their disease. 

And this time we got ourselves some damn photographic evidence!

The Fairfield County Dinner crew
 
Thanks for coming out, ladies, and I'm looking forward to our next dinner!  (I promise to stick to decaf.  And I won't tell that stupid lip gloss story again.  Or the potato one.  Or mention the store down the street from dLife.  I embarrass myself with surprising regularity.) 

Are you interested in meeting up?  Are you in Fairfleld County, CT?  Email me at kerri (at) sixuntilme (dot) com and we'll add you to the email list!

EDIT:  Is anyone from the Dallas, TX area?  Someone out there is looking for a fellow diabetic to share stories with, so if you're in Dallas, email me so I can link you guys up! 

May 07, 2009

Wrist and Shout: The Vlog.

I have a lot of things I need to follow-up post on (i.e. product reviews, the guy from Panera, guest posts, etc.), but I found myself recording a ridiculous lunchtime vlog about the cortisone shot, blood sugars, and my ridiculous wrist issue.

Thankfully, my wrist seems to be on the mend, but the shot wrecked some havoc on my numbers.  I'm hoping that this is the beginning of the end of this ridiculous problem.

Also - Siah?  Ridiculous.

May 06, 2009

Diabetes Treat: Sugar-Free Popsicles.

Free foods pretty much ruled my freaking world when I was a kid.  Sugar-free Jell-O, pickles, cucumbers, and sugar-free popsicles were stashed in mass quantities in my childhood home, so that my prying little diabetic hands would hopefully land on a popsicle instead of an "E.L. Fudge" cookie. 

(Note to Michelle:  Your comment a few weeks back about El Fudge the Zorro Cookie still tops my list as one of the funniest comments of all time.)

And even though I'm a grown-up diabetic these days, the disease remains the same.  So does my struggle with food.  Now it's up to me to keep my kitchen stocked with tasty sugar-free treats. 

But some things are a little bit different than they were twenty years ago.  For instance, Chris and I are very wary of sugar substitutes and even though I use Equal in my coffee every morning, I'd prefer a non-chemical alternative.  We try to eat as healthy as possible and buy organic whenever we can (even though it's freaking pricey to buy anything in Fairfield County, where they charge $3.00 for an iced coffee without batting an eye), but avoiding those sugar substitutes is really a challenge for me.  I'm used to Equal and it's mega-sweetness, and other natural alternatives don't pack the same punch.   So we don't always take the organic, attempting-to-be-healthy highroad, and often times we find the grocery cart packed with sugar-free popsicles and Jell-O and other "safe for diabetics but just ignore these chemicals" items.

Because it's hard to find crap I can eat that doesn't make my numbers go berserk and isn't packed with chemicals!

/rant   

Delicious.  Not quite nutritious, though.

I'm a sucker for a good popsicle.  (And for a good pun.) I'll even eat the orange ones, even though they get a bad reputation for some reason.  (Why do you eat the grape ones first, Chris?  What do you have against the orange?)  Popsicles are my favorite method of staying hydrated when my blood sugars get all teeth-sweaters high, and Chris can often tell if I'm working through a high by the number of popsicle wrappers that collect on the coffee table.  And the effects on my numbers are so minimal that I can eat three in a row without a blip on the Dexcom.

Free foods.  I love 'em.  I appreciate 'em.  And when I get all snacky in an unruly way, I need 'em.

What kinds of free foods are you guys snacking on?  

May 05, 2009

Tuesday Musings.

An exercise in trying to make sense of my thought processes:

  • The alarm went off at 3:11 am and my first thought was: "Hey, 311." 
    Second thought:  "Hey, that's not my alarm.  That's the Dexcom BEEEEEEEP!ing." 
    Third thought:  "I will eat frosting." 
  • So I ate frosting in the kitchen at three in the morning.  Dipped a Lorna Doone cookie right into the vanilla frosting can.  Classy.
  • Woke up at 153 mg/dl.
  • Showered, dressed, and grabbed some snacks while Siah paced pensively and hollered at me.  "Hey!  Make me a banana sandwich!" I imagined she was saying. 
  • I did not make her a banana sandwich, as she is a cat.     
  • Left the house for work ten minutes later than I meant to and managed to hit every traffic light possible en route. Making me later. 
  • Thought about the Dave Matthews Band and how Chris and I saw Dave Matthews filming something in NYC on Sunday.  Dave was walking across Vanderbilt Avenue in wicked slow motion, with everyone else on the street at regular speed.  It was very surreal to see someone crossing a busy Manhattan street moving at a snail's pace.
  • This sighting prompted us to try and walk in slow motion for a bit, but we ended up tripping gracelessly over ourselves. 
  • At this point, I decided to stop thinking about other things and focus on driving.  :)
  • Parked my car and as soon as I opened the door to get out, a pocket of rain fell out of the tree above me and slammed me in the head.
  • "Ooooooooooh!" is that I said outloud.  At a high pitch.
  • Went into working daydreaming about coffee.  Made that dream a reality before getting to my desk and mentally high-fived myself for my ability to feed an addiction.
  • Checked emails. Realized that blogging for four more years is far more likely than ever answering all the emails I have backlogged.  Debated full inbox deletion, but then decided against it.
  • Discussed Crumbs bakery with co-worker.  Decided that they opened a Crumbs in Westport just for us.
  • Received confirmation that the Fairfield County Dinner crew is meeting up again on Thursday.  Yay! 
  • Received confirmation that I'll be visiting a diabetes support group in NYC next Tuesday, which I'm very much looking forward to.
  • And then received confirmation that when the Dexcom sounds its alarm in the dead silence of my office, people twitter.
  • Which made me think about Twitter and I started wondering when the Twitter bubble will burst.
  • And then my brain finally settled down and let me focus.
  • Until I started to think about how my shirt color resembles black raspberry ice cream.  Which made me think of the beach.  Which made my brain wander off to our upcoming anniversary cruise. 
Oh forget it.  I'm spent.

May 04, 2009

Turning Four.

Today Six Until Me turns four years old. 

(Are "blog years" like dog years?  One year equals about seven in the real world?  Because four years blogging seems like an eternity.  The day I started this seems like a really long time ago, back when I was new to my relationship with Chris, feeling alone with diabetes, and Siah didn't even exist.  But now I'm married to Chris, part of an enormously influential community of people with diabetes, and Siah is turning four, too.  Stupid cat.  Whoops, digression.)

I thought I'd have something profound to say on my fourth blogging anniversary, but I just feel grateful for the opportunities I've had to get to know you guys and to share my diabetes experiences to a group of people who really understand.

Kerri and Caroline in NYC

Last night, Chris and I had dinner with Caroline and her boyfriend Ian.  And even though Caroline and I know one another through this blogging community and we share the same disease, we didn't spend the whole night comparing notes on diabetes.  We talked about politics, health care, compared American and English stereotypes (thanks to Chris, who kept bringing up every typically British thing he could think of - on purpose -  just to be goofy), and discussed the likelihood of cats as headgear (don't ask).  

I liked hearing Chris talk to Ian about what it's like to be the partner of a diabetic.  I know we have a solid network of people who have diabetes, but there's a special crew of caregivers - the ones who love us and spend their lives with us - who have their own set of emotions.  Chris doesn't ever talk about diabetes as a burden and he's very supportive, but he does acknowledge that trekking for juice in the middle of the night is a unique relationship situation.  ;)  It was nice to see another partner of a PWD showing the same level of love, compassion, and gentle understanding, and seeing the laughter Ian and Chris shared when Caroline and I admitted to possibly being a bit ... spikey during blood sugar issues.  (Me?  Emotional and outburst-y?  Never!)

It was a lovely night and we ended up staying at the table until just a few minutes before our train was due to leave.  We snapped a quick picture in the subway tunnels of Grand Central (not the nicest backdrop, but we did what we could) and then Chris and I booked for our train.

"I like them.  They're really nice," I said as we settled into our seats for the ride home.

"Me, too.  Definitely," said Chris. 

Four years from now, who knows where we'll all be.  But for this moment, I'm happy to be here.  Thanks for reading, and for being part of my diabetes care network.  It's made such a difference, and I'm better for it.

May 01, 2009

The Friday Six: May Day!

I must thankfully admit - blood sugars have settled down a wee bit (thanks to a 150% basal rate increase that I'm not changing until I'm sure the cortisone is out of my system) and my wrist might be feeling a little better, so things are looking much sunnier in my corner of the Internet today.  About damn time. 

It's time for a little Friday Six action:

1.  Last night I had the opportunity to attend the JDRF Spring for a Cure event at the Metropolitan Pavillion in NYC.  I haven't been into the city in a few weeks, so it was kind of fun to ride the train in and get a little "aaaah" over Grand Central again.  I met up with Gina Capone and we spent a few hours checking out all the trappings, from cheesecake to white wine.  We ran into my former coworker Jon and his wife Lindsey, fellow blogger Allison Blass, and some of JDRF's finest.

Kerri and Aida - chilin'.

The JDRF knows how to throw an event, as the place was packed with people all passionate about diabetes research and a cure.  Including Soprano's star Aida Tuturro, who I spent some time talking to.  (She's a hot ticket!)  Aida has type 2 diabetes and was featured on dLifeTV a few seasons ago.   

2.  Also, best-selling author Brenda Novak is a friend of the diabetes community, thanks to her Novak’s 5th Annual Online Auction for Diabetes Research.  According to the press release, "The auction is held each May is a labor of love for her son who has lived with the disease for most of his life. It is also a month-long online event featuring lunches, dinners and one-on-one meetings with celebrity authors, world-class getaway vacations and state-of-the-art gizmos and gadgets."  And this year, my friends at the Diabetes Research Institute are the sole beneficiaries.  Pretty darn cool.  Visit the auction site and start bidding.  It all benefits a cure!

3.  Today is the last day to enter the Diabetes Mine 2009 Design Challenge, so if you're still thinking about entering to win $10,000, you'd better get cracking!   Submissions can be sent in until 11:59 Pacific time, so there's still time to enter. 

4.  The new issue of diaTribe is out with an all-new SUM Musings - complete with cameos from my mother and my brother talking about diabetes awareness for those who aren't diabetic themselves.  If you aren't a subscriber already to diaTribe, sign up.  Seriously.  I know I'm a columnist there and am very biased, but Kelly and Co. do a fantastic job andThe Friday Six:  May 1, 2009 edition I'm a proud supporter of their work.

5.  In a little plug for my office, the production team at dLifeTV is looking for a few good diabetes stories to potentially feature on the show.  Currently, they're seeking college students with diabetes, married couples dealing with diabetes in their relationship, and diabetics struggling with alcoholism.  Check out the call for submissions and see if we're looking for YOU.

6.  And in a little plug for yetis, I think I may have spied one from the train last night.  We were just about to pull into Harlem 125th when I looked down and saw a person sitting on a bench outside.  Wearing a full fur suit.  Like a real fur suit - no joke.  I am not unconvinced it wasn't a yeti.  Which leads me to SkyMall.  Which leads me to this video.  Then this one.  Which leads me into a brain tangent I wasn't prepared for. 

Holy digression.

I'm off to buy a yeti.  Or maybe just take a nap.  :)  Either way, have a good weekend!

Visitors since November 7, 2005