« February 2011 | Main | April 2011 »

March 31, 2011

#Sweatabetes.

I wish I could write this really health-conscious post about how exercising helps me manage my blood sugars better.  Or about how a lower body fat percentage and a higher muscle mass ratio helps me to use less total insulin throughout the day.  Or how the exercise endorphins make me want to transform into a happy dolphin so I can jump through waves, smiling and shouting "I love exercise!!"  

Not the case.  I exercise because without it, my body becomes very frumpy.  I'm not sure if it's my genetics or the way I need to manage food as a result of diabetes, or maybe a combination of the two, but without regular exercise, I hate the way my body looks.  I'm self-conscious enough to know that when I feel embarrassed about my physical appearance, my mental health takes a hit.  And when my mental health is suffering, my overall diabetes health suffers, too.  

When I was in Washington, DC for the JDRF Government Day(s), I ended up in the hotel gym.  Normally when I travel, I bring sneakers and a sports bra in hopes of working out, but usually I'm so exhausted that I collapse in bed, instead.  But this time, I had some of my fellow PWD to work out with.  Scott, Kelly, Cherise, Kim, and myself.  We rocked a #sweatbetes session at 10:30 pm, doing cardio, weights, and a few of them even attempted following Scott in pursuit of the perfect Turkish Get-Up.  We worked out hard, and even though there were some lows and some beeping CGMs and pump tubing hanging out all over the place, we rocked that gym.

Poor Scott.  Four cups of ice cream, balanced on his dome.  And he's all "What?"(Which is precisely why we celebrated with ice cream and wine at the bar afterward.  What??)

I exercise because I want to eat ice cream without feeling guilty.  (Don't get me started on the food guilt.  I would need a whole new blog.  Called Food Guilt, written under a nom de plume like "She Of Many Cheesecakes.")  I want to enjoy the meals I'm eating without needing to upgrade my wardrobe to a bigger size a few weeks later.  I want to sleep better at night (exercising does help with that) and I want to look in the mirror and feel proud of what I've accomplished with this so-called compromised body. 

I want to continue to be healthy to be kicking around in this skin for a long, long time.  So fine:  I'll do the 10:30 pm sweatabetes.  I'll use the ellipmachine at midnight, once the baby is completely settled and not bothered by her budding teeth.  I'll jump rope on the back deck.  I'll use the wimpy little weights at the gym while my wrists build back up to the heavier ones. 

I'll take my daughter for long stroller walks in our neighborhood to keep her mama health and to show her the world. 

This post is my March entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival.  If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at http://diabetessocmed.com/2011/march-dsma-blog-carnival !

March 30, 2011

You Wrote, MTV Answered.

The DOC, when acting in unison, is a LOUD voice.  Thanks to everyone who wrote letters to the MTV casting agent for True Life: I Have Diabetes (including, but not limited to, my red-headed friend Nicole in CT.  Thank you, Aunt Spazzy!!), the casting call has been updated to something a little less offensive, and many of us have received this form letter from Miscellaneous Media:

To Whom It May Concern,

Thank you very much for your note. I apologize for returning it with a form letter, but we've been getting so many emails from your community regarding our clumsily written casting call that it would be impossible to respond to everyone individually.

First of all, I'd like to apologize for not being more articulate in our casting call. We didn't mean to offend anyone with diabetes with the wording of our post. These casting calls aren't written to define the exact types of stories we plan to cover, they're meant as a starting point to begin a dialogue with potential subjects. It's a very general way to get a conversation going with people who want to write in and share their story with us.

For this episode, we are looking for three people who can be our tour guide for what it is like for them to live with diabetes. It's hard to say whether our subjects will have type 1 or type 2, since we haven't begun filming or chosen final subjects yet. But with True Life, it's always best to find folks from all walks of life who have a diverse set of circumstances.

Because of all of your enlightening emails, we have changed the wording of our casting call so that it asks whether people writing in are type 1 or type 2. We have done the research, and we know what the differences are, but we're still not the experts. It's the people who tell their story, from their point of view, who are the best experts on what it means for them to have the type of diabetes they have.

The bottom line is that we just want to make a great documentary about what it is like to be young and living with diabetes. And right now, it's impossible to say what points will get made in this episode since we haven't cast subjects yet.

Thank you for all of your emails, and again, my sincerest apologies.

All the best,
Patrick
Miscellaneous Media

Spreading the word about REAL life with diabetes, not just the extreme moments.  I'm very hopeful that the diabetes episode of True Life shows what living with type 1 diabetes is really like.  (Now how do we get Abby on this episode?  ;) )

Quick, But Much Needed, Vacation.

From the piles of snow that rested on the back deck for weeks on end to the adjustment to working from home while taking care of a rapidly crawling bird, I've been looking forward to a quick, sunshiny break for some time now.  And on Friday, a few of my friends and I took a wicked early flight out from Boston to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. 

Since BSparl's arrival, I haven't traveled at all for pleasure.  Only for business (which ended up being fun most of the time, but there was always some work component involved).  This was the first time in a long time that I traveled without Chris, without BSparl, and without a business agenda.  And while I missed my family, this beach trip was awesome:


We flew out at 6:30 am from Logan.  Which means that the day started very early.  And so did the party.


By the time we arrived in Punta Cana, we were giddy with excitement and celebrating the lack of snow on the ground. 

I could live right here, on this beach.
We stayed at the Dream Resort and Spa, and both the landscape of the resort itself ...


... and of the fruit displays impressed us.  And while we did our share of exploring the beaches and checking out the restaurants and bars, we were always able to find our way back to our room, courtesy of the accidental trail of test strips:

You knew which room was ours.

My blood sugars behaved brilliantly on this trip (except for that one 35 mg/dl as we were walking over to breakfast - more on that later) and I have never been more thankful for my waterproof pump (because I could clip it to the halter of my bathing suit and chill at the swim-up bar with my friends, without worry or disconnecting, but more on that later, too).  

It was a short trip, but more than worth it.  And when it snows (!) later in the week, I'll be able to console myself with pictures.  ;)

March 29, 2011

From Abby: MTV... More like SuckTv.

MTV's "True Life" series is looking to do a segment on what it's like to live with diabetes, but their casting call leaves much to be desired.  And Abby has something to say about it.

*   *   *

Tell MTV what diabetes is really like.Dear MTV,

I feel like we’ve grown up together. I remember when I used to sneak and watch The Real World when my mom was in another room. I used to rush home after school to catch premiers of *NSYNC’s newest music video, and then vote for it a million times before dinner as if that would make JC want to marry me. I’ve even planned out my escape to Time Square to stand outside of TRL (OMG am I old) to hold a sign and become wicked famous, obviously.

But, MTV, the past few years you’ve confused me a little, with your advertising of teenage pregnancy, under-aged substance abuse, $892 gazillion birthday parties for 15-year-old daughters of has-beens, and orange colored Jerz-Birdz who keep the New England club scene/ alcohol companies in business. I’m not sure what any of this has to do with music, or why these shows continue to be made, but I can’t say I’m not as hooked as the rest of the world.

This brings me to my current issue. I’m fairly certain I’ve seen every episode of True Life you’ve ever made … at least twice. I can’t get enough of watching what these people who have issues that I’ve only heard of go through in their daily lives. You have a dog with blue eyes? Yes I want to watch a whole hour episode about how you deal with that. You’ve been living in your car for the past 700 years? PLEASE film that and show the re-runs on Saturdays so I have something to fill my hungover days with college friends.

All jokes aside, the episodes about serious illnesses have always held a little place in my heart. Tourette’s Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Alopecia… just to name a few, have let us into the lives of young people who deal with these devastating diseases and how their lives are affected. For this I applaud you. Not everyone that watches MTV is a perfect human being with appropriately functioning bodies.

Then I heard you want to make a diabetes episode? I basically threw a party over here. It’s my dream come true! That was until I read your “casting call.” I don’t think you understand what diabetes is. In fact, I’m pretty sure you saw a Liberty Medical commercial with our pal Wilford and decided “Meh ... let's make an episode about that.”

I’m begging you to reconsider your approach to this potentially amazing opportunity. Not just for me and my viewing pleasure, but for the thousands of youngsters out here who are living with dead pancrei, and celebrating Jersday at the same time. You have the opportunity to get our voice out there, and show that we too have struggles, we have a pretty intense issue that we have to deal with daily, and that we can do it while still being totally awesome.

I’m not asking you to play music videos, I’m not asking you to make a show about people who are educated. Heck I’m not even asking you to do anything you weren’t already going to do. I’m simply requesting - begging, pleading - that you make this episode something that the diabetes community can be proud of, and won’t set us back years of advocating.

Love always,
Abby “I still want to marry JC” Bayer

P.S. Please consider me for the position of “real person living a pretty crazy life with Type 1 Diabetes in upstate NY” in the upcoming True Life: I Have Diabetes episode.  I believe I would be the perfect person for the job :)

March 25, 2011

Too Sweet Boutique!!

The lovely Amy and her daughterPart of pumping insulin is finding a place to stash your pump: in your pocket, in your sock, clipped to your belt loop, as part of a disco boob ensemble ... the possibilities are as vast as your wardrobe.  But sometimes you don't want just any ol' place to stick your pump.  Sometimes you want to sassy-it-up a bit. 

This is where the creative genius of Amy Holmes comes into play.  Amy is a hero of mine - wife of a person with diabetes and also the mother of one - and she's really helping people emotionally OWN their diabetes with her gorgeous pump and CGM packs that she sells in the Too Sweet Boutique.  Amy agreed to chat with me, and I'm thrilled to be sharing her inspiring story and beautiful designs.

Kerri:  Hi Amy!  Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today.  I’m really excited to help share your fantastic work with the SUM readers.  I also know that you have more than one person with diabetes in your family – can you share your story? 

Amy Holmes:  Thank you so much for the invite Kerri! I am honored to do it!  Yes, diabetes has always been part of my life. I lost my father to type 1 when I was five, which obviously had a huge impact on my childhood. However, it wasn’t until my husband was diagnosed several years into our marriage that I really lived with diabetes.

His diagnosis with type 1 at age 26 was a complete shocker to both of us. Watching the love of my life deal with the diagnosis was both painful and inspiring. One day he was invincible, and the next he was at the mercy of insulin and relentless battles with blood sugar. It was hard, but within a year he was pumping and doing amazingly well.  Diabetes was little more than background noise, (ever present and often annoying, but certainly not the star of the show), when we made the decision to have a second child a few years later. Diabetes wasn’t going to stop us!

When our beautiful baby girl was 9 months-old I began to notice her unusual thirst, and was quite simply terrified. She stopped wanting to nurse because she knew she could get more milk from a bottle, and another, and another… Her symptoms were still subtle when we took her to the pediatrician, but her blood sugar was 699 and she was dangerously close to DKA.

Managing a baby with diabetes was a challenge unlike anything we’d ever faced. She started pumping just after her first birthday and with that change we finally had hope that life would be OK again. I knew there was no going back to the forced feeding schedule and 6+ injections she’d been getting daily, we just had to figure out how to keep her pump safely attached to her tiny, wiggly body!

She is now a six year-old pumping princess who has no memory of life without diabetes. It’s bitter-sweet, but until there is a cure, it is my goal to make living with diabetes as Sweet as possible for her.  Both of my “sweeties” amaze and inspire me every single day!

Some of Amy's gorgeous designs

Kerri:  What made you decide to start the fabulous Too Sweet Boutique?  

Amy:  I was already sewing and designing boutique clothing under the name Too Sweet, (in honor of my little D princess), so I decided to tackle our pump pouch problem myself. I wanted a product that was fun and fashionable, but it had to work for us and fit great too! I decided to take the best features of our favorite pouches and combine them with the boutique style we crave. Once we started using them we were in love and I knew that other kids had to have them too! 

Kerri:  So are the items from the Too Sweet Boutique just for little girls?  Or can boys get in on the action?  And are there options for … ahem … grown ups who may want a cool pump or CGM pouch?

Amy:  While most of my customers are little girls, I have options for boys and pumpers of all ages! I’ve made custom items for infants, teens, retirees and athletes all around the world. My husband is a huge fan of my Perfectly Clear pouches for sports. If you use a CGM, that clear screen is your best friend. (It’s my all time favorite feature! Once we went clear, there was no going back!)  I can also create custom belts for Omnipod PDM’s and a variety of CGM receivers.

Kerri:  How can someone order products from you?

Amy:  You can find my Sweet little shop at TooSweetBoutique.net.  All of my items are custom made to order, but you can find lots of pictures and ordering information there.  You can also like TooSweet Boutique on Facebook to keep up with new products and sales.

Kerri:  And what’s next for your growing business? 

Amy:  Kerri, I am super excited to tell you that I have just tackled another one of our style challenged D accessories… our meter bag! I have never found a bag that was just the right size to hold what we really need to carry each day. I have designed an adorable little bag that holds exactly what most people with D need to keep with them, and it’s CUTE!   I am just beginning the production process, so it’s not available yet, but it will be soon, and it’s going to be Sweet!!

As Too Sweet Boutique continues to grow I hope to provide more fun, functional, fashionable options for children and adults living with diabetes. You are all amazing and inspiring, and your diabetes accessories should be too!  Happy Pumping!

[Editor's Note:  Amy's daughter is one of the cutest kids I have ever seen.  And she's got great hair.  :) ]

March 24, 2011

America Runs on Insulin.

It's been well-documented that my coffee addiction is ... substantial.  Briefly on hiatus during my pregnancy, I was reunited with my beloved beverage after the baby was born, and now I'm back in the habit.  

Since I work from our home office and I'm also the primary caregiver for BSparl, sleep is a hot commodity.  Actually, I don't get to sleep much, so the coffee is very much my friend these days.  Work hard, play hard, drink much of the coffee.

The other day, I was out with the baby, running a few errands.  I had to visit the post office, the grocery store, CVS … and Dunkin Donuts.  I try to make my order sound fresh and new (versus something I say almost without thinking), and I leaned out the window to order into the drive through speaker.  (Instead of into the garbage can, which is something I've done more times than I'd care to admit.)  

"Hi!"  Total joy.  "Can I please have a medium iced coffee with cream and two Splenda?"  

"Sure thing.  Please drive up."

So I drive up.  But when I get to the window, there's a little bit of confusion.

"Okay, so one coffee with milk and sugar, two doughnuts, and a bagel with cream cheese?"  The boy attending the window had a bag of deliciousness in his hand.  My stomach said "YES!  YES. THOSE BELONG TO ME."  

I mentally punched myself in the stomach and said, "Oh, I only had a medium iced coffee.  That was it."

"No problem."  The kid put down the order that wasn't mine and returned with a single iced coffee.  "Okay, that's two dollars and thirty-six cents."

"Awesome."  I handed the money out the window.  "Would you mind double-checking to see if that's with Splenda, and not sugar?  I'm diabetic, and I don't want to end up with the wrong order."  

He paused.  "Type 1?"

Whooo boy.

"Yes, type 1."

"Yours is definitely Splenda.  I'm positive."  He handed me my change.  "My mom has type 1.  For like, ever.  How are you doing?"

This kid wasn't any more than 18 years old.  But the concern on his face was wise beyond his years.

"Good.  I'm doing really well.  I've had it since I was a kid."

"My mom, too.  She's doing good.  And she has me.  And my sister.  Is that your baby?"  He waved at BSparl in the backseat, waving her chubby arms around and babbling.

"Yes.  She's almost a year old.  It's refreshing to see that our kids grow up to be nice kids."

He smiled.  "And that our moms weren't always old moms.  Have a good day.  And I can't wait to tell my mom I met another one like her."  

People with diabetes are everywhere.  And so are the people who love them.

March 23, 2011

Bloopers: 2011.

I've been recording vlogs on my YouTube channel for a few years now, and for Animas for the last 15 months, but for all the footage I've recorded, there are only a few actually usable minutes.  The rest of that nonsense?  The wicked verbal stumblings and the puppets? 

Blooper reels:

March 22, 2011

Guest Post: Diabetes Alert Day.

Today is Diabetes Alert Day.  What does that mean?  (Here - let the ADA help explain.)  Diabetes Alert Day points a spotlight on type 2 diabetes, encouraging those who are living with type 2 to take control and for those who may be at risk to get tested.  I'm really proud to be hosting my friend Rachel Baumgartel's words on SUM today.  Rachel is a passionate diabetes advocate with a type 2 voice, and you can find her online contributions just about everywhere:  on her personal blog Tales of Rachel, at Diabetes Daily, 'midterning' at Chronicbabe, and participating in the Diabetes 365 project on Flickr

She's offered to post about her own diagnosis with type 2, about being young and living with a chronic illness, and her encouragement to anyone who may be at risk to get tested.  

*   *   *

Often I find myself jealous of people my age who are lucky enough to have one or more grandparents still living and still aware of their surroundings.
Rachel Baumgartel - thanks for guest posting today!
You see, I never knew my own grandparents. Both of my grandmothers passed away before my parents were even married. Both of my grandfathers passed away before I was old enough to notice.

Still, I grew up knowing that both Grandpa and Grandfather lived with type 2 diabetes in the last years of their lives and the condition likely contributed to their deaths. Grandpa, who adopted my father and his brother with my grandmother, took insulin, scaring off my much older siblings when he took out the needle. Grandfather, who never crossed me as being overweight in photographs, took one of the early oral diabetes medications in the 1970’s.

For whatever reason, this family history, both with the genetic connection and without, did not occur to me upon the first warning signs that arrived in the form of spilling sugar in my urine at a routine physical at age 25. Besides family history, I could knock off no fewer than three other risk factors for type 2 diabetes at that point – being borderline obese, exercising less than three times a week, and having borderline high blood pressure.

While I became more active and smarter about food choices after this pre-diabetes warning, I could not overcome an undiagnosed thyroid issue that slowed metabolism to a point where weight loss stalled and eventually caused all-day fatigue, which slowed my activity back down to a minimum. And so I ended up with a type 2 diabetes diagnosis less than four years after that annual physical.

By that time, genetics had made themselves more apparent with type 2 diabetes diagnoses for both my father, whose biological family history was unknown at that point, and my mother’s sister, who struggled with weight. Still, it baffled me how I could be diagnosed at 28 years old while they were in their sixties.  

(In fact, I found much more in common with young adults with type 1 diabetes who were buying houses and building careers than older adults with type 2 diabetes who had mortgages paid off and looking towards retirement. No wonder I am one of the few active type 2 members of the diabetes online community!)

As I grew more conscious of type 2 diabetes and its potential progression, I realized how much earlier this was caught for me with “only” a 6.4% A1C and how much earlier I could make necessary changes so that diabetes may not impact my life expectancy.  I managed to find my inner athlete and learned how to cook some tasty, yet healthy meals.  Six years later, the only change to my diet and exercise regimen has been metformin to increase sensitivity to my own body’s insulin.

Knowing the risk of type 2 diabetes and then knowing if it is time to start screening for it is of utmost importance for prevention of this type of diabetes or to avoid major complications if a diagnosis is made. Lifestyle factors such as weight and activity levels combined with family history and race produce risk levels.  That is what Diabetes Alert Day, a project of the American Diabetes Association, is all about – finding out what your risk might be.

Now I understand that most of Kerri’s readers are people with or parents of children with type 1 diabetes, but perhaps type 2 diabetes does happen to run in your family.  It is still important for you and/or your family members to take this quick and easy risk assessment. After all, while the disease process between the two main types of diabetes may differ, we all end up with the same potential complications that threaten to reduce our life expectancies.

*   *   *

Thanks for posting, Rachel!  And for more information on Diabetes Alert Day, please visit the American Diabetes Association's website.

March 21, 2011

The JDRF and the Online Community.

RAISE!  YOUR!  VOICE!  Wherever you see fit.  :)As a kid, I wasn't an advocate for type 1 diabetes.  I was a kid.  I went to diabetes camp (CBC 4 LIFE) but that was the extent of my involvement with any kind of diabetes community.  It wasn't until I was out of college and feeling like I existed on a diabetes island that I began to crave interaction with and understanding from other people with diabetes.  So, at Chris' suggestion, I started a blaaaaaagh and everything just got all sorts of exciting.  Namely, I had finally connected with other people living with diabetes. And it felt gooooood.

Now that there is an established online community for people with diabetes (PWDs, caregivers, and loved ones alike), there are a lot of opportunities for engagement and advocacy.  The DOC isn't limited to adults living with diabetes; there are blogs written by parents of CWD, spouses and significant others of PWD, and even doctors who care for PWD.  And it's not even limited to people who are interacting online - the diabetes community is offline, and on.  And after meeting with the new CEO of the JDRF, Jeffrey Brewer, last week in DC, I realized once again that we're all in this together.  This guy gets it.  His kid has diabetes, making me realize that Jeffrey is just like my mother in that he wants what is best for his child. 

But what cracked me up is how Jeffrey realizes that those of us who are adults with type 1 are a version of what his son may grow up to be.  We're still living with diabetes, we have "real lives," and we aren't perfect.  He and I were talking and the concept of "a perfect diabetic" came up in conversation.  During the course of our exchange, Hasan Shah (the Grassroots Advocacy Manager at the JDRF) came up and asked if I was really carrying a unicorn puppet around with me. 

(How do these rumors start?)

"Yes, I do."  I rummaged around in my purse until I was able to grab Sprinkles by the yarn mane.  "Here.  This is the DOC Advocacy Unicorn: Sprinkles."

Jeffrey was a little taken aback.

"What's that, again?"

"The advocacy unicorn.  Because I have this belief that we make diabetes look a little too easy sometimes, and it's important to remind people that type 1 diabetes isn't always rainbows and unicorns.  And that despite the fact that we oftentimes don't look sick, we still deserve a cure."

(And if there was ever a time I wish I had captured the look on someone's face, it was at this moment.  A mix of "Ah ha" and a total "Are you low?")

"Makes perfect sense," he said.

"I don't always carry puppets around with me." I replied.

But this goes to show that the people who are involved with the JDRF don't just "get it."  They "are it."  And they aren't alone: there are plenty of people who are involved with many different diabetes-related organizations who are pushing for and passionate about progress towards a better life with diabetes and a real-deal cure.  Diabetes advocacy isn't limited to one organization or one mission:  any steps towards a better life benefit us all.  Because you can bet your ... everything that I want to be as healthy as possible for as long as possible.  

This past weekend, I was the Fund a Cure speaker for the Rhode Island JDRF's second annual Hope Ball, and had the honor of speaking to that crowd.  Between the Government Day experience and attending the Hope Ball, I've been reawakened to the impact that the JDRF has on people with diabetes.  And I'm not talking about the Bag of Hope - I mean the real research and government relations that are changing the landscape of our diabetes collective.  Not just for kids, but for the parents taking care of them, and for the adults those children will hopefully become.  

It's a group effort, this diabetes thing, and I think that the JDRF and the online community can work together to effect great change.

Diabetes advocacy isn't limited to one organization or one research ambition.  What organizations do you dedicate your advocacy time and efforts to, and why?  Do you find yourself donating your time to a broad range of diabetes efforts? 

March 18, 2011

JDRF's Government Day(s).

Last week, I had the honor and the pleasure of attending the JDRF's Government Day(s) event down in Washington, DC, in the company of some of my favorite diabetes online community members.  Described by the JDRF as "part training session, part research update, part networking opportunity, and part celebration of our Advocacy Program," my experience at Government Day was pretty incredible.

Part of my role as a participant in the Government Day events was to take part in the JDRF Blogger Roundtable discussion, which split the nine invited members of the online community into two groups.  My group ended up as part of the UStream live telecast (which, of course, meant I was paranoid about potentially cursing during the broadcast, but I was able to hold my tongue), the video of which can be found here:

Video streaming by Ustream

But the most important part of my experience at Government Day was visiting the offices of the RI Senators and Congressmen, talking about real lives with diabetes, and how their signature could help move the artificial pancreas project forward expeditiously.  My father was in the political arena here in Rhode Island for several years when I was growing up, and I've always been both impressed and humbled by the power and influence of political players. 

And it wasn't until I sat in the offices of Senators and Representatives of my wonderful little state that I realized the power and influence of people with diabetes.

Rhode Islanders on Capitol Hill

I made the rounds on Capitol Hill with fellow Rhode Islanders Amy (parent of a son with type 1 diabetes) and Eileen (type 1 diabetes for 42 years), and we shared our stories with RI representatives in efforts to really make them understand diabetes.  Not just on the surface, but how it affects our lives both emotionally and physically.  And how a simple signature from them could help provide guidance documents for the FDA to help move the artificial pancreas project forward.

All we did was share our stories.  (It was like blogging out loud.)  But we could see our words hitting home.  "This kid?"  I showed them a photo of BSparl.  "She's not diabetic, but I am.  And I need to be here for a long, long time so this little bird can have a healthy mom to take care of her.  I'm not tugging on heart strings; I'm just telling the truth."  This was my first time ever talking to someone outside of the community about how diabetes may affect my daughter, and the edges of those emotions were raw.  Listening to Eileen and Lilly share their stories made an impact on me; they hopefully made an impact on people whose support we need, as well.

In the twenty four years since my diagnosis, I have seen a lot of change in the care and management of type 1 diabetes.  Meters are smaller, faster, and less intrusive in my life.  An insulin pump delivers my insulin with precision.  A continuous glucose monitor helps me (and those who love me) to sleep more soundly.  And every day, we move closer to new technology to tide us over until that "real cure" comes along, the one that reawakens my islets and makes diabetes a distant memory. 

Progress in all ways is important, and as an advocate for people living with diabetes, I'm proud to be helping every and any organization who aims to move forward with hope, support, and a better life with this disease.  This is why I blog.  This is why I walk and raise awareness and funding for diabetes. 

This is why our community is so strong, because when you push aside companies and corporate alliances,  personal preferences and affiliations, we are all living with diabetes in one way or another.  And we're all hoping for a better life. 

Keep pushing for progress.  For change.  And for unity within our community.

Disclosure: My travel, lodging, and some meals were provided by the JDRF. My opinions weren't. I came up with those all on my own.

March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Automatically Equals Drinking?

Oh, I love this photo.In the spirit of St. Patrick's Day - which is somehow all about drinking and has very little to do with the fine Irish heritage of people with wonderful accents and a delicious cereal -  I'm revisiting a post about diabetes and alcohol, while I work on a recap of JDRF's Government Day activities.  And also, a little Mills Lane goes a long way.  Also, also, I finally figured out how to make the font green.  That was about six years in the making.

* * *

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

“In this corner, bringing a bevy of boluses and carbonated carbohydrate content, wearing Gold Shorts and a lime wedge, weighing in at about 12 oz is the mysterious new challenger, La Corona!” 

He raises his fists in the air and burps.

“And in this corner, The Titan of Tight Control, the A1c Ally, weighing in at about 9 oz and made up of cheap vodka, cranberry juice, and a splash of Tropicana orange juice – the reigning champion, The Mighty Madras!”

Madras also pumps his fists, holding tight to a thin, red straw and a test strip.

“Gentlemen, this is the title match.  Nothing below 50 mg/dl and nothing, nothing above 250 mg/dl – do you hear me?  I want a good, clean fight.  Now let’s get it on!”

Bell rings.

“And the Corona lurches forward right away, fists flailing! Look at those carbs, folks!  The Mighty Madras is backing off a bit – I can hear those ice cubes clanking against the side of him!  Corona reels back, swings out and oooooh! A solid hit to the jaw of the Madras!  He’s falling back!  He’s staggering!  Could he be out already?  Is this newcomer going to knock the ol’ Tried and True out of the ring? 

The Madras is leaning against the ropes … he looks exhausted!  Only a few minutes into this fight and the Cold Corona definitely has the upper hand!  This could be it! 

… But wait, what’s this I see?  Yes, the Mighty Madras is on his feet!  He’s taken out a blood glucose meter from his pocket.  He’s looking to test Kerri – judges?  Are we allowing this?  Yes, the judges are allowing a blood test.  And Kerri, after having two of the icy cold Coronas, is up to 253 md/gl!  Her bolus was grossly under estimated!  They’re flashing the results across the marquee – indeed, Kerri is high and the Corona can’t stop staring at the number! 

And – ooooh! – the Mighty Madras has snuck in a jab while the Corona isn’t paying attention!  He’s now pummeling the Corona!  There’s lime juice everywhere, my friends … this is truly a gruesome beating!”

Corona is leaning against the ropes, exhausted from the beating.  The Madras reels back his fist, angry that Kerri didn’t measure correctly for her drinks and is now high as a kite.  He knows he would have been easier to count.  He knows he could have let Kerri enjoy steadier blood sugars and a night out.  Why did she pick Corona?  Was it the price?  Was it the fact that “out having a beer” is what she preferred over a more pretentious mixed drink?  Madras didn’t know.  He didn’t care.  All he knew is that the Corona was horning in on his woman and he wasn’t standing for it.

“And the Madras has brought out a bottle of insulin!!  And OH MY GOD he’s cracked it over the Corona’s head!  Corona is out!  It’s a knock-out, dear viewers!  This fight is over!  Over!”

Corona falls flat against the mat, out cold.  The ring smells of sweat and insulin.  Mills Lane grabs the championship belt and thrusts it into Madras’s hand, declaring him “Winnah!”  Madras, bleeding profusely from the eye and crying, raises the belt to the air and yells, “Kerri!  Kerri!”  Kerri comes running from the stands, meter in hand, and stands in front of him as she tests.  “153 mg/dl.  I’m coming down.  I’ll be more careful next time I drink high-carb beers, O Mighty Madras.  I promise!”

They embrace.  The “Rocky” theme swells in the background.  Kerri decides that the next time she wants to have a beer, she needs to measure more carefully and bolus with more precision.  She also discovers that she has run this storyline into the ground.

Mills Lane wipes the tears from his eyes.  “I love a good fight.”

Happy St. Patty's Day, all!  Be safe, regardless of what you're up to today.

March 16, 2011

Eleven.

Birdzone,

There is no way you are eleven months old.  How is this even possible?  Wasn't I just all puffed up with pre-eclampsia like two weeks ago?  No?  You're really thisclose to celebrating your year birthday? 

Seriously, holy crap, kid.

This last month has been a constant challenge to keep up with you, both in chasing you around the room as you crawl at the speed of light and keeping up with your constant developmental changes.  Every few days, some new glimpse into your personality comes up.  Like the other day when you were in your highchair, and your dad tipped his head to the side and said "Awwww, so cute!"  And you responded in kind:

Awwwwwwwww!

(Thing is, if you give us the "awwww" look and we don't notice right away, you go in for a second tilt, only even deeper, basically leaving you with your nose on your toes.  So cute, but looks a little uncomfy.)

Crawling, hanging onto the side of the couch and taking confident steps while you hang on tight, and then even those moments when you venture and try to walk on your own ... we're close to full mobility here, and it's making your chubby legs a little less chubby.  (Which has inspired me to start crawling, too.  Does that slim-down program work for adults?) And you sprouted your first fang a few weeks ago, and now it's both broken through completely and soon to be followed by several other fangs that are brewing.  Your tooth gives you a wise look, like you know things about history and how to make doughnuts.

Other thing is that we're working towards is gearing up for your first round of antibody testing for markers of type 1 diabetes.  I know this is a loaded issue for lots of parents who have diabetes and parents who care for a child with diabetes.  But in our case, little bird, we're going to deal with this on the peripheral.  Your childhood will not be marked by me chasing you around with a meter waiting for the genetic shoe to drop.  Since you're already having routine blood work done at your 12 month visit, this is a good, less-intrusive time for that test.  We'll keep an eye on things, my friend, but I'm not going to let The Thought dominate my mind. 

Mama and her baby bird

Next month, you'll mark your first birthday. And seeing how quickly time goes by and how fast you are growing up, I'm reminded by many to appreciate your little baby self, snuggle you while you still want to be snuggled, and tell you I love you every single day.  Because I do.  So much.

(Also, nice polka dots, kiddo.  You rock 'em.)

Love,
Mommy

March 15, 2011

PWDs in DC: A Little Diabetes Math.

PWDs + Washington, D.C. + cupcakes = HAPPY

Happiness!!

(More on this whole JDRF Government Day experience later, but for now, exhaustion and travel and meetings are eating my brain.  In the meantime, can you name all the people with diabetes in this photo?  And also, much love to everyone who came out to eat Mexican food and cupcakes last night!!  :) )

March 14, 2011

Guest Post: My Glamorous Life.

While I'm attending the JDRF Government Day events in Washington, DC, fellow PWD and mom, Rachel Garlinghouse has offered to guest post here about diabetes, motherhood, and adoption.  I've been reading Rachel's blog and her posts at Diabetes Health for several years, and she's an inspiring writer.  Today, she's writing about the decision to expand her family. 

*   *   *

My life as a mom can be summed up in one word: busy.  While I’m dressing a doll for my two-year-old with one hand, I’m holding a pacifier in my infant’s mouth with the other hand.  My days are full of diaper changes, baths, dancing to “Wheels on the Bus,” preparing meals, washing laundry, coloring, squeezing in a workout, running errands, removing spit-up from the carpet, submitting a new article to my editor, and occasionally taking a bathroom break (usually with my two-year-old next to me clapping and saying, “Yay!  You peed!  Good job, Mommy!”).   

I call this my Glamorous Life.     

I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a mother.  I have worked as a babysitter, day care employee, children’s ministry leader, and nanny.  I taught third and fourth grade kids at a writing camp, and I teach college writing part-time to a room full of eighteen-year-olds. Kids are full of promise and curiosity that is simply beautiful and inspirational.  

Rachel and her beautiful family (littlest baby not pictured)

When I was diagnosed with type I diabetes nearly five years ago at twenty-four, I was altogether devastated and relieved.  On one hand, I finally had an answer to why I was thirsty, exhausted, and emaciated.  On the other hand, I knew I had a disease that had no cure and would require constant monitoring and management…forever.  There I was---young, newly married, and fresh out of graduate school - ready for life’s next adventure: starting a family.  Then diabetes came waltzing in, threatening to dash my dreams.

My first year with diabetes was my honeymoon period---a year of blissfully beautiful blood sugar numbers and easy management. My endocrinologist looked at my A1C and told me I was in a prime season of my life to have a baby.  But shortly after, my body quit producing insulin, and my sugars skyrocketed. I dealt with feelings of failure and confusion, and I knew from researching pregnancy with diabetes, that my body was not prepared for a pregnancy.

I am a classic type A person:  organized, determined, passionate. There was no way I was going to let diabetes dictate my life or steal my dream of becoming a mother. And in my heart, I knew that adoption was the best choice for our family.    

Adoption, like diabetes, is its own world. The process started with an orientation, then a home study (a series of paperwork, interviews, and background checks), then waiting for THE phone call. Meanwhile, we educated ourselves on adoption topics like openness with the birth family, raising children of other races, and answering strangers’ questions.   

I had many fears about adopting, but mainly, I wondered what many diabetic parents do: could I effectively manage my disease while taking care of another human being?  How would I juggle working, taking care of a baby, and keeping my diabetes in check?   

As I was facing my own fears, I was confronted with the fearful, skeptical questions from others.  I was most often asked, “But don’t you want your own kids?” Or, “I know someone who has diabetes and had four perfectly healthy children. So why are you adopting?”   

Adoptive parents, much like people with diabetes, are often challenged by doubts and policing questions from others.  I would usually take a deep breath and then begin a mini-lecture on the potential pregnancy complications a woman with diabetes can face.  People usually got much more than they bargained for when they asked me a question, but I was convinced that adopting was the best choice for our family and so I shared my passion with others.  And I still do.  I blog often on adoption topics and write articles for Diabetes Health online.  I can’t stop talking about diabetes or adoption, because both are major parts of my life.      

Fast-forward to today and you’ll see my family---a dad, a mom, and two baby girls.  My husband and I often joke that our life hasn’t turned out like we planned; it’s turned out better.  Because of my disease, we chose adoption, and because we chose adoption, we have two beautiful daughters whom we are completely in love with.  I’m learning to juggle managing diabetes with parenting.  My life is full, happy, and healthy.

If you are considering growing your family through adoption, I would love to hear from you.  I offer my readers resources, suggestions, and encouragement.  Oh, and a nothing-withheld look at my Glamorous Life as a mommy of two and as a women with a challenging but blessing-filled disease

*   *   *

Rachel Garlinghouse is a twenty-nine-year-old type I diabetic, mother of two, wife, blogger, freelance writer, and college writing teacher.  I'm so honored to be hosting another guest post from here on SUM, and I hope you check out her writing in other places!  (And if you'd like to follow the JDRF Government Day discussions on Twitter, follow the #JDRFGovDay hashtag!)

March 11, 2011

D365: Third Time's the Charm?

I accomplished a full year of Diabetes 365 back in 2008.  It was the year I was getting married, and looking back, I love that I have a year's worth of photos to mark the fun buildup to that huge moment in my life. 

I tried again in 2010 in efforts to chronicle my pregnancy and the chaos of new motherhood, but failed miserably.  Once the baby arrived, my camera only had a lens for BSparl.  Diabetes photography fell by the wayside.

So ... glutton for punishment that I am, I'm giving the Diabetes 365 project another go for 2011.  I'm making today my starting point, and hopefully next spring I'll be loading up the last of the photos and enjoying a milestone of photographic success.

... or I'll be writing some other post about how I bailed on the project again.  We shall see.  Only time and the camera will tell.  

My 2011 attempt kicks off with an item that's near and dear to my heart:  coffee.

COFFEE!  It's like insulin, only cheaper.

Coffee and I go way, way back to when I was a breakfast waitress in college, slinging eggs and refilling people's coffee mugs while wishing away hangovers.  (College was a fun, but exhausting, time.)  Now, I start the coffee up each morning while I make BSparl's bottle.  My, how things have changed.  

If you have a camera and a sadistic desire to attempt this project, join me on the Diabetes 365 Flickr pool!  And you can following this year's attempt on the SUM Diabetes 365 page.  Happy shutter-snapping!

March 10, 2011

Sprinkles.

I've been combing Etsy for bird-day party ideas, and during my online window shopping, I've stumbled across some pretty amazing things.  (One was this pancreas necklace that Abby found, which is unfortunately expensive but completely amazing.)  Some awesome bird images, some jewelry, and some unicorn puppets.

Yes, unicorn puppets.

The unicorn has been my favorite mascot of diabetes "rah rah" discussions.  Usually found coupled with "rainbows," unicorns manage to come up in conversation when the diabetes stuff gets a little emotionally heavy, and a moment of levity is needed.  (Check any Wednesday night #dsma chat for evidence!)  A unicorn is also exemplary of what diabetes ISN'T all the time, despite society's assumption that "You just take a pill and don't eat any sugar, right?" 

Right.

So when I saw this ridiculously purple-maned, flower-adorned, crocheted unicorn on Etsy, my frosted side wanted it immediately.  And the wheat side also saw the point, after deliberations.  Because if you can't smile through some of these tougher moments, they'll eat you up like you're a Mini-Wheat.

Meet Sprinkles the Unicorn.  ($0.25 to Bennet)

Be on the lookout for Sprinkles the Unicorn in our nation's capitol this weekend.  Should be interesting.  I hear he likes cupcakes ... and video cameos!

March 09, 2011

Advanced Avoidance Technique.

I received the reminder call.  I discussed my schedule that week with my husband and didn't bring it up.  And the letter from their office still remains stuck to the calendar page.  (Not to mention, the missed appointment cost me $25, to boot.)  But I never made it to Joslin to have my eyes checked again.

And I don't want to go.

If it seems like I've had an eye dilation like every three months, it's because I have.  My eyes were dilated several times during my pregnancy to track the progression of my then-mild and now-moderate non-proliferative retinopathy, and this eyeball issue was the main reason I ended up delivering my bird via c-section.  (The pre-eclampsia didn't help matters much, either.  Yay for ... stuff?)  

I fully realize that what I need to do is pick up the phone, call the eye clinic, and make an appointment for a dilated eye exam.  I know this.  And later this afternoon, I will make that phone call. 

It's just sometimes I find all this crap really tedious.  Not so much the little things, like testing my blood sugar throughout the day, changing out the insulin pump ever few days, and popping that blood pressure pill every night before bed.  That stuff doesn't make me bonkers. 

It's more the Big Stuff.  The eye exams.  The endocrinologist appointments.  The hours spend combing through insurance EOBs and spending even more time discussing this paperwork and battling with insurance claim specialists who think 10 test strips a day is "excessive."  It's making log books and calling the mail order pharmacy.  It's moving the fax machine from the office into the living room (because we neglected to hook up the office phone jack) so that I can fax documents to our insurance company.  It's going online to the insurance website and jumping through all the search hoops to find a doctor within a 30 mile radius who takes both my insurance AND new patients.  Taking a whole day to trek up to Boston to sit with my endocrinologist for an hour; another day to have the dilation drops plunked in and to have to wrangle someone to drive me home afterward.  It's a day away from my baby.  And from the work I enjoy doing.  And a day that someone else has to either watch BSparl or drive me or whatever.  It's a day that makes me resent diabetes just enough.  And it makes me admittedly grumpy because I really don't want to spend the day doing crap I don't enjoy.

Every time I re-find this picture, it reminds me how far we've come with diabetes, but also how much HASN'T changed.
An image from an older post about guilt, but the words I chose are blunt,
and I think if I made this same list today, it would read the same.


(And before you say it, I know I could see someone closer to home, but it's hard to be so close, yet so far from the doctors I know and trust and who are best suited to care for any complications that may arise.  And before you say it, I know it's pointless to have access when I don't actually go to the appointment.  And before you say that you weren't thinking that, let's get some iced coffee and talk about Spring Training, instead.  And before you say you like the Yankees, I'll kindly refer you to my husband and my editorial assistant, who share your bad taste.) 

The time it takes to manage diabetes on a day-to-day basis isn't tremendous.  Constant, yes, but not overwhelming most of the time.  But taking time and sitting in the car and in waiting rooms and hoping they'll call my name first so I can let them stick a needle in my arm and then pay the garage attendant and then drive home for two hours?  (Sometimes with dilated eyes?)  It is so worth it for my health to make these appointments and stick with them.  But sometimes it feels like such a pain in the ass that I'd rather skip the appointment entirely and spend a few hours playing blocks with BSparl. 

And then I realize that in order to play blocks, or to travel for work, or to be able to make the bed and run the laundry and enjoy dinner out with my friends, I need to stay healthy. 

... sigh.  Fine.  I'll make the appointment.

March 08, 2011

From Abby: Positive > Negative.

Abby (the person) queued up this blog post and it made me smile, not only because I agree with her points, but also because I wrote a very similar post back in 2009.  (Right down to the bullet points.  Ah, how I love a bullet point list.  Abby is a girl after my own non-functioning pancreas.)  Diabetes can suck at times, but there are moments that make you look on the bright side.

Take it away, my kindred editorial spirit!

*   *   *

There is a lot to be said about the down sides of diabetes. Like, a real lot. Possibly more than I can even write about in one day. And those downsides are shoved in our faces on a daily basis.  That part sucks, too.

But I like to think about the up side, the sunny side, the silver lining, the greener pastures. It’s simply more fun. Here’s my list:

  • Diabetes camp
  • Putting dia- in front of any word and making it funny
  • Knowing how my body responds to food
  • Having an excuse to get regular pedicures
  • Realizing how terrible Chinese food really is for you
  • Diabetes camp (Editor's note: I love CBC.  I'd list it twice, too.)
  • More medical knowledge than your average bear
  • Meeting other people with diabetes (see also: diabetes camp)
  • Always having a backup topic to write papers about
  • Not being grossed out by blood and needles
  • Having a lot of technology to accessorize with stickers
  • Constantly being aware of my health, body, and knowing when an illness is coming far before it actually comes
  • Walking to cure my own disease and people think I’m being philanthropic
  • Camps for kids with diabetes Abby makes a mean bullet list.  Yo.
  • Meeting some amazing people who have changed my life that I wouldn’t know otherwise
  • Justifying the purchase of new accessories to carry my test kit in
  • Passing exams/quizzes about diabetes in nursing school without studying
  • Having numerical (high blood sugar) motivation proving it’s time to work out again
  • Hearing my 1st graders at work saying “that’s Abby’s insulation pump so she can eat snack”

I’m sure there are more. Some are funny, some sincere, some absolutely ridiculous. You may relate. Or you may not. I’m just not all that comfortable with focusing on the negatives, diabetes or otherwise.

Next time you see a completely unjustified 351 mg/dl on your meter, or feel a little weird and see a 32 mg/dl and wonder how you are still a functioning human being, make a happy list. It’ll help, I promise!

*   *   *

A little happy goes a long way.  What would you put on your list?

March 07, 2011

Planning the Bird-day Party.

For once in my life, I'm planning ahead.  And that means I'm beginning to get very, very excited about BSparl's first birthday party. 

I'm definitely not one of those moms who spends more on their kid's first birthday party than on their college education (and I'm also not the kind to hire actual circus animals to perform in my backyard, mostly because we're not made of money but also because elephant poop is surely enormous and I don't want it in my garden), but I am having fun planning out the little, fun details of the party coming up in April.

I'm trying to be the early bird when planning this bird-themed party for my little bird.  (Holy too-many-bird-words-in-one-sentence!)  But I could use a little help, if you have suggestions ...

I'm a (small) bit of a Do-It-Yourself'er, so there are some pieces of this party that I'm pulling together on my own.  Like the invitations.  After scouring the web and mocking up a few designs on TinyPrints and Zazzle, I wasn't able to find the simple invitation I was picturing in my head.  I received a few offers from some very kind friends to have them take a crack at designing something, but I took a stab at it myself while the kid was napping, and I think they came out just like I pictured in my head:

I love dots and birds and purple.

I'm not sure where to print these out so that the quality is nice and there is a decent cardstock selection, and I'd love to hear some suggestions if you have them!

Etsy has been a fun excursion for reasonably-priced items that fit the simple theme.  I bought a bird vector  (because my Photoshop skills are limited) from an Etsy shop called Riekfa Design, and she sent out the images within 24 hours of purchase.  I bought six birds in total (for $4!), but I'm partial to the purple one:

I love this bird.  LOVE!!!

(This bird is sure to make an appearance throughout the party.  It might end up printed out all big and stuck to the fridge, where it will most likely stay for two months.)  In addition to invitation goodies, I'm scoping out cupcake and cake options (haven't decided which one I want to do), but I did find a badass cookie cutter that is perfect for the party.  Actually, I'll probably bring bird cookies to every family gathering for the next fifteen years.  (Christmas birds?  St. Patricks' Day birds?  Arbor Day birds?  Oh hell yes.)  This cute cookie cutter came from BigSillyWorld, another Etsy seller:

Cird cookie cutter from BigSillyWorld

And now I'm on the hunt for cake ideas.  Do I want to do birdie cupcakes like these?  Or like these little peeping ones?  Or a big bird cake (not Big Bird, which is awesome in an entirely different way).  And if I decide to make a few gluten-free versions of cupcakes, does anyone have a recipe that tastes good and still hits the gluten-free mark?  Also, what other simple little bird-themed things can I do to keep the party festive but without upping the lease on my brain?

I can't wait until this kid's bird-day.  We're keeping it as simple as possible so we, as her parents, can actually enjoy the party instead of feeling like we missed it once everyone goes home. 

(And hopefully our kid enjoys seeing her parents clad in party hats.)

March 04, 2011

What I Want Her To Know.

After a tough low this morning: 

I love my daughter, too.

I want her to know that she was wanted so much, well before she arrived, and that her parents went to great lengths to make sure her arrival was as safe as they could manage.

I want her to know that those moments when she has to wait while I test or while I bolus or the times when I have to set her in her crib and gulp down grape juice while she stands there, her big, brown eyes staring at me while her mouth tugs into an impatient smile, that I love her and I just need to deal with diabetes for a few seconds so I can be the best mommy I can.

I want her to know that if my eyes don't get better, it's not her fault.  It's not my fault, either.  The fault lies with diabetes.

I want her to know that the reason I'll sometimes frown at a soggy diaper or a voracious pull from the bottle isn't because she's being "bad" or doing something wrong, but because I'm worrying.

I want her to know that just because I have it, and because some of her best buddies have it, doesn't mean that she will have it.  But I also want her to know that if a diagnosis of any kind ever touches her life, we'll manage just fine and take the best care of one another that we can.

I want her to know that when she smiles at me, it's like a thousand online communities inspiring me all at once.  That the hope of her was once the biggest incentive to improve my health, only to be superseded by her arrival in my arms.

I want her to know that regardless of what she may hear about this "diabetes," her mama is going to be just fine. 

Just fine.

March 03, 2011

Through the Lens on Thursday.

(Nothing like a little literary consonance to help dress up a blog post title.)

The last two weeks have been a little travel-heavy, and March isn't doing any of that "out like a lamb" business, according to my calendar.  We're all lion, all the time, it seems.   But I like that; I enjoy staying busy and working and connecting as often as I can.  (And thanks to my incredibly supportive family, I'm able to scurry off as needed.) 

But I'm a little exhausted, so I'm hoping my camera can shed a little more light on where I've been and what's been going on. 

Bloggers in NYC - just some of the group that met up for a Pharma discussion group.
Mike, Dana, Kerri, Manny, and Kelly

An overnight in NYC brought me back in the company of some of my favorite PWD (not all are pictured here) for a consulting roundtable with a pharmaceutical company.  Whatever the task at hand happens to be, it's always awesome to get together with my extended d-family.  (And, of course, there were some hard-earned cupcakes!  Which amazes me, because my blood sugars are NEVER better than when I'm hanging out with my fellow PWD.  Strange.  It's like my pancreas finally feels like it has friends.)

And when I came home, I realized that our little bird is close to marking a new milestone in her independence, and I'm so, so proud (and so blown away by how quickly time has flown by since she burst onto the scene).

Getting very, very, very, very big. Like has a stock portfolio and a Vespa and calls me "Kerri."

In like a lion, and out like a ... a lion.  I'm looking forward to taking many naps in April.  ;)

March 02, 2011

Guest Post: The Perfect PWD.

I am in a meeting in NYC today with some of my favorite fellow PWDs, and while I'm traveling, fellow diabetes blogger Heidi has offered to both introduce herself to the blogosphere and guest post. 

Heidi is a 27 year old from the Philadelphia suburbs who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes four years ago.  She recently started a blog to share her experiences with family, friends, and the diabetes community.  Similar to many of us, she works to successfully manage her diabetes while balancing her time between her job in Corporate Finance and the things that make her the happiest which include running (she is training for a triathlon!) and spending time with her family and friends.  And today, she's guest posting about the perception of diabetes perfection.

*   *   *

Thank you for guest posting today, Heidi!I am not perfect.

All you perfectionists out there like me take a deep breath and say it with me: I am not perfect. I am not perfect in any aspect of my life, including how I manage my type 1 diabetes.

I am conscientious about managing my disease, but I still need to live my life. Even if I were the “perfect person with diabetes” there would still be unexpected highs and lows.

I am not perfect, or more to the point, I am not my pancreas which...actually, on second thought, isn't perfect at all, since it conked out on me and left me to manage my blood sugar myself. I am not perfect, but despite my perfectionist tendencies, I can laugh at my imperfection.

The perfect person with diabetes treats only with glucose tabs or juice when his or her blood sugar is low. (I, on the other hand have been known to raid my cabinet eating Cheerios in cool whip and peanut butter covered anything.) The perfect person with diabetes changes his or her lancet & needles with each and every use. (I know it’s unsanitary but who has the time or energy to change it everytime?! )

The perfect person with diabetes weighs all food, checks all ingredient labels and never leaves home without a calorie king book. (Can you say “educated guess”?) The perfect person with diabetes never restarts his or her CGM sensor to make it last for longer than a week. (hey, economic times are tough!) The perfect person with diabetes never forgets his or her insulin or lets it run out at inconvenient times. (At least it’s a good excuse to leave work early!)

The perfect person with diabetes never gets frustrated over high numbers resulting in any of the following: crying, anger or screaming. And he or she never takes it out on his or her significant others. (If I’m really stressed, just the sight of a “bad” blood glucose reading can bring me to tears. And let’s just say that my boyfriend can usually tell if my blood sugar is high.) The perfect person with diabetes makes sure every used test strip makes it to its rightful home. (I find test strips in my bed, washing machine and even found one once on my sidewalk.)

The perfect person with diabetes never ignores his or her alarming pump or CGM device. (I know- bad habit but sometimes in my sleep it ends up turned off and shoved under a pillow.) The perfect person with diabetes never skips the gym for a last minute happy hour. (What can I say? I love white wine and appetizers!)

It is obvious that none of us dealing with diabetes can be the perfect or model patient all the time. We do the best we can day by day to stay healthy and happy and control our diabetes while maintaining a sense of “normalcy” in our lives. We keep our heads held high and find inner strength and optimism to accept the fact neither we nor our numbers will ever be perfect.

All of us “imperfect” people with diabetes deserve to know we do a really great job dealing with the far from perfect hand life has dealt us.

*   *   *

Heidi, I totally agree.  Perfection is an impossible goal, but happy is a pretty darn achievable one.  Thank you so much for posting today. 

March 01, 2011

Ways Life is Trying to Eff with Diabetes Control.

I sort of love that the dryer sounds like an ice cream van a-comin'.  But it does cause a helluva craving.Life is trying to further eff with my diabetes control.  (Or is diabetes trying to eff with life?  Is a zebra white with black stripes, or a horse with black and white stripes?)  I'm making efforts to get it together, but odd little things keep leaping in the way.   Oh efforts to thwart: let me count the ways!!

  • Recently, the jar of glucose tabs in my car was empty, so I was forced to stop at random store and buy a regular Mountain Dew from the vending machine.  But I had to open it and let it settle a little first before I could chug it, because draining a can of fizzy sugar would make me instantly ralph.
  • It snowed and/or was freezing on the days I went to the gym.  But on the days I didn't go?  Sunshine and warm weather.  Stupid weather wants me to be fat.
  • I lost my Dexcom receiver for about five hours, until I heard its muffled scream from between the couch cushions. 
  • The sound of the dryer finishing a load sounds like the happy tinkling of the chimes on an ice cream van.  Which spawns this borderline insatiable craving for ice cream.
  • During my meetings last week with PWoutD (people withOUT diabetes), my blood sugar cruised inexplicably into the stratosphere, forcing me to rage bolus in order to be able to eat more than the plate garnish during lunch.
  • But of course, I crashed hard and instead of enjoying the fact that the luncheon staff supplemented the decadent dessert with a lush bowl of fresh raspberries, I had to wolf it up and then ask for a glass of juice to chase it down.
  • At this same event, during the evening dinner, the group walked over to the restaurant later than I had anticipated, so I was already low by the time we were being seated, forcing me to beeline straight to the bar and ask for an orange juice ("without alcohol, please"), making me appear to be belly-up to said bar way too eagerly.  
  • Walking back from the bathroom to my seat on the train last week, my pump tubing got tangled.  On someone else.  And it took a full 30 seconds to awkwardly disconnect myself from the old woman's handbag.
  • (I also tried to get into an uncover cop car instead of the car that was sent to pick me up at Penn Station.  "Oh, are you here for Sparling?"  "No.  And you don't want me to be."  Realized there were lights mounted on the dashboard.  "I'm .. I'm ... you aren't a car, you are a policeman.  I'm sorry."  Excellently awkward.)
  • And lastly, BSparl tried to gnaw on my pump tubing, so I moved my pump to the other side of my body.  And didn't see Siah come up and grab my tubing.  Cat tried to drag me under the couch.  Like a demon.
Life, stop trying to mess with my diabetes control.  Back off.  Or if you're really dedicated to screwing with me, at least bring soft serve.

Visitors since November 7, 2005