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December 31, 2012

2013: Balance.

I resolve to avoid resolutions, because I'm complete crap at keeping them and I lose track of what I've resolved to do in the first place (unless I write it down), which exemplifies why I need to make an exception this year and make one, eensy resolution. 

I need balance.

Oh holy hell, do I need balance.

I can't properly explain how disorganized my world has become since making the leap to self-employment.  I'd imagine that the inside of my brain looks like our kitchen table, which is overflowing with mail, paperwork that needs to be sorted, and the rogue Thomas the Tank Engine train.  (He's the cheeky one.)  I need to find some balance and organization in this work-from-home house with two self-employed writers who travel for business often and are raising a very fast and chatty two year old.  Because I sure don't have any semblance of balance now.  How is it possible that I can stare at the computer screen for an hour without writing a single productive word, and yet I can see more than my fair share of .gifs of cats playing Jenga?  How scattered are my brain cells, and how do I corral them and trick them into doing something useful?

With the start of 2013 just a few hours away, I'm ready to find out what exactly is lurking on my kitchen table. I'm looking forward to spending more time with my family this year.  I'm excited to grow my business.  And I will continue to focus on maintaining my health. 

All of this, of course, after I watch this amazing reindeer .gif one more time.

A happy and safe new year to you!

Happy and healthy new year to you!

 

December 30, 2012

The Year In Review: 2012.

BOO!!!  (Did I scare you?)Yearly recap?  Sure!  Here we go: the first lines of a definitive post from each month in 2012.  With the same photo I've used for the last few years ... maybe I'll update that in 2013.  :)

January:  "The confusion is instant - the raw and palatable confusion where you know you're in trouble, but you haven't yet grasped just how much." 

February:  "My total daily dose of Humalog insulin varies between 23 and 34 units, depending upon if I'm correcting highs or consuming waffles (faffles) instead of eggs."

March:  "Monday morning, I woke up at a blood sugar of 82 mg/dL."

April:  "Tuesday night was hot."

June:  "I don't generally get mad at diabetes."

July:  "Oh, it's like what Cindy has!  That's what Cindy has!"

August:  "Over the last few years, there have been several company-sponsored events where people involved in diabetes social media are invited and participate in a variety of discussions."

September:  "I have family members with diabetes, but they don't take care of themselves," he said.

October:  "You have diabetes?  You seem fine."

November: "How old is your daughter?"

December: "We were sitting at the coffee shop having a really nice Melbourne cappuccino (they make the best cappuccinos I've ever had in my whole life, with the steamed milk almost like a marshmallow topping on each coffee - amazing), talking about the Australian diabetes social media summit."

Looking to recap your bloggy 2012?  Grab this meme and try it on for size!

December 28, 2012

Guest Post: The One About the Pork Rinds.

Today, I'm hosting a guest post from Christopher Angell (he's a cover model now ... or at least his glucose tabs are) about the food choices we make in pursuit of a stellar CGM graph.  As someone who frequently skips an early morning meal in efforts to avoid a blood sugar spike, this post resonated for me quite a bit.  Take it, Chris!

*   *   *

hey there, Chris!There's no question that for most of us our blood sugar is the center of our diabetic universe. And why not? That's the symptom that most readily defines our disease, and most concretely separates us from the non-diabetics of the world. It also most reliably (though not infallibly) predicts our likelihood of complications. So a zealous fixation on the numbers on our meters is understandable.

Sometimes, however, I get carried a little too far, and my focus on blood sugar obscures other important levers on my well being. I have to occasionally remind myself of two things that, while obvious to me as I write them, are also lost or overlooked more often than I realize in the moment. It's worth considering them and taking stock of how frequently they really affect my behavior.

    1.    Just because something helps my blood sugar does not mean that it's good for me.
    2.    Just because something doesn't affect my blood sugar does not mean that it doesn't affect me.

Some good examples of this:

  • The best looking lines on my Dexcom frequently occur on days when I skip lunch. Nice, flat, straight, goal-hugging lines, right through the work day. What's not to love? What's not to love is my diminished ability to focus in the afternoon, or my increased irritability and impatience in the hours (or minutes) between when I leave the office and get some dinner in my belly.
  • In my quest for salty crunchy snacks that don't send me spiking (the way pretzels and chips do) I started eating pork rinds while on a trip to Mexico (calling them “chicharrones” somehow made it seem far more acceptable). I can eat them all day without a blip on my Dexcom. That does NOT mean that it's OK to eat pork rinds all day long. Still, I have come close a time or two, just because I didn't have to bolus (and, say what you will, they are really, really tasty). I let the BG myth convince me that a bad decision was actually a good decision.
  • When my blood sugar is just a little bit low (below 80 but above 60 and not dropping) I can definitely eat a cookie and not go out of target. Sometimes I can have two cookies. But there are problems with cookies that go beyond what they do to my blood sugar. They affect my triglycerides/cholesterol. They affect my energy levels. They add mostly useless calories. They make me crave EVEN MORE cookies. None of these things are particularly desirable, even if my meter gives my cookie and me a tacit thumbs up.

There are plenty of other examples, and I'm sure you could all add examples from your own lives.

A big contributing factor is that so often decisions about blood sugar are made in moments of diminished mental clarity (when low, when busy) which is why taking stock of those decisions after the fact and planning for similar situations in the future can be a big help. I keep nutritious snacks (nuts mostly) at my desk, and, when I can, pack a bg-friendly lunch for the office. I micro-manage those sort-of-lows with glucose tablets. I try to force myself to be really honest about what sweets and treats I'm going to allow myself, and stick to that. I often fail. But living a great life with diabetes is a series of trials, failures, successes, and more trials.

It's through experimentation, driven by self awareness (whether that's awareness of numbers, or of behaviors like those described above) that we keep improving.

I want this, all the time.

*   *   *

December 27, 2012

Video: Holidays and Diabetes.

Once a week, Abby and I talk about ... stuff.  (I'd call it a "meeting," but it's never fully business and discussions usually digress into silliness.)  We were talking about doing a holidays and diabetes video, and our questions started off in some official capacity, but quickly wandered into the realm of "How many sweet pickles have you ever eaten at one holiday meal?" and which family member we wanted to dress up as a reindeer. 

So here's our Holidays and Diabetes video, with festive green scarves and reindeer antlers.  And good intentions.


December 26, 2012

Scenes from the Holiday Table.

The mental math was brief, but calculated: I had a plate full of pork roast, green beans, and sweet potatoes.  I knew I had two units of insulin on board from my appetizer bolus and the Dexcom showed 116 mg/dl and a slightly southeasterly arrow, so I took the conservative route on this meal, opting to bolus just a unit for a meal I was pretty sure called for two units.

Satisfied with my decision (and ready to tuck in), I reached down to my hip, where the insulin pump was clipped neatly in my pocket.  I pressed a few buttons to program in the bolus.

My six year old niece looked down at my hands and the device I was holding, and her little blonde brow furrowed as she eased a forkful of mashed potatoes into her mouth.  

"What is that?"  The potatoes went all in, and she asked the rest of the question casually, with a mouthful of food and pointing at my pump with her empty fork. "Is that a time bomb?"

I started with the "hey, you know this is for auntie's diabetes medicine," but instead I just laughed and laughed. 

And then said, "Yes."

December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from our family to yours.

Birdy says Happy Holidays!
Love,
Kerri, Chris, and Birdy

December 19, 2012

From Abby: Blood Sugar Superpowers.

Blood checking superpowers ... do you have them?  Abby takes an in-depth look at blood sugar and the subtle nuances of it that only PWD (and those who love them) notice.  (I used the phrase "in depth" as a way to sound as much like Stone Phillips as possible.)
*   *   *

After having diabetes for a long time, you realize wicked weird things about checking your blood. Like some people can tell they are high or low based on how dark their blood is (what a super power) and some of us go through phases where we can guess our number within five points (I can only do this when I'm low).

Since I made it through science college and nursing school, I have this annoying habit of trying to anatomize everything that happens with my diabetes. (Note:  Usually I find nothing of significance.) Like "Oh, my mouth is numb when I'm low. That makes no sense. I need to eat. Everything. Wow. With a numb mouth. Fruit loops."   Occasionally though, I find something that makes me go "OOOOHHHH that totally explains that really annoying thing!"

For example, I've talked about dehydration before. Sometimes when I'm high and I correct and nothing happens, I drink a bunch of water and magically the insulin starts to work. Dilution. It's a pretty basic 7th grade science concept that most of us have deleted from our memories. Recall this concept, apply it to diabetes ... it makes perfect science sense!

Bluuuuuuuuuuud.  Or blood.

Another great one is blood. We all have those times when we test twice in a row and get wildly different numbers. And usually, now that I've thought about it (way too much) I can explain these differences. Most of the time. For example I refuse to test on my hand when I first wake up if I have been sleeping on that arm. All the blood in that finger has been there for who knows how long while I was cutting off the circulation with my cranium. Why would I test on that hand if that blood is old? I don't. I use the other hand, or I get up and move around first.

Also, if I puncture my finger and I FEEL it -  you know those ones that cause you to say YEOUCH inside your head - but NO BLOOD COMES OUT. Those are the worst. Sometimes you'll squeeze until your toes hurt and you get juuuuust enough blood to fill a strip and the number totally shocks you? That's because you've just broken so many blood vessels, and most of that fluid is actually just extra gross finger fluid and not actually blood. I have tested these kinds of drops against my dex and a few other finger sticks and they're always nonsense. I don't use those blood drops anymore. I will re-prick my finger to find a nice juicy spot that produces a too-large sample. It's worth it to just start over than to question my results.

When you think about anatomy, a lot of the mysteries of diabetes are explained. The capillaries that we use to test our blood sugar are like little tiny nets in your finger tips that fit approximately one single blood cell through them at a time. Knowing this makes me give the strips/meters/companies a little more wiggle room when it comes to accuracy.

Or at least gives me a smidge more dia-sanity.

December 18, 2012

All Ears.

Case in point: When we checked into the hotel, she was surrounded by all of these new sights and sounds but she was most impressed by the pen on the bedside table.  "MOM!  Look!  A pen!!"

Sometimes the joy is simply found in seeing everything as she sees it.

December 17, 2012

Gangnam Style.

Blood sugar of 60 mg/dL before bed, with a steady Dexcom arrow?  Just needed a touch of sugar to keep me steady through the night?

Hook 'em?  Hupp 'em?  Huppen?  I cannot figure this out.

I treated that low Gangnam Style. 

(Thanks to Bigfoot for the cookie.)

December 16, 2012

Gingerbread House and Some Links.

Some links to share this December weekend:
Meow?

December 14, 2012

Looking Back: The Droid You're Looking For.

After Birdy grabbed my pump from my hip and said, "These buttons make you go!  With insulin!", I thought it might be a good time to revisit this post from last October, about the Star Wars obsessed kids at Starbucks.  Both of us, actually. 

*   *   *

He's like one, big pump.I grabbed the Dexcom receiver from my purse and gave the button a quick click while I was standing in line for coffee, checking the graph and noticing the single "What UP!" arrow pointing my blood sugar up from 146 mg/dL.

A moment of mental math took place:  I was rising, but I had some insulin on board, and how many carbs was I about to consume?  After a quick calculation of the insulin I had on board already, I reached underneath my shirt and grabbed the insulin pump off my hip.  Buttons pressed, bolus delivered, but whoops - ended up a bit tangled when I went to clip the pump back to my hip and I ended up flashing the infusion set on my hip by accident.  

The guy behind me in line was there with his son, who had started first grade a few weeks ago.  (How do I know this?  Because when they got into line behind me, the little boy smiled at me and said, "Hi! I started first grade last week!")  It wasn't until I had successfully untangled my pump and returned the Dexcom back to my purse that I realized the little boy was staring at me with wide, blue eyes.

"I learned a word last week in first grade,"  he said to his father, tugging on his sleeve insistently.

"What did you learn?" the father replied absently, as he foraged for his wallet.

"'Droid.'  It means you have robot parts.  Like Luke Skywalker's arm after his dad cuts it off!  And the yellow C3PO guy!  And that lady!"  He pointed at me.

"What?" The father was paying rapt attention now.

"She has droid parts.  I saw them."  He smiled, sticking his tongue through the hole where his front tooth should have been.

"Ethan, that's not nice.  Apologize to the lady - she's not a droid."  The father looked at me and said, "I'm so sorry!  He's watched a lot of Star Wars.  Like, a lot." while he put his hands on his son's shoulder.  

This is where I should have given a nice, concise speech to this little boy and his father about diabetes and the hardware involved.  This is where I should have said, "Oh, I'm not a robot.  I'm wearing an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor and I wear these devices because my body doesn't produce a hormone called insulin."  There are many things I should have done at that moment.

But instead, I grabbed my coffee from the counter.  I smiled at Ethan.  And I leaned down to whisper "I am not the droid you're looking for."

His whole little kid face lit up and his words came out in one, single, excited breath.  "Oh-my-gosh-Dad-she-knows!"

December 13, 2012

Dexcom G4: The Airport.

My experiences at the airport are all anecdotal, so while I assume that TSA teams have seen insulin pumps and CGMs before, I'm most likely completely wrong.  Maybe they think I actually do have a suspicious device on hand, and they want to check it out thoroughly.  Maybe we're just going through the motions, according to protocol.  Either way, I don't mind being pulled aside for the pat-down (unless I'm trying to make a connection flight, in which case I tweak out the entire time, wringing my hands until they're useless dishrags with bitten fingernails.)

The trip to Australia was my first experience at the airport with the Dexcom G4, and while it wasn't too much of a hiccup, it was a different experience than traveling with the Dexcom Seven Plus system. (Note: Australia was the first, and only time, so far, that I've traveled with the G4. I wonder how the next trip will go.)  The people I ran into, security-wise, looked at this device as though it was made out of live gerbils, so it took a while to move through the line.

But I was a little surprised at how many people were called in to examine the G4:  the "female assist!", supervisor, and then the security supervisor.

I didn't take a photo of the Dex at the airport, because I would have most likely been arrested.

"Um ... what is that?"  

"This is a diabetes device, kind of like an insulin pump."  I wanted to mention a device they might be at least a little familiar with, before launching into an explanation including weird words like "interstitial."

"I need you to stand over here, miss, and do not touch any of your belongings."

Chris was watching from a few feet away, keeping an eye on our bags as they went through the x-ray machine. 

"I'm going to just stand over here for a few minutes with my shoes off, okay?"  I said to him, holding up the Dexcom receiver as evidence of probable cause.

He waved and nodded, safely back in his shoes and reunited with our bags.  The security team continued their questioning as they swabbed the device and proceeded to pat me down.

"A diabetes device?  Okay, what does it do?" asked the supervisor.

So I explained the sensor and the transmitter, and how it pulls glucose values from the interstitial fluid in my body, then transmits the data to the receiver.

"So it's for blood sugar management?"

"Yes."

"Does it play music?"

Wasn't prepared for that question.

"No?  Well, when it alarms when my blood sugar goes too high or too low, it plays a tune.  But not like a real song - more like an irritating commercial jingle."

"Does it communicate with your computer or phone?"

"Nope."

He paused.  "Does it come in different colors?"

Odd question. "It does, actually.  Pink, blue, or black."

"Pink, eh?"  The TSA supervisor examined the receiver one more time, then asked to see the sensor on my leg one more time.  (Thankful for yoga pants, which are easy to hitch up to expose the necessary real estate.)  His team also took at look at everyone one last time, making notes on a small iPad looking device.  Then the security machine buzzed, letting them know my device didn't contain any explosive materials.  I was free to go.

"So, do you like it?"

That stopped me.  "Like it?"

"Yes.  Does it help?"

"It does, actually.  It helps me keep tighter control of my blood sugars, which helps everything."

"Thanks for your patience."  He handed me back the receiver, turning it over in his hand one more time.  "My niece has diabetes, and she has a pump, I think.  She might like to hear about this thing."  He smiled.   "She likes pink."

December 12, 2012

Hypoglycemic Event.

"Hypoglycemic event" sounds too damn festive, like something I should send out an Evite for ...

... instead of the confusion-inducing, sweaty, emotionally confusing, glucose-tab scarfing, guilt-laced, panic-fueled moment that it actually is.

Besides, if I sent out an invitation, someone would be there to talk me out of eating 150 carbs to treat a 40 mg/dL.  And where's the fun in that? :p

December 10, 2012

Lauren Pizzi: AWD (Artist with Diabetes).

As someone without a shred of artistic talent, I have the utmost respect for people who can create beautiful snapshots from the moments in their minds.  And fellow PWD Lauren Pizzi is the kind of artist that I, as a diabetic, can really relate to, because she's sharing a glimpse into what so many of us are living with every day. Girl can make even pump sites look soft and lovely.

And today, she's sharing some of her work here on SUM.  Take a look ...

*   *   *  
"Balance"
Balance (oil on canvas, 2010)  9 x 12”


"Balancing Act"
Balancing Act (charcoal on paper, 2012) 22x30"

Statement of work(s):

In late 2010, I began thinking about how I could allow my 15 years living with type-one diabetes speak in a non-abstract, relatable, and original way.

This was my first attempt to paint anything from a pure, conceptual approach. After photographing dozens of pictures of my daily companions, (low blood sugar treatments: skittles and smarties as well as my insulin bottle/syringes, which I use to fight high glucose levels) I realized that this still life literally was my life. Even with tight management of my disease, low and high levels are frequent. 

In one perspective, diabetes can be compared to as a job I didn’t apply for, a job I received, and a job I can never take a day off from, but it has also given me strength, patience, and optimism. That’s what I hope the painting displays; a juxtaposition of brightly colored candies and the sudden sharp, alarming glisten of an exposed syringe. I used to be afraid of labeling myself, but now I proudly say, “I am a diabetic.” With the completion of this work, (Balance) I believe I found my voice.

Bittersweet (charcoal, pastel, gel medium, oil paint and graphite on paper, 2012) 3x4 ft.

This mixed media drawing was a self-portrait. For years I've thought of my optimism with diabetes, but what about the dark sides? I feel physical pain, neglect and misunderstandings not only from the disease but people surrounding me as well, and it truly can feel suffocating as if there's no one or nothing that will ever understand. This particular piece included a lot of layering techniques and like my process with this work, there are countless layers of living with diabetes.

From the start of the day with a low blood sugar, having to sneak an injection in a classroom while discretely knowing the many dirty exchanges of facial expressions among peers, and finally ending the day on a good note of a target blood sugar, it all depends on the outlook. When I conjured this image in my head, I realized it's okay to feel down about it sometimes and its even more okay to show it. In explanation, my hands are bound by the tubing of an insulin pump. There is a definite dark atmosphere with slight lighting on the face, revealing a bittersweet expression. Because that's what diabetes can be: a constant, bittersweet companion.

"Our Reality"
Our Reality (colored pencil on paper, 2010) 16x20"

This was a fun drawing... I took the picture this drawing was based off of at Clara Barton Camp. My fellow cabin-mates and I bonded not by exchanging cell phone numbers or talking about Joslin boys, but we simply whipped out our "plastic pancreai" and formed a tight, symbolic circle. One of my favorite parts was showing the different types of pumps and the times between them which were just a few minutes apart. It was just something so "NORMAL" for us. :)

"Tie-Diabetics"
Tie-Diabetics (oil on canvas, 2010) 16x20"

Wow. This painting was the one that started it all. I rendered it from a photograph taken from my LIT (Leader-in-Training) summer at Clara Barton Camp. It was truly the BEST time at camp I'd ever had. Every time I look at the painting and even the picture, it takes me right back to that day. It's a simple story: the Joslin LITs and us Barton LITs joined together and tie-dyed t-shirts. Extremely campy, extremely memorable, extremely fun. Then we snapped the picture. I fell in love with the colors, the naturally formed circle shape and the fact that we were all joined by an unusual occasion of living with diabetes. The following summer in July I decided to paint it, adding my own touches such as painting my hand in the shape of a peace sign from direct observation.

And after five months, in November 2010, I submitted my finished painting for a scholarship opportunity for the Savannah College of Art and Design, hoping for the best. Then there I was: stunned in December. I made 3rd place out of over 3,000 participants! All in all, I realized that adding diabetes as a theme in my art made me feel the most honest I've ever been with my painting and without this first painting, I never would have continued. Tie-Diabetics is simply presenting a memory and the unity there is even when we battle something every day. 

*   *   *

Lauren was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on March 18th, 1997 and is currently attending the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) as a sophomore. And she was a camper at Clara Barton Camp for five years, staff for four, acting as the art director this past summer.  If you want to connect with Lauren, she can be reached at pizzi.lauren@gmail.com.

December 07, 2012

Insulindependence: Watch This.

There are a lot of videos on YouTube, but there are few that give me goosebumps.  And watching these kids making the most of their lives - diabetes be damned! - gave me some serious goosebumps. 

Exercise is important for everyone, but as people living with diabetes, it can be the key to our longevity and best health.  I firmly believe that Insulindependence, and any efforts that inspire and help people to get up and MOVE, are as important as insulin.

If you haven't checked out Insulindependence yet, DO.  They're currently recruiting for Junior Captains, but if you're interested in becoming a Captain or Chapter Chairperson, there's info for you, too.

(And in completely unrelated news, happy birthday, Larry Bird!)

December 06, 2012

WHOOSH - Bullets.

No sleep = scattered thoughts.  And bullets, even though I've never even held a gun, never mind firing one.  /digression
  • Birdface has a cold.  No big deal, but it makes her cough a bit. Mostly at night. And mostly towards the baby monitor, which has a direct connection with my brain, which means I'm awake all night long.
  • This lack of sleep for the last two nights is making for some interesting dreams.
  • Like the one I had this morning that I was pinned between two giant Dexcom transmitters in an elevator.  But it wasn't about being pinned between two transmitters, but more like the transmitters were rude people who were smushing against me in the elevator. Not the most comfortable ride, even in a dream-like state.
  • Probably prompted by the fact that, after 36 hrs of ???, I ripped the latest sensor off last night. Trying again this morning.  
  • Tempted to do an arm in efforts to avoid being ???'d while running.  Maybe it will make me look more muscular, like that one section of my tricep is just jacked and in a slightly-sloped rectangular shape?
  • (Just came downstairs from "installing" a new sensor on the back of my right arm. I tried to do it myself, but needed to call on Chris to aid me in my awkwardness. Here's hoping the new location generates fewer questions.)
  • Daniel Tiger's "ugga mugga" is a phrase that gets stuck in my head and I can't shake it, to the point where I want to say it when I sign off from conference calls.
  • Today, Birdy and I are baking cookies with my mom and my aunt.  I'm already mentally pre-bolusing for all of those little red, cinnamon candies that will no doubt end up in my mouth.
  • I am also enjoying Birdy's response to, "Hey, are you ready to get dressed?"  "NO!" and then she runs away with her arms over her head, much like E.T.
  • Looking forward to working out tonight.
  • Yes, I'm also very surprised by that statement.  I think running and letting my brain go blank for an hour is the best thing I've done for myself lately.
  • Maybe I'll run with my arms over my head, much like E.T.  Birdy may be onto something there.
  • Closing the laptop down is also a good thing.  I've spent some time away from the Internet lately, and it's been nice.  Makes me appreciate the resources and support found here, especially when I step back from it for a second or two.
  • And then opening it back up and seeing that the support is there when I need it ... that feels really good.  It's nice to know you don't have to be connected to the Internet 24/7 in order to be part of a bigger community. 
  • And to that end, it's cookie time.  Maybe we'll bake up some ninjabread cookies again this year.

December 05, 2012

Dexcom G4: Exercising my Demons.

There aren't any stupid questions. Or so I was told by every teacher in every classroom, growing up.  But I think the Dexcom is the exception to that rule.

Because when it asks me "???" with that blank look on its screen, I can only throw my hands in the air and say, "WHAT? What is your question?!"

With the Seven Plus system, I had my fair share of the Triple Question Marks.  Usually they signaled that a sensor was about to give up, or that something else was en route to borked.  But for the last month on the G4, I hadn't seen the dreaded triples. 

Until last night. 

WHAT IS YOUR FREAKING QUESTION???  ?????????????

While I was at the gym, with the Dexcom receiver sitting safely on the treadmill shelf, the receiver showed the "lost signal" icon.  Which, according to sources, means that I'm "out of receiver range," meaning I'm too far from the receiver, meaning I'm not even close to it.  Meaning that I'm totally confused because the transmitter and sensor were less than three feet from the receiver when it claims to have lost the signal.

Meaning that I was extra frustrated when my meter showed a 50 mg/dL before driving home after my workout.  Symptom-free lows plus a questioning Dexcom receiver equals frustration.  (That's pretty much the only kind of math I can do, right there.)

This has happened a few times for me at the gym, while on the treadmill specifically, but the Dexcom usually "finds" me soon enough and my numbers reappear on the graph.  Last night, however, the Dexcom oscillated between the lost signal and triple question marks for my entire workout.   And it didn't sort itself out until about midnight ... five hours after going rogue. 

But all night long?  Totally fine.  And all day, so far?  Also fine.  Is it the treadmill that's making the G4 go berserk?  Does the new system hate running?  (I can't blame it, if that's the case.  I hate running, too.)  Is this sensor a fickle one?  Does this happen to other people while they're at the gym?  Is it the friction of my clothes against the transmitter?  Is it something about the treadmill itself?  What can I do to prevent it? Will Batman escape the machine before being turned into mashed potatoes? 

Or is that just a stupid question?  (???)

December 04, 2012

From Abby: Ohm ...

While I've been trying my hand (my feet?) at running, Abby is tackling a new exercise endeavor:  yoga.  And for her, it's been an experience in teaching her where her comfort zone is.  Today, she's writing about finding a fitness routine that fits your life and doesn't cause you to break bones.  ;)

*   *   *
Yoga.

It's hippie, it smells weird, and the people who do it are always skinny and eating kale.

Except - not.

This fall I ran a 5k. And I hated it. I mean, the free beer afterward was cool but the running part? Miserable. I set a goal, I worked hard, I didn't die, and I finished. That's really the point of life right? We find things we do/don't like by setting goals and reaching them, and re-assessing. That's how I like to live life anyway. Give it my best shot and then if I don't like it then whatever, I tried. I'm not competitive, I have more muscles than I actually need (thanks seven years of cheerleading) and I hate to do repetitive exercise.

I also love to whine.

This fall, my best friend and I decided to try yoga. We'd wanted to for a while, but couldn't find a beginner class that didn't cost a bazillion dollars. So finally while I was buying new sneakers (for the aforementioned running) we saw a "Grand Opening!" flyer for a new yoga place. One of their programs was a "Brand New Beginners," so we signed up right away. I realized after a few injuries that I can't just go at these things willy-nilly  [Editor's note:  Willy-nilly? And you have the balls to call me old, Abby?]  without knowing what I'm doing, and this program was going to teach us the right way to do yoga without getting hurt.

For me, running had the following negative effects: (YDMV)
  • I gained 8 lbs;
  • My A1c went up 0.4% in 2 months;
  • I had the lowest lows I've had in years;
  • I broke my ankle.
I call that a big fail.

Yoga has the following positive effects:
  • I haven't lost lbs, but my fat is turning into, less jiggly fat;
  • My A1c is back to where I want it;
  • My blood sugars are practically a plank during yoga (see what I did there? Plank? :) ), and I only go a little low (like I need an 80% temp for a few hours) about 6-7 hours later;
  • I haven't broken anything yet.
So the moral of the story is that I have gone my whole life hating exercise in the standard forms. I was a dancer and a cheerleader forever - where someone was telling me what to do, and other people counted on me to be good at it. I've joined gyms, and quit gyms. I've tried, completed, and hated running. I've even gone the home-DVD route which was great until I got bored of it. But I kept searching, and I'll keep searching.

Bird of paradise ... ha ha?

I love yoga right now. Each class is different and challenging and I'm reminded over and over to just listen to my body and do the best I can. I can't do the "bird of paradise" but today I stretched backward in my side plank without falling over. I make my own goals and nobody gives a hoot what I look like. It's making me stronger, more patient, and healthier. I'm not saying yoga is for everyone, but I'm saying that if you're like me I suggest you try new things and keep searching outside your comfort zone until you find something you enjoy ... even just for a little while.
*   *   *

What's outside of your exercise comfort zone that you're looking to check out?  For me, it was running. You?

December 03, 2012

PWD in the Wild.

We were sitting at the coffee shop having a really nice Melbourne cappuccino (they make the best cappuccinos I've ever had in my whole life, with the steamed milk almost like a marshmallow topping on each coffee - amazing), talking about the Australian diabetes social media summit. The weather was sunny and crisp, with plenty of other patrons enjoying their caffeine jolt at the outside cafe tables.

"I guess when I was diagnosed, it didn't matter much to me that I didn't know anyone else who had diabetes.  I didn't really know what diabetes was.  But as I grew older, I wanted to find that community, and that's where the Internet has helped tremendously," I said to Renza, talking about the impact of the diabetes community on my emotional well-being.

"And here we are now," said Renza, laughing as she stirred her coffee.

No joke - Melbourne has the best coffee I've ever tasted.

We chatted on about the Summit the day prior, and what we thought of it. And then our conversation tumbled into our personal experiences with diabetes and pregnancy.  Thinking back on this conversation, we probably said the word "diabetes" at least a dozen times in a ten minute conversation.

Which is probably why the young woman was staring at us from her table, just a few feet away. She was holding her coffee cup near her mouth, but hadn't had a sip yet.  She was fixated on us.  Her young daughter was drinking a frothy mug of hot chocolate, swinging her feet as the wind caught and tousled her bangs.  

"Excuse me," she said, almost to herself.

My seat was facing her table, so I leaned in and said, "Hello!"

"I couldn't help but overhear - you both have diabetes?"

Renza shifted in her seat.  "Yes, yes we do.  I'm sorry - were we being too loud?"

The woman laughed nervously, her cup still close to her mouth but merely an accessory at this point.  "No, not at all.  I was happy to hear ... I mean, my daughter was just diagnosed with type 1 diabetes a few weeks ago.  We've never met anyone else who has diabetes."  She made a sweeping gesture with her hand.  "And here you both are!"

"Real life people with diabetes, in the wild," I smiled.

Renza leaned back and extended her hand, introducing herself and explaining to the woman that she had type 1 diabetes and also worked down the street at Diabetes Australia Vic.  "You can come visit us any time you'd like - and I'm at this coffee shop all the time."  She handed the woman her card.

Thank goodness for the poise and professionalism possessed by Renza.  I couldn't help myself - I waved animatedly at the girl and her mother and this stream of information passed my lips:  "I'm Kerri and I live in the United States and I've had type 1 diabetes for twenty-six years and I have a husband and he and I have a daughter who is two and a half." 

I wanted them to know I was okay, and that even though my life has included type 1 diabetes for several decades, I was still okay; it was a consolidated diabetes life story in one messy sentence, delivered with a caffeinated edge. 

"How are you doing?  How are you both doing?"  I asked.

The woman looked at her daughter, who was staring at us.  "We're good. We're doing good.  We come to this coffee shop often because they are the only ones who really listen to how I want her hot chocolate prepared.  Her daycare is right around the corner, so it's a nice place to stop.  They do listen ..." her voice trailed off.  

"We do know." 

We talked for a few minutes, and the woman gathered up her belongings.  "It was so nice meeting both of you.  Really.  Thank you."  Her daughter stared at us with her big, brown eyes, the same as her mother's.

"Our pleasure.  I hope to hear from you.  Please do reach out," said Renza warmly.

The woman took her daughter's hand and crossed the street toward the daycare center, her delicious Melbourne coffee still untouched on the table but every single sip of her daughter's special-made hot chocolate all but devoured.

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