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Posts from the ‘Real Life Diabetes’ Category

What I Did On My Bloggy Vacation.

Whoa – this was the longest unintentional blog break I’ve taken in ages. Maybe ever. And it’s not like I didn’t have diabetes-related things to say or conversations I wanted to contribute to.

I just didn’t feel like writing. Which is weird. I usually feel like writing.

After the Target low, I was on break with my family for a while, and then in Dallas for a TypeOneNation event.  I took a short pump break. I saw some PWD in the wild while traveling and the urge to hug them was unrelenting. I read a bunch of crap about “diabetes in a cup” and had that desire to climb on a soapbox clutching a unicorn frappuccino in one hand (but not taking a drink of it ever because my insulin has better things to unpack and also I keep picturing a liquified unicorn, which grossed me out further). I read a blog post and watched our community react to it. And I saw a bunch of angry Tweets and uncomfortable people and hurt feelings and just so much stress.

Oh, never mind the fact that I open the CNN homepage whilst looking through my fingers because there’s always some new yick storm.

I needed a breather.

Random street art ❤. @spacegirlw, thought of you.

A post shared by Kerri Sparling (@sixuntilme) on

So I guess I pulled back for a while. We celebrated Birdy’s seventh birthday as she crossed that threshold into an age that I remember (I totally remember second grade and my friends back then and riding my bike in the neighborhood and reading books and all that stuff – I have some clear and vivid memories of seven. I was also diagnosed with diabetes that year, so I keep looking at her through that lens, wondering if I appeared simultaneously so big and so little to my own mother.) We traveled without the Guy for the first time and it was kind of stressful for me, being away from my smallest little, but made me grateful for my mom and stepfather once again, how they are always willing and thankfully able to mind my kid(s).

… oh, and I am the last person on the planet to learn that if you are typing a text message on an iPhone and you turn the phone sideways, you can create a handwritten text message. THIS IS MY NEW FAVORITE THING and I am madly in love with this feature. I have sent several ragtag cats, two ten gallon hats, a pair of jeans, a plane that looked more like a shark, a bunch of grapes, and boobs to unfortunate recipients. Anyone in my contact list is at risk of receiving nonsense and I AM NOT SORRY.

After a few days, I felt a little clearer. I cracked open my email and confirmed calls for the coming week, met deadlines that were looming, and created a document titled “Shit to Write About” with bulleted ideas of shit to write about. We paid our taxes. The tulips bursted up in the front lawn and they look like an army of happy. I felt a little bit productive, not so drowning in diabetes, and kind of ready to open a “New Post” tab on my blog platform.

So I did. And here I am. And here it is.

It was nice to work a little bit on a non-diabetes writing project I’ve been tooling around with. I liked sending the plane shark. I really enjoyed dealing with diabetes as a stand alone thing instead of repeatedly documenting it. Diabetes is all day and sometimes it needs to be tabled as a content source, with “shit to write about” waiting until I feel ready.

Which now I do.

Signs of Distractabetes.

My endo appointment is coming up fast, and I’ve just realized that I don’t give much of a shit.  Not good.  I’m deep into distractabetes.  Signs?

Your fasting blood sugar is taken at 10 am.

You think coffee is breakfast.  And is also lunch.

You carb count by glancing at the food and going “meh.”

You accidentally end up on a raw food diet only because you don’t want to cook anything anymore.

You changed your lancet last week and you’re still all proud, despite it needing to be changed again.

You wonder if it’s finally time to look under the bed and retrieve the many juice box straw plastic sleeves that have taken up residence there.

You go to dump out the dead test strips from your meter bag and there are only a few instead of a giant pile.

You notice a week long trend of overnight highs and instead of gently tweaking the overnight basal rate, you ratchet it up and hope for the best.

You deleted the Dexcom Clarity app off your phone … because the idea of looking at that estimated A1C thing is stressing you out.

Your CGM high alarm goes off and aside from humming the tune back in response, you don’t take any other action.

You go to write a blog post but end up writing a list about distractabetes from the third person POV.

(Also, by “you” I mean me.  Entirely  me.  I’m a little burnt out after 3 years of either pre-pregnancy-then-actual-pregnancy-then-breastfeeding.  The years of obsessively tracking blood sugars have given way to something I can’t entirely call diabetes burnout but instead feels like wicked distraction.  I’m maybe a teeny bit looking forward to my A1C draw next week so I can at least know what data point I’m working from.)

Let’s Get it ON!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Whether you’re Irish (I am) or not, today is a day when people will wish you top o’ the morning and will also potentially offer you a beer at 9.30 am (I am not).  Today I’m looking back at a post from ten years ago wherein Mills Lane mediates a melee between a beer and a cocktail.  Read on to find out who wins …

*   *   *
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.”

ConnecT1D Retreat: Sign Up NOW!

Last summer, when I was 17 1/3 months pregnant, I traveled to Seattle to take part in the ConnecT1D Retreat.  Despite being a round mound of hormones, I had an awesome time connecting with other PWD adults and sharing experiences.  It was put together by an amazing team of PWD leaders, and today, the Board President of ConnecT1D is sharing details about the 2017 conference.  

(And note:  registration ends on March 15, so register today!!)

  *   *   *

Kerri:  Hi Cassady! Thanks for making some time to talk. Can you let readers know a little bit about you and your connection to diabetes? 

Cassady:  Hi Kerri! A few fun facts about me: I enjoy plants but do not like to garden; gummy bears are best served cold so I keep mine in the refrigerator; my current binge-watching show is “Seinfeld”, and my two cats were in my wedding this past year when I married the coolest guy in the world. We created a special wagon covered in toole for them and my niece pulled it down the aisle—not as a flower girl, but under the official title of “Head of Feline Transportation: Ceremony Division.”

Also, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes about 22 years ago. As a teenager, I struggled quite a bit with T1D, both physically and emotionally. Despite having all the medical care I needed, I was labeled a “non compliant” patient who just couldn’t seem to get it together. I remember feeling so alone and overwhelmed with shame and guilt during those times. That’s when I came to see the bi-directional relationship between physical health, especially chronic medical conditions and psychological well-being. Luckily I started seeing a counselor, and discovered the power of emotional support and connection.

I decided to take my personal experience and combine it with professional training as a mental health therapist, and that’s what I do now! I help people with diabetes and other chronic illnesses address the psychosocial issues that, much like that awful bunny onesie Ralphie gets in “A Christmas Story,” so often show up uninvited. No one gets what he’s going through, but I bet they would if they had to wear one. I get it, because I, too, have worn the pink bunny suit.

Kerri:  Who hasn’t worn the bunny suit?  You’re involved with ConnecT1D. Can you tell readers what that organization is about and what your role is there?

Cassady:  I am the Board President of ConnecT1D, which is a nonprofit in the Pacific Northwest that sees social support as a vital part of type 1 diabetes treatment. That’s why we create social support opportunities for families, teens, and adults living with T1D. We do this by bringing people together for meet-ups, educational meetings, retreats, and lots of other fun programming. Speaking of which, I am also the Co-Chair of the ConnecT1D Adult Retreat

Kerri:  Good timing with that mention. The ConnecT1D retreat is coming up soon! What makes this event awesome?

Cassady:  The Retreat is an opportunity for adults living with T1D (partners welcome!) to get together to relax and connect with people who have a deep understanding of what life with diabetes is like. It’s great to be in a room where people are whipping out needles, talking about carb counts and you are not required to explain yourself when you mutter things like, “I’m high” or that when you say “basal”, you are not referring to an underrated garden herb. (Please see “Fun facts” in Question 1.) Inclusion can be life-saving. Isolation can be devastating.

Kerri:  I was lucky enough to visit last summer and hang out with the ConnecT1D team. The event was awesome. What can attendees expect from the 2017 conference? 

Cassady:  We will spend a weekend at the Clearwater Resort and Casino, just a 15 minute ferry ride from Seattle, WA. National and local speakers (who have T1D themselves, or a close connection to it) will lead workshops on a variety of topics promoting social connection and emotional wellness while living with T1D. Mike Lawson of the Diabetes Hands Foundation will be our keynote and he’ll talk about his own experience with and ideas for overcoming diabetes burnout. We even have a workshop for partners/T3s! Being a support person of a PWD is not always easy and often has it’s own set of challenges, and we want to have a dialogue about elements of the T3 life as well! In the evening, we’ll hang out and take advantage of the Resort—whether that’s heading to the casino to listen to live music or sitting fireside with a new friend.

Kerri:  I’m sure people want to go check it out. How can folks find out more about the event??

Cassady:  For more information or to register, please go to connect1d.org/retreat. Once you register, you can join a closed Facebook group where attendees can connect and get updates on the Retreat. The page also ends up being a cool resource even after the Retreat because it’s a place where we can build on and keep in touch with the community formed during the weekend, ask questions, share resources, and post hilarious cat-themed diabetes gifs.

Just kidding. They don’t have to be cat themed. Registration ends March 15th and space is limited!

  *   *   *

Thanks, Cassady!   Whoops one more:

 

 

The Follow Up About Dexcom.

Today is Day 7.  I’ll be pulling this sensor off in six hours.

Day 7. No filter. No rash. No worries. #dexcom

A post shared by Kerri Sparling (@sixuntilme) on

No rash.  No filter.  Does this mean no worries?

(For reference, this post is a follow up from a week ago when I put on a Dexcom G5 sensor and transmitter without a barrier underneath the sensor.  For the last four and a half years, I’ve had an allergic/irritation response to the sensor.  Big, scaly rashes would blister up and take weeks to heal … like the one currently on my left thigh.  But rumor had it that sensors with an expiration date past 8/17/2017 were not causing this rash reaction.  

So I tried a 11/2017 expiration-dated sensor and the result?  No rash. NO RASH! The only issue I noticed was some blood around the transmitter after inserting it, but I wonder if that happens more often than I realize and the Toughpad had previously kept the blood from being visible. Whatever the case, I’m not itchy yet and I’m really, really hopeful that this rash issue is tabled forever. Next question is what to do with the box of sensors that has a pre-August 2017 expiration date …)

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