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Gone Offline!

After too much time away from my family, I need to keep this laptop lid slammed shut for a few days.  See you next week!

Looking Back: Dining Out.

I love going out on the town for the night
And having a meal by a soft candlelight
(Because I know, at a restaurant, meals are yummy;
For the food isn’t prepped, touched, or cooked by me.)
But to dine with type 1 can be quite complex,
Because restaurant food has a whole set of specs
That require some SWAG’ing; carbs seem to inflate
As you wonder what’s really down there on your plate.

“Excuse me, but does the salmon have a glaze?
Is it covered in sugary, caramelized haze?”
I ask of the waiter, tuning in as he states
That the glaze can be brought on the side of my plate.
My soda arrives, and I ask, “Is this diet?”
As I bring the glass up to my lips just to try it.
“It is,” he responds, and he watches my face
As I try to assess the fizzy soda’s taste.

Moments later, I notice that something is wrong.
I’m not sure my thoughts are where they belong.
My brain is all foggy, my hands feel so weak,
I’m having some trouble with words while I speak.
Did I bolus too early?  Did I miscount the carbs?
Is it something I did to make Dex go on guard?
There are glucose tabs right here in my purse,
But I know that I’ll feel better if I have juice first.

My husband is almost up, quick as a blink
To go to the bar to grab something to drink.
But it’s not a big deal; I chomp tabs while I wait
For the waiter to come back and fill up our plates.
He comes back for our order, but I’m not quite ready.
My Dex shows my numbers as slightly unsteady,
With double-down arrows beaming; so unkind.
“Can I have an orange juice, if you don’t mind?”

I see his confusion. The gears start to grind.
I hear the thoughts churning inside of his mind.
“She didn’t want glaze, and her soda was diet.
The bread was right here, but she didn’t try it.
What’s up with this girl? Selective sweet tooth?
Whatever. My job is to bring her the juice.”
He walks off to the bar to bring back something sweeter
While I quickly confirm the Dex trend with my meter.

“Here you go,” and I down it in one giant gulp,
Not caring for class, or a straw, or the pulp.
“Thank you so very much,” I reply with a smile
And try to regain some semblance of my mind.
My husband distracts me with soft, gentle chatter
While the orange juice fixes the thing that’s the matter.
And the moments that pass are quick in real life
But it’s hard for him, watching a low change his wife.

A few minutes later, things are as they were.
I’m no longer sounding all drunk, with a slur.
The waiter comes back with his menu pad out
And we tell him the entrees we’d like to try out.
Our date night moves forward without any trouble.
(The waiter’s confused, but i don’t burst his bubble.)
It’s not a big deal; it was just a quick thing.
But it’s always a riddle, what diabetes will bring.

(This poem was originally published back in January 2012.  It’s from the past.  And I am in Canada, where the poutine lives.)

Diabetes at the Beach.

Rhode Island has some really nice beaches, and since I was a little kid, going to the beach has been a staple of summer.  (If September doesn’t roll around and your car isn’t lined with beach sand, something went wrong.)

Just after my diagnosis, going to the beach didn’t look or feel any different as far as my body was concerned, because I didn’t use an insulin pump or wear a continuous glucose monitor when I was seven.  The only evidence of diabetes was found in my mother’s beach bag, where my meter was stashed, and in the beach cooler, which grew significantly after my diagnosis (bring all the food and all that meme-ish tomfoolery).

Today, my diabetes management looks different.  There’s physical evidence of diabetes right there on my hip, where my insulin pump is clipped, and against my skin, where the CGM sensor is placed.  Hiding diabetes at the beach has become increasingly more challenging, but I’ve also become increasingly more comfortable with having it “out there.”

This week, I brought Birdy to the beach to officially kick off our summer (I’m ignoring the fact that it’s 50 degrees and raining today) and since it was early in the season and a little chilly, I decided for a one-piece tank suit instead of a tankini or bikini.  Usually, I wear something two-piece, and not because I am a big fan of baring it all;  I like two-pieces more because there is somewhere to conveniently clip my insulin pump. But once I put on the one-piece bathing suit, I was struck by the lack of clippy real estate.

Where the HELL do you put the thing? Normally, I clip it to the bottom half of my bathing suit, just like with regular clothes, but this one-piece business made things more complicated. I could clip it upsidedown to the leg opening, but then it would hang there like a Christmas ornament. I could clip it disco-boobs style, but then it’s like HEY INSULIN PUMP the whole time at the beach.

After much frustration and simultaneous thankfulness for long tubing, I decided to run the tubing along my back, inside of the bathing suit (the infusion set was in the top of my left hip) and clip the pump itself to the back of my suit. It worked because I didn’t sit much (thanks, Birdy), so a bulge clipped on the back of my suit didn’t cause any discomfort.

Pump clipped to the back of my bathing suit, Dexcom sensor taped happily to my thigh, and busting out my glucose meter every so often?  Basically, it was diabetes balls-out on the beach that afternoon.


A Day Late, an Islet Short.

I missed the last day of Diabetes Blog Week, but I’m determined to follow through on the prompts, because I love being part of this community.

The last prompt is to highlight some of the work we’ve loved reading this past week:  “As we wrap up another Diabetes Blog Week, let’s share a few of our favorite things. This can be anything from a #DBlogWeek post you loved, a fantastic new-to-you blog you found, a picture someone included in a post that spoke to you, or comment that made you smile. Anything you liked is worth sharing!

Here are a few of my favorite D-Blog Week things:

Insulin is not an enemy or a punishment!”

I dip my hand in and my fingertips taste like iron.”

How do I cope? Rip that fucker up.”

I weathered the storms each time. I likely grew stronger from each but the memories they don’t fade. So while ugly blood sugars, ignorant people, sleepless nights, and pure exhaustion get me down on any given day or hour it is the memories that trigger the real pain.”

“Finally, finally, my blessed end is nigh. Again, I was thrown away, but this time actually made it into the basket.”

It’s something that needs to change.”

Diabetes Blog Week has opened my eyes to many new writers and perspectives, and even though it may take me weeks to work through all the links and read everything, I’m so grateful for the opportunity to learn from and connect with my peers.


D-Blog Week: Saturday Snapshots.

I still think this is funny, even though it isn’t.

Original mishmash sentiment on this blog post from last year.

You Can Register for Hope … ?

Just a little PSA for the Diabetes Hope Conference:

(I respectfully borrowed this image from the DHF site.)

I’ve felt that hope is a better motivational force than fear for a long time, and have written about it (and created videos around it) quite a bit.  You might call me a “hope groupie.”  (I’ve been called worse.)

Which is why I’m looking forward to the second annual Diabetes Hope Conference, which is taking place online via webinar, and for free, on Tuesday, May 20th at high noon eastern timeYou can register by clicking here, and I’m hoping you’ll join the discussions because I’m really happy to see hope as something highlighted for people with diabetes.

From Scott Johnson (the advocacy force behind this digital hope effort):  “I work hard to make the Diabetes Hope Conference happen because hope can do amazing things when you’re in the middle of a seemingly impossible situation. Maybe someone out there needs that ray of light that you (or you, or you) can provide. We need to pull those conversations out of the closet, and I think the Diabetes Hope Conference can help do that.”

For more on the origin of the conference and participating partners, click this link.  Hope to see you on Tuesday!



D-Blog Week: Diabetes Poetry.

Today is Poetry Day for Diabetes Blog Week, and I’m paying homage to one of our favorite books here in the run-by-a-four-year-old Sparling household – Room on the Broom.

There’s Room, I Assume?

The Girl has a panc
And islets that were blank
And a long history
With no pancreas thanks.
Oh but how the Girl worked
And how the Girl toiled
To keep diabetes
From making life spoiled.

But how disease wails
And how disease barks
As it moves to our bodies
And works to leave marks.

“Down!” cried the Girl
As she looked at her Dex
Wondering why her blood sugar
Management was complex.
It should be “count carbs”
And then calculate doses.
(A pre-meal lunch bolus
Should not cause psychosis.)

Dex looked at her sadly
And let out a BEEP
(As the Girl pulled her pump out
From hip, hidden deep),
“I am your Dex, as keen as can be.
There is room, I assume,
For a Dex like me?”

“Yes!” cried the Girl,
and the Dex gave a laugh.
The Girl tapped the button
And WHOOSH! There’s the graph!

Throughout the day,
The Girl wrote and she worked.
Her daughter drew pictures,
Both cats went berserk.
The Girl laughed out loud,
All the memories brewing.
Memories of not knowing
What blood sugar was doing.

“Up!” cried the Girl,
when she saw, on her run,
That her blood sugar tumbled
Down to 81.
Then out from her SpiBelt
With a flourish of dust
She grabbed glucose tabs
And ate three in a rush.

“Why make the effort?”
Some innocents asked.
“Is exercise worth
Getting kicked in the ass?”

Then she said,
As the Dexcom went BEEP with intent
To let her know
just how low blood sugar went,
“I used to fly blind,
but now I have Dex
That helps me keep
blood sugar numbers in check.”

Then, all of a sudden,
In the silence of night
Blared the BEEP from the Dexcom
That woke her upright.
It woke up the Girl
And it woke up her Chris
(And it scared both the cats
As they let out a hiss),
“I am your Dex, as loud as can be,
Get up soon, while I boom,
And eat tabs or candy.”

“Grumph,” said the Girl
As she stumbled from bed
And consumed the contents
of the fridge instead.
But thankful that beeps and alarms
Work to rumble
from deep, sleeping slumber
While blood sugars tumble.

“But it’s a device!
It makes you mechanic!”
“I’d rather devices
than blood sugar panic.”

Dex looked at her prouldy
And let out a BEEP
(As the Girl checked the patterns
Before going to sleep),
“I am your Dex. I work hard as can be.
There is room, I assume,
For a Dex like me?”

“Yes!” cried the Girl,
on her Safety’s behalf.
The Girl tapped the button
And WHOOSH! There’s the graph!


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