Sunday, December 9, 2012

Just a Smoke Machine

I wear glasses. My doctor has told me several times that my vision problems aren't diabetes related, just genetics luck of the draw. I do have some cloudiness that shows the start of cataracts on both of my eyes, but neither are affecting my vision. I do have some bleeding in both of my eyes, but it's minimal and also not affecting my vision.

Over the years, one of my greatest fears is loosing my vision to diabetes. A lot of things can happen when you have diabetes. You can loose limbs. You can have kidney problems. But vision has always been on top of my fear list.

I know that it's very possible that I'll have to have eye surgery at some point in my life, but I'm praying it's many years away. That being said, there are always little things that happen, when I wonder if something is diabetes related.

I went to church this morning (as I do most Sundays), but this was our special Christmas program. My church, for the past three years, have done something called The Living Christmas Tree. If you've never had the chance to see a Living Christmas Tree, you should find one near you and go! Basically, it's a choir stand that is Christmas tree shaped. People stand on the different levels and when the tree is lit and the people are singing, it's almost like the people are the ornaments in the tree.

As I was sitting in the sanctuary, waiting on the service to start, I noticed that things looked a little fuzzy to me in the distance. The lights were slightly dimmed, and when I pulled my glasses off, I could tell they were dirty and I cleaned them. When I put them back on, things were still fuzzy. I cleaned my glasses again.

I couldn't figure it out. Why were things so fuzzy? I thought "maybe there's a smoke machine somewhere in here." I looked around. I didn't see a smoke machine. Or smell one (I can usually smell them).

Suddenly, I had an awful thought. What if something was wrong with my vision? What if it wasn't my glasses. Or a smoke machine. What if it was something with my eyes?? As I sat there, waiting on church, and the program to start, I was working my way through my thoughts. I could probably get an appointment with my eye doctor first thing Monday morning, if I called right as they opened. How many appointments would have reschedule at work? Could someone cover for me if I couldn't reschedule? Would I have to go to the office out of town for my eye appointment?

While all this is running through my head, I reminded myself, again, that there was a possibility that I was imagining things. That there was a smoke machine I was missing. Something. I prayed. And decided to see how things looked when the lights came back up and I got outside of the sanctuary.

I moved it to the back of my head and watched this year's performance of The Living Christmas Tree. I was blessed. It was wonderful.And when I walked out of the sanctuary I became convinced that there had been a smoke machine in the church somewhere. I could see just fine.

I just wonder, if it weren't for diabetes would the thought about the fuzzy/blurry even been a thought in my head? I don't know. I've not really ever known life without diabetes. I wonder if anyone else in the building noticed the blurriness and thought anything about it at all?

It's amazing how diabetes can jump into our lives and take over other areas. Thirsty isn't just thirsty anymore, it's "high." Sleepy isn't just sleepy, it's "low." Blurry vision isn't just sleep deprivation, it's "low" or actual vision problems. Everything becomes diabetes, even when it's just a smoke machine.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The World’s Worst Sick-O (Sick-y?)

I’m sick. Real people sick. Not super sick, but I’m feeling icky, coughing, hacking, can’t breath, sore throat, swollen eyes, etc. I felt bad enough (coupled with the fact that several members of my family that I spent time with over Thanksgiving have an upper respiratory infection) that I went to the doctor this afternoon. I didn’t want to risk getting any sicker right now because I’m seriously swamped at work, running up on end of the month deadlines, and I have to sing on Sunday in my Community Choir’s Christmas concert.

I hate being a sick-o (sick-y?). It’s not fun. I whine. I want my mommy and I want to sleep. Basically, I’m a big, fat baby when it comes to being “real people” sick. I find it ironic that I will power through just about anything diabetes related. Even when I feel like crap, but I’m such a baby when it comes to other types of sickness.

I’ve powered through failed pump sites, horrid rebound highs, and most recently DKA, in order to continue doing what I was doing, or what I had planned. I refuse to let diabetes keep me down. I just won’t. I’m sure that I technically feel a LOT worse with some of these things (especially the DKA), but I just keep going.

But when it comes to “real-people” sick, I just want to cry and stay at home. Why is it that “real-people” sick is so easy for me to whine about? Perhaps because I feel like it’s the one thing that I can whine about. I don’t want to show weakness when it comes to diabetes, but “real-people” sick is a whole different story.

And is it just me, or do they go out of their way at the doctor’s office to poke a HUGE hole in your finger when they are taking blood? I swear the whole tip of my finger is sore. In fact, it’s slightly bruised, even though you can’t see it in the picture. Okay, I’m through whining now. I think. Anyone else power through diabetes related stuff & become a total softy when it comes to anything else?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Diabetes and the Christmas Season

The Christmas season is upon us. There are so many things that come into play this time of year. Gift giving, card sending, baking, decorating, Christmas programs, family, travel, and a host of other things that, while not regulated to one time a year, rarely fall all at the same time of year.

It’s easy to let some things fall by the wayside when you’re dealing with all of these other things that seem to take precedence. One thing that seems to be an issue for many of us is caring for diabetes. I’ll be honest, after Diabetes Awareness month in November, being thrust directly into the Christmas season, I’m often burnt out this time of year. It’s understandable.

My work has a “December Days of Eating.” Really. That’s what we call it. Every work day of December that falls before Christmas, someone signs up to bring something to eat for the whole office. Most of the time it’s something terribly horrible for us all, but oh, so good. I have one co-worker that makes this amazing cheesy buttery French bread that I swear I look forward to all year long. Another loves to bring a cheese dip that includes sausage and salsa. Another is queen of desserts. I, myself, usually take something like cupcakes or cake.

I have Community Choir concerts, shopping for presents, addressing and mailing Christmas cards, dealing with family things (two Christmas dinners anyone?), and all the emotional baggage that comes with the holidays in general.

Add all of this together and I guess my question is, how do I keep things under some semblance of control? Anyone else have feelings like this? What do you do to keep yourself from going over the diabetes edge?

It seems like when Santa comes into camera view during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, my life goes insane until about the 3rd week of January. Help me (and whatever reader’s I may have) out. Give me some tips, or just share your own frustrations about this crazy time of year. I’ll thank you. I might even bake you a cupcake.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Diabetes Blessings Week 2012

This is the time of year that we are supposed to be reminded of all of the blessings we have in our life. I have many. Even though it sometimes can be difficult to remember them all, God always has a way of dropping things or people in my life to remind me of how truly blessed I am.

Diabetes has a way of taking over your life sometimes. And not in a good way. There are times when the blood sugar readings, and insulin calculations, and carb counts can be so monotonous that you just want to not deal with it anymore. But as we know, diabetes isn't going anywhere anytime soon. And we need to look for the good in what we've been handed.
Mike, over at My Diabetic Heart had a great idea last year to have Diabetes Blessings Week. This is a week in which we blog about the blessings that diabetes has brought into our lives. I wish I could blog every day this week, but it's not going to happen. But in celebration of Thanksgiving (tomorrow!!), I wanted to post at least one post about the thing that I feel has been the biggest blessing to me.

Friends. They are so, so precious. Most of the time we are limited by geography when it comes to our friends. Sure, they may live other places, but we've mostly come into contact with them face to face and shared time with them. The Diabetes Online Community brought me to some of the best friends I've ever had. Through the internet and a shared problem of a dead pancreas I have some amazing people who've made their way into my life.
I've been blessed to meet some of them in person, but all of them are friends, regardless of how we know each other. Because of the D-OC, I have Christmas cards going to at least three other countries. For a girl from small town U.S.A. who's never left the lower 48 states, that is a big deal.

All of the people in the D-OC? I wouldn't know if it weren't for diabetes. Sure, diabetes sucks a big one. But even a rainy day can give you a rainbow. My friends from the D-OC are my diabetes rainbow.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Keeping It Stuck

The other day a fellow D-OC member posted something on facebook that another person was looking for ways to keep her daughter's CGMS taped down as it kept getting ripped out. I have a very complex system. Really. ;)
But I wanted to share it and since I changed sensors this morning, I thought I'd share through pictures how I keep my own sensor stuck.
As a note, I put my sensor in my leg, so all of these pictures are of my poor, white, pale legs. Sorry ahead of time.
I use cloth tape and two pieces of IV-3000 tape to keep my sensor in place.
I insert my sensor first.
Then I use a piece of cloth tape on the sticky part of my sensor.
Then I attach my transmitter.
Then I put another piece of tape over the plastic end of the sensor.
Then I put a piece of IV-3000 tape down.
I cup my hand over the tape after I pull the top off as the heat from your hand causes the tape to suction to your body. I can't remember who told me that, but it was someone on

Then I take a second piece of IV-3000 tape and put it the opposite direction (so that the two pieces of IV-3000 are kind of like a cross).
I also cup my hand over that piece to make it stick to me better.
And here's the final look!
It works. I've rarely had trouble with it coming out, though I sometimes have to replace the IV-3000 tape part way thru the life of my sensor.
I hope this helps some of you if you're new to CGMS. But remember: it's different for everyone. What works for me may not work for you.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

World Diabetes Day 2012

November 14th, 2012
World Diabetes Day
Diabetes unites us. It's made us friends, family, soul mates. 
But as much as we are about the people that diabetes has brought into our lives,
we'd all love to have a cure.
Take a minute today to tell someone why you're wearing blue. Speak up if you hear someone say something that's untrue about diabetes. Share a piece of yourself with someone who might not know much about diabetes. Being an advocate doesn't take much. You don't have to have a blog or write a book or be a public speaker.
On a different note, It's funny that our official symbol is the blue circle, but we have so many other little symbols and inside jokes. Glitter, bacon, sprinkles, cupcakes, unicorns. 
Honestly, I'm a little unsure where the love of all of these things came from and how they came to be such a part of our Diabetes Online Community. But they are there.

I felt the need to incorporate as many of them as possible into my postcards that I made for the World Diabetes Day Postcard Exchange. I am sticking them in the mail today (if my glue dries in time). One is headed to the southern part of the country (further south than me) and the other is going around the world to Australia.
I'm looking forward to getting some postcards myself! I hope you joined in this year.
Oh yeah, and


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Photo A Day Challenge: Diabetes Style

Today begins a month that is dedicated to Diabetes Awareness. Diabetes Awareness Month is a time when we all try to bring awareness, truth, and understanding to diabetes. Not that we don't try every month, but November is kind of "official." :)

One way you can help people understand a little more about diabetes is by joining in on the Photo A Day challenge. If you are on Twitter or Instagram (or both), post a photo a day. Topics are below (in lovely artwork by Sarah. Be sure to attach the hashtag #NDAMphotoaday

Here's my photo for Day 1: #struggle
Join in!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

No Fun, No Fair

As most of you probably know, I'm a huge fan of live theatre. It's so wonderful to get to see a show, especially if it's one you've been wanting to see for a while. Today I went with a couple of friends of mine to see a show in Nashville. Nashville is about 2 1/2 hours from me, so it was basically an all day trip.

This morning I got up and it was full diabetes change time. Basically, new pump site and new CGMS sensor at the same time. This happens occasionally, and MOST of the time, nothing bad happens. I changed my site, changed my sensor, grabbed a granola bar and headed out. My blood sugar was around 126, so I wasn't worried about driving or about anything else d related.

I noticed about 2 hours into my trip that I wasn't feeling that great. I suspected my blood sugar was high. When I stopped to test, it was. Over 350. I kind of flipped out at this. I bolused a LOT. It gave the insulin and I continued the rest of my drive into Nashville, as we were supposed to be meeting another friend for lunch before our show.

When I got to the restaurant, I tested again and was over 400. At this point, I feel like crap AND I'm sure that it's my pump site. But HOW??? If I have a kink, I get a "no delivery" alarm. I hadn't gotten one!

I grabbed my spare infusion site and headed to the restroom to change it. When I pulled it out, it was MAJORLY bent. Like, almost all the way over. This SHOULD have given me a "no delivery" alarm. But it didn't. At this point, other than being sick, and annoyed, there isn't a whole lot I can do. I wasn't going to miss my show. I gave an injection, put in the new site and went out to wait on my friends.

My stomach was bothering me and I knew I wasn't going to be eating anything at all for lunch, but I was drinking a ton of water and one of my friends got the bread, while we waited on the other friend. It was a garlic cheese bread, which I normally love, but my stomach was such a mess it made me feel even sicker. My other friend showed up right about the time I realized I needed to RUN (read: sprint like a crazy person) to the bathroom when I proceeded to throw up. And up. And up.

It kind of freaked me out. I haven't EVER thrown up from a high blood sugar that I can remember. My mom says I got sick once as a kid, but I don't remember it (thankfully). I had a couple of choices. I could go home (which meant I was not only wasting a ticket to a show, but ruining it for my friend who road down with me). I could go to the hospital (but what are they going to do, really??). Or I could tough it out. Take some more insulin. Drink some more (a LOT more) water. And go see my show.

I will admit, I felt better after my trip to the bathroom. I drank water the entire time we were at the restaurant. I had a head ache, but it wasn't anything I couldn't deal with.

I am glad I chose to tough it out. I wasn't at 100% at all today, but I managed to do okay.

After my long drive home, I'm sitting here being thankful that it wasn't worse. Wondering why my "no delivery" alarm didn't go off. And wondering what to do about the ketones still floating around in my body (I checked them when I got home. They were between small & moderate) when my blood sugar is basically back in range.

I still have a headache. My throat hurts from throwing up. And I think diabetes is a pain in the rear. I HATE that diabetes almost ruined my day. I hate that I had to feel like crap all day. I hope a good night's sleep will solve all my problems. 

Also, I hope I NEVER have to throw up from a high blood sugar again. It is NOT fun. Throwing up in general isn't fun, but knowing it was the cause of diabetes made it that much worse.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Steel Magnolias....Updated or Not

On Sunday night the new "updated" version of the classic movie (based on the classic play) Steel Magnolias. I've written about my concern and worry about what this movie reboot would be like. Many of the people in the D-OC have been worried about how diabetes would be approached in the movie. Rightly so, as the original basically made it look like if a woman with diabetes had a baby, she was doomed to die and leave her child motherless.

First off, let me say (in case you didn't read what I've written previously), I adore the original version of Steel Magnolias. I cry every time I see it. Secondly, let me say that the Lifetime reboot, with an entirely African-American cast, was handled very well.

I don't get Lifetime, so I went to my mom's on Sunday night to watch the movie. She typically wouldn't watch the movie, just because she's the mother of a daughter living with Type 1 diabetes (ME!) and what mom wants to watch a movie that a person with said disease dies? But my mom watched it with me, cause she's super awesome like that. If you don't believe me, go read THIS.

Overall, the "updated" version of Steel Magnolias was nearly IDENTICAL to the original. There were a few exceptions. The cast is the first and most obvious of the changes. There are a plethora of cell phones and newer technology devices, along with the occasional pop-culture reference in the script. The line dancing at the wedding reception was replaced by some more updated, and culturally appropriate music and dance for the "new" cast. But so many of the things were exactly the same. The lines, the infamous armadillo cake, the pink wedding with a ton of bridesmaids. Sometime it was the same right down to the camera angles.

Is it weird that I'm glad that they stuck so closely to the original? I am. The areas that were improved were the areas of diabetes information. It was pointed out very early in the movie that the reason Shelby shouldn't have a baby wasn't her diabetes, but her chronic kidney condition. It was never mentioned if the two were related, but most of us can assume it probably was.

When M'Lynn is arguing with Shelby's decision to have a child, it's pointed out by Shelby that her medical records were an issue in the adoption process. This is something I was glad to be brought up because I've looked into it. While diabetes isn't a flat out "no," any chronic health condition is a serious hurdle to get past. I'm sure if you added in the kidney issues, a "no" would be likely. Shelby did say that she was tightening her control, checking her blood sugar 10 times a day, and seeing doctors specializing in high risk birth; all of these are things we can relate to and I'm GLAD they brought it to light.

Also, we actually got to see Shelby check her blood sugar. Only once, but it's an improvement over the first movie. Though there was never any mention of an insulin pump, CGM, or any other treatment. I can't complain, really. Diabetes was kind of glossed over (though not as much as in the first film), but the movie, in my opinion, is about the relationship between the women in the story more than it's about Shelby and her diabetes and kidney issues.

One of the things that most people wouldn't notice, unless they'd seen the staged play, was that M'Lynn's famous break-down was changed to more closely reflect the play. In the original movie, her break down happens at the grave-side. In this version, it happens in the beauty shop, as it does in the play. I appreciated that because I feel like it would be more likely to happen that way. The difference? I still like Sally Field's breakdown more than Queen Latifah's. Don't hate me. I love Queen Latifah, but the fact remains I was more moved by Sally's performance.

Same goes for Julia Roberts' low blood sugar performance in the original versus Condola Rashad's. The one thing about Rashad's low that WAS better was the guilt she felt when she began to come back to herself after drinking the juice. I've been known to do nothing buy cry and say, "I'm sorry." after a low like that. And the brought in the cold sweats as well. They never said it, but Queen Latifah was fanning Rashad. Someone without diabetes may not have noticed it or even understood what it was. But as a person who has suffered major cold sweats after a severe low, I did notice it and appreciated the attention to detail.

Honestly, the movie made me cry. I was expecting that. I didn't hate it. I wasn't expecting that. I truly enjoyed getting the chance to "live tweet" the movie with several other members of the D-OC. And I really appreciated getting to watch the movie with my mom.

The moment that will live in my brain forever, though, was something my mom said to me. We were both crying on the couch as Shelby had her low. Me, because I know what that's like. I've felt that. I hate that. My mom because..... well, let me just quote her. She said it so well. "It's so easy to forget what it's like when you aren't around it anymore. It's not fair that I can forget and you're still dealing with it all the time."

Final judgement, out of 10

Respecting the original: 10

Updating diabetes info: 10

New cast: 8

Overal: 9

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

So Many Questions

I was talking with a colleague the other day who knows a young person with diabetes. According to my colleague, this young person (not an adult, but more than old enough to be making adult decisions in regards to health) wasn’t doing a good job with diabetes management, even using diabetes control (or lack of) to “hurt” the caregivers emotionally.

It was hard trying to explain to my co-worker how complicated having diabetes can be sometimes. Sure, all of my co-workers see me with my insulin pump. They see me bolus for food. They see me test. They hear my cgms beeps. They’ve seen me go low and have to suck down juice boxes. But short of the two co-workers that I know who have immediate family members with T1 diabetes, none of them grasp it completely.

When my colleague was talking with me all I could think to tell that person was to think about how hard it was to be a teenager. Add to that a less than ideal home life. And THEN add a chronic illness that requires thought for every little decision that you make. A teen who has a need for control (or even an adult, because I could be accused of this) in an out of control time will reach for the things that they CAN control. For some teens, this leads to things like eating disorders, problems with depression, cutting, and a host of other issues. For a young person with a chronic illness like diabetes, there is another thing you can control (or chose NOT to control, which in a sense is some sort of control).

I could tell I wasn’t quite getting through and I knew it. So I tried another approach. I’m going to share it with you here.

You get to work late. You skipped breakfast and instead grabbed a pack of vending machine crackers to munch on. For most people, that’s it. For a person with diabetes, there is so much more to that. I look at that pack of crackers and I think:

-  “What’s my blood sugar now?”
-  “How do I feel right now?”
-  “Do I have any insulin in my system right now?”
-  “How many carbs are in those crackers?”
-  “Am I going to be eating lunch early today?”
-  “Am I going to be eating lunch late today?”
-  “Do I have anything with me to treat a low, in case I miscalculate my insulin?”
-  “How much fat is in those crackers? (It affects digestion, which affects insulin and how/when you give it)”
-  “Am I planning on being ‘off schedule’ for my day?”
-  “Will I be more or less active than normal?”
-  “How much insulin am I going to give?”

These are just some of the questions that float around in my head on a regular basis. And that was just for one pack of crackers. Even though each of those thoughts might not be individual conscious thoughts every time, they’re there, floating around in the back of my mind. For a pack of crackers cause I’m hungry. Never mind if I’m thinking of taking a car trip somewhere, or going to exercise, or eating a meal that’s not something I’ve eaten before.

That’s a lot to take on. For an adult, let alone a young person. When I finished telling my college about that series of questions, you could see the shock. People don’t realize how complex this disease can be. While my example may be a little over the top to some, it’s true. Diabetes doesn’t take a break. Ever.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The "New" Steel Magnolias Movie

I know information about the new version of Steel Magnolias has been floating around on the 'net for more than a while now. I've had mixed feelings about the movie, but I'm pretty sure they aren't for the same reasons that most of the D-OC has. I've been a fan of the movie for years. My mother doesn't care for it, but I can't remember a time when I didn't love it.

Even as a child, I remember having a sense of understanding that Shelby had many problems going on that weren't just related to diabetes. And I've always been aware that having a child would be difficult for me, though not impossible.

As I grew, I became more aware of the fact that diabetes wasn't as cut and dry as the movie made it. I understood that having diabetes wasn't a death sentence, and it wasn't a death sentence to have a child while having diabetes. But I also understood that the movie didn't exactly give a true look at life with diabetes.

It was strange for me. Shelby was the only person I'd seen on TV or in a movie that had diabetes. I felt a connection to her AND the movie because of this. Much like I felt a connection to the character Stacey in The Baby-Sitter's Club books.

When the news about the new, all African-American cast version of Steel Magnolias was coming out, I couldn't help but think it would be messed up. Partly because I really dislike remakes of movies. Like really, really, really don't like them.

But...I can't help but be curious. I'm a die-hard Queen Latifah fan, so that's almost enought to make me watch it by itself. But I'm curious, like many of us, as to how they will represent diabetes in this movie.

They've recently released a trailer for the movie, as well as a scene from the movie on youtube. I plan on watching it at some point (I don't get Lifetime, so I'm going to have a friend record it for me) and I'll probably blog about what I think. Until then, I leave you with the youtube clips...

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Life is a series of choices. What shoes to wear, what to eat for lunch, what book to read next, what job to take, what to study in school, what extra curricular activity to pursue, and the list goes on. Some are minor decisions. Some are major. And some seem minor and turn out to be major.

For the past couple of weeks, I've been sticking close home. After traveling so much in the past couple of months, I like sticking close to home. But with that I've gotten lax about carrying around my "emergency d supplies" with me in my purse. It's the little case that has a complete site change, extra batteries, iv-3000 tape, insulin, and a variety of other things. I work 5 minutes from my house, and if I need to leave, it's never a big issue to run out and make it back to work in my 15 minutes I get for break. So lately, I've been leaving it at home.

This morning I got up to get ready for church and it was a complete site change day. Meaning: new CGM sensor site AND new insulin pump infusion site. I was running a little behind this morning because I knew I had to be a church early and I didn't get up early enough. It was my week to teach Sunday School. I put my new pump site and new CGMS, grabbed breakfast and took off for church. I bolused in the car (don't ask) and there was no problem.

My emergency d supply bag
When I got to church it was around 9:30. At 9:40 I got the dreaded "NO DELIVERY" alarm. My kids were coming into the classroom already and there was no way I could leave. I knew I'd had my bolus least I thought I had. And I made a choice. I stayed at church. Even with no insulin being delivered, I stuck it out. I knew what would happen. By 11:00, my blood sugar was 273. When I got home at 12:30 it was 370.

I could have left, I'm sure. Tried to find someone to take my class for a while so I could sneak out. But I HATE when diabetes stops me from doing something. I hate having to say "diabetes is making life difficult." So I made the choice to stay. I felt it was easier to deal with the crappy feeling from the high blood sugars than it was to have to get help from someone to take my class while I went home to take care of my insulin pump.
The result of my decision

I know it probably wasn't the best decision that I could have made, but it would have been even better to have had my emergency set change with me. Sometimes we make choices that don't work out so well. I made the choice not to carry my emergency d supplies. I then made the choice to stay at church, and essentially go without insulin for nearly 3 hours.

This experience did teach me a lesson though... don't go without your emergency site change!!! Take it with you!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Steel Magnolias: Raising Money for JDRF

Steel Magnolias. This movie and/or play is often a source of debate in the Diabetes Online Community. Some people love the show. Others hate it for its ending and somewhat inaccurate portrayal of life with Type 1 diabetes can be. I personally fall in to the “love it” camp, while my mother hangs to the other side. She’s always told me that the thought of anything happening to me, her Type 1 daughter, made the movie too difficult for her to watch.

My love of theatre has let me to a couple of different productions of the play, most notably the Broadway production from 2005 starring Delta Burke and Christine Ebersole. I was recently made aware of a staged reading of Steel Magnolias at which all proceeds would go to benefit JDRF. Like anything that involves theatre, I was intrigued. Add in the diabetes connection and I got excited.

After doing a little research on producer David Youse and his Four Things Productions, I found that Four Things has a pretty successful history of production to raise money for charity, including a staged reading of The Normal Heart that eventually made its way to Broadway. I decided to email the producer back and request an interview. Mr. David Youse was very much willing to help out, wanting to get word out about this production, in order to raise the most money as possible for JDRF.

First of all, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to chat with me about this production of Steel Magnolias and about the work that you are doing at Four Things Productions. Can you tell us a little bit about Four Things Productions and what you do?

Four Things Productions is committed to raising money for various non-profits by presenting theater events with wonderful actors. I try to pick one play and one charity, per year, and raise awareness and the most funds, that I can.

How do you pick the organizations that you choose to donate your proceeds to? Do you have connections to Type 1 diabetes? What brought you to JDRF?

The process can be different each time. Sometimes I think of which play to produce first, one that I think an audience would like to see. Then I find a charity that equals what the plays is about. The Normal Heart would be an AIDS related charity. Steel Magnolias-Diabetes. My mother was a Type 1 diabetic so I'm very familiar with the disease and have that personal connection to it. Playwright Robert Harling and I both decided that JDRF would be our pick, since the funds go to research. We looked at other charities, but felt that JDRF was one that we connected with, because of what they do.

Did you choose to produce Steel Magnolias first, and then pick JDRF as your organization? Or was it JDRF that came before Steel Magnolias?

After the success of The Normal Heart, I realized that the 25th Anniversary of Magnolias was coming up. Knowing the play, I knew that I wanted to present it for a diabetic cause.

You have managed to put together an amazing talented and well known cast and  two-time Tony winner Judith Ivey is directing your production. How was this group of women put together, and are you aware of any personal connections to Type 1 diabetes that might have drawn these women to the project?

Robert Harling [playwright] and I met about two years ago, first, on this project. I asked him who is dream cast would be, 25 years later. Names, names, names kept coming up. Then when you bring on board the brilliant Judith Ivey, she has her vision and the director will take the lead. The three of us come together to discuss who would be great for which role and you want to cast it with the women who you know will connect on stage. This is truly an ensemble piece so each character has to be carefully thought of. Of course I look to see if anyone is public about being a Type 1 diabetic, but what is on the internet is never the real answer. But everyone, it seems, has someone they know who suffers from diabetes.

For my readers who are not your typical “theatre people,” can you explain the difference between a staged- reading and a full production?

A staged reading is simply what is says, a reading of the play with very minimal movement. In a full production with sets, lighting, music, etc, the vision of the director will establish what they want to get across not only in the performances, but with the visual as well. In a staged reading, I believe it's a more powerful way to explore the writing and creating art for the individuals who are witnessing it. By simply reading the stage directions each audience member can create what the beauty shop looks like, what they are wearing and their mind can wonder on what they see. What is so remarkable about this process is that the person sitting next to you can have their own vision of what is happening. So, everyone can enjoy their own show, in their own minds and create for themselves what they are witnessing.

I must note that your staged reading of The Normal Heart, directed by Joel Grey, ended up making its way to New York where it was eventually produced on Broadway. Do you have any hopes of that happening with this production?

I never thought that The Normal Heart would end up making its way to Broadway. I never think that far in advance about a project. I believe that if you focus on why you're presenting the reading and who it's for, the world will take care of you. So, right now, I'm presenting The 25th Anniversary staged reading of Robert Harling's Steel Magnolias, directed by Judith Ivey, to benefit JDRF. After Los Angeles, we will be presenting it in New York on December 3rd, for JDRF, and after that, we can only see what happens.

Any last things you’d like to share with my readers?

Supporting theater, in any city, makes us more aware of others, their joys, their sorrows and it not only creates great conversation, it educates us on all of us. Support the arts when you can, and support a cause, which you are passionate about. I believe it will make us a better country. INFO AND TICKETS: Thank you, David Youse

Thank you again, for taking the time to answer some questions for me. I know that there are several people in our Diabetes Online Community that live in the Los Angeles area, and I hope that they get the chance to see the show. I know I would love to be there to see my support for diabetes research and my love of theatre meet on stage. Break a leg!

If you are in the Southern California area next weekend, please try to go see this production. It will be more than worth your money. The production will be at Broad Stage in Santa Monica, Califorinia, Saturday, September 9th, 2012 at 6:00 p.m.

Four Things productions can be found on facebook and the individual Twitter account for this production is located HERE. If you are in the area and get a chance to see the production, please let me know! I'd love to have you guest post about the play.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Guilty Pleasures

Before I was taking care of my diabetes the way I should. Before I had CGMS. Before I was testing 8-12 times a day (yes, there was a time before), I had a few foods that I loved to eat. Foods that I would later discover cause major issues with my blood sugar.

The two biggest ones are pizza and cold cereal. I used to eat cereal a couple of times a DAY when I was in college. And like most college (and high school) students, pizza was a several-times-a-week occurrence. Both are foods I loved.

But when I discovered that I have a horrible time with my blood sugars when I eat cereal or pizza, I began to cut down on them in my diet. With cereal, I have a nearly immediate spike in my blood sugar and it takes HOURS to get myself back in range. Sometimes a whole day! With pizza, I have a nearly immediate low and then around 3 to 4 hours later I spike and it lingers for many more hours.

I won't lie, I don't always say "no" to pizza and cereal. Sometimes, there's nothing like a slice or two of pizza for dinner, with a cold Diet Pepsi and a salad. And more often than not, I break down and buy a box of cereal. Cereal is probably the worst, cause I have a hard time not eating it when it's in my house. With pizza I can throw it out or, if I eat out, just not bring it home with me.

I always know that there are going to be blood sugar issues to deal with afterwards. But, sometimes I just have to have my guilty pleasure foods.

Do you have a food that you know messes with your blood sugar, but you go for it sometimes anyway?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Complicated Diabetes

When you have diabetes, there are times that everything feels more complicated. It's something that I, myself, try to hide from most people. Those living with or caring for people with diabetes know better. They know the truth.

A trip out of town requires more packing.

A job requires more questions (do I get paid time off, or sick days? What's the insurance coverage like? How much does it cost?).

Grocery shopping requires more items (juice boxes when there are no kids in my house? Yup. That'd be me.).

What's for dinner? (That could require a quick change in menu, depending on current blood sugars.)

A budget requires more planning (I have a whole section dedicated to medications and doctor's co-pays).

Going back to school full time? Probably never going to happen, unless I marry someone with fantastic health insurance (any takers??).

Sickness comes knocking? There's more than just waiting for it to be over. There's ketones and doctors and dehydration and things that a "normal" person would never think about.

And though I've not gotten there yet, even having a child requires more planning than a "normal" person would have to deal with.

In a lot of ways I feel like diabetes made me grow up much faster than I might have if I'd never been diagnosed with diabetes. I've always been seen as fairly responsible and in control of things. At times even been considered the "good kid" in my group of friends or my family. In fact, when I ran into my former pre-school teacher a few years ago, she told me that shortly after I was diagnosed (while I was in her class), I was already telling her what I could and couldn't eat. She said I knew, even then, what to do.

There have been many times I've wondered what I would have been like if I'd never been diagnosed with diabetes. It's a foreign concept to me. Would I have been irresponsible? Would I be a totally different person than I am now? Would I have joined the military? Would I have gone back to school already? Would I have picked a profession based on what I liked, and not on it's ability to provide me a stable income and health insurance? Would I already have children?

There are so many unanswered questions. None of which I'll probably ever know the answer, because for whatever reason, I WAS diagnosed with diabetes 26 years ago and I haven't really known life without diabetes.

I can appreciate the things that diabetes has brought into my life. I've met some of my best friends because of diabetes. None of them I would have met if we didn't share a busted pancreas. I've taken trips that I never would have taken, if it weren't for diabetes. I am unsure I would have entered the world of blogging if it weren't for diabetes. And twitter...that's laughable. I'd probably be one of those anti-twitter people, instead of having TWO accounts.

So, diabetes has made my life more complicated. That's a fact. But it's also taught me a lot of lessons about health, life, and friendship, and blessed me in more ways than I can count. Complications (not the health kind!), I can handle. Diabetes, I can deal with.

Friday, August 17, 2012


Lately my life has been in upheaval. I've been traveling a LOT since January and I was actually gone as much as I was home in July. It's not work related, and I've enjoyed myself greatly....but sometimes, no matter how hard we try, life and circumstance conspire against us.

Depression and anxiety are things that I've never been formally diagnosed with, but I know I've dealt with at many times in my life. Prayer, good friends and family, and counting my blessings most often help me out and the time passes, usually fairly quickly. In fact, I hadn't had an issue in a couple of years until a little over a month ago.

I recognized the signs of depression in myself after a couple of weeks. I've waited for it to pass and kept myself busy, but it's lingering a little longer than normal this time. It's not to say I don't have good days, or good times. I do. Many of them.
In fact, just this week I went to my endo appointment and found out that despite all my travel and instability, my A1c is back below 7 AND I've lost some weight (not much, but still). But on the flip side, I'm being put on cholesterol medicine again, after being off it for a couple of years.

I thoroughly enjoyed Roche Summit and had such a fabulous time while I was there. Just last weekend, I took a VERY quick day trip to New York that also filled me with happiness and joy.

But, I notice things. I'm more tired than normal. In the quite moments at home the helplessness and hopelessness sneaks in. I want to cry, but I can't find the energy or the time. There are times when I just want to crawl right out of my skin.

I know how blessed I am. I know how much I have to be thankful for. I'm blessed beyond measure. But sometimes it's more than a state of mind. My mind tells me one thing, and my emotions tell me something else.

My first plan to tackle this is to keep on praying. God has gotten me through so many things in my life and I know He won't let me down. Next up, I'm not going to isolate myself. By keeping in touch with my friends (both online and off), I am keeping myself both busy and happier. After that, I don't know. I'm hoping this, like my other experiences, passes quickly. But I do want to thank the D-OC for making me less afraid to seek professional help if I need it. Knowing that others have done it gives me the courage to know I can too, if I need it.

Mostly, I'd like to ask you to keep me in your prayers and to keep me accountable. Tweet me. Facebook me. Don't let me wallow, when I have so much else to be doing.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Roche Social Media Summit 2012

For the first time, I was invited to a blogger/advocate summit. July 29-31, I was in Indianapolis, Indiana, courtesy of Roche, maker of Accu-Chek products, as well as many other diabetes related supplies and devices. I put my disclaimer here: Roche paid for all of my travel expenses, including flight, lodging and meals. That being said, all opinions are my own and anything I say in this post, good or bad, is my own opinion.

For the past four years, Roche has been gathering bloggers, online advocates, and medical professionals with an online presence to have the Roche Social Media Summit. This year, I was one of the lucky ones invited to attend. I feel blessed to have been invited and even more thankful after having experienced the actual event.

There were so many things that happened, that my mind has been nearly overloaded since I got back late Tuesday night. I thought about writing more than one post in order to get all the information in. But I instead chose to do only one post instead. There were so many of us at the event, that I'm sure whatever aspect you are looking for, someone else has probably covered it.

Our trip started out with check-ins and an evening meet and greet. One of my favorite things from the few hours between my arrival and the evening event was the chance I got to go have lunch with Lee Ann Thill, Kelly Kunik and Scott Johnson. I'd met Lee Ann and Kelly previously, but I'd been wanting a face to face meeting with Scott Johnson for a LONG time, as he was the FIRST person to ever comment on this blog. Also, he has a really great Minnesotan accent. :) (Just a note, everyone loved my thick country accent this trip, but I loved listening to Scott talk! I have an accent crush.)

There was also an almost constant group of people in the lobby of the hotel greeting people as they got in from their travels. Meeting many of them for the first time, and seeing some old friends again was great. And I loved that most of it happened in the lobby of the hotel. At the meet and greet there was a great amount of time to talk with each other, as well as with some Roche employees. I loved that time and loved getting to chat with and get to know so many people that I've known online for years.

The first full day of the summit started with a welcome and then a great presentation about the DOC: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow. I loved that Roche was acknowledging that the DOC exists, has a voice, and is continually growing.

Roche also brought in guest speaker, Josh Bleill from the Indianapolis Colts. I could write and write about all the amazing that was Josh Bleill, but instead I'll say this: Josh Bleill is a double amputee, hurt in Iraq as a Marine, and an extraordinary human being who gives me motivation to continue on with the things that I love and is a great representation of what it means to overcome.To read a much more eloquent version of Josh Bleill's visit with us, check out Chris Stocker's post. He says it all.

We also were able take a trip to the Roche campus to have lunch, a discussion with several Roche "big-wigs" about technology and where Roche is headed, as well as a tour of the Research & Development facility and the Manufacturing Facility. Did you know that Roche is the only diabetes company that makes test strips and meters in the U.S.? I was unaware of this. Also, in only ONE of their plants (the one in Indy), a three-shift day can turn out 15 million test strips. 15 MILLION. That's a lot of test strips.

That being said, while we were having the Q & A with the Roche people and the tour of the campus, I was even more appreciative to have people present who were more technologically inclined than I am. Scott Strumello, Kitty Castellini, Bennette Dunlap, and several others. These people were asking the questions that I wouldn't have thought to ask about technology.

We finished out Monday with a trip to see a minor league baseball game (the Indianapolis Indians) and to be honest, I'm not much of a baseball fan, but there was still fun to be had and I spent the entire game chatting with people and realizing how many amazingly SMART people we have in the DOC. It makes me proud to know that our community is so diverse that we each have our own goals and talents.

And there there was this thing:

Apparently this is Rowdie. I didn't know what he was, other than the team mascot for the Indianapolis Indians. Apparently he's a bear. Who knew? Read about him here. Also, he's kind of creepy. At one point he put my head in his mouth. I haven't managed to chase down the picture yet. If you are reading this & you know who had it, let me know! I want that picture!

Even after the game, as late as it was and as tired as we were, there were several of us who weren't quite ready to call it a day. Several of us got together to chat, have a drink or two, and laugh together. Eventually, though, it had to be done. Sleep had to be on the agenda.

Tuesday morning began a session on the Roche portfolio. It was a detailed look at what Roche is doing now and what they're working toward. Some of the stuff was more about the direction they were hoping to head and we were asked not to discuss it, as they haven't had a chance to finalize things and submit things to the FDA, and that could cause problems later. That being said, there is some exciting stuff that is a possibility for Roche. I look forward to seeing great things from them in the future.

They shared with us their new insulin pumping system, the Accu-Chek Combo system, and actually gave us their newest meter, the Accu-Chek Nano. While I don't see myself changing to the Nano right now (my OneTouch reads to my insulin pump), it is a pretty cool device. The also shared the new Accu-Chek FastClix lancet device, which is a newer version of my beloved Accu-Chek MultiClix.

Some things I found interesting:

-After acquiring the FDA cleared Solo Insulin Pump, Roche has decided not to release it to the public.

-After entering a research & development contract with Dexcom, Roche is going to be distributing the version of Dexcom that will be used by medical professionals in office, NOT the ones that we as patients would have.

-The MultiClix is going to eventually be a thing of the past, as all the Accu-Chek Nanos, as well as all future Accu-Chek Avias will be packaged with a FastClix.

A final speaker closed out our time at the Roche Social Media Summit 2012. Steve Richert, from Living Vertical came to speak with us. Steve is a Type 1 diabetic who is in the middle of a project that involves him climbing, in some capacity every day for a year. This project, called Project365 is a pretty amazing thing. If you'd like to help Steve out, go HERE and watch the video, and then "like" it. For every "like" Roche will donate $1 toward Project365.

I loved my time at the Roche Social Media Summit. I was honored to have been asked, and I hope I did everything I could to represent everyone with diabetes to the best of my ability. Thanks to Rob Muller and Todd Siesky, along with all the other amazing Roche employees we met this year, for putting forth the effort to find out what we as consumers want and what we think. It means a lot to know you are listening. Had I not been in the group picked for the Summit this year, I still have faith, like I have every other year, that I am being well represented by members of the DOC. The best thing that I learned at the Roche Social Media Summit was that we are a truly diverse and intelligent group  of people in the DOC.

And thank you to Roche for taking the time to get to know us, the consumers. May you continue to step "out of the box" and make positive strides in diabetes care for those of us that live with diabetes 24/7.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Questions and More Questions

For the past 3 years, Roche medical company has invited, and paid all expenses for, a group of people in the D-OC to come together. This year is the fourth Roche Social Media Summit. Each year has been a group of people that I felt represented the D-OC very well. There are so many of us out there who are doing what we can with what time and resources we have.

Each year has been different, but I won't lie and say that I wasn't a little jealous at those who got to go, while I didn't. But I didn't hold it against the people who were there. Everyone can't possibly go. And the best way to get information to people and out to the community is to use the people who get the most notice online.

This year, I have been invited to be a part of the Roche Summit. While I am still a little surprised at being invited (I feel there are many deserving people out there), I am very happy to be involved this year. Just a few weeks ago, I wrote a post about responsibility.

I feel like I have a responsibility in going to Roche as well. I want to know what kinds of questions you have for the people at Roche and what kinds of things that you want them to know from you.

From what I understand, we'll all be live tweeting stuff during the conference, but also please feel free to leave me comments on this post. I'll do my best to get all the questions answered if I possibly can.

I do promise you this: I will not take this for granted. I will do my best to represent YOU.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Any Time Is a Good Time

Anytime is a good time for a d meet-up. I LOVE getting to meet my D-OC friends in real life. It's so great because there is a person you already know you love and have a lot in common with and there's none of the awkward stuff that usually comes with meeting a person for the first time.

Pumping at the Full House park...apparently
also known as Alamo Square. Who knew??

Sarah and I "met" through twitter and facebook and her blog (though I found her twitter and fb first). Something that I discovered quite quickly was that we both share a love of theatre, along with a busted pancreas.

Sarah & I at Lombard street. Let's just say there were juice
boxes consumed after walking up and down that hill.
When my love of theatre led me across the country to San Francisco, I knew Sarah and I had to meet up. :) Sarah was, of course, completely wonderful. She took me and my best friend around to sight see for a while, we went out to a great place for lunch, and then she joined us in our personal brand of crazy, which consisted of sitting on the sidewalk for 5 hours waiting on cheap front row tickets to see my favorite show in the world.

Sarah's great suggestion for sea food! So yummy.

The best part? She didn't complain about the waiting. And I'm pretty sure she enjoyed the show. :) And the whole while, we both had low treatments, we both beeped randomly, tested, calculated carbs, and my best friend had lots of fun checking to be sure we were okay. :D
The show that led me to San Francisco and gave
me the chance to meet Sarah!
All of you who were blessed to be at Friends for Life this year, I'm still a little jealous. But I wouldn't have traded getting to meet Sarah for anything.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Responsibility is a big word. It is a word that I think many people don't like to hear. But it something we all have, even if we choose not to live up to it. Some responsibility is put on us by society. Some by our families. Some by our friends. And sometimes responsibility is something that we put on ourselves.

I started this blog over 5 years ago. Blogging was something I did for myself. I needed it. Blogging, for me, was therapy. It was a way to have a diabetes support group. It was a way to have a therapist sitting in a high backed leather chair with his notebook while I talked. Did you guys know you were my therapists? You were. You are.

After a while I realized that blogging was more than therapy for myself. I realized it was therapy for others living with diabetes as well. If my reading YOUR blog is therapy for me....wouldn't you reading MY blog be therapy for YOU? Okay, I know that's not always how it works, but the premise is there. Basically, we are a community of people who are hear to help each other. To listen, to support, to be a voice for each other.

We all know the lack of mental health care that goes on with diabetes. Doctors address our physical health, but all too often over look our mental health. For me, and I know for many of you, that is where the D-OC comes in.

I know we all have our "thing" when it comes to blogging. Some of us are more inclined to write about news relating to diabetes. Some of us write about being parents or caregivers to someone with diabetes. Some of us are more concerned with diabetes research or technology. Just like in real life, we all have our areas of comfort and expertise.

For me, it is about letting people living with diabetes and caring for those with diabetes know that they aren't living this life by themselves. There are so many others out there going through the same things. It's part of the reason I started the Your Voice project. And while it may have slacked off after a while, I still believe in Your Voice and I believe in what this community is doing online and offline.

Cherise and DSMA and Blue Fridays

Kim and You Can Do This

Karen and Diabetes Blog Week

LeeAnn and the Diabetes Postcard Exchange

And I know there are many others out there that I'm forgetting. Great projects and ideas. But what do all these things have in common? They are about helping people find support and understanding. They are about people making connections online and in the real world. It's about filling in the gaps.

At some point in my blogging "career" (can I call it that? It feels like one) I could have stopped. There are even times now where I just want to throw in the towel and walk away. There are times that I don't want to deal with diabetes at all, let alone write about it in my free time.

But that's where I feel responsible. I feel responsible to the people who read my blog (however many there are of you). I feel responsible to the newly diagnosed person (or parent) who googles "diabetes" and manages to run across my blog. Six years ago I felt completely alone with my diabetes. I feel responsible to make sure the no one with internet access and a search engine ever as to feel that way again.

Sure I want doctors and other medical professionals to address the mental health needs of people living with diabetes. But until that becomes a priority in their world, I feel it's the responsibility of the Diabetes Online Community to fill in the gaps the best we can.

We are our own support group. We are our own advocates. We are our own health care provider. But we're also each others'.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Stingers and Creepers

I very rarely get a bad infusion site. I'm pretty lucky like that. I don't know why. I do often get what I call "stingers." To me a stinger is a site that stings like CRAZY when you insert it. Sometimes the stinging can last for a while. Sometimes a bolus can hurt when there's a stinger.

With me, a stinger usually goes away by the first day, so I try to stick it out. A little over a week ago, I got blessed with a stinger. I stuck it out and by the end of the first day, it wasn't hurting anymore.
Day two was okay. No pain and no real fluctuations in blood sugars, so you think everything is fine.

I ate a late dinner on night two, so I expected my blood sugar to rise in the night. It always happens to me if I eat after 8 p.m. Probably because I should have a different insulin to carb ratio at that time, but I refuse to change it because I live alone and I feel lows in the night WAY more than I fear highs in the night.

My CGMS went off several times in the night. I gave insulin every time. And I woke up over 200. It was a busy morning for me as I was having a yard sale that day, so I tested, bolused correctly and got busy. Within a few hours I realized I wasn't feeling the best in the world and tested again and was nearly 400.

Since I was due to change my site sometime that day, I thought I'd probably better go ahead and do it, even though I was busy. Cause I knew that with blood sugar levels that high I was probably going to need a new site just to take the massive amounts of insulin.

I didn't have any clue that I had a bad site until I pulled it out. And under the sticky on my infusion site was a knot under my skin. It was small, but it was a knot and it HURT. High blood sugar culprit found.

Was it a result of my stinger site? Who knows. That knot was there for about 3 days after I removed the infusion site. I don't truly know what caused it, and if I ripped out every single stinger I had, I'd be taking them out more often than I'd like to admit. Could it have been a fluke? Did I bump my infusion site and don't remember? Did I have a "bungee pump" that yanked ad caused it? Was it something that I could have stopped?

Probably not. There was no physical pain after that initial pain the first day. Apparently this bad site was a "creeper." You know the kind. The ones that give virtually no symptoms.

Such is life.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Guest Post - Diabetes is No Picnic

Yet again, I've come up on a major writer's block. And yet again my friend Sherry has sent over a guest post. Sherry, you are not only one of the sweetest, most sincere people I know, you're also a lifesaver when it comes to my blog. :)

Sherry's other posts can be found on the Your Voice page. Want to submit a post as well? Click HERE for instructions.

It was like any other summer day in the park. Except it was hot! We questioned our sanity at coming out on a day like that but we were already sweaty, so why not just stay a while?

There were 7 of us. Young, healthy looking, active---amid the blankets and picnic lunches and toys that one would play with in a park. We don't know each other well, or hang out together; all we have in common is this group--yet we share the deepest of bonds.

After some general tomfoolery and gadding about, we all sat down to eat together. Nothing unusual about 7 friends sitting about on blankets, opening lunches and gabbing about life in general. We looked just like the rest of the folks in the park that day. Except for one thing.

As lunch began, we all pulled out blood sugar meters, test strips, insulin pumps and syringes. Several minutes of poking, testing, bolusing, counting carbs, injecting, etc. followed. After all the medical hoopla, lunch went on as normal for anyone else. We even went through the list of new restaurants in town, deciding together which ones were the best!

This was one of those 'wow' moments that sneak up and shock me so much. You see, all 7 of us had juvenile diabetes. Four of us were diagnosed as children, two as adults and our 23 year old newcomer was only diagnosed a few months ago. This was our monthly get together--a tradition for the last couple of years since we found each other on the internet and discovered that we lived close enough for some face to face fellowship. Our leader and founder had lived with the disease since childhood was lonesome for the support and fellowship she had had as a child with diabetes. Since she had grown up, there wasn't the fellowship anymore. Adults with type 1? That sounds like a paradox. It was..... only several decades ago. Type 1 diabetes was rapidly fatal in our grandmother's day and age, but it isn't anymore!

Anyhow, since it was way too hot to play, we spent our meeting lying about on blankets and chatting. JDRF has a new publication for adults with type 1 which discusses situations unique to us. We shared with each other how diabetes affected our relationships with friends, our jobs, our marriages and our general lives. We spent time ranting about how type 1 is totally butchered by the media, making our lives much more difficult. We shared about how dating is affected- how one girl had had a date read her medic alert bracelet right on her arm on the first date!- and how the guy never came back again. We praised our boyfriends, husbands, mothers and fathers for sticking with us through all the highs and lows and juice stained clothing. Some of us wondered if we would ever be able to have children, or fly an airplane, or make it through grad school alive. One of us worried out loud about getting a severe cut on her leg and not even feeling it when it happened. Another of us was frustrated at the huge medical bill acquired for dehydration due to an innocent little stomach bug. One of our youngest members had just been diagnosed with bleeding in the eye. We wondered about our bodies being ravaged in places we couldn't even see. We talked about losing our eyesight, amputating our limbs and worried that we would someday very soon not be able to get the insulin we need to survive because of the new healthcare reforms. Would the politicians decide we weren't worth the cost of the supplies we need to live? We talked about the fact that none of us would survive this disease.....that in one way or another, this disease would be the major cause of our death. There we were, 7 people not even middle aged, sitting in the park on a sunny Sunday afternoon, having a conversation like that.

As the conversation died down, one by one we fell silent. Unusual for this chattery group. We just looked at each other, out of things to say. We all looked up when we became aware of childish sounding music wafting on the breeze from an ice cream truck. How ironic, I thought. After the conversation we had just had, why should we have to listen to an ice cream truck? None of us could even eat the stupid stuff without major hassles.

We decided that, although diabetes is no picnic in the park, we were just going to lift our heads high and live life to the fullest. We weren't going to miss a single thing we wanted to do!! We weren't going to let this disease steal our lives. We were going to live out the motto of our leader: helping others to live to their healthiest potential. So bring on the ice cream truck....we can handle it! We may even eat some of it! Ha

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Friendly Side of Flying

As you may know, flying with diabetes can be a flat out pain in the rear. Not only do you have to deal with the "normal" part of flying (3 oz containers, no shoes, carry-on size luggage, etc), when you throw diabetes into the mix you run into rules and regulations and technology issues many times.

I treat my lows with juice boxes most of the time. Since even a small juice box is over the 3 ounce size limit for flying, it can be an issue at security. Most of the time I only have to mention that I am a Type 1 diabetic, but I have had them argue with me before. So I've started taking the print off from the TSA website that states that I can take juice, just in case.

Also, Nashville airport (which I nearly always fly out of) has nothing but full-body scanners anymore. For most people, this isn't an issue. For me, it requires extra steps. According to my insulin pump and CGMS manufacturer, full-body scanners are a no-no. This means requesting a full pat down of myself and a swabbing of my hands and insulin pump for explosives. I travel enough that I'm used to it by now, but I also have had times when I've had to argue with TSA agents in order to get the pat down. Due to that, I now have a print-off from the website of my insulin pump company that states that I cannot go through the full-body scanners. You know, just in case.

A couple of weeks ago, I took a trip out of town and packed up my diabetes supplies, my print outs, and explained to my travel companion that two hours early to the airport was pretty important to me, due to the issues that I often face when dealing with airport security and TSA.

We were running late that day (completely my fault, not hers) and pushing time close for our flight. I tried to place myself in the shortest possible line, knowing that I was going to have to wait on a female TSA agent to do the pat down. I was blessed. I asked to opt out due to medical equipment and the guy never even batted an eye. He directed me to the metal detector and almost immediately there was a female TSA agent waiting to get my items (they won't let you touch them until after they're done with the pat down) and direct me to the glass box.

I started to explain about my medical equipment to the agent and she basically reached down and showed me her insulin pump....exactly like mine. Turns out she was wearing the same pump and CGMS that I was. We chatted while she did the pat down and talked about things like infusion sites and CGMS sites and meeting people with diabetes. It was quick, nice, and I LOVED not having to explain myself to the TSA agent.

I handed her a card with my blog address on it, so she may in fact be reading this post. If so, THANK YOU! You were wonderful and helped make that particular experience with TSA and airport security much friendlier.

That was the friendly side of flying. I can only hope I'm lucky enough to get her again when I fly (which I'll be doing a lot of in the next couple of months). Either way, it was a fun experience.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

D Blog Week: Diabetes Hero

Our last day of Diabetes Blog Week! Thanks again to my great friend Karen at Bitter-Sweet Diabetes for organizing this wonderful event, yet again.

Let’s end our week on a high note and blog about our “Diabetes Hero”. It can be anyone you’d like to recognize or admire, someone you know personally or not, someone with diabetes or maybe a Type 3. It might be a fabulous endo or CDE. It could be a d-celebrity or role-model. It could be another DOC member. It’s up to you – who is your Diabetes Hero??

You know, there are so many diabetes heroes out there. There are the people who are LIVING with diabetes every day, the people who work in the healthcare field (and give it their all) to help care for people living with diabetes. There are are people who work tirelessly to find a cure for diabetes and to promote technology in the meantime.

But I think my heroes are the Type 3s. The people who LOVE those of us with diabetes. The parents, the children, the significant others, the friends, co-workers. The people who put up with our mood swings, and bad days, and health emergencies. They are the ones who don't HAVE to deal with diabetes, but do so anyway.

I'm thankful for my D-OC, who is there for me when I need mental and emotional support. But I'm truly thankful for my friends and family that I'm around every day. The ones who worry and pray for me. When my co-worker calls me when I'm running late for work, just to make sure I'm okay. That's a hero. When my mom listens to me rant about crazy blood sugar days (and I KNOW she prays for me all the time). That's a hero. When my best friend promises me we'll get to the airport two hours early, to make sure I get through security okay. That's a hero.

I'm thankful and blessed to have the D-OC. But I'm also thankful and blessed to have the Type 3s in my life. I hope they all realize how much I appreciate them and love them.

Remember to check out all the other great posts about today's topic by clicking HERE.