Monday, April 7, 2014


How much information is too much information when it comes to disclosing your type-1 status in the workplace?  Typically, I haven’t gone out of my way to bring it up, however, it becomes pretty obvious when I bust out the pump to bolus for a coffee break or lunch at work, especially if its during a meeting with food provided.  Usually, people will say, “what is that?! Do you still use a pager? Are you a doctor?”  But, then they’ll notice that the “pager” is attached to me somewhere, and then give a questioning look.  I always just say, “Oh, I have type 1 diabetes, and I need to adjust my insulin levels when I eat…” and leave it at that.  People have so many different health needs and dietary requirements today that it’s really not big deal.

When I was applying to grad school, I interviewed with the director of a Health Care Administration program.  I attended a class as a guest student, and then went to dinner with him and another student to discuss the program.  Obviously, I wanted to make a good impression, so I had dressed nicely in a skirt and jacket combo, with no pockets.  I had to clip my pump to my bra, since there was no other option.  As we sit down and order our food, without even thinking twice, I reached down my shirt, unclipped the pump from my bra, snaked it up through the neck of my top, and bolused for the food I had ordered.  Then I looked up and saw them both looking at me strangely from across the table. Oh God, I thought.  I probably should have excused myself and went to the bathroom instead of burrowing down the front of my shirt… but it was too late for that.  So after three seconds of embarrassment, I just explained what I was doing and it that is was second nature for me to reach for the pump, and that I hope I hadn't made them feel weird.  They were both totally fine about and the night went on.  Oh, and I eventually got accepted to the program, so again, my faux pas that night wasn't really a huge issue.

So why is this subject of my blog post today?  I’ll be graduating with a degree in Health Systems Management in June, and my career passion stems from my personal experience with diabetes.  I am really interested in methods to improve care delivery design for those with chronic diseases, and population health, and disease management are areas in which I want to pursue careers in.  I’ll be interviewing a lot in the next few months (hopefully) and I’m concerned about striking the right note in the interviews as to why I’m so passionate about my career choice, while at the same time not looking like I’m seeking sympathy, or trying to get special treatment.  I also just don’t know if its appropriate to bring up in job interviews.  I know no employers can discriminate on the basis of a medical condition, and it is related to my choice of education and career, but it feels like one of those “don’t go there” categories…

Would love to hear other's thoughts on this!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Home stretch!

This is what happens when you go to grad school. You don’t write a blog post for almost two years because once you’re done with reading and writing for school, sitting in front of the computer to write anything more (even a fun blog post) loses its appeal.

I’m in my last quarter of grad school and now that I’m in the home stretch, I should be able to eke out a few posts over the next 10 weeks. I have not abandoned you, dear blog! I have learned so much in the past year: grad school experiences, managing diabetes while living in one of the most awesome-foodie cities, meeting new people and making new friends and connections. There is so much I want to share and discuss and I will not let school work or job searching get in my way! (Can you hear the senioritis?!)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Scary Equipment Malfunction

This Wednesday was wicked scary for me.  Yes, the Boston accent is coming out on this one.  It was wicked. scary.  I've been on the pump for 10 months now and had not experienced anything like this before now.  A combination of things led me to skip checking my BG and dinner and before bed, with pretty bad results.

Tuesday night I got distracted while making dinner and did not check my BG before eating.   I also think I wasn't so focused on testing because I was making salmon and green veggies, a meal which usually has negligible carbs in it.   So, add the distraction and low carb meal, and yo have the fact that I didn't test before dinner.  I ate dinner, bolused and at some point later in the evening, fell asleep on the couch and then stumbled into bed in the dark.  Thus, not testing before bed either. I'm not usually so lax, but hey, these things happen once and a while.

Wednesday morning: wake up really really tired.  I can't get out of bed.  Hubs has to bring me coffee while I'm still in bed.  I think to myself that this is kinda unusual.  Every since I've been on the pump this really tired morning thing has all but disappeared.  I test my BG and its 329.  Not the worst ever, but pretty high.

That's really weird I think, remembering that I had such a carb conscious dinner the night before.  But, I bolus the correction dose and head down to our office to start reading and prepping for a mock interview I had to do that day.

Half an hour after getting out of bed and correcting with a bolus I  start feeling increasingly nauseous.  Eventually its so bad I run to the bathroom and throw up.  This kind of freaks me out.  I check keytones and sure enough, they are there- but moderate- so that makes me feel a bit better.  (mentally better, not physically)

After throwing up, the nausea is relieved but I feel even worse in other ways.  I forget the reading and interview prep I have to do and lay on the couch for an hour drinking water and willing my BG to do down. I test after an hour, and its 317!  WTH?!

I bolus again and start freaking out a bit because I feel absolutely terrible now.  I feel like I got the bird flu, and got it super fast.  I felt shaky, like I had the chills, and absolutely exhausted...  I test again after an hour and my BG is STILL in the 300s.  I decided to change my site and discover that the cannula I had inserted with the last site change was bent at at 45 degree angle at the end, and probably no insulin was coming out for 12-18 hrs.

Maybe it sounds like I'm being over dramatic, but this episode really scared me.  I have never been sick from high BG like that before.  I guess on the positive side, that might mean that my BG has been in pretty good control recently, but I still never want to experience that again.  It was such a disruptive start to the day and so upsetting because I had an interview to prep for and I can't stand letting D interfere with my life.

Luckily after I changed my site, my BG came down out of orbit. I did the interview and will let you know how I did when I get feedback, but I felt like I was battling the flu for the rest of the day. 

Lesson learned from this experience: do not skip your BG tests.  Realistically, there will be times when i don't test, but I will try my best never to skip two in a row (especially when one of those is before bed) again.  Phew.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Back to...

I'm back everyone!  I know the DOC wasn't quite the same without me this summer, was it?

The last half of summer was truly a whirlwind for me.  I went to Ireland, moved our furniture to Chicago, went back to VT for a "work-cation" to finish building the barn, officially moved (via road trip!) to Chicago and started grad school.

A fun, but at times, trying summer. And one that didn't leave much time for D-management. Rather than dwell on that though, I'm focusing on the quarter ahead, and my new resolve to live healthier.

As part of my back to school program, I walk to school and bring my lunch.  And, yes, I have a new lunchbox and backpack to make these things easier.

After a summer of grab what you can on the road style eating, I'm now eating a lot more fresh fruits and veggies.  One of the great things (there are a lot of great things, but I'll save that for another post) about my grad program is that I'll be learning and working in a medical center. This particular one really encourages health eating, exercise and general health promtion, so I'm happy to be in such a supportive environment.  I've started wearing my CGM again, too.

Two weeks down, and so far so good. This quarter is going to be really busy so I'm focusing on one (healthy) day at a time.

Its good to be back to school and in a routine that makes it easier to live a health D life.
A good start to our healther living focus
Visiting THE ORIGINAL McDonalds in Illinois, and not getting anything to eat!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Requesting Travel Advice

I'm headed to Ireland for a family vacation next week.  Cannot wait!  Got my new box of supplies from Medtronic so I'll have more than enough packed in my suitcase, carryon and handbag.  And, after a bunch of hoops and red tape- I can now get three vials of Novolog at a time instead of one.  So much easier to deal with.

I have not traveled more than 1-2 hr time difference away since I got my pump in Nov.  This will be my first trip 5+ hrs ahead.  So, I have lots of questions:

1) Just read on medtronics fb page that I am not supposed to wear the pump in the aiport body scanner?  I've gone through it several times before with my pump on.  Is this really true?  Do I have to opt-out and get felt up? I'd rather not.  Can I put my pump in the basket and send it through the x ray thingie?

2)  Dealing with time zone changes- How do you guys adjust your basal rates? Do you just change the time on the pump? Will it automatically skip to the correct basal rate that i have set up for that particular time.  (If my rate changes at 7 am, and I am on the plane on 2 am american time, then set the pump to 7 am Irish time, will the new basal rate start then?)

3) CGMs- do you guys travel with yours? I wore mine when we went on a ski vacation because we were doing alot of snowboarding and physical activity, so I didn't want to go low and not know it.  But, then I misplaced it in the hotel and had a panic attack tearing the room apart looking for it an thinking about how I didn't want (meaning couldn'") to pay $8000 to get another one.  Ideas on if its worth taking the CGM along?

Thanks all for the advice.  I'll try to figure out how to bolus for the beer and chips on my own.  ;)

Taking time

Today I'm taking time to breathe.  To relax.  To catch up on blogging.  To review my BGs from the last few weeks.  To snuggle with hubs.  To get excited about our trip to Ireland next weeek! To celebrate accomplishments, both big and small.

Although I feel like making a list of all the things I am so busy with is cheesy, probably uninteresting to those of you who stumble across my blog, and screams, "I secretly need acknowledgement of how cool/amazing I am with all the things I'm doing?" I'm gonna list anyway.  I'll try not to use bullet points thought :-)

I just finished my two pre-req classes for my grad program in the fall.  6 week crash courses of all things financial accounting and statistical.  Got two A's. WhAAAaat? (read in Shawn Spencer voice from Psych.)  It feels really good to have that item crossed off the to-do list.  All I have left is a recommended class is microeconomics. Yeah, thats all.

We *think* we have found an apartment in Chicago after a loooong search.  Its beautiful (well, I think it is, but I have only seen it through hubs iphone since I've been at school every day) and within walking distance from school and work.  Score on exercise that won't seem like exercise but still counts toward lowering my BGs!

We are going to Ireland next week for a much needed vacation.  I love it there.  I've been very fortunate- this will be my fifth trip there! I studied abroad in Galway during college and can't wait to go back and see how things are, and to take dh on a trip down my memory lane. He'll love it, I'm sure.

Our barn is almost done in VT.  The garage/barn style doors will be installed next Tuesday and that means its one step closer to being complete. I can't wait for my girl-cave (?) to be ready.

My BGs have finally come down after being really high over the last few weeks.  I know the combo of studying, driving 25+ miles to class and back every day, and poor food choices really did a number (hah!) on them so I'm glad that I've been able to make a few postiive changes this week in that regard.

It is so nice to take time out and appreciate all that is good with life.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Ever forget to take the little blue protector off the cannula/needle in your infusion inserter?  If you do:

1) It hurts
2) If it coincides with trying a new infusion site for the first time, like your thigh, you might not realize it and think the pain is due to the use of a new site
3) you will wake up with a bg of 358 and a huge painful indent in your leg

After wearing for approximately 12 hours and receiving no insulin whatsoever.  Doh!