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!

Rage Against the Machine

You ruined my beautiful blood sugar you d*mnned CGM!

It was a beautiful day in Vermont.  Temps in the low 80s, perfect blue sky dotted with fluffy white clouds, dappled sunlight shining through the trees...

picture courtesy of Burlington Hostel

I was mowing the lawn; a job I actually don't mind since it appeals to my need for immediate gratification every once in a while.  We have a huge, uneven, hilly lawn so this little chore usually takes me about 4-5 hrs.  We only go up to VT on the weekends, and by then the grass is knee-high and the weeds are out of control. But, I was enjoying being outside, and knew that I would have a good BG reading pre-dinner because of all the mowing, raking, wheelbarrowing and weed-wacking.

After yard duty, hubs and I decided to grill dinner.  We had a delish summery dinner- lamb chops for him, and fresh corn, grilled zucchini, pasta (Dreamfields) salad and grilled pineapple for dessert.  Heaven for a veggie like me!  May sound a  bit high carb, but suprisingly, corn on the cob isn't too bad on my BG  readings.  I bolused 5.3 units for this meal and my pre-meal bg was 66 (a tiny bit low due to all the exercise, but not bad.)

Two hours after dinner I heard the dreaded "your bg's low" tone coming from my pump.  It's really amazing how four little beeps can inspire so much fury!!

 The ensuing disaster is the problem I've been having recently, trying to figure out how to utilize the CGM in the best way with out driving myself or husband crazy.  Any hints/suggestions/advice/commiseration is appreciated!

I looked at the screen.  Beautiful straightish line hovering between 66-82-70.  Ahh perfect combo of exercise, insulin and food.  However, my CGM is set to go off as "getting low" at any BG 70 or under.  I'm hesitant to mess with that setting because I know the CGM isn't 100% accurate and when it says 70 it may actually be 45.  So,  I checked my bg with the meter. Actually 70. Wow.  Very accurate.  Now what do I do? I sit through another half hour or so of beeping every 5 mins and test my bg a few more times 68 was the lowest.  Ok, I thought, I'll eat 5 chocolate covered almonds to raise the bg a few units- anything around 80 or 90 will stop the CGM from going off all night. Test half an hour later: 70.  Ugh, how come I can't raise my bg when I want to, when I don't want to, its always 200+...?  Beeping continues...Blood sugar not rising, but temper is!!  Check the meter and see I have 1.1 units active insulin left.  Ok, maybe that's why bg is not going up.  I decide to eat a Nonni's biscotti 14g of carbs. My ratio at night is 1:10 so I thought- perfect amt of carbs to override the 1.1 units and boost my bg a little? Right?  Am I making sense or do I completely not know how to calculate I:C ratio?

I decide I can go to bed now and I really really want to because I am tired after all that mowing.  I go to bed and fall immediately asleep.  I fall so soundly asleep as a matter of fact, that I don't hear the doo-doo-doo-doos until the meter starts vibrating, lighting up and shrieking like a police siren.  Ahhh!  Test BG again.  140.  CGM still saying low.  Calibrate you damn thing!  I calibrate it and go back to sleep, totally exhausted.  I must have slept for maybe 3 hours when I hear those f'ing doo-doo-doo-doos going off again, but now in the annoying "your bg's high!" tone.  Oh my god. I can't take it.  Why are you messing with me? Bolus.  Sleep. Beep. Bolus.  Wake up in a very bad mood.  Test BG 109. CGM says 170.  CGM, I. hate. you. right. now. 

Hubs nicely asks about my opinion on concrete floors.  (We are looking for a new apartment and that is an option in one apparently.)  "Concrete floors!?!"  I practically yell.  "What are you talking about? You drive me crazy!  This damn things been going off all night and I've had 3 hours of sleep!  Why are you talking about concrete floors?!"  Hubs nicely asks if I am ready for my coffee now. 

Finally, after coffee when I am feeling more reasonable, I apologize to hubs, and to CGM.  I know the CGM is only doing its best and trying to help me, but I am getting sick of these interrupted nights.  Can anyone else relate to this?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

School Daze

I am starting grad school in Health Systems Management in the fall (ideal career is nebulously defined as trying to do something to improve diabetes care and I hope I'll be able to get some clarity on that as I start my program.)

The program requires two pre-reqs and strongly recommends a third, so for the last six weeks I have been doing nothing but studying, taking exams and reading.  These classes are accelerated classes during the summer, so they will be over soon (thank god) but it's been a lot, cause did I mention these three classes are microeconomics, accounting and statistics? Oh, yeah.  F-u-N!

I was not a diabetic in college, didn't get the 'betes until I was 25..  (Which is a very good thing, considering my typical college weekend consisted of beer, pizza, waffles, beer, jungle juice, beer, pizza, bread sticks, beer, Gatorade, cereal and Gatorade.)  

I really had no idea what going back to school was going to be like, diabetes-management-wise.  Funnily enough, its easy to go right back to those eating habits I just described...with maybe not quite so much beer.... I've been in class so much that food shopping for fresh healthy food has gone by the wayside, and bagels, pizza, and big macs-with-no-meat are my new besties.  Not ideal, I know.

Last week, I had lunch with a friend near my school. We had sushi, which is definitely on the I list of "I love carbs but they don't love me" foods, but I eat it every once and a while and (thought) I had worked out a decent bolus.  For me, its actually one unit for every piece of sushi.  We ordered three rolls to split and had some edamame.  I bolused 9 units and only ate 7 pieces, so I thought I was good.  On the way to school, I must have immediately been feeling the carb-high-sluggish-brain coming on, because I wanted coffee but for some reason, ordered a cappuccino (way more carbs than I needed/wanted =high bg brain fog?) so 2 more units for that.

Now onto the homework and studying in the library before class.  Two hours of reading and homework later, I realized, I had not retained A (not one) thing. Fast forward to the next day, when I got the grade on the homework I turned in.  Not even half the questions right (Luckily, I've been doing well on all the other assignments.)  Ugh.  Its easy looking back, with a reasonable blood sugar brain, to see that I should have checked my bg sooner, and corrected it.  But when you're in the throes of high-blood-sugar-blood-is-as-thick-as molasses-and-is-clogging-my brain its not even easy to make the decision to test.  So lesson learned.  And, re-learned, as far as my homework goes. 

This is a normal brain...axon and dendride firing signals... you remember biology...making the brain work. (Picture courtesy of

This is a brain after sushi (or other high carb food is consumed) axon and dendrite clearly unable to function normally.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Freaky Tuesday

Yesterday was my birthday.  I had a great day that started with coffee and presents in bed.  Ahhh.  Promoting my happiness.  (side note: I went to dinner a few months ago a new restaurant, and at the end the waiter asked me if there was anything else he could do to "promote my happiness."  I decided that this phrase needed to be included in my life at least once a day from that point forward.)

Then my meter beeped to tell me my reservoir was low.   (Ok, to be truthful it beeped the night before but I didn't feel like to changing it so I checked to see how many hours of insulin I had left.  Omg, 19 hours!  I'm only gonna sleep for about 7, I don't need to change it now! I rationalized...)  And, luckily, I have always drank (drunken? drinked?) black coffee with one splenda so I don't have to worry about bolusing for coffee in the morning.  But...eventually.... I had to get out of my wonderfully warm and comfy presents-covered bed and change my reservoir. 

I don't know why I said this, as I wasn't really in a morbid mood, but I sighed, "Gotta get up and change this thing so I can live another day."

Later, after lunch and cupcakes! on the roof deck I had class from 6-9 pm (brutal!) Its 20+ miles from my house, and knowing greater Boston traffic, I leave 2 hours early just in case.  Traffic was actually light, so I had an hour to kill before class. I decided to take a walk in a huge cemetery that's on the way to class.   It was a nice day, the cemetery is nicely landscaped and  is not at all freaky...

Well, that is, not at all freaky until this:

Two headstones next to each other: one with my  name, one with my husand's name.


Who am I Ebeneezer Scrooge 
with the Ghost of Taking-a-risk-by-not-refilling-your-reservoir-when-you-got-the-warning Future? 

And on my birthday? Man!

(Other than this freaky episode, I really did have a wonderful birthday)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Diabetic Manual

Right now, I am supposed to be studying for my exam tonight.  What am I doing instead?  Procrastinating big time by reading the "Diabetic Manual: Tenth Edition" written by Dr. Elliot Joslin in 1959.

I found this at an antique store in Maine last summer and have been meaning to read it but haven't got around to it until now, when I'm supposed to study :-)  I'm interested to see what kind of advice was given to PWD in 1959.  I'll be sure to post some good tidbits as I get to them.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Saturday (err Wednesday) Snapshot

I meant to post this on Saturday but got a bit busy so here I am.  I call this masterpiece

"Still Life with Diabetes"

Here is a pic of my two kits.  The blue one is my everyday meter, finger sticker, test strips, lancets, alcohol wipes kit.  Those black bags they give you with your kit are so boring, in my opinion.  The other one is my CGM/backup kit with everything I need to change my infusion or sensor.  I always want something bright and cheerful to keep all my supplies in...and will shamelessly use D as an excuse to buy handbags.

Friday, May 18, 2012

What They Should Know

Diabetes Blog Week Day 5

Diabetes is relentless.  That is what I'd like others to know.  It never stops.  It is not the kind of chronic disease for which you can take a pill in the morning for and forget for the rest of the day.  A PWD can't forget it even for a minute.  I could be fine one minute, and literally sweating, shaking and having a low the next.  It may look like I only deal with my diabetes at meal time- you might see me with my meter or putting numbers into my pump.  But, I am actually dealing with it ALL the time.  Everything must be planned- what I eat, when I eat, where I'm going, what I'm bring with me.

A perfect example of this is the time Hubs and I went away for a long weekend a few years ago.  I was pretty new to diabetes- probably had it for less than 2 years and I was on the flex pens for insulin. We were with a group of friends and had beautiful weather and a great day planned: watching a daffodil day parade, cycling out a picnic area for lunch and then having a big group dinner at a local restaurant.  My DH (dear husband) got us bikes and was excited and ready to go.

Before we could even leave I remember asking him a hundred questions: Where are we going? How long is the ride? Who is bringing the picnic? What kind of food did they make? Should I bring my own food?  Is it too hot to keep my insulin in the bike basket?  What time is dinner? Are we cycling back? Where is the restaurant?  Do I have enough snacks in case I go low? Are there any stores on route in case I need anything?...   DH was very understanding, but I could tell he was surprised at the number and almost-frantic nature of my questions.  I remember being close to tears because I felt so overwhelmed at managing the kind of day that is supposed to fun, spontaneous and relaxing.  In the end, we had a pretty good day.  We talked about all my questions and got stuff figured out but we were late getting to the picnic and I admit I felt a bit embarassed at my break down.

That experience shows the relentlessness of diabetes.  What would be a fun easy day for most people left me in a cold sweat trying to think about manging exericse, picnics and dinner in a restaurant.  I wish people could see and appreciate the constant planning, worry and  thought process and guilt trips that we go through just to do regular every day things.   As soon as I figured out that day on our long weekend trip, I had to get up and start it all over again the next morning....

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Fantasy Diabetes Device

Diabetes Blog Week Day 4

So far (fingers crossed/knocking on wood) I really don't mind the infusion set changes or wearing the sensor.  Sure my pump line usually ends up wrapped around my waist at night when I'm sleeping, and having two sites on my body at all times isn't ideal, but I can live with those things.

My fantasy device would be an app for smart phones that immediately and accurately counted the number of carbs in any and every meal.  You know how you can scan one of those bar code box thingies with your iPhone to go to a website or get more info? I would have the same technology look at the food I was about to eat and tell me precisely how many carbs were inside.  The app would take everything into account: condiments, sauces, garnishes etc. No more wondering about serving size, or asking yourself, Is this baseball sized or the size of my palm? the size of my husbands palm?  Does the restaurant consider this to me a S, M, or Large?  All those frustrating ambiguities would vanish and you woud have your carb count with the touch of a button.  Imagine eating pad thai, sushi, pastsa dishes with all kinds of veggies, salads with a hundred ingredients, casseroles... with no worries... and no nasty blood sugar effects... Ahhhhh.....Can someone invent this now please?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

One Thing to Improve

Diabetes Blog Week Day Three

I am cheating with this post.  I need to improve my A1C.  I know, not an original idea.  But still my goal.   I was expecting it to drop significantly when I went on th pump (after all I did my online research and found that this happened to so many people, it had to happen to me, right?) Yeah, no.  Mine actually went up by .2 pts.  I don't really feel like saying the exact number but lets just say that you take the year I was 4 years old, remove the 19 from the front of it, and put a decimal in between the remaining two numbers.

I know I'm cheating with this one- if I want to improve my A1C I'll have to improve my carb counting, frequency of testing, and looking at trends from my CGM...  But, that's my focus for the next three months.   I'd like to get the A1C to the year I was -2 years old, if possible.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

One Great Thing

Diabetes Blog Week- Day 2

For me, there is only one thing I am really great at with my diabetes.  And, I'm not being a downer.  I am good at testing, but not great.  I usually don't test before I go to bed and that's something I am working on improving. I'm good at carb counting, but not great. I  could look things up  more rather than guessing.

But... I am always great at managing my supplies.  We travel a lot.  My husband and I are renovating a mid-century (and I don't mean mid-century chic, either!) ski house in VT in our "spare time."  So we are always in the car driving to and from.  We also travel to visit our family who are located all across the country and we enjoy traveling for fun when we can.

All this on-the-go means I have to be ready with back up supplies in each house/location which is tricky because of insurance/supply regulations.  I wish I could order duplicate orders of supplies but I'm sure as many of you experience, I encounter "I'm sorry, your prescription cannot be refilled for another 3 days due to the insurance company's schedule of when a refill is appropriate.  Oh, you are going to VT and won't be home for four days?  I'm sorry your prescription cannot be refilled for another 3 days due to the insurance company's schedule of when a refill is appropriate.  Oh, your small town in VT doesn't have a CVS where you could refill this on the appropriate day?  I'm sorry..."You get get the idea.

So, despite all of that, I have *knock on wood* never run out of any of my supplies (insulin, infusion sets, sensors, inserter, back up flex pen, glucagon, no matter where I am, and I'm proud of that.  This makes me feel like I am in control of my d-life, and not the other way around.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Find A Friend

Today is the first day of the Third Annual Diabetes Blog Week.

I just started my blog three weeks ago.  It took me a looooong time to work up the nerve to "put myself out there."  I knew I wanted to share my story, and hopefully meet others that could relate to me, but I kept questioning if I should really do it.  What if some creep starts creeping around on my page? How much info is TMI?  What if my blog comes back to haunt me when I run for public office someday (I have NO desire to run for public office, so I'm not sure why that doubt kept coming up.)

I finally started my blog, and lo and behold, I discovered the timing was right.  After just three weeks writing a blog, I could participate in the Third Annual Diabetes Blog Week.  I knew I had made the right decision to create a blog the minute I saw this, and saw all the wonderful new writers and blogs I could check out.

As far as introducing you to a new blog, I really don't have any outside all the ones participating in this blog week since I'm so new to this world. But I would like to give a shout out to Shannon of An American in Dublin because she was the first person to post a comment on my blog!  I felt so great that someone "out there' in internet-land actually read one of my posts and I felt really encouraged.  So, thanks Shannon for my being my first connection (and friend, I hope!) from the DOC, and I hope I get to know many more of you in the future!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Oh what a night

Last night was one of those nights...

I have been on the pump for about 6 months now and since starting it, have gained almost 10 lbs.  I know my eating habits haven't changed drastically but nevertheless I seem to be packing on the pounds.  (Absorbing food better? Unwittingly eating more because of ease of boluses? who knows?)  I really noticed it last weekend when I went to a formal gala fundraiser and barely fit into a dress that was a little big on me last August.  Ugh.  Finding out clothes you haven't worn in a while will not fit unless you have Spanx on up to your armpits is the worst!  It finally hit home with me that I needed to do something about this weight gain.  Spanx can only do so much.  Ugh again. As if I didn't have enough to worry about.

I should also mention that I'm a vegetarian and have been since way before I became diabetic.  The struggle for me in being both a veggie and PWD is that without eating meat, it is very difficult for me to cut back on carbs.

But, anyway, I've been trying.  I went to the supermarket on Monday and stocked up on fresh veggies and fruit, and only low-ish carb bread like pumpernickel in hopes of cutting back on the amt of insulin bolus I need to see if that has any effect on my weight.. I've been so good all week.  I've also tried exercising more and started to go on "long runs" Hahahaha.  Long runs for me are 4 miles at the most.  But again, I've been trying.

Last night, I did NOT feel like running, but knew I really should.  It was 7:30 by the time we got out there, so we did a quick run (set a temp basal rate) and ending up eating around 9.   After the run I was in a baaaaaaaaaaadddddd moooood. I felt really frustrated about how much effort I had to put into the evening: running when I didn't feel like it, worrying about my weight, worrying about carbs, setting temp bolus rate, running with the pump, glucose tabs and meter bouncing all over the place, eating later...

I ate my tilapia (concession to D: I have started eating fish) and green beans and tiny half cob of corn in a wicked bad mood and went to bed.  I fell asleep fairly quickly, but after about 3 hours woke up with pains in my feet and hunger! I took some Motrin for the feet (they are not used to these long runs :-)) and tried to fall back asleep only to hear the low warning on my CGM go off.  ARGGGGHHH I am already in a bad mood!  Leave me alone!!! WTH!  I got up again, drank Gatorade and tried to sleep.  Guess the hunger I was feeling was a sign of a low coming on, but I thought I probably was actually hungry.  The CGM went off every hr or so saying I was low, but when I checked with the meter early in the morning, my BG was 227.

I repeat: ARGGGGHHH I am already in a bad mood! Leave me alone!!! WTH!  And why did I bother with that stinking low carb boring ass dinner when I woke up with high BG anyway?!!  ugh. disgust. frustration.  aggravation. As I said, it was one of those nights.

Thankfully, today was a lot better and the thought of the upcoming Diabetes Blog Week has cheered me up.  I got introduced to so many good blogs and its heartening to know that there are so many of us out there that can relate to "one of those nights." 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pump Fashion

I'm sure most of you in the DOC know about these, but in case you don't. makes great skins for every electronic device you can think of: cell phones, laptops etc. and even insulin pumps!  I just got a regular gray color when I ordered my pump, because they didn't have a green option.  When I was talking to the Medtronic rep she suggested I try skinit to see if they had a color I liked.  They have thousands of skins to chose from.  And, you can even upload your own photo to personalize your skin.  I ordered two:
Winter "Sweater"
A sweater pattern for the winter so my pump doesn't get cold.

Summer floral

And a floral pattern for the summer.

They aren't super expensive and are reusable.  Fun!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Pancreatic Cancer Fundraiser

This weekend I participated in an inspiring event called PurpleStride.  PurpleStride is one of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network's fund raising events, with 5K walks and runs all across the country.  I was introduced to this great event last year and this year, was happy to pull together a team of 12 family members and friends to walk in honor of my father who passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2008.  My incredible team raised $1,000!

My mom and I in our team shirts walking in memory of my dad

As a diabetic, I already know my pancreas doesn't function as it normally should, and I have to admit that in the back of my mind I do have a tiny fear of having even more pancreas problems someday.   My dad had type-2 diabetes and I can't help wondering about a connection between the two.  HUGE disclaimer:  I am not a doctor and my thoughts are based solely on my life experience and are not medical fact in any way.

PurpleStride is not only a great event for fundraising and remembering those who have died from the disease; it has practical benefits too.  I started running more to get ready for this event and will try to keep this up as the weather gets better and better.  Strangely enough my BGs were sometimes higher after running but...more to come on that later.

I am so happy that I was able to take part in such an inspiring event: seeing people walking in memory of their loved ones, trying to raise money to fight an incredibly deadly form of cancer, and seeing survivors walk along side us as they recover.  It was especially touching to see one of the nurses who took care of my father walk up to my mom and give her a hug, saying she remembered my dad after all these years.  At times like this my life gets put in perspective, and I realize that I really don't have it that bad. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Mixed Results

In my last post, I mentioned that I'd be going to a family party on Saturday and how hard it was for me to figure out the correct timing and dose of my boluses when "grazing" on party food.  The party was great!  The BG control was- ehhh.   Before the party, I decided to try a square wave bolus for the appetizer part of the meal, and then bolus again for the big meal.  Well, the best laid plans...

When we arrived, most of the food for the meal part was already out, so I did my first meal bolus right away.  Then I gave myself a square wave bolus to cover any additional snacking, and the dessert table. I have trouble gauging the square wave because its so difficult to know how many carbs I'm going to eat over the course of two hours, and I don't really feel like going low at a party and having to deal with the sweating, heart racing, and foggy head, not to mention the fatigue I have afterwards.  So, naturally, I underestimated, and my CGM showed my BG hovering around 220 for a few hours.

When we got home, I decided to have a small salad for dinner and took a normal bolus.

Later that night, after falling asleep for at least an hour, I heard the

For those of you with Medtronic pump and CGM you'll recognize that as the alert tone that your BG is low.  I looked at the CGM and it said 70 with no double arrows, so I figured ehh, I'm not that low...I didn't have any of the low symptoms so I ignored the alert.  Repeat 3 times with the same BG readings (68-70).  Its now 12:45 am and I can't take it anymore so I get up and drink a small glass of orange juice just to be on the safe side and try to fall back asleep.

In the morning I woke up at 8:30 with a BG of 220 from the finger test, while my CGM said 103.  As I said, mixed results.  Things I re-learned just from writing this all out.  Always test with your meter even if its 12:45 am and you don't feel like it. :-)


In an effort to make up for my roller coaster BG weekend, on Monday I decided to make no-noodle lasagna.  It was a cold day outside and I wanted to make something warm and comforting for dinner, that wasn't super high in carbs. I found a recipe online for lasagna with eggplant slices used in place of the noodles.  A whole eggplant has ~35 gs of carbs, so I figured that's a lot better than using noodles.  The rest of the recipe is pretty much the same as the regular kind and I added a lot of herbs and spices to jazz up the bland eggplant.

Continuing with the theme of this post, the results of this recipe were...well, mixed.  It tasted pretty much like regular lasagna.  The ricotta and mozzarella cheeses were just as gooey and delish, and the sauce was nice and spicy.  But the eggplant was still a little firm (after baking for an hour, and letting the dish rest for 15 mins)  and hard to cut through, kind of making it hard to eat in without trailing a long piece of eggplant from your teeth.  It just wasn't the same as noodle lasagna.  Hubs and I said it wasn't bad, and that we would eat it again.  It just wasn't our favorite.  We gave it a 6.5 out of 10.  The other mixed news is that it was so low-carb (good!) I ended up having a low of 47 a few hours after dinner (bad!)

Has anyone else experimented with low carb recipes?  What were your results?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Christmas in April

The holidays are such a busy time of year.  This past Christmas, my extended family (we're talking over 60 aunts, uncles, cousins, cousin's families) couldn't find a time for us to all gather for the family Christmas party, so we decided to have it in April.  You may have heard of Christmas in July, but we went with April... Gotta love my family for coming up with that one!  I'm not sure if there will be a tree, or presents, but the important thing is that we'll all get to hang out together for the afternoon.  And, the weather will be better than in December.

The tough part about parties for me, is "grazing" on food all afternoon.  I try my best to limit the appetizers and focus on the meal, but its really, really hard.  I'm tempted by chips, salsa, my aunt's seven layer dip, spinach and artichoke dip in a giant bread bowl, and tons of other snacks.  Sorry, celery, but you got nothing compared to a giant bread bowl filled with cheesy artichoke dip.

Then, there is the dinner. We usually have a big buffet of Italian type dishes: eggplant parmesan, ziti with Alfredo sauce and broccoli... you get the idea. My mom is also the BEST baker and she always brings cookies.  She tries to make them with splenda for me, but I admit, I still prefer her originals.  I struggle to count carbs correctly with this kind of meal, and usually underestimate.

I got my insulin pump last November and really didn't do a great job of using it to its best potential in managing my blood sugar. I didn't quite understand the square wave, or dual wave bolus, so I stuck with the normal bolus through Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Today, at this "Christmas party" I am going to try to set a square wave bolus that will last during the grazing appetizer phase of the party, and then bolus again when we eat our meal.  I'll make sure to fill up half my plate with salad but I know I won't be able to resist some eggplant parm and ziti. 

I'll post again about how I do with the square wave bolus and I'm curious to hear about how others manage their bg when at a family party or long dinner, whether its Christmas in April, or any other fun gathering.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

My diabetes story

For my first post, I'd like to share my diabetes story. 

I was diagnosed with type-one diabetes five years ago on Dec 1, 2006.   Up to that point I was a healthy and active 25 year old, with no prior blood sugar-related problems.  When I look back, I realize I started developing all the classic diabetic symptoms around Halloween of that year. I was thirsty all the time.  I lost weight despite eating like a pig. One night, I ate 10 pancakes for dinner and didn’t feel satisfied at all.  I’m sure all that maple syrup helped my symptoms, too.  I developed a white rash in my mouth, I was dizzy and fatigued.  The turning point came when I sat at my cube at work on a Thursday and drank an entire 2 liter gallon of (regular) soda in half an hour because I was so thirsty.  I thought to myself, this isn’t right...I would never normally drink that much soda… I don’t even like regular Coke…. 
That night, I went home (yes, drove) to my parent’s house to pick up some party supplies because I was hosting my first “grown up” dinner party for my friend’s 25th birthday on Saturday night.  While at home, I asked my mom if I could use her glucose monitor (she had type-2 diabetes since her early 50s.) I’m not sure how I knew to test my sugar, but I did anyway and the result was 455.  I was only a little surprised, but thought, ok, maybe this is due to the giant bottle of regular soda I just drank.  I’ll sleep on it and see how it goes in the morning.  The next morning I woke up and had a blood sugar in the 500s.  Ok, definitely not right. I remember not really being sure what to do.  I probably should have gone to the hospital, but I was interviewing for a promotion at work at the time, and didn’t want to take a day off (on a Friday) and be seen as a slacker.  So I went to work.  I called my primary care doc who recommended I go to a well-known clinic in Massachusetts.  They were able to see me later that day and started me on insulin right away. I learned how to use the flex pen, got my dose figured out, and went home.
I had fairly bad asthma a child and still took medication every day for it, so I thought I would just add another medication to my daily routine and that was it.  The next morning though, as I picked up my prescription from the pharmacy, reality hit.  I sat in my car outside the pharmacy looking at the box of needles and my flex pens, and burst into tears.  I felt overwhelmed, filled with dread, alone, angry, frustrated and wondering what I ever did to deserve having to inject myself 5 times a day for the rest of my life.  I called my mom (still in the car) and through my tears told her what was happening.  My mom is a wonderful woman, and has remarkable inner strength.  She gave me some great advice.  She said, "Elizabeth, life goes on.  Do what you need to do this morning, and then focus on the fun dinner party you are having tonight.  Take things a step a time and you’ll get through it. And, I’ll come visit you tomorrow to help you."
I have tried to heed her advice as I deal with life with diabetes, and starting this blog is one of the ways in which I hope to do so.  Diabetes can seem SO overwhelming at times.  It’s easy to get wrapped up in all the testing, beeps and tones coming out of my pump and CGM (High BG! Low Reservoir! Enter BG now! Enter it again!  Oh, now your Low!), AIC levels, grams of carbs… and my blog is a place that I hope will help me focus on the present, and the positive steps I am taking to improve my diabetes control.  I also hope to meet other PWD, so I welcome (and will hopefully return) your comments, rants and raves, insights and support.