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My Favorite Things: #Dblog Week, Day 7 June 8, 2014

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Dblog Prompt: As we wrap up another Diabetes Blog Week, let’s share a few of our favorite things from the week. This can be anything from a #DBlogWeek post you loved, a fantastic new-to-you blog you found, a picture someone included in a post that spoke to you, or comment left on your blog that made you smile. Anything you liked is worth sharing!

What is not to be a favorite thing during Dblog week?? I think the only thing I do NOT like about this week is that it’s not a national holiday week, so I have to squeeze in work during all the blog reading and writing! Of the blogs I’ve read so far during this event, I noticed a few more international DOC members this year:

Shannon in Dublin: http://seichelberger.blogspot.ie/
Juliana Brazil: http://insulinaportatil.blogspot.com.br/
Pam in Dubai: http://diabeticinthemiddleeast.blogspot.ae/

While it sucks that we all have to deal with diabetes, I love that the DOC represents members from truly around the world. The core goals that we all have, regarding our health, are often not that different. Reading how people in different environments than I deal with diabetes is another favorite insight that the DOC has helped me find.



Diabetes Life Hacks: #Dblog Week, Day 5 May 16, 2014

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Dblog Prompt: Share the (non-medical) tips and tricks that help you in the day-to-day management of diabetes. Tell us everything from clothing modifications, serving size/carb counting tricks to the tried and true Dexcom-in-a-glass trick or the “secret” to turning on a Medtronic pump’s backlight when not on the home-screen (scroll to the bottom of this post). Please remember to give non-medical advice only!

My current favorite diabetes life hack pertains to a beeping, high alarming CGM. Recently, I’d been over treating highs because I would dose correctly yet my DexCom continued to beep or go straight up arrow or double straight up arrows. This scenario leaves me more irate than what is rational, leading to the overtreatment of highs just because my calculated treatment was not working fast enough. So, I move Dex to a separate room with a closed door where it stays by itself for an hour to two (enough time for my insulin dose to do its thing). If possible, I go for a short walk or do some stretching to try and calm down. After the hour or two I go get Dex and reassess the blood sugar situation.

A few considerations if you give this a try:

  • Put your CGM in a logical place; i.e., don’t lose it. That undoes the whole not frustrated thing.
  • Not a good hack for down arrows or low alarms. In fact, don’t do this.
  • Don’t abandon your CGM for too long. Leaving an unresponsive high unattended isn’t super.
  • I’m not a doctor. Use your CGM as directed by your doctor.

Mantras and More: #Dblog Week, Day 4 May 16, 2014

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Dblog Prompt: Today let’s share what gets us through a hard day. Or more specifically, a hard diabetes day. Is there something positive you tell yourself? Are there mantras that you fall back on to get you through? Is there something specific you do when your mood needs a boost?  Maybe we’ve done that and we can help others do it too?

The one-word difference between a hard day and a hard diabetes day is huge. A hard day IS any diabetes day. A hard diabetes day is like a hard day x 5. Regardless, hard diabetes days are unavoidable. When one hits, I try to remember that I get to try this all again tomorrow. I leave yesterday’s diabetes behind and start again. I restart with a blood sugar I am satisfied with (if that isn’t what you wake up with, treat and do the whole restart thing starting wherever ‘satisfied’ is for you).

One hard diabetes day is not going to change your health outcome, your A1C or your weight. A hard diabetes day is a blunt reminder of how hard you work everyday to avoid days like this. I recognize a hard diabetes day and recognize that I can do my best for the rest of the day, go to bed and try it again the next day.

Alternately, I’ll say fuck it, buy Ben & Jerry’s, rage bolus, find a TV comedy, double check for a low in the middle of the night and let the morning be a chance at redemption. 🙂

What Brings Me Down: #Dblog Week, Day 3 May 14, 2014

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Dblog Prompt: What things can make dealing with diabetes an emotional issue for you and / or your loved one, and how do you cope?

The diabetes online community (DOC).

The DOC is tremendous. The reach we have is huge. I think of changes and differences we have made and, for the most part, feel proud. But my diabetes didn’t really have an affective emotional side before I encountered the DOC. That strategy was working pretty well for me.

Sure, LOW lows, weird highs, carrying glucose every damn place frustrated me every now and then. But that was just part of life. I treated a low, treated a high and didn’t think twice about carrying glucose. I recognized that some of those lows were the cause of something I did previously, and the highs the cause of something I did not do. I didn’t think twice about it, learned from what happened and moved on.

But the DOC. As a whole, we can be pretty big on shit not being our fault (treading on thin ice here, I know). I can’t argue with that concept. Diabetes was not my fault. (And it is not your fault.) Many of my LOW lows and HIGH highs might not be my fault. However, introducing the idea that some of what goes on every day might be excusable, might not be my fault and might even be okay also introduced diabetes behavior that I am not proud of. For me, something not being my fault correlates to an excuse. And how I deal with diabetes goes better when I’ve got no excuses. Nothing to fall back on. Nothing to blame but what I did that day. I think that is the mindset that I need. That’s not the way everyone rolls. I’m not giving up the DOC – it’s too awesome. Instead I need to try being more mental prepared when I engage. Take the helpful pieces, offer my thoughts, suggestions and support, and leave everything else.

Change the World: #Dblog Week, Day 1 May 12, 2014

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Dblog Prompt: Let’s kick off Diabetes Blog Week by talking about the diabetes causes and issues that really get us fired up…Whether or not you “formally” advocate for any cause, share the issues that are important to you.

This post requires a disclaimer. Or acknowledgment. You decide.

Except for the weather, I do not believe anyone has a right to effortly complain about something that they have not tried to fix.

I’ve not tried to fix health insurance at any level.

So, that being said, health insurance is my issue. It is an issue for anyone with a chronic disease. Health insurance (or financial security/ability) that lets everyone choose and use the best treatment option for that one person at that time must be available. It makes zero sense that some people do not get the option to use a pump or a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). I understand that new or unique treatment options are expensive. But so is heart or eye surgery, neuropathy treatment, kidney disease treatment and hospital stays. An insulin pump and CGM are two life-saving and life-changing devices that can help decrease health issues in the future. And if you don’t want a CGM – that’s cool. You should get to choose any number of strips for any meter that you want. Or the insulin you want in the delivery method that works best for you. The world of health insurance is changing, but it has a long way yet to go.

Spread the Love: #Dblog Week, Day 7 May 21, 2013

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Dblog Prompt: As another Diabetes Blog Week draws to a close, let’s reflect on some of the great bloggers we’ve found this week. Give some love to three blog posts you’ve read and loved during Diabetes Blog Week, and tell us why they’re worth reading. Or share three blogs you’ve found this week that are new to you.

The last Dblog Week post is more than a bit late, but I was so busy reading the posts from #Dblogweek!

  • Diabetes Blog Week introduced me to Elizabeth, over at Life or something like it (and Twitter @xXLovelyLizXx). I often have trouble relating to bloggers with kids, happy families, you know regular life people…because that’s not what I’ve got going on at this time in my life. However, Elizabeth’s blog caught my eye, and I’ve enjoyed reading what she has to share. Elizabeth gives us a down-to-earth view of living with diabetes. She’s honest, straight-forward and easy to read – go check her out!
  • Reva, over at Type ONEderful, had a WAY cool Diabetes Art post. I love the actual art, and the accompanying poem is a great statement not just for D-Art day, but everyday.
  • Brian, over at (Buzz, Buzz)  Not My Cell, wrote a true Brian-style post on some possible service animals. Penguins, ponies and…matching shoes?

Cure and Hope Are Four-Letter Words March 7, 2013

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This week has been one of posts about cures, hope, disappointment and encouragement because of an announcement made pertaining to a ‘cure’. The posts have been superb, and I’m so proud to be in this community right now. Check out links in this post, or my blogroll, for some phenomenal DOC reads and thoughts.

Hope. Cure. Technically, these are four-letter words. I use the less appropriate four-letter words more often. In the almost 25 years I’ve lived with diabetes, not once did I think I would be cured and never will I believe a cure is in my future.

While I don’t remember anyone telling me specifically ‘They’re working on a cure, hang tight 5 to 10 years’, I do recall countless reports of ‘cures’ in the next 5 to 10 years. As so many DOC members have shared, they would be cured twice or three times if that were true.

I do not believe in a cure in my lifetime. And I do not hope for it. Say a cure is discovered tomorrow. Great. That does not mean shit for me. Not every diabetic will be cured the day after FDA approval. FDA approved does not equate to accessibility. My control, as compared to ADA guidelines, is solid. Therefore insurance might tell me I don’t ‘need’ the cure. People with ‘out of range’ A1Cs or high risk of complications would top this cure list.

No eligibility restrictions? Cool. My health insurance rocks, so I might be in. But a cure comes with its own set of restrictions. A whole new way to care of my body, to care for whatever extra precautions I might need to take. Transplants come with a slew of issues the patient must be aware of and manage. I am not sure I would be willing to change my day-to-day responsibilities – that I’ve managed for two decades – for something brand new.

And what about folks without awesome health insurance? What percentage of PWDs would love a CGM or a pump, and CANNOT GET ONE because of cost or insurance issues? Kiddos in poorer nations cannot get daily insulin injections. In those countries, diabetes is still a death sentence. That.Is.Bullshit. The people who need a cure the most won’t be the ones to get it.

Hope for a cure is too uncomfortable, too foolish, too selfish for me*.

However. Hope for technology advancements, for improved education and for prevention – I am onboard with that. That is why I participate in the community. That is why I support JDRF, ADA, the DOC, mentors, educators, endos, scientists and studies.  And to me, that is as important as the cure is for a parent with a newly diagnosed kid.

But a cure is not something to count on. It is not something to teach your kid or your peers to count on. The goal of any diabetic is to survive and to live life. That is anybody’s goal. Yeah, your pancreas screwed you over. Use that to make you a better person. Is it easy? Never. Fun? There are upsides, but no not really. But You Can Do This. Having diabetes makes you smarter about your choices. Makes you responsible. Makes you grateful. Would I ever wish diabetes on anyone? Hell No. But for those of us with whacked-out pancreases, don’t let hope for a cure distract you from your achievements. We have enough distractions.

*Note: I respect those of you hopeful for a cure. It’s just not me. Truly, you make a difference. Truly, you contribute to a worthy and admirable cause.

Wordless Wednesday: 104, The Proof February 27, 2013

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Last week I wrote about a magical run-in with the (insert your word of choice) number, 104. ‘Cept I forgot an adage of the DOC, Pictures or It Didn’t Happen. So, here you go!

Yes. That Happened.

Yes. It exists.

You’d think like a number like that could create its own great lighting for a photo shoot…

Nice Lines January 8, 2013

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On a past frustrating mountain bike ride I rode through a technical section on which I questioned my line (aka, path). From behind I hear, ‘Biker Back’ (aka, move over). As I pull over, he passes and states, ‘Those were nice lines you picked.’

I have no idea how long this dude was behind me. Based on what I saw as he rode off, he knew his stuff. I was exalted. I real mountain biker just told me I picked nice lines through at least one technical section.

That made my ride, my day and my week. I relax and smile when I think of this ride.

The mountain biking community, as a whole, rocks. Riders yield correctly and often add ‘Good ride’ whether passing or being passed. Riders offer help for flat tires and broken derailers, and ask if you are okay after a crash. I’m still new to this group – my technical skill is average and my cardio does not compare to other riders. But I love it and I aim to improve with each ride.

So the diabetes connection? There doesn’t have to be one. But I have plenty. Besides the obvious of course – I can pick nice lines AND have diabetes, because you know, You Can Do This. The mountain biking community reminded me a bit of the diabetes online community (DOC). As a whole, the DOC is a pretty cool bunch. No doubt clear leaders are evident, but everyone involved has helped or been helped. When you need a pick-up, encouragement, a congratulations – somebody will be there. You might never have spoken to this person, or maybe only lurk on Twitter or the blogosphere, but at the right time, the first post you make, the first tweet, the first comment- that makes somebody’s day. Even though in theory, they are a stranger.

But we all know better than that.

Day 16: The Other 11 Months November 16, 2012

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Today’s National Health Blog Topic: Use a picture or video to inspire a post.

Today’s topic was a no-brainer. Except the prompt goes the opposite direction.

A post prompted a tweet. Which turned into many tweets. Which turned into a video. Which turned into inspiration. Read about the video here or here. Watch it, then come back.

I wrote about this idea before, but it’s important, so I’m saying it again. One person makes a difference. A lot of ones make up a huge, global whole. Or an awesome video. If you are not sure where, or even if, you fit in – you do. Just wait for it. At some point there will be somebody with a question, a story, an emotion, a picture that you can relate to or help with.

November is diabetes awareness month. As most people reading this know, diabetes hangs around for more than one month. Well, fortunately so does the diabetes online community (DOC).  People in similar situations are just a keyboard away, any day, any time, of the 11 other months of the year.