Friday, February 17, 2017

Diabetes, Pointing Fingers And Switching Hands~

 I check my blood sugar a lot  - a hell of a lot. 
And for some reason even though I’m left handed, I prefer to use my left pointer finger when I check - which doesn’t make sense, and I'm totally aware of that. 
Today I looked down at my keyboard and took a good look at my dominant hand against the silver and black of my laptop. 
My left pointer finger looks like a dirty, Jackson Pollack wannabes
attempt at body art gone wrong.
My little hand (did I mention I have freakishly small hands?) was riddled with so many lancet marks and covered with calluses, that the tips of my fingers actually looked dirty, even though they were scrubbed clean. 
And my left pointer finger looked like a dirty, Jackson Pollack wannabes attempt at body art gone wrong. 

And right at that moment I knew that I had to stop checking my blood sugar on left pointer and middle fingers. 
And so that's what I'm going to do.

It's funny (and little weird for those sans D,) that people with diabetes develop certain habits when it comes to our diabetes. 
Things like developing favorite sides for infusion sites and preferring certain fingers or hands when we check our glucose. 
Part habit, part comfort, part, superstition? 
Who the hell knows?  

Having to change things can be strange, no matter whether it's changing insulin pumps, switching insulin brands, or using different fingers to test our glucose.
But eventually, we do because we have to. 

And so I am~  

Sidebar: Does anyone know a good left handed guitar teacher because I've already got the calluses down pat! 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Spare A Rose, Save A Child

$5 dollars is all it takes~
I love “Spare A Rose.” 
I love that for the cost of 1 rose, ($5) you can provide one month (as in one bottle of life saving insulin) and save the life of a child with diabetes who is in desperate need of insulin. 
I know what it’s like to worry about not having enough money to pay of insulin or diabetes supplies - I’m lucky, I have insurance and a network of diabetes friends who are always there for me. 
But not everyone is so lucky. So instead of buying your loved one a dozen roses this Valentines Day, buy them 11 roses and donate $5 to SpareARose, via IDF's Life For A Child program. 

And now your donation will have double the impact, because The Helmsley Charitable Trust has graciously agreed to match all new donations .
Your $5 donation becomes a ten dollars donation, and one insulin bottle automatically becomes two.
 Your $10 donation is instantly matched and becomes $20, and two bottles of insulin becomes becomes four, and so on. 
Your donation is tax deductible and you will be provided with card to print out to give to someone special. 

And if you're looking for a Valentine’s Day gift for your child’s teacher, best friend, or fellow book club members, Spare A Rose is the way to go! 

Click HERE to #SpareARose, save a child~

Monday, February 6, 2017

It's Ok To Be Different In Life.... And Diabetes~

As a t1 for 35+ years, and on insulin pump therapy for 15 of those years, I added Metformin ER to my daily regiment at my Endo's request last March because of weight gain and insulin resistance.  
And initially it helped re: my weight and utilizing my insulin more efficiently. 
I stopped taking the Met in December, after noticing that my hair was falling out. 
The same thing happened in 2008 when I first tried metformin, but this time around, I was told that Metformin ER was different - and that to stop if I noticed adverse affects.  
I kept working hard and going with the flow, sans the metformin ER and the clumps of hair on the carpet. 
If diabetes has taught me anything, it's that we have to have a good working relationship with our healthcare professionals and we have to keep trying new things. 
Here's what happened at my last Endo appointment. FTR: It's all good~ 
After I checked in to Dr. J’s office, I was given a copy of my labs. 
My a1c had gone from 7.3 at the end of October to 6.9 as of January 31st.
Kidneys and cholesterol were good, so was my blood pressure, and depending on what scale (my scale vs the Endo's scale,) you went by, I’d lost between 3 and 4 lbs since December. 
When Dr. J walked in the exam room he was excited and dare I say, downright giddy.
We chatted about everything and he kept telling me how proud he was of me - which not made me feel validated, it made me feel like I could do anything! 
Finally, he looked at me, raised eyebrow and said: You are different than other people Kelly.
Me: Yep, I'm weird.
Dr. J: Noooo, being different is a good thing. It's OK to be different in life... and diabetes. 
Most people drop weight on metformin and you did. And then you went off it and lost another 3 to 4 pounds - during the holidays.
Most people have no issues re: metformin and hair loss, but you do - and I’m very sorry about that. Is it growing in? 
Me: I hope so. It’s certainly not falling out in clumps anymore. 
Dr. J: You’re hair looks good today - very good.
Dr. J: Everyone is different when it comes to diabetes and treating their diabetes, and you are a good reminder of that - I need to remember that about you - and everyone else.
OK, so tell me what you did. Did you exercise more?
Me: Well...., I had wrist surgery on December 13th, so not really. I had to be careful and didn’t begin low impact walks again until January.
But I was running around a lot during the holidays.
As far as food, I watched, but I still had Thanksgiving pie and my share of Christmas cookies. 
Me: I tried eating more whole foods and less processed. I don’t know - I tried my best and tried to go with the flow.
Dr. J: Clearly that's working for you. 
Me: I need to exercise more, and I can’t wait to get the OK to do push-ups
Dr. J: It will happen. Also, it’s clear to me Apidra works well with your system and your insulin pump. 
Me: It definitely made a difference re: spikes. 
Dr. J: Did you experience any lows on the Apidra? 
Me: Yep, the first week I had daily middle of the night lows and it was learning curve, but I figured it out.

Next Dr. J proceeded to go over each one of my labs with me and again, he kept telling me how proud he was. 
Dr. J's always been understanding, has always worked with me when it comes to my diabetes, and all that goes with it, including diabetes burnout. 
The past couple years  have been a struggle and he's worked with me every step of the way. And having a healthcare professional on my side and in my corner has made a huge difference. 

Me: I want to drop more weight. 
Dr. Jay: You’ve lost 16 lbs, you’re going in the right direction. 
Me: It’s taken a while. But what if... 
Dr. J: Don’t worry about the “what-ifs,” keep doing what you’re doing and if we need to tweak, we will. Right now, don’t change a thing. 

Then he gave me some insulin samples,(including Apidra,) and told me to keep in touch with him re: any issues or needed tweaks, and told me to schedule my next appointment for early June. 

And for the first time in a very long while, I left my endo without the weight of diabetes pulling me down. 

I don’t know what’s going to happen in the next four months. 
Maybe I’ll need some tweaks, maybe I won’t. 

I have no idea which which way the scale or my a1c will go.
And that’s OK. Much like my pancreas, I am not perfect. 

But I am tenacious and I have an Endo who listens to what I have to say and works with me.
And we will continue to figure it out, together.  

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Lasso'd By My Insulin Pump Tubing - AGAIN

And lucky for me, DOCers on the twitter related and laughed with me. 
Basically, yours truly walked into her kitchen, turned the corner and was literally lasso’d by one of her stove's gas burner knobs. 
The knobs (dials?) rest on the front of the stove and directly above the oven door, not on tap, which keeps things interesting
The more I tried to untangle myself, the more tangled up I became. 
And of course I reached for my phone to document, but it was in the other room... on the couch. 
I tried the stove's knob/dial, but that sucker was on there tight and having hand surgery didn’t help the situation.
I finally disconnected from my pump infusion site and was able to pry the knob off with my hands, then I slowly untangled form the 1/2 an inch metal part thingy that the dial/knob fit on. 

Crisis averted and I laughed out loud because:
A. It was funny
B. Nothing terrible happened, being mad would have been wasted energy.

Thanks to my pump tubing, I’ve also been lasso’d by doorknobs, ledges, edges, my car’s emergency break, seat belts, the occasional belt loop (mine and others,) body parts, (mine and others,) and everything in-between. 
It’s part of the living with the “job” that is diabetes, and wearing an insulin pump with tubing. 
And yes, I know that I can tape the tubing to my abdomen, but my belly real-estate is limited.  

BUT I may try taping the tubing, thus making it look like an actual lasso.... Also,  

Squad Goals
I think we can all agree that if we didn't laugh at the D craziness, we'd go nuts. 
And personally, I need more laughs as of late

So if you’ve been lasso’d with your pump’s tubing or some other D accessory, feel free to share ... or not. 

Either way, I hope this post made you smile! 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Free Write: Diabetes In The Storm

I took a break from the work I was doing because of all the thoughts swirling in my head. So I set the timer on my phone for 8 minutes and did a free write. 
Here's what I came up with. 
Four days of great blood sugars and lower insulin totals, immediately followed by a few days of higher numbers in both categories.
Four days where my blood sugars behaved, followed by waiting out a 328 and changing out a newish infusion site before bed last night.  
Drinking 16 ounces of water, peeing like Secretariat, and waiting until my blood sugar started going before I could shut my eyes and fall asleep.  

The alarm went off this morning and like the mythical Phoenix, I rose from the ashes, aka,  the warmth of my bed, downed the first of 2 cups of coffee (instead of my usual 1.5,) and went on with the business of living,working, and doing.  

Here, in the middle of a Nor’easter, I sit in my office and at my computer, rain boots by the door and lights flickering on and off - like a movie. 
The wind howls, windows shaking, and I'm doing my best to to get through my list of work  that needs to be done - and thankful that I forced myself to go to the store before dinner last night, when I realized I was precariously close to running out of juice. 

Diabetes means never running of  juice... or insulin.... or meds; pump supplies, test strips and the likes there off -but always worrying about all of the above. 

Diabetes In storm or clear skies, means thinking ahead, as well as in the moment. 
Diabetes forces us to bring backup with us, no matter where we go... or how far we have to march.

Diabetes means doing; fighting, and moving forward while simultaneously having moments were we are forced to sit and wait for diabetes to catch up. 

Diabetes means battles within and fighting exterior forces at every turn. 
Diabetes is close to the cuff and our hearts, even when we aren’t thinking about it. 

Diabetes is me, you, and everyone who we love - living with diabetes means fighting for our rights, our physical and mental health - our lives
Diabetes makes us fight not to be labeled by a disease we didn't choose. 

Diabetes makes us fight for ourselves and others - a silver lining of strength and solidarity in the storm, a silver lining that makes people with diabetes forces to be reckoned with, and no matter the sky.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Diabetes And Not Being Forced To Wait "It" Out.

Sometimes diabetes forces us to wait, sometimes it doesn't.
Yesterday the only thing I had to wait for was my car's oil to get changed. 
Diabetes wasn't exactly on it's best behavior, but it didn't force me to wait "it" out, either. 
After 3 days of stellar blood sugars, I was greeted with an out of the blue 300 bg yesterday and in of all places, a Honda dealership parking lot and after a lunchtime oil change. 

The reason? Honestly, who the hell knows. 
It might have been because it was a Muesday; I might have miscalculated my breakfast carbs, maybe 35 hour old infusion site was circling towards craptacular, my seatbelt might have inadvertently rub against my wool coat and the infusion site the wrong way, or the the diabetes gods felt like effing me just because they could. 
Whatever the reason, it made me cranky, thirsty, and frustrated.  
I changed out my site exactly where I was, in the drivers seat of my parked car, in the of dealership’s parking lot. Then I did a correction bolus, gulped down 10 ounces of the 30 ounces of water in my recyclable water bottle and hoped for the best. 
And thankfully the best outcome happened. My numbers started coming down and I went about my day.
As much as I hate to cop to it, the glucoaster ride made me tired, and visions of a ginormous iced green tea flashed through my head. 
Did I mention I’ve been cutting back on my afternoon caffeine - as in I'm trying not to have any? 
Well I am and it’s annoying. 
My numbers were normal and stayed that way, I kept drinking water, ate my lunch, and continued forging ahead - and nobody was the wiser. 
I had a list on my desk that didn’t involve diabetes in anyway, shape, or form. 

Shit got done and I wasn't forced to wait "it" out.  
And after a month of "waiting it out," re: wrist and hand surgery - not having to wait was indeed a beautiful thing.

And I'm sharing because I know you guys"get it."   

Thursday, January 12, 2017

It Doesn't Matter If You're Red Or Blue, Pre-Existing Conditions Don't Care

It doesn’t matter if you sit on the red side of the fence or the blue - pre-existing conditions don’t care. 

It doesn’t made if you’re a Democrat, Independent, or Republican - pre-existing conditions don’t care. 

Do you have a broad interpretation of The Constitution or a narrow one?  
Doesn't matter, pre-existing conditions don’t care. 
But here's the thing, insurance companies do - and thanks to the Senate voting to repeal ACA, soon insurance companies will be able to deny you and your pre-existing condition(s). 

If you have a diabetes... or a heart condition, a leaky gut, thyroid issues, blood disorders, cancer - If you have ANY health condition, you may soon be penalized and punished for it, because at 1:30 this morning, 51 Senators agreed to repeal ADA and the pre-existing condition clause was put back on the table.

And if you don’t have a pre-existing condition? 
A. Good luck with that - genetics and age have away of sneaking up on you when you least expect it. 
B. If you fall into any of the following categories - your lives will be changed for the worse: 
  1. Pre-existing conditions
  2. You have young children on CHIP
  3. You have young adult offspring currently on your health insurance plan
  4. Take birth control meds (WOMEN)
  5. If you get your insurance through your employer, the same rules (and more,) all the new will apply to you, too.
 Insurance companies will, if ACA is successfully repealed, be able to deny you or your loved ones insurance coverage for all of the above. 

Best case scenario, they will do what they did before ACA, make you wait a year before they agreed to pay for anything having to do with your pre-existing condition. 
Every drop of insulin, every cholesterol pill, every viagra pill, or chemotherapy treatment will come out of your pocket. 

Worse case scenario. They can legally refuse to cover you because you have a pre-existing condition. 

We have individual voices, and collectively they can are powerful – we must use them to protect ourselves and others living with pre-existing conditions!

Click HERE and "ACT" now to protect every single person living with diabetes and other pre-existing condition in the United States: 

DiabetesPAC makes it incredibly easy for you to email your Reps directly from the above link
DPAC provide a letter template with space for you to tell your own story – and as long as you know your ZIP Code, your email goes directly into your Reps inbox with the click of a button.

Also, pick up the phone and call (and tweet) your reps in the Senate and Congress, NOW and tell them how you feel about bringing back the pre-existing conditions clause, the repeal of ACA and all that we stand to lose.

 We have a hell of a fight ahead of us and #WeAreInThisTogether!