Monday, September 12, 2011

I'll admit it...I'm scared

Lately, within the last year or so, I've been scared of insulin. I know, it sounds weird. Insulin is what keeps me alive every day. Without insulin, I would be in poor shape and probably, not alive. I am so grateful for insulin, and somehow, I'm still scared of it.

If I knew how much insulin had been pumping through my body before I was in control of it, I would probably feel reassured.

The fact that I have the power of my pancreas overwhelms and scares me. Not all the time, but lately, a lot of the time. The thought of over-bolusing terrifies me. So much to the point where I have actually under-bolused a lot of times. Too many times to count.

I've had countless conversations with myself...I know I need more insulin for this extra snacking I am doing...I know that has more carbs than what I am inputting...but maybe it'll be okay. And then it's not okay. And then I kick myself, because I knew I should have given myself more insulin.

I don't like seeing so much insulin in my system. Seeing anything over 4 units scares me. It gives me a feeling of dread and worry...and I feel so much better when I see that number I have more control over what it does as it drops. The more insulin in my system, the less I feel in control. Like somehow, my insulin will rage out of control and make me drop low, and it'll be hard to combat it.

I also have a hard time with waiting for my blood sugar to be the number I want it to be--whether it's lower or higher. I know there's a delay...I know certain foods break down faster than others. I know that I should wait and not react so quickly. I see my my number drop fast and I think, I should eat a glucose tablet to ward off a low, when in reality, I just need to leave it alone. When I'm waiting for it to rise, I feel compelled to do finger pricks every 5 minutes, just to make sure it's coming back up. I lierally have to talk myself into not checking by saying things like, Val, I know you feel like shit right now, but it's going to be better in 10 minutes...just give it time.

I am not very patient and apparently, not very rational. I know I'm prone to anxiety, and so I wonder if that plays a part in how I handle my diabetes. I've gotten better at not constantly checking my number, but I am not better at not being scared.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Oh, hello!

It's been a while! No real reason for my blog vacation...I just sort of stopped for a while, but I have been reading YOUR wonderful blogs here and there.

I saw my endo today and my a1c is down 0.2% from 7.4 to 7.2. Not stellar, but I will still celebrate any drop--big or small! A couple years ago or less, I was closer to 6%. I try not to beat myself up too much for letting it climb back up to 8(ish)% and just focus on the fact I'm bringing it back down, slowly but surely. My endo asked me to test my ratios for breakfast, lunch and dinner, which means eating a known amount of carbs for each meal. I think I'd probably get better results with even sticking to the same meal(s) for a couple days. I don't know why I find it so hard sometimes to do these tests to make sure my ratios are right!

I also discussed with my endo how sensitive my blood sugar is to exercise--even just a 15 minute walk makes it drop! I'm dog-sitting right now and Jake, the dog, needs to be walked 2 times a day, which means I've getting at least a 20 minute walk in every day. That doesn't sound like much, but for me it is! It also feels weird to type that since I used to be an exercise fiend. Small steps, I guess.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

the ups & downs

The one thing we all strive for is stable levels. Most people, I think, like some kind of stability in their lives. When things are up and down and every which way, we tend to feel less in control. We tend to feel less stable.

On that note, my D has not been very stable this last week.

Apparently, I missed my endo appt. Apparently it was scheduled for July 29th. I'm not going to blame it on this, but I always get a call from my endo's office. I have never been late to or missed an appt with them. You think that if they had the time to call me later that day, after the appt., they had time to call me once they saw I was running late. I know they are not responsible for me, but still.

My conversation with the receptionist was very annoying. I explained to her that it didn't show up on my calendar and I didn't receive a call from them. She told me they have it on record that they called me and I confirmed. Um, no. I think I would remember speaking with you! She then (somewhat snootily/snottily?) said, "well, those calls are just a COURTESY, anyway." I'm sorry, but isn't it part of your job to make those calls? Don't you get paid to do that since you are doing it during your work hours? I know, I know, I probably sound like a bitch, but their office kind of annoys me in general.

I re-scheduled my appointment. I don't know if they are going to charge me for missing it.

Last week, I had a weird night of lows. I was high at bedtime and corrected...and then ran low all night. I swear I woke up every hour and ignored the vibrating and beeping of my sensor half the time. Even with a glucose tab here and there, I kept waking up low.

And then meter failed me. I did a bit of SWAGing for a bagel sandwich, and before lunch, I was 118...but still 1 unit of insulin on board, so I decided to eat a little lunch before bolusing. My sensor showed me as climbing, so going off my sensor, I kept bolusing. Is that what a rage bolus is, btw? So about 3 hours later, I feel sort of off. Meter displays a 110 and 1.5 units of insulin on board. I panic. Trusting my meter and wanting to avoid a low, I chug back some mocha mix drink and glucose tabs. Then I start to worry that I I check back in 15 min and I'm in the 230s. Hmmm, that doesn't seem right. I re-test because this situation has happened before. I'm low or trying to ward off a low, I test and show a high #, so I re-test and am actually still meter is just off for whatever reason.

So I re-test and the mid 200s and my sensor shows me shooting up. Uh-oh. Shit. Shit. Shit. Annoyed, I now bolus like crazy to get it down. Half an hour later and I'm at 300 something. My meter was WRONG...I didn't need all that extra sugar. I hate when technology fails me.

And I remain high all night because my sensor showed me dropping and stabilizing, so I didn't bolus as much when I finally ate dinner. But, that was a mistake because then IT decided to be off. This is why I don't usually bolus based off my sensor, but I thought I was feeling better and not still in the 300s. It's not much better now though...2 hours ago I was 267 and after a correction, I'm at 217 now.

See? No stability! And along with the up blood sugar comes the down emotions. I hate being high for hours, laying weak on the couch and feeling like destruction is being done to my body.

Monday, August 1, 2011

SO mad... diabetes alert dog update

I'm SO mad, I can barely type...let me start at the beginning.

Two months ago, I decided to apply for a diabetes alert dog. There was an article in the Oregonian that prompted me, so I signed, I love dogs and don't have one of my own. The dog in my picture is my brother's dog, and while I do live with a dog (my roommate's dog), it's not my own.

I'm not sure if I should mention the company's name.

I know the dogs are in high demand, but they were training dogs for limited locations, and Oregon was one of them. Plus the dogs only cost $150. They said that it can take up to a year and they require you to go through part of the training with the dog they select for you, but that doesn't guarantee you a dog. Plus, they don't even reply when you apply for one...because they're in demand, you might not even get a response for several months. I think that when you apply for something like a dog, you SHOULD at least get a response that says we received your application, just so you know it went through.

So TODAY, I decided to randomly check the site. And. I notice. It says they are currently only placing dogs in northern and central CA. When I applied, it did not say this. Confused, I emailed them to see what was going on.

I got this response:


We appreciate your interest in XXX. Over the past months we have reviewed and made changes to our training program in order to continue providing the high quality assistance dogs that our clients deserve.

We realize the effect an assistance dog can have on managing diabetes and we know the need is great The value our program results from the high standards we set, both in training our dogs as well as diabetic clients.

A decision has been made to focus our services on those living in the Northern and upper Central California areas and to discontinue our two week program.

Client feedback and data assessment indicate that the most successful partnerships are created when clients attend weekly training sessions over an extended period, and attend monthly follow-up sessions. We will continue to assess our program and hope to offer other training options in the future that will once again extend our service area to Oregon.

We regret we cannot serve you at this time. Please periodically check in with us on our website. While we do not have a specific recommendation for another program, you can check the website for Assistance Dogs International ( to see if they are able to identify an accredited service in Oregon.

Best Wishes,


WTF. They decided to change things and not NOTIFY anyone? What about all the people in Oregon and other states who applied? I never received any kind of notification about the change, and if I hadn't randomly checked their website, I would have continued waiting. I emailed them back and told them this...that I was extremely disappointed and that if I had known, I would have searched other places for an alert dog. I don't think it's fair that they didn't at LEAST notify people in Oregon and other states...and I'm sad thinking that some of those people might still be waiting for a response because they're not aware of this random change in their program.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

sensitive sugar, Seattle and a sore sensor site

Like that alliteration? :)

Last week, I noticed (or was reminded of) that my blood sugar is SO sensitive to exercise. That may be because I went from a workout fiend to...a person who rarely works out. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but at some point--between working later and feeling dizzy during my workouts--I started going to the gym less. I started getting frustrated that my blood sugar would drop so fast, so often. I got annoyed with having to cut my workout short or needing to stop and take a juice break. And then it just became a habit! Instead of figuring out my blood sugar so that I could work out, I just went straight home from work, made dinner, and relaxed. But, I know I feel so much better when I workout, and when I do, my blood sugar drops sooo quickly. Even just doing a 20-25 minute Jillian Michaels video made a huge difference. Not just for the day, but for the next day, too. I had to change my insulin ratio back to what it used to be when I worked out every day--1:15. On the 3rd day, I had to change my ratio back to what it is currently--1:12. This just shows me I need to workout more. And I need to work harder at figuring out my blood sugar for my workouts. I used to be good at it once upon a time.

Over the weekend, I went to visit some of my favorite people in Seattle! I love Portland, but sometimes I think about moving to Seattle. Two of my best friends from college live there--one actually just got done with grad school and moved back last month, so I was extra eager to see her. She was my roommate all 4 years of college AND we still call each other roommates. It was just us 2 for the first 2 years, then we acquired a 3rd roommate our junior year, and then a 4th senior year. My other Seattle friend, Laura, never lived with us, but we always lived close to each other and considered her our roommie, anyway. I always seem to luck out with roommates! Even now, after college.

So my boyfriend and I made the drive up to visit them, and we had so much fun. It was a short trip, but I plan on seeing them more frequently! The WEIRDEST thing happened when I was there, though I'm pretty sure I know what happened. My friend and her bf have 2 adorable, but semi-crazy cats. Well, my pump kept beeping because I was falling low. Every time, I woke up, I fished around for the wire and pulled my pump up to see what was going on. Until...I reached down and didn't feel the wire. I decided to start from the site--aha, there it is. Started trailing up the wire until my hand stopped--because there was NO wire. It was broken, cut, split off. I was so alarmed, that I shot straight up out of bed and looked for my pump. It was off to the side of my mattress (we were on the floor) with the rest of the wire attached. One of the cats had CHEWED the wire until it split! The weird thing is I wake up really easily and the wire didn't LOOK chewed. But that's the only explanation! My friend was a little shocked, but I told her it was no big deal and I had brought extra supplies so I just changed it out.

When I got home, I had to switch out my sensor and decided to try...the side butt spot. I usually go for the stomach region, but I wanted a change...and I've heard that people get good readings near the butt. But, I can only reach so far, and I don't want it to hit the toilet when I sit down. I don't know why that weirds me out (especially since it's covered by tape!), but it does. So I put it in a spot that's more like the side of my thigh. The only downside is that eventually it started pinching and getting a little tender. If I move my leg a certain way or my purse bumps against it, it huuuuurts. BUT, my sensor has been pretty terrific, and I don't want to give up a good spot just because it pinches every now and then. Gotta ride these sensors out!

A few pictures from over the years...including one from pre-D!

The 4 roommates senior year

Audrey, Me, Laura--freshman year (2003)

A & L visiting me in Portland (2007)
In Portland for my 25th birthday (2009)
Visiting them in Seattle (2011)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Understanding what it means

I understand that diabetes is a complicated disease to process for those who don't have it or manage it on a daily basis. I try not to overwhelm people with information when they ask questions. I try not to make it too complicated. But every time--it is. There is nothing "simple
about it.

I haven't been feeling so hot this week and every Wed., I'm in a meeting where we go over the layout of the ad. One of the ladies who has that sweet, nurturing, protective-bear Momma thing going on asked me if I was OK. Clearly, I wasn't looking so hot either!

Apparently it looked like I was going to pass, my blood sugar wasn't low (I checked). I then told them I would try not to pass out on them!

This then launched into questions about diabetes, which I was totally okay with. I appreciate when people WANT to understand. I can tell the people in my Wednesday meetings want to get it. So they started asking me about low blood sugar and what makes one go low. I rattled off the usual...too much insulin, exercise can make you drop, so can drinking so you have to be careful...etc. Of course buyers kept walking in for their turn, so it got a little awkward for them to come into the middle of what sounded like a medical conversation. The lady who came in on the last part about low blood sugar and alcohol said something like, "Well MY blood sugar must be low all the time then!" Ha ha ha ha. I didn't want to explain to her that I am type 1.

Then they asked what they should do if I ever do get too low and pass out during the meeting? I told them someone should call 911, and then someone should try to give me sugar. I got a little uncomfortable during this one likes to think about this happening! The designer asked how would they do that and I said that your mouth/gums absorb the sugar, so probably the best is sugar packets instead of candy or juice since I could choke (am I wrong? If so, someone please inform me!). I also told them I have a glucagon pen upstairs in my cube, but they would have to read the instructions.

It was all very sweet. I could tell they wanted to feel prepared for such an emergency. And I love that they want to help. I did reassure them that I haven't passed out so far, and I always carry glucose tabs with me so that I have some fast-acting sugar on hand at all times. Of course then another buyer came in while we were discussing this, but no one else told them what was going on, which again I appreciated. But since they are nice and seemed curious, I explained to them that I am a type 1 diabetic and we were just going over what to do in case of a low blood sugar.

The Momma-bear of the group said it was good for her/them to know, so I'm glad they feel like maybe they will be better equipped or more mentally ready for that kind of situation. Of course I'm hoping it NEVER happens! I also told them my signs of going low--shaky, sweaty, can't think straight, etc. At that time I was actually sweaty and shaky, so that was when I checked my sugar and it was at a good number. That's the thing I hate--if I'm sick or something is just off with me, I immediately think it's related to diabetes. I can't help it!

When I was first diagnosed, I didn't want anyone to help me. I wanted to be able to do everything on my own. Eventually, my friends, family and other people told me they wanted to help...they wanted to know things about diabetes and how it affected me. They have been understanding and I appreciate that so much because it makes it easier on me.

Truthfully, I sometimes feel bad when people ask me to lunch and I say, "I have a high blood sugar right now, so I might wait at least 30 min or an hour to eat if you want to wait...if not, no big deal." And I feel bad when I'm visiting my friends in Seattle and we're walking around downtown for a while until I finally say, "Uhhh, I think I need to check my blood sugar." And then they stop with me as I check and say, "Why didn't you SAY something sooner?!" And then they make me eat or drink something. There is no judgment--only concern. I don't feel like a burden or like a "sick person." There is no making me feel bad because I have to do things a little bit differently than they do.

So I understand that not everyone gets it or wants to get it--you can't understand it fully until you live it 24/7 and are impacted emotionally, physically, and psychologically by it. But the people who ask questions, who want to get it, who I can see trying to process it and who want to help...I love you all the more for it!

I almost feel bad

I just received a customer response comment from the company I mentioned in my last post...and for whatever reason--maybe it's because I'm a nice person and feel bad when I complain--I felt a little bad. For the record, I have had excellent customer service from them in the's just these last few months that I've been a little frustrated over my shipment. I guess it makes sense that they found my post and commented on it...I'm guessing part of their customer service duties is to scour the Internet for any mention of their name. And I don't think I'm an unreasonable customer, so I don't think I should feel bad about it.

They left me a name and number to contact, so I'll do that, but honestly I may just switch over to Medtronic because of faster shipping. I don't even blame the company I use for that since they're based in Florida, and clearly it's going to take a little longer to travel to Oregon. But if Medtronic can ship it faster, then I may switch over just for that benefit.

I know my blog isn't private, but it's always a little surprise when you realize that people do, in fact, read your words!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

One of these is not like the other

Picture is blurry, but you can see that these are test strips. One is blue. The other is black. This is my garbage basket full of peanuts from my shipment of sensors.

I was cleaning up my room a bit and of course, there are several test strips on my bed and on the floor. I start tossing them, until I look down at the floor and see a black test strip. My test strips are blue--I've never used a black test strip...never even knew that One Touch strips came in different colors. Confused, I picked it up and looked at it--this was definitely not one of mine. This is really weirding me out at the moment. I don't know where it came from. Maybe I carried it in on the bottom of one of my shoes? That's the only explanation I can think of, anyway. But it's really tripping me out to see a test strip on my floor that did not come from my own supply!


I don't want to seem like I complain a lot--I really don't! But, it's easy to talk about the "bad" instead of the "good," especially when venting. And that's what blogs are for, right?

So I'll mention the "good" first. I'm grateful to feel my lows. I really am. I know there are many out there who don't feel their lows until they're in the 40s or lower, and I know there are many who don't feel them at ALL and just happen to catch them by chance. I've also heard your sensitivity to lows can decrease the longer you have D--not sure if that's true or not. Sure, there have been a few times in my D life that I've been on the low side and thought, strange, I feel completely fine! But, most of the time, I feel my lows, and I'm especially glad I feel them while I am asleep.

I usually wake up 2-3 times a night, sometimes more, and that's without my pump & sensor vibrating and beeping. Last night, I woke up around 2:30...nothing out of the ordinary for me. Check my sensor and it says 100. Good, all is well, so I close my eyes, ready to fall back to sleep. No...something is wrong. I feel a little off. I feel weak. So I test and my meter says 62. Only then do I notice the sweat piling up. Also, I'm really hungry and want food, not glucose tabs. I had maybe half of an Odwalla bar in my purse, so I eat it and lay back down, trying to be patient and let my blood sugar rise. Now I'm really noticing the shakiness and the weakness and the sweatiness. It's hard to be patient, but I know it's not going to do me any good unless I wait at least 10 min. Check again: 144. Whaaa? No way can it come up that fast from a bar, plus I still feel sweaty and shaky. Re-check: 70. I'm glad I can trust my instincts! 70 isn't good enough, so I grab a glucose tab and wait until the shakes and sweats disappear. And my boyfriend managed to stay awake until I felt better (I woke him up).

I'm not sure why I went low... I was a little high at bedtime and corrected, but I also worked out that evening and my body is SO sensitive to exercise. Or maybe it's sensitive because I haven't worked out in months! My roommate bought the Jillian Michaels 30-day Shred video and we did level 1 right before seeing the final Harry Potter movie. I really recommend that video if you want a good workout and don't have time for the gym. Serious, my legs were weak by the time I was done! And also, my blood sugar dropped from 160 to 118 within TEN minutes and I needed to chug some juice in order to keep going. I really think exercising plus not eating a substantial dinner is what caused my low.

#1 disappointment: My sensor is SUPPOSED to catch my lows. That's one of its sole purposes. My sensor has very often said I'm going low as my blood sugar drops through the night when in fact, I am not actually low. So I'm somewhat upset it didn't catch this low. It said I was 100 (no arrows) and I was actually 62.

2nd "good" part. I'm glad I have access to D supplies. I'm glad I have insurance and that it doesn't cost me too much to have the supplies that keep me alive and thriving. I'm lucky and I know that.

Now for the 2nd disappointment of the day! I cannot remember why I don't use Medtronic for my D supplies. I get all my supplies (minus my sensors) from a company called CCS Medical. I've had a great experience with them until recently--they don't seem to understand that I want EXACTLY what my prescription says. I don't care that I have "enough" to "get me by."

My prescription was updated by my endo (since she forgot to update it this year and I was having a problem with not getting enough test strips) and so I was confused when I got my recent shipment and only 5 boxes were inside. There should be 6. I figured it was just a simple misread of my updated prescription, so I called CCS this morning to get it straightened out. I explained to the guy what was going on and he asked if I had enough to get me to the next shipment. I said yes, but I should know by now to just say no. So he went over my next order and said they'd send me 6 the next time. I said okay great, but can I please get my other box for this last shipment? He said, well you have enough to get you through. Well, I know, but I like to have extra, just in case. Plus, my prescription from my endo is for SIX boxes, so I'd like to get my full amount. He said he understood and that he would send out another box.

I don't understand why it's been such a struggle lately to get my full amount of supplies, especially when I used to get 19 total for 3 months. I don't think they understand that as a customer, I am entitled to get what my prescription allows for. And I'm really close to telling them I am done with them and switching over to Medtronic for everything. Plus, Medtronic is faster with their shipments and that alone is reason enough for me to switch.

Customer service is really what makes or breaks your relationship with a company or organization. I don't want it to be a struggle. I don't want to keep explaining to them why I want and need all my test strips. And I don't think I should have to.

Monday, July 18, 2011

I love Medtronic

I really do--and no one made me say that! I'm talking about their customer service (not the pump). Though I will say I like my pump a lot as far as insulin pumps go, but I can't actually claim that it's the best because I haven't tried any others.

Medtronic's customer service is AWESOME. I've never had a bad moment with them and they are always so quick to respond and deliver--I love it!

Last Friday, I had 2 fails. First, my sensor does NOT seem to last more than 6 days. I don't know what it is, but after I re-start it on the 7th day (the Medtronic sensor times out on its own every 3 days), it just goes wonky. And by wonky, I mean one minute it will say 109 with 2 arrows down and the next reading will say 240 with 2 arrows up. A little unnerving. That's usually when I know it's time to change it because if I wait all day for it to "right" itself, it never happens. Eventually it will just lose the sensor and refuse to be renewed. I gave it the benefit of the doubt last Thursday and didn't change it...until finally it said, "change sensor." Of course it was in the middle of the night and I was not at my house, so I couldn't switch it out.

The next morning, I tried to test my blood meter counted down like usual, and after 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, I got a "WARNING. CHANGE BATTERY." Um, what?! Thanks for wasting my test strip, meter. So I take out the strip, turn it will turn on and perform functions, but it will NOT let me test my blood. I swear I've gotten this warning before and it still lets me test--that's why it's called a warning! It's warning you of the battery being low...and if it's able to turn on, I don't see why it won't let me test. I pulled an old trick I use on the remotes and switched the batteries to their opposite sides. It doesn't work... The meter is too smart for that.

I checked my extra battery. No access to my supplies since I'm not home yet. And I didn't want to drive without testing first. I felt fine, but didn't want to chance it. And I've found that if I worry about going low while driving, chances are my brain will trick myself into thinking I am low. I took the battery out of my pump and put it in the meter....test...97. Put it back in the pump and headed to my car, only to get the beep of "failed battery test" from my pump.

I drove home, grabbed my stash of batteries and replaced both in the meter and the one in my pump. I know it doesn't seem like a big deal, and it's not, but I just don't want to deal with this sometimes, ya know? So one problem was I just needed a new sensor.

I had called Medtronic the day before to order new sensors. One nice thing is you can order supplies yourself, so it's pretty easy to just get what you want. But the automated response told me they wouldn't ship for 2 weeks so I talked to someone and she ensured me they'd ship out Friday and be at my house Monday. Awesome. I have 2 sensors left so shouldn't be a problem. Also, I was happy with the fact that I got my last shipment in November, which means I managed to make my 3-month supply last about 8 months (I think I took a month off though at one point).

So, I prepped my skin and tried to insert the needle...something weird happened and the needle didn't go in all the way. I don't know if the inserter got stuck or I wasn't placing it right, but the needle only went in half way. I stared at it for a second before deciding to pull it out and toss it. Ok, no problem, I still had one left. I prepped, inserted...and the SAME thing happened. Hmmm. This time I decided to just manually push in the needle until the tape sticks. So I did and it looked ok, but my pump did not find the sensor after many, many attempts.

I always feel a little lost without my sensor working, but it's kind of nice to get a break from it too. But much to my surprise, my sensors DID get here today and once again, Medtronic came through for me. Hopefully I've learned my lesson--make sure you always have at least one extra battery on hand...and don't wait until the last minute to order supplies--even when you think you should be set!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Going gluten-free

I've only gone GF once before when I did an elimination diet for 4 weeks to see if certain foods were bothering me. I actually can't remember how I felt afterwards, but I do remember that I felt like complete shit going cold turkey with no coffee and that dairy and I are not the best mix. Every now and then I think about going GF, even for just a little while, to see if it benefits me. I was tested last year to see if I was allergic to gluten, which I wasn't, but I think there's a different test for gluten allergies vs Celiac. Even though I wasn't allergic to gluten, I definitely get that fuzzy-headed, spaced out feeling throughout the day, and I wonder if following a GF diet for a little while would help with that.

If you follow Cooking Light, they posted this cool deal today for someone to win a free copy of their new GF cookbook. All you have to do is tell them about your GF story--why you follow a GF diet, struggles and successes with it, etc. Thought I'd share it with my DOC friends who might be interested!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Do you have a Monday mantra?

Last week was a short week, which meant more work and less time to finish it. As the work kept piling on last Friday, I could feel the stress build...and even when I finally left for the day, my mind was racing with what I had to do for Monday.

It is really hard for me to relax, which seems weird because my overall attitude is laidback and I tend to easily go with the flow. BUT, I have always been prone to anxiety and I have always stressed out internally. So even though I appear calm, cool and collected when faced with various projects and deadlines, I internally stress out and my body feels every bit of it. And therefore, my blood sugar feels it.

Sometimes it's hard for me to do it, but I need those breaks...I need those reminders to relax and those self-checkpoints to make sure my shoulders are not tensing and I am actually breathing. Yes, when I stress or am anxious, I tend to tense and hold my breath and do other not-so-good-for-me things like not drink enough water or not look away from my computer, or move much for that matter.

So as I completed my work today, I was thinking about how I need a mantra for Monday (or any day really!) when I realize I am starting to stress out. My therapist actually recommended some kind of meditation workshop, which I should probably look into before I see her again so I don't seem like I'm slacking.

It's just crazy how much stress really IS a factor in your blood sugar levels. My blood sugar is normally so much better on the weekends because I'm much more active and usually there is nothing to stress about! I have actually witnessed my blood sugar dropping after work as I drive home.

OH and I FINALLY started logging my blood sugar #s, food intake and my boluses. Happy Monday to all!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My sensor skills are off

Yesterday, my sensor was pretty much spot on. I love when I feel like I can rely on my sensor. But is a different story. Today my sensor was mostly off--and I mean, 100 points off. Not cool. Just now it went to over 400, which doesn't even register on the graph. And yes, I am high in real life, but not 400 high...not even 300 high! I was 287.

Why am I 287? Because I refused to believe I needed THAT much insulin for grapes... grapes! I haven't eaten them in a while and I recalled 15 grapes being 15 carbs. But with my new ratio, I wouldn't get what I used to get for 15 carbs...I'd be getting more. And for some reason, that seemed like too much to me. And there may have also been a few extra grapes popped into my mouth that I didn't account for.

Anyway, after only two days, I decide that I should switch out my sensor right now. In the meantime, my roommates are in the living room laughing and I am grumbling to myself over diabetes in my room. Being at 287? Sucks. Sensor lasting only 2 days? Double sucks. Diabetes: 2 Val: 0!

Even though I'm grumbling, I'm not too upset. I am just going to correct and move on...and remember that even though grapes seem small and harmless, they will fu*k your sugars up!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

wacky readings

Sometimes, it doesn't matter what you do...and I really just don't get it sometimes! My numbers were really wacky yesterday. I think part of it was I was relying on my sensor and it started tweaking out, which is always a sign that it's going to need switching out. Not being able to get a handle on your blood sugar is frustrating. I just let it go yesterday and kept trying to stabilize my level without getting annoyed. I eventually got it at a decent # for bedtime and woke up at 122. Ok, not terrific, but not terrible either. I will take it!

Then comes...10g of carbs. Doesn't seem like that much, right? All I had was a multi-grain waffle and a few sips of coffee. I've had this breakfast plenty of times...I even bolused 10 min before eating this time, which I usually don't do in the morning because usually I am running late.

I feel fine...slightly hungry, so I test. Sensor shows me at 205, but I figure it's off since it's been 3 HOURS since I ate breakfast and I should be good to go by now.

Test shows 258. WTF?!

Ugh, I can't tell you how annoying it is when a measly 10g of carbs makes your blood sugar rise. Yes, it's the first day back to work after a 3-day weekend, but I don't feel stressed so I can't figure out WHY my blood sugar would rise that much. And it's even more annoying when you're hungry and want to eat. When I'm this high, I never eat, even if I'm hungry. I'll wait at least 30 min-1 hour so the correction has time to lower my level. I have a sit-down job, so I can't really do much exercise to help bring it down unless I take a break and go for a short walk...but that's hard to do when you have deadlines and it's a short week.

I'm also annoyed because I still don't have my shipment of supplies, which I knew would happen. I'm actually going to call and complain, even though I really do like my medical company. I really didn't like the last lady I talked to, and she was the one who said, "well, you shouldn't run out of supplies, so hopefully they'll be there Friday." BUT, she was snotty about it. All I asked for was the supplies to be sent out a DAY earlier because I knew they'd be delayed with the Monday holiday. And yes, I still have enough supplies, but that's not the point! They used to tide me over with an extra box of test strips, and she seemed to think they shouldn't be giving me an extra box. And that ONE extra day of not having test strips can make a difference, so I feel like I should call in and explain my frustration.

Meh, I don't want this kind of stuff to ruin my day, but it's definitely making me a little annoyed!

Friday, July 1, 2011

I'm outraged...are you?

If you follow Diabetic Living on Facebook or are a regular on Diabetes Mine, you might have already seen this. If not, you should check it out!

If you have or know something with diabetes (which I think ya DO!), then fill out a postcard. It just takes a couple of clicks--and if we all do it, it will hopefully get the message across that this is urgent and necessary and SHOULD be a priority.

I'm outraged...are you?

If we all take small steps, it will lead to one BIG stand. It's time to stand up for yourself and the one(s) you love!

Happy Friday :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

foods that make you go hmmm

Have you ever noticed how certain food seems to mess with your blood sugar? You give yourself the correct dose and it doesn't matter. I don't know what it is, but those foods do not comply with the rules of your programmed ratio.

This happens when I eat certain granola bars, like Odwalla. No matter what, I always need a few more units because I always end up a little on the high side.

And it happens with chips. All I had for lunch was a tuna fish sandwich on wheat (26g) and Kettle Honey Dijon chips (30g for the bag). I'm feeling fine right now, but my sensor is showing me in the 250s and it's been 2 1/2 hours since I've eaten. So I check and my meter says I'm actually 290.

Shit. Not good. I should not be 290. Correction says 1.5 units.

That's like eating another 18g of carbs (for me). So where does this 18g of carbs come from? I know my ratio is right (or so I think) because it works fine with other foods. I've noticed I'm a little on the high side after lunch, which could be work maybe I just need more insulin, but 1.5 extra units? This always seems to happen with chips...even the "healthy" kind that don't have as a many carbs.

Do any of you (or your kids) have foods that throw a wrench in your ratio? And I'm not talking about eating a bunch of foods in a row...obviously it is a little more difficult to bolus when you eat several things with varying levels of carbs/fat/protein. I'm talking one food item that does serious damage...that makes you say, "really?" when you check your blood sugar 2 hours later.

I'm tempted to just not eat these foods, but maybe I should just be paying attention to them and bolus more since I know they will mess with me every time.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

customer service makes all the difference

What's worse than having to deal with medical companies over the phone? Talking to people who sound like automated messages!

I got my monthly call today to confirm my diabetes supplies shipment. I thought I confirmed it a couple weeks ago, but I guess that one wasn't official enough. Yes, I have the same address and email. Yes, you can disclose info to my parents. Then it comes to discussing what's IN the shipment. She asked me how many boxes of lancets I have.

Me: "Oh, um, I have a lot. Maybe 10 boxes? I probably don't need any extras."

Her: "Do you switch out lancets every time you test?"

Me: "No...maybe every 2-3 times." This is a lie. I switch it out every day.

Her: "Ok, well when you do that, you're mixing old blood with new blood, so it does put you at risk for an infection."

Me: "Mmk." (Look lady, I know that. I don't need you to tell me.)

Her: How many test strips?

Me: "Oh, 2 boxes, I think." (This is a lie...I have 3. But I know how these things work. I'd rather not let on that I have extras.)

Her: "Ok, so we'll send you 5 boxes."

Me: "Wait, when I used to get a 3-month supply, I got 19. So shouldn't I be getting 6?"

Her: "Well, you shouldn't have been getting 19. You should have gotten 18."

Me: "I think they gave me an extra box to hold me over since sometimes the shipment took a week to get to me. But even still, that should be SIX boxes."

Her: "Well, I'm just going off of the amount you have left."

Me: (This is where I start to get a little annoyed) "My dr. wrote a prescription for me to get a certain amount, so I want that exact amount. I use my strips sparingly sometimes so I can have some backups, just in case."

Her: "Ok, well we'll give you 6 then." (Damn straight, you will!) "And that will go out June 27th."

Me: "Is there ANY way to send that out a little earlier? Sometimes it takes a week...and if it's over the weekend, then it takes even longer."

Her: "Well, you shouldn't be running out of any test strips." (I really didn't appreciate her tone here. Clearly, she didn't get it and didn't at least pretend to be on my side. Other people I've talked to there totally gave off the impression that they were on MY side, which I appreciate.)

Me: "Yeah, well, I just wanted to see..."

Her: "It's going out on a Monday, so hopefully you'll get it Friday."

Here's where I just give up and get off the phone. HOPEFULLY?! I have never gotten my shipment within 4 days. She even said..."expect it btwn 5-7 days." Hello?! This is why you guys USED to give me an extra box as a little buffer.

I had a feeling she was getting a little uppity with me, but I don't really care...I have a right to demand things when it comes to managing my health! I usually talk to such friendly and understanding people there, so it was strange for me to get this inflexible lady with a flat tone. I should let my mom talk to them...I swear, moms have the magic touch and make things happen a lot faster!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

It's gettin' REAL

This has nothing to do with diabetes, but I wanted to share this because it is awesome! For any foodie out there (or anyone in the pacific NW really) you will appreciate this video.
On a diabetes-related note, I have got to be way better about my post-dinner/nighttime readings. They suck. I admire all the D-Moms who put so much work and effort into figuring out what's going on with their kids' blood sugar levels. It's time I put the same effort into myself!
This means...more logging. More paying attention to what I'm eating and how my blood sugar levels are affected. And more exercise. It's so basic, so why does it seem so hard sometimes?

Monday, June 13, 2011

one negative thought can lead to another

Last weekend, we celebrated my mom's bday with a family BBQ at my brother & sister-in-law's place. Even though I have moments where diabetes escapes my mind for a while, it is never gone for long. It is so present, so demanding. It affects my way of thinking. It pushes other thoughts out of my head, demanding that I only think about IT. And sometimes, it's hard to not let it take control. But it does and it overpowers me, leaving me with negative thoughts. Leaving me feeling annoyed, jealous and angry at the unfairness of it all.

What were these moments that made me go to the dark place?

Playing with my nephew. My nephew is 18 months. He is happy. He is adorable. And he's busy! He's at that stage where he doesn't really want to be picked up and held anymore--he wants to be down on the ground, walking quickly and exploring. I learned this very quickly as I chased after him. He is persistent. Enter diabetes-related, I'm already exhausted! How am I ever going to have a baby? What if I'm having a low while my busy toddler is running around? How will I manage?

Cut to us eating our delicious grilled hamburgers. Inner monologue again...Well, I never eat a burger so I'm going to enjoy this. In fact, I can't remember the last burger I had--all I eat are veggie burgers or salmon burgers. I will just SWAG this and correct later if need be.

Hour later...dessert. More monologue. Well, when is the last time you had cake? And it's gluten-free, so that's good. I will just have a few bites of cake. Oh, and some ice cream. Everyone else is eating dessert--I want to eat dessert too. I'll just guess at the carbs. Look at everyone eating their cake and ice cream. THEY don't have to worry about everything they just ate. They're not even THINKING about the food and the havoc it'll wreak on their blood sugars. They're so lucky. How did I wind up with type 1? It's not fair. I want my freedom back.

As I watch my brother let my nephew have a couple small pieces of the chocolate cake part...they're so lucky not having to figure out how much insulin he needs. Yes, he's busy, but he's not a busy baby with type 1. (This is where my mind flashes to the D-Mom do they do it?)

Afterwards...I am stuffed. Sensor is showing me around 200 which isn't bad. But then there's the fat...oh, the fat. This is what keeps me high for hours. And I feel sort of shitty for having consumed things I don't normally eat. Yes, it seems worth it at the time, but later it never seems worth it, especially when I wonder how long it will take for my blood sugar to FINALLY come down. When it does, I'm relieved and I can go to sleep. Until the next day...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

it takes a few tries, but eventually the truth comes out!

So, a few posts ago, I blogged about my medical company sending me the wrong number of test strips. I find that the more calls you make, the more information you find out. I don't know why everything can't be figured out during the first call, but I guess that's the way it goes. So, eventually, I find out that it isn't my medical company who made the mistake. The reason I've only been getting 5 boxes at a time (instead of 6 or 7) is because of my endo. My ENDO made the error. They should have the correct info on my file, right? Guess not!

Every year, my endo has to fill out paperwork and "renew" my prescriptions for the medical company. The nice lady on the phone told me that someone in her office probably filled it out and the endo signed off without checking. And because she has so many of these to complete, mistakes like this happen. Well, my endo signed the paperwork so that I would get the amount of test strips I used to get--not the amount I currently get and have been getting for the last 6 months or more. GRRR. So I call and make sure my endo's office knows they will be getting paperwork from my medical company requesting to increase my prescription from 7x a day to 10x a day.

I know that sounds like a lot, BUT I don't always test that much AND it is nice to have a backup supply. And really, I think it is extremely easy to test that often and sometimes it is completely valid. If you test before every meal, that is at least 3-4 times a day already. Let's say you get a crazy high--test again to double check. Maybe you get a crazy low--well, you have to test again to make sure it comes up. Maybe it doesn't come up--test again. Maybe you're sick--test again. What if you work out a lot and your blood sugars drop easily? Test once mid-workout, then test again post-workout (especially before getting in a car). Maybe you got an "error" message and need another test. There are SO many things like that, so I have to laugh when people on the other line make subtle gasping noises when I tell them my prescription is for 10x a day. Really, I want to say to those people, come back to me when you have type 1 diabetes! I've also had to explain to them that I sometimes go through dizzy/low blood pressure phases, so sometimes I test to make sure I'm not low. But really, I shouldn't have to explain myself!

Monday, June 6, 2011

wedding day!

My blood sugar #s might have played nice for my friend's bachelorette party, but they were not so nice after the wedding. It was mostly my fault though...I didn't calculate right. And I may have done that thing where I eat without thinking, like when I tossed back several of those mint candies. I used to LOVE those when I was younger, so those combined with a couple bites of cake are what made my numbers spike up to 300 later that night. I'm always amazed that even the smallest indulgence or just a few missed carbs can do that. I try not to worry about what that level does to my body, but I can't help but think about it, even for just a few seconds.

Besides that annoying # later, I had fun at my friend's wedding, which I guess is what matters most. And it was also sunny and beautiful, so that made for a happy weekend. I've noticed once those warm summer nights start, I want frozen yogurt and gelato, which is not the best craving for me to have. I ended up getting frozen yogurt with my roommate and was pleasantly surprised when a couple hours later I was 200...not toooo bad. And after a small correction, I was within a normal range a couple hours later. I know they say you can eat whatever you want when on an insulin pump, but I don't think I should be making a habit out of eating ice cream every week. Sometimes I have to remind myself that it's not necessarily about diabetes, but it is about knowing what is good and healthy for my body so that I feel well overall.

Enjoying a glass of wine before the ceremony.

Before the wedding--on the bridge with the bf.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

bachelorette fun & old friends

So far, my 3-day weekend has been a lot of fun, though my 26-year-old body is tired. I've been proud of myself for doing some successful SWAGing, which isn't always the case. I can't explain it, but sometimes you just get that "this is right" feeling and know how much insulin to bolus, even when your pump says otherwise. And it's a good feeling when you get it right.

Yesterday, I did something I have never really done. I spent the whole day drinking. I'm not a huge drinker, but I will occasionally have a glass of wine with dinner or a couple drinks when I'm out with friends. Why was I drinking all day? Well, it was my friend's bridal shower/bachelorette party and she decided to do wine tasting. One of her bridesmaids had hired a limo so we were able to have fun and not worry about driving. Plus it's just fun to have that limo experience! We drove to Dundee where there are a LOT of wineries, and I highly recommend going to Dundee if you enjoy wine and beautiful views. :) Also, it doesn't seem like you are drinking that much, but those little samples catch up to you! After Dundee, we went back to Portland and had dinner & drinks. You would think we wouldn't want any more after all that wine, but when you drink slowly over several hours, it doesn't seem as bad. After dinner, we went to a low-key bar and played pool, then went to a karaoke bar and danced. After all the food, drinks & dancing, my night time reading was 112. Pretty good, but I knew it was too low for bedtime, especially after so much drinking. I've noticed that if I have at least 15g of carbs without bolusing, it works out for me. My morning reading was 86 so I was glad I had eaten something.

I'm excited for my friend and it was also good to see her. She is in law school in Missouri, so I haven't seen her for a couple years. And it was mostly girls I went to college with, so it was fun to see each other and reminisce. This is the stuff that makes me forget about dealing with diabetes...though I did talk to them all about it and showed them my pump. My friend's soon-to-be sis-in-law was telling me how her mom has type 2, so I told her I am type 1. Her first response was something like, "but you're so small!" as if weight and type 1 go hand in hand. I explained to her that type 1 is different...and it is true that you can become insulin resistant if you are overweight, but that's not always the case with type 2 either. Just another chance to educate people, I guess!

Our swanky limo!

The soon-to-be bride & me

One of my college roommies & me

Clinking glasses

On the way to dinner

Thursday, May 26, 2011

5 + 5 + 5 does not equal 19

I love the medical company that delivers my diabetes supplies, but every now and then, something screwy happens with my shipment. I try not to get annoyed about it because they always, always fix it and make it better, but when you're dealing with a 24/7 nuisance (diabetes, I'm talking to YOU), any little thing that goes wrong seem like a pain in the ass--especially since I had this very conversation a month ago!

Ok, so, up until this year, I was getting a 3 months supply of test strips along with stuff for my pump. I like having this little stockpile; it's comforting to have reserves. So something must have changed with my insurance because starting this year, they won't let me have a 3 months supply of test strips. They will only allow ONE month at a time, which I think is total BS. So I was very surprised when I got 5 boxes and not my usual 19, until I called them and they explained this new restriction. Bummer. Well then I told them...shouldn't I get 6 boxes then, at least? They said no problem and shipped me out another box. Well then this month rolled around and I called to confirm they were being sent out. The lady told me they weren't going out for another week and I said no, that will have been over a month and I need my test strips. No problem, she said. And I told her what had happened last time, walked her through the whole thing, and she was very understanding and said she'd send out the correct amount. Great, right? Well, no. I got my test strips fast, which was awesome, but guess what happened when I opened the package? Yup, that's right--FIVE boxes. Ugh. So I call them today and explain to this lady about what happened last time and what happened this time. I mean, I don't think it's that's simple math! 5 + 5 + 5 does NOT equal 19! I'm never rude to them though because they are always so pleasant and helpful. I told her I used to get 19 boxes for 3 months, so it doesn't make any sense to get 5 boxes for one month. I should have gotten 6, 6, then 7. After putting me on hold for a couple, she got back on and said she had no idea why they did that and she'd send me another box today and I would get my 7 in the next shipment.

Also, I really don't understand insurance companies. What is the differece whether I get a 1-month supply or a 3-month? You are going to get the money, either way. I am going to keep needing them every's not like that's going to change any time soon!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

give me a break!

No, not a diabetic break--even though I would like one.

I need a break from these embarrassing moments! There is a new copywriter on our team and I called her over to my cube so I could show her some social media stuff. Of course at that EXACT moment, my pump starts this point, I'm not concerned because when I checked it last, I knew I wasn't low or high. I decided to ignore and keep talking, but it's hard to not be distracted when your chest is vibrating. And why the heck does it have to vibrate like 5 or 6 times in a row? 2 or 3 times...fine, got your notice, pump, but more than that? C'mon!

So I continue to talk and it continues to vibrate while I will it to shut up. As we're wrapping up our conversation, my pump starts BEEPING, which is what I get, I guess, for ignoring it. Well, I can't hide the fact that something is beeping when she's sitting right next to me, so I reach up, pull it out of my bra and say "that's my insulin pump." She thought it was a pager (of course), and I was like "no no, I am a type 1 diabetic and instead of taking insulin shots, I'm on an insulin pump that's attached 24/7. So it's just vibrating and beeping at's complicated. " Seriously, why am I so awkward at work when it comes to this? I think it's because I'm not prepared for it. When I've told people in the past, it was because I wanted to and was prepared and I chose to, not because my loud, obnoxious pump forced me to do it! Anyway, we laughed and joked about it a bit, but it's gotta be weird to see something like that. I mean, think about it. Think if you didn't know anything about diabetes...what would you think if you saw or heard something like that beeping? What would you think if someone said the words "insulin pump" to you? Having diabetes definitely feels like being in your own little world sometimes! I think that's one of the great things about meeting other type oners--you don't have to explain anything. Everything is understood in an instant. It's that OK feeling knowing that someone else is "like" us, someone else goes through the same thoughts and feelings and experiences.

I don't blame them though--for not knowing more, for making jokes, for not knowing the "right" thing to say. People have different ways of reacting and processing information. I can't say that I knew all the intricate details of diabetes other than the classic symptoms. You don't really know until it happens to you, until you live it every day. And you don't always care about a cause unless it's close to you somehow--whether it's you, a family member or a friend. Yes, there are things I am passionate about that don't directly affect me or someone I know, but if you think about it, the things you care most about are usually related to you or someone you love. And I think that's human nature, so it's OK that not everyone understands--as long as they try once you tell them.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

well, that was embarrassing!

At age 26, I still have my spaztic, awkward moments. Add diabetes into the mix, and it opens the gates for embarrassing moments you never would have thought of!

Everyone at work (okay, mostly everyone) knows I am a type 1 diabetic. After 3 years of working there, I have opened up and told people, especially when the moment presented itself for me to explain. And if they didn't know, they definitely knew after my little trip to the ER! No, that wasn't diabetes-related (I don't think), but I thought it was at the time...turns out I have vasovagal syncope.

Anyway, back to my embarrassing moment. I keep my pump in my clip--just underneath and tucked in. I'm constantly reaching up or down my shirt when I need to bolus or fiddle with it when it starts vibrating and beeping at me. And while I try to discrete about it, I am not what you would call a subtle person! Also, even though mostly everyone I work with knows I am type 1, only a few know about my insulin pump and other details.

Sometimes when I whip it out at my desk, in the "privacy" of my cube, I keep it on my lap and don't put it back in my bra. And today, I did just that...left it on my lap and continued to work. Side note: I've been really busy all week and today was no different! I had been going back and forth with buyers and design and account managers about how to word something in our ad. I was finishing up our food pages for a writer who was out sick. Trying to respond to customers on our social media sites as well as write posts for the day. All week, I have been working non-stop and feeling my brain has been a little fried, which leads to more spaztic moments.

So I left it in my lap and was clicking away on the keyboard when one of my co-workers walked by to confirm the ad we had worked on earlier was good to go. We both had an ad change for it and so forgetting that I had my pump in my lap, I got up to grab the ad change from her so I could write on it. And then my pump drops down, dangling from its wire. Ummmm, awkward.
Holding an ad change in one hand, I grabbed at my pump with the other and said something like, "Uhh that's my insulin pump and it just fell out of my bra." Her response: "Oh! Are you OK?" Me: Uhh yeah, I'm fine. I keep it in my bra and it fell out." And then I proceeded to stick it UP my shirt. This is IN the aisle. At my workplace. And why did I say the bra part out loud? In that moment, I had forgotten it was in my lap, so I blurted without thinking. I don't know why, but it all just came tumbling out all awkwardly--much like my pump!

Monday, May 16, 2011

late-night munching

Before I start this post, I just have to say that my apidra and sensor have been playing very nice the last couple days. The apidra seems to be catching spikes (at the moment) and the sensor has been pretty accurate and helpful. I'm still unsure of my feelings about the Medtronic sensor though...maybe one day I can get a Dex to compare them and know for sure.

Anyhoo. This question has been on my mind for a while now after reading some you participate in a late-night snack on purpose? I remember when I was first diagnosed and learning a shit ton about diabetes, I heard that a bedtime snack can be helpful in maintaining blood sugar levels. SO I did that, until it didn't really work for me to do that anymore. I now only participate in late-night snacking when I feel like it, or when I need to for low blood sugar purposes. I'm just curious if it helps your blood sugars or not. For me, personally, I don't want to wake up with a high AND I will admit, I'd rather not have IOB (insulin on board/in my system) when falling into a deep sleep. My body has woken me almost every time I've had a low in the middle of the night (which is not often), but the thought of me unable to wake up is somewhat terrifying. This is why it can be comforting sleeping next to someone, especially someone who goes to bed later than you and hears your sensor going off before you do!

Sometimes, the thought of insulin working away in my system scares me. I try to tell myself that my pancreas did it all the time, and I was never scared then....then again, my pancreas is SUPPOSED to know what to do at any given moment...that was its SOLE FUNCTION. I never knew how hard it had to work. And now that it has failed me, I have to do all the guesswork and though it's "easy" sometimes, it's also hard, scary, overwhelming, etc. the other times. Most of the time it's just second nature, but there are times when I just can't help but think of all the extra work and effort I have to put into keeping myself healthy and alive. If I think too much about the thought that I have to keep myself alive every day, I feel defeated, depressed, paralyzed. I can't think like that, otherwise I wouldn't be able to keep going.

It's funny how easily you can go to a dark place because of diabetes! I started off with the topic of late-night snacking and then went to the daily struggle it can sometimes be. On the outside, I may look healthy, happy and just fine...but on the inside, the death of my pancreas is something that I will never completely get over.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

blood sugar, you suck

I've been trying to be more positive and just roll with it, but sometimes it's easier said than done! The title of this is taken from my Facebook status...blood sugar, you suck.

One of the things I really just HATE about diabetes is when it stops me from doing the things I want to do. Maybe it doesn't always stop me completely, but it definitely delays. And then I have to slow down, I have to stop, I have to monitor...I can't just go full force ahead with things. I am impatient. I have energy. I am stubborn. I don't want to stop, but diabetes forces me to. I try not to let it have control over me, but sometimes it just does. That's reality.

The last 2 nights, my sensor has alarmed me non-stop with low alerts. Yes, I was dropping in the morning, but I wasn't in danger of going too low, so it was more annoying than helpful. This morning it kept up its beeping. I checked a couple of times and could tell that I was dropping, but still nothing dangerous, so I let it be. I've made the mistake of eating a glucose tablet before and then waking up to a less-than-ideal #. So it's in the 90s, then I wake up and it's in the 80s...perfect, right? I would think so. I get up, I get ready for work, I make breakfast...bolus for slice of toast, but not for coffee (which has milk in it) because I'm worried that maybe I am going to go low. So it's almost an hour later and my sensor is telling me I'm low, so I test because I'm about to drive to work anyway, and get a 72. Hmmm, odd. Should be higher than that.

I don't know about anyone else, but when this happens, I don't really feel like getting in a car and driving somewhere. I guess what scares me is I have seen the wacky things my blood sugar can do. I've seen it rise really high really fast and I've seen it drop really quickly, too. It could go either way and I don't really want to be in a car while that happens. In the past, while low, I mean really low, I have been known to be really stubborn...kind of like when I was in the low 30s and decided to keep driving to my house while chomping down glucose tablets and checking my blood sugar while speeding down the freeway, even though I should have pulled over! I'll just blame my low blood sugar for impairing my judgment.

So today, diabetes is delaying me from going into work. I had a meeting at 8:30, so I got someone to cover, but I actually WANT to go into work. I don't want to be sitting around my house waiting until I know I am really okay to drive and function like a "normal" human being.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hi, I'm Val & I have type 1 diabetes

How do you bring up that you have diabetes? Or that your kid(s) have it? It's not always easy to know when is the right time to bring it up, and it's definitely not something that is easily understood by all. At the age of 26, after having it for 5.5 years, I'm pretty comfortable with telling people, but usually on a need to know basis. It's not something you can just bring up randomly in conversation unless it kind of leads you there. I don't think it's obvious that I have type 1 and most people after finding out say they wouldn't have known.

When I was first diagnosed, it was much harder to tell people. There were friends of mine I had known for years who didn't know me as someone with type 1 diabetes. I felt weird and awkward bringing it up, and I also didn't want to overwhelm people with all the info I could tell them once they started asking questions. The good thing is that none of my friends treated me differently, but they do ask me how I'm doing and I know they genuinely care. In fact, a lot of the time they forget I have it! But that was my main concern--I didn't want anyone to treat me differently or feel bad for me once I told them. When I first started my job, I didn't tell my boss for several months because I wanted him and everyone else there to know I could do my job. I could handle the workload and I didn't need to be treated differently than any other employee. As time passed, more and more people found out, but there are still new people who come in every year who don't know.

Today, I was grabbing some lunch in the cafeteria and ran into one of the girls who is temping on our floor. We started talking about food and how it can be hard to eat on a normal schedule when you're working in advertising, and she told me that her dad is hypoglycemic and that her mom has type 1 diabetes. I then blurted out, "I have type 1 diabetes." She seemed to know already, which I figured since a) it's pretty obvious from some of my Facebook posts and b) I wear a wrist band that says "diabetes" next to a medical alert symbol. It's always an instant bond though when you find someone who is somehow connected to diabetes. You can say words like "insulin pump" and not have to explain anything. It's almost like a sigh of relief to know there are other people out there who get it. Her mom also has Celiacs. Her mom even said she would take type 1 over Celiacs. That one surprised me! I don't have Celiacs, but there are so many more food options for people with Celiacs and gluten intolerances nowadays--it seems like anyway, I could be wrong. I think I would rather take Celiacs! I know you would have to be on a strict diet and it could be complicated, but so is diabetes. And I wouldn't have to worry about keeping myself ALIVE every day or have 2 things attached to my body. I think I would take Celiacs.

All I know is that even though I sometimes feel like diabetes is such a huge part of my life, I also don't want it to define my entire self. I don't want people to see me as Val, the diabetic. But I do want people to know that despite diabetes, I am proactive in taking care of myself and it's NOT a death sentence. And even though I think I can do anything a "healthy" person can do, I have come to accept that I can't always go at full steam. I may need to take a break to check my blood sugar or drink some juice. I may need your help and support at one point, but that's OK.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

what's the pattern here?

Diabetes continues to boggle my mind. I know people say that diabetes loves routine. That may be true most days, but some days, it doesn't seem to matter!

Yesterday was my first day with apidra. I don't know if I need to change my ratios AGAIN or if this is just due to being sick off and on, but I hovered in a somewhat high range all day yesterday. Today, my numbers are better, but I swear there is no rhyme or reason to it!

Example #1. I had the same breakfast 2 days in a row. One toasted Kashi 7-grain waffle with a small amount of PB and less than half a banana sliced on top and sprinkled with cinnamon + coffee. I usually only have a cup of coffee, but I almost never drink the whole thing. I've been worried lately that coffee is affecting my morning/afternoon readings, but it's not like I have that much, so I'm not sure if it plays a part.


My # seemed a bit high 2-3 hours after breakfast yesterday. Lame. Small correction. Get over it. TODAY, I had the SAME breakfast. I actually bolused less this time. I don't really know why I did, but I did. My # 2 hours later was better than yesterday's # 3 hours post-breakfast...and this was with LESS insulin.

Does that make ANY sense? No. It's so absurd sometimes that I just have to roll with it and move on, otherwise it would drive me crazy!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

seattle trip and insulin switch

Things have been "just ok." Not great, but not bad either. I'm still hovering in a high-ish range, but I think it's partly due to being sick and maybe even allergies. I've been off and on sick the last couple weeks, which isn't much fun, and I have a ton of sinus pressure going on. It also sucks being at work in front of a computer when you have a headache, sinus pressure, etc. All I want to do is close my eyes!

I did squeeze in some time for fun last weekend--a trip to Seattle to see 2 of my college roommates. It was fun just lounging around, going out to dinner and watching Glee. :)

I love these 2! Shortly after my diagnosis, they figured out how to bake cookies with less sugar and I so appreciated it. They have different ways of checking in with me, but because I'm so close with them, I don't mind their approaches or comments. I don't even mind being referred to as "the diabetic"--as in, oh, do we want to get lunch? Are you hungry? Well, wait, what does the diabetic need? I'm not offended...I know they are looking out for me and want to make sure what I need is taken into account. They also know that I am not very good at asking for help or admitting when I need something.

I just switched to apidra tonight so we'll see how it works over the next few days. I'm a little nervous since I know this is pretty fast-acting and I recently changed my ratios, but hopefully I will have nothing to worry about!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

my endo appt

The day had finally come...the endo appt. I was dreading. My last appt. didn't go so well. I knew my A1C was on the rise, but my last visit left me upset with an 8.1. Yikes. How did I let it get that bad? This is coming from someone who faced my diagnosis head on and brought it from an initial 12.8 to under 6%. I know I have to let that go and just work harder to bring it back down, but it's hard not to be disappointed in myself.

So today I went in fully expecting it to be the same or worse. I am still surprised by it...a 7.4. Now that is in no way ideal, but it's much better than an 8.1. I told her my numbers still weren't great and I feel like I'm hovering in the high range more often than not, so I didn't understand the drop in my A1C. I explained to her how I stay high after meals and I think my ratio needs changing, so I went from a 1:15 to a 1:12. It was weird to see all that extra insulin on board when I bolused for lunch...I don't know why, but it makes me nervous when I have more than 4 or 5 units on board. I also lowered my sensitivity since my correction doesn't seem to be working very well either.

I sometimes wonder how my stress level affects my blood sugar. My job is somewhat demanding...and there are lots of deadlines. I like being busy and being challenged, but I don't think my body deals well with any kind of stress. I unknowingly tense up! There was even a point when my blood sugar used to drop soon after leaving work, so I knew stress had to be an issue. But how do you measure stress? I guess when your hormones are out of whack, all you can do is play around with basals.

I'm happy about my lower A1C, but I still have a lot of work to do!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Arm sensor fail

After riding out my sensor for about 9-10 days and once it refused to find the sensor any more, I decided it was time for the ARM SITE. I asked my boyfriend last night if he would help me because I couldn't do the whole thing one handed and he agreed. I explained to him what I was doing as I prepped the inserter, and then I handed it to him and tried to explain his part. I'm not very good at explaining how to do things, so it wasn't going so smoothly on my end, but then he decided to just go for it. It stung a little more than usual and then proceeded to bleed. A lot. I had a sneaky suspicion it wouldn't do well with that much blood in the beginning, but I decided to wait it out and see. After 15-20 min., I had him connect the transmitter and then put the tape on. I have to admit, it was kind of fun to see someone else do it. He thought the needle was huge, btw! I actually don't think it looks that scary anymore, but I agree it does look big at first. And intimidating. And like it hurts.

Well, all night, I was VERY aware of the sensor. I could feel it every time I moved my arm and it also kind of hurt. I was looking in the mirror when he did it and I am the one who told him where to insert it, but I'm thinking it wasn't quite in the right spot since it bled so much and hurt. I'm used to having it in the fatty part of my stomach and not even knowing it's there! Before I went to bed, I glanced at it and thought it was even coming out a little, which makes sense since I move and bend my arm a lot more than I do my stomach or thigh. This is the part I don't does it stay in your arm so well? How are you not aware of it with every movement? The first couple readings were right on with my meter, but in the middle of the night, the sensor was weak and lost. I decided to take it out, and my boyfriend was nice enough to clean off the dried blood. I was a little grossed out, but he seemed to handle it fine! I'm looking at it for the first time just now and saw this lovely little bruise. I told my boyfriend not to feel bad and that it probably wasn't in the best spot. Any suggestions from the DOC on how to do arm sites? Best areas? Bad areas? For now it's back on my stomach...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

switchin up sensor sites

I'm tired of the so-so readings I get with my sensor on my stomach region. Sometimes it's spot-on and other times it's way off. I don't know about you all, but my sensor seems to get itself lost at least once a day, if not more. Not sure how this happens, but it's somewhat annoying. I've been reading some posts with people having success with arm sensor sites, so I tried to do that last weekend. I reached back, found a spot, clicked, inserted do I pull this thing away now? Needless to say, I did not succeed and ended up pulling out the entire needle. Ouch!

I decided to go with somewhere more reachable and inserted it into my outer thigh. I thought, briefly, about putting it more towards the butt area, but the thought of it accidentally hitting the toilet or being anywhere near the toilet grossed me out. I can be a germaphobe sometimes, even if it's not totally logical. So I went with the outer thigh area and it's been working pretty well for me, but I'm still itching to try my arm. I told my boyfriend that I wanted to try this and that I might need his help inserting it, but that I would do most of it and it would be easy. No big deal, I said. Part of me wants to see if he'll handle this okay or if he will be uncertain and squeamish. I'm not really sure how he is with seeing needles or the thought of inserting a needle. He doesn't have to do much though...the only thing I can't manage to do is pull the inserter away. I still find that thing a little intimidating! Not the needle part, but holding down the little sensor and pulling away the long inserter that seems to have a good grip. Also, I feel like every time I take the sensor out, it's a little bent, which makes me worry that I'm not doing it right, but I don't know how I'd be doing it wrong.

Any tips for how to do an arm site? Is it even doable on your own?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

where do you store yours?

When I was on shots/injections/whatever you wanna call 'em, I kept my insulin pens and cartridges in the fridge. When I went on vacation, I made sure the hotel had a mini fridge to store my insulin. At some point, over the years, I decided there was no point in keeping my insulin cold. I didn't think it had any affect on how effective it was, but now I am second guessing this. When my pump malfunctioned last year, I had to go back on shots for a few days. I was so not prepared for that, but I had tons of insulin pens in my parent's fridge, so I figured I'd be okay. Even though it was expired, I figured it would be safe and it was along the same lines of the FDA saying your sensor should be changed every 3 days. The injections seemed to work out fine, although it felt weird to be back on them, and my blood sugar was good during that time, so I can't help but wonder if it was because I had kept it stored in the fridge. This goes back to me trying to figure out why my humalog worked so wonderfully that first week, and then seemed to give up. I'm sure there is more to it (this is where me keeping a log comes in handy), but I still can't help but wonder...does keeping insulin in the fridge vs room temperature make a difference?

I'm trying to keep a log this week, especially since I'm seeing my endo next week. I think I need to make some insulin changes. I ate a bowl of cereal this morning (24 carbs) plus milk (9 carbs) = 33 carbs. I do 15:1 right now, so I bolused, waited maybe 5 minutes or so and then ate. I actually bolused for about 3 extra carbs because I thought I was going to have the full cup of milk, but only had about 3/4. If you're wondering why the carb amount seems low on the milk, it's actually a whole grain "milk" from Trader Joe's. As usual, my sensor showed me spiking up to the 300s and then started to drop around the 2 hour mark. I decided to wait a full 3 hours before testing my blood sugar and it showed me at 246. Not OK! I had only 0.4 units left so I needed a correction of 1.1. If I need a full unit to come down, it seems like my ratio is incorrect, right? Or maybe that's how it is for cereal? So many factors to consider!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

the magic has worn off

I didn't intend to take a little blog break, but it happened. Busy at work, busy (well, busier) social life, and diabetes has been just kind of "meh" lately. My blood sugar hasn't been that ideal...when I changed to humalog, those first few days were excellent! It was almost like my body was like...hey, new insulin, I remember you. I liked you! I'm so glad you're back! I'm going to figure out everything for Val so she doesn't have to work too hard. And then...womp, womp.

I know it sounds strange, but I seriously feel like that humalog worked some magic those first few days, and now my body recognizes it and doesn't think it's so special anymore. Also, I see my endo in a couple weeks and I fear my a1c (which has already gotten to a not so ideal #), isn't going to be any better. If it's worse, well, I may cry. I'm not really in love with my endo though, so it may be time to find a new one. Last time I went into her office, she made me feel slightly bad/guilty for having a number in the 300s. I've never been that high when I go in there, but I had stacked a couple meals and she said it didn't matter...that my blood sugar should never be that high. She also has this weird way of "joking" that I don't really find funny, like when she commented on the fact I had gained 3 lbs since the last time I saw her. Ok, lady, I don't think that's too big of a deal...doesn't your weight FLUCTUATE up to 5 lbs. a day anyway? She wasn't saying it matter-of-fact either, it was more of a "joke" with the feel of a warning behind, hey, you're gaining weight, fatty. I don't's hard to explain.

I went off on a tangent there...all I was going to say was that I think I'm going to ask for apidra when I go in next, and somehow all of that spewed out. :)

Even though my numbers aren't so hot, I have been feeling better overall, and I think that has helped improve my mood. I haven't been too mad or down about diabetes, even with those less-than-ideal numbers. BUT, after reading some other peoples' posts, I realize I have really stopped bringing my A-game. I really need to figure out why my blood sugar isn't so hot anymore...duh, less exercising, more grazing, less paying attention to the reasons for why it's this way. But ya know, I need to look at the nitty gritty details of it all. So, I have to start a food log...I really do. And I have to keep it up.

On a more positive note, I have a bunch of friends coming into town this weekend, which is a coincidence, not a planned thing! My friend's bday was yesterday so we're celebrating this weekend/having a mini reunion with our friends who are visiting. AND the best part is I'm taking a half day tomorrow and taking Monday off. Yay! I really need a mini break from work. Hopefully the weather is nice this weekend, though I don't have high hopes. said something about it being in the mid-50s and didn't show the sun coming out until next week. Hmph! AH well, I am used to it, I guess, though I think the Pacific NW has been crummier than usual lately and I can't wait for summer to get here.

Happy almost weekend, everyone!

Monday, April 4, 2011

please don't be a fluke!

Quick post because I am at work and reeeallly busy, but I HAVE TO BLOG ABOUT THIS (mostly for myself).

Yesterday, I talked about humalog vs. novolog. This morning, I had a breakfast that I eat pretty often...gave myself the normal amount of insulin and didn't really wait to eat. That was a couple hours ago and I am getting a teeny bit hungry for a small snack, so I decided to check my blood sugar just to see where it's at 2 hours after breakfast. Here's where I do my happy dance.

91! It has honestly been so long since I've seen a "good" number 2 hours after a meal. I've had so many spikes that I haven't been able to tame and usually my # 2 hours later is closer to 200...this has been going on for SO LONG that I cannot remember when I've had such an amazing number after eating. Yes, I am gushing, and yes it is kind of a weird thing to gush over. Again, it may be due to me being more active this last week, but I can't help but wonder if my body/blood sugar is reacting better to the different insulin.

Anyhoo. Having this happy moment is a nice change from the frustration of seeing a higher # than I'd like. It's a nice change from scowling at my glucose meter and muttering a "wtf" in my head. And I feel like I deserve a happy, "yay me" moment to negate all the terrible, unhappy moments I've been having lately. Time for a snack!