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!