Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Big Business

It was one of the most surreal moments I've had in a while. I was sitting in the Philadelphia airport at 7:30 in the morning, attempting to get Wi-Fi access waiting at the gate for my plane. I was surrounded by other people like myself, checking computers, chatting endlessly into their cell phones, dressed in nice business casual.

"Who are you, and what have you done with the real Hannah?" demanded my inner artsy punk rocker.

"Oh, shut it," I told my internal monologue. "You are a mere chameleon among these people. Besides, you're flying out to Chicago for a training, not a business meeting. Besides, I'm still wearing these pink plaid Rocket Dog sneakers."

There was no way I was about to walk around an airport in dress shoes. I think the women who do it are out of their minds, especially if they're in stilettos. Vacation travelers wandered all over the place, with Hawaiian shirts and flip-flops. Businessmen in perfectly pressed suits.

My company paid for my trip out here to the greater Chicago area for training, and it's been a great week so far. I feel like I'm learning a lot about how to help our students at the university I work for, but it's sometimes alternating feelings of accomplishment and "how am I going to remember all this stuff?!" On the other hand, some pretty important people in our local bunch of schools have either complimented my work or mentioned what great things they hear about me. I guess this means the job is going well. I am typing this blog entry from my laptop on my huge king-sized bed, listening to The Raconteurs on my iTunes playlist. It sounds like I have a pretty cushy life.

It's been non-stop eating for like 3 days with no end in sight for this trip. I'm trying to stay on top of things, but it's not easy to balance all those continental breakfasts, company-paid dinners and post-training drinks with colleagues! Plus, all the food we've had has been SO GOOD. Chicago-style pizza, fancy Italian, a taco bar at lunch yesterday--I feel a food coma coming on. You know what a food coma is, right? When you eat a bunch and then just run out of energy or you want a take a nap. Not to be confused with a scary diabetic coma--this just refers to wanting to do nothing but lie down for a couple hours.

Illinois has been pretty hospitable so far. Someone is talking about a trip into downtown Chicago tomorrow night. Who knows, maybe on Friday I'll pass a famous face or two in the airport since Lollapalooza starts on Friday night! I would definitely flip if I ran into Eugene Hutz from Gogol Bordello. I love that dude.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Your Secrets Revealed!

Hey readers! Happy Friday! On tap for this weekend--my father-in-law's wedding. I'm pretty excited, as my father-in-law's fiancee is a wonderful woman, definitely smart with a great sense of humor. Congrats, Chriss and Holly! Sunday we'll be back at home in Blue Bell, then off to see the newly-minted Philadelphia National Poetry Slam Team in a big bout at the Sedgwick Theater in Philadelphia. Our friends from Baltimore will be there, too. Lots of excitement to cram into two-and-a-half days. I'm done here at work at 2pm. I may leave my car with Pep Boys--I think I'm having serpentine belt issues. My car sounds like a teakettle unless the AC is turned off. Ugh.

Also, go see The Dark Knight. I saw it at midnight, and while I'm paying for it now (glug glug more sugar-free Red Bull please...) it was completely worth it. It's got my approval for sure, enough that I wouldn't dare to call it The Dork Knight. Or would I? Heath Ledger's performance lives up to the hype and maybe even surpasses it. I left the theater happy about the movie, but so sad & angry that such a talent is gone.

So today is...secrets day! I will reveal all the secrets you anonymously posted for me over the past few days. I know I said I wouldn't publish them on that last post, but since everyone maintained their anonymity, I published them anyway. But here, for the world to see, are your Diabetes Secrets. Some are heartwarming, and some are completely heartbreaking. If you still haven't anonymously shared a secret, feel free to do it in the comments section of this post or the aforementioned [afore-linked?] post.

"I sometimes think I make a bigger deal about my diabetes then I should."

"While I pity them, I'm really annoyed when parents of kids with diabetes worry that their kids will never find a partner in life. Then your kids will end up blaming their terrible love lives on diabetes, even if that's not the cause! Great job, Mom & Dad!"

"I feel as if my life is more difficult –living with diabetes affects every second of every minute of the day, no breaks. I have a secret list of things in m y head that would be worse than diabetes, which include paraplegic,quadraplegic,/brain cancer/cystic fibrosis/muscular dystrophy/ALS/ (Of course, some of these are age dependant. If I got them in my late 60s, I may trade them for a life without diabetes!) Wow, the list is longer than I thought! Maybe I am not so bad off!"

"Although I'm a very healthy person with diabetes, I feel certain that my disease will somehow cause me to die before my husband. This secret feeling fills me with guilt because of the heartbreak I will eventually cause the love of my life."

"I have used diabetes as an excuse to get out of classes and tests that were too hard for me."

"I sometimes use ice-skating rules when giving my blood sugar range: I kick out the highest and the lowest numbers to make thing seem a little more in control."

"i was diagnosed as a young adult, and have had a hard time telling people about my diabetes from the beginning - most people who know me (even good friends) do not know that i have diabetes...i wish i felt more proud, and less 'ashamed' to talk about my diabetes."

"I am really afraid that my ex may take better care of my daughter's D then I do...and it breaks my heart for some weird reason! (even though she is in great health and has the perfect A1C for her age! - I just think I am weird!)"

"I can not stand when other Type 1's complain about taking "huge" amounts of insulin, when compared to others insulin usage it isn't even significant. It makes a person who requires a lot of insulin to manage their Diabetes feel like they are doing something terribly wrong."

"I'm afraid that, even after working so hard to control this disease, that it will take me while I sleep."

"Sometimes, I think taking care of my diabetes might not be "worth it." The fact that even people in excellent control get complications infuriates me - and gives me a perfect excuse when I want to do something I KNOW will cause a spike or a dip in bloodsugar. I'm ashamed of that."

"i know what i need to do, so where the heck is my motivation to do it?"

Author's Note: Thanks to all who participated in my little experiment. I will continue to share secrets if they continue to come in. Just make 'em anonymous!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dirty Little Diabetes Secrets

First, this isn't so much a secret. I received this as a comment on my July 4th post, and thought I should share so everyone can roll their eyes at it. Trust me, "Herbal Remedies", if I could make my pancreas make insulin by eating a bunch of oregano or cilantro or any other herb that ends in "o" or even some freakin' basil, I'd do it. Commence eye-rolling now:

Being totally emancipated from imbalances in the body can be found in the holistic treatment of herbal remedies which normalizes blood sugar levels naturally...without the usual side effects of the body. Happy In[sulin]dependence Day Everyday!

Also, I want you to tell me your secrets. (Not your Seacrest, as I nearly typed!) Did you see my post yesterday about sharing your secrets? Please, anonymously share your diabetes secret with me on my post from yesterday, and I will publish a big ol' secrets post on Friday.

Heck, if it goes well, I might make it a regular thing. Who knows?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Diabetes Secrets

I am feeling particularly inspired this week by one of my favorite blogs/web projects, PostSecret. If you've never read PostSecret before, it's basically a communal art project where people decorate one side of a postcard and send it, anonymously, to a PO Box in Maryland.

Seriously, go click the link and see the kinds of secrets people are sending in. I am impressed each week by the things that we all keep private. Some of the things are hilarious, some heartbreaking, some completely mundane. I find the phenomenon of anonymous secrets to be fascinating, and most likely therapeutic. I generally see a little of myself in each weekly post somewhere or other.

So today I got an idea.

Many of us blog several times a week, and it seems like everything about our lives with diabetes is out there for all to see. But there are a ton of anonymous lurkers out there, or readers who never give their real names. I think we all have secrets about our lives with diabetes that we never share.

I think it's a good week to put them out in the open. So here is my challenge to you, readers.

Share your diabetes secrets with everyone. Put an anonymous comment on this post. I will not publish the comments, but rather I will screen them, and then display them all in a bigger post on Friday. No names will be attached. Just a list of diabetes secrets. And please, for brevity's sake, try to limit it to two sentences at the most.

I hope this is a good experiment. Remember, be anonymous. On Friday, the secrets will go out to the world.

Got something you can't tell anyone else about your diabetes or diabetes in general? I hope we'll hear it here.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Faster Than a Speeding Humalog...

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the awesomely fast Indy Car race at Watkins Glen, NY. This little beauty was being driven by AJ Foyt IV, and yes, it is sponsored by Lilly. I do not remember the exact message on the car, but it was something about diabetes being a journey.

Ha, a journey with no end, I thought. An endless race around a long track where no one hops out to wave the checkered flag.

I was quite amused by the great Lilly racer. "Insulin! Wooooooo!!" I yelled out at least once as the car zoomed by.

Somewhere around lap 48 or 50, the show was over for AJ Foyt IV and his Lilly car. Somebody tapped him, and the car itself was completely done for. As they hooked the racecar up to the back of the tow truck, I announced to Matt, "Well, it figures. When I hit 50, I generally want to crash out too." You know, meaning 50 mg/dl?

Look, we both thought it was hilarious. Hopefully it's enough to bring a smile to your face today.

And unrelated to insulin or Indy Cars, I am posting this blog entry from my new laptop! Hooray! Dell called this one a "scratch & dent", but the scratches are so small, who even cares? It just looks like I've had this computer for a few months instead of a few hours. I'm just happy to have a bit of computer to call mine!

This also hopefully means more frequent blog updates! Huzzah! It's late as crap, I should go to bed. I'll be talking to you more often now, so don't fret!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

In[sulin]dependence Day!

On this Fourth of July weekend, I'd like to start off by saying this: fireworks rule. I love sparklers, those little bomber snap thingies, party poppers full of streamers, anything that "gives off showers of sparks". That's a direct quote from some novelty fireworks fountain package. Please go out and support your local roadside fireworks tent. My good friend Jon's family has operated one for years--he hardly remembers a summer that he didn't have to go work there for at least a couple of days. Just remember to be safe, kids!

I want to thank Kerri for making me the featured blogger over at SUM. That's pretty effin' cool! In exciting quasi-blog-related news, I have purchased a laptop which should arrive early next week. This hopefully means more steady blog updates from me, as I will no longer be fighting my beloved hubby for the internet. This also means that poor Matt can finish his Masters' thesis without me always asking to borrow the computer for two minutes, y'know, to check for blog comments that I might need to approve.

This is going to be a full, road-trippy holiday weekend around here. Tomorrow night, Matt, Nigel and band will be playing yet another show in Delaware at Mojo 13. It's a pretty big honor to be playing the July 4th show. Hopefully no one will be trying to set off fireworks in the parking lot, as I think that may end with someone getting arrested. Yikes.

Saturday, it's off to see the family for a bit at the surprise picnic for my Aunt & Uncle's 60th birthdays. I finally get to meet my [not so] new [anymore] baby cousin! I'll keep a tally on how often someone asks me if I should be "eating that", and I'll let you know on Monday if it's out of control. From my cousin's house, near Lancaster, PA, we'll drive up to Williamsport to stay with my mom, then Sunday we're going with Matt's dad and I think my bro-in-law Jim to Watkins Glen, NY, for the Indy Car race.

From there, we'll head back home to Blue Bell, because guess who has to work Monday morning? Ha, no, not my husband. He took the day off. Monday is the first day of summer classes at DeVry, so I am going to be busy, busy, busy! It's all worth it to make the students (and my co-workers) happy. Whew!

I think of so many summer picnics in days gone by, where I was never without "the Young's bag". TYB was an insulated 6-pack sized cooler that my grandfather gave us from one of his company picnics. He used to work for Young Industries, so most summer picnics or outings of my childhood were often accompanies by the phrase, "Hey, do you have the Young's bag?" and, subsequently, "Is your meter in it? Juice? Is there enough insulin? Do you have everything? Are you sure? Let's go, then."

TYB successfully held multiple boxes of Junior Juice (or the really little Juicy Juices, whichever was on sale), a few packs of peanut butter crackers, and all the diabetes supplies I required, including that tiny new meter, the One Touch II. It was so small and sleek compared to the original One Touch, which had cost my parents $500, by the way. When my mom got the new meter from my endo's office for nothing, I'm guessing she almost fainted. Look at its compact size!
Ahem...blogger's note: I realize this isn't actually tiny, nor is it a One Touch II. It's a One Touch Basic, but I couldn't find any pics of the One Touch II in Google image search! Oh, if you can find me a pic of the original One Touch meter, or a One Touch II, I'd be almost willing to give you a prize! Honestly, I swear I'm getting to the point here. Yeesh!

Test strip prices are still outrageous, but we have come pretty far in a lot of ways. Thank goodness my blood samples don't involve me squeezing what felt like a quarter-teaspoon of blood from my little fingers anymore!

Summer trips and picnics seem to bring a lot of diabetes-related memories into my mind. Maybe it's because I was diagnosed around this time of year. Maybe it's because every summer we'd go to the closest amusement park, Knoebel's, and I would generally spend the day forgetting I even had diabetes except for the brief forays into the first aid station to give myself shots. That was almost a welcome solace--a few minutes of air conditioning and I'd be ready to hit the kiddie rides again. (Okay, yes, I admit it, I was a wussy who didn't get off the kiddie rides until I was like 10...) Of course, someone else would have to hold The Young's Bag.
Food times were a little rough. That park is not only full of delicious carnival food like funnel cakes and Sno-Cones, but they have this awesome candy shop that was always making fudge...and of course, I wasn't allowed to eat it. Apparently, Knoebels has won some kind of award for Best Amusement Park Food for 7 years in a row.

I think I need to get back there and eat some fudge. And ride The Phoenix. I might even visit the First Aid Station for old times' sake.

For me, diabetes and summer somehow go hand-in-hand.

I wish you and yours a fun holiday weekend! Blow stuff up! (Legally, please.)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

CGMS Denial of a Different Kind

Call me old-fashioned. Tell me that I'm just like the insurance companies. Go ahead.

But I personally do not fully believe in CGMS technology yet. I don't have good faith that it's accurate enough for me to want to even attempt to get insurance coverage for a device of my own.

I wore a DexCom Seven a few months back, and it was definitely a fascinating, enlightening experience, but it also left me somewhat irritated. What's everyone making a fuss over? Why doesn't this work better? I am two freakin' feet away from the receiver, and it's not picking up my numbers. WTF?

I think the sensors are bulky, and I find it a little irritating to know that in order to use a CGMS of any kind, I have to have two chunks of plastic stuck on my skin to bump into things and cause me unhappiness.

It's amazing to be able to see if my blood glucose is trending up or down, and it's fascinating to see how fast your sugar levels shoot up if you eat carbs and forget to bolus. I have no qualms about wearing one again. I can get loaners at Gary's office which I can fortunately cover using the FSA that Matt and I have set up through his work.

But owning one of my own? I am not ready for that yet. I know they work wonders for some, though, so on this CGMS Denial Day, I just want to say that I think all insurance companies should definitely offer coverage of this ever-advancing technology. It's important to a lot of people with diabetes, and even though I don't feel like it's something I'm ready for yet, that could all change in a short amount of time.

When I want to get my own CGMS, I expect some coverage, dammit. I'm just not adamantly interested right now.