Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dexy's Midnight Runner (That's Me)

Maybe I need to just break down and name my Dexcom Eileen, because I certainly say, "Come on!" to it a lot.

I have been wearing the Dexcom since Friday, trying not to pay attention to it too obsessively for now.  It's almost Christmas.  I have about two more weeks of the carb-y holiday season, plus I had the misfortune of getting sick yesterday.  I didn't eat anything this morning, woke up with a 167 mg/dl blood glucose, then shot straight up to 200-something about 3 hours later without eating anything.  I blame illness.  We'll see.  Time will pass.  Patterns will emerge.

On the humorous side of things, I have attempted to pull out my Dexcom receiver to text at least twice and to call someone at least once, maybe twice since Friday.  I have come to realize my phone and my receiver are almost the exact same width at the widest part, and they are very nearly the same height.  Both are covered in silicone cases, so they feel about the same when stuffed in my pocket.

Someone should get me a utility belt for Christmas with all these devices I'm toting around these days.  I could add a Bat-a-rang to my ensemble.  Somebody call Alfred.  Fetch me my private jet.

I haven't logged a low yet on this thing, though I've heard the familiar "Buuuzzzzzzz buuuzzzzzzz" of being high.  So far the novelty of showing that to a friend and telling them Dude, I am so high right now has not yet worn off.  Surely it will.  At the moment, it still feels like I am tempting fate every time I eat a meal.  I hope for a small spike, and then I wait and get a huge one instead.  I think I just am not bolusing enough.  I think my first diabetes effort of 2012 should involve obsessive carb-counting for a week or two just to try and figure out what the deal is. 

I was happy to find out that inserting the sensor was not as terrifying as I expected it to be, especially when the video on the Dexcom website flat-out tells you some people find insertion difficult.  What I found most difficult was trying to snap the stupid transmitter onto the sensor.  I had to have help with that.  Hopefully next time will go a little smoother. 

Line-graph-y Holidays, everybody!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmastime for My Non-Functioning Pancreas

(A relatively wordless Wednesday post...)

My Dexcom arrived yesterday! 
Sherman was relatively non-plussed.

I am excited to play with all this new stuff.  I am, however, a tiny bit sad that the silicone skin for the receiver is dull gray.  Definitely not my style.
Welcome home, new robot parts!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Without further ado, in no particular order, here are things and people I am thankful for:

Love, friendship, kindness, Matt, Mom, Nana, my in-laws, Bro-in-law Jim, still having a job in this crap economy, health insurance, insulin, a decent car, a nice house, my chosen family, David, Sam, Shelaine, Elliott, Bryan, Michelle, Lilliana, Becky, Kate, Jeff, Cari, Ballsybean, all the Amys I know, Megan, Alex, Mike, Erin, Jane, Susane, Thea, Nigel, all my favorite poetry pals, Rich & Rhiannon, my Delaware friends who I don't see often enough, anyone I've met at a vegan potluck, anyone I've met at the PMPM gatherings, cupcakes, ice cream, Steel City Coffee House, social media, my co-workers who are cool, Colin, Marco, Galia, Josh, Katie, Isaac from Northampton, Doctor Who (especially Matt Smith, grrrowl), comic books, The Big Bang Theory, Bust magazine, kittens, owls, bunnies, my insulin pump, Panera Bread in KOP, O'Hara, Missy, Curtis, anybody I've ever had a crush on, anybody I've ever snuggled, creativiity, artsy people, the ability to dance, great music, good writing.

I am thankful for everything that makes me happy.  I am thankful for everything that makes me stronger.  I am thankful for the loved ones who are already gone.  You are always in my heart.

I am thankful for the great friends I have yet to meet.

And because this is a diabetes blog, after all, I am thankful for all my readers, all the members of the Diabetes OC, and all the people who may just now be discovering this.  I write for me, but I also write for you.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

PS--I am also thankful for leftover pie.  Always.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"Coming Down", as sung by My A1C

I've lately found I have a good rapport with my female health care providers.  Dr. M (my endocrinologist) and I get along fabulously.  At my last visit at my primary care doc's office, Kate, who is an amazing nurse practitioner, and the office nurse both remarked that they like when I come in to see them because I make them laugh.  I think being able to be yourself around your healthcare team is a huge key to success. 

Today, I went to Dr. M's office for a checkup.  She is a very nice woman, usually on the perky side, always willing to answer my questions and often smiling at my jokes, as hinted at above.  This is good, because I'm usually nervous when I go to the endo.  Not for anything she's doing wrong, mind you.  It's just me.  Thoughts of bad A1C's or surprise bad results on other lab work make me anxious.  

I've been told a million times that I am more than an A1C.  I am more than just diabetes.  Usually, this isn't an issue for me.  I live my life, I get along, and if diabetes tries to throw me a curveball, I do my best to catch it.  But when you're staring down the barrel of an endocrinologist appointment, it's easy to catalog all the things you haven't done right, all the things that could have been so much better if you just tried.  You worry.  You wonder what all the neglect is actually doing to your body on the inside.

I have said it here a zillion times:  I am a diabetes blogger.  I am not a model diabetes patient.  I don't have an amazing A1C.  Compared to some people, I may take "a lot" of insulin.  I am definitely not getting enough exercise.  I'm not a role model--I'm just a person who is here to share her experience, to find support, oh, and to mouth off when I feel like it.  Does the world need my 2 cents about living with diabetes?  I like to think so.  I enjoy being able to lend my unique perspective to the world.

I was able to start breathing the sighs of relief early in this appointment.  My blood pressure was great.  My weight was not really any different from last visit.  The nurse didn't even make a face when my BG reading was 235 mg/dl after lunch.  Dr. M came in pretty promptly, and we started talking about doing basal tests before we make any adjustments.  We talked about how I want to continue with the Symlin, even though I had taken a break from it.  We talked about her belly!  She's expecting her second child in January.  Then I talked about the biggie.

I told her I've been thinking about a Dexcom.  She said that normally, when people want to get an insulin pump and they haven't had one before, she doesn't just let them contact the company to ask about one.  She said she likes to meet with her patients and make sure they get the training they'll actually need.  Dr. M then told me for somebody considering a CGM and a sensor, she's quite happy to write a prescription for the system without any kind of preparatory visits.  She also reassured me that if I want to get a continuous glucose monitor, the Dexcom is the way to go.  She told me it wouldn't hurt if I also find some kind of exercise that I really like and start doing it.

So I have a plan for the next few months.  I won't see Dr. M again until April, when she is back from maternity leave. 

The biggest surprise today?  The in-office A1C test.  My last A1C was 9.8.  I know, nothing to cheer about, something to improve.  Today's A1C?  9.0!  Again, not perfect, but enough to make me do a little happy dance.  That's almost down a full point!  I was smiling; Dr. M was smiling and told me that was actually a great job and way better than she expected to see given some of my numbers we had been talking about.  It may be a tiny victory, but it's a victory for me nonetheless.

As Dr. M and I said our goodbyes, she told me to keep up the good work.  She then also added, "But make sure you really enjoy your Thanksgiving!"  I told her I was looking forward to the pie.  "And you should!" she said. 

I know I need to do some serious basal tests, but you know what's amazing?  When your endocrinologist acknowledges that you shouldn't guilt yourself along through a holiday.  I may just drink a toast to Dr. M with my turkey on Thursday. 

And in case you need a reference, here is the theme song to my A1C today:

Monday, November 21, 2011

t:slim, Wherein 'T' Stands for Totally Rad

So last week, the DOC and the tech world was all abuzz with news of Tandem Diabetes' FDA clearance on their t:slim insulin pump.  Finally, many of us felt the excitement that comes along with a pump that actually looks like a present-day technological device.  Nowadays, people are baffled when they see you with something that looks like a pager clipped to your pants.  It was as if from somewhere beyond the grave, Steve Jobs actually answered Amy's letter from 2007.

Of course, with any kind of new technical device, you have the people who would give anything to jump on the early adopter bandwagon, and you have the skeptics.  While I think I would welcome the chance to play around with one to see if I like it, I'm not sure that I'm on the early adopter wagon.  I'm not sure I'd want to be in the first wave of people to get the pump, because the first wave are always the people who get to deal with the kinks in a new device.  The last time I chose a new pump, I switched from a Medtronic to a Deltec Cozmo.  Of course, the Cozmo pump, which I love, is no longer being made.  Would I consider a t:slim when they become available?  Most certainly--it holds 300 units of insulin, and being someone who needs a larger amount (no judgements, people, you know how I feel about that) that is a vitally important feature for me.

But how will the interface react?  Will it be as cool as an iPhone or an Android device, or will it have the clunky difficulty of any number of touchscreen imitators out there?

I am also not a skeptic about the t:slim.  It's either going to work or it's going to be irritating.  This is how it goes with most devices, including insulin pumps, cell phones, MP3 players, and glucose meters.  It's surely going to meet some people's needs, but not everyone's.  This is the beauty of having freedom of choice.  Sure, I think everyone wants to know if the pump is going to work and work well.  However, I have seen one person in a blog comment note that she was worrying people might want to steal it, mistaking it for an iPhone.  I have seen folks skeptical about hooking up the USB cord to charge the pump while wearing it.  I saw one commenter to a friend's blog post calling Apple products "junk" and saying they hope their pump is better than that.

Here are my responses to these 3 skeptical points of view:

1.)  Stealing:  If your pump gets stolen, I'm sure that is covered by your warranty.  No diabetes device is immune to theft.  I once left my glucose meter kit on top of my clarinet case during band rehearsal in high school.  Somebody stole it, probably thinking it was a wallet.  The next day, a janitor found it sitting on top of a trashcan, and I got it back thanks to either my mother or I having reported it stolen to the high school office.  It may be a royal pain in the ass, but if someone were to ever steal your insulin pump, I'm sure you could get a backup script for Lantus and Novolog/Humalog/Apidra until your replacement pump could arrive.  It may be inconvenient, but not the end of the world. 

2.)  Charging:  A few weeks ago, I was in bed on my laptop and got the giggles.  My laptop was plugged into the wall.  Next to me on my bed was my pump, plugged into...well, me.  I was also wearing some headphones to listen to music.  Seriously, I had to laugh.  Let me map this out for you:  Wall charger inputs to laptop outputs to my headphones, insulin pump outputs insulin to my bloodstream, but it seemed like a computer connection was the next obvious step.  I was directly I was one step away from making my own closed-loop system

3.)  Junk:  I like Apple products.  I think they are good-quality and innovative, even in ways people don't realize.  Apple went touchscreen, then everybody had to have some sort of touchscreen device.  The industry speculated who would become the "iPhone killer".  Apple does not put together large-scale marketing campaigns because their products sell themselves.  Also, I would hope a medical device containing synthetic hormones pumping into a person at all times would be held to some of the highest standards for quality, even higher than those of the smartest smartphones. 

I've only had a couple of immediate doubts/questions about the t:slim pump, and those were mostly related to my personal use.  I know it's supposed to be waterproof, but I know some touchscreens don't fair well when, say, dropped into a toilet.  It will have to be made of the toughest possible materials because breaking/cracking sucks, no matter what kind of device it is.  How does the screen lock when, say, you roll over onto it in the middle of the night?  (Look, some of us sleep mostly nude.  Skin contact with the screen is a possibility.  Deal with it!)  And last but not least, how long will it take insurance companies to cover it?  I think I may be almost done with my Cozmo warranty, which makes 2012 a year of a new insulin pump if that's true.  If I want to get a t:slim, I want to know that my insurance will pay for it!

Overall, I am excited to see what this new pump is going to do for us.  Can I just say how excited I am that you can actually enter your numbers from a 10-digit keypad?  It's the little things that make me happy, really.  No more scrolling for what feels like 5 minutes for that low or high BG number.  I am anxious to find out how Tandem Diabetes intends to interact with members of the diabetes community, both online and out in the world.

And now, some very silly questions regarding the t:slim.  If my pump is more like an iPod Touch, will I be able to:

1.) Program pump tones from real MP3's?  I want it to play "Pour Some Sugar on Me" when I'm low and "Sugar Sugar" by the Archies or "Honey Honey" by Feist when I'm too high.

2.)  Play diabetes-related parody games (these are all hypothetical, but I'd love to see them) like "Angry Pancreases", "Blood Sugars with Friends" and "Free Food Ninja"?

3.)  Join #DSMA on Wednesdays by livetweeting from my pump? 

All right, Tandem.  I look forward to watching you into 2012.  I hope you guys get this right.  The entire DOC is watching you.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Funky Friday, Get Down (and maybe a little dirty)

I am itching to get out of the office today.  It's pretty out and sunny, if a little cold, and I have homework to do for my online class, but don't you ever get that feeling that you just need to run outside and play? 

It's a good day for dancing.  I love dancing.  I've had no formal lessons (yet), and I just like getting down. Normally, I am an indie rock type girl, but oh the dance songs.  Since it's Friday, and we're on the subject of random things, here are some random songs that make me dance.  And they also kinda make me laugh.  Enjoy, and dance a little bit for me, will ya? 

1.  Adam Lambert -- "For Your Entertainment":  I heard Adam was an excellent guest judge on Project Runway this year.  I like him for his guyliner and his willingness to kiss boys onstage. 

2.  Cazwell -- "Ice Cream Truck":  PROBABLY NOT FOR THE YOUNG KIDS OUT THERE.  The rest of you, well, I hope you like gyrating men with popsicles and a bit of butt.  Remember, this is not a post about having a good song, this is about smiling and dancing.
3.  Deee-Lite -- "Groove is in the Heart":  I remember dancing to this when I was a kid.  I had some regular routines worked out in those days.  I also wore out some Paula Abdul tapes.  I'm just sayin'.  This is in one of the 'Just Dance' video games, and whether you dance along or not, if you can make it through the whole song you will work up a sweat.
4.  Lady Gaga -- "Born This Way":  I don't really need to explain, do I?  Why do I do these crazy, geeky, silly things I do?  Why am I passionate about the things I like?  [Other questions that are more private.] Baby, I was born this way!
5.  Scissor Sisters -- "Any Which Way":  Okay, yes, there is a bit of a gay disco theme to this whole set of songs.  I blame you, David.  That's right.  You.  I bet you won't even read this.  I love Jake Shears and Ana Matronic.  And this video's tongue, which is planted directly in its cheek.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

World Diabetes Day 2011: Devil with a Blue Dress On

Oh dear god how I wish I had a blue dress to wear today!  Instead, I settled for a blue camisole under a brown printed wrap dress that I like.  The blue is for diabetes awareness.

The brown is because...diabetes makes us feel like crap? *grin*

Diabetes sucks.  Diabetes is everywhere in the world.  It shortens people's lives.  It kills children and adults in places where good care is not available or even remotely affordable.  Diabetes is right here in Philadelphia, and unfortunately, it's huge.

We can try to light buildings in blue or have fun flash mobs or advocate for a symbol to unite everyone with the cause of diabetes.

Diabetes, for many, is deadly.  If current trends continue, 1 in 3 Americans could be diabetic by 2050.  I'll be 68.  I love the Diabetes OC, but look, if every 3rd person in the US has a d-blog by then, I'll never catch up!  Heck, I barely catch up now.

I'm not saying I need the country to be purchasing blue appliances, but it might be nice to see some blue circle magnets on the backs of cars.  I want to see people to actually unite on World Diabetes Day the same way people rally around World AIDS Day.  We don't see advertisements of crying, hugging families after the JDRF or the American Diabetes Association walks, but breast cancer walk advertising is everywhere.  Pink things are everywhere.  People are definitely aware of breast cancer. 

I believe diabetes is an even bigger threat than that, and our levels of "awareness" on the whole in this country are pretty sad.  You might think you have a touch of the sugar.  You may think you can be cured, just like Halle Berry. (*snort*)  Diabetes is here.  It's not going anywhere.  I think it's high time everyone in this country realizes it is a serious problem. 

What have I done on this World Diabetes Day? I have a blue camisole on. I used blue post-it notes.  I went to the dentist, where I sat in a blue chair and was informed I have to have more cavities filled, which made  I paused to think about mortality--it is Dr. Frederick Banting's birthday, and without him, we may not have ever had the insulin that saves all of our Type 1 lives.  I realized, returning from a Symlin vacation of a couple of weeks, that there are blue circles on the Symlin pen.  I took a deep breath, thankful for all I have, maybe just a tad nervous for next week's endocrinologist appointment.

Happy World Diabetes Day, everyone.  I hope that in the coming years, diabetes gains the ubiquitous awareness it rightfully deserves.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Self-Portrait Saturday #5

A picture taken yesterday, on one of November's Blue Fridays, in which I wore blue for Diabetes Awareness.  I also tried on this ridiculous hat at a discount store for awareness of how silly I am.  (Which, in case you haven't figured it out yet, is "very".)


Sunday, November 6, 2011


Well, gang, I blew it.  One busy weekend of running about and having a grand adventure plus a bunch of homework to catch up on means I have neglected a couple of days' worth of blog posts.  So much for a post a day.  Sigh.

It's okay, though.  It's still National Diabetes Awareness Month, I'm still ready to write, so please, do stick around, won't you?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

I was born blonde.  I have always been blonde.  I've had hairstylists tell me I have a hair color some women would kill for.

But I like to experiment.  I am rebellious (outwardly in some ways, inwardly in many more), and if I could get away with it, I'd probably have bright pink streaks or electric blue highlights.  I've never been brave enough to do anything drastic to my hair, though.  I've cut it.  I've highlighted and lowlighted, I even have done more golden blonde shades before, but I've never had a serious change.

So when my friend Shelaine, who is a fabulous hairstylist & colorist, said she thought I'd look good with darker hair, the gears in my mind started turning.  I'm 29, turning 30 in early 2012.  I have a good job where they know me pretty well.  It's not going to be anything technicolor and crazy.  Dammit, I was just curious about what it was like to be a non-blonde.  I've been feeling a little off in the self-esteem department lately, and what I really needed was some kind of pick-me-up.

But...change my hair color?


This golden, baby-fine fluffy stuff that other women only wish they could get from a box?  Was I...ready?  I was excited and terrified at the thoughts.  What if it looked terrible?  What if it looked okay but I didn't like it?  What if nobody else thought it looked good?  What happens when you change a part of you that everyone finds recognizable?  Will it be like living in someone else's body?  Would I really be the same when all was said and done?

Yes? No? Maybe so?
You may know me as that silly, often sassy, blonde 'betes blogger.  Well, she's still here.  She just changed her hair color.  They say blondes have more fun, but don't redheads get into more of the good kind of trouble?  I guess we're going to find out.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Give Diabetes, Not JDRF, The Finger

So in the aftermath of yesterday's Type 1 Day, I've seen all kinds of cool things.  We got a shoutout on Twitter from comedian Chelsea Handler.  Mary McCormack, who plays the lead character on USA's In Plain Sight set up a donation page for the JDRF.  If that's not enough, check page three to see a donation from Edward Norton.  Yes, that Edward Norton.  (The first rule of JDRF Club is you don't talk about how you donated to JDRF Club?)  Hell, members of the DOC were featured on MSNBC today!  So proud of all of you, by the way. 

But there is one thing I've noticed in the aftermath that I find to be negative, and that's people's negative attitudes about giving diabetes the finger.  I've seen a couple people saying they found the idea mildly offensive, or they wouldn't want to share this idea with their children.

I don't think telling kids to give diabetes "the finger" was the idea in this campaign.  I'm not saying I'm a marketing professional exactly, but a large portion of my eduation was focused that way.  You don't start a campaign without knowing your target audience.  Many of us in the DOC have remarked time and again that we want the JDRF to remember all of us with Type 1.  Kids with juvenile type 1 diabetes grow up to be adults with type 1 diabetes.  I saw a statistic somewhere online that half of all new diagnoses of T1 are adults. NEWSFLASH: Adults (such as those of us in the DOC) were probably the main target of this campaign!  Maybe older kids as well, who can get in on the joke without actually being offensive. 

"Meg", the star of the Type 1 Day viral video ads, is clearly a young adult.  The ad itself is a commerical parodying 50's and early 60's-style advertising.  This ad is not really aimed at a child, though there is nothing harmful for a child to see in it.  It's obvious to me that the target audience was more like Type 3's, and of course, all the adults with Type 1 that the JDRF has been trying to better serve lately.  JDRF even has a downloadable Type 1 Toolkit for Adults.  For the record, "Meg" looks like the kind of person I'd choose to be pals with.

Maybe this just has something to do with the fact that I have rosy, chubby cheeks, and I enjoy making cheesy faces.  Like this one below.  Also, if anyone is paying attention out there, "Meg", I love your dress!  Where did you get it?  I too have an affinity for flippy skirts and black with bright colors, see?

I could be giving diabetes the finger in this photo and you'd never know it!

And guess what?  I may look cute and bubbly, but I want to give type 1 the finger, and not a big foam one.  Anytime one of us on the DOC says "Duck Fiabetes" on Twitter, we really want to say the other thing, don't we?  Grown-ups, haven't you wanted to just tell diabetes to fuck off?  For me, it's at least once a day.  I personally want to cheer the JDRF for this viral campaign, because it makes me smile and it's real talk for what grown-ups with diabetes think about, presented in a lighthearted way. 

I think the JDRF did this campaign the right way.  Notice how it doesn't have the glossy production values of some of their other videos.  This was not exactly meant to run side-by-side with Nick Jonas and sincere appeals for donations. 

I say we all give diabetes the finger.  Whatever finger we want to.  But I guess if you're too young to get into a rated-R movie without an adult, you may want to stick to the big blue foam ones.  At least cover your finger of choice with a big blue foam one so Mom, Dad and Grandma don't find out. Keep it real, kids. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Type 1 Day 2011 - Type 1 D in 3

Today, 11/1/11, has been declared Type 1 Day by the JDRF, who has been encouraging people with Type 1 to post their T1D-in-3 tweets to Twitter all day long.  I posted a couple, but I don't want to overdo it with the tweets--it's still the workday, after all.  We are to come up with three words that describe having type 1, what it's like to live with type 1, or something you want people to know about type 1. 

And I, of course, am extraordinarily silly.  So here are some T1D-in-3's for your enjoyment.

Buzz. Buzz. Buzz.

Beep.  Beep.  Beep. 

Still eating cookies.

Diabetes isn't fun.

Not Wilford Brimley.

Many doctors' appointments.

Too much blood.

All carb counting.

All the time.

Eating that?  Yes.

Dancing lowers glucose.

Keep smiling, sugar.

Type 1 dorky.

I hope you're all having a great Type 1 Day, dear readers.  Also, welcome anybody who is following the Wego Health Blog Month challenge! 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween from Dorkabetic!

This is just a friendly holiday reminder to count those carbs!  Also, be sensible.  My middle school years led to me sneaking candy for a month or so after Halloween.  (Sorry, Mom.  I guess I was secretive in my rebellion.) 

Our very good friend Shelaine has a 4-year-old son, and this year he is dressing up as Teen Wolf.  Yep, Michael J. Fox Teen Wolf.  How he came up with this, I am not exactly sure, because I don't think he's seen any of the movies.  All this got me thinking of Halloween costumes from my past, and a friend of mine was posting photos of vintage vinyl costumes on Facebook all day today.  I remembered my personal favorite (and probably last) vinyl Halloween costume.  She-Ra, Princess of Power

You don't see vinyl Halloween costumes anymore.  You never really looked all that cool while wearing one, at least not here on the East Coast, because it would be pulled over a couple of layers of clothing, and you'd get all sweaty behind that plastic mask.  For the record, though, that cape was in my dress-up rotation for a while.

Anyway, She-Ra was way cooler than most princesses, more badass than Disney offerings, and had a lot more in common with Xena, Warrior Princess and Wonder Woman.  Fighting crazy baddies with a sword, being the leader of a rebel alliance AND finding love?  Seriously, that's a princess.  (Bonus DOC points: she rides on a winged unicorn!)

This costume was pre-diabetes...Halloween with the big D came about 3 years later.  In my mind, I am still leading rebellions, waving a sword around, and saving the day.  Oh, and I totally want this:

For the honor of f**king Greyskull,  I think YOU may have the power until I own this shirt.

 Happy Halloween, everybody!  What's your favorite costume from your past?

Han-Nah, Princess of Pumping

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Visit to the Occupation

Regardless of what you may or may not think about the Occupy Wall Street movement and all of its branch-off movements, despite the fact that it's not exactly a perfect system, I still think it's pretty remarkable. It's a movement that is difficult for the media to track, tricky for many Americans to even understand.  Hell, I will be completely honest with you in that I don't understand everything about it yet, but I do think it's pretty great.  I went to see Occupy Philadelphia for myself this weekend.  I ended up joining a march and getting an unexpected surprise. 

City Hall, Philadelphia PA (photo by me, Oct. 2011)
On their Facebook page, Occupy Philadelphia was asking for various donations, and one in particular caught my eye: Glucometer and strips.  Knowing that people were planning on living outside of City Hall in Philly for weeks, knowing that there were medical tents treating not only protesters but the homeless in the area, I felt like I could help out.  I have a bunch of extra meters in my closet, as many of us do these days, and I just happened to have some extra unexpired test strips for that meter.  I bagged everything up in a freezer bag, tucked it into my purse, and set off for the city.

I paid almost an arm and a leg for parking and set off for the west side of City Hall.  This is where the tents are.  Most of the protesters had already cleared out by the time I was approaching, off on part one of a two-part march on Saturday that was to end at the anti-war rally being held on Independence Mall.  They had probably started marching while I was scrambling for a place to park.  The Philadelphia police tend to block intersections to let the protesters march in the streets.  It's better than the alternative, which is police brutality and Occupiers forgetting they are there to protest peacefully.  I think Philly's demonstrations have been very successful in avoiding confrontations. 

I could hear hand drums in the distance.  I looked down JFK Boulevard, and coming up the street, stretched across all 4 lanes, was the group.  I watched as they came closer, then figured, what the heck.  I've never marched in a demonstration before.  I took off, jogging across 15th Street and down JFK, and I'm a terrible jogger.  I was winded as I approached the oncoming crowd, but I jumped right in.

"WE.  ARE.  THE 99%!  (And so are you!)" we chanted all the way down and around City Hall again.  As a cop car came to block the intersection for the next leg of the march, I ducked out.  I do support what the Occupy movement is doing and the way it attempts to bring people together.  I marched next to a man who was only a few years younger than my dad would have been this year.  I passed a bunch of women who appeared to be in their mid-70s with a banner that read Grannies for Peace

I grabbed my donation from my purse and headed off to the medical tent.  There was a volunteer working the table, which was relatively organized for having little formal storage space.  There were multiple bottles of hand sanitizer, a shelf with bandages, a few OTC pill bottles, bandages, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, etc.

"Excuse me," I said to the volunteer, who greeted me cheerfully back.  "I saw on your Facebook page that you were looking for donations of glucometers?  Because I've brought this one for you.  And there are some strips and lancets too."

"Oh, um, okay thanks," said the volunteer, who was probably younger than me.  The doctor (who was actually a med student and not an official doctor quite yet) finished talking to his previous visitor and noticed the volunteer putting things away.  "Check it out, Brad!" the volunteer smiled.  "We got ourselves a glucometer!"

Dr. Brad froze in his tracks and looked relieved.  "Oh my God, that's great!  From who?" he asked.

I grinned and waved.  "From me!" I said.

He took a few more steps toward me.  He had an equally silly grin on his face.  "Would it be okay if I gave you a hug?"

"I love hugs!"  And with that, I got a big squeeze from Dr. Brad.  I apologized that I didn't have more that I could have brought for him.  He reassured me that just having that glucometer helped, as they had none before, and they have a lot of diabetics around.  Between the number of protesters, the uninsured and the homeless who take shelter around City Hall, that came as no surprise to me.

It did my heart good to know that so many people of varying ages and backgrounds are trying to bring about positive change.  It felt great knowing I could directly help some PWDs in need.   And hugs from cute med student doctors who are close to my own age?  Well, it's not every day a doctor thanks you for anything.

Also, in the laughs department, I say my fellow PWDs should occupy!  99% of your beta cells have nothing while there's a mysterious 1% that drops your blood glucose for no good reason.  Occupy your pancreas!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Coming Out a Day Late

I posted this to Facebook yesterday, but it is clearly worth repeating here:
Happy National Coming Out Day! Regardless of who you love, how you love, and how you choose to identify yourself, just remember to be yourself always. We here at Dorkabetic proudly support the LGBTQ community. If you don't like that, well, I'm sorry. I am who I am, and you are who you are, and it's all love to me.
Honestly, folks, I don't spend a ton of time talking about my personal politics and beliefs here.  It's mostly just snippets.  There are some things I probably will never discuss in depth here, but I am going to take this moment and come out to all of you.  I am sure many of you are not surprised at all.
I am a fag hag.  For these two fellows.  
L to R: David, Sam, some guy with beads who I don't know, Jess who is also way cool.  Photo credit: D. Mangini
If I were to ever explain the hows and whys, it may not be as straightforward a story as you'd expect.  But there they are.  I've always got their backs, and hopefully they've always got mine. 
If you are the type of person who refuses to be accepting of all the fabulous LGBTQ (and asexual, etc.) people in this world, could you do me a favor?  At least be tolerant.  Be respectful of humanity.  Even though Fred Phelps hates no one more in this world than homosexuals and their "sympathizers", wouldn't we all be happier if he kept his views to himself?  Dr. Keith Ablow of Fox News thinks that letting your children watch trans*man Chaz Bono on Dancing with the Stars will make your kids think about transgendered people as normal, acceptable people just like cis-gendered (the gender you were born as) celebrities!  The horror!
I don't think that God hates fags at all.  I am pretty sure that God hates hatred.  
I look forward to a time when we don't need a special day to declare our preferences or our secret identities to our loved ones.  Perhaps one day, telling your folks that you're a man who loves men , a woman who loves women, or you're just completely queer will be no different than telling someone you've decided to go to college to become an accountant.  I hope one day, acceptance will be universally common.

Friday, September 30, 2011

5 Years and Then Some

Did you know that the traditional 5-year anniversary gift in the UK is sugar?  [Well, that's at least what Wikipedia says, and Wikipedia is never wrong, right?]

One of the things that got me interested in blogging in the first place was visiting the forums at the American Diabetes Association and seeing moms there fretting that their Type 1 kids would never find love or happiness.  Maybe no one would marry their sons or daughters because of diabetes.  Somebody needed to prove those moms wrong and reassure them that everything was gonna be okay.

I was engaged when I started Dorkabetic, then got married a couple of months later.  Matt has never known me without diabetes.  We were together when I got my first pump.  While diabetes can cause some worries that I'm sure couples without diabetes don't have to deal with, it shouldn't stop you from being in love.  I mean, just look at how disgustingly cute we are.  I will give you a high blood sugar just by merely showing you these photos!

OMG. Best. Cake. Ever. Wish I could have it every year.
Mmm, carbs.  There we are, on our big day.  Matt is seriously my best friend, my favorite person in the universe.  I am so glad we found each other.  I couldn't ask for a better husband. 

He goes to the D-Meetups with me! (And Allison and Scott and Kelly and Gary and Betty)
Plus he's just so freaking cute.  I can't stand it.

And silly, too.  We are both very silly people.
Happy Anniversary, Matt!  <3

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Much like relationships on Facebook, it's complicated.

I'd like you to picture a seesaw, or a tire swing, or a pendulum.  Anything that constantly goes up and down, or back and forth, or both.

I've talked of my depression before, of the medication that keeps me stable.  Lately, I've been feeling like I'm not sure what I want, who I want, how I'm going to get anywhere.  I have moments of great hollowness where I dig to the bottom and find nothing exceptional.  I have moments where I see love everywhere, and sunshine and rainbows and cuddly little baby bunnies.

This is how I've felt lately.  Good, bad, good, bad, better, worse, better, worse, good.

Overall, of course, my direction is positive.  I have not lost hope.  Maybe I just need an adjustment of the aforementioned medication.

I am wondering if it's just because the time until I turn 30 is constantly shrinking.  It's less than 5 months away.  I'm not one of those people who's afraid to turn 30, but my recurring feelings tell me I'm not where I'm supposed to be.  This is not what I expected.  My biological clock is occasionally yelling at me these days, rather aggressively, and I respond to it the same way I respond to my first alarm every workday morning, "Ugh, not now."

I haven't written enough poems lately.  I haven't written enough blog posts.  I keep flirting with writing fiction again, as I haven't done it in years.  If there is one thing I know about myself, it's that I am meant to write.  I need to stop denying myself this freedom and pleasure, because maybe that's the one great thing I have going for me all the time.

I own this blog.  I own these words.  I own this sense of self.

Give me the strength to stop neglecting things.  All the things

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday Fragments

1.  I missed Diabetes Art Day yesterday.  I may have some time to cook up something over the weekend.  Hey, it's never too late for art, right?  Of course not!  A creative lady such as myself knows these things.

2.  Stacey posted about retinopathy recently, and this has got me nervous.  I have finally scheduled an opthamologist appointment for myself coming up on September 22nd.  Keeping up with eye appointments has not been high on my priority list at all.  I think it's been around 4 years now.  Remember a year and a half ago when I made my first visit to a dentist in a few years?  It was 3 trips back after that one to have cavities filled, and I'd never had a cavity in my life before.  I don't know what kind of news there will be about my eyes. 

3.  Can I tell you how excited I am that it's Labor Day weekend?  Even though the year is flying by at an alarming rate, it means fall will be on its way soon enough, and I absolutely love the fall.  Also coming up at the end of September is my 5th wedding anniversary.  Talk about time flying.  Geez.

4.  My friend Jane is an awesome lady who knows how to throw a fabulous party with poetry and cupcakes.  Also she writes horoscopes, which she has confessed are a great way to write love letters to everyone once a week.  I suggest you read them

5.  For the first time in years, I am wearing a medical ID bracelet.  It's actually really cool.  I will be telling you all about that next week, and I am totally excited to announce there will be a giveaway coming up too. 

6.  If you are not my personal Facebook friend, you probably missed this, but one day, as I was scanning a document with one hand and changing some pump supplies with the other, I had this thought: Look at me go!  I can have it all!  I'm like Mary Tyler Moore if she had diab....ohhhh.  Hahaha.  Riiiiight.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane not-Hannah

So Irene seems poised to dump all kinds of crazy rain and wind and overall badness onto my neighborhood, by which I mean the greater Philadelphia area.  I hope everyone is safe, comfortable, and that you still have power.

I have been in Williamsport all weekend at my mom's house for a cousin's wedding.  I brought extra pump supplies, etc. just in case I would be stuck here.  Not so much because I'm afraid of what the storm will do here.  I'm in north central Pennsylvania right now.  We might get some rain, but nothing like we're having at home.  Matt is still at home, diligently keeping an eye on our sump pump.  He even tied down all our lawn furniture, as he should have.  I'm just worrying that I may not really be able to get home tomorrow because of road closures, downed trees, the potential of flood waters.

Mayor Michael Nutter in Philadelphia has warned Philly residents to be prepared for the worst flooding in 50 years.  Granted I am probably a good 20 miles from the city proper, but that is still close enough to worry about my home.  To worry about all that crap we've had in the basement for two years.  To worry about my friends in the area just a bit...okay, more than just a bit.  Seriously, guys, I hope you're all okay and that I will still find you to be okay in the morning.

Much love and hope and good vibes for anyone in the path of this nasty storm.  I just hope I can get home soon.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Two Weeks on Symlin

I remember now what this feels like. 

The random sweating during the day, the occasionally floaty feeling in my head.  Is my blood sugar dropping?  Is it just kind of a faux-low because I am going from high to normal? 

Symlin has been going well so far.  I am ramping up my doses very slowly, because I remember that's what worked best for me last time.  Going from one dose to another too quickly definitely brought on the nausea, and nobody likes that.  I was surprised at how simple it was to re-adjust to pen injections after so many years on a  pump.  I had forgotten what all that knob-twisting and priming felt like.  I tend to wear dresses to work, so I am perfecting the art of the quick injection through the clothes.  I did my injection so fast at lunch with a co-worker the other day that she didn't even notice I had done anything.  Stealthy!

(Hmm, just realizing you can't spell "healthy" without most of "stealthy"...)

I have been seeing a lot more numbers under 200 mg/dl, which is awesome for me.  I am satisfied with smaller amounts of food, and about that?  I'm finding if you don't take the Symlin at least 10 minutes before your lunch,  you will suddenly find yourself stuffed in the middle of whatever you chose for your lunch that day.  I tend to eat one thing at a time, so it's kind of a let-down if you were looking forward to soup while wondering if you are even going to be able to finish your salad. (First World problems!)

Not THIS kind of Symlin pen, silly.
What's really unpleasant is counting the exact number of carbs, bolusing, eating and then dropping like a rock an hour and a half later.  They are very spikey drops, and with no CGMS, I'm not really sure how fast I'm falling.  If I test after a meal, like last night, and my BG is at 92 mg/dl, and I'm experiencing low symptoms, it's a good bet to just eat some sugar and hope for the best.  I had some glucose tabs and an hour and a half later I was at 97 mg/dl. 

Those are the effects of Symlin right there.  I also forgot about how sometimes when I am on Symlin, my highs sometimes start feeling like lows, just a little.  Normally highs are just times when I'm sleepy, cranky and thirsty, but with Symlin, some of them have been joined by that weird adrenaline-rush drifty feeling. 

For the most part, Symlin and I are pals.  Will this progress into a long-term relationship?  I guess we'll see.  Stick around, and maybe you'll find out.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Self-Portrait Saturday #4

So what does my self-portrait Saturday initiative have to do with diabetes?  Nothing?  Maybe everything?  Hopefully you fine readers don't get tired of seeing my face every Saturday.  I suppose, if you think about it, this is the portrait of someone who's living with Type 1 every day.  Sure, it's always along for the ride, but it stays pretty quiet most of the time.  I have a great life, and I love the freedom that I have.

For example, the photo below was taken in our Yaris on the way to a performance of Matt's band in Philadelphia.  If you want to see a real dive, well, that's where they played--dark, not actually suited to be a music venue but it is anyway.  I left straight from work, so I rocked out my business casual dress with some eyeliner and a funky headband.  Being in a moving vehicle accounts for the blurriness.

A little bit business time, a little bit rock-n-roll.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Self-Portrait Saturday #3

Soooo...I tried to start this as an initiative, and I'm picking it back up.  #1 is here, and #2 is here, in case you missed them at some point in history.  Because you probably did.  How many people really read diabetes blogs on Saturday anyway?

You may have seen this if you are my personal Facebook friend.  It's still one of my favorite self-portraits of recent times.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Naked Truth

I do try to keep my blogging, for the most part, relatively safe for work.  In today's post, I am going to talk about nudity and other subjects as an adult.  If that's not safe for your work, well, you best read this at home.  Same goes for any kiddos out there--this one is probably at least rated PG-13 for mature themes and nakedness!

I was applying makeup with a girlfriend (we'll call her S) on Saturday in preparation for another friend's 30th birthday bash.  The theme our friend had chosen was "Topless Tapas".  Now, I'm sure there are not a lot of us out there who have ever been to a topless or clothing-optional party before.  Before Saturday, I was one of these people, but I have some very progressive friends.  In between critiquing our choices of eyeshadow colors, S confessed something to me. 

"I'm feeling really self-conscious," she said.  "I'm fat, and I've got bumps, and scars, and stretch marks, and I managed to get this stupid zit between my boobs.  I don't really know how I feel about doing this, y'know?"

I spoke some encouraging words about how my own body is decidedly not perfect, and everyone at the party has very different body types, weights, skin types, and levels of fuzziness.  (Seriously, folks, my most Papa Bear-esque friend was not the hairiest boy at the party by a longshot.)

All the while, I was silently weighing my own thoughts about baring some or all of my body to the whole room.  I am plus-sized and busty, but I have narrow hips and my ass is kind of round-ish and kind of flat-ish at the same time.  I have a massive appendectomy scar.  I'm quite pale.  My ankles have a fun hobby of swelling up all the damn time.  Oh yeah, also I'm a cyborg with an always-connected tube somewhere on my abdomen, red marks from old sites, gray patches where adhesive just hasn't quite washed off in the shower.

I don't have a problem with getting naked overall.  I mean, I'm not shy.  I have never been timid about showing my body when in bed with someone.  I'm not one to demand that somebody needs to turn the lights off.  Leave 'em on!  Put on some extra spotlights if you feel so inclined!  The way I've always seen it is this--if you've had the fortune to find yourself in my bed, you are there to appreciate me, and if you see something you don't like, well, that's your problem. (Just please be careful, too many sudden movements near one's infusion site can spell disaster!)

This party was being attended by many of my nearest and dearest pals, people I've been emotionally intimate with for a while now, people I trust wholeheartedly, but still, I was nervous.  Was it because there were going to be some strangers there?  What was making me so anxious about running around without a top on?

I guess it's just because you'd think it would feel different hanging around like that.  You have stripped away your barriers, your physical disguises.  My friends would pretty much have no choice but to see an infusion set, a length of tubing running down into the pocket of my shorts, gray blotches of adhesive that don't come off my bright white skin until I scrub with some solvent.

I was shocked to find I felt shy because of diabetes.  Even though it was playing a relatively small role in my anxiety, it was an odd thing to acknowledge.  A cyborg pancreas can be fun, but the thought of a bunch of strangers seeing my boobs and asking what that plastic thingy was all about made me grit my teeth a bit.  I didn't bare all that evening.  I took off my shirt and showed the world my fabulous bra, but that was as far as I went.  I was happy and comfortable, plus my friend's house does not have AC, and trust me, there is no worse sweat than boob sweat.  (TMI?  Sorry, friends.  I only speak the truth!)  There were a few people at the party who didn't disrobe at all.  Overall, it just felt like your average 30th birthday party with tapas, booze, birthday cake...oh, and a bunch more exposed nipples than usual.

The next evening I found myself in bed on my laptop in nothing but my skivvies.  My pump was next to me, tubing stretched out a bit.  My laptop was plugged into the wall.  My headphones were plugged into my laptop.  They led back to my head.  I had to stop and laugh at what a picture this was--one almost-naked woman and a mess of wires, both inputs and outputs. 

I guess the point I am trying to get to with all this is that it's okay to be naked, to be exposed when you have diabetes.  Nobody feels uncomfortable about showing a few red dots on the fingertips from too many BG checks, but not everyone is willing to hike up their shirt or skirt to show someone what a real pump site looks like.  Hot diabetic celebs are not posing in bikinis or bare chests to show off their sexy new CGM transmitter/infusion set combo.  Type 1 pin-up girls are not posing suggestively with insulin pumps peeking out of their retro lingerie.

Have you ever sent somebody a suggestive picture, but you've had to angle it so they don't see a giant red mark on your arm from an injection?  Do you always wear sleeves long enough to cover up your Omnipod?  Should we all get naked with our diabetes?  Like, really really naked?  Have you ever, physically, made a bold statement that says "Yes I have diabetes!"?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Keyword Craziness

Everyone loves a good post on silly keyword searches on your blog, right?  While mine are not as wacky as Kerri's or Allison's or some other folks', I think these were some gems worth sharing:

Dorkabetic:  Sure, it seems pretty obvious, but come on, it makes me say, "You like me!  You really like me!"

Bleeding madras washed:  So apparently, a lot of madras plaids are actually (or have been) known as "bleeding madras", I guess because the way they are woven and then washed, the colors bleed into the whiter parts of the fabric.  At least, that is the gist I've gleaned from this little essay from Lands' End, who I'm pretty sure sell nothing short of a shit-ton of madras plaids.  However, there's this one time I just happened to be wearing a madras plaid, and then I bled all over myself, so I guess now I'm showing up in someone's search results.

Bridge Camden Philadelphia:  I have a poem in which I mention the Ben Franklin Bridge, but I've never posted it here.  I've taken a few trips from Philly into New Jersey and back.  I have no idea why this brought someone to my blog.  None.  Also, I've heard that NJ now charges you $5 to get out of the state.  Seriously, you never have to pay a bridge toll going into New Jersey, but now they are charging you $5 a trip to get out, regardless of whether you are on the Ben Franklin, the Walt Whitman or the Delaware Memorial bridges.  Sheesh!  I am not going to stay, NJ!  I will scrape up the five bucks!

Getting a dorks attention:  Oooohhh, this one is my favorite.  Here are some tips.  First, maybe send me an email, I'm pretty likely to respond.  Oh, maybe they weren't looking for information on me specifically?  You can probably search out most dorks by finding and participating in the things they like to do.  Do you play World of Warcraft or other MMORPGs?  Do you like to LARP?  Have you ever attempted to pick someone up at a poetry reading, a bookstore, a library or a comic book shop?  Do you enjoy any of the following fandoms:  Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, etc.?  Your prospects for getting a dork's attention are endless, dear readers!  You just have to be creative!  And encourage them not to be shy.  And seriously, if you're looking to get my attention, I'm listening.  Email me.  :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Family Comes in All Forms, or Who You Gonna Call When You Go to the Hospital?

This is a post about love, friendship, the family we choose for ourselves.    

On Monday afternoon, my very dear friend David sent me a rather frantic message.  “Sam saw a doctor and is going to the ER.  They don’t know if it’s mono or meningitis.”  I swear my heart stopped for an instant, then launched into a rather anxious, rapid pattern.  They were just words on a screen, and yet I could feel the weight and the panic.  Meningitis can be very, very nasty, even deadly, and spinal taps are the only way to test for it, and those are extraordinarily painful.  Mono can be pretty awful as well.  Sam is David’s boyfriend.  David works second shift, so he was nowhere near the hospital. 

Allow me to back up for a moment here to tell you about these friends of mine.

David and I have been pals for well over a year now, and we’ve grown very close for a number of reasons.  I’ve spent enough time hanging out with him that it almost warrants keeping a stash of diabetes supplies at his apartment.  He happens to live about three blocks away, so we are sort of emergency backups for each other.  If Matt and I went on a road trip but left the stove on, I could call David and he’d go take care of it for us.  We have that kind of friendship.  Some may say I am a fag hag.

Sam is adorable and vivacious.  He has one of my favorite cheesy grins when people take his picture.  In January, at a big dance party held at our friends’ place, David bumped into me in the kitchen to confide that he thought Sam was really cute.  We’d both just met him, but I definitely agreed with David.  The two of them were then chatting for a large portion of the evening.  Soon after, they were dating, and my circle of close friends grew yet again. 

Nowadays, David and Sam show up to parties, dinners, picnics, the gay bar, movie nights, many things as a twosome.  I know how much they care for each other.  They are that couple that leaves cute little notes for each other on Facebook so the world can see.  Always smiling, holding hands, stealing kisses.  I love their love—it’s fantastic to see two friends so happy together. 

Poor David was scared, that much was very clear to me.  He was feeling guilty that because of the nature of his job, he couldn’t rush back to the hospital to be at Sam’s side for whatever was about to happen.  I imagined if Matt and I had a similar situation.  I was fortunate enough that he was there when I had to have my appendix out in 2009; he’s the one who drove me to the ER.  Then I realized that as a heterosexual couple, we might not even have to face some of the difficulties that David and Sam could potentially encounter.  I kept David talking, just as anxious for updates on Sam’s diagnosis as he was, and felt somewhat helpless.  I didn’t really think there was much I could do. 

My mind continued to wander.  What if I landed in the hospital now?  Which of my friends would come to visit?  What if something would happen to Matt?  How would I handle it?  What if something happened to David?  David doesn’t have health insurance.  I thought of my other friends with no health insurance.  I thought of how many diabetes-related situations could send me to the ER. 

The best thing I could do as a friend was be there for him, and be supportive.  So what I said was this:

I don't really know what I can do to help you right now, I just want to wrap you in a blanket and let you cry if you need to and hand you tissues and put my arms around you. I know you are scared.  I'm trying my best to say nice, reassuring things. I'm not sure that I'm always great with what to say in these situations, but I can hug. And let people cry.

David thanked me.  He kept me updated on Sam’s condition for the rest of the day.  Not mono; Sam had a spinal tap and waiting on results.  Sam’s mom was there at the hospital too.  He asked if maybe I could stop by during visiting hours.  Shortly after, he sent another update:  not meningitis.  I breathed a sigh of relief, and I knew David had just done the same.  Just a nasty infection coupled with some sort of flu—they pumped Sam full of antibiotics were keeping him overnight to keep an eye on things.  That night, David snuck in through the ER door after visiting hours and made his way to Sam’s room.  I can only imagine how grateful he must have felt that it wasn’t as serious as it could have been.

They sent Sam home today.  I visited yesterday, and both David and Sam were there.  We all laughed and swapped war stories about the other times we’d each been in the hospital.  Sam complained about his IV, which was literally occluded every time he bent his arm.  I cracked wise that my insulin pump had fewer issues, and you’d think a huge IV could do better.  And it all just made me think about how love and friendship are so powerfully intertwined when you know the right people. 

One thing that David had told me was that he wasn’t sure who he would tell if he had to be admitted to the hospital…I suggested Sam, his mother, and his favorite fag hag.

That made me wonder, for those of us who may not have our real families living close by (like me), or may not have family that we even talk to, who would you tell if you had to go into the hospital?  Who would take care of you?  Who would help you get back on your feet?  Who is around to hug and comfort the people who are concerned about you?

I'm confident that if something unfortunate ever happens to me, I'll have wonderful, reliable, loving friends to help out, maybe even before Matt can get home from work, and before my mom could drive the 3 and a half hours to get here.  I am so thankful to have so much love in my life.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My Diabetes Turned 21 and All I Got Was This Lousy A1C

Yesterday, I went to my endocrinologist.  She's a very lovely lady.  This is only the second time I've seen her, but I do like her.  She is quick and relatively thorough.  The first time I went to her office, which is in a big medical office building near where I work, I felt like I was going to see some kind of endocrinology celebrity.  There was a HUGE poster in the front lobby with her picture and her credentials on it.  She was down-to-earth and truly listened to my concerns.  You don't get that kind of treatment from a lot of doctors with larger than life pictures, I can tell you that.

We went over my test results, of course.  Kidneys are normal.  Liver and thyroid are also normal.  Always a relief.  LDL cholesterol is slightly elevated (should ideally be 100, it's 120), but that's nothing a little exercise and a healthier diet probably can't fix.  The big issue, the thing that is hardest to admit, is the A1C score.  But hey, to show you that I am just a young woman struggling with diabetes like the rest of the world, here's the number:


That's right.  There it is.  It ain't pretty, and yet I'm not really afraid of it.  I feel empowered knowing the truth.  I feel like I'm going to work to fix this, and the tool I'm going to attempt to bring this thing down with comes in a pen:  Symlin.  I haven't used Symlin in a couple of years, but I am willing to give it another go.  When I was using it, it was really working for me.  Using it forced me to pay attention to my blood sugars and also everything that I ate every day.  I had the lowest low I've ever had while taking Symlin: 32 mg/dl.  I was very alert (albeit seeing a few spots) and able to get myself glucose tabs to bring myself back up, but it was enough to let me know that I need to keep an eye on myself at all times. 

And that is precisely what I need right now.  A kick in the pants that says, "Hey you, Type 1!  You gotta work on that shit, remember?"  I really want to remember.

I think my dia-versary was officially sometime last week.  I've never known my exact date of diagnosis--it was pretty traumatic for the family, and my poor mom's memory for the date is foggy. 

My little Type 1 has turned 21!  I propose drinks to celebrate it being legal.  If you think you'd be down for a little d-meetup 21st birthday dinner for my diabetes in the greater Philly area, send me an email:  nrrdygrrl-at-gmail-dot-com.  I'm not celebrating my crappy A1C.  I am celebrating the fact that I am alive, well, and still trying to stay positive and get healthier. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Kindred Spirits

Last week, I was waiting patiently for my sandwich at the local Wawa deli counter.  (Wawa is THE convenience store in the greater Philadelphia area.  People are passionate about this, maybe even to a fault.  I was raised a little bit more west, so I have a preference for Sheetz.)  I was the only one waiting on my food for a couple of minutes, and then for some reason some motion next to me caught my eye.

There was a guy standing next to me, about my own age with black-rimmed glasses, long hair, and some sort of screenprinted t-shirt.  Maybe for a band.  He looked like the type of person I would see at a concert.  He was dressed a little like Matt.  I see people like this and assume they're nice. 

I don't know what possessed me to look downward slightly, but that's where I noticed it--pump tubing reaching out of his pocket and up under his clothes somewhere.  His pocket hung open just enough that I could see the top of a Minimed insulin pump.  I smiled, then started thinking, "Should I say something?  Should I ask him about it?  I really want to say hello!"  Yet I know not everyone geeks out over their insulin pumps.  Some people don't even want other people to know they have diabetes.  Not everyone is comfortable when an enthusiastically talkative stranger whips out her own insulin pump and wants to chat about it.  This dude probably just wants to get his sub and go home.

I did try to catch his eye, but he wandered off to get a cup of coffee. 

I've read a few accounts on the DOC of similar run-ins.  How do you guys handle it when you see someone else who obviously is doing something related to diabetes (i.e. wearing a pump, testing their blood, etc.)?  Do you casually say hello?  Do you just offer a kind, understanding smile?  Do you pretend they don't exist?  I get really excited when I see someone who is like me--if a bubbly blonde approaches you in the grocery store and mentions something about your insulin pump, just be patient.  That person is probably me, and I mean you no harm.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

If I Can Do This, You Can Do This!

Today is the first official day of the You Can Do This Project.  I am so excited and grateful that Kim decided to launch this effort for the Diabetes Online Community.  We all get burned out at some point, or beat ourselves up, or make ourselves feel guilty about some factor of diabetes that we ultimately can’t control.  When I joined the DOC in 2006 by starting this blog, I felt so blessed to find like-minded people who didn’t have perfect HbA1Cs, perfect bodies, or storybook lives.  We’re often riding the glu-coaster together, day by day. 

The idea of You Can Do This is to share your story, your (no pun intended) highs and lows, to support each other, to show the people who are struggling that they can make it. 

And I am here to say…I’m a struggler.  Just because I blog about diabetes does not make me a model patient.  I cannot tell you the last time I had an A1C under 7.5, and my current A1C is over 9.  If you’re looking for perfection, you had best look someplace else.  Actually, if you’re looking for perfection in diabetes, I suggest you open a Word doc on your laptop and start writing a really tidy piece of fiction.  If you’d plug my meter into your computer, you’d see a few days of below-average testing (3x a day) flanked by a day or two of no testing whatsoever.  I have not been to an eye doctor in four years.  I should probably see a dermatologist, and I haven’t done that in a couple of years.  Heck, I’m lucky if I can remember to get to the dentist on time.

Every day, in some small way, I struggle with diabetes.  I can always see a brighter side, but this doesn’t mean I don’t stop at least once a month to curl up in a ball and cry. 

You’re not alone, my friends.  Not in the least.  That’s right, this sunny, sweet blogger lives with depression.  Just today I went to my psychiatrist’s office for a quick visit to assess how well my Wellbutrin is working.  I went back on it several months ago, and I feel more even-keeled.  I have fewer mood swings.  I definitely spend less time weeping and feeling helpless.    

You can do this.  I repeat the mantra because I’m really thinking, “I can do this.”  I’m so much better off now that I’ve been on medication.  Brain chemicals are coming back into balance.  Habits…well…they say habits take time to make and even more time to break.  I hope the rest of your awesome videos will push me in the right direction.  I plan on making one myself if I can just find a camera, but in the meantime, I couldn’t sit here silently while this effort gets off to a rolling start. 

Hi, my name is Hannah McD. I have type 1 diabetes and depression.  I am not perfect, but I smile every single day.  I hope that I can do this.  I know that something better is coming my way.