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!