May 28, 2008

Catching up with Technology

After being on my new Continuous Glucose Monitor for a bit now, I have to report that I've got some mixed feelings about it. Overall, I'm happy and it's oh so very cool to be able to look at a mini graph of my blood sugar whenever the heck I want to without having to bleed.

At the risk of sounding pessimistic, I'm going to go through the things that are frustrating me.

  • In all the pictures online, the transmitter looks very sleek, which it is! But you don't actually wear it that way. In order to protect it from getting caught on something and ripped off your skin, you have to put this silly sticker over the entire thing. The only way I can think of to describe this sticker is to say that you're essentially shrink-wrapping the transmitter and sensor to your skin. It's odd looking and you leave it on for the whole time that you're wearing it (days).
  • They say that the transmitter's results can vary up to 20% off of your actual blood sugar. This is because it's testing interstitial fluid instead of blood. For the most part, I've found it's pretty accurate, maybe 20 points higher or lower than my real blood sugar. But I've had instances where it says I'm 100, but I'm really 300, and just this morning it said I was 57 when I was really 190.
  • The woman who trained me on the transmitter had me set up a number of alarms so I would know when my blood sugar was high or low. But in the first 48 hours, the damn thing was just constantly going off, even when my sugar was great. So I turned them all off.
  • The act of checking your blood sugar is still absolutely necessary. You have to calibrate the thing at least twice a day, but sometimes the transmitter's readings are so far off that I'm testing like I used to - 8-10 times a day - and calibrating it more than twice. I'm hoping the transmitter will figure things out soon so I don't have to keep doing this.

The great thing is that it lies pretty flat under my clothes. It also doesn't leave much of a mark on my skin. And even though you're "not supposed to," I've been leaving it on for more than 3 days at a time.

I'm holding my horses until I've been on it for a month. Then I'm going to start downloading all my readings and look at them in graph format on my computer. I'm really hoping for some clues as to why my A1C is higher than I want it to be, and what I can do to fix it. We'll see!

May 23, 2008

A New Warranty On Life

Now that I'm back in the real world of going to work and cleaning the house, I can focus on something really exciting. I've officially received my new continuous glucose monitor!

It was definitely a process getting approved for this. Once I discovered that my insurance may cover it, I had to work closely with Medtronic Minimed and my doc to push the order through.

The tricky thing was that in order to use the new transmitter, I had to upgrade to a new pump. My pump only had 1 year left on it's 4-year warranty, and just doing an upgrade would transfer that 1 year to my new pump. So my doctor wrote me a special letter to get United Healthcare to cover me for a new pump without doing the upgrade (My fabulous rep at Minimed handled everything!). It was a touch more expensive for me to do this, but now I have a full 4-year warranty on my new pump.

For most things I buy, I rarely ever need to use a warranty. But I've found that over 3 years of pumping, this warranty is crucial. During that 3 years, I've gone through 4 pumps. I know what you're thinking, "Geez, does she drop the thing on cement all the time?"

As a matter of fact I do not. Each time I've needed a replacement pump it was because a button on my pump simply stopped working. I have no idea why. Fortunately, the lovely folks at Minimed have saved the day each time by overnighting me a new pump. So you see, the importance of that 4-year warranty is non-negotiable to me. And there's nothing better than having a warranty on your health.

May 22, 2008

To Amsterdam & Back

I'm back from a relaxing vacation with my husband in the land of wooden shoes and tulips. And pancakes and cheese and beer and other tasty things.

Status Check
  • Percentage of my luggage taken up by diabetes supplies & equipment: 25%
  • Items confiscated by London Security: 1 bottle of contact lense solution
  • # of times I was questioned by security about my insulin, pump, syringes or other equipment: ZERO
  • # of days I exercised on vacation: Walked & biked a million miles each day!
  • # of times I checked my blood sugar a day: 10
  • Instances of low blood sugar: 2
  • Amount of yummy food we ate: Enough to feed a football team for a month.
  • # of pounds gained: -1 (thanks to the exercise!)
  • # of people who tried to pick pocket us: At least 3
  • Souvenirs: Flat, brown, knee-high leather boots (They're all the rage. On any given day, about 40% of Amsterdam's women wore them with skinny jeans.)
  • Percentage of Dutch people we met who were friendly: 100%
  • Hours spent on the flight home throwing up from bad Chinese food: 3
  • Hours spent not eating after getting sick: 7
  • What my blood sugar did because of it: Skyrocketed to 300
  • Items confiscated at US Customs: 1 bag of tulip bulbs (blue)

All in all it was a fabulous trip, except for the flight home. I felt very prepared to handle any diabetes-related situation that might arise, and had virtually no problems. I arrived home just as healthy as when I left.

May 11, 2008

International Travel for Diabetics: Part V

Item #7 on my Personal Diabetes Travel Checklist:

Airline Policies

The final item on my checklist is to be up to date with the airline industry's policies regarding what you can and can't bring with you onto a plane. The best way to find out is to review the TSA's website (Transportation Security Information). For specific info on traveling with diabetes or any other medical condition, check out this page on the TSA website.

I hope my Personal Diabetes Travel Checklist helps you next time you travel abroad. Just because you're taking a vacation from the rest of your life doesn't mean you should take a vacation from your health. Happy travels!

May 9, 2008

International Travel For Diabetics: Part IV

Item #6 on my personal diabetes travel checklist:

Speak Diabetes

One of the worst things I can think of when traveling to a foreign country would be to not be able to communicate if I had a problem. While you may have learned the basic phrases to get by (like "Thank You," "Please," and "Where is the restroom?"), you should also add some phrases about diabetes to your list.

Every time I leave the US, I always look up the following words and phrases and bring them with me. Use a website like Babel Fish to translate them into the language you need.

  • No sugar please
  • Diet soda please
  • I'm diabetic
  • I have diabetes
  • I need candy/sugar/juice
  • I need emergency help
  • I need a doctor
  • She's diabetic
  • She has diabetes

For even more security, you can order diabetes emergency cards in 29 different languages at Select Wisely. Here's pic of the card in English.

Keep your list handy (perhaps slip it into a pocket in your passport cover with your doctor's note!). And make sure every person you're traveling with has a copy. You never know when you'll need to say these phrases, but it's best to be prepared!

May 7, 2008

International Travel For Diabetics: Part III

Item #4 on my personal diabetes travel checklist:


In addition to having enough medication and supplies for your trip (Item #1 on my checklist), you'll need to be sure to have paperwork or packaging that includes your prescriptions. This written documentation proves that your meds belong to you.

It's best to keep your medication in its packaging, especially when going through airports, any type of security, and customs. That way proof is right there with each medication and you should have no problem.

Item #5 on My Personal Diabetes Travel Checklist:

World Diseases & Vaccinations

Contracting a contagious disease is the last thing anyone needs, but if you have diabetes it can be especially dangerous. Many countries outside of the US have a number of diseases going around that are rare to get here at home. And odds are, there are some that you may not have been vaccinated for.

The best way to prevent contracting a contagious disease is to find out about the dangers before you leave. Check out the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's website to find out what you could catch in the area of the world you're headed to. If you can, do this about 2 months before leaving so that you have time to get vaccinated if needed (and some vaccinations take a few weeks to kick in).

I know, just what insulin users need, another shot, but it's well worth saving your life.

To check out the rest of this series, read Part I & Part II. Stay tuned for more to come!

May 6, 2008

International Travel For Diabetics: Part II

To start from the beginning of this series, check out Part I.

Item #2 on My Personal Diabetes Travel Checklist:

The Doctor's Note

Heading out of the country, it's important to have a note from your doctor that states that you are required to carry all diabetes medications, syringes, glucometer, test strips, batteries, insulin pump, continuous glucose monitor, and any other diabetes supplies in order to sustain life.

Put in a request for this note at your endocrinologist's office 1 month before you leave. This gives plenty of time for your doc to write it, and for you to pick it up. Two key things to note...1-Be sure it's on "official paper,' such as your doctor's letterhead or a prescription notepad with his/her name printed on it, and 2-Be sure it's legible.

Item #3 on My Personal Diabetes Travel Checklist:

The Passport Cover

I know, I know. Spending money on a passport cover seems like lipstick on a pig (unnecessary and silly, unless it's Miss Piggy), especially if you rarely use your passport. However, when traveling overseas, you naturally safeguard your passport and know where it is at all times. Which is exactly what you should be doing with Item #2 - The Doctor's Note, so why not keep them together?

Imagine you're on the trip of a lifetime, but authorities won't let you cross from France into Germany with your diabetes meds and supplies...all because you lost your Doctor's Note.

Pick out a passport cover that has a pocket on it and place your Doctor's Note securely inside. There's a passport cover out there for everyone, from under $10 to Louis Vuitton. Just Google "passport cover" and you'll find the one for you. My thoughtful sister gave me a lovely white leather cover with silver flowers on it for my birthday. Perfect timing for Amsterdam!

May 5, 2008

International Travel For Diabetics: Part I

My husband and I are jetting off to Amsterdam next week to celebrate 3 years of marital bliss. I'm feeling prepared even though I haven't packed yet. Traveling to other countries is easy...IF you're prepared. Having diabetes makes it a bit more complex but that's no reason to stress about it.

In preparation for this upcoming International travel, I'm going to post a series this week on how to prepare for a trip like this. Breaking the tasks up makes them feel more manageable, and it helps me take a chill pill!

Item #1 on My Personal Diabetes Travel Checklist:

Medications & Supplies

A month before leaving for the trip, I make sure I've got enough medication and other diabetes supplies to last 3 times the length of the trip. For this 8-day trip, I've got enough insulin, test strips, pump supplies, batteries, etc for 24 days. I know that 3 times the quantity you need sounds like a lot, but who wants to be stuck in a foreign country without supplies if war breaks out or some other horrible circumstance keeps you from getting home. Not me. Better to be safe than sorry.

The 1-month preparation window gives you enough time to talk to you doctor, pharmacist, and diabetes supply company to request and receive extra meds and supplies. It also gives you some wiggle room in case you have to beg them to get your insurance company to cover the additional supplies (I've had to do this before!)

Stay tuned this week for the rest of My Personal Diabetes Travel Checklist. You won't want to miss it!

May 4, 2008

Reflections At The SATs

5 times a year, I proctor the SAT Test at a local high school. It's pretty fun giving the test to a room full of nervous 17 year olds (although this morning I had a 7th grader in my class!) I've been doing it for 6 years now and it usually pays for all my Christmas shopping!

This morning was the first SAT Test of the year. As I was looking around the room, I started thinking about what it would have been like for me if I had diabetes in high school, or younger.

I was 18 when diagnosed and had just started college. It was a time of claiming my independence, which also meant learning how to be diabetic on my own. My parents and lifelong friends were hundresds of miles away.

High school is, for most kids, a time when being differenct is often not accepted by your peers. I'm glad I didn't have to deal with diabetes back then and I'm so curious how kids do it. Although I hope I never find out with my future children.

It seems to me that diabetes would be tough to understand as a kid. Of course, you'd have the help of your parents, siblings, and friends, but would that make it more difficult to be an independent adult diabeteic than if you are diagnosed as an adult?

I'm thankful I was able to retain my chilhood innocence by having a healthy childhood. I'm awed by the thousands of kids out there who are dealing with this very serious, grown up disease. I'm not sure I would have been strong enough.

May 1, 2008

Living On A Schedule

If you're like me, or most Americans, your schedule is overbooked. Between your work, your family, your kids, your pets, your friends, your hobbies, and your "free time", it's tough to find room to squeeze in your health. If you're one of the lucky ones, you've scheduled exercising as a regular activity. But what about the rest of your health?

As a diabetic, the "rest of your health" means managing three things: your blood sugar, your medication, and your food.

Managing blood sugar throughout the day can be tough. Your glucometer must always be with you, or at least close by. At work I leave my testie (check out my recent post to see why I call it that) in my purse under my desk. I pull it out regularly and whenever I have a chance between meetings. If there's a break during a meeting, I usually test it. I never want to be stuck in a meeting that you can't leave and find myself shaking and unable to concentrate.

Managing medication is a bit like your blood sugar. You've got to take it with you everywhere. Don't even consider it an option to leave it at home or in the car. I take my insulin when I eat, and when my blood sugar is high. And you never can tell when you'll encounter these two things, so it's safer just have have it with you.

I find managing food to be the toughest. First off, I'm extremely aware of where food is in my surroundings. If I walk into a building with a friend, I guarantee that my friend will first notice the color of the room, while I'm noticing the vending machine in the corner. Luckily my job has tons of food on hand, so I don't worry there, but at my last job I always kept one desk drawer stocked with snacks and sugar, just in case.

Food at home is another story. I was always paranoid that we'd be out of something I'd need or food wouldn't be regularly available. Recently, my husband and I decided to start meal planning (I know you're probably saying "Duh, Sarah"). Each Sunday we decide some meals to make during the week and create a shopping list. We're even picking out some new recipes out of cookbooks. Then I buy it all that day. So now, our fridge is always stocked and we have yummy food every night. Plus, we're saving a lot of $ by planning!

Suddenly the stress of managing food is gone, and it feels so good to cross this off my list each week. I'd love to hear how you manage your food!

April 30, 2008

Endo Visits

This week I went to my Endocrinology appointment for my 3-month diabetes check up. I actually see a physicians assistant, Rosanna, and she is the best.

As I filled out the blood sugar chart in the waiting room I realized how proud I was of my recent blood sugar numbers. I know, it's weird how much blood sugar can affect your mood or how you feel about yourself, but it does!

Sitting in that waiting room I recognized all of the nurses and medical assistants behind the check-in counter from my numerous past visits. There's one woman in particular who stands out. She's never very friendly and is significantly overweight. I don't know how to say this without sounding judgmental, but I'm always curious about overweight people who work in the health care industry. How can you take a medical professional seriously when they tell you to watch your calories when they're overweight? This has definitely happened to me before.

Another interesting experience that sometimes occurs in the Endocrinology office is when an inexperienced nurse checks your blood sugar. I've had someone once who didn't even know how to use the glucometer. I was like, you've GOT to be kidding me.

And another time, a nurse spoke to me in a very condescending way in response to a high blood sugar test in the doctor's office. First, I wanted to slap her, then I wanted to tell her that you shouldn't make a diabetic feel bad about their blood sugar control. If you're not diabetic, it might be tough to understand that no matter how hard you try, sometimes you'll get a bad number. But you'd think that someone who works in an Endocrinology office would know better.

April 29, 2008

Dirty Dancing

Well, I turned 29 this past weekend and had an amazing weekend with the girls in Palm Sprizzle. It was a blast! We gossiped, laughed til our cheeks hurt, people watched at the pool, and met Patrick Swayze's body double from Dirty Dancing (or so he claimed right before offering to "dance" for us for $5). It was also filled with lots and lots of blood testing.

When you're on vaca with your girls, the last thing you need is diabetes eff-ing it up. Mixing alcohol and diabetes can be dangerous, but I've worked very closely with my doctor and nutritionist to pinpoint exactly how it affects my body.

I know what beer, wine and hard alcohol do to my blood sugar. But the thing is, you can't know what it's doing without testing. So I took every opportunity to do it...before leaving the hotel, under the restaurant table before ordering dinner, between each drink, in the nightclub bathroom, back at the hotel before 3am snacks, before passing out, and again when I woke up at 6am for water.

Still, with all this blood flowin' I still managed to go low on the dance floor. No matter how fun it is, dancing = exercise. Just as Flo Rida was singing about apple bottom jeans and boots with fur, this shorty got low, low, low. I made a bee line to the bar for some sugary coke to bring it back up, and was feeling better in minutes.

If you drink, talk to your doctors about it. Be upfront and be healthy about it. And when you're partying, stay aware of what you're doing and how you're feeling. You can't not test. It's just not worth it.

April 25, 2008

Birthday In Palm Springs

At the risk of dating myself...ah, whatever, I'm turning 29 today. Happy Birthday to me!

I'm headed to Palm Springs with a group of fabulous ladies for a weekend of fun, sun, booze, dancing, late nights, pool time, gossiping and anything else that gets in our way. I'm sure it'll be trouble, as it usually is.

Since I'm the only diabetic in the group (which you'd assume after reading my previous post) I need to remember to watch out for myself and not get distracted from my diabetes while having all this fun.

I've noticed that on trips like these, the girls can forget to eat. It's always me who comes up with the idea to eat, and usually everyone follows suit. Adding in the drinking factor, my blood sugar has a tendency to stay on the low side, so I really need to stay on top of it, especially while dancing.

I also have a secret buddy system. While all these girls are very aware that I'm diabetic, there are a few who were with me when I was diagnosed, lived with me in college, and just know exactly what to do if something happens to me. I find myself tending to stick close to those girls, like the buddy system. But I know that if anything were to happen, I could count on any one of them, because I'm so open about diabetes that everyone is aware for me.

This morning I'm prepping for the 4 hour drive, which I'm doing solo. Lots of water and snacks for just in case. Plus I double checked that my emergency $5 is in my car (for food when you find yourself stuck without).

All in all it should be a great weekend and great birthday! And if I can just remember to keep my diabetes top of mind, then I'll return home just as healthy as I left.

Party time! Excellent! (For you fellow Wayne's World fans.)

April 24, 2008

Donating Body Parts

Diabetes affects every single cell in your body. And whether or not we're otherwise 100% healthy, diabetes is slowly damaging our bodies cell by cell. Depressing, I know, but lets not think about that for now.

What I want to focus on is that fact that this damage to our cells puts us in a group of people who can't donate our organs or any other body part, including giving blood or marrow. When I found this out, I was really upset because I'd always wanted to gives blood regularly. I patiently waited for my 18th birthday when I could legally donate, but then I went and got diabetes. Grr.

Another reason this makes me upset is the fact that if my husband needed something, a kidney for example, I wouldn't be able to give him one of mine even if we're a match. I've got a great friend with cancer, and if she ever needs a bone marrow transplant (knock on wood she NEVER needs one), I can't help her.

A few months ago I realized that there is one thing, one part of my body that isn't affected by diabetes, at least not in a way that would make it dangerous to other hair. My hair was getting pretty long and I was ready for a substantial cut, so I started doing some research.

There are a number of organizations out there that take donated hair and change peoples' lives.

I've officially committed to donating my hair. Tomorrow, I'm chopping off 12 full inches of my strawberry blonde hair and pretty soon someone else will be wearing it. I haven't selected the organization just yet though.

Just because we're diabetic doesn't mean we still can't give of ourselves. Besides, wouldn't it be good karma to donate all we can in case the day ever comes when we need an organ transplant? (I'm knocking on wood again.)

April 22, 2008

Blood Sugar Testing On A Schedule

Testing your blood sugar is just a few quick and easy steps to do. Yes, it can be a touch painful, but honestly, I've stubbed by toe way harder than testing my blood sugar or taking an injection ever hurt me.

Despite the fact that it only takes a minute or so to do, blood sugar testing can be painful in the sense that it's a royal pain in the neck to remember to do throughout the day. I used to have days where I'd sometimes test once a day and sometimes 8, even though 8 was my goal. Now it's 10 and that was a lot for me to remember at the start.

I've now put myself on a schedule, because it's the only thing that works. I find that if I don't incorporate testing into my life 100% and try to make it a habit, then it just doesn't happen, even when I have the best of intentions.

Test #1As soon as my alarm goes off, I grab my testie from my nightstand and test while still half under the covers.
Test #2I test as soon as I get to work while my computer boots up and then I eat breakfast while checking my email.
Test #3A 2 hour alarm is set on my pump to alert me 2 hours after breakfast.
Test #4As soon as I decide what to do for lunch, eat at my desk or order out, I test.
Test #5Again, a 2 hour alarm is set on my pump to alert me 2 hours after lunch.
Test #64:00pm snacking cravings hit me, I test, if low I get to snack, if not I chug a glass of water and get over the craving.
Test #7While cooking dinner, when I get to the "dinner in 5 minutes!"-mark, it's time to test.
Test #8Once again, a 2 hour alarm is set on my pump to alert me 2 hours after dinner.
Test #9Once in PJs, I test before brushing my teeth, just in case I need to munch something.
Test #10I never test in the middle of the night unless I wake up on my own. Sometimes when I wake up it takes a few minutes before I start feeling shaky when I'm low, so I always test if I wake up at night.

Of course, I have days where I forget to do one of the tests mentioned above, but all in all, a schedule seriously helps me pull in all together. And with the busy lives most people have these days, making blood sugar testing as simple as possible is a necessity.

April 21, 2008

Healthy Spring Cleaning For Diabetics

This past weekend was a flurry of spring cleaning at my house. I cleaned all but one room from top to bottom.

I also did my own version of that old TLC show Clean Sweep, where they go through someone's stuff and separate it all out into four piles: keep, donate, sell, and toss. Although, my house did NOT look like one of those pack rat homes in the beginning. But everyone can use a little spring cleaning, right?

When starting a cleaning frenzy like this, diabetics have to be very aware of what all this activity will do to their blood sugar. While not typically thought of as exercise, house cleaning is just that. And it will absolutely affect your blood sugar. Constant activity while cleaning house usually keeps me on the verge of going low all day long, and I just might get there a few times.

In my experience, the best way to stay healthy while house cleaning is to test my blood sugar throughout the day and to set a periodic alarm for myself. I do this because when I'm knee deep in old photo boxes, magazines I never read, and costumes from my old sorority days, you tend to lose track of time.

I'm sure that you diabetics out there have experienced this once or twice too. Next time your at it, set little reminders like me on your phone to check your blood sugar every 2 hours or so. Not only will you welcome the break, but it'll help keep you from having hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) throughout the day.

April 17, 2008

Big News For My Blood Sugar Numbers!

I heard word today from Medtronic Minimed that United Healthcare has officially approved me for a continuous glucose monitor! I'm so excited I could scream! Don't worry, I won't.

This means that I'll know how my blood sugar is fluctuating around the clock, instead of just 8 times a day.

For those of you still waiting to be approved, have patience. My fingers are crossed for you for the insurance companies to get with it and cover it across the board.

I had to switch from HealthNet to United Healthcare when I switched jobs a few months back. I was already happy with my decision to change my job, but this makes me 110% happy about it. You never know what a job change can bring, and if it happens to you anytime soon, I hope the same kind of positive changes come to you too.

April 16, 2008

Testing & Driving

We all do it...texting while driving. Word on the street is it'll be illegal in California (where I live) beginning this July 1. I'm sure this will lead to less accidents on the road.

I've got something to confess. I not only text while driving; I test while driving. I pull out my tester, set it on my lap, and steer with my knees for a moment while I poke my hand. If the results are high, I go one step further, pull out my insulin pump, and juice it up.

I know it's bad. I'm sure just as bad as texting or eating while driving. But I do it anyway because it always feels important to do it the very moment when I need to. And I'm sure that if I do it, there are other diabetics out there too who are testing while driving.

While I'm trying to prevent future complications, I'm ignoring the more immediate possible complications, like dying in a car accident or worse, killing someone else.

I hereby promise to stop testing while driving. I will do my best to remember to test before starting the car, or else I will pull the car over to do it. What about you?

April 15, 2008

A Love/Hate Relationship With My Tester

As a Diabetic, one of the things that I always have with me is my Blood Glucometer, a FreeStyle Flash.

Of course, I don't go around calling it my "Blood Glucometer," as I'm sure you don't either. It's had many names over the years and keeps on evolving - from Glucometer to Blood Tester to Tester to Testie to Testicle. The last one is a joke I have with my husband because it lives in a little pouch that goes everywhere with me. But mostly, it's my Testie.

I've had a few glucometers over the years, but this FreeStyle Flash has been my favorite by far. It's small, the poker is small, it has a light on the end so I can test at night, and, I'll admit, my husband bought it for me because there was a butterfly on the box. If you knew me, you'd understand.

While it's certainly the best one I've ever had, I do have a love/hate relationship with it. I mean, it's this thing that has to go everywhere with me and I have to make myself bleed with it multiple times a day. Who wouldn't hate that?

My solution to this "hate" problem was to try to turn it into something fun. Hence the nicknaming. Something else that helped was to accessorize it. Yes, I said accessorize it! I'm a girl who loves fashion. So, why am I carrying this thing around in a not-cute, nylon, black case that's unnecessarily big?

Enter Chinatown, San Francisco. While shopping through silk-embroidered handbags in a little shop there two years ago, I came across a pretty little red zippered pouch. Fashion crisis averted! For $1, this pouch was the solution. Albeit, my equipment barely fit inside, but I made it work. And getting a red one was great for two reasons, blood won't show up if you get some on it, and it's easy to spot from across the room when you're in a rush.

I went back to Chinatown after a year and upgraded to a slightly larger beautiful red pouch for $5 that's actually made my negative feelings toward my glucometer go away! Who would have thought that's all it would take!

If my Testie and I have to go everywhere together, at least we'll look cute doing it!

April 14, 2008

Beach Day, Beer, Bikes & Blood Sugar

Yesterday was a lovely day. 90 degrees. Gorgeous. A definite beach day.

I took a bike ride downtown with a friend for lunch, rode to the beach, we had two beers and chilled out while watching the waves and other beach-goers. Then I rode my bike home. It was a really great day.

A bike ride like this takes planning for diabetics, and somehow it still didn't work out quite right. Before leaving the house, I tested (135), had a bowl of cereal, and drank a glass of water. When we got to the restaurant it was 317. Huh?!

When we were by the beach, I tested...114. Fab. But on the ride home, I started feeling weak and shaky. By the time I got home it was 54.

At this point I was tired from riding, overheated from the sun, had a beer buzz goin' on, and low blood sugar. I did not feel well. After eating something, I felt exhausted. By 8:00pm I felt pretty sick and went to bed feeling like I had the flu. I slept 10 hours and woke up feeling great.

I know there were a lot of factors that led to my feeling ill, but I know from experience that it was the fluctuations of my blood sugar that left me feeling like crap and ready to vomit. I've learned to get through these low points by having patience, and not allowing it to ruin the fantastic day that led up to it.

As diabetics, we can never relax, never stop testing, never stop being vigilant about trying to stay healthy. Some might think this sounds depressing, but you have to move past that. There are just too many lovely days ahead for us to enjoy.

April 12, 2008

A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

I'm unhappy today. I'm having one of those "I Hate Diabetes" days that seem to crop up every once in awhile. I don't know why.

Yesterday I was fine. Tomorrow, I'll probably be fine. But for royally sucks.

There's nothing abnormal about today. Subtract my current emotional state from the equation and it's a pretty darn good day. Even my blood sugar numbers are good. But the negative emotions about having Diabetes crawled out of some dark place and are haunting me.

I need to test right now, and I will, but honestly, I'm over it. So over it. When will the madness stop?

It's days like this that tempt me to throw in the towel. Why shouldn't I? But I know deep down that Diabetes is doable. Millions are doing it right now. To get through it, I force myself to stay strict with my testing/insulin routine and my diet. Then I just allow myself to feel the emotion. You can't deny emotion. But you can choose to not let it take over.

Think of the people who have diseases that can't be cured. Diseases that take control of your body so you can't move, can't function, can't live. That's when I tell myself, "Pull it together, Sarah." With medicine and technology, us Diabetics have been given a chance to not only survive, but to thrive. We have the opportunity to accomplish just as much as our families, friends, and neighbors in this lifetime. And we only get one.

I've decided to feel the emotion for today. But tomorrow, I'm waking up happy, and I'm going to keep on living, one test strip at a time.

April 11, 2008

Diabetes Detecting Dogs

I was awakened this morning by my sweet kitty Miles who pounced on my stomach and meowed in my face. I looked at the clock and sure enough, I was late. Somehow I'd turned off my alarm in my sleep (I really dislike my alarm).

As I sat up in bed to do the first thing I do every morning - test my blood sugar - I remembered a news story I heard a year or so ago about dogs that are trained to smell low blood sugar. For a split second I thought, hey, maybe Miles pounced because I'm low. Wouldn't that be exciting! But, alas, it was 130.

This rude awakening made me wonder about how the Diabetes detecting dogs are doing these days. It would be pretty amazing to have a pet who could tell when things were wrong and warn you. Especially for all the Diabetics out there who just don't feel the lows coming on.

Turns out the timing couldn't have been better for Miles to remind me of this cool concept. Diabetes Forecast magazine published an article on it last month that I somehow missed (Read it here!). There are a few organizations out there training dogs to specialize in Diabetes, and an article on the subject if you'd like to find out more:
- Dogs 4 Diabetics
- All Purpose Canines
- Canine Partners for Life
- British Research Article

I'm currently trying to work out getting on a Continuous Glucose Monitor, which will give me warnings when my blood sugar is low. So getting a Diabetes detecting dog may not be the right way for me to go (and I'm sure Miles wouldn't appreciate it). But it might be right for you, especially if you have young children with Diabetes. It's great to know that man's best friend could really save your life!

April 10, 2008

Saving Your Heart & Your Life

Diabetics are definitely at high risk for developing Heart Disease. So, what can we do about it? Aside from keeping your blood sugar in the "good" range, we should also be watching our blood pressure and cholesterol.

A new study has found that keeping close tabs on your Systolic blood pressure (the upper number) and your LDL cholesterol (the bad one) can provide some added help to diabetics when it comes to preventing heart disease.

Here are the #'s that are recommended:


The "Diabetic-old" numbers are what doctors used to have us aim for - even lower than non-Diabetics. But this new study found that if Diabetics can achieve even lower numbers ("Diabetic-new"), we can stop the increase of plaque formation, and even reverse it!

I haven't a clue what my Systolic or LDL are, but I'm definitely going to pay more attention to them next time I'm at the doctor or getting lab work done.

CNN's coverage of this study also mentions that study participants were taking blood pressure and cholesterol medications, so I'm not sure if I'll be able to acheive such low numbers. At least I now know that there are even more ways to help prevent diabetes complications. And I'm going to do everything I can to prevent them.

April 9, 2008

Where Are My Diabetic Friends?

I don't know about you, but I don't really have any diabetes friends. I do have friends who know a lot about it and ask me how I'm doing, but they don't know exactly what I'm going through. Don't get me wrong, I love my friends, but sometime it'd be like to have some extra support from friends with diabetes.

After 10 1/2 years, you'd think I'd have made a diabetic friend along the way. In college, I met one guy who had it, but he was such a cocky jerk that I didn't even attempt to get to know him. Last year, I met a girl who seemed cool at first, but it turned out she was a compulsive liar. So both friendships were doomed from the start.

I'll admit that I haven't exactly been searching for you out there. In the beginning I heard there was a local diabetes support group, but my doc told me they'd "disbanded" because people weren't coming.

Someday it'd be nice to have a great friend that I really click with who also knows what I'm going through. The kind where you just get each other without words. Until then, I'll try to be patient. I'd love to hear about where and how you've met your diabetic friends!

April 8, 2008

Party Foul

I went to a beer drinking, Bocce Ball-playing birthday party this past weekend. It was super fun, and super low-key.

I usually steer clear of beer (sorry about the rhyming here), because of it's high carb content. If I do drink it, I'll stick to Michelob Ultra (only 1.5 carbs. YES!). At a mellow party or get together, dry wine is my drink of choice (about 2-5 carbs), and when it's time to hit the dance floor with my girls, it's rum and diet cokes for me (zero carbs!).

Lately, though, it's beer that has been calling my name, and a lot of times my good friend Michelob Ultra isn't on the menu. As was the case at this beer drinking party. And if it's got carbs in it, insulin is necessary.

My problem with beer is that it takes me so long to drink it that I forget to take insulin for it. Especially once I've gotten my buzz on. An hour later, I'm feeling parched, despite the fact that I've been drinking an icy cold beverage the whole time. I check my blood sugar and hot damn, it's high.

I tend to get pretty down on myself for letting this happen. It's not like it's that difficult to remember something so simple. I mean, I have to remember to take insulin so many times throughout the day that it's hard for me to believe I forgot.

I got caught up with friends and fun. Even though high blood sugar is bad for my body, it was really nice to feel normal for an hour and feel unburdened by my constant worries about diabetes. But not thinking about it is a luxury that I can't afford.

April 7, 2008

Cracking Down on Cravings

Heading to the gym on a Sunday morning, I was proud of myself for not giving in to the urge to sleep in. As I walked from my car to the gym entrance, I started getting hungry. I had eaten a bowl of Special K 15 minutes earlier. How could I be hungry?

The smell of Mexican food wafted out of the delicious restaurant right next to 24 Hour Fitness. This isn't just any Mexican food, this is the special Sunday brunch of a beautiful, well-known, not-cheap Mexican restaurant. Each Sunday, I head past the heavenly smells on my way in to burn some calories.

Fortunately, good 'ol Paul McKenna from "I Can Make You Thin" had armed me with a weapon to fight back.

I pressed together my left thumb and left middle finger and imagined sitting down to a big plate of Mexican brunch. I kept squeezing as I passed, and wouldn't ya know it? I immediately began to feel a bit nauseas. I didn't hold it too long for fear that I'd feel so nauseas that I wouldn't be able to work out.

Crisis averted. This method is really working for me! Squelching my Mexican food cravings is key to controlling my diabetes, what with the tortillas, beans, and rice (carbs, carbs, carbs), and the cheese, sour cream, and guacamole (fat, fat, fat). It was another healthy Sunday for me!

April 4, 2008

Stopping the Snacking Madness

As I mentioned in my previous post, Snacking on the Job, I've got a problem with snacking at work. I may have found a solution!

Have you heard of the new TLC show "I Can Make You Thin"? It started a few weeks ago and I recorded last Sunday's episode to my DVR. I watched it last night, and so far, I think it's genius.

From what I understand, each episode teaches a different method to stop you from overeating or snacking. The one I just saw taught me how to fight cravings.

Show host Paul McKenna, apparently known "round the world" for his unique methods, promised to help us "through the television" with these simple steps.

  • First he asked viewers to visualize your favorite food, whatever you often crave or snack on. For me, it's chips and other carby things.
  • Then visualize a food you hate, or something nasty - the examples he gave were worms, hair from a barbershop floor, or the contents of a spittoon.
  • From this point until the end of the process, press together the tips of your left thumb and left middle finger.
  • Now, visualize your favorite food combined with the nastiness. So my brain pictures Doritos swimming in a full-to-the-brim spittoon. You should be entirely grossed out by now.
  • Next, physically pretend that you're eating it. So I held out my hand and pretended I was scooping up soggy chips dripping with saliva and chewing tobacco with an imaginary spoon, put it in my mouth and made chewing motions.

If you're ready to hurl, then this method is working. I could feel my gag reflex wanting to react on its own. And that's just the point.

Paul claims that the brain cannot tell the difference between the real and the imaginary. By doing this, you are conditioning your brain to connect the sickening feeling you get with the act of pressing together your left thumb and middle finger.

Now for the good part.

  • Press together the tips of your right thumb and right middle finger.
  • Imagine something that gives you pleasure (not food). Imagine it clearly and vividly, and notice how good it makes you feel.

You are now conditioning your brain to have pleasure from good thoughts, instead of food.

The next time you have a craving, do the first set of steps focusing on the object of your craving plus nastiness, while using your left hand. Then do the second set of steps using your right hand.

My experience so far is that it works. Today I didn't go anywhere near the snack food at the office. I'm definitely going to watch the new episode this Sunday (TLC at 9/8c) to see what other tricks he has for me..

April 3, 2008

What Really Counts?

When I first started taking short-acting insulin, a nutritionist taught me to count carbs so I could take my insulin accordingly. Before this, I had never paid attention to the quantities of food or carbs that I swallowed.

I bought The Calorie King's Calorie, Fat & Carbohydrate Counter book and carried it with me everywhere. The book was incredible. It listed the calorie, fat and carb content for thousands of foods, including dishes from chain restaurants, and it somehow fit in my purse.

This was my bible for years, looking up the contents of each meal so I could accurately take my insulin. The problem was that no one had ever stressed the importance of looking at the calorie or fat listings in the book. I literally only looked at carbs.

Last fall, I started seeing a personal trainer at 24 Hour Fitness. He was shocked to discover that I didn't pay attention to calories, and immediately put me on a 1,200-1,500 calorie/day diet. That, combined with a new weight lifting and cardio routine, made my body start morphing into something a bit leaner that I was more comfortable with.

Ever since my eyes were opened to the importance of calories, I started to see all the mistakes I was making with my "attention to carbs only" diet. There were foods I ate high quantities of because they had little to no carbs, like cheese, eggs, olives and mushrooms. I considered them to be "free" foods. I couldn't have been further from the truth. These calories were seriously adding up!

Now that I've been awakened to the world of truly healthy eating, I know that there is no such thing as a "free" food. It all adds up. I just wish that someone had told me this from the start.

April 2, 2008

Snacking on the Job

I recently started a new job. It's awesome. Better pay, better hours, more flexibility, less stress, and an all 'round better environment. It was definitely a fantastic decision to make the change.

With this great job, I've developed a major problem. Snacking on the job. You see, there's this fully stocked refrigerator. And when I say refrigerator I mean a humongous, commercial size refrigerator, where the whole thing is a fridge (no freezer). Plus, there are numerous shelves covered in snacky foods. Chips, nuts, sweets, granola bars, apples, oranges, cookies, candy, sandwich fixin's, guacamole, sodas, galore!

For the first month, I did a great job of resisting the snacking temptation. After having to eat some of the candy to solve a low blood sugar problem, I started having little things here and there. Now, I'm snacking every day, sometimes more than once. For a non-diabetic, my habits probably wouldn't be all that "out of hand". But for me, they are. Every time I give in to the urge I have to check my blood sugar AND take insulin. Even with these obstacles, I somehow still choose snack.

Of course, this type of snacking will pack a few pounds onto anyone who does it regularly. But the long term effects of this snacking on my body will be far more severe. I've got to stop. Immediately!

March 31, 2008

288 Times a Day!

In order to manage blood sugar, diabetics test their blood by pricking their finger (or arm or hand) and putting a drop into a blood tester (glucometer). I do this about 8 times a day. Sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on how I'm feeling and when I remember. This method does a pretty good job at helping me maintain good control.

Then came along the Continuous Glucose Monitor. It's a device that stays under your skin, like an insulin pump, and continuously tests your blood sugar throughout the day. 288 times a day, even while you're sleeping! Genius! I was so excited a few years ago when I first heard of it.

Medtronic Minimed, the company that made my insulin pump, was selling it. But my excitment was shattered upon discovering that no insurance company was covering it. How could that be? A device that would save lives and prevent devestating complications - why wouldn't they cover it? And so my life went on, testing 8 times a day.

Having completely put the Continuous Glucose Monitor out of my mind, I was shocked to discover the other day that Medtronic Minimed has officially sold its 1 millionth continuous glucose sensor. I figured 1 million probably meant that insurance companies were maybe changing their minds.

I called up Medtronic today and they say that my insurance, United Healthcare, is covering it! Now, if you're not diabetic, then you won't understand when I say how STOKED I am!!!

Next steps, to call United Healthcare to see if my healthcare package covers it. Imagine how healthy I'd be and how many years I could add to my life if I could test 288 times a day, instead of 8.

March 30, 2008

It's Raining Babies

I'm competely serious. Everyone around me is having a baby. Well, maybe not everyone, but it sure feels like it. Two friends are about to pop. Another friend popped earlier this week. Another popped a few weeks ago. Two more have just announced their pregnancies. And one friend recently told me that she went off the pill.

I guess I'm at that age (shhh, it's 28) when weddings start slowing down and the baby race begins. It's not really a race. But it feels like it when everyone keeps asking everyone else, "when are you guys going to start trying?"

Being diabetic, it's just not that easy. You have to prepare your body. Your blood sugar has to be amazing for 6 months before your doctor will tell you, "Ok, you can get started." That means testing, testing, testing, all the time.

I've been talking to my doctors about pregnancy for 4 years now. Even though my blood sugar is really good, it can always be better. Poor control can put you at a higher risk for miscarriages, birth defects, and having very large babies (over 10 pounds - which is why most diabetics have C-Sections).

One day, hopefully not too far in the future, I'll be a mother. But I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure my baby has the same chances as any of my fertile friends' babies do.

March 29, 2008

A Hard Day's Night

1:11am Friday morning. I opened my eyes and was suddenly wide awake. I'd just had an extremely vivid nightmare. I have vivid dreams often, and they usually happen in conjuction with one of three things: overheating, having to pee, or low blood sugar.

When I woke, I figured option 1 and 2 were the culprits, but decided to check my blood sugar anyway. I always check it if I wake up in the middle of the night. Sometimes, it will go low and cause wake me up, but I won't feel the effects (the first is usually shakiness) until I get up and start moving.

54 - that's low. I made my way to the kitchen to forage some food. By the time I got there I was shaking, my heart was beating very hard, and I had difficulty focusing my attention on anything. This scared me because my husband was away on business and I was home alone.

The only task at hand was to eat. When I'm low, I get this uncontrollable urge to shovel food into my mouth until I feel better, which takes about 15 minutes. So you can imagine how much someone can eat in the space of 15 minutes. Having self control is difficult because it feels like my thought process has slowed down and my survival instincts have kicked in.

The "correct" way to fix low blood sugar is to eat about 15 grams of carbs - something slow acting, like crackers or a glass of milk, and perhaps a bit of juice. Then wait 15 minutes. If you don't feel better, do it again. These instructions were obviously made up by someone who had zero experience having low blood sugar. It's pretty tough to just sit there feeling like crap for 15 minutes in the middle of the night when you know that eating a bowl of ice cream or a candy bar will make you feel better in 5.

I usually try to be good, but this time I did something in between what my brain wanted me to do and what the books tell me to do. I went back to bed. Woke up 2 hours later with high blood sugar. Guess I ate too much. When my alarm went off, it was still high, and I was feeling exhausted. When my blood sugar jumps around from low to high, it leaves me feeling like I've got a hangover. Super fun.

This experience threw off my whole day. Going to the gym went out the window, my numbers were messed up all day, I didn't feel well, and by dinner I was ready for bed. There's no good reason why my blood sugar went low. But my whole day was ruined because of it. Unfortunately this story happens about once every other week. But you do what you can, and do your best for it not to happen tomorrow.

March 27, 2008

One More Thing to Remember

When I opened the fridge this morning to take out my insulin, I was surprised to find that the little vial was almost empty! There was just enough to refill my pump. I immediately called my pharmacy to reorder, and while I was at it, I ordered more test strips too.

Remembering to order my diabetic supplies every month is hard. I wish I could order an entire year supply, but the health insurance companies will only allow a one month supply at a time. Apparently they think I'm going to sell it on eBay or something. If I need it to live, why would I sell it.

Once, when traveling to Europe, I stressed out for weeks while my doctor, pharmacist, and insurance company (HealthNet at the time) went back and forth to get me approved for an extra vial of insulin for the trip. One measly vial. They made me feel like a criminal for taking a vacation.

This problem leaves the back of my mind in a constant state of panic. What if there's an emergency, a disaster, another Katrina, or another September 11th? And what if it happens where I live? Not only will I not have any back up insulin, but I'm sure it will be a complete nightmare to get it.

Luckily, Medtronic Minimed, my insulin pump company, gets it. They've got me set up on an automatic shipment of 4 months of supplies at a time. What's really awesome is that the 4-month supply they send usually lasts me almost 5 months. So over the past 3 years, I've stocked away a nice emergency kit. Leaving me with one less thing to remember. I love Medtronic Minimed.

March 26, 2008

Educating the Public

Happy Belated Diabetes Alert Day! If "huh?" is your reaction to this, don't worry because it was my reaction this morning when I heard about it for the first time. It happened yesterday and apparently was the 20th year that the American Diabetes Association has celebrated it.

I most likely hadn't heard of it because the focus of Diabetes Alert Day is to educate the public on Type 2 diabetes and encourage people to get tested for the disease. And as I have Type 1 diabetes, it makes sense that I wasn't aware of it.

Type 1 and 2 are very different and very similar at the same time. Type 1 makes up about 10% of the diabetic population, while Type 2 makes up the rest. As a Type 1-er, I no longer make insulin at all, forcing me to inject the stuff. Type 2s may not make enough insulin or their bodies might be resistant to it. Sometimes they have to inject insulin, but I think that most are able to take pills or regulate it with diet. Type 2 is often the result of being overweight or eating poorly, and is the type that's been all over the news recently.

While both types of diabetics have to deal with similar daily struggles and ultimately deal with the prospects of the same horrible complications (heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, neuropathy and many others), my experience has been that we're handled very differently by the medical community. As a result of what I've been taught, I tend to zone out when Type 2 comes up. So I probably zoned out when I first heard about Diabetes Alert Day.

I completely agree with bringing national attention to the epidemic that is Type 2. It's a major problem that is, in my opinion, the result of processed snacks, cheap fast food, desk jobs, long commutes, video games, little to no P.E. in schools, and a failure to properly teach children about nutrition. But what about Type 1? I've found that the public automatically groups me with Type 2s because it's the only diabetes they know about. I've always eaten well, I'm not overweight, and I'm otherwise very healthy. My pancreas simply stopped producing insulin. It would be nice if the public were educated on Type 1 too.

So, American Diabetes Association, when's Type 1 Diabetes Awareness Day?

March 25, 2008

An almost perfect day

Yesterday was pretty uneventful. I got up, went to work, ate breakfast, went home for lunch, back to work, home again, ate dinner, did laundry, had a snack, watched a movie, went to bed. Super exciting, right? Nothing interesting happened whatsoever. But in my opinion, it was practically perfect. Here's why.

Blood Sugar Results for Yesterday:
7:13am - 126
8:32am - 96
9:52am - 119
1:31am - 106
3:36pm - 97
7:13pm - 69
10:30pm - 176

Perfect up until that last test, darn it! It's amazing how getting good blood sugar results can put you in a great mood. I was really happy all day, for no other reason than this, as far as I can tell. I'm not letting that last test get me down though. Today is already off to a great start with 98, 100, and 108.

It really is the little things in life that make it enjoyable. And these little numbers sure do make a big difference in mine.

March 24, 2008

A Shaky Easter

Easter was a fairly relaxing day for me yesterday. My husband and I woke up and decided to go hit some golf balls.

For years my husband has been trying to get me out on the green with him. He's a major golfaholic, although he doesn't play nearly as much as he'd like to. I finally resigned to give it a try a few months ago and we headed out to the driving range where he taught me how to hold a club and swing. To my surprise, I actually had fun and even hit a few.

So yesterday morning I was up to give it another try. I think it was the gorgeous weather that was calling me and I just couldn't wait to get outside. We stopped by a produce stand on the way to the driving range to buy two apples for breakfast. null
My hubby insisted on buying four, which I thought was silly but didn't say anything.
After hitting balls for an hour (somewhat unsuccessfully on my part) we packed up and hungrily drove back into town to get some lunch. In the car I started feeling shaky, so I checked my blood sugar. 57! How did it get so low? I'm one of those people who tends to think of golf as a non-sport. So I wasn't really thinking of it as serious physical activity that would make me go low. Then I realized that I had been constantly swinging a club over and over for an hour. How could I not have planned for this?

I was about to freak out when my husband said, just eat one of the extra apples. He was a genius. He had planned for my low blood sugar, while I hadn't even thought about it. I quickly ate about half of it and thought, no worries, we'll be at the restaurant soon for lunch.

We pulled up to the restaurant we had planned to have lunch at only to find that it was closed for Easter! We kept driving; he had a back up restaurant in mind. Restaurant after restaurant was closed for Easter. Now I was really starting to worry. We finally found one, quickly ordered and ate.

I like to think that I'm on top of it and plan for every instance of possible low blood sugar. I can't image what could have happened had he not insisted on buying four apples. It's nice to know that I've got someone watching my back.

March 23, 2008

Sweet Temptation

Candy. Sweet candy. The devil in disguise. Candy carries with it all the innocence of our youth. It conjures treasured memories of Halloweens past eating candy corn until you could burst, finding goodies left by the Easter bunny in plastic grass-filled baskets, ice cream cake at birthday parties and bringing cupcakes to school, and the privilege of dessert upon finishing your peas.

As someone who developed Type 1 diabetes when I was 18, my youth was filled with these types of experiences. In the early years after my diagnosis, I thought I was lucky to have been able to fully participate in those events without having to think twice about what I was putting into my mouth. After close to eleven years, I'm beginning to think differently. I now wonder what life would be like had I not had a childhood love affair with the stuff - had I not developed a sweet tooth. Would it be easier to turn it down? To eliminate it from my diet?

Growing up, my parents did a fantastic job of filling our fridge with healthy foods. Our sweet snacks consisted of miniature boxes of raisins and perhaps a low-sugar granola bar. Dessert was usually fruit cocktail, which I now know to be marinated in corn syrup and sugar, but still, they had the right idea with fruit. The only time cereals like Lucky Charms or Coco Puffs and snacks like chips came into my reach was when I was at a friend's house.

Yet, when I suddenly had diabetes and sugar was out of the question, I simultaneously began to crave the damn stuff. As it became necessary for me to always have some of it with me at all times in case of low blood sugar, it was now even more accessible than it was before I was diabetic. Having never thought about sugar twice, I felt like I turned into an addict. It's not exactly a drug addiction. But knowing that certain foods are taboo leads you think about them. Frequently.

Today, as I turned the aisle to get in line to rent a movie, I spotted the candy section. Actually, I smelled it before I saw it, as I usually do. (I can smell marshmallows in the next aisle over at the grocery store.) Whoever designed the layout of the video store knew exactly what they were doing. I joined the line of craving-laden folks who were being forced to look at the delicious spread, and watched as each person in front of me eventually gave in and grabbed a brightly colored box.

I found a box of Red Vines staring at me. I picked them up. Then a box of Junior Mints was staring at me. I picked that up and put back the Red Vines. I came to my senses the moment the kid at the register said, "Next." looking right at me. Thoughts of blindness, leg amputation, and not being able to have children flashed through my mind. I put the Junior Mints back, paid for the movie, and walked out the door feeling good about myself.

I know this is just one moment of strength, but each time I can overcome the addiction, the better chances I have of overcoming it next time. Diabetics live with constant temptation. Seemingly harmless temptation to those who don't understand. But perhaps if we start to share the possible horrible futures us diabetics risk each time we give in to a sugar craving, they just might stop pressuring us to "just have a bite."

March 21, 2008

Sshhh, it's a secret...

Welcome to the secret world of diabetes! Well, I guess it's not exactly a secret world these days, considering that there are an estimated 20.8 million diabetics in the U.S. (according to the American Diabetes Association). Everywhere you look, diabetes is in your face - in the news, on TV, the Internet, and unfortunately, family and friends. The important thing is to realize that #1 - you're not alone, and #2 - living with diabetes is totally doable. You just have to live it one day at a time...or should I say one test strip at a time?

Now that we've set the record straight that there's no such thing as the "secret world of diabetes", I'd like to start over.

Welcome to the secret world of MY diabetes! I know, I know, how interesting can one person be. And maybe I'm not. But I do know that diabetes affects every aspect of my life every moment of every day. Sometimes it's a positive thing, sometimes negative, or annoying, funny, frustrating, challenging, motivating, time-consuming, depressing, nerve racking, exciting, painful, stressful...the list goes on. I'm sure that if you have diabetes too, or if you know someone well who does, then you know exactly what I mean. My personal world is constantly changing when it comes to how diabetes fits into my life, and it sometimes throws me curve-balls.

There's ups and downs, but all in all, diabetes is just diabetes. Something you control as best as you can so you can keep on truckin'. I try to take the emotional rollercoaster that comes along with it with a grain of salt. I'm not trying to make it sound less serious than it really is. I'm aware that diabetes is one of the top killers in the U.S. and I really don't need to be reminded. But I can choose how to feel about it and what I want to do with it. I choose to not let it hold me back.

So this blog is going to be my outlet to share what being diabetic means to me, how it's affecting my life and thoughts, and the fun I have despite it. Cheers!