I posted about the Big Blue Test last year. And I’m going to reflect back on that post since the initiative is going on again this year! If there are 20,000 tests logged by November 14, 2013, the Big Blue Test grants (St. Anthony’s Medical Clinic in San Francisco, CA and University of Colorado, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Aurora, CO) will be funded to provide people touched by diabetes who are in need with lifesaving supplies, medical tests, treatment, and/or patient education (each will receive US$2,500) and an additional US$5,000 will support projects in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
One of the things that I struggle most with in terms of my health and(or) diabetes management is consistent exercise. Usually I do well for a few weeks then work hours are longer or I have more things to do and I get off track. I’ve made a promise to myself recently that I am going to make it a priority in my life no matter what. What helps me a lot to stay motivated honestly is support and inspiration of others. When I see someone post about working out or read about the accomplishments of athletes living with diabetes or pass by someone who is running or riding a bike in my neighborhood, I want to get active.
That is why I love the Big Blue Test. It is a movement started by the Diabetes Hands Foundation in 2010, to help promote the positive affect physical activity has not only on a person with diabetes’ blood sugar, but on everyone’s health in general. It is so simple. All you have to do is test your blood sugar, exercise for at least 14 minutes, test your blood sugar again and log it over at http://www.bigbluetest.org. Those people without diabetes can participate also, just minus the blood sugar readings part. The best part is this: if 20,000 entries are logged by November 14th, Roche will donate $100,000 to organizations that will provide life saving diabetes supplies to those who need it the most.
I know together, we can achieve this goal and help those less fortunate than us while helping ourselves stay healthy. I’ve logged my Big Blue Test three times already this week. Have you?
This is why I’ve been quiet and will be for a while. Calgon, take me away!
(image credit goes to the internet)
A few of you had asked me to keep them posted on my new endocrinologist story. Which I appreciated. And so here is an update.
I saw Dr. R last week. Was it magical? No. Was it dreadful? No. Was it satisfactory? Yes. It was kind of strange to have to start from the very beginning of my diabetes life when giving her my complete history. But I had to and she updated my records with the information I gave her. I of course included the minor complications I have been dealing with over the past couple of years. She wasn’t surprised by this since I have been living with diabetes for over 30 years. She asked if I was on an insulin pump and when I confirmed I was indeed on the OmniPod, she asked for the PDM right away to download. Note: at my old practice, this information was only downloaded at my CDE appointments. She inquired about my last A1c and how it has been generally speaking. When I stated that since being on the Dexcom CGM, it has been pretty stable around the 7% mark, sometimes a bit lower, sometimes a bit higher, she asked for the Dexcom to be downloaded and was almost shocked why I didn’t give it to her upfront. I explained that I was not used to having my devices downloaded at endo appointments. I felt so silly! We spoke about general endo issues as well including celiac. When I was tested for celiac about 2 years ago, it wasn’t at the suggestion of my endo but at my own request. I inquired how my visits would go in terms of seeing her and other staff in the practice, like a CDE for example, she said to her it was apparent that I did not need continued education so it would be quarterly visits to see her. However I would have access to a CDE in the practice, one who I could contact for anything. She ordered a bunch of blood work which was done in the in-office lab (plus!) and a urine analysis. She requested I see her in three months when she will perform a follow up sonogram on thyroid nodes that were identified on me last year. I called yesterday for the results of my lab work and was pleasantly surprised when she was the one who called me back. The blood work and urine was normal and my A1c is back under 7%. All of which made me extremely happy
Moral of the story. Was I blown away by the first meeting with this new doctor? I wouldn’t say so. But she was more assertive in addressing things than what I’m used to. And she adjusted one of my insulin to carb ratios, something that has never been done for me by an endocrinologist. And we got along. My dear husband’s view is that I became stagnant at my old practice and a change would be good. This doctor is also associated with a bigger and better network which could be a benefit down the road. I’m feeling positive which is definitely a good thing. I think I will take the next three months to decide but I’m already leaning toward keeping Dr. R. What I am very glad about is that I am an empowered patient and have the wisdom to make this sort of determination. I wish everyone could have that knowledge and not settle for mediocre health care.
Yesterday was No D Day. It is something that my friend George started a few years ago. ”It is one day a year when we all try our best to NOT mention diabetes online, all day. ALL DAY! We all spend a lot of time talking about Diabetes and our lives are filled with more that that disease. We are more that a disease!” While I am a day late, I still wanted to get my No D Day in.
Ever since Kerri posted her Anti Rant a couple of weeks ago, it has been on my mind to do the same. So here goes my list of just some of the things I am thankful for
- Pumpkin. It sounds cliche but I love pumpkin flavors or scents. My living room smells delicious with the wallflower scent of Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin from Bath and Body Works. So do my hands for that matter with the same scent of cream. Who doesn’t love a pumpkin latte? I’m on the hunt for some pumpkin pie spice to add to my meal replacement shakes in the morning. And a pumpkin cupcake from Crumbs? I’m not even going there.
- Boston. My hubby and I have visited there 5 out of the last 6 years. We love it. We just enjoyed a weekend there and the weather was absolutely beautiful. Boston Common has got to be one of my favorite places on earth. I could sit and walk around there all day
- A good workout. Honestly. I don’t know why I fought exercise for so long. 100% of the time when I am done, I feel great. Whether it’s a ride on my spin bike or one of the few programs I have at home, it’s all good.
- Easy days at work. I work for an investment bank so my job is a high stress environment. There are times when I feel too burnt out for my age after working in this industry since college. But there are those rare days that are not completely filled with meetings or deadlines or audits or issues. And I cherish those.
- Sleep. I am not one of those people who get up before their alarm on their own. Ever. Now that it is the time of year that it is dark when I get up during the week, it is so much harder to actually get up. I hate it. I count down the days until the next time I can sleep in!
- A good book or movie or TV show. I love when I’m reading a book that I cannot wait to get back to or even make extra time to finish reading. Any book by Elizabeth Joy Arnold is one of those. And thank goodness for Netflix! During our long trip to Boston over the weekend, I was able to start catching up from the first episode of New Girl. Hilarious show. I highly recommend it if you don’t watch it already.
- These kids. My daily life is very different from those of you who have children. It’s quiet I can do whatever I want, wherever I want, whenever I want. And while I enjoy that piece of my world, there is always that part of me that deeply misses out on having my own children. But these three? They come pretty darn close. (Especially since they could pass as mine thanks to the identical twin genetics that I share with their mother!)
There is so very much that I am thankful for. But I wanted to keep this post at a reasonable length
Have you ever felt that something in your life needed to be “recharged”? I have been going to my current diabetes care office for about 14-15 years. When I met my husband, I think I was still seeing my pediatric endo! Fortunately my mother in law worked in one of the local hospital systems and recommended an endocrinologist to me, one that she knew of from the hospital. And so I went. I was pleased with Dr. R and the rest of the staff including both CDEs that I have been seen by. It was under her encouragement that I went on an insulin pump almost 7 years ago. Then about 2-3 years ago (I think) Dr. R left the practice to go somewhere new and since then I have been seeing her replacement, Dr. K. I am very comfortable with this office. They always get back to me and get any paperwork or prescriptions filled out pretty quickly. They even know me by just the sound of my voice! I go for my visits every 3 months like clockwork. I don’t dislike Dr. K at all but sometimes I feel that she may be too easygoing. Only ordering blood work at my own request. Not fully understanding why I have some minor complications after 31+ years. I have been feeling recently that maybe an overhaul of my health team was in need.
This past weekend we were at a friend’s 40th birthday party where I met a fellow person with T1D. We chatted briefly and she asked who my endocrinologist was. She told me hers and said that she loved her. That got me thinking even more. I made a call to this new doctor yesterday to find out if she was accepting new patients. She is, however a referral from a doctor is needed in order to be seen. Even though it sounded strange to me, I went in search of who could provide me with the referral. Lo and behold, my awesome gastroenterologist was willing to provide me with what I needed. And I have an appointment scheduled for early next month. I have such mixed emotions. I’m hopeful that maybe I will love this doctor. I’m scared about seeing someone new and being in a new environment. I feel bad about finding somewhere different, like I’m cheating on my current health team. I’m optimistic that my diabetes management will get the boost it possibly needs. But most of all I’m nervous that it will turn out to be me, the one who has been too laid-back with things.
Right after Memorial day, I came down with an illness. I was sick for almost 2 weeks with multiple trips to the doctor to rule out pneumonia. It was diagnosed as severe bronchitis and warranted a dose of steroids to finally get rid of. It was one of my sickest moments and I was hoping to never have that again. Ever.
Fast forward to the end of summer, Labor Day being just a couple days ago. And I am sick again. With just about the same symptoms, just not as severe. Needless to say, I am not a happy camper.
What has me bummed the most is I don’t understand why I keep coming down with such illnesses. Yes I know that being a person with T1D, my immune system is compromised. But I have been trying to stay healthy, especially over the past 6-8 weeks. I have been exercising about 5 times a week, making healthier food choices, and adding a nutritious meal replacement shake to my diet. And yet I still got sick with not just a little head cold. Is diabetes really to blame? Would I be getting so sick otherwise? Do you feel like you get sick a lot too? I know I will get better but it’s been a week already and I’m frustrated with feeling so bad. Right now, I am hating this and wish there was something to blame.
Happy Friday everyone! And a happy Labor Day to my US friends too! I’m not sure how it got to be the end of summer already but here we are … September is approaching and pumpkin is everywhere
I am taking Kerri’s lead today and posting about a very important issue. The Strip Safely campaign is well under way. But there is something else that is needed from us to ensure that the tools we use to manage our diabetes is taken very seriously by the FDA. They are planning future patient meetings on various diseases and conditions to better understand them. Don’t you think they need to get a better view of the challenges of living with diabetes and how the tools available play a huge role in that? Don’t you think since the number of people being diagnosed with diabetes keeps growing and growing, a solid understanding of this disease from the people who have it would help? I do. And I’m sure many of you would agree. So let’s get together and make our voices heard. Take a few minutes to sign this petition, please. And pass it along. We need 5,000 signatures so get to it!
Please sign here.
The Girl with the Portable Pancreas turns 3 on Sunday. I cannot believe how time flies. It wasn’t my start at blogging, as I had already been blogging for my friends at ACT1, but I started my own three years ago. I am very happy to be able to reach out to people sharing my own experiences and knowledge and be part of such a powerful community. I hope you continue to read and know that together we can do this.
I will leave you with wishes for a wonderful weekend and some motivation to keep you going strong
Two posts in one day. Another first for me
Strip Safely. This is a fairly new collaboration within the diabetes online community to spread knowledge about the fact that the glucose test strips we use today, yes in 2013, are not completely accurate. I have known this and it is an issue that bothers me greatly. I think about all the people with diabetes who are not aware of an issue like this. Those that are outside of the diabetes community. Those that take their BG readings for granted. And it can set someone up for major tragedy. Since I know my BG meter is not 100% accurate, I always double and triple check if I get a questionable reading. Too high or too low or totally off from my Dexcom, continuous glucose monitor. Someone who is naive to meter accuracy, would go ahead and dose insulin based on a questionable reading. That could lead to an immediate danger of an insulin overdose or not administering enough insulin which could lead to high blood sugar and the subsequent complications.
I don’t want to go back to the days of urine testing where you knew in what “range” your sugar was. When I was diagnosed in 1981 that was the method used to test glucose levels. You peed on a strip (similar to ketone test strips) and your urine turned it a certain color depending on how much glucose was in your urine. Probably from hours ago. That color represented a range of readings. When I bolus from my insulin pump today, it doesn’t ask me what range my blood glucose is. It asks for a specific reading that is used to calculate a precise amount of insulin needed to either correct a high or cover carbohydrates. Carb counting and insulin dosing can be difficult enough at times without factoring in an inaccurate blood glucose reading.
Every single thing about diabetes management lies in the blood sugar. How can one possibly manage blood sugar if they do not know with certainty what it is? The answer? One cannot. And when people’s lives are at stake I can’t think of any better reason to campaign for better test strip accuracy and oversight over that market.
Take the time to write a letter to your elected officials. Urge them to attend the Diabetes Technology Society meeting taking place on September 9th. Tonight on Twitter, there is a special time designated between 8 and 9pm, EST, to tweet about this issue to your elected officials. They need to be aware of this important issue. We need support to get this resolved. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #stripsafely
Day 15. No tape. Unheard of.