I wanted to share with you that I had the honor of writing an article for dLife on my recap of the Diabetes Sisters Weekend for Women 2012 conference. Here is the link so you can check it out:
DiabetesSisters Weekend for Women – One woman shares her experience at the conference
(photo courtesy of Diabetes Sisters)
I am an adult. Yet like stated in my blog bio “I love cute furry animals (of both the live and the stuffed variety!)” Evidence of this is my own Build-a-Bear collection pictured below.
Since I already had my own stuffed animal bunch, when I heard about Medtronic’s Lenny the Lion, and especially that he was available for purchase, of course I had to get myself one! He is the softest, most cuddly lion around 🙂
I think it’s great what he stands for and wish when I was a little child with diabetes, something like Lenny was around. But since it wasn’t, I’ll just have to enjoy him as an adult 😉
I’m a day late and two posts behind (sorry Karen!) since I was at the Diabetes Sisters Weekend for Women conference in Raleigh this weekend but this is a great topic and I also didn’t want to miss the grand finale of Diabetes Blog Week. Day 7’s topic is this: “Let’s end our week on a high note and blog about our “Diabetes Hero”. It can be anyone you’d like to recognize or admire, someone you know personally or not, someone with diabetes or maybe a Type 3. It might be a fabulous endo or CDE. It could be a d-celebrity or role-model. It could be another DOC member. It’s up to you – who is your Diabetes Hero??”
There are many, many people in the diabetes community that I admire and look up to. The parents of children with diabetes. The athletes. The mothers with diabetes. So many others wo do not fall into these categories but are awesome just the same. However, my diabetes hero is, and always will be, my father.
Plain and simple a good part of his life sucked because of diabetes. He had gastroparesis that interfered with his digestion. He had retinopathy that took most of his vision. He had heart disease which caused him to have multiple heart attacks and congestive heart failure. He had neuropathy that lead to the amputation of one his legs. He had kidney disease that lead him to a short period of dialysis. All of these things ultimately lead to him losing his life from diabetes. But not without a fight.
Sure he struggled with a great deal of depression and negative viewpoint. He also blamed himself for my diagnosis. I couldn’t begin to imagine how guilt like that feels. But he didn’t want me to have the same attitude. I have no doubt that my diabetes life would not be the same if it weren’t for him. Maybe even unknowingly, he paved the way for me to stay positive.
It may have taken me a while, but I live with diabetes better because of him. I take care of myself knowing what could happen but doesn’t have to happen. The empty spot in my heart that has been there since he passed away is also full of admiration for him. For the way he fought against all those complications he endured. He will always be a hero in my eyes.
Today is day 4 of Diabetes Blog Week and the topic is: “Today let’s tackle an idea inspired by Bennet of Your Diabetes May Vary. Tell us what your Fantasy Diabetes Device would be? Think of your dream blood glucose checker, delivery system for insulin or other meds, magic carb counter, etc. etc. etc. The sky is the limit – what would you love to see?”
I know this topic is probably meant to get everyone’s thinking cap on and get creative. And honestly I can’t wait to see what everyone came up with. However, I am going to be boring and to the point 🙂
There is one major thing that I would love to have in my diabetes devices which is sadly lacking in 2012. Glucose. Meter. Accuracy. Period. You may even be tired of “hearing” me on this subject. Yet I think it is something that we should all want and work hard to advocate for. By definition, a fantasy is the faculty or activity of imagining things that are impossible or improbable. Is greater meter accuracy impossible? I wouldn’t think so although I’m no clincial expert. Is more accruacy improbable? At this point in time I’d say yes. Sure the glucose meters available to patients today are faster, smaller and more accurate than they were when they first came out decades ago. However, the current accuracy standard set by the FDA is + or – 20%. This is not good enough. Diabetes affects millions of people. And the numbers continue to grow. Diabetes is also managed by the patients close to 100% of the time, unlike many other conditions. This means that those glucose meters used by people with diabetes every single day are the most important tool for them in staying healthy. In preventing those dreadful complications. In avoiding life threatening low blood sugars. It is stressed by every medical professional in the world that tight control should be the goal of everyone living with diabetes. Well how can that be achieved if the meters we use to monitor our BG readings aren’t accurate enough?
So forget fancy insulin pumps or continuous gluose monitors. Yeah those would be nice to have. But as long as my pancreas isn’t working and I need to monitor my blood glucose in order to stay alive, I wish for gluocose meters that give me readings I don’t have to second guess.
Day 3 of Diabetes Blog Week’s topic is this: “Yesterday we gave ourselves and our loved ones a big pat on the back for one thing we are great at. Today let’s look at the flip-side. We probably all have one thing we could try to do better. Why not make today the day we start working on it. No judgments, no scolding, just sharing one small thing we can improve so the DOC can cheer us on!”
Yesterday I started my post with the notion that I do everything related to diabetes spectacularly. Then I went on to say let’s get serious. Which seems like the perfect intro to today’s topic!
The main thing I would like to improve in regard to my diabetes management is my A1c. My A1c’s growing up were always high by today’s standards. (I’ll chalk that up to a few reasons why but not what I want to get into now) Then some years ago, when my effort to manage my blood sugars was enhanced if you will, there was an improvement in my A1c levels. But not as much as I would have liked. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not terrible. And I’m glad that it has at least been stable for the past 2+ years. But I cannot seem to get under that 7% mark. And it’s tremendously frustrating.
With that being said, there are numerous things I can probably improve upon to possibly get that A1c improvement. But for today’s topic I need to pick one. Hmm. This is actually a tough one. I’d have to say logging is my biggest diabetes “failure”. The only time I log anything is to write down what I eat and activities for a few days prior to my CDE appointements. That’s about four times a year. I never download my Dexcom data. My CDE does this at my appointments with her. The only time I download my meter readings is to print them out for my endo appointment. On a day to day basis, I monitor my BG regularly and meticulously. However on a big picture basis, I suck bigtime. Granted I’ll notice if I’m say running high at nighttime and adjust my basal accordingly but only if it’s enough to stick out. Like recently. There are most likely other patterns to be spotted if I actually took a look more often at the bigger picture.
Now that I’ve made a public confession of something I need to improve, I feel like the worst diabetes patient ever. I better get working on that……………
Today’s Topic is this: “Living with diabetes (or caring for someone who lives with it) sure does take a lot of work, and it’s easy to be hard on ourselves if we aren’t “perfect”. But today it’s time to give ourselves some much deserved credit. Tell us about just one diabetes thing you (or your loved one) does spectacularly! Fasting blood sugar checks, oral meds sorted and ready, something always on hand to treat a low, or anything that you do for diabetes. Nothing is too big or too small to celebrate doing well!”
So we have to pick just one great thing we do. Well, it is really hard for me to pick only one great thing that I do spectacularly. I do everything related to diabetes spectacularly! I am thee perfect diabetes patient!
Okay, let’s get serious. If only the above were true, I’d be walking around with an A1c of 6% all the time and my Dexcom graphs would be flat lines constantly. A girl can dream 😉
With that being said, I do have to give myself credit for knowing what my blood sugar is. I went from a period where I probably only checked about once a day, to testing (on average) a minimum of 8 times daily. It may help just a little that I tend to have my hands on the latest, cool, glucose meter. Hey whatever helps right? But not only that, it has been over 2 years since I let a day go by without using my Dexcom. And I act on those readings too. If I’m high, I correct until I’m in a better range. If I’m dropping, I try to head off a low by lowering basal insulin or having a small snack. Knowing what your BG is, is a crucial piece of managing one’s diabetes. I certainly don’t have anything perfected, even after 30+ years but I do try. And I try hard.
I like this topic a lot. Living with diabetes can seem so daunting and difficult and scary most of the time. And there are so many moments potentially leading us to feel like we don’t do things well enough. But we do many things well and focusing on the positive is something we should all do more often. Thanks for this Karen!
Thank you so much Karen for coordinating yet another Diabetes Blog Week! This year’s is starting off with this topic: “It seems the most popular thing about Diabetes Blog Week is that it helps us find blogs we weren’t reading yet and connect with some new blog friends. With that in mind, let’s kick off Diabetes Blog Week by making some new connections. Think about the d-blogs you read that you think we may not know about and introduce us to one that you love!! Let’s all find a new friend today!”
I’ll admit that I’m not in the best frame of mind tonight and don’t want to seem like I’m taking the easy way out on this one but I’d like to point you all to my blog roll (on the lower right hand side of my page). I’d love to introduce separate individuals that stick out in my mind but I honestly like to keep up with all those on my list (as best I can) and am glad to call them all friends. Without all these people, there wouldn’t be a diabetes online community and everyone’s advocacy efforts should be commended! Thank you friends, for all you do 🙂
Vacation. I think everyone needs one once in a while for the sake of their mental health. Sometimes you just need to get away from everything. From the monotony of daily routines. No cooking. No dishes. No cleaning. No getting up with an alarm clock. Just enjoying the scenery of a foreign place that is unlike what you are used to. Listening to the sound of the ocean beside you and feeling the breeze cooling off the heat from the blazing sun.
Joe and I just got back from a trip to Costa Rica. We have been to quite a few destinations around the Caribbean and Mexico. But never have I been to a place that has regular trees, palm trees and cactus altogether. It is amazing. It is the second smallest country in Central America but has a lot to offer its tourists. The people are very friendly and smart, offering a lot of education about Costa Rica and its culture. The landscape is beautiful. The rainforests extraordinary. The wild life entertaining.
Unfortunately one can never take a vacation from diabetes. It came with us to Costa Rica but luckily was not a burden. I was chosen to go through the body scanner at JFK airport on our trip there. To be on the safe side, I declined to go through it and was given a pat down in a private room instead. (The TSA agent gave me the option to have it done then and there or in a private room. I opted for privacy) Then on the way home, in Liberia airport, the metal detector was set off when I went through. I got a pat down again, although not nearly as intimate, and when the agent felt the pod she asked what it was. Since I wasn’t certain of their knowledge of such medical devices, I pointed to my medic alert bracelet and to my surprise she retorted with “insulina?”. I smiled and said yes!
The five hour flight did not bode well for my blood sugars. And I wasn’t sure how the two hour time difference was going to affect it. But I decided to take the advice from accu-chek and change the time on my pump the morning after we arrived. This seemed to work well. I had to change my pod a day early because of being in the water so much – it wasn’t sticking anymore! The same went for my Dexcom sensor. But I went prepared with more than enough replacements so no issue there. And I have to say that wearing the pod was even more a pleasure in the pool than when I had the Ping pump last year. No tubing or anything to deal with while still getting insulin continuously. Fantastic! Overall my readings were decent so I was glad for that.
This was also one of our “healthiest” vacations. There were hiking trails on the resort so we did some hikes 3 days we were there and went to the gym another day (I know! And it was my idea!). The resort itself consisted of very steep hills all over so just walking around was exercise in itself. The food we ate was also healthy. I liked that there was no fast food to choose from. Lots of salads, fish, chicken, fresh fruits and vegetables. And plantains. Those are very popular there. Delicious and good for you. Can’t beat that for sure.
The time flew and I can’t believe we’re back. I’m coming down from a vacation high, trying to get back to real life. I keep looking at the pictures, reminding myself of the peaceful place we just were a couple of days ago.
Here are some more pictures from our trip.