All posts by Stacey D.

Diabetes Art Day 2014.

Happy Diabetes Art Day!  If I’ve learned anything from Diabetes Art Day over the past few years, it’s that I’m really not too creative.  And I’m okay with that!  Most of the time anyway 😉  Thank you so much to Lee Ann for creating this event – I really do love all the passion you put into it and seeing what everyone else creates.  I’d have to say my favorite form or art is photography.  Especially since I used this last year too!  Without further ado, here is my piece for 2014:

A world with diabetes is a world with numbers.

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Something Funky.

I realized today that I’m in some kind of funk.  I don’t know if it’s a touch of the winter blues.  I’m not sure if it’s from the sinus crud that has been plaguing me lately.  I don’t know if I have a bit of burnout.  But I do know that I haven’t really been feeling myself and can’t seem to shake it.

I have zero energy.  If I didn’t have real life obligations, I think I would stay in my pj’s and robe and watch tv on the couch all day.  I’m finding it very hard to get out of bed in the mornings, even when it’s 10am on the weekends.  I don’t feel like doing anything at all.  I’ve only worked out a few times in the past 2-3 weeks and I was doing so good.  While my blood sugars haven’t been terrible, they haven’t been stellar either.

I’m trying to determine the cause of this so that I can work on the solution.  But I can’t seem to pinpoint it on any one thing.  I believe my sinus issues may play a part – while I don’t have an infection, I have been suffering a lot from allergy symptoms for some reason and I know lethargy is a big symptom of many things sinus.  I know I need to push myself but I can’t seem to find the motivation to do that.  What I’m really hoping is that this is only temporary.  Because I would like more than anything to feel like me again.

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Does Size Really Matter?

Or more specifically, does angle really matter?  I’m going on 2 years with OmniPod.  And I LOVE this insulin pump.  For its tubelessness, its PDM, its convenience and functionality.  Prior to OmniPod, I used straight infusion sets with Medtronic and Animas insulin pumps for about 5 years.  And never had issues with them.  I could count on one hand how many occlusions or failed infusion sets I had over that time period.  Even though my lowest A1c’s have been in the last 2 years, more recently, I am beginning to wonder if the angled set is as effective as I need it to be.   And the one unfortunate thing about the OmniPod, is that it doesn’t give a choice of cannula angle or length.

While I consider myself an educated PWD, I am not certain if the angle of infusion sets can really make a difference in insulin delivery.  But I imagine it could.  I’ve read that the angled sets are usually better for areas of less “meat”.  (Unfortunately I do not have to worry about that)  But does that mean the straight sets are better for areas of more “meat”?  Does anyone know?  I’d love to hear your thoughts/advice/opinions.

Recap of 2013.

Hi friends!  It seems like I’ve had a lot going on this year and my posts have been sporadic. But I’m still around and I’d love to recap what my year was about.  When I DID post that is 🙂  I’d love to call them highlights but honestly a lot of them don’t seem so exciting to fall under that category!

December: 32 years ago today I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

November: Oops.

October: What I am very glad about is that I am an empowered patient and have the wisdom to make this sort of determination.

September: Have you ever felt that something in your life needed to be “recharged”?

August: 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.

July: Talking with a true inspiration.

June: This isn’t really diabetes related.  But it’s about a huge part of my life – my twin sister.

May: Like the past conferences, I had a wonderful time.

April: I am honored to be hosting the Best of The ‘Betes Blogs for the month of April.

March: It was a little after 1am when I woke up kind of suddenly.

February:  Lucky for me, the great people over at Sanofi Diabetes asked if I was willing to share some advice or tips if you will, on traveling with diabetes.

January: When I was growing up with diabetes, there weren’t many books around that I knew of on the topic.

I cannot believe that we are getting ready to say goodbye to another year.  Is it me or did this one just fly right by?? I want to wish all of you a very happy and healthy new year.  May 2014 be good to all of you 🙂

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Thirty two.

32 years ago today I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.  (damn I feel old)  It is impossible to forget the anniversary of my diagnosis since it falls on Christmas eve.  To be honest once the festivities begin, it usually slips to the back of my mind.  But as the day approaches I can’t help but reflect over the past many years.   How much has changed in my life since that day when I was a little girl.  How many finger pricks I’ve done.  How many injections I’ve received.  How many doctors I’ve seen.  How many high and low blood sugars I’ve had.  It’s all countless at this point.

I know one can, and I have so far, lived well with diabetes.  But there are fears that remain.  And although sometimes they rear their ugly heads, I focus on the positive.  Which there is a lot of.  I’m hoping to head into my 33rd year on a good note and that the new year will be a good one for me and everyone else that is affected by diabetes.

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Big Blue Test 2013.

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.

Big Blue Test.

 

 

 

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?

 

 

New Doc Update.

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.

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A Day Late.

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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 🙂

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  • 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!)

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There is so very much that I am thankful for.  But I wanted to keep this post at a reasonable length 🙂

Recharge.

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.