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Ode to Those Little Strips

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“Oh little strips, How quaint you sit
Nestled in my bathroom cupboard
More often than not, Expiring each lot
While sweet health propels me forward
Keytones be gone, While I carry on
Stay far from this house forever
And come what may, Little strips please remain
Replaced and ready for a day that’s hopefully…NEVER”
-Carmygee, Sweetness and Light; A Collection of Diabetes Poems

 

Just a little light-hearted humor to begin…thanks to Kelly from Below Seven for this post on Keytones for the inspiration this morning.

Actually, I did not intend to write poetry for this post at all.  I too had my first experience recently with keytones.  There was a quick hitting, violent stomach virus that went around the community.  It started in my family in a rather dramatic fashion involving me trying to hold my son’s, well let’s say, projection in my hands while dashing out of a music store (think coat sleeves full of unpleasantness).  When we made it home, we both had to change clothes and shower.  Poor little guy.

I felt fine and bleached everything in sight for 2 ½ days but to no avail.  My oldest daughter started feeling ill that night and every time I looked at her I would feel very ill too.  I thought it was just a Mother’s sympathy until it became all to obvious that I was not well.

The worst part was trying to chew and hold down glucose tablets to replace the lost dinner carbohydrates I had already bolused for.  True to good old Murphy, I didn’t have any juice in the house.  So glucose tablets and water it was.  My son was feeling better by this point and came to check on me when I was getting sick.  He got more than a little worried when he saw the result of the raspberry (think bright red) glucose tablets that were not staying down.  I was trying to reassure him but couldn’t talk to well.  Luckily my other daughter had not yet gotten sick and could reassure him for me.  Her turn didn’t hit until 5am next morning.

During the course of all of this I started checking my keytones.  I had developed light keytones before bed.  I woke with high keytones.  Luckily I was able to hold down fluids at that point and, in a couple of hours, keytones returned to normal as I re-hydrated.

My husband had been traveling and was due to come in that day.   I warned my husband to stay in a hotel for a few days but he graciously came home and took great care of us.  I am sorry to report that despite his even greater precautions,  three days later he got ill.

Happily, we are all well at the moment.

During the course of this illness the “what-if’s” were on hyper drive in my mind.  My neighbors were out-of-town.  None of my children are licensed drivers. The one who has her learner’s permit wasn’t in any condition to attempt driving…

I am grateful that I did not have to figure out a ride to the urgent care or ER for DKA.  Additionally, I formulated a few takeaway’s from my first keytone experience;

  • always have some form of liquid sugar on hand
  • advise your family of sick day protocol to prevent unduly alarming them (still working on this one)
  • write out a plan and a back up plan
  • when all is said and done…you’ve done what you can

With each lesson learned I suppose I’ve become more philosophical.  Life is tenuous enough, why expend your energy on “what-ifs”?  Sure there are times when worries are valid and shouldn’t be ignored.  T1D definitely has its’ way of reminding you of that.  But for all of the moments in-between; Que cera, cera!  There’s always Those Little Strips.

the silence will fall…

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I can’t seem to find the desire to acknowledge diabetes in my life.  My A1C is stagnant.  My writing is stale. Apathy reigns.  I remembered kind of last-minute that I never made my endo appointment.  Luckily, when I called, she had a cancellation the next day.  But that meant that I didn’t get the blood work done before hand.  I was anxious that she would be judgemental or judge me as harshly as I was judging myself.  She didn’t.  I am grateful that she is very positive.  Her professionalism shines.  The last visit actually helped me in ways she’ll never know.  Mostly because I don’t like to talk about the mental/emotional side of diabetes.  It’s not that she wouldn’t understand per say…ok, maybe it is a little.  She is not a person with diabetes.  Regardless, it’s good to have someone who looks at numbers and applies logic and medical knowledge.  I’ve got the emotional side covered.  To be truthful, I don’t want to think or feel about diabetes any more than necessary.  It’s very helpful to approach it from the outside sometimes.

That is why the silence has fallen on this blog.  I haven’t read as many blogs either.  To be fair to myself there has been so much happening in a short time that I really haven’t had time.  Time to blog about the fact that it took me roughly seven months to get my transmitters for my Dexcom and luckily my G4’s had lasted far longer than the six months meaning I wasn’t in dire straights regarding CGM coverage.  Time to blog about my thoughts with the G5 vs the G4 system.  Time to blog about the endless pod failure alarms all in the same lot number.  The list goes on.

Finding the right words to write for this blog means I have to think about this insidious disease for longer than I already am required to day-in day-out.  Most days I sail through managing things with finesse.  Other days I forget to bolus and find myself chasing the numbers.  And the silence reigns.

But not today…today I break the silence.

Diabetes Blogweek 2016; Day 4 – The Healthcare Experience

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“Most people who live with a chronic illness end up with a lot of experience when it comes to dealing with healthcare. How would you improve or change your healthcare experience? What would you like to see happening during medical visits with your healthcare team? How about when dealing with your health insurance companies? What’s your Healthcare Wish List or Biggest Frustration? Today is the day to share it all!”

For the sake of brevity I am going to just have a few bullet comments today.  These are a few things I’d like to see changed (mostly insurance related):

  • I have Type 1 diabetes.  My pancreas isn’t going to suddenly start producing insulin.  Why, oh why, do I have to keep getting new referrals to continue to see my endocrinologist.
  • The insurance company establishes guidelines for qualification for CGM coverage.  What they consider qualifying is basically equals really out of range A1c’s – either too high or too low.  How does that make sense to deny a patient continuing coverage once they maintain a reasonable A1c using a CGM?
  • I’m not retirement/medicare age yet but it will be here all too soon.  We all will eventually and so it makes sense for us all to get behind this Medicare & CGMS bill.  Thanks to Colleen of D-Meanderings for bringing that to my attention in her post Wednesday.

 

Diabetes Blogweek 2016; Day 3 – Happy Hamster Hunting!

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“There is an old saying that states “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. I’m willing to bet we’ve all disagreed with this at some point, and especially when it comes to diabetes. Many advocate for the importance of using non-stigmatizing, inclusive and non-judgmental language when speaking about or to people with diabetes. For some, they don’t care, others care passionately. Where do you stand when it comes to “person with diabetes” versus “diabetic”, or “checking” blood sugar versus “testing”, or any of the tons of other examples? Let’s explore the power of words, but please remember to keep things respectful.”

I haven’t had much time to put together any clear thoughts on today’s topic.  I was, however, able to read a few of the other posts.

Colleen from D-Meanderings was the first post that I read and I really could identify with her opening sentence.  She also brought up topic of Medicare & CGMS which is worth a look.  Link here.

During my attempts to fill out the personalize-this-message section of the JRDF’s contact your senator form I wrote two paragraphs.  One which I included and one which I deleted at the last minute.  I didn’t think the deleted paragraph appropriate there but though the DOC might get a chuckle.

Here is what I wrote:

I currently am using CGM technology and would like to add that using a continuous glucose monitor is essential to getting a clearer picture of how the insulin therapy is working. No two persons are alike in their responses to insulin or the myriad of other factors that effect blood sugar values. Using a CGM is the only way to really understand how your body reacts to different foods, stress, exercise, and sickness.

Not using a CGM would be like trying to capture your pet hamster in a darkened room full of furniture where you are allowed to turn on the light for only two seconds at a time and must wait at least two hours between each lighting with a maximum of six times per day.

Happy Hamster Hunting and Good Night Then!

Diabetes Blog Week 2016; Day 2 – The Other Half

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We think a lot about the physical component of diabetes, but the mental component is just as significant. How does diabetes affect you or your loved one mentally or emotionally? How have you learned to deal with the mental aspect of the condition? Any tips, positive phrases, mantras, or ideas to share on getting out of a diabetes funk? (If you are a caregiver to a person with diabetes, write about yourself or your loved one or both!)

Just Add Whipped Cream!

Whipped cream can do wonders for your psyche.  It’s fun.  It cascades into vast piles of fluffy perfection with just one touch of the nozzle.  It’s light.  It looks like a cottony white cloud on a perfect summer day.  It’s happiness in a can.  Just watch the people coming out of your local Starbucks with beverages bedecked in creamy dreamy sublimity.  They’re smiling.

AND…according to the Calorie King website, it is a mere 0.4g carbohydrates per tablespoon.

Just Add Whipped Cream!

(My daughter just glanced at the screen and said, “Wait;  what?  Are you OK Mom?”)

OK.  Then consider the following picture:

The vial on the right is:

a.  half empty.

b.  half full.

c.  obviously just refilled with water to take this photo since no PWD would actually have a full vial out of the refrigerator if there was an already opened vial.

Yes, I’m going there.  For me it is all about perspective.  That’s not to say I’m always a half full kind of gal.  But it does help me to try to find a bright side;  a silver lining;  a half full vial.

Today’s topic isn’t about the day-to-day though.  It’s about how to cope when you don’t want to cope any more;  how to find a way out of the Diabetes Funk.

Tricks for coping?  I suppose I just allow the funk to happen.

I blog about it.  I have to confess that this blog is not only about giving back to the DOC by sharing my experiences.  It’s also a way for me to wrap my head around it all.

I laugh about it.  For example, I prefer to use the acronym BS when referring to my glucose levels.  I giggle to hear my daughter reminding me not to say “I’m high right now” in public.  Thankfully not a phrase I ever had to think about before Diabetes.

I paint it.  I have my resident artists help me paint my pods.  When my oldest daughter asked me what to paint this last time I flippantly replied, “elbows.”  Yep, you guessed it, I sported an elbow on my next pod.

I live it and move on.  To get caught up in self recriminations is counter productive.  It’s OK to be not OK.  It’s also OK to focus on something else when you just can’t think about diabetes for another moment.

And, it’s OK sometimes to…

Just Add Whipped Cream!  Cheers!

I Don’t Want To! I Don’t Have To! I’m Not Going To! You Can’t Make Me!

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In our family, my sister-in-law is famous for the phrase that is the title of this post.  According to my husband, it was her mantra.  She was gonna do it her way come what may.  That fortitude, while challenging to her parents while growing up, has served her well.  She has grown up to become an outstanding person both professionally and personally.  Her childhood motto still comes to mind when we are facing things that we just don’t want to do.  For instance, tonight I brushed my teeth, washed my face, slipped into my nightie and, finally, tested to calibrate my Dexcom.  75.  Huh?!  A glance at the Dexcom showed 77 which is why I didn’t hear an alarm.  I have it set to 75.  I surely didn’t feel a single hypo symptom.  In fact, of late, I don’t really feel my lows much at all.  Earlier today my Dexcom alarmed when I was almost finished brushing out the dog.  I had just taken a long walk so it was not surprise to be a bit low so I decided to try to finish up before grabbing a snack.  Two brushes later my heart started to pound and I felt a bit funny.  I put down the brush and checked the Dexcom.  75.  Arrow down.  Ok.  I decided to test as well.  54.  That would explain the strange feeling.  Luckily I was looking forward to eating a little something then.  But tonight?  Tonight I was not in the least bit interested in traipsing down the stairs and hunting up something to raise but not skyrocket my BS.  I found myself chanting to myself with each tread, “I don’t want to, I don’t have to, I’m not going to….you can’t make me.”  I surely wasn’t interested in glucose tablets.  Chocolate – too slow and later too high.  Marshmallows – too sticky and not at all appealing.  Ginger cookies bought for the purpose – too filling and crunchy.  I didn’t want anything sweet!  Finally I happened upon jarred grapefruit in light syrup.  I did the trick nicely without leaving me feel like I had just eaten rocks.  When all was said and done, I trudged back up the stairs to re-brush my teeth.  My sugar was back up and my attitude much improved at the thought of finally slipping between the sheets.

Still, there are just those moments, no matter your age, when you just have to vent; “I don’t want to, I don’t have to, I’m not going to, you can’t make me…”

So there Diabetes!

Lucky You, Lucky Me

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 It’s March and that always brings to mind visions of dancing leprechauns and four-leaf clovers.  The anticipation of spring is seen and felt by all.  There are buds on the tree outside my bathroom window and the eager daffodils push their buds ever upward despite the chilly nights.  The temperature has been a perfect 60 degrees F of late.  My son and I were able to watch a beautiful sunset while shooting some hoops (ok, admittedly I was more focused on the painted sky which would explain in part why he so thoroughly beat me).

Tomorrow I have my second appoint with my new Endo and although I don’t think my A1C will be where I want it to be, I feel optimistic about my new focus and steps towards bringing it back to a place I want it to be.

So here’s to hope and the promise of spring.  I had a friend comment to me once that in a way I was lucky because I had medical reason that I had to take care of myself and eat more carefully (not that she thought it was a good thing to have Diabetes) and that she wished she could find that kind of motivation to stick to a healthier diet and exercise routine.  I suppose that’s one way to look at it.  And, since all I really have the option to choose at this point is how I choose to look at things…Lucky you, Lucky ME!