Blue and organization!

Slacking on my Diabetes Month Photo-a-Day posts!

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I may not always wear blue on Fridays (I really try though!) but I always make sure I sport my “Cure Type 1 Diabetes” bracelet! Thanks JDRF!

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My pump supplies cubbie. Don’t worry, I just placed an order today!

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My test strips/extra Rxs/Random D stuff drawer. Anyone want to have a BG testing party?

Sadly, I don’t have a fun spot for my Dexcom supplies.  They just stay in their box in the bottom of my closet.  I feel I need a cute (blue) basket for them!

TSA does not equal…

This Shit is Awesome!  However, my recent trip was pretty uneventful as far as TSA is concerned.  I was a little nervous about flying to New York this week since it’s been a while since I’ve flown with a pump.  And now that I’m more mature in my diabetes care in the “want to have a baby between now and the end of time” mindset, I wasn’t going to do anything to risk damaging my pump or CGM.  Because they are, after all, my diabetes care BFFs.  Previously when flying with a pump, I’d disconnect and send it through in my purse.  The interwebs told me not to do this and to request a pat-down (or “pre-flight massage” as one PWD put it).

Before my trip, I thought about using the TSA Cares program like Meri and her sons used, however by the time I actually really thought about it, it was less than 24 hours before my flight.  So rather than requesting a passenger support specialist, I simply called the hotline and asked them what to do.  I may or may not have pretended that I’ve never flown with a pump before.  The person on the hotline was very nice and she told me to just “Opt Out” and request a pat-down when I got to security.

So I did just that.  I told the agent that I had to have a pat-down due to my insulin pump.  She told me that I could go through the scanner, but I was firm and told her that I could not because it voided the warranty and since my pump was only a couple of months old, I did not want to risk it.  She said “no problem” and had me step aside while she called over another agent to give me my “massage”.  I stood there waiting for about 2-3 minutes until I was taken to a separate (although still public) area.  The agent brought my things over and asked me if this was OK our would I want a more private screening area.  I said it was fine and she began the process.  She asked me if I had any sensitive areas and I patted where my CGM sensor is (my thigh) and my pump site on my belly.  She began the pat-down, explaining to me what she was doing as she was doing it.  Then I had to rub my hands over my pump and CGM receiver and they were swabbed for explosive residue.  I was a little nervous waiting for the results of the swab, based on what happened to a fellow D-blogger, but all was good!  I was on my way to wait for my very delayed flight!

All-in-all it wasn’t the huge deal that I had built it up a lot in my head.  It probably cost me an extra 5 minutes in security, which, no big thing.  I think in the future I may try the Passenger Support Specialists, especially way down the line when we have a kid (or two).  The TSA agents I had at both RDU and LGA were courteous and respectful.  They both did try to convince me that it was OK to go through the machines, but I was nice in my response and they were nice back.  The agent in LGA even said “must be hard to deal with” in regards to traveling with diabetes.  I just said that it’s not a huge deal, especially when I have nice TSA agents like her.  Brown-noser.

The weekend with my friend was great!  We had a lot of fun relaxing and catching up – much different from when we would visit each other when we were younger.  The goal of those past trips was to eat all the food, drink all the drinks, repeat.  Now, we’re like, grownups or something.

Oh, and FYI, my average BG for the weekend was 145, according to my Dexcom!  Woohoo!

OK, not really, but better than a broken pump, I suppose!

OK, not really, but better than a broken pump, I suppose!

Rookie Mistake.

The other day I made a rookie diabetes mistake.  I woke up in the morning, checked my pump and realized I had 22 units left to last me until I got home from work.  My daytime basal rates vary from 1.0 to 1.275, so quick, just awake math…8 hours = 10ish units.  And, there’s no way I’ll bolus more than 8 units for lunch, since my average lunchtime bolus is about 5.5 – 6.0 units.  Breakfast is usually about 3-4 units, so, I’ll be just fine until I get home from work!

Mistake number one: A wise diabetic would’ve thrown a vial of insulin in her purse, along with a new cartridge and inset.  I never claimed to be wise.  

Off to work I go, excited for the D-girls gathering that evening and I notice that my morning numbers are running a little higher than normal.  I try to limit my rage boluses to when I’m 200+, instead I rock a temp basal.  So I set my temp basal at +50% for 90 minutes.  Mistake number two.  (Although, D-friends, it’s never a mistake to try to lower your blood sugar, amiright?)

Lunch time rolls around and I have my standard I’m-too-lazy-to-make-lunch Lean Cuisine.  Attempting to be healthy-ish, I had grabbed a banana to have along with it, rather than the Sunchips I have in my desk drawer.  My Ping tells me to bolus 7.55 units so I do because it is way better at math than me.

Literally as my bolus is being administered at warp-Animas-Speed, I remember that I’m low on insulin.  However, the Ping delivers it’s bolus in like, 0.00004 seconds so by the time I realized, it was too late.  Mistake number three – should have checked the amount of insulin I had in my pump before bolusing and deciding to eat that banana!

At this point I had 3 units left.  I thought about setting a temp basal of 60-70% so that even though I’d probably run a little high, it was better than getting no insulin at all.  However, I decided that this wasn’t that dire of a situation.  I work 20 minutes from home and I have a decent amount of sick time.  So, I figured I’d leave when I got down to 1 unit (to spare my coworkers the annoying “You’re out of Insulin!” song) and take a couple of hours of sick time.  I told my supervisor that I miscalculated my insulin in my pump and she, I think, thought death was imminent.  “Ohmygod, LEAVE!” was her reaction.  I told her I still had a couple hour’s worth of insulin in my pump and I’d leave when needed, which was about 2 hours later.

Rookie mistake(s).  Lessons learned – if you are borderline making it through the day, bring your supplies to work.  Better safe than sorry.  Check the amount of remaining units in your pump before deciding to eat the banana/bolus/set an increased temp basal.

And most importantly, don’t attempt to do math before having your coffee.

Not a week goes by….

… without fighting with my insurance company.

Warning: this post is rather venty and may contain some adult language.  Parental Guidance Suggested.

For the past few months I’ve been in one battle after another with my insurance and/or pharmacy benefits company.  Luckily, everything went smoothly with obtaining my insulin pump and CGM.  However, there have been a few headaches that I’ve had to deal with that are really starting to piss me off.  As if we PWDs don’t have enough to deal with, but insurance makes us jump through hoops (of fire, it seems) to get things done.

Test Strips – My blood sugar meter “talks” to my pump.  Yay, Animas!  It’s a One touch meter, not some fancy unique brand that no one has ever heard of.  Well, my strips cost $95/month.  I’ve reached my out-of-pocket max for this benefits year (a perk to making major cyborg-living purchases!) so since they are classified as Durable Medical Equipment, they should be covered 100% for the rest of my benefit year.  Of course they weren’t so I called and was told they aren’t the preferred brand so if I want them covered 100%, I need to switch meters.  Pisses me off.  My pump supplies (remember, my meter “talks” to my pump) are covered, no questions asked.  So, fine.  I’ll switch meters and only use my meter remote when I will need to bolus from it (wearing a dress).  Worth it to save $$ and not a huge deal since I bolus from my Ping 99.7% of the time anyway.  I call to order my new meter (Verio IQ) and they are back ordered/recalled/they don’t like me so they won’t send me one/something.  So, guess who is on her last pack of strips and has to order more at $95 for a month?  THIS GIRL.  I am tempted to call and argue that they should cover this month’s worth of strips since it’s not exactly my fault that I don’t have my new meter yet.  But, I really doubt I’ll win that fight and frankly, I’m tired and don’t even feel like putting forth the effort.
Insulin – Previously, I used Humalog.  Was always covered with no problems.  Well, my doc switched me to  Apidra.  However, when I first got back on pump therapy, my pharmacy didn’t have any Apidra in stock so I used a vial of Humalog that I had to get started.  Worked fabulously.  But, my Endo wanted me to try Apidra so once the vial of Humalog was empty, I switched to it.  I feel like I’m not reacting to it as well as I did with the Humalog, so I asked to be switched back to see if this is the case.  This is all within the last 6 months.  Endo says, no problem, writes me a script for a 90 day supply of Humalog.  I mail it in to my mail order pharmacy and now my pharmacy benefits people are saying it’s not covered.  Something about the “formulary changed”.  Oh, I can get it, I just have to pay out-of-pocket.  So now I have to use a sub-par (for me) insulin because some higher up in some office decided that they weren’t going to cover my insulin.   Granted, it’s not like my control with Apidra is all over the place (if it was I’d be sure to appeal!), but I wanted to see if I’d do better with Humalog, like I think I would.
Dealing with insurance shit makes me rage.  I don’t expect anything to be free, but I’d at least like reasonable options when it comes to my diabetes management.  $1200/year just to test my blood sugar is outrageous.  Telling me what insulin I can and cannot use??  What the French is up with that?!
I don’t often get diabetes burnout.  Sure I’ll have a day here or there where I’m temper-tantruming against the disease.  But, man.  Insurance company burnout?  I have that 24/7.  I just don’t understand why it has to be so hard to make dealing with diabetes or any other chronic illness just a little bit easier with maybe a few more choices so we can make the best decisions for ourselves to manage this disease that we live with every day.
Maybe some day, this will be me.
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You’re not the boss of me!

Argh.  I have a love/hate relationship with insurance.  Love it because w/out it, well, I’d be selling my kidney and firstborn to pay for my diabetes care.  However, that being said, even with insurance, diabetes is expensive, man.

One of the perks for buying my new pump and CGM early on in the year and all at once was that I have met my out-of-pocket max for the year.  Hello, 7 months of lower diabetes costs!  Woohoo!  I called my insurance company to see what exactly was now covered at 100% and was told “all diabetes supplies.”  I clarified with her, “So, pump supplies, CGM sensors, test strips, correct?”.  It was confirmed, yes, these things are covered.  Parrrrrrty!

Imagine my surprise when I went to the pharmacy today and I was asked to pay for my test strips.  Now, this isn’t a $20 co-pay, it’s close to $100 for a one month supply.  The young lady at the pharmacy assured me that they ran it through my insurance/prescription coverage so I paid and told her I’d take it up with them.

I called my insurance company first who connected me with the prescription folks and told me yes, my strips are covered at 100% if I use Accuchek.  I use OneTouch, and they are not covered at 100% under my plan and despite meeting my out-of-pocket expenses, I still have to pay the $100/month.  The way she made it sound was that Accuchek strips are covered 100% all the time, no matter if the out-of-pocket max has been met.

I told her this is ridiculous and she needs to give me the phone number of whomever I need to speak to regarding this.  I have left a voicemail and am looking forward to receiving a call back.  It just makes no sense to me that my pump supplies are covered yet the test strips for the meter that talks to my pump are not.  Does.not.compute.

It makes me pretty angry that some random person gets to decide what is covered and what is not and make decisions about MY medical care.

Wish me luck when dealing with the insurance company!

It’s a pager…it’s a cell phone…it’s a…camera?

Last night the Hubs and I were out purchasing me some golf clubs (Because, you know, I golf every weekend.  *Note – I’ve never been golfing, but it looks fun and I had a gift card.)  We were chatting with the sales dude and he notices my pump, which was clipped to the pocket of my jeans, facing out.  He asks, “Is that…ohhh, is that a camera?”.  I’ve heard pager and cell phone, but never a camera!  I just said, “Oh, no, it’s my insulin pump.”  He replies “Ohhhhh, looks like a camera!” Maybe he thought I was a super techy secret shopper? I responded “Nope, just my pancreas.”

The Hubs said I made the guy feel bad, but I was just trying to be my sarcastic self.  How do you respond when people ask you what your pump is or mistake it for something else?

Dream Devices and High Fives

Diabetes Blog week, Wild Card/Day 7

Since I’m a day late with my Day 7 DBlog Week post, I figured I’d answer not only the Day 7 prompt, but would also throw in a wild card.  Double the love.dblogweek

I shall start with the wildcard:

Back by popular demand, let’s revisit this prompt from last year! 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?

The obvious answer to this question is a cure.  A close second would be an artificial pancreas (hopefully soon-ish-y? Maybe in “five to ten years”????).  As you all know, I’ve newly re-cyborged myself with a Dexcom G4 and Animas Ping combo.  One of the main reasons for choosing this combo was the fact that Dexcom and Animas are BFFs and hopefully the new Vibe will be available within the next year-ish in the US.  It was just submitted to the FDA so one can cross her fingers, right?  Anyway…here is what I would LOVE as an option on the Ping…I would love it to ask how your BG is trending according to your CGM when it is calculating your bolus.  Are you trending up?  Slightly more insulin.  Rising rapidly?  Uh oh, a bit more insulin!  Falling rapidly, a lot less insulin.  It’d be nice if the Ping took the guess-work out of it!  I am not sure if this is even an option in the Vibe (I admittedly haven’t researched it a whole lot), but it sure would be nice!

Now, on to Day 7: Spread the Love!

As another Diabetes Blog Week draws to a close, let’s reflect on some of the great bloggers we’ve found this week. Give some love to three blog posts you’ve read and loved during Diabetes Blog Week, and tell us why they’re worth reading. Or share three blogs you’ve found this week that are new to you.

This is not an easy prompt!  There are so many great diabetes blogs out there that it is difficult to narrow it down to just 3 posts.  There are so many bloggers that inspire me, make me laugh, and challenge me.

A new blogger I have found is Paul at Type One Fun.  Paul is a 21 year-old college student who was recently diagnosed.  I was also diagnosed while attending college and it is very interesting to me to read about Paul’s experiences as a “newbie”.  He is doing a wonderful job adjusting to his new life with the D.  I especially enjoyed reading about his accomplishments!  Keep up the great work, Paul!

I really enjoy reading blogs from the Type 3-ers – the diabetic caregivers.  It is great to see things through their eyes, especially the parents of diabetics.  While posting about her most memorable diabetes day, Meri, a mother to four sons, three of whom are Type 1,  wrote of a special moment she shared with her husband in which she was able to accept their new lives as parents to three boys with type 1 diabetes.  Her husband reminded her that “We weren’t sent to this earth to be miserable”, very wise words and a wonderful reminder when we are feeling down or overcome by the emotional aspects of this disease.  Thank you for sharing such an intimate memory, Meri.  And for being an advocate not only for your sons but for all of us who have diabetes.

I also love the story Kelly at Diabetesaliciousness tells about her dad getting into a fight with a security guard at a Phillies game when the guard is a big ole moron when it comes to diabetes and bringing food into the old Vet.  Great memory sharing, Kelly!  And kudos to your dad for doing what so many of us want to do when we meet people who are ignorant about diabetes!

I really enjoyed participating in this year’s Diabetes Blog week.  I found some wonderful blogs to follow and loved hearing people’s experiences with diabetes.  I’m looking forward to next year!

Yay, team!

Diabetes Blog Week, Day 4.

We don’t always realize it, but each one of us had come a long way since diabetes first came into our life. It doesn’t matter if it’s been 5 weeks, 5 years or 50 years, you’ve done something outstanding diabetes-wise. So today let’s share the greatest accomplishment you’ve made in terms of dealing with your (or your loved one’s) diabetes. No accomplishment is too big or too small – think about self-acceptance, something you’ve mastered (pump / exercise / diet / etc.), making a tough care decision (finding a new endo or support group / choosing to use or not use a technology / etc.)dblogweek

Hmmmmm, good question!  I feel like I haven’t mastered anything when it comes to my diabetes care.  I mean, I have mastered the motions, testing my sugar when needed, changing my pump sites, bolusing, etc.  But I am still, 14 1/2 years in, not 100% confident to say “Yes! I kick ass at diabetes!”  My sugars are not perfect, I don’t exercise every day, I still enjoy a carb or 20, and I have days where I’m crying out of frustration that I have to live with this crap for the rest of my life.  Sometimes my blood sugar is just a real jerk for no reason (like last night for example – for about 4 hours I was cruising between 43 and 80 despite 20 oz of OJ and two not-so-small spoonfuls of peanut butter).  Is there anyone out there who really has mastered diabetes?  Who can go to their endo every three months and know that their A1c is going to be 6.0?  Who has the perfect attitude when it comes to living with this?

But, the question wasn’t if you’ve mastered diabetes.  It’s about diabetes-related accomplishments.  Recently I made some pretty darn important care decisions.  As the Hubs and I want to have a small human in the next year or two, I knew that the time had come where I need to get serious and get as close as I can to mastering diabetes.  I decided to end my months-long pump holiday and resume pump therapy with the help of a CGM.  This was something I thought about for weeks months before finally accepting that I’m going to have to become a cyborg again.

You see, in theory, I love the pump.  Don’t have to carry around syringes or pens, your meal schedule can be more varied, and it offers better management for most people than multiple daily injections.  Blah, blah, blah.

But in reality, the pump is a pain in the butt.  Site changes, being connected all the time, it’s expensive, it beeps at you, it’s bulky and gets in the way, and it makes wearing dresses a headache!  My pump-cation had been glorious!  However, knowing all of the negatives that come with wearing a pump, I decided the best thing for my health and the health of a future pregnancy would be to get back on the pump and to get a CGM.  So the research began.

I googled, I youtubed, I blog-stalked.  Wow, there are a lot of people online sharing their experiences with various pumps and CGM setups.  The doctors and manufacturer’s’ sites will only tell you so much, these blogs were so helpful in sharing real-world experiences and opinions.  I especially found blogs written by women who are in similar life stages as me to be very helpful and was so happy to find their sites (Texting my Pancreas and SixUntilMe especially).   With the help of my new blogger buddies and the fabulous interwebs, I decided on the Dexcom G4 Platinum CGM and Animas Ping pump.  In black and silver – stylin’.

Change is scary and although I had previously been on the MiniMed Paradigm pump, I was pretty nervous about going back on pump therapy.  I had a breakdown one night about the fears of the unknown and how much it sucks that I have to do this and think about these things a year before we even want to start trying for a baby.  He, however, reassured me that there are other ways to start a family and if I absolutely did not want to do this, I didn’t have to.  He also made the great point that if I hate it, I can quit.  He’s so smart.

Fast forward to today and I’m almost 2 weeks into my new cyborg life.  Have I mastered it?  Nope, not quite.  I’m still aware of the pump clipped to my pants and the CGM sensor and transmitter taped to my body.  I still feel dorky about my “diabetes tool belt”.  My sugars aren’t perfect and I definitely miss the freedom of not being attached.  But one thing I have mastered is my attitude that I’m just doing what I have to do.  And knowing that diabetes care is something that can be adjusted and modified to fit my needs at the time.  Not everyone needs to be on pump therapy.  It’s not the best course for every.single.person with a dead pancreas.  But for me, right now, it’s the best choice in regards to my goal of becoming a mother, and I’m cool with that.  Will it be my choice 5 years from now?  Who knows.  All we can really do in regards to our care is to make the best decision with the knowledge we have at the time.  I think a series of making the right decision and small accomplishments will lead me closer and closer to that whole mastering diabetes thing.  But for now, I feel like I’ve accomplished the right attitude.