Flat tires, dead sensors, and clueless people…

Oh my!

This past weekend the husband and I traveled to our hometown for a bridal shower and bachelor/bachelorette parties for a wedding we are both in.  The 7 hour car ride up was pretty un-eventful, my blood sugar behaved for the most part.  However, once we arrived my one day old sensor started misbehaving.  It wasn’t giving me a trend arrow and was telling me I was in the 40s when actually I was 184.  I was hoping it’d come back to life, but after an hour or so of this naughty behavior, I got the question marks of death so I yanked it.  Kind of a bummer because I didn’t want to have to deal with the first 24 hours of sensor inaccuracy during the shower and bachelorette party, but, such is a Diabetic’s life.

The shower was lovely, however when I went out to my car to leave, I noticed a flat tire.  Oh boy.  Luckily my in-laws live only a few miles from where the shower was held so I was able to get my car there and they went out of their way to get a new tire for me.  I am so grateful for them for doing this and giving up their entire Saturday afternoon to solve my problem.  They are wonderful!

The bachelorette party was fun – we went to dinner at a Hibachi style restaurant.  However, we did a lot more walking than I anticipated so I was low for a good hour.  This led to one of the women making a comment about me eating a couple of cookies.  Something along the lines of “I can’t believe you’re eating.  Aren’t you full???”  ARGH.  I said that my blood sugar was low and rather than pass out, I had to force a few cookies down my throat even though we just ate.

This same woman also told me her grandfather “died of diabetes”, so as you can imagine my patience with her was wearing thin.  I will never understand why people think that in order to relate to your disease they have to tell a horror story of someone who died from complications or lost a foot or whatever.  These stories are NOT helpful.

I did face a few D-related decisions over the weekend.  To prevent my CGM alarm from going off at the shower since I knew I’d be eating a lot and it would be a guessing game as to how much to bolus, I turned the high alert off.  I stayed in the low to mid 200s pretty much all day, which, not good.  But, it is what it is.  Hindsight is telling me I probably should have done a temp basal, but live and learn!

While getting ready to head out for the bachelorette party I had to decide if I should bring my meter or CGM as both did not fit in my small, going-out purse.  I chose my meter since I was still within the first 24 hours of my sensor and, well, I trust my meter more.

All-in-all it was a good weekend.  Traveling is just tough with diabetes.  This weekend I’m going to visit my dear friend in NYC and I am determined to have a good blood sugar weekend.  I think it will be much easier since I’m obviously much more comfortable with her than I am with a group of women I’ve only met once.  I have my endo appointment on the 14th and I don’t want last weekend and this coming weekend to mess up my a1c!

I have a special guest blog post coming tomorrow, written by the husband.  Stay tuned!

The day I lost it at the grocery store…

Yesterday I had a little bit of excitement at the grocery store.  As I was on my way there, I was chatting with my sister on my phone and we were mid-convo when I arrived so I hung out in the car for a bit to finish up our conversation.  Went into Kroger and after about 20 minutes, my sister texts me that my nephew had received the picture I drew for him (he sent my husband and I a picture in the mail so of course I had to draw him one, because what 5-year-old kid doesn’t love getting mail!?)  Anyway, according to my nephew, my picture was “Impressive”.  Ha!  Want to know what’s not so impressive?  Going to check your CGM and realizing, shit.  It’s not there.

Commence Panic.

OK, maybe it’s in my purse? I actually had the thought to throw it in my purse while I was on the phone with my sister.  I dump out the contents of my purse (which, as any D Lady knows, we don’t carry purses.  We carry Mary Poppins’ bag.  Picture a panicking lady dumping her purse into her shopping cart.  Yeah.)  Not there.

Shit.

I retraced my steps all while freaking out… OMG, we can’t afford to pay full price for a new one.  What if someone sees it and thinks it’s an iPod and swipes it?  WHY have I been dragging my feet on making a label to put on it, explaining that it’s a medical device, reward if found, OMG I suck at life.  Ohmygod, Ohmygod, Ohmygod.

My heart was racing.  After not seeing it in the spots I had been, I go to the customer service counter, nearly crying, asking if it had been turned in and if they will make an announcement.  The woman does, but of course her announcement makes zero sense.  (Really how do you explain what a CGM is to someone who has no idea?).

I’m freaking the hell out.  Texting with my husband and panicking.  I said about 9,000 prayers to St. Anthony (who usually is listening when I lose stuff!).  As a last-ditch effort I think that maybe it fell off while I was walking into the store, maybe, just maybe the Diabetes-Gods will smile upon me and it wasn’t run over.  I ditch my half full cart in the produce section and head out to my car.

Don’t see it in the parking lot.  Fuuuuuuuuu……dge.   Maybe it’s in my car??  Please, please, please, let it be there.  I open the door…and….

FOUND IT.  It was in between my seat and my door.

Biggest sigh of relief ever.

I sent my husband a text that said “FOU D IT”, which he was able to decipher as “FOUND IT” (he’s so smart).  He wrote back that he was in his truck on his way to the store.  (I should’ve made him come and finish up the grocery shopping, cuz man, I needed a beer or something at this point!).

Friends, I was freaked the hell out for a good 30 minutes.  I rely so much on this device and should I lose it and can’t get it replaced under warranty, right now it just wouldn’t be in the cards to replace.  My heart is still racing.

Lesson learned.  Unless I am at home or at work, my Dexcom will stay securely IN something.  In my purse, my boxing bag, cup holder of my car.  The clip it comes with really just isn’t the best and I really do not want to have to have a panic attack at Kroger again.

Laura Fun Fact – I played Jane Banks in my Kindergarten production of Mary Poppins.  On video, there is a shot of me on stage , butt to the crowd, picking a massive wedgie.  I was a classy little kid.

Happy Diabetes Blog Check-In Day, everyone!

Giving diabetes the Stink Eye

I’m annoyed with diabetes today.  Usually I try to let the day-to-day annoyances of the managing the D roll off my back and not get me down.  I try to have an attitude of “it is what it is, deal with it and move on”.  I think if I dwelled on how huge a pain in the ass Diabetes really is, I’d probably be pretty miserable to be around.  Pity party of one.  That being said, I am human and of course I have my days where I just want to throw my hands up and scream at the top of my lungs “This crap really, really sucks!”.

It started last night.  The husband and I were going to have some, ahem, fun-adult-married-couple-time together.  Before going to our chamber of love, I glanced at my Dexcom and saw 92 with a single down arrow.  So I downed half a glass of juice to prevent a low.  Of course, this didn’t work.  A little while later at quite an inopportune time, my Dexcom started yelling at me that I was low.  I felt OK so I ignored it.  A few minutes later the low started to hit me so I had to tell the husband we had to hit the pause button so I could test.  53.  Yay.  More juice for me.  We waited and pillow talked and I didn’t feel like I was coming up so after a bit the plug was pulled on our fun adult time.  The mood was pretty much killed then anyway.  Thanks diabetes, for the unexpected and unwanted threesome.  Grrrr.

Of course after this longer than usual low episode, I over-corrected so my Dexcom was yelling at me all night for being high.  So in my half asleep-ness, I bolused and set up a temp basal and, you guessed it, woke up low this morning.  Needless to say, I was especially slow getting moving this monday morning.

I am also having one of those days where the presence of my gizmos and gadgets is annoying me.

So yeah, I’m cranky pants.  I wish we could just take a day off from diabetes.  I know tomorrow will be a better day, but for today, you get the stink eye from me, D.

Not my dog. Kinda wish he was though.  Image from the google.

Not my dog. Kinda wish he was though.
Image from the google.

Sensor conundrum.

Today marks the two week birthday of my current sensor.  *throws confetti*  This frugal diabetic is psyched that I am getting extra life out of this sensor.  I am wearing it on my right thigh, in a location I’ve never even used as a pump infusion site.  I must say, I really like this area of real estate and anticipate my next sensor to be on my left thigh.  Sometimes I forget about it when I’m pulling down my pants for the 9,000 daily trips to the ladies room, but the not painful snag of my pants on the sensor reminds me.  Other than that…absolutely no major issues with this site.  Sensor is accurate, it’s comfortable, I dig it.  Yay!

As much as I love this spot, I have a conundrum.  I feel that the tape is peeling a bit more on my thigh than sites on my belly (Likely due to additional rubbing of clothing, I’m guessing), and my patchwork job to reinforce the tape is not very attractive.  I started the sensor with my donut-hole OpSite Flexifix and have been patching up the corners with squares of IV 3000 as needed.  However, despite this, the sensor is still working and working well.  Fellow CGM-ers…what do you do?  Replace the sensor when the tape gets nasty or keep reinforcing until the sensor finally poops out?

My current plan is to keep the sensor alive as long as possible.  Since Diabetes ain’t cheap to treat, and each sensor costs about $20, I think I can put my vanity aside for a little while in order to save a few bucks.  I suppose starring in that Nair commercial will just have to wait.

She’s got legs, she may as well use them…

realestate

I really need to start doing some sit-ups. Yikes.

Man, two weeks in to pumping and CGM-ing and I already feel like I’m running out of real-estate.   I’ve been sticking to my belly for both, with the exception of using my upper right side of my tooshie for one pump cycle.  Since my boobs get in the way during insertion arms aren’t long enough to reach around to my left side, the upper bum area is limited to the right side.  Until I either become ambidextrous (“I’m not an ambi-inserter!” Name the movie), get really good at yoga, or lose some pounds, it seems the pump will have to be inserted on my belly, right butt cheek, or legs, which I’ve never tried.  I’ve never worn it on my arm either and for me it just doesn’t seem particularly comfortable with the tubing.

However, I decided to be a big girl and try wearing my CGM sensor on my leg.  Even though Dexcom says it should be in the belly only (because this is where they did their testing when getting FDA approval), I’ve read on the interwebs that you can really put it anywhere you feel comfortable.  I’ve heard from a lot of people who wear it on their thighs and love it.  So I’m giving it a whirl!

Insertion was a little weird as I’ve never done it before (that sounds like something a high schooler would say after prom night if you know what I’m sayin’), but other than feeling the needle a little more than I do in my tummy, it was fine.  I have it on my upper right thigh, towards the outside but not so far on the side that I will feel it when I sleep (I’m a side sleeper).  I haven’t noticed it much and it’s nice to not be rubbing against my desk at work.  I’m conscious of it when I use the bathroom as I don’t want to rip it out and be annoyed that I just wasted a sensor.  I used tons of Opsite FlexiFix per my usual and I can see that I will probably need to reinforce my tape in the next few days, simply due to pulling my pants up and down every time I use the ladies’.  There is a little bump under my pants but I think it’s one of those things that unless you know it’s there and know to look for it, you wouldn’t notice.  I’ll be attending my boxing class tonight, but I don’t anticipate it being annoying.

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!

A quick note to my (Moody) CGM Sensor

Dear Sensor,

I know, I know.  You are on day 9 of 24/7 work and you’re tired.  Believe me, I get it.  Your fatigue lead to a non-reading of “???” right at bed time last night.  When, I just happened to be running in the 300s (Damn you Cookout milkshake and your heavenly goodness).  I decided to see if perhaps you just needed a nap and would resurrect yourself as I have heard rumors of this happening.  I, being the responsible nervous diabetic (Hey, I just read a story about a 29 year old’s dead in bed death), set my alarm for 1:30 am to check my sugar.  Imagine my surprise when you not only resurrected, but you resurrected accurately!  Only off by 18, woot!  It lives!

But, sensor pal, you seem to have quite the case of the Mondays today (I do too – I am really angry that I didn’t win the powerball and am here, at the j.o.b). You, without consulting me, have decided that last night’s break wasn’t enough and you needed another nap this morning.  Seriously, how tired can you be?  Fine, nap, because, well, I’m at work and don’t have one of your pals around to replace you (mental note, throw spare sensor into my work bag).  You nap, you snore, and all of a sudden !buzz!, you are alive and ready to take on the world!

Or maybe not.  After your miraculous second resurrection, you informed me that my sugar was 274, when in reality it was 199.  That’s it; you are out of the circle of trust today, Sensor!  I will not be trusting your readings until I can replace you.

Wait just a minute.  I just checked my sugar and it’s 139, but you are telling me I’m 144.  Could it be?  Are you back and back for good?  Or are you just going to continue to drive me nuts like a pms-ing 16 year old girl going through a breakup?

What’s it going to be sensor?  Huh?

Fondly,
Your Master

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.

Is it time to say goodbye to coffee?

I love coffee.  Coffee, however, does not seem to love me.  I have noticed in the 2 and a half weeks that I’ve been wearing my Dexcom that I seem to have a very high blood sugar spike after breakfast.  Despite taking my BG, Insulin to Carb ratio, and Insulin Sensitivity factor into account when I bolus, I am always spiking about 2-3 hours after breakfast, which I eat around 7:30 am.  Breakfast is usually a bowl of cereal (measured, 1 cup of multi grain Cheerios or corn flakes) and skim milk (3/4 cup), and my to-go coffee with flavored creamer (3 Tbs  – hey I drink a BIG cup!).  I usually drink my coffee over the course of 2 hours, finishing it around 9:30 am.  My blood sugar spikes seem to hit between 9:30 and 10:30 am.  However without taking a correction dose, I’m almost always back in normal range by lunchtime.  Take this morning for example:

  • Woke up with BG of 204
  • My new Ping told me to take 6.6 units for my BG, amount of carbs I was consuming, and correction factor.  My CDE wants me to do what the Ping says for the next few days as we figure out my basal rates and fine tune my Insulin:Carb ratio.
  • I spiked at about 9:30 am with a BG of 320.  Blech.  However, on the direction of my CDE, I did not take a correction dose and am now coming down, about 45 minutes before lunch.
20130507-105950.jpg

Who wants to go skiing on that peak?

 

This leads me to wonder if I need a different Insulin:Carb ratio or a higher basal rate.  Or, dare I say it, I should knock it off with the coffee.  I have read on the interwebs that caffeine can cause blood sugars to rise by blocking insulin or something medical like that.  But, it’s my coffeeeeee.  What is worse?  Blood sugar spike or crazy, cranky, half-asleep Laura?  My coworkers probably have a different answer than I do.

My thoughts are that perhaps I should increase my basal in the mornings to account for my coffee.  Or maybe set a square bolus (Or a “Combo Bolus” in Ping-speak) to account for my 2 hour long coffee drinkage.  Or change my Insulin:Carb ratio for breakfast so my bolus is higher, although this concerns me that I will drop by lunchtime.  Maybe next week I will try sugar-free creamer to see if that helps.  Perhaps all the sugars in the creamer are hitting me in a different way than other carbs?  Maybe I need a higher protein, lower carb breakfast in general?  Who wants to be my personal omelette chef?

I really don’t want to have to surrender my coffee to the D.  It’s warm.  It’s tasty.  It wakes me up and it makes me (and my coworkers) happy.

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This diabetes stuff is a tricky thing.