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!

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Artificial Pancreas? Say what now?!

***Note, I’m not a tech guru.  I panic when I have to update my iPhone and can’t find my apps on the correct screen.  My husband manages the DVR because I don’t understand why we can’t record 200 shows at once and having to pick only two overwhelms me.  And, as always, I’m not a doctor so this isn’t medical advice and all that stuff.***

In case you haven’t heard the news, Medtronic has developed an artificial pancreas.  AND, even better, the FDA has approved it!  HUZZAH!  So this means that I can slap on a pump and CGM sensor, leave it there, and not have to think about diabetes for a few days until it’s time to change my site?  Right?  Like, that’s it?!?!  The days of finger pricks, bolusing, temp basaling are over?  Freakin’ awesome, man.

Scrreeeeeeech.  Wait a hot second.  According to this article by The Wall Street Journal, “the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a pump designed to automatically stop insulin delivery in diabetes patients when blood-sugar levels are too low, the first “artificial pancreas” to be approved in the U.S.”.  Heh?  I mean, that’s cool and all, but is that an artificial pancreas?

“Medtronic’s MiniMed 530G, which includes a sensor, sends out an alert if (blood sugar) levels are too low, and if the individual is sleeping, unconscious or unable to react, the pump will shut off for two hours.”  Oooook.  But what does it do if my blood sugar is creeping up?  Does it automatically bolus insulin or set a temp basal?  What about if I eat a bowl of pasta?  Will it sense my blood sugar rising and do what needs to be done to keep me in that 100-130 zone?

To me, this sounds like a pump with a shut-off feature.  Definitely an added security measure that I am sure many people will be happy to have for themselves, their spouses, their children.  Hell, I dropped to 40 the other night and didn’t hear my CGM beeping at me.  (Thank you to the husband for waking me up so I could treat and clip coupons!)  A shutoff feature would’ve been great in this situation!

Another thing that concerns me is that according to the interwebs and other rumor mills, the Medtronic CGM isn’t quite as accurate as the Dexcom.  I wonder how many false shutoffs occur?  And if they do and your body is getting zero insulin for two hours while you’re blissfully unaware in dreamland…well, that’s not really a good thing.

Also, I don’t know about anyone else, but when I have those pesky middle-of-the-night lows, I’m not quite fully awake.  I stumble to the kitchen, pretend I’m only consuming 15g carbs, wait (half-asleep) for 15 minutes, test again, and stumble back to bed.  I can guarantee that I’d forget to turn my pump back on and would not be getting insulin to cover all those carbs (Because we all know, it’s more than 15g) I just consumed.  Of course from the sound of it, this device is geared more towards when the wearer is incapable of treating their low, but still.  I’m forgetful.

So while I think that this new device is a step in the right direction towards the artificial pancreas, I think it’s more of a baby step than the giant leap it’s being made out to be.  Artificial, to me, means I don’t have to think about it.  I want a device that I just wear on my hip and it does all the work for me – it knows when I’m exercising and to give me less insulin, when I’m stressed to give me more insulin, or when I’m indulging in a plate of nachos and may need an extended bolus.  Sure, I’ll change out my insulin/glucagon and change the site every few days, check my sugar for calibration purposes, but, other than that, I want something that is mindless.  To me, artificial pancreas does not = pump with a shutoff feature.

The beauty of choice.

I recently read a post on the diabetes sub-Reddit from someone claiming that their doctor said MDI was the best way to manage diabetes.  This lead to a fury of posts from people claiming “No, no, no, the pump is the best” or “I agree with you!  MDI is the way to go!”.  This got me thinking…

There is no BEST course of action for managing diabetes.  What may work for me (currently cyborging with a pump and CGM) may not work for you.  Heck, what works for me right now hasn’t worked for me in the past (remember that time I took almost a year-long pump vacation?  Yeah.) and may not work for me in the future (sometimes been a cyborg gets old).

The great thing is that we have options.  We, as PWD, have the beauty of choice (of course within the realm of our finances, insurance plans, etc.).  I may be going to a wedding or on a vacation and a pump may not work with my vacation plans or my outfit (cue my inner Cher from Clueless “Ummm, a pump doesn’t really go with this outfit, Daddy”). So, I can rock MDI for a bit.  I may get sick of the constant information about my blood sugar, so out comes the CGM.  I may be planning a pregnancy so I may want the tightest control possible right now and for me, that comes in the form of a CGM and a pager/camera.  In a world surrounded by blood sugar testing, carb counting, and insulin dosing, it’s nice to have just a little bit of freedom.

It’s important to remember that what works for you may not work for someone else.  And it’s hard to not say “Hey, have you tried what I’m doing?  Because it rocks.”  I know I’m guilty of this and I hope that when I suggest things to people who may be struggling with their management or are looking to shake things up, they know I’m not judging them for their choices in diabetes care.  I’m just offering friendly tips about what is currently working/not working for me and different things they can try.  Because change is good.  And choice is great.

 

Invisible Illness Awareness Week 2013

Did you know that this week is Invisible Illness Week? I didn’t either until this blog post came across my reader. Thanks Rose!  I used to love filling out the old email surveys way back in the day, so why not? Here’s an easy chance to learn a little more about me and my diabetes. Don’t worry, there won’t be a quiz at the end.

30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know

1. The illness I live with is: Type 1 Diabetes

2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: 1998, 4 days after my 18th birthday!

3. But I had symptoms since: Not long before diagnosis. Maybe a month before? I lost weight (Yay!) and was peeing a lot (Non-yay when there wasn’t a bathroom on my floor in the dorms!) but I didn’t think anything of it.

4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: Testing my blood sugar, injecting insulin/wearing a pump, and carrying all the crap ever around – wherever I go.

5. Most people assume: That diabetes is just having to test my BG and taking insulin before meals. I don’t think people realize how serious it is and how I am constantly aware of what my BG is/how my body feels/how my actions affect my numbers.
Or, that my foot is going to fall off.

6. The hardest part about mornings are: Giving up cereal. My BG hates it. No matter how I try to bolus. I miss you Cocoa Puffs.

7. My favorite medical TV show is: Grey’s Anatomy. I’m one of the 4 people who still watch it.

8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: My Dexcom CGM. Seriously my most favorite Diabetes device ever! I credit it for helping me get my a1c down to 6.8 and I always say I’ll give up my pump before I give up my Dexcom. It has given me a sense of security and much more awareness of my diabetes.

9. The hardest part about nights are: Deciding if I need a snack before bed. Seriously. Food is hard.

10. Each day I take __ pills & vitamins: 2 Pills – Sythroid and Vitamin. I’m usually on Vytorin but my doc took me off of it in preparation for baby making. Also, continuous insulin via the pump.

11. Regarding alternative treatments I: Think they have their place. Although, with T1D there really aren’t any alternatives to insulin. But I think there is nothing wrong with seeking out a natural treatment for more common ailments like the common cold if that’s what you choose.

12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: Invisible. I don’t like my diabetes being made a huge deal of and I imagine if I had a visible illness I would feel uncomfortable much more often.

13. Regarding working and career: I’ve been working in some capacity of another since before my diagnosis. I don’t think that Diabetes has affected my ability to get and keep a job. I’ve really only missed maybe 3 or 4 days of work because of wonky blood sugars. In 14 years, that’s not too bad. I do feel guilty sometimes for having to miss time for doctor’s appointments, but I supposed that is what PTO is for!

14. People would be surprised to know: We really don’t want to hear stories about how your best friend’s cat has diabetes, or that your uncle “died from diabetes” or that your former boss’s mother’s sister lost her foot because she was diabetic. Really. Not helpful.

15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: My reality isn’t really “new” but back in college, the toughest thing to accept was that this is permanent. At least for the next 5-7 years until there’s a cure, right?

16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: I got nothing. Ask me again in a year or so and hopefully my answer will be “Have a baby.”

17. The commercials about my illness: Annoy me.

18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: Eating without thought. I miss not having to test, figure out my insulin, not having to wonder how this meal/snack will make me feel in the next 15 minutes, hour, 3 hours, etc.

19. It was really hard to have to give up: One piece bathing suits and low cut dresses. Female pumpers will understand.  Oh, and cereal.  And money.  Diabetes is expensive, yo.

20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: Blogging. This is a really new hobby!

21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: Eat all the pasta without a worry in the world.

22. My illness has taught me: A lot of stuff.

23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: See number 14.

24. But I love it when people: Ask questions and actually listen when I explain what I live with, my pump and CGM, etc.

25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: Tomorrow will be a better day.

26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: Diabetes is a pain in the ass, there’s no sense sugar coating it (Pun intended). But it is manageable and even though it seems like you are being inundated with information right now, in just a short amount of time, all of this will become second nature. You can do this. And if you feel like you can’t there are tons of people both online and in real life who are happy to support you, answer your questions, or listen if you need to vent.

27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: That even though there are people around for support, it can be very isolating. That’s why I am so grateful for the DOC and IRL D-friends I have. They “get it”.

28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: My college roommate took me to the hospital and sat with me for hours in the ER on what was a pretty useless ER visit (Something I could/should have handled on my own, another blog for another day). Also, my husband does nice things all the time – getting my meter for me, checking my CGM receiver when he thinks I’m not looking, grabbing me some juice, starting dinner when he’s not hungry yet so I can eat/won’t go low, etc. I’ll keep him.

29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: My blog isn’t so invisible, so why not?

30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: Happy and hopeful that you weren’t terribly bored.

 

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Up and down and all around.

Man, I am dizzy from the diabetes roller coaster I rode all weekend.  Good, steady D-Days were a thing I could only dream about.  This resulted in frustration, belly aches, annoyance, and a little more frustration.

The only culprit I can think of is that I had pizza and beer on Friday night.  Even after commenting on Katy’s Combo Bolus Victory that if I make it 8 hours without a spike after eating high fat foods, I’m usually in the clear, I woke up Saturday morning with a BG in the 250s.  My dexcom, it appears, was a liar.  And made me eat my words. Saturday

I yanked it Saturday morning since it was off by over 100 (and was almost 3 weeks old, so…) and as you can see above, I was up and down all day.

The roller coaster continued on Sunday:

Sunday

Up and down with a few good hours in the early morning while I was sleeping (and hadn’t eaten!).  Just looking at food caused a BG spike this weekend.

Finally the last day of the holiday weekend was pretty normal and much prettier:

Monday

Phew.  What a weekend.  I don’t know if it was the pizza or diabetes just being a jerk as diabetes often is but it seemed like a constant game of cat and mouse.  My pump was smoking from all the rage bolus and temp basal action.  I’m starting to think that maybe eating the naughty foods just isn’t worth it any more.  (Does this mean I’m an adult?)

And I am annoyed that according to my Dexcom, my average BG has gone up by 1 over the weekend.  Lame.

Friday Fives – August 30th

Five things only a PWD has to think about:

1.  When buying a new purse…”does this have enough room for all my D supplies”?

2.  When wearing a dress…”Is the cleavage too low for the between boobs pump clip-age?”

3.  Before a workout…”Do I need to consume calories in order to burn calories?”

4.  When purchasing a bathing suit…”Tankinis.  Need to find all the tankinis”.  (I don’t know if any other female PWD feel this way, but I feel like one piece suits are a massive PITA when it comes to the pump.)

5.  All the time…”When was the last time I ate?  Do I need to check my BG?  Is that headache because I’m annoyed with work or because my BG is off?  I’m thirsty – am I high?  Did I remember to throw those glucose tabs in my purse?  Should I rage bolus or use a temp basal to get my BG down?  Do I really have to do all this again tomorrow?”

Ch-ch-ch-changes

Big, exciting (for me) news…I have accepted a job offer!  WooHoo!  I start in a couple of weeks and have been busy wrapping things up at my current job.   I’m very excited for the new challenges and increased responsibility.

What I’m not excited for…explaining to my new coworkers over and over and over that I have type 1 diabetes.  No, it’s not because I ate too much sugar as a kid.  Yes, I can participate in birthday celebrations.  No, you do not have to treat me any differently.   It’s an insulin pump, not a pager (or camera).  Oh, your grandma had diabetes and her foot fell off? That’s nice.

I’m not very shy about my diabetes, there is nothing to be ashamed of.  However, I also don’t like to be made a spectacle of or made to feel different.  It seems inevitable at new jobs that I have to tell my story, give a cliff’s notes version of what diabetes entails, and answer the same questions again and again.  I have been very lucky at my current place of employment as one of my coworkers has Type 2 so we’ve been “D buddies”.  He thinks my CGM is the coolest thing ever, by the way.

I think that it is important to let my new coworkers/supervisor know that I have diabetes just in case something happens (that’d be a good first day story, huh?), However there never seems to be a good way to say it unless it comes up in conversation.  It’s not like you can just say, “Hi new coworker friend person.  Name’s Laura.  Type 1 Diabetic.  So, tell me what you’re working on?”

How do you deal with a new job and letting people know that you have diabetes?