Friday, April 30, 2010


Hey, I'm over at You Can Call Me Saucy today with a post about the day I was diagnosed with diabetes. Saucy celebrated her 3rd Diaversary (aka D-Day) this week and asked me to write a guest post. Come visit me over there!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Diabetes Card

 Confession Time. 

As a child I remember going to restaurants and telling the hostess that my blood sugar was low so we had to get a table ASAP. My parents only did this when I when I was actually low. A few times when I was a teen  I would try to tell the hostess I was low when I was out to eat with a group of friends. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn't. A few times the hostess would get me a glass of juice and tell me the table wasn't ready yet. I'm not terribly proud of doing this.

Have you ever played the diabetes card? In what situation? What are your thoughts on the diabetes card?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sometimes I Just Want to Punch Diabetes

Sometimes I want to just punch diabetes in it's invisible gut.  Since there is no gut to punch I do what I know how... do everything in my power to manage this disease.

There are days when despite my best efforts there will be high blood sugars. I work really hard to make sure my numbers are good but hey, shit happens and my blood sugars go up despite my hard work.

This was the case on Monday. I spent the day running high, a lot higher than I had been in over a month. Finally by dinner time I came back down to around 100 mg/dL so I was thrilled. Took my symlin, ate dinner, bolused for the carbs I ate and went on with my night.

About an hour after eating I started feeling low. Checked my Dexcom and confirmed with a blood sugar test. Treated and waited 15 minutes. Test. Damn still low. Wait another 15 minutes. Repeat for the next 2, oh yes 2 hours. As soon as I was in the 70s I thought I was in the clear but then I would drop back down to the 50s. It was a nightmare.

Diabetes brings a lot of challenges to my life but it has also taught me not give up when things get tough. Doesn't mean I don't want to take my pink boxing glove and give diabetes a big punch in it's gut.

Monday, April 19, 2010

What is a cure?

A few months ago my mom was in town for  a JDRF meeting and we were sitting having drinks at the hotel bar with Steve and some other parents whose children have diabetes. We got on to the topic of what a cure meant to me.

I sat there for a few minutes pondering my answer. Ultimately a cure to me means I don't have diabetes anymore. No more testing, no more shots, no more pumps, no more sensor, no more carbohydrate counting, no more carrying around fast acting glucose, no more worrying if I'm going to go low/high during a meeting, no more worrying if I am going to go low driving, no more worrying about  spending an arm and a leg (with insurance!) on all the diabetes supplies I need, no more thinking 24/7/365 about diabetes like I have for nearly 22 years. My body would work like Steve's or my mom's. Poof! Diabetes is gone!

That is my ideal world. While I won't hold my breathe that it will happen anytime soon but the research that is going on out there is pretty incredible. The advances in research in the last 20+

years is remarkable. There is a much better understanding of how diabetes works and how it affects the body.

For other people they want to concentrate on technology. JDRF's Artificial Pancreas Project is working to "close the loop" and build a "bionic pancreas." I love the concept, don't get me wrong, but I do worry about relying 100% on technology. I am super excited to see what comes out of this but I'm on the fence as to whether or not this could be considered a cure. I think in this area I would have to wait and see the final product.

Earlier this month came reports that scientists in Australia developed a vaccine that works against type 1 diabetes in mouse experiments. The scientists were able to stop mice who were going to develop type 1 from ever developing diabetes. While this vaccine is still a long way from being available to the public. This study does show how a section of diabetes research is being done to learn how to stop diabetes. Now, I would do anything for nobody else to ever be diagnosed with this disease but at the same time I don't call that a cure. I know that would be a cure to the parents of a child who have just been told that they prevented the child from getting diabetes because of a vaccine.

I think a cure will come from all of this. We need prevent more people from being diagnosed but we also need to make the lives of those already living with diabetes easier, at least until diabetes is 100% gone.

What is a cure for you? Do you think research should be focused on one area more than any other? When do you realistically think a cure will be real?

 Picture Source

Friday, April 16, 2010

My Symlin Journey

 When I started on symlin nearly 2 months ago I was incredibly concerned about the nausea since that was the single reason I dropped out of the clinical trial the first time I was on symlin. The second time I was on it I experience some nausea but nothing like the first time. One month in I was happy to report that I barely had any nausea. A few weeks later I went up to the maximum dosage, 60mcg.

It has now been a little over a week that I have been taking the maximum dosage of symlin. I'm happy to report so far so good! Had somebody told me back when I was a part of the clinical trial that I would be doing so well on symlin and, gasp, happy to be on it I would have thought you told me the world was flat.

I'm incredibly insulin resistant and have been since day one of my diagnosis. Because of this insulin resistance I was willing to try symlin again. The incredible thing is my insulin requirements have drastically dropped.  My basal rate is still pretty high (from 11am to 10pm it is 3.7 units/hour) but my insulin to carbohydrate ratio has really changed.

Before symlin: Breakfast 1unit to 5 carbs (1:5)  Lunch and Dinner 1:4

60mcg of symlin: breakfast 1:17  lunch and dinner 1:15

That is a huge difference for me. A couple days ago I was talking to my mom about all this and she said that she remembers when I went on the pump in 1992 and started carb counting I my ratio was 1:15 but quickly changed to 1:10.

Not only are my insulin requirements going down but so are my numbers. Like drastically coming down. My one week average is 113 mg/dL which is fantastic. My biggest issues are lows after eating. I can't really treat the low because then I rebound and go high. If my number is too low before a meal (80s or bellow) I don't give myself symlin. Luckily, I haven't gone terribly low. My Dexcom has helped a lot with that because I can physically see what is happening with my blood sugar and act accordingly.

My appetite has also decreased, which is a pleasant side effect. The thing with symlin is if you overeat in the slightest it makes you feel disgustingly full. I am optimistic that this is helping with my weight loss goal.

On Monday Steve and I went out to dinner. We opted for Indian. I went to give myself the symlin and realized it wasn't in my purse. So I was careful about counting the carbs I was eating and watching my numbers. Tuesday morning I woke up high (180-220). It was the first time in a week or longer that I was over 160. It showed me exactly why I should be on symlin and how much it is helping me .

I'm well aware that symlin is NOT for everyone but it has been great for me. In about a month I'll have my A1c retested and hopefully it will be lower (based on my meter averages I can guarantee it is lower) which I attribute to the symlin.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Thoughts on Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution

The latest obsession in our household is Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. In reality, it shouldn't be much of a surprise to us that we like the concept of this show so much. You see, while Steve and I worked for a Member of Congress (yes, we worked together but that is another story)  he was in charge of food safety for the Member.  I actually worked with him a lot on the issue.

We learned a lot of stuff about our food safety, things part of me wishes I never learned. All the information I learned piqued my interest as well as Steve's. I've tried to everything I can to make sure we eat as healthy as possible. We still have not-so-good-for-you meals, but overall we eat a lot of organic healthy food. I try to keep a ton of fruits and veggies in the house. During the summer we go the the Farmer's Market so we end up eating a lot of local produce and meat.

Watching Jamie's Food Revolution has reconfirmed our commitment to try to eat non-processed foods as much as possible. We don't always, but overall we do a pretty good job.

It just boggles my mind how the USDA counts french fries as a veggie for school lunches. Or how all those kids in the elementary school barely knew what each vegetable was when Jamie was asking them.

I guess I was lucky growing up in Southern California and having a big garden where my mom grew most of our veggies and a lot of our fruits. We had amazing fruits and vegetables growing up. My favorite snack was fruit salad (just chopped up pieces of fruit thrown together with a splash of fresh oj) and I rarely ever complained about eating my veggies. I don't think I had a diet full of frozen and canned veggies until I moved to the Midwest for college. Frozen and canned veggies were very very rare in my parents house.

The thing about Jamie's Food Revolution that I think is so important is that it is showing America exactly what is causing the rise in Type 2 Diabetes. The show doesn't distinguish between type 1 or type 2 and  wish they would but that is not the center of the show. This show is all about food.

I don't believe in a diet for diabetes. I do believe in eating whole foods. I do believe in intuitive eating and moderation (if you are craving a pizza have a slice and a big salad.)

Have you been watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution? What are your thoughts on the show? What is your diet philosophy?

Please sign Jamie Oliver's Petition which is to the left of this.

Friday, April 9, 2010

What happens when you've been sick and don't feel like writting

I'm not really up for writing a post today so I decided to do a Friday Four Meme.

Four Jobs I've had
  1. Worked for a medical association in their International Activities and Government Affairs departments
  2. Worked for a Member of Congress
  3. Paralegal (did not last long, not my thing)
  4. Intern for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in their Government Affairs department
Four Places I've Lived
  1. Washington DC Area (Arlington, VA and Alexandria VA)
  2. Chicago, IL
  3. La Jolla, CA
  4. Mexico City
Four Countries I've Traveled too
  1. Italy
  2. Greece
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Turkey
Four of things I'm doing this weekend (kinda boring)
  1. Grocery Shopping (oh so exciting)
  2. Spring cleaning/organizing
  3. Work out
  4. Date night with Steve
 I hope everyone has a good weekend!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Quick Update

Tuesday I had my appointment with the Physician Assistant/Diabetes Educator at my Endocrinologist's office. I've been in the office at least once a month since October.  It really helps me to be accountable and stay on track.

The PA/CDE and I go through my logbook . "You are still running high mid to late afternoon." So we raise my basal rate during that time by 10%. "If you can keep your blood sugar from going high in the evening you wake up with a good number. This change should help. "

"The symlin looks like it is working well for you. You can go ahead and go up to 60mcg if you want but just keep an eye out for lows."

I left with the overall feeling of success. My 90, 60, 30, 14 and 7 day averages have all dropped. My 14 day average is awesome. Feels good to come out of the appointment being told I was doing a good job. I think if I had my A1c tested today it would be lower, not where I want it to be but at least in the right direction.

Then yesterday I wake up to an upset stomach yet I managed to keep my blood sugars on track despite being sick. I'm feeling better today but not 100%. Today I'm keeping it low key.  Sorry for the boring post.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The One Where the Tourists Take Over Washington

This past weekend was insanely fun and exhausting! Not only is it tourist season her in Washington, DC but the Cherry Blossoms are in bloom. This means Thousands upon thousands descend upon our Nation's Capital.

Friday night I met Steve downtown and we went to the Wizards vs. Bulls game. It was fun, although neither team is very good. Helped that Steve got the tickets for free! I was really good about not going carb crazy at the game so my blood sugar stayed pretty even all night! Question for you all: Do you test in public?

I am usually ok testing in public but at the game you are sitting so close to people I felt a little awkward. I used to hate doing anything diabetes related in public but now I don't really care except at the game Friday.

Saturday morning we woke up late and went out to brunch. There we decided that  we had never gone to the Cherry Blossom Festival even though we've seen the blossom in years past so why not hop on the metro and go. Easier said than done.

Got to the metro, parked and 20 minutes later and some very annoying tourists my metrocard had money on it and we squeezed ourselves onto the overly packed metro. Once downtown we were greeted by the masses.

It was a beautiful day and we had a lot of fun walking around looking at the Cherry Blossoms and tulips.

On Sunday, Easter, Steve and I got up and went to church then came home to relax a bit. At three we had brunch at the Key Bridge Marriott. They had an incredible spread but not as incredible as the view. We had a great table that looked right across the Potomac into Georgetown.

I went a little crazy at the dessert table but my blood sugar managed to be ok (thank you, symlin!).  Overall it was a great weekend!
(Sorry for the poor picture quality...took the picture in the dark with my iPhone. I was under 150 all day on Easter. Despite my attack of the dessert table at the buffet.)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

I hope everyone has a Happy Easter.

Diabetes in the Workplace

Sometimes having an invisible disease like diabetes  is hard, for a lack of a better word.  I know, I know, you are thinking "well duh Captain Obvious." We spend our days dealing with  the day to day management which some days can be a full time job and then on top of that we deal with our invisible disease in the workplace.

At the present moment I'm unemployed. I had a good job  but the organization lost the federal grant funding that paid for my position so I lost my job. I have a few concerns as my job search progresses: making sure I can get insurance (although this won't be a problem after 2014) and how to handle my diabetes.

Diabetes is all over my resume so without fail I get asked about it during the interview. I don't mind talking about diabetes, especially because I am proud of what I have done. But when I interview for a company that has nothing to do with diabetes or health care it makes me a little nervous. I can't explain my resume without explaining the fact I have diabetes.

When I was working all my employers were very understanding of my diabetes. Never complained if I was late to work because a low blood sugar kept me from driving to work. The worst was when I'm dealing with a stubborn low that won't go away and my boss would ask me to do something time sensitive.

People are a bit more understanding of the diabetes but when I bring up the fact that I also have Fibromyalgia things change. It is somewhat easier for people to grasp the basic idea of diabetes but being in pain 24/7, well that is just a whole other beast! I try my best to spend the necessary time to make sure I am healthy but without taking too much time that it interferes with your work.

A good boss makes all the difference. Also having an understanding of what your rights are is important. Education is also key. If you are comfortable tell your coworkers or at least your boss about the signs of a low blood sugar and what to do in case of an emergency.

How do you handle your diabetes in the workplace? Any advice for a job seeker like me and when the appropriate time is to tell the boss/interviewer?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Stick Me Desgins

A few months ago I found Sick Me Designs and kept debating whether or not I wanted a new bag for my meter and diabetes supplies.  Back in February I saw a design, pink rox, that I just loved and had to have.  So I placed my order and waited. There was a delivery delay due to a problem with a contractor, but I received emails letting me know what was going on.

A little over a week ago my bag arrived and I've been in love ever since! I wish had this bag in Vegas.

For me I like being able to embrace the fact that I have all this medical equipment around me by making it fun. My family and friends laughed when I showed them my new pink Animas Ping pump. Every time I see it it makes me smile. Same thing with the Stick Me Designs pink rox case. It makes me smile.

I love the fact that it has compartments for everything I need, including my Symlin.  I can stick my ID, credit card and iPhone in the front pocket. If I'm running a quick errand I can just grab and go and not worry about a purse.

 The fabric is my favorite part....the design is just so me. Much better than boring black. Spices things up a bit.

I also got two bio-flips. In all honesty, my boyfriend loves this the most. No more used test strips everywhere!

Note: I purchased this with my own money and have no affiliation to the company.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Diabetes Police

The Diabetes Police seem to be everywhere. They usually are well intentioned but misinformed. DP (Diabetes Police) can be a real thorn in your side but as PWD it is important we learn how to deal with them.


I used to feel so weird and guilty when I would go out to eat with some new acquaintances who don't know much about me but do know that I have diabetes. Time would come to order dessert and the shocked look around the table when I would order and oh my god  actually eat it. But it's not sugar free?! She's going to die!

If I'm seen eating a piece of candy people start to judge me and tell me I can't eat that or they'll think I'm not taking care of myself. People I am taking care of myself. In fact I am working my ass off trying to be and stay healthy. Maybe that candy was for a low or maybe it was a craving I'm finally giving into. Or maybe it is because  sugar free candy  causes horrible gastrointestinal issues that I can't even look at it before I'm running to the bathroom clutching my stomach in pain.

The amount of grace and patience it takes to deal with unwanted and/or misguided Diabetes advice can take a toll on any person.

DP: You there, put down that cookie.

PWD: What? Who? Me?

DP: Yes you. You have diabetes and can't eat that.

Problem is, I don't think I know how to deal with them. I  mean after over 20 years with diabetes I should know; I should be a pro. But I'm not. A lot of the time I just brush it aside and just smile and nod. Other times I may seem like I'm just brushing it aside when in reality I'm telling them off in my head. The worst is when they give me sugar free candy. That stuff makes me so sick to my stomach. I would rather bolus for the carbs in regular candy and not get sick to my stomach.

How do you handle the Diabetes Police? What is the worst you've encountered?