Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you have a wonderful thanksgiving today. 
I hope Diabetes plays nice.
This year I'm grateful for Steve. He is just an incredible human being and an even more incredible boyfriend. 

I'm thankful for my family and friends. I just adore my family and friends.
I'm thankful for the DOC. You all have been amazing to me this year.

I am thankful for many more things but I could write a novel for all that I am thankful for.

I'll be traveling all day tomorrow but I'll be back this weekend to reveal where I am and how my experience with TSA went.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Diabetes, Travel, & the TSA Part I

Unless you are living under a rock in the United States everyone has heard about the new security procedures travelers in the US are facing: full body scans and more extensive body pat downs.

What does that mean for those of us with diabetes, specifically those of us on insulin pumps and CGMs?

While I am not traveling until Friday (more on that later) I thought I would do a post today on what I normally do going through security. Having been a pumper for 18 years and having lived across the country from my family for 15 years I have lots of experience traveling with an insulin pump. In the last two years I have not traveled as much as I used to but I still do travel.

Going through security stinks especially during this busy holiday season. The lines. The people. The hassle. I like to think of myself as the queen of security efficiency. Two things to remember: 1. Dress efficiently and 2. Pack efficiently.

So Dress Efficiently. You know you are going to have to take your shoes off so try not to wear shoes that are too big of a hassle to take on our off! If you wear a baggy sweater or sweatshirt they are going to make you take it off so wear something underneath. If I'm wearing jewelry I put it into a ziplock baggie in my carry on so I can put it on at the gate and I don't loose anything to the bottomless pit that is my purse. This baggie trick also works well with anything you would have in your pockets like wallets, keys, change ect.  Pretty simple, right?

Ok, so now Pack Efficiently. I make sure that I have one baggie with my insulin and one baggie with my carry-on liquids I'm allowed to take and I put both of them at the top of my bag so it is super easy to pull out and put through the xray machine.

Now here is the tricky part. Over the last few years I've noticed that my Animas Ping pump makes the metal detector you have to walk through alarm. Every. Single. Time. It didn't used to but it always leads to me having to go through secondary (a pat down and them testing the pump for explosives). It was driving me nuts especially since I worked so hard to do everything as efficiently as possible. So I started disconnecting right as I put my bag through the xray machine and connecting before even gathering my things. Max I was disconnected is maybe 3 minutes. This week I read that Animas says the xray machine isnt good for the pump but I've never had a problem. So I will not recommend this to anyone but I will say that I have done it before and not sure I will do it again.

For the sake of everyone's sanity this holiday traveling season please take your stuff as quickly off the xray belt and carry it over the chairs or benches and organize yourself over there instead of at the xray belt. You hold up the security line that way. If people did that and followed my efficient packing/dressing guide the line wouldn't be as bad. 

Now to my previous question, what do these new security measures mean to those of us with diabetes. Here is what I'm planning on doing on Friday when I travel:

1. I'm still going to dress efficiently. I have a long trip ahead of me so I am dressing super comfy and putting my jewelry in a baggie in my purse to be put on at the gate.

2. Packing efficiently is probably even more important then ever. I am also going to make sure all my d supplies are easy to pull out in the off chance they stop me. They never, ever have but just in case.

3. If I have the regular old metal detector I will probably just wear my insulin pump and let the person know I have an insulin pump (if I don't and it alarms they make me walk through the machine again and again so this just speeds up the process). At this point I'll be prepared for secondary.

4. If I have to choose between the full body scan or the extensive pat down I am going to let them know that I have two medical devises (insulin pump and CGM) and no I cannot disconnect. Chances are they'll make me do the extensive pat down. I'm preparing for this as all the airports in the Washington DC area are utilizing the new full body scan machines. Sigh.

This weekend I'll report on how security went.

For now I'm off to start laundry so I can pack and get ready for Thanksgiving. Mmm.

Are any of you traveling this week? What are your "tricks" to help get you through security?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Viva Mexico!

I am missing Mexico like crazy lately. Apparently I have a major case of homesickness for my country of birth. That and yesterday was so gloomy here in DC that all I could think about was being in beautiful Mexico.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Guest Post: A Mother's Prospective

Today I have a very, very special guest post for you guys: my mom! Not only is she a pretty kick a$$ mom but she is also a true Type 1 Diabetes Warrior.  She has spent the past 22 years fighting for a cure not only for me but also for all of you.  She was the Chair of Research for JDRF as well as just finishing her term  this spring on the Advisory Council for the NIDDK. In all these years I've never really asked her about her perspective of my diagnosis 22 years ago. Without further ado, here is my mom...

 Isn't she gorgeous?

There are certain days that are such memorable days that they remain ingrained in one's brain forever....marriage, birth of a child, etc.  And then there are those that we wish  had not occurred.  The diagnosis of diabetes is one of those such moments.  Everyone that has diabetes remembers when and where they were when they were delivered those terrible words.  But as a parent, there are so many other thoughts as well.  Parental instincts kick in, protecting one's child, wishing they could take the disease instead, fear of the future, longing for the past.

All of this occurred when my daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.  You try to be strong, try not to let your emotions, your fears show.  But your children know you well and see right through it.  It is such a difficult time.

There is a cliche that says that time is the great healer.... I don't buy it!  But I do know that it softens the blows.  I have always say that when your child is diagnosed with a serious chronic disease you have two choices, you either go into denial or you learn as much as you can about it.  I choose that second option and it has served me well.  In many ways I do understand that it is as well a form of denial.  But that is how I cope.  I became extremely involved with JDRF and spent many, many, many hours volunteering for them.  I do think that my efforts were worthwhile.  But I am extremely sad that even after all these years, we still don't have a cure.  I feel an extreme sense of disappointment and a sadness that I have let my daughter and others down.  I will still work as hard as I can, and I still feel a sense of urgency, but I am sad.

In the mean time, my daughter has kept up her end of the bargain.  She has worked hard to keep herself healthy and she has shown such strength that I never knew she had.  She has been so graceful, loving, understanding of the emotions that "type 3" diabetics have.  Type 3= loved ones of those with diabetes.  I won't say that she has always been this way.  Let it suffice to say that diabetes and the teenage years DO NOT mix.  But I am extremely proud of the young woman she has become.  She would be my friend even if she wasn't my daughter.  I am honored to call her my daughter.

I'm wiping away tears! She is one incredible woman. I know I'm her daughter and extremely biased but she should be your hero for all of her extremely hard work to find us a cure. I know she is my hero. 

Friday, November 12, 2010


This is waiting for me  for dinner tonight. Just what today calls for...yummy Lentil & Spicy Turkey Meatball Soup! Spent the afternoon cooking.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Travel Observations

As I've mentioned before I've been doing a lot of traveling the past few weeks: Colorado then California for family and then Florida for a project I am working on. This has translated into a lot of time on airplanes. On my flight back from Florida last week, which was majorly delayed, I wrote down some observations.

  • Maybe it was just my flights but I can't remember the last time a pilot made an announcement about landmarks we were flying over. Remember the days when the pilot would say "the passengers on the left side of the plane can see the Grand Canyon" or something like that? Very impersonal now. 
  • Seat belts are longer! I've gained a lot of weight in the last year so I know 100% that it isn't that I'm smaller. So sad that so many Americans are so overweight that the airlines have had to install longer seat belts. 
  • Travel brings out the worst in people. Not that I can blame people after dealing with all the fees (see bellow), going through security, ect. That still does not excuse the big chip on so many travelers' shoulders.
  • Travel brings out comrade. During my delay last week because of a mechanical it was interesting how despite people being p.o'ed they still bonded together.
  • All those fees! Need I say more? Ugh.
  • Carry-on bags that should never be carry-on bags. I saw a man carry on an old school no wheel suitcase as his "carry on." Yeah. Thanks to all those fees we now deal with people taking carry-on bags that are not meant to carry-on making it harder for all the bags to fit in the overhead compartments.
Travel used to be fun. Now it's just a hassle getting to the fun part. Not to mention all the stress and consequently the high blood sugars from all that stress. 

I know there are a lot more travel observations out there but I had to stop somewhere! What travel observations do you have to add to my list?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Having a little fun

These pictures are a few years old but I love them. They show just how silly S & I can be. And the fact that I totally stink at these games! 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Six things you NEED to know about Diabetes

Today is the 6th annual D-Blog Day. The topic for today is 6 Things You Want People To Know About Diabetes.

Well, there are a lot of things I would like people to know about this disease I've lived with for the last 22 years.  So here are the first 6 that pop into my head.

  1. Just because I am on insulin does not mean I have severe diabetes! I've never understood this. Insulin keeps me alive. This does not mean my diabetes is worse then what your grandmother has and only worries about diet and exercise. It means I have a different type of diabetes!
  2. All types of diabetes are not alike! I have type 1 diabetes, formally known as juvenile diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is not controlled by diet and exercise alone. I did not eat too much candy and give it to myself. I also do not have the type of diabetes you get when you are pregnant. Nor do I have diabetes because I am overweight.
  3. Yes, I can have my cake and eat it too! Please do not tell me what I can and cannot eat. I can enjoy that cupcake just like you can except I have to do some planning and carefully watch my blood sugar after eating it. But, I can eat it. 
  4. Just because I have diabetes does not mean I need everything sugar free! With sugar free candy/food I still need to give myself insulin because it is made with sugar alcohols. In fact sugar free foods especially candy make me sick to my stomach. I still eat sugar free jello/pudding and drink diet coke but not 100% because I have diabetes. 
  5. If you had diabetes would would LEARN to give yourself shots! I hate, hate, hate when people tell me I'm so brave because if they had diabetes they would NEVER be able to give themselves a shot. Guess what, when your life is on the line you do what you gotta do! It isn't like I enjoy being a human pin cushion!
  6. There is so much more to me then diabetes. Diabetes is a big part of my life but it isn't my entire life.  I'm very lucky to have parents who ingrained into me that diabetes would never hold me back and I have lived my life that way. I have never let diabetes define me. I am not my diabetes. 
Can I ask you guys to do me a favor? Please watch this video to help get a child much needed insulin. Pass this on to everyone you know! Thank you!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Daylight Savings

I've mentioned before that I just adore the fall. From the beautiful colors of the changing leaves to the yummy in season foods like pumpkins. I also love when Daylight Savings rolls around for the sole reason of getting an extra hour. Who cares if it reeks havoc on my schedule and blood sugars for a day or two. It means an extra hour of sleep!

A reminder to everyone to check the batteries on your smoke detectors, change air filters, oh and change your lancets!

I wish I were waking up to this!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

My Saturday

Laundry. TV. Heating pad for my super sore neck. Boring, I know but much needed.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Travel Warp

I feel like I am in a weird travel warp (like a time warp.) After two weeks of traveling I am finally home for more than one night! Such a welcome relief.

Today has been a difficult and stressful day where, as though on cue, diabetes stopped playing nice. The good news is no travel until Christmas.

Right now I am going to go heat up some soup and then crawl into bed. Quite the rockin' Friday night!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Joys of The DOC: Not Alone

At many times diabetes can feel like a very isolating disease. From the moment of my diagnosis I have felt like diabetes was my disease and mine alone. Sure my family had to learn all about it and how to manage but in my 7 year old mind THEY didn't have it. It was MY body not theirs who revolted. How could it be their disease too?

Oh how wrong was I! The entire concept of Type 3's has completely changed my way of thinking. The DOC gave me a title to all those people who are affected by my diabetes. I can turn to my Mom or to Steve and see that they GET IT. Sure, they don't know what it feels like to have non-stop low's or highs, or those roller coaster days that leave you totally wiped out. That's what I have  you, the DOC, for. But for the most part they get it. When somebody makes some stupid comment about diabetes Steve shoots me a look that says "they are not one of us, they don't understand."

Not only has the DOC opened my eyes to just how well Steve and my mom get it the DOC has also made me feel like I'm not alone. I no longer feel so isolated. Sure in my offline life I am not constantly running into other T1's and if I do we don't spend the time chatting about the big D. I get online to find comfort that I can't find elsewhere.

At the Taking Control of Your Diabetes Conference this past Saturday I had the pleasure of meeting two members of the DOC: Ninja George from Ninjabetic and Jaime (@JaimieH). We didn't get to meet up until the very end of the conference but we were able to sit and chat for a little while. Let me just say that they are both such warm welcoming people. I really wish I had had more time to sit and talk with them. Neither of them realized it but our short seemingly unimportant conversation was the finally little push I needed to not only blog more but to make some blog changes I hope to make soon. (Details on that to come!). The entire day of the TCOYD conference was nudging me but talking to them was the finally little push I needed. So thank you guys.  Both of you are total Ninja's Kickin D Booty! (Yes, I will do a recap/thoughts post on the conference soon.)

I'm a fairly new member of the DOC. Less than a year. In that time though my A1c plummeted from 10.2 to 7.2 (and still working to get it in the 6's. The psychological toll diabetes was taking on me is so much easier to deal with then it was before. Most importantly I no longer feel alone. I wish I could go back 22 years and tell 7 year old me that I am not alone. 

Thank you DOC, from the bottom of my heart.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: San Diego Edition

After 11 days of traveling to visit family in Denver and San Diego I'm home for less than 24 hours before heading to Florida for a fun work project I cannot wait to tell you all about. I'm absolutely exhausted from traveling yesterday and the time difference between the west coast and the east coast so I'm doing a quick post with a few pictures of my trip. I have more but these make me smile especially since it is only in the 40s here in DC.

 Pacific Ocean from La Jolla

 La Jolla Cove. It was stinky because of all the pelicans but still a beautiful view. On one of the rocks near the water were 3 Seal Pups. I couldn't get a good picture because all I had was my iPhone. So cute!

 Here is the Daddy Seal who was being very loud. The Mommy Seal was swimming with him not to far away from the pups.

On my flight back to DC we flew over the Rockies. Old Man Winter has arrived in the mountains! My parents are getting excited for ski season.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day Travel

Today is ELECTION DAY 2010! I never talk politics here and I won't start now but it is important to get out and vote.

Right now I'm packing and getting ready to fly back East after 11 days with family in Denver and San Diego. It has been exhausting but so much fun and good for the soul. I swear I feel like my batteries have been recharged. This is great for my diabetes control.

Tomorrow I turn around and get back on another airplane for yet another trip Wednesday night although I'll be back home Friday night. Just thinking about it makes me tired!

Hope everyone has a good day!

Monday, November 1, 2010

22 Diaversaries

For the first time in, well, ever probably my Diaversary is not accompanied by sadness or anger. For that I have the D-OC (Diabetes Online Community) and the Taking Control of Your Diabetes conference I attended on Saturday.  I will talk more about both this week but for now I just wanted to give everyone in the D-OC a great big virtual hug. You all are awesome. 

Thinking about what to write about today I realized I had written about my diagnosis earlier this year over at Nacho's blog. I'm going to repost it here today. Over the next few weeks I will be writing more about my diagnosis. Without further ado....

There are certain days in every person’s life that stand out: day you got engaged, married, children were born, and the day you were diagnosed with diabetes. Wait, what? Day you were diagnosed with diabetes?

Ok, so the vast majority of the population won’t have the memorable day that is D-Day.  Frankly, it would be better if nobody has to have that experience but those of us with  diabetes clearly remember  the day we were diagnosed. Of course if you were diagnosed at a really young age your parents, I’m sure, have that day etched forever in their memory.

I was diagnosed at age 7 on November 1, 1988. Day after Halloween.  The previous year was full of changes for me: mom got remarried and 5 months before I was diagnosed my baby brother was born. I guess things do come in three’s because then it was diabetes.

A week before I was diagnosed I was in Mexico with the rest of my extended family celebrating my grandmother’s 60th birthday. Before we left for Mexico my 2nd grade teacher notified my mom that I was always out of the classroom; either in the restroom or at the drinking fountain. We sent a urine sample to the pediatrician’s office as we were leaving town. In Mexico my older cousin and I snuck candy and hid it in the bathroom we shared. I’m sure lucky I didn’t end up in DKA.

Upon our return home we were greeted by a bunch of messages from the doctor’s office saying they needed to redo the test. I went in on November 1. The night before, Halloween, my parents took my candy and told me I could have it after the doctor’s appointment. Of course, I snuck some.

That doctor’s appointment changed my life. They redid the urine test and then sent us into the doctor’s office. He was sitting behind his desk when he told my mom I had diabetes.

Next thing I know we were in the elevator going upstairs to another doctor’s office. I remember looking at my mom and seeing her trying to keep her composure. At 7 years old I knew my mom was scared and upset and it had something to do with me. Suddenly I was terrified.

Next thing I know my parents and I are in the hospital learning about shots and highs and lows and food and testing.

I would give anything to not have diabetes but November 1, 1988 helped shape the person I am today. Every year on my D-Day I get sad about “what if I didn’t have diabetes” but I remind myself of all the strength that has bloomed inside of me and the courage that has come from having diabetes. This year when I celebrate 22 years with diabetes I am going to celebrate it and not think about the “what ifs”.