Saturday, September 3, 2016

Is Butter a Carb?

And now for an edition of "No such thing as stupid questions" with your favorite blogger (all 12 of you that is).

I have this expired glucagon. And I'm expired is expired? Like....considering that one of these things costs $200-$300 and studies show that they are rarely deployed effectively even by trained expired is really expired?

Anyone have any advice?

Saturday, August 27, 2016

A Whole New World....

It's a new school year, folks.

A whole new year in a whole new school in a whole new grade (kindergarten).

Buckle up because something tells me there's gonna be some great kid quotes coming your way...

Saturday, August 20, 2016

A Pat on the Back

I saw my endo a few weeks ago when I got back from India. We chatted about the new school year, about my trip, about my A1C. I regaled her with gnarly tales of my 2 week long stomach flu episode and she said something really surprising to me.

She said, "Wow! The stomach flu and all that traveling...and your A1C stayed pretty consistent and you didn't go into DKA? Good job."

I was warned that diabetes would be like a part time job that no one every pays you for and that you never get a vacation from and that's honestly a pretty decent analysis. But I forgot that someone could still compliment me. Two little words and it brightened my whole week.

I'm used to interacting in a world where, while people are often impressed and/or interested and/or proud of me, they don't really understand what exactly it is that they are impressed with/interested in/proud of. Not in the way my doctor does.

I am doing a good job. I know because I'm still alive and (mostly) optimally functioning. But dang it feels good to hear someone say it. 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Mischief Managed ;)

It's rare that having diabetes is actually fun. It's mostly just, not bad, often it's frustrating, but I would rarely, okay never, actually consider it amusing.

But the shocked look on the Indian TSA agent's face when I shamelessly yanked up my skirt to show her the Dexcom sensor lodged there that set off her magical-wand-terrorist-threat-detector? Yeah that gave me a few giggles, I won't lie.

"Diabetes," I said, nodding gravely and proffering my doctor's note.

"Oh, diabetes," she said, her head bobbing from side to side in the distinctly Indian gesture of acknowledgement.

She gave me the tentative smile you give to a crazy person you wish to avoid on the sidewalk, asked no further questions, and ushered me through.

And I continued on my merry way, a smile on my cyborg face. 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Live from just outside Bangalore India...

...It's your host, me! And when I say host, I really mean host. Because I have won (without any competition it's true) the definitive title of Diabetes Ambassador to Shanti Bhavan School (which, side note, is the *amazing* school I've been teaching at this summer and I highly recommend you check out their website and get involved with their mission). If I thought my students back home were curious, well, curious has a new meaning here, that's for sure.

It all started when the students caught sight of my OmniPod ticking away on my upper arm. Cries of "Miss, what is that?!" and "Miss, is it paining?!" followed me for the duration of my stay. Teachers, staff, students, everyone wanted to find out more information, share tips and tricks (eat chappati, not rice, for example), and generally just discuss diabetes with me pretty much all the time.

Result? I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed, so I think posting on here might be light for a while...

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Tomorrow, tomorrow....

I love ya, tomorrow...

Things have been frustrating here in diabetesland lately. Although I consider Afrezza to be a gamechanging tool for me, essential to making me feel like an actual human who can eat actual meals rather than a slave to my blood sugars, insurance companies across the board beg to differ. Meaning access is getting trickier and trickier for me, which is scarier and scarier. What will they decide to take away next?

However, that's not what I want to focus on today. Today I want to talk about this and my hopes for the technological tomorrow. I want to talk about citizen science and the amazing advances that people are making because they want to and they can and they are willing to work hard.

It's easy to feel disillusioned with people, when dealing with insurance companies and bills and access.

Sometimes I just need a reminder that there's a flip side, a glimmer of hope. That people are marching fearlessly into the cyborg future and they're generous enough to take others along with them. 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Another Quote

"Why was she dancing? No reason. Just alive, I guess"

--George Saunders

Why do we diabetics do all the things we do? Why do I work so hard when I could also just float along the surface in denial? All the math, the brainpower, the eating, the counting, the endless dancing? No reason in particular, yet also every single reason equally. It's the best way to be alive, I guess. 

Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Dinner Devil

Eat it too early, and you'll risk overnight lows.

Eat it too late, and you'll be see-sawing all night.

Eat it with friends, and you'll probably have too many carbs.

Eat it by yourself, and you'll probably have not enough.

Want alcohol with that? Forget the see-saw, it'll be more like the Tower of Terror (long slow rise to an uncomfortably high level, sudden drop around 3 am).

It's always been my least favorite meal, and now it's even more so. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Diaversary Numero Dos

Hello, fear. Thank you for being here. You're my indication that I'm doing what I need to do.

--Cheryl Strayed

Saturday, June 25, 2016

I Threw a Hissy Fit

The low drifted in as I prepared to settle in for savasana. The Dexcom confirmed that the sudden anxiety and irritation flooding my body was not a failure of my meditation but rather had more to do with my anticipatory morning-exercise-on-an-empty-stomach corrective bolus overshooting the mark.

I was hungry for breakfast, not glucose tabs, so I decided to wait, hoping I could make it home on a 78 gently drifting down.

I made it one block from the studio before I had to stop and cram 3 tabs angrily in my mouth, dizzy on a street corner. And suddenly I'd had it. I snapped. Tears welled in my eyes as I thought about my ruined savasana, my failure in calculation, the frustration of having almost made it, the anticipation of having to wait even longer to eat my breakfast or else risk a boomerang blood sugar, the shame of being a crazy lady cramming oversize smarties into her mouth on a street corner. Tears rolled down my cheeks and I gave no f*cks about being an adult woman crying in public.

As my misery and I made our way home, I was reminded of one of my mom's favorite stories to tell about me. How when I was about 3, I threw a huge hissy fit on the floor of JC Penneys. And she just left me there, wailing, until I got over it and went to go find her.

Snuffling a bit, I thought to myself, what wouldn't my 3-year-old self have given to be allowed to have sugar candies during that tantrum? It probably would have ended the whole thing, honestly.

So I sucked it up, to honor my inner child. I showered and ate a breakfast that said inner child would have hated (plain yogurt and fiberful cereal and a little fruit) and felt better. Then I sat and watched TV for an hour because I'm an adult and I do what I want, dang it. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Don't Believe What You're Reading

Okay, do.

Just don't believe the timestamp.

Because guess what, world. This lady is taking off! I'm going to be gone for the next 5 weeks doing what I do best, teaching & traveling, traveling & teaching.

So anything you read between now and July?'s already been maybe not reflective of my adventuring, although that will come later I'm sure!

If you want to follow along, find me on Instagram at: averyday102. WARNING: There will be puns, so be prepared to EL OH EL.

See you all back in real time, sometime in the future....groovy, dude!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Hell Is

....being a teacher and moving between different schools that have open enrollment in June and August. Yet the deductible year starts in January for all of them.

Meaning that, in 2016, I will have to meet my deductible not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES with none of it counting towards my eventual out-of-pocket maximum.

Slow, deep breaths. Slow, deep breaths.

It's strange to feel sometimes like you quite literally cannot afford to live.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

West Texas Forever

A day in the life of a diabetic is....

Trying to set up your new backpacking water filter and becoming increasingly frustrated as you test it in the sink and repeatedly blow air into the sink instead of sucking water into the filter.

As a diabetic, though, you do a check. Are there any obvious mistakes? Am I unnecessarily angry? Am I hungry? my blood sugar a wee bit high?

I took a break as I waited for the Afrezza to kick in (only 15 minutes, BLESS YOU AFREZZA!!!).

I came back, calmer. I took another look.

Sure enough....I had connected the intake tube to the outtake valve and vice versa. Immediately apparent with fresh eyes and no sugary brain fog.

You know what they say....

Clear eyes, clear heart, can't lose (BLESS YOU COACH TAYLOR!!!).

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Night Shift

After everyone else goes home, I am still on call. I pull out

The tape
The bandages
The scissors
The new pod
The device
The insulin
The needle

And I prepare myself for duty. I answer the beeps that have been ringing all night. I snip and tap and measure and squeeze and pinch and prick and keep going for just a little while longer

than everyone else. 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

A helpful cheer!

As a teacher of the primary grades, rhyming is second nature to me. Chants and cheers are great attention-getters, and my natural tendency to pun plays into this nicely.

The other night, as I was treating yet another 4 am low (hello, basal rate adjustment my old friend), I realized that I've been having a certain....melody is the wrong word but I'll go with it...playing in the back of my mind the past few days. Then I realized that it had words.

And that it goes like this.

And that I'm sort of proud of it. 

Glucose Tab cheer:

I almost never need any more

The perfect amount for IOB

This plus temp basal will usually do

Never enough, never done

PS Disclaimer of course, I am neither a medical professional nor a professional cheerleader so this might not work for you during your middle of the night lows. But it made me chuckle, so why not pass it on?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Give Me a Break

There is an old saying that states “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. I'm willing to bet we've all disagreed with this at some point, and especially when it comes to diabetes. Many advocate for the importance of using non-stigmatizing, inclusive and non-judgmental language when speaking about or to people with diabetes. For some, they don't care, others care passionately. Where do you stand when it comes to “person with diabetes” versus “diabetic”, or “checking” blood sugar versus “testing”, or any of the tons of other examples? Let's explore the power of words, but please remember to keep things respectful.

I have been freakishly lucky when it comes to responses about my diabetes. It's true that I don't appreciate the sugar jokes and that I've occasionally had to stand up for Type 2 diabetes (Uhhhhh...that's actually the one that does have a genetic's not a "lifestyle choice"). But there's only one thing that really gets my goat when it comes to language around diabetes and that's three small words:

"I could never."

I know that it's often meant to be a compliment, in a weird way. It's intended as a sign of respect for me and my diabetes and what this person assumes is my daily battle. But to me it implies such impunity. Or maybe it simply reminds me of me 2 years ago when I was busy pretending nothing was wrong as I hobbled around with perma-heartburn and an even more perma-sweet tooth. Maybe I feel jealous of people who really think that things like this can't happen to them. 

Because guess what kiddo? You could never (ever?). You could and you would and you know what else? You'll be damn happy to do it because it beats the alternative. There really is no other alternative, to be honest. I know that I'm a brave person. I have traveled and lived on multiple continents and I have climbed mountains and faced emotions and read scary books and stood in front of classrooms full of foreign children. Maybe you "could never" do that and that's cool and I don't mind hearing about that. 

But don't act like me pricking my finger (without even looking) in front of you is something you respect. It's something you're scared of. When you say "I could never," what I hear is "I hope I never," and that's unfair and upsetting because I wish I had the luxury of hoping this never happened to me. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

I just can't get you out of my mind

We think a lot about the physical component of diabetes, but the mental component is just as significant. How does diabetes affect you or your loved one mentally or emotionally? How have you learned to deal with the mental aspect of the condition? Any tips, positive phrases, mantras, or ideas to share on getting out of a diabetes funk? 

How does diabetes affect me mentally and emotionally? Well, let's just say that those are two different things for me. Mentally, meaning logically, meaning when it's just me, myself & I and my Dexcom and my Omnipod PDM and my glucose tabs and my glucagon kit and my Humalog and my Afrezza then I feel mostly pretty fine about things. Tough days are just that, tough days. Good days are simply days that are easier. It helps to keep my yoga practice in mind. In yoga, you are always reminded that you are a different person each time you come to the mat. What you could do yesterday might not work for you today. Yet it is all still there, still related, still part of your practice. To me, diabetes is simply another practice. I'm thankful to have been diagnosed in a time of such advancements in diabetes technology that it can be that for me. That I can largely avoid the inconveniences and the fears of things like testing my urine for my BG or not being able to control my basal insulin. So I can be easier on myself and think of my diabetes as a tool for living a generally healthier life. And as for a mantra, well....I don't quite have one of those but I do like to think about the fact that I'm beating the hell out of science.

Emotionally? That's another story. Diabetes is not something that I like to share. I do share, here on this blog, obviously. I like that my family reads this (s/o to them!) But that's after I've processed things and it's sharing from a safe distance. It's not really that vulnerable. I don't know yet what vulnerability around my diabetes really looks like. I've struggled with it before and I struggle with it constantly with my students, with my friends, with strangers. Every time I think I've come somewhat to terms with it, I hide another low blood sugar, I don't take a break when I need to, I remember that I still don't own a medic alert ID bracelet. 

But, I have made progress. I am practicing. I'm not perfect. Each day is just that, a day. I'm going to have this disease for a long time probably, so I have time to get better at it. I think the biggest tip I have for when I get upset or frustrated or want to murder my insurance company is to remember that I can do as much as I can, and no more. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Diabetes Blog Week

Well, it's kind of funny to say this in this post, but when I made my blog I never really imagined participating in something like Diabetes Blog Week. I'm not sure why I started it, but making it public and/or participating in the DOC was not really part of it, intentionally at least.

But now, 1.5 years and 3 (3!!) diabetes meetups later, here we are.

My first post of my first internet group activity, ever. There are 61 other posts on this topic. 61!! That's a heck of a lot of diabetics. More than I've ever seen in one place, for sure. So here goes lucky number 62...

And the prompt is....Lets kick off the week by talking about why we are here, in the diabetes blog space. What is the most important diabetes awareness message to you? Why is that message important for you, and what are you trying to accomplish by sharing it on your blog?

So, to come full circle. Why am I here? Why do I write a diabetes blog? To be honest, I don't know. I'm not sure what my intentions were when I started this and I'm not sure what they are now. I think this blog is mostly a processing tool for me. I think it's educational for my family (my only known readers). I think that I enjoy getting to share my funny stories and vent my frustrations and archive my feelings in one place. I think that it's probably going to be required reading for people who want a serious place in my life in the future. I think. All I know is that a lot of time my emotions come pouring out of my fingers and they wind up here.

What is the most important diabetes message to me right now? Simply the message that....I'm here. This is me. It's a little like the WOW signal.

There are more things I'd like to say, and more messages I'd like to pass on, and more fights I'd like to fight, but for right now I'm just a blip on the radar. I'm out here, and I'm listening. 

Saturday, May 14, 2016


I am going to be traveling this summer. A big trip. I've taken a few before, and while I always like to travel light, this is the first time I'm not going to be packing a functioning pancreas, if you catch my drift.

And man. Man oh man oh man oh man. And woman, oh woman, oh woman. Because I have both male and female doctors. And doctors are who I need to see, doctors up to my eyeballs. Endocrinologist, CDE, GP, travel nurse, and oh by the way I coincidentally happen to be due for the gynecologist, dentist, and a spirometry exam for my Afrezza prescription.

I've been bouncing around the city for weeks now, stopping every so often for a massive pickup at my trusty Walgreens, and I'm not done yet. I'm giving my FSA and my bus pass quite the workout.

It's funny because I'm going somewhere where the visa process is generally considered to be quite annoying and demanding. I even had to get my passport renewed, too. Yet somehow I accomplished that in about 10 minutes plus one trip to the post office. Maybe I'm being hyperbolic (who moi??). Maybe in the olden days it would have seemed like quite an arduous process.

Perspective: the gift of old age and also shitty pancreases.  

Sunday, May 8, 2016

What's in a Name?

I work in a pretty progressive school. While we have an eye out for learning differences, and we certainly have students tested often and frequently, we tend to not officially "label" children in first grade. But sometimes we do, and recently we worked with some parents around their daughter's classroom abilities. We founds some stuff, to say the least. Stuff that was getting in the way of her learning, stuff that was frustrating her, leaving her feeling overwhelmed and doubting herself. Stuff that leaves her needing (at least for the foreseeable future) devices to help her focus and work in a typical classroom. Her parents are, understandably, nervous, and worried about giving her a name, a disease even, and making her self-conscious. They don't want her to notice anything different.

But here's the thing, at least as I see it. She already notices. She already knows. A name is so powerful. A name gives you an entity separate from yourself to grapple with, to blame, to accommodate. A name is a powerful tool when you are coming to terms with your own abilities.

When the nurse said to me, diabetes, I laughed for several reasons, but mainly relief. A name! A problem! Synthetic insulin--a possible relief! It's so much more than that, of course, but for months my narrative running through my head was "I'm sad. I'm tired. I don't like my life. I'm lazy. I don't want to do anything. I'll never feel good again. I'm trapped. I'm not trying hard enough." I'm, I'm, I'm. Me, me, me. I'm the problem.

But guess what? It's not me. Try as hard as I might, I'll never, never, never be good enough to function without a working pancreas. There's me, and there's diabetes, and they are two things. I'm in charge of both, but they are two things. Sometimes I want a break. Sometimes my diabetes demands one. I have to honor both but I can't blame myself for diabetes' neediness.

Having a name, something to describe, something to know is there along with you, along with your own natural abilities and challenges. That made a world of difference. Sure a label can be challenging. It can shine a spotlight. It can invite comment or misconceptions. It can be a lightning rod. It can be a source of community. It can be an I.D. badge. It can cost a crap ton of money. It can be combative.

But it's not really the name's fault. Whatever was there, needing that name, has always been there. There's always been a there there. What the name does is it takes something that was festering inside of you and it lets you take it out of your heart and sure, maybe you put it into a backpack and carry it as a weight forever and it's heavy but at least it can't hurt you in the same way anymore.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

What Makes Me Tick


Sometimes you have a handy family and you're home visiting and you just get curious. What IS that thing softly clicking and not-so-softly beeping away on your body day and night? What am I actually carrying with me? Where does that flipping needle come from? bust out some tools and get grabby. Sorry, Insulet, looks like I won't be recycling this one. 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

You Can Go Your Own Way...

Go your own way! Pause for a little respect for a great band and a great album.

And....moving on.

It's hard to get psyched about diabetes, let's be honest. I mean, initially it's kind of fun and crazy, and there's something about being a whirring, clicking, robot/human hybrid that's a little interesting. Although, come on, let's get that artificial pancreas going guys, I'd like to be a little more automated and a little less human when it comes to my diabetes at least.

Regardless, it's definitely more of a wear-and-tear, daily-grind type of disease. So you have to make your own excitement. Which I'm doing, in the form of taking a little bit more charge of things. I wrote a few months ago that I'm afraid of dying in the night, especially when camping/backpacking. It's still true, and while I love being outdoors, diabetes has made me much more cautious about my outdoor experiences. But no more! I'm doing something any self-respecting, gutsy, woodswoman should have done long ago...I have signed myself up for a Wilderness First Aid class next weekend. So I get to spend 16 sweet hours making splints and bandages out of twigs and leaves, and finding out how to resuscitate dummies, staunch bloody noses, create smoke signals (I imagine this is the curriculum at least) and allll of that fun stuff. And maybe, just maybe, I'll leave with some survival tips for myself...

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Ode to a Low Blood Sugar, and Other Poems

An anthology featuring such classics as:

"I didn't eat dinner last night so now I'm eating it at 4 am....covered in sweat."

"Oh look cookies! Those will work: A tragicomedy of errors."

"How much is that juice in the window? [Alternate title: I'm not drunk, sir]"

"Who beeped?"

"Overnight low corrections; or, make sure you turn off your Dexcom's high alert"


"Instagram: for when the letters in books are swimming on the page"

"Insulin on board, that sticky wicket"

"I fell asleep cuddling my glucose tabs"

"I can't believe I have to wake up and go to work in 3 hours"

And, most importantly--

"Will what I wrote right now make sense in the morning?"

Saturday, March 26, 2016

I can't do this.

I took my CGM sensor off a few weeks ago. It died, near bedtime. I wanted to sleep (instead of wake up in 2 hours to calibrate), so I left it off. I woke up in the morning and I didn't feel like having to calibrate at work, so I left it off. I went out and I left it off. I came home and left it off. I kept making excuses, until I finally realized what I was really thinking....I can't do this. 

My Dexcom hurts. It really, really hurts to put in, even when I pinch the skin and think about fairies and rainbows and all of my favorite things. And it buzzes. It buzzes so much. And when it's not buzzing, it's there, in my face, reminding me of all my ups and downs. 

There is so much about diabetes that I have no choice in. I like feeling healthy. I want to feel that way for a long time. So when I think, I can't do this about bolusing, or changing my pump site, or just saying no to a cookie, I do it anyway. And I can do it. But sometimes it feels good to say, okay. Okay!! Okay, you can't do this right now. You have a lot on your plate and having your blood sugars In. Your. Face. all the time is not conducive to your mental health. 

So I'm taking a break. I'm being more responsible. I'm checking 5-7x a day, the old-fashioned way. I'm avoiding snacks and being careful about alcohol and fruit (two things that always manage to mess with my day). I can't do this right now. And, in a few weeks, I'll say to myself, you can do this. Or, you have to do this. It's time to do this. And I'll get out the Tegaderm and the Bandaids and the tape and the huge needle and charge up the receiver and get back on the horse. But for right now, I'm trotting along just fine.  

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Real People

"Real People Sick"=

Having the chills but my blood sugar is still above 85.

A sore throat but no CGM mountains or terrifying plateaus.

Exhaustion even though I miraculously wasn't awoken by any alarms the night before.

Muscle aches not caused by a bruised pump site.

Dry, parched mouth that has nothing to do with anything I've eaten lately.

Is it any wonder that I sometimes miss the signs?

Saturday, March 12, 2016

In Memorium

The other morning, I was opening the drawer under my bed and I noticed there was a thin bloodstain running down the front of it. Below that, a dried droplet on my hardwood floor. It's from a few nights ago, when I was changing my pod from a stomach site. I was in a rush and I was halfway to the trash can before I realized I'd hit a small gusher.

I haven't cleaned the mess up yet. It's small (obviously, since I didn't notice it for a while). I'm not quite sure why. In a way it's kind of like a monument. There are so few visible signs of the turmoil of diabetes, but I am fighting a war. There's bound to be some carnage. 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

A Reminder

When the insulin you depend on might not be available for much longer it reminds me just how tenuous my grasp on this disease is after all. Just how elusive the illusion of control is. Just exactly how many things are out of my power, including unfortunately the care I want to receive. 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

On Multitasking

Sometimes, my brain capacity amazes me. Like when I remember the names of every single parent during parent-teacher conferences.

Sometimes, it definitely doesn't. Like, when I'm trying to text and calibrate my CGM at the same time and I realize not only do I a) have blood smeared all over the screen of my phone but I also b) entered a phone number as my blood sugar. So....sorry Dexcom. No wonder you're confused trying to reconcile you thinking I'm at 130 and me telling you I'm at 415. That one's on me. 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

I'm So High Right Now, Part 3 of ??? AKA: So When DO I Worry?

I spent a lot of the last post explaining about the day-to-day high blood sugar realities. And also reassuring people that they needn't worry about these. And it's true. There's a reason low BG gets all the hype, it's because when your sugar is dropping you can go from 80 mg/dL to dead in under an hour (probably. I would double check that science, for sure).

High blood sugars aren't immediately dangerous, but they are eventually deadly. High blood sugar leads to lots of fun long-term health complications, like diabetic neuropathy, eye damage, kidney damage, Alzheimer's...yeah, yeah, you know how to use Google so I'm sure you can figure this out on your own. The more high BGs, the more likely my chance of picking up these super-cool conditions. So, if you spend a lot of time with me or another diabetic and you notice that their BGs are consistently really high? Or they don't seem to really react when they have a high BG, or make comments or share that they haven't been taking care of themselves properly? Maybe they share with you that they sometimes let their BG run high on purpose in order to lose weight? Yeah, that's when you probably want to step in. Do what you gotta do, because that is dangerous. If you like having that person around you, and you think you might want it to be long-term, nothing says "I care about you" like, "let's discuss your personal private information AKA your blood sugar levels even though you probably don't want to AT ALL."

Lots of super-high BGs, like read: no insulin at all, can lead to a fun condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). This is how many T1Ds (read: yours truly) were diagnosed. It's the step before the diabetic coma, where your body is so starved for glucose as an energy source (because all your glucose is floating around in your bloodstream rather than being ushered into your cells in order to fuel them) that it starts breaking down all your stored fat and protein (aka muscle) and desperately scrabbling to get to any last bits of glucose. Like in the olden days when they would burn the furniture to stay warm during the winter. Except then imagine they ran out of furniture and also started burning the walls, which not only defeats the purpose but also results in them all being in comas.

Sad side effect of this is that, when breaking down muscle to get glucose, there is a leftover acidic tail called a ketone. Suddenly you're producing those like crazy. Your body is full of acid!! Symptoms of DKA include sudden dramatic weight loss (burning up all your fat and muscle dude! You're becoming a bag of bones!), exhaustion (no good energy sources, sad), heartburn (your body is filling up with acid), dehydration, frequent urination (gotta get rid of all that acid!!), craving sugar (because even though you're full of it floating around, none of it is actually getting to where it should go so you're actually starving for it), and eventually a coma. If you see any of these symptoms in people around you, especially the coma, I would say it's time to worry. Totally your call though.

Bottom line is that, discussing someone's BG with them can be tricky. It's private. It feels embarrassing to have a high blood sugar, even when no one around you understands what the numbers mean or is judging you at all. I judge myself. I don't want to talk about it. There's also really not too much to say about it, since all that can be done is to drink water, apply insulin and/or exercise, and wait. So weigh that when you bring it up. And also remember that, unless you are dealing with your own child who is diabetic and they are under 18 years of age,  you never, never, never need to worry about whether or not they "should" or "can" be eating whatever the heck it is they're eating. There's only one thing a diabetic can't eat, and that's poison (stole that from an internet meme. So tech savvy). So don't be getting on anyone's case when they're just trying to binge on ice cream okay?? Ummmm....I mean....responsibly enjoy a small cookie, okay??

Saturday, February 13, 2016

I'm So High Right Now, Part 2 of ??? AKA: The Part Where I Explain the High that we are clear on what I'm actually talking about when I bandy about the term "blood sugar," let's talk about high blood sugar aka "a high" as we in the know folks like to say. Some who are in the know might prefer to say hyperglycemia, but to them I say...take your fancy medical degree and shove it!! This is my blog and I'm the expert here.

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) gets a lot of hype and paramedic attention, but high blood sugar is also very deadly and also much more common and feels worse. Which is why I'm turning my attention to it here. For all you poor people who love/like me and are now feeling concerned like, I thought all I had to worry about was when to stab her with the glucagon needle???...well, enjoy.

A recap: Normal people's BG is typically between 70-120 mg/dL at any given time. Mine?? Well, I do my darndest to stay between 80-160 mg/dL during the day, but it's rare that I have a day where I don't hit at least 190 mg/dL. At least three times a week I can hit 250 mg/dL. I've hit as high as 487 mg/dL before, and I've also just gotten HIGH on my meter because it doesn't read above 500 mg/dL. So you might be thinking, why....what do u mean when you're telling me these numbers (s/o to JBiebs!)? What do these numbers mean to you?

Well I'll tell you. There are different types of high blood sugars. There are those that hit fast, like really fast, where I can literally feel the sugar flooding into my body. Those moments feel almost like getting on an elevator going up just a liiiitttle too fast when you're also pretty hungover. Once my sugar is stable, but still high, things feel different depending on just how high I am. It's also all relative--if I've had a lot of high blood sugars recently, then they stop feeling so shitty because my body is used to them. But if I've had things relatively under control, then I'll start feeling worse way earlier.

When my blood sugar is just a little bit high (160-250 mg/dL) sometimes I won't even notice really, for the aforementioned reasons. I'll generally feel a bit tired and thirsty since my body is not absorbing glucose to use as energy and it's also not absorbing water to hydrate me. I might also feel annoyed because my Dexcom is buzzing at me and/or I might not know or like the reason why my BG is high. If you're someone who likes to hang out with me, here's what you need to know if you notice this is where my sugar's at: I'm fine. I'm fine. You may hear two long, slow buzzes from my Dexcom. I may huff some Afrezza and/or adjust my insulin doses. I may roll my eyes. But let's just say it one more time: I'm fine.

When my BG is pretty high (250-350 mg/dL) I feel quite crotchety. Seriously. It's not my fault, grumpiness is a well-documented side effect of high blood sugar. I'm also probably feeling really tired and unmotivated. I probably have a slight headache and if I'm over 300, I'm feeling kind of woozy. I might also be feeling kind of snacky, either for salty things (because I'm dehydrated) or sugary things (because I am always craving that). Here's what you should know: I'M STILL FINE. You don't need to ask me if I need to take some insulin because guess what, I've probably already considered that option and I'm doing what I need to do. Sorry if that sounded defensive. What would really help right now would be the following: offering to fill my water bottle and/or take a long walk with me if it's feasible. Both these things help speed up the effects of insulin and lower my blood sugar. Also, accept that I'm not at my most organized or highly functional. It's not a great time to snap at me for making silly mistakes.

When my BG is very high (350+) I feel bad. Imagine post-Thanksgiving level exhaustion, plus flu-like symptoms (aches, chills, sore throat), extreme thirst, fogginess/wooziness. I am generally always annoyed at this point, because this is going to take some undoing. If I don't have Afrezza available, then I'm going to be feeling the effects for 1-3 hours. Here's what you should know: I'm still not going to go into a diabetic coma and crumple at your feet. Here's what you can do: The water and walk offer are still helpful, but at this point, maybe just be sympathetic and offer to watch a TV show with me or accept that I'd like to go take a nap until I feel better.

Is it always this way, you might wonder. The answer Duh. Because variability is the nature of this disease. And the spice of life. So, if I'm really involved in what I'm doing, or busy, or stressed out, I might not notice the effects or feel the symptoms as fully. My Dexcom will let me know what's up though, and I'll be taking care of things. I'm not incapacitated. But I am also expending some extra energy in order to be focused/present/attentive/pleasant when I'm around you and having a high blood sugar. I do it because it's part of living my life. I do it because there's no such thing as calling in high blood sugar to work. I do it because sugar doesn't dictate my life. I do it because I love you (I've accepted that only my family reads this blog). I hope these posts help you to understand and love me back. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

I'm So High Right Now, Part 1 of ??? AKA: Background Info

*Pause for snickers*

Okay yeah but yes actually....this has a different meaning for people with diabetes. And it is not as much fun as the title might suggest. But it's an unfortunately common reality, and so I'm going to go a bit in depth about it here. 

DISCLAIMER: Blah blah blah the usual...not a medical professional...probably riddled with errors....I am known to conflate stories and am also notoriously stubborn soooo take everything here with a grain of salt. 

Still with me? 

Okay. So. First, a beginner's guide to blood sugar levels. Simply put, blood sugar is exactly what it sounds like. Go figure. It's how much glucose is floating around in your blood stream at any given moment. It's measured in mg/dL (milligrams/deciliter). How does that glucose get there? Multiple ways. It's released into your blood stream in a slow and steady drip throughout the day from where it's stored in your liver. It's released in a fast and furious rush into your body about 15-20 minutes after you eat a meal (discussion of how a meal breaks down=future blog post?). Maybe it comes in other ways, but those are the only two I'm aware of. Although if there are more glucose sources that I'm unaware of, that would really explain some days, know what I mean??

Okay, so whoo!!! Sugar rush!! We know where the glucose comes from. What happens once it hits the system? Well, for starters you need some of it floating around in there. Turns out your brain straight up thrives on sugar. YOU HEAR THAT MOM??? SUGAR IS GOOD FOR YOU!! Okay well at least glucose. Okay yeah mom it's true that veggies and fruit and healthy whole grains also break down into glucose. OKAY MOM SHUSH NOW. So yes. You need some sugar floating around in there to feed your brain, act as a quick source of energy for your muscles (ATP what what!!), etc. The rest of it is quickly ushered into the VIP lounge aka fat cells for storage via INSULIN which acts as a sort of escort service/bouncer that "unlocks" these cells and lets the glucose in. Ahem, science, science, details....knowledge on the topic.....etc. 

A normal person (or pancreo-typical, as I prefer to call them) has a blood sugar between roughly 70-120 mg/dL at any given time, depending on when they ate, exercised, muscle mass, and other factors that they'll never consider but that I spend a LOT of time considering. 

Me? Weellll things are a little different for me. I'm going to do a cliffhanger now which is ridiculous because a) no one reads this blog anyway who can't just text me and be like, what's going to happen next? and also b) this is not exactly a riveting story but you know what world, this is my little corner of the internet so I do what I want and you're gonna like it. 

So stay tuned to find out the story of the highest I've ever been and generally just how high things can be....

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Mic Drop

When you drink several beers, eat some candy, and have several extravagant yet low(ish) carb meals....and through some miracle of long walks between bars, Afrezza, and basal insulin, you make it home without a single high blood sugar and you're all like...

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Sweet Dreams

You guys know the drill. You hear the three short buzzes calling in the middle of the night, or awake to the cold sweats and deep feelings of paranoia. Knock knock, who's there, it's a late night low blood sugar. So you reach for the snacks beside the bed (if you're lucky), knock back the juice box, and like hell you're about to go brush your teeth down the hall.

My dentist friends (no seriously. They are my friends and they are professional teeth carers) pressured me into a new practice, swishing with baking soda and water. I changed over one of my water bottles to a diluted solution and it tastes flipping nasty and I keep accidentally drinking it during the day, but if it will keep me from having George Washington-style dentures when I'm 45 then I guess I'm into it. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

To All the Things I've Had to Eat

To the thoughtfully chosen and consumed apples, oranges, and bananas.

To the candy and candy-flavored protein bars before bed, a childhood dream that doesn't quite live up to the hype.

To the midnight Lara bars, to the mid-hike glucose gels.

To the snacks of slightly concerned friends, to the bear bags and canisters of more concerned friends.

To the juice, apple cider, fruit punch, pouches, boxes, cups.

To the good choices, carefully measured out tablets and singular pieces of dried fruit.

To the choices that lead to roller coasters of emotions and exhaustion, like cups and bowls of granola or ice cream.

To the second dinners, breakfasts, and unscheduled snacks.

I think it might be fair to say that I've hated you all. 

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Silent But Deadly

I generally choose to coexist peacefully with my diabetes. There are many reasons for this, including counting my blessings that this is the worst I'm hit with. Including lack of other options--to rage against diabetes would be pointless and even more exhausting. Including even gratitude, for its grounding presence and the healthy habits it encourages in me.

But lately, rage has been seeping in. It started a week or so ago, when I was walking to work and reminiscing that I'd actually had a really nice night's sleep. And then, all of a sudden, I remembered that I had been woken up no less than three times the night before. From a buzzing alarm on my OmniPod reminding me to check my BG 2 hours after putting on a new pod (never mind the fact that I wear a CGM and therefore don't need that reminder--I'm unable to turn it off). From a low BG that danced around 85 and sent buzzes off twice on my Dexcom before it finally calmed down. And that was a good night. I suddenly got so angry. Angry that this was acceptable to me, that I didn't even notice or really remember what it feels like to sleep the entire, whole night through. 

Since then, I'll say it. The buzzes have been pissing me off. They ruin my sleep, disturb my yoga classes. The incessant beeping of my Pod every 3 days--I know it's going to expire! I know it did expire! I'll keep it on as long as I please, since I paid so much freaking money for it!! I'm angry. I'm frustrated. I feel like my devices are running the show, and while I don't want to give them up since they allow for such well-calibrated maintenance of my health, they are causing other problems for my health. Mostly my mental health I guess. 

I am angry. I'm angry that other people's pancreases are free, and my insulin costs me 2 pairs of Lululemon leggings every month and a weekend vacation getaway every 3 months for my Pods and sensors. 

I'm angry that there are lumps on me when I wear my clothes and that my students can feel my pump when they hug me and that there are rashes and scars all over my body.

I'm angry that I have to poke holes in myself constantly and that at least one of my devices seems to constantly need something from me. 

I'm angry at the moments that are, if not stolen from me, at least force me to fight for them, through the soup and fog of a high blood sugar or the exhaustion and fuzziness of a low blood sugar. 

I'm angry at having to explain myself, at feeling like people worry about me, at constantly worrying about myself.

I'm angry at how much of my brain power I waste on thinking about food. 

I don't feel like issuing a disclaimer here. I know there are people worse off than me. I know that everyone has their stuff. I know that my life was not perfect, nor even necessarily better, before diabetes. I know that I'm lucky that I even got to experience so much of my life before diabetes. I know all that and I'm still angry. It's not that it feels unfair. It's perfectly fair. It just also sucks. And I'm angry about it. 

I'm hoping that writing will help me relax, because stewing in it hasn't been working so far. It's been eating at me, creeping in whenever I hear a buzz or see a flashing screen or buy more crap to keep myself alive. Maybe saying some of these things out loud will allow me to shake them off and move on. Because while I do see a future for myself with better management, and hopefully less effort, if I'm being honest, I don't see a future without devices. I certainly don't see one without diabetes. 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Surfing the Crimson Wave

Yeah, it's not what you think it is.

But occasionally, very occasionally, I hit what I like to call a "sweet spot" or a "gusher" with my cannula. So when I pull the Pod off my body, aside from the usual sting of the tape ripping off, I also get a stream of blood running down my body, extremely disproportionate in size and velocity to the tiny, tiny hole the cannula created.

(Cannula=small, thin, plastic tube that does the dirty work of piping insulin into me)

It doesn't hurt, but it is a lot of blood, and I have to fumble around to contain it and recently it cost me a PJ shirt. The funny thing is, is that I'm pretty sure this is what people picture when they (I'm sure extremely rarely) imagine what it's like to change an insulin pump. So this is just a PSA, folks. It's not like pulling a tooth. You don't get a sweet view of my inner organs working like that fistulated cow I mentioned a few months ago. It's just a small mark, hardly noticeable, except when it's not.