Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day

Please remember to thank a member of the military today. They and their families sacrifice so much for us. Several of our D-OC members have spouses in the military. If you can't thank a military person directly, thank a spouse. Cherise & Brandi are the first two members I think of. I know I'm probably leaving someone else out. If I am, shoot me an e-mail or leave a comment and I'll get you added to the page right away.

I have friends and family who have served and are currently serving in the military. My hometown's National Guard unit is deployed for the second time to Iraq right now. My neighbors and life long friends are putting their lives on the line. Please remember that as you enjoy your day off and your bar-b-q with your family today.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Another Letter to Crystal Bowersox

I'm disappointed in the outcome of Idol.
But the offer still stands.
I'd still love to interview you.



Caking Wednesday

So today is my birthday. I also share this day with the lovely Karen over at Bitter-Sweet Diabetes. She's turning 29 with me today. :) Happy Birthday Karen!

And along the lines of birthdays, we usually have cake.

This isn't my birthday cake, but it was one I made recently for the child of a friend. He's 7 and is obsessed with the Civil War. And military of any kind actually. He will sit an explain things to you that I didn't even know kids that age could know. But he does. And he's adorable.

When I heard one of his birthday presents was a Union soldier uniform, I knew what I wanted to make him for his birthday: the hat.

It was my first real attempt at carving a cake. The carving part turned out not to be so hard, as you can see below.....

But the part where I cover it in fondant? Well, that left a little to be desired. I still haven't gotten down the whole covering a cake in fondant thing...

I saw every mistake, like I always do. But I have to say I was pretty proud of it considering it was a first attempt. And the birthday boy loved it, so that's all that matters. :)
Oh, and at the last minute, he told his mom that his classmates needed some of "Cara-Bell's" cupcakes (this is his mom's nick-name for me). So I threw together a couple dozen cuppies with icing that matched the hat and some colorful sprinkles.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My Open Letter to Crystal Bowersox

Dear Crystal,
Tonight's the night. The finale. Honestly, you are the only reason I'm still watching this season. I would have quit long ago otherwise. Not that the contestants were talented enough; they were. The season's just kind of been boring. Except for you.
From the first time they showed you, you've been a bright point in the show. You're different. You had a distinct sound. You sing the kind of music I love. And you are super talented.

We share one thing in common....diabetes. When I found out (from fellow members of the diabetes online community) that you had a TuDiabetes page, I had to go check it out. When I found out it was true, I realized that you weren't just super talented. You were like me too.

Finding another person living with diabetes every day is always an adventure. As part of the diabetes online community (the D-OC, as we like to call it) gave me a way to connect with people who understood me and understood the things I dealt with every day.

When I found out you were in the hospital earlier this season, I was scared. Not that you would die. Or anything else absurd that many media outlets seemed to "report". I was scared because I know how bad I feel when I end up in the hospital. I know how it can zap my energy and life for days. And I know how that "diabetic hangover," as I like to call it, can make you want to do nothing but sleep for hours.

But you stuck it out. You sang that week anyway. And you blew us away. Part of me wonders what your blood sugar was on stage that day.

I thank you Crystal, for being a person living with diabetes that is actually LIVING. There are so many of us out here that feel like people think we can't do this, or eat that, or live life the way we'd like. But you are proving to millions of people that diabetes doesn't have to stop you.

I don't have a journalism degree. I don't write for a living. I don't have any media contacts or anything that even guarantees me that you'll ever read this blog post.

But if you do, and you wouldn't mind it, I'd like to interview you for my blog. I know there are many of us that would love to hear your story from your point of view. And I'd be honored to be able to be a D-OC blogger that got to do that.

And tonight, know that I'll be voting. Constantly. Because you deserve to be the next American Idol.


Cara, fellow T1 since 1986.

Monday, May 24, 2010

American Idiot

When I first heard that there was a musical coming to Broadway that featured nothing but Green Day music, I called a good friend of mine, who I knew loved Green Day let her know we were going to have to plan a trip to New York. Then, after reading THIS review of the show, while it was still at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, I knew I had to see it when it came to Broadway.

American Idiot is based on the album of the same name by the band Green Day. I, myself, have never been a huge Green Day fan, although I liked several of their songs. Back in 2003, when most of the country was frustrated with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and many people were fed up with the running of our country, Green Day released their album American Idiot.
The album was a musical statement for the group, and many others, that spoke to their frustrations. It went on to win numerous awards, along with becoming a fan favorite.

The members of Green Day state that the album was written as a rock opera in the first place, so Broadway was the next step. They took the songs from American Idiot, along with some songs from their album 21st Century Breakdown and wrote the musical with help from Michael Mayer (of Spring Awakening fame).

The result is exactly what you would expect: A rock concert with a storyline.

There is no intermission in this 90 minute show, but you don't feel the need for one. From start to finish, there is very little dialogue, but the music and acting do a fair job of getting the point across anyway.

The choreography is shaky at times, but I got the distinct impression that it was supposed to be that way. And like the lack of dialogue, the choreography worked well for the production. It has a very similar feel to the choreography of Spring Awakening.

Sadly, Mary Faber, who played the role of Heather, was out the evening I saw the show. Libby Winters, her understudy, did a fantastic job filling her role. But that change kept me from seeing the complete Original Broadway Cast. Sigh.

Usually when I see a show, I can pick out one or two actors who seem to "steal the show." With American Idiot, the entire case is so talented that I can't single anyone out. Sure, there were the names that I knew already going in, like John Gallagher, Jr. and Rebecca Naomi Jones. And there were the people who had some great scenes and performances overall. But each and every person in the cast, including the ensemble members, was incredibly talented.

To prove that they don't just sing, act, and dance, at the final curtain call the entire cast picks up their guitars and they perform "Time of Your Life". This is one of my favorite Green Day songs ever and was the perfect ending to the show. Although I didn't take this myself, I've posted a video of it below. Check it out and you'll see what I mean. Sadly, "Time of Your Life" isn't on the cast recording. (Hey, if anyone important actually reads this... YOU NEED TO RECORD THAT AND RELEASE IT AS A SINGLE!)

Now I should note that I am a conservative person both by nature and politically. Some people might think that this show, the band, and the music would go against my conservative personality. But I have to say, I lived through this time in history (recent history, but still history) and was around the same age as the characters at the time this show would have taken place. I may not always agree, but I understand. I have had friends deal with drug addiction, unplanned pregnancy, and have had former high school classmates injured in war. I've seen people leave home trying to find themselves (heck, I did it too) only to come back home to the people that were there in the beginning. This show is for our generation. It portrays the lives many of us have led and are still leading.

My advice: if you get a chance to see American Idiot, DO IT.

Also, hang out afterwards. Nearly every member of the cast came out to sign autographs and pose for pictures.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

D-OC NYC Meet-Up

A week ago today, I had the privilege of attending a meet-up in New York City. Since I am a total Broadway addict, I have been trying to make a yearly trip to New York. And since there are so many of my fellow bloggers, tweeters, and facebook friends in the area, I love getting to meet up with them.

Last year, the wonderful Allison organized a meet-up for a bunch of us. And when she found out I was coming again, she put her organizing hat back on and set up another meet-up.

I was blessed to get to meet several people I'd not met before. In fact, there were only 4 people there that attended the last meet-up.

Those of you who have met fellow bloggers know what it's like to meet new people for the first time. It's the weirdest thing ever. Because they aren't new at all. I already "knew" all but one of the people who attended.

I loved getting to see Allison and Erik, and Lee Ann and Jason again. And for the first time I got to meet Karen and Pete, Gina, Tina, Stacey, Scott, Arielle, and Mara. I highly recommend getting together with other people from the D-OC. They're fun, funny, and they understand you in a way not many others can.

I won't go into all the details of the meet-up as others have done a much better job at it than I could. But I will say, I'll be back next year. Anyone want to get together?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dream a little dream - life after a cure

It's appropriate that this post would be set to post on the same day that I am going to be in New York meeting up with many other fellow diabetics.

A cure. That illusive word that's been floating around in my world for 24 years. When I was diagnosed, they said "within 10 years". Yet, here I sit, sipping a juice box from another low blood sugar.

I know most of us have thought about it. About how wonderful it would be to not have to test, bolus, count carbs, etc. I would like to think that I would love that freedom. And I know I would love the fact that this disease would no longer be wearing on my body.

Life would be free from fear of highs and lows. Free from the fear of never waking up because of a nightime low. Free from fear of pizza and cereal. Free of the fear of loosing my eye sight or a limb to this vicious disease.

Wow. All of that sounds like heaven!

But I've also been very, very honest with myself. I have had diabetes since I was 4 years old. My memories of life before diabetes are vague at best. To me, diabetes is like being adopted, or having brown hair, or being short: it's part of who I am. How can it not be when it's with me all the time? I may not think about the fact that I'm short all the time, but I am never not short. I may not think about or notice the fact that my hair is brown. But it is. Every second of the day. And just like those things, I am a person with diabetes all the time. I don't know (and haven't known) life without diabetes.

So truth be told, I would take that pill, happily. And immediately go into therapy. Because I have a very distinct impression that figuring out who I am without diabetes would be a rough road. Complete with lots of visits to a mental health professional to help me sort out who I am without this part of me that's been here for practically my whole life.

(Oh, and on my way to therapy, I'd stop and get a pizza. And eat it. And not worry about a blood sugar spike.)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Let's get moving it or hate it?


I was not born an athletic person. My idea of running involves something really scary chasing me. Or being late to something. Sports....well, let's just say the only sport I ever did with any amount of success (i.e. no major injuries) was swimming. And the whole no injuries thing that goes with swimming basically means I don't drown when I get in the pool.

I have no motivation. But I will say that I am dying to loose some weight. So, I recently acquired a piece of exercise equipment. I used it pretty regularly for the first month and after that it's been hard to find time. I don't get up early. And night times have been crazy busy for me. I keep telling myself that I'm going to make the time. And it seems I never do.

Today's goal: start, and stick to, a begin after I get back from vacation.

As you read this, I will (hopefully) be changing planes in Chicago, on my way to New York City. Don't be offended if you post a comment and it doesn't show up for a while. I will have little to no internet access while I'm on vacation, so comment moderation will be minimal at best.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

To carb or not to carb....

That is the question... (You all knew that was coming, right?)

There are many mixed opinions on carbs, and how to deal with them in the life of a diabetic. All of those opinions are mine, of course. :P

I go back and forth. People like Dr. Bernstein believe that you should consume very minimal amounts of carbs. Others believe that carbs can be consumed as long as insulin is given to cover it. I agree with both.

I know what you're thinking: "Wishy-washy much?"

Yes. I am.

I've read Dr. Bernstein's book. I understand, from my own experience, that the less carbs I consume, the easier my blood sugar is to control (just ask me on a day that I've skipped lunch because my blood sugar was high).

However, I am a self-proclaimed "carb-aholic". I love carbs. Sweet things, bread, chips, fruit, crackers, pasta. Yummy. I love it all. And that can make it very hard sometimes.

Technically, I don't eat a low carb diet. I pretty much eat whatever I want. I do make some exceptions. I eat very little cereal. I rarely eat white potatoes. Pizza is also a rarity. All of these are things that make my blood sugar very hard (nearly impossible) to control. It doesn't mean I never eat them. It just means I save it for a time when I know what's coming. And that I know I can handle the hours after as I bolus like a mad woman.

Sometimes nothing can replace a bowl of cereal. Or a slice of yummy, cheesy pizza. When those times hit, I indulge. And treat. And chalk it up to a crazy time in my life. But I don't feel guilty or angry at the outcome. I just handle it like I do any other high or low. One number at a time.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Your Biggest Supporter

Living with diabetes requires support. Sometimes we don't want to ask for it. Sometimes we get too much of it. Sometimes we don't get enough. But support is very important. Family, friends, medical professionals; they are all play an important role in our diabetes management.

After I got to a certain age, my friends and family pretty much trusted me to do what I should.
And trusted that I knew what I was doing. I didn't always honor that trust and went through some times in my life when I didn't take care of myself. Peaking at a 12.1 a1c in college, I had a doctor who called me on it and basically presented me with my options: take care of myself, or waste my time in college because I was on a fast track to death.

After I went through some changes in my insulin management, I tried to take better care of myself, I still wasn't doing everything I should be. But I was making more of an effort. College graduation came and went and with my first "real job" I had health insurance. And I started looking into pumping.

I had met a couple of people in college with insulin pumps. Prior to that, I was basically terrified at the thoughts of having something attached to me all the time (I laugh a little as I type that, seeing as how I've been "attached" for 4 years now and I barely noticed it after the first couple of days). The people I'd talked with loved their pump. And I was curious.

Eventually, I was able to get an insulin pump. And less than a year after that, I found the online community. When I started blogging, I was introduced to my biggest supporters. You. It doesn't matter who you are. But if you are reading this, you are my biggest supporter. The online community gave me something to be healthy for. Sure I had friends and family to take care of myself for. But having a whole community of people that LIVE what I'm living? Wow. That's enough to make me want to take care of myself.

I can guarantee that I can always find someone to talk to. It may not be the same person every time, but there is always someone I can shoot an e-mail to, or sent a tweet, or leave them a message on facebook. And they will be there to tell me what I need to hear. Which is usually just "I understand".

Sure, I still have my days where I don't want to take care of myself. The days when I just wish diabetes would go away for 24 hrs, so I could have a break. But all of you guys give me the strength and the support to keep going. To know that the 200 I woke up with this morning will be okay later. That the 54 I hit yesterday afternoon is just a little snag in my day. That the next time I hit the perfect 100 will make it worth it.

And that's why I consider the online community my biggest supporter.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Making the low go...

Day 2 of Diabetes Blog Week. Making the low go. Sure, we all have our guilty pleasures. That ice cream or candy we eat when we're low and can "get away" with it. I try to keep that kind of stuff out of my house for the simple fact that I don't eat it when I'm low...I eat it all the time!
One thing I try to keep on me and in my house at all times is juice boxes. They are quick, easy, and taste way better than glucose tabs.

Apple juice is my juice of choice. Sadly, most juice boxes are around 25 grams of carbs. Since 15 grams is where we're supposed to stop, I'm stuck with trying to stop partway through a juice box. At one point, I used to be able to get these (not the whole jug, of course):

They were 12 grams of carbs. Basically, perfect for treating a low. Sadly, the only store in my town that carried them, no longer does. So I've reverted back to my 25 gram boxes. Sometimes I can find them when I go out of town, and if I do buy them, I buy around 4 or 5 packs. Cause I'm weird like that. LOL

I try to carry some glucose tabs around in my purse "in case of emergency", but I really don't use them often, because....well, I just don't like them. I had a flavor I semi-tolerated that was at Wal-Mart, but they quit carrying them, so I've just purchased a new flavor. Raspberry. We'll see how that goes. In all reality, I only use them as a last resort.

So, D-OC, that's how I make my low go. What about you?

Monday, May 10, 2010

A day in the life . . . with diabetes

Welcome to Diabetes Blog Week! First post. First day. I'm going to be honest and say that most of these posts are being pre-written and set to post on the day they are supposed to. My excuse...I'm getting ready to go on vacation. I'll be busy getting ready and then Friday morning I'm off to New York City! My favorite city in the world. The lovely (and newly engaged) Allison has arranged a meet-up also. Some of you I'll be meeting for the first time. Others I will be seeing again. Either way, I am looking forward to a long weekend full of fun, friends, and theatre.

Now, onto my first post....

A Day in the Life.... well, I thought long and hard about how I was going to do this one. If it would be a real day, or just a "typical" day. I decided to go with "typical".

6:00 am - My alarm clock goes off. I am usually sleeping so hard that I hit the snooze button and don't even realize it.

6:09 am - Same thing.

6:19 am - I roll over and realize what time it is. I reach down and check my CGMS. If it seems okay, I usually get up and go to the bathroom and then come crawl back in bed before grabbing my meter (that's laying on the corner of my mattress on the other side of my bed) and testing.

7:00 am - I roll out of bed and check my e-mail, brush my teeth and get my clothes together to get ready.

7:55 am - Grab breakfast of some sort (usually yogurt and fruit, or a mini bagel), a diet Pepsi, and some water and rush out the door to work.

8:05 am - Test and bolus for breakfast, consumed while getting my day started at work (i.e., turning on the computer, checking the phone, printing my schedule, etc). By the time I test, my blood sugar has risen, even though I've not eaten anything. My doc, CDE and I believe it's an emotional response to work (a.k.a. STRESS!).

10:30ish am - I've usually had at least one "high" alarm on my CGMS and have checked my CGMS at least 5 times. I have this morning spike I am still trying to work on. It happens if I eat or don't eat. It goes back to that emotional response thing. Sometimes I test and do a manual bolus to help bring the blood sugars back down. It depends on how high it is and how much active insulin I have on board.

12:00 noon - Lunch time. I go home for lunch. I live really close to work. Most of the time I'm under 140 by lunch. About half the time, I'm between 70 and 100. Lunch usually consists of left overs from dinner the night before, or something quick and easy, like a sandwich.

Between 1:00 and 4:00 pm - I usually keep an eye on my CGMS, checking every hour or so and adjusting as necessary. Depending on the upward or downward slope, I usually end up checking my blood sugar at least once during this time.

Around 5:00 pm - I get home from work and test. Play around on the internet for a while.

Around 7:00 pm - I have dinner. If I have left-overs, I eat those. If I start cooking, I may eat around 7:30 or so. I test and bolus.

Around 9:00 pm - I test again. Adjusting, in case I made a mistake in carb counts for dinner.

Between 10:30 and 11:30 pm - I start getting ready for bed. Grab a juice box if there's not one already on my bedside table (Middle of the night lows suck....). Test before I go to sleep. As long as I'm in range, no problems. If CGMS looks like I'm trending downward more than I'd like, I lower my basal w/ a temp rate for an hour or so.

That is pretty much my normal day with diabetes. Any day, of course, can be riddled with highs and lows that aren't "normal". Sometimes I'll have a high or a low in the night that requires me to wake up and adjust or get a juice box. Every day is different. Some are better than others. Some, not so much.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Missed Anniversaries and a New Project

Well, I did it. I actually forgot something I have celebrated every year for the past 3 years...until this year. On May 1, 2006 I became an insulin pumper for the first time. I took my mother down to the CDE’s office with me because they suggested that I have someone else to drive, since I would basically be starting from scratch on basal rates. My mother was more than happy to go with me. That day changed my life. To me, it was a chance to make a change. It was a time to start over.
I had started taking semi-decent care of myself in order to meet the requirements to get an insulin pump in the first place. But I wasn’t where I needed to be and I knew it. And I knew pumping would give me the motivation to take this hand I’d been dealt and actually play it like it should be played. I had the chance to make up for years of poor and semi-poor care.
I won’t say I’ve always done what I am supposed to, since starting to pump. But I am treating diabetes differently. And I feel like I have better control.
After I started pumping, I began to seek out more information about living life as an adult with Type 1 diabetes. Internet searches led me to dLife and their message boards, and also to Kerri’s blog (Hi Kerri!). Kerri pre-engagement, pre-marriage (Hi Chris!), and pre-baby (Hi BSparl!). Like so many of my fellow bloggers, Kerri inspired me to start my own blog. So in April of 2007, I stumbled my way onto blogger and started my first ever post.
And the rest is history. This community has grown by leaps and bounds since I began my blog. I went from trying to read every blog (there weren’t so many of us back then….), to just trying to keep up with what I can. I’ve had the chance to meet some of my fellow bloggers, which has been so fun. I’ve gained friends. People that I know will be there if I need them and who will understand my day to day struggles and victories with diabetes.
Even when I went from blogging only about diabetes, to blogging about other aspects of my life, my fellow bloggers have been around and made my life more wonderful.
I wonder what my life would have been like if I’d never started pumping. I wonder what it would be like if I had never stumbled across Six Until Me. I know I would be a different person.

So, instead of forgetting TWO of my anniversaries (because I totally FORGOT!), I've just decided to celebrate a little bit late. :)

Also, in case you've been living under a rock, there is a new project getting ready to happen in our wonderful on-line community. Karen from over at Bitter-Sweet Diabetes, has come up with a wonderful idea and wants all of the community to get in on it. Quite simply titled "Diabetes Blog Week", Karen has come up with topics for us to blog about each day. In essence, we'll all be blogging about the same thing every day so we can get an idea about how we all feel about the same subject.

I, for one, thing Karen is fantastic to come up with this idea. And apparently, so do 59 other bloggers because at last count, there were 60 of us signed up. What? You've not signed up yet?!?! Go! Now! Join us. :)

Now....I'm off to start early drafting my posts for next week.......

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Update on Tennessee Flooding

I just got off the phone with the Middle Tennessee chapter of JDRF. They wished for me to express their gratitude at the inquiries about those needing diabetes supplies. They also said that they have had NO calls or questions about people needing supplies at this time. (AMAZING! And wonderful!) But they did take my e-mail address and phone number, so I will be passing along any info I get, if something does come up.

The lady I spoke with said that the most devastating damage is downtown and along the Cumberland River in Nashville. These are the touristy areas. The areas that generate a VAST majority of revenue for the city. It sounds like the effects will be more economical and long term.

However, there are many, many people who have flooding in their basements, homes, etc. And these are the ones that we are currently worried about. They are currently in shelters across the state and some are not sure when they will be able to get home, as roads and bridges are washed out and homes unlivable at this time, due to water damage.

For now, this is the info I have for you, if you want to help out:

- My previous post has all the Red Cross info. It came directly from Middle Tennessee's Red Cross page. They need all the donations they can get, I'm sure.

-Check out at THIS page for more places to offer help. Supplies, donations, etc. They have a very comprehensive list.

Also, please read THIS blog post by a hockey blogger. "Hockey?" you may say. Yes, hockey. This post is not about hockey. It's about the spirit of Nashville and Tennessee in general. And the disappointment I know many Tennesseans, including myself, feel about the lack of national media coverage of this epic disaster. It's touching. And it will remind you not to forget about the damage and those who are and will suffer because of this disaster. Tennessee is made of of mostly strong, independent, loving people who will do anything they can to help those around them. I just hope that others remember that and lend a helping hand to us.

Thanks for reading guys. It means a lot to know you read, even when it's not diabetes related.


I've had a few question about the possibility of diabetics needing supplies in the Middle and West Tennessee areas. I currently don't know anything, but am in the process of finding out what I can. For now, I can offer you this info:

Middle Tennessee Red Cross
The Nashville Area Red Cross is in need of financial support to continue providing relief to victims of local disaster flooding. The American Red Cross is not a government agency. All disaster assistance is free, and is funded solely by local donations.
There are several ways to give:

•Visit and click DONATE NOW to make an online gift
• Mail a check to the Nashville Area Red Cross2201 Charlotte Avenue, Nashville, TN 37203
• Call (615) 250-4300 to make a donation by phone
• Text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation on your mobile phone

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sadness: Flooding in Tennessee

Typically, this is my music post. Today, I'm just going to share my feelings. As many of you may have heard, Tennessee was hit with record rainfall over the weekend. I'm fine, as is my family. Although we got a lot of rain, it was nothing compared to other areas and there was little to no flooding anywhere around me.

Downtown Nashville

However this was not the case with many other parts of my state. Nashville, which is where I go to my endo, see concerts and plays, and shop, is pretty much under water. There are areas that are not, of course, but historic downtown is pretty flooded. The beautiful Opryland Hotel is closed until further notice because of the flooding inside.

I-24 On Saturday

Other areas of the state, further west, are also suffering major flooding and damage.

Cars in the aftermath of the flood waters

As I have watched this all on television, it is eerily similar to watching the horrors of Katrina. I know the damage will be no where near as bad for Tennessee. But the pictures bring those same scared, frustrated, angry, and helpless feelings out in me. And maybe even more so, because Nashville is a town I know so well. And Tennessee has been my home for my entire life.

Inside the most beautiful hotel I've ever been in: The Opryland Hotel & Resort Lobby

My thoughts and prayers are with those who have been effected by this flooding. And I can only pray that recovery is swift.

Inside the Opryland Hotel & Resort. The Delta Portico