Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Guilty Pleasures

Before I was taking care of my diabetes the way I should. Before I had CGMS. Before I was testing 8-12 times a day (yes, there was a time before), I had a few foods that I loved to eat. Foods that I would later discover cause major issues with my blood sugar.

The two biggest ones are pizza and cold cereal. I used to eat cereal a couple of times a DAY when I was in college. And like most college (and high school) students, pizza was a several-times-a-week occurrence. Both are foods I loved.

But when I discovered that I have a horrible time with my blood sugars when I eat cereal or pizza, I began to cut down on them in my diet. With cereal, I have a nearly immediate spike in my blood sugar and it takes HOURS to get myself back in range. Sometimes a whole day! With pizza, I have a nearly immediate low and then around 3 to 4 hours later I spike and it lingers for many more hours.

I won't lie, I don't always say "no" to pizza and cereal. Sometimes, there's nothing like a slice or two of pizza for dinner, with a cold Diet Pepsi and a salad. And more often than not, I break down and buy a box of cereal. Cereal is probably the worst, cause I have a hard time not eating it when it's in my house. With pizza I can throw it out or, if I eat out, just not bring it home with me.

I always know that there are going to be blood sugar issues to deal with afterwards. But, sometimes I just have to have my guilty pleasure foods.

Do you have a food that you know messes with your blood sugar, but you go for it sometimes anyway?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Complicated Diabetes

When you have diabetes, there are times that everything feels more complicated. It's something that I, myself, try to hide from most people. Those living with or caring for people with diabetes know better. They know the truth.

A trip out of town requires more packing.

A job requires more questions (do I get paid time off, or sick days? What's the insurance coverage like? How much does it cost?).

Grocery shopping requires more items (juice boxes when there are no kids in my house? Yup. That'd be me.).

What's for dinner? (That could require a quick change in menu, depending on current blood sugars.)

A budget requires more planning (I have a whole section dedicated to medications and doctor's co-pays).

Going back to school full time? Probably never going to happen, unless I marry someone with fantastic health insurance (any takers??).

Sickness comes knocking? There's more than just waiting for it to be over. There's ketones and doctors and dehydration and things that a "normal" person would never think about.

And though I've not gotten there yet, even having a child requires more planning than a "normal" person would have to deal with.

In a lot of ways I feel like diabetes made me grow up much faster than I might have if I'd never been diagnosed with diabetes. I've always been seen as fairly responsible and in control of things. At times even been considered the "good kid" in my group of friends or my family. In fact, when I ran into my former pre-school teacher a few years ago, she told me that shortly after I was diagnosed (while I was in her class), I was already telling her what I could and couldn't eat. She said I knew, even then, what to do.

There have been many times I've wondered what I would have been like if I'd never been diagnosed with diabetes. It's a foreign concept to me. Would I have been irresponsible? Would I be a totally different person than I am now? Would I have joined the military? Would I have gone back to school already? Would I have picked a profession based on what I liked, and not on it's ability to provide me a stable income and health insurance? Would I already have children?

There are so many unanswered questions. None of which I'll probably ever know the answer, because for whatever reason, I WAS diagnosed with diabetes 26 years ago and I haven't really known life without diabetes.

I can appreciate the things that diabetes has brought into my life. I've met some of my best friends because of diabetes. None of them I would have met if we didn't share a busted pancreas. I've taken trips that I never would have taken, if it weren't for diabetes. I am unsure I would have entered the world of blogging if it weren't for diabetes. And twitter...that's laughable. I'd probably be one of those anti-twitter people, instead of having TWO accounts.

So, diabetes has made my life more complicated. That's a fact. But it's also taught me a lot of lessons about health, life, and friendship, and blessed me in more ways than I can count. Complications (not the health kind!), I can handle. Diabetes, I can deal with.

Friday, August 17, 2012


Lately my life has been in upheaval. I've been traveling a LOT since January and I was actually gone as much as I was home in July. It's not work related, and I've enjoyed myself greatly....but sometimes, no matter how hard we try, life and circumstance conspire against us.

Depression and anxiety are things that I've never been formally diagnosed with, but I know I've dealt with at many times in my life. Prayer, good friends and family, and counting my blessings most often help me out and the time passes, usually fairly quickly. In fact, I hadn't had an issue in a couple of years until a little over a month ago.

I recognized the signs of depression in myself after a couple of weeks. I've waited for it to pass and kept myself busy, but it's lingering a little longer than normal this time. It's not to say I don't have good days, or good times. I do. Many of them.
In fact, just this week I went to my endo appointment and found out that despite all my travel and instability, my A1c is back below 7 AND I've lost some weight (not much, but still). But on the flip side, I'm being put on cholesterol medicine again, after being off it for a couple of years.

I thoroughly enjoyed Roche Summit and had such a fabulous time while I was there. Just last weekend, I took a VERY quick day trip to New York that also filled me with happiness and joy.

But, I notice things. I'm more tired than normal. In the quite moments at home the helplessness and hopelessness sneaks in. I want to cry, but I can't find the energy or the time. There are times when I just want to crawl right out of my skin.

I know how blessed I am. I know how much I have to be thankful for. I'm blessed beyond measure. But sometimes it's more than a state of mind. My mind tells me one thing, and my emotions tell me something else.

My first plan to tackle this is to keep on praying. God has gotten me through so many things in my life and I know He won't let me down. Next up, I'm not going to isolate myself. By keeping in touch with my friends (both online and off), I am keeping myself both busy and happier. After that, I don't know. I'm hoping this, like my other experiences, passes quickly. But I do want to thank the D-OC for making me less afraid to seek professional help if I need it. Knowing that others have done it gives me the courage to know I can too, if I need it.

Mostly, I'd like to ask you to keep me in your prayers and to keep me accountable. Tweet me. Facebook me. Don't let me wallow, when I have so much else to be doing.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Roche Social Media Summit 2012

For the first time, I was invited to a blogger/advocate summit. July 29-31, I was in Indianapolis, Indiana, courtesy of Roche, maker of Accu-Chek products, as well as many other diabetes related supplies and devices. I put my disclaimer here: Roche paid for all of my travel expenses, including flight, lodging and meals. That being said, all opinions are my own and anything I say in this post, good or bad, is my own opinion.

For the past four years, Roche has been gathering bloggers, online advocates, and medical professionals with an online presence to have the Roche Social Media Summit. This year, I was one of the lucky ones invited to attend. I feel blessed to have been invited and even more thankful after having experienced the actual event.

There were so many things that happened, that my mind has been nearly overloaded since I got back late Tuesday night. I thought about writing more than one post in order to get all the information in. But I instead chose to do only one post instead. There were so many of us at the event, that I'm sure whatever aspect you are looking for, someone else has probably covered it.

Our trip started out with check-ins and an evening meet and greet. One of my favorite things from the few hours between my arrival and the evening event was the chance I got to go have lunch with Lee Ann Thill, Kelly Kunik and Scott Johnson. I'd met Lee Ann and Kelly previously, but I'd been wanting a face to face meeting with Scott Johnson for a LONG time, as he was the FIRST person to ever comment on this blog. Also, he has a really great Minnesotan accent. :) (Just a note, everyone loved my thick country accent this trip, but I loved listening to Scott talk! I have an accent crush.)

There was also an almost constant group of people in the lobby of the hotel greeting people as they got in from their travels. Meeting many of them for the first time, and seeing some old friends again was great. And I loved that most of it happened in the lobby of the hotel. At the meet and greet there was a great amount of time to talk with each other, as well as with some Roche employees. I loved that time and loved getting to chat with and get to know so many people that I've known online for years.

The first full day of the summit started with a welcome and then a great presentation about the DOC: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow. I loved that Roche was acknowledging that the DOC exists, has a voice, and is continually growing.

Roche also brought in guest speaker, Josh Bleill from the Indianapolis Colts. I could write and write about all the amazing that was Josh Bleill, but instead I'll say this: Josh Bleill is a double amputee, hurt in Iraq as a Marine, and an extraordinary human being who gives me motivation to continue on with the things that I love and is a great representation of what it means to overcome.To read a much more eloquent version of Josh Bleill's visit with us, check out Chris Stocker's post. He says it all.

We also were able take a trip to the Roche campus to have lunch, a discussion with several Roche "big-wigs" about technology and where Roche is headed, as well as a tour of the Research & Development facility and the Manufacturing Facility. Did you know that Roche is the only diabetes company that makes test strips and meters in the U.S.? I was unaware of this. Also, in only ONE of their plants (the one in Indy), a three-shift day can turn out 15 million test strips. 15 MILLION. That's a lot of test strips.

That being said, while we were having the Q & A with the Roche people and the tour of the campus, I was even more appreciative to have people present who were more technologically inclined than I am. Scott Strumello, Kitty Castellini, Bennette Dunlap, and several others. These people were asking the questions that I wouldn't have thought to ask about technology.

We finished out Monday with a trip to see a minor league baseball game (the Indianapolis Indians) and to be honest, I'm not much of a baseball fan, but there was still fun to be had and I spent the entire game chatting with people and realizing how many amazingly SMART people we have in the DOC. It makes me proud to know that our community is so diverse that we each have our own goals and talents.

And there there was this thing:

Apparently this is Rowdie. I didn't know what he was, other than the team mascot for the Indianapolis Indians. Apparently he's a bear. Who knew? Read about him here. Also, he's kind of creepy. At one point he put my head in his mouth. I haven't managed to chase down the picture yet. If you are reading this & you know who had it, let me know! I want that picture!

Even after the game, as late as it was and as tired as we were, there were several of us who weren't quite ready to call it a day. Several of us got together to chat, have a drink or two, and laugh together. Eventually, though, it had to be done. Sleep had to be on the agenda.

Tuesday morning began a session on the Roche portfolio. It was a detailed look at what Roche is doing now and what they're working toward. Some of the stuff was more about the direction they were hoping to head and we were asked not to discuss it, as they haven't had a chance to finalize things and submit things to the FDA, and that could cause problems later. That being said, there is some exciting stuff that is a possibility for Roche. I look forward to seeing great things from them in the future.

They shared with us their new insulin pumping system, the Accu-Chek Combo system, and actually gave us their newest meter, the Accu-Chek Nano. While I don't see myself changing to the Nano right now (my OneTouch reads to my insulin pump), it is a pretty cool device. The also shared the new Accu-Chek FastClix lancet device, which is a newer version of my beloved Accu-Chek MultiClix.

Some things I found interesting:

-After acquiring the FDA cleared Solo Insulin Pump, Roche has decided not to release it to the public.

-After entering a research & development contract with Dexcom, Roche is going to be distributing the version of Dexcom that will be used by medical professionals in office, NOT the ones that we as patients would have.

-The MultiClix is going to eventually be a thing of the past, as all the Accu-Chek Nanos, as well as all future Accu-Chek Avias will be packaged with a FastClix.

A final speaker closed out our time at the Roche Social Media Summit 2012. Steve Richert, from Living Vertical came to speak with us. Steve is a Type 1 diabetic who is in the middle of a project that involves him climbing, in some capacity every day for a year. This project, called Project365 is a pretty amazing thing. If you'd like to help Steve out, go HERE and watch the video, and then "like" it. For every "like" Roche will donate $1 toward Project365.

I loved my time at the Roche Social Media Summit. I was honored to have been asked, and I hope I did everything I could to represent everyone with diabetes to the best of my ability. Thanks to Rob Muller and Todd Siesky, along with all the other amazing Roche employees we met this year, for putting forth the effort to find out what we as consumers want and what we think. It means a lot to know you are listening. Had I not been in the group picked for the Summit this year, I still have faith, like I have every other year, that I am being well represented by members of the DOC. The best thing that I learned at the Roche Social Media Summit was that we are a truly diverse and intelligent group  of people in the DOC.

And thank you to Roche for taking the time to get to know us, the consumers. May you continue to step "out of the box" and make positive strides in diabetes care for those of us that live with diabetes 24/7.