Spooky Diabetes Moments

It’s Halloween! A day of spooky, scary fun! In honor of Halloween, here’s a list of spooky and slightly scary diabetes moments!

Phantom Buzzing. You feel your pump vibrate, but when you check to see what caused it, there’s no explanation and it didn’t actually vibrate. Spoooooky.

The Dead Zone. When you ignore the first signs of a low battery and then all the sudden your pump shuts down. Quick, where are those extra batteries?!

The Demon Drop. When your blood sugar is dropping super rapidly. Think triple arrows down! Ahhhh!

The Ghosting Glucose. When you think you have something with you to treat your low, but then you check all your pockets and they’ve somehow disappeared!

The Vampire Bite. That sharp pain you sometimes get when you insert your infusion set or sensor. Ouch!

The Morning Zombie. How you feel after a night of constantly being woken up from alarming pumps or CGMs for high or low blood sugars or calibrations. I just want to sleeeeeep.

The Witch’s Spell. Forget eye of newt and toe of frog. You want a complicated spell? Try a calculating a dual bolus for pizza with a high blood sugar trending down and active insulin on board.

The Mummy Wrap. When you poke your finger to check your blood sugar and it just won’t stop bleeding so you wrap a tissue around it a few times to stop the blood.

The Dagger Spike. That sudden sharp spike in your blood sugar, the one that keeps rising even though you bolused and gave insulin. Please come down already!

Happy Halloween everyone!

pumpkin.jpg

Advertisements

A scary situation (told using bitmojis)

I recently found myself in a very scary situation as a diabetic. Let’s just say that I was about to drive myself to the hospital for my blood sugars, which I’ve never had to do before. Spoiler alert: I didn’t and everything is fine now, but it was still a frustrating and slightly alarming afternoon.

It started at my company picnic. It was a beautiful spring day and I was happy to be outside with my coworkers.

image

But my blood sugar was high and rising fast.

.image

I had bolused for my lunch and figured it would eventually come back down. I was away from my CGM playing frisbee, running to catch it, and figured the activity would probably help lower it too.

image

Not a frisbee, but closest I could find

After playing for close to an hour, I checked my CGM, but instead of my blood sugar going down, it was still going up.

image

I corrected for the high giving more insulin and headed back inside to the office. My CGM started to point downward and I figured I was in the clear.

image

As soon as I got back to my office, I went straight into a meeting. I sat there trying to pay attention to what was being said, but I was starting to feel nauseous and out of it. I felt so sick, I knew something had to be wrong.

image

Luckily the meeting was short and I immediately checked my blood sugar number again, this time it had risen to over 500! I was shocked!

image

I texted my dad and my sister (who is a nurse and soon to be a nurse practitioner) and filled them in. Then I rushed to the bathroom and gave myself a shot and changed my infusion set.

image

I went and told my manager that I had to leave work early. I decided that if in one hour, my blood sugar wasn’t clearly going down, I would drive myself to the hospital. If all the insulin I had been giving wasn’t working, I knew I needed to get help.

image

I got home and checked my ketones, which looked fine. Then I got a large glass of water and laid down on the couch, praying that my blood sugar would start to drop. About a half an hour later, I started to get some good news. And as it continued to fall, I gave my dad and sister a play-by-play.

image

I was slightly bummed that I was missing my weekly bootcamp workout class, but I was just so relieved that my blood sugar was coming down. And as it dropped, I started to feel better physically too.

image

I continued to lay on the couch, taking it easy as I watched my blood sugar fall. Soon it was dropping double arrows fast.  I started to worry that I may have given too much insulin and I was going to crash, which has happened many times before. I just wasn’t in the mood to be caught on a roller coaster of highs and lows.

image

But finally, after about a total of 3 hours later, my blood sugar was almost completely back to normal and I could finally relax.

image

So everything was fine and life went on, but it definitely was an experience that I hope never happens again!

Diabetes Valentines

My Valentine’s day diabetes pick-up line post has been one of my most popular posts, so I decided to do something similar this year.

Diabetes Valentines!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

 

 

A visit from Low Monster

I had a rough night last night.

Sometime in the middle of the night I could hear a loud beeeeep beeeeeep beeeeep coming from my purse, but I thought it was part of my dream. When I finally woke up and looked at GiGi, all it said was LOW, too low for the number to display. I immediately ate a pack of fruit snacks and tested my blood sugar. It was 42.

That’s when the hunger set in. This ravenous hunger, fueled by an evolutionary response to the body’s lack of sugar. In my half asleep, low state, I got up and headed for the kitchen.

Let me give you a glimpse into what was going through my head. At this point, my mind seemed to split into two distinct personalities: there was the irrational, hunger driven side, we’ll call it the Low Monster. Then there was the health-conscious, rational, concerned voice, we’ll call this side Reason.

The time: 1 am

The place: the kitchen

Low Monster: You’re low! Need sugar! There’s the cookie you hid from yourself. Find the cookie!

Reason: Well, I guess that’s okay, but just have half of it.

Low Monster: Takes a bite. Pauses. Eats other half of cookie.

cookie monster eating sesame street cookie

Reason: 

RuPaul's Drag Race no rupauls drag race what rupaul

Low Monster: I’m still hungry!! I need more!

Reason: Okay, okay. Skinny Pop popcorn, that’s pretty healthy and pretty low in carbs. I’ll find my smallest bowl and fill it up so I don’t go overboard.

Low Monster: Finds smallest bowl. Takes a handful of popcorn and puts it in the bowl. Takes another handful of popcorn and puts it directly in mouth. Adds another handful to the bowl while simultaneously eating another handful.  

eating orange is the new black oitnb stuffing susan fischer

What?? I filled the bowl…

Reason: Ughh really? Was that necessary? Are we done now?

ryan reynolds ugh annoyed eye roll

Low Monster: I’m really hot, why am I so hot? I think I just need a few frozen grapes to cool off.

Reason:

veep seriously dont

Low Monster: Too late.

oops dr house tvshow

Reason: Well I probably didn’t need all the extra food I just ate, I should give just a little bit of insulin so my blood sugar doesn’t sky rocket.

I finally made it back to bed and eventually fell back asleep. Three hours later I heard it again, beeeep beeeeep beeeep. Sure enough I was low again. I obviously didn’t need the extra insulin I had given. I treated that low with fruit snacks and tried to fall back asleep.

I’d like to say that this was the end of the lows for the day, but over the course of the next 12 hours, I would go low 5 times. Luckily, Low Monster seemed to have stayed asleep and these subsequent lows were treated with a little more Reason and decorum.

IMG_9067

Some days are good. Others not so much. But luckily tomorrow is a new day. Hopefully with a few less lows.

Diabetes Blog Week Day 6- Favorites

Diabetes Blog Week

I have a lot of posts that I like, but this one from January 2013 might just be my favorite. It attempts to explain the complicated relationship that I have with sugar…

If my relationship with Sugar were on Facebook, it would say “It’s Complicated”.

I’m not sure when Sugar and I first met, it seems like we’ve known each other forever. I hadn’t really paid too much attention to him when I was young, but I was always happy when he made an appearance. Sugar, or Sug for short, didn’t really come around too often. I think he was intimidated by my dentist dad and health conscious mom. He did however show up at birthday parties, holidays, and other special occasions. He and I always had a good time together, especially eating candy at the movies, cotton candy at the fair, and ice cream in the summer.

When I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, my relationship with Sugar began to change, and has been evolving ever since. I think that was the first time I really took notice of him. He had that certain mix of sweet, yet dangerous. He’d make you feel good, but left you wanting more.

I couldn’t stay away.

Sug and I began to spend a lot of time together. When we weren’t together, he was constantly on my mind. There seemed to be two sides to him. On the one hand, he could always make me feel better when I was feeling low. I needed him, and he was always there for me. But on the other hand, when I spent too much time with him, he’d make me feel sick.

I know that Sug can be trouble. In the past few years he’s started showing up at the bar where I’d be hanging out with my friends.“He’s coming over,” my friends would tell me, “and he looks good!” He would approach the table with an invitation that is hard to refuse. Tripple sec, sour, orange juice, and cranberry juice. He was coming on strong tonight! He’d clearly already worked his magic on my friends, sometimes he could be so sweet that it was hard to say no to him. I eyed my other options, water, beer, vodka soda, but his smell was intoxicating. The thing about Sug is that you always have a good time with him, it isn’t until later that you begin to regret your decisions.

We often get into arguments. I tell him that I don’t want to hang out all the time with him and his friend Cal O’Rie, that the two of them are trouble when they are together. He accuses me of cheating on him with Complex Carbs, even though he knows it’s not the same. In the end though, we always apologize, we both know that we need each other.

My friends and family often try to tell me that he is bad for me. “Look at how he makes you feel, your relationship with him just isn’t healthy.” Sometimes they are right, he is bad for me. But even though our relationship is complicated, sometimes they seem so hypocritical. “How can you say that to me? I know you guys hung out last weekend. I saw the candy wrappers in the trash!” I would say. When they would tell me that I was better off without him, it just made me want to prove them wrong. “You don’t know what you are talking about, we just shared that piece of cake together and everything is fine!” At least I wanted it to be. It truly is a roller coaster when we are together, but we face those highs and lows together.

I know my friends and family just want what’s best for me, but they don’t know him the way I do! Sure Sug comes over to their houses disguised as a tub of ice cream or chocolate, and they say he helps them through their hard times and pain, but it’s not the same. No one can make me feel better the way he does, no one can take away my lows as fast, no one knows what it’s like to need Sugar that badly sometimes.

It’s hard to say if Sugar and I should be together or not. I know that he helps me, but he has the potential to hurt me as well. We have one of those relationships that other people might not understand and may not always be perfect, but in the end, it’s pretty sweet.

This post is part of Diabetes Blog Week. Today’s topic: If you have been blogging for a while, what is your favorite sentence or blogpost that you have ever written?  Is it diabetes related or just life related?  

Diabetes Blog Week- Day 5 Wildcard

Since I don’t really have any life hacks, I decided to go for one of the wild card topics and re-post one of my favorites from April 2013 that fits nicely with this topic.

“Write a short story personifying a diabetes tool you use on a daily basis. A meter, syringe, pump, pill, etc. Give it a personality and a name and let it speak through you. What would it be happy about, upset about, mad about?”

 

I wrote this post after I decided to move my CGM sensor from my abdomen where I usually have it to my arm. It wasn’t the smoothest experience, which I reflected in this post.

 

Dear Dexcom G4 Platinum (or Gigi for short),
 
I want to extend a personal welcome to you as you take up your new residency at Arm for the next 10-14 days. I know that the move was slightly difficult, especially one handed, so I’m glad to see that you are settling in nicely. This must be a big adjustment for you, being somewhere completely new, but I think you’ll enjoy the change of scenery while the restoration occurs at your previous location at Abdomen. I’m hoping that you will continue to stick around.
 
Gigi, if we’re being completely honest with one another, I was a little hesitant to allow you to move to your current location. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that the last occupant was a bit of a pain. I’m hoping that you and I won’t have to deal with similar issues. As you may have noticed, your new location is a bit more public. I’d appreciate it if you could lie low, but I realize that unfortunately, that’s not really part of your design. 
 
I hope that you are comfortable though, Gigi. The area you are inhabiting is a little too cushiony for my liking, but perfect conditions for you. I know how you enjoy having that little extra to pinch. Your location is under continuous renovations; I’m looking for a sleeker, stronger look, but it’s a work in progress. 
 
There is another reason why I’m writing to you though, besides to welcome you. I’ve actually had a few complaints from some guests about you being extra “grabby” and “clingy”. This particular complaint was a bit concerning from Purse Strap: 
 
“I was minding my own business, attempting to disembark from Shoulder when Gigi aggressively grabbed me and I got hooked around her, causing me to yank her and eliciting a yelp from the Human. I was both startled and deeply dismayed.” 
 
Similar complaints were filed from Shirt, Bra Strap and Sweater. I’m asking that you please stop getting caught up with our guests. If you can refrain from this activity, I believe that you will have a smooth and enjoyable stay at Arm.
 
Thank you for your understanding. I appreciate your service and trust that we will not have any more problems in the future.
 
Sincerely,
Management 

My Dearest Diabetes

My dearest Diabetes,

On this Valentine’s Day, I’d like to take a moment and express my true and honest feelings towards you. After all, as the men I have dated have come in and out of my life, you have stuck to, er I mean by, my side. You have been with me through the highs and the lows, never mind that you caused many of them. But you’ve never abandoned me, you’re always here, even despite my best effort to get rid of you. I have to admire that kind of persistence.

Our relationship is unconventional. You were an unwelcomed force in my life, bringing with you many changes, disruptions, and emotions. Dare I say, I hated you when we first met. But you made it clear that you weren’t going anywhere so I learned to make the best of our relationship. I want you to know that you can be a real pain. Sometimes I wonder why you’re such a prick. But other times you can be so sweet, so it’s hard to stay mad at you for long.

You’re needy, demanding, and all consuming. I think about you all day, every day. Sometimes you’re even in my dreams. It’s hard to remember my life before you, and to think of it without you, should that day ever come. I complain about you all the time. To my friends, family, strangers. Some understand completely, others try to, and some will never know what it’s like to have you in their life. You bleed me dry.

But you’ve changed me. I would not be who I am today, where I am today, without you. While you’ve taken so much from me, my time, my energy, my fears, my health, you’ve also given me so much in return. You’ve given me determination, a strong sense of responsibility, strength, a community, and purpose. I hate you, I wish you never found me, but I cannot deny that deep down, you’ve made me a better person.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Diabetes. I hope it is a sweet one.

Love,
Me

A Shot to Type 1 Diabetes!

Our glasses were poised in the air, seven friends and our waiter all gathered around the table.

The cheer was proposed, and it wasn’t by me. “To type 1 diabetes!”

“To type 1 diabetes!” we all echoed. Our glasses clinked before downing the shot gifted by our waiter.

Did we just really toast type 1 diabetes? To better understand this bizarre occurrence, I’ll have to start at the beginning of the night.

I was meeting some friends out for dinner and drinks. Among the people I was meeting was someone that I had recently learned also has type 1 diabetes. Naturally when you put two type ones together for the first time we have a lot to talk about! When were you diagnosed? Do you have a pump? What kind? Oh the omnipod, do you like it? Do you use a CGM? My other two friends listened as we bonded over our broken pancreases. Since one friend is a nurse and the other used to work for the American Diabetes Association, they were still somewhat engaged in our conversation.

Just as my friend was saying the word “diabetes”, our waiter came up to the table. “Oh diabetes?” he inquired. “Yeah, we just learned that we both have type 1, do you know the difference?” she asked.

At some point, you start to get a little cynical. I was totally expecting the waiter to say something like, “that’s the bad kind right?” or “that’s the one where you can’t eat sugar”. Instead he answered, “Yeah, my sister has type 1.” I knew this guy understood. He asked if we used insulin pumps and I took mine out of my pocket to show him. “Yeah I was the jerk brother who would chase my sister around with the thing you poke your finger with and try to poke her in the arm. Sooo do you guys want some lemon drop shots? I can put equal around the rim for you two.” I liked this guy.

The rest of the night continued with hilarious quips about diabetes and other topics from our waiter. At one point he came over to the table and asked us, “so do you plan on having kids one day?” Caught a little off guard, we answered that we did. “This asshole doctor told my sister when she was 11 that she may be able to have 1 kid one day. She’s had 4 healthy babies.” Although a little out of place, I appreciated that comment and the sentiment behind it. It’s always nice to hear positive stories of other PWD. Then just because this was the kind of night we were having, he turned to my friend and added, “so keep on having sex.” Wait, what? Was this really happening?

A little while later, another friend came and joined our table. As she took her seat the waiter turned to her, “So do you have diabetes too?” Laughing, she replied that she didn’t. In a perfect Mean Girls style, the table blurted out, “You can’t sit with us!” It was all too perfect.

Which brings us to the drinks. Another two friends had joined, bringing our group up to 7. Out of no where the waiter returned holding shots for the table and one for himself. “What are these?” we asked. “I call them diabetes #1,” he answered.

So there we were, 7 girls and our waiter, 2 with diabetes and 6 without, about to take a shot while toasting type 1 diabetes. It’s not a situation I ever really expected to find myself in. It was one of the funniest dinners that I’ve had in awhile. Living with diabetes is a pain, but here it had brought a table and waiter together for a fun and hilarious night. And hey, I’ll take those kind of shots over insulin shots any day! 😛

One Annoyed Biker

Dearest Gigi (Dexcom G4 CGM),

I apologize for how long it has been since we last talked, but really I saw our lack of communication as a good sign. Things were going so smoothly that I felt no need to address you personally…that is until recently. I think we both know what I am talking about, but allow me to refresh your memory.

It was the day of my big bike ride, 36.5 miles, an organized ride through the city of Detroit put on by the health system where I work. I had been training for weeks for it, building up for the long ride. I was prepared. I had plenty of fruit snacks and granola bars stored in every pocket in case I got low. In order to save room in my little bike pack, I decided to bring you, Gigi, and forego the bigger and bulkier finger prick glucose monitor. I figured you’d be perfect for this type of event. I could glance at you and see what my blood sugar was and if it was rising or falling. I wouldn’t even need to stop riding to check you. Plus you are so much smaller, you could easily fit in my pack.

My blood sugar had been running high, but I wasn’t worried. I knew that biking for 3 hours would drop it. I was just hoping that it wouldn’t drop too low while I was riding.

I checked you right before the ride started at 9 am. You were giving me the “out of range” sign, which made sense since I had walked away from you. The race started. You were stored under my seat in my bike pack. I didn’t think about you for the first 10 miles or so. Then I pulled you out to see what my blood sugar was doing. ???. You were giving me the question marks. Are you kidding me? Why weren’t you working Gigi?! I needed you. I had no other way to check my blood sugar on this ride.

I rode on. I paid attention to how I was feeling. When we got to the halfway point, I could hear you yelling at me from the pack. “Low, under 55.” I knew that wasn’t true, I didn’t feel low, let alone that low. I ate a banana and half a granola bar, but didn’t give any insulin. I didn’t know what my blood sugar was, and you couldn’t be trusted. You were suppose to tell me, Gigi! Maybe I should have eaten the whole granola bar. I didn’t know!

We were at 28 miles. I was starting to feel “off”. Was I dropping low or just getting tired? Gigi, you could have answered that question. I wanted to be safe so I ate a pack of fruit snacks and kept riding. We finally reached the end. It was a little after 12 pm.

Then the craziest thing happened. You started working! And you have been working fine ever since. But Gigi, where were you when I needed you the most?! It’s as if you were trying to spite me, working right before and right after my ride, but nothing in between. And you’ve worked fine on other bike rides, so I don’t know what your deal was today. Your behavior today was unacceptable. I’m disappointed in you and frankly kind of pissed off. Thankfully everything worked out fine, even without your help. You also reinforced the lesson to always bring back up. When I finally tested after lunch, I was 144.  But you completely abandoned your primary task and purpose and really let me down.

So no thanks to you Gigi, I successfully finished my first bike tour! All I can say is that next time, you better show up!
Sincerely,
One annoyed biker

Strip Safely & Diabetes Art Day: Strip Tease

Diabetes Art Day has collaborated with the Strip Safely initiative to raise awareness about the issue of test strip accuracy. As stated on the website, “The goal is to collect a body of images that capture the emotional experience of relying on inaccurate test strips to make decisions about food, activity and medication that affect our immediate and long term health outcomes.”While the campaign urges people to send letters and use social media to get the message out, Lee Ann, the person behind Diabetes Art Day, recognizes that printed letters just does not capture and convey the emotion the way visual art can.
Inaccurate test strips is a huge problem, putting diabetic’s health and wellbeing at risk. We need more stringent accuracy requirements and the proper process to remove those that don’t meet this standard. It’s an issue that people need to know about. This edition of Diabetes Art Day is working to do just that, to bring awareness to this important issue so that action may be taken to ensure test strips and meters meet regulatory requirements.
My artwork for this Diabetes Art Day plays off the words, “Strip Tease”. While there is some humor involved, it points to the important issue of using test strips that are safe and accurate rather than those that may be deceiving and therefore harmful.

You can check out the gallery of images for this special Strip Safely Diabetes Art Day here.