Friday, June 14, 2019

Kim H - I Will See You In Every Rainbow~

We lost a member of our Diabetes Online Community family last week. 
Kim Hislop was great people, a fantastic Diabetes Advocate, and woman who changed the way we talk about D complications. She was also super goofy, a Walking Dead freak, a Disney Head to the 11th degree, had a custom and much deserved Super Shero cape made  - and wasn't afraid to wear it. And Kim was a person looked for rainbows in every nook and corner of the universe. 

She also created the them. 

You can read about Kimberly's life, HERE. 
Fancy Kim
“Kim would tell you that her life was a beautiful storm. She found a rainbow almost every day of her life. She was a loving wife, fur baby mom, daughter, sister, and devoted aunt to her three nephews and niece. Kim loved her life, her family, friends, and her animals. Her passion was to travel and share as many experiences as possible with her friends and family. She especially loved her trips to Disney World with her family and friends.”

Being part of the Diabetes Community (the DOC,) has given me friends/family around the globe as well as a global voice. I am blessed. 

I’ve been lucky to meet some of my tribe in real life - including Kim.
We were able to hang out in real life @ multiple Children with Diabetes, Friends For Life conferences & in Atlantic City @ the Diabetes UnConference.

Kim’s spirit was stronger than her body - she was a resilient trooper who took the cards she was dealt and celebrated life by traveling the world with her husband and friends, helping many along the way, and much of the time with a rainbow attitude to boot …and these past few years - with her portable kidney dialysis machine. 

The really tough thing about having a diabetes tribe is losing a member - be it happenstance in life.... or because of the very thing that brought you together - diabetes.

The last time I saw Kim was July 2018, at Friends For Life in Orlando, Florida. 
Emotionally she seemed really strong and wise - while cosplaying in a pineapple dress that was almost as sunny and bright as she was.
Kim told me that life was short, and that there are no guarantees - that she was going to the things that made her happy, and encouraged me to do the same.

Her words are playing over in my head a lot as of late.  

Many DOC members are making the trek to say goodbye to Kim - including her amazing D Girl Squad.  
I'm compartmentalizing a lot this week - especially when it comes to Kim.
Unfortunately I’m unable to attend Kim’s celebration of life ceremony this weekend - but I will celebrate her just the same - setting aside time this weekend to look for rainbows in all shapes in forms. 

Celebrating the beautiful storm that each of us possess from within - while remembering the beautiful storm that was and is Kim~ 

Kim in Super Hero Mode at Iwishpeopleknewthatdiabetes booth at Friends For Life -
She encouraged and supported me a lot that weekend - I needed it and appreciate still today.

Kim and DOCers at the Diabetes UnConference in A.C.
The last picture I took of took of Kim, at FFL in 2018 - back from the parks with custom made ears!

Friday, June 7, 2019

I'm Attending #ADA2019 In San Francisco And Full Disclosure

Hi guys - Happy Friday!

I’m currently writing this blog post from the first day of the American Diabetes Association’s 79th Scientific Sessions in San Francisco, CA! 

I’m excited to be attending the sessions; learning all I can, and reporting on my experiences in a series of articles on the Ascensia Diabetes Care website and just like I did last year.

When each new post is up and running on their website - I will let you know.

Full Disclosure: As I mentioned above, Ascensia Diabetes Care hired me as their Guest Reporter for ADA. 

Ascensia is covering all my expenses, (travel, lodging, meals,) and providing me with an honorarium for my time and my talent. 

As always - All thoughts are mine and mine alone. 

Follow the sessions in real time via twitter and by clicking on the #ADA2019 hashtag.
You can find me on Twitter @diabetesalish .

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Carry-on Bag: MacGyver Trapper Keeper Vs All My Diabetes Supplies

I don't know about you, but sometimes in life.... and life with diabetes, I need to remind myself that I am a lucky duck. 
Also: This happened in the a.m.
 I've been thinking about gratitude a lot as of late, so I decided to write about turning this morning's bitch frown upside down.
New Mac sitting on old, big ass, shiny red Ma Book Pro, padded case.
Fuchsia ( I know it looks red, but it's definitely fuchsia,) knapsack, specs, car keys, water bottle. 
This morning I put my brand-new and super streamlined (not to mention super light,) MacBook in my old MacBook Pro’s red, shiny, padded laptop case. 
And I was like:  I'm effing brilliant - I'm talking MacGyver level smarts! 
There was so much damn room that I could fit my trusty/always on my person, 5X7 sketchbook as note book; current paperwork, and a spare pen on the other side of the sleeve divider with room to spare. Slap a rainbow and unicorn stickers on that sucker and it was like a grown up version of my Trapper-Keeper from grade school!!

I was impressed with myself and said out loud: I don’t need to get a new laptop case - I can fit my new Mac and more in my Trapper-Keeper! 
Then I placed said "MacGyver Trapper-Keeper" and its contents in my trusty fuchsia backpack and was all types of happy - until reality set it. 

I absolutely required a new streamlined laptop case/sleeve and the reason had everything to do with diabetes. 
I’m heading to San Francisco next week to attend ADA (more on that early next week,) and need to carry my MacBook, various charger(s), diabetes supplies (spare Omnipods; insulin, glucose strips, a spare sensor, glucose tabs, snacks, etc.,) on my person/in my carry-on bag, a.k.a, my knapsack  - and I need all the room I can get. 
I momentarily forgot that my shiny red padded MacBookPro case always makes for a tight fit re: D supplies when it's crammed for travel. MacGyvering it only adds to the cramped quarters.

MacGyver Trapper Keeper 20.19 was a no go. 

And for a few seconds (OK, more than a few - at least sixty seconds,) I was annoyed because I thought I could forgo buying a new case and save a few bucks.  
After all, I’d just spent a shit ton on a much needed new Mac - and  I am so incredibly grateful that all the stars aligned to make make it happen

My old Mac was a 2012, purchased in February of 2013, is officially slower than molasses, riddled with software issues, and weighs 4+ pounds. 
Also - and I'm only partly joking - I was  afraid it could blow up at any minute, software wise.

It was long past its expiration date, and now “my old friend” sits in a place of pride on my desk, as my official backup/home computer, no longer accompanying me on the road.  

With all new electronicals, there’s compatibility issues with old ones. Sound familiar diabetes peeps? 
Now that I have a new Mac, I require a new printer because my current printer wants nothing to do with my new Mac and refuses to recognize its existence in the universe

I now need a new printer/scanner. I get it, I am on it.  

Anyway, back to me being momentarily annoyed - I took a breath and was glad again, quick. 

Because I know how lucky I am to have a new Mac - I know that it will help me do my job today, next week - as well as future jobs, assignments, and personal projects - HELLO Light ROOM. 

I know I’m lucky to be attending ADA for work.

And damn straight I know how lucky I am to have spare insulin in my fridge and extra diabetes supplies in my hall closet. It's a luxury that many of us living with diabetes in the United States and beyond do not have.   

I have no right to complain because in the grand scheme of things - screw my MacGyver Trapper Keeper! 

$14/$19 new streamlined MacBook case is a small price to pay for peace of mind re: protecting my Mac while allowing me to have extra room for my diabetes supplies in my carry-on is a gift…. as is having insulin in my fridge... And I am a lucky duck, indeed~

Also: I use the words Mac, MacBook, and MacGyver a hell of a lot in this post. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Diabetes Scout Mode: Spontaneous Road Trip Edition ~

Living with diabetes makes me/us feel like a perpetual girl/boy/whatever scout  - we always have to get in scout mode and be prepared!

I was away for a good portion of the holiday weekend - spending time with family - both the two legged and four-legged variety. 

It was a spontaneous road trip and I’m so glad I went for it! 

I laughed until my stomach hurt and I spent a lot of time outdoors - it was just what I needed to recharge my internal batteries. 

Packing for a last minute weekend trip meant bringing extra of everything… including diabetes supplies.

I need my diabetes shit and I need backup…. because you never know - and it’s my responsibility to be prepared - that’s part of being a PWD - and it’s part of being a grownup. 

That means packing extra pump supplies (including batteries); meter supplies, cgm supplies, four days worth of oral meds instead of two… and of course insulin + needles, because correction injections happen. 

It also means bringing my own beach cooler and ice packs, snacks (because it’s up to me to make sure I always have snacks on my person, not my host,) and a large bottle of Cran-Apple juice…. Because middle of the night lows.
Also: Sometimes I feel like having a vodka and club with lots of extra lime and a splash of juice!  

Of course being a grownup house gift means bringing a hostess a gift - an amazing and truly bolus worthy fruit tart, club soda and said big old bottle of Cran-Apple juice. 

I had everything I needed so I could enjoy my weekend…. And diabetes behaved most of the time. 

And when it didn’t - as in first thing Monday morning (which also happened to be site/pod change day,) when I was greeted with a pre-breakfast blood sugar of 320 - I didn't get upset and I didn't make a big deal out of it - I knew the high was due to the site needing to be changed. So I got my diabetes scout mode in gear and did what I had to do. 

I filled and put in a new Omnipod, did a big fat correction injection, and drank two big glasses of water before switching to my morning coffee. By the time I hopped in my car mid morning to battle holiday traffic - my bg was 170, post coffee! 

Diabetes didn't disrupt or take center stage this weekend - the people I love and were thankful for, did. 

Monday, May 20, 2019

Stuff: Blogging, Exercising, May Is National Mental Health Month, CGMing, GoT

Yep, it's been a while since I've posted. 
My excuses: Things have been slightly crazy, I needed to regroup, one week of not blogging quickly turned into multiple and  accompanied by a wicked case of "what the hell do I write about/didn't I already write about that a million times already?! 
Because after blogging for almost 12 years about life with diabetes - sometimes I'm afraid "I've said and or written about that already." But you know what? Everyone who blogs about diabetes feels that way from time to time - and that's OK. 

After taking a short sabbatical - I'm back writing on the blog about my life and my life with diabetes! 

What's New? 
Lots: I've started exercising and thank God because I'm out of practice and I absolutely think better when I'm moving. 

Work has been active - lots of stuff going on and on the horizon  - I am both glad and thankful. 

It's May, which means it's National Mental Health Month. With that being said, I started seeing a therapist in March - because while I was going through the motions of my life, 
I was missing Olivia terribly at the end of the day and I was sad. 
I'm sharing because talking to someone is helping me deal with the trauma of losing my niece Olivia in January - and it's making me stronger in all areas of my life. 
If you're dealing with any form of stress, anxiety, or trauma - including diabetes burnout or grief - go talk to and with a professional.
Seriously - talk with someone - you are worth it! 

Is That  A CGM On Your Arm... Or Are You Just Happy To See Me? 
The answer is BOTH. 
I LOVE seeing you - you look great! And and yeah... I started wearing a CGM (Dexcom G6) in March because my Dr. and I need to make tweaks - I've committed to wearing it for at least 3 months. 
I was supposed to start in January, but Livy passed and I didn't feel like dealing with the learning curve while heading out west for her funeral. February I was bogged with assignments and starting on the Dex was pushed back into March.  

Initial Observations
Graphs have the potential to make you effing crazy!
I believe that people must be trained  on the anxiety that watching your graph can cause. Knowledge is great  - but so is realizing that when you/your loved one eat... or have a cold... are stressed... or just because it's Tuesday, your graph can and will go up. 

Also and I kid you not, we need to step away from the graph after a correction bolus. 
I knew all of the above before wearing a CGM  - and I was still looking at it way to much in the beginning!

CGM alarms are wicked loud.

Compression Low bgs are a thing - As in your CGM Low alarm goes off and reads 59, and you just ate lunch 40 minutes ago and you feel absolutely fine, do a fingerstick check. 
Because Compression Lows (unknowingly pushing against the sensor or sleeping/leaning on it can cause it to read low (at least according to my multiple friends and my CDE,) are real and they happen. Of course I learned about Compression Lows  after treating for said 59 low that really wasn't. HELLO 200! 

On the flip side - I barely felt a 53 low a few days ago that caused my alarm to go off.... at least until I did. It was real and I knew it! 

I'm more mindful of grazing since slapping on a CGM. That's a good thing. 

It's interesting to see how quickly certain foods impact your blood sugar via a graph.
It's equally as interesting and annoying to see how some foods seem to flat arrow for an hour or two and then spike towards the sky for a good three or four hours.
Ahhhh.... Good times..... good times. 

My graph was elevated the week before my period - I always knew this to be true - seeing it on a graph was trippy. 

Watching Game of Thrones absolutely impacts my blood sugars! 
Or at least I'm blaming GoT... and the Show Runners and Writers of GoT.
During last night's finale my bgs were running low. 
The previous weeks, not so much - especially when that ass of a Night King and his army hit Winterfell - I was topping 306 by the time that episode ended! 

Graph during the battle of Winterfell and dinner was not crazy high in carbs.
Also: Changed out my Omnipod site the next day (as in 1 day early,) b/c it was getting skunky.
So yeah, site starting to crap out might have had something to do with my elevated graph.
Whatever, I blame the Night King!

Graph during GoT finale.
I might have over bolused for my big tuna salad.
But the sucky writing certainly didn't help!
Also: Why'd you all demonize Dani and where the hell is my dragon!! 

Speaking of blood sugars - you ABSOLUTELY need to check your blood sugars via finger-sticks while wearing a CGM. 
Certainly not as much .... most of the time. 
My previous sensor required 8 calibration checks in one day before it started syncing - and that required massive amounts of self restraint because I wanted to rip out my sensor and start a new one... but I didn't and being things worked out.
My current sensor was within range on the first (and second) calibration. 
Depending on the day, how my numbers are running, physical activity, and how old my Omnipod site is - my amount of finger-sticks per day varies. 

Bottom line: My pancreas is stone cold busted - I need to make sure whatever robot diabetes part I'm wearing is reading correctly and that requires finger-stick checks~  

So that's all for now. HOW THE HELL ARE YOU DOING? 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The Carbs Are In The Details: Slider Specifics

Not a picture of my sliders - but very similar!
The image is from the interwebz
Recently, I went out for much needed Happy Hour with a friend. Cheeseburger sliders were on the menu, I was craving red meat, and I had a few questions for the Server before "officially" placing my order.

1. Were the cheeseburger sliders meaty as opposed to being more bun than meat, or did the meat/bread ratio meet somewhere in the middle? 

2. What was the deal re: the buns? Were they more of a brioche, did they boarder on a potato roll, or are we talking your basic hamburger bun, but shrunk down to slider proportions? 

The waitress was patient and answered my questions with a smile - which the former Server in me greatly appreciated - because I knew my questions were on the finicky side.

She told my that the the sliders meat to bread ratio met almost met in the middle  - with slightly more meat than bun -  and that said slider buns had a brioche feel and texture to them. 

I thanked her, placed my order - 3 cheeseburger sliders, medium, and a glass of the 
House Red. My friend immediately ordered the same and our waitress went off to place our order and retrieve our drinks from the bar.

When the waitress was out of earshot my friend looked at me and said: You asked some detailed questions for a few cheeseburger sliders! 

I grabbed my Omnipod PDM out of my handbag to pre-bolus for my sliders (because buns,) and said with a smile: I’m not picky - at least I don't mean to be. I just needed to know some slider specifics so I can take my insulin accordingly. 

Short Answer: I needed more info so I asked.  

Friend: Ohmygod, that’s right - you did need more info - I’m so sorry, Kel - I completely forgot! 

I told her it was OK - that my diabetes didn’t need a special spotlight, and that much like the devil, the carbs are in the details.  

Then we laughed out loud and started talking about 50 other things - none of them having to do with diabetes. 

FTR: The sliders were delicious; the House Red was damn tasty, my bolus wasn't quote on point, but I figured it out. And most importantly, a wonderful time was had by all! 

Friday, March 8, 2019

International Women's Day: Dear Diabetes Shero Squad

Dear Diabetes Shero Squad - 


All the women impacted with diabetes - those living with diabetes - no matter the type - and those loving a person or persons with diabetes. 

Ladies of the DOC and my diabetes tribe in real life - I’m talking to you! 
Medical professionals and researchers who are fighting for the cure and to make peoples lives with diabetes easier - THIS MEANS YOU. 

Too many women for me to mention individually - you are all my sheroes and I love you something fierce! 

You cheer me on and give me strength - Lifting me up, supporting and carrying me when I need it most. 

You continually inspire; constantly amaze, effortlessly educate, and always make me laugh. 
You all make me feel like I can do anything!

Each of you gives me the courage to fight and the tenacity to continue when I feel like giving up. 

You are magic personified and are Super Heroes in all dimensions  - diabetes and otherwise. 

 Every single one of you is a magnificent gift that continues to give - and I am so damn grateful!

And I love you all.
Kelly K~