Spare A Rose

Life for a Child

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Diabetes Misbehaving & Forging Ahead, But Not Alone.

So, I started writing this post because I was incredibly annoyed with my diabetes exploits last night and today. But then the tone changed when I started writing about the Diabetes Online Community - Now my whole tone for today has changed.
Not a big surprise when you think you about it, but much appreciated!
I could write about how I kept going low last night, even after a dinner that included way too much Italian bread dipped in sautéed garlic and olive oil, or how after said feast I couldn't get above 72 and had to force feed Starbursts to treat the lows that occurred between 8pm and 11pm. 
I could write how I only had coffee for breakfast this morning because of waking up with a 327 blood sugar and how my blood sugar refused to dip below 200 until a little after 1pm, when it finally cracked 188. FYI: Not a ketone in site. 
I could wax on poetic about how I almost pulled out my almost brand spanking new infusion site (yesterday's infusion site was fresh and was working perfectly at 11pm Tuesday night, when my blood sugar was 72,) and how I held off because I was both mad and perplexed at the very thought of an new infusion site crapping out after less than 20 hours. 
And I kept working through all the D muck because that's what you do when you're a grown-up - Even though most of today felt as if I was walking through J-E-L-L-O.
Trust me, I could write a novella on how I just didn't feel like dealing with diabetes bullshit today, and that while it didn't stop me, it sure as hell gave me a headache and annoyed me to know end! 
I tweeted a few of my many D annoyances because my dweeps on twitter were the only ones in my immediate vicinity who actually understood and "got" my frustration. 
And a I received encouragement and understanding from a few others who were dealing with the same exact issues. 

I even received a few texts telling me to hang in there. 
It wasn't the amount of tweets or texts that mattered, because it only takes one other tweet or post or text or comment to prove I wasn't the only one. 
Encouragement and understanding are much needing things when it comes to living with diabetes. 
And now that I'm really thinking about it, today and last night were great reminder that I REALLY am a lucky duck, regardless of miss-behaving numbers or anything else diabetes or life throws my way - even when I'm the only person in the room, or the only person with diabetes in the room. 

Current blood sugar is 145 and I'm forging ahead, but not alone. 
Also: the #dsma chat is tonight, 9pm, EST! Join in conversation and follow the hashtag on the twitter!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Today's Post, Inspired By The Hashtags: #Diabetes, #DOC & #WalkwithD

Today's diabetes free write, ( Free write: set the timer for 20 minutes and write about 1. a set subject(s) or 2. whatever pops in your head without stopping & then elaborate) was originally inspired by the following hashtags:  #Diabetes & the #DOC. Then I read Kerri's post asking us to join her on her #walkwithD journey and campaign.
 I'm in and I love it! 
It's totally and completely relatable to anyone living with diabetes and if you haven't already, (which I'm sure you have,) READ IT NOW.  I added the #walkwithD  hashtag to my free write because it inspired me! 
Diabetes doesn’t make me a victim, on the contrary, diabetes has made me a survivor and part of a global D Clan of others who speak the language of diabetes fluently and in all dialects
For the record: Sometimes my diabetes speaks in intangible tongues - just because it can.
 Diabetes doesn’t stop me in my tracks, but there are moments on my #WalkwithD when diabetes forces me to stop, assess and take a few beats and or glucose tabs... before I continue in full speed ahead, mode. 
Sidebar: Sometimes it takes a while to get back in 'full speed ahead,' mode.
And it is in those exasperating moments when I lose my footing, that the DOC helps me forge ahead. 
Diabetes has cultivated patience with myself... and with others - And that’s a really good thing... except when I'm running low in the patience department, which usually happens right around the time I'm running extended high/lows in the blood sugar department.

Living with diabetes is not a character flaw, regardless of what the media says.  

Diabetes requires that I speak up for myself and others - And diabetes also requires that I  listen and learn from others.

Because I have diabetes, I found the Diabetes Online Community - And the DOC showed me that I am NEVER alone in my life and my life with diabetes. 

Diabetes doesn’t keep me in chains. The only chains I wear are the ones that I impose on myself. #fact 

There are moments when diabetes pisses me off - And I have to forcibly remind myself that anger is indeed a great motivator - And it is in those moments where my community totally "gets me." 

Diabetes NEVER takes a day off, even when I do.

Diabetes is indeed a life sentence... LIFE being the operative word.
Most of the time my glass is more than half full because I have access to insulin in a world where so many do not

Like everyone in the DOC, I #walkwithD, ALWAYS. 

And we are in this together!  

Friday, September 12, 2014

Because Sometimes Ketones Are Sneaky Little Suckers! Also: Replace the S in 'Suckers' with An F.

3 days of really great blood sugars sugars (except for an 80 blood sugar before bed on Wednesday night,) immediately followed by 24 hours of crap blood sugars, (because, of course) three infusion site changes and moderate ketones that snuck up on me so stealth like, I didn’t even feel their presence until I tested for them. 

If I hadn’t tested for ketones last night after my numbers started climbing yesterday at 7pm, when I checked my dinner blood sugar and it was 242 and up from 176 two hours earlier. 
I changed my site and had a tomato and mozzarella salad with some italian bread croutons for dinner because I didn’t want to eat anything heavy until me blood sugars evened out.  
The numbers that followed were 239 at 8:45 and and 250 at 10 pm, which is when I changed out my site AGAIN. 
So it turns out my 3 hour infusion site was not only clogged, it was a bleeder to boot! 
And on a whim I decided to check for ketones - And it was a damn good thing I did because I was spilling moderate ketones even though I felt just fine. 
I can't tell you how many times in the past I've checked for ketones when my numbers were in the 3 and there were none. 

Diabetes is such a tricky bitch sometimes! 

This morning I didn’t skip a beat even though I woke up with a 220 and was still running moderate ketones. Breakfast was coffee with cream and sugar and copious amounts of water. 
I’m doing the work thing, I feel great and my ketones are running somewhere between small & trace amounts. 

As much as all of the above being a metaphoric pain in the ass,(and it was) it was also a really great reminder to me that ketones happen, even when your not feeling the symptoms - And I’m grateful that I had the means to test for and keep an eye on them

So have you ever checked for ketones and been surprised by the results? 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

#Showmeyourpump: A Diabetes Meet Up In Atlantic City With PWD/Miss Idaho & Miss America Contestant Sierra Sandison

Earlier this week I had the opportunity for a #Dmeetup of a different kind.
I had the chance to meet and have a heart to heart with current Miss Idaho and PWD Sierra Sandison, in Atlantic City’s famed Boardwalk Hall.
Sidebar: I grew up 5 miles from Boardwalk Hall, it’s where my parents first met and where my High School graduation was held. Boardwalk Hall and the Miss America Organization have always held a special place in my heart and history - And so does Sierra! 
Having my diabetes world and home town world collide is pretty spectacular, as is Sierra Sandison. 
As the DOC (Diabetes Online Community), along with everyone else in the free/ non D world knows of Sierra because of the global implications of stepping out on stage wearing her insulin pump, and her hashtag #showmeyourpump.
 Sierra's a mulit-faceted PWD (Person with Diabetes) for sure. She’s a student, a Beauty Queen, the creator of the #showmeyourpump hashtag and one of the founders (along with her sister) of Possibilities with Disabilities, an organization focusing on extra curricular activities/camps for people with disabilities
Sierra is quite an accomplished and well spoken young woman who does an amazing job of representing people with diabetes and people in her home state of Idaho. 
Sunday night, September 14th, Sierra, along with 52 other pageant hopefuls will compete for the Miss America title. More info on how you can help Sierra win at the end of the post! 
And now, here's our heart to heart chat!
KK: Welcome to Atlantic City! Can you believe you’re finally here?
SS: No I can’t believe it - It’s like a dream come true - it still hasn’t completely set in yet. 

KK: What’s the best part so far?
SS: I think just spending time with the other girls. I’m surround by the most amazing 52 accomplished young women in the United States so that’s been such a great experience! And come Sunday night, no matter who is crowned, I know I’ll be super excited  to be there in person, for the crowning of the next Miss America
And secondly, whoever gets crowned, I know it’s going to be one of my best friends. 

KK: That’s beautiful. OK, tell me about your platform - Actually, tell everyone in the DOC (the Diabetes Online Community) about your platform. 
SS: My official platform is Possibilities for Disabilities - My sister and I started it. Possibilities for Disabilities involves Sports Camps for students/ people with disabilities of all ages, but it's mostly young adults who participate. 
We started the camps because we realized that 1 in 20 people live with disability, and when we looked around at our choir, our cheer team and our basketball team, those 1 in 20 are severally under represented. 
My sister and I realized that for our whole lives, we’ve always taken extra curricular activities for granted. 
Extra curricular activities are vital in adolescent development. They teach you who you are and how to work hard and help you find and understand what you’re passionate about. 
It's REALLY important for children with disabilities to have the chances that extra curricular activities offer so we started with a Cheer Camp. Since then we’ve done 2 Cheer Camps, 2 Basketball Camps, a soccer camp, a tennis camp, a power lifting workshop and a week long regular camp . 
Shortly after we started the program we realized that the students who had volunteered as coaches were developing really strong relationships with the kids with disabilities. The fun and inclusive interactions that the camp presented actually broke down the social barriers that children with disabilities are often faced with. 
It was unbelievable to watch!

KK: I bet! OK, diabetes - You’re 2 years into your life with diabetes.  
KK: Do you celebrate your diaversary? 
KK: That makes me happy! OK, how has diabetes and  the Diabetes Online Community for that matter changed your life, Sierra? 
SS: It’s changed EVERY aspect of my life.
First: When I was diagnosed, it flipped my world upside down in a bad way. 
I didn’t check my blood sugars and I was in denial, I didn’t want to deal with it and I didn’t want to think about it. 

KK: That’s a very real and normal reaction you had. 
SS: And then when it came to the insulin pump, I didn’t want to one because I was an 18 year old young woman and I wasn’t completely confident about who I was. And I was scared. 
KK: I think many women and men (young and the not so,) for that matter feel the same way you did, I know I did. 
MI: Right! but even now, sometimes people make comments and I know they don’t mean to be mean.... but still.. it hurts my feelings.
Sidebar: I wanted to hug her. 
KK: I get it. 98 % of the comments don’t bother us and we take the time to educate, but it’s those 2% that can bring us down. 
SS: YES, EXACTLY. I was on shots for about 6 months when I heard about Nicole Johnson, Miss America 1999 and how she wore her insulin pump on the Miss America stage,  I thought to myself: WOW, I’ve been lying to myself~ The media gives us this perfect version of a girl and she doesn’t wear an insulin pump, so I was under the impression that if I wore an insulin pump, I would be less than beautiful. 

But when I saw Nicole, this former Miss America wearing her insulin pump, it COMPLETELY changed my mindset. So I got an insulin pump (for the record, Sierra wears a t:slim pump) and I started to compete in the Miss America Organization pageants, but I wasn’t confident enough to wear my insulin pump on stage until this summer at the Miss Idaho Pageant.   And sometimes, it’s still scary and intimidating when people make comments.

Growing up, I never was a little girl who wanted to be Miss America, but I always wanted to make a difference and  change the world.  But I didn’t know how to do that. 
So when I grew up and found out who Nicole Johnson was, she completely changed every aspect of my life. 
Not only in being confident and wearing my insulin pump, but everything I’ve learned from her inspiring me to get involved with the Miss America Organization,  it’s given me public speaking taught me how to live a well balanced life and taught me to be responsible with my diabetes. 

I really gained an understanding of how powerful the Miss America Crown & her example can be. And really, that’s why I’m here. For diabetics and people with disabilities, for people with medical devices and for people with any other insecurities.  At first I let diabetes push me down, but I’ve turned it and empowered myself. 

KK: That’s what it’s all about!! How great is it to be so empowered and out of the diabetes closet?
SS: It’s kind of new.  All My friends knew I had diabetes, but there were people I knew well who didn’t know  - It's been so refreshing because when I’m “Miss Idaho” People are like: YEAH, #showmeyourpump & that’s so awesome! 
But when I’m not Miss Idaho or when I don’t have my sash and crown on, I'm starting to get those same comments! 
KK: How have your friends handled your diabetes? 
SS: My friends have been so supportive and so proud and really been excited to learn about diabetes. 

KK; Good, good, good! Anything you want to say to the DOC? 
SS: There’s so many negatives surrounding technology and the diabetes online community is an amazing example of how Social Media can be used to for good. 
There aren’t many diabetics in my area and the DOC reinforces that I'm not alone, and that I'm not being crazy or silly for being insecure and thinking things like boys are never going to look at me again because I wear a pump. 
I really thought that at first!

KK: Sierra, you are not alone!  And every single one of us in the DOC and beyond has had those very same thoughts at one time. Diabetes is actually a really good filter!
SS: I’m starting to see that!  Honestly, knowing that my concerns were legitimate and normal and that I wasn’t crazy was and is really comforting. And in return, when people say I’ve given them confidence in wearing their insulin pumps, really - they’re the ones that have given me the confidence. Honestly, when that swimsuit picture was being taken, I was shaking in my shoes about what people would think about my insulin pump!
The support has been such a boost to my confidence & I really hope I’ve helped people with diabetes because I know they’ve helped me!

FYI: We can actually help Sierra get into the Miss America finals. Click HERE and vote for Sierra as America's Choice to go to the finals. You have until 11:59 PM, Thursday, September 11th to place your vote and very vote counts! 
Also, Sierra will be a guest on the Dr. Oz show tomorrow (9/11/14)  so lets all make sure that the DOC tunes in!  And while we're watching, lets tweet/facebook our support and create a Social Media firestorm of support for one of our own! Tweet pictures of you getting your #showmeyourpump on and use the hashtags: #showmeyourpump, #diabetes, #DOC
Sierra twitter handle is: @Sierra_anne93 and Dr. Oz's twitter handle is: @DrOz

Official "Miss America" Media Pass
I couldn't resist!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Diabetes Speak IRL: Soda Talk & Real People Sick

I find myself using DiabetesSpeak in conversations with non PWDs/type 3's all the time.
I don't even think about it, the words just flow out of my mouth because Diabetes Speak has become my native dialect/vernacular.  and yours too
Then I have explain what the heck I'm saying in D Speak and people learn something - Or they think I'm weird. 
But mostly they learn something about D because they already know I'm odd, but in a good way!
So I was at my friend’s house a few weeks back and somehow we started talking about soda. My one friend drinks copious amounts of soda - like he’s addicted to soda. 
I used to be addicted to diet soda - I drank it for decades, but I don't drink it anymore - haven't since I was senior in college - FOR THE MOST PART.
Anyway, I was like: I used to LOVE Diet Pepsi and Fresca and Diet Pineapple Fanta - Don’t even get me started on Frank’s Diet Wishniak Black Cherry Soda ( they stopped producing it in 2009ish, RIP my wonderful and tasty old friend,) but yeah, I don’t drink soda any more - I’m an water/iced tea gal. 
BUT, every once in a while (and only when the temps get above 100 degrees,) I might buy a Stewart’s Diet Root-Beer in the brown glass bottle and chill it until it’s almost frozen - And then I drink the whole bottle in two minutes, flat. 
The first one is great, but the second one makes me stomach hurt and I feel gross. 
Friend/Soda Addict: That’s nuts, Kel! I can’t stop drinking it! 
Me: It was hard to give it up, but I don’t miss it anymore (except for the Franks Diet Black Cherry Wishniak,) I drink boatloads of water and when I feel like I need some bubbles I drink seltzer water (a.k.a., club soda/soda water) Black Cherry Seltzer’s my favorite. 
The only time I want/need to drink a soda is when I’m real people sick and can't stomach anything else.
And then my Friend/Soda Addict was like: Real people sick? 
Me: Yeah, real people sick. You know like down for the count because of the flu or a nasty stomach virus. Not related to diabetes or blood sugar issues, just normal old human, real people sick. See official definition, HERE. Thanks Kerri!
I always keep a few bottles of ginger-ale on hand just in case I get the flu or a nasty stomach bug  - and NO to both this year, PLEASE & THANKS TO THE FLU/STOMACH BUG GODS IN ADVANCE.   
I just feel really safe having ginger ale in my house at all times. I live alone and having it on hand means I don’t have to schlep out and buy some ginger ale when I’m hacking up a lung or laying on the couch next to barf bucket.
Friend/Soda Addict: Wow, I never thought about the whole ‘real people sick,’ thing before, but now I won’t forget it. Kel, if you do get ‘real people sick,” (and I really hope you don't,) just call us and  G or I will schlep out and buy you some ginger ale - And some matzo ball soup, too. Anything you need - just let us know. 
Me: Thanks my friend, that's great to know - and I really appreciate that. 
Also: You're such a mensch
And now I thought I'd share a moment of my childhood/adolescence that has been been burned into my brain forever!
Earworm courtesy of Patti Smith & Co - "Is it Frank's? THANKS."

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Getting All Diabetes MacGyver On The Beach~

Sometimes annoying things happen with diabetes that have nothing to do with our blood sugar or our insurance companies. 
 We can take a few beats and figure things out or we can let the D logistics ruin our day - OR we can get all MacGyver on diabetes ass  - It's our choice~
Spent a lot of time on the beach this past Sunday and Monday and I'm really glad I did. 

The sun was shining and there was a cool ocean breeze, the water temps were in the 70s and the waves were took your breath away while breathing life back into you at the same time.
I wear an insulin pump, it’s not water proof, but that fact never stops me from embracing my inner fish.  I was jonesing for some much needed salt water action - I HAD to get my body in the ocean and under the waves, ASAP.  
So I checked my blood sugar (175, perfect numbers for body surfing,) and attempted to do what I always do. 
Disconnect from my pump, grab a ziplock bag, place said pump in zip-locked bag and put  zip-locked pump in a case. Then take the insulin pump filled case and put it in another ziplock bag and put the whole thing in my cooler for safe keeping.
Sidebar: do the exact same thing with my phone.
Bg ckek, disconnecting and protecting my insulin pump from the elements takes about a minute - maybe two if I’m in mid conversation. 
But here’s the thing: On Monday, for the first time in 12 plus years of wearing an insulin pump, I couldn’t actually access my infusion site to disconnect from my pump. 
I was wearing a 1 piece V neck suit, ( Ok, I always wear a V-Neck 1 piece styled suit,)  with the pump clipped in the middle of the V-neck. But this time my infusion site was located really high and on the side of my upper abdomen.. and try as I might, I couldn’t get to the area I needed to get to.

I tried standing/ hiking up my swimsuit leg up all super french cut like, but when I shoved my hand up the side of my abdomen, I was still a good 1/8 of an inch away from my infusion set. 
 I attempted to reach the site sitting down, stretching out in my chair & hiking up my swimsuit leg
 all super french cut & then going for the grab and I got really close, but not close enough.
Also: The people behind me were this close to getting quite a show.
FTR, I don't care who sees my insulin pump or my pump tubing, but my cordoned off areas are another story. 

And yeah, I could have stuck my hand down the front of my suit and then over to the side & down, but I was with a large group of people and that wasn’t an option I felt like taking.
12+ years of wearing an insulin pump to the beach I’d never had such a crazy time accessing my infusion site to disconnect - There's a first for everything and this was mine. 
At this point the waves were literally screaming my name and I refused to let the diabetes logistics of a bitchy & logistically challenged infusion site get the best of me. 
I could have walked up to the fIshing pier's restroom, wait in long ass line and deal with it there - But I didn't want to to waste the time, I wanted to deal with it right then and there and right where I was. 
I sat back down on my chair and got all Diabetes MacGyver on the situation. 
I looked around at the tools I had on hand - a green cloth cooler and a beach towel. 
Ok, I can work with that. 

I grabbed the cooler and placed it on my lap, then I unfurled my beach towel so it covered both me (from my knees to my neck) and the cooler. The cooler acted as a pitch to the towel’s tent, thus allowing me to discretely hike the left leg of my swimsuit up super high, until I was sure it resembled a French Connection Swimsuit Catalog photo from 1986 - seriously, The bottom of my swimsuit was hiked up well past my elbow. But I was able to locate and and disconnect from my pump with my right hand, all under the privacy of my beach towel pump tent and no one was the wiser. And it took all of 60ish seconds.

Then I placed the pump in it’s triple zip locked fortress in the cooler and ran into the ocean until I was almost chest deep.
I dove under a wave and bounced up again as the next set of waves came barreling towards me.
I swam hard and rode as many waves towards the shore as I could, laughing out loud between sets. 

When I finally returned to my chair almost an hour later, my blood sugar was holding fast at 98, the Ice Cream man was in the distance and I knew exactly how to reconnect without flashing the crowd. 

Monday was truly a fantastical day on the beach and in the ocean. 
And it even ended with a rainbow~  
Don't even get me started on the diabetes/rainbow metaphors, but feel free to share yours ;) 
Embrace the rainbow~

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sometimes In Life, It's Better To Be Nice Than Right.

I was working on an article in a realitively quiet Starbucks a few days ago. My end of summer work schedule has been a bit crazy
(hence the lack of posts as of late,) and I was doing my best to get a handle on the body, content and scope of what I was writing.
Midway through my 5th paragraph edit, I became aware of a woman two tables away, talking loudly and at record speed about her “no good ex and unrelenting year long custody battle", and ongoing real-estate issues. 
And when I say “loudly,” I mean, REALLY LOUDLY. Like so darn loud that me, and everyone else around me became privy to all the private details of her divorce, custody hearings, etc.   
It was uncomfortable and disrupting and I did my best to block out what she was saying and kept writing. 
What I wanted to do was go up to her, politely and quietly interrupt the conversation and let the woman know that EVERYONE in Starbucks could hear her very private and extremely loud conversation. 
But I didn’t. And yes, maybe I should have, but I didn't. Instead, I put on my headphones, dialed up the iTunes to "11" and kept writing. 
40 minutes went by, I got a lot accomplished and I decided to test my blood sugar. 
Quick as lightening, I grabbed my meter and test strips from my makeup bag, tested and I was 140.  
Sidebar: YAY ME.
Then I put away my meter and strips and I felt really good.  My draft was done and if I Ieft now, I could stop at a farm stand and get some fresh fruits and veggies for dinner. 
I shut down my computer, packed my bag, and just as I was about to get up and go, 
Loud Lady from two tables over came up to my table and said: Excuse me, but one of your used test strips fell on the floor.

OK, between you, me, and the DOC - I thought I’d packed up all my supplies, diabetes and otherwise, but I guess an old test-strip fell through the cracks - no shocker there because they always do. But, I digress.  
Me: I am so sorry, I thought I’d packed it up with the rest of my stuff. 
Loud Lady: Well, obviously you didn’t. 
Me: I’ll be more careful next time. Thanks again for pointing it out to me - I never want to leave a test strip trail. - unless it’s on my own property, then anything goes! Anyway, have a good night and a better day tomorrow. 
And I smiled and walked away,  
Could I have gotten in here face and verbally carved her a new one ?
Yep, I certainly could have. But here's the thing: When I looked at her , like really looked at her, 
I realized she didn’t look good at all. She looked frazzled and discombobulated and she looked REALLY sad. And I felt so sorry for her. 

 I was reminded that sometimes in this world it’s better to be nice than right, to be kind and rewind, and that everyone has a bad day. 
This woman was having a really horrible year and she needed as much kindness as she could get.  So I gave her some.