Thursday, August 10, 2017

Diabetes Makes Me Do That Thing Where I'm Always Checking

So..... checking as it relates to diabetes - does it drive you batty and please tell me I'm not the only one!
Do you have any tips? 

If so, please feel free to share - diabetesalicious minds want know!
Also, I apologize in advance for the ridiculous amount of times I use the words "checking," and "check." 
Diabetes makes me do that thing where I’m always checking. 
Checking to see if I have enough insulin and other meds; checking to see if I have my pump attached to my person before I walk out the door, and now checking to see if I have my PDM because I’m currently podding. 
Checking to see if I have enough test strips on my person and in my stash. 
Checking to see if I have enough pump supplies. 
Checking to see if I have enough juice; juice boxes, glucose tabs, and regular food in my house. 
Checking to make sure I have glucose tabs, or other low treats in my car.
Checking out the latest diabetes related studies, news, and the likes there of. 

Checking for little signs of diabetes burnout before they become big signs.

Then there’s the paper work required for all of the above, checking to see if my insurance not only covers certain med/supply, etc.,making sure RXs are up to date, doctors appointments are scheduled. 

Then there are things I shouldn't even have to check for, but must -  because someone else didn't do their job. Case in point - making sure my insurance company covers the right copay. 
Since I switched up my plan on March 1, my insurance company has charged me my old 60/40 co-pay for two different prescriptions instead of my current 80/20 co-pay. 
That's a big damn difference.

Guess who was the one to figure it out? 
Guess who was the one who spent two hours on the phone trying to fix it the first time and hour on the phone the second time making sure it was fixed? 

But back to checking. 
Checking blood sugars, checking for ketones, checking to make sure I have extra everything before I go out the door and start my day. 

Most days it doesn’t bother me because the checking has become second nature and I've figured a way to streamline my prep check. 
I have a cool looking (and slightly bigger than my 6+ iPhone when in it’s otterbox,)size brightly colored/insulated bag I use for my diabetes.
I keep my PDM; meter (which I don’t bring now, because I can check my blood sugar via the PDM,) test strips, pump/pod supplies, K-Tape, insulin, backup batteries. 

But even with streamlining, there are still some days when diabetes and checking throws me for a loop - like if my blood sugars are wonky, or if I’ve run out of test strips, or left something D related on the counter.... at home....or at the restaurant I've just left. 
When that happens, I feel like I also forgot to check for my sanity before I left the house, because I clearly feel like it's missing. 

And on those days when I feel as if I’ve checked for my sanity a million times and can’t locate it to save my life - I’m glad I have the Diabetes Online Community, DSMA, and my diabetes peeps.
“Checking out,” and taking a few minutes to read a blog post, chat on twitter, or text with a D friend - that makes all the difference. 
That right there is the best medicine - and I thank you guys for it.   

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Diabetes And Changing Things Up~

I’m a go with the flow kind of gal, except of course when I’m not. 
I love new experiences, meeting new people, and exploring new places. 
But I’m not great with big life changes - even when they're good - and I know that about myself - It’s one of the things I struggle with and I know it holds me back. 
I have no idea why I struggle with life changes so much - but I’m pissed that I do and I’m actively working on fixing this issue - and some others. 

I liken how I embrace life changes to my love of swimming in the ocean - Seriously, it’s like one of my favorite things in the world to do! I love swimming, surfing, body surfing waves, and embracing my inner dolphin.
 I’ve been going out over my head since I was a kid  - jumping off a boat and learning to swam towards Lucy the Elephant at the age of 4. I bought my first surfboard at 25, There was a time I'd take a wave runner out on a 40 mile ocean jaunt no problem - and to this day I swim in the ocean until I start to turn blue. 
But as I grew up, I want from diving in the ocean without thinking... to easing my way in, jumping and dodging waves through the shallow water, cursing the cold waves as they hit my body and splashed my face - until I was finally ready to dive in and take the plunge. 
FTR, I know in my heart and head that if I would just take the plunge and dunk my head under the waves, the water would immediately feel warmer - but I still don't. 
I ease my way in - It takes me a good 5 minutes to dive under my first wave  - and then I’m home free, feeling groovy, and riding waves until I'm too tired to continue. 

Which brings me diabetes - after years of wearing an insulin pump with an expired warranty and using the same brand glucose meter for most of the time, I knew it was well past time to make some changes in my diabetes tech management. 
It’s not like I didn’t want to - I totally did. But my old insurance deductible was super high (and my co-pay, not what I would call generous,) and don’t even get me started on commitment issues re: warranties
But enough was enough, I was well overdue and I knew I needed updated diabetes technology in order to not only stay healthy, but to utilize the elixir of life we call insulin. And I was THIS CLOSE to meeting my deductible - it was the perfect time to switch things up. 
Sidebar: I’ve been dealing with abdomen scar tissue issues for quite some time - problematic on all fronts - not only absorption issues, but I was literally having to change my infusion site every 24 to 34 hours, instead of every three days because of absorption issues - and that gets freaking expensive
I tried my legs and that would work slightly longer, but I could never navigate my arms (tubing issues,) or my back (contortion issues). 
I spent an inordinate amount of time on the phone battling my insurance company to pay for extra boxes on infusion sites, my daily 24 hour insulin insulin consumption kept creeping up and up, as did my frustration levels. 

I seriously considered taking an extended pump vacation, but after having a heart-to-heart with my fabulous Endo Dr. J, and we both felt that Insulet's OmniPod would most likely be the best solution for me. 
I could give my abdomen a much needed and extended break from infusion sites, while trying out other sites on my body. Plus, I'd have 45 days to see if the switch was working for me.

After talking with the some folks at the Insulet/Omnipod booth at the Children With Diabetes, Friends For Life Conference, the paper work was set in motion, my insurance company approved my switch from 15 years on Medtronic, to Omnipod (and paid for a nice portion of it,) and from LifeScan test strips to FreeStyle - no problem. 

Two big diabetes changes for me in a relatively short time.
Beginning with a convo at my Endo's office on June 5th, followed by a convo in Orlando this past July at CWD,FFL, and officially kicking-off on July 31st, at 3 pm, eastern standard time - when I inserted my first OmniPod. 

How's going?? 
My next post is all about my first 10 full days podding - stay tuned!!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Finally, My Experience at #CWDFFL2017 - It Was AWESOME

First my apologies for not posting sooner. 5 days after I returned from CWDFFL, I came down with a nasty viral infection (that I’d probably been fighting off since before I went to Orlando,) that left me with a low grade fever and down for the count for a little over 2 weeks.I've never felt so horrible in my life, I never want to feel that way again. 
More about that ridiculousness in another post because late or not, I want to share my Children With Diabetes Friends For Life, experience.
And yeah, I agreee - IT'S ABOUT DAMN TIME.
When People ask me about the Children with Diabetes, Friends For Life Conference - it’s hard to put into words - and it’s not. 
It’s truly amazing being around people who “get it,” without ever having to utter the D word. 
The immediate friendship and feelings of “me too," that green and orange bracelets bring not only prove that you are not alone - it’s also makes you feel safe and connected  - even if you’re attending the conference by yourself - TRUST ME. 

HAPPY - so much happy!
Watching First Timers became part of the mix makes my heart happy for several reasons. I was a First Timer once, I know how it feels - I also know how it feels when the First Timer fears wash away and the feelings of happiness and community replace them - it’s freaking magical. 

Having a green bracelet wearing child see your green bracelet and watch as you change out your insulin pump reservoir between sessions, and then come up to you all excited saying: Mommy and I just changed out my reservoir too!
And then you get excited and all of a sudden you’re grabbing snacks from the snack table and have become fast friends - and friends for life. SO COOL.

All of It
Laura Hugs; hanging with my DOC peeps in real life, watching some special children with diabetes (and their equally amazing siblings,)  I’ve loved over the years grow up and continue on with the fabulous - And damn if I don’t swell with pride!

Hanging out with friends who have become family and that you see for one week every year  - so many hugs, so much laughter - and it makes you feel great to be alive!

Meeting new adults and children with diabetes and having them become part of the tribe.
And don't even get me started on the Jalapeno Margaritas!

Caring - so much damn caring. 
The unspoken rule of “no man or woman left behind,” and seeing it put into action time and time again. Like when your friend experiences a low and you and your friends spring into action - one goes and grabs a soda, the other offers glucose tabs, and another stays with with your friend - and a Disney employee name Christal from the Snack Bar, runs up with juice and food because Disney not only knows that  CWD,FFL is in town, but are there to help anyone in a green bracelet experiencing a low/ high blood sugar, or anything in-between. 

Whether it’s having friends (who are parents to a grown up t1 daughter and newly minted mommy,) pick you up juice boxes and bottled water at Publix because they worry about you having middle of the night lows - and the wife waits in her car while her husband walks you back to your room and refuses to let you carry any packages. 
Also, said D mama was very specific as to what brand and flavor of juice boxes required because she knows PWD (people with diabetes,) have their preferences. 
Or your PWD friend from the UK, who brings you Cadbury chocolate from Merry Olde England because she knows how much you dig British sweets! 

There’s the feeling of safety felt when I experienced a nasty low on my way back from the exhibit hall - and my friend Joanne ( an awesome chick and DMomma,) sat with me while I downed a Mickey Mouse Ice Cream pop. 
Then Jeff Hitchcock stopped over and said - it’s OK, you’re not alone -and again, the feelings of safety and security washed over me. 

I kid you not, you're awe inspired every damn day at CWD,FFL. In awe of the children, adults, staff, speakers, performers, faculty and yes, in awe of the sunsets! 

On a personal note, I watched in awe as children with and without diabetes come up to the IwishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes booth and drop truth bombs and words of wisdom - same goes for the adults! 

Personal note, part 2. There’s the gift of my own personal journey -not always diabetes related - personal insights from D friends, when they saw that I was  struggling with things having nothing to do with diabetes - and care enough about me to take me aside and talk. 
You know who you are. Thank-you and IRREPLACEABLE. 

CWD,FFL feels like home, because it has become just that to all those who attend. 

Bottom Line: Every day at CWD,FFL there are boatloads of wisdom; tears, laughter, (SO MUCH LAUGHTER,) knowledge, understanding and everything else in between - you are surrounded by those feelings for a solid week.

The Children With Diabetes, Friends For Life Conference is wonderful and overwhelming all rolled into one - and I wouldn’t trade that week in Orlando (IN JULY,) for anything! 

If you have a child with diabetes, or an adult with diabetes - give yourself the gift of attending CWD,FFL!
Here's the LINK to all the upcoming CWD conferences so you can do just that!
And you can thank me when we’re hanging out by the pool next July ;)

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Batteries Need Charging - Headed out to #CWDFFL2017

So it's been a while since I've posted and I apologize. 
It's been a little crazy on this end and honestly, I've been burned out as of late - like crazy burned out - my preverbal well is dry and my batteries need recharging - and I can cop to it. 
Which is why I'm incredibly grateful to be flying out this morning to attend The 2017 Children With Diabetes, Friends for Life Conference in Orlando, Florida. 
I can't wait to get my green bracelet on, (literally and figuratively,) and spend 5 days with friends who are indeed family. 
Working and attending amazing sessions, running the #IwishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes booth, and spending time with people who "get it!"
Also, did I mention that all the cwdffl meals have carb counts listed?

follow the #cwdffl2017 hashtag and I promise to post from the Orlando! 
If you're attending - I can't wait to give you a hug! 

Friday, May 26, 2017

HOLY CRAP, That Ginormous Sweet Potato Looks Like A Pancreas!

I went to by my local Farmers Market early this morning, 
stopped at a stand and saw this ginormous sweet potato 
and was like:


It totally does - and now you can't unsee it.

And then I bought it for a whopping 50 cents.
You read right - it cost 50 freaking cents!
It really is ginormous & weighs 3 pounds.
It's bigger than my face. 

And someone @ the farmers market has the pic to 
prove it!

Also, I have no idea how long to bake because, WOW.
I bought these strawberries, too because DAMN!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Diabetes Blog Week Day 5: More Than My Diabetes

Sandbar at sunset.
Photographed as found.
Today is the last day of Diabetes Blog Week (THANK YOU KAREN,) and it's all about our passions besides diabetes
I am more than just my diabetes and I certainly have other interests besides diabetes. 
I love cooking and love cooking for others.
I love traveling and I need to do more.
Children and animals make me smile and I try and spend as much time as I can with both.
Like my mother and her mother before her, I love gardening and growing things. 
Getting my hands dirty and growing veggies and flowers from seeds, to sprouts, to full bloom and on the vine make me feel accomplished, peaceful and whole.
Books have been my life long friends, going to the movies is and attending plays are important to my my emotional well-being. Speaking of, I love performing and I miss it. 
Yours truly is a fan of all things sparkly because I am my mothers daughter.
I have a large collection of antique jewelry (some real, mostly costume, all sentimental) spanning the decades and I love learning about and finding new pieces. 
My collection adds flair to my most basic outfits - as well as my most fab.
Native American jewelry are stories in silver and stone and I love learning and wearing those stories. 

The beach and the ocean bring me peace  - I love being in and on the water - along the shore and in the waves are where I feel most free and centered.

Same goes for art in all mediums, though photography is the one I actually work in.
I LOVE  photography. 
Taking photographs is way for me to see the world through different lenses and perspectives - it’s also my therapy.

There was at time I loved to have my picture taken - now I like to be the one taking the pictures.
Some of my photos are in this post and I hope they make you smile!
Stormy seas.  
Autumn on the beach~

Rodin's "The Thinker."
Philadelphia, PA

The Women's March/1/2017
Architectural Details
Salad Days~
The three amigas

Thursday, May 18, 2017

#TBT #dblogweek Day 4: The Diabetes Stuff That Brings Me Down

It's day four of Diabetes blog week.
Today's topic is a #TBT from the 2014 Diabetes Blog Week. It's all about emotions and diabetes - the diabetes stuff that brings us down - and what brings us back up.  
May is Mental Health Month - diabetes impacts our physical and mental well being. Depression and diabetes go hand in hand - talking about it is key -as is know that we aren't the only ones who struggle. 
Seeking help and support from friends and professionals can only help. 
There's so much about diabetes that brings me down.

The fact that diabetes is 24 X&, 365 days a year with no time off for vacations or good behavior and causes me to experience diabetes burnout more often than I’d liked

The stress that diabetes puts on me (both physically and mentally,) has the ability to make me feel like Atlas - and sometimes I fear that the weight will cause me to topple. 
Add the stress that diabetes has put on my family, and my friends with and without diabetes, and it is easy to become the girl with the weight of the world on her shoulders
The fact that the public, for the most part - never gets diabetes right, and the same can be said for diabetes and the media. 
Diabetes Media Muck-ups put all of us on the defense and has us perpetually correcting the population. 

Don't even get me started on blood sugar craziness!

Then, there’s the people I’ve loved and lost to diabetes - I miss them them terribly and when I think about diabetes cutting their lives short it makes cry and makes me relive the grief of losing them.
Losing friends to diabetes is fucking hard.

Seeing my parents hearts break because they lost their child to diabetes was devastating. 
It changed our lives and our family dynamic forever - and to this day, we are are still dealing with the ramifications of Debbie's death.  
Personally, there are moments when I wonder the type of person I would have been and the life I would have led had diabetes not taken Debbie from us. 

And on those days, when diabetes brings me down into the darkness - light peaks through the darkest of clouds, and I am reminded of the gifts that diabetes has brought me.  

Those gifts are you. 

Our community, the Diabetes Online Community, has given me so much support, friendship and love. 

My diabetes friendships that span the globe, enrich my world, and have given me a strong sense of self and determination. 
Diabetes has given me a voice and requires me to speak up for myself and for the people I love. 
Diabetes (and my mom,) taught me to pull myself up by bootstraps and pull myself out of the muck. 
Sometimes on my own, other times I can’t do it alone. 
And in those times when I am struggling to stand up in, and get of the muck the most,  the Diabetes Online Community lifts me up, dusts me off, and acts as my compass and travel companions on the road to better. 

And I am grateful for the gifts. 

****FTR, I know I missed day 3 of Diabetes Blog Week. 
I will make it up and post, but I didn't want to get behind on day 4, too!