Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Way Back Wednesday: Diabetes Math Still SUCKS

I originally wrote the following post back on December 4, 2007- when Diabetesaliciousness was just under a month old. I'd just hung up the phone after a maddening conversation with my insurance company regarding my insulin RX coverage (or lack there of,) and my head was about to explode!

Unfortunately, not much has changed (except for the fact that my price for insulin has gone up) and "Diabetes Math" still infuriates me on EVERY level- be it financial or carb related.
And with Health Insurance being in the news- I thought it was appropriate to repost~

Diabetes Math When It Comes To My RX Bills....OR I Will Work For Insulin

So I was on the phone with my insurance company this morning trying to figure out why they won't let me order my insulin from a medical warehouse in 3 month quantities, like I do with my pump and blood testing supplies. By doing that, they would cover 80% of my insulin as a opposed to the mere 40% they cover for monthly non-generic Rx's.

I asked my insurance rep why they would cover 80% of my pump supplies and not my insulin when in actuality I wouldn't need my insulin pump if I didn't require the insulin (which fills said insulin pump) on a daily basis. Are you following? She had no real answer for me - besides the fact that those were the rules of my policy.

Let me just share the fact that I am charged $124.00 for two bottles of insulin per month - out of pocket -sometimes more, depending upon how generous they are feeling. I'm reimbursed exactly 40 %, $49.50 to be exact. At this rate, my credit card will never see a zero balance.

I explained to her that insulin doesn't come in a generic form and never has. Then I explained the "Diabetes Math" to her and asked her if she thought that was fair.
To my surprise, she said: "No Kelly, I don't think it's fair." I have to give her street cred for being honest and stating the obvious. But anyway you look at it, Diabetes Math still sucks.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dear Diabetes - I NEED A VACATION

Dear Diabetes-


I need a vacation from you, and all you entail.

I need a vacation from the blood sugar testing; the carb counting, the bolusing, the temporary basal rates of it all.

I need a vacation from blood sugar testing- Oh wait, I already mentioned that. But since I test my sugars between 10 and 15 times a day- I’ll mention it again.

My fingers and I need a break from the continual blood sugar testing!

I need a vacation from my infusion set’s getting caught on doorknobs.

I need a vacation from the unexplained highs and the unexplained lows.

I need a vacation from the stares….and the glares from the Food Police.

I need a vacation from the anxiety you bring with you to my world every single day your in it.

I need a vacation from the planning you require of me- every single time I walk out the door.

I need a vacation from continually having to consider you, whenever I try and plan my day-to-day living.

I need a vacation from the quadruple checking to make sure I have all your Diabetes paraphernalia including but not limited to: spare batteries, testing supplies, backup testing supplies, backup infusion sets, insulin, glucose tabs, & extra food “just in case” you decide to head south.

I need a vacation from being “tethered” to my plastic pancreas.

And damn if I don't need a vacation from my faulty pancreas!

I wonder what it would be like to spend even 1 day with a pancreas that was fully functional?

I need a vacation from you Diabetes.

And I can never take one, because you are with me - ALWAYS.

I accept that- because ignoring you won’t make you go away.

Ignoring you would mean you’d win- and that will never happen.

I own you- and I’m in charge of our day to day of it all- NOT YOU.

BUT, I can take a break from writing about you- even if it’s just for one day.

And thanks to Ninjabetic's super delicious ideal, my blog will be sans Diabetes for October 1, 2009. Because that day has been created and christened by Ninjabetic as "NO D-DAY."

I'm SO down with that!

All the Diabetes blogs will be chock full of all sorts of interesting stuff that day- and none of those posts will have anything to do with you!

On that day, maybe I’ll write about my love of water sports and the ocean.

Maybe I’ll write about my first job out of College- A freelance Features Writer at Atlantic City Magazine.

OR maybe I’ll write about How much I love cupcakes (wait a sec, scratch that,) been there, done that!

Maybe I’ll write about my fabulous nieces and nephews, all 12 of them.

And how they are ALL amazingly talented on all levels and how they make me so proud and happy.

Or maybe I’ll write about the day I broke like 10 EPA laws (unknowingly of course,) by swimming with the manatees in Key Largo- and how I fed the baby Manatee (I named him Scaboo btw- and even wrote a children’s story about him) with a fresh water hose and cradled him in my arms. Maybe I’ll write about how he grabbed my hand with his flipper (did you know that they actually have fingers under their flippers? Yeah, neither did I) and how he curled his flipper around my hand and held it. Maybe I’ll write about how that single act made me cry happy tears.

Honestly, I don’t know what I’m going to write, but I'll figure it out.

Diabetes, while I may not be able to take a true vacation from you, for one day, I’m not going to write about you!


Kelly K

Monday, September 28, 2009

Red Donut Rising...Or...A Carb Free Donut Is Not Necessarily A Good Thing

Red Donut Rising.........

This weekend turned out to be interesting on all fronts. Including diabetes.

It started Friday afternoon after I went to the Dermatologist's office to have some “Beauty Marks” looked at. After a complete body scan/ body map- I was told that my beauty marks were just that- but that I needed to come back in 6 months- and just in case I wasn’t already aware of this fact- I was incredibly full of freckles- even though I am a freak about sunscreen. Thanks Dr. – just want I wanted to hear…on all counts.

ON the positive- nothing needed to be removed- which was great, since I had plans to spend Saturday and in NYC and didn’t feel like going there with a face full of stitches.

Then I got a phone call from my friend who I supposed to be having dinner with.He and his significant other were sick (like in bed with fever sick) and were canceling.

I was OK with that. I still had plans to take the train and go to the American Diabetes EXPO at the Javitz Center. I was hopping to meet up with some DOC friends, maybe meet Charlie Kimball and see both his super cool car and tricked out juice helmet, and get all diabetes Diva-fied with the Divabetics.

MY train ticket was already booked and lets face it, a day in NYC is never a bad thing.

I tweeted about being in NYC contacted a few folks about going. I updated my new iphone with old DOC numbers from my old phone and new ones from email. For the peeps I hadn't contacted- I planned emailing them from the train.

Cut to 7:12 a.m.Saturday morning and me running down the steps. OK – I wasn’t running- I didn’t get the chance to. I literally air stepped (if there is such a move) off the first step and my legs flew up towards the sky, my wrist hit the railing and my butt slammed against the edge of the first, then the second steps. I saw stars.

When I got my baring straight I immediately noticed to things:

  1. I could move my arms and legs- which was a good thing.
  2. MY ASS WAS KILLING ME- which was not such a good thing.

I got up, with tears streaming down my face and walked slowly down the steps shaking like a leaf. I tried to get a feel for what had happened and what it meant. My left wrist was bleeding and if I had been a better frame of mind- I would have grabbed my monitor and tested- Why waste the blood?

I tried sitting and winced in pain- I stood up and tried sitting again- and felt a dull pain where my coxsix bone met my posterior and my legs felt like Jell-O. I knew I had to go to the Dr. I texted a few people in NYC, some got the texts, and some did not. Which meant in my rush to text them the news about my sore ass, I’d texted to the wrong numbers- which meant a complete stranger got the news of my bruised ego and ass- instead of Stacey from ACT 1.

As I was about to get in the car and drive to the ER, my neighbor (who was a nurse) saw me crying and walking like a duck. She asked me what happened and I told her. She shooed me in her house and said: You’ll be in the ER all day, let me take a look.

I weighed my choices.

Choice A: Me in the ER until sometime after lunch, (It was already close to 9) if I was lucky. I’d most likely leave with a large ER bill,an over priced donut ring, and maybe an RX for Tylenol 3, which I already possessed.

Choice B: Let my neighbor Lynne see my coccyx bone in all it’s glory and possibly prevent an excruciating long and drawn out visit to the ER.

I went with B and put my pride in my pocket and dropped my pants to my knees. No external bruising- which was good. Severe tenderness, slight swelling and redness. Lynne suggested I go buy a Donut Ring to sit on, ice for 20 minutes 4 to 6 times daily,lie on my stomach whenever possible, and walk when ever I could to keep the muscles stretched. I was also to avoid sitting and long car rides for at least 3 to 5 days- Yeah, no problem there Lynne!

Advil and or Tylenol were suggested to ease the aches and tenderness.

If I really felt the need to go see a Doc, she could recommend


Actual Aeriel footage of Kelly's Carb Free Donut~

So I bought a “carb free donut” at Rite Aide that only came in one color: FIRE ENGINE RED. Yes, REALLY. Not the color for calm and soothing, and definitely not the color of being subtle and blending in. I paid for it and blew it up in the parking lot because at this point I had no shame and didn’t give a crap who saw me.

I iced, I took my Advil and by 1PM I was going STIR CRAZY from lying on my belly and watching mindless television on such a gorgeous day.

My friend Cathy picked me up and we went to a near by street fair, where we saw this guy standing around and I have to admit- he made me smile- and laugh- which really helped! And it also made my butt hurt so yeah- everything is connected!

Who you gonna call? Ass Busters!

My blood sugars ran slightly elevated Saturday evening ( which may have had to to with the chicken Gyro I ate at the fair) but were fine yesterday.

So what did I learn from all this?

1. The first step is indeed a doozy.

2. My Asno Redondo (my fine round ass) is not quite as round, or as cushioned, or as fine as I thought.

3. And having to have a carb free donut is not necessarily a good thing. I'll take an RX for a fully loaded carb-filled cupcake any day ~

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Things That Make Me Go Hmmmmm? Continued.

I’m smart (not MENSA smart mind you,) but I have enough sense to come out of the rain so to speak. Anyway, there are things I just don’t get- and continually make me go: Hmmmmm.

And everyone once in a while - I post about them.

SO (and in no particular order) here are some additions to things in this universe that make me go Hmmm?

Algebra – And yes, I have the High School & college transcripts to prove it.

Why 2 bottles of insulin cost me $138 dollars out of pocket- and why is it that my insurance company ONLY reimburses me 40%, which comes out to be $55.

Why does my insurance company penalize me because insulin is not made in a generic form? It’s not like it’s a “luxury” medication to make my eyelashes grow longer, thicker, & more luxurious. I need insulin to live for goodness sake!

Why do people LOVE to eat Scrapple? Not me, of course. I have not ideal why ANYONE in the universe would eat something called Scrapple and I have a very vivid memory of my 4 year old self saying that very same phrase to my mother.

For those of you not in the East Coast Philadelphia, New Jersey, Delaware region-Scrapple is a “delicacy,” (and I use that term VERY LOOSELY) which one either loves or loathes. Let’s just say it’s made from the “scrap” pieces from a pig. I think I would loathe it- even though to be fair, I’ve never eaten it. And I NEVER will.

Why does my insulin pump battery need to changed the ONE time I forget to carry a spare?

Why do people watch “The Hills?” Now to fair, I’ve NEVER watched the show, so I may very well be missing out on something phenomenal. But for what

I’ve seen and read about the show and its stars, IT"S TOTALLY FAKE. And they “seem” to be shallow- like really shallow. More shallow then the bay at low tide.

How come whenever I’m at my moms and we’re watching TV, a commercial for ED (Erectile Dysfunction) comes on?

And why does she ask me every single time what ED is??? This NEVER happens to my siblings!

Why are people shocked when I tell them I’ve never eaten anything from Kentucky Fried Chicken?

Why are most shoes made for those of us made with wide feet so ugly and sensible looking? A wide toe span does not mean that one has no sense of fashion and or taste.

Why are Kim Kardashian and her sisters famous?

Why is it that that Every January 1st, the cost for my insulin magically goes down to $126 for two bottles, but then and just as magically, go back up to $138 once I reach my deductible?

Why do nail fungus commercials think I actually want to see either a real live nail fungus or an artist’s rendering on said commercial? I’ll take your word that they do indeed suck- I don’t need visuals!

Why do people only see this face:

Or These faces

Or These.....

As the faces of Diabetes?

People with Diabetes are a diverse group spanning many ages, races, and types and it's time the media represent all of our faces!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Protect Insurance Companies PSA-Brought to you By Funny or

The following is an exclusive to, exclusive will make you Laugh AND THINK!
Plus, one can never have to many Pygmy Horse references on ones blog ;)

Protect Insurance Companies PSA

Shared via

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dearest DOC- Thank You

Dearest DOC:


Thank you for always being there for me and welcoming me into your world with open arms.

Thank you for writing posts that sometimes make laugh, sometimes make me cry, but ALWAYS make me learn.

Thank you for allowing my diabetes voice to become more developed and defined, while still remaining a unique one among so many wise.

I learn so much from each and every one of you in Dblogville that it truly boggles the mind!

From the parents I learn about heartbreak, tenacity, and ALWAYS putting the ones you love before yourselves.

From the Type 1’s I’ve learned about my own issues and I see each and every one of you in myself.

For the Type 2’s, I’ve learn that your struggles are just as challenging as mine. I have come to realize that while we have different types of Diabetes, we are all still persons with diabetes. I am so GRATEFUL for that.

To the Type 1.5’s, you’ve shown me that there is another type of Diabetes entirely.

For those of you who struggle with Gestational Diabetes, you’ve taught me about sacrifice.

To the type 3’s you’ve shown me the other side of the diabetes coin. You’ve given me an intimate glimpse of how my diabetes affects the people who love me.

I love you all, and am so thankful to be part of your world.

Because of you, every single day I feel like I’m part of a whirlwind force in the world of diabetes- AND WE KICK ASS!

Lots of love, luck, laughter, and continued good health (faulty pancreases & all) to each and every one of you!!


Monday, September 21, 2009

Dear Diabetes Healthcare Professionals

Normally, I write my “Letters to and about Diabetes” on Tuesday. But after reading Amy’s post this morning and following (more like lurking) during last nights #hcsm discussion on twitter, I wrote the following letter.

FYI- I love and APPRECIATE my Endo- this letter is not to him- he gets A LOVE Letter. If it wasn't for Dr. Jabbour & his CDE Cheryl Marco, and my other CDE Gary Schiener (they also get their own letters of love & gratitude) I'd be lost!

I love and appreciate them all very much.

This letter is for other HCP's in the past (they shall remain nameless) who made me as their patient- feel that my concerns weren't valid and that my time and issues weren't important.

They were not "team players" in my goal towards living a great life with diabetes~

Dear Diabetes Healthcare Professionals:

When you talk AT me for the required 10 minute visit, don’t be surprised if I get frustrated because your throwing so much my way. I’m trying to take notes, while keeping track of (and ingesting) what your saying. You need to take a moment and ask: "If I understand and have any questions"

When you tell me what I should do without explaining the reasons why, don’t be shocked or angry when I have questions, or question your reasons. I will do both because I am the patient and it’s my body, it’s my disease, and I need answers in order to get the results we both desire.

I am your patient, you are my Dr. (Nurse, or CDE) and we need to work with one another as a team. You are my diabetes pit crew, and I am the human machine that needs to be in the best shape possible to continue to live a good life with my less than perfect pancreas.

It’s paramount that you speak TO and WITH me- and I will be offended if you don’t.

I need you to explain why a certain medication should (or should not be taken) and why. I’m the one whose putting said meds in my body- I need to know the reasons, and I need to know about side affects, both good and bad.

If you’d like my A1C to be below a certain number, explain and suggest ways that will help me stay on track. Keep in mind that you telling me to exercise and cut back on carbs and fats are not easy tasks and leave me with large gray areas regarding how to reach my A1C goal. I’d appreciate you suggesting little changes and tweaks that could equal positive results.

Don’t look at the clock during our time together. I’ve spent countless minutes (and sometimes hours) in your waiting room for god knows how long, this is my time with you.

If your going to send in an intern to ask preliminary questions, make sure he or she reads my file and knows what type of diabetes I have. For instance, if he has no clue why I’m only on short acting insulin and asks me “Why are you only on short acting insulin?”

It’s apparent he hasn’t taken the time to read my file- and I will be angry.

Take the time to teach your interns how to talk to the patient- it will not only make your job easier, but it will certainly put your patient more at ease. We are nervous and on the defense to begin with. When an intern comes in with attitude and doesn’t read my file- no good can come of it.

Take into consideration that I, as a diabetic am always being judged and questioned by everyone I know, and don’t know for that matter.

If I hear the you use the the term "Brittle Diabetic," I will realize that your not up to snuff in the world of diabetes, and there's a strong chance I will tell you so- and then leave, never to return to your office again.

Please take into to consideration that as a patient and person with over 30 years of experience living life with diabetes- I know many things about my disease that no other medical professional can- and that’s my life on the diabetes roller coaster.

While you as the Health Care Professional are an expert in your field, I am the expert at living with my disease.

There are certain things that I just KNOW. For instance, the day before my period, I feel like my blood sugar is in the 300’s, but for some reason, it will not go above 112. Or the fact that pasta is not friendly for me, but for some strange reason I can achieve Blood Sugar Nirvana with a small vanilla soft serve on a plain cone 10 times out of 10. I know when I’m getting sick two weeks before I’m symptomatic because of high numbers. I know my diabetes idiosyncrasies better than anyone else and do my best to work with them every day.

I’m also willing to acknowledge that your the Professional and that you may have some great suggestions on how to handle my diabetes idiosyncrasies better. Please acknowledge that I know a thing or two regarding my own diabetes as well.

I am an active and willing participant in my diabetes care and know the importance that research and technology plays in my disease. I require that you know all the latest Diabetes research and trials, because I want in!

I’d like (and I know it's asking a lot) for you to put yourself in your patient’s shoes. Imagine and recognize the emotional drain a chronic disease can have on one’s psyche, confidence, and attitude as well as the effects it has on ones body.

PLEASE consider the mental aspect of diabetes and you will not only understand your patient better, you’ll be able to treat them better.

By recognizing the mental, you will see better diabetes coping mechanisms in your patient.

Please know that the relationship that you and I have is one of the most important in my life- I rely on you to help me live my healthiest life possible.

Yes, I need and want you in my life and I hold you in very high esteem. But if I find that you consider me as a number and not a person with wants, needs, questions, and yes, KNOWLEDGE regarding my disease- I’ll find myself another who will.


I know I ask much, but in return I will test, and test again. I will set my alarm for 2 a.m checks if required. I will take my meds; count my carbs, call in my numbers, and I will make you proud.

Because making you proud is just as important as making myself proud- we are a team after all~

Much continued success on the road to my good health!

Kelly K

Friday, September 18, 2009

Computer Emergency And the Top 11 Reasons My Blood Sugars go HIGH

Yesterday was a computer emergency day. After installing new MAC software updates yesterday morning , I literally could not log into my computer - my screen wouldn’t get past the Apple logo and the curser was in a perpetual spin cycle.

After 15 minutes of trying to work on the problem myself, which included rebooting and reinstalling the battery and 30 minutes on the phone with technical support doing all types of command options, and disk reinstillations, I had to schedule an appointment at the Apple Store. I could feel my blood sugar boiling and I tried to remain calm. I was SO scared that I'd not only have to send my computer out for repair, but the fear of lost work made me nuts!

Thursday also happened to be a work travel work day, which meant I was traveling all afternoon -the whole work thing was made even more complicated because I was unable to print out the paperwork I needed for my appointments. Which added even more stress to such a stressful morning.

SO FRUSTRATING! Thank GOD for back up paperwork- no matter how sloppy my handwriting is!

For all that stress- my sugars remained relatively calm- and didn’t climb above 160 -and then ran low all afternoon! -Go figure?

I was able to set up a MAC Bar Genius appointment an hour away from my house (but closer to my work appointments) last night. Thankfully, the MAC Genius lived up to his title was and was able to fix all my software install issues on the spot and free of charge!

By the time I rolled home at 9 pm and sat down to eat dinner, the post I had just started to write that morning remained unfinished- and still is, but will be up next week.

This morning is also a work travel day, which means limited computer time. But I want to post because posting makes me happy.

SO here's the diabetes part-

A list of the top 11 things (in no particular order) that cause my blood sugars to shoot through the roof.

1. STRESS- Stress causes blood sugars to go u, like it or not. So learning how to handle stress is key. Sometimes I handle it very well, and other times, not so much.

2. Computer Issues- I could actually feel my blood sugar percolating when I started having computer issues yesterday. When the phone tech started to sound frustrated I really started to worry. I tried some yoga breathing tricks so

A. My blood sugar wouldn’t go crazy

B. I wouldn’t verbally destroy the MAC Tech!

3. Peoples uneducated views about diabetes: Those people drive me nuts and I could and have let them get the best of me and my blood sugar. Now, I no longer allow that to happen- most of the time. I use my knowledge to kick their Diabetes fallacies to the curb every chance I get. Other times, I completely ignore them.

4. Unseen infections: These suckers cause me

To have elevated numbers before I'm even symptomatic of a cold, sore throat, etc. THANK GOD for glucometers !

5. Road Rage: Morons driving in traffic = my blood sugars reaching new heights. I have to remember to just keep my eye on the road and breathe deep!

6. Fighting with loved ones: I don't like to fight, and even thought I’ve been told “I’m a dramatic person,” but I don't like drama (as in arguments) in public places. I’d rather have and solve disagreements behind closed doors. Unfortunately, some of my siblings thrive on drama.

I find that remaining calm in an argument really helps with the blood sugar levels- and in other areas as well. So does ignoring them when needed.

7. Having a loved one's say it's the diabetes that's making me angry- not the disagreement at hand. My ex boyfriend & I lived together for almost 5 years, and like most, we had our share of disagreements. Here's the kicker- whenever I'd start to make valid points and was in danger of actually proving my point. He'd say in a calm voice, with just a hint of sarcasm: Kelly, why don't you check your blood sugar, I think your really low or really high, because your not making sense. You know how you get when your numbers start to up or down.

Yes, it was infuriating and hurtful and very passive aggressive. Especially when he knew how hard I worked to keep Diabetes in check. But I came to realize that this was a tactic for him to get me off track- I learned to ignore it and stick to the issue at hand. Looking back, I realized that in his eyes- he was never wrong- no matter whom he was disagreeing with.

8. Pasta: I just cannot figure it out- Hence the reason we had to break up.

9. Infusion set malfunctions. We never know they’ve lost their super infusion set mojo until the numbers start to creep for no reason at all. Again- THANK goodness for glucometers!

10. Skunky Insulin: When insulin goes skunky, insulin looses its super power and our blood sugar numbers pay the price!

11. The unexplained. Sometimes (and yes, it’s MADDENING) numbers go high even when we do everything right. So we keep testing, keep blousing, keep breathing and WAIT.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Dear PWD's: Dance Among the Flowers & Embrace Your Imperfections!

Imperfect and Beautiful

Dearest PWD’s:

Embrace who you are, imperfections and all.

Each of you are amazing individuals with unique and wonderful gifts that this world needs. Never forget that- no matter what others might tell you. Or what you might tell yourself

Please take a moment to acknowledge how wonderful you are – even if you question your gifts and abilities. The more you say positive words about you, the more you’ll believe it- and so will the rest of the world.

I started writing this letter to the ladies of the DOC, but I changed my mind and decided to write to absolutely every person with diabetes yesterday after something really beautiful occurred.

I’d had hellish day at work. I wasn’t happy on many levels and decided to take some pictures of flowers and butterflies, hell, maybe I’d even find some puppies to put a smile on my face. Simple pleasures,right? Yeah pretty much- until I utilized the zoom lens and saw the real pictures-and they inspired me.

When I uploaded the picks I found something amazing. The butterflies in all their vibrant glory were imperfect-even after they changed from the lowly caterpillar. Several of the Monarch butterflies had damaged wings- yet they could fly and literally danced among the flowers with joy.

PWd’s, take your place in this world, dancing among the flowers, feeling the light of the sun on your face and remember that the world is at your feet. Continue to fight from having your wings clipped because of diabetes.

Know that you deserve in everything life has to offer in this world, faulty pancreas or not.

Everyone, every living thing has an imperfection, whether it’s outwardly visible or not.

Yes, some peoples imperfections are on the outside, we happen to wear ours on the inside- our illness is invisible. This week is Invisible Illness Week- I was reminded of that when Kerri wrote/vlogged about yesterday - YAY, I’m so glad she did!

And Karen over at Bittersweet wrote about it today, and it was beautiful.

PWD’s, our imperfections are a part of us, and I truly believe that our faulty pancreases help to make us who we are and what we are.

Yes, diabetes is a pain in the ass, literally and figuratively- no doubt about it.

But it gives us many everyday gifts like The DOC, the knowledge of our own bodies, and empathetic ears to all who need to be heard. It also forces us to pull ourselves out of the muck whenever we fall down and start again.

Don’t hide behind your imperfection. Don’t use it as an excuse not to do your best, or be the best you can be you.

Don’t use diabetes as an reason to shy away from love, your dream job, or your place in the sun because you think you’re not worthy.

Every single one of us is more than worthy of happy and rich life!

We are worthy of love, and to be loved.

And each of us deserves the best life has to offer.

Pwd’s, please remember that imperfect wings on a butterfly are still amazingly beautiful and still allow them to soar to amazing heights and distances.

Much Love to you all- and all your imperfect parts~

Kelly Kunik


Monday, September 14, 2009

D-Meet Up with Fran Carpentier

Fran & Kelly

There's absolutely nothing in the world like a D-Meet up!

Not to long ago, I had the chance to have lunch with a Fran Carpentier, a PWD, Mom, Wife, Senior Editor and Writer at Fran writes about food, health and diabetes and not necessarily in that order. She’s sat on many a diabetes board and or committee, has met and interviewed a real life Jonas, and is funny to boot!

I first met Fran at the Diabetes Research Institutes Research Update last October in NYC. We didn’t have much of a chance to talk one on one because we’d meet 10 minutes before we had to file into the conference. But I did get to see a glimpse of both Fran’s personality and diabetes perspective that day because she was an active participant in the DRI’s “Hype or Hope” discussion panel and she made me smile whenever she spoke.

I reconnected with Fran at the Roche Media Summit this past July and we bonded on the shuttle to the restaurant the night before the conference. Later that evening on the shuttle back to the hotel when Fran whispered in my ear, “ That meal was fantastic, but did you see what passes for Mozzarella in Indiana?” And with that, I knew we’d be friends for life.

Fran is one smart cookie, and one awesome PWD. She makes me laugh, while inspiring me to learn and use my voice.

When I knew I was going to be in NYC for a few days to attend a 4-day whirlwind wedding extravaganza weekend (I dare you to say that three-times fast) that included 4 days of wedding related parties and or activities, I emailed Fran and we scheduled lunch.

Cut to September 4th, and me sitting on the train, impatiently waiting for the minutes to pass. Fran called and asked, “What are your blood sugars like? Because I’m considering an Italian restaurant for us to meet at, but if your blood sugars are on the crazy high side- we can go somewhere else.”

That question right there and the reason for it made me all warm and happy inside. It’s little things like inquiring about another PWD’s blood sugar in order to pick a place to eat that are so uniquely diabetes centric. It wasn’t said accusingly or to make me feel bad. On the contrary, it was just said to make our lunch more enjoyable and less stressful in case my numbers happened to be going north. My blood sugars where good and Fran’s were heading south. She mentioned a Diner called The Tick Tock across the street from Penn Station and we decided that would be the place, with an ETA of 1:15.

My train arrived 15 minutes early so I went to the restaurant, hit the bathroom, and grabbed us a table in that order.

Fran walked in 10 minutes later and on time might I add, and we hugged each other tight- I WAS SO HAPPY TO SEE HER!

We started gabbing immediately and couldn’t stop! We talked about life; work, family, diabetes, and our lives with diabetes. The waitress “circled La Guardia”, and tried to take our order 4 different times, but neither of us had even looked at the menu. Finally, we told her we’d call her over when we were ready- and proceeded to talk for another 10 minutes before we cracked open out menus!

At long last, we flagged our waitress down and were ready (and really hungry) to order. We decided on breakfast for lunch. We both ordered eggs (Fran went with eggs sunny side up with turkey bacon & I ordered my eggs scrambled with salsa and turkey sausage- but I digress) and continued talking. The only time we one of us stopped was to listen when the other spoke.

Our meals arrived we were famished! Of course the food didn’t stop us from talking- it just added a few extra pauses here and there.

We sat and shared our experiences growing up with Diabetes and how the times had changed dramatically since we’d been diagnosed. We talked about previous relationships with friends and significant others, and what part diabetes played in those relationships.

We talked about how our diabetes had affected our families and how our families affected our diabetes.

Ironically, we both felt that diabetes was so much a part of who we are and how we live our lives, that things like taking our blood sugars have became surprisingly second nature and automatic. “I just do it automatically!” Fran stated emphatically- and I agreed!

Fran was diagnosed with Diabetes at 14, and she didn’t let it stop her in any way shape or form. She became a professional writer, participated in the Diabetes Control and Complications trial, got married, got divorced, met the love of her life and married him, and gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Fran lives her life in BOLD LETTERS AND SCREAMING CAPS and is a kindred spirit in every sense of the word. She’s this fantastic combination of sweet and sophisticated, with New York tough and street smarts all rolled into one. At the same time, she’s got a heart that’s bigger than the city itself.

When was time to leave, I didn’t want to say goodbye.

Fran is what my family would call “Good People.” And I would have to agree. BUT, I also think she's pretty damn FABULOUS~

Friday, September 11, 2009

Because This Day, And The People We Lost, Will Live In Our Hearts Forever

9.11.2001 Because this day and the people we lost, will live in our hearts forever. NEVER FORGET.

I DID NOT make this video, but found it to be very moving. It was created by ChMc1778 and can also be viewed on YouTube by clicking here


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Chatting With Charlie Kimball About Racing, Diabetes, Pittsburgh...And Cupcakes~

Charlie Kimball

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Open-Wheel Race Car Driver Charlie Kimball’s publicist, who invited me to chat with Charlie at the Novo Nordisk  Display at the ADA Expo in Pittsburgh on September 12th. Unfortunately, my  schedule wouldn’t allow for the trip to Pittsburg that weekend, but I still wanted to speak with Charlie because he and his diabetes story seemed VERY interesting.  So yesterday we  had the chance to chat...about all sorts of things.

K2: Hi Charlie, thanks for giving me a ring!

CK: Hi Kelly, thanks for taking the time to talk with me. It’s so great to meet face to face,or talk with people over the phone and Internet and share Diabetes stories.

K2: Speaking of stories, you have a pretty amazing one.  You’re a racecar Driver who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes a few years back. 

CK:  It’s a lot of fun, I love what I do, and I could have never have forgiven myself if I let diabetes get in the way of my dream of racing cars and my passion and enthusiasm for that. I would have never have been happy, that’s for sure.

K2. Well I really have to commend you on many levels. First of all, you didn’t let D stop you, which is huge. I mean it shouldn’t stop anyone –it’s a new way of approaching life.

Secondly, You could literally be a Rocket Scientist- and Engineer-I’m impressed by that! You were accepted into Stanford’s prestigious Mechanical Engineering program and said no Thank-you. You wanted  to race cars. I think that’s great! You must have known in your heart that racing was for you.

CK: There were some interesting conversations and some tense moments between my parents and I back in “03” when I graduated High School.  I was accepted into Stanford and I had to choose between engineering and racing cars.

My parents have always been supportive of EVERYTHING I do. My dad’s an engineer and works in racing, which is how I was initially exposed to it. He was the one going to the go-cart track with me, because he loved it as well.  My mom was the one who was always saying. Please don’t race. You need to get good grades, you need to get into a good college, you need to have a safety net and a backup plan because there’s just no way this can turn into a career, this is just a hobby. She’s had to comeback on that a little bit now.  She helped “drive” me in school just as much as my dad did and that really gave me the confidence. Having Stanford on my resume is a big deal. People, even other race teams read that and are like: WOW, you got into to Stanford and turned it down, you obviously LOVE racing. That’s a big deal!” It’s helped me throughout my life.

K2: I’m sure it has- I’m impressed by both your driving AND getting into Stanford and saying,“You know what, that’s great, I can go back, but I want my dream!”

CK: That was the biggest point I had with my parents. I asked them how long has Stanford been around and how long will the racing be around?   I need to seize this while I can! 

I can always go back to school, and I plan to.  When I retire from racing and can physically no longer compete at the level I want to, I plan on going back to a university and getting a degree. Whether it’s Engineering or something completely different like Renaissance Art History, to broaden my horizons. I can’t very well have a family one-day and tell my kids that they have to go to college if I haven’t.

One of the things about traveling the world and living in Europe is that the education that I get has a lot to do with what I put into it.

A lot of the value from college isn’t necessarily the name of the school on the diploma, but the effort I put into the learning.

K2: Speaking of learning and Europe, did you feel it was easier to break the stereotype of the “Slow American Racer” or the Person with Diabetes Stereotype?  Which was easier to break?

CK: Um, that’s a really great question and I’ll have to think a little bit on the response to that.

K2: I’m REALLY curious about that.

CK:  I’m comfortable answering that.

 I think that the Stereotype w/ the racing was something that I found to be a bigger challenge because it had been confirmed in three of four sets of different situations.  American Drivers had gone to Europe and had expected something since they were exposed to something completely different and, as a result weren’t able to be successful. So as a result, there was a precedence set that I had to overcome.

Where with having Diabetes, I’ve been overwhelmed with by how positive the community as a whole is. To be honest, there wasn’t a precedence with Open-Wheeled racing with the US and Diabetes, so I didn’t feel like I had to overcome a stereotype that I couldn’t race because of the Diabetes. I believed in myself that I could do it. And that I was going be as good an athlete/Driver with Diabetes as without, so I just had to go out there and prove it to everyone else that that was true. Does that make sense?

K2: Yes, it absolutely makes sense-D doesn’t hold you back!

Now when you were diagnosed, what was the first thought that came into your head?

CK: To be honest, my first thought was: DIABETES?? Don’t older people get that??

K2: Actually, that’s VERY common misconception Charlie.

CK: I’m COMPLETELY up front Kelly; I was 110% ignorant about Diabetes.

My diagnoses was completely different that yours, I don’t have ANY family history of Diabetes. There’s nobody in my immediate family that has Type 1 Diabetes. And being diagnosed at 22 was more atypical. So I sort of had never been exposed to it. I didn’t really have friends or close friends that had it in High School or grade school.  But since my diagnoses and looking back at my school years, I remember thinking, “Oh yeah, that girl had diabetes.“  But had never really put it together with what it REALLY meant.’

I remember thinking, “Well that diagnoses can’t be right!”  And then I thought about racing. (I was diagnosed in England, and was living near Oxford at the time) and said to the Dr: I’m supposed to be on a plane tomorrow for Portugal for a race this weekend. That’s cool right?

And he said, NO.

When he said no it forced me to take a step back and think: What are the bigger implications of this diagnoses. If this is a big enough deal to keep me out of the car this weekend, then can it keep me out of the car indefinitely? What does this REALLY mean?

So at that point I went home from the Doctors office and spent an afternoon Googling and reading all types of horror stories on line. I was quite lucky that my dad was coming over for the race. So I went and picked him up from the bus station in oxford and we went to dinner and we sat down to dinner and I said: Dad I went to the Dr. today. And he said: OK.  And I said: I might have Diabetes. And then burst into tears. So once I started to share it, even with just my dad. I saw the value in talking about it and sharing it and now I’ve been able to take that on a greater scale w as many people as possible.

K2: GOOD FOR YOU CHARLIE. So many people have the opposite reaction when they’re first diagnosed.

CK: EXACTLY. Because I’d missed the race, we’d put a press release out, and explained about my diagnoses. I was working with a manager at the time who gave me great advice. He said: Don’t be afraid to talk about it. Treat the diagnoses like an injury and talk about it with everyone. And as soon as you recover, you’ll be back in the car and racing.

That forced me to get the story out and people started coming back to me and saying things like. “ I was diagnosed and I buried my head in the sand for a few weeks. But now I face it head on every day and I feel great!  Your going to have good and bad days, but if you take the same discipline that you apply to your racing and apply it to your diabetes, there’s no reason you won’t be back winning before you know!

CK: One of the biggest reasons why I partnered with Novo Nordisk and am doing all this media is that when I was first diagnosed, the support I received from complete strangers (D brethren so to speak) they reached out and TOTALLY supported me.

The positive feedback I received from the Diabetes community was OVERWHELMING! Having the opportunity to give back and return the favor was a dream come true for me. Because not only am I continuing to do what I love, but I get the chance to help people while I do that- there’s not a more fulfilling life than that!

K2: We are a tight community and we definitely support out own-and everyone else to, but it absolutely gives you a different outlook on things. Once you have a chance to process it.

CK: EXACTLY. I work with Dr. Ann Peters at USC Medical and she said to me: The way I see it is the Diabetes Doctors  -the Endo’s, and all the people in the Diabetes community. We’re not heart surgeons, were not ER docs. We don’t come in last minute, crack chests, start hearts, save a lives.  We fight this thing day in, day out, minute in, minute out. Good and bad days. It’s more like a baseball season, you’re not trying to win every point, every game, and you’re aiming for a majority and your just trying to slide your averages. It takes a lot of love and a lot of care, and there isn’t a huge amount of money in it. Yet, it’s a very positive community because there’s so much passion involved.  

And that’s something I really relate to the racing. Is the passion involved and the discipline involved in the routine.

K2: Passion and discipline are absolutely true- but the great thing about being diagnosed today is that you get to go off and have a cupcake now and then, because things like that are no longer taboo thanks to the technology. It’s a great time to be diagnosed in that respect.

CK: I completely agree. One of the things when I first was diagnosed was I thought, oh God, people are going to think I’m a junkie because there’s going to be needles and vials and blood everywhere.  Your mind goes to the worst places. And she handed me the Levemir FlexPen. And I was like: look I just got diagnosed with Diabetes, I don’t need a pen! I need insulin, right?

I don’t use a pump because of the temperature in the racecar, and the temperature from being under my fireproof suit and clothing. And I’m hitting my goals with the Levemir FlexPen and Novolog. It’s flexible. When I’m headed out to a race I can just grab my Helmet and my Flexpen and I’m out the door!  SO different from what I envisioned my treatment plan being when I was first diagnosed!

The Technology has come SO far. I wear a CGMS and I Velcro it to the steering wheel so I can keep an eye on my numbers in the car and out. I have ranges I try to hit before I get behind the wheel.

 If my numbers start to come down a little to fast, I drink bubble mounted through the car, so I can get OJ through my helmet. It’s like a Camelback (like the cyclists wear) that's mounted in the car with a tube that runs out and up to my helmet and into my mouth.  So I have the microphone on one side of my helmet, and the drinks tube on the other.

K2: YES, I read about it- send me a pic! That’s great and highly creative. Is that like a little bit of your engineering talent coming into play?

CK: I think so. I was sitting with Dr. Peters- to be honest it was her ideal because she said: We need to be able to get you liquid during the race because we want to keep you hydrated, but we also need to be able to get you sugar if your getting low. The cars have drinks bubble in them with just water for hydration. We need to have one that’s for hydration and one that’s for sugar. And I said, the races are only about 45 minutes long, I don’t need the hydration - I'll just wear it for juice.  It took working with the team and finding a good location, and routing it into my helmet. The systems were all in place it just took a little bit of impetus.

K2: It just took some thought,deligation, and a little engineering!

Charlie's tricked out Juice Helmet! 

K2: What’s the # 1 Point you’d like for others to take away at the ADA Expo in Pittsburgh?

CK: The most important point that I want to make with PWD’s is that DIABETES DOESN’T HAVE TO SLOW YOU DOWN. My life is hectic; it’s fast paced on and off the track. Diabetes is with me in the passenger seat the WHOLE time. I’m in the Driver’s seat, not Diabetes. I’m still very much in control of my life, yet it’s always along for the ride, but it doesn’t slow me down.

With good management and good control, and the medical advances and technology, there’s no reason you can’t do EVERYTHING you want in life

 K2: I believe that once people come to terms with their diabetes, they receive gifts from their diabetes. What gifts has diabetes given you?

CK: When people hear that I was diagnosed with diabetes they always say: That’s to bad, or I’m sorry to hear that. My reply is: I’m not. Yes, if I could I’d give it back, and yes; I still have “bad” Diabetes days. But I do have more good days than bad at the moment.

I’m a better athlete with Diabetes than I was before. I’m more conscientious about my training. I’m more aware of my nutrition and how my body reacts to that nutrition. I’m more focused, and I enjoy EVERY SINGLE LAP in the car more because I nearly lost it because of the diabetes.

Having diabetes has given me an extra sense of APPRECIATION for what I do.

K2: That's BIG.

CK: I’m really excited about going to Pittsburgh, I’ve only ever been there once before and then it was for a really quick trip. I fully expect the weather to be better this time because last time I was there it was the middle of winter and there was a lot of snow on the ground! Being from Southern Cal, that shocked me a little bit.

I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone at the Diabetes Expo. I’m looking forward to meeting people, seeing the Divabetics in action .

K2: Oh those Divabetics are a crazy fun group- I’ve seen them in action!

CK: The ADA Expo in Pittsburg is going to be a great way to interact and learn from others PWD’s stories and hopefully, they learn from mine. I’m excited to share my racecar and share my story, show people my racing helmet. I’m constantly learning about Diabetes and what works for my Diabetes.

K2: That’s a great way to think. Plenty of people think they have nothing more to learn when it comes to diabetes. I’m with you, I think you can learn something new everyday!

CK: They day I stop learning is probably the day I stop living.

K2: I like the way you think Charlie!

Now, for a car question Charlie: Seriously, do I really need to switch into 4th if I’m only going 24 miles per hr?

CK: I don’t. OK I drive a stick a manual. Doing what I do, I like to be an active driver .

So I drive a manual and my rule of thumb is: 1st  gear up to 10mph, 2nd gear up to 20 mph, 3rd for 30 mph and 4th for 40mph, and 5th above that. That works for me.

K2: I figured if anyone would know, you would.

CK And just a final point Kelly. My favorite cupcake is Red Velvet Cake with white Cream Cheese for future reference of course.

K2: REALLY? For future reference that sounds delicious!

CK: Yeah, I love cupcakes to. I was having a debate with my sister (whose getting married next summer,) and I think she should have a Cupcake Tree instead of a wedding cake. I think she’s on board, but her fiancé still needs some convincing !

It was GREAT talking with Charlie- I learned a lot,and not just about gears! Charlie is a man of many tastes and goals. Who lets nothing, including Diabetes steer him off track. BTW- All racing puns were TOTALLY intended!

If your in the Pittsburgh area on Saturday, September 12th. Be sure to stop by the Pittsburgh ADA Diabetes Expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center between the hours of 9 & 4 and give Charlie a big hello! If you can't make it to Pittsburgh, you can follow Charlie on Twitter @racewithinsulin