Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Diabetes Hardware & The Moisturizer/Sunscreen Chess Game

Re: Dex, I am only referring to the G6
I need/require good moisturizers for both face and bod - because thank-you dry skin!
Also, I like to feel silky soft and smooth~ 
And I use sunscreens with built in moisturizers for both and you know I reapply liberally. 

But thanks to diabetes - I'm always playing a continual moisturizer/sunscreen chess game - 
as in thinking three steps ahead re: my next Omnipod placement and immediately after putting on a fresh pod.  
OK, 3 days ahead re: where my next Omnipod placement will be. 
Heck, sometimes even six days ahead! 

Bottom line: If you wear diabetes hardware, you know that moisturizers and pod/pump/cgm/libre stickums don't always work well together. 

The struggle is real. 
Calculating my next move on the chessboard that is my body - 3 days in advance has become part of both my diabetes brain and regiment, as is acknowledging that Skin-tac is both ally and enemy. 

Do you find yourself playing the diabetes hardware Vs moisturizer/sunscreen chess game ?
If so, what's your 'tactic' ? 

Monday, September 24, 2018

Diabetes In The Wild At The Harvest Moon Party~

Friday night I received an invite via text to a Saturday night Harvest Moon party, promising good people, good fun, and a beautiful view of the moon.
Sidebar: Tonight (September 24th,) is the official Harvest Moon for the Americas - but it’s pouring buckets in my neck of the woods so I’m not sure I’ll see it. 

But I digress. 

Cut to Saturday night. I drove over to the party, parked my car and with pumpkin bread in hand, walked through the front door and into the kitchen - where I was immediately greeted with hugs and by people I haven’t seen in ages, while simultaneously being introduced to new faces. 

Thanks to kismet, I had two “diabetes in the wild,” encounters with two kick-ass women with personal and professional connections to diabetes. 

"Diabetes in the wild," encounter number one occurred outside on the deck - where my friend was talking to a young woman. I didn't know anyone out and the deck and felt like a dork. My friend motioned for me to come over. I did, he introduced us and mentioned that I wrote a Diabetes Blog. 
Turns out she was a grade school teacher who had a student with t1. 
She told me how she’d become aware of all things diabetes related and was learning more everyday. 
We talked about growing up with diabetes, she asked me about my low and high blood sugar tells and I told her.
Two weeks into the school year and this woman knew a lot about t1 and clearly wanted to learn more. Quite frankly, I WAS IMPRESSED. 
And IMO, her t1 student was lucky to have her as both a teacher and a friend. 
I gave Teacher Lady a few resources including CWD and Coco The Monkey.  
HELLO KISMET. As soon as I mentioned Coco, I remembered that I had a set of Coco books in my trunk. 
Sidebar: I was going to give the books to a local t1, but she already had them - so the books had been living in my trunk for a month.

I went out to my car; searched my trunk and found the Coco books, went back inside and handed them over. Teacher Lady couldn't wait to check them out over the weekend and then read them to her class!  

We exchanged numbers and I told her to keep in touch.
Later on in the evening, when I was bolusing via my Omnipod PDM for some crazy delicious autumn leaf sugar cookies, Teacher Lady walked over and said to me on the sly: You good? 
I told her I was and we both laughed. Girlfriend had my back and didn’t blink twice about me bolusing for cookies.

The second “diabetes in the wild” moment occurred later on in the kitchen, when I met a mom of a t1. dMama's daughter was now a mother herself and had lived with diabetes for over 3 decades. 
Like magnets to steal, we started talking about all things diabetes related. 
We discussed surviving the Diabetes Dark Ages, and dMama told me that the very first glucose meter her daughter ever used cost over a thousand dollars and wasn’t covered by insurance.

We discussed scar tissue, diabetes idiosyncrasies, the cost of insulin, and everything in between. We talked about diabetes challenges - back in the diabetes dark ages and ones we struggle with in real time.
I told dMama about the Diabetes Online Community and peer support and gave her some links and info I thought her and her daughter would find helpful. 
Once again I found myself exchanging contact information with someone who “got it.” 

As I put the key in the ignition, I looked up at the moon, partially hidden by deep purple and navy night clouds, and thought about how we are all connected - and how once again, diabetes proves it. 
The amazing kick-ass women I’d met both live near me, each with personal and professional connections to diabetes, and I’d never met either one of them until now - even though we shared mutual friends. 

Bottom Line: The universe is big, the world is smaller than we think - the world of diabetes - even smaller. The moon is magic, the universe knows what it’s doing - and we are meant to meet exactly when we do. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

mySugr: Sponsored Post & Giveaways

Update: 9/24/2018: The winners of the mySugr Bundle giveaway have been notified, mySugr has been contacted and the giveaway is now closed.

DISCLOSURE: This is a sponsored post - mySugr is the sponsor. 
If I didn’t think mySugr Bundle was a good option for people living with diabetes to consider, I wouldn’t have given up my time, bandwidth, my actual blood, or agreed to host 2 giveaways.  
As always, all thoughts are mine and mine alone own.
The folks at mySugr reached out to me and some other Diabetes Bloggers a few months ago re: the mySugr Bundle.  

Here’s Why I Said Yes  
  1. mySugr makes diabetes suck less - I dig that. 
  2. mySugr bundle is a good product at a good price.
  3. This is important to my heart. The Diabetes Online (and Offline) Community has always helped me, and I like and truly believe in paying-it-forward to my friends, readers, and everyone living with diabetes when it comes to helpful diabetes options, information, and cool D giveaways. 
  4. Also: I’m all about people with diabetes having access to diabetes options -as in having lots of them.
  5. Speaking of options - I need more. As in my insurance always seems to be changing what they will and won’t cover - including test strips - how many strips they will cover per month VS how many strips I know I need, living in fear that they will change and no longer cover my RX. For me, good alternatives and back-up plans are crucial.  
  6. Every 3 months I have to call my DME supplier because they refuse to automatically refill my 3 month RX unless we talk. It’s a 45 minute anxiety filled phone call with me having to explain, and by “explain,” of course I mean fight for my full amount of test strips. My diabetes isn’t going anywhere, nor is my need to check my blood sugars between 8 and 11 times per day, every day. Also: EXHAUSTING  & requires a lot of coin and time. 
  7. Scott Johnson is my awesome friend of over 10 years. Sarah K "Sugabetic" is my awesome friend of 8 years. I trust them. 
mySugr Bundle Standouts  
The cost. It’s affordable. $39.95 per month and includes unlimited test-strips that automatically ship out without a phone call. 

The app is easy. 

mySugr Coaching. I have a CDE that I work very closely with and whose services are covered by my insurance. 
I know first hand how valuable working with a CDE is - I know how lucky I am that my insurance covers my CDE  visits… at least for now. 

Many PWDs don’t have the benefit, funds, or access to a Certified Diabetes Educator because their insurance doesn’t cover CDE visits. That SUCKS. 
I love that mySugr offers access to highly trained CDEs and on an unlimited bases, via mySugr Coach and I think it's great that more people will have access to CDEs via digital diabetes care, thus making diabetes suck less. See what I did there ;) 

The mySugr Bundle Giveaway Part of the Post 
If you leave a comment on this blog post, you will automatically be entered in the mySugr Bundle Diabetesaliciousness Giveaway. 
2 winners will be chosen and you have until Thursday, September 20th to leave comment.
 The 2 winners will be announced on Friday, September 21st. 

What You Win
Each winner will receive a mySugr Bundle

Each Bundle includes 
One 6 month subscription to the mySugr Bundle program - with unlimited strips in the 6 month subscription time frame and immediate and upgraded access to mySugr Pro and mySugr Coach.

One mySugr Bundle Starter Kit, (a $213 value,) which includes:

1 Accu-chek Guide Meter System
250 Test Strips
1 FastClix lancing device
1 box of 102 lancets

1. You can’t already be an existing customer of the mySugr Bundle program.
2. If you are insured by any government healthcare program, including , but not limited to Medicare or Medicaid, you cannot participate in the giveaway.

3. You must be a U.S. resident. 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Diabetes Friends, Pod Changes, And A Lost Bottle Of Insulin

Last Friday night I spent time with local diabetes friends - a family who lived in the next town over. The timing was right and my Omnipod was about to run out. 
A few weeks back, I’d offered to fill a new pod/do a site change in front of the Dmama and t1 AlmostTweenT1 daughter so they’d know what to expect when they went for Omnipod training. Friday morning I texted Dmama, and told her I’d be changing my site between 4:30 and 5:30. If it was good for them, I ‘d stop over. If it wasn’t, we could schedule for another day.

People with diabetes do that. We show-off and explain our hardware; share experiences and help one another out when diabetes is being bitchy. 
We share because we “get it.” We speak the language of diabetes and in the same diabetes dialect. And it’s comforting.   
Those are just some of the gifts of our D community — both online and off - and I love and am so incredibly grateful for those gifts. 
Friday morning I packed my diabetes bag with my almost new bottle of insulin — as in I’d used it exactly twice. 
Plus 2 pods, extra skin-tac, and my PDM and test strips , which were already in my diabetes bag. . 
I was good to go. 
7 hours later I knocked on their door and we caught up on life and life with diabetes.
I also learned that American Girl sold Doll manicure kits with “real nail polish for the dolls and that they only cost $10.”  Also: Said manicure kit came with some hideous looking (at least it looked damn hideous on the computer screen), bubblegum pink nail-polish, that would thankfully wash off.

But to each her own. 

45 minutes later, with 3 units left in my old pod and 2 hours until my current pod officially expired, my friends watched as I cancelled out my old pod; filled the new pod with insulin, went through the PDM prompts, and prepped the skin on my left arm with skin-tac. 
Dmama asked questions and my assistant AlmostTweenT1, pressed the PDM button after each prompt and only after I gave her the OK. 
We were done in a snap. 
AlmostTweenT1 smiled and said “COOL,” then went to go play with her brothers.
I checked my blood sugar: 146. Dmama  offered me a juice- box. I did and bolused for it, and we kept talking.
20 minutes later I started packing up and came THIS CLOSE to forgetting my insulin. 
I didn’t - and made sure it was tucked safely in both its box and my diabetes bag before I zipped it up tight in my diabetes bag and tossed it in my handbag.

We said our goodbyes and promised to meet up in a few weeks. 

I went home, put my box of almost new insulin in the fridge immediately and completely forgot about it. 

Cut to Monday morning when I woke up with an itchy site and a 300 blood sugar. 
My arm site had crapped out with 12 hours to go and 13 units left. 
Shit happens and I went to grab my insulin. 
Which I did… except the box was empty, the insulin bottle was missing. 
I checked the fridge shelf where every bottle of insulin I open makes it’s temporary home - NOTHING. 
I checked in the veggie drawer where my unopened bottles of insulin live. 
I looked on every shelf in my fridge, and then under it. SO GROSS. 
Then I looked on my kitchen floor and under my stove. 
I dumped out my diabetes bag, handbag, and work bag. NADA. 
The clock was ticking, my blood sugar was high, and I needed to get in the shower. 

I also needed coffee. So I temporarily shoved the lost bottle of insulin to the back of my mind,  opened a new bottle of insulin and did what I had to do. 

I knew how lucky I was to have extra insulin bottles in my fridge. 

The cost of one bottle of insulin kept running through my head and the thought of losing one bottle made me sick to my stomach. 

 I looked for that damn bottle of insulin for two days. 

I KNEW I hadn’t left it at my friends. 
A. She would have texted me ASAP.
B. I knew that if I texted and asked if they’d found an extra opened bottle of insulin, my Dmama friend would worry. 

I didn't want that. 

Plus, I was worrying enough for the both of us. 

Last night I came home and kept thinking about that damn bottle - I had a feeling I’d find it 6 months later and in a place I never thought to look. 
Maybe it fell out of my bag as I was going up the steps. I checked in my stairwell and up my stairs. NOTHING. I flipped the cushions on the couch and then checked under it. ZILCH.
And if it was in my car — it was cooked. 

I thought about what if I didn't have backup - and what if I'd had to explain losing a bottle of insulin - the very stuff that keeps me alive to my insurance company - and I knew they would tell me that I was SOL. 

I took a hot shower, put on my pajamas and flipped through NetFlix. 
Before I went to bed I decided to check near the fridge one more time. Nothing. 

But something made me look in my pantry — which I’d already looked in multiple times. 
And there in the corner —  on my white and gray patterned floor…. was my white labeled bottle of insulin — blending in so well I could barely see it.
I washed the bottle under cold water, then swabbed it with alcohol. 
When it was dry, I marked it with a purple Sharpie , so I’d know to use that bottle first. 

And I was thankful.
I was so tired, but I couldn’t sleep. I kept thinking about others who weren't lucky -  because they couldn't afford insulin or were forced to ration insulin and  are no longer here.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Low Blood Sugar Haze, With Coffee And Lemonade.

Lows are sneaky. YES, I always keep juice boxes/glucose tabs by my bed. 
Sometimes I run out of juice boxes. This would be one of those times.
I woke up in the middle of the night a few weeks back with a "LOW, low."
Bolted upright; stumbled out of bed, through the hallway and into the kitchen. 

I immediately flipped on the light and turned on the coffee maker ( I always pre-fill both the coffee filter and water the night before,) because in my low blood sugar haze, 
I thought it was time to get up — which it was - at least as far as diabetes was concerned.

Then straight to the fridge. Open door, grab/open lemonade, gulping it down and crazy fast. Acutely aware of the desperate “glug, glug, glug, glug," that only those of us who have tried to raise a low bg quick and by drinking juice lightening fast, understand. 

BRAIN FREEZE from drinking cold lemonade too fast. 

Pour more into a 4 ounce glass from my cupboard, filling and draining twice.

“EAT 15, WAIT 15, EAT 15 WAIT 15,” plays on repeat in my head. 

The glucose meter flashes the number 52 on the screen. 
And that would be the exact moment when I smelled coffee and heard a faint hiss. 
OK, more like an extended drip. 
The coffee maker was indeed making coffee. 
I shook my head, turnoff hissing coffee maker, and wonder out loud if I’d have to toss the grounds. 

Maybe I could just… you know… turn it back on in a few hours... starting it right back up and where it left off. 
Like I do when my blood sugar drops. I stop and put "Kelly in real time" on pause, stop what I’m doing and treat… until I can switch back on… hopefully within few minutes later and right where I’d left off. 

Sitting on my kitchen bar-stool, I glare at my coffee maker and snarl: WELL THAT WAS A WEIRD NEW MOVE. 

And that "weird new move," really fucking bothered me.

It bothered me that I’d thought it was morning — which of course.. it technically it was — and it bugged the hell out of me that I thought it was 6:40 in the morning when it was actually 
4 am.
Sidebar: I can see the street lamp from my bedroom window when I get out of bed at night - I'm thinking that might have added to the whole, "me thinking it was morning," thing

It bothered me that I’d just wasted 3 tablespoons of Starbucks Breakfast Blend - that shit’s not cheap. 
It bothered me that I had a 9 a.m. breakfast meeting and needed to be at my best and would most likely be dealing with a low blood sugar hangover when my alarm went off in a few hours. 

The whole thing bothered me. I live by myself - I'm my go-to person for low blood sugars.  
I don't wear a CGM. 
I kept staring at the coffee maker until I thought I'd burn a hole through it. 

20 minutes later and starting to feeling human again. Blood sugar is 65. 
Heading in the right direction and feeling better. I grab the bottle of lemonade off the counter, taking one last, long, gulp. 
Put the cap back on tight (but still allowing for quick access,) and take meter and lemonade back to my room. 

I stretch out on my bed, turning over on my right side and place the bottle carefully on the floor. I run my left arm over the side of and reach my arm out into the dark - my hand brushes the neck of the bottle

I let out a sigh. If needed, safety is within arms reach and at my fingertips.

15 minutes and one last check. #Bgnow 82.

I don't remember falling asleep.

But I do remember waking up. It sucked. 

6:40 a.m. The church bell sounding alarm on my iPhone blares.
I hit mute and spy the bottle of lemonade on the floor... next to my bed... exactly where I’d left it. 
Back in the kitchen, flip open the top the coffee maker and stare down the filter. 

Yeah, there was no way I could “just turn it back on.” 

Dump the contents and start from scratch and adding a much needed extra cup. 
While it's brewing I check - blood sugar is 224. 
I give myself a combo correction/extended coffee bolus and utterThat number could have been worse. 
And in the quiet part of my brain I share with no one - I whisper internally: Actually, the whole thing could have been worse. 

I run my hands through my hair and spend a few minutes thinking about CGMs, while waiting for the coffee maker to do its thing. 
I make a cup of coffee and it is gone in 3 gulps. 
I pour another and head towards the shower. 

I arrive at my 9 a.m. breakfast on-time. I am my charming self. 

Because that’s what people with diabetes do — we fucking sparkle through the muck- we do our best and we make it look easy — most of the time and even when it isn’t.

Because we are tenacious, we are tired, and we don’t have a choice.

And at the end of that long day, I go to bed early because I need to sleep.  

Monday, August 27, 2018

Attending #AADE18 As The On-Site Guest Reporter for Ascensia

Last week I attended the American Association of Diabetes Educators annual meeting in Baltimore, MD as the On-Site Guest Reporter for Ascensia.
There I was surrounded and inspired by thousands of passionate Diabetes Educators, (our Diabetes Mechanics,) whose jobs (and lives for that matter,) are devoted to making sure that people living with diabetes are provided with the tools/skills in the form of knowledge; support, and empathy so that we can live our best lives with diabetes.  
I was able to sit in on multiple sessions re: peer support; treating both the mental and the physical sides of diabetes, dTech, and teamwork. 
I'm sharing my #AADE18 experiences and POV as a person living with diabetes in a series of 3 articles for Ascensia 's website - I did similar project with them back in June for ADA

Article 1 is up and running - here's the link and I'd very much appreciate you guys giving it a read!
FULL DISCLOSURE: Ascensia paid for my hotel, travel expenses, and provided me  
with an honorarium for my time and skills - all of which I appreciate.
As always, ALL THOUGHTS are mine and mine alone. 

Friday, August 10, 2018

Of Crashing Waves And Diving In

Friendships come in all shapes, sizes, and ages.
And the ones that last go with the flow - just  like the tides. 
This happened a few weeks ago~

Brown Eyed Girl is no longer a girl. She’s a newly minted teenager who will soon be taller than me — and that freaks me out a little. 
But she is still my Brown Eyed Girl. My sweet, kind, funny, and smart friend who I am lucky to have.  
And like me, she notices the small details and is a lover of books and the ocean.
When I arrived at the beach, Brown Eyed Girl wasn’t happy because 13 is tough — and I’ll leave it at that. 
A half hour later I asked her if she wanted to take a walk - and that’s what we did. 
We walked and talked for a good twenty minutes — until we both decided it was time to go for a swim. 
As we walked in the the ocean I told her: My summer doesn’t officially kick-off until I go in the ocean with you. 
 And those words made her smile. And then like she always does, she dove right in — and I did not. 
As always, I let the waves crash over me, shuddering at every wave that I walked towards, then through. 
“Dive in and you’ll be fine! The fact that she always has to tell me to "dive in," plus the fact that she was laughing while she said it made my heart happy.
Me: Kid, how long have we been doing this? You know it takes me a while, but once I get my head wet, you can’t get me out!”
Brown Eyed Girl: I know, Kel! 
Hey, I’m glad you don’t have to take off your pump anymore. That pod thing makes makes it easier because now I don’t have to wait for you to disconnect — and that makes me not worry as much.
Me: How many times do I have to tell you - you don’t have to worry about me. I’m good. Everything is Ok.
Brown Eyed Girl: I know… I just... do. I worry about all the people I love. 
Me: I know you do... me too. 

And than I yelled “dive under, NOW” and together we dove under a huge wave that was barreling towards us - and as always, we metaphorically washed all our troubles away in the sea. 

And just like that, my summer officially started. 

We laughed, swam and talked — I was updated to the fact that she “really likes Carrie Underwood’s music," and we both discovered that “A Tree Grows In Brooklyn,” is one of our shared favorite books! 

And then we got down to the business of serious body surfing - shredding the waves until we owned them. 
45 minute later, exhausted and out of breath, we left our beloved Atlantic, descended on the beach and trekked back to our chairs - where we dried off and sat down. 
I grabbed my pod’s PDM/meter out of my cooler and checked my blood sugar - it was 110 and that made me smile.

Brown Eyed Girl came up from behind my chair, put her arms around my neck and whispered in my ear: Is that OK? Is everything OK? 
I squeezed her arm and whispered back: Yep, everything is “OK.” It's all good~  

Because in that moment and no matter the number  - it was.