Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Take Your Mom to the Endocrinologist

I am one of those people who are freakishly close with their mom. I share with her everything that I would share with my best friends. We are attached at the hip on most occasions with one exception: the endocrinologist. I've been seeing my same adorable, wonderful doctor for over two years and no one outside of me has ever met him. So finally, I asked my mom on an endocrinologist date and we took off for Joslin.

While on most occasions I am happy/excited to be hanging out with my mom...this day was different. Since I was diagnosed, I have braved nearly all doctor's appointments alone. I am often times nervous when I go but being alone forces me to rely on my own strength (or so I thought). This day, I was EXTREMELY anxious. In a fit of anxiety, I even tried to convince my mom to skip the appointment for a shopping day instead. After it was all said and done, I had to ask myself...why? I thought about my tendency to do eveything diabetes-related by myself and realized that it is mostly out of my concern for burdening those around me. In everyday life, there is almost always at least a few minutes in my day where I worry or perhaps don't feel right. I would never want my friends, family, boyfriend to spend their time with me worrying because then, I start to feel like a diabetic instead of a 22 year old girl. I realized how detrimental it is to behave this way after my mom came to Joslin. She was not worried or treating me different, she was absolutely amazed at the comradery between myself and my doctor. She had never even seen the resources that Joslin offers its patients. No wonder people worry..they don't know any better because I don't tell them. Lesson learned.

P.S. I am disapointed in my lack of blogging over the summer but life has been hectic and has afforded me little opportunity to reflect about the betes side of things. However, I have good news...I am officially employed and it is in the realm of all things diabetes. I've even found a grad school program which will allow me to expand my career horizons while researching community health and diabetes (now I just have to get in!). So now, I can confidently say that there will be much more blogging and fabulous things to come!

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Temporary "Cure"

I cannot believe how long it has been since I last updated the blog. Needless to say, life after graduation has been full of ups & downs which luckily, has not included ups & downs in my blood sugar. Blogging about betes has honestly slipped my mind for most of the summer because it has been a none-issue. Worrying about jobs, money, apartments, grad school and the future has strangely helped me feel at ease about diabetes. I have realized that idleness...especially BOREDOM is counteractive to all my health goals. After tallying over 50 hours a week working for a summer program, I suddenly realized that my blood sugars were the best they had been in a loooooong time. Now the problem is that my busy period has stalled and I'm feeling anxious about my health and my upcoming doctors appointment. It seems that I always get messed up around the time of a doctors appointment and enter a strange, weird, period of change that messes up all my hard work! However, I am thankful for the moments where diabetes has been a distant thought lost in the back of my mind. I can't help but busy-ness the cure? Does my pancreas respond well to an active, movin' & groovin' life? We'll see!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Chapter 13 of the Encyclopedia of Awkward Diabetes Moments: "The Trauma Surgeon"

Last week was my 22nd birthday and so naturally, this occasion called for a few nights out and a few pink drinks. This of course resulted in numerous awkward bar conversations and hilarious happenings. However, I have to give the grand prize for the GREATEST bar conversation to my friend the "trauma surgeon" at Foundation Lounge. Now those of you reading may be thinking that this has nothing to do with diabetes...but trust me, it does.

So my friend and I are sitting on a couch, pink cosmos in hand, chatting and trying our best not to make fun of EVERY single person that walked by. Suddenly, there were two fellows sitting on either side of us. My first though, not the cutest in the bunch but he mentioned that he was a doctor so I thought FREE COSMOS! (very shallow and bitchy of me, but hey, it was my birthday). So we're chatting and he's a surgeon so naturally I mentioned the big D word. Here's where the hilariousness sets I tell him I'm diabetic and he immediately glances to the cosmo in front of me. I'm like great, another person who is going to criticize me because I enjoy a good martini. Then he says "Oh what's your hemoglobin A1C?" And I laughed and he said "I thought you'd be impressed by me asking that."

I will admit, I would have been impressed if he wasn't a FRICKEN DOCTOR and if the answer to that question didn't haunt me on a daily basis. So I sheepishly answered "8." His face immediately twisted into a horrified, eyes popping out of his head look and replied
"That's REALLY bad."

At this point, I'm thinkin' a lot of different things. First, I thought...ok he's been through about 10 years worth of school and still is a complete moron. Second, when will guys ever understand that insulting a girl is not the way to her heart? My third thought actually came flying out of my mouth..."Well guess what a-hole, last time I checked you weren't a diabetes specialist and for all I know, you probably aren't even a real doctor." He then proceeded to try and make it up to me by buying my friend and I another cosmo...which would have been fine if he didn't stick his foot in his mouth again by saying after "I bought that for you because I know you can't afford it.
Add this story to the book of awkward, enraging, ignorant yet sort of hilarious diabetes encounters. Hope you all enjoyed it!

Monday, June 9, 2008

I Suck and I'm a little frusterated.

I recently went to Joslin for my 3 month visit which has now become converted into an every six months event. I love my doctor so I'm willing to wait to see him but I'm realizing that I really lack the "motivation" to go get blood work done, etc. on my own. Unless he makes me do it...I chicken out. We changed my insulin to carb ratio moving it from 1 to 10 to 1 to 8 soooo, he wanted me to keep a log of my BG, bolus and what I ate. Can I just say that I have NEVER, NEVER, EVER actually been able to follow through with this. I swear on my OmniPod that it is simply just not possible for an extended period of time. I mean, two weeks is all I needed to do and I stopped after about 5 days. My PDM does keep track of my daily blood sugars so before my appt., I'm going to need to go through them and write them all down basically making a lot more work for myself than I needed to. The reason why I say "I Suck" is because in the past 5 years there are two things that as a diabetic I have never quite been able to do. The first is actually keeping a written record of my numbers and the second is..(drumroll please)...FASTING. Now that I'm out of school its a different story but honestly, when I was working and going to school there was no way in HELL I was going to try and do those things on an empty stomach. I realize that I "fast" all the time and don't even realize it but for some reason it makes me really annoyed when medical professionals expect me too. It's like, are you gonna come over and hang out with me so I don't have to sit at my apartment and fantasize about what I could be eating? Are you going to deal with the wrath that is Kayla when she is extremely hungry?

The thing that pisses me off the most about going 6 months in between appointments is that from January to life drastically changed. I started out in January working really hard, convinced that I was going to lower my A1C no matter what. By June, I had endured a semester of two jobs, my senior project, graduation, a break-up, birthdays, senior week, traveling home, strep throat, exhaustion, job searching...I mean gosh, whatever I did in January/February/March didn't even matter by the time I made it to the doctor. What was reflected in my results was the roller coaster of being a college graduate...not the conscientious diabetic I was trying to be earlier on. Anyways, I admit this is kind of an aggression/frustration driven blog...but frankly, I was disappointed in the results I got at the doctor. I'm most likely being slightly harsh but I really really more than anything want my A1C to be down to 7 and until I accomplish that I can't help but be a little bit cranky, right? The good news is, I have made a triumphant return to the gym scene! Woo!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Summah Summah Summah Time.

Following my discovery of the mantra "Life is not as serious as my mind makes it out to be," I got to thinking about a summer-time happening that many a women dread many months in advance...the bathing suit. Shopping for bikinis, tankinis and one pieces is one thing, actually trying them on and finding one that is acceptable (and if you're lucky, fabulous) can be a trying experience. Add an insulin pump into the mix, and the experience may find you wondering if sweatpants could pass as acceptable beach wear.

So my friend from high school who basically taught me everything about being a fabulous diabetic before I even had diabetes sent me a message recently that got me thinking. In the past, I have gone through every effort trying to hide my insulin pump/site under a bikini. Seriously, trying to hide it under a piece of fabric the size of a dish towel or smaller. How INSANE! I've only worn the OmniPod once under a bikini and it resulted in water slide disaster 2007. Clearly, I'm ready for a fresh start with my swimwear.

So in keeping up with the idea that nothing is as serious as it appears in my mind, why not wear my pod where ever the heck I feel like it? Not to be corny, but isn't hiding my insulin pump really hiding a part of who I am? When my doctor and I first began discussing the option of switching to OmniPod, he told me a story about this woman he saw at a Red Sox game. He said he noticed her because she was wearing a midriff baring top and had some serious abs but what really struck him was that she had her Pod stuck smack dab on those rockin' abs for the world to see. I thought, WOW, nice thought but not for me.

I know it's a lot harder to actually do it but honestly, why do we hide it? The thing is, I know there are women out there who possess the self-confidence to wear tight, revealing clothes with their pump and I've never been one of them. I've decided that I am going to work up the GUTS to wear my insulin pump and "let it all hang out," so to speak. And when I start to chicken out, all I have to do is scan the beach and I'll be sure to find some wrinkly, orange-glo woman in her metallic gold thong...and that will be all the assurance I need that no one really cares if my pump is showing.

I'm pretty fired up about this whole bathing suit thing and I realize that this theory is a whole lot of talk at the moment so what I really need is your feedback. I know that myself and my friend Erin could definitely use a pep-talk from one of you ladies who bares their betes on the beach. It may seem silly but I know to some of us T1 ladies, this can be really traumatizing and difficult to deal with. Let me know what you think, what your experiences are.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Perez Hilton gives a Shout Out to T1!!!!

I have to confess that is one of my guilty pleasures. He posts different charities on his website each day and today is OUR day! FINALLY! Check it out, Perez gets MILLIONS of hits every day..Let's hope that it translates into millions of donations!

YAYYYY. BTW, Nick Jonas is an OmniPod user and you can see his testimonial on their website ( Also, check out the comments people wrote...prettyyyy cool!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Eckert Tolle's A New Earth: Awakening to your Life's Purpose!

There has been a lot going on in my life lately, me being a college graduate, grown up, real person now. With all this change in my life, there has also been a lot of stress both the good kind and the bad kind. Now normally, I am not one to believe in any kind of new age, spiritual, deep thinking because it tends to leave me confused and far from enlightened. However, I do believe wholeheartedly in the power of OPRAH. However silly it may seem, if Oprah says this book is weird/bad/scary can it be? It turns out my timing could not have been more perfect. With all the options and decisions before me, I am basically on a terrifying, exciting, gut wrenching roller coaster ride of possibilities and emotions.

To my own shock, I'm halfway through the book and I've already had some enlightening moments especially in regards to diabetes. There was one line, that is officially my new mantra. As a person who struggles with anxiety almost daily...this was an instant where I felt like I had found the answer to my problems. Here it is:
I'm not going to comment on it any further...I just want you to stew. haha.

Ok so second moment. Basically, the entire book is about ego and how it affects all of humanity, what it means, and what the heck it is. The author was discussing when a major tragedy occurs in someone's life and how people either react negatively or positively. As I read this, I found myself thinking about tragic loss in my own life. It might sound weird but I consider the death of my functioning pancreas a loss, but certainly not a tragic one by any standards. When I was diagnosed, it was almost like a relief came over me. The author discussed the fact that if you open yourself up after a loss and let a little sunshine allow coincidence to occur. Now this is a more complicated englightened moment to explain..because it makes sense in my head, but not so much on paper. This is important to remember in those moments where diabetes just plain pisses me off. Or in those rare occasions where I may feel a little sorry for myself. Accepting your dysfunctional pancreas, realizing the opportunities it can create and moving forward creates coincidences...and coincidences are pretty cool in my opinion.

Lastly, there was a section on body awareness that I found really interesting. The author suggests taking a moment each day to feel your hands, followed by your feet and the rest of your body. I tried this...and I felt relaxed. I just laid there, felt my hands tingle, then my feet and opened my eyes and had a little bit of a zen moment. COOL.

Ok so I'm going to continue reading and I highly suggest you read this book. I ran upstairs after I finished the few couple sections and woke up my mom and said I GET IT, IT ALL MAKES SENSE NOW! It was such a cool feeling, I even cried as I was reading it. GO OPRAH!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

For all you creative folk...

Amy from DiabetesMine sent me some info about this really great contest designing innovative/creative diabetes gadgets & gismos! There are two categories; over 18 and under 18...check it out! The deadline is May 26th and there are some awesome prizes!!! Head over to for the specific details. Here's the link:

The competition begins today...
This is a very cool YouTube-based contest sponsored by two young boys living
with Type 1 diabetes for over 10 years each. It's co-hosted by, and prizes include $2,000 in cash plus some pro-bono consuling from world-class design firm IDEO.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


This is my official note of apology for being such a slacker! Things have been crazy because I am officially done with college in exactly two weeks!! You'll have to stayed tuned, I have tons to update but just have not had the time. This has been one of the craziest, greatest, most exciting times of my life but also one full of FREAK-OUTS! I graduate May 10th so until then, the blogging will most likely be put on hold due to the fact that I have tons of work and celebrating to do! However, I have been keeping track of my thoughts, ideas, etc so once I'm free from books, papers, and being a student..the blogging will take off!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A is for Anxiety

In the past few years, I've had major issues with anxiety. The mind is a crazy thing, especially when dealing with chronic illness and a busy lifestyle. Last year, things started to get really out of in a dorm with four other girls, working, going to school and diabetes started to take its toll on my mental health. So, I decided to see one of the mental health specialists at Joslin...I haven't been back in almost a year now so I wanted to reflect on the progress I've made since then.

My anxiety basically began to take over my diabetes care...I was absolutely terrified of going low, partially due to the fact that I was always walking, on the T, at work or in class and never quite sure of who I would turn to if something did happen. As it progressed, I was letting my blood sugars run high because I felt comfortable being between 200 and 250, far away from low and just as dangerous. I felt completely out of control and was a MESS. So I started talking to Ann, the specialist and after a few visits, we devised a plan. The plan was to gradually move my "comfort" number down by 50 points. So to start, I had to move my comfort level from 200-250 to around 150/180-200. The problem was that in the middle of trying to do all of that, I switched to the OmniPod and so my A1C went up again during that adjustment period. Life basically completely got in the way of me trying to execute the "plan."

So around Thanksgiving of this year, my mom and I discovered the online community. I was not feeling 100% but was honestly didn't know what do. My anxiety had diminished but I still had my dramatic, diva moments and still my blood sugars were not what they should be.

I had to make a change, a decision...I had exactly one month until my next doctors appt. so with my mom's help I came up with an experiment. I had tried a wheat-free, gluten-free diet in the past but it was difficult to do eating in a cafeteria. So, my experiment was to eat a wheat-free, gluten-free diet for one month and to see what happened when I went to the doctor. My result was a .2 drop in my A1C in just one month, granted it was still 8.2 and higher than I wanted but I was finally starting to see results!

So now, about three months later my "comfort" level is around 130 to 160 and I feel much better, healthier and lighter. I've lost weight, and I just feel less bloated and weighed down by my blood sugars. I haven't had my A1C tested since January but I am feeling really confident that it will finally be down in the 7's. I really feel like my "experiment" made me feel much more positive about my health...before it felt like a burden because I wasn't seeing the results I wanted. And frankly, its disappointing to discipline yourself for so long only to have no results.

Now, I've replaced my old comfort foods with a new obsession...gluten-free toast. I absolutely love spelt, wheat-free bread and it tastes so good toasted and does not affect my blood sugar the same way normal bread would. I tell my mom all the time that if I could live on sandwiches and toast I would...and now I could! I find myself constantly changing supermarkets to hunt for new, interesting gluten-free treats to try. Just making this little change in my diet has really helped me to make positive changes, I still struggle with anxiety about lows but I've really gained a lot more confidence in my ability to control my blood sugars.

Hmm..This topic is def. overwhelming for me to for now, I'll leave it at that.
I'll add some gluten-free links!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Droppin' the Big "D" Word

Sunday, I had the pleasure of brunching with a fellow T1 girly whom I met at the Diabetes Expo, I'll call her LT. We obviously talked about the everyday struggles/triumphs/embarassing stories of being T1 and one part of our conversation got me thinking and laughing. We were talking about relationships, how people react to diabetes, experiences with boyfriends, friends, teachers, parents, peers, strangers, you get the picture..we were equally stumped by the following questions: When and how do you bring up the "D" word in a relationship?

I had to laugh because every time I've told someone its resulted in me being the most awkward, self-conscious, stuttering person alive. Let's just say, its made for some great embarrassing tales to share when I need a good laugh. I have to say, usually when I met someone new, diabetes is not the first thing I talk to them about...something about the person or their body language, what they're saying usually has to trigger it in my mind. It's like..all of a sudden you become aware that their eyes are focusing on that piece of tubing sticking out of your belt, or that pod-shaped bump under your t-shirt..and then, out of nowhere you feel compulsed to just blurt out "I'M DIABETIC" before they can get out the "Is that a _____!? (fill in the blank with appropriate cell phone, Ipod, beeper, whatever misconception is your personal favorite) Allow me to illustrate exactly where we decided the dilemma lies.

We discussed the dreaded, evil, nerve-wrecking, awkward FIRST DATE. These are situations which can be disastrous under normal circumstances, add a chronic illness to the mix and whoa, baby. So let's be optimistic, say you are on a first, second, even third date with someone and you have yet to unleash the big "D." You are at a small, romantic little italian restaurant where the menu is a carb-lovers paradise and a diabetic conundrum. You are eating when the inner-conflict surfaces and the questions begun to race through your head. Should I just pull out my meter and test at the table, therefore revealing the secret? Will the person be grossed out by me licking the blood off my finger? Should I take my meter into the bathroom? What if I go low later? Will he think I'm a freak if I pull out my juicy juice box? Should I tell them? Should I not tell them? We've all experienced this, whether or not it was on a first date. The hard part is not telling the person...its waiting, suffering or rejoicing at their reaction.

I had a guy once crack a joke about my "pager" saying that no one but a drug dealer would carry one of those anymore. My friends jaws hit the floor as I stammered....."Its an insulin pump." The hardest part is talking about your diabetes after a comment like that, trying to open up and share when you really just want to kick the person in the shin. I have to give credit to the people who react by trying to understand it before making their judgment about how they are going to treat me. By this I mean, if you don't know a lot about diabetes...ASK! But, please try to avoid "Are you allowed to eat that?" Because yes, while diabetics do watch their diet...I will be the judge of what I can and cannot eat...not my dysfunctional pancreas. And I certainly do not want to feel guilty or judged if I do decide to eat a cookie or a piece of birthday cake. You have to smile at the moments where people go out of their way to make sure you are ok, you've had enough to eat, your blood sugar isn't low or high and that yes, you actually feel quite normal at this moment. While sometimes it is annoying to have people fuss over your health or even show a bit of just goes to show you that they care!

Don't get me wrong, this is not a rant...rather a reflection. I truly reflect on these awkward moments with fondness because they are worth their weight in laughter afterwards. And it makes me happy to know that perhaps I have educated a stranger, friend, teacher, peer about diabetes, and maybe even, spared another diabetic that awkward moment. What's your method for dropping the big D? Share some of your favorite moments!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

What the Heck?

So lately, I have been affected by a new phenomenon...nightmares.
Not just any old scary, BOO!, AH! nightmare but nightmares that would only frighten a diabetic.

Over the past two weeks, there have been two different occasions where I've had nightmares that felt so real, it was hard to convince myself of the opposite. In the first, it was one of those dreams where you feel like you'll never wake up. I had a "nightmare" that my blood sugar was extremely high...1,002 to be exact. Now while this may seem crazy...I was thoroughly freaked out when I finally woke up, in fact I was terrified of even testing my blood sugar because I was convinced that my "nightmare" was going to become reality.

When I finally forgot about that nightmare, I had another! This time, I was sleeping when this whole scene played out where my blood sugar was 500 but...I could not, would not stop eating. It was matter what my mom, boyfriend, friends did, I refused to stop eating bagels, muffins, pizzas, candy basically all the foods I avoid at all costs were being shoveled into my mouth as my blood sugar climbed higher and higher.

So I woke up yet again thinking...What the Heck? By no means have I ever experienced situations like this in why are these scary thoughts invading my sleep? Has anyone else ever experienced this? Are there any diabetic dream interpretors out there who can tell me why I'm having dreams about high blood sugars rather than the usual princess/fairy tale dreams I adore? I mean, its enough to deal with it all day...and now it's taking over my precious zzz's?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Never-Ending Hunt for a Clean Potty

Ok so the title of this post may seem peculiar, but if you've ever experienced the torture that is a high blood sugar and a teensy will appreciate this post. So in my journey's throughout the city, it seems that I have attempted to use the bathroom in every department store, restaurant, coffee shop, book name it, i've tried it.

Years ago, my Mom and I started a tradition that we still practice today. Whenever we go to a new place we've never been before whether it's a completely new city or simply a new restaurant..we rate the bathroom. After all, us ladies know that a true "powder room" is hard to come by. Once I was diagnosed with T1 this tradition took on a whole new meaning as being diabetic comes with the joys of having to test your urine for ketones, etc. So now that my Mom and I live in different cities, we will report back to each other and when we do get together, we still will go to the bathroom together and giggle as we critique. As far as I'm concerned, this should be a column in the newspaper next to the restaurant reviews, Imagine the countless numbers of diabetics who would benefit from being able to track down a fabulously clean bathroom during a high blood sugar.

So maybe my passion for bathroom rating is a little over-zealous...but when you are constantly battling high blood sugars and frequent urination...a clean bathroom becomes pretty important. I will be honest and say that Starbucks is my go-to-bathroom stop. First of all, if you live in a location which thrives on caffeine..its pretty much guarenteed that there will be a Starbucks on every corner. Secondly, they are usually pretty decent bathrooms...No five star rating, but dang close.

This is just the beginning of some of the quirky traditions that I have incorporated into my T1 lifestyle to take away from some of the aggravation or frusteration that stems from having to pee all the time, needing a private place to take a shot or test one's blood sugar. This has to be my favorite because it never ceases to make me laugh when I get a message from my Mom saying "You aren't going to believe the bathroom I found today!"

P.S. If you have a favorite spot, feel free to comment!

"the most wasted of all days is one without laughter." - e.e. cummings

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

2008 Diabetes Expo in Beantown

Warning: This will be a sentimental post!
This semester, I've had the opportunity to intern with the American Diabetes Association as the Community Initiative Intern and thus far it has been the best job I've EVER had. The opportunity to work closely with an organization which works to combat an illness you live with everyday is an experience unlike any other. Even when I am assigned the most boring, tedious tasks I reflect on the opportunity that has been given to me and I realize that every thing I do there eventually comes back to me in the form of the support or advocacy that the ADA provides.

For the past 2 and a half months, the office has been crazy working to plan the Diabetes Expo for 2008. I was lucky to be able to see both sides of this massive day of everything diabetes. I helped with the planning and execution and also attended and worked the event for the first time. It was held at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston and it has taken me days to reflect on everything I experienced.

First, I was asked by my supervisor to be in ADA World as the point person for the Community Initiative table. I was NERVOUS. I had no idea what the event would be like, I had only heard rumors from staff about how crazy it can get...Basically, I was freaking out when I arrived AND therefore, my blood sugar shot up to 271. I arrived with my parents and pretty much, refused to let my mom leave my side for about the first 45 minutes (i'm a momma's girl, what can i say?). I arrived early so I decided to walk around and check everything out. First, I went to the Volunteer lounge to look for a small snack or drink because I was shakin' like a leaf...I walked in to see my arch nemesis....a basket chock full of BAGELS. Now I'm a New Yorker so I loooooove me some bagels with cream cheese, however my Insulin Pump just cannot handle that load of carbs, its one of those foods that no matter how you bolus, how much you will never have a normal Blood Sugar after. Alright so after that, I grabbed a cup of tea and headed straight for the OmniPod table.

Now, I know I wrote my last post about the joys of the OmniPod but on this particular day..I was slightly ticked off about my pod. The day before I had to go through 3 pods before I finally got one on that wasn't defective. I don't mind having defective Pods because OmniPod is great about replacing problem is the waste of insulin. Last time I tried to refill my prescription it was before the 90 days was up..and then had to worry about not getting it, etc. So I marched over to the table and all my worries went away after talking to the representative that sold me my Pod. He was wonderful, he even told me about some job opportunities and we've followed up with emails. So after talking to him, I felt much better.

Ok so I did a little more walking around and then heading to my post in ADA World because I was excited to start meeting people. I left my parents with a mission: to get me as many pamphlets and free stuff as possible!! Ok so now, I'll tell you about what it was like working the table. It was incredible, it was amazing to tell someone I was diabetic and have them say "Me Too!!" It was nice to meet people who wanted to learn more, I had people ask me the difference between Type 1 and Type 2...which was refreshing because normally, people often assume that I have Type 2. Some people just made me want to cry because I felt so hopeful. I met one man who was in his fifties and had been diagnosed as the age of 16 (just like me), it was so cool so hear his story because he has been through many of the things I will soon encounter as a college graduate. His A1C was in the 6's which made me feel like...Hey! If he can have diabetes for 20-30 years and have a great A1C..So can I! The most emotional thing to see is all the small children who have diabetes and their parents. I feel blessed to have been diagnosed at an age where I understood that my life was going to change and was ready to accept it, it truly breaks your heart to see these babies who will have to deal with diabetes their whole childhood. It gave me insight on how my parents must feel...its this overwhelming desire to just like...take your pancreas out and say HERE TAKE THIS! YOU NEED IT MORE THAN I DO! I even met a fellow 20 something diabetic who was shared my frustrations about the lack of outreach to all us young betes people! We exchanged emails and it's been great talking to her. Unfortunately, the woman I worked with at the table was ignorant and self-promoting...but I don't even want to waste space acknowledging her stupidity.

Working that event, I truly had one of the most amazing days of my life. I felt blissfully happy when I left and that feeling has carried with me. It's strange but I have suddenly transitioned from feeling lost and alone in the diabetes world to feeling overwhelmed by the amount of people who have reached out to me. Most days, I felt like I was walking around completely closed-off, I didn't want anyone to penetrate the vulnerability that comes with having a chronic illness. It was wonderful to see my my parents were affected, I felt so lucky having them there to share in this event with me. I love days like this that make your cheeks hurt and your tears flow because you are just so DAMN happy!

I'll end this post with a quote that I think reflects the journey that is finding the lovin' in being a betes' queen;

"Some pursue happiness, others create it!"

p.s. go to to learn about Expo's in your area..don't pass up this opportunity!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Birth of a Betes Queen!

My First Post and I am so excited! My weekend was pretty much a diabetes-o-rama but that will be a later post because I promised myself I would write my first post about Omnipod.

I'm going to be straight up, honest about this insulin delivery system, it is not an exaggeration to say that this "Pod" changed my life, the way I think about myself, and the way I view my diabetes. I went on the pump about 7 months after I was diagnosed, at the age of 17. Needless to say, while the pump made my life more manageable...I was annoyed. When you are 17, is there really anything more important to you than wearing the latest fashions, flirting with boys and spending your entire summer running around your neighborhood, staying up late and wearing your new bikini by your best friend's pool? In other words, having an infusion set on my tummy/booty was just not cool. So fast forward to the college years, my hate/love relationship with my Insulin Pump was only further magnified by meeting my first real relationship/boyfriend. But honestly, let's save that for another conversation because the OmniPod has been so amazing I have compiled a list of likes, dislikes, advice, etc. that I want to share with all of you! So here we go!

1. Waterslides, Bikinis and Pods DO NOT MIX!
This may seem like a weird number one but let me just tell you ladies, don't go down a waterslide expecting your Pod to stay glued to your butt cheek. I worked for a kids program last summer and we went to a waterpark, luckily I was prepared with injections but let's just say I walked out of the slide only to turn around and see my pod floating in the pool. This was pretty tramautizing however, I have some news that only a pump girl would find as thrilling...I was able to hid my pod under my bikini bottom (securely fastened to my upper thigh/butt area)!!!

2. Fabulous Customer Service
Ok so I was slightly overzealous with the timing of this major change in my life. I decided to spend my first summer away from home, outside of Boston, away from my friends/boyfriend working for an incredible summer program for Inner City Kids. However, I thought I could handle switching over to OmniPod days after my 21st Birthday and only a week or two into the program. There were some technological glitches which under different circumstances would have been easy to handle but seemed overwhelming with no one there to "understand". I remember going out for my first Sex and the City-esque Martini as a 21 year old, I had my cute outfit, my cute boyfriend and my cute drink in hand when my pod had an occlusion and stopped working...and started beeping obnoxiously at me to change it. Needless to say, I freaked out. However, I called Insulet and they told me to try squeezing the area where you are applying the pod to avoid occlusions and massaging the area when you do. Oh the joys of being a newbie pumper all over again.
My second major nervous breakdown occurred when one day for some unknown PDM aka my own handheld pancreas control system decided to fly across my room out of my hand and slam onto the tile floor. Just imagine your "pancreas" flying through the air and you not being able to do anything about it. Minutes later I was on the phone with Insulet crying, apologizing profusely as I found out a replacement cost 300 dollars. It took some negotiating and a lot of tears but I got my replacement! WOO!

I am proud to report that thanks to the tube-less pumping system, I officially have my sense of style back! While it took a period of trial and error, I truly appreciate the fact that I am often able to wear jeans with little to no discomfort. I wear my Pod on my butt so I often wear the boy-short style underwear to protect it from rubbing against the jeans and wearing off the adhesive. Pump Girls will surely appreciate putting on a hot pair of jeans, a cute top and some heels. Previously, my happiest fashion moment was the leggings comeback, It mean I could conceal my pump with a cute moo-moo baby doll dress and not have people asking me what the heck that thing is. However, lets be honest...past your teenage years, spandex is pretty risky. With the OmniPod, I can wear whatever I want (within reason)...I personally am a HUGE fan of dresses, they are flattering (cover your pump) and easy to throw on with a pair of tights. AND, you don't have to lift up your dress to retrieve your pod...after all, that could get you in trouble in some places.

4. Less Math Equations
One time, I had a Diabetes Educator tell me that I should carry a carb-counting book, my glucose monitor and a SCALE with me at all times. A SCALE. I was astounded...I should have known when I walked into her office that she was a complete whackjob. After all, photos of your pug dressed up in costumes cannot be evidence of your sanity. She actually had the audacity to tell me that my basal rates were so out of control that she would have thought they were the basal rates of a type 2 obese older man. It took all my self-control not to lunge across the office and give her a piece of my mind. Now, I have discovered the joys of technology..the OmniPod basically does all the math for you once you program in all your info(meaning no scale in the dining hall or dormitory haha). FANTASTIC!

5. It really sticks.
Once you put the pod on, that sucker really sticks! At first I was nervous to lay on the pod or hit it on something because I was afraid to crimp the tubing or rip off the adhesive. However, this adhesive is can lay on it, jump up and down, move around, or roll around (wink wink) and I've very rarely had the adhesive even begin to peel off.

6. Did I mention the built in glucose meter?
The OmniPod PDM has the Freestyle Flash meter built into the system, so you can test yourself and incorporate your correction factors into your bolus. Also, I love the Freestyle Flash because it uses the least amount of blood and my manicure wont be ruined by my gross, hole-y fingers.

It's been about 8 months since I went on the OmniPod System so I'm sure there are details I'm forgetting. While adjusting is always frustrating, even the negative aspects of this system are so manageable. As I think of other comments I want to make, feel free to ask me any questions about the Pod and don't worry about being too personal. I appreciate those questions because they are things I wish I could have asked someone. I tried to focus on the things that the OmniPod Brochure won't tell you...I don't think they mention anything about how hot you will look with your new pod or how the lack of tubing might actually make you feel sexy and free. I also have contact information if you are interested in exploring the option.
My next post I'm going to report back on the Boston Diabetes Expo which I had the opportunity to help plan and work at, It was truly an unforgettable experience which I am still reflecting on.

Peace, Love and a Happy Pancreas.