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.