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Monday, August 30, 2010

How Much Does Diabetes Cost?

Last week, we used up all of our money set aside for our flexible spending account.  This feature of our insurance is so wonderful because we are able to take care of our (mostly my) medical expenses tax-free and without worrying about putting it in our budget.  But the start-up costs associated with Constance and some changes in copays have made us pay more this year for certain things.  No biggie, it just means we have to pay the rest for this year and tally up how much we spend on medical expenses.  So, here's what I spend on ALL my medical expenses for the whole year (talk about transparency): 

Insulin--$20 for 2 vials every 2 months = $120
Test strips--$20 for 200 strips per month = $240
Pump supplies--$53.15 for 3 months of supplies = $212.60
Dexcom sensors--$26 for 3 months = $104
Glucagon Rx--$20 for one year (if I never use it *knock on wood*)
Endo copay--$25 every 4 months = $75
Yearly physical copay--$15
Dentist copay--$20 for twice a year = $40
Heartburn medicine (my only non-D Rx)--$5 for one month supply = $60

TOTAL = $886.60 per year

Add in the amount of money I spend on glucose tabs, juice, and other low supplies, my total medical expenses could easily be rounded to $1000/year, conservatively.  Also consider the other appointments involved with diabetes that I haven't been to this year--podiatrist, optometrist, and CDE.  Using the same amount of payment, granted on this insurance plan, would equal to $4000 total I've spent on diabetes by my 4th diaversary this year.  Over the course of a lifetime, I could easily buy my dream car with the amount of money I spend on diabetes.  Hopefully this investment in my health will mean a long, happy life with my family and friends here on Earth.  But dang, that's a lot of money! 

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Five: 27 August 2010

Once again, it's been a stellar week among the DOC (diabetic online community).  There have been several  posts that have made me life and (nearly) cry.  Enjoy! 

  1. The first post is a tear jerker.  I certainly understand where George is coming from when you're fighting a low but trying to be discreet at the same time.  His poem about a stranger who offered him a granola bar (without guilt) really tugs at my heart strings, especially the part when he said "And not every person you meet in the world is a member of the Diabetes Police."  I wish everyone had that much compassion.  Great post, George!  
  2. This next post is just funny, absolutely funny.  It's about a rubber duckie that goes on a beach trip with Chris.  Every picture gave me a giggle, but the one about Duckie having crabs made me let out a huge guffah!  Very creative, Chris!
  3. Jacquie does a great internal dialogue (or at least I hope it was internal) post about her . . . interesting yoga class and its participants.  I can say that I couldn't get over the idea of exercising your sphincter.  So, so funny.   
  4. Kim does a great post about a confessional to her Father Diabetes about some of her "sins" involving diabetes management.  I think everyone in the DOC has experienced all of these at one point or another.  Guilt, it's the ultimate complication. 
  5. And finally, Kerri posted a video this morning about her pregnancy with an interview with Johnson&Johnson.  Kerri does a great interview, but the ultimate jewel of the video is some action of BSparl.  I had to watch it twice because the first time I kept staring at BSparl and forgot to listen!  (Sorry Kerri . . . )
Enjoy these posts and enjoy the weekend!  One more week until college football starts!  Warrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Eagle, Hey!  =D 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bigger Tegaderm Patch

My order for my bigger Tegaderm patches came in yesterday, and I immediately put one on to see how much it covers my Dexcom site.  I really like the Tegaderm patches because they stay on like they're part of my skin but it's flexible enough that I don't notice it's there.  Some medical patches are great for keeping things on but leave your skin red as a beet afterward. 

Because bigger is better when it covers the whole site. 
The real test for this will come tomorrow night when I have a softball game.  Because I'm noticing that the Dexcom tape is impervious to water (as advertised), but it's a whole different ball game (pun!) when I sweat.  It's hard to keep the tape sticky when warm salt water is coming up from underneath it.  How do you keep things sticky when you're sweating from underneath it?  That's my challenge right now.  I'm hoping with the less humid weather that the overall air moisture will be less.  Because keeping this thing on for a whole week without intervention is proving to be a challenge. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

We Need to Work on Our Communication

One of the important players in my D-management team is the pharmacy.  I see these folks more often than I see my endocrinologist.  I'm on my 3rd pharmacy since my diagnosis, and each one got so used to seeing me that they automatically looked for my name when I walked up.  It's really important to know your pharmacy and how they handle frequent patrons.

And I really like my new pharmacy.  The staff there is always friendly, and if I don't have time to wait around for my prescription, they call me and let me know when my stuff is ready.  And they are willing to call my doctor on my behalf for prescription request; however, my endo has a "the patient must call for all prescription refills" policy.  So I have to do this myself.

Well, this week I had to get a new prescription refilled for my testing strips.  The way my doctor writes my Rx is in terms of number of times per day that I test (he writes it as 5/day, but it's more like 6-8).  It's a lot easier for my pharmacy to fill my Rx in total number per month, which I ask to be 200.  The past few times I've had a new Rx filled for strips there has been some confusion in how many my doctor writes and how many the pharmacy fills.  Inevitably, I have to call my endo's office and tell them, "Just write it for 200 strips, please."  Plus I get a $10 Rx refill charge everytime I have to call and straighten out this confusion.

So, to avoid this confusion, at my last appointment in June I asked the nurse to have my endo just write it for 200 then and there.  "They won't fill that," she retorted.

Me:  "Yes, they will.  I know they will.  They've been filling that for the past 4 months.  And I know my insurance is OK with that."

Nurse:  "OK, but the doctor will have to write a special Rx for that."

Me:  "That's fine.  That's what I want." 

My endo is always happy to oblige my requests if it means more control for my diabetes.  But the reason the nurses are always hesitant is because most insurance companies view 200 strips per month as a too many and can cause issues for refills.  Well, my insurance company never gives me any issues with this request because my insurance is awesome.  The copay is the same for me whether I have 100 or 200 strips per month, and every time I have to remind the nurses of this. 

So, armed with what I thought was my problem-free Rx refill from my endo, I run by the pharmacy after work on Monday.  I needed to get a refill on strips before our anniversary dinner.  Well, the pharmacy gives me the same song and dance about how they can't refill something based on number of times per day, so they'll need to have my doctor call.  The problem with this is that it was already 4:30 PM and my doctor's office is closed.  "Ummm, well I'm out, like completely out.  Can you guys give me a loaner vial and take it out of my future refill?"  "Sure, we can do that."  "Thanks."  Like I said, I really like my pharmacy.

We go to dinner with 2 loaner vials on hand, and yesterday I called my doctor's office and told them what was what.  "Just tell them 200.  They've already given me 50."  "OK, I'll call that in right now," the nurse said.  "Thank you so much!"  "You're welcome, hun."  A few hours later I call the pharmacy and make sure the Rx went through and the tech told me, "Yes, we have that ready."  "Awesome, can I also get my insulin refilled while I'm there?"  "Sure, we'll do that."  "Thanks."  *click*

Unfortunately, my day got worse after that phone call.  I went to my softball game at 6:15 PM and played like a schmuck.  We were in the playoffs and one game away from the championship.  I missed 3 throws at first base, and made 2 stellar pop-ups in the infield at my only two at bat.  We lost the game 18-11, and I felt the whole weight of the loss on my shoulders.  Then, I still had to stop by my pharmacy before heading home.

Sweaty, down, and sore, I drag myself to the counter and said my name.  "Here you go, 100 strips in addition to the 50 we've given you makes 150 strips."  "It's suppose to be 200."  "Your doctor's office said you requested 150."  "No!  I said 200!  Is the copay the same?"  "Yep, do you wanna wait until tomorrow?"  "Yeah, I guess so.  *on the verge of tears*  This is so frustrating . . . "  I drove home wiping tears from my face.  It's really nothing worth crying over, but the constant frustration with this seemingly simple Rx request combined with my less-than-stellar softball game had just pushed me pass my breaking point. 

I walked in the door, crying, and said to Trey, "What is so confusing about the number 200?!  It's a two with two zeros behind it!"  "Same issue?" he asked.  "Yes."  "I don't know why they can't get this right."  "Me neither, it's so frustrating."  I sulked off to take a shower, beaten with the idea of having to call my doctor, again, and going by the pharmacy, again. 

*fast forward to this morning*

I just got off the phone with my endo's office, and she said, "Well, I thought giving you 150 would be enough of a cushion?  There's 30 days in a month, and if you're testing 4 times a day . . . "  I cut her off, "No, the actual prescription refill was written for 5/day but it's more like 6 times, and if I have a low or a high I need to correct then I'd rather it just be 200 . . . please."

Nurse:  "And your insurance will refill that?"

Me:  "Yes, they've never given me an issue."

Nurse:  *clicking on her computer*  "OK, 200 strips per month for 6 months.  Will that work?"

Me:  "Yes, that would be great!"

Nurse:  "Alright, I'm sending that in and let me know if you have any more issues."

Oh, this whole situation has been an "issue".

Monday, August 23, 2010

Two Years

I can't believe it's been two years since I married him.  It seems not long ago that he was talking me out of my calzone at the university cafeteria.  And it seems like just yesterday when he saved my life.  He knows what it means to say "in sickness and in health" and really mean it.  On this day two years ago, I became his wife. 

I woke up around 8:30 AM (hey! it's about that time right now!), peered through my sleepy eyes and my first thought was, "Today's my wedding day."  Because I was hosting my parents, brother and sister-in-law, and 2 nephews, I was banished to sleep on the couch in the living room of my apartment the night before my wedding.  My mom woke up shortly after I did and came into my little kitchen and started making coffee.  "Good morning, bride!"  "Mornin'."  Just because it was my wedding day doesn't mean I was automatically a morning  person.  "Your dad's getting ready to go.  Do you need to go get changed?"  "Mmmm hmmm."  My dad and I were planning to go retrieve bagels from Panera as part of the bridesmaids breakfast my mom was making. 

I got dressed in my button-up shirt and jean capris and headed out the door with Dad.  We were one of the first customers at Panera because we wanted the bagels to be fresh.  Then we headed to the hotel where one of my bridesmaids was staying.  As we were pulling out of the parking lot, a slight drizzle began to fall.  "Look!  It's raining!  It's raining on my wedding day!  Yay!"  Got back to my apartment where my other 3 bridesmaids had arrived.  I offered to help Mom with the bacon but she told me, "Get back, I don't want you to get bacon smell in your hair."  "Mom, if I smelled like bacon I'm pretty sure Trey would run down the aisle to get me."  Finally awake after a French toast bagel, bacon, and scrambled eggs, my girls and I head to the hair salon. 

I wanted my hair to look natural and wavy, so we went with a half-up do with loads of curls that would settle down to waves by the time the 2:00 PM ceremony started.  After we were all haired up, we got back in the car and headed to the wedding chapel where I was to get dressed in the carriage house.  After putting on my armor undergarments and my two garders, one for the reception and the other to hold Arnold, my girls helped me get dressed.  Then my mom put my veil in my hair, holding back tears. 

About this time our photographer, videographer, and wedding coordinator showed up for pre-ceremony pictures.  I smiled until my cheeks hurt, including an impromptu Charlie's Angels pose (that definitely made it to the album).  After about 45 minutes of click-snap-click, I started feeling foggy.  "Guys, I'm gonna need a break for a little bit."  My mom reached for the packs of juice we brought.  Since I was diagnosed as an adult, this was the only day she got to take care of her diabetic daughter until Trey took over.  As I sipped my juice, she made me a ham sandwich.  All of my girls took a juice box, too, and it was quite a sight to see several adult women sipping on juice boxes in formal gowns. 

Before I knew it, the time was 1:45 PM and it was time for my girls to line up.  One-by-one they left the carriage house until it was just me and my dad.  We had several moments alone together, and he told me he loved me and how beautiful I was.  Other than marrying Trey, this was the best moment of the day.  The wedding coordinator came for me and said, "Ready?"  "Let's do it."  I made the walk across the bridge to the chapel into the foyer.  The music stopped.  I took a deep breath and the music started again.  The doors opened and I took a step forward, clutching my dad's arm. 

I don't remember much except that I was smiling, and he was smiling, and there were a ton of people here!  Too late for stage fright.  The ceremony was kind of blur because I was just concentrating so much on following the pastor.  The two things I remember 1) nearly crying after Trey got done with his vows, but sucked it up because I was next and 2) our pastor's words when he said, "Now all of your joys will be doubled because there's two of you to share them, and all your sorrows will be halved because there's two of you to bear them."  A prayer, some rope tying, and a kiss, and we were husband and wife. 



More pictures, click-snap-click, then the reception.  It was so great because we were able to talk to everyone there for a good length of time.  Then it was time for cake cutting (where Trey's piece landed on his nose, of course), sparkly juice, and the garder.  I had told Trey the day before which leg to pull from so he wouldn't grab the wrong garder.  The last thing I wanted at our wedding was a bloody site pull.  Then the bouquet toss that went to the youngest female in attendance, awesome!  More pictures and visiting, and before I knew it we were walking through a tunnel of bubbles into Trey's car to leave. 

It was a great day, but it wasn't the best day of my life.  That has happened every day since then.  More than being his bride, I love to be called "his wife." 

At another friend's wedding last year. The best photos are made when you're not looking.

Friday, August 20, 2010

I FINALLY Did It!!!

I am so excited!  I finally got . . .

My No-Hitter!  

If you'll excuse the 2-hour calibration, that is. 

Friday Five: 20 August 2010

Welcome to another edition of Friday Five!  This edition includes some diabetic bloggy bits, my high school, and football (which starts in 2 weeks!). 

  1. I'm anxiously awaiting my order of Tegaderm dressings to come in.  I've ran out of the ones my friend gave me to try, but they were too small to completely go over all the tape on my Dexcom site.  So my tape would just cover the top and bottom of the site, but not the sides because the Dexcom site is more oval than square.  So I looked for some Tegaderm dressings that are slightly bigger so it will completely cover my site.  These dressings are currently on a HUGE discount for 50/box, so basically a year's worth.  Another piece to add the diabetic shelf in our linen closet.  
  2. Diabetes Art Day is September 1st.  I haven't decided what I want to do yet.  Craft was never really my forte' in school.  The only crafty class I had that I really liked was a photography class I took in college.  It was fun because it was old school photography, dark room techniques and everything.  So I may break out some Hitchcock-esque photos of strips or something.  Who knows . . .
  3.  My high school starts school next week.  That's not a big deal usually, but for my high school it will be the first day in their brand new high school following the deadly EF-4 tornado that destroyed the high school and killed 8 students on March 1, 2007.  I am so proud to be from my hometown because they have shown such character in how they've persevered these last 3 years.  I can't imagine spending my high school days taking classes in a trailer at the community college.  I have a ribbon magnet in my office that is constant reminder to me to pray for my hometown:  "MAY WE NEVER FORGET.  03. 01. 07.  EHS". 
  4. I know I'm probably sounding like a broken record now, but college football starts in 2 weeks!!  I am so excited because the weather has taken a turn for the cooler this week (highs in the 90s instead of the 100s), and a couple of cool breezes have given the slight hint of fall.  I'm ready to break out my chili recipes and give some new ones a try.  I'm also excited to light up a fire in my fireplace in our new house. 
  5. I'm getting my hair cut today!  I'm kind of nervous because it's going to be really short.  But my hair has gotten too long to do anything with and it's sort of an anniversary gift to Trey (he likes my hair short).  The style that works best for me is a combination of Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama and Alice from the Twilight movies.  
 No chance for a pony tail with this cut.  What will I do?

Have a great weekend everyone! 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Following the "Rules"

When I left the hospital after I was diagnosed, I went to a certified diabetes educator (CDE) where I was presented to a list of rules to follow for good diabetes management.  I learned about carb counting, taking my insulin, testing my blood sugar.  For me, the rules were as follows: 

  • Eat less than 150 g carbs a day.  Splitting them up into 30 g for meals and 20 g for snacks.  
  • Test blood sugar when I wake up, before every meal and 2 hours afterward, and before going to bed.  Use a sliding scale of (BG-120)/60 for corrections.  
  • Take insulin at least 30 minutes before eating.  
  • For low blood sugar (< 70 mg/dL), eat 15 g fast-acting carbs and test again 15 minutes.  If still low, eat another 15 g and wait another 15 minutes.  Continue until blood sugar is normal and follow with a protein snack. 
  • Get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day.  
  • Take 7u of Humalog before each meal and 20u of Lantus at bedtime.  
  • If at any point I feel "off" whether it be I feel fatigued, heart racing, or get a twitch in my eye:  TEST!  This was probably the best advice I was given, because I didn't know what was a result of bad blood sugars or just normal weird stuff.  
For the first few months after diagnosis, I followed these rules to the letter.   I was able to bring my diagnosis A1c of 9.1% down to 5.8% within a month!  Looking back on it now, that's a crazy drop!  I think a lot of that was because I was still on MDI which plagued me with lows. 

When I went on the pump nearly a year later, I got a little lax on my "rules".  I felt released from the MDI chain and liberated to eat whatever I wanted with a simple push of a button on Arnold.  Sometimes it worked out for me, and other times I would soar to the 300s without a second thought.  "No problem." I thought.  "I can just correct using my bolus wizard."  Basically, the pump made me comfortable, too comfortable.  My first few A1c's on the pump were 6.0, 6.1, and 6.3%.  Soon after I landed at 6.5% and stayed there for a good year, nothing I did could bring me down.  I was still following the "rules" except for taking my insulin 30 minutes before eating because it made me afraid of lows. 

Then, I got married, which was the best thing that ever happened to me in my life, but not so great for my diabetes.  I got so caught up in my married life, and making scrumptious meals for me and my husband.  For a while, it was as if I forgot I was diabetic, and I didn't want it to be a main conversation piece with my new husband.  I was just going through the motions, not really thinking of any patterns I was developing.  It got to the point that I wouldn't blink at a fasting BG of 180 mg/dL or higher.  I got used to expecting to correct a post-prandial in the upper 200s after a meal.  Most of my boluses were SWAG bolusing.  I would go several hours without testing, even going to bed without a test!  I just wanted to be a wife and enjoy my new life, that along with finishing up my master's thesis made diabetes a faint background on my busy life.  All of this finally caught up with me when I had an A1c of 7.1% in February of this year. 

I know for some people this is a great number, they do the best they can and follow the "rules" and their body is comfortable at that number.  But for me, I wasn't following the "rules" and landing at this number.  In fact, it was a trend that I was ignoring because my A1c before that one was 6.9%, and I made all the promises to myself after leaving the endo's office.  "I've got to get back to measuring my meals."  "I need to exercise more."  "No more SWAG bolusing."  I didn't want this upward trend to continue, but I let it. 

Enter in twittering, blogging, and CGMing--everything that has happened since that appointment.  I learned that not everyone follows the "rules", but that's not the most important rule.  Yes, I have gotten back to measuring my food, counting carbs, exercising, and (thanks to Constance) have started taking my insulin 30 minutes before eating.  And things have been pretty smooth sailing, except for this week. 

I have no idea what's going on, but it seems no matter what I eat that I spike into the 200s with no rhyme or reason.  Also, I have been going low (like super low) with a meal that I've eaten everyday for the past week with no issues.  And yesterday I randomly hit my 180 mg/dL high threshold while eating nothing!  What the heck!  This isn't fair!  I'm following the "rules".  But I realized that this kind of attitude is what leads to getting lazy all over again. 

It makes sense, if you follow the "rules" you should get fair results.  But life (and diabetes) isn't fair.  Sometimes we get bent canulas or bubbles in our pump, and accuracy issues with meters can make a 120 mg/dL really an 80 mg/dL which leads to a 60 mg/dL and a "WTF?  I was just 120!" a few minutes later.  And stress and anxiety can cause our BG to go up out of nowhere.  And so many other variables that affect our BG that haven't even been discovered yet (I'm fully convinced the smell of bleach makes me go low, but I have no research to back it up). 

So what about the "rules"?  Throw them out!  Get rid of them and just remember this rule:  BE FLEXIBLE!  Diabetes is as predictable as the weather, it comes and goes with highs and lows, sunshine and rain.  Don't get frustrated with a single number, but correct it and move on.  Don't dwell on "what happend there?" or "what did I do wrong?".  Nothing.  Diabetes is an ugly monster inside us, it's not part of us or who we are.  It gets out of hand, just when we think we have it all under control.  I think the ultimate rule to living a good life with diabetes is learning to roll with the punches.  It's not fair, even when we follow the "rules".  But I think being successful is not being perfect all the time but rather learning to adjust to change. 

I'm saying this myself as much as I want everyone to hear it.  I feel like if I were a "good enough" diabetic, then I would never reach 200 mg/dL and I will prevent any lows from happening again.  But the truth is, I'm already a "good diabetic" (heck, a GREAT diabetic!) because I don't let my diabetes get out of hand.  It would be so easy to throw my hands up after every high, but that would be giving up.  It takes strength, perseverance, and patience to handle this disease. 

I hope this post helps someone out there.  If not, at least it might help me in 6 months or a year from now, when I'm ready to throw my hands up. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Gun Show

This past weekend, Trey and I were scheduled to go to a cookout/pool party for one of our friends who graduated from college.  It was a blast!  We hung out in the pool, then the hot tub because the pool was too cold, played jeopardy of the graduate's life (don't ask, but it was so much fun!), ate burgers and vidalia onions, and shot potatoes out of a potato gun into a horse field.  Just a typical summer night in Alabama. 

The morning before the cookout, I was scheduled to change my pump and CGM site (yay! free shower!).  So, I considered our upcoming activities and decided to try putting both sites on my arms.  I didn't have great success with my last arm CGM site due to a gusher that led to the tape peeling long before it should, and I recently acquired some 4' long pump tubing for my Minimed from someone who switched to the Omnipod.

I had always wanted to try a pump site on my arm but the 2' tubing I am used to would have me clipping the pump to my bra on my back, and without a remote to my pump bolusing would have required some intense yoga and flexibility training.  But with the 4' tubing, I am able to put the site on my arm and have the tube go down my back, through my bra which holds it in place on my back and shoulder, and still have my pump easily accessible in my pocket. 

The only issue with choosing to put both sites on my arms is that everyone gets a free ticket to the diabetes gun show for the next 3 (pump) and 7 (CGM) days.  I've already had several coworkers ask me if something was wrong with my arm, so it's led to explaining what each piece of technology is and what they're used for.  But I'm happy to explain their uses, especially at my work place which is a place that thrives on new and exciting technology.

Gun Show Right Arm:  CGM Sensor (This was really awkward to put on with my left hand when I'm 100% a rightie, but I did it.)

Gun Show Left Arm:  Pump Site

As much I'm loving having the pump site on my arm, I think I will save all my 4' tubing for the upcoming (hopefully soon!) cooler months.  This new site will be a great addition to the necessary rotation for pump site real estate.  My poor stomach is also thankful for this break.  For the first time in the almost 3 years I've been pumping, my midsection actually looks like a nice, normal view of curvyness and a belly button. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Fleshy Cyborg

I have a confession to make.  It's something you'll probably never heard from another woman.  I mean, it's groundbreaking stuff.  Ready?  READY?!






















I'm not completely in love with my body.






















Please, contain your surprise, I know this is shocking.  However, I didn't say I completely hated my body, there are some things that I love about it.  For one, I've always had a naturally slim waist.  All of my extra weight navigates towards my hips and below, making me very hippy and pear-shaped.  And as weird as this sounds, I like my neck.  My favorite piece of jewelry is a nice necklace because I like my showing off my neck.  It wasn't until I graduated from high school that I felt self-confident about my body.  My larger-than-average hips and thighs have always been here and they will always be here.  

Enter in diabetes and all its technology.  I wrote about feeling like a bionic woman during my first week with Constance.  However, if I were truly a bionic woman, I would have perfect, ideal measurements around a blemish-free body.  A true bionic woman would look like Robin William's mate in Bicentennial Man: 

You want me to put the site where?!  

But unfortunately, I don't have the perfect body (with or without metal).  I simply wear two devices on top of my not-so-perfect, fleshy body.  Which can make for some interesting self-esteem issues.  Forget trying to look good any other time, but add necessary hardware to the mirror and there's only so much accessorizing you can do.  At the end of the day, a pump is a pump is a pump.  

Having a husband who sees through my technology really helps.  Trey and I have become so accustomed to my diabetes that it is often just the background noise in our marriage.  It seems the only time we ever talk about diabetes is when we're dealing with our insurance company.  But I wouldn't have it any other way.  A woman wants to feel irresistible, at least in the eyes of her man.  And nothing makes me feel more beautiful than having him wrap his arms around my waist and not ignoring my pump site.  I'm often so careful going around it when I'm getting dressed, but he just thinks of it as a part of me. 

And there are certain times when I want diabetes to go away and let me and my body be.  Like, the beach, for example.  I own exactly one (and ONLY one) bikini.  I've only worn it once on my honeymoon 2 years ago.  Any other time an activity requires a bathing suit, I like to sport a tankini or a one piece with some shorts.  It's not that I'm ashamed of myself in a bikini, there's just a level of modesty and flesh exposure that I am comfortable with.  Even if I had the perfect super model body, I wouldn't feel comfortable showing that to my little nephews.  But for a beach vacation where it's going to be just me and my husband, I'm a little more comfortable wearing a bikini (with a handy cover-up always nearby).  And having a clip of diabetes technology on each side of my waist band is not something that you see on the fashion runway.  (By the way, has there ever been a diabetes fashion show?  You know, showing stylish ways to show or hide your pump and CGM?  That would be awesome!)  

I love my one (and ONLY) bikini!  It's royal metallic blue, with adjustable waist band holders, making it easier to put my clips wherever is most comfortable.  I've dealt with string bikinis before, but it would be impossible to trust a small piece of clothing to hold up a dense plastic pump. And I love the top piece and how it ties around my neck, the thicker pieces of fabric make me feel secure (but that's not necessarily a diabetes thing).  I am so looking forward to take this down for our beach trip (next month!  Yay!) and laying out.  The only real concern I have is getting a circular tan line around my pump site.  

And now, for sake of integrity and transparency, I'm going to post a pic of my bikini.  



















*sigh*  Here we go . . . 



















It's now or never . . . 



















And . . . 





















What?!  You thought I was going to post ME in the bikini?!  Buahahaha!

=P 

Friday, August 13, 2010

Showing the Love: 13 August 2010 Friday Five

Welcome to the Friday the 13th edition of the Friday Five!  Today I'm staying indoors and avoiding black cats, ladders, and clowns (there's no superstition about clowns, I just don't like them).  But what I would like to do for this Friday Five post is to give a shout out to several other blog posts (D and non-D) that have been awesome this week. 

One of the things I'm learning through this whole bloggy experience is that it connects people on so many levels.  I honestly thought this experience would put us all behind a computer screen with no real connection.  But I'm definitely finding that's not the case.  It's already led to a coffee meet up with a fellow tweeter.  I love all my fellow bloggers, you guys are all my friends. 

  1. Kerri's post on people who need people are people with diabetes really resonated with me.  When I was first diagnosed, I perused the message boards of the ADA to get some emotional support and answers.  Then I met Nerdy April at summer camp and she introduced me to the pump.  And I've met so many other people (in real life and virtually) who have made me feel not alone in this diabetes world. 
  2. Jacquie is a fellow beer lover and D-blogger who gives a bunch of shout outs to other D-bloggers who have inspired her (check me out at #9).  I love that we all have one thing in common (diabetes) but we're all so different that we can be known by the beer lover, or the gamer, or the ninja, or the one who names her inanimate objects
  3. Chris and I got into a metaphorical baseball-CGM challenge from my No Hitter post.  He gave me a shout out on his next post on waiting for the other shoe to drop.  By the way, I'm still waiting on my no-hitter, but I will definitely post when I do!   
  4. Two fellow friends of mine closed on houses this week:  April & Jessica!  Congratulations, ladies!  Welcome to the world of homeownership and "Hey, what's that smell?" syndrome.  
  5. And I love Sarah's vlog post on using the Animas Ping meter to bolus.  I also love her accent!  A true, southern accent is a thing of beauty, and everyone should go listen to her beautiful voice and appreciate it. 
Well, I'm off to enjoy the weekend which includes a pool party and cookout.  Sweet!   Only 3 more weeks until college football! 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Holly-Ology

Inspiration for a new post is lacking today.  It could be I'm exhausted from playing 3 softball games in two days, or this extreme heat is draining my brain, or I'm just blonde (hey, it's OK for me to say it).  So, meme to the rescue!  This meme comes from Cara!  =)

Let others know a little more about yourself, re-post this as your name followed by "ology".

***********FOODOLOGY***************
What is your salad dressing of choice? - I really go back and forth on this, depending on the salad, but I switch from Ranch, Balsamic Vinagerette, and Caesar

What is your favorite sit-down restaurant? - Macaroni Grill, maybe, or a local Mexican restaurant here called Rosie's

What food could you eat every day for two weeks and not get sick of? - right now it's avocados, they don't stay in the fridge long

What are your pizza toppings of choice? - bacon and mushroom, yum!

What do you put on your toast? - peanut butter, I love the way it makes it smoothy and melty


***********TECHNOLOGY***************
How many televisions are in your house? - Two, but we only watch TV on one, the other is strictly for the Wii.

How many computers? - I only have one laptop, but Trey has 3 . . . in one place . . . and he's been known to use them all at the same time

What kind of cell phone do you have? - Blackberry Storm

Do you have an iPod? - no, I must confess, I have never owned an MP3 player, I'm so lacking in technology


***************BIOLOGY******************
Are you right-handed or left-handed? - Rightie

Have you ever had anything removed from your body? - tonsils, wisdom teeth, and tubes from my ears

What is the last heavy item you lifted? - a big skillet I thought about buying, but I don't like buying something that could break my foot

Have you ever been knocked unconscious? - Yep, one time warming up for a softball game, my throwing partner threw it when I wasn't looking, I don't remember getting hit or falling, I just remember being on the ground.


************BULLOLOGY**************
If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die? Ummm, no, surprise me!

If you could change your name, what would you change it to? - I probably wouldn't change my name, I think Holly is unique and I don't see it very much today

Would you drink an entire bottle of hot sauce for $1000? - no thanks, not worth the heartburn.


************DUMBOLOGY******************
How many pairs of flip flops do you own? - two

Last time you had a run-in with the cops? - In Knoxville about this time last year, got pulled over on the way to a wedding

Last person you talked to? - my officemates.

Last person you hugged? - my friend Jessica who is moving =(

Last person you kissed? - you'd think it would be Trey, but he left before I did, and I got a big smooch from Roscoe before I left


**************FAVORITOLOGY****************
Season? - Fall:  football, cool weather, and chili!

Holiday? - Thanksgiving, actually, it seems more family-oriented than material-oriented like Christmas

Day of the week? - Saturday or Sunday, both involve sleeping =)

Month? - November--my birthday month, it's fall, and Thanksgiving (see answers above).


***********CURRENTOLOGY*****************
Missing someone? - Am I? Where'd they go? lol

Mood? - Kind of tired and moody, can I go back to bed?

What are you listening to? - Rick & Bubba

Watching? - Ummm, this screen?

Worrying about? - Getting the house clean.


***************RANDOMOLOGY*****************
First place you went this morning? - to the bathroom

What's the last movie you saw? - Sorcerer's Apprentice, it was surprisingly good

Do you smile often? - I actually don't think I do, but my smile is usually followed by a laugh, so only when I think something's funny

Sleeping alone tonight? - Nope, I am joined by my wonderful husband, two snoring dogs, and bed-hogging cats, definitely NOT alone.


***************OTHER-OLOGY*****************
Do you always answer your phone? - Depends on the situation, I won't answer if I don't feel like talking, but I promise I'll call back.

If you could change your eye color what would it be? - no, I like my bluish-green eyes

Do you own a digital camera? - Yep, and it's full of house-remodeling pictures

Have you ever had a pet fish? - Sadly, yes, and none lived longer than a month, I'm a murderer

Favorite Christmas song(s)? - Mary Did You Know? And that one by the Transiberian Orchestra (sp?). I like the darker Christmas songs

What's on your wish list for your birthday? - I've actually already told Trey I'd like an Auburn hoodie, surprisingly, I don't have one

Can you do push ups? - ummm, girly ones?

Can you do a chin up? - Sure, see, "chin up, chin down, chin up"  Hehe

Does the future make you more nervous or excited? - How about anxious?

Do you have any saved texts? - I think I have saved all of them, I'm the same with email, haven't deleted a lot there, either.

Ever been in a car wreck? - Thankfully, no, just fender benders.

Do you have an accent? - Why do you think I've yet to do a vlog? 

What is the last song to make you cry? - "Boys of Fall" by Kenny Chesney

Plans tonight? - Dinner and watch Seven Pounds

Have you ever felt like you hit rock bottom? - Oh yeah.

Name 3 things you bought yesterday? - Nothing, I was too busy to even look at a store

Have you ever been given roses? - Yes, but I prefer tulips.

Current worry? - BG needs to come up, but that's always a worry

Current hate right now? - nothing, not worth the energy to hate anything

Met someone who changed your life? - "I think everyone you meet changes your life in some way." I'm stealing Cara's answer cuz I likes it

How will you bring in the New Year? - Probably shooting fireworks

What song represents you? - "Breakaway" by Kelly Clarkson

Name three people who might complete this? - no idea, I just can't think of what to write

Would you go back in time if you were given the chance? -Absolutely, but I think not doing so has made me a better person

Have you ever dated someone longer than a year solid? - Yep, all of my relationships were pretty long

Do you have any tattoos/piercings? - my ears and a cartilage ring in my left ear

Will you be in a relationship 4 months from now? - Yes! This marriage thing if forevah! =)

Does anyone love you? - Yep, lots of people.

Would you be a pirate? - Arrrrrrrrr (yes).

What songs do you sing in the shower? - I usually don't, but if I do, "Singing in the Rain"

Ever had someone sing to you? - just the birthday people at restaurants.

When did you last cry? - yesterday, but it was a long day.

Do you like to cuddle? - Yes *smirk*.

Have you held hands with anyone today? - Today? not yet

Who was the last person you took a picture of? - Myself and my new Dexcom sensor

What kind of music did you listen to in elementary school? - All 4 One, my first CD

Do you believe in staying close with your ex's? - They're called ex's for a reason . . .

Are most of the friends in your life new or old? - Mostly new

Do you like pulpy orange juice? - Ewww, no, I'm drinking juice, not liquid sand

What is something your friends make fun of you for? - my obsession with trashy reality shows, lol

Well that was fun!  =)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

No Hitter

A "no-hitter" as defined by Wikipedia: 

A no-hitter (also known as a no-hit game) is a baseball game in which one team has no hits. In Major League Baseball, the team must be without hits during the entire game, and the game must be at least nine innings. A pitcher who prevents the opposing team from achieving a hit is said to have "thrown a no-hitter".


A "no-hitter" as defined by Holly, the diabetic:

A no-hitter (also known as a streamline) is a time period in which a diabetic does not hit their high or low threshold on their CGM. For a Dexcom user, they must be without any alarms during the entire day, and the day must be at least 24 hours. A diabetic who prevents their blood sugars from reaching a threshold is said to have "bolused a no-hitter".

Ever since I got started with Constance, it has become a little game for me to achieve a perfect 24-hour graph line where I don't hit my high or low threshold.  The closest I've come is getting to 12 hours, maybe 15 or so, but not a complete 24 hour graph.   I know my CGM is supposed to my a long-term diabetes tool, but the competitive side of me is trying win this "game". 

The other night I had made the ultimate no-hitter faux paus, I talked about it.  I was looking at my graph and told Trey, "Wow, I've gone 11 hours without an alarm.  Maybe I can get my no-hitter."  Then, not 30 minutes later, I get a low alarm of 68 mg/dL.  "Dangit!  I knew I shouldn't have said anything." 

This is definitely NOT a no-hitter.  

I have often thought about eating extremely low carb and not doing much activity in order to achieve my no-hitter graph, but that would be cheating.  It would be like purposefully walking the best hitter on the opposing team so they wouldn't get a hit.  I don't want to do it that way.  I want my no-hitter to be the result of managing MY diabetes, and MY diabetes includes pizza (the ultimate MVP batter), working around the house, and playing softball.  I want my no-hitter to be in the World Series of diabetes.  (And I bet you would like another anology by now.)  

Monday, August 9, 2010

Being Patient

As I sit here writing this blog post, Constance is displaying a lovely (/sarcasm) 48 mg/dL with a southeast arrow.  I woke up at 153 mg/dL, so a correction combined with my morning cereal insulin has me on a downward slope this morning.  I just drank my toddler size strawberry kiwi juice box, and now . . . I'm waiting. 

I've wrote before that the typical 15/15 rule doesn't work for me.  It usually takes me 30 minutes to recover from a low.  And it takes all my might to not keep drinking juice or eating candy in order to feel better.  It's akin to pushing the "Close Door" button on the elevator.  (I'm convinced those buttons don't actually work; they're just there for impatient people like me.)  Even though I KNOW I need to let the juice do its thing and I KNOW drinking more will send me over-correcting later on, I just can't justify the way I'm feeling--fuzzy head, shaking, sweaty, irritable--with the action of doing nothing.  I'm sitting here with the fear of passing out and my prescribed action is to take 3 sips from this box and sit for 30 minutes?! 

I'm not a very patient person, in general.  I'm constantly feeling like I'm late for something or that I should be doing something.  Just sitting and waiting is not my personality (though, having an endo with an average wait time of 45 minutes has helped with that some).  I left home when I was 18-years-old because I couldn't wait to start my own life.  I took summer classes all 4 years of college because I couldn't wait to start grad school.  I annoyed my graduate advisor with reading my thesis draft because I couldn't wait to graduate and look for a job.  And, I must admit, I bugged Trey for an engagement ring because I couldn't wait to get married.  Waiting, patience, sitting--these terms are part of my vocabulary, but not my DNA. 

So it is understandable that it is hard for me to wait out a low or not rage bolus a high.  I want to get back to 100 mg/dL and I want to be there NOW!  Having Constance has helped me to see that my juice/insulin is working before I can confirm with a finger test, so I'm less inclined to over-correct.  But why can't I just sit here and trust the mediums to correct my blood sugar by themselves?  Is it my constant need to feel in control of all things?  (possibly)  Or is it my constant worrying about something at all times, and when my blood sugar is acting up it goes to the front burner on my worrisome mind?  (definitley)  I know that having diabetes has made me a better person, but I'm not sure that it's made a more patient one. 

35 minutes later, and I'm at 92 mg/dL with a north arrow.  Patience . . .

I need one of these to push while I'm waiting on a low.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday Five: 6 August 2010

Welcome to another HAWT edition of Friday Five.  I say this because the average high this week has been over 100 F!  Ugh!  This edition of friday five is very random, it goes from meatloaf to dinner parties to football.  Yeah, my mind is all over the place . . .

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all the peeps who volunteered to guest post for me while I'm going to be gone on my beach vacation.  I received all the volunteers I needed within a day, and even some extra reserved for my next vacation (which, this is our first true "vacation" in 2 years, I hope this is not the same for my next vacation).  I look forward to seeing what you're all going to post here at A&M!  And maybe I should go ahead and plan another vacation for those who also wanted to but can't this time?  ;-)  
  2. Who doesn't like meatloaf, honestly?!  I have been perplexed by this notion over the past two days because I was planning a meatloaf dinner, then came to find out my guests are not big fans of the stuff.  No biggie, they still tried it and liked MY meatloaf, but who doesn't like meatloaf in general?!  I figured it was like hamburgers, or pizza, something that you'd have to be un-American to not like.  Guess I learned something new . . . 
  3. I got into a conversation with someone online this week about being diabetic and having someone prepare a meal around that.  Personally, if someone makes a low carb meal for me, I would be appreciative.  But if they ask me beforehand if I would rather have chicken breasts or spaghetti, I would say SPAGHETTI!  I just don't think anyone planning a dinner party should cater (pun!) to my disease for everyone else.  I feel like it points me and D out.  "Look, we're eating chicken and broccoli because of . . . HER!!!  *fingers pointing*"  What do you guys think?  I would never ask a host to prepare a low carb meal just because I'm going to be there.  I can choose not to take a second roll or something, but that's my choice. Meh.
  4. Only 4 more weeks until college football starts.  Yesssssssssss!!!  I'm so ready for it, not just football, but fall (see above about it being HAWT).  I'm ready for cool, refreshing weather, autumn leaves, and chili in a crockpot when I walk in the door.  
  5. And Trey's and my 2nd anniversary is in 17 days (thank you, Facebook).  I really can't believe it's been 2 years already.  This time two years ago I was making last minute checks on everything and trying not to freak out.  And this time last year we were getting ready to go look for houses.  And what are we doing this year?  I have no idea, just trying to keep up with life I guess.  =P  
Have a great weekend everyone.  Stay cool!  B-)  

Thursday, August 5, 2010

In Case You've Lost Some

This week has been pretty busy with annual reviews at work, so I apologize for the light posting.  So I'll just leave you with this:

Apparently you can buy some in case you lose it.  

;-)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pizza, Beer, and Bolusing

There are certain things that are tricky to bolus for, like anything including a lot of fat or an alcoholic drink.  Loads of fat slows down carb absorption so a delayed bolus is needed, and a drink acts to initially spike BG from the carbs in the drink but the alcohol lowers BG afterward.  Well, combine these two together and you've got a double tricky situation on your hands.  Enter:  pizza and beer. 

We've developed a trend over the last few weeks where we have a set of friends come over on Saturday night and we eat homemade pizza, drink whatever beer is brought by the guests (my favorite is anything Samuel Adams), and play a card game called Phase Ten.  To me, there's no better way to spend a Saturday night than this.  Everyone is talking and filling their bellies, and taking vengeance out on each other whenever someone makes a phase.  My cheeks usually are sore by the end of the night from laughing so much. 

The effect on my BGs, however, is not as nostalgic.  Usually, I like to do a dual bolus for pizza as follows:  3u/slice at 40% normal and 60% square over 3 hours.  Add in beer to this equation and it gets a little complicated.  I don't like to bolus at all for beer because it makes me go low later on, so the initial high correction would result in a lower low--not fun.  So, I'm content to "include" the beer in my pizza bolus even though it's not programmed as part of the carb intake. 

With Constance a part of my diabetes arsenal now, I've been able to spy with more detail what goes on during these fun nights.  I begin my dual bolus as soon as I put the pizza in the oven because it takes about 30 minutes to cook.  Then, when we sit down and start eating, my BG initially spikes from the beer and kind of hovers around my 180 mg/dL threshold for awhile and then it starts to drop about 2 hours later.  My square bolus continues to bring it down for one more hour, bringing me down to a normal number around bedtime. 

But about the time I am in a deep sleep from a full belly and a fun night, I wake up to BZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!  This is about the time the delayed carbs from the pizza start to kick in, so there's another spike in BG, roughly 6 hours after I've eaten it!  I would have never known this without Constance.  I have heard of other diabetics bolusing for about 10% of their initial bolus after their active insulin is out of their system because of this spike.  Has anyone else ever done this before?  I just can't imagine setting an alarm to take another bolus in the middle of the night.  This would scream future low, to me.  But I certainly don't like spending the night correcting highs after I'm already exhausted. 

NOTE:  I realize this post may bring about some finger-wagging comments.  I know pizzas are high carb, and typically alcohols are no-nos for diabetics.  But I'm a big proponent of living as normal a life as possible.  Anything is possible for diabetics with the right about of preparation and research.  If you choose to abstain for pizza and alcohol, more power to you.  But I'd much rather know how to accomplish these challenges than run away from them. 

Monday, August 2, 2010

Calling All (Guest) Bloggers

ATTENTION!



Calling all fellow bloggers:  

I am looking for 4-5 guest bloggers while I'll be gone on vacation to the beach during mid-September.  You don't have to be a diabetes blogger or even a blogger at all!  I'm really open to anything.  If you'd like to be a guest blogger for * Arnold and Me * please email me at "arnoldandme" at gmail dot com.  I might bring back some goodies for you from the beach, like, some sand?  Just kidding, it will be something good.  

THANKS!
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Disclaimer

DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, nurse, certified diabetes educator (CDE) or any medical professional of any kind. (But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express!) Therefore, please do not use any of my postings as medical fact. I am simply a blogger expressing my highs and lows (pun intended) with diabetes. For changes in your medication, exercise regiment, or diet please consult a qualified physician.

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My name is Holly and I live in north Alabama with my hubby, two cats, and a dog.