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Monday, November 29, 2010

Twenty-Six Reasons

Today's my birthday, and I've got 26 reasons to be happy (which is perfect because that's how old I am). 

  1. I've lived almost 4 years with diabetes and am still as healthy as day #1.  
  2. I have a wonderful husband who puts up with my silly, emotional self, especially when I spend most of the day over 200 mg/dL, and he rubs my back as I sit on the edge of the bed and cry myself into his soaked T-shirt.  Just for example.  
  3. I have wonderful, supportive parents who make a pot of crawfish boil and strawberry cheesecake for my birthday because they know me.  
  4. I have a great extended family who loves me and is flooding my text message inbox with birthday messages.  
  5. Someone bought pumpkin spice latte creamer and put it in the coffee room at work!  
  6. I'm thankful for my wonderful job that has given me opportunities to use both of Super Nerd degrees.  
  7. Today is Monday which means that I have a new lancet to start the week.  
  8. I just bolused for a pomegranate Greek yogurt and I'm salivating waiting for my insulin to kick in.  
  9. I have wonderful friends who I consider to be more like family.  
  10. Even though they drive me crazy, I have 4 furry friends who are always happy to see me when I get home.  
  11. I get to decorate our new house with all the Christmas decorations I bought last year.  And I actually have a fireplace to put my stockings on!  
  12. Christmas 2011 has unofficially been declared to be held at our house.  I'm totally psyched and freaking out at the same time.  
  13. Auburn is #1 in the BCS standings!  
  14. I'm finally joining the 21st century and getting an iPod.  It should be here later this week or next week.  
  15. I'm glad I live in Alabama because I'm a total wuss when it comes to this cold weather thing.  It was 48 F this morning and I thought I was going to die! 
  16. It's been 30 minutes since I typed #8.  Excuse me for a moment . . . 
  17. It was delicious!  
  18. I'm so thankful to have the DOC!  It's so great to have people who instantly become friends over the phrase, "You?  Yeah, me too."  
  19. I got to ride my cousin's four-wheeler this weekend and only screamed a couple thousand times.  This made Trey fold over in laughter.  
  20. My dad has been doing some research on our family and apparently people live to be fairly old (respective death ages range from 86 to 104!). 
  21. On that historical note, I'm so thankful to live in this age of technology and to have a pump and CGM to help me manage this disease.  
  22. Roscoe only puked once in the 5 hour trip to south Alabama.  Poor puppy does not handle car rides very well.  
  23. I bought new gray work pants in my Saturday shopping, but I just realized they have faux pockets.  So Arnold and Constance are going clipped today.  
  24. I'm celebrating my birthday by doing a little shopping after work.  I'm so excited!  
  25. I love my mint flavored chapstick!  It makes me feel like I just got done brushing my teeth but not really. 
  26. I got a fancy new KitchenAid mixer as my birthday present!  And yes, I asked for it, so it's OK for me to get a "kitchen gift".  
Oh, and one to grow on . . .

   27.  I'm so happy to share this birthday with all of you.  Love you guys!  =)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

What?! Bloggers don't get Holidays?!

Yeah, yeah, I know.  I totally blew it for NaBloPoMo this year by not blogging the past 3 days.  I took my laptop with me to south Alabama with all intents and purposes to blog each day.  But Thanksgiving Day was such a rush after sleeping in too long and trying to make it my aunt's house on time.  And my post on Constance being my guide totally failed because she gave out on me as we were sitting down for dinner.  I knew she was getting close to being done, but I put off changing the sensor until after Thanksgiving dinner.  She gave me the "???" salute before, during, and after dinner, guess she couldn't handle the pressure. 

Then Friday, also known as Black Friday, was the day of the Iron Bowl which is an unofficial holiday for Alabamians.  All the world stopped to watch #2 Auburn (my team) and #11 Alabama challenge each other for the 75th time in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  And between being completely depressed during the first half when Alabama jumped to a 24-7 lead, then screaming my head off in the second half when Auburn came back to win 28-27, I was completely spent for the rest of the day.  Then my parents made me a wonderful birthday dinner that included a crawfish boil and cheesecake.  Perfect! 

My parents got me this awesome hoodie for my birthday!

And Saturday . . . I have no excuse.  My mom and I went shopping, then we helped them retrieve Christmas decorations before going out to dinner.  All the while sat my poor laptop on the floor in my bedroom.  I didn't even open my phone for very long to check text messages.  I must admit, it was nice to take a break from all the social technology.  So I didn't make NaBloPoMo this year, but I'm surprised I even made it this long.  My posts were beginning to sound like, "Oh yeah, need to post something today, blah blah blah."  

I hope everyone had a safe and Happy Thanksgiving! 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Just Talking with Spartacus

Monday night I had the privilege of recording a podcast with Chris.  We talked about everything from diabetes to home remodeling to storm chasing.  It was a lot of fun and the hour went by really quickly!  So head on over to Chris' site and take a listen.  And thanks Chris, I had a blast! 

I am busy today cleaning, packing, and preparing for a 5 hour drive with 2 big dogs in tow (oh my!).  I know a lot of people are traveling today, so please be safe everyone! 

Oh yeah, and have a great Thanksgiving!  

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Know Thine Enemy

Smoke filled the air as the general puffed his cigar, facing his troops in a hunter green tent.  The weather outside was rainy, flashes of lightning were echoed by faint sounds of thunder.  The soldiers gazed at their leader, awaiting their orders. 

"Troops, we have a battle ahead of us.  It's not going to be easy.  I'm fulling expecting a wave of the enemy to come upon us all at once." 

He moves to a white board located in the center of the room and pulls a marker from the tray. 

"The first wave will include a surge of biscuits, smothered in butter.  Butter is their weakness, though, it will slow them down enough to give us time to attack.  Then will come a series of casserole-type vegetables including creamed corn and sweet potatoes covered in marshmallows.  I'm thinking we'll set a temporary basal to defend their attack, then we'll shoot them with a series of square boluses over and over.  They'll never know what hit them!" 

He closes the pen and begins pacing back and forth. 

"I've been told through our secret intelligence that the enemy has a weakness for smoked turkey.  This is our saving grace.  Smoked turkey will slow down their insurgence tremendously, giving us time to focus our attention on the biscuits, corn, and potatoes." 

A young soldier stands up and asks the general, "Sir, but what about the cranberry sauce?" 

"You can't handle the cranberry sauce!" the general screamed as thunder and lightning echoed his voice.  "The sauce nearly did us in last year, so we took that weapon out of their arsenal through special ops several months ago."

Silence filled the room, except for the rain which made soft drumming sounds on the tent roof.

"Now, they may or may not have dressing.  This is a wild card because it's filled with crushed breading and chicken.  I'm thinking a normal bolus will be the best attack, followed by a square bolus to finish them off.  This is also known as a dual wave bolus." 

The tired general sighed, took a puff from his cigar, and took a seat in front of his troops. 

"Now soldiers, I'm an experienced man on the battlefield, but there is one enemy I have yet to defeat.  One tool in their weaponry, I must admit, scares the living daylights out of me.  And that is the monster known as triple chocolate fudge cake." 

A collective gasp from the troops harmonized with the thunder outside.

"Yes, this monster keeps me awake at night, fearing for my life and yours.  I've tried a temporary basal, a normal bolus, even a dual bolus.  But nothing seems to work." 

A young female soldier gracefully stands to her feet, her name was a Constance.  A new recruit with the gifted ability to see the enemy coming before their attacks can penetrate.  "Sir, I could take post in the tower, and radio you when the monster is coming.  You can tailor your plan for the monster according to what I see." 

A grin stretched across the general's face. 

"Troops, let's prepare for battle!" 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Location, Location, Location . . .

 . . . is usually the mantra of successful real estate, but it's also true for pump site absorption.  I wrote how I was frustrated with my numbers the past few days.  It was like my insulin absorption doubled in time, so a high would linger for hours before finally coming down.

I had my site on my lower back, righty above my booty.  I haven't tried this area before because of the logistics of it:  it's on my lower back which made putting it in in the first place a gymnastics feat, it's right where my pants come up on my hips so there was rubbing issues, insulin absorption = FAIL!  But I'm trying to rotate around as much as I can so my stomach doesn't look like an over-used dart board.

The reason I feel like the absorption here was not very good is because this area has harder fat, as opposed to squishy fat like on my love handles and my upper arms.  We (diabetics) have been told that the best place for insulin absorption is somewhere with a nice fatty layer.  So for me, this includes the love handles, bat wings (upper arms), and outer thighs.  I've been rotating around these regions for the past few months to get the best insulin absorption and allow my skin to heal.  But sometimes a site area just doesn't cut it in the absorption arena, so I have to remove it from the rotation.  This is frustrating because I want to be able to rotate as much as possible, especially with my petite frame.

So I'm back to the usual stomach, arm, and thigh rotations while throwing some hip ones in there now and then (these sites are great, given the right type of undergarments /digression and TMI).  And with Thanksgiving coming up this week, I want to make sure I'm well-prepared with the best sites available.  How else am I supposed to enjoy all that carb-loaded food when my insulin absorption is in slow gear? 

Does anyone else have their areas where the location is not as "insulin thirsty"?  Any other petite pumpers out there know what I'm feeling? 

Sunday, November 21, 2010


What gets me through NaBloPoMo?  A relaxing weekend and a great video about northern lights.  Sundays are a great time to relax, reflect, and perhaps say nothing at all. 


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Just What I Needed

After a crappy couple of days on the diabetes front, it was great to work out the stress in a 7 mile bike ride this morning.  The weather was perfect, sunny with a high of 70 F degrees with a slight breeze.  I set Arnold on a temporary basal an hour before the ride at 25% and left it there for the entire bike ride, which lasted about an hour, and for an hour afterward.  My beginning BG before the ride was 149 mg/dL and 75 mg/dL when we were done.  So I probably could do a slightly less basal rate next time, like maybe 10-15%. 

I love riding my bike, and haven't done a good ride like that since we bought the house in January.  Trey and I are already talking about going again tomorrow.  We passed other bikers, walkers, babies in strollers, and dogs on leashes while we went through the wooded trail and the wind blew the leaves off the trees.  My legs wanted to give out on the gravel hills, but I pushed through and built up a nice sweat in the process.  And since diabetes always comes for the ride, I figured I could show you guys how nicely all my D-stuff fit in my tiny Camelpak. 

Top pocket has my One Touch Mini meter, cylinder of glucose tabs, phone, and ID.  

Constance fit perfect in the front mesh pocket next to the water pak.  It was easy to get her out and check my levels as we were riding. 
This is probably the last time we'll get to ride before it gets frightfully cold, but I'm definitely looking forward to getting on the trail more.  And I'm off to go see Harry Potter:  The Deathly Hallows 1!  Time to ruin that bike ride with some good movie popcorn. 

Friday, November 19, 2010


I don't know what's been going on the past two days, but I'm pretty sure my average over that time is close to 180-200 mg/dL.  It's so frustrating because I have no idea why.  I have my suspects, like the homemade enchiladas that have an even more delayed carb hit than pizza.  This left me waking up yesterday at 326 mg/dL, lovely.  What's even more frustrating is that I was above my high threshold for more than six hours!  Why didn't I wake up?!  I was so defeated that I debated skipping breakfast, but I decided that if I kept drinking water as well then I could still eat.  This led to me bottoming out to 57 mg/dL by the time I got to work.  I kept bouncing from low to high the rest of the day. 

But it wasn't just the enchiladas, but I'm noticing that I'm spiking in the mid-afternoon.  Yesterday I went to a luncheon at work where a box lunch was provided.  Chicken salad sandwich, potato chips, and a chocolate chip cookie.  I totally SWAGed bolus 8 units, and I wound up at 150 mg/dL two hours later, but then I started spiking up to 233 mg/dL.  Holy delayed carbs, Batman!  I just feel so frustrated that I can't be a "regular" person who can enjoy enchiladas and a box lunch within a 24-hour time span without it sending me to the 200s. 

I know that I just need to get things back in control with proper carb counting and eating foods that aren't so loaded with fat that leads to delayed carbs.  Usually after days like these, I go on a guilt-ridden Atkins diet to try and get my average back down.  But I know that's not the right thing to do because it will just lead to a carb binge later on.  What's even scarrier about all this is that Thanksgiving is next week, and I'm scared to even think about bolusing for that. 

I really am trying to keep my A1c in check, and now I feel like I've completely ruined my 6.3 from last month.  It's so hard not to cry when things like this happen.  I wish there was some brilliant conclusion to this post about how diabetes is a marathon, not a sprint, and two bad days doesn't mean I'm doomed for my life.  But sometimes it's so freaking frustrating, and I feel so vulnerable. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Made of Steel, But not a Magnolia

If you haven't seen the movie Steel Magnolias, I'm about to ruin the plot for you.  So if you want, scroll past this paragraph, and I'll continue with my regularly scheduled blogging.  Basically, a type 1 diabetic woman dies from being pregnant and having a kid.  Everyone is sad.  The End.

Well, I had my first "Steel Magnolias" experience the other week when my parents were visiting.  Someone who worked with my mom asked her if the reason Trey and I don't have kids (yet) is because I'm diabetic.  My mom quickly rebutted that reason and said that I am perfectly able and capable of having kids on my own.  And that our reasons for waiting were ours alone and had nothing to do with diabetes.  (Go Mom!)

Yes, it's true that Trey and I are waiting, but not on diabetes.  My last A1c got the "green light" from my endo, and I'm aiming to get even lower.  But more importantly, I'm reading more and more stories everyday of type 1 moms having healthy babies.  The stories are so, so encouraging, but they still fade in the light compared to Steel Magnolias.  I really think someone should make a Steel Magnolias 2, where Shelby's granddaughter who has type 1 has like 1,000 healthy babies with her insulin pump and CGM.

But the point of this post is to say that I have every hope and intention of having kids one day, and not dying in the process.  I have no fear of the pregnancy process because I have researched and googled everything that's going to happen from preconception to birth to breastfeeding.  Those things, I can prepare for.

What I can't prepare for is someone seeing me all round-bellied, sporting an insulin pump, and thinking that I'm basically committing suicide by having kids.  I'm really not very patient when it comes to other people's ignorance.  Does anyone have that book, you know, "What to Expect When You're Expecting Comments from Ignorant People about Your Type 1 Diabetic Pregnancy"?  Because I sure could use a copy about now.  I'm pretty sure those comments can bounce off of me like steel, but I'm not sure I can respond sweetly and in kind like a magnolia.  I can handle a type 1 diabetic pregnancy, I can handle the hundreds of doctor's appointments leading up to birth, and I can even handle all that while being called "Shamu".  But I can't, CAN.NOT handle other people telling me it can't be done. 

Perhaps is the southern woman stubborn part of me, but nothing makes me want to do something more than other people telling me that I can't.   

Of course, I still have some diabetic goals before getting pregnant, like achieving a perfect baby-building A1c like this here chica.  =) 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Spouses, The Backup CGMs

I'm quite the heavy sleeper, so I don't always here Constance going off in the middle of the night.  Thank goodness I have Trey, because he is usually my alarm when Constance is beeping.  For example . . .

3:00 AM, our bedroom

Constance:  Buzzzzzzz! "High. Over 180 mg/dL."

3:05 AM

Constance:  Beeeeeeeep!  "High.  Over 180 mg/dL." 

Trey:  "Holly . . ."

Holly:  Zzzzzzzzzzzz . . . zzzzzzzzzz . . .

Trey:  "Holleeey . . . " 

Holly:  Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz . . .

3:10 AM

Constance:  BEEEEEEEP!!!

Trey:  "HOLLY!"

Holly:  *annoyed*  "What?!" 

Trey:  "You're buzzing . . . " 

Holly:  "Huh?" 


Trey:  "You're buuuuuuuzzzzzzzing . . . " 

Holly:  "Oh . . . ok . . . "

Then I toddle off to the bathroom to test.  195 mg/dL.  Dial up a correction bolus.  Head back to bed. 

Trey:  "Everything OK?" 

Holly:  "Uh huh, just needed a slight correction.  Thanks for waking me up." 

Trey:  " . . . don't mention it . . ."  *rolls back over*

I bet he's glad I've got my nighttime basals in check now.  I've been solidly waking up around 120 mg/dL for the past few weeks.  It took a lot of sacrifice (by Trey) to get there.  =) 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Being Patient

I am having a hard time determining when to pull a Dexcom sensor.  The sensors are designed to last 7 days, but I've been able to extend that lifetime as long as 16 days.  (Please note:  Do NOT take anything I do for my personal health management to the bank.  I realize the prescribed sensor time is 7 days, thus the risk of increased infection is all on me.  My personal decisions for using these medical devices are mine alone, see also DISCLAIMER on the bottom of this page.)  But I tow the line in my head to pull the sensor to hopefully avoid infection, or leaving the sensor in because my numbers are more accurate the longer the sensor is in.

Sometimes pulling a sensor is an easy decision, like when Constance gives me "???" readings all night long,  getting the ERR1 message multiple times, or when the sensor just falls out of my body from condensed sweat and exercise.  Pulling a sensor at those times is an easy decision, but sometimes the receiver oscillates from good readings to "???" enough to tease me.  "Oh time to pu . . . oh nevermind it's still good . . . eh getting '???' for a few minutes now so I think I'll pull . . . and we're back to good readings."  It's frustrating!  Be good or bad! 

The main reason I hesitate on pulling a sensor is because I don't know when I'll start getting good readings again.  The standard calibration time is set at 2 hours, but I've noticed that it takes my sensors a good 6-12 hours after the calibration time to get going.  (Maybe it's something to do with my blood?)  And yesterday morning, after having "???" for 3 hours, I took advantage of having a free shower and put on a new sensor after my skin was dry.  With the assistance of Tegaderm, I am now able to keep a sensor on for a week easy.  Feeling confident with a good placement of the sensor on my left love handle and securing it with Tegaderm, I went to work expecting to calibrate the sensor after 2 hours.

Well, after the calibration, I got about an hour of readings then I got the "???" salute.  No biggie, I expected it to get synced back up in a few minutes.  But it didn't.  Over the course of the next 12 hours, I got "???" with intermitten readings that lasted for less than 30 minutes.  By the time I got home, made dinner, and was getting ready for bed, I was still getting "???".  I decided to give it overnight to get its act together, or else I would pull the new sensor.  When I woke up this morning at 5:00 AM, the sensor finally starting giving consistent readings for the past 3 hours.  It's been working like a pro ever since.

Calibration time = 18 hours ?!

I'm still incredibly grateful for this device and how it's helped me manage my diabetes, but it certainly tests my patience sometimes.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday . . . Blah!

It's Monday.  It's cold and rainy.  My favorite boss is leaving the office this week.  And it's the first day on a new Dexcom sensor, which means my readings are sporadic and inaccurate.  Today is one of those days where I would love to go home to a roaring fire (probably will happen), hot chocolate (most definitely will happen), and a warm blanket until I fall asleep.  The good news is I'm stopping to buy some Christmas decorations on the way home.  *SQUEEL* 

(Also, it's NaBloPoMo, which includes crappy, one-paragraph posts like this one.)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I Didn't Move

Today is World Diabetes Day!  When I was thinking of what to write for a post for this day, I thought back to a significant Sunday last year.  Last fall, when the health care swing was in full debate, my pastor did a great sermon about not relying on man to fulfill our needs, but to rely on God.  The message was great, but what really got to me was the closing invitation.  My pastor asked if anyone had a chronic condition, cancer, or even the sniffles that they wanted to have prayed for to come to the front for the staff to pray for them. 

I thought about going down, but my hands stayed clenched to the pew in front of me.  I don't know why I didn't walk down, but I continued to sing the song the music minister was leading.  Then singing led to just mouthing, and before I knew it tears were streaming down my face.  Then I was full on crying.  Forget crying, I was sobbing, snot running down my nose, Blair Witch-esque bawling.  I could feel the eyes of the congregation on me, then Trey's arm around my waist.  I hadn't really "come out" to my Sunday School members around us, so they didn't know why I was so emotional.  In reality, neither did I. 

It's not that I don't want a cure, I do.  But at that moment I felt the extreme presence of God wrapping His arms me and giving me strength in that moment.  I felt strength in being diabetic, and I didn't really understand why.  That's why I didn't move that day, because I felt God telling me that I was meant to have this disease, for His glory. 

It wouldn't be until a year later that I would really understand why.  My pastor was preaching another sermon on healthcare titled "Why God Doesn't Heal".  And the highlighted scripture was 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10: 

 7And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
 8For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
 9And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
 10Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

I love these verses by Paul, especially the "thorn in the flesh" in verse 7.  Some historical theologians believe his "thorn" was blindness, some believe it was leprosy, some even believe it was even a nagging wife!  But I believe that he left it as an ambiguous analogy for a reason so that anyone can insert their own iniquity into the passage.  But I love the phrase "thorn in the flesh" in particular because it reminds me of the literal thorn canula in my flesh. 

But most of all, I love the whole theme of the passage because it tells me that I am a stronger person for having diabetes.  Physically, I am a little weaker because I have a broken pancreas, but my soul is stronger for it.  And so are all of you, members of the DOC.  I love you and feel so blessed to "know" all of you through this disease.  I hope you find strength on this day, World Diabetes Day, and everyday. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

And That's Why I Didn't Post Today

Seriously?!  How do other bloggers get through NaBloPoMo?!  I feel like I'm struggling to even open up my laptop today.  So with the (very) few minutes I have available, I'm gonna post why I wasn't able to write a coherent post today.  Here is a schedule of a pretty typical Saturday for me: 

6:30 AM:  Wake up to two dogs wrestling on the floor beside my side of the bed.  Let them out the back door to go potty. 

8:30 AM:  Wake up again to two whiny cats, no doubt begging for food and water, whining dogs at the back door, and a husband whining "Pancakes!"  Good morning to you, too, dear . . .

9:00 AM:  Finish eating pancakes and cleaning up the kitchen while hurriedly downing some necessary coffee.  Go get dressed in work clothes in order to go retrieve firewood from some friends who recently had a tree cut down in their yard. 

10:00 AM:  Arrive at destination to pick up firewood.  Spend the next hour loading cut pieces of tree into a trailer. 

11:00 AM:  Make the longest trip back home going 30 mph with a trailer loaded with firewood, including about 10 stump pieces. 

11:30 AM:  Head to the grocery store to pick up materials for indoor smores to take a friend's house to watch the Auburn/Georgia game. 

12:15 PM:  Arrive back home and make indoor smores and go get a shower (finally!). 

1:15 PM:  Eat a hurried lunch of Chobani's pineapple Greek yogurt, finish getting ready, and head out the door with a bag of BBQ chips to round out my lunch.

2:00 PM:  Arrive at friend's house for the Auburn game.  Friend also happens to be T1, and it was so cute when his 6-year-old daughter said, "My daddy has one of those," when I pulled out my pump to bolus for chips and dip.

2:30 PM:  Watch Auburn get ahead, get way behind, then come back with an on-side kick, then secure the lead for a win over the Dawgs!  War Eagle!  But UGA sure was cute (I love bulldogs).

7:00 PM:  Arrive back home, feed the dogs, change the cat litter (eww!), and finally sit down for the first time today to watch the Alabama/Miss St. and S. Carolina/Florida games while snuggling up to Missy.

10:00 PM:  Go to bed (hopefully) and wonder where in the world this day went!

And that's why I didn't post today.


Friday, November 12, 2010

How Sad!

I'm only on day #12 of NaBloPoMo, and I'm already memeing it up.  But my thoughts are not coherent enough for a descent blog post, plus I've got my thoughts churning on my post for World Diabetes Day.  So I took this meme from Kerri

1.  Were you named after anyone?  I don't know if I was named after anyone specifically, but my great-grandmother asked my mom to have a great-granddaughter named Holly.  Good thing, though, because my parents wanted to name me Candy.  How ironic would that name have been for a diabetic?!

2. When was the last time you cried? The other night.  I couldn't get under 200 mg/dL to save my life.  Trey's shoulders were happy to oblige, though. 

3. Do you like your handwriting? I like my cursive better than my print.  I loathe forms that say "Please fill this out in print."  Grrrr . . .

4. What is your favorite lunch meat? Is chicken salad considered a lunch meat?

5. Do you have kids? Furry, yes.  Human, no. 

6. If you were another person, would you be friends with you? I think so.  I'm more of that "dependable" friend than the "life of the party" friend. 

7. Do you use sarcasm a lot? No, I only use it a little.  ;-) 

8. Do you still have your tonsils? Nope.  Got them out in first grade.  Unlimited popsicles and ice cream were worth it, though!

9. Would you bungee jump? I have.  When I was 17-years-old.  My dad had to sign a release form since I was underage.  LOL! =D

10. What is your favorite cereal? Taking diabetes out of the equation, I love me some Cookie Crisp. 

11.  Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? The only shoes with laces on them are my sneakers, and no. 

12. Do you think you are strong? No, I think I'm an absolute weeny. 

13. What is your favorite ice cream? Eddy's French Silk is THE only ice cream!

14. What is the first thing you notice about people?  If they are smiling or not.
15. Red or Pink? *looks down at pink hoodie and pink sweatpants* I'd say pink.

16. What is your least favorite thing about yourself?  So. Freakin'. Emotional!

17. Who do you miss the most?  Probably Jessica.
18. What color pants and shoes are you wearing? Pink and purple (house shoes). I took today off from work, which means getting dressed is delayed. 

20. What was the last thing you ate? Some Kashi cereal.

21. What are you listening to right now?  The news in the background.  

22.  If you were a crayon, what color would you be? White because I would stay sharp. ;-)

23. Favorite smells? The remnants of burnt wood in the fireplace.

24. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? Dad. Was discussing Thanksgiving plans.

25. Favorite sports to watch? Auburn football. Gotta beat them DAWGS tomorrow. 

26. Hair color? Blonde, but hopefully I don't act like it.

27. Eye color? Greenish blue.

28 .Do you wear contacts? Nope.

29. Favorite food?  Anything with pasta.

30. Scary Movies or Happy Endings?  I've gotten to where I can't sit through scary movies anymore. We only made it halfway through Quarantine before turning it off.  So happy please?

31. Last movie you watched? Alice in Wonderland, the new one with Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter.

32 What color shirt are you wearing? Underneath my hoodie is a yellow shirt. I'm feeling bold.

33. Summer or winter? Neither, fall please.

34. Hugs or kisses?  Ummm, only kisses from my husband.  I'm good with hugs if you are.
35. Favorite dessert? I'm always game for a good cheesecake.  =P

36. What is on your mousepad? I'm using my laptop, so I don't have a mousepad.  I cheated. 

37. What did you watch on TV last night?  Alice in Wonderland on Netflix.

38. Favorite sound? Currently a purring kitty in my lap.  But I want to go get more coffee.  Decisions, decisions.

39. Rolling Stones or Beatles? Not really a fan of either.  Sorry. 

40. What is the farthest you have been from home? Absolute farthest is probably Phoenix, AZ.

41. Do you have a special talent?  I can imitate a pancreas like nobody's business. ;-)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Love Chobani Greek Yogurt?

Me too!  In fact, I love them so much that I follow them and like them!  I'm a total stalker.  I am also their featured blogger this week, plus I'm hosting a giveaway of a case of yogurt (winner's choice).  It's totally sweet (and fulfilling)!

They asked me to do a little blip on how their Greek yogurt helps me manage my diabetes.  I've always loved yogurt, but found that it tended to spike my BG then leave me crashing later on.  Someone in the DOC (I can't remember who) suggested that I give Greek yogurt a try because it has twice the amount of protein as regular yogurt.  That's where I fell in love with Chobani Greek yogurt.  It has a great quality yogurt taste with twice the protein of regular yogurt, plus it has all natural ingredients! 

So if you have the time, and you love Greek yogurt.  Head on over to their Twitter or Facebook page and leave a comment on why you love their brand.  Tell 'em "Holly sent ya".  Comment below on why you love Chobani and maybe you could win the free case giveaway.

Phantom Sites

I have been on the pump for over 3 years now and wearing a CGM for 4 months.  I am incredibly grateful for both of these little devices for how they help me manage my diabetes.  But there's a mental aspect to wearing two devices that has developed into a weird habit:  catering to phantom sites. 

I've been trying to be really diligent in rotating my sites around my body, which is hard to do on a body that's only 5'2".  I've been using my stomach, thighs, and (since it's cooler outside) the arms.  At the very least, a site will stay in one place for 3 days (Arnold) or up to 2 weeks (Constance).  Once that site is removed, though, my mind still thinks it's there. 

Case Example:  Getting dressed.  Especially if I use my thighs for a site (hello, pear-shapedness), I am really careful when pulling up my pants so as to not pull on the site (sorry, I know this is way TMI).  This causes me to do sort of a snake-like dance when getting dressed, shifting my legs from one side and my pants to the other as they go up.  All I need is some Indian music and a basket.  Or if a site is on my lower stomach, I make sure that my pants don't fold over the site pushing it down further into my skin (ow!).  And if I have a site on my arm, I make sure that my bra and shirt don't graze that side of my arm.  It's like getting dressed with a cast on that arm.  I look like I'm injured, but I'm not. 

But over the course of 3 days or 2 weeks is enough time for my mind to automatically do these things regardless if I have a site in that area or not.  I caught myself doing it yesterday, after moving my pump site from my arm to my thigh.  I was still moving my shirt ever so delicately over my arm so as to not disturb the site that wasn't there.  I actually stopped and thought, "What am I doing?!  The site is not there anymore.  It's on your thigh, Sweetie."  Then I proceeded to get dressed at a faster pace, forcing myself to go over my arms while telling myself the site isn't there anymore. 

Then there's the times when I graze the edges of hallways or doorways.  I immediately stop in my tracks, touch my arm where nothing is there except my fabric and flesh, and think, "Oh fiddle sticks, what was I thinking?" except in a slightly more PG-13 tone.  What is going on with me?  I fear I am losing my mind! 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Six Questions on D-Blog Day!

Today, November 9th is the 6th annual D-Blog Day!  This year's topic is "6 things you want people to know about diabetes".  But since I like to put my own spin on things, I'd like to answer the 6 most common questions I hear about diabetes. 

1.  Does it hurt?  

 By far the most common question I get.  Answer:  sometimes.  Testing my blood used to hurt a lot at first when I was diagnosed.  But I got used to it and learned where to test on my fingers so it doesn't hurt as much.  It also hurt when I first gave myself shots, leaving bruises all over my stomach.  But then I got Arnold and the Quick Serter makes it not hurt so much.  The needle for Constance kind of hurts going in, but once the needle is out and it's just the sensor left, I can't feel it at all. 

2.  What can you eat?  

Most people believe that diabetics should only eat meat and vegetables.  Although these are healthy choices, our bodies do need carbs for everyday functions (like, the brain).  I am of the philosophy that you can eat anything in moderation, as long as you plan and take your insulin properly.  Some foods are worth the hassle, to me, like pizza and beer.  Others, like donuts and cake, aren't.  

And just because something says "sugar-free" on it, doesn't mean that it's safe for diabetics to eat.  The entire nutritional gamut needs to be considered:  calories, fat, carbs, and protein.  Regardless of your pancreatic function, I believe we all should eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. 

3.  Do you have to wear the pump all the time? 

I wear the pump continuously throughout the day unless I'm in the shower or going swimming because it can't get wet or if I'm exercising.  (Yes, sex is considered exercise.  I've actually gotten this question more than I ever thought I would.)  

4.  Insulin is a cure, right? 

*sigh* No.  Insulin is a necessary hormone that converts glucose in the blood into energy for the muscles.  However, too much insulin causes low blood sugar or hypoglycemia, which can cause someone to go into a seizure or coma.  In extreme cases, it can even cause death.  Any medication where the side effects include "seizures, coma, death" is not considered a cure to me.  

5.  Isn't type 1 like the bad type 2?  And type 2 can be "cured" with diet and exercise? 

No and no.  All people with diabetes have a genetic predisposition to the disease.  Type 1 diabetes is where the pancreas doesn't produce any insulin, whereas in type 2 diabetes the pancreas produces some insulin but not enough to properly maintain normal blood sugar levels.  Type 2 diabetes can be controlled enough in some patients with just diet and exercise, but they are always considered diabetic.  They are two completely different diseases, not different levels of the same one. 

6.  Will you have it for the rest of your life? 

I've pretty much succumbed to the idea that I will be diabetic as long as I live in this earthly body.  It's not that I've given up hope for a cure, certainly not!  But I don't want to sit around waiting for a cure while life passes me by.  If a cure is found in my lifetime, wonderful!  If not, then I want to plan to live my life to the fullest potential that I can, diabetes regardless. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Guest Post: The Other Side of Me

Did you know that I manage another blog?  Yes, it's a home remodeling blog I started back in January (pre-Arnold and Me) when my husband and I bought a slight fixer-upper.  OK, it was a HUGE fixer-upper (just look at all 18 of my posts and you'll see why), but I love it!

I decided to start that blog so that family and friends who wanted to keep up on our progress could do so without having to start a Facebook account (but I also have a photo album of the same name there, if you like to see more pictures than progress notes).  When we first started remodeling, I was making posts once a week because loads of stuff was being done on that timescale (like a brand new kitchen!).  And since my house remodeling skills stop at sweeping up nails, I decided the blog would be my portion to the project.

Now that the house is livable and we don't have time to do the little things here and there, posting is sparse.  But this past week, we were able to finish a project that turned out beautiful--using refurb doors from the great room and turning them into bedroom doors.  But for those that just want to see the finish product, here you go:

Seal gray walls + white trim doorway + dark wood door =  LOVE! 
This blog will always be more me, because diabetes is daily.  But the home remodeling blog is a different glimpse into my life sans D.  I love our house and the personal stamp we've been able to put on it over the past 8 months.  So head on over there if you'd like a break from diabetes-related things for this bloggy month that is November.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Happy Change Your Lancet Day!

Last night we all changed our clocks to get an extra hour of sleep, checked our smoke detector batteries (thanks, @iam_spartacus!), and changed out our lancets, right? 

I've actually gotten into the good habit of changing out my lancet once a week for my UltraLink meter, since that's the one I use the most.  But I keep my pink One Touch Mini in my bathroom for those bookend tests.  (Note:  bookend tests = first thing in the morning when I wake up and last thing before I go to bed.)  Since I only use this meter twice a day, I don't change its lancet as much as the UltraLink.  In this case, I try to make sure that I change the lancet whenever I get a new vial of strips for its case. 

And thanks to Stacey, I'm getting another One Touch Mini in my favorite color:  purple!  More than likely, this meter will permanently go in my travel bag or gym bag.  Whenever we go out of town, I bring my UltraLink, of course.  But it's nice to have another meter to leave by the bed for those Constance-induced nighttime checks.  And when we go for walks, I like to bring a small backpack full of glucose tabs, syringes, cell phone, keys, and an extra meter. 

So between all of my meters, that's a lot of lancets to change!  How often do you change your lancet?  Every week, every day, every test (oh my!), or at the beginning/end of daylight savings time? 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Pajama Day

So here it is!  The first Saturday post for NaBloPoMo.  What I love about Saturdays is they involve sleeping late, a good breakfast (this morning:  French Toast!), and catching up on reading blog posts while watching home remodeling shows on TLC.  After 2 . . . okay 3 cups of coffee, I spend the day cleaning up the house before enjoying some college football games.  What does this have to do with diabetes, absolutely nothing.  And I like it that way. 

So if you need me, this is where I'll be . . .

Yes, that's a rooster coffee cup.  My kitchen is a stylin' country kitchen, complete with roosters.

Friday, November 5, 2010


I am a big proponent of having mentors.  I believe everyone should have a mentor for every side of life:  career, family, hobbies, etc.  For those that don't know what I mean, a mentor is someone who has had experience in something that you're either new to or have less experience in, and the mentor guides you along in getting through any hurdles.  I suppose some people might call these people "role models", but a mentor is something a little more than that.  Yes, a mentor is a role model, but they are also hands-on in helping you. 

I've only ever had two official mentors in my life:  Kathy and Lisa.  Kathy was my girls' Bible study teacher in high school.  She would host a Bible study for the high school girls in my youth group once a week.  But what I liked about her style of teaching was that there were no study guides, no devotional books, just our Bibles and a notebook.  She taught us how to a devotional with just the Word of God and prayer.  Besides the Bible studies, she would schedule a one-on-one session with each girl through dinner, a coffee date, whatever.  During that time we were allowed to ask anything we wanted from her about faith, boys, dressing modestly, drugs, ANYTHING!  I was so grateful for her presence in my life during that time.  I cried my eyeballs out when her husband was called to be a missionary.  But we still keep in touch to this day. 

Lisa is my marriage mentor along with her husband Dave, who is a mentor to Trey.  When Trey and I were going through our premarital counseling, we were set up with Lisa & Dave through our counselors.  Basically, the marriage mentors were a couple who had been married at least 10 years (they've been married for 27! woo!) and have weathered some marriage "storms" that could be helpful guidance for a young couple.  (Also, they try to set up the mentors with couples of similar personalities, and Lisa & Dave have 9 kids!  What exactly were our counselors trying to tell us?!)  I can't explain how grateful we are to have them in our lives.  Since we don't live near either one of our parents, Lisa & Dave are like our surrogate parents.  She's there for me for everything from, "How do I get him to put his socks IN the hamper?" to serious stuff.  The first few years of marriage can be tricky ones, and I'm so glad to have someone who's been there (with 9 kids in tow!). 

Other than these two fabulous ladies, I have had other mentors who were not so "official".  They were people along the way who helped me, without being asked, and I've always been able to go to them without hesitation.  Whether or not they feel the same, I consider them my mentors.  I like to see them as examples for myself.  One of these unoffical mentors is someone I work with.  She's a bright, energetic, smart lady on our space team (I'm terrestrial, there's this weird rivalry between space and terrestrial /digression) who not only is good at what she does, but she's always presented herself with a stylish fashion sense.  I'm a big fan of smart women, but I'm an even bigger fan of smart women who still act like women. 

The other day, this woman and I were heating up our lunches in the break room when she asked, "Now Holly, are you diabetic?"  "Yes, I am," I said with a smile.  "OK, I noticed that thing on your arm (I've been sporting my Dexcom sensor on my left arm for the past 2 weeks, but even with sweaters it still bulges through.) and wondered about it."  I told her about my CGM and showed her the nifty receiver tucked away in my pocket.  Then I showed her my insulin pump in my other pocket.  She told me that a friend of theirs had a child who also had a pump, and her husband was worried about that little girl having to wear one of those the rest of her life into adulthood.  I told her that even though the pump is something I'm tethered to 24/7, I feel that I had more freedom with it and that being diabetic is not the end of the world, especially as a kid.  That little girl won't have a lifetime to get used to cereal, pasta, and pizza like I did, then have their world change completely with diabetes.  By the time she's my age, diabetes will be such second nature.  My unofficial mentor politely listened while I told her all this, then she said, "Wow, I'm going to tell my husband everything you just said, because he was really worried about that little girl."  "Please do." 

Even though my unofficial mentor was not as educated about diabetes (especially type 1), she presented a genuine curiosity without a previous bias or opinion.  She was happy to listen to what I had to say, as if I were the expert on all things diabetes.  I'm certainly not, but I'm glad that someone wanted to know from a "source" rather than the stereotypical scare tactic.  She confirmed my faith in having her as my mentor. 

And if you're one of my coworkers reading this and have figured out that you're my unofficial mentor, please be flattered.  I think you're pretty awesome! 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Deciding to Change

I have a confession to make:  I've never really done basal testing.  I say "really" because I kind of call it basal testing after the fact.  I notice a trend over time and usually try to rule out all the other factors it could be:  I didn't bolus or count carbs correctly, it was towards the end of the reservoir so my absorption was messed up, I must have over-corrected.  If I can't find any reason from my doing with food and bolusing, then I note it as a basal trend that needs attention. 

This methods works pretty well because the trend has to be really noticeable for me to make a change to my basal rates.  Unfortunately, it takes a long time for the trend to become noticeable before I'll make a change.  If I were to do true basal testing, I might notice the trend a lot sooner and saving me some headache.  I used to never want to change my basal rates except if I discussed it with my endo.  I felt like my pump was going to blow-up if I did anything other than bolus for food.  But when I told my endo I was thinking my rates were a little off, he said, "That's fine.  You can change it.  You know better than I do."  Another point showing how little involvement my endo has with my management. 

But with the weather that seems to change daily, so does my basal rates.  I'm constantly tweaking my nighttime numbers because I savor my sleep, and I do my best to keep Constance from BEEEEEEEEEEPing at me.  With the temperatures getting colder (again), I'm noticing that I may need to up my early morning basal again.  I'm also noticing that I need to up my afternoon basal after lunch, because for the past week I seem to like to get to 200 mg/dL and stay there for several hours. 

I'm just now noticing these trends over this week, so I would like to see these trends be solid for at least another week.  Because I could probably explain away most of these instances from delayed carbs, not carb counting, or over-indulging in leftover Halloween candy.  So I'm taking a mental note during these time and trying to make sure I'm doing everything right as to eliminate everything except basal rates. 

So how do you guys determine when to change basal rates?  And how often?  I feel like I should do a full basal analysis once a month to keep up with this fickle disease that is diabetes. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pizza and Beer Super Bolus

Monday night for dinner, I was enjoying some leftover pizza and a Sam Adams.  Pizza and beer, separately, are those things that typically diabetics try/should stay away from.  However, I enjoy both of those things, and I like both of them together.  I realize that conquering the blood glucose rollercoaster is a huge feat.  And I've been trying for awhile to find the right combination.  As I alluded to on Twitter, I think I might have found it. 

Separately, pizza and beer put your BG on their own individual rollercoasters.  Pizza is high carb but loaded with fat, so most of the carbs hit your blood stream several hours after consumption.  Beer is an alcoholic beverage, which typically acts to lower BG, but unless you choose a lite beer option (not for me, I like flavor!) you also have some carbs upfront with beer that you have to account for.  So combine these two rollercoasters and you get this super, mega BG rollercoaster that lasts for several hours.  If I didn't like pizza and beer as much as I do, I wouldn't bother trying to conquer this challenge.  But I fully believe in the idea that a diabetic can eat (and drink) anything they want, but you need to do some trial and error with bolusing first. 

I believe in the beginning of my search for the pizza and beer super bolus, I would generally do a normal bolus for the beer (which is roughly 2 units for me), then do a dual bolus on the pizza with 40% normal and 60% square over 3 hours.  What I found with this combination is that I had way too much insulin upfront, resulting in correcting a low only to bounce up from the delayed carbs several hours later.  So I tried tweaking the time of the square bolus to 6 hours, 4 hours, 3 hours, then 2 hours.  I was still crashing long before the delayed carbs were hitting me. 

Well, Monday, perhaps out of pure genius but more laziness, I decided to include my beer bolus in my 40/60 dual bolus.  My total insulin increased, but the amount dedicated to the pizza was more on the square bolus rather than the normal.  This resulted in cruising around 100 mg/dL for 3 hours (the amount of time on my square bolus).  I thought I had finally conqured it.  *insert choir singing "Hallelujiah!*  In fact, I was little worried because when I went to bed I was at 95 mg/dL with 2.5 units left on board.  I was fully expecting to be awoken by Constance with a low alarm. 

However, I ended up seeing those delayed carbs 3 hours later (6 hours post-pizza consumption) when I peaked around 189 mg/dL at midnight and stayed there.  I have heard from other diabetic pizza-eaters (sounds like an oxymoron) that after the square bolus that they bolus or do a temp basal for 10% of the total carb amount.  Had I done that, my correction factor would have lined up perfectly with 10% of my total carbs. 

So now I have a new game plan.  The pizza and beer super bolus is very involved and requires lots of time and tweaking to figure.  To be honest, if I didn't have Constance I don't think I would have been this adamant about finding the right timing and amount in insulin.  Here's the plan: 

  1. Count total number of carbs from pizza and beer. 
  2. Do a dual bolus with 40% normal and 60% square over 3 hours. 
  3. After the 3 hour square bolus, set a temp basal for 3 hours for 10% of the total carb amount in Step 1.  I suppose a square bolus would do the same, too.  
  4. Test, confirm, test, confirm.  
Perhaps someone else knows another trick, and if so please let me know.  I am willing to try anything to get this super bolus down.  I really believe a diabetic should be able to eat anything they want with proper planning.  Besides, we've got the holidays coming up, and that's a whole 'nother game for bolusing . . . 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Driving Me Crazy

I have talked about the benefits of having a CGM on numerous occasions.  But there is one major drawback with this wonderful device:  the psychological effects, namely the arrows.  In the realm of falling and rising (and constant) blood sugar values, the arrows are great!  They let you know where you're headed and how fast you're getting there.


Now, whenever I see arrows in the "real world", I automatically equate it to blood sugar trends.  And where do I see the most arrows?  When I'm driving.  The road signs signifying a direction or oncoming traffic have started to mess with my mind.  I never knew a simple "up" arrow could stress me out so much!

This simple sign meaning "One Direction:  Right" turns into, "Hmmm, looks like things are nice & steady."
And this Right Arrow sign starts to stress me out a bit, "Whoa, things are starting to go up.  I better slow down."
This sign for a tunnel meaning "This lane is 'Go'" starts to freak me out, "Holy cow!  We're dropping! We're DROPPING!"
 But then the signs start to mess with my head and confuse me, for example . . .

OK, so am I headed for double trouble sometime in the future? 
So I should be expecting a crashing low followed by an over-correction?
"I have no idea!"  *crawls into back of car and sucks thumb*
Diabetes is affecting my ability to drive, not only if my blood sugar is out of whack, but also in sanity. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

November Happenings

Wow!  There is a lot going on in the month of November.  And the best way I can list them all out is in a bullet list.  Considering November is also the beginning of deer hunting season here in the south, it seems appropriate.  *pew pew pew*

  • Today is SAE it Loud Day!  Inspired by Sarah at Sugabetic, today members of the DOC will be writing great posts on advocacy for diabetes.  But this is just the start for all things diabetes in November.  
  • November 9th is D-Blog Day where all the members of diabetes blogging community will share why they blog and/or how blogging has been an integral part of their diabetes management.  I know it's helped me a ton!  
  • November 14th is World Diabetes Day!  This is the biggie as far as November and Diabetes awareness month, including the Big Blue Test.  I have a great post churning for this day, and I can't wait to write it. 
  • And in honor of November being Diabetes Awareness Month, some members of the DOC participate in NaBloPoMo where they post a blog entry every day for the month of November.  I'm honestly not sure if I'll be able to pull this off.  I'm struggling lately to post something every weekday.  Add weekends and the holidays into the mix, and that'll be a real struggle.  I like to give out quality posts or those that inspire me to write something, and I really don't want a month of Memes.  We shall see . . . 
  • And finally, November 29th is my birthday.  /end shameless birthday plug 
 November is a happenin' month!  But I feel blessed to share in this month of diabetes awareness.  I'm certainly not the advocate that I should be.  Some members of the DOC are way better at that than me, but I'm really looking forward to the posts coming up this month. 

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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.