Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Smiles and Sharing

Recently, Scott posted a gift to those of us who will be needing it:

And so when I ate my Christmas dinner with my family, I must have cashed in on this token unknowingly. I used my dual wave bolus, hoped I had guessed right on my carbs, and checked my blood sugar 2 hrs later. I was 95! We were ready to eat dessert at that time, and I somehow managed to have a 112 a few hours after that. So, thanks, Scott, for your token, and the smile it brought to my face as I remembered it when that 95 appeared on my screen.

Friday, December 22, 2006

A holiday favorite

You may all recognize these following lines from the beloved tale How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr Seuss. For reasons I may or may not explain later, I've been thinking about it a lot since yesterday. It's one of my favorite holiday stories, for the reasons in the lines below:

"It was quarter past dawn...
All the Whos, still a-bed
All the Whos, still a-snooze
When he packed up his sled,
Packed it up with their presents! The ribbons! The wrappings!
The tags! And the tinsel! The trimmings! The trappings!

Three thousand feet up! Up the side of Mount Crumpit,
He rode to the tiptop to dump it!
"Pooh-pooh to the Whos!" he was grinch-ish-ly humming.
"They're finding out now that no Christmas is coming!
"They're just waking up! I know just what they'll do!
"Their mouths will hang open a minute or two
"The all the Whos down in Who-ville will all cry BOO-HOO!"

"That's a noise," grinned the Grinch,
"That I simply must hear!"
So he paused. And the Grinch put a hand to his ear.
And he did hear a sound rising over the snow.
It started in low. Then it started to grow...

But the sound wasn't sad!Why, this sound sounded merry!
It couldn't be so!
But it WAS merry! VERY!

He stared down at Who-ville!
The Grinch popped his eyes!
Then he shook!
What he saw was a shocking surprise!

Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small,
Was singing! Without any presents at all!
He HADN'T stopped Christmas from coming!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!

And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: "How could it be so?
It came without ribbons! It came without tags!"
It came without packages, boxes or bags!"
And he puzzled three hours, `till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store.
"Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"
And what happened then...?Well...in Who-ville they say
That the Grinch's small heart
Grew three sizes that day!

So as the year draws to an end, let us all be clear, the best gifts of all are of good cheer.
Hugs from family, well wishes from friends, time spent together- that's what lasts to the end.
Happy Holidays everyone!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Every experience God gives us, every person he puts in our lives, is the perfect preparation for the future that only he can see. -Corrie ten Boom

This quote was on a friends website and it is so true- sometimes it's hard to see what's down the road for us and and we just have to have faith that even if we don't understand now, it will work out for the best in the end. It was a reassurance I needed now that I'm trying to figure out where my talents best fit. I haven't quite found my niche yet and it's been a frustrating though educational. Michael W. Smith, one of my favorite songwriters/singers expressed it well with his song Missing Person:

1st Verse:
Another question in me
One for the powers that be
It's got me thrown
And so I put on my poker face
And try to figure it out
This undeniable doubt
A common occurence
Feeling so out of place
Guarded and cynical now
Can't help but wondering how
My heart evolved into
The rock beating inside of me
So I reel such a stoic ordeal
Where's that feeling that I don't feel

There was a boy who had the faith to move a mountain
And like a child he would believe without a reason
Without a trace he disappeared into the void and
I've been searchin' for that missing person

And his song "My place in this world"
Words: Michael W. Smith and Wayne Kirkpatrick
Music: Michael W. Smith

The wind is moving
But I am standing still
A life of pages
Waiting to be filled
A heart that's hopeful
A head that's full of dreams
But this becoming
Is harder than it seems
Feels like I'm
Looking for a reason
Roaming through the night to find
My place in this world
My place in this world
Not a lot to lean on
I need Your light to help me find
My place in this world
My place in this world

If there are millions
Down on their knees
Among the many
Can you still hear me
Hear me asking
Where do I belong
Is there a vision
That I can call my own
Show me I'm


* * * * * * * * * * * *

I know I'll find my niche, I'm just slowly running out of patience for it to happen.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Busy season, remembering the reason!

I've been keeping busy lately. As you can see I put up my Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving and had fun creating my blue and silver theme for this year. I've also started knitting again as a way to keep my hands busy and make some scarves for friends for Christmas. Last night I attended a neat church service that was developed with U2's permission using their songs and reminded us all that during this time of year it's important to do something for those whose holidays may not be so bright. Whether that be simple gifts or cards for your local nursing homes residents who don't get many visitors, to reaching out to a local food pantry or other community services that need a helping hand at this time of year. U2 also requested that churches who used their songs donate their offering that day to an organization such as the One Campaign: http://www.one.org
Jack and Grubby are getting bigger and they just reached another milestone-the all important 6 month all day vet visit. They continue to manage to get into trouble though, especially since Jim has his tree up. One time he found half the garland pulled off of it when he had been busy doing chores in another room. Here are some updated pictures of them. They had been running around after their new laser pointer and were a bit parched, which is why Jack is sticking his tongue out.
And here's one of the two brothers hanging out near one of their favorite rooms- the bathroom. They are forever playing in the bathtub, teasing eachother from the other side of the shower curtain.
"Must....conserve....energy for next play fight...."

Thursday, November 30, 2006

What's your favorite blood sugar range to start the day in?

And I start with this question for a reason- I've been quite frustrated recently with my fasting blood sugars. They have ranged from 170-300 without apparent predictability. I've done some night time testing and I know up until 3am I'm at or near normal range- right around 100. So am I spiking after 3 then? But it isn't consistent, and I live alone, so I fear waking up low. It doesn't seem to matter whether I've had a snack before bed and bolused appropriately or not. I know that my hormones to tend to make me more resistant to insulin in the am especially- my insulin to carb ratio is 1:3- and no that isn't a typo! So, I thought I'd asked my wonderful blogging community for some thoughts on what to do- I've adjusted my basals some but it's a tricky thing when I can't be up every hour checking to see what my BG is doing. Plus, the rest of my numbers lately have been pretty darn good-working on getting that 8.7 HbA1c down by Jan 18. But these mornings are counter productive. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Kitten Update

"Whatcha doing?"
Grubby and Jack are doing well and like their new scratching toys. They were occasionally using the carpet and once or twice the furniture to scratch so we had to curb that behavior now. We purchased a cardboard scratching post that is on an incline which came with some catnip. They seemed to like the texture of that very much so hopefully they will learn to scratch it instead of the carpet, etc. My prediction of who would be the lap cat was completely wrong though. Jack is much more of a lap cat and demands affection. Grubby is much more content to find someplace to plop down to relax alone when he isn't playing. They both like to follow the mouse all over the computer screen too, so they have had to be trained to not do that. As you can see, Jack likes sleeping on the keyboard to Jim's extra computer. Any other thoughts to antiscratching training would be appreciated!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Taking Action

Tomorrow is Election Day. A day when any registered voters the age of 18 and up get to have a say as to who is making decisions that affect us and our families and communities. So please go out and vote tomorrow. Find out which one of your local represenatives support healthcare initiatives, our schools; who makes changes that count. And if you don't get a chance to vote tomorrow, or do and the people you wanted in office don't get voted in, let your voice be heard other ways. The ADA needs advocates willing to just send a simple prefilled out email to their representatives as issues come up. They do all the work for you, all you have to do is take a few minutes to go to the website. Senators Clinton and Collins are trying to pass a bipartisan bill that would help support research and proper care for gestational diabetes. Check out the link below for more information about the bill: http://www.diabetes.org/advocacy-and-legalresources/federal_legislation/Gestational.jsp

All you have to do is go to their advocacy center to sign up to get email notifications to take action on bills that effect diabetes healthcare in general.

Another movement to keep an eye on and sign their petition is Unite for Diabetes at http://www.unitefordiabetes.org/ It was an eye opening reminder to me that we live in a wealthy, priviliged nation where we don't have to worry about refridgerating our insulin, or even obtaining it for that matter. Diabetes is considered a pandemic, and if prevenative education measures are not made by the global community, it will only continue to effect more and more people. Who may or may not have access to the healthcare we do in this country (yes, I realize that there are about 44 million uninsured people in the USA, but that is a whole other debate for another day).

Diabetes facts to ponder when considering how to help:

1 in 10 healthcare dollars are spent on diabetes in the US each year.

22% of the US population, or 50 million adults have Metabolic Syndrome which places them at high risk to develop Type 2 diabetes and heart disease if they don't change their lifestyle.

41 million Americans are considered to have pre-diabetes, or fasting blood glucose levels between 100-125. These individuals often already have signs of the effects of above normal blood glucose on their blood vessels.

This disease isn't going away. It isn't the only disease out there, and I fully support research for other devastating illnesses. This one happens to effect billions of people around the world in ways no one without diabetes can understand. Unless they are a parent (=hero) of a child with diabetes or know someone with it, most people don't get that diabetes isn't "just a touch of sugar" or that there is no such thing as "borderline diabetes". But we can change that. One voice at a time.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Flu Prevention Season

It's fall again, which here in the northeast means leaves changing color and falling off the trees, shorter days, and cool, rainy weather. It also means that it's time to think about getting the flu vaccine to prevent getting the flu between now and spring time. I worked at a few local flu shot clinics this past week and because of some comments I heard I thought I should share what I know with the blogging community.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Flu Fact Sheet:
"Every year in the United States, on average:
5% to 20% of the population gets the flu;
more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications, and;
about 36,000 people die from flu.
Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications."
For as long as I can remember, I've had a flu vaccine every October or November and never had the flu or any reaction to the shot. Some people, such as those who have had severe reactions in the past to it, or are allergic to eggs should not receive the flu vaccine because they could have an allergic reation to it. Please see the CDC website above or talk to your MD for a full list of who shouldn't receive the vaccine. For the purposes of this post, I'm just going to mention a few scenarios that might apply to you and would be good reasons for someone to consider receiving the flu vaccine.
1. You have children, work with children, or volunteer in your child's classroom on a regular basis. Children 6 months and older can receive the vaccine.
2. You are a healthcare provider.
3. You take care of an elderly relative on a regular basis- who should also receive the vaccine if possible.
4. Any elderly person who lives in assisted living, nursing home, or any housing that has common eating and living areas shared by many.
5. You are not a hermit, come into contact with the general public a lot, and have diabetes, heart disease, asthma, or any other chronic illness that puts you at higher risk for becoming sicker than most. Most people are contagious at least 1 day before they are truly sick and 5 days after symptoms start.
6. Anyone who doesn't like the idea of being sick for 3-7+ days.

The flu is one of the most preventable illnesses- but it's up to you to decide whether to get the vaccine or take a chance and hope that you won't get it. Currently the vaccine is in good supply, though there is some concern about future shipments. Flu season peaks between late December and early March, so now is the time to talk to your doctor about whether you should receive the vaccine this year and where to get it if they aren't giving it (the clinics I ran were at local pharmacies). Anyway, that's my public service announcement for this season, my next post will be back to my usual topics. Here's to a happy and healthy fall!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Welcome to the family Grubby and Jack!

On Friday Jim and I adopted two adorable 3 month old kittens. They are brothers from the same litter and are adapting quite well to Jim's house. Grubby, though named before he found every cobweb behind Jim's furniture, is sweet and adventerous. I think he'll be more of a lap cat than Jack.

Jack is playful though shy at times and has already found two favorite hiding spots.
He was almost named Grrr until I spoke up and said he looked more like a Jack to me. He's orange like the jack o'lantern and he likes to be in charge like two TV characters named Jack. He does growl when he gets excited playing with his toys. Jack isn't a fan of sharing with Grubby, especially this one he's playing with below. They are too funny- a constant source of amusement.

Here Grubby was trying to play with the toy also, and Jack claimed it. At one point that day Jack actually dragged this toy by it's feathers away from Grubby. Not that Grubby doesn't know how to stand up to his brother. And he's certainly no chicken- he was the first to check out some of the more hard to get to spots in Jim's house. Well, I'll post more about them soon. They're too cute to not take plenty of pictures of.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Mountains to climb

Since it seems like there's some frustration going around about the day-to-day management of diabetes, I thought I'd make a quick post with a few things that help me to stay on track.
1. Check out www.onetouchgold.com It's free for anyone to register, you don't have to use their product, and they will outline a meal plan, free recipes, tips on avoiding complications and everything related to dealing with diabetes. It's Lifescan's best kept secret. They even have articles about dealing with the psychological side of this chronic illness.
2. Make time for silly moments. Sometimes I need a reminder from my fiance to do this, but he's great about making me giggle when he knows I need a good laugh. Laughter really is good medicine.
3. Although it's easy to think no one else "gets" it, every day the blog's I've discovered so far remind me that I'm not alone in this. And for those of us who rely on someone greater than ourselves, this song reminds me that He's always there for me. It's called Mountain of God, by Third Day. Even if you don't believe that there is a god, it's still a great song about knowing that there is someone who has gone before you, who understands the journey isn't easy, empathizes and walks our journey with us.

Verse 1:
I thought that I was all alone
Broken and afraid,
But you were there with me,
Yes, you were there with me
And then I didn’t even know
that I had lost my way,
but you were there with me,
yes you were there with me

And until you open up my eyes I never knew
That I couldn’t ever make it without You.

And even though the journey’s long
And I know the road is hard
With the One whose gone before me
You will help me carry on.
And after all that I’ve been through
Now I realize the truth,
That I must go through the valley,
To stand upon the Mountain of God.

Verse 2
And as I travel on the road
That you have led me
You are here with me,
yes you are here with me
And I am made for nothing more
Oh now that I have found
That you are here with me
Yes you are here with me

I confess from time to time I lose my way
But you are always there to bring me back again


Sometimes I think of what it is I’ve come from
And the things I’ve left behind
But all that I have and all that I possess
othing can quite compare
To what’s in front of me,
To what’s in front of me.

And even though the journey’s long
And I know the road is hard
With the One whose gone before me
You will help me carry on.
And after all that I’ve been through
Now I realize the truth,
That I must go through the valley,
To stand upon the Mountain

Yes, I must go though the valleys

To stand upon the mountain,

Yes I must go though the valleys

To stand upon the mountain…..

End: (quiet)
I thought that I was all alone

Broken and afraid,

but you are here with me,

yes, you are here with me.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Change is in the Air!

It's the first day of fall, and we've been engaged for 1 week now! Jim and I had an amazing trip to Italy, complete with seeing all the sights, getting lost in Venice, and eating great food with some wine tasting too. The picture to the right is from inside the Colosseum in Rome. We also saw the Forum, Pantheon, Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, and St Paul's Square in Rome. We were also able to see in person some of the places mentioned in Dan Brown's Angel's and Demons such as the Fountain of Four Rivers (part of which is shown at below and on the right).
"Where's Kate?" Find me on the Spanish steps (also in Rome).
It never ceased to amaze me what detail and talent went into the art, architecture, and design that was around every corner. Local tour guides with specific training for each town or city we visited told us the history and meaning behind it all. In Florence, known in Italy as Firenze, we experienced medeivel entertainment complete with court jester and lords and ladies in costume who danced, sang, and played music for us. The court jester would choose participants out of the audience for different games to play. Jim was chosen for a contest where he and another man had a rope with a cork on the end tied to their middle belt loop in the back of their pants and they had to figure out how to blow out a candle on the floor using the cork. Jim, of course, figured it out first. I was chosen later to hold onto keys that would free one of two "ladies" who had been chosen from the audience and their "lords" had to complete a task and then find the keys. Here's a picture of the two of us at the palace this dinner was at. The next day we traveled to Venice, and stopped at a winery along the way for lunch. We had fun learning about the process it takes to make the Chianti country wine, and of course tasting it. After that it was on to the city made up of many islands, Venice. It is one of the most quaint, romantic places I've ever been. They only allow cars on one of the islands, and all the other transportation is water taxies or walking. Once we dropped our things off at the hotel, we headed to St. Marc's Square, which is a special place by day and magical at night. We met up with our tour guide and used our portable radios to hear what she had to say about the gorgeous mosaics, marble, and domes inside the St. Marc's Cathedral. We had to be quiet because there was a service going on at the time, and couldn't take any pictures inside to preserve the art work. After that, our group was ready to head next door to the Dolges Palace for our tour there. Jim and I were near the back of the group, and he came up behind me and took my headphone out. I turned around and asked him what he was doing, and he dropped to one knee, and took a ring whose sparkle was only magnified by the afternoon sunshine out of his pocket. He asked "Will you marry me?" and all I could manage in my surprised state initially was "yes" which I said a couple times. As we are promising to love each other forever, not only our tour group but also a random Asian tour group are taking our pictures, and I imagine others that I wasn't even aware of. Until our group converged on us to congratulate us, it was like we were the only two people in that great big plaza. On the L is a close up of St Marc's, below is a picture of us right after it happened with St. Marc's in the background. I think we both heard about 10% of what the tour guide said about the palace we toured next- our heads were up on cloud 9. We haven't set a date yet, but I'll keep everyone posted. It's time for me to go spend some time with my fiance, so I'll update some more later.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Sensor Update

I am enjoying my sensor, and learning a lot about how my blood glucose responds to food and insulin. I've already started to pick out a few patterns even without downloading my information. The other thing I have discovered is that if you don't attend to a blood glucose alarm it will get more obnoxious so you will (hopefully)notice it. It's been really nice to see where I need to adjust my overnight basals, since before I was always wary of adjusting them too much and having a low. Now I know that whatever my bloodsugar is at 9pm it pretty much stays there until 3am, at which point it starts it's gradual rise. I had suspected that, but now I have the proof, without having to set my obnoxious alarm clock to wake me up in the middle of the night. Well, that's about all I can think of at the moment, but I'll keep updating periodically. I hope everyone is enjoying the last days of summer, because I know here in the Northeast it's getting pretty cool at night so fall is on it's way.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Sensor Day 1

Well, the sensor has been in since 945 this am and I'm loving it! It seemed to be fairly accurate fairly quickly with me, even though I was warned that the first 8 hours or so can be a little off. Having my low alarm at 90 was a wise choice- I dipped down to 67 just before dinner and my sensor thought my blood sugar was 82 (well within the 20% difference that is possible). But this time the low was mild, and it didn't catch me off guard because I already knew I was coming down quickly from my correction. I don't think though that I'll wake up if it's alarming- it's no louder than the other audible beeps for low battery or low resevoir. And as my family can tell you, I've slept through thunderstorms that would wake the dead! I had pizza for dinner, and surprisingly my bloodsugars stayed very level- either it was because I was coming into the dinner low or I counted my carbs well. Either way, it is so neat to be able to press a button and see what my blood sugars are doing. If anyone has any questions in the next few days, just leave a comment and I'll do my best to answer them. For now, it's time for one last calibration for the day.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

It's been a busy couple of weeks. So busy I didn't realize how long it'd been since I last posted. So, I thought I'd provide a brief update for the moment and I'll add more soon.

I thought I was going to have my REAL Time sensor training starting Wed, but that was changed to this Monday. As soon as I have some feed back to give, I'll be posting on that. One thing I have done recently in preparation for our trip to Italy is wear my Minimed 507C to see if it is in good working order. I didn't use it when my pump malfunctioned partly because it was tucked away and I wasn't thinking of it at 12am. But, now I know that it works just fine in the event that I need to use it in Italy. It did amaze me at how much improved the menus and buttons are with the more recent pumps. It took me a minute to remember how to program my basals in fast enough since the 507C goes back to the main screen after an 8 second pause. I have my basals at 3 hr intervals so it took some time to program it.

Recently I've exprienced a couple downright tiring lows. The kind where I go into my autopilot "eat the fridge" (That 'I need food now and will eat until upper brain function starts reminding me to slow down' feeling I get with a moderate low). The kind where I know I'm coming back up when my thoughts start making sense again, and, while I feel a little better, have the tendancy to send me into a rebound that keeps me feeling more lethargic than the low. I lowered a couple basals by a bit, which seemed to help. I will definitely be adjusting my basals to where I think I'll want them in Italy while I have the sensor- so I can see what basals might keep me in a nice, safe blood sugar range. And, of course, it's a good excuse to go to the Chinese buffet to tweak my almost perfected dual bolus technique for Chinese food. Currently, I do my best guestimating my carb intake, use my bolus wizard to correct if needed and give myself 70% of the bolus now and 30% over an hour. That usually has me down to 180 or so 2 hrs later, which is a big improvement from the days of injections.
I've also been trying to learn a little Italian, though I've heard that most Italians know enough English for me to get by with "Grazie" (thanks). One factor that is helpful is that some words like "insulin" (l'insulina) and "syringe" (la siringa) are very similar to the English. Then there are the word like "gatta" for cat that are very different. Only 20 days to take off and I can't wait!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

No Coincidence Here!

I've been in the process of becoming a certified product trainer for Minimed, but one thing that was holding up the Continuous Glucose Monitor System (CGMS) certification was lack of an extra pump for me to use. Well, a pretty neat turn of events have helped that along. Thursday night I had to change my pump site, but for some reason the pump was not acknowledging that there was a full reservoir there. It just kept pushing the plunger along, instead of showing the amount of insulin that had been primed and letting me stop it! Luckily, I didn't let it waste too much insulin, before calling the 1 800 number. I was told I'd have to leave my pump off and use shots to manage my diabetes until a replacement pump arrived the next day. I had been using a 512, and they didn't have any 512's available to send me, so I mentioned that I was going to be a product trainer, and asked if I could get a 522(the newest one that communicates with the sensor). The customer service rep said he didn't have one available, that I'd be getting a 515. I thought, well, ok, I need to learn the differences between the 512 and the 515 anyway, and it's a "free" upgrade, so that works too. I managed to avoid having more than trace ketones by the am, and my BG's weren't too bad either. The pump had to be delivered to work, since I needed to sign for it, and it came by 1000. I tore open the box, and found a brand new 522 ready for me to use! I sat down and programed all my info it, and played with it for a bit. Now I just have to wait for the Diabetes Nurse Specialist who is training me to get back to me about when a sensor is available for me to train on. Jim and I are going on a tour of Italy in 40 days, so the pump malfunction really was prefect timing for more than one reason. (I know Medtronic has an office in Italy, but we're changing cities every couple of days so it'd be tricky to plan a delivery.) And for those of you who aren't familiar with insulin pumps, the malfunctions are few and far between. I've been on a pump for 7 years, and this is only the second time I've had to send a pump back for a new one. Which, considering that it's worn 365 days a year and gets bumped into, dropped, etc occasionally, is pretty good. So I don't consider this malfunction that led to me getting a 522 a coincidence-like a coworker said, I couldn't have planned it.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Why we walk for a cure

Yesterday I was sent as my work's representative for the Team Kick off luncheon for the local Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation(JDRF) chapter's walk in September. The last JDRF meeting I'd been at was a tad dry, so I was in for a surprise. The main support group for kids with diabetes in this area, "The Sugar Free Gang", was there and 8 of them played a part in talking about why we walk for a cure. First though, was the mom whose daughter has had diabetes for several years (since she was 5). Her mom told this story to illustrate what motivated her to be the Family Team chairperson. "The day before my daughter's 6th birthday, I found her sitting quietly on the front porch, not playing with the other kids. I asked her what she was doing and she said she was thinking about what she'd wish when she blew her candles out the next day. When I asked her what she'd decided to wish, she said, 'That I was 4 again, because I didn't have diabetes when I was 4.' (at this point there were several people moved to tears, myself included). "My daughter, at 6, had the wisdom to know that things had changed forever because she had diabetes, and that until there is a cure she is going to have to deal with this disease." I know that there were many people in that audience wishing the same thing for that little girl-that she didn't have to deal with the burden Scott mentioned in his journal of the daily grind of it all.
And then, because the theme for the walk this year is The Wizard of Oz, 4 of the Sugar Free Gang kids were dressed up as Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Lion, and the Tin Man. And one at at time they led up to the stage older kids, ages 12-19 who each shared their stories of why diabetes requires a heart, a brain, courage, and a home. The themes that ran through each of them were of kids who had to grow up too fast- be brave and strong even though there were times when they just wanted to cry about it all. Learning to do what it takes to live a healthy life, hoping to avoid complications. Knowing that the consequences of not doing what they need to do could cause problems years beyond when their young minds can comprehend. Who wants to think about the possibilities of complications creeping up on you in 20 years when you haven't even been alive 20 years? I know I didn't want to when I was a teen. But it was there, that nagging knowledge in the back of my mind everytime I made a decision about food, insulin, exercise, etc. There were times when I wondered if it would be better, easier, to deal with diabetes if I didn't know everything I had been taught about the possible problems it could cause. And everytime I decided that it was better I knew, so I could work towards prevention. I give the kids who spoke a lot of credit for sharing their experiences and showing the corporate teams the faces of diabetes-the young women starting college, the little girls dreaming about what they want to be when they grow up. So, while I'll be in a plane flying back from Italy the day of the walk, those stories will be in my mind as reminders of why I am working on my certification to be a diabetes educator- to empower those living with diabetes until we find a cure to live healthy lives. If you want to walk in your local walk, or find a team to sponsor, you can go to the JDRF's website.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Interestingly accurate.....

I don't usually like the results when I do one of these online quizzes, but this acutally does describe me pretty well.

You Were a Fox

A good observer, you often watch others while remaining unseen.
Cunning and courageous, you also have a gentle side.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

"Anniversary Meme"

When I read through Kassie's meme of things she has done/accomplished/experienced since her diagnosis of diabetes, I thought it was a neat way to celebrate a life that happens to have diabetes as a part of it. And, since my 7 year anniversary of going on the pump is coming as of July 20th it's also appropriate.
So, here's my list for the 25 years I've had diabetes (in no particular order):
1. Discovered the joys of reading by the time my sister was born.
2. Won 2nd place for a poem about apples in the third grade.
3. Went away to Clara Barton Camp for two weeks every summer from ages 10-15.
4. Became a part of the Bartonian Circle in 1994.
5. Graduated from high school in 1998.
6. Graduated from nursing school in 2001.
7. Passed the Registered Nurse Boards in 75 questions on the first try in July 2001.
8. Had 3 of my over 70 poems published, including "Storm of Tears"
9. Moved into my own apartment.
10. Loved and been loved.
11. Landed my dream job working as a diabetes educator.
12. Was a mime clown with my youth group and toured the South for 11 days.
13. Learned that the more fiercely angered or deeply hurt you are by someone, is directly related to how deep your love is for them.
14. Was Stanley's "Angel" for a couple years when "all" I did was simply call him a few times a week to see how he was doing since he was a shut-in.
15. Went away to college.
16. Learned how to drive.
17. Went on a five day road trip sharing a car with three other people to North Carolina for our good friend's wedding.
18. Overcame shyness and some stagefright to sing at church as one of now five people who lead worship at our contemporary service (The Spirit Cafe).
19. Walked in my town's Independence Day Parade to promote the Spirit Cafe.
20. Have gone as far west as Minnesota.
21. Dated my smart, sweet, supportive boyfriend for exactly one year.
22. Milked a cow.
23. Driven through or visited 18 our of our 50 states.
24. Became a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honors Society for Nurses.
25. Presented for Nursing Grand Rounds at my last job to educate staff about the importance of controlling diabetes during hospital stays.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Dream Job

I haven't posted in awhile, partly because I'm working again! I started my job as a diabetes educator last Monday and am loving it! I'll get to do both group and individual education and eventually obtain my Certification in Diabetes Education. My coworkers are all supportive and fun to work with. Even more exciting is that I'll be trained to be a Minimed Certified Product Trainer so I can teach patients about the Minimed insulin pump and Continuous Glucose Monitoring System starting next Thursday. I'll get to wear the sensor for two weeks as part of the training so I'll get to see what my blood sugar does at times of day that I don't normally test. It's been so nice to have a job that I look foward to going to everyday- and know that I'll love it in the long run. Well, that's all for now- be watching for a meme of things I've done since I was diagnosed with diabetes.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

One day at a time

I've decided to work on finding a less hectic nursing job- something Monday-Friday with more normal hours. I'm still researching, networking, and hunting for something that will work. I've sent out a bunch of resumes and am hoping to hear something soon, though no phone calls for interviews yet.
On the diabetes battle front (because that's what it feels like some days- win some battles, lose some- with the goal being winning the war): No improvement in my HgA1C, more tweaking of basals done today with my CDE. The rest of my blood work is fine though, which is a good thing. So, I've decided that I need to set some short term goals for myself because the overall longterm goal isn't working for me. And I'm writing about it here so I have a reminder (and a community to remind me) of where I need to stay focused.

Diabetes Goals:
1. For the next two weeks focus on consistently checking before meals and trying to remember two hours later to recheck especially after breakfast.
2. Try making breakfast a little more low carb for those two weeks and eat some protein with it to help post breakfast BG's.
3. On at least two of my days off a week do 30 minutes of exercise in the am.

Job Hunt Goals:
1. Check online job listings daily.
2. Follow up on resumes sent.
3. Stay open minded.

One good thing is that since I've started my nursing career I've grown a lot both professionally and personally. Two years ago I never would have imagined that I'd be singing worship songs at my church, and now our band has even written a few original songs. It's definitely helped me to find my voice, literally and figuratively. It takes a lot of confidence and faith to stand in front of people and sing into a mic when I used to be the shy one. I know that if I can overcome my initial stage fright I can find a job where I'll thrive. It's just a matter of waiting for Kairos, or the right time, and continuing my quest while I wait. Now to meet with a great friend of mine to brainstorm possibilities. And time to test!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

"What is your quest?"

According to Merriam-Webster's online dictionary/thesaurus, a quest is "an act or process of looking carefully or thoroughly for someone or something" I've spent the last 10 years or so searching for my niche, purpose, etc. And now I'm at another fork in the road, still trying to figure it out. Growing up, I thought plans were the way to make things happen. My plans for what I wanted to be when I grew up were a nurse, a wife, a mother. In that chronological order. And to have my bachelors degree (which I've since learned that while it is beneficial, may not be all the education I need). Along the way, my plans took a shape of their own, as life got in the way and obstacles popped up. I became an RN and went on for my bachelors, but the real world of nursing had many challenges for me. Prioritizing what to do first, how to get all the paperwork done and feel as though I had been able to advocate for, educate, and care for my patients. Most days I came home feeling like I had spent all day being pulled in many directions, and having to sacrifice the advocating and educating roles I love. Now, after 5 years of nursing, I'm spending a lot of time wondering if I really knew what I was getting myself into when I decided on a nursing career at 16. There are many aspects of nursing that I love, but they tend to get overshadowed by the stress of my current hospital job. I'm hoping to find something in nursing that is education related, but at the same time am doing some serious soul searching about what I need most out of a job and if I'll find that in this profession. I do know that I need something that includes education, since that is one of my passions, and working directly with people.

God promises in Jeremiah 29:11 " 'For I know the plans I have for you,' delcares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." I know that if I truly examine the gifts He has given me and find a better way to put them to use, I'll be living by His plans for me, and enjoying what I do for a living. And in the meantime I have the most supportive family, boyfriend, and friends anyone could ask for. I am forever grateful to my wonderful support system for their thoughts, ideas and encouragement along this quest.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Caregiver's Weekend continued (finally)

Have you ever had a special place (other than wherever you call home) that welcomes you as though you had never left? A place where you've created sacred memories of love, laughter, and even tears? That when you return to it the last few miles can't go by fast enough, and your heart beats a little faster with excitement when you see a familiar sign, building, or other landmark?Camp is one of those places for me. It always feels like I've come home when I go back, no matter how long it's been. Even now with the new cabins, the memories of the ones I stayed in are as vivid as if they were still there. The mornings are just as peaceful, with the same fog hovering over the pond, as if to protect the contented quiet. Though, if I listen carefully, I can faintly hear echoes of strong swimmers of summers past bringing torches across the pond for final campfire; as campers and staff sing Kumbaya in rounds as we proceed down from the flag pole to the campfire. Or in the Lower Rec, where many all camp games are played, echoes of laughter, cries of "You're it" while playing some variation of tag, and the sound of many feet running on the fresh green grass. The next time I return to camp, I'll have memories of a fun game of Dutch Auction played on my birthday. And, of course camp tradition was followed on my birthday by singing happy birthday to me and the other staff member who was celebrating their birthday. We also had our tables decorated with crepe paper and were sung "Oh What a Beautiful Doll" while we skipped around the dining hall. I hope that for my fellow alumni, I've brought back some fond memories. For anyone who wants to share, please let me know what your special place is, why, and a specific memory thinking of it brings back.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Caregiver's Weekend Recap

As you can see from the great picture Jim took of the pond looking towards the Center, we had a great weekend weather-wise at camp. Clear skies, refreshing breezes and cool nights. There were 30 kids and 25 adults plus many wonderful staff that attended. Caregiver's weekend is for anyone who might be responsible for a child with diabetes when their parents want to go out, etc. There were grandparents, aunts, and some parents of more newly diagnosed kids in attendance, all of whom were great participants. The days were run like a usual camp day- regular meal times and activites inbetween meals with campfire to close out the day. And, of course, some camp songs:)Here's a picture of the kids (and a few kids at heart) learning "The Princess Pat" after a meal in the dining hall.

The kids and the adults were split up for most of the time except for meals and the after dinner activity. Kids played games and learned about diabetes and the adults learned about diabetes basics. One of the messages the kids took home with them is that you can make your cookies and eat them too- you just have to know how many carbs they have! Don't those Cookie Bake-off creations look yummy? Mini marshmellows, chocolate chips, some flour and oatmeal plus a few other ingredients were included in our cookies. I've seen some more wild creations though- the kids usually have a bunch of ingredients to choose from, which they have to measure. One time as a joke the staff added ketchup and mustard to the usual ingredients available, and one group actually used them!

Half the fun is seeing the kids creativity and willingness to try new things. One of the activities I had a blast participating in was called Dutch Auction. We were divided into our family groups and had 10 minutes to gather random items- costume pieces from the dress up closet, benches, sticks, whatever you might think would be useful. Then the Auctioneers would tell us what they wanted and we had to work together to create it- whether that be an alien, a boat, or a throne for a queen- using what we had gathered. Even our Auctioneers dressed for their part. The one in the blond wig is our Camp Director, who has been a part of the Barton family for 17 years!

To be continued....

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Yea for CDE's!

I saw my certified diabetes educator this week, and we made a few changes to my basals and bolus ratios (insulin pump jargon for around the clock insulin and mealtime insulin). I was frustrated with my numbers and wanted to be a little more aggressive, but she reminded me that with my lows I needed to ease into better control. And our changes have paid off so far! More target blood glucose numbers than before. It felt good to wake up at a normal number instead of high after sleeping in today. It makes me wish I had accepted the help before now. I guess that's my stubbornly independent streak- that those of you who know me well have witnessed. Please gently remind me once in awhile that it helps to ask for help.
Jim and I are spending next weekend at camp to help out with Caregiver's weekend. I'm looking foward to it, and hoping the weather is as nice as it's been. Not that I'd let a little rain dampen my Camp Barton spirit! And it's always rewarding to empower families through education while having fun. Well, time for some zzz's to get through the next couple work days.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

It's a sunny April day and I just got back from a nice walk with my sweetie of 9 months. Exercise is definitely better when it's a shared activity. But before I get rambling I should tell a little about myself and what inspired me to start a blog.
I've had diabetes for most of my life and although I've never let it stop me from pursuing my dreams or being what I wanted to be, it inevitably influenced who I've become to this point. I was even able to go to camp as a kid, and my parents found one of the best places in this world, The Barton Center for Diabetes Education. Not only was I able to stay overnight for almost two weeks away from home, but I met a whole new family of people who knew what living with diabetes was like. We'd have a blast together, learning new things, giggling at Camp Joslin/Camp Barton dances, and yet we'd instinctively know when to ask if one of our cabinmates was having a low blood sugar. And my favorite time- singing camp songs after meals. Some of my favorite memories are of the times I've spent there, as a child and now as an adult volunteer. It just so happens that a few of my fellow alumni from camp also have blogs, which is part of why I became interested in having one of my own.

One of the dreams I was inspired to pursue was becoming a Registered Nurse. As a kid, I soon figured out that nurses, not doctors, knew how to deal with stubborn patients like me:) My school nurses became my buddies,and later mentors, as I saw them every day at lunch to check my bloodsugar.
Through my experiences I learned that the medical community has trouble thinking outside the box when it came to diabetes management. My body didn't always respond to things the way the textbooks said it should, but they would still treat it as though it did. I learned how to be an advocate and educator, and these are still my favorite roles as a nurse. And I wear many other hats, which I'll write about during another post.
One piece of my "quest" is to find a way to effectively educate both people with diabetes and the medical community that serves them in order to make diabetes more manageable for everyone. I've begun working on this at my current job, but I know it will take time and effort picking away at set ways to see change happen. While this may put my perserverence to the test, I'm up for the challenge!