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Monday
Oct202014

Strolling to Vegas

Quick game! Of the following three statements, only one is an absolute fact. 

1. Las Vegas is about 250 miles away from me. 

2. Diabetes can be cured by eating cinnamon and cupcakes.

3. Bacon is delicious.

Ok, I guess Las Vegas actually is about 250 miles from me so there are, in fact, two facts. Sorry ;)

(correct answers are 1 and 3)

Last year you may have remembered that yours truly was able to visit the 702 (Las Vegas' area code in case you were wondering) with my mom and walk on team TriSaraTops at the JDRF Walk for a Cure!

Well, this year I cannot be there because I will be speaking on a panel at Diabetes Sisters. Bummer.

So I am going to be virtually walking to Vegas this week in hopes to "make it there" with your help! 

 

 

My goal is $1 per mile or for those of you paying attention $250! I really wish I could be there to actually walk but this virtual walk allows me to help a great cause like the JDRF and participate in a great event like Diabetes Sisters.

So what do you say? Can you get me a few miles closer to Vegas? Every mile counts!

THANKS A HEAP!

Friday
Oct102014

New Swing

I just realized I missed my diaversary of 24 years on October 2nd. I also totally forgot about No D Day. There was also my 8 year anniversary of being smoke free that I missed in August.

Gone are the days when I would come home from work and be ready to write a post or read about my friends in the DOC. When I would spend hours on Twitter and Facebook learning, connecting, and supporting.

My life has become so busy that when I do get free time I just want to sit and not think about anything.

And with that you know what also suffers…

My bg’s have been all over the place when I actually check them. I have been waking up below 60 for months. Months.

Haven’t adjusted anything even when I woke below 40 several times. I just don’t care right now.

I recognize that this is a pattern, a process I go through now and then and it looks like I am on the tail end of another cycle. My need to write and share as well as catch up with others is really digging its way into my head.

DSMA Live is still something I am apart of but rarely seem to make it to a broadcast. My day job makes it difficult to be available at 6PM sometimes. But last night I was on just a few minutes after it started and I sat there the entire time with nothing to say. Nothing. I just listening to my co-hosts handle the show as I sat there speechless. I did nothing.

That made me feel like such a loser. A few years ago I would have given up a lot of things to be an advocate and participate in something like DSMA Live and now I feel totally inadequate.

Of course you can tell that this is all me doing this to myself. I see that. I get it. So how do I get over it? I think I just try to find my footing and continue on and see what happens. Who knows?

My life has always been an open book in hopes that others will learn or connect with what I have gone through to maybe help them on their way. This is no different. This is why I am writing this. This is why I am telling you how I feel. Not to be fixed but to let you know that I am okay. The focus of my life changed both by my own hand and by the needs of my employer. After you have focused on one thing for so long it is hard to get back into the old swing of things.

Maybe that is it. Maybe I need a new swing?

Anyhow, the main concern for me, as it should be, is the lack of care when it comes to my health. I have to get back into caring about my health. I have to. I have to.

“Have to” makes it sound like such a chore. Can I say, “I get to take care of myself?” Does “get to” make a “have to” a privilege? I don’t think I can repackage “taking care of myself” as a privilege. But there is something to that idea I think??? I will have to explore that thought.

TL:DR – Been slacking at diabetes care. Ready to get it going again.

Monday
Sep152014

Voices Carry

I love music.

From as far back as I can remember music has been a part of my life. Either listening to records in my living room with my entire family or singing songs around a campfire. Music has always been and always will be a part of my life.

I love to sing.

Going back to listening to those records as a kid lead me to sing along with every song I could! My sisters and I would “perform” albums as they played on the record player. The Grease Soundtrack, Earth Wind and Fire’s greatest hits volume 1, The Sound of Music, and stacks of 45’s were the first songs I learned to love, sing, and perform.

It wasn’t until my sisters where in high school that I found the love for choral music. One Christmas program when the choir sang the “Halleluiah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah is was did it. The orchestra, the timpani drum, those first sopranos reaching out with their angelic voices to hit notes I never knew possible, all made my heart long to be on stage singing in a choir someday.

But why would I need to sing when so many sing so beautifully? What could I add that would make any difference at all? Listen to that sound! How could I make it any better?

The thing is I probably can’t. My voice may be heard if it were awful but that is not what I want. I would want to blend in and enjoy the sound of all our voices together. Still, why do it? The choir is already a choir and doesn’t need me. Or does it?

What if all those people up there felt the way I did and felt they really didn’t need to sing? There has to be a choir somewhere? Someone has to sing something right? And what is the number of people required to make it all work anyway? And how do I know if just one more voice may make it perfect? Maybe some number that no one knows would take the choir to a place no one ever dreamed!

And what about me? Maybe I should sing because I need to sing? Maybe joining a choir is what I need to become a better singer and a happier person. Maybe I need to sing more than anyone needs to hear me sing?

Sometimes it may feel like only the best singers are heard and that is not the case at all. Maybe some of the mics are close to certain people but there is always a better singer somewhere. The main thing to remember is that every voice matters and if you want to sing then SING! With your whole heart sing but never allow yourself to feel insignificant because you think the choir sounds pretty good already.

The truth is, you may be just the thing the choir needs to take it to the next level.  

Thursday
Aug142014

"I had a really bad low this morning and I'm going to be late."

“Why does this even happen?”

 

“I thought that pump thing took care of that?”

 

“So what can you do so this doesn’t happen again?"

 

“Did you call your doctor?”

 

“Maybe they can change your shot?”

 

“What did you have for dinner?”

 

“But you are okay now right?”

 

"Should you be driving?"

 

"No sweat. Get right and get here when you can."

 

For years it was the all the other responses but today, I got the last one. Education works.

Thursday
Jul242014

The Medtronic 530G Trial - Part 2

Let’s get this out of the way.

Medtronic has let me use one of their new insulin pumps (530G with Enlite), a CGM transmitter, and a Bayer glucometer as a trial. When it’s over I will let them know how I feel, fill out a survey, and be on my merry way. No payment is received (I guess you could count the supplies for said equipment as payment since I didn’t have to buy anything) and every opinion is my own. I am a pretty honest ninja but also not a complete jerk so I will let them know what I think without being too harsh.

As much as I would love to drag this out into a week-long batch of posts I am going to cut to the chase.

So first let me tell you about the pump.

It’s fine. Just fine. Is that good or bad? I dunno. It works. It does its thing. On its own it is pretty much the same pump as my Revel so yeah, it’s fine.

Of course I would love a serious make-over almost more than an upgrade. Software is just not pretty enough for me to get excited about. I wish it looked sleeker or stylishier (made up word alert). And the body of this pump is pretty much the same as the other two pumps I have had so I would say, the pump is fine and that is good!

Now let’s talk about this CGM. I have tried the sensors with my Revel and I did not like them so much. This new sensor is smaller, easier to insert, more accurate, and can stop delivery of insulin if it senses you are low and do not clear an alarm.

Let’s break down those features shall we?

That last sensor hurt every time I inserted it. The gauge of the needle was thick. I would describe it as an upholstery needle to people which was probably a bit of an exaggeration but it didn’t feel like it. Ouch it hurt! It hurts just thinking about it! This sensor has never hurt. Ever. Every insertion for me never hurt. Each time I waited for the pain and I never felt it. Crazy right? So that is a point for the CGM!

The other thing about that metal straw of a needle from before what how difficult the inserter was to use. Really the best way to describe it is “how easy it was to insert anywhere into anything!” It always looked like it was missing a cover or a safety shield or something. The needle was exposed and the feet that rested against your skin were at a 45° angle but it was easy to mess that angle up since the feet were small and I never had a protractor handy to help.

This new sensor was simple to insert after you figured it out. Like multiplying by 11’s. At first it looks scary but once I figured it out it was easy as pie! I really like the inserter after I figured out that the needle goes in when you let go, not when you push the button! So tricky! And if that is some weird magic that keeps it from hurting then so be it! Mark another point for the sensor! Woohoo!

Accuracy for me using the old sensor was nonexistent. My numbers were all over the place. So bad I wondered sometimes if I actually switched pumps with someone or something. Annoying!

The new sensor seemed to be just as accurate as my Dexcom. Now I know this may not be the same for everyone but for me I see about the same swing in numbers. The accuracy is much better from my experience. Could it be better? Of course but this is a huge improvement and as you probably figured out, another point for the CGM!

And now the biggie, the ability for the sensor to tell your pump to stop insulin delivery. This is something I feel really takes this pump to the next level. That first step towards an artificial pancreas! But will it work? Can I trust it? Will it make my wife not as nervous when I am out of town and have an overnight low that she is not around to help me with?

I am here to tell you that it does work, or at least did for me. I had a few really low lows and the pump shut off. Once I slept right through the alarm and woke up to an alarm that had been going off for a while. My pump screen said, “LOW SUSPEND.” I wasn’t shaking and I wasn’t covered in sweat. I felt a little funky but not a terrible low. It worked like it was supposed to!

That first time I woke up seeing those words on my pump screen I thought about all of the people who have been lost to an overnight low. I felt awful for those left with that loss but also felt so thankful that this technology is finally available to us. This is clearly another point once again for the CGM.

That is a lot of positives about the CGM and Pump right? I really am impressed and would suggest people consider it when choosing a pump, that is for sure.

But I have one major frustration and annoyance that I cannot get past.

In all the upgrades and changes to improve the sensor it doesn’t seem anything was changed in the transmitter. Why should that be a big deal? Well, I really had problem with the old system losing signal and because of that transmission hiccup, the sensor would not log anything until you “reconnected” the sensor to the receiver. This happens almost every night. I should say most nights. There was probably 2 nights it didn’t happen.

I am not one who tosses and turns in bed but I do sleep on my side so if the pump falls behind me it will lose signal. I have gone so far as to sleep with the pump in my hands and of course I will let go of it, turn over, and bam it’s disconnected.

My Dexcom can sit on my nightstand next to my head and never lose signal. And when it alarms I hear it well.

The alarm for a lost signal is becoming so annoying I am not even paying attention to any alarms at night. LIKE THE LOW GLUCOSE ONE!! I can clear them in my sleep because I have to clear the signal one so much. It’s like a car alarm that no one reacts to anymore because they hear it often. Not good.

So my big giant problem with this system is the transmitter which is ultimately the CGM, which is what makes this pump stand out, which means once again it is not for me.

Prior to this trial I really hated the sensor. That is not the case. I LOVE the sensor, I like the pump, I hate the transmitter.

It drives me nuts because I see how awesome this system is and how important it is in the advancement of pumping technology. So many people I know love this thing and I want to love it too. I really truly want to but I can’t. It just doesn’t work for me.

So there it is.

If you have had a good experience with the transmitter or have NOT had the issue with it losing signal please let me know. I don’t want people to assume it will be the same for them as it was for me.