Here’s a fun fact for your Friday, courtesy of the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms (3rd Edition):
I was looking up a technical term to solve a capitalization question (my life is thrilling, right?) When I was flipping through, I stopped on this page and the word “diabatic” jumped out at me. Sounds like it would be describing a batty person with diabetes… but nope, just thermodynamic stuff.
Have a wonderful Friday!
I’m almost ashamed to admit that I’ve only been to Cedar Point a handful of times and I’m an Ohio native. *gasp*
Last weekend I took on Cedar Point, my first amusement park since being diagnosed with diabetes. At this point, you may be thinking, how are visiting Cedar Point and diabetes linked? I was curious/concerned about some aspects of visiting the park with diabetes including how the rides my affect my pump, if the stress from roller coasters would drive my blood sugar up, the entire food situation and if the constant walking would drive my blood sugars down.
I did some incredibly last minute research about handling diabetes at amusement parks and the good people of Twitter pointed me in the right direction… Among many of Bennet’s posts covering diabetes at Disney especially, I found this one. The main points I took with me to Sandusky were:
1. Scientific study found: “That severe short-lived mental stress, as documented by markedly increased heart rate and blood pressure and salivary cortisol, barely affected glucose control in patients with type 1 diabetes.”
2. This advice (which came in the form of a concise tweet later): have fun. check blood. <– in that order.
We drove up the night before and stayed at the Breakers Express, which got us early admission to the park on Saturday. That evening we walked to a nearby bar to enjoy time with our friends and celebrate our friend Tyler’s college graduation. Read the rest of this entry
Here’s [what in my head is the long-awaited] part two post on our Seattle trip…
We had amazing weather for the entire time we were in Seattle. Every local person we talked to commented on how clear and warm it was. It was enough to make you doubt the rain-all-the-time stereotype!
Anyway, we spent a couple of days at a family member’s cabin on Mt. Rainier. Everything was beautiful… and disconnected. It was kind of nice to be away from TV, internet and cell service for a bit and actually unplug (as opposed to saying you’re going to unplug but then not really doing it).
On our first full day in the mountains, we headed up to Crystal Mountain ski resort. Even though the temps were in the 60s and 70s during the day, the ski resort was buzzing with spring skiers. Not being a skier myself, it was interesting to watch. There were people skiing and snowboard in shorts. It was also interesting to be standing on natural snow and be able to wear short sleeves.
We rode the new gondola up to Summit House to have a delicious lunch and possibly the most amazing view. Pictures honestly can’t capture what it was like up there, but we tried! Standing at the highest point at Crystal Mountain, we could clearly see Mt. Rainier. The clear views aren’t that common so we really had a treat. Even though I’m calling it a mountain, it’s important to remember that it’s really a volcano… as is Mt. Saint Helen, which we could also see. We had a nice view of the Olympic Mountains and could see Mt. Hood (part of the Cascade Volcanic Arc in Oregon) in the distance. It’s nice to have seasoned tour guides who can point those things out, otherwise we wouldn’t have known how much awesome stuff was in front of us. Read the rest of this entry
I’m taking a break from D-Blog Week (possibly rounding out my participation since I don’t normally blog on the weekends) to talk about an adventure in home ownership.
One of the things that we loved about this house when we put our offer on it more than a year ago was that it was updated within the previous 5 years (new furnace, air conditioning, new water heater) and had current code wiring, which isn’t that common in houses built when ours was.
On Mother’s Day, about two minutes into my morning shower it felt like the hot water had dropped off so I turned the cold off completely and took a luke-warm shower. Brad hopped in the shower after me and scolded me for using up all of the hot water. When I told him I’d had barely any for mine, he went downstairs to check on the water heater.
What he found was the beginning of a new Great Lake forming in our basement. Our GE water heater, manufacture date of 12/2011, had burst. We could still hear water running into the tank when he shut off the valve to the heater. So Brad shut off water to our whole house. We spent the rest of the morning with a garden hose running from the heater to the utility sink to drain, mopping up the water (that thankfully hadn’t damaged anything) in the basement, Brad called the company then called a plumber. Read the rest of this entry
We don’t always realize it, but each one of us had come a long way since diabetes first came into our life. It doesn’t matter if it’s been 5 weeks, 5 years or 50 years, you’ve done something outstanding diabetes-wise. So today let’s share the greatest accomplishment you’ve made in terms of dealing with your diabetes. No accomplishment is too big or too small – think about self-acceptance, something you’ve mastered (pump / exercise / diet / etc.), making a tough care decision (finding a new endo or support group / choosing to use or not use a technology / etc.). (Thanks to Hilary of Rainie and Me for this topic suggestion.)
One thing I can say 100% for sure is that diabetes has made me better at math. Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, graphs, patterns, fractions, confidence intervals… those things that I hated in school came back to rule my life.
You’ve heard the saying “numbers don’t lie” before, I’m sure of it. One of my most recent victories has been understanding that number can, in fact, lie. Most medical professionals want to know one number for people with diabetes: the A1c. Here’s my A1c history since my diagnosis less than two years ago:
- August 2011: 11.3 at diagnosis
- September 2011: 8.3 (big drop!)
- February 2012: 5.9
- August 2012: 6.1
- March 2013: 6.2
I parroted these numbers to medical professionals when asked and was judged on them. In fact when the 8.3 was reported, I got scolded by a PCP (who I won’t be seeing again) for such a “high” A1c. She saw that 8.3 in a vacuum. She didn’t see the diagnosis date one month prior and she didn’t see the massive 3-point drop. Likewise, I was praise by other members of my medical team for the 5.9… but what they didn’t know about those two numbers were that they were lies. LIES!!
The 5.9 reflected a lot of changes in my basal rates, my carbohydrate ratios and diet. It reflected a lot of low blood sugars. It didn’t reflect excellent numbers all the time. It wasn’t a real representation of my diabetes management. What the last two number reflect are a better grasp on my numbers, new insulin and the introduction of a CGM. They’re stable. Admittedly, they’re pretty good. Even if it’s not my personal goal.
Numbers other than A1c values can lie also. For example, this morning I had a reading of 77 but I felt like I was 27. Since meters are only required to be accurate within 20%, I could have actually been in the low 60s. Prices for our supplies can even lie, if you look at an insurance EOB you can see that.
Honestly, accepting the fact that numbers can lie is only a tiny accomplishment in my life with diabetes, but I was thinking about it today. Bigger D-accomplishments include:
- Advocating for my own health when I need to
- Educating others when I have the opportunity
- Getting every high blood sugar back into range and appropriately correcting the lows
- Giving myself that first shot
- Pushing the paperwork through to get on my OmniPod and Dexcom
- Having a normal life with a chronic health condition
- Making it on time to doctors appointments without the aid of a personal assistant
To read other accomplishment posts, go here.
I’ve said several times before that I really don’t know people in my “real life” with type 1. I finally had the opportunity to meet DOC member Amy in person and discovered how truly small the world is (we found out that she’s known members of my family longer than she’s “known” me!). When I read today’s prompt directly followed by some tweets about diabetes in the wild, I thought back to a day… not my most memorable day with diabetes but one worth sharing.
Today we’re going to share our most memorable diabetes day. You can take this anywhere…. your or your loved one’s diagnosis, a bad low, a bad high, a big success, any day that you’d like to share. (Thanks to Jasmine of Silver-Lined for this topic suggestion.)
I was diagnosed with diabetes in the middle of August 2011. My husband and I moved to Cleveland in September and that October we were shopping at Crocker Park (an amazing outdoor shopping center). I wasn’t yet on an insulin pump but was in the process of getting started with one.
Brad and I had finished our shopping and were returning to our car in the parking garage. When we reached our garage, there was a group of three teenagers talking and laughing in the stairwell. The girl who was sitting on the step scooted over so we could walk past, as she scooted I saw it. It looked like a purple pager clipped to the outside of her pocket with a clear tube sticking out of it.
I wanted to exclaim, “I have diabetes too!” but the calm, rational adult in me reminded me that having a stranger point out your medical condition as a teenager could possibly mortifying, so instead I smiled and said thanks to her when we passed.
On the second level of the parking garage, when we were safely out of earshot I turned to Brad and said, “That girl on the steps has diabetes too and she was wearing an insulin pump.” He hadn’t noticed.
I learned two things that day:
1. There were other people in the world having “normal” lives while having diabetes. I hadn’t yet achieved a “normal” life since my diagnosis.
2. It’s completely possible to for the condition that had taken over my life to go completely unnoticed by others.
Sometimes I wish I had said something to the girl in the stairwell, especially after moments when my insulin pump being visible helped others feel less alone.
Other Memorable Days:
Today’s D-Blog Week topic is about petitions. Here’s the prompt:
Recently various petitions have been circulating the Diabetes Online Community, so today let’s pretend to write our own. Tell us who you would write the petition to – a person, an organization, even an object (animate or inanimate) – get creative!! What are you trying to change and what have you experienced that makes you want this change? (Thanks to Briley of inDpendence for this topic suggestion.)
This prompt inspired thoughts not related to writing a petition but about the fact that we shouldn’t need them. Not that long ago, a petition to standardize TSA screenings for people with self-monitoring medical equipment failed to reach the required number of signatures to move forward. This disappointed me. I wrote about my experiences flying out of Cleveland with TSA and the multiple refusals to be scanned, and the not terrible pat down. My security experience flying out of Seattle was in some ways worse and some ways better. Had the petition been successful in its goals, the overall flying experiences of people with diabetes would be better, but we shouldn’t have needed a petition in the first place.
The travel story:
Are you ready to be scared? I again turned down the body scanner at the airport and respectfully requested a pat down. I again received the “it’s totally safe lecture” this time a little more sternly. I was then sent through the metal detector, didn’t set it off and TSA agent number two was about to just let me go about my business when Agent #1 yelled, “she’s wearing an insulin pump!” Read the rest of this entry
Last year, I double-timed it for D-Blog Week. This year, I’ll see what I can do.
Often our health care team only sees us for about 15 minutes several times a year, and they might not have a sense of what our lives are really like. Today, let’s pretend our medical team is reading our blogs. What do you wish they could see about your and/or your loved one’s daily life with diabetes? On the other hand, what do you hope they don’t see? (Thanks to Melissa Lee of Sweetly Voiced for this topic suggestion.)
When I go to any of my doctors, I feel like I turn into “super patient” and answer all questions precisely as if I’m being tested and just let the medicals lead the appointment. I’m married to a man with “white coat syndrome” so I know that’s not my issue, my issue is that I need to take control of my appointments. I did better at my last endocrinologist appointment, when I started a sentence with “while we’re talking, I need to ask you about travelling.”
I try to schedule my appointments online so it’s handy that I can type into the comments/reason for appointment box what I need to talk about and it ends up on my chart… whether or not that gets seen before I do, I don’t know.
Look at that! I’ve already strayed from the prompt!
What I wish they could see.
I wish they could see the life around my numbers. I mentioned about a year ago that I had an issue with a resident fixating on a string of low numbers and kept trying to change my basal programs to avoid them and somehow she didn’t understand they were outliers (because three days with lows in a row couldn’t be an outlier when you’re painting an entire house!). I explained over, and over, and over that those were not normal numbers. At that very point in time I wished I could snap her back to those days movie style so she could watch not only how active I was, how on top of treating those lows I was.
I wish that my healthcare team could see the things that I may not think to tell them about. I’m “new” at this whole living with diabetes thing and don’t always identify things they should know about. Although I doubt they should know about my sore neck from sleeping oddly, but I bet they should know about the tingly feeling in my hands that I only get in the mornings.
What I don’t want them to see. Read the rest of this entry
During the three years that Brad and I dated before he proposed to me, I was never asked by anyone if I had problems with his mom. Likewise, Brad was never asked if he and my mom had issues. But after we announced our engagement, we discovered the social norm of mother-in-law speculation.
I don’t know how it got started, but I know that everyone kind of just expects to have issues with mother-in-laws. I think that more often than not the expectation of problems causes problems.
There are people out there who have legitimate conflicts with their in-laws that are over real issues, but I feel like this isn’t the norm. I know more couples who have excellent in-law relationships, even though there are a few bumps in the road (as with any relationship) it overall works out.
It seems like a rite of passage for wifehood to swap MIL stories with her girlfriends. Sure, everyone has a story of that crazy thing she did or said, but most of the time they aren’t the horror stories that are sometimes embellished.
So here’s my challenge in consideration of Mother’s Day this weekend, try to stop perpetuating drama when it comes to in-laws.
My mother-in-law is nothing like my mom… and that’s 100% okay with me. She raised my husband and for that I love her. If my husband and I had moms that were alike, we wouldn’t be the same people that the other fell in love with.
Next time something your significant other’s mom does makes your eye twitch, take a second and a breath and remember that you love their child and the part she played in his or her character.
On another note…
I’d like to wish an early happy Mother’s Day to my own mom who brought me into this world and played a huge part in the woman and wife that I’ve become. I love you mom!
Also, thank you to the various moms with diabetes and moms of children with diabetes who have been sources of information to me these past two years!
Because I’m physically back from vacation, but mentally still there… Welcome to my trip recap mini-series.
We got killer airfare to fly out west to Seattle and the trip had two pretty different parts. The city and the mountains. (Airport and diabetes-related topics aside)
We went out to Seattle two years ago and were actually out there over my 22nd birthday so I ended up with a 27-hour celebration accounting for the time zones. But I digress, I mention our previous trip because we’d already done the “Seattle” stuff. We rode the monorail, visited the Space Needle, checked out Pike Place Market (and watched the fish throwing), wandered downtown and of course visited the first Starbucks. We also snow shoed on Mt. Rainier. So this trip we wanted to do new stuff.
Museum of Flight
Brad started looking into activities for our time in Seattle (he could moonlight as a budget-savvy travel planner!). The Museum of Flight was on our radar so Brad started researching it. He was comparing admission prices ($18) for adults and the options of City Pass, when he discovered that on the first Thursday of every month, Wells Fargo sponsors free admission to the museum from 5-9pm. The first Thursday of May happened to be the day after our arrival. Score!
Don’t get me wrong, the museum would totally be worth $18 a person but the savings were amazing. We got there are the start and worked our way through the museum, and it was Space Day so there were some extra features. Read the rest of this entry