Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Diabetes Blog Week – Spread The Love

As another Diabetes Blog Week draws to a close, let’s reflect on some of the great bloggers we’ve found this week. Give some love to three blog posts you’ve read and loved during Diabetes Blog Week, and tell us why they’re worth reading. Or share three blogs you’ve found this week that are new to you.

I’ve put off writing this post as long as I could with the hope that I would actually finish reading all of the submissions for Blog Week but I wouldn’t put it off any longer. I’ve still only finished reading up to the end of Day 3 so the below are my favourites up until then. As I finish reading the rest of the submissions, I’ll make sure to update.

Favourite Posts

Carey Potash’s and George from Ninjabetic submissions for We, the Undersigned were the funniest posts I’ve read in quite a while.

Heather at Insulin Resilience memory of her daughter attending diabetes camp was so touching.

D-Log Cabin’s memory about her vision and surgery made me realize how important it is to not take my health for granted and to enjoy every minute with my family

Hilary at Rainie and Me reminded me that "I have Diabetes and I'm ok"

Andrea at No Retreat. No Surrender. made me remember why it's so important to keep advocating for Diabetes

In addition to these amazing posts, I’ve also found some wonderful new sites that I had never read before. I can’t wait to start reading their sites from their beginnings.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Diabetes Blog Week - Diabetes Art Day

This year Diabetes Art moves up from the Wildcard choices as we all channel our creativity with art in the broadest sense. Do some “traditional” art like drawing, painting, collage or any other craft you enjoy. Or look to the literary arts and perhaps write a d-poem or share and discuss a favorite quote. Groove to some musical arts by sharing a song that inspires you diabetes-wise, reworking some song lyrics with a d-twist, or even writing your own song. Don’t forget dramatic arts too, perhaps you can create a diabetes reality show or play. These are just a starting point today – there are no right or wrong ways to get creative!

So I didn't have any time to make anything new this week for Diabetes Art day but I'm rather proud of the project below.

From Left to Right - Oregano, Chives, Basil

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I'm trying to get healthier so as soon as spring hit, I thought I would try growing my own herbs. I thought it might inspire me to cook from scratch more. As I've never really grown anything (I killed a cactus in college) so I am extremely proud of these and consider growing an art form

Friday, May 17, 2013

Diabetes Blog Week – Freaky Friday

Just like in the movie, today we’re doing a swap. If you could switch chronic diseases, which one would you choose to deal with instead of diabetes? And while we’re considering other chronic conditions, do you think your participation in the DOC has affected how you treat friends and acquaintances with other medical conditions?

This was a really hard topic for me to write about. The only Chronic Diseases that I could think of sounded way worse to have than Diabetes. I don’t want Cancer. I don’t want Parkinsons. I don’t want a Cardio-Pulmonary Disease. I don’t want Lupus, Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, or Anemia. I’m probably already going to get Alzheimer’s as it runs in my family.

I KNOW Diabetes in all of its unpredictable glory and for the post part I live a completely normal healthy life. Sure it takes some planning to exercise or go out to a restaurant or have a baby, but I can still do all of those things. The other diseases, I’m not so sure. So I’ll stick with Diabetes.

As for my treatment of people with other medical conditions, I don’t think having Diabetes has changed that for me. Unfortunately I’ve known and currently know a quite a few people with other medical conditions. I would hope that I have always been supportive and interested in their condition and not a person that tries to “police” their activities. I’ll have to ask them especially if there’s anything I can do better.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Diabetes Blog Week – Accomplishments Big and Small

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 (or your loved one’s) 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.).

Contrary to my petition, I’m actually most proud of my breakfast BG’s. The development is relatively new though. For the last 9 years, I have had issues with high after breakfast BG’s. They have routinely been in the high teens and low twenties. I have played around with basal rates and carb ratios and nothing seemed to work. I started eating the same thing every morning so that I could attain some level of consistent data to analyse. Nothing had seemed to work.

About a month ago I decided to try giving up caffeine. I had recently gotten back into reading blogs which of course led me to start writing my own again and quite a few of the blogs mentioned that they had to bolus for caffeine. As I’m trying to get my BG’s back in shape for pregnancy, I thought I should try it. It worked for about a week. The high teens came back. It then occurred to me to try giving myself insulin 15 minutes prior to eating. I know most of you are going “What? Isn’t that what everyone does already?” But no, I don’t. I usually wait until I’m finished eating and then give myself insulin. For the most part it worked so I never considered changing my ways. I was always scared that I would not eat enough for the insulin I gave myself and end up having a low. With breakfast it’s different though, I eat the same thing every morning (well except for the occasional treat like Mother’s day Brunch), two pieces of multigrain toast with light peanut butter, a small container of low fat yogurt, and a fruit. So I decided to try inserting the insulin beforehand and it worked.

For the last two weeks, I have had perfect BG’s after breakfast. They have been consistently within 2 mmol/L of my pre-breakfast results. Getting this great control has been my most amazing accomplishment. Yay Me!

(And yes, I am back to drinking coffee ;-) )

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Diabetes Blog Week – Memories

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.

In my almost 10 years of being a diabetic, I have only had one day that caused me to leave work due to high blood sugars and it happened about a month ago.

As you can see from the above table, I was in the high teens and twenties for most of the day. What's weird about it is that this isn't a completely unusual day for me. It's not like I have them all of the time but it's nothing I haven't experienced before. What made it really memorable for me was how I felt. I probably shouldn't have gone to work that morning as it started as soon as I woke up but never having felt this way before, I thought it was just a weird blip. I was nauseous, sluggish, headachy (Love making up new words ;-) and pasty. Nothing out of the ordinary for high BG's but just intense. I've never really had an issue with ketones before (not that I really tested...oops) but I checked them a few times this day and there were absolutely none present. I probably should have reduced my carb intake but would that have fixed the issue? After lunch I couldn't take it anymore and went home. I changed my infusion site, took some Tylenol, had a nap, and then took a walk. Thankfully things started to even out by 8pm so I was able to go to sleep with a reasonable number. I have no idea what ended up fixing it. I could have been the site change but I was only on my second day. It could have been the Tylenol, maybe I had a minor fever. It could have been the walk. Maybe it was bad insulin. I drank about 7 - 8 litres of water that day, was that what fixed it? Who knows.  

This was just one of those days that I really hated Diabetes

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Diabetes Blog Week – We, The Undersigned

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?

To Stubborn After Breakfast Blood Glucose

Why do you persist on randomly being high? Why do you persist on randomly being low? Erin Michelle, a Type 1 diabetic for 9.5 years, has experienced you for her entire time as a diabetic. Her blood glucose readings before breakfast would be 6.9 mmol/L. Two hours later, that BG would have risen to 16.9 mmol/L. Other days she could start off with a 9 mmol/L and then you would be a 24 mmol/L. She will eat the same thing every day for breakfast and you will never give her the same result. She will have the exact same morning routine and again, no two results will be the same. She has tried changing the time that she injects her insulin before breakfast, trying as much as 30 minutes prior. This did not produce any consistent results. She has tried cutting out her morning coffee to see if the caffeine had an effect. Again no consistent results. The experiment with exercise even made you go higher and then drop dramatically to 2.2 mmol/L.

Is it Dawn Phenomenon? Do you have no control of this process? Are you actively trying to make us upset and frustrated?

Whatever the cause and reason, We ask that you please cease and desist.


Signed All Diabetics Everywhere.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Diabetes Blog Week – Share and Don’t Share

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?

This is a very hard topic for me. I’m a very open person and share pretty much everything with my diabetes team. There are two things though that they don’t see.

The first is something that I choose not to share and is probably pretty common. I don’t always tell my team about my bad food choices. Or at least how often or how much I eat them. My name is Erin, and I’m a carboholic. I LOVE sweets. I LOVE bread. I LOVE Fruit. I LOVE chips, pretzels, and anything else salty. It’s a real struggle for me to limit my choices which is probably why I’m at the weight I am. My team is very aware of the fact that I’m overweight. They weigh me every time I come in so I’m probably fooling myself that they don’t know. I still pretend they don’t know though as it makes me feel less guilty.

The second item that they don’t see but I would love for them to be a part of is the frustration. They get a little bit of it during my visits especially when we’re talking about an especially irritating issue but they don’t “see” it. They won’t experience it with me. They don’t see the times when it makes me cry. They’re not in my head while I run every possible scenario for hours. They don’t see when I can’t concentrate on work. They don’t see me snap at my husband or son when I’m having a low. They just don’t see, they only hear.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Diabetes Blog Week - 2013


This year I’ve decided to participate in the 4th Annual Diabetes Blog Week. It was created by Karen at Bitter Sweet Diabetes back in 2010 and has continued ever since. The purpose is to get to know all of the other Diabetes blogs out there. There’s a topic posted each day so each of the participants write about the same thing. Please click on the graphic above to learn more.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Insurance Problems

Most of the time my insurance is really great; but there are times, like today, when I really want to much them in the face.

This morning I received a lovely email telling me that my latest claim for pump supplies had been processed and I should see the money in my account within the next 24-48 hours. As you can imagine, I was very excited as this claim covered three months of supplies totally about $700 that desperately needs to go on my credit card to avoid more interest charges. I'm a little bit of a procrastinator. Thankfully my insulin, glucose strips, lancets, etc are all automatically covered and the pharmacy sends the claim directly to my insurance so I'm never out of money up front. For some reason though, my insurance insists that I mail in my claim for my infusion sets and reservoirs and then get reimbursed.

Anyway getting back to today's claim, as soon as I saw the email, I went onto the website to confirm and saw this:
What do you mean it's not covered? It's been covered for for years but now you've decided it's not covered AGAIN? This has actually happened to me a few times. The first time was last year. In January of 2012, we went through some internal changes at my Company and as a result, our benefits ended up being "restarted" (which allowed me to get a brand new insulin pump). It also meant that there was some confusion about my pump supplies. I ended up getting my benefits department involved to clarify the matter. The second time, I thought I would try submitting it online to see if I could get reimbursed quicker. Didn't work. Apparently the supplies have to be submitted through the mail so they see the original copies. This time I submitted everything through the mail and assumed that everything was fine. I was of course wrong and as soon as I saw the above, proceeded to call.

In the end everything is fine and off course they're covered but why do we constantly have to deal with this shit?

Monday, May 6, 2013


I have been travelling so much for work lately that every spare free moment I have has been spent hanging out with my family so haven’t had time to post. It has reminded me though that those of us with Diabetes have some unique challenges when it comes to travelling.

About a week before I go on a trip, I make sure I have all of my diabetic supplies that I’m going to need while I’m away and for about a week after. If I don’t then my first stop is to my pharmacy to get refills. My pharmacy is really great and is quick at getting all of my complicated pump supplies in. In addition to the pump supplies and the everyday stuff that I carry around, I also make sure to pack my extra pump (thanks to my awesome insurance the restarted in January 2012) just in case the one I’m using were to die on me.

A couple of years ago I was on a business trip to Saskatoon and I had to change out my infusion set and reservoir. Unfortunately I received a lovely error message about my motor not working. I promptly ripped out the new infusion set and tried again. My pump then decided to go completely blank. Of course I didn’t bring any extra needles or insulin pens with me and it was 11pm so no pharmacies were open. Stupid me, I thought I’ll be fine, so I went to bed and promptly woke up with a 26.5 mmol/L. I decided to go directly to a medicentre and to see if I could get some needles. Thankfully I was flying home that afternoon and Medtronic was able to have a pump to me by the next morning. Needless to say I will never travel without some sort of back-up again.

My CDE has always told me that you shouldn’t change the time on your pump until you get to your final location. I have no idea why though which I find really strange as normally I question everything. The problem with this method is I have a horrible memory and often forget to change the time back. This also doesn’t work when you’re driving across the country as you probably are going to go through multiple time changes.

She’s also told me that some diabetics need to give themselves a little bolus or a reduced basal rate in flight as they are either more or less resistant to insulin while in the air. Something to do with the altitude. Thankfully I’ve never noticed a difference in my sensitivity so have not had to change my calculations.

The hardest part of travelling for me is eating out. When travelling for work, I’m usually at the mercy of an admin assistant that books the restaurants or has the lunch brought in. They don’t usually book the most healthy choices but rather what’s closest to the function we’re attending. The only time this isn’t the case is when I’m travelling to do a site visit. Unfortunately my choices aren’t much better. I’m usually grabbing lunch on the fly so tend to choose the first fast food restaurant I can find. Thankfully those choices (while unhealthy) at least have all of the nutritional info online for easy planning. In regular restaurants though there are so many hidden carbs and I always seem to over or under estimate which leads me to dealing with it late at night at my hotel.

Planning ahead is so key to making a trip easier on your diabetes.

Thankfully my work travelling is finished for the next little bit and now I can focus on my vacation planning. My husband, son, and I are heading for a two week road trip to the US. My husband’s family is having a mini-reunion in Omaha (where most of them live). He’s the middle child of 5 and all but 1 are married with 1 kid. We’ll be there for about a week and it should be great.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Diabetes Stuff

As a prelude to my travelling post tomorrow, I thought I would post what I carry around with me everyday to manage my diabetes. This includes my glucometer, ketone tester, snack for lows, bag full of lifesavers, batteries for my pump, hand sanitizer and a couple packages of peanut butter and honey again for lows.

Missing is batteries for glucometer and ketone meter and extra pump supplies. These need to be replenished.