Friday, January 30, 2009

Fear Itself

I have an Accu-Chek Multiclix lancing device and I really like it.

Except I have this fear that when I'm inserting a new cartridge into the device, that all six needles are going to spontaneously spring forward and stab my thumb, leaving me with much hurt, much blood and a circle-shaped scar.

I have other, deeper, worse, nightmare-type fears, but this one seems like a nice little containable fear to have about diabetes. You know, until the spontaneous springing thing actually happens.

As always, more to come...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Pizza Support

I've been having a rough day. First and foremost, it's Monday.

Beyond that, my car sputtered to a stop a week ago last Friday. After much back and forth with the dealer, the bottom line is I need a new engine that will cost me a small fortune. It was supposed to be ready Saturday, then again today. Now they're saying tomorrow. I'm on bus detail for work and have been trapped *TRAPPED!* inside my house for the last two weekends.

My medical ID bracelet broke (yet another one) and I have to take it in to get it repaired.

I have to give my dog her shot tonight. I had to crunch numbers at work today and I hate doing that. I was sluggy all weekend and all I can think today is about how I should've cleaned the bathroom, done laundry, etc.

Basically, I'm being beaten up by everyone, including myself. And when that happens, I turn to comfort food. Pizza. Mushroom pizza. And then a cookie. A Samba cookie. I blew my diet, but it felt good (except for the heartburn I'm having right now). I've been trying to train myself to turn to exercise as comfort, but it's not as tasty.

So now, three hours after my meal, I'm a little afraid to test my blood. I know it's going to be higher than it should be, but I'm thinking it may be lower as well. I've been exercising pretty regular lately and have been having some pretty good numbers.

I used the pizza as support earlier, now I'm using my blog as support while I test my sugar. Here goes...

Alcohol swab.
Prep lancet.
Wave at arm to dry alcohol.
Stick strip in meter.
Poke arm and push down for blood.
Put stick into blood and wait for beep.
Wait for double beep with number.
Double beep.
Cover number with fingers before looking, then reveal one number at a time.
There's a 1.
There's a 0.
There's a 6.
Unfortunately, not in that order. 160.

It is done.

As always, more to come...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bits of Tissue

My arm looks like I cut myself shaving.

I was trying to test my blood via my forearm and I got a bum test strip. So I threw the strip out and pricked again with my lancet, looking for a rounder, richer bead of blood. I got one.

And now I have a bleeder.

And I’m wearing a white, long-sleeve shirt.

I couldn’t get it to stop and my arm is cold (it is winter in Chicago, after all). So I stuck a piece of Kleenex on it. Just like the men in the movies do when they cut themselves shaving.

Only they never show you what happens next. Guess I’ll just wait a few minutes and peel it off and see what happens.

I hope the bleeding stops. I’d really like to push down my sleeves.

As always, more to come…

Monday, January 19, 2009

Another Number Post

Okay. So despite putting forth my best technical effort, I can't get my meter hooked up to my MAC to upload my numbers. The cable I bought is one part of a complicated patch I'm not prepared to deal with and my disappointment and aggravation caused a ripple I'm sure was felt 'round the universe.

I went old-school and last night I hand-wrote all the numbers stored in my meter, starting with yesterday afternoon and going back until October 30, where the memory ended. I wrote them down in a composition notebook with a pencil. Triple-checked each entry by number, date and time and made sure everything was written down correctly. Then I looked them over.

I don't remember waking up at 5:09 am on November 9 to a 58, but I must've drank some juice or something because I tested again at 5:38 and was starting to climb at 64. I was low all day: 62 at 8:55am, 76 at 1:34 pm.

I can't tell you much about 11/21, 11/27, 12/2, 12/14 or 12/26--all days I chose to only test once. I can, however, give you details on about two dozen other days where I tested more than five times.

Unfortunately my meter doesn't show what I ate or how much I exercised on any day and my personal memory certainly doesn't go beyond what I did yesterday, and even that's a bit sketchy. So the numbers are just numbers (except for the first one of the day, which I always do right when I wake up; no exercise or food involved). But they do paint an interesting picture.

I have an appointment with my very favorite, very nice gyno in the first week of February. He's in my new insurance network. I'm going to him armed with a list of doctors and endos also in the network and getting his honest and trustworthy opinion on who he recommends. I figured this is a better alternative than just picking a name out of a book that sounds interesting. I thought it would be nice when I finally do go see the new doctor (hopefully in February), if I could bring a numbers list to him/her so he/she could see where I'm at.

So until meter technology hits the MAC world, I'm going to keep recording in my composition book my numbers and maybe I'll even take some notes on exercise and food so I have a better log to present.

As always, more to come (more numbers, numbers, numbers)...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Soy To Me (And To The World)

Sometimes my job is just that: my job. I have good days and I have bad days. I do some fun stuff and I do some boring stuff. This week, my job was more than just a job; it was inspiring.

I did an interview with Ingrid Newkirk, one of the founders of and the current president of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). While we talked some about her book, One Can Make A Difference (awe-inspiring; read it if you haven’t), we also talked about becoming vegetarian or vegan.

Even though my brother has been a vegetarian for over 10 years (the boy orders vegan shoes from the UK), and has been spouting its virtues forever, there’s something about hearing Ingrid talk about it that makes it seem do-able, at least on some level. She’s funny, articulate, compassionate and not the militant YOU MUST person I half expected.

While I don’t think I’m ready to completely give up meat, and I know for sure I’m not ready to give up cheese, I am now convinced there are a few small changes I can make. My first venture: soy milk.

I have to admit that changing my milk isn’t going to be a big sacrifice. I’m not a big milk drinker; you won’t see me pouring a glass as a refreshing beverage. Milk is usually only involved in doughnut or cookie scenarios. And cereal—although I don’t drink the milk at the bottom of the bowl (yeccch).

What the big question was in this decision is soy milk and diabetes. I’ve done some research on the World Wide Web and from what I can see, as long as I choose the unsweetened variety, the carb count can actually be less than regular milk. And I haven’t seen any documentation on it being bad for diabetics in any health sense. I’m currently between doctors and don’t expect to see one between now and when my current gallon of regular milk runs out or expires, so my consultation with him/her will have to wait.

When I go grocery shopping this weekend (that is, if the weather in Chicago rises above the -2 its supposed to be tomorrow and I’m brave enough to venture into the ice that is my atmosphere), I’ll pick up a carton, and I’ll be extra sure to check my sugar levels before and after drinking it for the first few times to make sure everything is copacetic (I won’t even eat the cookies to make sure everything is on the up and up). And if all goes well, I’ll make my change permanent.

Soy, I guess that’s it. (Ooo. Another fabulous reason for going soy—so many great puns and wordplay possibilities!) I’ll keep you posted on how things go, because I know everyone who reads this blog is teetering right here next to me on the brink of excitement over my foray into the world of soy.

As always, more to come (now with more soy!)…

Monday, January 12, 2009

Free Style Recycling

I use a Freestyle meter and test strips. The test strips come in these really sturdy little containers with a flip top and they close really securely.

As such, and being the “must use this item again” person that I am, I save every one of them and stick them in a drawer that is now overflowing. Every now and then, I actually find a use for one of them, or someone else in my family does.

Just in case you have a drawer-full too, here are a few of the ways myself and others I know have used them…

* Drill bits. I come from a family who does construction and my brother had some really expensive, smallish drill bits. And wouldn’t you know it? They fit in a Freestyle test strip container.

* After-shave stick. My husband bought this stick thingy that you rub on your cuts after you shave to make them feel better. He usually just kept it on a little dish in the bathroom, but when we went travelling, he wanted to bring it. It’s now permanently stored in a Freestyle test strip container.

* For my wedding, I wanted to carry some sugar-free Tums in my bag for my way-too-often heartburn. I pasted some pretty Japanese art paper around the outside of the container and slid in my Tums. Works perfectly and looked pretty inside my wedding bag. Now I just use a non-decorated one to throw a few Tums in and put them in random bags I carry. (Also great for Tylenol and other small pills.)

* Balsamic vinegar. This morning I made a salad to bring to work. I usually put my vinegar in a tiny Glad container you buy at the grocery store. However, my dog Molly thinks these containers are like dog bones and chews through them whenever she gets the chance. I didn’t have any tiny containers left, so I grabbed a Freestyle container, washed it out really, really well and put my vinegar in there. Didn’t leak even a drop. Quite possibly my new most favorite usage, just for the sheer inspired genius of it.

I’m still thinking that on top of the practical uses I’ve found, there has to be an art project in there as well—some sculptured piece I can create and hang on the wall. I’m still mulling that one over.

I’ll keep you posted on any other good uses I come across, and feel free to share if you’ve come up with something good.

As always, more to come (perhaps in a Freestyle test strip container)…

Thursday, January 8, 2009


I watch a lot of television, I admit it. My husband doesn’t watch nearly as much as I do, but he has a few favorites, one of them being “Intervention” on A&E. Sometimes I watch it with him—it’s television, after all, how bad can it be?

Intervention is exactly what the title says it is—an intervention. Each one-hour episode features a person who thinks they’re being filmed for a documentary, but are really being set up for an intervention by their family, led by a professional intervention leader. About 45 minutes of the show details the person’s life—how they grew up, what they’re doing now. The last 15 minutes is the actual intervention. The goal is to get the person into a rehab or treatment facility of some kind. It’s not a “reality” show in terms of sensationalism, but rather a mini-documentary on a person’s life.

I’ve seen episodes where the person has issues with the “usual” stuff you’d expect, like alcohol, heroin, crack and the like, but they also cover other topics such as eating disorders, sexual addictions and I even saw one episode about a video-game addiction.

So, this week’s intervention? Diabetes. Here’s the description from A&E:

“Episode 76 – John C
John has type one diabetes but refuses to be diligent about checking his blood sugar, or taking his insulin. A social misfit and an outcast for many years, John wants to be considered a regular guy, and pretends to be one by eating whatever he wants without regard for his illness. He has been in a near-coma and hospitalized multiple times. His parents want to stop enabling his self-destructive behavior, but won't kick him out of the house because they fear he'll die without their supervision.”

I thought it was an interesting twist on an intervention.

If you’re interested in watching it, they have the episode online. Go to and hit the “episode guide” section. Look for Episode 76 – John C.

I’m not a reviewer, so I’ll just let you watch and make up your own mind about what you think about the episode. Let me know.

As always, more to come…

Monday, January 5, 2009

I Resolve...

Yes, I’m the type of person who makes resolutions at the beginning of each year. Are you surprised?

I choose really nice stationery, get one of my fountain pens in working order and sit down to write everything out. When I’m done, I read through it and pick a key word that seems to summarize what I’ve written. “Improvement,” “Success,” “Relax,” and “Control” are a few words I’ve used in the past. I put my resolutions in an envelope, seal the envelope, write the year on it and put my word on it. I tuck it away and never look at it again during the year.

I know it may seem weird, but me just sitting down, thinking about what I want to accomplish during the year, what I want to experience, what habits or hobbies I want to cultivate and what emotions I’d like to indulge in, is enough. I don’t make a checklist of my resolutions, I just sort of make a plan in my head and in my heart and keep it there through the year.

I also make sure that in addition to the big, long-term resolutions, I put a few “dreamer” ones on there—things I hope to do one day—and a few small ones that I know I’ll definitely accomplish—take the Christmas tree down by January 10. Some of my dreamer ones I’ve actually filled; granted, not in the year I wrote them, but still, climbing in a pyramid in Egypt was worth the resolution I wrote years ago.

This year, I’ve decided to make separate resolutions for my diabetes. And instead of my pretty stationery, I’m using my pretty blog page. So here goes…

1. Check my blood sugar more. There are days when I go by feel, as opposed to pulling out my meter and doing an actual test. While I’m usually pretty good at knowing where I’m at by how my head and my body feel, there are times when I surprise myself when I actually do do a test. As they say on D-Life, “Test, don’t guess.” And it really would help me chart what’s going on if I had actual numbers to chart. Which leads me to…

2. Hook up the cable on my meter to my computer. I’m a MAC girl, and, unfortunately, the electronic diabetic community seems to be mostly PC based. I’ve had a hard time finding the right cables and software to hook my meter up to my computer, but I ran across something a few months ago that I think might work. I ordered the cable in great excitement, waited patiently for it to arrive in the mail. Ripped it out of the package when it came. Then promptly set it on a shelf and forgot about it. I will, I will, I will hook that cable up and make it work.

3. Exercise better. This should just be branded permanently on my forehead, in ambulance mirror type so I see it every morning when I brush my teeth. It’s probably been on every resolution list I’ve made since 1987 and it’s something I always struggle with. Each year I start out fantastically, then fade out, then renew, then stop, then start, then sit on the couch, then run three miles a day for six weeks straight. It’s not that I don’t exercise, it’s that I’m not as consistent with it as I need to be. So I’m going to try to find a way to exercise better—find a program or system or agenda or schedule I can actually stick with.

4. Make more doctors’ appointments. I’m horrible with checking in with my doctors—in 2008 I only went four times for a check-up (or was it three?). I only saw my endo once. It could be because I wasn’t really impressed with any of my doctors, but I now have new insurance and my choices are better. So after I find someone I like, I’m going to actually go see them every couple of months. And I might even try to get a diabetes educator. Wouldn’t that be something?

5. Find a balance. Sometimes I’m too hard on me—mentally chastising and scolding myself for bad numbers, not checking my sugars or not making doctors’ appointments. And sometimes I let myself get away with too much. I’m looking for a balance this year where I’m taking care of myself the way I should be, but in a way that doesn’t infuse guilt, disappointment or anger into my system.

6. Be more creative with food. I’m an expert baker. I’m not a bad cook. I have a huge assortment of cookbooks. And, I really love grocery shopping (actually, to the point where people think it’s strange). There’s no reason I should be eating the same 10 things over and over again. I can do low-carb creatively—and without excessive amounts of cheese. I declare this the year of the mushroom!

So there it is, in black and white and read all over. My keyword for this list: Positivity (even though spell-check tells me this isn’t an actual word). Because I’m going to have a positive view about my diabetes this year.

May your 2009 be everything you want it to be—and a little bit more.

As always, more to come…