Saturday, September 15, 2012

Frio Review

I guess I need to start out with a disclaimer: I am in no way being compensated for this product review, no one has asked me to review this product, and I have not been contacted by the company at all in any way about my review of this product. I just think this product is really great and wanted to let other people know about! 

Let me introduce you to my newest favorite diabetes product. This, my friends, is a Frio. 

So, it's not the greatest picture, but you get the idea. The Frio is a reusable cooler to keep your insulin cool when you can't keep it in the refrigerator.   Basically, it's two fabric envelopes. The one on the left is what actually keeps your insulin cool. You soak that envelope in cool water for a specified amount of time, and these crystal things which are sewn into the lining of it turn into a gel that expands, and that gel is cool and cools your insulin. The envelope actually ends up looking like one of those puffy Marty-McFly-from-Back-to-the-Future-vests once the crystals all expand.  Your insulin goes inside the puffy envelop, and that goes inside envelope on the right which, according to the Frio Website somehow increases the "efficiency" of the cooling envelope. The outer envelope also works to keep the rest of your stuff dry, since the inside envelope is a little damp at first, but quickly dries off to the touch.

So, that's how it works, in VERY layman's terms.

Frios come in a variety of sizes and colors. The one pictured above is the largest size, the "Extra Large Wallet," which is approximately 8.5" by 6.5".

I have used my Frio in several different situations when I bought it a year ago, and I have been VERY impressed with it so far. I've used it on a vacation to D.C. when there was no refrigerator in our hotel room to store my insulin in. I've used it on an extended trip to the in-laws when I didn't want to store my insulin in their fridge, and I've used it during a multiple-day electricity blackout after a storm.

Here are the things I like about it:

  • It stays cool FOREVER! Ok, not really forever, but the last time I used it, it was cool for about two weeks. Now, the company says to re-soak it sooner than that, but they say it will keep your insulin cool for a minimum of 45 hours with just one soaking. I have definitely experienced that when using the Frio.
  • It's relatively inexpensive. I spent a little over $30.00 on mine (which is the largest size you can get). That might seem expensive, but it is indefinitely reusable! So, I think it's a pretty decent price, especially for something that is being sold to such a niche market. I'm used to diabetes specialty things costing a lot and this price isn't so bad. 
Some things I don't like about it:
  • It's not big enough. I think this product was designed for a traveler, but I want a Frio that is big enough to fit a 3-months supply of insulin in. So, basically I want a Frio designed to store a large stash of insulin in an emergency situation. Because of how insurance works, a lot of diabetics tend to buy insulin in 90 day supplies. If, for example, we lost power for several days and I had just refilled a 90 day supply of insulin, I would want a Frio large enough to save that whole supply. I guess I could just buy several of them, but that seems annoying and expensive.
  • It keeps insulin cool, not cold. This isn't really a negative for me, but it might be for some people, so I thought I better write about it. The Frio definitely does not keep your insulin as cold as a fridge would, but it keeps it cool enough for it to not lose its efficacy. So, it might seem scary if it doesn't feel as cold to you as when you pull it out of your fridge, but it is still just fine. I've read some reviews on Amazon of people not having success with this product, and having their insulin ruined. This has not been my experience at all, but I wanted to make sure all sides were represented. Just like any product that is not "FDA" approved to do whatever it is claiming to do, you use it at your own risk. So I think it's only fair to say that not everyone likes this product. 
That being said, I have personally found great success with my Frio. It's easy to use, and I think that it's something that would be useful to virtually every insulin-dependent diabetic. I was so grateful I had one during our extended power outage!  Our power went out after a storm for about 3 days during the hottest week of the summer, when temperatures outside hit 104 F, and reached the high 90s in our house! My insulin would've perished had it not been for the Frio.  

So, I just wanted to add my two cents to the consumer information available "out there" about Frios. I hope someone can find this useful!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Battery Caps and Needle Nose Pliers at 2am.

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love and adore my insulin pump. But a few weeks ago we had a teensy weensy incident that ended up being one of those comedy of errors things that made me realize how ridiculous technology is sometimes.

Let me set the scene for you:

It's about 2am, the house is dark, I'm sleeping, my husband is sleeping, all is right in the world. All of the sudden I'm jolted out of my deep slumber by my head buzzing.  It's my insulin pump needing attention. I keep it on the "vibrate" alert mode, and when I sleep I tuck it under my pillow. So, you can see how at 2am when it started vibrating it would've rattled my brain a little bit.

My pump was alerting me that I needed to change my battery. No big deal. I knew this was going to happen soon since I'd been keeping a close eye on the battery symbol on my pump for days and knew that I'd need to "power up" soon. I'm a cheapskate, and I like to get as much power out of one battery as I possibly can, so I usually wait to change the battery until my pump alerts me to do it. This time the alert happened in the middle of the night, but that's the price I pay for saving a buck or two at the store.

Any way, back to the story. The pump alert jolts me out of my sleep. I groggily fumble with the pump to see what it needs, realize that I need to change the battery, and proceed to stumble around in our dark house trying to find the extra batteries I keep.  I get the battery, find a penny with which to unscrew the battery cap and start unscrewing it. And keep unscrewing it. And keep unscrewing it. My sleepy brain thinks "huh, this is taking a lot longer than usual," but because I'm half asleep I continue to unscrew the cap for probably another 5 minutes until I finally realize that something is very, very wrong.

I know that I only have about 30 minutes of power left in my battery, so I end up on the phone with Animas' tech support at 2am. (Thank goodness for 24 hour support!).  I told them what was going on, that I couldn't get the cap off, and they had me try a few things. Then, they pulled out the big guns and told me to hunt down a pair of needle nose pliers. At 2 am. I said, "um, I don't think we even OWN a pair of needle nose pliers" and the tech person hemmed and hawed a little bit but just kept insisting over and over and over again that I NEEDED to get some needle nose pliers. At 2 am. Seriously, this was their fancy tech-y fix. They wanted me to pinch that cap and yank it off with a pair of needle nose pliers, and could offer me no other immediate solution. In fact, when it looked like I was never going to be able to get needle nose pliers right at that very second, the rep asked if I would be able to procure some the next day to see if I could yank the cap off to see what the problem actually was before they sent me out a replacement pump  Um, no.

Well, we were actually able to find a pair of needle nose pliers in my husbands multi-tool, and we yanked that dang cap off, and this is what we found:

One of the plastic threads on the screw-in cap (which was brand new!) had just split off! Luckily, I still had the old cap, so I was able to put the old one back on and make my pump usable again. To Animas' credit, they sent me a new one for free (don't even get me started on how annoying it is that I have to pay for a new battery cap every 6 months and that it is NOT covered by my insurance). I like Animas, I really do. But I think the materials they use for their pumps are CHEAP. (But that's for another post, which I will be writing in the not-so-distant future).

So yeah, if you have an Animas pump, you might want to invest in a pair of needle nose pliers. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

On Student Loans and Health Coverage.

So, I spent a few minutes today going through some old bills & explanation of benefits for my health coverage during the time I was in graduate school. I shredded and threw out a ton of stuff I don't need to keep any more, and while doing so, I mentally added up the amount of money I spent on my own health care during graduate school. It was SIGNIFICANT to say the least.  Which kind of bummed me out. How did I manage to pay all those health care costs on my piddly  little grad school stipend and with my part-time job? Oh yeah, student loans.

But, then I realized that it somehow made me feel better about how much money I owe in student loans, which is also significant. :)  I guess it made me realize that I wasn't actually wasting my loan money, or taking out loans that I didn't need. So, there's that, I guess?

Anyway, I'm glad that chapter of my life is over. I liked school, but I will NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER go back, if I can help it!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Thoughts on Lowering my A1C and why Casseroles are the Devil

My latest A1C is 6.1!!!!!!


I have worked really hard for this! Here are some of the things I have done/have realized while I have been working so hard to lower my A1C even more:

1. Getting Type 1 as a child, with little to no transition care from pediatric endocrinology to adult endocrinology sort of screwed me over for awhile. And this is why:
  • As a child, when I was taught carb counting,  I was taught that a carb is a carb is a carb and that if I make sure to count all the carbs in something, I can eat whatever I want. This is not true! I get why they tell this to people, though. It makes the shock of getting diabetes not so bad. Also with kids, a lot of endos don't set as strict glucose targets for safety reasons.  As an adult, I've learned on my own that some carbs are crazy on my blood sugars, no matter where on the glycemic index they fall. The best advice I ever got with regards to what I can and cannot eat is "Eat to your meter." For example, foods that are exactly the same on the glycemic index can have completely different results in my body. I wish a doctor had told me that a carb is NOT a carb is NOT a carb and that I can't eat whatever I want.
  • As a child, my blood glucose goal range was a lot less stringent. I have these psychological barriers to having a blood sugar under 100 because my pediatric endo always told us "don't go to bed without a snack if you're under 100". Therefore, my brain just automatically thinks that 100 is the cut off point. Ugh. It has taken me a lot of will power to get over this one! A CGM has helped a LOT with that!
2. Stable blood sugar = low carb + high protein+strict eating schedule.  Unfortunately, all those crazy low-carbers I used to make fun of had something right. Lower carb diets and higher protein diets DO make for more stable, in-range readings. Also, even though analog insulin is faster these days, it still isn't fast enough, so in order to optimize my insulin usage, eating every 2-2.5 hours keeps things nice and stable. I definitely don't do this all the time, because I absolutely HATE eating on a strict schedule. I'm a big proponent of Intuitive Eating,even though I'm not always the greatest at it--as in I can down a bag of Peanut M&Ms faster than Usain Bolt can run the 100m dash. My husband, or any old roommate can attest to this. And (Peanut M&Ms aside) eating when I'm not hungry is not something I like to do. Also, eating when I'm not hungry brings back traumatic memories of having to eat in random places at specific times as a kid, and crying through my snack  because I had to eat at that time because that's what my kiddie diabetic-exchange meal plan called for. Oh the days of NPH! Grrr! (Seriously, I'm surprised more Type 1's don't have eating disorders. Is there a study about this somewhere? I know that the phenomenon exists, but does anyone know if it's at a greater proportion than the rest of the general population? I'm curious.)   So, yeah. I'm still trying to find balance with that. But a regular schedule does help immensely, even though it's not practical or even necessarily healthy. 

3. Salter Kitchen Scales=my new best friend. This right here is why diabetes is obnoxious and why I hate dietitians. You really do have to weigh and measure every stupid thing you eat in order to get the correct carb count (or memorize what the carb count is, or take a WAG)! I avoid casseroles to begin with (my husband thinks they're gross and doesn't even like the word casserole), but when it comes to carb counting, CASSEROLES ARE THE DEVIL. Especially casseroles made by someone other than me. 

4. Getting comfortable being "low" and the 15-15 rule.  Like I said above, I've had to adjust my psyche to deal with anything under 100 before bed time. But, I've taken things even further, and just gotten comfortable with letting my blood sugar hang out in the 70s without treating. And I've tried to treat with glucose tabs a lot more than with regular food. And about the 15-15 Rule. This is the rule that ALL the doctors tell you to use for how to treat a low. "Eat 15 grams of CHO, and test again in 15 minutes. If you haven't started to come back up, eat 15 more grams and repeat."  What's the point of having a carb ratio then?! Sheesh. When I follow the 15-15 rule, I have rebound highs. I wait at least 20 minutes to test now. If I do end up eating more, I'll do it 1 glucose tab or so at a time (4 grams/CHO).  It's better to eat what your carb ratio tells you you need to eat, IMHO. 

And that's enough. This post is getting long, but I just wanted to get some of these things down in writing, so I remember what I need to do to get to the place where I'm currently at. And something important: This is what I need to do for my particular brand of diabetes. Your diabetes may vary. Some people don't need to do this to get nice results, some people need to do other things. That's the thing about diabetes, there is no ONE prescribed method of treatment that will work for every diabetic. It's all trial and error. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Muffin Math

I love to bake! But I hate math! I've always been bad at it. It feels like a mean trick that I have to use math so much in my daily life with diabetes, but alas, that's the way the sugar-free/gluten-free cookie crumbles. ;)

Here's just a small example of the math I had to do in order to figure out how many carbs were in one muffin I made the other day:

Ingredients that contained carbs: yogurt, granulated sugar, gluten-free flour blend

1.5 C yogurt = 16.5 g/CHO  (according to the label)
1 C granulated sugar = 199.8 g/CHO (according to my "Food Counts" book)
1 gram special homemade gluten-free flour blend = .81 g/CHO (according to a ton of adding and multiplying and dividing my husband and I had to do a while ago. This blend has a bazillion different kinds of flours in it, so we had to figure it all out by hand. It took like 30 minutes!)
3 C of special homemade gluten-free flour blend = ~420 grams X .81 g/CHO per gram = ~340.2 g/CHO 

Soooo, then I add:

16.5 (yogurt) + 199.8 (sugar) + 340.2 (flour) = 556.5 g/CHO for the total recipe

556.5/12 (number of muffins made) =46.375 g/CHO per muffin! 

Phew!  I was proud of myself, though, because I had previously estimated that each muffin would probably have about 45 grams of carbs, and I was pretty close!

Of course, there are many more ingredients in this recipe than just yogurt, sugar and GF flour, but they are the main carbohydrate culprits, and everything else's contribution to the carb count would be negligible.

The muffins are fabulous, BTW. I'm pretty proud of them,even though they're not my own recipe at all. I just used a GF flour mix that Jeanne Sauvage of "Art of Gluten Free Baking" concocted with a 1:1 ratio for my favorite muffin recipe "Big Beautiful Muffins" from America's Test Kitchen, and voila! Yum! And I guess the math is worth it after all.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dear Insurance Company: A DSMA Entry

“This post is my May entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival.  If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at

(Ok, ok. I know I'm super bad at being a regular participant in the DSMA blog carnival. I love doing it, but I just get easily distracted by other things and forget to do it! It's a weakness, I know.)

There are oh-so-many-things I wish my insurance company paid for (a gym member ship? Holla?!). But, the single thing I wish they paid for more than anything else is insulin!  

OK, they pay for insulin, they're not that lame. But they do it in a crappy way. Up until this year, I just had a co-pay for insulin. It was a certain amount for a 1-month supply or a 3-month supply, no matter how much insulin I was prescribed.  This year, they've switched things around a bit.  Instead of a nice round co-pay for my prescriptions, I have to pay co-insurance (a percentage of the total cost) and my insurance company picks up the balance.  They still pay a whole heck of a lot more than I do, so I can't complain too much. But what I don't think is fair about this particular arrangement is that I get penalized for taking more insulin than someone else.  For example, if I need 3 bottles of Apidra a month, and Jane Diabetic down the street only uses 2 bottles a month, while we both pay the same percentage, Jane still gets to pay less than me because she has a lower total cost than me.  LAME!  I don't think that's particularly fair. Bodies are different, and it's not my fault that I need more insulin than Jane, right?  (I'm super jealous of Jane right now, btw) (Jane Diabetic is a fictional character and does not represent a real person that lives down the street from me, fyi)

Other than this tiny snafu, I really have great insurance. I have a super low deductible with a very affordable monthly premium.  They cover pumps & CGMs at a decent rate, and all of my test strips are free, so I really have it pretty good. The insulin coverage is annoying, though.  And it felt like a big, mean trick when they switched that part of my plan on me. 

So, to put all that into the prompt, I would say:

"I wish my insurance company paid for insulin using a co-pay system because using a co-insurance system is unfair to those of us who need more insulin than others."

Sunday, May 20, 2012

D-Blog Week: My Diabetes Hero

There are a lot of people who could be my diabetes hero.  Banting, of course for obvious reasons.  Dr. Henry John and his wife Betty who founded the diabetes camp I attended as a kid that had such a huge impact on my life. Or my camp director, Rich Humphries, from Camp HMK who has inspired so many kids with Type 1 over the years.

But, this time I chose to write about my own Type 3, my amazing husband Ben!

I seriously have the most supportive D-spouse on the planet. I know not everyone is this lucky, and I feel grateful every single day about how incredibly supportive he is when it comes to everything in our lives, but especially about his support for all things diabetes.

My freshman year in college I overheard the conversation of two guys ahead of me in line at the dining hall. One guy was talking about a cute girl he met and wanted to ask out, and the other guy said "Oh, yeah, but she had cancer. You don't want to get involved with that," and the other guy agreed with him!  I think this was the first time I realized that having diabetes might have a bearing on who I dated and who I ended up marrying.

Another time in college, I was dating this other guy pretty seriously. He told me about a conversation he had with his mom about us in which his mom made the remark, "Why did you have to fall in love with someone who's sick?"  And, instead of defending me to his mom, he didn't say anything and (I believe, tacitly) agreed with her. To him and his mom my "sickness" was a nuisance that had to be overcome or worked around.  Needless to say, that relationship did not last much longer.

I met Ben when I was finishing up graduate school. And, while he was a little freaked out by needles and stuff at first (he has a teensy weensy phobia of hospitals), he has never ONCE made me feel inferior or less than, or somehow broken because I have diabetes. Quite the opposite, actually.

Since the first few weeks of our marriage he has told me "this is OUR diabetes now."  That honestly freaked me out a little bit at first. I have been so used to dealing with diabetes on my own, and have fiercely fought for my independence when it comes to taking care of myself. I didn't fully realize right away what he meant by it being "our diabetes."  It didn't mean he was taking control of my body or my decisions, it just meant that now I didn't have to struggle alone, that I no longer had to carry the burden of this disease by myself. And there have been SO many times since then when he has helped me carry this load!

Ben has told me that he knows that he will never be able to fully understand how I'm feeling or what I have to go through because I have diabetes. He knows that it will never be "our diabetes" in that sense. But, he wants it to be "our diabetes" in the sense that he wants to help take care of what he can.  That kind of thinking often translates into him being so willing to help with anything diabetes related that he can. For example, when I'm low in the middle of the night he'll get up with me and sit with me while I drink juice or eat glucose because he doesn't think I should have to do that alone. That is amazing! I can't tell you how much it means to me that someone sits with me while I'm shaking and sweating and freezing from a bad nighttime low. Those are so not fun on your own! He never, ever complains when my CGM goes off a bazillion times while we're sleeping, or when he finds a test strip in a random place (like his lunch pale).  When my pump site needs to be changed, a lot of times he'll gather all my supplies for me, just because he knows how much of a nuisance it can be fore me to stop whatever I'm doing to change my insulin pump. He picks up prescriptions for me all the time on his way home from work, and has even argued with the pharmacist for me when they leave my insulin out of the fridge! And, he's outraged on a regular basis for me at what I have to put up with from insurance companies and blood-sucking pharmaceutical companies!  He's 100% on my side!

And then there are all the things he does that aren't easily seen or even thought about by him or me.   I'm sure when he was a kid, imagining what his future wife or future life would be like, he never imagined that it would involve diabetes and all that comes with it. I know he's sacrificed a "normal" life to be with me. I know that he will never experience a marriage without the complications that a chronic illness add to a relationship. And that really is the best part of why Ben is my hero: He doesn't feel like he has sacrificed anything! He loves me, and diabetes is a part of me.  He doesn't love me despite the fact that I have diabetes. He loves me, all of me, and that makes him my hero!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

D-Blog Week: Saturday Snapshots

Why I take up so much more room in the suitcase when we go on a trip. :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

D-Blog Week: What They Should Know

If there was one thing I would want people who don't have diabetes to know about diabetes, it would be this:

Living with diabetes is like having a full time job.

Diabetes is a relatively "invisible" illness (other than the insulin pumps, and CGMs, I guess).  There are so many things happening "behind the scenes" that people just don't know about.  If you're doing it "right" or even semi-"right," it is way more time consuming than just taking a shot before a meal. And, when you are doing things like adjusting your basal rates/carb ratios/correction factors, or preparing to have a baby, or being pregnant, or dealing with a cold, or being stressed out from work, or on your period, it becomes an even bigger time consumer.  Heck, even small things like deciding to go for an impromptu walk take so much more preparation than a non-D would probably have to do.  

Let's take going on an impromptu walk as a good example:  If it was a particularly nice Sunday afternoon, and my husband said "Hey, let's go for a walk,"  I'd say "Sure." And then I'd have to do the following D-related things, in addition to all the non-D things you do before going for a walk. First, I'd take a few seconds to think about how I was feeling. Do I feel low? High? Normal? Then I'd think about when the last time I ate was, when the last time I tested was, and when the last time I took insulin was. Then I'd probably test my blood sugar, check my CGM and check how much insulin was on board my pump.  And if everything was in a good range we'd get ready to go out the door. But not before I grabbed some glucose, just in case I went low.  And if I was a really really REALLY good diabetic, I'd also make sure I was wearing the proper foot attire, like socks and sneakers instead of flip-flops, to help prevent sores on my feet (I'm good, but not always that good). 

I had someone ask me once to write a blog post about all the ways diabetes doesn't affect my life. I think I know what they were getting at, or what they were wanting to know. I think they were wanting to know how diabetes doesn't define me, or what I do that is just like everybody else, or worried that so much of my identity is wrapped up in diabetes or something along those lines. I totally get that.  But, I've hesitated to write that post, because diabetes really, truly does affect every part of my life. While it may not define who I am as a person, it has definitely contributed to my character and my personality, my choice of study in college, my financial situation, where I choose to live, who I chose to marry, if I decide to have children, my career path, my passions and interests. So, I feel like I could write a post like that, but it would be disingenuous.  

So, hear ye, hear ye! All you non-D's out there! Diabetes takes time and effort that you don't always see! We work hard to eke out our "normal" lives.   

Thursday, May 17, 2012

D-Blog Week: My Fantasy Device

Nope, it's not as sexy as it sounds, sorry.

I'm going to cheat and give you TWO diabetes fantasy devices, just to make a point.

Fantasy Device #1: A glucometer that is accurate. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. If we can drive a remote control car on freaking mars, why can't we have a blood sugar meter that has better than +/- 20%  accuracy? To me it is kind of sad and pathetic that when someone says "what is your diabetes fantasy device?" my answer is so basic.  But I really, truly, honestly, fervently, with all my heart and soul believe that an accurate glucose meter would make such a huge difference in my blood glucose control and my quality of life.

Ok, I'll get off my soap box now and give you the fantasy device you really want to hear about.

Fantasy Device #2: A camera/i-Pod/smart phone app that lets you take a picture of your plate and whatever food is on it, and can some how accurately tell you the amount of carbs your meal has in it. Wouldn't that be awesome?! Can't you just imagine it? You sit down at a restaurant, pull out your cell phone, snap a picture of your plate, and ding! "Your meal contains 65 grams of carbohydrates."  It would be amazing!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

D-Blog Week: One Thing To Improve

If there's one thing I need to improve about my diabetes care, it is getting regular exercise. Don't get me wrong, I do get exercise. I'm just so incredibly bad at doing it on a regular basis. I just can't figure out how to make it a part of my daily routine.

I have the gym membership, I have the desire, and sometimes I'm pretty good at working out regularly. But, then I'll get sick, or we'll be really busy that week, or something happens that interferes with my routine and instead of jumping back on the exercise train, I just sit on the side of the road for awhile. Sometimes weeks. Sometimes months. It's bad, people.

I can't quite put my finger on what it is that makes it so easy for me to stop working out.  I generally like working out, I like seeing the results on my mood, my body and my blood sugar, but for some reason it's so easy for me to let that part of my diabetes care routine lapse. Sometimes I think having some kind of large piece of exercise equipment in my own home would make me more likely to work out on a regular basis, but then I worry about investing in something and not using it at all. Any suggestions from all ya'll? What has worked for you?  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

D-Blog Week: One Great Thing

Because I believe in giving ourselves credit where credit is due, I want to say that I'm pretty good at a lot of aspects of diabetes care. I couldn't always say that in my 18+ years of having diabetes, but I'm proud to say that these days, I'm generally very good at taking care of myself.

One very diabetes-specific thing I'm a rock star at, though, is pouring a 4 or 8 oz cup of juice without a measuring cup or kitchen scale. Seriously, people, I'm awesome at this! And isn't that such a diabetes specific skill?

I've gone into endo appointments in the past where my endo has said "Hmmmm, looks like your blood sugars have been a little out of sorts these days, let's have you take a refresher course with a dietitian because, of course the problem must be you and not our inferior analog insulins, and I think you might not be measuring your food correctly." (OK, so that quote might not be exactly verbatim)  And I just laugh, nay, scoff at the thought that I'm not measuring my food correctly. :)  Seriously, after 18 years of doing this, you get pretty darn good at estimating by sight. Especially juice.

I think we should have a diabetes Olympics at some point. We all have so many unique skills that are just waiting to be recognized! We could give out gold medals for juice measuring, one-handed CGM insertion in the hardest to reach place, upside down blood sugar testing, guessing the amount of carbs in that pile of pasta (there would have to be two categories for that one, both cooked and dry). The possibilities are endless!

We are a group with unique skills! We work hard at what we do, and while the world generally doesn't recognize it, I'm glad we as a D-community are taking a day to acknowledge these things!

Monday, May 14, 2012

D-Blog Week! Find a Friend!

The D-Blog I'd like to feature today is  I discovered this blog when its author, Trev, commented on my blog during diabetes awareness month a few years ago. I was blogging every day that month, and somehow Trev stumbled across my blog.  I don't know him very well, and he updates this blog about as often as I update mine (which is not that often), but what he does write is illuminating and inspiring.

Three2Treat is about Trev, who has Type 1 himself, and the adventures he and his wife have in parenting 5 kids, 2 of whom also have Type 1 (thus the apt title of "Three2Treat").  And this blog really is a treat! They discuss all kinds of things about life with diabetes, from exercise to marriage to handling diabetes and emotions. It's great to read, especially as my husband and I embark on our newly married life. We want to manage this successfully and have kids of our own someday, and reading about another family that is doing it successfully is educational and inspiring.

So, head on over to Three2Treat and make some new friends!

Friday, May 11, 2012

I'm participating in D-Blog Week!

Hello friends!

I know it's been a while since I've blogged regularly here at The Insulin Crowd, but I wanted to let you know about something exciting that is happening next week!

Next week,  I will be participating in  D-BLOG WEEK! This year is the 3rd annual Diabetes Blog Week, started by Karen Graffeo of  This is the first year that I'll be blogging for it, though.  I've read a bunch of blogs from years past, and must say that it is a jolly good time for the diabetes on-line community!

So, next week, head over here to The Insulin Crowd, link up your own D-blog via Karen's site, or just sit back, relax, and peruse around the diabetes blogosphere at your leisure. I'm sure a grand time will be had by all!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Diabetes: Defying Reason and Logic On a Daily Basis.

Diabetes makes no sense. Seriously.

I've had some of crappiest diabetes months in the history of diabetes-dom these past three months. For the first month we were trying to figure out what was wrong with my heart and I was wearing a heart monitor and not exercising because the monitor was really hard to exercise with and I was afraid my heart was going to explode when I exercised. (Turns out it was just SVT, which is not dangerous but feels very dangerous). The second month I was adjusting to medication for said heart condition which made me SUPER tired and I did not have the energy to exercise and basically laid in a heap on the couch all day. (I ended up switching medications and it was so much better!)  And this last month I've had a combo-pack of pump-site failures, bottles of insulin that went bad on me, realizing my insulin action time is a lot longer than I thought it was, and a very tasty Easter holiday with a visit from family that resulted in a lot of fine, yet carb-heavy, dining.

And I just got my labs back and my A1C was 6.5.  SIX POINT FIVE!

What the what?!

I mean, it's great, don't get me wrong. I'll take that number any day. But seriously, after months like this, why do I even try?

Am I the only one who feels like the harder I try and the "better" a diabetic I am, the less I understand diabetes?

Sometimes you just have to shake your head and laugh.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ode to Cereal

So, cereal may seem like a pretty ordinary thing to most people. It's a staple of the college student diet (cereal, ramen, cup o' noodles), what most people eat for breakfast, and lets be honest, what a lot of people eat for dinner.

Cereal is not an ordinary foodstuff for a diabetic.  Most of us simultaneously detest and worship cereal.  See, cereal is one of those foods that is notoriously hard to bolus for. Normal carb ratios don't often work even if you measure it precisely, or even if the cereal is low in carbs and high in fiber.  It's just plain magical. (The devil's magic, that is.) But, we also worship cereal because 1) it tastes so damn good and we don't get to eat it very often and 2) because it is THE cure for a marathon low.

The other night, I had been low for HOURS, no matter what I did. Glucose, juice, glucose, juice, repeat, over and over and over again. After hours of this, I had finally had enough. It was in the wee hours of the morning, and I'd been up dealing with this low for so long, and I was desperate to sleep. So, I did it. I walked my bottom down the stairs, poured myself a bowl of corn chex and milk, and ate it. Consequences be damned.  I went to sleep with confidence and serenity, knowing that I wouldn't go low again that night and could get a good few hours in.

 Aaaaaaand the next morning I woke up at 353 (very high).  Sigh.

CEREAAAAAAALLLLL! (shakes fist in air)

(For a good illustration of what I mean, I will direct you to this diabetes comic.  That's right, folks, we have our own humor.)