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!