Happy New Year

<blows dust off blog>

If I’m blogging, it must be a slow work day. So, you can understand why I haven’t blogged in a while, right? I mean, I could resolve to blog more for the new year, but resolutions are usually broken by mid-February and I don’t like the sound of that.

There is quite a bit going on, all-inclusive, featuring my health and the health of others, dance, my closet (ha!), my family, and spending habits. I spent the last half of 2016 rather lost and I didn’t want to write meandering diatribes here while I figured my way around them. Some might say I’m still lost, but I’m enjoying the scenery a bit more.

I took the mantra, “only write when you feel inspired” a bit too seriously. I had blips of ideas for blog posts during that time, but never got around to writing them. Also, joining a competitive dance team eats up whatever spare time I may have left after my day is done.

I’ve been following the D-community on Twitter to keep a faint pulse on what is happening in that part of my world, but I’m not as in tune as I once was. There is quite a bit going on, so me keeping a faint pulse on the news is more like sitting in a soundproofed room with a rock concert occurring next door – you can still hear the bassline. My main interests have been (now definite) healthcare dismantling reform and insulin/supply costs. So, see… rock concert.

Like most people do, I set up some goals to accomplish during this year. As I was finishing up listening to this week’s edition of Pantsuit Politics, the hostesses closed out the show by sharing their assigned Word of the Year. One hostess has chosen one word to define the entire year ahead of them and then makes goals or lives her life with a focus on that word. For example, one year’s word was “Simplicity” and the goal was to cut out unnecessary items from life. Given my list of goals for 2017, I’ve decided to chose a word myself: “Sustainability.”

The word sustainability automatically triggers a lot of “green” and “eco-friendly” practices and memes for people. This was part of the reason I picked it, but I’m not in the mindset to fall off The Grid and live off the earth alone. (I wouldn’t survive long.) But, can I change things in my life that will sustain my dance hobby – like stretching regularly and becoming more flexible? Can I sustain my income by not shopping as often or dropping stupid purchases? Can I sustain my health by drinking more water, finding a new endocrinologist who I actually like,  and reaching out more to others with my health condition? Can I sustain my relationships by dropping a line to an old friend or having more date nights with my spouse? And yeah – moving toward a less “plastic-dependent” lifestyle and whatnot.

So my plan for this blog is to try and document my year with this word, which, I know, is a bit different than the original premise of being a “d-blog of a dancer.” But, I still hope you find this spot on the internet entertaining and worth reading, even if I’m not dancing as much.

DBlog Week: Misc. Mom Hacks


Today’s Topic: Let’s round out the week by sharing our best diabetes tips and diabetes tricks. From how you organize supplies to how you manage gear on the go/vacation (beach, or skiing, or whatever). From how you keep track of prescription numbers to how you remember to get your orders refilled. How about any “unconventional” diabetes practices, or ways to make diabetes work for YOU (not necessarily how the doctors say to do it!). There’s always something we can learn from each other. (Remember though, please no medical advice or dangerous suggestions.)

I don’t have too many “pin-worthy” hacks to survive as a T1; particularly ones that are deemed medically sound. (Such as refilling my pump cartridges before the 3-day mark, rage-bolusing, how to use the same lancet for over a year…)

But I have plenty of mom with diabetes suggestions that will keep both me and Bean happy while out and about. (There are also five of them – so, Friday Five!)

  1. Currently pregnant? Here is a link to a sample of a birth plan I wrote for a medicated birth with possible c-section option. Use the template to build your own.
  2. If you are breastfeeding a new baby, keep all of your “one-handed snacks,” juice boxes, and water in a “station” where you prefer to breastfeed at home. I have a few more tips here.
  3. Your strip container, glucose tablet roll, and/or your Dexcom receiver make awesome distractions/toys in a pinch.
  4. Most likely, you will pack two of the same snack while out on the road. This will save a lot of time during a meltdown or hypoglycemic event.
  5. I wear a lot more dresses now. I love my Girly Go Garter (reviewed here) to wear my pump and keep my Dexcom receiver near by while wearing dresses. This also hides my pump wire much better. (Less pulling, getting tangled in toddler feet, etc.)

DBlog Week: Health Careless


Today’s topic: Most people who live with a chronic illness end up with a lot of experience when it comes to dealing with healthcare. How would you improve or change your healthcare experience? What would you like to see happening during medical visits with your healthcare team? How about when dealing with your health insurance companies? What’s your Healthcare Wish List or Biggest Frustration? Today is the day to share it all!

Oh, Lord. What a doozy. Where do I begin?

It’s true. Having a chronic condition does make me intimately aware of the current faults of our healthcare system.

In the 80s, I was assigned to a pediatric endocrinologist who only made my mother cry during and after appointments. I was frequently in the hospital for trying to be a toddler on Regular and NPH insulins and refusing to eat. This was apparently all my mom’s fault. Not the technology available. Not the resources available. Clearly, my mom was a terrible person according to this endocrinologist.

So, we moved away from the HMO network we had of doctors and we started going to, probably, one of the best endocrinologists in the area at the time. Dr. Nancy Bohannon. My parents paid out of pocket for my appointments, which were about every 6 months or so. When Dr. Nancy wanted me to try a new insulin, we had to jump through a variety of hoops to fill the prescription in our HMO. I needed special clearance to start on Humalog and Lantus because my HMO didn’t regularly have it on their formulary list. Luckily, my regular pediatrician was semi-diabetes-savvy, so once we could contact her, we could get an in-network script written.

I turned 18 and moved out of pediatrics, finding myself with a brand new PCP. Someone who only knew me and my life based on the GIANT chart that accompanied my nurses. The topic was my most recent gamut of blood work results, which I completed shortly after having my wisdom teeth pulled. While my A1C was average for a college student, my micro-albumin test results were much higher than normal. Very different than my previous results.

The conversation with that doctor basically turned into a blame game. How I was wildly out of control and I have early signs of kidney failure. Wait, what? For better or worse, I’ve never had an A1C over 7.2%, so the “wildly out of control” thing struck me hard. I mean, I was in college. I liked the grilled cheese sandwiches in the dining hall, plus the occasional (illegal) wine cooler. But, clearly, my kidney function was suffering, so I was given a script for Licinopril, an ACE inhibitor to help protect my kidneys from further damage.

I never saw that PCP again. And I never really had a test result that high ever again. (I haven’t been on Licinopril in over 10 years.)

I decided I needed a new endocrinologist. I asked my new PCP for a referral. I was told I didn’t need one. Um, what? Yep – didn’t need a specialist. But, I needed to take a Statin in addition to my Licinopril because I am, at 20 years old, at a greater risk for a heart attack and all diabetics need to be on one.

We compromised. I took the Statin. He gave me a referral.

I fired that PCP after several mis-guided appointments and found someone who was all about handing out referrals. He was also like “why are you on all of these drugs you don’t obviously need?” Cool. Thank goodness someone on my side.

He left the practice. Fuck.

One more PCP later, I got a new job and left the HMO I had been with for 30+ years. I got to start from scratch with a new network of doctors I could pick. Maybe this is what I needed. Start over fresh. Finally have an HMO which will cover CGM technology because my previous would only do so if you were deemed “brittle.”

Nah. I have issues with script re-orders not being received. I have 3 different prescription and durable medical vendors all taking orders from one office in my HMO. Do I need CGM parts? Call so and so. Insulin? Order online here. Call Medtronic directly for pump parts. Didn’t get your order? Call this number or maybe this number. Or this number?

I currently see my new endocrinologist every three months, rather than annually at my old HMO. We don’t discuss much at my 20 minute long appointments, so I usually question why I go. But, I have “uncontrolled diabetes” marked on my chart, so therefore, I must need to see a doctor more often.

What are the common threads here? Blame. Guilt. Compromise. Inconvenience.

For a chronic illness that came about to no fault of my own and can  only *kind of* be controlled by artificial means, a lot of this sure seems like it all falls on me. Like, I will only get adequate care to survive if I scream for it. Or stop seeing a doctor. Or pay a butt load of money.

Why is this okay?

DBlog Week – Just Words?


Today’s prompt: Our topic today is Language and Diabetes. There is an old saying that states “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. I’m willing to bet we’ve all disagreed with this at some point, and especially when it comes to diabetes. Many advocate for the importance of using non-stigmatizing, inclusive and non-judgmental language when speaking about or to people with diabetes. For some, they don’t care, others care passionately. Where do you stand when it comes to “person with diabetes” versus “diabetic”, or “checking” blood sugar versus “testing”, or any of the tons of other examples? Let’s explore the power of words, but please remember to keep things respectful.

Several years ago, I did some volunteer work for a non-profit benefiting children with developmental disabilities. They had a set standard for presenting the organization’s mission, approved vocabulary to use at their events, and so forth. For example, their beneficiaries were “children with autism” rather than “autistic children.” Describing the children as “handicapped” while at one of their events, or ever, was frowned upon. The purpose? To eliminate the stigmas and stereotypes. To say, hey, I have a disability but it doesn’t have me. Or define me. I learned a lot from working for that organization, and still try to keep the vocabulary and phrasing I was taught during conversations.

When it comes to my own illness, I waiver slightly. “Person with diabetes” is only a phrase I’ve recently began using – mostly influenced by the Blogsphere and social network. I refer to myself as a “diabetic” often enough that it doesn’t phase me if someone else says it. It’s not a slang term or a derogatory term at face value. Since I was diagnosed at a very young age and have no recollection of my life before diabetes, it does define who I am and it’s very much a part of my upbringing.


There have been plenty of instances where “well-meaning” words regarding my condition are anything but.

For example:

“How can you be diabetic? You aren’t fat.”
“[thumps mid-arm] Hey, when you are done with that shot, can you give me a hit?”
“Oh, pregnancy in your condition sounds rough. Why don’t you just adopt?”
“You’re on an insulin pump? You must be a bad diabetic.”
“Well, it could be worse.”
“I couldn’t do it. I’m terrified of needles/blood/doctors/hospitals/big pharma.”
“Hey, have you tried [random supplement/cinnamon/camel milk] to get your A1C down? It worked great for me/my husband/my dog.”
“Why are you eating this/that/carbs/meat/fruit/ice cream? Don’t you want to take care of yourself?”
“This meme wasn’t about your diabetes. Stop being so sensitive.”

“Haha, look at this awesome dessert! #omnomnom #foodgram #diabetes”

I’ve heard or seen all of these. I realize people, usually, are just trying to help. Or make light of a not-great situation. While I don’t get hung up on someone calling me a “diabetic,” I do get hung up on these. I feel like there are ten zillion other responses or conversation starters or questions people can ask if they were really interested in what it’s like to be sans a pancreas.

Instead, ask me about what I have rather than what I don’t. Because the only way one can change the culture and perception of an illness is to educate and continue to talk about it. Keep talking about the things that make my illness unique and quirky, albeit frustrating and overwhelming.



D-Blog Week: Left foot, green

I am casually participating in this year’s Diabetes Blog Week, hosted by Bitter-Sweet’s Karen Graffeo.

How does Diabetes Blog Week work?  The main idea for Diabetes Blog Week is that bloggers sign up to post about a set topic each day for a week.  This way, readers can jump around the DBlog Community and get a big variety of different perspectives on a single topic.  The hope is that new DOC connections are made, and that our voices are raised to spread a little more diabetes awareness.

I missed Monday’s prompt, so let’s move on to today’s:

We think a lot about the physical component of diabetes, but the mental component is just as significant. How does diabetes affect you or your loved one mentally or emotionally? How have you learned to deal with the mental aspect of the condition? Any tips, positive phrases, mantras, or ideas to share on getting out of a diabetes funk? (If you are a caregiver to a person with diabetes, write about yourself or your loved one or both!)

Have you ever played Twister?


The marker spins. “Left foot, red!” “Right hand, blue!” Oh, shoot, now it’s “left foot, green!” Don’t fall. (But if you do, maybe you can take out your little cousin and make him lose too!)

Call me a Debbie Downer, but I didn’t find this game fun. I’ll admit, Twister stressed me out as a kid. For one, I was small and had short limbs in comparison to my cousins. So, I never won. I hated falling down. I didn’t like the fear of my hand getting stepped on. While some get a thrill of trying to bend in strange directions while balancing all of your body weight over a primary-spotted tarp, I didn’t want to try and think about looping my leg through everyone else just so I could land on Yellow.

Why am I bringing up my childhood board game trauma and what does this have to do with the mental side of having a chronic illness?

Having diabetes is a little bit like playing a really awful game of Twister. I start with a daunting board in front of me; there is probably a strategy I should follow to keep myself upright; but one false move and everything comes crashing down.

The strategy to tackle the day to day challenges seems easy per the instructions. Just give insulin with shots. Just eat better. Just exercise. (Left foot, blue!)

But now, the insulin dose was too much. Or too little. Just treat it. (Right hand, blue!)

Now that you have some balance, let’s complicate things. Your insulin brand of choice is no longer covered by your insurance. You do okay on multiple daily injections, but you really could use an insulin pump for better control, but can’t afford it. Or you suddenly lose your health coverage or it changes and the drugs that keep you alive now feel like a second mortgage payment. You are hospitalized for a complicated hypoglycemic reaction. (Left foot, green!)

It’s a lot to take in when you are down on the ground, trying to figure out how to move your foot to yellow when you can only physically be on green. And if you are still standing, the spinner spins again with another instruction to follow. Another command to follow to ensure survival, while hoping that your next move doesn’t capsize everything.

How does one cope with the mental pressure of a chronic illness, like type 1 diabetes? (And not have a phobia of Twister?) I spend equal parts of my life serving as an advocate and educator to those who wish to listen while trying to blend in with my non-D peers in an effort to remain “normal.” Technology is available to me to say “this is close enough” and I’m told I should be happy with that.

I’ve had several burn-outs with diabetes. Periods of time where the Twister round was over, but I didn’t feel like playing anymore. Or I was too busy with other aspects of life to focus on what made me fall in the first place.

There were a few solutions I found for those points of my life:

  1. There was a book called “Diabetes Burnout,” which was recommended by one of my medical team members.
  2. Find a new hobby. Possibly one that is active. Nothing forces you to fine tune your insulin regiments like physical exercise.
  3. Talk about it with others. Blog. Join a support group. Do a walk-a-thon for JDRF.
  4. Talk to a therapist. I am a huge fan of therapy and think more people should take advantage of this kind of self-care if it’s available. Living with a chronic illness is hard.
  5. Let it take a back seat for a little while. I don’t mean stop giving your insulin all together or stop treating lows. But, if your status quo is safe and acceptable for a short period of time, roll with it for a bit.


Friday Five: WTF Happened This Week?

It’s Friday y’all. So much happened this last week that didn’t involve a certain reality TV star getting the GOP nomination. Here are some of the highlights and things to look forward to.

  1. United Healthcare teams up with Medtronic to only offer their insulin pumps and supplies to their subscribers. The Diabetic Online Community is buzzing about this. There is a lot of GOOD commentary about why this is a strange and somewhat scary decision and how all of this effects PWDs. Especially for the future of finding better care and solutions to simply exist as a normal person. I’m not going to throw more opinions out there since I’m still trying to formulate my own, but here are some  links/blogs to check out to get a background:
    Storyfy – the series of tweets, Facebook posts, and other social media tidbits from all parties involved to get the gist of the story from a facts perspective.
    How is Milk like Insulin Pumps? – Christel/ThePerfectD’s analysis of what this means in a real-world example.
    Choice is Necessary – Stephen/Happy Medium’s thoughts on the new relationship and how this helps showcase their parent company’s mission statement. (Spoiler alert: it doesn’t.)
    I Could Be Mad – Test Guess and Go’s feelings are similar to mine and I share a lot of Laddie’s thoughts. This one hit home.
    A Chain of Thoughts – Scott/Rolling in the D doesn’t post as often anymore, but I wish he would. I agree with him on the call for government oversight to end insurance companies acting like medical professionals. I also wish to use this post to squash fear that Big Government Run Health Care will act as a “Big Brother,” collecting and storing your data, so you may or may not get the care you need. Hello! This already happens in the private sector.

  2. Along these lines of healthcare, my podcast addiction, Pantsuit Politics, is actually covering the Affordable Healthcare Act next week. Between all of my Bernie Sanders friends touting  universal, single-payer, healthcare vs. my conservative friends pushing for the return to the free market for health insurance, I’m actually really anxious to hear what the hostesses have to say in their analysis. Given that this topic is hot and constantly thrown in my face, I’m struggling to figure out what the hell I want in my ideal healthcare system. Currently, the ACA IS my ideal choice, pending it actually worked properly. (Yay, public sector technology!) It’s a faux free market, which allows me to shop for a plan with a pre-existing condition, but I still (for now) can get a plan which will cover a multitude of diabetes durable medical equipment based on what my priorities are. (E.G. do I want one option for my insulin pump supplier at 100% coverage, or can I managed 80% coverage but switch pump companies as I choose?)
    Anyway, Beth, the conservative leaning hostess, posted a Primer on the ACA in preparation for Tuesday’s podcast. You can check it out for a very brief overview.

  3. It’s Spring Show Week! Quite possibly, my last Spring Show in a pro-am partnership since my instructor is moving across the country this summer. But, I’m not saying this is DEFINITELY my last showcase, because I said that one year and it didn’t actually happen. Anyway, I ran into another PWD performer during dress rehearsal. Meeting dancers with Type 1 diabetes is a rare occurrence – meeting them at your studio’s showcase is probably a 1 in 1 million shot. But, there we were, discussing where we could possibly put insulin pumps while wearing spandex and then performing.

  4. Capsule Wardrobe Related. Yes – I still have a small-ish selection of clothes to chose from in the morning and still plan on maintaining it for the remainder of the year. There have been a few hiccups lately when I realized that I didn’t keep a lot of my sparkly, trendy items in my ballroom costume bin, which probably would have helped when I was figuring out an alternative costume for my Spring show piece. (I didn’t need it, but I would have liked the option.) But I’ve moved from keeping only a certain number of items in my closet at once to making sure that what I have in my closet actually works, and that new pieces I purchase are from places with good sustainability practices. (And that my discards get recycled rather than tossed out.)

    I have been following a group on Facebook that focuses on Ethical Shopping . I don’t think I have the lifestyle (or the size) to dive into that kind of shopping head first. (Especially when simple t-shirts can cost $18+ and I have a messy toddler.) But, I figure I can do what I can by seeking out USA made items, or supporting a local business (part of the reason why I like Golden Tote so much). Second hand shopping online is super cheap and easy. And, I’ve reached a point where I don’t feel like I NEED anything in my closet – at least until the weather changes again. So – no shopping equals more money in my pocket for our vacation in November. Win win.

  5. Happy Mother’s Day! Which is Sunday, by the way. Make sure you call your mom, your grandma, or other maternal/parental figure this weekend to say “you’re awesome!”

Friday Five: Rainy Wedding Weekend Edition

Some final tidbits to leave you with for the weekend. This d-blogger was busy this week.


  1. Oh hey, look. You now have an earworm for your Friday afternoon. You’re welcome. When was the last time you did the Zumba routine to that one? You didn’t know there was one?! There is – I don’t recommend doing it in high heels.

  2. Dance injuries have turned into toddler injuries. I spent the better part of two years with a brace around my right wrist due to a routine trick gone horribly wrong. I’m no stranger to these acute aches and pains, so when my left wrist flared up, I just braced it for two weeks, took some Motrin, and re-thought about how I was using the wrist. Two and half weeks went by and the pain was about the same, if not worse on some days. Fine. Off to the doctor. Turns out I have De Quervain’s tenosynovitis – also know as tendons that connect my thumb to my wrist just hurt like hell. My options were splint my thumb for two weeks (nope) or get a cortisone shot and maybe some PT. I opted for the shot, even though cortisone injections do a number on my blood sugars. But, hey, my wrist doesn’t hurt THAT much anymore. (And my blood sugars have remained relatively stable.) I probably got this ailment I can’t pronounce from picking up Bean multiple times and having her writhe around in my arms like a rabid monkey. Here is to healing!

  3. I’m looking for new books to read. I signed up for Audible to keep me entertained on my work trips, plus I needed something else to do besides shop aimlessly on ThredUp. My mom group book club picked “In Real Life: A Novel,” which I blew through in three days. Good, fluffy YA lit which left me wondering if this is how teens actually speak nowadays. (The author is a high school teacher.) I downloaded “The Selfie Vote” based on a discussion from the Pantsuit Politics podcast I listen to on my commute. So, now I just need a good audiobook for my train ride at the end of month. (I read Girl on the Train already.)

  4. Dance wedding extravaganza. What happens when two dancers get married? You have one epic dance party… with pizza! My dance teacher and his fiancee are tying the knot this weekend, which seems to be the only weekend in April that forecasts rain. Maybe we can do an anti-rain dance? We’ll probably have enough people.

  5. If you missed my previous post this week about the #suspendbidding movement, please help me (and others) contact legislators about the harmful nature of Medicare’s competitive bidding system. These are the items I use daily to keep me alive and well. People generally like to see me alive and well. (At least I hope so.)

Happy Friday!


Army of One(derful)

Bean was awake really early this morning, so she enjoyed breakfast at home. (Usually, I pack a few of her favorites and leave them with daycare.) She was finished picking at her meal by the time I came downstairs. I cleaned her up and she played in the living room with Sesame Street (or, ELMO, as she calls it) played in the background.

I sip my (hot) coffee and down my breakfast. The coffee because I had another few wake ups by my Dexcom, indicating I didn’t give nearly enough insulin for the bedtime snack I had. Then, I woke up at 5:30 am to my Dexcom graph sitting around 161 mg/dl, so clearly that correction I gave at midnight was just water. Frustrated knowing that these fasting blood sugars are not acceptable during pregnancy preparation, I issued, yet another correction, along with a pre-bolus for my usual breakfast meal. (One Thomas’ English muffin light with peanut butter – every day.)

Just part of my personal routine in the morning; set along with what I’m going to wear today, going over what I have scheduled for the day, and how soon can I go back to sleep. But I haven’t even started my day and I’m already over it.

Maybe it was just “being a toddler” or maybe Bean sensed I was having a “life with a chronic condition” moment.

Soon, I had this in front of me.


Clearly, Bean has the right idea. I need farm animals protein toys friends and family to pick me back up when my day starts off shattered. And I have them. I don’t always recognize them properly. I should.

The struggle is something I’ve heard echo in the diabetes community. This is my own illness. My battle with my body’s functionality. I am an army of one. Don’t drag other people into this fight because it’s mine and mine only.

But, the battles are easier when you have support. Whether it’s a spouse, parent, friend, or your toddler’s imaginary friends. Sometimes I just need a wonderful reminder.

TrialNet: The Results Are In…

…And Bean tested negative for the autoantibodies for Type 1 diabetes. So her risk, for now, is minimal. Woo hoo!

TrialNet will continue to send annual reminders and kits to be tested up until she turns 18.

For now, here is one thing we won’t share in common. Now, if we can just work on the overdramatic tantrums…