Accessorizing: You’re Doing It “Wrong.”

It’s SHOW WEEK! The week when my sleep schedule and free time suddenly disappear, even as a semi-employed individual. (Work yesterday seemed like another hamster wheel day. Spin. Spin. Spin. Nothing happens.) Throw in the two job interviews I need to sit through this week, and I’m pretty zonked when I come home. (Seriously, talking about yourself for 1 hour straight is mind numbing.)

The good news is that May Show is awesome and totally worth the gas money, time, effort and exhaustion and I may have a job offer soon. Hopefully. *feverishly knocks wood*

I’d just like to take a moment to point out some funny-ish photos that I was tagged in from our Tech Rehearsal last Sunday.

I am still donning my insulin pump, mostly because I don’t want to be on Lantus for very long. And my v waltz costume is fairly complicated to get into, will all of its straps in strange places to make sure I don’t expose myself to my nearest and dearest. It’s a tricky one, but suits the piece well. Placing the pump effectively without getting tangled was quite important.

See, here is the dress.

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Yay pretty! And since it was tech rehearsal, no one would be taking photos of my piece yet, right? So I awkwardly placed my pump on my backside instead of disconnecting. (I was already having basal/bolus issues and Techs can take a long time.)

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Oops. An unwanted cameo. I also have no idea what I’m doing in this photo, dance wise. (I’ll need to fix that tomorrow, I guess.)

There you go. Proof that I am battery powered, even when dancing.

CGM Misses You

Ha-ha

I spent most of yesterday recovering from dehydration. Apparently, when you are sick, drinking water is important. Go figure.

My [early] rough morning began with my CGM alarming at 4:30 am. BG METER NOW!!! it said. With enthusiasm. Or panic.

Well, at least that is what I assumed it said. I couldn’t actually focus my eyes to read it. I’ve had this happen before. If I wake up too suddenly, the room spins to a nauseating state for a bit and I’m back to normal after I wake up a bit. This was a bit different. I felt ill. Like – I’m going to lose my non-existant stomach contents if I don’t lie back down. But – a calibration was due and I needed to double check that I wasn’t going to pass out from hypoglycemia. I stumble down the hall avoiding obstacles my circling, hungry cat.

138 mg/dl. Not even close to passing out nor what my CGM was recording before I was rudely awakened. Fine. The calibration will fix it.

10 minutes later. CALIBRATION ERROR!!!!1!!

No, damnit! I want to sleep/make the room stop spinning.

If my memory served me well in this near drunken state, my post calibration errors generally mean I’m going to get a BAD SENSOR error any time now. I was already having issues with it earlier that day, so I just did what any normal person would do and removed the sensor… at 4:45 am. Ah – back to bed with no more alarms and a continuous spinning state. Yay?!

I spend most of my day chugging water and trying not to throw up on my dance instructors. (WHY did it have to be V Waltz?!) My next logical step would have been to insert a new sensor before bed yesterday. However, with Show next weekend, I’m planning to take a “pump vacation” to accommodate the quick change Olympics that never seem to serve my basals properly. So as much as I hate Lantus with a passion, it’s a safer bet than trying to reconnect/disconnect ad nauseum. [Peanut gallery says: I see what you did there.]

Rather than waste a sensor that I’m going to have to rip out pre-maturely due to my self-tanning adventures, I figured I would just go without for two weeks. (The pump is going too, but later.) I mean, I had for so long and my sugars are fairly stable. At my Endo appointment on Monday, I couldn’t recall the last epically high blood sugar I’ve had. (Woot!) There wouldn’t be a need for early detection for just a couple of weeks, right? What’s the worse that could happen?

I go to sleep after treating an epic 59 mg/dl. In true fashion, I overtreat and bolus a random amount before bed after realizing I forgot to earlier. Oops. Whatever. I’m exhausted.

4:00 am rolls around again. Wide awake. This time, I’m not stumbling around, but I’m ultimately curious what I’m doing BG wise. I’m sure I’m fine.

Meter: 274 mg/dl

CGM from my Supply Closet: HA-HA! [/Nelson laugh]

Me: …

Why Dance?

I stumbled upon a really neat non-profit based out of San Francisco this weekend.

A couple of my friends participated in and/or watched April Follies: a same sex dance ballroom dance competition held in the Bay Area this weekend. One of their vendors was Dance Out Diabetes. (Some of their board members and volunteers even competed and did REALLY well.)

Dance Out Diabetes provides monthly dances and instruction for folks who are enjoying life, either as a T1, a T2, or a pre-diabetic, and want a creative solution for that “physical activity” element of self care. Dance instruction features ballroom and social dancing, zumba, disco, and soul line dancing, just to name a few. The instructors are volunteers, as are the Certified Diabetes Educators and Dietitians. The funding they receive provides A1Cs, glucose tests at the dances, nutrition counseling, and height/weight checks.

You can visit their website here: http://www.danceoutdiabetes.org/

Now that I’m only semi-employed, I might have some extra time to head to the bay and volunteer. After all, I’m a prime example of how exercise can help glucose control, even though I complain non-stop about where to put my pump while in costume. Granted I can’t provide medical advice, I can provide another stem on a network of support.

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Sleep is for the weak

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I woke up at 6 am on Saturday, which was the first time I had done so in almost two weeks. While it would seem that I’d be sleeping soundly without the stress of work, but I’m finding that I have different alarms waking me up at all hours of the evening. Yes – apparently my CGM is working now.

It’s not that I’m running dramatically low in the evenings. In fact, once I come down off my dinner/evening high, I run fairly stable in the low 80s/mid 70s until I wake up the next morning. However, my CGM has a tendency to drift when I hit that sweet spot. So I’ll alarm at 74 or lower when I’m actually an acceptable range with no actual trend downward. I don’t, however, want to change the low alarm  setting because a low alarm will also mean that I’m 60 and dropping.

The same happens when I am trending higher and my correction hasn’t kicked in yet.

I also get Calibration Errors, Calibration reminders, Sensor Errors, and Sensor End notifications at around 4 am. Sadly, I’m sure the calibration reminders could be avoided with better planning – but the other items? Can’t predict errors.

And if it’s not the noises and vibrating waking me up, it’s my Type A personality checking my sensor data every 10 minutes after a recorded high or low. Did the food work? Did the insulin correction start bringing me down quickly? Too quickly? Maybe I should get up, again, to check to make sure.

4 am and I are becoming fast frienemies. This is not the time I should be starting to give up caffeine. But maybe this will just prep me for the early morning feedings and diaper changes that I hope to have in my future.

#WW: Version 2.0

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Hardware update #2 seems to be okay so far. It’s been over 12 hours and I still have an ISIG rating over 10. Barely. But it’s there. (For the record, I want it to be over 10. During testing my old transmitter, my ISIG values were ZERO!) <knocks wood>

Also, I didn’t get to post these on Sunday, but I’m super proud of them, even though it didn’t take very long to do:

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I called them Sugar Rushes… because these are one way tickets to DKA-ville! And the sad part is that they were gone in two days. None of them consumed by me thankyouverymuch. Though, I’m concerned about the gal who chose to eat FOUR of them.

Also – if you have three Peeps, it’ll bring up a hypo just as fast as glucose tabs. If not more.

Shots were never this complicated

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I was a child with diabetes in the 80s so I had my fair share of analog technology to assist me with control. Ketone strips that were used to find high blood sugars rather than glucose monitors that gave results in 5 seconds or less. And if you had a glucose monitor, it weighed 2 pounds and took approximately 2 and a half minutes to produce a result after multiple steps. (And a crap ton of blood.) Then there was my insulin regiment of NPH and Regular, given multiple times a day in a syringe. No continuous glucose monitors. Insulin pumps were in their very early infancy. You just lived with what you had and the meager technology that was available  was what you used.

But it was so simple! Administration was a guarantee with shots. Whether the meds worked or not were a different calamity, but at least you physically drew insulin from a bottle and injected it somewhere.

Now days, I have to wonder if my high blood sugars are from a meal, a lack of basal or some sort of pump malfunction. (And that’s just the basics for where a high could come from.) My life seems dependent on batteries moreso than a correct basal rate.

I say all this because I finally met with Medtronic again this morning. My CGM transmitter is a dud. I need to send it back after I get my replacement tomorrow. This is probably the reason for most of my CGM woes over the last month.

This is the third Medtronic device I’ve had to return and have replaced because of some technical glitch. (Though, now I’m wondering if I needed my second pump… not that I’m complaining.)

Is this normal? Or do I just have really crap luck with technology? I mean, I work on computers all the time and those don’t crumble to Blue Screens when I walk through the door. I don’t enjoying breaking my diabetes tech. I try not to do it on purpose and I don’t think anyone does. But seriously… this is getting kind of ridiculous. Shots wouldn’t give me calibration errors or beep incessantly. They just did their job and were disposed of.

When did this become more complicated?

#WW: Nope

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I don’t think they are supposed to look like that upon removal.

Oh – and my abs still aren’t a good place to put these. Yay scar tissue!

 

Flying High/Raving Mad

Reblogging because this is apparently a hot topic in the DOC today. Between this and Kerri’s post, I don’t think I need to add any more to the conversation, other than I’m right there with them. I’ve had my own share of TSA experiences with my insulin pump and am dreading the addition of my wireless CGM. Thankfully, I don’t fly a ton anymore but I can’t avoid the occasional trip outside my home state.

The only way to make changes is to spread awareness of the issue. I don’t feel I need to justify my required devices to a government agency umpteen times every time I fly. I’m all for safer plane trips, but at least make it consistent. Don’t tell me to just throw my pump on the conveyor belt because it’s safe for YOUR XRay machine. (Nevermind Medtronic has stated that this is not appropriate.)

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Through TSA’s layered approach to security, and to align more closely with International Civil Aviation Organization standards, effective April 25, 2013 TSA will allow knives that do not lock, and have blades that are 2.36 inches or 6 centimeters or less in length and are less than 1/2 inch in width, novelty-sized and toy bats, billiard cues, ski poles, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks and two golf clubs as part of their carry-on baggage. This is part of an overall Risk-Based Security approach, which allows Transportation Security Officers to better focus their efforts on finding higher threat items such as explosives. – Statement on the TSA’s website

Apparently insulin pumps and CGMs fall under the “higher threat items” these days.

I’ve flown a lot in the last 20 years.

Pre-9/11, you could sprint down the concourse to your gate, wheezing loudly as you handed your ticket while hiking your overstuffed carry-on…

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The New Normal

I’ve heard the world “normal” creep into my every day conversations more recently. What is “normal” anyway?

For example, I’ve stumped Medtronic and my CDE over the issues I’ve been having with my CGM. My attempts to get answers are usually met with blanks stares and question marks. It appears my sensor only works when it feels it’s convenient. (Yes, I’m convinced it has a mind of its own.) Switching out the entire pump mechanism didn’t seem to improve the situation very much. My sensors still peter out after 3 days and never seem to fully be in line with what I’m seeing on my meter. “Oh! Maybe you need to be retrained on how to insert a sensor. Or maybe it’s a bad box of sensors? Or maybe the sensor is bad too? We have no idea! We know you are frustrated with all of this… but rest assured, this isn’t normal.”

Well, what about the fact that I still continue to drop from a meal bolus nearly 4 hours later? “Oh, that can’t be right. It’s not normal to continue dropping from a meal bolus that late. It must be something else.”

Or how about that my postprandial readings are still not “pregnancy ready” even after attempting to alter my diet, insulin distribution, and so forth? “Well, maybe you just aren’t normal, Jen. Nobody said you had to be perfect.”

So what is normal?

I like looking at stock photography on diabetes products to figure out what normal should be for me.

Perhaps it’s the perfect blood sugar found on just about every One Touch meter box.

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We’re all familiar with that one right? Trying to catch that famous reading is like trying to catch a butterfly on speed. Somehow, I snagged it. It’s here for all to admire. However, 104 is actually a high fasting reading. So is this really normal? Or a fancy way of saying you should be averaging this?

Or take a look at the collateral I got with my CGM.

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See. Even you can enjoy happy, stress free relationships if you use this product. All diabetics will come away smiling while enjoying a walk on a sunny day. Nevermind that you are relying on a battery powered device to keep you smiling, happy, and alive. Being connected 24/7 probably doesn’t appear normal to most, but we should think we will still be classified as normal if we use these products. (Whipping out syringes in public is also probably not considered normal.)

My personal favorite stock image is on my sensor box.

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Because everyone using a CGM can totally eat carrot cake dressed in white while sitting on a white couch. You can totally lead a normal life until the sensor starts beeping at you because that carrot cake has a high enough GI to send you beyond your happy zone. (Also… who actually LIKES carrot cake?!)

This is probably a more accurate depiction of my normal.

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Okay, maybe it’s not all numbers, data, and prescriptions. I still have this.

My last ballroom comp...

So as we PWDs all strive for some sort of average “normalcy,” maybe it’s just easier to think that there is no normal. Alternatively, my favorite dancer from So You Think You Can Dance, Mark Kanemura, was once quoted on tour saying, “I tried to be normal but it really didn’t work for me.”

Not all of us will be able to enjoy that carrot cake without some sort of repercussion. (Though, if you enjoy eating it, by all means.) Not all of us will dance around in rhinestones and spandex either. My insulin issues, disdain for carrot cake and my obsession for glitter are what make my reality. The tricky part is not wanting to compare yourself, and your data, in an effort to seek out someone else’s normal.

#WW: Boring? Naaaahh…

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Well, hey… at least it’s working now. But this has been my life for the last.three.days. Something about not knowing made me less neurotic. Not so much anymore.

In other news, it’s taking every ounce of me not to buy every Maroon 5 album ever made. Curses Spotify! You’ll make my credit card suffer again!

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Yeeeee! My inner electronica girl is happy.