Spare a Rose, Save a Child Campaign

I am not a huge fan of V-Day. But I’ll put aside my disdain for this Hallmark Holiday to let you know about this DOC project.

Between now and Valentine’s Day, the Diabetic Online Community is pulling together to try and raise money for the Life for a Child campaign. I know I bitch and moan about my medical expenses here, but I’m considered a lucky duck just because I have insurance to cover all of my nice things. Some T1 children can’t even afford the insulin to keep them alive. The idea is that you donate 1/12 of the cost of a dozen roses. That’ll probably cover someone’s care who could really use it. (And flowers die, kids! Spend your money on something more worth while.)

You can read more about it here, here, and here.

The image above and the lovely banner on my side bar take you to where you can donate.

To sweeten the incentive, I’m having a contest similar to Karen over at Bitter Sweet. But I don’t knit. At all. (Oh – the horrors!) I do dance. And I like sparkly things. So I’ve teamed up with a dance friend of mine who runs a rhinestone and dress design biz. We’re going to come up with something fabulous, shiny, and Blue Friday appropriate. (Most likely an accessory/piece of jewelry.) All you have to do is donate and then comment below. Then I’ll pick a winner via random draw on Friday. (Please allow two weeks post V-Day.)

These could be fun...

These could be fun…


The Headache that is Health Insurance

PWDs are very familiar with and all-too-aware of the “joys” of health insurance. (The expenses, the hassle, the constant fear of being denied…) I had my own mini panic attack over the last month and am curious what others think the solution is. No – this isn’t going to be an Obamacare praise/hate post. Though, I am excited I will have the flexibility to shop for different insurance and not be denied… or if I want to be a stay at home mom next year, or a part time worker, I don’t have to worry about health insurance for myself come 2014… but I digress…

Anyway, it was time to order my pump supplies from Minimed; the same pump supplier I’ve had for the last 6 years. I recently changed my insurance because of my new job. New hospital, and new doctors. But I’m ordering the same prescriptions. Since I was getting close to opening my last boxes of reservoirs and infusion sets, I called early upon the recommendation of my CDE. Mostly because Minimed had to send the paperwork to the doctors, the doctors sign it and fax it back, and Minimed sends your order.

Since my insurance plan has a hefty deductible that resets at the beginning of the year, I decide to only order one more box of each because I will have to pay full price for everything. (And I didn’t want that giant expense at Christmas time to hit my bank account… only to have to cover it again next year.)

I called shortly after Thanksgiving.

My pump supplies should be here next Friday.

What happened in between? About 3 hours of phone calls back and forth to Minimed, my doctor’s office, my insurance company, and my CDE. Of the 5 Minimed reps I spoke with, no one had consistent information or requests. Only one of them really wanted to help me (the gal who finally overrode my restrictions for my items to ship.)

First I was told that I the authorizations from my insurance (my doctors) hadn’t been received yet. My docs all told me they were faxed on December 3rd.

Then I was told, that even though I’d been a pump user and was simply needing a supply order, I needed to send Minimed 60 days of blood sugar readings, a copy of my recent A1C, and doctor’s notes from the past two months. (I’ve only been on my new insurance for two months, mind you.) I found this to be a bit invasive for a re-order, so the CS rep said, oh wait, there is a conflict on our end; we’ll take care of it, don’t worry. In the meantime, my CDE says “no, why do you need to give them all this? You just need us to send this in, etc…”

So I wait a week and I hear nothing. Called back and speak to both a CS rep and a floor supervisor that says I still need all of these blood sugar results and that my insurance needed to sign the authorization. I cave and send in some really crappy sugar results (which I had, thanks to my Diabetes App) and a screen shot of my most recent labs. I don’t have doctor’s notes, which I think are a ridiculous request, but whatever. I call my doctor’s office back and tell them to send the authorizations again along with all of this other fun stuff. My CDE gets on the phone with Minimed herself and speaks to someone who tells her that the blood sugar thing is all a big misunderstanding and she re-faxed her copy of the authorization.

You’d think we’d be good by now. Nope. I call again on Friday after the floor supervisor emails me on Thursday to tell me that the insurance authorization still hadn’t been received yet, even though we faxed them directly to her. (Seriously? How many fax machines do you own???) I’m thinking that I’m not going to get this order by the end of the year anyway, so I might as well cancel it and just wait until January to push through a larger order. According to this CS rep, my order is “now in review” but has been red flagged because the quantity ordered doesn’t match the quantity approved. (Huh?) And says that I could cancel my order, but I’ll be in the same conundrum come 2013 because I will have stopped the insurance review process. Gahhhhhhh!!!! So I agree to keep the order standing and think about it for the rest of the afternoon. (What if they deny my order? Can they deny my order? I’m going to run out of supplies before they figure it out.)

I call back again later that afternoon and speak with Anita, who actually DID something about it. I asked if there was something I could do to make their lives easier (ha. ha. ha.) and if I needed to order, what I assumed, was a three month supply of my shit, then I’d bite the bullet and pay. I just wanted my supplies and I’ve been on the phone with you people for the last month and nothing is happening. So Anita starts looking through my account in silence, then puts me on hold. I’m on hold for 15 minutes. (And I really need to go grocery shopping.) She pops back on the line saying she’s trying to override my order with a supervisor. Oh – action! Good – I will stay on hold for the next hour if I have to.

Luckily, it’s only for another 15 minutes. She comes back online and says that my insurance authorization was received, but it wasn’t linked to my account. (Papertrail fail!) It’s been approved and should ship in 3 business days (Huzzah!) However, my authorization only covered one box of supplies at a time. (??????) Naturally, I ask that since it seems to take forever to get supplies ordered now, when should I call to order. So she puts me on an auto-fill system which ships my supplies automatically and then she alters the date of processing to make sure there is no lapse in my supplies. Thank you, Anita!

I’m not sure if I just got unlucky with a slew of non-customer service people, or if this is just the state of health insurance today. So I’m kind of anxious to see what changes when EVERYBODY has insurance.

Basals Work You



Well… that’s exciting.

Another round of basal testing today. This time, trying my morning rates out. I woke up at 5:30 am, which isn’t normal. (Usually I can sleep in a bit longer.) But I have class today, so I work earlier.

Started the day off at 120. Not fantastic, but I’ll take it. I shower and prep for the day as normal, sans the whole eating breakfast thing.

Since my form says start the test at 7 am, I recheck again. I’m 182. Hmm. Interesting. Normally, disconnecting for 20 minutes doesn’t affect me THAT much. But – since I need to see where this is going, I don’t correct and head to work.

I feel like crap. All of those weeks of running much lower has made me REALLY aware when my blood sugars are misbehaving. Now, if only I can recognize the lows better. But – another blog post to worry about.

Expecting to be sky high and ending this test early, I test at around 9 am. I’ve dropped. Not much, but enough to tell me that my basals are holding me in one place.

Near the end, I’ve nearly corrected myself to my original blood sugar.

Um, what?


Things They Don’t Tell You…

So here is an info post for those of you who are recently diagnosed or are making strides to clean up your act.

The docs always tell you upon diagnosis what you need to survive: your meds, your test strips and meter, and a way of taking your meds. Maybe a log book. And some fast acting glucose.

I’m here to tell you about all the stuff that really comes in handy, but docs don’t always tell you to invest in, either because they forget, or maybe you’ll figure it out on your own.

1) Measuring cups, spoons, and a scale

Are you counting carbs down to an exact science? Then you’ll need these. A cup of steamed white rice is somewhere around 45 grams of carbs. So maybe you just want half? Measure it. Take it from me. I can’t “eyeball” anything worth beans and I’ve had this for 30+ years.

It’s especially tricky when your serving size is measured in grams. (See scale suggestion.)

2) Storage space

I currently have my supplies in two locations. The hall closet and my bedroom closet. A shelf in each is occupied, mostly because I get three month supplies of everything. And you can’t forget the fridge for your unopened insulin. Mine sits on the door where the butter and eggs should be.

3) A sharps container

If you are on shots, throwing your used syringes in the trash is generally frowned upon… and in most places probably illegal. My family used have a device that would crop the needles off before dispensing them. But be warned: these buggers are small and expensive. And you’ll probably need many of them.

4) A fanny pack

Don’t hate. I still have a black one. I don’t actually wear it though. I use it to pack my supplies in when I travel. It has so many pockets and it was freakin’ cheap. Yeah – I could get something fancy pants on Etsy, but why? It’s just going to stay in my luggage all day.

Some athletes will find them useful for carrying their meters on bike rides or runs. (I never did, but if it works for you…)

5) Pump accessories

Pumps come with basic supplies to make them function for you. But that doesn’t make them any more convenient. My pump is “skinned” or stickered with a fun design that exposes the important information and buttons only. I have two holsters. I have a leg band and stomach band. I really wish I had a remote control.

6) The Calorie King book

This was one of the most useful items I had when I first became a pumper. (Now I just use an app, but some people like books.) It has calorie, fat, and carb counts for just about everything. It has to be updated every year, so be aware that you can also just Google the website in a pinch. Especially handy when you aren’t sure how to carb count that epic restaurant salad.

7) 4 Oz Juice cups

So, if you are like me and like to consume the fridge when a low blood sugar shows up, control the portions BEFORE you pour. I found that if I snagged an 8-10 oz glass from the cupboard, I poured myself a whopping 33 – 40 grams of carbs to treat a low. Not good. So I recently found 4 oz plastic cups at my local supermarket. Boom. 15-20 fast acting carbs. (Though, they are way easier to try and chug, so go easy.)

8) Smaller plates

Maybe it’s a psychological thing. But if I have a giant buffet plate, I want to fill it edge to edge. And now I’ve got all this food in front of me that I’m not sure how to carb count. So we have luncheon plates, which are significantly smaller and we use for everyday meals. So much easier.

9) A mobile app

I currently use one to keep blood sugar and carb logs. It’s hit or miss sometimes, but works much better for me than toting around a paper log book. (Or doing nothing at all!) My specific app allows you to graph your sugars so you can see your progress over the week, month, and year. There are many out there for all devices, with various price points and features. (My specific one is called Diabetes App – located in the App Store.)

10) Resilience and Patience

Hey, so, you were running really really well for the last day and a half and suddenly your blood sugars are over 250 for no apparent reason. Or maybe you just wanted that slice of cake. Or you skipped your work out. Oops. Oh well. Treat the high, carb count for that piece of cake, and make up your workout tomorrow. Move on. It does nothing to dwell on it or guilt yourself for something that doesn’t want to be controlled.

Have another tip to add? Share it below.

Hey Look! Another Blog!

I’ve had a number of blogs over the years. Most abandoned after I lose the original premise. (Or I finish the project associated with it.)

I’ve been doing some research and decided that there a TON of stories, blogs, web groups, forums and so forth about being a type 1 diabetic at child-bearing age. However, most of them have gone on to bigger and better things. Like parenting. Or book deals. Or both.

So – let’s start fresh. Because I’m sure others are looking for perspective.

First, introductions. I’m Jen.

I’m 31. I’ve been a type 1 diabetic for 30 of those years. (So yes, I know nothing else.)

I’m a pumper. (My Minimed is pink.)

I’m a ballroom and swing dancer. I compete and perform often. No, I won’t be on Dancing with the Stars. Yes, I rhinestone everything possible.

My husband and I live in Northern California and we have two cats.

My ultimate goal is to get my blood sugars in check so that we can eventually start our family. Not that cats aren’t great “kids.” Just… well, the fur is a bit awkward. Currently, the ye ol’ A1C hovers around 7.0. It should be around 5.6-6.0. And honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been in that good of control.

Currently, I’m interviewing an all new medical staff so I can have a solid team whenever we decide to start trying. Until then, you get to read about all of my dance stories, because frankly, the hubs is tired of listening. Just kidding. Sort of.