Stroke of Midnight (Almost)

Daily Prompt: Where were you last night when 2012 turned into 2013? Is that where you’d wanted to be?

Last night was an exercise in the trials you face when your life depends on a battery powered device.

To preface, my insulin pump failed at about 11 pm last night. Not just a bubble in the tubing or a bent cannula. But a full on mechanical, this shit ain’t working no more, failure. I’m lucky that my micromanaging of my blood sugars caught the issue early and I was able to get home and back to my party with 15 minutes to spare.

Let’s start at the beginning. (And this isn’t a story for the faint of heart.)

I bought a super cheap, but awesome, tight dress from Forever 21 last week. It’s was spandex, sparkly, and age appropriate. Perfect for dancing in all night. The problem pump users have with tight clothing is where to stick the insulin pump in something that showcases all bumps, lines and imperfections. I decided to try hiding the pump with “the girls” for the first time ever. (Hey – other female PWDs do it all the time, why not?) Surprisingly, not that bad considering I’m petite everywhere.

The hubs and I leave for the studio and stop off at our friends’ house for some “real” NYE drinks. Pump is working fine so I have a little bit of dessert to counterbalance the champagne.

The studio opens a buffet of desserts at midnight to coordinate with the sparkling cider toast. Since I’d been dancing and had pizza for dinner, I went to check my sugars around 11 pm. 154 mg/dl. Fine. Nothing to smile about, but hey, it could be worse for a pizza night. So I check to see how much on board insulin is left and the buttons are frozen. The escape button, bolus button, light… nothing. Unresponsive. Fine. I ask the front desk for a coin to open my battery compartment to maybe reset the frozen pump. (They are computers and all.) Off. On. Nothing. I jump out of the bathroom to find my cell phone in the next room; my pump awkwardly stashed in my bra. On the phone with favorite company once again, Minimed.

I explain that my pump is being unresponsive and I need help resetting it. Then the alarm goes off indicating “Button Error.” Tech support says that the error is too complicated to reset so they have to send me a brand new pump, which, with the holiday, won’t be here until Thursday morning. Fuck! Apparently, my pump is also no longer working. Ugh! Really? So I’m advised to get on a backup method for the time being. Yes! Let me yank that out at a NYE party right this second. After frantically flagging down my hubs in the ballroom and listening to Minimed’s spiel about how I need to return the pump in a timely manner (Seriously!? Now? I need to go home NOW!), we dash home, alarms on my pump now sounding off every minute.

On 25 minute drive back, I manage to give myself a random dose of insulin (because that seemed logical at the time) and cut the battery from the pump because the alarms were stressing me out. Figuring my pump wasn’t doing me any favors attached, I decide to hike up my dress in the car and remove the cannula so I can ride home wireless.

Bad idea. About 2 seconds later, my abdomen is covered in blood. Guess the infusion set was also angry that the pump failed. I’m screaming at the hubs to give me light while he’s trying to drive as fast as it is legal. We have no kleenex, napkins, or anything. Hubs yanks out a clean handkerchief (I’ll never make fun of him again for carrying one of those) so I can stop the bleeding. I’m really thankful my dress wasn’t white, but my tights were ruined.

Finally home, I dig out the Lantus and shots I conveniently inventoried and organized this weekend, re-pack my supplies for the evening and head back to the party.

We arrive at the studio again as they are prepping the cider glasses. A couple people noticed we were gone. I spill the details to a friend of mine because she was the one that had to search for my hubs. My instructor overhears “blood everywhere” and ultimately gets intrigued. We gather our glasses, party hats and faulty noisemakers and ring in the new year about 30 seconds behind the rest of the world. ūüôā (Because our clocks are all off.)

I was a little worried about dragging my non dancing hubs to a dance party for a full evening. But at least I can say that it wasn’t a boring evening.

Happy 2013!



New year (almost.) New fitness ideas.

Not me… from the interwebz

The hubs and I discussed getting back into yoga since we both have active hobbies that don’t compliment each other. (He runs 10Ks… I prefer to prance around in sparkly heels.) We tried the co-gym thing and I hated it. Our gym is super small, but cheap…and you get what you pay for. He prefers the outdoors but keeps the membership in case it’s epically cold outside. (Like it is now.)

The problems with getting back into yoga were 1) the studios were too far away 2) interfered with my dance schedule and/or work schedule 3) were way too expensive to pair with my dance membership.

I used to practice often enough back when I lived near a 24 Hour Fitness. The old gym I visited had this great floor. It was a carpeted spring board with lots of (safe) give. Even with a yoga mat, I still have issues with laying on my lower back for extended periods of time. And in PiYo, you do that a LOT. I was quite bummed when the gym migrated to a larger location and had all hardwood floors for their classes. So I stopped; only checking into a class here and there when I had the time.

Now that the plan is cut back on the dancing so I can save cash for a kiddo/have a kiddo, I need to find a new routine pronto. A lot of my dancer friends cross train with yoga and PiYo programs, so I’ve been researching schedules, pricing, and distance for the last couple of days. There is a studio about 10 minutes from me, but it’s Bikram only.

For those that don’t know what Bikram is, it’s hot yoga on crack. You work out in a room set at 105 degrees with 47% humidity. It’s the the freakin’ Amazon; cue the tropical birds and sudden rainstorms. Some of my friends swear by it. But I don’t think it’s a possibility for me since the insulin in my pump breaks down faster in extreme high heat. I could disconnect, but classes are longer than an hour, thus making me quite uncomfortable with what my control will do. I was already having a crappy blood sugar day due to some air bubbles in my tubing, so I really didn’t want to risk ¬†going higher without talking to my CDE first. Or experimenting further with non-hot yoga.

Another studio offers vinyasa yoga at a variety of different times during the day. They have a $10 for 10 days special for newbies as well. They are a haul and a half from where I live, but I’ve had a number of people tell me it’s worth it. I packed all my new swag (thanks to an REI gift card), dusted off my mat and bag (literally… it had cobwebs), and drove out to the studio.

The studio is hardwood (doh!) but not your average. Softer. No mirrors (the dancer in me freaked out a bit). And a toasty 85 degrees. Hmmm. I kept my pump on, holstered and in my pocket just in case I needed to move it quickly. I tested pre-class to a 210 mg/dl blood sugar. *Sigh* I did just have lunch and was still recovering from my whacked out morning of highs. I didn’t want to give a correction because I wasn’t high enough to warrant it. But from previous 24 Hour experiences, that number wasn’t going to change much.

Well… I was wrong. Dead wrong. THAT was a workout and I was sweating bullets for the entire hour and 15. I was lightheaded within the first 10 minutes because the whole point of vinyasa is to sync your breathing with movement, which I wasn’t doing well at all. Since it was my first class in a long time and this was all levels, I liberally took breaks and stopped poses that hurt. There were a few. Probably just not doing them right. I’ve had too many injuries to continue and “work through” pain. It’s not worth my co-pays to get them checked out if I know I can prevent them in the first place.

Post class, my hair is a mess (I chopped all my hair off recently so tying it back wasn’t an option), and my blood sugar is a falling 127 mg/dl. Hey, I guess I did something today.

Later when I’m finally hope to reward myself with a shower, my infusion set nearly falls out. Oh yeah… so that’s what the message boards were talking about. I dig out my IV Prep 3000 so the new set can survive my shower. I don’t use IV Prep at all otherwise. The sets generally last through a quick swim, multiple showers and intense dance evenings.¬†How fast did my memory fail me? I honestly couldn’t remember how to put the stuff on. It was only after the second attempt that I remember I’m supposed to cut a hole in the tape so I can disconnect without issue.

I’m also extremely sore, which I guess is normal. Mostly in my upper back and arms.

I’m also unclear how to cool down and stretch after a class that is essentially… well… stretching. I mean, everyone likes Corpse pose (or five minute nap time) at the end of class. I guess I’ll find out tomorrow.

Now I have 10 days to go back to the studio as often as I want. I might skip tomorrow so I can recover (and there are fewer classes). There is also a beginning program held twice a week for one month, which I might sign up for if the schedule allows.

I’m Just That Good?

I’ve had a number of conversations over the last few weeks about “the diabetic life” and how it will affect future child bearing attempts. I’ve read enough books and stumbled through enough message boards to almost scare me out of it.

One board in particular got so bad that I stopped lurking in it because the ladies were driving me nuts. A majority of the members were GDs. Most of them recently diagnosed at whatever the glucose cut off is and not many of them on insulin. (But their doctors were threatening it.) Many freaked out over the thought of not being able to keep a blood sugar under 120 post meals, finger sticking themselves more than 5 times a day, going on insulin for 12 weeks, and not being able to enjoy anything more than a sensible, planned out diet.

Every time I read that someone wanted to fudge their numbers for their weekly reports to their doctors, I wanted to beat them with my insulin pump. Really? You only have to deal with this for 12 weeks! You will survive and it’s not worth your or your baby’s health to LIE about your blood sugar results.¬†Are people really this irresponsible with their health? Not implying that those “out of control” are irresponsible (because I sure as hell work just as hard to get no results); but if you have the tools available to you, why not work twice as hard at it, especially if it’s temporary? I understand the need for support (that’s why I’m here), but I just don’t understand the need for self-destruction.

Summary of my other conversations:

  • My OB was shocked that I even came to see her before we started trying. A diabetic woman who actually wants to have her A1C at a normal range before she conceives? Unheard of. ¬†Really? Come see us again when you are pregnant.
  • My CDE who says that I eat right, exercise enough, take initiative to problem solve on my own and recognize patterns on my own. But apparently all of this work I’m doing pre-pregnancy will be null and void once I actually get pregnant. (Because babies change all things.)
  • My cousin, who is a new mom, says she can’t imagine trying to worry about trying to conceive AND controlling my blood sugars all the time. Her T1D friend nearly went blind during pregnancy. Her other GD friend had a HUGE child because she failed to keep a diet. But I’ll be okay because I take such great care of myself.

Why is my A1C still at 6.3% and not the medically necessary 5.6%? Why are my kidneys already spilling protein? Why do I have elevated cholesterol? If I am such a Type A personality PWD, why aren’t things better? With all this work, I should have been approved to have 3 kids by now.

The more I chat with others, ranging from family to medical staff, the more I feel like I’m an¬†anomaly. A rare case. One of the few that actually wants to control something that doesn’t want to be controlled, and does so semi-successfully. Even THEN, I’m not seeing¬†postprandial¬†readings under 120. (I’d love it if my fastings were 120 consistently.) I often think this task is impossible. There isn’t any possible way for me to maintain those types of readings for 9+ months.

But I’m too¬†analytical, and stubborn,¬†to just give up without a fight.

Some Days, You Just Cry

There is a lot to be said for what we PWDs put ourselves through. Despite our best effort to be “normal,” we play with a new deck of cards every single day.

Sometimes it’s just too hard to take it and we break down. Like yesterday, for example.

I reached the end of my rope and I just cried and screamed in frustration because no matter how many measuring cups I use to calculate my food, or no matter what I eat, or no matter what test I run, I don’t fit “the norm.” My blood sugars don’t want to be a part of the statistic. Science dictates that I should one thing, when actually, I do the opposite. Frustrating me, my family, and my doctors.

The problem is that when/if I bring a child into the picture, I have to be as close to the norm as possible. If not better. So in addition to having the guilt of my own well being over my head, I have the guilt of not being good enough for a future child.

Trust me, I have other things on my plate this week that pissed me off to no end, so this wasn’t a random “woe is me and diabetes” breakdown. It was an “oh God, why does life keep throwing me curveballs at my chest” breakdown. Generally, I try to keep my breakdowns into larger packages, therefore they are somehow more¬†therapeutic¬†when I spill my guts.


Don’t Mind Me… Just Ruining My Average

My further attempts at basal testing seem to only be ruining my well established average.

I can’t seem to get through my tests without dropping lower, which causes me to over treat, and then my sugars sky rocket. (Well… higher than what they have been. 180-240.)

Once again, I’ve proven my docs wrong on their thoughts that I’m administering too little of a basal rate. So my CDE appointment on Tuesday should be really interesting and bring up even more questions. Hmph.

On the docket this week is the showcase dress rehearsal tomorrow, teacher training final exam on Thursday, show on Friday and Saturday, with some last minute practices in between. This on top of work planning, Christmas shopping, baking, cleaning, etc.

I’ll be real surprised if I can keep this fairly decent average going this week. I have a feeling I’m just going to have to write this month off, sadly.

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.

Back to your Regularly Scheduled Program

I’m slowly getting my sleep patterns back on track after this weekend. It was a fun weekend, and I’m glad I experienced this convention. But holy hell… I’m pretty sure I got a collective 10 hours of sleep during the entire weekend. And upon my return on Sunday, I promptly fell asleep on the couch at 8:15 pm, only to be prodded by the hubs to head to bed around 9. Wow. All in good fun and thankfully, my blood sugars behaved for the most part.

I also don’t recommend competing with hypoglycemia. Especially if you are unaware. Just saying. Yeah, it happened.

So after all my sleep deprivation, the only natural thing I should do come Monday morning is run a basal test, right? Sure!!! Who needs coffee or food when the high from the weekend can keep you awake and sustained?


Good news: I passed the afternoon basal test, which disproves my doc’s hypothesis that my extremely high bolus rates are compensating for my extremely low basal rates. In fact, I managed to stay between 77 mg/dl and 88 mg/dl for about 6 hours. This still leaves the question as to why my blood sugars sky rocket to oblivion an hour after I eat and just stay there. Do I really need a 1:3 carb ratio? Seriously?

Bad news: This test is shit! Seriously. Could NOT do anything productive because I ate at 7 am and could not stuff my face until 5 pm. (And I did… still paying for it now…) I was starving. I was waiting for the inevitable crash that never happened and seriously wanted to just fail the test so I could eat my left overs. I had 3 major headaches throughout the day and pretty much stared at my computer screen for 2 hours pretending to be productive. By 4:30, I wanted to eat my laptop with a side of the contract for our company Christmas party. (You know, because paper has fiber and stuff.)

I’m assuming that since I passed with flying colors that I only need to do this time period test once. (Because why would anyone want to do this three times, as instructed???)

Lesson learned kids: starving is bad.

Judgement Day

If you’ve never seen this in person (the painting… not judgement day), it’s pretty out of this world.

I know, I know… the end of the world isn’t supposed to happen until NEXT month. But this morning was kind of my own mini-judgement day.

My lab results came in. (For the most part; I’m still waiting on the orange vat of¬†despair.)

Good news: My A1C is down to 6.3%. Probably the lowest I’ve seen it since I was in elementary school. But yeah… most of those are hypos. So I still have some work to do. Yay basal testing next week! Ugh!

Bad news: My¬†cholesterol¬†sucks. My overall is about 169, which is still “normal” but elevated from my last test. And my LDL is 108, which is also semi normal, but really, should be under 100. So, maybe that statin was doing something. Or I’ve chosen really bad snacks to consume. (Many almonds… cheese… full fat yogurt… my boxed Indian food… yeah…)

My endo recommended that I maybe start my statin again. However, the whole trying to conceive thing may hinder that. But, I should at least go back on it for good when I turn 35.

In the meantime, it’s time to start looking at diet changes… again.

A New Appreciation for Breakfast Sandwiches

Today was lab work day… so in a few days, I should be able to see if all of this extra insulin and random hypoglycemia is actually making my A1Cs better. (It certainly isn’t making my waistline any better because I feel like I’m eating every 20 minutes.) Anyway, this morning, my awkward orange vat and I travelled back to my clinic to be tested. And since I was killing two orders with one stone, I was also cautiously teetering near hypo-ville while fasting.

I always get nervous when I go to a new hospital for lab work. I have a very specific arm and very specific vein that bleeds out… well, specifically. My right arm never wants to work and don’t even come near the veins in my hand without a fight. I went to the same clinic for years before I switched insurance plans because they just knew how to make everything as painless as possible.

So, of course, my tech is chatty. Like to the point of tedium. Or… “I’m just going to talk too much with the hope that you’ll forget I’m jabbing your arm with a needle.” And she also missed the vein the first time and started digging. DIGGING! Then said “oh you need to relax because the vein is hiding from me.” WTF? Of COURSE it’s hiding from you.

More chatting. <band head here>

Then she is waiting for the last vial to fill and starts PUSHING the needle in FURTHER.

What I should have said:

Instead I say: “Oh… no, you aren’t hurting me. Oh, I need to do a micro-albumin test after this? Because the awkward orange vat isn’t enough for y’all. Okay.”

Finally free of my new not-so-favorite new place, I treat myself to a much needed Skinny Vanilla Latte and a Turkey Bacon and Egg breakfast sandwich. I don’t think I’ve ever had something so delicious.