Monthly Archives: July 2012

Told You So.

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Thursday marks my 45th day on the OmniPod pump. Which means that Thursday is also a looming deadline, in my mind.  Remember this post about how hard it initially was to make a decision about switching to pods or not?
Well, told you so. I absolutely hate making decisions! Here’s what’s been going on…

The first few days on the Pod were amazing! I wore dresses without worrying about my pump coming loose from the waistband of my underwear and unexpectedly hitting the floor at my feet. I went to the bathroom and didn’t fret about my pump falling in the toilet (okay, actually I still brace myself for that – it’s what 14 years of a tubed pump will do to you). It felt liberating to not have this THING attached to my hip at all hours of the day.

After a few days, my honeymoon with the OmniPod started coming to an end. Maybe I jumped into this relationship too quickly? My sugars would be great for hours on end. Then, all of the sudden (without food) it hit the mid 200’s. No biggie, take a correction and wait an hour or two for the Dexcom to tell me I’m falling. Nope. These sugars were stubborn. Like moving mountains. I started to attribute it to me being lazy about my management.. “well,  I did munch on a few chips at work without a bolus” or “maybe I looked at the vial of insulin the wrong way and it’s revolting.”

So I started troubleshooting. I really paid attention to how long my sugars were staying high, how many crazy correction boluses I was taking, what I was eating. None of it made sense. I’d see a 250 mg/dl 6 hours after a pod change, and it would take 6 more hours to get it down – using about 8-10 units of insulin or more. That’s just not right. I wasn’t doing anything different from when I was on the MiniMed pump either – eating the same basic foods, same exercises, same type of insulin (maybe a little added stress because my sugars were out of whack, but come on!). And before  you ask, yes – I discarded questionable pods, used brand new bottles of insulin, tried out every spot on my body I’m willing to put a pod on, and even googled lots of tips and tricks to get the best out of the pod. Nada worked.

My next conclusion: I was desperately missing Pumpernickel (name of MiniMed pump given to it by one of my best friends when I got it in 6th grade). Maybe I was reflecting on my days with the MiniMed pump in an unrealistic light – forgetting about all of the days and  nights he may have wronged me. So I did what any crazy diabetic would do. I wore two pumps. Let me start by saying – I do not ever recommend this. Not for the obvious reason of it being very uncomfortable to have three things attached to your body, but because it could be dangerous. I could disconnect from the MiniMed when I wasn’t using that pump and evaluating the bg levels it left me with. But I can’t disconnect from the OmniPod. Best I could do was set the temp basal to ‘OFF’ for 12 hours, and set an alarm on my phone to remind me to renew the temp basal setting. I was switching back and forth fairly often so it wasn’t an issue, but really – don’t do this unless you’re sure you won’t accidentally stick yourself with two sets of basal rates.

Without boring you with every single detail of my very scientific diabetes experiment, I have decided that I’m just not getting the same absorbtion from the OmniPod that I am from the MiniMed pump. Is it the angled cannula? Maybe more of the 9mm cannula is inserted into my skin with the MiniMed Quick-Set than it is with my pods? Is it that my lower back (all parts of my lower back, I tried many locations) and the backs of my arms would rather not be an insulin port? I guess I’ll never really know.

What I do know though, is that even though it’s been a tough road first making the decision to switch to the OmniPod, and now figuring out if it’s right for me – seeing my blood sugars this out of control makes this final decision VERY simple. After I finish up this blog post, I’m calling Insulet and sending the OmniPod back.
(side note: it also was not in the pod’s favor that they got to be really, really itchy on some days. no clue why).

If you are reading this because you are interested in making the switch to the OmniPod, please – don’t let me be the only voice to sway your decision. There are plenty of people who live happily (with great blood sugars!) with this pump. I will also say that there are lots of things I absolutely loved about the pods. Site changes were a breeze, no tubing was a great change, and being able to bolus remotely was very convenient. Customer Service, the two times I called (my PDM crapped out at 5am a few weeks back), was very nice and customer service-y, and the rep here in Durham was phenomenal. In the end though, the point of having an insulin pump is better diabetes management, and the OmniPod just isn’t for me.

Minimed Pump - I'm Back!

I Gotta Pod.

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Let the short posts commence.. ’cause my vacation starts today! Off to Oak Island for a week, trying to get a tan for this lily white skin (really, my nick name is Lily at work..)

Whilst my wonderful Mama and I were texting today — she sent me this gem:

And I seriously can’t stop laughing. I will never be able to listen to rap again without trying to fit “pump” or “meter” or “blood sugar” in there somewhere..  So I googled some more, and found this:

I think I’m about four years late finding this stuff, but I seriously want to meet this guy.

Give Me Your Food.

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Happy Independence Day (tomorrow)!

Husband and I actually get a whole day off work! We weren’t sure that it was going to happen, being in the recreation profession and all.. but it is! So tomorrow, we will be jailing the wild hounds in their appropriate spot in the basement (cool floor.. they actually love it) and headed to Greensboro to party with the family.

We decided to celebrate tomorrow’s non-alarm morning with a nice dinner at home tonight. It feels like we haven’t been focusing on a healthy diet lately and I hate that. It’s either one of us is working late, we’re out seeing friends, or we’re too exhausted to think about cooking something decent. A few weeks ago, we were totally on the healthy meal bandwagon, but we fell off all too quickly. I swear I’ll put my seat belt on this time.. ’cause when I actually stick with it, I LOVE it. I’m really diggin’ the more vegetarian meals to be honest. Except I need bacon. I will never give up bacon. Ever. I’m serious.

In the spirit of healthy eating, I’m trying to figure out what’s going to be best for the good ‘ol diabeats. It’s been forever since I was adamant about a low-carb diet. Low-carb, low-fat, high(er) protein. I’m hoping that this will really help to control my post-meal sugars. I think I also need to evaluate my insulin:carb ratio, and maybe more tamed meals will make it easier to do that.

Does anyone have recipe suggestions? What foods sit best with your sugars?

The Insulin has Dibs on the Cooler.

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Let me start out by saying how thankful I am that we haven’t lost power among the record-breaking temperatures that the U.S. has been experiencing recently. We might only be cooling down thanks to two P.O.S. (that’s not a brand name) window AC units, but hey, no(t a lot of) complaining here!

Unfortunately, we do have family and friends that have had to resort to canceling vacations and booking hotel rooms due to loss of power and excessive heat. And from the looks of the news, there are many more unhappy & hot souls. People that are truly suffering because they don’t have money for a hotel room or family to stay with. My heart hurts for them. There are reports that some people won’t have power until Sunday. That’s a whole WEEK with no AC, no fridge.

What if that were me? I know that in a minor emergency like not having electricity, I could still take care of my diabetes. As the title of my post indicates, the insulin would obviously have first dibs on the cooler. Honestly, I feel better knowing that I could make it through a week without a fridge and be okay. But just as I make a successful emergency plan for the potential of not having electricity one day, I read about a story like this: 

ABCNEWS.COM – Sailors stranded at sea after Tropical Storm Debby were rescued after 9 days.
via Lost Sailors Rescued at Sea.

What if THAT were me??? I’d have to learn how to channel freakin’ MacGyver REAL QUICK if I ever wanted to survive 9 days at sea, on a raft, unprepared. Holy shit. Could I ever make it? My Dexcom and PDM would be ruined immediately, if they even made it on to the tiny raft with me and my sailor friends. Luckily, I’d still be getting a basal from my Pod.. but only for three days (if I was lucky enough to have JUST changed it right before I was dumped into the ocean).  If I had a basal though, I’d probably end up low since I didn’t have any food. And as soon as I wasn’t getting a basal, I’d shoot through the roof in a matter of hours. I’d be in DKA by the end of day 1 without a Pod. If we were on land and in a similar situation, I know Husband would suggest that I dig holes to keep my blood sugar down.  BUT YOU CAN’T DIG HOLES IN WATER, and I don’t tread well. Plus there are sharks, and I’d probably get eaten. My blood sugar is creeping up just thinking about it.

Okay, okay. I know that this is an extremely far-fetched predicament I’m imagining myself in. I guess it’s just scary to think that my life so desperately relies on vials of insulin. I think maybe I’ll stay off of barges for a bit.

Sidenote: So happy that these two guys made it to be able to share their story. I hope they are enjoying a nice hot meal and a cold beer with their families (and some time off of work). Also, kudos to those who helped to rescue them!

Namaste, Diabetes.

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at peace

Namaste is a combination of sanskrit words that translate to “I bow to you,” or in a deeper and more spiritual sense “The light in me honors the light in you.”

Freakin’ Namaste, diabetes! Sometimes, it’s so hard to be positive about this damn disease. Seriously, why would I ever want to bow  to something that causes me to put holes in my body 10x a day? But I try to keep my chin up and look at the bright side of life. When leaving my yoga class last week, I was challenged to seek out the light in diabetes. It is a huge part of my life, after all. The more I can reflect on the good, the better my overall outlook.

  • I am responsible. Absolutely a direct result of having to think about things like fingersticks and insulin at such a young age. Indirect results include paying bills on time and keeping up at work.
  • I am in tune with the foods that I put in my body (okay, not ALWAYS, but still..).
  • I realize the true benefits of exercise. I can SEE that 20 minutes on the elliptical brings my blood sugar down. Talk about instant gratification!
  • It has brought my sister and I closer than we might have ever been (she is a T1 as well). Not that we wouldn’t have been close if not for diabetes, but there is an indescribable connection between us that I will always, always, always cherish. I love you Lindley!
  • Through classes, camp and conferences – I have met some amazingly strong people!
  • I feel like I’ve found ‘my passion’ in life — diabetes education and advocacy. I haven’t figured out how to make it my career, but at least it’s recognized… and that’s peaceful.
  • I appreciate life in a different way than someone without a chronic illness might be able to.
  • It brings husband and I closer together. We don’t make this the focus of our relationship, but – diabetes control is his goal and mine. He likes to help me achieve that.
  • I have a job! I don’t have a job because of diabetes.. but I’m sure as hell encouraged (that’s a euphemism) to always have one so that I can always have insulin!
  • I’m very aware of my body. This can be bad when I over obsess about a stomach ache, but it can also be a great thing. I like to know what’s going on with me.

What are the positives that diabetes has brought to your life?

Namaste!

Carlyn