Friday, May 24, 2013

The Friday Appy Hour: Savings

If you own an Apple Device, this post is for you. I do indeed love my IBabies(not as much as the human baby, but still, a lot). And I love to A. Shop and B. Save the following apps make my life just a bit easier in that regard.

#1 Cardstar. This app takes the numbers on your loyalty card(CVS, Office Depot, library, whatever) and converts it to barcode form. The days of forgetting your card or carrying around 50 cards stuffed in your wallet are over...this is the 21st century, people. You simply whip out your phone,they scan the barcode,& you are on your merry way. Its also not dependent on Internet or wifi so you could probably even put it on an I-touch. I love this app.

#2 Retail Me Not. Before you buy anything,check for store coupons in this app. Again,no need to remember real paper coupons & so nice & tidy.(extensive,too)

#3 Shopkick. Gives you "points" for walking into various stores, (Target, Best Buy,Old Navy,etc)& more points for scanning various products & for buying products/gas. (can link to credit/debit card)Points can be redeemed for gift cards,etc.If you're going there anyway, this is worth your while.

#4 Receipts. Snap a pic, save for future account spending record.

#5 Coupons/The Coupons App. Another place to get e-coupons for on-the-go.

#6 Slick Deals. (#1 deal site in the entire universe) Gives you a reference to what you are looking for,when you are out and about.

These are some of the apps that I's a pretty small,basic list.(searching:Coupons in the Apple Store will give you many more) Living Social & Groupon will also give you some good deals occasionally.(I draw the line at hydro colon way,no how) My phone gives me so much more then the ability to make calls/play music/post to FB/tweet/picture load to Instagram/bid on Ebay,etc...) it's literally a life manager. (iPhone: Life as CGM:Diabetes Management) Probably other smart phones have a similar money-saving apps..but I enjoy the huge the huge selection that Apple has.

Next week I'll share with you some of my favorite diabetes apps.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Day 6: Diabetes Art (#Dblog Week)

This year Diabetes Art moves up from the Wildcard choices as we all channel our creativity with art in the broadest sense. Do some “traditional” art like drawing, painting, collage or any other craft you enjoy. Or look to the literary arts and perhaps write a d-poem or share and discuss a favorite quote. Groove to some musical arts by sharing a song that inspires you diabetes-wise, reworking some song lyrics with a d-twist, or even writing your own song. Don’t forget dramatic arts too, perhaps you can create a diabetes reality show or play. These are just a starting point today – there are no right or wrong ways to get creative!

Poetry is my preferred method of expressing my here you go.

If tomorrow never comes
If today is all we have
Disasters-man made and natural
All terrible D's

There's a 365
During a qualifying exam
A 110
On a sunny, summer-ish day
A 44
Scarfing down smarties in a Target aisle while your toddler spills chocolate milk all over the floor
Don't stop believing
Eighty ok "in-range, or acceptable" numbers
And 520 that aren't.

It's not about the numbers
Seeking to define us
Seeking to control us
Seeking to destroy us
Showing us who is boss
Not playing well with life.
(grow the heck up, diabetes)

Inverting the equation
We are never defined
By a piece of inaccurate technology.
Up and down
Round and round
Consistently unconsistent
Expect the unexpected.

Maybe tomorrow will be better
Maybe tomorrow will be the same
Maybe tomorrow will be worse
The joys of this moment
The sip of this diet coke
The sand beneath my (still present) toes
The laughter of my toddler
Eyes that can see and read and experience the beauty of the written word
Is what I know in this moment
In fact, the best things of life
Diabetes cannot take from me
tonight, tomorrow, not ever.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Day 5: The Other Medical Condition

Just like in the movie, today we’re doing a swap. If you could switch chronic diseases, which one would you choose to deal with instead of diabetes? And while we’re considering other chronic conditions, do you think your participation in the DOC has affected how you treat friends and acquaintances with other medical conditions? (Thanks to Jane of Jane K. Dickinson, RN, PhD, CDE and Bob of T Minus Two for this topic suggestion.)

I was going to write an entirely different post then the one I'm writing today. But this morning, I checked my facebook,checking on a friend that I haven't talked to in some time...and the condolences were there, scrolling down her facebook page.

She died one year ago today. I am deeply saddened.
I could delve into the myriad of other chronic diseases, discuss the bad and the not-so-rough ones. I'm not going to do that. I'm going to talk about that disease, that the world needs to know about, and may that have ultimately claimed her life.

Her name was Tess, and we met on an online message board for people with Bartter's Syndrome.Bartter's Syndrome, as you may or may not know, is an inherited kidney condition in which the ion (potassium, magnesium) reabsorbing parts of the kidney do not function correctly and dump out these particles back into the urine. This is a problem, because your body needs to maintain a constant level of these to function correctly, and if blood levels of them drop too low you can have seizures, heart rhythm disturbances, and possibly a heart attack. (as well as all over twitches and muscle weakness)Depending on just how screwed up those parts of the kidneys are, you may need massive IV infusions of magnesium or potassium. (if you cannot take in enough orally) Also, because magnesium and potassium strongly affect sodium and calcium, levels of those may be impacted as well. In rare instances, it may lead to kidney failure. Tess had had Bartter's Syndrome from birth,and was on pretty significant IV doses of various electrolytes. I'd been diagnosed at the age of 23, and had had a fairly stable time of it up until a hospitalization for an intesseception (in 2008), and then required massive doses of IV magnesium(in the beginning, 2-3x a week. I had no life.) She was a wealth of knowledge about the disease, and sent me several hundred vials of magnesium/saline solution, helped me figure out how to use an insulin pump to administer it, helped me find a competent nephrologist.(so I could stop having to get it IV) And then something strange happened, she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. (as an adult, in her late 20's) She'd had to deal with her chronic disease all her life...she knew what Bartter's Syndrome was like. I'd had diabetes for 11 years, I knew what that was like. Bartter's Syndrome is extremely rare, something like 1/million people. Type 1 diabetes= not so rare, but still, rare. (if you were going to get diabetes, you'd be more likely to get type 2)
Which made us probably the only two people on earth to have both. And she lived just a state away. I regret never getting to meet her, I'll always regret that. She was so kind and helpful and med-savvy. (I found out from her obituary that she'd been in RN school, before having to drop out.) She asked me questions about the insulin pump about diabetes and insulin pumps and eventually got an insulin pump.

People live with Bartter's Syndrome, successfully. People live and thrive and have careers and babies and travel the world with this disease. For me, its never really been the constant, daily, life-threatening threat (it has been once or twice, but not consistently)...and it may have actually saved my life when I was diagnosed with diabetes.(as metabolic alkalosis balances out metabolic acidosis). It allows me to eat as much salt as I want, and it doesn't interfere with day-to-day life. (all I have to do at this point, is to get an IV infusion once a month) I'd defiantly switch my diabetes for just this disease.But other people aren't so lucky with it. Some people have a rockier course with a disease, while some just sail on through.

RIP, friend.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Day 3: Accomplishments, Large and Small

We don’t always realize it, but each one of us had come a long way since diabetes first came into our life. It doesn’t matter if it’s been 5 weeks, 5 years or 50 years, you’ve done something outstanding diabetes-wise. So today let’s share the greatest accomplishment you've made in terms of dealing with your (or your loved one’s) diabetes. No accomplishment is too big or too small - think about self-acceptance, something you’ve mastered (pump / exercise / diet / etc.), making a tough care decision (finding a new endo or support group / choosing to use or not use a technology / etc.). (Thanks to Hillary of Rainie and Me for this topic suggestion.)

Pretty proud of this one.

And this one.

(giving whole blood to others a total of 35x over 7 years)

And even my cgm case matching (and formerly insulin pump case matching) ensemble throwing-together skillz have improved over the years.

It's still a work in progress though...there's so much that I want to accomplish (despite the diabetes). If there was a cure tomorrow you wouldn't hear me complaining that I couldn't take it along for the ride, though.

What have you accomplished, with diabetes?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Memories: The Day the World Went White

Today we’re going to share our most memorable diabetes day. You can take this anywhere.... your or your loved one's diagnosis, a bad low, a bad high, a big success, any day that you’d like to share. (Thanks to Jasmine of Silver-Lined for this topic suggestion.)

It was May 1999, (it always seems to be May when such things happen, but I digress) and I'd just been diagnosed with diabetes 5 months prior. I'd worn glasses for nearsightedness for much of my life, and coupled with the diabetes diagnoses my vision was on a rollarcoaster. After diagnoses, however, things improved, went back to normal. One month after diagnoses, I'd had an eye appointment with a pediatric opthamologist who told me that things were back to normal, in that regard. And my a1c improved from 23 to 14 to 9.

And then came May. There were no signs, no indication of what was about to happen. I'd had a little bit of blurry vision (that I chalked up to allergies) and went to sleep one night, blissfully unaware of what was about to happen.

Next morning, my vision was almost completely obscured, it was like trying to stare through a white sheet with little pinprick holes. Naturally, I freaked out...and we got a stat consultation at the pediatric ophthalmologist.

I remember sitting there, scared out of my ever living mind, thinking that this was the end, this was blindness & diabetes had already managed to ruin my life already. And I remember the pediatric ophthalmologist talking about me, not to me, to his roomful of residents as they all took a look-see at my eyes. I remember the words "we can try surgery, which may or may not work, because we're not entirely convinced that this is all that's going on," and how that made me feel. I remember the pediatric ophthalmologist saying he'd only seen this before once (in his entire career) was an acute, rapid growth of cataracts within a few days time, and most probably related to the extreme drop in my hemoglobin a1c. And then we went home, to wait for the surgery.

Blindness. I couldn't read my meter. I couldn't draw up my insulin. I couldn't read, watch tv, do so many things you take for granted. I could see (and feel) well enough not to run into the wall and give my self a concussion, but that was just about it. My family went on a camping trip (I had to go) and I was a moody,depressed, introverted, wreck. They went to a Star Wars movie and I couldn't go. And one morning, there was a severe low blood sugar (the number "12" was involved) that made me even more ticked off at it. I was almost completely dependent on others, for my disease management. And that didn't help my desire to foster independence and self-sufficiency with this disease.

Two weeks later, it was time for surgery. I'd never had surgery before. The room was white, and cold, and the orderly had to gently guide me with his arm to prevent me from tripping over the IV pole and falling flat on my face. I felt shame, embarrassed that I couldn't see the bed & that I was half naked & I couldn't see where to climb up on. I felt fear that I'd never see again. And I felt anger, that diabetes had done this to me.

When I woke up, there was a patch over one eye. The world was still white, and I still couldn't see anything. We went home and I had to spend much of that time laying flat to give my eye a chance to heal. The next day, the resident doctor took the patch off & the world literally smacked me in the face with it's clarity. I saw the doctor, I saw the floor, I saw every detail with amazing new wonder. And the tears rolled, unabashed, down my cheeks.(if it would have been proper to jump up and down and hug him, I would have) Two weeks later, they did the other eye and both eyes could see again.

Diabetes took something from me, but it gave me back something much more precious. I don't take my sight for granted anymore...I cherish every day I have with it. I am grateful that medical technology is able to fix that particular complication. And I pray that that is the only serious complication that I will ever have, from this disease. It taught me that even though you can't always prevent this stuff from occurring, you still need to take diabetes management seriously. (odds are much higher that it will happen, if you don't try)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Day 2: We, the Undersigned

Recently various petitions have been circulating the Diabetes Online Community, so today let’s pretend to write our own. Tell us who you would write the petition to – a person, an organization, even an object (animate or inanimate) - get creative!! What are you trying to change and what have you experienced that makes you want this change? (Thanks to Briley of inDpendence for this topic suggestion.)

We, the fathers/mothers/sisters/brothers/wives/husbands/aunts/uncles/grandparents/grandchildren/caregivers/friends of the Diabetes Online Community, are writing to you, yes, YOU.(oh clueless, blissfully ignorant, person)Our lives are challenging, and ever revolving around this disease. As such, there are a few things that we feel that need to be changed...and changed NOW.

#1 Let's stop the diabetes discrimination at school, and in the workplace. Let's allow students with diabetes to be able to care for their diabetes needs, without fear of reprisal. Let's fire the jerk instructors of the world that don't want to make those accommodations. Let's make our workplaces and schools SAFE places, where we can all feel good about going to.

#2 Someone needs to conduct a massive re-education of the masses. All diabetes educational materials written prior to 1993 should be burned,and everyone should attend a mandatory diabetes educational seminar. (travelling CDE's?) As well as RIGHT information being taught in schools and universities. Newspapers and other media that publish diabetes inaccuracies should be heavily fined for such offenses.Maybe some day people will understand this disease better, and the ignorant jokes about diabetes will stop.

#3 People with diabetes need access to good physicians, CDE's, proper meds(etc.),and a host of other resources to properly manage their disease. I don't have any answers to how this can take place, but I do know that there are many, many people out there who will never be able to afford good care or maybe ANY care and that breaks my heart. People with diabetes deserve the best care possible.

#4 People with diabetes should be rewarded for trying to take care of themselves. Listen up, insurance companies. I think you should pay for gym memberships, spa days (mental health IS important), and my diet coke RX.(ok, so that last one isn't that important) Incentive is a powerful motivator, and you need to encourage those feelings of wanting to do better. You could save so much money in the long run if you'd cover these things before they esculate to the point of gangrene and amputations and sepsis and million dollar stays in the ICU. PAY FOR THEM. Education. Mental Health. Diabetes supplies. This is not college level math, this is so basic that even I (who is very, very, bad at math) can see it.

The Diabetes Online (& offline) Community

Monday, May 13, 2013

To Endo, With Love

Often our health care team only sees us for about 15 minutes several times a year, and they might not have a sense of what our lives are really like. Today, let’s pretend our medical team is reading our blogs. What do you wish they could see about your and/or your loved one's daily life with diabetes? On the other hand, what do you hope they don't see? (Thanks to Melissa Lee of Sweetly Voiced for this topic suggestion.)

Dear Endo,

I wish you'd say "Good Job." I know my a1c isn't 5.9 (nor will it ever be) and I'm not a lean, mean, marathon-running machine, (I wish that I were) but I get up every morning and try to do my best with this diabetes crap. It isn't always easy, its rarely easy. I wish you knew how encouraging it would be to hear those words coming from your mouth. That hasn't happened yet, not when I delivered a beautiful healthy baby boy,(a "Congrats!" but no "Great job, he's perfect!") and certainly not when I got the best a1c of my entire diabetes existence and you told me I was a bad mother & harming my baby with that a1c and I went home and cried for two solid hours until the DOC pulled me out of the depths of my 7 month pregnant depression. Everyone has bad days, and I've forgiven you for those words. (I cannot, however, forget them. They are seared onto my soul for eternity.) I used to fantasize about getting that under 7 a1c and getting to hear those words from a health care provider, but now I have come to realize that its probably not that big a deal to you and won't ever come to pass. I know I will feel good about any and all a1cs around that number, but it would be nice to feel that my health care provider could also be my cheerleader. I still respect you and your solid clinical skills, I get great care from your office and you (with the exception of pregnancy) don't hound me about my blood sugars. Thank you for that.

But mostly, I just wish you'd acknowledge the effort that I put into have no idea just how uplifted and amazing that would make me feel. Diabetes is a life long journey, and "thus shines a good deed in a weary world." You've got the power to make this journey a little less burdensome.


Your Patient