Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Weather Advisory: Cold with a Chance of Malfunctioning Pumps

I want to throw my pump at a wall. It is making sounds that remind me of the national weather service alarm and I have a headache because of it. (Well, it could be because I have a blood sugar of 402 right now. But that's also my pump's fault.)

"But wait," the intrepid reader thinks, "Why is Sarah's pump making strange noises? Why is her blood sugar so high? How does she know what I'm thinking?"

Well, intrepid reader, let me answer those questions for you.

1. My pump's battery cap is stuck. As in so-attached-to-the-pump-that-it-won't-come-off-so-I-have-to-listen-to-multiple-strange-beeping-noises-for-hours stuck. Thankfully, Animas is overnighting me a new pump, so I'll have a brand new (hopefully) green pump tomorrow. For now I'm using my old Ping that still works, but is very picky about batteries.

Trust me, I would remove the battery if I could.
In my house, we have a plethora of AA batteries floating around the house. To find a battery for my pump, I went through four Wii remote batteries and one TV remote battery before I found a battery that worked. I was convinced that my pump was broken because every time I would put a battery into it, it would give me the "Replace Battery or Face Imminent Doom" alarm. Thankfully, my plucky sticktoitiveness (and my general loathing of having to give myself shots) helped me find a battery that worked and I was relieved. However, my relief was short-lived. I have realized that I have no earthly clue what my insulin sensitivity factors are because I have approximately 5 or 6 different ones throughout the day. My insulin to carb ratio is the same all day and my basals are recorded on mySugr, so for now I'm attempting to figure out my ISFs based on my logbook. (Aren't you just super jealous of how I get to spend my morning?)

2. My blood sugar is so high for two reasons: the battery died last night and I didn't wake up until 9:29 this morning to the alarm going off, so I had probably been without insulin for a few hour and my blood sugar went low last night and I probably over-treated for that too.

3. I'm obviously psychic.

Moral of the Story: Now that I've answered those questions, I have a question for you: where is the best place to put something that is making really loud noises, so it won't be heard? (I'm asking for a friend.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Resolutions and Realizations

So I've had the realization that I should just never post my goals or resolutions on the internet because that's a great way to make them not happen. I don't know why it happens, it must be because of the magical evil of the internet. Whatever it is, I'd rather not bother it. (In case you haven't figured it out, my New Year's resolutions failed miserably.) I'm not too worried about it because no one (shockingly, not even me) is perfect.

I think I've come to realize that perfection is an absolutely ridiculous idea since there is no static definition of perfection for every person on this planet. Some people define perfection as having flat lines on their CGMs. Others think a certain A1C will suddenly make life easier. The great thing about perfection is that once you realize there is no perfect, you won't feel as terrible about not having that A1C of 6. While someone may have your ideal A1C, another aspect of his or her life is probably not stellar. After all, life is a huge balancing act. And nothing is ever balanced in the way you hope it will be.

Schoolwork. Diabetes. Emotions.

None of these are ever balanced.

I can give you a few currently deprived areas of my life:

  • Sleep (I'm writing this at 1:29 AM, if that tells you anything.)
  • The information that is magically bestowed upon a person that tells one what to do with her life
  • Health (ha hA HA)

My life isn't perfect and neither is anyone else's on this planet. I have to remind myself that because I constantly fall victim to comparing myself others. I'm friends with extremely intelligent people, which is a blessing and a curse because they push me to do as well as they do, but they also make me feel inferior, intelligence-wise. I've gotten better when it comes to comparing grades, but I need to desperately work on not comparing myself to others in different parts of life. That's tough for me because whenever I'm in an awful mood, I tend to want to just stay angry and sad for a while, so comparing just enables me to feel worse for longer.

I also need to work on being less defensive because I'm very used to be attacked for my views or just my personality/ If someone doesn't agree with me or says something insulting I get really defensive. Really quickly. 

I'm not really sure what this was supposed to do, but it was nice to write out what I've been thinking about lately.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

In Defense of Twitter (and Other Forms of Social Media)

I've been inspired to write at a kind of late hour, again. (It's 11ish right now, so at least it's dark.) This time I wanted to tackle a little issue that I have to talk to a plethora of people about, and that is the good side of social media.

Oh Twitter, everyone loves to hate you. (Seriously. I have to defend you to people that say social media just makes us too narcissistic and is a useless tool. A lot.) So many people tweet that they are deleting their twitter accounts because they, "ruin their priorities" and they need to "focus on the real, important things." And then these people think they are wonderful people. After all, they have rid from their lives a man-made evil. Right? I don't think so.

Twitter and other forms of social media are not a collective form of Satan. (I think that's 4chan, but let's not talk about that.) Twitter allows people to connect and know that they aren't alone in their struggles. #DSMA (aka DIZMA) let's people chat every Wednesday with other PWDs (Type 1, 1.5, 2 & Awesome) about living with diabetes and just normal life as well. On every other day of the week you can still find people supporting others on twitter using that exact same hashtag! Seriously, how could a tool that helps people get support (of the emotional and sometimes technical variety) be that evil?

So which roller coaster does it look like I'm riding today?
Social media also gives people a sense of anonymity that cannot be achieved elsewhere. I know so many teens that use Twitter and Tumblr to express their feelings of hatred towards diabetes. And while it may make you sad to see things like this (it definitely doesn't make me feel like a ray of sunshine), it allows people to release their angry feelings towards having to constantly deal with a chronic illness. Social media gives people ways to have an outlet for their feelings without being destructive or terrible to themselves or others. There is no harm in that.

And speaking of not harming, remember that social media is a great place to continue and start advocacy efforts. Who remembers the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? (I think that would be anyone that ever went on the internet last summer.) That challenge that took the internet by storm raised $115 million dollars to go towards research for improving the lives and finding a cure for people with ALS. Imagine if a challenge like that happened for diabetes. (Seriously, someone needs to get on that. ASAP.) No harm at all. I think that counts as all help.

Honestly, I get it. For most people social media is just a way to keep track with friends and family and a way to gauge popularity. For others, social media is an place for an outlet, a lace for advocacy, a place to get support, a place that reminds them that they are not alone. So before you make a huge deal about the pure evil that is social media, remember that it's not just a place for popularity and pettiness for everyone.

Moral of the Story: Shockingly, Twitter is not Satan!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

Hello everyone and Happy 2015! I am super excited for this year and I just know it will be great! I usually don't like to make new year's resolutions because, well, we all know how those usually turn out... This year, however is going to be awesome and different, so I wanted to share my goals with you guys!

source unknown
  1. Do yoga. I've discovered yoga this week and fallen in love with it. I love it because it isn't just good for the outside, but it's also good for the inside. It has an affect that makes my day seem 10 billion times better, so I will be practicing yoga throughout the year. Right now, I'm doing Yoga with Adrienne's 30 Days of Yoga, and I am so excited to see where this leads me!
  2. Be punctual. Ask anyone I know and they will all tell you that I am perpetually late. Was I supposed to be at your house at 7:00? Count on me being there at 7:15. And I hate that, so I am going to be ready to leave 15 minutes before I actually need to. And also, I need to put things on my Google calendar, so I'll be doing that too, (You're welcome mom and dad. :))
  3. Use Facebook. This sounds super weird, but I want to use Facebook more so I can have a better record of what I'm doing and I also want to be able to let my family see what I'm actually doing. 
  4. Do Project 365. Project 365 is a fun photo taking challenge where all you have to do is take one picture every day for a year. Sounds simple enough, right? Let's hope so! I'll be posting my weekly photos on Saturdays, so if you're interested stay tuned for that!
  5. Chart chart chart. I hate charting, But it's important. So I will suffer for the sake of good blood sugars.
  6. Charge my CGM. I have an awful habit of just forgetting to charge my CGM after it dies. For days. It's dead right now. Oopsies.
I hope you have an absolutely fantastic year this year, and I'd love it if you shared with me what your resolutions are (if you have them!)

Moral of the Story: I think I'm going to go charge my CGM now.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Holidays!

Hi everyone! I wanted to pop in a first of all wish you a happy last day of Hanukkah, a merry Christmas Eve, or just a happy December 24th! I hope you have a fantastic holiday season and a wonderful New Year's Eve and day.

via unknown source
I have tons of plans for the blog next year that I can't wait to share with you!
Have a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. I'll see you in 2015!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Updates

What am I even supposed to type here? It's National Diabetes Awareness Month and two days (as a type, one day now) away from International Diabetes Day and I'm just not feeling it. Yep. The one month that I'm supposed to be advocating about my lovely BFF diabetes and I just don't feel like it. I've seen a lot of people saying they are having advocacy burnout and I thing I am too. And that's completely fine. I don't feel like I have to be running around and always talking about diabetes and you shouldn't feel like you have to either.

I think advocacy is absolutely necessary for any cause that needs to see change and improvements; diabetes and the stigma, technology, and research surrounding it definitely need change. But it's still okay to take a break sometimes. And so that's where I am right now. I've been focusing on other things going on in my life because my life isn't only about diabetes. That reminds me of something.

I absolutely hate this quote from The Fault in our Stars:
Augustus Waters: What's your story?
Hazel Grace Lancaster: I was diagnosed when I was 13...
Augustus Waters: No no no, your real story.
Mostly because it implies that someone's disease/ chronic illness isn't really a part of their life. Because of course it is. My diabetes and I have been stuck together like glue since I was 5 1/2 and it has contributed to so many experiences that have shaped me into who I am today. Camp Kudzu, AKA one of the best places I have ever been, is a positive that diabetes introduced me to. So is the whole DOC. I have no clue who I would be today without any of you. So why is it that when people want to know about someone with some sort of illness, they don't want to know about this integral part of his or her life? It just doesn't make sense. I've gone off on a huge tangent, so I think I'll step off of my soapbox now...

This is all I talk about for the rest of my blog post #sorrynotsorry // via People Too
What on earth should I talk about now? There isn't anything exciting going on in my life, diabetes-wise. I haven't gotten the new slimmer sensor from Dexcom or the new Diasend or the new software for my CGM yet. I do have other stuff going on, so I might as well talk about it. I have my audition for All State Chorus this Saturday and apparently I've been practicing my solo in the wrong key for the past three months; that's okay, though, because I have it memorized, so it is fairly simple to sing the same intervals between notes just within a different set of notes. I'm really excited for my audition and hoping I get in because I absolutely adored All State when I went in 8th grade.

And speaking of chorus, our Christmas songs are all fantastic and I am obsessed with singing Christmas music. My favorite piece we are singing in Chamber is O Magnum Mysterium; it is gorgeous and dark and amazing! (Can you tell that I might like it?) In my church choir, my favorites are Still, Still, Still, (seriously this is SO beautiful) Night of Silence. (we aren't doing this exact arrangement, but it's close and still beautiful) and O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. (this arrangement is perfect) I know it isn't even the day after Thanksgiving yet and I'm all for no Christmas anything until after Thanksgiving, but choirs start singing your favorite carols long before you even think about them, (aka September and October) so I thought I should share them with you!

I have to drink tons of water, rest my voice, (which no one is complaining about because I talk all the time) and get plenty of sleep on Friday, so my voice is prepared for my audition on Saturday. I also have to drink tea Saturday morning, take a hot as possible shower, and drink even more water to keep my vocal chords and folds ready to sing my audition solo.

Moral of the Story: Chorus has my heart, obviously.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Standardized Tests

Standardized tests don't like my pancreas. Or maybe my pancreas doesn't like standardized testing. Either way, it just does not work out well for me. I had issues with CRCT (standardized grade level test required to go to the next grade) in 8th grade. And my AP Biology Exam last year. And my Georgia High School Writing Test today.

Today, we had to take the tedious, but otherwise super-easy Georgia High School Writing Test, along with every other junior in the state of Georgia. Sounds fun, right? No? Well imagine writing about an awful state-created prompt and then being low in the middle of testing. Now become a sixteen year old girl and you're me! Amazing!

My teacher had to email the administrative staff, then the nurse had to come to my class so I could leave and then I inhaled a 35 carb bottle of apple juice and two or three Reese's peanut butter cups. Delicious? Yes. Well-timed? No. Annoying? Most definitely.

Diabetes is a roller coaster of fun!
It's a little weird to think about the fact that I'm going to have diabetes and never ever have a break from it. That sucks. But that's why there's twitter, the DOC, blogs, and large bags of vegan cheddar cheese popcorn and youtube exist. Right? I sure hope so because those seem to help me feel better about the whole thing. Burritos are also super helpful in these instances.

Also, I have been going low all the time this week. I'm in the nurses office at least twice daily to get a juice or sit up there for 30 minutes because I feel like I'm going down really quickly. It sucks. I'm going to lower my basals, but my dad should be faxing in my blood sugars to the endo tomorrow, so maybe they can help me out. I sure hope they can because being low all the time is very tiring.

Moral of the Story: Diabetes is a random basket of fun. All the time. Just like this blog post.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Emojis and the Endo

I really hope I'm not the only person slightly obsessed with emojis. I'm not sure why I like them so much, but I do. Is that weird? Probably. Who cares?

Emojis are seemingly superfluous little symbols, but they are actually quite useful. I like using them when I want to talk about my CGM. Instead of finding the right lighting to take a picture and hoping the number or arrow doesn't change while I'm trying to snap a picture, I can just say CGM: 108  How awesome is that? I'd say it's pretty darn amazing.

They're also just fun to use. Some days emojis can say more than words ever will. After all, they do say that a picture is worth 1,000 words. (I feel way too cliché right now)

Emojis are just amazing, okay? // Via Studio DIY

In other, slightly more diabetes related news, my A1C has finally changed, after six months of being the same! It went down 0.3% to 7%, so I'm super happy about that. My next goal is to get it below 7% because I've never had an A1C below that before. I will honestly be happy with a 6.9% because anything below 7% is pretty much new territory for me.

And we all know what going below 7% means. The end of mindless snacking (I type as I'm eating pistachios) and the beginning of *gasp* charting and *even louder gasp than usual* exercise. I'm not exactly what one would call healthy when it comes to fitness. Or food. Or anything really. You may be wondering, "Why on earth is this teenage girl telling me about how unhealthy she is?" Well, it's basically forcing me to actually follow through with the things that must happen to get the A1C I want. You see, I've told you I'm going to do this things, so if I don't do them, I've lied to you. And I don't really want to be known as 'that lying blogger,' so I am now forced to do what I've said I would. See? It all works out for me in the end.

I'll be posting CGM stuff and logs so you guys actually know that I've been doing what I promised weekly, so stay tuned for the joys of teenage blood sugar issues!

Moral of the Story: 

Monday, September 1, 2014

At Least There Will be a Cure by the Time You’re 16!

I was assigned a writing prompt in the style of Sherman Alexie's "Indian Education" for my AP English Language and Compositon (AP Lang for short because no one actually wants to say all of that every time someone asks about it) class. It was a really fun assignment because it let me write about my diabetes in a style that I actually like to write in. I'm going to share it with you and also have the video here for you, so you can hear what it is supposed to sound like, since this piece was written to be read aloud. I hope you enjoy listening/ reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it!
--



At Least There Will be a Cure by the Time You’re 16!

0 // shots

Apparently I’ve been going to the bathroom a lot. The doctor says I’m diabetic and I haven’t the faintest idea about what that means. The only thing that I’m 100% sure about is that this diabetes thing is bad. Next thing I know, I’m sitting on my mother’s lap and crying while clutching my favorite pink bear, Maggie.

It’s all so sudden.

Needles are being pressed into my skin; the only thing they are doing is making me feel worse. Coming from these needles is a magical elixir supposed to fix all of my problems: insulin. Did you know that it won’t actually fix all of my problems? The worst part is the blood. There is so much blood. They take blood from me every hour to test how much sugar is in my blood. Did you know that there is sugar in your blood? Apparently my blood sugar is 382.

It’s all so permanent.

1 // pump

I get to try out this new device that replaces the minimum of six shots I receive daily.
Pro: Instead of putting insulin into a shot, I can put it into a little blue device. Now I only have to get one shot every three days.
Con: The girls I want to be friends with won’t let me sit at their table anymore.
“Why can’t I sit with you?”
“That weird thing makes you different.”
It’s not a thing.

4 // pump

My blood sugar got too high and I’ve been throwing up all day. This warrants my second trip to the hospital. For some reason they put the one patient that has been throwing up all day in a puke-green room. Whose bright (green) idea was that?

I stayed at the hospital for the mandatory three days. The nurse told me, “I’m proud you’ve only been in here once since your diagnosis. Most kids your age are in the hospital once a month.” I’ve never been happier to receive a complement in my life.

I went back to school and bragged to everyone about how I had missed three days of school because I had a stomach virus.

Compliments make even the stomach virus turn into an amazing event.

6 // insulin pens

I’m on insulin pens now; my pump is in the way.

It hits me on my side when I’m doing jumping jacks, as if diabetes itself is physically reminding me every day that I am the different one. Trust me, I already know that I am different.

After testing my blood in the locker room one day, a girl told me that I was being gross and that testing my blood in the locker room was weird. My best friend agreed with her. We aren’t friends anymore.

8 // pump

Pumps are so much better than any insulin delivering device involving daily needles could be. I don’t understand why I ever thought that an insulin pen was a good idea.

Actually, I do.

It was the whole wanting-to-fit-in-and-be-popular effect that middle school seems to have on sixth graders.

almost 9 // pump

I know absolutely no one at school that is diabetic. Luckily the internet seems to be home to plenty of people just like me.

The internet now has one more resident like them: me.

It’s this magical place that I can go to whenever and wherever I am; I can complain about being high all day without having 25 people asking where I get my drugs from.

For your information, my drugs come from the nice pharmacist at CVS that knows my entire family on a first-name basis.

10 // pump

I have been in a permanent and unwanted relationship with my broken pancreas for a decade.

10 years.

Two-thirds of my life.

Relationships are not nearly as wonderful as everyone seems to think.

11 // pump

I have a CGM and it tests my blood every five minutes. I think I officially count as a cyborg. After all, I am attached to two little machines now.

I love putting my CGM on one arm and my pump site on the other.

Answering the questions people have about my lifelines is the highlight of my day.

Let me assure you: I am not joking.

I am not the girl I was 11 years ago.

I may still have the same permanent illness protected under the American Disabilities Act that I found out about 11 years ago.

I may still have the same broken pancreas that I was gifted with 11 years ago.

I may still use the same insulin that I used 11 years ago.

However, one thing has changed since that terrible winter break in 2004.

I’m now proud of this incurable illness requiring insulin to replace my islets’ insufficiencies.

And that is more of a miracle than a cure will ever be.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

I Wear my Pump on my Hip... and my CGM

I am loving the #showmeyourpump pictures on twitter this week. If you've been living under a rock, this fantastic and empowering hashtag for diabetics everywhere started because of this year's winner of Miss Idaho 2014. What does some beauty pageant have to do with pumps or even diabetes? Well, Miss Idaho, Sierra Sandison is a type 1 diabetic that walked down the stage of the pageant in a bikini while wearing her pump! (It's a t:slim, to be exact!)  On her Instagram post, she talked about how it is, "terrifying walking out on stage in a swimsuit, let alone attached to a medical device. My message to everyone, diabetic or not, is that we all have something that doesn't "measure up" to the beauty standards set by the media--and that is okay! It does not make you any less beautiful." Her message was amazing and she encouraged diabetics to post a picture of themselves with their pump, insulin pens, shots, or any other medical device they use because they are diabetic. After she posted this, the DOC quickly saw her photo and her story and suddenly thousands of people have been sharing pictures of themselves with their pumps. It's amazing to see everyone so proud of their small devices that keep them alive, as they should be! After all, if you have something that keeps you alive, you should be proud to show it off- it keeps you alive!

YAY FOR SHOWING PUMPS
Yay so I'm just really excited about #showmeyourpump because I love seeing everyone so proud of their pumps. Especially people my age, since most of the other teen diabetics I know hide their pumps from the public and try to avoid being see with it on at all costs. AHH I'M JUST REALLY EXCITED YAY

Okay, so you've read about the pump portion of my post, so let's move on to the other, almost-as-important device in the title of my post: my CGM. So I've decided that I am going to try putting my CGM on my hip because it's as perfectly good to use as any other site I've used for my CGM. I'll report back to you with how it goes, so we can determine in a TOTALLY scientific way if this is a good site.

Moral of the Story: PUMPS ARE COOL