FULL of Thanks (Thankful)

Even tho this post is part of the #happydiabeticchallenge, I’ll actually be off the diabetes topic today.  So, here it is.  The answer to the today’s question, “What are you most thankful for?”

This is my first Thanksgiving in our new home.  In Colorado!

And although I have so many things to be grateful for, I’m putting that one at the top of my list because it’s brand new.  Firsts, as we all know, are special.

I’m SO grateful that my husband, Fermin, was laid off from his job.  It was during that in-between job time that we actually made the move.  It was a life long dream for both of us, and rather than waiting for it to happen to us, we decided to make it happen.

Once we made the decision in our heads and hearts, everything quickly fell into place.  And I believe things go that way when it’s meant to be.

Now we live in a place that is as beautiful as any vacation/destination spot I’ve ever been to.  I am definitely living the dream right now.

So, I’m thankful for EVERYTHING.  I’m thankful for that shitty day Fermin got laid off.  And I’m thankful for the years I spent in Dallas feeling stuck.  I’m thankful for how out of my grasp the idea of moving felt for for quite sometime.  I appreciate THIS, right now, all the more because getting here wasn’t necessarily easy.

I am thankful that right now, I’m healthy and so happy.  And I just want to live in this moment, this right now, as long as possible.  These are, most definitely, the good old days.

The Bright Side of Diabetes

(#happydiabeticchallenge)

I don’t have a hard time seeing the bright side of my Type 1 diabetes at all.

I’ve said it before on this blog and I’ll say it again:  I am most likely healthier because I have Type 1 diabetes. Here’s why I say that:

*I’m always very mindful of what I eat, since I have to take insulin anytime food enters my mouth.  Eating crap like donuts just doesn’t seem worth it to me.  I don’t want to take the time to figure out when to dose my insulin, exactly how much to take, etc to avoid a super high blood sugar.  I’m lazy like that, so it’s easier to just abstain from donuts. And other similar crap.

*Even on days I don’t feel like getting much exercise, I do it, without fail, because I know what a big difference it makes on my blood sugars for that day. It’s a form of instant gratification for me.

*If I feel like I’m getting sick, one of the first symptom I always have is a rise in my blood sugars.  I’m not sure why, but I take it to mean that my body is under extra stress, fighting something off. So, I take it super easy and get extra rest on that day.  And usually, the result is that I don’t end up getting sick.  I have a feeling if more people just tried sleeping when they were feeling the start of a cold or something minor like that, they might be able to fight it off almost immediately upon waking from a good long nap. I’m not kidding!  The power of sleep is a beautiful mystery.

*I regularly see my endocrinologist.  Like most Type 1s, I go to my doctor about 3 times a year.  If something is off in my bloodwork, even if it’s beyond my blood sugar, I’m made aware of it.  She asks me questions and reminds me about other doctor’s I need to check in with like my opthamologist, a screening for my heart health, etc. In other words, regularly seeing a physician as I do, I get reminded often about the condition of my health. And because of that, I don’t ignore things.  (Most things.  Although, every now and then, I definitely blow some things off for longer than I should. Hello, gynocologist- I don’t enjoy my visits with you.)

I think I am lucky to have Type 1.  If I had to get a challenging disease thrown at me, I’m glad it was this one.  I watched my Mom endure chemotherapy after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  I wish she had just had Type 1 instead, and she’d more than likely still be here, living a totally normal life.

I try to never complain about diabetes.  I personally don’t have a reason to.  I know other people that have faced huge challenges because of it that I, fortunately, haven’t had to deal with. Living in the moment is a good practice.  And in this moment, all is well.  And that’s one of the many bright sides I see.

Diabetes Awareness Month #HappyDiabeticChallenge

If you’ve found this blog, you’re likely either a/ a fellow diabetic, or b/ you know or love someone with diabetes. And you probably know that November is diabetes awareness month.

I’ve been far and away from this blog for a long while, but after seeing a post on Instagram about the #happydiabeticchallenge during this special month, I decided that was a great way to jumpstart things around here.

I’m a few days late, but each day, there’s some quick little thing to post about and I figured I would do it here, maybe with a little more verbiage than on Instagram.

So I’m cramming the first three days of it onto this one post.  (Don’t worry, they’re short!)

  1. Introduce Yourself.   I’m Kerri.  I’m a Type 1 Diabetic, and I have lived with it for, I think, 24 years now.  I was in my early 20s when I was diagnosed, but I’m not absolutely sure of the exact date. I use a Dexcom- not the latest version, yet- and take multiple daily injection.  I live healthfully and happily most days with diabetes, and by no means consider it the enemy. I’ve recently moved from Dallas, TX to Roxborough, Colorado.  My husband and are are both Texas natives, and we are so happy to finally be in a new and beautiful place.  I now have great hikes each day with our two Aussies, Lucy and Ricky Ricardo.  Do I wish we had gotten out here sooner?  Well, I think everything happens in its right time.  I appreciate all the beauty around me, the lack of traffic and concrete jungleness, and having 4 true seasons all the more, because I waited so long to have it.  I appreciate every single day of this beautiful life.
  2. Type of Diabetes. As mentioned above I’m a TYPE 1.  Hence, the name of this blog.  I find the confusion between the types of diabetes so annoying, because it leads to most people making (usually wrong) assumptions about my disease.  But, that’s just the thing- this particular case of diabetes, which happens to be Type 1, is MINE.  So even if I compared myself to other Type 1s, it’s all so different, and our bodies and ways of coping are just so individualized. But still, we can all learn from each other whether we have the same diagnosis or not.  We all aim to live as healthfully as possible.
  3. Pens, Pump, or MDI. I also gave this one away on the introduction paragraph.  MDI stands for multiple daily injections.  And I DO mean multiple.  I take one shot of Tresiba once a day, and shots of Humalog prior to eating a meal, and more shots whenever things are higher than the range I aim to stay in.  (In my case, I like my blood sugars to fall somewhere between 70-130 .)

Now I’m all caught up on things with the #happydiabeticchallenge so far.  And from this point on, for the rest of the month, I’ll just do a short post once a day on the given topic.

I hope to read about other people’s experience that also participate in this little challenge- all about sharing our experience with diabetes.

My Humps- From My Dexcom.

Like most Dexcom (G5) users, I try to wear one sensor as long as possible to save a little money.  Usually I can get to just under two weeks before it starts to a. have wonky readings or b. become itchy and irritable at the insertion site or c. it just falls off due to lack of good adhesion.

But since moving from (humid) Texas to (dry) Colorado, I seem to be able to keep it in a bit longer, because I’m only dealing with 1 of those 3 challenges.  I think my skin is dryer now, and so the adhesion seems to last longer.  Bad for aging, good for Dexcom usage.

I was able to wear my last sensor nearly 3 weeks!  Finally, because my readings were getting more and more off, I decided adhesion or not, it was time to switch it out for a new one.

I noticed a red bump where the little wire inserts looked bigger and more angry than usual.  Usually, I don’t even notice it.  Or if I do, it’s gone the next day.  But the little red bump was actually more of a lump.  I can feel a weird hardness underneath my skin that feels like it has a diameter of at least 1/2 an inch.

I’ve heard some people can get a whole month out of their sensors, but I don’t know how they’re doing it without this weird and unattractive lump reaction. I guess like with just about everything else when it comes to T1, everybody is different.

So my new personal rule for how often to change my insertion site is every 2 weeks.  These are not  the sexy humps Fergie was referring to at all.

 

EPIC Diabetes Conference

This past weekend I attended the EPIC Diabetes Conference.  And although it was good, that word EPIC sort of oversold it.  But, notice EPIC is in all caps.  EPIC is actually an acronym for Encouraging Patients for Individual Care.  I’m not even totally sure what that means, but whatever. They wanted to use the word EPIC and they made it work.

I thought it was going to be the same thing as the awesome Type 1 Nation that my friend Tanya Conovoloff (of JDRF) curates that I’ve gone to in Dallas for the last several years.  This EPIC conference, however, was geared for both Type 1s and Type 2s and their families.  I think it would have been better if they had two separate events, since the challenges and treatments of the two are so different.  Anyone with T1 knows this is a thing.  This lumping together T1 and T2, the fact that they’re both called diabetes, urgh.  I am not alone in wishing that would change.

There were two morning sessions and then one more after a lunch break.  Probably the best thing was saved for the end of the day when Dr. Ed Damiano spoke about the Bionic Pancreas (called the iLet, get it?!) that his company, Beta Bionics is working on.

the iLet… coming soon

Like he said, it’s not a cure, but it’s a great thing that is on the horizon for real in the very near future.  No matter when you were diagnosed with Type 1, you were likely told there would be a cure within 5 or 10 years.  It wasn’t true when I was told that 23 years ago, and it’s probably not true now either.  So I’m always interested to hear about what is true and real, not some overly hopeful lie about how close they are to finding a CURE. This closed loop idea is pretty cool. And it’s REAL.

There seemed to be more Type 1s than Type 2s at the conference.  I think everyone I actually talked to (actually just a handful of people tho) was either a Type 1 or the parent of a Type 1. Maybe next year, we’ll get our own conference and we can have sessions that are more specific to what we care about. And the T2s can have their own thing too, for the same reasons.  I doubt they were be all that jazzed about a Bionic Pancreas, as we were.

It was a great event for someone newly diagnosed, for sure.  A lot of basic 101 information. And for me, it was a nice way to meet some people in a new town.  And to find out a little about some endocrinologists around here. Maybe not EPIC, but most definitely with the $10 it cost to go.

Being Patient with Type 1

I haven’t had any clearly defined complications due to having lived with Type 1 for over 20 years.  And I’m seriously grateful for that.  BUT from time to time, I have little ailments that I wonder… Is this connected to being a Type 1?

My A1c tends to be anywhere from about 5.5% to 6.3%, and as time goes by and technology improves, it tends to be lower as the years go by.  I work hard and obsess over keeping my blood sugars in range, but still, I have spikes and drops in my blood sugars on a daily basis.  So, I’m far from perfect when it comes to blood sugar control.

In the past, I’ve had to have two surgeries for trigger finger.  One, for my left pinky, and the other, for my right thumb (ouch. that one was a bitch.) Before I finally got the surgery, I tried cortizone shots.  But they only helped for a short period of time, and then the trigger finger would return. The surgery, in my opinion anyway, was actually less painful than the shots. And, once you have the surgery, the problem doesn’t return. YAY!  I have read about the correlation between diabetes and trigger finger.  It has to do with inflammation.  Who knows, maybe I would have had this problem regardless, but I suspect Type 1 played a pretty big role in it.

The surgeon I used for my finger trigger insinuated that I would heal quickly from the surgery, but both times, that was not the case.  And again, I wonder, am I a slower to heal because of my Type 1?  Even though my blood sugar control is good?

Lately, I’ve been having problems with my right shoulder. Not from an injury, but just over time, it’s gotten more and more sensitive, and my range of motion has become more limited.  I got an MRI, and learned that I have bursitus and tendonitus.  Again, an inflammation problem.  And again, I wonder… is this related to my Type 1?

And even more lately- just the last 2 weeks- I’ve started having numbing in my left hand.  I’ve been to a doctor about it, a physical therapist about it, and had an MRI.  It could be related to spine problems I’ve had for many years, or it could be carpel tunnel.  (More on that later, in another post- but for now, that’s enough to make my point.) Again, I’m wondering, “Dammit.  Is THIS because of my diabetes?”

So although I’m not usually pissed at diabetes, sometimes I am.  Right now, my numb left hand is so pissed that it wants to punch my diabetes in the face.

But that anger isn’t going to do me any good.  It might even cause more inflammation, which I think this is all related to anyway.  Maybe inflamed emotions lead to more inflamed body parts.

Maybe it’s a good time to just breathe.  And remember that this is just a moment in time and it’s going to pass.  And things might be stiff, and tingly and even numb, but still- everything is working. (“That’s what she said!”)

I’m writing this today to remind myself how fortunate I am.  Fortunate for good insurance.  Fortunate that I have nothing too extreme going on that I am limited from enjoying my normal happy life. Fortunate that I have the money to get the therapies I choose to help me through this.  Fortunate to have friends I can call on (or text) to bitch to. It’s all good.  I know my body is working on healing.  Maybe it takes me a little longer to do that, but I can be patient.

Ask and You Shall Receive

On my last post, I wrote about how much I want a true to-it’s-claim, FAST acting insulin.  I was pretty sure I had read about one, but when I was doing my super speedy Google search the other day, I couldn’t find anything about it.

But today on Facebook I saw a post that not only did it exist, but it just got FDA approval.  YES.

THIS.  I want this.  The moment it’s available in the US. 

The Joy of Pockets

This is my adorable niece, Abigail, who began pre-K just this past week.  Here she is, modeling her first school uniform- this little red dress:

As you can see from the photo, she was obviously  pretty stoked about the first day of school.  However, in this picture she is even MORE elated…

When her mom sent me the photos, I commented on that extreme happy face in the second picture.  And she told me, that huge smile came right after Abigail’s discovery that her dress wasn’t just cute, but also functional because it had pockets.

As a girl who loves dresses, I identified with this kind of joy over the pockets! I’m not sure why Abby cares, but I can tell you why I do.  I can put my Dexcom in that pocket and have it with me all day long without needing my purse, or worrying about misplacing it.  I can also use that pocket for a candy storage compartment. Oh yes, pockets, are a huge bonus for a girl like me.

Abby, fortunately, doesn’t have Type 1 diabetes.  But still, she knows the magic of dress pockets and seems just as overjoyed about them as I am.  It’s the little things in life sometimes.

My T1 Diabetes Blog. Reboot.

When I first began this blog about Type 1 Diabetes, although it had the same title, it was a Blogger blog.  I got a good amount of traffic in the beginning, and I felt like what I was writing was helping some people, and creating some great conversation among fellow Type 1 diabetics.  And that was my whole intention.

I thought switching to my own domain, and using the WordPress.org blog would give me better ownership of my content, and seem more legit.  But something got lost along the way during that transition.

boo hoo

I guess I just lost the momentum I had at the beginning. I started getting a lot of bogus comments from robots in the middle of the night. (Apparently, that’s a common problem for WordPress users) I got less feedback from real people than I did at my previous blog address.  I wasn’t sure how to promote my blog and get the readers that had found me the first time around to jump over to this new blog address with me.

I also started to feel like there were only so many posts I could write about insulin and glucometers and my beloved Dexcom. I felt like maybe I had said all I had to say on the topic of diabetes management.

I became frustrated and I decided this blog didn’t really matter to anyone anyway.

Actually, I’ve been re-thinking my pity party.

I’ve had diabetes for most of my adult life.  Something like 22 years.  And I think I have a pretty good handle on how to keep it under control, most of the time.  It’s a lot more complicated than just taking insulin and counting carbs to keep things in balance.  It’s recognizing patterns, it’s dealing with hormones, and emotions, and sleep, and workouts, and!, and!, and the list goes on. All of the things I do for my health- my physical, emotion, mental and even spiritual health- ALL OF IT, has at least some effect on my diabetes.

So I feel rejuvenated to begin again with this blog. I realize now that I can broaden the scope. I won’t just be writing about insulin and blood sugars.  I hope by posting regularly, I can find consistent readers who are also interested in choosing to live a happy and healthy lifestyle with an auto-immune disease like Type 1 Diabetes. Whether it’s in the comment section, or in sharing posts with friends, or in directly emailing me, I appreciate any and all conversation with you!

I’ll be posting on a regular weekly basis. Please subscribe so you won’t miss anything.  Thank you SO MUCH for visiting My Type 1 Diabetes Blog.

Needless Excuses for my A1c

I was suppose to go see my endocrinologist a couple of months ago.  No fault of my doctor, but the place he used to practice shut down.  With no notice!  Diabetes America, no more!

Because there was some lapse in time between Diabetes America unexpectedly closing down and Dr. Mora opening up in a new spot, I haven’t been in to get my A1c checked since December.

I figured it would be pretty good because I have a Dexcom, so I have that information available.  But the last month has been pretty challenging because we were out of town during the entire month of June. We were eating out more than usual, and at places that I didn’t know how long the wait time was, so my insulin doses were often “off”, and my blood sugars suffered because of it.  I saw way more spikes than I like to, or than I normally do.

As I drove to my appointment yesterday, I said a little prayer hoping that this new place Dr. Mora is practicing out of will have the “finger stick method” rather than the from the “vein method” for my lab work. It’s ridiculous that I’m so squeamish with veins, but I am.  I could never be an intravenous drug user- I would never be tempted to shoot drugs up for sure! So, that’s a bonus.  Anyway… Praise Hallelujah!!!  It was just a finger prick.

But even more Praise Hallelujah than that- My A1c came back lower than ever.  5.5%. So even though the last month has been a challenge, I worked hard enough that it didn’t screw things up.

I hadn’t checked the Dexcom Clarity app lately, but I did check after I got my lab results back from my doctor yesterday.  Although Clarity no longer gives a predicted A1c, it does tell your blood sugar average over a 90 day period (which is essentially what the A1c result refers to), and mine was 115.  According to the chart below, my A1c should be 5.4% based on that… That’s pretty close! And I’m very happy.  And proud!  My OCD behaviors are paying off.

As I drove to my appointment, besides saying my prayers about the blood draw via finger prick, I also mulled over my excuses I would give to Dr. Mora in case my A1C was higher than it had been at my last appointment. It’s funny that I feel I owe him excuses.  As if I’m being graded and my lab tests are something I either did or didn’t study for. As if it’s him I’m trying to impress. But I think it’s a common patient behavior. I know I’m not alone in this.

I’m not quite sure if the last month’s blood sugar average has more impact than the previous two months on the A1C, so I was a bit worried.  I was going to tell my doctor, “Traveling gave me an added challenge.” Paired up with, “Also, I’m a woman of a certain age, and I’m sort of going through “puberty” and it’s messing with my blood sugars.”  I will always have an excuse, because life always throws us little challenges, and sometimes big challenges.  But, we keep plugging away, and we keep trying our best.  And sometimes, you end up rewarded for all that trying. And this time, I was definitely rewarded!

And that’s the greatest motivation for me to keep trying my best. Not for my doctor.  But for me.

Yay, ME!