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bookDiabetes articles about daily topics that affect those living with diabetes. There is a lot of information about diabetes and hopefully you find this information useful in your everyday life. Here we have compiled a list of older articles from our previous "The Diabetes Network" along with links to blogs and articles, an extended reading archive. You can use the search in the top-right menu to search for specific articles.

 

4 Years In

  • 14,600 finger pokes
  • 910 shots of insulin

  • 426 site changes

  • 3 blood draws
  • 1 very happy, healthy little boy who I love more than life itself



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JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes

Greetings!

I'm writing to you to ask for your support in a very special cause.

This year, I'll be taking part in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Walk to Cure Diabetes along with a half-million other walkers across the country. Our goal: To raise $90 million to help fund research for a cure for type 1 diabetes and its complications.

Type 1, or juvenile, diabetes, is a devastating, often deadly disease that affects millions of people--a large and growing percentage of them children.

Many people think type 1 diabetes can be controlled by insulin. While insulin does keep people with type 1 diabetes alive, it is NOT a cure. Aside from the daily challenges of living with type 1 diabetes, there are many severe, often fatal, complications caused by the disease.

That's the bad news... and yes, it's pretty bad.

The good news, though, is that JDRF is making steady progress toward a cure. In fact, JDRF funding and leadership is associated with most major scientific breakthroughs in type 1 diabetes research to date. And JDRF funds more type 1 research than any other charity worldwide.

I'm writing to ask for your support because now more than ever, EACH of us can be a part of bringing about a cure. Each of us can make a real difference

Won't you please give to JDRF as generously as you're able?

Together, we can make the cure a reality.

Please visit my Walk Web page if you would like to donate online or see how close I am to reaching my personal goal:

Insulin: Shaken, Not Stirred

Thank you!

*Peace.

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Islet Cell Transplant - Chapter 2

After worrying over my increasing blood sugars for some time now, it has finally become apparent that the time has come to supplement my cells with some insulin.  Its mostly heartbreaking, but a little relieving.  It has become more and more stressful to see those higher numbers appearing on my glucose monitor.  I will enjoy seeing a higher percentage of good numbers.  Also, this will lead to a better next A1c.

I did my best to postpone or prevent this.  I've been exercising and cutting carbs as much as possible.  I'm now on my third painful stressed or pulled muscle.  It started with my back, then my foot and now my back/neck again.  With hindsight, I know they were all due to being overworked.  Exercise does really help, but there are limits.

So, I am now on day 4 of insulin.  I started with 3 units of Lantus per day.  Yesterday, I had some high postprandials (220s) so increased to 4 units.  It seems to be helping.  I really don't mind the injections and this is probably not enough to cause any serious low blood sugars, I just hate to give up being insulin free and having the ability to say so. There is hope that this could be temporary.  If the islets get some rest, maybe they will become stronger.  Time will tell.  In the mean time, I am still exercising and watching what I eat.  Partly in hope to need less insulin, and partly to be able to judge how the insulin is affecting my numbers.  I was able to gain a few pounds throughout all of this.  I was concerned that it might have gone the other way.  Its easy to keep blood sugars lower by not eating as much and that is so tempting to do.  And its still feels like such a privilege to have the ability to do so.  But, I was really pushing the meat, cheeses, and nuts and I guess that worked.

This is a painful post to have to write, but also an important one.  The whole idea of this blog was to chronicle my experience, the good and the bad.  Good news is just so much more fun to share.

Of course, I'm not going through this alone.  Janet and Dr. Bellin are as disappointed as I am.  We all understand each other well enough to know that we aren't disappointed in each other, or even with the transplant, just disappointed.  I get just the right mix of sympathy, encouragement, and optimism from them.  Its also so nice to be able to share this with Dave, another transplant patient from SDI.


Yesterday was my JDRF walk, number two.  I didn't have walkers for this one.  I was handing out information at the Government Advocacy booth.  I displayed my poster again and enjoyed meeting people and sharing my experience with them.  Again, it was the mothers of diabetic children who were the most excited to hear about it.  It turned out to be a cold, rainy day, but there were still a lot of people who came for the walk.  Its very heartwarming to see such dedication and support.

Here are my current fall flowers.  A new season and a new chapter.

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Glucomotive 2010 Ragnar Great River Relay

Yes, this relay was run in August, the 20th and 21st. Yes, it is October. That's how slow I am.

Andrew, the driver for van 1, the van I was in, had just injured his ankle on a bike ride. It was so swollen and ugly that we wondered if he could reliably work the accelerator and brakes as he drove us up the Mississippi.

Andrew's ankle later that day, as we waited for van 2 to come into the second van exchange. In the small version of this picture, it looks OK because the swelling has gone down, but if you zoom in, you can see the tiger-striping from the bruise being wrapped with an Ace bandage. But Andrew did fine driving. He kept us guessing about whether he was about to run into things, but he must have known what he was doing.
You get a good look at some of our Costco supplies in this picture, too.

Dave and Daniel relaxing at the first van exchange, I think, before Saci (below) hands off to Pratt from van 2.




Saci in Triabetes gear smiling through his first leg, which was rated "Very Hard."


Daniel, Saci, Jennifer, and Igor after a dip in the Mississippi at the second van exchange.

Daniel by our van in the early morning of the second day, at the fourth van exchange.

The runners from both vans get a rare chance to spend some time together at the fifth van exchange, waiting for Saci to come in. This is counter-clockwise from Daniel, shirtless, Gary in the "Diabetes. Run with it." shirt, Emily in her "Running on Insulin" shirt, Dave, Jennifer, Andrew, and Corinne.


Pratt hauling up a monstrous hill on his last leg.

Dave, Daniel, Igor, Anne, Saci, and Jennifer at the finish, ready for our anchor runner, Corinne, to come in.

Corinne tearing down the pavement toward the finish.

Post-race joy.

Gary, Emily, Mike, Corinne, Pratt, Anne, Igor, Jennifer, Saci, Dave, me, and Daniel.
Not pictured, the awesome drivers, Andrew and John.
Here's a great video Peter put together from stuff we shot during the race.


(Teammates, I left out last names because I wasn't sure if anyone would mind. Am I being silly?)

.

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Insulin Gone Bad?

Just when I think Gee, C's numbers have been really great lately...boom!  Relentless highs.  I mean blood glucose readings in the 200s, 300s, and yes, even 400s. Gobs of insulin corrections weren't making them even budge at times.

These highs began happening as soon as the kids were out of school last month.  But I couldn't figure it out.  It didn't make sense.  We were even more busy, with lots of activities...swimming included.  And swimming always makes C go low.  It was so frustrating.

What was totally insane was that it wasn't just at one or two different times during the day.  It was round-the-clock.  I'd get her down to the mid 100s with jumbo corrections, only to have her test in the 200s or 300s before her next meal.  This continued throughout the nighttime.  I did a couple of our famous middle-of-the-night-site-changes to no avail.

I began changing the site daily...opening another insulin vial, and then another.  Maybe it's gone bad, I thought.  Maybe it's a bad lot.  I just kept pushing forward, checking and correcting overnight, feeling overly exhausted.  You know this kind of tired...when the first thing you think of upon wakening is the bottle of Advil.

And then one day, I B-lined it for the pharmacy.  The insulin must have gone bad, I kept thinking.  Maybe they'll replace these vials that are barely used...I know, wishful thinking.  But, I was tired.  So off I went with C to the pharmacy.  I asked to speak with the guy who's been there the longest, as long as we've been getting insulin for C.  There are really only 2 employees left at our particular pharmacy who  remember me from the beginning...the haggard, emotional mom who needed, yes, 300 test strips a month for her baby.  He's one of them, so I thought for sure he'd see things my way!

"My daughter," I said, "her numbers have been crazy high.  I've opened like 3 new vials of insulin in the last week.  Could the insulin have gone bad?"  I asked.

"Uh, no," Mr. Pharmacist said.  "Let me see the cartons...Hmmm...no, they should be good.  Our shipments go directly in refrigeration.  She's possibly having a growth spurt."

A growth spurt?  That really didn't cross my mind.  Why hadn't it?  I thought for sure the insulin had gone bad.  Her numbers were high across the board.  Usually when we make adjustments and tweek basals in the pump, it's because numbers are creeping up, sneekily...not all at once.

So, with blurry, sleep-deprived eyes, I nodded, "Hmmm," I said.  "thanks."  We headed back home...determined to make adjustments and figure this out.  Over the course of the next few days, with some nurse help over the phone and internet, we adjusted every single basal setting and even added 2 more.  We changed so many things!  It made me nervous.  I'm very much a fan of the scientific method of changing one variable at a time.  But I knew we had to wrangle these numbers in a bigger way.  So, that's what we did.

It seems to always take several days for any type of setting change to really work itself out and show results.  We dug in for the long haul.  I knew this meant lots more testing and lots less sleeping but...oh well.  That's life with diabetes.

And, did the basal changes help?  Boy, did they?! But that's to be continued in another post...
Insulin gone bad?  Well, I know it can.  But not this time.  Now we have 3 newly-opened vials...ug. 
 

Sometimes insulin can go bad.

6 things - D blog day

Here are six things I wish people knew about living with Type 1 diabetes:

1. It's complicated.
To some people it seems like if I just watch what I eat, give insulin, and prick my fingers I will be right as rain. It's not that easy. Diabetes is complicated. It's a hundred decisions about "simple things" like eating and exercising. It's constantly thinking about what's next, what's worked, what hasn't worked, and what's ahead. What works one day doesn't always work the next. It's like a lifelong brain-teaser.

2. It's a lot of mind games.
It's a lot of mind work. It's constant mental math trying to calculate carbs and insulin. (and I HATE math. I'm rotten at it) Trying to remember how food affected me in the past. Trying to remember to keep a running total of carbs that I eat. Remembering to bolus for said carbs. Convincing myself that a high or low number on my tester doesn't mean failure and doesn't mean I have to beat myself up. Convincing my mind that I can do this. My brain can be simply exhausted some days to tackle all that I need to tackle just to stay healthy.

3. It's a time stealer.
Diabetes takes time. Time to remember supplies. Time to fill cartridges with insulin. Time to deal with insurance companies. Time to test. Time to change my pump site. Time to read labels. Time to figure out solutions to blood sugar problems. Time lost to lows. Time lost to highs. Time to keep supplies stocked. Time for doctor appointments.
I've said that if I was cured, I'd have a heck of a lot of free time.

4. It's damaging.
Diabetes damages small blood vessels. In my eyes, in my gastrointestinal system, in my kidneys, and in my fingers and toes. Controlling my blood sugars helps stop some of the damage. But having diabetes means that damage is taking place under my skin. It's scary to think about. It's hard to not worry about what might happen.

5. If you know a person with diabetes, you know ONE person with diabetes.
This disease isn't the same for all of us. What works for one person, doesn't work for another. The way one person uses insulin isn't the way another person does. What diet strategy works well for one of us, doesn't work for another. It is called diabetes, but it looks different for each individual who lives with it.

6. I don't have a service dog because I have "brittle" or "bad" diabetes. I have Dixie because:
1) I love dogs,
2) I was having problems knowing when my blood sugar was low or dropping,
3) I wanted a security system and didn't want another site needed for a CGMS (continuous glucose monitoring system),
4) I like to be on the cutting edge and try things that others don't always believe can work, and
5) because it makes living with diabetes a LOT easier for me.

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