Sunday, March 31, 2013

Death and Life

This weekend reminds me of God's great limitless power.
O death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O church, come stand in the light
Our God is not dead
He's alive! He's alive!

                                                    "Christ is Risen", Matt Maher

I can say (because I fully believe and have seen) that God resurrects hopes and dreams that have been laid to rest.  And restores lifeless marriages and deadbeat lives.  He continuously breathes life where there was only death - changing lives now and forever.

Along with giving life that never has to face the pain of death (major!),  I don't want to forget that God has the power to literally resurrect bodies, flesh and bones.

On this day, I still believe that God will bring what is dead in my all-too-human body and give it life.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

It's Not You, It's Me.

I knew my Ping's warranty was going to expire in February - but with a family vacation on the horizon and a busy season overall, I put off the decision until March.

I don't know about you - but when it comes to choosing a life-sustaining, ridiculously expensive device, I research extensively and am deeply loyal to the companies that I choose to partner with. After all, I am relying on their product to trudge through this mess with me 24/7. 

I had done my due diligence in researching what was on the market and what was available to me, and I had made a decision that I was totally confident in.  But when the rep from Animas called to follow up on my expired warranty, there was a pit in my stomach.

"Hi," super cheery rep said, "I just called to follow up on your pump warranty.  I see that it's expired, and wondered if we could answer any questions you have or get a new one shipped out to you."

"Well, oh gosh, I dunno how to say this.  It's just that, IthinkIamgoingwiththeTandem."

"Oh, . . ."

I felt like we were breaking up. The apologies and rationalizations began pouring out.

"Four years ago I chose the Ping because you were the clear leader as far as innovation went - and I have even still recommended it to a friend who is newly diagnosed.  I love the Ping, but I don't use the features - like the waterproof and the remote as much as I am looking forward to having the IOB on the home screen.  I mean they have a 30 day trial - so I am just going to try it out."  I really felt like I should say - 'it's not you, it's me'.

"Did you know we are coming out with the Vibe and we are currently working on an upgrade program."

"Yeah, I saw that the battery life would be about 3 weeks - and I kinda like having a receiver that I can sit on my desk or music stand".

I asked a few more questions and she told me that if I had any recommendations to please let them know.

And just like that - our relationship was over. 

But when that Tandem box arrived at work I knew I had made the right decision.  In fact I had to move it to a coworker's cubicle so I would stop looking at it.

Here's to a new relationship with a new partner in crime.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Apology to the Maligned

It must have been cold there in my shadow . . . oh wait.  Let's try this again.

For years, I have referred to you as "lazy".  How else do you refer to something that seems to be slacking off, not doing what it is required to do, not even phoning it in?  It's like you quit.  Took an early retirement to go sit on your butt (do you even have a butt??) and soak in the sun.

But you didn't choose to be an underachiever.  You didn't write a paper in grade school about wanting to be a "free loader" when you grow up.  You aren't simply in a state of willful disobedience; stubbornly sitting in time out, waiting to cause more trouble once your 5 minutes is up.  You wanted to be a productive member of the body at large.

You were abused, by the ones you trusted to protect you.  They ganged up on you and attacked with a vengeance.  They saw you as a threat and they were just doing what they thought was right. But their malicious attack was unfounded. 

If there was something I could've done to save you I would have.

But, in all honesty, I never knew how much you did for me until you were gone.  Nobody says "I didn't have the Pancreas to tell you the bad news". Nobody ever sang, "If I Only Had a Pancreas". I had no idea that everyone would miss you so much, or the extent to which every system relies so heavily on you functioning properly.  Without your contribution my heart races, eyes fog, I lose the feeling that I once had, my brain gets cloudy and confused, my mouth gets dry, my words don't come out right - there is chaos without your contribution.

I am sorry that I didn't appreciate the time we had together.  I am doing my best to fill in for you, but the fact is, your never-ending-balancing-act-of-a-job seems so complicated to me - and there is never a vacation.

The entire company relied on your production - and though it wasn't your fault, you were the first to blame, when everything went wrong.

I guess I just forgot that sometimes we don't perform at our best, not because we are lazy, but because we have been wounded.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Celebrating 10 Years of Early Retirement (or "Cheers to you, my Underacheiving Friend")

Ten years ago today, I officially found out that the D was in me.

I have learned a ton of things about life, love, faith, and biology.  Here's my list of the "Top Ten Things I am Thankful For":

10.  "Sugar-free" isn't as bad as it used to be.

9.  That my dislike of needles has not been scared away by a constant poking of my flesh. (Enter *sarcasm* here.)

8.  Laughter: this is hilarious (and addresses an ongoing debate that may go on forever).

7.  Family and friends that have read as many nutritional labels as I have.

6.  That I am finally using all that math I learned in school to calculate carbs, insulin doses, and basal rate adjustments.

5.  That I can rock a medical device tanline, like a boss.

4.  That, after 10 years of not doing this perfectly, the rest of my body is still working reasonably well, and the in-fighting has seemed to cease.

3.  That, yes, I DO know how much sugar is in that, and yes, I CAN eat it!

2.  I am thankful that on the day I was diagnosed I didn't know how complicated my life with diabetes would actually be.

1.  I am thankful that although I have spent the last 10 years, trying to "control" my diabetes, it doesn't control me.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

It's a Fox!

Back in the day, while folding laundry or driving in the car, my dad would sporadically call out "it's a fox!" I would turn to look out the window, and  . . . (if we were doing laundry), red undies would, inevitably, land on my head.  I fell for the joke, once again.  In fact, I fell for it so often, that I began to question every time he pointed!

Today, some big news has hit the DOC via the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI). 

Here is the video from the DRI:

There are a lot of "would be"s,  "will be"s and "is creating", etc., but if you are not paying attention it seems like this is available now. The following paragraph speaks in reference to the BioHub in its visionary sense (from the DRI website's BioHub page).

The BioHub is a bioengineered “mini organ” that mimics the native pancreas. It contains real insulin-producing cells that can sense blood sugar and release the precise amount of insulin needed -- in real time.
To the millions living with diabetes, the BioHub brings the promise of natural insulin production and normal blood sugar levels one step closer to reality.
In their video the words, "miracle" and "cure" pop up.  Also, the woman (patient) featured in the video who 'is currently free from diabetes' received an islet transplant (the words quickly flash at the bottom of the screen) years ago and is not a recipient of the latest technology.  In fact most recipients of the transplant must maintain a regimen of anti-rejection drugs.

People who have lived with this disease a lot longer than I have, can attest to the fact that they have been hearing that there will be a cure in the next 5-10 years - and that they have been hearing that for the last 30 years.

Reading Amy Tenderich's piece on dLife is very helpful on negotiating the "breakthrough" news.

Diabetes Mine also has a great article on this latest news.

What I know today is I that my reality hasn't changed  . . . yet.  There are huge possibilities for closed-loop systems and artificial pancreai (?) from many companies.  I am grateful for continued research to end Type 1 diabetes and excited for the future!

Today, I have diabetes.  Tomorrow has not yet come.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

. . . and a Dexcom Tan


My diabetes supplier doesn't carry it, neither could I find it at my local pharmacy.

Enter Super Nurse Friend.  So I gained 6 vials of Mastisol before my vacation. 

I had never used it, but I heard rave reviews from tons of PWD (people with diabetes) who used it to improve and prolong adhesive (specifically Dexcom).

So I tried it.

After a week of salt water, pool water, sand, sun, and sweat, (plus a week of being home) the dexcom remained.

Enter one of the most unique tan "lines" I have ever had.

Sun, Sand . . .

I didn't look like a supermodel.

I didn't speak Spanish like a local.

Even though my first two goals didn't pan out, it was still an incredible week of rest, renewal, and time with family. (First on my agenda was a hug from my mom.  Long overdue, and just what I needed.)


 But on the diabetes side of things . . . my body loves the heat.

  • I didn't get that 3:30pm craving for chocolate because I was too busy in chillin' in the pool.
  • The heat enabled my body to use insulin way more efficiently - if I was high I didn't stay there long, and I used less insulin all 'round.
  • I was more physically active than I am at my desk job - but only slightly.
  • Stress took a major vacation.
When we tested out a new mattress, I didn't realize how bad the old one was when we slept on the new one.  I knew that the new one felt great - but it was only when we had to go back to the old one temporarily that I realized how bad the old one really was.  Waking up sore and tossing and turning all night was our normal. 
It was the same with vacation.

Hot dang, the weather was beautiful, the only decisions there were deciding "pool or hammock?" and the goal of each evening was to listen to the waves crashing against the beach, and feel the breeze off the bay. I didn't look at a screen (tv, computer, or otherwise) for a whole week. It. was. amazing.

What I realized on re-entry back home was that I have been living in a pretty high-strung pattern.  As soon as we landed, I was biting my nails, thinking about work responsibilities, my to-do list, and real-life.  Only after getting home after this totally relaxing vacation did I realize the crazy amount of stress that I had allowed myself to expect as "normal".

But as much as I would love to "live on vacation" my money tree orchard has not produced any fruit.

What I have determined is that I need to limit how stressed I get about things that don't require as much attention as I give them. (Lesson: Urgent = family emergency.  Not urgent = being down to my last Baby Ruth candy bar).

Near the end of our vacation we still hadn't realized the dream of going whale watching, and planning was proving to be a challenge without a phone or easily accessible internet.  My mom wisely said "I don't want to spend to much time striving to make this happen.  If it doesn't happen in one phone call, it's not worth the stress." 

She knew what striving or trying to force something to happen does - it sucks the 'vacate' out of vacation and replaces it with 'action'.

Here's to a mini-vacation every day (5 minutes would do).  And giving my body the rest it needs to deal with life's realities.