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Entries from November 1, 2010 - November 30, 2010


You Tube Tuesday #199

I cannot believe I am already at #199! Only one more week until the final You Tube Tuesday! I am still not sure what I am going to do and with the stuff going on I am not sure how I will be able to pull anything off. We shall see.

This weeks clip is already a favorite of mine. It is weird but cool at the same time.



Guest Post Week - Kerri Sparling

I am so honored to have Kerri writing the last post in my first Guest Post week. Her blog was the first one I read and something tells me that it's probably one of the first ones you found too. She is a great friend and I am so thankful to have her in my life.

Still Learning

I’m happy to be posting over at SuperG’s blog house today because I have something to say that I wanted to say off the radar of my own blog.  Because suddenly, my father has started reading my blog.

And he’s learning some things for the very first time.

I’ve been a type 1 diabetic for almost my whole life, but my mother was my primary caregiver at home.  After my initial diagnosis, both of my parents were involved in my hospitalization and that steep learning curve of “what now?”  But once the dust had settled a little bit and we were getting to know this new health mess, my father went back to focusing on his job and career.  That’s not a criticism at all, but it is how we handled things in our family:  my mom focused on my siblings and I, and my father worked hard to ensure that she could stay home with us as much as possible.

From about third grade to when I took over diabetes management entirely on my own (in college), my mother is the one who came to Joslin with me.  She understood the diabetes jargon, like “A1C” and “Can you please stop leaving your syringes in the fridge.”  (Bad habit.  Never quite broke it until I went on the pump.)  Mom was my “nurse” and she understood the ups and downs – literally – that happen in a life with diabetes.  

My father was involved, but not the way that my mother was involved.  I’m not sure if he ever saw any of the really bad childhood lows.  He rarely gave me my injection (but when he did, he did the fastest and most pain-free versions), and he wasn’t involved in the daily insulin dose adjustments and chasing me down for finger sticks.  He just didn’t understand on the level that my mother and I did, because he didn’t have to.  My mom had it covered, so he didn’t worry.

Things have changed a bit in the last year or so, though.  His eyes are opened to what a real life with diabetes is like because now he reads my blog.  He’s read the posts about wicked lows, and persistent highs, and how diabetes affected the birth of his granddaughter.  He’s seen detailed posts about the pump and the CGM and all kinds of stuff that I’m pretty sure he has no idea what was going on behind the scenes.  He’s learning all the nuances and fears of diabetes that I’ve been living with for a lifetime.
Last week, when I ended up taking a nap while the baby napped and was late in getting a blog post up on SUM, the phone rang.  It woke me up from my cat nap, and I groggily answered, “Hello?”

“Kerri.  This is your father.”  (He always says that.  Like I’m wondering who it might be.)

“Hey, Dad.  What’s up?”

“Nothing.  Just saw that you hadn’t posted.  So I wanted to check and see if everything was okay.”

“Everything’s fine.  Baby was up late last night and early this morning.  I’m just working in a quick nap.”

We talked for a few minutes, and then hung up.  No big discussion about why he thought I might not have been okay.  No mention of diabetes at all.  But I know he understands now.  Blogging hasn’t just helped to explain diabetes to the people who don’t know me, but it’s also opened up the lines of communication and understanding with some of the people who know me the best.


Guest Post Week - Sara Knicks

Today as we remember what we are Thankful for here in the States, I always think about all of the awesome friends I have made from being a part of the DOC. Sara is one of my close friends who is always there for me. I am thankful that she wrote the guest post for today.


I still remember my favorite teacher from elementary school. She was my fifth grade teacher and her name was Miss Kragh. I don’t remember a ton of what we learned in her class, but I remember the things that she added to make it fun.

Miss Kragh loved music, so she was always writing songs based on what we were learning, which we would then perform in assemblies for the whole school. Fifth grade was more than a few years ago now, but I still remember the chorus for the Thanksgiving song.

“What am I thankful for? I have been given all I need and more. What am I thankful for?”

The class then contributed the lyrics to the chorus where we chronicled all the things for which we were thankful. I remember a few of those lyrics as well, but it is the chorus that stays with me.

It’s easy to complain about the problems in our lives (a difficult work situation, uncooperative blood sugars, extra medical expenses, the diabetes police, fill in the blank) but today I try to focus on something different. Today I am thankful that not only do I have everything that I need – a job, a place to live, food to eat – but I have sooo much more – people in my life who I care about who care about me, expensive medical devices that help keep me healthy, and technology that helps me connect to friends and family across the nation and around the world.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Guest Post Week - Scott K Johnson

Having Scott guest post is such a treat for me. He was the first person to ever comment on my blog and we have a friendship that more like family which I love. Thank you so much for contributing Scott. Your writing and the things you touch on force us to look at diabetes from a different angle than we learn about. 

Things I hate about high blood sugars

The hours. When I find myself with a really high blood sugar I know I am in for hours of fighting.  Hours of waiting for my blood sugar to come down, while trying to go on with my day like nothing is wrong.  Don’t forget that I’m also trying to figure out why I’m high in the first place.

Slow Motion. I feel like I’m reacting to everything in slow motion.  My mind is slow.  My reflexes are slow. My body is slow.  Everything is slow.  It is hard because life itself doesn’t slow down.  I think this is most noticeable while I’m playing basketball, but certainly also affects trying to work, think, or write. This brings up an interesting question though – is it possible that driving while high is dangerous too?

Urge to eat.  Sometimes my strongest urges to eat are when my blood sugar is high.  My theory is that my body feels yucky (and slow?), and my brain is looking for a quick “feel good” boost of carbs.  I hate it because the last thing I need when my blood sugar is high is more food.  

Sleepy. Wearing a CGM device has helped me see that when my blood sugar is high, or rising quickly, I get very sleepy.  It is debilitating.  I can’t focus on anything except trying to find a nap.  It’s torture when I can’t nap.  Torture.  This touches on the first couple of points.  Life does not slow down just because my blood sugar is high and I want a nap.  

Pain. I have been playing a lot of basketball lately.  Minimum of three days a week, often four days, sometimes five days.  I used to think that my body had trouble coping with all of that vigorous and impact-filled exercise.  But then I had a couple of awesome weeks where my blood sugar was right where I wanted it during basketball, and I felt great.  I felt great during basketball, but I also felt great after basketball, and the next day too.  It is the days where my blood sugar is high during basketball that I hurt afterward.  

Damage. We all know that high blood sugars damage us over time, but it has always been a very vague concept for me.  I couldn’t visualize what that actually looked like, or how I was being damaged.  Visualizations are powerful, and my friend Wil painted a picture for me in his book “The Born-Again Diabetic” (which I highly recommend).  The quote may be a bit long, but I hope you’ll bear with me.

“Quick biology lesson: you remember the red blood cell, right?  Looks like a Martian flying saucer?  Red blood cells are the FedEx trucks of your body, moving oxygen from the lungs to the cells and carrying out the trash.  Well, Ok, I guess I’ve never actually seen the FedEx guy taking out the trash, but…

Your blood travels through miles and miles and miles of tubing inside your body: the circulatory system.  To be exact, if you took the average human’s circulatory system and stretched it out you’d have 60,000 miles of highway for your blood cells to travel on…well, in.  Everyone’s heard of the big players.  Aorta.  Jugular.  Let me introduce you to the pawn on the chessboard.  The capillary.  Smallest part of this network.  Hey, every cell needs food and oxygen, right?  So red blood cells need a way to get to all of the trillions of cells that make up you.  At the far end of your own personal universe live the distal capillaries.  They are the smallest of the small, and logically enough are at the far ends of your body…your toes and fingertips.

There are two, well, four actually, other places where we find lots, and lots, and lots of capillaries.  More on that in a minute.

Some of these capillaries are soooo small that they are actually smaller in diameter than the cells that pump through them.  Remember our little red Martian flying saucers?  Well, now you need to think of them as pancakes.  Under normal circumstances they are flexible.  They can hunch their little shoulders and wriggle through the capillary.

Unless they are encrusted in sugar.  Then the pancakes become Frisbees.

I’ll leave it to your imagination as to what happens when a rigid object forces itself through a slightly too small soft-tissue space.  Uh huh.  I think you got the visual I wanted you to have.”

Powerful stuff, right?  The other two (four) places Wil mentions are the eyes and kidneys.  It is a scary thought to imagine your blood slicing and dicing all of these things inside our bodies.  

If you live with type 1 diabetes, high blood sugars are impossible to avoid.  Impossible.  Our pancreas is broken, and the tools we have today are slow, imprecise, dangerous, and sometimes crude and barbaric.  

I’m thankful for every single one of them.


You Tube Tuesday - Guest Vlog - Cherise Shockley

When I thought about having a Guest Post week I knew I would have to find someone to post a Vlog for You Tube Tuesday and there is no better vlogger I know than Cherise!

I am blessed to be able to call Cherise my friend and this Vlog she made will make you love her even more!


From Me to the D.O.C.