OneTouch Made Me Feel So Much Better

It’s like they read my mind! I’ve been using OneTouch test strips for years now, and was always frustrated that the bottles were packaged in sets of 25 strips each. I mean, seriously? I can blow through 25 strips in a couple of days if I’m on the first legs of a new Dexcom sensor (and have to calibrate it and/or don’t trust it yet,) or if I just have wonky sugars I’m trying to chase down. My answer to this supply issue has always been to immediately combine 2 bottles of fresh test strips into one – so I have more available to me for longer in my “diabetes checker” pack.

More strips per bottle!!!

They look the same….only different…

And the boxes of test strips have always been enormous compared to the amount of product that is within them. A mere 100 test strips in a 3″ x 2.5″ x 2.5″ box. It takes up a significant area of my diabetes supply closet. Consider the shelf real estate it takes up in the pharmacy?

So, imagine my surprise when I picked up my 3 month supply of test strips from the pharmacy this morning. I actually left the store, walked out to my car, shook the bag, and went, “huh?” I hadn’t had coffee yet, so I was a little slow on figuring things out. I went back inside and told the pharmacy tech that it felt a bit light for 300 test strips.

(What I actually said was, “Dude, are you sure there are 300 test strips in here?” and he was like, “Um, yeah, I think so, let’s just look and see.” He’s a nice sort of guy – we have that kind of banter about once every 3 months. More frequently during allergy season, but I digress.)

Sure enough, we tore the package open, and out come 3 smallish boxes, holding a whopping 100 test strips each. Angels sang, the sun came out from behind the clouds – it was awe inspiring. Guess it didn’t take much to make me happy this Friday morning, but it’s the little things like this that make me feel better.

Less real estate taken up in my closet, too!

Less trees were destroyed in the making of this product, yay!

P.S. StripSafely, ya’ll!!

Props to Type 1 Design

Last week, some d-friends stumbled upon this “type 1 diabetes infographic” and I’ve been seeing it make the rounds across Facebook, blogs, Tumbler, etc. ever since. It’s an amazingly informative (and amusing) explanation of Type 1 diabetes that is something we can share with everyone who might not “get it.” Love it. Share it. Tell everyone about it!

In tooling around the site a little more, you’ll see there are pretty cool looking Type 1 t-shirts for sale as well, and the option to get a quote from the designer to have him do custom work for you.

Here’s the props for awesomeness: the designer is a Type 1 himself, and a portion of the proceeds from the work he does is donated to JDRF!

I’m working on building my walk team for our local November 2nd JDRF walk, and one thing I wanted was a special t-shirt to give my team members who fund-raise at least $50 or more.  How better to design the logo (since my creative brain is toast right now) than to have this guy do it?  I contacted him via the Quote request button on the site, and he got back to me lickety-split.

We did everything by email – I gave him a very broad idea of what I was looking for, and he helped me focus and nail down specifics. He created some fabulous options, and within just a few days, we had settled on the design, he emailed it to me in various formats, and I paid my invoice to him online. Easy peasey! And I LOVE it! Very reasonable in cost, and like I mentioned, a portion of the proceeds goes to JDRF, so that’s a win-win!

Buzz buzz

Goooooooo Rowdies! Doesn’t this make you want to join my team? Or at least donate? 😉

(All that just to say….if you need some graphic design work done, or any of the other services he offers, I would HIGHLY recommend him – Type 1 Design, Ryan Brown!!)

2 Years

It’s been 2 years today since that moment I can’t ever shake. The feelings and emotions are still so fresh. I was on a stretch of road I’ve ridden or driven hundreds of times over the past 20+ years. The drive between where I live currently, and my hometown, around 70 miles away. It was morning, the sun was behind us, shining into the back of the car window. I was in the back seat with my (then) 4 month old daughter, who was snoozing in her car seat, pacifier squeaking and bouncing away like Maggie from The Simpsons. I looked up into the rear view mirror and shared a glance with my husband, who was driving. I nodded that everything was OK, and smiled down at our daughter, relishing in her tiny little life, while looking ahead at the road that was leading us to the hospital in my hometown to see my Dad…where I didn’t know (but really, I did know) that he had already died earlier that morning.  In that one moment, I knew: my life had changed, again. Better start dealing with it.

Love you, Dad. Always.

My heart still aches, remembering this arrangement was only a step away from my Dad’s casket.

My Dad was so many things….Husband, Father, Grandfather. He was a jokester, a sports-lover, a salesman, and could strike up a conversation with anyone. He was also a Type 2 diabetic, and he had a ton of complications. Some were probably related to diabetes, but many were not.

In thinking of the last 2 years, I can’t help but wonder….is there anything he could have done better to take care of himself that would have given him 2 more years, or more, with us? I don’t want to sound selfish or unkind, but I get a little bitter thinking about all the “what if’s.” What if he had eaten better, what if he had lost weight, what if he had listened to me (and the multitude of doctors) and stopped smoking 30 years earlier….could he have been in our lives for longer? I could have given him so many more hugs, shared so many silly jokes, and asked him so many more questions. He could have seen his grand-daughter grow and flourish.

And then I apply those same concerns to myself as well, wondering….is that cupcake I just ate going to cause a high blood sugar that tacks onto the years of highs and lows that have taken such a toll on my body already? Is each high/low sugar taking away one minute, one hour, one day, one year more that I could have spent with my loved ones? I don’t know, and I really don’t want to think about it that way.

Appropriately, this morning was my 3 month checkup with the endocrinologist. Good news! My overall cholesterol is lower than it’s been in years (with HDL 67, LDL 106), my A1C is 6.4, and all my other blood-work numbers look great. I may not be perfect in my management of my health, but I’m trying. Despite any contradictions from the wizened sage Yoda, I’m trying (and I guess, technically doing things that actually add up to the trying) really hard, and I think that is the most I can ask of myself, or expect from anyone else. I am trying my best to be here and be healthy for as long as possible, and I hope the people who love me can recognize that.

I love you, Dad

The last time my daughter saw my Dad. The smiles on both of their faces are priceless.

Kindness of Strangers

It was a tough morning. I had to go to my yearly OB/Gyn visit, and see all those lovely pregnant bellies flaunting themselves in front of me. I could almost hear them ridiculing me….. “ha, ha, your belly will never look like THIS again.” I have all but given up on the idea of even trying to get pregnant and have a second baby. I’m 40. I have type 1 diabetes. I’m overweight. I have infertility. I have all manner of aches and pains. I’m tired of the emotional roller coaster. I don’t want to waste away the joy of my one and only daughter’s childhood on the unrequited hope for another baby.

There are a multitude of reasons I believe pregnancy will never happen for me again….and maybe it shouldn’t. I’m even higher risk now than I was when I got pregnant with our daughter, 3 years ago this month. And we only got pregnant with her after thousands and thousands of dollars of fertility treatments, IVF, and years of hope and disappointment. That took a huge emotional and physical toll on me, on my husband, on my family and friends who had to deal with me….and I’m not sure I want to go through that again.

I also see how hard pregnancy is on women my age – with or without diabetes. Just because I got through my one pregnancy OK, my body wasn’t damaged beyond repair, and my little girl came out perfectly healthy through it all…..that doesn’t mean the 2nd time around would be the same, and that scares the bajeezus out of me.

As a treat to myself, I went to Starbuck’s after my appointment. I was starting to edge on the side of low blood sugar, which makes me strangely emotional, and was already a little weepy remembering my conversations with the doctor. (She was all sickly-sweet and upbeat, “you had a miracle once, it could happen again!” referring to the ONE and only time I ever got pregnant on my own and had a miscarriage. Yeah, let’s remember that heartbreak.)

I ordered my Grande Skinny Mocha with 1.5 pumps, and an Asiago-cheddar pretzel. (They are evilly delicious, by  the way.) When I pulled up to pay, my friendly neighborhood barista said, “The gentleman in front of you paid for your order already, and hopes you have a fabulous day.” I think I started openly crying at that point, and replied, “That was so sweet of him. Thank you.” And I went on to pay for the lady’s order behind me. I really needed that pick-me-up, and maybe she did, too. My barista gave me a super warm smile (he kind of reminds me of an Italian Santa Claus, so it was even warmer-feeling) and said he hoped my day was wonderful from here on out.

I pulled away, still weeping, but feeling better and more hopeful than I have in some time. Maybe I will get pregnant again, and it will be OK. Maybe we will adopt, and that will be OK. Maybe my daughter will end up as an only child, and that will be OK, too. That man in front of me had no idea how I was feeling, or what a rotten emotional day I was having, but he showed me a kindness that I must have desperately needed right at that exact moment. My barista shared just a few kinds words with me that were unsolicited and not necessarily part of his job description, but he did it anyway. Today, even moreso than usual, I truly appreciate and admire the kindness of strangers.

Pay It Forward

Thank you, thank you, thank you to the man in front of me in line.

Don’t Mess with this Fairy

My husband is due home tonight after being away for 5 REALLY long days. (He went to GenCon. I couldn’t get away from work due to some big projects, and we weren’t quite sure we were ready to leave our daughter for that long with anyone else, so I took the hit for the team and stayed behind.  I am still very jealous, but happy he got to have some super fun and scope it all out to prepare us for our trip together next year – for sure, I’m going!!)

I’ve had plenty of challenges this week, and it’s times like these that make me totally respect and admire single moms and dads. Being solely responsible for a kid 24/7 is exhausting business. Add on the ups and downs of blood sugars, and it can sometimes be the perfect storm of fun-suck.
I have had a couple of crashes, and some stubborn lows the past few days – chasing around a very active 2 year old tends to mirror the effects of 90 minutes of aerobic exercise for me – but overall, I think we both came through it with flying colors. I mean, we’re both still alive, right?

And speaking of colors, we had an amazingly fun time yesterday at a friend’s birthday party – theme: Princess Dress-up. Our household isn’t really into princesses, especially not the damsel-in-distress kind, but we’re keeping an open mind, and will let our daughter find her own way in what she likes. So far, it’s been like pulling teeth whenever we *wanted* her to put on dressy outfits for pictures or for playtime, so I wasn’t sure how the party would go. After some stressful dress-picking (and her asking to put on a robot costume instead – the one she has at home of Optimus Prime) she got all dolled up and really had a fabulous time with all the other Princesses and Fairies. Here’s just a few pics that were so cute I had to share. Happy Sunday!

She won't sit still 2 seconds for me to clip her fingernails, yet she begs for a stranger to paint them?

She won’t sit still 2 seconds for me to clip her fingernails, yet she begs for a stranger to paint them?

Bad-ass Fairy with a Scimitar tattoo. Seriously, don't mess with her.

Bad-ass Fairy with a Scimitar tattoo.
Seriously, don’t mess with her.

Instead of walking the red carpet by herself in the final show, she wanted to run with the Wizard and Knight. Girl knows it's best to have a well-balanced adventuring party.

Instead of walking the red carpet by herself in the final show, she wanted to run with the Wizard and Knight. Girl knows it’s best to have a well-balanced adventuring party.

Random Spamdom

I’ve been quite pleased with how well WordPress has saved me from dealing with spam comments. (And by default, keeping you guys from having to deal with them as well.) Although, after only about 3 months of blogging, it is frightening that I have this stat:

“Akismet has protected your site from 1,827 spam comments already.”

I’ve thought about adding one of those “captcha” doo-hickeys to make sure real people have to type in real words in order to submit comments and such, but then I see things like this, when I am trying to do something and it’s trying to prove I’m human:

WTF?“What’s this?” it asks. How the heck am I supposed to know? It looks worse than my endocrinologist’s chicken scratch in my medical records. I give up. I must not be human (go diabetes cyborg!) and should not be submitting this, obviously.

Wordy Wednesday – Low? Low…. Low!

If I could just bottle this to use on the days I was running high, it would be worth it.This was my Dexcom G4 view for the majority of the day yesterday. It didn’t start going up until I consumed a VERY carb-filled Italian dinner last night, but even then, it spiked up, then sorted itself out pretty predictably (after a few hours.) No post-breakfast spike yesterday morning or this morning either. What am I doing different? What am I eating different? Nothing out of the ordinary, as far as I can tell. Could it be a new bottle of insulin? Could it be the new-ish infusion set site absorbs better?

This diabetes thing……always confusing. always a moving target, always a celebration around the corner for the beneficial accomplishments, or a curse on those not-so-controlled days.