23 years ago on this day, I headed to the hospital after peeing on a stick in my dad’s office revealed that I had ketones in my urine. For those of you who aren’t familiar with what that means, ketones in the urine is a sign of extreme high blood sugar. Ketones are produced when one’s body burns fat instead of glucose for energy, and, if untreated, can cause diabetic coma and death.

Thankfully, my medically-trained parents knew that something was brewing and took me to the hospital, where I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. From that day forward, I was to monitor my bloodsugar with a strict diet, multiple daily fingersticks and several shots of insulin. I don’t remember much about that trip to the hospital except a few stories my mom has told me over the years. One was about my brother, Mark’s, name game with my endocrinologist, Dr. Mark Kipnes, and another revolves around my wanting to get home so I could share some Hershey Kisses with my older sister. Clearly I had no idea what was in store for me when I actually did get home.

Since 1988, the care and treatment for my diabetes has changed in many ways. Back then, I was on a strict diet, I learned to take insulin via multiple daily injections, and I eventually started to self-administer the shots. Now, I use an insulin pump to deliver insulin to my body so I can eat whatever I want (as long as I bolus to cover it). Then, I relied on fingersticks to reveal what my bloodsugar was that hour. Now, though I still check my bloodsugar via fingersticks, I also sometimes wear a continuous glucose monitor, which allows me to see what my bloodsugar is doing at all hours of the day (instead of just when I test).

Me (on the left) at a JDF luncheon. I won that Pink Panther!

However, there are many things about my diabetes that haven’t changed. Mainly, it still exists. When I was diagnosed, my mom was told that “a cure is right around the corner!” with an estimated arrival time of sometime before the turn of the 21st century. Well, we’re still waiting on that cure. I still sometimes drop so low that I can’t think straight and have to take a 20 minute (or more) break to allow my bloodsugar to rise. I still have high’s that cause that awful thirst and racing heart. I still like to act like these things don’t bother me and don’t interfere with my daily life.

The truth is simple: diabetes sucks. Yes, I can live with it, but I sure as hell wouldn’t choose it. It’s a pain in the ass (sometimes literally!) and I wish it would go away.

“The Anaheim Hangover,” a.k.a. “the time diabetes tried to ruin our family trip to Disneyland.”

Luckily, there are some really smart people out there who are working on finding a cure! My mom was heavily involved with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation‘s South Central Chapter when I was younger. We’d raise money and walk at the Walk for the Cure on an annual basis. Sometime between high school and college, I stopped participating. I have been wanting to participate for the past several years, but just never made the effort. This year, I’m changing all that and I’m going to be participating in the Walk for the Cure in San Diego on November 12! I have a handful of friends who are joining me and I’d love it if you’d consider sponsoring our efforts.

I’d love it if some of you would please honor the 23 years I’ve been dealing with diabetes by donating $1 per year for a total of $23. Your $23 will make a huge difference in my world, though any amount is greatly appreciated!

To make a donation, head over to my personal page at http://www2.jdrf.org/site/TR/Walk-CA/Chapter-SanDiego4053?px=1516210&pg=personal&fr_id=1553 or you may mail me a check, made out to JDRF.

Thank you in advance for your generosity!


Diabetes Blog Week 2011 – Day 7


It’s now the last day of Diabetes Blog Week 2011! Wow! Today’s topic is all about what we’ve learned during the week. Here’s the description from Karen:

What we’ve learned – Sunday 5/15: Last year, Wendy of Candy Hearts made a suggestion for this year.  She commented “I think Day 7 should be a post about stuff we’ve learned from other blogs or the experience of coming together online…”  Today, let’s do just that!!  What have you learned from other blogs – either this week or since finding the D-OC?  What has your experience of blogging the DBlog Week topics with other participants been like?  What has finding the D-OC done for you?  If you’d like, you can even look ahead and tell us what you think the future holds!

I think what I learned was more about how awesome all the other D-OC (Diabetes Online Community) members are. Seriously, I was so surprised and happy to get all the loving comments from y’all. (Especially yesterday’s!) I consider myself more of a D-OC lurker than participant, so thank you for showing me some love! It means a lot. :)

And, I feel like I need to do something about being more of a participant and less of a lurker. Because, I mean, who doesn’t need more friends… especially friends who “get” you?

Plus, you guys are totally inspirational. And informative! But more inspirational, I think. :)

Ok, that’s it. I’m joining the D-OC party!

BIG BIG thanks again to Karen, the wonderful mastermind behind Diabetes Blog Week! This week was super awesome and it wouldn’t have happened without her. She ROCKS!

And thank you to all of you who stopped by to read my posts! I hope you were able to learn a little or at least laugh a little!

Now we’ll get back to our regularly scheduled programming… :)



p.s. Read the rest of the “What I learned” posts here!

Diabetes Blog Week 2011 – Day 6


Welcome to Day 6 of Diabetes Blog Week 2011! Today we get to showcase pictures! Here are the details from Karen:

Saturday snapshots – Saturday 5/14: Today is the only day I’ve brought back a fun topic from last year.  Inspired by the Diabetes 365 project, let’s snap a few more d-related pictures and share them again.  Post as many or as few as you’d like.  Be creative!  Feel free to blog your thoughts on or explanations of your pictures.  Or leave out the written words and let the pictures speak for themselves.

Ok, I know what you’re thinking. I should totally own this topic considering the purpose of this blog. But, to be honest, I kind of had trouble coming up with things to show. I guess being diabetic is so “normal” for me that I don’t find it interesting enough to photograph. Anyway, I’m sharing a few snapshots…

The first one is from my iPhone and a nifty app called Lo-Mob. See, on Wednesday, I really just wanted to work out as soon as I got done with work. BUT diabetes decided to stop me in my tracks by giving me a low bloodsugar. Bummer! I ate and waited and ate and waited and ate and waited some more until I finally got a bloodsugar that was high enough for a workout! See how excited I am??? :)

The next image is of my d-drawer. My d-drawer at home is larger and filled with more stuff.  It’s actually one of those plastic set of drawers things. You know, like college kids keep in their dorm rooms. But, alas, I am traveling pretty light considering I’m in the middle of being out of town for about 2 months.

Here’s the inside of my fridge here. Note the insulin in the baggie in the door. It’s NOT in the butter compartment, its usual home, since the butter compartment has no door! Other things of note: veggies, diet ginger ale, Diet Coke, V8, white wine (it’s important!) and greek yogurt. What do YOU see? :)

Do you spot the d-accessories in my toiletries basket?

Next up: the gut I mentioned on Thursday. I’m pretty sure I’m going to regret posting this. The front view isn’t what bothers me (and looks pretty normal in this image). No guts, no glory, right?!? (I think I’m so funny!)

I love dresses with pockets! Not only are they super cute, but they’re practical too! Here’s one of my favorites. On the left, an overview of the dress. On the right, well, that’s one of the pockets, turned inside out to show you the whole I cut into it to feed my pump tubing through. See, when I wear a dress with pockets, I can easily put my pump in one of the pockets if I have a hole to feed the tubing through. It makes giving boluses SO much easier to do in public, since I don’t have to reach anywhere inappropriate to pull out my pump. Did I mention that I love dresses with pockets??

And, last but not least, the obligatory glucometer photo!

Thanks for tuning in! I hope everyone is having a great weekend! See y’all tomorrow for Day 7!



Diabetes Blog Week 2011 – Day 5


Good morning friends and welcome to Day 5 of Diabetes Blog Week 2011! Today’s topic is Awesome Things. Here’s the prompt from Karen:

Awesome things – Friday 5/13: In February the #dsma blog carnival challenged us to write about the most awesome thing we’d done DESPITE diabetes. Today let’s put a twist on that topic and focus on the good things diabetes has brought us. What awesome thing have you (or your child) done BECAUSE of diabetes? After all, like my blog header says, life with diabetes isn’t all bad!

This one was a little hard for me. Besides the obvious (meeting all the awesome diabetics across the internet AND being on TV as a kid because my mom was so heavily involved* with the local JDRF chapter) I think my most awesome thing is pretty abstract. Basically, I think diabetes has taught me to appreciate what I have and to not dwell on what I don’t. In other words, there are a lot of things I could complain about, but I choose not to. Why? Complaining doesn’t help. Sure, I complain about my bloodsugar being too high, but, at the end of the day, it’s what I do that makes a difference. And I translate that thought to other aspects of my life. Here’s an example.

This morning, I woke up and the electricity was out. (Note to Norfolk: Was that some sort of sick Friday the 13th joke?) If you know me in real life, you know that I get up pretty early. How early? Well, earlier than the sun on most days (including today). You can imagine the frustration when I started thinking about everything I needed to do before I left so that I could get to work on time. And then I realized that I wouldn’t even be able to make coffee! YIKES! So, instead of fretting and complaining to my tweeps about it (yes, the thought crossed my mind) I thought about how awesome it is that I wake up and CAN see on most days. As most of you know, diabetes retinopathy affects many diabetics and, well, let’s just say that, in my 22 years (and counting!) of being a type 1 diabetic, I haven’t always been in the best control. ;) Then my entire morning routine became more of an adventure! I was thinking, “hmm, what can I do without any lights?” I must say the dark shower was pretty relaxing! Putting contacts in my eyeballs in the dark? Not something I’d choose to do.

The funny thing was that, I was stressing the whole time that I’d be late to work. Especially since I needed to stop for coffee on the way in! As it turns out, I got to work early today. And I don’t mean like the standard 5-10 minutes early. I was a whole 30 minutes** early! Makes me wonder what else I could remove from my morning routine…

Want more awesome? Check out what other Diabetes Blog Week participants are saying about their awesome here!



*When I said “so heavily involved,” what I really meant was “practically started.” Yeah, that was before the internets and the D-OC, and she did her part to create community among diabetics in South Central Texas. She’s awesome. :)

**Yay! Time to blog! ;)

Diabetes Blog Week 2011 – Day 4


Howdy! We’ve passed hump-day and now we’re on to Day 4 of Diabetes Blog Week 2011! Today’s topic is Ten things I hate about you, Diabetes. Here’s the description from Karen:

Ten things I hate about you, Diabetes – Thursday 5/12: Having a positive attitude is important… but let’s face it, diabetes isn’t all sunshine and roses (or glitter and unicorns, for that matter). So today let’s vent by listing ten things about diabetes that we hate. Make them funny, make them sarcastic, make them serious, make them anything you want them to be!!

Here’s my list, in no particular order:

  • My gut. Years and years of insulin injections and now years of pump infusion sites have left my abdomen in a war-like state. Red, puffy, spotty, sometimes purply, always plump, filled with scar tissue build-up. I’ve been self-conscious about this area for as long as I can remember. You might get to see it in Saturday’s post. We’ll see how brave I’m feeling…
  • D-police. You know who you are.
  • The feeling you get when you just know your bloodsugar is dropping, but you’re in the middle of something really important and can’t properly address it at the time. Usually followed by cold sweat, shaking, and inability to pay attention. (Stephanie and I chatted about this briefly during the DSMA chat last night.)
  • I’m cheating a little. I don’t really hate this one, but I did when I was in 3rd grade! In 3rd grade, our teacher had us make fingerprints and put them up on the wall all over the classroom. When my mom came by class, I challenged her to guess which ones were mine! She scanned the walls and went straight to the ones that were mine! I was SO confused until I realized it was because you could see all the little holes in my finger pads from checking my bloodsugar. But, the funny thing was, I hadn’t even noticed them before!
  • Being attached. To my pump, CGM, glucometer… whatever. I dislike always having to carry something with me.
  • The constant ups and downs (a.k.a. glucoaster).
  • The fear of the unknown.
  • The fact that others worry about me and feel the need to check in on me. I don’t mind the checking in part, but I wish they didn’t have to do it.
  • Getting low right after I’ve finished eating! Don’t you know that I don’t want to shove more food into my face?!?
  • The lack of cure. I was diagnosed when I was 4, so I don’t remember not having diabetes. I think it has made it easier for me to deal with it, but wouldn’t it be nice to know what’d it’d be like to NOT have to check my bloodsugar multiple times a day and be constantly attached to a piece of hardware that keeps me alive? I sure as hell think so. We were told that a cure was “right around the corner” when I was diagnosed. That was 1988!!

That’s my list! To see what other Diabetes Blog Week participants have come up with, check out the link list here!



p.s. Don’t forget it’s my birthday month! If you feel so inclined, please donate to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation instead of sending gifts. :)

p.p.s. My friend Maria also reminded me that author Brenda Novak is currently hosting her annual online auction for diabetes research. All proceeds will go to the Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami to help find a cure! Please check it out and bid here! The auction opened on May 1 and ends on May 31.