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Latest Posts

Diabetes Is A Five Letter Word

… and that five letter word is “guilt.”

At the ePatient conference last week, Sue Rago was talking about diabetes and the complications that can arise.  “But the complications of well-managed diabetes?  None.”

And despite the fact that I met and enjoyed hanging out with Sue, this statement cut right through me.  Well-managed diabetes produces no complications?  So diabetes-related complications are just the result of an inattentive “host,” or “slacking off?”  It’s not the fault of diabetes itself? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

A Letter To An Unborn Child, From Her Diabetic Mom

Dear Baby,

I’ve been thinking about you for a long time.

My doctors told me it would be a challenge to have you.  They said that diabetes would be a tricky hurdle as I planned for you.  They said you might not happen.  There were so many reasons to be scared and so many reasons to doubt, but I never gave up on you, Baby.  I have always wanted you and have worked so tirelessly to make my body safe for you. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

You Know You Have Diabetes When …

You know you’re a diabetic when … you see what appears to be this:

Owie!!

Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

Type 1 Diabetes: An Invisible Illness

If you just snapped a quick picture, you wouldn’t see it.  Not unless you were looking for the small signs, like my insulin pump.  Or my spotted fingertips.

Type 1 diabetes isn’t something you can see on me.  It’s not an illness that, at this point in my life, comes with any constant external symptoms.  I am fortunate enough to not use a wheelchair or need vision assistance devices.  You can’t see my disease, even though it’s something I manage every day.

I seem “normal.”  (Stop laughing.  Let me use the word normal for the sake of this blog post, at the very least!)  I seem like your average 30 year old professional woman (again, stop laughing), recently married, inspired to achieve, and happy.

And I am happy.

But my good health is not without great effort.

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic illness, and one that has required daily maintenance and effort from me, and from my caregivers, for the last 23 years. Every morning starts with my meter.  Every meal I’ve eaten in the last two plus decades has been preceeded by a blood sugar check and an insulin dose.  And every night has my finger pricked by a lancet before my head hits the pillow.

This isn’t a pity party.  Not by a long shot.  My life is healthy and I have a very fulfiling existance, even if days are bookended by diabetes and even if I’m now wearing medical devices 24 hours a day, every single day.  And back when I was a fresh-faced litttle kiddo, people seemed to want to cure my disease because they didn’t like the idea of a small child dealing with this disease.

Kids are fun to cure.  They’re cute.  And their futures seem worth investing in.

What confuses me is how quickly people forget.  Type 1 diabetes became a part of my life a long time ago, and I don’t remember even a snippet of “the before.”  But even though I’ve lived very well with this disease and kept it from defining me in any way, it’s still here.  And it’s still something I deal with every day, regardless of how well or poorly controlled.  But just because I’m no longer a little kid with the bright, shining future, am I any less diabetic?  Any less deserving of that cure?  Just because you can’t see my disease, and because I seem to have it under physical and emotional control, does not mean it’s past the point of deserving a cure.

Here is a vlog post that I did back in February about vlogging during a low blood sugar and how “diabetes can look so normal yet feel so rotten.”   It’s a video that shows how invisible diabetes can be, but how visible it feels from the perspective of those who live with it:

Children with diabetes grow up to be adults with diabetes.  And all the while, we’re still ready for progress. And for hope.  And for a cure.

This week, September 14 – 20th, is Invisible Illness Awareness Week.  And today, I’m raising my voice for type 1 diabetes.

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

Six Bad Habits Of A Woman With Diabetes

I WILL be good!Taking a cue from Rachel and Cherise, I wanted to post my diabetes “bad habits.”  (Unfortunately, it didn’t take long to come up with six.)  But thankfully, after months and months of extreme tweaking, my bad habits aren’t nearly as bad as they used to be.

1.  Bolus-Stacking. (See also:  rage bolusing)  I have a very, very bad habit of stacking boluses when my blood sugar is high.  You know … test and see that 212 mg/dl, take  two units to correct it back to 100 … test again 45 minutes later to see 245 mg/dl staring back at you … freak out and take another unit for good measure … test one more time an hour later to see no real change … lace in two more units because you’re angry and frustrated and sick of the high … only to crash five hours later with a 45 mg/dl with your face mushed into a can of Pillsbury frosting.  Not that I’ve done that. But if I were to do that, it might play out just like that.

2.  Carb Winging It. Until recently, I’ve been an estimator.  A SWAGger (scientific wild-ass guesser).  Someone who kind of wings the whole carb-counting thing and hopes that there were only about 15 grapes in that snack bag or that the apple was really “small” instead of “medium.”  With the little weeny doses of insulin I take, counting carbs with precision is crucial to making sure my numbers stay stable, so when I’m guessing as to the carb count, the blood sugar results go all over the place.

3.  Shooting with a Mouthful. This is a bad habit pointing out by my endocrinologist a few months ago, and one that was wicked hard to break.  And I have no idea how I ended up in this terrible habit to begin with, but it’s not good.  I had a terrible tendency to start eating, then decide to bolus.  Even if the carbs were counted perfectly and the insulin dose went in without issue, I wasn’t giving the insulin any time to act before introducing the carbs.  Thus, making my numbers go berserk after meals.  No more shooting while I’m eating. Now I need to shoot up before eating.  Makes a big difference.

4.  Self-Consious During Workouts. Another bad habit.  When I go to the gym, I used to leave my insulin pump at home and then reconnect when I returned.  It worked out to keep me from going low during workouts, yes, but it was also because I didn’t like having the device attached to me while I was wearing form-fitting workout clothes.  Stupid Kerri.  Sure, I was avoiding the lows, but I was also ending up close to 180 mg/dl by the end of my workout.  With pre-pregnancy goals of 150 or lower, this is unacceptable.  So I have to suck it up and wear the pump while I exercise and even sometimes go easier during a workout to avoid lows, instead of sacrificing blood sugar control for an extra mile on the treadmill.

5.  Log Lagging. I have a good habit of starting logbooks, but a terrible time keeping up with them.  This has been a hard habit to break (habit to break), but I’m close to turning it around.  Logbooks are my diets – I am excellent at the outset, but then I fall apart.  Thankfully, I’ve got a team at Joslin and a husband at home who are helping keep me accountable, and it’s making a world of difference.

6.  Blame Game. And a sixth (but certainly not the last) bad diabetes habit that I have is my role in the blame game.  I put a lot of pressure on myself to get things “right” and when the diabetes outcome isn’t what I’m hoping for, I tend to blame myself.  I have to constantly remind myself that strong efforts and a decent attitude go a long way in this marathon, and I can’t beat myself up for every low or high that crops up randomly.  Diabetes isn’t fair, and it isn’t easy, and it sure as hell isn’t my fault, so I just need to roll with the punches as gracefully as I can.

What are your diabetes bad habits?  Or maybe it’s better to ask – what are your good diabetes habits?  I’m going to have to concoct another “good” list soon – they’re way more fun.  🙂

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

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