Insulin Pump Demystified

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Helpful new read

Hi Friends--

Whether you are recently diagnosed or a diabetes veteran, pick up a very helpful book: "The Ultimate Guide To Accurate Carb Counting" (The Marlowe Diabetes Library). Written by CDE and diabetes author Gary Scheiner (who wrote the forward to my "Insulin Pump Therapy Demystified"), this guide breaks down the nuances of carb counting with clear explanations that will benefit us all. From how to accurately read lables (did you know to subtract the Fiber listed from the total carb count?)to understanding the glycemic index, Gary Scheiner gives us true guidance to tighten up our carb counting and so improve our diabetes control, while actually giving us a few laughs along the way. Spread the word and add "The Ultimate Guide To Accurate Carb Counting" to your bookshelf. For more info on the Marlowe Diabetes Library, go to

It's been a busy time in my kitchen, as I've been eliminating gluten and casein from all of my cooking because of allergies that my son is having. That means no wheat/white flour, oats, barley and well as no dairy. It's actually been a healthy way to eat--I'm using more brown rice, corn tortialls, lots of fresh vegetables, protein and fruit. My son is still going through withdrawl from bread products and not all of the gluten-free substitutes do it for him. But we're committed and are experimenting to see what works. The best news is that this new approach to cooking and eating is helping my bloos sugars to stay more stable--brown rice pasta, for example, works much better for me than white pasta. And it's actually good! If white flours cause your BG to spike, it might be worth trying the gluten-free path...


Monday, January 01, 2007

January 2, 1982

Tomorrow is the 25th anniversary of my Type 1 diagnosis; it came on the day just after New Year's when I was ten years old. I can still remember everything about that morning in clear detail...peeing into a cup at home, my Dad (a doctor) taking it with him to work, getting into the car with my mom and riding to the hospital, meeting my dad in the cafeteria where my parents explained what was going on before we went upstairs to the pediatrics ward.

Of course, I couldn't grasp that morning the dramatic effect that diagnosis would have on my life to come. But I do remember just wondering, in the midst of learning about insulin and practicing injections on an oragne, if my life would ever be "normal" again. What did it mean to have a disease? Was I going to grow up and be healthy and go to college and fall in love and have kids and all of the other things that my 10-year-old self dreamed of?

I wish I knew then what I know now--that in fact, my life has been better than normal, that the challenge and hurt of living with diabetes has opened my heart and I think has largely made me into the sensitive, compassionate person that I am. I wish I knew that growing up not taking mortality for granted could be an incredible gift--that because I had a sense that life is not a given, I have always been open to living fully, taking chances, and loving freely with all of my heart.

On the other side, I'm glad I didn't know about my struggles, about my years of rebellion, of not eating well, of being like every other college student and drinking too much, of ignoring my diabetes. I'm glad I didn't know how often I would be struck with pure terror during my pregnancies, desparately afraid that my children wouldn't make it out of my womb alive.

But in the end, living with diabetes for me has been all of the above and I can't imagine what my life would look like now if I hadn't received that diagnosis that day. But I do know that I am ready, fully open to record that other day, the day yet to come, when I recover, the day that I am cured of diabetes, do not need to take insulin by pump or injection ever again. What a day that will be. And it's coming. I don't know when. But I believe it is...

A happy, healthy New Year to you--

Monday, December 25, 2006

And a Happy New Year...

Wow...Chanukah is over, New Year's Eve is just around the corner, friends are celebrating Christmas today, and I felt a great sigh of relief. The holidays were too hectic this year. Every time that I thought my buying was over, I forgot about one more gift...between my children's teachers, the whole family's health care practictioners, and my husband and my colleagues, as well as our family and friends, my list was longer than ever. I love the spirit of giving but need to find some way to make my shopping more manageable next year.

In the midst of it all, my little family gathered each night of the eight that make up Chanukah to light our Hanukkiyot, the menorahs that are special for Chanukah. One really creative one was made by my almost four-year-old son, George, in preschool. He was so excited to light the candles each night that during our short ritual of singing the blessings and lighting the candles, the stress around me did seem to slip away. George held onto the shamash, the helper candle used to light the other candles, with my help and lit the candles on his very own Hannukiyah. Fred, George, June and I danced around the kutchen to Chanukah songs.

It was a small, simple moment but in the darkness of this winter season and in the stress driving at all of us in our daily lives, I will hold onto the memory of lighting the candles and singing with my small children.

The new year is coming and I will try and once again focus harder on making my health and well-being a priority.

Wishinh each one of you moments of light in the new year--

Monday, December 04, 2006

Check out my interview...

with Pittsburgh Stter Kendall Simmons at:,1038.html

Hope he inspires you as he did me!

All best,

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Moderation actually worked!

Yes, I freely admit that I ate until my pants felt tight on Thanksgiving. But unlike over indulgence in past years, I actually ate mostly healthy foods on my plate--lots of roasted vegetables, turkey, some mashed potatoes and stuffing, small amounts of the candied sweets. We took our usual break for dessert and then I bolused more insulin and enjoyed a moderate slice of both pumpkin and pecan pie, smothered in a layer of non-dairy whipped topping. It all felt so good, and an hour after it was over, I tested in at 236. Could have been worse--a few more units and I was down to 146 before bed.

The next few days, I went easy on the leftovers and didn't beat myself up about eating such a good, extra-large meal. I really enjoyed dinner and left it at that. I went through the Thanksgiving weekend with my family not worrying about the scale, but just focusing on the experience of it all.

I heard a bit of my favorite cooking show, "A Chef's Table" on NPR today and the guest, a dietician, talked about the way our bodies all cycle into a carb-craving mode this time of year. It all connects to the darker nights and the way we instinctly tucker down and preserve our energy.

It's helpful to know, since I so often go into the November--March weight gain cycle. This year, I'm going to focus on low-glycemic index carbs and try and keep the moderate approach that worked so well on Thanksgiving going. It's only December 2nd, so I feel a bit premature in feeling optimistic, but awareness is the first step.

Wishing you all energy and vitality as winter approaches--

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Slowing Down

It's been a strange fall here weather-wise--lots of rains, dips into the 40s and rises back up to the 70s. Now Thanksgiving week is approaching and the weather is settling into the 50s. It feels like deep fall now, with winter weather just around the corner.

My rhythm really slows down this time of year; I feel it happening. I know it's natural, but I resist it. I want to stay inside, curled up, I'm less eager to get out for the walks that I need. I'm in a bit of a lazy rut and I feel it in my body. I've maintained my weight for the last two months, but haven't dropped a pound. And now the holidays are coming and I really want to be mindful of what I'm eating so that all of my weight loss efforts from last spring and summer don't go for naught. Not to mention that my blood sugars often go bouncy-bounce throughout the holiday season...and I'd like to bring a bit more attention and control to that arena this year.

I feel all of this intellectually, while my body is saying "sit on the couch, eat, forget it." Maybe the first step is paying attention to this tendency, to just being aware. Maybe I can work with my body this year, find some way to kick it into high gear, maybe doing some more yoga, maybe just putting on an extra sweater and making myself get up and go walk.

I am looking forward to Thanksgiving dinner though, I must admit.

Wishing you blessings,

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Halloween: Crash and Burn

GROSS. That is how I feel after too many days of yes, eating Halloween candy. It started innocently enough a couple of weeks ago when I saw big bags of candy on sale at the grocery store. Who puts candy on sale before Halloween? Being the bargain shopper that I am, I bought three bags.

Then the question was: where to store them that my 3-yr-old son wouldn't find the? He's pretty good at finding secret places, that kid. So I figured I'd just leave them in a bag in the car, under the passneger seat. Big mistake! I don't usually eat candy, not Halloween type of candy, anyway. I try to be conscious of what I put into my body and if I do eat chocolate now and again, I'd rather do the really good stuff, a Lindt bar or something along that line.

But having bags of Tootsie rolls and snickers and butterfingers and twix in the car with me all the time pushed me into a bit of a fetish state. You know, at a red light, I knew the bag was there, waiting for me to dip in. What fun! I'd take a little twix, bolus, and enjoy.

Let's just say that by Tuesday night, I had to go out and buy more candy to replace that car candy, the fetish candy, and then there I was, hours after taking my kids around the neighborhood for Trick or Treat, faced with more bags of extra candy since this year's turn-out of ghosts and goblins was on the light side.

Gross. I can feel those little packets of m&m's around my waist. It's over now. I am way done. I haven't been on the scale in a week bu ttomorrow morning I am getting back on. Halloween begins my annual cycle of "weakness"--indulging more than I should through November and December. I know many of us do it, but i don't want to get sucked in once again. I've worked hard to lose weight and even if I can bolus to manage the extra carbs, I know that eating junk does nothing to help my overall health.

Fortunately my kids are young enough not to notice if their treats suddenly get put in the trash. George was more excited about calling out "Trick or Treat" than actually eating the candy. No more snickers for me!