Insulin Pump Demystified

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Just a little high...

Summer's here and I love it! Granted, we're running our a/c when it's really humid out, but I still prefer this weather to the cold. We spent a lot of last weekend at the pool and it's a lot of fun to see our baby (9 mos) discover the water and to see my three-year-old son get stronger at kicking and paddling.

One drag about the summer is that because of the heat, this is the season when I usually get more low blood sugars than at any other time of the year. Does that happen to anyone else? The heat and humidity--I guess really the sweating that goes with them--can cause my sugars to drop quickly. Even when I'm testing more, I'm not always able to adjust my insulin correctly for really hot, outdoor days.

So my tendency is to want to run a little bit on the higher side, so that I won't get low. Not high-high, just "a little high." Let's say I'd rather test at 160 than at 80. At 160, I know I have somewhere to fall. At 80, a low could come on quickly and take me really low.

But I realize that this kind of thinking--clinging to the higher side--has its consequences. When I was pregnant, I got over my fear of lows, for the baby's sake. I knew what was expected, and I made my best effort to get my numbers there. I did get low sometimes, and fortunately I always kept juice or glucose tabs with me, and I was testing so much that I always caught the low before it got really low.

So now...I need to keep reminding myself that I have done it, I can overcome my fear of lows. I should not spend this summer clinging to the high side. It's simply not the healthiest way to live.

Easier said than done. Summer is here, more humid days are ahead. I am going to try and keep my fear in the open, acknowledge it so it won't get the best of me. My tendency when I test on the low side of normal is to lower my basal rates or eat a few crackers--do something to push the number up. Just a little.

But now I'm pledging not to do that when I look back on the summer from the vantage point of the fall, I can say it was a great summer. In terms of my blood sugar control and maybe more importantly, in terms of facing my fear. That could have benefits for creating wonderful summer memories, for years ahead.

Wishing you peace,

Monday, June 12, 2006

Diabetes everywhere...

Do you ever have one of those days when it's just diabetes, diabetes, diabetes everywhere? I'm having one of those days. It actually began last night when my Disetronic D-tron plus clip case broke. I am so utterly dependent on my clip case--the way I like to wear my pump is clipped onto my bra, that's it. I used to sometimes put it on my belt or even in a "thigh thing", but for the last few years I prefer to keep it clipped where I know it's safe and secure. Sure, it means sometimes reaching down my shirt in public to bolus, but what can you do?

So my clip case broke and I had to tear apart my closet to find the leather back-up case that I hate. Not wearing my pump the way I prefer made me keep noticing it...thinking about it...becoming annoyed by it. I started realizing how most of my days as I go about the business of my life, I barely notice that it's there. Anyway, the kids were already asleep last night when I decided to catch the last half-hour of "60 Minutes," a favorite Sunday evening ritual. When I turned on TV, a new epidsode of "dlife" was being Tivoed (my husband has set it to tape for me), so I decided to watch that instead. Did anyone ctach it? The show was focusing on the way diabetes is portrayed in tv and film--an issue I find very compelling. Having been totally depressed as a teenager when I saw "Steel Magnolias," I was delighted to see some discourse about how popular media can educate or misinform the public about diabetes.

And then several times today when I caught the news, I heard stories about the ever-growing diabetes epidemic...and it's great that the media is putting attention n how Type 2 diabetes is growing in this country...but when I see those kinds of reports, I must admit I feel a bit of a tug. I worry that all of the public health focus on Type 2 will only mean less education, awareness and research dollars for Type 1.

But then...I remembered that this week is the week of the American Diabetes Association's 66th Scientific sessions, a gathering of physicians, educators, researchers and companies sharing the latest innovations and updates in diabetes research and care. This is news that I want to hear. Bring it on! If you want to follow the Scientific sessions, check out the blog of Dr. Richard Kahn at

In peace,

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

35 and feeling good

Today I turned 35. It's going to take me a little while to grow into this number. In my mind, I've still been around 30 these last five years. I know it's just a number and that age is all relative to how you feel physically/spiritually/intellectually/emotionally...but somehow being closer to 30 than 40 felt nice. Easier. 35 sounds really grown up to me. Which I guess I am.

It's been a really nice birthday. Fred and I went out last weekend to celebrate, friends threw me a birthday lunch yesterday and today I've gotten phone calls and emails from friends near and far. That has been the best gift. A friend that I went to college with, whom I haven't seen since 1994, who's a filmmaker living in England, sent me the most beautiful, inspiring message over email. My brother called from Western Kenya. My cousin in Chicago whom I've been playing phone tag with for months made sure to call. And that's the beginning. It's just hitting me now, how sweet it is to be connected to all of these lives, to just be alive and to be living in the consiousness of all of these wonderful people. People who hold me and remembered me today.

Is there a way to express the gratitude that I am feeling in this moment through the actions of my life? I hope that I do. I think that for those of us living with Type 1 diabetes, the awareness of the gift of life can be that much more ever-present. Living with the awareness that but for insulin you wouldn't be here can give a sense of urgency and immediacy. It does for me, at least. I mean, mostly, that awareness is tucked away in some recess of my mind, but when I stop and refelct on the big picture, I recognize that the awareness of life's preciousness is always there, driving me.

What I am learning, at 35, is that the drive doesn't have to be to succeed in an external way, to show the world that "I am someone." Someone important and cool. That used to be so important to me, to be someone who impressed people. Now, I don't really give a shit about that. What I want to be is someone who is patient, a humble person, someone open to learning and growing. Someone who gives and recieves love easily. This kind of success is not always easy for me to achieve, but I'm working at it one day at a time.

I got on the scale this morning and I was two pounds above where I had set my birthday goal. But I felt happy--it was closer than I'd come so far. My weight loss goal is symbolic of where I hope to be in all of my growth--and it felt fitting that I wasn't quite there today. It made me remember that life is a every way.

Happy Birthday to me. 35 years old, 25 years living with Type 1 diabetes. I am so very happy to be here, to be alive. I read a beautiful peom once--I wish that I had kept it--about how each of us marks the day of our birth, but that the day we die on goes by us as we live, unmarked. How would we live differently, if we knew that day?

Wishing you peace,

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Elliott, my crush is growing...

This is all very embarressing. I just have not been able to stop thinking about Elliott Yamin. And it's not at all like my crush American Idol Season 4 heartthrob Constantine, no, this is a crush of total spirit. What can I say, the more I read about this guy, learning about his struggles and how out there he's been about his diabetes, hoping to educate the public, I just melt. He is moving me! One celeb speaking out about the benefits of insulin pump therapy has the potential to improve millions of lives.

Sigh. This is not a physical thing, I swear. But I am smitten. Really. Read some of these links and let me know if you get hooked on this "Idol" too:

In peace, Gabrielle