Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Simmering On Low Still Has The Potential To Be Hot AF

Accidents happen and patience is a virtue.
Bottom line: Make sure your hot food cools down before placing it in your mouth - and never, ever take a spoonful from the pot... unless you've made sure it doesn't have the potential to scald you. 
Seek help when something doesn’t seem right - even if it shows your flaws/stupidity/impatience to the world - because it’s better to be safe than sorry.
########
On Saturday night I burned the roof of my mouth. BADLY.
The culprit, a tortilla chip topped with delicious chili straight from the pot, that had been simmering on low.
It was my fault. I’d thawed out, delicious frozen homemade chili, and had it on a low simmer. 
10 minutes earlier it wasn’t hot. 5 minutes earlier it was tepid. 5 minutes after that, DEFCON 5, but by then it was too late. 5 minutes does indeed make all the  difference.


What happened wasn’t pretty, it hurt like a MOFO - I could literally feel the top of my mouth swelling on one side.  It was searing pain and also felt like half my throat was closing.
I wondered about going to UrgentCare, and after reading about mouth burns and infections on Dr. Google, I went - and even though I felt like a fucking idiot.
The Good news: Thanks to the playoff game - the place was empty and the UrgentCare team was kind - assuring me that I wasn’t the only person to end up there because of a hot meal.
The Dr. looked in my mouth with some periscope like instrument whose name I can’t remember; shook his head, and kindly confirmed that I had "a hell of a burn on the roof of my mouth.”  
He wrote and filled an Amoxicillin RX (apparently, Amoxicillin is a great drug for mouth injuries,) and gave me detailed directions on how to take care of my burn.
Directions including: take my antibiotics until I’d finished them; rinsing out my mouth with saline water rinses (made with only distilled water,)  hourly, over the counter pain meds, which I did my best not to take.
Lastly, he put the kibosh on tomatoes, crunchy/sharp foods, (chips, crackers, toasted anything,) acidic/fermented foods. And absolutely no citrus, no spice, no hot temp foods,(only tepid,) and NO CHILI.


For the record: I never realized how much crunchy, spicy, citrus, vinegar foods I actually eat.


I’m sharing for several reasons.


1. The burn happened in seconds and started blistering up immediately.  
I felt like I had something stuck to the roof of my mouth - that something was a HUGE BLISTER.


2. Pride almost prevented me from seeking medical attention - and that’s not good - and had the potential to be REALLY BAD.
Burns can get infected easily and let's face it, the mouth isn’t the cleanest place, and people with diabetes need to be weary of infections.  

I didn’t want to go and like I stated earlier. I felt so f^cking stupid. 
But I popped some ice cubes in my mouth and went - and I’m glad I did.
3. The roof of my mouth peeled Saturday and Sunday (SO GROSS,) and my blood sugars were elevated for two days.
Part of that might have been due to the fatty foods I was forced to eat - I don't know.

I couldn’t sleep and would wake up in the middle of the night to rinse out my peeling mouth with cold, salt water.

4. I was miserable.  

Thankfully, yesterday was a holiday and I was able to sleep most of the day away.
Yesterday afternoon, I took a friend on FB’s advice and bought the ingredients for Magic Mouthwash - liquid benadryl mixed with Maalox,  and made a mouth rinse that helped ease the pain, topically.


As much as I love ice cream, yogurt, cheese, and bread topped with butter, eating a combo of the afore mentioned at every meal (and in frigid temps,) gets old fast.
As does rinsing your mouth out with distilled water and salt every couple of hours and only drinking only distilled water because, germs.


Today I woke up and I could tell I’d turned a corner - my blood sugar was normal and my mouth wasn’t the first thing I noticed when I woke up.
I drank warmish coffee with cream and sugar instead of iced coffee and got back to business and in all dimensions.

5 minutes ago I gingerly ate a Kind Bar as my snack (and without much pain,) because that's all I had on hand - LITTLE VICTORIES. 


Burns are no joke - be careful, put your pride in your pocket and go with your gut.
If you question that you might need to go to UrgentCare - GO. 
Take your meds, check your blood sugars often, and last but certainly not least - take my new mantra to heart: 

Simmering on low still has the potential to be hot AF."

And of course I'm not only talking about food - but that's for another blog post, entirely~

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Diabetes: Giving Up Control To Get Control

Starting 2018 with much needed changes that I made at the end of 2017. Asking for help, giving up control to get control. 
This is me - except my hair never looks this good or this effortless. 

After my last Endo appointment in November; struggling to lower my A1C; (it's stubbornly stayed at 7.4 since July,) lower my daily insulin intake and drop weight, I decided to listen to my CDE., give up some control and let her and my Endo look at my numbers and make changes. 

And as long as I’m being honest, I was scared shitless to upload my Omnipod’s PDM to Glooko (which comes with Omnipod purchase,)and have my CDE and Endo access my info. 

Even though I have a fantastic and incredibly supportive relationship with my Diabetes Team,  old fears die hard, and I was afraid of being judged and shamed - even though my CDE & Endo have never done either. 
My diabetes team is amazing - and I know how lucky I am. 
But it’s amazing how old shame and guilt can rear it’s ugly head and cause you to NOT get the help you need. 
Showing my numbers would mean showing my flaws - which of course I have - and I know my HealthCare professionals know I have them - but now those flaws, were going to be print and available to share via Glooko. 
Also, lets talk about the the whole "control thing." 
There’s so much we can’t control on life… and our life with diabetes. 
Like you, I work hard when it comes to diabetes - and I still wasn’t getting the results I wanted. 
My a1c wouldn’t budge; I’d only lost a couple of pounds and I don’t eat huge carb filled meals very often - all incredibly frustrating. 
What I was doing wasn't working - I was taking much more insulin that someone my age and size should be taking.

I needed to give up my control in order to get the control I need and crave. 

I sucked it up, took a deep breathe and did what I was asked. 
My first round consisted of uploading/ sharing 2 weeks worth of numbers, followed by a second round of uploading and sharing 12 days worth of numbers  - and apologizing for my sucky numbers. 
4 days later, my CDE responded in the greatest of ways: 
“Kelly, please don't ever apologize for your blood sugars. You're obviously putting a lot of work into this. And these two weeks are much more stable than what we saw in the last upload. 
You aren't staying high, you work hard to bring the BG back down.”

She also told me that I was actually doing too much work  - for the results I was getting. 
Her words literally made me cry tears of joy and I posted about it on fb and twitter.

Her response motivated me to take her suggestions to heart and actually make them. 

My CDE was convinced that I was utilizing too much basal and too little bolus and wanted to closely mimic my old, "less insulin" pattern with a few changes to simplify things. 
She made drastic changes to my basal, carb ratio, and correction factors and said that if I wanted to wait until the holidays were over to make the changes, I could. 
I didn't want to wait put them into practice as soon as I received her email - 5 days before Christmas. 

The changes were immediate. 
My first 5 days (including Chinese food for Christmas dinner with my family because none of us felt like cooking,) resulted in daily insulin totals between 10 and 13 units LOWER per day, than my old settings. 
On day 6 the cold; sore throat, congestion, and cough that had been brewing in my system went all mock 5 and I caved. Setting elevated temp basal rates. 
Here’s the kicker: Even with higher temp basal for sick days, I was still taking between 6 and 10 units less on those sick days than I would have been with my old settings. 
And I’ve lost 1.5 pounds. 

MIND OFFICIALLY BLOWN.

Things I've Learned/Been Reminded Of
This experiencereinforced that I don’t know everything, can be too proud for my own good,  
and that I’m not great with change, even when it brings good things. 
I'm glad I moved out of my own way, shared my numbers with my team and took their advice. 

I need to upload my next round of numbers at the end of the week and will embrace what ever tweaks are required. 

Bottom line: Change can be hard  - even when it’s good. 
Admitting; asking, and taking help isn't easy. 
IN 2018 I’m embracing change and those who help me make the changes needed to become what and who I want to be in my life…. and my life with diabetes~ 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Take The dQ&A Diabetes Survey - And Have Your Voice Heard

I spoke with the folks at dQ&A last week. YEP, impressed. 
######
There are things I absolutely love about the diabetes products and meds that I use daily and religiously.. and there are things that drive me absolutely bonkers about the diabetes products and meds I use daily and religiously.  
There have been times where I’ve literally said out loud: Clearly, whoever designed this (insert name of diabetes technology, accessory, med, whatever), has never worn/used/taken said diabetes technology, accessory, med, whatever!  
1. It's so incredibly frustrating. 
2. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.

So how do we get our diabetes POV to the people who make and create? 
A good start is signing up and taking a diabetes survey from dQ&A, ( Diabetes Questions and Answers,) and participating in their patient panel.
Background
dQ&A was created in 2009, with the primary goal of making sure that companies in the diabetes arena (like Insulet, Dexcom, Medtronic, and Abbott Diabetes Care,) know what we want and need when it comes to the diabetes technology, drugs, and innovation. 
Speaking of innovation, dQ&A also works directly with new diabetes companies whose products have yet to hit the market.
Sidebar: 
They also rep our community. Last year dQ&A spoke in front of the FDA in support of the agency considering more than just A1c reduction when deciding whether to approve new diabetes drugs and devices. 
They backed up their claims by using a 3,500-person dQ&A survey to make and bring that point home.
And I'm so damn glad they did - because people with diabetes are more than our A1C, and people with diabetes already get judged more than most. 

You can sign up to take their survey HERE, (results are anonymous, personal info is never shared,) and your feedback about living with diabetes goes directly to the designers and researchers working on today’s - and tomorrow’s diabetes products. 
I’ve taken the survey, it’s easy and doesn’t take much time. 
Sign up today, take the survey - become part of their patient panel and participate in future surveys. Your voice matters - USE IT to help yourself and your community. 

dQ&A’s surveys are global and open to people in the United States, Canada, The UK and Europe.
 A fee is paid to every individual who signs up and takes a survey, in the form of a check, gift certificate, or a donation made to one of the following fab diabetes charities:

US Diabetes Charities

Canadian Diabetes Charities 

UK Diabetes Charities

Friday, December 15, 2017

Pictures


Shells 
Today, I'm not uttering the D word. NOPE.  See Kerri's post for details.

Instead - I'm going to post some photos from my own collection.
Back story. I love to take photos - and I always have. 

When I was little I would steal my sister's camera and take pictures. 
Actually, my sister Debbie was the first person who let me use her camera to take a picture - I was 4, it was shaky and a bit our of focus- and  I still have it... somewhere in a box filled with family photos. 
I became an auntie when I was 6 years old - and since then, I've taken hundreds (maybe thousands,) of photos of all my nieces and nephews.
In 4th grade - I wanted and received an Instamatic camera, for Christmas.
When my sister Debbie passed, my parents gave me her 35 millimeter Camera because they knew I'd use it - and I did - until the shutter met with an unfortunate incident with a can of spilled Diet Coke.
There was a time I loved having my picture taken - and I was quite the ham. 
Now...  at least for the most part, I like being behind the lens instead of always front and center. 

I love taking pictures.
Photography helps me see the little details - and the big ones. 
I love taking pictures of my friends and their children (not posting them, because privacy ,) and they seem to like the results. 

Photography makes me happy. 

Every picture shows me a secret and teaches me a lesson.
Photography relaxes me and feeds me creatively and spiritually.
I need a better camera and I'm hoping to get one this year. 
Hope you dig~
Sea foam, POV
Photographer as subject 
Atlantic City, back bay view from a helicopter 
2017 Women's March, in the City of Brotherly Love,
in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
MOMA - Louise Bourgeious  - I will never think of spiders the
same way again~

Rainbow carrots & co 
My friend Misty

Standing in my rain boots - in the sand and baptized by the sea

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Diabetes, Waiting Out A Low Blood Sugar And Recalling The First 3 Circles of Hell


I originally published this post on February 19th, 2013
Had a nasty low blood sugar of 44 at 3:29 a.m. this morning that woke me up from a restless sleep. I waited it out, drained my bottle of juice and all sorts of weird shit went through my head while I waited for normal to return.

This post from 2013 has been on my mind since breakfast. Hope you can relate. 
######
Every now and then weird shit pops into my mind, whether it's a commercial jingle from back in the day, an obscure movie reference, or facts I wasn't even aware I'd remembered or actually knew - until they popped out of my mouth.
Durning my low blood sugar last night, long ago facts from a college List class popped into this List major's head and made for some interesting D analogies. 
And even though it's a strange pairing at first glance - I think it actually makes sense. 
#######

You know when your blood sugar's low right before you start to make dinner so you drink some juice and then you try your best to "wait it out,"  because you don't want to ruin your dinner?

But "waiting it out" doesn't work so you eat saltines with peanut butter & strawberry jam, because you live  by yourself and you're self sufficient, and you want to stay alive & this particular low makes you feel vulnerable in all all of the above areas.

But even with waiting, your blood sugar feels like it's still in the 3rd Circle of Hell, where according to Dante, the gluttons are punished by lying in a vile freezing slush and are guarded by a 3 headed hound named Ceberus - think Fluffy from Harry Potter. 

Which actually makes sense -  because I do feel like I’m being punished for my insatiable hunger - And I’m starting to break into a cold sweat. 
And then I wonder out loud: Why the hell am I remembering Dante’s Circles of Hell at a time like this?  
Seriously, WTF?
Why does my brain remember such obscure facts at the weirdest and most inopportune of times? I don’t get it.
I don't know, maybe my brain pulls out long forgotten facts to take my mind off moments that are scary. 

I’ve left Hell's Third Circle and some how I've made it to the 2 Circle of Hell, where the "lustful souls are tossed about in a violent storm without any hope for rest." 

And again, this actually makes sense because I feel battered and like this stormy low is never ending.
I feel like my blood sugar will never go up and shove more peanut butter and jam covered saltines in my mouth because my lips are numb & I know that's not a good thing. 

I try and wait the low out and I sit at my computer and type what’s happening and what’s going through my head and for the life of my I can't believe that in this low blood sugar haze I’m thinking about Dante’s Inferno.

I didn’t even get an A in that class - I think I got a B, and honestly, I haven’t thought about that class since I took it!
I still think about my John Milton class from time to time - I did my Major Authors paper on Paradise Lost - And got a B in that class - And I remember being really happy about that because if anyone had told me that I would spend an entire semester studying and writing about John Milton and getting a B in the class, I wouldn't have believed them.... But I digress. 

Which leads me to Limbo - Dante's First Circle of Hell - that's where I am right now - In limbo - where Dante says the unbaptized & virtuous pagans live. 

And at this moment I really can relate to those virtuous pagans - I am one of them after all. Right now I’m praying to the Diabetes Gods to bring my blood sugar back up from the beneath surface so I can breath again. 

And now I've come up for air... I feel better and sick all rolled into one. 
My blood sugar has gone up fast, too fast for comfort. It’s gone up from 62 to 90 and then 25 minutes later ( and an hour and 10 minutes after the low) it’s now 164.

I'm tired and do a correction bolus, my head hurts and my dinner plans of a roast beef sandwich on Esekiel bread with Pacific Hearty Tomato soup & and broccoli sautéed in olive oil and garlic will have to wait for another night. 

I have a headache and my stomach is full and I feel terrible. 

This low has left me tired and little teary eyed and I’m annoyed at my body in all its dimensions. 

Next time my blood sugar drops I hope my brain recalls something more pleasant - Dante & his 9 Circles of Hell are total downers - even if you're only recalling the first 3.

So.... Any weird facts or memories float through your mind during a low or high blood sugar haze?  

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Patient Online Communities, Including The DOC - Fight For Net Neutrality!


On Thursday, December 14, the FCC votes to repeal and dismantle Net Neutrality laws that are currently on the books.

What does that mean? 
Digital inequality. Imagine being forced to use certain ISP (Internet Service Provider,) in order to surf the net.
Example: Being forced to use Yahoo as your search engine instead of Google, because Verizon owns Yahoo. That’s why Net Neutrality laws are in place. 

Do you really want Companies like Comcast and Verizon to control what parts of the Internet you have access too ? 

Do you really want to pay them more money so you can GOOGLE or tweet? I DON'T. 

Hey, did I mention the newly elected head of the FCC and guy trying to tear down the Net Neutrality laws, Ajit Pait (also the guy making jokes about killing net neutrality and shilling for Verizon,) used to be a an big shot executive from Verizon. 

Dismantling Net Neutrality means no more even playing field  - and not even in the same ball park! 
Small businesses won’t be able to compete with the big ones, and it will become more difficult for people to have access to info on the net - hence denying us freedom of information. 
Not great if you’re in a poor school district, own a small business trying to compete with the big guys, or belong to a ***Patient Community. 

The Diabetes Online Community changed my life for the better - And I know that you feel the same way. 
The value of the connecting online for those of us living with a chronic illness is so incredibly important. 

The Internet not only connects us to valuable info, it connects us to our diabetes peers and consigliaries  -people who understand what it’s like to live with diabetes. The Web helps people with  diabetes and other chronic illnesses find our tribes; our teachers, champions, and our allies.

The Internet gives us our voices to implement change. 
Our voices - our freedom of speech and our freedom to obtain information is THIS CLOSE to being taken away.

Still not sure?  Ok, look to Portugal and Spain. Because they don’t have Net Neutrality, internet providers are now starting to split the internet into packages. 

It’s not a Red verses Blue issue - everyone no matter what side of the fence you sit, will feel the impact. 

How can you help? 
Sidebar: Cutting and pasting directly from facebook and HUGE thanks to John Oliver  - for creating a SUPER easy way to do this⚡️ - like RIGHT NOW
1. Go to gofccyourself.com
(the shortcut John Oliver made to the hard-to-find FCC comment page)
2. Next to the 17-108 link (Restoring Internet Freedom), click on "express"
3. Be sure to hit "ENTER" after you put in your name & info so it registers.
4. In the comment section write, "I strongly support net neutrality backed by Title 2 oversight of ISPs."
5. Click to submit, done. - Make sure you hit submit at the end!

THEN: Call, tweet, facebook, and text ( text RESIST to 50409) your lawmakers and tell them to protect Net Neutrality. 


We are running out of time, your voice matters - SPEAK UP AND SPEAK OUT.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Life Insurance - Another Diabetes Choice - John Hancock Vitality Program



This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links.
I want and require options in my life ... and life with diabetes. 
Healthcare Options for PWD (people with diabetes) and the ability to choose among them, are critical for our physical; mental, Dtech, and fiscal well-being. 
We need more options and we demand more choices. 

When an option comes across my desk that I believe will give people with diabetes an additional choice, I want to know more.  

A few weeks ago, John Hancock reached out to me (and some others in the Diabetes Online Community, like A Sweet Life and Diabetes Daily, to talk about John Hancock Life Insurance with Vitality, and their recent survey* around people with diabetes and  life insurance.

The survey found almost 50% of PWD surveyed worry that they won’t qualify for a life insurance policy - and 45% thought life insurance with diabetes would be too expensive. 

In the past 18 months, 90% of people living with diabetes and looking for life insurance qualified for life insurance from John Hancock, with 88% reporting that they received standard or better rates.**

60% felt the John Hancock Vitality program could provide them with the extra support they needed/wanted in managing their diabetes.

I liked those stats. 

Sidebar: 
John Hancock Vitality life insurance rewards policyholders for the smarter choices they make every day to improve their health – exercising regularly, eating well and getting annual check-ups. Through the John Hancock Vitality program, policyholders can earn rewards and savings up to 15% on their annual life insurance premium. The Vitality Program is over 2 years old and thousands of customers are participating and pursuing healthier lives. 

So, when John Hancock asked to me to partner with them, I did some research and then said yes. Here’s why.

I like the options and incentives that John Hancock Life Insurance with Vitality offers people with t1, LADA, and Type 2 diabetes for doing things that our healthcare team continually ask, tell, demand of us.

Things like working out on a regular basis; eating healthy, getting a flu shot and visiting our healthcare team. 
I also like that the Vitality Program recognizes and rewards all the little changes that equal big ones.

Speaking of... I really like the rewards:   

Rewards
*Choice of an Apple Watch for $25 (plus tax,) by exercising regularly.
*Or a complimentary Fitbit

*Up to $600 in annual savings on healthy food purchases from 70 national grocery store chains when you buy veggies, fruits, grains - healthy stuff like that. 
* Up to a 15% percent discount on your life insurance premium, annually.
*Discounts from national retailers – including Amazon, Hyatt, iTunes, REI, Royal Caribbean International. 

While, I did have concerns about personal info, as in who was looking and whether my info was safe, I was assured that: 

John Hancock is committed to protecting policyholders’ personal information and it will only be used in order to conduct business and administer the program and as permitted or required by law. They do not sell information or share health data with third parties for their marketing purposes. They’ve been protecting customers’ data for over 150 years, and understand the seriousness of that responsibility.

Bottom line: John Hancock Vitality Rewards Life Insurance is an option for you to explore if you live with diabetes. 
So, check it out and see if it’s an option that works for you!

To learn more about John Hancock Vitality and the rewards the program offers for living healthy, head to  JHRewardsLife.com. You can also tweet them at @JohnHancockUSA, #RewardingLife

This is the part where I talk about transparency and full disclosure: 
I am partnering with John Hancock (as in: I received compensation in exchange for writing this post) on a project promoting their Vitality Program. 

If I didn’t support the program and all the benefits it offers people living with diabetes, 
I wouldn’t have agreed to work with them. I’ve spent 10 years writing my blog, 4 decades living with and advocating for diabetes. As always, Diabetesaliciousness is mine - as are my thoughts and opinions. 
 *Source: Qualtrics survey on behalf of John Hancock, completed Sept. 2017.
**Source: John Hancock