Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Thanks to #DSMA I have learned....

I've been on Twitter since, well, it seems like forever. In 2013, I somehow stumbled upon the DOC and #DSMA. For those of you who are unfamiliar, DOC is the Diabetes Online Community and #DSMA is the Diabetes Social Media Advocacy. I cannot remember how I stumbled upon them but am certainly glad I did. I think it was when I was pestering all of Twitter for advice about insulin pumps as I "contemplated" getting one. (Come on, you know my doctor had already decided for me I'd be getting one.) 

Every Wednesday evening on Twitter, from 8 until 9 p.m. central standard time, #DSMA takes over with an hour long chat. Sometimes the topics are about diabetes advocacy and how we can become better advocates, sometimes about our wishes and hopes in regards to diabetes and sometimes just silly things. For a few weeks straight, food kept taking over as the topic of discussion. Many times I ended the chat craving things such as a grilled cheese sandwich or nachos or Chinese food. 

I try to make the chat each week but once in a while I have to miss out on it due to other obligations or because, once in a blue moon, I have a date. Overall though, #DSMA is, hands down, the best part of Hump Day aka Wednesday. 

The DOC has embraced and accepted me for who I am. I have made, what I consider true friendships, with people I have never met face-to-face. They have answered my questions without rolling their eyes, they have been cheerleaders and most importantly, they have been instrumental in my finally accepting and at times embracing (?!) my diabetes. Okay, embracing might be the wrong word. Perhaps they have helped me find some of the positives to having it. That still sounds wrong but I'm sure you can understand what I'm trying to say.

Since so many in the DOC blog and their blogs provide a wealth of information for their experiences and what they've learned as amazing advocates, I thought I'd share some of the tidbits I've learned in the short time I've been involved:
  • Have a pump? Want to wear a dress? Not a problem. Clip your pump to your bra. Can't wear a bra with the dress? Still not a problem. Buy a garter and clip it to that. Or clip it to some hipster or boy short style underwear;
  • It is okay to take a "pump-cation." Sometimes you just need a break from feeling like a robot with all of the devices attached to your body. I've learned from others it is okay to switch back to MDIs for a few days or even when you are living it up on a Caribbean island. Just make sure to discuss it with your doctor so you have a plan;
  • Just because the FDA only approved your CGM for one location, the stomach, doesn't mean you can't break the rules and wear it somewhere else; 
  • It is OKAY to complain about all the tiny things we have to deal with just to stay alive but we shouldn't complain all. the. time. because we are quite fortunate to have access to insulin and the medical devices which others do not have access to
  • No matter how often we think we are the only one experiencing something in our journey with diabetes, chances are at least one other person has or is experiencing it too. Don't be afraid to share your situation because you connect and even potentially help someone through it;
  • I learned how to organize all of my pump supplies so it doesn't look like the area where my supplies are stored exploded;
  • Just like me, most people rarely change their lancets. A good rule of thumb I've learned is to try to change it when we change the clocks and/or change the batteries in the smoke detectors; and 
  • Most importantly, I've learned how to save the insulin left in my reservoir when it is time to change it instead of throwing away valuable insulin. Because that is the worst feeling ever knowing there are still a few units in the reservoir but you need to change the site. You become overwhelmed with guilt.  
So, now, I shall share how to save the insulin! Disclaimer: I have the Medtronic pump so I'm not sure how to save the insulin with other pumps. When it comes time to change your reservoir you need to save two items: 

Those are the two pieces you need to save. To save the insulin in your old reservoir:
  1. Fill your new reservoir with the insulin you need;
  2. Keep the blue thing on your bottle of insulin;
  3. Once the new reservoir is connected to your infusion site device and you've pushed some insulin into the tubing , remove the plunger as you normally would but DO NOT THROW the plunger away;
  4. Continue changing your infusion site as you normally would;
  5. Connect the plunger to your old reservoir by screwing it in; 
  6. Attach the old reservoir to the blue thing on top of your vial of insulin;
  7. Push the insulin into the vial;
  8. Remove the old reservoir, the blue thing and discard of all of your trash safely; and
  9. Ta-da! You have salvaged what little insulin was still left in your reservoir. 
Another disclaimer: I am not a medical expert so take this information with a grain of salt and do not consider me an expert. :) 

With all of that said, these are just some of the things I've learned through the DOC and #DSMA. I know I've learned so much more but it is difficult to recall everything when you sit down and try to list it all. 

In closing, I hope you'll consider joining us for a future #dsma, even if you don't have diabetes. It is a great hour!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Dazed and confused but alive

I'm not quite sure what happened this morning as I drove to work. As I sit here at work, while I work, I continue to try to piece everything together and determine what happened.

What I do know is I was low when I tested for breakfast this morning and proceeded to scarf down a bowl of Apple Cinnamon Cheerios. I know, I know, living on the wild side. I got in my car and proceeded to drive to work. And that is when things become fuzzy. I've taken the same route for over a year now. And thinking back now, I recall it going from a four lane road (two lanes each way) to a two lane road (one lane each way) that was almost country like. I remember coming to a road blocked off with construction barriers that I thought I normally drive on and being rerouted and rerouted and rerouted to the point I had no clue where I was. And then I hit something. And my car stopped. On the Interstate. And a big truck behind me helped me out and some construction workers helped him. And I had flat tire. So they put my spare on. And I took the next exit and found my way to a 7-11. One of them followed me to make sure I was okay. I was beyond confused. But gathered myself and plugged in my work address into my TomTom and was on my way. But how the heck did I get onto that Interstate which is NOT one I ever take on my way to work. And I was in a suburb to the west of the city.


They asked several times if I had a seizure. The thought of that terrifies me. I'm confident I didn't. I'm confident that my blood sugar dramatically dropped instead of raising after breakfast. I know that when I got out of my car so they could get in and help me, my flip flops were on the wrong feet. So confused. 

I really do not know what happened. I'm terrified to know what happened. This is more proof I have a team of guardian angels watching over me. Watching very closely. If I could send them a thank you basket of goodies, I absolutely would. 

My car now has a donut, which the gentlemen commented was a darn good, impressive donut. So thanks Toyota! I have an appointment to go get a new tire after work. Buh bye money. I'm confident they'll need to fix the wheel alignment as well. Fingers crossed nothing else is wrong with my car. 

I'm also kicking myself at the moment because I chose yesterday not to put in a new CGM because the last sensor was being ridiculous, restarting and claiming I wasn't calibrating when I was and losing the sensor. I thought I'd take a week off. I cannot wait to get home and stick that new sensor in me. I'm not sure if having a sensor in would have prevented whatever happened from happening but it most likely wouldn't have hurt to have it in. Live and learn I suppose. I'm just thankful I can say I've lived AND learned.  

I really don't know what happened. As I sit here in my office chair, I'm nearly paralyzed at the thought of getting in my car to drive to the auto shop after work. Perhaps I can train my dog to drive my car, a la Toonces the driving cat. This occurrence is yet another reminder of why, as comfortable as I am being independent and single, I crave to have someone I can lean on, to not feel so alone and hopeless when scary crap like this happens. 

If you've read my blog before, you know I try to be positive and happy. But sometimes, you just can't hide the scary sides of diabetes. Or health in general. I just hope nothing like this happens anytime soon so I can get back to happier posts, especially since I've been working on one for a week or two for Wednesday. I also hope stuff like this never happens to any of you. 

***Update: I spent almost four hours at the mechanic getting new tires and having my alignment fixed. It was awkward when they asked what happened and I had to explain that I wasn't sure. When I finally returned home, I turned the corner and saw that my garage door was STILL open. I turned off my car and frantically ran inside. PHEW. Rocky was safe and no one robbed my home. Just more proof that I have guardian angels watching over me. This morning I successfully locked up my house and drove to work where I made it in one piece without any detours although I was terrified the entire time I was driving.  

Monday, July 14, 2014

A tiny accomplishment

Sunday was an exciting day although I didn't realize it at first. 

No one would argue 2012 was a difficult year for me. Seriously. Two separate weeks in the hospital, moving 800+ miles, my Grandmother passing away. I'm confident other things occurred as well but those were the big ones. 

Sunday. Sunday marked my anniversary of being discharged from my last hospitalization. The one where I was in a near coma, where I rocked a catheter, where the I apparently tried to convince my hospitalist that my dog was the greatest dog ever...which he is. It is good to know that even when I'm completely out of it I'm still bragging about the awesomeness of Rocky

And when I realized I hadn't been a patient in a hospital...I danced.


To me, after two stays in one year withing six months, not being a patient in the hospital is a big deal. Since the brilliant doctors determined during the last stay I was allergic to the medicine the previous doctors put me on, as in deathly allergic, I think I'm in the safe zone from returning to the hospital. *knocks on wood* 

I'm doing what I can to stay away from hospitals, minus my checkups since my doctors' offices are there. Two years down, many more to go, but it is certainly possible to accomplish. 

And mark your calendars for July 13, 2022 because we'll be having one huge ass celebration for ten years. Make sure you wear your tutus and be prepared to dance.