Archive for September, 2010

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Diabetes bling

September 18, 2010

The other week, I was crawling all over Google to find a piece of jewelry that I could tailor into medical alert jewelry. I’d been wanting one of those Tiffany bracelets with the chunky links and the heart tag, but what bugged me the most about a bracelet was that it gets in the way of…well, my entire day. I have a desk job, so something clanging and clinking against my keyboard all day long would just about drive me nuts.

If I’m going to wear something all day long, every single day, it better look good. I found a ton of sites that had customizable jewelry, but nothing really stood out to me. I wanted something bold but discreet at the same time.

Finally, I hit the jackpot with My Flying Star, a San Francisco-based company (hey, Chris’ hometown!) that makes custom medical alert jewelry, and absolutely fell in love with the Red Big Dipper. It was pretty much exactly what I was looking for, a big red circle about the size of a quarter, with a steel Star of Life. Any normal person would just think it’s a red circle with a silver star, but this could save my life in an emergency.

The back of the pendant boldly displays that I have type 1 diabetes and wear an insulin pump. This is definitely a far cry from the thin, hard-to-read script on my old bracelet.

Aside from the beautiful jewelry, the thing I really appreciated about My Flying Star was its owner, Elizabeth. My necklace shipped out faster than I thought it would, but for some reason, USPS failed with matching the address on the package to my work address. They marked the package as “unable to deliver” and left a notice…only that notice was apparently left at someone else’s door, because my workplace never received one. Elizabeth followed up with me; she had been checking the outstanding tracking numbers and noticed this with my order. Customer service is a huge part of any company, and reaching out to someone (before they call you about a problem) wins major points.

P.S. If you guys are wondering about that blue bracelet in my pile of daily jewelry, it’s the JDRF Who’s Your Link? bracelet. Thanks Sarah for letting everyone know about it!

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Retinopathy and a good A1C

September 14, 2010

About six months ago, my optometrist found a cotton-wool spot in my eye and advised me to see a retina specialist. I slightly freaked out, but Dr. P assured me that it was harmless and it was a very common side-effect with those who have had diabetes for as long as I have. (I use the term “side-effect” rather than “complication” because it’s not quite a complication yet, but I’m hoping it won’t get to that.)

I asked my boss if he knew anyone, and he referred me to Dr. B. Dr. B specializes in the retina, and more specifically, he specializes in diabetic retinopathy. My first appointment with him absolutely freaked me out– he said he wasn’t worried about the retinopathy (“It’s normal for someone who’s had diabetes for 17 years”) but saw something else he was more concerned about. He told me to go upstairs to see Dr. T, a neuro-ophthalmologist, right away.

At this point, I was starting to have a panic attack. WTF was going on with my eyes?? You never get referred to another specialist that quickly unless something is wrong.

Turns out the nerves in my eyes are swollen. Dr. T said she couldn’t be sure if it was just how I was born or if it was truly a problem, so she scheduled me for an MRI (those things are freaky as hell, btw). The results ended up being that everything was fine, that’s how my nerves really look. Fat nerves, I guess.

Fast forward to yesterday, to my six-month follow up with Dr. B. He didn’t seem to agree with Dr. T’s assessment of the MRI scans. Then he said, “There is a little bit of hemorrhaging, but it’s hard to tell if it’s because of the diabetes, or because of your nerves.” He called it a pseudo tumor…and of course all I heard was TUMOR.

“Wait, what?! I have a tumor?!”

He assured me that it wasn’t a real tumor; that’s why they called it a pseudo tumor. And I thought, “Holy crap, can you call it something else?!”

Dr. B said that, at my next appointment with Dr. T, I needed to have a talk with her to see what was going on, what’s in the future, and what I should be doing.

So here’s my dilemma. One doctor says I’m okay; another says I’m not. One doctor is telling me that it’s hard to tell what’s going on with my eyes because of another problem. The other one is saying I’m fine. Who do I believe?

I saw my endo today and gave her an update on yesterday’s events and a quick recap of what happened six months ago. She agreed that the two conflicting opinions was a little strange, but everything seems okay otherwise. I don’t have floaters, or random flashes of light, or blurriness (aside from the blurriness due to my craptacular vision).

She also mentioned a study that I found kind of ironic: if a person goes from a high A1C and suddenly goes to a good one, it actually makes retinopathy worse. Makes no sense, but it is what it is. I told her that prior to going on the OmniPod, my A1C was in the mid 8’s. Six months after I switched, my A1C was 6.9, then it dropped to 6.5, hung out at 6.2 for a few months, and my most recent one is 6.1.

We’ll keep monitoring it. I’m hoping this really isn’t a serious issue, as both ophthalmologists are looking out for different things, but it’s really bugging me that two experts have conflicting assessments. Maybe I need to get a third opinion?

That being said, my endo visit today was a LOT better. My labs are good, my A1C is great (I’m still pushing for under 6, but hey, I’ll take 6.1), and everything is going well on the Ping. I do have a lot to work on in terms of getting in shape and losing weight before it’s time to think about a baby (and piling more weight on my body), so Lord help me with that. For some reason I think it’s easier to work on a stable A1C than it is to lose weight! O_o

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Getting used to Bumposaurus

September 9, 2010

I was brushing my teeth earlier, formulating my next blog post in my head, thinking about how awesome the Ping is and how being tubed hasn’t bothered me one bit.

Then I went to pee (sorry, TMI) and nearly yanked out my new site. Yikes!

Okay, so maybe there are a few things I still need to get used to. Usually my pump is tucked away in between my girls, and I never pull it out during the day to bolus (thank you, handy dandy meter remote). At night though, when I’m wearing my pajamas, the pump is clipped to my shorts. And sometimes I don’t remember it’s there.

Aside from the random yanking of tubing, I’m thankfully short enough that doorknobs don’t notice the tubing. (Side note: I had a site change today and I ripped off the old site, just to see how it would feel. Ouch.)

So far, so good. My bg’s have been completely awesome lately, ranging from 69 to 156. I’m trying out the angled and straight sets to see which one I like best, and also which ones work on different parts of my body. I learned the hard way that a site change requires multiple packages…I’ve been spoiled with the all-in-one packaging of the OmniPod and never had to worry about making sure I had infusion sets, tubing, and oh yeah, CARTRIDGES. I’m learning how to use the ezManager software and how amusing it is to hear La Cucaracha for my alerts.

We’ll see where this journey goes, but so far I’m loving the ride. :)

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D Art Day!

September 1, 2010

Today is Diabetes Art Day! While I have to make this a quick post, since I’ll be leaving on a jet plane for my home state of California in the next few hours and I still need to finish up packing, I wanted to thank Lee Ann for spearheading this.

Art is not one of my strong points, and inspiration tends to hit me at random times. I’ve been in a dry rut ever since I found out about D Art Day, so I decided to cheat and use something I took back in March. Photography counts as art, right?!

I call this one “Keeping the Balance.” It’s dedicated to those days you’re chasing highs and lows, trying to find that happy medium between crashing lows and annoying highs. I had just been treating a low (funny how a childhood favorite is now something I turn to when I barely have any energy to move), and while I was waiting for the juice to kick in, I decided to clean out my meter case. Dumped all the test strips into the trash can. A few minutes later, I looked down and had to laugh at the irony. Bonus points for the flavor; reminds me of California ;)

So there it is, my lame contribution to D Art Day. Not that it only lasts a day, because I tend to look for the beauty in something as ugly as this disease every single day.