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The choice is obvious

August 22, 2010

Last night, I was going through the case in my purse that holds all my beetus gear. Lo and behold, I found my glucagon kit eight months expired. Uh, oops…I’ll get on that at my next endo visit.

Since I’ve thankfully never had to use one of these, an expired kit meant I finally get to see what’s inside! I cleared off a space on my desk and got to work.

First, I popped open the vial of glucagon powder. It was a little harder to open than an insulin vial but it made that same satisfying snap.

Next, I removed the needle from the case and uncapped it…only to be greeted by this thing:

WTF. For crying out loud, why is the needle so damn big?!

After figuring out how the kit worked and marveling at the crazy bubbles coming back into the syringe, I posted my shock of the needle on Facebook and Twitter. Mike called it a harpoon, and he isn’t too far off the mark. I wouldn’t want someone coming at me with that, so I’m glad I’m [supposed to be] unconscious when this is used on me.

I had a completely different response on Facebook, and one of the comments made by a friend got to me: “I don’t know how you could do that!” It irks me, as it’s along the lines of “I could NEVER inject myself multiple times a day!” Well, let me ask…

If you were given a choice between daily insulin injections or death, which would you pick?

I know it’s a little extreme to put it that way, but not taking your daily injections/medication can and will lead to your untimely demise. It’s not easy having to prick my fingers multiple times a day and be hooked up to various pieces of technology that monitor my blood sugar and control my insulin. It’s not sexy, it’s not convenient, and it’s definitely not something I prefer. But do I have a choice? Sure I do, but the choice is pretty obvious to me: test, treat, inject/pump, make sure everything is on track. Rinse, lather, repeat. It’s become so much a part of my life that I don’t even think twice about doing it. I just do what is needed in order to not just live, but to live a healthy, and hopefully long, life.

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Pathway to the Ping

August 15, 2010

July marks the beginning of a new insurance year.

This year, my co-pay for a visit to my doctor increases (from $25 to $30 for a specialist, from $20 to $25 for my PCP).

This year, my portion of the payment for durable medical equipment DOUBLES (coverage by my employer goes from 90% to 80%). Considering how much OmniPod supplies are, this is definitely not something I can afford.

Last year, I wrote about my experiences with wanting to switch to the Animas Ping, due to the amount of insulin I lost if a pod malfunctioned. I think I fell off the blogging bandwagon, because I never followed up. To make a long story short, my insurance company denied my appeal saying I was still under warranty and that Insulet should be replacing my pods. Not what I was arguing, but okay. I decided to give it a rest and just look for a new pump when my warranty expires in 2012.

However, due to this massive increase in my co-insurance for DME, I decided to try for the Ping again. The cost of supplies on my part will be way cheaper and easier for Chris and me to afford (keep in mind I’m the only one working a full-time job while Chris is in pharmacy school full time. We’re not exactly rollin’ in dough, haha).

An Animas rep called me back the day after I faxed over my paperwork. He said he had seen my paperwork from last year, and I explained what happened and what I was trying to do. Then he said, “So I guess you want to do AAP, right? It doesn’t go through your insurance.” Obviously I was confused and didn’t know what AAP was…

He explained– and apparently for me, the pump gods and the stars were aligned. It’s the Animas Access Program, and it lets you trade in your current pump for a recertified Ping for $200! Well, you pay $900 up front, and upon receipt of your current pump, Animas gives you $700 back. Oops, wrong info! You actually pay $200 up front, and if don’t send your current pump to Animas within 20 days of training, you’ll be billed $700. The warranty on your current pump also carries over (you’re covered for at least 2 years on the Ping, even if your current warranty is that long). Sounds like a pretty good deal to me! Insurance doesn’t pay for anything, and I get a “new” pump for $200!

My first reaction was “Why didn’t anyone tell me this last year?!” Turns out it’s only available during certain times (of the year, of the decade, I don’t know).

After talking over it with Chris (and asking him to do some research, because I was still in that “this sounds too good to be true” mindset), we agreed that we should push forward with this. My other option was to go back on MDI if I was denied again, but it looks like I won’t have to.

A pump consultant will be contacting me on Monday to go over next steps and what I need to do. I’ve already called my endo’s office to give them a heads up that a certification of medical necessity is needed soon. I know my endo is very on board with me switching pumps, given the issues I was encountering before, so it shouldn’t be a problem.

I’m trying not to get my hopes up in case something falls through, but I’m VERY excited!

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Sweet Poison

July 28, 2010

My mom forwarded Chris and me this chain letter, asking us to do some research. Our main source of chain letter myth busting told us that this claim indeed FALSE. I’ve bolded the part that I found especially ridiculous.

In October of 2001, my sister started getting very sick.  She had stomach spasms and she was having a hard time getting around. Walking was a major chore.  It took everything she had just to get out of bed; she was in so much pain.

By March 2002, she had undergone several tissue and muscle biopsies and was on 24 various prescription medications.   The doctors could not determine what was wrong with her.   She was in so much pain, and so sick she just knew she was dying.

She put her house, bank accounts, life insurance, etc., in her oldest daughter’s name, and made sure that her younger children were to be taken care of.

She also wanted her last hooray, so she planned a trip to Florida (basically in a wheelchair) for March 22nd.

On March 19, I called her to ask how her most recent tests went, and she said they didn’t find anything on the test, but they believe she had MS.

I recalled an article a friend of mine e-mailed to me and I asked my sister if she drank diet soda?   She told me that she did.   As a matter of fact, she was getting ready to crack one open that moment.

I told her not to open it, and to stop drinking the diet soda!   I e-mailed her an article my friend, a lawyer, had sent.   My sister called me within 32 hours after our phone conversation and told me she had stopped drinking the diet soda AND she could walk!  The muscle spasms went away. She said she didn’t feel 100% but, she sure felt a lot better.

She told me she was going to her doctor with this article and would call me when she got home.

Well, she called me, and said her doctor was amazed!  He is going to call all of his MS patients to find out if they consumed artificial sweeteners of any kind.   In a nutshell, she was being poisoned by the Aspartame in the diet soda… and literally dying a slow and miserable death.

When she got to Florida March 22, all she had to take was one pill, and that was a pill for the Aspartame poisoning!   She is well on her way to a complete recovery.  And she is walking!   No wheelchair! This article saved her life.

If it says ‘SUGAR FREE’ on the label;   DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!

I have spent several days lecturing at the WORLD ENVIRONMENTAL CONFERENCE on ‘ASPARTAME,’ marketed as ‘NutraSweet,’  ‘Equal,’ and  ‘Spoonful.’

In the keynote address by the EPA, it was announced that in the United States in 2001 there is an epidemic of multiple sclerosis and systemic lupus.  It was difficult to determine exactly what toxin was causing this to be rampant.   I stood up and said that I was there to lecture on exactly that subject.

I will explain why Aspartame is so dangerous:   When the temperature of this sweetener exceeds 86 degrees F, the wood alcohol in ASPARTAME converts to formaldehyde and then to formic acid, which in turn causes metabolic acidosis. Formic acid is the poison found in the sting of fire ants.   The methanol toxicity mimics, among other conditions, multiple sclerosis and systemic lupus.

Many people were being diagnosed in error.   Although multiple sclerosis is not a death sentence, Methanol toxicity is!

Systemic lupus has become almost as rampant as multiple sclerosis, especially with Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi drinkers.

The victim usually does not know that the Aspartame is the culprit.   He or she continues its use; irritating the lupus to such a degree that it may become a life-threatening condition.   We have seen patients with systemic lupus become asymptotic, once taken off diet sodas.

In cases of those diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, most of the symptoms disappear. We’ve seen many cases where vision loss re turned and hearing loss improved markedly.

This also applies to cases of tinnitus and fibromyalgia.   During a lecture, I said,  ‘If you are using ASPARTAME (Nutriara Sweet, Equal, Spoonful, etc) and you suffer from fibromyalgia symptoms, spasms, shooting, pains, numbness in your legs, Cramps,
Vertigo, Dizziness, Headaches, Tinnitus, Joint pain, Unexplainable depression, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, blurred vision, or memory loss you probably have ASPARTAME poisoning!’   People were jumping up during the lecture saying, ‘I have some of these symptoms.  Is it reversible?’

Yes!  Yes!  Yes!
STOP drinking diet sodas and be alert for Aspartame on food labels!   Many products are fortified with it!   This is a serious problem.   Dr. Espart (one of my speakers) remarked that so many people seem to be symptomatic for MS and during his recent visit to a hospice; a nurse stated that six of her friends, who were heavy Diet Coke addicts, had all been diagnosed with MS. This is beyond coincidence!

Diet soda is NOT a diet product! It is a chemically altered, multiple SODIUM (salt) and ASPARTAME containing product that actually makes you crave carbohydrates.

It is far more likely to make you GAIN weight!

These products also contain formaldehyde, which stores in the fat cells, particularly in the hips and thighs.   Formaldehyde is an absolute toxin and is used primarily to preserve ’tissue specimens.’

Many products we use every day contain this chemical but we SHOULD NOT store it IN our body!

Dr. H. J. Roberts stated in his lectures that once free of the ‘diet products‘ and with no significant increase in exercise; his patients lost an average of 19 pounds over a trial period.

Aspartame is especially dangerous for diabetics.   We found that some physicians, who believed that they had a patient with retinopathy, in fact, had symptoms caused by Aspartame.   The Aspartame drives the blood sugar out of control.   Thus diabetics may suffer acute memory loss due to the fact that aspartic acid and phenylalanine are NEURO TOXIC when taken without the other amino acids necessary for a good balance.

Treating diabetes is all about BALANCE.   Especially with diabetics, the Aspartame passes the blood/brain barrier and it then deteriorates the neurons of the brain; causing various levels of brain damage, Seizures, Depression, Manic depression, Panic attacks, Uncontrollable anger and rage.

Consumption of Aspartame causes these same symptoms in non-diabetics as well. Documentation and observation also reveal that thousands of children diagnosed with ADD and ADHD have had complete turnarounds in their behavior when these chemicals have been removed from their diet.

So called ‘behavior modification prescription drugs’ (Ritalin and others) are no longer needed.
Truth be told, they were never NEEDED in the first place!

Most of these children were being ‘poisoned’ on a daily basis with the very foods that were ‘better for them than sugar.’

It is also suspected that the Aspartame in thousands of pallets of
diet Coke and diet Pepsi consumed by men and women fighting in the Gulf War, may be partially to blame for the well-known Gulf War Syndrome.

Dr. Roberts warns that it can cause birth defects, i.e. mental retardation, if taken at the time of conception and during early pregnancy.   Children are especially at risk for neurological disorders and should NEVER be given artificial sweeteners.

There are many different case histories to relate of children suffering grand mal seizures and other neurological disturbances talking about a plague of neurological diseases directly caused by the use of this deadly poison.’

Herein lies the problem:   There were Congressional Hearings when Aspartame was included in 100 different products and strong objection was made concerning its use. Since this initial hearing, there have been two subsequent hearings, and still nothing has been done. The drug and chemical lobbies have very deep pockets.

Sadly, MONSANTO’S patent on Aspartame has EXPIRED!   There are now over 5,000 products on the market that contain this deadly chemical and there will be thousands more introduced.   Everybody wants a ‘piece of the Aspartame pie.’

I assure you that MONSANTO, the creator of Aspartame, knows how deadly it is.

And isn’t it ironic that MONSANTO funds, among others, the American Diabetes Association, the American Dietetic Association and the Conference of the American College of Physicians?

This has been recently exposed in the New York Times.  These [organizations] cannot criticize any additives or convey their link to MONSANTO because they take money from the food industry and are required to endorse their products.

Senator Howard Metzenbaum wrote and presented a bill that would require label warnings on products containing Aspartame, especially regarding pregnant women, children and infants.


The bill would also institute independent studies on the known dangers and the problems existing in the general population regarding seizures, changes in brain chemistry, neurological changes and behavioral symptoms.

The bill was killed.

It is known that the powerful drug and chemical lobbies are responsible for this, letting loose the hounds of disease and death on an unsuspecting and uninformed public.
Please print this out or e-mail to your family & friends.

Thoughts?

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Team Bump

July 27, 2010

(Inspired by Kerri’s post on dLife the other day)

Who’s on Team Bump? Well, from a medical standpoint, there is my dear endocrinologist, Dr. Burns, who is seriously one of the best I’ve had. She reminds me of my endo when I was first diagnosed, Dr. Jones: comfortable to talk to, not judgmental, and totally helpful with the ups and downs of the disease. Dr. Burns is always asking me when Chris and I are ready for kids, and pretty soon, I’ll be replying with a hearty “Now!”

Another person on the team is my optometrist. While this may sound a little weird because I should be seeing an ophthalmologist (and I am; two even), she is the one who actually caught the cotton-wool spot in my eye a few months ago. Apparently it was nothing to worry about, but it was enough to get me to see a retina specialist just to make sure everything was a-ok. My first appointment freaked me out, though, because it ended up having me hustle up three floors in the hospital to see a neuro-ophthalmologist. The retina specialist saw the cotton-wool spot but was more concerned about seeing my optical nerves swollen, which is why he rushed me up there. An MRI clarified that my optical nerves were not swollen; I was born that way (fat nerves, I guess).

I also have a gynecologist for the annual examination of my lady parts, as well as a dentist I see twice a year (we make it a point to fly out to San Diego twice a year to see him).

In addition to my medical team, who I see every few months here and again, there’s the team that supports me in my day-to-day activities. My husband, obviously, because he is there sharing my latest A1C and helping me through lows. Did I mention he brings packets of CapriSun when he picks me up at the train station because he knows I more often than not go low after work? What a guy. :)

Before him, it was my parents, and still is. My parents live in Japan, and we talk every day, and they always, always make sure to ask, “How are you doing?” (translation: how’s your blood sugar?). I update them after every doctor’s appointment and get Chris to jump in with explanations if necessary. Chris’ mom also takes an interest in my health; we also update her after doctor’s appointments and remind her that she should, God willing, have healthy, happy grandbabies in the near future.

Of course, there are other friends who take the time to try and learn about this other friend I’m living with. I love that they don’t assume and make ridiculous comments about things they’ve seen in movies or heard on tv, and I’m happy to be part of the education process, even if it’s only for a small number of people.

So, that’s my team…and I leave you all with this, which was my fortune the other day:

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Low carb

July 23, 2010

I absolutely love seafood. I can eat it raw, roasted, baked, broiled, fried (although not my favorite prep unless it’s calamari), sauteed, you name it.

I recently found a recipe for slow-roasted salmon from the Cooking for Friends cookbook from Williams-Sonoma. My friend Steph is an avid cook and she and I like to scour the internet for recipes and trade. I saw this book at WS, fell in love with the photography first, and realized that this was a book we BOTH needed.

Chris and I decided to (and by Chris and I, I mean I decided to…he just agreed) try out this new recipe. It sounded healthy, very simple, and absolutely delicious. I paired with smashed potatoes from Simply Recipes, using  red potatoes instead of new. While potatoes are hardly low carb, you can definitely cut back on them and eat more salmon, like I did. ;)

Verdict on the salmon was…well, let’s just say Chris bought 1.8 pounds and we ended up eating 95% of it. It was THAT good (and good for you). Rubbed with olive oil and seasoned with only salt and pepper, it was simple enough to let the freshness of the fish shine through. We did squeeze some lemon on, after garnishing with chives and parsley, and pair it with a little bit of creme fraiche, and that just catapulted us into a whole other level of bliss.

The best part about this entire meal? No crazy post-meal spike! I stayed at a level 90 the entire time. If that’s not a win, I don’t know what is.

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Bolus worthy

July 21, 2010

Last night, I went to dinner at Jose Garces’ fairly new restaurant in Center City Philadelphia called Garces Trading Company. If you guys keep up with food news, you’ll know that he’s Iron Chef. We ate here a few weeks after it first opened, and the food is delightful, though a tad expensive. We also had the pleasure of meeting Chef Garces and getting a photo with him! SUPER nice guy, btw.

One of the things I remember the most was their macarons…but it wasn’t for a good reason. The white chocolate mint one tasted like toothpaste (and had nearly the same consistency), while the salted caramel macaron was unbelievably sweet.

Last night, however, I decided to give it another go, plus they had new flavors. I’m pretty sure they have new flavors every few days, if not every day, and white chocolate pistachio and caramel buttercream macarons sounded very appealing to me (though not my  blood sugar…but I shut that one up with an extra bolus, heh).

Flavors were SPOT ON. It wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet and each bite we took was heavenly. Chris and I ended up buying a dozen.

Totally bolus worthy.

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Diabetes burnout?

June 18, 2010

Most of the time, I’m completely fine that I’ve had this disease for so long. I’m completely fine explaining that yes, I am healthy and can have kids at some point. I’m usually pretty patient when someone says a completely ignorant comment (although my mind is screaming otherwise) and try my best to give them the correct information. I’m even patient when someone tells me, “Oh, diabetes! Yeah, that’s what caused my grandmother’s brother’s wife’s uncle’s cousin to go blind and have her leg cut off.”

But sometimes…sometimes it’s just too much, and I feel like I’m carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders by trying to deal with all of this on my own. It pains me that I don’t really have anyone around me who can relate. Most of my solace is found on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and forums, where I can interact with fellow type 1’s and we can all share in our joy and misery. While I’m not as close to the diabetes online community as I’d like to be, just knowing someone is there makes me feel better.

But sometimes I wish I could just pick up the phone (or I guess, in this day and age, text message and/or IM) and vent to someone who just knows.

Knows without my having to explain what a basal rate is and that I think mine off and needs to be tweaked.

Knows that it’s just one of those days where I’m bouncing all over the place for no reason.

Knows that, when I towel off after a shower, or get dressed in the morning, I need to pause for a second to think about where my pod and sensor are placed so I don’t end up knocking them off.

Knows that, when I choose a seat on the bus or train, I need to pause for a second to think about where my pod and sensor are placed so someone else doesn’t knock them off.

Knows that even though you are or you have lived with this, mine is not the same as yours and vice versa, and no, you cannot “literally feel my pain.”

Knows the excitement of getting a 6.2 A1C back from the lab, or having a fasting bg of under 100.

Knows that a beeping sound isn’t freaking me out because it’s a high-pitched noise, but because I’m scared it’s my pod malfunctioning.

Knows the highs and lows (literally and emotionally) of living with this.

I’m not quite sure if what I’m feeling qualifies as burnout. I don’t match up with the symptoms of depression. I honestly don’t know about this rut I’ve been in for the past few days, but I do know that sometimes I just need someone who knows what’s up without me having to explain the story of my life.