Tag Archives: type 1 diabetes

oo6. Holy Rib Cramp!

Today I ran my third 5K of the year!

It was a small local town race, so it wasn't chip timed, but it was inexpensive and I didn't have any other plans for that day, so I signed up a couple weeks ago and have been running a bit here and there to prepare.

What I didn't prepare for was the awful rib cramp that would hit me at 0.5 miles and never relented.

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Pepto Bismol Pink

I’ve had my insulin pump for 3.5 years now. I got the Minimed 530G in December 2013 when it was still very new. The entire time, I’ve had one pump – my black one named Artemis. 


Unfortunately, over the Fourth of July weekend, I noticed a severe crack in Artemis, and was forced to call Medtronic for a replacement, since I’m still under warranty. Cracks can and do happen with pumps, especially since they’re worn 24/7/365 for 4+ years, and Medtronic customer service agreed to replace my pump without a fuss.  


The problem is, the only replacement pumps they had in stock were pink. Now, I like pink well enough, but this new pump is Pepto Bismol Pink. 



I hate it so much. However, it isn’t broken, so I guess I can deal with it until I upgrade, probably at the end of the year. So for now, I have an ugly pink pump. Good thing it stays in my pocket most of the time!

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oo5. More like Longest Course Ever

Today’s “Longest Day 5K” was absolutely brutal. 


I knew it would be. Any course going through a nature preserve is going to be tough. Yet somehow I was shocked when I rounded the first corner and started my way up a big hill. 

And somehow I was still shocked when I had to tackle puddles, mud, narrow trails, rickety wooden bridges, stairs, and insane heat. 

It didn’t help when the water station at mile 2.3 was handing out warm koolaid instead of water. Really? Ew. 

However, Allen kept watch on me through me sharing my location via iPhone and continually texted me updates as I ran, which showed on my Apple Watch and kept me motivated. 


I had bought an arm band designed for some obscure MP3 player to carry my Dexcom receiver in, to free up some room in my flipbelt. It did the job, but I hated it, so I’m not sure if I’ll use it again or not. When I got sweaty it started to slide around my arm, and when I tightened it, it pinched my skin. It was nice having my Dex right there though, so I didn’t have to keep trying to flip through Apple Watch screens to get to the Dexcom readings. I’d recommend it if you’re wanting something to wear on your arm for Dex. It’s a tight fit to get the receiver in and it sticks out on the end a little but it was very snug and secure. 


My blood sugar was a steady 115 most of the afternoon. An hour before race time, I did a temp basal rate of 60% insulin for an hour because I knew once I started running, I’d drop. I was drifting down so I had a roll of smarties about half an hour before race time. I started the race at 108 and peaked at 140 around the 2 mile mark. I finished the race back near 110. 

So did I beat my goal time for the race? No. I was almost 6 minutes slower than last week. However this course was ridiculously tough, and I still did pretty well. I was 93rd overall for women and 187th out of everyone, out of 244 people. 


So I didn’t do amazing. But I didn’t quit, even when I really considered it at mile 0.75. I kept going even when i was completely by myself and thought I took a wrong turn at mile 2. Even when I thought I was going to puke at mile 3. 


The course was absolutely gorgeous, and that was awesome in itself. Also, this was my first chip timed course so that was a neat experience!


And I got a free beer at the finish, so that was cool too. 

Thanks Chris for somehow convincing me to do yet another 5k. I don’t know how many more you’re going to be able to talk me into, but so far, I’m having fun. 

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oo4. Training? Who needs training?

This past weekend, I ran a 5k with zero training. In fact, I signed up for it only about two hours before the actual race began.

Crazy, right?

Diabetes limits my impulsivity (Is that a word? It is now, I guess) in so many ways. I don’t get to just grab a cupcake and eat it without a second thought. So much of my life for the past almost 5 years has been planning, provisioning, and preparation.

However, on Saturday when my friends Chris and Chad said they were running a 5K that night and asked if Allen and I were going to be there, I decided on the spot that I wanted to do it. I decided to be impulsive because, you know what, fuck diabetes!

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Burnout and Patient Shaming

I slacked off in 2016, canceling my doctors appointments and not rescheduling them. 

Yes, I’m aware that’s terrible. 

Yes, I’m aware that’s dangerous. 

I’m also aware that I was still adamantly monitoring my A1C through my Dexcom, had no instances of DKA, was never hospitalized, and never ran out of supplies because my doctor kept approving the prescriptions. 

It isn’t an excuse to those in the healthcare field, but to those of us with chronic illnesses, we get it. We understand that the appointments are overwhelming. The tests are frustrating and annoying. The battle with insurance is never-ending. 

And sometimes, you just need a damn break. So that’s what I did. 

Now I’m getting back on the wagon. I saw my endo a couple weeks ago, and saw my eye doctor yesterday for the yearly diabetic eye exam. 


I passed. I still have 20/20 vision, and I have no signs of diabetic retinopathy. 

But I didn’t miss the judgement in the doctors voice, that I hadn’t been there since April 2015. That I didn’t have an up-to-date A1C number and the estimate of 7.2 from Dexcom Clarity “really should be closer to 6.0.”

I hear you judging me, but I also hear that your perfectly functioning pancreas keeps you going every day. You don’t face the battles I do. You don’t have to hope to God you’re going to be able to pay for your deductible because you meet it in January every year. You don’t have to stab yourself over and over and over again.  You’ve never dealt with burnout from this horrible condition that you didn’t cause or ask for. 


Shaming me for my actions isn’t a solution. If anything, it only makes me hate you more and not want to do better. It makes me feel like the things I have accomplished – like the fact that I received a promotion to middle management last year, played a sport and still managed to keep myself alive – mean absolutely nothing to you. It makes me feel like the fact that I’m still out here kicking ass doesn’t matter because my A1C isn’t a 6.0 (which, by the way, A1C isn’t a good marker for diabetes care anyway!) 

A little compassion goes a long way. Rather than chastising me for not coming in for an appointment for the last year, maybe try asking me what I have been up to in that time? When I indulge that I played softball, ask how that affected my blood sugar – was it difficult to deal with, did I tend to run low or high during games? If you act like I’m more than just an A1C number, I’ll be a lot more receptive to your advice and suggestions. 


So please, keep your judgment to yourself, healthcare professionals. I already know that I didn’t and don’t do things to your standards, and ultimately I am accountable for my actions. 

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It Took Three Years, But It Finally Happened

I came home early from work today because I’m sick (and I didn’t go in at all yesterday). I decided to take a bath, which I hardly ever do, to relax. First, I ran the water too hot and nearly scalded my entire body. After I got out, I realized my pump site in my leg was still hurting since after lunch, and it had a little blood in it, so I decided to swap it out for a new one. As I’m standing in my kitchen, completely naked, sniffling and sneezing, fighting moderate ketones, drawing up a new pump site, I go to throw away my empty insulin bottle. It bounces off the rim of the trash can, falls to the floor, and shatters into a zillion tiny glass pieces all over my kitchen and living room. 



Just another day in the life with type 1 diabetes. 

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A Decade without Self-Harm

Ten years ago today, I self-harmed by cutting the word FEAR into my thigh with a safety pin. 

It wasn’t the first time I had ever self-harmed. I had been doing it for two years at that point, albeit not very often, and rarely drawing blood. Most of the time, I would just trace over an existing scar on my wrist at the base of my hand, but sometimes I’d get more aggressive and scratch and cut a little higher up on my wrist. It was always to cause pain to create a physical release for emotional stress and pain – Never to try to die. 

January 26, 2007 I was told by the boy that I liked that he didn’t want to date me. It was yet another blow to my fragile self-esteem. I took a few emo selfies (although that word didn’t exist yet at the time) and then decided I needed to self-harm to bring emotional pain to a physical level. 


It was the first time I’d ever cut on my leg. It was also the first time I ever told anyone I knew in person about it. (I had a group of internet friends who knew and we were all open with each other about our struggles). I told a friend the next day that I was struggling and what I had done, confiding in them. They promised they would come and pick me up and we’d go driving around and hang out to cheer me up.  

They never came. 


I was dragged, kicking and screaming, to the ER by my parents who believed I was suicidal. I was forced to strip naked and be examined by a nurse, who was also a classmates mother who I had known for years. I was then also examined by a doctor who was the father of another classmate. I had to talk to a therapist on the phone at 2am because it was snowing really hard and the therapist couldn’t make the drive down from Kalamazoo. I was eventually released from the ER after almost 6 hours, feeling humiliated and more miserable than ever, and forced to see a therapist a few days later for one session to make sure I was okay.

It was the beginning of a long ride through rock bottom for me. 


For weeks afterward, my mother would walk into the bathroom while I was changing, pretending to do other tasks while she searched by body for signs of self-harm. 

I had been betrayed by my friends, and that cut more deeply than any sharp object could. I had reached out for love and support from my friends and had been given embarrassment and suffering instead. At the time, I was livid, but so desperate for friendship that I let them back in. However it took a long time for me to be able to fully trust them again. In hindsight I know that it wasn’t betrayal but rather teenage kids trying to help another teenage kid with something over their heads in the only way they knew how. 

I knew I wanted to be free from self-harm. I didn’t know how to do it, so I began keeping track of how long it had been since that night. A week passed. Then a month. Then a year. 

So now, here I am. Ten years later. I honestly never thought I would be able to say that. I knew I would struggle – and struggle I did. I had the support of a lot of friends through the hardest times, which were the first few months afterwards. (At that time, I didn’t know that part of my problem was undiagnosed Seasonal Affective Disorder, which I began treating in 2012). 

I adopted a “fake it til you make it” attitude to get me through, and that was a large part of my success. Did I have my life all together and figured out? No way. But I told myself that I did. I would tell myself that I had it together and that I was succeeding and beautiful and happy until I slowly started to believe those things for real. 

With each passing year, it got a little easier to resist the pull to harm myself. There were times where I nearly failed – but I didn’t. I held fast to the belief that if I just held on, that I would get through – and I did

While compiling this entry and reading through old journals for reference, I found this that I had written two months after the last time I self-harmed:

if i have already felt this much pain at seventeen, then what shit will i have faced/be facing when i am twenty-six or thirty-four or fifty or eighty?

I’ve faced so much since I wrote that ten years ago. I dated a man who was sexually and emotionally abusive, and it shaped so much of who I am as a person. I found and married the love of my life. I was diagnosed with diabetes. I started my own business and have traveled all over the country to do what I love. I received several promotions at work, where I do a job I never thought I’d be doing. I dedicated myself to an extremely strict church for the better part of a decade. I’ve faced my seasonal depression head-on. 

And that’s all by age 26. I can’t vouch for 34, 50, or 80 yet, but I’m pretty sure I’ve got it on lock. If not, I’m going to keep faking it until I make it. 

If I can do it, you can do it. 


If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, or just need someone to talk to, please reach out to one of the resources listed below. You are important and we need you here with us. 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 (available 24 hours per day)

Suicide Hotlines by State: suicide.org

Crisis text line: Text message GO to 741741

Additional resources: To Write Love On Her Arms

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As 2016 Closes Out

For many people, 2016 was a horrible, no good, very bad year. So many celebrities died. Brexit happened. A very strange US election happened. All among other things.

But for me? 2016 was honestly amazing.

It feels almost like a bad thing for me to be saying that because so many people around me had such a terrible year, but it’s true. 2016 was great in so many ways for me.

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Still Diabetic

Diabetes Awareness Month is over, but my fight with diabetes isn’t. I’m still diabetic. There still isn’t a cure for my condition. 


Technology has advanced, but I have to rely on it and constantly plan ahead in case it fails. I have to deal with problems that normal people don’t even know are a thing, let alone think about. (like my dog getting tangled in my insulin pump tubing in the middle of the night)


Yet I will continue on, with feelings of melancholy – Yes, I’m alive, but it’s still a hindered existence. 

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World Diabetes Day 2016

November 14th is World Diabetes Day. It also marks the birthday of Dr. Banting, the man who co-discovered insulin, enabling those with diabetes to no longer die from their condition. 

For this year, I asked my Facebook friends to ask me anything they wanted to know about Diabetes and I’d answer them here. So let’s jump into it!


Allen and I had actually been married for almost 2 years before I was diagnosed. So while I can’t directly relate to Kendall on this one, I do know what it is like to develop new relationships post-diagnosis. 

One month after I was diagnosed, I changed jobs. I’ve always been very up-front about being diabetic and what that means for the people who work closely with me. In my experience, it hasn’t hindered any friendships – my coworkers have generally been curious and many have been massively supportive for the past four years. Of course, none of these relationships has been romantic in nature, but I think that ultimately, there are many good people out there that want to understand and be supportive, and as long as you approach every question with a good, honest, informative answer, then people will be open and receptive of who you are. 


A non-diabetic person should be around 80-120 mg/dL – and many type 2 diabetics should try to stay close to this range as well. Ultimately, this is a conversation that should be had between you and your doctor. I personally have my range set from 80-180 mg/dL. 


Allen has been SO helpful through my journey. He does all of my Dexcom CGM insertions, mostly because I typically want it inserted in places that aren’t easy to do by myself. He also occasionally helps insert infusion sets in hard-to-reach areas. 

Otherwise, Allen is very much hands-off in regards to my care. He’ll wake me up at night if he hears my Dexcom alarming, and if I say “I’m low” he’ll immediately jump out of bed and get me a juice (and then ask what my number is when he gets back). We also use Dexcom share (so I can see my numbers on my Apple Watch) but Allen has one alarm set on that one: He’ll be notified if I go below 40 mg/dL. That way if I’m not with him, he can message me and see if I’m okay, and if I don’t reply then he knows to start calling everyone I’m with (or 911 if I’m alone). It’s a system that works for us but it may not be right for everyone. 


Nope, but there are some I prefer to avoid. Orange juice is the main one. It’s one of my favorite things, but I just can’t ever time the insulin right for it and end up miserable. I usually avoid cake and cookies as well if I can help it. I also will always choose diet pop over regular – I’d rather save the carbs for food instead. I probably should avoid more things, like Chinese food and pizza, but they are just too yummy. 


Yes and no. 

Yes, insulin companies offer coupon programs and discount cards – however, these are usually unavailable to the people who truly need them and they do not address the true problem– sky-high prices for consumers. 

There are a lot of groups on Facebook where people can pay it forward and directly send supplies to someone in need. I actually benefitted from a pay it forward group early on in pumping when my insurance was changing for the year and I was having issues getting supplies because of having to get prescriptions and authorizations. However due to the fact that selling or trading prescription medication is illegal (and if the items were purchased by insurance dollars then it is also fraud at that point) many people shy away from this. (Test strips fall into a gray area because they can be bought OTC)

There are many reputable organizations out there that accept donated supplies to help those in need including Life for a Child, Insulin for Life, and Marjorie’s Fund to name a few. 


I love this question so much because I really had to stop and think about it. But here it is:

You don’t see the repeat lows through the night. Waking up 4, 5, 6 times in one night because your blood sugar won’t come up (or go down). Trying not to overcorrect, trying to figure out what you did wrong/right/different, trying to just get some freaking sleep. 

You don’t see the body image issues. The weight gain as punishment for doing your pancreas’ job, the bruising and scars from poke after poke after poke, the struggle to find clothes you can wear your pump with (dresses with pockets are SO hard to come by). 

You don’t see the hundreds of times I make a diabetes-related decision every single day. I haven’t been to my desk in a while so I missed breakfast, did I already give insulin for it? I hope I didn’t. I’ve been running around like crazy, being way more active than I usually am so my blood sugar will probably start dropping soon. I want to have the cupcakes my coworker brought in but I don’t even have enough insulin in my pump to cover it, I will have to pass for today. 

You don’t see the shame and emotional toll of having a seriously misunderstood and often joked about chronic condition that will likely kill you. You don’t see every time a diabetes myth is perpetuated, or misinformation is spread, or a joke is made in poor taste but people who aren’t directly affected by it don’t care because.. why would they? Human nature – if it doesn’t directly affect you, then do you really care? Not typically. 


If you read through all of this, know that I appreciate you. Any advocating I can do is a step in the right direction. Diagnosis rates are still on the rise. If I can only ask one thing, that is for everyone to know the signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes. It can happen to anyone at any time – it happened to me. 

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