feeling like a human pin cushion

It’s probably a common feeling among diabetics, but really: it’s ridiculous feeling like you’re in a cartoon and the next time you take a sip of water you’ll just start leaking from little holes all over your midsection.

The quick story: My stomach is starting to hate me for jabbing it with insulin pump insertion sets so much. It’s growing some tough tissue and thwarting every cannula I try to insert, bending it in half with its mighty power so that no insulin can be delivered. That means super high blood sugars and a constantly cranky me.

Even the new fancy kind I’m trying (the mio) that automatically jabs the cannula under your skin when you press on the sides is no match for my [physically, not metaphorically] thick skin.

If six years on the pump causes this much grief and body rebellion, I’m a bit nervous about the future.

Can some please find a cure already? Gosh.


when the diabetes doesn’t make sense (a poem)

My rune of pancreatic confusion (Based on a true story.)

I simply ate toast
sugar, sky high;
Devoured a doughnut
blood glucose low
warning, eat more sugar;
I exercised
on an exercise bike
pump alarm (alarm!):
check for occlusion, BG too high;
Unpredictable, erratic,
rollercoaster (one that goes fast, and upside-down);

Dramatic recitation and/or interpretive dancing based on poem will occur following readers’ requests.

“we bonded over pumps.”

It’s a connection that’s often sought after, but rarely achieved. It’s a cosmic collision of two insulin-dependent forces, the chance meeting of two strangers drawn together by broken beta cells. It’s the betes bond.

We discussed where our pumps were hidden (her momma gave her a little more to shake than mine did, so hers was concealed in cleavage, mine was awkwardly placed in my armpit); we reminisced about nights of low-sugar fridge-raiding that ended in consuming things we weren’t proud of (cough::spoonfulsoffunfettifrosting::cough); we admitted we maybe sometimes don’t change our pump insertion sets quiiite as often as directed (and we both felt less guilty about it); and we realized that she was a fan of my shamefully abandoned blog.

Hence, this update. Nothing like a Sally Field “they like me” moment to get a girl’s butt in gear. In fact, it’s so in gear, I’m going to post twice this (gasp!).

And here’s a treat–an image I’ve been saving to use on this very blog at just the right moment (which is apparently right now):

the ancient insulinosaurus. roar.

(Thanks, Courtney, for letting me use it!)

diabetics: they’re just like us!

They go shopping on Black Friday!

Straight from The Weekly, the neighborhood newspaper of Peachtree Corners/Norcross/Berkeley Lake/Duluth, Georgia, comes valuable and timely insight: holiday shopping is intense for everyone–but just imagine how it must be for those diabetics! It’s like shop ’til you drop…on the ground…from a severe bout of hypoglycemia because you’re so intent on getting that two-for-one blender special at the K-Mart, you forget about breakfast! Am I right?

Thank you, Marc Wolf, for bestowing your wisdom upon those of us who both want to shop for our loved ones AND have a lack of beta cells. I’ll be sure to print out your tips & techniques this Friday to keep in my purse, which will be sure to match my close-toed and supportive shoes.

Bravo, to The Weekly, for completely unnecessarily separating diabetics from the rest of the shopping population this holiday season. Happy shopping!

it’s time for a segment i like to call: sugar-free pop culture!

Get it? Because diabetics have to drink diet soda…and some people call soda, pop?

Moving along.

Being both a fan of pop culture and a diabetic, I tend to be hyper-aware of references to the betes on TV, in a movie, in a song, in a book, etc. And being someone who likes to pretend she’s organized, sometimes I make lists of these “sightings.” Here’s what I’ve spotted lately (which happen to be exclusively from television. Will add more variety to next edition):

  • Insulin-suicide lady on Law & Order: Since moving into a one-bedroom apartment, I’ve watched more Law & Order re-runs than I care to admit. On this episode, the hospitalized, suicidal main character finds insulin, injects herself, and passes out with a blood sugar of [wait for it] TWO. Holy hypoglycemia, Batman.
  • Uncle Herman’s leg on Mad Men: The ever-wise Betty Draper asks her father, who’s in search of sugar for his coffee, “You wanna wake up with a cold leg like Uncle Herman?” Showing that, unfortunately, popular conception of diabetes hasn’t changed too much since the 60s, Betty adds that “diabetics don’t live long, and sometimes lose their legs.”
  • Accurate future-predicting on Conan: I still believe it would have been more hilarious had The Late Show with Conan O’Brien retained the title The Year 2000 for their bit, but, alas, this diabetic reference is from the bit The Year 3000: “Fast food restaurants will offer soft drinks in two sizes: diabetes now and diabetes later.”

And that’s what I like to call sugar-free pop culture. Join us next time for more humor, drama, and suspense, all in the name of diabetes.

american diabetes month: time to celebrate, y’all

By the power vested in it by the…diabetics of the country, or, um, something, the American Diabetes Association has claimed November as [cue inspirational music] American Diabetes Month!

Diabetes Month marks the launch of the ADA’s national movement to Stop Diabetes, in which it ask us to help it confront, fight, and most importantly, stop diabetes. Clearly, this is a just a noble cause, one that I am completely behind.

But I propose, in addition to supporting the ADA’s mission, that we use November to celebrate diabetes. Like, with hats and songs and dances. Don’t get me wrong–diabetes sucks. Its lasting health effects can be devastating, and it’s spreading like wildfire. But until that cure is found, it’s here, we deal with it every day (or know someone who deals with it every day), so let’s use it as a reason to party.

My Diabetes Month celebration will consist of three parts.
1) A serious goal. Keep my sugars in check so my next A1c test in December is where it should be.
2) A prolific goal. Write more often on this damn thing. Seriously, there are so many ways to make being diabetic humorous (am I right, or am I right?), I really have no excuse for the sparse updating.
3) A decorative goal. What better way to celebrate Diabetes Month than to bedazzle (or…decorate in some way, possibly involving puffy paints) those things I see daily that remind me I’m diabetic: my pump and my glucose monitor. That way, every time I unzip that black fabric case and ready myself to squeeze blood out of my fingertip, my day will get a little bit brighter.

Wilford Brimley’s celebration will presumably consist of wearing a custom party hat and maintaining a grave facial expression.

Brimley's Party

Ain't no party like a Brimley par-tay.

How will YOU celebrate Diabetes Month? (Sidenote: humans with perfectly normal functioning pancreases are encouraged to participate as well!)

be an ironic diabetic for halloween!

Still searching for that perfect Halloween costume? Want to possibly offend anyone who lacks a sense of humor and a functioning pancreas? Look no further: I have the get-up for you. Impress your friends with your betes-expertise and your wit by going to your October 31st house party as: The Ironic Diabetic!

The unbreakable rule: NO sassy/sexy/scantily-clad version of this costume must be produced, or I will hunt you down and punch you right in the pancreas.

Step 1: Dress as a nerd or an old person, since clearly diabetics are either nerdy pager-wearin’ sugar-phobes or Price Is Right-watchin’ AARP cardholders who order from Liberty Medical. Duh.
Step 2: Fashion an oversized insulin pump out of cardboard wrapped in tin foil (or something like that), and be sure to make its label obvious and eye-catching, like BIONIC PANCREAS or ROBOT PART or NOT A PAGER. Attach a string or a long cord and tuck it in your clothing. Voila, you’re a pumper! (Note: technically if you’re type 2 diabetic, like Wilford, you won’t need a pump, but this is Halloween, so rules can be bent and broken.)
Step 3: [Here’s where the irony comes in.] Eat candy. Lots of candy. And anything else with carbs. Since I, one of the diabetic folk, have given you express permission, it’s acceptable, don’t worry about being insensitive. Just carry around a giant Slurpee, a king-sized Milky Way, a couple Hostess products–whatever you see in your local convenience store that screams from the shelf, “I will give you so much diabetes!!!” And after each gluttonous bite, make sure to make an exaggerated motion of pushing the buttons on your pump. Remember, you need insulin to cover the sugar you’re eating, and in this case, that means turning it up to 11, if you know what I mean.
Step 4: Leave a trail of test strips (they look like this) everywhere you go. Ask anyone I’ve ever lived with: these things show up every.where. And not just in my bed, or on my desk, but in my roommate’s shoe, or on the front steps. I’m telling you, they spread like pollen. So throw those suckers around, mark your diabeterritory.

Possible accessories:

  • a Wilford Brimley cat
  • anything else Wilford Brimley-related
  • Liberty Medical shipment box
  • Glucerna drink
  • Jonas Brothers t-shirt (with I ❤ Nick written in puff-paint on the back)
  • a friend to follow you around and say, “Um, can you eat that?”
  • a copy of Diabetes Forecast

As for me, I’ve yet to decide what to dress up as on All Hallow’s Eve. If all else fails, I can bring the Betesaurus costume out of retirement.

Betesaurus rooooaaaarrr!

Betesaurus rooooaaaarrr!