Freaky Friday- Give Me A Break

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Just like in the movie, today we’re doing a swap. If you could switch chronic diseases, which one would you choose to deal with instead of diabetes? And while we’re considering other chronic conditions, do you think your participation in the DOC has affected how you treat friends and acquaintances with other medical conditions? (Thanks to Jane of Jane K. Dickinson, RN, PhD, CDE and Bob of T Minus Two for this topic suggestion.)

I’m Feisty and it’s Friday.  I have thought quite a bit this question throughout the week.  In my mind, I have answered this many different ways but always come to the same conclusion, no, I would not switch T1D with another chronic disease and I’m annoyed with myself for thinking about this as much as I have.

In the past 5 years of my life, among my close friends, I have witnessed the following: a friend diagnosed, fight and BEAT the shirt out of breast cancer; a beloved friend diagnosed with cancer and three weeks later watching him take his last breath on this earth; a friend diagnosed with MS; a friend’s constant battle with debilitating depression; a friend responding VERY favorably to a Lupus treatment.  In a phrase that was often part of my Catholic upbringing, “We all have our own cross to bear”.  I believe this is true, so no, I’m not entertaining the idea of switching.

The EXACT spot I thought of SurfaceFine is across the street past the double parked van.  Please notice my favorite building in the top left corner.

The EXACT spot I thought of SurfaceFine is across the street past the double parked van. Please notice my favorite building in the top left corner.

It’s been a year since I started Surfacefine.  Rarely does anyone question the name (you know, the 6 people who read it).  The name came from a moment when I was considering participating in Diabetes Blog Week (again, way to go Karen).  I woke up early to go to the gym.  I had an appointment to workout with a trainer so there was not an option to cancel.  My bg was in the high 200’s when I woke up.  For all intensive purposes we’ll just say it was 300.  I had an hour before I had to leave for my appointment.  Correction bolus taken plus a little additional rage bolus for good measure.  No ketones.  I practically drowned in my attempts to hydrate and flush my system.  As I walked to the gym, I checked my Dexcom at every intersection.  The arrow continued to angle downward.  I know it’s counteractive to workout that far out of range.  I also know I had to pay that trainer if I canceled.  I saw my neighbor on a street corner.  She  made a comment about my going to the gym and “good for you”.  As I race walked my way along, I couldn’t help but think of my attire.  There I was in my new sneakers, dressed in spandex, moisture-wicking gym clothes, hair in a messy ponytail looking the part of the committed health nut.  No one who saw me knew there was a bedazzled Dexcom sensor in my arm under my jacket, a Dexcom receiver vibrating that my blood glucose level was too high in my pocket, an insulin pump connected to my abdomen with it’s clip pulling down my pants, that I was thinking how I had put a temporary basal rate reduction into my pump soon because the exercise would drop me too much.  If I canceled, the outside world would never know it wasn’t because I was a lazy bum who over slept, the world would never “see” that my bg was too high that morning.  A morning smile to people I met or recognized on the street.  Rosy cheeks from the uphill hike through my neighborhood.  A heart pumping sugary blood through my veins while my organs worked double duty trying to flush it out my system while my body absorbed the extra jolt of insulin pouring through me.

Yes, on the surface, I’m fine.



Memories AKA My BIG Announcement – Wednesday 5/15

I am writing these #DBlogWeek entries out of order (shocking, I know) and managed to completely miss yesterday (Tuesday’s) post.  I’ll get to it.

If you’re interested in learning more about Diabetes Blog Week, go here.  If you are interested on reading other diabetes blogger’s entries on the topic below, check THIS OUT (believe me, this will introduce you to some really great people in the #DOC and keep you very busy).

Today we’re going to share our most memorable diabetes day. You can take this anywhere…. you or your loved one’s diagnosis, a bad low, a bad high, a big success, any day that you’d like to share. (Thanks to Jasmine of Silver-Lined for this topic suggestion.)

I’ve been mulling this question over for days.  I tend to be a look-at-the-bright-side-of-life thinker.  I thought about some of my BIG diabetes moments and how I simply don’t remember them and what a good thing THAT is.  Like when I was a little girl and had a severe hypo (unconscious and seizing) in my parent’s bathroom.  Glucagon given, the ambulance didn’t show up in time, a local police lieutenant friend of my Dad’s arrived and transported me to the hospital, sirens blazing, while I practically cut my Dad’s index finger to the bone.  My jaw had locked on my Dad’s finger as he was trying to keep me from choking to death.  Nah, that’s not the kind of stuff that defines my life.  That’s not my memory anyway.  It is a horrific memory for my parents.

The guy who almost lost a finger:

Reading is fun

What about the time in 5th grade when a school assembly was changed?  Being on Regular insulin as short acting insulin didn’t encourage schedule flexibility (but at the time, that’s as far as technology had gone).  I played the violin (terribly I might add) and orchestra practice was also changed because of the assembly change and well, you can see where this is going.  My morning snack was thrown off, I don’t recall lunch, and apparently in one of my classes, I stood up, declared I loved one of my classmates, and dropped to the floor.  My teacher tried shoving juice and food down my throat, although I was unconscious.  THAT was a bad idea.  I don’t remember any of this.  I remember the assembly and waking up the next day in the hospital and puking like crazy.  To this day, I have no idea who I declared I loved in my 5th grade class.  My Dad must have scared the sh-t out of my classmates too because no one ever told me, they never brought up what had happened, and they sent me cards.  Nope, this is not my diabetes memory, this is just a sad and scary blur.

I want this to be a good memory blog post.  A REALLY good memory.  My memory is from YESTERDAY.  Yep, less than 24 hours ago.  I hadn’t planned to mention this until everything was finalized but let’s face it, THIS keeps drowning out all my other diabetes success and failure stories in my own mind.  If you know me or have ever read my blog or seen my tweets, you know how diligently I have worked over the years with JDRF.  I am incredibly proud of my JDRF Friends and Family Team, Alecia’s Stem Cells.  I am amazed by all the places we’ve walked (NYC, Boston, LA).  I am in awe of all the people who tirelessly support our team and me.  I am grateful to my parent’s for getting involved in JDRF when I was diagnosed in 1979.

I was fortunate to attend a JDRF Research Update last month presented by the president of JDRF, Jeffrey Brewer.  I loved hearing about where the money is going, the technologies and research.  I found it energizing.  The timing couldn’t have been better as a month prior, it had been mentioned to me that I was a possible candidate for my local JDRF branch’s BOARD.  Say what?!

Jeffrey said something that has been swirling around in my head for weeks (well actually he said a lot of somethings like when he spoke about micro occlusions in pump sites that go undetected by the pump which makes PERFECT sense to me).  He talked about how the next generation of insulin pumps combined with CGM technologies are available in EVERY OTHER FIRST WORLD COUNTRY BUT OURS (oh yeah, I live in the US).  He also spoke a bit about the FDA, lobbyist, and JDRF’s involvement.  In my mind, these are the things I want to be involved in.  As much as I truly enjoy my roll as a diabetes mentor and spreading diabetes education, I believe there is a next step for me.  I want to be part of the change I wish to see in the world.

So yesterday I had lunch with the head of the nominating committee at my local JDRF.  We had a lot in common and I didn’t hold back my opinions on my local chapter’s direction and off the cuff ideas for increasing involvement and community awareness.  I am, by nature, a do-er.  I am a planner.  I love having goals.  I’m also pretty nerdy and creative.

This morning I received all the forms I need to fill-out and the invitation to the meeting where my new role as a Board member will be announced in June.  I cried when I called my parents yesterday to tell them.  There have been a few instances in my life where I truly felt I had a calling to do something.  This happens to be one of those moments in my life and it happens to be my diabetes memory.


Photo Week in Review

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From Top Left: Another pump site, another bruise.  This was earlier in the week but I had a site change this morning and once again… another site, another bruise.  This is starting to become my norm.  Site worked great though.  At least the bruises are small and this isn’t bikini weather!

Blood glucose check where an old pricked spot bleeds along with the new one.  there’s a cartoonish like quality to that, as if I will drink a glass of water and my (bruised) pump sites will look like a sprinkler.

New diabetes themed-used-Verio IQ-test strip jewelry.  The reaction this from the non-D crowd has been kind of awesome.  love hearing what people “think” the material is.  My account (T2) took a minute and guessed it correctly.

I woke-up on Thursday to this view.  Remote control, Glucolift (Wildberry is my fave) container (empty), Dexcom G4 reciever, Froggie, and my pooch (with creeptastic looking eyes in this pic).  A strange Wednesday night snuggle-fest indeed.



I remember my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Britton.  She was a heavy set woman who wore thick lensed eye glasses.  Her glasses seemed dwarfed by her face.  I adored her.  It was easy to see that I loved going to kindergarten everyday.  I couldn’t stop skipping.  I was in the big-kids school.  Our classroom had a playhouse.  We sat 4 to a table on tiny chairs at a round table.

I learned how to write my name in cursive while in kindergarten.  I watched my Mom and then emulated her handwriting.  I asked her to write my name in cursive.  She showed me.  Oh, all those swirling letters. A-L-E-C-I-A looked so fancy.  Grown-ups wrote in this code.  I would write like this!  I practiced and practiced.

One day in school, when it was time to write our names on the back of our art projects, I proudly wrote my name in cursive.  Mrs. Britton hung our art in the hallway.  She pulled me aside.  She flipped over my art.  She pointed to my name.  She asked why I wrote my name like that.  I proudly told her and my classmates that I had learned cursive.  She told me not to do it again.  She firmly said I would learn cursive in an older grade and that I needed to stay with my class learning to print.  She looked disappointed.  I didn’t want to disappoint Mrs. Britton.  I was mortified.  Quivering-lip, fighting-back-tears mortified.  I had done something wrong and everyone heard her say it.  When I got home, I cried.

Every week, two kindergarteners were assigned the job of “turning-in” the milk money.  Mrs. Britton collected the money from us, placed our money and parent form in an envelop and then trusted us to walk all the way down the hall to the office.  It was a huge responsibility.

When it was my week to “turn-in” the money, I was elated.  My buddy and I headed to the office.  We walked carefully.  This was an important job.  Actually this was the most important job in kindergarten.  Once we had given the envelop to the office, we began the walk back to our classroom.  We were alone, 2 triumphant kindergardeners, passing the 2nd grade classrooms.  We walked with pride.  As we approached the 1st grade classroom, a boy stepped into the hallway.  I knew him.  His name was Curtis and he had been in the same nursery school with me.  He was a year older.  In nursery school he had a girlfriend.  For the nursery school Halloween party, he was dressed as a groom and his girlfriend was dressed as a bride.  I was in awe of Curtis.  Now he was a first grader.  I smiled at him.  He sneered back.  As we walked past him, he began to speak.  I looked at him and he slowly whispered, “Kindergarten Babies”.  I was floored!  Curtis called me a baby.  I was not a baby.  We continued our walk back to our classroom. it was like the wind was knocked out of me.  Kindergarten Babies?  Kindergarten Babies!  Why would he say that?  We had just been in charge of the milk money.  I was devastated.  According to my parents,  I couldn’t even tell them the story when I came home.  I was crying that hard.  I quivering-lip-sobbed, “He….*sob*, he… *sob*, he called me…*sob*, he said we….*sob*, were Kindergarten… *sob, sob, sob*, KINDERGARTEN BABIES!”

Every teacher after Mrs. Britton dealt with more than just me, they dealt with me and diabetes.  As I listened to the breaking news today, I was dumbfounded by the horrific tragedy which occurred in Newtown, Connecticut.  I listened at my desk while this senseless story developed.  I walked home from work with a heavy heart.   I arrived home, shut the door, sat down, hugged my dog and cried.

Those kids were indeed Kindergarten Babies.  My heart aches for them and their families.  I cry for those children who witnessed this travesty and I hope somehow, some way they remain just that, babies.



I started a blog post a few nights ago about evaluating pump sites.  As I wrote it, some interesting things occurred with the numbers and like I am prone to do, I was off on a tangent.

I always liked math.  I loved algebra and geometry.  When I was a little girl I would actually dream about math problems and shapes.  Later, I took my appreciation of math and interest in art as a sign to go to architecture school.  Looking back, it was ridiculous that in my extremely sheltered world, I was supposed to be picking such a specific field of study and life path, at 16 years old, however at 12 years old, I knew I wanted to create.

As long as I can remember, my favorite number has been 12.  I recall a teacher saying that a favorite number should be a single digit.  What did she know, right?  On sports teams, I always tried to get “12” on my jersey.  In architecture school I always tried to group design elements in derivatives of 12.  When I write any list, I will keep adding things until I get to 12.  My first and last name are both 6 letters.  My career started with a company that was also a 6 and 6 name.  Yep, 12.  My current business is two 6 and 6 names.  Again, 12.  Most of the time I act like I’m 12.  Twelve.  What can I say, I just love it.

So in my post about pump sites, I started doing the math.  I took shots for 21 years (12 backwards).  I have been on a pump for 12 years.  I have had a Dexcom CGM for 12 months.  With my warranty expiring on both my Animas PING pump and my Dexcom 7+ in the next few days, I have been filling out paperwork to get new versions of both.  “12” keeps popping up all over the place.  I had to ditch the pump site topic.  Twelve was calling to me.

In grade school we did the project envisioning where you will be in the year 2000.  I used to change that topic to the year 2012.  Flying cars and my Jetsons-esque lifestyle haven’t quite happened.  Diabetes hasn’t been cured.  I don’t have kids.  But, I’m still here to celebrate 12.12.12.  That counts, I AM HERE for 12.12.12.

Happy 12.12.12 to all of you.  I hope you get a chance to make it special.


Do Good, Feel Good

Do Good, Feel Good is a phrase I say a lot.  I probably tweet it even more often.  It’s one of those phrases that just sticks in my head and plays over and over (kind of like The Cranberries’ Zombie or recently Kris Kross’ Jump.  I’m sorry if you now have these songs sticking in your brain too).  I digress.  Oops.  Yes, Do Good, Feel Good.

When I researched getting a CGM, specifically my Dexcom 7+, I started reading diabetes blogs in a mildly obsessive way.  That was my introduction to Kim from Texting My Pancreas.  Her blog led me to other wonderful diabetes blogs.  When I decided to bite the bullet (well in this case, let my boyfriend attempt to insert the Dexcom into the back of my arm), we watched her video twice possibly without blinking.  When I put the Dexcom in my arm the first time solo (I’ll admit it, I was scared), I watched that video two more times (this is the part where I must mention she has better gravity where she lives).  Anyway, Kim was a big help to me and I frequently refer to her in my diabetes mentoring program when questions about CGMs arise.

Kim started an “event” for the month of December called Give All The Things (you really should click that to see what I’m talking about).  I was immediately more smitten with her than I already was.   I won second place at the very beginning of the month of giveaways.  I won a small plush pancreas.  Oh you don’t know what a plush pancreas is?  Well you can see it here.  It made me laugh but it got me thinking about Kim’s pay-it-forward idea, an idea I try to incorporate into my own life.  I contacted Kim and told her a little about my jewelry design business and it’s connection to my fundraising walk teams, Alecia’s Stem Cells.  I offered to give her a pair of earrings for her giveaway.  Although it is not totally diabetes related, the jewelry IS made by a T1D (me) and 10% of the proceeds go to JDRF.  Kim wrote the sweetest note back.  It put a big goofy grin on my face.

Today Kim is giving away the earrings at Texting My Pancreas.  I saw the tweet about it this morning.  I immediately smiled.  What started as an overwhelming day still is overwhelming, but her post lightened me. Twice I have checked the comments (which is how you enter her contests) and both times I smiled more and “may” have had some extra moisture escape my eyes (must be allergies, I certainly am not crying again, right?).

If you have some time, check out the comments of some of her other Give All The Things posts.  It will immediately remind you how fortunate you are to be part of the DOC.

Do Good, Feel Good.  Thanks Kim.

Diabetes Art Day 2012

My submission(s) for Diabetes Art Day 2012 – Yes, I’m crafty.  Not in a Beastie Boy’s song kind of way but in a index-card-epoxy-resin-tape-used-OneTouch-test-strips-sandpaper art making kind of way.  I’ve been designing and making jewelry for a LONG time but I haven’t done much resin work in years.  Having used strips EVERYWHERE is actually useful!  Happy #DArtDay !

My Love Affair

I’m having a love affair. I can’t deny it, it’s true. It started in November. I’d seen him before. I did what we all do, I Googled him but quickly decided he wasn’t my type. I’m a rather independent woman. From what I learned, he wanted someone who was a bit needy. He seemed like a bit of a know-it-all too. I had enough going on in my life but I kept looking at him. I asked around. Others knew him but there were mixed feelings. Some people thought he was absolutely wonderful, they praised him but still others said he was unreliable, inconsistent, not worth the effort and that I should just get a dog.

I’d briefly gotten attached to his “type” a few years ago. That one scared me a bit, but we were inseparable for 3 days. Something was missing and I knew it. I never truly felt comfortable. Perhaps we just didn’t click and in the end I was disappointed and frankly, I felt let-down. I guess I was a bit oversold.

Years had gone by and I tried to keep an open-mind, I kept looking at him online. Oh let’s face it, I stared at him online. I just needed to be brave (or so I kept telling myself). Put myself out there. It started with an email. I was testing the waters. It led to more emails. I kept Googling and staring. A date was set, right before Christmas. I was nervous, but excited. He arrived at my home. It was awkward at best. I’m fairly certain he found me cold and perhaps distracted. Our get together ended rather abruptly. I was too nervous and uncomfortable. Later I checked him out online again. I downloaded an app on my phone so I could check him out from there too. I wasn’t giving up hope but it was easier to drag my feet since the holidays were right around the corner. It was a good excuse. I decided I’d try to hook-up with him after the New Year.

After New Year’s, I decided my initial discomfort was with the one-on-one aspect of our initial meeting. I made a decision, made a couple calls, and within 24 hours, we had plans for a group lunch date. I was nervous but we were surrounded by other group dates and suddenly this seemed doable.

Now, over 9 months later, if we go on a date, he never pays. He can be downright irritating, almost preachy, if I’ve under-bolused or have indulged a bit too much. Once, I took Sudafed when I wasn’t feeling well and he went absolutely nuts. We don’t fight often, maybe, but when we do, we’ve learned to start over. A fresh start seems to be best for both of us.

Now I see there were plenty of times I didn’t feel safe on my own. That’s all changed since he came into my life. I’ll admit it, it may not be perfect but we sleep together every night. He wakes me up more than I’d like but I’m glad he’s there.

Thanks for keeping me safe Dex.