Thursday, July 30, 2015

In Need Of Lemons And A Much Needed Walk~

Some days are hard for reasons that have nothing to do with diabetes. 
I looked at the clock - it was 6:30 pm and I needed lemons because I’d been craving a tomato salad with olive and lemon dressing all day.  I was also in need of a walk because my head was about to explode. 

It was one of those days where every conceivable thing that could go wrong, did. 
Frustrations greeted me from every corner and location  - including my inbox. 
On top of it, I was sad because I'd been thinking and missing some people in my life that were no longer here - and I felt alone. 
I put on my asics nimbus gels; checked my blood sugar (it was 182,) dialed back my insulin pump to a temporary basal rate of 60%, grabbed a small recycled shopping bag that converted into a backpack and tossed some money and a kind bar in there. 
Then I clipped my iPhone to my left hip, and with my insulin pump clipped to my right hip, I put on my headphones and I walked.... and I walked. 
I walked towards the setting sun and away from the days problems and fears. 
I listened to music - an eclectic mix of upbeat songs - until Patty Griffin’s “Making Pies,” came into the rotation. I skipped that beautiful song entirely, because even though I love Patty Griffin & the song - it’s incredibly sad and I didn't want to hear it. 
I kept walking and a 1.5 miles later I started to feel better. 
And I kept walking.  
Finally, I made my way to the grocery store, bought my lemons, threw them in my bag, walked out of the store and you guessed it, I kept walking. 
At 8pm, I walked to and in my front door - and I felt like a different person.
My blood sugar was holding study at 122. 

But the walk wasn’t about getting a lower blood sugar, it was about walking to clear my head and to feel better - the 122  blood sugar was an added plus that made me smile ~

Monday, July 27, 2015

94 Years Ago Today, Insulin Was Discovered - Thanks Doctor Banting & Charles Best!

94 years ago today, insulin was discovered by Dr. Frederick Banting & his assistant Charles Best and a few months later joined by Professor J.J.R. McCloud & J.B. Collip -  and millions lived because of their discovery. 
Insulin is not a cure and yes,94 years is way to long between breakthroughs in diabetes - and that needs to change -as does the cost of insulin. 
Sidebar: Same goes for 90 years.
But, I am eternally grateful to Dr's Banting & Best - and I always will be because they saved our lives. 
This post was originally published on January 19, 2010 - And since today is the 94th anniversary of the discovery of insulin, I felt compelled to repost and publish again. 
I hope you can relate~

Dear Doctors Banting & Best

Dear Doctors Banting & Best.
I just wanted to take a moment to Thank-You for giving me the gift of LIVING. 
Because of you and your efforts, I've lived past the age of 8. 
Instead of being yet another sad memory for parents who lost their child or loved one to an illness that offered no hope, I became a girl who not only lived, but grew up to be a woman who is becoming. 
Because of your diligence and hard work, I had many firsts.
My first kiss
My first love
My first heartbreak 
Too many firsts to list without leaving so much out.
Because of the gift of your discovery, I was able to live and learn and continue to do so everyday. 
I became an Auntie multiple times and learned to love others more than myself.
I attended and graduated college.
I traveled to Europe and saw the wonders of Venice and Paris.
Because of you I was able to discover that I loved books, writing, performing, helping others manage their life with diabetes, and every shade of the color green.
I’ve gone swimming with manatees and climbed the Mexican pyramids on the longest day of the year.
I've worked at jobs I've loved, and I've worked in jobs I haven't. 
I was able to see my niece perform on Broadway and cried tears of joy and pride. 
And I was incredibly grateful and proud. 
If you never discovered insulin, I never would have met her, let alone watched her shine on “The Great White Way.”
I've been granted the gift of 12 wonderful nephews and nieces and have been know the joy of seeing each of them grow and become the wonderful & individual pieces of art that they are.

If you hadn’t had your own burning passion to save those of us with diabetes,
I never would have been able to discover my own passions.
I never would have lived, let alone blogged. 
I never would have discovered my life's passion of helping others with Diabetes.

Because of your discovery, I was able to learn what I don’t like - which is also a great gift. 
Reaching adulthood has taught me that I’m no fan of FOX News or MTV’s The Jersey Shore. 
And that I prefer wine over beer, V-Necks over Crew Necks, and my GPS over a map any day of the week!
Because insulin was discovered, my father was able to have children, and my siblings and I were not only conceived, but saved by your discovery - THANK YOU.
Thank you for not allowing my parents to lose three children and a grandson.
Thank you for giving my oldest sister the gift of motherhood 3 times over. 
Thank you for allowing my nephew to graduate Berkley with honors and become a Professor of Literature.
Thank you for allowing both my Aunts and one of my first cousins to become mothers. 
Thank you for giving every single one of my friends with diabetes the gift of living life and every single person with diabetes the opportunity to do so!
Thank you for my gifts of strength, tenacity,humor and empathy. 
I strongly believe those traits were greatly enhanced by being a person who lives her life every single day with diabetes.
Sometimes I think in the bustle of life and looking for the cure, we forget that it wasn’t until 1922 that children and adults no longer died when being diagnosed with diabetes. 
Up until then, diabetes was a death sentence.
Today diabetes a life sentence- and by “life sentence” I mean the ability to live life to the fullest EVERY SINGLE DAY. 
I will admit, there are times in my life when I haven’t taken advantage of the act of living fully. 
But now, I relish every moment big and small. 
Little moments have just as much meaning as big ones – because I am here to experience them.
Do I want a cure in my lifetime? ABSOLUTELY!
I don’t want anyone else to be diagnosed with my disease. I don’t want another person to suffer mentally or physically because diabetes has entered their lives.
I am ready to say GOODBYE to Diabetes for good!

BUT I am also so incredibly grateful for the gift of living that was given to me because of you both.
I love you without ever having had the privilege of meeting you. 
I think of you both everyday- and I say a prayer of thanks.
I want to live my best life not just for me and those I love, but for you. 
Your the reason I'm alive. 
To not live a great life would be a disservice to me AND you!
I will continue“becoming" and, not just for myself, but because really, who am not to? 
I am the girl who lived and is now a woman who IS....and is BECOMING.
And I owe the fact that I am living to you both!
Kelly K
This letter was of course inspired by Drs' Banting & Best.  
But this letter was also inspired by a truly wonderful blog post written by Natural Born Cyborg that you MUST READ. Click HERE and check it out!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Bedtime High Blood Sugars & Finding Comfort & Support Via The DOC ~

I had a late dinner last night -it was a dinner I eat at least once a week - and usually everything is cool. USUALLY.
It started out to be a good night, it really did. I was feeling all sorts of peppy and my blood sugar was 125 before dinner - YAY ME. 
Speaking of dinner, it was one of my favorites - a homemade Greek yogurt, cilantro, garlic, jalapeño, spicy dip that yours truly made from scratch, accompanied fresh famers market veggies and Food Should Taste Good, Multigrain Gluten Free Chips. 

I have this very same meal at least week during the summer, sometimes twice a week  - except sometimes the dip is made with huge handfuls of fresh basil or dill instead of cilantro and Cayenne pepper instead of jalapeño. But..., I digress. 
It’s a simple meal that makes me feel like I’m indulging because of exceptional the crunch factor, except I’m not indulging.
 The FSTG chips are easy for me to bolus for - 18 grams of carbs - for 10 chips, times 2 = 36 grams of carbs for the chips. The veggies (sweet peppers, celery and organic carrots,) added extra crunch and yumminess to the mix and very little carbs - not to mention the whole, “being healthy,” thing. 
The Greek yogurt was 7 grams of carbs for 5.3 ounces, which in this case was half the dip.
Normally I bolus between 45 and 50 grams and I’m usually right on target for the rest of the night. 

Except... last night I wasn’t. 

I bolused for/prepped my meal, brought it in front of the TV to eat and yes, I know, I shouldn’t eat in front of the TV, but I wanted to watch episode 5 of the PBS, Masterpiece Theater’s much acclaimed and totally awesome series, Poldark  via the on-demand.
Sidebar: Don’t even get me started on Poldark - I’M OBSESSED. 
A couple hours later I checked my blood sugar and was 220 - not terrible. Not great, but not terrible. 
I gave myself a correction bolus and went about my business. 
An hour later I was ready for bed - I could barely keep my eyes open and I was thirsty. 
Not a great sign in Kelly’s Big Book of D -and probably not your Big Book of D, either. 
So I checked again and my blood sugar was 359.
Then I tested again and it was 361 - And Kelly was not happy. 
In fact I uttered a string of four letter words that would make sailor blush and gave myself a 5.4 unit correction bolus - and of course, as soon as the last unit cleared my insulin pump’s screen, I immediately thought that I should have changed my infusion site BEFORE I gave the correction bolus - even thought the site was less then three days old.
20 some minutes later I tested again and it was 418 - not what I wanted to see. 
I switched out my 2 day old infusion site and gave myself another correction bolus of 2.5 units, tested for ketones (I had a “small,” amount,) drank a huge glass of water and I waited I also peed because high blood sugars and water not only = ketones, they also = peeing like a race horse. But you already know that. 
I was so flipping tired and  I just wanted to go to bed. Actually, I was already in bed and had my meter and test strips next me, the bedroom-lights out, the hallway light on and my iPhone in hand. 
 It was almost midnight and I was afraid of falling asleep before I knew that it was OK to actually sleep. So I logged onto Facebook and posted the following status: 

And as long as I’m being honest, it was great to talk with people who ‘got it” while I waited for my blood sugar to start going down. 
Talking and connecting with others kept me calm, because sometimes - at least in my case, being upset about a high blood sugar can keep that bg elevated. 
Talking with some DOC pals was not only great medicine, it was incredibly comforting. 
Some of the folks in the FB thread were dealing with the same thing, others were dealing with low blood sugars, and some were dealing with normal blood sugars, but knew what I was feeling and offered their comfort because they knew I needed it. 
Some were type 3s and didn’t have diabetes at all, but offered their support just the same. How beautiful is that!
And I appreciated the comfort and the conversation so much. 
Sidebar & FTR: I would have post the others Facebook comments, but I haven’t asked them yet - I don't like to post other peoples thoughts without asking. 

30 minutes later my blood sugar was 369 and things were returning to normal. 
I feel asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow and I woke up with a blood sugar of 101 and feeling like I’d been hit by a truck. 
I also felt damn thankful for the Diabetes Online Community for not only “getting it,” but for being there for and with me when I was feeling alone and at my most vulnerable. 


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Diabetesalicious: Links In The DOC & Beyond~

Stuff, as in a lot of stuff going on. But while I’m dealing with stuff, check out some interesting blog posts and other links in the DOC and beyond~ 
I found the "Diabetes Man Cave," a new and most excellent D blog at the start of last weekend & via the twitter. Self described as "a virtual spot to talk about issues that men with diabetes face," I found the DMC to be straight from the heart, honest an incredibly eye opening. Give it a read and be sure to follow The DMC on twitter @DiabetesManCave

A few months back, NPR ran a story as to why insulin in the US is so expensive and The International Diabetes Federation reposted the link on it’s Facebook page yesterday. 
The subject matter is frustrating and incredibly important - give it a read and a listen by clicking, HERE. 

CGM technology saves people with diabetes lives and allows them to live a more healthy life - but access to CGMs for PWDs on Medicare is a bitch!
The Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition has made it incredibly easy for us to email our Reps in Congress to pass S084/HR1427, aka, The Medicare CGM Bill.
Click HERE to make your voice heard. 

There’s an interesting Kickstarter campaign for an app called Type1D that helps parents, family members and the likes there off, team manage their child’s diabetes.
To read more about he Type1D app, go HERE and checkout the Kickstarter campaign, HERE

On a personal note, season two of Fargo starts in September (and takes place in 1979,) and my niece Cristin has a recurring role - I'm stoked!
Cristin plays Molly’s mother Betsy - I'm not sure who Molly is, but I will be hitting Hulu to catch up on season1. But until then, Watch the new season 2 trailer - Cristin appears at 0:18 through 0:27 marks.

Stephen Shaul wrote a compelling post today re: how to react and how not to react and you need to read it, NOW. 
 FTR: This quote from Stephen sums up the post and goes straight to the heart - and the heart of the problem: "Because when we point out that my type of diabetes isn’t to blame for [fill in the blank], or we say this type of diabetes isn’t caused by [fill in the blank], we’re also implying that some other type of diabetes is to blame, or some other type of diabetes is caused by something that our type isn’t. Don’t believe me? Ask a Type 2 how they felt about some of the most vocal responses to the CrossFit issue." 

Several children with undiagnosed diabetes have died as of late - and it's unacceptable and heartbreaking  - those deaths didn't have to happen and a cheap blood test at the pediatricians office could have saved their lives
Another unacceptable, unfathomable, and incredibly heartbreaking death occurred a few weeks ago, but this time the child and her family were aware of the diabetes diagnoses - and did their best to prepare for a ocean journey in order to find a better life. 
An 11 year old Syrian refugee named Raghad Hasoun died on a Mediterranean migrant boat after traffickers reportedly threw her insulin into the sea. You can read the heartbreaking story about what happened to Raghad, HERE.

I know this is a disturbing topic - but it's a very real problem and Raghad's story needs to be heard. 
Also, I’ve reached out to one of my contacts at The International Diabetes Federation re: Raghad story and she's looking into Raghad's story and promised to stay in touch. 
She also sent me a link re: refugees and shortages of essential medical care for refugees, especially those with diabetes all over the world.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Going Through My Junk Mail Folder & Diabetes Brain - The Struggle Is Real, Folks~

I was going through my Junk Mail folder via my phone yesterday and scrolling up from the bottom to the top, when I quickly read the description of the top email before I read who the email was from. 
So of course when I read about new pumps in classic styles and colors from Sam Edelman, for one split second I was all like: Why is this in my Junk Mail folder?? 
And then of course I realized the email was about shoes, not insulin pumps and Sam Edelman was of course the shoe designer and not related to the various Edelman's I know in the D world. 
And that the email was sent from Nordstrom's..... And then I felt REALLY, REALLY, STUPID. 
Diabetes Brain had struck again - and FTR, the struggle is real folks. 
At least I didn't send Miss. Zarah Ibrahim the $2000 she requested to release the 2.5 million that had been left to me by a great, great, great, uncle that had been thrice removed.... So YAY, ME?!  

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Home From #CWDFFL15 and Homesick~

There’s so much to write about my Friends For Life Experience - And as I sit at my computer, I don’t know where to begin. 
And I’m distracted because I keep looking down at my green Children with Diabetes bracelet and I wish I was back in Florida.
The green bracelet is my talisman and touchstone to people and an organization who mean the world to me and I love my FFL family very much.  

And now That I'm back in the "real world", I wish I wasn't. 
My green bracelet is my touchstone & my talisman~
The real world is filled with me playing catch-up with work and life and has me dealing people who don’t “get” diabetes and don’t want to. 
The real world is filled with strangers who don’t look you in the eye because they’re too busy looking down at their phones -and that sucks. 

As we get older, making friends isn’t as easy as it was when we were in fresh out of the gate. At FFL, everyone introduces themselves and everyone talks with one another. 
Adults and children with green bracelets find one another and the “me too” factor kicks in with a vengeance and it’s beautiful. 
Little children see my green bracelet and immediately show me theirs - and vice versa. And then we show one another our pumps and talk about how much fun we’re having. Princesses, Batman & Spiderman tend to enter the conversation, as does “Jake & The Pirates,” and I'm totally cool with that.

 Orange bracelets seek out the green and green bracelets seek out the orange, friendships are formed and lessons are learned between the laughter and the tears. 
Those conversations start anywhere and everywhere. In line for gelato, at the sink in the ladies room, at the pool, the breakfast line - EVERYWHERE - and it’s a beautiful thing.

Both green and orange Bracelets seek out those wearing “First Timers” ribbons on their name badges and pull them into the FFL mix and help them navigate the FFL waters until they go with flow and become part of the FFL ebb and flow. 

And then there are all the hugs and understanding from people who “get it.” 
Oh how I miss those hugs and all the understanding! 
And I miss the learning and the bonding and the frenetic pace that leaves everyone breathless, smiling, and wanting more.  

FFL, makes me feel like I'm the aunt to thousands of amazing green and orange bracelet wearing children and teens and makes me feel like I have a thousand green and orange bracelet wearing brothers and sisters - and parents for that matter. 

And I kid you not, now that I'm home, I'm incredibly homesick for my green and orange bracelet wearing family. 

And now for the not so mushy (at least for the most part,) part of the post. 

This year’s FFL was jammed packed and crazy, wonderful in all dimensions. 

Before FFL officially started, I had (along with so many in the DOC who were attending FFL and some who were there for the lab,) the opportunity to attend the 2015 Master Lab, presented by the Diabetes Hands Foundation, in collaboration with Children With Diabetes.  
The Master Lab was an intense 1.5 day lab on Diabetes Advocacy, Non Profits, the Press, Social Media, getting your story out there and everything in-between, and it was incredibly informative and powerful. 

The MasterLab gave me the courage to ask for help with #IwishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes Booth. 
I’m still wrapping my head around everything I learned and going through my notes with a fine tooth comb.

I was also part of the FFL Staff. My job as a Room Captain was to introduce the session Speakers and help them anyway they needed me to during the sessions and learn a few things ( OK, boatloads of things,) in the process.

Sidebar: For a great FFL tech/other cool stuff breakdown, read THIS post by Mike Hoskins post over at Diabetesmine.

And I had the amazing opportunity to have an “official  #IwishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes Booth in the Friends For Life Exhibit Hall - which seriously ROCKED MY WORLD. 
To be honest, I was nervous about it - but as I mentioned, it ROCKED MY WORLD (in the fantastical sense of the term,) and it was truly an amazing experience! 
The booth was filled with familiar faces from the DOC, who gave their time and energy and helped to make the booth functional, fun and a success!

 I'll be posting about #IwishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes booth experience as soon as I'm finished writing about it.... Stay tuned ;) 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Life Lessons & Saying Goodbye

The past couple months have taught and reminded me of some incredibly valuable 
life lessons. 
1. If you have uncles/aunts that you love and cherish - spend time with them and be there for them, just like they've always been there for you. 
Your uncles and aunts are your connections to your parents; your family, your history, and your heart. 
Like your parents, they will love you fiercely and protectively - and they will see the best in you, even in those moments you can't see the best yourself. 
Because uncles and aunts always see the best parts of themselves in you. 
And in return, you will see the best parts of yourself in them - and those similarities will surprise you, make you smile, and make you proud. 
Those similarities/idiosyncrasies will inspire you and make you want to do better in all dimensions.  
Here's the thing: We always thinks that we'll have more time with our loved ones -and that "next time," is a given. But things change in an instant - MAKE THE TIME and make every moment count. Make time for dinners, for talking, listening, and learning from those you love. 
2. Sidebar: When you download the StoryCorps phone app, use it to record your loved ones stories immediately. 
Seriously, don't wait until "next time," because next time is never a guarantee and every time you look at the unused app it will make you sad.
3. Say I love you tho those you love and say it often - because you never know when it's the last time you'll get to say it - or the last time they get to say it to you. 
4. Be there in the moment when you are with the people you love - PUT DOWN YOUR DAMN PHONE and be present - take it off the table when you go to dinner and talk with one another - relish the conversation - because one day memories will be all you have.
5. Cherish those you love and who love you.
6. If you have the chance to say goodbye, ALWAYS take it - and end your conversation with "I love you," no matter what, because some goodbyes end up being forever, but LOVE is never ending. 

I love you Uncle Bob - And I'm so grateful for the time we had together. 
Thank you for always being there for me and our entire family. 

Thank you for always making me smile and laugh and thank you for seeing the best in me, even when I didn't necessarily see it in myself. 
Thank-you for always looking out for me,; for being an excellent dinner date, and for being my partner in crime - I will miss our capers and our talks.
I will miss your jokes and I'll miss seeing you smile every time I call you, Handsome~ 
I'll miss hearing your stories; seeing your smile, hearing your voice and holding your hand. 
Thank you for being my friend, Uncle Bob - And for allowing me to be yours. 

And thank-you for being there for me before and especially after, my parents died - 
I don't know what I would have done without you - especially these last 4 years.
I wish our family had one more Summer, Fall, Winter, & Spring to spend with you.
But I know you're with your wife; your son, your parents, your sisters and brothers, my parents and my sister - And that brings me great`comfort. 

Uncle, you are in my heart and I will love you, always.