Thursday, August 1, 2013

Throwback Thursday

I'm at diabetes camp this week, so I thought I'd dig up some old camp pictures.

The Camper Years: 1988-1997

I'm in the third row from the front, on the left side in black & white stripes.
I'm in the 5th row from the front, third person in. We all wore our camp shirts for the photo...
I'm in the third row from the front, on the right side, and wearing purple. 
I'm in the front row, first person on the right side. 
Some of the comments that my cabin mates wrote made me chuckle. Apparently I was hard to get along with :/

The Staff Years: 2003-2004

Dress your Counselor Backwards day

Crazy Dress day.
 I do not look happy, maybe because it says "loser" on my forehead?

Diabetics never pack lightly!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Officially Scary

At the rink, I've been working on the Scratch Spin. That is the lovely spin the figure skaters do, where they cross one leg over the other and spin at mach speed for about a million rotations. There is a lot than can wrong with during the scratch spin. It is officially scary!

You know what else is officially scary? Going low at the rink; there is a lot that could go wrong during a low blood sugar, on ice.

At the rink I have a hard time determining if I'm sweaty from working so hard or from low blood sugar.
The room is spinning, is it from the spin I was just practicing or from low blood sugar?
That all over tingly feeling, maybe it's adrenaline from landing a difficult jump or maybe it's low blood sugar.

I've talked before about the techniques I use to keep my blood sugar balanced while at the rink (here), but sometimes my blood sugar drops anyway and that is officially scary. `

Monday, July 29, 2013

Twenty Percent

Would you bet your life on something that has a ± 20% margin of error? 

You see, the FDA only requires blood glucose meters to have a ± 20% accuracy. In addition, the FDA acknowledged that there are nearly 500,000 blood glucose meters and strips on the market, that do not meet the accuracy standards for which they were approved. 

Let me explain what this means to a person with diabetes; inaccurately high meter readings could lead to a person receiving too much insulin and cause severe hypoglycemia, seizures, coma or death. Inaccurately low meter readings could cause a person to receive too little insulin resulting in hyperglycemia, and the risk of diabetic ketoacidosis.

Why is that a big deal?  

Yesterday, 2 hours after lunch my meter read 190 mg/dl, so I corrected with 1.5 units of insulin. A hour and a half later my blood sugar was 52 mg/dl and dropping; because the insulin I gave was still active in my system.  

If the meter read at the high end of the accuracy standard, 236 mg/dl I would have given 2.3 units of insulin! That amount of insulin could have caused severe hypoglycemia.

This is a potentially deadly situation and with the current meter standards it can (and will) occur again at any time. 

It is time for the FDA to take action, my life and the 25.8 million Americans with diabetes are depending on it. I am asking for ongoing testing of blood glucose strips to assure compliance with the FDA's accuracy standards and for the FDA to improve the US accuracy standards to the latest ISO standards of ± 15%.
You can help by writing to your elected officials and to the leaders at the FDA. Sample letters are available on the Strip Safety website.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Stinky Towels

Mr. Harer and I received 2 complete sets of Macy's Hotel Collection towels when we got married. These towels were really nice, big, fluffy and soft, but now they stink.

It is so disgusting to get out of the shower all clean and fresh, then dry off with a stinky towel.

I have tried every remedy I can find to de-funk the towels, but have had no success. I tried baking soda & vinegar, I tried Dawn dishsoap & peroxide, I've tried Lysol, I've tried bleach, I've tried drying them in the sun (which is not easy when the backyard is also the dog's potty area) and nothing has worked!

So we bought new towels, and now they stink too.

Are we just smelly people?

I can't figure it out, but if you have any suggestions I'd love to hear them.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Dog Blog Day

"I've seen a look in dogseyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts." - John Steinbeck

Duke, our adopted Lancashire Heeler is getting old. He is turning white around the muzzle and grey along his hunches. He has also started developing cataracts. 

We aren't sure how much he can see, but he seems to go about his daily business of jumping of the furniture and stealing trash with no problems. Unfortunately, there are no canine ophthamologists, and no doggie Lasix (actually there might be, but can imagine what that would cost?!?). 

Speaking of ophthamologist, I saw mine today for my annual "diabetic" eye exam. I am not sure how this differs from a "normal" annual eye exam. My doctor uses digital retinal photographs, so I do not have to have my eyes dilated (hallelujah!) to see any retinopathy that might be lurking behind my corneas. 

I was expecting to see some little hemorrhages because I forgot missed my lunchtime bolus and ended up at a lovely 369 mg/dl about an hour before my appointment. But, Dr. Eyes explained to me that it takes sustained high blood sugars to cause hemorrhaging. 

However, even with a decent A1c of 7.4 I do have a few small hemorrhages. So does that mean I have diabetic retinopathy? Is this my first diabetic complication? I was nearly in tears in the office over the idea of loosing the ability to say "I've have type 1 diabetes for 28 years and I am completely complication free." As if that was solely from my excellent d-managing skills and not some random combination of variables. 

Dr. Eyes says that he is calling my diagnosis mild background diabetic retinopathy, he suggests that if my A1c's were stable in the low-mid 6's, this "complication" would go away. 

So what does this mean in the grand scheme of things? Probably not much, I will continue to strive towards that elusive 6 range A1c, but I am not at risk of losing my vision to diabetes related complications anytime soon. 

As for whether or not I have any d-related complications, I will proudly say; "I am healthy even though I've lived with T1 diabetes for 28 years."

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Confession Day

I never wash my hands before I test my blood sugar.

I know, it's horrible right? I don't have a good reason for not washing, I just don't. 

Which is really weird since I work in healthcare and I wash my hands all the time! Why don't I offer myself the same courtesy that I give to my patients? 

Honestly, as far as I can remember, my dirty hands have never had a negative impact on my blood sugar results. But all it takes is one time, right? 

I have a lot of bad D-habits, but this one probably ranks high on the list of really really bad habits. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

My Thoughts on the Bayer Contour Next Meter

I've been using the Bayer Contour Next meter for about six weeks now, so I've discovered all my likes and dislikes about it.

I was a little intimidated by it at first; however, it was really easy to set-up the meter and begin using it.

The initial set-up and charging


  • The lit test strip area. I can now test at night without turning on any lights and waking Mr. Harer or the mutts. 
  • It links with my pump and I have the option whether or not to send the result. I can now decide if I want to use the data to calibrate my CGM or not. 
  • The reminder function (this is my favorite feature, I use it daily!)
  • The blood requirement (sample size officially) is smaller than any other meter I've ever used.
  • I can add more blood after the fact without wasting a strip. 
(on a side note, way back in the day you could trick the old One Touch 2 meter into reusing the same strip) 
  • I don't have to worry about carrying extra batteries or buying strange size watch batteries because it is rechargeable. 
  • It is tiny, slightly longer than a pack of gum.


Broken Zipper
  • The case sucks! Big time! It broke the first time I tried to zip it closed. I use an elastic headband to hold it closed. 
  • The lancet device is noisy and does not have a low enough setting for my fingers. It hurts and the noise makes me cringe. I am afraid of this lancet device and will be using my One Touch Delica lancet device as soon as I can get lancets for it. 
  • I am too lazy to accurately mark the test results as "Before Meal", or "After Meal". All my test results are "No Mark".

Overall I like the meter very much and the few cons are easily fixed.

That covers all my thoughts on the Bayer Contour Next meter. Thanks for reading.
My first test with the Bayer Contour meter.
The pink elastic headband used to keep the broken case closed. 

I just like the curled up elastic in this picture :)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Sunday Seven

Sunday Seven

 a recap of the week 

and other serendipitous moments. 

  • Today is my niece's 7th Birthday. She is a tomboy princess who loves fishing, Duck Dynasty and ballet. Happy Birthday Miss E! 

  • 8 days until I leave for diabetes camp! Yes, that's right I am going to Camp Chinnock, as medical staff! It is so exciting. (There is also a chance that I might be a part of a closed loop pump study while I am there...)

  • I was crazy jealous of everyone who attended the CWD Friends for Life Conference. It looked like everyone had a great time. I need to start saving pennies so I can attend in 2014.

  • This is where Mr. Harer and I would like to live after I am finished with school. I just love the pictures of this town, it's like Monterey, but in Washington! I've been looking at schools for my DNP and the University of Washington is ranked #1. I think it's providence...

  • Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris has made Amazon's 20 picks for Best Books of the Year So Far. It looked interesting in the bookstore when I saw it a few weeks ago, but my purpose on that trip was to buy Dance Fairy books for Miss E. Several bloggers in the DOC have also mentioned this book. I think I am going to have to purchase it.  

  • It is time for the yearly eye exam, it's scheduled for Tuesday. This year I plan to get new glasses; these are the frames I chose: 

  • I have a Statistics midterm on Wednesday, that I should be studying for. I love SPSS, I think it's great software, but the mathematics part of the statistics class is for the birds. 

    Tomorrow is Monday! Have a great week.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Who Nurses the Nursing Student?

It's only the second day of nursing school and I've caught a cold! But that doesn't mean I can stay home and rest, so I loaded up on zinc lozenges and hand sanitizer and went to class.

Like I mentioned yesterday, I've made some new friends at school and it is inevitable that new friends ask questions about my diabetes. So I thought I would share how I answer some of the innocent questions that curious friends ask.

  • "Is there anything I need to know, if you have an emergency?" 
Yes, there is a glucagon injection in my backpack. If I am unconscious or unable to take sugar by mouth, you should use it immediately, then call for help. However, I have had diabetes 27 years and never needed to use the glucagon injection. 

  • "How does your pump work?" 
It is connected to me via a subcutaneous catheter, that I change about every 3 days. (I love talk to other nursing students, because they understand the terminology!) The pump delivers a base rate of insulin continuously and when I eat I program a bolus of insulin to cover the amount of carbohydrates in my meal. If I am being a compliant patient, I also wear a continuous glucose sensor, which transmits my blood glucose readings to the pump every 5 minutes. The sensor is a separate subcutaneous electrode and it's a really big needle to insert it, so I don't like to wear it. 

  • "How can you tell if your blood sugar is off?"
I test my blood sugar frequently, like 6-10 times per day. If I am feeling weird, usually I will test to confirm my gut feelings. When I am low, I get really fatigued. And when I am high I feel sluggish and short of breath. I like to explain highs like this; think of your blood having the consistency of egg whites, when the blood sugar is high, the blood get polluted with sugar solutes and becomes more like elmer's glue. How would you feel with glue running through your veins? 

  • "So you can eat whatever you want?"
Yep, although somethings I avoid or save for special occasions; like pizza.

  • "Why pizza?"
Because of it's high fat content, pizza is problematic for most people with diabetes. The fat causes a delay in blood sugar spike, so I can pretty much go without a meal bolus for pizza for the first few hours, but around the 6-8 hour mark, my blood sugar will spike very quickly and take hours to come back down. But, there are ways to "plan" as much as possible for the spike, so I can still enjoy pizza.

  • "Ugh! Why are you having pizza for lunch? Now, you're making me nervous!"
Because I am evil, no not really, just to prove that I can. (For the record 8 hours after my pizza, I was 54.)

Monday, January 7, 2013

I Can Do This!

  • Today was my first day of Nursing school. 
  • I woke up on time! (6:30am clinicals here I come!) 
  • I bought a Venti Starbucks and drank it all!
  • I sat through University Orientation, Fundamentals of Professional Nursing Orientation, Basic Skills and Assessment Orientation and didn't fall asleep!
  • I ate vegetarian lasagna for lunch, which was left overs from last nights open house at the School of Nursing!
  • My blood sugars were nice all day!
  • My Clinical Nutrition professor (teacher?) has T1!
  • I made new friends!
  • I received 3 folders full of papers, that I have no idea how to organize!
  • I bought 9 textbooks! (Technically I borrowed 3 of them, thank you Janet!)
  • It was an intense day!
  • But I am excited for Tomorrow!

Friday, January 4, 2013

I Need My D-Rents

First of all I want to say that I think D-Moms rock. Seriously. I'm so glad that the DOC is full of rockin' D-Moms and D-Dads too.

I think back to my childhood, and how well my Grandparents took care of my diabetes. They did all the amazing, selfless, difficult things that D-parent's do; the midnight finger-sticks, the algebraic-like insulin:food calculations, chasing a toddler with a syringe, force feeding a low, arguing with a high. Ya'll know the drill, not to mention this was the era of the Diabetic Exchange Diet and MDI. To some extent, I think my Grandparents had it more difficult than you current D-Moms, you see they aren't my parents. Whenever my mom decided that she wanted me around, they had no control of how she took care of me and my diabetes. They'd pack up the D-supplies along with my clothes and toys and pray that I'd come back alive.

Fortunately, I always did come back alive and usually in one piece and now I am grown and my grandparents are gone.  There is no D-mom for me to run to when diabetes get to be a little too much for me to handle. This isn't to say that Mr. Harer isn't supportive, because he is. But, there is nothing like running into your parents arms and spilling your problems into their lap. A husband doesn't love the way a parent does (and that is a good thing!)

Right now D is a little too much for me, and I wish Grandma and Grandpa were here to help carry the load. I just can't help being a little jealous of the kids with awesome D-Moms (and Dads.)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Dog Blog Day

Dog Blog Day was started back in May 2010 as a suggestion by Mr. Harer. 

Today, we are featuring Tatum.

Tatum is a senior pug who lives in Los Angeles, Ca with Grandma Harer and Auntie Karen. She enjoys long walks, eating socks, playing in the water and "dancing" on my leg. 

Tatum hates Schnauzers, belly scratches and squeakers. 
They say people begin to resemble their pets.
When she grows up, Tatum would like to be an actress, she finds the role of the Dancing Hippo in Disney's Fantasia particularly appealing.

Tatum's favorite treat is peanut butter.

Tatum was born in Palm Springs, Ca.

Tatum has purposely consumed; a diamond, a $100 bill (girl's got expensive tastes), several socks, one lens out of a pair of eyeglasses, and lots of used tissues.
Tatum and her pal Sheila 
*fun fact: Tatum's name was originally M&M.

If you would like to feature your dog on Dog Blog Day, please leave a comment.  

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

It's a New Year, New School, New-ish Job, I'm so Excited!

The countdown has begun, less than 6 days until my RN program begins. 

Over the next few days I need to finish purchasing my textbooks, uniforms and equipment, but most importantly I need to make sure there is a plan in place for diabetes. So far my plan includes;

  • Wearing the sensor 24/7 and responding to the data it provides.
  • Carrying glucose tabs in my huge scrub pockets (Glucolift Orange Cream flavor preferably.)
I know I am not the first to walk this road, so I am open to advice. Actually I am begging for it....