Moments of Wonderful

…rather than a lifetime of nothing special. A diabetes blog.

Moments of Wonderful - …rather than a lifetime of nothing special. A diabetes blog.

Treat or overtreat

You can’t overtreat a low blood sugar.

I heard that provocative statement during a recent local diabetes event.

The topic of the session was overcoming diabetes burnout and so we were talking about the stresses and pressures of living with diabetes. Someone mentioned the feelings of guilt after overtreating a low blood sugar.

“What if I told you that you can’t overtreat a low?”

Since the room was filled with people with type 1 diabetes and their caregivers, we were intrigued.

The session facilitator (did I mention it was the fabulous Dr. Jill Weissberg-Benchell) continued in an attempt to convince us.

glucose tabs stackedThe idea is simple really. When my blood sugar is low my brain just can’t function right. Just like the rest of my body, it needs glucose for energy. When it can’t get enough from my blood, it sends out the panic alarm (super scientific explanation). In an attempt to save itself, it commands me to eat. Eat for survival. Higher level thinking like eating only 15 carbs and waiting 15 minutes is nearly impossible when I feel like I might pass out at any moment. (Not all lows are like this obviously, but some catch me by surprise at how dangerous they feel)

Instead, what if I ate until I felt safe? What if I left all the wrappers and packaging out so that I could count carbs and do the math for an insulin correction dose once I was able? What if that took away the guilt of overtreating a low blood sugar and turned it into just treating a low blood sugar?

One less moment of guilt living with diabetes.

Two things

JDRF volunteerFirst, I am immensely proud of the You Can Do This Project and so happy to be a part of it. Yesterday the You Can Do This Project published the newest group video – “Encouraging Independence in Your Child with Diabetes.” Please go watch it, and check out the site redesign while you’re there.

Second, wow. All I can say is find a way to get involved. Any good chapter will not turn you down. There is always a focus on fundraising, but I promise JDRF can use our time and talent just as much. Become a mentor, volunteer at an event, help with data entry, make phone calls, stuff envelopes. No matter what you do, you will meet amazing people and you will be making a difference.

Listen to me

Last week I had an appointment with my endocrinologist that was one of the most confusing and frustrating appointments I’ve experienced in my life with diabetes.

It had been a while since I’d seen my doctor due to some unusual circumstances. Before my last appointment, the endocrinologist had ordered some blood work and other tests to be completed. I got the tests done and anticipated finding out more about the results. A few weeks later, knowing my appointment was coming up but not remembering the exact date, I was thankful when I got the reminder phone call from the office. Or at least I thought it was the reminder call. It was actually to notify me that with barely 24 hours notice, the financial backers of the practice had removed their funding and the offices were closed.

Fast forward to last week, I finally made it back into the office. The previous office had an enormous waiting room with plenty of seating. The new office was a completely different experience.

When we finally went over the blood work from months ago, it was like the nurse practitioner was looking at each number individually without any thought of how they could fit together or the reasoning for any of them.

For example, I had lost about 20 pounds since the last time they saw me (remember this was last summer, so it was far from sudden or dramatic loss). She asked if I had done anything differently and I explained how I had made changes in my diet and overall felt so much better. She repeated that she worries when they see “unexplained weight loss.” If I offer an explanation right before you say that, I think that maybe you aren’t listening.

Next, the nurse came back in with my finger prick A1c result. I don’t trust those results on a good day, so I was already skeptical about the number. The only reason I let them draw it was because it had been so long since my last lab work. With me in the exam room was a full report with my meter download and a full Dexcom report. I use one meter and I wear my Dexcom 24/7/365. That is why I flat out told the nurse practitioner that the A1c result was wrong when it came back a full A1c point lower than my Dexcom average would suggest – which would be equivalent to about a 30-40 mg/dL difference in average BG results. That is a BIG difference!

Instead of questioning the A1c, she poured over my Dexcom reports finding lows to be fixed. Lows had to be artificially reducing my results, right?

It wasn’t until I was back in my car on my way to work that I was able to put the pieces together myself. One of my out of range lab results from months and months earlier indicated that I was anemic. If I have in fact been anemic for the entire time this A1c result was measuring, it isn’t took far of a stretch to assume that my A1c result would come back erroneously low, is it?

I have had good experience with this endocrinologist in the past; so at this point I am willing to let this go as a bad day in a busy “new” practice.

But I do think this was a perfect example of the many times when actually listening to a patient might be the best medical treatment available.


It seems like every few months, my diabetes supply stash gets absolutely out of control. Empty boxes that formerly held pump supplies and empty test strip boxes dominate the shelf.

(this photo is shockingly not staged)

organize before

When you are running perpetually late for work in the morning and just need to do a quick site change, throwing away an empty box isn’t really a priority.

Well, I was reading Zakary’s blog, Raising Colorado, and she posted about a beautiful solution for her daughter’s pump supplies. She made an excellent point (and one she discovered after 6 months of pumping, and not 10 years), there really is no reason to keep the cluttered, impossible to open, half-ripped boxes anyway. Her solution included a trip to Target and bins that were on clearance, and that’s really all it took for me to know that it was the solution for me too.

labeled reorganization

A place for everything, and everything in its place.

organize after

Spring cleaning, diabetes style.

Pros and Cons

pros and cons of diabetes suppliesPro: When your medical insurance recognizes your pump and CGM devices as durable medical equipment but the corresponding disposable items as “diabetes supplies” – resulting in reasonable costs for your medications and technologies.

Con: When the same insurance company only allows you to get your supplies in one month allotments. (Possible pro: They believe the cure is that close?)