Monthly Archives: December 2012

Wishing you a Happy New Year.

There’s no question… 2012 has been an amazing year. Not sure I can put into words how special this year has been. So I’ll just submit this, my first ever home made video.

Happy New Year!

A new favorite.

I have a new favorite juice:


I was treating a low last night and opened this bottle of Ocean Spray® 100% Juice Cranberry-Pomegranate juice. It‘s been made by the Ocean Spray® people since 2009. And it’s delicious.

Don’t let the label fool you though… this “Cranberry-Pomegranate Juice” is actually a mixture of grape, apple, and plum juice from concentrates, plus cranberry and then pomegranate juice from concentrates. In that order. At least here in the USA, that means there’s more grape, apple, and plum juice in there than cranberry or pomegranate. But it still has the cranberry-pomegranate taste, and for me, it’s still all juice (with a little fumaric acid and ascorbic acid—vitamin C—in there). It’s still tasty, and that’s what matters in these moments.

It’s got a higher carbohydrate count than the average orange juice from concentrate. OJ generally has about 29 grams per 8 ounces. This stuff has 34 grams per 8 ounces. So if you can stand to have just about 7 ounces instead of 8, you’ll get right around 30 grams of carbs.

Whatever. I like it. Ocean Spray® makes a point on the FAQ page of their website that “Ocean Spray® Light Juice Drinks are appropriate for people with diabetes”. Well, maybe, but not if you’re treating a low. When I need to get my BG up in a hurry, this stuff is my new favorite juice.

I’m Stephen, and I approved this message. This just means that I like the product, not that anyone is giving me anything for saying I like it.

Still sick, but better.

“Sick, sick. He’s always sick. Why can’t he write about something other than being sick?”

That’s because I’m sick.

I’ve been up and down over the last few weeks, with a persistent cough and an occasional fever. Baltimore is a nice place to visit, but you don’t want to come here right now because there’s some kind of wicked virus going around, and everyone has it.

Which leads me to the point of this post. After all these years with diabetes, I’m still trying to figure out how to cope during this scenario:

On Saturday, this virus decided to attack my insides harder than ever (and just 24 hours after I had finished a round of antibiotics). I felt bad in the morning, before breakfast, but I figured if I just had something to eat, I’d be fine. And I was, for about 3 hours. Then, about 11:00, I started feeling bad again. I laid down on the couch for about half an hour, then tried to eat an early lunch. Good thing I decided to eat early, because my BG before lunch was: 64 mg/dL

I only got a little bit of lunch before I started feeling really bad. At this point, I informed The Great Spousal Unit that I was going to go to bed to try and sleep it off. Because I hadn’t eaten much, I checked again, and my BG after eating was: 84 mg/dL

This isn’t pretty, but suffice to say I didn’t make it to bed before everything came up, including lunch, breakfast, and any coffee I had in between. Now the question was before me: What to do about my blood glucose management?

I remember the only Diabetes Educator I ever worked with, in the hospital after my diagnosis. She said, emphatically, that if I ever had a situation like that, I needed to eat, or drink juice, or something, anything to keep my glucose levels up. I think that made sense for the times (1991), because I was on MDI (multiple daily injections). I was dosing insulin only twice per day then. So in that situation, I would have injected half a day’s worth of insulin in the morning, and would have needed to back that up with some carbs to remain at a safe level.

But since I’m on pump therapy now, I reacted differently. I immediately suspended my pump. Then I crawled into bed and slept for three hours. When I woke up, I still felt terrible, but somehow summoned the energy to test my BG again: 111 mg/dL

Then, back to sleep. For another 2 ½ hours. The pump was still suspended, and when I woke up, I checked yet again: 147 mg/dL. Now I decided to try to eat again, but could only manage a little soda and half a slice of toast. No bolus for that, even at 147. And back to sleep again.

When I woke up around 8:00 p.m., I checked my BG for the sixth time that day: 236 mg/dL. I had developed a fever by this point, and I guess having the pump off for 8 hours also contributed to this level. But at least I felt good enough to finish the toast that I started earlier.

Finally, I started the pump again and went to sleep, and kept sleeping until about 7:00 the next morning, which is very late for me. I felt better, good enough to eat breakfast, but still not too good. I still haven’t been able to eat a decent sized meal (more than half a plate of food, any food) since then. Haven’t had any coffee since then either. I worked about six hours from home on Monday and we cancelled our plans with friends and family both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. No sense infecting those not already cursed by this virus. I’ve been getting to bed at around 8:00 every night since then too. The good news is that I feel better today than I’ve felt in a few weeks.

I think I handled the no eat, no insulin blood glucose management thing okay this time. But it’s interesting to think that I thought this out all on my own. I didn’t consult with anyone about what to do. Not sure who I would’ve talked to anyway, since my doctors were all unavailable on Saturday.

I don’t know if my strategy was clever or ridiculously dangerous. I know I’ll ask my endo about it at my next appointment. At any rate, it’s another example of how things are different today than they would have been a couple of decades ago. Diabetes changes, and the way we treat diabetes changes. Okay by me, as long as we stay healthy in the long run.

I hope this scenario never plays out for you. But if it does, is this how you handle things?

Happy Holidays 2012.

I’ve never been sick around the holidays, but I guess there’s a first time for everything. I was flat on my back all of Saturday and Sunday. I’m working today from home, but still closer to 50 percent than 100 percent.

But why post about being sick? It’s almost Christmas! Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I hope you’re enjoying the holiday season.

I must admit that I still buy into all of the “The World is better at Christmastime” stuff. For me, it’s definitely a time of reflection. I think about the year past, and I try to remember what the day is really all about for us Christians. And I try to give, more than I receive. That’s important for me in December.

So let me give out some thank-yous:

– To everyone who visits this page every now and then. I still get giddy when I see a few page views and a couple of comments, the same way I did when I started this blog. Thanks for your support.

– To the DOC, the Diabetes Online Community. I keep waiting to be disappointed in some way by someone’s mean comment or selfish behavior, but I haven’t seen it yet. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see (okay, that’s from The Great Pumpkin– different holiday, but you know what I mean). I think this is also the season to unburden ourselves from our fears and our strange hang-ups, so I’m going to do that here and stop waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’m just going to enjoy it while it lasts.

– Thanks also to my fellow D-bloggers who show me how to do it every day. You’re smart, you’re fearless, you’re inspirational all at the same time. Thank you.

– Thanks to the Live-In Niece and the former Live-In Nephew. My nephew Brian has been remarkable, kind, and accommodating over the past (almost) 9 years that he’s been here. My niece Rachel has always been engaging and funny, and curiously curious about my diabetes, which warms my heart.

– Thanks most of all to The Great Spousal Unit. Maureen has been especially patient and kind, and I have been a less than ideal husband this year. Work always takes much of my time every year, and I always throw in training for a few athletic events that I drag her to. Plus, this year, I added the blog and duties as President of my community association to the list. All this has left me less available to her physically, and at times, emotionally too. Maureen, I tried to remember everything you asked me to get you this year, and I think I covered it all. I hope you like the bracelet. I love having you.

I hope this season brings a renewed sense of purpose this year, whatever your passions. I hope it brings a heightened awareness of the suffering and hurt of others, and the ability to do something about it. And I hope you have an opportunity to share the holidays with the ones closest to you. It’s okay to buy into the good feelings at this time of year. It’s certainly better than the alternative.

Happy Holidays!

December DSMA Blog Carnival. Diabetes in 2012.

I have the privilege of guest posting over at Diabetes Social Media Advocacy for this month’s Blog Carnival. This is the second time this year they’ve graciously put my post up on their site. And although I don’t mention it below, both times have been major highlights for me this year. Thanks DSMA!

This post is my December entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival. If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at

(See what I did there? I didn’t wait to put the link at the bottom of my post. Just call me a rebel. Or not.)

The final installment of the DSMA Blog Carnival for 2012 is seeking input on something you might expect at this time of year:

Take a moment to reflect on diabetes in 2012 – on a personal level, on a community level, on a technological level, anything you can think of. What things stand out to you the most? What did 2012 and Diabetes mean to you? You can even take the challenge one step further, and post a collage of your Year in Diabetes!

Well, my blog only has only been around for a little over eight months now… but still, what a year.

On a personal level, 2012 can be described as the year when I became reacquainted with the diabetes community at large. I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll mention it again: I spent a long, long time living my life on my own, not knowing about or paying attention to how others with diabetes were doing. That meant that, for instance, when I had a tough time managing glucose during or after working out, or I couldn’t figure out how to talk to my endocrinologist about my A1c, I thought I was the only one who ever had these problems. In the last half of 2011, I found the Diabetes Online Community and realized that I am not living in a diabetes bubble.

So I started a blog. But I continued to do a lot of reading. In doing so, I found out a lot about new products that are coming to the market. I’m just guessing here, but I think we may look back on 2012 as the year just before some big breakthroughs in diabetes care. To be sure, not every product we read about this year was given rave reviews. But some were. If you can, think back to how you saw these products reviewed this year: Tandem’s T:Slim insulin pump, Medtronic’s MySentry, Roche’s Accu-Chek Nano, the iBGStar from Sanofi, and GlucoLift glucose tabs.

What does this mean? For me, it means that there are a number of companies out there working to bring helpful products to the market that will be meaningful to people managing their lives with diabetes. Working with them in some cases are organizations that are providing input during the development phase and feedback once the product is in the marketplace. Sometimes these initiatives are resulting in better stuff; sometimes they are not. In every case, it seems, there are plenty of people in the DOC who are not shy about saying what works and what doesn’t. Whether companies embrace the idea or not, it’s pretty clear that there’s a kind of collaborative effect working to bring us better products producing better results. Or to discount wild claims about products that aren’t cutting the mustard. In future years, I’m guessing, companies will be even more aware of the power of social media as an information-sharing tool as well as a marketing tool.

My year included a visit to Maryland JDRF’s annual meeting in June. At that meeting, I heard a talk from someone with the University of Virginia’s Center for Diabetes Technology, who spoke about their work on the Artificial Pancreas Project, which JDRF is helping to fund. I got so excited about that talk that I wrote about it. Later, I was invited to an open house at the center where I learned more about the AP and even held the device in my hand. Definitely a highlight of my year. In November, the FDA released important guidance on development and testing of the Artificial Pancreas. Could 2013 (or 2014?) finally be a breakthrough year for the AP in the United States and beyond?

The Artificial Pancreas Project wasn’t the only JDRF-related event for me this year. I underwent mentor training, meeting some very dedicated individuals in the process. I rode 65 miles in the Tour de Talbot bike ride here in Maryland, which benefited JDRF and allowed me to meet Team Type 1 athlete John Anderson.

What haven’t I done? I haven’t gotten together with a support group yet. I’m trying, but I just haven’t been able to make that connection. So that’s near the top of my diabetes list for 2013.

And I don’t think I’ve done enough advocacy this year. Now, I’m still a relative newbie in the blogging landscape, so I’m still figuring out how to have a voice that extends beyond my home page. But I definitely have my eyes open for a great advocacy effort that goes beyond what I’ve accomplished so far. Blogging and Twitter are great, but they won’t last forever. And we don’t live in our hard drives (though those low glucose moments sometimes make us feel like our hard drives have crashed).

It’s been a remarkable year. I’m so excited about what this year has done for me and my diabetes. But, as always, I’m looking forward to the future, for changes that will benefit all of us. Changes that will cost us less and give us more access. Changes that will give all of us a chance to live the full, unrestricted, meaningful lives we’re meant to live.

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