Monthly Archives: May 2015

#DBlogWeek Day 6: Favorites and Motivation.

DBW2015
This is the sixth year of Diabetes Blog Week, started by Karen over at Bitter~Sweet Diabetes. All of us diabetes bloggers are given a subject to write about each day during this week, and after we publish each day’s installment, we’ll go back and link our posts on her site. Want to know more? CLICK HERE.
 
 
Welcome to the weekend. It’s a lovely Day 6 of Diabetes Blog Week, and it’s Preakness Day in Baltimore. Those two don’t have any correlation other than the date, but I live about ten minutes from Pimlico, so I just thought I’d throw it in.

Our topic today: Favorites and Motivation.

If you have been blogging for a while, what is your favorite sentence or blogpost that you have ever written? Is it diabetes related or just life related? If you are a new blogger and don’t have a favorite yet, tell us what motivated you to start sharing your story by writing a blog? (Thank you Laddie of Test Guess and Go for suggesting this topic.)
 
 
To be honest, I’m looking forward to reading my fellow blogger’s thoughts on this subject more than I’m looking forward to writing about myself. Or my writing. But, I’ll try to give you a few favorites of mine over the past three years.

The blog post that seemed to resonate the most with readers was something I wrote on #DBlogCheck Day 2013. In that post, I wrote about how important it is to add your voice to the ever-growing Diabetes Community. Nearly two years later, this still remains the most read thing I’ve ever written. I love supporting people. There’s nothing that I stand to gain as a blogger that I wouldn’t give to another writer when they really need it. This post was a way for me to say this community is big enough for all of us. Let’s all help more people get the love, support, and acceptance we’ve all experienced. I think the way I wrapped up that post said it all:

Your story is the most important one in the world to the person moved by it. Don’t let down the one person who needs to hear you.”
 
 
Personally, the one thing I wrote that means a lot to me was about Interoperability Awareness. I wrote it in anticipation of speaking during the comments portion of a public workshop at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. When I did get up and speak, I delivered this text almost verbatim. It was the first time I felt like I had learned something from my fellow Diabetes Advocates and put it to good use. I was grateful, humbled, and swept up in a wave of emotion all at the same time.

“To talk about the proprietary nature of software that a company has developed just doesn’t hold water anymore. The software that comes with your device doesn’t have a separate line item on the invoice. It’s baked into the price. Protecting “intellectual property rights”, in this case, is a 20th Century complaint for a 21st Century world. And it’s an 18th Century argument when it comes to what is best for the patient. I’ve said it before, and I mean it: Patient trumps Proprietary.”
 
 
Finally, a phrase. It’s become kind of a mantra around here. I want you to know that it’s not a throwaway line… I really mean this with all my heart. I first wrote it in a letter to myself five years earlier (you have to read it to understand what that means). I wanted myself to understand then, and I want others to understand now, that there are not limits on my support of your hopes and dreams. I will leave this with you now. And please, feel free to steal it and use it yourself.

I support you… no conditions.

Happy Saturday!
 
 
 

#DBlogWeek Day 5: Let’s check out the menu.

DBW2015
This is the sixth year of Diabetes Blog Week, started by Karen over at Bitter~Sweet Diabetes. All of us diabetes bloggers are given a subject to write about each day during this week, and after we publish each day’s installment, we’ll go back and link our posts on her site. Want to know more? CLICK HERE.
 
 
It’s Frrriiiidaaaay! Today’s topic is all about what we’re eating:

Taking a cue from Adam Brown’s recent post, write a post documenting what you eat in a day! Feel free to add links to recommended recipes/shops/whatever. Make it an ideal day or a come-as-you-are day – no judgments either way. (Thank you, Katy of Bigfoot Child Have Diabetes for this topic.)

Today is a super busy day for me, so I must confess… I have to punt on this one.

Instead of talking about what I’m eating (this morning it was toast and coffeee… boring!), I’m going to go back and give you three of my favorite recipes I’ve posted here at Happy-Medium. You can use one for breakfast, one for lunch, and one for dinner. Or, as my grandparents used to say, one for breakfast, one for dinner, and one for supper.

Breakfast
First, my recipe for salmon cured with tequila, among other things. This is a great brunch food, actually.

This isn’t a Kosher-exclusive dish, to be sure, but had I not been exposed to the influences I’ve been exposed to here in Baltimore, I probably never would have tried this. And I love it! You’re going to find this is a very easy recipe, and one you can vary according to what’s on hand in your pantry and what you really like. If you close it up tightly after it’s cured, you can probably keep it in the fridge for four or five days.

DSC01346

I started with a ¾ pound filet. What you see was labeled as steelhead trout, but you might also see it as freshwater salmon in places. You’ll also need a deep dish, and a brick or something weighty to place on top of the fish while it cures. For my recipe, I included:

½ cup of kosher salt

1 tablespoon celery salt

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon dill (fresh is best, but I used dried because that’s what I had)

1 tablespoon McCormick’s® Grill Mates® mesquite seasoning

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Tequila

Basically, you mix all of the dry ingredients, then add the olive oil and tequila until you have what seems like a dry paste. If you think your mixture is too wet, just add some more dry ingredients.

DSC01347

Now it’s time to get your hands dirty. Put your fish in your deep dish… this is where it will sit for a couple of days. Take your mixture and rub it over your fish. Make sure the mixture covers every single inch of the surface of the fish. If you don’t have enough to cover the fish, make more.

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Once the fish is covered in your seasonings, wrap everything up. First in plastic, then in foil. Again, make sure the entire surface of the fish is covered. Place the fish in your refrigerator, and then place your “something weighty” on top. We used a brick from our landscaping outside, and wrapped it in foil. This helps your spices to really get into your fish, and it helps with the curing process too.

DSC01355

Then the hard part starts. Because you have to wait 48 hours to unwrap everything and dig in. Don’t be surprised if some of the liquid drains from the fish during this time. That’s normal, and it’s why you have it in a deep dish.

Once your 48 hours are up, get the dish out of the refrigerator and uncover everything. If you have to, use a paper towel to remove any leftover moisture.

DSC01385

Here’s what the finished product looks like on a cracker with cheese and some tomato. Salty, a little smoky, and melt in your mouth good.
DSC01389
 
 
Lunch

Fish isn’t your thing? Have no fear. From Diabetes Blog Week 2012, the lunch menu includes a grilled pork salad:

Grilled Pork Salad

Grilled Pork Salad

This is just an awesome salad, not only because it’s (mostly) healthy, but also because it includes grilled pork. Of course, if you keep Kosher, you’re Muslim, vegetarian, vegan, etc., substitute something that works for you. You can probably still use this marinade:

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 teaspoon salt (or seasoning salt, if you like)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 or 2 tablespoons of fresh sage, chopped (or use dried sage, what do I care?)
2 or 3 tablespoons of good mustard (your choice here; I used the spicy brown stuff)

Mix all of these ingredients together in a bowl. Then, get 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of pork. I used a pork tenderloin from the local Trader Joe’s. Then, slice or dice it how you want. You want to make strips? Go ahead. Slice it like steak? Okay. I cut it up into bite sized portions (that’s how it was going to go onto the plate anyway). Then dump it all into the marinade for about 30 minutes. It will look like this:

Marinade

While the pork is swimming around in all that mustardy-sagey goodness, get to work on the salad. Everybody has their own way to do a salad, so I’m not going to give a recipe. Okay, I am, but it’s really more of a description of the salad I made. So that’s not a recipe, is it?

1 head of Romaine lettuce
1/2 of a Radicchio
1 cup of broccoli slaw (about a handful or two)
1/2 cup of chopped carrots
1 or 2 large green onions (also known as scallions; but I grew up eating these things, and they were never called scallions then, so I can’t bring myself to call them that now)
1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
1/2 cup of dried cranberries

Mix it all together in a bowl, and set it aside. When you’re finished grilling the pork (USDA recommends that the pork be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees), let it rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing, if you have to do that. As stated above, I had mine in bite-sized portions already, and cooked them in one of those cage-like things people grill their vegetables in.

This is great for lunch or dinner. Trust me… you will love it.
 
 
Dinner

Finally, from last October, a flatbread pizza. We cooked it in the oven then, but we recently prepared this on the grill outside and it was amazing. Sorry if it looks like there’s advertising here; I’m just noting what I used, and I wasn’t compensated in any way for using these products.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. I’m still working on this; you can probably cook these a little lower, say around 350. The idea is to get all the ingredients cooked through while crisping up the flatbread, but not burning it. A little finesse is required. We’ve also done this on the grill, which requires a very low flame so you don’t burn the flatbread. Regardless, watch it like a hawk the first time.

Flatout-Flatbread

I started with flatbread from Flatout Bread. Good size, easy to use, fits on a cookie sheet. 16 grams of carbohydrates per flatbread. They come in a variety of options, including Garden Spinach and Sundried Tomato. I used the Italian Herb. FYI: Their website contains great recipes from other bloggers.

I like to put a very thin layer of olive oil on the bottom of my cookie sheet, along with some garlic powder or celery salt, to give the crust a little zing. Then I went to the refrigerator.

Ingredients

I just looked for anything that might taste good on a pizza. I found turkey deli meat (for Maureen), salami deli meat (for me), green onions, baby portabella mushrooms, and green olives. I also had some cherry tomatoes left from my garden.
 
 
Classico-Pizza-Sauce

We began the pizza build with Classico Fire Roasted Pizza Sauce. The nutrition label says that ¼ cup carries about 6 grams of carbohydrates, and that’s about the amount we used on each pizza. I’m also a big fan of basil on my pizza; we didn’t have fresh basil, but I sprinkled some dried basil flakes on top of the pizza sauce to give it an extra layer of flavor.

Then we just started piling on ingredients! One thing about the tomatoes: A lot of flavor is in the juice of tomatoes, but that extra liquid can really make your pizza soggy if you’re not careful. These cherry tomatoes worked fine, but we made sure to put them on top of the other ingredients. If you’re using something like a Roma tomato, slice it really thin and place each slice on a paper towel first. It won’t drain all of the liquid from the tomato, but keeping the slices thin will keep from weighing everything down, while still giving you that tomato boost. Yes, I’m a fresh tomato addict.

Once we finished with our ingredients, all we needed was a little mozzarella cheese on top. Here’s a look at one pizza before the cheese and one after the cheese. Looks good, right?

Half
 
 
Well, they were even better when we took them out of the oven. Cook your pizza at 400 degrees for 5 to 5 ½ minutes. In our case, thanks to our 50 year old oven (literally), we needed to finish it off for 30 seconds or so under the broiler to brown the top a little bit.

Flatbread-Pizza
 
 
Well, I hope you made it to the end, and I hope you enjoy one or more of these recipes soon! To find more recipes, just click on the Recipes! category link on the left.
 
 
 

#DBlogWeek Day 4: Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes.

DBW2015
This is the sixth year of Diabetes Blog Week, started by Karen over at Bitter~Sweet Diabetes. All of us diabetes bloggers are given a subject to write about each day during this week, and after we publish each day’s installment, we’ll go back and link our posts on her site. Want to know more? CLICK HERE.
 
 
Can you believe we’re up to Day 4 already? Today is all about Changes.

Today let’s talk about changes, in one of two ways. Either tell us what you’d most like to see change about diabetes, in any way. This can be management tools, devices, medications, people’s perceptions, your own feelings – anything at all that you feel could use changing. OR reflect back on some changes you or your loved one has seen or been through since being diagnosed with diabetes. Were they expected or did they surprise you?
 
 
I can’t think of the word “changes” without thinking of the David Bowie song. Now that I’ve got that soundtrack running in my head, let me tell you about the changes I would like to see in diabetes. There are a few:

– I would like to see all People With Diabetes empowered enough to take charge of their diabetes, advocating for the drugs, treatment, acceptance, and support they need and deserve. Not only for themselves, but for everyone diagnosed with this disease. I would also like to see some attitudes change, so every Person With Diabetes is accepting and supportive of every Person With Diabetes, regardless of type, age, gender, how they look, or who their friends are. There. I said it.

– I would also like to see some diabetes organizations follow that last bit of advice. I think that mostly, they do, but when they don’t, they’re not quite sure how to change, so they wind up behind the curve. Mostly.

– I would like to see insulin pump manufacturers change how they market their products to consumers (read: PWDs and parents of PWDs). I want them all to offer a free trial of their pump (right now, Asante’s Snap pump is the only one who does without treating it like a “purchase and return within 30 days” transaction). I would also like to see more standardization in pump paraphernalia—infusion sets, reservoirs, inserters. Let’s stop trying to make it about the extra money that can be made through these throwaway items, and start making it about better, safer functionality.

– And while I’m at it, I would like to see diabetes device makers lead the tech world in adopting interoperability standards among devices. Not just so I can download my data with a Mac or a PC, but so my doctor or healthcare system can do so too, and they can upload my pump settings directly to their internal systems when I’m in the hospital, and data from my CGM can feed directly to a healthcare professional’s desktop while I’m there. It would sure beat getting my finger poked at 3:00 a.m. by a nurse’s assistant. It would also insure that a) My data would be kept in a place where the staff can see it without looking at a chart; and b) No one would have to take time away from patients because they have to fill out a chart.
And as you know, that’s just the beginning.

– I want the United States Congress to think long term (that is, beyond the next election cycle) when it comes to caring for some of the most vulnerable in our healthcare system. The math is clear, the logic is clear: No one should have to give up their continuous glucose monitor just because they start on Medicare. Continuing this practice puts lives at risk, and when you consider emergency room visits due to hypoglycemic unawareness, falls and accidents that might occur due to the same, you can see why this illogic costs the federal government way more than a simple Dexcom unit for those who need one.

– Finally, I would like to see more PWDs have access to one-on-one conversations with others that are living or have lived through the same things. I want us to learn from each other. I want us to know each other, even if we’re from different backgrounds. I want us to benefit from the collective wisdom and encouragement that comes from shared experiences.
 
 
Wow, that’s a long list. In reality, a lot about diabetes and diabetes care has changed rapidly in the last few years. But just like when a prisoner gets a taste of freedom and then wants even more, I’m interested in seeing how far, how fast we can really go toward helping my fellow PWDs who are seeking support, better drugs, devices they can feel confident using, all without bankrupting us. Let’s get to work on that people! You are worth it!


 
 
 

#DBlogWeek Day 3: Clean it out.

DBW2015
This is the sixth year of Diabetes Blog Week, started by Karen over at Bitter~Sweet Diabetes. All of us diabetes bloggers are given a subject to write about each day during this week, and after we publish each day’s installment, we’ll go back and link our posts on her site. Want to know more? CLICK HERE.
 
 
Welcome to Day 3! Today, we’re going to Clean It Out:

Yesterday we kept stuff in, so today let’s clear stuff out. What is in your diabetic closet that needs to be cleaned out? This can be an actual physical belonging, or it can be something you’re mentally or emotionally hanging on to. Why are you keeping it and why do you need to get rid of it? (Thank you Rick of RA Diabetes for this topic suggestion.)

There are two things that I really need to clean out from my diabetes life. These are two actual, tangible things.

One is my insulin pump. People who read this space on a regular basis may remember Decision 2014, when I tried nearly every insulin pump on the market in the USA. That’s because my pump warranty expired last year, and I really need a new one. The Medtronic Revel pump I have now is five years old, it looks five years old, and it’s starting to act a little cranky at times. So it’s definitely time. Why haven’t I chosen a new pump yet?
DSC00056
I haven’t chosen a new pump because… instead of finding the perfect pump for my life (and the next four years of my life), I wound up deciding that none of the pumps on the market in the USA is a good fit for me. I know I’ll never find the perfect pump, but I would like to see something a little closer to what I’m looking for. Until that moment comes, I’m going to wait. Well, at least as long as my current pump holds out anyway.

The second thing I really need to get rid of? It’s this thing:
Blue1
My grandmother found this in a drug store shortly after I was diagnosed. She thought it would help me keep my insulin cool when I’m away from home. And she was right. And I’ve kept this thing for 24 years.

It’s been to Florida and California, New York and Seattle, 22 states in all. It’s been to Jamaica, Ireland, England, and Belgium. It’s logged a lot of miles and kept my life-giving juice safe and cool. But… it is time to say goodbye to it.

I mean, did you look at that thing? It’s getting difficult to keep clean. It’s a little out of shape now too. It has definitely seen better days. So as soon as I can find something similar that will do just as well keeping my insulin cool and safe, this will be heading to the landfill like so much other medical device paraphernalia.

It’s not easy saying goodbye. But it’s a necessary thing sometimes. These two things have served me well during the time I’ve had them. But it’s time to let them retire. If you really want to know the truth… I’m looking forward to replacing them.
 
 
 

#DBlogWeek Day 2: Keep it to yourself.

DBW2015
This is the sixth year of Diabetes Blog Week, started by Karen over at Bitter~Sweet Diabetes. All of us diabetes bloggers are given a subject to write about each day during this week, and after we publish each day’s installment, we’ll go back and link our posts on her site. Want to know more? CLICK HERE.
 
 
This is day two of our seven day labor of love. Our topic today:
Keep it to Yourself.

Many of us share lots of aspects of our diabetes lives online for the world to see. What are some of the aspects of diabetes that you choose to keep private from the internet? Or from your family and friends? Why is it important to keep it to yourself? (This is not an attempt to get you out of your comfort zone. There is no need to elaborate or tell personal stories related to these aspects. Simply let us know what kinds of stories we will never hear you tell, and why you won’t tell them.) (Thank you Scott E of Rolling in the D for this topic.)

Well, as usual, that’s a great premise Scott. In fact, there are two things that I never share with everyone.

One of those things is my latest A1c result. This stems from some discussions that occurred within the Diabetes Online Community (or DOC) a couple of years ago, when people (people like me) would post what their A1c result was, and then some others in the DOC would feel like failures by comparing their numbers to mine.

Hey look, it’s not that I never tell what my A1c might be. But the fact is, since then, I haven’t revealed my A1c results right after the results come back from the lab.

Because, really, why? It’s just a number, there’s a lot that goes into it that might not be known, and saying how great my A1c is means I may not be telling the entire truth.

Which leads me to the second thing that I almost never share with anyone…

I have been through a fair amount (read: a LOT) of hypoglycemic moments in the past few years. I haven’t managed to have many really bad moments, but I still have been low more often than I would like. More often than I can count.

So, at least in a couple of cases, my terrific A1c results had to have been partly due to the fact that I was low a lot, which means I tiptoed on the line of heart damage, killing off brain cells, you name it, just so that every 90 day number looked good. It wasn’t a conscious thing. I just hate how I feel when I’m high, way more than I hate how I feel when I’m low. So I’ve done a lot to avoid being high. Which means I’ve gone low a lot. Which… well, you get the picture.

And here’s a bonus thing for you: I’m not sure I’ve been completely honest with my endocrinologist about this. Admitting this now kinda sucks, because I have my regular appointment with her on Thursday, and if she reads this before our appointment, it may not go so well.

But… there is some truth in the knowledge that admitting your problems is the first step on the road to being better. I’ve proven that I can get my A1c down to an awesome number. Now I need to prove I can do it by staying in a safe range more often, rather than evening out highs with deep lows.

Such a thing seems incredibly difficult to me now. But you know what? I am worth the effort. Whatever you’re dealing with… You are worth the effort too. Every time.
 
 
 

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