Monthly Archives: June 2016

Regular Maintenance.

Baltimore County has been busy on my street in the past week.

The county is in the process of replacing water mains in our area, and they’ve been at work for about a week on our block.

Naturally, this made me think about my diabetes (because, why not?).

Occasionally, we need to step back from the everyday grind and consider what about our diabetes needs an upgrade. Or a change. Or a budget adjustment. I’ve got to admit… it’s time for me to do some diabetes maintenance.
I’ve been putting off doctor visits. Not because I hate going to doctors, but because I’ve been busy, and the daily grind of my life these days has made it easy to forget about scheduling an appointment once I get to work or to the gym or out in the yard. Funny how, even at my age, I can still let everything else be an excuse for not getting to the things that I know I need to do for me.

I missed the last appointment with my endocrinologist because I was traveling. I haven’t been to an ophthalmologist in about a year and a half. Finding a good one locally is really tough. And I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I’ve seen a podiatrist. Same reason. To make matters worse, I need to get in to see a gastroenterologist because… well, you know. I’ve been putting that off for a few years.

I also have to consider replacing my wonderful Accu-Chek Nano meter that I’ve been using for something near four years. But I like it so much, and I have four of them, and I just don’t want to get another one. But what am I missing by not finding a newer model?

Last Friday, the county workers must have done some real damage underground, because at the stroke of midnight, I heard pounding outside. It was Baltimore Gas and Electric performing emergency repairs on the natural gas line that runs right where the county was digging. They were working all night and all day Saturday.

I don’t want to get to where my casual attitude toward regular maintenance of my health results in missing something important that I need to address. Besides, the appointments I need to make are piling up.

This isn’t about burnout or anything like that. I’ve just let things go for far too long. It’s time for me to ignore ignoring my well-being and focus on getting the regular maintenance of my health addressed.

Diabetes + Cancer? No problem for this Champion Athlete.

It’s Friday, so how about something to make you feel good?

Today, I have another Champion Athletes With Diabetes story. But Ellen isn’t just a runner living with diabetes. She’s also living with cancer. Her sister Terri sent me an e-mail letting me know about her sister’s remarkable achievements, and I want to share part of them with you now.

“Ellen is a person with type 1 diabetes, who has completed three half marathons since November. That in itself I believe qualifies her. But I am more amazed and proud of her as she has done this while battling lung cancer.”

Last November, Ellen finished the Indianapolis Monumental half marathon:

“Her struggle to finish this run led her to the Dr., where she was told she ran it with walking pneumonia (and T1). A few weeks later, once the pneumonia cleared, they spotted tumors in her lung and diagnosed her with lung cancer.”

“Before Ellen was diagnosed with lung cancer, she had already joined Team JDRF to participate in the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. Ellen raised $2,700 + for JDRF and on January 9, after her initial round of chemo and while on radiation therapy, completed her second half marathon as part of Team JDRF.”

“Ellen is now done with all her treatments and doing everything possible to get stronger and also manage her T1 diabetes. She is back to regular exercise and in May, completed the Indianapolis 500 Festival – Mini-Marathon.”

“Her strength and attitude amaze me. I participated in both the Disney and 500 Festival half marathons with her. I witnessed her determination to prove to herself and others that her diseases will not stop her.”

Is that inspirational, or what? Knowing that Ellen did all that while living with diabetes and lung cancer makes it a little easier for me to want to get out of bed and get my exercise on.
We salute you Ellen… your story makes us smile, and we are honored to award you this medal. Keep running, and keep inspiring!
What about you? Are you conquering your athletic goals along with the difficulties of living with diabetes? Is there someone important in your life that meets this description? Then I have a medal for you.

Send me an e-mail at Tell me your name, name of the athlete (it’s okay if it’s you), and your address (gotta know where to send the medal). Most important, tell me what athletic goal was accomplished, and when. Extra points if you tell me how you felt accomplishing the goal. Full disclosure: I reserve the right to use your testimonial here, on Twitter, and on Facebook. I will not use your name if you don’t want me to. As always, I will never share private information.

Join the over 80 Champion Athletes With Diabetes. Send me your story today!

Not exactly MacGyver, but good enough.

Tuesday, I was able to overcome a potentially panic-enducing episode of my own doing. I’m not the most handy guy in the world, so getting over this was a big deal for me, even though it’s probably not to you. Let me explain:

I walked out the door and headed to work without checking the status on my insulin pump. That means I left for work without noticing that I had about 7 units of insulin left in my reservoir. Not nearly enough to last through the day until I got home.

I don’t generally keep extra insulin lying around my desk at work, so I had to come up with something, or inconvenience The Great Spousal Unit and ask her to make a special trip downtown, which is way out of her way. To make matters worse, my Animas pump has one feature that I absolutely detest: when the pump says zero units left, it stops pumping.

The problem is, when the pump says it’s at zero units, there are still about 20 units of insulin left in my reservoir. Now that’s enough to last me through the day at work. What to do?
Well, I don’t recommend that anyone do this on a regular basis. It is far from an exact science. But it beats wasting insulin, or potentially going a few hours without any. Here’s what I did: once my pump went to zero units and gave me a no delivery alarm, I pulled the reservoir out, and every hour, carefully pumped more insulin in using the plunger underneath the reservoir. You know… syringe style. Once the plunger reached a certain point, I had to use a pencil to push it further and continue to pump insulin.

Like I said, this is not an exact way of delivering insulin, and I do not recommend it if you can avoid it. In addition to regular hourly bolus amounts, I checked my glucose levels about every hour and a half to make sure I wasn’t too high or too low. But in this case, this practice solved two problems for me: I did not need extra insulin or to leave work early to get extra insulin, and I did not waste 20 units (or more) of perfectly good Novolog.

My old insulin pump had a 300 unit reservoir. My new pump has only a 200 unit reservoir. This isn’t a huge concern for me. I can manage with either. However, one of the features of my previous pump that I took for granted (and wish I had back) was the fact that I could fill the reservoir, prime the pump, go until the pump said zero units left, and still keep pumping for hours, because it kept pumping until the insulin was gone, not until the display said zero. The “Load Cartridge” feature on my new insulin pump already takes about fifteen units away from a full reservoir, and I take about ten more to prime (it’s long tubing). Then the pump quits when it says zero units, even though there are always 20 units or more left in the reservoir.

All’s well that ends well. When I got home from work, my pre-dinner BG check resulted in a reasonable 115 mg/dL.

I must say, I find it annoying at best, wasteful at worst for my pump manufacturer to stop my pump entirely when I have insulin left in the reservoir. So Animas, if I work on checking my pump status more often, can you work on that delivery of all the insulin in my reservoir? My solution was not exactly MacGyver-esque, but it was useful anyway. Let’s hope I don’t have to employ similar tactics in the future.

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