Monthly Archives: January 2017

I already have to live with diabetes all day, every day. Why do I have to attach another thing to my body to remind me of that?

So, my new continuous glucose monitor had been sitting in the box it was shipped in since around Thanksgiving.
dexcomgraph
Beginning to wear it now is not a New Year’s Resolution, or an effort to game my diabetes data gathering to avoid the high carb temptation that bombards us during the holiday season. No, it’s not that simple. I’m not going gently into that CGM-inspired good night.

Nor do I have a simple answer for why I’ve waited so long to use a CGM, and why I’ve waited so long to start to wear it since it arrived. In this case, the answers aren’t simple. They’re also not pretty.

I can give you reasons why I’ve resisted so long. Worries about having to carry the receiver in my already overloaded pockets (no, I don’t have an iPhone, and until an iPhone carries a price less than a few hundred dollars more than a comparable phone, I’ll stick with my Android platform– which means I have to carry the receiver too). Concerns about using up already valuable real estate by having both an insulin pump and a CGM inserted into my body at the same time.

Any concerns I might have had about appearances, I lost long ago. When it comes to looks, I care a lot more about my clothes than about my devices. So how it looks doesn’t affect me.

Wearing an insulin pump was an easy process for me. No problems getting started or staying with it, and nearly seven years later, I’m a proud insulin pump user. What’s the issue anyway?

I don’t know, but it’s troubling. I know that something is definitely bothering me about this. I can tell by the way I delayed getting started, until the reasons for my delay were outweighed by the embarrassment that I have access to a device that many crave and cannot get their hands on. I must go forward.

Yet, when I did my first insertion, I was using language that would make a sailor blush. I got even more surly as that first insertion didn’t work, because my brand new transmitter was crap from the start. Now I’ve used two transmitters and two (actually three, after working with technical support to get everything right) sensors with nothing to show for them. Finally, on the fourth try, I got it to start up and calibrate properly. But my issues, I fear, go deeper than a sensor insertion.

I think my problem may be the notion, the confirmation, that a CGM gives you data 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In other words, it’s a constant reminder that I live with diabetes, a fact I try to forget every day.

Yet, there’s no question. I must begin my CGM journey. As The Great Spousal Unit shared, and she was right: sometimes, I don’t want to believe what my numbers are without a glucose check. If I’m going to be such a slave to data (and you have to be one if you live with diabetes), sometimes I need data I can access even quicker than a BG check.

But it’s not easy, and I’m not entirely sure why. The trick right now, I think, is to make the physical effort to get started, and then over time, work on what my brain and my heart are trying to tell me.

I recently read a statistic sharing that adults living with diabetes are at least three times more likely to develop depression than other adults living in America. Depression isn’t exactly what I’m feeling. Still, I already know I have diabetes all day, every day… why do I have to wear something additional so I can be reminded of that? All day, every day?

Ultimately, I need to remember that this is a device that could save my life. And over time, I may actually get used to wearing it. I’ll know I’ve turned the corner when my desire to get the data overwhelms the desire to rip it off of my body for good.

Until then, the emotional price of data gathering seems awfully high.

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Diabetes By The Numbers (Part 3): Christel Marchand Aprigliano and DPAC.

Time now for the third and final part of my conversation with Christel Marchand Aprigliano. If you haven’t yet listened to the first two parts of our chat, please go back after this episode and listen to them, because they are well worth your time.

In this episode, we talk about Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition, or DPAC. Christel and Bennet Dunlap started DPAC as a way to help amplify the voice of the patient to elected officials and policy makers. They provide a slew of tools that empower friends, family, and fellow advocates to take action on a number of diabetes-centric issues. Often, in less than one minute.

Note: I volunteered with DPAC in 2016, and plan to do so again in 2017.
Also, I should mention that this interview was recorded after the November 2016 election, but prior to the beginning of the 115th U.S. Congress in 2017.

Thanks so much to Christel for sitting down for this conversation. Enjoy, and get your advocacy on!
DBTN

Reference Material – Click below for more information on this topic

Christel Marchand Aprigliano writes about diabetes at:
ThePerfectD.com

You can connect with Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition, or DPAC, at:
DiabetesPAC.org

Recipe! Zoodles with shrimp and pesto.

Man, it’s been forever since I’ve posted a recipe. I’m a little rusty, but if you’ll allow, I’d like to give you this two part recipe involving my first foray into what The Great Spousal Unit likes to call: Zoodles. You know… those zucchinis cut up into something approximating spaghetti strands. Zoodles.

It’s something that’s burned into my brain now, so in the absence of anything else, that’s what I’m going with. This recipe includes grilled shrimp with mushrooms, shallot, and tomato, tossed in with homemade pesto.

First, let’s begin with the pesto. I don’t really know how to make pesto… I just read the back of a jar of pesto in the store and thought, “hey, I can do that”. So this is really an approximation.

I got out the mini food processor (one of my favorite kitchen gadgets), and combined flat leaf Italian parsley (just the leaves, not the stems), and fresh basil. To that, I added some shelled pumpkin seeds. In retrospect, I think pine nuts would work better, but I had pumpkin seeds, so I used pumpkin seeds. Then, a little salt and pepper, some lemon juice (from maybe about half a lemon), and olive oil. I ran all that through the food processor, then added a little freshly grated pecorino romano cheese. The goal at this point is to get it to a consistency something like this, while getting the taste exactly to your liking:
zoodles1
Meanwhile, I marinated the shrimp in a simple lemon vinaigrette, with salt and pepper. Nothing too out of the ordinary there.

After that, I just chopped up some baby portabello mushrooms, about half a shallot (it was a really big shallot), and one tomato. I tossed the mushrooms and shallot in a pan with butter and white wine. I don’t remember which white wine… it was whatever Maureen was drinking.
zoodles2
I also got the shrimp on the grill (my new griddle/grill combo that fits right over the middle burner on my stove!). About two minutes per side max. They came out great.

At this point, I’ve also put the zoodles in a bowl with a little butter, a tiny bit of celery salt, and garlic. Then I cheated and put the bowl in the microwave to heat everything up. About three minutes was good. To finish up, I kept the zoodles in the bowl, and added the mushroom and shallots, the tomato, the pesto, and a little more pecorino romano.
zoodles3
On the plate, I can tell you that it tasted as good as it looked.
zoodles4
Estimated carb count per serving: How do I figure a carb count for this meal? I dunno… maybe 10g?

I don’t think this was the perfect interpretation of this meal, but one or two more tries and I might have a real winner here. All in all, it was delicious and mostly healthy. Have you tried something like this before? Have any tips?

Carb counts are estimates only. Check with a registered dietician to find out what a healthy carb count is for you.

The Republican formula, in three easy steps.

**Author’s note: I do not have a political affiliation. Over the course of nearly 37 years, I have voted for Democrats and Republicans, and others too. I am fiercely independent politically, and I plan to stay that way for the rest of my days.

January has never seemed colder.

On inauguration day, the United States Congress and the incoming President will set in motion the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Despite what some who support the incoming president believe, this is also known as Obamacare. Republicans in Congress and the republican President are taking away the established right to health care for 350 million American citizens.

That’s right… this is about more than the 29 million people living with diabetes, or the 14.5 million cancer survivors, or the 30 to 50 percent of men over 40 living with erectile dysfunction in the USA.

They’re taking away the right to care, treatment, and drugs for every single one of us, whether we’re currently living with a disease, condition, illness, or nothing at all. We will once again be on our own.

They’re doing this for a number of reasons, but mostly, because they want to take away my right to health care, and because they can. They can because they have a majority in the House of Representatives, and through the budget reconciliation process, they only need 50 votes in the Senate to repeal the law.

And that replacement that everyone kept harping on under the guise of “repeal and replace”? The idea was never to “repeal and replace immediately”, or to “repeal and replace with something better”. There’s a formula in place here, and this is what it looks like:

1. Repeal as soon as possible. Republicans can pretty much check that off their list.

2. Draft a replacement. Any replacement. It doesn’t matter what it is. It doesn’t matter that it’s not better (ACA is not perfect by any stretch, but the ideas being bandied about by congressional Republicans are sinister). It can be written on the back of a cocktail napkin for all they care. They just need to draft a replacement, and introduce it at the last minute before the vote. Here’s why… listen closely:

3. Vote on the replacement. This vote would pass the House easily, with a simple majority. But in the Senate, the replacement would require 60 votes. The Republicans don’t have 60 seats in the Senate, so that’s never going to happen. Here’s the entire point I’m making– pay attention: When Democrats won’t vote for the “replacement”, Republicans will have everything they need to then go to their press conferences and Meet the Press and Face the Nation and say, “we have a replacement like we promised, but Democrats won’t vote for it, so Democrats are holding up health care for everyone”.

I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure that’s how the Republican formula will work. They’ve been wanting to repeal this law for over six years now. Do you think they wouldn’t have a plan in place to try to make themselves look benevolent while making their opposition look opportunistic? There’s only one little thing though…

Republicans are taking away the right to health care for 350 million Americans. That right already existed. It was already tested in the courts. It was already the law of the land. There was no need to repeal it without replacing it with something better, or without rewriting the existing law. Republicans own that. For their part, Democrats are even willing to discuss changes to make Obamacare better, as long as all Americans retain their right to coverage in the process.

But, for whatever reason, Republicans aren’t interested in that. They, and the incoming president, would rather see all Americans without a right to health care than see Americans spend one more day with guaranteed coverage under ACA.

Well, that’s how I see things shaping up over the next few weeks. I hope I’m wrong. I hope the final outcome will be better than anyone had imagined. Right now, I’m still coming to grips with the idea that Republican lawmakers hate us, all of us, all 350 million of us, and are working as we speak to take away our right to heath care forever, guaranteeing that in the aftermath of their plan, some Americans will, in fact, die.

In that respect, Republicans are right… on the streets of D.C., life is cheap. They’re on their way to guaranteeing it.

Diabetes By The Numbers (Part 2): Christel Marchand Aprigliano on insulin pricing.

Welcome back to Diabetes By The Numbers.

Today, I feature the second part of my conversation with Christel Marchand Aprigliano.  In this episode, we talk about one of the hot button issues of the day– insulin pricing.

We cover a recent meeting between insulin makers and diabetes advocates, and developments on pricing announced by two of those insulin makers since that meeting took place in November of 2016.
DBTN

Reference Material – Click below for more information on this topic

Christel Marchand Aprigliano writes about diabetes at:
ThePerfectD.com

You can connect with Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition, or DPAC, at:
DiabetesPAC.org

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