Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Labor Day Pump Sighting While Buying a Belt

It was Labor Day, and we were at the local outlet mall to buy a few items.

Hey, I needed a new belt. Or two, since I actually needed both a black and brown one for my casual and more dressy outfits. So there we were, doing some holiday shopping.

On the way to the checkout counter, I glanced at my G4 receiver. It was an hour or so after dinner, and my blood sugar was shooting upwards toward 200 and beyond. All because I'd been blurry-eyed, grumpy Low and decided not to bolus for my dinner right away. And then, I had forgotten.

And so, it was time to bolus up.

So as we walked toward the register where we'd pay for my 2 new belts, I unholstered my Medtronic 723 pump from my belt and pushed the arrow for the overdue dinner bolus.

As a result of my distraction, Suzi took the lead at the register to pay while I finished off the bolusing. And just as I holstered my pump and felt the insulin going into my body, I heard these words come at me:

"Are you a diabetic, too?!"

The cashier, a younger girl with blonde hair and glasses, asked me.

"I am!"

With that, she pulled a t:slim from underneath her shirt and proudly showed off her insulin pump that had been tucked away discretely and probably wouldn't have been noticeable had she not mentioned it or displayed it.

No, I didn't yell out #ShowMeYourPump... even though it did cross my mind. She may have no clue as to what it's all about, and the last thing I was interested in at that point was advocating or being all "in the know" as to diabetes community happenings.

Still, it was a very cool and totally random Pump Sighting in the Wild, and I'm glad she spoke up and said something. I did ask her how long she'd had the t:slim and how she liked it. Her response: About six months, and she loved it much better than the OmniPod she'd worn before that. And she said her endo was pretty excited about suggesting the Tandem device, which made me smile because I've heard how some endos do quite the opposite and push people to pumps that have had a longer life on the market.

That's all there was to it. We were done paying, and others were in line behind us waiting for Blonde Pumper and her colleague to turn attention their way. We thanked them, and moved on.

Yes, it would've been cool to chat some more and even see if she knew of any other local diabetics in the area. Or to even hand her a biz card or tell her about the Indy Adult D-Community. But I didn't, and we both went about our evenings.

No more required, but it at least brought a smile. And a sense that I wasn't alone in my local area, even in times when diabetes isn't something I'm waving around and brandishing on my sleeve.

This time around, I was glad to have gone Low, forgotten my dinner bolus, and felt the need to give myself a bolus while walking up to buy a belt.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Almost Gone

Having insulin in the butter compartment (where else?) is like having a security blanket, something to keep me reassured that all will be OK if something goes wrong.

Say, if my insulin bottle is left in the direct sunlight, slips from my hand and shatters on the floor, or just happens to evaporate without my knowing. I'm reassured that there's more in the fridge.

Not at the moment.

Somehow, I forgot to call in a refill in late July. I noticed in early August, but somehow managed to forget
again to call in my refill. By the time I did last week, I was down to half a bottle.

I'm a little nervous, especially since there's been some wire-crossing between my endo and the pharmacy in restocking my supply -- no refills, so the endo has to sign and forward a new Rx, which hasn't happened despite my calls to his office and the pharmacy.

So, after a pump refill over the weekend, I am now down to probably about one more 300-unit amount (or a quarter of a vial). My sugars have been running higher these past several days and I have been correcting more and snacking more, and so it seems my insulin consumption has been even higher lately. And as I'm writing this post, my pump has started giving me the "Low Reservoir" vibration...

Better call the pharmacy to see if the script is filled yet...

I get that some people in the world have little to no access to insulin, and I've already sucked up my #FirstWorldProblem guilt and reconciled my guilty feelings with a donation to Life For a Child to help those who need it most. But in the context of where I live and how my world goes without having the entire global insulin delimma weighing on me, I feel exposed. It's like I'm standing on the edge of a cliff, and that any wrong move could put me over the edge, falling without a lifeline.

If my stock gets filled today, I am a little worried that I'll have to get more just before I head off to vacation out of state, and want to make sure I have enough insulin for that get-away to parts where a local pharmacy isn't right around the corner.

There's nothing at fault here other than my own ineptitude in ordering insulin and making sure I'm stocked up. It's just one more task in the never-ending roster of things to do, when it comes to life with diabetes.

Maybe I needed this lessson, to remember what it feels like to have that butter compartment unstocked -- at least for a bit.

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Visit To Indy and a Diabetes Meetup

It was great to meet up this past weekend with Jillian, a fellow Type 1 D-blogger (@Jianop on Twitter), who is from Denver and was visiting Indy for a conference.

Every August, Jillian comes to Indy for the annual Drum Corps International (DCI) World Championships event. This time, it was several months after she'd started diabetes blogging over at Push My Buttons To Turn Me On (clever name!) and so Jillian reached out to a couple of us who live in Indy and might be around for a D-meetup.

As it turns out, both Cherise Shockley (@SweeterCherise on Twitter) and I were able to meetup with her on Saturday morning for breakfast at the highly-recommended Cafe Patachou in downtown Indy.. I had a blast, being able to see these two awesome ladies and chat for a couple hours... about everything from jobs, hobbies, diabetes tech and trends, along with the mysteries of Bob Evans, avocados, and the allure of darn good omelets and cinnamon toast.

We also talked about our interests in writing and sharing more non-diabetes, and thanks to Cherise's suggestion I'm planning to do that more often here. I love going to visit and experience new places, especially those that serve up good coffee, craft brew, or just have some interesting historical story. So, that's what will plan to explore more here -- maybe with a D-twist, but not necessarily. Thanks for the prompting, Cherise!

I also loved hearing how Jillian's been involved for 4-5 years in coordinating an Adult Type 1 group, similar to what we have here with the Indy Adult D-Community. She has a network of about 200 D-peeps (wow!), and that group meets up at bars, restaurants, or coffee shops at a set time at the end of each month -- something I think would help to do here in Indy. I'm interested in exploring how we can strengthen and expand this local D-community, and am currently working with the area educators, endos and pump reps (among others) to connect more of together. My big concern right now is how much infrastructure is needed or wanted, and whether I'm interested in putting more energy toward that. Regardless of how we move forward here in Indy, I was fascinated to hear how Jillian's been coordinating Adult Type 1 meetups for years now, and we shared stories about ways we can take some ideas back to our own local communities but also work more together. And who knows... maybe there's a place for the Diabetes Community Advocacy Foundation (DCAF) to fit into all of this... such fun and exciting possibilities!

This was an awesome three-person meetup that came together thanks to Jillian's visit to Indy, and I am hoping to have the chance to see her at some point again before long... maybe at next year's Friends For Life conference or her next trip to Indy in a year.

Glad you reached out to connect and meetup, Jillian, and can't wait to keep more in touch through the DOC before the next in-person meetup chance comes our way!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Even with God On My Side, It's My Diabetes and I Own It

A friend and I were recently chatting about our mutual belief systems and how our faith guides us in our daily lives.

Diabetes was a part of the discussion, since we're both longtime Type 1s.

At one point, I made a mention of "my own diabetes" in how we describe our own Lazy Pancreas Syndrome and the particular styles we each may have in managing diabetes on a daily basis.

And that's where our religious beliefs came full-force into this diabetes discussion.

Here's what my friend told me:

"Personally, I believe that disease or any affliction is from the enemy (Satan) to kill, still or destroy (John 10:10). I believe once we 'claim' the affliction then we’ve made it easy for the enemy. "

This is what she was quoting:

Huh... interesting. Wasn't quite what I was expecting when that all came up.

Anyhow, I let my mind chew on that for awhile.

Now, I'm a Christian. Grew up on the. Protestant Lutheran persuasion in. The background, but never really had much exposure to the church except those holidays and special ceremonial moments. Almost a decade ago is when I came into the Methodist line thanks to my wife's family and the church where we married, and since then we've explored a few different church homes but found one we're most comfortable with that has the "United Methodist" in its name.

It's at that point in my life that I opened up a Bible to actually read, for the first time in my life. Since then, I turn to it quite often in reflecting on many different aspects of life -- including diabetes and how I live with it. I'm by no means a person who can quote Scripture and it may not be a dominant part of my conversation, but I like to think it guides me in good times and bad. Like many, we don't make it to church as often as we should and I certainly fall out of my Bible-reading and prayer routines way too often.

With all of that said, this D-chat got me flipping through my Bible verses once again and really reflecting on what I believe, as far as health goes. It also came up in conversation with a few other religiously-minded people in my life, and we all shared our varying views on the topic.

Good conversation all around, and it gave me some new perspectives to consider.

I am not going to say my friend's beliefs are wrong, because they aren't. Each person is entitled to believe what they want and feel how they do. I find the interpretation of John 10:10 and how it influences healthy living to be a very interesting one.

But I'm not sure I see it the same way as my friend.

For me, when I say "my diabetes," that to me is the equivalent of "claiming" diabetes as my own. That's exactly what I want to be doing.

Type 1 for me is not the same as it is for anyone else. As the saying goes: Your Diabetes May Vary.

More than that, I want to embrace my diabetes. Because that means I am accepting and doing all that I can to manage it and stay healthy, using whatever practical or Biblical beliefs I may need to use.

The way I look at it, I could almost see type 1 being a test bestowed by God.

"They" say that God only gives you what you're strongest enough to deal with, and so type 1 could easily be viewed on that same note. If we want to go all religious on the topic, look at it this way: God gave me type 1 diabetes, which brings a whole bunch of uncertainty and challenge. At times, it makes me question my purpose and how I live. But it makes me a better person, allowing me to not only help myself and be more healthy but also to reach out and help others who might need it. With all of that, it's a matter of free will, and I can embrace His word and listen to his teachings to be the best diabetic I can, or I can choose to not listen and go down the road of less-than-healthy and thinking only about myself.

On a practical note, I choose to claim my diabetes because it doesn't own me (most of the time); I own it. I'm the one who has the power and makes the decisions to manage as I should.

Just like I'm not blindly following my doctor without having a dialogue and offering my own thoughts, and using that doc's advice as I need to in my diabetes management, it's the same way I see God in my life. I listen (or don't listen), and choose to either follow my teachings and use the tools and knowledge I'm given in the best way I know how.

By owning my D, I don't see it as "giving the devil a foothold." Instead, I think you can pray for good health and ask God to grant you health. But at the end of the day, His purposes are higher than ours and what we want may not necessarily be how it's supposed to be. Our timing isn't the timing.

At times, I have faltered and that continues to be the case. Kinda like every day, to some extent. I'm sure it will be for as long as I'm on this Earth, though I certainly hope to do my best as I see it. Giving myself the ability to use the tools and knowledge I'm given is what keeps me going, and I choose to be an active participant in my life and not regard diabetes as a passive force that owns me.

To each their own, of course. And that's my food for thought today.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

That One Time, On the Golf Course

Several years ago, a friend and I were playing golf one day. It was just the two of us and it wasn't particularly busy that morning, so we thought maybe we'd be sneak on without being paired up with another two-some.

Not the case.

We ended up with another two guys who weren't anything to write home about as far as golfing skill, and they seemed a little self-absorbed and unwilling to engage in just casual chat. So, we went about our golf game and maintained pleasant attitudes toward our fellow golfers.

Per my usual golfing routine I was wearing khacki pants with a tucked in polo shirt. And so, my insulin pump was clipped on to my belt as it usually is. This was a number of years ago, and at the time I wasn't wearing a CGM so my pump was the only diabetes device I had on me.

That's when it happened out of nowhere, on one of the later holes.

As I stood behind the tee watching my friend make his drive, one of the random-golfers was off studying his clubs on the golf cart while the other stood next to me quietly.

Once my friend finished at the tee, the guy next to me opened his mouth and asked a question that's since been burned into my mind.

Yes, that's what he asked. Just glanced up and probably saw it clipped to my waist, and asked... his tone, from what I remember, was casual, innocent, just genuinely curious.

And how did I respond?

"Yes, it is."

And that was it. Flat response, short and to the point without more than a quick glance in his direction before I turned my eyes back to the tee and walked up to take my drive. Maybe an a look that said, "leave it alone, dude, that's not what I want to be talking about today, or with you."

No clue why he was asking -- was he living with diabetes? Or had a family member, friend, or co-worker with diabetes? Did he have an insulin pump, or was he curious about getting one? Or maybe he just wanted to know more...

Whatever, the reason, I glossed over it. I had no interest in talking diabetes, and was simply out there on the course that day to play golf -- not to talk about diabetes. And so, I basically acted like an asshat to this guy asking about my pump.

I regret that now.

That moment was a big #FAIL on my part, as I see it now.

Actually, this isn't the first time I've thought about that and regretted my attitude. A few years ago, this came up during D-Blog Week when I mentioned it in this post.

But recently, Kerri wrote a post over at Sixuntilme that brought this back to mind. She wrote about "Unexpected Advocacy," how she was in that same kind of mindset when taking her daughter to the swimming pool and getting a question from someone there. Though unexpected, she ended up advocating.

That's the same point playing out now with Miss Idaho, a fellow type 1 named Sierra Sandison who decided to wear her t:slim insulin pump during the competition and (ultimately) her Miss Idaho crowning. Now, she's on the road to being the next Miss America. And through all of that, the social media campaign #ShowMeYourPump is getting mass attention and inspiring so many. Raising awareness about insulin pumps and diabetes in general, aside from giving little girls and probably many others more confidence in how they wear their own diabetes devices.

And then there's another example... a local Indy D-peep who just joined our local D-Community thanks to a friend who was at the bar and happened to be wearing his OmniPod on the arm that night. That Pod sighting made the woman's husband push her to go talk to my friend about how he liked that patch-pump, and from there he told her about the local meetups and group and encouraged her to join up. She has, and is getting a pretty great welcome from those in our local community.

It's all pretty awesome and makes me smile. But still, it makes me think back and regret even more my past Golf Course attitude once again. I really wish I could go back in time to talk more with this Golf Mate -- to at least find out the context of the question and who was asking.

We're not always in the mood to talk D, obviously. And we shouldn't have to be. Yes, sometimes we do want to #ShowMeYourPump. But sometimes we don't and that's OK. There's probably no right or wrong answer or approach, it's totally up to the individual person.

For me, I will take this train of thought with me onto all the future golf courses I play, along with coffee shops and restaurants where you never know who might be looking for a little advocacy or connection to make a difference -- even if they or you don't realize it at the time.