Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Beta Cell Bash 2012

You may recall a guest-post last August from Michael K. Schwab, a fellow Person With Diabetes in central Indiana who created what became known as the Beta Cell Bash.

Founded by Mike in 2004 along with Greg and Tracie Mrakich (who are also type 1 D-musicians here locally), the bash was created to raise awareness and money through music and art to improve the lives of those affected with type 1 diabetes.

Well, the Beta Cell Bash went to the curb a handful of years ago. But thanks to some prompting from The D-Corner Booth Happy face, Mike decided to bring back the Beta Cell Bash for 2012. That is happening this Friday, March 2.

A night of art, music and fundraising for the Indiana chapter of the JDRF. The event kicks off at 6 p.m. at Blue Wren Studio (in the Fountain Square District of Indianapolis) with an art show/silent art auction. You can check out some of the artwork here. The address is Blue Wren Studio -Murphy Art Center, 1043 Virginia Avenue, Suite 214, Indianapolis, IN 46203.

Then, the activities move around the corner to Radio Radio, where 10 to 12 bands - Indie, classic-rock cover styles - will take the stage starting at 8 p.m. and continue throughout the night.This a 21 and over event with a $10 cover charge, and all the proceeds go to JDRF. There will also be some prizes available to those with tickets!

Hey, you're not in Indianapolis? Don't worry - you can be a part of this fun event, too!

If you can't attend, please consider buying a $10 virtual ticket to show your support. Or you can make a donation for whatever amount your heart desires. Either way, go here:

Sponsorship opportunities also exist for you or those you might know. Not to mention volunteering the night of the event, or even helping to distribute flyers to promote Beta Cell Bash.

Being the online age that we are, there's of course the ability to check out the Beta Cell Bash Facebook Page.

For more information about the Beta Cell Bash contact: Tracie Mrakich at (317) 253-6999 or by email at

Personally, I can't wait to do the Beta Cell Bash and be a part of this fun fundraising event for a great cause!

Monday, February 27, 2012

When Forgotten Isn't Forgotten

On a recent weekday morning not too long after I arrived at the office, I opened up my briefcase to grab my blood meter case to do a test.

It wasn't in there, in the regular spot it's at in the middle of the bag.

Thinking back to the busy workday before and how the evening was a hectic one at home, I realized I must have pulled it out for a test at some point and left it at home.

Luckily, I keep a backup case in my desk with a meter, lancing device and strips. So, I pulled that out to do a test - but saw that apparently I'd taken out the backup vial of strips at some point and didn't replace them.

Backup plan, foiled.

I reflected back to a recent blog post I'd written earlier in the week about the times when our D-Backup Plans Fail, and smiled at how I wrote that just a few days before this very situation came up.

And looking at my Dexcom, I saw the same ??? from earlier in the morning.

Plus, my blood sugar felt high.


It was a busy day and I couldn't leave for the 20-minute drive home to grab my case or a new vial of strips, I was left with a whole day without testing. I ended up getting a scattered couple results during the day on the CGM, so I did give myself a few units to correct. But as mentioned, it was an eight-hour workday without a single test.

Of course, driving home 8 hours after all this surfaced, I discovered something rather interesting:

My regular blood meter case wasn't actually forgotten at home.

No, actually it was in the front pouch of my bag - the very spot I'd stuffed it the day before and left it overnight without doing a test before I'd left for work again.

Wouldn't you figure that's how it would all turn out...

That discovery came about 10 minutes from arriving home, and I spent the remaining 10 minutes laughing about it and shaking my head at myself.

Monday, February 20, 2012

When Backups Fail

You never know when you’ll need a backup in the daily life with diabetes.

Blood meters might be forgotten on the way out the door, so it’s good to have a backup. Test strips vials might be empty or down to one or two strips – not enough for the full day. Lancets, pump supplies, extra batteries for insulin pumps, a bottle of insulin and syringe.

My desk and briefcase are stocked with these backup supplies.

For those Just In Case moments.

Sometimes, I’ve used my backup strips or pump supplies and then forgotten to replace them – it happens.

But I do my best to make sure the backups are not going to go the way of failing when they’re actually needed.

Heck, I even have an extra phone charger that I carry in my bag just in case my battery life needs a boost to make it through the day. Because seriously… who can live without a cell phone these days?

Preparation is the key, and I like to think I’m pretty prepared with a backup plan and even backups to my backups in some cases.

But even that isn’t enough, as I discovered the other day.

My Dexcom CGM battery bar was low on life and needed a charge, but I fell asleep that night without plugging the device for that needed boost. A work meeting the next morning took me away early and I neglected to grab the one and only charging cable that could recharge Dex at my desk later in the day.

Now, one might think you could just suffice without needing a little more juice and make it through the day.

That’s what I thought, too. But not this time.

Dex died as my work meeting was ending and so I made a quick dash back home to pick up the cable. Then, armed with my recharging cable, I made it back to my office and plugged Dex in at my desk while working the rest of the day from there.

Maybe it’s time to buy a second Dex charger to keep on me, just in case. Having a backup is so important, and you never know when you’re go-to backup plan (hoping the battery charge lasts until you can make it home…) might not be enough.

In a world where D-devices and supplies are a part of living healthy, you can never be too prepared.

What backup plans do you have in place? Share some tales of how those have worked, or not worked?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Little Moments of the Heart

In the spirit of Heart Day that came and went on Tuesday, I decided to highlight a moment that illustrates just how awesome my Loving and Supporting Spouse truly is.

Some wrote odes to their pancreas (pancrei) or said it aloud, while others sent some wishes to fellow DOC members or special people in their lives. Many bought candy and chocolate or did dinners and special surprises that they reported about online. Not me. That’s not how I roll. Whether we shared in any of those traditional aspects really isn’t what I wanted to write about.

Wanting to include my own online tribute or story about @TypeSuzi, I decided to focus on a little moment we had in our Life With Diabetes not too long ago. These happen from time to time, but this was a first on a couple different fronts.

Being an insulin pumper and CGM-wearer, every few days presents the task of having to change out at least one of those sites or sensors and insert a new one on a different part of body real estate. I do manual insertion for all of these infusion sets, except on my arms where @TypeSuzi comes to the rescue and inserts them.
Well, we recently tried out a new site for the first time: my lower back, above my arse and just close enough to my side so I can actually turn and disconnect when needed.

@TypeSuzi was a champ and I hardly felt the needle go in and get pulled out.

Onto to the CGM sensor that found a residence on the bottom side of my right arm, @TypeSuzi worked her magic and used the self-contained Dex sensor inserter to plant it on my skin. That one pinched a tad, and she apologized – despite there being no need, as it wasn’t her fault in any way.

She also handled the full pump change, including the rewinding and priming of the new tubing and even connecting the tubing to the inserted set. Same with the CGM, pushing the buttons on the egg-shaped Dex receiver to kick the 3-hour start up period into gear.

Now, this may not be a “life-changing” special moment or one that makes the clock stop ticking, but I personally think this little moment is all the more special because it’s just a part of the routine and like so many others day in and day out. They’re like sprinkles on the cupcake, signifying many specks of awesomeness that covers our Cupcake Life. Each sprinkle is special because it’s part of the story on just how wonderful my wife is.

Oh, and it doesn’t take a Hallmark holiday or some special occasion to make these moments newsworthy and awesome. THAT is why this didn’t run on Tuesday, just like WHY you don't need a special day to say I love you and tell people why they're special.

Suz, I think you’re awesome everyday and I think that’s worth saying whenever the time is right.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Post-Vacation Update

A few days ago, I returned to work after a two-week vacation.

That gobbled up my time during the day, as it should. Personal time outside the office has been mostly focused on home tasks, following our recent move into a new house and all the issues associated with that.

So only now am I getting around to an update on my vacation and some of the highlights. Better late than never, or so “Those Who Don’t Grasp The Concept of Deadlines” once said.

Not taking an annual camping trip in Summer 2011 as we often had in the past, this meant I had accrued about 11 days that needed to be taken before my upcoming anniversary. So, it was a great time to get back into the routines that I’d fallen out of in the past year or so – reading my Bible every day and starting off my morning with a walk of the dog and some positive mental thoughts.

Not to mention some quality time with Mind Ninja.

More than enough headache was spent trying to navigate the crappy Comcast coverage and customer service we’ve inherited, as well as a wave of leaking appliances and pipes in the new house. That took up a chunk of time. But it didn’t take away from the relaxing tasks that were on tap each day, and the ability to make a four-day trip up to the Detroit area to see family and friends for long overdue visits.

Reading and writing on diabetes and health care is something I very much enjoy, but I needed to get back to a place where I was reading something different – American or classic literature, creative writing or just fiction where my mind could escape and get some exercise all at once. Walden was the place for that, along with a few chapters of some John Grisham and Anne Rice. Very enjoyable reads.

Yes, there was my never-ending D-Management that just can’t take a vacation. D-Discussion and health care communications talk was also a regular vacation task, and a couple D-Meetups were also sprinkled into the mix. One was an unplanned encounter with a hairdresser, who happened to be a fellow Type 1. Another was a great real-life visit with a good friend in the Diabetes Online Community, Mike Durbin from My Diabetic Heart.

We both live in Indiana and as it turns out my trip back to Indianapolis from Detroit lead me right by where Mike’s at. So we setup a D-Meetup at a local Panera Bread there. I've known Mike for a couple years and he was one of the first DOC members I had a chance to meet in person back in early 2010. And since then we've had a handful of visits (mostly in Indy) and have had the privilege of both attending the Roche Social Media Summit last summer on the West Coast. Anyhow, it was great finally being able to visit with Mike on his turf in northern Indiana for a change! Stories were shared, support was offered, and of course cupcakes were a part of the visit. (Sidenote: Mike, YES these made it all the way home and we LOVED them!!!). Plus, Mike got to see Riley – who waited patiently in the car while we chatted inside. All around, it was a great visit for a couple hours.

Oh, and speaking of cupcakes: I forgot to mention that I penned a freelance article for Diabetic Living, and it just came out on Feb. 14 - with a cover featuring carrot cake cupcakes!! So, make sure you get a chance to check out this whole magazine and the story about Team WILD.

And while we're on the topic of writing... My own Type 1 mom and I and took some time recently to have a phone chat with some of the folks at Sanofi, and during my vacation they ran two blog posts from our interview. The first post on Feb. 7 and was mostly about my mom, while the second post on Feb. 9 was more focused the two of us and me. Thanks for taking the time to share our story and running this two-part post!

After getting back home and settling down, we spent part of the day at a Diabetes Youth Foundation of Indiana fundraiser for Camp Until a Cure. We helped last year, and this annual pinstriping event at a local Indianapolis car show raised more than $12,000 for our D-Camp. It was a great time, and something I’ll summarize in a separate blog before long.

Vacation was well-spent, and provided some needed relaxation and re-focusing.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Insulin Pumps and Haircuts

With a couple weeks of accrued vacation time that needed to be taken from work, I've had the chance to head back to the home-state and hometown for a few days to visit with family and friends.

So here I am, in Michigan - swimming in nostalgia and getting some needed relaxation before heading back to Indiana.

Of course, diabetes never takes a break no matter what's going on. And thanks to the unifying power of insulin pumps, I managed to meet a new friend by chance while out for a haircut.

On Wednesday, I went to get a haircut. My dad goes to this regular place and that's where I planned to go, but instead I ventured around the area nostalgically and settled on a different haircut establishment that I felt was just as good. Going inside, there was only a minute or so wait and soon I was walking on back to get the hair trimmed.

As I sat down in the chair and prepped to tell the young lady what my head mop needed, she she glanced at my waist and said, "You have an insulin pump! So do I."

The world sang and the hair gods began dancing, right alongside the D-Kings and Queens who hover up above and play with our blood sugars for fun.

I resisted the urge to hug this stranger who was about to tackle the adventure that is my head of hair, but let her know how awesome I thought that was and that, if she wanted, I'd be all about carrying on some friendly chat as we went about the haircut routine. So began our lively conversation for the next 45 minutes.

Turned out, we're about the same age and she was diagnosed at age 6 (compared to my diagnosis at age 5). We compared pumps, talked devices and CGMs (she uses the MM and I told her about my experiences with Dexcom), and life in general. There was rarely more than a moment without conversation, even as she trimmed my hair. There's no need to recount every possible aspect because it ran the gamut... complications, D-technology, D-supply costs, changes through the years, involvement in the D-community, D-Alert dogs, family, medical professional knowledge (or lack thereof), and just generally our hopes for the future.

I told her about how I'd gotten involved in more advocacy in the past few years and met so many great friends in the Diabetes Community, and she mentioned wanting to get back involved herself and meet some fellow PWDs. I may have mentioned a few DOC friends, too...

In the 45 minutes we were hanging as hairdresser and haircutee, it felt like meeting and talking to an old friend. I gave her a card for my blog as I made my way to the counter and paid the tab. Honestly, I really wish we could have hung out some more and just chit-chatted. But the girl had to work, and I had a Detroit Red Wings game to get to. So, that was that.

Maybe my new hairdresser friend will find her way to the Diabetes Online Community, maybe she'll get involved, or maybe it was just a fun little random encounter to add some color to the day. Who knows.

But one thing is clear: People With Diabetes - we're everywhere! You never know where we might get the chance to have an on-the-fly meetup!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mind Ninja Navigation

As mentioned in a previous post about Beginning Again and Moving Forward, I’ve started seeing a counselor to help combat my depression.

Like a friend and fellow D-advocate recently described it, I’ve taken the step to seek this help and take the metaphoric pill to wake up and see things as they really are, not as I’ve tricked myself into thinking everything really is in a dim, depressing light.

I contemplated clever names that might be appropriate to use in referring to this nice, very-insightful LCSW. Being a movie-buff, I thought about using Dr. Leo Marvin from “What About Bob?” but decided against that. After some thought about how her mind task is to help me ninja-kick my mind into a better place and sort through all the jumbled mess up there, I settled on Mind Ninja. Because, let’s face it: If I need to be a D-Ninja, then I need a Mind Ninja on this team.

In a sense, it’s like I’m a ship in the darkened night-time waters trying to find my way to shore. The light-house isn’t easy to find, but I know it’s there. The choppy waters of depression and diabetes and life-stresses are crashing against me, slowing down my journey and even pushing me off course. But, Mind Ninja is my navigational tool, and with her help I’ll be able to find that beacon on the shoreline to help guide me to the mental place I need to be.

Even after two sessions, I know she’s equipped to help me.

For one, she’s a fellow Person With Diabetes (PWD) who’s Living with Type 2. So she “gets it” to the degree that we’re living with diabetes in many of the same ways. Secondly, the small world that is our Diabetes Community has already found its way into our discussions. In describing my own D-advocacy and writing activity and aspirations from the journalism perspective, she mentioned how she’d periodically read the work of someone I might find inspiration from: A man by the name of Mendoza.

As soon as she said that, I said, “David! He’s great! I’ve been reading him for years, since way back in the 90s. And what an honor it was to meet him in person a couple years ago!”
Mind Ninja: “Oh, you’ve met him?!”

I told I had the opportunity to meet him, and many others, through the Roche Social Media Summits. Also how Dr. Bill Polonsky was an incredibly insightful person to meet and hear in person. We started talking a bit about that, circling back to how D-burnout can happen and the whole emotional side of diabetes.

We hit at the feeling of “hopelessness” that I have felt at times, and how the positive forces in my life help counter-balance those pessimistic feelings. I talked about how I’ve been trying to consciously tell myself to be positive at the start of each day, looking for that ray of sunshine rather than listening to the negative thoughts of failure, inadequacy, and self-doubt that frequently enter my mind. That’s important, she said. We always listen to ourselves, even when we don’t realize it.

She said it’s about filtering out the negativity, and I made the observation that I need to change my air filter. Part of that on my end is adding positive elements into my life, removing some of the stress – financial woes, work-related, diabetes, and whatever else might be caught in my filter. I’m making an effort to exercise each day, even if it’s just walking the dog around the block. Going outside to breathe and take in some natural settings. Read a book, just to read for fun – not news or diabetes or anything, but the types of things I used to enjoy such as history or literature or poetry to exercise my mind in that way.

That discussion led to the theme of our third session: Positive thoughts and the roots of my feelings of inadequacy. Am I really inadequate or is it just a mind game I’ve been playing?

Like I said, I’m a ways out from the shoreline and it’s cloudy out here. But I know this is a strong ship to help me travel back, a whole crew of people is on board to man the ship, I have the navigational tools to get there, and my focus is getting stronger on the journey ahead.

So here we go. The waters are choppy, but they’re calming down and I know I’ll find my way back to shore with Mind Ninja’s guidance.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Finer Fruits

"Most men, even in this comparatively free country, through mere ignorance and mistake, were so occupied with the factitious cares and superfluously course labors of life that its finer fruits cannot be plucked by them."
- Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Simply, we can get so preoccupied and busy with acquiring material goods and wealth - with working our jobs to earn a paycheck - that we don't take time to appreciate the finer things in life. The beauty and riches of nature unfolding before our eyes.

The point: Live, Laugh, Love.

So, I'm turning off the computer now and going outside to walk the dog.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Happy Birthday, to me.

This time, it's #33 (no, that's not a hashtag...)

Let me rephrase, in non-Twitter lingo: Birthday Thirty-Three.

What am I going to do?

Well, probably nothing too extravagant, by extravagance's standards. Birthdays have passed the point of really being all celebratory, especially those that fall in the middle of a week. As it happens, I've taken some vacation days at work and am currently not obligated to focus on the real job. This totally wasn't designed to coincide with my birthday, it just happened to work out that way.

Woke up to a blood sugar of 104 - which was an outstanding start. Made myself a bold and spicy blood mary - because I can. Did some writing, scanned some headlines, and took the dog for a walk. Other than that, I'm tacking some personal projects, some home tasks, and whatever else might need to happen. I have a Diabetes Youth Foundation of Indiana board meeting this afternoon. Not much else on tap.

Oh, but it is WEDNESDAY, so that means... A birthday edition of #dsma!!!!! Now, THAT is exciting!

So, there's that. Maybe I should have a cupcake, too!

The possibilities are endless.

Another year, another lap around the sun. Let's see what this pair of 3s brings on. Hopefully, it's just one part of a full deck.