Category Archives: Health

I know other people who are like me.

After a few mornings spent laughing out loud on a bus full of strangers, there was no reason to believe a little lunchtime reading would not bring the same.

Except it did not, not with one particular chapter of the book I am reading.


“I know other people who are like me. They take the same drugs as me. They try all the therapies. They are brilliant and amazing and forever broken.” - Jenny Lawson, (aka The Bloggess), Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.

I knew that anxiety would be touched upon in the book. I knew because I had seen The Bloggess take leave inside the women’s restroom when the going got rough at one of the BlogHer conferences I attended.

I knew, and I kept reading.

I ended up crying alone in the women’s restroom at work.

Because I felt less alone, a little less broken, knowing that someone else who seemingly has it all together lives with this thing called generalized anxiety disorder.

Because there are very few people who understand it, even fewer who will talk about it or write about it. I understood it from a very young age. I started talking and writing about it a few years ago. I even disclosed it to my latest supervisor a few weeks ago, after a panic attack occurred unrelated to work but in the presence of a co-worker. (I know, right? I choose to disclose anxiety over diabetes, WTF?)


It is exhausting being me. Pretending to be normal is draining and requires amazing amounts of energy and Xanax.” – Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.

Substitute Ativan for the Xanax, and I could have written this.

Just because I seem highly functioning in the workplace or a social event does not mean that it is not taking all the strength I do have (and some Ativan) to stay presentable, to be focused, to not panic.

And just because I may have held it together in public does not mean that I keep it together as soon as I am alone again. The aftermath of a panic attack that did not happen can be just as devastatingly exhausting as having one.


So here’s the thing.

Jenny Lawson will be at a book signing Monday night in Denver.

I want to go, really I do, but I think she, of all people, would understand if I cannot attend.

Takeaway and Giveaway.

Let me start this off by saying that I am not a pushover. I am not easily influenced by free stuff – if I do not like it, I will say so. Just because Roche paid for travel, food, and lodging for the recent summit does not mean they have bought me or my opinion.

That being said, my OneTouch Ultra2 has seen better days at the ripe old age of five years old. And while I have tried a few times in the past year, I cannot seem to qualify for one of the free meters from LifeScan due to having type 2 diabetes and “only” being on metformin.

I was thrilled to receive an Accu-Chek Nano with ten free test strips, if nothing else, to have a backup meter should the Ultra2 fail on me. It turns out the new health insurance covers the test strips at the same tier as OneTouch, which would be important for that backup meter.

The huge advantage of the Nano is that I am able to set an after-meal reminder for testing if I choose to do so following a pre-meal test, something important for a scatterbrain like me. Knowing when the meter is ready to accept blood on the test strip  is also a positive for someone as impatient as me…

The meter averages of the OneTouch Ultra2 remain my favorite feature of that meter and why I will wear it out, especially since I cannot use the other tool given away by Roche – the Glooko.

The Glooko electronic logbook requires both an Accu-Chek meter (Aviva, Aviva Nano, Compact Plus, Nano) and an iPhone (4S, 4, 3GS) or iPod touch (3rd/4th generation). I will pick one random commenter on this post later this week (other than summit attendees), who does have these items available to them to work the system. 

EDIT: To clarify, I am only giving away the Glooko at this time, saving the Nano as a backup.

Operation Carb Control.

No pasta, no pizza, no chocolate. And for goodness sake, no diet soda.

Last month’s A1C Now showed a 5.6%. Ever since then I feel like I have been riding a glucoaster of epic proportions. It all came to a head on Tuesday morning while participating in the Roche summit.

I found the darn flaky buttery croissant at breakfast too good to pass up, even though potatoes were already on the plate with not nearly enough protein accompanying the meal, not like the morning before. About an hour later, I found myself inching towards 200 mg/dl and racing to the bathroom every twenty minutes. There is nothing you can do in the middle of a meeting when your type 2 diabetes care regimen is metformin and exercise…except drink tons of water and wait it out.

Then, of course, the bottom dropped out and dealt with a blood glucose level inching towards 70 mg/dl, where a healthy snack bar full of balanced proteins and carbohydrates came in handy.

The thing is, that in spite of regular exercise, I knew I had been riding the glucoaster over and over and over again the weeks leading up to the meeting. Too much pasta, too much pizza, too much chocolate – and too much diet soda fueling the carb cravings.

And with today’s A1C Now reading showing a 6.0%, I know it is time to stop doing what I have been doing. While that 6.0% is far from alarming, it is an indicator for me that something is not right and I need to get back to what works to even out blood sugar.

Operation Carb Control begins today with those four simple rules in the four weeks leading up to a full blood draw in advance of my next endocrinologist appointment. (Oh yeah, I can totally do this.)

Roche Redux, Part 2.

Last Sunday, I traveled to Indianapolis for the fourth annual Roche Social Media Summit. Those invited represented a cross-section of the diabetes online community – adults with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, parents of children with type 1 diabetes, and even a trained health care professional now creating mobile health solutions. Roche covered all travel, food, and lodging expenses, as well as provided a couple of giveaways that I will touch upon in the next few days.

I may or may not have explained in the past that I once worked at a medical device manufacturer. In that other life, a whole decade ago, I provided administrative support for sales training as well as customer education. (Customers in this case included surgeons, nurses, and techs who would use the surgical equipment the company manufactured and sold.)

While I participated in a mandatory manufacturing tour as part of orientation, I ended up going on several more accompanying salespeople in their initial training as well as with those individuals who had been invited for a key customer meeting. (Customers in this case were the individuals’ hospitals or surgical centers, and representatives included nurses and purchasing managers.)

When you have seen one medical device manufacturing tour, you have seen them all. Not to discount the experience at all because my first time through allowed me to understand the complex processes that go into making a medical device. Even the design of the manufacturing plant is a complex process. However, I had “been there done that” multiple times in advance of the Roche tour and was kind of bored. (Just being brutally honest here.)

That being said, the highlight of the tour was actually the reaction from all of those who had not been through such a experience. How they now understood that incredibly complex processes were involved in creating a test strip, receiving more insight into the cost as well as the manufacturer’s attempts at making accuracy a priority.

I think that is something that all patients with diabetes should be aware of – how their test strips (and insulin pumps and CGMs) come to be. Not everyone can do a live manufacturing tour, of course, but a video tour…hmm?

Roche Redux, Part 1.

Last Sunday, I traveled to Indianapolis for the fourth annual Roche Social Media Summit. Those invited represented a cross-section of the diabetes online community – adults with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, parents of children with type 1 diabetes, and even a trained health care professional now creating mobile health solutions. Roche covered all travel, food, and lodging expenses, as well as provided a couple of giveaways that I will touch upon in the next few days.

As I mentioned earlier this summer, it took me by surprise to be invited again. Let’s face it, just about everything in my little world has changed since I last attended in Orlando two years ago. Yet for some reason, the powers that be at Roche felt this was a voice to be heard again. (As much as I talked during the sessions, then and now!)

The way I see it, the business part of the summit allows two things to happen. The patient voice is heard by upper management on concerns about safety, accuracy, and cost of the products the company develops. In turn, the medical device manufacturer is able to explain their side of the story through presentations on research & development as well as a manufacturing plant tour.

What happens as an informal “side effect” is some of the diabetes online community being able to hang out for a couple of days and get to know each other in person, beyond diabetes. It allowed me to reconnect with those I already met, it allowed me to meet some for the first time, and also introduced those whose stories I had not yet read.

I left this year’s Social Media Summit knowing that while my name and blog focus has changed, the passion to support and to empower others is still valued within this amazing diabetes online community.

Here I go again: Roche Social Media Summit.

Old faces and new faces will be representing the diabetes online community at the Roche’s Fourth Annual Social Media Summit beginning Sunday in Indianapolis.

To ensure the conversations do not turn repetitive, there is always fresh blood (no lancet humor intended). About third of this year’s invitations went to first time attendees. While people with type 1 diabetes are overwhelmingly represented, there are strong groups of people with type 2 diabetes as well as parents of type 1 children.

This summit allows diabetes advocates to come together with industry and with each other to talk about what matters to the greater online and offline community. It has allowed for brainstorming, leading to both formal programs partnered with Roche as well as smaller scale projects.

There are so few spots for an event like this, and so many great minds in the diabetes online community. Please believe this smaller group of attendees do what we can to ensure that little ideas we see around the community grab a big voice.

(p.s. Yes, I am attending this all-expense-paid trip to Indianapolis. Well, at least if I can get past security without a valid photo ID bearing my maiden name.)

(p.s.s.If you tweet on Twitter, please follow #dsummit12.)

Side effects.

The things we do, the things we endure, to manage blood glucose levels as people with diabetes…

For those with type 1 diabetes and insulin-dependent type 2 diabetes, there is always the possibility of too much or too little insulin, either of which becomes an emergency.

For those with type 2 diabetes treated by oral medications, many such meds come with gastrointestinal upset side effects. And often, the evil carbohydrates that are supposed to be limited are the only comfort for such upset, which seems entirely counter-productive. Not an emergency, but enough of a problem that it can impact daily life activities. Sometimes a temporary hassle, sometimes troublesome enough to switch to a different solution.

Due to a switch in insurance and some mix-ups in my endocrinologist’s office, I ended up going without metformin at the full prescribed dosage for a couple months as I stretched out what medication I did have.

This weekend, after a few weeks of weight gain and erratic blood glucose levels, I finally returned to the prescribed course of metformin. Complete with nausea, which I can only hope will subside after a few days. In the meantime, graham crackers and applesauce are my friends.

At least the weight will drop off quickly…right?


Always bouncing back.

I wish I could say that every single workout leaves me feeling refreshed, leaves me feeling relaxed, leaves me feeling awesome.

Because, for the past couple weeks, nothing really made me feel refreshed or relaxed or awesome. Even as I worked out regularly and ate decently and reignited a spark in diabetes advocacy, anxiety was on the verge of swallowing me.

But tonight…

Finally. Finally. Finally.

Tonight’s workout kicked ass.


Public attack.

Came out of nowhere.

One minute, joking around with the co-worker in her car about the strange characters we might happen upon at the DMV. The next, utter panic as a key document was discovered to be forgotten at home. No name change was going to happen.

I became one of those strange characters. In front of a crowd – in front of a crowd which included a co-worker – I lost my shit and experienced a panic attack out of nowhere.

Okay, maybe not nowhere, looking back a day later. Hints of anxiety could have been creeping into the horizon, with all that I am dealing with personally and professionally. Coupled with the sight of a long line at the DMV, it must have been the right combination for this panic attack to occur. Knowing why a panic attack happens is key towards preventing, or at least, lessening the effects of the next one.

What is so much more draining this time is that this happened in front of that co-worker. It made the rest of our afternoon silent and awkward.

Here I am, being encouraged to go to graduate school, being encouraged to better myself and create a new career path I never thought possible.

The panic attack had nothing at all to do with work, but it did have to do with one of my chronic conditions – the one of which I am in the least control, the one that does the most damage to the rest of them. Anxiety is this bitch that I do NOT want affecting my career, and have worked very hard to avoid in the workplace. (When I cannot avoid it, I work very hard to deal with it privately.)

And then I go and have a very public panic attack that mimicked a temper tantrum in front of a co-worker. I absolutely dread facing her again tomorrow.


Where was I?

How do I even begin again? I am sitting here eating dinner, trying to comprehend how I managed to be invited to another social media summit for diabetes bloggers. Due to a huge change in my personal life, I rarely blog about diabetes anymore, but more often participate on advisory teams for incredible projects that developed as the diabetes online community evolved.


Ok, here’s a start. 5.6% – the result from a Bayer A1C Now home test taken yesterday.

Even though I am always forgetting to take metformin and forgetting to test as often I once did, somehow the attention I pay towards diet and towards exercise is enough. That makes this type 2 diabetes thing look effortless.

Let me assure you, it is far from effortless.

I count carbs. I track exercise. My pantry does not include pasta or rice or white sugar or flour of any kind. I weigh myself daily just to make sure I stick to the range that seems to keep that A1C reading under 6.0% in check year after year.

Guilt comes with dessert or with taking a day off from workouts.


I still remember living with type 1 diabetes. It was a part of my daily life far longer than the type 2 diagnosis I was given. There was definitely nothing effortless about that. At all.

Life is so very different now with focus on me and me alone, but I never ever want anyone to think I forgot about the other side of the diabetes spectrum either.


So yeah, I continue to be invited part of events like the one happening at the end of this month. I continue to want to be part of these events. Not just for me, but for all of the amazing people with whom I have developed friendships through the common experience of diabetes touching our lives in one way or another, through one type or another.


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