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December 31, 2010

The Year In Review Part Deux: 2010.

A look back at 2010, through bloggy bits and pieces:

January started with resolutions and the beginnings of second trimester insulin resistance ... and guilt.  I spent some time comparing BSparl's ultrasound pictures to the Buried poster, and I wrote extensively about the guilt and moodiness that came along with building that little baby.   (But she did end up kicking that hippo's ass, so she was doing okay in there.)  Chris and I braved Babies R Us and registered for all the baby crap we had no idea how to use, and then we were off to the Sundance Film Festival for the premiere of Chris's film, Buried.

February brought some frustration, by way of Oprah and her missed chance.  But it also brought a lovely gift for a diabetic mommy, and the announcement of partnership I was really excited about:  Animas.  Chris and I spent a lot of time trekking back and forth to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Diabetes and Pregnancy clinic to spy on the Baby Sparling, and I grappled with some of the non-unicorn realities of a diabetic pregnancy.  The good, bad, and eh of pregnancy was disclosed, Nutella was consumed

March had me beginning to interview pediatricians, and answering questions about what life was like growing up with diabetes.  (March also had me accused of being a Spanking instead of a Sparling.  Whatever.)  And then Le Puff set in, which was just the beginning of a very scary month, as the symptoms of pre-eclampsia started setting in, one by one.  After debating the issue of disclosure as it relates to my daughter, my cats ended up showcasing their proper work attire.   As the month wore on, I ended up spending a few long hours in the emergency room due to a wicked headache, and then ultimately had to pee in a hat to check for protein spillage in my urine.  I had my baby shower, and just a few days later, I was hospitalized on bed rest with pre-eclampsia.  (Bed rest sucked.  It was not restful.  I was bored out of my mind and jabbed with heparin injections.)  But my daughter's c-section arrival was scheduled, and I just needed to wait a few more weeks.  

April?  Oh, for the first part of April, I freaking lost my mind.  I was sick of the doctors.  I was so lonely in the hospital.  I tried to communicate with the outside world by sticking signs to my hospital room windows.  It was a rotten experience.  But as my daughter's birthday drew closer, plans for my c-section were put into place.  The night before she was born, I panicked.  But the morning of her birth, she came into the world with strong lungs and a strong heart, and she made my heart complete.  The surgery went well and the little bird flew onto the scene with flying colors.  And then Chris and I had to learn how to be parents.  Holy crap.

May was a whirlwind of breastfeeding, burping, sleepless nights, and frequent panic attacks as Chris and I tried to make sense of this gorgeous little baby critter in our lives.  SUM turned five, but I didn't have time to notice because I'm pretty sure I was wiping spit up off my collar bone.  Thanks to the wonderful generosity of guest posters, I was able to have a few weeks to get used to motherhood, and then I was able to recount the impact of diabetes on my daughter's arrival in detail, including the c-section recovery and my TMI posts about breastfeeding.  Life as a new mom with diabetes was chaos, but I loved it.  (I still do.)  Aside from the baby stuff, I participated in Diabetes Blog Week,  wrote about crabs (spellcheck!), and celebrated my second wedding anniversary with Chris.  But it wasn't all harmony and new mommy and baby vlogging in our household - the cats weren't exactly thrilled with the arrival of Ms. BSparl.  And I still needed to learn to put my own oxygen mask on first.

June introduced the Animas Pump Triathalon, which I did the intro video for (while four months pregnant and shoved into a little, red wagon).  Chris and I also began to prepare (at least mentally) to bring BSparl on her first plane ride.  And I happened to stumble upon a very nasty way to treat lows, in addition to spying some nasty PR emails once again.  I learned to let BSparl cry while I treated a low, and I wrote her a letter to mark her second month birthday.  But most importantly, I learned about eating unicorns for breakfast.

July was the second annual Roche Summit and the Children With Diabetes "Friends for Life" conference, where the whole Sparling crew (all three of us!) ventured down to Florida for our first family plane ride.  Later in the month, I was lucky enough to visit Clara Barton Camp to hang out with the staff there (and they sang songs and wore galoshes).  BSparl turned three months old, I entertained the idea of more babies, and I honestly had The Thought for the very first time since her birth.  (I also used a "your mom" retort accurately for the first time.)  But being three months out from BSparl's birth, my diabetes needed to realign some accountability.  I was spilling ketones, for crying out loud.  Not great.

August is when things started to get ridiculous.  My best friend and I made a laughable attempt to bring our daughters to the beach, Johnson & Johnson visited our home for a video on BSparl's arrival, and the Birdy and I were featured in a Diabetes Forecast series on diabetes and pregnancy.  Chris and I made our first trip away overnight without BSparl to attend Night's 40th birthday.  My pancake turned four months old, and I ate egg white ice cream (not to celebrate, but in the same week, so it seemed like a reasonable grouping of items).  I admitted to being a precision carb guesser, and also picked hope as a better motivator than fear.  And then Chris and I decided it was a good idea to buy a house, so we added that chaos to the mix.  (Sleep?  We don't need no stinkin' sleep!)

September.  Seriously?  Already?  We moved into our new place and then immediately up and traveled to Bar Harbor for the weekend.  (We are not bright.)  I marked my 24th year with type 1 diabetes by attending the TCOYD conference in Providence, RI and hanging out with some of my favorite PWDs.  The Bird turned five months old, and Chris and I traveled by teeny plane to Toronto, Canada for the Toronto Film Festival, where Buried was playing.  Oh, and I got to meet some great PWDs in the Philly area after the ePatient 2010 event!  (I also stopped breast feeding this month, which is TMI but hey, isn't all of this TMI?)

October had me finally joining a gym, bolusing for artsy-fartsy foods, and thinking about the one thing related to diabetes that I would opt to change.  I had a chance to interview screenwriter and husband Chris Sparling, and BSparl and Chris and I went apple picking in the New England sunshine.  In the land of blogginess, I shared my family's decision to go gluten-free with BSparl for 12 months, and in the land of BlogWorld-iness, I had a chance to meet up with some d-bloggers in Las Vegas at the BlogWorldExpo conference and at the Socialpalooza in Boston for WEGO Health.  Also in October, we, as a community, lost another soul without warning, and the community mourned and healed with one another.  And BSparl turned six months old

November suckered me into the NaBloPoMo thing again, and the month started with a recap of BSparl's first Walk to Cure Diabetes (in her Halloween costume, of course).  Doctor's appointments dominated the month, from my first physical therapy visit to the confirmation of moderate non-proliferative retinopathy in my eyes due to the pregnancy.  November 9th brought on D-Blog Day once more, and we all shared six things we wished people knew about diabetes, and World Diabetes Day had a group of us in NYC to visit the Discovery of Insulin exhibit.  I also was honored to participate in the JDRF's first Type 1 Talk event in NYCMarcel the (Diabetic) Shell also visited my blog (and I'm still giggling at that video), and the kidlet turned seven months old.  I finally (after a very long time looking for the right person) added an editorial assistant to the team here, adding to my list of things I'm thankful for.   Hand turkeys reigned supreme on Thanksgiving morning, and the month ended with Special Sib of a D-Kid Day

December finally brought closure to a month-long plague I'd been nursing and gave rise to the Christmas pizza of ancient lore.  Abby (the Person) helped me bridge some mental gaps between kids with diabetes and adults, and I grappled with the myth of Santabetes.  A bit of BSparl's baby book was shared, and our Little Bird turned eight months old.  I got tangled in tubing, dealt with the wrong order, and learned about cookies ... made with poison.  And towards the end of this month, I had to share my A1C with the group, hoping that people would understand my need to be an honest advocate, not just a vocal one. 

This year has been one I will remember, always.  I've always dreamed of becoming a mother, and 2010 gave me the greatest gift I have ever known or will ever know:  my daughter.  Diabetes picks at my heart sometimes, and gets into my head, but I have achieved the goal I've dreamed of for years.  And as my husband and I celebrate the closing of 2010 and look forward to 2011, we do so in the company of good friends, good times, and the happiest little bird I've ever had the pleasure of loving.

BSparl and her momma in Marco Island, FL.

May 2011 be one of change, inspiration, and success for each and every one of us!  And when times are tougher, may be we lean on one another for support and rejuvenation.   Happy New Year to you all, and I appreciate you being such a huge part of my health, both physically and emotionally.

Much love - Kerri.

December 30, 2010

The Year in Review: 2010 in Blog Posts.

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the blogs of 2010?  NERD ALERT.What's nerdier:  an end-of-the-year meme, or the fact that I seem to recycle this thing every year?  This is part of my annual twofer roundup - a meme that gets me clicking all over the place through other blogger's archives - so here is part one: the first lines of a definitive post from each month in 2010:  

January:  (This is one of those posts I'll write, and then promptly wish I hadn't written, but then revisit in a few weeks and be thankful that I let these emotions out.)

February:  For Valentine’s Day, Chris and I went to a French restaurant to celebrate our marriage and our growing family.

March:  By virtue of the name itself - "bed rest" -  you'd think I'd be sleeping a ton and feel all squishy and relaxed here at the hospital.  Like a spa, only with crappy food.

April:  I've been thinking about your face. 

May: Crabs are something that people with diabetes are constantly grappling with.

June:  She was tucked into the bassinet, perfectly safe and sound.

July:  I love Clara Barton Camp.

August:  I've heard that fear is a pretty good motivator.

September: Tomorrow is my 24th anniversary with type 1 diabetes. 

October: Last night, I woke up at three in the morning and listened to the sounds of the crickets outside my bedroom window.

November:  "Just tell me what line you can read.  Smallest one that's clear, okay?"

December: I have been writing on this blog about life with diabetes for five and a half years, and I am always proud to share the successes.

(If you're in the mood for a meme, grab this one for a fast and loose recap of 2010!)

December 29, 2010

Guest Post: Why I Always Carry Glucose Tabs.

Today I am wicked (wicked!) excited to have my friend Karen guest posting.  (And I love her post.  The mental image of the buttons made me laugh out loud - you'll see when you get there.)  And once you're done reading, be sure to visit her Bitter-Sweet blog to read about the T1 Adult Outreach Program she's spearheading!

*   *   *

Karen of Bitter-Sweet fame!Quite a few years ago my husband Pete and I met up with a group of friends and hopped on a train to spend the day in New York City.  We went to Rockefeller Center to watch skaters glide around the ice in front of the huge Christmas tree.  We went to the Tkts booth to score half-price Broadway tickets and saw a show.  We walked uptown to see the unbelievable toy displays at F.A.O. Schwartz.  By the time we made our way to Central Park all of the activity started to catch up with me.  I could feel a major low coming on.  I reached into my “smaller-than-usual-day-in-the-city” purse and realized I had overlooked a very important item when I was tossing in the stuff I needed that morning. 

I had overlooked my glucose tablets.

It seems almost unthinkable that I would head out to traipse around the city all day without having something with me to treat a low.  It’s not like I was new to the diabetes thing – I was diagnosed in 1979, for goodness sake!  But as we all know, life (and stupid oversights) happen.  I certainly am not perfect.  And let’s not forget that it wasn’t like I was on some secluded desert island.  I was in The Big Apple, where you can buy art-work and pashminas and sunglasses and purses on any street corner.  And more importantly, you can buy a large variety of food and beverage items from those street corner venders too.

So at the first food cart we came across in Central Park, I bought a small carton of orange juice at an over-inflated NYC price.  My friends sat on a bench with me and I quickly drank the juice down, barely noticing the taste.  I waited for my blood sugar to come back up but instead of feeling better, I started to feel worse.  My stomach and the juice didn’t seem to want to make friends.  I felt terrible and I’m sure I turned positively green!  At that point, Pete and I sent my friends along to finish their day in the city while we headed back to Grand Central to take the next train home.

New York City during the holidays is magical.  New York City during the holidays when you’re dealing with a seriously queasy stomach is not.  The ringing of bells, the bustle of shoppers and the honking of taxis were pure torture as we made our way down the crowded streets to the train station.  I tried to be a trooper and I took deep breaths of cold air and told myself I would be fine.  And I was.  Until we turned the corner to Grand Central and my stomach couldn’t take it anymore.

And there, under a huge red bow tied to a street light, I barfed all of the Central Park vending cart orange juice into a city garbage can.  I’m sure I was quite a sight, especially since each retch caused buttons to pop off my pretty cream-colored coat and shoot down the sidewalk.  I was mortified.  I told Pete that I was sure passers-by must have thought I had too much alcohol rather than a spoiled carton of juice.  (Although Pete wisely pointed out that it was New York City, where it takes more than a girl losing her lunch - and her coat buttons - in a garbage can to raise an eyebrow!)  My stomach calmed right down once the rancid orange juice was out of my system, but it was still a long and exhausting ride home.

And that is why, from that day on, I ALWAYS carry glucose tablets.

*   *   *

Thank you for guest posting, Karen, you NYC-garbage-can-puker, you.  ;)

December 28, 2010

The Wrong Order.

A new Animas vlog is up on their site:  The Wrong Order.  What happens when you get the wrong coffee order from the coffee shop?  You end up with wicked high blood sugar.  And subtitles.  (Christmas tree not included with aforementioned wrong order.)

(And, as a total sidenote:  thank you guys for your support on yesterday's post.  It means a lot to me, and I really appreciate it.  Can't say much more than that without welling up and not being able to see the computer screen, so I'll just leave it at that:  thank you.)

December 27, 2010

The Importance of Being Honest.

It's not all THESE.I have been writing on this blog about life with diabetes for five and a half years, and I am always proud to share the successes.  But it's easy to share the good stuff.  It felt good to tell everyone about being pregnant, and having really solid A1Cs throughout my pregnancy.  It felt good to keep those numbers steady while I was breastfeeding.  I felt like I was in control, at least to a certain extent.  And I felt proud to share that control.

But the past three months haven't felt good in any diabetes-related way.  I don't feel like I'm in control of my diabetes.  Honestly, I don't feel like I'm in control of anything.  And I'm not proud to share this.  I'm embarrassed and feeling sloppy and burnt out and a little sad.

Last week, I was at Joslin for an appointment with my endocrinologist.  She and I reviewed my blood sugars, of which there were few.  

"I'm not testing as much as I'd like to be.  Sometimes, I'm taking a fasting number and then not checking again until early afternoon.  I'm down to like four times a day.  And I'm not going to lie - I wrote these numbers down this morning while sitting in the waiting room.  I also made that one up," I said, pointing to a number on the sheet that represented a "before bed" test, but was actually a "before bed" from a completely different day.

She looked at my pathetic logbook and made some notes in her computer system while I purged my diabetic guilt.

"I did great while I was pregnant, didn't I?  And then while I was breastfeeding?  It seems like when it mattered for my daughter, I was able to put her first and make my health a priority.  But now, I'm in wicked burn out.  I don't CARE about a shred of this crap.  I don't want to test.  I am going through the motions in changing my Dexcom sensor and my pump sites.  I'm just ... pffft about the whole mess.  Is that normal for women after they have a baby, after all the hyper-intensive management?"

We talked for a while about how extreme the focus is on diabetes management while pregnant.  And how being checked on every week makes for a higher level of accountability, and as a result, a higher level of attention to diabetes.  How can things go off the track when you're being monitored so closely?

"It's very common for women to feel burnt out after they have the baby, especially if they were also breastfeeding.  That's more than a year of very intense management.  But what can we do to help you make changes for the better?"

The labwork technician came in to take my A1C.  While we waited for the results, my doctor checked my feet and my weight.  "You're two pounds away from your pre-pregnancy weight - nice job!" she said.

"I'll take the small victories," I replied, and the phone rang.

"Yes, okay, thank you," my endo said on the phone, and then set it back on the receiver.  "Your A1C came back at 8.6%."  She didn't make a face.  She didn't show any emotion at all - no judgment.  She just waited for my response.

"Whoa, that's much higher than I thought it would be.  I figured it would be up there, but not that high.  I haven't have that high of an A1C since college."  I felt completely deflated.  And like a crappy advocate.  And a crappy diabetic.  And knowing I wasn't in the best health to care for my daughter made me feel like a crappy mom.  "That's a pretty shitty number for me, especially where I was at for the last year and a half.  But I'm so spent and so burnt out on this diabetes garbage that I can't even muster up a big pity party or a bunch of tears.  I'm just like 'whatever.'  Yay apathy?"

She and I worked out a very small plan for change, including returning to see my certified diabetes educator in three months.  And my goals for the next three months are to test more and to try and iron out my overnight basal rates.  (Because I'm still in the "what the hell happened" mode of post-pregnancy, trying to find the right insulin goals for my still-adjusting body.) 

Apathy is good at times, because it keeps you from crying over a number you can't change in an instant.  Apathy helps you keep the feelings of self-loathing, guilt, and distress at bay.  But it also keeps you from feeling like you can make change because you just plain don't care anymore.  I can't change my A1C overnight, and I can't remove diabetes from my life equation, but I need to care again.  Even though I don't have a baby growing in my belly to keep my head in the game, I still need to take care of her.  And taking care of her means taking care of myself. 

So I left the appointment feeling something.  I'm not sure what, but at least I felt something.  I felt like I was ready to try again, and ready to stop ignoring a disease that affects every moment of my day.  And I left feeling slightly empowered, because like Chris told me over the phone when I called to tell him my new A1C, "Now you know where we're starting from.  And now you can make changes that bring you to better health.  We'll do this together."

And it felt good to actually feel something, instead of this emotional health void I've been in for the last 12 weeks or so.

I wish I had successes to share.  I'd love to end 2010 with the same feeling of inspiration I felt at the end of 2009, where I knew my world was changing.  But now, I have to understand that while everything changed, so much still hasn't.  My family has grown, my job has changed, and my home is different, but diabetes hasn't changed.  I need to reign it back in and make it more of a part of the background noise instead of assigning it to its own set of surround sound speakers. 

It feels good to share the triumphs, sure.  But I think this online community is just as important in helping us handle our tougher times.  This is an honest life with diabetes, not one that's all rainbows and unicorns

And that's that.  Thanks for letting me vent, you guys. 

December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays!

BSparl loves her hat.  :)

We're going to take a few days to enjoy the holidays and watch BSparl eat her first bit of holiday wrapping paper, but I'll be back on Monday.  Happy Holidays and much love from the Sparlings!

December 22, 2010

Guest Post: Diabetes in Spain.

If there's one regret I have, it's that I didn't take advantage of the study abroad program in college.  My first trip to Europe wasn't until last year, when Chris and I visited Barcelona for the filming of Buried.  

But thankfully, some college students do manage to fly across the pond and literally broaden their horizons.  Melissa Moulton, a staffer at CBC and PWD of ten years, is spending a full year living in Spain.  She's offered to share some of her stories about managing diabetes while living abroad her on SUM, and I'm really pleased to be hosting her posts.  Take it away, Melissa!

*   *   *

Melissa is awesome.Instead of getting on a train and going to Hogwarts on September 1st of this year, I went to JFK airport and got on a big scary plane and flew across the Atlantic to Madrid, Spain.  In place of doing the more common one semester study abroad program, I somehow decided it was a good idea to live in Madrid with a host family for the entire academic year.  This decision meant leaving my cozy liberal arts college for a bustling, unfamiliar city.  Add in type 1 diabetes and gluten intolerance and this incredible experience is bound to get a little more complicated.

Once my incredible summer working at CBC ended, it hit me that I would be leaving the country in merely two weeks.  I spent the days counting test strips, spending time with friends and family, and most of all trying to remember how to speak Spanish.

Then about a week before leaving I met with my endo and we talked about getting a Dexcom.  And because I just love to be stressed, I decided to peruse getting a Dexcom before leaving… in one week.  Somehow Dexcom and my insurance company pulled it off and I didn’t even have to verbally assault anyone in the process—win-win, in my opinion.  Getting a Dexcom has proved to be one of the best decisions I think I have ever made in regards to my diabetes.  It has really made living far away from friends and family, who know the nitty-gritty of diabetes, much easier.   
Fast forward to meeting my host family: I sat jet-lagged and overwhelmed at the kitchen table with my new “host mom” and attempted, in lovely broken Spanish, to tell her about diabetes and eating gluten free.  I managed to convey the basics, but for just about everything else we ended up reading Spanish Wikipedia articles (explaining autoimmune diseases in a foreign language for dummies?).  In retrospect, it probably would have been a good idea to figure out how to talk about diabetes in Spanish before leaving, but I guess I was too preoccupied deciding which dresses to bring, or something like that.  Oh, and it’s a good thing the word “gluten” is exactly the same in both languages.   
Though this has been an incredible experience so far, I think one of the things that has been most difficult for me has been that lack of diabetes (not to mention red hair and freckles) here in Spain.  It’s almost as if the disease doesn’t even exist over here!  We all have experiences running into a random stranger in the grocery store with a pump or seeing a stray test strip hanging out on the floor of a public restroom. However I haven’t seen any of this: not a pump, not a random person wearing a JDRF walk t-shirt, nothing. I went from having an entire network of people with diabetes only a text message away, to a world where diabetes is something nearly unmentionable.  I’m still hoping to come across some diabetes in public, but at least I’ve realized that with a little effort, overseas communication isn’t all that difficult (thanks technology!)  

Despite the occasional "diafail" and one very scary Spanish endocrinologist (think massive mahogany desk, fifteen foot ceilings, a large mustache, and no knowledge of diabetes—at least I only needed a prescription), I’ve definitely managed to live life in Europe to the fullest and learn a heck of a lot of Spanish.  Oh yeah, and I still have six months to go!   

*   *   *

Thank you, Melissa!!!  I'm excited for your next update!

December 21, 2010


I love my insulin pump (well, as much as you can enjoy anything that's used to manage a chronic disease), and it's a constant part of my daily routine.  It goes with me EVERYWHERE, from the car to the supermarket to the bathroom and to bed at night.  This pump is never more than a few feet away from me, and I keep close tabs on it.

And sometimes it keeps wicked close tabs on me.  See also:  tangled.

Have you ever found yourself wrapped up in a pump tubing hug?

December 20, 2010

What NOT to Say to the Parent of a Kid with Diabetes.

I didn't make this video, but the fact that it quotes questions I've heard people ask the parents of children with diabetes time and time again makes me smirk.  This video is anonymous - I don't have a clue as to who crafted it up.  It's a little bit sassy.  And my goodness did I laugh when I first watched it.  The second time I watched it, I paused it to write down my favorite line.

"There are only two things my daughter cannot eat:  poison, and cookies ... made with poison."

(Note:  If someone can hook me up with this moss that supposedly cures all things that ail ya, let me know.  I'd love some in time for the holidays.)

Found out where this video was born - on Joanne's Death of a Pancreas site. Thanks for the laughs, Joanne!

December 17, 2010

The Friday Six: Indiana Kimball.

Friday Six time!  (No time for a long post intro, because the Bird is asleep and I am taking advantage of the down time.)  Bring it.The Friday Six:  December 17, 2010 edition

1.  Charlie Kimball is on a victory lap already.  (When will the racing puns be considered "overused?"  Not yet?  Okay.)  BSparl's buddy Charlie (the two of them can be spied in this photo, where she is hopefully not pooping in his helmet) is moving up to IndyCar, with Novo Nordisk at his side.  According to the press release,

"Novo Nordisk, a world leader in diabetes care, has partnered with Chip Ganassi Racing, LLC to create the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team for the 2011 IZOD IndyCar season. The team will sponsor a new entry in the series driven by American racecar driver Charlie Kimball. This partnership makes Kimball one of the first drivers from the 2010 Firestone Indy Lights series to move up the official "Road to Indy" with a full season sponsorship."

Congrats, Charlie, and I'm really excited for you as you make this next, exciting race towards awareness!!  (PUNS!) 

2.  Make sure you check out Cherise Shockley's interview on the WEGO Health blog, as she shares her diagnosis story and the story of the inception of the #dsma (Diabetes Social Media Advocacy) chats on Wednesday nights.  Nice interview, Cherise, and great way to bring more light to the #dsma chats!

3.  The Pepsi Refresh Challenge is still going on, and the diabetes community still has the opportunity to earn grant money to help send kids to diabetes camps (like my beloved Clara Barton).  I posted about it and Amy posted about it today, so if you want to click through to the contest and cast your vote, please do!  You can vote every day until the end of December, so please take a few seconds to help!

4.  Over at Blogabetes, one of my favorite writer's, Carey Potash, talks about his son Charlie's progression towards growing up and taking over the management of his diabetes, bit by bit.  Carey's posts are poignant and always make me think, and they make me smile at the same time.  Great read, with insight into a great perspective.

5.  Last week, I participated in a MedHelp web chat about whether or not plastic products are safe, with chemistry professor Joe Schwartz, PhD.  Dr. Val covered the basics here, and Kim had a good wrap up on her site, but the main reason I participated was because of the baby bottle stuff.  Ever since we found out we were pregnant with BSparl, I noticed all these call outs on baby bottle packages, claiming "NO BPA!" in crazy bright letters.  Dr. Val and Kim are medical professionals with medical degrees, while I'm just a health blogger and a new mom, so I wanted to check out this chat to see what the "real deal" was with plastics and their safety as it relates to my daughter.  Honestly, the chemist guy said that there wasn't anything credible to worry about, but the information out there is plentiful - and it's not all accurate.  Even though I respect the opinions of my online doctor and nurse friends, I still lean mainly on my daughter's pediatrician for information on what's best for her.  I'm old school for an online dork.

6.  And lastly, there are two new posts up at Animas today, one about "Pinging" in the New Year (you know how I feel about puns) and then one addressing the Holiday Irony of our dessert party this weekend for friends.  Tonight and tomorrow morning will be spent baking cookies, a flourless chocolate cake, and possibly some lemon bars, and I am making a point not to drain my insulin pump in the process. ... Should be interesting.  :)

Have a great weekend, and enjoy the links!

December 16, 2010

Upon Diagnosis.

My diabetes alma mata - The Joslin ClinicLast week, I was at an event at Novo Nordisk in New Jersey, attending an event (more on that later) and participating in a discussion about what it's like to grow up with diabetes, and more specifically, what our actual diagnosis moments were like.

I had a chance to talk with a few kids with diabetes (much younger than me - we're talking like the 5 - 10 year old range) and their parents, separately, and what amazes me is how much information is available to the newly diagnosed these days. 

When I was diagnosed (cue stories about walking uphill both ways to get to the endo's office), there weren't any websites dedicated to the parents of children with diabetes.  There weren't blogs about all kinds of different grown ups who were living with diabetes, offering my parents a glimpse into a life after diagnosis.  The books about diabetes were limited to those of the cooking variety, and mostly dealing with diabetes that was controlled by diet and exercise.  Google wasn't an information option, and the only resources we had were people who had older aunts and uncles who had "a touch of the sugar." 

When the diagnosis call came in for my parents, we barely knew what diabetes was, never mind how to live with it.

I listened as the kids in this session talked about what kind of information their doctors gave them upon diagnosis.  "We got a book?  And we went home with needles but then I got my pump so we don't use the needles anymore."

These kids had a very different diagnosis experience than I did.  Most were on pumps within a year of their diagnosis, and web resources kept their parents tuned in to the latest diabetes developments and research.   They were in and out of the hospital within two or three days time, compared to my two 12-day hospital stays back in 1986.

For some of you guys who are reading this, you may have been diagnosed a while ago, like me.  Or you might be newer to the diabetes experience, or handing this disease on behalf of a loved one.  What information would you have wanted upon diagnosis?  How has the diabetes blogosphere changed the way we all feel about our diabetes?   I thought about the resources available to my mom and dad.  Like that bright red book we received from Joslin that had all the meal management tools available in the mid-80's, and that chapter in the back about complications and blood sugar goals.  I wonder how different my care would have been, and my life as a result, if I had received more information about connecting with other diabetics, and forming a community of emotional support for myself. 

So much has changed since I sat in the endocrinologist's office at Joslin back in the day.  

"How many of you guys had to practice injections on an orange before you tried the needle on yourself?" I asked the room of kids, and they looked at me blankly. 

"An orange?"  a sweet little five year old girl asked.  "Nah, we used fake skin."

Fake skin.  Well I'll be.

December 15, 2010


Dear Birdzone,

(Yes, your father has given you yet another nickname.  "Birdy" has somehow morphed into asking you "Are you in the zone?" and then answering that goofy question with "BIRDZONE!")

Today, you are eight months old.  You have officially been "out" as long as you were "in."  And between this month and last, you've become like, this actual BABY.  Not an infant, not a little baby bird, but a real deal baby looking creature with chubby legs and a round, little face.

For a few weeks, you were a bit on the petite side, weight-wise, and I think that's partially due to the fact that we delayed introducing solid foods to you until you were almost six months old.  For one pediatrician visit, you were on the particularly peanut-side of things, and we were pretty much told to pack you full o' food.  That we did, and you gained two pounds in a month, bringing you up to range.  You're still a little lady - 25th percentile overall - but you eat like a champ and you seem healthy as a tiny little bird ... horse?  A bird horse.

About a week ago, you busted out with your first word:  "Dada."  But I think you noticed that I was a little bummed because you didn't say "mama," so you let fly with that word the next day.  Now you rock back and forth on your hands and knees on the floor, babbling about "Dada" and "Mama" and "baba" and "Dinosaur Train."   You don't say our names readily yet, but now that you can make the sounds and you know who we are ("Where's Daddy?" and you whip your head towards him.), I'm sure you're going to start talking for real. 

You are getting loooong, kiddo.  You are just about ready to poke your toes through your size 6 month clothes, so we're going to shove you into the 9 month size any day now.  I packed up a lot of your "6 month and under" clothes last week, and while it made me sad that my baby girl is getting bigger so quickly, I was so proud that you were getting bigger and stronger.

BSparl at eight months old

You are on the verge of crawling.  And teething.  And the combination of these "almosts" makes you more than happy to creep across the floor and then try to eat my face.  So far this week alone, you've head-butted me twice in the lip and once in the temple, making me realize that your head is as solid as mine.  ;)

Your giggles are contagious.  You make these weird ninja noises sometimes that crack us all up because you sound so serious about it.  ("Hiiiii-yaaaaaa!")  You thought the arrival of the Christmas tree and all the lights was the most amazing thing ever, and your next mission seems to be eating the tree itself.  Also, you think Siah is your personal chew toy, and whenever I turn my head for even a second, you are trying to lick her.  (Note to BSparl:  Siah will not take kindly to your advances.  Seriously.  Leave her alone before she trounces you.)

This month, we'll celebrate our first Christmas as a trio, and I can't wait to watch the holidays unfold through your eyes.  Your dada and your mama love you so, so much, and you are our favorite birdzone of all time.

Love always,

December 14, 2010

Larry Bird, No One Invited You.

My symptoms of low blood sugar used to run the gamut:  numb mouth, dizziness, sweating, crying at will, shakiness, inability to see completely clearly but a heightened sense of hearing ... fun stuff.  The symptoms of a low blood sugar can really suck.

But you know what sucks even more?  Not having any symptoms at all.

A few days ago, I was making lunch for BSparl and trying to clean up the kitchen (never a good idea at the same time), and my hands felt a little fluttery.  But nothing really worth paying attention to for more than a second.  BSparl devoured her rice cereal and mushed up bananas and then she was down for her nap. 

As I closed her bedroom door, I heard the Dexcom BEEEEEEP!ing from the kitchen counter.  There's a different sound associated with the "low" and "high" alarm, and I was surprised to hear the low alarm sounding.

"I feel fine."  I said, matter-of-factly, but not sure I meant it.  I did feel just slightly ... off.  Abby (the cat) meowed as she circled around my ankles.  But a swipe with my blood sugar meter showed me at 33 mg/dl.

Oh come on, Larry. I love you, man, but not like this.  Not as a blood sugar.  

The problem was that I didn't feel low.  At all.  I didn't have even a whisper of a hint from my body that my blood sugar was rapidly heading towards chaos.  If it hadn't been for the Dexcom, I'm not sure I would have tested.

Instead, I found myself standing in front of the fridge and sucking down grape juice straight from the bottle.  (Note:  Don't drink the juice at my house.  I've licked all the bottles.)  Auto-pilot kicked in and I treated that 33 mg/dl as though I could feel every bit of it.

Oddly, I didn't start to feel low for another five minutes or so, when my blood sugar started to come up a bit.  Such a strange thing, but when I'm coming up from a Larry low (read:  in the 30's), it doesn't throttle me until my blood sugar starts the journey back upwards.  Around the 50 mg/dl mark, I started to hit the sweats, the adrenaline panic, and that weird, white fog of precision that envelopes me when I'm low. 

This lack of symptoms has me very nervous lately.  I know that my numbers have been both pinging and ponging all over creation lately, but it's downright creepy when I'm at a blood sugar so close to chaos and I feel like I could happily climb into my car and start driving, or pick up my daughter and start dancing, or wait just a little while longer before deciding to have a snack.  My body doesn't give me the hints I need anymore, and I'm not sure why. 

Diabetes is messing with my head.

My paranoid (and hyper-sensitive) Dexcom continues to wail even after I'm back up to 70 mg/dl, but I find the noise comforting.  I know I'm back in range, and I don't have that feeling of confusion or fogginess.   

"I feel fine," I said again, only this time I meant it.  

I wish every day could look like this.  But it, um, does not.  Lots of times, I see a big letter M.

December 13, 2010

Last Year.

In October of 2009, Chris and I went up to Bar Harbor to celebrate our move home, our new lives, and the growing secret in my belly

While we were up in Maine, we visited a coffee shop in downtown Bar Harbor that had a full selection of fancy pants coffee drinks, and then offered a selection of board games (most from the early 90s) to play with while you got your caffeine on. 

Chris and I ended up sitting at a modified desk, playing Trivial Pursuit.  And then we noticed the desk had a drawer.

"What's in there?" I asked as he grabbed the drawer pull and carefully opened the drawer that was crammed with slips of paper.

"Looks like ... notes?  Like people wrote notes and left them in here?"

Each of us took a fistful of white, crinkled paper and read what others had left behind.   It was like PostSecret in a drawer.  There were papers with drawings of people's homes, and their dogs with floppy hats, or their boyfriends wearing bikinis.  (True.  More than one of those, which cracked me up.)  Notes stained with coffee and Scrabble tallies and the words "I WON!" in all caps.  Notes with people's favorite quotes.  Notes with secrets.  Notes with the words "I'm leaving him tomorrow" written in tiny, hesitant print in the bottom left hand corner. 

We had only told our close friends and family about the baby.  We hadn't let a word whisper out otherwise.  But we wanted to leave our secret in this drawer, because we knew it was only a few more days until we were going to tell the world.  

So I scrawled a picture on a slip of paper and tucked it tight into the drawer.  And left it, buried with all the other mysteries.

This past fall, Chris and I visited Bar Harbor again.  BSparl was spending the weekend with my mother, and we were taking our first weekend away as "parents."   We went back to that same coffee shop and - just for kicks - checked the same desk drawer to see if our secret was still there.

It's an accurate representation.  Complete with fat legs.
Now this paper is in her baby book. 

When we wrote this, I was in the beginning of my diabetic pregnancy.  And now, I'm a very happy and healthy mommy, despite all the challenges of diabetes and baby building.  We did it, she and I.

I hope BSparl is tolerant of how goofy her parents are.  And how much we loved her, even before we met her.

December 10, 2010

The Santa Conundrum: Santabetes?

(Note:  This post contains spoilers.  If you are like my girl Brittany and you believe happily in the story of Santa, skip down to where it says "Diabetes is like Santa Claus.")

My husband and I share a philosophy on Santa Claus.  

Santa gets too much credit.  Why should Santa get all the glory for the gifts that show up underneath the Christmas tree on Christmas morning?  Mom and Dad work their tails off to provide a fun and comfortable life for our child, and to have the fun thunder (funder?) stolen by Santa Claus is unfair.  "Thank you, Santa, for the Barbie and the Rockers van!"  I shouted as a kid, not realizing that Mom and Dad put in some extra hours (and spent half the night assembling the stupid thing) to get that Rocker Van under our Christmas tree. 

So BSparl will be fed the Santa story, but she'll also understand that her Christmas gifts come mostly from her parents, and not from a fictional cookie thief who shimmies down the chimney.  Santa doesn't work as hard as we do, so he shouldn't get all the credit.

Diabetes is like Santa Claus.  (Welcome back, Brittany!)  Only in this case, it SHOULD be the one given most of the credit for certain things.  And I shouldn't give myself so much of the blame and guilt.  I have a tendency to look at a blood sugar reading and instantly blame myself for it. 

"Oh, 236 mg/dl.  Great.  What did I do?"  And then I start musing about what I may have eaten or if I under-bolused.  Same guilt for a low.  Same reaction for any number that may be deemed "bad."

Only it's not my fault.  Even if I did overeat or over-bolus.  It's the fault of diabetes.  I can't assume all the blame for the effects of this disease because there is plenty that is out of my control.  I can count carbs and test often and make use of all the technology and medical advancements available to me, but when things go awry, I can't sit around and blame myself.

Last week, I was talking to some parents about "good" and "bad" diabetes numbers.  And I hate nothing more than assigning such adjectives to a moving target like a blood sugar number.  236 mg/dl isn't "bad."  It's out of range.  100 mg/dl isn't "good," but just in range. 

Holiday photos.  :)

It took me a very, very long time to not see my meter results as something I should feel badly about.  Growing up with diabetes, everything was tagged with either "good" or "bad."  But I can't carry that kind of guilt.  By blaming diabetes for these fluctuations, I'm able to remove myself from the guilt cycle, and move on faster from an out of range number.   Diabetes is to blame for my body's inability to maintain a consistent blood sugar.  This kind of "Santabetes" viewpoint is not an excuse for me to slack off, but the detachment makes it easier to bounce back from a tougher diabetes day.  I can't blame myself for everything - that's not productive or mentally healthy.  My job is to do my absolute best to keep things in range with the help of the tools and education I have at my disposal.

And, like Santa Claus, diabetes isn't going to get all the credit for the good stuff, too.  When my A1C was at the Nice Healthy Baby Range, I didn't give the nod to diabetes for being easy on me.  It was the result of my hard work against a pain in the ass disease.  Go ahead and take all the credit for the tough stuff, Diabetes.  I'm not owning that part of it.  I'm just going to keep looking ahead and taking one day of diabetes at a time.

... and mentally prepare myself for the Christmases to come, when I'll be up all night assembling whatever goofy gift is on my daughter's list.  ;) 

December 08, 2010

Helping Out Diabetes Camps.

I loved diabetes camp.  Actually, that should be in present tense because I continue to love diabetes camp, even though I'm not a camper anymore.  Attending Clara Barton Camp for those five summers changed the way I looked at life with diabetes, and my health has always been better for it.

But I've talked about camp before.  I'd love to play a role in sending other kids to diabetes camp.  And thankfully, we as a community now have that chance.

The Diabetes Education and Camping Association (DECA) is in the running to win one of the Pepsi Refreshment Project grants.  If they earn one, they'll use their winnings to send kids to diabetes camps and will also arm them with digital filmmaking skills so that the campers can chronicle their experiences with type 1 diabetes.  As a diabetes camp alum, a patient advocate, and the wife of a filmmaker, I think this is a fantastic idea.

You can vote either by voting for "dStory" on the Refresh Everything page, or you can text 104696 to Pepsi (73774).  (I'd guess that standard texting rates apply, but I'm not sure.  Double check me on that.)  Either way, you can vote once a day, every day in December.

For those of you who went to camp and it made a difference in your life, please vote.  And if you didn't have a chance to attend a diabetes camp, just think about the possibility that you could help send a child to camp just by voting.  

Thanks for your help, and here's hoping DECA wins!!

Gaining Diabetes Independence.

Bridging the gap between being a child with diabetes and being an adult with diabetes.I spent some time with some parents of kids with diabetes this week (more on that in short bit), but part of what we talked about was that transition between being a "child with diabetes" to an "adult with diabetes."  

One of the biggest milestones for me as a transitioning child was earning my driver's license.  I wanted to drive more than anything else.  I wanted that freedom and that ability to go where I wanted and when I wanted, without that awkward "waiting for mom to pick me up" moment.  But my parents and I talked about how driving with diabetes was a huge responsibility, and it was completely understood that if I screwed with my diabetes management intentionally, the car keys wouldn't be resting in my hot little hand.  As I matured and got adjusted to the constantly shifting levels of responsibility that were required of me, the torch of diabetes responsibility started becoming more and more predominantly MINE.  

Abby talked with a few people with diabetes in her community about making that jump from "under parents' care exclusively" to taking ownership.  The responses were varied, which made me wonder how different this transition is, family-to-family:

Ashley Napear  (22 years old, 18 years with diabetes)
I know for me growing up, my doctor told me that I was not allowed to have an insulin pump until I could take care of my diabetes which meant me doing everything. I know this is different now because pumps are being given to kids at younger ages, but this is how it happened for me

Dylan Hoots (18 years old, 8 years with diabetes)
I know that when I reached a certain age ... even as young as fourteen, I unintentionally may have pushed my parents away from taking care of me because in the back of my mind I wanted to be self reliant and be able to take care of the disease on my own, however, through that they eventually never asked me about it and it led to a lot of burnout. But I think every kid wants to be independent; it's especially different for children with diabetes because it can be such a dangerous disease.

Amanda Devens (20 years old, 14 years with diabetes)

It was a sort of process, slowly I started to realize that I needed to do it on my own, pricking my finger, then taking shots, and then pump sites. Because well there was one day when I was at school - my mother used to show up and prick my finger because I was too scared to - but this day she didn't show up, and I knew it had to be done, and so I did it. And realized that it wasn't really THAT bad! :)

Alissa Carberry (20 years old, 11 years with diabetes)
It was definitely a process- started slowly and it picked up. I was diagnosed when I was 9 and initially let my parents do EVERYTHING- but within a few years I realized I couldn't hang out with my friends or do any "normal things" that an eleven or twelve year old girl wanted to do because of the struggles of giving injections and carb-counting. My parents and I would work out ways to ease out of my dependency, such as me checking my sugars and carb counting on my own, but I had to tell them so that they could log it. Eventually I started doing everything and loved the independence that went with it, only when I went through burnout periods did they help or when I was ketonic (essentially when I hit a roadblock or diafails occurred) Once I went on the pump I was self sufficient … my dad still tells me that he has NO idea how to work my pump!

Melissa Moulton (20 years old, 10 years with diabetes)
For me it was a slow, gradual transition process. I went from my parents sending me on my way with pre-filled NPH/Regualar syringes, to leaving a filled Minimed 508 reservoir on the counter for me, to my mom occasionally scrolling though the numbers on my meter, to complete independence. It was definitely a give and take process, with me taking on more than I should have at times, and trying to push my parents away and them trying to take my diabetes back into their control. But hey, ten years later I'm doing just fine, so I think something in there went right :)

Alicia Miller (20 years old, 8 years with diabetes)
Diabetes was a bit of a shock to my growing up. I wasn't diagnosed until I was 12, so I wasn't really able to progress into my teen years and puberty until I had gained back the weight that DKA had taken from me. It was rather quick for me, I was giving myself shots within two months of my diagnosis (I had wanted to go to a sleepover and wouldn't be allowed if I wasn't doing them myself) and was on a pump within two years. I'm still adjusting to having diabetes in my life. I have gone from middle school, to high school, and now to college and traveling with it. I am still questioned with what I am doing when it comes to checking my blood sugars, pumping and using my sensor. My parents have always helped as much as I allowed them to, which wasn't much since I have been incredibly independent when it comes to my diabetes. I went to school, stayed after and hung out with friends, clubs etc. like everyone else because my parents trusted me, and my control and dedication to controlling my disease. I may not always have "perfect" blood sugars but I have managed to lower my AIC, keep my eyes in good shape and travel abroad without major issues with my diabetes.

Bethany Kinsey (23 years old, 18 years with diabetes)
For me it was more a psychological struggle of wills. Having had diabetes since the age of 5, things typically go one of two ways: either you don't learn to make the disease your own until college or some other cataclysmic event in life or you want full control by age 12. I preferred the latter of the two. I am generally a very independent person with everything I take on, so why not diabetes as well? However, my mom and I fought for years about my control-sadly, she and I handle stress and arguments very differently, so neither one of us were able to realize what the other person was going through until retrospect allowed us to see 20/20. I recommend taking baby steps instead of diving head first into the deep end as a pre teen/early teen. Diabetes is a BIG deal. Take all of the help you can get - just don't let that help smother you.

Abby Bayer (22 years old, 12 years with diabetes)
My mom never had much to do with the actually diabetes part, about 3 days after I got home from the hospital I was doing my own injections, carb counting, etc.  I was almost 11 years old and was not about to have my mother running my life (and she wouldn't let me sleep at friends houses until I proved myself).  The biggest transition that I'm still struggling with is the paperwork side.  Insurance companies hate me, and aren't shy about telling me so. Sometimes I'll get 2 shipments of insulin when I only wanted one, and then they won't send me more when I ask for it. I have about 5 boxes the size of a small house in my basement filled with expired strips and lancets because the company was sending me far too many without me asking. It's a hassle, and until I get my own insurance and have the whole situation under control, I'm going to rely on my mother to fight with those people in who-knows-where about what they think I really need.

When did you start taking control of your own diabetes?  And this question isn't just about children becoming adults.  This could be the moment when you realized you didn't need to check with your endocrinologist every time you tweaked your insulin doses a little bit.  Taking ownership of diabetes isn't limited to kids who are growing up. 

When did you start to gain your diabetes independence?

December 07, 2010

Guest Post: Facebook Isn't Just About Tending Your Crops.

Manny Hernandez isn't just a "friend" on Facebook; he's my friend in "real life," too.  I've always admired his dedication to improving the lives of people with diabetes, and how he uses social media to bridge the gaps between diabetic communities.  Which is why I'm very happy to have him guest posting here today about his Facebook diabetes management game, HealthSeeker.

*   *   *
Manny Hernandez and his hatOn Facebook, You Can Also Play to Manage Your Diabetes!
Let’s face it: Facebook is a giant. More than 550 million people in the world use it for keeping up with friends and family, to stay informed, and to be entertained.

At the end of 2009, seeing this trend and realizing how many people on Facebook were playing so-called social games (FarmVille is just one example of these), at the Diabetes Hands Foundation (DHF) we thought we should develop a game on Facebook to help with diabetes management.

With the sponsorship of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals and in collaboration with Boston-based Joslin Diabetes Center, we began to shape  a new game called HealthSeeker. The game saw the light of day in June 2010, when it was launched in English at www.healthSeekerGame.org. The game was launched in Spanish during the month of November (si quieres jugar HealthSeeker en Español visita www.ExplorandoTuSalud.org).

HealthSeeker offers players suggestions to help them improve their lifestyle and nutrition, to better manage diabetes. As a player, you can invite your Facebook friends (actually, it is more fun to play alongside them): they can become sources of inspiration and motivation as you move through levels.

The game tackles two of the risk factors associated with the incidence of type 2 diabetes (though people with type 1 diabetes and all people who simply want to live a healthier life can benefit from it too): the lack of physical activity and the not-so-healthy eating habits we sometimes exhibit.

How does HealthSeeker work?
The game motivates players to take on simple daily challenges, such as switching from wheat to white bread or walking around the block after lunch, in order to help them reach their lifestyle goals.

The lifestyle goals include healthier eating, reaching an optimal weight, improve your diabetes management and reducing the risks of heart problems. HealthSeeker, the diabetes management Facebook game!

The game contains missions and actions that the participants choose. These need to be completed in order to progress. The vast majority of the actions are completed in real life, not in front of the computer. This makes sense considering that we don’t really burn too many calories when we’re not moving anything but our fingers on the keyboard. :)

As players complete actions and return to the game to inform about their progress, they receive awards and points for their achievements and their Facebook friends can give them kudos. Players can also share their accomplishments on their Facebook wall, through Twitter or challenge their friends complete the same missions and actions. This is part of the viral character of the game and is what makes it that much more fun to play alongside your Facebook friends.

As of today, more than 5,000 people are playing HealthSeeker and we look forward to receiving more players. The game is available free of charge, in English at www.HealthSeekerGame.org (en español a través de www.ExplorandoTuSalud.org)

I look forward to seeing you and your Facbeook friends playing soon to take simple steps to get healthier together!

*   *   *

Manny Hernandez (@askmanny) is a nonprofit executive, social media author, and consultant and a diabetes advocate. He is the President of the Diabetes Hands Foundation (DHF) and the founder of www.TuDiabetes.org (in English) and www.EsTuDiabetes.org (in Spanish).

December 06, 2010


I had BSparl's car seat nestled into the bucket of the shopping cart, since she's still too small to sit upright in the seat.  She was buckled in and playing with her little bird toy (we like to be redundant), grinning at anyone who made eye contact with her as we walked through the store.

"Okay birdie, we're almost done here.  Just have to grab two more things and we're out of here.  You doing okay in there?"

She waved the bird toy in the air and babbled at me.  "Ba ba ba ba!"  (Translation: Yes.  Let's go home so I can try and lick Siah's ear.  Again.)

"Just hold tight and we're almost done."  

I pushed the cart through the last aisle and then headed to the front of the store to check out.  I steered the cart in behind a guy about my age, wearing a baseball cap and carrying a paper bag filled with apples.

BSparl continued to wave her hands around and smile at me, banging the bird toy against the car seat housing.  I couldn't help myself.

"You are so CUTE!  So cute!!" I said to her, loudly, clapping my hands.

The guy in front of me jumped a mile, turning around awkwardly with a "Who, me?" look on his face and jostling his bag of apples against the counter.  A few rolled down behind us and skipped out into the shopping aisles as we stared at one another in red-faced silence. 

BSparl laughed.

Oh, the awkward.


December 04, 2010

Christmas Pizza?

In the North End tonight, we saw a really intricate nativity scene set up in a cafe, complete with little animated figurines and a sprawling city scene.  The detail was amazing: the manger was all set up, the wise men were en route, and the miniature city of Bethlehem was bustling with activity.  

Including the pizza guys, making pizza for the baby Jesus.  Which cracked me up, for some reason.

Pizza pies for the son of God?

December 03, 2010

The Friday Six: Snail, Squid, and Turkey!

The Friday Six:  December 3, 2010 editionIt's finally Friday, and after this chaotic week, I'm looking forward to sleeping in on Saturday morning.  (Note to BSparl:  Sleep in, would you?)  Good day for a Friday Six!

1.  First off, there was Diabetes Blessings Week, the brainchild of Mike Durbin.  He described the blog meme as: "It is a time to reflect upon all of the blessings in our lives and express our gratitude for them.  And despite all of our complaints about living with this disease, I know that diabetes has blessed each of us in one way or another."  I thought this was a powerful idea that helps take some of the negativity about diabetes and at least find a few silver linings.  (I wish I'd had the time to participate, but at least I can link back to my post about Diabetes Things I Like.  Makes me feel like I took part.)   Click on this link to read the posts from Diabetes Blessings Week. 

2.  Chris at A Consequence of Hypoglycemia wrote about something he did, that I also did, on like the very same day.  He left his meter at home and had to roll through the day solely relying on the power of the Dexcom.  Just yesterday, I realized that I'd gone about seven hours without actually pricking my finger, instead using the Dex to direct me.   Those of you who are using CGMs - have you ever done this? 

3.  Moving over to Blogabetes, Nicole wrote a post this week that I kept nodding my head at.  Her description of what a low really feels like is so true, from the way you confirm the number on your meter out loud to that feeling of "other-worldy" that comes over you when the lows are intense.  This post is a must-read.

4.  Even though I didn't want to laugh at this, I couldn't help it.  Catherine Price over at A Sweet Life lost her pump ... in a waterfall.  Currently, her Minimed is floating around in Thailand while she sports a very convenient loaner pump.  (Thank goodness pump companies are finally tuned in to the fact that THINGS HAPPEN to insulin pumps that are completely unintentional, but render us in need of a back up from time to time.)  Have you ever lost a pump?  OMG I am so sorry.

5.  A glimpse into what's going on in my head:  This song has been stuck in there for the last few days and I can't get it out.  I've been singing it around the house, Chris is begging me to stop torturing him with it, and BSparl may let loose with it as her first tune.  Do not click this link or it will be stuck in YOUR head for all eternity.  

6.  And lastly, George has forever changed the way I high-five with the turkey, the squid, and the snail.  Chris and I were practicing these last night and laughing out heads off.  My favorite?  The turkey.  It's just 2 Cool 2 B 4Gotten.  (And with that, I'm all fifth grade.)

Have a great weekend!  Ska-widd!!

December 02, 2010


"The National Board of Review, widely considered a harbinger of the Academy Awards, has chosen 'The Social Network' as the best film of the year," says the Associated Press.  And I'm very proud to say that they also chose Chris Sparling's script for Buried as Best Original Screenplay

"One of the group's most surprising choices was picking Chris Sparling's 'Buried' script for best original screenplay. The film, an exercise in minimalism, stars Ryan Reynolds as a contract worker in Iraq taken hostage and buried alive in a coffin — the cramped setting of the entire movie."

Yay Chris!  As always, I'm so proud of you.   :)

Writer's Block.

Bullet points are as good as it's getting this morning:

  • I have writer's block.  It hurts and it's giving me a headache.  I have officially run out of stuff to say.
  • Or not, because as I sit here typing this, I'm watching Siah skate across the living room floor, chasing madly after a rogue test strip.  One Touch, you make the best cat toys.
  • I'm also watching BSparl destroy a banana slice.  Her face is a sunny mess of banana mush.  Is everything in my house destructive?
  • Our Christmas tree is up and twinkling with white lights.  But it's not a real tree - we went with a falsie this year.  Why?  Well, BSparl is going to start crawling in the next few weeks, and I don't want her scooting over to the tree for a pine needle snack.  As it stands already (about seven feet tall - ha?), the cats are making out with the ornaments and the branches as often as they can.  I don't want my daughter getting herself all pine fresh, too.  So fake tree is where it's at this year.  (Thank you, Target, for making a tree easy enough for Team Sparling to put together without having to read the instruction manual.  A first!)
  • Our Christmas cards are also on their way from TinyPrints (they did BSparl's birth announcements, too - I like their work).  This is the first time we've done a photo card for the holidays.  I'm excited to send out our fat little Santa Baby to our friends and family. 
  • When I work out, I swear I am sweating out coffee.  This is not good. I need to hydrate with something other than the magical yum of coffee.
  • Abby the Person is working on the SUM blogroll these days, and I know I'm more than a year behind in updating the list.  If you have sent me your blog and I still haven't added it, can you please email your URL to abby (at) sixuntilme (dot) com?  She's far more efficient than I am, and with her help, I'm hoping to bring the blogroll back up to some kind of recognizable form.  
  • If I have to watch one more episode of Caillou, I am seriously going to reach into the television and slap the whine out of that kid.  I'm a patient, kind mommy to real children, but I'll beat up your animated kid without blinking.  
  • When the Dexcom BEEEEEEP!s at me, I've started yelling back at it.  "BEEEEEEP! to you, jerkface!"  (But then I test, and usually bolus or eat, depending on the side of the spectrum I'm on.)
  • The blood sugar average on my meter is creeping back up to 160 mg/dl.  I haven't been able to get to my gym in over a week.  I'm beyond frustrated with the state of my health these days.  Diabetes burnout?  Yup - I'm in it with burnout to spare.
  • On a conference call recently, someone asked me how many kids I have.  And I said "One, for now."  And then I laughed for like ten minutes because seriously, how the hell did that "for now" slip in there? 
  • And we're on the hunt for a car bigger than my hot little Honda Civic.  Because when it comes to trotting around with all my stuff, the baby stuff (stroller, etc), and whatever the daily adventure brings our way, I'm out of room in that little black Batmobile.  It's time to upgrade to something bigger, but not like Mega Big.  (No Partridge Bus necessary. No minivans allowed, either.)  The Honda CR-V is speaking to me (it also says BEEEEP!).
Oh writer's block.  You bring out the Meathead in me.

December 01, 2010

Real People Sick.

Since the beginning of November, I've been dealing with a random few weeks of feeling "real people sick."  Like I wrote about last week, diabetes is something I'm used to and can deal with pretty well, but the common cold knocks me right on my end.   I deal with colds like a guy.  I hate being RPS.

Real People Sick:  The differentiation between blood sugar issues and the common cold. Phrase slips out most often when the diabetic admits to not feeling well and must specify that it is not blood sugar related.

This month's Animas "Life, Uninterrupted" vlog is about being "sick" on top of having diabetes, and about how cracked out squirrels and I sometimes share the same vocal patterns.  Unfortunately, there's another cameo by Abby (the Cat) because she's usually lounging, all lazy, while I record these things.  (That cat needs to get on the ellipmachine or something - chubby little chomper.)

Enjoy, and thanks for not judging me for the squeaky voice and the whining!  :)

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