Sunday, May 26, 2013


My #dayofdiabetes tweeting was successful. I actually lost a few followers and gained a few more, so it worked out well. I guess those who I lost didn't want to be annoyed by the daily decisions of living with Type One Diabetes, I wish it was as easy for me!

Anyway here is a storify for my tweets. I could have tweeted more but showed alittle restraint. I didn't want to lose ALL of my non-D followers.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

My #dayofdiabetes

Today I will be live-tweeting the decisions and thought processes that go into my day-to-day life of living with type one diabetes.

Some basic words you may need the definition of as I go on:

Basal: when I say basal rate I am referring to the "background" insulin my pump delivers to me. I get a different amount based on the time of day and sometimes I tweak and adjust this based on blood sugars, activity etc.

Bolus: This is the amount of insulin I program my pump to give when I eat carbohydrate, or have a high blood sugar.

#bgnow: Is referring to my blood sugar at that point. My target range is between 4.0 and 8.0. Below or above is considered low or high in my personal treatment plan. Every person is different. You may see me tweet a picture with a #bgnow in the hundreds. That is because I am using a Dexcom 7+ continuous glucose monitor which uses American blood sugar readings. I will probably convert it to Canadian. (which is dividing the number on the screen by 18)

So that's what I have for now.

You can follow along at @alannaswartz

I will also be storifying the tweets tomorrow!

Friday, May 24, 2013

A unicorn took a glitter what?

So I have been debating with myself at trying a new infusion set lately.

When I made the switch to my Animas Pump from my Medtronic last year, I wanted to try all of the infusion sets to get a feel for what I really like.

I had already used the Silhouette Set on Medtronic in my early pumping days and I HATED the insertion. I couldn't ever get it at the right angle or anything of the sort so I nixed the Animas version of said set immediately.

I did, however, want to try the Inset 30 set, as it provided the angled insertion with an inserter so I couldn't screw it up. I didn't like it. It was clunky, the inserter was hit or miss and the angled set is not ideal for my body.

I went back to the Inset II. Which is the 90 degree insertion with the inserter attached. Like this:

I liked it! Probably because it was very similar (although smaller) than my Quick Set which I loved so much on my Medtronic. I went with the 9mm length cannula (at this point if you're not a pumper you're like YAWN DONT EVEN CARE) because I am fat, thinking I would need as much depth as possible. However I have other friends who are the same size as me who use the 6mm and prefer that! SO my last order I tried the 6mm length even though the 9mm was working, because hey....3mm is a lot of length when we are talking about puncturing tissue.

When I first tried the 6mm it was on my butt-it worked fabulously. So I went with the second and third set on the same area (different sides). Last night I changed my let to my arm, and it hasn't been that great.

There could be many reasons for this:
1) the 6mm doesn't work as well in my arm.
2)I ate french fries yesterday and the carb overload is still doing its thing.
3)I just have a bad site that doesn't absorb as well as it should.
4)A unicorn took a glitter dump on the alien planet of Azkagiern at a quarter past 2 yesterday.

It's probably option 4, right?

Who knows.

Anyway, I am in this dilemma of should I change my set, or wait to see if it's the carbs? Should I go back to 9mm on my arms and keep 6mm for my butt? Should I eat breakfast even though my sugar is currently 169 mg/dcl/ 9.4 mmol/l? I wouldn't usually eat anything until my sugar is below 8.

My insurance only allows me so many sets every three months so I really HATE changing it before necessary in fear of having some rejects in the future. Oi vey.


I pulled my site and what do I see? Something that looks like the site was a bleeder, therefor proving it was just not absorbing! Fabulous. I love having answers.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Day 5 of #DBlogWeek: The Grass is Always Greener

Topic of the day:

"Just like in the movie, today we’re doing a swap. If you could switch chronic diseases, which one would you choose to deal with instead of diabetes? And while we’re considering other chronic conditions, do you think your participation in the DOC has affected how you treat friends and acquaintances with other medical conditions? (Thanks to Jane of Jane K. Dickinson, RN, PhD, CDE and Bob of T Minus Two for this topic suggestion.)"

Today's post is going to be quick.

I wouldn't trade diabetes for another a chronic disease. I would only hope that other chronic diseases have the resources and support I do.

So let's call this entry a non-entry.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Day 4 of #DBlogWeek: Creative non-fiction

Today's topic:"We don’t always realize it, but each one of us had come a long way since diabetes first came into our life. It doesn’t matter if it’s been 5 weeks, 5 years or 50 years, you’ve done something outstanding diabetes-wise. So today let’s share the greatest accomplishment you've made in terms of dealing with your (or your loved one’s) diabetes. No accomplishment is too big or too small - think about self-acceptance, something you’ve mastered (pump / exercise / diet / etc.), making a tough care decision (finding a new endo or support group / choosing to use or not use a technology / etc.). (Thanks to Hillary of Rainie and Me for this topic suggestion.)"

It was hot out. My forehead was sticky with only the kind of sweat that comes when the sun is high and the air is thick. I was mid-way through my week at diabetes adventure camp, we were testing our newly learned paddling skills out on the water, where we had spend most of the day. I felt a burn setting in my arms and nose, but I didn't care, I just needed to feel the weight of the water against my paddle. My friend and paddling partner took her hat off and dunked it in Kejimakujik Lake and splashed it back on her head. We were picking up our pace as we zig zagged across the large lake, making rounds and chatting with our co-campers in the other canoes.

We paddled to the beach on the other side of the lake, got out and took a dip. I remember taking extra long as I dove in and felt the cool water wash over me. I remember thinking that it was the best day of my life, and that moment was the best moment of my life. I was free and happy.

As we swam about we were waved on to shore by our counselors and medical staff. It was lunch time, and thankfully our brown bagged lunches were waiting for us. We were a group of about 12 13 year-old type one diabetics, plus staff making us around 17 people sitting on the beach. We all checked our blood sugars, some of us treated lows, some of us treated highs, all of us were in a comfort zone. Nobody was judging us, or questioning why we were doing what we were doing.

My canoe partner and I chatted about the strategy to get back to camp as the wind was picking up and the lake seemed to get angry. We had all finished and gotten back in our canoes and were given some direction by the counselors to stay close to the shore since the water was starting to white cap.

As we started our paddle back we sang songs back and forth, and were happy and cheerful. I wanted to take that moment and live in it forever. The moment when you feel so fulfilled with everything in your life, carefree...happy.

That moment can so quickly change. As we stroked along I noticed Kim started to say some things that didn't make sense. She was slurring a bit and her strokes were uneven at best. Being one of the strongest paddlers in our group, I asked her what's up. She turned to me and just said "low." and she slumped in our canoe. I looked up and our medical canoe was about 90 meters away and the water was very choppy. I blew my help whistle and raised my paddle like I was trained to do. In that moment we did not have low supplies in our canoe, but I did have a baggie full of peppermints. I took the baggie of peppermints out of my backpack and mashed them into a paste with lake water and the grip of my paddle. I got low in the canoe trying to coax Kim to talk to me, I stuck my fingers in the bag and rubbed the peppermint paste on her cheeks and gums. My heart was racing, our canoe was drifting out in the lake, and I could see the staff paddling as hard as they could. It felt like hours.

The peppermint paste was working. I saw her eyes flutter and she was groaning. I asked her not to move, tilted her head to the side and continued to massage the peppermint paste in her mouth without taking my eyes off her. We were bumped hard by the medical canoe. As the nurse did a canoe transfer I was briefing her on what happened and Kim started to Seize. The nurse had me hold Kim steady so our canoe wouldn't rock too much as she prepared the glucagon injection. Quickly and through her shorts Kim got a shot of Glucagon as our co-campers paddled towards us. 

I don't really remember what happened after the fact. I remember paddling that canoe hard with the nurse treating Kim and being tied on to the staff canoe. I remember never feeling so happy to be putting my feet on the tiny rocks of the beach at camp. I remember being whisked away as our camp doctor met us on shore with the sirens of an ambulance not far behind. I remember my legs feeling like jell-o, my skin stung from being licked by the sun and my eyes burned from the tears that were flowing. 

It wasn't until after dinner that our group chatted with the doctor who explained that Kim was doing fine in the hospital and she would be back at camp the next day. I was relieved, and happy that I had the knowledge I did.

The next day Kim arrived back and we finished camp just fine.

Kim never came back to camp in the years following that summer and I often wonder whatever happened to her. But I felt accomplished that I had tackled one of the scariest things that can happen to a person with diabetes. Even if it wasn't my own.

Years later, I would have had the situation happen to several campers as I worked as a staff member, and I always flashed back to that canoe, that lake and those peppermints. I still don't like peppermints to this day.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Day 3 of #DBlogweek: Memory

A lot of my memories involve diabetes somehow. That's how it is when you live with Type 1 for most of your life. Decisions you make, decisions your parents made, feelings, scents and periods of time are usually related to some point in your life in which you were living with diabetes.

The memory I am talking about happened very early in my diabetes life. In fact I think that it was the very first time I realized that being a kid with diabetes might be hard.

My dad was taking me to my appointment to see my doctor and get my blood work done. I remember sitting on his lap, absolutely petrified of having to get a needle take blood out of me. Dad tried to distract me by telling me he had a surprise for me after my appointment.

So I got my blood taken quickly, and was ushered into the elevator up to see the doctor. In the elevator dad started bouncing up and down out of excitement for my upcoming surprise. All of the sudden, the elevator came to a quick halt. I looked at dad, he looked at me with locked knees and quickly told me everything was going to be fine. He pressed the emergency call button and we were told the firemen were on the way. I was scared and a little traumatized, but he reassured me. In between reassurances he slipped in a request that I not disclose to the firemen or my mom that it was him that was fooling around and potentially causing the elevator to stop.

We got out, did our doctor's visit and then he took me to a hockey game as part of my "surprise". It was an eventful day, and my first memory of diabetes really shaping the way the day was laid out.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

#DBlogWeek Day 2: We, the Undersigned

23 years x 365 days= 8395 days

8395 days  x 8 pokes a day= 67,160 finger pokes.

Sixty seven thousand one hundred and sixty.

That's how many times I have punctured you, dear fingertips. That's an average. I am willing to bet that it is even more considering sick days, pump site failures, low blood sugars and more. I am also willing to bet I haven't changed my lancet even a quarter of the amount I should have.

This isn't a petition to make you stop doing anything.  It's a petition from people with diabetes to encourage you to keep doing what you're doing while we mildly abuse you, because without you we would be having a hard time.

We, the undersigned, are signing this as a declaration of love and admiration for the accuracy you provide us. We are signing stating we will only poke the sides of our fingers to spare your delicate nerves. We are signing to let you know that we will rotate fingers more often even though we all have our favourite. We, the undersigned promise to keep you healthy and moisturized and clean.

Here's where the petition part comes in though. We, the undersigned are requesting your assistance in not building up callouses. We, the undersigned have been living with some form, or treating some form of diabetes for awhile. And while we, the undersigned hear from our health care team to do it every time, we just don't change our lancets.

Dear fingertips, it's not you, it's us. So please bear with us and accept this petition to make your skin more pliable to our bad habits.


We, the undersigned.

Monday, May 13, 2013

D-Blog Week: Day One

This week I will be participating in Diabetes Blog week. For more information on what that means please visit Karen's Blog here. It's going to be a big challenge for me since I have been busy with the rest of my life, and my blog has unfortunately taken the back burner for my JDRF Fundraising and my buying a house.

Anyway, on with this week's topic:

"Often our health care team only sees us for about 15 minutes several times a year, and they might not have a sense of what our lives are really like. Today, let’s pretend our medical team is reading our blogs. What do you wish they could see about your and/or your loved one's daily life with diabetes? On the other hand, what do you hope they don't see?  (Thanks to Melissa Lee of Sweetly Voiced for this topic suggestion.)"

I am so disjointed from my medical team. I couldn't tell you my nurses name to be honest and my endocrinologist barely speaks when I am there because I am often seen by untrained, and VERY un-knowledgeable (not a word, don't even care. irony!) interns. Because I am fat, it is automatically assumed I am a Type 2 diabetic, so I usually spend a few minutes clarifying this information to the intern. Then I will sit down they will tell me I have to lose weight, at which point I will address my doctor and explain what I have been doing exercise wise, and that my nutritionist is impressed with my food diary. I will remind my endocrinologist that 7 years ago she felt I had cushings syndrome due to my body composition, my hormone levels and my inability to lose weight despite an active, healthy lifestyle. She will then take a few minutes to explain to the intern what exactly I was tested for and how we don't treat the cushings because I was borderline.

So, I wish my health care team could see all the work I do. I don't blog enough about this work because my blog is usually read by other people with diabetes. They know how much work I do because they do it too. But I wish I got a little recognition and understanding from my team. My doctor doesn't even know that my A1C has dropped from 8.9 to 6.2 because the wait list to see her is 12-18 months (this Canadian health care system ain't all it's cracked up to be ;)) and I am taking self-monitoring to a whole new level.

I wish they would read the support I get from this blog and the ideas we bounce off each other. I truly feel that this online community has helped me answer some really tough questions when my doctor and health care team just isn't there.

I don't have anything on this blog I wouldn't want them to read. I want them to know all of the work I am doing and all of the support I am getting in the comments. I would encourage them to read everything word for word and open their mind to learning from other PWDs like I did. We do our own research and we are good at it.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Weighty Issues

Amy Taylor wrote a blog post with an open letter to the piece of shit CEO of that lame brand that wannabe tween convince their parents to buy them. Don't know what I am talking about, you can read the article that Amy so eloquently and wonderfully wrote here

I didn't mention the names of the brand or the CEO on purpose, mainly because I have a very tiny understanding of how marketing and the Internet works (I paid enough for my education...I would hope that I do anyway) to know that adding those names to the SEO/Internet keywords for that company is only giving that slimeball what he wants.

So I will say this: I wish I had the courage to make a post like Amy did. Even more, I wish I had the courage to post a photo of myself from head to toe smiling as wide and genuinely happy as she is. She is a jaw-droppingly beautiful woman who is intelligent and wise. Any photo I see of myself from head to toe gets scrutinized in my brain, I get dizzy between my forehead and behind my eyes, my throat tightens and I usually look away or bury it pretty quickly. I remember crying quietly for hours after seeing my grad photos because I looked like a whale by comparison to my friends. I broke down when my parents wanted a picture of me a few years ago. So yeah, that's a thing that I have to work on, obviously.

Why do I mention this? Because it's about me too. Because this is what I learned growing up. This is what my bullies taught me in Jr. and High schools when they didn't pick me to be on their sports teams, when jumping on a trampoline in guym class brought on gasps (and I wasn't even THAT fat in school jeez) This is what brands like this piece of shit company taught me. This is what is taught to me when I am told "you have to lose weight..."

"I don’t wear a size 4. You should probably also know that my middle fingers curve ever-so-slightly outward and I have a Morton’s toe. I’m terrible at long division and I’m not that great at parallel parking. But I’m a good person. I have an awesome job, great friends and a family that I wouldn’t trade for the world. I have mentors with brains as big as their giant hearts, and a rescue dog who is always happy to see me at the end of the day. Like everyone (size 4 or size 24), I have wants and hopes and dreams. "--Amy Taylor

This is the photo of Amy Taylor.

This is all so silly because like Amy states: I have an AWESOME life. I have an amazing partner in crime, I have a few very close friends, I am blessed with a job that keeps my bank account from being empty, parents I can call anytime for help. I have a new house I bought with aforementioned partner in crime, I have a rescue dog who loves me, I have community, I have a sense of humour, I have spirit, I have two arms, two legs that all work JUST FINE, and a heart that beats just fine. I live in a part of the world that I won't get killed for publicly disagreeing with the political figures in my country, and I can go to the tap, pour a glass of water and drink it down, maybe even spill out half of it when I am done and not fear dying of dysentery.

So for every person and company who has put in my brain that my size is somehow connected to my self worth, I hope they read Amy's words, because she said it better than I could without getting all emotional up in here.Because those people and businesses created a lot more work for me in my adult life than I would prefer to have!

I am working on it, though.

WIP as we like to say in "the biz".

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Super Supper

I am posting my first recipe blog! Jump for joy!

So, for those of you that don't visit me often....I am a good cook. I love to cook. I think almost every day that I should have been a chef, but I couldn't cut it with the type of atmosphere a kitchen provides. I just love recipes, I am good with making my own and matching flavours and trying new things.

So tonight I needed to make some supper that can last tomorrow. I had defrosted chicken but I wasn't feeling it so I headed for my "fall back" cupboard. Once I saw the canned chickpeas I knew what I wanted.

Chickpea burgers.

Recipe (Makes 8 patties):

1 Can chickpeas, drained
1.5 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup Sriracha Hot Sauce
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp Lemon pepper
2 eggs
2 tbsp tahini or natural peanut butter
1 tbsp olive oil

-Blend chickpeas, olive oil, garlic and eggs until smooth.
-Add sriracha, 1/2 cup of panko, lemon pepper and tahini blend until combined
-Form into patties with your hand, coat in panko.
-Pan fry in a small amount of olive oil.

Ta da!

I had mine with a Sriracha/Greek yogurt combination (literally just combining the two, also works with mayo) and slices of avocado.

I entered this recipe into MyFitnessPal's nutrition calculator (which I tend to do when I cook from scratch)

Per serving:

Calories: 116
Carbs: 15g
Fat: 4g
Protein: 7g
Sodium: 133mg

Enjoy. I highly recommend my toppings, but what would you put on?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Swagging a Breakfast Bolus.

It's about the little things sometimes. I have had a few days where I felt like I was fighting a losing battle lately. But today, today I did it! I conquered the ever elusive "effective but not too effective" breakfast Bolus. This is my 2 hour post prandial for breakfast today.

I went with the age old "take a picture it will last longer" train of thought :)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Now With More Ron Swanson

If you love Parks and recreation as much as I do, in particular Ron Swanson.....This video will probably make you as happy as me. Happy Wordless Wednesday!