Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Great Reminders

            Duchess is such a large part of my life. She does go everywhere with me and she is so much fun most of the time. Duchess has taught me so much about myself in some ways. She has a way of reminding me at times when I get too caught up in my work that sometimes it's really good to take a break and go for a walk. Other times she reminds me how fun it can to be silly and dress up in silly costumes like she loves too. I see her cute dog smile and how she likes to prance around. This playfulness is another example of her showing me how much fun it can be to be silly for a little while longer. Duchess on the other hand wants me to get better at responding to her alerts. I know I should be checking immediately but It can  be hard when your at work trying to get stuff done. She really has gotten to where she really loves throwing the test kit at me but I do love the irony of the situation. Duchess is just as stubborn as me and I would not change that for a minute. I need her to be very persistent and she has come up with some interesting alerts for me. Throwing the test kit is one, she will bring me glucose tabs is another, she will bring me my sealed box of lancets. I know the trainer trained her to bring the test kit but the other items she figured out on her own.So things are always interesting. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.
Duchess at her first Reconnaissance Festival

              Other times she reminds me that life's too short not to get out there and enjoy it regardless of what my blood sugar is. Duchess most of all reminds me that not matter what my blood sugar is that day she loves me anyways. She is so very patient and never gets mad at me when I have my bad days. I am incredibly lucky to share my life with such a wonderful DAD (diabetic alert dog).

Duchess loved wearing her horns at the festival. Working on her costume for this years big Renaissance festival.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Unexpected New Challenges

               The challenges of having a service dog at work is still something I am learning about as time goes bye. I noticed today when I was at my desk working on some audits I was preparing for and another employee walks close to my desk. Duchess is laying on a mat next to my chair she is not under the desk but out of the walk way. The lady works in a separate department from mine. She was coming to visit my coworkers and she stops and makes a fuss because she thinks Duchess should be under the desk at all times. I told her that I would have Duchess move under the desk. The thing is that she is not working she was visiting and interrupting me for no reason. Duchess was not moving around in fact she was sleeping I had to wake her up to get her to move. I know there is a give and a take but some days I feel like I am the only one who has to be flexible and not other employee's. I know there will be people who are afraid of dogs and have allergies but I was not really prepared for this.

               I always do my best to make every one comfortable as possible. Duchess is a very active do and to expect her under a very small desk all day is a tough thing. I have a very small workspace for her to rest at. I allow her to come out from under the desk right next to my chair where at least their is some light it is very dark under my desk and I honestly don't blame her for getting tired of laying under their. I know for the most part most of my coworkers love having Duchess around at work they say they feel like she lightens the moods most of the time. She quite the character and for most people who give her a chance they end up loving her.

                Lunch today was not much better either. I went downstairs my little department three of us usually try to each lunch together. I went to sit down near my coworker and there was a new woman who had recently started. Once I was seated she got up and moved down the table from me. I need to grow some thicker skin sometimes because It bothered me because it felt offensive on one hand. Most likely she did not like dogs but I still struggle with the fact that in some ways having a service dog at times can be isolating in some aspects. I talk to more random strangers but quite a few people I think have this idea that I don't live a normal life. The funny thing is that my life is the same except I take my dog with me everywhere. It's not glamorous like people like to think it's a tremendous amount of work. I think people see me and judge me with the old stigma's attached to disabilities. I am always trying to break down the old stigma's by educating people in hopes to change their perceptions. I have the same to offer as any other employee I work with but convincing other of this is a major challenge. I am attaching a link of a story written by a college student about Duchess and I. I try to get my story out to allow others to become more educated.

All Personality

    When I started the process to get a diabetic alert dog I assumed the dog I would get would be very calm and very serious. I remember my first day working with her. She was extremely focused and very loving. When I took her back to the hotel room I got to see more of her personality which was very surprising to me. My alert dog is goofy in every sense of the word. She likes to make goofy noises and she likes to do the strangest things at times. She loves her Halloween costume from two years ago. When we get home from work everyday she runs to my bedroom and gets her costume and wants to wear it. She is also so very stubborn and goes about in the strangest ways to get my attention at times.

Her beloved Halloween costume.

        When I'm at work if her water bowl is empty for just a minute she will pick it up and throws it at my leg. When I'm low from time to time she will throw the test kit at me. I have to admit I do deserve it though. I sometimes will wait a while after she alerts to test which I am working on. I know that drives Duchess crazy. She is obsessed with playing ball. I find it funny too that my guy friends all want to steal my dog because they lover her spunky personality. She is funny in that when she walks in the room she assumes that everyone is looking at her, She thinks she royalty which is cute. She loves to wear costumes and likes to be photographed. Being a single woman and having a service animal is interesting to say the least but for some reason she tends to attract the guys which I find interesting. She loves to tell men in particular when I'm low and I can never figure out why she was does this. Duchess I know had humble beginnings and was picked up off death row in Oklahoma city by a rescue group and then her trainer found her. I feel like her second chance has been my second chance as well in many ways. I would not trade her for anything. I love that she has spunk and so much personality. She has made my life even more funny which I really appreciate.

Monday, May 28, 2012


I have been working so much overtime recently and I know that is not the ideal for Duchess. Diabetic alert dogs need a good balance of downtime and work time. I always try my best to achieve that balance but recently it has been a struggle. I had a coworker out on paternity leave for several weeks. When he is gone I do portions of his job which means that my work is not getting done. I am always behind and that seems the way my department runs. We actually should have around two more people just to keep up with all the work but I know that won't happen. I am trying to get caught up from him being gone still and I'm not sure if I will get caught up or not. I am trying to work some overtime to get somewhat caught up but it does not seem to be making a dent in the workload. I am hoping to get this done by July when I am going on a short vacation to wine country.

This was taken in Sonoma at a friends home during my last trip.

            I am hoping some time off will do both Duchess and I some good. I have not taken one day off from work except for holidays in the past six months. I am really starting to feel it which is never good but even more so with Duchess. I have taken some time this holiday weekend to do some things that Duchess loves and give her more down time which she needs. I am also planning at least one day this month as well off from work to get both of us back on track. I just booked my whole vacation last week it does not seem real that I'm actually going. I am looking forward to the winery tours, great food and visiting my friends.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Moving beyond Shyness

       My life has been nothing but a learning curve since I got Duchess almost two years ago. I know one of the hardest parts of being a service dog handler is fighting for your rights. I have had to do it quite frequently. I have been asked to leave so many places I have lost count. I know the first time it happened my heart was beating so fast and adrenaline was flowing. I was panicky but I knew that I needed to explain the law and sure enough I was able to handle the situation. I have had some situations that did not end so easily. It can be difficult to not lose your cool in these situations. I have my strategy for dealing with these situations for the most part. I have to admit most of the time in the past I did not always speak up in some situations that I should have. Most of my life I have been incredibly shy but I am thankful for these experience because it has forced me to move beyond some of my shyness.

         I was at the movie theater with my friend one evening. We were about to enter the theater after we had purchased our tickets. Then the manager approaches me and says you are not allowed to bring your dog in the theater. I then start to explain the law to him. He says he has to worry about all the other paying customers who might have allergies. I then explain my rights to be there trumps over the person who has allergies. I will sit on the opposite side of the room to accommodate a person with allergies if necessary. I understand how hard allergies can be but leaving my dog at home is not an option for me. So I try to be accommodating but I will not leave because of someone's allergies. Then the manager says to me there is no way your dog can sit through a two hour movie without barking or making a scene. I told him she was thoroughly trained and had been to the movies during her training. I know he scoffed at my comments but in the end I did win. It is sad that I had to educate the management on service animals. In fact this location I have had several issues, but I won't stop going to this location for one very important reason. If I back down the management will bully every service dog team after me. I am always trying to make life easier for anyone who may come after me. If I let one business get away with this it will only cause more hardships. Life is not easy having a service dog when in public in a city where there is very few service animals.

        I have contacted some corporate headquarters for several businesses to ask that they retrain their staff on service animal laws and etiquette instead of filing a complaint with the ADA. I have found that asking the business to just retrain the staff has worked well for me. I have went back to several places that addressed the issues and I am pleased to report that I have had no further issues. I am hoping as more service animals in the public will make access easier. If a situation is not resolved after dealing with the cops I will not shy away from filing a complaint with the ADA if necessary.


Thursday, May 24, 2012


       My job has an interesting aspect to it that I never thought I would enjoy doing. I took a speech last summer while I was in college and I was not to keen about giving speeches until I did several speeches in class. After class several people told me how much they loved my speeches. I ended up looking for work the end of the following semester. The job had a requirement to teach classes. I thought I could do this it would be nerve wracking but a good way to expand upon my public speaking skills. It has turned out to be a surprising part of my job I actually seem to be enjoying for the most part. The class I teach is around two hours long and a large amount of information to go over.

        The part of this that I struggle with is the looks I get from the staff who attends the courses I teach. I know that general public is really thrown off that a health looking person would need a service dog. I know I still some what struggle with the fact how much my life has changed since I have gotten Duchess my alert dog. There is the good sides such as being safe but there is also the negative side from the general public. I know some people in my office make comments about how they wonder if I should be working at all if I need a service dog. I think they thought I could not hear there conversation but I did. I work very hard at my job and do a great job but it's really quite insulting because I have my alert dog that automatically makes me incapable of doing the job to the same level they could. I really wish I could change society's view of disabled. I do not consider my self disabled at all. I know others might disagree. I still do everything I did before except feel the high and low blood sugars.

          I try my best to educate the general public on hidden disabilities but I know there is still so much work left to do in that area but I at least hope that my speaking in front of the general public might have people rethinking things. I don't know if it will but at least it's worth a try. I know the looks on people's face's during class do make it hard for me to an extent but I am not going to let it affect the way I go about teaching my classes.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The wrath of the birds

Life has been very chaotic in general the last couple of weeks for me. I never quite expected this adventure. It was a normal morning walk into work. I think its about half a mile walk to my work. It's usually a good time to get Duchess exercise as well. I normally enjoy the quite mornings before the students start to crowd the campus. There is a really lovely quietness in the mornings. Everything was pretty typical that morning until I realized Duchess had some new friends. As I was walking a bird swoops down and pecks Duchess in the side. I thought that was strange and keep walking. Then I notice there is several birds flying rather close for comfort. Then all of a sudden I think around 5 or 6 birds are all swooping down at me and Duchess. I have my coach purse in hand and start swinging it at the birds. I feel like I'm in the move " The Birds" but this is not fun. I speed up my pace but the birds continue to follow another two swoop down and one pecks Duchess again and she yelps. I swing my purse at the bird because I am pretty pissed off the bird was hurting my service dog. I then swung again and I hit it and knocked it to the ground. I keep walking.
                    Austin Texas Attractions - Grackles

         I get approached by a student who witnessed my bird encounter and they ask me why I was trying to kill the bird. I explain I was not trying to kill the bird but was trying to get it to leave me and my service dog alone. He looks down at Duchess and was like I did not realize she was a service animal. Oh never mind. I keep walking astonished by what had just happened. I walk the same route everyday and the birds usually ignore us. I could not figure out what was going on. I know the students tend to feel the birds and the squirrels. There is some obese squirrels on campus. I'm sure that was not helping my situation any at that point. I start talking with some coworker at work. This is the time of year when the birds are laying their eggs and I'm sure they were trying to protect their eggs. I have been dealing with the birds swooping at me for several weeks now and even changed my route on campus to avoid certain areas. I have hit two birds so far and I'm not too happy about that part but honestly it freaks me out when birds come flying right past me so closely.

           Duchess has been such a trooper but honestly a little jumpy as well. I am hoping my bird adventure will be over soon honestly this is just crazy. I lived in quite a few places but not where the birds are this mean. I really need a break from the crazy birds. I wish I knew the exact cause of what's going on but I'm not bird expert as of yet. Hoping for a day free of bird attacks soon. I still can't believe I either stunned or killed a bird with my coach purse but what can you do? I am trying to figure out what type of bird it is but I have not clue. I again experience the wrath of  the birds. I was discussing with a coworker this morning we were goggling and we think it's a mocking bird. I don't think "To kill a Mocking Bird" is going to help. I could be wrong but that's its a mocking bird but it my best guess.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Patience tested

Through the diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy I had some really terrible Dr.'s visits recently. I would rather never go back to the Dr. again because his staff was just terrible. I know from my blog yesterday when the nurse said well at least you made it 32 years because we see people her after having diabetes only a year was not fun. All the Dr.'s appointment were a real test of my patience. The first thing was that they scheduled me for the wrong Dr. so I had to change my appointment for a day earlier. I am lucky my boss is a very understanding person who told me to not worry about it and go take care of my eyes.


       I arrive at my appointment they did several photographs of my eyes. Then onto an injection of dyes into my arm to see blood flow in my eye. The tests honestly were torture for me because I have this weird thing about anything being near my eyes or my fee for that matter. I am really sensitive about it. I don't like eye drops and I could not imagine trying to wear contacts. I make it through the tests and the Dr. comes in and says that there is some abnormal blood vessel growth but not much which is good. Then he wants to do another injection in my left eye which did not have an injury to make sure there is no bleeding in that eye either. I was really unsure about this. My left eye had normal vision and not one thing wrong from what I could see but I agree to do it anyways. The Dr. starts that procedure and then injects it in but then the needle is not going in as well as it should. The Dr. then says looks like we have a blunt needle on our hands and then continues to put more pressure on my eye to get the needle in and finish the injection. I was not pleased in the slightest. This one hurt twice as much as the first one I got at my first visit.


       I go back two weeks later for my first laser treatment. I was nervous I have never had any laser procedures before I just wanted to get it over with. I get called back by the nurse right after I arrive. They do the normal dilation procedure. I then get sent to the dark room to wait. I sat there for around 45 minutes and finally get called back by the nurse. They take me to room where I will get my laser procedure done. I thought the Dr. would be in shortly but I waited another 15 minutes. The Dr. comes in and we get started with the laser procedure. It was hurting I was told it should not but I did not want to stop. The Dr. stops suddenly he asks the nurse when I was dilated it had been over an hour since I was dilated. He told the nurse I was not dilated enough and we would have to do it again.I was so frustrated to say the least. If I had the time I would of switches Dr.'s after all the stuff I had experienced but I don't want to miss any more work than necessary. I was really annoyed having to do another laser treatment because I was annoyed it was not making it easy for me to do what they needed me to do. I did get it done but honestly this Dr.'s office drove me crazy. Well I'm done for another three months before I have to go back for a check up which will give me time to get more of my patience back again.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Saved by chance.

A couple weeks ago something happened that I knew was a possibility but did not feel prepared for. Duchess my alert dog alerted early one morning and accidentally got my in the eye. It was bleeding and I knew I would need to see my eye Dr. to make sure things were okay. This happened on a Saturday morning so I knew it would not be till Monday I could see the eye Dr. at earliest. I woke up on Sunday morning with blood in my eye where my dog had scratched. I call Monday morning and they could get me in but I had a meeting at the time I could get in. I was told the next day would be Wednesday. I tell the nurse my eye had been bleeding and she was not concerned so I thought it was fine.

         I go in on Wednesday and the eye Dr. takes one look and says you have a retinal detachment. I tell him I think I have a retinal hemorrhage but he disagrees. I was sent immediately to a retina specialist down the road. They had me a map which honestly is not helpful when your eyes are dilated. Then I ask them to tell me the directions but that is challenging because I am not very familiar with where I am going. It should of taken me like ten minutes to get there but with me being directionally challenged and not being able to see well enough to type the address into my navigator it was going to take a while. I think around 25 minutes for me to find the place. I had been studying things online before I went to my appointment and my medical terminology class I knew exactly what a retinal detachment meant. I did not have all the system of a detachment so I was surprised that's what they thought I had.

          I arrive at the retina specialists office and I know they were waiting for me. The nurse calls me back and they start running some tests. I have several photos taken and suck. They check my eye pressure. I was chatting with the nurse and was quite nervous because they start talking about the fact that a retinal detachment would require emergency surgery. The nurse said well you should feel lucky that you made it 32 years without any eye issues because we see people here frequently with similar issues after only a year. I have never wanted to tell off a nurse in my life until now. I have never been so insulted and angry. Telling me that I had made it that long was good but it could be worse was not helpful. For me there would never ever be enough time for it to be okay. I knew that it was a possibility but I was not quite ready. I calmly told the nurse thank you for trying to be nice but never ever tell that to a diabetic patient. That is a very offensive statement and should not be said. I sat there waiting for the Dr. feeling upset and vulnerable.

          The Dr comes in and starts talking about whats going on he tells me that I don't have a retinal detachment but I do have diabetic retinopathy. They said I need an injection in my eye to get rid of the dried blood in my eye. He said there was a hemorrhage and that should help with that issue. I was also told I would need to have several laser treatments to help get rid of the formation of bad blood vessels in the eye. Then he told me if the blood did not start to clear after a week they would want to operate. I was upset and want to avoid surgery at all costs as most people would. I ended up not needing surgery but I learned some things about myself in this process. I know at the end of the day that I did the best I could with what I had over the years. My early twenties there were times that I could not afford all the supplies I needed and I did the best I could. I am not angry but just a little sad about it all. Complications happen and yes I am doing the best I can to prevent more of them. It all feels surreal right now but I am most proud of myself for dealing with this situation as it came at me. It has been a couple years since I have felt like myself again and it was nice to have the strength to deal with this. The funny thing I always thought I would be really angry if it did happen but I was just really calm considering everything.

            I know most diabetics have some retinopathy after 10 years so yes I did make it quite a while and now I will continue to see the retina specialist several more times this year and I'm thankful that my dog scratched my eye because otherwise they would not of found out til the May 21st of this month when I was scheduled for my annual eye exam. I know the retina specialist says that it was a weird coincidence but I think it was more than that.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Diabetic Hero's

Let’s end our week on a high note and blog about our “Diabetes Hero”.  It can be anyone you’d like to recognize or admire, someone you know personally or not, someone with diabetes or maybe a Type 3.  It might be a fabulous endo or CDE.  It could be a d-celebrity or role-model.  It could be another DOC member.  It’s up to you – who is your Diabetes Hero??

Blog post day 7.

        I have been following her blog post for 5 years now. I finally meet her in person In March at the JDRF conference in Austin. I love her sense of humor and her blogging style. She is an example all of can learn from. I  like that she talks about her struggles and frustrations. I like the fact that in some ways we have quite a bit in common especially being considered brittle as a diabetic ( sorry about the use of the work brittle they used to us it back in the day). I love how when a complication came she told you how she felt about and I learned so much. I have some issues of my own and because of her I don't feel like a completer failure and I really did the best I could with what I had. Kerri Morrone Sparling of "Six Until Me". 

         My other hero is my own mother who was diagnosed with diabetes when she was 36. She did so much more than any parent should and I appreciate all she did more than she will ever know. All the late nights at the ER, surgeries, illnesses and other diabetes issues she dealt with such ease. She was my best diabetic friend and miss her dearly. She was not perfect but she taught me so much. She taught me to be my own advocate for my diabetes and I will never forget that. She became a nurse so she could be more knowledgeable to make the best decisions for me. She was an incredible nurse and there were so many patients who appreciated her. I know my mother always worried about me but she also let me live my life my way. I appreciate all the sacrifices she made for my and the family. I was so blessed to have her. Thank you mom for being so much more that you had to be.

         The last but defiantly not the least is my guardian angel Duchess. I have spent almost two years with you. Duchess has saved my life several times and I know I am blessed beyond words to have her in my life. She is a goofy fun loving dog who loves her job and takes really good care of me. I have a hard time putting into words what it is like having a service dog who was so well matched with me. I know she drives me crazy and I know I drive her crazy but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Diabetes Photos

Blog Day 6

Diabetic Photos

Duchess bringing me glucose tabs. I was low for hours. I ate 300 carbs to get my blood sugar up to 120 but once I got there it stayed for quite a while.

I love my D pouch. I have it stuffed pretty full most of the time.

Duchess bringing me my test kit. She was not a happy camper on Saturday but what a blessing to have.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Going to the circus!!

Blog Week Post #5

Today let’s borrow a topic from a #dsma chat held last September.  The tweet asked “What is one thing you would tell someone that doesn’t have diabetes about living with diabetes?”.  Let’s do a little advocating and post what we wish people knew about diabetes.  Have more than one thing you wish people knew?  Go ahead and tell us everything.


            I try to explain what it is like living with diabetes is like going to the circus. There is always tricks that seem to work to get the blood sugar down and other times it does not work well at all. There is the clowns which is basically the hurtful or misguided questions you run into. Such as I hope you can get things under better control so you don't have to use an insulin pump or hopefully you can lose more weight so you won't have to use insulin anymore. The animals which are kinda of like the sky rocketing blood sugars you never know which way they may be heading at times. Then there is the acrobatics involved in dealing with finding new pump sites or dealing with the frustrations of ripping out a pump sight. Walking the tight rope is like trying to make sure you have calculated the correct insulin dosage with the proper amount of carbs. If you miss guess your high if over estimate you low which could get you another visit with everyone's favorite EMS friends.
           I wish more people understood how frustrating a chronic illness can be. I hear all the time all you have to do is this, this and this but it really is not that simple. Diabetes equals math which is not much fun especially when you make errors. There is so many aspects to think about and everyone's way of dealing with their diabetes can also vary. what works for me might not work for the next person and it's just trial and error. Then there are the really hard days where you have a bad low and your tired all day. I could eat the same meal from yesterday and dose the same and get a completely different result. There is so many things that diabetes can effect including your mental health as well. Getting burnt out is quite easy and not easy to try and explain burnt out to a Dr. There is also the positive aspect of diabetes such as the ability to handle quite stressful events with ease. There is also the aspect that I find that I am more compassionate of others as well. Mostly I wish people would understand that even with a service dog I do everything any normal person would do. My life is some what different in that yes I have struggles with low blood sugars and need a dog. Once your dog saves your life you understand that how easy it would be for you to die from a low. there is a sad statistic that 1 out of every 20 diabetics will die from a low blood sugar. I know my own family hates to hear that statistic. Diabetes only stops you if you let it.



Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dream Meters and Pumps

      If dreams do come true. My dream diabetic insulin pump would consist of a special alarms for at night, which would vary so that you don't get used to it and ignore it. The second aspect would be a device that would scan the food you are eating and let you know the correct amount of insulin needed once you input your blood sugar into the pump. The third aspect is that the pump would let you know several hours before the pump site goes bad to change it out. The fourth aspect would be that it would let you know if you are on a low or high trend and that you need to reduce or increase the basal. The pump would also include the Dexcom with it and have the sensor be much more accurate. The fifth aspect would be that the pump sites would last longer with less scar tissue if your dreaming big might as well throw that in too. The sixth aspect would be a more interactive set up on the pump and a way to turn lights off on pump to avoid disco boobs when necessary. The seventh aspect it would be reasonably priced so the majority of people could afford it. The supplies would run much less than they currently do.
       My dream meter would consist of graphs similar to the Dexcom. The meter would point out trends you could be missing. The meter would also create logs that can be sent to your Dr.'s and emailed to you. The meter of course would allow you to enter foods eaten, exercise, if you were sick and make general notes etc. The meter would not have the current plus or minus ratio of accuracy it would be greatly improved.These are just a few idea and I have more but I ran out of time.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Continuation of Disaibilites and work

           Last week I blogged about disabilities and work. I wanted to share my story of what happened at one of my jobs through the same employer I work for now but thankfully not the same department. I honestly have always struggled with being able to tell people I am diabetic. I grew up being teased and experience issues at school from teachers. So I am the type not to tell because of these experiences. I am currently working on being more up front about it except at work.

            I worked in a very busy department where i manged everything from event planning, accounting, student events, purchasing, student payroll, and quite a few other special projects. My boss liked to take time off so I was covering for her when she was out. I had my handfuls to say the least. After my mother passed away I started having issue with low blood sugars and was diagnosed with hypoglycemia unawareness. Dealing with grief and managing blood sugars is not an easy task. Grief is like having two full time jobs. I was doing the best I could. I was testing at least 14 or more times a day trying to catch all the lows but sadly I was still missing them. I decided to go back to pumping which seemed to start helping but I still had a large amount of lows.

             I was getting very disoriented from my lows and would lose track of time when I was low. I was really scared with how I was going to deal with all the craziness I called my life. I was working as hard as I could to deal with the lows. I started to make some headway and then one afternoon a coworker calls me to ask me a question. I was not answering the questions like I normally would. She had a feeling something was wrong. She worked up 3 floors above me. She came down to my office and I was really out of it. She decided that she needed to call 911. She was not sure what to do. I start to come out of my low after they decided that I needed a soda. I start drinking it and by then the EMS arrive and they check my blood sugar it was back up to 60 by then. After this whole incident my boss became very concerned about my ability to do the job.

              I was called into a meeting with my new supervisor who had just started and the executive assistant. They wanted me to speak with the disabilities office where I worked. They were worried they were not accommodating my condition properly. I had never said I was diabetic but they knew after the EMS visit but my coworker knew. I told them that I was trying to address the low issue I had that day and was working on ways to avoid that from happening again. They seem satisfied so I thought the discussion was over. I had numerous visits over the next couple of months to my endocrinologists office trying to get things to settle down. I had have several EMS visit at home as well. I know my work was getting frustrated with all the Dr.'s appointments and such. I tried my bets to schedule early morning or later afternoon appointments to miss less work. This still did not seem to be helping much. In fact at one point my boss told me she thought I should consider applying for disability. I was offended after one incident at work they wanted me to quit.

               I knew things were not going well. I was getting really stressed by the pressure they were putting on me. I noticed around this time that I was going into a rheumatoid arthritis flare up. I had not been to my rheumatologist office since i took the job with this department. I really needed to take care of things because I was having trouble dealing with the pain. It was one of the worst flare ups I have had since diagnosis. I went to my rheumatologist and he put me back on a prescription medication to treat my RA. The Dr. wanted my eyes to be checked by my eye Dr. before he put me on the medication. It has been know to possibly cause some eye issues. I emailed my supervisor at the time about going to my eye Dr appointment. He email response was why are you going to the eye Dr. during the week. Why are you not able to go to one on a Saturday. I told her that ophthalmologist and optometrist are very different and that was not an option. I needed to see an ophthalmologist. I called the disabilities office about this issue because I know my appointments are important part of me being able to not miss work.

              The next thing I know the disabilities office is recommending that I possibly start looking at other departments because this department thinks my appointments are excessive and I should not need as many Endocrinologist appointments. They said I should have max of two of those a year and one eye appointment. Since when did an executive assistant and an senior administrative assistance become Dr.'s. I went to another Dr.'s appointment and had my Dr. write an note allowing me family medical leave and I used my time off to find another job outside of this employer and then gave notice..I think next time in this situation I would be seeking legal council because this employer did not follow the laws. This blog is way too long already there was even more than I have covered that went on. I learned several things for me that not disclosing what type of appointments I am going to helps reduce the why do you need to see them again routine and also it helps reduce them doing there own personal research and justifying me down to only needing so many types of appointments. I think this is working for me and I will most likely not change this method after this bad experience.


What I struggle with the most.

Blog Week Day 3      

        There is always room for improvement with almost anything. I am no exception to that. I have some things I am great at but it's defiantly not filling out food logs. I am in the process of getting my new Animas One touch ping soon. So right now they are making me go back to the nutritionist to make sure all my ratios are correct and such. I am terrible at this. It's not hard to keep track of what I eat but having to list all my blood sugars, food, corrections for several weeks gets old real quick. I am driving myself crazy because I wait till the very last minute to start to fill out the logs. Honestly they are probably not always a hundred percent correct because I am doing this. In fact I'm not doing myself any favors.


               I wish I could get myself a little more motivated to at least attempt to write down the information nightly instead of all the last minute oh crap I need to have these filled out routine I'm currently doing. I am so busy worrying about what my current blood sugar is that half the time I am not doing some of the other things I should be doing but at least I am testing frequently. It always seems I am really extreme on way or the other. I am extreme at testing but lax on logs and keeping information organized. I am really lacking a middle ground in all of this diabetic management. I am hyper aware of all the supplies I have on hand, treatments for low and testing but not good on logs. Finding the balance seems to be an issue for me. Well at least I am working on things but I fear this one is going to take me a while to change. I have even as a child never was good at logging my blood sugars.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The roller coaster ride


            There is several things that come to mind that I feel I am pretty good at these day. Like testing, back up supplies, low blood sugar stash and eating the correct amount to treat lows. These days I feel like I spend most of my days low at times which is not ideal. I usually am luck in that I will usually have a steady line between 80-90 except for at least one or two lows. I am obsessed with checking my blood sugars to make sure I am not going to high or low. Which I drive myself crazy with. In fact my fingers look pretty butchered most of the time. I go to poke my finger and squeeze and I have four of five bleeding all that the same time. Oh the joys of being diabetic. I have to laugh when I squeeze my finger and blood squirts everywhere I am not sure why I find it so funny. I guess after having it 32 years I find the silliest thing funny now.

        The thing I used to struggle with for many years is not over treating a low. I hate that feeling when you know you ate the 12-15 carbs your supposed to treat the low but you are so hungry still. That urge is so strong. I want to rip open a box of cookies and eat them all. I know sometimes it is so easy to overeat. I decided If am going to eat over the amount I need I keep track of what I'm eating so I can bolus but not over bolus for this snack. What seems to work well if I'm going to eat beyond what I need is too have some peanut butter involved. It always seems to keep my blood sugar a little more leveled out. I used to over eat and end up in the two hundred plus range then bottom out again. I hate the roller coaster effect. So i decided about 4 or 5 years ago I need to try to teach myself only to eat the set amount necessary. I feel like I have over come a big obstacle the past year by eating only what I need to treat and if I still want more food covering the food appropriately which I don't do frequently. I have been for the most part avoided the roller-coaster effect and it has made my life so much easier. The roller coaster effect really makes me feel just loopy which is so not ideal when your working or trying to get anything productive done.

          The funny thing about this is that this used to be my weakest point is now one of my strongest points. I guess it goes to show how a little hard work and some effort can help you  to accomplish most things.       



Monday, May 14, 2012

First post of Blog Week

I so excited to be participating in the third annual diabetes blog week. Looking forward to seeing what everyone else is blogging as well. I decided that most of the blogs I currently view most of you already know. So I am going to start of with a wildcard option. Here is my sad attempt at poetry but I figured why not. This poem reflects some struggles I have been dealing with recently.

                      Life changes so quickly
                      dreams of motherhood once were an option but now I question
                      I can't feel lows or high
                      Even with my lifesaving dog could I handle this dream
                      Should I reconsider or let the dreams fade into the night
                      I have been called selfish by other who don't understand
                      what it would be like to handle 3 endocrine issues
                      I think this dream may need to be let go
                      Replaced with safer options
                      The judgement is fierce from friends
                      Some things are not meant to be
                      Motherhood may be that one thing.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Disabilities and work.

            I had an interesting discussion at work today with my my coworkers. I have only been working with most of them since December. I was asked by a coworker at lunch if they felt the disabled people in this country were treated fairly. I would have to defiantly say no. Sadly in the experiences I have had so far they have not been very good. I went on an interview in August of last year and decided to take Duchess my service dog with me. I made this decision because several service dog teams said they always take their dogs with them on interviews. I show up to the interview with my resume in hand and references just in case. I was dressed in my suit and ready to interview. I arrived and introduced myself as I normally would at an interview.                                                            

              I sat down at the table with the gentlemen who started the interview but I noticed that he would not even look me in the eye. I had a feeling that this interview was not going to go as I had planned. He asked me very general questions about my experience. Never touched much on my previous work history. He was done in less than 5 minutes. I asked several questions and I was done with the interview in less than 15minutes. I never heard back from them as I expected. The man decided that once he saw Duchess I would not be capable of doing the job. When in reality I was really over qualified technically. After that experience I went to my College's disability office and asked the disability advocate what is the best procedure for interviews. She told me leave the dog home or have a person waiting with your service dog in the car. She said people do not usually want to hire someone with a disability and since mine is not visible I can hide it well. She said once I accept a job offer right before I start talk to the HR to disclose my disability to get the required accommodations.
              When I contacted the disabilities office at my current workplace they actually advised me not to tell my supervisor or manager what my health condition is. The advised me to tell a coworker I felt comfortable with about my condition in case of emergency. There is several people at work who have volunteered to learn what to do in case of an emergency. I know my new work were so nervous of having a service dog at work and the disabilities office called me and asked what my policy on petting and such. They went and did a training about not touching service animals, and other etiquette rules to follow. All of these aspects have really made working in my current department wonderful. In fact they all love having her around.

              I think there is such a negative stigma with disabilities most people won't even give a person a shot. The most interesting article published last year stated that on average a disabled employee's tend to miss less days than there healthy coworkers. Quite interesting when you think about it. I know I had an uphill battle when I finished up some of my schooling and had to go back to work and I got really lucky to work in a great department who lets me make up time for spent at Dr. appointments and not use my sick leave. They seem to really understand that my appointments are important to keeping me healthy and at work. My last job before I went back to college harassed me about going to appointments. I ended up missing time because they did not want me to go. I have learned quite a bit from my experiences. I know many people have wonderful experience where they are open about them being diabetic but this way seems to be working for me.                                           

              I hope the stigma with disabilities will wain away over time but it can be really hard to say if it will or not. I know we have a long way to go from my perspective but there is at least some laws that have helped to at least make things easier for now. I still find it easier at this point to deal with it the way I have. I know my employer knows I have diabetes because Duchess had a diabetic alert dog patch but her new vests just states medical alert dog patch. I find that not telling my supervisor and manger what my appointments has helped me this time around. I plan on blogging about my previous experience at the same employer was a nightmare I will blog about that soon.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

How fast the time goes

             It's really hard to believe that this coming August I have had Duchess my diabetic alert dog for two years. I would not change a thing about my decision. I know some of my coworkers wonder how much I really need my dog but over the past several months I can see how they are getting how much I really need her. I tried everything to get control of the horrible lows I was having. In fact I need to review a scary incident that really made me realize how seriously down hill things had flowed.

             It was a normal day after work and I was walking to my car which was parked close to a mile away. That was a downside of working for a University is that there is never enough parking especially close. I remember turning down my basal for the walk to the car as usual. This was a humid moth of August and I know I was trying to get to my car as quickly as I could. I am not sure what happened but my cell phone rings and I start looking in my purse for my phone it's my roommate. Hey when are you going to be home. I said what do you mean? She said it's 7:40. I said I am on my way almost to my car. I had lied because I did not want to tell her that I didn't know what happened from 5pm to 7:40pm that night.

              What scared me so much was there is so many things that can happen on a college campus. I know just before this there was a body found on campus which was very surreal. I was really scared for my safety. I realized that these lows I was having I was really getting very disoriented so quickly and I still have some of those today sadly. I knew I need something and Duchess provides that. When I get low I can get very unaware of time and my work errors increase dramatically. I don't believe I could be working today without my service dog and angel Duchess. She keeps me in check unlike before I got her. I was testing at least once an hour and still was missing lows. I know a lot of these lows were from grief and stress. This combination proved to be almost too much. I used to be able to deal with stress so much more efficiently. Now four years later I am finally starting to feel like I am stronger again.

                  I know growing up the Dr.'s always said I was brittle excuse the old school term. I worked very hard to control it and had some great years and not so great years. I am truly blessed to have Duchess and my freedom. The past couple of years have been tough but I have made so many improvements and changes that were necessary. I'm finally starting to feel back on track.

Ps. If you want to me to blog about certain questions you may have or aspects of service dog leave a comment. Thanks for reading.

Remembering various aspects of my childhood

My childhood was not quite so lonely in that my mother was also a type 1 diabetic. I grew up at least knowing one other person who was a diabetic but I think I really wanted to meet kids my age with diabetes too. I know my parents decided that we should join the diabetic group. I was excited to join and finally meet other kids who were diabetic as well. I think my mom was thinking I would meet some kids who worked hard at having good control and eating the right things and such. The opposite was true from what my mother learned that night talking with the parents. There was stories of sneaking candy, not taking shot and not taking insulin to lose weight quickly

There was a story of a girl my age who used to hide candy in the bushes and would stop to eat some on the way to school. I think my mom was not expecting that. I can say that we did not stay in the group long because some of the kids my thought would be nothing but a bad influence on me. I know my mom always worked so hard to keep me on the right track.

My parents were some what strict but only because they cared so much. I did end up that same year going to Diabetic camp which I so loved. I went for several years and could not thank my parents enough for letting me go. I really can't thank my mom enough for her dedication to my care growing up. For all the late night emergency room visits, hospital stays and the doctors appointments. I know my mom did not get to go on as many vacations with just her and my dad. I know there was sacrifices they made to make sure that I had all the latest diabetes gear.

My mom was always went above and beyond. I miss her so much. Shortly after her passing which was unrelated to diabetes. I was given a gift so precious. My diabetic alert dog Duchess. I find it interesting how I was researching hypoglycemia unawareness looking for options that would help me and then I stumbled across an article about diabetic alert dogs. I don't think that was a coincidence. I like to think that my mom was playing a part in it. When I lost my mom I have never felt that alone before. We shared so many things and it made it so difficult not to have her their like she always was before.

I know before my mom had passed I had been following Kerri's blog "Six Until Me" which was a blessing to have especially when things went down hill so quickly. I know this really helped me to work even harder on my control and to start getting more involved in the diabetes community. I belong to a local diabetic group which has been great so far. Always nice to feel connected to others struggling with the same things.

I know today that my mom would be proud of how involved I am and how I am blogging as a way to vent my frustrations or just talk about all the various diabetic topics. As mothers day draws closer I am deep in thought of all that my mom has done and all the sacrifices she made for me. I was truly blessed to have such a wonderful mother.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Service Dogs and Public Interactions

I had an interesting visit to the grocery store the other day. I was stopped by an older lady who was shopping for produce as I was. She came over and thanked me for having a patch on my service dog Duchess that said do not pet. I was so surprised by this because I have been cursed at for not allowing people to pet my service dog. Thanking me for making it clear to her that she should not pet.

I really wish there were more people who understood how important not petting is. I have a service dog who can get distracted quite easily at times and which can have detrimental effects for me. In fact when I was going to college people were constantly petting her even with her patches on and she stopped working. It took weeks of hard work to get her back on track. Some service dogs can be pet but mine is much more sensitive than some peoples dog which is fine with me.

I know the woman told me that she had never heard of a diabetic alert dog but thought it was wonderful. She was very nice and luckily did not say to me the typical line I have a friends who has diabetes too. I really enjoy hearing that at lease some of the public is aware of the service dog etiquette which is wonderful. The best part of where I currently work is that most people I encounter do seem to know as well.

Except an encounter last week as I was walking back into my building at work as this young man kept walking faster and closer to Duchess and I. I thought he might try and pet her and sure enough. I saw his hand moving toward her and I said stop don't touch my dog. He goes why won't you let me pet her. I said she is a service dog and as her patches state Do NOT PET. He then looks at me and says I find the patches to be too confusing. I don't think they make a patch any clearer than that. The funny part of this for me is that I have seen kids at the grocery store read the patches and tell their siblings that they should not pet her. So I really think the young man just didn't want to follow what the patch requested.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Bad Article

I as a diabetic alert dog handler try my best to educate others about service dogs. There has been quite a few articles recently that have been saying that diabetic alert dogs are an excuse not to test. That is so far from the truth. I have never been more angry than when I read an article about parents from Houston Texas. They named there boys service dog Prixsee because they thought they would not have to test their little boys blood sugar anymore because they have a service dog. Yes the dog is faster than your meter but it does not mean you don't need to test.

I can understand how a parent does not want their children to have to deal with all the testing, site changes and other painful parts of diabetes. This newscast and article really made me mad because when you have a diabetic alert dog you end up testing more. The dog will sometime alert you 40 minutes before you are low. The dogs alerts should always be checked by testing. It would be irresponsible and dangerous to just treat if you don't know if your blood sugar is low or high. I have heard of a teenagers who don't test and get them selves in trouble. I am attaching the video and links to the article. I am hoping that parents and adults put a lot of consideration into a service dog before they jump into getting one. They are a tool in any person's arsenal and not perfect either. They have off days just like we do. When people set up these type of expectations of a dog that is not fair. I can tell you my service dog Duchess is wonderful but far from perfect.

I have been misquoted in some articles about my diabetic alert dog. I did notice that not only in the video was this stated but also in the article. I belong to a forum of diabetic alert dog owners. The group has contacted them news station about a possible correction and also contacted the trainer in hopes that he educate his clients about the need for testing.

Friday, May 4, 2012


My life has always to be way too interesting at times for me to handle. I am finally writing about an event that happened back on January 16, 2011. It was such a scary event that I was not completely prepared for. I was at home on a Sunday night with my roommate just watching television after dinner. I had leftovers for dinner that night because I was feeling lazy. I was trying to get some things ready for my next college semester that would start back on January 18th.

I had been running around getting some last minute things done. I like to be very prepared for my college courses. I remember laughing with my roommate while watching tv and after a while I remember just reclining back into the recliner chair I was in. Nothing too crazy and before I knew it my roommate had passed out on the couch. I was getting tired myself. I tested my blood sugar it was 99 at 2 hours which was great.The next thing I know I wake up as my roommate was opening the door for the EMS. I had just had a seizure. My diabetic alert dog had woken my roommate up because I was unresponsive. Waking my roommate up was amazing because I think he could sleep through an earthquake. The EMS tests my blood sugar and it was in the 20's so they get out the glucose gel and start to treat me.

The amazing part is that my dog was able to handle a very stressful difficult situation. I have had times when my blood sugars makes huge drops of over 70 or more points in my blood sugar in just minutes. I feel so very fortunate that day that I had Duchess there to help me.I have had way too many what I call close calls in the last couple of years. Most of the time Duchess will let me know around 40 minutes before I will go low which is a complete blessing. There is times when it drops so quick that there is no way the dogs would be able to catch it. I wonder if my pancreas decided that day to start producing insulin randomly. I am still not sure what caused it but I'm counting my blessings.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Ugh Eye Dr. Appointment

I have never been a fan of the eye doctors but I have to go. Today was just another reminder of this. I have a funny thing about anything being close to my eye. I could have claustrophobia of sorts but not quite sure. I set myself up for another normal appointment. I have the nurse call me back to get my eyes dilated shortly after I arrived. I go back to the second waiting area to be called back to see the eye Dr. I sit there waiting for what seems like an eternity but turns out it was around 45 minutes.

They finally call me back and then I wait again and all the while I was thinking I could be at work accomplishing my current projects. The Dr. finally comes in the room around 15 minutes later. He was as friendly as always but then he says that my eyes are not dilated enough to do the eye exam. He calls the nurse in again and asks why my eyes are not dilated? She told them I had them dilated earlier. It had been over an hour at that point. So then I was told I have to be tortured again so they can finish the exam. I don't have much patience for getting my eyes checked and I always remember being that way even as a little kid. The whole time my precious girl  Duchess was looking at me why all this was going on feeling my stress. My dog seems  to pick up on my emotions almost too well. It tends to stress her out if I'm stressed.

Today was another reminder of why I am not a fan but at least I am done for this year. Sadly the stress of this appointment did cause some rise in the blood sugar but nothing too dramatic.