Thursday, February 28, 2013

Is Anybody Home?

                 I have to say I hate morning when I have a bad low. I feel like I am trapped in a weird land where you feel like you are never really completely awake. This really less than ideal when you have a need to accomplish a large amount of work. I know I will be dragging for most of the day and not quite feel like I am all there. My job involves a great deal of problem solving ability and days like this that is not the best thing. I can still solve the problems but not as quickly or as easily as a normal morning. I will most likely pump up the caffeine and hope for the best because some times that will help me pop out of the dragging feeling. I feel like sludge during these events. I know the longer I have diabetes the worse the lows seem to get in the aftermath of the incident. I know that normally these lows are caused when I drop really dramatically and I'm sure my body is quite overwhelmed when this does happen. I can drop so quickly that even with Duchess catching it I still can end up with the feeling like I am not completely all there. The good thing is that I am at work and getting things accomplished regardless of how I feel but at least I have some caffeine to help sharpen me up a bit.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

CGM Woe's

                         I have sadly been turning down the alert levels to lower because the Dexcom G4 keeps having numerous false alerts. So much so that I am thinking of telling my Dr. I will only use it for basal testing and not on a regular basis. My previous Dexcom did not have near as many false alerts I would say that at least 70 percent of the time the numbers are off and especially at night. On day 7 I seem to be getting one fairly accurate day and if I extend the sensor out I usually get another couple of good days but I am having trouble justifying the expense of the sensors. If the sensors were not keeping me up every night I think I would be more inclined to use it on a daily basis. I have had to delay the snoozes times and lower the alerts which defeats for me the whole purpose of using it because I would like for it to catch lows, highs, failing trends and rising trends. Currently most of the time the graphs and the information is skewed because it is so inaccurate. I think my Dexcom will be sitting in a drawer gathering dust because I can't stand it anymore.

                          Times like these I am so blessed to have Duchess because she has never had a false alert since I have had her. Duchess is even more tired because she is not sleeping well either. I need her to be alert and able to keep up with ever changing blood sugars and that is not easy to do on little sleep for an alert dog. I am glad I will not be hearing the beeping going off tonight but I am sure my Endocrinologists visit next week will not be as fun. I know they are going to have issues with me not using the Dexcom. I can use the Dexcom Seven Plus until they discontinue the sensors which is another option I am looking into.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Preparing for the Future

                       It is hard to believe I have been dealing with my Retinopathy for almost a year now. The only downside to all of this will be the fact that yes I will eventually need vitrectomy surgery which is the removal of the gel between the lenses of the eye. This surgery will stabilize most peoples eyes after the procedure. I have quite a few little hemorrhages recently and I am getting tired of the lasers and all the procedures. My eye is not bad but the lasers have caused me to lose what little night vision I do have. I have a much greater difficulty driving at night and I might have to go back to glasses for driving at night which I am okay with. My injection into my eye is never pleasant and equals major headaches and swelling in my eye. It really feel like someone scratched my eye. It is less than ideal but I had great results from the injections. The longer I do the procedures the more side effects I am experiencing. When I first started having my eyes lasered I did not have much vision problems after but last time I had a week and half where my vision was impacted. The last time I had an injection I did not have any swelling. I am feeling like I will need to do something in the near future but at least I feel prepared this time around. I know the Dr. is great and he has been nothing but great in finding ways to stave off the time for surgery but I know that will only last so long.

                       I know even Duchess is not a fan of the procedures as well. Most of the time when I have lasers or the Injections the she is not happy. I know she does not want to see me in pain or experiencing these types of procedures. She is also not a fan of blood draws she seems to know that these procedures can hurt. I have a high pain tolerance so I am usually doing just fine but it is interesting that she is so concerned about them hurting me. She is amazing to watch because even through out the short time I have had her she still amazes me with her devotion and love.

Friday, February 22, 2013


                      Duchess love to embarrass me at times and yesterday was not exception. I was on my way to a meeting and as I arrive at the office Duchess decided that she needs to put her head through my legs right at that moment which is less than ideal. It is quite comical for others to see and I am really glad to that I have the ability to laugh at myself and I think you need to when having a service animal. These dogs are incredible but they can also attract a lot of attention and not always at the best moments. Duchess has been the queen of making weird noises and I always seem my coworkers making the strangest looks at Duchess. I know because she is supposed to not bark they tend to make other noises instead of barking or making really loud noises she makes them pretty quite which is good.

                     I found yesterday as well that a woman that works in a nearby office had never owned a dog after seeing Duchess on a regular basis decided she wanted to have a dog. I still amazed at how influential Duchess is to peoples perspective on dogs. I was not completely surprised but enjoy the fact that yes Duchess does really change my workplace dynamics in a very positive manner.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Up and Down

                   I have been having the most horrible CGM graphs recently I am up and down all day. I am not getting really high or really low but bouncing around. Ever since the new Endocrinologist changed my basal settings things have been crazy. I know they are trying to help but at times I feel it is best to leave the basal setting to me and they make recommendations to me on settings instead of making huge changes. They backed off on the basal at night which has me running 170 all night which I am not comfortable with. I would like to run in the 120 range through the night if at all possible. I am also having more lows because they are messed with the daytime basal rates a well. So i have changed back to my old setting but I am sure they will not be happy with me when I go back to my appointment in March. I do have numbers to back up why I changed it again and some are less than they were originally but I am hoping they will understand the need for the change. I  have not gotten back to where I want to be yet but I want off the roller coaster ride as well. I know Duchess has not really enjoyed the last couple of weeks either. This will be a good test of how my Endocrinologist will respond to the changes I made on my own. After 32 years I think I am qualified to change my own basal rates efficiently but most of the most dangerous periods have been when the Dr.'s have made numerous changes at once.  Hoping to work on getting my cgm back to a more normal range that I am comfortable with.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Education Opportunity

                   This past weekend when I was out with Duchess as usual there was the normal chatter. I find it funny at times how people don't think I can hear or I am blind. There was this child asking their mom why there was a dog in the store. She answered her child that it was a service dog. Then child says to the mom the dog should still not be in the store. The mom then explained that disabled individuals need the dog to help them perform daily tasks they can no longer do themselves. The child looks at the mom. That lady is not ill she looks fine. The mom then tells the child that not all disabilities are visible. She said that lady could be really ill and you never know. She may really have struggles or issues and so it's not nice to judge until you walk a mile in her shoes. The child had an astonished look in her eyes as the mom told her that it is not nice to assume things about others. The little girl then asked her mom if she could find out more about what job Duchess does.

                    They approached me and because the mom had explained things so well. I told her that I did have a disability and might not be here today without the help of Duchess. I told her that I believe that I could not hold a job without a service dog because of the dramatic drops I have had the past couple of years. I told her about the fact that Duchess gives me my freedom back and my ability to not fear leaving my house. I know the child was really not sure people really need service dogs but I hope my story taught her otherwise. I did go into detail about Duchess's job and I know she was surprised at her purpose.I also talked about all the different types of service dogs and how they impact those people's lives. It was a great experience and I am hoping she passes the information onto her friends at school.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Follow up Visit Retina Sprecialist

                   Another visit to the Retina specialist but still some small bleeds but not nearly as bad as last year. Looks like I will be getting another injection in my eye which is pure torture but in the end helps keep my eye from hemorrhaging as much. I have technically only have had my eyes lasered twice in each eye. I thought they would have done more lasers but they have not. Hopefully the shot will help gets things back to a more stabilized grounds. The good part is the my left eye still has 20/20 vision which is excellent after almost 33 years of type 1 diabetes. I had 20/20 vision in both eyes two years ago. I am hoping that with the proper treatments that I will not lose as much vision in my right eye. Normally once the hemorrhages stop my vision come right back to normal so I am not seeing any vision loss which is really good. I am hoping to keep things going in that positive direction.

                      I also had an interesting discussion about how smart working/service dogs are and their capabilities they have with my Dr.. I know he was quite impressed that there is bomb sniffing dogs used in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Dr. also had to comment on how impressive the diabetic alert dogs are as well. I know I could not agree more. I know Duchess as usual seemed to know when people are talking about her.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Interesting Spin

               This weekend I went to Costco to do some shopping. I like that they have my new favorite gluten free Lara bars their at a great price and I was almost out. They also have numerous other things I love their as well. Duchess does not mind shopping their I think in part because the aisle are so much wider than the grocery stores. Less people almost running her over with a cart. So I was browsing and I was approached by a man. He comes up by saying it is such a wonderful thing for all of us who get to see and pet your service dog. I said actually I appreciate you liking her presence but she is unable to be pet by the general public. He looks at me and says why I am not allowed to pet her? I told him that most service dogs can lose focus or stop working if they are pet too frequently by the general public. They will start to crave the attention and lose sight of their actual job. Duchess had a three week period where her alerting was compromised during my couple weeks of college. I was telling everyone to please not pet her but they kept on regardless of what I had to say. I know the college did step in once I told them of the issue and put out an announcement to all students to not pet service animals on campus. Thankfully that helped and I was able to get Duchess back on track. It took a great deal of work to get her back to focusing on her job but after that she was great. Duchess in my opinion has an on and off switch and being pet by the general public turns her off.

                   I am completely okay with her not being pet by the general public if that what it takes to keep her focused. I know quite a few Diabetic alert dogs who can be pet and keep on going but Duchess is not one of those dogs. I love who she is and know that is one of those things their is not flexibility on. Each service dog is so different in what they can handle. The good part of the interaction with the man was positive even though he was disappointed he could not pet her. He told me having her in the store is like therapy for everyone else. Which I know is great just as long as they don't pet.

Friday, February 15, 2013

My Valentine

                    Duchess has been so very cute recently. Yesterday a friend was sweet and bought me some flowers which they didn't have to do. They gave them to Duchess to bring to me. It was so very sweet because she did not crush or damage the flowers at all. I really wish I had a picture of her bringing me the flowers. They said they were from Duchess for valentines day. She really is my valentines for sure she really did such a spectacular job yesterday during my low. I have not been in the 30's at work in quite a while. So I was a little thrown off but she not only alerts but is very affectionate at the same time. She always is concerned with how I am doing. She stayed by my side most of that morning to make sure she did not miss a thing. I know when she sits really close to me that my blood sugars are on the move and she is trying to alert me as soon as possible. I still sit here some times so amazed at how smart she is and she has her own system of keeping me safe as possible. She really is my best friend and I could not ask for anything more from her.

Duchess sitting right next o my chair watching me closely again. See the look in her eyes.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Big Drop

                Today I woke up rather high because of an occlusion in my infusion set. I did not hear my insulin pump as usual. So I did a quick correction and was on my way to work. I did encounter some unexpected activity so of course I ended up being low this morning. I was 35 and Duchess was pretty excited because I have been running slightly higher than usual since I am fighting off a cold. Thankfully I am starting to feel better. This is a rare occasion where I actually felt hungry when I was low. It is kind of a shock to me because I am so used to not feeling much of anything except confusion. Thankfully Duchess sat by my side until I was 120. She was really cautious not to leave my side in case there was another dramatic drop. I really am so thankful to have her around she keeps me focused on getting my blood sugar tested and taking care of the low. It is very easy at times for me to get confused with big drops in blood sugar. Thankfully she was aware and did her as always.

Spare A Rose Save a Child

                   Happy Valentines day!!! It is a great day to donate to children who need supplies to manage their diabetes. I feel fortunate that I have 600 test strips a month, insulin pump supplies, Dexcom and Duchess to help me manage. I know not everyone is that lucky. I know I have had times where testing myself as much I needed to was not an option and I had limited supplies all around. When I went back to college and had not health insurance it was tough but at least I still had Duchess. I could not imagine not having enough insulin or supplies to even come close to getting by. Today please donate to Life for a Child


                   I have to say most of my time with diabetes I had what I needed most of the time. Some people are not that fortunate so please spread the word and donate to help all the children with D.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Embarrasing Moments

                    Having Duchess with me has always been interesting in that there is so many things I had not thought of before I got her. The bathroom is always interesting because people usually tell me I am not allowed in the restroom or they are curious what it is like having my service dog squeezed into tight restroom stalls. I was in the restroom yesterday morning and there someone one in the stall next to me.I have a feeling that they did not see me come in and was startled to see little dog paws under the stall and moving around. The person let out a little noise and all I could do is laugh because most people are pretty calm about seeing Duchess in the restroom. There has been a time as well that Duchess decided to poke her head under the stall door at a person and she scared the person to death. I did apologize but Duchess can be pretty good at time of embarrassing me as well. She sometimes will poke  her head through my legs if I am having a conversation. She is so quirky and entertaining at times but she does not always wait for the right moments to do these things. I have had plenty of laughs and embarrassing moments and I am sure I will have more to come.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

UGH A Cold

               I sadly have now caught a cold which does happen during the winter but I know what really played a big part for me is the lack of sleep from last week. It has been busier than usual at work and with lack of sleep from the Dexcom puts me at risk for catching a cold. I am fighting back with Emergency drink additive which seems to help reduce the duration of the cold for me which is great. I would love to be able to stay home and rest but sadly my work is too busy for me to really take a day off this time of year. Most of my coworkers have already had this cold and I am the last one to get it in my department. I am never a fan of being sick but Duchess is usually up for the challenge and she usually keeps me in pretty tight control. Thankfully this cold has not spread to my lungs which will get me out of the office usually for a day or two. Overall I am a little tired but I am planning on making it through the week like I normally would. I am blessed to have Duchess and the Dexcom because most of the time even when I am sick I don't usually get too high. 

Duchess and her new Bringsel alert she is so fast sometimes it is hard to catch her alerting.

Monday, February 11, 2013

I Did Not Grow Up In A Cave

                 I have a funny pet peeve of sorts. It stems from the constant comments about my diabetes experience. I was diagnosed at 18 months old and up too that point had a very normal childhood. I hear constantly from people how lucky I am to not of know what it was like to eat sugar like a normal child and have what ever I wanted to eat. I have been told it must have been really so much easier because I got it at a younger age.I think it is kind of funny to hear that because I watched my brother and sister have a normal childhood so I kind of know what it is like. I think people believe I lived in a cave and never say my peers experiencing a normal life. I also hear how since I did not have many memories of my early childhood my life as a diabetic must be so much simpler. The funny thing is that I hear this from diabetics as well. I don't believe that my experience was easier and my parents would disagree completely. I know I have been having seizures from lows since I was little thankfully I had larger breaks in time with no seizures. I also had my body developing under higher blood sugars where if you were older at least your body has more time to function normally. I also had numerous trips to emergency room because I was sick or having bad lows. It was not an easier childhood. I missed out on some things other children were able to do. I am tired of hearing how easy I have had it when someone has not walked a mile in my shoes.  I disagree with it being a advantage I think in some ways neither way is easy. I think even with growing up with diabetes it is no easier than If I got it when I was 7 or 5. Yes you may have some experiences that I may have missed out on but I do have an idea what it was like and I did not grow up in a cave. My parents did the best they could to provide me a normal childhood and they did a great job.


Friday, February 8, 2013

What was I Thinking?

                     The last two days have been nothing but terrible in that I have forgotten and left behind some very important things. I was not running late but I didn't notice that I had left my diabetic pouch behind which has my insulin in it. It was sitting on my bed at home sadly. So I didn't notice this until I get a warning from my pump that there is only 10unit left. So luckily yesterday I was running on the lower side and was able to run at a lower basal rate which would make the units last til I could get home. So I get off work and I have 3 units left which is plenty. So I walk to the bus as I normally do but I sat there for a half an hour and not bus normally it is there around 5:13pm but not bus. I know another route that is near bye an it picks up around 5:41 so I head over to that bus stop and I wait and I wait. The time reaches 6:02 and I call the bus company and fine out that my normal route broke down. Currently that bus driver is lost and rerouting back to the missed stops. Then I was told the other bus is running behind and should be there shortly. Thankfully it does show up at 6:10pm and then I am on my way home. The insulin dosage is getting lower by the hour but because of all the running around I did a lower basal rate. Thankfully I made it home with only 1 unit left in my insulin pump at 7:15pm. So today I made sure that my pack was in my purse before I left.

                        The saddest part is that I forgot to reattach my pump and was too far from home to go back and get it. So today I will injections instead of using my insulin pump. I am not sure what is with all the forgetfulness but it has not been that much fun but at least today I have half a bottle and plenty of needles to get by with. Hoping for a much smoother weekend than this week has been. I rarely ever forget my pump but every couple of years it happens. I am so glad it's Friday and I know Duchess feels the same.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Back to Normal

                      I am for the first time in a while not feeling burnt out. I have been testing regularly after meals and I have been back to wearing my Dexcom even though it is keeping me up at night. I have been in better range less lows and very few highs which is great so I am headed back in the direction I want to be. I have also been working on trying new recipe's having Celiac's disease you can easily get bored with what you are eating and I have found some great new recipes. I have also been changing old recipe's and adapting them to gluten free so I can some of my old favorites. Overall things are really getting better. I know blogging about my burn out has been so helpful for me in getting me back on track. There is so many reasons to get burned out but I think my plan of action was a great thing for me to achieve what I needed. Even Duchess is happier now and I am hoping to avoid burn out for quite a while. I know that switching Dr.'s have helped and trying new things. I think when you have several endocrine issues it can be come overwhelming. I know with Celiac's, Diabetes and Rheumatoid Arthritis can all be challenging. Thank to all who sent encouraging words. It helped a great deal.

Duchess at work on her dog cot .

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


                   I have a friend who had received a dog named Shyla from the same trainer I received Duchess from. Duchess was finishing up her training when B was there getting her dog and I picked up Duchess two months later. She had played with Duchess when she was there. Our dogs were friends and loved to play together. She was in high school when she got her dog and was severely bullied so much that she switches schools. The school allowed the bullying and never stopped it. I think most parents needs to have a plan of action if your teenager is gong to have a DAD at school. The school felt there was not need to protect the dog and it ruined her service dog.Sadly eventually her diabetic alert dog Shyla would not work because she was scared. So B had to train her pet to be her diabetic alert dog Clank. Luckily he worked well enough to get her through her senior year of high school but he had some hip issues and she then started to train her own DAD dog Shanti who is doing wonderfully. I know if you are going to have a diabetic alert dog in school you need to make sure they are safe and they are willing to prevent bulling of the student. Which is not easy these days. I thought her story needs to be told because it is something most parents looking to get a DAD might not think of. These dogs are not always cheap and there is so many things that can go wrong.

               Update on Shyla she was given to a new home which is really hard when you depend on these wonderful animals. I know my friend B tried her best to protect her but was unable to. Shyla is working and doing well. She is with a young man who does what he can to make her feel safe. Clank also is in a new home and works for a little boy. I know giving her two alert dogs was not easy but she also learned how to train her own. I think there is so many things that can hurt an alert dog and I do everything I can to keep Duchess safe I am overly cautious but for good reason.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Frustrating Night

                       I have to say I feel blessed with being to have a new pump and the Dexcom G4. On nights last night when it went off around 9 times I was more than frustrated. My Dexcom kept saying I was 60 but my blood sugar was actually 95 and stayed in the 90's for almost 4 hours. Then I eventually did hit 78 which I did treat the low then but the thing kept alarming and alarming. I normally would of told the Dexcom it was 165 but it kept saying I was 60. Normally I can get it to at least stop alarming me every twenty minutes but last night that did not work. I have to say for me the Dexcom G4 has not been more accurate but in fact less accurate for me. I actually miss my Seven plus because for me it was closer to my actual blood sugars in the first couple of days on a new sensor. I do like the screen and the size but I was really hoping for more accuracy. I do get better accuracy several days in but it can be wildly off the first couple of days compared to the Dexcom Seven Plus. I am not sure why others are getting better over all results than I am but then again most traditional diabetic routine things do not work for me.

                       I know after last night Duchess looks like she got hit by a truck and I am not much better. I am hoping tonight will be better but so far today I have had another time when the Dexcom was saying I was 70 but I was in the 90's during a meeting. Less than ideal and frankly I am tired.  I need tonight the ability to get more than 20 minutes of sleep in between alerts. So does Duchess too she is my best alerter of changes.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Service Dog Video

                    There has been quite a bit more information put out to educate children about service animals. Sesame Street now has an episode that includes a service dog and I will include the clip below. It is great to see that at least some of the kids are being educated about service animals. I really wish I had more time to visit local elementary schools to educate kids to the different type of service dogs and the different tasks that some perform. My current schedule does not have that much flexibility sadly. Maybe in the future I will have more time for educating the general public besides when I end up interacting with them in public. I thought the video is a cute way to teach children who also tend to teach others as well. I am hoping for more of this in the future.

                        Duchess has really been on a roll recently she is alerting so well and has been so consistent I really believe the several way of alerting have provided her enough options to make her happy either way she decided to alert. She has continued to night alert and I could not be more pleased.

Friday, February 1, 2013

A Mix of Things

                   It has been unusually busy for me at work recently. I have been trying my best to keep up with all that is going on. When the stress is higher usually my blood sugars are lower. I honestly have a great deal of difficulty deal with stress since my mother passed away in 2008. I am not sure why I have such diffculty but it has not helped me much. I work a stressful job that I like and is always busy. I like the challenge of my job but it can really do a number on my diabetes at times. I have been working on reducing the lows during this time and it seems to be working for the most part. Hopefully I will find some new ways to work on less and less lows. I know my new Dr. is actively working to find ways to make things easier. I am working on some things to help as well.

                Duchess has not been alerting much at night over the past year and since her change to a new alert she is now alerting again at night. I was shocked that all of a sudden I wake up with a paw in my face last night from Duchess. Sure enough my blood sugar was off. It is nice to see that is really back on track. I make a huge deal of the night alerts which I call a low party. I make a huge deal of her accomplishment in hopes that she will see the rewards for alerting at night. I could not be prouder of Duchess last night. I am hoping this is the start of more regular night alerting.