Friday, May 31, 2013

Discussion about Diabetic Alert Dogs

               I had an interesting discussion with a person interested in getting a diabetic alert dog. Normally people do not ask me about the down sides of having but only want to know the positive. I know their are things i wish I knew before I got Duchess. I try to give both sides because I think when you are venturing down the road to getting a diabetic alert dog you need to be really informed. I know I did try to learn as much as I could and now their is much more information available online to learn more. I do recommend as a great resource to interact ask questions with other in search of a diabetic alert dog or to just learn more from current service dog teams. Their is also a group on Facebook as well. I know the down sides or tough things for me to deal with is that when I am out with Duchess I have a hands free leash which is really great but I am also tethered to Duchess. It really took me a while to get used to that. I know at first it almost felt claustrophobic because Duchess wanted to be on top of me when we were first paired. She is always close by my side but now she gives me a little space which I appreciate. Their was also the comments from the general public which honestly I don't think I will ever get used to that. I have heard rude comments quite a bit because people do not understand hidden disabilities.

                  The stares when I go places really bothered me at first now I am finally adjusting to that part of it. It can be difficult to realize that every time you go some where you will draw attention. I know I have been followed around in stores because some person told management that a person has their dog in the store. The stores are always nice once they notice Duchess vest and her behavior in the store. I find most see her vest and never even talk to us which is nice. I know that when I go places it now takes me longer because of the questions, I need to walk slower for Duchess and I find maneuvering around places with a service dog plus a cart can be difficult at times. I know where I live their is not many service dogs so my presence tends to get big reactions. I have experienced enough kids running around the store screaming dog to everyone near bye. I do miss the days where I could just go to the store and be a normal person but having Duchess in my book out weighs all the above. I know each person considering needs to look at all aspects not just the good but also the not so great.

A Mix of Things

                     I know Duchess is such a goofy dog and I love that about her. This morning is another great example of this I was in the bathroom drying my hair and applying my make-up. She was initially laying on the bath mat on the floor as usual. Next thing I see her in the bath tub turning her head side to side in such a cute way. I asked her if she wanted a bath and she was excited. Normally even though I bath her once a week she is not excited about getting baths. Normally I have to tell her to get into the tub and she always listens. I am not sure why she wanted a bath this morning but I had a good laugh at her goofy behavior. I am not really sure what she wanted maybe she just wanted my attention. She stayed in the tub until I was finished in the bathroom and went onto her normal morning routine. I hope she is excited tomorrow when I actually plan on giving her a bath but I guess I will see.

                      I know having celiac's disease I have spent quite a bit of time trying recipe's until I find one's I like. I have been making these peanut butter cookies for quite a while and it is very simple to make. Very few ingredients and most people have no idea they are gluten free. I thought I would share.

       Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

         1 Cup Peanut Butter either crunchy or creamy
         1 Cup of sugar
         1  egg
         1 tsp of baking powder
         1 tsp of vanilla extract

       Cream together the peanut butter and sugar. Beat in the baking power. Add the egg and vanilla extract.          mix until all combined. Best to make the cookies smaller they tend to stay together a little better. 
       Bake at 350 Degrees until cookies are soft and coherent. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thoughts on How Important Having a Good Medical Team Is.

                I have been thinking a great deal about how much a Dr.'s bedside manner can affect the outcomes of treatments of chronic illness's. I know my experience has clearly shown me that when a Dr. starts off the conversation that I am a bad diabetic or because I have too many lows I am uncooperative. All these things do effect me as the patient and the decisions I can make. I am more likely to get burned out, say I had enough and not follow through of what I need to. I have not done this recently but in the past I have. I think sometimes it is difficult for Dr.'s to know how to approach the patients when they want improvement and what will work. Each patient is different and probably need different motivations. I am sure it is easier to say a patient is bad instead of looking for a better way to get the results needed. I work very hard at my control and find that they should give me credit for having an Alc under 7 for over 5 years instead of complaining about little areas that need improvement. I know most of the changes I make are very gradual because when I make dramatic changes could cause consequences such as EMS visit. I am always working hard but I am still astonished in some ways that a Dr. would think telling a patient they are bad would be helpful. I know I have heard this issue from both type 1 and type 2. I am fortunate now to have a really great Endocrinologist that works with me and cares about my concerns. Instead of like my last one who thought my concerns about my control were not correct. I am still astonished they wanted my Alc at 7.5 or above but that leads to more complications. I am happy I am and have been in a great place as far as my care is concerned and I have fired Dr.'s along the ways but my care is a big part of the whole picture right now. I have a feeling it will continue that was as long as I continue to work with my current Dr.'s.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Reason We All Should Test Before We Drive

                      I have been thinking a lot about past meet up with Diabetics that have affected my life in positive ways. I know the first time I went to diabetic camp I meet so many great kids and adults who taught me so much back then. I remember that one particular person was my camp counselor who will forever be in my thoughts. She was my camp counselor two years in a row. I remember really looking up to her because I was so impressed by her in so many ways. Diabetic camp is something all kids with type 1 should experience. I know I even taught a 5 year old how to giver her first injections and finger pokes which was quite an experience. The little girl was very brave and learned very quickly. I remember my camp counselor showing me her insulin pump and I was interested but not too sure about it. I know I was so used to injections but I was willing to learn as much as I could. It felt so nice to meet other diabetics and be able to make friends who understood. I still have my camp photos at home. I wish I had scanned a copy of the all the pictures from camps to post today. I know it was such a great experience that I can't put into words how much I looked forward to it every year. The most interesting thing for me is how much those memories of camp still make me smile today. I know I was never expecting what would happen several months after camp.

                        My camp counselor was driving but I am not to where but she went low while driving. She sadly veered off the road and hit a tree. She died instantly that afternoon and I was not sure even how to handle this. In fact that was the last year I went to camp and my mother agreed that if I felt that way it was fine. I know the interesting thing for me is that in 2008 I went low driving but thankfully was not hurt or anyone else. I know I am always thankful that I was able to lean from my experience. I know I am avid every time I get in the car I test and I continually have my CGM and test kit out so I can continually monitor while driving. I know I feel like I need to spread the word how important testing before driving is and I know my camp counselor would agree. If you are doing long drives I pull over frequently to test because you can drop quickly and not realize when driving can happen to any of us. Thank you for letting me share my story about a girl who I will never forget for what she taught me about diabetes and just being such a wonderful person. I know I will never forget her. So not I test every time not matter if I'm late, tired, in a hurry or distracted. I am committed to being safe by doing my part to keep the roads safer by doing my part.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hypoglycemia Unawareness- The Reason I Blog

                      I have been thinking a lot recently about why I initially started by blog over a year ago. There is quite a few reasons and one of the biggest is because when I was first diagnosed with Hypoglycemia Unawareness I could not find any accurate information online. All the articles and studies all said the same thing that run your blood sugars high for two week with not lows and you will get your feeling back of lows. I found that for me that was not the case. I know the Dr. then told me that we need to do that longer than two weeks and I would start to feel lows again. Sure enough that was incorrect. Then my Dr. said that an insulin pump would really help and solve most of my issues with lows. In the meantime while waiting for the insulin pump to arrive I was told to eat snacks everyday at certain times which really seemed to help. Then I started on the insulin pump which I really liked but I was still having tons of lows after a couple of months. They told me at that time that I would not need snacks anymore because I have the Insulin pump. So I stopped the snacks and sure enough where I used to have my snacks I had EMS visits. I know then the Dr. said I needed a CGM but back then it was not covered by insurance so I bought one out of pocket which went with my Medtronic 722 pump but I found the CGM was terrible and not accurate and did not thing to catch all my lows. So then I stopped using the Medtronic CGM and started to look for other options. I know I told my Dr.'s that I was getting a diabetic alert dog and they told me I did not need one so I changed Dr.'s after all of the inaccurate information I was given. I think sometimes the Dr.'s can miss the bigger pictures of a patients safety.

                      The whole reason for Duchess is the need to prevent me from having so many lows and have less seizures which I have so far. I know I went against medical advice and had to find my own way which I am fine with but at times it is really shocking at some of the information on Hypoglycemia Unawareness. I have been told by most of the people with Hypoglycemia Unawareness that running blood sugars higher for two weeks did not work for them very well either. Most of the patients I have meet over the years have had experiences like mine and decided that that is how their life was going to be and moved on. I guess because mine had spiraled out fo control so quickly I knew I would not keep a job unless I found a solution to my problem and Duchess was it. I know now I have a CGM and use it as well but I know that a CGM will never replace Duchess unless they improve drastically because even today my CGM does not register all the lows I have experienced. Which is interesting. I know that for several years that my condition was very unstable and now it has really started to become more stable again with a lot of work and Duchess by my side. I know I wish they had more information for what you can do when you just can't get the feeling back of lows which quite a few people will not. I know through the years I had never heard my Dr.'s even discuss the possibility of the fact you could lose the ability to feel lows. I am really happy that I am writing about the options that I have found because when I was diagnosed I was extremely scared. So I am hoping that people will find my blog and realize that sometimes you won't get the feeling back but yes you can manage life through several tools. I am hoping I have accomplished this and more. I also found even more reasons to blog as well that were unexpected. I have so enjoyed my time blogging.


Friday, May 24, 2013

Service Dog Etiquette

Re posting an older blog that I thought has some tips for when you meet a service dog team. All these things are always appreciated.

I get asked occasionally from people I meet about what proper service dog etiquette is. I have meet a great deal of people who have service dogs and agree that this etiquette can really make a difference in their lives. I think the etiquette really is helpful and show respect for the disabled person you may come across. These are some item I think fall under that category. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to comment. I never mind answering questions.

1. Do not distract the service dog from its job. That includes Kissee noises, barking, or any noises at the dog. Petting or calling to the dog.

2. Please understand if a handler will not let you pet their dog or stop to talk. Many disabled people live a very normal life and do not always have time to stop and chat. Some service dogs can become distracted when being petted frequently. This distraction could be deadly for a handler or have severe consequences.

3.Do not draw attention to a service dog team. Service dog handlers are trying to live a normal life as possible and people making a scene or pointing out the dog will not help. This can make a person feel very uncomfortable.

4. Do not feed a service dog without asking. Many service dogs have a special diet and might include treats as rewards for alerting and extra food may not be needed. Most service dog teams are trying to balance their dogs activity and eating habits with the need for them to stay on the lighter side. Extra weight will put stress on joints and hips which could mean a dog is retired sooner.

5. Treat the service dog handler with dignity and respect. Please when speaking to a service dog handler talk to them not their service dog. Asking a disabled person about their disability is not respectful and can make the handler uncomfortable. General questions are usually considered respectful because the person does not have to talk about their own personal issues. The service dog handler is trying to live a normal life and being questioned constantly can be invasive.

6.When offering help don't insist. A service dog team could be hurt if a car stops at a light and they are sight impaired and you wave them on instead of allowing the service dog to do their job. Sometimes a person will want to do things on their other times they may need help. If trying to help always ask just don't take a service dogs leash or try to guide the dog along.

7. Do not photograph or take pictures of service dog teams without permission. This can make a handler uncomfortable and draws attention to the team. They are trying to be treated like any other person would be treated.

8. If your a parent try to educate your children or other about service animals. Telling children about disabilities can be helpful. I know most people think I am not disabled because it is not obvious talking about hidden disabilities can be beneficial for all. Talking about service animals also helps children to understand that they are working and need to not be distracted.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I Need a Break From Being So Tired

                    I have been dragging for months now and I thought I had figured out what was wrong but I am sure. I had a B-12 injection and felt great again and everything seemed on track but then a week and half later I had my blood redrawn again and it showed up as normal B-12 level. I know my Dr. never called back because he was unaware of the fact that I had an injection before my blood draw so I am not sure if it is a B-12 deficiency or just my my thalassemia acting  up. Thalassemia is basically a blood disorder that runs in Mediterranean backgrounds where my body produces fewer healthy red blood cells and hemoglobin. I was diagnosed with it when I was 25 they actually thought I had leukemia which was quite scary. I was pleased it turned out to just be a simple case of anemia. So I am really hoping I figure it out soon because at this point it is really slowing me down. I am so exhausted and this is the busiest time of year for me. I am behind on my personal email and my work emails and work in general. My job position the way it is set up we are always behind but this year the work load has increased and so I am really feeling the pressure which is not helpful when I am already dragging. I know Duchess also has great needs of getting exercise as well. I am really hope I can figure it out soon so I can be back on my way to feeling good again. All the issues I am having also play a role in messing with my blood sugars as well. I am back to where I was before but I have a system in place that it is not as bad as before I had my B-12 injection. I am tired in general having some extra energy right now would be so ideal.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Diabetic Hope Conference

                  I was really please to be able to attend the Diabetic Hope Conference online yesterday. It was so refreshing to see people discussing complications. I have been so very frustrated by the lack of communication about complications amongst bloggers. I still think we are a very long way from being able to freely talk about complications. Here is some of the things I realized yesterday. One is that some of the speakers on the panels seemed very uncomfortable. I have to tell you it is not fun having complications and I find that for most it is out of their comfort zone. I did see others such as George Simmons seem very comfortable speaking about complications. I know during the twitter portion I commented about complications. I know I am little too outspoken about complications but I have never felt so alone as a diabetic until I had complications. I know the saddest part of all of this has been the judgement by other diabetics I have received in forums and online. I will never understand why we are not able to be more supportive of each other regardless of complications or not. I know I already deal with the guilt that I had a couple of bad  years in my teen years and will pay a price for that. That guilt will haunt me for the rest of my life and I am okay with that. I know my financial issues in my early twenties and making choices dealing with health care was incredibly difficult and also played a part.

                  There was some responses to my tweets yesterday that reason some bloggers do not talk about complications is fear of losing health insurance or fear of losing jobs. I know my employer is quite large so I can freely discuss complications with very little issue in that area. I know of several type 1's who work for the same employer and some of them have complications. I know that my insurance companies is aware of my complications because of medical billing codes and other types of Dr.'s I am seeing on a regular basis. I know fear is always an issue when  blogging about issues such as complications. I am all for talking about these issues because I feel like someone else will be struggling with the same issues and if I can help share my experiences I am more than willing. I also realized that anyone of us could get hit with a complication at any point in the process and it can happen very quickly. I know I have never judged others because of complications because I have learned along the way that sometimes doing the best you can you can still get complications. I have sadly seen people two or three years in get complications that are kids and it's not because the kid had bad A1c's or blood sugars but I believe that their body just does not deal well with diabetes. I have seen others who are 50's years in complication free who did not test for 12 years. My conclusion is that avoiding complications is not guaranteed and you can only do your best with where you are at.  I hope less and less people will get complications but it would be nice someday to not be as judged by people who understand especially since the general public can be very judgmental. Thank you for letting me vent. I have been wanting to talk about this for a while but feel like today is the right time.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

More Information about Purchasing Diabetic Alert Dogs

               I get asked frequently by people who want to get a diabetic alert dog for their children their is several issues I have seen and observed from the parents. I know most people assume that all diabetic alert dogs alert at night but that is incorrect there are some but the majority do not always alert at night. Duchess will alert but she is not very consistent and I am working on that currently but I also have my Dexcom as a back up. Duchess is really just another tool in my arsenal and not my only one. Another thing I have learned is that any trainer should really try to talk your out of getting a diabetic alert dog before you start the process because if after all the downsides they talk about and your still interested the more likely you are to succeed as a team. I have seen some children who's parent purchase a DAD for their teenager but did not ask the teenager if they wanted a diabetic alert dog and the team ended up failing only because the teenager ignored the dog and the dog interpreted it as that the job is not important. If you ignore alerts, do not do consistent follow up with training, allow petting  and not enough down time for the dog can all equal a diabetic alert dog who does not work. I can see the novelty of the idea of a companion which is one of the best parts but there is also so much work as well. I knew going in several years it was going to be work but I had not idea how much that was really entailed. I am very comfortable with that their is work but with a busy life it can be difficult at times. I know some may read this as I am trying to discourage other from getting a diabetic alert dog but that is not the case. I am trying to provide you some of the things I have learned along the way. I know most families that have the diabetic alerts dogs only talk about that good things but I feel the need to discuss all aspects.

              I know their was some things I did not know going in that I wish I had when I went through the process and I want to share that information. I could not agree more that I made the correct choice for me and I will never regret this journey with my best friend Duchess but I have also had so many unexpected issue from dealing with the public. I did expect issues from the general public and public access issues. Some of the comments from people were more than I have bargained from I stole Duchess from a child who would need it more than me. Which is really an unfair statement because I actually paid for Duchess. I know when I first got Duchess there was not nearly as many places who offered diabetic alert dog but I have also seen so many people get ripped off by companies selling untrained puppies and sick puppies. I did my research and found a great dog. So if you are looking into getting a diabetic alert dog remember research and more research. There is quite a few reputable places but keep in mind on average to get a fully trained dog is at least two years. If something sounds too good to be true it is. I have heard claims that a dog was able to tell a child was low from 9 miles aways is not possible. They can from quite some distance but that is a little far fetched.

I am posting an interview at blogging diabetes about diabetic alert dogs as well.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Loose Dog on Campus

                     I have been working overtime now for a couple of weeks and honestly Duchess has been so good about the longer hours at work. I also usually end up coming into work on Sundays for a couple of hours to make sure that I am getting as much done as possible. I was walking back to my car yesterday and I did not notice a little dog that was unleashed near bye. I was a little preoccupied because I was planning what else I needed to get done yesterday afternoon after my overtime. Then the little dog noticed Duchess next thing I know the little dog is trying to bite Duchess and get Duchess distracted. Next thing I know I see the owner running  up after the dog. I am trying to move away from the dog to get Duchess focused. She has been attacked by another dog in the past and I am thankful she is still working for me at all. The next thing I know I am falling to the ground because the dog go Duchess all turned around. I get up pretty quickly scrapped up my knee and my hand pretty good. I look down on the ground. My diabetic alert bracelet clasp is not broken. I was pretty upset because I have had this one for a while and it is a decorative bracelet that I have loved wearing. So now I have to being the process of finding a replacement bracelet part but the engraved piece is still in great shape. I really wish people would keep their dogs on leashes. I have had this issue of her being chased down by dogs loose on campus. I know it is tempting with open areas to let your do loose but unless they have a great recall command.

                       I am happy that I held onto my old diabetic alert dog bracelet from before as a back up but I am still bummed that it was ruined because of a loose dog. My knee is okay but I am sure that it could leave a scar because I took a big chunk of skin out of my knee. I am sure it will start to heal up pretty quickly at least. Well at least Duchess was not upset by the incident and at the end of the day that is all that matters.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Favorite Blogs

Diabetes Blog Week Post:  As another Diabetes Blog Week draws to a close, let’s reflect on some of the great bloggers we’ve found this week. Give some love to three blog posts you’ve read and loved during Diabetes Blog Week, and tell us why they’re worth reading. Or share three blogs you’ve found this week that are new to you. (Thanks to Pearlsa of A Girl's Reflections for inspiring this topic.)

           I have had such a busy week I never got to read all the blogs that I wanted to this week. I don't want to be unfair to other blogs I have not gotten the chance to read yet. So I am not going to list my favorites this year. I have to say I have been so impressed with the sheer number of bloggers and how each person's creative ways for addressing the topics of the day. I know I have so enjoyed this blog week just as much as last year's. I just can't say enough about how wonderful it is to be part of such a large group of bloggers who are trying to help others by sharing your experiences. I know I always feel better knowing that other people can find my stories about my hypoglycemia unawareness and my journey to getting my diabetic alert dog Duchess. I know I was terrified back then but I had to work so hard to find what I needed I am hoping I can help anyone who might be experiencing what I was and give them some hope. So proud to belong to such a group of wonderful people who face so many obstacles but keep on going like it's no big deal.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Dream Device

Diabetes Blog Week :  Link List
Back by popular demand, let's revisit this prompt from last year! Tell us what your fantasy diabetes device would be? Think of your dream blood glucose checker, delivery system for insulin or other meds, magic carb counter, etc etc etc. The sky is the limit – what would you love to see?

      Dream diabetic device would be a one device that has the features listed below

Size of a credit card and has a way of tucking tubing out of the way hat to rip out sights by door knobes.

Has Dexcom CGM intergrated into pump

Pump supplies are much more affordable

The device also is the meter as well.

Has remote that can do all things the pump can but discretely when needed. Which would be nice in meetings dinners etc.

The pump will be able to print out all information within minutes without any difficulty.

Has the ability to automatically email family and Dr.'s pump/Dexcom information in pdf format.

The pump and meter lets you know about trends high or low.

Ability to add notes about why things are off or what is happening. Make things easier to show Dr. what is going on.

The device would synch up automatically without cables as well. The easier to use the more likely we are to
 use it.

It would be nice to not have to carry all of the things below around

 OneTouch Ping

Friday, May 17, 2013


             Diabetes Blog Week Post for Today:  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.)

            I am going to cheat and take one of my current issues as what I would trade my diabetes for. I would not mind having Celiac's disease instead of diabetes. The reasons I would choose that is two fold. The first reason is that I eat very little processed foods verses before. My diet has always included fruit, nuts, lean meats and vegetables so pretty healthy. I really feel now that I eat so much better and have benefited by even better eating in most ways. I have found wonderful products for example that are processed but the ingredients are 3to 8 ingredients which I can pronounce. I also have found healthier options for eating out. I eat less of the really high carb foods as well. Overall my health is better than before because of the changes. The second reason it is so much easier to manage than my diabetes. Yes I do have to preplanned meals and where I am going to eat out but I have been very successful in being able to do so. There is the isolation factor at times because a person want to go to a pizza place but there is growing number of places now offering a gluten free options so I can eat out at more and more places. So overall I think it would be the easiest for me to deal with. I do miss some things but I have found better things as well.

                 I really do think participation in the DOC has affected me in great ways but I think being diabetic for most people will make you more compassionate of others dealing with issues. I know because of Duchess I have meet so many wonderful people who have struggles just like us diabetics and have their own obstacles and I respect that. I know I have always been advocate of disabilities and even more so now since I have Duchess. I am always working on education about disabilities in general because the public's perception is not always correct and accurate of disabilities. So by me educating maybe I will be making a difference in the long run.  The DOC has taught me so much and I have meet some of the most wonderful people imaginable who all are working to educate and inspire others.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


           Diabetes Blog Week Post 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 Hilary of Rainie and Me for this topic suggestion.)

             There has been so much change over the past 33 years for me. I know when I was diagnosed in 1980 there were not test kits, fast acting insulin, insulin pumps, cgms or carbohydrate counting. Instead we has urine testing, exchanges, and only insulin injections. The insulin was beef and pork which were slow. The long acting was NPH which had terrible peaks and you had to eat at set time daily. The exchange diet system consisted of a set amount of fat, protein, etc in each meals. I remember back then I did not like to eat meat in the morning and told my mother no every morning because I only wanted meat at lunch and dinner. The exchange system was not fun but I did learn some key things I still follow today. I do not eat high fat meats for example and white starchy products are not healthy. I still avoid white bread and white rice because it is not as healthy as brown rice for example. Crazy how much things have changed and so has how I deal with things as well.

               I would have to say my biggest accomplishment is my ability to tell others I am diabetic and also not be afraid of letting it all show. Right now my CGM is hanging on arm and my sleeve is not covering it and I do get stares but I am not really caring because after all my issue I am just glad it is working better than it was. My pump tubing is slightly hanging out as well and I am used to this because at times I will wear my pump on my belt with my clip and I know I look like a robot but I am robot who has great control so I don't really care. I have been working really hard the past five years to go with the thought process of take me as I am because this is all part of my life. I feel better putting it out in the open because I have spent the majority of my life hiding it and not discussing it but now it is a huge part of my life in many ways from my blog to my friends I have made who are diabetic. I do when I go some where dressy will move my pump out of sight but most of the time when I am at work I wear my pump clip. I must admit it is strange in the mornings I don't wear my clip until I get too work all I can say is I have some weird habits but that is me. I think i am afraid between Duchess and my stuff that it will get knocked off which has happened so It is easier to handle once I am at work. I am much happier than all the years I spend time hiding it. Even when I was dating I would go to the bathroom to give injections so they would not know and after a month or so I would get up the courage to tell them. I am much different know that I am very upfront but I still struggle with that aspect but not as much as in the past. I feel like after all these years I would be the most comfortable about it but the opposite was true until several years ago.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Most Memorable Diabetes Days

          Diabetic Blog Week Post for Wednesday:  Today we’re going to share our most memorable diabetes day. You can take this anywhere.... your or your loved one's diagnosis, a bad low, a bad high, a big success, any day that you’d like to share. (Thanks to Jasmine of Silver-Lined for this topic suggestion.)

         I would have to say that my most memorable day was not the best of days but I don't think I will ever forget it. During my seizures at work last September I was awake and very aware of my seizure. This was the first time I was conscious during one. It was so incredibly painful and completely strange because I had absolutely no control over my bad. I remember in mind trying desperately to get the shaking to stop. Before the seizure had started Duchess had alerted and I was drinking juice then I started to shake and put the juice down and went into my seizure. I am not sure what I could of done differently to have prevented it from happening but I having vivid memories of a seizure was less than ideal. I know I remember my coworkers trying to keep me in my chair so I did not fall and hut myself. My coworker had her hand on the chair and I reached down and latched onto her hand and left marks because during a seizure you really don't have any control over your body for the most part. I still feel guilty about latching down my fingernails in her hand but she was very forgiving about it and said that it happens. I know during the seizure Duchess was right by me and I was petting her during the middle of my seizure. I know how these events affect Duchess and how she blames herself for them so I think I was trying to tell her it was okay during the middle of it. I know I am still suprised I was awake during that seizure over the years I have never had where I was conscious during it and hoping to avoid seizures all together.

         I would have to say my positive memorable moment for me was has been that the past five years I have had my A1c under 7 and plan on keeping that way if at all possible. I know most of my ability to get there was through people I meet on tudiabetes and other sites with their tips and tricks. I found what works for me. I know I do test frequently, have Duchess, Dexcom and insulin pump. The first 4 years of this I only had the insulin pump and 3 years ago I received Duchess. The last thing I have added is my CGM but overall these tools really have helped me to achieve better results that I feel like I can be proud of. I still have to work very hard to maintain the Alc's but it has been well worth it so far. I am hoping just as long as my CGM and pump sites don't give me issues I will be able to continue using all these tools to accomplish more and more of my diabetic goals.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

We, the undersigned

Diabetes Blog Week 2013 Today's Post:  Recently various petitions have been circulating the Diabetes Online Community, so today let’s pretend to write our own. Tell us who you would write the petition to – a person, an organization, even an object (animate or inanimate) - get creative!! What are you trying to change and what have you experienced that makes you want this change? (Thanks to Briley of inDpendence for this topic suggestion.)

                  I have had so many issues with medical equipment since September of last year. My first issue was with insulin pump sites lasting several hours and leaving behind really ugly marks as a result of the constant search for real estate on my body. Then I have been dealing with my Dexcom G4 issues with terrible inaccuracies. Through these two experiences I have learned a great deal about how the diabetic customer service and technical support can function when there is a difficult issue. I have experienced this with not only the companies above but has been an experience over the years as well. I am sure these positions are not easy but when I buy these medical devices I expect to get the results I need which is basically pump sites that last two to three days and a CGM that is sum what reliable for the most part.

Dear pump and CGM companies,
                     I must give  you some credit for trying to solve some very difficult issues that I have had. I know I am not the typical patient and I have some incredibly difficult issues for any experience person to solve. What I want you to know that when you have not idea how to solve a problem it is really best not to blame the customer who is paying for the devices especially when the final solution turns out to not be the customer at all. I have had both technical support and customer service tell me we solved your problem and goodbye after blaming me as the customer. When you do not have the solution to the problem past it on to someone else who might be able to figure it out I am always willing to try new things in fact the solution to my pump sight issues was changing my insulin from Humalog to Novolog, IV 3000 and Hydrocortisone cream and this has worked wonders no more nasty marks and I am back up to averaging two to three days on pump sites. Also great to remember with a defective immune system that yes the body can attack insulin pump sites as well if it believe it is an enemy which I believe mine was doing. I also learned I have an adhesive and cannula allergies. So pump company if you look at all the things that could be causing these issues there is quite a few in my case numerous things needed to be fixed in order to have pump sites last a normal time period all pump companies should keep a log of the solutions that have worked for some people to make the process easier for other down the road. That way I did not have to go through that grueling process. I know if they told me to try some of the things that worked I would have been more than happy too. Remember pissing off the customers will lead to angry blogs and possible loss of a customer. In the end I must admit that the sales represenative is the one who solved my issue but at least I got help from someone.

My beautiful marks from pump sites and can see the redness fading from the old rash below

                    CGM companies I really do love your products when they are working right but when they are not I hate you because I did not sleep well for months and I looked like I had been hit by a truck. I love to have more information to make basal changed but the past couple of months that data was crap and inaccurate. I know technical support told me I was over calibrating the first time the second time I was under calibrating again blaming the customer. When I followed there solution to the problem it never worked. I know I was getting difficult to deal with but every time I ask for help I am again told I was to blame. The funny thing is that the Seven Plus was so wonderful I had such a great experience but the G4 was a nightmare until recently. I did everything I was supposed to and felt that the instruction I was given is because they had not clue. I know there is many customers that never have the experiences I have had so far but you must realize that not all patients deal with the devices the same way. Currently my body is very uncooperative 90 percent of the time and I have never really had the same experiences as the majority and I am okay with it. I am just hoping that you learn from my experiences that blaming the customer will  never help your company improve if you think we will go away but instead try to figure out how to help all your paying customers. I am really happy to report back it looks like my Dr. approved arms and thighs are the solution so far to my inaccuracies. If customer service had recommended I ask my Dr. I would have made an appointment asked his permission and been on my way months ago. Thanks for listening to my rant about not blaming the customer but instead working to find a solution.

Monday, May 13, 2013

What I wish my Dr.'s knew

                  This week I am participating in Diabetes blog week which can be found on  Today's topic is listed below.

k for the Share and Don’t Share - Monday 5/13 Link List.
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 know my Dr.'s really do have very limited time with me even with my increased amount of appointments. I know they are trying to figure out why my diabetes can be so crazy but honestly it has always been that way. The first thing I really wish they understood is that even trying my best my hypoglycemia unawareness seems to win most of the time/ I try my hardest to avoid lows except for running higher. I use my temp basal, use snacks, preplanned out my exercise with temp basal and snacks before hand. Sadly doing the following I can still end up being low in fact I spend most of my day attempting to avoid them but by the end of the day I have to admit at times I just give up with the reality that my hypoglycemia unawareness just means more lows. I do constanstly use my Dexcom data to help adjust basal but recently that has not helped because the data has been pretty skewed so I am having to look at my numbers and use my meters to find low patterns on my own. I have gotten pretty good at it these days.

                   The second thing is that I wish they knew how complicated my work can be when deal with my diabetes. I have a high stress low paying job that is really unforgiving at times. My work load I have been told really should be several people's job and there is never enough of me to go around. So this also can create an environment for lows which is less than ideal. I try my best to do what I can but sometimes how I deal with the stress can be very unpredictable and so I can only guess and run with it. I have really great A1c's but probably more lows than I should but honestly I am really prone to them these days and I honestly consider them part of my everyday life regardless of what the Dr.'s think. I know my Dr.'s would not be happy to hear I am comfortable with it but it has become part of something I just suck it up and deal with it, Mind you definition of a low is different than some. Anything below 80 is low to me. They have me run higher in the hopes I will get the feeling of some lows here and there. I currently might feel them occasionally but most of the time I get nothing until I am extremely low.

                    I guess I would not want my Dr.'s to know how much Chocolate I do eat but I could be eating something much worse than that these days. I am gluten free and since my diagnosis two years ago chocolate has become a bigger part of my life I have a couple pieces a day and it does not normally show up much on my pump or records so I feel like my little secret is safe with me. I know how to treat for it and I do milk chocolate and dark chocolate. So life is so much sweeter for me with a little chocolate here and there. I also part take now in a bolus worth items of gluten free cupcakes at a local bakery my PA actually told me about she is gluten free as well. I know she knows I go their occasionally and she told me that was completely fine but growing up with diabetes I remember the days when I was told no sugar. I used to sneak sugar because I was not supposed to but I really think I was doing what any normal kid would. The last thing I really wish they knew is how much work I spend in keeping things controlled as much as possible. I am always using all my tools to continually improve my control and keep myself seizure free and this is never an easy task. I just want them to know I am human and in no way perfect and unrealistic expectations never helps but only hurts me in the end.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Hopefully a Resolution

                  I meet with Dexcom Representative in person today to give it one last try. She has been working with my awesome Dr. who is generally great at solving problems. They decided because I have had so many issues with my stomach area since last September maybe a new sight area would work. I know Dexcom does not warranty sensors in the arms or legs unless without medical authorization. My Dr. has said that I am currently allotted to use my thighs and arms now for the Dexcom to see if I can get better results. I know very few people have had this issue with the Dexcom G4 but I am really hoping this solves the problem. I know that I was promised by the representative if I have another sensor failure that technical support will replace the sensor. So just as long as they warranty the sensors I am game for the change. I know I have spent my whole life finding that the normal methods do not work for me and looks like this is another example of that. So I will update you all on the status of this because I know I need a plan of action when I am traveling more over the next couple of months. I feel better when away from home having a cgm and hopefully things will end well.

Duchess in her rain coart. Rainy morning in Austin

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Blessed by Friends

                I was talking with a friend last night about things including my health as always. Diabetes tends to seep into every area of my life regardless if I want it too or not. I know it can even effect my friendships. My friends really are the greatest. They have seen so much in the last five years and have been my biggest cheerleaders as I tried handle all the craziness D has thrown at me. My friend have seen first hand the downward spirals with constant lows and the struggle to maintain the ability to work then to my diabetic retinopathy issues as well. They have been very supportive especially with my desire to get a diabetic alert dog. They have been nothing but wonderful and great with just listening even though they have never experienced any of these issues. They have seen me in the hospital after my seizures and they never balk at just being their. They honestly are a great help to me managing my diabetes well just because they have been so wonderful at just listening. I know diabetes does affect everyone around me from my coworkers, supervisor, friends and family. I have been so incredibly blessed by my friends who choose to be around and have no issue hearing about my D because it is part of my life. I know certain memebers of my family are not very supportive but at least I have my wonderful friends.

                   I know Duchess also loves to interact with my friends as well they all seem to love her. In fact when I come to visit most friends put their cats or their dogs away to make sure Duchess can do her job. Most of the time if the dog is friendly she can play but it so nice how they care enough to make things easier for me and Duchess. To all my friends I can't thank you enough for being there.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Frustration with not Petting

                      It has been a rough week of dealing with people who do not want to follow the do not pet patches on Duchess's vest. I had another incident yesterday where I was walking Duchess on campus and was approached by two students and the came right up and started to pet her. I told them to stop petting her that she is a service dog and to not be pet. The continued on like I had said nothing so I stepped in front of Duchess. She was already backing up from the students because she knows that she is not supposed to be pet. Once I stood in front of them they got all upset and started to yell at me that I was abusing my dog by making her work and that she must be miserable. They told me that dogs need constant petting and this do not pet stuff is crap. I know normally on campus my experience for the most part have been positive but this is the first time it had gotten out of hand. I told the students that they needed to respect my wishes as the owner of the dog and that is in no way their for their enjoyment or company. They were some what blown away by my comments. I am still mystified at the fact that if you have a dog it is automatically owned by everyone in some people's opinion. I know Duchess stays focused on her job when she is not petted by others. I am not sure why that is never understood but I know I try to educate the best I can but I have learned that some people are unable to be educated on this.

                      I know Duchess never likes these situations because they encroach on her space and her ability to focus. I spend most of my days most of the time to keep her from being pet even with the patches. I am sure it will be this way for many years to come but it would be a dream not to be bugged constantly about petting Duchess for her sake and my own.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Trouble Saying No

              I know things can really be complicated between being a diabetic and service dog handler. I have always struggled in some area's in my life with telling people no. I know having Duchess I am doing it much more frequently but it is never easy. I am too much of a people pleaser but I am working on that. It can be hard and frustrating honestly to constantly tell people to not pet. I know I get really annoyed after a while. Normally my office is a safe zone where people do not pet Duchess or even ask which is always appreciated. Yesterday a new person started in the department and of course first thing asked if she could pet Duchess. I told her no because it can affect her focus on work. Then her new supervisor told her it was okay to pet her. I did not say anything because I was livid. It is such a delicate balance with everything at work and I have made some mistakes along the way but have learned some lessons by having to work with a trainer to fix issues which is never cheap. I follow these rules for many reasons including my own sanity. I was not sure how to handle this situation. I am going to my manager who knows that petting is not acceptable with Duchess. I am hoping she will tell the new girl that petting is not allowed. If that does not go as planned I am going to call my disabilities office on campus and have them come in to educate the people around me if necessary. I am hoping for a quite resolution to a problem that could spiral out of control quickly.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Looking Back

                I have been thinking about what an adventure it has been adding Duchess to my life. There has been some great changes and some difficult one's. I know my life will never bee the same in a really good way. Having a service dog means obstacles with public access and just general rights from work to everyday places. I know all these big obstacles have been a real learning experience about my strengths and weakness. I have learned that no matter the obstacle I need to fight it because any other service dog team that comes after me will be affected if I let a business or grocery store win. I have fought the fight quite well and had some help along the way from other service dog teams as well. I am quite proud that I have been able to educate numerous people from college students to children along the way. I know as more service dogs there are the easier things will be. I have learned so much from Duchess as well. I know she is so much more relaxed about things than I am at times and she has a way of reminding me that It can wait till tomorrow.  Diabetes is never easy but with Duchess my diabetes is manageable and so much easier. She is also my best friend and will always be my crazy goofy dog that I Love. Through all my experiences even the incredibly difficult one's I would not change a thing. My decision has saved my life and also helped me to cope with some very scary experiences. She has been with me through lows that last for hours, seizures, ambulance ride, hospitalization and scary procedures. Duchess always seems so unfazed by it all most of the time. As I look back to where I was 5 years ago I can't even begin to describe the fear I was living and that all seems like it was far in the past.

Duchess hanging out with my friend

Friday, May 3, 2013

Judged by Another

                   I have always struggled in some ways going from my life without a service dog to a life with a service dog. I am incredibly blessed and fortunate to have her but life was so much simpler before. I have had wonderful opportunities to educate and learn new things through my interaction with the public. I have also had some bad experiences even from withing the diabetic community at large on forums. I have been criticized pretty harshly or disliked in general because of having Duchess. I know that all parents want their children to be complication free and live life to the fullest. There is a diabetic gentle man, his wife and his type 1 diabetic daughter. The gentle man has always been pretty harsh to me and duchess. I would like to think of myself as a very nice person. I have a feeling that because Duchess garners so much attention he dislikes her or it may be I am too out spoken about things. I did not get Duchess for the attention but because I really had no other options if I wanted to work and have the ability to leave my house without getting lost. I know when people meet me they assume that I really don't need her but I really do. I know with him being a parent it is hard to see other diabetics with complications. I do speak about my complications because I need to talk about it. I don't feel I should be shunned for what I am dealing with. I am still trying to figure out why they are not a fan of Duchess. I know he is highly involved in the diabetic community. So I find it strange how they treat me when I am active member of the community. I know the local JDRF head board memeber love Duchess. I know the outreach manager wanted to see if I could do more and of course I have been. I find it interesting how the perspective of having Duchess can vary so dramatically from one person to another.

                    I know a large number of the people having diabetic alert dogs is children and some may think because their diabetes is easy to manage everyone's is. I know for me that has never been the case but I know I wish others would not judge so harshly until they have walked a mile in my shoes. I know the gentle man has only had diabetes 3 years and is a newbie. So his understanding might not be as much a long term diabetic. I know his family is very involved but I do not think I will ever feel very welcome at the events they host or meet ups which is no fun but I guess part of the deal with having Duchess with me. I know I am helping another member of my local meetup group look for a DAD as well. So maybe with another in the group the understanding of the need to have one will make my experience better.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Crazy Spikes

                  I  have been back at work recently trying to find a reason for some crazy spikes after I eat lunch and dinner. I have tried changing basals because I thought I was spiking up because I was low before lunch but I am still spiking when I am not low before lunch. So the next thing I tried was doing a combo bolus. I have found that during eating I am dropping low but then spiking back up. So my solution is the combo bolus I am giving less at the beginning and then sending more later and it seems to be working. I have become even more insulin sensitive in the past couple of months. I can soar back down quite quickly and not feeling lows that is not a good thing but I am also glad I am not having a lot of insulin resistance either. So I am not implementing this for a couple weeks and see how it goes never hurts to try new things. Hopefully this is the solution. It has taken me quite a while to figure out why I have had all these crazy spike recently but at least I have found a possible solution. I know I have been driving Duchess crazy because one minute I am low then I am soaring up very quickly and I know she has never been a fan of fast moving blood sugars. She has seen enough seizures that she knows what can happen.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Friends for Life

                   I am so excited that I will be able to attend the CWD Friends for Life Conference in Orlando Florida in July for the first time. I wanted to go last year but was unable to. So to be able to go this year will be quite fun. I have been going to Sononma California for the past couple of years in July to see friends but I thought a change of pace would be nice. I know there is so many people I would love to meet in person and this is another opportunity. I know Duchess love to fly and so this trip will be a nice break for her. I have never been to Disney world either so I know this will be fun. Duchess can go on some of the rides with me at Disney World. I know I always get the funniest looks when I say my service dog can go on rides but I am really hoping she enjoys them. I would also like to take her to Disney Land in the near future as well. I know it will be interesting to see her reactions to the Disney characters see will encounter. She is not usually scared so I am sure she will enjoy it. I know I will be taking a lot of pictures of my trip and plan on sharing them with everyone. I am really looking forward to getting away from work for a couple of weeks. I just started my over time hours thankfully. So I will need the break by the time July rolls around. I know Duchess will love all the excitement of it all but I know the conferences always has her on high alert because of all the smells of low or high blood sugars. I sometimes feel bad because she is around all the smells and how much that must drive her crazy but she really just takes it in stride and keeps alerting me as she should.

Picture at Winery in Sonoma Ca from last year