cloud with a chance of type 1 #hawmc day 30

April 30, 2012

I love the word wordle!

Here’s the thing: I LOVE that the 2 biggest words in this cloud are “talking” and “diabetes,” or in my mind, “talking diabetes.” #BAMthereitis (and why is THAT not in the cloud? It totally should be! oh, it would be if I did a smartDpants twitterfeed cloud. okay, enough talking to myself.)

I’m going to do more of these in the days to come, but this one is perfect for today. Love.

wego health writer’s month challenge, Day 30: Word Cloud. Make a word cloud or tree with a list of words that come to mind when you think about your blog, health, or interests. Use a thesaurus to make the branches of your “tree” extend further.

happy blogaversary to me! and 6 sentence story #hawmc day 29

April 29, 2012

A year ago, I created this blog and posted my first post. After doing d-blog week, I slacked and only blogged a few more times until April 1 of this year. Now, we’re almost to the end of HAWMC and I haven’t taken a free pass so far! 😉 I’ve had so much fun doing it, and plan to keep blogging at a much more regular and frequent pace from here on out. Thanks to everyone who’s commented and gotten into the smartDpants conversation with me!

It’s a great time to have a first blogaversary. It’s also a great time for a visit from my mom, who got here yesterday to hang with us for a week. Here’s my 6 sentence story about what we did yesterday…

love, smartDpants


We parked the car several blocks from downtown and walked past stately old houses with beautiful lawns, roses, snapdragons, and gardenia and dogwood trees to get to the center of all the action. Our family eagerly anticipated this year’s local celebration and festivities of all that is butter, eggs, and other dairy products. A, Ms. Diva, Gma and I wandered about the streets of downtown Petaluma eating free samples of string cheese, vanilla bean ice cream, and of course, tons of candy once the 139-float parade began. Today was sunny–hot, even–with a very slight breeze that we only felt while standing; once we sat, the sun beat down upon our unadorned (and hence, unprotected) heads. After several hours of strolling around, even though it was in no way fast, plus sitting in the heat, my continuous glucose monitor started screaming and my blood sugar started to plummet. Even (maybe especially) on this glorious day, t1d couldn’t stand not being the center of attention.



wego health activist writer’s month challenge, Day 29:  Six Sentence Story. In this day of micro-blogging – brevity is a skill worth honing. Can you tell a story and make it short and sweet? What can you say in six sentences. Check out some here:

the first time I gave a shot in my stomach #hawmc day 28

April 28, 2012

The first time I ever gave a shot of insulin in my stomach, I was about 10 years old. I’d had type 1 diabetes for a few years and gave multiple daily injections in my arms or thighs. But for some reason, the idea of giving a shot in my stomach gave me the creeps.

My family and I were visiting my grandparents during summer vacation. Everyone else was in the dining room, getting ready to have lunch. My mom and I had been “discussing” me trying to use my stomach, to give me more options for shot territory, for weeks. I had given my mom a lot of attitude about it. That day, she went all tough love on me and said after I’d given my shot in my stomach, I could join the family for lunch. But I wasn’t going to be allowed to have lunch without giving my shot, and I wasn’t going to ruin the rest of the family’s time with my whining and whatever other mess I was dishing out about the stomach area.

I sat on the couch in the living room for a looooong time. I don’t know what had built up in my head around giving shots in my stomach. I don’t even know if I was afraid of potential pain, or something else. So I sat and stewed about it. I did hold the syringe in my hand the whole time, and a few false starts where I drew back to plunge it into my skin, then did a sharp halt each time. A couple of times I put everything down and tried to get up the nerve to go into the dining room with my family without completing my task. Then I sat back down and picked up the syringe again.

Eventually, I did it. NBD. Even though it was NBD, though, the tears streamed down my face. I’d broken through some sort of weird mental barrier, and it was a huge relief. I’d done it, even though I didn’t want to, and didn’t want anyone else to, and didn’t want to deal with it at all. It was all okay. (I don’t think it hurt, either, which was a good thing.)

Finally getting up the nerve to give a shot in my stomach totally built my confidence around being able to do d-things myself, and do them well. My mom knew what she was doing. I didn’t realize that at the time, but I sure do now.

wego Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge, Day 28: The First Time I…Write a post about the first time you did something. What is it? What was it like? What did you learn from it?

d-challenges & victories #hawmc day 27

April 27, 2012

I don’t know where today went. that’s not right. yes, I do. but I’m here, under the wire again, and going to do this while it’s still Day 27. booya!!

5 smartDpants challenges:

1. Remembering to take care of my diabetes.

That sounds stupid, diabetes is here all the time, there’s always something to pay attention to, how could anyone forget to do what needs to be done? All I know is that it happens, like when my pump yells at me that there’s only 30 units of insulin left in the reservoir and we’re 5 minutes behind schedule to get everyone out the door to kindergarten and work and the other work, and the oldest dog needs his Rx and both dogs need water and someone needs to pull the laptop cord out of the wall and omg, where did the homework go and are we TEN minutes late now? I’ll refill it when I get to work in an hour or so…except sometimes, I forget.

2. Paying attention to what the numbers say, and how they’re trending.

It’s gotten pretty easy to look at a Dexcom reading of 80 with a horizontal arrow and think all is well. Except my BG’s habit these days is to decrease really suuuuuuuuuuuper slowly. So I don’t get any fancy down arrows screaming at me to test and treat IMMEDIATELY. I get these lazy, sauntering downward CGM’s…from 80 horizontal…to 75 horizontal 15 minutes later…to 70 horizontal 20 minutes later…and so on…I get lulled into thinking all is well. With my “hypoglycemic unawareness” business that leaves me symptomless with a 35 mg/dl, it sometimes isn’t so well. I need to pay better attention to what’s going on.

3. Entering all the numbers.

BGs, 10-15/day. Basal rates, currently 5 a day that can change every few days. Boluses given, any time I eat (at least 3 times/day usually) or correct a high BG (some days 1, other days 3-4). Carbs eaten, either SWAG’d or actually counted. I do so much better when I enter ALL the numbers in my log/spreadsheet, every day, and sometimes I get that done. Some nights, my partner has to listen to me ask her “what did we eat for dinner on Monday that was 30 carbs?” when it’s Thursday. (She’s super awesome at remembering. Love you, A!)

4. Choosing the healthier/less fun/more difficult choice.

I make a big deal out of saying I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want, and I’ve lived with D forever and it can just go screw itself because damn it, I will have a cupcake and so there. It is what it is. I can, and I’ll do what I need to do so I keep my BGs in a decent range. But the thing is, my BG is such a freaking flatline when I eat fewer carbs. So it would be better, and feel good, for me to eat salad at most meals. I like salad, a lot, don’t get me wrong. And I do it eat it, a lot. Without bread. But constantly making the choice wears me down.

5. Loving myself just the way I am.

Sometimes I’m just so pissed at my body for failing the way it has, and my dumb pancreas for making my life this way. I can go through and do the gratitude thing or the “this is how it’s made my life so great” thing or the “I wouldn’t have had these experiences without this massive problem” thing, sure. I can. I wish I didn’t have to, though. I wish I could love this body with its brokenness and failed endocrine and autoimmune mess that makes parts of my life a huge pain the ass. Meh.

5 small smartDpants victories:

1. I have rocked an HbA1c of 6.0, 5.8 or 5.9 since November 2010. I never thought I could ever do that. I’m in a little groove.

2. Hundys. I get a BG reading of 100 mg/dl every so often. They’re fun. 😉

hello, hundy!

3. Flatlines, of the CGM kind, also known as d-planking. Those are also fun.


4. No-hitters, also of the CGM kind.

5. 31 years and 11 months of type 1 diabetes with no complications. #BAMthereitis!!

wego Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge, Day 27: 5 Challenges. 5 Small Victories. Make a list of the 5 most difficult parts of your health focus. Make another top 5 list for the little, good things (small victories) that keep you going.

what’s my tagline? #hawmc day 26

April 26, 2012

“a girl with a smart mouth, a dumb pancreas, and some thoughts on living with type 1 diabetes.”

That tagline pretty much says it all, as far as I’m concerned.

I got in trouble a LOT when I was little for talking, talking a lot, talking too much, talking when I wasn’t supposed to. Often I was saying things out of a “smart mouth,” or “too smart for my own good,” or just being a “smartypants.”

To me, that just means that I say what I mean, or what’s obvious to me. I wasn’t (usually) trying to push anyone’s buttons or get myself in trouble. My Facebook About page used to say under Languages that I’m fluent in sarcasm. Sarcasm, or the ability to be a smartypants, is indeed a language. Mark Z. and co. took away that option from the selections for Language. I wholeheartedly disagree with that decision.

Add type 1 diabetes to a kid with a smart mouth, and you get smartDpants. I call(ed) it like I see (saw) it. For instance: the exchange diet never made any sense to me, and fearing sugar (or paying for it with guilt and/or exercise) didn’t, either. I somehow felt carb counting deep inside me many years before anyone ever told me about it, but that didn’t do me any good. Except I knew that I actually COULD have a cupcake, if there were enough insulin to “pay” for those carbs, and it wasn’t going to kill me to do that.

Saying that kind of thing to medical professionals in the early 80’s also got me the labels of “emotional eater,” “noncompliant,” and as I would be reminded multiple times over, a “smart mouth.” Somehow that made them feel better than if they had taught me about insulin-carbohydrate ratios and insulin sensitivity. Go figure. I guess a lot of them were still making their patients use sliding scales, so maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on them. Except I am.

If my mouth is smart, then my pancreas is the complete opposite. I’m SO not thrilled with my pancreas, even though I know I should really be pissed at my autoimmune system for attacking it, if I were going to go all the way with this description. It feels better to me to have something concrete to be mad at, and my pancreas fits the bill. The autoimmune system is too dispersed to really focus my pissedoffedness at it. Sorry, pancreas. I know that DNA really didn’t do you any favors, either.

Finally, “some thoughts on living with type 1.” That’s what you get, here at smartDpants. My life, how I live it, how type 1 fits and doesn’t fit into it, and what I think about that. Sure, I’ll throw in some feelings, too. Evidently, according to some previous medical professionals in my life, I am emotional 😉

wego Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge, Day 26: Health tagline. Give yourself, your blog, your condition, or some aspect of your health a tagline. Make sure it’s catchy!

the day she fell asleep in the pool #hawmc day 25

April 25, 2012

Summer 1980. She was seven years old, and having a great vacation so far. Swim and golf lessons, days spent at the pool with her besties, long long hot days, tons of fun and giggles and good times.

Except she could never get enough to drink. Seemed like she was always standing in front of the refrigerator, taking long drags on the big bottle of cold water her mom kept in there. She couldn’t take the time to pour it in a glass, either. (Sorry, Mom!) Just needed to take in as much as she could at one time. Sometimes she felt like she had a bottomless thirst that would never be quenched.

And then she’d have to run to the bathroom, almost immediately after drinking. Those trips were a bummer, and they were required so often! She wondered why the cold water couldn’t just do its job and get over itself.

Then she took another loooooooong drink.

And went to pee. Again.

Swim lessons were several days a week, early in the morning. She started taking lessons when she was a toddler, so she knew her way around a pool and loved it. They were learning kick-turns, dives, and practicing cool emergency survival things like turning jeans and shirts into flotation devices and wearing them while treading water for several minutes at a time. There would be a test at the end of the summer.

She was starting to get annoyed when she had to get out of the pool several times each lesson to pee. Again. What was going on?

Golf lessons were even earlier, just once a week at 7am. She’d go with a couple of her best friends, and they’d always play an entire 9 holes after the lesson was over. She quickly learned exactly where the restrooms were throughout the course, and started worrying that somewhere on the back 9 she’d get stranded and wet her pants.

She planned how she could ask someone in one of the houses lining the course if she could use their bathroom. And made excuses with her pals about why she didn’t want to play an entire 18. (It was 1980. People didn’t carry water bottles around with them all the time back then. She would either die of thirst, or pee all over herself, or both, whatever.)

When she was at home, she began sitting down on a big comfy chair in the living room. It was on her path halfway in between the refrigerator and the bathroom. She could rest for a minute. Sometimes she’d lean back and close her eyes. Ahh. Rest was good.

Sometimes, she’d open her eyes and realize she’d been asleep for several minutes. Or a half-hour. Or longer…an hour? What?

Confusion. Annoyance. This didn’t make any sense.

On Friday, June 13, her mom and her 3-year-old brother took her to swim lessons per usual. There were lots of contests and races that day, with kickboards and without, practicing various swim strokes back and forth across the full length of the pool. Good times.

She gripped a kickboard and kicked along, enjoying the water on her face. No good drinking THAT water, she thought to herself.

The water was really comfortable, in fact. Like lying in a cloud. She wouldn’t even have to kick that much. Maybe she could slow down a little. How many more lengths did she have left? So…comfortable…so…tired…maybe she could just stop for a little bit…and float…

With her face down in the water? It didn’t matter. She just needed to rest.

She pulled herself up without breathing in any water and trudged slowly up the steps in the 4-foot end. Weakly dropped the kickboard on the pool deck and fell into her mom’s arms. She was pretty incoherent by this time. Her mom wrapped her in a beach towel, took little brother by the hand, and put them in the car. Mom drove directly to the ER.

She had some trouble holding her head up in the car on the way there. She tried to keep it together, but her eyes kept rolling back in her head. She saw and heard people-nurses and doctors-coming in and out of her curtained area in the ER. The lights were super bright, she could just close her eyes. Her brother was with her mom at the end of the bed, and they seemed like a looooong way away. She was still so tired. She didn’t feel the IV go in her hand. It was just easier to close her eyes and rest. Blissful.



About 4 days later, she opened her eyes and focused. Her parents, and brother, and grandparents were there with her. She wasn’t so crazy thirsty anymore. She could hold her head up. Must have finally gotten enough rest.

That’s good, because a whole new life was waiting for her and her loved ones. Insulin. Shots. Exchange diet. Urine tests. A whole new language.

With that, smartDpants was born. She just wouldn’t realize it for another 31 years.



wego Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge prompt for Day 25:  Third person post. Write about a memory you have but describe it using the third person. Use as many sensory images (sights, sounds, textures, etc) as you can. Don’t use “I” or “me” unless you include dialogue.

sparkle, my d-mascot #hawmc day 24

April 24, 2012

I’m no artist–not a visual artist, anyway. You need a light mezzo-soprano for a symphonic choir? Sure, I’m your girl. Broadway belt of “Defying Gravity” or “Take Me or Leave Me?” All over it. Singing, acting, playing the piano…that’s me. Drawing, painting, taking photos, graphic design, other awesome talents of creating wonderful images that I totally appreciate and honor in others? Nonexistent right here. But I’ll do the best I can for this prompt.

So, here’s my health mascot. Her name is Sparkle, obviously. Not an original idea, mind you. Sprinkles, the diabetes advocacy unicorn, got there first. And Kim did a really cool overview of why everyone with diabetes needs their own unicorn. Truth.

Sparkle, the smartDpants mascot

I came across this particular mascot quite randomly in a gift shop at Philadelphia International Airport. I was  looking around for a gift for my daughter, Ms. Diva, who was 5 years old at the time. This just spoke to me, from a corner of the shop…but Ms. Diva isn’t really into unicorns. (She’s very much a dinosaur girl.)

Sparkle has her own fuzzy and glittery bag, which I love–she can take care of herself, carries her own shelter, she can even zip herself in and take a nap as needed.

Because naps are most definitely needed. As is shelter, of course (glittery and pink, sure!). And bringing what we need with us, so that we can take care of ourselves. This photo of Sparkle reminds me that I have whatever I need with me–whether that’s diabetes supplies (most of the time!!), or my own brain and spirit.

Sparkle and her lovely bag also remind me that it’s okay to let others support and carry me sometimes. That one is much harder for me to keep in mind and follow through, but it’s good to be reminded that I don’t have to do it all myself, all the time.

And that I should hunker down, surround myself with pretty comfort, and take a nap more often.

Thanks, Sparkle. Sweet, bolusworthy advocacy dreams.

wego Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge prompt for Day 24:  Health Mascot. Give yourself, your condition, or your health focus a mascot. Is it a real person? Fictional? Mythical being? Describe them. Bonus points if you provide a visual!

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