I’m sick

I live with a chronic illness, which to some people means that I’m “sick” all the time. Personally, I don’t view my diabetes as a sickness.

However, I AM sick.

Sick of:

  • Living my life by numbers
  • Having to explain the mechanics of diabetes over and over
  • People thinking that my illness prevents me from doing great things
  • People thinking that my illness prevents me from doing normal things
  • People thinking that my illness gets me special treatment
  • People saying “you can’t eat that”
  • People asking what’s beeping or whose phone is that when an alarm or alert sounds
  • Having alarms and alerts sound all. the. time.
  • Sticking needles into my body

Continue reading

Diabetes Has Terrible Timing

I was going to title this blog post simply: UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But that wouldn’t be very explanatory and would do terrible things to the already weak SEO of my site.

Here’s the story:

I’m in charge of the monthly events for the professional organization whose board I sit on. I was hosting the summer networking event one evening. I was at the bar having just been served the Pub Exclusive: Great Lakes Buckin’ Mule Moscow Mule Ale and I pulled out my PDM to take a bolus for the beer and some food. The screen flashed on and then straight to a PDM error message to call customer service.

I knew the PDM would need reset, but was wondering if I could delay a bolus so I glanced at my Dexcom app on my phone. It was apparently the perfect time for a sensor error.

Let’s recap real quick: I’m running an event, I can’t bolus from my insulin pump, I can’t read my CGM and because of the PDM error I have no glucose meter either.

I excuse myself and dig in my diabetes bag for a syringe to take a bolus from my insulin vial. I find no syringes in my bag and have no idea why. So I go to the quietest place I can find (the event was in the bar of a hotel restaurant) and even then it was loud, but I called OmniPod customer service anyway. I spent 20 minutes of the phone with a sympathetic rep who took the information and tried to walk me through a reset using a “paperclip,” since I didn’t have a paperclip or safety pin or anything, I used my earring. The PDM screen blinked off, it went to the restart screen, blinked off again, restart screen, off, restart, off, restart… rinse repeat. We tried the earring reset again. Same result. We removed the batteries, waited, replaced them, and same result. That’s when the rep pronounced my PDM dead. “Okay, I’ll take shots until tomorrow and they’ll overnight me a new one,” I thought.

“Rachel, our records show that your PDM is out of warranty. We won’t be able to replace it, you’ll need to order a new one.”

I deflated. I had forgotten that I willfully allowed myself to run out of warranty in December in the vain hope that OmniPod would be releasing a closed-loop system. I had attempted to get an OmniPod DASH in order to do a review for DiabetesMine, but I couldn’t get my hands on one. It’s a long story.

“Do you have another form of insulin delivery?” He asked me. To which my automatic response was, “Yes.”

But did I? Continue reading

Diabetes Doesn’t Give Holidays Off

Next week marks my 3rd year of using OmniPod to manage my type 1 diabetes. This isn’t really relevant to today’s story, but I wanted to point it out.

It’s sometimes hard to believe how much time has gone by since I was diagnosed with diabetes and since I started using an insulin pump. It’s an all-day, everyday condition that gives no time off for vacations, holidays or good behavior. In fact, I think that mine punishes me on vacation and during holidays!

I know it’s been a few weeks, but let me tell you about my very unthankful and unpleasant start to Thanksgiving. The evening before Thanksgiving Brad and I went down to his family’s house. We usually help prepare and cook the meal. My blood sugar was a little high, but I assumed it was from having lunch out with my coworkers. I took corrections and set temp basals, but got kind of wrapped up in the prep for the big dinner that I wasn’t as vigilant as I should have been.

I was over 200 before bed, so I corrected and set an alarm. I woke up to my alarm and was still high so I corrected again and set another alarm because no one really needs to sleep, right? I have no recollection of testing a second time but my PDM shows another reading and correction, it was lower but still too high. When I woke up the next morning and checked my Dexcom I almost had a heart attack, it read over 300. I immediate stuck my finger and sure enough, I was 302.

Its hard to be thankful when you start the day with a device failure, pod change and moderate ketones. #walkwithd

A photo posted by Rachel K (@probablyrachel) on

Something was clearly wrong so I took a manual injection from my brand new vial of insulin and started the pod change process, right there in my in-laws’ guest bed while Brad was just waking up. The old pod was starting day 3 and was the last of my previous vial of insulin, that coupled with the mystery food and my dysfunctional immune system created the perfect diabetes storm to threaten to ruin my Thanksgiving. Continue reading

A Side Effect of Diabetes

There are a lot of side effects of diabetes that no one ever seems to talk about… Today, I’d like to discuss one of them.

Diabetes is a 24/7 health condition that never lets up and requires a lot of attention. My type 1 diabetes is like a needy monster that needs checked, fed, exercised, watered and medicated. Aside from those things and exponentially more doctors and medical appointments than a regular, healthy-pancreas person (known as “normal” for the rest of this post) has, it requires one more thing. Countless hours of my life spent on the phone.

Do you know what normal people do on their lunch breaks?

They eat lunch.

Sometimes they go for a walk, exercise, run errands and maybe make a quick personal call.

Do you know what I do on my lunch break?

I make phone calls (and attempt to eat my lunch during hold times or quietly while the person on the other side pulls up my information).

Who am I calling you ask? Continue reading

When Your Life Literally Depends on Wal-Mart

In college, the only real store in town was the Wal-Mart Super Center. It was the only place for college gal on a budget to get groceries, towels and cleaning supplies (her roommates weren’t terribly tidy!). The Wal-Mart was pretty nice.

Where I live now…. I avoid Wal-Mart. The Wal-Mart nearest my home draws the crowd of people who missed out of manners day in kindergarten, don’t frequent the deodorant aisle at Wally World and have serious personal space and pick-up-the-pace issues.

Unfortunately, about once a year, I need Wal-Mart to survive. That inevitable time of the year when my insurance can’t figure out which end is up and that I paid a crap load of money to reach my deductible and I find myself utterly out of test strips. That time of the year hit this weekend.

You see, my brand name test strips that go with my OmniPod PDM cost about $1.54 per little tiny strip… which means the a box of 50 strips that might hold me until this gets figured out (I test 9+ times a day friends) costs more than $75.

The name brand strips for bright pink meter the hospital gave me at diagnosis cost about $1.37 per strip, which isn’t exactly acceptable to pay out of pocket for either…when you know the insurance is supposed to be covering them at 100% now that I’ve emptied my HSA into my bum pancreas.

This is where Wal-Mart comes in.  Continue reading