Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I'm wishing a very Happy Birthday to my nerdy and lovable husband, Scott! I hope you enjoyed the Smashing Pumpkins show!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

There's a Turkey next door

I live in a townhouse in the suburbs of DC. It's not unusual to see people walking their dogs, or to see a cat sitting in the window. I was surprised this weekend when Scott asked me to come outside and look (through the privacy fence - ha!) into our neighbor's yard. On their back porch was, I kid you not, a live turkey. I can only assume that it won't be around after Thursday, but I wonder, should I contact some authority? I'm not sure whether it's illegal or not, but I know there's something about zoning and farm animals, and I'm sure that our little row of townhouses is not zoned for having live turkeys. Not only that, but there's a frozen pile of turkey poo sitting on their steps. I wonder what kinds of diseases you can catch from live turkeys and frozen turkey dung? And, perhaps most disgustingly, I wonder where they're planning to kill and clean it? I don't even want to think about it. Now, where did I leave that HOA contact phone number...?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cautiously Optimistic

This news clip is referred to all over the diabetes blogosphere today.  It provides cautious hope for Type 1 diabetics around the world.  Researchers have found a cure for Type 1 diabetes in mice using drugs that are already on the market (for cancer).  This is notable because since the drugs are already on the market, the time from mouse testing to human testing is greatly reduced.  Other reasons we're excited about this story are because they properly differentiate between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes (unusual for mainstream media!), the research could move into human testing within ONE YEAR as opposed to the 10+ years that many studies promise, and because it seems that after treatment for a short period ("a few months"), the disease is cured.  Not controlled.  Not improved.  Cured.  I am hopeful about this news.

(And I wouldn't mind a party with lots of chocolate, a large tent, and Johnny Depp to celebrate, either!). ;)

Friday, November 14, 2008

World Diabetes Day TODAY!

I've donned my blue apparel (including socks and shoes!) and am telling people that today is World Diabetes Day.  I shared with my (fairly new) coworkers earlier this week that today was coming, and to wear blue in support, and they actually did it!  Yahoo!

Now, you may ask "what is WDD?".  I think Kerri from Six Until Me did a great job of explaining it in an interview with Getting Better:

"It’s a global awareness campaign that was started in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation. The United Nations recognized the event for the first time in 2007. It’s a day that directs the world’s attention to diabetes and the epidemic its become and the effort it takes to manage it. On World Diabetes Day bloggers want to spread the word that diabetes is not an invisible disease. It affects lives every day, and it deserves the world’s attention."

So, I'm spreading the word.  Today is a day to support the Diabetes community and Diabetes research.  You can do this by donating to the JDRF or DRI, you can read and better educate yourself on the truths and myths of the disease (check out some of the blogs on my blogroll over there on the left for some good places to start), or you can show your support to a PWD (person with diabetes) who you care about.  And in case you don't know how to show support, here's a good Do's and Don'ts guide to help you.

Finally, one of the coolest things (I think) about WDD is the number of international buildings and monuments being lit in blue to commemorate this day.  You can see a map and list here and here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

World Diabetes Day is November 14 - Wear Blue to Support the Diabetes Awareness Campaign

This month, I think all (4) of my posts so far have focused on diabetes, and believe it or not, there's a reason for it!  November is Diabetes Awareness month.  We've already passed the "D-Blog" day, where I talked about my diagnosis.  This Friday, November 14, is World Diabetes Day, where companies and monuments around the world are lit in blue in support of diabetes awareness.  We also tried, unsuccessfully, to get Google to do a "doodle" for the day, but apparently diabetes isn't a "quirky" enough issue to warrant one.  Maybe next year.  For this year, though, you can show your support by wearing blue on Friday.  Any shade will do, just as long as you wear blue! (you didn't know I was a poet, didya?)  Also, check out my cool new banner over there on the left.  You can light a virtual candle!  Cool!

Find out more information about World Diabetes Day here:

Monday, November 10, 2008

I'm a Type 1, son!

This video cracked me up! (and look who learned how to add a YouTube video to a blog post!)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

D-Day - Diabetes Blogging Day, My Diagnosis Story

In the summer of 1987, I was 6 years old, living in Kentucky.  Typically during the summers, I ran around outside playing with my friends.  However, in 1987, I didn't do quite as much running.  I also wasn't eating much, and I lost a lot of weight.  I was tall and skinny, and after my mom TRIED to get me to eat anything...even ice cream, and I wouldn't, she decided to take me in to the doctor on August 10, 1987.  I don't remember getting my blood drawn, or even seeing a doctor.  I just remember being in the hospital, and there was a nurse named Jennifer who I really liked.

At one point, a doctor came into my hospital room and talked with my parents and me.  He told us that I had a disease, and that the disease was called "Diabetes".  I began to cry when I heard this news, because in my 6-year-old-mind, I believed that a disease ment that you were going to die.  I don't remember a whole lot of the medical details beyond that.  What I do remember is that I missed about a week or two of first grade, and I had to do my homework in the hospital to keep up.  Also, my classmates all made cards for me while I was there.  My cousin, Josh, had a birthday while I was in the hospital and I was allowed out to go to his party.  The party was a pool party and he had a chocolate chip cookie cake in place of a normal birthday cake.  I think I may have been allowed to have a little bit of this, but probably not much.  I wasn't allowed to have sugar again until much later - once I started wearing a pump in college.

Before leaving the hospital, my parents had to learn to give me insulin shots (pork insulin at that point) and test my blood sugar (twice per day), and I think I had to give myself one shot before they'd let me out.  

It took a few years before I started injecting myself regularly, and even longer for me to test my bloodsugar more than twice a day.  Now, I test my blood sugar 10-15 times per day and rather than avoiding sugar entirely, I now count carbohydrates and give insulin accordingly - enabling me to eat whatever I want.  

Things have come a long way in 21 years, and I have a lot more freedom than I had with 2 shots per day, 2 blood tests per day, and my "no sugar" diet, but even with all of the gadgets and advances in technology we diabetics have now, we don't have a cure.  If you agree that we need a cure and want to help, please donate to the JDRF or DRI and support research that hopefully will lead to a solution that is more than just "diabetes management".

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Off the Wagon

Do you remember that big list of goals?  And the followup of what a good girl I've been?  Well, traveling, parties, and laziness have gotten the better of me, and I'm falling short of several goals, and just plain ignoring others.

I'm testing often, because I'm high often.  I haven't faxed bloodsugars in over a week and I haven't been logging them because (get this) they're so bad.  Why are they so bad?  Partially because I've been eating total crap: cupcakes, pizza, cheesey sausage balls, potatoes with velveeta, etc.  I have not been cooking as much (or eating enough veggies) since I've been either a party of one or literally at a party for the past week.  The other reason I'm running high could have to do with a new medication I'm on, but, I take most of the blame on this issue as I'm not even sure if said medication messes with blood sugars.

Breakfast?  Breakfast, when I was eating healthy (for all of what? 6 weeks?) was a boiled egg, yogurt, grapes, wheat toast with peanut butter, etc, etc.  Lately, I've been lucky if I even get in a yogurt!  It's ridiculous.  I have eggs at home...I just need to boil them!

I have been PRETTY good about drinking only water and tea, though this week alone I've had 2 Diet Cokes (the previous weeks I've had none).  

I've avoided artificial sweeteners entirely (except when we accidentally got artificially sweetened yogurt...but that was a mistake).

So, I need to climb back up on the wagon.  Life at 100 mg/dl feels a LOT better than life at 400 mg/dl, which is where I've been living since the election-watch party with Caitlin and Ian last night.  

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A beautiful weekend in Skaneateles, NY

My very good friend, Claire owns a horse boarding, training, and riding lessons barn just outside of a quaint little town called Skaneateles (pronounced Skinny Atlas), New York.  Scott and I, with dogs in tow, spent the weekend visiting Claire, her friends, and her fabulous business.  We left DC at 3 pm, and surprisingly didn't hit too much traffic.  We got to Claire's place at 11 pm - just enough time to get the grand tour of her charming-despite-the-lack-of-furniture farm house, let our dogs and Claire's dog (Dallas) get to know one another, clean up their messes, then fall head first into bed.

Saturday turned out to be a lazy, rainy, and chilly day, though not nearly as cold as I was expecting.  In my memory, Claire talked about pre-Halloween snow storms, but in reality it was in the low to mid 50's all day.  (Claire assured me that while snow isn't too uncommon before Halloween, my memory was quite faulty).   

That evening, we met Claire's beaux, Rob who was a great conversationalist and really fun to meet!  After a scrumptious dinner and a trip to the local bar (since it had something Claire's house doesn't - a TV to watch the World Series on), we wound up at a friend of Claire's to watch the rest of the game and crashed at around 3 am.

The next morning came early!  The same friend who lent us the TV and couch for the game happens to also own two glider planes, and he picked Scott up at 8:30 to go for a ride.  You may or may not know, but Scott is an avid aviation enthusiast and dreams of getting his pilot's license some day, so he was super excited!

The highlight of my trip (apart from the great people we visited and met) was a horseback ride through the New York country side in gorgeous 70+ degree weather.  It was strikingly beautiful, with a bright blue sky and mountains in the distance.  I rode Geronimo- a giant black and white spotted Friesian/Draft horse with a head the size of Rhode Island.  Scott looked like a pro on Ransom, an appaloosa gelding with a long history of being a good trail horse. 

Thanks, Claire, for a fantastic weekend!  We look forward to seeing you and all of your friends next time you're in DC!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Checking in

3 weeks ago, I made a big list of things I've been doing to improve my health.  I'm checking in now to show my progress.

  1. Staying on top of diabetes management - this includes many blood tests per day, accurate carb counting, and scheduling and going to my doctor apointments every 3 months (and getting bloodwork done in advance so we can have something to talk about).  I've been testing 10-15 times per day and running LOW for the first time in a long time.  Also I'm faxing my glucose readings weekly to my endo for basal adjustments.
  2. Being aware of my thyroid symptoms and proactively getting bloodwork done to make sure my dosages are on track.  I had my thyroid tested, and it turns out the exhaustion I was experiencing was NOT because of my thyroid - my levels were perfect!  
  3. Eating healthier - We recently switched to Organic produce, dairy, and (when we can find it) meat.  I'm also making smarter choices when I order out, and we're eating at home more often.  This week, I haven't eaten out at all.  This is primarily due to the new budget we created, but I still count it in the "health" category because I've been eating better overall.
  4. Eating breakfast - I eat a healthy, balanced breakfast every day now, usually consisting of a hard boiled egg, some fruit, cheese, and water.  Yep, still eating my healthy breakfast, and this week I've added a yogurt to the list mentioned 3 weeks ago.  Last week I just had toast with peanut butter, but that's because we didn't have the other stuff (whoops)
  5. Drinking plenty of water - We recently got stainless steel bottles that are 100% BPA free, and mine can hold 1L.  I keep it at my desk and do my best to down 2 of those in a day.  Usually I only get through 1 - 1.5, but it's way more water than I used to drink.  I've consistently been drinking 1 litre a day, but only sometimes make it through 2.  This is an area where I'm still working.
  6. Not drinking other stuff - I've given up soda.  Can you believe it?!  I was a diet coke junkie, and now I drink almost exclusively water.  That's gotta be healthier, right?!  In addition to water, Scott and I bought some fancy green tea leaves from Teavana and some blueberry tea from Whole Foods.  We mix those together and I have about 1 cup per night, but sometimes I skip it.
  7. Minimizing the amount of "sweet stuff" I eat.  I'm a sweetaholic!  My favorite foods are buttercream frosting and caramel.  And I have seriously reduced the amount of sweets I have in a given week.  This is helping with #1.  In the past 3 weeks, I think I've had 1 cookie.  Total.  In THREE WEEKS.  And it feels good to not be controlled by the sweet stuff.
  8. Avoiding artificial sweeteners.  Those things probably aren't very good for me, so I'm trying to give them up.  Which means cheating on #7 is a lot harder. Check and check.  No artificial sweeteners in 3 weeks either, except for the occasional diet coke I've had (2 in 3 weeks, I think?)

Things I'm not doing that I should be:
  1. Exercising!  I don't do this...ever.  I have a gym membership, I just need to use it. Still pretty weak here (get it?  because I don't go to the... nevermind).  We went once and I enjoyed it.  Now I just need to drag my lazy self back there.
  2. Logging my blood sugars.  How do I know if I am doing a good job if I can't watch trends?  I suppose I can't.  I am currently researching meters with good computer interfaces that allow me to upload my data and it does the graphing for me for easier analysis.  Hopefully I'll find the right meter for me that will make this process easier.  Logging has always been a struggle for me.  I must admit, I'm doing an AWESOME job at this!  I've started using an Excel spreadsheet that Kevin created and I've been logging not only blood sugars, but also what I eat and when I exercise (ahem, see #1 - not much logging required right now).
I have to say, I do feel healthier.  And I never feel guilty over my eating habits anymore, which is a really great feeling!  And, as a bonus, I've lost almost 5 pounds.  I'm not doing this for weightloss, but if it happens (healthily), I'll take it!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Because my doctor said so, that's why!

My insurance pays for 90% of my insulin pump AND continuous glucose monitoring supplies, which is incredible.  They pay for most of the medical supplies that I need, in fact.  But recently, when my doctor prescribed enough test strips to test 10-15 times per day (because that's how many I need to test to maintain tight control), my insurance decided that I only need to test at most 8 times per day.  What?!  The insurance company gets to decide what's best for my daily medical treatment, not my doctor?  I wasn't prepared to have a war with my insurance company, and I hope I don't have to.  I may be switching insurance companies soon, but even if I don't do that, I hope a letter from my doctor outlining why it is medically necessary for a diabetic patient to test her bloodsugar 10-15 times per day to achieve optimal (or at least darn good) control will suffice.  Let's hope.  Geez.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Small steps add up

In the name of health (not weight loss!) I've decided to make some changes to my habits:
  1. Staying on top of diabetes management - this includes many blood tests per day, accurate carb counting, and scheduling and going to my doctor apointments every 3 months (and getting bloodwork done in advance so we can have something to talk about)
  2. Being aware of my thyroid symptoms and proactively getting bloodwork done to make sure my dosages are on track
  3. Eating healthier - We recently switched to Organic produce, dairy, and (when we can find it) meat.  I'm also making smarter choices when I order out, and we're eating at home more often.
  4. Eating breakfast - I eat a healthy, balanced breakfast every day now, usually consisting of a hard boiled egg, some fruit, cheese, and water
  5. Drinking plenty of water - We recently got stainless steel bottles that are 100% BPA free, and mine can hold 1L.  I keep it at my desk and do my best to down 2 of those in a day.  Usually I only get through 1 - 1.5, but it's way more water than I used to drink.
  6. Not drinking other stuff - I've given up soda.  Can you believe it?!  I was a diet coke junkie, and now I drink almost exclusively water.  That's gotta be healthier, right?!
  7. Minimizing the amount of "sweet stuff" I eat.  I'm a sweetaholic!  My favorite foods are buttercream frosting and caramel.  And I have seriously reduced the amount of sweets I have in a given week.  This is helping with #1.
  8. Avoiding artificial sweeteners.  Those things probably aren't very good for me, so I'm trying to give them up.  Which means cheating on #7 is a lot harder.

Things I'm not doing that I should be:
  1. Exercising!  I don't do this...ever.  I have a gym membership, I just need to use it.
  2. Logging my blood sugars.  How do I know if I am doing a good job if I can't watch trends?  I suppose I can't.  I am currently researching meters with good computer interfaces that allow me to upload my data and it does the graphing for me for easier analysis.  Hopefully I'll find the right meter for me that will make this process easier.  Logging has always been a struggle for me.

My husband is the BEST!

I got a call at work today "Jenni, you have flowers at the front desk".  Sweet!  I've NEVER gotten flowers at work before!  When I got down there, there was a beautiful bouquet of orange, yellow, red, and lavendar flowers - daisies, alstromeria (a fave of mine), and carnations.  

Today's not a "special" day per se, but Scott and I decided earlier in the week to make tonight a date night.  What, you may ask, are we going to do tonight?  I have no idea!  Scott has planned the whole thing and it's a surprise for me (which I love).  He's already made me smile all day at work...and now I can't wait to see what's in store later! :)

I'll keep him.

Monday, September 8, 2008

A few lessons from the beach

Scott and I, together with my college roommates F and C and C's family (J and A), went to Oak Island, NC for a week the week prior to Labor Day.  I had an absolute blast and can't wait to get together with those folks (and others!!) again!  While there, I learned several lessons, which I'd like to share with you:
  1. Always wear sunscreen.  Even if you think you "don't burn there", just do it.  Because you do.  Or at least I do.
  2. Never use the spray-on sunscreen.  Or you'll end up patchy and bruised-looking like Scott and I do.
  3. Quo is not a word.  Not even when you have had a Q all game and there's only 1 available U on the whole board and you have an O as your only vowel.
  4. Sandbank is a word (and so is sandbar.  Both mean basically the same thing).  Here's the definition: sandbank is a patch of sand in water, which creates a shallow area which may pose a hazard to boats. Some sandbanks are above water at low tide. See also shoal and bar. A shoal is a sandbank or bar creating a shallow. ... In geography, a bar is a linear shoaling landform feature within a body of water. ...
  5. Oak Island locals may or may not know how to pronounce the Greek letter Chi.  It might sound something like "Chee".  When wearing your fraternity letters in public there, try not to giggle if someone asks "What the heck is Alpha Chee Sigma"? ;)
  6. Homemade ice cream on Oak Island is not worth eating.  Dairy Queen's a good option, and so is that other place that Caitlin recommended, but the homemade stuff is really icey and not really creamy and not very flavorful.
So, there you have it.  A new blog post with some highly insightful things to get you through the work week.  Or a vacation.  Or a game of Scrabble.  

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Happy Anniversary to Us (last week)! And my parents (today)!

Last Tuesday, August 12, was our 3rd wedding anniversary. To celebrate, Scott told me to be ready to leave by 6 pm. He had a surprise planned, and he did a fantastic job at keeping it that way until the very last minute. He drove us to Arlington and parked in the Ballston Mall. I was surprised, for sure, since the Ballston mall is well, not that great of a mall. But, it has an ice skating rink. I've never been, so I thought maybe we were going ice skating. (Yes, I realize it's August, and that ice melts in hot weather, but I couldn't see him taking me to the Ballston mall for many other reasons...). Alas, we were not going ice skating. He led me into the mall, to the right (away from the Macy's and the flooring store and the jewelry other guesses once ice skating was ruled out) toward Chevy's Fresh Mex. I thought, no way would he take me to Chevy's for our anniversary! I don't even like Chevy's all that much. Fortunately, my concerns were dissolved when he steered us toward the spa. I love spas! I love facials and manicures and pedicures and massages...and he chose the perfect gift! He got us a couples massage lesson, where we got to learn massage techniques by practicing on one another. It was so relaxing, entertaining, and a great learning experience. Once we finished there (and decided we're going to buy a massage table for home!), we decided together to go to Harry's Tap Room - a local restaurant that serves organic and locally raised foods. We were lucky enough to get the last outdoor table, where we sat in the perfect weather and enjoyed a delicious meal. It was also Restaurant Week at Harry's, so we had a 3 course meal and were able to take leftovers home. I've since vowed that I want to make Harry's Tap Room part of our (minuscule) restaurant repertoire. This was by far our best anniversary yet.

(I purchased a watch for Scott as his gift. It is an Eco-Drive, so it doesn't require a battery, and it's classic enough that it won't be out of fashion next month. He likes it, but admittedly, his gift trumps mine this time. I'm OK with that ;) ).

Happy 17th anniversary to my mom and Eric! There's was yesterday and they celebrated with a meal at Bonefish Grill. Yum!

Monday, August 4, 2008

The city that never sleeps

I had a business trip in NYC July 21-23 and then Scott came up and joined me July 23-27 for a vacation. I had never been to NYC and he hadn't been since he was a kid, and we hadn't had a "just the two of us" vacation since our honeymoon, so it was a much anticipated trip! And it totally lived up to our expectations.

In the city that never sleeps, we barely rested. We toured pretty much all of Manhattan - we did Central Park, the Met, we saw the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, and Radio City Music Hall (but didn't go to the top of any of them). We walked...everywhere - through SoHo, Little Italy, Chinatown, Greenwich Village, Times Square, etc, etc, etc. We saw the Brooklyn Bridge and visited the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and I think the statue was my favorite part of the trip. And, of course, we saw Wicked, which was (ahem) a wicked good show. The Upright Citizens Brigade sketch comedy show was a lot of fun, too, and quite cheap at $8/person. We ventured to the Bronx only once - to see the (damned) Yankees stadium before it gets demolished.

The city is amazing. It's cleaner and friendlier than I expected in some ways, but the cabs and cabbies were just as crazy as TV and movies depict. I felt safe the whole time (except maybe when we were in the Bronx visiting the Yankees Stadiums, but all in all, I felt pretty safe there, too).

The subway was hard for me to understand (I much prefer the DC Metro for ease of use), but since Scott has a lot more navigation/map skills than I do, we fared well, only missing one event we wanted to do (a walking tour of Greenwich Village).

Our hotel (Hotel Metro) was FANTASTIC and I couldn't recommend it highly enough. I think we paid around $250/night for it, but the room was larger than I expected and clean, breakfast was included, and the service was spectacular. And it was in Midtown, and convenient to the subway and THE Macy's (important when you forget to pack lots of stuff like we did), and again, was a big part of the reason I felt so safe.

I usually try to include photos in my posts, but there are just too many! I'll leave you with some links instead. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

When abstraction becomes reality

I had a delightful and shocking experience yesterday. My good friend Caitlin had her baby! I received a text message with the good news (a big, healthy baby girl!) and was absolutely thrilled for the whole family. A bit later, Ian (Cait's hubby) sent out pictures of the little one, and this is where the shock comes in. When I looked at the baby picture, and especially the family picture of the three of them, I had a hard time processing that the beautiful (and I mean GORGEOUS!) little baby in the picture is what Caitlin and I have been chatting about for 9 months. That the reason Caitlin's tummy grew so much was because of her. Because of that particular child in the photo. Of course I knew that Caitlin was pregnant with a baby girl. Of course I understand that when a mom gives birth a baby is the end result. But to be able to put a face to the abstract idea of "baby" or even associate the baby's name with her physical self, was a revelation of sorts. A beautiful, inspiring, surprising revelation.

Welcome to the world, little one. I can't wait to meet you in person!

Monday, July 14, 2008

A baseball stadium is not a good place to get a migraine

Not that there's a good place to get a migraine, but if I had to choose, I think I'd take a deserted cave: cold, dark, and quiet. A baseball stadium is quite the opposite: hot, bright, and noisy. On Friday night we went to the Nationals game with my former office mate, D, and our former coworker, R. We had GREAT seats - front row of the Diamond Club - courtesy of the connection D has at old work. We paid 1/5 the price listed on the tickets, and they came with $35 credit toward food, drinks, or merchandise. AND the Nats won! In a 10-0 shutout! That's something to get excited about! But, at about the start of the 6th inning I started to get a headache. And by the 7th it was clear it would be a migraine. I told Scott I wasn't feeling well and we left the stadium (after stopping in the store to spend the rest of our credit). The metro ride to Rosslyn, where we had parked, seemed to take forever. Then the 30 minute car ride home felt like an eternity, and I cursed the streetlamps the whole way. Finally we made it home where I was able to crawl into bed in our quiet, pitch black room, and sleep. I woke up Saturday morning bright and early to go to Hershey Park for a diabetic meetup without a migraine, but still not feeling 100%. On the way, we stopped and got water, which seemed to be the cure I needed. Lesson learned: when it's hot out, drink more water than you think you need.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

We need ideas

Scott and I are preparing to celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary on 8/12 (likely celebrating the weekend of 8/8), but we don't know what to do. Any ideas? Here are some criteria:

  1. We don't want to travel more than a couple of hours away from DC
  2. It'd be great if we could take the dogs
  3. We don't want to spend a lot
  4. Overnight is OK as long as it complies with 1 and 3 (and preferably 2)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

CGM Denial Day (a day late)

I was one of the lucky ones. My Dexcom was approved by my insurance company without too much hassle. They also covered my pump supplies (including test strips) in full, and I was able to get a new pump before the old one's warranty was up.

That was with my old insurance, which was a PWD's dream insurance. I've since switched jobs, and my new insurance doesn't cover as much. They have a hard time even answering questions about what's covered and what isn't, so I can't report on whether or not my Dexcom sensors are covered.

I'm lucky. Many PWDs don't have the luxury of using the most advanced technology to manage their disease. Their insurance companies don't think it's valuable to have moment-by-moment blood sugar monitoring, to avoid dangerous lows, or coma-inducing highs. Apparently, to many insurance companies, the cost of life saving devices is worth more than the price of a PWD's life.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Changing the world, one Wiimote at a time

Click here to watch a video that shows how to create an interactive whiteboard and 3d video game using a $40 Nintendo Wii remote and about $10 of other materials. Way cool.

Someday I'll figure it out.

I promise I'll learn to embed videos eventually. Until then, learn what diabetes is, and the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 in this mildly comedic video.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


This morning I had a nightmare that my laptop was stolen and those powerpoint slides I've been working so diligently on went with it. I hadn't backed up my data and I was paying the ultimate price. Perhaps I should take a hint...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Feeling better...and this makes me happy

I'm over my cold. My diabetes is back to the normal roller coaster rather than the wild roller coaster. Now, onto something fun. Francesca suggested I check this out, and I appreciate it. Well worth the 5+ minutes of your time.

Check out this video. I would embed it in the post, but I haven't figured out how to do that yet. Call me a novice blogger.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Gotta get worse before it gets better

In addition to (and probably because of) this summer cold I've been dealing with, yesterday around dinner time I found myself in the E.R.

I awoke with a blood glucose reading of 73 mg/dl. That's pretty good - even a little bit on the low side. I then forgot my blood test kit at home when we left for church. After church, we went to Red, Hot, and Blue where I had fried catfish, french fries, and broccoli for lunch, which came back up on the way home. When I got home and tested my sugar, I was around 380 mg/dl. I gave a correction bolus, knowing it would likely not have any effect, and went to lie down. An hour later, it was 353 mg/dl. An hour later, 342 mg/dl. At that point I had Scott go out and get some Ketostix to test my ketone levels. They were HIGH. I put in a call to my doc, and she suggested I go to the ER for an insulin drip.

Scott drove me to the hospital, where we wound up spending about 2 1/2 hours. Not bad for an ER trip on a weekend. However, I managed my diabetes the whole time. I put on my check-in form "Diabetic Ketoacidosis" and that seemed to shock the nurses. I even had one say "you're a pro at this by now - you can do what you need to do". Not so reassuring.

They gave me fluids and nausea meds (despite my nausea disappearing) via IV and once I got my blood glucose down below 200 mg/dl (194 mg/dl to be precise), they let me go home. After giving me graham crackers and apple juice to "see if I could hold it down". Yep, no problem - that's what nausea meds are good for. Of course, when I got home, I was back up around 250 mg/dl until midnight, when I finally reached 140 mg/dl and decided to go to bed.

At 2:00 am I awoke to a lovely 30 mg/dl and sweat-soaked sheets. I drank 2 juice boxes and Scott brought me a piece of toast. Apparently that was too much (I knew it would be, but sometimes when you're THAT low, you need to over correct to ease your mind). So, this morning when I got up for work my BG was 254 mg/dl. Dang it!

I blame the cold.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sick and Tired

Well, mostly sick, really. I have a cold. It's the hottest June on record, and I have a cold. I hate being sick! Yesterday I left work an hour or two early because I didn't want to spread it to everyone. Today we took the dogs to a doggy pool party for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (since Corgan is one). It was fun, but it woulda been better if I had felt better. We were supposed to start up Salsa lessons again today with Victor, but I didn't feel up to it. We'll start again next week, I suppose.

On another note, I just finished reading Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin. It was a great chick lit novel, and I recommend it if you want something fun and easy to read. I'm going to start Something Blue soon. I'll let ya know how it is. I'm also listening to She's Come Undone and am reading Moneyball, both of which are excellent so far!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I want to be a part of it...

...New York, New York! My new job is sending me to NYC to give a presentation at a symposium. After the symposium, Scott is joining me and we'll be spending 4 extra days in the city. We've booked the hotel, the travel arrangements, and WICKED TICKETS!!! I'm over the moon excited! I've never been to NYC, and I'm so looking forward to it. To prepare, I'm watching as many episodes of Sex and the City as possible. The girls and I went to see the movie over the weekend - good preparation, don't you think?!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Hot Dance Instruction

For Christmas, Scott bought me a new PS2 game I've been wanting called "Dance Factory". It's like DDR but you get to use your own cds, which is cool. It's supposed to be a great workout, so I had asked for it to get in better shape at home. Today (6 months later), we opened the box. In the box, we found 2 dance mats, much like DDR mats, complete with poorly translated instructions. We got quite the ab workout laughing at the "Hot Dance Instruction" and I thought I'd share a few of the best ones, in David Letterman's Top 10 list style.

10. Thanks for purchasing our product. This product is made for dancing and health-care. Please read this instruction carefully before using and please follow the steps properly and remember to take good care of this instruction.
9. Strong jump or shake may cause influence to the video and audio output.
8. Please do not jump strongly, that may bring troubles to the other person.
7. There is maybe have some white powder on the surface of the product, please wipe off by a piece of soft, clean cloth.
6. Young children must be guided to use it or need parents and teaches to accompany, in case to be tumbled by it.
5. High technology product, do not apart, separate or fix it in any way. Or the damage can not be guaranteed.
4. Do not keep it in the high or low temperature environment, especially far away from the fireplace.
3. Forbidden to use this product if your feet are seriously injured. Stop immediately if there is abnormal phenomenon in your foot, waist, and back when using it.
2. Please put it on a flat floor, but not too smooth.
1. Make sure to pave the cushion

I copied these word-for-word. You can't make this stuff up (we tried).

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

She's Crafty

A few Saturdays ago, I cohosted a baby shower for Caitlin who is due to give birth to Allison Claire on July 1 (or is it July 2? Either way, we're hoping for an Independence Day baby :) ). The theme we came up with for her shower was puppies, but apparently puppies are for boys and kitties are for girls because there was almost nothing that was either gender neutral or girly that had puppies on it!
So, I improvised. I made "pupcakes":

And I made a diaper cake out of diapers with little purple bones on them:

It was a fun shower and everything went off without a hitch. We ate, decorated onesies, and asked Caitlin questions during her gift opening. There were no baby shower games in sight, and I think the mom-to-be was glad of it. I know I was.
Chris suggested I post the "best and worst" of the pupcakes. I must say, they all turned out pretty well, but here's the worst one:

And here's the best:

All of them were equally tasty, though, and that's really what matters, right?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A quick pupcake update

I have a whole post already written about the "pupcakes", but I haven't uploaded the pictures yet, so I can't post it yet. But Caitlin's on top of things and has posted a photo of my pupcakes in her blog.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I passed my company's bootcamp! I'm quite proud to announce that I passed THE Project on the first try. The Project is a 3 day grueling test of one's ability to use the software, manage time, and pay attention to minute details. I'm so RELIEVED and EXCITED to be finished with this, and am really looking forward to work in the morning.

I owe you all a few documenting my "pupcakes", and probably some more that I've meant to write and haven't. Hopefully now that I'm not spending 100% of my time studying and preparing for bootcamp stuff, I'll have a minute to post again. Of course, this weekend Scott's whole family is in town for a wedding. Fun stuff.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The more you know....

Did you know that the difference between Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes is that Type 1s don't produce insulin and Type 2s produce it but don't process it properly?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Thank goodness!

Last week, I nearly had a heart attack when (I thought) I figured out that because of my new insurance, I would have to switch insulin pumps to one I had barely heard of. I rely on my pump more than even I realized, and the thought of giving up Pump Daddy induced major heart-racing, full-tilt panic.

Today, I learned that not only do I not have to switch (enough negatives for ya?), but insurance will pay for 90% of my supplies for Pump Daddy! Yippee!! It's not the 100% coverage that I had grown used to at my old company, but it's definitely better than having to switch to an inferior pump, and/or pay big dollas for datgum medical supplies!

And a (completely unrelated) side note - why is it that on Dancing with the Stars, do the women always have tails on their skimpy little outfits? Bizarre.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

And he shall be called

Cash! We think it fits him. And when we're feeling extra nerdy, we'll call him Cache. ;)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Just call me...


We brought home a new member of the family yesterday. Meet: ... our new dog. He's really great - a 2 year old lab mix from a shelter in West Virginia that we adopted here in NoVA. We don't know his story, but we quickly learned that he's sweet, calm, tranquil, tolerant, and cuddly. He's about 35 chubby pounds and looks just like a mini-lab. For those of you who know Corgan, he's not much taller than him...only an inch or two, I think. The rescue folks assume he's a Lab-Dachshund mix, but like Scott said, that's hard to imagine. Without further ado, here's ... the new doggy:

There's something missing from this post...a name for this love muffin! If you've got any ideas, please let us know! We've come up with lots...Tycho (as in Brahe), Cash (as in Johnny), Clash (comma The), Zen, Zenji (Zen Benji), Troyal (Garth Brooks' first name), Capo (something you use when playing guitar), ... and none quite fit. Corgan was named after Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins, and ideally this new guy would have a similarly meaningful and interesting name (be it music related or not). Any ideas? Please post them! Or if you're too shy, email them to me!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Yo-Yo Blood sugars

After raising my voice yesterday for Type I diabetes awareness, today I'm experiencing Type A frustration! My blood sugars have yo-yo'd from 50 mg/dl to 250 mg/dl today. When it's time to eat, I'm low, and when I eat I don't take insulin (because I'm low), which leads to highs. Argh!! I know that part of it is that I need to be smarter about correcting highs and treating lows, but part of it has to be environmental...right?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Raise Your Voice - Type 1 Diabetes Awareness

Today marks the first annual "Raise Your Voice" Type 1 Diabetes awareness day. We in the diabetes online community have noticed that "Diabetes" when mentioned in the public typically refers to Type 2 diabetes. There's a big difference between the two types, and we Type 1s felt the need to get the word out about the "invisible" disease that we deal with daily.

I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1987 - at age 6. At that point, blood glucose monitors took AGES (at least a minute, but I think it may have even taken 5 minutes) to read your "sugar". The recommended protocol was 2 tests a day - at breakfast and dinner, and two injections a day, also at breakfast and dinner. With this rigid schedule, much of diabetes management was controlled through food - no sugar, limited carbohydrates, etc, and by eating every 3 hours, regardless of hunger.

I was told not to worry - there would certainly be a cure by the time I reached my teens.

Well, my teens have come and gone, and now I'm in my (*gasp*) late 20's, and there's still no cure. Times and technology have certainly changed, though. Blood glucose monitors now return your value within 5 seconds, and some even offer "continuous" monitoring, although this technology is still pretty new. I now wear an insulin pump that came with the promise of food freedom - eat what you want, when you worries. It's not quite that simple, however. I can have a slice of pizza or a cupcake if I choose, but I have to be extra diligent when I eat these things - they do whacky things to blood sugars, and it's really quite difficult to manage. Sometimes I eat them anyway, knowing that I'll have to pay later.

"Pay how?" you might ask. Blood sugars, ideally, should be in the 80-100 mg/dl range. Blood sugars are affected by the food you eat, exercise, stress, and many other (often unknown) reasons. When I eat pizza, because of the carbohydrate content and fat content, it often has an adverse affect on my blood sugar. Typically, several hours after I eat it, my blood sugar skyrockets - sometimes into the 200's, other times into the 500's. In an attempt to stifle these highs in advance, I try to account for this through my insulin pump and delivering varying amounts of insulin over a longer course of time. My attempts often result in a blood sugar of something horribly low (typically around 40).

Symptoms of highs: As Kerri over at Six Until Me so aptly describes it, when your blood sugar is high, it often feels like your teeth are wearing sweaters. Other symptoms I experience are nausea, crankiness, and slightly blurred vision. (Note: if you hear me say "I think I'm high" please interpret this as a diabetes-related feeling). Prolonged high blood sugars can cause eye damage, nerve damage, brain damage, and other serious complications in the long term. In the short term, if left untreated (with insulin), highs can cause Diabetic KetoAcidosis (DKA).

Symptoms of lows: Lows are equally fun with such feelings as dizziness, sweating, disorientation, shakiness, and a strange, butterfly-type feeling in in your stomach. Lows can quickly become dangerous, causing you to be completely disoriented and unable to function, often times if not treated (with food/sugar) causing you to pass out and/or have seizures.

Diabetes is a self-managed disease. That it can be "managed" is a good thing, but management is an all-the-time, non-stop burdon on the person with diabetes. There have been significant advances in technology, but regardless of how great the technology is, it isn't a cure. Recently, several studies have come out that are making leaps and bounds toward a cure. Let's hope that with the U.S. election later this year, our political leaders will support stem cell research - a likely solution for curing Type 1 Diabetes.

Today, raise YOUR voice about Type 1 diabetes. You can do this by posting a story about a person with Type 1 diabetes that you know, posting a comment on my blog, or by donating to the JDRF. Another useful site for diabetes information is the American Diabetes Association, who (among MANY other things) fundraises through an annual walk that I participate in. Stay tuned for shameless pleas for donations around Halloween!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Goodbye to my sweet Celti dog

Our dog, Celti was diagnosed with probable liver failure exactly one month ago yesterday. Last night, she took a turn for the worse. After some testing, and hearing all of our options, it became clear to us that these options would mostly be for us, so we made one of the hardest decisions that we've had to make and decided it was her time to go. She made the cross over the "rainbow bridge" as so many dog lovers call it, at around 2:00 this morning. I thought I could share with you all some of my memories of Celti and her quirkiness.

Celti was a corgi-mix that my mom brought home from the pound when I was in 11th grade. She was cute, and brown, and independent, though she loved attention. She also loved the beach:

She and Corgan would run and play:

and find dead fish to smell:

They also had fun at the creek with all the other dogs, and posed for one of my favorite pictures of them afterward:

She was really good with Corgan and took to him as if she were his mother, constantly cleaning his face and ears, and correcting him when he got too excited (or annoying). Sometimes, she would even let him sit next to her:

especially if they could both get belly rubs:

One of her favorite past times was chasing tennis balls:

And at dog parks, her favorite thing to do was to explore the perimiter to see who all had been there before her.

Generally, she was a polite little dog who would do her best to follow the rules - she even achieved "Level 4" status at dog training at the age of 9. She certainly proved that you can teach an old dog new tricks! However, she did not like workmen coming in the house, and if you came in wearing work boots, she would bite at your pantlegs, trying to herd you out of the house.

Speaking of herding, she would try to herd us while out on a walk. She was really good and never ran away, so we would let her off of the leash while we were walking, and she would weave back and forth behind Scott and me, making sure we both continued to progress in a forward motion. On occasion, she would run wide circles around us when we weren't moving fast enough for her.

Celti was a good friend to me through thick and thin and won over the hearts of almost everyone she met. I'm pretty convinced you couldn't find another dog as sweet, obedient, loving, and cute as she was, and she is greatly missed already. Scott feels similarly, and you can see his memories in the comments section of this blog post.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Dormant blogging season

I use Google Reader to watch for updates to my favorite blogs, and it seems that nearly all of them are dormant as of late. My guess is that the bloggers are busy during the spring weather (although DC is still awaiting "spring") and therefore are spending fewer hours in front of their computers.

My days and nights right now are spent thinking about databases and business intelligence. Here and there, I have the opportunity to enjoy thinking about something other than work, and to spend time with my classmates and friends. I really enjoy a lot of the people in my class - Matthew (England), Bruce (England), Jose (Mexico), and Michal (originally - Poland, now - England) are a few. Those four, plus my husband, me, and another couple of coworkers are planning a trip to the new Nationals stadium on Friday evening (after Test #2) and I'm really looking forward to it! I plan to bring my camera so that I can gush about my classmates and give you all a "who's who of Jenni's classmates".

Also - expect a big post on Monday April 14 - Type I Diabetes Raise Your Voice day. I'll get into the why and how on Monday :)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Ten Hut!

I started my new job on 3/31, and that was also my first day of "boot camp" within the company. Boot camp is a 3 1/2 week Master's degree level course intended for new hires (and customers) to learn the software. We cover about 600 pages of material in 4 days, then take an exam each Friday.

I had my first test on 4/4, and thankfully I passed with flying colors! I don't think I've ever studied for a class as much as I studied last week. Now, I'm in the throes of week 2, which I hear is much more difficult (although the difficult stuff starts was pretty reasonable, which is why I have time to post!)

So, although I've been MIA for the past little while, I am still here, working hard! I really like what I'm learning, and I've met with my coworkers and bosses now, and I really like all of them. I'm excited to start working, but right now my nose is to the proverbial grindstone. Wish me luck in passing the next two exams, then completing the final project!

Monday, March 31, 2008

All is not lost

The second half of my vacation was much better than the first. I was able to spend time with my mom and my dad (separately) and the uncles I really like. Despite the falling-down buildings and closing stores, the country there is beautiful...all rolling green hills and blossoming trees and daffodils. And it seems that there are some with ambition still in that part of the dad has enough ambition and dreams for three people, and my uncle, age 50 or so, recently moved out of his parents' house and has a very nice townhouse near where he works. He's clearly happy and is aiming for at least slightly bigger and better things.

On Saturday, I got to do one of my favorite things in the world...see for yourself:

That's me on "Big-un". My dad has a knack for naming...he has a dog named "Pale face" and another named "Patch". Other dogs have been "Blue", "Red", and "Speck". Big-un is a Rocky Mountain Horse. They are a beautiful breed, and their gate is SO smooth. That smoothness, however, did not prevent me from getting a little saddle sore!

It was a beautiful day- the best we had while I was there. My dad and I went out for about 1 1/2 hours and rode over some of those gorgeous rolling hills. It was relaxing and made me remember one of the things I love most about "back home". I wish I had taken my camera with me on the ride so I could share just how pretty the landscape is.

I'm glad to report that my "non-vacation" turned into a good visit after all. I won't be heading back soon, but at least I'm open to going back!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The non-vacation

Visiting family is supposed to be fun, right? Not a chore? Well, for me, it's a chore. At least for 90*% of my family. I like spending time with my mom, and my stepdad's family, my dad, and a couple of my cousins. I dread seeing my aunts and uncles and other grandparents "back home". I used to love spending time with them, but recently, I've noticed that while time has progressed and they've gotten older, they haven't done anything. Their lives haven't improved. They are in the exact same place they were when I was visiting for the summers in middle school and high school. Some are worse off than before. And none of them are even trying to make it better.

It isn't just my family, either. It's the whole area. I'm blogging to you right now using dial-up internet, and it's a rarity that my grandparents even have that. Of course, the people on welfare living in trailers or low-income apartments, driving Cadillacs, have high-speed internet, and run drug rings from their back yards. The whole area is depressing, and depressed. Lots of "closed" signs, and falling-down houses, barns, trailers, and shops. It's very sad.

This so-called vacation is sucking the life out of me, and for the first time in my life, I can't wait to leave. Leave what used to be "home" and is now just another dinky little town in the middle of nowhere. Maybe once my mom and stepdad build their new house, I can come here and not feel so badly. Maybe their home will be my haven and I can vacation here. Maybe having my husband with me would make it easier.

I can hope, right?


Friday, March 21, 2008

The end of an era

Today was my last day at DAC. I have been there since 1 week after my college graduation - nearly 5 years! My manager, J, pointed out at my "farewell lunch" today that I had been there longer than any of the people who came out to wish me well (or to eat some darn good sushi...either way, they were there!). There's a lot that I could reminisce about, but surprisingly, I'm not really in the reminiscent mood. I'm happy it's a weekend, I'm looking forward to visiting my family next week, and mostly I'm excited about my new job! I promise I'll blog about something other than work at some point. Really, I will. It might be a while though, so bear with me...or wait a few weeks and check back to see if I've settled in and can think (and therefore write) about other things.

To any DAC-ers that are reading...keep in touch! I still exist, and I still think you guys rock. And, as "Dr. No" used to remind us guys will probably all be millionaires in the next 10 years. Of course, I haven't heard him say that recently, so maybe your financial outlook isn't so hot, but regardless, I think you guys are gonna make some really great waves. Cheers!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What's in a name?

I have a VERY common name for women my age-ish. To the point that at one doc's office, there are 14 of us with the same first AND last name. 14!!! There are two at my hair dresser's (and apparently, we're on the same hair cutting cycle). My given name is Jennifer. I go by Jenni. Until 4th grade it was 'Jenny' but I wanted to be different, so my mom suggested 'Jenni' which is quite logical - just drop the 'fer'. I liked it, we changed it, and my teacher told me I spelled my name wrong.

I digress.

Jenni is fine, but I don't love it. It seems to be a bit childish with the "ee" sound at the end. In 5th grade (when I moved to Germany) I tried to start going by Jennifer, but kept forgetting and introducing myself as Jenni. Now that I'm starting a new job, I thought about going by 'Jen', but alas, I found this job through a friend who introduced me as 'Jenni'. It's hard to get past that first introduction and I hate constantly correcting people, so I'll be 'Jenni' through this stage of my life, too. (Plus, I'm not sure I would remember to introduce myself as, or respond to, 'Jen').

Growing up, I always thought I'd like to be Samantha (Sam for short...remember "Who's the Boss"? Sam was cool.). Now, I think I'd be happy with something, anything, more mature than "Jenni".

Know this - should I have children, girls particularly, they will have a much less common name than "Jennifer" was in the late '70s/early '80s. It's too bad kids don't get to choose their own names after a certain age. Of course, then we might end up with a lot of "Frankensteins". Maybe that's not such a good idea, after all.

Monday, March 17, 2008

It's official!

I've accepted an offer with the "second" company listed in my last post - I'll be working with a BI marketing team, and couldn't be more excited!! Hooray!! Happy hour on Wednesday - post a comment if you want details! :)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A whole new world

My blog title talks about change, and the beginning of this blog comes at a time of great (hardly infinitesimal!) change for me. I am in the process of not only finding a new job, but really starting a new career. For 5 years, since the week after I graduated college, I've worked for the same company. I was in a technical role there, and wound up doing marketing for the past year. I LOVED my job last year. It was fabulous. But, then, budgets got trimmed and I wasn't able to do marketing anymore.

So, I started looking for a new position, and have found a couple of good ones. One is with the American Diabetes Association doing relationship management - i.e. ensuring that current companies that donate to the ADA are happy and continue to want to donate. This job is enticing because it is with the ADA, and I am passionate about their cause. The job sounds interesting, the people are nice, and the benefits are actually quite good. The other position is with a business intelligence company doing traditional marketing stuff where I can actually use my Masters degree (who knew that was an option!?). The company is closer to home, the people are great, and the job description checks off every box on my "wish list" for a new position. Assuming we can come to an agreement regarding salary (and I'm confident we can), I will take the second job. I'll start on 3/31 and am overjoyed at the thought.

Between now and then I'll take a few days and visit with my family in Kentucky who I haven't seen in what feels like ages, but is actually about a year and a half. I'm looking forward to my trip, and to this new adventure I'm about to begin.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hello, World!

Hi! My name is Jenni, and I'm a 20-something woman living in the DC area with my husband and two dogs. I've been considering blogging for quite some time now, and have finally made the leap at the encouragement of Chris. Many of my friends to whom I've blathered about this blog have asked me what it is going to be "about". My answer is always "I'm not sure yet...we'll see." I know about and/or am interested in many things, and any, all, or none of them may appear in future posts. These interests include the following (in no particular order):

- dogs
- philosophy
- diabetes
- horses
- math
- "the environment"
- photography

It is no coincidence that my blog debuts on March 14. The nerds'll know why.

P.S. - Happy Anniversary Ken & Amanda - may your nerdiness continue to bond you together ;).