Thursday, February 28, 2013

What if?

What if you could make life with diabetes easier?
What if some device would warn you if your blood glucose is out of control?
What if you would get an alarm while sleeping, because your blood glucose is running dangerously  low?
What if you would be able to know your actual blood glucose every 5 minutes without poking your fingers as many times?

Wouldn't that be reassuring to say the least? I would think so.. What if I tell you, this kind of system is available/for sale? Wouldn't you hop up and get one? Right.. I guess all of us would like this kind of CGMS (Continuous Glucose Monitoring System) help us get better control. Alas, only a couple of people will get the opportunity to get reimbursement when using CGMS. My doctor talked about pregnant diabetics, young children with diabetes or people with hypo unawareness. Since I'm no longer a child and I'm not pregnant, I guess those two options are out of the question. I'm fortunate that I feel most of my lows in time and although my diabetes can play games with me, I am not that brittle a diabetic. Meaning: CGMS will be at my own expense. Yes, it's expensive. And yes, it's good for me. It can help me get better control and it can help me reach my targets. It can help me prevent lows and highs and it can warn me from nocturnal out of rage numbers when I'm too tired to wake up.

I have a Dexcom G4 in my pocket. It's working just fine and it gives me RealTime bloodglucose numbers without poking my fingers 8 times a day. It tells me to watch out when a low is coming my way and it warns me if my sugar is skyrocketing. The first night with Dexcom G4, I got warned because 2 lows were hitting in. The lows didn't wake me, but my CGMS did.. When that buzzer went off, I pushed the button and grabbed for candy that was sitting on my night stand. I went back to sleep to be awakened again, only two hours later for a second low reading. Wow... I was truly impressed by the efficiency and the accuracy of this device.

During the day, my Dexcom helps me keep track of my numbers. Finally I can really tell what food does to my glucose levels during the digesting process. I'm sure it will prevent me from eating foods that aren't good for me and it will show me how to dose my insulin when eating other meals.
The software helps you understand the numbers and tells you about patterns in your BG. It is then up to you to alter your insulin schedule and prevent future highs and lows.

If only insurances could get informed about the purpose and benefits of CGMS. It could help us prevent severe complications in later life and a better overall life. I'm glad it's sitting in my pocket and I hope we will find a way to pay the bill..

If you want to know more about it, check out their website.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

She made up her mind...

It is a very difficult question to answer: what do you want to be when you grow up? I'm not talking about becoming a fireman or a ballerina. They were a whole lot younger when those answers crossed their minds. I'm talking present time now. What do you want to do as a profession in not so much later time? How "professional" does that sound? It's a very loaded question, because you have to think of so many things: career possibilities, talents, financial consequences, studying, a place to study, social life, .. That's why it takes so many of us so long to decide what they really want to do in life. Sometimes you cannot label the profession you picture yourself in. So you just say: I want to do something I'm really passionate about, so I can stick to it for a very long time. I want to leave for work with a smile and come home with an even bigger smile.

There were a couple of fields our daughter was interested in. She loves economics and languages and that gives her the freedom to taste many different aspects in the workplace. We had the chance to talk to both students and teachers of the schooling she has chosen. The college she will attend, had an open house on Saturday so we stopped by and asked our questions. Network Economics.. that's the name of the education Lana would like to participate in. We discussed the schedule with her teacher-to-be and the more he told us about it, the more I realized this is what Lana really wants to do.

There were a couple of objections though. She had already chosen her favorite city to go to college: Ghent. What a bummer when she found out Network Economics is a field you can only study in either Bruges or Kortrijk. Hmhm... dilemma.. Very understandable,  knowing that most of her friends will be studying in Ghent. She's a smart girl though. It's all about your future. There are no certainties in life and you have to make the right choice when it comes to your education. There will be time left to spend with friends and to visit places.

We looked into housing in the nearby school area. And we found what we were looking for: a very nice room with a private bathroom and plenty of space to put things away. The rooms have been renovated recently and they sure did a great job! There is a courtyard where you will find the students cooking their dinner and enjoying a meal together. But there is also the privacy of your own room and the assurance that you won't have to clean up someone else's wet towels. She'll do just fine. She's growing up.. and we are growing with her..

Friday, February 22, 2013

My heart skips a beat

It seems like yesterday, when I gave birth to this beautiful little girl. All tiny and pure, she came into this world and stole our hearts right away. She turned 16 today. When I looked at her this morning, I saw a pretty young lady, preparing herself to go to school and celebrate her birthday with her friends. I saw bright stars in her eyes and the straight shoulders reassured me that she has truly become an independent, outgoing girl. She is loved by her friends and now there is this special young man who is giving her the goosebumps she has been longing for. I hugged her so much this morning and had a hard time to let go of her childhood. It felt good to hold her close to my heart and kiss her rosy cheeks. I'm proud of my little girl. She's doing real well..
Happy Sweet 16, honeybun.. We love you with all our heart.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Is someone cutting onions in here?

Sometimes I hear these life stories that make me really sad.. At times, people can become so lonely life is no longer worth living...

What if your happy family falls apart after your only child gets diagnosed with an awful cancer they can't get rid of? How hard is the struggle to remain optimistic and help your child get through this ordeal? It takes a whole lot of strength to cope with situations like this. There is no free time when your child is seriously ill. You have no social life, because you don't want to leave that child in someone else's hands. So friends stop asking you out and your world becomes more narrow by the day. It drifts you and your husband apart, because there is no more energy left for romantic dates. The child looses the battle, the husband moves house and you get lost in a house that has all of a sudden become way too big.

You don't cope well. You get sick too. The pain is too immense. There are no happy circumstances to look forward to. No sweet 16's, no weddings, no grandchildren. There are no more birthdays to celebrate. No more cuddling on the couch or sharing blankets while watching a movie on TV. There will be nobody asking you if you would like a glass of wine too. Coming home from work, the house is cold and empty and silent. You forget the sound of your own voice, because you are afraid to speak in that empty void your house has become...

A young lady get's diagnosed with the awful C-word. She's too young. Her mother holds her and strokes her hair at night, telling her she will be okay. They go together like carrots and peas, because there's nobody else. They cling to each other and they become each others best friend. The C-thing gives up and hope reoccurs. Life is good and things get better. Until faith chooses otherwise and leaves the young lady without her mom. Now there's only a star in heaven that looks out for her. The young lady has to grow up even faster now, trying to make a life of her own. It's hard and she misses her mom and best companion like crazy. Nobody knows about her grief and she suffers in silence.

The C-word is back in her life. Things are different now. That one special person she called mommy is no longer there to help her get through this ordeal. It's only her and C. Imagine coming home from chemo in an empty house, all sick and drained from the treatment. Nobody there to give you a cuddle. No reassuring words and no strokes on the hair or a pat on the shoulder. You crawl in bed and you shed the tears that no one will hear. You cry until your body feels raw and empty. You cry even more, when doctors tell you, the therapy is not working. Do you have the right to give up? Can you find the strength to keep fighting? 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

An instant satisfaction

That's what people get when they work out: an instant satisfaction. People get this adrenalin boost that releases endorphin to make them feel good. It makes them long for more and I hear sports can be rather addictive. Some even work out every day, just because they know how good it is for their body. Sports gives them energy. It makes them happy and it makes their body look good. It strengthens their muscles and it makes them look slim and their bums tight. I wish I was born with at least a couple of sporty genes. I come out of a non-sporty family. The only sports I ever liked, was horseback riding. I did try gymnastics once I guess. I got hurt real badly, slipping of the balance beam, ending up with the beam in between my legs. I swear.. that was really painful. In school, I tried to skip the sports classes. I never understood my fellow students, playing catch on the playground. Why would you want to race around the school yard, trying not to get caught? I always ran real slowly, so I got caught first. That way, I could just sit down and cheer the others. I didn't even try to compete in swim class, I could care less who won the game. It's just not me.. I'm not that kind of person. I'm not driven to win. I don't give a darn if someone is faster than me or gets a medal. Good for them! I'll cheer for them and I won't shed a tear..

When you get diagnosed with diabetes, doctors tell you that you have to shoot up insulin, consider a healthy diet and exercise. I do well on two out of three conditions. I really suck on the third condition though. I guess I'm just lazy and bored by sports. I don't like to watch sports, I don't like to do sports. Period. Then why did I promise my D-friends I would give it another try? Because I don't want to let them down? Because the whippets would be real happy if I would take them out for a brief walk? Or because it would benefit my health? Maybe a combination of three.

I'm not ready yet. I need to think things over. But I promise I will give it a try. I have sneakers and sweatpants and an outdoor coat. I can climb stairs in the house ; we have plenty (did you hear my knees creak?). My kids are happy I'm too lazy to go all the way up to their rooms. Maybe they will clean their rooms more often if my condition gets better? I feel like I'm trying to persuade myself to get started. Like I said: I'll think about it.. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

When will I see you again?

I'm getting better at it. At making appointments, I mean. I no longer meet up with people without scheduling it in my agenda at least two weeks in advance. "Nothing special about that.", I hear you say and to a certain point, you are right. The thing is, I used to be out a lot. As in: a whole lot. As in: I was out more than I was at home. Too much is never good. So I tried to cut back on making appointments and outdoor trips all across the country. It hasn't been easy, I must admit that. I like spontaneous outings, but I also understand I don't live all by myself. I am still me and I am still an outgoing person, but I have cut back on my lunches and dinner dates.

I'm trying to figure out some kind of system. Trying to split up the weeks and fit in some dates, without exaggerating. It's hard though... There are people I would like to see monthly. Some people I'm happy to see twice a year. How about the ones I would like to talk to weekly? I puzzle and I postpone and I plan and I reject. I thought it would tear me apart to say no to invitations and in the beginning it really was painful, because I don't like to let people down. I have now come to the conclusion that people only send you an invitation. It's okay to say no. You don't have to be there every time. It makes the next date even more fun.

No matter how long it takes before we meet again: we always pick up where we left of the previous time. Because friendship is not about the quantity of the meetings. It's about having a good time together and sharing feelings and stories. It's about caring enough to ask how the other is really doing. Not the: how are you? I'm fine - situations. I want to go beyond that. Because the friendships are not superficial. Because friends are important, just like family is.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I'm just saying..

I was waiting for a large cappuccino and a large decaf hazelnut Latte Macchiato, when I saw these two young men come inside Starbucks. One of them was obviously in a hurry, trying to locate the men's room.. He was very polite but persistent when he asked the lady by the counter if he could use the bathroom. I could tell by the way he pressed his knees together, he had not much time to lose. The lady asked him if he was a customer or not. He understood where she was headed to and he put a 1 euro coin on the counter. She shook her head... He offered her 2 euro and I saw the agony in this face. But once again, she said she could not accept him going to the bathroom if he didn't make an order. Both men left the place, truly disappointed. I was appalled and irritated by this scene. How can you deny a person in need, to use the bathroom?

I grabbed my drinks and found my way back to the table (the place was packed by then), where my husband was waiting for me. I was really distressed by this incident. It occurs every now and then, that I need to go real bad and just thinking someone would deny me the use of their bathroom, really pissed me off..
Just a little later, a female person entered Starbucks. She was not the person you would expect in a place where coffee is called Café Americano and costs € 4.25 a mug. It seemed like she hadn't seen a bath in ages. Her clothes were shabby and dirty and she looked like she had been living on the street for some years. She found a spot right next to where we were sipping our creamy hot coffee (don't you just love that hazelnut syrup?). I was still upset by the men's room incident, when the lady started to scratch herself, before she laid down her head on the table to take a nap. For at least half an hour, she didn't budge and she obviously did not stand in line to order a coffee or a chocolate chip muffin.

That's it! I've had it! I went back to the counter and after standing there like a ghost (that's the feeling you get when 4 employees completely ignore you), I asked to see the manager in charge. Well, guess what? Four heads turned my way in an instant, wondering what I wanted to see the manager for. It took them some time to find out who was in charge that day. I finally got to see the manager, although she did not look like a manager at all.. In a calm way (trust me, I had a really hard time to stay calm at that stage), I told her what had been bothering me since the moment I ordered our drinks. She said she could not allow people to use the bathrooms if they weren't customers. This young man was even prepared to pay 2 euro to take a simple pee! Hello??? Did you miss something??
I asked her about the scruffy lady, who was not a paying customer but nevertheless claimed a table and a seat, for at least half an hour, while paying customers had to consume their 10 euro bill outside on the terrace in the cold. She told me there was nothing she could do, since the woman in rags came to Starbucks every day. I guess not as a paying customer..

Strange policy. Not very American-like, I would say. If it weren't for their good coffee...

PS I used their bathroom. For free. It didn't have toilet paper and I didn't flush. Suits them well.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Am I going to die?

Of course I am! Aren't we all going to die? Isn't that the circle of life?

I'm not joking. These questions are being asked. Not recently, not that I remember, that is. But they have been asked. If the diabetes is going to kill me... Ten years ago, I would have answered: I guess so.. Because I didn't know any better. I thought my body would deteriorate in no time. My endocrinologist told me about kidney failure and amputations of the limbs. She told me that blindness is one of the most common complications of diabetes. Well guess what: she was wrong! Diabetes does NOT lead to these awful complications. POOR diabetes treatment does... 

Can you understand why it's so important to diabetics (sorry for the word, but it types faster than people with diabetes) to get good control? Why they aim for good bloodsugars? It's not that we are so fond of poking our fingers multiple times a day or because we love to jab needles into our bodies.. Trust me: there are wilder things in life to keep busy. Bare with us, if the flunctuations in our bloodsugar play tricks with us. I realize it's hard to watch us go through a low episode and loose complete control. It's not something we challenge to happen. We don't dare ourselves to get lows. I admit, we may be a little crazy, but lows are not exactly the best party ever. We prefer numbers in the 70-140 range, just like you do, but guess what? It's not up to us. There are so many reasons why our blood decides not to act like we want it to act. It's not just about dosing insulin. It's a whole lot more...

Valentine's Day is coming up. I want to thank my husband, for baring with me. I want to thank him for letting me be his wife with diabetes. I'm grateful that he doesn't interfere in my D, because after all: it's MY diabetes and it's my job to control it. It's always a bonus if you can talk about your insecurities with your partner or share your concerns. It's good to have someone around in case of .. well.. in case of... you know what. But you know what? I live day by day. I don't let negativity take over. So many things can go wrong, I am well aware of that. But guess what? So many things can go right...  Why waste all that precious time worrying and sobbing over things we cannot control? Why can't we just make the most of it and do the best we can? There's so much more to life than diabetes. Really...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Creating lasting memories

She was walking around Ghent, in between babysitting hours.
He took the bus from his house to Ghent, to see a glimpse of her.
They ran into each other at Petit Coeur, a unique coffee place in the middle of town. That's where they had lunch together. Do you think they were holding hands?
He didn't have much spare time, but nevertheless, he chose to take that bus and surprise her. I think that was a very lovely thing to do. She probably sighed ooh's and aah's.
Her eyes light up with every text message he sends her. She talks in a softer voice. Daydreams distract her from whatever she's doing and her mind drifts off every often so. I'm so happy for her. Being in love is wonderful and is to be cherished.
I'm glad she's telling me more about him. I believe he's good for her. She's my little girl, growing up to become a young woman. I think she's ready for it. I think I am too...

Monday, February 4, 2013


You probably wonder why I'm writing a blog about a device to help diabetics on injections remember their last insulin shot. Since I am a pumper, I no longer have these issues. That doesn't mean I haven't had them in the past. On numerous occasions I had to ask my family whether they had seen me shooting up insulin before my meal. Of course they never did.. Which lead to the dilemma: shooting up extra insulin, with the risk of getting overdosed or leaving it just like that, with a humongous high number afterwards because of the missed insulin... I tried all different tricks but none of them were sufficient enough. When I traded my insulin pens (I didn't really give them back, I buried them) for an insulin pump, I was so happy with the log book in my pump. Finally I could check whether I had given myself my insulin doses or not. Why had nobody come up with something similar for my D-friends on injections?

That's where Timesulin comes in the picture. John Sjölund, a T1 diabetic himself, is a very sporty guy. He likes to run, compete in triathlons, dares himself skiing... But like I said: he is on insulin, just like us. As so many of us, he would forget about when he took his last shot. Having a brain that never stops thinking, he came up with Timesulin. Timesulin is a replacement cap that turns any insulin pen into a smart pen, to show how long it's been since the last insulin injection. It helps in easing daily worries for people living with diabetes and preventing accidental missed or double doses.

This Timesulin smart cap, works with all major insulin pens. It enhances safety, reduces anxiety, is affordable and very easy to use. Because John knows what living with D is like. He knows how dangerous it is to go to bed, not knowing whether you shot up your Lantus or not. Now he can double check. His Timesulin will tell him when he took his last shot. It reassures him of a good diabetes treatment and better numbers. You can improve your diabetes treatment, just like John did! Ask your diabetes team about Timesulin or check their website for more information. You won't need training for this device. Just remove the old cap from your insulin pen, click the Timesulin on your pen and you're all set! Try it out for yourself!

Did I take my shot or not? will no longer be an issue when using Timesulin..

Friday, February 1, 2013

In labor

The moment I heard about this video, I wanted to see it. Men are such wussies when it comes to pain. Their pain threshold is very low, not to say extremely low. Just thinking about a painful situation, makes their stomach twirl and cramp together. I don't know why this is, but I hear it from all of my friends. They all accuse their partner of being a 4 yo toddler when it comes to experiencing pain. They need your full attention, they want to be tucked in and you have to kiss them on their forehead, like their mother would do. Even a simple cold keeps them in bed and they couldn't care less about household chores. They want you to wait on them whenever they feel the need for a mug of hot tea with a spoonful of honey and some pain killers. At a certain point, you are ready to call an ambulance and have them pick up your patient. For it is too much to witness.

You can't feel sorry for them, as their overreaction is just pathetic at times. Isn't it hilarious how they take a look at themselves in the mirror over and over again, to check the paleness of their face and how droopy their eyes look? They want you to hold their hand when they feel nauseous and rub their back when they start to gag. They want you to wipe their sweaty forehead and tuck a second pillow under their shoulders.. Boy oh boy.. are they lucky wives are good nurses.. We are used to dealing with children in pain. We don't freak out when we have to clean dirty bums or wipe away vomit from the couch. We go to work with sore tummies that certain time of the month, without blinking even once. We massage our own neck when it's hurting and we are capable of putting on a band aid to cover that deep cut in our finger without passing out. We know where to find the first aid box and we make sure medical supplies are present. Have you seen us make funny faces when we have a spoonful of cough syrup? And no, it isn't cute or charming. It's not even entertaining when they tell their relatives about that awful disease they endured. You can see rolling (female) eyes when they exaggerate the degree of their illness. Us women understand.. we know what a pain in the bum male patients are. I have so much respect for nurses in the ER. They probably face that terror every day. When you hear words like "euthanasia" when your husband is having an ailment, just run while you still can. Don't give in. Don't pamper him! If you do once, you are lost forever..