Dear Pancreas:

Contrary to popular belief, I have not been destroyed by your minions. This battle isn't over yet.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

When I'm sitting down to eat...

I am not expecting the Spanish Inquisition.  I have had Type 1 for over 15 years and I have had my share of food police and then some.

Well, the other day I sat down to some turkey soup.  It really didn't have that much turkey for protein, so I picked some ham out of the freezer and thawed it to increase my protein.  I also set down my food scale to weigh my items.  And it quite literally went like this:

"What's that?"

"A food scale." 

"Why are you using it?" 

"To weigh my food." 

"Have you done this for a while?"

"It's fairly recent." 

"Where'd you get the ham?"

"The freezer."

"Why did you get the ham?" 

"To add protein to my food." 

"Are you on some kind of diet?"


"Then why would you eat more meat? ...educate me."

At this point, I gave him the "death stare," as in-- ask me one more question about my food and I will kill you with my laser beam eyes.

Things like this make me utterly pissed off because of the loaded guilt and feeling of being scrutinized for every God damned food choice you make.  It's a feeling that I'm sure most diabetics have experienced in their life--  and it's not a one-time deal.  

I almost feel like making a stop sign to have at the dinner table:  "Diabetic Police Banned" or "Mind your own food."

I don't mind answering questions about diabetes and food choices, but I do mind when I'm trying to enjoy dinner--- give me a break.  I think about diabetes 24/7.  I deserve to have a moment of peace after I've counted my exchanges and weighed my food.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The "E" Word

Dear Endocrine Office:

I've been re-evaluating my diabetes control-- or lack there of, and I've come to some conclusions that I think could have been reached a lot sooner....

One night, I began thinking about the specific carb counting.  How everything you eat you have to look up on the package, get a calculator, and add it all up.  I starting thinking that there were other ways diabetics maintained control.  There's got to be more the one way to skin a cat. . .

I remembered back in the day when I was diagnosed, when everything was based on exchanges.  That's right, I said the "E" word.  I began refreshing myself about how the exchange system worked and how foods were grouped into different categories, but they pretty much had the same amount of carbs-- give or take a little bit.

I was also thinking of my lifestyle and how time consuming it is to look up specific carbs and hope you've counted correctly for intensive therapy.  I thought about how it simply wasn't working for me.   I reviewed my sensor overlay and the average high was 396 and the average low was 196.  It just wasn't working.  And I began thinking about how easy it would be to say.... look at a normal slice of bread and think "1" exchange.  Half a banana.... another exchange.  And how easy it would be to just go into the Revel and click the button 2 times, and tada!

I think looked into my pump, the Revel, and noticed that they had an option for exchanges as well!  And thus I started the great experiment.

I went on youtube and found a few good exchange videos explaining the deal and I got a small pocket diabetic exchange book from the ADA.

I have noticed major differences already.

1.  Last night was the first night that my blood sugar didn't go through the roof while I was sleeping.
2.  Last nights dinner I had 2/3 cup pasta, salad, and 2 one ounce pieces of garlic bread.  Under regular carb counting, my two hour blood sugar would be at least 250 if not higher.  Well, when I did the exchange method, I was 119 after my two hour reading.

So, I've decided each week I'm going to use my sensor daily overlay to compare the week based on my current experiment.  The picture below is the week where I didn't start the exchange system until the last day.

If this works, then I'll continue to use this system.  Just because one treatment works good for some people, doesn't mean it will work better for everyone....

So here's to the "E" word!

Sensory Daily Overlay:  The Week Before I changed to the exchange system.

Yours Truly,
Beta Cell Bandit.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Meal time.

If you want to discuss issues you discuss them at the table.
During a meal.
So every meal looms with some back corner problem waiting to ruin everything.

Today, was one of those meals.
Another one of those "You're not exercising enough" meals.
Another one of those "You aren't going to be able to do your future job as a nurse because you're not exercising" meals.

No other sibling, with the exception of possibly my brother, confronts persistent critical comments like me-- and maybe that's why we rarely see my brother. Maybe he just doesn't want to "go there" any more.

In this conversation, somehow, telling me that I would have to work at Target if I couldn't do my nursing program was supposed to inspire me to do more and more ankle exercises...

And then we slip into another one of these pointless conversations which goes around and around with me trying to point out that I am struggling with things and with them suggesting I can just "fix it" with a sticky note.

If it was that easy, I would have to buy stock in sticky notes.

I don't really want to type what came out of this discussion because it makes me both sad and angry at the same time.  Certain parties are angry, and per cue everyone vanished to different parts of the house... so that we can sweep this under the rug until the next meal and the next meal and the next, until I want to starve myself because I just want to enjoy my meal without being reminded about how many things I am doing wrong.

Monday, May 23, 2011

What Color is Your Pain?

A lesson in color, imagery, and comfort. 

Two days ago and yesterday, I was in horrible pain.  I went to a quilt show with my mom and a friend and this had been the longest time I had been on my feet since dealing with this posterior tibial tendon dysfunction (pttd).  PTTD pain is like having someone take a sharp blade and slice it through the arch of your foot.  It's so bad, you can't step on it. 

Pain does horrible things to a persons emotional state if you don't keep it in check.  It can make you wonder how much more you can take it, it can make you frequently frustrated and angry, and it can feel hopeless-- especially when doctors say "There is nothing we can do for you pain."  This is a dead end answer-- and, it assumes that drugs are the only thing that can relieve pain. 

Fast forward... 

Today I came across a blog called: 

In short it offers a steps using imagery to deal with either pain and/or stress. 

First, think of the worst possible pain you've every experienced. 
Assign a color for that pain.

(I'm going to assign an intense red color for mine.) 

Second, think of when you're comfortable-- not necessarily pain free... and assign a color for that.

(I'm going to assign a gold color for this)

Third, think of an object-- food, flower, ect. 

I'll choose a pencil. 

Fourth, strip away the color gradually... as described in her blog: 

When you are in severe pain, picture this object being covered by the color you assigned to represent the highest level of pain you can possibly endure–the ugliest and harshest pain you have ever experienced. With this type of imagery, you focus on removing the dark color from the object and replacing it with the color representing your comfort level. Now the trick of it is to focus on it as if you were scraping away the darkness little by little–paying close attention to the detail of the object and the location of the color around it.
In the beginning, you might want to just hurry up and remove the “bad” color and go right to replacing it with the “good” or comforting one but what I have found to be key is taking a little more time and watching the change reveal itself gradually–just like pain tends to respond to comfort measures…Rather than go directly from black to white, I selected colors in between that I felt represented different levels of pain and comfort. As I moved closer to my comfort level, my colors progressed from the darkest to the lightest shades. As I carefully and methodically removed the black color from my object, I found a layer of a little lighter color waiting for me. I could not move onto the next color until I had completely removed the previous one.

Lastly, imagine the removal of color as a removal of pain......

Now it is important for you to equate the removal of color with the removal of pain or discomfort because remember–your color represents your pain at any given level. What I have found is this–as I progressed toward the white color, my pain levels would ease a little–sometimes more than others. Perhaps sometimes you will practice this form of imagery when your pain is moderate rather than severe.
In this case, you might select a different color along your color spectrum and start the fading process from that point. And maybe you will change your particular object to other things when your source of pain differs. The neat thing about these skills is that you own them and if something specific works for you then by all means incorporate it. Some people imagine very large objects when they have “very large” headaches and they go about ridding of their painful color using a paint brush that has wide strokes. Others prefer to use an eraser and erase their pain away as if in layers until they reveal a perfectly clean and white object. If this works for you then use it! 


In another illness when I was in DKA and in the hospital for 5 days, I had severe pain from people sticking my arm to draw blood so many times.

There was only one person through that entire ordeal, who had enough gumption to practice imagery with me.

It wasn't a Doctor.
It wasn't a Nurse.
It wasn't a Social Worker.
It wasn't a nurse assistant.

It was the head of the phlebotomy department.
In that brief moment before she even did anything, she used imagery with me-- and it made a difference.

What color is your pain?
Your stress?
Your diabetes?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

My CGM is like Your Rainbow Bracelet.

I wear it with pride.
I get odd, suspicious looks. 
I get questions. 

And that's okay...

But I may start to charge $5. :)

Maybe I should start saying it's a bug for the secret service.... 

Something Seems Off...

So I have the "Eat Smart Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale":

And I got it mainly because we make a lot of homemade bread at home and it's very difficult to know how many carbs are in the bread.  

Tonight I weighed a large corn on the cob in grams.  It weighed 209 grams.... 

In the booklet that came with the scale, it said the USDA number was 0.25 for corn.  

Assuming I'm doing my math right.... which has a 98% chance of being wrong, I did the following: 

209 x 0.25 = 52.25 ...carbs, right?

If it is right, that number seems a bit high.... 

In the newest Calorie King book, a large corn comes out to be: 28 carbs. 

This seems to be a fairly big gap. 

I have also noticed that I have gotten blood sugars lower than I like when calculating bread items. 

What is going on and am I doing something wrong? 

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Tape Solution...

Perhaps using less tape and less skin area will create less skin irritation... yes? 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

This one time, at diabetes camp...

I got stuck in the middle of the lake with a British guy and another camper, because the British guy forgot to fill the boat with gas before taking us tubing.

I remember going to a group where there was a guy who was one of the first selected to try an insulin pump.

I remember midnight pricks... and how if you were low at midnight then you got pricked again at 2am....

But what I don't remember, is a sense of belong that I do with online diabetes communities.  Maybe it was my age-- maybe I wasn't quite over the shock of this diagnosis... maybe I was simply too angry... I'm just not quite sure how I felt being with "other diabetics."

I DO know, that I had to go to diabetes camp before I could go to the music camp Interlochen-- the place I really wanted to go.  And oddly, I felt a bigger connection with my peers through music than through diabetes alone.

I also think there were several girls in my cabin who had issues.... (like I should talk, hah).  But you could tell they were struggling too...

Anyways, I think I want a happier song today.  And this song just cracks me up. lol...

Have a good day!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I test I feel a prick
I stick and make a wish
That today might be enough
to see how much
running at

It's a tip of the hat
Keep runnin games with this cat
Wishing that
Somewhere, someone was at
To show me how this is done
And how to make it this fun

And those who
think these feelings aren't real and say
positive is what they only feel:
Man up and grow a pair
and confront your despair
Because if you don't
down the road, you'll be pullin' out hair
Wishing you were level with yourself
and your care

Throw my hands up I'm done
So sick and tired of this
Docs tell me that I've
Fucked up, go ahead and throw back the fish

T1 has done it again
Don't tell me we can be friends
Cause friends don't mess with your head
Feel like going back to bed
and starting all over again

Like a music box stuck in reverse
It's no love, it's a curse
Shooting high
Shooting low
It's insidious and slow

And those who
think these feelings aren't real and say
positive is what they only feel:
Man up and grow a pair
and confront your despair
Because if you don't
down the road, you'll be pullin' out hair
Wishing you were level with yourself
and your care

Wednesday is high
so what, tomorrow it's low
And just go with the flow.
however you ride
that never ending tide
of feeling, impossibly out of control 

But a number is just a number 
or is it?
Throwing you off your game
feeling tired with thirst
Feeling at your worst 
Or raiding food 
like it's the last thing on Earth
It's just a numbers game
Never knowing when you'll throw
a snake eyes
But we just cover it up with 

And those who
think these feelings aren't real and say
positive is what they only feel:
Man up and grow a pair
and confront your despair
Because if you don't
down the road, you'll be pullin' out hair
Wishing you were level with yourself
and your care

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


This totally made my day. lol...

If you ain't 1, sit down. lol....

Day In the Life

Wake up.  Test Blood.... fuck.  Too much snack last night to fix low blood sugar.

Finish eating.

Decide to do a bike ride.

But you can't do a bike ride unless you use your yellow theraband to warm up because otherwise the pain will be bad.

After stretches, it's time to wrap:

Finish bike ride.  Left leg is always more swollen then right.  Remove ace.

I mark my stretches and exercise on a gigantic list of physical therapy exercises I have to do... because the Diabetic Police teamed up with the Physical Therapy Police for a good laugh...

Lunch.  Test Blood Again.  Better...

Go out to store.
Come back.

Test again...  feeling pangs of hunger...

Feel a LOW coming on.
Chocolate soy milk.
Uncounted number of pretzels + peanut butter.

Dinner... Test again... over treat yet again...

Followed by a dinner ending with: "Why didn't you eat any salad... you haven't eaten salad in several days... blah blah blah blah....."

"I'm FULL," I snap... resentment building because I know for a damn fact that I've had salad other nights--- but no, if I don't eat salad one night it's the end of the fucking universe. "I've had salad other nights and I don't need it all the time!"  At which the rest of her argument just sounds like mumbling because I'm too damn angry to even care at that point.

Diabetic Food Police strike again.

Go into the computer room, shut the door.
Consider making a giant card board box with a sign that says "Diabetes Police Free Zone" to wear over my head and torso for meals.

Practice some anger management...

Wish there was someone to help fight the battles with....

Blog about it.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Dear Author of the "All-New Complete Step-by-Step Diabetic Cookbook":

I am thoroughly enjoying making your recipes and enjoy their relatively low carb/fat amount.

Such as:

French Style Green Beans (1/2 C serving)
Calories: 49
Fat: 1.3g
Protein: 2.4g
Carbs: 8.1g

Peppered Garlic Flounder (1 fillet serving)
Calories: 170
Fat: 2.3g
Protein: 32.4g
Carbs: 2.4g

New Potatoes with Chives (10 quarters)
Calories: 94
Fat 1.2g
Protein: 2.5g
Carb: 18.9g

Lemon Sauced Scallops (or Shrimp): 5 ounces
Calories: 278
Fat: 3.7g
Profein: 34.5g
Carbs: 24.7g

Baked Hush Puppies (1 hush pup)
Calories: 56
Fat: 2.9g
Protein: 1.1g
Carbs: 6.2g

Thank you for the fun recipes! 

~Content Beta Bandit

May I Have Your Attention Please?

Dear Nursing School (starting again in Fall):

I have gone the last 2-3 semesters not using rights entitled to me under the disabilities act.  This was STUPID.  These rights were entitled to me for a reason-- so I could succeed just like any other person with reasonable accommodations.  

In my last semester of nursing school, I'm no longer going to wave these rights.  I met with the Disability Services of my school.  And I'm pulling out "My Rights" card: 

  • I have the RIGHT to keep my blood test meter and snack food during examinations.  
  • I have the RIGHT to leave to use the rest room during a test if I have high blood sugar.
  • I have the RIGHT to take a 10 minute break every 2.5 hours during clinical rotations, so that I can monitor my blood sugar, treat my blood sugar either snack or insulin. 
  • I have the RIGHT to take more than one 10 minute break during a 4 hour nursing lab experience.
What spurred me to get these rights?  Because I am sick and tired of having blood sugars in the 230-300's while in nursing school.  My last rotation I was in was Pediatrics.  My blood sugars were almost always in this range due to stress, and not being able to monitor more closely.  

No more.  I'm exercising my right to manage my diabetes so I feel the best in school and clinical rotations. 

Know your rights... because nobody is going to tell you about them. 

~Fed Up Beta Bandit 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I Am, Whatever You Say I Am.

Dear People Who Are Not Type 1 Diabetics and Who Don't Have Chronic Pain and Who Don't Have Depression:

It is in my opinion, that people who have at least ONE of these conditions, needs an outlet for frustration.

Especially for Type 1 Diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is 24/7.  It's every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every week of every month of every year.  You can't just have a day where you can wake up and ignore it -- without it biting you in the ass in some way.

When you know what it was like before you were diagnosed (like I do), and the degree in which I was diagnosed -- 1,378 blood sugar, coma, age 10, 2 weeks with at least 1 week in intensive care-- you develop a lot of unresolved anger.

Unresolved anger from not feeling in control, from nurses who test your blood a billion times and you don't understand why, to shots, to waking up with a huge IV in your arm.  It's isolation at its finest.

Depression, goes hand in hand with Type 1 diabetes.  This was never addressed until late into my college years at a 4 year university.  There were times in high school when I would lie in the dark, on the floor, for hours, extremely depressed.

The only outlet I had-- and thank God I had, was a man who had his own struggles-- but was a good listener.  I needed someone who could just listen.

Did doctors offer this? Did nurses offer this? Did diabetes educators offer this?  Did nutritionist offer this? Fuck no.

I spent at least 14 years-- with the exception of the first 3, completely feeling isolated, angry, depressed about my disease....  and calling it a disease makes me feel alien.

18 years later, I am welcomed with chronic pain from a nasty accident in which both of my ankles got broke at the same time, 3 fractures in the left, 1 fracture in the right.  3 surgeries in my left ankle... and having a surgeon recently tell me that I have Posterior Tibial Tendon Deficiency-- which is basically a damaged tendon and I am not to work for 3 months and I have to do physical therapy for it.

And this chronic pain is like my diabetes, in that when I tell people about my pain (especially medical professionals) I always get the "We can't do anything for your pain, you have to deal with it."  In my opinion, that's like telling a cancer patient to just "deal with it" when they learn they have breast cancer.

So if I seem unusually angry sometimes and really fed up, it's not just because the weather sucks outside.

I wish I could take you into my world for a moment.
I wish I could show you how hard it is sometimes to control my blood sugar under stress.
I wish I could share with you how hard it is to sometimes hide my ankle pain.
I wish I could share how hard it is to sometimes just want to say "fuck it all" and end it right here, right now.  The thought has entered my mind numerous times throughout my life-- especially in my early diagnosis.

No, we don't just have a disease.  We have an insidious disease-- you don't take care of it, that's fine--- but it will fuck you over later, with eye problems, heart problems, foot problems, and amputations.

No get out of jail free card here.

I wish I could always be the goodie-tooshu diabetic, that can always control my blood sugars, and always have a positive attitude.  Sorry, but not even Lexapro and Buproprion can always keep me up.

Recently, I have found an outlet for my anger through Eminem.  There is something therapeutic for me, playing it in my car and just letting myself feel some of the emotions I've had towards my illness and chronic pain issues.  If we can't face our emotions, we can't heal from them.

A song I find especially uplifting is actually this one:

Instead of drug addiction and recovery, it's about diabetes and physical therapy for me.  There are days when I just want to "relapse."  I just don't want to care any more.  Eminem says we need to walk this road together, and we need to make those mother fuckers dance.  And it's not just one day, it's every day.

I have to play this song every day.  It might seem obsessive, but everyone has their pick up song and this is mine.  I need an outlet for my feelings towards my disease, my depression, and my chronic pain.  If I don't use this outlet, then I will fall off that edge that Eminem is on.  And I won't be able to fly up.

-Recovering Beta Cell Bandit

Friday, April 15, 2011

Dear Basal Rate:

Today we will try 20% less of you for 9 hours while helping with baby sitting and various housework.  Since interacting with my nephew last night for just a little bit, and ending up at 45, we will attempt to prevent this disaster today.

Experiment In Progress,

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dear Blood Sugar:

I was just shopping for a shirt today, because even a Beta Cell needs to dress for success, and you proceed to drop to 65 upon my return home.

Why Einstein didn't come up with a mathematical formula to solve the mixture of blood sugar and exercise (even shopping), is beyond me...

Grumpy in Michigan,

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Show Down With The Endo

Dear Endo:

I have actually prepared a decent amount of possible useful information for our meeting today. I have prepared:

  • My CGM sensor information, printed IN COLOR for your enjoyment
  • Your evil paper log sheet that doesn't show anything except blood sugars
  • My Insulin Pump Journal - complete with actually writing down what I ate 
  • My own little graph of my blood sugars, because even though my CGM provides fancy, complicated data, I just want to see the basics
Now then... will my lab results actually be there on time?  One can only hope.

I suppose I better spruce up so I look semi-presentable for my show down.

Yours in Kindness,

Monday, April 11, 2011

April 11, 2011

Dear Carb Posse:

I have conspired forces with Office Max and a handy dandy ADA book on carbohydrate counting, and have formed a collection of laminated common carb items to keep on a ring for spur of the moment carb battles. even can fit in my smallest satchel.

Till We Meet Again,