Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Book Review: Beyond Fingersticks

Last year, when I was researching CGM options, I read through Wil's posts on the Life After Dx blog and several others to get an idea of what using one would be like in the 'real world' and which model to choose. Getting the Dexcom and wearing it has easily been one of the most important changes in my diabetes life, and I'm grateful for the technology even when it has a whoops! moment every now and then.

So I eagerly dove into Beyond Fingersticks, Wil's recent book about CGMS. I really liked the structure of the content--I remember reading Wil's original post and 'Art of War' analogy, and it makes perfect sense to base the book on it. One thing that really rings true for CGMS for me is "watching the flow" instead of the actual numbers. It has been priceless to know whether I'm dropping or rising, even when the values are several points off from fingersticks. I also liked Chapter 9's advice on calibration. This was totally new information to me and is already helping me get more out of the readings. Before I was feeding every value to Dex even when results were 60-70 points off.

I really appreciated the data overload discussion in Ch. 10. Seeing my blood sugar move in real time was wonderful, but trying to decipher the patterns drove me nuts for a while. It's really helpful for someone new to CGMS to realize that some of the difficulty lies in the software, and some in the way we veteran PWDs were taught to look at our numbers. Wil also covers some real-world issues in section three (chs. 11-13) that CGM makers usually leave out when they tell you about their systems. (For example, it's comforting to learn that I'm not the only one who ever ripped out a sensor in the bathroom!)

Between Wil's book, his blog posts and others (like Kerri's extremely helpful vlog on applying a new sensor!) I was ready to go on CGM without the Dexcom rep's help. Beyond Fingersticks brings the blog into your hands and is a great resource for someone thinking about getting a CGMS. For people who have been using it a while, it's still a helpful guide. Clearly written in Wil's unique sardonic style, it's an engaging read that I burned through in one sitting. It's long enough to engage in discussion, yet short and compact enough to work well as a reference book. Type 1 PWDs have more reason to gain from the content, but anyone with diabetes regardless of type will appreciate Wil's real-world explanations and wealth of information.

Order yourself a copy here!

Monday, October 11, 2010

This Post Brought to You By the Letter 'D'

It just occurred to me over the weekend that some significant things in my life begin with this letter. Hmmm...

My husband's name starts with a D...

And I'm a graduate of this school...

There's the diabetes, of course...

And my little friend Dex...

There's also the double-D, Diabetes Daily...

And the other double-D, Duran Duran (which my 8th grade self would insist on calling "significant"...)

The life-giving fluid I depend on every day (besides insulin) starts with a D...

Not to mention the city I live in now...

And the city DH is working in now...

OK, this is getting weird. Notice any strange patterns in your life?!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

#NoDDay 2010

I have a confession to make. I am addicted to HGTV.

It was "
Property Virgins" that sucked me in. What is it about peeping into stranger's houses that makes me feel so dirty, yet so excited? Why do I get such a vicarious thrill out of a 3 bed, 2 1/2 bath with a garage? At first I thought it was because our old condo didn't have in-unit laundry or a dishwasher. I railed against the idiots who dared to complain about the lack of stainless steel appliances. (What is WRONG with these people? Try not having your own at all, and collecting quarters all week so you can even DO laundry...!) And the cavernous master bedrooms and bathrooms...oh my goodness. That Sandra Rinomato is one funny chick too. She is so...Canadian :)

It got worse. I discovered "
Income Property." And then "House Hunters" and "Color Splash: Miami" and "Holmes on Holmes." But there was a mean slant too. "Bang For Your Buck" infuriates me sometimes. I do wonder what people are thinking when they put $15,000 tile in a bathroom, though. And I can't make it through "Dear Genevieve" without getting nauseated. (Vern Yip was my TLC favorite--Genevieve just annoyed me.) The worst has to be "Design Star." I just can't handle the competition and fake drama.

It started with the granddaddy of them all when I was a child--"This Old House." My father had a love-hate relationship with Bob Vila (he preferred Norm Abrams). I grew up thinking it was normal to know how to install PVC piping or new roofing. Then it faded for a while, only to be stirred up by the theater group antics of "Trading Spaces" a few years back. (Did anyone else want to cut off Paige's caffeine supply?! My gosh, she was perkier than Martha Quinn!) But HGTV has taken it to a new high or low depending on your point of view. My husband and I mock house porn, yet we both like to watch. It's our dirty secret.

Have to go now, "Curb Appeal" is coming on...
(The house above is's a farmhouse in Kentucky we hope to actually live in someday)

Monday, October 4, 2010

La Florida

Greetings from the Sunshine State :-) I've been off on the sidelines of the DOC for a husband and I made a big decision over the summer to relocate from Chicago to Florida. We packed up all our earthly belongings and drove down the week after Labor Day. (Our cat had to stay with my dad in Chicago, but he'll be joining us in the coming weeks and our little family will be complete again.) Work was one big reason--his employer pretty much said any new work would come from the south region of their operations, and I was stuck in a vicious cycle of dysfunction at my job. The winters were getting tougher too. But first and foremost we wanted to live a healthier life with less stress somewhere new and focus on ourselves as a couple for a little while.

So now that the house is finally in livable condition (seriously, how can someone let their AC die down here?!) and most of the boxes are unpacked, I'm getting used to a new world and routines. Although my husband kept his job (he's in IT and travels for work), I quit mine and am looking for something--anything--here in south Florida. DH flies to Virginia Monday through Thursday, so I keep myself busy with what I can during the week and try to appreciate the time off. (I'm blessed to be covered by his health insurance so that's one huge worry alleviated.)

Diabetes-wise? Things have been down, and up. All the running around had me bottoming out constantly on the road and during the first couple of weeks here. But now things are a little more predictable. The biggest change for me is how I react to any kind of exertion in hot weather. I drop 50-100 points with as little as 20 minutes of exercise--either I'm more out of shape than I thought, or the climate really does a number on my absorption rates. Plus the food can be challenging. We're eating so many more "healthy" fruits and veggies now that we live near a farmer's market and prices are far less than in Chicago. But all that fruit adds up--just ask me what my BG went up to the day I ate a bowl of grapes and neglected to bolus for them (325!).

I'm hoping to blog more often now that I'm away from a workplace where surf Nazis kept watch on literally everything I did online. I've even joined Twitter--a sure sign the universe is ending ;-) And I hope to get involved with JDRF's activities in the Boca Raton/West Palm Beach area, or any other awareness work I can do. I'm still feeling a little adrift and disoriented. I've never lived outside of Chicago and all my family are there, but I was always the one who wanted to go to new places and vacationed alone when the spirit moved me. Dh and I were always driving off somewhere to explore on the weekends too. So the move is nothing new, yet for me it's almost an undiscovered country. And although my grandparents were snowbirds in the 1980s in Tampa, my memories of Old Florida are nothing like the reality in this part of the state. But it's an adventure, and I'm still more excited than anything.

Thanks for keeping up with me, and stay tuned!