Pick a Number (Diabetes Art Day 2014)

I had a much more intricate design worked up, then Photoshop crashed on me before I managed to save anything. Serves me right.

Anyway. There have been far too many times when it feels like my blood glucose levels are determined by a random number generator or a terribly uncoordinated person playing darts rather than my ability to manage insulin dosages or carbohydrate counts. I could just as easily pulled the past 90 days of data from my iBGStar meter and submitted the scatter(ed) graph of finger sticks.

Imagine more care, and more numbers littered throughout this...

Imagine more care, and more numbers littered throughout this…

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Over-Quantified Self

Tonight’s episode of MedX Live covered the topic of self-tracking and touched on components of the quantified self movement. The whole thing is worth watching, but I want to bring up one of the questions that the panel discussed: the notion of an “over-quantified self”, the idea that you can collect too much data.

The whole Quantified Self movement is quite curious from my perspective. As someone who has to actively self track to stay alive, I’m intrigued by the the individuals who elect to embark on this data-based endeavor for reasons not related to carb counts and blood glucose control. But regardless of the purpose, I do think there’s a risk of worrying about too much at once. If you try, really hard, you can collect all kinds of data on everything you do. The risk for burnout is ever-present if you don’t control yourself.

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I’m not sure if it’s tunnel vision to my move, looking forward to the holiday break, or a general apathy toward my diabetes, but my self care has taken a tumble lately. For whatever reason, I am forgetting my mealtime bolus on a regular basis.

Actually, “forgetting” isn’t the right word for what this is. I simply don’t make time for it. I’m viewing eating as a roadblock on my path to whatever it is I need to do next rather than an opportunity to relax and enjoy a (potentially) good meal. Instead I test my blood sugar, think about the proper insulin dosage, eat, and then carry on with whatever I was doing.

Only after my Dexcom high alarm goes off…a second time after I’ve ignored the initial buzzing do I take my Humalog. Of course by now my meal has had a significant head start in the race to elevated blood sugar levels, so I have to take a larger-than-normal amount of insulin to try to get back to target numbers. The increased bolus means I’m likely to go low in the coming hours after my plateau, likely resulting in an overcorrection from the other side of things, sending me back above 250 mg/dL.

This has been my routine for at least a month now.

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On Being Worthy

As the deadline for the 2014 Medicine X ePatient Scholarship approaches (January 10), I’m going to continue to explore different ways to encourage prospective applicants and dispel myths that may be causing apprehension.

The biggest myth that I can think of is “I’m not worthy”.

I struggled with this one when I was first sent a link to the 2012 ePatient Scholarship application. Who am I to apply for this? What have I done? Why would they accept me? Surely there is someone better, more qualified than me that deserves a seat. I’m not a strong enough advocate for myself or my community. I haven’t accomplished anything.

To be honest, I struggle with these concerns every day. It’s easy to see the accomplishments of others and completely miss out on recognizing everything you’ve done in your own name. I get it. I do this all the time.

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A Word of Caution

This morning I took a correction injection to deal with a persistent overnight high. Almost immediately after I couldn’t remember if it was 4 units of insulin or 6.

This evening I took 15u of Lantus before going to bed instead of my regular 10u.

Moral of the story? Friends don’t let friends inject insulin when they’re barely awake.

Take care of yourself, and each other.

The more you know.

Help control the pet population.

…I’m out of closing slogans.

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Upsetting the Balance

I think, generally speaking, we all know what has to be done to live a healthy life. Some level of exercise, a balanced diet, and an intangible quality of life factor loosely represent the tripod that makes our individual worlds go ’round. Obviously each one of those components is influenced by a wide range of factors, thus making each of our lives unique and blah blah blah. And while it’s a given that all of this isn’t easy, diabetes makes everything more complicated in ways that I cannot describe – but I’ll try anyway.

Let’s take today for example:

Not bad. Not great, but not bad.

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