Molly Johannes was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1997 at the age of four. She controls her diabetes with an OmniPod insulin pump, Dexcom continuous glucose monitor, and daily exercise. Molly graduated cum laude from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in December 2014 with a degree in English. Currently, she works fulltime as an associate editor for a financial company. In her spare time, Molly enjoys spending time with her loved ones, reading books, watching movies, and playing games. She’s an avid fan of Disney, dark chocolate, wine, Harry Potter, and fun times. While Molly does not know a life without diabetes, she is determined to defy the daily obstacles the disease presents. Read full bio

My Experience at the 2016 CDN Retreat

CDN Retreat

Two years ago, I attended the inaugural College Diabetes Network (CDN) Retreat in Bridgton, Maine. As a college student about to enter her senior year, I was eager to connect with other CDN chapter leaders across the country and gain practices and ideas I could implement at my chapter at UMass Amherst.

I knew the retreat would help improve my leadership skills, but I had no idea that it would invigorate and inspire me to the degree it did. I was able to return to school in the fall and have a successful final semester with my chapter that ended with a new leader taking over my presidency. I felt confident in my chapter’s future.

Now, a year and a half later, I’m an alumni of both the CDN and UMass. I joined the “real world” and started my career about a week after my graduation from college; as a result, I’ve been quite busy since then. Even though I’ve moved on from UMass, my involvement with the CDN on the national level remains intact. I enjoy helping CDN out on a volunteer basis whenever possible and when it was evident that I could attend the 2016 CDN Retreat as an alum, I jumped at the chance.

As excited as I was to go, I was also a bit hesitant. I wasn’t sure how the retreat might impact me as an alum/volunteer as opposed to an active college student. Questions streamed ceaselessly though my mind for a solid week before the retreat: Would my presence there have a positive influence on other retreat attendees? Would I learn as much as I did during the first retreat? Would I fit in with everyone else? Would I have fun?

I’m pleased to say that the answer to all of those questions is yes. The retreat lasted from a Monday evening to a Friday morning, and from the moment I set foot into the house and was greeted by dozens of other T1Ds, I felt like I belonged.

I bonded immediately with the students as well as the other volunteers and CDN employees. Sure, diabetes was our most obvious connection, but our friendships formed on a basis that was far beyond that. Conversations flowed easily as we all tested our blood sugars and bolused before mealtimes: The beeps and alerts from our various devices were akin to background music that was barely heard over our enthusiastic ramblings. We talked about our experiences in college—what we majored in, roommate stories, our aspirations for the future. Plenty of diabetes humor was injected (ha, get it?) into most group chats.

When we weren’t basking in the great outdoors of Maine, we were participating in workshops designed to help student chapter leaders and members alike thrive in running their school’s CDN chapter. These sessions ranged in focus from social media tips and tricks to fundraising tactics. In each session, I was in awe of the energy and passion that each chapter attendee demonstrated. I was amazed by how strongly I felt that I could relate to them as we shared struggles that we experienced in running respective chapters, but reassuring to know that there were solutions to these problems as shown by mutual perseverance and a desire to be great leaders. I felt pride when I sat with other CDN and college alums and shared our journeys into the “real world” so far with the other attendees—it was incredible to hear how much they have accomplished in less than two years since graduating, and I hope that those who listened to us felt encouraged by what we had to say.

There was a particular moment in the retreat that was beautiful and emotional for me. It was our last full day in Maine and we had two hours in the afternoon to spend however we wanted. Many of us chose to bask in the sunny weather by either swimming or kayaking in the lake, or merely sunbathing together on the dock and the small boat tethered to it. We blasted music and talked and laughed together, and for a short time I was able to forget about not just my diabetes, but everyone else’s, too. It was an awesome shared moment and that was when I knew that this retreat impacted me just as positively, if not more so, than the first one.

When Friday came around, it was time to part with my newfound friends. I was sad, but I knew that our conversations and friendships were just beginning. I’m looking forward to the future: I’m excited to see the other retreat attendees kick some major ass in the next few years and I have no doubt they’ll continue to inspire me just as much as they did in those short five days. A huge thank you to all of you—the retreat attendees and the CDN staff/volunteers, especially Tina, Mindy, Emily, Sarah, Meghan, Dan, and Greg. It was a fantastic week and I’m so grateful to all of you for making it memorable. Here’s to the 2017 CDN Retreat and the continued success of CDN on both the chapter and the national levels!

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#DBlogWeek Day 5 – Tips and Tricks

My desk at work, low snack stash in the upper right hand corner.

My desk at work, low snack stash in the upper right hand corner.

This was a favorite prompt of mine from the 2014 Diabetes Blog Week, so I’m glad to see it has made a return for 2016:

“Let’s round out the week by sharing our best diabetes tips and diabetes tricks. From how you organize supplies to how you manage gear on the go/vacation (beach, or skiing, or whatever). From how you keep track of prescription numbers to how you remember to get your orders refilled. How about any “unconventional” diabetes practices, or ways to make diabetes work for YOU (not necessarily how the doctors say to do it!). There’s always something we can learn from each other. (Remember though, please no medical advice or dangerous suggestions.)”

My favorite tips and tricks usually involve ways to handle lows. I’m always on the hunt for the ideal low recovery snack (because after 18 years of glucose tablets, they get a little old). A year or two ago, I discovered that most grocery stores carry mini boxes of yogurt-covered raisins and they have become my go-to low snack.

You might be wondering what’s so special about raisins. Well, they’re perfect for lows because 1) they’re portable, 2) there are 10 carbs in one box—a good portion for when you need less than 15 grams to fix a low, and 3) they taste yummy! I keep a bunch stashed at my desk at work as well as in the pantry at home so both my T1D mom and I have easy access to them at all times.

Speaking of my desk at work, I have part of a shelf in my cubicle that functions as my designated low snack supply. I keep the aforementioned raisins, some juice boxes, and granola bars (for blood sugars in the 70s/80s) in this area, and I’ve been grateful for my advanced planning many times. After all, when you’re low at work and trying to function in between the shakes and sweats, it’s much easier to grab something to bring my sugar back up without even having to get up from my chair.

Generally speaking, dealing with diabetes in the workplace can be tricky—so it’s necessary to devise diabetes “hacks” that make it easier to manage diabetes. For instance, if my blood sugar is higher than I’d like (sometimes due to being desk-bound 9 hours a day), I seize the opportunity to both get some exercise in and lower my blood sugar without having to take extra insulin. I’ll do this by walking outside around our building, or climbing the stairs inside when the weather’s uncooperative. A mere 15 minutes of movement often does the trick for me. Plus, I know that sitting all day long is bad for me, so it’s an extra excuse to stretch my legs and do something not just good for my diabetes, but my whole body.

These are just a few of my favorite tips that work well for me and my diabetes. Remember, your diabetes may vary—your own tips and tricks might work better for you than for me!

 

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#DBlogWeek Day 4 – The Healthcare Experience

If you had asked me to write this blog post before I started seeing my current endocrinologist, it would have probably turned into a long rant about my frustrations with various doctors I’ve seen over the years. I have been relatively lucky compared to other people in that I’ve never had a truly horrifying experience with a doctor—except for the time when one (not an endocrinologist) told me I would never find a job with a degree in English. That doctor was very wrong! I digress…

It’s interesting having diabetes since the age of four. This means I’ve had it for more than three quarters of my life. Growing up with diabetes is the name of my blog here on ASweetLife, and I think it fits perfectly because as I’ve matured, so has my diabetes. My needs have changed over the years just as I have changed. As a result, my expectations and desires for my healthcare team have evolved dramatically.

When I was little, all I wanted was to avoid the doctor’s office at all costs. I hated being pulled out of school early for them, I hated waiting, I hated sitting in the room and hear my doctor converse with my mom about things I didn’t really understand. And I hated that each visit meant I would be asked whether I would consider going to diabetes camp. The answer was a firm no for reasons I still can’t quite understand, but all I know is that I did not like the idea of it and was bothered by the fact that it felt like my healthcare team was really pushing for me to do it despite my blatant reluctance.

I compare my visits as a kid to my visits now and notice many differences. Now, as an adult, I’m on a pump and use a CGM. I go to my appointments by myself and have a conversation with my doctor in which I’m an active participant, not a passive listener. I feel engaged and reassured when I visit my endocrinologist. She knows me well and never scolds me, which I appreciate because I HAVE had doctors (on rare occasions) chide me as an adult—and it infuriates me. I expect to be able to visit a doctor in any field and have my concerns addressed with respect and knowledgeable answers and opinions. For the most part, I am fortunate enough to say that this is usually true when I visit not just my endocrinologist, but the other members of my healthcare team.

There is one thing I wish, though: I wish that my appointments didn’t feel so RUSHED. I know that all doctors have a schedule that they do their best to keep up with, and a number of factors prevent them from doing so. But sometimes, it feels like my time with them is being cut short because they might be trying to catch up. I often find myself leaving the doctor’s office and remembering a question I had meant to ask on my drive home, a question that I had forgotten because of the high speed pace of the appointment. I know that I’m welcome to reach out to my doctor via the messaging service the office uses, but for me, it’s not the best method. My doctor is only at this office once a week, so unless she happens to be in when I send a message to the office, chances are that a random nurse practitioner who doesn’t know me will respond. Maybe I would also add a better messaging system to my wish list, but I understand that for the sake of practicality this might not be entirely rational.

As I’m wrapping up this post, I realize I haven’t even touched upon the question about dealing with health insurance companies…I’ll have to save it for another day where I feel like I could use a really good rant, like the one I described above.

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#DBlogWeek Day 3 – Language and Diabetes

I have decided to include the full prompt for today’s blog here in order to provide some background for people who may be unfamiliar with this diabetes debate:

“There is an old saying that states “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. I’m willing to bet we’ve all disagreed with this at some point, and especially when it comes to diabetes. Many advocate for the importance of using non-stigmatizing, inclusive and non-judgmental language when speaking about or to people with diabetes. For some, they don’t care, others care passionately. Where do you stand when it comes to “person with diabetes” versus “diabetic”, or “checking” blood sugar versus “testing”, or any of the tons of other examples? Let’s explore the power of words, but please remember to keep things respectful.”

Before I became an active member of the DOC (Diabetes Online Community), I paid no attention to the words I use when describing my diabetes. For example, I always referred to myself as a “diabetic” rather than “person with diabetes”. There was no reasoning for it other than it was easy to say “diabetic” when explaining it to others. I used “checking” and “testing” my blood sugar interchangeably because they were synonymous to me. Even phrases like “my blood sugar is low/high” versus “my blood sugar is hypo/hyper” don’t faze me—I swap them out depending on the context of the conversation.

I think that when I was diagnosed (nearly 20 years ago), diabetes descriptors were much less open to interpretation. In other words, they weren’t really perceived as labeling someone by the condition, they were merely parts of speech that identified something that affects me and my daily activities. That being said, I grew up saying these words without giving it a second thought.

However, as I’ve become more immersed in the DOC, I’ve come to understand that these words can bother some people. As a result, I’ve done my best to be sensitive to this issue and try to use “person with diabetes” or “PWD” as much as possible.

There is one word, though, that I choose to exclude from my personal diabetes dictionary, and that word is “can’t”. In my opinion, it’s not appropriate to tell me that I “can’t” eat a particular food or “can’t” participate in a certain activity. It perpetuates a stigma that I loathe about diabetes, which is that diabetes prevents me from taking part in mundane aspects of life.

Overall, I’m a person who loves and respects the power of language. I’m accepting of the fact that certain words and phrases bother some people more than others and more than willing to accommodate that in my speech and writing.

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#DBlogWeek Day 2 – The Other Half of Diabetes

DBlogWeek ButtonToday’s topic is intimidating for me to write about, but its importance is monumental. We dwell so much on the physical component of diabetes and often forget that the mental component is just as significant. When I saw that today’s question asked how diabetes affects me mentally or emotionally, I took a deep breath as a stream of emotions (ironically) flowed through my mind. Anxiety, fear, nervousness, joy, anger, frustration, impatience, and even envy are among the many feelings that compose the other half of my diabetes. Here are some explanations why:

Anxiety: The big enchilada, the most prevalent mental toll my diabetes takes on me. I was basically born a worrywart, destined to fret about rational concerns, irrational fears, and everything in between. Throw my diabetes into the mix and you’ve got a recipe for my full-blown anxiety that I work hard to quell every day.

Fear: My fear is tied directly to my anxiety—I can’t help but feel scared when my blood sugar is a little too high or a little too low.

Nervousness: I can’t help but feel nervous when confronted with “unpredictable” situations, like when my food at a restaurant might arrive or whether I’ve remembered to pack all of my diabetes supplies when traveling.

Joy: Yes, I did throw a positive emotion into this list, because the feeling of elation when I experience a diabetes “win” is wonderful. As a kid, I used to draw little fireworks next to blood sugars of 100 mg/dL in my logbook—even though I don’t use them anymore, I still feel fireworks of joy when I manage my diabetes exceptionally well.

Anger: Nothing can make me furious as fast as a high blood sugar. Steer clear from me when I’m high!

Frustration: I try and try and TRY to do my best, but sometimes, it’s to no avail. I get unbelievably frustrated when I’m doing everything right but my numbers don’t reflect my effort.

Impatience: Diabetes leads to a lot of waiting, doesn’t it? Waiting in the doctor’s office, waiting for site changes, waiting for blood sugar to come up/down…I wish I had a bit more patience to help me cope with wait times more calmly.

Envy: Does this really need an explanation? I’m envious of people who have working pancreases.

While it can be exhausting to deal with these complex emotions simultaneously, it helps to remember that I can do this. The power of positive thinking is incredible, so simply reminding myself that I’ve been managing diabetes for more than 18 years has a reassuring impact on me when I get caught up in negative emotions. It also helps to remind myself that I have the support of my loved ones and the good fortune to have access to the diabetes technology that wasn’t available to me during the early days of my diagnosis.

Between the emotional and physical aspects of diabetes, dealing with it is not always easy. But with a little work and the right attitude, it’s possible and not all that bad.

 

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#DBlogWeek Day 1 – Message Monday

DBlogWeek

It’s officially the start of Diabetes Blog Week! This is the third consecutive one I have participated in and I’m excited to write blogs each day this week.

Today’s prompt is the following question: What is the most important diabetes awareness message to you? After giving it some thought, I decided on something short and sweet.

Diabetes doesn’t define me.

In my diabetes advocacy, I’ve done my best to spread the message that I’m more than my diabetes. There are so many things besides my diabetes that can describe me and have shaped me into the person I am. I’m a writer, a Harry Potter aficionado, a food and fitness freak (yes, I know that’s ironic—so what?), a Disney addict, a thrifty shopper, a fan of my loved ones. “A diabetic” is merely thrown somewhere into that mix of eclectic titles that I can honestly say I’m proud to claim.

This message is important to me because it conveys that my diabetes doesn’t stop me from doing anything I want to do. Sure, my diabetes can make it a bit more difficult to achieve certain goals, but what’s life without a little challenge? I’ve learned to accept that diabetes and problem-solving go hand in hand, and my acknowledgment of this fact has caused me to discover more about myself and my ability to cope.

On that note, let diabetes blog week commence! I’m looking forward to reading other blogs and enjoying the sense of community over the next several days.

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Lunch at Work Leaves Me in a Pickle

Lunch at Work

When it comes to lunchtime, I’m a creature of habit. I pack a similar lunch each day that consists of around 35-40 carbohydrates. I eat my lunch right around noon when I’m at work and a bit later in the day on weekends. During the workweek, I especially look forward to it because it’s a welcome break from the glare of the computer screen.

My feelings toward lunch change when my company chooses to provide food for its employees. Please don’t misconstrue me here—I think it is extremely generous for the company to take on the expense of feeding 40+ people every so often. I’m fortunate to be able to say that the business I work for cares about its employees.

So what’s my problem with company-sponsored lunches? It’s the fact that I must resort to the guessing game when it comes to calculating the carbohydrates in these meals. We alternate between pizza, barbeque, Chinese food, Panera, and other assorted takeout options. Usually, I try my best to look up carbohydrate counts online. It’s not difficult when we order from a place like Panera, which readily has nutritional information available. But when we order from smaller, specialty restaurants, I’m in a carbohydrate quandary.

I try my best to cope with this by choosing items that I can assume are lower carb; mainly, anything that contains vegetables or proteins like chicken. This helps sometimes, but other times my attempts to lower my carb intake backfire due to hidden carbs contained within sauces and similar accruements. When it comes to food that’s already tricky for a person with diabetes, like pizza, I’m left crossing my fingers and hoping that an extended bolus will prevent a latent spike in my blood sugar. But all too often, I wind up having to correct a high blood sugar in the late-afternoon work hours, which is frustrating—especially when I’m aware of the fact that bringing my own food would’ve taken the guesswork out of the equation.

The easy solution could be to opt out of these company lunches and continue to bring my own food, but that introduces a whole new crop of problems. I’ve tried this in the past and it lead to my co-workers asking me, repeatedly, why I’m not participating. I know they’re not trying to make me feel awkward or uncomfortable, but I can’t help feeling that way. It makes me seem anti-social, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Plus, I’m often included in the head count when orders are placed with restaurants, so it doesn’t reflect well on me when I decline food that was purchased for my enjoyment.

I also don’t want to drive the stigma around people with diabetes being unable to eat certain foods—I frequently advocate that I’m in the camp that says we can eat whatever we like, just with mindfulness and moderation. It’s just that much easier to manage insulin dosages when I know the carb count of each of my meals.

So when it comes to work lunches, I try to accept the challenge of doing some trickier math at mealtime. I see it as a learning experience when I’m off the mark and my blood sugar isn’t wonderful hours later, and I’m pleased on the occasions when I do nail my carb counting. I roll with the punches, just like diabetes as a whole has taught me to do over the years.

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Shawty Got Low, Low, Low (Blood Sugar)

You can see the three times that Shawty got low.

I don’t often make music references in my blog, but as I sat down to write this, the classic 2007 tune “Low” by Flo-Rida popped into my head. This nearly 10-year old song is one that I probably last heard in full in middle school, where I most likely looked like a fool alongside my friends as we danced in a group to it.

So besides being a song featuring truly poetic lyrics (Shawty had them Apple Bottom Jeans/Boots with the fur/The whole club was lookin’ at her/She hit the floor/Next thing you know/Shawty got low low low low low low low low), it is also a song that has described what my blood sugar has been doing the past 24 hours. This is pretty unusual for me, considering my CGM often helps me prevent lows…but sometimes you just can’t stop them from happening.

The first offense happened right in the middle of my Zumba class. One minute I was salsa dancing my little heart out, and the next I was noticing my CGM vibrating like crazy. When the song ended I stopped to look at it and was dismayed to see a down arrow and red dots on my graph, both indicators that I was dipping into the hypoglycemic zone. I really didn’t want to stop dancing, but I knew that I had to before my blood sugar got dangerously low. I sat on the sidelines for the next four or five songs as I suspended my insulin and waited for my glucose tablets to do their job. I happily rejoined for the last fifteen minutes of class, shimmying with greater energy than before thanks to the burst of sugar in my system.

After Zumba, I went home and got ready for bed. Mercifully, I was able to go to sleep at 122 and have an uninterrupted night of rest. I woke up at 157 and bolused for a breakfast consisting of two hard boiled (and beautifully dyed Easter eggs, if I do say so myself) and two slices of toast. I gobbled up my meal and went about my morning routine.

45 minutes and one shower later, my CGM was buzzing. I was going down, again. I cursed myself for not doing an extended bolus. I know that bread/toast can sometimes take longer than other foods to have an effect on my blood sugar, but I thought that waking up at a slightly higher blood sugar would cancel out the need for an extended bolus. Begrudgingly, I went down to the kitchen and poured myself a glass of orange juice, chugged it, and sat down while I waited to come back up.

The rest of the morning was fine. I made it to work, got started with the day’s tasks. Lunchtime came and went. At 2 o’clock, I left for the gym on my break like I normally do. When I left the office, I was 173 and steady with a couple of units left on board from my lunch bolus. Determined to avoid another low, I suspended my insulin AND ate a small box of raisins (10 grams of carbs) for good measure. I arrived at the gym, changed into my workout gear, and hopped on a treadmill to do my walking.

It was just walking. Not intense exercise by any means. But a mere 16 or 17 minutes into it, I was dropping AGAIN. No, not dropping it like it’s hot…shawty had low, low, low blood sugar. I had to cut the workout short and eat, which was especially frustrating because I probably gained back any calories that I may have burned from my short workout.

Needless to say, I’m kind of over the low blood sugars. But I am grateful that I recognize when it’s happening, and that I have some awesome technology to help me in the process. And at least when I go low, I don’t have the whole club looking at me when I hit the floor.

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Why My Fitbit is One of My Favorite Gadgets

My Fitbit is always on the same wrist as my medical ID.

My Fitbit is always on the same wrist as my medical ID.

Besides my meter, CGM, and OmniPod, I’m constantly carrying my Fitbit with me. Why? It’s one of the non-diabetes-specific tools I use to manage my diabetes.

If you’re unfamiliar with a Fitbit, it’s really just a high-tech pedometer. It comes in a few different models, but I’m equipped with the Fitbit flex. The flex is a narrow wristband with a nondescript display that lights up when you tap the wristband, or once you’ve met one of your fitness goals for the day. The wristband holds a tiny tracker that syncs with an app on your smartphone or to your computer when you insert it in the USB port. When you sync the tracker, the app or your computer will show you your daily progress in terms of the number of steps you’ve taken, how many calories you’ve burned, how many miles you’ve traveled, and how many active minutes you’ve accumulated. Additional exploration within the Fitbit app will show you data from previous days and the flexibility to modify your daily goals. For instance, if you want to travel a total of 5 miles daily or get 10,000 steps per day, you can set these goals for yourself and go about your routine to accomplish them.

So how exactly does my Fitbit help my control of my diabetes? It’s a constant reminder to me to keep moving. Diabetes is usually better managed when you’re more active; after all, it can occasionally be faster to remedy a slightly higher-than-you’d-like blood sugar with 15 minutes of exercise rather than waiting for a correction bolus of insulin to kick in. And generally speaking, I find that my blood sugars on a given day where I get at least 10,000 steps (or more!) are better when compared to a day that I’m sedentary.

Plus, the Fitbit flex is designed to monitor additional activities, such as water and calorie intake, weight loss, and hours slept. Of course, these are optional and I have yet to put some of the dietary ones to the test, but they could be useful if you’re considering making some lifestyle changes. I have experimented with the sleep monitor, though—it’s interesting to compare my sleep graph with my CGM graph. I’d guess with a fair amount of confidence that the CGM is more accurate than the sleep monitor, but it’s definitely visible on both graphs when I wake up or am restless in the middle of the night due to a low or high blood sugar.

I’m a fan of my Fitbit and I like that it encourages me to be more active. What are some of your favorite non-diabetes gadgets and why?

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My Hyperglycemic Haze

My Hyperglycemic Haze

Most nights, my diabetes and I get along fairly well. I test a few hours after dinner and either eat a small snack or take a corrective bolus, depending on my blood sugar. I usually wind up going to bed without worrying too much about my overnight numbers.

But once in a blue moon, something goes awry. I was doing well with my blood sugars until a recent Monday night rolled around. I ate a fairly typical meal (salad and pita bread), so I had no trouble calculating my bolus. Between 6 and 8 o’clock, I went about my normal evening routine to prepare for work the next day. When I sat down to watch some TV before bed, I noticed a diagonal upward-facing arrow appear on my CGM screen.

I blamed it on the pita bread; after all, it tends to kick in slowly. I tested around 9, took a corrective bolus, and went to bed. I woke up above 200. This was weird for me, seeing as my nighttime blood sugars are typically good. I shrugged it off and took a bolus for my breakfast and to correct. Otherwise, it was a standard Tuesday…until the evening.

Again, I experienced a trend of my blood sugar hitting my target soon after dinner, but then rising sometime between 8 and 9. Tuesday night was especially annoying because I woke up twice throughout the night due to my CGM high alarm wailing. Both times I took a corrective bolus, and still woke up above 200.

I thought I was doing fine after I corrected and ate breakfast on Wednesday morning, seeing as I coasted down to 138. I ate lunch at noon and was simultaneously surprised and angry to see I was up to 278 three hours later. I began to wonder if something was wrong with my pump or the site, but that didn’t entirely make sense to me considering my blood sugar came down like it was supposed to Wednesday morning. I bolused again and headed into the evening pre-dinner hours at 164.

Eventually, I sat down to eat my dinner with a certain amount of trepidation that wound up being justified—AGAIN. Close to three hours after I ate, I was 233. But I didn’t want to freak out; after all, I completed a routine pod change shortly after dinner. Surely, a new pod filled with fresh insulin would prevent a high. I bolused a couple units (it was around 8:30) and decided to run a 95% more temp basal for the next hour. When the temp basal finished running, I would test again.

One hour later…I was over 300. Something was wrong. I consulted my parents, trying not to panic after testing my ketones and seemingly spilling some. By 10 o’clock, it was decided I’d change my pod for the second time that night as well as manually inject fast-acting insulin to fix my high as quickly as possible.

After all that, I had no choice but to wait it out. I didn’t want to go to sleep until I knew my blood sugar was coming down, so I fought my sleepiness and put on some mindless television while I waited. Finally, two long, drawn-out hours later, I was coming down. I woke up at 2 A.M. at 70, but my sleep-deprived mind didn’t care because I was so happy to be lower. I got up at 7 A.M. as usual to get ready for work, more tired than I wanted, but happy to wake up at 134 mg/dL.

As I reflect on this particular string of hectic hyperglycemic blood sugars, I’m feeling in a bit of a haze. I want answers to my questions: Was it a site problem or an insulin issue? Did I actually spill some ketones, or were the strips inaccurate because it wasn’t a fresh vial? Was I carb-counting correctly? Could my emotions (stress!) over the situation have affected it? Does my body just hate me? It’s frustrating that I can’t really get a complete explanation as to why my blood sugars were creeping up like that for three nights in a row; it could have been any of those factors. It’s a reminder that blood sugar can be affected by anything and everything, whether you can control it directly or not.

For now, I’m relieved that I’m back to normal and seeing a bit more clearly now that I’m coming out of the fog.

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