Diabetes Essentials


ASweetLife celebrates its second anniversary on October 1st.  As I thought about a way to mark the anniversary, I considered the different parts of ASweetLife and asked myself what makes it work.  What’s the most essential part of  this website? 

In no time, I had my answer: The bloggers.  Week after week I’m impressed with the intelligence of our bloggers, their willingness to share, and their outstanding writing.  I learn something about diabetes in almost every post, I laugh, I cry, I identify, I’m inspired, and I always want more. 

In keeping with the theme of essential I thought the best way to celebrate this anniversary would be to ask each of our bloggers what’s most essential to them in their diabetes care. 

What’s the thing you can’t manage your diabetes without? 

I think you’ll enjoy the answers we’re featuring today.  Check back on Thursday for more.  And please feel free to leave a comment and share your diabetes essential with us.  We’d love to hear from you, and our devoted readers deserve a big thank you here, too!   So, happy anniversary ASweetLife, and a tremendous thank you to all of our bloggers, contributors, and readers.

Jessica Apple, editor-in-chief

Karmel Allison

Calculus.  If I was 150 an hour ago, and 140 40 minutes ago, and 105 now, and I’m assuming a quadratic fitting function, at what rate is my blood sugar currently changing? If for the last 20 minutes, my CGM has read 75, 70, 67, and 65, when am I going to hit a zero derivative, at which point I can assume I’ve passed the nadir of my current low? What is the dampening function imposed on my current glucose spike given that I took 1 unit of insulin 20 minutes ago, but am still digesting my meal from 30 minutes ago? What can I do to minimize the amplitude of today’s sine curve?

Karmel Allison writes the blog Where is My Robot Pancreas?

Riva Greenberg

While we’d all say we couldn’t manage our diabetes without our meter, I’m going to say I couldn’t manage it without its lowly counterpart – my lancing device. Ever since discovering the Accu-Chek Multiclix I’m a saved woman; saved from painful pricking and the numerous attempts of yore I used to endure. Hallelujah to all the things that go into making our lives easier managing diabetes easier and less painful – my Accu-Chek and my bunny buddies!

Riva Greenberg writes the blog My Unexpected Muse.

Sam Gellman

My pockets!  They’re probably not as reliable as a bag would be… Everywhere I go, my pockets are filled with stuff- my meter, insulin, and Dexcom, and often candy.  Diabetes stuff makes up more than half of what’s in my pockets.  When I shop for clothes, formal or otherwise, one of the first things I look for are good pockets.  Without them, my life becomes a bit of a juggling mess.

Sam Gellman writes the blog On The Road With Diabetes.

Amy Stockwell Mercer

Glucose TabletsGetting out of the house in the morning to run is never easy. Mornings tend to be crazy with 3 kids under 10-years-old because there is breakfast to be made, dishes to be put away, the newspaper to be read, diapers to be changed, teeth to be brushed and shoes to be tied.

This morning my husband was not leaving for work until 9 a.m., so I didn’t have to rush quite as much. I got myself dressed in my running gear, tested my blood sugar (116), grabbed my glucose tabs, ate a piece of granola and said goodbye to the boys. By the time I was a half-mile from the house, I realized my hands were empty.  I’d accidentally left the glucose tabs in the house. I panicked. 116 was not a good number to start a run, but I didn’t want to turn around and go back to the house. My hands felt naked. I kept running and hoped for the best.

Passing the library and turning toward the elementary school, I maintained a steady pace. I breathed deeply, trying to judge the stability of my feet hitting the pavement. Was I feeling weak? Was my sugar dropping? I realized as I ran that glucose tabs are essential because they give me confidence- confidence to run strong and sure, confidence that if my sugar drops, all I have to do is pop three tabs and keep going.

I’ve been running since I was fourteen-years-old. I started running shortly after I was diagnosed with diabetes because when I ran, I could eat the kinds of things my friends were eating: Smart Food, Cherry Cokes, and Sugar Babies. It was not the healthiest form of motivation, but it got me out the door and has kept me running for 25 years. As I got older and cared more about my figure, I stopped indulging in Cherry Cokes after my runs. I wanted to run without needing to consume extra calories when I was done and hated how sometimes when I was running, I had to stop and eat Starbursts halfway through. The candy always melted in my hands and I felt stupid standing on the side of the trail eating. That all changed with glucose tabs.

Glucose tabs fit neatly into the palm of my hand without melting. In my mouth they dissolve in seconds, sending sugar through my body so I don’t even have to break stride. Glucose tabs give me the confidence to run without fear.

I made it home this morning without getting low, but (if I can help it) I won’t run without glucose tabs again.

Amy Stockwell Mercer writes the blog On Becoming Whole.

Ilene Raymond Rush

Gila Monster There are a number of things I can’t imagine living without when it comes to managing my type 2 diabetes – my raspberry flavored glucose tablets, our trusty recumbent exercise bicycle for my daily workout, the unwavering support of my husband, come highs or lows.

But my nomination for the number one candidate has to be the Gila monster, the only venomous reptile in the United States.

Say what?

Let me explain: A synthetic version of a protein called exendin-4, derived from the Gila monster’s saliva, makes up the drug exenatide, which is marketed as Byetta. By mimicking the actions of the hormone incretin, which is normally produced by the intestines, Byetta slows down stomach emptying which cuts the rise of blood glucose, suppresses the release of glucose from the liver, and stimulates insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas to produce more insulin after a meal.

Prior to my twice daily injections of Byetta, I had resigned myself to a diet pretty much limited to eggs, tuna and peanut butter. Post-Byetta I can judiciously add some carbohydrates – bread, cereal, fruit and even the occasional pasta – without trashing my blood sugar readings.

So what’s to say, but Go Gila! Not the prettiest face on the block, but definitely a keeper.

Ilene Raymond Rush writes the blog Diabetes My Way.

*Gila Monster photo by Jeff Servoss

Katie Decker

One of the reasons I love living in the Pacific Northwest, particularly in Portland, Oregon, is the unlimited possibility of outdoor activities. Ninety minutes in the car takes me either to the edge of the Pacific Ocean or the top of Mt. Hood, and that doesn’t even include all the great outdoor options available within Portland’s city limits.  Some examples are hiking in Forest Park, one of the country’s largest urban forest reserves with over 70 miles of trails, or exploring a city park atop a volcano at Mt. Tabor.

Hiking and getting outdoors in nature is one of my favorite activities because it takes me back to my roots of growing up on 5 acres in Idaho and spending as much time outside as possible. Being outdoors helps me stay balanced in life and is essential in my diabetes care.

Katie Decker writes the blog Living Fully.

Emily Patton

I could not survive diabetes without my family.  Aside from being all-around wonderful people, they are familiar with the type 1 diabetes world and everything it involves.  My older brother was diagnosed when he was 14 and we all changed after that, in our daily lives and in and our outlook on life.  Since the day of my diagnosis, 16 years later, my family has been a reliable source of support for me, too.  I call upon them with questions, frustrations, funny stories, and health updates.  They are constantly walking beside me and encouraging me in my diabetes care.  I am deeply grateful for the guidance they provide.

Emily Patton writes the blog Under the Microscope.


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Copyright © 2009-2021 Diabetes Media Foundation, All Rights Reserved.
ASweetLife™ is a trademark of the Diabetes Media Foundation, All Rights Reserved.
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x