A Day in the Life of a Juvenile Diabetic


I WAS a Juvenile Diabetic??????

Wow, what an amazing discovery! This video is about a study that is being done to transplant islet cells (the cells that produce the insulin) into Type I diabetics…..I can’t imagine having to not test my blood sugar, not count carbohydrates, and not to worry that my blood sugar is rising or dropping! How far we have come!

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Ice cream? Sure! Sopa de pollo? Hmmm

Filed under: Uncategorized — juvd03 @ 11:42 pm

La Sopa....the Guilty Party

So I spent a wonderful weekend in Florida at my boyfriend’s mother’s house. She is an amazing cook, everything from pernil (a pork dish that melts in your mouth) to beef stew to patties to soup. After the flight on Friday (which went well, by the way!), mi amor and I arrived at her house and were soon given wonderful big bowls of soup. The soup had tomato paste, and chorizo (spicy sausage) and potatoes, red and green peppers, fresh carrots, and lots of spices. It was delicioso!
BUT………….as I ate it I kept trying to figure out how many carbohydrates this big bowl of yummy soup had…..so I took a guess. 25?!
Well, I was WAY off. My blood sugar was 278 about 2 hours later. Gave extra insulin, and got it down, but the culprit had to have been that soup.
After trying unsuccessfully to explain in Spanish how my pump works, the three of us decided to spend some time at the beach.
Florida beaches are much calmer than the ones here in New York, and everybody is in a good mood! Life in Florida seems to be calmer overall. But I digress…………after spending a couple of hours on the beach, we decided to get ice cream. My boyfriend’s mother instinctively said “Wait! You can’t have that!” and even when my boyfriend and I explained that yes, I can have icecream she still seemed a bit dubious. I got a child-sized toffee crunch on a regular cone and punched in 30 carbs into my pump. The pump recommended 2.7 units of insulin and voila! Two hours later I was 110 🙂
If you know what you are eating, having diabetes, wearing a pump, and giving insulin is really not a big deal. But those mystery foods can get you if you are not careful!


Brett Michaels: I’m a rock star, why can’t I have a soda?!

Filed under: Diabetes, Type I diabetes — Tags: , , — juvd03 @ 2:14 pm

Brett Michaels, my kindred spirit! He describes beautifully the way a low feels, and yes, it is a pain in the neck to open those containers of glucose tablets when you are already having a low and therefore are uncoordinated! It's also so important to have at least one friend in your corner (like Brett Michael's band member Big John) who is not afraid of your diabetes and who knows what to do when you have a hard time thinking for yourself.


The Flight

Filed under: Uncategorized — juvd03 @ 10:15 am

Well, today I am taking a weekend flight to Florida.
This would not be such a big deal if I were not a recovering phobic!
Yup, afraid to fly. No, let me strike that. I WAS afraid to fly. No, that’s not right either. I am learning how not to be afraid; yes, there, that’s it. After 15 years of not flying, and after taking a 7 week course with 19 other brave persons who were also as scared as me, I flew! Scariest thing I’ve done, but I did it!
The experts say that it’s important for people like me to continue to fly regularly until we are really comfortable with getting on that plane; they say it takes about two years of frequent flying for the fear to finally be conquered. It’s been six months since my last flight, so I know that I am overdue! I keep telling myself “I’m gonna have a fantastic flight!” but oh dear, those fears keep creeping into my head. How will my blood sugar be? Hopefully not too high or too low. I’ll check it on the way to the airport, and at the airport, and on the plane, probably multiple times, to give my mind something to do other than focus on the fact that I am UP IN THE AIR.
Stress can cause strange rises and drops in blood sugar just like it can cause rises and drops in blood pressure. It’s just a matter of being at peace with the fact that this will occur, keeping an eye on my blood sugar, and treating it accordingly.
Well, that’s it for now; I have to finish packing!


Do you think that school personnel should be allowed to administer a glucagon injection?

Well, the first thing to talk about is WHAT EXACTLY is a glucagon injection?!
Let’s start with the basics.
When we eat, our bodies convert the sugars and carbohydrates to glucose. So, when a diabetic has low blood sugar, glucose is the best course of action because it’s already converted and therefore works faster!
A Glucagon injection is just that: Glucose in the form of liquid that is injected right below the skin’s surface….this is what is typically used if a person is unconscious, or is about to become unconscious and therefore can’t chew glucose tablets, food or anything else.
There has been a lot of debate about whether or not school personnel should be authorized to give glucagon injections.
What do you think?



Filed under: Diabetes, insulin dependent — Tags: — juvd03 @ 2:32 pm

If I had a dime for every time someone said to me “You’re a diabetic! You shouldn’t be eating THIS!!!” I could have retired ten years ago at the ripe age of 30.

I understand that there is confusion about the differences between type I and type II. I understand that many folks don’t realize that when a person has type II, his/her pancreas still produces insulin but is, well, TIRED………and that diet and exercise are the key to making it happy again.

But when a person has Type I, the pancreas doesn’t work at all. Sure, it’s still in there, sitting pretty, but it’s on permanent VACATION which is why we Type I’s need insulin shots. And then the disease becomes a different ballgame. Sometimes my sugar goes high, other times it goes low, and when it goes low, what is the best way to make it rise? With something Sweet 🙂

Thanks to the insulin pump, even if my sugar isn’t so low, I can STILL have that cookie or that slice of pie, so long as I know how many carbohydrates I’m putting in my body so that I can give the amount of insulin needed to cover the sugar.  So for all of you quasi-doctors out there, cut it out, and let me enjoy my icecream in peace!

Granted, the dessert in this wonderful picture is a bit excessive. Then again, what person actually SHOULD BE EATING THIS?!?!?!


Reflections of a day in kindergarten

I was a popular kid, or so I was told. Don’t remember much about kindergarten, except the see-saw wooden toys we got to stand on every day, and the silvery-shiny costume that someone wore on Halloween. I think I dressed up as a witch that year.

Anyway, it had never occurred to me that other kids didn’t get shots. It had never occurred to me that I was different from anyone else. When kids are little,  the concept of “different” doesn’t exist until it is introduced by someone else, usually by an adult or by an older child.  In any case, every day I would leave class at the same time to go down to the nurse, check my blood sugar and have a snack (usually an apple with some peanut butter, or a glass of milk and a cookie). It never occurred to me that this would raise curiousity among my classmates.  But on one particular day when I got up to leave the classroom, I heard one of the kids ask my teacher “Why does Jennifer leave at the same time every day? Where does she go and what does she do?”

The door shut quietly and I hovered behind it, eager to listen in on this discussion about me. The teacher replied “Well, she is sick. She has to go to the nurse to take care of herself. If you have any other questions, you can ask me.”  And that was that.

Thirty-something years later and this is still what I remember about kindergarten…receiving the label of different, which I then worked hard to cover up for the next twenty years. Adults have no idea that by discouraging children from asking and answering questions, they are impacting on their abilities to be honest and open in relationships as they get older. By encouraging young diabetics to participate in discussions about their condition  they are impowering them. Granted, a lot has changed since 1976 when I was in kindergarten, but the concept is still the same….


The Rollercoaster Day

Filed under: Diabetes, Type I diabetes — Tags: , , — juvd03 @ 1:28 pm

What a day I had yesterday. Woke up high, at 250. Not sure why. Gave extra insulin, 2 units! Waited for three hours, 270. Hmmm. Blood sugar not moving. Gave another unit. Had a headache.
And then, it was 130! Hooray! oops, then it was 100, okay, then it was 70, uh oh. Let me have some glucose tablets, those disgusting fast-acting tablets that I buy at CVS that taste like chalk but work quickly to raise blood sugar. Orange flavor never tasted so awful!
30 minutes later and Now we are 60. Hmmm. Having milk, and more glucose tablets. 2 hours later. Still 64. OK. I will remove my pump all together so that I have no more insulin going into my system for a little while. Feel strange. Getting annoyed.
OK. At 5:00 I decided to have an early dinner, although I already have a stomach ache from all of the glucose.
OH NO! Two hours later. 220. Sigh. Back up on the rollercoaster. Must have been because the glucose finally caught up to my system, along with having no insulin for a couple of hours. Will just nudge it down……half a unit, then wait, then a unit, then wait, then half a unit more.

I am so fortunate to say that these types of days RARELY happen to me. I usually am able to keep my sugar pretty level and in a good range! But every once in a while there is a fluke; that’s the nature of diabetes. And when these days do happen, they are pain in the neck and make my body feel unhappy and tired!

The good news is that this morning, all is well. 120 and feeling great. And that is one of the best things about having diabetes…with each new day I start fresh. Kind of like life 🙂


About the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Filed under: diabetes in children, juvenile diabetes, pancreas, Type I diabetes — juvd03 @ 1:15 pm

My diabetes came as the result of an autoimmune disorder. I had pneumonia at 2 1/2, and the doctors suspect that the high fever that I had for days damaged my immune system and caused the cells in my pancreas to attack each other. When all the cells were destroyed, that’s when I started insulin.
Today there are experiments being done to stop this process and restore the cells. How exciting it would be to know that in my lifetime, a three year old out there will have his pancreas saved!
Here’s some information about JDRF, the company working on this cure!
Jennifer 🙂

JDRF is the worldwide leader for research to cure type 1 diabetes. It sets the global agenda for diabetes research, and is the largest charitable funder and advocate of diabetes science worldwide.

The mission of JDRF is to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that strikes children and adults suddenly, and can be fatal. Until a cure is found, people with type 1 diabetes have to test their blood sugar and give themselves insulin injections multiple times or use a pump – each day, every day of their lives. And even with that intensive care, insulin is not a cure for diabetes, nor does it pre-vent its potential complications, which may include kidney failure, blindness, heart disease, stroke, and amputation.

Since its founding in 1970 by parents of children with type 1 diabetes, JDRF has awarded more than $1.5 billion to diabetes research, including $107 million last year. More than 80 percent of JDRF’s expenditures directly support research and research-related education. For more information, please visit http://www.jdrf.org/


The Challenge with Starbucks

Filed under: insulin pump — Tags: — juvd03 @ 12:31 pm

I love Starbucks. I mean, I’m addicted to Starbucks coffee. And I like the color green.

However for me, getting nutritional information about what I am eating is like getting a camel through the eye of a needle. A green needle.

One of the good things about the pump is that it gives me a tiny (tiny meaning the size of a small pinhead) amount of insulin every hour throughout the day to keep my blood sugar levels normal, One of the bad things, however, is that whenever I eat something I have to program the amount of carbohydrates I will be eating into the pump so it can administer the right dose of insulin. This can be a challenge since restaruants and many coffee houses (my beloved Starbucks included) do not provide or have on hand this information, so for me the guessing game begins. The problem with guessing is that if I’m off on the guess, my blood sugar will go either way up or way down as a result. Let’s say I were to have a reading of 80, and thought I was having a meal of 20 carbohydrates. So, I put in 20 carbs to my pump and it will give, say for example, 1.8 units of insulin to cover the food. But oops, 2 hours later, I’m 200! What happened?!? Well as it turns out, the lunch I had wasn’t 20 carbs, it was 30. Woops.

Starbucks will say that they have nutritional pamphets that have this information, and yes indeed they do! They are written nicely, have a pretty cover, and provide all of the information I need. The problem is that  when I ask for the information, nobody seems to know where it is. The helpful people, or Baristas, will tell me that such and such is only 150 calories. That’s great! But I’m not watching my weight, I tell them. I just need to know how much insulin to give. This response usually causes a puzzled look on the barista, who calls the manager, who can also not find the nutritional information. Thankfully, I recently bought a little carbohydrate book from the diabetes center that has all of the Starbucks information in it. Did you know that there are the same amount of calories in a scone that there are in almost 2 slices of pizza?!??!

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