Sunday, December 16, 2012

Let's Make A Better World

Hug your family and your pets. 
Invite your friends for coffee. 
Tell a knock knock joke. 
Listen to some music to make you feel happy. 
Say a kind word to a stranger to lift their day. 
Remember to say thank you, and really mean it. 


If we let it, this world can get to us. 
Lives are lost in senseless ways - violence, accidents, disease and hunger. 
We will never understand why, but all is not lost. 
We can honour those who are lost to us.
by giving back to those who are still with us. 
We can give back. 
Just get out there and make a difference. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lest We Forget

To honour all those brave souls who gave their lives serving the military, 
"Lest We Forget" is published this 11th hour on the 11th day
I posted this first on 11-11-11 at 11:00 am, and I share it once again with you. 

In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields, the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; wait and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead, short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields!
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands, we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields!

~ John McCrae 

In Canada and throughout the Commonwealth, Remembrance Day ceremonies offer veterans the opportunity to remember and salute fallen comrades, and all Canadians an occasion to reflect on the sacrifices made and the tragedies endured in their name.

Lest We Forget is what we say, for we shall not forget. For me, it reminds me of these fallen soldiers who have given the ultimate sacrifice - instead of staying home, safe with their families, attending to their daily lives, they fought in trenches, enduring pain and suffering that most of us can't even imagine. This day was set out so that we do not forget these fallen men and women who gave so selflessly. This day is for them. This post is for them.

The drawing above was done by my nephew Keith in 2002. He was only 10 years old at the time. It is clear that he "got" it. And I hope it serves to help us all "get" it too. 

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, physician and poet, served in WWI
in the Canadian Medical Corps and had been artillery veteran of the Boer War

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Games End

I've learned some things about myself in the last few months since my license was suspended. Well, I've learned a lot of things, but the one thing I've figured out, I want it to be all about me. I want my doctor's full attention. All of it. Not just a piece of it.

Credit: Mike Hoskins, The Corner Booth: Diabetes Art Day 2011
Before the Driving Event, I would arrive for appointments, and my endo and I would have a brief conversation, "Do you have any concerns?", "Let's tweak your settings some more", that kind of thing, followed by extensive number crunching and subsequent pump setting changes. And that was enough when I was an average person with diabetes. But it seems to me that since the event, I am no longer just average, and the landscape has changed. I am now on a mission to change it to a landscape that will work for me.  

My endocrinologist, Dr. K, works in a large teaching hospital, and I have discovered that doctors and patients engage in games, and I don't like games when it's my health at stake.

Remember the broken telephone game that we played when we were kids? You know, the one where everyone sits in a big circle, then someone reads a phrase, then whispers it into the ear of their neighbour, and that neighbour into their neighbour's ear, and so on? Until the end of the circle, and the last person has to say the phrase out loud. Inevitably it is always wrong, and sometimes has hilarious results. However, it's not so hilarious when we're talking about our health.

Game #1 - The CDE/Doctor

In between appointments with Dr. K, I have ongoing email exchanges with my CDE, Sophie (not her real name). It's her role to review my weekly BG numbers and suggest appropriate changes. At times, I had some concerns or questions for Dr. K, so I would tell Sophie, and she would tell Dr. K of my concerns on my behalf, and afterwards, she would paraphrase Dr. K's answer back to me.

This kind of worked, so I thought, however, each time the air was just a little chilly. So I was left to wonder what may have really been said. Did Sophie not relay my message as I wished it to? Did Dr. K misinterpret Sophie's words? Who knows. I wasn't there.

Game #1 Score:  Endo 1, Jamie 0

Game #2 - The Appointment

The rules of engagement for appointments plays out like this: First I meet with the nurse, who records all my vitals. So far so good. Then I meet with a resident (never the same person) who leads discussion, asking questions relating to my health and BG numbers on various charts, and then goes away to give her summation to Dr. K. Again, I am not present, so I cannot assess if she is understanding my intentions and concerns. I cannot hear what the resident says, I do not have the opportunity to clarify anything at all, until she says something that shows the disconnect. After their meeting, both return, and Dr. K leads the appointment from then on.

By this time, over the past couple of months, Dr. K has only heard my concerns through Sophie and the  resident. Everything except my BG numbers has been tied up neatly in a bow, and this is really all Dr. K seemed to want to focus on. At no time did she follow up about the concerns, or even seem to have time for them, and was ready to focus on my numbers only.

However, as I tried to discuss some of my concerns, I realized that she somehow got the impression, and wouldn't let go of the impression, that I wanted my license back no matter what, with no regard to my safety or health. Which was NOT true. But something had happened that gave her that impression. At one point I told her that I felt frustrated by how long this process was taking. Dr. K told me that I must "accept the reality".

... umm, doctor, first of all, it was you who told me the timelines that I could expect months ago... and did you just tell me to suck it up??!

Game #2 Score: Endo 1, Jamie 0

Game #3 - The Teaching Opportunity

Something else has also occurred to me. Throughout the whole process of reporting my Driving Event to the doctor, I had expected that she might be reporting the event to the Ministry of Transportation. I know of other doctors who used discretion on a case-by-case. However, one might wonder if this option may have been coloured as a teaching opportunity for the resident who is present throughout the appointment. This is the Teaching Opportunity session of How To Tell A Patient That You Have An Obligation To Report As Legislated By The Province Of Ontario.

Hmmm, perhaps true? Perhaps not. I don't know, but it kind of seems that way to me.

Game #3 Score: Resident 1, Endo 1, Jamie ?

Ending the Games - Next Steps

So there's a little more game playing in my future. I will continue to work with my team group of professionals to provide a successful report to submit to the Ministry. My next appointment is in a couple of weeks. And then, hopefully I can implement steps to put that behind me.

I can't guarantee anything, but my future medical team is going to look different.  It's going to be one where my voice is heard, directly from me, to those I am working with. For this is how relationships are built.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The waiting game

So I've been waiting. I continue to wait. I've been playing a waiting game.
Artist Credit: Sian Storey
I also want to be high. No, I'm not a junkie. Unless you count insulin as my drug of choice. This is one of the requirements of this waiting game.

But the high I'm referring to is for my blood sugar levels.

Now you're thinking, that doesn't make sense. Who wants to be high? Doctors and medical professionals everywhere warn of the perils that manifest themselves when your blood sugars are high.

Mythbusting alert: sometimes complications can manifest themselves despite good management of blood sugars.

Now I'm not saying that I want to be in the stupid high range. High-normal range is good enough. I just don't want to slide into low territory, for this may have a price that I'm not willing to bear - which is the ability to drive for months to come.

So let me tell you a story. It's not a pretty one, and I'll try not to bore you with the extraneous details.

Back in June, I had a driving "incident". Or maybe I should call it an "event". Whatever it was, I had a devastatingly low (blood sugar) while I was driving. Although I didn't test immediately before driving, I wasn't thinking (mistake #1) because I was high not 1 hour before.

Now I did bolus at the time, however my history had been that once high, I tended to be stuck there. However what transpired was a perfect storm of a (possible) misbehaving pump (the manufacturer subsequently replaced the pump due to some "inconsistencies"), a misbehaving pancreas, and hypoglycemic unawareness. Perfect. While the manufacturer immediately replaced the pump, I just wish the rest was as easy to replace.

As I am here today, writing this blog post, and the fact that many of you have seen me out and about the interwebs, it has had a good ending. I wasn't hurt, no one else was hurt, there was no damage to our brand new car or anything else. This just created a tremendous concern that something had to be fixed, so I spoke to my medical team.

And, subsequently the event was reported to the Ministry of Transportation by my endocrinologist, and my license was suspended. I shared my story with her in the hope that she could help this from happening again. Silly me, for I discovered that telling the truth about what happened only served to take a tremendous toll on me and on our family.

The loss of my license has changed how I conduct my life. We live in a small town with no public transit, this has been problematic. The train that I take to get to work everyday is on the other side of town. Too far to walk. I now rely on my daughter, my friends, my neighbours, and yes, I'm walking a lot more. That is good, however, it has been a tremendous loss of independence.

It is important to me to restore life the way it was. Except for that driving while low part. I have a spiffy new pump/CGM (continuous glucose monitor) combo that tells me all about my lows, and will even suspend insulin if I ever do go low… not that I expect to given the fact that I will act immediately upon hearing such low alarms.

Well, this is where it gets kind of murky. The Ministry requires my endo to report a bunch of stuff about me, including all lows, over the course of 30 days.

So what is low according to the Ministry? Well, the number of incidents of 4.0 mmol (72 mg) or less must be reported. No regard for time of day - just how many. No explanation that something happened while cutting the grass or vacuuming the house. So I think that if I just stay on the high side for one month, that will be good enough.

Unfortunately, it appears that my DTeam and I are on different pages. On 3 separate occasions, adjustments to my pump settings have actually resulted in lows. I realized none-too-quickly that my team was making adjustments to my basals based on my CGM data. Everyone (except my team apparently) knows that you don't do this. It reports trends, but it is far from perfect. This is a CGM newbie mistake. I shared with my team. However, there was no apology and no accountability.

So will my numbers be strong enough to report them to the Ministry? Only my endo will be able to determine this at my appointment next week. And if she submits it, I will wait for 6 weeks to hear back from the Ministry. If not, I guess the 30 days could start again. All going well, I might have my license back in time to visit family for Christmas. If not, well...

The good news is that I now have a pump/CGM system that will help me to manage this stupid disease better. That's a good thing. I know this.

So in the end, I continue to wait. I've been lining up my ducks, getting them all in a row. And now I'll wait some more.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Rocky roads

I've heard it before, but there really is a learning curve to a CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor)

When I started a month ago, I had a colourful printed list about how to insert sensors, how to calibrate, and other CGM essentials. This is what the graph looked like in the beginning. I was a happy camper. I was going to get my BGs in some sort of order. 

I had hope. I was fresh. I was excited. 

See that beautiful flat line?
But things deteriorated. I was starting to see graphs that looked like this one: 

Jamie's Very Very Bad No Good Diabetes Day
Then there came that fateful night last Sunday - a work night - when my CGM was busy alerting me all night. That's every hour folks. By morning I was a ragged wreck. 

So the next day I called Medtronic, and later had an enlightening conversation on Twitter with some awesome DOC (Diabetes Online Community) members, that the picture came together for me. 

So here are the basics that I wasn't really getting:
  1. Calibrate only when your BGs are stable
  2. CGM must be calibrated at least twice a day, or it can shut down. 
  3. Calibrate* 3-4 times a day, at least 4 hours apart, and wait for 1/2 hour before eating/bolusing
  4. Even if your BG is high, don't do any corrections if you are calibrating - either calibrate and wait for 15 minutes, or if BG is too high, it might not be a good idea to calibrate right then
  5. Keep well hydrated
  6. Make sure your ISIG value according to CGM is good (still trying to figure out what "good" is... I'm still on that mission
  7. Keep well hydrated
  8. Make sure your pump/CGM is located close to the transmitter/sensor. Apparently it was too much for the manufacturer to use a transmitter with enough power to reach from one side of my waist to the other (and really... I don't think I'm that fat!)
  9. Oh yeah, keep well hydrated
*Calibration is when you give CGM info correlating it with your meter, which is the gold standard for testing your blood, with a variance allowed of +/- 20%

(For those looking for really good info about CGMs, please check out Jeff Mather's Dispatches post What I've Learned About My CGM. Thank's Jeff!) 

By the way, no one told me before speaking with the DOC that steps 5, 7 and 9 were essential steps. (I love the DOC for this kind of thing). 

Apparently if one doesn't follow these steps, you can get a crazy-*ss graph like the one above. 

And yeah, that's just the beginning...

Remember my Whiteboard Advocacy campaign that I was running at work last year? Well I've repurposed the board (aside from work purposes of course)... and started a Calibration Process Map... figuring out what the best time is to calibrate the darn thing. 

This was my first attempt ... doesn't look good. But it was a good start. 

First of all... it looks like I need 26 hour day to make this puppy work. See those thick lines up there? That's when I figured that I shouldn't calibrate. 

And what I was doing before? 4 times a day? Stable? Ok, go for it. Apparently that's wrong, wrong, wrong. And yeah, I don't drink... aside from the much needed coffee. 

Things have settled down a bit... I was having Whiteboard Separation Anxiety this weekend, and was using my kitchen chalkboard, which usually is host to my shopping list. 

Anyway, this is what it looked like this weekend:

And so things have been looking a little better the last couple of days. 

So I've travelled some rocky roads, and now I think I can make this puppy work. I have hope. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Get your art on, part 2

So, I got my art on for Diabetes Art Day. Did you?

I'll go first. Here's my first submission for 2012...

And then I suddenly realized I had done some "delicious" art last February to celebrate World Diabetes Day, so I uploaded that too...

So have you got your art on yet?

Now for the couch surfing voyeurs in the group, surf on over to Lee Ann Thill's Diabetes Art Day site to see what everybody else is doing...

And for the all the doers in the group (that's you, right?), get out your brushes, cameras, diabetes supplies, pastels, pencil crayons, glue guns and just get crazy...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Get your art on

So, did you know that Diabetes Art Day is coming up? Well, it's fast approaching on September 24th. But don't despair, it's not too late.

You say you don't know what that is?

Fair enough, but if you're out of the loop, I'm here to tell you that it's a fun and cathartic event.

2011 D Art submission from yours truly (was @Jamie_Na at the time) 
Now you're saying you don't have any ideas. C'mon, I'm sure you can come up with something. It doesn't even need to be "arts and craft-y". I'm not, although I'd love to be. But I just do not have the craft gene. I used to give my younger sister a bribe part of my weekly allowance to draw maps in geography for me. I failed at sketching an amoeba in biology.

But instead, what I did get was the diabetes gene. Aren't I lucky? And if you are reading this, I'm betting you either have, or know someone who has, the diabetes gene.

So like, I'm picking up my digital brush again this year and I'm painting some words that tell a diabetes story, and if you are looking for some ideas, check some out here. Also there's some cool and REALLY easy ideas here (not diabetes related, but they might get you thinking) that I'm sure can work for you.

It's not too late. Really, it's not.

So get your art on and head on right over here to read all about it and get your D on for 2012.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Out of here

We're on our way. We'll be offline - that's off the grid, folks (eek!)... but off to a cottage and hot tub for 2 weeks. But I'm still will be here in spirit. And I'm guest blogging for Kerri On The Prairies on September 11, 2012 for Invisible Illness Week. See you in a couple of weeks. :)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

She's got a name!

Her name is Rosie. 

She stays by my side at all times. She is a Type Awesome* in my life. 

Jogs my memory...
Admonishes (but only when I'm ignoring her)...
Doesn't judge...
Looks out for me...
Tells me what my blood sugar is doing and what I can expect.

Rosie is my robot - my artificial pancreas - a Medtronic Paradigm Veo. She is an Insulin Pump and, along with her transmitter, she is Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM). The transmitter communicates my blood glucose to Rosie, and tells me what's going on. She tells me when I need to do something.

Have I tested lately? Double arrows up? Perhaps I need more insulin, perhaps I guessed my carbs wrong... maybe my site has gone south. Double arrows down? Better test. Maybe I need a snack. But what she's telling me is that I better do something about it. I admit, perhaps she is a little overzealous about her job, and perhaps not perfect, but who is?

What won't Rosie do? She won't get me juice when my blood sugar goes low, do my housework and she doesn't cook.

I'm sure I can look forward to some new added features in a future firmware update.

*Type Awesomes are those individuals forming an invaluable support network for People Living With Diabetes. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dear Diabetes

Dear Diabetes,

I hate you.



PS: Diabetes, your days are numbered.
We are going to find a cure and
kick your sorry behind right out of here!

(N.B. It took 6 weeks to receive this letter after my endocrinologist submitted the report to the Ministry. Once a 'satisfactory medical report' is submitted again, it will take another 6 weeks to be assessed.)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Appease Me Not

"You see me on the street, you always act surprised
You say, "How are you? Good luck," but you don't mean it
When you know as well as me you'd rather see me paralyzed
Why don't you just come out once and scream it?"

Now, I'm not usually a Bob kinda girl. But when I heard Positively 4th Street yesterday, the lyrics went right to the heart of matters. Admittedly, Bob was likely not thinking of an endo-CDE-patient kind of relationship when he wrote this song back in the day (Larry informs me it was a hit in 1965 -- he's helpful like that).

It's been a rocky road for me lately. I've been grounded -- no driving for me. Long story, but I've found out some things, and I need answers. So this week I'm going to be visiting the medical records department to get my hands on a report (likely for a ridiculous fee) that my endocrinologist submitted to the Ministry of Transportation.

The question is - did she just tell me that I was a "great and compliant patient" just to appease me? Funny, she never made me feel that way before. What changed? The fact that she had bad news to share, and if she told me this story just to make things easier for us during the appointment? I wonder. I need to find out. And that report contains answers.

A doctor-patient relationship is supposed to be based on trust. I feel like I've been let down. I need answers to questions like - did the doctor really do what she said she'd do. If she did do it, I can let the matter rest, and work on rebuilding the trust. If she did not do it, then, that's a whole other matter.

I fear that trust cannot be restored.

"You got a lotta nerve to say you are my friend
When I was down, you just stood there grinning
You got a lotta nerve to say you gotta helping hand to lend
You just want to be on the side that's winning"
                                                          ~Bob Dylan

Sunday, July 22, 2012

InkStain'D: Meet Stanley & the Bloggers

Seems I was at a loss today to come up with a good title - I always have trouble with that. So we have a title worthy of a concert opening for our very own rockin' Dgroup Blunt Lancet!

That being said, InkStain'D has been published, featuring an awesome story about Stanley, the Interactive Piano who puts a new spin on the player pianos popular in our distant technological past with ragtime playing player pianos.

So what does it have to do with diabetes? Admittedly nothing. But I thought it was cool and think every town should have one. And of course, there are so many other awesome posts there by some of our venerable Diabetes Cast of Characters.

Not to mention, there is a recipe (or several) featured, including making your own mozzarella, just for all the #cheesesluts out there!

Accessibile Ink'Stain'D

Screenreaders are notorious for totally ignoring embedded videos. See below for links to videos featured in this issue of InkStain'D:

Celebrating DSMA's 2nd Anniversary

As for the Stanley video, I invite you to read the cool article, however, I extend my apologies regarding sharing of an inaccessible video. Apparently Vimeo isn't really accessible, other than allowing downloads. In Stanley the Interactive Piano video, it doesn't have any voice description. If you feel strongly, you will need to find a sighted family member to describe it to you :(

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Are you Somebody?

If someone needs help, all they need to do is ask, and people will be there to help.

Somebody Else is there. Somebody is always there.

Any time, night or day.

Somebody Else is helping Someone all the time. Nobody Else needs to be there. Nobody knows that Somebody Else is helping.

But if, one day, what if Somebody cried out for help. What if Nobody heard?


What if Nobody realized that Somebody Else needed help? Nobody knew that Somebody could need help. What if Nobody heard?

Consider for a moment, what if Somebody was no longer there... because Nobody heard Somebody Else's cries for help. What if Somebody went Someplace Else for help. What if Somebody just gave up?

What if...

If Nobody hears the cries, who will be there for them.

So listen for the cries of Somebody Else. Nobody may be hearing the cries.

Somebody Else just may slip away unnoticed.

Don't ask what Nobody asks, "Where did Somebody Else go?"

So be there for Somebody Else. One day we may need Somebody Else to be there for us.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Is peanut butter the new apple cider vinegar?

I am always on the prowl for a good tip. Last week, as I was donning my plumbers hat and took on a stubborn toilet clog (um, despite one young lady's promise, this home remedy did not work for me). However, there are amazing homegrown tips out there. 

A few years ago, it was all about apple cider vinegar, and unlike the promise to unclog my toilet, it does work. A couple of months ago, when I was suffering from the plague (not really the plague, but I'm sure that's what it felt like), and despite the grossness of the taste, after gargling with the stuff, it really did help me feel better.

Today's find was learning how else peanut butter might be used, other than making a most awesome PBJ sandwich or Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cups (and these only have 10 carbs per serving... bonus!).

Unknown image source: notify via comments if known

Before you move on, because you are a hater of peanut butter or something, please stick with me for a moment.

I make no promises as to whether these peanut buttery tips work, but just when I thought I heard everything, there was a bit of randomness at the end of this video that make me sit up and take notice.

Be sure to stick it through to the end... you might be surprised at what you might find too.

Click here to watch on YouTube

Who knew that peanut butter did so much?! It can reduce the smell of cooking fish (nothing like the smell of lingering old fish from 3 days ago! yuck!) ... or shaving, "My, that's an interesting cologne you're wearing".

But, did you catch the claim at the end? Women who eat peanut butter 5 times a week are less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. Really? Could this be true? I do believe that there is some (a lot) of truth in preventative medicine through better nutrition, so I will suspend my skepticism for a few moments.

I set to finding out if they were just joshing with me. I did find a study documented at JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) in 2002. So there could be something to this. I'm a little skeptical of such findings (like, I wonder who commissioned this study? The Peanut Butter Institute (Ed Note: I made that up) perhaps?... but maybe some of our better researchers out there might be able to find out).

Regardless of how comprehensive this study was, and it could contain quite valid conclusions for all I know, but surely, what could it hurt.

Granted, many of you reading this blog may likely already have diabetes, so you might be just shrugging your shoulders, like, so what? Nonetheless, I think it's a pretty cool tip too.

So to all our womenfolk out there concerned about reducing the chance of developing Type 2 diabetes, get your peanut butter on!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Back in the swing of things

I'm back after a brief hiatus with real life involving broken appliances and misbehaving cars. I am now the proud owner of a washer and dryer that actually will wash and dry clothes, and a car that matches my insulin pump - who knew that Ping made a colour in Sonic Metallic Blue! I thought it was just blue. (side note to Animas: don't miss time-honoured marketing opportunities). Anyway, I digress. I'm back in the swing of things, and that's what counts!

Anyway, today's InkStain'D has some awesome articles and blog features, not to be missed:
InkStain'D screenshot for June 3, 2012

First off, I'd like to note that I'm now a member of Diabetes Advocates. Not sure if I can do them justice, but I'm there, and hope I can make a real dent in the Diabetes Community. With May focusing on depression, the Diabetes Advocates are raising awareness about the link between living with diabetes and depression. Check out the post Diabetes & Depression: Places to Get Support. 

In particular, I really loved the speech given by Marina Keegan, The Opposite of Loneliness. Admittedly, this is not about diabetes per se, but a powerful speech given at her Yale commencement. Bittersweet to be certain, but some important life lessons here, addressing change.

Also, a special nod to my husband Larry, who some of you know as @Maindog101, and who is now sporting an alter ego at @MaindogSound on Twitter. He launched his own blog Maindog Sound a couple of weeks ago, and, well, the aforementioned life thing happened, so it's now at InkStain'D.

But there's so much more, so please visit InkStain'D today!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Pumped... about the technology

InkStain'D is out in all it's Sunday glory. You'll read all kinds of good stuff here, including a review of the iBGStar by Valerie Anne of Diabetically Yours (my newest blogger discovery - and what a treasure she is!) Did I mention I'm very pumped about this technology? My local pharmacy is on the case, but I might be downloading the app even before receiving the meter. Did I mention that I'm excited? Right... ok, moving on.

Cool stuff worth reading in the Sunday Edition:

  • Surprise Surprise... - Diabetically Yours
  • Yes I Can Have Chocolate - No More Shots for Shannon
  • May DSMA Carnival: The best of the May Diabetes Blogs
  • May the Fourth Be With You: Happy Blogaversary to SixUntilMe
  • Predetermined Nonsense - A Consequence of Hypoglycemia
  • Junk Food Ban in Ontario Schools: Protest video by students & definitely worth watching
  • Eye implants restore vision in British patients (InkStain'D note: if they can do this, just think what the artificial pancreas will do... tech is just so amazing!) 
  • Often Awesome - a series about living life with ALS: a bittersweet love story
  • Recipe: Homemade Nutty Bars

So please visit InkStain'D and discover what's worth reading.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Lovers and Fighters in our Midst

Today's InkStain'D is featuring a love story. It's not an everyday love story though. If you've come to know Meri, her husband Ryan, and the rest of her family through her witty, insightful and inspirational writing at Our Diabetic Life blog, you already know their story. As a brief recap (that sounds so crass, but I don't mean it to be), Ryan has been facing life threatening tumors. Through these challenges, they show their love, their strength as a couple, and as a family, which puts life in perspective. Everyday I send some positive thoughts to the Great Wide Open just for them. Miracles do happen. Anyway, I invite you to check these posts out. You won't be sorry (mini spoiler alert: you may need a tissue or two).

Now, all that being said, there are so many other Lovers and Fighters in our midst - a ton of stuff. Worth the visit I should think. But if I haven't convinced you yet, see below for a teaser:
  • Taking Away It's Power - C's Life With D
  • I Have a Few Questions - Texting My Pancreas
  • Ancient Glucose Meters - Six Until Me
  • Dozing - Ninjabetic
  • Blind Ultrarunner Uses iPhone to See (Sidebar: Larry, take note!)
  • How to Make Perfect French Fries - Art of Doing Stuff (also how to make them frozen fries)
  • Bacon and Egg Salad - BitchinKitchen
  • Frozen Yogurt Drops - The Kitchn
Visit InkStain'D and see what's going on in our community and beyond.

Friday, April 27, 2012

InkStain'D Out: The Real People Sick Edition

Why do I call this the Real People Sick Edition? Well, this was a sick day for me because I was Real People Sick. Now, you might wonder what that is, but there's times when I feel sick because of diabetes - too high, too low, things just being "off". But over the last few days, I've been leading up to a kick*ss hacking cold - in the diabetes community known as Real People Sick.

Now, if one is commuting long distances - on a cramped train - those who cough get the withering stares evil eye from their fellow commuters. So to avoid the curse that they would bestow upon me, I stayed home to recuperate, and well, here's the RPS edition.

This edition features lots of blog posts from our DOC (Diabetes Online Community), and as it turns out, I must have been hungry, because there are lots of food-related posts, including a DIY recipe for Larabars. I've never seen them here in Canada, but I've heard they are delicious, and this recipe looks like something I might even try. Maybe I should call it the Foodie Edition. Anyway, some feature blogs and articles:

  • News Alerts: Kayla's Life Notes
  • Meggins and Patterns: Texting My Pancreas
  • Rage-Bolusing Cause and Effect: The Diabetic's Corner Booth
  • Neuropathy from Diabetes
  • New Data Mining Eatery App and What It Teaches Us About Our Diet
  • French Onion Grilled Cheese Sandwich:
  • English Muffin French Toast: The Kitchn 

... and theres at least a couple of super easy kitchen tips. So check out today's InkStain'D to see what might be there for you.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

InkStain'D is Out: April 21st

This InkStain'D is coming out a day earlier than usual. You may say, when does InkStain'D publish anyway? Fair enough. However, what the heck, it's out and that's cool, right? So now you have the rest of the weekend, and beyond, to enjoy this Special Early Edition of InkStain'D.

As usual, some great blog posts! Check out the video that was uploaded as part of the You Can Do This Project, featuring some of our Diabetes Online Community T1 folk who were diagnosed as adults (as was this InkStain'D publisher at age 28). It always surprises me when people - especially medical professionals (the most recent being my rheumatologist) - who say to me, "That was awfully late to be diagnosed!". Um, not really, but that's okay, now you know.

Anyway, enjoy and see you again in a few days.

Some of the findings in this edition are:

  • Sorting Out a Tangle - Living Vertical
  • Now What? - Life After Dx - Diabetes Uncensored
  • Group Effort - A Consequence of Hypoglycemia (which has that video that I mentioned earlier)
  • Watch What You Say - LADA Life
  • Southwestern Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

And other great bits and pieces. If you have difficulty accessing the videos posted, Accessible InkStain'D is also available (check out link at InkStain'D or at top of this page).

Thursday, April 19, 2012

InkStain'D: Thursday, April 19th

Well, after this post it's tax time in the Flying Furball / InkStain'D household, so this is the Official Pre-Tax Edition of InkStain'D (hopefully I will be finished in time to publish the next InkStain'D on Sunday). Once again though you'll find lots of great blog posts and articles, including:

  • Feature article - Gordon Lightfoot - Jian Ghomeshi interviews Canada's venerable Gordon Lightfoot (love Gord!) 
  • Child with Diabetes finds Hope with four-legged friend
  • Good Things Come from Bad Situations - My Diabetic Heart 
  • Does It Really Exist? - Strangely Diabetic
  • Gassing Up - Six Until Me 
  • Support for What? Musings of a Rebel Without a Topic - T Minus Two
  • Secret World of Blog Advertising - Art of Doing Nothing

The Accessible InkStain'D is also available (check out link at InkStain'D or at top of this page).

Monday, April 16, 2012

InkStain'D: Read All About's not too late

Well, life happened and I didn't get this post out there in a timely fashion, but this weekend's InkStain'D is timeless, and features a great story that has been out there for a while - I must have been under a rock or something. But with an amazing scholarship fund to a kid living in East L.A., now this kid is going places. Read about Caine and his cardboard arcade. If Caine can do it at just 9 years old, I'd like to suggest that just about any of us can rise above our own challenges. This issue includes posts:
  • Ninjabetic - Shall I Freestyle? 
  • Blue Heel Society - Day 14... My Dream Day 
  • Diabetic Aviator - My Life as a Pancreas
  • Victoria Cumbow - But wait, I have questions
  • Toucan Scraps - Life Savers
  • Keep Your Garden Pest Free with these Natural Pesticides, made with ingredients already in your pantry
  • How to make perfect French Fries (Ed. note: a guilty pleasure!)
Click here to read all about it.

Accessible InkStain'D

Also, for those of you who stumble on this blog who use a screen reader, the paper is largely accessible, and a link is included to an accessible page for the videos shared (also at the top of this page, link for Accessible InkStain'D.

Monday, April 9, 2012

InkStain'D: Monday, April 9th

Today's InkStain'D features many bloggers from the DOC (Diabetes Online Community), including:
  • My Life with Type 2 Diabetes - We All Talk to Ourselves, Right? (HAWMC, Day 8) 
  • The Diabetic's Corner Booth - Skittles on a Plane 
  • Victoria Cumbow - A new, real-life friend 
  • Texting My Pancreas - Failing 
  • T Minus Two - Many Kinds of Delicious
  • Bittersweet - Keep Calm (HAWMC, Day 9); and
  • what to do with that leftover, yet awesome looking Magic Mouse Container Terrarium
Click here to read all about it.

Accessible InkStain'D

Also, for those of you who stumble on this blog who use a screen reader, the paper is largely accessible, and a link is included to an accessible page for the videos shared (also at the top of this page, link for Accessible InkStain'D.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Ready, Set, Fly!

There's a new kid in town. It's a little e-newspaper called InkStain'D.

To go back a bit, the Flying Furballs blog was born out of my need to share all kinds of things that go on in my life. I have shared posts about living with Type 1 Diabetes and it gave me a platform to be a diabetes advocate. I've also shared my husband Larry's accessibility 'adventures' as he lives with blindness caused by congenital glaucoma. He also lives with Type 2 diabetes which has, over the last few years, given me more insight into the diabetes 'world'.

But still, I kept wondering, how could I possibly add something to an amazing blogging community which has already done such a great job. Sure, I do have something to say, and Flying Furballs is still a perfect forum through which I can share, but due to limited time, I've been struggling with how to best serve the community and beyond.

InkStain'D is born

Read all about it, in InkStain'D
InkStain'D is an e-newspaper that I've been playing with for a while. It had humble beginnings (starting as the JamieNa Journal which morphed into the JamieAnna Journal), and I've had a few mis-steps to be sure. I've learned the ropes and now I can say I am the publisher and curator of this little paper. It proudly sports a new URL ( and it will be published at least 2 days per week, assuming life doesn't get too much in the way.

InkStain'D is another way to access information - a kind of one-stop shopping. Because people prefer to access information in different ways. This e-newspaper format hopefully will bring information to more people, and hopefully introduce other people to the diabetes community. Essentially, it is another way to reach out to people - providing them with information in an interesting and entertaining way.

For those of you already familiar with it, the focus will be the same, but it now features some new stuff too. Not only will it have news and views from the diabetes and accessibility communities, it will also share so much more with readers, including:
  • Posts from bloggers of all stripes, from within the diabetes and accessibility communities, and "beyond"
  • Featured videos - educational, funny, creative and inspirational
  • Photos and drawings of all kinds - interesting, funny, and cute photos that have been shared
  • Technological advancements
  • scientific discoveries, and
  • other cool whatnots

What makes InkStain'D different?

InkStain'D was created, in part, to be an interactive forum for the community. Whether you are a blogger or "just" a person trying to raise funds in your community - whoever and wherever you are - you can use this forum to get your message out into the world. If you have a blog, just write about it, and it can be part of InkStain'D. If you don't have a blog, just write something up and InkStain'D (along with some space located on Flying Furball) will help you share your message.

What's this? Accessibility!

InkStain'D will be accessible - and this is huge. Why is this huge, you might ask?

Just think about it - so many videos are out there, featuring funky music with some floating script scrolling across the screen. This works for most of us who can see it, however, it's the same to blind people as silence is to deaf people. It may also surprise you that even though embedded videos are obviously sitting right there in a blog ready to click on for you and I, some screen readers do not even "see" videos embedded in blogs. Through Flying Furballs, this paper will provide a link to the source of the videos (at YouTube, Vimeo and other sources). For videos that are "silent", as well as many photographs, drawings and graphics, descriptive text will be provided to the best of my ability. This way anyone who has visual impairments can be included and "see" what everyone else sees. Look at the top of the page. There's a link there to bring you to the Accessible InkStain'D tab.

So now, no one is left behind. Anybody with vision issues or who navigate the web by alternate ways, can also enjoy what everybody else does while reading InkStain'D.

Ready to fly

I like to think of InkStain'D like the caterpillar transforming into a butterfly, and it's now time for the butterfly to take flight (I love metaphors, so please indulge me!)

I'm excited to be launching InkStain'D which has grown near and dear to my heart. I hope you will explore it with me, and please, tell me what you think.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Making Miracles Happen Today 03.04.12

Updated 03.04.12

In addition to Flying Furballs, I also publish InkStain'D. This is a little paper that I hope will grow - for the community. Now, as I write this, somebody in the community needs you, and hopefully this paper will help share the message. 

Through InkStain'D and Flying Furballs, by outreaching through Twitter and Facebook, and most recently shared on's FB page, we are reaching out to as many people as I can to help make a miracle come true.

So, what are you doing Today?

I Believe In Miracles
The Schuhmacher Family Miracle
Meri, one of the diabetes bloggers, has asked for our help, and I encourage each and every one of you to take a few moments to read Meri's story, and perhaps send a few good healing vibes her way. Her family depends on it.

To give a bit of background about Meri and her family, and her efforts to support the diabetes community. In Meri's words: 
I am the mother to 4 wonderful boys, 3 of which have Type 1 Diabetes. Through this blog I hope to share our ongoing story, to help others see that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Like you, I have muddled through all the emotional phases diabetes has to offer a parent. I know of the worry that sits with you like an old friend, because he is my friend too. I just try not to make him the life of the party. Take the ride with me. 
But sometimes life just hits us, and it has hit Meri's family. She writes, and is asking for help from us. 
We have received some bad news, and we need your help. Three years ago my husband Ryan was diagnosed with Melanoma. He had surgery and chemotherapy and we believed we beat it. This weekend we received the news that his cancer is back with a vengeance. He has 6 tumors in his brain, as well as multiple tumours in his lungs and abdomen. The news obviously not good... but we have not lost hope. 
We are asking all of you for your continual prayers, and ask if you will join our family in praying this Sunday March 4th, for Ryan. Please pray specifically for a miracle, because that is what we stand in need of at this moment. We spread the word to your churches, prayer groups, friends, and families. All religious denominations everywhere. We have a strong believe that we need to bombard the gates of heaven with prayers for ryan on Sunday... and beyond. 
For those of you that do not know our family very well, you can find out more about us at My husband and I have been married 19 years, we have four boys, ages 16, 14, 10 and 8. Three of our boys have Type 1 Diabetes. Ryan is 40 years old. 
Please. Please pray. We believe in miracles, and have already witnessed many since the diagnosis on Sunday. We can do this. Your prayers can and will help. 
Thank you in advance for your prayers and good will for our family. We already feel it lifting us. 
Much love, Meri Schuhmacher and Family

So, the DOC (Diabetes Online Community) is rallying together today, praying, and sending healing miracles Meri's way.  If Facebook is your thing, go for it and visit the Facebook page to support the Schuhmachers.

And of course, we have amazing bloggers supporting the family. Among them are some I know about:
And I'm sure there are more out there, asking for miracles too.

Let's help the Schuhmacher family see the light at the end of their tunnel. After all, it could happen. It will happen. Miracles happen.

Miracles Happen
Ryan Schuhmacher

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Where to go from here?

You may have noticed this, I haven't been posting a lot lately, and I've been asking myself why. I've been asking myself, "What is my value to the community."

Now, I'm not talking about my value as a person or my value to my family or to the in my life. However, I've been giving some serious thought about my fit within the DOC (Diabetes Online Community) family and beyond.

The Issue

To give some perspective to this issue, I spend a tremendous amount of time commuting - 2 hours each way to and from work. One might think this downtime could offer me a wonderful opportunity to come up with some creative stuff. But as it turns out, I suck at writing blogs while travelling. Sometimes the demanding days plus the ups and downs of my diabetic life collide, and I don't have the energy to do anything but tweet 140 characters at a time, or just take a nap while travelling. So as it turns out, my most creative moments do not happen while I'm enroute to and from work.

Once I get home, there's the rush of getting dinner on the table, making it on time for DSMA night, or just having the energy to stay awake while watching the next episode of Castle (Best.Show.Ever). Ok, I lied. I don't have any trouble staying awake for Castle, but once I've watched it, I'm ready to fall into bed, and then I rinse and repeat.

So lately I haven't even had time to visit the blogs that I've always loved reading. I just can't keep up with them all. So it seems to leave me with the rather sucky choice of choosing whether to read them or trying to write something that I don't have the energy or inspiration to write.

Don't get me wrong. I do love this blog and I fancy myself an ok writer. But apparently I can only write a complete blog when I'm inspired. If I get distracted (which happens easily), they get abandoned (poor little orphans). I estimate that I've got a half dozen or more unfinished blog posts because this whole living life, dealing with diabetes thing keeps interfering. I don't have time to read blogs, I barely have time to tweet (except for the aforementioned train tweeting) and I certainly have little time to advocate, which I feel is a very important thing to do given the state of the misunderstandings out there in the wild.

So what is a person to do?

After reexamining what my strengths are, I've decided to focus on the JamieAnNa Journal. It occurred to me that this little rag is perhaps the perfect venue for me.

I figure that by doing this, I can combine my love of reading blogs, taking the time to feature the ones that have some inspirational story, some informational tidbit or a snip of randomness that I think readers might might like too. So I've decided that I'm going to put on my very stylish editor-in-chief hat and rock this paper with the stories that touch me - and hope that they might touch you too.

I hope that the JamieAnNa Journal will become a go-to place to find some great information and be entertaining at the same time. I plan to feature the real people - in the DOC and beyond - who live with diabetes every day. I will provide information in a compelling, entertaining and somewhat eclectic way - because that's what I like... and I'm the editor. So why not!

I do hope my skills as an editor will allow me to connect with those already part of the DOC, and will reach out to more people who have yet to discover the DOC - and reach out in a format that might go beyond Twitter or Facebook - in an interesting way. I hope it will become a go-to point for people with diabetes of any type - whether they have type 1 diabetes like myself, are part of the type 2 diabetes crowd, or whether they are type awesomes - who are part of our invaluable support networks.

More than Diabetes

Another important point here before your eyes glaze over with all this diabetes talk - this paper will not only be only about diabetic stuff. True enough, it will often feature diabetes, but just as I am about more than diabetes, so will this paper. I will still keep an eye out for some cool technology, neat ideas, pop culture, random bits of political theatre... who knows what it might have.


As a final note, my blogging days are definitely not over. As Editor-In-Chief, I reserve the right to feature my own blog from time to time. Hey, why not - I feel no shame in admitting that I would do such a thing. So the Flying Furballs blog will still be live and ready to go when the creative moment moves me.

So over the next few days, I am going to be reimagining the JamieAnna Journal - heck, I may even be changing the name. So stay tuned. I'll be sharing soon.

And I figure why not give this a try. If I can take on this diabetes thing, I can do this too.