Thursday, December 18, 2014

How to Make Your Own Humalights

My last post included Humalog lights, or Humalights. In the event that anyone else has the mad desire to hoard every empty insulin bottle and string them on lights, I'm going to tell you how I made mine.

First, I pried all of the lids off of the bottles using a cheapie bottle opener (mine's a flamingo).

Next, I rinsed all of the bottles out. I'm apparently bad at numbers, because I thought I had a 30-light strand, so I originally only rinsed 30, but it turns out I needed 35. In this picture, all the bottles are sitting on my oven while I was baking to help evaporate any remaining liquid. 

PS: white stove tops are terrible
After that was over with, I plopped the caps back on the bottles and stuck the lights inside. I didn't like the way they sat inside the bottles, so I widened the holes so they sat just a smidge lower. I used the handle of a paint brush to do the widening, times 35. 

The left opening is wider than the right, see?

The final step was to make sure everything fit together correctly, and cemented everything together with Gorilla Glue. To Make sure it bound correctly, I taped the light strand to the bottle while the glue set.

They fit! They fit!

Voila! Humalights! Now I just need a craft to use up the rubber bottle stoppers! 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Very 'Betic Christmas to You!

First thing on the tree!

In preparation for Christmas this year, I've pulled out all the stops. First, let me tell you that Christmas time is the only time of year when I possess whimsy. It's just not a trait I generally have. Something about the mildly colder weather makes me go nuts for fake trees, sparkly lights, and tales of flying mammals. 

Being the sort of person I am, I have spent over a year collecting insulin bottles for a holiday like this. As pictured above, I put a bottle on the tree. I've baked diabetes-inspired gingerbread. I used the vast majority of my bottle collection to make the most spectacular string of lights you'll ever see.

It was a painstaking process that included prying the damn lids off of the bottles, rinsing, and waiting for them to completely dry. After the bottles were prepared, I used Gorilla Glue to hold them to the light strand. It was... a process. I'll leave it at that. It was a process. I now have a strand of 35 illuminated Humalog bottles, and I haven't yet decided where to display it. I'm thinking of putting them up at my parents' house because my only diabetic cousin is coming for Christmas this year. It'll help us bond over our lack of beta cells. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Hello, Old Friend.

Because I like having color options!

Two weeks ago I decided to change the type of set I use, again. When I started pumping in 2002, I was given QuickSets, and I didn't even know anything else existed until about 2012. I was having problems with the spring in my QuickSerter, so I was on the phone with a Medtronic rep who offered to send a sample of a different set (Mios) with the new inserter. My mind was blown when I was asked what color I wanted. Mios are self-contained sets that have an all-in-one package that includes a serter. They're cool. 

Fast forward a year. I was really trying to get better at diabetes. Two things led to me experimenting with Silhouette infusion sets: my fear of the set change and my desire to try new pump sites. I really wanted to try sticking sets in my arms and legs. As I've mentioned before, most of my body weight is in my middle; I have tiny little arms and legs. My legs in particular have almost no fat on them. To make myself feel better about it, I ordered a sample of the Silhouettes, the angled sets from Medtronic. They come with an inserter that is, quite honestly, terrifying. It reminds me of a handheld harpoon gun. I chose to insert them manually because I was developing anxiety of the spring-loaded serter. The Silhouettes are amazing for the leaner areas, especially when inserted manually. There's a great amount of control when using them. So why did I change back to the Mios? 

Big, angry red spots. Every time I put a site in, no matter where, no matter how well I cleaned it, they it was red and irritated the very next day. It wasn't an adhesive issue; the irritation was where the cannula entered my skin. A few of them got infected, despite my efforts to be super clean around them at all times. I tried using a few of the Mios I had left over, and I was actually able to keep them in for more than 24 hours. I called Medtronic to see if I could send my last shipment back and exchange them. Thankfully, they allowed me to do it.

I've been back on the Mios for two weeks now and things are going great. I can leave my sets in for their full three days. It doesn't hurt constantly! I still use arm sites, but the leg sites are a no-go. I've been exercising and my thighs are too lean for me to do sites there comfortably. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

My Bone of Contention

This is my sore foot that has been bothering me for about a year now. I've been seeing doctors since January, trying to get some relief. I've tried physical therapy, ice, rest, steroid injections, topical creams, shoe inserts and pads... I've tried everything. The problem? A super high arch combined with an exostosis (extra bone growth) which rubbed against my shoes, causing persistent tendinitis. Then, over the months, the rubbing caused a cyst to form under the tendon in my foot. Now, I'm not an artist, or a doctor, but I'm going to try explaining this the best I can.

 The pink squiggle is the tendon that is irritated. The yellow lump is my new cyst (which I can feel and move under my skin. Kinda yucky).  The red line is where the surgeon is going to go in and shave my bone down. Yeah, shave. Hopefully the shaving will alleviate the pressure on my tendon and prevent the cyst from returning. 

I've already gotten my prescriptions for after the surgery. Ibuprofen, antibiotics, and Vicodin. Does anyone out there know if the acetaminophen in Vicodin is going to mess with my Dexcom numbers? I've tried Google, but the results are inconclusive.

I had my pre-op appointment this week, where they told me to not take any insulin at all the day of surgery. Um, that sounds like a terrible idea. Surgery is at noon. So I called my endo's office, who told me I should let my surgeon handle my insulin, until I told them what the surgeon wanted me to do. I'm still waiting on official word from my endo as to what I should do. 

I'll be posting an update eventually as to how everything went with my insulin needs and how the Vicodin affected my Dexcom readings, if at all.