Sweet Colleen

the grass is always bluer

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The Diabetes Holiday and How I Celebrated with Beer

The other day I was trying to explain to my husband why I love World Diabetes Day so much. This is the best way I could think of to describe it… It’s like Christmas. Not the gift giving part of Christmas. The hopeful, world peace, group hug part of Christmas. For this one day I feel like we all come together and embrace each other. It’s wonderful.

Something that has really changed over the last few years is that this day is being embraced by all of the “nons” of the world as well as the people living with diabetes. It is truly magical. It feels so good to have your friends and family support you in this small way. It’s awesome to spark so many conversations about life with diabetes.

This year was even more special.


This tattoo serves as a medical alert as well as a tribute to my camp family.

A few weeks ago I casually mentioned to my friend Al (who owns an AWESOME pizza shop/brewery near my house – Al’s of Hampden/Pizza Boy Brewing) that my diabetes camp is struggling for money and could really use an awesome fundraiser. I asked if he would be able to do some small event to raise a little bit of money to get more kids to camp.


Al & Terry telling us about the beer

His response has blown me away. Al and Terry (the brewer at Pizza Boy Brewing) have made a blueberry sour ale aged in Chardonnay barrels. They will be selling the beer starting December 1st and all proceeds of this beer through the month of December will be donated to send kids to diabetes camp!

Yesterday, World Diabetes Day, Al invited me and some other craft beer lovers (many of who are my friends) over to the brewery to try a sample of the beer. While the beer isn’t totally done yet, it was pretty freaking tasty! Not as sour as I expected. Very well rounded and universal. The kind of beer that everyone will love!


The good stuff!

It was so lovely to have everyone dressed in blue! And it was really exciting to have everyone talking about camp and diabetes and how important this fundraiser is. I am beyond thrilled!

It was like one big group hug!

This is a very popular camp song! We keep joking that when we check in this beer on UnTappd or when we talk about it on Twitter that we’ll tag it #MooseJuice!


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World Diabetes Day… Why I am Where I Am

On this World Diabetes Day, I’d like to talk about the thing that has truly made me the way I am. Diabetes does not define me, but the way I handle my diabetes does. There is one thing in my life that has contributed so much to my outlook on life and on diabetes. 

Diabetes camp. 

It is honestly the greatest thing my parents could have ever done for me. Diabetes camp has given me a whole ‘nother family. People I can relate to and who can relate to me. People I can call or text or email or Facebook when I’m upset about something. 

Because of diabetes camp, I have always been exposed to new and interesting treatments and devices for people with diabetes. It has inspired me to always want the newest and the best things. I love trying out new things so that I can figure out the best way for me to be healthy.

It has also given me a purpose. There are few things in this world that I love more than my campers. I love being a role model. I love showing them, not only how to take care of themselves, but how to live life the way they WANT to without diabetes getting in the way.

You know how when you love something so much you feel like you were put on this earth for that reason? I feel like fate has given me diabetes so that I can use to help others. 

Camp is an undeniably important piece of growing up with diabetes. It saddens me that there are kids out there who can’t go to diabetes camp or who’s parents don’t think it is important.

I credit it as the number 1 reason why I am so comfortable with my diabetes and why I have lived this well for this long. 

To find a diabetes camp near you please visit the Diabetes Education & Camping Association website.



This photo is me with my cabin mates and counselors at my first week at diabetes camp. August 1993.



And this is me with my cabin mates and campers in June 2013!



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So far so good

So, I have been doing pretty well keeping up with this low(ish) carb diet. I have been having trouble explaining to people what I’m doing. While it is mostly low carb, I can still eat my ramen and drink a little beer. So I’m not sure there’s really a name for it. Is that ok? Should I give it a name? It’s kind of just the… only-eat-things-I-know-how-to-successfully-bolus-for diet. 

The one thing I can say though, is that THIS monstrosity is not in my diet:


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So… I’ve been really slacking in the eye department. Like… really slacking. I mean, I haven’t had a dilated eye exam or a vision test in FOUR YEARS. Woops. My endocrinologist has been on my case about it (rightfully so).

Finally I sucked it up and made an appointment.

I’m so glad I did. And you know why? Because there is NOTHING wrong with my eyes. It’s truly amazing to hear a doctor tell you that you are perfectly fine and that you’re doing really well with diabetes. After the doctor says “Wow!” when you say you’ve been diabetic for 24 years, it feels SO GOOD when she says there’s NO evidence of that in your eyes.

It was a good day!

PS. I also got to pick out some sweet new hipster frames! I believe I will be wearing these all the time because I love them.

2013-09-12 18.46.53

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So a week after starting this journey to bring my numbers down, I decided to plug in my Dexcom. When I saw the results, I was nearly in tears. My goal is get my A1C to 6.0 or lower. I want to be as close to “normal” as possible.

Once my Dexcom was plugged in, I went in and changed the date range to 7 days. I wanted to just see the results of the changes I made over the last week. I knew that I had improved things, but I had a few moments that I didn’t like. I had gone on a booze cruise over the weekend and I ran a little higher than I wanted. I had birthday cake for my mom’s 50th. There a few things I just wasn’t thrilled about. I mean, I wasn’t kicking myself or anything but I knew that those things could prevent me from reaching that 6.0 goal. Well, apparently despite those things, my week went the way I wanted it to.

My average blood sugar for that week… 127mg/dl!! That equates to a 6.0 A1C!!!

I couldn’t sleep after that. I was so jazzed. I can DO THIS! I CAN DO THIS! I’m so proud of myself and excited to keep moving on. I’m excited to bring that number down a little bit and to make that standard deviation smaller. Because I CAN DO THIS!

it's working

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The SUPER Bolus


It sounds funny right? Everytime someone mentions a super bolus I picture a pump with a little red cape. I’m a dork. I know. But in all seriousness, I never really paid a lot of attention to this concept even though I know a lot of people have spoken about it.

Ramen has frustrated me for years. I love Ramen for many reasons: it’s cheap, it’s easy to eat at work, it warms me up when i’m shivering in my cold office, I put some cayenne pepper in it to clear my sinuses, etc. I try and try and try to get an acceptable post-pranidal number. I pre-bolus. I wait a half hour. I sit and watch my Dexcom until I can’t go any lower before I have to eat. No matter what I do, I still spike to 200. With my current goals and guidelines, that is unacceptable.

I declared I was going to eat low carb, but I was having a little trouble planning out my lunches with what was in my cabinets at home. So, I did some poking around and came back to this concept of the “super bolus.” It sounded like a good idea. And guess what? IT WAS!

Here is what I did:

  • I figured out what 80% of my basal would be (my current basal rate was 1.5u/hr so 80% of that is 1.2)
  • I multiplied it by 3 (so 3.6u)
  • I figured out my meal bolus for the carbs (my lunchtime ratio is 1u:6.5g and the ramen is 52g so that’s 8u)
  • I added the 3.6u and 8u to get 11.6u
  • I set a temp basal rate to 20% for the next 3 hours

Which there in itself proves that diabetics are awesome at math. The point of all this math, is to punch those carbs with a huge dose of insulin up front and get more insulin working at one time. Then to prevent your blood sugar from crashing, the basal is decreased and everything “equals out” in the end.

It really did work wonders for me:


To say that I am happy with the results would be an understatement. I am ECSTATIC! I’m stoked to be able to use this when I need to.

Now, I’m not going back to eating loads of carbs all the time. But it is really nice to have this in my pocket if I need it.

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15 Rule: Apparently not for me!



Since I’ve been experiencing tighter control, and generally lower numbers, I’ve also been experiencing… well, lower numbers. I’m so grateful to have my Dexcom to catch these lows and really figure out how my body is working right now.

Something I have discovered- most of the time, 15 carbs is way too much for me. If my blood sugar is 64 mg/dl, 15 carbs worth of juice or glucose tabs will SHOOT my blood sugar up to over the high end of my target range. I did not know this was happening before I was on my Dexcom. And I guess I didn’t really care. If I was 180 I was ok with that. But not anymore! I’m taking this more seriously! 

This morning my Dexcom woke me up because I was 60. I ate 2 glucose tabs that were 5g a piece (so 10 carbs total). I’ve been hanging in the 120s ever since. BOOM!