Cool Kids

imagesHave you heard the Echosmith song “Cool Kids”? I love that song. I feel like it captures a lot of my feelings when it comes to, well, life. I think most of us have at one point or another felt like everyone else had it together, knew what they were doing, had everything they wanted and what we wanted.

Over the last couple of days, the Cool Kids conversation has resurfaced yet again. It happens. It’s happened before. It’ll happen again. But every time it happens I do feel a sense of obligation to write a little bit about it in hopes that maybe it will shed some light.

I’m not disagreeing and saying there aren’t Cool Kids in the DOC. There definitely are. But there are some nuances to how this all developed and I have a unique insight into the story.

When the first diabetes pharma company wanted to get together with us, immediately people started criticizing those of us who went. I really didn’t have a clear sense of how the invite list was selected, but I knew it had a lot to do with recommendations, readership, and familiarity with the diabetes space. It’s probably why it seems like most of us know each other, because when we’re asked who to recommend, we tend to recommend the people we know.

A few more companies held summits, and yes, most of the people who went to them were the same people. I don’t know if this was intentional, but I imagine it was. Especially when some of the summits held in subsequent years were designed to follow-up on previous summits, there was bound to be repeat attendees.

While all this was going on, I started working for a PR agency. I worked on the digital media team and I was responsible for creating a number of blogger media lists. The number one thing my clients wanted to know was how much traffic does this blogger get? Now I’m sure when it comes to diabetes there’s more to it. I think companies also want to invite bloggers who can speak to issues like advocacy and technology and intelligently contribute to the conversation. You had to be a thought leader. You had to be influential. You had to speak and write well.

There aren’t as many summits now. A few, but they just aren’t as often, but there are some new projects being developed and those have very well-known names attached to them. They are the Cool Kids.

There’s a reason for this.

The Cool Kids are professionals. Above anything else you have to realize that the people who become frequent speakers and who are paid to do anything in this field are professionals. They treat this as if it is their job because in most cases, it actually is. It’s not a hobby. It’s not something they do while watching The Daily Show (although I’m sure sometimes they do). It’s not something they squeeze in after dinner and before tucking their kids into bed or when they happen to have a really terrible D day (although they do it then, too). This is something they do all the freaking time.

And I know this because I used to be a professional, working as an assistant editor at DiabetesMine. When something is your job — especially something that has a rather entrepreneurial bent to it — you’re going to spend a lot of time finding ways to get paid. You’re going to do a lot of networking. There will be a lot of queries, pitches, follow-ups, phone calls, and lunches. There are going to be a lot of assignments and 1099s. And for a few — for a very select and gifted few — this is sustainable. This is what they do and they do it because they are good at doing it.

Now there are other bloggers or tweeters or whatever you want to call them, and you might be thinking, Well, what about that person. That person is probably footing their own bill. They are probably saving a ton of money, or maybe going into debt (I don’t know, we don’t get that personal at the bar). They might be on scholarship. There are a number of scholarships provided by the Diabetes Advocates and Children with Diabetes to attend their conferences. Some professional conferences will give free press badges to bloggers. There are a lot of “This is our vacation this year” that happens. There’s a lot of room sharing (we’re all family, remember?). There’s a lot of budgeting.

I don’t blame people for being jealous. I’m jealous, too. It’s been a long time since I’ve been invited to speak on a panel or attend a summit. But I also want people to understand that the people you are jealous of also work their asses off for this and it’s not an accident that things are the way they are. This happens in almost every blogging niche — from fashion to home design to food to other chronic diseases. There are people who dedicate themselves just a little bit more to doing what they are doing and they become more well-known, and companies take notice of that. It does not mean that people who aren’t more well-known are somehow worse or not appreciated.

So how do you become a Cool Kid? I don’t think there’s a hard and fast answer but I do have some suggestions based on nearly ten years (oh God…) of experience.

1) Be yourself. Your voice is wonderful all on its own and you don’t need to imitate anyone else for the sake of “fitting in.” We like the rabble-rousers, the table-shakers, the feet-stompers.

2) Engage. I can’t say enough on this point. Participate in DSMA on Wednesdays. Leave comments on as many blogs as you can. Share links to relevant posts on Facebook. Follow people on Twitter and respond to whoever says something that you think is interesting. Offer to guest post. Send queries to the editors of some of your favorite diabetes blogs. Contact the Communications teams of your favorite Pharma companies. No one knows you’re there until you say something. On the Internet, you are invisible until you share your voice.

3) Save your money. If going to conferences really is that important to you, then you need to save your money or apply for scholarships. It’s that simple. I wish it was easier. It isn’t. I don’t work for a diabetes company anymore, and I foot my own bill. I’m heading to Des Moines next Wednesday. Who’s paying? I am. I’m driving for four hours. Staying in a cheap hotel that I got for $50 on Priceline. You have to work for things you want. Of course, going to a conference won’t automatically make you a cool kid (none of this will, actually).

4) Give. The “famous” people with diabetes? They didn’t try to be famous. But they had something to give. They had an idea and they wanted to share it. It took guts. It took time. It took a lot of support. But there are some pretty fantabulously awesome things that have been created in our community. That’s what gets recognized. But it’s also hard. It’s hard to come up with a brilliant project and so this shouldn’t be your focus. Which brings me to my last point.

5) Relax. Whatever your vision is for what the Cool Kids have, it’s probably not as great as you think. Or maybe it is. But my point is that if you spend your time angry, or sad, or miserable about this Cool Kids stuff, you’re going to miss out on some really wonderful opportunities in the Diabetes Online Community. There is a lot going on at a national level, but there are also JDRF and ADA events, there are meet-ups and support groups. It sometimes takes time to connect with people in your community, but with five million type 1 PWDs and 30 million PWDs in general, trust me, someone is near you.

I’m also a bit of a diabetes matchmaker, so if you’re looking to get plugged in, send me an email. Chances are I know a guy. Or girl.

Being cool? It’s cool. But being connected is even better. And thankfully, you do not need to be cool to do that.

Getting a Handle On Food, Fitness & Type 2 Diabetes

The American Diabetes Association is famous for the Tour de Cure bike series, and now they have launched a new series just for women! The first ride is this Saturday, September 13 in Southern California, and the next one will be on Sunday, October 26 in Northern California. Their goal is to get more women on bikes while also supporting the ADA’s movement to Stop Diabetes. 

Sharon Steele is the Chair of the 2014 Northern California event. Her mother and several members of her mother’s family have type 2 diabetes, and with her increased risk, Sharon set out to reduce her weight and achieve an active lifestyle in hopes of preventing type 2 diabetes. Sharon has already lost 93 lbs and is just 20 pounds shy of her goal weight. Wow! 

 

A Guest Post by Sharon Steele  

Sharon Womens Series 2013My mother was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the mid-90s. Both of her parents had type 2 along with several of her siblings. I have watched her struggle with complications of the disease, including hypertension, neuropathy and vision loss.

I realized that being obese increased my own risk for developing type 2, so I set out to reduce my weight and achieve an active lifestyle. I know I am not necessarily doomed to develop diabetes simply because it is prevalent in my family.

I am now 93 pounds lighter and within 20 pounds of my goal. How did I get there? It’s been a long, up-and-down road for me—almost 20 years.

It started with a food addiction

Like many people, I struggle with an addiction to sugary foods. I often joke that it’s my “drug of choice,” usually in the form of cookies. During stressful times, I would secretly binge on cookies, donuts, pies and so on.

My first major weight gain was when I was pregnant with my daughter in 1994, at age 26. This was the first time my weight surpassed the 200-pound mark. I went from 160 to 210 pounds, despite my vegan lifestyle. Though I lost a good amount of the weight after her birth, a stressful period in 1997 sent me on a lemon meringue pie binge. All-natural pies from Whole Foods still pack on the pounds! I could eat an entire 9-inch pie in one sitting! In no time I was back in the 200+ pound club.

Tired of carrying the extra weight, in 1999 I began taking cardio-kickboxing classes. Within six months I dropped below my pre-pregnancy weight, into the mid-150s. I maintained this weight through healthy eating and an active lifestyle for a couple of years.

I got married in 2001 and soon became pregnant with my son. I gained a whopping 60 pounds during that pregnancy due to an insatiable craving for steak. (Yes, I went from being vegan with my first pregnancy to a ravenous carnivore in my second.) I otherwise ate healthfully, but steak has a lot of calories and fat. My son was a big baby –10 lb. 3 oz.–so I instantly dropped from 220 to 185 when he was born. However, I gained 20 pounds back while I was nursing him. I learned firsthand about the often-overlooked calories in juices and other sugary beverages. I was drinking juice like water, racking up calories AND pounds.

I managed to get things under control and was working my weight back down—but then 2003 happened, bringing two life-changing events. First, I lost my job as an independent contract technology trainer and consultant, and I was ineligible for unemployment. A few months later, my husband told me he no longer wanted to be married. BOOM! Two days later, I learned I was pregnant; however, that ended in miscarriage in the ninth week. BOOM again!

After the miscarriage, I worked feverishly to lose the excess weight. I was at the gym at 5:30 a.m. five days a week, hoping to regain my husband’s attention. Within just a few months I was back to the mid-150s. However, despite all my efforts to save my marriage, I finally realized divorce was imminent.

My divorce was filed in the summer of 2004, kicking off a binge that sent my weight soaring to heights I had never known. I stopped weighing myself once the scale read 262 pounds. Though I appeared to hold it all together, inside I felt ugly, unlovable and ashamed of what I had allowed my body to become. But God, by His mercy and grace, had a purpose for me.

Embracing my dream of a career in fitness…

But get this: I’m now a fitness instructor! I first taught a fitness class in 1986, when I was 19 years old, but I really did not know what I was doing. I quickly withdrew, figuring I was no good at it.

Fast-forward 20 years. In June 2010 I weighed 195 pounds, having just completed the P90X program. More importantly, that is when I became licensed to teach Zumba® Fitness. My first classes launched the Saturday after Thanksgiving with my local parks and recreation department.

In the months between getting licensed and starting my classes I managed to get back up to 232 pounds (this time, I blamed Starbucks). I wanted to add more classes to my schedule but, as you might imagine, it can be a challenge for an overweight/obese fitness instructor to be taken seriously by club managers. After being turned down a couple times, I got my first break. I did a 30-minute demo and nailed it. The students loved it and I was offered my first club job.

It was a great experience, but eventually I decided to take my classes directly to the community as an independent instructor. That’s just what feels right to me. The growth of my classes and the people I have met over these last two years have been true blessings.

How did I FINALLY get the weight off?

I have learned that physical activity is vitally important to overall health, for weight loss and so much more. I had the exercise piece locked down.

It was more a matter of getting a handle on what (and how much) I was putting in my mouth. What worked for me was completely abstaining from refined sugar and flour and embracing fresh, whole foods, including lean proteins, healthy fats, vegetables, fruit and whole grains. (Except wheat; I learned I have sensitivity to it and my body responded very positively when I removed it from my diet.)

I won’t pretend that I don’t get sucked into the feasting of the holiday season, like a lot of people. I’ll pick up a few pounds, but I know how to get back on a healthy eating regimen to lose it and maintain a healthy weight going forward.

My message

With my story I hope to encourage others who may have similar struggles. Start where you are. It does not matter what you weigh now; what matters is knowing your goals and taking that first step. Some struggles will always be there; you need to learn to manage and navigate them. I know that I cannot be handed an entire box of cookies and expected to eat only one. Just give me one cookie and hide the box (in another building!).

Why I ride 

 I am passionate about raising awareness about diabetes and its complications. Thanks to the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure®, I have developed a love for cycling. I am even in the process of becoming a certified cycling instructor and cycling coach! Now there’s the Tour de Cure Women’s Series, which gives women a chance to ride in sisterhood to celebrate all those who live with diabetes.

In 2013 I rode the Tour de Cure Napa Valley (50 miles) and the inaugural Tour de Cure Women’s Series in Santa Barbara (67 miles). This year, I am taking on my first full century ride in the Tour de Cure Napa Valley and serving as the volunteer chair for the Tour de Cure Women’s Series in Northern California.

I’m taking the ride of my life! I count every moment, every tear, every struggle and every triumph as a blessing. If you live in California, I hope to see you out there for the Women’s Series!

Analyze This

header-studio-screenshotI know for awhile I’ve been singing the praises of Victoza, but you know what? I still have diabetes and this is still a drug that I’m mixing in with a bunch of random variables so you can imagine that things don’t always go according to plan.

For most of June and July I had excellent blood sugars, but then they started creeping up again. My diabetes educator Jenny suggested increasing my dose to 1.8 from 1.2, and that seemed to help for a couple of weeks. But starting around August 10, my blood sugars have started to spike again. Not a lot, but just enough that I’m sitting above my threshold more often than I’d like. I’m not entirely sure why that would be, because I’ve actually been even more active lately than I was in June and July. I’m taking hot yoga, I’m taking a strength training and cardio class, and occasionally I’m running through my neighborhood.

So what’s with all the high blood sugars?

You got me.

But needless to say, I’ve had way too many sleepless nights with my Dexcom yammering on about how my blood sugar is still too high. It’s annoying me, it’s annoying my husband. It’s probably even annoying the cat.

I downloaded my Dexcom receiver this evening and my glucose average has jumped from the 150s to the 180s in the last couple of weeks. Wow! That is a huge difference. I immediately made a couple changes to my basal rate to see if that will counteract the spikes that I’m seeing, even though this whole thing is still a mystery. For all I know, I will need to decrease my basal again in a couple of weeks! Does anyone else feel like they are perpetually decreasing and increasing their basal rates. I feel like my body never wants to sit still.

I was also thinking about how I should probably download my receiver more often. It’s really not that hard, and after so many years with diabetes and also working with diabetes educators, I’m pretty good at reading the graphs and knowing what I need to change. And yet often times it will take me weeks before I actually analyze my readings and make any changes! It’s so silly. Who knows how much those three weeks have cost me in getting my A1C down to a more normal level?

How often do you look at your graphs?

Yet Another Unexpected Result

say_wha_by_powerfoxslayer-d4ecqm2-2This has been a very strange week.

Last week, I realized that I ran out of Victoza, which I have been taking faithfully for the last three months. But on Thursday night, I only had enough for 1/3 of my usual dose.

When I went to Target on Friday to fill my prescription, I was told that I couldn’t fill it until Sunday because my insurance company wouldn’t pay for it until the 24th. Well, I was disappointed but realized that because I had increased my dose, I had gone through my supply too quickly.

For three days, I didn’t take Victoza. And to be honest, I didn’t really notice much difference until Monday. But it wasn’t my blood sugars that went crazy. It was my hunger.

I was staaaaaarving. I was like, “OMG, how did I ever survive this?!”

For the past couple of months, I haven’t really been hungry. Sometimes I get little hunger pangs, or sometimes I get a little weak or tired and I realize that I haven’t eaten in awhile, but for the most part, I can go hours without eating and it’s not a problem. But on Monday? My hunger was intense and I did not like it! No wonder I had a hard time losing weight when I wasn’t taking Victoza!

On Monday, I was able to fill the prescription and I started taking Victoza again, but the weird thing is that now my blood sugars are terrible. I’m consistently in the yellow and I can’t quite figure it out.

Victoza is supposed to have a pretty short half life, so my blood sugars should have been a lot worse than they were last weekend, and they should be getting better right now. I’ve changed my pod, am using new insulin and I’m not PMS-ing, yet my blood sugar is still a bit higher than it has been this summer.

It’s so weird.

But I’m riding it out. I’m going to wait and see if maybe another day or two on Victoza helps at all. I’m going to try to watch what I eat a little bit more so that I don’t make things unnecessarily difficult for me. I just hate — hate — when things are completely different from what you expect. I don’t think the Victoza has anything to do with it, because right before I went off of it last weekend, everything was going just fine. In fact, I had made a few tweaks to my overnight basal rate and was feeling pretty good.

So annoying. That’s basically it. Just wanted to share yet another annoyance in the world of diabetes.

What’s annoying you lately? Let’s have a vent sesh. 

Saying Something

photoMaybe you’ve seen that Department of Homeland Security campaign “If You See Something, Say Something.” It was very visible when I lived in New York City, and I hear it’s a nationwide thing.

Well, I’m here to tell you about a different kind of see something, say something.

On Saturday, Erik and I were on a little day trip around southeastern Minnesota, just stopping at various small towns to have a look around. Our first stop was Red Wing, home of the Red Wing Shoes. You could say the most interesting thing we saw was the enormous built-to-scale boot inside the Red Wing Shoe store. But I would say the most meaningful thing I saw was on a much smaller package.

As we walked around the river front area, I happened to notice a young girl with a Quickset stuck on the back of her arm. Now, like most people, I didn’t immediately recognize it. There was a little bit of “Hey that looks like… Wait is that…”

And then I saw the little girl testing her blood sugar while her parents got a picnic lunch read. Then I realized that yes, Virginia, this was a girl with diabetes!

And I immediately had the inclination to say something. But what? I was wearing a dress so I couldn’t exactly flash my Omnipod without, well, flashing quite a bit!

“Me too!” I called out. It was the only thing I could think of that didn’t seem intrusive.

“Really?” the father replied.

“Yep, twenty years.”

I wasn’t expecting a conversation to develop, but the father shared that they were on their way back from a local ADA diabetes camp. We started talking about camp (I went to a diabetes camp out in Oregon for several years), as well as blogging and some of the helpful tips you can learn from other people with diabetes. The girl had learned about putting a pump set on her arm from other kids at camp. I told her about my blog (hello there!) and about all the different life hacks you can learn from the diabetes community that healthcare professionals sometimes just aren’t clued in on.

We only talked for a few minutes, but as I walked away, it dawned on me that this was something that rarely happens to me anymore. When I first moved to New York City, it seemed that I was always running into people with type 1 diabetes. Honestly, it bordered on a  little bizarre how frequently these “in the wild” occurrences actually happened. But overtime it has slowed down, likely because I’m not meeting nearly as many new people as I used to.

I also thought about how I nearly walked by this girl and her parents, and I remembered reading a few recent blog posts about others in our community who sometimes spot PWDs but aren’t sure if they should say something. What if they don’t want to be recognized? What if it’s too intrusive? Or rude? I mean, I know I would love for someone to come up to me if they had diabetes, but I know not everyone feels the same way as me!

I remember one time I was on a bus in NYC and I saw a man with a Medtronic insulin pump. I had no clue what to do, so I tried to be all suave and smooth about declaring my diabetesness by testing my blood sugar in plain sight of everyone, right there on my lap. The guy got off the bus at the next stop without so much as eye contact. Burn.

Finding PWDs in the wild is so incredibly cool, and yet I feel like for most of us, it’s also incredibly awkward. I mean, contrary to popular belief, we do not have a special handshake or catchphrase. Although maybe we should… Somebody needs to get on that.

The best I could think of was to say “Me too.” It wasn’t a question and I didn’t even say specifically what I was “me too”-ing, although in this case, it was a little obvious since she was testing her blood sugar. All I really wanted them to know was, yep, there’s another one out there.

Diabetes has always been labeled an invisible illness, and maybe for some people it is. But I think if you look closely enough, you might realize that it’s more around than you think. It’s easy to be stealth with diabetes. But that’s one of the reasons why I like to test my blood sugar, and why I wore my pump rather visibly until I got the Omnipod (yes, I realize I can wear it on my arm, but I’ve tried it and I found it uncomfortable — had nothing to do with its visibility).

You never know who is going to see something you’re doing. You never know who is going to say something. You never know who is going to make you feel just a little less alone in all this.

On Practicing Empathy

I wrote this blog post last week, before yesterday’s tragic event. However, I didn’t feel like it was complete and I wanted more time with it. After yesterday’s tragic event, I have gone back and edited it a little. Hopefully it helps someone.

Originally, this blog post was inspired by a few things. A blog post from Kerri. A blog from a newly diagnosed adult that Kim tweeted about. A couple of Twitter conversations I’ve had in recent weeks about people in the Diabetes Online Community who appear to be just too damn happy about their diabetes.

Each time this comes up, I cringe. My reaction is to say, “Wait. Are we talking about the same DOC?” Because I see plenty — PLENTY — of tweets, status updates and blog posts about things that are not awesome about diabetes. I also see a fair number of tweets, updates and posts when things are just dandy in the land of the Big D. It depends.

I’ll be the first to admit that I tend to lean more towards to the positivity. I can’t help it. I think it’s just my personality. Heck, I had a blog for awhile that was named after the phrase “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” It’s in my nature to be a little more happy, happy, joy, joy. But that’s not to say I’m always like this. I think it’s unfair to assume that people have a static emotional state about diabetes. I rarely have one type of emotion toward anything in my life.

Emotions are complicated. How we feel about something might be very different from how someone else feels. It is our right as humans to have our own unique emotional response to things. People do not have to feel the same way toward things. Sometimes they should, but they don’t have to. We are unique. We have our own ways of experiencing things.

When we don’t understand why someone feels the way they do, it can seem natural to persuade them to feel otherwise. We say that the person needs to cheer up, look on the bright side, it’ll be okay, it’s not that bad, and the mother of all unhelpful statements: it could be so much worse. But all this does is tell the person who already feels like complete and utter shit that they are wrong. They are wrong to be feeling how they feel and they should stop.

Whether you’re talking about someone who has severe clinical depression or someone who is simply upset about a diabetes diagnosis, invalidating their emotions by saying they should stop feeling them is not helpful and it won’t work.

A few years ago when I was talking to my therapist, something profound happened. I was telling her all these terrible things happening to me and how they were making me feel terrible. Maybe they weren’t that terrible, and maybe they were. But what is important was her response: “With everything that’s going on, it makes sense that this is how you feel.”

And it was like a light bulb went on.

My emotions were completely valid. I didn’t have to pretend that I was fine even though I felt depressed, frustrated and angry. And I wasn’t a broken or bad person because I felt this way either.

Likewise, I also want to encourage people who feel fine with their diabetes. There are those out there who don’t feel depressed or upset or angry about living with diabetes. That diabetes is what it is and that’s all that it is. I know that sometimes it can be difficult to empathize with people who have a different emotional state about something. But feeling differently doesn’t negate the validity of how someone else feels.

Before I went into therapy — I’ve been in therapy twice over the years — I couldn’t validate my own feelings. Even knowing the good therapy can do couldn’t motivate me into therapy the second time. I didn’t take my feelings seriously. I didn’t think there was anything that could be done. In the end, I got the help that I needed and things didn’t end tragically. But I had people in my life who recognized what was going on and kept pushing me to make the appointment I needed to make.

I often hear the comparison game made between diabetes and other conditions. Type 1 diabetes is worse than type 2 diabetes, but diabetes is not worse than cancer. The same game can be made with depression. Diabetes distress isn’t as bad as clinical depression. Episodic depression isn’t as bad as chronic depression. Yes, they are all different. But all of them can have a negative impact on your life, and all of them should be taken seriously. You don’t need to have clinical depression to have a mental health problem that needs attention. Feeling like my problems weren’t “bad enough” was one of the biggest reasons I held off getting the help I needed.

Who are we to judge what deserves concern and attention?

We all know that mental health is a serious issue. If emotions are starting to interfere with your ability to manage your health and your life, then you need help. But emotions don’t necessarily always need to be fixed. Sometimes how we feel about something like diabetes is how we cope, it’s how we do integrate it into our lives. If someone is angry or upset about having diabetes, that doesn’t necessarily need fixing unless it starts to affect their ability to live a healthy, fulfilling life.

What I would encourage all of us to do is practice more acceptance of emotions that are different from ours. Empathy is a lost art. At the same time, we need to be vigilant that these emotions do not overwhelm our ability to live our life, or the lives of those we care about. We need to do more real, honest talking. It is so easy to think that there is nothing we can do to feel better. If you want to feel different about a situation, it is possible with a lot of work. But it is possible. It’s something I wish I had learned a lot earlier than I did.

The Case of the Possessed Dexcom Receiver

receiver_angledmgscreenIt all started at dinner.

After ordering my entree, I reached into my bag so I could check on the status of a high blood sugar. I’d overtreated earlier that afternoon and wanted to see how I was coming down. When I pressed down on the black power button, nothing happened. Hmm. I pressed again. Nothing. I pressed a little harder and a little longer. The Dexcom started booting up, as if it had been turned off.

That’s strange, I thought. When it was powered up, it prompted me to enter the time and date. When it got to the trend graph, there’s was nothing. There was nothing on the graph. The entire day had been erased. All my data was gone.

I showed Erik the receiver, perplexed at the missing data. I’ve never heard of this happening. Then the receiver buzzed, asking me to start a new sensor. Well, that’s awesome, I thought. We’re getting ready to go to a show after a dinner and I need to start a new sensor? I was so annoyed.

I started up a new sensor, hopeful that I’d have enough time to boot up the sensor before the play started. I put the receiver back in my bag and went back to dinner.

A little while later, I heard my receiver alarm. Startled by the alarm coming from the sensor still warming up, I took my receiver out of my bag. It was a high alert. I looked at the trend graph. The receiver had completely restored my blood sugars.  I cleared the alarm, put my receiver back in the bag.

After dinner, Erik and I were walking around downtown Minneapolis and I decided to look and see how my blood sugars were doing after dinner. So I reached into my bag and fished out my receiver. But there was nothing. My graph was blank yet again, and the pie graph showing the warm-up was bigger. I couldn’t believe it!

Frustrated, I tossed the receiver back in the bag and we continued walking around Gold Medal Park. Eventually we made our way into the Guthrie Theater for our show. Suddenly I heard my receiver alarming. I was completely bewildered: a warming up receiver should not be alarming! I took out the buzzing receiver and it was telling me that my blood sugar was high.

Completely annoyed with constant back-and-forth with the receiver and not wanting to deal with this as we were starting our show, I turned off the receiver entirely. I decided I would just test during the intermission to see how I was doing instead of relying on this stupid receiver. I shut off the receiver and put it in my bag.

As we sat down in our seats and settled in for the show, the receiver started alarming.

What. The. Hell. Is. Going. On.

The receiver was on. And it was asking me to calibrate.

“I already turned this off,” I told Erik, flabbergasted and a little concerned that my Dexcom receiver had somehow spontaneously turned on.

I decided to ignore the receiver and I turned it off again. I did test my blood sugar to make sure I was doing okay post-dinner, and I tested again during the intermission. The receiver stayed blissfully silent.

On our way home after the show, I decided it was time to take the receiver out and see if I could figure out what was going wrong with it. I thought about how to explain what was going on to the Dexcom Facebook group, and I figured I would need to call Dexcom in the morning. Not only was it randomly losing my data, but it was also turning on and off at will.

I took out the receiver and turned it on. At first it couldn’t communicate with the transmitter, but after a few minutes it reconnected. Unfortunately, it was back to its amnesiac state, completely void of any data. And it was asking me to calibrate.

“I think my receiver is possessed,” I said.

So I took out the case for my PDM and unzipped it. I took the PDM out, but as I did that I noticed there was something else in my PDM bag. Another small, black device. I took it out.

It was a Dexcom receiver.

In my right hand was a Dexcom receiver. In my left hand was a Dexcom receiver.

I had two Dexcom receivers with me!

I turned on the second receiver. It was my current receiver, which had been properly tracking my blood sugar the entire evening except for the two hours while we were at the show when I had turned it off.

Somehow my original Dexcom receiver, the one I stopped using last month after it stopped being able to charge with the USB cable, had found its way into my bag. So I had a Dexcom receiver that hadn’t been used in over a month along with my current Dexcom receiver. Every time I looked at my Dexcom receiver, I was looking at a different receiver!

Case solved.