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Author Archives: jheinrich

Diabetes Blog Week: What Brings Me Down

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May is Mental Health Month so now seems like a great time to explore the emotional side of living with, or caring for someone with, diabetes. What things can make dealing with diabetes an emotional issue for you and / or your loved one, and how do you cope? (Thanks go out to Scott of Strangely Diabetic for coordinating this topic.)

Sometimes I feel like a bit of an odd man out among diabetics.

Time and again I’ve read in others’ blogs about the heavy emotional toil that diabetes brings. About living in fear of that unexpected low, or the potential physical problems that can develop, or trying to figure out how many carbs are in that home-cooked meal that somebody else made. And it’s not just PWDs, either. Parents of children with diabetes chronicle the stress and anxiety they experience on a daily basis. Moms and dads who haven’t had a full night’s sleep in years because they get up two or three times a night to check their child’s blood sugar.

I rarely feel any of that.

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Diabetes Blog Week – Poetry Tuesday

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This year, Diabetes Blog Week and TuDiabetes are teaming up to bring out the poet in you! Write a poem, rhyme, ballad, haiku, or any other form of poetry about diabetes.

I remember my poetry unit in high school English class. We learned about and had to write various forms of poetry. Not being the particularly creative type, I always thought mine seemed forced, and kind of lame. I’ve learned to appreciate it a bit more over the years, but never had much motivation to try my hand writing it again. But poetry is the challenge of the day, and with diabetes being a very real part of our daily life in my family, there must be some inspiration there. So let’s break out of our comfort zone and see what we come up with!

Blood glucose numbers
Fighting to keep them in range
Insulin’s my friend

(Okay, so it’s a bit short. Is it cheating to use a contraction in a haiku?)

Diabetes Blog Week: Change the World

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It’s Diabetes Blog Week 2014! While I’m not exactly a prolific blogger — my last post was months ago — the structured topic list of this week seemed like a good way to stretch my writing skills (and social media presence). The deadlines of the daily posts also seemed like a good incentive to actually sit down and crank out a few words. So I’ll be doing my best this week to post every day, and hopefully share a little glimpse of what life with diabetes means to our family.

Starting off the week, today’s topic is “Change the World”:

Let’s kick off Diabetes Blog Week by talking about the diabetes causes and issues that really get us fired up. Are you passionate about 504 plans and school safety? Do diabetes misconceptions irk you? Do you fight for CGM coverage for Medicare patients, SDP funding, or test strip accuracy? Do you work hard at creating diabetes connections and bringing support? Whether or not you “formally” advocate for any cause, share the issues that are important to you.

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Another Successful Trial for the Bionic Pancreas

After three years living with diabetes, it’s become more or less second nature to count carbs, figure out insulin doses, and generally have to think about what I’m consuming and how my blood chemistry is behaving. That doesn’t mean I’m fully in control — far from it, sometimes — but I don’t think about how much I think about diabetes. Which now that I think about it, is a lot.

Which is why a recent trial of a “bionic pancreas” that’s currently in development is so exciting. For five days, a group of kids at the Barton Center’s diabetes summer camps had the chance to wear a mashup of pumps, CGM, and iPhones that almost completely took over the management of their blood sugars. For that week — which I’m sure ended far to soon for the participants — they were able to eat what they wanted, play as hard as they wanted, and best of all, not have to worry about how to deal with all the extra variables that factor into their daily lives. And the icing on the cake? (Yes, that’s a deliberate sugar pun, sorry.) The bionic pancreas kept their blood sugar in far tighter control than they would have been able to manually.

I look forward to the day this becomes commercially available, and Ethan and I can stop thinking about how to keep a rein on this beast called Diabetes. There are so many other things I’d rather use my brain power on.


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School SuppliesIt’s hard to believe another school year is starting. I’ve always felt that schools in Florida started way too early anyway, but this year it feels like we just finished the previous school year.

Oh, wait. We did.

For the last couple years, Rachel has deliberately stretched the school year out over about 11 months. This provided a few advantages, such as a 4-day school week (which allowed for a day to focus on house work), time to work around unexpected days off, and a routine schedule even during the hot summer months when the kids would usually be cooped up inside in the AC anyways. The year would end in July, the kids would have their evaluations, and we’d be back to it after Labor Day (like the sane schools up North).

This year is a bit different however, as we begin with Classical Conversations. We looked into this program back when we first moved back to Pensacola, but it didn’t work out at that time. Nevertheless, we’ve been intrigued by classical education, and over the past couple of years we’ve made a point to integrate some of the components, such as public speaking and Latin, into our homeschooling. This year we made the decision to dive into classical education head first. Read the rest of this entry


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For the past couple of days I’ve been disciplining myself to skip snacks in the evening in an attempt to get my morning blood sugars under control. I’ve also been shifting my Lantus forward a couple hours each day with the intent to take it in the evening rather than the morning. I just got tired of seeing numbers in the 140s every morning. Frankly, I was getting a little jealous of Rachel, who had been in the upper 90’s on a bad day.

Well, today when I checked, the meter read 81.

I’ll admit to being surprised. I didn’t expect it to come down that fast. In fact, it makes me a little concerned about the dreaded overnight lows that I keep reading about but have never experienced. We’ll see how it goes. For now, I’ll be happy to have better control over my blood sugar, and hope for a lower A1c.


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A very happy 10th birthday to daughter Melissa! 10 years ago today we held our first child in our arms, exhausted after a late night of labor but excited and astonished about the tiny little person that we had created. Even knowing she was coming for the past 8 months didn’t diminish the wonder. I remember looking at that baby and thinking, “Holy cow, we’re parents!” If you had told me at that point that 10 years later we would be counting down the days to baby number 8… well, I honestly don’t know how I would have reacted. 🙂

Not coincidentally, today also marks the 10-year anniversary of and this blog! Social media wasn’t the big deal back in 2002 that it is today, and I wanted a way to share news and pictures about our new little family. A lot can change in 10 years, and our web site was no exception. Different hosting providers, different blogging software (it’s hard to imagine I started out pasting status updates into a static HTML page!), different photo management software, site redesigns, etc. But eventually, Facebook won out and updates fizzled down to nothing.

Well, hopefully this year all that changes. Read the rest of this entry

The Diabetes Trifecta

It occurred to me today that our family has achieved the diabetes trifecta: Rachel had Gestational, I have Type 2, and Ethan has Type 1. Not exactly something to be proud of, but I can see God’s hand in having us go through the easier-to-manage ones before allowing the more challenging types into our life. It’s a vivid example of how He doesn’t give us challenges greater than what we can bear at that moment through His grace. A huge thanks goes out to everyone who contacted us with their thoughts and prayers today, even people that we didn’t even know we were related to! Know that your love was felt and very much appreciated.

Change is the only constant

Those of you who follow our Facebook feeds (see the sidebar) already know that we’re back in Pensacola again. It seems that just when we get settled into a place God moves us on. It reminds me of the end of Psalm 55:19, which says, “Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God.” I wonder if God wants to keep us on our toes to keep us dependent on Him; I know at this point we’ve moved so often that I have a hard time imagining that we will be here for more than a couple years, and I find myself wondering where He’ll bring us next. Really, it doesn’t matter so long as we know that we’re exactly in the middle of His will: that is the most important thing in all the world. Read the rest of this entry

Talk about the weather

We’ve been hit with our first winter storm, and while I don’t enjoy shoveling the driveway, it’s nice to see everything covered in white. There’s something peaceful and starkly beautiful about it. That may sound kind of strange coming from someone who doesn’t particularly like winter, but at least you can play in the snow. Rachel and I are hoping to get some snow gear this season so we can play in the snow with the kids and actually stay warm. Perhaps then I might enjoy winter a little more. I know my toes would appreciate it. 🙂 Who knows, we have a ski area nearby, maybe we should look into taking lessons!