Monday, July 24, 2006


Just in case you missed last week's memo:

Thanking you kindly.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

A Temporary Change and a Permanent Change

1) A Temporary Change

It is 10:50 p.m.

I leave for Orlando, Florida at 6:05 a.m.

That is 7 hours from now.

I am still awake.

This is probably not the smartest thing I've ever done.

However, I am almost packed (shampoo and toothpaste are really all that's remaining...)

I have lots of paper, pens and my trusty tape-recorder and 6 blank tapes bought at RadioShack.
I have a bathing suit, two skirts, 3 capris, two sandels, one pair of sneakers, and ten t-shirts and tank tops. Sunscreen and snazzy earrings for Friday night. Oh, and my pajamas.

And a partridge in a pair tree....

I land in Orlando where I will be meeting some friends from Eugene for the evening. Followed by a day at Disney World. Followed by a day of lounging at the pool. Followed by two days of Diabetes-O-Rama. Followed by a day at Sea World. Followed by another day of flying home.

Nicole Johnson Baker, Douglas Cairns, Jay Leewenburg. My friends Noah Moore and Clare Rosenfeld. Alfred Mann, the founder of Minimed.

A certain someone I'm not allowed to mention by name... (muahahaha...)

You don't have to say it. I can sense the jealousy from here.

Maybe if you're lucky I'll post an Audioblogger or two.

2) A Permanent Change

I am changing blogs again.

I know, I know.

I know.

I said I know.

Oh you can't stop now.

Don't give me that look. It's important.


I'm sorry.

I know. I'm sorry.

Really, it's for the best. I started an LLC (Lemonade Life Consulting, LLC) because of my consultant work for dLife and I didn't really want to start a whole new website. So I'm merging. Everything Related and Lemonade Life Consulting, LLC are being merged with the old Lemonade Life into:

That's right. It's the same as the blogger, only without the blogspot.

Please change your links accordingly.

You have an entire week to do it, since I won't be posting again until Monday.

I'm sorry.

I promise to wait at least six months before changing it again.

I'm kidding!


Oh stop, it was a joke...

Ok, I'm going to bed now.


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Happy Blogaversary to MEEE!!!!!!

One year ago today, I made the leap onto Blogger.

Between Lemonade Life and Everything Related, I have a posted 114 times my thoughts and feelings about diabetes and life in general.

But more important to me than what I have written on my blog are the thoughts and feelings that people have written to me through comments, email, instant messanger or a personal blog.

You guys are awesome. I love checking everyday (oh who am I kidding, I love checking every hour...) to find out what's new, to provide and receive more support, education and laughter than I have found anywhere else in 12 years of having diabetes.

It's been one heck of a ride! The Diabetes O.C. wasn't even officially in existence back then... But now we've got over 100 people (and associated children, boyfriends, husbands & wives...) in our little community and I'm proud to be a part of it. So thank you very much for coming, lurking, commenting, emailing, IMing. And for allowing me the opportunity to live and grow with each of you as we learn more about living with diabetes.

It's been a crazy, fun, emotional, and exciting year and I look forward to this next year and the year after that, and the one after that, and the one after that, and the....

You know. Until we find a cure for this perhaps-not-so damned disease. And, hopefully, even after that.

Live long and prosper. ;-)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Countdown Begins...

Alright, so technically the Countdown has been going for awhile... like, the beginning of my junior year in high school. But with just a month left, I thought I would really make it official and put up a ticker clock.

I was planning on putting it up on Thursday, but for some reason this week has completely escaped me and I never got around to doing it. So I finally decided to update the blog with the 1 month remaining ticker.

What's it counting down to? My 21st birthday, of course! 29 more shopping days until Allison's 21st birthday!

Obviously I don't expect anyone here to buy me a birthday present, though if you'd like to make recommendations for what I should buy with my birthday money, by all means, comment away. For my 19th birthday, I asked for people to give me a book, movie or CD that they really loved and that they really wanted to share with me. The same goes for all of you.

However, I fully expect cheesy, flashy and brightly colored 21st birthday cards (e-cards work just as well).

If you are actually contemplating sending me a birthday card, just email me for my address.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Alice on Pill Hill

Having had Type 1 diabetes for 12.5 years, I have had my fair share of endocrinologist appointments. At approximately 3 a year, I have had close to 40 endocrinology appointments. Driven up I-5, taken the Wiedler Exit, dared to cross over a one-way street with a full line of cars blocking my entire vision of oncoming traffic. Walked down the hallway from the parking lot, first with my mother, and then by myself. Taken the elevator to the third floor of Emanuel Children's Hospital. Greeted the staff, hapharzardly filled out the intake form, not ever really answering how much insulin I took at meals or how many carbs I ate at breakfast, lunch and dinner. It's not like it was consistent. Life never is.

I grew up going to Emanuel Children's Hospital's Diabetes Center. I was there before most of the current staff. I was there when they did the remodel and the entrance moved from next to the elevator to the oppposite side of the office, forcing us to make two right hand turns. I saw how the clinic grew with all the children. All the staff changes. How there were always new nurses but they were always so nice.

There was Dr. Hansen. Dr. Hansen was my favorite part of that hospital, and even though he isn't here anymore, he's still my favorite part of that hospital. After he died, they posted a letter he wrote to all of us and put it, along with his picture, on the doorway. I read it everytime I have an appointment. It reminds me of how much he loved all of us and it reminds me of how much I loved him.

It might seem a little strange to have such an emotional attachment to a place that for most people should be deemed the worst place on earth. But it wasn't. It never has been. Emanuel Children's Diabetes Center has always been warm and welcoming, understanding and sympathetic. They don't always understand very well, but at least they try to. I have to give them that.

I grew up at the hospital. They saw me reach 5', which was a big deal since my friend Jenny was always several inches taller than me. They saw me start adolescence, with the evil dawn phenomenon wrecking havoc on my control each morning. They saw me get my license and my newfound independence. They saw me graduate from high school and start a new life away from my parents, and they saw my subsequent abuse of that freedom. They saw me at JDRF's Children's Congress. They saw me at the conferences. They saw me playing with children and trying to calm parents down at the Seminars.

They saw me grow up. And now they are seeing me leave.

I had my very first appointment at the Diabetes Clinic at the Oregon Health & Sciences University in Portland today.

My very first appointment at an adult endocrinologist.

For some reason, it was this revelation, that I was no longer a pediatric patient but an adult patient, that made me feel grown-up. Not getting my license, not graduating from high school, not voting, not selling my website, not even my impending abilty to purchase alcoholic beverages.

I was not going back to Emanuel.

I was very nervous driving up through the forests of the West Hills in Portland on this quintessential Oregon summer day: warm, sunny and bright green. I made sure I left myself plenty of time to get to the hospital, which I ended up needing since I accidentally missed my exit and essentially drove the route to Emanuel before getting back onto I-5 and going the other direction, back towards OHSU.

OHSU is a remarkable institution. It's a medical school, hospital and research center all in one. It's built on top of a hill, which has been nicknamed by Portlanders as Pill Hill. It can be see from almost anywhere in Downtown and East Portland, though for all the years I've been involved in the diabetes community, I have never ever been there.

The twisty roads led me up the side of the hill to OHSU. Since it's on a hill, it's difficult to get a sense of the layout. Luckily, signs were created for the directionally-challenged, like me. They also put in place some very helpful receptionists who pointed me in the right direction. I arrived at the front desk about twenty minutes before my appointment, but I still had my New Patient Intake form to fill out. Oh joy. My favorite question: "Have you had any diabetes education?" My answer: "A lot."

After filling out all my medical history, any current problems, the amount of insulin I take, and whether or not I was pregnant (definitely, definitely not), I was finally called in to do the weight check. Still too much, but we're working on that.

I waited for about 10 minutes in the Exam room before a nice, young Indian woman came in. I was a bit confused since I thought I was going to see Dr. Liz Stevens, who is definitely not Indian, but I didn't want to seem rude. The nice, young Indian woman, who turned out to also be a doctor, asked me lots of questions, including the Ultimate No-No: "So how's your diabetes control lately?"

Dear God, can you please send a memo to all endocrinologists (and diabetes educators while you're at it) telling them to NOT ask this stupid question? Love, Allison.

After basically being asked the exact same questions that were on the intake form (what on earth was the point of filling that thing out anyway?), Dr. Stevens finally materialized. It's always a little funny when someone looks at me quizzically and says, "Have we met before? You look familiar."

We went over my last week (mornings too high, but otherwise not too shabby) and we also discussed going on one of the new continuous glucose monitors for a few days. A loner meter, kinda like a loner pump. Hey, whatever gets me the most for the least amount of money. Dr. Stevens was very nice and she also has Type 1 diabetes and was on the Guardian over the weekend. She liked it, although she said there were issues with accuracy. But she said they were never much more than 20 pts. off, which isn't too bad if you're trying to figure out if you are low, high or normal. I'll be hearing from the diabetes educators in a couple of weeks to get set up with the monitor.

Ya'll can bet I'll be writing lots and lots of commentary.

After the appointment was all said and done, I went on a mission for a cafe or dining area in the hospital. Per tradition, after every appointment I get to indulge in a little bakery item. It was started when I was younger and would be rewarded for a good A1C. Emanuel has a little bakery in the Atrium and my mother and I would always go there after the appointment. I started taking myself there in high school, and the tradition will continue at OHSU. Of course, with the hospital being on a hill, the lobby of the main hospital was on the 9th floor, thus completely destroying any sense of consistency I had for a hospital layout. Eventually discovered the dining room and bought myself an ice cream.

As I drove out of the parking lot, I thought about my experience at this new hospital. I realized it was most likely just the first of many new endocrinologists, and that scares me a little. It's not that I thought I would always be at Emanuel, but Emanuel wasn't just a place I went every 3 months to hear I needed to get better numbers. It was a connection to support, to education, to people who really cared about how I was doing. It was my connection to Dr. Hansen. It was my connection to the things that made taking care of people something I wanted to do. Perhaps I'm afraid that if I stop going to Emanuel I will stop knowing how to carry on Dr. Hansen's dream. I will stop remembering him if I don't read that letter. I need to remember him. I don't want growing up to mean going away.

But, to end on a happy note, my A1C was 7.2, which is the lowest it has been. Ever. In my entire existence as a type 1 diabetic.

I guess Pill Hill isn't such a bad place after all.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Back in that Portland Suburb

Well, I've officially moved back to Portland. Survived packing and loading the trailer in 95-degree heat. Sunday has to have been the most ridiculous day of my entire life.

First, I had to move all of my furniture out of my room Saturday so I could clean. This meant I had to sleep on the couch (actually, a *loveseat*) Saturday night. I got about 6 hours of sleep before the sun and the sounds of my housemates woke me up. I got dressed and drove over to Roma for my last cup of coffee and an apple turnover. Mmm. Yum.

Drove back to the house and packed up more boxes, did my dishes and watched some PBS. My parents weren't coming until around 1:30 in the afternoon, so I knew I could take some time and clean, watch TV, clean, watch more TV. I call my landlord to tell her I'll be moving soon, but she doesn't answer so leave a message (I never hear back from her). While I'm leaving the message, I notice out of my bedroom wheel that there is a bike wheel attached to the bike rack. A bike wheel *by itself*. Then, I noticed the abandoned bike wheel is from *my bike*. My freaking bike was stolen, one that I never used and really shouldn't have brought to Eugene in the first place. The bike was there on Friday, last I looked. Now, no more bike. I call my parents and they're a little upset, but there really isn't anything we can do about it.

At about 1:00, my roommate Yuliya decides we should go to the mall, so we get into my car. My car doesn't start.

Nothing. It's not just that the engine didn't start, or the starter didn't really start, but nothing. Dead silence.

Which is weird since I just *drove* the car not even three hours earlier. What. The. Crap. So first my bike is stolen, and now my car won't start. I call my parents and let them know what's up, and they tell me to contact Campus Public Safety so we can get it jump-started.

Except public safety doesn't work on weekends, apparently. I spend about 20 minutes calling random people to see if anyone is in town, but can't get a hold of anyone by the time my parents arrive. My dad wants to track down the place we bought the battery, since he thinks it might be drained since I never drive far enough to recharge it. However, we can't find the place, so he ends up buying jumper cables. We're driving back to my house when my mother's contact falls out, my friend Annie calls me back to tell me she doesn't have jumper cables, and my dad realizes that our jumper cables are actually sitting in the trunk of my car!

At this point, my dad turns to me and asks, "Allison, are you being punished for something?"

We end up getting the car working again (there was just some dust on the connectors on the battery...) and we load up the car in 95-degree heat. Yesterday was even hotter. We broke an all-time record with 102 degrees in the Portland area. Unbelievable. I know I shouldn't be complaining compared to the other weather going on in this country, but seriously. 102 is just too hot for anyone.

I still haven't done much unpacking because of the heat. I just want to climb into my freezer and stay there until our nice 75 degree summer days come back. 75, blue skies and all that green. It's basically why Oregonians can stand our 9 months of gray rainy weather. My brother and I moved his desk and my dresser back into my room, and we almost died trying to drag the dresser up the stairs from the garage. Laughing, carrying a heavy object, and stairs are a bad combination.

In other news, I've started my official duties as JDRF office intern on Monday, so that's fun. We are going to a taping of a local TV morning show tomorrow and on Saturday there is a rummage sale fundraiser for a Walk team.

And hopefully this blasted heat will go away so I can actually feel like a functioning human being again...

Friday, June 23, 2006

Calling All People!!!

Hey! You! Want to help me out with an article?

I'm writing an article for JDRF's Living with Diabetes newsletter on Travel with Diabetes and I want to include some quotes on best ways to handle travel with pre-teens and teens. I would love to get some tips on how to help parents who are either traveling with tween/teens or who are preparing tweens/teens who will be traveling alone.

I have a list of suggestions that I have come up with, but I'd like to get some quotes in there from people who are "travel experts." If you have cleaned any wisdom from your years of traveling as a teen or have traveled with your child and have advice you'd like other newbie parents to know about travel, please comment. You might see your suggestion or your quote in the article. Even if you don't think your comment applies to the article, comment anyway, it might inspire me!

Edit: Also, if your only suggestions have already been mentioned, please share some travel stories to illustrate the tip! Sometimes that's even more useful!

Need comments by Sunday night, so act fast!