big blue test

I just participated in the Big Blue Test. If you have access to a blood sugar meter, whether you are diabetic or not, please participate. Every entry helps people who can’t afford diabetes supplies to get what they need to live.

All you have to do to help out is test your blood sugar once, exercise for around fifteen minutes, and test your blood sugar again, and then go to the website and enter the test results. They are trying to get 8000 submissions by the end of today, and every one counts!

UPDATE: Apparently, there is a way for non-diabetics to participate without testing their blood sugar. If you have a few minutes, please go to the website and fill out the short survey to show your support! (Thanks for pointing that out, Mom!)


to-do lists on my desk

I am still so thankful to now have a regular schedule.  I’m definitely still homesick, and I definitely still miss my family and friends at home.  I still feel some pressure from the people who live here to decide to stay here in Germany for grad school, but I’ve already decided that when this year is up, I do not want to live somewhere where there is an international border between my family and me.

But for this year, I’m still, of course, dealing with homesickness.  I’ve heard it gets better after a few months.  And now that classes are started, I actually have things to do to keep my mind occupied.  I have notes to study, practice problems to work on, paperwork to collect and photocopy for my student visa interview next week, and tons of other little administrative things to do.

In addition, I’m working on figuring out how to take the GRE, a test I’ll have to take in order to apply for grad school in the USA.  But to take the GRE internationally with accommodations for diabetes still involves sending a bunch of paperwork to New Jersey with a doctor’s note.  Sorting out those details, on top of my classes, language learning, and the research I’m doing to decide which grad schools to apply to is definitely keeping me busy.

I’m stressed from all the to-do lists covering my desk and filling my mind, and of course more stressed nervous that I may forget to add some little important thing to those lists.  But I’m staying connected to home through chat and email, and I’m understanding my lectures a tiny bit more each day, and I’m getting more accustomed to life as a student here in general.  I’m still not fully adjusted, and at the moment, the day I will be fully used to life here seems very far away.  And the day I go home again to stay there seems even further away.

But those days will come, and in the meantime, I’m making progress.  Slowly but surely.


I do have plenty of pictures that I took over the weekend, but I’ll post some of those later this week.  Can’t give you guys too many travel picture posts in a row, right?

Yesterday, I went to see a diabetolog, which in America would be called an endocrinologist.  The kind of doctor who treats diabetes mellitus and thyroid problems, of which I have both.

The doctor was very nice.  She asked me whether I wanted to speak German or English, and she agreed when I asked that we start in German and only switch to English if I don’t understand something.  That system worked pretty well; I was mostly able to  understand her German comments about my blood sugar trends that I had printed out from my Dexcom’s readings.

Until she said a word that sounded so distracting that I had no hope of understanding it.  That word was die Hypoglykämie, and the combination of the y’s and g made it sound like she was hiccupping in the middle of the word.  (To hear how it is pronounced, go to and click on the speaker icon next to the word.  A box will pop up, and then you can push play to hear this crazy hiccup-word.)

When the look on my face told her I had no clue what she was talking about, she told me she was talking about hypoglycemia.  We then switched to English for a while, occasionally switching between Deutsch and English for the rest of the appointment.

She suggested a plan for helping me get better control over my blood sugar overnight, since it often goes low then.  Of course, if my blood sugar goes low overnight, I often eat more than I should to bring my blood sugar back to normal, since I’m tired and want to go back to sleep but still want to make sure that my blood sugar goes high enough.  That often results in my blood sugars being high when I wake up in the morning.  Which results in me riding the proverbial gluco-coaster.

There were some differences between this visit to a diabetolog and a visit to my American endocrinologist.  For instance, I had to actually ask to hear what my Heboglobin A1c result was (a HA1c is a test that acts like a diabetic’s report card for the past few months).  And prescriptions here look waaay different.

There are other differences between diabetes care in American and diabetes care in Germany, but since I have just finished a period of not eating so I could test my basal rates during breakfast hours, I am hungry and will cover diabetes care in Germany later on.