Insulin Pens or Insulin Pumps?

When I was 10, my mom and I were used to shots, we knew the perfect amount of insulin for everything, from a small piece of pizza and cake at a birthday party to simply cereal for breakfast. Yep, we had it all down to a science. Then came the big Fed-Ex Box. It had been sitting in my room for months. I was scared. I’m not into “change." 

It was my first insulin pump. The thought of having something attached to me to replace all of the shots was overwhelming. No more [10-15 (why did I write that before? I must have been so tired, I wrote how many time I test)]  4-6 shots a day…just a site change every 2-3 days. That sounds nice. But how does it work? Programming this thing was a mystery. Basal Rates? WHAT?  What are basal rates? What is a BOLUS? Spell check still wants to say "blouse.”  I could tell this was going to take a lot of getting used to. 

We had been through “Pump Training” already and had programmed my new pump. At the time, we were doing a Video Diary series about what it’s like to live with Diabetes for ABC’s Good Morning America. During the first try of using the insulin pump, my blood sugar had dropped down to 19, and although I was dangerously low, I think the site went in ok. It either wasn’t a good memory or I was too low to remember, but I do recall it hurt too much to keep the site in and I had to go back to shots for a while.

A few months later, we tried the pump again. I didn’t give up. I knew this would help give me some freedom. I don’t know about you, but I remember exactly when I put my insulin infusion site in and successfully started using the pump. I was ten years old. It was January 1st, 2000 at 3:00 in the afternoon. My mom and I used the scary big blue inserter that to this day, creeps me out. Then, we took a picture (of course) and I joined my sister and friends at the Restaurant called, “Rubio’s” where my friends always ordered cheeros. (I’ve never had one so I’m not even sure if that is how you spell it, and I don’t know why I remember that.)

We all were SO happy that the pump finally worked!!!!!

Fast forward to now. 2011. I don’t think I have EVER taken my pump off and given my sites a break. So in eleven years, all of my favorite places to put my infusion sets are practically bruised forever. (I’m still trying to get the bruising to go away….Arnica Gel? Yes, pleeease!)

I don’t know if anyone else has this problem, please let me know if you do, but I can’t put my sites into my stomach. They hurt so much and are incredibly uncomfortable. So I don’t exactly have the whole switch site from the stomach, to the back, other side, back to the other side of my stomach, and start over. No way. Just my backside and sometimes the leg, but that is not my favorite spot either.

Any way, I need to stay focused here. What was I saying…?
Oh right! So in May, I went to my endocrinologist appointment, they synced my insulin pump and tested my HbA1c and went over my blood work. ((yaaaaayyy!))


I hate getting my A1c tested. (I wonder how many times I’ve said that?)

Fortunately, it had come down 0.7 points and my other blood work came back with really good results! Wooohooo! 

Any way, my sister, Jackie, and I asked my doctor about the insulin pen. Again. 
She thinks the pen is the coolest thing around by the way. haha. Why? They are still shots! 

I agreed to “take a break from the pump” and go on the Insulin Pen for a few days to let my sites heal. Well, they needed more than a few days. More like a month, and even though the bruises still aren’t healed, they look a lot better…Suggestions anyone?  

During this vacation from my pump, a new Minimed Paradigm Revel (mine is clear!) was approved and arrived in the mail! Going through the pump instructional book and programming the new pump with all of my settings was quite a process. The little beeping noises were getting annoying! Haha, but it’s all good. The new pump is really nice and it’s good to have an updated pump with a lot of new features! It’s cool how you can put in an event, such as exercise! I like that. 🙂 

Any way, with the pens, at least from my experience, (I’m not a doctor and what I’m saying here is what helped me and whatever phrase is in quotes is from my Diabetic Educator, and in no way am I trying to tell you, the reader, what to do. With the insulin pens, I basically needed to learn how to use them, which sounds really weird, but I didn’t know you could split the doses, or there was a better time to take levemir, or that “since I’m lean, I don’t need to pinch my skin like I’m used to” to give myself a shot with the tiny tiny needles, or that when I get a bruise from a shot, it was because I needed to insert it in an area with enough fat, (for example, NOT the top of my thigh but the upper side). And for me, re-learning how to calculate my insulin to carb ratios and the blood sugar Correction Bolus Ratio, and eventually downloaded the “Insulin Calc” app for my iPhone. Best app ever! 

After a month of Levemir (Basal) and Humolog Pens, I couldn’t take another shot. They hurt SO much. Shots are a pain. Literally. 

I put the pump back in on Saturday and immediately got the tubing stuck on a door handle. Oops :-/

I know I sound like I don’t really know which is my favorite and it’s not the point in this post, but I just wanted to share with you my list of pros and cons for each! I realized during this pump vacation that I had forgotten how nice it was to wear a dress without my pump. To workout without my pump attached. To sleep on my stomach, comfortably. To take a shower without a pump site stuck in. But I really missed bolusing half units, turning down my basal rate, not NEEDING to EAT because there was always insulin on board, letting the Bolus Wizard figure everything out for me, remember exactly when I bolused and what I bolused (for some reason every time I would dial the pen and give myself the shot, I forgot how much I gave) and not having to pull up my shirt in public to give myself a shot every time I ate something or had to correct. (I know I could go to the restroom and give myself a shot, I did that too!) And the pain of the 4 to 6 shots each day, I don’t miss that. At all.

I still LOVE my pump [very very much] and I miss it when I’m on the insulin pen. If you asked me if I would ever stop using the pump, I would say it was one of the greatest things ever made and I can’t imagine living life without my insulin pump. But I will now welcome those little mini-pump-vacations each month when I give my poor sites a break for a few days. 🙂 

Well thanks for reading! Let me know what you think about pumps vs. pens! 🙂

Continue Reading

MJ2 Interviewed on CNN for Larry King’s Special: “Unthinkable: The Alzheimer’s Epidemic” May 1st [TONIGHT]

              Jackie J, Aunt Mama, Leeza Gibbons, Mom, and Mollie

Recently, Jackie, Aunt Mama, Mom, and I had the opportunity to be interviewed for the Larry King Special, “Unthinkable: The Alzheimer’s Epidemic.”  They asked us to participate in this special because we have spent the past few years caring for our parents/grandparents, both of whom were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.

This compelling special will air on Sunday Night, May 1, 2011 at 8pm ET/5:00, 8:00, and 11:00pm PT and and will re-air on Saturday, May 7 at 8pm ET/PT.

Below is a link to a short clip of the two people we love so much, and describes some of the difficulties they face. Thank you CNN, Larry King, Leeza Gibbons, and everyone involved in the making of this special for shedding light on such a serious subject. Your hard work is so greatly appreciated by all who have been touched with this terrible disease. 

Twins care for parents with Alzheimer’s

Continue Reading

CNN: Twins Care For Parents with Alzheimer’s – Larry King Special – Unthinkable: The Alzheimer’s Epidemic


Recently, we had the opportunity to be interviewed for the Larry King Special, “Unthinkable: The Alzheimer’s Epidemic.” They asked us to participate in this special because we have spent the past few years caring for our parents/grandparents, both of whom were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.

This poignant special will air on Sunday Night, May 1, 2011 at 8pm ET/5:00, 8:00, and 11:00pm PT and and will re-air on Saturday, May 7 at 8pm ET/PT. Below is a short clip of the two people we love so much, and describes some of the difficulties they face. Thank you CNN, Larry King, Leeza Gibbons, and everyone involved in the making of this special for shedding light on such a serious subject. Your hard work is so greatly appreciated by all who have been touched with this terrible disease. 

CNN Presents: A Larry King Special

Larry King special “Unthinkable: the Alzheimer’s Epidemic” to air May 1 at 8pm ET                

On Sunday May 1st, CNN will air the first Larry King special, premiering at 8pm ET/PT and will be titled “Unthinkable: the Alzheimer’s Epidemic.” It’s being called the disease of the 21st century as an estimated 5.4 million people have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. It is the sixth-leading cause of death across all ages in the United States, but many Americans still do not know much about this illness. The one-hour special will look into Alzheimer’s disease, who gets it and why, the race to find effective treatments and a possible cure.

King will be joined by people who have been touched by Alzheimer’s disease and will include interviews with former First Lady Laura Bush and California’s former First Lady and Alzheimer’s activist Maria Shriver; actors Seth Rogen, and  Angie Dickinson; TV host Leeza Gibbons; football star Terrell Owens and  son of President Ronald Reagan, Ron Reagan. Neurosurgeon and CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta will explain what Alzheimer’s is and how this disease affects the human brain. 

Seth Rogen, talks to King about supporting his fiancée and her family as they deal with her mom’s early diagnosis at the age of fifty-five.  He wants the world to know this is a young person’s problem too, “More and more people in our generation are gonna have to deal with it,” Rogen said.  “We’re dealing with it before most people have to,” he tells King.  “But as you get older and you see it happening to your parents, and ultimately realize it could happen to yourself and your friends, it becomes much more real and not some imaginary old person problem, you know?” Shriver, in the first interview she’s given since losing her father, Sargent  Shriver, to Alzheimer’s disease this year tells King, “I think anybody who’s not concerned about Alzheimer’s is in denial.”

In addition to visiting the Mayo Clinic, Larry King will visit the cutting-edge Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health at the Cleveland Clinic in Las Vegas, and he will be joined by Ron Reagan. While there, one of them will take a brain scan that will indicate if he is at risk for Alzheimer’s or other memory disorders, and one will opt out. Tune in and as they will share the results with the audience and talk to Dr. Jeffrey Cummings, Director, ClevelandClinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and Larry Ruvo, philanthropist and visionary, to see how doctors are treating patients and what people can do to diminish their risk for Alzheimer’s. Dr. Ronald Petersen, Director, Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, who treated President Reagan warned, “If we don’t do something about Alzheimer’s disease right now, Alzheimer’s disease in and of itself may bankrupt the healthcare system.”The special hour will also broadcast on CNNi and will re-air on Saturday, May 7 at 8pm ET/PT. For additional information please visit Exclusive content will be featured on including interviews with actor David Hyde Pierce and Harry Johns, President and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association.

CNN Worldwide, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company, is the most trusted source for news and information. Its reach extends to nine cable and satellite television networks; one private place-based network; two radio networks; wireless devices around the world; CNN Digital Network, the No. 1 network of news Web sites in the United States; CNN Newsource, the world’s most extensively syndicated news service; and strategic international partnerships within both television and the digital media.

Taken from: 

To view video on, click here and to watch the video on YouTube, click here. 

Continue Reading

Nashville Music Guide – Producer’s Spotlight: Dennis Money Has Musical Vision for Row and Radio


Hi Everyone! 🙂 We’re so proud of Dennis Money, our Producer/Manager that we wanted to re-post and share with all of you this wonderful article written about Dennis featured in the Nashville Music Guide!


Dennis Money

Country songs are often about overcoming adversity and seemingly impossibly odds. That same storyline applies in real life to Dennis Money, who has recently produced sessions and albums for artists including Dolly Parton, Wayne Newton, Moe Bandy, and Bill Anderson, and scored a No. 1 single in Texas with Rio Grand’s “Beckett’s Back Forty.”

 Pretty dang amazing for a guy who was diagnosed with Diabetes at age 4 and went totally blind before he turned 30.

 Every doctor in Money’s home region of East Tennessee told Dennis he’d never see again, after a laser operation on his eyes left him completely blind when he was 29.

 “Every time they said that, I’d say, `yes, I will,’ ” Money recalls.

It was a brutally hard climb back. The first 20 surgeries were unsuccessful. He lost 75 pounds, and was forced at the time to sell all of his precious musical and studio equipment to pay medical bills. He even traded a vintage Martin guitar to a famous eye surgeon for an operation. Eventually, seemingly miraculously and with the help of prayer and faith, his vision began returning.

His eyes are now back to normal, to go along with two of the finest ears on the Row and at country radio.

One powerhouse session Dennis oversaw was for the Las Vegas quartet MJ2, a group of two sets of beautiful identical twins who will be featured on a Larry King Prime Time special on CNN at 8 p.m. on May 1, with four more airings to follow. Leeza Gibbons and Maria Shriver are also on the program. 

MJ2 & Celebrity Friends recorded “You Can’t Say Love Enough” with Dennis producing, to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Those friends included Parton, Newton, Bandy, Mark Collie, Steve Wariner, and others.

Money did the recording both at his Row studio, SweetSong Nashville, and in the case of Wayne Newton, in Las Vegas.

He has become the producer of choice for countless top vocalists.

Dennis Money Studio Pic 2“One thing that makes recording vocals work,” he says in a late March phone conversation, “is that I’m still the one that thinks you gotta learn how to sing it right here in the studio. Everyone is into fixing so many things with Pro Tools nowadays, but if you’re off key here you’ll be off key every night when you perform these songs on the road.”

Getting the song in the perfect key on every song for each vocalist is crucial, he says. Dennis plays 4 or 5 instruments himself, which also helps when he works with the singers.

“We do a lot of pre-production,” he says.

Rio Grand, the Texas trio on Curb Nashville, had never scored a No. 1 on the Texas Regional Radio Report until “Beckett’s Back Forty,” co-produced by Dennis and longtime business partner Herb Graham of Graham Entertainment, took the top spot last summer.

Graham owns the Graham Central chain of clubs, both in Tennessee and Texas, and has decades of top-level experience on the Row and at country radio. 

Moe Bandy, who charted over 50 Billboard country singles between 1974 and 1989, has been using Dennis exclusively for years, on albums including the Gospel “Songs My Mama Sang” and a new 2-album live set Money recorded in Texas at one of Graham’s venues.

Whether Dennis is working with veteran stars like Bandy or a brand-new artist who’s stepping into the studio for the very first time, he applies the same philosophy on vocals: “We always wanna make sure they’re ready to go into the studio,” Dennis says. “Then I tell them we’re not gonna quit till we get it right, and if we have to stay a week we’re gonna stay at it.”

By Phil Sweetland


Continue Reading

Our 22nd Birthday!!

So our day started off with sleeping in, (yay!) and then we met Aunt Mama and Mom and our best friend, Natalia for lunch together at one of our favorite hangouts in Las Vegas. It was so nice to hang out, catch up, and be with friends and family! 🙂  

Jackie, Natalia, and Mollie with our birthday dessert…at lunch! 🙂 Thank you for caring enough to make our birthday so special Natalia! It really meant a lot to us and we are so grateful to have you in our lives! 🙂 🙂

Then we went with our Mom and Dad for a quiet dinner, and enjoyed these cute little desserts…Jackie had a mini chocolate mocha something with homemade custard and I had a strawberry cheesecake parfait. 🙂

Making a wish!! 🙂 

Continue Reading

Happy 2011!

Hey everyone! Happy New Year!! I’m really excited about this year!! really, really really excited! 🙂 For some reason, I’m also really excited to write in my blog tonight. hmm…

I changed my pump site for the first time in 2011 today and actually had to change it twice. grr. Taking out the bad site hurt sooooo much, it’s a good thing though, the cannula and my skin was bleeding. ughh. So I put in a new site after dinner. That thrills me. I’ll be waking up to test all night. thank you horrible-not working-no delivery-site. 

Any way, enough of my ranting. …Tonight was our “first family dinner of 2011” and we all ate homemade chili, homemade 3 layer bean dip, and homemade dobos torte cake. Wow. It was 13 layers. It’s a family recipe that my grandmother has made almost every birthday in April since I can remember. Since I couldn’t make it on New Year’s Eve for our Grandma and Grandpa’s 69th Wedding Anniversary because we went to a restaurant, I figured we could all celebrate again, right? So, last night after we saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 1, (soooo good by the way!) 4 hours was spent making each layer and assembling this amazing cake that I baked. Tonight, since I’m working on a cook book, I needed a picture. Tah-dahhh!  

Yes, I SO totally bolused enough insulin for a tiny sliver of that cake. 🙂 yum. 🙂 

Continue Reading
1 2 3 7