Guest Blogger

Karen GraffeoKaren Graffeo, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1979, at the age of 11. She can vividly remember when diabetes care meant taking one insulin injection per day, following a strict exchange diet, and testing for sugar in urine using glass test tubes and fizzy tablets. She also remembers being told she could no longer eat sweets, except for one piece of cake on her birthday each year.

Today, Karen is thankful to have better insulin and new tools for diabetes care. She gladly replaced urine testing and the exchange diet with blood glucose meters and carbohydrate counting. In 2008 she began pumping insulin and she added a continuous glucose monitor to her regime the following year. She appreciates that today’s devices help her to better manage her diabetes and let her indulge in cake more than once a year!

In 2008 Karen started her diabetes blog, Bitter~Sweet, and became immersed in the diabetes online community. She also advocates offline and is involved with two JDRF chapters in her home state of Connecticut.  Her tag-line at Bitter-Sweet best sums up what she’s come to realize over the years… life with diabetes isn’t all bad.


4 Tips for Finding the Best Diabetes Support Network

For more than two decades, I thought I had to handle my life with diabetes on my own. It didn’t occur to me that having a network of support would be beneficial to me. But as it turns out, having a support network has made me healthier, more engaged and informed, and less alone. I […]Read More »

DiabetesSistersVoices: Gain Support and Help Research

As a patient living with diabetes, social media has become an important part of my life. It’s where I connect with others who have diabetes for support and advice. It’s where I learn about the newest technologies and innovations that can keep me healthy. It doesn’t take the place of my doctors, but it provides […]Read More »

Breaking From the Negative Emotions of Diabetes

Some might find it interesting, but there is a wad of dollar bills carefully tucked into the outside pocket of the pouch I use as my meter case. Each dollar represents a time I did a finger stick and my blood sugar was an even 100. I don’t remember exactly where or when I came […]Read More »

How You Can Get Involved: Diabetes Blog Week 2016

When I started Diabetes Blog Week in 2010, I remember being unsure if anyone at all would be interested in participating. So it’s both thrilling and unexpected to be gearing up for the 7th annual edition! Through the years there have been some changes, but my main goal for the week remains consistent – to […]Read More »

Why I Switched To A Continuous Glucose Monitor For My Diabetes Management

Editor’s Note: Over the years we’ve had a lot of great articles from guest bloggers about the role that MiniMed® pumps and Continuous Glucose Monitors play in their lives and this is one of our favorites! Read on as Karen shares about the moment that she made the important decision to begin using CGM and why […]Read More »

New Product Review: MiniMed Connect!

I’ve always worn a Medtronic pump and continuous glucose monitor (CGM), and I’ve always loved the fact they are integrated. My CGM graph is right on my hip, on the screen of my pump. But I’ll admit, there have been times I’ve wished I could view my graph somewhere else too. For example, on cold […]Read More »

3 Steps To Help Manage Your Partner’s Diabetes

When dealing with diabetes, we can take it all on ourselves, or we can accept help from our loved ones. I believe the right way is whatever way works best in our individual lives (which is to say there is no single right way). And at times in my life, I have done each method. […]Read More »

My Experience Using Threshold Suspend

Now that I’ve been using my MiniMed 530G with Enlite for more than a year, I wanted to give some thought to my experiences with the Threshold Suspend feature. The short version is I rarely use it. However, the short version leaves out the most important parts of the story, so bear with me as […]Read More »

Awkward Diabetes Moments

Life is full of awkward moments… or at least my life is. And since diabetes is with me every day, it’s also no surprise I’ve experienced more than a few awkward diabetes moments. I shared my favorite one in my recent Diabetes Show and Tell post, but I thought it might be fun to share […]Read More »

Why It’s Important to Advocate for CGM Coverage

Although I’ve only worn a Continuous Glucose Monitor for about 5 ½ of the almost 35 years I’ve had diabetes, I can’t imagine my life without it. And yet, for those on Medicare, that is a reality. Medicare does not approve coverage for CGMs. This fact both angers and scares me. I’ll admit that when […]Read More »

Diabetes Show and Tell: Karen Graffeo

Q. What diabetes items do you typically carry in your bag? I’m a chronic over packer, so it might be quicker to tell you what diabetes items I DON’T carry in my bag! But seriously, no cute little clutch bags for me – I carry a big purse loaded with diabetes supplies. The front pocket […]Read More »

How I Manage My Glucose Levels When I'm Under Stress

As I type this, my throat burns, my nose is drippy and red, and my ears feel sore and tingly. Oh? and my blood sugar? My blood sugar is running around 50% higher than I'd like, and every time I eat anything, it soars even higher. The stress of germs attacking my body makes blood sugar management harder than ever. My strategy includes running a bumped up temp basal, drinking lots of fluids, and constantly trying to remind myself not to let those out of range numbers aggravate me.Read More »

My Initial Thoughts On The MiniMed 530G With Enlite

When my new MiniMed 530G with Enlite system arrived on my doorstep early November, excitement washed over me. It also brought temptation to rip open the boxes and get started right away, but I knew I needed to wait for my training session. Training happened smack dab in the middle of November, and now that I've used the new system for a while, I'd like to share some observations and some things I wish I had known.Read More »

The Lowdown on Managing Diabetes During Exercise

Although I know regular exercise is very beneficial to those with diabetes, it's always been a struggle for me. Several years ago my Facebook feed was filled with posts about the Couch to 5K program. It felt like everyone I knew was training for a 5K. Something about those posts hooked me, and before I knew it, I was training for a 5K too. My husband Pete and I even signed up for a local 5K race.Read More »

Addicted to Diabetes Data

I'm kind of a nerd. I love data and graphs and stats. I loved every math class I ever took. So pouring over all the charts and information in my CareLink reports is right up my alley. I set a reminder on my calendar to upload my pump every Friday so the reports are always current and ready to go. Of course, there is a lot of information there, and sometimes I only have time to quickly look at the most helpful information.Read More »

My Decision To Begin Using A Continuous Glucose Monitor

When I made the leap from multiple daily injections to using a pump more than five years ago, it was a tough decision for me. Last year I wrote a post about the fears that held me back for so long and why I'm so glad I finally overcame them. But after I had been pumping for six months I decided to add a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) to the mix, and that decision was quite an easy one for me.Read More »

My Thoughts On The New CONTOUR NEXT LINK Meter

My very first blood glucose meter was probably about the size of a brick, and in my mind it was as heavy as a brick too. This was back in the early 1980's when meters required a huge blood sample (by today's standards) and several minutes to give a reading, but it was so much better than the urine testing that had been my only option. Over the years I've watched meters grow smaller and faster and easier to use.Read More »

Diabetes Goals For 2013

I really enjoy the holiday season, but by the time New Year's rolls around I'm ready to say farewell to the non-stop festivities and get back to a normal routine. As I pack away my Christmas decorations and get my house in order, I think about getting my diabetes management in order too. Sure, I work hard at diabetes all year long, even during the holidays, but I always have room for a little diabetes tune-up.Read More »

Diabetes Organization For The Organized

I'll admit it, I'm weirdly good at keeping track of things. I'm over-organized to a fault and at any given time I have dozens of lists swirling around in my head. My husband uses me as a walking calendar. I have an eerie ability to remember not only important information, but also some pretty useless stuff . . . like all of the lyrics to any song from the ?80s, even if I haven't heard it in 20 years.Read More »

Tackling The Unexpected

In my last post I talked about using my pump's Dual Wave Bolus feature to tackle foods that are rough on my blood sugar. But the Dual Wave isn't the only feature on my pump that helps with my blood sugar management. I also make use of the Temp Basal function to try to cut down on highs and lows.Read More »

Pizza And Martini Night!

As a person with diabetes, I find that certain foods will completely wreck my blood sugar. Those items can vary from person to person, but I've got quite a list of foods that always bring me major blood sugar mayhem. So when I began pumping after 28 years of injections I was determined to use my pump's features to tackle some of my favorite challenging foods. Any guesses on which food was first on my list?Read More »

From A Person With Diabetes To A Diabetes Advocate

When I first got involved in the diabetes online community (or DOC), I was simply looking to connect with others like me. I always felt alone in dealing with diabetes, so it was incredible to find a whole community who really understood the things I was going through. The support was wonderful . . . but I soon found I could turn to the DOC for more. I found a great wealth of information on the non-medical side of life with diabetes -Read More »

Celebrating A Pumpaversary

A few weeks ago, I celebrated my fourth "pumpaversary". And I really did celebrate the milestone of being on an insulin pump for four years, because my road to get here was a long one.Read More »