Let’s Get Real with Diabetes

Diabetes professionals, manufactures and medical supply companies will tell you there is a right way and a wrong way to do many things related to diabetes. Easier said then done and most of us have our own way of doing things. Some times this advise makes sense and other times I swear the recommendations are a way for the companies to make more money.

Changing you lancet after each finger stick

This is never going to happen. Period. Point blank. Do people realize how often we test daily? Not to mention how expensive supplies are!

Using a different syringe for each injection

For me personally this one doesn’t happen either. I use each of my syringes 2 times before it lands in the sharps container. Someone people swear it takes quite a few more uses before the needle ‘wears out’ or becomes jagged. After 2 uses mine don’t seem as sharp (doesn’t pierce the skin easily or is painful) so that’s what I go by.

A new reservoir/cartridge for each infusion set 

Heck NO! I use those things until the ‘o ring’ starts to fall off or the lubrication inside the reservoir wears out and my pump doesn’t prime correctly or won’t remain primed.

Changing infusion sites every 3 days 

I’ll admit I should be a little better with this. During the cooler months my sites last longer so if I don’t notice absorption issues, I’ll keep it in until the adhesive begins to peel on the sides. Infusion sets are a supply that I tend to hoard due to how expensive they are. I need things to last as long as they can!

Wiping off excess blood from finger after testing 

Kinda of gross but…yes… I’ve been known to use my tongue to get off the excess blood. Typing that sentence out makes me feel ashamed. LOL!

Keeping expired supplies as back up 

I always hold on to a few expired things in case of an emergency such as key tone urine test strips and my glucogon pen (in case something goes wrong with the other). I feel like with these things in particular having something is better than nothing.

Replacing Dexcom Sensor After 7 Days

According to the manual, the sensor should be replaced every 7 days. I have always kept mine in longer. As long as the readings are still accurate and the site isn’t bothering me, I leave it in. 14 days is the longest I’ve ever gone. The thing was holding on by practically nothing and I was concerned about site infection if left in for much longer.

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Diabetes Burnout

After 1o years of living with diabetes I thought I had heard every diabetic phrase until recently. I was finally able to put a name to how I’ve been feeling lately… I was experiencing ‘Diabetes Burnout’. Since hearing about this I’ve been doing some reading online and have discovered how common this phenomenon is and that I am NOT alone.

Diabetes Burnout is a state in which patients grow tired of managing their disease and then simply ignore  it for a period of time, or worse, forever. The endless attention that diabetes requires can get exhausting! There are many obstacles that can get in the way of good self care and they can lead to burnout if you’re not careful. I just started reading the book seen below and it has been very informative so far. If you’ve been dealing with diabetes for some time or love someone who has, I definitely recommend reading the book.

For me personally, my burnout phase began after being sick for 9 weeks starting back in November (upper respiratory infection that turned into pneumonia and an ear infection). No mater what I did, what I ate, how much insulin I took I was constantly battling high blood sugars. I thought, what’s the point in testing when I know my blood sugar is high? The frustration of feeling like no matter what I did, I was fighting a loosing battle really started getting the best of me. Let’s face it, diabetes sucks and sometimes it feels like it’s sucking the life out of you. It’s something that’s always there- looming no matter what. Whether you’re having the best day ever or the worst, you have to manage your diabetes- 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year without a single day off. Talk about overwhelming!

The way I’m feeling is still a work in progress but I can tell you some things I’ve learned already:

Take one day at a time. This journey is a marathon, not a sprint. Focus on the day in front of you, don’t beat yourself up about the past. 

 

Diabetes & the Holidays

Let’s face it, during the holiday season we all tend to over indulge. There are parties to attend and everywhere you turn you are being enticed by delicious foods.  Here are some tips to survive the holidays without feeling guilty or deprived!

Plan Ahead 

Eat light for the 1st meal of the day and have a small healthy snack before the BIG meal of the day. This way, you aren’t ‘starving’ and ready to eat everything in sight. Make sure the snack is carb free or at least very low in carbs so you don’t sabotage your blood glucose level (think veggie tray or cheese without the crackers).

If you take insulin, plan the time of your bolus appropriately and remember to check multiple times after the meal. Traditional holiday foods tend to be difficult to bolus for. How many carbs were in that 1 table spoon of mashed potatoes? What about the gravy? Oh, and I had 1/2 of a roll also- you get the idea. You may have to give yourself multiple corrections so that you don’t spike so high after the meal. You can also help decrease spikes by going for a walk after the meal or partaking in a friendly game of tag football in the front yard.

Choosing Foods

There is no reason that you can’t have your holiday favorites but be careful not to over do it! Choose smaller portion sizes, make sure to choose non starchy veggies, and be selective. If mashed potatoes are your favorite, skip the rolls.

Dessert and Alcohol 

Whenever I have dessert I always ask for a “diabetic portion”. Think about sharing that slice of pumpkin pie with someone else. Maybe even make your own diabetic friendly sweet to bring to your relatives home (sugar free pudding pie, replace sugar with Stevia in a favorite recipe etc.).

Keep in mind that many holiday themed cocktails have a lot of sugar in them! For many people, alcohol tends to LOWER blood glucose so keep that in mind when consuming beer, wine, and liquor.

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MOST importantly take the time to make wonderful memories with your family and friends! 

Diabetes & Dating

I figured this would be a good topic to bring up shortly after Valentine’s Day… diabetes and dating. As if dating isn’t awkward (& sometimes complicated) on it’s own I am facing the task of do it with diabetes.

I’ve been out of the dating game for a LONG time but it’s about time I get back out there again. I don’t have a ton of experience with this and I’m intrigued with how it’s going to go. Will it be a big deal to some people? There are so many people that don’t know much about type 1 diabetes and even worse there are people that have incorrect information about it.

I’m certainly not looking for someone to take care of my diabetes for me, I do that just fine on my own but I need someone that is open to learning about it and would know what to do in case of an emergency.  If my life was in the hands of my ex during an emergency I surely would have died. While I don’t want someone to be afraid to be around me, I need people that care about me to understand how serious it can be and how it impacts my life.

I suppose I would have to share this information on my first date after taking out my glucometer to check my blood sugar or my insulin pump to bolus for a meal. Questions are good and something I prefer rather than people making assumptions. I am not going to get up from the table to bolus insulin. I don’t expect others to get up from the table when their pancreas secretes insulin. 😉

Diabetes is a part of who I am. If you don’t like it, you can’t like me and that’s fine. There are things that are ‘deal breakers’ for people and me having diabetes may be one of them. I accept that and would be thankful for that person’s honesty and promptly move on. Kissing a few frogs is nothing new to me. It’s the price we pay for the value of the lessons learned.

Love, peace, & happiness,

Jessica Lynn

American Girl Doll Diabetes Care Kit

Just wanted to share something that I saw in the news recently that I thought was great. For anyone who grew up with American Girl dolls themselves or have a child that loves these…

There is now a diabetes care kit available as an accessory! How great is that?! For years there have been many choices such as hearing aids, wheel chairs etc. but it wasn’t until this year that diabetes was represented. From what I read, there was a petition going around trying to make this happen for a long time. How special for a young girl to have this option to make the doll more like her if that’s what she chooses to do.

I’ve always been fond of the American Girl dolls & the company itself. Good job American Girl, I applaud you.

If your curious here’s a picture of what’s included in the kit as well as one with a little girl & her doll, both wearing their insulin pumps. Precious!

 

Diabetes Doesn’t Take a Day Off

Last week I had an upper endoscopy done to diagnosis some ‘mystery’ GI symptoms I’ve been having on & off for a year. I was so impressed by the concern the staff took to my diabetes. This was the first time any health care professionals (besides my PCP & Endo) even cared about my pump settings & what my blood sugar was!

Last year when I was seen at the hospital for this pain they never even asked what my blood sugar was let alone to test it themselves! I feel that as soon as the nurses and doctor find out I have type 1 & wear an insulin pump, they just let me handle it. I’ve had a doctor tell me, “you can do a better job at that than me”. Sad but SO very true! My diabetes affects so much of my physiology & my body’s response to illness. It’s relevant to anything that I’m being treated for.

During my procedure I set my pump to deliver a temporary basal rate that was 50% of what I would typically get. I wanted to ensure that I would not have a hypoglycemic episode after being NPO for so long /while I was under sedation. My blood sugar was checked pre-op & was 112. As soon as I opened my eyes & saw my Uncle sitting next to me I asked “Is my blood sugar okay”? I began to fumble around under the blanket to find my pump so that I could view my continuous glucose monitor. To my surprise, the nurse had checked my blood sugar during the procedure & came into the post op room very quickly to test it again. 103. Success!

I say all of this to show that diabetes does not take a day off. When I’m too sick to even lift my head… I have to test my blood sugar (more often actually). When I’m under sedation… I have to make sure my blood sugar is under control. I literally had to think ahead to program my temporary basal rate so that I could manage my diabetes when I was knocked out. Most days I don’t pay attention to just how much time during each day I spend on things diabetes related. The day of my procedure I definitely look a step back to look at everything. Managing diabetes can feel like a 2nd job sometimes. No wonder we can get burnt out! When my pump beeps & wakes me up at night telling me I’m too low or too high is it easier to press a single button to silence & go back to sleep? YES! When my pump beeps during a chaotic shift at work to let me know I’ve got less than 20 units remaining, would it be easier to take it off & refill it when I get home? Absolutely! But… diabetes doesn’t take a day off so neither do it.

Love, health & happiness,

Jessica Lynn

Some Diabetes Humor… it’s better to laugh than cry 😉

It's only funny because I do!  :):

Oh yes it does:

Type 1 Diabetes Memes:

Type 1 Diabetes Myths

Diabetes myths debunked:

Myth: Diabetes is not that serious of a disease.

Fact: Diabetes causes more deaths each year than breast cancer & AIDS combined.

Myth: Eating too much sugar will cause diabetes.

Fact: Type 1 diabetes is caused by genetics & unknown factors that trigger the onset of the disease (it is an autoimmune disease). Type 2 diabetes is caused by genetics & lifestyle factors.

Myth: People with diabetes should eat a special diet or special ‘diabetic food’.

Fact: A healthy meal for people with diabetes is the same type of meal that would be considered healthy for anyone.

Myth: Type 1 diabetes is a ‘children’s disease’.

Fact: A person can be diagnosed at any age & you can never outgrow it. More than 1/2 of the people diagnosed with Type 1 are over the age of 18.

Myth: Insulin cures Type 1 diabetes.

Fact:The use of external (man made) insulin manages the disease. Currently, there is no cure.

Love, health & happiness,

Jessica Lynn

This literally was just my reaction when my friend asked what type one diabetes was and she said she knew it didn't have to do with sugar. @Allison j.d.m j.d.m Rice Stoudnour:

When Non Diabetics Post Pictures Of Junk Food And Do That!!!:

Insurance Open Enrollment

Long time no see sugarnspice diabetes blog! I couldn’t think of a better time to reconnect than insurance open enrollment time! While I was enjoying some R&R in Puerto Rico I was informed by co workers that our office was changing medical insurance carries for 2016. When I arrived home I was shocked by the premium increase as well as how the coverage differed! My office offers a high deductible plan (to use with a Health Care Spending Account) & a PPO plan (with the option of having a Flexible Spending Account). It should go without saying that as a Type 1 diabetic, I require the PPO plan.

As it turns out, in 2016 my out of pocket cost will increase by $132/month & I will have to pay more out of pocket for insulin pump supplies due to changes in coverage. I am grateful to not require a family plan as the increase on that plan is $540/month! The last few weeks have been stressful as I’ve had to sort through this. I do not qualify for tax credits/subsidies on plans offered through the Healthcare Market Place because my employer offers group coverage that is considered “affordable” & meets the standards. Here is a definition from the healthcare.gov website:

Employer insurance is considered affordable under the health care law if the employee’s share of the premium for the lowest priced plan available that would cover the employee only — not the employee’s family — is 9.56% or less of their household income. People offered job-based coverage that’s affordable and provides minimum value aren’t eligible for a premium tax credit if they buy a plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

The PPO plan offered by my employer DOES exceed 9.56% of my household income. You ask why then would I not be eligible for tax credits/subsidies on plans offered through the Healthcare Market Place? Well… because my employer also offers that high deductible plan which does not exceed that set amount.How would any Type 1 diabetic survive on a high deductible plan? I certainly could not survive with a $6,000 deductible (& then still paying 20% after that) & $8,000 out of pocket max. Therefore, I have no choice then to sign up for the PPO & figure out the finances later. My bank account can not afford having this insurance but my health can not afford not to have insurance.

Side note #1: Can someone please explain to me why insulin pump supplies (not the actual pump) are covered under Durable Medical Equipment (DME) & not pharmacy benefits?! Here is a quote from the Social Security website:

Durable medical equipment is equipment which can withstand repeated use…

Last time I checked, my disposable insulin reservoirs & infusion sets can NOT be reused.

Side note #2: Why is it that abortion services (elective & non elective) are covered on my new plan at the low cost of a $20-$40 co-pay (depending on the type of setting it’s done in) & I’ve been stressed to tears trying to figure out how to make the coverage for my pump supplies work?! This is so discouraging.

This post is more or less a rant but I hope that it sheds some light on one diabetics situation. I wish everyone luck with their own situations during the 2016 open enrollment time.

Love, health & happiness,

Jessica Lynn

Diabetes Blog Week Day 4 ‘Changes’

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Tell us what you’d most like to see change about diabetes, in any way.  This can be management tools, devices, medications, people’s perceptions, your own feelings – anything at all that you feel could use changing.  OR reflect back on some changes you or your loved one has seen or been through since being diagnosed with diabetes.

I would like to see continued advancements where technology is concerned. This includes improved accessibility for more people. As a society, it would be amazing to see people’s perceptions (& misconceptions) about all types of diabetes, evolve. Education is key here but it’s important to consider where that information is coming from (media).

Since being diagnosed I have:

Done MDI (multiple daily injections) from a vial & then from a pen.

Used 2 versions of an insulin pump.

Gotten a GGM (continous glucose monitor).

Seen advancements even from glucometers that are on the market.

& am being treated off label with medications geared for type 2s to help with my insulin resistance.

Diabetes Blog Week Day 3 ‘Clean it Out’

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What is in your diabetic closet that needs to be cleaned out?  This can be an actual physical belonging, or it can be something you’re mentally or emotionally hanging on to.  Why are you keeping it and why do you need to get rid of it?

I literally hoard diabetic supplies! I my bathroom closet I have a large storage container where I keep everything in 1 place. Things I need to get rid of? Probably a lot of it. There is no way I could ever exhaust the amount of lancets that I have or utilize the number of glucometers that I’ve held on to. These are tangible things that I need to clean out but there is something emotion that needs to go also. I need to accept the fact that there are certain members of my family that just aren’t interested in learning about my condition or even beginning to understand the impact that it has on my life. Although this is unfortunate, it’s their choice. I can’t force people to be someone they don’t want to be or to do things they don’t want to do. I can take my energy & be thankful that I have others in my life that care about (all) of me… even my diabetes.