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.

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!

 

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 2 ‘Keep it to Yourself’

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What are some of the aspects of diabetes that you choose to keep private from the internet?  Or from your family and friends?  Why is it important to keep it to yourself? 

This is a tough topic for me because I feel like I’m an open book when it comes to my diabetes. I’m always willing to share my experience & any knowledge/tips that I may have. Diabetes is such a huge part of who I am so I try my best to not hide any aspect of it from family, friends, or the world.

One thing that I don’t talk about often (if at all) is the uncertainty that I have about my health in the years to come. There was a time when fear consumed me when I thought about this, but thankfully I have a better outlook on it now. My plan is to take care of myself the best way that I can/know how & deal with the future when it becomes the present. I once read an article in the New York Times that stated type 1 diabetes reduces the normal lifespan by 5-8 years. I was in a panic. The article also addressed my biggest fear of kidney failure & dialysis. These are facts that I may have to face one day but the fact is, today is not that day. If I allowed myself to think about these things & be consumed by them, I way wonder ‘what’s the point in taking care of myself’? I think the reason I don’t talk about my fears is also because I don’t want my family to worry about me. I’m here for now & don’t expect to leave anytime soon. I believe that no matter how long a person lives, at the end, we all feel like it’s gone by in the blink of an eye. I’d like to make the best of my time on this earth & spend it doing what I love, with the ones I love & not worrying about things that are out of  my control.

Diabetes Blog Week Day 1 ‘I can’

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So lets kick things off this year by looking at the positive side of our lives with diabetes.  What have you or your loved one accomplished, despite having diabetes, that you weren’t sure you could?  Or what have you done that you’ve been particularly proud of?  Or what good thing has diabetes brought into your life?

I’m proud of how I handle my diabetes. I don’t let it control my life, I have taken control over it. I have good diabetes days & bad days but I don’t let the bad ones stop me from trying again. I have gained a lot of knowledge & that is what gives me my power over diabetes. I’m proud of how well I manage to take care of myself because let’s face it… it’s not an easy task. Despite the fact managing diabetes can be like an second full time job, I don’t complain (often). It’s such a big part of who I am & I embrace that.

Strangely, having diabetes has brought good into my life. It makes me feel like I’m apart of something bigger than & outside the norm. It’s like I belong to a secret society or club. I love meeting other diabetics & hearing their stories. I get thrilled when I see someone else wearing an insulin pump & I always stop to talk to them. Meeting a fellow diabetic is never like meeting a stranger, it’s like catching up with an old friend.

6th Annual Diabetes Blog Week 5/11/15 – 5/17/15

I have registered Sugar n Spice Diabetes to participate in the 6th Annual Diabetes Blog week from 5/11 – 5/17.

http://www.bittersweetdiabetes.com/2015/05/diabetes-blog-week.html

I will post 1 blog per day on the topics outlined below:

Topic List:

Monday 5/11/15: I Can

What have you or your loved one accomplished, despite having diabetes, that you weren’t sure you could?  Or what have you done that you’ve been particularly proud of?  Or what good thing has diabetes brought into your life?

Tuesday 5/12/15: Keep it to Yourself 

What are some of the aspects of diabetes that you choose to keep private from the internet?  Or from your family and friends?  Why is it important to keep it to yourself?

Wednesday 5/13/15: Clean it Out 

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?

Thursday 5/14/15: Changes

Today let’s talk about changes, in one of two ways.  Either 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.

Friday 5/15/15: Foods on Friday 

Write a post documenting what you eat in a day!  Feel free to add links to recommended recipes/shops/whatever.  Make it an ideal day or a come-as-you-are day – no judgments either way.

Saturday 5/16/15: Favorites & Motivations 

If you have been blogging for a while, what is your favorite sentence or blogpost that you have ever written?  Is it diabetes related or just life related?  If you are a new blogger and don’t have a favorite yet, tell us what motivated you to start sharing your story by writing a blog?

Sunday 5/17/15: Continuing Connections 

The very first inspiration for Diabetes Blog Week was to help connect our blogging community, and that continues to be the most important reason it’s held every year.  So let’s help foster and continue those connections as we wrap up another Dblog Week.  Share a link to a new blog you’ve found or a new friend you’ve made.  Or pick a random blog off of the Participant’s List, check it out and share it with us.

Love, health & happiness,

Jessica Lynn

Successful Endo Visit

Update on my endo visit from Monday…

#1 Blood pressure was totally normal (not borderline elevated)! 124/84 to be exact!

#2 Weight is down 8 pounds.

#3 ALL blood work was normal, including my fasting blood glucose of 89 & my HbA1c of……wait for it……..5.4% !!!!! Below is a chart for an explanation of what an HbA1c means in relation to average blood glucose readings & what the ideal levels are.

#4 I have been taking an oral drug called Invokana for about 4 months now & have enjoyed the results. How this medication works is pretty neat. It works with your kidneys to lose (some) sugar through urination. The makers of the drug say you can lose 80-120 grams of glucose daily through urination. I’m using it ‘off label’ since it’s a medication for Type 2s. It has helped me to cut down on the amount of insulin I take. Since this has been working for me I asked my endo about taking it a step further & trying Invokamet instead. That combines the Invokana with Metformin. Metformin is a oral drug commonly used to treat Type 2s that decreases the amount of sugar produced by your liver & improves your body’s response to insulin. My goal with this is to help with the insulin resistance I have, by lowering the amount of insulin intake. We’ll see how the next 3 months go!

That’s all for now!

Love, health, & happiness,

Jessica Lynn