Happy Anniversary to my……… pump!

Happy Anniversary to my……… pump!

My  anniversary with my insulin pump was this past week. I used this time to reflect on my diagnosis and the progress I’ve made in thriving with diabetes. My insulin pump is a big a part of this journey and so I’d like to talk about how and why it is so important to me.

anniversary(Photo from ShutterStock)

My pump removed my leash to my needles and constant ties to eating on a 2 hour block.

My pump gave me the freedom to live a relatively normal life. I can eat within reasonable times.

It granted me freedom from constant needle pokes each time I put something in my mouth.

My insulin pump gave me the confidence to learn the needs of my body and allow me to customize my insulin needs to my current state, which could be impacted by oral surgery, illness, stress, hormone cycles and travel.

My insulin pump gave me the confidence that I had some means of control over this diabetes monster. It may drive me mad most days but I had a tool that fit my needs.

Do I hate diabetes? Yes. Do I wish it away? Yes. But there are bigger burdens and crosses to bear.

So, as long as I need insulin, I am grateful for my insulin pump.

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Disney World: Blood Sugar Management At Amusment Parks With My Insulin Pump

Disney World: Blood Sugar Management At Amusment Parks With My Insulin Pump

Disney World is one of my most favorite places to go. It is truly a magical place. It can also be one of the trickiest places to manage one’s blood sugars. Whether you are Type 1 or Type 2, managing how your blood sugar rides can be tricky during periods of different activity, such as amusement parks.

First, lets talk about the stress. Try organizing your family, get to the amusement park, find parking, find transportation/walk to the park gate, fight the crowds, buy your ticket, stand in another security line and then maze through the crowds to just enter the park. Is your blood sugar high yet? Wait, maybe its low because of all that walking/activity.

Recently, I brought my parents to Disney World (see first sentence) for their first time. It was a fantastic experience. I have been to Disney World quite a few times and I actually have a nice routine down after having experience a few blips.

Activity = increased sensitivty to my insulin, which in turn means faster lows if I do not manage them. Well, one of the strategies I employ in managing my blood sugar at Disney World is set a temporary basal. I determine the % my basal rate is by certain factors: how long I will be there, how much walking I will do, how hot it is and how readily accessible I will be to food. This time, I totally forgot to do it, in the hustle and bustle of getting to the park I forgot to set a temporary basal rate.

This was the result:

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Well, 8 glucose tablets later (my favorite kind of tablets) my sugar was safe and we were on our way to eat lunch. I set my basal rate to 25% for 9 hours to account for the rest of the day. I bolused like usual and enjoyed a burger for lunch, cotton candy, a dole whip and beef nachos and bolused accordingly. My blood sugar remained 150-170 all day. Perfect for me. Some may say thats a little high, but for me, it creates a cushion of not crashing. As always, consult your doctor!

Basal rates are so important to me. I use them heartily. I use them for 3 hours during workouts, during inactive periods, when I am sick, and for Disney. I adjust basal rates for more or less depending on what I need. It is fantastic!

For my fellow insulin users but use pens, I suggest tucking away snacks such as peanut butter crackers, or other snacks with carbs with protein/fat. They will hold you steady. Always make sure you have your glucose tablets or correction tools as needed. It is definitely trickier with injections, but it sure is possible. That is for the NEXT Disney post…

How do you manage your blood sugar in places like Disney World? What about my T2ers on meds, or managing with lifestyle?

My Sweet Regards,

❤ SB

How to Check Your A1C At Home

How to Check Your A1C At Home

How to check your A1C at home. Who would have thought?

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*Obligatory Disclaimer: This is a personal process I developed under the supervision of my medical team. Always ask your physician for guidance.*

The above picture is my current A1C, taken at home. I take my A1C at home approximately 1 month before my scheduled A1C with my endocrinologist. Why? To see where I am, so I can make adjustments where I have control, such as my carbohydrate intake and activity level (ie. insulin sensitivity).   I have a very tight control goal of 5.5 – 6.0. It is approved by my doctor and closely monitored. Your goal may and probably is different. Do *not* use my goal as yours. I am prepared to adjust my goal as my honeymoon period (another blog post?) ends.

The first question you may ask is, how do I get to take my A1C? The most accurate home testing kit (within .2 – .4) I have found is this one:

a1c1
Picture used from Amazon.com

A1C Self-Check Now  (This will take you to the Amazon page for the test kit.)

Each kit contains at least 2 tests. This is NOT like a glucometer where you can purchase extra strips to test your A1C. Once you test the number of times your kit contains (some contain 6 or 8 cartridges), you have to purchase another kit, because each test cartridge is coded to the device it comes with. This is VERY important. Do not use a cartridge that does not match the test machine.

This specific test kit contains:

  1. 1 Quick Reference Guide
  2. 1 Overview and Helpful Hints
  3. 1 A1CNow Self Check Monitor
  4. 2 Single-Use Cartridges
  5. 2 Shaker Pouches
  6. 2 Lancets

I have purchased several of these kits, each kit has a variation of directions.Follow the directions as needed! You don’t want to waste your precious test because you missed a step.

The directions generally go like this:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly. (Very important!)
  2. Use the lancet to draw blood on one of your fingers.
  3. Using one of the sample collectors draw in sufficient amount of blood. (See the pictures.)
  4. Place the collector into the shaker and shake for the set amount of time (5-30 secs) and then set aside.
  5. Match the cartridge to your monitor lot numbers. They must match!
  6. Insert the cartridge into the monitor.
  7. When alerted, take the top off the shaker and place the sample head into the cartridge until the monitor shows “Testing” or “Run” or the variation word. Do not over expose the sample.
  8. Wait 5 minutes to get your results.

Now you have your A1C! Be empowered, know your numbers.

Stay tuned on WHAT to do with your information in the next blog post!

My Sweet Regards,

❤ SB

 

 

Striving to Thrive

Striving to Thrive

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(Image by: SistersForTheJourneyDotcom.com)

Everyone with diabetes don’t always remember the day they were diagnosed. Some were diagnosed when they were very young and some just have had the day become a blur in their mind. I think the reason my Diagnosis Day is so vivid is that its been less than a year!

I woke up one Monday with one of the worst migraines I have experienced. I administered my first dose of migraine medication and went to bed. (I worked Tuesday-Saturday.) Come Tuesday, the headache did not relent, but I had to go to work. I pushed through the day, hoping for relief on Wednesday.

Wednesday, a few compassionate coworkers sat me down and took my blood pressure. The readings were outrageous: 190/115, 175/100, 205/105. As dangerous as those numbers are, we all attributed it to the pain level I was experiencing.

The pain continued until finally Friday, I called my doctor. I have experienced unrelenting migraines, called cluster migraines before and believed this is what it was.  Once they heard what my blood pressure numbers were, they sent me to the ER. My boss found coverage for Saturday and I left work early that Friday.

Once in the ER, I was quickly seen due to my blood pressure. The bloodwork came back. Surprisingly, for once in a long time, I was not anemic, kidneys looked good, EKG looked good, but my blood sugar was through the roof. The doctor came in and forever changed my life. I was a diabetic, and my sugar was so high, my blood pressure was high.

The next few months were so difficult. Coping, bargaining, dealing and just finding balance. Once I was put on the proper insulin regimen and the insulin pump, I was able to achieve that balance I needed to gain perspective. As tragic as the diagnosis was, I was determined to not allow it to consume me. I was determined to thrive.

I am lucky. I have the education and resources to equip myself immediately to prevent long term complications and even achieve a non-diabetic A1C with the supervision of my endocrinologist. 8 months after diagnosis, my A1C was 5.5. I was thriving. What I did realize was that thousands and millions of people do not have access to the same information as I do.

My daily goal is to strive to thrive. Thriving is living a fullfilled, happy and contentful life. Daily choices, daily actions and daily thoughts are a part of this road of diabetes. I certainly struggle on some days, lows, highs, crazy numbers, but in the end I strive to thrive. I want to share this message of thriving, and therefore this blog Thrive with Diabetes was born. I want to be an avenue for education for my fellow diabetics.

I hope your Dia-Journey is filled with thriving, if it isn’t, do something to start striving for thriving. I appreciate you joining me on this adventure. I hope I can serve as support, advocacy or a resource.

My Sweet Regards,

❤ SB