When is the “right” time?

I never thought that so quickly after getting married we would talk about having a baby. Yes, I have that “motherly instinct,” but I hadn’t thought it would run through my head almost on a daily basis. Is this my brain telling me that I am mentally ready to take the next step? Are the daily conversations with my husband about “not doing *blank* when we have a kid” or “we’ll need space for *blank* when we have a kid” normal for those who are recently married?

When is the "right" time to have a baby? | www.IAmAType1Diabetic.comRight this second, we are definitely not ready to take the next step. We are in the process of buying our first house. We need to get ourselves situated in that new home. We need to make improvements to that new home. We need to make sure we can afford to live in that new home.

Financially, we agree that we need more money before we can “afford to have a kid”. There is no way we could live on just one income. Yes, I understand that you “make sacrifices for a baby,” but I don’t think we are ready to make so many sacrifices quite yet. On top of it all, I am a diabetic, and the high risk pregnancy scares the crap outta me! I just can’t imagine getting my husband all excited about having a baby, and then for something to go terribly wrong. My A1c level is right now is about 7.1.

My dad keeps saying that we are going to make a ‘special announcement’ by our one year wedding anniversary. My sister keeps saying that she can’t wait for my nephew to have a little cousin. My huband’s family loves me. I’m loved in his family. And I have to say, we work pretty damn well together too.

My whole family is leaving little hints that they want us to have a baby. They just don’t understand where I am coming from. I am scared. I don’t want to disappoint anyone, especially my husband. My A1c just isn’t perfect enough to stop my birth control pills and I don’t think I’m ready.

According to others in my situation on typeonenation.org, many OBGYN doctors and endocrinologists suggest that a type 1 diabetic’s A1c be in the 6 range before getting pregnant. During pregnancy, A1c levels should remain in the 5’s in order to avoid complications. I do understand, but I have also heard of many successful Type 1 Pregnancies without such tight control. My endocrinologist has already given me the “green light” to start trying, if we wanted to of course.

Do I have the motivation to lower my A1c? Will lowering my A1c help me to feel like I am ready to be a mom? Will us owning a home and having a little more space make us feel like we could have a kid? Will I ever not be scared, or will my worries just change? Will we ever feel like we are ready? I guess only time will tell… and we have plenty of time!

New Year, New Health Insurance

The beginning of 2015 is upon us. With that said, there is always changes with health insurance, deductibles needing to be met and of course, supplies needing to be shipped out! The health insurance through my job actually runs from July 1, 2014 until June 31, 2015, so I don’t need to worry about any health insurance issues starting in 2015. I am about to reach my deductible and I thought it was smooth sailing from now until the end of June.

Now that I am married and have officially changed my last name, I have the luxury of choosing to keep my own health insurance or go onto my husband’s health insurance policy. After doing research between his family policy and mine, it turns out that his insurance is a hell of a lot better that what is offered at my job, with a very minimal deductible to be met. Even after the deductible was met, his insurance will cover my diabetes supplies at 90% (verses the 50% my job was offering).

New Year, New Health Insurance | www.iamatype1diabetic.comFor the last month, I’ve known that I will be changing insurance in 2015. In an effort to save money, I purposely only ordered a one month supply of OmniPods, test strips and insulin. I thought I would be “OK” with the amount of dexcom sensors that I had, so I didn’t order any extra of that.

On December 30th, we received our new health insurance cards in the mail. I quickly called Insulet (maker of Omnipod) to give them my new insurance, as well as Neighborhood Diabetes (where I get my strips from) and Dexcom’s reorder department. They all said I would need to wait until the policy was in full effect on January 1st before they can send out supplies. Because the 2nd was a Friday and many offices did not open, I have to patiently wait to hear back from them in the coming week.

Unfortunately, today I ripped off my last dexcom sensor. I have been at a loss of not checking the reciever every 20 minutes or so! I feel like a teenager who lost their cell phone; waiting impatiently to call the insurance company so a new one can be ordered. I have been testing my blood sugars a lot more than usual today. I feel like my blood sugars have been all over because I can’t see the typical trend from dexcom of where they are headed.

From testing more, I am using more test strips. I seem to be running low on those too!

Luckily tomorrow is Monday and a normal “back to work” day. I will be on the phone first thing to order all my supplies, and pray that they will be delivered quickly. This girl needs to know what her blood sugar number is!

Simply Making it Through the Holidays…

Below is self explanatory. I have to laugh. I feel like I raised my a1c for the last 3 months just by how my blood sugars were acting yesterday!

Simply Making it through the Holidays | www.iamatype1diabetic.com

I’m kinda glad that Christmas is over, yet New Years may actually effect my blood sugars more. Be careful drinking my fellow diabetic friends! My new years resolution will be to get my a1c below 7.0. I’ve been getting closer, last one was 7.3, but my endrocrongolist  wants to continue to get it down more.

Yoga with Type 1 Diabetes

Yoga is relaxing. Yoga lets you relieve stress. Yoga will lower your blood sugar level.

Yoga With Type 1 Diabetes | www.iamatype1diabetic.comA few months back, I started a graphic design job at a fitness club. I got a free gym membership, and decided to try a Yoga class. I felt great afterwards; relaxed, my mind was cleared, my shoulders had no pain, I was all stretched out, but my blood sugar was severely low.

My blood sugar level was elevated before I began (about 180 mg/dL), and I had given myself insulin.  I thought I had over treated the high. I brushed it off, and tried another class a couple weeks later.

On the second time around, I could feel my blood sugar level dropping, and my dexcom CGM was going off, indicating a quick fall and a low blood sugar reading. I knew something was wrong, so I left my class. I ran to the cafe’ and asked for a glass of lots of sugar, and little bit of water (I had no money on me at this point!)

The next day, I decided to do some research. What were other type 1 diabetic’s have saying about yoga?  To my surprise, there weren’t many articles relating to type 1 diabetes!  Yoga is used as a wonderful tool to lower blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics, but that wasn’t what I needed! The best article I could find, relating to type 1, was from We Are Diabetes.

In non-type 1 diabetics, stress may potentiate action caused by epinephrine, cortisol and glucagon – hormones that boost blood sugar levels and diminish insulin activity. Because type 1 diabetics can not naturally produce insulin every time something stressful arises (and let’s face it, we have just as much stress as non-type 1 diabetics, if not more) we can often experience a series of frustrating high blood sugar readings on our meters if we’re going through a stressful time. Yoga counters the effects of stress by relaxing the sympathetic nervous system, thereby helping the endocrine glands.

That was the best advice that I could find… and it makes plenty of sense. My blood sugars are usually high, probably due to some sort of stress. Yoga relieves that stress, and magically my blood sugar levels plummet!

Having type 1 diabetes is certainly a balancing act. There is always some sort of ‘explanation’ as to why your blood sugars went high, or why they went low. From now on, I need to make sure my insulin pump is turned off, and see what yoga really does to my blood sugar levels.

What has your experience been with diabetes and yoga? Has any other Type 1’s experienced severe lows after doing a yoga session?

Father-Daughter Diabetic Style

Not your usual ‘father-daughter’ dance. I couldn’t keep my blood sugars up.. watch to see why! #diabeticprobs

My wedding day was definitely a day to fight with my diabetes. I tried to eat multiple times throughout the day, but being so busy as a bride, I had a lot of other things on my brain. I made sure to keep my dexcom close at all times, and it definitely saved me from a few severe lows.

In this video, I am wearing both my OmniPod, my dexcom sensor and dexcom receiver. Do you see where they are? Of course not… I didnt want to show off my diabetic issues all day on my wedding. My OmniPod was located on my lower back, towards the right hand side. My dexcom transmitter was located on my upper thy, also on the right hand side. My dexcom receiver was tucked away in the corset of my bra. Easy access to check it, and easy to feel it vibrate for alerts…. nothing like having the ‘girls’ jiggling all night long! haha

While planning the wedding, one of my worst fears was passing out on the dance floor while dancing with my father on my wedding day. I had a few occasions throughout the night when I would sneak away for some juice, snack or cake (the not sugar-free section). The DJ musta had it out for me, because every-time I left, he would call me right back onto that dance floor.

I don’t really know how to offer much advice to those who may one day be in my circumstance, but I can tell you one thing — try to eat as much as you can on your wedding day! I was promised food throughout the day/night, but it wasnt as easy to eat when everyone would come up and talk and/or say goodbye.

My husband and I never woke up more hungry than the day after our wedding.

Tattoos With Type 1 Diabetes

I am an inked girl. I also have diabetes, but I don’t let it get me down.

Can someone with diabetes get a tattoo? Absolutely! And I’m living proof of that.

Tattoos with Type 1 Diabetes | www.iamatype1diabetic.com

A few days ago,  my husband and I got matching king & queen crown tattoos. They are symbolized as our wedding presents to ‘each other,’ and also that we are now ‘one.’

As far as my blood sugars go, I made sure they were ‘normal,’ just like I would do for any other time of the day. I made sure to eat beforehand, and kept a close eye on my blood sugars by checking my dexcom.

The actual tattoo did not affect my blood sugar level. The anxiety of getting a tattoo may have raised my blood sugar slightly, but I felt more comfortable being in the 190 mg/dL range throughout the process. If I was to go low, there simply wouldn’t be a way to run for juice or a snack.

Sometimes we need to realize that diabetes doesn’t control us, we control it. Those suffering with type 1 (and type 2) diabetes need to keep an open mind that nearly anything can change your blood sugar levels. Stress. Anxiety. Carbs. Excercise. Pain. Happiness. Anger. And everything in between affects the hormones in your body, which in turn affects your blood sugar levels. The more aware you become, the better you can pre-predict how it’s going to effect you, and in-turn effect your blood sugar levels.

Because I suffer from type 1 diabetes, my tattoo will take slightly longer to heal then my husband’s tattoo — but I am ok with that. Of course with any tattoo, I’ll have to keep it clean, moist and give it time before letting direct water run on it.

Does Diabetes Need an Ice Bucket Challenge?

Disclaimer: I did not write this… but the author, Moira McCarthy, really inspired me and made me think completely differently.
To find the original article, click here.

Does Diabetes Need an Ice Bucket Challenge? | www.iamatype1diabetic.comIf you don’t know what the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is, you may just have returned from a trek to the tundra. And if you have yet to do the challenge, you may just be the Pope. (But be ready, Pope: Shakira challenged you.)

The Ice Bucket Challenge is a social media sensation that started in Boston, where a young former athlete with ALS challenged five friends to dump buckets of ice over their heads and donate a small amount to ALS research, or not to dump and donate more.

From there, it went more than viral. Millions have taken part. And while many may not “get it” or may not have donated, donations to ALS this quarter are in the $40 million range and growing. (Nearly $20 million came in just one day) Last year? The total in this time was about $110,000.

The Ice Bucket Challenge combines celebrity (Boston pro athletes and movie stars were drawn to the story of a former Boston College athlete battling it; once those celebs went at it, more did), hot summer fun (everyone wanted to dump iced water over their heads), our hyped up online community where everyone wants to make a splash, and “sex appeal,” (starter and ALS patient Pete Frates and his wife, expecting their first child, are downright beautiful on the inside and the outside.) All those things combined for the perfect storm of PR and awareness. And good for them.

It is total rock-star worthy grass roots-at-its-best stuff. It makes use of all the “tools” the world loves today; Facebook, YouTube, and more, and it uses them in maybe the best way most have ever seen. As someone who has long been involved in both advocacy and fundraising, I’m going to say it knocked my socks off.

It’s understandable, then, with the incredible attention the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is getting for those of us in the diabetes community to be in awe, to be inspired and okay, to be a little jealous. After all, ALS is getting a boost like we’ve never seen before.

So you might be surprised by what I’m going to say here: I don’t think the diabetes community needs an ice bucket challenge. At least not right now. Nor do we need a spin off challenge of any kind.

Some diabetes community folks might not like me saying this. Right now, in this moment in time, ALS might just need it more than we do. (Disclaimer: ALS has touched me personally in the past year. Here is my story.)  ALS is a barely-understood, horrible disease with little advocacy, or research. Curt Shilling did his part back in 2004 when he wrote “K-ALS” on his bloody sock during the world series. But other than that, not much has gone on.

Then comes this Ice Bucket Challenge, which started literally down the road from me. And really, some of it was just “luck” for the ALS folks (I hate using the word ‘luck’ here, but you know what I mean.)

And we don’t need to take any of that from them.  Online and in person I encounter diabetes folks saying, “We need a challenge!” One mom started a “pie in the face” thing. Another suggested a “five finger prick challenge”. Some others suggested having people do the ice bucket and ask for awareness of ALS and diabetes, and donations to both.

That all feels wrong to me, and to my daughter, who has battled Type 1 diabetes for 17 years. “Mom,” she said to me today, “Why can’t our community be thankful another community is having success? Why isn’t that enough?”

It should be. And it has been before. Because like all good neighbors, the diabetes community has looked out for other communities in the past. Take 9/11. From the moment the towers came down, it was clear to those of us advocating and fundraising for a cure for diabetes that it was not the time to push that. And so we held back for a time and let charities help victims and their families. It meant a pretty hefty drop in donations to some diabetes charities that year but you know what? In the long run, it meant an increase. Because our “neighbors” appreciated our sensitivity and support.  A few weeks ago, for example, I was speaking at an event of a major company that supports JDRF. An executive said one of the big reasons he is so passionate about JDRF is because JDRF was so passionate about that company’s loss of employees in 9/11. “I knew then you guys were the good guys,” he told me.

And after the Boston Marathon Bombing, we all had to step back and do for others as well. Why? Because it is what our world needed at the time. And sometimes, someone else’s pain or situation trumps ours.

Even when we have diabetes.

We have far to go in the diabetes world. We always need more awareness. And while we fund hundreds of millions of dollars of research annually, we still need to fund more. But things are better, way better. We now have meters covered by insurance. We have a few types of insulin to choose from. We have CGMs. Smart pumps are in clinical trials. A trial for “encapsulated islet cells” is about to start. And our life span is officially longer. So long as we get the care we need and work hard every day, our lives with diabetes will be as long as the lives of people without diabetes.

So let’s keep doing what we do so well in the diabetes world: walk, ride, dance, juggle, whatever, and help fund whichever diabetes organization it is that jazzes you. And remember, the time will come again when we are the community in great need. Perhaps a final push to get approval for a better treatment, or legislation needed to allow some kind of research.

November, Diabetes Awareness Month, is right around the corner. And when that time comes, as good neighbors, I’m sure the ALS community will be here for us.

Wedding Day with Type 1 Diabetes | www.iamatype1diabetic.com

Wedding Day with Type 1 Diabetes

Wedding Day with Type 1 Diabetes | www.iamatype1diabetic.comNow that the wedding is over, and I’m getting back into the swing of things, I wanted to share my experience of managing type 1 diabetes while being a bride.  I have a Dexcom G4 Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) and an OmniPod Insulin Pump. My CGM sensor was on my front right side thigh. My OmniPod was on my lower back — approximately where “www” reads in the above photo. Neither showed through my wedding dress, and that was a big reason why I bought this particular dress. I DID NOT want to be without my Dexcom or insulin pump on my Wedding Day.

Much earlier, I had told our maitre d’ that I had diabetes, and he assured me that he would make sure that I ate throughout our wedding day. I arrived at 10:00am at the reception hall to get my hair, makeup and dressed for the big day. I was provided with a breakfast sandwich while doing my hair. My blood sugars were slightly high (in the 180 mg/dL range), but I wanted them higher to avoid an unpredicted low. My worst fear was falling over or passing out due to low blood sugar on my Wedding Day.

3:00pm came mighty fast!  Next thing I remember was being told that it was time to put my dress on, get photos with our immediate family, and have a “first look” with my groom! I was unsuspectingly calm during this process, but extremely excited. We took multiple photos with all of our different family members, and I could see that guests were beginning to arrive.

My nervousness started to set in, and my blood sugars started to drop. The groom could see it in my face, and he asked the maitre d’ for a glass of orange juice. I chugged down that glass of juice faster then you could image, and drank another one “just in case.” Then I fixed my makeup, and prepared myself (and the bridal party) to walk down the aisle.

I stood there waiting to hear “here comes the bride” and somehow I remained calm. It wasn’t until my dad and grandpa grabbed my arms that I started to feel the overwhelming sensation that this was really about to happen. I took a deep breath and reminded myself that I was getting married to the man of my dreams. All my planning had led up to this very moment!

I tucked my dexcom cgm into the top of my dress and walked down the aisle. The ceremony went by very quickly, but my blood sugars remained normal. At 7:30pm on August 8, 2014, we were pronounced husband and wife.

Wedding Day with Type 1 Diabetes | www.iamatype1diabetic.com

Everyone was escorted into the room for cocktail hour. My husband and I, and our bridal party, went outside to take photos on the beach. It seemed like that took forever, and I kept telling the photographer that I needed to leave and go into the cocktail hour. I needed to eat, and I could feel my dexcom vibrating on my cleavage. I chugged some orange juice again, and prepared to be announced as the new “Mr. and Mrs. Michalski” to all of our wedding attendees. I had a constant smile on my face.

We had our first dance. We heard some speeches. We did the champagne toast. He had his mother/daughter dance. I had my funny father/daughter dance. We enjoyed every minute of the night that was quickly passing us by.

Dinner was not served until 11:00pm. All of the guests were too full to eat anymore, but my husband and I were starving. I was served an extra potato because the maitre d’ knew I needed carbs to hold me over. I was burning up so much energy and it was hard to keep my blood sugar up between dancing around, taking photos, drinking, sweating from the millions of layers below my dress, and not being able to actually eat anything sustainable!

Wedding Day with Type 1 Diabetes | Sugar Free Wedding Cake | www.iamatype1diabetic.com

Our wedding cake was especially made for me. It was covered in Calla Lilies, what I am named after. The top layer was made with Splenda, just so I could be sure I could eat my own Wedding Cake. The frosting, or as I’ve learned that it is actually called fondant, was not sugar free. When we were ready to eat cake, I could really care less if I ate sugar free or regular cake. There was a lot of other things going on, and I was fighting low blood sugars for most of the night. If I got a little high, I didn’t mind. That however, was not the case. The cake made me have normal blood sugar levels, and I later found out, that it was not part of the sugar free cake. I felt lucky, and so happy that I didn’t pass out on the dance floor!

I am happy to share my experiences as a type 1 diabetic and a bride to all of those who may someday be in my situation. The night ended way to fast, and before I knew it, I was whisked away to my hotel room. I enjoyed every moment of our Wedding Day — and tried to cherish all the moments I possibly could. Thanks again to everyone who has wished us a “Congratulations,” and those who have granted us with gifts. We really appreciate everything that was done to make our day so special.

August 8, 2014 -- Our Wedding Day | www.iamatype1diabetic.com

My Heart Beats

Today is the big day. Today is my wedding day.

When Your Around... My Heart Beats Like I've Got Low Blood Sugar | Today's the Big Day! | www.iamatype1diabetic.com

Hopefully, I will be having some low blood sugar levels today! I would like to pig out — but I am scared to think that today is going to work out that way… even though I have a (partially) sugar-free wedding cake!

I have no idea what to expect from my blood sugar levels. I have no idea how my nerves, excitement, and those pesky little alcoholic drinks are going to effect me. I have no idea if my pump placement (on my leg currently) is going to change the way in which my body reacts to my insulin. Or if my dexcom is actually going to be close enough to me to do its job.

Will it be a high day, a low day, or an “ok” day? I guess I just have to wait and find out. Stay tuned!

I guess this blog post really doesn’t have a point… but I needed to vent about how scared I am… and how excited I am. Today is the day that every little girl dreams of, and today is this little girl’s big debut.

My fiancé is a great big part of my life, and has helped me to gain better control of my diabetes. He wakes me up every morning to make sure I check my blood sugars, and is on top of my case when I eat things I shouldn’t be eating.

He has been there with me through the thick and the thin, the highs and the low blood sugars, and shows me every morning how much he loves and cares for me. I know he’ll  make a great husband, and I’ll be his imperfect  little wife.

We have been awaiting this day for a year and a half… and it’s finally here! Wish me luck in tying the knot with this lucky man pictured above.