Today I woke up in a daze. The clocks were all different; I was lightheaded and everything around me felt so strange. I just knew my blood sugar was low. I quickly grabbed a juice box, took a selfie and proceeded to check my blood sugar level.
Yes, that is definitely a low blood sugar kind of daze. My hubby claims that my pupils get really small with low blood sugars, so I’m testing out his theory.
I was surprised at how low my blood sugar was. How was I functioning? Somehow my sensor for dexcom must have gone bad. There are no readings for the last 2 hours. It didn’t alert me. It didn’t wake me up. It didn’t prevent my extremely low blood sugar from happening. At first I thought it could have been from sleeping on the sensor. Now that I’ve been awake and it still not showing a reading, I know it needs to be changed.
Both my omnipod and Dexcom need to have the times changed today. Hopefully that will also get my blood sugars back on track!
It is very hard to constantly balance my normal life, and my life with diabetes. Most people don’t understand the stresses I deal with on a daily basis. Today, I would like to share a “Day in the Life of a Type 1 Diabetic”. These are everyday struggles that I and so many other type 1’s deal with everyday.
To start off, I need to show you the devices I use to manage my diabetes and explain how they work. My OmniPod Insulin Pump is a wireless pump attached to my body. It constantly is giving me insulin to keep my blood sugars down. This device gets changed every 3 days. Whenever I eat, I need to test my blood sugar level. I use the meter (the part I am holding) to check my level and to give myself extra insulin (aka bolus). Food, juice, carbs etc. raise my blood sugar level. Insulin in my pump bring it down. My goal is to keep my blood sugar levels between 80 – 140mg/dL. I also have the Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitor which monitors my blood sugar levels. The sensor and transmitter are attached to my body (that’s my upper thy). The receiver is the pink part I’m holding that vibrates to alert me when I am higher or lower than my target range. For right now, I have low alerts set at 70mg/dL and my high alerts set to 170mg/dL. I wear these devices on my body 24/7, and they wirelessly communicate with the other devices you will see throughout this post.
2:06am – My husband is yelling at me to turn shut my Dexcom off. Apparently it’s been vibrating and he can’t sleep. I am extremely drowsy and definitely not awake; I reach for it and knock it off the end table. Grab my OmniPod meter and try testing instead. Blood sugar level is 228mg/dL. Ugh, that’s why Dexcom is vibrating! Go to correct with bolus, and realize I never changed my pod before going to bed last night! Now I really need to get up.
I realize I need to use the bathroom, as high blood sugars make me thirsty and use the bathroom more frequently. I do my business. Then, I quietly locate new pod, fill with insulin (as seen in this picture), rip off the old pod, prime new pod, use alcohol swab to clean new spot and stick it on my stomach. Pinch up the skin and bleep! New pod cannula is inserted. Now I can bolus for 1.15units of insulin to correct my high blood sugar. I then shut off Dexcom so my hubby doesn’t complain and go back bed.
5:10am – I awake from OmniPod meter vibrating, telling me it’s been two hours since I changed my pod. “Please check blood sugar level.” Thirsty, so I already assume I’m high. Blood sugar reads 226mg/dL, Dexcom reads 228. Bolus 1.0 unit of insulin to correct. Get up to get a glass and drink some water. Why hasn’t my blood sugar gone down from my last bolus? I don’t care, I’ll correct again. I’m tired and going back to bed! This was one of those awful “I’m not getting any kinda sleep” kinda nights!
8:10am – My husband woke up, and said it snowed. I got very excited and had to check it out… Yup, all the snow is there!
Since I got up, I decided to check my blood sugar to see if it went down. Blood sugar is 116mg/dL and Dexcom says 138mg/dL. Dexcom shows a red blood drop (in the top right hand corner) which means it needs to be calibrated.
Dexcom requires me to enter 2 blood sugars per day for calibration and to make sure it stays on track. After entering my correct blood sugar, Dex says I’m 123 mg/dL. I am perfectly ok with that! Go back to bed for an hour.
Around 10:00am, my husband asks me to get up, come outside and help him shovel a little bit. I get outta bed, grab my phone and Dexcom, throw on some boots and go out to play. I shoveled a little bit, but not too much of a workout. It was more fun to throw snowballs at the dog and watch her try to eat them!
I should’ve realized that I skipped breakfast. Around 11:00am, Dexcom alerts me to a low blood sugar… a pretty low blood sugar (I don’t remember the number, but it was vibrating without me noticing).
Without testing, I run inside, grab a juicebox and go back outside. That’ll fix it for now, but I know I need some carbs to keep my blood sugar from dropping again.
Ahhh, but look at those pretty trees! (Yea, I got made fun of for taking this selfie… but I love the snow, so I don’t really care!)
1:15pm – Just got done with snow shoveling, and had fixed that low blood sugar. I was still low… at least Dexcom was saying I was. Ate quickly without testing. I had eggs, toast and hash-brown potatoes. Now I’m going to pay the consequences for all those carbs. I’m going high as Dexcom can show you. Blood sugar reads 144mg/dL. I’m definitely going high, and quickly! Bolus 2.85 units of insulin for what I just ate.
5:50pm – For dinner, we went out. Blood sugar is 154mg/dL which is slightly high, but good enough for me. I bolus for my sandwich and fries. I also have a glass of wine, which is always a miss for managing my blood sugar levels.
Shortly after dinner, I get extremely frustrated. My hormones start ranging. My frustration makes my blood sugar level goes up.
Annoyed. Aggravated. and High. Not a good combo.
8:44pm – It’s been about an hour or so after the frustration that I realize I’m thirsty. I test my blood sugar at 269mg/dL. Yikes!!
Dexcom didn’t read it well, didn’t vibrate to alert me that I was high and was way off. It says my blood sugar is 166mg/dL. NOPE! Luckily it was time to recalibrate and I enter in my new blood sugar. It was still off, but a lot more accurate.
9:50pm – This is my bedtime reading… well my last test before I went to bed. It’s an early night as I have work earlier than normal in the morning. Bedtime reading is still high at 244mg/dL. Dexcom is reading 238 and dropping. I bolus another 1.0 unit just in case and try to get some sleep… Hopefully I don’t go low overnight!
Today was filled with a lot of lows and highs.. and not much in between. With my target range being 70 – 150mg/dL, I was only within my goal 33% of the day. Another 67% of the day was high. This is not a normal day for me… but it is proof of how the most minor things can throw off my blood sugar levels, and for hours afterwards! What I thought would be a typical day turned out to be much different than expected!
I am in the process of creating another blog post called “Day in the Life of a Type 1 Diabetics – Part 2,” which hopefully will be a much more “normal” day for me, and a regular work day. Stay tuned for what is to come.
Now 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.
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!
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.
Over the last few days, I’ve been receiving FedEx notes on the door. They keep coming at times when I am working…. but yesterday I was off. My fiance and I live in a two-family house (mother/daughter style), and we have our own entrance to the back side of the house. FedEx clearly would knock on the front of the house, not ring the doorbell, and I missed the package yet again.
Today, I decided to call FedEx and figure out exactly what was going on. I called today to schedule a pickup of the package from Abbott Diabetes Care, and FedEx destroyed the package!!! Yeah — I thought it woulda been strips, but apparently it was a flat envelope. Turns out, Abbott Diabetes Supplies, the maker of Freestyle Test Strips, had issued a letter describing a recall. I, and all OmniPod users, use Freestyle Test Strips for our meters.
Abbott has told all OmniPod users to immediately stop using their meters, and use another one. Since I’m an OmniPod Veteran (yup, I just gave myself that title — and I actually really like it!)… I don’t have any of my old meters. I’ve been using OmniPod since 2006, and this is the first recall I’ve ever encountered.
To all of those other OmniPod users out there, what have you been doing if you don’t have another meter to use? I’ve only been using my OmniPod meter and honestly have no idea where my “old, old” meters even are (or if I still have them?) I have the older blue omnipod meter that I could use, but it’s annoying because it’ll keep beeping to tell me there’s “no active pod”.
If you haven’t heard about the recall as of yet, read below. If you have, and can help with some of my questions, scroll down and comment below.
IMPORTANT: URGENT PRODUCT RECALL
FreeStyle® Blood Glucose Monitoring System
February 19, 2014
Dear Valued OmniPod® Customer,
Recently, it has come to our attention that FreeStyle® Blood Glucose Test Strips may produce erroneously low blood glucose results when using the FreeStyle® blood glucose meter built into the OmniPod® Insulin Management System. Erroneously low blood glucose results that are not recognized may pose significant risks to your health.
Please take the following steps:
If you are using the FreeStyle® Blood Glucose Meter built into the OmniPod Personal Diabetes Manager (PDM), you must discontinue use of any FreeStyle® Blood Glucose Test Strips you may have until you obtain replacement strips from Abbott Diabetes Care. To receive replacement strips at no cost contact Abbott Diabetes Care Customer Service at 1-877-584-5159.
Continue using your OmniPod Insulin Management System (OmniPod) to deliver your insulin therapy. While waiting for your replacement strips to arrive, use the FreeStyle® Freedom blood glucose meter that you may have previously received with your welcome pack. FreeStyle® test strips when used the FreeStyle® Freedom blood glucose meter will produce accurate blood glucose results.If you would like to continue using the OmniPod system to recommend dosing, follow your OmniPod® Insulin Management System instructions for manually entering blood glucose readings.
As always, control solution should be used to check the performance of your test strips and meter until you receive your replacement test strips. If any reading from a strip appears lower than you would expect or does not seem to match the way you are feeling, you should contact your health care provider immediately. Pay special attention to signs and symptoms of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia).
Symptoms of high blood sugar may include: Excessive thirst, excessive urination, blurred vision, weakness, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or are not feeling well, contact your health care professional immediately.
Abbott Diabetes Care will provide further information when you call on the process to obtain your test strips going forward.FreeStyle® Blood Glucose Test Strips are the only strip type that is approved for use with your OmniPod® Insulin Management System. Please read your product information booklet and test strip insert carefully to ensure that you are using the correct test strip type for your OmniPod® Insulin Management system. OmniPod® Insulin Management System is not labeled for use with FreeStyle Lite® Blood Glucose Test Strips.
We recognize the importance of blood glucose testing and are committed to responding quickly to customers’ requests for replacement test strips.
We want to assure you that our first priority is you, our customer. We sincerely regret any inconvenience this situation may cause. If you have any further questions, please call Abbott Diabetes Care Customer Service.
Kelly E. Duffy
Division Vice President, Quality Assurance and Compliance
Abbott Diabetes Care
So I’ve been emailing back and forth with my endocrinologist. He asked me to do a spread sheet of my blood sugar levels. Easy enough, so I thought.
I’m on the OmniPod system, and for some odd reason, I cannot view a list of ALLof my blood sugars in one particular day. Apparently I must have been checking my sugars more than what the makers of OmniPod think is “normal.” My screen will show up to 8 blood sugar readings in each day… but with my whole incident in the hospital, I had a lot more than 8 blood sugar readings in that particular day. I cannot see any readings prior to my dinner time reading!
I called the rep at OmniPod, and she was unable to help me. I explained my situation, and all she could say is that she’ll have someone give me a call back in the morning (after the weekend is over). Ugh!
If anyone else out there has the OmniPod System, and knows how to look up more blood sugars on their meter (without guessing using the graph system), please let me know!
If you find yourself wondering the same question, or other questions relating to dealing with type 1 diabetes while using the OmniPod, join this OmniPod Users Group on Facebook. Other users were able to answer my question in a matter of minutes, not days like the OmniPod reps.
I recently got a comment on my blog asking about finger pricks, and trouble getting blood for a test. Have I ever had this issue? YES! Most definitely!
When I was first diagnosed, I had this issues getting blood from my fingers very often. I was also young, and had less space/area to actually test on my fingers. My fingers did get tough. I used my pointer finger, middle fingers and ring fingers the most. On days when I had issues, I would test on my pinky finger… which for some odd reason, always gave me tons of blood!
Another way I was able to get blood easier was by washing my hands with warm water. The water makes the blood in my fingers more “gushy” and a hell of a lot easier to get enough to test my blood sugar level.
I had once talked with my endo about the blood issue. He had suggested to switch finger prickers, and get the one where you would test on your arm instead of on your fingers. That wasn’t for me. I hated it actually. Then he suggested to use the sides on my fingers instead of just the top part (next to the finger nails) and that worked so much better for me! Also changing the lancet every time you test may help you. You can also try dialing up the depth on the lancet/pricking device (if you haven’t already). Mine is always set to 4 because of my tough fingers.
Dealing with type 1 diabetes as a child a huge burden on the child themselves — and I know from first hand experience. My school nurse was always there to provide me with tips to help me manage my diabetes better, but she wasn’t a type 1 diabetic herself. The best way is to meet other diabetics, and a lot of times, they have plenty of suggestions for the way they do things. You’ll never know what you can learn by having a very simple conversation about diabetes.
I know everyone looks at this blog to read about diabetes, but this time I am getting a little bit more personal.
I was in Myrtle Beach this past week with my boyfriend, his sister and her boyfriend. My goal over the vacation was to read this book called Islands and Insulin. I was able to read the first couple chapters, and I could certainly relate! But kept getting distracted and didn’t read as much as I had hoped to.
Why was I so distracted? Well, while walking down the beach, after posing for a photo, my boyfriend dropped down on one knee, grabbed my hand, looked up at me, and asked me to marry him! And I said YES!
My biggest distraction had been this new engagement ring on my finger. No matter what I was doing, I haven’t been able to stop gazing down at it. My boyfriend (my type 3) is no longer my boyfriend! He’s become my fiance, and I couldn’t be a happier gal.
I haven’t noticed my blood sugar levels change because of this grand news, but I have noticed that I have been forgetting to check my sugars as much as I usually do. Maybe it’s due to the fact that I was on vacation, maybe it’s because I was not on my normal routine, but either way, I’ve been distracted.
Now that I’ve come back to reality, now that I am back at work, things are not back to normal. I have a fiance now. Everyone keeps congratulating me, asking to see my hand. Diabetes seems to have gone on the back burner in my own mind. Those little pricks on my fingers and the attached insulin pump have been the only reminder that I do still live a life filled with diabetes.
So last week I was complaining of higher than normal blood sugar levels… And I believed it was due to stress. Well, now I’ve completed my papers, walked across that stage at graduation, and am on the road to myrtle beach! But my sugars have not decreased!
I’m not too sure what exactly to do. I just recently adjusted my pump settings to give me more insulin, and it’s only slightly worked. I’m more afraid of having lows then being slightly higher than normal.
But all my stress is gone, so shouldn’t my blood sugars return to normal?!! One would think, right? This is the hard part of dealing and controlling diabetes.
Last night I was changing my Omnipod, and had this weird little thing happen. I got a occlusion during the priming period? How does that work exactly?
I am aware that not that many diabetics actually have an OmniPod, so let me clarify. An occlusion occurs when blood or insulin or a mix of moisture gets into the cannula of the pod. The occlusion pretty much means that there is an issue with the insulin being delivered into the body. The pod beeps extremely loud, and as a continuous beep until I use the glucose meter to turn it off.
But why was it odd that this occlusion happened during priming? Because the pod was not actually attached to my body yet, and I never got to the point to pull off the sticky stuff and actually put it on!
I just called OmniPod to report the issue. The people there are really great, and say that they will replace it with my next order. They always tend to take full credit for an issues or occlusion that do happen, so of course they would replace this pod for me.
I really do love my OmniPod, but like anything, sometimes you run into an issue. This was a new experience for me and I thought I would share.
I was talking with a diabetic friend of mine today. She is looking into getting back on the pump, and had some questions for me regarding the OmniPod.
First off, there seems to be a false idea that pods fail very often. Yes, I have had my fair share of pods that have failed, but that also seemed to happen when I first began using the OmniPod. Failures happen when blood or insult gets into the cannula inside the pod, creating it beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeppp! (It’s really quite annoying!) You will no longer be able to get insulin, and are immediately forced to change the pod to continue to get insulin. I haven’t had a pod fail on me in a good 2 years.
A few years ago, I actually received an entire box of failure pods! My first failed, then I replaced it and the second failed within a couple of minutes of wearing it. I put on a third pod, wore it for a day and it failed too. I called Insulet each time I had a failure, and they seemed to think it could have been the entire box (maybe because of something when it was shipped). They sent me a new box of pods, free of charge, and I sent them the box of remaining, unused pods. Stuff like that rarely happens, but it was nice to see that they would take care of it all for me. Sending them back to the manufacture also helps the makers understand what they need to fix in newer versions of the pods.
She also asked me if I have received the new, slimmer pods…. which I have not yet. I had to call Insulet Corp (makers of Omnipod) in order to find out directly what is going on, and when I can get them! The rep I spoke to was very nice, and seemed very excited to hear about me questioning the new pod. Apparently, this past December is when the FDA approved the new design of the OmniPod, and since then, they have been working on manufacturing the new product. They have to make all new PDM’s to go along with the pods as well, and offering it all to current OmniPod users for FREE!! Yay!
Well clearly I am excited about the switch over and cannot wait til I get a smaller pod. Not that I feel like the one I have now is bad, but smaller clunky things under my clothing is always a better thing. My next 3-month shipment will be sent out at the end of this month, and will still be the old version of the pods unfortunately. Insult is hoping that within the next few months they will ship out the new PDM and the new slimmer pods. I will be sure to tell you about the new pods once I receive them!