This past weekend, my friends, siblings and I went to the beach. Yay!! Just what everyone wants to do on a gorgeous 90 degree weather day.
Unfortunately, for those of us suffering with type 1 diabetes, it’s not always that easy. We need to plan ahead. We need to pack extra snacks in case of an unexpected low. We need to carry around an extra insulin pump/pump set in case it gets ripped off by a wave. We need to make sure our pumps and CGM sensors are all placed on our body properly so we don’t get funky tan lines! And remember to check blood sugars more often when being in the sun (mine tend to rise slightly higher than I would like).. My friend and I know it all too well!
Luckily, we had planned a week in advanced that we would be going to the beach. I knew what I needed to bring. She knew what she needed to bring. Those living with type 1 who have never been to the beach (or never thought about what to really bring), here is my list of Type 1 Diabetes + Beach Essentials:
3 Juice Boxes
Granola Bars (I’ve found Chewy bars to be the perfect mix to raise my blood sugar, and keep it steady for several hours)
Needles (just in case I rip off my pump)
Extra OmniPod Insulin pump pouch (again, in case I rip off my pump)
I ended up placing my Dexcom sensor on the side of my boob, and my OmniPod Insulin Pump on the upper part of my butt. (Sorry, hubby won’t let me post ‘detailed’ pictures!) I ended up getting a great tan, had a great time, and met some pretty cool people. Here is where I hid my dexcom sensor… and one of my most favorite spots!
You may have read a recent post of mine about PumpPeelz. They create custom design patterns to fit over your blood sugar meters, Omnipod pumps and continuous glucose monitor systems. It seems that they are also jumping on the bandwagon of diabetes awareness with their new Temporary Medical Alert tattoos!
In my opinion, it is important to be accepting of having diabetes, and making others aware of my medical issues. I have a medial ID bracelet permanently tattooed to my wrist. Click here to see what my medical tattoo looks like.
Pump Peelz explains, “Because we aren’t brave enough to get a real one. There is some truth to this. But really, we thought for those fun trips to the beach or even just to a friend’s house it would be nice to have a temporary solution that is inexpensive and won’t get lost.” I think its a wonderful idea for children (and anyone who’s not old enough or brave enough to get a real tattoo) to use these temporary medical ID tattoos.
My tattoo has helped to spark up a conversation with complete strangers while at the store and with ladies beside me at the nail salon. The tattoo has helped me to voice “hey, I have type 1 diabetes!! If something is wrong, that could be the problem.” These temporary tattoos would do much of the same.
Click here to visit the Pump Peelz website and to get your Medical Alert tattoos! Right now, they have a 15% discount code as well! Simply use this code at checkout: PumpPeelzDeal.
It’s been less than a year for my husband and I. We are still considered “newlyweds.” We are currently about to close on a house. I am trying to understand why people find keeping a marriage together so damn hard?
I feel like I’ve been in a marriage for most of my life… Married to my type 1 diabetes that is. Everyday is a battle to keep my blood sugars in control. Everyday I try to avoid that argument with diabetes, and stay steady at 100mg/dL. When I bolus correctly, exercise properly and don’t eat a bunch of crap, t1d and I are pretty gosh darn happy. Our ‘marriage’ isn’t at risk.
That is not always the case. Many times t1d and I argue. I’ll want to take a walk with the dog; t1d will give me a low blood sugar. I will want to eat a slice of pizza; t1d will punish me with a high for hours later. I’m not hungry, and t1d gives me a low and forces me to eat. I don’t feel well, and t1d makes it worse with another high. It seems like all t1d and I do is argue!
But somehow, I make it work. I have to make it work. How I control t1d now effects my future and my life depends upon it. The life my husband and I have depends upon it. The lives of our future children will also depend upon it.
Controlling diabetes, much like a marriage, is a roller-coaster of ups and downs. The important thing is to keep it balanced, and love all the steady 100mg/dL memories.
We had an ice cream social at work for autism this past week. For every employee that signed their name and had a bowl of ice cream (or frozen yogurt), my company would donate $1 to Autism Speaks. Autism Speaks is striving to provide autism awareness for those who are unfamiliar. I am all for charitable donations, and my blood sugar was going low, so I joined my coworkers.
Upon grabbing my scoop of ice cream, then adding some walnuts, I was slightly taken back at the conversation my boss struck up… and she knows that I am a type 1 diabetic. “You know, you need to be careful in eating all of that stuff. Diabetes is something that needs to be managed well and if it’s not there are a lot of complications you can have. Don’t overindulge and overdo it, kiddo.”
AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! I am screaming inside, and she has no idea how much I want to rip her head off!
I understand that her statement was meant well. And, I understand that many people who aren’t directly affected by type 1 diabetes would have no idea how much work is involved in managing blood sugar control; By directly effected I mean T1D yourself, parent of a young T1D child, sibling to T1D, husband/wife to T1D. They are completely unaware of how often I check my blood sugar, or how much insulin I give myself, or even what exactly good blood sugar control is!
I responded, “I know it’s important to have good blood sugars. I been getting my a1C numbers down. My blood sugar is low right now, and this is my special treat to get my numbers back up.”
She then proceeded to tell me that I need to watch with the smoking and drinking. I have quit smoking (only my electronic cigg). And I really don’t drink all that much anymore. I had 2 long island iced teas when I was out with friends a few weeks ago, and the next morning I felt like I was hit by a truck! I’m not so young anymore, and I’m married, so going out every night isn’t as appealing as it used to be. I rather sit on the couch, snuggled up and watching a movie. But to my boss, I am just a handful of years older than her children, so I guess she felt concerned.
The conversation only got worse when she started telling my about her mother who had diabetes. She would watch over her, and give her insulin. “Which type is the bad type?” she asked. “It depends on what you consider ‘bad.’ Personally, I prefer to say I have the better type because I was diagnosed so early and have had to deal with diabetes for so much of my life, I don’t really remember what life was like before I had diabetes. But then again, people say I have the ‘bad’ type because I am on insulin and have been dealing with it for most of my life. Guess it depends on if you look at the cup as half empty or half full.” Her response, “well, my mom had the same kind as you because she was on insulin.”
“Both types of diabetics can be on insulin. Being on insulin does not mean that you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. It only means that your pancreas isn’t creating enough insulin for your body, so you need to supplement it with insulin shots or the pump like I have. I am a type 1 diabetic because my pancreas creates zero insulin. People who’s pancreas creates little insulin, but not enough for their body, are considered type 2 diabetics. They tend to get it later on in life and have to manage it with diet & exercise along with medication or insulin.” After my explanation, she got very quite because I clearly knew what I was talking about. I may have started to sound a bit frustrated by this point. I made one last statement, “She probably had type 2 diabetes and just needed to take insulin.” Only 5% of people living with diabetes have type 1 diabetes.
Our conversation thankfully drifted off into a different direction at this point.
I wish I could advocate conversations like this with everyone who knows someone with diabetes — being type 1 or type 2 or gestational or pre-diabetes. It is extremely important to know the difference, know how to manage or fix a blood sugar reading, and know what a normal/good blood sugar is. According to WebMD, blood sugars should range between 70 – 130 mg/dL before meals, and lower than 180mg/dL after a meal.
The American Diabetes Association considers an a1C of 7% as ‘normal.’ I may not have ‘normal’ blood sugars for my entire lifetime, but I will never have them bad for long enough to endure diabetic complications. Keeping your blood sugar levels close to normal will prevent many complications such as kidney disease or kidney failure, strokes, heart attack, vision loss or blindness, poor circulation in the legs and feet or nerve damage. Wounds also heal slowly with uncontrolled diabetes, and the potential for amputation increases with high blood sugars.
I hate to say numbers, but my last a1C was 6.9% and I was jumping for joy! I work my ass off in order to keep my blood sugars in ‘normal’ range. I test my blood sugars approximately 8 times per day, and wear a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) that alerts me when I’m higher or lower than I should be. Keeping a very close eye on your blood sugar level continuously throughout the day is the only sure way to stay healthy and avoid any complications.
Today I had all intentions of doing yoga after work. Checked my blood sugar after clocking outta work. 69mg/dL. Diabetes didn’t agree. Sh*t!
If it weren’t for the fact that this instructor makes my blood sugars plummet every-single-time I take her class, I would have gone. So instead of running into a great yoga class, I’m sitting in my car, drinking juice boxes and waiting for my blood sugar to go up!
The whole situation made me think of how many times I avoid doing things because of my diabetes. Or how many times other times I have to do something because of my diabetes? So I compiled a list of the top 10 things diabetes does to complicate my life.
Avoiding a Yoga Class because of an already low blood sugar (or any other exercise). As noted above, I am pretty upset that I am not working out right now. Sports in high school where also pretty rough. But, I made it through!
Avoiding meals with big carb counts to avoid a high (and unpredictable) blood sugars hours later. Pizza, raviolis and lasagna being the worst for me!
Getting out of bed in the middle of the night because of a low and needing juice and/or a snack. It happens way to often. I’ve learned to go to bed with a juice box beside me, but some nights, that just isnt enough.
Getting out of bed in the middle of the night because for a high. It’s a telltale sign that I’m high when I need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. Occasionally I will wake up to extreme thirst from a high, but typically I have something to drink next to me.
Driving because of a low blood sugar. Driving with a low blood sugars causes you to drive as though you were drunk. (It could be considered DUI if you were to get pulled over. If you were given a breathalyzer, your blood alcohol count could also be above the ‘normal’ limit.)
OmniPod or Dexcom alarming at the most awkward times. Last week, I was in church sitting behind a t1d friend of mine. We both use OmniPod. We heard it alarm, and both of us put our hands over it to silence the noise. She was the culprit and it was her pod telling her it was time to change. But, that’s not the point! It was a very awkward time to alarm!
Wardrobe Malfunctions. I wear two things attached to my body 24/7… The OmniPod Insulin Pump “Pod” and the Dexcom G4 Continuous Glucose Monitor “transmitter.” It can be very difficult to wear the outfits I want to wear each day because of a pod or transmitter placement. Today, nothing fit ‘right’ and I could clearly see decom on my upper thy under my pants!
My Mood. With a high blood sugar, you’d think I was full on PMSing. With a low, I act like I’m stoned. Just no winning.
Not always quite feeling “safe.” I can never have enough snacks on hand. I can never have enough insulin in my test kit. I can never quite eat enough with a low. I can never quite get myself enough insulin to bring down a high. It’s a balancing act, and it’s definitely hard to feel safe at one blood sugar. It can easily change 10 minutes from then!
Being able to just pick up and go. Nope, can never quite do that. My husband and I once went to the grocery store, and he was paying, so I left my purse, wallet and meter at home. In the middle of the super market, OmniPod started doing the ‘scream of death.’ I had an occlusion and no meter with me to turn it off. Needless to stay, I put my arm over pod to somewhat silence the noise, but we got some mighty strange looks when I grabbed something off the shelf! Living with diabetes always makes me wonder “how long will we be out?”, “Do I need to bring my purse & meter?”, and “Do I have enough test strips / insulin / glucose tablets until I get back home?”
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!
If you didn’t already know, today is National Employee Appreciation Day. My company decided to send the HR staff around with a plate of cookies to show the company’s appreciation.
Well, sometimes it is things like that that feel like a slap in the face to a type 1 diabetic. I really want a cookie. I really want a cookie! I took that cookie.
I told the HR lady that I would love one, but had to wait until my blood sugars went down. She said, “well, just take one. Is there anything you can do so that you can eat the cookie?” I said “yes, I need to take extra insulin.” “Well, just do that then” was her response.
Poof, insulin gets injected/bolused and my blood sugar is normal. Oh man! If only my diabetic life was that easy.
Now, I have the cookie sitting here on my desk. I am contemplating eating it, but with a blood sugar of 150 (and dropping), I know I have a wait. I gave myself the insulin. And slowly, it’s coming down.
I ate that cookie. And man did it feel good! Blood sugars are now stable at 110mg/dL and I want another one. Luckily, they are all gone and I don’t have to be a “bad” diabetic!
Have you ever been in that “spring cleaning” mood? Over the weekend I was. I’ve been sick for the last few days and I thought a deep cleaning of our bedroom would make me feel better. My idea was to wash everything on our bed (comforter, sheets, pillows etc) and do major vacuuming, mopping of the floor and dusting.
In doing so, I pulled out my night table to get the dust that collected. At first, I found some test strips which I had expected. They tend to fall on the floor when I’m checking my blood sugars at 3:00am. What I found next I was not expecting…
I found proof behind our bed that a diabetic lives here.
Look at all those juice box wrappers! A whole bunch of them behind my bed.
Yup, you’d think a child slept in this bed. You’d think I never cleaned. And you’d think I’m a slob.
Well, I’m not. I’m just a type 1 diabetic trying to correct a low blood sugar in the middle of the night.
Dear Dexcom, Omnipod and my body — I hate these middle of the night lows! It’s now 3:30am and I am now wide awake.
I had my typical-middle-of-the-night-alarm set to check my blood sugar level. My meter said I was 52mg/dL. My Dexcom said I was 49mg/dL. Whoops, how did that happen? For how long have I been like this? How did i miss it? It’s for nights like these that I love my Dexcom.
Tonight, we somehow missed hearing Dex vibrate and alerting that I was low. I guess my husband and I were both in a deep sleep.
I am not complaining, just annoyed with how frequently it does happen. Thank you Dexcom for catching my low blood sugar before it could be much much worse. I am proud to say that my blood sugars are much more controlled since using Dexcom (and having my hubby sleep next to me!) Now, I’m back off to sleep.
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.