Sunday, September 4, 2016

Death of a sensor

The topic of sensor life comes up fairly often in various diabetes-related Facebook groups. One question that comes up is how do you know when a sensor is done? Well, today I have no doubt my sensor is completely done. It was fine this morning...only 4 points off from my fingerstick. Within an hour or so, it was telling me I was 53⬇but I knew that wasn't right. I had just eaten breakfast. Fingerstick showed I was 157, which sounds about right considering what I had for breakfast, time, etc. I gave it a little time to straighten up, but after 4 hours it was still wonky (alternating between ??? and far off numbers) so I pulled it. It gave me 3 weeks of great readings and an abrupt ending. Can't complain too much about that! Here's hoping the new one is just as good.

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Saturday, August 27, 2016

4 years

Wednesday was Seth's 4 year diaversary. I asked him on Tuesday night what he wanted to do. Pause. "Oh yeah, I forgot that was tomorrow." It has become such a part of who he is that he doesn't even think about it anymore. That makes me happy and sad. Acceptance is a good thing. That we must accept it is the hard part.  Me? I will never forget that day. It still makes me emotional to think about, even though life is good.

On Wednesday night, we went out to dinner as a family to our favorite local Italian place. We ate bread and pasta with abandon. We talked about all kinds of things, except diabetes. 4 years ago, it consumed us. Now, it's still there but mostly in the background. How can that be, with 3 of us now diagnosed? I don't know, but that's how it is. A blip, a nuisance,  but not front and center.

On Friday, we celebrated with our dear friend Rachel, who met us at the emergency room that morning, and went with us to Children's. This time, we indulged in Mexican food followed by Sweet Frog. Again, our conversations really didn't include diabetes, which thrilled  me. We talked about school and Pok√©mon Go, and various other things. We again just celebrated life.

4 years of KDA. In a few months, we will celebrate life again with Jason's 4 year diaversary. Some people choose not to recognize the day at all, we choose to celebrate life and how far we've come, both individually and as a family. Is there really anything better than that?

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

If I'm talking, I'm fine. Right?

So this happened at lunch today.

This morning we had swim practice. I am helping Jason coach a summer technique class, which has been awesome. Jason had to work until noon at the pool, so I just hung out waiting. We actually decided ahead of time what we wanted for lunch, so we injected our insulin ahead of time to minimize the blood sugar spike (called a prebolus). But then a parent wanted to talk to him at the pool before we left. Then traffic was awful and we couldn't get out of the parking lot. We finally made it to the place we had picked for lunch, ordered what we had already decided on, and had a short wait for our food. My Dexcom showed I was slightly headed down, which I expected and was what I wanted. Just as our food arrived, the shakiness started, followed by the sweating. Jason suggested I test, because Dex was indicating I was in the 70s. I shouldn't be feeling low. Test...39. Wow, no wonder my vision was shaky. I realized I was babbling. I tend to do that when I'm nervous. We decided if I'm talking then I must be ok. Right?

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Saturday, May 21, 2016

Tips and Tricks - 2016 Diabetes Blog Week Day 5

Due to the fact that the school year is almost over and I fell asleep on the couch Thursday night, Friday's post didn't get written as scheduled. Here it is a day late.

Friday's prompt: Let's round out the week by sharing our best diabetes tips and diabetes tricks. From how you organize supplies to how you manage gear on the go/vacation (beach, or skiing, or whatever). From how you keep track of prescription numbers to how you remember to get your orders refilled. How about any “unconventional” diabetes practices, or ways to make diabetes work for YOU (not necessarily how the doctors say to do it!). There's always something we can learn from each other. (Remember though, please no medical advice or dangerous suggestions.)

We've only been dealing with type 1 diabetes in our house for a little under 4 years, but there are some things that I've done to help keep the chaos under at least a little bit of control. Now that there are 3 of us with t1d in the house, it has become even more important. The rest of the house is a mess, but the d supplies are in order.

1) Prescriptions. I think I've finally gotten all of our prescriptions on the same refill cycle. That means just one trip to the pharmacy every 90 days. It took a while to get them all synced up. The CVS app makes it easy to order refills, too.

2) Labels and Sharpies. I label pretty much everything. The Dexcom sensor packages have the initial of the person and the date it was inserted. Plastic organizers contain supplies and snacks, all labeled. Here are a couple of examples.

3) Opsite Flexifix and Skintac. These are essential for keeping Dexcom sensors on for as long as possible. 

4) Portable sharps container. We use old prescription bottles. Works great, secure and compact. 

5) Snacks/low treatments. We have drawers of snacks that are 15-ish grams of carbs or less. I buy packages of crackers and such when the are on sale. Same with candy to use as low treatments. None of us really prefer Skittles, Smarties, and such just to eat so they work well for lows. No temptation just to eat them. I make sure we have a variety of different carb counts , labeled of course, for different situations. 

6) Kitchen "control center." This recycled wine rack holds all of our daily use supplies. Each of us has a spot for our meters and insulin pens. There is a box of each color of pen needle, as well as a box for trash. To the side is a bottle for sharps. 

7) We also have well-stocked bags that I try to double check every Sunday night, adding insulin pens and pen needles, as well as changing the lancets in all meter cases. Juice, a meter, and pen/pen needles live in our bedroom too. Diabetes supplies are everywhere!

8) Insulin. The extra fridge, which was originally purchased when our boys were just entering the teen years, is now pretty much the insulin fridge. It holds the 90 day supply for each of us. The main fridge has the boxes we are currently using.

There ya go! Those are my tips for organizing 3 people with t1d in the same house. Being organized helps us get able to KDA every say.

Read other tips and tricks here.

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Healthcare Experience - 2016 Diabetes Blog Week Day 4

Day 4 prompt: Most people who live with a chronic illness end up with a lot of experience when it comes to dealing with healthcare. How would you improve or change your healthcare experience? What would you like to see happening during medical visits with your healthcare team? How about when dealing with your health insurance companies? What's your Healthcare Wish List or Biggest Frustration? Today is the day to share it all!

I'm actually pretty happy with my current doctor. He is kind, compassionate, and knowledgeable. I've only had one visit with him, but my husband has been going to him for several years. 

Our insurance through our employer is very expensive  (isn't everyone's?) but the coverage is pretty decent. We haven't yet had to fight for anything we need. We haven't started exploring pumps yet, but I don't think we'll have issues there either.

My biggest issue has been with misdiagnosis. Jason was initially misdiagnosed as type 2 and spent several years frustrated and defeated. Seth was initially diagnosed with a mono-like virus and ended up in ICU in DKA. And even though I was armed with specific information, I was initially misdiagnosed by the clinic PA. He was condescending and closed-minded. I presented him with data (sudden onset of symptoms, blood sugar levels, rapid weight loss, etc) and he dismissed it all. He told me flat out there is no way I have type 1. At my age, it can only be type 2. "You would have known before now." I vowed when I heard those words that I would a) not listen to anything else he said, and b) never see him again. I endured the rest of the visit as best I could. Jason is a healthcare professional, and noted several things this guy did wrong, including the way he listened to my heart and lungs. He was unprofessional and lazy in his exam. He wrote me off as a fat, lazy type 2. Please know that is not at all how I feel about people with type 2; that was the vibe he was giving off. He gave me no guidance on diet or exercise, simply said, "Take this pill and come back in a month." I was livid! If this is how people with type 2 are treated by the medical professionals, then no wonder there is such a problem!  I felt dehumanized and worthless, and I knew he was wrong. How awful must it be for people with type 2 that encounter this type of "professional." My heart just aches for them. I deserved better, and I got it. They deserve better, and I'm so afraid many don't get what they truly need. Compassion, kindness, knowledge, and empowerment. Those are the things that people with all types of diabetes need in order to KDA.

To read how others are responding to this prompt, click here

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Language and Diabetes - 2016 Diabetes Blog Week Day 3

Today's prompt: There is an old saying that states “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. I'm willing to bet we've all disagreed with this at some point, and especially when it comes to diabetes. Many advocate for the importance of using non-stigmatizing, inclusive and non-judgmental language when speaking about or to people with diabetes. For some, they don't care, others care passionately. Where do you stand when it comes to “person with diabetes” versus “diabetic”, or “checking” blood sugar versus “testing”, or any of the tons of other examples? Let's explore the power of words, but please remember to keep things respectful.

I've written about the "second language" of diabetes before. We speak in lots of acronyms and phrases that have a totally different meaning outside of the diabetes world. It really is like learning a whole new vocabulary, and it takes a while to get the hang of it all.

There are also words that are very polarizing. For me personally, using the word "diabetic" is not a problem. It's an adjective, a descriptor. It doesn't explain my whole being any more than teacher, mom, wife, brown-eyed, aging, etc. It's one adjective. At the same time, I try to be respectful of those who are sensitive and view it as a label rather than an adjective. They absolutely have as much right to their opinion as I do to mine. 

In our house, we use check and test pretty equally. I understand why some choose not to say test, and if I had a small child with diabetes I'd likely make that choice as well. 

There are probably many other examples, but none of them are hot buttons for me. The real hot button for me is when people use diabetes as the butt of the joke, blaming people for their diabetes. Those people tend to justify it, saying it's about type 2. That just perpetuates more myths and does harm to the diabetes community as a whole. Now, do we joke about diabetes in our house? All the time. But it's among ourselves, and not in a blaming/shaming way. It helps us cope with our disease so that we can continue to KDA.

To read what others have to say, click here

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Other Half of Diabetes - 2016 Diabetes Blog Week Day 2

Today's prompt: We think a lot about the physical component of diabetes, but the mental component is just as significant. How does diabetes affect you or your loved one mentally or emotionally? How have you learned to deal with the mental aspect of the condition? Any tips, positive phrases, mantras, or ideas to share on getting out of a diabetes funk? (If you are a caregiver to a person with diabetes, write about yourself or your loved one or both!)

Wow, where do I even start? The emotional and mental wear and tear of dealing with diabetes is intense. It is always there, always demanding attention. 

For me, dealing with it as the parent of a child with diabetes is the most difficult. Even though he was diagnosed as a teen, I still worried. Worried about his current health (is he low/high, real people sick), worried about his future (complications, jobs, insurance, relationships), worried he wouldn't wake up. The first year was the most difficult dealing with those fears, because we don't let fear rule our lives. I had to deal with it, learn to push it aside, learn not to let it control me. It wasn't easy!

Dealing with diabetes as a spouse is difficult as well. I worry about him too! We've been married 25 years. We work together, including commuting. Our lives are completely intertwined. I want it to continue for a very long time. Again, I have to deal with the issue of fear so it doesn't rule our life. 

Dealing with it in myself is honestly the easiest of the three. Not that it's easy by any means, but I don't have the same battle against fear. Yes, I have some worries about future complications, but it's easier to push those aside for myself for some reason. Maybe I'm still in some bit of denial. I don't know. I guess time will tell about that. There's so much more going on in my head, but I'm a little bit afraid the dam may burst if I go there. Maybe later, a little bit at a time.

Another mental/emotional aspect is All. The. Numbers. Our lives revolve, in many ways, around numbers. Blood sugar, carbs, insulin, insulin to carb ratios, amount of exercise,  time left until bedtime. We all have access to each other's Dexcom data through Nightscout. It helps us stay on track. We're an extra set of eyes and ears for each other. It can be draining, but I wouldn't have it any other way! If one of us needs a data break, who better than your t1 family member to keep an eye out for you? And sometimes, I happen to catch really cool patterns in our numbers. Lots of instance where 2 of us have the same blood sugar at the same time (twins), and sequences. I haven't caught us all at the same number yet, but it will be really cool when I do. We definitely work together as a team to help each other KDA!

Cool sequence I happened to catch

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Monday, May 16, 2016

Message Monday - 2016 Diabetes Blog Week Day 1

I haven't written much lately. Life with 3 type 1 diabetics in the house can be a little overwhelming. I'm hoping that writing for Diabetes Blog Week will get me back in the swing of writing. I have lots to say about my diagnosis!

Today's prompt is:What is the most important diabetes awareness message to you? Why is that message important for you, and what are you trying to accomplish by sharing it on your blog?

I think my most important message I have is that it can happen to anyone. You really never know. When my younger son was diagnosed in August of 2012 at the age of 16, I never dreamed that my husband would be diagnosed 4 months later. After that, I had the occasional thought of my older son being diagnosed, but didn't dwell on it much. Much to my surprise, I was diagnosed in March of this year. Blindsided? Absolutely. 

While I know the mechanics of taking care of diabetes  (testing, injecting, carb counting, etc) being able to do so in my own body is a new kind of adjustment for me. It's been an adjustment for my husband, my kids, and my parents as well.  I think we're all dealing pretty well, and I'm learning how my body responds to the many variables that affect blood sugar. I will absolutely KDA.

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Friday, March 18, 2016

Well, that was unexpected

12 days ago, the symptoms all started to make sense. Excessive thirst and urination, fatigue. You know the drill. So I decided to check my blood sugar. Whoa! Over 600? I seriously did not expect that! I went to the doctor the next day. The PA was the only one available and he totally blew me off! He had me diagnosed as type 2 before he ever walked in the room. He listened to NOTHING I was saying about my symptoms and their sudden onset. He didn't listen to my family history of no type 2, no gestational diabetes, none of that. I left with a blood sugar over 300 and no real treatment plan except to take some metformin and come back in a month. Yeah, like that will ever happen! Thankfully, we know how to take care of someone with type 1 diabetes in our house!

Today, I was finally able to see a doctor that listened. He spent almost an hour with me, asked about my symptoms and when they started, and listened to me! I left with a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes (maybe type 1.5?) pending results of the c peptide test.

So there you have it. 3 people with type 1 diabetes, all in the same house. This is going to be interesting. KDA x 3!

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