fbpx

Category Archives: Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes

Make diabetes suck less by giving mySugr a try!

Published by:

I have been given a mySugr bundle in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own and are in no way influenced by the company providing the items. Affiliate links are included in this post.

For a long time, I’ve been meaning to research some of the unlimited test strip programs out there (for example- you pay a monthly fee and have strips replenished as you need them at no additional charge). I hated that my health insurance dictated how many strips and what brand of strips I had to use, if I wanted my prescription to be covered. I’ve wondered if these products would help parents, who are doing multiple fingersticks a day, for whatever reason (CGM errors, lack of CGM access, etc.), save a bit of money and time. Enter mySugr and their awesome motto “Make diabetes suck less“!

So what or who is mySugr?

mySugr is a patient focused company that have made diabetes a bit more playful and fun (did I really just type diabetes and fun in the same sentence?!). Their goal is quite simply, to make diabetes suck less. Diabetes sucks. It just does, so how exactly does mySugr make it any better to live with? Read on!

The mySugr bundle service

I get pretty excited when I hear the word “bundle”. It sounds like I get “extras” and a bunch of items that go well together and mySugr lives up to my bundle expectation. Here’s what you get:

Blood glucose meter

  • I know, you have a meter. If you’re like me, you have a few. I thought the last thing I needed was another meter. But I love this one!
  • You receive an Accu-Check Guide connected meter. What does connected mean? It means it automatically sends your readings to your smartphone’s app!
  • It’s tiny, fast, and easy to use.

Lancets

  • Shhh! I know! You have a ton of lancets because maybe you change yours as often as me which is slightly less than once a year (gasp).
  • I can say that the FastClix Lancing Device is fancy. Why? It has a drum of lancets so maybe you’ll be more apt to change it because you’re changing a handful at a time? I’ll try to do it myself..
  • And since you’ll now be changing your lancet ALL THE TIME, you’ll appreciate the extra box of them included in your bundle.

Test strips

  • Yes, it includes unlimited test strips. What does that mean exactly? It means that as you use them (and remember, the meter connects to the app?), mySugr will automatically replenish them when needed. No visit to the pharmacy, no arguing that it’s too soon to refill. None of that.
  • To start you off, you receive 5 boxes of Accu-Check Guide strips!

Upgrade to mySugr PRO

Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE)

  • Just to clarify, you don’t get a real live CDE delivered to your house. But in a way, you kind of do!
  • Through the mySugr app, you have full access to a Certified Diabetes Educator, literally at your fingertips.

My thoughts

So does my diabetes suck any less after giving the mySugr Bundle a try? Yes!

First, I love that the meter automatically syncs to the app on my phone. Yes, I have a continuous glucose monitor and an insulin pump. Yes, they collect data but I don’t use them. Why? They’re a pain. If I want to see my pump data, I have to attach my pump to my computer to download. Sure, my CGM has data at my fingertips but I can’t easily see if I was high because I over did a low, was in pain, bolused too little, etc.

The mySugr app allows me to log everything.

  • the type of food I ate (whole grain, fast food, alcohol, etc.)
  • how I was feeling (headache, menstruation, in pain, tired, at work, etc.)
  • how much insulin I bolused for carbohydrates and/or a correction
  • and more- activity, temp basal, open space for notes..

As we know, almost everything seems to affect our blood sugars. As a diabetic who also has Rheumatoid Arthritis, being able to note my pain and activity helps me tremendously. I can come up with a plan with my endocrinologist to better address my higher blood sugars that result from RA flares. This type of logging allows me to have a real insight into things that may cause fluctuations and to be better prepared for them in the future. The less of a disruption diabetes is, the less it sucks!

Giveaway

Yay, a chance for you to give mySugr a try! We’re giving away two, 6-month mySugr Bundle subscriptions (a value over $900) to new mySugr Bundle users in the United States. See how to enter below and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Dysautonomia Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

Surviving a tilt table test with diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis

Published by:

Today I had the pleasure of experiencing a tilt table test. I did a lot of research beforehand on what the actual test entailed, asked others about their experience, etc. Going in, I felt pretty prepared but I walked away with some info to share:

Type 1 Diabetes

You have to fast beforehand which isn’t always the easiest thing to do with diabetes.

  • Make sure you check how early you have to fast- for me it was only 4hrs before the test which is a bit more manageable.
  • If you go low (like I did), apple juice should be your go to. It’s clear and does the trick quickly.
  • It should be ok to wear your pump/CGM. You may have to ask the nurse to check with the physician or someone else in charge as often their initial response is to have you remove it.
  • Be prepared for your blood sugar to respond to the stress this test will put on your body- the anticipation caused me to go low but the actual test made me go high.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

You will be standing in a locked position.

  • Be prepared for some pain during and after the test- the entire test can take 90mins and a lot of that time is standing with very little movement.
  • Bring pain meds to take as soon as you’re done as pain isn’t something they’re necessarily going to address in the cardiac recovery room. I didn’t have anything until I got home and at that point I was feeling awful.

Self care tips

  • Make sure your driver is present during the results portion of the test. It’s a lot of information to process after you’ve just passed out.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and pants as you’ll keep them on the entire time.
  • Take the remainder of the day off. As someone who was back at work right after surgery, you might not believe me, but you will feel horrible after this test. Use your afternoon to give your body the hydration and rest it needs after such a stressful event.
Type 1 Diabetes

New Diabetes case from Sugar Medical for the win!

Published by:

I have been given these products as a gift to review. All opinions are my own and are in no way influenced by the company providing the items.

I’d be lying if I said I couldn’t wait to try the following items from Sugar Medical. If you have a chronic illness like me, especially those of you with diabetes, you end up carrying a lot of stuff.

 

 

 

Here is my original “system”- a make-up bag from Target. Sure the bag was cute but it was bulky and wasn’t easy to carry around on its own. I usually had to shove it into my gym bag and it was cumbersome to fit into my everyday backpack.

 

This bag holds my glucose meter, test strips, lancet device, an extra infusion set, insulin cartridge, syringes, bottle of insulin, bandages, fruit snacks, my inhaler (which might be expired..), and tissues.

 

 

 

 

I let the wonderful folks at Sugar Medical know what I typically carried and how I was currently organizing my supplies. They suggested I try an insulated sling bag and a universal supply case.

First thoughts- color! Most standard meter cases come in black which is great if you don’t love color like I do! And a bright colored bag is definitely easier to locate in the abyss (also known as my backpack).

Setting up my new case was a breeze- it has a little Velcro strip (that is quite strong!) to apply to your meter so you can attach it to the case.

The loops are perfect to hold my strips, lancet device, and the tissues I use to wipe my finger on after testing. I still have an extra loop in the middle which would have been perfect for when I was on Victoza injections too.

 

The case holds everything in place so testing on the go is easy- I can test while driving (not recommended) and at the gym without having supplies falling out of my lap.

The zippered mesh compartment on the inside holds my insulin vial, extra lancets in case I get the urge to change mine (like next year).

Once you zip up the case, you’ll find a large pocket on the front with a Velcro closure. I use this pocket to store my fruit snacks (low supplies).

And the sling bag? Equally perfect! I keep my backup pump supplies in it, along with a small bottle of juice. When I’m going from my day backpack to the gym, I simply pull out my meter case and slide it into my sling bag. The bag is roomy enough for my wallet, gym gloves, and headphones too. When the weather warms up, I’m excited to put a cold pack in, since it’s insulated, and take my bag everywhere.

Bottom line:

The case has made having what I need easy to find and portable. If I’m running to a meeting, I can grab my meter case and know that I have testing and low supplies with me. I can also zip my phone inside and use it for errands when I don’t need backup pump supplies. It has given me a bit more freedom in my life with diabetes.

If you’d like to purchase your own Sugar Medical case, please use my coupon code “ATJAX15” to save 15% on one order (expires 4/14/2018 so get your order in soon!). They have plenty of other styles and colors to choose from as well. And if you’d like to read another review about Sugar Medical’s products, head on over to my friend Rick’s site, RADiabetes!

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes Appointments: Then and Now

Published by:

Today I had my regular 3 month check-up with my endocrinologist. As I waited for the doctor to come in, I thought about how much these endocrinologist appointments have changed over the past (almost) twenty nine years for me.

The A1c

Today I had my finger pricked (ouch, why I can’t use my own lancet device is stupid) and within 5 minutes had my A1c result. And a quick, woohoo for my 6.6! Despite a pretty painful few weeks from RA and having crazy blood sugars from discontinuing Victoza, I was pleasantly surprised to see this number!

Back in the old days (like the 90s), you had your blood drawn and then a week later found out what your A1c was. At that point, I’d already seen my endocrinologist, made some tweaks from my logbook data. So the A1c wasn’t particularly mind blowing to me personally. My Dad though? It was everything (a fellow Type 1).

When I was a kid, I was constantly compared to what I “should be”. Now, I’m happy that my endo shows me the result, says “great job” and then looks at my data and we make changes from there.

The Logbook

Yes, I’m dating myself, but I’m only 38! Back when I was a kid with type 1, every insulin dose, every blood sugar, had to be written down in a tiny notebook, aka the logbook. During my teenage years, I wasn’t the greatest at documenting everything. But I was great at quickly filling in made-up numbers before we left for my endo appointment. Lucky for me (now, not then), my doctor would point out that I used too many even numbers and to work on having more of a variety the next time I filled it out. Oops.

I think that’s the only time I’ve been in trouble from diabetes. I can recall a nice lecture in our living room from my Dad. I’m thankful for my endo calling me out and my Dad enforcing the logbook- my teenage years could have really caused some damage to my body if they hadn’t been looking out for me.

Bloodwork

From 9 to 16 years old, I had the standard A1c and kidney function labs done every few months.

When I was 17, I switched to an adult endo and she insisted on testing my thyroid function in addition to my A1c and kidney function. That proved to be invaluable as I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease shortly thereafter.

When I was in my 20s, another endo insisted on adding Celiac panel testing to my regular labs as the relationship between celiac disease and type 1 diabetes was a hot topic. Thankfully, I tested negative (and have been tested a few other times since).

Now, at the ripe old age of 38, I had Addison’s Disease labwork added to my list today. Although my endocrinologist agrees with my cardiologist’s diagnosis of dysautonomia, and specifically POTS, she also said there is a link between Addison’s and type 1 and she thinks it’s worth a lab draw.

Discussing Medications

Insulin is a given- and that’s always the main discussion topic. But now that I’m older and have had type 1 for almost 30 years, we often discuss adding some additional medications to help my organs stay as healthy as they can be despite the havoc diabetes can cause.

A few years ago we added Lisinopril to help protect my kidneys. I’m on a relatively low dose and don’t experience any side effects.

Today we discussed statins. Although my cholesterol is in the good range, my heart has still had to deal with diabetes for a long time. There’s some evidence that shows taking statins before age 40 could help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. We decided to see how my cholesterol looks at my next visit, see the results of my upcoming echo cardiogram (routine), and go from there.

I’d love to hear if you’ve had similar changes in your doctor’s visits over the years!

Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

I am afraid of my body.

Published by:

My system (used here to reference my entire being- mind, body, and soul) is a mess. It’s as if my body and mind are two separate organisms who used to be friends but now barely utter a “hello” when they see each other.

I find myself constantly tiptoeing around, afraid to set off the bad temper my body has. I slowly get dressed, pulling on compression socks in slow motion as to not upset my already very sensitive leg muscles. I sleep in compression tights in hopes of not waking up in serious pain throughout the night.

I snack on pretzels all day long, starting early in the morning as I drive to work. I try to have something salty in my stomach in hopes that I won’t find myself vomiting, seemingly out of nowhere. I chug electrolyte enhanced water, even when I’m not thirsty at all, to try to appease my body and it’s abnormal sodium need.

My mind gets angry when my continuous glucose monitor beeps incessantly while I’m trying to sleep. My blood sugars are rising and falling without much warning lately.

The unpredictable nature of my body lately, especially the violent vomiting, has my mind feeling so many emotions. I’m fearful of the intense pain that I’ve been feeling lately. I’m nervous that I could vomit in the middle of the grocery store, without warning, especially since I just got quite ill at work and am still embarrassed. I’m frustrated that others take their good health for granted. I’m sad that this is the body I’ve been dealt with.

But I’m also proud. I’m proud that I am still working full time with additional advocacy work on the side. I’m proud that because of my illnesses, I’m raising two very empathetic children who understand that a lot of diseases are invisible. I’m proud that despite the pain and vomiting, I still make myself go to the gym a few days a week for a pretty intense workout. I’m proud that I’ve created this outlet to share my life so I can connect with others and show them that they are never alone in the battle with their own body.

Hope Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

Welcome 2018!

Published by:


Hi again! It’s been awhile since I’ve posted and like a lot of bloggers out there, I’m going to promise you that I’ll be writing much more in 2018. Writing helps me tremendously, I feel better when I share and feeling better is always the goal!

When I initially reflected on 2017, the word “okay” came to mind. But as I dove in, I realized that 2017 was much more than ok. Sure there was pain, there were tears, there were doubts, but I’m going to focus on the good things:

Advocacy

  • Attending the HealtheVoices conference for the second time was incredible. I was able to meet even more amazing advocates and because of those connections, I was able to work on great projects like fighting the Obamacare repeal and helping Hurricane victims get the medical supplies they desperately needed.
  • I was invited to Pfizer’s ReAl Talk Summit where patient advocates and bloggers like myself, got to help shape Arthritis.com to help Rheumatoid Arthritis patients get the information they need on a variety of topics, not just their disease.
  • Until my health got in the way, I had the privilege of being a Community Manager and writer for CreakyJoints. I learned so much about how to manage my own site better and I was able to interact with some amazing writers- I really suggest you visit CJ and take a look yourself.

2018 already holds a lot of awesome advocacy opportunities- you’ll see me as an advisory board member for the 2018 HealtheVoices conference and as a steering committee member for the Autoimmune Summit in March.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • I started seeing a new rheumatologist in 2017 (mine retired at the end of 2016) and she has been a wonderful fit for me. She values my research, loves to hear about my advocacy, and lectures me on getting enough rest (I really need someone to force rest on me and my body!).
  • By the end of 2016, Simponia Aria was added to the list of biologics that had failed me. I tried adding Plaquenil in March and quickly found out that I am incredibly allergic to it. The positive? I won’t have to wonder if it would have helped me, I definitely know it can’t!
  • Knee Surgery- I’ve posted a lot about this so I’ll spare you the details but this major surgery has given me so much pain relief and freedom. Despite the hard recovery, I don’t regret having it done. My surgeon is hopeful that I’ll get a year or many years before having to have the knee replaced.
  • In July I started Rituxan. My rheumatologist told me that although most people get 6-9 months of relief, she thought I should be prepared to get infusions every 4 months based on the severity of my disease. Rituxan has been wonderful to me. My husband has commented that he sees a “pep in my step” which is something I never would have described myself as having. I didn’t realize how much Rituxan was helping until I hit that 4 month mark and started flaring. I’ve just finished up my 2 infusions and hope that early in 2018 they’ve kicked in and my year will be off to a great start!

Type 1 Diabetes

  • This year I also started seeing a new endocrinologist (my previous left right around the same time as my rheumatologist). Even though I happened upon this doctor by chance, she’s perfect for me. Very tech savvy, considers me an important part of all decision making.
  • I left behind my Medtronic 530G in favor of the Tandem T-Slim with Dexcom integration. I haven’t looked back. I love my new pump, love seeing my CGM data on my phone and watch.
  • I had an opportunity to test out the FreeStyle Libre courtesy of Abbott (blog post about my experience coming soon, I promise!).

POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome)

  • This is a new diagnosis and you might wonder, why is this filed under the good things of 2017? For almost two years, I have struggled with dizziness and a racing heart when I stand. I tried to ignore it but over these past few months, the dizziness was so bad that I would see black spots, vomit instantly (like in the kitchen sink because I couldn’t make it more than a few feet). My heart rate would be 75 when I was sitting and shoot up to 130 just from standing.
  • Once the symptoms started impacting my quality of life (and scaring my husband), I finally called my PCP who sent me to a cardiologist. The good news is that despite Rheumatoid Arthritis and Type 1 Diabetes, my heart is great! The other good news is that even though my symptoms haven’t improved at all, I now have a name to what I’m fighting (POTS) and have an appointment to see a great specialist in March.
  • Although this condition is incredibly hard to manage, I’m hopeful that I’ll see some improvement in 2018. I also plan to write about my experiences as it’s been hard for me to find a lot of patient advocates/bloggers sharing their stories.

General Wellness

  • In October, I decided to get serious about my overall health. I’m happy to report that as of today, I’m down 28lbs and am starting to feel stronger than ever.
  • Losing weight has helped my sleep and has decreased the amount of pain meds I need to take. Now that I’ve seen results, I’m confident that I can keep going, no matter what comes at me.
  • I’m working on managing my diet as well and that’s a big part of my 2018 plan. All of my recent nausea has had me limit myself to only a few foods that I know won’t make my stomach feel worse. As a result, I’m going to work on slowly adding back in foods and seeing how my body reacts. Something I’ve wanted to do since my RA diagnosis.

I’d love to hear about your plans for 2018 and what you learned from 2017, please share in the comments!

Type 1 Diabetes

Hundreds of endo appointments

Published by:

I’ve had Type 1 Diabetes for 28 years. I see my endocrinologist about every 3 months, so I’ve had over a hundred appointments so far. And to be honest, today’s appointment was the first one I prepared for.

I know the drill- it used to be to bring in my logbook (which as a teen could have been completely made up at times) and get labs drawn, only to find out what my a1c was, a week later. Now it’s a finger stick in the office for an a1c result within minutes and surrendering my pump to a nurse so she can download pages and pages of data. It’s roughly the same thing, every time.

Today was different. Today I had a short list of items to discuss. When I pulled out my planner, my endocrinologist seemed excited to have a new challenge.

Item 1: A new pump and CGM

In a week, the warranty for my current pump and continuous glucose monitor expires. I’m currently on the MiniMed 530G. I was on a MiniMed pump for the first 8 years of my pumping career. I switched to an Omnipod and dexcom for a few years and then when back to MM when the 530G was released. Although the pod works great for a lot of people, for me, the tube pump provides more consistent insulin delivery. As much as I enjoyed the freedom of the pod, ultimately a tube pump is just better for me.

If you asked me a few months ago which pump I would switch to, I would have immediately said the MiniMed 670. The closed loop is exciting. When I took the time to think of what was important to me, I found that:

  • I want fresh, new technology that also looks current.
  • I want and need flexibility in my CGM site location. I have to use my MM CGM off label- I cannot get reliable results on my abdomen.
  • I want the option to view my CGM data where it’s convenient for me- my phone, a watch, on my pump.
  • I want my pump to be as discreet as possible. Not bulky.

For me this means exploring the T Slim from Tandem with Dexcom. This combo meets my needs better. The device is colorful and simple to update the software for. Dexcom sensors require much less taping than my current sensors, which means that when my Rheumatoid Arthritis is making it difficult for me to reach my back or behind my arm, I can more easily insert a sensor. Dexcom data can be viewed on the pump, on my phone, on a smart watch, and even sent to my husband.

Of course now I wait to see if my insurance is as excited to pay as I am to get started…

Item #2: Weight Loss

I go to the gym as often as my RA allows (usually at least 3 times a week). Like a lot of people with diabetes, I have fallen into the trap of eating roughly the same things as I know the carbs and how much insulin to take. But, unlike a lot of people with diabetes, I also have Rheumatoid Arthritis which can make diabetes Management a pain, literally.

Everything affects my blood sugar- pain, inflammation, lack of activity due to stiffness, nausea, etc. I’ve found that my insulin use has gone up as I often have pesky highs when I’m feeling awful and they aren’t easy to bring down. And with all of the extra insulin, my weight isn’t easy to bring down either.

I asked my endo about meds that would reduce my daily insulin intake which would in turn, help with weight loss.

First med we discussed was Afrezza. I have seen so many fellow diabetics using it with great results. But I quickly learned that those great results weren’t worth the risks for me. Since Afrezza is inhaled insulin, there’s concern for how this affects your lungs. Because Rheumatoid Arthritis caused me to develop asthma and with the risk of RA and lung damage, my endo and I quickly decided that this wasn’t worth the risk at all.

Next up was Invokanna. This drug causes you to basically urinate sugar instead of allowing your kidneys to reabsorb it (this article is a great resource for explaining these meds in better detail). This comes with a higher risk for infection, especially a UTI. Since I’m extremely infection prone (thanks again RA), I quickly eliminated this one as well.

Lastly, my endocrinologist mentioned Victoza. In short, Victoza is a daily injection that helps slow glucagon production, slow ingestion, and decrease appetite. Side effects? Nausea for the first few weeks. I can deal with doubling up my Zofran if I have to- much less scary than an added infection risk or potential lung problem.

So yay! we found a medication to try. But now, I get to wait again to see if my insurance will cover this off label use.

While I wait for my heath insurance to determine my fate, I’d really like to hear from you. What pump are you on and why do you love it? Have you tried adding any medication to your insulin only regimen. What happened if you did?

Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

Here’s your gift bag!

Published by:

My husband had dental surgery today. In addition to post op instructions, he received a gift bag. Yes, you read that correctly. A gift bag. I’ve had quite a few surgeries and other than some ace bandages and a pain medication script, I usually just end up with a bill.

The gift bag had things he would immediately need- gauze packs, instant cold pack. It also had a pen, a t-shirt, and a coupon for a free milkshake from Chick-fil-A. Whaaaaaat?! I didn’t have to run out to the store immediately to get him gauze, we had it. And a milkshake? That’s the perfect post op treat- you haven’t eaten in hours but need to get something in your system (my husband has actually taken me to get a milkshake after every one of my surgeries so we had a little laugh about that at the doctor’s office). And what about the t shirt? Yeah, I’m wearing that now- it has a clever slogan about losing your wisdom teeth. Regardless, it’s clean and comfy.

 

How cool would it be if after my knee surgery, I received a gift bag? With maybe a stress ball to squeeze the crap out of (or bite into) when my nerve block wears off or perhaps a whistle for calling my children to help me? And maybe one of those long grabber things so I could reach my lip balm after I drop it on the floor and can’t bend to reach it?

In all seriousness, what would be in your gift bag? And have you ever been lucky enough to receive one yourself?

Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

#SAVE32MIL

Published by:


The Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act is projected to cause 32 million Americans to lose health coverage by 2020. We need an adequate replacement, not a repeal.

This Friday, starting at 12am EST, use #SAVE32MIL on Twitter, to share your story and why healthcare is important to you. This is a non-partisan event- every American's life is important, and each person deserves quality healthcare.

Join us for a special hour Friday evening (8pm EST), where we'll discuss how to contact your legislators and what to say to them. Be prepared to share your successes and tips in advocacy!

All of this leads up to Monday, July 24th, when you'll be fully prepared to contact your legislators and encourage them to replace not repeal.

Click here to join the Facebook event and be sure to invite as many people as possible!

We are powerful as individuals, but our voices together can really make an impact. Join the conversation on Twitter, using #SAVE32MIL, as often as you can on July 21st.