Category Archives: Type 1 Diabetes

Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

Perspective

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My first infusion was done in a small room with only two infusion chairs. Last week, was my second infusion of Simponi Aria and it was in the “main” infusion center. From what I could tell, most of the patients were fighting cancer.  

I thought to myself, “they are fighting a much harder battle than me, I’m just here for Rheumatoid Arthritis”. And then it hit me. Everyone’s battle, including mine, is important. Just because I’m injecting my small dose of chemotherapy at home and getting a biologic infusion, doesn’t mean that the infusion process is any less scary or intimidating for me. My disease will never be in remission. I have permanent damage to my joints and bones as a result of Rheumatoid Arthritis and no amount of chemotherapy is going to fix that. I could very likely be sitting in that infusion chair, every 8 weeks, for the rest of my life.

So I’m going to try to keep things in perspective. When I see someone cry or flinch while getting a flu shot, I’m going to try to remember that just because I have given myself shots for 28 years, not everyone else has. 

 

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Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

Educating the Doctor

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Today I had the privilege (?) of going to a new Endodontics practice since the root canal, that had already kept me in the dentist chair for four hours, still needed attention. 

I, of course, had the privilege of filling out new patient forms including my medication list and medical history. When I met the dentist, he reviewed what I had written (fabulous start by the way, I hate filling out forms that never get looked at). He said, and I quote:

  • “Looks like you’re in great health” Funny considering there was an actual question asking how my health was on the form. I checked poor. 
  • “Blood pressure good?” 

Yup. That’s all he asked. Thankfully my mouth wasn’t numb, so I could properly respond. “My blood pressure is fine. Just so you know, I wear an insulin pump, in case it starts beeping…” I trailed off as he again asked how my blood pressure was. Is this some sort of new dentist protocol? I know plenty of people are walking around with undiagnosed hypertension. But if you’re that concerned, take my blood pressure. Otherwise, listen to me tell you about the pancreas in my pocket. 

And then I mentioned Rheumatoid Arthritis. Why? Because it’s actually important. Most dentists want to put you on amoxicillin after dental surgery. But that antibiotic and methotrexate can be harmful. 

How about asthma? Last time I checked, breathing was still important, right?

Yes, I’m complaining. So if you’re in charge of creating forms or training new physicians, or just love complainers, listen up. I see the value in your forms. I don’t mind taking the time to fill them out. But do me a favor. Take the time to look at them and ask me about what I wrote down. I promise not to swing my purple pancreas by its infusion tubing and whack you in the head. 

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Type 1 Diabetes

Diabetes Label

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It’s hard not to feel like you’re failing at some point when living with Type 1 Diabetes. Whether it’s a missed bolus, high or low blood sugar, or just public stigma, diabetes can make you feel unsuccessful.

I logged into my hospital’s patient portal today and happened to notice this at the top of my report, from my latest endocrinologist appointment. 


Well controlled. Well controlled? Me? I have a 7.1 A1c. Do a quick search on google and you’ll find plenty of people who only think something starting with a “5” is good. 

A level of 7.1 equates to about a 157 blood sugar average. And, in my opinion, that’s not horrible! Not only do I deal with Type 1 Diabetes but Rheumatoid Arthritis as well. Pain, stress, inflammation, and a flurry of medications all mess with my blood sugar. Not to mention trying to maintain an acceptable blood sugar just dealing with LIFE.

So, well controlled? I will gladly accept that diabetes label.

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Chuck It List Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

Chuck It

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If you have a chronic illness, you can spend a lot of time thinking about what you want to do, but can’t at the time. Your bucket list can go on and on and sometimes it feels achievable while other times it can be depressing. 

Let’s change things up. What would go on your Chuck It list? (Your Chuck It list is things you have done and will never do again and/or things you have zero interest in ever trying) 

For me the following things come to mind:


Tilt-A-Whirl? Nope, never again. Pretzel M&M’s? Yuck. Drink a glass of milk? Not since I was 9 (there’s a story there you can read on my first post…) and hopefully never again. 

I’ve created a Pinterest board so in addition to pinning all over the wonderful things I hope to accomplish as my illness allows, I can also have the power to pin things I have no interest in ever doing. 

I’d love to hear what would go on your Chuck It list- please share in the comments!

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Favorite Things Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

PillSuite Review

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Disclaimer: I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.

Anyone with a chronic illness or two, will tell you that managing it often involves pills. A lot of pills. I easily take up to twenty pills a day- usually split into AM and PM doses. I have a great pill case for home but what about when I travel? I usually bring my bottles (which are cumbersome, large, and not good at staying closed), resulting in a ginormous carry on. If I’m just going away for a night, I use ziploc bags. A giant ziploc to hold teeny tiny pills makes no sense. So what’s a pill popping gal like myself supposed to do?

Enter PillSuite.

PillSuite is an awesome innovation in pill storage. You fill up a funnel compartment with a week’s worth of pills. You dump them into teeny little plastic bags, and push the open end into a little green machine with one giant button. Pressing that button triggers the little green machine to heat seal the plastic bag together. It is extremely easy to do and very gentle on my hands which are often not the most cooperative.

When I first received the PillSuite system, I couldn’t wait to go on a trip. I figured that would be when I would use this item. Luckily for me, I did have a trip planned very soon after I received this product. And yes, the PillSuite was extremely helpful for travel. But I learned, it has many more uses for me.

I was recently prescribed Leucovorin, which is a single pill, that I take 24 hours after injecting methotrexate. My injections tend to be in the middle of the day- not first thing in the morning or late at night, when I take my pills. I simply packaged one pill and dated the Suite for each weekend..then I didn’t have to worry about adding a pill to my case or trying to remember if I took it or not.

It’s also helpful for my children- if they go on a sleepover, I can easily pack them the single pill they will need for the day.

Overall, I found the PillSuite system to be easy to use and a great help to me in managing my medication regimen at home or away. 

You can visit PillSuite here and on their Facebook page

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Diabetes Blog Week Type 1 Diabetes

The Healthcare Experience

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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!


Having multiple chronic diseases does involve a lot of doctors appointments. There are some overall healthcare items I’d like to change:

  • Communication. Especially between providers. And, especially, before my visit. It would be great if my endocrinologist read my rheumatologist’s visit note before my appointment. She would see that maybe I was having a rough month and that prednisone was on the horizon.
  • Fluidity. If I ask my endocrinologist about my trouble sleeping, she gives me some ideas but ultimately says that that issue falls under my PCP. Totally understandable. But maybe she could take the extra step to send a message to my PCP, letting her know that I needed some help. Save me a doctor’s visit and a copay.
  • Timing. My diseases aren’t just being managed from 9 to 5, Monday through Friday. Recently, my insulin pump decided to stop working. At 11pm on a Thursday night. My endocrinologist and Medtronic were easy to get in touch with but my insurance company? Nope. My endocrinologist called in a Lantus Rx, to my 24hr pharmacy, but it was delayed because my insurance initially rejected the claim. It wasn’t resolved until the next morning. Just because I wasn’t in the ER, doesn’t make my need for insulin any less important.
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Diabetes Blog Week Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

Call me Diabetic but don’t call me Arthritic

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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? 

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I have had Type 1 diabetes for 28 years. I am a diabetic. I am also the child of a diabetic. I’m a mother, a daughter, a wife, a blogger, a worker, a neighbor, a knitter, an exerciser. I’m also a person with children, a person with a blog, a person who goes to the gym, etc. I am a lot of things. And all of those things define me. And that’s ok.

I use “diabetic” and “person with diabetes” interchangeably. I’ll tell a physician that I’ve had diabetes for years but in the next breath I might say to someone in the waiting room “oh this is my pump, I’m a diabetic”. I wouldn’t think twice.

Ready for a curve ball? I also have Rheumatoid Arthritis and I think I would be pissed if someone referred to me as arthritic. Just typing that word bothers me. Sure my joints are arthritic but I’m not. I can’t really put my finger on why arthritic bothers me so much yet diabetic doesn’t. I have come to terms with diabetes- I have it, I’ve had it for a long time, and I’ll always have it. Sure my blood sugars can be wonky but in a weird way, I’m used to that. But things are different with RA. RA is painful, it’s debilitating. I would take diabetes over RA in a heartbeat, I wouldn’t need to think about it.

So maybe that is my issue. I have diabetes but it doesn’t have me, so the terms and language don’t bother me at all. But most days, I feel like Rheumatoid Arthritis has me. It controls me. It decides if I’m going to cry in pain on the way to work or if the ice pack strapped to my leg will be enough. And maybe, I need to come to terms with that.

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Diabetes Blog Week Type 1 Diabetes

The Other Half of Diabetes

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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?

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Diabetes is draining. It never goes away, you can’t take a break- it’s kind of like having a toddler and trying to go to the bathroom for one second. They’re right outside the door, screaming your name. 

In addition to the carb counting, temp basals, infusion set changes, beeping pump alarms at all hours, and your pump falling out of your pants on a regular basis (that can’t just be me, right?), diabetes effects your mood. A simple dip or a climb in blood sugar, can set the tears flowing or make you want to grab a bottle of water out of a stranger’s hand. 

Diabetes is draining. So what can a girl do? Laugh. Today I told people at work that my pancreas needed a new AAA battery. I also said that eating a chocolate covered cricket was 100% not worth a bolus (and I stand by this, I will not be swayed, don’t bother trying). 

What else can you do? Share. Get on Twitter- I guarantee at any hour of the night, someone is tweeting about diabetes. Just knowing that at 2am, someone else is dealing with a blood sugar that just won’t behave, means the world. Someone gets you. They get your disease. I encourage every person with diabetes to get connected- don’t go at this alone. 

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Diabetes Blog Week Type 1 Diabetes

Message Monday

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It’s the first day of Diabetes Blog Week! Woohoo! If you didn’t sign up, it’s never too late!

Let’s kick off the week by talking about why we are, in the diabetes blog space. 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?

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I think sharing your story is the most important thing you can do as a patient. Why? Because each of us has a unique perspective on diabetes. There are still countless people- physicians, nurses, family members, friends still don’t understand diabetes or even know enough to help us. And even worse, there are countless incorrect myths floating out there.

My mission is simply, to put a face to diabetes. If one person wears their pump proudly, instead of hiding it, then I have accomplished my goal.

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Family Type 1 Diabetes

You need insulin?

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My father has been in a rehab facility and was recently cleared to move into assisted living. When he arrived at the assisted living facility, he was told that they forgot to bring any diabetes supplies when they transferred him. Small problem. My father is a Type One diabetic and has been for over 60 years. He is managed on daily injections with multiple fingers sticks. They assured him they would have supplies by the next morning. Oh ok, the next morning! 

Thank goodness my father is able to speak for himself and insisted that at the very least he needed an insulin injection before dinner. What did they do? They shipped him off to the hospital. 

I have so many issues. One, my father is recovering and has an already compromised immune system so trips back and forth to the hospital should be avoided at all costs. Two, what the f? How in 2016 can health care staff, at any level, not know about diabetes? Well, they don’t and typically if they’re aware of diabetes, they only know about type 2 or just mash all of the types up into a convoluted mess.  

I feel incredibly helpless. It’s a situation where I want to take on the world. I want to educate every single person on this planet about diabetes. I want doctors, of any speciality, to all have basic knowledge of diabetes and appropriate treatment. From there, I want every nurse, every medical assistant, to understand. 

So I advocate. I share my story, my father’s story. I try to answer every question and clarify as many myths as I can. What can you do? Help me and the other 400 million diabetics worldwide. Take a minute to educate yourself and those around you. Share our stories. And please, ask questions. We love to talk about ourselves and our diabetes! 

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