Category Archives: Type 1 Diabetes

Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

Get used to it

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It’s hard to pinpoint when I got used to being a diabetic. I’ve had this disease for 27 years now and I’ve accepted it as part of who I am. Does it bother me if my pump looks funny in my clothes? Sometimes. Do I enjoy high or low blood sugars? Nope, not one bit. But I’m used to it. I’m used to the fact that eating a box of raisins today may not change my blood sugar but tomorrow it will. I’m used to the unpredictability of Type 1 Diabetes and I’ve accepted it. 

What I am not used to is my Rheumatoid Arthritis, but I think I’m getting there. When I was diagnosed three years ago, I was a mess. Fast forward 6-9 months later, thanks to Humira and methotrexate, I was basically in remission (or how I imagine it to be). I very quickly got used to less pain, more energy, and feeling more like myself. 

Fast forward a few months from there..I got sick and taken off of my miracle meds. I’ve been fighting since. But this time, I know my sense of remission will be different. My doctor, and various imaging and tests, has confirmed that I have permanent damage to my elbow, knee, hands, and feet. This was confirmed prior to spending nine months on Orencia with things getting worse. Permanent. Permanent damage. Permanent stiffness. Permanent pain. 

Up until this week, I viewed a lot of things as bandaids. I would often say “once my biologic works, I won’t need these compression gloves/knee braces/elbow supports”. “Once my biologic works, I won’t have trouble sleeping or need pain meds anymore.”

The goal of my RA medications is to stop or at least slow down the progression of my disease..to reduce inflammation. They simply won’t change what’s already happened to my bones and joints. I’ve known this for awhile now but it never really sank in until yesterday. I caught myself telling my doctor that “as soon as my Enbrel started working, I’d be able to run, sleep well, and wouldn’t need any more pain medications”. As much as I would love for this to be true, I have to start being honest with myself and look for ways to improve my quality of life amongst the pain and fatigue. 

To start, I’m vowing to realize that exercising for a few minutes is better than nothing. Just because I can’t go for a long time like I used to, is no reason to stop trying. I am not going to put myself down and/or think about when the day will finally come that I feel great enough to exercise for hours. I’m going to do what I can, as often as I can, and leave it at that. I just have to get used to it

Type 1 Diabetes


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Today I realized that I am often doing a disservice to the Type One Diabetes community. How? By publicly acting like everything is ok, all the time. 

I went out to dinner with my husband Saturday night. I faced a common problem, where to put my pump when I’m wearing a dress, without a belt. I decided to clip it to my bra, towards my back, under my arm. I had a cardigan on, so I could easily access it but wouldn’t have such a noticeable lump. 

As most Type One diabetics know, going out to eat can sometimes present a problem. Dining out for me means unpredictable eating times, foods that raise my blood sugar unexpectedly, etc. Because of this, I was checking what my blood sugar was, on my CGM, often. Each time I had to pull my bra strap a little to get the pump’s display into view. If I needed to use the buttons, I had to pull it completely out of my dress. Putting it back was another story..basically had to reach down by dress (via the armhole) to clip it back into place. Add on that my Rheumatoid Arthritis had me so stuff it was difficult to turn my neck. I was so self conscious. God forbid anyone saw me using an insulin pump! 

At the table next to me, a few feet away, was a young man in a wheelchair. I couldn’t stop noticing him. Why? Because he was so relaxed, having a great time, while I was going to ridiculous lengths to hide my disease. 

Type One Diabetes isn’t something to be ashamed of. I didn’t cause it, I definitely don’t want it, but it’s part of who I am. It’s been part of my life for over 26 years. I shared what else I hide in my post for Diabetes Blog Week. I have to make a conscious effort to stop hiding. I love seeing someone with an insulin pump on and now they’ll be able to spot me too. 

Type 1 Diabetes

Friday Foods

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Taking a cue from Adam Brown’s recent post, write a post documenting what you eat in a day!  Feel free to add links to recommended recipes/shops/whatever.  Make it an ideal day or a come-as-you-are day – no judgments either way.  (Thank you, Katy of  Bigfoot Child Have Diabetes for this topic.)
Well..this is definitely not an ideal day for a diabetic! I worked from home today, which I don’t normally do. And my husband was off work which isn’t normal either! Typically I pack pretty good food for work, lots of little meals- banana, slice of cheese, yogurt, FiberOne bar, etc. 

I started my day with a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Why? Because it looked delicious and it was. So. Good. Lunch was with my husband at Mission BBQ. Pulled pork with a side of fries. Delicious. Only complaint? I’m so used to my boring tuna or yogurt that I felt super dehydrated due to all of the salt! Husband picked up dinner from our favorite local pizzeria but my Rheumatoid Arthritis is making me feel pretty nauseous and in a bit of pain so I don’t really feel like eating yet. 

We don’t normally eat out much so I figured my blood sugars would go nuts. Nope. I’m running a 120 right now. I’m sure I could do the exact same things tomorrow and my blood sugar would be 250. Go figure! 

Want to see what more of my fellow diabetics ate today? Click here

Type 1 Diabetes


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“Oh, you have diabetes? What type?”

“Type 1.” I reply.

“Oh, my cousin has Type 1 too. She lost a lot of weight and now she’s only on one pill every day. Maybe you’ll be able to get rid of your pump one day!”


I can’t recall how many times I have had this conversation in some way, shape, or form. I hate this conversation. Why? Because by asking me which type I have, you’re implying that you know the difference between the two. But you don’t. I hate this conversation because it starts with me feeling like I’m going to connect with someone over their relationship to my type of diabetes and it ends with me feeling frustrated. 

Yes, diabetes is bad. It sucks. Will there ever be a cure? Maybe, I don’t really know. But what I do know is that no amount of miles run, weight lost, vitamins consumed, gluten avoided, cinnamon sprinkled, will bring my pancreas back to life. 

It. Won’t. Happen. 

I wouldn’t dare go up to someone with cancer and tell them how I think they should treat their disease. I wouldn’t go up to someone with an amputated leg and tell them that if they stopped consuming gluten, their leg will magically come back.

So what change do I want? I want people to be educated. To start, I want all health professionals to know the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. It should be in their “So You Want to be a Doctor” handbook. Every physician’s patients are impacted, if they are Type 1. Surgeon? Yep, longer time recovering/healing, risk of infection increased. OB? Yep, that’s a high risk pregnancy. Primary Care? Yep, how is that medicine you’re prescribing to me going to effect my blood sugar? Podiatry? Cardiology? Pediatrics? Yep. Yep. Yep. 

Vent over. 

Type 1 Diabetes

Clean it Out

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I’m almost a hoarder. A hoarder of diabetic supplies that is. It only takes one crappy insurance plan and one time struggling to get supplies, for you to hold on to everything you can and to replenish as often as you can. 

Can I get rid of the big black Omnipod case? Maybe. I mean, I haven’t worn an Omnipod in almost two years… What about my Dexcom G4? I mean, the sensor is completely dead and, like the Omnipod, I haven’t used a dex in two years either. Minimed Paradigm? Yeah…that pump was exchanged for my current one *ahem* two years ago too…. I might need the instruction manuals, for all of these devices that I don’t use, one day..right? 

But these supplies I need! (Seriously!) Do I really need to re-order every 3 months? No. But should I? Of course! I pay a gazillion dollars for health insurance, not to mention copays. At the very least, I should have a fully stocked closet shelf in case the Diabetes Apocalypse ever hits. 

Type 1 Diabetes

Keeping it to Yourself 

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I’ve been Type 1 Diabetic for 26 years, since I was 9  years old. Growing up, I was on MDI (Multiple Daily Injections). I don’t remember hiding my injections or finger sticks but also don’t remember doing them often at school (this was 26 years ago!).

I’ve been on Insulin Pump Therapy for almost fifteen years. I’ve never really kept it hidden but I try to keep my alarms low so they don’t go off during a meeting, which they always do inevitably. I talk openly about having Type 1 Diabetes and it helps that I work in a pediatric hospital where we have a diabetes program. I often refer to my “purple pancreas” on my side (aka my pump) and don’t make any real effort to hide it around people I know. 

So what do I keep to myself then? Treating low blood sugars. Why? I don’t know. Maybe I don’t want someone to know that I’ve allowed myself to get low (because Type 1 Diabetes is so predictable, right?!). Maybe I don’t want someone to offer to help. Maybe.. I just don’t really know why. When a low blood sugar comes on, I sneak a pack of fruit snacks. I’ve perfected opening the little pouch and pouring them into my hand, all while my hands are inside my purse. I sneak them when people aren’t looking. Same with juice. Just last week, while in the waiting room at my daughter’s doctor, I went to the restroom to drink a little bottle of juice.

I have no problem pricking my finger in the middle of an aisle at Target or pulling my insulin pump out of my dress to bolus. Yet, I’d rather not eat a pack of fruit snacks in front of anyone, let alone a stranger (this doesn’t count my family..they’re lucky enough to get all of me!).  
My secret stash: 


Click here to see what others are keeping to themselves! 

Type 1 Diabetes

I Can

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When I was around 18 years old, I went to the gynocologist for a regular check-up. My doctor stressed to me how important birth control was, not because I was young, unmarried, in college, etc..but because I was Type 1 Diabetic. She told me that women with Type 1 cannot have healthy babies. She said it wasn’t an option. She said being pregnant would cause immense strain on my diabetic body..I wouldn’t be healthy and neither would my baby.

I went on to have two healthy, beautiful children. Sure, it took a lot of work on my part. I was lucky to have a great high-risk ob who worked well with my endocrinologist. But, I often think of myself as being “lucky” to have had two children. I’ve thought that if I ever had a third child, I would really be “pushing my luck”. All because of what one doctor said, one time to me, years ago. Looking back, could she have just been capitalizing on my disease in order to try to keep me from having an unwanted pregnancy? I guess so. But what she said stuck with me.

Women with Type 1 Diabetes have healthy babies all the time (maybe even right this second!) and I am one of them!


Click here to read more “I Can” posts! 

Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

Vicious Cycle

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Type 1 Diabetes and Rheumatoid Arthritis are enemies battling within my body.  I took my methotrexate injection last night. As expected, today has been rough. Here’s what I’ve accomplished:

  • Slept last night for 10 hours
  • Kids brought me eggs in bed which surprisingly tasted great (because I’m nauseous, not because of their cooking!) and then I took a shower
  • I sat down on my bed, in my robe, and woke up an hour later
  • Got dressed (sweats of course) and went to the store for a few things
  • Came back, slept for another 4 hours
  • I’m trying to stay awake for two hours and maybe have something to eat before going to sleep for the night

My blood sugars don’t like this exhaused state that I’m in. I can’t exercise and have barely moved around. I have 1,855 steps for the day right now and if you follow me on Twitter, you know that’s a really low number for me! Because I haven’t moved or eaten, my blood sugars are high. Common sense would say that if you haven’t eaten, your blood sugar would be low, right? Nope. 

Other days, I have the opposite problem. Having a busy day at work and/or exercising keeps my blood sugars in optimal range. BUT, all of that movement pisses off my Rheumatoid Arthritis and I have a ton of pain during the week. Some of my pain medications tend to raise my blood sugar (in my opinion, the stronger the pain med, the stronger the chance my blood sugar will go up after taking it). If your blood sugar is too high, exercise is a bad idea! 

Oh to have just one of these autoimmune diseases…I’d pick Type 1 Diabetes over Rheumatoid Arthritis every time. How about you?

Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes


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I have never, in the past 26 years, been so happy to be a Type 1 Diabetic. Earlier today I picked up my injectable methotrexate. I told the pharmacist that I needed syringes and she asked what type. I told her that I hadn’t injected insulin in 15 years but something short and super sharp would be great. She packed up twelve syringes for me and I left. 

Just a few minutes ago, I went to inject methotrexate for the first time (I used it in pill form awhile ago). When I took the cap off the syringe, I couldn’t believe how long the needle was! I figured I was just out of the whole syringe game and went to inject. The needle was so dull and thick that my scar tissued leg wouldn’t let it even pierce my skin. I tried twice. Nothing. 

I sat on my bed, frustrated, and then realized that I’m a Type 1 Diabetic, a neurotic one at that, and always prepared. Of course I have extra syringes, there’s even one in my purse! I searched through the closet and found a few. I quickly drew up the methotrexate and injected- first try, no pain, no issues! 

My syringe on the left, the “super sharp and short one”, given to me by my pharmacist, on the right.