Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Diabetes & A 49 Blood Sugar That Sneaks Up Like A Bitch Ninja

It was a morning of trying to plow through, 
taking notes for an article I'm working on, two deadlines looming on the calendar, and doing my best to stop the Graham Cassidy insanity from happening. 
Focusing on getting shit accomplished. 
And out of nowhere, I suddenly felt shaky and tingly all rolled into one. 
I was sweaty and hungry and I didn't feel so steady on my feet. 
Diabetes had snuck up on me like a bitch Ninja and I was dropping fast. 
Status: Threat level Hot Mess, with a blood sugar of 49. 
I grabbed a juice-box, sucked it down, and immediately sucked down a second.
10 minutes went by and I ate 7 Swedish fish from the movie size box in my computer bag. 
The box of Swedish Fish I bought for 99 cents and on sale last week - and I don't even know why I'm mentioning that, but I am. 
Sidebar: Swedish Fish are now much smaller than they used to be. WEIRD. 
5 minutes earlier I was sitting at my computer and everything was fine.

Now? Not so much. 
I did my best not to overeat - easier said then done.
I watched the clock and tried my best to wait before treating again.   
20 minutes later my blood sugar was 95 and I let out a deep breath.
I fiddled with the InstaMessage App for a few, (see above pic,) and 15 minutes later I checked my blood sugar again. 
I was 142. 
A small correction bolus was given - what had gone dangerously low, was now on its way towards the cheap seats. 
Current Status: Blood sugar is172 with 1 unit of IOB. 
Pod PDM suggests I give myself a 0.30 correction. 
For now I'm holding off. 
Back to work - but a quick blog post because this is life with diabetes - and I continue to plow through. 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

My Omnipod Experience - Part 2

Yesterday I wrote about part 1 of switching things up and starting the Omnipod. 
Today I share part two of my experience, where I discuss the stuff I love about podding - and the stuff that takes some getting used to. 
The Stuff I Love
Swimming in the ocean with my Pod - I LOVE IT.
Not having to disconnect, and more importantly - not worrying about the contortion issues re: access to my pump site to reconnect after swimming - which for some reason, was always trickier for me, is freeing in all dimensions. 

The same goes for showering without disconnecting and sleeping naked if I so choose. 
Also: YAY!!

Wearing dresses and not having to wear bikes shorts or pump garters - makes things so much easier. 
I still have to deal with Spanx on occasion, but at least I don't have to worry about dealing with infusion site issues!

Access/Utilizing Arm/Leg Sites Is A Game Changer 
I could never navigate arm sites with my tubed pump and the thought of getting tangled in tubing freaked me out.
Every time I tried a thigh site with my previous pump, they had a limited shelf life and normally only worked for 24 to 40 hours before crapping out. 
Thighs = high access area and the tubing was continually being pulled, yanked, etc. 

With Omnipod, I’m able to wear arm and thigh sites for three days and that makes my life with diabetes easier. 

Scar tissue was a huge issue with me on my previous pump and is the primary reason I chose the Omnipod. I was changing out my site every 30 hours - that’s no longer the case and I’m thrilled. 

Good To The Last Drop
Most of the time I’ve been able to use all the insulin in my pod - that wasn’t always the case with my old pump reservoirs - which normally would be less efficient when the reservoir went below 30 units.

Cool Techno:
When you activate your new pod on your person, the PDM tells you the exact date and time it’s supposed to expire, based on your personal pump settings and insulin amount.
My pods run low on insulin between 3 and 4 hours earlier. 
That’s not on Omnipod issue, that’s a Kelly issue - yours truly needs to do some MAJOR basal rate testing, which I  didn’t want to consider let alone  attempt until I was wearing new diabetes tech. 
Basal Testing is now on the horizon. 

Loud Alarms
 The first time my 15 unit Low Reservoir went off, my PDM was in another room and I thought it was my smoke detector.

The PDM & Pod do their priming dance BEFORE you put it on your body.

Cool Software 
I can download the Omnipod PDM to Glooko, making it easy for my CDE to access all my PDM info: Carbs; blood sugars, basals, carb ratios, etc. 
This should allow for easier tweaks and I'm looking forward to giving it a try.

Blood Sugars
4 out of the first 8 days, my daily 24 hour insulin intake was 10 to 12 units lower than my old “low side” of normal. 
That still seams to be the case 36 days in - sans elevated bg's due to a couple "dead sites," and the summer cold that's been the bain of my existence for the past week.

Facing Fears 
I have officially conquered arm, thigh, calf and love handle infusion sites. 
day 18 (and for the first time, ever,) I attempted a back /love handle site, it required some major twisting on my end, but mission accomplished!
BONUS: Great numbers with that never before used real estate space.
I tried an inner side calf site - it was easy but I had absorbtion issues. 
I’m going to try the back of calf to see if works better. 
Still have not tried back or front belly sites. 

I’ve decided that before I give my abdomen areas a complete break, I want to see how that area works with the omnipod verses my old pump - I haven’t done it yet - but I will. 

Issues /Learning Curves
The only insulin pump delivery system that’s 100% perfect is a fully functioning pancreas. 
I don’t have that - same goes for many reading this post. 
Andit makes sense that changing pumps = dealing with some issues and learning curves 
as I learn to navigate wearing/using the Omnipod insulin delivery system.

Bad Pod/Bad Pod sites 
Dealing with Pod failures and insulin reimbursement issues. 

Unexpected Pod Change Out On Day 2 of Wearing My First Pod  
I wasn’t thrilled, but shit happens - how many times did I rip my old pump's tubing out by walking by a door knob or getting caught on my car's emergency break? .
Answer: ALOT.  
Anyway, everything was working great with my first official pod (left arm,) the first 27 hours. 
Then I started noticing blood sugar spikes that wouldn’t come down, no matter how much I corrected. Something was up and the top of my pod looked uneven. 

I called Insulet's Customer Service and the Rep and I spent almost an hour on the phone. 
I told him my issue, answered a series of questions, emailed the Rep pics of the pod on my arm so Insulet could study the issue and send out a replacement pod.  
The Rep also talked me through my Pod change - it was only my second time and I was a little nervous - but it was easy and he was patient. 
CS Rep and I discussed the insulin reimbursement program - 7 cents per unit (OK, it’s something,) with an insulin receipt and 5 cents per unit without.
I emailed a photo of my insulin receipt from my pharmacy and via my phone to
Insulin Reimbursement takes up to 6 weeks to be approved and payment received. 
There’s two different procedures - one for dealing with a bad pod and or bad pod site, another dealing with insulin reimbursement issues - that can get confusing if you're new to  podding
I’ve learned to take notes and jot down the the case numbers for both, along with the date and the name of the CS I spoke with. 

Follow up
I’d like the follow up fort the insulin reimbursement (it takes 6 weeks,) to be better. 
I’d like an email to be sent saying they received my email and receipt photo and are working on my case.
Sidebar: My second pod (on my right arm,) stayed put for 3 days through daily showers and body surfing in the Atlantic, no problem.

ALWAYS follow up
7 days post my first pod site failure, I called Customer Service to check on the status of my insulin reimbursement and found out the wrong report had been filed.
The new CSR rectified the situation, immediately - and yes, I followed up to make sure.

Day 24 - Pod Failure Alarm
PDM called a Pod Failure while said pod was in Prime Mode and not yet attached to my bod. 
FTR, I liked and very much appreciate that the PDM recognized an issue with the Pod BEFORE it was officially up and running on my person. 
I called CS, they asked me some questions and then told me they’d FedEx me a new Pod. Filed both a failed pod report and insulin reimbursement report. 
This time, the phone call took less than 10 minutes and I received my replacement pod 
3 days later. I returned the failed pod to them in the package and shipping label Omnipod included with my replacement pod. 

All in all, I'm learning and going with the curve~

Embracing Something Different 
Change is difficult - even when it's good. 
Diabetes or not, we get used to doing things a certain way and I love that going with the Omnipod is helping me knock down my walls when it comes to embracing change in life... and life with diabetes.
 I wore a different brand's insulin pump for 15 years, I knew the idiosycricies of that pump brand like the back of my hand - I was losing real estate because of scar tissue and I needed to switch things up - so I did. 

So far, I’m glad that I made the change - and I 'll keep sharing my podding experiences with you guys - The good, the bad, and the diabetesalicious of it all. 

And if you have any questions - ASK! 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

My Omnipod Experience - Part One

Learning and discovering new things every damn day and glad that Insulet gives us 45 days to figure it out. 
There’s a learning curve when it comes to wearing the Omnipod, but so far it's been good - except for a few hiccups along the way.
I’ve taken copious amounts of notes - so many notes that I had to divide them up into two posts!
Part one is below and I hope you enjoy!
So this happened!
Day 1: Omnipod training with my CDE went well and I'm officially untethered!
Wearing pod on my right arm. It's weird not being tethered to my electronic pancreas ,but in a really great way!
Also, discovered that I walk freakishly close to the edge of door frames.
Seriously, why have I not realized this about myself before?  
Another also, since noticing this Kellyism, I have become better at not slamming into door frames.  
Day Day 2: Experienced absorption issues 27 hours into wearing with perfect numbers up until then. I was the wearing the pod on my arm - the one I kept banging into door frames. 
Called CS and replaced pod. More on that in part 2.
Day 5: I swam in the Atlantic ocean with my pod for the very first time - it was fantastic!
Also, it stayed securely on my person - muddy legs and all. 
Actual aerial footage of my and my pod about to
go in for a dip in the Atlantic~
Day 8: I left my PDM/case on the table in a restaurant that I had just exited. 
I immediately noticed after checking my hand bag (to make sure I had my PDM,) and ran back in to retrieve it - and all the while silently praying to the Diabetes Gods that it was still there. It was and I was grateful - it has not happened since. 
Day 9: Wearing the pod on my left arm - it's working well, but I'm aware of my pump whenever I twist to exit my vehicle. 
Day 17: Getting the hang of podding and no longer waking up and reaching to check if my pump is attached to the waistband of my Pajamas. 
Same goes for reaching to disconnect every time I walk towards the bathroom to shower.
Day 35: OK, every once in a while I Still grab my waist band to disconnect before taking a shower - old habits die hard.

Maybe it’s just me
For the first few days, I kept confusing my PDM with my iPhone and whenever I was trying to take a picture of my PDM screen. 
I’d stare at the screen for a few seconds, all confused as to why I couldn’t take a screen shot. 
Unlike an iPhone you can’t take a picture of the PDM screen with said PDM and no matter how hard you try and attempt to press Home button and the nonexistent Silent switch

No matter how hard one tries, you cannot take a
screenshot with your PDM.
But you can customize your PDM~
Day 33 and since I'm being balls out honest, sometimes I still grab my iPhone when I mean to grab my PDM and then wonder "why" and out loud when I press the "Home" button and start to bitch out load because I can’t scroll down.
Then I realize why and I feel like an idiot. 

Spacial Issues
I still have them, but instead of doorknobs and edges issue with pump tubing, arm pods and door frames have become my new jam - literally.  
like I mentioned earlier in the post, for the first few days of podding, I banged my pod arm into my kitchen and bedroom door frames more often than I’d like to admit. 
Now, I'm specially more aware of my surroundings - at least when I'm wearing the pod on my arm. 

Black on Black pump skin 
PDM came with a black Skin. Black PDM + Black Case/ Black Skin means the potential for misplacing is an issue because diabetes or not, I am extremely nearsighted - there's a reason I avoid handbags with black lining and my wallet is not black for a reason - I can't freaking find anything in a blackened handbag - especially a black wallet.
Also, I've put aqua blue K-tape on my black remote control for the same reasons.
My Fix
I have a collection of several brightly colored and insulated, 3 and 3/4 inch X 7 inch, makeup bags. I use one of these bags daily and rotate whenever the mood strikes. 
Currently the one I'm using has owls all over it  - and people stop me every damn day because it's so cute.
 I always put the PDM (and my canister of teststrips/lancets because the PDM also acts as a meter,) back in whatever bag I’m using, ASAP and without fail.
It's now become a full fledged habit - and it didn't take 30 days!

When I go out, I put the PDM, spare pod, test strips,and insulin in said makeup bag, and place in my handbag/work bag. 

Sidebar: Lipstick, eye-drops, my driver’s license and a credit card also fit in the bag along with all of the above mentioned - VERY IMPORTANT.
Also, recently started using bright green skin for the PDM because it brings out my eyes  - but I still bag it~
Owl bag because functional and very cute!
Tune in tomorrow for Part 2, where I break down and get to the nitty gritty re: what I love about podding, as well as the learning curve when it comes to being a Podder~ 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Diabetes Emoji

Do you think that diabetes is trying to tell me 
that it wants its own official Diabetes emoji/emojis?  
No joke and this is NOT photoshop guys. 

THIS is what I saw when I looked down at my fingers 
after I checking my blood sugar this morning (it was 111😁.) 
FTR, that's my blood, not a Sharpie drawn smiley face~

Pretty damn trippy! 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Diabetes Makes Me Do That Thing Where I'm Always Checking

So..... checking as it relates to diabetes - does it drive you batty and please tell me I'm not the only one!
Do you have any tips? 

If so, please feel free to share - diabetesalicious minds want know!
Also, I apologize in advance for the ridiculous amount of times I use the words "checking," and "check." 
Diabetes makes me do that thing where I’m always checking. 
Checking to see if I have enough insulin and other meds; checking to see if I have my pump attached to my person before I walk out the door, and now checking to see if I have my PDM because I’m currently podding. 
Checking to see if I have enough test strips on my person and in my stash. 
Checking to see if I have enough pump supplies. 
Checking to see if I have enough juice; juice boxes, glucose tabs, and regular food in my house. 
Checking to make sure I have glucose tabs, or other low treats in my car.
Checking out the latest diabetes related studies, news, and the likes there of. 

Checking for little signs of diabetes burnout before they become big signs.

Then there’s the paper work required for all of the above, checking to see if my insurance not only covers certain med/supply, etc.,making sure RXs are up to date, doctors appointments are scheduled. 

Then there are things I shouldn't even have to check for, but must -  because someone else didn't do their job. Case in point - making sure my insurance company covers the right copay. 
Since I switched up my plan on March 1, my insurance company has charged me my old 60/40 co-pay for two different prescriptions instead of my current 80/20 co-pay. 
That's a big damn difference.

Guess who was the one to figure it out? 
Guess who was the one who spent two hours on the phone trying to fix it the first time and hour on the phone the second time making sure it was fixed? 

But back to checking. 
Checking blood sugars, checking for ketones, checking to make sure I have extra everything before I go out the door and start my day. 

Most days it doesn’t bother me because the checking has become second nature and I've figured a way to streamline my prep check. 
I have a cool looking (and slightly bigger than my 6+ iPhone when in it’s otterbox,)size brightly colored/insulated bag I use for my diabetes.
I keep my PDM; meter (which I don’t bring now, because I can check my blood sugar via the PDM,) test strips, pump/pod supplies, K-Tape, insulin, backup batteries. 

But even with streamlining, there are still some days when diabetes and checking throws me for a loop - like if my blood sugars are wonky, or if I’ve run out of test strips, or left something D related on the counter.... at home....or at the restaurant I've just left. 
When that happens, I feel like I also forgot to check for my sanity before I left the house, because I clearly feel like it's missing. 

And on those days when I feel as if I’ve checked for my sanity a million times and can’t locate it to save my life - I’m glad I have the Diabetes Online Community, DSMA, and my diabetes peeps.
“Checking out,” and taking a few minutes to read a blog post, chat on twitter, or text with a D friend - that makes all the difference. 
That right there is the best medicine - and I thank you guys for it.   

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Diabetes And Changing Things Up~

I’m a go with the flow kind of gal, except of course when I’m not. 
I love new experiences, meeting new people, and exploring new places. 
But I’m not great with big life changes - even when they're good - and I know that about myself - It’s one of the things I struggle with and I know it holds me back. 
I have no idea why I struggle with life changes so much - but I’m pissed that I do and I’m actively working on fixing this issue - and some others. 

I liken how I embrace life changes to my love of swimming in the ocean - Seriously, it’s like one of my favorite things in the world to do! I love swimming, surfing, body surfing waves, and embracing my inner dolphin.
 I’ve been going out over my head since I was a kid  - jumping off a boat and learning to swam towards Lucy the Elephant at the age of 4. I bought my first surfboard at 25, There was a time I'd take a wave runner out on a 40 mile ocean jaunt no problem - and to this day I swim in the ocean until I start to turn blue. 
But as I grew up, I want from diving in the ocean without thinking... to easing my way in, jumping and dodging waves through the shallow water, cursing the cold waves as they hit my body and splashed my face - until I was finally ready to dive in and take the plunge. 
FTR, I know in my heart and head that if I would just take the plunge and dunk my head under the waves, the water would immediately feel warmer - but I still don't. 
I ease my way in - It takes me a good 5 minutes to dive under my first wave  - and then I’m home free, feeling groovy, and riding waves until I'm too tired to continue. 

Which brings me diabetes - after years of wearing an insulin pump with an expired warranty and using the same brand glucose meter for most of the time, I knew it was well past time to make some changes in my diabetes tech management. 
It’s not like I didn’t want to - I totally did. But my old insurance deductible was super high (and my co-pay, not what I would call generous,) and don’t even get me started on commitment issues re: warranties
But enough was enough, I was well overdue and I knew I needed updated diabetes technology in order to not only stay healthy, but to utilize the elixir of life we call insulin. And I was THIS CLOSE to meeting my deductible - it was the perfect time to switch things up. 
Sidebar: I’ve been dealing with abdomen scar tissue issues for quite some time - problematic on all fronts - not only absorption issues, but I was literally having to change my infusion site every 24 to 34 hours, instead of every three days because of absorption issues - and that gets freaking expensive
I tried my legs and that would work slightly longer, but I could never navigate my arms (tubing issues,) or my back (contortion issues). 
I spent an inordinate amount of time on the phone battling my insurance company to pay for extra boxes on infusion sites, my daily 24 hour insulin insulin consumption kept creeping up and up, as did my frustration levels. 

I seriously considered taking an extended pump vacation, but after having a heart-to-heart with my fabulous Endo Dr. J, and we both felt that Insulet's OmniPod would most likely be the best solution for me. 
I could give my abdomen a much needed and extended break from infusion sites, while trying out other sites on my body. Plus, I'd have 45 days to see if the switch was working for me.

After talking with the some folks at the Insulet/Omnipod booth at the Children With Diabetes, Friends For Life Conference, the paper work was set in motion, my insurance company approved my switch from 15 years on Medtronic, to Omnipod (and paid for a nice portion of it,) and from LifeScan test strips to FreeStyle - no problem. 

Two big diabetes changes for me in a relatively short time.
Beginning with a convo at my Endo's office on June 5th, followed by a convo in Orlando this past July at CWD,FFL, and officially kicking-off on July 31st, at 3 pm, eastern standard time - when I inserted my first OmniPod. 

How's going?? 
My next post is all about my first 10 full days podding - stay tuned!!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Finally, My Experience at #CWDFFL2017 - It Was AWESOME

First my apologies for not posting sooner. 5 days after I returned from CWDFFL, I came down with a nasty viral infection (that I’d probably been fighting off since before I went to Orlando,) that left me with a low grade fever and down for the count for a little over 2 weeks.I've never felt so horrible in my life, I never want to feel that way again. 
More about that ridiculousness in another post because late or not, I want to share my Children With Diabetes Friends For Life, experience.
And yeah, I agreee - IT'S ABOUT DAMN TIME.
When People ask me about the Children with Diabetes, Friends For Life Conference - it’s hard to put into words - and it’s not. 
It’s truly amazing being around people who “get it,” without ever having to utter the D word. 
The immediate friendship and feelings of “me too," that green and orange bracelets bring not only prove that you are not alone - it’s also makes you feel safe and connected  - even if you’re attending the conference by yourself - TRUST ME. 

HAPPY - so much happy!
Watching First Timers became part of the mix makes my heart happy for several reasons. I was a First Timer once, I know how it feels - I also know how it feels when the First Timer fears wash away and the feelings of happiness and community replace them - it’s freaking magical. 

Having a green bracelet wearing child see your green bracelet and watch as you change out your insulin pump reservoir between sessions, and then come up to you all excited saying: Mommy and I just changed out my reservoir too!
And then you get excited and all of a sudden you’re grabbing snacks from the snack table and have become fast friends - and friends for life. SO COOL.

All of It
Laura Hugs; hanging with my DOC peeps in real life, watching some special children with diabetes (and their equally amazing siblings,)  I’ve loved over the years grow up and continue on with the fabulous - And damn if I don’t swell with pride!

Hanging out with friends who have become family and that you see for one week every year  - so many hugs, so much laughter - and it makes you feel great to be alive!

Meeting new adults and children with diabetes and having them become part of the tribe.
And don't even get me started on the Jalapeno Margaritas!

Caring - so much damn caring. 
The unspoken rule of “no man or woman left behind,” and seeing it put into action time and time again. Like when your friend experiences a low and you and your friends spring into action - one goes and grabs a soda, the other offers glucose tabs, and another stays with with your friend - and a Disney employee name Christal from the Snack Bar, runs up with juice and food because Disney not only knows that  CWD,FFL is in town, but are there to help anyone in a green bracelet experiencing a low/ high blood sugar, or anything in-between. 

Whether it’s having friends (who are parents to a grown up t1 daughter and newly minted mommy,) pick you up juice boxes and bottled water at Publix because they worry about you having middle of the night lows - and the wife waits in her car while her husband walks you back to your room and refuses to let you carry any packages. 
Also, said D mama was very specific as to what brand and flavor of juice boxes required because she knows PWD (people with diabetes,) have their preferences. 
Or your PWD friend from the UK, who brings you Cadbury chocolate from Merry Olde England because she knows how much you dig British sweets! 

There’s the feeling of safety felt when I experienced a nasty low on my way back from the exhibit hall - and my friend Joanne ( an awesome chick and DMomma,) sat with me while I downed a Mickey Mouse Ice Cream pop. 
Then Jeff Hitchcock stopped over and said - it’s OK, you’re not alone -and again, the feelings of safety and security washed over me. 

I kid you not, you're awe inspired every damn day at CWD,FFL. In awe of the children, adults, staff, speakers, performers, faculty and yes, in awe of the sunsets! 

On a personal note, I watched in awe as children with and without diabetes come up to the IwishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes booth and drop truth bombs and words of wisdom - same goes for the adults! 

Personal note, part 2. There’s the gift of my own personal journey -not always diabetes related - personal insights from D friends, when they saw that I was  struggling with things having nothing to do with diabetes - and care enough about me to take me aside and talk. 
You know who you are. Thank-you and IRREPLACEABLE. 

CWD,FFL feels like home, because it has become just that to all those who attend. 

Bottom Line: Every day at CWD,FFL there are boatloads of wisdom; tears, laughter, (SO MUCH LAUGHTER,) knowledge, understanding and everything else in between - you are surrounded by those feelings for a solid week.

The Children With Diabetes, Friends For Life Conference is wonderful and overwhelming all rolled into one - and I wouldn’t trade that week in Orlando (IN JULY,) for anything! 

If you have a child with diabetes, or an adult with diabetes - give yourself the gift of attending CWD,FFL!
Here's the LINK to all the upcoming CWD conferences so you can do just that!
And you can thank me when we’re hanging out by the pool next July ;)