A Little Bit of Hydrogen Peroxide and A Dryer Sheet Go A Long Way

Last week my pod expired at work. You know my pod as Gizmo 2.0 – a wireless insulin pump that helps me manage my blood sugar levels and keeps me alive. It will always alert me to its pending expiration date by two consistent beeps … four hours… two hours… oh and it has less than 10 units left… one hour… expired.

I rarely let it hit that expiration mark, but that’s mainly to prevent the one long annoying beep (similar to when an EKG goes flat) that literally requires me to use a hammer to smash the pod until it stops (yes, I’ve done this – inserting a pen into the pod to deactivate this sound has never worked).

I have back-up supplies at my work desk (I like to be prepared). And even though I carry a vial of insulin with me and an extra pod, I failed to carry any alcohol swabs. I use these to wipe the dirt and grime from my skin before inserting the pod for a three-day life cycle. But this is an office, so I checked the first aid drawer in the kitchen (underneath the drawer with the ladles, who would have thought?) and found some hydrogen peroxide. It would have to do (three days later I ended up with a rash on my skin where the pod had been so note to self: hydrogen peroxide is not a good alternative). Continue reading

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Today is World Diabetes Day

Today is World Diabetes Day.

I get the World (some days).

I get the Day (sometimes).

But I don’t get Diabetes, not really, especially my type of diabetes. It’s called Type 1. I don’t know where it came from (spoiler alert: there’s no family history). The post-diagnosis tests revealed no evidence of an autoimmune disorder (that’s when the body attacks itself with no real motive).

Continue reading

A Day in the Life with Type 1 Diabetes

Halloween is a surreal holiday. It’s my favorite holiday, but it is also a reminder of how much life with an incurable chronic condition affects my perception of positive childhood memories. I’m lucky that I could grow up with trick or treating without Type 1 diabetes, but I am also cursed in that I will never relish in the same devilish appetite now that I have a disease that negates sugar.

So, it seems appropriate on this almost All Hallow’s Eve and in preparation for November — National Diabetes Awareness Month – that I should write about what it’s truly like to live a day in the life of someone with Type 1 diabetes. A few weeks ago, I took an ordinary Monday (well, as ordinary as a Monday can be) and tracked every time I thought about my diabetes – every time I checked my blood sugar, every time I calculated carbohydrates for a meal, every time I felt something was “off,” and every time I administered insulin to keep my body alive.

Even I was amazed at how much managing diabetes has become a part of my everyday life. With advancements in technology, I’m able to do more, and I’m able to have more variety in the foods I eat. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think about it any less. That doesn’t mean I can take a break from being there for my body.

So, here’s one example of one day (because no day is the same) with Type 1 diabetes (there are no days off). It’s a long one, so bear with (just keep in mind that this is really how much I think about diabetes on a daily basis – believe me, it sucks). Continue reading

World Diabetes Day: The Election And Some Busted Diabetes Myths

Today is World Diabetes Day, and since many people I come across often confuse Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, I want to take this opportunity to address a few myths about Type 1 diabetes.

But before I do that, I want to reflect on the distress of this past week. I’m not much of a political activist, and I was never enthusiastic about any of the candidates this election cycle. But having come to terms with who our country just elected to represent them, I feel I need to be more vocal (at least about the issues that affect me on a personal level), and I need to be better about standing up for those whose rights are in jeopardy.

That is my personal commitment in light of these election results. I will not judge based on your vote, and I will not give into the hate that is now plaguing our country (although it was difficult not to hate the white heterosexual male this past Wednesday but that’s unfair because I know plenty of white heterosexual males who voted in my favor).

But there’s something you have to know going forward. I’ve written about it a few times on this blog but not in depth. Mostly because I don’t like to give energy to negative entities, and I don’t want to draw myself into contentious battles with fellow family members and friends. And even though I wasn’t surprised by the outcome of this election (you have to remember I grew up in a red, conservative state), I was disappointed. Continue reading

World Diabetes Day: One Hope

Photo courtesy of Hilary Brown

Photo courtesy of Hilary Brown

Today is World Diabetes Day, a day led by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) to raise awareness and advocate for this disease. Globally, there are 382 million people living with diabetes. The U.S. is one of the top 10 countries for the number of people with diabetes, which is about 24 million. The IDF estimates that worldwide the numbers will continue to increase so that by 2035, 592 million people will be living with this disease.

So what is diabetes, and why should we be worried? Put simply, diabetes is when the body’s pancreas stops producing insulin, which we need to digest our food for energy. Type 1, the version I have, is an autoimmune disease, where a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin completely, and one must take shots of insulin to live. Type 2, the version more well-known, is where a person’s pancreas is still producing some insulin, but not enough to convert all of the food into energy.

According to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), the largest global funder for Type 1 diabetes research, as many as three million people in the United States have Type 1 diabetes (15 percent of which are children). Like JDRF says, insulin is not a cure, and they are working to change Type 1 to type none.

One can hope. Continue reading

National Diabetes Month: Wearing Blue Proudly

Carb-worthy ecardNovember marks National Diabetes Month. It includes World Diabetes Day, which happens to fall on the anniversary of insulin discoverer Frederick Banting’s birth on November 14. Yesterday was T1Day, a day for the Type 1 diabetes community to come together and not only raise awareness for our disease, but to provide support.

Yesterday was also my first inauguration into the world of Type 1 diabetes. I have been a Type 1 diabetic for the past five years, diagnosed late at 22, and in that time, I’ve only met a few other diabetics like myself. But yesterday, I volunteered at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s annual Hope Gala in DC.

From the start, one of the fellow volunteers asked me if I had diabetes. I noticed the pump attached to her waistband, and for the first time in my life, I truly felt a part of a community. I explained that I had no family history and that I was diagnosed as an adult, as opposed to most Type 1’s who are diagnosed in childhood. But even so, we talked about insulin pumps, about exercising, about being diagnosed, and the everyday balance. Continue reading