Tag Archives: Type 1 Diabetes

The Accidental Diabetes Social Experiment

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Many of us with diabetes try to make a point to others that the social ramifications of living with diabetes are issues in need of attention.  Yesterday, I was thinking about how true this is while travelling back in my mind over the last few years.

Let me explain.

Three years ago I was two months pregnant with twins and starting to deal with major nausea that lasted for 3 months.  It’s hard to go out and socialize when a twin pregnancy causes you to throw up and fight a blood sugar of 30 or 40 every other night.  Then my belly size became an issue along with dislocated vertebrae.  It was hard to walk or stand or sit comfortably.  Worry also plagued me and by the time my kids arrived, I had really lost contact with the outside world.

It’s ok you know, I don’t really regret it.  I was super focused on the tasks at hand:  Choose amongst a boy and a girl list of baby names, keep blood sugars near normal at all times, eat healthy, buy two of everything, stay calm, meditate, pray, wish on every star.

While I don’t regret it because my kids came out great, the reality is that I was living an experiment in isolation.  This obviously continued through one of the hardest times of my life where I was so busy and so weighed down with post partum depression and therefore didn’t see people except once a week at the grocery store.  You should have seen the look on people’s faces as they stood horrified as I chatted them up in the check out line as if we were long lost best friends.  People wondered why I didn’t just have people over to the house.  This was difficult because during the first 4 months after giving birth, I was pumping breast milk round the clock and dealing with painful mastitis and basically wandered around like a topless zombie.  I didn’t want to scar anyone for life, you know?  After that, I was dealing with such a severe exhaustion and crippling carpel tunnel and tendonitis that I couldn’t fathom having anyone except my family, see me in a such a pitiful state.  The last time people saw me I was looking my best at my wedding and honeymoon and to show my new, contorted self was seemingly unbearable.  Looking back, I know that worrying about this was silly and superficial but in the moment, I was suffering and stuck in a fog of sorts.

The socializing has gradually increased as managing two of the same age has become easier and now it’s left me to reflect.

This experience made me feel that managing diabetes was easier.  How?  Don’t we all do better with support?  I had plenty of support I think.  My husband Alex, my parents and siblings.  I even have a type 1 support in my family-my sister Ana.

But here is what I touched on when I reminisced:

-When I tested my sugar in the middle of an important office meeting, the thought would run through my mind, “Are they wondering if I can keep up with the demands of this job?”

-When I drank juice in the middle of class in college, people who had seen me test and give insulin would often exclaim, “OMG are you ok?”

-While eating out at a restaurant, I’d occasionally get strange looks from nearby eaters while I injected my insulin discretely at the table.

-In the middle of fun dancing at a club, I’d think, “I don’t want to put my fun on hold and test…should I test?  How’s my sugar?” sometimes resulting in high blood sugars afterwards and a good self-scolding.

.And so many more…

So while pregnant and spending all my time at home, my parent’s house, and the doctor’s office I realized I could relax more.  I kind of welcomed the break to do all of my diabetes things in private or amongst those who were used to it all.  I didn’t know I had been a little exhausted of feeling self-conscious all these years.  But I was.

I was tired of trying to smile at people when testing my sugar so that they wouldn’t give me the pitiful “awww” look.  I was tired of telling my concerned soccer coach that I needed “a minute” to get my blood sugar up.  I was tired of eating candy in class and wondering if people would think that my weekly candy or glucose tablets were the reason I was a little overweight.  I was tired of volunteering for every teacher who asked for help to prove to everyone that I was capable.  I was tired of being out in a group of people and being a verbal ninja trying to explain why it really was ok that I was eating a cookie.  I was tired of worrying that someone would see signs of my diabetes and suddenly change their opinion of me.

These last 3 years, I have rested.  I feel recouped and re-energized.  I have mostly healed the young child and teenager with diabetes who suffered more psychologically than physically.  I am more mature and have more willingness to advocate for those with my condition than I did as a child, teenager, and younger adult.  I know how to advocate for myself, too.  I am ready to get back out there and mingle again.

I’m a little scared because it’s been a while and diabetes and isolation makes the shy person a little more shy.  But, you know what?  I try to remember there are millions of us out there.  Millions of shy people and millions of people with diabetes.

Most likely, the person taking extra notice of me and my huge purse, medical alert bracelet, and speckled fingers is just curious or possibly thinking, “Oh wow, she has it, too”.

World Diabetes Day 2011

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This morning I woke up at 4am with a low blood sugar.  I treated it and went back to sleep until my husband woke me up at 5am.  This is when he gets up to go to work and when I get up to write before the kids are up.  My blood sugar was low again.  I treated it, again.  And then got to writing.  I pricked my finger a third time by 8am to find out I finally was up to 150.  I gave an insulin shot to correct that slight high.  Only 8am and I’ve already met with 4 needles.

After 17 years with type 1 diabetes, I’ve had thousands upon thousands of finger pricks and injections.  I’ve witnessed my loved ones worry over me.  I’ve developed bits of anxiety and depression that make living with diabetes harder than it already is.  I’ve watched people make not so good health choices and wondered if I’d still be worse off than them, while I often make better health choices.  Some days I ask myself if all the hard work is worth it.

Today, on Diabetes World Day, I want others to know that I have Type 1 Diabetes and while I’m not a victim, I am suffering.  I am not helpless, but I do deserve awareness, support, and a cure.  Every day, people with diabetes die because they didn’t get access to insulin or other diabetes supplies.  Every day, people with diabetes die because they didn’t get access to life saving information.  Even in the United States.  People with diabetes suffer because our society in general, is very ignorant about the disease.

Today, we ask for a little awareness.  We want people to know what diabetes is, the difference between type 1 and type 2, and how it affects all of us, globally.  We want people to know that we don’t want pity.  We want a chance.  A chance to live well with this disease and a chance to one day be cured.  A young child shouldn’t have to be held down as his teary mother injects his arm with life saving insulin.  A young woman shouldn’t have to worry that one day having children will not be possible.  A man shouldn’t feel that he is any less of a man because of diabetes.  And what all these people have in common is they don’t want others to judge them and think they don’t deserve help and understanding.

For those of us with diabetes, I think we should all walk the walk.  Do we listen to others and their concerns?  Their diseases?  Their challenges in life?  If we give empathy, we’ll get empathy.  And we should unite together, those of us with different types of diabetes, because our cause will only be strong enough if we unite, not if we take a separate road.  And lastly, we have a responsibility to take care of ourselves.  There are people with diabetes who don’t have insulin.  Those of us who do should cherish that fact and do our best to make decisions that will honor those who don’t even have a fighting chance.  Take care of yourself out of self love but also because it’s a way of loving others.  Others who can’t do what we can and others who are watching and learning by the examples we set.

We want those without diabetes to know it’s deadly.  I want those with diabetes to know that you can live well.  It’s definitely a balancing act.  We are empowered patients and yet, we are in urgent need of help.  It’s ok.  We can be both.  And we can spread the word.

To all my fellow people with diabetes, you can do this.  Don’t give up.  Never give up.

XOXO,

1 In 20 Type 1 Diabetics Will Die from Low Blood Sugar?

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How about this for a diabetes anniversary:

Last Friday I wake up feeling like celebrating my 17 years with type 1 diabetes but remember I have an endo visit the exact same day.  Ugh.  These always make me nervous.

I get online to put up the day’s post and learn about an ad the JDRF just put up that says 1 in 20 Type 1 Diabetics WILL die from low blood sugar.  If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ll know I keep my A1c rather low.  I feel like I have to after previous years of high A1c’s.  I don’t have a problem with lows (meaning I don’t get many severe ones) but that doesn’t mean a singular low event won’t be pivotal in changing everything.  It only takes one bad low.

At my endo visit my doctor shows me the CGM study graphs from when I spent four days, blindly on the CGM with the doctor’s office seeing and recording all my glucose data from those four days.  I couldn’t help but gulp when I noticed my bedtime number of 102 and my wake up number of 108 and a dip into the low blood sugar range in the middle of the night.  In the middle of the night, in other words when I’m asleep, vulnerable, unable to defend myself appropriately.  My doctor gently pointed this out just for my knowledge.  I will make it a point to go to sleep a tad higher than my feel good 80-100 range.  I will do my weekly 3am checks again.  I have slacked on them lately.  Then I talk to my doctor about my anxiety and he prescribes me something.  As I leave the office I can’t help but feel a little defeated.  I hear scary news, I see my blood sugars dipping at night without my knowledge nor consent, and I succumb to an anti anxiety drug all on the day I’m supposed to be saying “In your face, diabetes!”

And you know what?  I’m not even scared of lows.  Rarely.  I assume it’s because I’ve never gone unconscious from one so in that sense I’m very fortunate and spoiled.  About 5 or 6 times in the past 17 years have I ever needed help.   Though, I must fear lows to some extent because I don’t mess around with high carb meals or lots of sugar or anything that will cause me to give a massive amount of insulin, possibly resulting in a subsequent crashing low. It’s just my responsibility to myself as I see it. Just so you know I don’t feel anyone has to do this or should do this. If you want to eat pancakes with syrup, that’s your right. And if you cover them well then good on you. It’s just that I’ve found out the hard way that I avoid scary lows almost completely by avoiding high carb so I impose this on myself.  And it has kept me safe up until now.  I would actually venture to say that avoiding tons of carbs at one sitting is as life saving as much of the technology we seek to help us.  (By the way, I do know that growing children need plenty of carbs and balance from severe limitations.  If you have a child with diabetes, please know this isn’t speaking to you at all.)

So about the ad:

On one hand I’m kind of like, “Well…I do want people to know type 1 can kill me”. On the other hand I’m like, “How on earth can that statistic be accurate?” With some digging I came across the conclusion that it’s not perfectly accurate. It’s a lifetime risk, for one. If you’re concerned with the accuracy of it, read this post. It goes into the math of it.

To be honest, I do want the general public to understand that what I have could kill me rather easily and this ad, though quite dramatically, helps do that.  I’m secretly (or not so secretly), grateful for that.

I do want to say that fear gets us absolutely nowhere.  I would know.  I’m now starting an anti anxiety drug just to help me stop a cycle of fear fueled thoughts.  Thoughts that are sort of taking me over and ironically, not allowing me to take care of myself properly.  I will write more about this soon.

For now I want to remind us all that fear gets in our way, it impedes our actions, and our decision making skills.  It sucks joy out of life.  It escalates into paranoia if squeezed too tightly.  So I encourage all of us struggling with this news to take a deep breathe and remember that fear must be managed.  We can’t let it win.  We have to keep it in it’s place by focusing on what we have and what we want.  If we focus on being healthy we’ll focus on doing those things we need to do to be healthy.  If we focus on how a low blood sugar might kill us, we won’t be focusing on those actions which will keep us safe because fear will keep us distracted or immobilized.  I realize it’s a fine line because by being aware we can prevent things from happening.  The point is for us to try not to be so afraid.  To have a little faith.

We can do this, too.

DSMA October Entry Post

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The question is: What types of decisions and frequency of diabetes related decisions do you make in any given day?

My initial reaction to this question is, “Ugh, where do I begin?”

You see…because my type 1 diabetes involves so many decisions each day, many of them are kind of innate.

I feel this is a good time to share something.  You may think I’m nuts or a liar or both (or maybe you do this, too!) but for example, I never consciously carb count.

Seriously.  I can’t remember the last time I “carb counted”.

Before you think I’m psycho…have you ever driven to work or someplace usual and realized as you parked, “I don’t remember driving here”.  In other words, you were not fully present in the act of driving some place because you do it all the time and just go through the motions.  Ever done that?

That’s what I do with carb counting.  When I realized this today, I checked out my meter.  This past week I’ve tested about 8 times a day, averaged 130 on my meter for the past week, and had 3 lows (62, 53, and 58).  So I’d say that my insulin has been approximately on target for what I eat.  This tells me that I’m aware enough to do a pretty decent carb count, just not aware enough to remember the steps.  It’s a dangerous place to be because that’s how I’ve also given 20 units of fast acting insulin instead of Lantus.  On um, two occasions in the past.  I’m on autopilot so much and in those instances I grabbed my insulin and just dialed the units, without giving much thought to how many units or which insulin I had. I’ve also tested, walked away from my meter and 20 minutes later said, “Omg, I don’t recall looking at my blood sugar result” and have had to check the memory on the meter for the last result.  Suffice to say I’m working on being more mindful when I test and give insulin and prepare to know how many carbs I’m going to have.

If you have diabetes you already know all of the decisions I make and how often I make them.  Because you make them, too.

I just wanted to take this opportunity to discuss a personal phenomenon of mine, one I’m trying to break.  After 17 years of looking at food and automatically scanning it for carbs, it’s a difficult change to make.  However, I’m pretty sure it’s a habit that needs to be adjusted.

Any of you do this?  Just look at a plate of food and subconsciously add up the carb count, translate that to insulin units, and give the insulin?  If you do and if it’s any consolation, it’s like we diabetics are a new breed of human.  Kind of magical, even.  Now if only I could clean the house without even being aware I’m doing it.  THAT would be magical.

Check out more DSMA October carnival posts here!

Sing The Blues and Let them Go

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Things I’m worried about right now:

The kids not yet talking (they’re 28 months)

The house looks like the tazmanian devil spun through it.

My health, as usual.

The bills, as usual.

The cold weather and the way it freezes me in place, making it more challenging to exercise.  Sounds pititful but I’m serious.

My 13 year old brother who is passing two kidney stones at the moment-hang in there bro!

 

Why I’m going to let those worries go:

The kids, aside from not talking yet, are on point developmentally and prove their intelligence by constantly working together to conspire against me.  One distracts and the other acts, basically.  Very clever.  Not to mention they speak in their own twin language-which is supposed to count.

The house doesn’t have feelings and will be fine until I get around to it.  Isn’t that nice to know?

My health and the bills are being taken care of and that’s all one can do.

The cold weather means I need to get me a Zumba video to do inside my warm home until the weather gets back to normal-I mean warms up.

I know my brother’s issue is just genetic because he eats so healthy and I know from now on he’ll drink more water and continue rocking out like this:

Throwing the worries away now…

Ahh…..

 

Happy Friday, everyone!

Diabetes Advocacy- A Call for Unity

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I’ve heard many times that people have concerns over type 1 diabetes support dwindling.  At first I thought, can this be?  After all, there is more awareness now and more type 1 cases are being diagnosed each year.  This train of thought lead me to recount to my husband about the JDRF Walks that my family and I participated in over a decade ago.  I remember the walks being huge.  There were tons of people, over 6 miles of walking, police aid to escort walkers around the downtown of the city, ambulances available for low blood sugar crashes, snack and drink stops along the way, press cameras all over the place-in other words, I got the feeling there was A LOT of support for Type 1 Diabetes.  There was even a stage with a podium and the press would make a statement about what they saw.  My little brother was once interviewed for the news for being one of the youngest walkers.

Each year after the first walk, I couldn’t help but notice how the miles of the walk decreased.  When the walk eventually came down to under 3 miles, I thought it was “wimpy” and longed for the days where the walk was so long, one would actually have the appetite for the loads of hamburgers and hot dogs and side dishes provided post walk.  I was a teenager and began feeling like the walks were no longer being taken seriously.  Or maybe people were losing hope with every year.  I didn’t know what it was.

Yesterday, the city where I live held it’s JDRF Walk for the Cure.  I couldn’t make it.  It hit me yesterday morning like a lightening bolt that all of my strange symptoms from the last several weeks all point to a kidney infection so I am taking it easy, trying to down about 4 liters of water a day, and already left a urine sample at the doctor’s this morning.  Yesterday, my husband took the kids to the park before their nap and curiosity lead him to drive past the walk just as it was about to start.  We have a few areas in our downtown where large banner announcements often hang to announce a festival or walk for a cause.  He was surprised to see no banner about the JDRF Walk .  There is always a banner for the Cancer walks, the Strawberry and Peach Festivals, even the Greek Festival.  Those huge banners, strung between buildings are up for weeks and let everyone know about the event.  I consider it very effective marketing because of how small our downtown area is-everyone goes down that street sometime each month.

For the past two years I’ve been participating with the Diabetes Online Community.  I’ve been exposed to the the opinions of many with diabetes.  One idea that many have become concerned about is that the type 2 diabetes epidemic and the negative associations involved with that disease has leaked into the type 1 diabetes awareness arena.  Type 1 diabetes gets confused with type 2 and a lack of support ensues.  I’m sure there are other reasons for the dwindling support but I have heard plenty of negative things about type 2 and can easily imagine the negativity hurting the type 1 as well as the type 2 diabetics.

I’ve heard type 1 and 2 may require different cures and if that’s the case, you can see why this entire subject is an extremely complicated and emotional one.  Those with type 1 want acknowledgement that their life balance is a delicate one and one only successfully managed by an extremely exhausting way of living.  Those with type 2 are saying, “hey! This is really hard, too!”  And everyone is right.  And diabetes is a global issue, affecting everyone whether they have diabetes or not.  It’s just not seen that way, yet.

I have noticed many people only support one type of diabetes.  My concern however, is not about if this is wrong or right but rather, is this effective?  Is this in all of our best interests?  It worries me that type 1 not supporting type 2 will make type 2 look like a disease that is easy to deal with and easy to get rid of (when that isn’t the case at all).  It also worries me that type 2 not supporting type 1 will decrease funding and support for a much less prevalent disease.  Both scenarios lead to the same outcome-inadequate support for both types of diabetes.

It has become clear to me that helping dissipate inaccurate information about type 2 diabetes is not only the just and friendly thing to do, but one that will positively impact type 1 diabetes as well.  The type 1 community needs the backing of the type 2 community and vice versa.

Unity, in this case, as in so many others, is our best hope.  So although the two writers on this site, my sister Ana and I have type 1 diabetes, we support all people with diabetes (all 11 kinds!) and the causes that help any of them.  It’s always been this way but now we’re officially on the record.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

Diabetes, You’re a Nag

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Photo courtesy of Paul

 

It’s the story of our lives.  The one that never ends…

Sometimes life with diabetes feels like…well this is what comes to mind:  Me, with diabetes’ hands (yes I personified an “invisible” disease) around my neck.  Diabetes is choking me and I’m wailing my arms, struggling to get the hands to loosen their grip, trying to kick the legs out from under diabetes.

Other times I feel like I’m standing on Mount Everest, hands on hips, triumphantly looking down on a tiny spec that is diabetes saying “Ah ha ha ha!”

Then most of the time, I feel somewhere in the middle.  Diabetes is a nag.  Nag when I’m changing a diaper or bathing two little ones.  Nag when I’m making dinner.  Nag when I’m 200 before bed.  Nag when I’m paying for insurance and diabetes supplies.

Just like what is known as a “nagging wife”.  Only, here is what I’ve realized: a wife doesn’t nag-she simply points out the obvious, she repeats things that need to be repeated because they weren’t done in the first place.  So when our diabetes nags us, diabetes is just speaking out saying “Hellooo! I’m here! or in other cases, “I hate to point this out but…it’s just that I deserve better.”

So today when I felt “nagged” by the incessant need to test and give insulin, I thought, oh wait, diabetes is just saying, “I need this and I need that”.  And I know this is a wacky way to personify diabetes but truthfully since it’s so much a part of my body, I feel better thinking of diabetes as a nag rather than an enemy of sorts.  I want diabetes cured, of course, but in the meantime it’s kind of the boss.  And frankly, when I do all that is needed, our home which is my body, runs pretty smoothly and we get along just fine.

Tips 4 Type 1!

Tonya Homme is a mother of a child with type 1 diabetes.  She wanted to do something extra to do her part in creating awareness and raising funds for the research towards a cure for type 1 diabetes.

So Tonya took a fun and creative approach and created a nail polish duo which symbolize diabetes awareness.  Silver is the color of the diabetes awareness ribbon and blue is the color of the diabetes awareness circle.  I put in my order recently and here is what it looks like:

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I did my nails in Silver

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Ana did her nails in Blue

 

Proceeds from each order go to the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation.

You may be thinking that a little nail polish can’t go far.  Oh it can.  When a large group of people wear a particular color of nail polish, many others jump aboard and every fashion magazine gives that color or colors all kinds of precious attention.  So if you visualize the impact of such a small way of contributing and if you already wear nail polish, then consider purchasing your nail polish duo.  The colors are great and just so happen to be “in” this Fall season.  They also cover very nicely.

If you want to get in on this gorgeous act of solidarity, go to Tips4Type1 (clever name by the way) and put in your order.

Have a nice day everyone!

I Miss my Meter When It’s Gone

 

I ran out of strips Sunday night and didn’t test until Monday night.  This has happened before but this time it was more of an eye opening experience.  First, I realized how lucky I am.  Secondly, I also figured out how I could make it work for short periods of time if needed.  (This includes luck, I think).

We are so lucky to have meters, those of us who do.  We’re lucky to have enough strips and to be able to find out what our blood sugars are at any given moment.  During my 24 hours without testing I felt this paralyzing sense that I didn’t want to do anything.  I didn’t want to move a muscle without knowing what my blood sugars were.  I felt very limited.  Vulnerable.  Like a baby without a mother.  What a difference this is from the years that I played and ate and slept freely without feeling like possible doom was lingering by if I didn’t keep a careful watch on the amount of sugar in my blood.  I’m so used to it that it doesn’t seem strange but when I think about how it used to be and how it is now…why it’s crazy.  It’s like telling someone to regulate the amount of urine they produce.  Seriously.  It’s like saying, “Now, obviously you have to pee, but too much is going to do you harm.  So you have to make sure you pee but not too much and you do this by regulating the liquids you intake.  Although, if you sweat, you need more and if you have coffee, well that’s a diuretic so watch out.  Also, be sure to take into account the fact that some foods have more liquid than others so cut back on your drinking of fluids if you eat an orange.”  It’s absurd!  And yet, that’s how we live.  Only, thanks to our meters and strips, we’re not on a boat without eye balls (you thought I was gonna say oars).

So how did I manage to go 24 hours and ensure my blood sugars were not too dangerously out of range?  I gave one unit of insulin and waited.  30 minutes later I felt low.  I waited 5 minutes to see if the low symptoms got worse (my husband was with me).  The low symptoms definitely got worse.  So I treated with 15 units of carbs.  Then I waited 2 hours before going to bed.  Ok, I feel fine so I assumed at this point that my blood sugars were close to where they should be.  For safety I took a few sips of juice.  My husband woke me up 3 times in the middle of the night (he was so worried he woke up before the alarms).  Each time he woke me I got up and walked around.  It’s hard to feel lows when laying down.  So I walked around and did some squats.  Ok, I felt alright.  And I went back to sleep.  Then in the morning I gave another unit of insulin.  I waited until I felt low.  I never felt low.  So after an hour and a half I gave another unit of insulin.  Finally 2 and a half hours later I felt low.  I had a few sips of juice and a salad.  So that’s how I managed.  Inducing three lows during a 24 hour period.  By only giving a small amount of insulin at a time I was able to avoid a sharp low and by eating low carb for the day I was able to avoid needing to give a lot of insulin at once.  It wasn’t pleasant, but the plan served it’s purpose.

I feel very blessed to own a meter and afford strips and live in a place where they get shipped to me versus me having to walk miles to pick them up.  Boy do I miss my meter when it’s gone.  I missed it so much I almost named it and called out to it.  This might be a good time to pick a name.  Only I can’t decide if my meter is a he or she…

Revive Your Management with a Diabetes Station

 

Mine is on my vanity where a vain person is bound to stop by every so often

 

What is a “diabetes station” you ask?  Well, first off let me explain that sometimes many of us with diabetes seem to need a “reboot” of sorts, don’t we?  I mean, we’re testing and pumping or injecting, counting carbs, exercising, and then oops…a few days go by that we don’t do some of these things as regularly and maybe this turns into a new habit where suddenly you realize it’s been a week since you properly counted carbs.  That week can turn into months in some instances-I know all about it.

Anyway, in the past I’ve used a “diabetes station” to get my brain back on diabetes.  You’d think my brain wouldn’t leave this high and low blood sugar planet and yet sometimes I genuinely forget that I can’t eat something without paying attention to the insulin I need for it.  Someone might be tempted to ask, “how on earth can you forget insulin if it’s what keeps you alive?”  In my mind it makes perfect sense.  One can forget to brush teeth, fasten a seatbelt, and unplug a curling iron.  Giving insulin and other diabetes related tasks are as routine to a diabetic as those things are-only what we have to do with needles and such is much more unpleasant.

So what is a diabetes station?  It’s where you place all your diabetes items in a central and easy to spot location in your home or workplace.  The first time I tried this was when my kids were 4 months old and I was still pumping milk for them every three hours.  I was consumed by milk making to be honest with you.  I wasn’t sleeping much and the last thing on my mind was my diabetes.  So on the dinner table I placed my meter, insulin, and all the supplies that go with that-including extras.  I also had glucose tablets, a bottle of water, a bottle or box of juice, a carb filled snack, a low carb snack, and a notepad and pen for taking notes.  It was hard to pass the table without noticing the mini mountain of supplies and think, “oh yes, diabetes” and this kept me walking over there and habitually testing, and if needed, treating my diabetes.  The dinner table was convenient because sometimes I’d start eating, look up at my meter and say, “oh yeah, I forgot to test”.  Like I said, my brain was not on diabetes, it was on my newborn twins, my bed and pillow, and my swollen appetite due to being a dairy farm to two.

So let’s go over the details of this station along with the reason for each item:

Diabetes Station Supplies (can be conveniently placed on a rotating serving plate)

meter, test strips, lancet device, extra lancets and strips

Make it visible.  How can you look over at your meter and not think “Hmm how’s my blood sugar doing?”

Back up pump supplies in case an infusion set needs to be changed including extra batteries

When I was on a pump I’d sometimes neglect the battery low and low insulin warnings from the pump because I procrastinated in dealing with it.  Having this stuff laid out might make it easier for someone to think, “Well, it’s right here, I might as well change the battery now before the pump turns off.”

If you use shots-insulin vial and syringes.

Make sure to have extra syringes.

Paper and pen

I don’t use a pump so during times of stress or distraction, I will write down the time I give insulin and how much on a notepad.  It takes one second and later on during the day it’s often very helpful to know how much on board insulin or active insulin I have in my system, and for how much longer.  I also note anything helpful that I think of.  I don’t do this on a regular basis, just when I find myself slipping in my diabetes routine and set up the “station”.

Water, juice, glucose tablets, and snacks

High blood sugar can quickly escalate into a bigger problem when we’re dehydrated so I try to have water around me all the time.  I might have juice available for emergency lows.  I usually have glucose tablets because they’re the ideal treatment for lows.  I sometimes have a high carb snack option that is relatively healthy in case of the munchies and a low carb snack option in case my blood sugar is up and I happen to be really hungry.

Someone could set up some version of this anywhere they spend a lot of time, say at an office or at home.  I think yes, it can be impractical but when you think of how important your health is and if you’re going through a stressful time and find diabetes on the back burner, something like this can support your goal of bringing it back to the forefront.  In this case I find it very worthwhile to do for a few weeks until I’m back in the “groove” so to speak.  It’s probably confusing to a non-diabetic who might wonder why we might go to such lengths to remember our diabetes and get into a habit of testing and giving insulin.  It’s confusing to me if I think about it while mentally stepping out of my diabetic body.  But, I’ve been there and done that and I know that sometimes we need help doing even the most quick and easy tasks because sometimes diabetes tires us out to that extent.  So if this happens to you, focus on finding ways to keep managing your diabetes, even if you have to get your screensaver to say “Don’t forget to test!”

Just thought I’d share since this helps me out. :)

If you have any suggestions to add, I welcome your comments!

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