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When I’m Old

At Christmastime we were visiting with my grandmother, who has Type 2, at her nursing home when it was almost time for dinner. One of the nurses came in to test her blood sugar and give her insulin for dinner. She asked my grandmother if she wanted us to leave. “Oh, it doesn’t bother me,” she responded. Grandma is a very laid-back lady. The nurse tested her blood sugar and recorded it, then asked if we would like to step out while she gave my grandmother a shot.

I kind of chuckled and said, “I have type 1 diabetes, if it doesn’t bother grandma, it doesn’t bother me.”

Let me tell you, the needle that she gave my grandmother her insulin with was huge

We wrapped up our visit to let grandma get to her dinner, but on the way home I told Brad, “If anyone ever came at me with a needle that big for insulin, I would probably hurt them.” Honestly the needle looked as large as the syringes I use to fill my pods.

Watson likes to rest on my pods (that’s my leg if you were wondering)

That got me thinking… what’s my life with diabetes going to look like when I’m old? Read the rest of this entry

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A memorable day

I’ve said several times before that I really don’t know people in my “real life” with type 1. I finally had the opportunity to meet DOC member Amy in person and discovered how truly small the world is (we found out that she’s known members of my family longer than she’s “known” me!). When I read today’s prompt directly followed by some tweets about diabetes in the wild, I thought back to a day… not my most memorable day with diabetes but one worth sharing.

Today we’re going to share our most memorable diabetes day. You can take this anywhere…. your or your loved one’s diagnosis, a bad low, a bad high, a big success, any day that you’d like to share. (Thanks to Jasmine of Silver-Lined for this topic suggestion.)

I was diagnosed with diabetes in the middle of August 2011. My husband and I moved to Cleveland in September and that October we were shopping at Crocker Park (an amazing outdoor shopping center). I wasn’t yet on an insulin pump but was in the process of getting started with one.

Brad and I had finished our shopping and were returning to our car in the parking garage. When we reached our garage, there was a group of three teenagers talking and laughing in the stairwell. The girl who was sitting on the step scooted over so we could walk past, as she scooted I saw it. It looked like a purple pager clipped to the outside of her pocket with a clear tube sticking out of it.

I wanted to exclaim, “I have diabetes too!” but the calm, rational adult in me reminded me that having a stranger point out your medical condition as a teenager could possibly mortifying, so instead I smiled and said thanks to her when we passed.

On the second level of the parking garage, when we were safely out of earshot I turned to Brad and said, “That girl on the steps has diabetes too and she was wearing an insulin pump.” He hadn’t noticed.

I learned two things that day:

1. There were other people in the world having “normal” lives while having diabetes. I hadn’t yet achieved a “normal” life since my diagnosis.

2. It’s completely possible to for the condition that had taken over my life to go completely unnoticed by others.

Sometimes I wish I had said something to the girl in the stairwell, especially after moments when my insulin pump being visible helped others feel less alone.

Other Memorable Days:

Hiding

Would I Ever Feel Better Again?

A Pregnancy Test Saved My Life

Leavin’ On a Jetplane

Security

I know that yesterday I was nervous about security with my insulin pump. Of course when we arrived at the airport, they were sending everyone through the body scanners, so I politely requested the pat down from the TSA agent. She made three attempts to convince me to go through, “it’s radio waves. No more than using a cell phone or microwave,” she told me.

I explained that since it’s my health, I would like to be on the safe side and be patted down. After two refusals, she walked me over for a pat down. Overall it went very smoothly. She was fairly pleasant. I was offered a private screening and she explained to me everything she was about to do. Was is comfortable? No. Was it the worst thing ever? No.

While I was being close and personal with the TSA, she chatted with me about the weather and insulin pump. A family member of hers has had “childhood” diabetes for 33 years and uses “the newest insulin pump.” She totally understood the tubeless OmniPod and asked if I wore any other devices, so I showed her the Dexcom on my arm. She glanced at it and moved on.

So the verdict is that I survived. I basically got felt up and had someone’s hands in my pants (waistband). It’s over and I don’t have to go through it again for a week!

The Rules Read the rest of this entry

In the Office

The nice thing about having online access to my test results is that most of the treatment decisions are made and communicated before I even make it to the doctor’s office.

A week and a half after getting my blood drawn, I went to see my endo. She had already advised me to start taking a supplement AND complimented my numbers via comments on my labs.

#WaitingWithDiabetes

When I wound my way up to the endocrinology department I answered the standard questions from the nurse got weighed and then offered her my left arm for blood pressure, “If you don’t mind, I’ll have you do my blood pressure on my left arm since I have my site on my right arm.”

“You have your what?” she asked me as I shrugged off my cardigan.

“My insulin pump,” I explained and turned my arm to show her the OmniPod on my arm.

“So that doesn’t fall off of your arm?” she asked. I said no and that is stays put just fine. “So you like your pump?”

“Yes I do, I love that it’s tubeless,” I responded. Then it was like something dawned on her and she took a closer look at my right arm.

“Your pump is tubeless! So it has a cartridge in the white thing? How often do you have to change that?”

I explained that I wear an OmniPod and I fill each pod with insulin and put a new one on every three days.

“I know it’s stuck on there pretty well, but have you ever had one fall off before?” she asked.

“None have ever fallen off, but I have accidentally ripped one off my leg before.” She responded that it was interesting and finally took my blood pressure. Read the rest of this entry

The Pods are Coming!

Alternate Title: OmniPod’s birthday gift to me.

Podders have been awaiting smaller OmniPods since before I even started using the system, but I was equally as excited to find out that the smaller pods were approved by the FDA. Here’s the story.

Shortly after the news broke on Twitter and I read up and found out that the timing for their actual availability is projected to be in February or March. It’s like a birthday present to me! As a small lady, I occasionally find my beloved pods bulky and awkward depending on where I place them so smaller is going to be better. Good things = small packages. You know the drill.

The new pods are keeping the 200-unit insulin holding capacity, which I suspect for many users is a relief. I rarely fill my pods with more than 80-90 units of insulin since I hate wasting the precious fluid and average around 20u per day in use (minimum fill is 80u).

The size reduction stats although impressive (30% smaller, 25% lighter), didn’t convey the actual difference to me. By the afternoon the lovely folks at OmniPod sent me pictures and the comparisons were enormously helpful. (Yay!) And said, “sure” when I asked if I could post them.

Check it out: Read the rest of this entry

A few weeks with Omnipod

I have been on an insulin pump for a few weeks.

The CDE that I met with at my two-week-later appointment said that I have it together and am intelligent about my insulin pump and diabetes management in general (yay!). Then she asked me how things were going with the pump in everyday life. I mentioned that I tend to forget it’s there until I bump my pod and that I have to remember to be careful with the seat heaters when my pod is placed on my back.

She looked a little confused then said, “I’ve never thought of that before. We’ll need to remember to mention that to our Omnipod patients.”

Since Omnipods have the reservoir inside of them, directly at the infusion site instead of attached by a tube, they are susceptible to heating from my cozy seat heaters. Since high heat can cause insulin to break down, seat heaters can speed up insulin break down, especially since it already sits on the surface of my approximately 98.6 degree body for three days at a time.

My Omnipod starter kit + 3 months of supplies

“How do you like your pump?” is a very common question that I’ve gotten over the holidays. I typically answer that I like it and that the time between putting food on my plate and being able to actually eat it is much shorter now. But in all reality, do I really like my pump? Do I like having an insulin pump? Do I like using my pump? Or do I just prefer my pump to injections?

Given the choice between insulin injections and my Omnipod, I’d choose the pod every day of the week. I don’t love my pump because it’s a cool piece of technology, the way that you might love an iPod or a Kindle. I like having my Omnipod because it makes my life easier, but my life would be much easier if I just didn’t have diabetes and my pancreas were resurrected.

I was participating in the 2011 year-end DSMA Twitter chat (Questions and transcript here) and one of the questions was, “What is the one thing you are looking forward to in 2012? -diabetes related” Being diagnosed this year with diabetes was a real low point, and I answered the question honestly, “I’m still adjusting to having diabetes, to be honest I’m not looking forward to having it in 2012.”

Having the pump makes my life a little easier and I like it for that.

Related Posts:

The Quest

Battery-operated

Intro to Insulin Pump Therapy

Battery-Operated

This post is primarily for my friends and family to help them understand a new part of my life. Sorry if this bores my diabetic readers, check back next time for more interesting content or share your own frequently asked questions in the comments.

After the untimely death of my pancreas, I had been using injections and a glucose meter to manually do its job.

Now, I’m proud to announce that this girl is battery-operated!

Last week I started using an Omnipod to manage my type 1 diabetes. This doesn’t mean that I get to go on autopilot, stop carbohydrate counting or not test my blood sugar anymore, but it does mean that I have a little more freedom.

Here’s how it works:

I wear a pod filled with insulin.

Meet my Omnipod:

Read the rest of this entry