Concerts and Diabetes?

 

If you know me, you know that a disproportionate amount of my time and money is spent on concerts. If you don’t know me, now you know! I LOVE concerts. There is nothing else to me that gives the same thrill as being in a crowd full of people, all there to appreciate the music and have a good time. Being smushed among dancing singing people is so freeing. My dream/goal is to be on the stage someday instead of in the crowd… But for now It’ll have to do.

The first show I ever saw was magical and I attribute it to my obsession now. It was a free show in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. We waited for three hours in the rain to see Ed Sheeran and it was perfect. After that I saw One Direction, Fun, Passenger, Bastille , The 1975 (three times), The Lumineers, Borns (twice and met him), Brandi Carlile (five times and met twice) and the list goes on and on and on. Like I said, it’s a problem.

At this point your probably wondering why I’m writing this on a Diabetes blog! Well don’t worry, lets jump right to the point. When I was diagnosed, I had a concert scheduled for the next week. After the chaos of being diagnosed settled down, I realized I had that concert planned. I had been so excited, but I began to doubt whether I should go or not. What if my blood crashed in the middle of the show? If I passed out, would people just assume I was drunk? Of course now that I have a Dexcom I can just look at my watch and see my numbers, but not back then. I’m sure my parents were also worried! I mean, sending there newly diagnosed 17 year old into a crowded concert venue and just hoping for the best? That’s pretty nerve wracking. But I decided to go and I’m still here to tell the tale! So now that I’ve had a lot of experience being a Type One at shows, I’m gonna give you some tips.

1.This one may seem obvious, but BRING SO MANY LOW SNACKS! When you’re squished into a crowd and you have the perfect spot, you are not going to want to leave and search for low snacks.

2.Bring a buddy! You should ALWAYS have a friend with you who knows about T1 and what to do in an emergency etc… It’s also a plus if they know what Glucogon is and how to use it

3.Wear your medical ID. I know many people don’t wear ID’s everyday, but if theres ever a time that you should, it’s at a concert. If you passed out, people could easily assume you are under the influence of something and give you the wrong treatment

4.Know your rights. When going through security, make it clear to the security guards that you are a Type One Diabetic and that you are legally allowed to bring in as many snacks as you need. If anyone gives you trouble, you need to make it sure that they are violating the rights put in place by the ADA.

5. WATER!!! More often than not, I go high at concerts. It’s probably due to the adrenaline rush from all the excitement… But honestly who knows. What I do know, is that you need to make sure you have water available for highs. Often water at venues is extremely overpriced or can even sell out.

6.Find a small bag that can fit everything perfectly without taking up too such space! I personally love my Fjallraven Kanken. My Myabetic backpack is just slightly too big to squeeze into shows with.

7.Lastly, If you are on a pump, BRING EXTRA SUPPLIES (or just insulin and some syringes. I’ve had pump sites rip off at shows and it sucks! So be prepared for anything.

I hope this helped, even just a little bit! I’m clearly not a professional and this is all just from my experience, so take it all with a rain of salt. Otherwise, I hope you enjoyed! Feel free to share your tips/experiences below!

xoElla.

A Diabetic Valentines Day…

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Yesterday was Valentines Day! My least favorite holiday of the year for many reasons, none of which include the sugar. Because as opposed to common belief, DIABETICS CAN HAVE SUGAR. So yes, I can eat chocolate hearts and sweet tarts all I want… But it’s a Hallmark Holiday that just makes people feel sad about their lives. You don’t have a significant other? Well you just get to watch everyone around you get showered with gifts while you watch Netflix alone with your pets, and eat an off brand box of chocolates. Just kidding…kinda.

Haha, I actually had a good valentines day despite my cynicism. The problem for me is that like most food oriented Holidays, there is a never ending slough of “you can’t eat that” and “I’m gonna get Diabetes from all this candy”. I will admit, not proudly, that before I was diagnosed I also made those jokes. I know people don’t have cruel intentions. It’s simply a lack of education and that’s ok, but it doesn’t make it suck any less to hear. That is why I am loud and proud about it.

I have carefully calculated responses for the commonly said things, so I can educate instead of just get mad. One time I was with my friends and someone was handing out candy. When they got to me they paused, looked uncomfortable and said “oh sorry, you can’t eat this”. I was confused for a second, then realized they thought that Type One Diabetics can’t have sugar! I responded by explaining that yes, it can be complicated getting the insulin dose right and yes, I might spike. But it’s all stuff I can handle. I can eat anything really, as long as I take insulin. Many people just choose to eat low carb in order to lesson the spikes and sugar chasing that can follow. I personally eat semi low carb and that works great for me! I always avoid pasta and pizza as a rule of thumb, because they pretty much always end in a bad time. But everything else tends to be fair game in moderation.

I think for me the hardest thing to hear is the “I’m going to get Diabetes from all this candy”. I’ve had so many people say that around me and it’s almost humorous how false it is. Even with Type Two,that’s just not how it works. Type Two can be caused by an unhealthy diet and lifestyle, but eating a pile of candy alone won’t cause it. It just feels really insensitive, especially because it fees like they’re implying that you caused your own disease…I always make it very clear to people that Type One is an autoimmune disease, meaning your body attacks itself. My body attacked my beta cells. Beta cells are the cells in your pancreas that produce insulin and without them you can’t process carbs, leading to Type One. This is the simplest way I can explain it. Not caused by sugar.

I know this was a really quick post, I just thought of it on the fly and figured it might be interesting. Also, it’s great that Valentines day is over, because now I can run to CVS and grab some half priced low snacks! WooHoo. So that’s about it for today! My next post will be less scattered, but for now… Have a lovely day!!

xoella.

Stylish Diabetes?

*This is not a sponsored post. I just LOVE the companies I’ll be sharing.

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When you think of Medical Devices, you don’t typically picture being stylish… In fact, quite the opposite. When first diagnosed, I received an ugly black hard shell case to hold my meter in and the meter was plain white. My insulin pens were medical blue and i had to carry around pen needles as well. Along with those I also had alcohol wipes, glucose tabs and a big red glucagon needle (for emergencies).

The day after I was diagnosed, I knew I couldn’t stand feeling like a walking pharmacy.  What could I do? I’ve always prided myself on being a put together person and I LOVE CLOTHES. So I decided I would treat this like an accessory… Sounds weird, but it was amazingly helpful! Before anything else, I ran to target and got an adorable pink makeup bag. It fit everything and it made me happier. But the best came when I hit up the internet. I figured you can find anything on the internet, so why not check?

The first thing I found was Pump Peelz!!!! All I can say, is that they completely changed the way I viewed my meter (and later my pump). They sell sticker skins to put on your insulin pump, meter, CGM and even Genteel lancing devices! The very first ones I ever had are pictured below, but you’ll see them on any picture I post of my devices. I change mine with the seasons, but my favorite is the one pictured above. It makes me want to show off my pump! It’s also really nice to have everything match. My meter, Dexcom, genteel and pump all have the same floral pattern right now and it’s a beautiful sight to behold. You can go check them out here:

https://pumppeelz.com

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Next is the AMAZING Myabetic!!! I can’t even explain how much I love this company. They make beautiful meter cases, purses and even backpacks all with diabetic supplies in mind. They are all so stylish and I’ve had so many people ask me where my backpack or purse came from and I have to tell them that they’re for Diabetes supplies. I have a lilac meter case, classy black purse and evena light pink backpack (pictured below)!!! Myabetic is a little on the pricier side, but ohmygoodness it’s worth it. You can find them here:

https://www.myabetic.com

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The most practical company I’ve found and also a company I LOVE, is Ana PS. They are a Sweden based company that makes undergarments for holding pumps and pens! I wear dresses and skirts almost ever day, so when I got my pump I was worried about where it would go! Then I found the Ana PS shorts (The ones I wear are pictured below). They have two pockets for your pump and hide it completely under whatever I’m wearing. It’s also wayy more accessible than keeping your pump in your as many T1 women do… They also have arm bands, sports bras, shirts and even swimsuits!! You will not regret checking them out:

https://www.annaps.com/en/IMG_6046

Genteel is not an accessory, but it makes Diabetes so much easier!!! Genteel is a lancing device that is PAIN FREE! It is pricier, but it uses suction to draw out blood instead of having to squeeze over an over for the perfect drop. The best part is that the suction allows for you to use it on different parts of your body. I personally use my palms a lot because they aren’t as sensitive and its still very accurate. Some places they recommend, such as your thigh or arm are not very accurate for me. But having them as an option is still great. You can see my genteel (decked out in pump peels) below. I would recommend this ESPECIALLY for T1 kids!! It really makes testing so much easier:

https://www.mygenteel.com

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The last one for today (I’ll probably think of more), is Lauren’s Hope!!!! Anyone with T1 should wear a medical ID!! It could literally save your life. But many people don’t because they can be super ugly… I only wear one because I came across Lauren’s hope. They make affordable, customizable medical ID’s that look like beautiful pieces of jewelry as opposed to a medical ID. Mine is pictured below;). The back has all of my info and it’s so cute! Find them here:

https://www.laurenshope.com

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I am so grateful of the amazing people who make life with T1 just a little bit happier and easier. For a non Diabetic it may seem kind of materialistic or silly, but trust me. It’s pretty life changing:). I hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know below what your favorite T1 companies are!!

xoella

 

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A Day in The Life of T1D?

 

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“Well at least you don’t have cancer”.

“My grandma got diabeetus and it was the beginning of the end. She died.”

“Duuuuuuuudeeeee. You get to skip the lines at Disney?? I want Diabetes!”.

All three statements above, are in fact things that have been said to me… Yes. I actually can’t count the amount of times someone has told me about their dead diabetic  grandparent (almost certainly Type Two). And of course it’s not as bad as cancer????!!!! That’s a given, but saying that to me, takes away from the fact that what I deal with SUCKS. Sure, it’s not terminal. But it takes up some much time and energy, both mental and physical.

Type One is called an invisible illness for a reason. On the outside I look like your average healthy 18 year old girl. But what people don’t see are the carefully concealed dark circles under my eyes from sleepless nights spent chasing my Blood Sugar. The tiny scars covering my body, pinpricks from countless pump/cgm sites, injections and finger pricks. The nights spent crying angry tears hating my body for letting me down and so much more. Don’t get me wrong, my life is wonderful and in many ways Type One changed it for the better. But it is so important for people to also understand the severity of the disease and know that it is not you’re grandma missing a leg. So this is going to about an average day in my life battling T1D.

BEEP BEEP! I wake up to the sound of my Dexcom blaring…My bedside clock says 4:30am. I quickly scan my body checking for the telltale sign of a low, racing heart? No. Shaking? No. Dizzy? No… As I flip over my phone, the bright screen flashes URGENT LOW. I sleepily grab my meter and do a finger prick, I’m at 90mg/dl. Perfect. I calibrate Dexcom and go back to sleep, at least I still have an hour and a half.

RING RING. This time I wake up to the sound of my alarm clock, 6am and time to get up. I slap snooze and sit up. My fingers are numb from cold, so I rub them to get the blood flowing. I quickly slip a test strip into the meter and squeeze some blood onto it. Four seconds, the screen counts down as I wait. 150mg/dl. I’ve given up on trying to guess why I spike, so I sigh and type the number into my pump. It suggests one unit, so I press the button and wait as the insulin delivers. After the correction I unclip my pump and head to the shower.

Breakfast is a latte, eggs and toast. I add up 30 carbs for the bread and 15 for the latte, 45 in total. This calls for three units of insulin, my life is one big math problem. I watch as my blood sugar slowly creeps up near 200mg/dl on the drive to school and then finally settles back down around 100. SNACK TIME!

If you know me, you know that I LOVE SNACKS!!! Especially things that won’t cause a massive spike during school. Some of my favorites include Udi’s Gluten Free Bread with Justin/s peanut butter, bell pepper, Lara Bars etc… These aren’t necessarily low carb, but I know how they affect my BG. I give two units for a Lara bar during math class and hope for the best…But within an hour I begin to shake, I break out in a cold sweat and feel unsteady on my feet. HOW AM I LOW???? It’s maddening to see the number 45 appear on my meter in the middle of class. Dexcom beeps, gaining stares from students and the teacher. The teacher asks why I need to have the sound on. I tell him that it is for times like this. Blearily I rummage through my bag and scarf down two packs of fruit snacks and an apple. I lay my head down and wait for the feeling of utter exhaustion to pass. Twenty minutes later and I feel ok.

Lunch comes and passes uneventfully, as does the rest of the school day. I am grateful for a few hours of calm. I drive home free from alerts and get ready for the gym. I ALWAYS unclip my pump at least an hour before the gym. This stops the delivery of insulin, meaning less of a chance for me to drop dangerously low. My workout of choice is HIIT. High Intensity CIrcuit Training. This involves circuits of strength and cardio training for an hour, with very short breaks in between. In Type One, something strange is that strength training and heavy lifting actually RAISE your blood sugar, So HIIT is perfect for me. Cardio drops me fast, so the two work hand in hand and with the lack of insulin I almost never go low!

As I finally sit down to do homework after the gym, my pump begins to buzz. I ingore it, it starts to beep. The batteries dead. I end up having to just change the entire site after I put in a new battery, because what do you know! I’m also low on Insulin. Another needle insertion and the new set is on.

With my fresh pump site, I eat dinner and get ready for bed. Nothing eventful and I check around 9pm to see a beautiful 100mg/dl BG!!! In the Diabetic world, we call this a Unicorn. With that, it is time to sleep.

All in all, despite this seeming like a lot to deal with it really just feels like second nature at this point. Sometimes it’s hard and sometimes its easy. But I just wrote this to help people understand that being Diabetic is not all about eating sugar free candy and losing limbs. Hope you enjoyed!

xoella.
 

 

Diabetes Burnout and How to Cope.

Hi! Remember me? I know, I know, I wrote two blog posts and abandoned it. But don’t worry! I’m back and I have an explanation. Two words: Diabetes Burnout. I’ve been slacking on my Instagram blog as well, but now I’m forcing myself to come back and be better than ever!

If you’ve been Diabetic for a while, you know what I’m talking about. All of a sudden you feel done. Done with managing the disease, done with the constant questioning where you went wrong, you feel out of control, yet you have no motivation. Beyond Type One defines Diabetes Burnout by these characteristics:

  • “Strong negative feelings (e.g., overwhelmed, anger, frustration) about diabetes
  • Feeling controlled by diabetes
  • Isolation, or feeling alone with diabetes
  • Avoidance of some, or all diabetes management activities and being unmotivated to change this behavior”

I’m going to be completely honest and say that yes. I have experienced all of these and it sucks. Although I am not actually avoiding Diabetes management, it feels like such a burden and it’s hard to take the time to change my pump site or put on a new Dexcom. I just feel like crying thinking about another needle entering my scarred stomach or arms.

The realization hit that I was experiencing burnout about a week ago. I have been feeling this way for a couple months, but I hadn’t put a name to it. The turning point was the day of a Dexcom site change. It had ripped off earlier in the day, yet I kept pushing off  the insertion. I went the whole day without it and honestly, it felt pretty great. I wasn’t constantly seeing my numbers and I felt free. But that night I realized I should probably put it back… The minute I stuck the adhesive down and took the guard off of the needle plunger, I froze. I began shaking and just stood there with the needle resting on my skin. I couldn’t do it. The shaking worsened and I began to cry. It then turned into a full on panic attack and all i could think about was how much I just wanted to be normal.

The thing is, that I never take time to acknowledge the crap that’s been thrown at me. I am not a self pitier. I’ve grown up with severe Asthma, Anxiety/Ocd and have always struggled with weight. This doesn’t seem like much, but being 13 taking Prozac, multiple asthma meds and dieting makes you feel really different from the other carefree preteens. Ocd made me truly believe that I was dying. There was no logic behind it and that’s what sucks about OCD. I’ve been in and out of therapy since I was 10 and it honestly never fazed me until I was a teenager and realized it wasn’t “normal”. When I was diagnosed with Type One, I honestly just thought “well, makes sense that it would be me” and moved on. I was so positive and outgoing for the first year. I eagerly jumped on any chance to educate people and show off my newest Pump Peelz. Slowly though the reality set in. if I did not take Insulin, I would be dead. I would be dead…I would be dead….

It’s scary to feel that helpless and thats exactly what happened the night with my Dexcom. I felt helpless, I felt ripped off, I envied my siblings for their health and I let myself feel pity. I ended up inserting the Dexcom and it was ok. But I began to check in with myself more and let myself feel sad. I am experiencing Burnout. Burnout is normal and it is ok.

Clearly, the worst part of Type One is that you can’t take a break from a chronic illness, but here are some ways that I have found to help.

  1. DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP! Everyone has bad days and one high BG is not going to kill you. You are doing the best you can and let yourself realize and appreciate that.
  2. TALK ABOUT IT. One of the worst parts of burnout is feeling alone. But guess what? You aren’t! Whether it’s another Type One, a friend, family member or in my case, a therapist. I promise you, it will help.
  3. PRACTICE SELF CARE. Take a bubble bath, journal, take a walk, drink some coffee (or tea), treat yourself to a massage, watch Netflix, etc… The list goes on and on.
  4. TAKE SMALL STEPS! Instead of trying to get control over diabetes all at once, focus on one thing you can do a day that will lead to better longterm control. Maybe Promise yourself you will check at least three times a day (breakfast, lunch, dinner), maybe you will change your lancet, or even just be proactive and change your pump site before it’s completely out of insulin (that ones from personal experience).
  5. RECOGNIZE ANY ACHIEVEMENT: You are awesome and you are doing great and its ok to struggle. Focus on how awesome you are for treating that high and not shooting low! YOU ARE AMAZING.

All in all, Burnout sucks. That is all I have for now:). If any of you have experienced Burnout feel free to share your experiences below! You’ll here from me soon.

xoella.

Animas Closing?

What you see in the image above, is my beloved Animas Ping. When I first began the pumping process, I was presented with Tandem, Medtronic or Animas. As someone fairly newly diagnosed, I was instantly drawn to the simplicity and reliability of Animas. I also tend to wear dresses and skirts, so the remote meter was AMAZING. All in all I was very very excited for it.

At first I couldn’t have been happier with it. It did everything I needed it too and had almost no problems. But as I became more aware of new tech and progress being made in the pump field (closed loop systems, Dexcom G5 integration etc…), I watched Tandem and Medtronic make some large leaps forward… While Animas stayed the same. Despite my love of Animas, my pump has had to be replaced once and has spontaneously shut off many times. The customer service is great, but it’s super frustrating having to deal with so many problems. Another downside is the aesthetic side of things. The pump looks very much like a weird pager and boasts an old-fashioned computer style screen. These sound silly, but they could do better. Despite all these things, I was still alright with it. I just figured I would wait it out for the next for years under warranty and switch to the Big Foot or Beta Bionic systems afterwards.

Four days ago, Animas announced their sudden closure. At first I was sad, especially since the company they teamed with is Medtronic… But then I realized what a great move they made! If they weren’t going to upgrade ever, why keep trying to compete in a rapidly progressing field? Sure, Medtronic isn’t my favorite company for multiple reasons. But they are the beast of the pump market for a reason. Honestly the biggest turn off for me is the CGM. I LOVE MY DEXCOM. So the idea of switching is very painful for me… But that also has given me a closed mind in terms of them. I’ve asked around about the Medtronic CGM and while most people do prefer Dexcom, the newest model is apparently almost as good? I’m not sure what to think.

As of now I’m not sure how fast the new pump process will be. I’m hoping for sooner than later, but after contacting Animas and Medtronic I still don’t know. Neither company was able to offer up much info, but I’m going to persist! Anyways, that’s my little rant about pumps. I’m really trying to look on the bright side of all of it and I’ll keep you all updated on the outcome!

First blog post

IMG_4983  Hi! Hello! Welcome!! My name is Ella and this is my blog! Just in case you didn’t already know… Anyways, I’m 18 years old and currently in my senior year of high school (WOO). Some of my favorite things are music, succulents, coffee and making Type One Diabetes tolerable. If you didn’t already know from my blog name, I will be writing about the latter. Making Diabetes tolerable, and how I go day to day!

    Before we go any further, let’s talk about what Type One Diabetes is. Type One Diabetes is an autoimmune disease, basically meaning that your body screws up and attacks it’s own cells. In this case, my body attacked my pancreases Beta Cells. Beta Cells are the cells in your body which produce insulin that keeps you healthy by controlling your blood sugar! Picture this: As anormal non diabetic person, you eat a massive candy bar. When that candy bar enters your body, your beta cells squirt out the proper amount of insulin, your blood sugar stays in check and all is good! As a Diabetic, your beta cells can no longer do their job, so you can’t process food properly. This leads to a rapid decline of your health induced by extremely high blood sugars. Untreated, this will lead to death. Luckily in this day and age, we have all of the information, devices and medication needed for Type Ones to live long, normal and HEALTHY lives!!!

    Now that you know a bit more about Type One, let’s talk about me! I was 17 years old and winding down my sophomore year of high school when the thirst began. I vividly remember being with a friend, and her mom gave us lemonade. I was thirsty, so I drank some… But it didn’t quench my thirst? So I had more… and more… Until i had almost finished the pitcher. I didn’t think much of it and brushed it off as being summer. This was in May. Fast forward to June, and all I ever thought about was water. It was a constant burning need and I was terrified.

    I have always dealt with extreme health related OCD and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, so to everyone around me it just seemed like another obsession. My parents and therapist all agreed that I was fine and honestly I can’t blame them. I was trying very hard to believe it as well. The thirst continued and then came the peeing. It started as two times a night and quickly led to three a night and then four and so on… I remember one night getting up SIX TIMES to pee! In the midst of the symptoms, I went on a school trip to Europe. There I was drinking over two gallons of water a day and chugging soda like crazy! What I didn’t know was that this was my body thinking it was starving and dehydrating because it couldn’t process any carbs I consumed. Europe did take my mind off of it though and I continued to convince myself it was ok…

    The rest of the summer was the same cycle of peeing and drinking. Then i stepped on the scale… I had lost thirty lbs in the course of two months?? It was then that all of the symptoms added up. So I did a quick google searchof my symptoms and low and behold! Type One Diabetes. I was scared to tell my parents though, so I didn’t. I lost more weight, my eyesight began to blur and I was exhausted. So on september 23, I told my mom and she scheduled the appointment. On September 26th, I saw the doctor and discussed my symptoms and worry of diabetes. She told me that I looked fantastic and had nothing to worry about, but she would run the tests anyways. I’m not sure how she didn’t notice the dark circles under my eyes, my hollow looking face and the massive water bottle I had grown accustomed to carrying… But I got the tests and she said she would let me know soon.

          Next thing I knew it was later that night and I was headed to the ER, where they jabbed and prodded me with Ivs and Insulin injections. I had Type One. I stayed out of school for about a week following the diagnosis. I didn’t even feel like the same person. I’d cry thinking about the shots I’d have to giveand was jealous of every other person around me living their normal lives. I was devastated but also furious. I was mad at my body for letting me down and mad at the world. I remember wanting to just throw things and yell, but I just didn’t have the energy… Until I did…  I had such a wonderful support system of family, friends and my doctors, that slowly I began to feel ok. It started with the pink bag I got to carry my pens, pen needles, meter, low snacks and other necessities. I love making things stylish so I made sure it all matched and looked cute in my backpack for school… As silly as that sounds, it was so incredible to find even the smallest thing to ease the sadness I was faced with. Then I began decorating my other supplies and looking at them didn’t make me sad. So I went on like that for a while. Then I got a continuous glucose monitor, which was a brand new device to adjust to and following that, a pump. Since then I’ve been fairly adjusted and taking every day as it is.

Now I have learned not to question why my blood sugar is at 200 even when i only ate a cracker, or why I can’t just be normal. I happily and confidently talk about this disease to anyone who asks and even some who don’t! Because I want to educate and break the stigma around diabetes, helping others dealing with it. My goal for this blog is simply to talk and vent and share things that help me. So if that’s something you’re interested in, I hope you’ll keep reading :).