Tip and Tricks – #DBlogWeek Day 5

Our topic today is Tips and Tricks.Β  Let’s round out the week by sharing our best diabetes tips and diabetes tricks. From how you organize supplies to how you manage gear on the go/vacation (beach, or skiing, or whatever). From how you keep track of prescription numbers to how you remember to get your orders refilled. How about any β€œunconventional” diabetes practices, or ways to make diabetes work for YOU (not necessarily how the doctors say to do it!). There’s always something we can learn from each other. (Remember though, please no medical advice or dangerous suggestions.)

I’ve been racking my brain trying to find some tips or tricks for you and I’ve been struggling! When I find something that works it becomes so much part of my routine that I completely forget that others may not do the same. So I have fallen back on some of last years videos, during which I shared some of my storage methods.

The first is about my blood kit, what I use for one and what I keep in it. I wont drone on about it because you can watch it here and click here to get the link to the Smiggle store where I got my bag (for some reason it’s coming up with the Australian store but you can order to NZ from it (and probably from other places too.))

The second is all about how I store my diabetes resources. Now that I am on the pump I seem to have quadrupled in resources! But don’t worry if you are not pumping as about half of the video still applies to you πŸ˜‰Β Here is the link to the video and here is the link to my original blog post which has links to where you can purchase all the resources etc πŸ˜‰

The last and final ‘tip’ I have is how to fix your Animas Vibe pump clip. The pumps come with a metal clip that slides onto the back of the pump but with everyday wear the screw that holds it all together becomes loose and often joggles out completely or makes the clip so loose it swings about. Here is my video on how to fix it yourself πŸ™‚

Hopefully one of these videos has contained something useful for you today and as always if you have any questions please comment below or you can find me on the following social medias.

Twitter

FaceBook

YouTube

And IG – MyPinkPancreas

x Hope

 

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Battery Compartment CrackΒ 

  

This evening was a lesson in ‘technology is not perfect’.I have been seeing a lot of posts recently on battery compartments cracking open on Animas pumps. I did a site change two days ago and took care to check my battery compartment along with cartridge compartment and screen. No cracks. Reading one of these posts online I decided to double check mine…I can actually see the battery through this crack 😱 I never saw this crack because my pump skin covered it and honestly I think the reason the pump is still working is because the skin is hugging it together quite tight!

When your life relies on technology you become so confident in it and when it fails for a moment your heart stops πŸ’” I cannot explain the panic that I felt while inspecting this crack. The thought of having to revert to injections and working out how much to have by calculator was overwhelmingly terrifying. 

I just have to pray that this pump keeps on kicking until my replacement arrives in two days πŸ™πŸ»

Hope your all having a trouble free week πŸ‘ŠπŸ» πŸ’™

x Hope 

Whats in My Diabetes Bag?

Last week someone asked me if I would do a video showing what was in my diabetes bag.

I was so excited that someone asked me to do a specific video! It was a topic that I had never thought of doing too!

So here it is πŸ˜€

  
I would love to see your diabetes bags and what you keep in them too so if you’d like to show me please tag me on any of the following medias πŸ™‚

Twitter: hopieduncs

IG: @hopie_duncs

FaceBook: mypinkpancreas

Have a great day guys!

Hope.

My First Year Pumping

I’ve done it! 365days with this little doofer. At week 12 I was seriously doubting my decision take on a pump but I am so thankful that I decided to nut it out! Looking back I do not know how … Continue reading

How to do an insulin pump site change, using the Inset 30 for an arm site.

Hey Guys! David and I made a YouTube video today about how we insert an Inset 30 site in my arm πŸ˜€ Here is the link.     It’s a little longer than your normal video because we explained each step but … Continue reading

Pump Bands

There are so many different ways to wear pumps these days! Hidden, in plain view, pockets, clips, the list goes on. Today I have decided to focus on one method: pumps bands. In New Zealand this is the most popular method of wearing a pump, especially for younger children.

I’m going to talk through four different pump bands that I have, explaining how I use them and why. This is my personal experience and may not be the experience of all who use these products. I’ll include links to each manufacturer and as always, any questions comment below 😊

First up lets talk about the Spibelt. Purely because this was the first one I tried πŸ˜› they retail at about $20NZ depending on your stockist and here is the website.


The belt is an elasticated strap that clips around you with a plastic clip and is adjustable with a plastic slider (that probably has a technical name but I haven’t a clue what it is), The pouch is expandable and made from spandex with a zip running across. Note that the spibelt is available in children’s and adult sizing so best to measure and see which one you or your kiddo fit into best before purchasing πŸ˜‰

Lets talk pro’s first: It’s light, its easily accessible, easily hidden, adjustable (great for kids or youth who are still growing!), available in many colours and patterns and is not something that stands out as hiding a medical device.

Now the con’s: its not a belt for sleeping with-the buckle and slide adjuster are painful to lie on and if you do a lot of driving you may find it irritating in your lower back, the elastic gets picky really quickly (but if you have a pair of nail scissors and patience this can be remedied), I’m not super keen on the zip as I do worry about it scratching the face of my pump with constant opening and closing, it’s not my pick for exercising with (specifically running) as it doesn’t really hold the pump close to your body so it jiggles a fair bit.

All of that being said, its easy to use, discrete and not super expensive. I do still use mine but tend to reserve it for ‘lazy days’ when I’m not doing much and wearing loose clothing (you get the picture πŸ˜› )

Second I’d like to look at ‘No Sweat Insulin Pump bands’ these are available on FaceBook through this link here and retail at $29NZ each or 4 for $100NZ.


Pro’s first again: these bands are pretty much made to measure (there is a kinda sizing chart that you can look at, measure your waist and see where you fit so your guaranteed that they will be snug), they have a PVC window so that you can see your pump and dial up whatever you need to right through the window, they are available in a great range of colours, they sit flush with your body and stay there quite snugly (my pick for exercise because of this).

Con’s: the PVC does have a tendency to crease in places (which if you are a perfectionist like me can be irritating but this may also be down to how I have been putting my pump in).

Finally there is the plain Jane pump band (I don’t have a pic of my one but I will try to sort that out tonight πŸ˜‰ The band is a plain lycra/spandex sewn in the same way as the No Sweat Insulin Pump Band minus the PVC window.

Pro’s: again these bands are made to measure, there is a broad range of colours to choose from, if you are a sewer they are really quick to put together (under an hour), because they are a plain lycra band they can be worn as a belt over a dress or top or shorts (I love this because I feel like my pump is in plain view and yet no one can see it), depending on the lycra fabric and the brightness of your pump you can actually see the screen through the pump and don’t HAVE to remove it from the pouch (it is a lot easier to see if you are in the dark than direct sunlight), it holds the pump close/flush into the body so the pump doesn’t jiggle around (good for sports), can be worn when swimming (just be aware that chlorine will break down the fabric so it may be an idea to keep a belt specifically for swimming).

Con’s: the fabric available in stores is often quite plain.

Overall my favourite pump for day to day stuff is the plain Jane, for sport I would choose the No Sweat Insulin Pump Band (except swimming, I would use the plain Jane then), for daily life I would use the plain Jane and for lazy days I would use the Spibelt.

Again these are all my own opinions and experiences and if you have any different experiences or use a different kind of pump band I’d love to hear about it so please comment below πŸ™‚ and any questions again fire away πŸ™‚

Changes – #DBlogWeek Day 4

Changes that I would like to see in the world of diabetes. Well if I could change anything about diabetes and an illness I would make it non-existent, Β so I guess there is not much to talk about in that area hehe. Instead lets talk about the equipment and technology available for PWD (people with diabetes) and my (very limited) thoughts on those πŸ˜‰

Lets start off with the technologies that I use on a daily basis:

Glucose Meter

Insulin Pump

Diasend (an internet platform for uploading and looking at the information/history of my pump)

Calorie King (for counting carbs)

I am extremely thankful that I have these technologies available to me instead of having to pee in a cup and and taste it or use a horse needle to to inject an un-calculated amount of insulin in the hope that you get it all more right than wrong.

I’ll start with the glucose meter (excuse me I am about to get very very excited here!) Have you seen the new Abbott Freestyle Libre?!! Oh my goodness if you haven’t click the link and have a wee look before you finish reading thisΒ http://www.freestylelibre.co.uk/Β basically it is a glucose monitoring system that has two components: a receiver and a reader. The reader is a small disc that is inserted into the upper arm (it lasts approximately 14days) you can then scan this disc with the receiver (this part can be done through clothing and takes 1second) to receive a glucose reading. No pricking, no waiting for the monitor to count down, no only having a certain amount of strips available every day or trying to coordinate yourself when your low or on the go. Anytime you want a reading, just scan yourself! This is beyond brilliant! I cannot talk this system or idea up enough! (can you tell I’m excited about this?) The only downside is that I am in New Zealand, which is pretty much the last inhabitable place on the bottom of the globe, so the rest of the world (it feels) has access to this technology and there is absolutely no release date set or even planned for New Zealand. It is beyond frustrating but something I am holding out for so desperately! And if anyone who is reading this has any experience of this tech please, I would love to know what it is like and whether you like it or not πŸ™‚

Insulin Pump, I have the Animas Vibe Insulin Pump. To be honest there is not a great deal I would change about my pump. I would love if it was slimmer as I find there are some styles of clothes that I have stopped wearing because they look quite silly with my pump, so I feel it does effect how I look in more ways than just having a box attached. My boyfriend thinks there should be a form of pump that is a set and forget, so that you don’t have to carb count and input info etc etc. Now this would be absolutely fantastic but there is a small part of me that has come to rely on the control I have over being able to choose the amount of insulin I have etc. The Dexcom, now that can link in with my pump and send it a glucose reading every 5minutes but, it is up to me to keep an eye on this info and choose what to do with it. I would love if my pump would register the readings and give me corrections based on the readings, taking into account IOB (insulin on board) etc, this, I feel would make my control super πŸ˜‰

Diasend, this platform takes all the information my pump has collected and does some mathematical magic to come up with pie graphs, charts and stats all about my carb intake, insulin taken and BS (blood sugar). It’s fantastic, I can email it through to my endo or DN (diabetes nurse) and they can sit wherever they are and give me advice on what I need to change. It’s brilliant. the only thing I would love to see with it is some sort of introductory video that explains what you can do and how to do it, it’s a bit of a have a play and see what happens kinda set up.It would also be quite handy to have it as an app for the HCP (health care professionals) as they could look at it easily on the go.

Last but not least is the app/website that I use to calculate my carbs so I can have the appropriate insulin. Call me too controlling if you like but I weigh everything I eat, unless it comes in single servings and the packet lists how many carbs is in that single serve. I find that with a pump it pays to be exact and the only way i can do this effectively is through weighing. Calorie King allows me to search a particular food or ingredient. There are some staples like wholewheat or brown flour that for some reason are not in Calorie Kings data base, which is slightly frustrating. On the whole I find the website a great deal easier to use than the app but if I have my way with carb counting I would have a tiny device that I could scan my food with and it would send the carb content directly through to my pump and my pump would give me the required insulin πŸ˜›

I know, I know a lot of what I have said is rather futuristic and largely unobtainable (especially the later) but I do think that there are many elements we could add to today’s technology that wouldn’t necessarily take a heap of brains to do (well more brain than I have but I’m positive you can find that out there) and those changes can and will make a huge difference to how diabetes in managed and (I think) change the lives of PWD for the better πŸ™‚

Clean It Out – #DBlogWeek Day 3

Clean it out, well I guess depending how you approach it this could be interpreted two different ways.

1. Cleaning out the emotional pa-lava that seems to accomplany T1D

or

2. Clean out the stash of diabetes paraphernalia, medicine, devices and god knows what else that every PWD seems to have hidden somewhere.

To attempt to ease myself into this weeks blogging I have gone for the later (and for your sake too as I am sure neither of us would cope too well if I unlocked that other closet!).

So here it is, the ‘diabetes stuff’ from my draw, cabinet and a banana box under my bed, everything that I could find that was diabetes related that I own…must say I am slightly embarrassed.

Here’s what we have: 3x novorapid pens (from when I was on MDI and in case I ever need to go back); 1x humalog pen (since when did I use humalog?  I mean I have reactions to it! Well the three packets of humalog insulin in the fridge state it was at least 6years ago and yes for some unknown reason I still have those vials of insulin too); 5x blood glucose monitors, 1 from about 9years ago, 1 from 8years ago (that I didn’t like), and three from the past 8years, 1 that I am using and 2 back ups (you know in case one dies and the other is eaten by a hermit crab, or the company goes out of production!); 6x finger prickers (I think I have hoarding issues with these wee gadgets); 2x packets of lancets (surprisingly enough I am steadily working my way through these, as I change the lancet every two-three days); 3x boxes of pump cartridges; 5x boxes of pump infusion sites; 2x boxes of pen needles; 7x boxes of ketone strips; 1x container of ketone sticks (thats right, when I was younger if you got sick you had to pee on a stick to find out if you had ketones! As if being sick needed to be worse!); 5x boxes of testing strips (I have a serious fear of running out of these!); a heap of emla patches and cream (I had a huge fear of needles and it took every numbing agent and nice talking nurse out to get me to have a blood test and even then it ended in an anxiety attack, I have managed to overcome this paralysing fear in the past three years but for some reason I still hold onto these, whether it is to remind myself of how far I have come or in case I ever go back I am not sure); 4x manuals (I think I flicked through one once to find out what the reading E-3 was, seemingly it means my meter is too cold to function hehe); heaps of these little red ‘I have diabetes’ alert cards that my Mum is always trying to get me to carry with me; a container of insulin that has surpassed its used by date (I always feel so guilty when this happens 😦 and I never know how to dispose of it safely so it just gets kept); 80+ alcohol swabs for site changes; hyperfix (a medical tape for creating safety loops with my pump tubing…turns out I’m allergic to the stuff); another form of medical tape (same purpose but so far no reaction); 2x glucagel (for when I go really low and cannot eat jelly beans or drink coke); a bag of jelly beans; a packet of gingernuts (these are my post hypo carb); my blood kit (this contains enough of everything to keep me going for probably a week hehe, you kknow just in case we get invaded by zombies at school and I don’t get home for a while or something); and I have a fridge compartment full of insulin and glucagons.

Do I need it all? I mean really? It seems like a ludicrous amount of stuff to keep one person running, doesn’t it?

So I went through it all, sorted out expiry dates and removed things that I haven’t used in years or is not a backup/will be needed within the next three months (and still be in date when it is needed). I amanged to dispose of a box of used site inserters and three boxes of out of date ketone strips. Thats it! The rest I will use within the next three months or will need should something break, die, explode, be dropped etc etc.

It’s confronting, to me, a PWD (someone who has been a PWD for 18years), that this is what it takes to keep me standing, to keep me breathing. And all because my immune system decided to wage civil war on my pancreas, one tiny act and the life of life support needed after is this. I admit, I try not to look at it all very often, that is probably why it is stored in different places all over the house and why things run out of date without me realizing. I don’t like to see it all because it reminds me of what I have to do every day to stay alive, reminders that I can do without and often have wanted to hide away from the world. But this is it, this is my life and I will embrace it, run with it, collaborate with it, fight with it, live with it and love with it. It is not all that I am but it is a component. One thing I will change however is making sure I regularly check my expiry dates and throw out or giveaway what I am never going to use or what is expired hehe.

So there you have it, I’ve cleaned it out and done a bit of reorganizing as it went back in, but some of it is getting biffed and is staying out permanently πŸ˜› Have a great day guys!

Hope

Infusion Confusion Part II

I’ve finally gotten around to writing my personal experience of pump infusion sites, so here we go πŸ˜€

I started off with the inset II-6mm, which is easy peasy to put in after about two weeks of using the sites I began to feel a burning sensation under the skin whenever I bloused, it was just a slight niggle to begin with but it grew to an intense pain as if someone was holding a burning cigarette to my skin. I wanted to rip the site out it was so sore and I was beginning to get pain when the pump gave me my three minute basels too. Needless to say things were not looking good.

I contacted a friend whose daughter is on the same pump but she was using a different site, the comfort short. She gave me a few comfort short infusions to try to see if the difference in angle and depth made any difference. (Here is where I admit that I was too scared to use them and put up with the pain until I saw the nurse a few days later). Upon seeing the nurse, she said the same thing, to try a different infusion and gave me some comfort shorts (with inserers). She walked me through using one, so there was no backing out of doing so!) Three hours and a few boluses later I checked in with her to see if the stinging was still there…it was gone! No sting no pain πŸ˜€ Woohoo!

At my next site change I again used one of the comfort shorts with the inserter…only this time things just didnt quite go to plan :/ (I find the inserters for the comfort short very fiddly and it is easy to make very small but costly mistakes). I didnt manage to hold the canula in the right position when pulling the needle back out and managed to pull the canula partly out to. Sigh, rip that site out and start again. This time i used to comfort short but without the inserter (I will admit to freaking out at this point due to the fact that I was holding a 3cm needle against myself and readying to plunge it into my flesh O.o ) my fantastic father stood next to me pinching my arm to try and distratc me, which odly enough had a great effect. And the needle went in smoothly, I found I needed a bit of help holding the canula and taping the adhesive down at the same time (I can now do this on my own at a push, but it is so so much easier when someone else can lend a hand).

At the end of it all I got a new script for the comfort short insets and I was away laughing, only the pharmacy has a ruling that you cannot swap a script. So I was stuck with two boxes of the inset II and not quite enough site changes in the comfort short, what to do? I couldn’t use the inset II because they were so painful but at some point I was going to have to. This is were I came up with the idea of trying the inset II’s in my arms and legs. I have plenty of meat in my legs so that wasn’t a problem. I found that if I put the sites in my legs I couldn’t wear tighter fitting jeans because they rubbed and irritated the site but that is an easy thing to get around, site in leg=wear looser trousers. I found putting te site in my arm rather challenging as I only had one hand, but this is were the auto inserter really came into its own and under the watchful guide nice of my boyfriend via Skype I got it in no bother and even found an MP3 player arm band to fit the pump in when I wear it on my arm πŸ˜‰

  
Remember that if the first site you try isn’t quite working for you you can always try another until you get the one that is just right for you 😊 as always if you have any further questions or are needing any clarification please just sing out.

Hope