Tip and Tricks – #DBlogWeek Day 5

Our topic today is Tips and Tricks.  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 “unconventional” 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 😉 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 😉

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 🙂

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

 

The Other Half of Diabetes

“Our topic today is The Other Half of Diabetes.  We think a lot about the physical component of diabetes, but the mental component is just as significant. How does diabetes affect you or your loved one mentally or emotionally? How have you learned to deal with the mental aspect of the condition? Any tips, positive phrases, mantras, or ideas to share on getting out of a diabetes funk? (If you are a caregiver to a person with diabetes, write about yourself or your loved one or both!)” Karen Grafeo (Bitter-Sweet Diabetes).

I’m so far behind in Dblog week, my apologies, this year it happened to fall amongst my assessment week and they have had to take priority. I will write all the blogs planned they will just be really late 😛

Emotion, thefreedictionary.com defines emotion to be:

1. A mental state that arises spontaneously rather than through conscious effort and is often accompanied by physiological changes; a feeling: the emotions of joy, sorrow, and anger.
2. Such mental states or the qualities that are associated with them, especially in contrast to reason: a decision based on emotion rather than logic.

So how does that tie with diabetes? How does your body not producing insulin link with you being angry, sad or happy? Honestly, at a chemical or biological level, I don’t know but it does have a huge affect! More than I to care to acknowledge, looking into some stats for this blog I discovered that people with T1D have two to four times the chance of developing depression. Whilst I cannot explain why there is is link o what that link is, I can describe/explain what happens to me and my methods of trying to deal with it.

Last month I was asked if I would mind contributing a blog to Diabetes Daily Grind it could be on anything I liked, there was only an approximate word count that I had to comply with. I spent a few days trying to come up with a subject to write about and then I had a really bad high and ended up blowing up at someone (I have a feeling it may have been my Mum but I can’t rightly remember 😦 ) Mum and I had a big talk about what happens when I am high and how much I have changed emotionally since going on a pump and gaining some form of control over my bloods. I realized that I cannot be the only one who experiences intense emotions with blood level changes and I felt like it needed discussed. So that was my blog Putting a Face to the Name (the High Blood Sugar Demon)  I have linked it in so that you can go and have a look at it rather than post the whole thing. Keep in mind in that post I am only discussing high blood sugars.

I also want to talk about low blood sugars and what I experience with them because whilst my coping methods are similar to high blood sugars what I actually experience is totally different. I want to link in a blog post written  by someone else here because I believe the author has hit the nail on the head and I am not able to describe any more accurately. The post is called ‘Everything was in slow motion. Even my brain was going slow. (A hypoglycemic event explained)’ written by Neel Jadeja on the blog ‘LifeLoveandInsulin.’

Having to deal with such an emotional roller-coaster everyday is exhausting, especially when there is the opinion that if you worked harder and controlled your bloods better then you would not be experiencing the emotions caused by highs and lows. It never stops, you don’t get a holiday, you don’t get paid and there is very little reward for the effort required in comparison to the flack you will get when you are deemed not to have done enough. It’s normal to feel confused, irritated, sad or frustrated about it all and on the whole those feelings come and go as your management changes but sometimes ruts form and those feelings don’t go away, they get worse and start effecting how you manage your T1D, or in some cases don’t manage it. If this happens one of the best things you can do is talk to your DN or endo, let someone know you are struggling, it sucks to admit it and have to talk about it (trust me I know) but if you don’t no one can help. Generally hospitals will have a psychiatrist on the team who specializes in chronic illnesses and you can be referred to talk to them. Being referred to them doesn’t mean you are sick, it just means that you need some support and you may only need this a few times or you may need it over a longer period but if its what you need in order to manage your T1D most effectively then it just has to be part of your management system. If you can find out if there is someone available who specializes in chronic illnesses (or even better T1D) but if not then a general councilor or just talking to your DN or endo is a fantastic place to start.

Most importantly, know that you are never alone in how T1D makes you feel and there is always someone who can talk it over with you and take some of the strain.

 

Message Monday-#DBlog Week Day 1

“Today’s topic is Message Monday.  Lets kick off the week by talking about why we are here, in the diabetes blog space. What is the most important diabetes awareness message to you? Why is that message important for you, and what are you trying to accomplish by sharing it on your blog? (Thank you, Heather Gabel, for this topic suggestion.)” Karen Grafeo (Bitter-Sweet Diabetes).

What I’m taking from this one is why do I Dblog? The answer to this is going to have a few sections so I am afraid you are going to have to bear with me for a bit 😉

Here is my first video (I’m pretty sure it came before the blog) explaining what I set out to do. In a bit over a year since I think that the bones have stayed the same but had been significantly added to as I’ve grown. So here is what I am all about now.

First and foremost, it helps me. It helps me to process things that happen with my diabetes, to reach out for help when I need it, to make connections with others going through the same thing or who have been there, done that and can offer me advice and most importantly it makes me feel less alone. There is no community based group for people with T1D in my area so I have grown up not knowing anyone else who was living with the same thing and as a result felt very alone and isolated. Being able to connect with other people (even if I never see them face to face) takes away this feeling of being alone and gives me reassurance that I am not the only one in the world facing this and that there are solutions and other methods that I have not tried.

Second of all when I discovered Dblogs it was amazing, a whole new world opened up for me, suddenly I was not alone and others had gone through or were going through similar things but the only problem was they were all American and the American health system is VERY different to the New Zealand one (the terminology is also different but that is less of an issue). I was discovering all of these management methods and equipment that looked incredible but was not available to me and it was really frustrating. I had no knowledge about the New Zealand health system and what was available and what popular management techniques were. I felt like I was flying blind, I kept asking my team for things that they had never heard of or that weren’t available and it became very confusing. I wanted to provide something for people in New Zealand (and other places if they wanted) that explained what WAS available here and using language that was familiar.

Thirdly I wanted to provide a ‘big girl with T1D’ for younger girls. I never had this growing up and I really feel that it would’ve helped me to see someone older who despite all the T1D stuff was getting on and doing things. I feel I may have felt a bit more like I could do things rather than oh but I have T1D so I can’t.

Okay I forgot one…fourthly, I wanted to provide a place that was open honest and real about T1D. I read so many really inspiring Dblogs where people do incredible things and I get all powered up, ready to take on the world and then I can barely make it to lunch time because I have a series of lows overnight and wake up really high. I applaud those who are able to not let T1D affect their lives in any way but for those of us who it provides a daily struggle that sometimes feels far too much I wanted to provide reassurance that it is not just them and for those who have no concept of what T1D is I wanted to provide a glimce of what it can be like (note I use can because everyone’s experiences are so different).

And finally (I know I forgot two!) I wanted to help. I know how horrible it is to feel alone, like no one gets it, that you work your butt off but everything still goes wrong, and I don;t want anyone to ever feel that they are alone in it all or that everyone else is perfect. I want to help educate those that have never heard about diabetes, to give some insight into what diabetes means, how it can be managed, what it means to live with it and to hopefully remove some of the stigma and myths surrounding it.

Dblogging has become part of my T1D care and I am really thankful to be able to share my experiences, thoughts, concerns, failures and successes with an amazing online community while building some rock solid friendships along the way. Hopefully people read my blog and it helps them out in some way but if no one reads it thats okay because it does my soul good to write it and process it.

Putting a Face to the Name (the High Blood Sugar Demon)

I was recently asked if  would like to submit a blog post to Diabetes Daily Grind to be published on their site. I was over the moon!!! But rather stumped as to what to write about. Then I had a really bad high and I knew what to write about. What it is like to experience a high blood sugar.

Here is the blog post.

arguments

Please let me know what you think, do you experience highs differently? How do you handle the emotions that come with it?

Make sure you check out Diabetes Daily Grinds site too and some of the other fantastic blog entries 😀

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 😀 Here is the link.     It’s a little longer than your normal video because we explained each step but … Continue reading

Relinquishing Control-Blood Sugar Checks

Admit it, as someone with T1D you like to, no, have to control what happens to you with regard to being poked and prodded. We are subjected to so many tests, shots and site changes that are uncomfortable at the best of times, of course we want to be in control of these. We want to be able to control how quickly the needle is put in, or where. the depth of the finger prick and how hard our finger is squeezed. There are so many different aspects of T1D that cannot be controlled, so we really latch onto what we can control and tend to fight off any that threaten this.

For me, I haven’t let anyone test my blood sugar in over 10 years! It’s my thing, it’s personal, it involves getting into my space and and making me bleed for crying out loud! It hurts quite a bit of the time (I have such skinny and bony fingers!) and overall I just haven’t trusted anyone else to do it and do it well (not to mention wanting to be the first to see the resulting number so that I can decide if I am actually going to reveal the real number).

In the past couple of days it has come to my attention that maybe this isn’t as good for me as I was thinking. My Mum, Dad, Boyfriend, siblings and friends watch me test but I do it so quickly that to them it’s really just a 10 second blur, they couldn’t replicate it themselves without direction. Does that matter though? I mean how often am I in a situation in which I am unable to test my bloods? And that was were I stumbled in my thinking. Day to day I’m generally not in that situation but in the past week I have been verging on it quite a few times, leaving my boyfriend sitting there doing his best to make me eat and get my sugars up (which he is amazing at) while not knowing if what he is doing is having any effect because I’m refusing to test my bloods again. Take it one step further to him finding me on the floor or unable to wake me in the morning (God forbid either of these scenarios actually ever eventuate, although they have in the past) and he NEEDS to know WHY I am not responsive so that he can take the appropriate action to help me. I think he had been musing on this too because this morning he asked if I could teach him how to do a blood sugar test.

This morning I said yes, lets do it. I sat him down and instructed him to test his own blood sugar (he got a perfect 5.4) and then he went on, unassisted to check mine. I took photos to try and distance myself from the whole thing (I was rather worked up) but he did a perfect job! It didn’t even hurt (I wont tell you my number, lets just assume I wasn’t high but it was above his).


Now someone that I spend a great deal of time with (when we are in the same city) is capable of not only treating my blood glucose when it’s low but testing to see if that treatment is required. It has put his and my mind at ease that now,if required he has the knowledge and capability to do this.

I still think that a blood sugar check is very personal (to me at least) and is something which I intend to keep control of but when appropriate and for the right reasons I am now okay with the idea of handing that control over to someone else (doesn’t mean I wont make attempts to snatch the meter before the number appears though).

As always these thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone, you may find yours to be different and that’s absolutely fine 🙂 Please feel free to share your thoughts on blood sugar tests. Do you always do them? Do you let anyone else? Does a member of your family know how to? Let me know in the comments below or over in Instagram @hopie_duncs or twitter @hopieduncs

Have a great day guys.

Hope

Deciding to Move From MDI to Pump

*Deep Breath* where to start?

I guess a good place would be when I was first offered an insulin pump. About 6years ago (it may well be linger than this) I was told I would be an ideal candidate for an insulin pump and did I want one. I did some googling and found out that Nick Jonas (my icon for that month) had one, so of course I wanted one! It was after saying yes that I was told it would be $8,000 to purchase one and some other crazy number per month to keep it running. At that point coming up with $8,000 just wasn’t going to happen so I did a bit of inquiring into various foundations around and whether they would be able to help or not, I wasn’t met with enthusiasm and so didn’t proceed in any of my investigations. Basically a pump wasn’t going to happen so I began hating the idea, purely because I knew it wasn’t going to happen.

Over the years the suggestion of a pump came up frequently but I was still bitter at the fact that it was so expensive and I now had the added attitudes of my school peers, who, at the time felt that my having injections was ‘gross’ and treated me horribly for it. To me the idea of having something implanted in me 24/7 was just an added extra that they could tease me about. So I continued to refuse.

This continued in a varied fashion through to my late teens where, even though I was without a boyfriend, I worried constantly about what boys would think of my T1D and how they would react. I didn’t want to make myself even less attractive by having a machine attached to my hip. So still refused the offer of a pump, even though by this time they were finally funding pumps in New Zealand.

Finally last year (2014) I began to get involved in online groups for people with T1D. Those involved in these groups were predominantly from the USA and other countries were pumping is a common form of insulin therapy. I began reading posts about insulin pumps and seeing photos and memes popping up all over the place. The thought of an insulin pump became normal, not strange or weird. I began to feel like I could actually manage having one of these things. Later that year i had an eye examination, of which the results were not good and included leaking in one eye that was affecting my vision. My bloods were also all over the place! I was having 12+ injections a day to try and prevent peaks and troughs in my sugar levels but it just wasn’t working. While discussing this with the Prof, my Diabetes Nurse came in and I lost it, burst into tears and started begging for help because I was doing everything that I could and that they were telling me. (I think as a last desperate attempt) the Prof suggested a pump and too the surprise of him and the nurse I said yes, anything if it would make things better.

I think the combination of a pump now being viewed as a normal thing to me, not having a boyfriend and therefore not worrying what someone might think about me being rigged up to something 24/7, my feeling so sick all the time due to swinging BG levels, the bruises and literal pain of 12+ injections a day, and the damage occurring to my eyes had lead me to the point that I really was willing to try anything that would help make me better. It just turned out to be a pump.

So my nurse applied for the funding via the government funding department (I think that’s what it is) Pharmac and once I was approved all I had to do was wait for the next available training day to get fitted and learn what I needed to know to get pumping.

Moving from MDI to a pump is not a decision that I took lightly, a lot of thinking went into it before I went to visit the Prof that day and a huge amount of research and talking to people all over the world went on after receiving funding. I think I’ve made the right decision, but only time will tell.

I am now pumping but I will keep all of that for the next post so as not to overload you 😛 If you are considering a pump and want anymore information please feel free to ask, I’m more than happy to answer and attempt to help if I can 🙂

Hope

PancreaticallyChallenged – YouTube

And so I started a YouTube channel…

I’ve been doing a great deal of YouTubing recently and I have realized that there are no (none that I could find) YouTube channels about type 1 diabetes (T1D) in New Zealand or for New Zealanders (kiwi’s).

In New Zealand we have quite a different system when it comes to health care and in particular diabetes care. It is fantastic to see all the American and English ones! I really do appreciate them but at the end of the day what is available there and what is available here are quite different. So I started PancreaticallyChallenged.

My plan for this channel is to be a place where people can ask questions about T1D and get a really honest answer. I’ve found that often people are either too scared to ask or don’t know where to ask. So this gives people reasonable anonymity to ask and a place to do so.

I have only managed one video so far, it has been the holidays (dreadful time to start YouTubing!) but hopefully it will continue from there. I will also blog here all the extra details for the videos.

If you would like to check out my first video you can do so bellow and if you have any questions or ideas or videos please comment with them bellow, I would love to hear them!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vtrd2TDxMnw

Enjoy guys!