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

 

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

Favourites and Motivations – #DBlogWeek Day 6

Finally! I’m only one post behind now, the catch up is working πŸ˜›

Today is about my favourite bloggers in the DOC (diabetes online community) and/or what motivated me to start blogging.

I have only been involved in the DOC for the past kinda 6months (I’m a late bloomer when it comes to technology hehe). The person I have to thank for this is the incredible Ally a.k.a. VeryLightNoSugar click that link and check her out! I first discovered Ally on Twitter (she’s under VeryLightNoSugar again on there) where I clicked on a couple of her blog links. This girl is phenomenal! She tells it like it is, which I appreciate more than I am able to express right now. So many people sugar coat diabetes and down play the tough stuff, while Ally doesn’t make a huge drama of it she does explain it as it is. The reason I love this so much is because I always felt guilty for finding certain aspects of diabetes difficult or struggling to get my head around something, it was like ‘suit up and get on with it’ and when I wasn’t able to do that with the ease I felt I should it was devastating. Knowing that for someone else diabetes makes x, y and z a little tougher was fantastic! Seeing new ways of approaching these different aspects was fantastic too, suddenly I didn’t feel alone and I was normal. These are the reasons I am recommending Ally, this and she is a brilliant writer. So you really should check her out, you will enjoy it, I promise πŸ™‚

What motivated me to get blogging, especially when there are so many fantastic DBloggers out there already. Pretty simple really, my journey with diabetes is all subjective (from my stand point), no one could turn around to me and tell me I was wrong because it was my feelings and thoughts and attitudes toward something that I was going through. For me this was comforting because I am not one for confrontation or debating who is right or wrong, it intrigues me greatly to see and understand why people experience things differently and I was keen to see if anyone else was similar to me and if so how did they approach things. The main reason I started blogging through, was that I couldn’t find anyone in their 20’s in New Zealand who was doing it. Healthcare is very different here from in the states and while I love hearing how things work overseas, sometimes you just need to know whats going on in your own backyard. I grew up feeling very along in the diabetes world, I had no one my own age, or older to look up to or talk things through with. I feel that had I had this I would’ve grown up with a very different attitude toward my diabetes. Because of this I wanted to try and be this person for younger girls in my neck of the woods (or anywhere for that matter). I attended a diabetes youth camp for younger children at the beginning of the year and this is where I really found my want to help out younger kids with T1D. I was asked a whole heap of questions by the young girls (that I am sure they wouldn’t be as keen to ask a non-T1D) and when they found out I had diabetes it there was a lot of screaming. I want to show people that they can grow up to be whatever and whoever they want dispite having diabetes, that it is a big factor of their lives but it does not have to control them, and that they can grow up healthy and their diabetes not effect them any more than it has to.

It all sounds terribly mushy doesn’t it? But there is the truth of all of it. I do hope that I am making some kind of impact on those that read my blog (a good one preferably!) Even if I never get to see it, knowing that it could possibly be the case is more than enough πŸ˜‰

Foods On Friday – #DBlogWeek Day 5

Today is all about food…this is a bit of an iffy subject for me, in my world food is for fuel, I often don’t enjoy what I am eating and only eat it to regulate my BS (blood sugar). In saying that there are a few foods that I really do enjoy when given the chance and good BS πŸ˜‰ so we will see how this goes, I will try and explain why I have chosen what I have to eat throughout the day and I’ll tell you what I have to do in order to be able to eat it and have a reasonable BS afterward.

I thought a good way of connecting my diabetes into this post would be to show you a standard day for me on Diasend, so I have screenshoted Saturdays record and I will walk you through it all πŸ™‚ I wont explain all the information on the graphs etc because I feel it is pretty self explanatory but if you do have any questions please feel free to ask them (I do understand that looking at this from a non T1D point of view it may seem rather confusing).

Oh and I have used Saturdays information instead of Fridays as Friday got away on me and I attended a friends garden party in the evening which is not my norm and which also entailed a beautiful potluck and alcohol (neither of which is great for a PWD trying to carb count hehe but it tasted so good!) so I figured that giving you a standard day would possibly be of more use πŸ˜‰

Lets get into it then πŸ™‚ carbs that I consumed are in the lower table just above but I will tease them out and give explanations of what I ate and why etc etc.

08:46 – Breakfast – 24g = porridge. I try to always have porridge for breakfast, I find it is a good slow release and doesn’t contain any added sugars or sweeteners. I also have the problem of feeling sick in the mornings and not wanting to eat anything at all but having diabetes doesn’t let me act on that feeling, when I do have breakfast I often have very distorted taste and I figure porridge is bland so it’s not as upsetting to my taste buds hehe. This feeling is always exasperated when I wake up with a high BS (I don’t know if any other PWD have this or if it is just one of my irritating qwirks?)

12:53 – Lunch – 30g = cheese toastie. Now I realize that not everyone reading this will be from New Zealand and we have very different terminology from the USA so I shall expand on what a cheese toastie is. You take two pieces of bread and butter them on both sides (this will make sense in a sec), next you place cheese and pineapple inside like a sandwich. Finally you place all of this in a toastie maker (I think this is also called a sandwich press?) What you end up with is toasted bread with melted cheese in the middle that is about 90 Degrees Celsius and burns you as you bite into but you are caught in a trap because as you pull away you realize the cheese has stuck to your mouth and is now stringy and looping everywhere. It is hilarious to watch people eat and tastes really good!

16:40 – Afternoon Tea – 21g = Cheese roll. Another New Zealand phenomenon hehe, this time you do the same thing but instead of pineapple you put chives and spring onion and you roll the bread into a roll before toasting (so good!)

17:36 – I was hungry – 27g = lammington (sponge with icing and coconut). Basically I hid two of these in my room so my younger brother wouldn’t eat the whole packet and I would actually get one, anyway, it was staring at me and I was hungry so it made sense.

18:09 – Curiosity – 16g = sour jelly beans. I found these fancy jelly beans I was given for Christmas and felt the need to try them then and there without having to wait for a hypo πŸ˜›

19:46 – Dinner – 30g = grilled chicken and steamed veges. It’s fair to say I was not overly hungry at this point but needs must πŸ˜›

20:03 – Lack of Self Control – the jelly beans were calling…

22:19 – Too Much IOB (insulin on board) – 10g = jelly beans. I tested and was perfect but I had over 1unit on board which was enough to send me into a hypo, it was logical to eat enough to cancel that out.

22:28 – Where is my brain?! – 21g = another lammington! At this point I must confess something, I was skyping my boyfriend and so was completely preoccupied when I was eating the jelly beans 10mins ago, I bolused for them, when the entire point of eating them was to cancel out my IOB! (Men! They just mess with your sugars!) So as a second cancellation of IOB I had my last lammington.

Whenever I had any of these things too eat I have to calculate the carbs that I am consuming I do this one of three ways: I weigh my food and enter it into Calorie King, here is the link if you want to have a look (I think it’s fantastic); or if it is something I eat regularly such as an apple I know the carbs and can just enter them from memory; or for things that come in servings I will weigh out a serving portion and use the information provided on the packet πŸ™‚ after I find out the carbs I enter the total into my pump and a calculation is run based on my I:C ratio (insulin carb ratio, how many units of insulin I need per gram of carb) and that insulin is given to me.

When I am at college I will make myself a packed lunch and when I was learning to carb count (and if I have anything new in my lunch box) I will write the carb total onto the gladwrap of the food item. It looks a bit daft but I find it very helpful when I am on the go or trying to concentrate on other things and busy.


The main thing i would like you to take away from this post is that PWD can eat anything that they want, we aren’t allergic to sugar and we wont die if we eat it as long as we have the appropriate insulin to cover it. I don’t normally eat so many sweets but every now and again it doesn’t hurt πŸ˜› Β Some people do this via carb counting others have other methods. For me I HAVE to have three main meals a day and if I do not have a small snack mid morning and afternoon I will go low (as I did at lunch today because I didn’t have morning tea). Everyone has certain things that they have to do every day to keep themselves healthy, mentally and physically, everyone’s list is different and mine includes having to eat at certain times and calculate what I have eaten. It feels really overwhelming at first but as you do it, it becomes second nature and a lot easier.

If you have any questions about carb counting or how I do things or need clarification on anything please feel free to ask. I’m not a Dr so cannot give you any advice or direction that regard but I have learnt some tips along the way that make things easier 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

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 πŸ˜› 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 πŸ™‚

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!

An Article in the Local Paper

During November (Diabetes awareness month) I was interviewed by a lovely journalist from the Otago Daily Times (ODT) our local news paper here. I was interviewed all about my type 1 diabetes (T1D).

I was so nervous! I wasn’t sure what she was going to ask and then there was the uncertainty of what she would actually write and how she would portray me…and others with T1D. I felt like I was being placed with such responsibility to make sure that the correct things were being heard and understood about T1D but at the same time I felt I had no control over any of it!

The journalist and I spoke for about an hour, about everything! From hospital appointments to how T1D affects friendships.

This is the article that was published as a result.

http://www.odt.co.nz/lifestyle/magazine/328536/fear-blindness-wake-call-diabetic

Hopefully if I have done this correctly you can just click the link above Β and it will open in a new tab!

I thought I would put it up here to give you all: a) a chance to read it and b) a place to ask me further questions should you have any. I really hope that you enjoy reading this and please feel free to ask any questions about anything, if I can help in anyway I’m more than happy to πŸ™‚

Just a shot…I think not

So as all of you probably know by now those of us with T1D have to give ourselves insulin manually, this is done either through an injection or an infusion via pump. Today I’m going to explain the process that you have to go through to have an injection of insulin, that right there is more to it than drawl up an amount, stab and push in insulin.

This is the pen that I use to deliver the majority of my shots (I have another one with a different insulin but I only use it once a day).

Insulin pen

Before I tell you exactly how the pen works lets start at the beginning of the whole equation (trust me the whole thing turns into a giant equation!)

Blood test, that’s right, it all starts here. Depending on what your bloods are you may need to factor in a corrective dose to your insulin shot. How do you work this out? Well every T1D is different on this point so I will just explain what I do. I have what they call a correction factor, so for every 2 mmol/L of blood sugar that I want my bloods to come down I need to have 1unit of insulin. So right now lets say that I want my bloods to come down by 5mmol/L, I would need 2.5units of insulin.

Part one:check.

Next are you going to eat anything? For arguments sake we are πŸ˜‰ for this part you have another calculation to run. It starts with how many carbohydrates have you eaten? (as a diabetic you are taught to carb count but I wont give you a lecture on that right now or your head might explode, the easy way is look up on your phone how many carbs are in your meal) So lets say we’ve eaten dinner and all up dinner contained 60g of carbs. Now we have to divide those carbs by what is called a carb ratio (every T1D’s ratio is different!) my ratio is 10:1 so for every 10g of carbs that I eat i need 1unit of insulin. 60g of carbs means I need 6units of insulin.

Part two:check.

Now it’s time to have your insulin, right? Wrong, now you have to factor in how much activity you are going to do after dinner. If you don’t do this you will either need to eat again to keep from going low or your will go low. If I’m going to do exercise I will generally have 10% less insulin. So lets say that I am going to do some exercise and we’ll factor that in in the next bit.

So we have 2.5units for a correction and 6units for our carbs, together that’s 8.5, but now we have to minus 10% for exercise that we are going to do (I generally round the numbers to the nearest .5 because my pen has increases of .5) so that brings us to a grand total of 7.5units of insulin.

Now for the easy part, having the shot. Simply dial up the required amount, choose the place you want to have it, put the needle in and press the insulin in. I then keep the needle in for a count of 10seconds because it can take the insulin a little bit longer to come out of the needle and start to be absorbed. If you don’t wait insulin will come out of your injection site and then you’ll go high because you haven’t had your full dose.

As you can see having a shot just isn’t that simple. Every time that I test my bloods or eat food I have to go through this process. At first it was really difficult and I needed lto write it down and use a calculator but now I can manage it all in my head. But if my bloods are too high this makes thinking harder so doing all of the above takes me a little while longer. Hopefully now you see that we T1D’s have to do a bit more than just have shots to keep alive, I just felt the need to let y’all know πŸ˜‰ any questions about any of this y’all know where to put them πŸ™‚