KEDZ Covers™ Review

When Katrina reached out to me after seeing my feature on Lauren’s Hope, I knew I had to help share her story and mission. She is the proud creator and founder of KEDZ Covers™, a flourishing small business that sells polypropylene plastic, colorful and reusable covers for the Omnipod insulin pump. Being diagnosed with T1D at the age of 9, Katrina quickly switched from needles to the Omnipod and Dexcom G6. She felt embarrassed about the way the Omnipod looked, so with her creativity and the help of her dad, KEDZ Covers™ was born! They partnered with an engineering company to create 3D printed prototypes for an Invention Convention which later grew into a business. KEDZ Covers™ has been featured in publications like the Boston Business Journal, Diabetes Forecast and Diabetes Mine.

After hearing Katrina’s story, I was excited to try out her KEDZ Covers™. The moment I unpackaged my cover, I was impressed by the overall look and feel of it. It’s made from polypropylene plastic which is flexible and lightweight. The plastic won’t break when snapping the cover on and off, which means these bad boys are durable and will last you a long time. It was easy to attach to my Omnipod and I removed it when it was time to change my pod, so I wouldn’t accidentally take my Omnipod off with the cover. It is recommended that the cover be attached to the pod once the pod has adhered to the skin and the cannula has been inserted. You can view demonstration videos here.

I wore my KEDZ Covers™ to the gym as I went through an entire HIIT cardio circuit without it falling off or interfering with my clothes. This is a trusted product that I will continue to wear and support. I can’t wait for all of my upcoming summer vacations so I can wear these colorful and reusable covers to match my outfits!

 

To rock your very own KEDZ Covers™, click here! You won’t be disappointed.

Katrina is such a strong young lady who continues to find the positive in what is a difficult disease to manage day-to-day. She inspires me to keep my head up and to keep spreading awareness for the type one community. Continue reading my full interview with Katrina below.

Katrina Diel’s Q&A

1. Tell me your T1D story after your diagnosis at age 9.

Once I was diagnosed, I immediately was put on long-acting and short-acting injections. After a few months of extreme highs, my endo decided it would be a good time for me to switch to a pump. I chose the Omnipod because it’s tubeless, waterproof, and best fit my lifestyle. I dance, play the violin, and go to the beach a lot in the summer so it was the best option for me. About a year later I was still experiencing blood sugars ranging from 20-400, and my endo introduced the idea of a CGM. Having a Dexcom has changed my life because it’s made management so much easier. I remember the first time I got it; I kept looking at the number to watch it change because I couldn’t believe that technology was capable of doing what my Dexcom was doing.

2. What was your first reaction when you found out?

Honestly, I didn’t really have much of a first reaction! At the time, I didn’t quite understand what everything meant until it started requiring carb counting, shots, more doctor appointments, etc. I learned to just adapt it to my current lifestyle and make do with the circumstances.

3. What complications have you experienced?

I’ve developed insulin resistance, making daily control challenging. I also have other chronic autoimmune disorders that make managing my numbers more difficult.

4. What resources have been of help to you? (Blogs, social media, nutritionists, endocrinologists?)

My family and I attended the Children With Diabetes Friends For Life Conference in Orlando, Florida about a year after I was diagnosed. It’s a week-long program where T1D’s have the chance to meet other T1D’s, and caregivers can attend informational classes regarding management, research, awareness, etc. You can learn more about meters, pumps, CGM’s, meal planning, pump trials, and more! It was there I met 3 T1D girls from different places across the U.S., who I still keep in contact with every day by text. They have offered me so much support, whether it’s advice, low carb recipes, or even just making me laugh on days that my diabetes doesn’t treat me so great.

5. Any advice you have for new diabetics?

You know your body best! It’s important to know when to trust your own opinions over others because after all, it is YOUR diabetes. Sometimes we set unrealistic expectations based off of things we hear or see from the lives of other diabetics/social media. But everybody’s body is different! Even though it may seem as if every other type one diabetic has perfect numbers 24/7, they’re not! It’s important to maintain balance, and remember there will be good days and bad days.

6. What’s your go-to when you’re experiencing lows?

Gummies if I’m trending down with IOB, and either a Capri Sun or Glacier Freeze Gatorade when super low!

7. Does having diabetes and being a high school student make it tough at times? (school dances, lunchtime, curious students, tests)

Definitely! My entire schooling experience with diabetes has been about navigating the rocky waters, and remembering that not everyone will understand because they don’t have the disease. I’m always open to educating others because I believe the more curious people are, the better because it raises awareness and creates less stigma. Most recently, my parents and I had to apply for accommodations during standardized testing for college applications, which can be a very tedious process. I think the more people who are made aware of the difference between type one and type two, the more they will understand they are two entirely different diseases.

In high school particularly, everybody is just starting to figure out who they are and find their own voice and sometimes diabetes can clash with that. As much as I want to go to a sleepover or have a smoothie at the mall with my friends, I have to remember there are some things I just can’t do because of my own personal health. For me, that’s often hard to come to grips with, but it’s helped me figure out who my true friends are. The ones that don’t mind sitting out with you while you drink a juice at a school dance with low blood sugar, or are willing to eat at a different restaurant you can enjoy something at, or who even help you tape up a site falling off at the pool, are the ones who you know will be by your side through thick and thin.

8. What does “living diabetter” mean to you?

I think “living diabetter” is about living a lifestyle where you don’t let your diabetes dictate every single one of your choices. Managing can be very exhausting, and it’s important to reward yourself with that ice cream sundae or an extra bowl of pasta and meatballs, but it’s also important to take care of yourself and try to stay active and maintain an overall healthy lifestyle.

9. How do you balance dancing and diabetes?

I think for me it’s about knowing there will be times I can control my diabetes and times I cannot. I usually try to keep water and Gatorade in the studio with me so that I can stay hydrated and have easy access to juice if I notice my BG trending down from my workout or a previous bolus. I wear my Apple Watch for every class since my Dexcom connects to it, allowing me to keep an eye on my trends with a quick glance. Usually, if I’m low I take a few sips of juice and keep up with dance class, but if my blood sugar reaches below 65 or above 300 I usually sit out because at that point it isn’t safe for me to continue. It’s often hard because I just want to continue on with class and improve my technique but I have to sometimes stop and listen to what my body is telling me.

10. Are you apart of any diabetes organizations? Participated in any walks, raised money?

I’ve participated in JDRF walks in both Providence, RI and Tampa, FL with family and friends. My family and I were the ambassador family for Omnipod at the 2014 CWD FFL conference. We sat in the Omnipod booth and answered questions from families, talked to other reps, and represented the entire Omnipod team. It was such a rewarding experience! I’ve also been featured in the Boston Business Journal, Diabetes Forecast, Rhode Island Monthly, the Rhode Island Patch, and more. Having those interviews gave me the opportunity to raise awareness of this disease.

14. How did you come up with KEDZ Covers™? What’s the story behind your company?

When I was in the 5th grade my class was required to come up with an invention for my school’s annual Invention Convention. Having been disappointed and somewhat embarrassed of the plain, white looking outside of my Omnipod, I put my thinking cap on, trying to figure out what I could do to change its boring appearance. I made a small cover to fit over my site with clay, and spray painted it. With the help of my dad, we took my model to somebody who created a scale drawing, and then later printed a 3D design made out of polypropylene plastic. We later had covers manufactured in 4 colors, and KEDZ Covers™ was created. “KEDZ” stands for my full name: Katrina Elisabeth Diel.

15. Anything else you would like to add/comment on.

Just a little thing I try to remember when I’m having a bad day: We always move forward. Tomorrow is a new day, and we can’t go backward and change the past. What we can do, however, is take the life we have been given and make the best of every single second we have.

MediPeds®: Let Your Feet Do the Talking

 

For those of you living with type one or type two diabetes, you should be taking extra care of your feet. Did you know? Diabetes can cause nerve damage that takes away the feeling in your feet. Diabetes can also reduce blood flow to the feet, making it harder to heal an injury or infection.

I know, I know… another unchecked box you probably have never thought of before, but we have to add this to our list. In order to avoid the serious complications mentioned above, keep your blood sugars under control!

I partnered with MediPeds® to help raise awareness on promoting healthy feet. MediPeds® socks focus on improving leg fatigue, swelling, blisters, and dry skin, which are symptoms caused by diabetes.

Although I have never experienced nerve damage or neuropathy, I have gotten blisters from wearing small shoes and high heels. Ladies, we’re all guilty of squishing our feet to fit in those cute pumps because they were the only size left on the shelf (I mean… one size too small won’t hurt, right?!) They may look good on your feet, but as soon as you take them off, you’re feet get to talking. They feel like they’re on fire and about to fall off. I can’t be the only one here! 🙋🏽

I admit that I choose cute and stylish over comfortability, but living with type one diabetes, I have to balance the two and listen to my feet. After a hard workout at the gym, my feet are sweaty and need to air out. I ‘m mindful of that, and immediately take my socks and shoes off when I get home. During date nights and GNO’s, I wear my wedges or heels, but the next day I wear comfortable shoes so my feet can recover. The same at the office, I  switch off between heels and fashionable sneakers. I have to pay close attention to what my feet are telling me so they can remain healthy.

I have been wearing my MediPeds® socks this whole summer and I am LOVING them! They seriously feel like I’m walking on clouds. Read how cool this is…the socks have COOLMAX® fibers that keep your feet dry and allow breathability during your active lifestyles. I wanted to test this feature out so I went to the gym, I wore MediPeds® on one foot and a generic sock brand on the other. After 60 minutes of HIIT cardio and upper body, I checked my socks and the generic sock brand was damp and the MediPeds® sock was dry! Y’all being the sweaty person I am, I have never experienced dry feet after working out. It was a miracle! 🙌🏾

Another cool feature is their non-binding top which is designed to improve blood circulation in the feet and legs. You know how after a long day, your feet feel tired and sore? Well, I put the low cut MediPeds® socks on and I immediately felt a soothing sensation. These socks feel like cotton balls surrounding my feet. ☁

The cushioned sole is another one of my favorite features because it helps keep my feet warm. I’m anemic and my feet and hands stay cold. I can wear the socks to bed and the extra padding warms them up without them feeling sweaty or clammy.

Please join me on the journey to healthy and happy feet by following these simple steps:

1. Inspect your feet daily. Check for cuts, blisters, redness, or swelling.

2. Moisturize your feet daily.

3. Pedicures, please! It’s okay to live your best life. 💅🏽

4. Always wear clean, dry socks. 🧦

5. Get periodic foot exams by your physician or endocrinologist. 👣

6. Buy you a pair of MediPeds® to help with this process.

MediPeds® are made specifically for a person with diabetes, circulatory problems, and someone who enjoys relaxing at home.

Here are my thoughts on the products I’ve tried:

• Style No. 8617 – MediPeds 3PP White NanoGlide Liner – I wear these liners with my converse and flats to work. They have a no-slip feature on the heels so they don’t fall down and have you walking on folded socks by the end of the day.

• Style No. 8587 – MediPeds 4PP White COOLMAX Wide Crew– These are my favorite socks! They keep my feet cool, dry, and comfortable. They fit perfectly on my feet without feeling smushed or claustrophobic.

• Style No. 1000 – MediPeds 4PP White XS Low Cut– I like to wear the low cut socks to the gym because they hug my feet perfectly but at the same time allow my feet to breathe.

• Style No. 1000 – MediPeds 4PP Black XS Low Cut- The low cut also stretches as I move. For example, after running on the treadmill, normally my socks get stuck in between my toes and I feel them scrunch up in my shoe. Wearing the low cut sock allows my feet to stretch and move around with comfort. The toe seam reduces pressure points. It’s pretty much like a built-in massage for your feet.

I would recommend people with diabetes and other medical conditions to add MediPeds® to their sock drawers. It’s like these socks can predict how your feet will feel and prevent it from happening. After a long night, I can trust my COOLMAX wide crew to repair my fatigued feet.

Take care of your diabetes. Keep your BG’s under control. Your soles will thank me later! 👟 👠

Find your perfect pair here: http://www.medipeds.com

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Q&A with Matt Collins, Co-Founder of SizeSlim Supplements

Video courtesy of SizeSlimTV

1. Tell me your T1D story when you were diagnosed in 1997.

I was diagnosed during my freshman year in high school in 1997. I was the JV football quarterback, and during a game, my mom noticed how thin I looked. She mentioned to a friend of hers (who happened to be a physician) all of my symptoms. I was exhibiting the classic symptoms: weight loss, blurry vision, sweet-smelling breath, etc. The physician/mom’s friend told my mom in a very stern voice: “after the game go directly to the drug store. Buy Keto-Diastix and use them. If they turn color head straight to the ER. I’ll call them and let them know you’re coming.” Sure enough, they turned dark brown. Next thing I knew I was the first name at the top of the ER chart with a blood sugar reading of 680mg/dl! The doctors at the hospital said I was so lucky someone was there to recognize the symptoms…otherwise, I may not have made it through the night.

2. What was your first reaction when you found out?

I was bummed out for sure. I had a lot of things going for me, and I remember thinking “but I was so close to having everything lined up perfectly…why me?” Luckily I have an amazingly supportive group of friends and family who helped me take on a somewhat competitive spirit with diabetes and always helped me move in the right direction.

3. What complications have you experienced?

None so far. I’ve been extremely diligent with my routines…for 20 years. I’ve never had to deal with any complications thus far, thank God.

4. What resources have been of help to you?

For me, the number #1 resource is technology. The more information I can get about my blood sugars throughout the day, the easier it is for me to maintain quality sugar levels for extended periods of time. This and the online diabetic community has been extremely helpful.

5. Any advice you have for new diabetics?

My advice is to never be ashamed of your condition. It is what it is, and unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do (at the moment) to cure it. But, it’s really important that you know this “hard lesson” as well. This condition is NOT your fault. But it IS your responsibility. Take it day by day. Learn something new every day. And, have an open mind about new technologies, techniques, or tricks to help you along the way. Success does not happen overnight. It happens by learning from your failures and utilizing all of your resources.

6. What’s your go-to meal?

Breakfast: 2 eggs with avocado toast 🙂 Lunch: Chicken and salad. Dinner: Sashimi…I could eat raw fish every day of the week.

7. How do you manage diabetes with your active lifestyle?

I manage my situation by staying 1 step ahead of every low and every high. That means being prepared at all times with insulin, CGM’s, food, and meters. No matter what, we always have to stay 1 step ahead of whatever activity comes throughout the day. For Example, big meeting at 1:00pm? Check, correct, and fix BG’s no later than 12:30pm.

8. What devices do you have?

I use the Dexcom G5 CGM (love it) connected to my iPhone which connects to my Apple Watch…this is a home run combination. Makes my life sooooo easy 🙂 I also use insulin pens – Dexcom and Apidra.

9. You find yourself “low” when…

If I over bolus for a meal. I will get immediately frustrated for no apparent reason. I’ll look down at my watch and sure enough, I’ll be dropping and on my way to being low.

10. You find yourself “high” when…

If I don’t workout throughout the week and am super stressed, I’ll for sure run a bit high. I find myself aggravated very easily. Basically, I’ll go from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Jackass. LOL.

11. What does “living diabetter” mean to you?

It means giving myself every fighting chance to live a “normal” life. I would LOVE to know what it’s like to have perfect sugars for an entire year. We’re not quite there, but living diabetter is me finding my way to living the best life possible given my t1d situation.

12. Does it ever get easier? Are you used to it?

Oh, yeah! 100%. With all of the new technology and resources we have, t1d is 10,000 times easier than when I was in high school or college. Did I get used to it? I suppose so. It’s a way of life now. Still a pain sometimes. But I’m not ashamed, nor do I care what other people think about me. For others it’s probably harder to get used to. For us, it has to be 2nd nature.

13. Are you apart of any diabetes organizations?

Yes, indeed! I’m involved with JDRF. These guys are GREAT! I’ve actually been invited to be a guest speaker at the largest JDRF event which is on May 12 in Oakland County, Michigan. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone there! Also, I’m proud to say that my company (SizeSlim Supplements) donates 1% of our sales to JDRF each year. More information can be found on our website at www.sizeslim.com.

14. Anything else you would like to add.

Please feel free to reach out with any particular questions you have about T1D. I can best be found on Instagram at @matt_t1d. I want to give a big thanks to Amshi at Living Diabetter for all of the work she does. I think this resource should be used by all T1Ds as a means to learn more from each other.

Remember: together we are MUCH stronger than dealing with this alone.

LifeSeasons 90-day Review

 

Over the past few months, I’ve been trying out 3 supplements from LifeSeasons: Mobili-T, Glucose Stabili-T, and Rest-ZZZ. The time has come where I share with you my 90-day journey with the all-natural products. After reading all of the great reviews, I couldn’t pass up this opportunity, I had to try these products out for myself!

Mobili-T

This all-natural supplement has helped tremendously with my shoulder and knee pains I have suffered from playing volleyball. I used to take 2 Advil or Aleve a day, but for the past 90-days I have traded them in for Mobili-T. I have noticed an improvement in the range of motion in my joints, especially when working out. Mobili-T lasts the whole day (if taken correctly) and I can tell the difference if I miss a dose. Take 2 with breakfast and 2 with dinner and you’re set!

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Glucose Stabili-T  

Being a type one diabetic, I was skeptical to sample this product at first. I didn’t know if it would mess with my blood sugars or not. My primary reason for sampling Glucose Stabili-T was to support my eye health. Throughout the 90-day trial, I scheduled an eye appointment and come to find out my vision isn’t that bad after all, lol! Eye health is extremely important for diabetics because if you don’t take care of your diabetes you will have to live with potential complications like glaucoma, cataracts, and even blindness. So stay in control of your diabetes, folks!

*Glucose-Stabili-T is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Disclaimer: Glucose-Stabili-T did not give me 20/25 vision.

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Rest-ZZZ

This supplement was my favorite of the 3. I’m always on the go and I love me some sleep. Some nights are harder to fall asleep than others. Some nights I stay up staring at the ceiling and other nights I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. My sleep schedule is not consistent and it is rare to get 8 hours of sleep. After the 90-day period, I have enjoyed restless-free nights. Just pop 2 Rest-ZZZ pills 30 minutes before bed and you won’t have to count sheep anymore!

My experience with LifeSeasons all natural health supplements has been a positive one. I would recommend these products to any and everyone looking to get formulated for life.

To read more about my favorite supplement, Rest-ZZZ click here.

Find the right formula for you! Get 20% off plus free shipping on your first order.

 

Disclaimer: These supplements were sent to me to review by LifeSeasons. This review is 100% my own honest opinion and it has not been influenced by any individual or organization in any way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Year’s Resolution: Get More Sleep!

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Happy New Year’s Eve!!

How are you spending your last day of 2017?

As you reflect on 2017 and the new year, what is on your vision board? What are your New Year’s resolutions? Now you might be apart of the cliche brigade and want to lose 50 pounds and workout every day and eat healthily and live a stress-free life…. but we all know that’s not going to happen. I mean sorry to burst your bubble but you’re going to go strong for the first few months, maybe, and then give in and eventually your long-term goal is now a short-term goal.

One of my 2018 resolutions is simple: get more sleep! We all live busy lives, working our 9-5 jobs, balancing work life with our personal life, extracurricular activities, you may have kids, spouses, family, etc. After all the hustle and bustle of life, what more could you possibly want besides SLEEP? I have the solution to getting a good nights rest. The answer is Rest-ZZZ of LifeSeasons.

What it is: Rest-ZZZ aids in relieving muscle tension, restlessness, and nerve-related sleeplessness. It helps calm the nervous system and promotes natural sleep cycles.

My mind races at nighttime because  I’m always thinking about what I have to do for tomorrow. The only time I go straight to sleep is if I workout right before bed, but what if I don’t make it to the gym? Rest-ZZZ is basically my hero. I take 2 right before bed and I’m  good to go.

Rest-ZZZ Ingredients: Chamomile, GABA, Melatonin, Passion Flower, Valerian Root

I challenge you this new year to treat yourself to more sleep! You deserve to feel refreshed every morning you wake up.

Treat yo’self TODAY! 

Get 20% off plus free shipping on your first order.

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Dear Diabetes, Thank You.

6th Diaversary!

Today marks my 6th year living with type one diabetes. As I reflect on how much type one has played a major role in my life and how much it’s impacted me, I’m forever grateful God has chosen me to take on this challenge. Instead of writing about how much I hate being a diabetic and how inconvenient it can be at times, I would like to celebrate my 6th diaversary with a personal thank you note to Diabetes.

Dear Diabetes,

You can’t control me. After putting up with you for 6 years, I feel like we have a special bond and an understanding that I can tell you anything. Now what I’m going to say next may shock you, but I would like to take this time to say thank you.

Thank you for being there 24/7 and never leaving my side even when I wanted to take a break from you. The late nights and early mornings never get old… because we’re bonding right? Knowing I can count on you to wake me up at 3:00am with a welcoming sweaty pillow, makes it all worthwhile. We spend more time together than I do with my fiance and family. We have formed a special bond no one can break, not even my endocrinologist, dietician or doctor.

Remember when you thought you were going to take control of me 6 years ago? I was a freshman in college, running to the bathroom 15-20 times a day, drinking a 24-pack of water that lasted every 2 days, feeling burned out during volleyball practice more frequently, and not knowing what was going on with me.

Well, guess what? I kept going because that’s the only thing I knew how to do. My athlete instinct kicked in and I pushed through the weird experiences I was going through. I blamed my 10-pound weight loss on the tough workouts and the constant urination on all the Gatorade and water I was consuming. I made excuses for something I didn’t know I had for 3 months.

No more excuses. After my diagnosis, you changed my life forever and I have accepted it. I have accepted the challenge.

I thought I was the healthiest I could be at 18 years old, but you fooled me. I am now more aware of what goes into my body. I can look at any type of food and automatically tell you how many carbs it has. I can tell you that Mexican food and pizza will raise my blood sugar 2 hours after I eat because it’s a higher carb meal. With carb loaded meals like those, I know to extend my bolus on my Omnipod to prevent bedtime highs. This has become second nature. Now at 24 years old, I’m the healthiest I’ve been with a 6.7% a1c. So I thank you.

You had me think I was in the best shape of my life, but you constantly remind me that I have to workout daily to keep my numbers in a normal range. But you have to make things difficult. I have to run a temp basal and monitor my numbers throughout my workout to prevent lows because having lows suck. Lows suck especially at the gym when you’re killing leg day and all of a sudden the squat rack feels 20 times heavier. You have to stop in between reps and go to the locker room to squeeze a juice box down your throat hoping you don’t pass out. You’re already sweating from being there an hour so you don’t know you’re THAT low until the room looks blurry, your walk becomes wobbly and your hands are shaky. Besides that Diabetes, you’ve held me accountable and made sure I stay in the best shape of my life.

I could really strangle you and curse your name for how expensive your supplies are, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll rearrange my entire budget and bite my tongue because I have to live. I’m very fortunate to be able to afford your expensiveness… test strips, insulin bottles, Omnipods, alcohol wipes, back up insulin injection needles, glucometers, ketone sticks, blood glucose meters, and batteries. At least you’ve provided me with a temporary survival kit until you are no more. So on that note, I say thank you.

Thank you for showing me how strong I truly am. When you decide to play those funny games in the early mornings, I get you under control and find myself up 3 hours later continuing my normal routine. It’s like I have 2 jobs, one that I get paid for, the other, well… I pay you. Thank you for teaching me that my appearance does not matter. All of the finger pricks, site changes and bruises that appear on my body, are constant reminders of you. I am greater than my highs and lows. I am not my disease. I am capable of the impossible. All because of you. I will not let you win. I’m a type one diabetic showing my gratitude for everything you’ve taught me about myself and with that, I say thank you.

After 6 years of our ups and downs, I can honestly say I’ve had enough and I pray for the day you are gone out of my life for good.

But until that day comes, I will continue inspiring others to push through their struggles and educate those who are unfamiliar with how cruel you really are. Even on my bad days, I will try to look for the positive. I have come too far to throw in the towel now. So on this day, after reflecting on how you’ve changed my life for the good (mostly bad), I’ve come to the conclusion that you can’t control me… you never will.

Yours truly.

 

Diabetes Month Q&A

As we wrap up Diabetes Awareness Month, I’ll be featuring stories of fellow type one diabetics. Today, I’m sharing with you a Q&A interview I had with Parker Nunes.

Parker Nunes was recently diagnosed with type one diabetes on June 22, 2017. His diagnosis story intrigued me so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to dive in deeper. Parker is from Massachusetts and is currently a college student. After graduating with a degree in Landscape Design, Parker plans to attend nursing school. Read how Parker chooses to live diabetter!

Q: Tell me your diagnosis story.

A: I was diagnosed with type one diabetes a month before my nineteenth birthday. Every morning I woke up with the inside of my mouth and throat completely dried out. I was drinking about four to six gallons of beverages a day and using the bathroom about twenty-five times a day. I thought the many bathroom breaks were due to me drinking more frequently so it didn’t alarm me. One night, I knew something was wrong because, in my sleep, my legs locked up making me feel paralyzed, unable to move without feeling sharp pains. The pain went away after an hour or so and I went back to sleep. That morning, I went to work and I started feeling the same pain. I immediately went to my physician’s office to do a routine check-up; everything came back clear except for two things. My sugar level was extremely high, with an a1c of 12.6 and large ketones. This day forever changed my life.

Q: What was your first reaction when you found out?

A: Once the physician’s assistant told me what the diagnosis was my heart literally dropped to my stomach. After nearly having a heart attack my physician contacted my father and told him what was going on. He was very surprised too. After getting off the phone with my father he called my mother and she had a very hard time understanding why this was all happening.

Q: How has it been adjusting to your new lifestyle?

A: Adjusting to diabetes was hard at first. As time passed, it got a little easier to manage but still difficult.

Q: How does type one interfere with sports?

A: When playing sports like hockey and golf it is difficult. Hockey is more difficult because I can’t wear my pump when playing. I have to disconnect the pump and load up on a bunch of carbs so I can keep my levels even throughout the entirety of the activity.

Q: What resources have been of help to you?

A: I always talk to my regular physician, four endocrinologists I see at Baystate, and my nurse I see about anything diabetic related. I’m surrounded by my helpful resources.

Q: Any advice you have for new diabetics?

A: For any new diabetics of any age, I would say watch what you eat for the first month or so to see how you adapt to your diabetes and insulin/ carb ratio. At nineteen years old, I joined the gym to keep up with exercise and to maintain a healthy weight. Insulin does have an effect on your body, you just have to get used to the changes. Whenever I’m at home or somewhere and in public, I normally keep my bag full of supplies with me and of course food.

Q: What’s your go-to meal?

A: Who doesn’t love food? My go-to is beef/bacon jerky. My all-time favorite snack is low in carbs and it’s very accessible anywhere you go.

Q: How do you manage diabetes in everyday life?

A: Managing diabetes in my everyday life can be difficult at times. When I first started on pens it was more of a hassle than it was with the pump.

Q: What devices do you have?

A: I have the Tandem Slim X2. I will be getting the Dexcom G5 continuous blood sugar monitor. The CGM reads your sugar level every five minutes to let you know how you are doing. If you have a pump without a CGM I would consider looking into it.

Q: What does “living diabetter” mean to you?

A: Living diabetter means being conscious of what I eat and being aware of my numbers, but still finding that balance. I still love my sweets 🙂

Traveling with Diabetes

As you can tell, for the past few months, I’ve been on hiatus from posting, but now I’m BACK. And it’s been nothing less than crazy.

If you follow me on social media, then you know that…I’M ENGAGED! My fi-an-cé (love saying that) popped the question during our vacation to Riviera Maya, Mexico, and it went like this:

There we were, in a 5 star, all-you-can-eat steakhouse called Bovinos in downtown Playa Del Carmen, celebrating our last night in Mexico. Oddly, my fiancé wasn’t diving into his steak (I mean, he’s a pretty big guy and loves a good steak), so I knew something was up. From there, he really indulged in the wine, multiple times – and not so despacito, ha! We then ordered dessert, and there, in the chocolate covered ball that was elegantly plated (that I really wanted to eat), was my ring. What a sight to see – something so beautiful to mark such an enchanting moment, a catalyst to the rest of our lives together. And from there, it’s history!

 

 

So, as you can imagine, it’s been nonstop wedding planning, which means all my time has been consumed by Pinterest, dress shopping, venue open houses, food tastings, watching Say Yes to the Dress, thinking of creative bridesmaids proposals and coming up with clever hashtags. 😉  I will be getting married October 2018, and I’m already stressed, but I promise to stay consistent in sharing all of my new content.

To say that Mexico was awesome would be an understatement. It was by far the best vacation of my life. The resort staff was so welcoming and made every day that much more enjoyable. Something I gained from the trip was a newfound appreciation for nature, the realization of how beautiful the world around us can be. I woke up to oceanside views every morning and dozed off to the sound of calming waters at night. I snorkeled in the ocean, went horseback riding in the forest, touched the Mayan ruins, took pictures with Parakeets, and ate and drank all the authentic food and imported liqueurs you can imagine.

 

It was this amazing because I chose not to let my diabetes dictate otherwise. From packing my suitcases and going through security lines at the airport, to making sure I had meals throughout the day and enough supplies to last, it was safe to say that I was prepared to take on Mexico! Ariba! I want to show you how you can do the same, so you can take on any destination on your bucket list.

Living with diabetes is a 24/7 job, but when you’re on vacation it’s the last thing you should have to think about – let alone manage in an unfamiliar place. From my experience traveling abroad, here’s some tips I came up with for traveling diabetter:

1. Planning ahead is a plus!

Pack extra diabetic supplies with you in both your carry-on and checked bag. You want to bring extra needles, test strips, alcohol wipes, lancets, batteries, and a back up insulin pump or injection pens. Make sure to store your insulin in a cool place. For me, I brought a small lunch box with ice packs.

2. Travel letter

Ask your Endocrinologist to write you a travel letter that consists of everything you are allowed to carry on the plane. This will make the security check a smoother process. I got stopped three times going through security. They patted me down until they reached my Omnipod site on my stomach. After giving me the look of confusion, I had to explain what it was. That is when I showed my travel letter and they released me. Take the time to educate those who are unaware about T1D.

Here’s a fun fact… if you show your travel letter to the gate monitors, you get to pre-board! My fiancé and I skipped the lines and flied first class!!

3. Meal prep

Pack snacks that travel well. Avoid hypoglycemia by packing non-liquid foods like sandwiches, dried fruit, lentil chips, peanut butter cups, tuna packs or hard boiled eggs. Foods with great sources a protein will help maintain a steady blood glucose level. Even foods with higher carb counts (goldfish, chips, trail mix, protein bars etc.) are okay to pack, just make sure to check your BG often and bolus accordingly.

4. Under bolus and correct later

Get solid at carb counting. Knowing the basic foods can help when eating a dish you’re unfamiliar with. If you’re not sure, ask the wait staff or chef for the nutrition facts, “Is this dish more of a carbohydrate?” It is completely fine to guesstimate, but aim for a lower carb ratio to avoid hypos. Every meal I ate was carb heavy (whoops!) so I gave a less bolus and checked my BG more often. I also used the extended bolus option on my pod. Daily activities like snorkeling, touring the ruins, playing sand volleyball, horseback riding etc. offset my highs because I was doing some type of exercise and movement that caused my BG to level out.

 

 

5. Be responsible. Get lit. 

Alcohol can lower your blood sugar. Be careful with mixed drinks (I’m guilty!) and anything that has a juice or soda as a base. Stay hydrated throughout the day/night by drinking water, iced tea, coke zero; something with zero calories added. My drink of choice was a mojito (and shots of tequila) which is soda based, so I made sure I had water with me at all times. Staying at a resort made access to food and drinks much easier. Be responsible.

6. Enjoy your vacation!

Just because we have diabetes doesn’t mean we should limit ourselves in life. Traveling with this disease definitely makes it more complicated, but as long as you keep tips like these in mind, there’s no reason to let it stop you. God gave us a big battle because we are strong enough to persevere and handle such ups and downs… so why not splurge a little?

I embraced every second of my vacation because I didn’t care what people thought. Yes, I received those awkward stares at the beach when they saw my Omnipod. Yes, people did a double-take when I bolused for my meals, but those are opportunities to educate others and grow in one’s self confidence.

So here are my last tips:

1. Book your dream vacation.

2. Don’t avoid taking risks because of this disease.

 

Diabetes doesn’t define you. Too many times as diabetics we allow our lives to be dictated by the disease that we have. We feel that we cannot enjoy a quality of life that only “normal” people have access to. Before taking this trip I was worried how my routine would be affected. Would I go low and have to stop whatever activity I was doing and take a glucose tab or drink a juice box? Would I be able to partake in all of the delicious authentic food that was available to us? If anyone knows me they know that I am someone who likes to be in control of my circumstances. Doing something that you have no control of and accepting that you cannot control the outcome is one of the most empowering experiences.  Life is the greatest gift we have, so it’s up to you to decide how to live it and always remember, Vive la buena vida!

#LivingDiabetter

Sherry Davidson RN, CDE Educates Patients How to Live Diabetter

Q&A with Sherry Davidson RN, CDE


I interviewed Diabetes Educator, Sherry Davidson who was actually the first nurse I met after my diagnosis. Sherry has a passion for education and is full of information. She knew at a young age that she wanted to be a nurse and after occasional fill-ins at the hospital, Sherry earned her career as an educator full time. Sherry answers questions from the correlation between stress and diabetes to the do’s and don’ts of drinking alcohol. Read how my favorite nurse educates people on how to live diabetter!
I’m Sherry Davidson, I’m a Registered Nurse and a Diabetes Educator, I’m the Diabetes Coordinator here. So 70% of my job is diabetes education, mostly outpatient education, I do see patients in the hospital as well. The other 30% is checking in on in patients, I look at lab values and blood sugars and try to make sure we’re managing patients well.

  1. Is there a correlation between anxiety/stress and diabetes?
    That’s a form of stress… anxiety, stress and being scared so any type of stress can make your blood sugar go up or down, most people they go up but a lot of people they go down. One of my patients was learning to drive and he was going for his test and he took his blood sugar before the test and he failed. He took his blood sugar after and it was way sky high, so the next time he went, he did better and didn’t fail. It showed immediately how that one little event really made his blood sugar skew.
  2. Can I reuse a syringe?
    That’s always a hard one, everything you read will say no. There’s a lot of literature that has looked at that just for cost and disposal and all those issues. They do say that technically you can, there’s no risk necessarily of infection to the person, which is what you would be concerned about. The needles are so fine that they do tend to get dull faster and when you look at some of the research that shows the actual needle, after one use it gets a little jagged. It certainly can if you’re using it too much can definitely irritate the skin, but as far as infection risk and everything there’s not really. So I don’t recommend it but I do tell people if you’re out somewhere and you forgot to bring an extra one or you’re over night somewhere and didn’t bring one, reuse it!
  3. Tips on drinking alcohol
    Always have food with alcohol because a lot of people think depending on the alcohol they’re drinking, it’s going to make my blood sugar go up so I better not eat as much. It’s actually the opposite because when you’re drinking alcohol your liver is metabolizing the alcohol and it can’t do anything else. So people actually run the risk of a low blood sugar because one of the functions of the liver is to also release sugar that’s stored and it can’t do that when you drink. The rule I have with that is, women 1 alcoholic beverage, men can have 2 and just always make sure you have food if you’re going to drink.
  4. What is diabetes burnout?
    One of the things I hear patients say is, “I just want a diabetes vacation” because it’s so much work and you’re thinking about it 24/7. I think there are ways to take breaks from certain parts occasionally depending on what your regimen is and maybe having another person be responsible for parts of it for two days so you can kind of have a little break.
  5. Is a CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor) necessary?
    A continuos glucose monitor is such a great tool, I don’t think it’s a “must” but I think they’re times when it’s helpful. I do think if people are having hard times managing their blood sugar or their a1c isn’t matching because you can’t test 24/7, then it might be necessary. I think the CGM for me is more meaningful to do spot checks. Some people do it all the time, but like you said it’s expensive. Maybe do it 3 days a couple of times a month, just to see where your baseline is and if there is an issue you’re not aware of.
  6. Tips on sick day management?
    One of the big things with sick day management is balancing the carbohydrate beverages with the non-carbohydrate beverages. There’s a difference between staying hydrated, you want to stay hydrated with the sugar-free gatorade, broth, sugar-free jello and water, just things that don’t have carbs in them. Drinking lots of sugar-free beverages to stay hydrated but balancing that with apple juice and ginger ale. So usually what I tell people to think about how many carbohydrates you normally have in a meal and have that same amount even though it might look very different. It might look like apple juice or sprite and alternating with the non-caloric and non-carb.
  7. Does insulin aid in weight gain?
    Insulin is a fat storage hormone and so it stores fat if you have extra you’re not using. I tend to see this with people who have type 2 diabetes more but it definitely can be with type 1 as well. You have insulin that’s not being used, it’s not causing low blood sugar, it’s sitting there so it does cause you to gain weight. So making sure you are using all that insulin and exercise is the best way to do that. Women tend to run their blood sugar higher to avoid weight gain because they know that if it’s high, they’re burning off the calories which is not good. Sometimes when people are first diagnosed, they’ve lost weight and they put it back on and they are like “uh oh, am I going to keep gaining weight?” No, it’s just initially it’s stabilizing, you shouldn’t continue to gain from that if so, we need to look at the ratio you’re using because you’re not using it all.
  8. How can someone manage diabetes without insurance coverage?
    Diabetes is definitely a tough disease if you don’t have insurance coverage. I would say that typically they would be on a different insulin regimen. Some of the newer insulins cost more but we have older insulins that still work fine. You can buy a bottle of insulin for $20 at Walmart if you’re on a generic brand. It can be reasonable but it can be the $200 bottle too. With glucose testing, you can buy name brand which the strips are $1 a piece or you can buy the others that are $15 for 50 strips, so they’re ways to help.
  9. Is it safe to use expired supplies?
    Technically yes we do say that you’re not supposed to use them, I don’t really know what happens. One of the things they say with insulin is that a bottle of insulin is good for a month, 28 days. If you go past that it’s not like it isn’t working, it’s probably now 98% effective. So it does lose its potency, I don’t think something bad is going to happen.
  10.  What is hypoglycemia unawareness?
    A lot of times after you’ve had diabetes for a long time you just aren’t as sensitive. Those nerves that usually warn you that you’re having a hypoglycemic event aren’t there. So people get really low, 20 before they would have any symptoms but then your brain can’t remember what to do and it can be very dangerous. People tend to run themselves higher so they avoid that. What they do say is that if you run yourself a little higher for a while, your body can reset itself. That’s not always true if you’ve had diabetes for a long time.
  11. Any advice for those battling diabetes?
    Staying focused on what the end result is. A quality life is so important and I think enjoying life too. So many people have diabetes controlling them instead of them controlling their diabetes and initially I totally understand because it is self-absorbing and trying to learn everything, but eventually we want to get people where it’s part of what they’re doing. Some people deal with that better than others, I think support systems make a big piece of that.
  12. Will there ever be a cure?
    I do think that sometime in the future. They say every 5 years they say, “Oh, in 5 years…” and they’ve been saying that for the last 30 years but we’ve learned so much. Treatments have definitely improved, so I don’t know that will be exciting one day if they can. I think we know why, we just have to figure out how to fix it.

Ms. Sherry is one of many who has encouraged me to turn my diagnosis into a positive by choosing to live diabetter every single day.

Who has helped you on your diabetic journey?

Do you have more questions you want  me to ask on my next doctor’s visit?

Leave a comment below 🙂

Living Diabetter in 2017

It’s day 6 of 2017 and many of us are still thinking about our New Year’s Resolutions. As we enter the new year and leave 2016 behind, we have to say goodbye to that long list of resolutions. Everyone knows that you will never keep them, so why waste the time and energy creating let-downs. That dreadful list is only holding you back from reaching your full potential this new year.


Let’s say your 2016 list looked like this:

1. Eat Healthy
2. Lose Weight
3. Be Less Stressed
4. Save Money
5. Quit Drinking

Like where do you even start? This looks like a homework assignment you forgot to do so you copied your friend’s work right before class. No thought, no meaning, vague, thrown together answers. You have a sense of relief upon completion but there’s a feeling of guilt after turning it in.
As a type one diabetic, I look at this list and cross through all five resolutions, not because I don’t think they’re doable… they’re just not realistic!

1. Eat Healthy– Overall I eat a healthy diet but when I get low, I just want to eat everything in the fridge. Am I the only diabetic that gets this way? I get hangry. Hungry because my body is going into survival mode while I’m shaky, sweaty and incoherent. Angry because I was correcting a high an hour ago and now I’m low and now I’m hungry and now my emotions are coming into play and now the whole world is over because I can’t go one full day without perfect numbers! This is a reminder that I fight this unpredictable disease on a daily basis.

treating-a-low
2. Lose Weight– I’ve never had weight issues prior to my diagnosis, but it seems like ever since the doctor said “Diabetes” I slowly started gaining unwanted weight in areas I never thought would be possible. My insulin injections and site changes leave my sides, inner thighs, back of arms with hard fatty tissue. So I guess losing those 15 pounds in 3 weeks before I was diagnosed will never happen again.
3. Be Less Stressed– This makes me LAUGH OUT LOUD. If you look up Diabetes in the Dictionary, right next to it will read “stressful.” I mean c’mon… checking BG’s, pricking your finger, counting carbs, changing your pump site, buying all the supplies, experiencing highs and lows, finding test strips in random places, eating snacks, wasting insulin on the floor, the list goes on and on. If this doesn’t sound stressful then I don’t know what does. But we’ve got this!
4. Save Money– Diabetes isn’t cheap. Period. Even if you do have insurance, some policies don’t cover everything.

save-money
5. Quit Drinking– I mean, can a girl have a cocktail or two every once and while? It is recommended that you don’t count the carbs in alcohol, but you should eat before consuming… so bolus with your meal.


Just looking at that long list gives me anxiety, which is why my 2017 tip to you is to figure out one goal you want to accomplish. One goal sounds more reassuring than a New Year’s Resolutions list doesn’t it?
Here are my tips to kick off 2017 living diabetter:

1. Figure out 1 goal– keep it simple and focused.
Are you making bad snacking choices?
2. Replace unhealthy snacks in your pantry with fruits and vegetables. It’s fine to splurge every once and awhile when you’re low but don’t make it a habit. Keep glucose tablets and juice boxes with you at all times.
Are you having trouble getting up in the morning after waking up in the middle of the night to a low?
3. Set your alarm clock across the room, so that you have to get out of bed to turn it off.

all-night
Are you not motivated to go to the gym?
4. Sleep in your gym clothes…. don’t forget to check your BG before exercising.
5. Write it down! Place that goal somewhere in your house as a constant reminder. Speak it into existence. 2017 is YOUR year!
6. Have an accountability partner… this can be a friend or family member who you will have weekly check-ins with to stay on the right track.

My goal for 2017 is to keep a low A1C. What’s yours?

Happy New Year!2017-is-your-year

Cheers,

Living Diabetter xoxo