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.

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.

At Home Workout Circuit

Alright, I’ve given you 3 months since we made our New Years pacts. Have you kept yours up? I know you’ve been busy, and you wish there was more time in the day (doesn’t everybody?), but make sure to make time for yourself. Being a diabetic, it’s especially important to focus on yourself to avoid complications down the road.

This 2017, I scratched “resolutions” and decided to focus on one goal this year: to lower my A1C. In January and February, I made a commitment to eat healthier by putting the oven to work and avoiding fast food. I suggest meal prepping every week, because it saves me a lot of time and comes in clutch when I have unhealthy cravings. The prepped food is staring at me in the refrigerator, so I have no choice but to eat it. All I have to do is pop that sucker in the microwave, and we’re good to go!

Now, I will tell you that living a diabetic lifestyle is not easy. When my sugar drops, I want to eat EVERYTHING in sight… forget the plastic containers filled with grilled chicken breast, broccoli and black beans. I choose the greasy potato chips, fruit snacks, cookie dough, goldfish after the juice box and glucose tablets! I know what you’re thinking; I should have healthier snack options. But when you go low, you’re not thinking, let alone thinking healthy. Self-discipline and low blood sugars are on opposite sides of the spectrum.  There’s no such thing as carb counting in the event of a hypo.

What I will tell you is eating healthy on a consistent basis has lowered my A1C to 7.0. For people without diabetes, the normal A1C range is 4-6%. I want to feel a sense of normalcy again, so I’m aiming for that  “normal” percentile.

This past week, I signed up for personal training. My mentality is if I can pair healthy eating and a guaranteed workout 3 times a week, my A1C is bound to decrease. I’m not saying in order to see results you have to invest in a trainer. Being a former athlete, I’m used to being pushed, and this is what works for me. Do what works for you. For those that don’t have a gym membership or personal trainer, I’m giving you one of my favorite at-home workouts.

This is a circuit. Each exercise is timed, 30-45 seconds for each one.
15-20 seconds rest in between. Rest more if needed. Each exercise has to have maximum effort! These exercises can easily be done at home with a couch or a chair. Use a couch or chair for reference to make sure you are getting low enough.

Jumping jacks

High knees

Squat jumps

Pulsating squats

Bulgarian split squat

Tricep dips

Inclined pushup

Declined push up

Suitcases

Mountain climbers

Russian twists

To increase the intensity of this workout, time each exercise for 1 min. +

Disclaimer:
Don’t forget to check your bg levels before you start any exercise. I run a temp basal for the duration of my workout so that my Omnipod gives me less insulin to avoid hypos. Always stretch before and after you exercise to avoid pulling muscles.

Follow me on the road to exercising better!

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