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.