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.

Low Carb Coke Float

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‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

A diabetic sat craving, something sweet for Mr. Claus.

The fridge and pantry were empty and bare

In hopes that Saint Nick would put healthy goodies there.

While she sat and pondered what could she possibly make

No flour or sugar, cookies for Santa were going to be impossible to bake.

But with a blink of an eye and a wish on a star

Two magical ingredients appeared on the bar.

She in her onesie and coke float in hand

Taking sips of the tasty dessert that was not planned.

As she left one for Santa and checked her BG ‘fore bed

A sound echoed in the chimney and down came someone in red.

Saint Nicholas answered all of her wishes

and filled up the fridge and pantry with low carb dishes.

He gulped down the coke float and flew out of sight

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT!

Keto Friendly Coke Float Recipe

2 ingredients:

1/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream

1 3/4 Cup of Diet Soda

Do-It-Yourself:

  1. Pour the Heaving Whipping Cream into your glass of choice.
  2. Slowly pour your favorite diet soda into the glass.
  3. Enjoy!

For the holidays or a little kick add Vanilla Crown Royal to the mix! It pairs great with my diet soda of choice, Vanilla Coke or regular Coca-Cola.

(Please drink responsibly)

Thank you Hey Keto Mama for the delicious recipe!

Follow all of her Keto friendly recipes on Pinterest.

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 🙂

New Partnership with LifeSeasons LLC

Okay… so I know I told you I had some exciting news to share with you. Well, here it is… *drumroll please* I partnered with LifeSeasons, a natural supplements company in Dallas, Texas. LifeSeasons creates natural formulas targeted toward specific everyday health concerns. I’m so excited to be given the opportunity to share with you my 90-day journey with the following all-natural supplements:

Mobili-T 

Rest-ZZZ

Glucose Stabili-T

Living with type one diabetes, it’s difficult to find supplements and/or medications that don’t interfere with your blood glucose levels. For example, I can’t take Tylenol because it raises my blood sugar drastically. Well, guess what? LifeSeasons is a healthy substitute which doesn’t affect your blood sugars! It makes it easy for you, blending all of the natural ingredients together in a safe formula. I knew I had to try these products out.

What it is:

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Mobili-T assists in the free movement of the joints and assists in moisturizing them to help support ease and range of motion. I’m a retired college volleyball athlete and I have accepted the fact that my joints and muscles will forever ache. I recently injured my shoulder, which has limited my range of motion. Depending on the day, the pain creeps up on me; so bad that I can’t sleep on it, put on clothes, or even shower. Any slight movement can be unbearable. With my luck, I also sprained my ankle recently in an alumni volleyball game, and now I’m experiencing stiffness and more pain. So basically, EVERYTHING HURTS!!! I will use Mobili-T twice a day (as suggested) as a daily Ibuprofen replacement.

Rest-ZZZ aids in relieving muscle tension, restlessness, and nerve-related sleeplessness. It helps calm the nervous system and promotes natural sleep cycles. Being the millennial I am, I work a 9-5 job with a few side hustles; life is tiring! My mind races at night and I’m constantly making to-do lists for myself. I’m grateful to try Rest-ZZZ to ease my racing mind and restless nights. Everyone deserves a great night sleep, right?

Glucose Stabili-T helps maintain healthy blood sugar, circulation, and vision. It also supports the body’s natural cellular metabolism. I will use Glucose Stabili-T to help with circulation and vision. Diabetics have to get frequent eye and foot exams. If you’re not in control of your diabetes, it can affect your eyes and feet the most. Eyes- Having high levels of sugar in your blood for a long period of time can harm the tiny blood vessels in your eyes. This can result in vision problems or even blindness. Feet- Diabetes can damage your body’s nerves. Nerve damage stops you from feeling pain or other problems in your feet. Poor blood circulation can also cause damage to your feet. A lack of blood flow can slow down the healing process for a sore or infection. IMPORTANT: Ladies and gentlemen, before getting a pedicure, make sure everything is sanitary! Watch the pedicurist clean the bowls and utensils before they touch your feet.

Mobili-T Ingredients: Glucosamine, Chicken Collagen, MSM (methylsulfonylmethane), Chondroitin Sulfate, Turmeric Root Extract, Bromelain

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

Glucose Stabili-T Ingredients: Alpha Lipoic Acid, Bilberry, Chromium, Cinnamon, Gymnema

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LifeSeasons conveniently ships the products directly to your home. If you sign up for the monthly subscription, not only do you save 15% on all of your orders, but you get FREE shipping! If online shopping is not for you, go to your local Whole Foods or Sprouts. LifeSeasons is found on the shelves of many health stores. Find a store nearest you Store Locator.

To find the supplements that are formulated for you, visit Formulas to Help You Rebalance.

I will share my experiences with you as I continue this journey to a healthy lifestyle.

For more information on these fabulous products, click HERE.

#FormulatedforLife

Life Seasons Logo

Coping with the Highs and Lows of Dating a Diabetic

Living with diabetes is difficult enough, from meal planning, carb counting to finger pricks and site changes. When you add the “Big D” to the mix of everyday life, it can cause a relationship to either grow stronger or fall apart. These extra challenges that are involved with the lifestyle of a diabetic are better when faced together. “In sickness and in health until death do us part” isn’t just a memorized vow you say at the altar, it has a deeper meaning to us diabetics. It means when shit gets hard, you will be there every step of the way. When we become shaky, fatigued and sweaty, will you hand us our favorite candy (yummy glucose tablets) or juice box? How about when we’re cranky and argue for no reason? Will you be the first to apologize and tell us to check our numbers for a high? When we are burned out and don’t feel like diabetes-ing today, will you step in and take over our numbers or cook a low carb meal? When the going gets tough, will you run or accept the challenges of this new lifestyle and face it together?

I reached out for some first-hand experiences and tips on dating a diabetic, and the responses came rolling in. I found them very valuable and have shared them with my valentine of 6 years, and now, with you.

“My husband knows a box of chocolates is just asking for disaster, because if there’s chocolate in the house, I will find it and then eat every piece! Flowers are always a sweet gesture, and I won’t snack on those!” – Ang, @sickoftheprick

“My boyfriend and I were together prior to my diagnosis, which was back in November. I always had so much energy prior! Then things started to go downhill. I felt so awful and tired all the time, so much that one day I stopped at his house on my way home from class so I could nap, and then continue on home.
When I got the diagnosis I felt so calm, as if I had already accepted it. I think at that point I was just glad that I knew why I felt awful. Though, that’s when my boyfriend kinda freaked out about it. Every time I ate, we would go on long walks to bring my blood sugar down, and when I wanted ice cream, he literally read all the nutritional facts on all the ice creams at Kroger until he found one with the lowest amount of carbs. Even when I bought him a cake for his birthday, it was obvious that the thought of me eating a slice worried him. He didn’t quite grasp that I could just use insulin. At that point, he had also done research, which of course revealed all the terrible effects that T1D can have on the body.
Now, I’m the one freaking out. It’s like it has finally hit me that I’m going to be battling this the rest of my life. Luckily, my boyfriend is the calm one now. I cry a lot more, and he just holds me. I have a Dexcom G5, so whenever my phone makes a noise, he checks to make sure it’s not my blood sugar. He knows how to use my glucometer, knows how to work my insulin pen, and he knows what to do if I’m high or low. For me, I sometimes don’t even feel a low, but when I do, he can tell. I also never feel highs unless I’m hitting 500.
He has truly made this process so much easier for me, and I couldn’t imagine what it would have been like had I not had such a supportive person by my side through this. As long as a person cares about you, your diabetes won’t matter. If anything, this experience has made our relationship stronger.” – Rachel Reedy

“My hubby said that he’ll remind me to check my bgl if my movements are slow and/or my speech is slurry. I know he has asked me to check them if I’m cranky and I try to listen without being defensive, where possible! When I initially started on insulin, my hubby learned to carb count with me, and I have to say that I relied on him a lot as I was having trouble remembering things at the time. We go for walks together on the weekend, and he happily changes his pace for my interval walks. He was originally impatient when we went on long road trips, but now makes stops patiently if I need to make frequent toilet or water stops when my bgl is up. We mainly eat healthy, and my hubby has learned to try to keep junk food out of sight. He has also slowly learned not to tell me what to eat! It has been a hard road, and we still struggle with it sometimes, but we’re getting better at it all the time.” – Pauline Cunningham

“We have been together almost 24 years, and I was diagnosed about four years ago. He has been awesome. He knows when I am low, and he knows to be patient when I am high and crabby. He wakes me up in the middle of the night to check my sugar if my sensor is not working. He tries to eat as close to me as possible aside from some ice cream and heath bars when he is dying for sugar. He helps remind me to make sure I have all my supplies on me. In return, I have helped him with his sobriety and this year we were both diagnosed ADHD, so we have been through hell together and are stronger because of it.” – Kelly N Jeff

“We have been together 4.5 years, and I was diagnosed just 2.5 years ago. He’s been great at adjusting! Before I got my Dexcom, he would just magically know I was low when I had no idea. He reminds me to take my insulin even when I’m having a rough day and don’t want to and will do pump changes for me if I’m being lazy about it. We are still working on learning that if I start getting mean when high to remember it’s the sugar talking, not me!” – Alexandra Marie Raxter

“I have been with my husband for 6 years. I was diabetic when we first met. It took him a while to get his head around it all, but he’s my rock. Now, he will always take interest in my sugars and remind me to take them if I am unwell. He does it for me at times. He’s good at recognizing symptoms of highs and lows, and he’s been there for every hospital admission, and I would be lost without him.” – Stacey McAinsh

It does’t end here. If you want to give your valentine a shoutout or share some experiences you’ve encountered, please comment below.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
XXXX
P.S. splurge the day away, just don’t forget to bolus 🙂

 

 

 

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

How Mallory Richards is Living Diabetter

Q&A with Mallory Richards
I met with Mallory Richards, a Junior at Parish Episcopal School (my alma mater) who is redefining what is means to live with diabetes. Diagnosed at the age of six, she not only raises awareness in her community but raises money for a foundation close to her heart. Mallory is a true example of what is means to Live Diabetter!

Q: When were you diagnosed?
A: I was six at the time and we thought that I was using the restroom a lot and I was super thirsty all the time. We thought it was strep throat or a bladder infection, so we ended up going to the doctor and my blood sugar was above six-hundred. So they put me in the hospital right away.
Q: How has your lifestyle changed?
A: It’s definitely made things harder because it’s just one more thing to have to deal with on top of everything else going on in life. But it’s also taught me time management. When I’m having a bad day, I have to learn to get back on my feet and keep going and push through, and realize that some things are more important.
Q: What are your daily struggles?
A: Accepting the fact that when my friends run off and do things that I have to stop for a second and pay attention to it, and not let it affect me when everyone else is doing other things and I’m held back.
Q: How did you tell your friends?
A: As I started getting older, my friends just automatically started to take care of it as if they had the disease as well. They were always there to have my back and they’re sometimes when they understand it better than I do. They’re able to take care of me. One of my friends even knows how to changed my insulin pump, which is very impressive!
Q: What are your proudest accomplishments?
A: One of my proudest accomplishments with this disease is raising awareness throughout the community. When I first got diagnosed, I was a part of the walk, I lived in North Carolina at the time, but I think I raised over $10,000 for JDRF.
Q: What is the biggest misconception with Type 1.
A: Automatically when I tell people I have Type One they always just jump straight to “Oh, you can’t eat sugar, you can’t eat this, are your sure you can do this? Have that?” You know I have teachers who start to hand out candy and they skip right over me and I’m like “I’m still here, I can still eat candy.” I don’t have this disease because I ate poorly or because I don’t exercise… it’s because my body literally stopped working.
Q: How do your treat lows and highs during school?
A: It’s hard when you’re low or you’re high and you’re in the middle of class, especially I’ve had instances where in the middle of tests and quizzes, I’m not feeling great but I try to push through and even some of my teachers have come to notice. It’s hard to tip-toe around having to excuse myself from class, especially when we’re learning important things and I’m like “I need to go tot he nurse.”
Q: What are your extracurricular activities?
A: I’m very involved in theatre, I’ve been doing it since the fifth grade. The reason I think I came to love theatre so much is because I was able to go on stage and be a completely different person. I wasn’t Mallory with diabetes which was nice.
Q: Explain Parish Family Performs?
A: I’m directing Parish Family Performs which is a Broadway revue show that’s performed by faculty, staff, parents and alumni. Every year a Junior directs it for the Junior Service Project and they get to benefit a cause of their choice so this year I decided to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. All proceeds from the show along with a free shoe day that we did with our uniforms, all the money collected is going straight to JDRF.
Q: What advice do you have for someone battling Diabetes?
A: You’re not alone. This disease doesn’t define you and that you’re going to have bumps in the road and it’s not always going to be easy but you can get through it. We’re searching for a cure.
Q: What does living Diabetter mean to you?
A: Living Diabetter means taking care of yourself and taking the action of being in control of this disease, that way you live better with Type One.
I’m Mallory Richards and I’m Living Diabetter!

Power to the Pump: No Need for Needles

If you ask someone their birth date, they can tell you. If you inquire about life changing moments they will describe them to you. Dates hold a special place in people’s hearts. Dates mark tragedies, birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, heartbreaks, and celebrations in one’s life. Dates have become very important to me since I’ve been diagnosed with t1d. They’re the good, the bad and the ugly that shape up my life. I remember the exact date of graduation, my diagnosis, my first car and the date of my first job. On October 18, 2016, I became a “podder”…. One of the best decisions I’ve made.
Insulin pumps are small computerized devices that deliver insulin in two ways:
1. In a steady measured and continuous dose (“basal”)
2. As a surge dose around mealtime (“bolus”)
aka God’s gift to type 1 diabetics!
The American Diabetes Association explains it best, doses are delivered through a flexible plastic tube called a cannula. With the aid of a small needle, the cannula is inserted through the skin into the fatty tissue and is taped in place. The insulin pump is not an artificial pancreas… This delivery system most closely mimics the body’s normal release of insulin.
I’m new to this whole insulin pump thing but I’m loving it so far! For almost 5 years, I’ve been giving myself injections using the Novolog (during meals) and Levemir (bedtime) Flexpens.
That’s 12,698 insulin needle injections to be exact.
You can find your T1D Footprint at https://www.jdrf.org/t1dlookslikeme/
The injections were convenient starting out. I just did some carb counting and adjusted how many units of insulin I needed for my meals. Then before I went to bed I would inject 14-18 units (depending on ratio at the time) of insulin (Levemir).
Sounds easy right?
Not exactly.
As time past, I noticed fatty tissue began to build up on my injection sites. Yes, I changed site locations frequently but the fatty tissue was still there. I felt self conscious wearing certain clothing during the warmer months and injecting under the table at restaurants and/or in the bathroom when your pen cap rolls under the neighbors stall didn’t help matters either.
The result of injecting yourself 3-4 times a day, not including corrections and snacks can take a toll on your body’s physical appearance.

no-need-for-needles-2
After many discussions with my endocrinologist and nutritionist, I decided that the OmniPod was more compatible with my lifestyle and here is why:
– The OmniPod is tubeless and wireless (no plastic tubing) which is perfect for my active lifestyle… no stuffing tubes in sports bras during a workout or bulging dress shirts in business meetings.
– Patch-style adhesive allows discreet wearing and makes it easier to camouflage with seasonal clothing.
– PDM (controller unit) has a built-in fingerstick meter for checking BGs… no separate meter required = more purse space!
– The Pod (insulin unit) is waterproof up to 25 feet… Costa Rica here I come!
– PDM (Personal Diabetes Manager) provides precise doses down to .25 units… regulates blood sugar = lower A1C levels!
– User friendly… if you are new to an insulin pump, the OmniPod comes with a quick and easy setup and site changes.

podder
I chose the Pod Life because of the fewer injections, discreet site locations and control of my insulin intake… I can set a “temp basal” when I exercise or “extend” the insulin during 1/2 price appetizers. Being on the OmniPod eliminates the need to guesstimate when I eat because there is a built in food library and it allows a more accurate dosage of insulin delivered throughout the day.

Although there are cons to the Pod Life like the alert beeping noises, higher risk of DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis), changing your site every 3 days or the fact that I could be allergic to the adhesive?? does not change all of my positive experiences I’ve had so far.
Please check with your endocrinologist before considering an insulin pump.

t1dlookslikeme