My Journey to Pump Therapy Part 2: To Pump or Not to Pump

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Insulin pumps can be pretty intimidating.

You might wonder: Will people stare? Will you get tired of being reminded I have diabetes? Will it hurt or get in my way?

These are all things I thought when I was first approached about going on the insulin pump. It was the late 1990s when my endocrinologist told me about insulin pumps and suggested I get on one to help with my diabetes management. I wanted nothing to do with it. I flat-out refused, saying I didn’t want something hooked up to me all the time. Gross.

Then I went to diabetes camp and I saw a whole bunch of kids with insulin pumps. They thought it was the coolest thing since sliced bread. Continue reading

Diabetes Creativity: Putting Type 1 Diabetes on Display

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Check out 13-year-old Ellie Kumer’s story about how she doesn’t let type 1 diabetes stop her from staying active and how she actually uses type 1 diabetes as creative inspiration.  What does diabetes inspire you to do? Share your story with suited@insulet.com.

Two months before my fourth birthday, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Needless to say, that was a changing point in my life. Suddenly, my parents were responsible for monitoring my diet, exercise and blood sugar throughout the day. They were giving me 4-6 insulin shots each day and constantly evaluating and adjusting different factors to keep my body functioning properly.

Over the past nine years, as I’ve continued to grow and mature, I have succeeded in juggling diabetes on my own. I have lived with diabetes twice as long as I have lived without it – and can’t remember a day when I didn’t have to poke my finger or dose insulin.

This summer, I participated in Milwaukee Ballet’s Summer Intensive Program. For six weeks, I danced five days a week from 9:00-5:00, ending with a performance at the end of the summer. This was an opportunity that I auditioned for in January and am so thankful to have experienced.

Balancing Diabetes with Ballet

Ellie-Kumer-Ballet-with-DiabetesI’ve been taking ballet classes for 10 years and it is my passion! In order to participate in a program like this, it requires a fair amount of planning and preparation – not only ballet training, but diabetes training, too. Continue reading

Sean Busby’s Diabetes Heroes Series: Ashley Napear

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In a series of 12 episodes, Suite D is featuring interviews between professional snowboarder Sean Busby and inspirational people in the diabetes community. In the ninth episode, Sean interviews Ashley Napear, an assistant camp director of the Clara Barton Camp and a former collegiate softball player who hasn’t let type 1 diabetes hold her back. If you have a diabetes hero you’d like us to spotlight, please e-mail suited@insulet.com.

Ashley Napear has had type 1 diabetes for more than 20 years. Diagnosed in 1993, she can’t remember life without diabetes. Within a year of diagnosis she attended her very first diabetes camp, which forever changed her life. She has now returned to camp every year – first as a camper, then a counselor and now assistant camp director of the Clara Barton Camp. Watch and find out how type 1 diabetes drives Ashley and her passion for helping others with the disease. She also shares how she managed her diabetes as a top-level college athlete, even leading her softball team to the Women’s College World Series.

Why I Pump: An Active Teenage Boy’s Story

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In the “Why I Pump” Series, Suite D will feature stories that explore the different reasons individuals and families have chosen to pursue insulin pump therapy. If you’d like to share your story please e-mail suited@insulet.com.

When my grandson Cooper was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) at 22 months old, we were all in shock. I never thought I would get to babysit him again! I went through the diabetes classes with my daughter Jenny to try and grasp the disease. I soon found out that unless you live with diabetes, it wouldn’t be easy to understand! Testing blood sugar and giving daily shots didn’t come any easier to me!

My daughter Jenny was and still is an inspiration to me. She threw herself into learning everything there was to know about diabetes, so it didn’t surprise me when she started looking into pump therapy for Cooper. There were several insulin pumps to choose from and she ultimately decided on the OmniPod System. She liked that it was tube-free and wireless. With a 3-year-old it seemed to be the perfect choice, especially since she didn’t have to worry about the tubes that the other pumps had.

My Son’s Diabetes Diagnosis

Insulin-Pump-for-Active-BoyJoey stays very active and knew a tubeless insulin pump was right for his busy lifestyle. 

Fast forward a few years later and my son Joey was diagnosed with diabetes by my daughter on Mother’s Day. I was going to be babysitting Cooper that week, and since it had been awhile since I watched him, I was rusty checking his blood sugar. We asked for a volunteer to let me prick their finger so I didn’t have to practice on Cooper. After some bribing, Joey agreed! He was only eight, so his fingers were smaller like Cooper’s.

To all of our surprise and disbelief, Joey’s blood sugar was 466! We had him wash his hands and tried again. We got the same result!

So now I am back in the diabetes class, but this time with NO choice but to learn how to take care of my child – and fast! Continue reading

Ask Tony and Diane Series: Date Night with Diabetes

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In a series of 12 episodes, diabetes community leaders and husband and wife Tony and Diane Cervati are addressing various topics focusing on relationship and family dynamics with diabetes. Tony, founder of the Type1Rider organization, has been living with type 1 diabetes for 37 years. Diane, founder of the Blue Heel Society, met Tony shortly after her son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2010.

In the ninth episode, Tony and Diane discuss how diabetes impacts them on date nights.  Check out their tips and tricks for making sure diabetes doesn’t interrupt a romantic night out. Has diabetes ever been a “third wheel” during one of your date nights?

If you have a question or topic you’d like Tony and Diane to address, please e-mail questions@AskDianeandTony.com. If you have a story you’d like to contribute to Suite D, please e-mail suited@insulet.com.

My Diabetes “Trainathon”: A Unique Spin on Fundraising

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I’m what you call a “Type 1 Dad.”  My son, Davis has had type 1 diabetes for about three years now.  I try my best to take care of him, but my wife, Teresa, is really the primary caregiver.  Managing Davis’ blood sugar has become very difficult lately, because he’s 13 years old, going through puberty and growing like a weed!

As you can imagine, it’s difficult for two people (parents) to be one pancreas, so the burden of care falls mostly on Teresa.  I do what I can to help Davis, by preparing low-carb meals, counting carbs, and taking him out for father-and-son golfing, skiing and other sporting events; but I can’t be there for him all of the time. I feel bad sometimes and frightened for Davis, but I do what I can.

Harris-Miller-JDRF-Bike-RideSo, I try to help Davis in other ways by focusing on his future and donating money to the JDRF, in hopes that one day they will find a cure. I’ve done a lot of fundraising in the past for many good causes, such as the Pan Mass Challenge, but I now have a very personal connection to type 1 diabetes, so it was an easy decision to focus on fundraising for the JDRF to help improve my son’s life.

Preparing for my First Diabetes Bike Ride Event

Two years ago, I discovered the JDRF Bike Ride in Burlington, VT, but I didn’t think that I was in good enough shape to take on the steep hills. So, I made up my mind that all spring and summer I was going to train and sign up for the ride this year. I figured if Davis can put up with type 1 diabetes every day and night, I can ride my bike for 100 miles. Continue reading

FingerPricks™ Cartoons: The Back to School Routine vs. The Diabetes Management Routine

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Back to school? Groan, moan, bunk! It happens every year, but funny enough, we’re just never prepared for it. We spend a majority of the summer denying the event will come, but it eventually does just like it did this time last year. Imagine!

Like it or not we’re asked to deal with the situation before us, be it school or, yes, our diabetes management regime. I drag my heels, complain, curse my fate, implore the universe to tell me why I must continuously do things I just don’t want to do?!?! I can whine all I want, but at the end of the day, I do the responsible thing: take the blood test, dose my insulin, board the school bus – all just a part of life’s ups-and-downs. I don’t mean to trivialize having diabetes – I just really hated school.

I wasn’t sure which angle to take with this cartoon. Part of me wants to impress upon the viewer my standard flippant back talk about our superior diabetes knowledge, but though I know you’d all appreciate it, it may be too predictable. I think today I want to say the opposite. I want to say: keep your mind open, you never know what information will be new or helpful, no matter what the source. And I’ll even go one step further: take time to teach others the things you’ve learned. More information is always better.

Note:  Information posted on Suite D is not intended to be taken as medical advice. Always consult with your healthcare provider for questions and guidance on managing any health-related issues.

For more information on managing diabetes at school, click here.

Taking Type 1 Diabetes for a Hike

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Hiking-with-DiabetesClimbing Mount Washington in New Hampshire is difficult enough, but climbing it with type 1 diabetes brings on a whole new set of challenges. Preparation for my climbing trip with my father started months in advance. Exercise drops my blood sugar significantly, so I had many questions about how this would work out. How would I be able to keep my blood sugar stable for the eight-hour hike? How many orange juices would I need to bring? Would I have to decrease my basal while hiking? Continue reading

A Caregiver’s Journey to Pump Therapy Part 3: Multiple Daily Injections vs. Insulin Pumping

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How is the type 1 diabetes journey – from diagnosis, through starting on multiple daily injections, to beginning on an insulin pump and other milestones – viewed and managed from the caregiver perspective? Join D-Mom Leighann Calentine in this 6-part series as she discusses her experiences navigating the diabetes journey as a parent of a child with type 1 diabetes. If you’d like to comment or submit a story, please e-mail suited@insulet.com.

Check out the first two posts of this series here.

When we first began thinking about an insulin pump, my daughter had had diabetes about 15 months. Multiple daily injections (MDI) were our new normal at that point. She was doing fine, but I couldn’t help but think that diabetes management could be easier on her in terms of both the injections themselves and the routine. Continue reading

The Seven Continent Journey Part 2: Making History with Diabetes

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Earlier this year, OmniPod ambassador and professional snowboarder Sean Busby became the first person with diabetes to backcountry snowboard on every continent. Come along for the journey as Sean talks about his experience making history and how having type 1 diabetes may have helped him on his way to the top of the mountain (and then of course shredding powder down to the bottom). Click here for Part 1.

Sean-Busby-Rila-Moutains
Sean climbing the Rila Mountains.

In 2012, I got married and quickly headed on a backcountry ski/snowboard honeymoon expedition with my wife Mollie to Eastern Europe that would later become a story in Frequency Snowboard Magazine. We wanted to explore and ski/ride the Carpathians and Făgăraș Mountains of Romania, and then the highest mountain range in the Balkan region, the Rila mountain range of Bulgaria.

Venturing through Canada
Following those two expeditions, I traveled to Newfoundland, Canada with another professional snowboarder (and fellow athlete with type 1 diabetes) to backcountry snowboard Gros Morne National Park. Gros Morne is an area where the actual Earth’s mantle has been forced up through the crust of the Earth, creating mountainous terrain that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. This region was a perfect new zone to go to a new, unique mountain range and have the chance to snowboard the “Earth’s insides.” Continue reading

Five Decades with Diabetes Part 3: Staying Active and Inspiring Others

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This week we are featuring the inspiring story of OmniPod wearer Suzi Vietti. Suzi has lived with diabetes for 50 years, overcoming numerous obstacles on her way to become, among other things, the First Female Powered Parachute Sport Pilot, as well as one of the coolest 63-year-old grandmothers on the planet. Click here to check out part one and click here for part two. If you’d like to make a comment or share your story, please e-mail suited@insulet.com.

I have shared with you my past struggles and successes with diabetes, and I’m hoping the future holds many more successes. Now that I’ve reached my 50th anniversary with diabetes, I also hope to serve as an inspiration to others.

Rock-Climbing-with-Diabetes-2I remain a very active runner. I ran another half-marathon with the Insulindependence group, a FABULOUS group for athletes with diabetes, in Carlsbad, CA a few years ago. I was named one of the “Heroes” of the race. It was such an honor! I have done 5Ks, 10Ks and 15Ks. My daughter also introduced me to the sport of rock climbing. It is an absolutely breathtaking sport.

A very dear friend of mine and I climbed Pinnacle Peak in Arizona a couple of years ago. It would have been much more difficult to accomplish this without the use of my OmniPod insulin pump. “No strings attached” was certainly our motto as we scaled the peak of this great mountain without pump tubing hanging off of me. And as I stood with him at the top, I couldn’t help but think, again, how fortunate I was to be able to experience such a feat. I have also done four sky-dives, tandem style. If you want an exhilarating experience, that is the way to go. The free-fall is like magic. The speed you go down at is incredible – then suddenly the rip-cord is pulled and you just float. It is similar to a dream, it is so unreal. But it is EVER SO AWESOME! Continue reading

Five Decades with Diabetes Part 2: Overcoming Obstacles

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This week we are featuring the inspiring story of OmniPod wearer Suzi Vietti. Suzi has lived with diabetes for 50 years, overcoming numerous obstacles on her way to become, among other things, the First Female Powered Parachute Sport Pilot, as well as one of the coolest 63-year-old grandmothers on the planet. To check out part one, click here. Come back later this week for the final installment of Suzi’s story. If you’d like to make a comment or share your story, please e-mail suited@insulet.com.

In part one of my story, I discussed my diagnosis and early experiences with diabetes. I had some amazing highs and some tragic lows, such as the death of my middle child, which continued to torture me. Combined with my fanaticism of my blood sugars, weight, A1Cs, exercise, as well as all of the depression created during my childhood, I slowly slipped into the grip of bulimia. I was busy exercising to maintain my weight, however, I began exercising when it was ill advised and had extreme lows. Of course none of this was shared with my family. I felt this would prove that I was a bad person, because I couldn’t get my diabetes under control. After one particularly bad reaction, we all determined our family was in trouble, in a crisis actually. The group of people I loved so much and was so proud of…I was jeopardizing their lives.

I went into in-patient treatment for my eating disorder. I maintained I did not make myself vomit so how could I have bulimia? But I was told that the extreme exercise I was doing was considered purging and I was hospitalized for four weeks. As time rolled on, I ended up being hospitalized two more times before I got a handle on it. In retrospect, I will add that I have found that eating disorders can be fairly common in people with diabetes. The extreme attention paid to the numbers of weight, insulin units, calories, carbs, fats, A1Cs, blood sugar values and other test numbers can definitely play a role in this. Then add in a troubled childhood, depression and guilt, and it becomes a volatile mixture just waiting to blow.

Continuing to Fight On

During this passage of time, I became interested in running. But it seemed I had NO idea how to handle my blood sugars during this time. But I tried to do it, managing to the best of my abilities. This became my pattern and I watched my numbers vociferously to avoid hypoglycemia attacks. Continue reading

Five Decades with Diabetes Part 1: The Early Years

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This week we are featuring the inspiring story of OmniPod wearer Suzi Vietti. Suzi has lived with diabetes for 50 years, overcoming numerous obstacles on her way to become, among other things, the First Female Powered Parachute Sport Pilot, as well as one of the coolest 63-year-old grandmothers on the planet. Check back later this week for parts two and three of Suzi’s story. If you’d like to make a comment or share your story, please e-mail suited@insulet.com

Suzi-Running-with-DiabetesMy type 1 diabetes story begins in April 1964 when I was 14 years old. I was nearing the end of eight grade and suddenly began drinking a lot of water. I wish my mother or I would have realized how classic a symptom of diabetes that was, but neither of us did. It didn’t take long for it to be diagnosed, however, and my long journey with the disease began.

I marvel now at how far we have come in our knowledge and testing methodologies from back then. The only way for me to monitor my blood sugar level when I was 14 was for me to check a urine sugar with a Tes-Tape – and I found that to be particularly repulsive. The lab could run a blood glucose, but that was quite expensive and involved getting “stuck,” which was another less-than-favorite activity of mine.

When I was diagnosed with diabetes I was given many instructions regarding my future. My doctors said any major physical activity was frowned upon, because it would cause my blood sugar to fluctuate. Walking was OK, but anything involving great aerobic activity was not good. Marriage was OK, but having children was VERY DIFFICULT and frowned upon. Those were the first of many warnings I received throughout my lifetime, none of which I allowed to slow me down. Continue reading

A Q&A with Slam Dunk for Diabetes Basketball Camp’s Founder Monica Joyce

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Monica-JoyceIn 2004, Monica Joyce, MS, RD, LDE, CDE, CPT, founded the not-for-profit Slam Dunk for Diabetes Basketball Camp and currently serves as its executive director. Slam Dunk for Diabetes is the only day-long basketball camp for children with or at risk for diabetes. It targets low-income, high-risk children and is free to all who attend. Check out our Q&A with Monica below!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your connection to diabetes.

I began working in diabetes 35 years ago with an endocrinologist long before we had the title and credentialing to become a diabetes educator. Needless to say, he was a pioneer. He had decided he needed some “help” in his office with education. He also felt that diet is the biggest challenge for people with diabetes. So, he hired a dietitian. The two-day-a-week job gradually became full time. We took the first exam together. I now work for his son and another endocrinologist. I continue to do all the diabetes education.

What gave you the idea to start basketball camps specifically for kids with diabetes?

Continue reading

Carbohydrate Counting with Diabetes: Practical Pointers for Precision When you Eat Restaurant Foods

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In the near future, more nutrition information should appear on menus and menu boards. Here’s the lowdown. A section of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), AKA Obamacare, will require chain restaurants with 20 or more outlets and offering substantially the same menu to provide specific nutrition information. The focus is squarely on calories. You may have already noticed these in some Starbucks and McDonalds.

In addition, a statement must be posted on menus or menu boards stating that additional nutrition information for standard menu items is available on request. The restaurant must have the ability to provide you with the information, which includes nutrients like total carbohydrate and fiber on site. Word is the final regulations are due out from the U.S. FDA in the near future and restaurants will have in range of a year to meet the regulations.1 So, yes, still a while.

It’s easy for your healthcare providers to say, “Count your carbs precisely for accurate bolus dosing.” It’s quite another to do it day in, day out across the myriad restaurant foods and meals you eat.

The good news is today there’s more nutrition information, including carbohydrate counts for restaurant foods, than ever before. Most large national and regional restaurant chains, particularly walk-up-and-order-get-your-food-fast types, reveal their nutrition information on their websites. Plus, you’ll find some of this data integrated into large databases in books, on websites or in apps where information is available at your fingertips. The restaurants that still don’t have or offer nutrient numbers are usually the independent, single-location restaurants.

Tips for Eating Restaurant Foods with Diabetes

Check out these practical pointers to help you precisely count carbohydrates when you eat restaurant foods: Continue reading

The 7-Continent Journey Part 1: Sean Busby Snowboards the World with Diabetes

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Earlier this year, OmniPod ambassador and professional snowboarder Sean Busby became the first person with diabetes to backcountry snowboard on every continent. Come along for the journey as Sean talks about his experience making history and discusses how having type 1 diabetes may have helped him on his way to the top of the mountain (and then of course shredding powder down to the bottom).

In 2008, I took to the backcountry more seriously. I had explored the outer reaches of ski resorts prior to 2008, but I wanted to set even more focus on earning my turns strictly in a natural way (no chairlifts, just my own two feet).

Backcountry riding is a way of skiing/snowboarding in a real wilderness setting where there is no ski patrol, groomed runs or lift lines. The mountain exists in its purest form and you must make the proper and smart decisions in navigating its components (avalanche terrain, cliffs, crevasses, etc.). Should an emergency happen, you must be self-sufficient and be prepared to rescue/take care of yourself. Being prepared and self sufficient is not an easy task and requires tons of preparation — a skill set that is also heavily relied upon in the management of a chronic disease like type 1 diabetes. Continue reading

Ask Tony and Diane Series: Dealing with Diabetes Burnout

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In a series of 12 episodes, diabetes community leaders and newlyweds Tony and Diane Cervati are addressing various topics focusing on relationship and family dynamics with diabetes. Tony, founder of the Type1Rider organization, has been living with diabetes for 37 years. Diane, founder of the Blue Heel Society, met Tony shortly after her son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2010.

In the eighth episode, Tony and Diane talk about a commonly discussed topic in the diabetes community: diabetes “burnout.” Tony, from the patient perspective, and Diane, from the caregiver perspective, provide tips and advice for dealing with it. How do you handle diabetes burnout?

If you have a question or topic you’d like Tony and Diane to address, please e-mail questions@AskDianeandTony.com. If you have a story you’d like to contribute to Suite D, please e-mail suited@insulet.com.

FingerPricks™ Cartoons: Hypos Cause Typos

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It won’t come as a surprise to any person with diabetes that we’re not at our best when our blood sugar numbers run low. Glucose usually helps the brain to operate and, without enough of it, simple brain functions can be impaired. This is why we can feel confused or disoriented when we haven’t eaten enough, take too much insulin or extend our exercise period to a full hour of cardio. In school, my mom always made sure I didn’t take tests before lunch, a precaution to be sure my blood sugar was at a level to have ALL my brain cells working at full-power. Gives the saying “food for thought” a whole new meaning.

Insulin pumps can help to reduce the amount of low blood sugar events you experience. Click here to order a free demo of the OmniPod insulin pump.

My First Travel Adventure with Diabetes

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Travel-Adventures-with-DiabetesRecently I took a trip to Fiji in the South Pacific on a Christian mission trip through my high school, Santa Fe Christian in San Diego, CA. While a trip to this part of the world is normally viewed as vacation paradise, there are more than 250,000 people in the Fijian Islands that live in poverty and many more live on or just above the poverty line. In order to make an impact, we had to fully immerse ourselves into the Fijian culture. Our goal was to help and enrich the Christian faith with the Fijian people. I’ve traveled many places, but this was going to be a very long trip. And of course, when traveling with type 1 diabetes you need to bring back-ups for everything and then even back-ups for your back-ups. Continue reading

Countdown to Clara Barton Diabetes Camp

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Clara-Barton-Diabetes-CampAs you read this, I will be in my absolute favorite place in the world – the Clara Barton Diabetes Camp in Massachusetts. Barton is a sleep away camp for girls with type 1 diabetes (T1D). For the first week of camp (Wacky Week), campers can bring a non-T1D to camp. After that, it is all people with diabetes and the “Wannabetics” have to go home. Imagine a place where everyone has type 1 diabetes and those who don’t are the ones who are “different.” Incredible, but true.

My First Summer at Diabetes Camp

I was 11 years old for my first summer at Barton. I was newly diagnosed with diabetes and had never been away from home. My parents dropped me off and I could barely keep my tears from rolling down my cheeks. I looked around the bunk at all the strangers I would be living with for the next two weeks. How was I going to survive this? Continue reading

Show Us Your Pump!

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OmniPod wearer Michaela shows off her Pod.
OmniPod wearer Michaela shows off her Pod.

Diabetes took center stage at The Miss Idaho Scholarship Program pageant last Saturday when competitor Sierra Sandison proudly wore her insulin pump right in plain sight. This inspired many others to share photos showing off their insulin pumps, using the hashtag “#showmeyourpump.”

Now we’re inviting you to share your own photos proclaiming your “Pod pride” while using the same hashtag:  #showmeyourpump.

We’d also like to hear about when you first felt confident showing off your pump. E-mail suited@myomnipod.com to share your story.

To try a free demo of the OmniPod insulin pump, click here.

 

My Journey to Pump Therapy Part 1: Celebrating a Life Well Lived with Diabetes

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On January 27, 2014, I celebrated 20 years of living with diabetes. It might seem strange to read that. Celebrate a disease? Hardly. Being diagnosed with diabetes is not a happy event. I don’t celebrate or relish the fact that I live with this infuriating disease. But I do celebrate the happy, successful and loving life I’ve led, despite the fact that I have this infuriating disease.

My Diabetes Diagnosis

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was eight years old and I remember it vividly. Continue reading

Sean Busby’s Diabetes Heroes Series: Matt Schmitz

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In a series of 12 episodes, Suite D is featuring interviews between professional snowboarder Sean Busby and inspirational people in the diabetes community. In the eighth episode, Sean interviews Matt Schmitz, a 29-year-old, 10-year veteran of type 1 diabetes, who is an avid cyclist and Riding On Insulin coach. If you have a diabetes hero you’d like us to spotlight, please e-mail suited@insulet.com.

Matt Schmitz was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 19. After seven years of being isolated from the diabetes community, Matt decided to get involved and help raise money for diabetes research. He joined a JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes and did a 100-mile bike ride, and was instantly hooked. Matt has since raised thousands of dollars for research with the support of his friends and family. A volunteer coach for Riding On Insulin and Hope on 2 Wheels, Matt hopes to help inspire others living with type 1 diabetes to unlock their full potential to live healthy and fulfilling lives.

A Look Inside the Children with Diabetes Friends for Life Conference

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The-DielsJust the other week our family had the privilege of attending the Friends for Life 2014 Children with Diabetes Conference held in Orlando, Florida. If you have not attended this conference or haven’t attended in many years, we highly recommend you put it on your “to do list” for July 2015.

The conference attracts attendees internationally and from across the United States and Canada. Although the conference is dedicated to children with diabetes and their families, it is also open to any adult with diabetes, caregivers and friends. There is something to be gained for every person attending. Childcare is offered so that parents/grandparents can attend sessions.

Opportunities for Diabetes Education

There are basic sessions, like the Caregivers Bootcamp, that cover carb counting, diabetes care giving and glucagon administration. There are also educational sessions where you learn cutting-edge strategies for diabetes management, psychosocial sessions and discussion sessions. Continue reading

A Caregiver’s Journey to Pump Therapy Part 2: Challenges with Multiple Daily Injections

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How is the type 1 diabetes journey – from diagnosis, through starting on multiple daily injections, to beginning on an insulin pump and other milestones – viewed and managed from the caregiver perspective? Join D-Mom Leighann Calentine in this 6-part series as she discusses her experiences navigating the diabetes journey as a parent of a child with type 1 diabetes. If you’d like to comment or submit a story, please e-mail suited@insulet.com.

Check out part 1 here, where Leighann recounts her daughter’s diabetes diagnosis.

“At one point shortly after diagnosis, she decided that she absolutely did not want to get another injection. What could I do? She needed insulin to literally keep her alive.”

When our daughter was on multiple daily injections, she received four injections a day: three were fast-acting insulin injections given at meal times to cover her food and to bring her blood sugar back down into range, and the fourth was long-acting insulin given at bedtime. The frustration with injections for us was that no matter how closely we counted carbs and did everything we were supposed to do, we just couldn’t seem to get her A1C down into the range that it should have been for a child with diabetes her age. Continue reading

Don’t Let Blood Sugar Get in The Way of Exercise: Tips for Working Out with Diabetes

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 - Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE

Every now and then, it is worth recognizing exercise for the amazing “medicine” that it can be for people with diabetes. What else improves insulin sensitivity, blunts post-meal blood sugar spikes, promotes weight loss, improves cholesterol and blood pressure, enhances mood, dulls pain and helps fight male pattern baldness? OK, I made up that last one. But the rest are proven true.

So why aren’t more people exercising? Continue reading

The Top 5 Things You Should Know About Insulin Pump Therapy

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Suite D wants to hear why you decided to make the switch to pump therapy. Tell us what your (or your loved one’s) experiences were like before beginning on an insulin pump, and how life has changed since. To share your story, please e-mail suited@insulet.com.

There are some common misconceptions when it comes to insulin pumps and how they work. Read below to learn the top five things Dr. Steven Edelman, a professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) and the Veterans Affairs (VA) Healthcare System of San Diego, and the Director of the Diabetes Care Clinic, VA Medical Center, thinks you should know about insulin pump therapy.

1.  The word “therapy” is really not the best term to describe this form of insulin delivery. In fact, having an insulin pump is really not therapy, but rather a very effective and accurate way to administer insulin. People with diabetes who are on multiple daily injections (MDI) or insulin pump “therapy” both have to test their glucose levels and make decisions on how much insulin to give, and if on a pump, how to deliver that insulin (all at once, dual wave or square wave – see definitions below). Continue reading

FingerPricks™ Cartoons: Does Having Diabetes Make you Brave?

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I’ve always been annoyed when someone says I’m brave for having diabetes. It seems like an empty compliment, a disappointment, like being given a chocolate bunny only to find out at first bite that the damn thing is hollow. Forty years of that same comment and it still makes my fur stand on end. I don’t compulsively challenge this comment by explaining why a chronic illness is FAR from brave. It’s an awkward way to respond to a compliment anyway, right? And I’m sure my prickliness made the other person uncomfortable. (A sentiment far from my mind, I can almost guarantee.)

Thus said, WHY did the word brave seem to be a fitting characteristic for someone struggling with an issue they didn’t choose to have? Continue reading

Handling your Child’s Diabetes Diagnosis

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3 Things I Wish I Knew When Davis was
Diagnosed with Diabetes

  1. I wish I knew about a a smart phone app called GoMeals®. They have the carbs listed for most meals at most restaurants.
  2. I wish I knew that even though Davis’ blood sugar was extremely low, we wouldn’t need to use the glucagon.
  3. I wish I knew back then that Davis was going to be okay!

One month prior to my son Davis being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, he had come down with the flu. He had never been so sick, which was when he started to drink much more than usual. We thought he was just dehydrated from the illness. Davis recovered, but he was always thirsty after that. We didn’t think that much of it. Then, a few weeks later, he began to wet the bed. We rationalized that he was drinking too much before going to sleep, but never thought for a moment that these were the classic signs of type 1 diabetes.

It all happened during New Year’s Eve 2011 when we were on vacation at my sister’s house in Pittsburgh. Continue reading

Diabetes and Summer Activities: Fitness and Nutrition Tips

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Happy summer! This past Saturday, June 21, was the first day of summer. During the warm months each year I feel extremely motivated to be healthier than I was in the winter, especially having type 1 diabetes. My priority is to always look for new ways to maintain my level of enthusiasm in order to reach my goals. In 2014 I’m kicking off the summer with a few suggestions for both fitness and nutritional wellness. Continue reading

Curses and Superstitions: 13 Diabetes Positives

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Well-known diabetes blogger Kelly Kunik discusses superstitions and curses in a post inspired by last week’s Friday the 13th. Do you have any diabetes superstitions you’d like to share? E-mail suited@insulet.com and let us know!

Kelly-Kunik-Diabetes-PositivesKelly doesn’t believe type 1 diabetes is a character flaw – some of the greatest people she’s come across are PWDs!

Last Friday was Friday the 13th (complete with a bonafide and rare and full “Honey” moon) and ever since then I’ve been thinking about curses and superstitions – seriously, how could I not?

Friday the 13th is a day when superstitions are taken to heart and many in the population suddenly develop triskaidekaphobia (a fear of the number 13), steer clear of walking under ladders, avoid shattering mirrors at all costs and run in the opposite direction at the mere mention of a black cat for fear of the supposed bad luck that little black kitty will bring.

Me, I’m a dog person, but I think black cats are beautiful. As far as breaking mirrors, I avoid doing that as much as possible. Not because of the seven years of bad luck associated with cracked or shattered mirrors, but because of the huge mess shattered mirrors create. Regarding walking under ladders, in all honesty, I haven’t found ladders blocking my path to be an everyday occurrence on my walkabouts. But if I did happen to come across one, I wouldn’t walk under it anyway. WHY? Because it makes absolutely no sense to walk under something that someone else is precariously perched on. Of course it’s an accident waiting to happen!

I agree that the number 13 certainly has its detractors, but it also has its merits.

There were 13 original colonies, which became the 13 original states. The 13th Amendment abolished slavery. Let’s not forget that “a baker’s dozen” consists of 13 donuts/baked goods instead of 12. I’ll take 13 donuts over 12 any day!

To get to my main thought – do I think I’m cursed because I have type 1 diabetes? Simple answer is I don’t, but I will admit that diabetes can make me curse a blue streak and more often that I’d care to admit.

Do I have diabetes idiosyncrasies that some might consider superstitious? Continue reading

A Caregiver’s Journey to Pump Therapy Part 1: My Daughter’s Diabetes Diagnosis

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How is the type 1 diabetes journey – from diagnosis, through starting on multiple daily injections, to beginning on an insulin pump and other milestones – viewed and managed from the caregiver perspective? Join D-Mom Leighann Calentine in this 6-part series as she discusses her experiences navigating the diabetes journey as a parent of a child with type 1 diabetes. If you’d like to comment or submit a story, please e-mail suited@insulet.com.  

Multiple-Daily-InjectionsOur daughter’s diagnosis story, I have found, is fairly typical for that of young children also diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. But no matter how typical, it was still a shock we were unprepared for.

She was a normal toddler who attended preschool and took dance classes. She had just learned to ride a real bike, albeit with training wheels. She was full of energy and life.

That spring, she had had an illness that she didn’t quite bounce back from. After missing a couple of weeks of preschool, she returned and parents commented that she must have had a growth spurt because she looked thin. Some of her behaviors had changed as well. She was emotional at times, rather than her normal laid-back self. She seemed moody and cried more easily. Continue reading

Sean Busby’s Diabetes Heroes Series: Isaac Jensen

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In a series of 12 episodes, Suite D is featuring interviews between professional snowboarder Sean Busby and inspirational people in the diabetes community. In the seventh episode, Sean interviews Isaac Jensen, a nine-year-old boy who hasn’t let his diagnosis of type 1 diabetes two years ago stop him from being an active, multi-sport athlete. If you have a diabetes hero you’d like us to spotlight, please e-mail suited@insulet.com

Isaac-and-Sean-Busby-Riding-on-InsulinIsaac and Sean at a Riding On Insulin camp in Montana.

Isaac Jensen was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age seven. Now, at nine years old, Isaac has proven that diabetes can’t stop him from living an active lifestyle. Isaac is an avid hockey and baseball player. He also recently started snowboarding, spending time with Sean Busy at Riding On Insulin camps in Montana.

It’s children like Isaac who inspired Sean to start Riding On Insulin when he was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 19 in 2004. Hearing their stories helped Sean realize if young children can manage and overcome their type 1 diagnosis to do great things, then he could do the same.

 

Click here to request a FREE Demo of the OmniPod insulin pump.

 

Carbohydrate Counting with Diabetes: Practical Pointers for Precision When Eating at Home

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It’s easy for your healthcare providers to say, “Count your carbs precisely for accurate bolus dosing.” It’s quite another to do it day in, day out across myriad foods and different combinations of foods you eat. Got that right!

One meal might be a straight-forward lunch: turkey sandwich with sliced tomatoes, side of sliced cucumbers, half of a large apple and glass of fat-free milk. No sweat! The next meal? A couple of new recipes for dinner: bean and corn enchilada casserole served with a side of red cabbage and carrot slaw. Well, not so easy!

Studies show carb counting accuracy is a challenge even among the most seasoned carb counters.1,2 Yet as you know, precise carb counts are critically important to determine accurate bolus insulin doses and glucose control, especially after eating.3

Check out these practical pointers to precisely count carbohydrates when you eat at home: Continue reading

Managing Middle School with Diabetes: Handling Lunchtime with My Insulin Pump

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Eating-Lunch-at-School-with-DiabetesPeanut butter and jelly or a turkey sandwich? That is the lunch choice most middle school kids have as they look in their lunch bag each day in the cafeteria. At my middle school in New York City, we go out to lunch every day. My choices are more along the lines of sushi, pizza, deli food or hamburgers. I love getting a break in the middle of the day and walking over with my friends to the local sushi restaurant and sharing California rolls, miso soup and shrimp shumai. And of course, the chopsticks make great hair clips – just use them before you eat with them!

Having type 1 diabetes adds another layer of consideration to my lunch plans. Continue reading

Ask Tony and Diane Series: Falling in Love with Diabetes

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In a series of 12 episodes, diabetes community leaders and newlyweds Tony and Diane Cervati are addressing various topics focusing on relationship and family dynamics with diabetes. Tony, founder of the Type1Rider organization, has been living with diabetes for 37 years. Diane, founder of the Blue Heel Society, met Tony shortly after her son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2010.

In the seventh episode, Tony and Diane discuss the impact diabetes had on their relationship as they began to fall in love and the role it played as their families joined together as one. How has diabetes impacted your relationships?

If you have a question or topic you’d like Tony and Diane to address, please e-mail questions@AskDianeandTony.com. If you have a story you’d like to contribute to Suite D, please e-mail suited@insulet.com.

Click here to request a FREE demo of the OmniPod insulin pump.

Facing the Diabetes Monster Head On: Empowering Yourself and Others

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Sometimes diabetes can seem like a monster to a parent of a child with type 1 diabetes. It looks over us at night – and every second of every day.

It’s obviously not only us parents, but the kids themselves that feel like they are being chased by a forever monster. No one likes having type 1 diabetes, but as a kid (especially a teen) it can be very hard. I am writing this, because today a family is sitting in a hospital room praying that their 17-year-old son recovers from a self-inflicted insulin overdose. He’s not an addict, yet is overdosing on the very medication that keeps him alive.

Answering the door at 3:00 AM to find the police there is every parent’s worst nightmare. They asked to talk to their son. Thankfully he sent a text to a friend and that friend (an angel to the family) saved his life by calling 911.

So now the real work begins. Saving his life was a Godsend and now trying to get him to accept the disease is the challenge. He wasn’t diagnosed yesterday, is a good kid and loves his family. They didn’t expect this. NEVER expected this.

Their son’s personality sounds a lot like my son Joey. He is a homebody who loves spending time with his family, yet is at the age where he wants me to cut the ties. He is confident with his type 1 diabetes when he’s with his buddies and around familiar faces. The funny thing is, his message to other kids with type 1 diabetes is, “Don’t be embarrassed by type 1, you didn’t ask for it. Just be yourself and your friends will like you for who you are.”

Joey-Balistrieri-Diabetes-EmpowermentJoey Balistrieri has become a role model for other children with type 1 diabetes.

However, I have noticed that when he’s in a situation where there are kids around that aren’t aware he has type 1 diabetes, he becomes reserved. Yet, other times he can be so confident. As an ADA Ambassador, he spoke in front of hundreds this past year.

A radio personality that interviewed Joey told me he was very impressed by him, being such a young man with so much wisdom. I am very proud of Joey’s convictions with raising diabetes awareness. Continue reading

The Impact of the Diabetes Online Community

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“I honestly believe that the next best medicine besides insulin is belonging to a community.”

Check out Sean Busby’s story about the support and inspiration he has received from the Diabetes Online Community (DOC). Do you have a story about how the DOC has helped you? If you’d like to share your story, e-mail suited@insulet.com.

When I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2004, I was just starting to step into the social media world. Sure I had a website as an athlete back then and also a MySpace account, but that was it. I never knew how much social media would come into play with my life, especially as a person living with type 1 diabetes. Continue reading

Hope Springs Eternal for the Future of Diabetes

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Haidee-Merritt-Diabetes-FingerPricks-5

The same hope may not spring eternal for all of us living with diabetes. I’ve stopped waiting for the “cure” as I’d imagined it as an 8-year-old: a pill or injection that would magically remove diabetes from my body; an antidote; the silver bullet that would explode inside me, its powerful serum expelling all traces of the disease. Continue reading