Diabetes at College Advice Series: Eating Healthy at School

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What I (and my parents!) wish I was told before going to college: general advice about the college transition with diabetes.

Eating-Healty-at-College-with-DiabetesAs we all know, eating healthy with diabetes is very important. College food makes it particularly challenging when trying to have a healthy lifestyle and knowing how many carbohydrates you’re consuming! Freshman year you’re pretty much stuck with one option for living arrangements: a dorm room. Usually you’re allowed to have a microwave and a mini fridge in your room, but that means you’re still probably going to be eating most of your meals at a campus dining hall. Continue reading

Managing Middle School with Diabetes: Taking Exams

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Summer-Asman-Diabetes-at-Middle-SchoolSummer finds success from having a positive attitude towards type 1 diabetes.

In most parts of the country, when kids graduate from middle school they all head over to the local high school in the Fall. Easy. In New York City, it doesn’t work like that. I live in Manhattan, where there is no “zoned” high school to go to. So, all eighth graders have to apply to high school. It sounds crazy – and it is. There are certain high schools that are very competitive and require a special exam, called the SHSAT, for admissions. About 29,000 NYC kids take the exam and about 6,000 kids get in. I began a “cram” course in September, stressed A LOT, and was ready to sit for the SHSAT (Specialized High School Admissions Test) in November.

Although everyone gets nervous, I was probably more stressed out than any other kid in New York City for the SHSATs. Because of my type 1 diabetes, I was not just worried about the test – which is scary on its own – but I also was anxious about going low or high and messing up because of that. Continue reading

Thriving with Diabetes: My Young Triathlete

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In Suite D, we like to share inspirational stories of people who are not only living well with diabetes, but also thriving with it. In a “Thriving with Diabetes” series, we will be showcasing accounts of people who have turned their diabetes diagnosis into a strength and form of motivation.  If you, or someone you know, fit that description, please e-mail suited@insulet.com to share your story.

Mia-Kealey-Triathalon-with-Diabetes
Mia is physically and mentally strong!

My daughter Mia has always loved swimming. Three years ago, she set a goal to make the swim team at our local YMCA. Unfortunately, swimming is the one activity that seems to make her blood sugar drop faster than any other, but she loves it so much she does what she must to make sure she can participate. Her hard work paid off and she made the swim team two years ago – on her birthday!

Swimming Practice with Diabetes

Being an athlete with diabetes isn’t easy. Mia’s swim practices are currently an hour and a half long, four days a week. It took several weeks to figure out a balance between the intense level of activity, and her insulin and food. She still gets out of the pool every 30 minutes to check her blood sugar and have a snack if needed, but she always gets right back to practice as soon as she can. Continue reading

Teenage Diabetes Slang: Our Own Language

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Teenage-Diabetes-SlangI’ll never forget the first time it happened.

I was shopping at the mall with my mother and I started to feel rather sluggish. My muscles were aching and I could not concentrate on what she was saying to me.

We had just eaten lunch and I apparently didn’t take a large enough bolus with my OmniPod insulin pump to cover my meal.

“Katie, are you high?” my mother asked in a very concerned, but unfortunately rather loud voice.

The people around us, old and young, all turned to stare at me – the teenager who was accused of being “high” by her own mother.

After that incident, she decided to change the wording of her questions when it came to my diabetes medical issues. The revised way to ask the same question is now, “Katie, is your blood sugar high?”

I’m sure this has happened to other teenagers with type 1 diabetes, because it’s just a common language for us. Our family members don’t think twice about asking if we’re “high” or “low.” This is the slang I use and I am sure some of you may use as well to describe diabetes-related situations. Continue reading

Diabetes at College Advice Series: Accommodation Letters

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What I (and my parents!) wish I was told before going to college: general advice about the college transition with diabetes.

College is an exciting and scary time for everyone. There was so much to think about between meeting new people, living on your own and figuring out where everything on campus is located. Every new student experiences the nervousness, but having diabetes brings a few added unknowns when heading off to school. Continue reading

Ask Tony and Diane Series: Revealing Your 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 fifth episode, Tony and Diane discuss the decision of when to reveal your diabetes in different situations. Diane, coming from the perspective of a mother of a child with type 1 diabetes, is concerned with making sure those around her son are aware and prepared to help if a diabetes emergency ever comes up, while still allowing him to have the privacy he desires. As a person with diabetes, Tony talks about the impact social media has had on sharing and connecting with others with type 1 diabetes.

Do you have an interesting story or opinion on revealing diabetes? Continue reading

Sean Busby’s “Diabetes Heroes” Series: Chloe van Dyck

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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 sixth episode, Sean interviews Chloe van Dyck, a 16-year-old accomplished Irish dancer. If you have a diabetes hero you’d like us to spotlight, please e-mail suited@insulet.com.

Chloe van Dyck was born in 1997 in the United Kingdom. When she was just three months old, she moved with her family to Sydney, Australia and they later relocated to Dublin, Ireland in 2004. Chloe picked up the sport of Irish dancing that year and quickly excelled. It was in March 2005 that she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Continue reading

What Would Sean Busby Do?

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While OmniPod ambassador Sean Busby has been profiling people in the diabetes community who inspire him through his “Sean’s Diabetes Heroes” series on Suite D, he is an inspiration in his own right. Suite D would like to congratulate Sean on becoming the first person with type 1 diabetes to backcountry snowboard on every continent in the world. Check out this post from professional ski patroller Kim Kircher about the inspiration and motivation Sean provides her.

Sean-Busby-Diabetes-InspirationWhat do you do when you’re on the cusp of becoming an Olympic athlete and you get diagnosed with type 1 diabetes? If you’re Sean Busby, you turn those lemons into lemonade.

When Sean was diagnosed with diabetes, he had considered quitting snowboarding. But instead he gathered inspiration from the stories of young people with diabetes he found through JDRF’s Children’s Congress. He figured if they didn’t quit, neither would he. Sean went on to start Riding On Insulin—a non-profit organization—to honor all the kids with diabetes who inspired him to keep living. Most recently, Sean returned from a trip to the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco, completing his goal of snowboarding on every continent. He truly is an inspiration.

The type 1 diabetes world is rife with stories of the newly diagnosed finding inspiration in the lives of veteran diabetics. But what about veteran diabetics like myself? Continue reading

Insulin Pumping 101: Prep Before You Pump!

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- Lisa Foster-McNulty RN, MSN, CDE

As any great painter, chef or presenter knows, the key to success is in the preparation. The same can be said for anyone with diabetes considering insulin pump therapy.

If you are thinking about switching over to an insulin pump, it’s a good idea to have some essential skills and abilities in place first. Basal is background or long-acting insulin, meant to offset the body’s natural glucose production. Bolus is mealtime or rapid-acting insulin, meant to cover the blood sugar rise caused by food.

Here are some other diabetes self-management practices that may help make your transition to pump therapy more successful: Continue reading

St. Patrick’s Day Musings: A Pot of Insulin at the End of the Rainbow

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“So in tribute to St. Patrick’s Day, my cartoon this month is what I would hope to find at the end of a rainbow: a pot of insulin.”

Turns out the luck of the Irish has no influence on diabetes. Most of the information I could collect on the subject was slightly disturbing, mostly because it needed updating. The forecasted number of people to join the population of diabetics in Ireland seems to be growing exponentially, as it is most everywhere else. I’m being a little Debby Downer here, huh?* Perhaps a limerick will set a better tone:

The best kind of patient’s compliant;
Another good type is reliant;
But when you begin
To mix insulin in
This patient must not be defiant

I found it interesting – you might too – that in a 2007 report, Irish pediatricians and endocrinologists estimated that there are between 3,000 and 4,000 children, adolescents and young adults (i.e. those aged 0 to 19 years) living with diabetes on the bonny isle. Continue reading

The Best Gifts to Give a Family with a Newly Diagnosed Child with Diabetes

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“The overwhelming response was the same: be a shoulder to lean on and a good listener.”

You know you have really great people in your life when you get a call that goes like this:  “Therese, my 13-year-old son’s good friend was just diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Can you help me understand this disease and what I can offer the family to help them through this difficult time?” She said she thought about giving them a cookbook. This is the typical gift that someone buys for a family with a newly diagnosed child, because they often don’t understand diabetes and, honestly, no one truly does unless they or their child has it. It’s a chronic illness that is complicated, challenging, confusing, doesn’t obey by the rules, has no rhyme-or-reason and is very difficult to grasp.

Gift-Ideas-Newly-Diagnosed-Diabetes
Some examples of good gifts to get a family whose child was recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

A diabetes cookbook is a thoughtful gift, but maybe more so for someone with type 2 diabetes. Diet and exercise can help reverse the effects of type 2. This isn’t the case for type 1 diabetes, as it’s an autoimmune disease which destroys the beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.

I started thinking about what a thoughtful gift would be for someone recently diagnosed with diabetes and went right to the source for some suggestions: one of my favorite type 1 diabetes parenting groups within the diabetes online community on Facebook.

The overwhelming response was the same: be a shoulder to lean on and a good listener. Here are some of the other thoughtful ideas and ways you can be a good support system to a family with a newly-diagnosed child: Continue reading

Ski Racing with Diabetes

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Ski-Racing-with-Diabetes
Photo Credit: Beignyreih Pearson.

When most kids around my age are asked what winter sports they play, many say basketball. But I have a different answer; I’m a ski racer!

I started skiing at the age of three with my dad being the main coach in my life. As I progressed, I started going to a weekend program at my local mountain to learn more basics of skiing. When my parents felt I was ready, they got me involved in the race program at our mountain around the age of seven. Skiing became a bigger part of my life than it ever was in the past. It became what my life was focused around in the winter. I’d have practices every Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM, and when I wasn’t training, it was a race day. Everyone gets so excited about race day, because it’s like game day for any other sport. As I got older and further progressed into racing, it just really grew to be more and more part of what I live for.

Getting Diagnosed with Diabetes During Ski Season

As the 2010-2011 ski season was coming to a close, I never would’ve thought that in just over two months my whole life would make a 180 with me getting diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Continue reading

Ask Tony and Diane Series: Diabetes Impact on Your Relationship

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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 fourth episode, Tony and Diane discuss the surprisingly positive role diabetes has played in their relationship – from serving as their matchmaker to helping create a tighter bond between them every day. Diabetes has helped them both find and strengthen their love for each other. How has diabetes impacted your relationship with a significant other?

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.

Norway Expedition: Building Bonds through Diabetes

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On other expeditions, I’ve built common bonds through skiing and snowboarding, despite cultural differences. On my Norway expedition, I was able to build on the bond that unites those of us living with type 1 diabetes.


Sean talks about the lessons he learned and the inspiration he received from being with other people with diabetes on the expedition.

I have had a goal to guide a group of skiers/snowboarders with type 1 diabetes on an expedition to a remote part of Greenland for a few years now – and have slowly been picking off the logistical nightmare that goes along with guiding a group in heavy polar bear territory. As I move closer to accomplishing this goal, I wanted to test out a scenario of having a group of type 1’s on one of my expeditions. Continue reading

FingerPricks™ Cartoons: Supporting People with Diabetes

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Haidee-Merritt-Diabetes-FingerPricks-2You’ll find this to be a very subjective topic for most people with diabetes: the kind of “support” we like to receive from the people around us. I know for me, the response would be based on endless scenarios and infinite combinations that depend not only on the cast of characters and their roles, but, just as importantly, the scene that’s been set and what script we’re all reading from. Some support is just intuitive and there’s no real guideline to follow. Let me give you a few examples.

Childhood with Diabetes: My Family’s Supportive Intentions

To start, let’s rewind to my childhood with diabetes. In my earliest Easter memories, my parents had tried to substitute a full-sugar solid rabbit – dense and formidable – that my brothers had found in their baskets – for a powdery, chocolate bunny – free from both sugar and flavor. Or instead of a bag of jellybeans maybe I’d find, say, a license plate for my bike. This was something that I didn’t appreciate in the least; the gesture meant nothing to me. Continue reading

Norway Expedition: Pushing Yourself to the Limit with Diabetes

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Cassie-Testing-Blood-Glucose
Top woman college snowboarder Cassie Davis checks her blood glucose with her OmniPod Personal Diabetes Manager. (Photo credit: Andrew Meehan.)

I have shared my preparations and experiences with you while on various expeditions and now I want to introduce another member of our Norway adventure crew. Cassie Davis is a top woman snowboarder on the college tour and a member of the U.S. Snowboard College Team for the World University Games that took place in Italy this winter. Cassie, an OmniPod insulin pump user like myself, talks about experiencing her first backcountry snowboarding expedition in Norway and how she managed her diabetes throughout the journey. Check it out below! Continue reading

Helping Children with Diabetes Gain Independence Finale: Diabetes Knowledge

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Scott Benner, stay-at-home-dad and published author and blogger, has kindly shared his experiences and tips for helping children with diabetes gain more independence and control over their diabetes management. Today Scott shares the sixth and final installment of the series. Click here to read the series in its entirety.

Scott-Benner-Book-Signing
Scott and Arden at a book signing for Scott’s debut book, “Life is Short, Laundry is Eternal.”

I was asked recently on my blog if I had any tips for a family that was considering Arden’s school day diabetes management plan. Anything that I hadn’t mentioned – perhaps a tip that would make the transition smoother. I responded in part by saying, “I didn’t know what I was doing when I started either.” I think that’s the most powerful message of support I could offer anyone. None of us know what to expect when we forge our own way with type 1 diabetes. All we have is the knowledge that we’ve been able to accumulate, but I think that’s a lot.

Consider how little you knew on the day that your child was diagnosed and remember how your doctors only began to scratch the surface when they explained diabetes care. Now, you probably have more diabetes knowledge than three doctors combined. I know that I am the foremost expert on my daughter’s physiology. I can, with great accuracy, predict how her body will react to insulin, exercise, stress and all of the factors that we pay attention to. I didn’t learn these things in school or at a doctor’s office, I learned them by experiencing diabetes – and that’s how our kids are going to learn.* Continue reading

My Diabetes Story: Fitness Instructor Kiley Schoenfelder

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Check below to read about fitness instructor Kiley Schoenfelder’s diabetes story and learn how she manages her diabetes while leading an extremely active lifestyle. If you would like to share your “diabetes story,” please e-mail suited@insulet.com.

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1986 at the age of nine. I generally remember only happy memories of my childhood with diabetes. Nothing stopped me from participating in activities. I was involved and excelled in multiple dance classes, gymnastics and soccer from early on. I only have two vivid “diabetic” moments in all those years. Continue reading

Sean Busby’s “Diabetes Heroes” Series: Milly Yates

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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 fifth episode, Sean interviews Milly Yates, a 14-year-old athlete from Australia who hasn’t let type 1 diabetes stop her from following her dreams. If you have a diabetes hero you’d like us to spotlight, please e-mail suited@insulet.com.

Milly Yates was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age eight, but that hasn’t stopped her from becoming a successful snowboarder and a top basketball player. A snowboarder since the age of five, Milly was determined to continue pursuing her passions after she was diagnosed, refusing to let type 1 diabetes stop her from doing the things she loves. Milly, who is also a certified scuba diver, wants to encourage other people to follow their dreams and to never let diabetes restrict what they accomplish in life.

The OmniPod insulin pump is designed to fit into your life, whether you snowboard, scuba dive or just like to watch. Click here to try out a free demo of the OmniPod and see for yourself.

FingerPricks™ Cartoons: The Diabetes Number Game

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Haidee-Merritt-Diabetes-FingerPricks-1What could be worse than a diabetic with arithmophobia (the fear of numbers)? Let me test the waters with a bold statement: Diabetes is a disease of numbers. Well, diagnosing and controlling it theoretically is. But people with diabetes are not textbooks (especially the kind that allow you to flip to the answers in the back) nor are we robots who, although might eat facts and figures for breakfast, engage in life halfheartedly.

For a person with diabetes, so many decisions – judgments leading to actions large to small – are based on numbers. I’ve learned to calculate what the numbers on my glucose meter, the dosage on a syringe, the carbohydrates in any given food and the reading on my scale mean to me. Even more remarkably, I interpret these numbers in a different way than another person might (because we all know life is more than easy calculations and predictable resolutions). Continue reading

We’re Proud to Support Kris Freeman at the 2014 Olympics

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Kris-Freeman-Cross-Country-SkiingKris Freeman, an inspiration to the diabetes community, believes that while living with diabetes is not always easy, nothing has to stand in the way of reaching your goals. And the 16-time national cross-country skiing champion, four-time Olympian and OmniPod wearer has proven that once again by solidifying his spot on the 2014 U.S. Olympic team.

We are extremely proud to support Kris in his journey!

Kris has been sharing his exciting experiences with us here on Suite D. Check out his post Working Towards A Goal with Diabetes: Training for the Olympics to get an inside look into his road to the Olympics. He’ll also be sharing his adventures after the Olympics, so be sure to come back and read all about it.

Join us in wishing Kris the best of luck!

My First Year with Diabetes: Finding My Way

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Photo credit: Focal Flame Photography.

It was only a little over a year ago that I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

This first year of my diabetes diagnosis has been as tumultuous as anyone could imagine. In those first three months my entire view of the world suddenly changed – or so it felt. A couple months prior, I had just finished my third Ironman distance triathlon to add to a resume full of endurance endeavors. I considered myself a very healthy individual.

Endurance sports had given me mental and physical balance. Long runs and bike rides provide a solitude and freedom for me to decompress. The black line on the bottom of the pool was a like a magic eraser for the world’s stresses. Reflecting back, what on earth did I find stressful back then? Life was good. I lived relatively carefree and easy. Every time I left the house I’d slap my pockets… “Wallet, keys, phone and go!” If I forgot any of those items it was only a minor inconvenience.

How My Life Changed with Diabetes

Obviously things are different now. Not that life is totally free of stress, but those initial months of adjusting to living with diabetes were the most complicated and stress-filled months of my life. Suddenly everything I did seemed to require conscious awareness. Continue reading

Diabetes Ignorance: The Importance of Education

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I don’t know if any other teens have struggled with the same issues dealing with diabetes and teachers/coaches that I have recently. This year, as a sophomore in high school, I experienced problems with teachers and my diabetes for the first time. In my high school, as crazy as it sounds, the teachers aren’t made aware when a student has diabetes. In middle school they were notified, so I incorrectly assumed during my freshman year that all my teachers knew and that’s why I never had any issues. But as I learned very early this year, none of my teachers were informed about my diabetes. Continue reading

Working Towards A Goal with Diabetes: Training for the Olympics

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Kris-Freeman-Olympic-TrainingI am frequently asked what I do during the four years between the Olympics and when I actually start training for it. Most people seem shocked to hear that what I do each and every day is prepare the best I possibly can for the next Olympics. The preparation includes thousands of hours of running, biking, roller-skiing, glacier skiing, weight lifting and kayaking. It also requires that I race on the World Cup circuit so I can stay in touch with how I compare with the best in world. Competing with the best lets me know if my training has been hard and effective enough.

The World Cup is a series of races that starts every winter in November. Nearly every weekend there is a race in a different country until the series concludes in late March. However, calling the series the “World Cup” is actually misleading. It would be more appropriate for the series to be called the Scandinavian and Central European Cup since every race this season will be held on that continent.

My Training Schedule with Diabetes

Racing and traveling extensively presents special challenges to me as a person with diabetes. Continue reading

Ask Tony and Diane Series: Diabetes Impact on Family

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In a series of 12 episodes, diabetes community advocates 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 third episode, Tony and Diane discuss how diabetes has impacted the other members of their family. Check it out below!

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.

Preparing Your Body for Travel with Diabetes

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Sean Busby checking his blood glucose with the scenic Lyngen Alps in the background. (Photo Credit: Andrew Meehan.)

In my previous post, I spoke about the importance of planning ahead when packing for a trip when you have diabetes.

Also of major importance is making sure your body is fully prepared – especially if you are going to be very active while away. In this video, I talk about paying attention to your diabetes and learning how your body reacts to different stressors and situations to make sure you are completely prepared for whatever activities you will be participating in. Check it out below! Continue reading

Diabetes and Sick Days: Tips for When You’re Under the Weather

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Caught the local stomach bug? Got a rotten case of the flu? A bad cold have you sneezing, sniffling and coughing?

When you or your loved one with diabetes feels under the weather extra burdens are added to your daily diabetes balancing act. Simply put by parent Suite D blogger Therese Balistrieri, “I dread Joey getting ill.” Another parent Suite D blogger, Scott Benner, adds, “Sick days are some of the most challenging.”

A lot of what you learn about handling sick days with diabetes comes from your healthcare providers. You gather general strategies and get the low-down on their how-to’s. But then a sick day strikes and you’re on call to take care of yourself or your loved one. Over time, and after many sick day episodes, you gain expertise, build confidence and become the pro of managing sick days with diabetes.

We’ve reached out to a few front-line managers of sick days (also Suite D bloggers), including two parents of kids with diabetes and two women who’ve had diabetes, collectively, for 30 years. They, or their loved ones, wear an insulin pump, which as diabetes blogger Alexis Pollak puts simply, “Is indispensable when I am sick!” Meet them on Suite D and read their wise tips below based on different sick day topics. Continue reading

Helping Children with Diabetes Gain Independence Part 5: Taking it One Moment at a Time

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What does independence really mean?

The word independence literally means, “Freedom from outside control or support.” But when we use it to describe a child who lives with type 1 diabetes, the word takes on a much deeper meaning. Continue reading

Norway Expedition: Pre-Trip Planning with Diabetes

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Last winter, professional snowboarder Sean Busby led an expedition to Norway with a team of skiers. In this series you will learn about their experiences in Norway and the role diabetes had on their adventures. In this entry, Sean provides valuable advice for planning ahead before going on any trip with diabetes.

 


Check out this video for an overview of Sean’s expedition and a look at the crew joining him on the trip.

One of the hardest components of my expeditions is figuring out the proper gear that needs to come along with me. Traveling through various countries and flying multiple different airlines to reach my destination causes its own general headaches. Then you add in checked bag weight restrictions and I ultimately find myself having to closely evaluate what gear I really need. Below is a picture of the gear I brought on my expedition to Norway, known as my “kit shot.” It covers everything that I needed for this single ski/snowboard expedition, excluding a few layers of clothing, toiletries and some vials of insulin that were sitting in the refrigerator (you get the picture). Continue reading

Helping Children with Diabetes Gain Independence Part 4: Diabetes Management Plan

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I began part one of this series by talking about technology and how it aids my family every day while we manage our daughter Arden’s type 1 diabetes. In part two, I spoke about the health and educational issues that lead me to want to do things differently. In part three, I jumped to the end of the story by sharing proof of my changes in the form of a much lower A1C and the elimination of missed class time. Today, I’d like to talk about the nuts and bolts of Arden’s diabetes management plan. It’s super simple…yet amazingly effective! Continue reading

A Perfect Football Season with Diabetes

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Back in August when football practice started, I couldn’t have imagined the season would literally fly by as quickly as it did. Looking back, I am happy that none of my concerns about Joey’s blood sugar dropping low, or adrenaline raising it too high, came true. I think it’s perfectly normal for parents to worry about these things when sending their 12-year-old onto a football field where normal injuries occur. Then add in type 1 diabetes and you have a worrisome situation. Continue reading

Sean Busby’s Diabetes Heroes Series: DxONE

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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 fourth episode, Sean interviews Dan Masucci, writer/director of the first narrative film made about type 1 diabetes, “DxONE,” and his son Nick, who plays the lead role in the film. If you have a diabetes hero you’d like us to spotlight, please email suited@insulet.com.

Dan Masucci made “DxONE” in response to the lack of information and understanding that most people have regarding type 1 diabetes. The film was created to help families affected by type 1 diabetes share their experiences with friends and family members who are not aware of what living with type 1 diabetes entails. Nick, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 11, is both the lead actor and inspiration for the film. Check out the video and click here to learn more.

November FingerPricks™: A Diabetes-Inspired Cartoon Series by Haidee Merritt

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Haidee-Merritt-November-CartoonIs it just coincidence that Thanksgiving – the holiday most infamous for excess and overindulgence – falls at the end of Diabetes Awareness Month? I would argue that most Americans know the history of the Pilgrims and the Mayflower – even the symbolism of the turkey – better than the history of diabetes or insulin. That needs to change. It is altogether fitting and proper that we pay homage to the swine on Thanksgiving, a creature that has contributed significantly to diabetes with very little acknowledgement. Continue reading

Playing Field Hockey with an Insulin Pump

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Diabetes (and shin splints) won’t stop Kayley from being a field hockey star.

As both a sophomore and second year varsity player, field hockey has been a huge part of my life. In the fall everyone close to me knows that my priorities are school and hockey. I spend more time with my team than with my family most of the season. Last year as a freshman in high school I made the varsity team after only two full seasons of playing, which came as a big surprise to me. I don’t think I was quite aware of how different it’d be from middle school and how much more time I’d be spending with my stick in my hand.

Managing Diabetes While Playing Field Hockey

Playing field hockey with type 1 diabetes can be very difficult, because it is such an aggressive and fast sport. There is a lot of running and fast play involved. This means, if not monitored, blood sugars can go from being fine to low in a matter of minutes if you’re not watching yourself. Continue reading

Ask Tony and Diane Series: When to Be Firm about Diabetes Management and When to Back Off

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Over the next year, diabetes community advocates (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.

Check out today’s episode to learn how Tony and Diane handle the delicate issue of knowing when to be firm with family about their diabetes management and when to take a step back and ease up.

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.

To learn more about the OmniPod insulin pump and try a free Demo, click here.

How Can We Raise Diabetes Awareness?

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Diabetes-Awareness-GraphicNovember is National Diabetes Awareness Month, as proclaimed by President Obama, and annually the International Diabetes Federation claims November 14th as World Diabetes Day. This date is chosen because it is the birthday of Fredrick Banting, who, along with Charles Best, discovered insulin in 1922.

In October, we are flooded with everything pink for breast cancer awareness. Everyone knows what a pink ribbon means. But what about blue circles? Grey ribbons with a red blood drop? Do people who aren’t affected by diabetes even know the significance of the color or symbol?

Sometimes I feel that “diabetes awareness” is preaching to the choir and only reaches those of us already affected or already a part of the diabetes community. But it doesn’t have to. Continue reading

Sean Busby Participates in the JDRF’s Type 1 for a Day Text Challenge

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Sean-Busby-Testing-Blood-SugarCelebrate Diabetes Awareness Month with OmniPod ambassador Sean Busby by signing up for the JDRF’s Type 1 for a Day Text Challenge. This challenge gives you the opportunity to step into the shoes of someone living with diabetes by receiving multiple text messages over a 24-hour period.

The text messages come directly from Sean Busby himself. Each of his messages will show you what it’s like to manage blood glucose testing, insulin delivery and dietary choices that people living with diabetes require each and every day.

To learn more about the challenge and learn how to sign up yourself, click here.

Modeling with an Insulin Pump

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Modeling-with-DiabetesThe first thing I thought of when I took my next-generation OmniPod insulin pump out of the box was that it would make wearing jeans a little easier. Along with a few other outfits in my closet!

Before trying on the smaller Pod, I read the pamphlets and watched the training video with my family to better understand how to use the System. I learned several improvements had been made, such as the “insulin on board” feature that gives me a more accurate idea of the amount of insulin still working in my body after a bolus dose. I also learned about the pink slide insert on the Pod that I can check each time to make sure the cannula has deployed.

While there were several other improved features with the next-generation OmniPod System, the most important change to me was the smaller size of the Pod itself. Now I must say that the original version was still much better than a traditional insulin pump. If it had not been for the OmniPod System, it would have been much more difficult to build up my confidence to try a modeling career with diabetes. The smaller Pod just added to my confidence.

It was great timing, because I received my next-generation OmniPod just before a casting call for a big fashion show in Syracuse, New York. Continue reading

Moving with Diabetes Part 2: Getting Back to your Routine

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Alexis-Pollak-2As I mentioned in Part 1 of this post, moving cities when you have diabetes adds a layer of complexity. Aside from having to plan ahead for diabetes supplies and spend countless hours on the phone changing addresses, shipping and insurance information, there were other hurdles my new Portland home would bring.

Kick-Starting my Exercise Regimen

Exercise has always been an important part of my diabetes management, so it was important to me that I get back in to my pre-Asia trip workout routine right away. Because I don’t know any gyms in the area, I decided to start with my favorite free workout: running. I quickly found a gorgeous park nearby and developed a 30-minute route that was scenic and fun…until the rain. Continue reading

Moving with Diabetes Part 1: Planning Ahead

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Alexis-Pollak-1The last post I authored for Suite D was about an incredible three-month trip I took with my then fiancé (now newlywed husband) to Southeast Asia. After undertaking such a tremendous adventure, you’d think nothing could faze us upon our return to the U.S. Well, in an effort to make 2013 the busiest year of our lives, my husband and I also decided to move cities when we came back from Asia. In April, we returned from our six-country tour, loaded up our storage unit into a moving truck and drove nearly 200 miles north from San Diego to our new home city, Portland, Oregon.

Moving cities is generally challenging for all the obvious reasons:  you don’t know many people – or maybe anyone – in your new town. Business contacts, social circles and pals you counted on for certain activities just aren’t there anymore – and that’s intimidating. There’s also the administrative side of moving: updating all your bank information, forwarding your mail from your old address, and my personal favorite, applying for an Oregon driver’s license. Did you know it’s illegal to pass a person on horseback in your car without signaling? Um yea…neither did I.

This can be stressful enough for anyone, but moving when you have diabetes adds another layer of craziness to the whole thing. Continue reading