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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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

Carb Counting Tips and Tricks

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- Jennifer Smith, RD, LD, CDE

Carb counting is an effective way to keep your blood sugar in control when you have diabetes. If you take mealtime insulin, carb counting can allow you to match your insulin doses to your food choices. In a brief video, Certified Diabetes Educator and Dietitian, Jennifer Smith (who is also living with diabetes), shares five easy and accurate techniques for counting carbs:

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.

The OmniPod Personal Diabetes Manager (PDM) makes it easy to maintain and access carb counts for foods you eat on a regular basis. Click here to order a free demo of the Pod.

Jennifer Smith, RD, LD, CDE
Director of Lifestyle and Nutrition, Integrated Diabetes Services LLC Continue reading

BMX Riding with Diabetes: Being Conscious of Blood Sugar Levels

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BMX racer with type 1 diabetes, Matt Neal, gives you an inside look into one of his recent races and how he managed his blood sugar levels throughout the whole experience.

BMX-Riding-with-DiabetesThe Southwest Nationals in Tucson, AZ is a typical stop on my race schedule. I decided to dust off my bike and see if I could still compete. I went to two practice sessions at my local track the weeks leading up to the event. I felt decent on the track. My starts were good, first straights were ok and I was feeling comfortable on my bike everywhere else on the track. What I was most pleased with was my blood sugar levels. I set a target of 150 mg/dL and was within 10 mg/dL of that during my practice sessions. I’m sure that helped me to feel good on my bike.

So with very little preparation, I loaded my truck up and headed south to Tucson to practice on the track. Continue reading

Going from Good to Great Diabetes Management

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OmniPod-Insulin-PumpWhen my husband and I were traveling throughout Asia with diabetes, I didn’t deny myself any part of the experience – including all the delicious food available over there. Noodle and rice dishes abounded, and I tried them all. During our three-month adventure I was on multiple daily injections. Throw in multiple time zones, bizarre exercise patterns (mostly based on walking and biking around ancient ruins for hours on end) and you can understand why my blood sugar control wasn’t the best during my time over there.

When I returned, I had to face the music. My A1C had crept up to 8%. For someone who keeps her A1C under 7% (and usually under 6.5%) this was a bit of a blow. I knew all the reasons it was up there (they mostly involved Pad Thai and ongoing, imperfect basal adjustments with injections), but it was still a crummy feeling. I vowed to get my number down by my next visit.

And I did. In fact by my next doctor’s visit, I had lowered that number all the way to 7.3%. When we got back from Asia I immediately went back on my OmniPod insulin pump, allowing me greater control and flexibility with my insulin dosing. I settled into a regular exercise routine and I stopped having pho (a Vietnamese noodle soup) for two meals a day. Continue reading

Playing Little League Baseball with Diabetes

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They say a picture’s worth a thousand words. I took this one of Davis during a scorching hot little league game. It must have been at least 98oF. It’s my favorite, because Davis looks real tough. Believe it or not, he is!

My son Davis has always loved baseball and has played with the town league since he was in first grade. It was his sport, the “thinking man’s game!” I loved playing it with him in our backyard, because it’s the perfect father-son summer thing to do. I also coached his team, so I was always on the baseball field with him.

Davis was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in January 2011 when he was nine years old. I remember Children’s Hospital saying, “Just keep doing what you’re doing and absolutely keep playing baseball.” Of course, as a newly diagnosed family, we couldn’t imagine how that was going to be possible. So, we thought about putting baseball off for a year.

Because Davis was a picky eater and a creature of habit, we first chose a plan that required injecting a combination of two insulins, one fast-acting and one slow-acting. While it meant fewer needles for Davis, it also meant that he had to eat a specific amount of carbs at certain times of the day and no after-dinner snacks. That’s not easy for anyone to do, so we tried sugar-free gelatin for a while, but he quickly grew tired of it. Continue reading

Thriving with Diabetes: Getting Back in the Saddle

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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 people who have turned their diabetes diagnosis into a strength and form of motivation. If you, or someone you know, fit that description, please email suited@insulet.com to share your story.

Horseback-Riding-with-DiabetesIn early 2009, I was busy living my “grown-up” life. I had a great career as a forensic psychologist, was in a relationship with a wonderful man and we were shopping for our first home. Weekends were spent horseback riding, hiking with my dogs, and enjoying food, travel and all the things life had to offer. I had noticed, however, that I wasn’t sleeping as well as I used to. I would wake up frequently at night and wander to the kitchen for a drink of water – I was always thirsty.

Thinking that I might need to participate in a sleep study or something to help me get a good night’s rest, I scheduled an appointment with my doctor. When I relayed my symptoms, his first words were, “I’m sure you’re not diabetic, but let’s just test your blood sugar.” The results came back at over 600 and that was it. I drove home that evening as a person with type 1 diabetes, with a meter, test strips and a few pens of insulin. I barely remember the first week— I simply could not comprehend that I had type 1 diabetes. I was 27 years old! How could I get juvenile diabetes?! Continue reading

Ask Tony and Diane Series: Life Beyond 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 sixth episode, Tony and Diane discuss life beyond type 1 diabetes in their day-to-day family life. While type 1 diabetes is obviously a part of everyday life for the Cervatis, with two members of the family having diabetes, Tony and Diane explain how it is not the focal point of their lives. Diabetes doesn’t stop them from just being a normal family.

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.

Diabetes at College Advice Series: The Benefits of Wearing an Insulin Pump at College

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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.

Insulin-Pump-at-CollegeWearing my OmniPod insulin pump helps with the transition between living at school and living at home with diabetes. Like most students, my schedule is completely different when I am home for breaks and when I am on-the-go at school. I’ve discovered that wearing an insulin pump has helped me not feel so stressed about my diabetes management.

When I first started my freshman year I was taking shots, because I thought it might help me keep my diabetes a secret. I assumed that shots wouldn’t be a big deal – if I needed to take an insulin dose for eating, I could just leave the room and no one would know. I discovered my assumptions were wrong. Continue reading

From Sochi to the White House: Going to the Olympics with Diabetes

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Kris playing on the Olympics rings.

I have had a busy few months. I traveled to Sochi to compete at the Olympics where I raced in the 15k (9.3 miles), 30k (18.6 miles) and 50k (31 miles) races with diabetes. I kept my nerves under control and had no issues with my blood sugar levels during competition. My OmniPod insulin pump worked flawlessly and I made a smooth transition to the Russian diet.

My Experience at the Olympics

Kris-Freeman-Olympics-2Sochi was my fourth Olympic Games. At the previous three I was never able to get to the Closing Ceremonies, so I made attending them a priority this time around. This made the final day of the Olympics one of the most tiring of my life. It started with the 50k freestyle race at 11:00 AM. Afterwards, I packed up my room and traveled to the main Olympic Village. A few hours later it was time to get dressed to line up and walk. The noise and lights entering the ceremony were amazing and a very unique experience. The energy was all positive and very powerful.

After the ceremony, the team and I had to hang out in the village for a few hours before heading to the airport. Continue reading

FingerPricks™ Cartoons: Tales of Diabetes and Oral Health

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This blog post is written in the spirit of “the more information, the better.” I have nothing to gain by scaring young or newly diagnosed people with diabetes. Sharing my knowledge and experience is, however, a great gain to me – one of the few things I can offer the diabetes community. That said, you don’t need another source of anxiety or resentment: diabetes is riddled with them. If I wasn’t so vain this may not be an issue at all, come to think of it. Anyway…

Let me start by saying, I have bad teeth. I’ll refrain from speaking of people with diabetes as a whole having poor dental health and just stick to what I know: I know the bad teeth of which I speak of are in my head. (Some are no longer in my head, true, but we’ll take that into account when it comes up.) I’m going to briefly run through issues that can be identified as contributing factors of poor dental health in people with diabetes. Continue reading

Carbohydrate Counting with Diabetes: Personalize to Get Precise

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Here’s a multiple choice question for you:

When it comes to managing diabetes and counting the grams of carbohydrates you eat, what resources do you rely on?

  1. A mobile app on your Smartphone which brags about a deep food database of thousands of foods.
  2. An online food and nutrient database.
  3. An easy-to-carry book loaded with carb counts.
  4. The total carbohydrate count on the Nutrition Facts label of packaged foods.

Is your answer “all of the above,” “a few of the above” or do you often just, well, wing it?

If you chose winging it, that’s quite understandable! It’s just plain time consuming to search through large databases, regardless of the ease of access, to gather the carb counts for the few foods you’re about to eat. But research shows you may be sacrificing accuracy.1,2 That’s unfortunate for two reasons. One, if you use an insulin pump, you’ve got a device which allows you to precisely dose insulin. Two is that research shows one way to achieve glucose control is to accurately match your insulin dose to your carb counts.3

Inaccurate carbohydrate counts may be a contributing factor to less desirable glucose control than you’d like.

Are you willing to consider a more personalized approach to carb counting that in the long run could make the job of carbohydrate counting a bit easier…and more accurate? Continue reading

Diabetes at College Advice Series: Scheduling your Workload

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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.

Diabetes-and-College-WorkloadIn high school teachers drill this into your head: “the workload in college is much heavier!” And they’re 100% correct. The stereotype of college students pulling “all-nighters,” spending long hours in the library and drowning in research papers isn’t far from reality. Managing your diabetes with all these stressful situations can be challenging and seemingly impossible—but it is definitely doable. Continue reading

Starting a Diabetes Advocacy Group Part 2: Getting off the Ground

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Tony Cervati, founder of Type1Rider and co-founder of The Blue Heel Society, shares his experiences and advice for getting involved in diabetes advocacy groups, whether as a founder or as a member of a pre-existing organization. Click here to read part one. If you’d like to comment or share your story with Suite D, please e-mail suited@insulet.com

Be Creative and Register: Picking a Name

In part one I shared a little bit about my experience starting diabetes advocacy groups and provided some tips for getting started. With today’s tools, once the ideas have been laid out, an organization can move quite quickly. In a matter of minutes your campaign can have a presence.

Diabetes-Advocacy-Group-Blue-Heel-SocietyBe creative in figuring out a name for your new organization. Something catchy, easy to remember and obviously relevant to your mission. Right out the box, the name you choose can make or break your success. Once the ball gets rolling, and you begin to get established, it is exponentially more difficult to make name changes. If a useable name doesn’t come to mind quickly, don’t worry! It might take a bit of fun thinking and analysis to figure it out. It might be a good time to enlist help by throwing an organizational naming party with your friends.

Once you choose a name, get a website domain name. Acquiring a domain is cheap, and it will give the organization its own identify. Continue reading

Starting a Diabetes Advocacy Group Part 1: First Steps

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Tony Cervati, founder of Type1Rider and co-founder of The Blue Heel Society, shares his experiences and advice for getting involved in diabetes advocacy groups, whether as a founder or as a member of a pre-existing organization. Check back later this week for part two. If you’d like to comment or share your story with Suite D, please e-mail suited@insulet.com

“Action conquers fear.” – Peter Nivio Zarlenga, author

That Peter Zarlenga quote is one of my all-time favorites and was first taught to me over 25 years ago by a high school English teacher. It is three simple words that I find myself repeating when I am facing an “unfamiliar” situation. In that regard, they were the last words that I said before beginning my 2012 Tour Divide attempt and it’s a theme that I have tried to teach my children.

Sometimes in life an event occurs that alters the current path, summons the soul to action or leaves a quest for elusive answers. The ability to move, act in a positive matter or do something, anything, when facing these things, is the best mechanism for facing fears, getting help and eliminating doubts about it.

If a suitable avenue is not readily available for you through these actions, an obvious choice is to create one.

History of My Diabetes Advocacy Group

Diabetes-Advocacy-Group-Type-1-RiderAbout eight years ago I was working with my endocrinologist to become the first documented person with type 1 diabetes in history to complete a 24-hour mountain bike race as a solo competitor. No one we contacted had ever heard of, nor could the two of us find any information about, a person with type 1 diabetes performing an athletic competition of that duration. The data we craved simply did not exist. Continue reading

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