One Touch Veria Meter

Every year or so, I have to switch my glucometer due to what my insurance will cover.  It’s not a huge deal, because meters are just meters- as long as they’re accurate.  I don’t care about the bells and whistles of meters that do special things with data anymore, because, well… I just don’t.  I have my Dexcom, and I feel like the bulk of important information comes from that anyway.  These days, my meter is just what I use to calibrate the Dexcom.  And as long as it’s calibrated, I trust the Dexcom’s numbers just as much or more than a glucometer.

My insurance company now only covers One Touch meters. So, it was time to move on again. My endo had two to chose from: the Verio and one other (I don’t recall the name) that looked a little flimsy, so I went with the Verio. I liked the sleek look of it.

One Touch Verio Glucometer

Instead of batteries, it has a charger.  Initially, I liked this idea.  But I just noticed last night that the charge only holds for 1-2 weeks.  So when I go on a trip that’s anything over a week, I have to remember to take yet another charging cord.  Ugh. So honestly, I think batteries are my preference.  They last for months, and double A batteries are cheap! Oh well.  Not a big deal.

Like pretty much all the meters I’ve tried in the past few years, the Verio is quick and simple.  Just a teeny bit of blood on the teeny strip, and 5 seconds later, you know what your blood sugar is.

I’m currently paying out of pocket until I meet my deductable, so this first 3 months supply of test strips cost me around $560 at my online pharmacy.  Just out of curiosity, my husband checked Amazon Prime’s pricing on the strips and they were actually CHEAPER on Amazon.  But we weren’t sure how regulated they were (when’s they’re expiration? why do the boxes look diffrent?) if I bought them through Amazon and the price difference wasn’t hugely significant. Before I order my next batch of strips, I might look into this a little more.  I guess I shouldn’t just assume that buying from my online pharmacy  (when it’s out of pocket and not a drug that needs a prescription) is always the best, most affordable option. I wonder how much the strips would be if I ordered them from Canada?

 

 

The Only Complaint I’ve EVER Had About Dexcom…

Let me start this post by saying I love Dexcom.  99% of anything I have to say about the company and the product they make is positive.  I’ve written numerous blog posts about how Dexcom has positively impacted my life with Type 1 Diabetes, so please scroll back if you’d like to know about that!

There is just one thing that bothers me.

One.

I was talking to a Dexcom rep the other day, because I had gotten a new iPhone and had a question about setting up the app.  During the conversation, I happened to mention that I’d had a sensor fall off a few days earlier than it should have due to me forgetting to add my adhesive I usually put on by about day 3.  I had just forgotten to do it, and as I was pulling off my pants one night, I ripped out my Dexcom.

Towards the end of our conversation about the iPhone app, the representitive asked me again about my previous sensor falling out.  It was not a big thing, and I wasn’t even complaining about it, but that person was a good listener, and cared about customer support.  So he told me they would send me out a new one to replace it.

I don’t fault them for the adhesive… Because it’s a tricky thing.  If I wasn’t in my bathtub so much, and if I wasn’t running around getting sweaty each day, I’d probably be fine without any extra adhesive.  And, if a stickier adhesive came with it, it might be hard on the customers with sensitive skin.  I’ve heard Dexcom will eventually come out with various options for people with varying “adhesive needs”.

But I was happy when the Dexcom rep said they would be sending out a new sensor for me because, as we all know, these diabetic supplies don’t come cheap!  So yeah, Dexcom!  Bring it!

And they did.

but.  and notice, it’s just a little but…

all this packaging for one little sensor?

The small sensor, for whatever reason, had to be mailed out in the Dexcom cardboard box that typically holds 4 sensors.  And that cardboard box had to be wrapped with bubble wrap and put in an even larger FedEx box for shipping.  And that seems awfully wasteful.  But it is a medical supply, and I’m sure it’s important that it arrive to me undamaged and all.  So I get it, and I know the intention is great, but it seems a little over the top.

All companies need to think about their packaging and how much waste is involved.  I love Dexcom.  But I love trees and the environment too.

Sick Days for My Type 1 Diabetes

This week I’ve been sick.

You know how sometimes people complain about what babies men are about getting sick?  Well, I’m very masculine when it comes to the way I handle illness.

I do not suck it up.  I do not go on about my day as usual and try to fight my way through it.  I don’t keep it to myself that I don’t feel well.

I’m sure it’s super annoying for my husband.  But the good news is, I rarely get sick.  I seriously have thought before that I seem to have such a strong immune system, and so rarely get sick, that maybe this all ties in to how I got this auto-immune disease called Type 1 Diabetes in the first place.  At a certain point, my immune system just got bored, went a little nuts, th-4and attacked my cells that produce insulin. And then, BAM!  I became a Type 1 Diabetic.  Ok, there is no science behind that idea, but it’s the way I think about my T1.  I got it because of my overly strong immune system.  Yeah!

Anyway…

This week I had a scratchy throat on Tuesday.  So besides walking dogs for a couple of hours, I did very little else. My blood sugars started going up and up and up.  My body didn’t seem to realize I was giving myself insulin.  I had to take about 3 times more than I usually do.  And even with that, it never got down where I wanted it to be. But oh well.  It’s one day. In a long life.

On Wednesday, my eyeballs ached.  My head hurt.  Actually, my whole face hurt.  I decided it was a sinus “thing”.  My husband took me to La Madeline for the Tomato Basil soup because when I’m sick, that’s a requirement.  I took not one, but two baths that day and was in my pajamas by about 5pm.  I read a bunch of a book I had started the day before that I’m just in love with.

I stayed in bed almost the entire day Thursday.  I got up in the morning and felt dizzy in the shower.  So I got right back in bed.  With wet hair.  And made a discovery that my hair looked pretty cool by drying against a pillow.  It made my waves a little more pronounced than usual!

Today, I’m coughing and my nose it stuffy, but my face doesn’t hurt.  And I’m not dizzy when I stand up. And my blood sugars are back to normal.  I’m so much better.

So although I don’t like being sick, it doesn’t suck completely.  I don’t fight it.  And I don’t try to act tough.  And I don’t berate myself for having crappy blood sugar control for a couple of days.  Because it’s a long life!

World Diabetes Day

The month of November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and today is World Diabetes Day.

Having lived with Type 1 Diabetes as my constant companion for 20+ years, I count my lucky stars that I have no complications from the disease. I know that is not the case for many people who have had it as long as I have.

So let me give a shout out to some of those lucky stars of mine now, and hope that in focusing on the positives, they will continue to multiply- not just for me, but for anyone and everyone affected by diabetes.

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Star #1: I have pretty good insurance.  This year, I went for the “high deductible plan”, which felt a little scary, but worked out okay.  I am so lucky to have access not only insulin which keeps me alive, but things that make diabetes easier to manage… In particular, my Dexcom CGM.  Thank GOD my insurance helps me on that. I wish everyone could be so lucky.  I do not take it for granted.

Star #2: As mentioned above, I am so grateful for my Dexcom.  It’s been a life changer for me and Dexcom really should seriously consider hiring me to be a spokesperson for what a great product it is, and how much I love the company.  I can’t help but mention, on a daily basis, what a huge fan I am.

Star #3: I have a lifestyle that makes living with diabetes easier.  I love to be active, I (usually) make smart choices about what I eat, and I do a lot of things that keep my stress level low.

Star #4: I have friends that also have T1.  I am so lucky to not only know others with diabetes, but to call them my friends.  If I need to complain, or if something weird is happening regarding my diabetes, they are the people I talk to first…not my doctors.  Other Type 1s, who live with it 24/7/365, just get it like no one else can.

Star #5: Because I’ve known my husband since high school, he knew me  before diabetes, during my diagnosis, and now, many years later.  When it was scary for me, he was calm.  And now, we don’t see it as a big deal or crisis, but it’s something we both have to deal with.  There have been plenty of times, me and my diabetes have cramped our style just a little, for just a brief moment or two (ha!) but he’s been patient with me, always.

Star #6: NO COMPLICATIONS.  So far, so good.  Thank God.  Really.  Thank you, God.

I know there are more stars out there, and I’ve only counted a few of them.  But I really do feel lucky.  And grateful.

I have seen so many good things come along since my diagnosis, and I know there are even bigger and better things in the near future for Type 1 Diabetes. Whether or not there is an actual cure someday, I know the smarties of the world out there are working hard to make it easier for us.  I celebrate those people today. Happy World Diabetes. ❤️

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Coke Saves Lives (When You’re a Type 1 Diabetic)

It’s not often that I drink a real Coke. It’s also not often that I accidentally take way too much insulin.  But the two seem to go together well.

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the two look nothing alike really. and i keep them in different places. but still… mistakes happen.

Last night, okay- I’ll admit it-, after a glass or two of wine, I dialed up my insulin pen to take my long acting shot of Tresiba for the night.  Except that the second after I injected it, I realized, “Oh crap! This is NOT the Tresiba pen.  This is my Humalog pen!” And then I immediately started searching around for any sugar I had with me so I could counteract what that insulin would soon be doing to my blood sugar.  I had some Mentos (my favorite th-2go-to sugar when I’m having a low blood sugar situation), but most likely not enough to make it through this pickle I had just gotten myself into. I asked my husband to run to the store and get me candy.

It was a little late, and we are on vacation, in the mountains, so he just went to this little market very close to us to see what they had.  Thankfully, they were open, because lots of places around here were already closed for the night.  They didn’t have any candy.  But they did have a 2 liter bottle of Coke.

A Coke. And a smile.

To be honest, I’m so glad it was Coke rather than Mentos this time.  It’s one thing to eat 3 or 4 Mentos when I’m a little low.  But to have to eat gobs of them over the next several hours would have really made me sick I think.  Getting the Coke down wasn’t so bad though. In the beginning, it was actually sort of glorious!

Fortunately, we had a pretty light dinner, so I wasn’t having to drink Coke on a full stomach.  I kept my glucometer near by, as well as my Dexcom. About 30 minutes after my accidental insulin shot, I saw that my blood sugar was starting to tank, so I started drinking the Coke.  This was a medical need!!  And at least, in the beginning, I was sort of in heaven. I even ate a few chips to really get the party going.

I continued to drink a very small glass of Coke about every 15 minutes.  My blood sugar stayed around the 70s-80s range, but it never got below 65 mg/dL.  I was trying to avoid severe highs and lows- those rollercoasters all of us diabetics know all too well- and I actually did!  I knew my Humalog would peak around 1.5-2 hours, and would clear out of my system within 4-5 hours.  We all (that’s me, Fermin, Lucy and Ricky) stayed up until 2am, to make sure I went to bed when my blood sugars had leveled out.

As always, I slept with my Dexcom by my bedside. And I was able to sleep through the night without any high or low alarms going off.  YAY!

Coke. Sometimes, it’s what’s good for you.

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The Small World of Type 1 Diabetes

Typically, when I get an unknown call on my cell phone, especially if it’s from out-of-state, I don’t pick it up.  But today, since I’m out of town, and have put out calls to some realtors that I desperately want a call back from, I picked up one of those “random” calls. And I guess, as they say, nothing is random or coincidental at all.

It was a person from GoDaddy just calling to make sure I was happy with the service they provide for this blog.  (I am.) As it turns out, the guy who called me, Jason, told me he is a T1 also!  He’s within a year of my age, and he also has had diabetes since his early 20s.

After he told me that, and I realized we had all that in common, I asked him if he also uses Dexcom’s CGM.  He doesn’t.  But he said he had been reading about it and thinking about it.  Anyone who has visited this blog before probably can tell, without diving in too deep- I’m a big fan of Dexcom and know that I have tighter control now than ever thanks in large part to the information it provides.

I let Jason know that, yep- so far so good with the GoDaddy hosting stuff… but way, way more importantly, I loved having an unexpected connection today with a fellow Type 1 person.

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Dexcom Tells Me More Than My A1C

Last week, as I was driving to my appointment with my endocrinologist, fighting horrible traffic to get there I started to question, really, why was this appointment even necessary. My last appointment was only 3 months ago.

My main reasons for these appointments have always been:

  1. to find out my A1C and
  2. to get prescription refills.

That’s pretty much it. But now, I have a Dexcom, and I look at the Clarity app often enough that I know what my “predicted” A1C is.  Besides that, I think my trend graph is way more important than that A1c number anyway.  An A1C could spit out an impressive number, even if someone didn’t have very tight control on their blood sugars.  As long as the average works out to be something within a good range, the A1C might deceivingly seem “good”even if your control isn’t.

One thing I love about my endocrinologists office is that you get an immediate result of your A1c test.  Last week, mine came back as .5% higher than what the Dexcom Clarity app predicted.  When I told my doctor, he said “we pay more attention to Dexcom results than the lab work.”  I didn’t ask why or for any further explanation, but it’s how I’ve felt about it all along and I’m happy with how things have been going so, I’m just sticking with what my Dexcom is telling me.

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The Dexcom Clarity App on my iPhone.

It seems like an A1C result isn’t as important as it used to be now that we have more advanced technology.  I can see graphs of what my blood sugar is doing every 5 minutes of the day with my Dexcom CGM.  I can get a predicted A1c for a 7 day, 14 day, 30 day, or 90 day period with the Dexcom Clarity app.  Even better, if I access Clarity from my computer, I can see all sorts of trend graphs to see where where and when my “problem” blood sugars are. I pay a lot more attention to whether or not my blood sugars are staying within my target range than anything else.  The actual A1C or average of those readings is far less important to me than simply staying in my ideal range as often as possible.

I’ve tightened that range little by little.  I think when I first had a Dexcom, I had an alarm set for a high of 180- maybe even 200.  Now I keep my low alarm set for 65 (that hasn’t changed), and my high at 150.  These days, it’s a rarity for me to have a blood sugar that ever gets (or at least stays for long) above 170.  Of course, it still happens from time to time, but thanks to having the alarm set for 150, I can be proactive and avoid those highs I use to battle. Treating a slightly elevated blood sugar is a lot more manageable than treating one that gets way up there.

My endo told me to make my next appointment in 4 to 6 months.  Of course, I chose 6 months.  Unless something new comes up, there’s no reason for me to go any sooner than that. I get more meaningful information about my blood sugars from my Dexcom than an A1c result is ever going to tell me.

 

Type 1 Isn’t Just for Juveniles

There are a lot of misconceptions about Type 1 Diabetes. I’ve been told that I don’t look diabetic. I’ve been asked if my diabetes has gotten any better– as if I’m sick but on the road to recovery. I’ve had people assume I’ve had diabetes since childhood. Anyone that lives with Type 1 has probably heard these things and a whole host of others.

I was 25 years old when I was diagnosed. The misinformed often think this adult-aged onset of Type 1 is rare.  But it isn’t. I think it’s the main reason why Type 1 is no longer referred to as Juvenile Diabetes.  For one, not everyone is a juvenile when they get it.  More importantly, it isn’t just a condition you have at a young age.  Once you have it, you’re always going to have it.  Changing your diet, losing weight, taking medication, or taking some supplement isn’t going to make Type 1 Diabetes go away. You don’t get Type 1 because of your lifestyle, and you can’t get rid of it by making lifestyle changes either. It’s an auto-immune disease.

I’ve met and heard from lots of other Type 1s that were diagnosed as adults.  Many of them were first wrongly told they had Type 2 based on their age. Oral medications (often used in treating Type 1 Diabetes) and/or changing their diet did nothing to help reel in their ever climbing blood sugars. Of course, eventually, they ended up going to a doctor that actually knew a thing or two, and got the correct diagnosis before they died.

The bottom line is this.  Type 1 is an auto immune disease.  Type 2 is NOT. Age is NOT the defining difference between the two conditions. Type 1 effects people of all ages. It is not simply Juvenile Diabetes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intermittent Fasting

Whenever I’ve heard about the benefits of a fast, or cleanse, I’ve always thought, “That is absolutely NOT for me!”  For one thing, I get pretty cranky if I go without food for too long during the day.  Then there’s my Type 1 diabetes to deal with… these fasts I’ve heard about are usually not recommended for someone like me.

Intermittent fasting, however is a whole different thing.

In a nutshell, with intermittent fasting (IF),you get most of the benefits of a longer fast, but it’s much easier, in my opinion.  You have a 8 hour window  (you can tailor it, but generally an 8-10 hour window is ideal) during the day of when you eat all of your meals and you don’t have to worry about eating the rest of the time.  There are all sorts of ways to do IF, and if you do a little research on Google, you’ll find many articles about it.  I’m only writing about the way I do it, and how it works for me.

Don’t worry about that saying “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”  It probably is!  Break + fast = breaking your fast.  Breakfast, also known as your first meal of the day, doesn’t have to be eaten early in the day, and it certainly doesn’t need to be pancakes, waffles or whatever you consider “breakfast” foods.  As for me, I’m much more likely to include veggies, nuts and other proteins into a mid-day meal than I am a morning meal.  In fact, for years (and years and years) my standard daily breakfast was a piece of cinnamon toast- Gluten free bread, butter, and a little cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on top.  Does anyone believe that was my most important meal of the day? It certainly wasn’t my healthiest!

I eat lunch (usually a little after noon), occasionally an afternoon snack, and an early-ish dinner.  At first, not eating a late night snack was hard, but that’s just becath-2use snacking at night while watching tv is fun!  But it’s not necessary.  And I’m not like a baby or puppy whose tummy needs to be full to sleep through the night. I’m sleeping at least as good as I was before changing my eating schedule.

The benefits of intermittent fasting for the average person is slightly different (again, you can read all about it online) but for me, here are the benefits I notice as a type 1 diabetic:

  1. I can maintain a very steady blood sugar the longer I go without food… therefore, going a solid 16 hours without eating, I don’t have to worry about the effects food will have on my blood sugar. That’s over half the day.  And that’s a good thing for my blood sugar average, and therefore my a1C.
  2. I save time in the morning not having to deal with making and eating breakfast. I no longer concern myself with how my morning shot of fast acting insulin is going to effect my workout. Now, I don’t take any fast acting insulin until right before lunchtime.
  3. Even though I’m not trying to, I end up consuming less calories. And it’s mainly empty calories that have fallen by the wayside… My morning toast and evening snacks were never anything that packed in a lot of nutrients anyway!

Occasionally, I wake up in the morning with my blood sugar a little lower than I like it before my morning workout.  Obviously, if that happens, I eat to take care of that. I find I usually don’t need more than about 5-7 grams of carbs since I don’t have any short acting insulin in the morning.

With intermittent fasting, you’re not necessarily reducing the amount of food you eat each day, just the scheduling of when you eat it.  And if you’re like me, you might see good results without making much of a change.

As a reminder, I’m not a doctor, nurse, or a nutritionist. I am just a person with type 1 diabetes that is trying to live my healthiest life and when I stumbled upon things that work well FOR ME, I like to talk about them.  Everyone is different, and different approaches work for different people. Always consult your doctor before making any changes in your diet.

A Good Night

My night time blood sugars don’t always look like this, but when they do, it means I’ve slept well.

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my Dexcom graph from last night. which i just might frame!

Last night, I was somehow able to go to sleep with my blood sugar right at around 100 and yet, it didn’t drop too low and demand a snack.  I would love to know the secret formula to recreate this every single night!

Just as a side note, you can see on my Dexcom graph how my bs popped up from around 70 mg/dL to 100 around 9am.  That was caused from just getting up and at ’em.  No food. Ok, actually 2 cashews, which is not that carb heavy.  I usually eat a couple of nuts because for some reason, I prefer to drink water after eating a couple of nuts. And I know it’s important to hydrate first thing in the morning after sleeping all night.  I have read that you snore and breathe out a lot of water while sleeping.  Sounds gross, but it’s just a human thing. Everyone does it.  I’m not drooling in some out-of-control way anymore than the next guy.

Although I do drink water first thing in the morning, I skip “breakfast”.  But I don’t think of it as skipping breakfast… I just delay when I break my fast until around lunchtime.  It’s also known as intermittent fasting. And it’s been working really well for me since I started doing it about 6 months ago. But I’ll save that blog post for next time!

Like I said, my over night blood sugar graph doesn’t always look like this.  But when it does, I have to show somebody. So thank you for indulging me!