Being Patient with Type 1

I haven’t had any clearly defined complications due to having lived with Type 1 for over 20 years.  And I’m seriously grateful for that.  BUT from time to time, I have little ailments that I wonder… Is this connected to being a Type 1?

My A1c tends to be anywhere from about 5.5% to 6.3%, and as time goes by and technology improves, it tends to be lower as the years go by.  I work hard and obsess over keeping my blood sugars in range, but still, I have spikes and drops in my blood sugars on a daily basis.  So, I’m far from perfect when it comes to blood sugar control.

In the past, I’ve had to have two surgeries for trigger finger.  One, for my left pinky, and the other, for my right thumb (ouch. that one was a bitch.) Before I finally got the surgery, I tried cortizone shots.  But they only helped for a short period of time, and then the trigger finger would return. The surgery, in my opinion anyway, was actually less painful than the shots. And, once you have the surgery, the problem doesn’t return. YAY!  I have read about the correlation between diabetes and trigger finger.  It has to do with inflammation.  Who knows, maybe I would have had this problem regardless, but I suspect Type 1 played a pretty big role in it.

The surgeon I used for my finger trigger insinuated that I would heal quickly from the surgery, but both times, that was not the case.  And again, I wonder, am I a slower to heal because of my Type 1?  Even though my blood sugar control is good?

Lately, I’ve been having problems with my right shoulder. Not from an injury, but just over time, it’s gotten more and more sensitive, and my range of motion has become more limited.  I got an MRI, and learned that I have bursitus and tendonitus.  Again, an inflammation problem.  And again, I wonder… is this related to my Type 1?

And even more lately- just the last 2 weeks- I’ve started having numbing in my left hand.  I’ve been to a doctor about it, a physical therapist about it, and had an MRI.  It could be related to spine problems I’ve had for many years, or it could be carpel tunnel.  (More on that later, in another post- but for now, that’s enough to make my point.) Again, I’m wondering, “Dammit.  Is THIS because of my diabetes?”

So although I’m not usually pissed at diabetes, sometimes I am.  Right now, my numb left hand is so pissed that it wants to punch my diabetes in the face.

But that anger isn’t going to do me any good.  It might even cause more inflammation, which I think this is all related to anyway.  Maybe inflamed emotions lead to more inflamed body parts.

Maybe it’s a good time to just breathe.  And remember that this is just a moment in time and it’s going to pass.  And things might be stiff, and tingly and even numb, but still- everything is working. (“That’s what she said!”)

I’m writing this today to remind myself how fortunate I am.  Fortunate for good insurance.  Fortunate that I have nothing too extreme going on that I am limited from enjoying my normal happy life. Fortunate that I have the money to get the therapies I choose to help me through this.  Fortunate to have friends I can call on (or text) to bitch to. It’s all good.  I know my body is working on healing.  Maybe it takes me a little longer to do that, but I can be patient.

Ask and You Shall Receive

On my last post, I wrote about how much I want a true to-it’s-claim, FAST acting insulin.  I was pretty sure I had read about one, but when I was doing my super speedy Google search the other day, I couldn’t find anything about it.

But today on Facebook I saw a post that not only did it exist, but it just got FDA approval.  YES.

THIS.  I want this.  The moment it’s available in the US. 

The Joy of Pockets

This is my adorable niece, Abigail, who began pre-K just this past week.  Here she is, modeling her first school uniform- this little red dress:

As you can see from the photo, she was obviously  pretty stoked about the first day of school.  However, in this picture she is even MORE elated…

When her mom sent me the photos, I commented on that extreme happy face in the second picture.  And she told me, that huge smile came right after Abigail’s discovery that her dress wasn’t just cute, but also functional because it had pockets.

As a girl who loves dresses, I identified with this kind of joy over the pockets! I’m not sure why Abby cares, but I can tell you why I do.  I can put my Dexcom in that pocket and have it with me all day long without needing my purse, or worrying about misplacing it.  I can also use that pocket for a candy storage compartment. Oh yes, pockets, are a huge bonus for a girl like me.

Abby, fortunately, doesn’t have Type 1 diabetes.  But still, she knows the magic of dress pockets and seems just as overjoyed about them as I am.  It’s the little things in life sometimes.

My T1 Diabetes Blog. Reboot.

When I first began this blog about Type 1 Diabetes, although it had the same title, it was a Blogger blog.  I got a good amount of traffic in the beginning, and I felt like what I was writing was helping some people, and creating some great conversation among fellow Type 1 diabetics.  And that was my whole intention.

I thought switching to my own domain, and using the WordPress.org blog would give me better ownership of my content, and seem more legit.  But something got lost along the way during that transition.

boo hoo

I guess I just lost the momentum I had at the beginning. I started getting a lot of bogus comments from robots in the middle of the night. (Apparently, that’s a common problem for WordPress users) I got less feedback from real people than I did at my previous blog address.  I wasn’t sure how to promote my blog and get the readers that had found me the first time around to jump over to this new blog address with me.

I also started to feel like there were only so many posts I could write about insulin and glucometers and my beloved Dexcom. I felt like maybe I had said all I had to say on the topic of diabetes management.

I became frustrated and I decided this blog didn’t really matter to anyone anyway.

Actually, I’ve been re-thinking my pity party.

I’ve had diabetes for most of my adult life.  Something like 22 years.  And I think I have a pretty good handle on how to keep it under control, most of the time.  It’s a lot more complicated than just taking insulin and counting carbs to keep things in balance.  It’s recognizing patterns, it’s dealing with hormones, and emotions, and sleep, and workouts, and!, and!, and the list goes on. All of the things I do for my health- my physical, emotion, mental and even spiritual health- ALL OF IT, has at least some effect on my diabetes.

So I feel rejuvenated to begin again with this blog. I realize now that I can broaden the scope. I won’t just be writing about insulin and blood sugars.  I hope by posting regularly, I can find consistent readers who are also interested in choosing to live a happy and healthy lifestyle with an auto-immune disease like Type 1 Diabetes. Whether it’s in the comment section, or in sharing posts with friends, or in directly emailing me, I appreciate any and all conversation with you!

I’ll be posting on a regular weekly basis. Please subscribe so you won’t miss anything.  Thank you SO MUCH for visiting My Type 1 Diabetes Blog.

Needless Excuses for my A1c

I was suppose to go see my endocrinologist a couple of months ago.  No fault of my doctor, but the place he used to practice shut down.  With no notice!  Diabetes America, no more!

Because there was some lapse in time between Diabetes America unexpectedly closing down and Dr. Mora opening up in a new spot, I haven’t been in to get my A1c checked since December.

I figured it would be pretty good because I have a Dexcom, so I have that information available.  But the last month has been pretty challenging because we were out of town during the entire month of June. We were eating out more than usual, and at places that I didn’t know how long the wait time was, so my insulin doses were often “off”, and my blood sugars suffered because of it.  I saw way more spikes than I like to, or than I normally do.

As I drove to my appointment yesterday, I said a little prayer hoping that this new place Dr. Mora is practicing out of will have the “finger stick method” rather than the from the “vein method” for my lab work. It’s ridiculous that I’m so squeamish with veins, but I am.  I could never be an intravenous drug user- I would never be tempted to shoot drugs up for sure! So, that’s a bonus.  Anyway… Praise Hallelujah!!!  It was just a finger prick.

But even more Praise Hallelujah than that- My A1c came back lower than ever.  5.5%. So even though the last month has been a challenge, I worked hard enough that it didn’t screw things up.

I hadn’t checked the Dexcom Clarity app lately, but I did check after I got my lab results back from my doctor yesterday.  Although Clarity no longer gives a predicted A1c, it does tell your blood sugar average over a 90 day period (which is essentially what the A1c result refers to), and mine was 115.  According to the chart below, my A1c should be 5.4% based on that… That’s pretty close! And I’m very happy.  And proud!  My OCD behaviors are paying off.

As I drove to my appointment, besides saying my prayers about the blood draw via finger prick, I also mulled over my excuses I would give to Dr. Mora in case my A1C was higher than it had been at my last appointment. It’s funny that I feel I owe him excuses.  As if I’m being graded and my lab tests are something I either did or didn’t study for. As if it’s him I’m trying to impress. But I think it’s a common patient behavior. I know I’m not alone in this.

I’m not quite sure if the last month’s blood sugar average has more impact than the previous two months on the A1C, so I was a bit worried.  I was going to tell my doctor, “Traveling gave me an added challenge.” Paired up with, “Also, I’m a woman of a certain age, and I’m sort of going through “puberty” and it’s messing with my blood sugars.”  I will always have an excuse, because life always throws us little challenges, and sometimes big challenges.  But, we keep plugging away, and we keep trying our best.  And sometimes, you end up rewarded for all that trying. And this time, I was definitely rewarded!

And that’s the greatest motivation for me to keep trying my best. Not for my doctor.  But for me.

Yay, ME!

UGH. Fake Comments

I sort of feel like Trump in saying this, but it seems worth saying.

This is my first WordPress blog.  And it may be my last, and come to and end before I felt ready to end it.  I get SO MANY fake comments.  From people in the middle of the night.  It’s probably not the middle of the night where they are- But they’re writing in a different language, or in broken weird English, OR leaving super lame comments about my “amazing content”.  Ugh.  My email inbox gets filled up with all these stupid comments.

No idea what to do about this and how to make it stop.  But it’s so frustrating and it makes me avoid this blog.  So for now… I am.  🙁

Blame the fake commenters.  Which I’m sure will comment on this post… about the amazing content.

T1 Diabetes Looks Like Me.

Type 1 Nation Dallas 2017

This weekend, I got to attend the Type 1 Nation Summit in Dallas, hosted by JDRF.  My friend Tanya Conovoloff, works for JDRF and does a great job each year organizing this event. There are so many type 1s (kids, and grown ups) all in one place! And although because of that, we have a lot in common, this “disease” is different for everyone.  That’s what is always very apparent to me anytime we come together and share our stories.  And it’s why this blog is called MY T1 Diabetes. I can only write about my experience with Type 1. And I’m sure My T1 Diabetes looks different than yours.

One of the presenters Sunday, who I really liked hearing from, spoke of his experience managing his diabetes while running marathons and competing in triathlons.  He’s worked  hard to figure out what works best for him in controlling his blood sugars when it comes to things like the stress and excitement of race day, dehydration, swimming vs. running, etc.  Just like I’ve worked really hard to figure out what’s best for me when I work out.  But there is no special formula that works for everyone.  If there was, this thing called Type 1 Diabetes would be an easy cake walk, right? (And yes, pun intended.  And also yes, we CAN eat cake!)

Even when you figure out what “works best” for you, it can vary greatly from day to day.  So it’s a constant challenge.  But challenges are not always bad things.  And they do make us stronger.

My friend Willie took hundreds of photos for this event.  I asked him to send me the one I remembered him taking of me.  He actually sent a few more.  Here’s the one I had in mind… I’m standing beside a sign that says, “T1D Looks Like Me.”

Type 1 looks like Me.

This other picture, as you can probably tell is not posed- it’s so genuine.  I love this picture because it shows how happy (and lucky) I am to not only get to go to a great local event like this one, but to have people I know and love that also attend. This is the moment I walked through the door and got to see Willie, as his camera was pointed right on me!

Ok, so THAT’s a happy face!

I got to spend pretty much the entire day with another T1 friend, Roberta.  We sat through a few different presentations together which was great, but we mainly laughed a lot throughout the day about all sorts of stupid little things, which was most excellent.

So yep, going to Type 1 events for information is great, but knowing you’ve got friends there… the best!

As a P.S., I’m ending my post with yet another photo.  This is a little girl I saw soon after I walked in. I noticed she was wearing a Dexcom CGM.  So here’s another picture of what two Type 1 looks like.  Not too bad, huh?

Type 1 looks like US!

Come To the TypeOneNation Summit April 23rd!

This event! If you live anywhere near the D/FW area, you really should come check this out.

JDRF
Greater Dallas and Greater Fort Worth Chapters invite you to TypeOneNation Summit

Sunday, April 23
10:30 am – 5:00 pm
The Marriott Quorum
14901 Dallas Pkwy, Dallas, TX 75254

This event filled day of education, connection and inspiration is for anyone impacted by type 1 diabetes (T1D), including adults, parents, family members, friends, teens and children.

Expert speakers will present on T1D topics including nutrition, exercise, emotional aspects, technology and advanced care.

Industry partners will share the latest in support and technology.

Children and Teens will have a separate track to meet others their age with T1D.

Please join us by registering at http://NorthTXTypeOneNation.eventbrite.com

 

My great friend, Tanya, is the organizer and she always lines up incredible speakers.  I’ve had T1 well over 20 years, but I learn new things each year I attend this. PLUS, I get to be around so many other T1s, and as you know, they’re the sweetest people around!

So do yourself a big favor, and treat yourself!!- learn some things and make a new friend or two at this great event.  And I will see you there!

 

 

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.