Tricks of the Trade With Type 1 Diabetes

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This is the last day of Diabetes Blog Week, and today’s topic is “Tips and Tricks.”

Let’s round out the week by sharing our best diabetes tips and diabetes tricks. From how you organize supplies to how you manage gear on the go/vacation (beach, or skiing, or whatever). From how you keep track of prescription numbers to how you remember to get your orders refilled. How about any “unconventional” diabetes practices, or ways to make diabetes work for YOU (not necessarily how the doctors say to do it!). There’s always something we can learn from each other. (Remember though, please no medical advice or dangerous suggestions.)

I have 2 quick little tricks to share that work well for MY T1 DIABETES…

I used to take my “fast” acting insulin about 15 minutes or so before eating, as recommended by my endo.  It wasn’t until I got a Dexcom CGM that I became aware of how slow that fast acting insulin actually is… at least in my body, with my metabolism.  Some days, it’s a little faster, some days, a little slower- I’m sure, for a whole host of reasons.  I now typically take my insulin shot 30 to even 45 minutes before eating.  It depends on what I’m going to eat (how fast will it spike my bs), how active I’ve been, etc… But I use my CGM to see when that trend line starts to travel south- But I don’t let it get to the point of taking a dive, or reaching an uncomfortably low number.  This is NOT advice, but it’s just the way I do it, and for me, it serves me well.  It’s one of the things that’s helped me to bring my A1C from the mid 6’s to the mid 5’s, while staying in my target range 80-85% of the time.

There have been the occasional unintended lows from this method, for sure!  But it’s always treatable, not a big deal because I see it coming (thanks to the Dexcom!), and it always teaches me something. I’ve gotten more and more in tune with my body and the way it reacts to all the things that effect the timing of the rise and fall of my blood sugar.

My 2nd and final tip for today’s post is just to be as active as possible.  I’ve got a couple of high energy dogs that keep me active- I walk briskly with them about 2 to 2 ½ hours a day.

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Lucy McGilicuddy
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Ricky Ricardo

I take Ricky and Lucy on separate walks, and they each get two walks a day.  It’s easier for me to handle them one at a time, it gives us a little one-on-one bonding time, and it ups my activity level times two.  SO, it’s a win-win. I use to run anywhere between 6 and 8 1/2 miles daily, now I walk it instead.  It takes a larger chunk of my day, but has the same over all (great) effect on my blood sugar.  I never have to take a day off, because it’s just brisk walking.  I’m never sore from it, or I feel like I need a recovery day. I’ve read, and believe based on my own experience, that those long daily walks keep me highly sensitive to insulin.  And the less insulin I need to take, the easier it goes for me.

Those are just a couple of simple little tricks I’ll share today- I can’t wait to visit other T1 blogs to see what others have to say on this topic!

Language and Diabetes

Because I was out of town, and then in a training class the week I returned from vacation, I’m late to the game of  “Diabetes Blog Week”.  I didn’t realize it was going on until I visited a few blogs I follow just last night.

This is my first year to participate, because, well, it’s the first year I actually have a blog about diabetes!  I’m so excited to participate and write about the remaining topics of the week.

So, here we go!

Language and Diabetes. There is an old saying that states “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. I’m willing to bet we’ve all disagreed with this at some point, and especially when it comes to diabetes. Many advocate for the importance of using non-stigmatizing, inclusive and non-judgmental language when speaking about or to people with diabetes. For some, they don’t care, others care passionately. Where do you stand when it comes to “person with diabetes” versus “diabetic”, or “checking” blood sugar versus “testing”, or any of the tons of other examples? Let’s explore the power of words, but please remember to keep things respectful.

There are very few words that offend me.  And personally, whether someone wants to refer to me as a “diabetic” or “a person with diabetes”- I totally don’t care.  I prefer the word NOT be pronounced like this though: “die-a-BEET-us”. But does it offend me?  Not at all.

The only “language” that sometimes frustrates me in my  world of diabetes, is that although Type 1 and Type 2 have so many major differences, they are both referred to as diabetes.  I feel a  little ridiculous clarifying and saying “I have TYPE 1 diabetes”, however the distinction  seems necessary.  I wish there were just two completely different words for the two conditions.  I don’t at all expect people to know all about my disease, but often times, they mistakenly think they know more than they do. I guess that’s  because Type 2 diabetes is so prevalent.  (about 95% of people with diabetes have Type 2)

Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease.  I got it in my early 20s. I cannot reverse it, or make it go into “remission” by changing my diet and exercising more.  And actually, I do look like someone with diabetes.  Trust me.  And yes, I have to take shots (or be on a pump) because my body mistakenly attacked my cells that produce insulin.  If I want to live, I need insulin, and I need to take synthetic insulin since my body doesn’t make it’s own.  But no, I don’t think of Type 1 diabetes as “the bad kind”.

That’s it.  That’s my only beef with the language around diabetes.  I think, as a rule, each disease should get it’s own, distinct name.