Molly Johannes was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1997 at the age of four. She controls her diabetes with an OmniPod insulin pump, Dexcom continuous glucose monitor, and daily exercise. Molly graduated cum laude from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in December 2014 with a degree in English. Currently, she works fulltime as an associate editor for a financial company. In her spare time, Molly enjoys spending time with her loved ones, reading books, watching movies, and playing games. She’s an avid fan of Disney, dark chocolate, wine, Harry Potter, and fun times. While Molly does not know a life without diabetes, she is determined to defy the daily obstacles the disease presents. Read full bio

Lunch at Work Leaves Me in a Pickle

Lunch at Work

When it comes to lunchtime, I’m a creature of habit. I pack a similar lunch each day that consists of around 35-40 carbohydrates. I eat my lunch right around noon when I’m at work and a bit later in the day on weekends. During the workweek, I especially look forward to it because it’s a welcome break from the glare of the computer screen.

My feelings toward lunch change when my company chooses to provide food for its employees. Please don’t misconstrue me here—I think it is extremely generous for the company to take on the expense of feeding 40+ people every so often. I’m fortunate to be able to say that the business I work for cares about its employees.

So what’s my problem with company-sponsored lunches? It’s the fact that I must resort to the guessing game when it comes to calculating the carbohydrates in these meals. We alternate between pizza, barbeque, Chinese food, Panera, and other assorted takeout options. Usually, I try my best to look up carbohydrate counts online. It’s not difficult when we order from a place like Panera, which readily has nutritional information available. But when we order from smaller, specialty restaurants, I’m in a carbohydrate quandary.

I try my best to cope with this by choosing items that I can assume are lower carb; mainly, anything that contains vegetables or proteins like chicken. This helps sometimes, but other times my attempts to lower my carb intake backfire due to hidden carbs contained within sauces and similar accruements. When it comes to food that’s already tricky for a person with diabetes, like pizza, I’m left crossing my fingers and hoping that an extended bolus will prevent a latent spike in my blood sugar. But all too often, I wind up having to correct a high blood sugar in the late-afternoon work hours, which is frustrating—especially when I’m aware of the fact that bringing my own food would’ve taken the guesswork out of the equation.

The easy solution could be to opt out of these company lunches and continue to bring my own food, but that introduces a whole new crop of problems. I’ve tried this in the past and it lead to my co-workers asking me, repeatedly, why I’m not participating. I know they’re not trying to make me feel awkward or uncomfortable, but I can’t help feeling that way. It makes me seem anti-social, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Plus, I’m often included in the head count when orders are placed with restaurants, so it doesn’t reflect well on me when I decline food that was purchased for my enjoyment.

I also don’t want to drive the stigma around people with diabetes being unable to eat certain foods—I frequently advocate that I’m in the camp that says we can eat whatever we like, just with mindfulness and moderation. It’s just that much easier to manage insulin dosages when I know the carb count of each of my meals.

So when it comes to work lunches, I try to accept the challenge of doing some trickier math at mealtime. I see it as a learning experience when I’m off the mark and my blood sugar isn’t wonderful hours later, and I’m pleased on the occasions when I do nail my carb counting. I roll with the punches, just like diabetes as a whole has taught me to do over the years.

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Shawty Got Low, Low, Low (Blood Sugar)

You can see the three times that Shawty got low.

I don’t often make music references in my blog, but as I sat down to write this, the classic 2007 tune “Low” by Flo-Rida popped into my head. This nearly 10-year old song is one that I probably last heard in full in middle school, where I most likely looked like a fool alongside my friends as we danced in a group to it.

So besides being a song featuring truly poetic lyrics (Shawty had them Apple Bottom Jeans/Boots with the fur/The whole club was lookin’ at her/She hit the floor/Next thing you know/Shawty got low low low low low low low low), it is also a song that has described what my blood sugar has been doing the past 24 hours. This is pretty unusual for me, considering my CGM often helps me prevent lows…but sometimes you just can’t stop them from happening.

The first offense happened right in the middle of my Zumba class. One minute I was salsa dancing my little heart out, and the next I was noticing my CGM vibrating like crazy. When the song ended I stopped to look at it and was dismayed to see a down arrow and red dots on my graph, both indicators that I was dipping into the hypoglycemic zone. I really didn’t want to stop dancing, but I knew that I had to before my blood sugar got dangerously low. I sat on the sidelines for the next four or five songs as I suspended my insulin and waited for my glucose tablets to do their job. I happily rejoined for the last fifteen minutes of class, shimmying with greater energy than before thanks to the burst of sugar in my system.

After Zumba, I went home and got ready for bed. Mercifully, I was able to go to sleep at 122 and have an uninterrupted night of rest. I woke up at 157 and bolused for a breakfast consisting of two hard boiled (and beautifully dyed Easter eggs, if I do say so myself) and two slices of toast. I gobbled up my meal and went about my morning routine.

45 minutes and one shower later, my CGM was buzzing. I was going down, again. I cursed myself for not doing an extended bolus. I know that bread/toast can sometimes take longer than other foods to have an effect on my blood sugar, but I thought that waking up at a slightly higher blood sugar would cancel out the need for an extended bolus. Begrudgingly, I went down to the kitchen and poured myself a glass of orange juice, chugged it, and sat down while I waited to come back up.

The rest of the morning was fine. I made it to work, got started with the day’s tasks. Lunchtime came and went. At 2 o’clock, I left for the gym on my break like I normally do. When I left the office, I was 173 and steady with a couple of units left on board from my lunch bolus. Determined to avoid another low, I suspended my insulin AND ate a small box of raisins (10 grams of carbs) for good measure. I arrived at the gym, changed into my workout gear, and hopped on a treadmill to do my walking.

It was just walking. Not intense exercise by any means. But a mere 16 or 17 minutes into it, I was dropping AGAIN. No, not dropping it like it’s hot…shawty had low, low, low blood sugar. I had to cut the workout short and eat, which was especially frustrating because I probably gained back any calories that I may have burned from my short workout.

Needless to say, I’m kind of over the low blood sugars. But I am grateful that I recognize when it’s happening, and that I have some awesome technology to help me in the process. And at least when I go low, I don’t have the whole club looking at me when I hit the floor.


Why My Fitbit is One of My Favorite Gadgets

My Fitbit is always on the same wrist as my medical ID.

My Fitbit is always on the same wrist as my medical ID.

Besides my meter, CGM, and OmniPod, I’m constantly carrying my Fitbit with me. Why? It’s one of the non-diabetes-specific tools I use to manage my diabetes.

If you’re unfamiliar with a Fitbit, it’s really just a high-tech pedometer. It comes in a few different models, but I’m equipped with the Fitbit flex. The flex is a narrow wristband with a nondescript display that lights up when you tap the wristband, or once you’ve met one of your fitness goals for the day. The wristband holds a tiny tracker that syncs with an app on your smartphone or to your computer when you insert it in the USB port. When you sync the tracker, the app or your computer will show you your daily progress in terms of the number of steps you’ve taken, how many calories you’ve burned, how many miles you’ve traveled, and how many active minutes you’ve accumulated. Additional exploration within the Fitbit app will show you data from previous days and the flexibility to modify your daily goals. For instance, if you want to travel a total of 5 miles daily or get 10,000 steps per day, you can set these goals for yourself and go about your routine to accomplish them.

So how exactly does my Fitbit help my control of my diabetes? It’s a constant reminder to me to keep moving. Diabetes is usually better managed when you’re more active; after all, it can occasionally be faster to remedy a slightly higher-than-you’d-like blood sugar with 15 minutes of exercise rather than waiting for a correction bolus of insulin to kick in. And generally speaking, I find that my blood sugars on a given day where I get at least 10,000 steps (or more!) are better when compared to a day that I’m sedentary.

Plus, the Fitbit flex is designed to monitor additional activities, such as water and calorie intake, weight loss, and hours slept. Of course, these are optional and I have yet to put some of the dietary ones to the test, but they could be useful if you’re considering making some lifestyle changes. I have experimented with the sleep monitor, though—it’s interesting to compare my sleep graph with my CGM graph. I’d guess with a fair amount of confidence that the CGM is more accurate than the sleep monitor, but it’s definitely visible on both graphs when I wake up or am restless in the middle of the night due to a low or high blood sugar.

I’m a fan of my Fitbit and I like that it encourages me to be more active. What are some of your favorite non-diabetes gadgets and why?


My Hyperglycemic Haze

My Hyperglycemic Haze

Most nights, my diabetes and I get along fairly well. I test a few hours after dinner and either eat a small snack or take a corrective bolus, depending on my blood sugar. I usually wind up going to bed without worrying too much about my overnight numbers.

But once in a blue moon, something goes awry. I was doing well with my blood sugars until a recent Monday night rolled around. I ate a fairly typical meal (salad and pita bread), so I had no trouble calculating my bolus. Between 6 and 8 o’clock, I went about my normal evening routine to prepare for work the next day. When I sat down to watch some TV before bed, I noticed a diagonal upward-facing arrow appear on my CGM screen.

I blamed it on the pita bread; after all, it tends to kick in slowly. I tested around 9, took a corrective bolus, and went to bed. I woke up above 200. This was weird for me, seeing as my nighttime blood sugars are typically good. I shrugged it off and took a bolus for my breakfast and to correct. Otherwise, it was a standard Tuesday…until the evening.

Again, I experienced a trend of my blood sugar hitting my target soon after dinner, but then rising sometime between 8 and 9. Tuesday night was especially annoying because I woke up twice throughout the night due to my CGM high alarm wailing. Both times I took a corrective bolus, and still woke up above 200.

I thought I was doing fine after I corrected and ate breakfast on Wednesday morning, seeing as I coasted down to 138. I ate lunch at noon and was simultaneously surprised and angry to see I was up to 278 three hours later. I began to wonder if something was wrong with my pump or the site, but that didn’t entirely make sense to me considering my blood sugar came down like it was supposed to Wednesday morning. I bolused again and headed into the evening pre-dinner hours at 164.

Eventually, I sat down to eat my dinner with a certain amount of trepidation that wound up being justified—AGAIN. Close to three hours after I ate, I was 233. But I didn’t want to freak out; after all, I completed a routine pod change shortly after dinner. Surely, a new pod filled with fresh insulin would prevent a high. I bolused a couple units (it was around 8:30) and decided to run a 95% more temp basal for the next hour. When the temp basal finished running, I would test again.

One hour later…I was over 300. Something was wrong. I consulted my parents, trying not to panic after testing my ketones and seemingly spilling some. By 10 o’clock, it was decided I’d change my pod for the second time that night as well as manually inject fast-acting insulin to fix my high as quickly as possible.

After all that, I had no choice but to wait it out. I didn’t want to go to sleep until I knew my blood sugar was coming down, so I fought my sleepiness and put on some mindless television while I waited. Finally, two long, drawn-out hours later, I was coming down. I woke up at 2 A.M. at 70, but my sleep-deprived mind didn’t care because I was so happy to be lower. I got up at 7 A.M. as usual to get ready for work, more tired than I wanted, but happy to wake up at 134 mg/dL.

As I reflect on this particular string of hectic hyperglycemic blood sugars, I’m feeling in a bit of a haze. I want answers to my questions: Was it a site problem or an insulin issue? Did I actually spill some ketones, or were the strips inaccurate because it wasn’t a fresh vial? Was I carb-counting correctly? Could my emotions (stress!) over the situation have affected it? Does my body just hate me? It’s frustrating that I can’t really get a complete explanation as to why my blood sugars were creeping up like that for three nights in a row; it could have been any of those factors. It’s a reminder that blood sugar can be affected by anything and everything, whether you can control it directly or not.

For now, I’m relieved that I’m back to normal and seeing a bit more clearly now that I’m coming out of the fog.


A Year in the Making: An OmniPod Review

My OmniPod makes me happy. And yes, that's a needle and lancet smiley face.

You know what’s kind of crazy to me? A year ago this month, I started using my OmniPod insulin pump. It marked my abandonment of injections for the first time in 17 years of having diabetes.

In the past year, I learned a lot about the OmniPod and pumping in general. There are some major advantages of using a pump, including:

  • This is probably the best thing about pumping. Gone are the days where I would have to whip out a needle, pinch up some skin, and jab myself in public in order for me to eat my food. I can bolus literally anywhere I want without feeling self-conscious about it.
  • Intelligence. I freaking love that my OmniPod is smart. It’s programmed to know what my insulin to carb ratios are, how much basal insulin I need, how much insulin on board (IOB) I have, and so much more. It makes bolusing a more streamlined process.
  • I can control whether I want to increase, decrease, or suspend my insulin at any given point using my OmniPod PDM. This comes in handy in a number of circumstances, including when I’m working out and when I’m sick.
  • Usability. Prior to my pump, bolusing involved locating an insulin pen, screwing a needle onto it, priming the pen, dialing up the amount of insulin to inject, and piercing my skin with the needle. Now, bolusing means pushing a few buttons. And it’s virtually pain-free.
  • Improved A1c. Okay, just kidding, THIS is what makes a pump worth it. My A1c has gone down practically a whole point compared to where I was a year ago. That’s unbelievable! I know that I deserve some credit for making a real effort to improve, but there’s no doubt that my pump has immensely helped me accomplish this.

Of course, there are also a number of disadvantages, some of which I wish I had given more thought to before going on the pump:

  • It’s relatively rare for my pods to fail…but when they do, boy, it’s infuriating and inconvenient. There really is never a warning as to when it could happen, and the device doesn’t care if you’re showering, working, or sleeping. It’ll fail and it’ll WAIL when it happens, meaning that it makes a merciless, high-pitched beeping sound when it ceases to function. As a result, you’re forced to deal with a broken pod that won’t shut up until you rip it off your body and throw it into the freezer—yes, this is a real coping tactic. Others include sticking a paperclip into the manual alarm shut-off port (usually ineffective) or smashing the pod into smithereens with a hammer (very effective).
  • Self-consciousness. I didn’t think I’d have an issue with wearing a device on my body 24/7; after all, I already use a Dexcom CGM. But the fact that I now have TWO things permanently attached to me doesn’t do any favors for my body confidence, especially during the summer months.
  • My pump is disruptive on a daily basis, with all the beeping and ticking sounds it makes. When I first started wearing it, I found the ticking sound that goes off every couple minutes incredibly distracting. It didn’t take long for me to tune it out, particularly when it emits loud beeps that are more obnoxious. The pod will chirp a number and range of beeps when you administer a bolus, when the bolus is done, when you change your basal rate, when you suspend or resume insulin delivery, four hours before it expires, the moment it actually does expire…and during meetings at work, when you have to get up and embarrassedly leave the room momentarily to fetch your PDM and put an end to the beeping.
  • Adhesiveness. This is a minor negative associated with the pump, but I wish it had a stronger adhesive. And before you ask, yes, I do use skin-prep wipes that are designed to encourage medical devices to stay stuck on longer. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work as well as it should. I’ve had a handful of pods that needed to be replaced because they prematurely fell off my body.
  • Yes, I enjoy the functionality of the OmniPod, but I don’t like the finicky nature of the system. This is nitpicky of me, but I find it odd that I have to suspend insulin delivery in order to change information on the PDM like the date or time. Speaking of, it’s also bizarre that when changing my pod, it must be placed as close as possible and to the right of my PDM. Weirdly specific and I’m not sure why this is necessary, but it’s the way I was taught.

Overall, I take the bad with the good and embrace the OmniPod for its various eccentricities. I don’t regret swallowing my pride and making the decision to switch from injections to pumping. In my case, it was the tool I needed to help me obtain my best A1c reading in years.


And the Lucky Winner is…Me?!

The outside of my new case

The outside of my new case

I’m not very lucky when it comes to winning contests.

I’ve never won more than $20 on a scratch ticket. I’ve bought countless raffle tickets for vacations and goodie baskets and fancy jewelry, to no avail. I’ve tried guessing how many jelly beans are in the jar in the hopes of getting the exciting prize, but I always fail to come up with a winning number.

I guess I’m an optimist, though, because I keep on entering these contests. After all, it doesn’t hurt to try, right? And, much to my pleasant surprise, it actually recently paid off!

I found out via Twitter that two organizations, Diabetes Sisters and Myabetic, were jointly hosting a giveaway during Diabetes Awareness Month. Myabetic makes a variety of fashionable and functional diabetes supply cases, which four lucky people had the chance to win throughout November. Diabetes Sisters provides support, resources, and education to women with diabetes.

The rules were simple: You’re allowed to enter via social media (Facebook, Twitter, and the Diabetes Sisters website) once a day. Your post could have said anything, as long as you remembered to use the hashtag “MyabeticGiveawayDS”. It couldn’t have been easier, so I decided to give it a shot—ha ha, diabetes humor—using my Twitter account.

Week 1 of the contest came…and went. I didn’t win. Week 2 passed uneventfully. By the time Week 3 rolled around, I was feeling less hopeful about my chances in the giveaway. I’d been getting excited about the prospect of winning a new supplies bag; after all, my current one was looking a little rough around the edges. One of the zippers on it no longer worked and the exterior was tattered. It could still hold my stuff, but I was definitely on the fast track to needing a replacement.

The inside of my new case

The inside of my new case

So at the start of Week 3, I posted my tweet with cautious optimism and crossed my fingers. Soon after that, I received notification that I’d actually WON! I eagerly sent an email to Heather from Diabetes Sisters (who is a wonderful human being and blogger—check out to see what I needed to do next.

The following step was fun for me because it meant it was time for some online shopping. As a giveaway winner, I was allowed to choose ANY bag I wanted from the Myabetic website. Some preliminary browsing showed me that this wouldn’t be easy. There were more styles and colors to choose from than I’d imagined, so I had to work on narrowing it down.

I wound up choosing the classically styled Banting supply case in black leather. It measured the same as my old case, so I knew it would fit into my purse. I also had the advantage of knowing what the inside of the case looked like, due to the product photos featured on the Myabetic website. After reading about the case’s specs, I was sure that it would be a suitable replacement.

When it arrived in the mail mere days later, I was more than pleased with it. It didn’t come across as a medical supply case; rather, it was sleek, well-designed, and inconspicuous. There were a bunch of small compartments within the case that I could use to store virtually any item I wanted, and I loved that there were multiple banded loops sewn in the case for tubular items such as test strip vials and insulin pens.

A few weeks later, I’m still loving my new supply case. I feel more organized and stylish, seeing as the case perfectly matches my purse. I have to give a huge thank you to Diabetes Sisters and Myabetic for sponsoring a terrific giveaway and providing me with a much-needed new case!

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Your Diabetes May Vary (YDMV)

Your Diabetes May Vary (YDMV)Within the Diabetic Online Community (DOC), there are many abbreviations tossed around. Because why use formal language like “Insulin On Board” or “Continuous Glucose Monitor” when those terms can be boiled down to three or four-letter acronyms?

One of these acronyms, YDMV (which stands for “Your Diabetes May Vary”), has stood out to me lately. Let me state the obvious: We are all different. We have different genetic makeups, different beliefs, and different preferences, to name a few. The point is we, as human beings, ought to bear in mind these differences and respect them (the world would be a much more harmonious place if we did).

Following this logic, all people with diabetes are different. If you have diabetes and are reading this, there are likely multiple differences between me and you. Here are just few diabetes-specific ways that could make us different from each other:

  • Sometimes, I start to feel low at 80 mg/dL. You might not feel low until you are in the 60s, or you might not recognize your lows at all.
  • When I’m low, I feel dizzy, shaky, and sweaty. When I’m high, my mood is terrible and I’m thirsty. You might not have these same set of hypo/hyper symptoms.
  • I might need a large bolus to cover the cheeseburger I just ordered at a restaurant. You might need less insulin, the same amount of insulin, or more than me.
  • I use Humalog. You might take Lantus, Novolog, or some other form of insulin.
  • I like to use my CGM, and generally get excited about new diabetes technology. You might prefer to not use a CGM.

I could go on and on with that list, but these are just a few of the things that may set us apart. The point is, your diabetes may vary from mine. The treatments I use for a low may starkly contrast your methods, but what matters the most—for both of us—is that it works. The fact that we can manage our diabetes to the best of our abilities, using tried-and-true techniques that work for our respective bodies, is wonderful! We should recognize this, and embrace the fact that your diabetes may (and WILL) vary.

As National Diabetes Awareness Month draws to a close, I think it’s important to remember the YDMV concept. Next time you see a person with diabetes (whether you also have it or not) doing something you think is “wrong”, please try not to question them or shame them. They know their body and their diabetes best, so it just might be what’s right for them.

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Three People with Diabetes Go to a Zumba Class…

Geez, the title of this blog post sounds like the start of a ridiculously cheesy joke, doesn’t it? But it’s true—my mom, my aunt, and I go to a Zumba class every Wednesday night to get some exercise in the middle of our busy workweeks. And it just so happens that we each have type one diabetes.

If you don’t know what Zumba is, then I’d highly recommend trying out a class at some point to find out for yourself. Words can’t exactly do it justice, but I’ll take a stab at it. Basically, one Zumba class is an hour-long session that blends Latin dance moves with strength and conditioning exercises. The instructor plays high energy music and shows you the choreography for each song.

It’s a lot of fun, even if you do have two left feet—which I certainly do. Sometimes, I have to fake my way through a song if I can’t quite comprehend the steps involved, which makes me feel a little goofy. At the same time, though, it’s good for a laugh as well as dynamic exercise.

Speaking of exercise, have you heard about the Big Blue Test? It’s an initiative launched by the Diabetes Hands Foundation that encourages those with diabetes to exercise 14-20 minutes daily. The idea is that you test your blood sugar before and after the physical activity and see how it affects your blood sugar. According to their website (, those who partake in the Big Blue Test notice an average blood sugar drop of 20%.

After you’ve completed your blood sugar tests and exercise, visit either the website or the mobile app to share your results. By doing this, the Diabetes Hands Foundation grants $1 for every Big Blue Test logged. This money helps support people in need who are affected by diabetes around the world.

This year, the Diabetes Hands Foundation hopes to reach 110,000 Big Blue Test entries by the end of November. Seeing as November is also Diabetes Awareness Month, it’s a great time to blend advocacy with fitness by taking as many Big Blue Tests as possible. It doesn’t hurt that my weekly Zumba classes extend through the month, so you can bet that I’ll be logging my blood sugars after each one.

So even though my mom, my aunt, and I aren’t the most coordinated people, we are definitely motivated to stay in shape and keep our blood sugars in check with this exercise. Whether you work out on your own or with others (T1D or nonT1D!), be sure to think about the benefits it can have individually AND collectively by making it a Big Blue Test!

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OmniPod Failure and Frustration

Omnipod - When it works, it's great. But when it doesn't...The pod was applied and my PDM’s “start” button was pressed. My body tensed in anticipation of the cannula inserting itself into my skin. It doesn’t cause excruciating pain, but the sensation isn’t exactly pleasant. I waited, listening to the pod tick as the mechanism inside it started to work. I closed my eyes, knowing the pinch would come soon, and waited a bit longer. My grip on the chair tightened. Why was it taking so long? I waited some more. Beep! My PDM chirped at me. I looked down at the screen, which bore the following message:

“Pod is active. ‘basal 1’ has been programmed. Check infusion site and cannula. Is cannula properly inserted?”

I should have hit the “no” option, but my bemusement with the situation prompted me to hit “yes”. I still hadn’t felt the cannula insert itself.

“Ugh! Mom, it happened again…” My mom, who was in the kitchen with me, came over. I explained to her that the cannula failed to insert itself for the second time in a one-month span.

Neither of us had a clue what was going on the first time it happened. I followed the typical pod-change routine like usual and braced myself for the cannula insertion. It didn’t happen, but the “active pod” message appeared. We exchanged confused looks and I began to second guess myself. Did the cannula go in, and I just couldn’t feel it? Did this mean I was becoming invulnerable in the face of the cannula’s prick?

Just as these thoughts were coursing through my mind, my mom and I both heard a loud *click* that made me yelp in surprise. The cannula pierced my skin at last, after an inexplicable lapse of time. Normally, you feel the cannula go in once it has been successfully primed with insulin. This is followed by the “active pod” message on the PDM. This time, though, the PDM message deployed while the cannula failed to until a solid three minutes later.

We didn’t know if it was okay for me to continue using the pod, so we got on the phone with OmniPod to get confirmation. Sure enough, the delay in cannula insertion is a known “needle mechanism failure” that apparently affects pods once in a blue moon. We were told that I would receive a pod to replace the faulty one, and that was pretty much the extent of the conversation.

I hoped the incident would be a one-time thing; obviously, a second occurrence within a month proved me wrong and also sets me on edge. So far, things have been awesome with my OmniPod. When it works, and it usually does, it’s incredibly convenient. But when the unpredictable strikes and a pod fails or the needle mechanism itself fails, pricy pods and insulin are wasted and I become very frustrated.

On the bright side, I removed the second pod blighted by needle mechanism failure before I had to experience the shock of it pricking me unawares. And I can say with certainty that after these two nettlesome (needle-some?) episodes, I’ll be very happy about every successful pod change going forward.


My Newfound Devotion to #DSMA

My Newfound Devotion to #DSMAMost Wednesday nights from 9-10 P.M., you’ll find me glued to my phone as I participate in DSMA.

DSMA stands for Diabetes Social Media Advocacy and is one of the primary reasons why I decided to rejoin Twitter. I had an account that I maintained throughout college, but I deleted it last January because it had no meaning left to me. It existed as a mere narration of the awkward encounters, strange observances, and many musings that occurred to me in this specific period of my life. It was, in short, diary entries consisting of 140 characters (or less) that I no longer felt comfortable sharing with my followers despite having a private account.

However, I changed my mind this past June when I re-evaluated how I could use Twitter in a more fulfilling way. After all, I enjoy how social media connects me with others. I decided to invent an entirely new account that is focused on my diabetes, much like this blog. I would say that 80% of it pertains to my diabetes, whereas the remaining 20% is little snippets about my other interests (including, but not limited to, soap operas, Harry Potter, and chocolate).

After creating my diabetes-concentrated account, I discovered that a solid portion of the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) participates in weekly chats hosted by DSMA. These tweet sessions last one hour and revolve around a different, pre-selected topic each week. The DSMA account tweets out an average of five or six questions over the course of the hour, giving you ample time to respond to each one and look at, reply to, and re-tweet what other people have to say. And once you participate in one DSMA conversation, it totally becomes an addiction. You bond with others over shared experiences and feelings, despite the fact that you might not have met them in person.

Since June, I’ve looked forward to these Wednesday night virtual hang-outs. It’s always interesting to speculate on the subject for the night—some of my favorites have been about burnout, exercise, exploring the past/future with diabetes, and the always-amusing fill-in-the-blank prompts.

Another pro of DSMA live tweeting? Participation week-to-week is (obviously) completely voluntary. You can keep up with it for the full hour, join in late, or bow out early. That way, you can catch up with members of the DOC for as long as you like.

Needless to say, my current use of Twitter is drastically different compared to how I used it in the past. It’s still completely saturated with my personality, but now I feel much more positive when I tweet than I did before. And thanks to the existence of platforms like DSMA, I can open up and connect with others in a way unique from this blog.

So I encourage you to find me, DSMA, and the other members of DOC on Twitter and join in the next conversation!

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