Molly Johannes was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1997 at the age of four. Molly controls her diabetes with a combination of insulin shots, daily exercise, and a healthy diet. She utilizes a Dexcom continuous glucose monitor to remain aware of her blood sugars throughout her busy days at school. Molly is a sophomore English major at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Read full bio

The Great Debate: Is it Fair to Punish a Hypoglycemic Child?

Katy Killilea recently wrote a feature article for ASweetLife in which she posed this thought-provoking question. It arose after a hypoglycemic experience with her son in which he wandered away from her when his blood sugar was low. His rebellious attitude during the incident prompted Katy to take his phone away from him. Even when his blood sugar came up and he apologized for his actions, Katy decided to stick with her decision in the hope that this would be a teaching moment for both her and her son.

After reading the article, I felt thoroughly caught in the middle between Katy and her son. On the one hand, I sympathized with him because I recall plenty of hypoglycemic episodes in my childhood in which I acted unlike myself. Heck, even in my adulthood, some blood sugars have triggered irrational emotions or behavior. On the other hand, I know that blood sugar cannot justify or excuse behavior (unless it’s an emergency situation or other unique circumstance). I’m absolutely guilty of being a defiant elementary-age kid who was conveniently “too low” at a given moment in time to clean her room or help with the dishes. Obviously, I realize now that it was wrong to blame my laziness on my diabetes, and I don’t blame my parents for a second for being frustrated with me in those particular situations in which I was perfectly fine, albeit bratty. Even though I’m not a parent, I can understand Katy’s feelings about the alarming nature of the event and the fact that an important lesson about behavior can be gleaned from it.

I decided to ask my mom her opinion on the subject. I summarized Katy’s article and the subsequent debate it sparked. My mother’s response was succinct; frankly, she felt as though she should not judge. She thinks this could be a common occurrence for some children and that they need to learn how to pay attention to their blood sugars, seeing as it could be a lifelong issue. In general, my mom believes that each family is unique, with their own set of issues that they will deal with as they see fit. She ended by saying she does not think a child should be overly punished, though.

The more I thought about my mom’s answer, the more it made sense to me. Just like diabetes itself, the fairness of punishing a hypoglycemic child varies case to case. Some children’s behavior may be more affected by a low than others, which could necessitate a punishment to prevent serious consequences in future hypoglycemic circumstances. I can’t remember a time in my life where I received a punishment for a low blood sugar, but I also have a good track record for recognizing low symptoms and correcting it before they exacerbate. Speaking of my low symptoms, my mood usually isn’t affected by them—I have physical indicators like shakiness, dizziness, and sluggishness—quite unlike Katy’s son as described in her article.

That proves the point, though: that each person with diabetes is different. We have different treatment methods, different low/high symptoms, different ways of coping with it. It’s all about trial-and-error, finding what works best for you. With that in mind, I’m pretty sure my mom and I lie on the same side of debate, the one I call the judgment-free zone. Diabetes is constantly teaching me, and this time I learned that what isn’t fair is to judge how other individuals handle the challenges that diabetes presents.

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Making Diabetes Prettier With Pump Peelz

Pump Peelz for OmniPodWhen I think about all the supplies associated with diabetes, “glamorous” or “cute” aren’t the first words that come to mind. This all changed, though, when I discovered Pump Peelz.

I recently noticed some other members of the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) excitedly talking about Pump Peelz on social media. They posted pictures of their insulin pumps, meters, and CGMs all decked out in pretty patterns with a shout-out to Pump Peelz in the captions. Intrigued, I did some online research to learn more about how I could accessorize my diabetes devices.

I discovered that Pump Peelz is a company that specializes in designing stickers that can fit a wide range of diabetes tools. The stickers are available in numerous patterns, from floral and geometric to more zany styles like watermelon prints or holiday themes. There’s even an option to create your own customized pump peel for the device of your choice.

I had fun scrolling through the different peelz available. Nearly all of them were eye-catching, making it tough for me to narrow down exactly which designs I wanted to try. Moreover, I had to decide which ones were worthy of being adorned. After some thought, I chose two peelz for my OmniPod (note: for the actual pods, not the PDM) and one for my Verio meter. My PDM is already in a protective case, and I got to choose what color I wanted (pink) for my CGM, so I didn’t feel compelled to get peelz for them at this time. All three peelz were a very reasonable price, just under $15 total after I applied a promotional code.

Pump Peelz Meme

Roughly one week later, a small parcel arrived in the mail for me. My Pump Peelz were here at last! I tore excitedly into the brown envelope and out fell a card that explained how to apply my peelz. Immediately, I rummaged through my purse for my meter so I could affix the peel on it. It was super easy to put on, and neat to see my meter transform from blah to beautiful.

Pleased with my first peel, I was eager to see how I would like the ones I purchased for my pods. I’ve only used one pod-specific peel so far, and I posted a picture of the outcome for my friends on Facebook to see. It was met with great amusement, so I was satisfied with my diabetes-humor-inspired choice.

Pump Peelz for VerioThe only critique I have about the peelz for the pods are that they are difficult to remove. After three days passed, it was time to change my pod. Upon removing it from my body, I spent a solid five minutes trying and failing to remove the peel without damaging it. I can still probably use it on one or two more future pods, but it won’t look as nice as it did the first time around.

Overall, I’m really happy that I tried Pump Peelz. Previously, I’ve only worn my pods on sites that you can’t see – my stomach and lower back. Now, I’m excited to try areas like the upper arm so I can stick a pump peel on the pod and make a fashion statement out of it. I highly recommend the products that Pump Peelz offers to anyone who is looking to jazz up boring diabetes devices by making them stylish and fun.

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My 10 Best Diabetes Triumphant Moments

10. Finding a new, yummy snack that doesn’t skew blood sugar

I love cheese, veggies, and deli meats, but sometimes I get sick of turning to them when I’m looking for a low-carb snack that won’t make me skyrocket. That’s why I love discovering new, lower-glycemic index foods that taste great without triggering any CGM alarms.

Perfect BG Meme9. CGM and meter matches

Twins! It may be trivial, but I find it reassuring when the blood sugar that my meter reports happens to be exactly the same as the one on my CGM. It’s all about that accuracy!

8. Treating well for…well, treats

Speaking of accuracy, it can be ~hella~ tough to bolus after devouring a giant plate of nachos or a generous slice of cake with ice cream. The mental carb calculator might go a little haywire in the process of figuring out just how many grams of carbohydrate are in a given amount of “bad” food, but when you get it right, it feels so damn good.

7. Joining the Century Club

When I was a little kid and my blood sugar was 100 mg/dL, I would draw little fireworks next to the result in my logbook as a sign of my success. While I may no longer do that, I still feel happy when I reach the 100 mg/dL reading that I find pretty perfect. Definitely worthy of a meter advertisement!

6. Painless site changes

Oh my gosh, CGM changes and pod insertions can HURT. In fact, almost every time I change my pod I let out a little squeal of agony, whether it really was painful or not. So whenever I hit a sweet spot with a site change, it’s pure relief and makes the process less stressful.

5. Correcting accurately for a hyper

It’s not fun to have a hyperglycemic blood sugar. For me, it affects my mood by taking me from glad to grouchy within seconds. And don’t get me started on all the water/diet coke I down, resulting in endless bathroom trips! When I reverse a high by delivering a correction bolus that takes me back down to a better reading like 108 mg/dL, I feel that much better mentally and physically.

4. Conversely, correcting accurately for a hypo

Along the same lines, low blood sugars are so disorienting. I can’t stand feeling shaky, dizzy, and sweaty all at once. And it can be irksome to be forced to eat when you don’t necessarily want to. That’s why I take great pleasure in fixing a low with the bare minimum of carbs, which usually results in a near-perfect blood sugar reading later.

3. Seeing a doctor who just gets it

Over the last 17 years, I’ve seen my fair share of doctors – some I’ve loved, some I’ve loathed. Currently, I’m fortunate to have an endo who truly understands me and my needs. She listens, she cares, she doesn’t blame me diabetes mistakes. While I still don’t love having to see a doctor every three months, she makes it much more bearable.

2. Meeting other T1Ds

Talk about people who “just get it”! The only T1Ds I knew growing up were two immediate family members. When I went off to college, this completely changed and I connected with many other T1Ds. Suddenly, it was normal to whip out my meter or a syringe whenever needed, and conversations about carbohydrates were common.

1. Improved A1c results

A1c MemeThis. One of the ultimate victories! I’ll never forget how good I felt when my A1c dropped a whole point, marking major personal progress. An improved A1c is a true sign of your effort being worth it when it comes to your diabetes management. #FTW!

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Seeing the Good in Mild Diabetes Burnout

Good BG Bad BG - Diabetes Burnout

Sometimes, all it takes is one bad reading. It comes at the wrong place or time (often both), and it pisses you off.

I’m referring to the mild case of diabetes burnout that I experienced this week. I call it “mild” because it was fleeting and was not accompanied by the typical array of emotions that are associated with a real case of burnout. This time around, it lasted the length of a day and mainly made me aggravated. It all began bright and early, Monday morning…

I woke up to a beautiful blood sugar of 97 mg/dL, which made me especially happy after having to change my pod the night before. I rolled out of bed after testing, and as I started going about my morning routine, I noticed I felt a little shaky and dazed as if I was dropping low…odd, right? My CGM told me that I was stable, so I tried to shake the sensations and attribute it to grogginess. Nevertheless, I decided to eat breakfast before showering in the hopes that might give me the boost my body seemed to need. One smoothie and half a coffee roll later, I felt confident that I could resume getting ready without exacerbated low symptoms. I gave myself a bolus, guesstimating a higher carb count than normal due to the coffee roll, and went to go shower.

15 minutes later, I still wasn’t out of my fog. I wondered if I went overboard with my carb calculations and gave myself too much insulin. Without mulling it over further, I grabbed a small handful of fast-acting cereal to counteract this possibility.

All the diabetes drama was making me late for work, so I didn’t pay much attention to what my CGM was reporting over the next hour. When I finally got to the office, I did pay it a glance and saw I was sitting well at about 134 mg/dL. Maybe I’d made the right call, after all.

Not exactly. Unbeknownst to me, my blood sugar stealthily climbed to exceed 200 mg/dL over the next few hours. By lunchtime, I was simultaneously starving and irate when I tested and discovered I was 256! I bolused and sat there, steaming, as I tried to figure out where I went wrong. Did it have to do with my choice of breakfast? Was it because I didn’t sleep well enough? Should I have ignored my body’s pseudo-low symptoms?

Whatever it was, it triggered me to feel very fed-up and negative about my diabetes for the rest of the day. Granted, I did come back down nicely by the nighttime, but I wasn’t over the fact that my diabetes had been so sneaky on me. Between the symptoms I felt and the slow rise to a hyperglycemic reading, I felt tricked. As a result, I knew I was ready to blame my anger on some good ol’ fashioned diabetes burnout. I felt tired of diabetes and its mean mind games and just wished it would go away.

But of course, reality sinks in at some point. As my day came to a close, I was ready to move past this day of feeling terrible about my diabetes management and kick ass the next day. And as it would happen, I did. This case of diabetes burnout turned into some damn good motivation, so I guess it isn’t always that bad.

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Body Image and the OmniPod: What I Didn’t Consider

Approximately six months ago, I made the decision to go on the insulin pump. The thought of changing insulin therapy scared the hell out of me, but I was ready to see how pumping might improve my health.

My pump of choice was the OmniPod because 1) it was tubeless and 2) my mom also uses it. In fact, her experience transitioning to the pump a few years ago both inspired and deterred me from trying it myself. Mom happened to go on it just a couple weeks before we were set to go on a family vacation in Maine, which totally threw her for a loop. She encountered irritating problems like non-adhesive pods and unexpected failures, so instead of enjoying time at the beach, she was making calls for help to OmniPod. Needless to say, that proved to me that injections were the way to go.

This changed, though, when I saw how well my mom was doing on the pump. Frustrated by my blood sugars and looking for a solution, I decided that 2015 would be the year that I give the pump a fair shot.

I’ve blogged previously about my mostly positive experience thus far on the OmniPod. It’s worked so well for me that I almost don’t regret going on it – the keyword there being almost.

I guess what bothers me more than anything else right now about the pod is that it’s yet another diabetes-related device that I have to wear 24/7. Obviously, I knew about this prior to using the OmniPod, but the thought of wearing two things on my body at once wasn’t cause for me to balk. I figured, what’s the big deal if I already have to wear my CGM sensor?

But I should have considered the semi-permanence of an insulin pump. A CGM sensor is optional – I can decide whether or not I want to use it. Nine times out of ten, I use it because of the valuable information it provides. On occasion, though, I choose to go without it, whether it is because I want a break from it or because of aesthetics. An insulin pump does not exactly provide this luxury. If I choose to stop wearing it, then all insulin delivery immediately halts and I have to give myself injections. As a result, I have to choose the lesser of two evils: pricking myself with a syringe multiple times a day, or treating my diabetes with the convenience of a pump while being self-conscious of the pod just-visible beneath my clothes?

I started giving this some more thought as the start of the summer. I went on vacation, and noticed that every now and then, people would stare at the devices planted on my belly and my backside. That didn’t bother me so much, but it did prompt me to become overly self-aware of my body. Each time I put on a bathing suit, I noticed how difficult it was to arrange any of my bikini bottoms so that they did not interfere with my pod or sensor but still offered adequate coverage. Not surprisingly, one-pieces were also a struggle seeing as they would cling to my devices, giving my body some unwanted (and certainly not sexy) curves. Even my most flattering bikini can’t camouflage my insecurity with my devices, and tends to heighten my self-consciousness.

So now I find myself trying to make peace with the fact that I have to wear my pod to experience the convenience of the insulin pump, all while feeling more awkward in a bathing suit. I know this all may seem trivial, but it is something that I wish I didn’t brush off before making the transition. It’s hard enough to accept my body the way it is – especially as a female in her 20s – and I try my best to not hold myself to everyone else’s standards. It’s easier said than done, though, and makes the road to being comfortable in my own skin a little bumpier.

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10 Memorable Moments from my Disney Cruise

My family and I with Cinderella

When I was in middle school, my parents told my brother and me that once we graduated college, we would take a family vacation on a Disney cruise. I didn’t believe them up until this past November, when they informed us that we would make this vacation a reality in May 2015. It’s not easy to choose just 10 moments that stood out to me from the trip, but I think this list hits the major points. Continue reading to discover my highlights, diabetes-related and not.

10. Our ship, the Disney Fantasy

In the weeks prior to vacation, I spent a good chunk of time researching our ship and the activities to do onboard. This extensive investigating certainly made me more excited for what was to come, but it paled in comparison to the splendor of the Fantasy in person. I was in awe of its sheer size, and this only amplified when embarked on the ship and took in the interior’s opulence. From classic Disney songs playing in the halls to the enormous projection screen (for playing Disney movies, of course) overlooking the pool, every minute detail added to the overall experience.

9. Lost Luggage

Remember, this is a list of memorable moments, so that means the good and the bad of our trip. Our luggage failed to make it onboard with us. As you could imagine, this resulted in a rough start to the trip and unwanted vacation stress. Our first night was not nearly as fun as it should’ve been due to our anxiety over our lost luggage, but the next morning we were informed it would be waiting for us when we arrived in St. Maarten, the first port of call. Even though we didn’t have our own clothing for nearly the first half of the trip, we still made the most of it and donned Disney Cruise Line clothes until we were reunited with our possessions.

8. Trivia Champions

I’m a bit of a trivia geek, so I was excited when I learned that there was trivia offered multiple times each day throughout the cruise. I convinced my family to play with me, and we wound up beating several other teams by taking first place!

7. Close Encounters with Wildlife

A view of our boat in St. ThomasI never thought I would have the chance to feed lorikeets or swim with stingrays…but I did both on this vacation. I’ve always loved animals, so it was incredible to interact with them in such a unique way.

6. The Incredible Staff

The crewmembers aboard the Fantasy really made us feel welcome from Day 1. They were super understanding about our luggage situation, and played a major role in assuaging us over the fiasco. Over the course of our vacation, we got to know many of them by name and shared daily conversation with them that felt genuine. Not to mention the fact that one of our waiters made dinner hilarious for my family by stumping us with crayon and card tricks – thanks, Julio!

5. Mixology, Martinis, and More

I wrote in greater detail on how alcohol affected my diabetes management on the cruise in a feature for ASweetLife – what I didn’t mention in that piece is that I now have a new favorite martini, which I happily sampled at a martini tasting. It’s called the coconut martini and it’s delicious! I loved going to the martini tasting and mixology class because of how much I learned from the bartender. As a result of these experiences, I found a new favorite cocktail: the coconut martini. It’s delicious!

4. Fantastic Food

OMG, I forgot how great cruise food could be! Breakfast was a buffet that had everything you could possibly imagine available. Lunch was arbitrary depending on what my family and I were doing, so some days it was a healthy salad and others it was nothing but soft serve ice cream (which was available 24 hours, yum!). Dinner was always a two-hour affair consisting of five – yes, FIVE – courses that could not have been portioned more perfectly. My mother and I happily made use of the extended bolus feature on our OmniPods to prevent lows, and it worked without a hitch for the most part.

3. Not One, but Two Pod Failures

This was a major annoyance, but my swift recoveries for both made me feel in control. The first occurred when I was showering after a long day spent at Waikiki Beach in St. Maarten. Halfway through my shower, I heard the telltale “beeeeeeeeeeep!”. I wasn’t pleased about having to put a new pod on so close to dinner, which was to happen an hour later, but I did it and I was fine. Pod failure #2 happened on Castaway Cay, where my PDM lost all communication with the pod I was wearing. Not entirely sure how this happened, but thankfully, we had an extra Humalog pen that I used to give myself a lunchtime bolus. Neither pod failure was terribly convenient, but really, are they ever?

2. Ports of Call

Words can’t express how beautiful the islands of St. Maarten and St. Thomas were. We only had about seven hours at each port, which simply wasn’t enough time! However, we enjoyed some gorgeous weather on both islands. The last port of call, Castaway Cay, is a Disney-owned private island – and yes, it’s as fantastic as it sounds. My parents and I went for a bike ride in the morning and spent the rest of our day there snorkeling and soaking up the sun at Serenity Bay, an adults-only beach. My brother, on the other hand, chose the more thrilling pastime: parasailing! Regretfully, our time here was even shorter, and we were sad when it was time to go back on the ship.

1. Spending Time with my Family

Cue the “aww”-ing. As time goes on, I find that life speeds up to an unstoppable pace and it’s more difficult to spend time with your loved ones. This vacation was much-needed not just for relaxing, but hanging out as a family. I’m really grateful for our trip together and I look forward to future ones.

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#DBlogWeek Day 7 – Continuing Connections

Did #DBlogWeek fly by this year, or what? I’m really glad that I had the chance to participate again this year. I like having the chance to do some exploring with the prompts provided by Karen at Bitter-Sweet!

This topic is all about fostering connections that can be made by participating in Diabetes Blog Week. In fact, that can be extended into the Diabetes Online Community. I’m still amazed by the number of people I’ve met strictly through the DOC, and I’ve enjoyed the different opportunities it has presented to me.

In particular, the DOC introduced me to the CWD Friends for Life Conference in Orlando, Florida. I went there in July 2013 and made some great friends over the course of a few days. I also delved deeper into the world of diabetes blogging by taking a look at the other blogs out there. Every single one is awesome, and I give major credit to those of you who maintain blogs regularly! Here’s a short list of some of my favorites:

  • Kerri Sparling, Six Until Me – Kerri’s sense of humor made this blog stand out to me in a very positive way. She’s very honest with herself and others regarding her feelings about diabetes, and I find her inspiring.
  • Heather Gabel, Unexpected Blues – Heather was one of those great friends I made at the CWD FFL conference, and her blog is just as cool as she is. Her writing style is incredible and utterly relatable.
  • Naomi Kingery Ruperto, Live to Love Diabetes by the Diabetic Diva – Naomi’s blog is one that I just discovered during this year’s #DBlogWeek. I got a kick out of her “Diabetic Diva” moniker, and her blog is really well-written.

I could go through the entire #DBlogWeek participant list and say what I like about each one, but who knows how long that would take! Kudos to all of you for the roles you played in this year’s #DBlogWeek. I look forward to reading about your future adventures, and I hope you stop by my blog every now and then to say hi!

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#DBlogWeek Day 6 – Favorites and Motivations

I started blogging for ASweetLife two years ago. Prior, I hadn’t really explored my diabetes in writing. It was the subject of a poem or two, but indirectly. Now that I’ve been writing about it on a consistent basis and exploring my feelings about my diabetes, I find that it has been therapeutic and eye-opening.

I’m proud of all of my posts for unique reasons, but a couple stick out to me more than the others. Particularly, the post that I wrote about how my mom and I deal with our diabetes is a favorite. It opened the door for my mom to feature a piece she wrote on my blog, which in turn gave me some insight as to how she feels about my diabetes. I was also grateful for the opportunity to express gratitude to my mom, dad, and other family members who have been instrumental in helping me manage my diabetes. I know that I don’t thank them enough for all they do for me, so it felt good to be able to do that in my writing, a mode of expression that I treasure deeply.

The posts that I wrote while I was in college also speak to me. They are more motivational in my eyes than some of the other posts I wrote because they are evidence of me overcoming some serious obstacles in my path while I was on my own at school. There was the time when I was freaking out over a low blood sugar before an exam, and the time I was forced to take a CGM hiatus. Oh, and I can’t forget all the times that hitting the gym on campus lead to either crushing defeat or joyful victory. Each post about my time in college reflects my resilience, which can be incredibly motivating for me to stick it to my diabetes.

And if I had to choose a favorite sentence(s) that I’ve written on my blog so far, it would have to be this introduction to my post about my vacation to Disney World last August:

“Once upon a time, a young woman named Molly was bound for the magical Disney World for a week’s worth of fun and frolicking. Her tale does not involve hallmarks like evil witches, poisonous apples, fairy godmothers, spontaneous singing, or charming woodland critters capable of human speech. Rather, it is a story about balancing diabetes while trying to make the most of a much-needed vacation with her handsome prince – erm, boyfriend.”

Why is it my favorite? Here’s the list of reasons:

  • I got to flex my creative writing muscles with this post. I wrote it in the fashion of a satirical fairytale, and really enjoyed the writing process.
  • It was a wonderful memory of an awesome vacation with my boyfriend and his family.
  • It’s a wonderful memory associated with diabetes, proving it’s not all bad.
  • It reminds me of the fun that’s to come – in roughly one week, I’m headed on a DISNEY CRUISE with my parents and my brother!

This reflection on favorites and motivations just goes to show me the power of writing and expression, which I love so much!

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#DBlogWeek Day 5 – Foods on Friday

Foods on FridayLet me open this by saying that I love food. I enjoy buying it, preparing it, and consuming it. I wish I could spend more time exploring my creative side and trying new recipes, and I’m sure I’ll be able to do more of that in the future. Most of all, I love the social aspect of food. Each time I have dinner, I’m almost always with someone, whether it be my parents or my boyfriend or my friends. It’s always nice to sit down with people I love and eat a delicious meal together.

Those are the reasons why I’m particularly excited about today’s prompt for Diabetes Blog Week. The following is a list of what I ate on Wednesday of this week. It’s right in the middle of a typical work week for me, so I thought it would be a good example of the foods I consume on a standard day.

7:30 A.M. Breakfast: Mixed berry smoothie. I’m really into smoothies lately, likely because the weather is getting warmer and smoothies can be very refreshing. On this particular day, I took about ¾ of a cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk and blended it with a ½ cup of frozen strawberries, a ½ cup of frozen blueberries, and a couple tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt. I also added a packet of Splenda to the mix to make it a bit sweeter. This smoothie wasn’t too bad, and it was only about 25 grams of carbohydrate. I think it would have been better if it had half a banana blended in with it; alas, we were all out in my household. Still, it was a decent way to start my Wednesday.

12:00 P.M. Lunch: Turkey and provolone cheese on a sandwich thin, a Fiber One lemon square, and an apple. The sandwich thins are usually a good option because they’re only 20 grams of carbohydrate, so you don’t wind up skimping out on bread. I really like the Fiber One squares. They come in several flavors, with lemon being my recent favorite. They’re around 18 grams of carbohydrate, but have the benefit of being light in calories without lacking in flavor. I threw an apple into the mix as well because they keep me full and because I felt like I needed some sort of fruit or vegetable at lunch. Overall, it was a higher-carb meal consisting of roughly 60 grams of carbohydrate. I went on the treadmill about an hour later to walk some of it off.

5:30 P.M. Dinner: Home-cooked sausage, mushrooms, and onions on a bulkie roll with green beans and a small serving of vanilla ice cream. Normally, I would be hesitant to have a dessert when consuming a large amount of bread, but luckily this particular roll wasn’t too heavy in carbs. In addition to hitting the spot on a lovely spring evening, it was also a satisfying meal that kept me full for hours afterward. I calculated about 60 grams of carbohydrate total in the meal and bolused accordingly. I worked some of it off by digging out our old Dance Dance Revolution mat and playing a few rounds on the Wii – you’d be surprised by how hard you wind up working when playing this game.

9:30 P.M. Snack: Most nights, I don’t seem to need a snack before I go to bed. My blood sugar was 123 mg/dL at this time, which is a pretty awesome reading. In this case, I felt like I deserved a small reward and I couldn’t resist a handful of Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies. These mini snack crackers are a lot like Goldfish, except their claim to fame is being organic. They taste wonderfully cheesy and can be addicting. I took a very small bolus to prevent going up and fell asleep about an hour later.

There you have it, a list of what I eat in an average day. After writing this, my mouth is (predictably) watering. And I still have an hour to go until lunch…

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#DBlogWeek Day 4 – Changes

#DBlogWeek Day 4 – Changes - An example of how diabetes treatment has changed for me.

An example of how diabetes treatment has changed for me.

I think that “changes” and “diabetes” complement each other fairly well. In the nearly two decades that I’ve had diabetes, change has been inevitable and fascinating to watch.

First and foremost, the technology itself has changed drastically. I remember using a meter that would take a full 60 seconds to test my blood sugar. This is around the time I was in elementary school, and I would go to the nurse’s office to test before every lunch period. I’d pace the room while I waited the agonizingly long minute to obtain my blood sugar reading. Over time, the amount was reduced by a whole 55 seconds, so testing is much faster than it used to be.

That’s just the tip of the technology iceberg. Roughly five years ago, I was introduced to the Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) for the first time. This really changed the game for me and was super helpful when I went off to college. Since then, the CGM has become sleeker and more accurate: a trend that most diabetic devices seem to follow.

Okay, so those are a couple examples of big changes concerning blood sugar monitoring. But how has insulin injecting changed? When I was diagnosed, my shots were administered by drawing insulin out of a vial using a syringe. That changed when insulin pens came out. Now, all I had to do was screw a needle onto the pen, dial up how many units I needed at a given time, and inject myself. While it made transporting insulin from point A to point B much easier, it was also an imprecise injection practice. Your only choice was to inject a whole number of units instead of fractional amounts, forcing you to round up or round down each time you gave yourself a shot.

It was tough at times, but not as stressful as mixing insulin, as I had to do way back when. Remember cloudy and clear? Rapid-acting and long-acting insulin used to have to be combined in order to effectively manage my diabetes. I was a bit older when I started giving myself my own insulin injections, so this was primarily my parents’ job. I do remember “helping” them by rolling the little glass vial of NPH (which does not stand for Neil Patrick Harris) between my hands to mix up the cloudy insulin. I have to give major props to my parents for being pros at mixing the insulin. It’s stressful enough having to give your own child multiple shots daily. Nobody needs the extra challenge of making sure not to cross-contaminate vials of insulin.

And how could I forget the incredible strides that have been made in the realm of insulin pumps? As a relatively new pump user, I’m still getting acquainted with the many advantages associated with a pump. I’m not even sure of the exact number of insulin pumps that are out there, but I do know that they vary greatly – some have tubes, some don’t, some are touchscreen, some function as both a pump and a CGM…such an array makes me feel optimistic about future advancements to come.

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