Tuesday, November 10, 2015

T1D Looks like...

Type 1 Diabetes looks like family. 
T1D does not only effect the person with the condition but also their loved ones. During the first few months after my diagnosis, I remember how on edge my mom was. She was worried about my numbers, cooking proper meals for me, and how I was coping with this new lifestyle. Over the years, the worry has lessened but it will never cease to be there. When times get rough, I know my family is always there to support me in any capacity required.

Type 1 Diabetes looks like highs. 

These highs are not a sign of weakness or that a person is not taking care of himself or herself. The fluctuations are influenced by stress, insulin, activity level, sickness, and a thousand of other random factors that a person living with T1D has no control over.

Type Diabetes looks like supplies. 
Medical supplies are not optional for people with Type 1 Diabetes, they are a requirement to live. In just 1 month a person with T1D checks their blood glucose a minimum of 150 times and takes 120 shots ( or inserts 10 infusion sets if using an insulin pump). That's a minimum of 1,800 FINGER POKES PER YEAR! And these supplies are not cheap. People with T1D struggle constantly to pay for these necessary supplies, even with help from insurance.

Type 1 Diabetes looks like the lows. 
Low blood sugar can occurs when too much insulin is given, meals are skipped, or when one exercises more than usual. Most of the time though, low bg happens randomly at very inconvenient times and for no logical reason. Low blood sugar makes a person feel shaky, dizzy, out of energy, hungry, irritable, and incoherent. Sugar is required to return to a prefered state of being.

Type 1 Diabetes looks like emergency room visits.
When sickness strikes the body of a T1D, it wrecks more havoc than it does a non-diabetic. It is hard enough to deal with the normal flu symptoms but add to that trying to control erratic blood sugars and ketones. In many cases, a trip to the ER is in order to help with dehydration, nausea, and either extreme highs or lows. 

 Type 1 Diabetes looks like friends. 
But when times get tough, friends are always there to pull you through, I am so lucky to have a wonderful group of friends that always support me, some who also happen to live with T1D. They are always there for me to vent to and help me focus on the good of every situation. 

Type 1 Diabetes looks like me. 
It is a part of my life, but it is not all of my life. I am first and foremost a daughter, a sister, a friend, a teacher, and a figure skater who just also happens to have Type 1 Diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes looks like me but it could also look like YOU. Type 1 Diabetes can strike any person regardless of age, lifestyle, body type, and family history. So if you ever suspect it, please do not brush it off as an impossibility and plan a trip to the doctor. Know the warning signs, it could save a life. 

Warning signs of Type 1 Diabetes: 
  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination/bedwetting 
  • Nausea/Vomiting 
  • Headaches
  • Lethargy/drowsiness 
  • Itchy skin 
  • Labored breathing 
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Increased appetite 
  • Sudden vision changes 
  • Fruity odor on breathe 
  • Confusion/unconsciousness 
  • Tingling hands 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Happy Podding

 
                 It's so funny how fast life can change. Just over a month ago I was using my medtronic minimed pump and had no immediate plans to switch. Then came the CWD Friends for Life where I was exposed to so much wonderful technology and began to realize that there may be a better way for me to manage my own specific diabetes needs. After returning home I spent hours researching on the internet and settled on the omnipod. Now less than 40 days later, I am all hooked up with my pod and loving it!                                                                       Physically, the minimed pump and the pod perform all the same procedures and successfully deliver lifesaving insulin into my body. But mentally, I feel an enormous shift. I am so free and less constricted with the pods. I feel more like 'Morgan' and less like 'Morgan and Diabetes'. I never realized how much I hated being connected to tubing 24/7 and how self-conscious I was about it. Having the ability to virtually hide the pod under my clothes and forget about the D-monster for a bit is so nice!
               I am only 8 days into my podding adventure, but so far so good. This device has helped me relax and become more at ease which can only help both my physical and emotional health. 
BIONIC 

             
              

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Changing Things Up

                I have been using the Medtronic MiniMed Paradigm Pump for almost 4 years now. And from day one, I loved it. I enjoy the freedom it has given me to graze and not take multiple shots to cover this habit. It has made everything so much easier, allowing me to breath and celebrate the little things in life a bit more freely. Of course, there are a few downfalls to pumping including taking it off when exposed to water and having the entire contraption on your body 24/7. But overtime, I became so used to these minor inconveniences that I never thought about the other possible options.
The main influence behind my change to
Omnipod <3 
              Then I went to the CWD FFL conference. My roommate had the Omnipod tubeless pump. I had seen it online before and while I thought it was interesting, I didn't really think it had added benefits that my pump did not have. As the week went on my thoughts began to change as I got to see how the pods worked first hand. I was amazed by how small it really was and how well it could be hidden under clothes if wanted. I never thought bolusing and site changes with my current pump were difficult, but with the pod it is so much more discrete and simple. By the end of the conference, I was pro- Omnipod!
             After returning home from the conference, I intensely research the Omnipod and ways that I may be able to make the switch without upsetting insurance too much ;) I discovered the 'cut the cord' program which allows people already using a pump to switch to the Omnipod with a reasonable out-of-pocket fee. After much consideration, I have decided to go for it. I have nothing to loose, if I dislike the pods I can easily switch back to my current pump.
Pod  & PDM 
            I am ready to try something new. I am optimistic that the Omnipod will relieve some of the stress and amprehension I feel in regards to Diabetes management, which is always a good thing. My Omnipod shipment is  on its way and I couldn't be happier. Hurry up UPS!

Monday, July 20, 2015

2015 CWD Friends for Life: Seeing life through new eyes

       I recently returned from my very first Children With Diabetes Friends For Life conference at the happiest place on earth aka Disney world. The magnitude of this incredible experience is still hitting me and I am permanently changed because of it. It was amazing to be in a place where the people all spoke the "language of diabetes", there was a mutual understanding of how precious life is, and the selection of gluten free foods was just as large as the gluten filled variety. At FFL, I felt so at peace
and calm, something that I have rarely felt in the 4 years since my diagnosis. Seeing those green bracelets of belonging made my heart oh so happy (people with diabetes wear green wristbands, supporters wear orange,  and people with celiacs wear yellow). I was meant to be in this wonderful place surrounded by these extraordinary people who will forever be my friends for life.
 
     I immediately knew that I was in for a life changing week when I went to my eye exam with the expert Dr. Ben and his friendly staff. I got my eyes checked with state of art of the equipment that you will not find anywhere else and my eyes were given a clean bill of health other than spots from drinking too much tap water (time to get a filtered water bottle). During the 3 hour exam, I met a family that I will never ever forget. They are a wonderful family that took me under their wing during the conference. Our first connection was that I had the same pump as their 10 year old son, and I later learned we were diagnosed just 2 weeks apart. The mom was so so sweet to me and was by my side when I had an ugly site rip out during the banquet. When they say CWD is like one big family, they are not kidding.



   I would never have been able to have these experiences without help from the Diabetes Scholars Foundation who made this trip possible for me. At first, I was concerned of finding "my group" among thousands of conference attendees, but that fear was quickly washed away after attending a session run by Sean Oser, Scott Johnson, and the hilarious Kerri Sparling. I met a wonderful group of people my age and I immediately felt at ease with them, just knowing that they were going through similar things and not to mention the diabetes jokes we could share :p. One night at dinner, we all ordered diet cokes and got a strange look from the waitress until M proudly held up his green bracelet and proclaimed, "we all have diabetes, that's why we all ordered diet coke". There is confidence in numbers and us people with diabetes will stick together through thick and thin. When we were at Magic Kingdom and someone had a low, we all sat on the ground together in line until all was well. More often than not, I was the low one and I for the first time I did not feel embarrassed about it because I was surrounded by those who understood. I will never again feel alone on the world of T1D because I now have an extensive support system of people that I can exchange advice with.
   At the end of the week, I walked away with not only new friendships but also HOPE for the future. I was fortunate enough to have attended Dr. Ed Damiano's session discussing his advancements with the Bionic Pancreas project. He introduced his new prototype for the only fully integrated, fully automated bihormonal bionic pancreas called the iLet. This device is set to be released in 2018 and will drastically change the lives of all those living with T1D, as we will no longer need to check our blood sugar or count carbs. Even though it will still require us to wear infusion sets and a CGM, it is a monster step forward and I know that this community can make it happen. I am so blessed to have discovered the CWD community and am already counting down the days until next year's conference. See you soon my friends <3

Sunday, May 17, 2015

D-blog Week 2015- Making Connections

          This week I am participating in the 6th annual Diabetes Blog Week. Each day there is a designated prompt that is meant to advocate about the different issues surrounding diabetes. Today's topic is Continuing Connections.  The very first inspiration for Diabetes Blog Week was to help connect our blogging community, and that continues to be the most important reason it's held every year.  So let's help foster and continue those connections as we wrap up another D-blog Week.  Share a link to a new blog you've found or a new friend you've made.  Or pick a random blog off of the Participant's List, check it out and share it with us.  Let's take some time today to make new friends.

      This year was the first time I made it through the entire Diabetes Blog week. It is always difficult to find the time to write a blogpost 7 days in a row, but this year I was inspired. Each evening I would read more than 2 dozen blogposts written by T1D peers. Reading their words brought feelings of understanding and hope. I love being a part of the wonderful Diabetes Online Community. 

New Blogs I Discovered: 
  • Heather of Unexpected Blues- Heather's blogposts have a wonderful flow of wisdom combined with a sense of humor that really draws me in. I especially loved her vlog post on day 1 of D-blog week because sometimes you just have to be silly :). 
  • Molly of ASweetLife- I immediately felt connected to this blog because it is so nice to read the thoughts of a blogger who is the same age as me and writes about experiences that are similar to mine.
Longtime Favorites: 
  • Kerri of Six Until Me- Kerri is one of the main reasons why I began blogging. She inspired me from start with how blunt and raw her thoughts are. She has showed me that it is ok to talk about the difficulties of life with T1D and find humor in it every step along the way. 
  • Danica of Diabetic Danica- I love Danica's videos and watching them often cause me to both laugh and cry. She is not only hilarious but also extremely knowledgable. My favorite of her videos created for D-blog week was from day 4 about what should like to change about Diabetes, as I share many of the same thoughts. 
  • Karen of Bitter~Sweet- I would like to thank Karen for once again organizing this amazing event. I cannot imagine how much time and energy this takes. I know we all appreciate her hard work. 
Here are more Continuing Connections - Sunday 5/17 posts.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

D-blog Week 2015- Favorites & Motivations

              This week I am participating in the 6th annual Diabetes Blog Week. Each day there is a designated prompt that is meant to advocate about the different issues surrounding diabetes. Today’s topic is Favorites and Motivations.  If you have been blogging for a while, what is your favorite sentence or blog post that you have ever written?  Is it diabetes related or just life related?  If you are a new blogger and don't have a favorite yet, tell us what motivated you to start sharing your story by writing a blog?  (Thank you Laddie of Test Guess and Go for suggesting this topic.)

       
I have been in the blogging world for about 3 years. I was first motivated to begin blogging because I had found such hope in reading the blogs of others and felt inspired to share my perspective of being diagnosed in my late teenage years, Since starting my blog, I have found that I am the most comfortable in writing about my own personal experiences living with Type 1 Diabetes as well as advocating and finding positivity in every situation. 
     My favorite post I have made on this blog was centered on not only T1D but also other chronic illnesses. In this post I asked for no judgment by stating " All of these diseases suck, but all the sufferers I know are so much more than their disease. They are HUMANS, they are FIGHTERS, and they LIVE LIFE WITH NO REGRETS. So please DO NOT JUDGE. Treat everyone with respect because we all live with something that has changed us. An invisible story that makes us who we are”. This blog entry was full of emotion and simply asked for the genreal public not to judge people who live life differently than they do. You can read my full post, An Invisible Story by clicking here

Friday, May 15, 2015

D-blog Week 2015- Crazy Stories

           

         This week I am participating in the 6th annual Diabetes Blog Week. Each day there is a designated prompt that is meant to advocate about the different issues surrounding diabetes. Today I selected a wildcard topic entitled crazy stories. Diabetes can sure bring some crazy moments.  So tell us your Top 3 craziest D related stories!  If you can't think of three, don't worry.  We're just as happy with one or two . . . .  (Thank you Maria M of My Life: A Long Trip with T1D for this topic). 
Friends for Life <3 
               In my experience, Diabetes has proved to have a way to bring people together for life. The journey to my diagnosis is undoubtedly an example of that. This story started 10 years before I was diagnosed. In 2001, I met this girl, E, at my learn to skate class. We became fast friends and were inseparable during our ice show that year. That summer we both began taking private lessons from the same coach, but I soon realized I did not see E for a few weeks. I was relieved to see her return in the fall. Unbeknownst to me, E was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes that summer at the age of 8. I was introduced to the disease in a very matter of fact way and really thought nothing of it. E simply just had to take a few extra steps in life, but she was no different than me. Over the years I learned so much about insulin pumps, empty reservoirs, carb counting, high and low bgs, and finger pricks during skating practices, competitions, camps, and sleepovers. I always paid close attention to what she did when it came to T1D management and asked many questions. I am sure this annoyed her from time to time ;). Through it all, E & I were the best of friends and got to spend so much time together. Fast forward to the spring of 2010, we were finishing our Junior year of high school and got the devastating news that the ice rink we spent our lives at was getting rid of the skating program. This led to us skating at different rinks and we hardly saw each other.  Then in the early days of 2011, I started experiencing strange symptoms, but E and T1D  never crossed my mind. But that fateful day came, and I was diagnosed with T1D at the age of 17. The first phone call my mom made was to E's mom. And before I knew it, E was by my side with me in my hospital bed. I remember that visit we were both pretty quiet which is unusual for us. But really, no words were required. Just having her there made things easier for me. If she could do this, I knew I could too. Knowing that T1D never stopped her from doing anything that she wished gave me the confidence to fight the D- monster head on. I believe that people become friends for a greater purpose, and that holds true in this situation. I am blessed to have her in my life. 

For more of my crazy Diabetes stories, click the links below....
Here are more " Crazy Stories" Wildcard posts.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

D-blog Week 2015- Changes

         

      This week I am participating in the 6th annual Diabetes Blog Week. Each day there is a designated prompt that is meant to advocate about the different issues surrounding diabetes. Today’s topic is Changes.  Today let's talk about changes, in one of two ways.  Either tell us what you'd most like to see change about diabetes, in any way.  This can be management tools, devices, medications, people's perceptions, your own feelings – anything at all that you feel could use changing.  OR reflect back on some changes you or your loved one has seen or been through since being diagnosed with diabetes.  Were they expected or did they surprise you?

          Something that I would love to see and help change is people's perception of Type 1 Diabetes. This is something that comes up in my everyday life and is a constant discussion with my friends who also live with T1D. I feel like the general public is just genuinely confused and does not understand that there are several different types of Diabetes and there is not just one set of criteria. Recently, I was working my front office job and a friendly lady who came up and asked if I would like her leftover 2 dozen cookies because she had Diabetes and could not eat them. I politely told her I had a gluten allergy and could not eat them and then added that I also had Type 1 Diabetes, just to try and make a connection. She then began to leave and then abruptly turned around and stated, "you are pretty skinny to be diabetic". This statement always stops me in my track. Type 1 Diabetes does not care about your size, how much you exercise, or your eating habits. It comes despite how 'healthy' we may seem. It is like winning the lottery. 
         I would love for there to be more education on this subject. For starters, most commercials for insulin or other Diabetic products are centered around middle-aged and elderly adults who are often over weight. I would love to see an insulin pen commercial centered around a child just to break the barrier and show that this can happen to anyone. I am also committed to helping educate all people in my path that seem interested. The main goal being to show them that no one is safe from this disease. It can come at any age, any BMI, any race. No one is immune, so educating people on the symptoms and such could help save lives. Changing people's perceptions on Diabetes will help every involved. 

Here are more Changes - Thursday 5/14 posts.
        
       

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

D- blog week 2015- Clean it Out

          

         This week I am participating in the 6th annual Diabetes Blog Week. Each day there is a designated prompt that is meant to advocate about the different issues surrounding diabetes. Today’s topic is Clean it Out.  Yesterday we kept stuff in, so today let's clear stuff out.  What is in your diabetic closet that needs to be cleaned out?  This can be an actual physical belonging, or it can be something you're mentally or emotionally hanging on to.  Why are you keeping it and why do you need to get rid of it?  (Thank you Rick of RA Diabetes for this topic suggestion.) Here are more Clean it Out - Wednesday 5/13 posts.
All clean and organized, until the next emergency site change 
      When I first left the hospital with my T1D diagnosis, my mom was focused on keeping all my stuff organized. So immediately after I was released from the hospital and still in my pajamas, we stopped at our local office supply store to pick up a wheeled 4-drawer storage organizer. All of the drawers were color-coded to house all of my supplies from low treatments (glucose tabs, juice, peanut butter crackers, etc.) to syringes and everything in between. But this system of organization did not last long. Once I moved on from injections to an insulin pump and CGM, all my neatness and organization went out the window. I now own what feels like a lifetime supply of reservoirs and everything is a bit scattered. In the last year, I have committed myself to cleaning it out every 2 months so it has been staying quite organized as of late. My purse is still a disaster zone with about 100 loose used test strips floating around and a couple empty glucose tab containers. Since my purse is my private property and no one has to see it, I don't bother to keep it looking acceptable. At times it just feels like too much to deal with. 

Diabetes is not easy to tame and that is true when it comes to both physical belongings and emotional baggage. After every site change and sensor replacement, I often simply do not feel like properly taking care of all the supplies and they can be left out for several days. This is not because I am a messy person or do not care about my belongings, it's just that sometimes I do not have the energy or will power that day. That leads me to an emotional issue that I struggle with, comparing myself to others that do not have T1D. I find myself jealous of others who must not take all these extra step to complete a simple task such as preparing and eating breakfast. But then I remember that doing these extra things is what keeps me alive and well. I have come to understand that in some instances I must focus on myself and what needs to be done. This does not make me selfish, I am just doing what is necessary to continue to thrive in life. And that involves cleaning out my Diabetic closet every now and then.