Sunday, July 20, 2014

I Wear my Pump on my Hip... and my CGM

I am loving the #showmeyourpump pictures on twitter this week. If you've been living under a rock, this fantastic and empowering hashtag for diabetics everywhere started because of this year's winner of Miss Idaho 2014. What does some beauty pageant have to do with pumps or even diabetes? Well, Miss Idaho, Sierra Sandison is a type 1 diabetic that walked down the stage of the pageant in a bikini while wearing her pump! (It's a t:slim, to be exact!)  On her Instagram post, she talked about how it is, "terrifying walking out on stage in a swimsuit, let alone attached to a medical device. My message to everyone, diabetic or not, is that we all have something that doesn't "measure up" to the beauty standards set by the media--and that is okay! It does not make you any less beautiful." Her message was amazing and she encouraged diabetics to post a picture of themselves with their pump, insulin pens, shots, or any other medical device they use because they are diabetic. After she posted this, the DOC quickly saw her photo and her story and suddenly thousands of people have been sharing pictures of themselves with their pumps. It's amazing to see everyone so proud of their small devices that keep them alive, as they should be! After all, if you have something that keeps you alive, you should be proud to show it off- it keeps you alive!

YAY FOR SHOWING PUMPS i almost typed pimps instead of pumps there
Yay so I'm just really excited about #showmeyourpump because I love seeing everyone so proud of their pumps. Especially people my age, since most of the other teen diabetics I know hide their pumps from the public and try to avoid being see with it on at all costs. AHH I'M JUST REALLY EXCITED YAY

Okay, so you've read about the pump portion of my post, so let's move on to the other, almost-as-important device in the title of my post: my CGM. So I've decided that I am going to try putting my CGM on my hip because it's as perfectly good to use as any other site I've used for my CGM. I'll report back to you with how it goes, so we can determine in a TOTALLY scientific way if this is a good site.

Moral of the Story: PUMPS ARE COOL

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Back Story (of Moi)

I've been going through my blog and updating some stuff (see: my entire sidebar!) and I realized that I have never actually posted my diagnosis story. That's pretty weird for a blog all about diabetes, right? Because I've come to this realization, I'm finally going to tell you guys about my diagnosis. Before I start this, I should warn you that I don't have too many memories of being diagnosed, since I was diagnosed when I was 5 1/2 years old and it's been 10 1/2 years since then. Well then, let's get into it.

From what my mom tells me, my kindergarten teacher first noticed the symptoms. (Random blurb: what I remember the most about my teacher is her telling me one day while I was working on something that I said I, "can't do," that the word 'can't' was not allowed in her classroom. She told me to say that what I was doing was challenging, but could be done. This little blurb of a memory has stuck with me since then. I digress.) My teacher noticed that I was going to the bathroom. A lot. I would raise my hand while she was reading and have to go, I would go to the bathroom, then five minutes later I would raise my hand and ask to go to the bathroom again. After she noticed this, she called my mom and told her what was happening. My mom has told me that she never really noticed any symptoms and that she just thought I was drinking a lot of water because I was growing. (Or something along the lines of that.) Thinking I had an UTI, my mom called the pediatrician and made an appointment.

The doctor ran a few tests then walked into our room. He told my mom that I had diabetes; I cried and hugged my stuffed bear, Maggie while I was sitting in my mom's lap once we heard the news. I'm pretty sure I had no idea what diabetes was at that point: I just knew it was bad. We were told that we had to go to the hospital. At the time that hospital was known as Scottish Rite, but now it is better known as Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

At the hospital, I got one of the 'old-school' fancy Rufus the bears. She had one of those white bear-sized JDRF shirts on over her dress. I remember laying in my hospital bed and watching George of the Jungle one night and Anne of Green Gables the next day. The most vivid memory I have from my stay at the hospital was of the first time I had to get a shot. The syringe was just one of your typical BD 30 unit syringes; I refused to let the doctor give me that first shot, demanding that my mother give me my very first shot. She pinched some skin on my arm and the needle went into my skin. It hurt. A blood tester was lying on the table in the corner of my room. This first blood tester in the saga of its many successors was the OneTouch Ultra Smart.

This is metaphorical or something, right?
I was put on a pump about a year and a half later. Being on trial for the Animas IR 1200 was the coolest thing ever, and I walked up the driveway after I got home excitedly showing everyone my cool new 'toy.' (When I switched from my IR 1200 to my Ping, I was very traumatized and disturbed that Animas had replaced the arrow button with a button with 'OK' on it. Needless to say, I don't do change well.) For many years my parents had to put in my pump sites for me, since I used the Comfort infusion sites. (AKA the weirdly angled sites without inserters.) During my first year at camp, I put in my site for the first time. All I did once I got back was brag and brag and brag to my parents; however, I still refused to do put my sites in myself. It was still a scary thing to do! While I was at camp another year, I discovered that there were Inset 30's that had inserters: I could finally put my own site in! This was pretty amazing for me; I was really excited when I got to try one out at camp. After getting back from camp, I asked my parents about using those instead. I used those for a while, until I found out about the regular Insets. (Also at camp; surprise!) We asked the doctor if I had enough fat to use those, (that's probably the only time you'll ever see someone being happy for having fat) and I did. Happily, I used those instead. The first time I put an Inset in was in Jamaica. Putting in a blue site, but then using a pink pump site clip when I went swimming was pretty much the coolest thing ever.

In middle school, I decided I wanted to try going off of the pump. (Probably because I felt like the odd one out.) What I told my parents was that my pump was getting in the way of exercising during gym. (This was true. It would bounce up and down while I was jumping and hit me because I was still using a Pump Pak. This one, to be exact. I used a Pump Pak because when I was in first grade I tried to clip my pump to my pink sweatpants, but they kept falling down. Now I can wear pump clips without any worries of that happening, thankfully.) We went to the doctor and I was trained on how to use insulin pens. The first time that I wanted to switch back to my pump, it was right before seventh grade. That did not work very well. (Random seventh grade memory: this girl that I thought was really cool told me that testing my blood was gross in the locker room and then I proceeded to dislike her a lot, and I got mad at my best friend at the time for being friends with her. Sorry for the sidetracking again.) Soon after, I went back to pens, since we didn't have enough sites. I switched back to my pump permanently before 8th grade since I felt left out at camp, being the only one on a pen, and I've been on a pump since then.

And that's where this version of my blog begins, and my life is chronicled in much more detail, at least diabetes-wise, here. You guys know all about me waiting forever to get my CGM. (And CGM sites.) You guys also know all about Camp Kudzu and the weird stuff that happens at school. This probably sounds super weird, but I never knew how amazing it would be to share all of my ups and downs with diabetes with (former) complete strangers on the internet. You are the best.

Moral of the Story: Having fond memories of pump sites is truly an experience that only diabetics will have... (Is that a good thing or a bad thing?)

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Great Jumbled Mess

So you know how I've said repeatedly that late-night blog posts are the best? Well, I think I just found a blog post type to top even those: blog posts written after no sleep because of high blood sugar. Savor this one because (hopefully) blog posts like these will not be happening often. (Let's hope for everyone's sake that this doesn't happen again. Or I might be like this. All day. At everyone.) I'm sure you're wondering what exactly lead to these events, so I might as well tell you the whole story.

First of all, I've been terribly lazy when it comes to covering stuff. I'll just eat and won't cover it, even though I know I'll feel like crap later. It's stupid. It's probably burnout. I always already 300 and I ate a piece of my sister's delicious lemon meringue pie. (This was a very idiotic idea, by the way.) I covered 4 units (32 carbs) and it was probably waaaay more. (I haven't had sugary desserts in a while since I was a vegan for 3ish years, so that didn't help. I'm a vegetarian now, but back to the story.) Then I ate another one and didn't cover it. Why? I have no clue. It probably has something to do with burnout. Then I ate two bowls of semi-sugary cereal and didn't even bother to look at the carbs. Stupid me. Then I went to my room and I didn't test until 1:25 am and I was 394.

The old insulin in question and my CGM showing part of the lovely remnants of last night.
At first I just covered it and I went down to 240 about 2 hours later, and then an hour later I was still feeling terrible, so I tested and I was 292. UGH. (I think I changed my site at this point. And this is at 4:28 am, by the way.) At 5 am I was 283 so I gave the suggested bolus of 1.50ish units via syringe and tested 50 minutes later and was 271, so I tried giving 2 units (1/2 of the full correction) via syringe and with insulin from a new vial. 30 minutes later (AKA 30 minutes ago as I am typing this,) I was 168 and now, I happily have a down arrow on my CGM. After I stayed up all night, I figured out that the culprit was probably bad insulin.

This is the second time that my insulin has gone bad this summer, and I'm suspecting it has happened twice because I'm not giving as much insulin to myself. My lack of insulin giving = leaving cartridges in for 4 days which = insulin sitting in vial longer than usual, which finally leads to the end result of my insulin going bad. I finally gained the common sense to write the date that I started using the insulin on the vial, so I'll know when to stop using the insulin. This post is a jumbled mess. Oops. Late night rants are still better than this. This is just a confusing arrangement of words due to lack of sleep...

Moral of the Story: This is sleep deprivation at it's not-so finest. I think I might try to sleep now.

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Thank You

Today, my blog post about camp was featured on Diabetes Mine's June DOC Roundup! This is so amazing because I can remember back in the beginnings of me blogging (AKA the first edition of my blog that apparently still exists...) reading 3 blogs: Six Until Me, The Butter Compartment, and Diabetes Mine. (Also on the list of people's blog I've been reading since middle school: Kim, Kelly, and Karen. I see a trend going on here with K names...) I've talked to Kerri, Kim, Kelly, and Karen before via #dsma and comments on my blog and I've also talked to Lee Ann in the comments of my blog, so now being featured on one of the blogs I've read since 2011 is absolutely amazing! (I've already called my dad, tweeted about it, and am about to email my Grandad and Aunt Susan about it.)

I wanted to give a huge thank you to everyone who reads my blog, comments on it, shows it to someone else they know, and even the people that stumble upon this page on accident and read it for a little. You guys make blogging a bazillion times more amazing than I ever imagined it could be and I can't wait to write more and more stuff on this amazing blog of mine. I also want to thank everyone that talks to me on twitter during #dsma, endo visits, or just whenever weird diabetes-related things are happening! You rock for being there in real time to lift my spirits when I'm feeling down. And I also want to thank everyone that simply likes or comments on my photos on instagram for letting me share little tidbits of my life with you guys in pictorial form. All of you rock so I just had to give you a big thank you for being the best!

You guys are the best.
Moral of the Story: Apparently people find the thoughts of a crazy teenage girl entertaining. Who knew?

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

DIZMA

Yesterday at #dsma, Meri introduced us all to a new pronunciation of DSMA. Let it go down in history that I linked #dsma (one of the best things ever) to the Emperor's New Groove (one of the best movies ever.)


And now I leave you with this:

What happens when I think #dsma is on a Tuesday.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Camp!

Camp this year was one of my favorite years! I made so many new friends and had so much fun this year. This year, I wrote down notes on what I wanted to talk about, which means that this post is going to be really long. Meh, I might as well document my week at camp as accurately as possible, so all of the non-campers can realize how amazing camp is.

So apparently our cabin this year was the bug cabin of Camp Kudzu. We found a dead millipede in the showers and a spider by someone's bed on the first night, there was a dead bug on my sheets, a daddy long leg on my towel, a millipede on my towel, and a demonic looking bug on one of my friend's shoulders that looked like a huge zooplankton. I'm cringing just thinking about that bug. I tried to look it up and I can't because it was just too creepy. I repeat, I am cringing over here as I type this sentence. EW. EW. EW. But I digress. Besides the bugs, stuff that happened in and outside of the cabin was pretty fun.

I learned how to play a ton of fun mind games: Snaps, the Valley of the Green Glass Door, Wombat, and This Can Has 5 Sides were the main ones I played. (Snaps is my personal favorite, and I'm going to have to see if my friends can figure out how it works.) Genevieve, one of our cabin's "cabin buddies," (The staff members of the camp that Camp Kudzu is held at that stays with our cabin during shoes off; Camp Kudzu doesn't own a campsite, but instead rents out a campsite for the three sessions of camp,) taught us all of these games.

My cabin this year! This took about 7 tries to make it kind of not blurry.
Some of my favorite activities that we did this year included tie dye, paddle boarding, and zip lining. I made one of the best tie dye shirts this year and I'm so happy with how it looks. Paddle boarding was the activity that surprised everyone in my cabin (including me) the most. We were expecting it to be really difficult and not that exciting, but it turned out to be the most fun activity we did this year. We paddle boarded around the lake, under the fountain in the lake, and we may have purposely fell in the lake a couple of times because it was a lot of fun... (Note: When I say we, I mean everyone in the cabin.) Zip lining has always been fun, so it being my favorite was not a surprise at all.

I did one of my favorite dimensions (the after dinner program for teens) again this year: boating. This year it was rather unproductive because on Monday night I stayed below 120 (120 is the minimum blood sugar to be able to participate in physical activities at camp,) the whole time; on Tuesday night, it rained and dimensions were cancelled; (Have I mentioned that it rained almost every night at camp?) and on Wednesday I was only in a boat for 20 minutes because I went low. Again. Yay for lows! Not.

On Tuesday night, we had a mini-concert where one of our counselors, which happens to be a singer that will be dropping a new album in the near future (!) sang a few of her new songs. I wasn't expecting much, but it was actually a lot of fun. After she sang and talked about living with diabetes, Justin, the guy that sings with everyone after lunch and dinner, sang in the gym and we all got to dance around and have fun in the gym. I even found Anna and we totally rocked out to the Lazy Song and probably scared a few people with how loudly we were singing.

The "official" cabin photo from this year. I'm on the farthest right on the first row.
Wednesday night was color wars and this year Anna and I were both on the blue team. I think my cabin was actually supposed to be on the red team because all of the even cabins were red and our cabin was number 12, so we should have been red. There were also more cabins on the blue team than on the red team, so that's why I'm thinking we were accidentally put on the wrong team. We were all guessing that the people in charge accidentally made cabin 13, the clinician cabin, red, so they thought the teams were even, but in reality they gave a team to a cabin of people that weren't campers. I'm not complaining, though, because the blue team won for the teen color wars and I had much more blue stuff to wear than red stuff, so it all worked out for me in the end.

I also had a lot of fun at the music party. (AKA the dance, but it isn't allowed to be called a dance because everyone thought you had to get a date to it, and people without "dates" felt bad, so the name had to be changed.) For the "music party," my sister and I decided on going as the Wonder Twins. We had matching purple shirts with the Wonder Twins' symbols on them, matching black and purple shorts, and matching knee-high socks. (Side note: dancing in knee-high socks in a gym for over an hour is not the best idea. One word sums it up: SWEAT.) One of the girls in my cabin did some magic on my hair (AKA put it in an upside down French braid) and made it look amazing. The dance was a ton of fun and it was nice to be able to talk and dance with all of my friends, especially the people that I didn't see a lot because they weren't in my cabin.

We did one of those cool converse circle pictures, except with our pumps. Guess which one is mine.
The one not-really-fun-at-all thing that happened at camp this year was the NPH incident. My blood sugar was running high around midnight, which is when the clinicians come to check everyone's blood sugars to make sure they are in safe range for sleeping. At 11 PM my blood sugar was in the high 200's and at camp you aren't allowed to give any insulin without your clinician being there, so I was told to drink some water, as usual, and wait for midnight rounds. At midnight I was 313 and had 0.3 ketones, so the clinician (which was not my usual clinician) had me cover it and go back to bed. At 1 AM the same clinician came back to check my blood sugar and ketones. I was 366, but my ketones had gone down to 0.2. Instead of waiting for the insulin to work (it had only been an hour,) the clinician made me disconnect from my pump and take a few units of NPH. Keep in mind that it is about one in the morning when all of this happened and I had no earthly clue what NPH was (apparently it's like Lantus with a shorter duration of working,) so I laid in my bed and cried a tiny bit then stayed up for what I'm assuming was 45 minutes to an hour. (My pump was off so I have no clue how long I was actually up for since I don't have any other way of keeping track of time at camp. Another side note: I didn't bring my phone to camp, as usual, and apparently this is surprising and shocking to most adults. Apparently most teenagers can't take 6 day phone breaks. Who knew?) I woke up at 284 and still detached from my pump until right before breakfast; needless to say, I was tired and annoyed that morning. That was pretty much the only annoying thing at camp.

Camp was amazing this year and I am so excited to (hopefully) be able to be a CIT at camp next year! I can't wait to be able to actually help out behind the scenes at camp and be able to help be a counselor for a cabin of little kids just like I was when I started camp.

Moral of the Story: I hope camp will be as amazing as it was this year, next year. Sans the bugs, though.

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Friday, May 30, 2014

Superheroes, Camp, and the Endo

So I went to the endocrinologist yesterday and my A1C was the same as last time. What demonic force has caused this? How do I go high almost every night but still maintain the same A1C? If anyone has the answers to these questions, it would be greatly appreciated. I've been going high at night because I'll forget to cover dinner and then it will all go downhill from there, so my endo told me to start covering at least half of my dinner before I eat so I at least remember to cover half of my food and don't go as high as I usually do after dinner. I put on my ankle brace last night because my ankle had been hurting and when I took it off this morning I had a weird rash and indentations on my leg and foot. The doctor saw it and told me not to wear it again because I'm probably allergic to something in the brace. So now we need to find me a new ankle brace. The doctor also signed my sister and my physical forms for camp, so now we have all of our forms and can actually go to camp!

Every year, Camp Kudzu has a dance with a theme and this year's theme is super heroes. At first my sister and I were going to go as the Wonder Twins, since people often ask if we are twins. (I'm 16 and she's 12. We're definitely not twins.) Then, another superhero (or technically super villain, but whatever) spoke to me. Deadpool. He's pretty much the most sarcastic villain you'll see. I can envision it now. Taco shirts + sarcastic buttons = amazing and entertaining for all. Or maybe we should be the Wonder Twins. I can see matching shirts, shorts, and bows in my future if we do that. That would be fun, too. Either way, camp is going to be amazing.

I am so excited for camp this year. We just got the packing list for camp today because it apparently got lost in my dad's email inbox, so now it's time for me to inventory what I already have and figure out what I want need for camp this year. This may include a new orange water bottle and matching Chacos. (I already own Chacos I don't actually need any... But I want some.) So basically excitement for camp incites a want for new, camp related stuff.

Moral of the Story: Maybe I should be the Joker instead...

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Saturday, May 17, 2014

#dblogweek Day Six: Saturday Snapshots



So It's Saturday and I'm still here! I was going to attempt to do one of those a photo an hour posts, but the photos weren't really as exciting or fun as I had expected them to be. Instead, I'll just be going through a few old photos (you might see some repeats from old blog posts) that I really think sum up diabetes in my life.

The Prompt:
Back for another year, let’s show everyone what life with diabetes looks like! With a nod to the Diabetes 365 project, let’s grab our cameras again and share some more d-related pictures. Post as many or as few as you’d like. Feel free to blog your thoughts on or explanations of your pictures, or leave out the written words and let the pictures speak for themselves.

If this doesn't sum up diabetes in one picture, what does? 
Would you have guessed that everyone but two adults in this picture are diabetic?
SO MUCH TRASH
Diabetes really helps me mature by letting me drink juice boxes!
The pin is also important.
Moral of the Story: Diabetes = Pins + Juice Boxes + Camp + Weird Graphs

Do you want to look at more awesome photos from other bloggers? Click here to see all of them!

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Friday, May 16, 2014

#dblogweek Day Five: Diabetes Life Hacks



Yes, I am still here! Yes, this is still another scheduled post. Do not fear, though tomorrow's and Sunday's posts will be written the day the post is written. *the crowd gasps loudly* Today is going to be fun because I get to talk about all the little weird things I've figured out to do to make doing normal stuff easier when it comes to diabetes. So let's get onto the weirdness!

The Prompt:
Share the (non-medical) tips and tricks that help you in the day-to-day management of diabetes. Tell us everything from clothing modifications, serving size/carb counting tricks to the tried and true Dexcom-in-a-glass trick or the “secret” to turning on a Medtronic pump’s backlight when not on the home-screen. Please remember to give non-medical advice only!
Ah yes I am well known for doing weird things to adapt my diabetes to normal life. I put my Dexcom in a glass. I'm sure you've seen 5000 different photos of my Dexcom in/ near its favorite Jack Daniels glass. I also wear running shorts that would not be allowed out of the house otherwise under dresses, so I can actually clip my pump to something. (I cannot for the love of all things good clip it to my bra. It just doesn't happen, so running shorts are the alternative.) Once I tied a bandana around my thigh so I could clip my pump somewhere for a chorus concert. Sexy. I know.

It's a two-in-one photo! The Dexcom-in-a-glass trick and a fashionable case!
I'm not sure if I'm just completely out of the loop, but I found out at camp last year from the Medtronic Rep that was in the Pump Palace (the cabin where pumpers change their sites) that when using the Animas Inset or Medtronic Mio infusion sets that the easiest thing to do when changing your site is to rewind your pump, attach the new cartridge to the tubing in the unused infusion site, put that cartridge in, then prime it before you put your site in. You can then put your site in and you don't have to unattach your pump from the site after that. It was so stupidly logical that I can't believe I had never thought about doing that before. It saves time and makes it so much easier to put in your site.

And if you want a fashionable way to protect your Dexcom from abuse, you can use a Vera Bradley Zip ID Case to put it in. All you need to do to make your Dexcom fit is to turn the case inside out and cut out the little card divider that holds your ID card in place in the wallet. I learned about this from Sara's post on Moments of Wonderful. This little tutorial has been keeping my Dexcom pretty ever since I found it.

Moral of the Story: My Dexcom is more fashionable than I will ever be.

If you want to learn my tips and tricks to make diabetes a little cuter or easier to deal with, check out all of the posts here!

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