Tag: diabetes management

I Am Not My Diagnosis

I am NOT my diagnosis

By: Shaily Parmar


“You don’t look diabetic?”

“Did you eat too much sugar as a kid?”

“So does your sugar stays high or low?”

“Can you eat that?”

“But you’re not even fat!!!?”

“You should try alternate therapy”

“Please don’t do that in front of me!”

“I thought only kids have type 1!” (Seriously?!)

“I don’t know how you puncture yourself several times a day/I could never be a diabetic …”

Like we could make the choice not to have it!!

Being a type 1 diabetic, you must have probably heard one or more of the above things and many more other responses when you tell someone for the first time that you are a diabetic.

I was 21, when I was diagnosed as a type 1 diabetic with a BG of 553. So I have spent more time with my active pancreas than my other type 1 friends who were diagnosed at a much early age. I know it’s a huge amount to take in when you’re newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The memory of the moment of the diagnosis is a profound one. The moment that distinctly sep the past and the future. A choice is made for you without your consent. It’s usually a huge shock and we wonder how we’re going to cope with such life-altering news.

Most of us are misinformed, have little or no idea about this auto-immune disease. It’s not unusual. I, for one, had absolutely no clue about type 1 diabetes prior to being diagnosed. I was hospitalized for a week.

After I was discharged, I tried handling this new world of diets, medications and monitoring blood glucose levels. Life style changes that I made were not so difficult but they were not so straightforward either.

It could be overwhelming and terrifying and naturally one would feel that: ‘Now my life will be limited. This disease will weigh me down’, but fortunately I felt no such hindering emotions.

I don’t know why but from the moment I was diagnosed I accepted the fact that this is happening and I needed to readily accept it to control it before it could control me and my life. I knew this was life’s reality. I had to do what was required and I did. There is no escape, especially not by repeatedly asking, ‘Why me?’

There is denial first, then there is bargaining, then comes acceptance and then finally the peace of acceptance.

The faster you accept it, the easier it becomes to live with it. I wouldn’t say to get over it because you cannot get over it. But yes eventually it becomes easy to carry it with you. We all come to terms with having diabetes in our own way and at our own pace.

There are challenges everyday in living with type 1, injecting yourself with insulin and pricking your fingers to check your blood sugar multiple times a day being the most challenging and painful(yet tolerable). You’ll hear this remark from others from time to time: “How could you do this to yourself every day? I could not.”

But I say, “Yes, you could.” It takes 15 seconds to take one insulin shot. Four times such shots adds to one minute. It takes probably 8 seconds to check blood sugar. Doing it (at least) three times takes 25 seconds. So that sums up to only a minute and half in your entire day.

I think I can manage that because I love my life and want to keep living it.

I know it isn’t just one day. Its going be everyday for the rest of your life until a cure is found. No breaks. No vacations. Wherever you go diabetes will ride along with you. But isn’t your life worth it?

Taking timely insulin shots, eating healthy and following a decent exercise regime should ensure good control; still it is highly possible not to get normal blood sugars. But hey that’s why you’re called a diabetic!

The thing is that even after doing everything right sometimes you won’t get perfect blood sugars. It’s not easy and it’s tricky but don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t live up to those expectations. Give yourself some room to make mistakes.

Managing diabetes is a huge learning curve. A curve that never stops teaching. So be a constant learner.

Higher the mountain, treacherous the path. There will a lot of blood sugar swings which can and will get your emotions messed up. Don’t get discouraged if things don’t go as you planned.

It is a progression over time. Gather as much knowledge as you can. We are all trying our best and we can’t let diabetes get the best of us. Just remember there are bigger problems than a 4mm needle.

I thought I have got it all sorted out. Eat right (and by eat right I don’t mean give up your favorite food). Count carbs. Take your shot. Check blood sugar. Too high? Take correction dose. Check again. Too low? Have a snack. Be physically active. Don’t take stress. Sleep well. Repeat. Day after day it’s a silent battle. No finish line. So is that it? Sounds simple! But that’s an oversimplification.

It is far more complicated than I could precisely explain because food and taking insulin are few of the hundred other things that affect blood sugar.

The other hundred things play a huge part and they are hard to calculate. Of course we are required to be consistent in our efforts but that doesn’t guarantee a consistency in blood sugars.

I have been a diabetic for almost 5 years now and I am still learning. You change one factor and then there is a whole new curve to learn.  Some good days everything is so smooth and simply a part of routine, like brushing your teeth. And on some not-so-good-days, diabetes is determined to break our spirits. And in days like these, the fear of long term complications haunts us.

Although this fear never quite eludes us. There can be too much negativity and darkness in battling with type 1. Please don’t let one cloud obliterate the whole sky.

Diagnosed with non- preventable, irreversible disease is a life-transforming event. It could take you on a roller coaster of emotions. In the blink of an eye, your life is changed. Your ambitions, desires and priorities need re-adjustment. Those spontaneous plans you used to make, now needs planning ahead and always being primed to avoid the worst simultaneously being prepared if things don’t go as predicted.

Doing the same thing a hundred times and getting different results. Living just like others with school, jobs, and sports but with just a few extra hassles. Looking just like everyone else knowing we are not just like everyone else. Why? Because when diabetes allotted us the task of performing the job of an internal organ, it also gave us adequate strength to be one.

Diabetes gives us tears, yet it also makes us proud of ourselves. If diabetes has given you a huge responsibility, it has also made you mature beyond your age. I have never met an immature diabetic! It scares you but also gives you courage and hope that you’re not alone. Hope that a cure will be found.

Yes, my life has changed. I believe it has changed for better.

I have a wonderful life. A loving family. Amazing doctors and fantastic friends. I have not lost my dreams to diabetes. I have obtained a significant knowledge about diabetes. Education and encouragement are what we need to live longer and better lives. You’re NOT your diagnoses. You’re a fighter. You have a mission and a purpose. And if despite all these, I am here and if I can do it then you can too.

Let me conclude this with a quote from Mary Anne Radmacher, especially for those who are newly diagnosed, and for those who are struggling with diabetes and looking for inspiration-

“Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”

After all, we have tomorrows for a reason!


What It's Really Like To Have a Child With Type 1 Diabetes

What It’s Really Like To Have a Child With Type 1 Diabetes

What It’s Really Like To Have a Child With Type 1 Diabetes

By: Angela Ameno


The last thing a parent wants is for their child to experience any pain. When they do, as this can often be inevitable in life, you help them up, dust them off and move on looking ahead to better days.

As the parent of a child with Type 1 Diabetes –

There is no bandaid, no kissing the pain away, no moving on without this disease in tow. That is hardest part of this.  You can tell them they will be ok, tomorrow will be better but the truth is life is completely changed and there are no days off from this battle.

I will do anything for my child and have done everything I could to ease this burden since his diagnosis three years ago at the age of 9. I count carbs, weigh foods, make sure he always has his meter, snacks, and juice. The days march on without much thought to the routine of it all.

Your child looks normal to the outside world even though every second is consumed by this lurking burden.

Will his sugar be too high for test taking? Will it be too low for gym? Did I count lunch carbs correctly? It really can be a guessing game most of the time.

Then the night comes.

The nights are dark and it’s not always just because the sun has set.  I still check his blood sugar while he’s asleep. Stumbling, trying not to wake him. 2 A.M. or 3 A.M…sometimes every few hours. Sometimes his tiny fingers poke through blankets as if he knows I’m coming and will keep him safe.

Other times I work to gently pry his arm from under his cocoon. Nights when he’s high he doesn’t even flinch as I find an open spot of skin for his insulin needle. There are nights when he’s low and the juice goes down quickly and others when he fights to suck on the straw and begs to go back to sleep.

It’s also in these quiet moments that it can hit me all over again. The uncertainty of it all. The forever of it all as I look at the hardened tiny fingertips spotted black from the thousands of needle pokes.  I’m ok for now because I know I’ve got this, I’m somewhat in control.

But what happens when he’s grown and off on his own? Did I teach him enough about management? Will he wake up to check his own blood sugar? Where will the juice boxes or chocolate milk be? Would he know that although this is hard and constant that it should never stop him from anything?

This is probably the scariest part of it all.  Teaching my child with type 1 diabetes to live with it and be healthy and confident will be my greatest accomplishment and give me peace.

However, my worry will never fade.

I have some more time for that so for now I’ll continue to find his little fingers under his covers and kiss him on the head a few extra times a night.


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Blood Sugars and Broadcasting: A CNN Reporter Deals with Diabetes

Blood Sugars and Broadcasting: A CNN Reporter Deals with Diabetes

Blood Sugars and Broadcasting: A CNN Reporter Deals with Diabetes

By: Oren Liebermann

*This post contains affiliate links*

I had about two minutes until I was on air, and I knew my blood sugar was low. I could feel it in my hands and in my concentration. I was a little bit dizzy, and my hands were shaking. These have always been the first two signs that my blood sugar was low.

Normally, it’s not a problem. I always keep a stash of emergency sugar around. Most often, it’s a bag of Gummi Lifesavers. First, they’re delicious. Second, I love the appropriateness of having Gummy Lifesavers as my emergency sugar. And third, it’s predictable. Five Gummi Lifesavers is 15 grams of carbs.

But normally I’m not about to go live in two minutes. I knew the sugar wouldn’t have time to hit my system, which meant I would be going live on CNN with low blood sugar. The viewers wouldn’t notice. Unless I started stumbling. Or screwed up a word. Or my brain locked. Then they would most certainly notice, and I would have no choice but to plow forward or admit that I had low blood sugar and tell the anchor to go to someone else.

I told my producer – sitting in our little control room about 15 feet away from me – to get me the Lifesavers from my bag. A moment later, he walked into the studio. He couldn’t find the Lifesavers, so he just grabbed the whole bag and brought it in. I rummaged through and pulled out the Ziploc with my emergency sugar. As quickly as I could, I downed a few Lifesavers. Then I started thinking about what I was going to say.

WORK AND DIABETES

I never told my bosses about my type 1 diabetes when I interviewed. They had no right to know and I had no obligation to tell. Besides, as long as I didn’t have a bad low or pass out mid-interview from DKA, I would be absolutely fine. Knowing I would have a long day of interviews, I intentionally took one less unit of insulin than I needed to make sure my blood sugar was adequately high throughout the day. It worked, though I did start feeling the symptoms of low blood sugar toward the end of the interviews.

When I started at CNN as the Jerusalem Correspondent, it was a different story. I told everyone immediately that I had type 1 diabetes. I explained to them the symptoms, showed them how to work my insulin pens, and, most importantly, taught them how to use a Glucagon shot. Everyone was cool with it, which was a relief. Occasionally, my coworkers have asked for “refresher courses,” and I have showed them the insulin pens again or explained to them how diabetes affects my system.

Dealing with my coworkers was the easy part. The hard part was figuring out how to manage diabetes on a 24/7 basis. On days when I’m in the CNN bureau in Jerusalem, it is relatively easy. No matter how big the story and how many times I am broadcasting live, I can always check my blood sugar and adjust as needed.

The harder days are the days I am out in the field all day, nowhere near a convenience store or restaurant. Then I have to plan my insulin, my meals, and my blood sugar well from the very beginning of the day. Add to that the challenge of Middle East weather – if the day is extremely hot or extremely cold, I burn through blood sugar even faster, making healthy management of diabetes even harder.

I have always had a simple plan. On days I am out of the office all day, run my numbers high. Instead of aiming for 80-120, I shoot for 120-160. It gives me a buffer in case something goes wrong or in case my day gets so busy that I forget to eat. And this has happened a few times.

CREATIVE SOLUTIONS

I have always tried to find creative solutions for diabetes, and I don’t mean eating cinnamon to help control my blood sugar. I mean ways of dealing with blood sugar when days are entirely different and dynamic. A daily routine makes diabetes easier to manage; a changing week adds even more complexity to the daily challenge of the disease.

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on Valentine’s Day 2014 in Nepal. My wife and I were backpacking around the world, and my diagnosis came 5 months into our trip. I was the first person in my entire family with diabetes. After a month at home recovering and learning about the disease, my wife and I decided to get back on the road.

We picked up our trip where we had left off, backpacking through Southeast Asia. We made our way through the countryside on trains and buses. Each day was different, and I had to figure out how to manage my blood sugars under different conditions.

It wasn’t easy, but it became good practice for my current job. It requires rigorous monitoring ob blood sugars. I don’t have a CGM (which I may change very soon), but I routinely jab my finger to check blood sugars. I have no qualms about checking 8 times a day. Whatever it takes to know where my numbers are.

It’s not fun. I don’t think anyone would ever describe diabetes as fun. But it’s never been a question of fun for me. I know that if I manage my blood sugars, diabetes won’t stop me from doing anything else. It didn’t stop me from traveling, and it won’t stop me from reporting.

HIGHS AND LOWS

I’ve had a few lows before live shots. It happens. It’s never fun, it’s always a bit worrying, but it’s a part of the deal as I see it. Part of the problem is the sensitivity around Jerusalem. Every word needs to be chosen carefully, because the story is so sensitive in every direction. If my blood sugar is low and I screw up a word, it could have disastrous consequences on my reporting.

My bosses at CNN – when I finally told them I have diabetes – have always been incredibly supportive. Not a single one of them questioned my decision to write a book, and they have always encouraged me to do as much outreach as possible. It may not be their disease, but they understand the importance diabetes has to me and to so many others.

Diabetes may not make the news all the time, but it is always becoming more relevant and more important to the world at large. And that is something I am always ready to talk about on air!


Oren Liebermann is a CNN Jerusalem Correspondent. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 31 while backpacking through Nepal. He has written a book called the “The Insulin Express: One Backpack, Five Continents, and the Diabetes Diagnosis That Changed Everything” that shares his diagnosis and journey of resilience and self-discovery.


My Early Life, Without Sugar

My Early Life, Without Sugar

My Early Life, Without Sugar

By: Richard Vaughn

*This post contains affiliate links*

When I was diagnosed in 1945, the doctor told my parents that I should not eat anything containing sugar. I don’t remember my reaction to being denied sugar at that time. My diagnosis was only a few days after my sixth birthday.

I do remember missing sweet things to drink. For some time I drank milk from our own cows. That was not a good choice, but we did not know that. It did not contain sugar, so we thought it was ok.

When we went grocery shopping my family did not buy candy, cookies or ice cream. I don’t know what my sister thought about that, she was three years younger, and she probably wanted sugary treats.

A year or so later, we discovered saccharin at a drugstore –

My mother learned to prepare desserts sweetened with saccharin. I had pies, cookies, and a birthday cake sweetened with that wonderful stuff. Saccharin was great! Mother made desserts sweetened with sugar for the rest of the family.

I was happy with my own desserts, and I never wanted to taste of theirs. My father prepared homemade ice cream, and a portion sweetened with saccharin was set aside for me. I always looked forward to that. It was a summer treat.

One day in our grocery store we saw a display of little bottles containing colored liquids. It was called Kool Aid. It was invented in the 1920s and initially sold in concentrated liquid form.

Later on it was sold as a powder in little packets. The Kool Aid we bought in the 1940s was in a concentrated liquid form, so we added water and saccharin. It made a delicious drink. I was very happy.

I had low blood sugar at times for many years –

My mother gave me a glass with some water mixed with sugar. That was the only sugar I had for very many years. I had some awful seizures at night several times each year, and the sugar water was ready for those occasions.

If I could not drink the liquid, my father would sit behind me on my bed and prop me up while my mother rubbed the sugar water on my lips and gums until I had enough to bring me around, so I could drink some of the liquid. I think I may have associated the sugar with my seizures, and that may have made sugar even more undesirable.

There were no meters for measuring blood sugar for my first 40 years after diagnosis, so my urine was tested for sugar each morning to determine my insulin dosage, and then I had to depend on my own feelings to detect low blood sugar the rest of the day.

While sleeping at night my parents would listen for me to be thrashing around in bed to determine that I had low blood sugar. Their bed was close to mine for many years, so that worked out well.

Now I will fast forward to the current century –

I’ll tell you about a discussion that my sister and I had a few years ago. Our father worked at a post office, and he had an afternoon and evening shift. He got home at 11:30 PM. She told me that he would stop at a store on the way home from work and buy candy bars. They were hidden high in a cabinet in the kitchen.

I can remember entering the kitchen several times and my sister was standing with her back against a wall, with her hands behind her. I guess I was not curious about that. She was hiding a candy bar she had been eating.

I never saw a candy bar, and she waited more than sixty years to tell me about that. We laugh a lot about her candy bars. I am glad she had them, and I am glad I did not see them.


To know more of what it was like to be a diabetic in the 1940’s and beyond, you can read Richard Vaughn’s book: Beating The Odds: 64 Years of Diabetes Health 

 


This Disease Is a Catch 22 - Pay The Price Or Pay With My Life

This Disease Is a Catch-22: Pay The Price Or Pay With My Life

This Disease Is a Catch-22: Pay The Price Or Pay With My Life

By: Kayla Bushue

 

Almost 15 years ago I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes – an autoimmune, incurable disease.

I’ve been pretty lucky thus far. I didn’t take care of myself early on or really anytime; except for during my pregnancy and the time I’ve had my insulin pump. But I did some number crunching tonight just for funsies.

Per month BEFORE insurance the cost to keep me on planet earth is $1,353.37. That’s for insulin, infusion sets, and test strips alone not including hospital stays due to DKA. Now insurance foots a lot of that bill which I’m thankful for.

Credit: Kathy Austin

But why when I live in one of the top countries in the world does it cost me $16,240.44 per year to stay ALIVE???

I understand there are places that don’t have access to the healthcare that I have. Don’t get me wrong I’m grateful I have access to insulin, my pump, and test strips that keep me here everyday. I also understand the older I get the more complications I will have due to this terrifying and one day terminal disease.

But here is my perspective.

I pay a hefty chunk of change to keep myself thriving, OR I skimp by on the bare minimums and deal with the complications. This disease is a catch 22 – pay the price or pay with my life.

Credit: Kathy Austin

Something about having a disease like this doesn’t seem right. I either pay for my medicine or I don’t and deal with the death sentence. I just don’t get it.

In February my approximate cost over the last 15 years is $243,606.60. It’d be nice to have 2017 Aston Martin Vanquish in my driveway; rather than that almost quarter of a million going to keeping me alive.

Here is where you can learn more about the cost of type 1 diabetes, how to get involved, and how to help protect our rights for affordable healthcare.



 

Perfection Does Not Exist In a Life With Diabetes

Perfection Does Not Exist With Diabetes –

Perfection Does Not Exist With Diabetes –

By: Christina Blackmon

15 years ago my life changed forever when I was told I had Type 1 diabetes.

I didn’t even know what diabetes was. I think I thought it meant you can’t eat sugar anymore. Little did I know that when I turned 20 years old my pancreas unexplainably stopped working properly and that would mean that my entire life would now depend on a hormone called insulin being injected into my body for the rest of my life.

Without those insulin injections I would die.

Little did I know that for the rest of my life I would be completely dependent upon this hormone. I also had no idea that my days thereafter would consist of being measured 8-10 times per day by a number. A number I get from pricking myself. Knowing that important number so that I can mathematically calculate how much insulin to inject to maintain good blood glucose range based on a formula that changes hourly without notice.

I also had no idea how unpredictable and unreliable my body would be and that there would be factors outside my control that dictated what my blood glucose levels would be despite eating and calculating “correctly”.

That my blood glucose would go up and down like a roller coaster ride and effect every fiber of my being. That sometimes I would want to crawl out of my own skin to escape the pain I was enduring. That I would go from being completely calm and rational to completely angry and irritable. That my pain would be invisible to others because it’s all happening internally without notice to anyone else.

There is no exact science or prescription to manage diabetes and everyday is a guessing game. Knowledge became my power and I studied and researched everything I could about this unforgivable disease. I found that it’s high maintenance and takes no breaks or vacations.

But I also found some tools that would help me. Tools like an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor that could help me manage every second, every minute, every hour of every day for the rest of my life.

There is no cure for type 1 diabetes. I will always be dependent upon insulin.

Even with my tools – just like every piece of technology they fail me. But despite this disease I have 2 beautiful healthy kids and one on the way and no diabetic complications. Some days I feel so strong like I can do anything then others I lack the motivation to keep going.

But I never give up. I keep fighting and will keep fighting till there’s no fight left in me.

I don’t ever see any other option. I’m very thankful for the tools I have to manage this disease with everything I have and love when I can encourage or inspire other diabetics to do the same.

People ask me all the time is your diabetes controlled and I just want to laugh…what does that even mean??!! I just always say it’s not perfect and will never be. I don’t try to maintain perfection because diabetes means having bad days. I try to have more good than bad days and not focus on perfection.

Perfection does not exist in a life with diabetes.



 

Why Are They Judging Me?

Why Are They Judging Me?

Why Are They Judging Me?

By: Marrium abid Sandhu

Some people have a background or a story that is so central to their identity that they believe their life would be incomplete without it. Here’s my story..

Why are they judging me?

Is this the reality or do I suffer from schizophrenia? I’m not from another galaxy, I mean, I just have diabetes.

Society took it upon itself to delineate me as a diabetic. On the mention of my name, the ignorant minds of humans formed an image of a weak, disoriented, bewildered and egotistical teenager.

I was nine years old when I was first diagnosed with type-one diabetes. It shook me to my core. I was not old enough to even comprehend what diabetes meant. But the way people around me reacted; it felt as if I was an unstable nucleus emitting radiations.

My heart told me to be optimistic, persuaded me to look at life from this new perspective, but everything in my life went downhill. On various occasions during the early stages, I was able to pick myself up and do my daily chores the normal way but that did not last that way for long.

Pricking my fingers four to five times a day and taking insulin shots before every meal was never an easy task. Until high school, I used to go around hiding the fact that I was a diabetic. I had an irrational fear of people judging me. I hardly socialized. I kept to my room and to myself, reading miserable and depressing novels, injecting myself with something that was supposed to make me better but felt no less than a cruel punishment.

As I grew older,

things started to improve and diabetes became a part of my daily routine. I realized that having diabetes was a part of me but it in no way defined me. It had rehabilitated me. It had made me resilient, mentally and morally.

As I progressed through high school, I craved to do better in academics, sports, and life in general. Having diabetes gave me strength to face any challenge or problem that came my way.

Friends are of imminent importance, you cannot function without having someone to talk to, someone to associate yourself with. Socializing made me grasp the significance and need for someone to share my feelings with, someone to trust with my problems.

My family and I shifted a lot due to my father’s work. Being on the go, I constantly met new people who made me confident in my own skin. I went to Greece on a school trip for 4 weeks. Exploring a new country, a completely different environment was an experience I will trade for nothing.

Doing everything myself, from shopping to laundry, I gained a fair bit of poise and familiarized myself with adapting to a new place and a completely different way of life. The diabetic, anthrophobic girl had transformed.

My hard working and astute sense of nature led me to be selected as a part of my school’s student council and in addition I represented my school in various national level sports competitions. I volunteered myself to help the underdeveloped schools in my city.

I taught English and Mathematics to a group of class 9 students. I saw a whole new way of life within my culture in that school. And now I’m studying architecture in one of the best universities in turkey.

I am a diabetic.

And I do not have a problem with people judging me because of that. If they judge me, it does not depict who I am, it depicts who they are.

To sum it up in the words of Sonia Sotomayor, the current associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States,

“Diabetes taught me discipline”.



 

diabetes and the unexpected - diabetes blog week

Diabetes Blog Week: Diabetes and the Unexpected

Diabetes Blog Week: Diabetes and the Unexpected

This year is my first year participating in Diabetes Blog Week. I’m excited to be part of this annual diabetes event and share my perspective.

Diabetes can sometimes seem to play by a rulebook that makes no sense, tossing out unexpected challenges at random.  What are your best tips for being prepared when the unexpected happens?  Or, take this topic another way and tell us about some good things diabetes has brought into your, or your loved one’s, life that you never could have expected?

Having diabetes for so many years I’ve become accustomed to the unexpected. Diabetes has a way of throwing curveballs when you least expect it. It makes things rather difficult and frustrating at times.

Here are my best tips for when the unexpected happens:

Be over prepared

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been somewhere thinking that I’m not going to need to change my pump site— and it fails. How convenient, right? So now I just bring everything that I could possibly need “just in case”. Just enough to spare me if anything unexpected happens. It’s certainly more of a hassle to carry around extra weight all the time, but the stress of “what if” is therefore not an issue.

Take a deep breath

I have a way of wanting to control everything that goes on with my diabetes to the point where I’m actually doing more harm than good. When unexpected occurrences arise, I’ve learned to now take a deep breath—and handle it calmly and carefully. It’s taken me awhile to be patient, but adding stress to the situation and making quick judgments only makes it worse.

Ask for help

This is probably the most difficult thing I’ve had to learn to do. I always want to feel like I can handle the world and whatever comes my way. But sometimes when my blood sugars are off—and I need assistance getting my supplies, or a snack nearby. Having an extra hand actually makes me feel more at ease and I’ve learned it’s okay to ask for help.

Create back up plans

I’m not always sure if diabetes will cooperate or how my body will react upon each day. Diabetes comes with a lot of uncertainty and unknown. So of course I think of well “if this happens, I have this plan.” But say, for some reason that isn’t effective—I also have this plan for back up.

For instance, I have a dexcom, but what if I don’t hear my alarm, then my husband will be alarmed and call me or run home to check up on me. Creating back up plans creates a more stable safety net and helps living with this disease a little less worrisome.

Diabetes comes with a bunch of twists and turns, up and downs, highs and lows. But I take what I’ve learned in the past and I apply it to the future. No matter how unexpected diabetes is and the challenges that do arise, I will continue on living beyond it.

Would You Kill Me For a Tax Cut?

Would You Kill Me For a Tax Cut?

By: Ashlyn Mills

Blog: A Trail Of Test Strips

Before I get into the meat of this issue, I want you to imagine something…

You are 19 years old and a sophomore in college with your whole life ahead of you. Suddenly, you begin feeling ill. You are thirsty all of the time, you feel lethargic and can barely make it through 5 hours of classes without a nap in your car, something is not right and you know it. You finally go to the doctor after you’ve lost 10 pounds and the doctor tells you that you have Type 1 Diabetes (T1D).

The doctor tells you that T1D is an autoimmune condition that has no cure and teaches you what you must do to keep yourself alive. After learning about carb counting, insulin injections, blood sugar testing, and life threatening high and low blood sugar, you’re sent to the pharmacy to pick up your life saving tools.

For the next 3 months supply, you are given 900 blood glucose test strips, 900 lancets, a blood glucose meter, 6 insulin pens, 50 ketone test strips, and 540 needles to use for insulin injections. All of these supplies would have been upwards of $5,000 without good insurance coverage and even with insurance, your first trip to the pharmacy cost you $400.

Now that I’ve painted a picture for you, let me put a face to this story. This is me, Ashlyn, and this is what a pre-existing condition looks like. The story above is my story. 

As you probably know, yesterday the House of Representatives made the decision to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obama Care. Obama Care has been a major topic of debate for Americans over recent years. With the ACA, many American’s saw their insurance premiums skyrocket, which made the Affordable Care Act not so affordable.

With the ACA did come some positives such as protection for those with pre-existing conditions and the ability for an adult under the age of 27 to stay on their parents’ health insurance. At the beginning of his campaign, President Trump began pushing the issue of the ACA and saying that should he be elected, it would be one of the first things on his agenda. President Trump also insured that with this repeal, he would protect those with pre-existing conditions. Yesterday, however, the House voted against protecting those with pre-existing conditions.

If you aren’t someone with a pre-existing condition or don’t have a child with one, you probably don’t understand how serious this is. Let me tell you what this could do to people like me.
Insurance companies will be able to decide if they want to cover me or not. I will have to search high and low for an insurance company who will cover me and when I finally find one, they will charge me 3x what they charge the average patient because they know I will be a guaranteed expense.

I will then be paying $3000+ per month just for insurance premiums, which will make many of my daily meds and technologies unaffordable. I may have to limit how many test strips I can afford, which will then limit how many times per day I can test my blood sugar. The less I am able to test my blood sugar, the greater my risk for life threatening high and low blood sugars and long-term complications due to poorly managed diabetes. Meanwhile, some celebrate because they got a tax cut. But those who celebrate don’t know that their tax cut could kill me or the other millions of American’s like me living with a pre-existing condition.

Would YOU kill ME for a tax-cut?

 It all boils down to this, republican or democrat, it is important for you to understand how much this decision could impact me if the senate votes yes in the next few weeks. PLEASE, do your research and contact your senator to let them know that this is NOT okay. I am actually registered republican, but that does not mean I have to stand for this and neither do you. While I believe some MAJOR changes need to be made with our current healthcare system (the ACA) in the US, I do not believe that changes need to be made at the expense of people who have no control of the cards they were dealt. Life with diseases like T1D is hard enough as it is, please don’t make it any harder on us.

TAX CUT

Please contact your senator, my life depends on it.

-Ashlyn 

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One Drop

One Drop | Diabetes Management

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the diabetes management platform called the One Drop. This diabetes management subscription model has paved the way for easier, more affordable and reliable access to many diabetes needs.

I received a complimentary Chrome kit and had the opportunity of trying it out for a few weeks before giving a review.

This platform offers:

Unlimited test strips and 24/7 in-app Certified Diabetes Educator support – all for $40 a month.

The One Drop is not covered by insurance. This is a direct-to-consumer service. You will pay roughly around the same that you currently pay with insurance by copayment. But now you don’t have to deal with the hassle of getting test strips approved.

The One Drop offers a free award winning application to manage your diabetes. You can Download One Drop for iOS and Android, You can track all of your information in one place: glucose, meds, food, activity.

What I Like About The One Drop Management System:

  1. The glucose meter is slick, shiny, and easy to store.
  2. The app is easy to use and gives me insight on how I’m managing throughout the day
  3. Having the option of unlimited test strips gives me flexibility. I no longer to worry about running low on test strips.
  4. I have online support for any questions I may have using the product and how to better process the information that I receive.

The customer management team has been very helpful in assisting me on setting up my account on the app and syncing my bluetooth meter. Once they were both paired, it was easy to keep track of all my readings directly on my phone.

 

The glucose meter is very accurate and glucose reading corresponds to the ones that I receive on my CGM and compare to other glucose meters that I currently have. I would highly recommend this product for anyone needing a positive change at a lower cost.

To get started on the One Drop Premium Plan. (Available in USA, EU, and UK)