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Living with T1D in Honduras

To whoever reads this letter:

Hello, my name is Alejandra Solis and I’ve been a T1D for 10 years and also a Honduras citizen since I was born. Yes, you read it right, Honduras a republic located in Central America surrounded by so much natural beauty and many beautiful people who work hard to get their own food to their homes. Honduras has so much to offer starting by the many touristic places you can visit, the food, the beaches, the traditions and the people but pitifully our country has been destroyed little by little for our government and the people who lead it.

I’m not going to talk about Honduras and its lack of democracy, instead I’m going to talk about living with T1D in Honduras and what it implies, but before let me tell you a little bit about my story.

Honduras is a country with a very poor education system in all aspects which implies the poor knowledge people has about T1D (which is pretty common in almost all the world).

I was bullied at school due to my deficiency and because kids at my school didn’t know what it really was like to live with T1D. I missed a lot of days of school because of my high and low blood glucose so I had to change from school to school because of the bullying and the lack of consideration from the teachers. Not all the people at this schools were bad but because of the lack of knowledge they had about T1D they assumed living with T1D was all about not eating sugar and taking your medicine something really funny to me because if this was the case, then living with T1D would be as easy as counting 1 plus 1.

I graduated from high school and started studying medicine just months after my graduation but it was such a battle to get into medical school and not because of my grades, but because of discrimination from people who did not believe in me.

I’ve never been someone who lets diabetes stop me from achieving my goals and getting into medical school was not the case, so I fought to let this people who did not believe in me know that even though I live with T1D I could have the potential to be one of the best medical students. I remember going to my endocrinologist one day and he asked me what I was doing with my life and I told him I got into medical school, then he looked at me and laughed about me because he said diabetics do not have the potential to deal with all the pressure a medical student deals with specially when it comes to rotations.

I remember feeling destroyed by that comment because I considered my endocrinologist as the only person who actually understood what it was to really live with T1D. And to hear him laughing about my T1D just as the people who discriminated me at school made me feel as if I was alone and as if I could not continue in medical school. I wanted to give up but there they were, my parents, to make me believe in myself again so here I am thanks to them, making my dream come true.

Other than dealing with discrimination people with T1D suffer from lack of medication because many people has no job or they have a job but the payment is not enough to buy all medication and the right food to have a diet a T1D needs and enjoys.

The insurance company does not provides us with insulin so we must look for ways to get the money to but it and its because of this reason that many kids die from complications of not well treated T1D. We, the people who live in the city, have a better chance to get a decent job in order to have enough money to buy insulin and visit an endocrinologist and I’m aware that sometimes you have to adapt to a diet that is not the best one but the less expensive prevailing us like this from a diet we can enjoy to one that can help us keep our blood sugar regular and have long life.

I’ve had the opportunity of going to many towns in Honduras and watch by myself the misery in which these people live. Many of these people do not have a glucometer and therefore insulin which leads to the next point: their diet; it consists of rice and beans, soda as Coca Cola, coffee and sweat bread.

The government does not look for these people and the critic condition of their health which is something to worry about because many of this people does not even know they have T1D. Or even worse they do not know how to treat it because no one explains to them what it is and how to control it. Actually Honduras is in a very critical turmoil where many innocent people are being killed, immense amount of violence everywhere, there is not enough incomes to get food for a decent diet and definitely not enough money to buy insulin (not even for the people who live in the city).

My intention with this letter is to make the world see how hard living with T1D is. And even more in Honduras, to make them see the scars, the effort a T1D does in order to keep alive and to make them have conscious whenever they judge a T1D.

I claim people to have consideration and not only for the tiny holes on a T1D fingers from the pricks or the small dots on our body from the needles. The deeper ones, the scars that wont fade. The upset we go through, the days we cant control, the highs that makes us weak. The tears we, Honduran T1D, cry for not having the governments support, the emotions we cant control and the smile we force even on the hard days, the impotence I feel for not being able to help people with no job to get their treatment. It’s my wish to make this peoples voice be heard and make the world see that living with T1D is really a full time job not paid.

Sincerely,
a Honduran T1D.


“My Blood Work For Pregnancy Came With Results For an Autoimmune Disease”

“My Blood Work For Pregnancy Came With Results For an Autoimmune Disease”

By: Megan Carlos


Being 27, newly married with an exciting announcement that a baby was on the way, I thought life was right where it needed to be. My husband and I had just purchased a beautiful house on land close to our family with a farm of animals and endless dreams for our future. We both worked in the Art world of Tattooing and freelance Modeling with a new hope to be parents.

I was announced pregnant August 2017 and Type 1 Diabetic September 1st. The most heartbreaking day of my life. With blood work for pregnancy comes results for an autoimmune disease.

As a result of living with an A1C of 15.6, my unborn child could not survive in my body. When this aggressive news hit me all at once, I thought there was no surviving such traumatic news. News turned to facts and facts turned to choices.

I had the choice to take all odds and work hard to gain the strength I needed to survive through what was to come. Depression sank in, anxiety was second nature, loss for hope for a healthy life with a family became more and more apparent. Knowing that I had to relearn how to live with my new physical body, I had to succumb to a new reality that would soon take control of my mental state.

Although the symptoms of normalizing my blood sugars felt like I was fading slowly into a coma everyday, I had to muster up the courage to simply face my day. Normal activity gradually became so challenging that I eventually quit my full time job and moved in with family to help me through such changes. Did I mention the family I moved in with is in Texas and four hours away from my husband?

I felt I lost everything. Here I sit in such an infant manner with no control over what is happening to me.

Injections, no injections. Can I sleep? Should I stay awake? Do I eat this, or that? Call for help while I’m in the shower, had no idea heat makes your blood sugar plummet. Feeling robbed of my once healthy active body, my dignity started to feel obsolete as well.

A desperate measure at one point was had when I tried to leave my husband for reasons of wanting him to move on and be happy. I was so afraid I wasn’t going to progress and give him children that I thought termination of our marriage was viable. I’m here to state that I was wrong. Aside from this disease, there is one more sure thing I have and that is a vow before God that I will be with my husband until death do us part. I am reminded in sickness and in health, he will be there.

Learning more about this disease and reading other peoples’ stories, I find encouragement to be part of the movement that helps someone like me. We all are so uniquely different, yet we all share the same love for ourselves to survive. A cure will be had and I won’t forget the steps I took to overcome those moments when I didn’t know what was going to happen next.


Inspiring Healthy Living with T1D

Inspiring Healthy Living with T1D

By: Jennifer Levi


I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when I was 29 years old and 9 weeks pregnant with my son. It rocked my world and I was crushed.

My family is no stranger to Diabetes. My brother and sister BOTH have been Type 1 Diabetics since they were each 7, now 29 and 32. My initial worry was that my son would be in danger. I also started thinking now life is going to be hard. Life is going to be complicated. Life is going to be scary, I’m never going to be able to lose my baby weight, or feel good about my body. It took a little while for my diagnosis to sink in. I let it take control over me. I let it control my emotions. I let it control my limitations. I blamed it for my weakness and poor eating habits.

At 38 weeks pregnant, my son’s heart stopped beating. He had died in utero due to an umbilical cord accident. I searched and searched for answers but Connor was a healthy baby, it was just an accident.

My family and I were devastated but we were determined to have a family. And so a couple months later we found out we were pregnant with our rainbow baby, our daughter. Life without our son is difficult but we were focused on having a successful pregnancy. When she was 17 weeks gestation, we found out she had a fatal birth defect affecting her brain, and she died a week later. Again, this has nothing to do with my diabetes. I can’t even describe the emotions the past year has brought for my family and I.

After my 2nd pregnancy ended in April, I vowed to not let my diagnosis control my life anymore.

I vowed to not live like a victim of my circumstances. And so I started my health journey towards healthy living that has helped improve my mind/body/soul. I’ve lost (and kept off) 35lbs, gained my energy back, and have peace of mind knowing I am not limited because of my diagnosis.

healthy living with t1d

I’ve created a great routine that works for my diabetes that includes healthy, whole food meals, and daily workouts that have helped stabilize my blood sugars throughout my day.

I’ve realized that this is how I want to live for the rest of my life. It has taken some time for me to slow down and realize that my health is my #1 priority. I live for my kids. They are my motivation and inspiration everyday. I rarely suffer from extreme highs and lows that used to play with my emotions throughout the day. Now I control my T1D; my T1D does NOT control me.

***
Follow my journey of inspiring healthy living through grief as a Type 1 Diabetic @jbucks2, Jennifer Helen on Facebook!


At War With T1D

At War With T1D

By: Izzy Myszak


Imagine fighting a battle against yourself everyday.

If you let your mind win, your body fails. If you give into your body you lose your mind. Imagine fighting a battle that will never end. One that will follow you for the rest of your life. Imagine yourself becoming a battleground. One where the debris lingers and the destruction never repaired. Think about waking up sick one day and realizing that you are never going to get better.

What is the ammunition?

Is it is the rude comments and hurtful jokes? Maybe it’s the level of ignorance that you face in one day. Is it the endless questions and assumed answers. Oh wait it is the level of acting you put on everyday to act like you are fine. Maybe the ammunition is the multiple daily injections and the countless number of finger pricks. You become forced to learn to calculate the correct amount of the life saving or live ending drug.

I never dreamt that one day I would be a drug addict. That is what I am though. I take drugs so I don’t go too high and die, but if I take too much it will have the counter effect and kill me in a different way. You have to be perfect.

One word has changed my life.

One diagnosis has changed my normal and sent a countless number of fears into my life. I’m scared to sleep at night with the fear that I could never wake up. I am scared to have children, I don’t want to be the reason that another child has to deal with this. I am scared to be by myself. I am scared to love anyone and to be loved because this illness could become a ticking time bomb at any moment.

There are many things that are worse than this.

Cancer. Hunger. War. The list goes on and on. There is no finish line to diabetes though. At the moment there is no cure and diabetics are forced to live this life each and every day. It is not just a physical challenge though, but a mental one. Diabetics go through many emotional trials in their lives. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. The stages of grief are prominent to those who get diagnosed with a chronic illness. Sometimes the sight of the bruises on your flesh become unbearable. It is hard to go through this by yourself. Eventually though, you find those souls who will always be there for you and you don’t let them go.

Diabetes is awful, but it is manageable. You learn about a part of yourself you never knew existed. You become stronger and more responsible than you ever wished you would have to. Diabetes forces you to grow up quickly.

I still look back every day on what life was like without this.

I miss that life, but I don’t miss who I was as a person before everything happened to me. I am stronger now. I am smarter. I am more vulnerable. I am kinder and more empathetic. I have learned not to judge others because you don’t know what they are going through. I learned that to be strong you have to be weak sometimes. I am a better person than who I was before. I hate diabetes and I would never wish it upon anyone else, but I do not regret who I have became because of it.

I refuse to let a 6mm needle rule my life. No blood sugar will ever prevent me from becoming who I want to be.


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!


diabetes burnout

Diabetes Burnout is Your Right

By: Chris Ruden

Blog: chrisruden.com


Diabetes burnout is real. All the tedious finger-pricking and annoying alarms and evasive blood sugars and meandering moods get to you eventually. It can get exhausting, rightfully so.

For some, burnout is an emotional state & for some, it is an action or actions. Either way, it is a very real part of living with a condition for the rest of your life. It is important to recognize what diabetes burnout is– the signs and symptoms– and to figure out how to push through it.



Diabetes Burnout: The Emotional State

Diabetes burnout doesn’t always mean extremely high sugars and self abandonment. Burnout can simply be you completely tired of the repetitive behaviors life with diabetes requires. This emotional state of “blah” can affect people to different severities. Maybe you are just really annoyed with your diabetes, or maybe you mistake it for depression, or maybe you just kind of close off to the world mentally.

Regardless of YOUR version of burnout, it is your right as a diabetic to feel this. It should not be accompanied by guilt or shame or judgement. This condition, a condition no one asked for, is a huge weight to bear. It is natural for us to burnout temporarily and does not make us a bad patient. It does not make us a bad person either.

No one has the right to tell you otherwise, especially someone who doesn’t know what living with diabetes is like.

 

Diabetes Burnout: Behaviors

When people burnout, sometimes it stops at negative thought processes but, sometimes, those negative thought processes manifest themselves into behaviors.

Personally, when I’ve found myself to be burnt out in the past, I’ve caught myself checking my sugar 1 time a day (or less), taking insulin off of “feeling”, and not correcting at the right times. My burnout can get pretty bad. Does that make me a bad person? Does that mean I’m reckless or ignorant or less than a “good” diabetic?

Hell no.

It means I’m human. It means life can get hard for even the strongest of people. And that’s OK. It is a moment. It is a temporary state of frustration that you are fully entitled to at times. It is a reaction to an incurable disease. I don’t feel bad for admitting the truth and neither should you. But you do have to shake it off in time.



Identify Why

“For every action, there is always an equal and opposite reaction” might be Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion but it is absolutely applicable in diabetes burnout in terms of cause and effect.

Was it one specific event that set you off or the combination of all the arduous tasks and occurrences and variables that led you to burn out? It is important to attempt to identify the why. For me, a series of unfortunate events like my pump running low of insulin while I’m out or a week of off blood sugars can lead me towards burn out, just by the chain reaction of events that sometimes follow.

Try and take a step back and see what caused your specific burnout and then you can begin becoming proactive in the future.

 

What You Can Do

While there maybe a moment where you just want to reflect alone, there also comes a time to “get back on the horse” so-to-speak. This is where effective thinking can really help you.

Ask yourself “ What can I do now and from now on to make this better or at least to make this suck less?”

Facebook support groups for diabetics are an amazing outlet for like minded people to vent, learn, and just feel understood.

Diabetic events are also an awesome place to meet fellow diabetics and really feel a sense of belonging.

The worst thing you can do is hide. Don’t seclude yourself from society in thinking no one understands. Trust me, we get it and we get you. No one is perfect but diabetes burnout is perfectly normal. Reach out for support. Vent when you need to. Take your time. And, most importantly, don’t beat yourself up over a temporary burnout– it’s allowed and it’s your right as a diabetic to experience it.


Feel free to watch my video on diabetes burnout above or listen to my diabetes podcast episode on burn out on iTunes or Soundcloud


“Don’t You Ever Get Tired Of Talking About Diabetes?”

By: Jodie Lopez

Blog: Type One Mom Blog


Not too long ago, I was asked, “Don’t you ever get tired of talking about diabetes?”. The question took me back a minute, because I wasn’t sure how to react. I didn’t know if I should be offended, confused or laugh. Did someone really ask me that? I didn’t know what to say, but within a split second I was able to give the most simple answer. Yes. I absolutely get tired of talking about diabetes. I wish I didn’t have to talk about it at all. I wish this silent, invisible disease didn’t exist.

Who wants to talk about a disease that could potentially cut someone’s life short?

Who wants to talk about a disease that their child has?

Who wants to talk about a disease that is so unpredictable?

Who wants to talk about a disease that there is no cure for?

So yes, I get tired of talking about diabetes. Wouldn’t you?

Here’s the other piece to this, though. Giving up is not an option.

As tiresome as it might be, as long as we keep pushing forward, there will be a cure in my lifetime. I look forward to the day when my son doesn’t have to wear an electronic device to keep him alive. I look forward to the day when getting up three times in the middle of the night doesn’t mean life or death. I look forward to the day when people, young and old, all over the world, don’t have to go to sleep wondering if their going to wake up because of a low blood sugar. And when that day comes (and it WILL come), I’ll know that all those people will never have to worry about going to sleep in fear of not waking up.

Blue November is officially Diabetes Awareness Month, and I couldn’t think of a more appropriate time to tell you about the question I was asked not too long ago. But most importantly, I hope you’ll join me in the fight to find a cure, because giving up is not an option.


The Next Big Thing – Medtronic Diabetes 670G Hybrid Closed-Loop System

The Next Big Thing – Medtronic Diabetes 670g Hybrid Closed-Loop System

By Allen Lightcap


This Halloween, I will be commemorating my 27th year since being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.  I am now 38 years old and until recently had never imagined what it might be like to live without diabetes, or to get some relief from this relentless disease.

I have run the gamut of available therapies with mixed results – multiple daily injections of a long lasting insulin coupled with a short term insulin for meals was the only option I had heard of until I was introduced to insulin pump therapy in 1999.  There was a lot of freedom gained simply moving from injections to the pump, and improved control in my A1C.  From there, I continued upgrading to the latest and greatest insulin pump and then introduced a continuous glucose monitoring system 4 years ago.

Being able to monitor in relatively real time what my blood sugar was, watch it trend upwards or downwards, and receive alerts in advance of these adverse trends was another step in freedom from the daily grind.  But even with the best in insulin pump therapy and CGMS, I was still relegated to helplessly watching the trends after I had made a “bad” decision – either a few slices of pizza which was pushing my sugar up, or an unplanned bike ride with my kids that was now dragging my sugar down.  Why should an attempt at a normal life be a “bad” decision?

I’m sure most, if not all, Type 1 Diabetics have felt this helplessness from time to time.

There have been days on end for me for which I could not get my glucose to come down to a normal range, and many a day that no matter how much I ate I could not keep it above 80 mg/dl for any length of time.  With all the evolutionary changes to my diabetes therapy, I was still required to tweak my basal levels and decide on a regular basis how much this meal, or that exercise, would impact my blood sugar.  And God forbid I get it wrong – then I would need to readjust and think about how to modify with an additional bolus, or extend my temporary basal level.

Recently, Medtronic Diabetes introduced their 670G insulin pump, which they hailed as the first “hybrid closed-loop system.”

It is the first commercially available system in the United States to use CGMS data to automatically adjust the basal levels delivered to the patient.  I had upgraded to their 630G system at the end of 2016 and was a candidate for their rollout of this new approach, and because I generally like to upgrade my insulin pump (and iPhone) when a new one is available, I signed up.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t expect much to change with my control or my life with a system taking over just the basal rates, but I viewed it as the next evolution in insulin pumps – eventually moving to a fully closed loop system which would also calculate meal time boluses and include onboard glucagon (aka artificial pancreas).

Attending the training classes, I had many questions about how the pump would account for the things that tripped me up the most, like the pizza or bike rides.  I had been in control of my insulin pump for 18 years, adjusting those basal rates like a boss, and no microprocessor was going to effectively take that away from me.  Giving up that control and letting the system do its thing was one of the most difficult transitions, as visions of bottoming out in the middle of the night, or in the middle of an important meeting, danced in my head.

In my 2 weeks on the new system, I noticed an immediate change in the amount of time I spent above 180 mg/dl, the high limit of my normal range.

My diabetes educator sat down with me for my first review, and I was surprised to see the stark difference in glucose trends.  Prior to starting on the 670G system, I was only spending about 34% of my time in a target range of 80-180, with the remainder of that time generally spent suffering through or recovering from a post meal spike up to 250 or 300.  I had learned to cope with this fatigued, nauseous feeling and my A1C was not in a terrible range, and I would rather have a higher post meal spike than to deal with a low.

My first 2 weeks on the Medtronic Diabetes 670G system I had more than doubled my time in range to 74%, and I could really feel a noticeable difference.

No longer was I plagued with the chronic fatigue that accompanies those high blood sugars.  I didn’t worry about a low blood sugar because the system will react (to a point) to your sugars trending downward and will reduce the basal insulin delivered.  And the biggest difference for me was the aggressiveness with which I approached my meal time boluses.  I had been living in fear of a low, and would consistently under bolus, causing the continual spikes and corrective boluses to get back into range.  I now approach my meals much more realistically and find that I am now appropriately bolusing, knowing that if I miss the mark a bit the system will adjust.

What it won’t do is pick up all the slack if you under bolus or miss a bolus entirely, or if you take way too much.  Those dangers are still real.

The Medtronic Diabetes pump is continuously adjusting my basal rate to target a glucose of 120 mg/dl, but will only adjust so far.  It also allows me to input a temporary target of 150 if I am going to be doing some strenuous activity.  But leveraging this new system has given me a tremendously increased sense of freedom to live my life on my terms, pizza and bike rides included.

Ironically, giving up control to the machines has actually made me feel more in control of my diabetes than I have felt in the preceding 27 years.  Is the system perfect?  No.  I still have to do many of the same things I have had to do for years, such as calibrating a sensor, changing an insertion site, and dealing with the occasional high or low blood sugar.  But the highs and lows are less frequent, and more manageable.  And they are generally explainable as “whoops” moments where I didn’t properly perform the carb counting guessing game in my head.

What has dramatically improved is a reduction in the unexplainable hours or days with a high or low trend that I can’t do enough to correct.

The flexibility to start working on a home improvement project or hike without adjusting my basal, worrying if the adjustment is enough or too much.  Overcoming my own personal fear of bolusing too much, choosing the lesser of two evils and opting to under bolus and correct later.

These are the incremental improvements in the quality of life I have already experienced. And I am excited for what the next evolution in insulin pump therapy holds.

So much has been promised with a T1D “cure” – a truly closed loop insulin pump/CGMS system, islet cell transplant/implantation, etc. But for now, I am extremely grateful for the freedom this new system brings, and future innovations on the horizon.

Learn more about the world’s first hybrid closed loop system by Medtronic Diabetes.

Have you tried the new Medtronic Diabetes 670g system? If so, leave your opinions below.


Diabetes Jokes – When is Enough, Enough?

This week comedian Jimmy Kimmel made a joke referencing diabetes: “Thank you for the cookies Kelly Ripa – you are sweeter than diabetes”.

Many in the diabetes community responded to this post on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with their objection to an insensitive comment. Many are frustrated with how diabetes a life-threatening illness, is taken so lightly. But many have also expressed how it’s just a joke and to not take things so seriously.

But when is the line crossed? When is enough, enough?

Question is: What makes diabetes so funny? What makes the threat of losing one’s life or limbs funny? What makes the thought of not waking up in the morning funny? Or what about the idea that you might not be able to afford to live?

Express your views.

How can we challenge this issue? How can things change? When is the public going to realize we need help? Or that we need a cure? Is this something that’s never going to change? What are we doing wrong?

We see diabetes talked about in the movies, on television, and it’s all the same ignorance. It’s punchlines perpetuating misconceptions about diabetes. But we don’t see cancer, MS, and other illnesses being joked about. Just diabetes, why is that? The same jokes, the same lines, and nothing ever changes.

What came we do as a community to fix this?

Do you mind the jokes? Why or why not?

**Leave your comment/view point answering these questions.

1001 Hypos –

By: Camilla Roelants


I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes just over 19 months ago. With an average of 10 times daily, that’s close to 6000 times I have pricked my fingers to check my BG levels. So far, I have given myself 1743 bolus injections, and 581 basal injections – a total of 2324. I was never a big fan of needles, and I still am not.

Like many other Type 1s, I have heard from others, time and time again, this comment: ” But how do you inject yourself every day? I literally couldn’t”. I smile at the naive remark, but here’s the deal: Yes, you could.

If you had to inject yourself multiple times a day in order to stay alive – no matter how afraid of needles you are – you would, I guarantee you this. It isn’t a matter of choice. Not when your life hangs in the balance. But although I am not a fan of needles, ( and even now, 2500 injections later, I still have to give myself a mini pep-talk beforehand) , for me personally, injections have not been the worst part of having Type 1 Diabetes.

In fact, top of the list for me is hypoglycemia. These past 19 months, I have had on average 2 episodes of hypoglycemia per day. In 19 months, that’s over 1000 hypos. One thousand. One thousand times I have felt at death’s door, my heart racing, my hands shaking, my brain temporarily impaired.

When I was diagnosed, the focus from my medical team was on keeping my blood glucose levels as low as possible. Having been diagnosed in pregnancy, there were huge risks to my baby’s development in running high blood sugars, and I did everything in my power to follow the guidelines and keep my BG levels low – successfully, may I add.

But as a consequence, I had hypos. A lot of hypos. Anytime I expressed my concerns about these numerous hypos, I was told that I had “a high sensitivity to insulin”, and that it would ” sort itself out ” once my baby was born.

The medical team was “not currently concerned”. So I put up with it, my number one priority being my unborn baby’s wellbeing, and assumed that the multiple hypos were just part of the T1 package. Fast forward to 38 weeks gestational, and I had to fast for 12 hours before delivery of my son by C-section.

I was worried about how I would be able to keep my BG levels up, as I was being put on am insulin drip. I expressed my concerns to the medical staff on the labour ward, but I was told my BG levels would be closely monitored, and that I need not be worried.

At 7 a.m the next morning, I began to feel “off”, and did a fingerprick to check my levels. At 3.5 mmol/l (63 mg/dL) it was dropping. I checked again, 5 minutes later, and it was 2.6 mmol/l (46 mg/dL). I immediately pressed the distress button for the midwives. 5 more minutes passed, and no midwife had come.

At this stage, I was in full-blown panic. With hands shaking like leaves, I somehow managed to prick my finger again. 1.1 mmol/l (19 mg/DL). And still dropping. My heart was racing, I was sweating profusely, my entire body was trembling, and I struggled to maintain consciousness.

Finally, the midwife entered the room, and asked me if I was OK. Her voice sounded far, far away, and my vision was blurry from the tears I had not even noticed were streaming down my face in buckets. I found I was unable to speak; my brain refused to cooperate and tell my lips to move.

I gathered all the strength I had, and managed to shake my head, and lift my meter up, ever so slightly. She glanced at it, then turned on her heels and fled from the room in a panic, returning seconds later with an army of midwives.

Two of the nurses were armed with Glucagon pens, which were immediately injected intravenously into each of my thighs. Several minutes later, my BG levels had shot up to 16.5 mmol/l (297). I felt like I had just boxed 3 rounds with Mc Gregor. But my beautiful baby boy was born two hours later, weighing in at nearly 10lb, and although he had slightly low blood glucose levels at birth, he was fine.

Since then I have continued to suffer from hypoglycemia, every day. And every day, with each hypo, I worry about what damage it is causing, especially to my heart and brain. Since I often have heart palpitations when having a hypo, this means that for at least half an hour each day, my heart is in tachycardia.

For at least half an hour each day, my brain is impaired, and my vital organs are starved of glucose. For at least half an hour each day, I feel like I’m dying. Luckily for me, I still have good hypo awareness, and therefore I have never needed medical assistance to treat a hypo – I have never passed out from one, as I have always managed to treat them in time – 1000 times.

I have read up on hypoglycemia a lot in the past 19 months, and it is clear to me that it represents a major risk factor in terms of cardiac events and brain impairment (i.e early onset Alzheimer’s) down the line.

My endocrinologist recently asked me an interesting question. He asked me: “What is it that worries you the most, in terms of your Diabetes?” To which I replied: “Dying young, and not seeing my children grow up”. My biggest fear is that that’s exactly what will happen, if I don’t get a handle on this. And the thought alone terrifies me.