The aftermath…

The aftermath of a blood sugar of 28 late at night:

With a blood sugar of 265 upon awakening…

Just another day in the life of diabetes…

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Spare a Rose…or $5?

Fact:  Many people cannot afford insulin and other vital diabetes supplies.

Fact:  Many children who are diagnosed with diabetes who do not have access to insulin will die within a year of diagnosis.

I’ve been lucky enough to have access to insulin and insurance to pay medical bills, and oftentimes, insurance still doesn’t cover the costs.  Others don’t even have this option.  So the International Diabetes Federation (idf.org) began the “Spare a Rose” campaign.  It falls during February, which is often associated with Heart Health Awareness and Valentine’s Day.  The mission is to spend what you would on 1 rose (approximately $5) and donate it to save a child’s life.  Now, really, that $5 cup of coffee at Starbucks can be used for something else today, right?  If you can, please donate!  And please donate more than $5 if you are able.  Here is the link:   http://www.p4dc.com/spare-a-rose/.  The campaign runs until February 14th!

Thank you!

 

 

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Be Prepared!

I mentioned in my most recent blog “2015 Year in Review” (Link:  https://julietalksdiabetes.wordpress.com/2016/01/08/2015-year-in-review/) about the brutally cold winter we had last year at this time.  I was probed (and requested by my dear friend Arty) to dig a little deeper into that particular subject and how weather/climate affects diabetes.   [By the way, you can read more about Arthur and his organizations here (and I hope you do)] :  https://www.facebook.com/OurView4life and http://www.buildjakesplace.org/

I can remember a few instances around 10 years ago where I was not able to test my blood sugar because my meter was too cold.  I would receive an error message, but the bigger error was my error of leaving my meter in the car instead of taking it with me in my purse or bag, etc.  Unfortunately, not testing appropriately means incorrectly dosing insulin when you do not have the most accurate number to work with.  Diabetics have come to “appreciate” the art of guessing the appropriate carbohydrates and insulin dosage that works best for us, but it’s still always better when the numbers are there in plain sight.  While rare, I’ve also received error messages when it’s been too warm outside as well and my supplies get too warm.  I no longer have the meters that I received these error messages on, but I also have my meter with me at all times in more recent years.  And since the winters around here can be bitterly cold, odds are you will find me (and my meter) inside!

I also recall a time that I drank a juicebox due to a low blood sugar that had been sitting in a car on a hot Virginia day in the summer of 2005 while traveling to visit friends.  It was more than 85 degrees Fahrenheit at the time.  The next morning, I ended up in a northern Virginia hospital from a bacterial infection that caused me to go into DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis).  Here is some more info on DKA:  http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/ketoacidosis-dka.html.

Essentially, you need to make sure you take care of yourself no matter what type of weather and no matter what climate you live in.  I have come across several different articles and resources to help prepare myself (and YOU!) to prevent any weather-related emergencies when it comes to diabetes, medications, and general health as a whole.

DISCLAIMER:  I warn you in advance that this post is long and has lots of internal links to various websites.  I am not a medical professional, nor are the people who wrote them.

3 TIPS TO PREPARE FOR WEATHER-RELATED EMERGENCIES

1:  10 TIPS FOR EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS

Natural disasters, like snowstorms and hurricanes, as well as personal emergencies such as forgetting your diabetes supplies on vacation can leave people living with diabetes feeling unprepared and overwhelmed. We’ve listed a few tips to help prepare for these emergencies, and leave you feeling confident and prepared!

1) Make sure all of your cell phones are charged, and that you keep extra chargers for cell phones and CGMs on hand.
2) Purchase extra supplies. Backup glucose meters, device batteries, and insulin can make a world of difference in an emergency!
3) Keep nonperishable foods in a cool dry place. That means cans of tuna, peanut butter, and nonperishable (shelf) milk to help in case you’re stuck in the house.
4) Write down your emergency contacts. You may know these numbers like the back of your hand, but having a list can help if you’re unable to reach out yourself in times of emergency. Keep a list on hand (in a purse, perhaps) and one in the house.
5) Keep a copy of all of your prescriptions and their doses in case anyone else needs to take over. This will make resupplying much easier, and keep worries at bay.
6) Know where your quick-acting carbohydrates live, and make sure someone else knows too! This will help for extreme lows, if you’re unable to grab the glucose tabs or juice boxes yourself.
7) Do you have electric door openers? These can be great, but also dangerous during a power outage. Disengage them to ensure you have access to your home if the power dies.
8) Do you let the gas tank run low on your car? In emergencies, making sure you have a tank full of gas can be critical. Never let the tank dip below 1/3 full to help make sure you can get away easily.
9) Consider that stress has been known to raise blood sugar. Knowing your levels may rise unexpectedly can help you prepare for this potential high number.
10) Stay on track now to better prepare for unexpected events. Skipping meals, loading up on sugary foods, and derailing your own diet can be hazardous during emergency situations. By maintaining healthy blood sugar levels now, you can be better equipped to handle any situation.
(Source:  https://diabetessisters.org/article/10-tips-emergency-preparedness)

2:  MANAGING DIABETES FROM THE CDC (Centers for Disease Control)   

Be Prepared!

During natural disasters, emergencies, and hazards people with diabetes face particular challenges to their health care. If you are an evacuee or are in an emergency situation, it is of prime importance to identify yourself as a person with diabetes and any related conditions, so you can obtain appropriate care. It is also important to prevent dehydration by drinking enough fluids, which can be difficult when drinking water is in short supply. In addition, it is helpful to keep something containing sugar with you at all times, in case you develop hypoglycemia (low blood glucose). To prevent infections, which people with diabetes are more vulnerable to, pay careful attention to the health of your feet, and get medical treatment for any wounds.

The CDC has compiled many natural disaster and emergency resources in English, Spanish, and several other languages. Below are additional links which may be especially useful for people with diabetes. Some of the following documents are available in Portable Document Format (PDF).

Emergency Preparedness

  1. Emergency Preparedness and You
    http://emergency.cdc.gov/preparedness
  2. Ready—Prepare.Plan.Stay Informed.
    http://www.ready.gov
  3. Federal Emergency Management Agency
    http://www.fema.gov

Insulin, Drug, and Equipment Advice

  1. Insulin Storage and Potency
    Switching Between Products in an Emergency

    http://www.fda.gov/cder/emergency/insulin.htm
    Patients should try to keep their insulin as cool as possible, avoiding direct heat and direct sunlight as well as freezing if placed on ice. Although a physician should supervise when switching insulin products, here are recommendations for emergency situations.
  2. Blood Glucose Meters and Hurricane Disasters
    http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/
    http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/HomeHealthandConsumer/ConsumerProducts/BreastPumps/ucm055987.htm#bgm
    Heat and humidity can damage blood glucose meters and test strips. If you use a blood glucose meter, check the meter and test strip package insert for information on use during unusual heat and humidity.
  3. Diabetes Disaster Preparedness
    http://www.state.nj.us/health/fhs/documents/diabetes_disaster_guidelines.pdf [PDF–211 KB]
    This brochure includes helpful disaster management tips about insulin, pens, and syringes; food safety; foot care; managing hot weather, erratic mealtimes, physical exertion, and sick days.

Winter Weather and Extreme Heat

  1. Be Prepared: Staying Safe and Healthy in Winter Weather
    http://www.cdc.gov/Features/WinterWeather/
    Winter storms and cold temperatures can be hazardous, but if you plan ahead, you can stay safe and healthy.
  2. Prepare for Diabetes Care in Heat and Emergencies
    http://www.cdc.gov/features/DiabetesHeatTravel/

Health Advice

  1. Kidney Community Emergency Preparedness and Response
    http://www.kidney.org/help/index.cfm
    Provides essential information to help dialysis patients, transplant recipients, and kidney health care professionals before and during emergencies.
  2. Do You Have High Blood Pressure?
    http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/pdf/hypertension.pdf[PDF–947 KB]
  3. Hand Hygiene in Emergency Situations
    http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/handhygiene.asp
    After an emergency, it can be difficult to find running water. However, it is still important to wash your hands to avoid illness or infection, especially when testing your blood glucose or treating a wound.
  4. Keep Water Safe after a Natural Disaster
    http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/foodwater.asp#water
    Water may not be safe to drink, clean with, or bathe in after a hurricane or flood, which can be a particular problem for people with diabetes, who especially need to drink fluids and keep wounds clean.
  5. Emergency Wound Care After a Natural Disaster
    http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/woundcare.asp
    People often receive wound injuries during and after a natural disaster, and wound care is of particular importance for people with diabetes.
  6. Foot Care for People with Diabetes
    http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/trenchfoot.asp
    Foot wounds or infections can develop into serious problems for people with diabetes, so foot care is especially important.

General Hurricane Recovery Information

  1. Hurricane Recovery Information from FirstGov.gov
    https://www.usa.gov/disasters-and-emergencies
  2. Social Security’s Hurricane Information
    http://www.socialsecurity.gov/hurricane/
  3. Information for Evacuees and Other Affected Persons
    http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/evaccenters.asp
    Health and violence prevention fact sheets for evacuees, addressing parenting stress, mental health, sexual violence, youth violence, high blood pressure, head lice, hand hygiene, carbon monoxide, and wound care.

(Source:  http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/preparedness.html) 

3:  BE PREPARED TO STAY SAFE AND HEALTHY IN WINTER

Winter storms and cold temperatures can be hazardous, but if you plan ahead, you can stay safe and healthy. Prepare your home and cars. Prepare for power outages and outdoor activity. Check on older adults.

Although winter comes as no surprise, many of us are not ready for its arrival. If you are prepared for the hazards of winter, you will be more likely to stay safe and healthy when temperatures start to fall.

Take these steps for your home

Many people prefer to remain indoors in the winter, but staying inside is no guarantee of safety. Take these steps to keep your home safe and warm during the winter months.

  • Winterize your home.
    • Install weather stripping, insulation, and storm windows.
    • Insulate water lines that run along exterior walls.
    • Clean out gutters and repair roof leaks.
  • Check your heating systems.
    • Have your heating system serviced professionally to make sure that it is clean, working properly and ventilated to the outside.
    • Inspect and clean fireplaces and chimneys.
    • Install a smoke detector. Test batteries monthly.
    • Have a safe alternate heating source and alternate fuels available.
    • Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) emergencies.
      • Install a CO detector to alert you of the presence of the deadly, odorless, colorless gas. Check batteries regularly.
      • Learn symptoms of CO poisoning: headaches, nausea, and disorientation.

Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: layers of light, warm clothing; mittens; hats; scarves; and waterproof boots.

Don’t forget to prepare your car

Get your car ready for cold weather use before winter arrives.

  • Service the radiator and maintain antifreeze level; check tire tread or, if necessary, replace tires with all-weather or snow tires.
    • Keep gas tank full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
    • Use a wintertime formula in your windshield washer.
    • Prepare a winter emergency kit to keep in your car in case you become stranded. Include:
      • blankets;
      • food and water;
      • booster cables, flares, tire pump, and a bag of sand or cat litter (for traction);
      • compass and maps;
      • flashlight, battery-powered radio, and extra batteries;
      • first-aid kit; and
      • plastic bags (for sanitation).

 When planning travel, be aware of current and forecast weather conditions.

Equip in advance for emergencies

Be prepared for weather-related emergencies, including power outages.

  • Stock food that needs no cooking or refrigeration and water stored in clean containers.
  • Ensure that your cell phone is fully charged.
  • When planning travel, be aware of current and forecast weather conditions.
  • Keep an up-to-date emergency kit, including:
    • Battery-operated devices, such as a flashlight, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio, and lamps;
    • extra batteries;
    • first-aid kit and extra medicine;
    • baby items; and
    • cat litter or sand for icy walkways.
  • Protect your family from carbon monoxide.
    • Keep grills, camp stoves, and generators out of the house, basement and garage.
    • Locate generators at least 20 feet from the house.
    • Leave your home immediately if the CO detector sounds, and call 911.

Work slowly when doing outside chores.

Take these precautions outdoors

Many people spend time outdoors in the winter working, traveling, or enjoying winter sports. Outdoor activities can expose you to several safety hazards, but you can take these steps to prepare for them:

  • Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: layers of light, warm clothing; mittens; hats; scarves; and waterproof boots.
  • Sprinkle cat litter or sand on icy patches.
  • Learn safety precautions to follow when outdoors.
    • Be aware of the wind chill factor.
    • Work slowly when doing outside chores.
    • Take a buddy and an emergency kit when you are participating in outdoor recreation.
    • Carry a cell phone.

 Be prepared to check on family and neighbors who are especially at risk from cold weather hazards.

Do this when you plan to travel

When planning travel, be aware of current and forecast weather conditions.

  • Avoid traveling when the weather service has issued advisories.
  • If you must travel, inform a friend or relative of your proposed route and expected time of arrival.
  • Follow these safety rules if you become stranded in your car.
    • Stay with your car unless safety is no more than 100 yards away, but continue to move arms and legs.
    • Stay visible by putting bright cloth on the antenna, turning on the inside overhead light (when engine is running), and raising the hood when snow stops falling.
    • Run the engine and heater only 10 minutes every hour.
    • Keep a downwind window open.
    • Make sure the tailpipe is not blocked.

Above all, be prepared to check on family and neighbors who are especially at risk from cold weather hazards: young children, older adults, and the chronically ill. If you have pets, bring them inside. If you cannot bring them inside, provide adequate, warm shelter and unfrozen water to drink.

No one can stop the onset of winter. However, if you follow these suggestions, you will be ready for it when it comes.

(Source:  http://www.cdc.gov/Features/WinterWeather/)

While most of these are directed towards diabetes, these are all great things to remember no matter what illness, disease, or medical condition you may have!  You never want to find yourself stuck in a bad situation, especially in regards to natural disasters.  It really could be life or death.  Be Prepared!

 

 

 

 

 

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2015 Year in Review

Did you miss me?  I know, I know.  It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything.  But just because I wasn’t blogging about diabetes, doesn’t mean I wasn’t actively participating in anything diabetes related.

It was a brutally cold winter here in the Northeast last year, but luckily my diabetes was  not affected by it.

In April, I attended a DiabetesSisters Leadership Conference in Raleigh, NC.  It was a program that allowed various leaders of PODS (Part of DiabetesSisters) from all parts of the country to come together to exchange ideas and best practices for leading a room full of women with diabetes to be the best they can be while living with a chronic illness.  For more information about DiabetesSisters, please visit http://www.diabetessisters.org.

Over the summer, I learned about a conference that occurs in Las Vegas, NV.  The Diabetes UnConference, as a matter of fact.  While I applied for a scholarship to attend that I did not receive, I decided to attend anyway and registered for it with my own money.  Why not take a little vacation while attending an “unconference?”  Shortly after paying my attendance fee, I found out that some of the women I’ve met through DiabetesSisters will be attending as well!  You can find out more about the Diabetes UnConference here:  http://diabetesunconference.com/

In September, Anna Norton, DiabetesSisters CEO, attended a PODS meeting in my hometown.  It was great to see her again and it was also a wonderful opportunity for the local Sisters to meet Anna.  She shared some of her own personal diabetes-related stories and spoke of what she hopes to accomplish in the future under her realm at DiabetesSisters.

In November, I participated in a 21-Day Cleanse sponsored by Kelly Schmidt, RD and my blood sugar numbers were better than they’ve been in years.  I discovered that a high-protein diet works really well for me and I’ll be incorporating some of the diet tips that I learned in the new year.  Read more about Kelly and her Paleo-infused plans here:  http://www.paleoinfused.com/.  I also participated in the T1D Looks Like Me campaign on social media.  Every day I posted a diabetes fact, tidbit, or refuted myth using various sources from Project Blue November (http://www.projectbluenovember.com/)

In December, I received an email from Anna asking me to call her as soon as possible.  I thought I was in trouble from the boss!  It turns out that Anna was calling to offer me the cost of airfare to Las Vegas for the Diabetes UnConference I had already planned to attend!  I could go as a representative of DiabetesSisters!  Of course, I accepted.

And while I didn’t do as well with my overall diabetes management as I had hoped, I did manage to lower my A1c a whole number from October of 2014 to October of 2015.  I’m due for another checkup next week.

Even though I wasn’t blogging, blog ideas kept popping up wherever I turned.  They are all scribbled down on a post-it note.  Future blogs to come!  Stay tuned!  I promise not to disappoint.

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Bionic Pancreas… iLet… A “Cure” By Any Other Name…

theperfectd™

i1The team from Bionic Pancreas is asking everyone to spread the news… and I’m happy to do so.

I believe in the work they are doing and they are the horse (OK, the artificial pancreas system) I am backing until there is a biological cure. I know my body and I know that I need the glucagon portion of this system to keep my blood glucose levels in range.

I’ve donated before and I will again to this…And I’d love for you to read on and hear what they’re doing. We’re so close. And you can help.

From The Bionic Pancreas Team:

Exciting innovative work is being done at Boston University that is focused on profoundly improving outcomes in type 1 diabetes and substantially reducing the burden of diabetes management. Ed Damiano and his team have developed the one and only fully integrated, fully automated bihormonal bionic pancreas. They…

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That moment when….

That moment when…..

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That moment when….

….you take enough insulin to cover your entire dinner full of carbohydrates because you measured and/or scanned bar codes for exactly what you were eating using either your food scale and/or your LoseIt! (www.loseit.com) app on your SmartPhone and you test your blood sugar 2 hours after eating and receive this:

wpid-img_20150624_200324_727.jpg .

#ADayInTheLifeOfADiabetic

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