Toddler Changes His Own Dexcom on TikTok: Advice From His Mom

TikTok has become more than just a place to dance along to the latest trend; it has become a platform for advocacy for many issues, and diabetes has received increased exposure thanks to this social media app. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw a TikTok of a very young boy putting on his own Dexcom G6! And he did it with confidence, bravery, and pride. I wanted to share Daxon’s story in the hopes that it inspires others as well. I reached out to his mom who was gladly happy to chat.

Hi Cassie, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions! I would love for our community to get to know Daxon a little better! He is such a great role model for other children living with type 1 diabetes (T1D)!

At what age was Daxon diagnosed and what were the symptoms?

Daxon was diagnosed exactly 1 month from his second birthday at 23 months old.

He started to get a bad temper spring of 2019 and we never understood why. He would get so upset so easily and we just thought it was because of terrible twos. In July, he threw up twice one morning for no reason and out of the blue. He started throwing up at nighttime multiple nights in a row and only at night. I took him to his pediatrician, and they told me “it’s probably the stomach bug, it’ll pass” but I told him “but randomly like that? It doesn’t make sense”.

After about two weeks, it stopped until August. He threw up one more time in the morning and then stopped. Once again, we had no idea why. At the end of August he started drinking and peeing excessively. What really gave it away was that he was drenched from head to toe in pee after a 2-hour nap period one day and that was it. I checked his sugar and it was 461 mg/dL (borderline DKA).

How did you as a family adapt to your new normal?

Honestly, we are still trying to adapt. We take it day by day because it is always changing. The one thing about diabetes is that no matter what, it is different each day. Even if you do the same exact thing, sugars will change.

Did you change Daxon’s and/or your family’s diet at all? What are his favorite go-to foods that don’t wreak havoc on his blood sugars? I’m sure lots of moms could use some tips!

I did not completely change his diet, but I do swap stuff out for healthier carbs and a lower glycemic index. He does low-carb bread, cheese, and crackers instead of mac-n-cheese, Go-Gurts, Two Good yogurts instead of the higher-carb ones, chicken meatballs instead of chicken nuggets, Fairlife milk instead of others  (because of his milk allergy, but it is better carb-wise also), keto-friendly cereal because others spike so much that I cannot get it down for hours, keto-friendly bread only because the GI level is so much better. There are some other changes, but the family has not changed any really. He does still eat candy, it is just more in moderation than before.

His go-to foods are pork rinds eggs, a brownie bar called “Good to Go”, keto-friendly ice cream, yellow bell peppers, broccoli, really any vegetable, cheese sticks, pepperoni, lollipop suckers. Any time we are out Chik-fil-A, grilled chicken and fruit are a must. That is all I can think of right now.

Photo credit: Cassie Daniels

At what point did you start using the Omnipod and Dexcom G6? How did Daxon handle that? 

The Dexcom was a month after being diagnosed and he did not handle it well at first. We would have to hold him down to get him to let me put it on. It was a nightmare but once he watched a friend of ours put her’s on and she told him “you have a robot just like me” he got used to it and now it is normal. When his phone tells us it’s time to change it, he’ll tell me “robot needs changed” and he will 100% do it solo now which is amazing.

The Omnipod was a little different. His first endo wouldn’t approve it because they thought he would take it off, so we had to wait but once we switched to a different hospital, they got him on it right away; so, he was about 7 months in when he was able to get the pod. At first, once again — NOT a fan and it was horrible — but once he learned it meant “no more shots” he was perfectly fine with it (sometimes). We will scream — and I mean scream  — the song “Baby Shark” so he will not hear the clicking for the needle and that seems to help also. He is currently working on putting the insulin in his pod so he is super excited about that.

I know I personally prefer shots, but am often intrigued by the control some pumpers get. Do you find using the pump helps make blood sugar management easier?

The pump for us personally is a lot better for different reasons. Omnipod allows such a small dose, so even 1 gram of carbs he would get some insulin, but with shots, we would have to round up or down, which meant [more fluctuations for him]. Also, in the middle of the night, being able to give him insulin without even touching him has been great. I hated waking him up to poke him with a needle. Also, when on the go we can dose from the front seat of the car. However, if he ever decides that he wants to stop the pump and go back to shots I will support him and what he wants 100%.

@cdaniels2015

95% completely solo 💙💙💙💙 He’s get the hang of this soooo quickly 😭🙏💙 #typeonediabadass #BigBoy

♬ Bang! – AJR

I couldn’t believe my eyes when my diabestie, Hillary Emmons,  sent me this TikTok of Daxon changing his own Dexcom! I am so impressed and inspired! At what point did he express interest in doing that?

After about six months of being a type 1, he has always been curious about everything. He has been checking his own sugar with the meter since about 6 months in when needed to be checked. And recently he was really showing interest in the Dexcom and doing it solo. He did half of it one day and then the next change he did it completely on his own, all I did was hold it and help place it. I never asked him to do it because I didn’t think he was ready for that task yet but that day he told me “I do it” and that was it. Now he is showing interest in some of the Omnipod stuff, which is amazing because he feels in control.

I give you credit as a parent for letting him own his management and giving him the confidence to know he can manage his disease! What would you like to tell other parents about how to get children to want to be a part of their daily care?

Make it positive, make it fun, and make it normal. We have the JDRF bear and we practiced on that since being diagnosed. At first, we used it so he could understand more of it. We also got his big brother and all the other family members involved since day one. We check everyone’s sugars, so it is normal for everyone. All the children in our family (our boys and our 3 nieces) have been very curious about it since day one.

I see you are using TikTok as a platform for awareness and this one video alone got over 103,000 likes! Kudos! What would you like people to take away from your videos?

I want people to know the signs of T1D and to normalize it. I hate when I see people hide that they check their sugar or even giving their self insulin. I want to help parents have a voice for their children because doctors sometimes do not listen, and we need to be loud for our children and to follow their gut. I have a lot of people say that he encouraged their children to try putting the Dexcom on solo and I love that it is helping other children also. One of my TikToks potentially saved a child from dying. Her sugar was almost 1000 mg/dL and she was in DKA and doctors were surprised she wasn’t in a coma. Children should not die for people [not being able] to figure out what is wrong!

Does Daxon enjoy making the TikTok videos? I think “injecting” some humor and fun is the best medicine of all! And one you can all do together as a family!

Daxon loves showing people his stuff. He knows it makes him unique and he loves seeing others who are like him. So, when people duet his videos and they show their Dex or pod it’s helpful for him also to see that there are others like him.

Photo credit: Cassie Daniels

What else does Daxon like to do with his free time when he’s not managing his diabetes and TikTok’ing?

Daxon is a typical boy and I mean ALL boy. He rough houses with his brother, loves to color, help with dishes, cooking, loves to read books, play outside, ride his 4-wheeler, and absolutely loves cuddling with me. I think him being a T1D made our bond even stronger.

How does Daxon feel about being a TikTok sensation and knowing that he is helping to inspire many other children just like himself!

I have told him many times that he is helping other children and I don’t think he really understands what it means yet, but he always smiles and says “they have a robot like me” or he’ll go “yay that makes me happy”. I ask him “do you want to make a video?” and normally he’ll tell me “yessss let’s make a video”. I will never make him make TikToks so if he tells me no then I’ll leave it alone.

I ask this in every interview! Do you think they’ll be a cure in Daxon’s lifetime?

100% honestly I do not foresee a cure ever. They make way too much money from insulin (when it should be free, but that’s another story for another time). I wish there would be a cure, but I don’t see it happening.

Daxon

Photo credit: Cassie Daniels

What advice helped you? Can you pass it along to parents of newly diagnosed children?

My advice for parents is:

  1. Take one day at a time because it is an always-changing, never-stopping, headache of a disease.
  2. Do your best and never get down on your child for their blood sugars. That is the one thing I will never do to Daxon, anytime he has “bad” sugars, I never express it to him or show it on my face because it is not his fault, so I don’t want him to feel like he is failing.
  3. Always tell your child they can still do anything they like and never change activities. Just change foods to help [manage sugars during] the activities. For example, we took Daxon and his brother to a trampoline park and I knew his sugar was going to drop. He started at 170 mg/dL and dropped to 50 mg/dL. I was prepared with milk, yogurt, chocolate, and others, so he could still have fun and be a kid.
  4. Try not to have a fight if sugars are not in range, because everything is magnified if high or low. So what I do with Daxon if he is high or low and has a temper tantrum, I ignore it and let him do what he needs to do. Once he calms down, we discuss what happened and I explain I understand he doesn’t feel good but he doesn’t need to act that way.
  5. Treat them like you would any other child because diabetes does NOT define them.

Where do you see going with your advocacy and awareness on social media or elsewhere? Do you have other plans in the future?

I would love to bring more awareness to this disease. I would love for there to be a law that pediatricians must check A1c every year or every other year. They check your iron, and they check lead so why not diabetes? [Some] pediatricians think that younger children cannot get diabetes until at least six years old which is not true. It is ridiculous because a child’s death is avoidable if people were more aware of the signs and doctors tested when they should.

Thanks again Cassie, we really appreciate you taking the time! I look forward to continuing to follow Daxon’s journey and see how many kids he inspires along the way!

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Getting the Most Out of Your Remote Healthcare Visits

This content originally appeared on Integrated Diabetes Services. Republished with permission.

By Gary Scheiner MS, CDCES

A long, long time ago, before the days of coronavirus, there was a little diabetes care practice called Integrated Diabetes Services (we’ll just call it IDS for short). IDS taught people with diabetes all the wonderful things they can do to manage their diabetes. Word got out, and people who lived far from IDS’s local hamlet (better known as Philadelphia) wanted to work with IDS. Even people IN the hamlet wanted to work with IDS but were often too busy to make the trip to the office. So IDS had an idea: “Let’s offer our services via phone and the internet so that everybody who wants to work with us can work with us!” The idea took off, and IDS grew and grew.

And virtual diabetes care was born.

Today, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual healthcare has become a virtual norm. Often referred to as “telehealth” or “telemedicine,” people with diabetes are connecting with their healthcare providers for everything from medical appointments to self-management education to coaching sessions. Some consults are conducted via phone calls, while others utilize web-based video programs (like Zoom) or simple email or text messages. Regardless of the form, virtual care can be highly effective. But it can also have its limitations. Whether you’ve been receiving virtual healthcare for months or have yet to give it a try, it pays to learn how to use it effectively. Because virtual care will certainly outlive the pandemic.

What Can… and Can’t… Be Accomplished Virtually

Most diabetes care services, including medical treatment and self-management education, can be provided effectively on a remote basis. We have managed to teach our clients everything from advanced carb counting techniques to strength training routines to self-analysis of glucose monitoring data, all while helping them fine-tune their insulin program, on a 100% virtual basis.

Some clinics and private healthcare providers have gone 100% virtual since the pandemic began, while others are using a “hybrid” approach – periodic in-person appointments with virtual care in-between. Depending on the reason you’re seeking care, a hybrid approach makes a lot of sense. While virtual visits are generally more efficient and economical (and in many cases safer) than in-person appointments, there are some things that are challenging to accomplish on a remote basis. From a diabetes standpoint, this includes:

  • Checking the skin for overused injection sites
  • Learning how to use medical devices (especially for the first time)
  • Examining the thyroid gland and lymph nodes
  • Evaluating glucose data (unless you can download and transmit data to your provider)
  • Performing a professional foot exam
  • Listening to the heart rhythm and feeling peripheral pulses
  • Checking for signs of neuropathy and retinopathy
  • Measuring vital signs (unless you have equipment for doing so at home)

The Logistics

Virtual care can be provided in a variety of ways, ranging from a phone call to an email, text message or video conference. Video can add a great deal to the quality of a consultation, as it allows you and your healthcare provider to pick up on body language and other visual cues. It also permits demonstrations (such as how to estimate a 1-cup portion of food), evaluation of your techniques (such as how to insert a pump infusion set), and use of a marker board for demonstrating complex subjects (such as injection site rotation or how certain medications work).

When using video, it is important to have access to high-speed internet. A computer is almost always better than a phone for video appointments, as the screen is larger and has better resolution. If you have the ability to download your diabetes data, do so and share access with your healthcare provider a day or two prior to the appointment. It may also be helpful to share some of your “vital” signs at the time of the appointment – a thermometer, scale, and blood pressure cuff are good to have at home.

In many cases, care provided on a remote/virtual basis is covered by health insurance at the same level as an in-person appointment. This applies to public as well as private health insurance. However, some plans require your provider to perform specific functions during the consultation (such as reviewing glucose data) in order for the appointment to qualify for coverage. Best to check with your healthcare provider when scheduling the appointment to make sure the virtual service will be covered. At our practice (which is 100% private-pay), virtual and in-person services are charged at the same rates.

If security is of the utmost importance to you, virtual care may not be your best option. Although there are web-based programs and apps that meet HIPPA guidelines, there really is no way to guarantee who has access to your information at the other end. My advice is to weigh the many benefits of virtual care against the (minuscule) security risk that virtual care poses.

Optimizing the Virtual Experience

Just like in-person appointments, virtual care can be HIGHLY productive if you do a little bit of preparation.

  • Do yourself and your healthcare provider a favor and download your devices, including meters, pumps, CGMs, and any logging apps you may be using, prior to the appointment. If you don’t know how to download, ask your healthcare provider for instructions, or contact our office… we can set up a virtual consultation and show you how. If you have not downloaded your information before, don’t be intimidated. It is easier than you think. People in their 80s and 90s can do it. Oh, and look over the data yourself before the appointment so that you can have a productive discussion with your healthcare provider.
  • Be prepared with a list of your current medications, including doses and when you take them. Check before the appointment to see if you need refills on any of your medications or supplies. If you take insulin, have all the details available: basal doses (and timing), bolus/mealtime doses (and dosing formulas if you use insulin:carb ratios), correction formulas (for fixing highs/lows), and adjustments for physical activity.
  • Try to get your labwork done prior to virtual appointments. This will give your healthcare provider important information about how your current program is working.
  • To enhance the quality of the virtual meeting, do your best to cut down the background noise (TV off, pets in another room, etc…) and distractions (get someone to watch the kids). Use of a headset may be preferable to using the speakers/microphone on your phone or computer, especially if there is background noise or you have limited hearing.
  • Use a large screen/monitor so that it will be easy to see details and do screen-sharing. And use front lighting rather than rear lighting. When the lights or window are behind you, you may look more like a black shadow than your beautiful self. “Ring” lights are popular for providing front-lighting.
  • Provide some of your own vitals if possible – weight, temperature, blood pressure, current blood sugar. This is important information that your healthcare provider can use to enhance your care.
  • Prepare a list of topics/questions that you want to discuss. Ideally, write them on paper so that you can take notes during the appointment. If there is a great deal of detail covered, ask your healthcare provider to send you an appointment summary by mail or email.
  • Be in a private place that allows you to speak openly and show any body parts that might need to be examined – including your feet and injection/infusion sites.
  • Be a patient patient! Technical issues can sometimes happen. It is perfectly fine to switch to a basic phone call or reschedule for another time.
  • Courtesy. Be on-time for your virtual appointment. If you are delayed, call your healthcare provider’s office to let them know. And if you are not sure how to login or use the video conferencing system, call your provider beforehand for detailed instructions. This will help to avoid delays. Have your calendar handy so that a follow-up can be scheduled right away. Oh, one other thing: Try not to be eating during the appointment… it is distracting and a bit rude. However, treating a low blood sugar is always permissible!

If there is one thing we’ve learned during the pandemic, it’s that virtual care is a win-win for just about everybody. Expect it to grow in use long after the pandemic. In-person care will never go away completely, but for treating/managing a condition like diabetes, virtual care has a lot to offer… especially if you use it wisely.

Note: Gary Scheiner is Owner and Clinical Director of Integrated Diabetes Services, a private practice specializing in advanced education and intensive glucose management for insulin users. Consultations are available in-person and worldwide via phone and internet. For more information, visit Integrated Diabetes.com, email sales@integrateddiabetes.com, or call (877) 735-3648; outside North America, call + 1-610-642-6055.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

The Importance of Sleep Health for Diabetes

Everyone who lives with diabetes knows that the cornerstones of successful management include insulin therapy, strict monitoring of one’s diet, exercise, and managing stress. But another, lesser-known key element to good diabetes management is sleep health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 1 in 3 Americans don’t get enough sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults between 18 and 60 sleep at least 7 hours every night. Sleeping less than that is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and even stroke.

Sleep health is especially important for people with diabetes. This article will outline the reasons why sleep health is so important and how you can improve your sleep health to improve your diabetes management.

Why Is Sleep Important?

Sleep is important for everyone. Sleep plays an important role not only in physical health but in mental health maintenance as well. During sleep, the body heals and repairs cells damaged during the day (like muscles worked and stretched during exercise), and even restores and clears out both heart and blood vessels, reducing inflammation throughout the body.

Sleep brings much-needed balance back to hormone levels, such as cortisol, serotonin, leptin, ghrelin, melatonin, and adrenaline, working to restore mental and emotional health. Restoration of these key hormones helps the body control stress, combat depression, achieve satiety, and manage hunger levels throughout the day.

Most importantly, sleep helps protect immune function. One study monitored the development of the common cold after giving people nasal drops with the virus to a group of people. The researchers discovered that those who sleep fewer than 7 hours for two weeks were nearly 3 times more likely to develop a cold than those in the study who slept 8 or more hours each night for the duration of the study.

Americans Are Not Getting Enough Sleep

This is all great, except Americans are simply not getting enough sleep. City-dwellers are more likely than those living in rural areas to suffer from sleep deprivation, and the CDC shows that the northeastern and Appalachian mountain parts of the country are the most affected. Nearly 11 percent of Americans are only getting 6 or fewer hours of sleep per night!

There are many reasons why people aren’t getting enough sleep: 24/7 technology, ever-increasing workloads, light and noise pollution in cities, the but most stunning reason, from the National Sleep Foundation, is that Americans simply don’t prioritize sleep.

In a survey, when Americans were asked which of five activities were most important to them, just 10% of people said sleep, the lowest by far out of exercise, nutrition, work, and other hobbies.

As a nation we are not getting enough sleep,” said Dr. Wayne Giles, director of CDC’s Division of Population Health. “Lifestyle changes such as going to bed at the same time each night; rising at the same time each morning; and turning off or removing televisions, computers, mobile devices from the bedroom, can help people get the healthy sleep they need.”

People With Diabetes Need to Prioritize Sleep!

Even though sleep is often disrupted because of diabetes due to CGM alarms, insulin pumps beeping, low and high blood sugars, and the 24/7 nature of the disease, sleep is crucial for good diabetes management.

“Getting inadequate amounts of sleep can negatively impact blood sugar levels short and long term,” says Dr. Gregg Faiman, an endocrinologist at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. “In fact, sleep is as essential to your health as nutrition and exercise,” he says.

Not having enough of it can cause insulin resistance and insatiable hunger due to out of balance hormones, fatigue that makes exercising more difficult, and brain fog that makes carbohydrate counting and the self-control to properly manage food and diet harder.

Sleep affects all other elements of diabetes management: when you don’t have enough sleep, you need more insulin (due to insulin resistance from spiked cortisol levels) to control blood sugars, your body is hungrier when your hormonal leptin levels are off balance, which makes eating and balancing carbohydrates more complex, you’re more tired which makes exercise all the more difficult, and your body is naturally stressed out, wreaking havoc on diabetes management.

Plus, if you nap during the day to try and make up for a bad night’s rest, you may not be tired at bedtime, and one sleepless night can lead to two, which can then turn into a chronic problem, which sets the stage for harder to control blood sugars, higher HbA1c, and possibly even complications later on in life.

how to get enough sleep

Photo credit: iStock

Strategies to Improve Sleep Health

Creating good sleep habits can take time, but the following recommendations can help you improve your sleep, which will positively affect not only your diabetes management but your overall health as well:

  • Exercise daily so you are tired at bedtime
  • Avoid all caffeine after 12 p.m.
  • Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day
  • Do not nap during the day
  • Use the bathroom right before bed, so you don’t wake up in the middle of the night to go
  • Limit fluids before bed
  • Make sure your blood sugar isn’t too high or low at bedtime
  • Turn your thermostat down at bedtime for more peaceful sleep
  • Take a relaxing bath before bed
  • Eat foods that contain natural melatonin at night: cherries, pomegranate, grapes, walnuts, peanuts, or sunflower seeds work well
  • Do some gentle yoga, meditation, or breathing exercises to calm you down before bed
  • Do not allow screens in the bedroom; opt for journaling or reading in bed instead (except, of course, your continuous glucose monitor and insulin pump)
  • Close all curtains and make your room as dark as possible
  • Keep pets outside of the bedroom, and especially off the bed (except diabetes alert dogs, of course).

Managing sleep can be complex and challenging, but making sure to get at least 7 hours of quality sleep per night will make diabetes management easier and better blood sugars more achievable.

Try out these tactics for several weeks, and see if any make a meaningful difference in the amount of quality sleep you’re getting each night, and if it has any positive effects on blood sugar levels the next day.

While an underrated component of diabetes health, sleep is crucial for better blood sugar management, one night at a time. Do you struggle with getting an adequate amount of quality sleep each night? What tactics have helped you improve your sleep health? Share this post and comment below!

Source: diabetesdaily.com

How to Deal with Uncomfortable Situations

We’ve all been there. Whether it’s a coworker telling you that you shouldn’t join in on the company cake or a friend who makes an ignorant joke, there are many times where we are put into social situations where diabetes is a brunt of a joke or just blatantly misunderstood.

How does this make a person living with diabetes feel? Well, that depends on the person, their relationship with their condition, their sense of humor, and their ability to let things go. I bet many of us fall somewhere in the middle, which means at times we say nothing but other times, we feel compelled to put some myths to bed and/or educate our friends and family on a disorder that most know so little about.

About a year into my diagnosis, I went to a party and a friend came over, proudly carrying a dessert tray shouting, “Who wants diabetes?” Now in this instance, I was shocked. At that point, I was newly diagnosed and hadn’t been the brunt of a joke yet. I decided to let this one go. It wasn’t directed at one person, and it wasn’t said maliciously. It was just a distasteful joke, considering I hadn’t slept for days, was just coming out of my honeymoon and each day was a new diabetes adventure.

Fast forward to six years later. My son was only six when I was diagnosed but now he is 13 and always has friends over at the house. This summer, the boys were making different mug cakes concoctions and one joked, “We are totally getting diabetes after this.” I wanted to say nothing. I knew my son would be embarrassed if I chimed in. But then, I thought about their friend who lives around the block from us who was diagnosed two years after I was. I thought about him hearing that joke and I decided to educate. I explained that neither I nor the boy around the block did anything to deserve this disease. I told him that it is an autoimmune condition and we just got unlucky. Next, I went on to explain that people living with type 2 diabetes have it for different reasons, including their genetics. Luckily, this kid is an intellectual one who took interest in what I was saying. Maybe I made a difference.

Here are some main ways that I usually like to handle these types of uncomfortable situations:

Cut People Some Slack

I bring this one up first because I feel it’s very important to take a step back and remember — most if us knew nothing about diabetes until we had to. I have a very good friend who lives with Mulitple Sclerosis; she fights her own battle and I can honestly say it’s one I am not familiar with. While I wouldn’t go around making jokes, I also wouldn’t be aware of the impact that they may make.

Lighten Up

It’s okay to get bothered by insensitive jokes, but it can sometimes be better to just laugh and let it go! It’s better for your mental and emotional state and if you have children, you set a good example about not sweating the small stuff!

Keep Your Cool

This doesn’t only apply to uncomfortable situations involving diabetes, but any circumstance that may trigger you to react suddenly. I often have to remind myself to take a step back, wait a few minutes, and then think about how I should approach the situation. The last thing you want to do is unleash on Betty from down the hall because she asked if you should be eating that cookie. There is always a better way to handle these types of scenarios!

Take the Opportunity to Educate

There is a time and a place to educate; it just may not be worth it when it comes to your 96-year-old aunt who still thinks if you would just start exercising, your blood sugars will normalize. But, there are opportunities, and when appropriate, we should all do our part to shed some light on a disease that is in fact, quite time-consuming and quite demanding. You may be pleasantly surprised by the interest and responses you receive.

Choose Kindness

Let’s remember that everyone is fighting a battle we know nothing about. Chances are, if someone is saying insensitive things or making you feel uncomfortable, it is likely more about them than it is you. So remember that, have grace and choose kindness.

Getting upset with uncomfortable situations is understandable and we can all relate. But focusing on the more important things in life is sure to leave you feeling happier and healthier!

Have you dealt with uncomfortable situations surrounding diabetes? How did you handle it? Share and comment below!

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Diabetes Complications: How They Affected My Body

I have a list of excuses as to why my diabetes was never really properly controlled. At 24 years old, I was diagnosed, but I was treated as a type 2. My doctor based it on my age. For 2 years that I was treated as a type 2, my sugars were never coming down, and my doctor kept upping my dosages until I was taking over 20 pills a day. I had tried a couple of different doctors through my insurance, but with no result. Finally, I went to see a highly rated endocrinologist, whom I had to pay out of pocket. At 26, I didn’t exactly have the funds to do so. I was properly diagnosed by this doctor, but unfortunately, couldn’t keep seeing him at such a high cost.

Recently, through type 1 (T1) meetup groups and social media, I see many young women, men too, who’ve been diagnosed in their twenties. There really isn’t any time in someone’s life that’s a great time to be diagnosed, but for me, and I’m assuming many others, your twenties can be difficult for so many reasons. You’re suddenly on your own health insurance. Your parents are no longer in control of it, and I’m sure, like me, you don’t want them to be! In your twenties, you’re invincible! Your life is yours, your decisions are yours, you feel like everything is yours.

Suddenly the doctors are telling you, “You can’t do this, you can’t have that,” and that diabetes will affect other aspects of your life, your health. But I wasn’t told specifically, all the things. For me, it started to feel like the doctors were in some conspiracy to take all (and more) of the money I made. I couldn’t afford diabetes.

Go to the dentist for a cleaning, I’m told I should be going every 3 months. I didn’t have dental insurance, and I always had great teeth. Never had a cavity, why do I need to worry now?

Quickly I became frustrated. Another endo, who had come highly recommended, did accept my insurance, so I vowed to take better care of myself. And then he started selling me bars and shakes, thought I needed to lose weight (I weighed 138 lbs., I’m 5’7” – not exactly overweight). I tried for a while but realized it was a lifestyle I could never keep up with, and he obviously had ulterior motives.

I felt that if the people who were “supposed” to be helping and supporting me didn’t care, why should I? Well now I wish I did, I wish I had understood all of the “little” complications, some of which are discussed, and some that aren’t as much.

I see young women on social media, who have changed their ways (and I applaud them), but I know there are many who suffer from diabulimia. You’re young, you’ve lost all this weight, you suddenly can wear anything you want, it seems like there’s at least one benefit of this illness. And there are those who have fallen into a depression, have lost hope, and just don’t care for themselves properly.

My sugars were always a little high, but I never (knowingly) missed a shot. My A1c typically ran in the 9% range. Definitely not near where it should be, but I see people who’ve run 13-14%, just to remain slim.

Gums and Teeth

First, it started with my gums. While I was still in my twenties,  I sliced them, just on a potato chip. Crazy! Usually, if that happened, it would heal, almost immediately. Not this time. This time, I got an infection. Gum disease isn’t pretty, especially when your mouth is constantly infected. Infections can raise glucose levels, and raised glucose levels can exacerbate infections. Round and round it goes. And this doesn’t happen overnight.

Nothing really ever went wrong until I hit 40. Even though through my thirties, I had surgeries and saw a periodontist every three months; eventually my gums just weren’t strong enough to keep my teeth in place. But at 20-something, who thinks they’re going to lose their teeth? I was someone who was always known for smiling. I have one of the biggest, cheesiest grins. But suddenly, I lost it, five teeth, and a lot of bone to go with it. Dental implants? Well, aside from being expensive, I need sinus lifts just to ensure the implants take hold.

Frozen Shoulder

What almost seemed out of the blue, I suddenly could not move my shoulder. It didn’t happen overnight, so at first, I thought maybe I was just sleeping funny. But then, I couldn’t raise my arm, even a little. Of course, it was my left shoulder, as I’m left hand dominant (Murphy’s law, right?). I hadn’t heard of this, but it was debilitating. When you can’t move your shoulder, raise your arm – showering, getting dressed, every basic thing becomes nearly impossible to do. I went for an MRI, physical therapy…and this went on for months. It finally subsided, but for months, I couldn’t get dressed, or undressed, without help. For someone who has always been active, lifted weights, this was frustrating, depressing, completely debilitating.

Diabetic Gastroparesis

My sugars definitely got a little out of control when I took a second job. I was working constantly, my part-time job was at a catering hall, so getting fed properly, and at proper times, became nearly impossible. Checking my sugar? Well, that was out the window too. That’s on me for taking that job, but when you need money, you do what you have to. Until you can’t. I’d be feeling fine, I’d finally eat, and almost immediately, I was nauseous, vomiting, feeling like I was going to die. At first, I just assumed I had a stomach flu. Nothing can really be done, you just have to let those run their course. But then, it was happening every week, two times, then three, until I was driving home from work, less than a 15-minute commute, and I couldn’t even pull my car over, I was just opening my car door and vomiting right out the door, several times.

I couldn’t get an appointment with the doctor, so I was told I could see a nurse. As soon as she took my vitals, she told me I needed to see the doctor, and she immediately set me up for an EKG. Fortunately, my heart is fine. But I do suffer from diabetic gastroparesis. Now that I’m aware, I can properly handle, and though every now and again I have a bout with it, overall, it’s basically under control.

Diabetic Mastopathy

I’m 43 years old, and I finally went for my first mammogram. Yes, I’ve been putting it off, because I’ve been in fear of finding something else wrong with me. I loved my teeth, I’ve lost them. I loved my hair, lost a lot around the time I was diagnosed, and though it did get better, it never was the same. I’ve dealt. But I’ve always felt that whatever else could happen to me, I would never let anyone cut into my breast(s), so the less I knew… I know, irresponsible, and ignorant.

Well, I finally went, and just to my luck, they found a lump. I had to be scheduled for a biopsy right away. To say this was nerve-wracking (even though I know women go through this every day, I’m sure they’re not calm about it either), was an understatement. (The stress also seemed to elevate my blood sugars like I’ve never known) I went for my biopsy, and metal markers were inserted, should I need surgery. I waited, very impatiently, for my results. Fortunately, my doctor called me immediately following the weekend (I went on a Thursday).

Now funny, you would think the doctor would know my medical history, but he didn’t! Thankfully, first, he did say it was benign. I can’t tell you what relief I felt, but then he followed with, “Are you an insulin-dependent diabetic?” What? What does that have to do with anything? Well, apparently, diabetic mastopathy happens to more of than not type 1s, but even types 2s, who are insulin-dependent, and whose glucose levels run higher.

Fortunately, this is not life-threatening. None of what I’ve gone through has been. But I promise you, I would’ve preferred to not have had to endure any of it. Managing diabetes alone can be difficult. There’s no need to add anxiety, fear, cost, insecurity, to an already consuming illness. What I wouldn’t give to have my teeth, the hours spent clinging to the toilet or garbage can, thinking I might die, or the lost months of movement in my shoulder/arm back. I would’ve preferred to never have dealt with the anxiety of knowing metal clips were being inserted. Granted, anything in life can happen to us, whether or not we’re diabetic. People lose teeth, suffer from gastroparesis, lose mobility, or get biopsies, who aren’t diabetic. But if we can help to not exacerbate or trigger the situation by managing our blood sugar levels properly, why wouldn’t we? No matter how skinny you might feel you need to be, if you have no teeth to show your smile, no mobility in your shoulder, how good can you really feel about yourself? At 43, my will to be healthy, to live healthy, is stronger than it ever was.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Mandy Marquardt: Redefining Diabetes Through Racing

Mandy Marquardt is a Track Cyclist for the USA Cycling National Team and Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team. Their mission is to inspire, educate and empower everyone affected by diabetes. Mandy has been part of the team since 2010 and believes what the team does really makes a difference to the people in our community – racing and inspiring everyone around the world affected by diabetes is something that brings her great joy.

Thank you so much Mandy for taking the time to answer our questions! We know you are an inspiration to many and would love to share your story!

At what age were you diagnosed with type 1 diabetes?

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 16 while racing and living in Mannheim, Germany with my father.

What were your symptoms?

I surprisingly didn’t have any symptoms that I was aware of and the diagnosis was a shock. There were signs now that I look back at what I thought were some odd incidents. For example, I would take forever to warm up and felt this overwhelming feeling of exhaustion and tiredness frequently. I thought it could have been from the stress of school and training hard.

Along with my type 1 diagnosis, I shortly after found out I have hypothyroidism too, so having that all discovered and learning to get it under control was such a good feeling.

Being diagnosed as a child is hard, how did you handle your diagnosis? Were you quiet about it or were you vocal and welcomed the opportunity to educate?

When I was first diagnosed, I didn’t know anyone else living with type 1 diabetes. While hospitalized for two weeks, a doctor told me I would never be able to compete at a high level again in the sport of cycling. I was heartbroken, but my parents were my biggest supporters, and helped me get back on the bike. I always knew it was my happy place. I started riding again, and just training for fun and told myself, we’ll see what happens.

Joining Team Novo Nordisk in 2010, racing amongst other athletes with type 1 diabetes and learning how to talk about my diagnosis gave me hope.

At what point in your life did you get active with fitness and more specifically, cycling?

I was born in Mannheim, Germany and moved to South Florida at the age of 6. My parents got me involved with the local swim team and I started playing tennis. I picked up running and was interested in competing in triathlons. In 2002 at the age of 10, my dad came across The Brian Piccolo Velodrome, which was a short drive from our home and was a safe place to learn to ride competitively. A year later, my parents and I drove to Texas to compete in the 2003 U.S. Junior Women’s 10-12 Road National Championships and I won two gold medals in the criterium and time trial and a silver in the road race – I was hooked.

I continued to race both the road and track discipline for years. My success on the track has currently led to 18 U.S. National titles and 3 American National Records (records all with type 1 diabetes).

Photo credit: Team Novo Nordisk

At what point did you decide to do it professionally?

After I graduated from the Pennsylvania State University – Penn State Lehigh Valley commonwealth campus in the Spring of 2014, I was invited to a USA Cycling camp that fall.

Afterwards I was invited to go represent the United States at my first UCI Track World Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico. I was so terrified to compete at that level, but now, six years later, I’m right up there with the world’s best, ranked 12th in UCI World Sprint ranking and one step closer to hopefully competing at my first Olympic Games. It’s been a slow and steady process, but if diabetes has taught me anything, it is consistency, patience and resilience.

In June of 2020, I was honored that USA Cycling named me as a member of the Long Team for Women’s Track Cycling. The final selection will be made next year, since the Tokyo Games have been rescheduled for July 23-August 8, 2021.

Did type 1 diabetes ever come in the way of your training or races?

Oh absolutely. It can be a challenge at times and the race doesn’t pause for me. Training and racing at this level, I’ve conditioned and adapted my body to handle the stress and workload, but occasionally the body will do what it wants. Of course, sometimes, it’s still frustrating when my blood sugars aren’t cooperating, like [when]  training and competing at altitude, going through different periods of my training cycle, juggling time zones and everything life throws at me.

I work closely with a sports psychologist and my team’s diabetes educator. Through a lot of trial and error, I’ve found what routine and nutritional habits work best for me and I’m still always learning and improving.

What do you use to help you manage your diabetes? Do you use a pump or do you prefer injections? Do you use a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) to help you monitor your blood sugar levels?

I use a continuous glucose monitor and take injections. It’s helpful to have real-time data around training, racing and traveling to better my diabetes management and performance – getting the most out of my training and recovery. Plus, I want to live a long healthy life, without complications!

Photo credit: Team Novo Nordisk

Photo credit: Team Novo Nordisk

What do you recommend to other athletes when it comes to managing your blood sugars during this type of activity?

Whether competing at a high level or just going out to exercise, always be prepared. I love my snacks! My favorites are the Honey Stinger waffles, performance chews, and protein snack bars! It’s important to be mindful about nutrition and fueling, and incorporating more protein, and eating consistently through the day. Most importantly, be patient and seek resources. My team, Team Novo Nordisk has many great resources and tips on their website too!

I know you are very active within the community, what are some of the things you’ve been up to lately?

I love my cycling career, but I think it’s important to have a balance between my personal and professional life. I recently partnered with Mammoth Creameries, a yummy keto-friendly ice cream founded by Tim Krauss, who is living with type 1 diabetes – it’s a pretty sweet partnership!

I also recently launched my logo and merchandise. The diabetes community has always been inspiring and supportive. I feel that my logo really puts my journey and the connection with the diabetes community in perspective. The blue circle is the global symbol for diabetes – that we are all connected in a special way and my initials subtly share a story that we are all greater than our highs and lows. For my merchandise highlighted with my logo, I wanted to create a wide range of awesome and high quality clothing and products that people can feel inspired and connected with.

Where do you see yourself both personally and professionally in 5-10 years?

Well, currently training hard in hopes of being selected for my first Olympic Team! I’d like to aim for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. So, in 5-10 years, I’d love to hopefully be a 2-time Olympian. Personally, I’d like to continue my education and earn my Masters Degree. I have an undergraduate degree in Business Management and Marketing from The Pennsylvania State University – Penn State Lehigh Valley (’14) commonwealth campus. I want to continue to prove to myself what I’m capable of as an athlete and what is possible with diabetes.

What would you say to the children out there, living with type 1 diabetes, who aspire to do great things when it comes to sports and fitness?

Go for it! Never limit yourself and your own capabilities. Use your platform to create awareness and inspire and connect with others affected by diabetes. The Founder and CEO of Team Novo Nordisk, who is also living and racing with diabetes says, “Diabetes only chooses the champions.”

Mandy, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions! We will continue to follow your journey and can’t wait to see more great things from you! We wish you all the best!

Source: diabetesdaily.com

My Running Journey with Type 1 Diabetes

By Mariel Sotelo

I am 43 years old, was diagnosed just before I turned 20 years old.

The doctor misdiagnosed me with type 2. After the diagnosis of my middle daughter, I understood why I was misdiagnosed. She was diagnosed as a MODY 3 and she is now being treated with oral medication. I started with oral medication and three years later, I got married and was planning to grow our family. I started to research insulin pumps. My endocrinologist had no idea about any of the pumps, but he signed off on the paperwork within a few months of me getting pregnant with my first daughter. As she turned one, I found out I was pregnant with my second daughter. After I had my second daughter the weight just piled on from there. After my oldest started school is when I decided to do something about the weight and my sugar. I met the gym owner who is the one responsible for me starting my love/hate relationship with running.

In 2013 we started to train for our first half marathon. It was not an easy thing for me to do. I could not just say I am going out for a run like the rest of them. Why? Because I have type 1 diabetes (T1D) and at first it was trial and error just to figure out how to handle the pump, the blood glucose, and the effort put into it. I always love the idea of having to use less insulin after a run.

marathon medals

Photo credit: Mariel Sotelo

After running a few more half marathons, everyone decided it was time to go to the next level. I was a little scared, but not because of my diabetes. I was scared because everyone was getting faster and it seemed like I wasn’t making any progress. I have continued to run no matter how fast or how slow I am. I know I have T1D and that alone is a hassle sometimes, but I know that a lot of the women that now run in the group say that they started and continue to run because of me! They feel inspired when they see that no matter what, I do not back out from running.

Even COVID-19 did not stop me from completing a challenge I had signed up for back in November of 2019. My first run was completing a half marathon in May which I had to do a week after a 14-day quarantine after contracting COVID-19 from work and having mild symptoms. I have to say, I did have some concerns with my lungs, but I did okay and was able to finish. On October 25th, I completed my 8th marathon which was part of the challenge. On the weekend of November 14th and 15th, I finished my 9th marathon. I ran 14 miles on the 14th for World Diabetes Day and 12.2 miles on the 15th to complete my run.

Diabetes has not stopped me from running! I am not the fastest runner of the group but I always reach the finish line!

Source: diabetesdaily.com

How the Keto Diet Paved the Way for a “Normal” Life

By Matt Barrie

I have type 1 diabetes since age three, and am now 37 years old. Living a ‘normal life’ has always been my number 1 goal, but how this has manifested has been different through different stages of my life. As a teenager, I hung out with friends and wanted to do all the same things as them, eat the same things as them and just be a ‘normal’ kid. I made it through, although there were several seizures and hospital visits.

My twenties had their ups and downs both with health and life events. I had weight fluctuations from quite low to an extra unhealthy 20 lbs., and my HbA1cs were also all over the map. By 26, I made some big changes and adopted a healthy, standard carb-diet lifestyle and enjoyed that sense of ‘normalcy’ that we all crave. I played soccer, ran, skied, and lifted weights.

By my late twenties, I made some big life-changing decisions, like heading back to school to change direction with my career. Through studying and supporting myself at the same time, my health began to slip slowly and steadily. By the time my degree was finished, I had put on 50+ lbs., had developed very unhealthy eating habits, and could barely make it up a flight of stairs without being out of breath.

Doctors were giving me all the warnings, my HbA1c was up in the 8s and 9s and most significantly, the diabetic retinopathy that had begun to develop in my 20s worsened and progressed into macular retinal edema. So, monthly visits to the ophthalmologist (daily, when I developed an infection from the injections I was getting that almost took my eye!) became my new normal. With fear as a driving factor and determination as the driving force, I jumped into action, although not sure where to begin.

keto diet

Moussaka made with eggplant, zucchini, cashew-béchamel, ground beef sauce and cheese. Photo credit: Matt Barrie

I started experimenting with the ketogenic diet after reading that it had proved successful for many people with diabetes, both types 1 and 2. This was around 3.5 years ago. Most of the success I read about then was regarding type 2 diabetes and reversing it with the diet.

I was very curious though how I could make this work for myself so the experimenting began. I tried cyclical, where you rotate carbs in and out, but this didn’t work. I tried semi-strict, with the infamous ‘cheat days’ which I needed at the time to preserve those foods I ‘missed’, but ultimately this didn’t work either. I tried many different iterations of the diet and for two years saw small successes – up to 20 lbs. [weight loss] here and there. It was enough to keep me going but I never saw that breakthrough success that I was truly after.

After the summer of 2019, I had taken a ‘break’ with visiting relatives and had gained back all my losses and then some. It was very discouraging, but it was the motivation I needed to make a serious change. I hit a saturation point where I knew I couldn’t keep continuing on the way I had been. I weighed in over 210 lbs., which on my 5’8″ frame felt like [an extra] 100 lbs. I committed to myself that I would be absolutely strict keto, I signed up with a trainer twice a week to stay accountable, and committed to running twice a week. I also began practicing intermittent fasting with the 16 hour/8 hour split between my fasting and eating window.

Photo credit: Matt Barrie

Within the first month, I dropped 15 lbs. and the weight and body composition began to change week by week, month by month. By the time the pandemic hit, I was well on my way to my weight loss goal and was able to stay on track. I lost 50 lbs. by April of 2020 and have been working on building lean muscle mass ever since!

My insulin needs have dropped significantly – basal by about a quarter and fast-acting by over 3/4! My HbA1c is in the low 6s and most significantly, I have reversed my macular edema and the retinopathy seems to be going into remission as well. My ophthalmologist was blown away that there was no fluid in my retina.

Photo credit: Matt Barrie

It’s hard to put into words the effect these lifestyle changes have had in my life. My energy, ability to perform, clarity of mind, spirit, and purpose are all significantly improved. Thinking and being told by convention that carbs were essential led me to high levels of insulin resistance, fat storage, yo-yo blood sugars, and unnecessary highs and lows due to over-correction. I now enjoy steady blood glucose levels during exercise, during waking hours, and overnight. I’m also enjoying much lower insulin needs and feel confident that my risk of diabetic complications is significantly decreased.

Keto Diet - Matt Barrie

Left: Sablefish (black cod) with puréed butternut squash, pan-fried Brussels and topped with red cabbage sauerkraut. Right: Grilled pork chop with seared zu Chinju, roasted carrots and cauliflower. Finished with mushroom cream sauce. Photo credit: Matt Barrie

I can’t shout from the roof loud enough that the ketogenic lifestyle can be such a powerful tool for diabetes management! I’m not saying it’s the only way, but it has certainly worked for me and changed my life. At first, you do miss the foods from a standard carbohydrate diet that we are all programmed to accept, but with time the cravings go away and the way you feel on the other side is totally worth it! It doesn’t even feel like a sacrifice anymore and being creative in the kitchen to make satisfying, delicious food is all part of the fun!

Left: Zucchini tuna melts with cheese and avocado mayo. Right: Cauliflower, bacon and asparagus soup with homemade almond flour cheese scone. Photo credit: Matt Barrie

If you’d like to follow my journey and pick up any tips and tricks I’ve discovered along the way, I’ve recently started a public Instagram account. You can follow along @type1ketoguy.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

How to Get Through to Your Teen With Diabetes

If you’re raising a pre-teen or adolescent living with diabetes, you know that sometimes conveying the seriousness of the disease can be a difficult challenge. What oftentimes is easier and convenient now, such as grabbing fast food on the go, or neglecting to adequately count carbohydrates, take insulin or even test for days on end can contribute to serious complications later on in life. It can be extremely difficult to get through to your teen but making sure they know the seriousness of a life with diabetes is paramount. So, how do you communicate with a teenager when diabetes is the last thing they want to deal with? Does “tough love” work on teens?

Feeling Invincible

One’s adolescent years are an incredible time of drastic and fast change. Not only are teenagers growing rapidly physically and emotionally, but they’re also dealing with the drama of school and friends, and the challenges that managing a chronic condition brings. Teenagers and young adults often tend to feel quite invincible, even earning the nickname “young invincibles” for their seeming unwillingness to buy affordable health care plans or take reasonable preventive actions to take care of themselves and their bodies. More often than not, when teenagers neglect their diabetes management, it’s a sign of feeling quite burnt out.

Do Scare Tactics Work?

Can scare tactics help your teenager take their diabetes more seriously? When communication is difficult, it can seem almost impossible to prioritize diabetes management. Sometimes a teenager just doesn’t want to hear it, and in the worst of cases, giving your teenager scare tactics in the form of storytelling worst-case scenarios, playing the game of “what if” with complications, and threatening them can backfire, resulting in dangerous management patterns, disordered eating, or can even cause them to completely shut down all communication.

Lynn, from Pennsylvania, says,

“Scare tactics don’t work with me, and no one I know has used them. The best support I’ve gotten is when my loved ones decided to eat keto. We plan low-carb meals and look for new recipes together. If [my family] was eating tons of carbs, it would make it harder for me to stay low-carb. Otherwise, we don’t really talk much about my diabetes…my family does sometimes ask about my blood sugar after trying a new dish to see if it ‘worked’ for me.”

Cora adds,

“As young people, people with type 1 diabetes take criticism and scare tactics to heart. It’s basically verbal abuse because we don’t hear the practicalities behind what the parent is saying. Young people hear strongly worded comments about efforts to control our diabetes, and we take it personally. Except it comes through as ‘you’re bad’, ‘you’re lazy’, or ‘you’re incompetent’.”

Alienating your teenager with scare tactics is harmful, and you most likely will not get your desired result (more attention paid to their diabetes). There are healthier ways to help a person with diabetes in your life.

Photo credit: Adobe Stock

Honesty Doesn’t Have to Be Scary

It’s important to not scare your teenager with threats of complications, or a dark and scary future that may not come to fruition. Instead, model good behavior and have the whole family adopt practices that encourage a healthy lifestyle.

Meryl says,

“The best thing I have found to do is offer foods that he likes and can eat and not to nag.”

The good news that is well-adjusted teenagers eventually will take over the management of their diabetes, and thanks to technology, will begin to thrive. The power struggle and shirking of responsibility that comes with adolescence will end. In the meantime, here are some strategies to help you and your teenager thrive through this period of transition.

  1. Be there to listen. The power struggle between a teenager with diabetes and their parents comes down to them wanting to feel more independent, and the parents ultimately having to give up some (or all!) control of diabetes management and rigorous expectations. Make sure you’re there to talk with your teen, but more importantly, to listen to their wants and needs. If they want autonomy and space, be there to give it, but also hold them accountable (by showing you their glucometer memory, pump data, or meals and carbohydrate counts), to eventually earn more freedom. This way, you can problem-solve and strategize around emerging issues together. Additionally, here are some things not to say to someone with diabetes. 
  2. Find a great endocrinologist. Find a doctor that your teenager will work well with, and remember that communication is key. Finding the right dietitian, social worker, nurse, and primary care physician is also critical during this vulnerable time in a teenager’s life. Make sure your teenager feels comfortable talking with their doctors, sharing their concerns, and standing up for themselves during visits. This will be crucial for good diabetes management as they take on more of the responsibility of their care moving forward.
  3. Expose them to other teens with diabetes. Sign your teenager up for a diabetes camp, or a local support group for teenagers dealing with diabetes. Make sure they know that they are not alone, and find ample opportunities for them to meet other kids their age who are struggling with the same issues that they are. Usually, once a kid or teenager makes a “dia-bestie” their diabetes management improves, because now the thing that used to single them out suddenly makes them part of the cool crowd, like having the newest Patch Peelz or insulin pump.
  4. Try a tech break. If your teenager is struggling with constant insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor (CGM) changes all the time and is feeling like a cyborg, let them take a technology break. Sometimes a change in routine helps everyone suffering from diabetes burnout, and it can help bring a fresh perspective of and appreciation for the technology when you bring it back.
  5. Seek individual or family counseling. Sometimes a child loses interest in their diabetes management due to depression, which is more common among people with diabetes. Teenagers who have depression may not always exhibit the classic symptoms of depression such as crying, sudden anger, and changes in sleep and eating patterns. Regardless, a teen who stops taking an interest in their diabetes management is sending a clear message and call for help. This is an excellent time to find a great therapist who can help your teenager work through their issues.

Peter from New Jersey adds,

“From my experience, the key is to bring them to these realizations gradually, at a pace they can handle. That pace is very individual, and parents, and sometimes even doctors need to work on understanding that pace. In the meantime, just support them and make sure they don’t make any huge mistakes.”

These strategies can help you and your teenager thrive during this turbulent time in their lives, by prioritizing compassion, openness, and love. Also, be sure to check out recent research from the American Diabetes Association (ADA) about what works when it comes to transitioning to self-management.

What have you found to be the most helpful strategies in helping your teens thrive with diabetes? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

How to Not Let Stress Come in the Way of Your Diabetes Care

With the current state of the world, we are all struggling in some way. Whether you are homeschooling your children, trying to manage a full-time job from the confinements of your makeshift home office, or grieving a recent loss; it is a difficult time for all. We are all adapting to the changes and roll with the punches, but with all the chaos ensuing, our diabetes oftentimes falls to the back burner.

I am trying hard to not let my emotions consume me. I am trying to get through the day and stick to my routine, but being busy and stressed makes me distracted, lack motivation, and not prioritize my diabetes or myself.

Here are five ways to not let stress come in way of your diabetes management:

Start the Day Off Right

I know for me, my emotions change by the day, but a wise diabuddy once told me, “If you put negative thoughts in your head, you’ll have negative emotions.”  Try waking up and being grateful for another day. Start the day right by testing your blood sugar, taking any necessary insulin or oral medications, and any vitamins and/or supplements you may take. Eat a protein-rich breakfast that will give you the energy you need to face the day ahead.

Set Alarms

This is one I need to start doing myself. When we are busy, or anxious, or both, we are likely to delay our eating or even skip a meal. By setting an alarm for a meal or sneak break, you are also allowing yourself a mental break from whatever it is you are dealing with at the moment. It’s a good time to check in with yourself, plan your meal, and dose insulin accordingly, if necessary.

Stay Active

Stress and worry can consume us, so it is in our best interest to keep ourselves busy and distracted. There is perhaps no better way to distract yourself than doing something good for your mind, body and soul. Exercise will not only make you feel physically better but you will release endorphins that will automatically put you in a better mood. “There’s good epidemiological data to suggest that active people are less depressed than inactive people. And people who were active and stopped tend to be more depressed than those who maintain or initiate an exercise program,” says James Blumenthal, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at Duke University.

Find a Support System

Whether it be a local mom’s group, a diabetes Facebook group or your family members, it is good to have someone to lean on. Finding people that are also struggling but trying to keep positive will help motivate you and also keep you accountable. The diabetes online community is an amazing resource and can change your outlook for the better. You can also find countless blogs of people dealing with difficult times who discuss coping mechanisms that you may find useful. You may walk away with a few new recipes, a new mindset and a new best friend!

Have Grace with Yourself

We are going through unprecedented times and that compounded with the already existing daily life stressors, it’s a lot for anyone to bear. Add in the around the clock job of playing pancreas and it is a lot to juggle. Remember to breathe and be kind to yourself, you are doing the best you can.

Having some systems in place can help you not only manage your diabetes better but live a more relaxing life during these very stressful times. Have you put any measures in place to help you focus more on your diabetes management during times of stress? Comment and share below!

Source: diabetesdaily.com

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