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bookDiabetes articles about daily topics that affect those living with diabetes. There is a lot of information about diabetes and hopefully you find this information useful in your everyday life. Here we have compiled a list of older articles from our previous "The Diabetes Network" along with links to blogs and articles, an extended reading archive. You can use the search in the top-right menu to search for specific articles.


Presenting Diabetes to 3rd Graders...

When C was in kindergarten, she helped me create a picture book that taught the class about diabetes.  We shared it with the class in the beginning of the year.  We used it for 1st grade and 2nd grad too.  It was really adorable, if I do say so myself.  And the kids really got into it.  Each year, I would go into the classroom and C would demonstrate a blood sugar check and talk about what life is like with diabetes.

Well, this year, I asked her if she wanted to do that again.  She did want to but thought that our little book is too "baby-ish" for 3rd grade.  "I'll just tell them about it, Mom!"

So, I helped her type up her words in a short explanation.  She wanted to present it herself, no help from me. 

"Can I at least come in and listen?"  I asked. 

"Okay," she smiled.

I'm so very thankful that she has such a courageous spirit.  I would not have wanted to do anything of the sort when I was her age.  The following is what she presented.  (And, of course, she shared her bear and supply box!)

Hi! I’m C and I have type 1 diabetes. I was diagnosed before I was even 2 years old. I got very sick and had to be in the hospital.

Diabetes means that I have a disease. My pancreas doesn’t work well. For you, your pancreas is the organ in your body that makes insulin. Mine, doesn’t. So, I have something called a pump that gives me the insulin I need. When we eat food, we need insulin to help our bodies use the energy from food.

I have to poke my finger to check my blood sugar before I eat food and when I don’t feel well. This number is important and gets put into my pump. My pump is NOT a toy. It’s like a little computer. I tell it how much food I’m going to eat and then it figures out how much insulin I need. My pump helps keep me healthy.

You may see me check my blood sugar in the classroom. It might be because I “feel low.” My number might be too low. This can make me feel sick. To help get my number back up, I need to drink a juice box or some tablets, something that has a lot of sugar. Then my body will feel better.

Most of the time, I will just go to the Health Office to do my checks. I’ll need some good friends to walk with me. It will be great this year to be able to count on all of you to help me. I hope I can help you with something someday too!

The important thing I want to tell you today is that even though I have type 1 diabetes, and even though I need to check my blood sugar, I’m really a lot like you. I am on a soccer team. I like to ride my bike and play with my friends. I just need to take care of my diabetes too.

Diabetes Blog Week - Day 7

so i realize i kind of dropped the ball on posting every day last week...i just had an unbelievably crazy few days, and i figured better late than never.  i am skipping day 6 on purpose because it's too late for me to take any pictures right now.

Day 7 - Dream a little dream - life after a cure. To wrap up Diabetes Blog Week, let’s pretend a cure has been found. We are all given a tiny little pill to swallow and *poof* our pancreases are back in working order. No side effects. No more insulin resistance. No more diabetes. Tell us what your life is now like. Or take us through your first day celebrating life without the Big D. Blog about how you imagine you would feel if you no longer were a Person With Diabetes.

i would go to max brenner's chocolate restaurant and eat some sort of obscene 392052 calorie dessert.  all by myself.

i would go for a run outside with no paraphernalia on me/attached to me.

i would go out at night with a clutch purse that barely fits anything in it.

i would drink a frozen margarita with some syrup-y flavor in it. 

my thoughts would be consumed with something else.

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This is the long version... (Part 1)

When I started feeling not so good was maybe five years back... Well, it was longer than that, but when things started to get on-again-off-again bad was about five years. First I started having really bad heart palpitations- they would knock the wind out of me. I saw a cardiologist. I had tonnes of tests- everything was fine. About a year later I returned to my GP. I would go through bouts of gasping for breath; I was tired all the time and thirsty, really thirsty. Went out for bloodwork; came back for answers- everything was fine, though slightly anemic. I was on iron pills for three months. The anemia went away, but my symptoms didn't. I was told it was likely a virus that would pass and was told to continue taking a multivitamin. Then, suddenly, everything I was complaining about went away.

That was fall. The following spring when my seasonal allergies started up: I. could. not. breath. I was given Ventolin and put on Advair. When that didn't help, they added more inhaled corticosteroid to the mix. I went from having blood sugars within range (with a good dose of regular bad lows) to having blood sugars around 20 mmol/l (about 360 mg/dl) all the effing time. I felt disgusting while I got my numbers under control... and then once allergy season ended, I'd stop the inhalers and deal with the opposite: major persistent lows.

This was just the beginning though. Every year since then my ability to breath, especially during allergy season degraded. Every time I got a cold (which went from about never to about three or four times a year) I would end up bacterial respiratory infections. I became familiar with the various ER's in the city. I've had x-rays and bloodwork at all of them. My inhaler medication just went up and up until it couldn't go up anymore. Sometimes it would get so bad I felt like I was drowning in my own phlegm. Again, I went for tests and breathed into all sorts of tubes- everything seemed fine. All they could figure was that it was some sort of allergy induced asthma.

And then this time last year, shit really fell apart. First, my skin started peeling. Especially from my scalp. I was parched all the time. Then my hair was falling out in bunches. My skin was bruising over the smallest bump and whenever I tested my blood I had times where I couldn't get them to stop bleeding. And, then, by this time last year I got tired... really tired... Like pre-insulin tired. I had times where I could muster up enough strength to get out of bed once a day. I would get up, practically crawl to the bathroom, clean up, grab a glass of water, go pee and make my way back to bed. The worst of it I remember lying in bed one night, my pulse had slowed right down and I had to actually make conscious effort to breath and in my head I was thinking 'If I fall asleep, I don't know that I'm going to wake up from this.' I fell asleep thinking of a list of what to do and who to contact in case I didn't wake up. I never wrote it down.

I can't remember now if it was before this or after that I went to my family doctor. I remember listing all the things that were happening and saying "I feel like I'm getting diabetes all over again." The colour drained from her face and she checked off almost all the tests on the bloodwork requisition sheet. This was the second round of bloodwork. She started prepping me for all the things that could be wrong. I remember none but the first- organ failure.

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Why this but not that?

I work as a CPA, but do not prepare federal income tax returns as part of my work. Never have; I just don't want to specialize in that. Around this time of year, as April 15th approaches, lots of well meaning friends express concern about "how busy you must be this time of year". This is in spite of me having told many of them previously that I don't do taxes. I do not find this to be upsetting at all, and have plenty of patience and grace to extend to those friends, as I'm sure they extend to me on other things.

Contrast that with how I feel when those same well meaning friends make comments about my diabetes. You know what I'm talking about....things like "oh, I forgot, you can't eat that, can you?", or "you need to eat your lunch right on time, don't you?" That in spite of me having told them previously that Type 1 diabetes is not so much about what I cannot eat or when I eat (thanks to my pump), but about matching insulin with what I do eat and my activity level. Why do those questions still cause a flood of emotions, and leave me often reliving the comment long after it is made? I do my best to extend grace to those friends, and in my head realize it's unrealistic to expect them to remember much about my diabetes. But it's a battle to fight through those initial emotions to get there sometimes.

Both are sterotypes of sorts, but one leaves me feeling judged, and the other does not. How about you, have you found a dichotomy in how you respond to D related comments vs. comments about other aspects of your life?

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Phase 2 Mittens

Shucks, winter is here. We are getting some heavy snow right now - that's Minnesota for you.

I am thankful that I have a big supply of warm clothes and accessories. Inluding my walk to the bus stop and then the wait, I can be out in the elements anywhere from 10-30 minutes. It's best to be prepared.

These are my Phase 1 gloves, from the Dollar Store. I always lose them so will buy 4 pairs at a time. Phase 1 weather is between 20-40 degrees.

Then we come to Phase 2, about 0-20 degrees. These are mittens I knit and the pattern called them "Traditional Latvian Mittens", but we all know that things change over time and continents. There is another wool mitten inside, but, they are really not as warm as they look.

And finally, when it's below zero, we have to call on the big guys. The Phase 3's are lined with goosedown. I ordered them from Canada 10 years ago and guard them with my life. See that big diagonal ridge? That's where the down has lumped up, but if I put them in the dryer on low, the lump will disappear.

Today was a Phase 2 day. As I was getting ready to get off the bus, the woman next to me said, "oh, are those the mittens with that insulin from 3M"? Obviously she meant
Thinsulate, a synthetic product made to add warmth to outdoor clothing. I told her no, they weren't, but I had some insulin in my purse. She replied, "well, that's good - you can't go wrong with a nice warm handbag".

No, I guess you can't.

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Happy 2nd Pump-aversary! (2 year insulin pump review)

Happy Pump-aversary!!

I would've celebrated with (2) small Dairy Queen Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Blizzards (yes, 2), but I had forgotten today was the day until after DQ closed. I suppose there's always the '2-year, 1 day' anniversary...

It completely slipped my mind until I got an incredible message from a new friend in Canada, more about that later.

So 2 years ago today I made the switch, I took the plunge, I changed course, I....you get the point!!

I was so apprehensive. Very scared. The thought of the added supplies, the changing of the infusion sets every few days, and the tubing....oh....the awful tubing! But I had just reached a point of willingness to try. I was relatively sure it would be a short-lived experiment, but I reasoned, 'if I give it a try I can finally get all those people who harp at me (a.k.a. LOVE ME) off my back.'

You know, people like my wife, my mom and dad, my sisters, my closest friends...people that...don't know me that well?? Apparently that was my though process (crazy in retrospect). Anyway, I gave it a whirl for them, and to combat the erratic blood sugars, constant 'chasing' of highs and lows, crummy, low-energy feelings, and possible onset of complications.

Now, let me break it down here. There have been some monumental events in my life that have shaped me (no, it's not the dairy queen blizzard's I'm referring to here!!).
-I am a Christian, and my relationship with Jesus has been entirely faithful on His end, spotty on mine. Yet it's that relationship and grace that have given me eternal security.
-My marriage is the 2nd most important relationship in the world to me (after the Lord), and I am blessed here as well.
-Every parent knows the birth of your child(ren) is pivotal, as it was for me. Especially our youngest son Nate, who has Down syndrome (read more about him here on my wife's blog).
-The pump.

Yes, you read that right. The Lord, the family, the pump.

And here's something else for you: EVERY relationship is affected by the pump, because when my levels are balanced I am more effective in every context. The pump is that life-changing.

So after 2 years, here's my review:

The insulin pump is the next best thing to the cure. It is so convenient to operate, easy to hide (if you so desire), and masterful at balancing your blood sugars that I firmly believe EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN THE WORLD that has diabetes should be on it!

Again, look back on this blog. Read my story. I was dead-set against it. I would say, "I'll take 20 shots a day over the pump." Total ignorance.

Do you enjoy shots? I mean, really? For that reason alone, make the switch! But again, it's not about how it looks, whether or not the screen is color, or how easily you can hide it. It's about your quality of life - how you feel.

I have never met a person who has said, "I want to be the worst me I can be." Of course that's lunacy. Who would say, "I want to be a less effective parent?" or "I like my moodiness and short-temper!" The pump WILL help you in all those areas and more. If the pump changed my life, I know it can change yours.

Let me be clear, you will have to learn to use it. It does require you to interact with it. Just like all diabetes management, education is key. But the tools are there for you. Take them, use them, and FEEL BETTER. It's time, NOW, today - no more excuses, no more delays. Do it for your family. Do it for your co-workers. Do it for your friends. Do it for your health.

Here are some of the people I did it for:

Back to the message from Canada. I was so encouraged earlier tonight to receive this e-mail. In part, it reads,

"...You don't know me, but my name is xxxxxxx and I live in Ontario Canada.

I started reading your blog about a year ago and it made me start really thinking about the pump. I had ridiculous A1c's and it was a constant roller coaster. Could never get any semblance of control and always felt like crap (there are other words I should use to describe how I felt).

It has been about 6 months since I started and all I can say is thanks for the blog and the encouragement. We just traveled to Europe for 2 weeks to Norway and Italy and having the pump made the vacation a million times better.
So in closing, I see today was your 2 year anniversary mark and I wanted to say thanks for your posts!

Have a great night and can't wait for the next post...."

That's why ipump is here. That is the vision - to encourage people affected by diabetes all over the world to make the switch to the pump. My story could be yours, or it could be the one listed above.

I want to pause here for a moment and thank those that have patiently waited for me to make this switch - you know who you are. Also, to the many people who either purposely or accidentally stumble across this blog, I am so grateful to you. Your comments and feedback, both publicly and privately are instrumental to this forum.

I love you all!

2 year review insulin pump grade: A+

My friends, until next time either get, or keep pumpin....

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