Tuesday, April 1, 2014

OmniPod: Pod Change LIVE!

First ever attempt at posting a video to the blog!  All done in one take; no editing.

Staring: Me
Pump played by: OmniPod
Walk-on role: DexCom

Things I Learned After Filming:
1. Make your bed if it's in the shot
2. Easier solution, close your bedroom door
3. Hold the iPhone horizontally, not vertically
4. Meant to say at the end that with the OmniPod you perform this task every 3 days

Sunday, March 30, 2014


Every minute is a choice when living with diabetes. Today I made the choice to sit this close to cupcakes and not eat one. They smelled so good and a part of me, make that a large part of me, really wanted one, but more than that, I wanted my BG to stay in range and level like it had been all day.

Nice try, cupcakes, but you ain't got nothing on me.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Tropical Climates + OmniPod = Bad Insulin

How do people in tropical climates use insulin pumps?

For our honeymoon we spent a week here. It was magical and perfect and everything you think it would be except for one thing. The insulin in my pod kept going bad. Luckily, I was living in this bubble of, “it’s my honeymoon and I don’t really give a rat’s ass what my diabetes is doing this week”, so dealing with this only reached a level of “annoying” rather than “enraging”.

The vials of insulin I brought never left the fridge in the resort room, so it wasn’t an issue of the vial going bad. However, within 24 hours of filling a pod – and always after spending the entire day at the beach – my numbers would be coasting 100-200 (!!!) points higher than they ever are and they would stay there until I changed the pod. 

I have two theories:

A. Because the pod is placed directly on the skin, and the skin was hot all day long, the insulin cooked itself inside the pod and went bad

B. Drinking 12 hours a day for 7 days not only kills brain cells, but insulin

I’m going with A because I’ve spent all day drinking in other climates and the insulin never went bad. I think if I wore a tubed pump, I could have stayed connected, but put the pump in a small cooler next to my beach chair every day, but how lame would that be? “Honey, doesn’t my mini-cooler look sexy?”

This same problem happened to me when I spent a week in Ft. Lauderdale back in July 2013. I went through so many pods on that trip. I so rarely spend any time in a climate like Florida or Mexico, but the next time I do I’m going to strongly consider going back to Lantus and Humalog (MDI) to get me through the trip. At least with Lantus injections you KNOW the insulin got into you and isn’t going to have the opportunity to get hot in the sun. Not having consistent basal insulin KILLED my blood sugars. 

Does anyone else on an OmniPod have success when on a beach vacation? What do people do who live in this type of climate year round? 

*What I did LOVE about OmniPod was how easy it was to go into the ocean and also how easy it was to wear all my cute dresses I brought on the trip. OmniPod wins hands down for being discrete and comfortable.
First day at the beach.
Our last day.

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Brother, Two Weddings, and a Friend*

Two days before our wedding the biggest blizzard of the season hit the Midwest.  It impacted all of Iowa, Western Wisconsin, and the center of Minnesota all the way to the Iowa/MN border.  Starting at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday thru all of Thursday it snowed and iced.  Plows were pretty much useless because even after they “cleared” (I use that word loosely) the snow off the roads, they were still covered in 3-5 inches of solid ice.  The temps were too cold for salt to melt anything. 

In anticipation of this BIG STORM, my brother and his family decided to leave Omaha Wednesday afternoon instead of Thursday morning as they had originally planned.  In their haste, my brother (the other Type 1 diabetic) forgot a few things.  On Thursday, after unpacking at my parent’s house, he thought he had only forgotten the charger to the DexCom.  Not a big deal, I would just bring mine to the rehearsal dinner and he would charge up while we ate.

One day before our wedding, it’s time for my brother to change his pump.  Without missing a beat, he does what he has done thousands of times and he rips out the old one to enjoy a “pump free” shower before reconnecting.

There’s just one problem.  His pump supplies are 365 miles away in Omaha.

In just a few hours our rehearsal will start.  Because of the storm we need to double the time it will take to drive anywhere.  I am preoccupied, nervous, excited. My phone rings, 

E: “Katie, do you still have any of your old Animas pump supplies?”

K: “No, it’s been almost 14 years since I used a tubed pump and it was a Medtronic one.  What’s going on?”

E: “I ripped off my old site before realizing I forgot to pack my pump supplies.”

K: “Ok, talk me through our options?”

E: “Well, I was hoping you’d have some supplies, otherwise, I can call Animas and maybe they can ship one overnight, but we won’t be around tomorrow (BECAUSE WE’LL BE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WEDDING) to pick it up.  I could also try and get a script for Lantus sent to a local pharmacy or I could just inject Humalog on the hour for the next day or so?”

K: “No, none of that is going to work.  I know one person who lives close enough to us and uses Animas.  This will only work if she’s home and answers the phone immediately.  Give me 5 minutes.”

A brief explanation…fellow DOC blogger and friend, Laddie, lives 10 miles from me.  Laddie is retired and, because she is smart, does not live in Minnesota from late December thru April.  LADDIE SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN IN MINNESOTA WHEN THIS WAS HAPPENING, but one of Laddie’s sons was attending a wedding of his own ON THE EXACT SAME DAY I WAS GETTING MARRIED and because Laddie loves her grandchildren, and probably her son too, she had flown back into this hell hole on Tuesday so she could babysit while her adult son and wife enjoyed the wedding.  Little did she know, she was also going to save my brother. 

K: <OMG, please answer your phone, please answer your phone, please...>

L: “Hi Katie, why are you calling me?” <--in exactly the tone of voice a person should use when a person you never talk to on the phone is calling you the day before they get married 

K: “So here’s the deal… <explain situation>…are you home and can my brother come to your house and get some supplies?”

AND BY THE GRACE OF GOD, Laddie was home and could help! 

I was so concerned about my own diabetes getting in the way of my wedding that I never even considered my brother’s diabetes possibly being a problem.  Had they not rushed to beat the storm, he wouldn’t have forgotten to pack his supplies.  Had Laddie’s son not had a wedding to attend on the same day we got married, she wouldn’t have been 10 miles away from me.  Had I not been horribly depressed by my diabetes 2 years ago, I wouldn’t have discovered the DOC. 

Later I asked my brother why he called me instead of calling Animas.  He said that as he stood there assessing the situation he thought, “I can either call Katie or I can call Animas” and he called me because he felt I’d be able to fix the situation faster than Animas.

Because of Laddie, I didn’t let him down.

Laddie, thanks for saving my brother and subsequently, solving a problem that otherwise would have had me worried throughout my entire wedding day.

*Best Story of a D Mistake ~ Best of the 'Betes Blogs, March 2014

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

My Wedding Day

Over the years the question, "which day would you choose to not be diabetic" comes up.  For the longest time I would always answer, "wedding day" for the following reasons: 
  • Having a low, or worse, a really, really bad low while standing on an altar in front of 200 people would be humiliating
  • Your nerves and emotions are ALL. OVER. THE. PLACE. that day and diabetes does not tolerate that well
  • I was worried something would happen (e.g., broken pump, super high blood sugar, etc.) that would force me to delay the start of something or make me miss out on the day
  • It angered me that non-diabetic brides got to just be happy and excited on their wedding day, instead of worrying about getting blood on their wedding dress or stuffing glucose tabs down their throat right before they walked down the aisle 
In hindsight, I didn't need to say "wedding day" all these years because by the time I reached my wedding day I had come to realize that if any of the above happened it really didn't matter.  Even better, I’d learned enough about me, my diabetes, and how my body reacts to crazy, high stress situations, that I knew how to prepare for it.  Sure, non-diabetic brides don’t have to create contingencies for low or high blood sugar, strategically place glucose throughout the church, or have their groom carry their DexCom receiver all day, but with diabetes, you can only spend so much energy on being angry at what other people don’t have to do.  All I could do is what I already do so well every single day, and that was to plan for the worst, hope for the best, and handle whatever ended up happening.  

My Wedding Day Diabetes Plan

Mitigating and Dealing with Low Blood Sugar
  • Modified target blood sugar within pump settings to only correct if above 130 instead of my normal 95
  • Increased DexCom low alarm to 90 (normally set at 75) so I would catch the low faster
  • Both father and brother carried a roll of glucose tabs in their tux pockets
  • A jar of glucose tabs sat next to my brother in the front pew of church (he is also T1D so we were killing two birds with one stone)
  • A roll of glucose tabs was discretely placed on the table next to me on the altar
Mitigating DexCom Alarms Going Off at Inopportune Times
  • Increased high threshold on my DexCom receiver to 220 (you could also remove the high alarm all together, but I still wanted to know if I went above 220)
Hiding My Pod and Sensor Under My Wedding Dress

I dare you to find the OmniPod and DexCom sensor.
What I refused to do:
  • Wear a big puffy dress just so it would be easier to hide my OmniPod and DexCom sensor
  • Go back to MDI for just 1 day to avoid hiding a pump under a dress
This is just one of a million reasons why I love not having a tubed pump.  Throughout my dress
fittings I had the pod on my back, stomach, and side and it NEVER once was seen through the dress. I ultimately wore it on my right side where my waist naturally curves in.
  • DexCom was simple, I just stuck it a little lower on my left thigh (right where the dress started to flair out), so the fabric wasn’t tight against my leg and viola, no outline visible
  • The OmniPod also allowed me to dance like crazy and never once did I worry about the pump falling off or coming loose and suddenly dangling between my legs (this used to happen to me all the time when I used tubed pumps)
  • I was able to use the restroom on my own because I didn’t need someone to hold my dress while I dealt with pump nonsense.
What I did with my DexCom Receiver

There was nowhere to sew in a pocket, unless I did it at the very bottom down by my calves and that would have looked stupid reaching down under my dress all night to check the receiver. 

What I ended up doing:
  • Tom held on to it prior to Mass while we were taking all the pictures
  • Dad put it in his pocket the 30 minutes prior to Mass (because we were hiding together up in the balcony as guests got seated)
  • As we walked down the aisle he had it in his closed fist and then he handed it to Tom, who then put it in his tux pocket
  • This all happened seamlessly; no one in the congregation knew what was going on (we practiced the hand off during the rehearsal!)
  • Once Dad handed the DexCom to Tom, it was his responsibility the entire evening. We were never more than 20 feet away from each other (all the activities happened in the same ballroom), and had it gone off, he would have felt the vibration and then just let me know
  • It was actually such an awesome feeling to not be “in charge” of the receiver for once.  In a very small way it felt like I was giving my blood sugar monitoring responsibility over to Tom and that break felt really good.  I think I will find more ways to have him help with this over the years.
  • I also kept my meter in my purse under the head table.  Once or twice during the night I went over to test
In the end, my diabetes was very well behaved throughout the entire day (until I manhandled a plate of mac 'n cheese and fries with my cousin at midnight).  My numbers hovered between 140-180 all day, which I was very happy with.

I'm proud of all the planning my family and I did to ensure diabetes wouldn't ruin the day.  It turned out to be the best day of my life and once it was underway I didn't waste a single moment worrying about or thinking about diabetes.  It was our day, not my diseases day.
Mr. & Mrs.