Time to enhance your T1D skills?

Now you can learn from the best from the comfort of your home. Gary Scheiner, my friend and diabetes educator extraordinaire, (and diabetes educator of the year) has updated the tremendous classes he offers at Type 1 University. Gary happens to be the educator who trained me on my first Dexcom CGM 7 years ago.

T1U is the only “school of higher learning” for we insulin users, and you probably agree, a tune-up is always useful, sometimes life-saving.

Courses are 30-60 minute webinars, to be watched on your schedule and they cover Nutrition and Lifestyle ie low carb counting and eating, the effects of fat and protein, strength training, burnout and stress, Mastering Technology and other things like managing post meal glucose, sick day care and self-care.

It’s $25/course. Give the website a look to see what’s specifically on offer and how it works.

Since my gifts to myself over the past year and a half have almost exclusively been socks and masks, this is a gift well worth partaking of.

Help design a tool that will make food shopping easier and healthier

You can support a group of Princeton University students who are building a digital tool to help people with diabetes, and other chronic conditions, make wise grocery shopping decisions. The tool will help shoppers up their nutrition while reducing the time they spend shopping, whether in store or online.

All you need do is fill out a tiny survey and participate in a very friendly 15 minute chat to answer some questions about your shopping habits, decision-making and lifestyle.

If you have diabetes or another chronic condition, or follow a specific diet like keto or vegan for example, they’d love to talk with you. You can sign up here.

Dexcom offers Overpatches for the G6

They’re free and they come 10 in a pack. They fit right over the G6 sensor and offer an extra inch of security that your sensor won’t fall off especially in this hot and sticky (no pun intended) summer weather. Just peel away the backing, apply, and peel away the front paper.

All you need do is call Dexcom customer service – 1 (888) 738-3646 – and ask for the Overpatch. Tis true, if I had my choice I’d want more of this patch below, my lil cat guy, but then I’d have to fly back to Tokyo get them 😉

New low-cost insulin available at Walmart

It will be marketed and sold under Walmart’s own brand name ReliOn NovoLog. Like regular NovoLog from Novo Nordisk, ReliOn NovoLog is also a rapid-acting, analog insulin. You will need a doctor’s prescription.

The big news is it will be cheaper than NovoLog. One vial of ReliOn NovoLog will cost $72.88/vial, a savings of $101 compared to NovoLog. It’s also available in five profiled insulin pens.

Walmart also carries ReliOn human insulin. It’s even cheaper, but current rapid-acting analog insulins have been shown to be more effective at managing blood sugar and help minimize hypoglycemia and weight gain.

Low carb, highly creamy tiny truffles, ERND

Note straight at the top, these were gifted to me by ERND snacks to write about if I so chose.

First off, I’m not a truffle fan, too creamy. I like my dark chocolate denser than creamy. Thus, my love of Lindt 85% and Montezuma 100% dark chocolates. I combine them, a square of each one on top of the other, delivering my perfect bliss point apparently, 92.5%.

‘That said, these are well done, very satisfying ‘two bites in one’ mini truffles using fine Belgian chocolate. While they say dark chocolate on the bag, I didn’t find them very dark, but then you now know my barometer. Actually upon closer inspection I see they also say on the bag 55% cacao.

But if you like your chocolate creamy and truffley, I can’t see how these won’t satisfy. The husband likes them. My only question is what does ‘ERND’ stand for?

The big news of course is the lead I buried: they’re sugar-free, low carb and low fat. 1 truffle has 6 carbohydrates, 7 grams of fat and 75 calories, and few ingredients which is always good:

Ingredients

Handmade in Utah, the assorted bag I was sent contains 32 in total mint, raspberry, dark and sea salt truffles.

This 16 ounce bag costs $29.50. The company also has 7 ounce bags for $15.50, and additional flavors.

Ah – the company says ERND is pronounced “earned” as in “You’ve earned it!”

This year is insulin’s 100th birthday

Insulin was discovered by scientist Frederick Banting, along with Charles Best, in Toronto in 1921. So this year diabetes organizations are recognizing and heralding this important milestone, insulin’s 100th birthday.

As a member of the International Diabetes Federation’s Blue Circle Voices (that’s IDF’s people with diabetes group) I am part of their testimonial campaign, specifically answering the question what changes I’ve seen in my 49 years living with type 1 diabetes.

My two minute testimonial below and more stories from around the world and information here

The untold story: 49 years of type 1 diabetes

I was up to my neck in health ailments some months ago, I imagine it’s sort of how I must have felt when I donned this pot on my head. When I could no longer stand my health issues, I wrote about them; what creeps up on you after living with type 1 diabetes for 49 years. Excerpt below:

“We who live with T1D all learn pretty quickly (SHOCKER HERE): It’s not about the shots. It is about the 180 decisions per dayTrusted Source medical journals say we make to manage our blood sugar. It is about how this daily decision-making puts our nervous systems into constant hypervigilance. 

It is about fearing the major complications I was told in my hospital bed at age 18 that would befall me: heart attack, kidney disease, amputation, blindness. Scared silly for weeks afterward, I went to sleep opening and closing my eyes, testing what the world would be like if I could no longer see it. Need I tell you I was an art major?”

Full story published on Healthline today, click here. I think it’s an important contribution to annotating the long-term experience of type 1 diabetes.

From TCOYD: All you need to know to manage xtreme blood sugar highs and lows

My favorite “diabetes bad boys,” Dr.s Steven Edelman and Jeremy Pettus, bring us great information about the current state of meds, devices and strategies to help us avoid those spiky highs and horrendous lows. What I love about these two guys is not only are they funny, but they’re honest: two doctors with type 1 diabetes who share their own slips, mess ups and difficulties. Tune in, take notes and enjoy.

A Sanofi-sponsored video to celebrate 100 years of insulin

Last week my 700 square foot city apartment expanded to hold professional video equipment. For two days it become more than our COVID-inspired workspace, gym, movie theatre, restaurant. It became an actual video studio. The photo above is the after-shoot celebration with the husband.

These two black cases arrived from UPS filled to the brim with a camera, tripods, cables, microphone, monitor, laptop, and two ring lights arrived as well in separate boxes. The video was being shot in three locations, the homes of each of us who were in the video, in Boston and Brooklyn.

The video began as an idea for a pop up in a digital anniversary book on insulin. The book is being produced by VPR, the same company through which I participated in the Sanofi-sponsored A1C Champion peer-mentor program for 10 years.

The video will also be shown at the American Diabetes Association’s conference next month, and posted on Sanofi’s website. You may also catch it somewhere else as wider distribution is being discussed among diabetes organizations.

The idea for the video is education and uplift, and the talent was in part chosen because our ages add up to 100, just like the 100th birthday for insulin. Kat and Maddie, who’ve had T1D respectively 12 and 7 years, accompanied me through this video. I leave it to you to guess our ages. 😉

In the video we share our experiences of T1D from our respective ages. In other words, I ask Maddie, today a tween, how it felt hearing she had type 1 diabetes at only six! Kat was curious what advances I’ve seen in diabetes since my diagnosis in 1972, the prehistoric ages. Certainly, those were pre-glucose meter ages; it would take 10 years before I had one.

Pre-shoot: examining the set up. Trust me I did not do the set up, that task was taken on by the “helper” husband. He groaned, but I think it actually appealed to his love of gadgets and photography. Lucky me.

Rolling: and yes, you will only see me from the waist up. When asked about my feelings upon diagnosis, I share what I will never forget: getting T1D at 18 felt like my life was beginning and ending all at the same time. I couldn’t imagine living my whole life with a disease, and taking shots every day.

Of course we all quickly learn that the shots are the least of it. It’s the constant decision-making, the effort to avoid ‘riding the rollercoaster’ and the carrying on through better and worse days. All of which we do.

While Kat and Maddie shared about becoming independent managing their diabetes, I talked about the opposite – learning to become, not dependent, but letting the husband into my diabetes after handling it alone for 30 years. I remember the first time he told me, seeing my CGM blood sugar numbers on his Apple Watch, “You know you’re 63…” “I know,” I said. To which he responded, “Does it bother you that I tell you?” “Not yet,” I said. And we laughed.

That’s a wrap: something Kat, Maddie and I learned was that even though we’re different ages, and have had different experiences, we can still learn from each other. Like the learning that goes on on social media among people with diabetes every day. Not to mention the bonding. It was 22 years after my diagnosis before I met another person with type 1 diabetes. Now I may just have as many friends with diabetes as without.

I will post the video here when it’s available. Meanwhile, I can’t believe how big my apartment is now that it’s only a workspace, gym and restaurant.

Shots in the sun: (How an ice cream cone up-ended my day and blood sugar)

Now that I’m vaccinated and we’re having summer-like days here, I went with a friend to the famed Coney Island that rests along the southern border of Brooklyn. It’s a half hour drive from my apartment –that’s all of 6 miles. Sniffing the air you’re transported into summer: the Atlantic ocean, people sunning themselves on the sand, strollers on the boardwalk. This boardwalk is famed for its terrifying roller coaster, The Cyclone.

But I digress. About twice a year I treat myself to a good ice cream cone. My favorite flavor is old fashioned chocolate chip (that’s vanilla ice cream and chocolate chips.) Runner up: coffee chip or mocha chip. You detect a theme, yes?

Anyway, there in front of us was Coney Cones. Never heard of it, but it boasted gelato and sugar cones. And the cone is the essential – none of those cardboard like cones most places offer, or the huge waffle cones that overwhelm the delicate balance between the smoothness of the ice cream and the crunch of the cone. No, only a sugar cone will do.

Reward in hand, I exited the shop with a kiddie cone (1 generous scoop) of vanilla gelato with pieces of dark chocolate in it. My friend and I sat on a bench right near the shop and I injected my usual dose for such a dessert, 2 units, one unit covers 13-17 grams of carb for me depending on time of day, growing more insulin sensitive as the day progresses.

An hour later, when we got into the car, my Dexcom was letting me know my blood sugar was creeping over 200 mg/dl. Huh? Annoyed, frustrated, fearful, my mind deduced, having taken my shot in the blinding sun, syringe struck into an insulin cartridge, as so often happens there was probably a huge air bubble I had not seen. So, I hadn’t gotten all two units into my body. Or, maybe I didn’t get any insulin at all into the syringe which also sometimes happens.

As I watched my blood sugar climb even further over the next few minutes, I decided to take 1 unit of insulin to curb the rise. Home 45 minutes later, my blood sugar was still rising, now 249 mg/dl. I took another unit of insulin. And 20 minutes later, remembering something I’ve heard from Dr. Steve Edelman, that when your blood sugar is high, (around or over 200 mg/dl) it takes more insulin than normal to bring it down, I added another unit.

Now I possibly had a total of 5 units in my body, had the original two units I took on the boardwalk actually been injected, or anywhere between 3 and 5 units. You will know that this is not a comfortable feeling.

I spent the next four hours as they say, ‘riding the rollercoaster,’ and it wasn’t The Cyclone, but it was just as exhausting and a bit terrifying. Up and down, up and down. I ate seven glucose tablets in all, a spoonful of honey, then began eating crackers and cheese, as my blood sugar went up and down, then up and down again.

I decided to take a walk after the last shot to nudge my blood sugar down, but of course as soon as I walked up my street, my blood sugar began to fall. So I shortened my expected hour walk to 20 minutes and settled in a small vest pocket park. Twenty minutes later my blood sugar was going down from 119 to 109 to 98 mg/dl with the down arrow completely down. Nervous I should just keep descending, I walked SLOWLY home.

What I did right is I made small moves. As Dr. Richard Bernstein says in his ‘law of small numbers’ is that small actions prevent big mistakes. I ate one glucose tab, then watched my numbers on my Dexcom and then took another action. This dance went on for four hours. I finally stabilized at 89 mg/dl. I then took a half unit for my low carb dinner, vegetables and tuna fish salad, and had to slightly up my blood sugar for the last time before bed. I woke up at 115 mg/dl.

There is no perfect with type 1 diabetes. 49 years in this can happen to anyone on any single day. You just have to work with it. I have a tendency to over-react, for instance to take too much insulin to blunt a rise. Insulin is just too slow to match up with, well frankly, anything. But I do believe in the law of small numbers to undertake safer experiments, as living with T1D is one grand experiment.

And, I suppose I have learned the benefit of ignoring the fact that my beautiful gelato is dripping down my hand, and just walk over to some shade to see exactly how much insulin I’m injecting into my body. So perhaps this is a story about mindfulness as we approach lots of shots in the sunshine this coming summer.

Photo below shows half the agony. Just double it for the whole story.