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My 6 Bad Diabetes Habits

Everyone has bad habits.

Whether they’re diabetes related or not, I bet you have your bad habits too.

Just as I have mine.

Just because I do what I do, helping people with diabetes to feel healthier and more confident in their own care, it certainly doesn’t mean I’m perfect when it comes to my own care. Not even by a long shot.

But I didn’t lure you here to complain about bad blood glucose readings; I don’t mean that kind of perfect (mainly because I think that’s a complete myth – you can’t be a perfect diabetic.) I mean habits that could be improved, that I’ve always been told I “need” to do, but, for some reason, don’t.

Note: I’m not talking about not taking insulin or not measuring my blood glucose; those are givens in order to have an ok level of your self care.

I’ve thought of 5+1 bad diabetes habits I have, and only higher powers above know I have plenty more non-d-related, too.

 

1) Never changing my lancet

I’m fairly certain this is something pretty much e v e r y person with diabetes is guilty of.

I just never change the lancet in my finger-pricking device.

Why? Because I’m lazy? Probably. But also because I just never think of it. There are so many other things I keep track of every day, and changing a lancet is just not on that list.

 

2) Throwing away test strips

When I’ve checked my blood glucose, I put the used test strip into my meter case (I use a small pouch instead of the supplied cases, I think they’re painfully ugly, and diabetes is sometimes ugly enough without having to be reminded every time I check my sugars, am-I-right?), to just forget about them.

When I finally DO empty my case, it’s because things don’t fit into the case anymore. Here is a video of me emptying my case, it’s almost like snowfall at Christmas!

Again, why? Good question. Secret hoarder? Saving up for winter? Hiding something? Your guess is as good as mine.

 

3) Suspending pump for hypos

When my blood sugar goes low, unless it’s superlow, I simply suspend the insulin delivery on my pump rather than eating something and just put on a minimal basal dosage until I’m ok again.

So far I have never forgotten it off, perhaps because she (Doris, my insulin pump) reminds me angrily when I do?

 

4) Mistakes in carb counting

I have to confess I don’t always count every single carbohydrate in a meal. (Unless I write how many carbs it is on Instagram, then there might be some severe googling behind it…)

This has gotten me into BG-trouble in the past, but a lot less so after I started eating low carb meals.

Sometimes I just didn’t want to see, realize or recognize just how many carbs I was eating in a meal, which is another problem solved with eating low carb meals.

Why? D-Nial. Not just a river, peeps.

 

5) Not being open enough about diabetes

Having shared a picture of myself in a bikini and revealing the names of my medical gear, have been huge steps for me.

I used to hide every aspect of my medical condition(s).

I’m getting better at this though, and am starting to enjoy sharing more and more of my d-experience with you and my clients.

Yet, every time someone else is hiding something that is such a big part of their lives, I almost get offended. If we’re ever going to get a bigger public understanding of chronic conditions, like diabetes, it’s up to us to share how it is to actually live with it.

 

+1) Not eating 60% carbs with every meal

Simply because I don’t feel well when I do so. But I was told for 26 years that this was an absolute necessity to diabetes management.

Well, turns out it isn’t.

 

 

These may seem pretty harmless to you, and whilst you’re probably right, they are things I want to get better at in my self-care. If I don’t take the outmost care of myself, no one else is going to either.

Sometimes it’s the smallest thing that throws the whole thing over. This probably wont be an unchanged lancet or not emptying the used test strips out, but it could be letting a hypo go too low or miscalculating the carbs in a meal.

 

What are your bad habits? Even if they’re not diabetes related, share them below!

 

 

Omnipod: Pros and Cons (or Happy Birthday Doris!)

Today it’s time for a little look back in the mirror.

To a huge step, at least for me.

Because, exactly one year ago today, I got my first insulin pump.

I had been considering it for YEARS, and various endocrinologists had been trying to throw one at me for about as long.

It was never really a though choice of which insulin pump to get for me, although there are many other excellent brands out there on the market.

My diabetes nurse and I both quickly agreed on the Omnipod being the best fit. Why? I simply don’t like the tubing of other pumps. Tubing makes me feel more sick than I actually am, more attached, and diabetes becomes more visible. Something I’m generally really OK with, but sometimes it’s nice not to be the center of attention.

I was also able to continue with the insulin I was already using (Novorapid/Novolog), so we knew that wasn’t going to be an issue.

And I could finally say the long-awaited good bye to Lantus. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that insulin was not good for me. For example, I had a lump (muscle knot) in my shoulder that my poor husband tried for months to get out through spending every night massaging my shoulders. To no avail. Not until I could stop taking Lantus, I noticed three days later that the lump was gone. This isn’t scientifically proven, of course, but it is my empirical observation.

So, exactly one year ago, I was scared.

Scared of the unknown. Scared of having something attached to me all the time, scared of feeling trapped. Scared of people’s comments, because injections aren’t visible on the outside. Scared of that the insertion would hurt. Scared of effing everything up. Scared of “failing” and having to go back on injections. I was basically just being a general scaredy cat.

Oh, how wrong I was going to be proven!

My life truly changed that day, exactly one year ago. And it did so for the better.

This is my pros and cons list for the Omnipod insulin pump:

Pros:

  • No tubing

I’ll say this again and again, but I’m so happy there’s no tubing involved!

  • Lifestyle improvement

For me, being on a pump means more freedom. Not in terms of eating-whatever-and-just-inject, but more like being able to correct a high while out on the run. Or being able to temporarily change the basal rate, avoiding an impending hyper/hypo.

  • Stick on and forget

Fill it, inject it, and forget it. For 3 whole days.

  • Easy to fill

Filling the pods could not be easier. It primes itself, and you don’t have to do anything.

  • Easy to apply

At first, I was so scared of the auto-injector (naturally I had consumed ridiculous amounts of youtube videos on how the insertion etc worked). But now it’s almost my favorite part of it.

  • Waterproof

It’s waterproof, so there’s no need (or chance) to disconnect it for showers or going swimming. It also doesn’t matter if you’re caught in a huge downpour.

  • Lasts exactly 3 days (+8 h)

Until it shuts off, which means no infections and you’re sure to change your site on time.

  • Incorporated blood sugar meter

Less junk to carry around with me – yay!

 

Cons:

  • Bad batches

Some batches of pods are just bad with many failures, and increased pod changes. But Insulet are amazing at replacing these, it’s just to report and wait for a new pod in the mail.

  • Insulin waste

If you haven’t used all the insulin you filled the pod with within the 3 day period, you lose much of it. Even if you try to withdraw it from the old pod.

  • Placement

A badly placed pump = uncomfortable sleep and irritation for 3 days.

  • Wasteful

Because you remove the entire pod when it’s time to change, it creates a lot of waste. Although Insulet does have a recycling program where you send back the old pods to get recycled. Great initiative!

  • Plaster

The plaster might not hold for the entire 3 days, especially when it’s warmer outside. Medical tape can, and should be, one of your BFF’s. (not just for pods, but things like cuts, CGMs and blisters, too.)

 

Granted, I don’t have any insulin pumps to compare the Omnipod to. But generally I’m so happy with my choice of insulin pump, and wouldn’t want it any other way. And I definitely do not want to go back to injections.

As you may or may not know, I’ve (of course) given my pump a name. She’s called Doris.

Doris, my Omnipod

Doris, my Omnipod

 

On her first birthday, I’d like to take the opportunity to THANK Doris for being my closest friend, always being there for me, knowing everything about me, for helping me calculate dosages, see trends and help me be a healthier diabetic.

Without you, Doris, I would never be able to get 24 hour graphs like this one:

 

cgm_graph

The past 24 hours on my CGM – thank you insulin pump!

 

You’re a true star, Doris, and I’m not sure I could live without you!

 

Happy, happy birthday, sorry I couldn’t give you the day off.

 

Do you have an insulin pump? If so, which one? If not, why not?