Diabetes Blog Week 2016 Day 4: Healthcare Bear Stare


I’ve been very lucky since my diagnosis with my healthcare experience.  There are a few things that irk me like not being able to use my preferred insulin because it is excluded from my coverage and having to switch meters back and forth because my insurance changes preferred vendors.  Lastly, I’m annoyed by how much this damn condition costs me and my family.

All in all, these things don’t happen to affect my treatment and how I lead my life with diabetes.  The key word here is “lead.”  When we lead, we have to plan and make decisions.  

The first decision I made to was listen to the releasing doctor at the hospital and go to an endocrinologist.  Since I had no experience looking for this type of specialist, I went with woman and nearby.  You’d think I would have gone to Yelp, but nope.  Just went with girl and a close drive.  Those things are important to me 1) females have my same plumbing and hormones, chances are they might have a little more insight into what I’m going through in addition to the diabetes. 2) nearby: I didn’t want an excuse for not to go to my appointments.  Little did I know that after picking my endo office, they ended up being the best endo office I could have hoped for.  The owners were even the walk chairs for our recent JDRF OneWalk! So delighted with my office!!!  

Remember: Select a medical team that you respect and are in line with your medical needs.  They only get paid if you continue to go to them.  Your primary care or family doctor might not have the experience and expertise to help you dose insulin or know when to draw the line that your Metformin is not working.  It may be time to see a specialist.  In addition, there are also Certified Diabetic Educators (CDE) out there who might be able to help with nutritional needs and correction factors.  I found that I was fine with my endo and I no longer have a CDE. I have friends who swear by their CDE.  The point is: there is a choice in the matter and it is yours.

When seeing my endocrinologist: I write everything down.  Why? Because I’m gonna forget.  I have 10-15 minutes tops and I’m gonna make each minute count and worth my time.  I write down her instructions like new bolusing/dosing instructions and questions I’ve got about everything!  I wanna know about the new pill/pen/gadget on the market and if it is a cost effective option for me.  I wanna know about new research studies that I might be able to qualify for.  Did you know you can get free supplies and test drugs during the course of a study by doing things that you might already be doing?  I will save that for another post.  I also bring up news that is buzzing around in the diabetes online community that’s been bugging me or has got me excited.  There are times when some of the things I tell her is news to her and I get her riled up on a subject.  And no, I don’t expect her to know everything that is going on in the DOC-I assume she would like to enjoy some time away from diabetes and other metabolic conditions when she leaves work.  Anyway, this interaction with my doctor lets her know that I know what’s up and that I value  her as a partner in my wellbeing.  

Remember: You have to make your time count with your medical team.  Make sure you get what you need out of those 10-15 minutes by having a checklist written down of topics to cover.  You’ll feel much more empowered when your time is up.

Insurance companies:  I don’t even know where to begin there except there is a lot I don’t know about insurance and what is covered and what isn’t and at what percentages and after how much in premiums are met.  I have a hard enough time doing the math for my dosing!  So I have to read and find out or I have to ask and make decisions or a game plan based on what I’m told. Your doctor might also be able to help you with getting around obstacles which is why it is so important to ask them anything and everything.  If your insurance doesn’t cover a drug but the alternate preferred drug doesn’t help you-your Doctor might know what to in terms of contacting your insurance to say the preferred doesn’t work.  

Remember: learn the system so you can navigate through it better.  It seems what aggrevatese the most is when unexpected things occur. Unfortunately, I think things with insurance and limiting our options will become more and more evident.  Prepare yourself my friends. 

My healthcare wish list: 1) a cure.  We could all be helping other needy people right now if Diabetes wasn’t sitting right smack dab in the middle of our plates.  2) less painful options for care. I think my friends and I might take better care of ourselves if we didn’t deal with “pricks” all the time by way of lancets, needles, and insertion sets.  3)more affordable treatments and care…if my bottle of insulin  was cheap enough that I could buy it over the counter with my bottle of wine, then I would only bother my insurance company with big things like hospitalizations.  Luckily for me, I’ve only been in the hospital once for diabetes and that was at diagnosis.  

What have been your experiences in healthcare

Wanna read other blogs on The Healthcare Experience? Click Here.

Today’s Prompt:  Most people who live with a chronic illness end up with a lot of experience when it comes to dealing with healthcare. How would you improve or change your healthcare experience? What would you like to see happening during medical visits with your healthcare team? How about when dealing with your health insurance companies? What’s your Healthcare Wish List or Biggest Frustration? Today is the day to share it all!

Diabetes Blog Week 2016 Day 3:  Who’s Down with PWD?

Today’s prompt asks us on our view on language and the power it has over us and the use of certain phrases over others.  As of today, I am going on 4 years with Diabetes and I’ve only learned about some of the politically correct terminology within the diabetes community in the last year.  Really, there has got to be a whole diabetes dictionary out there that I don’t know about.  I even have an unpublished page on this blog of diabetes terms or my “Diaglossary” that I’ve been adding phrases to as I learn them.  I didn’t even know there was such thing as a DOC-Diabetes Online Community until last year (thanks Diabetes Unconference!)

The main question here is where I stand on this diabetes PC spectrum.  As much as I’d like to say I don’t care either way, there are some terms that I have made my mind about:  

  • Testing my blood sugars: The term “testing my blood sugar” infers that I might pass or fail such a test, making me less willing to take such a test.  Who wants to fail at anything?  Not I.  I felt like crap every time I tested my blood sugar.  Even when they were good, I was more likely to be a little sarcastic and say that if I sneeze, that number would shoot straight up.  I’ve learned since that performing the same action and calling it “checking my blood sugars” is less daunting and I am more willing to check on how my body is doing and more willing to take the necessary steps to get back in range.
  • Blood Sugars: Some people don’t like the use of the term because my meter doesn not really measure the amount of sugar in my blood.  It is checking my glucose glucose levels.  Saying that “I’m checking blood sugars” feeds the assumption that sweets are what cause my high glucose levels-that’s false.  The intake of carbohydrates without proper dosing of inulin  is what causes my high glucose levels-sweets just happen to be carbohydrate heavy.  I still use the term Blood Sugars, though..calling my blog, “Cut the BG” doesn’t seem as fun.
  • Diabetic:  This is a big one in the diabetes online community.  There are some who find that being called “diabetic” lumps the individual in with their condition and they are not their condition.  Some see it as a label with a bit of a stigma.  Some prefer being called a Person with Diabetes, or PWD.  I don’t think I’ver ever referred to myself as a Person with Diabetes.  I’ve told people, “I have diabetes.” And before learning of the distinction, I’ve definitely told people I was diabetic.  To me, the term diabetic is the quickest way to identify myself in certain cases.  For example  have you guys checked out the Diabetic Ink Facebook Page?  Rarely have a seen a tattoo that says Person with Diabetes or PWD.  I don’t have a tattoo, but if I did, it would be for medical identification purposes and the quickest way for an Emergency Medical Responder to know I have diabetes is for the tattoo to say, “T1 Diabetic.”  

Language is a very powerful tool.  I find it important to be as fluent as I can be in my diabetes terminology.   I also find that being able to speak the proper dialect  with those who are not familiar with my condition and those who are elbows deep in diabetes has the potential to help more people instead of isolating anyone.  I want to embrace everyone with my giant Diaglossary!  

Today’s Prompt:

Our topic today is Language and Diabetes. There is an old saying that states “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. I’m willing to bet we’ve all disagreed with this at some point, and especially when it comes to diabetes. Many advocate for the importance of using non-stigmatizing, inclusive and non-judgmental language when speaking about or to people with diabetes. For some, they don’t care, others care passionately. Where do you stand when it comes to “person with diabetes” versus “diabetic”, or “checking” blood sugar versus “testing”, or any of the tons of other examples? Let’s explore the power of words, but please remember to keep things respectful.

Diabetes Blog Week 2016 Day 2: Diabetes Playing with my Head

 

Getting diagnosed with Diabetes can be an isolating thing.  It is pretty big no matter what type you are dealt.  The moment that D-word gets dropped, ugly visions of life and future versions of your body come to mind.  I spent a week in the hospital learning how to give myself injections, looking at menus with number of “carb choices,” and asking myself what I did wrong.  Clearly, the guilt from diabetes started at day 1.  I was never told in the hospital that this diagnosis is not my fault.  It was not a result of eating too many cookies or too much rice, since I am Filipino.  I was not told in the hospital that with a few tweaks to my lifestyle, I would be ok.  

I came home after a week, and my life began, without my nurses around me to tell me what to do.  It’s a scary thing.  It was bad enough that I had to poke my finger to get a reading, but I found myself looking away when the meter was blinking, analyzing my little blood drop to tell me that I failed. And the guilt that came over me with each reading was heart wrenching. Every number that came up on that screen was either high or it was low and I had to drink juice-about 15 grams of Carbs worth.  This is not the right condition for a perfectionist.  Or is it?

The problem with being a perfectionist is that I tend to set things aside for later or procrastinate for the sake of “doing it right.”  I’m here to tell you first hand that being a perfectionist is not, I repeat not compatible with having diabetes.  I can do everything right and that number will still fall out of range and it drove me nuts.  Living life this way was not be fun at all and I really could not afford to procrastinate in diabetes management.  

Besides the physical implications to staying high and low, I’ve gotten cranky at the people around me when that number is low or high.  As someone’s mom/wife/daughter/friend, I can’t to that to my friends and family.  And so over time, from meeting others like me (online or in person) I’ve learned that the number on that meter is just a number of reference.  From there, I have to react accordingly, immediately.  That mindset has since turned into a habit.  I still have my bad days where that number on the meter just stays high for hours or I’ve eaten the whole kitchen and that number lingers at 65. Those days I try to grin and bear it and when I’ve reached my limit, I text someone who just gets it-btw, thank you to those I’ve texted to keep me sane.

As for positive phrases or mantras, the name of my blog was coined by extremely creative friends who know me well.  ‘Cut the BS’ became my go to phrase when readings were high or those times that I made excuses for my lack of diabetes management.  It encouraged me to be better than the situation I found myself in.  The phrase is short, simple, and it helps hold me accountable to myself, my family, my friends, and the diabetes online community.  

Cut the BS…I mean Blood Sugar!

Today’s Prompt:

We think a lot about the physical component of diabetes, but the mental component is just as significant. How does diabetes affect you or your loved one mentally or emotionally? How have you learned to deal with the mental aspect of the condition? Any tips, positive phrases, mantras, or ideas to share on getting out of a diabetes funk? (If you are a caregiver to a person with diabetes, write about yourself or your loved one or both!)

Diabetes Blog Week 2016 Day 1: Message Monday


I know I’m a little late in the game today.  How can I call myself a Diabetes Blogger if I don’t participate in Diabetes Blog Week.  It’s been so long.  But feels so good to be back here with you guys.

Why am I here?  Hmmm.  I’d say that I’m here in this diabetes blog space, because I am not special.  I was not different from anyone else I knew or didn’t know.  I was just like everyone else when I was diagnosed:  I could have been anyone’s wife, anyone’s mother, anyone’s friend.  So because I am not special and not any different from anyone else, I wanted everyone to know that if I’ve got this, you’ve got this.  I wanted people to know that this life, a life with diabetes, is one worth living and definitely worth enjoying.

I’m going to be honest and say I don’t spend much time in my blog about my difficulties and struggles.  I probably should. Difficulties and struggles do exist and they slow me down a bit sometimes but I won’t let that stop me.  I can’t.  There are too many people that need us to kick Diabetes’ ass every day.  From my family who need their mom/wife/daughter/friend, to people who are newly diagnosed who might need some guidance, to those who have gestational diabetes, to those who are told to watch what they eat because they are considered to have “pre-diabetes.”  I can’t let diabetes get me down, I have to keep keeping on, and I have to do with with a smile-I don’t know how else to do it.

I’ve done everything I’ve wanted to do despite having to carry around Diabetes and all the supplies it takes to attempt to keep it managed.  And you can too. 


Today’s Prompt

Lets kick off the week by talking about why we are here, in the diabetes blog space. What is the most important diabetes awareness message to you? Why is that message important for you, and what are you trying to accomplish by sharing it on your blog? (Thank you, Heather Gabel, for this topic suggestion.)

Charlie’s Tresiba Paint Scheme Confirmed!

If you read my post a couple weeks back, you’d know I thought Charlie Kimball’s #83 Novo Nordisk Indycar was painted a lot like Novo Nordisk’s new long-acting basal insulin, Tresiba.  Again, I’ve heard great things about this basal insulin in that it helps keep the BS closer to a heathy range with less occurence of hypoglycemia, or what we call, lows.  

Today, my husband brought to my attention that Racer Magazine posted an article about Charlie’s new paint scheme that is to be debuted at the Phoenix Gran Prix this weekend: 

And Boom!  It’s Tresiba all over that #83 Novo Nordisk car and your Cut the BS Girl called it over two weeks ago! What a rush!   

Charlie Kimball says,

“The new look of this car represents something very personal to me. Just as there have been advancements in racing, there have been advancements in the management of diabetes. The new look of my 2016 car represents another strong link between this program and the diabetes community…I am excited about the new design, not only because of the new look, but also because it represents the next phase in my effort to educate others.”

Clearly, I am excited and it represents something very personal to us too, Charlie.  

Race On!  Race with Insulin!

Watch Charlie and the #83 Tresiba car advocate for diabetes management on track as he takes the green flag on Saturday, April 2nd on NBCSN!  

Click here to read the full article at Racer.com.  

Charlie Kimball’s Indycar No Longer Blue and Orange? 

 In anticipation of the 2016 Indycar Season, my husband and I have been watching and following our favorite drivers.  One of my favorite drivers and PWD, Charlie Kimball, has been spotted with a new color scheme during practices and testing the last few weeks in Sonoma, Phoenix, and now St. Petersberg.  Here are a few shots:
 

Tell me that’s not a good looking car. (Photo:Indycar Series)
 
Looks good right, but there’s no more blue and orange. He’s still got Novo Nordisk sponsorship on the car, though. Now it’s got me thinking.  Is it me or does this color scheme look very similar to a newly released long acting insulin that I happen to hear amazing things about?  Amazing as in the potential to only have to take it every other day and a reduction in night time lows.  You tell me:

 
 

Tresiba® looks alot like Charlie’s 2016 Indycar to me. (Photo: NovoNordisk)
 

Wouldn’t it be cool to see a big ol’ Tresiba FlexTouch® on the sidepod of that Indycar?  I’d also love to see a ginormous Tresiba® Lollypop at thier pit box so Charlie knows where to stop!  

Watch Charlie this Sunday March 13th on ABC!  I know I will!

#Thankfulfor

  
Since the year started, I have been keeping this New Year’s resolution, that I would jot down something that I am thankful for everyday.  In previous years, I would have set up a spreadsheet for myself to fill in the blanks and measure my success, but not this year.  I have written my ‘Thankful For’s in one of two journals I keep, and sometimes, I’ve written them on a napkin and tossed it.  I’m going to be honest and say that I have fallen a few times in that I have not written something down everyday, but feel that I’ve built up the habit enough that I feel a void in my day if I didn’t do my #thankfulfor.

My #thankfulfors are varied from day-to-day.  Here are just a few things I have been thankful for:

  • Getting a new job.
  • New pen needles.
  • The whole family feeling healthy for a whole week.
  • Pink pens-I love pink!
  • The Diabetes Online Community (DOC)-you guys get me.
  • Family members getting to their destination safely.
  • Coffee.
  • That my arm is getting better after a Dexcom Rash.
  • Second cups of coffee.

I would go on but I’d end up being here all night.  I try to just keep it to one thing a day as more than that would pressure me to spend time I don’t really have.  A minute is all it took to write, “Today I am thankful for (fill in the blank.)”

Today is my birthday. So, today, I’m going to spend a little more than a minute.  There are so many things that I am thankful for, but to some them all up, I am thankful for another birthday.  I’m thankful for another day with my sexy husband and our beautifully creative, intelligent, and silly daughters.  I’m thankful for another day to be part of this Diabetes community.  I’m thankful that I get the opportunity to empathize and contribute in ways I never thought I’d could.  Lastly, for today, I’m thankful for diabetes reasearch which is why I am still here on this planet with you today.

My goal today, was to write for thirty minutes, and get back to blogging.  I’m pretty proud of myself for having 3 minutes to spare.  So, I guess I’m also thankful for goals.