Diabetes Alert Day

diabetesalertdayDid you know more than 25 percent of Americans who have type 2 diabetes don’t even know they have it? Are you one of them? Today people from around the country will take a simple test that can change their lives. We’re calling on you to Take It. Share It. Step Out.

There has never been a more urgent time to know your risk. An estimated 79 million, or one in three American adults, have prediabetes.

The Diabetes Risk Test asks you to answer a few quick questions about weight, age, family history and other potential risk factors for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.

It takes only 60 seconds and it could save your life!

We can’t waste any time. Take the Diabetes Risk Test today and share it with everyone you care about. Chances are someone you love is at risk, and early detection can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes and its devastating complications.

 

Pinch, Poke, Go!

It took me 1 month to stop worrying about the side effects warnings, but I finally started my Victoza. My body didn’t have a lot of fun adjusting to the new medication, but I survived the first week with the 0.6 mg dose. There was some nausea, a lot of dizziness, and the feeling that a Mack truck ran me over. At some point it got so annoying I actually asked for half a day off from work while I crossed my fingers so the crappiness would go away. It subsided eventually, but then I was worried about increasing the dose to 1.2 mg. No issues there!

I have beenNovo on Victoza for 3 weeks now. I can’t say I feel wonderful, but all the initial side effects are gone, my blood glucose levels are in range, and I feel like I have a controlled, normal appetite; in fact, some days I just make myself eat something healthy even if I’m not hungry, with the sole purpose of taking my metformin pills at dinner time. I take my Victoza before I go to bed; the needle is a joke, I barely feel it. I am so excited about the pen I even got a special sharps container. I’m silly like that, but maybe it’s a good thing that I’m excited about the new medication because that will help me with compliance which has been my main problem.

And this thing is working! I hadn’t waken up with a BG of less than 150 in a long time, I hadn’t seen anything below 200 after I ate either. Now I’m seeing a bunch of 90′s when fasting, and my post-meal levels don’t go over 160. The only fear I had was the pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer risk, but last week I welcomed the news that the FDA eased the concerns for GLP-1 medicines. So far, so good. Let’s hope my next visit to the doctor shows an improved A1C.

 

On Valentine’s Day

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Lack of access to insulin is the most common cause of death for children with diabetes in many countries around the world. In fact, in some parts of the world, the estimated life expectancy of a child who has just developed diabetes could be less than a year.

This Valentine’s Day our community can help change that.

Through the Spare a Rose, Save a Child campaign, we raise awareness and donations for Life for a Child, an International Diabetes Federation program which provides life-saving diabetes supplies, medication, and education that children in developing countries need to stay alive.

Spare a Rose, Save a Child is simple: buy one less rose this Valentine’s Day and donate the value of that flower to children with diabetes. Your loved one at home still gets flowers and you both show some love to children around the world who need it.

One rose, one month of life. A dozen roses, a year of life for a child with diabetes.
We’re hopeful that you will embrace this cause this year.

Spread the word!

Meet my New Best Friend

victozaPen1In a previous post I mentioned that I’ve been struggling with my diabetes management. Back in October my A1C was 8.3, and I thought going back to my regular care routine and making better choices was going to fix that. It didn’t… My latest A1C is a whooping 9.5, a number I have never seen. I felt like a complete loser, and my doctor was nice about it, but she reminded me that diabetes isn’t something to play with. Basically, she said, mine is progressing and we better do something about it.

When I asked if it was too early to start insulin therapy, she said we should try something else first. So she prescribed Victoza, I got my prescription and I’m going to see the nurse tomorrow to learn how to inject myself. Some people think I’m afraid of the needle… Are you serious? Are there any people with diabetes who are afraid of needles? If so, I would like to meet them! So no, I am not afraid of needles. I am, however, not looking forward to the nausea side effect I’ve heard about. Other than that, I’m ready.

I’m trying my best to not look at this as a defeat. Metformin has worked for me for the last 12-13 years, but it’s just not enough anymore. I’m hoping that with a better diet and exercise my glucose levels will improve, and maybe I won’t have to depend on the medication so much.

It is maddening, though… Sometimes it doesn’t matter if you eat well, especially when you’re sick. Last week I had a stomach bug, and every time I checked my blood glucose it was on the 200s, It’s slowly getting better; although I haven’t seen anything under 150 while fasting. So anyone who thinks type 2 diabetes isn’t frustrating, has surely not walked in my shoes.

I don’t know how many people are reading,  but I would like to know about experiences with Victoza. I’ve heard it has really made a difference for quite a few people with type 2 diabetes, and I hope it will make a difference for me.

Bring on that fancy pen!

 

Surviving Christmas with the Diabetes Police

Originally posted on Diabetes Daily:

001-0303132158-Food-PoliceIt’s beginning to look a lot like… CARBS! Yes, it’s that time of the year for over-indulging. All that delicious food, loaded with butter and sugar. So tasty… so comforting… so… STOP! At least that’s what we’re going to hear the most because we live with diabetes. Oh, yes, the Diabetes Police are out to get us. They “know” sugar is bad for us, and they want to keep us away from it. Don’t even look at that nice tray of cookies.

Annoying, right?

So, if this is that special time of the year to eat, drink and be merry, how are we supposed to enjoy the holidays with someone nagging us about what we should and shouldn’t eat? I’ve been there, with someone giving me the stink eye because I went for the sweets. It’s embarrassing, it’s infuriating—especially when you’re chastised in front of everybody—and I know it takes a lot of self-control sometimes not to snap. After all, we’re already living with a condition that limits some of the choices we make, and having someone reminding us of the fact isn’t much fun.

How do we handle it, then? Here are 5 tips:

  1. Education. I think dealing with the Diabetes Police is an opportunity to educate others about how we deal with diabetes and its many complexities. Tell them about how some of us use insulin to help our bodies process carbs; or explain how even people with diabetes can learn to be smart about food choices and exchanges without having to sacrifice  a good moment at the table. Most people just don’t know better.
  2. Planning ahead. We can be honest and upfront, and ask people not to single us out no matter how good their intentions are. Instead of getting reactive, we can be proactive. For example, is there a way to prepare certain foods you know would be healthier? Don’t be afraid to ask if it’s possible to accommodate it.
  3. Realistic behavior. We know how our bodies work, we know how those 90 grams of carbs will make us feel. So the best way to keep the Diabetes Police at bay is probably stay on track with our own management. We have the knowledge, we have the tools, it is our responsibility to take care of ourselves.
  4. Self-love. The most important thing is to keep in mind that we don’t have to be perfect, and we can’t let other people make us feel bad for not being perfect. Remember Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous quote, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Accept the challenges, roll with the punches, correct whenever you have to, and move on. But most of all, demand respect from others.
  5. Appreciation. In the end, our family and friends think they’re helping us, supporting us, and doing what’s best for us. Understanding what good support looks like for people with diabetes isn’t easy, so we’ve gotta remember that they’re policing and they’re comments are usually coming from a place of love.

I hope you all have a blessed holiday season, happy numbers and lots of memories to cherish!

BG Testing… 1,2,3…

Originally posted on Diabetes Daily.

The first time my endocrinologist told me I was doing so well managing my blood glucose levels, I only needed to test them 2-3 times a week, I laughed… hard… I looked at him with a big “REALLY?” stamped on my forehead. He assured me it was okay, so I thought it was okay.

Guess what? It isn’t okay!

In 2008, I worked for a company that sold diabetes supplies and delivered them in the mail. While I tried to appreciate the experience for what it was, and did my best to keep my compassionate and caring attitude toward the customers, I got burned out pretty quickly. Among the many things that made me unhappy about that job was the absurd insurance companies’ policies when it came to the limit on test strips.

Insurance companies in general oversimplify something that isn’t simple at all. Their perfect equation goes something like this: you use insulin, you test 3 times a day; you don’t use insulin, you test 1 time a day. And good luck with that! Forget the highs and the lows during the day, and just guess what your food can do to your glucose levels before you put it in your mouth. Easy, right? No.

I speak from the perspective of a person with type 2 diabetes who doesn’t use insulin. Most of the time, I’m just praying to the gland gods to behave when I eat. Many times I don’t even pay attention and have the negative thought train about dying any day, anyway, so why bother? And you know why that is? Because I was told it was OK to test only 2-3 times a week… so the rest of the time I’m completely oblivious.

It’s really hard to get into a blood glucose testing routine when you’re advised to do it so randomly. If you choose to stick to that necessary routine and use more test strips, good luck paying for them out of your pocket. I’ve gone without testing for long periods of time, mostly as a personal choice (irresponsible choice, I may add), and let me tell you that not knowing your numbers isn’t a good thing. Especially when you rely on food choices; sometimes even the healthy stuff may play a bad trick.

So, how do you know? By testing your blood sugar more often!

If you’re not testing often because you believe that people with type 2 diabetes shouldn’t test that often, consider talking to your doctor about increasing the amount of test strips in that prescription. Knowledge is power. It’s frustrating not to know where you’re going to land when you jump. And testing often does help you make better choices.

The One With the Giveaway

Its-giveaway-time-1024x634Most  people believe that being Colombian automatically makes you a coffee lover. If you ask me I’ll probably say yes. Coffee is a staple in my house (well, my mom’s house) and there is always coffee brewing for a “tintico.” I remember there was always a thermos with coffee on my grandma’s table, So yeah… coffee… the elixir of life.

It wasn’t until I moved to Canada that I realize how many ways of serving coffee there are. Some I like, some I hate. Now coffee has become an luxury for some, and what gets to me the most is how complicated it is to order a coffee these days; tall, grande, venti, non-fat, yes-fat, three shots, no shots. Oh, my God, what happened to a regular café con leche?!?!

However, there is one thing I love about different ways to drink coffee. Enter coffee creamers! Yes, I love how you can fancy up that cup with so many wonderful flavors. But I’m partial to the perfect partner, Coffee Mate. Why? I don’t know… maybe it’s because I like Nestlé or I’m just more familiar with it. In any case, Coffee Mate has done a great job bringing the fancy coffee house to our house.

If you ask me what my favorite flavor of Coffee Mate is, I will never give you an answer. It depends on my mood, it depends on what I’m looking for. But one thing is sure, I do love the sugar-free version! To me, it makes my coffee taste and look more like the usual café con leche I grew up with, and there’s the added bonus to not raising my blood sugar levels too much. Of course I was going to mention diabetes in the post!

OK, I wasn’t going to bore you with stories about coffee for nothing… There’s a  giveaway with some neat coffee-related items (believe me, they’re fantastic!). It’s easy… just leave a comment sharing what your favorite flavored coffee is. Yes, it’s that easy. The winner will be picked randomly (I’ll have my cat draw the number!)

Prize packs will include:

· Branded coffee mug
· Sterling silver coffee charm
· AMEX gift card
· Coffee-mate full-value coupons
· Patterned napkin

And you really want one of these! I know you want it… you really do!

red-bodum-brazil-french-press-coffee-maker

Feeling Totally Derailed

Originally posted on Diabetes Daily.

Toy-Train-DerailedAs I sit to relax after eating a healthy lunch (green peppers stuffed with a mix of brown rice, chicken and veggies) I’m thinking why don’t I eat like this more often. In fact, I’m here thinking what happened in the past few months to make me completely derail from everything a person with type 2 diabetes should do in order to be healthy.

2013 has been hectic. For almost a year I was working two jobs so I could afford health insurance (see the irony?). My schedule was so crappy, I ate whatever was available, which means there were a lot of late night shifts that ended at the BK drive-thru. Decent sleep hours became a joke, so don’t ask me about exercise (which I previously posted about). My routine got completely screwed up, and I won’t get the award for taking my medications on time. Now my jeans feel tighter, you do the math. I feel tired which means my thyroid is angry. So it hasn’t been a good year for my diabetes management.

About a month ago my life changed for the better when I was offered a wonderful position at the college where I work. Now I have a regular week day, first shift, full time job. That certainly gives me time to plan things and take care of myself, but it’s taking me a while to get back on track.

The first thing I did was reassess my health and realize I haven’t seen my doctor since the beginning of May. My last A1C dates from March. I don’t remember when was the last time I tested my blood glucose levels because I ran out of strips, and the doctor will want to see me. But for a month I’ve been afraid to call and make that appointment… I am almost 100% sure my numbers will make her eyes cross.

Because taking my metformin has been rather an irregular thing, now that I’m taking it every day, as many times as required, my stomach is all messed up and I find myself cursing the diabetes demons. And while trying to decide how to soothe my poor stomach, I was thinking if I need a medication change, if it would be better to manage my blood glucose levels with insulin or if there will soon be a magic cure. Truth is, all I need to do is get out of denial and do what has always worked for me.

This is the story of my life. The story of the life of a person with type 2 diabetes. Especially one who doesn’t live on insulin. It’s homework every single day. Every decision affects our numbers. And the guilt paralyzes us.

I made my appointment with the doctor. I know it won’t be pretty, but I ran out of excuses.

Do you Strip Safely?

strip_safely_logo_medImagine your life depends on knowing a number. Imagine you have the tool to find what the number is, and based on this number you have to follow the rules or you may end up in big trouble—and by trouble I mean death. I’m not joking… this is what people with millions of people with diabetes are dealing with now.

It is sad and scary to learn that there is no proper regulation for the manufacturing of certain types of glucose testing strips, which leads to inaccurate numbers… very inaccurate. If you have diabetes, and you’re on insulin, you may either over-treat or under-treat a rather complicated condition; and don’t forget insulin is a very dangerous drug. Too much, too little… NEVER a good thing.

Imagine you’re the parent of a child with diabetes and you need those numbers to be accurate so you know what is the right thing to do. Imagine you give your child more insulin than what they really need. Or less. Inaccurate readings are every person with diabetes’ nightmare, and that is one of the things we keep hollering about. One would think that after all the hollering we would be heard. But that isn’t the case

According to Strip Safely:

At a recent public meeting the FDA acknowledged that there are some 510(k) cleared blood glucose (BG) meters and strips that do not meet the accuracy standards for which they were approved. There is currently no clear course of action to insure people with diabetes are using blood glucose strips that meet regulatory requirements.

Then you have a person like me, who is not on insulin, and whose doctor recommended to test 2-3 times A WEEK (that’s a story for another day). If I already have a hard time getting an idea of how my diabetes behaves, you can do the math when it comes to a meter that isn’t giving me accurate numbers. The problem is, which one do I trust?

Last month, David Edelman posted a Blood Glucose Meter Accuracy Comparison chart. It isn’t the only one I’ve seen lately. Well known brands of glucose meters are barely making it, and they are well regulated by the FDA. What about those who aren’t? The “cheap” ones that will make you spend more money on complications at the end of the day?

And you must be thinking what you can do about the accuracy issue and ask for stricter regulations from the FDA when it comes to something as vital as adequate blood glucose level readings. Well, YOU GO TELL THEM!

Contact your congress person and make a DEMAND for stricter regulations from the FDA. Diabetes isn’t a joke. Glucose meters aren’t a toy. And we aren’t puppets.

Kiss me, I’m a Red Strider!

stepout
(Click on the image to watch a video.)

On September 21, I am going to take a very important walk. This walk is for me and the 26 million people like me who battle diabetes every day. I am joining the American Diabetes Association in Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes because I want to do something to fight back against a disease that affects so many lives, including my own.

It only takes a few steps to make my steps go further. By making a donation on my behalf, you will be helping the Association provide community-based education programs, protect the rights of people with diabetes and fund critical research for a cure.

To help support my efforts, please visit my StepOut page or consider joining our team.

Best of the ‘Betes – June 2013

Today I have the honor to host the wonderful… the amazing… the spectacular Best of the ‘Betes Blogs! I’m very grateful that Sara decided to bring me in because I had a lot of fun reading the different blog posts that were nominated. I have to be honest here… I really don’t read that many blogs these days, but this was a reminder of what I’m missing. Blame it on Google that’s taking their reader away today. :P Without further ado, here is the Best of the ‘Betes.

Best Use of Humor
Reva’s musings of how mosquitoes see people with diabetes as sweet treats.

Best Recipe
Stir-fried chicken with walnuts and basil. Oh, my! Thanks, Kelley!

Best Use of Photography
Eleanor celebrates 100 days after diagnosis with a snazzy looking pump!

Best Advocacy
Heather proposes a standard practice of discussion surrounding diabetes.

Best Story of a D-Meetup
Jess shares her close encounters with other PWDs in Washington, DC.

Best Non-D Related Post
The aftermath of hurricane Sandy and how people are not being treated fairly.

Best Post by a Type 1
Katie chooses fear over faith when it comes to diabetes and pregnancy.

Best Post by a LADA/ Type 1.5/ Not otherwise specified
Ashley has to deal with doctors who think patients are just a number on scale.

Best Post by a Type 2
According to Bob, the basis of self-esteem is simply being yourself.

Best Post by a Type Awesome
Bent canulas… Ouch!

Best story of a D-mistake
How Kerri almost had a reason to panic and a broken bag handle in Paris.

Best Motivational Post
Courtney finds a way to cope… through art!

If you are one of the Best ‘Betes Blogs for this month and would like to add a badge to your blog, you can find the information for the badge below.

 

Thank you to all the people who participated, and kudos to other nominees.

Kelly: http://diabetesaliciousness.blogspot.com
Luvleamum: http://luvleamum.com
Briley: http://indpendence.com
Scott: http://rollinginthed.wordpress.com
Reva: http://www.typeonederful.com
Bigfoot Child: http://bigfootchildhavediabetes.com
Wendy: http://www.candyheartsblog.com
Scott E: http://rollinginthed.wordpress.com/
Laddie: http://testguessandgo.com
Carlyn: http://oneunitatatime.wordpress.com
Karen: http://www.bittersweetdiabetes.com/
Sara: http://momentsofwonderful.com
Briley: http://inDpendence.com
Mike: http://www.thediabeticscornerbooth.com