March | 2015 | Charming Diabetes

March 2015 archive

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The Day I Found The WRONG Endocrinologist For Me (and How to find the best endocrinologist for you )

I recently moved to a new city and learned that WOAH! all Endocrinologists are NOT created equal. I quickly made an appointment at the first office with a decent website (good reviews, health grades,etc) that I found online. It was that experience that led me to write this post because BOY was that a bad idea.

The office was VERY different than what i had seen online (the internet? misleading? who knew?), and you know you’re in trouble when you find stacks of these in the waiting room:

how you know you're in the wrong doctor's office | charming diabetes.com

I mean really?

Let me be clear that this is not a language issue. I’m fluent in español (en serio). Hablo español. Me encanta leer revistas en español, pero por Dios! No necesito ver a todo el mundo desnudo en la oficina!

For heaven’s sake! I don’t need to see the whole world naked in the Endo’s office! Does anyone? What if I’d brought my toddlers with me to this appointment? Call me a prude, but I’d prefer the content to be a little more neutral or perhaps of a medical nature. Bland diabetic magazines are fine thank you very mucho. It sends a signal.

Sometimes when you have diabetes it feels like you’re an island. Floating alone, watching people around you eat their cake and drink their lemonade, blissfully unaware of how many carbs they’re consuming! It can be a lonely disease, but every Diabetic should have at LEAST one person in their corner, dedicated to helping them. Enter the ENDOCRINOLOGIST.

The first step in getting the very best endocrinologist for you is remembering that doctors are people too. They are each going to have their own ideas, policies, personalities and those may or may not be well suited to yours. If you feel like you’re struggling with Diabetes, you should be able to call you Endocrinologist’s office and they should be able to provide you with education and resources to help you not only cope, deal, manage, but THRIVE with diabetes.

It’s a little like an interview. You’re looking to build a long term relationship, based on MUTUAL trust. You should be able to trust what the Dr. has to say, knowing he/she has your best interest at heart, and your doctor should also trust you to know your body and to do your part in taking care of yourself as best you can. It has to go both ways.

Here are some tips on how you can hone in on the traits you’ll want your doc to possess. So you’ll know when you’re in the right office!

1. KNOW YOUR NEEDS–do you use an insulin pump? If so, you need to ask your doctor if they are familiar with it, and can download it in the office. Do you want an insulin pump? Ask your doctor how he/she feels about them. I’ve heard of doctors “holding out” on patients and not “letting” them get a pump. Are you training for a physical event like a triathlon or a marathon? Your doctor should be able to give you tips on managing insulin and nutrition, and/or set you up with a nutritionist. Make sure you have a doctor that’s willing to work with you and your goals. Aside from the trashy magazines, the doctor’s office I visited was not capable of downloading info from my pump. That’s a big deal, because that’s where most of my data lives ( I don’t always keep perfect written records). So, two strikes.

2. LOCATION–start your search with the hospitals closest to you. Going to the endocrinologist is not exactly my idea of a dream day, and I’m much more likely to make the trek if at the very least the office is convenient and easy for me to get to. I realize this isn’t always possible, but it’s at least a starting point.

3. CLEANLINESS–the office should be clean, and every patient room in the doctor’s office should have a sink. It’s basic hygiene and germ control. Even better if they actually USE it and wash their hands when they enter/leave the room. The Trashy Magazine Office didn’t even have sinks in the patient rooms. Here’s my problem with that: Let’s say the patient before me has neuropathy in their feet and the doctor checks them out–or a toenail fungus–or the flu?!! See where I’m going here? The doc is quite likely to cart those germs right out of that room, all over the office, and then maybe right to me if he doesn’t wash his hands, which he can’t easily do without a sink in the office. Strike three for that office, if you’re keeping track.

4. FOOT CARE–Does your doctor check or ask about your feet at each appointment? Because he should. A great endocrinologist will be asking you about your foot care routine and doing a basic check for signs of neuropathy and circulatory problems. I’ve been to one Endo that wouldn’t touch feet–every foot question I had she pointed me to the list of podiatrists that her office supplied. There are so many reasons this doesn’t work for me, one of which is HEY MY TIME IS VALUABLE AND MY FUNDS AREN’T UNLIMITED! I SHOULDN’T HAVE TO SPEND MORE TIME/MONEY IN YET ANOTHER DOC’S OFFICE WHEN YOU COULD JUST LOOK AT THIS FOR ME (errr, but only if you have sinks in your office so you can wash your hands!!?!)!! And that’s how I feel about that.

5. LANGUAGE — Beyond just inglés or espanol (that’s important too), the language your endocrinologist uses with you, the way he/she speaks to you is important. As is their demeanor. Are they treating you like the expert you are? I don’t care what your numbers say, you live with this disease every day–you’re an expert. You may not be a medical doctor, so you need to work with the doctor to come up with the best course of action, but a great endocrinologist will take a real interest in what you have to say. Their language should never point to YOU being a bad person or bad at diabetes. This is a tough disease. The last thing I need is someone saying “Your Terrible” ( that actually happened in one dr’s office) because I’m not writing down my blood sugars in the format they prefer, or whatever the case may be. I’m looking for someone who’s going to be in my corner, and tell me the hard truths if I need to hear them, but not place a judgement on me.

How do you think I found Trashy Magazine Office? You guessed it, Google. There were all kinds of pics, great reviews, health grades, etc. But that was not the office for me. To his credit the doctor did seem to be really knowledgeable and well versed in pump therapy..but that’s not all that counts. His office has to meet my needs too.

But HOW do you find an endocrinologist that fits the bill? Especially if you’re in a new city and have no idea where to start? Well let me tell ya, a google search is prob not the best option in this scenario.

The first thing I’d do is CALL your Insurance. I know that prospect is about as enjoyable as sticking a fork in your eye, but they can give you some names of people in your network, and once you have a starting point you can call each office and straight up ASK about how things work at their office (“Can you download my insulin pump?” “Do you do blood work in the office or do I have to go to an outside lab?” etc).

As you get other doctors, internists, pediatricians, opthamaologist, etc, any and all specialties that you need in your life, ask those doctors if they have names of people they recommend.

And lastly, call the Minimed pump representative in your area. Even if you don’t wear a pump, if you can get in contact with these guys they usually have a short list of good doctors offices in the area. Again, a starting point and you can go from there.

Don’t settle for less than stellar treatment. This is a HUGE part of you life! If you find yourself in an office or with a doctor that just isn’t meeting your needs, remember you have options!

Good luck!!

xo

Sara

Hello March | charmingdiabetes.com

Moody Florals | Free March Wallpaper Charming Diabetes

It’s March! New month = New iPhone wallpaper coming your way!

I know that many of you have been buried in winter weather–so this month’s download is designed to get you thinking spring–but not too springy, just in case you’re still buried in snow days and cold weather. What fits that bill better than Moody Florals?!?!

Here you go! Grab it below, or if you need more instructions head over to the download page.

Hello March | charmingdiabetes.com

Enjoy!

xo

Sara

Inside a diabetic's bag // charmingdiabetes.com

INSIDE A DIABETIC’S BAG // surviving motherhood and diabetes with one small bag.

Confession: I’m a bag lady. I LOVE bags, purses, clutches, all of it. I’ve always been this way, but lemme tell ya, diabetes and motherhood have only made it worse. I cannot leave the house without a vast assortment of i don’t even know what. I would make a very good pack mule (Halloween Costume idea, anyone?). Today I’m sharing the guts of my very favorite little bag–the one that holds all my diabetes $hiz when I’m on the go! Which, btw, is always b/c I have TWO (count them, 1, 2) toddlers. Phew!

what's inside a diabetics bag? | CharmingDIabetes.com

Today I thought I’d share how I survive motherhood and diabetes all in one little bag. It’s full of everything I need for a diabetic or motherhood emergency! I can easily toss it inside my larger purse or diaper bag to keep all of my small necessities handy and separate from all the other junk I haul around when I’m on the go.

For me that means a glucose monitor, test strips, lancets, lancing device, a snack of some sort (because when the low blood sugar hits I don’t want to be digging through stuff, wondering where I put the juice), and of course lipgloss (priorities!)…the exact table of contents is always changing, but those are the basics. I call it a “Go Bag” which is silly I know, but when I can’t find it my husband knows we will not be GOING anywhere until i find it. I try to keep the bag stocked (with lancets. strips, etc) and ready to, ahem, GO because if not, well, I’m screwed and my day might fall apart 🙂 .

Inside a diabetic's bag // charmingdiabetes.com

#1,2,3,4: meter, lancing device, lancets, test strips—the bare minimum in any diabetic’s arsenal.

#5: my absolute fave for Low blood sugar on the go. fruit strips (some people call these fruit leather, but that title has always grossed me out a lithe) from my other absolute fave, TARGET!

#6,7 : A pen and paper. Yes. sometimes on the go I like to be able to write down my blood sugars. But also, that little bitty pad of paper can also save the day for my toddlers, who can use it to color if we find ourselves with an unexpected wait somewhere.

#8. lip gloss, obviously.

#9. phone. hello. (and you can grab that wallpaper right here!)

#10. An alcohol swab or two. Confession: I don’t actually use these when checking my blood sugar (It’s true. I’m a finger-licker. That sounds so wrong, but don’t judge). They’re more for the very likely event that we run into something gross and need to clean our hands or get a little scrape.

#11. Sunscreen stick. Such a necessity in Florida.

#12. Band-Aids. Because, toddlers. You’d be surprised how quickly a band-aid can stop a tantrum in it’s tracks.

#13. Crayons. Because, again, TODDLERS.

There ya go! All my must-haves for heading out into the world with DIABETES and TODDLERS!

Most important criteria for The Bag: Cuteness.

Personalization is key for me in tackling diabetes–hauling around all the diabetes gear isn’t the most fun, but at least a few fun accessories makes it a little easier.

I always use a bag that I LOVE–so whatever that means to you. If you can’t handle “cute” bags just sub in whatever adjective makes you smile. It’s all about getting as FAR away as possible from the blah black bags that come with the meter. It’s completely psychological with me–the little black pouch that holds the glucose monitor that comes straight from the manufacturer just doesn’t do it for me. And when I don’t like it, I’m less likely to grab it as I head out the door. So I set up my own little bag, that I love, and it helps me buy into the fact that I do in fact have diabetes and am going to have to suck it up and check my blood sugar in public sometimes. It’s the little things…

what's in my diabetic bag | charming diabetes.com

Here are some other little bags I LOVE that are perfect for your diabetic survival kits, Go Bag, or whatever you wanna call it!

1. Canvas Cosmetic Bag by THURSDAY FRIDAY . I am obsessed with all their bags. I have an older one, but I’m eyeing some of the new ones here and here

2. Stella Gray Vegan Leather Bag // This is a great bag from a designer out of Chicago. Mine is the Crosby Quick Cosmetics Case and I LOVE it!

3. FEED bag (pictured) // mine was a gift but there’s a similar size here

If you really want a bag with little elastic bands to hold everything in place like a traditional meter case, you can find some on Etsy that are a little more embellished that the basic black that comes with the glucose meter.

And here are a couple of others I’m obsessed with:

photo cred: noonday collection

photo cred: noonday collection

Those (above) are from Noonday Collection.

And you can’t go wrong with Ted Baker anything

photo cred: tedbaker.com

photo cred: tedbaker.com

I really feel for younger kids, where fitting in seems to be of utmost importance so a bag with a glucose meter may not be their favorite accessory. If you’re trying to help a younger child with this, my best advice is to let them have some input into choosing a bag they love, and putting together their own “Go Bag”. Personalization can be great at younger ages too (even in High School I remember writing my name in colorful letters on some of the big bulky generic looking insulin bags to feel better about them). Don’t rule out the power of a cute monogram! And remember, what goes in the bag doesn’t have to be strictly diabetes related. A small charm, or toy, or treat, golden monkey, or even a photo or inspirational quote (depending on the child’s age–you wanna be age appropriate here) but any other little token that’s personal and reminds them it’s not all bad in that bag can make it that much better.

And if all else fails, get yourself a silver sharpie and go to town decorating that boring old black meter case!!

Do you use a traditional meter case or some other style of “Go Bag”? If you have a favorite small bag you love using for all your diabetes stuff on the go I’d love to hear about it!! Always in the market for a new bag over here 😉

Follow me on instagram for more tips and general diabetic madness!

xo

Sara