diabetes in style | Charming Diabetes

Posts Tagged ‘diabetes in style’

Pump Site Supplies to help you site last longer | Charming Diabetes

Keep Your Pump Site Longer In Summer Weather

Summer! I love almost everything about summer. In fact, living in Florida I don’t even have to deal with winter much, and I like it that way. I’m all about humidity, palm trees, and flip flops.

Diabetes in warm weather, however, can add a whole new dimension to the way I think about summer. Between the heat and frequent trips to the pool/beach, it can be tough to keep an insulin pump site dry and in place for as long as I’d like. Let’s face it, I’d like to be able to go more than a day or two without having to change it, especially given my less-than-stellar insurance plan (cue the small violin). And I’d really like to stop living in fear of the swimming pool knowing that the flimsy tape holding in my lifeline could loose it’s stick and fall off at any moment!

Seriously. I HATE the peeling tape. After countless summers full of what would have been sad face emojis 🙁 at every pool party back in the day, here’s what I’ve found most helpful. These are a couple of tips that have worked for me keep my insulin pump site in place through the water-sporting, humid, fry an egg on the sidewalk, dog days of summer. As with everything else on this site, this is not medical advice, this is just what works for me. Maybe it’ll work for you too, but talk to your own doc or health care provider about what’s best for you 🙂

Keep your pump longer

1. use alcohol swabs to clean your site before inserting

2.  IV Prep (or if you need hard core stick, Mastisol Liquid Adhesive) –these make the skin a little sticky and provide a barrier to help adhesive irritation. If you use these, an adhesive remover is not a bad idea because if the adhesive skin prep is working properly, the tape will be tough to remove once you’ve used it. If you don’t have an adhesive remover on hand, baby oil can work wonders.

3. Site Placement Is EVERYTHING! I wear a medtronic pump, and typically place sites low on my stomach or around my waistband area. The problem with summer is that these places have a tendency to be closer to clothing and, well, get sweatier. If you’re using a cordless pump like an omnipod, this might not be as big of an issue as you can use a spot like your arm (which honestly may or may not be better? I don’t wear and omnipod so I can’t say for sure).

For summer, I place the pump high on my torso..like, basically my back. I go as far back as I can comfortably reach just under my rib cage. I thought it would be insanely painful, and it took me a while to work up to trying it, but I was running out of real estate and needed some new sites to avoid scar tissue build up from using the same old areas over and over. It’s now one of my fave spots. Not only does it interfere less with my clothing (fewer accidental rip outs with waistband movement), but in general the site stays put much easier, for much longer, without tape issues.

pump site placement | charmingdiabetes.com

yep, just posted my torso on the internet. proof that diabetes causes insanity.

4. Anti-Perspirant. Yep. (Not Deodorant.)  It needs to be an antiperspirant-only spray (cannot be a gel or cream), and you spray it on the skin before inserting your infusion set. The antiperspirant acts to keep your skin dry, thus the site can stick better.

5. Tegaderm on the skin under the infusion set.  This is where the Tegaderm tape goes on the skin first, and you insert the infusion set through the Tegaderm.  This way the site is sticking to Tegaderm, not your skin. Less moisture, less chance for it to come off.  You can even add another layer of tape on top of the site if you’re feeling particularly industrious.

6. On those days where you know you’ll be swimming or in the water, if you’re site is in good shape use extra tape or a waterproof bandaid to cover it. If your site is already peeling, and you attempt to place more tape on top, it could end up pulling your site out all together. If your site is already peeling or loose, I use extra tape to the spot where it’s peeling instead of over the whole site, and then pray for the best. On swim days I always make sure I have a back up infusion set on hand just in case.

Here’s a pin so you can save the list for later!

Pump Site Supplies to help you site last longer | Charming Diabetes

 

Those are my best tips and tricks. What do you do to keep your sites dry and help them last through the summer heat and water sports?!

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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

Charming Diabetes

Diabetes Birthday (and 4 warning signs you probably shouldn’t ignore)

Ok, so everyone with Diabetes has one: a Diabetes Birthday. That fateful day when they were diagnosed. If you’ve got Type 1 and were diagnosed as a young child, you may not remember it.  If you’re old enough to remember it, it is definitely one of those Before-and-After Moments– A cataclysmic event in your life where there is before that moment, and after, and nothing on the after side is ever the same. I know, I know, a little melodramatic–but it kind of is that way. So since I’ve got a whole Diabetes Blog thing happening here, I thought I’d paint you a picture of my Diabetes Birthday…it’s always easy for me to remember since I was diagnosed on my 16th birthday. Seriously.

4 diabetes warning signs you shouldn't ignore | www.charmingdiabetes.com

THE SIGNS

Throw back to 1995 (yeah, can you smell the grunge movement and doc martens?). I was about to turn 16 and get my driver’s license but was a little concerned because my vision had been sooo bad lately (Blurry Vision, sign #1). But that didn’t matter. I was turning 16! And my pants seemed to be fitting more loosely. Was I losing weight? That’s awesome! (yeah, not when it’s related to diabetes. Sudden weight loss, sign #2). I was carting around drinks all the time because I was noticeably more thirsty (excessive thirst, sign #3). I was even waking up at night bc I was thirsty. Hmm, that’s strange. And then again because I had to pee (frequent urination, sign #4). My mom suspected something was wrong, but I knew she was just being overly cautious (complete denial, sign #5?) and nothing mattered anyway because did I mention–I was about to get my driver’s license!! FREEDOM!! (in my William Wallace voice).

freedom

THE DAY

My 16th birthday was a busy day. Got to school late because I went to get my driver’s license. Omg! Omg! I passed with flying colors, blurry vision and all (miracle!). I can even remember the outfit I was wearing that day. It involved double denim and crushed velvet, and that’s all I will say (It was the 90’s, people).

I had a cake from Becker’s Bakery (if you’ve had one you know what a mouth watering prospect that is) waiting for me at home that I was pumped up about, but first I had a doctor’s appointment. I drove myself. Just a normal yearly well-check until they checked the pee cup and then BAM!

“you have diabetes”.

I’m sorry, what?

“Type 1 Diabetes”.

The words rang in my ears. I literally can’t remember many of the details after that. That’s what happens with those Before-and-After Moments; so many of those very first “after” details are fuzzy.

Just like that I was scheduled for outpatient training at the hospital the next day with a pediatric endocrinologist named Dr. Najaar, very kind woman and yet my mom never got her name right and always called her Dr. Jafar. As in, the villain from Disney’s Aladdin.

Jafar

Again, it was the 90’s, Aladdin was big. It is not lost on me that the first medical professional to treat my diabetes was (subconsciously?) vilified by my mom. Gotta love it.

THE AFTER

I vaguely remember a long drive down familiar streets. Not understanding. Wanting to cry.

And then home, to my birthday cake.

With my mom and a couple of close family friends who were there looking at me, and then at the cake, and then back at me, I just took a fork and dug in. I ate like 1/2 the cake by myself. I was not going to let anyone take this long standing tradition of birthday joy from me…

And then, yes, I was miserable. My blood sugar had presumably been high for a while (hence the blurry vision, weight loss, etc) so I must have been used to feeling kind of “meh”, but I do remember feeling particularly yucky after all the cake. But I was so afraid! So afraid that tomorrow they’d tell me I couldn’t ever have that again. I had to get my fill.

My relationship with Diabetes has kind of been like that ever since. A little bit fearful of the unknown consequences to come, and many, many episodes of loved ones looking at me, then the dessert in front of me, and then back at me as I dig in, defiantly.

There are so many other memories from that day that I’ll leave in the vault for now. I did gain some freedom with my license , but I also got dealt a big fat lifetime ball and chain with a diabetes diagnosis.  Isn’t it Ironic? There’s a bold-faced Alanis Morrisette reference just to make sure you remember the 90’s setting of this little tale. It’s stuck in your head now, isn’t it? It’s like raaaaiiin on your wedding day.  Sorry 🙂

Fear, Defiance, Loneliness, Misunderstanding, Feeling Judged, Feeling Guilty. It can be a monster, Diabetes. It’s one of the reasons I started this blog: to share what was working (and not working) for me as I try to live the life I want while dealing with all that this disease can hurl at you. But just as with any fear, facing it head on is often the best course of action. As I educate myself, and take control of my blood sugar, take responsibility for my food choices, and lay down my guilt, I find myself feeling less fearful, and more empowered.

And I’ve had my cake every birthday since.

you can have your insulin and your cupcakes too | www.charmingdiabetes.com

you can have your insulin and your cupcakes too

That’s how I was diagnosed. 1995 on my 16th birthday with a very 90’s soundtrack playing in the background. That means I’ve now had more “after diabetes” birthdays than “before diabetes” birthdays. And for that, I am grateful.

What about you? When is your Diabetes Birthday? Let me know in the comments. Or if you’d like to Share Your Story with me & the Charming Diabetes community you can do that here

If you’re looking for more facts and info on Type 1 diabetes and it’s signs and symptoms the American Diabetes Association is a great place to start. If you’re experiencing any of those warning signs and think you might be at risk, talk to your doctor or a medical professional.

Here’s hoping they find a cure, and until then, may there alway be enough insulin on board to cover your birthday cake.

xo

Sara

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