Yes, I am still alive and well. And still living with type 1 diabetes on a daily basis, even though I have to continually get insulin prescriptions re-written after refills run out because insurances must think that somehow I won't need insulin anymore. I kinda feel like I have been hiding with my head in the couch, oh wait, that is Penny's favorite spot! (See below)
Quick run-down and some potential upcoming blogs:
- Moved back to California in 2015, San Clemente, CA.
- Work in Ecommerce at Stance (www.stance.com)
- Camped out way down the US West Coast from Vancouver, BC to Orange County, CA in a 24 foot U-haul trailer and a tent.
- Founder, co-owner of an essential oil company started while in Candada, Happy Spritz. Michelle, the wifey runs the day to day operations. www.happyspritz.com. One of the best learning experiences in life. (One of the main reasons that TBI hasn't had a post in literally years.
1. Blood sugar anxiety; solutions include west coast drugs, but also alternative methods
2. Dexcom G5, pairing with Iphone 6+
3. Genetic testing and mutations; biohacks
4. Thyroid autoimmune disease, Hoshimoto; pill a day for life
5. Food and supplements benefits
"You Don't Look Diabetic"
Since I am waiting in the doctor's office I thought I would try a mobile post from my phone.
As you can see from from the title of my post, I thought it was worthy to share some of the comments I get when I tell people I am diabetic.
Today, as I am waiting in the doctor's office, I am kindly offered a juice box since I am likely going to be waiting forever. Yes, this is a known in the Canadian healthcare system even with an appointment. I'll get to that another time. My response was, "Oh no thank you, I'm ok. " The staff member says, "Oh you don't like mango?" "No, I'm diabetic, don't do sugar drinks. " Assuming he is continually around the medical community, it was surprising that his final response was "Oh, you don't look diabetic." How am I supposed to respond to that? For those that know me? I didn't respond.
I get it, people don't always understand the differences between type 1 and type 2 or really just don't have any exposure to the disease. I don't blame them, but then I typically don't respond. Unless I have to.
In today's day and age, there is pretty much an "app" for everything, but when I heard this story, I was very impressed. I am a huge fan of Dexcom and it has really changed the way I manage my health and a group of parents have even taken it a step further with "Nightscout". Dexcom is in the process of developing "Dexcom Share", which will provide remote monitoring access for people who want to help a loved one manage their blood sugars. The FDA is currently under review, but parents did not want to wait for the FDA and developed their own device and app "Nightwatch". Take a look at the video link below.
I am applying for permanent residency up here in Canada. Currently, I'm only allowed in Canada for 2 years with my current work permit. Yes, I can get a new one, but permanent residency allows me to live here for 5 years and work with any company. My company is paying for all of the application fees and lawyer preparation, so it's something I am very thankful for.
The process takes a lot of paper work, photos, and finger prints that need to be reviewed by the FBI. The whole process can take up to a year, but everything has been submitted, so now it's just a waiting game. Why am I putting this on my blog? Well, this is not just a blog on diabetes, it's a blog on life and yes I happen to have diabetes. They are pretty intertwined, so yes, there is a diabetes twist. Part of the initial application, I had to state whether I had any chronic illnesses and I had to list diabetes. Mainly because with permanent residency, I will be covered by the government healthcare program and they probably don't want people to be a drag on the system. Since my diabetes is well controlled, I passed the initial screening which is great news.
Lastly, as I was completing all of this identifying documentation, I realized diabetes was causing me to lose part of my identity. How you ask? Well the picture you see above is three different fingerprints I had to submit to the FBI. The crazy part is that with the amount of times I have pricked my fingers over the last 12 years years, my fingerprints are starting to blotch and fade! Think about it, say I test 5 times a day on average, then that means I have pricked my fingers over 30,000 times! I never really thought about this before, but from the picture above you can see the blotching of the prints. A "normal" print doesn't have any blotchiness to it and comes out crisp and clear. This was an interesting conversation with the small Vietnamese man taking my fingerprints when he noticed the blotching. I told him I was diabetic and have been pricking my finger multiple times a day for years. He was surprised that I tested everyday because he said he was also diabetic. He said he was type 2 and mentioned to me that diet and exercise is "berry important,". "Yes", I nodded and agreed.
Finally! After moving to Canada in Jan 2013, I have recently been able to get back on one of the most important devices in managing my diabetes. I was able to bring a three month supply with me when I moved to Canada, but quickly ran out and the last few months have been really tough without it. For me, this is the best device in managing my diabetes. It really helps the mental fatigue and anxiety of always guessing where my blood sugar is or is going to be! Just to bring fact to what might be "my opinion", my most recent A1C was at its highest level (7.2) since I was diagnosed over 12 years ago. Damn, that means I am 30 years old now, yeeouch! However, I am confident that I will be able to get my sugars below 7.0 with the help of my Dexcom G4 by the end of summer. This is actually one of my personal 1 year health goals at work. We do vision and goal setting at work, which is helpful in setting tangible/measurable results by putting them on paper so you are accountable to yourself.
Now that I have my Dexcom back, I have found the best new spot to put it! As you can see in the picture above, the side hip/upper butt has been unnoticeable in all my daily activities, sometimes I even forget that it's there. I was heading to Cabo with a group of friends and wanted to find a discrete spot to put it. I spent a weekend at the beach and at the pool and it sat underneath my board-shorts unnoticeable, even without my shirt on, it was perfect! I'm really stoked that the accuracy was spot on the entire time and it didn't get in the way at all! I was even able to get 12 days out of that sensor too. Yes, there was a lot of food and drink consumed, but was able to keep everything in control and without any complications what so ever!
I usually put the sensor on my abdomen, but there is a lot of flexion there and causes the adhesive to peel too quickly. Another thing with putting the sensor on my abdomen was that I felt weird taking my shirt off at the beach or pool, so I felt like it was tough wearing it in the summer. It also wasn't conducive to hot yoga or doing burpees at crossfit. I have tried the back of my upper arm (tricep), but there really isn't much fatty tissue there, so it wasn't as accurate in that spot and when I put it on my lowerback/love handle area it ends up being really painful whenever I would get into my truck or laid on my back (sit ups, yoga, etc).
Below are a couple other pictures and you can see the remnants of my first sensor on my abdomen (on the left pic). My skin was usually really irritated when I took the sensor off my stomach area. The pic to the below right shows how it looked when I took the sensor off the and it was actually wayyy better too (the skin & irritation). It wasn't very itchy and my skin recovered really quickly, just a tip, tea tree (or melaleuca) essential oil always seems to help my skin when I take the sensor off.
THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE.
MY ID Emergency Wrist Band
Just ran across these cool emergency rubber wristbands that have some sweet technology built into them. When I was diagnosed with diabetes, all they had were those silver bracelets with a red hospital cross on them. I ended up getting a sterling silver bracelet in highschool that was engraved underneath that I was diabetic, but you really couldn't read it and it was not practical in any situation. I would've never worn it during any physical activity and that is usually where I find myself getting in sticky situations. Check out a couple of the cool features below.
• Unique, scannable QR code providing rapid access to your online medical profile
• Access to a Live 24/7 Emergency call center for first responders to access your profile
• Easy, accessible, secure online profile.
I am a huge fan of www.theclymb.com and they are currently on there for less than $12!
click here to follow the link for the ID bracelets
First off, I should apologize to my mom, I don't think she previously knew about this and read about it in my last post and expressed her worry. Moms are made to worry, but I should have told her if I hadn't already :) sorry Mom...
During our Canadian Thanksgiving in October, we decided to surprise Michelle's mom in Montana for our long weekend. During our visit, I became really ill with what I thought was food poisoning, but could have been a 24 hour bug. Doesn't sound too bad to the normal person, but when you add diabetes to the situation it can be complicated. Managing blood sugars without the ability to eat or drink anything becomes almost impossible. Adding to the mix, I was lacking my Dexcom continuous blood glucose monitor because to my dissatisfaction my insurance does not currently cover my supplies in Canada (I am working on it). Without Dexcom, my ability to know what was happening in my body was extremely tough. After hours of vomiting, my wife searched the internet and came across another blog that cautioned diabetics about ketoacidosis. I had heard of the condition, but honestly had never even checked for this before. I will hopefully add to the knowledge out there to help others understand the condition.
How does Ketoacidosis happen? It is typical for diagnosed diabetics with elevated blood sugars for extended amounts of time. I have been diabetic for years and am pretty aware of it, so that wasn't the case. Since I started vomiting at around 9pm and didn't stop until 3am, there was a lot of stress on my body. Added complication, I started vomiting shortly after dinner, so the carbs I had already taken insulin to control were no longer in my body. So my blood sugar dropped because I did not have the expected sugars in my body and too much insulin. To counteract low blood sugar, I had to drink orange juice, which led to more vomiting. I was able to increase my blood sugar, but through the sugars I was able to keep down and from the stress on my body of vomiting, it ended up in the 300s mg/ml. I was afraid of taking too much insulin because I couldn't control my vomiting. Probably around 3am, Michelle went to CVS and bought me some fluids along with a box Ketone test strips to test for "Diabetic Ketoacidosis" or "DKA". This is a serious condition and ADA makes it sounds terrible, but I guess that is the reality.
You May Not Recognize Me!
Well hello there, I know it's been awhile and you probably don't recognize me (I hardly recognize myself sometimes). It's still me, I just have a small animal growing on my face now, and haven't decided exactly how long I will keep it. If you ask my family, they will tell you I should've shaved it months ago, which is probably why I still have it. I guess you can say I am a little stubborn.
The last time you heard from me, was back in November or should I say the start of Novem(beard). I work (at Lululemon) with a rad group of guys that threw a little twist on the Mo'Vember (mustache contest) and went all in with full beards instead. December 1st, most guys shaved, but mine somehow stuck around. A lot has happened since the last time we've chatted, but one thing hasn't changed, my diabetes is still trying to run a muck in my life. Just to be clear, my beard may look like it has some secret powers like Gandalf, Santa Claus, or even Jesus (no disrespect, just #beardinspiration, below), but no, it hasn't cure my diabetes, but it has kept my face warm up here in Canada.
Getting Dexcom in Canada
Hi All - I had quite a few comment on my first post about the approval of Dexcom G4 CGM approval by Canada health. Many people including myself were unsure about how to actually go about getting the system. I moved up from the US last January and was disappointed that after having been on the system for half a year that I was not going to be able to continue using the system without sensors. To my surprise, the approval came a couple months ago. So I have talked to pharmacists, nurses, endocrinologists, insurances and Dexcom to try and figure out how to get sensor refills. So here is what I have learned.
Animas is an insulin pump manufacturer that has teamed up with Dexcom to use their technology is a new pump coming out, so it looks like they have teamed up with them to distribute Dexcom G4 here in Canada. That being said, I was able to get into contact with an Animas Canada inside sales representative. (1-866-406-4844). The woman I talked to was very helpful since all of the other sources I mentioned above hadn't really ever heard of the system and/or really didn't know about how to go about it. Still waiting on a call back from a pharmacist. The good news is that the sensors should be available in their Canada warehouse by the end of November. That being said, I give it a couple weeks into December, but am still in the process of how this will get paid.
I have an email into my extended healthcare provider to see when and if my sensor will be covered. Hopefully it will be covered and soon. Diabetes is hard enough to manage, so chasing down insurances and supplies can be frustrating. Hope this helps. Any questions, post in the comments below.
Dexcom has an earnings release call this week to discuss Q3 results and hopefully they will give another update on how they are progressing on their new programs. One new program that sounds really exciting is there remote monitoring system called Dexcom Share.
In July 2013, Dexcom filed for FDA approval of the Dexcom Share remote monitoring system for the G4 Platinum CGM (continuous glucose monitor). These type of approvals typically take at least 180 days, so if it is approved, expectations are that the product could launch sometime in early to mid-2014.
The Dexcom Share system can send CGM data to up to five designated recipients via the internet. How convenient would it be as a parent to always know how your child's blood sugars are trending! This also would have been really cool to have when I played sports, I could have sent my readings to a trainer on the sidelines. I am sure nurses and doctors would also really appreciate the ability to have blood sugars sent though the internet to monitor patients.
HOW IT WORKS: "The G4 Platinum receiver will plug into a Dexcom Share docking cradle. The Share cradle (plugged into a power outlet) will both charge the receiver and transmit CGM data every five minutes to a nearby iPhone or iPod touch via Bluetooth. The Dexcom Share app on the nearby smartphone will receive the CGM data and send it up to the internet. Once there, the data can be shared with up to five people."
SEA WHEEZE HALF MARATHON
I have always been up for any sport or fitness challenge, so when I was offered a spot to run the Lululemon Half Marathon in Vancouver, BC, how could I say no?
Well numerous ways, like "no gracias" or I could have pulled the D-card and said, "sorry, I am diabetic and need to more time to prepare so I can see how running for 13 miles will affect my blood sugar". The D-card always works because most people don't know how to respond. Or a simple, "I have never run a race before and have not run over 1000m in over a year". Even though these are all true statements, my wife who hates running and will even avoid the Crossfit classes I teach if there is running involved, convinced me to go ahead and give it a try because she watched extremely overweight people do it on the Biggest Loser television show. Yes my wife judges reality based on TV shows.
The fact is, I had actually trained for a half marathon over 5 years ago, but sprained my ankle two days prior and was unable to run. I put in weeks of training and made multiple adjustments to insulin regimes and dietary intake before/during/after running. It took a lot of preparation, so the D-card really is a legit excuse, but my wife ended up making the call and two days before the run committed to running 13.1 miles on a whim. The only difference this time around that I am older, but what made me feel much more comfortable is that I now have my Dexcom G4 CGM, so I could track my blood sugars the whole time. Also, my training through Crossfit should prepare me for any physical feat, right? Below are some fun pictures from the race and more insight into my diabetes logistics for our grueling run. Also, the stunning beauty Vancouver made for an enjoyable and picturesque race. (Yes, those were legit drag queens at one of the cheer stations, very entertaining! ) Check out the video of the race here... (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBwtQ9fYWmQ)
Insulin Pen - with a Memory
Hi all - as many of you know insulin is a very powerful drug, it can and does save numerous lives daily. However, it can also be fatal in the wrong dosages from human error. As I found out the wrong way on my honeymoon, even accidentally taking the wrong insulin can lead to serious complications! The reason I bring this up is because I came across another great invention that will help in the safety of insulin delivery. For the many people using insulin pens, FDA has approved the new NovoPen Echo that has a built in memory for insulin delivery.