Lessons on diabetes management

Lessons on Diabetes Management

Last year’s lessons on diabetes management
 

Happy New Year! My name is Jaime. I wanted to share a couple lessons on diabetes management that I learned over the last year.  I feel like the learning curve for diabetes is life-long and, even though I’ve had diabetes for 38 years, I still am learning new things every day!  

 

Lesson #1: Ask for support when you need it
 

I’ve always been very independent, but last year I challenged myself to ask for help more often.  Diabetes can feel very isolating at times, and I’ve realized that I don’t have to do it alone.  I’ve gotten better at asking for help from friends and family when I feel overwhelmed emotionally.  I have become more active online and found some amazing resources on social media.  Simply finding a community that understands the daily challenges of managing a disease like diabetes has been such a blessing—I can ask questions, get encouragement when needed, and it helps me not feel quite so alone.   

 

Lesson #2: Exercise is a game changer
 

I’ve always been active, but I’m definitely not a superstar athlete.  I used to work out more as a way to look a certain way and be able to fit comfortably into my jeans. Now, I work out to feel a certain way. I use exercise to improve my mood, help manage my blood sugars, improve my insulin sensitivity, lower my stress, and improve my longevity. 

I’ve transitioned from worrying about how many calories I burn each workout to simply setting a goal to move my body for a minimum of 30 minutes each day.  That might look like a Sunday yoga class or incorporating long walks with our new rescue dog, Jack, to help mitigate the sometimes rough after-dinner blood glucose spikes.  

It shows up as a dance party in our living room with my daughter or a hike through the Texas Hill Country with my husband.  

Movement has become a great tool for my overall health AND my diabetes management.  

 

Lesson #3: Do what works best for you
 

Everyone manages their diabetes differently. There is no “one-way” that’s best to deal with diabetes.  I’m a huge advocate in doing what works for you as far as your diet, insulin delivery management, medications, exercise routine, and all of the other complicated things we have to juggle living with type 1 diabetes 

Do you love your current pump and it’s working well for you?  Excellent, stick with that!  

Do you love your low carb diet?  Perfect, don’t feel pressured by someone on the internet to switch to the latest diet trend because it’s working for them

Do you love your fruit snacks as your go to low blood sugar snack?  Great!  You don’t need to use the fancy glucose tabs the person you work with told you about if you don’t want to.  

Do you love going on long walks with your neighbor for your exercise routine?  Awesome! You don’t need to join the gym that your aunt told you about at the last family dinner.  

You know your body best, you know what works, and you know what you are comfortable with! I’ve gotten much more comfortable over the last year advocating for myself and feeling confident with my decisions regarding my unique diabetes management.    

 

What are some lessons you learned this year regarding your diabetes management?  Drop them below in the comments so we call can learn from each other!   

 

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Submitted by Rhonda McCulloch (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

I’m glad to see someone else who feels like I do.
Diabetes is not the same for everyone. I get frustrated when people put us all in one category. Our bodies are different and so is the effects on our bodies from diabetes.
I need travel tips please?? We’re taking our first trip out of US to Mexico in a few weeks.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Submitted by Commenter (not verified) on

In reply to by Rhonda McCulloch (not verified)

Hi Rhonda! Here are some of my best travel tips—ones that either other have shared with me or that I’ve learned through my own travels!
1. Take more supplies than I think I need. This includes insulin, pump supplies, a travel loaner pump if I’m going out of the country (https://www.diabetes.shop/travelloaner), test strips, syringes + long acting insulin for my back up plan. I also back extra batteries and an extra belt clip.
2. Take easy to access snacks for low BGs. I like to have things that are easy to eat (and pack) when I travel so my go to items are usually gummy bears or some kind of fruit snacks. I can stick a couple packets in my purse, backpack, pockets, and then just store the rest in my suitcase for use during the trip. I’m married so I also have my husband keep a few snacks in his backpack for me too. Friends have also stepped in to help carry snacks for me in the past as well!
3. Plan to get to the airport early. I know that going through security with my devices on usually means I’m going to have to opt for a pat down which adds time so I always account for that during travel days. Most large airport personnel is familiar with an insulin pump but I tend to bring my airport card (https://www.medtronicdiabetes.com/sites/default/files/library/download-…) when I’m going to a smaller airport or out of the country.
4. I tend to do a quick Google search of the area we will be in beforehand to look for local pharmacies. If we are staying at a resort, I also ask if they have a resident/on call physician and if not, what their protocols are if they have a sick guest.
5. This is probably the nerdiest tip of all but I increase my wellness routine before I travel.

Submitted by Sheldon Presser (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

I use Sure-T infusers as they supposedly reduce insulin flow blockages better. To a point, they do, but I still get periodic blockages at least weekly, usually 2-3 times a week. No,pattern, rhyme or reason. Can happen second day, before breakfast, before dinner, etc. Sometimes fixed after 1 or 2 restarts, more often need 10+ restarts to fully bolus. Of course, it’s most annoying as it is when preparing Mel’s, wi5 a group at a restaurant, etc.

Jaime - how do you handle this? Suggestions offered by non-using Medtronic staff have honestly been useless.

Thanks!

Submitted by Commenter (not verified) on

In reply to by Sheldon Presser (not verified)

Hi Sheldon! Great question—I have had a little bit of experience with Insulin Flow Block alarms so let me share some tips!
1. Make sure that you are rotating your sites and only wearing the Sure T for 48 hours, or as your healthcare provider advises. I know from experience that we only have so much “real estate” to work with as far as where we can wear our sets but once I was more conscious of rotating and using sites that were viable (not where I’d taken shots for years, not with scar tissue/stretch marks, and far away from the current site), I saw my occurrence of alarms lessen.
2. Try a different site. Talk to your doctor about which site they think would work best for you!
3. Check your insulin. So this one might be a long shot but sometimes, your insulin can actually cause an insulin flow block alarm!

Submitted by Philip Rodriguez (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

all lessons learned are definitely important in controlling A1C and glucose levels. I've been a type 1 diabetic for estimated 50 years my first years I did nothing more than injecting insulin per hospital instructions. I was pretty active playing softball and running. didn't feel I needed any help. what I have learned now is doing all lessons learned. plus that a pump and CGM help tremendously.

Submitted by Jaime.Cline on

In reply to by Philip Rodriguez (not verified)

I agree Philip—a pump and CGM have helped me tremendously with my diabetes management.

Hello, thanks for Sharing your ideas and how you live with this disease, I will be celebrating 50 years having type one diabetes next month in February. I can honestly say that I’ve learned many things during this course of time. I currently do not have any complications and I’m very thankful for that. I focus on the foods that I can eat. Daily exercise has been my biggest strength. I simply enjoy it. Probably because it keeps me strong and healthy.
Cheers to living successfully with Diabetes!

Regards,
Patricia Sabanal

Cheers to you Patricia! 50 years is such accomplishment! I’m so glad my experiences resonated with you!

Submitted by ed Solis (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

I have been wearing the Medtronic pumps close to 20 years... Why cant my doctors, nurses or pro techs at Medtronic's get my pump dialed in perfect?

Submitted by Nicole (not verified) on

In reply to by ed Solis (not verified)

Ed, diabetes changes day to day and can be unpredictable. Things like stress or medications and other internal and external influences will have an effect on blood sugars that are sometimes unexpected. Working with your healthcare team and our staff is intended to minimize the effects of these changes.

Submitted by Jerry Maggard (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

Glad things are going well for you, I have been a diabetic for 41 years. Your story is similar to mine. I use 770 and cgm to help control my diabetes. Diet and exercise seem to work best for me. I go run, walk, bicycle or go to the gym five or six days a week. Also love hiking when I can, sometimes do small mountain climbing. I get aggravated sometimes when things don't work like they should and I have to remind myself tomorrow will be better. I've had a pump for about 15 years, it has really helped in keeping things in control, and I have a great Dr as well.

Submitted by Jaime.Cline on

In reply to by Jerry Maggard (not verified)

Hi Jerry. I love how you keep a positive mindset and you are so right—having a great doctor is such a blessing!

Submitted by Karen Gull (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

Thank you Jamie, that was very insightful and so appreciated to hear your experience. I Love to hear the experiences from other Type 1 Diabetics, and take from each one and learn something new.

Karen

Submitted by Jaime.Cline on

In reply to by Karen Gull (not verified)

Hi Karen. I love learning from our community! I’m so glad the blog resonated with you!

Submitted by Tina Aderholt (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

Thank you Jamie!!! My name is Tina. I am Type-1, 58 years. Grateful to still be in the game. My body is struggling but my mind, spirit is wanting to rise each morning and MOVE.
i walk or swim 4 days week. When Spring months arrive I am outside gardening.

I am so very grateful for advancements in Type 1. My memory of mama boiling a tube of chemical adding my urine to it and watching the colors turn. This is how we knew my blood sugars daily at home back in the day.

Today 770g System and Glucose monitoring Systems are unbelievably remarkable for me.

Submitted by Jaime.Cline on

In reply to by Tina Aderholt (not verified)

Thank YOU, Tina! I am SO happy to hear this!!!! Keep doing what you are doing!!

Submitted by Sylvia M. Moore (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

I have lived with Type I Diabetes for 66 years, being diagnosed in the "Dark Ages" of Diabetes, when blood sugar was checked at home through urine checks using a special tape, and glass syringes had to be boiled before each use for injections. Type I is a family affair, with my son having lived with this for 41 years and his daughter, age 11, was diagnosed with Type I as an infant. This past year has taught me to be more grateful for any advances in treatments, for great care from my endocrinologist, and that my MiniMed pump is very helpful in managing Type I and keeping A1C in range, along with use of a CGM. I have been using a Medtronic pump since the early 1990's. During a bout with Covid this year, pump therapy was quite helpful.

Submitted by Jaime.Cline on

In reply to by Sylvia M. Moore (not verified)

Hi Sylva! I’m so glad to hear how much you appreciate your MiniMed pump—I am so grateful for how many advances in diabetes treatments have happened in my life time and I’m excited to see what comes next!

Submitted by Gerald Munkacsy (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

Interesting - seems like you almost have have the ‘multi-headed’ dragon figured out. Takes a while for a person to reach your conclusion. My personal duration w/ this condition is only 61 years. - was diagnosed October, 1962 (the week of the ‘Cuban-missile’ crisis. Good Luck & keep doing what works for you

Submitted by Jaime.Cline on

In reply to by Gerald Munkacsy (not verified)

Best of luck to you too Gerald —I appreciate that we all can support and encourage others living with Type One to make the best possible decisions for their unique diabetes management!

Submitted by Frank Gilbert (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

I like your comments and agree with all of them. I’m on the 770G MiniMed system and it has halted but I’m still not regulated ie.., basals or carb ratios and have lows at two times per day and makes me leery of exercise tho i carry jelly beans everywhere i go. Thanks for info

Submitted by Jaime.Cline on

In reply to by Frank Gilbert (not verified)

Thank you, Frank! I love jelly beans as a low BG snack—glad the info was helpful!

I enjoined your message and can easily relate to it. I’m an older type 1, on the 770G pump, and not very tech-savvy. Can you send me some links so that I may explore more on this and related topics. I can use better control, exercising with disabilities (stroke survivor with affected left side mobility issues), who walks with a cane,. Links would allow me to quickly review specific, helpful tips without lengthy searching all over the internet. Thanks in advance, RAS.

Submitted by LAURA D PIKE (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

So glad to see this email this morning!! i have been a type 1 since 1968 and have gone through many ups & downs! It's nice to know someone out there understands. Often I say "If you don't live it you don't know it"----and sadly insurance companies can leave us out on a limb. I too go along with what works for me. These are the cards I was dealt with and the job to do the best I can to get along as best I can.

Submitted by Jaime.Cline on

In reply to by LAURA D PIKE (not verified)

Love to see the positive attitude, Laura! And you are so right—knowing that there are others out there in the same situation brings me a lot of comfort too!

Does Medicare pay for Medtronic Pumps yet?
I have been waiting for 3 years.

Dale, Medicare does cover Medtronic insulin pump systems when their criteria is met. If you'd like to explore your options, please give our therapy specialists a call at 800.646.4633, option 3 and we'll see how we can help.


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