Saturday, March 3, 2018

For Part 2 of Spreading the T1D Love today I’d like to talk about:

All of the pumps I've loved before (Cue the music.) :) 

I can proudly say that I have owned almost every pump on the market. I have had diabetes for 7 years and over those years I have done 30 day trials of pumps or had them for years. I’d love to share my opinion on each one I have had the pleasure of using. I know that it has been a while since I’ve used some of these pumps so some of the problems I had with them might have been resolved since I stopped using them. 

When I was first diagnosed, I was scared to try an insulin pump. It was this strange machine that I would be attached to. I thought it would hurt much worse than the shots we just learned how to give me. About three months into diabetes we went to a family camp called Camp Arroyo to try and ease me into going to “by yourself camp” in the summer. When we got there, so many people had insulin pumps. I got to hold them and see how they worked (with permission) and I asked questions. Once camp was over I was very much ready to get a pump (and go to summer camp alone). We had an appointment with my endocrinologist the following week, so we got to start the process. It really was important that we waited until I was comfortable with the idea, so then I was excited and ready to learn. I can honestly say that I can’t imagine life without a pump. It has made my life so much easier and has given me more independence and has helped me control my blood sugars.

1) Animas Ping

The Animas Ping was my first pump. I got it about 4 months into having diabetes. I LOVED my ping. I had it for 5 years. It was green and I felt so cute wearing it. We drove down to Children’s Hospital LA to learn how to use it. My mom and her close friend Chrissy drove me. Chrissy worked as a secretary in the school I went to and she took care of my diabetes with me every day, she is awesome! All three of us went to the training and when it came time to put my first site on, I was so scared. It took me a while to get up the nerve but when I did I was so happy! It hurt less than my Lantus (long acting insulin shot) did. It was amazing.

My Pros for the Animas are…
It had a meter that you could dose insulin remotely
It was waterproof (so if I went swimming while I was high I could still get insulin)
The pump site/insulin change took about 5 minutes
It came in so many cool colors (I loved my green one )
The sound my pump made was cute (except in the middle of a math class haha)
It was very durable 
It was very reliable, I would never get occlusions
It was very simple to use 
When I did break my pump they overnighted me a new one 
They had great customer service

-The pump clip that came with it would break very easily
-The biggest con is that they are now out of business :(

I loved my Animas and the reason I switched off of it was because I wanted to switch it up and try something new.

2) Omni Pod

I got the Omni Pod after 4 years of having the Animas. I wanted to try something new and so I tried the tubeless pump! It was a pretty exciting switch and I was very hopeful it would be amazing. It was pretty great, however there were some more cons than the last one for me.

The Pros list…
-It didn't have a chord on it (so it didn't get caught in door handles or around my dog’s leg when I hold her like other pumps do)
-It had a remote dosing meter
-It didn't hurt at all when I inserted it 
-It had a cute customizable welcome message on the main screen so I could put little happy messages on it that I saw whenever I turned it on. 
-They are so fun to decorate!!!

Here is my list of cons
-If you lose your meter then you can’t connect to your pump at all 
-It is kind of bulky so it sticks out if you have clothes on over it
-It also sticks out so if you brush against a wall or something (which I do quite often haha) it usually falls off
-It didn’t stick on very well 
 -It was a waste of insulin if the site fell off early

3) T-Slim 

I had my T-Slim for a 30 day trial when I was in seventh grade. It was pretty cool but it wasn't my favorite

-It is super cute 
-It is surprisingly durable
-It plugs in to charge so it doesn't need batteries (Pro for the environment and a con for convenience)

-No remote dosing 
-Your BG isn’t sent directly from a meter so you have to enter it in and when you’re high low tired or distracted you can really jack it up.
-Also I got a lot of occlusion warnings
-The pump changing process was extremely complicated and it took forever. Even the rep describing the pump change process made it sound hard. She said you should clip the tubing to a hairspray bottle while it primed to keep air bubbles out or something. 

4 & 5) DIY Loop or Open APS with Older Medtronic Pump

My mom had a friend named Katie Disimone who helped get us set up on Loop. It was the first time I had my Dexcom (which I loved) connected to my pump. It’s a truly amazing technology created by super smart people who live with T1D or are parents of kids with T1D. They’re so generous to have allowed this to be used by anyone for free.

- Amazing to have an open source partial closed loop option for free
- Extremely customizable (ex. you can set BG target wherever you want)
No prescription required because you gather all the parts yourself
It adjusts insulin according to BG needs. 

When it worked, it was amazing but when it didn’t it was super difficult to try to troubleshoot as I just didn’t understand it very well.

 - It is expensive and complicated so not for the faint of heart
-You have to scour the internet for old Medtronic pumps with 2.4 or earlier for their software
People drive up the prices of the pumps because they know people are wanting to buy them 
The old pumps are not waterproof (neither is any part of the set up)
You need the pump, a Dexcom, a raspberry pi type device (Riley Link) and a phone (none of which have warranties)
You need to carry all those pieces with you all the time
You need to have good internet and bluetooth connections - which was really hard for me at school.

6) Medtronic 670g Our best option yet. 

- Waterproof
- ONE device- the pump itself! I couldn't forget anything- it was one thing attached to me! :)
Guardian sensor is even more accurate than Dexcom (and I loved Dexcom!)
There are no lost connections/troubleshooting. It just works. 
It learns your body and evens out your blood sugars. 
It’s like a smart, caring, never-tired mom following you around 24-7 making basal adjustments every five minutes. It’s a miracle.
My A1c dropped .5% in the first few months with no scary lows and another 5% after that without effort.
  • Every night- no matter what the day held, it fixed my blood sugars. Whether the rise was from hormones, high carb meal, phases of the moon :) it always worked it out. My mom is amazing and I love that she can now sleep through the night so much more!
You have to learn how to use it, and it’s not the same as anything you’re used to using. Stay in manual mode until your trainer says you’re ready- it’s worth it. Try to be open minded- it’s like learning a new language.
You have to relinquish some control to the device which can be hard for people stuck in their ways. One example of the learning curve- I forgot to dose for a big meal. I remembered later, panicked and dosed for the carbs I ate. However, the pump was already noticing my rise in BG so it had poured on a corresponding amount of insulin and the insulin I dosed was doubled down. Scary, hard day. Lesson learned the hard way.
You can’t set your BG target lower than 100 (but 100 is great for me!)
It doesn’t have built in remote monitoring yet like Dexcom share but it works - so really doesn’t need much monitoring. And with Dexcom it’s great to remotely monitor it, but It’s not adjusting anything, it’s just information. With this system the pump is actually doing the work! I remember someone told my mom she didn’t need to monitor it because the pump system just WORKED. However, you can add DIY monitoring through Nightscout for Medtronic for free. That’s what we do so my mom can monitor my blood sugars at night from her iPad or phone. It’s a nearly perfect machine but it still runs out of batteries/sensor expires/etc. It’s good to have my mom monitoring it at night still but usually she gets to stay in bed and just peek at the iPad and see that I’m good and go back to sleep!

If you need someone to talk to about getting an insulin pump or want your child to talk to about it, PLEASE feel free to email me or direct message our Diabetic Sunshine Instagram or Facebook message me or my mom. We are more than happy to help. 

No matter which pump you choose, pumping ROCKS. I love that we have choices because everyone has different needs and preferences. What do YOU pump with? Comment below and tell us why you love it! <3 

To stay updated on posts follow diabetic sunshine on instagram @Diabeticsunshine 

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Spreading the T1D Love

Hey everyone It’s Gwen here! For the month of February we are going to be doing a series of Posts called “Spreading the T1D Love.” Having Type One Diabetes has built an incredible community around me and my family. So many amazing people are in my life because of diabetes and to me, that makes it all worth it. I have met my closest friends through Type One, I have so many Type One adult role models, and I have had so many people in my life who don't have T1D really step up and help me manage it or ask questions and really care about my well being. I’ve also had some amazing experiences that I will carry with me for the rest of my life and it’s all because of my stupid pancreas who decided to quit. I really can’t wait to share stories and posts this month about those amazing people and the amazing experiences that have helped shape who I am now.

I hope you guys have a wonderful first day of February! 
More posts to come <3 

Sure to follow us on Instagram to stay updated on posts and to connect with us

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Why I Walk

This past October we did the JDRF walk to cure diabetes! It was my first walk in 2 years and it was so fun! We went to the One Walk in Santa Barbara. We got there at 9 and signed in. Since we raised more than $100 I got a JDRF One Walk shirt for free. I also got a bandana that they only give to diabetics. It was fun spotting all those with Type 1 by seeing the bandanas throughout the day. It was really nice to have the whole family come. My good friend Mikayla also joined us which was fun because she got to learn about diabetes. We also ran into some fun friends we only see every once in a while and I ran in to a super sweet camp friend. The actual walk part was super fun but very long when there is a lot of people. When we finished the walk we were all pretty tired and I was heading kind of low. We went to California Pizza Kitchen and had lunch before the road trip home.

I was very proud to take part in the JDRF One Walk. The funds we raised might not have been a lot but every dollar donated to JDRF counts. Not only does JDRF put together events for diabetics and their families but they fund research. Their website says it best, “JDRF’s research goal is to discover, develop, and deliver advances that progressively remove the impact of T1D from people’s lives until we find a cure.”  You can look on their website yourself and see all of the amazing things they are doing to help us find cure. 
Some examples are:
-They have contributed over 2 Billion dollars to diabetes research! Isn't that incredible!?!?!
-They are also currently funding 50 human trials of potential T1D therapies 
- 80% of the money they get goes to directly support T1D research  

The most meaningful part of the walk for me were these cute little runner tags that you see marathon runners wearing that have numbers on it. They said “I’m the walk for _____________ type” I wrote "I’m the walk for everyone type." That is why I walk. I feel like I have more close friends WITH diabetes than without. I truly want to take the burden of this disease away from my mom and my friends and their families. If I could cure myself or someone else I would choose someone else until we run out of diabetics. That is what walking for a cure means to me. I was also walking for the promise of a fun lunch haha but I decided not to write "I'm the walk for lunch type" but, you know, lunch is awesome!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Hello! This isn’t one of Gwyneth's or Elaine’s usual post, so let me introduce myself. My name is Kayla and I am one of Gwyneth's diabuddies. I have had diabetes for about 2 ½ years and I take insulin shots. Many people have asked my why I don’t have a pump. I think I was scared that something might be a malfunction with the pump or that it might fall out, but now I am more open to the idea of having a pump. On Friday of this week, I’ll be getting a Dexcom CGM, which I am super excited about. I have been getting low blood sugars at night so I think it will be really helpful. 

There’s a bunch of stuff going on with me right now. I just finished my first year of homeschooling, which was a lot of hard work. I also recently became a vegetarian, and though it was a huge a change, even with diabetes, it was an beneficial change to make, for me anyway. Being a vegetarian hasn’t affected my blood sugars, my lows are usually caused by exercise, but I feel I have become healthier overall. I do a musical every summer, since 4th grade, with a community theatre group and this year we are  doing a play called: A Year with Frog and Toad (P.S:Get tickets here) based off of the children’s book series. I guess I got one of the “lead” roles but I have a big scene, with me being the main character besides Frog and Toad, and I’m in the background in the rest of the scenes, which is perfectly fine. I am super excited to see all of my theatre buddies again, but I will have to change my insulin dosage for the summer, since I go really low with exercise.

On the topic of new things, I got a few new diabetes devices, which I absolutely love! One of the first devices I got is the Genteel lancing device. It is the “pain-free” lancet and though I wouldn’t call it painless it is definitely less pain. It came with 6 different contact tips and each color of contact tip has a different depth, 1 being the softest and 6 being the one that goes deepest into the skin, and I like using the 2nd contact tip. I like using the Genteel because I can use it on the heel of my hand, my arms and even my legs, but I can still also use it on my fingers. Another new device I got was a new meter: The OneTouch Verio IQ.  I upgraded my meter because I found out my previous meter was about ten years old. I really like my new meter. When I put the meter strip in, when it’s ready to take the blood, the top of the meter will light up so I can see where to put the blood. I LOVE that feature, because I frequently check at night.  The meter strips also take less blood, which is awesome!

    I can’t wait until the next diabetes event I attend! I will be going to Carb DM’s San Jose Bay Pumper’s event and I am super excited! By the time I attend, I will have my CGM and there will be other people with pumps, CGM, and I’ll get to learn more about different kinds of pumps. I love going to events where I can meet other diabetics. I went to Carb DM’s Mother Daughter Weekend, where I met the wonderful Gwyneth, and I got to meet girls my age and hangout with them and also learn more about other people’s experience with T1D. (If you can’t tell, I really like Carb DM:)

    That about wraps it up for me! Thank you for reading! Sorry if the post was a bit shorter than usual. Gwen/Elaine will write another post (hopefully) soon! If you want to follow me on instagram, my instagram is @kayla.butterfly  I would also like to give a quick thank you to Gwyneth for letting me write on her blog! Had so much fun writing!

- Kayla Villegas <3                                                                        

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

One of My Bright Sides of Type 1 Diabetes:
When I was diagnosed with type one diabetes I was 9 years old, I had no idea that it would affect me for the rest of my life. I didn’t think about needing to test my blood sugar every time before I drove a car, I didn’t think about how I could have a low blood sugar at my graduation, or that it might affect my future job… It just never occurred to me.  As I have gotten a little older (I’m 14 now) these have been thoughts of mine. Even though it can be hard I can still easily find ways to stay positive through it.  And I really wanted to share one of my bright sides with you guys…

Friends!  I have made so many life long friends that I never would have met if I didn’t have type one diabetes! In fact I think that I have more friends WITH diabetes than without diabetes! There are so many ways to make new type one diabetic friends… some examples would be CAMPwalks to cure diabetes, events based on diabetes, Facebook groups and more!

I also want to tell you that it sure means a lot to text my diabetic friends…  I cannot stress how important it is to find a type one community to back you up. I wish I could explain how AMAZING it feels to be able to text a friend (who also has type one) and be able to say, “Uhg my blood sugars are 400” and get a response like, “Aw, I’m sorry! I feel you, my sugars were crazy yesterday! Are you drinking Diet Coke or something?” It feels so good to be understood. Your friends and family can sympathize and it’s so nice. But to have those people who REALLY get it, is a gift.

So what are some ways you can find some friend with type one besides camp? You can find new friends through Beyond Type One’s Snail Mail Club: Here is the link. You guys should sign up! It is a pen pal program for kids and teens with type 1 diabetes around the world. Quoting their website, “Beyond Type 1 is a company built on social media and technology, but we know that good old fashioned personal connections are just as important. Our hope is that the Snail Mail Club will foster community, create lasting connections that go beyond the page, and that some of you can even meet in person one day.” What a fun way to make a new diabetic friend! I have signed up and have a new 14 year old friend in Illinois. 

Beyond Type One has ALSO launched an App that lets you interact and connect with other type one diabetics. You can post pictures and ask/give advice and even find people in your area! I am on it and I LOVE it! Click this LINK and sign up on the website. Then it will let you download the free app (works for iOS and Android) and have fun! Be sure to follow me on it ;)

It is also fun to find some events for people living with type 1 diabetes… I love going to JDRF events. There are tons of different organizations who put on events. One organization I love is in the California Bay Area called Carb DM. Here's their link (click it!!!!!!!!)  I love this organization, they always put on amazing events! Don’t live in CA? Wherever you are there is always an organization you can find. And if not then START ONE!

Social media!! There are so many diabetes accounts on Instagram and Facebook! Follow me on Facebook here and on IG @glittergwyneth and we can all connect!

I have also found friends through writing this blog at <3 We are also on Instagram @diabeticsunshine ;) Writing your own blog can be a great way to get your feelings out and to connect with others. I have had so many people stumble upon my blog and then reach out to connect with me because they found they had something in common with me. If you start blogging, let know and I'll follow your blog! 

I wanted to share this HUGE bright side with you guys! Get connected and make type one friends...they're the BEST! <3 I hope this helps you! Why don’t you comment on YOUR bright sides or email me here-Gwyneth Stewart

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Today, halfway through #‎diabetesawareness month, Gwyneth and I celebrate the PARENTS of kids living with Type 1 Diabetes. When your child is diagnosed your life changes forever. I have not slept through the night since 2010. A typical best-case scenario is waking up twice a night. We parents make our kids bleed multiple times each day and night constantly giving insulin and sugar. Typical parental worries take a back seat to the daily worry of keeping your child alive. We make sure schools know how to deal with emergencies. We make sure the kids get out the door every day with the millions of things that will keep them alive- needles, test strips, meters, insulin, glucagon emergency shot, skittles, juice boxes, spare insulin pump supplies, batteries and so much more. We never stop worrying. Gwyneth hates that I never sleep and she hates that I always have to worry. She also loves that I never sleep and loves that I am worrying. She knows it is a family disease and she knows she would happily do all of the above for her child if they live with Type 1 someday. She actually longs for it. She plans to adopt a baby with Type 1 when she's older. She knows the fierce love and bond that comes with this diagnosis. Parents of #‎t1d kids- we salute you. We get you and we love you.
Elaine and Gwyneth

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Diabirthday: This is My Day 1 Story

Hi, It's me Gwyneth. Today marks 5 years of Type 1 Diabetes for me. It has been crazy and amazing at the same time. So many emotions run through my head when I think about having Type 1 for 5 years. I feel proud because it is really hard to deal with it everyday.  I even feel a little fear because it is something I will have to deal with for the rest of my life. But most of all I feel joy because I meet new people and have new experiences because of it. I remember the day I was diagnosed like it was yesterday.

I was 9 years old. I was pulled out of school about a half an hour early so I could go to the doctor. I had been acting and feeling super weird... I was drinking 3 water bottles at school and asked for way too many bathroom passes, all of a sudden I was shaken and didn't want to do anything, I even started snapping and getting mad at everyone. Those of you reading this who know me know how optimistic and energetic I am, you would probably take me to the doctor too. My mom and dad were worried. I was drinking so much water they said I couldn't have any more after 6:30 so I wouldn't have to go to the bathroom at night. I would wake up at midnight and silently drink all the water left in the cups.

We live in San Luis Obispo but our doctor was in Atascadero so we drove up for our 3:00 appointment. Our doctor, Dr. McNerney (who rocks by the way), saw us right away. He talked to me about my symptoms and he said he thought he knew what was wrong but I had to do a urine test to be sure. So we did. And a few minutes later he came in and sat down. I had NO idea that he was about to tell us something that would forever change the way we live. He said that the test showed that I had something called diabetes... my mom started crying (she also put on her sunglasses so I wouldn't see that she was crying, I could tell though). I was confused. The only thing I knew was that my mom was crying and she never cries so I knew it was bad. The thing is I thought Dr. McNerney said I had Dying-Babies (I thought I had killed kids or I couldn't have kids when I grew up or something) but only thing I wanted to do was make my mom feel better. So I went over to her gave her a hug, rubbed her back and tried to reassure her by telling her I will be fine and that everything would work out ok. She kept crying so I wanted to ask my doctor what was wrong with me. He said that I had to go to Sierra Vista Hospital.

At Sierra Vista I got an IV in my arm which I named Optomus Prime because naming your equipment makes it way more fun that way. I was still very confused so I wanted to what "dying-babies" was and what was wrong with me, I asked the doctor, could you please tell me more about the Dying-Babies that I have?" He automatically told me that I wouldn't kill any babies which made me so happy that I didn't care what I had anymore. Because anyone who knows me knows that I love babies and kids. So he gave us some information. I learned that I would have to test my blood sugar every day and dose insulin for food everyday. I also learned that I didn't do anything to get Type One Diabetes and that it was my body that attacked my pancreas. That makes insulin so we all eat.  I got a bunch of visitors who brought books for me to read while I was there. My teacher Mrs. Dean came and she brought a color in poster and we colored. Then she prayed with me, and we colored more. Then the doctor came in and we were getting the coloring stuff off the bed and a marker somehow flung across the room and hit the doctor. He said he was glad it wasn't poop because he said monkeys fling their poop.

The doctor said I had to go to Childrens Hospital in Los Angles. I could only eat cheese and meat for dinner, so we went to Vons to get salami and cheese sticks while dad went and got some essentials for the road trip (Including my teddy bear because I was scared of getting shots). We drove off at 8:00 and got to Childrens Hospital LA around 1 am. There I got trained and learned more. Then when we got home I remember that I was hungry and scared to eat. I wanted to eat a pumpkin bar..So we counted it up and I took a shot and we set a timer for 15 minutes, when I took a bite we clapped feeling so proud. Almost as if we beat type 1. It kinda sounds like a small victory now, but I still treasure it. I remember thinking maybe I can use this and my faith in Jesus to help other kids with diabetes. That has become my goal in life.

Now 5 years later I realize that people make rude and ignorant comments, and people think I got diabetes because I ate too much food or something. But that means it is my job to educate those around me. I am just so grateful for my parents for helping me, and my siblings for being nice to me when I am cranky. I also wanted to say thanks to my friends... (with diabetes and without diabetes) for sticking up for me and just helping me through those rough days. It means the world to me. I am so happy that I have a community behind me to beat diabetes together! All I have to do is think positive and remember that my glass is  always half full.
                             -Gwyneth :)