When Life Is Not Kind To You, Be Kind To Life

Sometimes you feel like life is not kind to you, but if you are kind to life, it makes it a better place.

I was 21 years old in 1999 when I was diagnosed with IBD / Chrons disease. I had my first bowel surgery in January 2000. Since then, my life has been crazy with surgeries.

I have been through 15 big bowel surgeries and one of them went so wrong – they put an epidural in the wrong spot-  that I had nerve damage and a part of my leg became paralysed. I also had a lot of fistulas and surgery for that.

In 2010, I had to have an ostomy bag, and at the same time they found out I had diabetes. They believed it was a type 1.5 also called LADA Latent Autoimmune Diabetes Adulthood. But after a fail blood test, where they were not sure, they decided it was a Type 2.

I struggled a lot with way too high blood sugars because of my IBD, and I could not control it. Then in 2014, a new doctor thought it was strange for a type 2 to have such high blood sugars, so he took another blood sample and it showed up as Type 1.5, so now I had to inject insulin, like a Type 1.

I have 3 autoimmune diseases now. IBD, Type 1.5 and mild psoriasis. It’s often that if you have one, you can get more. BUT! Life is great after all. I am happily married and I have a great and beautiful daughter who is 14 years old now️. I have an electric small scooter that I totally blinged, that’s just me. BLING makes me happy every day and everywhere I go.

When I had to start injecting insulin many times a day, I decided to make “Bling Your Pen,” a small case for your insulin pen. I loved it! And so did a lot of others. Especially children, teens and women! Lyfebulb has made such a big difference for me, loving the “Bling Your Pen” just as much as me, and choosing to help me make it real on the Market Place. I am so HAPPY!

I choose to make it a good day every day, even though I am very sick now, and in the hospital almost 20-30 % of my life for pain treatment.

 I will continue to try and make a positive difference in the world as long as I live. So far, the world is also giving so much back to me.

My motto is: Don’t worry be happy! And “Bling Your Pen!”

Interview Series: Louise Bak Refshauge on ‘Bling Your Pen’

This week, we launched our much anticipated Market Place, a one-stop shop for all of your favorite diabetes-friendly products! In the Market Place we feature a variety of products from a variety of brands, but what they all have in common is the fact they were all created by Patient Entrepreneurs. These are individuals who are living with, or are affected by a chronic disease, in this case, diabetes.

We are thrilled to have partnered with Louise Bak Refshauge to bring you ‘Bling Your Pen,’ a DIY insulin pen case! We chatted with Louise to give you some insight as to how the product came about.

Bruna Petrillo: Hi Louise! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your diagnosis with diabetes?

Louise Bak Refshauge: My name is Louise I am 38 years old, I am married to Lars and have a wonderful daughter who turns 14 this month. I was diagnosed with diabetes in 2010, and I still use a pen because that’s what I am comfortable with. There have been a lot of ups and downs, but my BLING cover always makes me smile. Diabetes is not just something you can eat yourself out of or go for a run, and then you don’t need insulin. No, we need it to keep us alive, and we use our pens a lot. So why not make it a little fun!

BP: Tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind ‘Bling Your Pen.’ How did you get the idea?

LBR: I got the idea for ‘Bling Your Pen’ when I was diagnosed with Type 1.5 diabetes, and needed insulin several times a day. I thought the insulin pens were a bit boring, and I came up with the idea to make a cover for my pen. I also have IBD (Crohns) and I have to have Humira wich is also a pen, and it could fit in there too. I Love BLING I mean Who doesn’t right! I am not one who will go somewhere else to take my insulin, I do it in public. And all of the sudden people were reacting, positively when they saw my pen case. Wow, what is that? And it started a great conversation, and broke tabu and old belives about diabetes.

BP: So you bling your own cases. How many designs do you have?

LBR: I sure do bling my own covers! I have 3 oor4 to change with, just like you would do with a cover for your phone . It makes my life with diabetes and IBD just a little bit more easy and puts a smile on my face everyday. I hope customers will have the same experience.

BP: I love them! I know you have taken this project to hospitals near you. Can you tell us about going to the hospitals and creating these pen cases with the children? What were their reactions? 

LBR: I talked to my diabetes nurse about it, and she loved it, and I said it would be awseome to do it with the children because there are a lot of options, boys could also ‘bling your pen,’ maybe with camouflage, footballs and so forth. I decided to make a few pieces, and ask around the type 1 community. I spoke both with women who had diabetes, and moms to girls who just hated to be different in a negative way. I made the Bling your pen covers for a couple of girls, and one of them told me, “now I am not negative different, but positive different,” because in school everybody was reacting in a positive way. And to make it yourself, especially with children, will maybe make it more fun and positive to have a cool cover for the pen.

BP: Is that why ‘Bling Your Pen’ is such a great product for children and adults alike?

LBR: ‘Bling Your Pen’ is a great product for children and teens just getting their disease. So much is changing in a very short time, and they just wish it would go away. With “Bling Your Pen,’ you can create a great and fun cover for your medicine pen, and make it fun even. Also, in a good way, it makes the child have a little bit of responsibility for diabetes. For adults, I believe out of my own experience, that it is great haveing a ‘Bling Your Pen’ cover, and it makes people around you more aware in a positive way, and what’s not to like about that?

BP: Exactly. Making diabetes a little more ‘fun’ is what we are trying to do with the Market Place! So, why did you choose to partner with Lyfebulb for this product?

LBR: I chose to sign up with Lyfebulb, because I learned about Karin Hehenberger in my experience as a judge for the Lyfebulb- Novo Nordisk Innovation Award. We both saw a potential in ‘Bling Your Pen.’ Lyfebulb is a truly great company, with a lot of great entrepreneurs making innovative devices /products to improve the lives in a positive way, for all kinds of chronic diseases. And, I myself was not able to get it out there, without the help and partnership from Lyfebulb.

BP: We are truly proud to partner with you on this project. What are your hopes for the future of ‘Bling Your Pen’?

LBR: My hope for the future is that ‘Bling Your Pen’ will be a great success all over the world because I truly believe this small cover can make a big difference, and put smiles on your own face and others too! I know it did for me, and it still does. I am a mentor for a 14-year-old girl, and she loves the cover, and now we even have covers that match!

BP: Thank you so much for chatting! We are excited for the future!

LBR: Lots of ‘Bling Your Pen’ love!

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