fbpx

Real Talk with Dave: What Some Like to Call “Dia-versaries”

Hi there! Today is my 9th year of living with Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes. Today is what I call my “Dia-versary”. I have lived almost half my life now with this chronic disease and I am here to share my experience of the last 9 years and what it has truly been like. I’m David and this is my story.

On October 13, 2008, I was 11 years old and had just started 6th grade, when one Sunday morning, as I was getting ready for the day, we got a phone call from the doctors telling me that I had to come straight to the doctors office, as my blood work I had gotten done days before had come in and the results were what nobody ever wants to receive. Being only 11 years old, I was absolutely terrified as my mom and I rushed over to the doctors office. I had no idea what to expect.

As we sat in the doctors office, a nurse came in and broke down the bad news to us. I had been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

It was like someone had punched me in the face with such horrible news. It was as though life had paused and everything went blank for a moment. As the nurse and my mom tried to comfort me and stop me from crying my eyes out, I couldn’t help but think how my life was over. But that wasn’t the case.

As I rushed back home to grab a few items from my house to keep with me for the next 4 days during my hospital stay, I was a ball of mixed emotions: nervous, scared, confused, lost, sad, and depressed, just to name a few. Then, my parents and I headed back out to the hospital, where I was immediately admitted, feeling as though I didn’t have control over my life anymore. Being hooked up to an IV machine, getting my fingers pricked for the first time, and having to somehow be okay with all that I was facing right then and there was very stressful and overwhelming for me.

Over the next few days, I had to learn how to check my blood sugar, take insulin injections on my own (which was such a crazy concept to me at the time), count carbs, and regulate my blood sugars.

Through all that, I had some family come in and visit with me from time to time, as well as this amazing therapy dog that honestly was the highlight of my stay in the hospital. Through all that, I felt like I had seen it all. I had seen pain, sadness, happiness, love, and support. All that was packed into a short few days, but I am honestly so grateful to this day for my amazing doctors and nurses that helped me since then on educating, comforting, and healing me (essentially).

Fast forward to today, October 13, 2017. I am alive, I am well, and I am at peace with my health. I look back to my time in the hospital, that dark and challenging time in my life, and it just reminds me of how blessed I have been within the last 9 years. Within these past few years, I have grown, matured, formed a sense of responsibility for my health and wellness, and found happiness within myself as I try and cope with the fact that is Type 1 Diabetes. I have been ultimately blessed to have formed my little Diabetic community via Instagram and make some really amazing friends through it, as we have something to bond and connect over, Diabetes. It truly has become a blessing in disguise and I am (as weird as it may sound) happy that I was selected in this life to have T1D as it has definitely shaped me to be the person I am today. Don’t get me wrong, I would give up this disease in a heartbeat and I am ready for that cure, but until then, I feel as though I am in the right place. Had I not been diagnosed with T1D, my life would have been one big mess and my health would have been the opposite of what it is now.

So I thank you all for your constant support and love towards me and the Diabetic community as we face our daily challenges and struggles.

The Diabetic community is amazing! I don’t feel alone anymore as I have the support I need to deal with my Diabetes because of all the amazing connections out there for us Diabetics.

I am sure of good things coming our way in the near future, but until then, this disease is manageable, livable, and treatable. We are all capable of battling Diabetes daily and proving all the stereotypes wrong. We are the ones who are in control, Diabetes should never get the best of us. Live your purpose and fight like no other, because in the end, when Type 1 Diabetes is a thing of the past, we will be able to say we are survivors and warriors!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and celebrate my Dia-versary!

Live well,

Dave

Real Talk with Dave: The Lifesavers of Type 1 Diabetes

Over time, there have been several breakthroughs in medical technology that have made living with Type 1 Diabetes almost a breeze! From Insulin Pumps to Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs), these devices have made the battle of blood sugar regulation so much more bearable and practical in living life on the go. We’ve all seen them and most of us even own these devices, but I’m pretty sure we can all agree that they have made living with Type 1 way less stressful. Going to school, work, and even on vacations just got a whole lot easier!

When the idea first comes to a newly diagnosed patient about getting an Insulin Pump, for example, it may seem scary to have a device attached to them 24/7, but give it a week or two and most of the time, people sure fall in love with them. I can’t express how much I love wearing a Pump and Dexcom sensor, they have made my crazy schedule as a student so much more manageable than before when I used to take Insulin injections before every meal and having to rely on finger sticks alone, not knowing which direction my blood sugars were actually going in. They have definitely given me peace of mind in which I no longer have to worry about going low or high in class, at work, or even as I’m driving around town, as I am always in the know of what is going on with my blood sugars thanks to my CGM. If I go out to eat with friends, for example, it has become very convenient to quickly enter in how many carbs I’m eating into my Pump and I let the insulin drip in me as I enjoy quality time with some very special people.

There is always the fear of a Pump site ripping out or having it scrubbed off in the shower, but no need to worry, these sites we wear are just like bandaids (that give Insulin and monitor blood sugars!), so if they do come off, the pain is usually little and is very easy to re-apply a new site! I can remember countless times in which I have had sites come loose in the pool or shower, ripped off for no apparent reason, and even once I was playing with my dog and he accidentally knocked my Dexcom right off my arm (no worries, Comet!), but it just takes a few little incidences like these to help prepare us for the worst. Now a days, there are so many different medical tapes and glues that can help keep our sites on for the 3-7 days of wearing them. There are now a variety of companies, such as @PumpPeelz and @GrifGrips, who are aware of the struggles of keeping our sites on, that they have created fun patches with some really cool designs, allowing us Diabetics to show our style and decorate Diabetes!

In all seriousness, however, Diabetes is a full time job that requires around-the-clock care and attention, so having these so called “lifesavers” is so convenient and helpful to us in the long run as they assist us in living our best life with T1D. They can be the very devices we need to help us in an emergency of knowing what our blood sugars are and giving ourselves Insulin if needed. Diabetes is tough, but with these incredible medical breakthroughs that we’ve all been blessed with, the game of Type 1 Diabetes has been changed for the better and has allowed us to keep on fighting! Not only have they helped us, the Diabetics, but they have also helped parents, teachers, roommates, etc. as they too are given the peace of mind that we are just fine, as T1D can be a mess sometimes, thankfully though, we have these devices to help us all out!

So go ahead, live your best life and don’t look back, unless you forgot your Insulin Pump or CGM, then you should definitely look back and go get them!

Live well,

Dave

LBNN Application Deadline is this Friday!

Greetings from the Nordic Life Science Days!

We are looking for the best patient entrepreneurs within diabetes consumer and medical devices, or healthcare information technology. Apply to be one of the ten finalists who will travel to Copenhagen, Denmark and attend the 2017 Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Summit and compete for monetary prizes!

Since applications close this Friday, September 15, we reflect upon the concept of patient entrepreneurship.

These people are exceptional individuals and they inspire others to an extent I have never seen before in the chronic disease community. They may not be climbing mountains, or cycling across the country, but instead, they are solving problems that we all encounter when living with a chronic condition.

Instead of waiting for others to help them as a patient, the patient entrepreneur finds solutions to everyday problems that are not always apparent to the mind of a scientist or business person, and they go out and start a business, build a product, and change the future for themselves and others! This can be done by finding a way to register when and how much insulin was dosed, bringing together people with chronic disease through technology and inventive models to change behavior, improving the look and feel of everyday medical devices, or just making certain items we eat or drink healthier and tastier.

This brings to market better products and it inspires all patients to take charge of their health and be less complacent – be less of a victim and more of a problem solver.

At Lyfebulb we ask people to take charge, to live beyond their disease or condition, and to utilize the patient experience when identifying solutions.

In contrast to organizations who monitor and describe patient experiences (all sensor companies and patient platforms), we offer solvers and solutions.

We inspire people to Live Lyfe – that is why our slogan is

“Turn Your Lyfe On”

Lyfebulb’s End of Summer Drinks!

Last Thursday we enjoyed an evening of Champagne, courtesy of Prestige des Sacres, cocktails made with be-mixed mixers, cookies to go from KNOW foods, and of course some wonderful food, service, and the prime location of a Lyfebulb favorite, Brasserie Ruhlmann.

We want to thank everyone who came out and showed what an incredibly strong community we are proud to be a part of. Our goal is always to improve the quality of life of those living with chronic illness in general, and type 1 diabetes in particular.

We hope that you will consider making a donation to the Lyfebulb Foundation to help fund future gatherings such as last week’s and to support patient entrepreneurship. Together we can make a difference in the lives of patients everywhere!

Diabetes and Depression

Diabetes and depression is a topic I feel strongly about, but also one that is not easy to discuss. Many people with diabetes and relatives to those with diabetes do not want to acknowledge the psychological issues one can have when living with diabetes. These issues are not only related to the fact that diabetes is a chronic disease, that one has to inject insulin to survive, and that one has to modify diet, exercise, relationships etc etc.

In fact, John McManamy, author of “Living well with depression and bipolar disorder” says that a Kaiser Permanente study of some 1,680 subjects found that those with diabetes were more likely to have been treated for depression within six months before their diabetes diagnosis. About 84% of people with diabetes reported a higher rate of earlier depressive episodes. He goes on to say that a 2004 Johns Hopkins study tracking 11,615 initially non-diabetic adults aged 48–67 over six years found that ‘depressive symptoms predicted incident Type 2 diabetes. Women, in particular are at greater risk, according to other studies; and another study shows that this risk, among both men and women, persists even after controlling weight, caloric intake, smoking, and economic factors.

It has clearly been shown that depression is higher in people living with diabetes, and that this differs from other chronic disease. It is also clear that the depressive tendencies people struggle with are exacerbated by volatility in blood sugar, and can be reduced when control is improved. I recognize this, since I know that when I was “high” I felt tired, lethargic and often hopeless. This would lead to thoughts not moving fast enough, and frustration with my own capacity as a thinker. I would be sad about small things and be emotional about events that otherwise did not bother me. The worst part of depression triggered by blood sugar volatility is the feeling of loss of control and the vicious circle triggering poor management of diabetes which makes both the physical problems and the psychological issues worse!

My recommendation is as always to try to stay in control and when you do slip, ask for help! Being alone with your disease is the worst, and the concept of peer-to-peer mentoring helps, especially with more emotional issues than with medical and physical details. It is hard for a doctor or a nurse to understand the sense of hopelessness, fear of complications and the loss of control that we feel at times when living with diabetes. This is when a friend who also has the disease can help you tremendously by bringing you up in your mood, and down from the rollercoaster of sugar.

My other piece of advice is to reduce the simple carbs in your diet– it really helps you control the volatility. As you may have seen in children without diabetes, their mood is seriously affected by high sugar meals, and the subsequent crash is hard on parents and caretakers.

Lastly, exercise creates a natural surge in anti-depressive hormones such as serotonin and endorphins so adding exercise to your daily regimen will reduce the risk of depression.

I had a pancreas transplant in 2010, and since then my HbA1c has been normal with few glucose excursions. My mood and my energy levels have improved dramatically, but yet, when I eat a carb-loaded meal (rarely!) I do feel a high in the beginning, but then I dip and I lose my mojo. I feel lost and without control. I may have solved the sugar highs, but I am still vulnerable to lows in sugar and that is still my trigger for also feeling low in my mood.

Sugar is evil and I hope that in the future children will not be fed high-sugar meals and handed candy as rewards – it kills, mutilates and makes you sad!

Image of a woman siiting curled up on the ground

Interests - Select all that apply