fbpx

#RealT1DLyfe Liz’s Story: Finding New Solutions while Caring for a Child with Type 1 Diabetes

Throughout my life diabetes had been an illness I knew little about and was fortunate enough not to have experienced myself or through loved ones. That all changed in 2011, when my oldest of four boys (David) was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 9. As a family we were overwhelmed, scared, and uneducated about the disease. As a mother, my first thought was, “What can I do to help my child?” I knew all the emotions I was feeling and could only try to imagine the thoughts that were running through my child’s young head. Immediately my stoic side came out, trying to calm this frightening situation. This was all new territory for us. The only absolute was to provide love, support, and willingness to learn everything I could about this new disease that just struck our family.

Although I do not live with the disease personally, anyone who has a loved one affected by this terrible burden knows that management is not solely the responsibility of the individual diagnosed– especially when it is a child. Inherently as a mother you worry. Add that to that the worry of a child living with a chronic disease, and suddenly the threshold is increased to a whole new level. It is with you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Throughout the course of adjusting to our new lifestyle of insulin injections, carb counting, and blood glucose tests, I soon realized there was a missing component in the testing routine. A clean, simple solution to safely remove the excess blood left on the finger after testing sugar levels. Testing his blood anywhere from 6-10 times a day was the norm. Inevitably, David would wipe the blood either on his clothes or the inside of his case. After searching the marketplace, without success of finding a product for this unmet need, I took matters into my own hands. Being passionate about helping the diabetes community, I conceived, patented, and developed Diabetic Dabs®; booklets of absorbent sheets designed with an adhesive backing to attach to any testing kit.

My goal is to help families such as mine simplify managing diabetes and hopefully inspire others to act where shortfalls present themselves. We are all in this together; being a member of this community, our mission is to eradicate this horrible disease.

There is no stress-free way to handle the responsibilities, the highs, the lows, and emotions that come along with diabetes. However, there is a way to take control—and that is through mindset. I felt it was my responsibility as a parent to teach David that mindset determines your path in life. Mindset and perspective can turn a positive situation negative or a negative situation positive. Sometimes life throws curve balls at us—and it is in those moments that we decide how we will handle them. My goal is to empower those in the diabetes community to have a voice and make a difference!

Get real with T1D!

#RealT1DLyfe Sara’s Story: Type 1 Diabetes, Food and Eating Disorders

Being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes is far from the best news I’ve ever received. However, I had the best support from family, friends and healthcare professionals. Thanks to this support system from day one, I felt confident that I could maintain a positive mindset, even though I knew there would be many tough periods ahead.

I have always tried to look and act “perfect” on the outside by not making a fool of myself and not creating unnecessary conflicts so that I would be accepted and respected. All of these behaviors striving for “perfection” have in some way affected the history of my T1D.

For better or worse, I have always placed significant value on my appearance. I have always strived for something that is ultimately superficial and should not really matter in the scheme of things. The combined stress of how I saw myself in the mirror and my perfect blood sugar curves eventually turned into a minor disaster.

Sara Moback thin

I learned quite quickly when I was diagnosed with T1D how food affected my blood sugar. I learned how many units of insulin I needed to maintain a relatively stable blood sugar. Together, the time and effort I dedicated towards food while I began to think more about how my body looked, as well as other important happenings in my private life, led to an awful disease – anorexia nervosa in 2016. This part of my life was probably the worst. I do not really know where my strength came from, but I eventually managed to contact a clinic that helped me, and this was the beginning of a journey to a healthier life.

I made significant progress once I started working with my body instead of against it. Before, the nutrition of what I was eating was not important to me. The most important thing at that time was for any food I consumed to not affect my blood sugar.  Now, I realize how much of an impact my T1D had on the way I considered food and my overall diet.

Receiving a diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes was traumatic because it meant I couldn’t live life as I knew it. It is difficult to change habits and ways of life – even the small, everyday habits. The additional diagnosis of anorexia made this even more difficult. After a long time spent in treatment, I had overcome most of the difficulties I encountered with my disease. I had a tough time when it came to relationships, jobs and figuring out what life meant to me.

Today, I have come a long way in my recovery. However, food is an integral part of my life and I will never be able to get rid of the thoughts of what my next meal will look like. It is a feeling that a person with T1D can never truly get rid of. Some days I feel strong because I do not struggle with my thoughts surrounding food and T1D at all. While other days, I feel the heavy burden of T1D, although I don’t always show it.

If people around us knew the extend of how hard we work to keep our bodies and souls alive, they would be shocked. Although many still do not and most likely will never fully understand, the most important thing is that you are aware of the choices that make you feel good.

Sara Moback full length

 

#RealT1DLyfe Chris’s Story: Type 1 Diabetes and Suicide

As anyone with Type 1 diabetes knows, life can be an absolute roller coaster. I would like to take you on a personal journey of mine going into the darkest of hours, but coming out in the brightest of days. Back in June of 1988, my diagnosis marked not the first or second, but fifth Type 1 diabetes diagnosis for my family. Already having lost an uncle to Type 1 in the same year, my diagnosis likely hit my family harder than I will ever know. However, growing up having two family members who passed from T1D complications weighed heavy on my mind. It didn’t help that at a young age, I heard a doctor tell my mother, “if he sees 30, feel lucky.” Growing up, T1D never completely stopped me from doing things, but often had a way of interfering. Going to play soccer as a kid, I had a coach say I couldn’t play because he didn’t want a kid dying on his field. Name calling, being told I wasn’t good enough, and the like made me angry in the moment, but ultimately sat deeper within my subconscious for twenty years into adulthood, slowly taking its toll.

Getting out on my own is where my life took a darker turn. Around 2011, I fell into a deep depression and I almost didn’t make my way out. My blood sugars were rarely where I needed them to be. It was also a constant roller coaster at work. Eat then work, forget to bolus, go high, then crash, and repeat. Although I was consistently out of range, my reasonable a1c kept my doctor at bay, all while hiding the fact I was miserable mentally. Relationships were impossible to maintain with my depression and blood sugars as they were and I began to isolate myself alone with my thoughts. The thoughts escalated from “your diabetes has destroyed your life” to “your life isn’t worth living with diabetes.” Mind you, at this point in time I already had one beautiful son. I pushed the thoughts back as much as I could for his sake. However, in doing so it enabled my thoughts to escalate even further. I was telling myself that my son would be better off without a father. I started looking up those who completed suicide and how they did it. However, even with everything I was feeling, I couldn’t leave my family with the thought that I would do so on purpose. After having crashed my blood sugars numerous times over the years to counteract extreme highs, I decided insulin was my best option.

On a Saturday morning, I woke up in tears and decided that was the day. I got up and took a fatal dose of short acting and went about my morning routine with the idea that at some point, I would have an insulin reaction and go unresponsive. For whatever reason, by an act of God, the insulin took hours to work. Later that day, when I was on line to have lunch, the last thing I remember was reaching for a plate. I woke up surrounded by EMTs in my manager’s office. Lucky for me, the guys I worked with knew me and my diabetes very well. Upon coming to, one of the EMTs said it was the first time he had a patient so low it wouldn’t read on his meter. We still don’t know how low I truly was when they got there. I finally got to the point I could stand on my own and was feeling okay physically. However, my mental state was still in shambles. Per policy at my work, I had to be sent home. I begged with my manager to let me stay. I said “I’ll just sit in the back, no one will know I‘m there.” I couldn’t go home in the state of mind I was in. But none the less, I was on my way home. The short 5 minute drive was nerve racking, tears falling, thinking “should I try again” and “I can’t be alone” and “I don’t want to live.” My best friend was sitting on the couch as I walked into my apartment and he immediately looked up at me, knowing something wasn’t right. He put his arms around me, like any brother should, and gave me a much-needed embrace–the kind of hug that lets you know someone loves you. We ended up going for a long walk where I explained what I did. He was the only one who knew what I did for years. During our walk he said, “I know the greatness you have ahead of you, you just have to be here to find it.” His words have sat with me for years.

With my two children and the Betes Bros, I have a family that pushes me to succeed. Brothers who reach out for my support as well as check on me. The men and women who have come into my life have filled my cup and continue to make life even better. If you are struggling, that is okay. As someone who almost experienced an end to my life, if I had the support then that I do now, I probably wouldn’t have gone that far. If you’re ever in a place like that in your life, talk to someone. Seeking a professional counselor doesn’t make you weak, it actually makes you stronger. Reach out to a friend who may be struggling that you haven’t talked to in a while, let them know you’re there. A simple text, note, message saying, “I’m here if you need me” can literally save a life.

#RealT1DLyfe Chris Pickering Family

Get real with T1D! #RealLyfe

For additional resources on Depression and Diabetes, check out this article from our friends at Diabetes Daily!

Inside the Patient Entrepreneur’s Mind: John Wilcox

Managing a chronic illness is challenging, whether it is your own or a loved one’s. Starting and running a business also poses unique challenges. If you struggle with a chronic illness, have started a business, or want to start a business, this blog series can help guide you. “Inside the Patient Entrepreneur’s Mind” offers key insights into chronic disease and mission-driven entrepreneurship by some of the most innovative patient entrepreneurs in the world. 

John Wilcox is the CEO & Co-Founder of Diatech Diabetic Technologies, Inc. 

As a patient entrepreneur, can you describe your personal experience with diabetes from diagnosis through your current daily management and how this experience drove you to innovate the space? 

In 2005, I was diagnosed on my ninth birthday. I figured the only way to come out on top was to make it a positive experience. Growing up, I really identified with the disease and now use it as an opportunity to empathize with others with chronic disease. I wanted to go to medical school, and still might, but this opportunity came up in college to develop intellectual property—what is SmartFusion today.

I took on the business full-time post college graduation of May 2019. My diagnosis gives me a leg up on how to develop technology to help diabetes patients. As a collective community, we can appreciate when someone with a disease can relate to us and effectively create change. My condition is something that I can share and allows me to connect to people and understand how other people are struggling—it is one of the best gifts that I could ever ask for. I don’t know what I would do with my career without this diagnosis because it has turned into a passion to help others and a lesson on how to make the best of situations.

What makes SmartFusion unique and how does it meet an unmet need of the diabetes community?

SmartFusion is a new infusion set that can more accurately tell you if insulin delivery is actually getting into your body. SmartFusion is unique in the fact that it helps patients understand if they are getting insulin.  Insulin pumps on the market right now are not really meeting the standard of being able to tell patient users if their insulin delivery is effectively working. We noticed the issue of infusion set insulin delivery failures where pumps can have issues with insulin delivery efficacy.

Personally, I have had issues going into DKA because of insulin mis-delivery.  I went to an endocrinologist in college who blamed me for poor A1C control rather than it being a technology/pump failure. I want to provide technology that can deliver alerts before hyperglycemia because it happened to me and it is very dangerous. Fixing this unmet need of pump reliability can take one thing off the list of what patients and caregivers go through regarding issues with diabetes care.

Are there any other unmet needs of the diabetes community that you think take priority in working to address? How are patient entrepreneurs well-suited to meet these needs? 

In the future, I would love to focus on software for pumps. There has been great work on hardware that is safe and effective for patients with diabetes but a real gamechanger could be software that pairs any type of CGM with any type of pump. The diabetes “hacker” community is already pairing their own CGMs with pumps but are not following standards of the industry.

Additionally, there is a lot that needs to be addressed in education, especially how to learn to effectively use diabetes technology for parents of children with the disease.

Where do you draw your inspiration and motivation from to keep forging ahead as an entrepreneur in the healthcare industry?

 My inspiration and motivation comes from talking to people who have the condition. I want to make sure the diabetes community is affected and impacted in a positive way. Stories from patients about issues with diabetes care like insulin mis-delivery keep me up at night.

Lastly, what do you do for fun to manage the stress of running a business as both a person with t1d and an entrepreneur? Do you have any similar advice on work-life-disease management balance to others out there thinking of starting a business to meet an unmet need of a chronic disease patient community?

I love to run whenever I can and I find it a very clearing activity. My goal is to John Wilcox 5k racerun the Boston marathon for the JDRF. In terms of advice for other patient entrepreneurs, we have a disease that can help connect us to other people that have the same chronic illness. However, each patient story is unique so taking the time to recognize that is important. For example, my parents helped me get appropriate care at a young age by providing insurance coverage. How dare I compare my journey to patients I meet now, who are in their twenties, who are still without coverage to get insulin. In a nutshell, know that your story is unique and craft a connection to fellow patients based on that fact.

 

 

New Workout App for People With Diabetes – And Christel is an Instructor!

Have you ever dreamt of working out with a trainer who understands diabetes, who might even live with diabetes, and who gets what it takes to get through a workout without wonky blood sugars?

Well, that trainer could be me!

Today, my 12-week fitness program “STRONGER”, that I developed for GlucoseZone, is available in the GlucoseZone app. I’d like to personally invite you to come train with me. To join me for a program that will push you to be a stronger version of yourself.

Sign up HERE and use the “STRONGER” code to get 30% off your monthly subscription

The beauty of joining GlucoseZone is that you’ll get access to not only my program but to 6 other exercise programs, as well as live workouts, all developed specifically for people living with diabetes. You can do all of the workouts in your own home or bring it to the gym.

Regardless of your fitness level, you can find qualified instructors to take you through the workouts that are right for you, and always with your diabetes in mind.

One of the reasons why I’m so excited about working with GlucoseZone is that it’s the first-ever clinically validated digital exercise therapeutic for people living with diabetes, and it’s endorsed by the American Diabetes Association.

Stronger Getting Started

Sign up HERE and use the “STRONGER” code to get 30% off the monthly retail (You’ll only pay $9.09 per month) when you sign up for the GlucoseZone app.

 

Connect with Christel on Facebook: @DiabetesStrong; Instagram: @diabetesstrong_ig.

Wearing a Diabetes Medical ID On-The-Go!

Medical ID Bracelets

Living life on-the-go can be fun and busy, however, doing so with a chronic illness requires a few extra steps and planning along the way.

 

Hi, my name is David and I have been living with Type 1 Diabetes for 10 years now. I was diagnosed at the age of 11 and let me tell you… I have been through a lot. In living with this disease, I have been able to experience so much and learn from my mistakes. In doing so, I have come to realize that as a diabetic, I am one of those who should wear a medical ID and why it’s important for all life’s experiences.

For years on end, I never wore a medical ID bracelet. I could never find a bracelet that I simply liked or wanted to wear daily. When I became a part of the Diabetic Online Community (DOC) back in 2014, I was exposed to several different people who shared the same struggle. I also saw a variety of amazing brands and companies who understand this struggle and have found ways to make ID bracelets, dog tags, necklaces, and more so much nicer and pleasing to the eye and the patient. I own several different medical ID bracelets, I think when one finds their style with Diabetes, it’s always nice to have options and create your own look, which is why owning multiple forms of emergency ID that go with different looks is a great idea!

I have mentioned several times on my Instagram, @type1livabetic, that when wearing my personalized Paracord bracelet from American Medical ID, I felt so very safe. I felt as though if anything Diabetes related could go wrong, I would be prepared. On my engraved bracelet, my name, condition, and emergency contact information were all located on a small piece of metal, attached to the Paracord bracelet. At a recent trip to Disneyland with a large group of people who also had Type 1 Diabetes that could vouch for me if there were to be an emergency, I still encountered times in which I was alone at the park (walking to and from my car, walking to meet the attendees, or simply stepping to the side to grab a snack), rest assured, I was confident with my Diabetes at the time.

So why is it so important to wear a form of medical alert jewelry for Diabetes? Well, not to get too dark or technical, however, the fact remains that we do have Type 1 Diabetes that does come with some symptoms and consequences. If our blood sugar drops significantly low, we could pass out and become unconscious or go into a coma. Same with high blood sugar, if we are severely high and go into DKA, we could in fact experience some symptoms that could limit our ability to function, which can prevent us from acting in the moment to get help. Say you were in public, alone, and you experienced one of these symptoms, if you were wearing a medical ID, someone nearby would mostly likely come to check for various hints or signs on you if something doesn’t look entirely right and search for an alert jewelry in particular sites on the body: wrists, around the neck, tattoos, etc.

In being diagnosed with any chronic disease and being told you have to take extra care of yourself can be a lot, however, allowing yourself some relief by wearing a form of ID can truly reduce a lot of the stress surrounded by various diseases. One should never leave the house without some form of ID as you never know when these emergencies could happen.

American Medical ID Healthy Packing List

The CDC includes having a form of medical identification such as alert bracelets, necklaces, or wallet cards as part of a healthy travel packing list.

I believe that some may also feel safe in knowing that they have a medical ID card in their wallet as well, for added peace of mind. One should also wear a form of ID at home, just in case. For those who live alone, I understand that it may feel as though you are not in need of wearing an ID at home as you will be alone, but that could just be the very tool that can keep you alive, say you have an emergency, it could be that neighbor walking by and seeing something isn’t right that could barge in and save your life and being able to identify you have a particular medical condition that needs attention.

We each have our own busy lives that takes up so much time and mental focus away from our health, which is why wearing medical alert jewelry can protect us as we are on the move, daily. School, work, the playground, a coffeeshop, wherever you may be, ID is necessary. No matter how old the patient is, whether a child, teen, adult, or elder, wearing a medical ID all the time can protect us from the dangers of our diseases and more.

 

Live well,

David

To End The Weekend In A Perfect Way

The human body is an incredible thing. Yes, it can fall apart and let you down, but it also holds amazing minds that dream up things like insulin and glucose pills that can save someone’s life and help you work around the parts of your body that can’t keep up anymore.

Weight isn’t everything — health is. I grew up battling an eating disorder and now that my focus is on health, and not weight, I feel much more connected to my body. It’s like meeting an old friend I haven’t talked to in a long time (and we have a lot to catch up on). Having to count, track and balance every bit of food or drink that goes in my body is definitely a trigger for me, but I’m getting to know what food makes my body healthy now.

It’s okay to be sad and let go.

There is no perfect health zone. There will be days when I can’t “beat” diabetes no matter what and there will be days when I need to treat myself and not focus on only eating things I know I can control well. Life needs little moments like that to stay sane and right now, the only path to staying happy I can see is one that embraces ups and downs and doesn’t try to turn them into a perfect straight road.

Last and most importantly: LIFE CHANGES. It is important to remember. Life looks and will not look the same even though we have a disease that will need the same type of treatment.

15 Ways to Thrive With Type 1 Diabetes

By: Yerachmiel Altman I achieved 57 years of living with type 1 diabetes this year! I was diagnosed just one month after my 2nd birthday and have logged half a million hours of living with type 1 to this day! I want to share with you the tips and knowledge I’ve acquired through my top 15 tips living and working with diabetes. Hopefully you find these as useful as I have. Remember that everyone has a different way of treating their disease so don’t worry if some of these tips don’t apply to you!

1. Put your mind into it.

If you focus on what’s important to your health, it opens up wider possibilities than thought before.

2. Don’t judge yourself

3. Don’t compare yourself to others.

4. Its not your fault.

You didn’t choose to have diabetes, it chose you!

5. Make smart choices everyday

Diabetes self-care is all about choices. Human minds create over 35,000 choices about every five seconds.

6. Don’t wait for the cure.

Ever have someone talk about the “cure in five years” ? Do your best to control diabetes to best of your ability.  Monitoring your diabetes will only lead to better health and a longer, happier life with hopefully less complications. This will help to leave you in improved conditions to be eligible for breakthrough treatments when they ARE available.

7. No your way or the highway thinking.

Don’t think the way you are doing it is the best or only way.  Always read, research and try (under medical supervision) different ways of treatment, wellness, and care. Listen to those around you.

8. Know thyself and thy diet.

Always learn as much as possible about your own self.  Everyone has certain foods that for themselves don’t follow the standard “curve” (and/or standard “carb count”).

9. Find your niche and your system.

Each person has to find the system or methods that work best for them.

10. Get Techy

Technology has given us many many modern inventions which aid in our control and understanding of diabetes – you have determine which of them works best for you and which ones aren’t as helpful.

11. Find a mentor. Find a community.

Vitally important to have others who are type 1 and similar in length and type of diabetes as well as and other life factors.  It is also important to have a “mentor”; someone else to ask questions of.  Having another person to ask or to bounce ideas off of can many times resolve issues before they become problems.  Additionally long term use of equipment gets us into habits  –  having others to ask may open doors we didn’t even know existed.

12. Pay it forward: spread your knowledge to others!

It is very important once one has learned enough to help others.  It is both really helpful for the other people AND very good for yourself.

13. Surround yourself with love

Always have family and friends who lift you up, and help guide you through the tough times that come with being a T1D patient. There is always hope!

14. Open up

Diabetes doesn’t have to be a secret, share with others about your disease. Sometimes it can be hard to talk about your chronic illness but with more awareness comes more acceptance. However you always know how much is safe or okay to disclose,you are never obligated to tell people or only focus on your disease. You’re a multidimensional person!

15. Enjoy Life!! You CAN live a joyous and fulfilling life with diabetes!

Top Five Wellness Tips We Learned From Lauren Bongiorno!

At Lyfebulb, we’re SO lucky to have Lauren Bongiorno on our T1D Lyfebulb Ambassador Team! Her expertise in countless areas related to self empowerment, fitness, nutrition and health is what makes her such a great influencer. We can all learn a thing or two from Lauren’s expertise!

Today we’re highlighting some of Lauren’s best wellness tips from  IG to share with you today. Her advice is relatable to everyone living with a chronic illness, T1D patients, or  even those interested in creating a well-balanced life.

Check her out at LaurenBongiorno.com !

TIP 1: PENCIL IN VACATION WORKOUT SESSIONS TO KEEP BALANCED

TIP 2: ENJOY YOUR VACATION: DON’T THINK ABOUT “EARNING YOUR MEAL”

View this post on Instagram

HERE’S THE TRUTH: I aways work out on vacation so I can be less strict about what I eat. yeeeeeppppp. For me it’s not about burning calories/ earning my meal, but with being able to eat waffles, risotto, pizza, tropical fruit, truffle fries without my blood sugars roller coastering all over the place. Sure it would be easier to cook all my meals in the room or only order fish and vegetables out, but i want the freedom to indulge if that’s what I want. For someone like me with #typeonediabetes, if i’m not working out, eating these foods would spike my blood sugar real fast and it would take hours to get it down. When this happens I feel so tired, moody, killer headache… not fun. I feel 10000x better strategically structuring my workouts to support a little more flexibility on vacation. Also, I had 2 waffles for breakfast, pancakes, eggs, + a croissant and it was 💯. The end.

A post shared by LAUREN BONGIORNO | NYC (@lauren_bongiorno) on

TIP 3: PRIORITIZE YOUR HEALTH AND WELLBEING!

TIP 4: BE PRESENT IN THE MOMENT, YOUR BODY, AND LIFE

View this post on Instagram

part 1/3. New Year Intentions. I should have had multiple burn outs. I’m actually shocked at how all over the place I was last year. I know the only reason I was able to keep moving forward was because I prioritized my health( sleep, food, blood sugars). I heard once that busy isn’t a badge of honor. Couldn’t agree more. December was actually my best, most enjoyable month of the year. I told my best friend Alex it was my month of “yin”, which meant only dedicating time to the things that were absolutely essential, not overextending myself. Towards the end of the month I was so sad it was ending because I felt SO good. But then i realized oh wait i can do this all the time hahah. So that’s what i’m doing. My word of 2019: ESSENTIALISM. My guiding statement: “stay in relationship with what matters.”. Sign: 333 (the number I frequently see which I will use to remind me to trust that i’m on the right path). 2019, we in it. What did you guys set as your intentions? More excited for the next 12 months than I’ve ever been before. Can’t wait to throw these up on a vision board. #yearoftheessentialist

A post shared by LAUREN BONGIORNO | NYC (@lauren_bongiorno) on

TIP 5: STICK TO A DAILY ROUTINE

View this post on Instagram

part 2/3: My 6 new years daily habits💫 Its cool to set intentions in whatever way you’ll feel most successful! For me i’m a lover of checking boxes off + getting real specific. So last week i took some time to map out my 2019 daily habits: 1. Movement: yoga, hiit circuits, weights, pilates, walking. My WHY: blood sugars are best, mood is happy, love a challenge. 2. Tackle the big rocks before 12pm: the things on my to do list that are the most difficult. MY WHY: i have most energy and focus in morning hours. Want to sync up more with sunrise and sunset energy. 3. Be present through listen + feel. MY WHY: i sometimes find myself guessing where convo is going or rushing it to be doing something else. I want to feel a greater sense of connection and appreciation, treating every convo as sacred. 4. Lateral thinking exercise: solve a brain teaser or write down 10 ideas. MY WHY: get outside my box and limitations of habitual thinking patterns. See what blossoms. 5. Study outside my industry of health: book, podcast, documentary, the Economist, become more proficient in SPANISH! MY WHY: expand my knowledge into different areas. 6. Align + Manifest- journaling, card pull, visualization, or meditation. MY WHY: we attract the level at which we vibrate at. Excited for all these! My daily routines were getting a bit stale. What things are you looking to make into habits this year? #newyear #growthmindset

A post shared by LAUREN BONGIORNO | NYC (@lauren_bongiorno) on

 

Winter and the BUGS

Autoimmune diseases such as MS, Rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis all have the basic problem where the individual’s immune system turns against itself as opposed to fighting the outside world. Something beyond the genetic set up is needed to trigger the disease and so far, celiac disease (or gluten intolerance) is the only autoimmune disease where we know what the trigger is – gluten. There are about 100 different autoimmune diseases, and in the US alone, about 50M people suffer from one or more of these conditions.

Type 1 diabetes is also an autoimmune disease, but in contrast to the ones I mentioned above, the treatment is rather different due to the progression of the disease. When a person is diagnosed with T1D, their insulin-producing cells are almost already all gone. Although scientists have shown that the human pancreas may have some regenerative capacity under certain conditions (obesity and pregnancy for example), we are not leveraging that in today’s clinical practice since there is no drug approved for that purpose yet, and we have not come up with a safe way to combat the immune system at the same time. That is the very issue with T1D, it is a constant battle between the body’s own immune system which is trying to destroy insulin-producing cells, and the lack of the body’s regenerative capacity in the pancreas. This battle can be distorted for years, and that is why some people are diagnosed as toddlers while others in their 40s! When one is diagnosed as an older individual, most often the disease is less aggressive, and perhaps these individuals still have some cells left and thus some endogenous (their own) insulin capacity.

Back to the contrast with other autoimmune diseases – in diabetes the treatment is to replace the missing hormone, insulin or to enhance the effects of insulin, while in other autoimmune diseases the treatment is to reduce the autoimmune attack since the tissue that is being destroyed often is regenerated in between flares. For example, in Crohn’s disease, the intestine is the target, but during long periods of time, there are no symptoms at all, and the goal of course is to maintain that status for as much time as possible without impacting other functions of the immune system.

So what are the risks now that we are entering the winter months? Well, for one, the flu season is upon us, children are gathering inside rather than outside, incubating their germs and spreading them more easily. There is no good scientific episode to show that the cold weather would trigger virus and bacterial infections, but common sense still says we seem to get sicker when we are cold. A person with an autoimmune disease, who needs daily medication to inhibit the immune system from destroying an organ system or tissue, is more vulnerable to catching and developing a more serious infection. The bigger problem is when the individual has caught an infection, and it spreads, since the best way to limit the damage is to improve one’s own system, but by doing this, the autoimmune disease is less restricted and can cause a flare.

My personal situation is further complicated by two organ transplants and the medication I am taking to reduce the risk of rejecting those organs. When I develop an infection, my doctors often reduce the amount of immune suppressing medication I take to allow for my own system to get rid of the infection in addition to quickly determining what the agent is that we are dealing with so that the right kind of anti-infective medication can be put in place. Targeting the virus, bacteria or parasite correctly and quickly is of utmost importance, and today’s analytical equipment is quite sophisticated but it still often takes days for the final result. Prior to having that, the doctors often prescribe some super duper antibiotic to kill off a majority of bugs, and in my case, that lead to opportunistic bugs taking over last year and three bouts of clostridium difficile ensued. When the immune suppressants have been reduced, I face two major threats, one being rejecting my kidney and pancreas on the basis of foreign bodies inside my body, and the second one my own autoimmunity may flare up and start attacking the new pancreas, like it did my first one.

My advice to anyone with an autoimmune disease, or with an organ transplant, is to try to avoid getting sick! Easier said than done, and one cannot live one’s life inside a bubble, but there are a few simple precautions:

1: avoid interacting with large groups of people (especially young children) inside during the winter months

2: wash your hands after using public transportation and before having food or drinks

3: do not eat any raw foods in restaurants, including pre-cut fruits

4: ask for water without ice when traveling to exotic places

5: if someone at work or in school is sick, do not interact with them

6: as soon as you start feeling a cold coming on, take precautions such as hydrate, rest, and if you have a temperature, seek medical advice asap

7: make sure you have taken the flu shot and any other vaccinations appropriate in the locale you are residing

 

 

Diabetes and Tennis:When I Was First Diagnosed

I used to play tennis every day and often more than 1 hr each day – I loved the game and I was very good at it. This was before I was diagnosed with diabetes – after that, I never won again and I lost my love for the game completely.

I don’t think diabetes is 100% to blame for this, but probably at least 50 percent. When I was diagnosed, the summer of 1989, I had just reached the finals of a large national tournament in Sweden, and even though I lost in the final, I had done very well, especially since I had suffered from tonsillitis three times during the spring preceding this event, and I had been seriously injured the year before.

However, after my diagnosis I lost my confidence in my body. I had never had such a failure in my life and here I was, at 17 years of age (I spent my bday in the hospital getting trained on injections and glucose monitoring), feeling like I was suddenly disabled. Little did I know that the complications they warned me about during those first few weeks with diabetes would be a reality less than 20 years later and that I would go through two transplants before I turned 40!

Tennis represented so much to me as a young person, I spent most of my free time either playing tennis, getting to tournaments, working out to play better or preparing ahead of games. I loved going to my club and I even loved hanging out after tennis, relaxing and feeling the work-out in my body and if I had won, feeling strong and confident.

I guess the closest to this feeling in my current life, is when I present at conferences or when I have an important business meeting. I have the same feeling of anticipation, preparation and then during the presentation I have a high – triggered by endorphins and I am on top of the world for the duration of the event. The problem is coming down afterwards.  Being in the zone is all and well, but afterwards I feel empty, anxious and even sad.

As a diabetic, sometimes these events could be affected by my disease. For example, if my blood sugar was running low and I had to go up on the stage for a presentation, I would need to quickly eat something to avoid the risk of passing out and the absolute certainty of presenting poorly because my brain did not have enough sugar to work with. When I was high, I could also feel it, since I would get slower in my thoughts and especially in my reasoning. I would rather be high than low, and my solution to avoiding this roller coaster was to always keep myself slightly high, but not high enough to be slow, blurry-eyed or lethargic.

After getting my pancreas transplant in January of 2010 I have not experienced any of these feelings and it is such a relief and such an advantage! I sometimes say that I did not know how hard it was living with diabetes before I got a pancreas transplant and realized what normal life is supposed to be and how good I felt. Achieving that feeling for everyone with diabetes is our goal, and while we pursue the cure, we need to identify a range of products that can help people with daily life.

I hope that I will get back to tennis one day, but for some reason, tennis more than any other sport is linked to my life before diabetes that I lost. I know that I have a new chance, and should be incorporating tennis into my life, but it is easier for me to exercise otherwise without ever feeling that diabetes, transplants and age have had a negative effect on my performance!

Working Out With No Obstacles

Hello friends! My name is Judy and I’ve been a T1 diabetic for 18 years now! You may know me from my Instagram account @hyper.hypo and blog/shop (www.diahyperhypo.com), and you may already know how much I love to help other T1s with my experiences and tips. I believe that diabetes should never be a limitation, and with a positive attitude and positive thoughts, it is easier to live with this disease that often feels like riding a rollercoaster.

I know that having T1 can often lead to a lot of questions:  ‘’Should I inject for this’’, ‘’Should I eat now?’, ‘’Should I tell people I’m low and not actually drunk?’’ However, in my opinion, one of the main subjects that us T1s tend to ask questions about is type one diabetes and exercise. A lot of diabuddies think that they need to workout less or not at all because of their numbers, or even limit themselves to a type of exercise but I am telling you with full confidence: THAT IS NOT TRUE!

I believe so much in the affirmation: ‘’Diabetes is not a limitation’’ that I decided to launch my own line of diabetes sportswear.

I decided to create something that will empower a lot of type ones when exercising: a sports bra with an integrated pocket to put the insulin pump (or PDM or supplies or phone, you decide!). I know that working out while having T1 diabetes brings extra responsibilities, so having a pocket that will let you have an intensive and satisfying workout will motivate you to get off your couch and move!

In my case, every time I work out, I feel good. You may think: ‘’Okay Judy that is so cliché!’’ It is, I have to admit it, but it’s the truth! Here are my 3 main tips that help me exercise with type one diabetes:

  1. It’s okay to change your schedule

Be mindful. Accept the fact that you didn’t stick to your workout plan. Accept the fact that you exercised during the evening and not in the morning like you planned to because of your numbers. Once you accept that your schedule might me modified, you will be happier while working out. Things happen!

2. Try to workout with no insulin on board

Working out in the morning works best because there is no insulin in the body (well usually). Sometimes, the blood sugar might spike, so it is important to know your body and to know that a correction might be needed. If there is insulin on board (meaning you injected yourself not so long before), you might need to set a temporary basal rate (if you’re on the pump) or try to inject less insulin before a meal/snack before a workout for next time.

3. Yes, what you eat is important!

Food. Everybody loves food, right? The thing with food is that it can give you instant satisfaction, but might get you lazy if you don’t eat something good for you. Eating a lot of vegetables, fruits and fibers will get you motivated and won’t make you say:

“Ugh yeah I’ll go to the gym tomorrow.” Eating proteins and carbs coming from non-fatty foods will make you feel good, help with your digestion, and affect your numbers before/ after a workout in a beautiful way!

And always remember: Train 30mn a day to avoid being tired 24h a day!

– Judy

Interests - Select all that apply