Become A Better Blood Sugar Whisperer GIVEAWAY BONANZA!

giveawayWelcome to my 100th post and the beginning of the Become A Better Blood Sugar Whisperer GIVEAWAY BONANZA! I’m so happy you’re here and I’m thrilled to bring you some amazing prizes donated by the wonderful companies sponsoring this giveaway.

Please take a look at the preview to learn more about individual items. You can also click on the image above each giveaway to visit that item’s official website. Because I run my blog on WordPress.com, I can’t use the Javascript of Rafflecopter so just click on the link to enter the giveaway.

Each giveaway is run independent, which means you can enter to win which ever prizes you want. However, to keep things fair, you can only win one giveaway. I will select winners in the order the giveaways are listed. If you win Giveaway #1, you are ineligible to win Giveaway #2-#10.

The main way to enter each giveaway is to leave a comment on this blog post — Note: you cannot use Rafflecopter to leave a comment. Share a little bit about why you want to win the giveaway you entered or why you would like to become a better blood sugar whisperer. You can use the same comment to enter each giveaway. You don’t need separate comments!

After that, you can earn additional entries by following me on Twitter, liking The Blood Sugar Whisperer on Facebook, and tweeting about the giveaway! You can tweet about the giveaway each day to gain more entries. Again, you can use these entries for each giveaway.

Only Giveaway #1 and #7 are open to international residents. The giveaway is open through Sunday, July 6.

Giveaway #1

A comprehensive diabetes self-care assessment and tune-up with Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE, 2014 AADE Diabetes Educator of the Year and author of Think Like A Pancreas.

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Giveaway #2

Sugar Bags from Sugar Medical in your choice of color.

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Giveaway #3

The Original Tummytote Belt from Tallygear in your choice of color.

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Giveaway #4

GlucoLift prize pack with a bottle, tube and Tandem tin in your choice of flavor.

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Giveaway #5

One year subscription to Diabetic Living magazine.

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Giveaway #6

The Complete Diabetes Organizer by Susan Weiner, RDN, MS, CDE, and 2015 AADE Diabetes Educator of the Year.

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Giveaway #7

MySugr Companion Pro app

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Giveaway #8

An autographed copy of Dealing with Diabetes Burnout by Ginger Vieira

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Giveaway #9

An autographed copy of Think Like A Pancreas by Gary Scheiner

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Giveaway #10

Diabetes Do’s and How To’s by Riva Greenberg

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The winners will be announced on Monday, July 7. Good luck!

ANNOUNCING: The “Become A Better Blood Sugar Whisperer” GIVEAWAY!

giveawayI’m not a Blood Sugar Whisperer. It’s an aspirational title. But I do believe that we can become better blood sugar whisperers through knowledge.

Knowledge is power.

In honor of my upcoming 100th blog post (this post is #99), I am throwing a HUGE giveaway bonanza starting Monday, June 30 to celebrate and to help all of you become better blood sugar whisperers too! Woohoo!

And I have some really REALLY awesome prizes that have been generously donated to the cause. Check ’em out! (Prizes are listed in order of value.)

Giveaway #1: A comprehensive diabetes self-care assessment and tune-up with Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE, 2014 AADE Diabetes Educator of the Year and author of Think Like A Pancreas. Now this guy is a blood sugar whisperer! The consult can be provided in-person at their Philadelphia office or remotely via phone or video chat.  Available to US and international residents. (Value: $190)

Giveaway #2: Sugar Bags from Sugar Medical in your choice of color. Created by the sister of a PWD, these diabetes meter kits from Sugar Medical are a great way to hold all of your D-gear safely and stylishly! The “Universal Strap System” secures any sized blood glucose meter inside the supply case with the ease of seeing your test results through a clear vinyl strap. Four elastic loops inside can be used for insulin pens, testing strips, insulin vials, glucose tabs, or personal items such as chap stick or a jump drive. (Value: $29.99)

Giveaway #3: The Original Tummytote Belt from Tallygear in your choice of color. Want a better way to carry all your D-devices and gear helping you to be a better blood sugar whisperer? Created by a mom of a type 1 PWD, the belt can be used to carry many tech devices (insulin pump, CGM-continuous glucose monitor, cellphone & personal music player) along with many small items (cash, credit card, keys, snacks, testing supplies) securely and discreetly. The Tummietote belt is also offered with 1 or 2 optional clear view vinyl windows so that you can view your tech device without ever taking it out of the pocket. (Value: $26.95)

Giveaway #4: GlucoLift prize pack with a bottle, tube and Tandem tin in your choice of flavor. Becoming a better blood sugar whisperer means being prepared when thing go awry. GlucoLift makes all-natural glucose tablets with no artificial colors or flavors, no gluten, and is owned by Chris Angell, a type 1 PWD himself! Flavors include Wildberry, Cherry and Orange Cream. (Value: $20)

Giveaway #5: One year subscription to Diabetic Living magazine. Diabetic Living magazine features articles about living with diabetes, recipes, fitness tips and profiles of people with diabetes. Plus, I’m contributing several articles in upcoming issues! (Value: $19.97)

Giveaway #6: The Complete Diabetes Organizer by Susan Weiner, RDN, MS, CDE, and 2015 AADE Diabetes Educator of the Year. This guidebook offers tips and tricks to maintain your diabetes with less effort and more confidence, allowing you to enjoy a healthier,  stress-free life. The book also features certified professional organizer and ADHD Specialist Leslie Josel who shares simple, surefire techniques that will allow you to disentangle yourself from the clutches of chronic disorganization. 5 stars on Amazon! (Value: $19.95)

Giveaway #7: MySugr Companion Pro app. The Companion is a charming, sometimes outspoken diabetes manager. The app has a similar purpose as a diabetes logbook. It provides immediate feedback and helps you stay motivated. You win points for every entry made which help tame your diabetes monster. The goal is to tame your monster every day. Challenges are available to help you set and attain personal goals. Available to US and International residents. (Value: $19.95)

Giveaway #8: An autographed copy of Dealing with Diabetes Burnout by Ginger Vieira. Don’t let diabetes burnout get in your way of being a blood sugar whisperer! This book provides the tools and encouragement needed to help readers get back on track and make diabetes management a rewarding priority. Chapters directly address burnout in relation to: food, exercise, insulin dosing, blood sugar checking, fear of low blood sugar, being a caregiver/spouse of a person with diabetes, communicating more effectively with your doctor, taking a healthy “vacation” from diabetes, and creating realistic expectations and goals. 5 stars on Amazon! (Value: $18.95)

Giveaway #9: An autographed copy of Think Like A Pancreas by Gary Scheiner. If you can’t chat one-on-one with Gary, then at least you can keep him on your bookshelf! The book discusses day-to-day blood glucose control and monitoring; measuring and matching insulin to carbohydrate intake; the pluses and minuses of different insulin-delivery methods; hypoglycemia; exercise; the impact of emotions, stress, and illness; and the dozens of other issues that everyone taking insulin needs to master. 5 stars on Amazon! (Value: $17)

Giveaway #10: Diabetes Do’s and How To’s by Riva Greenberg. Riva clears up the confusion, stops the overwhelm, and with a team of top diabetes experts, guides you through 65 steps to improve how you deal with food and eat healthy, bring your weight within a normal range if necessary, begin or accelerate your fitness and enjoy it, manage your medicines, lab tests and doctor visits, progress while staying positive, and so much more. 5 stars on Amazon! (Value: $16.95)

 

Each item is its own giveaway. You can enter whichever giveaways you want to win. However, you can only win one giveaway. I will select winners in the order the giveaways are listed, so if you win Giveaway 1, you will be ineligible for Giveaway 2-10. You remain eligible until you win something. There will be multiple ways to enter a giveaway, with additional entries given for following me on Twitter or Facebook or tweeting about the giveaway.

The giveaway bonanza will be open from Monday, June 30 until Sunday, July 6.

Thank you to Integrated Diabetes Services, Meredith, Demos Health, Spry Publishing, Sugar Medical, GlucoLift, Tallygear, and MySugr for donating the items! You rock!

Doing Well & Kicking Butt

kickbuttWe’ve all been there: someone you’ve recently who has just learned you have diabetes decides to tell you that someone they know died or suffered with complications or had a totally and completely miserable existence thanks to their diabetes.

And you’re like, gee, thanks.

Do you ever wonder why people choose to tell you that particular story about that particular person? I used to think it was just because they wanted to be relate to you and your experience with something they’ve experienced. But recently I’ve started to wonder why all these experiences also happen to be fairly negative.

Last night I attended a meeting with my local Junior League chapter. The members of my committee got together for dinner to introduce ourselves and hear about the upcoming year. As we were chatting about pregnancy and babies over pasta salad and fruit, I mentioned that I had type 1 diabetes (trust me, it made sense in context).

One woman asked me if there were any symptoms of low blood sugar that they needed to be aware of, which I thought was sweet. I said that I usually feel them plus I had a continuous glucose monitor. The woman then said that she had a professor who constantly passed out because of his diabetes. I explained that sometimes if people have diabetes for a long time they can become hypoglycemic unaware, but she seemed to think it was just because he wasn’t in good control.

Then another woman said that she had a friend in high school who was really bad with her diabetes because she didn’t take insulin because she didn’t to gain weight. I’m actually working on a story about diabulimia (and have written about it previously) and shared that it’s a real condition.

These weren’t the typical “Oh my grandmother died from diabetes” stories so it didn’t register in my head that these girls were being rude or insensitive. And of course, I seized the opportunity to do some educating because, well, have you met me?

But as I was leaving the meeting and driving home, it occurred to me that while I wasn’t angry or offended, I was sad.

I was — am — sad that the only person with diabetes they could think to tell me about were people who were having a difficult time with diabetes. I know better than to be judgmental and say they were out of control or bad diabetics, because we know it’s so much more complicated than that. But the fact is that these people were having a really hard time with their diabetes. It was affecting their life so much that other people noticed, remembered, and then relayed the story to someone years later at a dinner party.

I reflected on other instances where people have told me about PWDs that they know and the vast majority of them are people who simply aren’t doing well. Or at least, they aren’t doing well in the eyes of the person talking to me. And I don’t know how much truth there is to what these people tell me second-hand, but perception is a main factor when it comes to how people feel about something.

I think it’s unfortunate that so many people are building their perception about diabetes around these experiences, not just because they are fairly negative experiences but because they are a very incomplete and uninformed picture of life with diabetes. These woman may have gone years thinking terrible things about these PWDs, not knowing that hypoglycemia unawareness and diabulimia are very real, very serious issues that PWDs don’t have any control over.

As I was driving home, I wondered how many of those women would remember me if they ever happen to meet another PWD again. Would they tell this person that they knew a woman in Junior League pursuing a Masters in Psychology to help other people with diabetes? Maybe. Maybe not.

When I posted about this on Facebook, a friend of mine wrote back that she thought it might have to do with confirmation bias, or the fact that those prior experiences fit their expectation of a what a diabetic “was supposed to look like.”

But it made me also wonder why we don’t hear more stories of people meeting someone who says “Oh, I have a friend with diabetes and she’s doing great! Just had her first baby!” I know people like that.

Or how about “I have a friend who’s running across Canada.” I know someone who is.

Or maybe “I have a friend who was Miss America and then got her PhD in public health” I got one of those, too.

Or perhaps “I have a friend who just ran his first half-marathon.” Have you met him?

There are so many people doing well and kicking butt with their diabetes. Sometimes I wonder why we aren’t remembered more often. Is it that unimpressive? Or are we not talking about it enough? One friend of mine tweeted in response to my rant that maybe should celebrate our successes more, so that people have better stories to tell.

I wholeheartedly think we need to celebrate our successes more often. Not to diminish the severity of diabetes, because it is a very thin line we walk. On one hand, we want people to know how serious and dangerous diabetes can be. But on the other, we want people to know that diabetes doesn’t have to ruin your life.

I’m lucky that I do know so many people with diabetes who are kicking ass and taking names. If I had just been diagnosed, hearing those stories would be terrifying. It also isn’t the full picture of how real life with diabetes is.

It’s important to know that diabetes is hard, frustrating and scary and it’s also important for people to know that we can live happy, fulfilling lives at the same time. And if they do see someone who is struggling with their diabetes they would see it as an opportunity to help, and not cast that person aside as lazy or out of control.

With an ever increasing number of PWDs in the world, people hear a lot about diabetes and its complications. And while complications can happen and we do need a cure, there are plenty of people who are living happy, fulfilling lives. Some of these people even have complications or other difficult situations with their health! I want people to hear more of those stories.

And that’s why I’m here.

Twosday Tidbits

350__1_PaperEskimo-Tag-2.jpg-300x300First: I attended the American Diabetes Association’s Scientific Sessions last week on behalf of Insulin Nation, and my write-up of what I learned is now online!

Second: In case you missed my announcement on Twitter or on my other blog, I was accepted to St. Mary’s University’s Masters program for Counseling & Psychology!

And in case you missed the other announcement, I’m no longer pursuing a career as a dietitian, and I’m also no longer actively pursuing plans to become a Certified Diabetes Educator. If it happens, it happens.

My goal right now is to be a therapist and coach for people with diabetes and other health conditions.

Victoza, Visually

I took my first Victoza shot on Friday, June 6. Before starting on Victoza, my control was not good. I’m not going to say it was awful, but it was pretty meh.

When I look at my stats on Dexcom Studio, this is what the 14 days prior to starting Victoza looks like:

Glucose Average: 195 mg/dl
Standard Deviation: +/- 77 mg/dl
High: 68%
Target (70-150): 30%
Low: 2%

Visually, you can really see how up and down I was:

beforevictoza

Basically as long as I wasn’t actually doing anything (read: sleeping), I did okay! But even then, many of my nights were spent at least partially out of range.

So let’s fast forward two weeks, shall we? Here’s what the past 14 days have looked like:

Glucose Average: 151 mg/dl
Standard Deviation: +/1 47 mg/dl
High: 47%
Target (70-150): 51%
Low: 2%

And now my Dexcom graph looks like this:

aftervictoza

For those who struggle with mental math (like me), here are the differences:

– 14-day meter average has dropped by 44 mg/dl

– standard deviation has dropped by 30 mg/dl

– time spent in range has jumped 21%!

!!!!

Ideally, standard deviation should be less than 1/3 of the mean. Pre-Victoza, my mean BG value was 195 mg/dl, which means my SD should be under 65 mg/dl, and it was 77 mg/dl (12 points higher). Now, my mean BG value is 151, which means my SD should be under 50 mg/dl, and it’s 44 mg/dl. Bam! Now that’s what I’m talking about!

We’ve also started learning the importance of time spent in range. Gary Scheiner talks about it in the new edition of his book, Think Like a Pancreas, and Dr. Irl Hirsch recommended that we start looking more at “time in range” and less on A1C at a session I attended at the ADA Scientific Sessions. Well, my time in range also went up!

My Omnipod PDM doesn’t do a great job at giving total daily dose averages for insulin, but from what I can see scrolling through my history, I’m taking on average 20-40 units less each day than I did before Victoza. The area that’s changed most significantly is my bolus ratio and correction factor. But I think the main reason why I’m taking so much less insulin is because I’m not correcting all the live long day.

Another thing that has dropped? My weight! This morning I weighed in at 207 lbs, five pounds down from my pre-Victoza weight of 212 lbs. And this is without any exercise, too. I have been taking a short break from running while getting adjusted to Victoza (I didn’t want too many variables) and also while traveling to the ADA Scientific Sessions. But I’m planning on returning to running and training for a fall half-marathon this week.

Don’t get me wrong — things still aren’t perfect. I’ve struggled a bit overnight with either rising or fall and I can’t seem to get the right basal pattern. When I was in San Francisco, I continually found myself rising overnight, but of course, with my Dexcom and extra sensitivity thanks to Victoza, I never got too far out of range. I made some changes, but I tend to be a little aggressive with my changes. Sometimes I forget how subtle changes really can make a huge difference in my control, because most of the time my first inclination is to try to beat diabetes into submission with a sledgehammer. But unfortunately, that doesn’t always work in my favor! Which is why I’m glad to have a CDE on my team. I’ll be chatting with Jenny later this afternoon to do some more fine-tuning.

Hopefully some of those overnight drops and post-dinner highs will become a thing of the past…

 

Do you have any specific questions about Victoza or my experience? Please let me know so I don’t leave anything out!

I Haven’t Been Hungry In A Week

fussy-eatersI ran into Natalie Bellini, teen faculty for CWD’s Friends for Life, in the Poster Hall at the ADA’s Scientific Session. We had seen each other from afar for the better part of 3 days, but finally caught up with each other on the last day of Poster Hall was open. She was presenting a poster and wanted to grab a picture of it before the hall closed.

“What’s your poster above?” I asked.

“Victoza in people with type 1.”

“I’m on Victoza!” I exclaimed.

“What do you think?”

“Well, I haven’t been hungry in about a week!”

It’s true. Although nausea has been the side effect I’ve read the most, the biggest change I’ve noticed is the fact that I’m not hungry. Like, ever. Having had a voracious appetite my entire life, it’s quite a strange transition.

For the first few days, I sort of ignored the fact that I wasn’t hungry and ate as usual, but I quickly noticed that forcing food just made me feel sick to my stomach. That’s because one of the effects of Victoza is delayed gastric emptying, similar to how Symlin works. Eating normally was not only not very appealing, but it was physically impossible.

Some of my favorite things, like popcorn, cupcakes and even a freddo from Cali-based Peet’s Coffee & Tea, are things I just can’t finish anymore, which is simultaneously awesome and a little disappointing. Although it’s only been a little over a week since I started Victoza, I’ve already dropped five pounds.

I’ve been eating regularly though in much smaller portions to make sure that I’m getting what I need. Typically I start to feel a little empty after about six hours, so that’s been good, but it’s not really the same hungry sensation that I’m used to.

While I was at ADA, I spoke to the rep on the Medical Information side of the Novo Nordisk book (the folks who make Victoza). She explained a little bit about the impact Victoza was having on my digestion and on the glucagon production.

The liver’s glucagon release is normally blunted in non-PWDs, but that doesn’t happen with us, which is among several reasons why we spike after meals. With Victoza, I’m able to take less insulin at meals. So far my basal rate has not changed a whole lot. I’m down a little during the day and up a little at night, but I don’t think my basal rates have been particularly solid for awhile.

The other main effect, the gastric emptying, has made it a lot easier to enjoy food without worry about the effects. I’ve either gone low or stayed stable after eating most meals. The changes to my appetite and blood sugars have certainly been an adjustment but it’s an adjustment that I’m happy to make!

Coming Soon To Blue Cupcake…

I launched Blue Cupcake in November 2012, but since then, we haven’t add any new products. Until now!

I’m really excited to announce that we’ll be launching a brand-new line to our Thank You card collection. It will go on sale on Etsy on Monday, June 16, but it will be available in-person at the ADA Scientific Sessions.

I’ll have more info about it on Monday, but until then, here’s a sneak peek…

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Any guesses who it might be for?!