This Valentine’s Day, Spare a Rose and Save a Child

Like so many other things, Valentine’s Day is probably going to look and feel a little different to you and your sweetie this year.

But not everything has changed. One thing that remains the same is the fact that a bouquet of a dozen roses is practically synonymous with the holiday.

A dozen red roses is a classic Valentine’s gift. But what if you received 11 roses in your bouquet, instead of 12? What if you knew that a rose was spared because the value of that flower helped support a child living with diabetes in a less-resourced country?

I bet you wouldn’t mind getting one less rose in that case.

Who knew that the value of a dozen roses could pay for a child with diabetes to live another year of life?

This Valentine’s Day, please consider sparing a rose. Life for a Child is a nonprofit charity that created the Spare a Rose campaign. They’re able to support nearly 20,000 young people living with diabetes by using donations to buy them insulin, syringes, clinical care, diabetes education, and more. Anyone who’s familiar with diabetes realizes that access to care, education, and resources is critical to living a healthy and normal life. No one would want to deny another, especially a child, from having to forgo these resources because of the financial burden associated with them.

I’ve written about the Spare a Rose campaign for the last few years because I think it’s a beautiful way to celebrate a day that makes some swoon and others sick to their stomachs. A common complaint among people in this day and age is that too many holidays are all about raking in the dough for companies like Hallmark; in other words, most holidays have lost their original meaning and have become too commercialized.

So here’s your chance to bring back some significance to Valentine’s Day. In the face of a global pandemic, it’s more important than ever that we do all that we can to help people with diabetes access life-saving supplies and care.

Spare a rose and save child this Valentine’s Day.

The Truth About My Carb Counting

One of the many reasons why I love the diabetes community is that I’m constantly learning new information, finding inspiration, and enjoying support from my fellow friends living with T1D. Sharing our stories with one another leads to us finding that it’s more than diabetes that we have in common.

Here’s an example: My friend, Cherise Shockley, recently wrote an article for DiaTribe in which she made a confession to herself regarding how she counts her carbs. I recommend reading the extremely well-written article to get a full sense of what she discovered, but in short, Cherise recently realized that her carb counting is inaccurate because of the “glass ceiling” for entering carbs into her pump for bolus calculations. In other words, Cherise’s personal maximum of carbs that she was comfortable with dosing for using her pump wasn’t aligning with the actual amount of carbs she was consuming. This excerpt explains part of it:

That was my moment of truth. I told Natalie I ate my favorite chocolate chunk cookie that day. She asked me how many carbs the cookie contained, and I told her 68 grams; she wondered why I only bolused for 55 grams. I paused before I replied – I did not know the answer.

Natalie then asked me if I had a glass ceiling for entering carbs in my pump. She explained that this means even though I know I eat 63 carbs, I will only enter 50 carbs in my pump because anything higher than that concerns me. What she said was interesting; I had never heard anyone describe it to me in that way.

-Cherise Shockley

When I read this, I said, “Yes! Finally, someone is able to articulate exactly how I handle carb counting!”

This is the truth about my carb counting: I have limits when it comes to how many carbs I will bolus for at a time, but those limits do not apply to the actual number of carbs that I consume.

In my 23 years of life with type 1 diabetes, I never knew the meaning behind my carbohydrate glass ceiling.

To explain, I am only comfortable with bolusing for a maximum of 60 grams of carbohydrate at a time. I do not know how I came up with this particular number, but I do know that there are situations (e.g., holiday celebrations) in which I am absolutely consuming more than 60 carbs in a sitting, and yet I only bolus for that amount.

Still confused by what I mean? Read the full article to understand, but this excerpt from it helps to explain why this fear of bolusing for more than 60 carbs at a time exists for me:

To learn more about carbohydrate glass ceilings and why some people have one, I talked to Dr. Korey Hood, a professor of pediatric endocrinology and psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University who has lived with type 1 diabetes for over 20 years. Dr. Hood told me that all parts of diabetes management can be challenging, and carb counting is particularly tough because it is hard to be accurate and precise. He always recommends people with diabetes meet annually with their diabetes educator (CDCES) to get a refresher on different aspects of diabetes management, including carb counting.

Dr. Hood said that the glass ceiling is most likely due to one of two issues – worries about hypoglycemia or the meaning behind taking such a big dose of insulin. Dr. Hood said that “many of us with diabetes, particularly those on insulin, worry about going low. Why wouldn’t we – it is a terrible feeling! We often experience fears of hypoglycemia because we had a terrible low in the past and have a desperate desire to avoid it in the future. When we worry about hypoglycemia, we scale back our insulin dosing. This prevents the low but also likely results in high glucose levels. So, it really is not a good strategy.” 

-Cherise Shockley

This was a major revelation for me because suddenly I realized what my reasoning is for my carbohydrate glass ceiling: I have a hypoglycemia fear. I have experienced scary episodes in the past (fortunately, none of which have required medical attention). I have friends who have experienced severe hypoglycemic episodes, and when a colleague of mine experienced a low episode that was so bad that I had to call 911 for him, it left a mark on me. So on the occasions that I do eat more than 60 carbs in a sitting, I simply don’t take the amount of insulin that I should to account for those carbs, and I wind up going high, exactly as Dr. Hood describes in the quote above.

When it comes to diabetes, there is no such thing as “perfection”. My blood sugars cannot and will not be perfect 100% of the time. But one thing that I do have control over is doing the absolute best that I can with carb counting and bolusing. It’s time I hold myself more accountable to my carbohydrate glass ceiling…in fact, it’s time for me to smash through it.

A ginormous thank you to Cherise for being so open and honest in this piece and for inspiring me to own my carbs, too.

My Top 10 Blog Posts of All-Time

I’ve been writing blog posts for Hugging the Cactus for just over three years now. In that span of time, I’ve accumulated more than 500 posts total, and I don’t plan on slowing down any time soon.

Obviously, though, some of those posts have been more popular than others. I thought I’d link to them all here because 1) it’ll be helpful for both my readers and to me to see which topics garner the most interest, and 2) it makes for easy clicking to get to the top articles! So without further ado…

The only thing missing from my blogging location is…a real cacti. I got plenty of fake ones, though!!
  1. Is a Bleeder a Reader? My Take on a Bloody Dexcom G6 Insertion – This is the top blog post of all time (so far) here at Hugging the Cactus. It’s got more than 6,000 views and proves to me that many people who use Dexcom sensors aren’t sure whether bloody sensors indicate an inability to measure blood sugar readings. If you aren’t sure yourself, click the link for my take.
  2. So THAT’S How Long and Sharp the Dexcom G5 Insertion Needle is… – I’m very surprised that this is number 2 on the list, but it is! Who else was slightly horrified by the sheer length of the needle used to insert Dexcom sensors?
  3. My One-Month Dexcom G6 Review – People seem to dig reviews (I know I love reading product reviews online), so it’s pretty obvious why this comes in third place. Plus, I wrote it early on in the release of the Dexcom G6: Due to my participation in the advertising campaigns, I was lucky enough to be among the first individuals in the country to start using the G6.
  4. T1D and Cosmetics: My Thoughts on Jeffree Star’s “Blood Sugar” Palette – I can only guess that this one is a high performer because Jeffree Star is the kind of character who gets a lot of attention online. Still unsure why he named an eye shadow palette “blood sugar” (tacky IMO), but whatever.
  5. That “Thing” on my Arm – What is “that thing” on my arm? Is it a large nicotine patch? A weird new piece of statement jewelry? Or something else? In this blog post, I write about a situation in which I was asked about the “thing” on my arm and how I handled it.
  6. Insulin Pumps and X-rays – I didn’t realize I had no clue what the protocol is when it comes to insulin pumps and X-rays until I actually had a broken bone! It taught me a lesson that I won’t forget about whether or not it’s safe to wear an insulin pump when getting an X-ray.
  7. Restarting the Dexcom G6: Attempt #2 – The Dexcom G6 wasn’t out for long when the diabetes online community started hacking it to figure out whether or not it could be restarted and worn for a longer period, just like its predecessor. It took me a couple of tries, but I finally found a method that sorta works, as described in this post.
  8. How Long Do OmniPods Really Last? – In this blog post, I reveal the true life cycle of an OmniPod…did you already know this, or was this new information to you?
  9. The CGM Experiment: Comparing the Dexcom G5 to the G6 – I remember that people were verrrrry curious about the differences between the Dexcom G5 and the G6 when the G6 debuted. Could it really put a stop to fingerstick checks? Was it more accurate? Was it painless? I compared the two in this post and, hopefully, answered a lot of questions that people might have had about how the G6 measures up to the G5.
  10. The Best (and Worst) Insulin Pump Infusion and CGM Sensor Sites – I shared my opinions in this post on what makes the best and worst sites for my medical devices. If anyone is wondering about trying a new site, chances are I’ve described how I feel about it in this post.

It’ll be interesting to see how this top 10 list changes in the coming months and years. One thing is for certain, though: I’ll continue to do my best to deliver engaging content that is truly helpful or supportive to our diabetes community. It’s my honor to contribute in any way that I can.

My Thoughts on Nick Jonas and His Dexcom Super Bowl Commercial

On February 2nd, Dexcom announced some major news: Nick Jonas – yes, the famous guy from that band – is starring in a Dexcom commercial that will be airing in a coveted Super Bowl Sunday advertisement slot.

This is pretty big for a couple of reasons, one being that Nick Jonas is now an official paid Dexcom spokesperson. In addition, this represents the first time that a diabetes company like Dexcom will be airing an ad that will be delivered to millions of Americans at the same time, which is definitely a big deal.

Upon hearing this news, the diabetes online community and I had some intense and justified reactions.

Nick Jonas is officially a Dexcom spokesperson, which generated some strong reactions from the diabetes community.

A lot of people expressed frustration that a superstar like Nick Jonas only ever seems to talk about his type 1 diabetes when he’s being paid to do so.

And listen, that frustration is warranted. It’s like the guy is trying to monetize his diabetes and it’s a little gross. There’s collective annoyance that Nick Jonas doesn’t use his (massive) platform and following on a more regular basis to advocate for diabetes. That’s a hard pill to swallow for a lot of us who have created blogs, podcasts, social media profiles, and more in order to help the diabetes community and beyond by doing things like raising awareness and talking about real issues regarding access to necessary diabetes care and medication (and so much more). So when Nick Jonas finally opens up about it, apparently it’s to advertise an expensive piece of technology that isn’t available to all people with diabetes. (And here’s my disclaimer: Yes, I use a Dexcom G6 CGM and I love it. But I’m very aware that I’m fortunate to be able to afford it because others cannot.)

It’s a little difficult for me to sympathize much with Nick Jonas here. Of course, I don’t know him (though I’m sure he’s a lovely guy and obviously he’s quite talented). I have no idea what it’s like to be a celebrity. He’s been in the limelight since he was a teenager. Many of us grew up with him. I can’t imagine what kinds of pressure he’s faced, so something like diabetes (a deeply personal condition) might be tough for him to talk about in a candid manner in front of the mass media. Or maybe he simply doesn’t know how to frame discussions around it. Who knows, but his acceptance of this sponsorship deal warrants the conversations that it has generated. Moreover, I can’t ignore his involvement with a non-profit that’s become infamous for accepting money from big pharma, which is massively problematic in the fight to make insulin affordable for all.

Let me end that line of thought by pointing out that he’s not the only person with diabetes featured in this commercial. There are two other “real-life”, non-celebrities living with diabetes who got this incredible opportunity to be featured in a freakin’ Super Bowl commercial. As someone who has participated in Dexcom ads in the past*, I can understand how exciting this time must be for these two people, and I hope that it isn’t diminished by the diabetes online community’s reaction to Nick Jonas’s appearance and sponsorship deal.

Now let’s pivot to the fact that Dexcom has dropped (probably) millions of dollars to appear in this Super Bowl ad slot…and signing a high-profile celeb like Nick Jonas as a company spokesperson likely wasn’t cheap, either.

It definitely leaves me feeling unsettled. Why did the company feel it was necessary to spend so much on this new advertising campaign? As my friend Stacey put it, Dexcom is putting corporate and celebrity money before patient needs. The reality here is that not everyone can afford insulin, let alone a “gratuitous” piece of diabetes technology like a Dexcom continuous glucose monitor. Elevating diabetes to the national spotlight only does good when it can do something about insulin access and affordability, or to raise awareness about it, or to explain how to recognize the symptoms of diabetes.

To sum it all up, I’ll share a thought from another person I’ve come to know from the diabetes online community: @miss__diabetes. The day that Dexcom announced the commercial, she tweeted:

Nick Jonas is the advocate of a privileged life with #type1diabetes. Doing super bowl ads tells the rest of the world that diabetics are living their best life with diabetes technology when the reality is diabetics are dying because they can’t afford insulin. #Insulin4all

@miss__diabetes

A nicely phrased sentiment as well as a reminder that we’ve got a long way to go in the fight for affordable insulin, don’t you think?

*When I appeared in Dexcom advertisements, I was not compensated beyond the company paying for my transportation, on-set meals, and hotel. If you want to learn more about the experience, I wrote this blog post about it, and I am always open to answering questions.

A Postponed Physical and the Resulting Questions

“Molly, we’re calling to inform you that your 10 A.M. appointment for this Thursday has been canceled. We still aren’t taking patients in the office and we won’t be rescheduling you until April. Please give us a call back so we can set up a new appointment time.”

I listened to the voicemail twice before it sank in that my primary care doctor’s office was calling me to postpone my annual physical.

Why, exactly, did it get postponed? And how do I feel about it?

My doctor’s office called me two days before I was scheduled to come in…leaving me to also wonder why such short notice of the cancellation?

Well, I can only theorize the answer to the first question. I’m certain that my doctor’s office is absolutely overwhelmed with phone calls and appointments…and they’ve probably been like that for the past year or so. I’m guessing that they’re only keeping appointments with higher-priority patients that absolutely need to be seen…someone like me, a pretty healthy (discounting my diabetes) and younger individual, is likely not very high on the list of patients they want to see. Plus, even though I know they’re doing virtual appointments for medical questions as they come up, there probably is no purpose in doing a virtual physical because there’s only so much they can do via video call. So I get the postponement, but that doesn’t mean I’m happy about it.

My annual physical is the doctor’s appointment for me, the one that I have each year that I know won’t be a total waste of time. Each year, I get my blood work and urinalysis completed at this appointment, as well as an EKG to monitor my heart. I also get to go over any general health concerns I have with my PCP, who is very thorough when explaining things to me. During this particular visit, I’d hoped to talk about (what I believe to be) the stress-induced hives I’ve experienced in the last month, but now it sounds like I won’t have the chance to do that until April.

But I’m also wondering…when I go to the appointment in April, will I receive my COVID vaccine then, too?

I messaged the doctor’s office to find out and learned…nothing helpful:

I believe by that time you should qualify for the vaccine so you should be able to get it. This of course depends on if the state has given us the vaccine. We will know soon about that and will be sending information to all our patients. 

Uhh…according to the multi-phase vaccine plan outlined by the state of Massachusetts, I should be eligible for the vaccine prior to April. (But quite frankly, the whole phase plan has been a bit of a hot mess. I’m just glad to have 2 out of 4 immediate family members vaccinated at this point.) And the “if” there? Definitely unsettling.

I have so many questions: Can they postpone again in April? When will they be able to tell us more information about the vaccine? Do they think that it’s safer to wait in April because there will hopefully be more vaccinated individuals overall then? Or are they actually worried about vaccine distribution and don’t want to clue anyone into that?

So I feel not-so-awesome about having to wait three more months to check in with my PCP. I take my overall health very seriously, not just my diabetes. One thing has everything to do with the other. However, I do have a virtual appointment with my endocrinologist in a few weeks…maybe that will be the health check-in that I’m desiring?

I’m not banking on it, but I’m hopeful.

This Time Last Year…

This time last year, I was under the impression that I’d be heading to the Friends for Life Orlando conference that is held each July.

It was supposed to be my “triumphant return” to in-real-life diabetes meet-ups. There were so many individuals I’d hoped to either reunite with or meet for the first time.

Obviously, the pandemic totally changed my plans – as well as everyone else’s.

I was upset for awhile, but took consolation in the fact that the FFL team worked hard to turn it into a virtual conference. IMHO, I think they did an excellent job, and I remember signing off from that one feeling hopeful to attend it in-person in 2021…

This time last year was supposed to go a little differently.

…except I just don’t think that’s going to happen for me this year.

As far as I’m aware, the CWD FFL Orlando conference is on and in-person for 2021. But I, personally, am not comfortable attending. I know this won’t be the case for everyone and that’s okay. Yet I still feel compelled to explain why I’m not going to attend and how this makes me feel.

I don’t feel good about traveling, well, anywhere these days. I have a lot of anxiety about it, so much that any type of getaway, as nice as it sounds right now, just wouldn’t be worth it in the end because of how much worry I’d have about the trip.

And of course I’m sad about this. Of course I want to escape somewhere, and OF COURSE I’d love the chance to see my diabetes community in person. I find that in-person interactions are so much richer and fill me with a sense of gratitude and camaraderie that just can’t be matched online. Plus, I feel that it’s much easier to forge genuine connections when interacting with others face-to-face…I struggle to keep up with all the tweets, Instagram posts/stories, and Facebook threads, so instead of trying to weed my way through them all, I typically just don’t engage whatsoever. I simply can’t find enough time to comment as much as I’d like, which means that I miss out on some great opportunities to satisfy my need for conversation with the diabetes community.

As much as my decision not to attend bums me out, I do take some solace in knowing that there are others in the same boat as me. And I also feel reassured thinking about how hopefully, this time next year, I will be planning my true comeback to the wonderful world of diabetes conferences (in the wonderful world of Walt Disney, to boot).

On a Scale of 1-10, How Satisfied Are You with Your Health Insurance Plan?

The title of this blog post is a question that I was asked on a phone call with a member of my healthcare team. And the answer to it really stumped me.

On the one hand, I am extremely grateful to be employed with a workplace that offers a few choices in terms of a healthcare plan. I know that there are many Americans who are not as lucky as me and either struggle to afford medical care as needed or lack a job and/or health insurance altogether. It feels selfish for me to complain at all about my health insurance because I should just feel lucky to have it, period.

If you were asked this question, how would you answer it?

On the other hand, I’d be lying if I said I was 100% satisfied with my health insurance plan. I pay a lot of money out-of-pocket to cover the costs of all my diabetes supplies. I try to help mitigate the expenses by contributing to an FSA account, but it doesn’t do anything to lower the actual costs of my supplies: It just means that I save an amount equal to the taxes I would have paid on the money I set aside.

So when I was asked how I’d rate my health insurance plan using a scale of 1-10, 1 being the worst possible plan and 10 being the best possible plan, I didn’t know which side of the argument I should go with. I know that I certainly don’t have the worst plan – for the most part, I’m able to freely choose things like which insulin pump I want to use and which doctors I want to see – but I definitely don’t have the best plan. To me, the best plan would mean I don’t pay anything for the medications and supplies that I need in order to live, so I absolutely wasn’t going to give it a 10 rating.

Ultimately, I answered the question by giving my health insurance plan a 3. I am dissatisfied with the amount of money that I need to pay and wish that my plan would shoulder more of the costs, but the plan earns a few points for the flexibility it gives me in terms of who I see for doctors and for being consistent in the last couple of years that I have spent on it.

As I said the answer out loud, I couldn’t help but think and dream about the day that I might be able to give a health insurance plan a 10 because it covers all medical costs, is easy to understand, and provides freedom to choose any medications, devices, and doctors that I want. It’s a hope that I have not just for myself, of course, but for all Americans.

I hope that day comes sooner rather than later.

The Best Breakfast for my ‘Betes

I have a new favorite breakfast, both blood-sugar-wise and taste-wise, that I just had to write about here.

And that breakfast is: egg wraps! I take a low-carb spinach and herb tortilla, add eggs, sprinkle on some cheese, tuck in some turkey sausage or a scoop of guacamole, and wrap it all up for a totally delicious, lower-carb meal that I honestly can’t get enough of these days.

I love how surprisingly versatile this breakfast wrap is. I can lighten it by using scrambled egg whites in place of eggs with yolks, I can season it however I want (though my preference is everything but the bagel seasoning), and when I’m feeling spicy, I can add a few shakes of garlicky hot sauce for some zip. When I have fresh veggies, I’ll add those to the wrap, too, for some more color, flavor, and texture. Sprouts are really great in this kind of wrap, as is spinach or even chopped onions and peppers (I like cooking frozen ones with my eggs because they’re easy to have on hand at all times).

You’re probably wondering why I didn’t take a picture of my wonderful wraps for this posts and well…I ain’t a food blogger, I take awful food pictures! So just pretend this photo is a perfect representation of my new fave breakfast. Please and thanks. 🙂

So obviously this wrap is a winner in terms of taste, but it’s really excellent for my blood sugars, too. I don’t typically bolus for more than 15 carbs for this meal (the wrap is only 4 net carbs and everything else that I add in has negligible carb content OR I just bolus for the protein) and the low glycemic index means that I never see a blood sugar spike after eating one of my wraps. And let me be real: I love my breakfast carbs (waffles, pancakes, muffins, even cereal…omg they’re all amazing to me), but they’re a pain in the ass to bolus for properly. Even when I do nail my bolus for a high-carb breakfast item, I’m not always able to do a pre-bolus (in other words, take insulin 15-20 minutes before I eat to give it time to start working ahead of the carbs) and avoid that carb-induced spike…which means I end up skyrocketing shortly after I eat, only to level out later. That’s not the worst thing in the world, but I’d prefer to not experience any sudden blood sugar jump, period.

Need I sell the benefits of this breakfast any further?! Knowing myself, I’ll have a new morning staple before too long, but for now I’ll *wrap* up this blog post on my *eggs*cellent breakfast wrap before I get too *cheesy* with the puns…

…Okay, okay, I’ll see myself out now.

Endless Email Threads and Telephone Tag with Dexcom

It started with the emails…then progressed to phone calls.

Voicemail messages were left and I tried calling back. No answer.

Emails were sent (yes, multiple) and still…no answer.

Am I describing a creepy, stalker-y movie plot OR my experience with Dexcom customer service???

I assure you that I did not look this calm and composed when reading my Dexcom emails or calling the Dexcom reps.

If you guessed the latter, then ding-ding-ding, you’re right! (Sorry if you’re disappointed it’s not the former, this blog post is most definitely not about to take a When a Stranger Calls type of turn.)

No fewer than five Dexcom representatives have tried to contact me in the last month and up until a few days ago, I had no freakin’ clue why.

Let’s go back to the emails: I got THREE that said something along the following lines:

We have a new update regarding your pending Dexcom order. We have attempted to reach you but were unsuccessful. Please call me or respond to this email…

I haven’t placed a Dexcom order since the year began because 1) I wasn’t eligible to order new supplies yet and 2) I have enough sensors and a brand-new transmitter that will tide me over for the next two months at least. So I really didn’t understand why my order was already pending and, more importantly, why the “new update” wasn’t just written out in the email.

So I responded to the first two emails that I received that were like this, and was annoyed when nobody ever replied. But then I got an email about a reimbursement that really sent me into a tailspin. What reimbursement?!

I called Dexcom myself and spoke to a real, actual human being who told me that the reason why Dexcom reps were reaching out is because they did my annual review of insurance benefits and determined that I was eligible to reorder my supplies. Oh! I explained to the rep that that made sense to me, and now I understood why they were trying to get in touch with me…but what was this reimbursement business?

Unfortunately, she couldn’t tell me and instead informed me that I’d have to call the Dexcom billing department. This irked me, but I accepted it and began to wonder whether maybe the email was simply another notification that I could go ahead and reorder my supplies. I decided that I wouldn’t give Dexcom a call back, making the assumption that they were done with me.

Boy oh boy, was I wrong!

One night, Dexcom called my cell phone, and then my parents’ home phone (they must have it stored in their records from when I lived there), and then EMAILED ME AGAIN saying that they have an update on my pending order. By this point in time, I was furious. I tried calling back the TWO DIFFERENT NUMBERS for TWO DIFFERENT REPS and one line never even rang, while the other one went straight to voicemail (I couldn’t even leave a message because the inbox was full). I vowed to call back Dexcom customer service the next day to get to the bottom of this, once and for all.

When I called, I explained the situation – how I’ve received a handful of phone calls and emails that I’ve tried to reply to but never got answers. I also detailed how I’d spoken with a company rep in the last week and I thought I made it clear to her that I take care of my own Dexcom ordering using their online system, and that I don’t need a rep to walk me through the process. It was a longer-than-it-should’ve-been phone call because I felt like the rep wasn’t really listening to me: She kept talking over me and couldn’t seem to grasp that I’m perfectly capable of handling reorders on my own. Finally, things got resolved in the end when she told me that she just emailed my account representative and informed him that I can handle my reorder in my own time, and that should he need to talk to me, please get in touch with me as soon as possible.

Listen, y’all – I love my Dexcom CGM. It’s one of the first diabetes devices that I wore and it revolutionized diabetes care for me. I also appreciate Dexcom employees for their hard work, and as someone who used to do customer service over the phone, I seriously value the amount of time and energy that it takes to deal with dozens of customers each week and try to walk each of them through a satisfying solution. So the point of this blog post is to not dis a company that I like, but merely to point out that there are clearly some flaws in the customer communication system.

I mean…going back to my earlier point, if Dexcom knew what the “update” was, why didn’t they specify it in the email or the voicemail message?

I’m not sure I’ll ever know the answer to that, but I do know this and I’m making a mental note of it now: Remember that next January, an insurance benefits check will be completed by Dexcom and I’ll probably be contacted about it – even if they don’t tell me that’s why they’re trying to get in touch, at least I’ll now have a sense as to what it’s about the next time around.

My RxSugar Review: All About the Allulose

Disclaimer: This post IS NOT sponsored by Stacey Simms or RxSugar. I am merely spreading the word about new products that I got to try because I won an Instagram giveaway. The following represents my honest review about the RxSugar products that I received ONLY and I am not being compensated in any way to write this blog post. Now that I have that off my chest, read on for my review!

Who doesn’t love free stuff???

Whether it’s SWAG (Stuff We All Get) or prizes in a raffle drawing, I’m a fan of free things. I’m the type of person who will enter contests once in awhile just to see if I’m lucky enough to win, and more often than not, I don’t win anything. (Insert sad emoji here.)

So imagine my surprise when I entered an Instagram giveaway and was actually announced as one of the winners!!! (Insert shocked emoji here!)

This particular giveaway was held in honor of one million downloads of Stacey Simms’ podcast, Diabetes Connections. She partnered with a handful of diabetes companies that graciously donated prizes as part of the giveaway. I had no idea which diabetes company’s products I’d receive, but I was just stoked to have won anything!

A few weeks after my winner announcement, I received a box in the mail from a company called RxSugar. I hadn’t heard of them before, so I did a quick search online. Turns out their shtick is production of “The World’s best tasting, healthiest plant-based sugar and syrups”, which boast zero calories, net carbs, and glycemic. Intrigued? So was I.

The secret ingredient to this sugar that makes it much more diabetes-friendly compared to the regular kind is that it’s made with allulose. In short, allulose is a natural, plant-based alternative to sugar with a chemical structure similar to fructose, the type of sugar that is found in fruit. If you’re curious to learn more about allulose, this article does a good job of explaining it and its benefits.

My little puppy Violet approves of RxSugar, too.

I digress – I bet you’re wanting to know what I actually got from RxSugar! They sent me their organic liquid sugar, pancake syrup, sample stick sugar packets (kind of like Splenda packets), and a canister of sugar that I could use for baking. I was really excited to try everything because 1) I have a wicked sweet tooth and 2) I love baking in my spare time.

In the last few weeks, I’ve tried everything except the canister of sugar (but it’s the same as what’s in the packets, I just haven’t baked anything with it). Here are my thoughts on the RxSugar products:

  • The syrup: HOLY WOW this stuff is incredible. This was by far my favorite thing that I received from RxSugar. My entire life, I’ve used low calorie or sugar-free syrup when enjoying waffles or pancakes. I know that a lot of people turn their noses up at sugar-free syrup and claim that it tastes like syrup-flavored water, but I never had a problem with it…’til I tried RxSugar’s syrup. It’s SWEET and tastes so much like maple that it’s hard to believe it’s not real maple syrup. I’ve had it on top of Kodiak cinnamon oat waffles and oooooooh, it was so good. I’m going to make this bottle last as long as possible, that’s how much I loved it.
  • The liquid sugar: I wasn’t sure how I was going to use the liquid sugar. I drink my coffee black and don’t really add anything to sweeten up my food. But then it hit me: I could add it to plain Greek yogurt, which is sometimes a little too tart for my liking (yet I still eat it because of the high protein content). I tried that first and liked it, though I may have a preference for adding honey to my Greek yogurt because it imparts an additional flavor, not just sweetness. I also added the liquid sugar to a smoothie I made containing Greek yougurt, frozen fruit, and almond milk, and it really did amp up the sweetness in just the right way.
  • The sample stick sugar packets: So I’ve tried these in a few different beverages and truthfully, I can’t really taste the sweetness. At all. I made my version of lemonade using one of these sugar packets and the lemon was for sure the dominating flavor. Maybe I should try adding two or three packets next time? Or maybe I can try adding it to coffee for old times’ sake (I used to take coffee with 2 creamers and 3 Splenda packets, yuck) for a hint of sweetness without the extra calories. I bet it’d taste good in flavored coffee. That’s an experiment for a day in the near future…*Update*: I received some clarification from the RxSugar team regarding the sample sticks! They are not-for-resale sample sticks that are only intended to be used as a quick tasting sample. In other words, they’re not an accurate serving size when used in beverages and the like. So that totally explains why I couldn’t taste the sweetness using a single stick!

Overall, I’m really glad I got the chance to try a variety of products from this company (that syrupppppp). Thanks for sending me everything, RxSugar, and shout-out to Stacey Simms for hosting the giveaway AND for a million podcast downloads!