That “Thing” on my Arm

“Yo, I don’t mean to be rude, but what’s that thing on your arm? Looks pretty cool.”

I turned around to face the stranger who was looking at me and asking me this question. It was well after midnight and we were on the rooftop of a fairly crowded bar. It was a balmy, summery night and I was enjoying the atmosphere with my boyfriend and my best friend. I’d had a few drinks over the course of the night, but judging by the state of everyone else on the rooftop, I was probably more sober than most of them.

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THIS is the sticker I should’ve been wearing that night…keeps things much more simple.

I could’ve answered his question in a scolding manner; it wasn’t a “thing”, it was a device that keeps me alive.

I could’ve totally dismissed him and told him to mind his own beeswax, because really, it is sort of rude to point out something on another person’s body.

I could’ve lied and told him it was something that it’s not to get him to stop bothering me.

I could’ve launched into an educational breakdown of what an insulin pump is and why my OmniPod looks the way it does.

I could’ve done any number of things, but instead I decided to say, “Oh, this is my insulin pump. I’ve got it decorated right now with a picture of a lighthouse because I like adding some style to it.” I smiled at him as a way of reassuring him that I really didn’t care that he was asking me, because I didn’t.

My straightforward answer seemed to please this random man. He told me again that he thought it was cool, and then we chatted a bit about where the lighthouse is and discovered we both have a connection to Massachusetts. Within a few brief moments, the conversation was over as we went our separate ways.

It was a perfectly harmless interaction that could’ve went a number of different ways, but to me, it’s all about context. This guy was just asking out of curiosity, and I truly don’t think he was trying to be rude about it. So I answered his question succinctly but good-naturedly, because I felt that was the only way to go about it in this busy party environment. Plus, let’s be real here…had I delved into a discussion about diabetes and devices, this drunk man probably wouldn’t have digested a single detail of my description. (Ahh, I love alliteration.) And another important point? He was damn right, my pump did look cool because of the lighthouse sticker!

But man, how much simpler it’d’ve been if I’d just been wearing my “THIS IS MY INSULIN PUMP” sticker on my pod that night.

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6 Holiday Gift Ideas for T1Ds

Holiday shopping can be hard. Especially if you’ve got a long list of people to shop for, and you’d like to give them thoughtful, practical gifts.

While I don’t have tips and tricks on how to pick out the perfect present for everyone on your list, I do have some ideas as to what you can get that special T1D in your life. The following six items can make fun stocking stuffers or gifts that your beloved T1D is sure to appreciate.

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  1. Pump Peelz – Is your T1D’s meter or pump in need of a makeover? A fresh stack of Pump Peelz can take care of that. Consider stocking up on prints and patterns that your T1D will love. You can even create your own one-of-a-kind design on the Pump Peelz site!
  2. T1D clothing – There are SO MANY styles out there these days, and they’re all extremely creative! Beyond t-shirts, I’ve seen sports bras, leggings, sweatshirts, and dresses all specially designed to either cater to a T1D’s medical gear or raise diabetes awareness. Whether you want to find a style that captures your T1D’s sense of humor or one that they’ll proudly don along with an insulin pump, you’re sure to come across T1D clothing that is funny, functional, and fashionable.
  3. Fun patches and pins – Okay, so maybe your T1D has a more subtle sense of style and doesn’t want to literally wear diabetes on their sleeve. No problem! Perhaps some cute T1D-related patches or pins are more their thing. Personally, I’m a big fan of the ones available on the T1D Lyf shop – they’re absolutely adorable and make a bold statement using a tiny surface.
  4. Myabetic gear – I admit that I went ahead and bought myself an early Christmas gift this year: a frosty pink Myabetic backpack. I’ve started carrying it around instead of a purse and I love it! Myabetic designs all of their wallets, bags, and other gear with diabetes in mind. Every pouch and pocket has a specific purpose that makes carrying diabetes supplies around much easier. I’ve got a Marie crossbody, Banting wallet, and now a Brandy backpack, so clearly, I’m no stranger to their awesome products. You can definitely find something that suits your T1D’s style on the Myabetic website.
  5. The Diabetic Health Journal by Lauren Bongiorno – Instagram introduced me to Lauren last year, and let me tell you, this girl is a powerhouse. As a diabetic health coach and a fitness guru, she knows what she’s talking about in her journal, which is designed to help people with T1D lower A1c, gain insight on blood sugar patterns, boost mood/energy levels, and so much more. This could make a great gift for a T1D who enjoys writing, or someone who is including diabetes in their New Year’s resolution goals.
  6. Vial Safe Insulin Protector – Alright, this sounds totally boring, but it’s one of the most practical gifts you could get a T1D who might be a little, er, clumsy. I’ve certainly shattered an insulin vial or two back in the day, and it’s a really crummy feeling when all that insulin is wasted. But these protective casings can help your T1D avoid the risk of breaking precious insulin vials, which are infinitely valuable. Look them up on Amazon for more information!

Of course, these are all just some suggestions. If you’re still stumped, I often stumble across amazing products just for T1Ds on Instagram. Who would’ve known that there’s virtually an endless array of goodies for T1Ds out there? With a little research and thoughtfulness, the T1D in your life is bound to be grateful for not just your gift to them, but also for your support in the fight against diabetes.

 

Disclosure: I am not paid to promote any of these products. The intent of sharing these items is to provide useful information to readers of my blog. Please visit the links I’ve shared to learn more about the products featured in this post.

A Not-So-Sticky Situation

There’s nothing worse than medical adhesive that just won’t stick.

If an infusion site or CGM sensor fails to stick to the body, that almost always means that there’s no choice but to dispose of it prematurely. And that is the definition of a total waste, which is a horrible feeling when it comes to exorbitantly expensive diabetes supplies.

So you can probably imagine my vague sense of panic when less than 12 hours after inserting a recent CGM sensor, it started to peel around the edges. Actually, that’s phrasing it a bit lightly – one half of it was practically flopping off my arm. No matter how much I pressed it back against my skin, it wouldn’t stick. I knew that I needed to save it somehow, and fast.

My first resort was a Patch Peel – it’s cut to accommodate the CGM transmitter; as such, it was the most secure option I had available to me. But seconds after applying the patch, it started peeling all around the edges. WTF?! It was definitely the same strong adhesive that Pump Peelz uses on all of their products, so I didn’t understand why it wasn’t sticking. I cursed under my breath as I racked my brain, thinking of anything else I could use to salvage the sensor. I couldn’t bear the thought of throwing it away after less than a full day’s worth of use.

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Smiling big with my salvaged sensor.

Then I remembered I had SkinTac, which is so strong and glue-like that I normally avoid using it. But desperate times call for desperate measures, right? I lifted up the edges of my patch and wiped the SkinTac all around my skin, patting the patch gingerly back into place as the SkinTac dried. And…it worked! My patch got wrinkly as hell as the adhesives bound together, but I didn’t care because I’d managed to save the sensor. Will it hurt in a few days when I peel off all those layers of adhesive? Oh yes. But I won’t mind at all because I didn’t have to waste a sensor with a retail value of about (cue the gasps) $165.

Feeling Pretty with Diabetes

Diabetes can be an ugly disease.

It’s defined by finger pricks, drops of blood, infusion site bruises. Diabetes rarely leaves beautiful markings behind on the body; rather, it can make me feel unsightly.

Needless to say, diabetes occasionally makes me feel worse about my body. I try to project body confidence when around others, but on the inside, I’m terribly self-conscious about the way I look.

So that’s why it was wonderful to feel pretty with diabetes this past weekend.

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Unicorns on my patch and in the background. Because you can’t be surrounded by too many unicorns. If only someone would tell that to my blood sugar…

I got all dressed up to go to a “punk prom” that my friend helped organize. The night was all about singing along to the angst-filled tunes of our youth, listening to local bands jam out onstage, and getting glamorous so we could pose for an endless number of photos with fellow attendees.

In the hours leading up to the event, I was a bit anxious about wearing my insulin pump and CGM in visible spots. They didn’t exactly match the dress I’d dug out from the bowels of my closet (and that I’d last worn in the 9th grade). But as I applied hairspray to my carefully coiffed curls, it hit me that I should just own the look. Sure, nothing about boring medical adhesive or the words “Dexcom G6” screams formal wear, but I had a couple tricks up my sleeve that could doll up my gear nicely.

Namely, I had Patch Peelz. Created by the folks over at Pump Peelz, this patterned tape could make my CGM look fancy. Between the unicorn print and the dark purple and blue color scheme, the patch would look like it was styled to match my dress. I couldn’t help but beam once I was 100% ready for the evening. Coordinated aesthetics aside, I felt like one of the unicorns on my patch: magical, vivacious, and yes, pretty.