I Heart Silicone Medical ID Bracelets ♥

Like most of us, some things “diabetes” I’m good at and some…not so good.   An area I usually excel in is being a “good girl” and wearing a type 1 medical ID bracelet.  I’m not the kind of person that wears a lot of jewelry on a regular basis, nevertheless, when I first started wearing a diabetes ID, I tried out a few different kinds of bracelets.  Most of them were very jewelry-like, lasted a day or two, and now sit in a drawer collecting dust.  Once I discovered the ease and beauty of simply wearing a piece of silicone, I never went back to the other “prettier” bracelets.  Silicone works for me because I don’t have to worry about getting it wet or getting food on it when I’m cooking; the kids can pull on it and play with it; I can shower, sleep, swim, play sports, and generally be active all while comfortably wearing it…and it still looks like it did on the day I started abusing it 4 years ago.

While I can’t control when or if an emergency situation might occur, I can try to have important info on hand (pun intended).  So, if I’m going to wear the darn thing every day (in case of an emergency), I don’t just want it to say “Type 1 Diabetic” on it.  I want it to at least list general medical information and my husbands phone number.  I really like the idea of providing a phone number of someone who knows what medications and dosages I’m on, who knows my kids and their schedules.  I find it comforting.

Geez, how can I fit all that information on a wristband?

I found a lot of bracelets that have tiny little pieces of papers or cards in them that you’re supposed to be able to neatly fill out with personal information.  Sorry, but my handwriting is not that good (or that small).  Plus, it’s paper…what kind of life expectancy can that little slip of paper have with stinky toddler fingers, days at the pool, and sinks full of dirty dishes?

custom silicone diabetes wristbandI’ve researched endlessly online to find a company that will let me add multiple lines of custom text to a silicone bracelet (without requiring a minimum order of 50!).  Here is my favorite: Design-A-Band.  OK, admittedly, their site might seem a little hokey but I’ve ordered various bracelets from these guys over the years and they’re always spot-on!

silicone medical type 1 diabetes bracelet frontAnd…drum role please…here’s my current favorite wristband: tried but true, worn day in and day out for 4 years, and glow-in-the-dark.  On the outside I have some basic info that the whole world can see and on the inside, I have personal medical information and contact phone numbers.

silicone medical type 1 diabetes bracelet backI’m on a continuous quest to find ever cooler looking, totally customizable silicone wristbands.  I’ll keep you posted…

Got one you really like?  Tell us about it!

Wearing My OmniPod On My Back: A Little Help Here?

So lately I’ve been trying out OmniPod sites to experiment with my insulin absorption rates.  Wearing the pod on my back is great as far as insulin absorption and blood sugar are going, however, how the heck do you reach back there to change your pod?

If I was just using the OmniPod and the adhesive it came with, I’d probably be ok using a mirror to place new pods and remove old ones…but I use Skin Tac and (as many of you know) that stuff is messy!

When I place pods on my belly, the circle of Skin Tac I apply first is larger than the circle of the OmniPod adhesive, so I’m left with a sticky ring around the new OmniPod when I’m done that I have to go back and carefully clean off.

No way I can use an adhesive remover on my back and just wipe off the extra “ring” of Skin Tac without also getting some on the OmniPod.  If you can do this…more power to you!  But, I’m just not that flexible/coordinated anymore.  What’s a girl to do?  Well, actually I’ve been asking my husband to assist with hard-to-reach site placements.  He diligently sprays the old pod with De-Solv-it, removes all the old, yucky residue, places the new pod (where I actually want it instead of where I’d probably accidentally stick it if I was trying to place it back there myself), and wipes away the “ring” of leftover Skin Tac.  Yeah, I know…he’s a great catch!

What would I do without him? Anyone have any good tricks to share for hard-to-reach sites?

Will My Kids Develop Type 1 Diabetes Too? Is There Anything I Can Do About It?

As a mother with T1 diabetes (and Grave’s disease) I can’t help but wonder “Is my child more likely to develop one of these conditions and if so, is there anything, no matter how small, that I can do about it?”

You’ve probably all heard the term “genetically predisposed to diabetes”.  What does it mean?  Basically it means that you were born with certain genetic markers (that’s just a small piece of your DNA) and research has shown that if you have these certain genetic markers you’re more likely to develop Type 1 diabetes than if you don’t.  We have no control over our DNA, so if we have them, we were born with them and that’s that.  The same goes for our children.  (Read a summary from Joslin Diabetes Center about what you’re child’s genetic risk may be based on relatives with T1).

Outside of the world of genetics though, there are lots of other factors that have been shown to increase (or decrease) your risk of developing T1 diabetes, including environmental factors (like certain things you eat or don’t eat), and your microbiome (that’s the “usually good” bacteria that live inside your body all the time….eww!).  Researchers are doing more and more studies on these other factors every day.  When factors are shown to increase your risk of developing T1 diabetes they’re called risk factors but when they’re shown to decrease your risk of developing T1, they’re called protective factors.  Ahh, as a parent I really like the sound of that…protective factors….

There isn’t anything I can do about my children’s genetic risk factors, or their microbiome (yet), but what about the environmental stuff?  Are there any protective factors, even if they’re small, that I can integrate into our daily lives?  In short, the answer is yes.

Will they actually help to protect my kids?  I’ll probably never know…but turns out most of these small changes, largely related to diet and our environments, are healthier choices for the whole family anyway, so why not try?

Some of the first protective factors we can control as parents are related to infant diet (but there are others that apply post-infancy).  Infant diet protective factors include:  longer duration of breastfeeding (at least 4-6 months), and waiting longer to introduce cow’s milk products (at least 8 days).

As a T1 diabetic these reasons were some of the most important ones for me when I chose to breastfeed my kids…and the main reason I really pushed myself to continue with it for at least a full year.

psst…I’ll be posting about other risk and protective factors periodically under the tag “Type 1 diabetes pathogenesis”.

Breastfeeding with T1 Diabetes for Over a Year: A Pat On the Back!

It’s official.  I quit nursing my son after 13 months.  Part of me wants to celebrate that my body is once again all mine and I have a little more freedom.  Part of me is a bit sad because I won’t be having any more children, so this was my last time to experience that special baby-mommy nursing bond.

What does the diabetic part of me think?

Well, research shows T1 mothers are less likely to long-term breastfeed successfully.  You read a lot of quotes in scientific journals like this:

Click on the image to go to the full article on PubMed.

Click on the image to go to the full article on PubMed.

I’m sure this isn’t a huge surprise to any of us, as most hard things in life are a bit harder with T1 along for the ride.  Nevertheless, I’m proud that I lasted this long (despite the fact that I’m guilty of “down-prioritizing my own needs”).

Research also shows that a longer duration of breastfeeding might help protect my children from potentially developing T1 themselves.   So, I’m proud for that reason as well. I really like to think that despite my broken immune system, I was still able to pass on to my little guy what he needed for his tiny immune system to grow big and strong (hopefully strong enough to know not to attack parts of his own little body!).

I’m also nervous.  I’ve been telling myself that when I finished nursing I would get back on the trail to emphasizing my own health, which means letting my body adjust to the hormone changes that come with quitting (and premature menopause) and then figuring out where my insulin requirements really stand now.  This is daunting.  So much has changed!  I weigh more.  My activity levels are different.  My schedule is more erratic.  I eat a little differently.  I was never afraid of a new variable before.  I watched my BG patterns and I made adjustments as needed.  But this?  This is a LOT of variables that have changed at once.  I almost feel like I’m starting from scratch.  Then again, I knew it was coming, so the jig is up.  I’m on my own once more with no excuses and it’s time to work on stabilizing my BG patterns.