Welcome to the Adventures of Injectagirl!

Our daughter was diagnosed as Type 1 on May 16, 2016. She is the only Type 1 Diabetic child in about a 50 mile radius of our home. As her mom, I began to scour the internet for resources and encouraging things to help her not to feel alone. I discovered that most things on the internet were geared toward parents/adults. Then Diabetes Awareness Month came around, and Katie was more “out there” on the internet, answering questions and things. As part of celebrating November 14, her older sister did a special superhero makeup look for her…and Injectagirl was born.  We began a YouTube channel, and today we have begun our blog.

If you have questions you’d like to ask, or videos/demonstrations you’d like to see, let us know in the comments!  You can see our YouTube page here, and the Facebook page here.  We are glad you are joining us!

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Injectagirl gives you the 411 on the 2018 KD Foundation Color Rush!

We did this video as a FB Live, but wanted to include it here as well. All the details of the event are included…I hope to get some video on location on May 12!  Please pledge if you can…this is a great event, and a wonderful organization to fund. Your donation $ stays local…no skimming! Katie and her Dad did this last year, which I posted about here. If you’re local, come join us, friends!

Go here to visit the KD Foundation FB page.  There is a pinned post at the top of the feed, where you can find the “Donate” button:

KDdonatescreenshot

Caregiver Stress: “I don’t want to survive –I want to live!”

I know what it is to feel tired, because you are genuinely tired. Being a T1 caregiver means lots of  late nights and/or sleep disturbances because of the anticipation of impending needs. Compound that with the extra weighed-down feeling of the stress of being a 24/7 pancreas, and you will quickly find yourself in a downward spiral. Our spirits are sanctified, but our bodies aren’t yet. They struggle to cope. But friends, there are things that can help tremendously. I’m stepping onto the pavement to the road to recovery myself. Years ago, I was one who walked or biked 3 miles a day and did a regular exercise/weight training regime. The years have worn me down. Crazy cortisol levels have done a number on my health. I’m probably in the worst shape physically now that I’ve ever been and had a wake up call the other day when I actually viewed some video footage from our recent Dexcom trip to Atlanta. I didn’t know that woman I saw. She looked like she was trying hard to be animated and muster up a level of energy which had not been experienced for a very long time.

I went into our daughter’s autoimmune journey with Type 1 Diabetes already navigating a multi-level autoimmune journey of my own with arthritis, Epstein Barr, and fibromyalgia. So, having survived this long is a testimony to God’s sustaining grace, giving me His promised strength in my weakness.

I’ve started to take some measures to find health for myself again.  I thought I’d share some of those tools here, in case they might be a help and encouragement to someone else.  This whole package is no surprise to God. They say “if He brings you to it, He’ll bring you through it” by His all sufficient grace. I know God is always purposeful, so while I’m investigating what He wants to accomplish in our lives through this journey, here are some ways He’s providing to bring me through:

  • Vitamin D3 supplement
  • Turmeric/Curcumin supplement for inflammation
  • Omega 3 supplement
  • A “greens and protein” breakfast shake made with unsweetened almond milk (with a few berries tossed in) plus more water and less coffee (my survival juice in the past)
  • Probiotics (because the gut is the headquarters of the immune system)
  • Calm Magnesium supplement
  • Some slow, gentle activity including some kind-to-the-weary-body exercises as well as stationary bike and Atoning Yoga (which is not eastern empty-your-mind meditation but rather biblical fill-your-mind meditation)
  • Little tools like this from the Calm FB page can be surprisingly relaxing
  • Reminding myself of the truths in this article on turning off the stress response
  • Listening to this biblical mediation mp3 to “think on these things
  • Getting a handle on the inflammatory response in my body by pursuing this nutritional lifestyle

These are some helpful things you can consider if you are feeling like this (as I do!):

What have you tried which has helped you stay healthy? Share below!

We are trying Medtronic iPort Advance!

iportboxWe’ve had some issues with lipohypertrophy (simplified, it’s scar and fatty tissue build up under the skin) which has caused problems with insulin absorption for Katie. If insulin is not completely absorbed, BG numbers will obviously be affected, remaining high. Also, if the insulin becomes trapped and later releases, you can imagine the mental gymnastics involved in trying to figure out why you have such low numbers (perhaps even dangerously low) when you did everything “right”. Katie is not ready for a pump yet, so I signed up for the free trial of the Medtronic iPort Advance here (requires approval by your endoctrinologist on the form). We received two ports (each is good for 3 days/72 hours) to give it a go!

Here is a little video we did on our initial impressions:

We found the insertion to be quick and very easy. The applicator is spring loaded, and the needle is covered so not real intimidating for the kiddos. Here is a video showing the insertion process, for those who are curious. It’s pretty straightforward, not hard at all.  Katie said it was not very painful…just a nip and it was done.  Comparing that to the game of Russian Roulette we play with every injection done the standard way, and yes…we already felt (literally) the benefit!

So, if you do the math, this is a great option…one poke (for the device insertion) every three days as compared to 5-7 pokes daily (on average, depending on snacks, and correction needs). Multiply that over the course of a month and you are looking at 10 pokes rather than up to 210! Yep!

Another plus to this device is if your child is not ready for a pump for whatever reason, the iPort Advance can be sort of a “next step” in that direction, giving them the experience of the ease and decreased discomfort having all of their insulin injected into one site. For children who are fearful of injections, or family members who struggle with administering injections, this can definitely be a plus.

The iPort Advance is small and fairly flat, so it can be worn easily. Pops off for disposal easily just like a Dexcom sensor does. It can be used with syringes or insulin pens having a needle not longer than 5/16 inch (8mm) or shorter than 3/16 inch or 5mm.  The thickest needle size for use with i-Port Advance is a 28 gauge needle.

Learn more about the Medtronic iPort Advance here.  A special discount was extended to us via email right after we received our package, enabling us to save up to 50% on a subscription. The cost monthly appears comparable to a 30-day supply of infusion sets. For insurance, please check with your provider to see if coverage is available.

Katie has just done her first injection for her lunch time insulin…no problem! I’m watching her Dexcom CGM, and can see the insulin taking effect, so I know we’re on track. Yay us! 🙂 FYI-with an insulin pen, she needs to wait about 10 seconds before removing the needle from the port to be sure all medication is dispensed correctly.

After we are through with our trial, I plan to post an update relating our overall impression of using the device. Stay tuned!

T1D MOD Self Care

tired mug“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” 2 Cor. 4:16

See this coffee cup? I decided this morning that it was a great object lesson for this blog post, which has been brewing (pun intended) in my heart for a couple weeks.  I forgot this cup this morning. It wasn’t the first time it has sat forlorn with freshly-brewed perspective quickly cooling inside. Today I found it in the Keurig. The happy Toasted Coconut concoction was stone cold. And then I began to examine the cup.

Look closely. This cup is well-used. It is tired. The monogram on the outside is scratched and faded.  But the inside is still a beautiful, sunny morning yellow. That’s what I love best about it. And it came to me…this cup was me.

Age, sleepless nights, stress (and prayerlessness…ugh), multiple health issues of my own…they have all worn me down on the outside. But this precious promise above is what I hold onto. What’s inside me can be refreshed, renewed, renovated every day…and my God has the fresh mercies required for that process every morning too.

I’ve blogged about stress management numerous times at my other blog, Strength for Today. There you can find helpful tips on relaxation techniques, books, scripture, and other resources to help your body.  Here are a few posts:

I just want to say, dear MOD friend, that this battle was never intended for you to fight alone. If I thought it was solely up to me to survive this, to keep my spirits up (and our daughter’s), to forge ahead, to remain hopeful, to find energy when I’m running on fumes, to keep looking ahead and to do so with confidence and not fear…I’d surely lock myself in a room right now. I simply can’t do it.

I recently asked in a support group what those ladies did for “self care”. Cricket…cricket…cricket… No responses. Then, one brave soul commented, “Self care? What’s that?”  (Let me say a quick word about support groups…I’m a member of several on Facebook, but beware of getting sucked into those which only encourage venting, which is so damaging. Join groups which also have folks who help you think, troubleshoot, find answers…and will pray with you.) Oh, MOD friends, it isn’t noble to neglect the body you’ve been lent. Everything you are trying to accomplish on a daily/nightly basis takes its toll on you. So I encourage you, if you can’t rest the body, at least rest the soul. Keep your heart, guard it with all diligence.

A sort of Christian “mantra” that I share with our kids often is that God is always purposeful, He never makes mistakes, He’s always good, and He never wastes time.  This has been spelled out for me and you in the pages of His Word. He lets us know Him through that book. He is your refuge and strength…a very present help in trouble. Grab a nap when you can. Exercise helps in so many ways. Don’t just drink coffee…water is supremely important. Take your vitamins. These things all help our physical bodies limp along through this life. But ladies, your spirit can soar!It can mount up with wings as eagles…run and not be weary, and walk and never faint. That happens when we come to Him in that painful silence and simply sit at His feet.  Look to Him. Pray for His purposes, and ask that you might not miss them in the middle of the crazy night time lows, the mad dashes for juice boxes, the frustration at the higher A1C, the bewilderment of BG levels which make no sense. He’s there. The more often we remind ourselves of that, the more “Peace, be still” will take hold of the tempests in our hearts.

Saying a prayer right now for every one who may come across this post. Desperate mamas, allow Him to refocus those crippling energies forward as He crafts in you the hopeful determination of a warrior.

(((warm, strengthening hugs)))

“Dear 21 Year Old Me…”

When we watched Diabetic Danica’s video about her diagnosis, we realized that she was the same age as Katie was (since then Katie has had a birthday). We thought it might be interesting to hear what Danica would write to her 11-year-old self, and Katie would write to her 21-year-old self as well.

Katie’s letter is full of questions, as anyone might expect. She also includes a humorous caveat for her future husband! 🙂

The most important part of this exercise as  MOD (mom of diabetic) is to encourage our daughter to have a forward vision. It is very easy to become so focused on the day-to-day staying alive routine with a T1. Any given day can provide for situations where numbers dip dangerously low, or climb precariously high. Very literally, we keep our kids alive every day by being their pancreas until they are old enough to assume the responsibility themselves. This goes far beyond making sure they eat their vegetables, look both ways before crossing the street, and educating them about “stranger danger”. It means continually monitoring carbs, tweaking insulin doses, ordering supplies, paying attention to things like temperature and stress and emotional levels which can all affect BG, making sure you are always prepared (at home or on the road) for emergencies, sleepless nights monitoring BG levels, scrambling for quick carbs and glucagon when BG is too low and could lead to coma if not brought back into a good range, being the “sergeant major” who forces fluids and gives insulin and even demands more exercise when levels are too high–to avoid an ER visit for DKA, lots of research, and lots of hugs because the journey is hard. All of this 24/7. It’s rarely convenient and always relentless.

It’s therapeutic for me to hear her talk to the self who will be the Katie of the next decade. Because life is fragile, especially in circumstances like hers. I wouldn’t want to burden her heart with discussions right now about DIB Syndrome, but it happens…too often. I want Katie to be hopeful, and to enjoy the fun of childhood. Anyone who has a child walking a path like this understands how it can steal the lightheartedness of these supposedly carefree years. Frankly, it ages all of us in different ways. This disease dogs a person every step of their human existence, so I was encouraged to hear her ask her future self about developments like an insulin patch and whether she will have the G6 from Dexcom. It’s amazing the developments which have taken place just in the two years since her diagnosis…I can’t imagine what might be available ten years from now!

Hope is very important to cultivate. And so, Katie writes to the self she hasn’t met yet. The self who has hopefully fulfilled some of her little girl dreams. The self who continues to survive as an even stronger warrior and superhero than she is today.

T1D warrior art

Katie’s drawing of herself as a warrior. She was asked to draw this again on the spot at the Dexcom event last month.

Art Therapy

krhartclass1It helps to have something to do, a place to put the emotions that overflow.  Prayer, of course, is the first go-to; but we are beings created to “do”.

Some people like to work out, or read, or take a walk in the woods.  We have found that art is a great outlet for Katie. She has beauty-loving eyes that see God’s creative genius everywhere, and she loves to catalog it.

We signed Katie up for an art class last month. In this particular class, she is learning more about painting. She’s done a lot of sketching and had some classes in animation/cartoon drawing, but this was a new thing for her. She’s had paint sets countless times, but never any real instruction (other than Bob Ross lol). So not only was this educational for homeschool purposes, and instructive in developing her talents, but it also provided a new way for her to express what she sees and feels.

In her first class, the students chose a picture to paint, of a dog or cat. This was good for her in paying attention to details and developing technique for showing texture. It’s the first real cat she’s ever tried to put down on paper.krhartclass3

In her second class, they painted cloud formations, which was helpful in her learning more about light and shadow, and mixing colors. She’d never done anything like this.  I don’t know if the painting is a reflection of what she was feeling inside…she had told me on the way to class that she wanted to paint stormy clouds.  If she can let that out through her brush, I think it’s great.krhartclass2

Her next class is a mystery. We’ll find out what she is painting when we show up! I’ve sat in the back of the class due to Katie’s health needs, so I’ve been able to listen to the instruction and feedback. I have to tell you that this journey with T1 has been cultivating a thankful heart in our little superhero.  Twice now the teacher has opened up discussion on the students’ work. While most of the class sat silent (typical for middle schoolers who don’t enjoy putting themselves “out there”), Katie has spoken right up, looking for the good in each piece which was held up for evaluation. I loved that. Learning to look for the good.

While at our library a week ago, we took the time to finally stroll through the art gallery there. Some really beautiful works in all sorts of mediums, by local artists and otherwise. I was surprised to see a Norman Rockwell painting there, as well as a lithograph from Salvador Dali.

There were a number of paintings depicting this sad event, which I’d only heard about once in passing. We talked about how one of the hardest things when you are an artist is to depict hard truth, show life as it is with all its flaws, and reconcile yourself to imperfection. Because the world doesn’t always have the sun shining in the upper right corner of the page, trees and mountains are rarely perfect triangles, and houses contain lives which are so much more than one-dimensional.

Also a good thing to learn to master–facing hard realities truthfully. The T1D life is full of struggles, so it’s important to learn to navigate them well.  How are you doing this for your T1? What is therapeutic for him or her?

Dex Coming Off? “Hot Swap” with Dex G4 Platinum CGM!

hotswapI just recently learned about this “trick” and it’s FABULOUS! If you have ever found yourself in a position where your Dex is coming off unexpectedly, or you need to do a middle-of-the-night swap for some reason, you need to know this.

So the regular SOP for changing out a Dex G4 (this would work for G5 also…I believe the steps are the same) sensor is to:

  1. Press “Stop Sensor” on the receiver.
  2. Remove the current sensor “port” with transmitter.
  3. Insert new sensor “port”.
  4. Clip in the transmitter.
  5. Press “Start Sensor” on the receiver.
  6. Wait 2 hours for the warm-up period on the new sensor.
  7. When you get the two blood drops icon you:
    1. Do a finger poke
    2. Press Enter BG
    3. Enter your number
    4. Press OK
    5. Lather, rinse, repeat (do the whole thing again)
    6. Then the Dex is calibrated.
    7. Numbers can be wonky for the first 24 hours.

With a “hot swap”, this is what you do:

  1. DON’T press “Stop Sensor”.
  2. Insert your next Dex sensor “port” in the new location.
  3. Then, quickly remove the transmitter from the original spot and click immediately into the new sensor “port”.
  4. Remove the old sensor “port” and dispose.
  5. Your sensor should kick back into regular readings within the next few minutes.

We didn’t even show ??? or the out of range icon.

I’ll provide an explanation on the numbers you see on our iPhone above. This screen reflects the night after a birthday party. Enough said. 😉 We had restarted her last sensor last week, and toward the end of the second week (please know that Dexcom does not advise or guarantee accuracy past one week of sensor usage–this is a MOD workaround to get more mileage out of those expensive little things!) the numbers get a bit squirrely and we need to do more finger pokes. So her number this morning prior to the “hot swap” was actually about 75 pts off. She was actually about 150, not all that crazy, really high stuff. So when we swapped the sensor to the new port, you see that drastic drop as it was establishing an accurate number. On top of that, because we were past one week, her patch (to keep the Dex secure) was hanging by a thread. It was secured with Bandaids! So this was the perfect time to try this new thing!

Here’s what is cool–when we did a finger poke, she was only 5 points off from what the Dex was reading. We just hummed along as usual, with NO 2-hour warm up and NO 24 hours of wonkiness. Then we got the regular “change sensor” icon when our week was up again.

Disclaimer: The “hot swap” protocol above is not approved by Dexcom. I’m not an official representative for the company. This is merely a technique I discovered online and decided I’d give it a shot.  So, if you try this, you’ll be doing it at your own risk…just like we are. 😉