Reviews and Giveaways!**

**Hello friends, the time has come. Head on over to The Diabetic Mommy Facebook page for an exciting GIVEAWAY sponsored by Sugar Medical. It is going on now through Monday, August 7th, TWO winners will be chosen at random and announced Tuesday, August 8th, at 1:00 p.m eastern time.  Good luck everyone. And thank you once again for all of the love and support you have shown this blog and Facebook page.**

Recently I had the opportunity to partner with the phenomenal Sugar Medical to do a review and giveaway. I wanted to share my thanks and gratitude for all of the awesome people who have helped make this site, and The Diabetic Mommy Facebook page, such an incredible community of like minded individuals. What better way to share the love than to give away really fantastic goodies. More on that later. For now, the review.

Disclaimer: I would like it to be noted that I am in no way being compensated by Sugar medical for purpose of this review. However, they are sponsoring the giveaway. All thoughts and opinions are my very own and are not influenced in any way by the company or individuals affiliated with said company.


Living with diabetes comes with a lot of worry; blood sugar levels and ways to treat them if need be, A1c’s and doctors appointments, complications that may or my not occur, and just the overall mental, physical, and emotional game you have to play when dealing with this illness. It is a stressful beast nipping at our heels, but we manage.

That being said, the last thing I want to worry about is where to keep all of my necessary supplies when traveling, and not just across states or countries, but to the grocery store or amusement parks. I don’t want to be fumbling around in my purse for my pump or dexcom. For you gentlemen out there it’s possibly even worse because you don’t carry bags lot of the time. The frustration is real, friends.

I  have been a long time user of sugar medical products, I find their bags to be quite functional and stylish enough to fit my funky personality. They have just about everything you could think of to help make living with diabetes just a little less crazy.

Recently the site introduced their newest bag, The Omnipod Plus Bag, it seemed cute and practical which was exactly what I had been looking into for awhile. Once I had actually received it I knew it was just what I needed. Pictured below is the one I was given for review, The Landon Plus bag. It is truly phenomenal and I’ll tell you why…

 

Not only does my Dexcom fit in the outside pocket perfectly but this bag features a see through window so I can view my numbers where ever I am with ease. This colorful bag comes with a strap for carrying it around my wrist or securing it to my purse. In the pictures above that is the thickness of the bag with all of my things inside…

 

Inside is roomier than a Cadillac. There is a zipper side for either an extra pod or syringes and lancets. There are loops to secure your insulin vial, test strips, batteries, and lancing device. But even better than that? There is now a velcro feature for your pump. You simply place the 3m sticker on the back of your PDM, let sit for 24 hours before placing on velcro in the bag, and bam…you have a secured device tucked away nicely. The very last picture is something I love even more, it is a trash compartment for your test strips. Inside is a plastic like material that is easily wiped out if you were to get blood in there. How amazing is that?

 

You can also purchase new gel skins. I went with purple but there are plenty of colors to choose from to fit your personality. Just because we have diabetes doesn’t mean we can’t be fashionable. Gentlemen, you aren’t left out either because there are color combos and themes to meet your needs as well.

Over all I am beyond impressed with these newer bags. The regular omnipod ones are great as well but if you are looking for just a little extra something then the plus is for you. It serves every need I have in regards to carrying my supplies.

Interested in purchasing one for yourself?

Check out the website linked above for more info.


 

If you liked this review then head on over to The Diabetic Mommy Facebook page and show us some love. Also a huge thank you to the Sugar medical team for partnering with me on this amazing giveaway. Stay tuned for more details.

Pumpcation.

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It’s needless to say that diabetes can be a bit frustrating at times. Whether I follow the “rules” to the T or dance to a different tune, diabetes is always there being all frustrating. Recently I’ve hit a wall and I’ve hit it hard
I’ve been on the omnipod since November of 2013 and I’ve loved each and every second of it. There have been days where my pods malfunction and I just want to throw them out the window but for the most part these little things have been game changers for me. Given me the freedom I’ve so desperately searched for with diabetes on my back. Allowed me an opportunity to really take control of something I thought would always be a chaotic mess. Except now I’m starting to despise these little gadgets.

I’m starting to despise all my gadgets.

They’ve been causing me more stress than not and I’m taking that as a signal for a break. Not forever but for now I need some space. I am on gadget overload and before I start neglecting my diabetes because of these frustrations I need to find other ways to manage my disease. Going back to MDI actually seems nice. I’m excited for the change up. I’m excited to unplug for a bit and refocus this whole situation.

I know I’m not the only one who has done this before.

In fact it’s knowing that this happens, that it’s a common experience, that gives me the confidence and encouragement I need for this little experiment. Of course I don’t plan on just changing things up on my own. I have an endo appointment coming up in a few weeks where I’ll discuss my pumpcation, my frustrations, and everything in between. Hopefully she’ll understand and give me a bit of guidance. I could use a lot of the right now.

What have been your thoughts/experiences with pumpcations?

A tech-y generation.

 

Having to explain my diabetic tools to non medical people or non diabetics is always a hoot. But understandable. Having to explain my devices to the people at my diabetic specialists office was a strange experience.

There are three other pregnant women with pumps that see the same doctor. Two are the Animas Ping and one is on Medtronic. I’m the only one with an Omnipod and none of them carry a continuous glucose monitor. They simply do a finger stick every time and then the doctors assistants are able to download their pump/meter data into the computer before each visit. When I approached the desk with all my new gadgets the nurses/receptionists were amazed.

Like I was an alien life form introducing them to a whole new world…

“How does that pump work without tubing? Makes no sense!”

“Oh it’s like a satellite thing..?”

“How do you know it’s working?”

I explained that the Omnipod was a tubeless pump.

“I have a pod shaped  reservoir of insulin attached to me for three days, and then I change sites, it is controlled by a PDM where I am able to enter in carbohydrates, blood sugars, and insulin dosages. It then sends a signal to the pod. They talk to each other. It’s awesome.”

The looks on their faces were priceless.

Then I had to explain the Dexcom which got an even better reaction. It’s like they had never heard of such a thing.

The downside to all my fancy technology?

Since they can’t download anything from my gadgets I have to check the Dexcom before and after every meal and jot those numbers down for them. Not a huge hassle but I thought we were all up on the times. Ha.

I’m kidding of course.

I only recently became savvy to these things myself. I was just happy I got to educate and inform.

I’m thrilled at the opportunity to teach someone a little something about diabetes and all the cool things we can do in terms of management. A few people at work thought I was carrying around three cell phones. I’ve been asked if the Dexcom was an old ipod and why I wouldn’t just download my music to my phone. I’ve been asked so many weird questions and all I can do is laugh and explain what it is these things are/do.

Have any of you dealt with this before?

How have you handled it?

 

Site change anxieties.

If you’ve never used an insulin pump, or an Omnipod for that matter, then you’ve never felt the sort of gut wrenching anxiety that I have felt every three days. Allow me to explain..

My pump is fantastic in that I have no tubes whatsoever. It is simply a pod, attached to my body, filled with insulin that is controlled by a PDM (Personal Diabetes Manager) which sends it signals to give me insulin. I get my background or basal insulin and I can add in my blood sugar/carbs to get a bolus or dosage for that moment.

OmniPod-with-PDM

I change this amazing little pod every three days. I move the site to my arms, my thighs, my lower back, even my stomach. It’s important to rotate your sites so that there is less scar tissue and skin damage.

Where does the anxiety part come into play?

Well, it’s during the process of changing and prepping a new pod to be placed on my body. You have to click on your PDM that you would like to fill another pod. Inside a neatly packed bundle is a pod and syringe that you use to fill the pod with. You aren’t allowed to use a normal syringe. You fill said syringe up with your units of insulin and then you administer that through a tiny hole up in the top left hand corner of your pod. You then listen for two beeps or it didn’t work..

Filling…filling…filling…..

C’mon…

Beep, beep.

Whew. That part was a success.

Yes, I have had it fail out at that point which means you lost a pod, a lot of insulin, and a little bit of your sanity.

Next you follow the prompts on your PDM which will begin the prepping process. You’ll hear a series of clicks and beeps while a “loading” page is featured on your PDM screen. This can also be a bit agonizing because I’ve had it fail out at that point as well. (Cue lost pod, insulin, and sanity). After that you’re prompted to remove the pods safety latch that covers the cannula, as well as the adhesive that will stick to your skin. All is good with that part of the process I’ve never had an issue here. After placing it on the site of your choice you click through and hit “start” which is the process of firing off the cannula into your skin.

THIS is the most stressful for me.

You’re pinching your skin and waiting to hear the clicks and beeps that accompany the firing of the cannula when all of a sudden you get a loud, screeching, alarm signaling that the pod has failed. “Whhhhaaat? No! But, I…just” Ugh. Cue loss of pod, insulin, and a lot of your sanity. Of course then there are the days where everything fires off completely normal and you are done and set for another three days of Omnipod awesomeness.

The failed pods are few and far between but they have happened which is what makes changing your site such a nerve wracking situation. Insulin and pods are not cheap so when something fails out I am not a happy camper.

Do any of my other insulin pumping friends go through any sort of site change anxiety?

When old friends meet again.

I wouldn’t really call us friends. I’ve always needed you more than you needed me.

I’m not talking about another person either. I’m talking about shots. Syringes and insulin vials. We met eight years ago in January and then I made the switch over to an insulin pump November of 2013. This new relationship has been going well. So I thought. Until I had three pods fail/deactivate themselves while in use.

THREE pods in two weeks.

Color me frustrated.

So MDI was back in the picture for about a day and a half. Usually catching up with an old friend is nice. However, this meeting was far from nice. Here’s the back story: A few days ago I woke up to do a pod change. Everything went smoothly. I went through each step, as I always do, paying meticulous attention to every single detail. This would be my last pod change until my order shipped. Which was a whole fiasco in itself because I needed new authorization from insurance and then my address change threw things off even though I had submitted that weeks before my move.

The pod went on properly and like normal I started my pump up. About an hour later something went wrong and the darn thing decided to deactivate itself. I was out running errands when this happened so I was a bit frantic. My last pod, filled to the max with insulin, and it decides to stop. Thankfully I had a few syringes on me and the vial I had just pulled from. I panicked internally but kept a smiling face. Was I going to have to give myself shots all day?

I called the Omnipod reps to see what the hold up was and what they suggested in the meantime. They confirmed shipment, finally, and put a rush order on it. I had to work that night so I was even more upset.

I called my team leader to inform them of the situation. That I would be checking my dexcom quite a bit and would possibly need to leave the floor once in a while to inject insulin. They were all very understanding. I won’t even get into the emotional stress I caused myself worrying about work and the inconvenience I felt I was putting on everyone because of all this. I teared up in the car before starting my shift. I hated having to explain to everyone why I was a bit “off” why my eyes looked glazed over or why I needed to shove that kitkat in my mouth like a crazed lunatic.

Overall the night went better than I had expected. I hovered in the 150’s-160’s, with occasional drops below 60 here and there, but every break I would test and inject a few units to make sure I stood below 200. The next day I worked again and worried that I would have to do the same thing all over again. The most frustrating part is that I couldn’t get a handle on it I was either sky rocketing or dropping below 50. Had I forgotten how to “old school” bolus already?

About an hour before I had to leave for work my pods showed up. I literally jumped for joy. I never thought I’d be that ecstatic to have robot parts again. So far so good. This pod has been on for two days now and seems to be working just fine. Blood sugar is back to normal. Which is great considering I have blood work tomorrow.

Needless to say it has been one stressful week. I will say this though, the Omnipod representatives/customer service is amazing. They are replacing the pods that malfunctioned and we also chatted about rotating sites and which areas work best for some people. They are just exquisite at making you feel comfortable.

I made it out alive but I am hoping to not have to deal with this much chaos for awhile.

What I learned from all of this is that some things are not guaranteed. Technology malfunctions no matter how awesome it is and we just have to roll with the punches. It all worked out in the end and that’s what matters. Now I know to always be prepared and to have a plan a, b, c, and d. Just in case.

Don’t forget to smile. I know you’ll find a reason to.

How has your week/weekend been?

My electronic pancreas.

This is my life. Everything I need to know to keep myself healthy is featured on these little devices. I feel naked with out them by my side. At the end of the day I have an electronic pancreas. The Omnipod delivers insulin. The Dexcom, which I have dubbed Dex Shepherd, tells me where my blood sugar is sitting.

Kind of neat, right?

I laughed the other day when I showed my daughter where the pod and sensors were, they were placed on my stomach, and she began yelling, “Robot Stomach!!” And then hugged me and said I was cute. Um, thanks?!

I do love that she will check my blood sugar for me, which just involves pushing the dexcom button, then cheers me on when I am in range. She’s an awesome little helper. Next I’ll show her how to bolus for me.

Overall this has been a very pleasant experience. Minus the insurance woes. That’s a story for another day though.

I leave you with this..

“The pain you feel today is the strength you feel tomorrow. For every challenge encountered there is opportunity for growth.”

This helps me get through the days when I don’t feel like being diabetic anymore.