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Posted by on Sep 7, 2017 in Diabetes Management, School

Dear Teacher: A Back to School Letter

Dear Teacher: A Back to School Letter

diabetes toddler school teacher Being “that” parent can be a tough task for any caregiver/support staff. I am hoping to provide a few words of kindness, support and thanks to all who welcome the task of caring for my favorite guy, Colton. I want you to know that under my glazed, tired eyes and occasional bewildered glances, I am here to support you while you support him. I will do my best to answer any questions or concerns you have about the challenges of type 1 diabetes (T1D), from my perspective as his parent.

T1D can be scary if you are unfamiliar with the tools to treat it. Ok, the reality is that even with proper training, and active parents and school staff, the symptoms can be scary. Having said that, I know that with the tools and training available to us, we can manage the symptoms together and let him be little, learn lessons and play with his friends.

I pride myself in being upfront and honest about his health conditions, the facts, the myths, the barriers and stigmas that he faces each day. I am here to collaborate with you to make carb counting, meal planning, snack time, and treating highs and lows as seamless as possible so the primary focus can be on learning. I know that you will do your best to help him every day, and for that, I am grateful. I know that there will be times we battle to treat highs and lows.  Please know that I am only a phone call away.

As we attend conferences and meetings, I will do my part to be a resource to the planning team. I will advocate for Colton fiercely and admittedly selfishly at times to make sure that he has a voice in the meetings. I am willing to meet often to discuss the setbacks and small victories that make us both proud to be a part of his life. I will have your office number, cell number and room number on speed dial and will have multiple copies of my contact information available for distribution to each staff member that may have questions or concerns.

Now that I have warned you about the trying times you will have with him, I want you to know how much you mean to us. Thank you in advance for the snacks he may swipe, the corrections you may give and the happiness we will share together when his numbers stay in range.

-Jake Porter, Dad to three-year-old Colton

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Posted by on Aug 28, 2017 in Fashion, Lifestyle, Pump Therapy, Technology

With Omnipod, I’m Free as a Bird!

With Omnipod, I’m Free as a Bird!

tubeless insulin pumpLook, I can pirouette around the bedroom naked!  I can jump in the pool without a care. I don’t have to buy clothes with pockets.  I don’t have to juggle and hold something between my teeth or under my chin when I use the toilet!

So what am I talking about? My Omnipod insulin pump WITH NO TUBING!

If you are new to pumping, coming from multiple daily injections (MDI), then you might not appreciate my exhilaration, or that of my friends who’ve just switched to Omnipod.  But … if you’ve been using the “traditional” insulin pump, then you KNOW.  No matter where you go, you are tethered by tubing that can get twisted and knotted and caught on doorknobs.

Now, don’t get me wrong … I’m always grateful for the technology that allows me to use an insulin pump. Allowing me freedom from multiple shots, eating to cover the long-acting insulin and watching the clock to stay up and take my nighttime shot.  This is all great stuff!

But … NO TUBING?!  What a quantum leap into freedom and a touch of carefree!

When I shower, I don’t have to disconnect and stop my insulin delivery, remember to reconnect and then try to figure out how much insulin I missed (depending on how long and luxuriating my shower time was). Same goes for swimming…no worries. I just swim and stay connected.  No concerns, no calculating, no missed insulin, no time constraints on my playtime!

And can we talk about sleeping?!  With tubing, you either hide your pump awkwardly in a pajama pocket or safety-pinned to your underwear in a baby sock.  OR … the pump roams around the bed, as you toss and turn, getting all wrapped up in tubing.  And what happens when you make that middle-of-the-night trip to the bathroom? Don’t forget to grab your pump or it goes flying to the end of its tubing length, with the possibility of pulling out the infusion set (which you must then change in the darkness and sleepiness).

But with a pod, no problem!  It’s just happily riding along on your tummy, arm, leg, hip, or wherever you’ve decided to wear it.

Don’t just take it just from me.  From a 45-year T1 veteran, “I’m pleasantly surprised by how flat the Pod is and that it really doesn’t stick out under my clothes.  Honestly I’m still trying to figure out all the places I can stick these things … and NO TUBING!”

Omnipod … not a worry, not a hassle … FREEDOM!

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Posted by on Aug 21, 2017 in Diabetes Management, Lifestyle, Relationships

Pregnancy and Parenting with Type 1 Diabetes: Catching up with Olga

Pregnancy and Parenting with Type 1 Diabetes: Catching up with Olga

It’s no joke when people say that every pregnancy is different! I had one wonderful pregnancy with my son, Nikita, but this one… this one is different. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not married to the porcelain god or anything, but the nausea! Not quite strong enough to drive me to the bathroom, but not weak enough to let me just ignore it. It kind of annoyingly lingers throughout the day and at the most random of times. Has anyone experienced this? It’s like that annoying mosquito that keeps buzzing in your ear. You keep swatting it away and think it’s gone, but then one minute later, there it is again.

I guess the old saying is true: try to focus on something else and you’ll eventually stop thinking about what’s bothering you. Thank God for diabetes then right? 🙂

Other than my son, my biggest focus is diabetes management. Now let me tell you, the second time around, pregnancy is more difficult as I have to worry about myself and a toddler. My biggest hurdle and legitimate fear has always been, “if I go low in the middle of feeding/changing/taking care of my child, what do I do?” Well, that has happened several times in the last few weeks (nothing major, I was 65 or 68 but it still had to be taken care of). And let me tell you, I dropped what I was doing, drank a juice box (apple flavor, if you’re wondering) and went right back to it. Did my son spaz a bit when I stopped feeding him? Yes. Did he run around without diapers for a couple of minutes while I took care of my low? Yep! But guess what, my health equals his safety.

Speaking of safety, with a toddler that is constantly yanking on my earrings or trying to choke me with my necklaces, it’s uber serious that I constantly communicate to him to be gentle with his mama. I can’t even imagine him yanking on my pump if it was tubed. Ouch! Accidents happen, I get that, but I am not one to run the risk of such things when I have a tubeless Pod that is neatly hidden away.

Now, when I do have it more visible (on my arm or thigh) and I see his little eyes gaze over and his chubby little hand want to touch it, I quickly remind him “baby we need to be gentle. You can’t yank that or it will hurt mommy.” And thank goodness he is a smart little boy because no matter what pump you use, it will hurt if someone pulls it out!

To any first time or second time diabetic mamas – I salute you! I truly do. It’s already so hard being a great mom, but add in the huge component of type 1 diabetes and well… you become a super star in my eyes. Keep on tweaking your basal rates and carb ratios and boluses and keep on being the strong, wonderful you! Cheers to good health!

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Posted by on Aug 14, 2017 in Diabetes Management, Fitness, Lifestyle, Travel

Getting Historic: One Man’s Mission to Run a Marathon in All 50 States

Getting Historic: One Man’s Mission to Run a Marathon in All 50 States

On June 15, I packed two suitcases, one for me and one for my two daughters, Avery and Harper. Together, we drove from Charlotte, NC to the airport in Greenville, SC for the start of our summer vacation. Our destination? Not the beach. Not Disney World. Somewhere more unique:

Alaska.

Why Alaska? Alaska represented another stop on a journey I began back in 2000, one that has taken me across the United States to accomplish a goal that has been difficult and extremely rewarding as a diabetic. It was at that time I decided to embark on a challenge both for purposes of my faith but also for purposes of showing what a diabetic could do—run a marathon in all 50 states. When I began this journey, the information about athletes with diabetes was limited. It was also frustrating to me personally that after being diagnosed in March 1992, I was told that my normally active life would cease, relegated to a more cautious, sedentary life. I refused to give in to that way of thinking, and when a friend posed the idea of running the New York Marathon in November 2000, I decided to take the leap.

Seventeen years later, I’m still in the air.

Each year, I’ve tried to complete marathons in 3 to 5 states. At the onset, I was able to complete races quickly because travel was close, allowing me to drive and keep costs down. I was also fortunate to turn races in certain places (New York, Chicago, San Francisco) into vacations, accomplishing a personal goal while enjoying the beauty of the country. With some races, I’ve been able to run with other runners, but so many races have forced me to run alone. Because of my health condition, I’ve learned the importance of managing insulin injections around activity, anticipating peak times for insulin. I also learned what snacks/drinks quickly returned glucose to normal levels while exercising, and others to stay away from. In 2013, I decided to take the plunge and transition to the Omnipod System insulin pump. This has relieved a lot of stress mentally and physically during my training cycles by being able to manipulate insulin delivery around endurance workouts at a much closer level.

It’s been amazing to see how much diabetes care has changed in the past seventeen years. No longer do I feel like a man on a proverbial island trying to be active while fighting the daily battle with a bad pancreas. Physicians, dieticians, personal trainers, social media—all have been indispensable in providing sources of great information that went against the common practice. It’s allowed me, at age 44, to continue to pursue this journey without fear and with much greater knowledge. An absolute blessing.

In 2016, I completed marathons in all the contiguous states, collecting finisher medals in Montana and Wyoming. As 2017 began, my goal was simple—complete the last two states, Alaska and Hawaii. So on June 15, my daughters and I traveled 4,000 miles to Anchorage, AK, and on June 17, I crossed the finish line in 4 hours 21 minutes. 49 states down, 1 to go.

Still in the air, ready to land.

Barring any setbacks, I plan to touch down in Hawaii at the Maui Marathon on October 15. I hope you will join me on this final lap as I prepare. It’s so humbling to have come so far, and to use my health not as a setback, but as an inspiration. I can’t wait to add to my collection.

 

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