Driving with a Baby, Wife, Dog and Diabetes to PA and Back

Back in August, Amanda and I.. and Lucy (I have to remember to keep adding her) decided to drive up to Pennsylvania for a little summer visit to my family and friends up there. We made this drive last year and it wasn’t that bad. Oh yea, our Cavalier King Charles comes along for the right too. Packing for this trip is usually a breeze for me when it comes to clothes, but the diabetes part is what is stressful. Making sure that I have everything that I need and getting it stored in a nice box that I can have for the month vacation is important for me.

The drive up was not bad at all. I was wearing my MiniMed 530G with Enlite sensor during the drive up. Last year, I didn’t wear my sensor and there was a lot more testing than this year, but if you have ever made a road trip like that (1,200 miles) then you know there is a lot of snacking and eating going on. Wearing the CGM helped give me an idea of where my BG was at when I decided to have a snack. (by snack, that usually meant Chic-Fil-A)

While we were up there, I didn’t have to re-oder insulin or anything like I had to last year. Last year, my insulin was shipped to Florida instead of PA and that wasn’t a fun experience.

After spending an entire month up in PA (and trading in the car we drove up in and bought a new one from a friend’s dealership) it was time to drive home. I decided not to wear my CGM on the ride back, pure laziness, so there was a lot more testing. My blood sugars ran a little higher during the drive back, but that was primarily due to the fact that I wasn’t wearing my CGM.

My legs during the drive would cramp up a lot, so I made sure to move them around whenever I could and walk for a little bit at every stop because I know the importance of getting that blood flowing.

I didn’t post while I was away primarily for the safety reasons of being away from home for a month, so that’s why you haven’t heard much from me. Since I got back, I have been swamped with catching up on work, but things are better now. New month, new start, let’s go.

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Deep Sea Diabetes

Last month my parents were down here for a little vacation to visit their grand daughter. During this trip, my dad really wanted to get out on the ocean and do some deep sea fishing. We decided we were going to take out a large charter boat, even though we knew we weren’t likely to catch much because of the amount of people that were going to be on the boat.

The night before I got everything together that I knew I was going to take with me because we had to get up pretty early. I packed the cooler with:

  • Water
  • Gatorade
  • Regular Soda
  • Skittles
  • Sunscreen
  • Syringe, insulin, meter (packed in ziplock and kept on the outer pocket of the cooler)

In the morning I ate a bagel because I wanted a food that I knew would keep my BG levels above 160. This is one of the few times that I don’t mind my BG going over 160-180 and not doing anything to correct it. I knew that the heat and the activity level of reeling in fishing line would lower my BG levels naturally, so I didn’t want any extra help with the insulin.

Once on the boat, I actually decided to detach myself from the pump for a little while because it was very crowded and lines were being crossed so people were walking in and out and in front of and behind of everyone and I didn’t want to take the chance of the tubing getting snagged (no fishing pun intended, well kinda), on anyone.

Unfortunately, I was right about catching fish. My dad and I both hooked two fish, but it was at the same time we were surrounded by sharks and they were having a feeding frenzy on everyone who was hooking fishing. The good news about the trip is that I didn’t have any extreme lows. We moved to a different fishing spot 2 times, so during those 10-15 minute breaks I drank some water and snacked on a few Skittles.

This was only the 3rd time in the 11 years I’ve been diagnosed that I’ve been out in the ocean and all 3 times I’ve had successful trips.

Here’s to the next one being just as fun.

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Are You Ready for Some Football

Did reading that title just give you the chills? Because I know it did to me. The beginning of football, even pre-season games is better than any Christmas morning feeling I ever had as a kid. I grew up playing the sport, I’ve studied the game, I’ve crafted the game and now I watch the game as much as I possibly can. And yes, I am a huge fantasy football player.

Which leads me to today’s post. Last year, I got started in one day / week fantasy sports such as Fan Duel and Draft Kings. I started out just playing free leagues for fun and then eventually started playing for money. Every week a group of my friends still do weekly free leagues just for bragging rights for the week. So, I thought, why not do this with my online diabetes friends too. Why just bond over diabetes, why not bond and trash talk a little bit over football with some of the people I interact with online.

So, tonight is a pre-season league for Draft Kings (FanDuel doesn’t do pre-season), so I am creating a free 10 person league which means you do not need to deposit any money at all.

Sign up for Fan Duel and Draft Kings now and I will post links to the free contests every Sunday.

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Summarizing My Year in a Post

So the last year of my life has been a complete whirlwind. It’s been filled with a lot of positives, some negatives, and some things just in the middle somewhere. Within that past year I found out I was having a daughter, I’ve since had my daughter (6 weeks old already!), grew my business to a whole other level that I wasn’t expecting to hit this year, and many more exciting events.

My diabetes side of things is where my life took a hit. Health wise, my A1C’s have remained stable and at a level that I am comfortable with. Not my goal levels, but am comfortable with. I have gone on blood pressure medication after a week of feeling off and having symptoms of high blood pressure. I started off using Lisinopril, but I had a cough reaction to it and had to switch.

I also added a weekly Vitamin D pill to my life, along with a daily cholesterol pill (generic Lipitor). However, I was switched to a different medication because my triglycerides are so damn high because I eat unhealthy and don’t exercise at all.

I obviously have not written much over the last year. That includes here, dLife, Medtronic, and a few other places where I provide some content here and there for. I admittedly just could not find the time to do it. When I had free time, it seemed as though this diabetes stuff ended up lower on the to-do list than I thought that it would.

After the birth of my daughter, I found myself in a position that felt similar to when I was first diagnosed. I was new to something and I did not have the answers, so I began reaching out to my brother and family members who have kids looking for advice. And then it hit me, that’s how I got involved in the diabetes community in the first place and the reason that I continued to blog was because if I could just help one person who had an issue or a question with one of my posts, my job was done. And I realized that by not putting out any new posts, how am I helping anyone?

So, that’s when the light bulb went off and I said to myself, stop with the f*cking excuses and get back to doing the sh*t that you love to do.

So, here I am, back at it and for good this time.

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We Are Expecting

Within the past week I turned 30 years old and also found out the gender of our baby. We have waited until today to announce to the social world that we are pregnant and what we are having. So, without any more hesitation, Amanda and I are expecting our first child, a little baby girl in March 2015.


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4 Things I Have Overcame Since My Diabetes Diagnosis

As you all know, there is a lot of stuff we have to live and deal with on a daily basis living with diabetes. Before I was diagnosed with diabetes I had fears that I had not been able to overcome at that point. After diagnosis, I began to deal with a lot more fears. After taking an injection from a syringe the other day, I realized, damn I have overcame a lot and began thinking about some of the biggest fears or challenges that I have overcame since being diagnosed with diabetes.


Seriously, who isn’t afraid needles? Before diabetes, I couldn’t stand to take a shot. I actually remember when I was 18 and had to get some shots before heading off to play football in college, I almost cried at the doctors office. I just couldn’t take the pain of some other person stabbing me with a sharp object and injecting me with who knows what.

Well, obviously I have gotten over that little fear. And it really didn’t take me too long either. After the first or second injection I realized that I didn’t really have a choice. Either learn to give yourself a shot and deal with it, or you’re not going to live. That was a pretty easy decision.

Owning a Business

For a long time I was always told that it is difficult for someone with diabetes to own their own business because of the health insurance issue. Sure, if you have enough employees you can get company insurance or just live off of your wife’s health insurance plan. Well, at the time that I decided to start my business, I was not married, so that wasn’t a choice. Also, I knew my business would start out as a freelance style business before I was able to grow it to include employees (if I ever wanted to have full time employees).

So, the fear of going out on my own and not knowing if I would have enough money to pay for my medical expenses was growing in my head. But what would I rather do? Go to work everyday miserable just so I had a paycheck every two weeks and health insurance or take the chance and go work for myself and do what I always wanted to know and have the risk of not being able to afford insurance?

It caused many sleepless nights, but I chose the second option. I then spent a lot of time second guessing myself because unfortunately, I lost my COBRA health insurance just a few months after leaving the company I was working for and was living without insurance and paying cash for everything (and receiving a lot of help from the DOC). But, I overcame that fear and am still living that dream of owning and running my own company.

Getting Blood Drawn

Ok, so this one I am not 100% over yet, but I am able to do it as needed. I still cannot look in the direction of the arm where the blood is being drawn from, but I have no hesitation in getting the blood drawn. When I was first diagnosed my grandmother worked in the hospital and she drew blood for over 30 years, so when I needed bloodwork done, she was the only one that I would let do it. 1 year after diagnosis she actually retired and came in and drew my blood when I had to get it done.

When I moved to south Florida to finish school, I would only get bloodwork done up in PA when I would visit by my grandfather. Unfortunately, I live full time in south Florida now and have to get my bloodwork done down here by random people at Lab Corp.

So, technically, I have overcame half of the fear, but I’m not sure that I will ever overcome the other fear.

Getting Personal

Growing up, I was never really a shy person, but I did not just vent my life stories to anybody, not even really my closest friends. I was never great at sharing personal things that may have upset me or made me mad, but I was very outgoing. As you can obviously tell by this blog, I have overcame that fear of letting other people get to know me and letting out some of my fears and sad moments of my life.

I still have some more work to do when it comes to face to face communication with people, but I am getting better. Diabetes has allowed me the opportunity to connect with a lot more people from the DOC than if I wasn’t ever diagnosed. Sharing my life’s journey is part of my life now and communicating with people I’ve never met has become a reality.

What specific fears have you overcome since being diagnosed with diabetes?

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Diabetes in Pennsylvania

Diabetes in Pennsylvania

For the last few weeks I have been visiting my family in Pennsylvania. This is where my diabetes all started 10 years ago when I was diagnosed before moving to Florida.  This trip is part of my summer work-cation since my wife is a teacher and I can work from anywhere with wi-fi.  I normally come to PA for only a week at a time but this is the longest time period that I’ve spent up here in 10 years.

Before leaving for the trip, it took me a while to make sure that I had all the supplies that I needed. I also made sure that I set calendar reminders for any refills that I will need because when I’m up here with friends and family, the memory tends to slip because there is so much fun stuff going on.

Since I’ve been home, I’ve still been wearing my Medtronic 530G because I am finishing up my trial with them. I have not been very good with wearing my sensor however. When I take the sensor off, I have been taking a 3-4 day break in between instead of putting it right back on. I have also been taking a day break in between each infusion set change because I just need that break.

As I mentioned yesterday, I have been going through a burnout phase where I just couldn’t take anything additional diabetes related other than my daily management, and even that was becoming annoying.  Since my large weight gain over the last 2 years, infusion sets just fall off like nothing, so it has become very annoying that I go through 4-5 infusion sets a week at times.  Taking the day off in between changes has really made that feeling go away and helps me deal with an infusion set falling off if it does.

All in all, I am happy with my diabetes management in Pennsylvania. I typically eat out all the time and at a lot of unhealthy places so my sugars are all over the place. This trip has not been so bad.

Unfortunately, the trip is almost over and it’s back to Florida.

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My 3 Month Diabetes Burnout Hiatus

The last couple of months have gone by quick. It feels like the last 90 days has been about 2-3 weeks. Summers for me are always a very time consuming few months.  My work actually picks up during that time period, my wife is off for the entire summer and I do a lot of traveling… just like most people do.  This summer, however, has had a lot more traveling than normal, so I knew that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with blogging and tweeting and advocating and everything else that I normally do on a daily basis.

And ya know what?  It felt so damn good to take this break.  There have been plenty of times where I just felt overwhelmed with trying to keep up with all of the diabetes related initiatives that are always going on.  I came to a point where I felt that I was doing something just to do it and I didn’t really have that much emotion or passion for whatever I was promoting or helping out with.  I have a stack of about 5-6 diabetes related books that I just couldn’t read anymore because it was just too much diabetes.

After 10 years, these last few months have been my first real exposure to diabetes burnout.  I just couldn’t take anymore diabetes other than the daily activities that I had to do to maintain a decent blood sugar.  Do I want to go to the park with my nieces or read another post about the Scientific Sessions? Should I go out to the bar with my friends or write another post about my insulin pump? Should I hang out with my family and watch a movie together or chat online with others about diabetes?

To me, these answers were pretty damn easy to make over the last few months.

But, over the last few days, I have been missing it.  I have began getting that itch again that I need to do something, I need to write something, I need to fight for something.

So, here I am.  My batteries have been re-charged and I am ready to go.  I know better than to just jump head first and go full speed ahead right away, but I am slowly getting more involved again and I hope y’all haven’t forgotten me too much!

I look forward to connecting and talking with you all again on a more frequent basis.

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Sunfest with Diabetes

SunFest with the Insulin Pump

This past week was SunFest down here in south Florida.  It is a 4-5 day event with a lot of music from artists of all genre.  There is also a pretty large art festival too.  I believe that it started off as a large art festival and then music was added at a later time.  Anyway, I had never been to SunFest before because I am not a fan of music festivals. I love country music concerts, but don’t like festivals.  This is the first year that SunFest had a country music lineup, so of course I wasn’t going to miss that….plus I had a Groupon.

SunFest in south Florida just sounds hot and sweaty and muggy.  In the past, when I was using an insulin pump, my infusion sets usually fall off because of how much I sweat in these situations, so I was a little worried about the infusion set falling off and having to insert a new one in that crowded place.  Fortunately, it was overcast and raining off and on (which was ironic because David Nail was there and one of his hit songs as ‘Let It Rain’).

The infusion set stayed in the whole time and the CGM was working great, so I had a good feeling about the day.

The day consisted of only a few beers, some french fries, a cheesesteak, some rice and pineapple chicken, and a few other snacks along the way.  It’s SunFest, you have to have some unhealthy food!

I was a lot happier being on the pump than I would have been on MDI. It was a lot easier to take my insulin exactly when I needed, I had the CGM telling me when I was going low or high, and it was the perfect combination.  It made me remember why I used to say that I would never go back to MDI when I was on the pump.

It’s coming up on summer concert season, so there will be more of these stories to come.


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A Decade with Diabetes

So today is my 10 year Diaversary. I’ve been living with diabetes for a decade now.  That feels very weird to say.  It almost doesn’t even seem real.

Growing up and not knowing anything about diabetes, there are a lot of things I always dreamed and thought that I would do when I got older and I had no idea that I would be doing those with diabetes.

Turning 21 and going out with all of my friends….with a BG meter and insulin pump.

Moving in with my now wife….and having a storage area in the closet for my diabetes supplies.

Getting married….at that time with a syringe and vial of insulin in my tux pocket.

Going on a honeymoon….. with a package of syringes and lots of insulin.

Having kids….and worrying about if my child will also have diabetes.

And many, many more life events that occurred during these past 10 years.

Every year around this time, I think back on the night that I went to the hospital and think about the couple of months leading to me being rushed to the ER and think about if I knew then what I knew now. This is the number one reason why I am so adamant about getting general diabetes information to the public, so they never get to an 858 blood sugar and almost go into a coma without even knowing what is going on.

I’ve told my diagnosis story plenty of times, but a brief version goes like this. For 2-3 months before being diagnosed, I had every single possible symptom of high blood sugars that existed.  I was drinking water like a boss and going to the bathroom every 5 minutes. I felt bad for my college roommate at the time because I was getting 20 times during the night to go to the bathroom.

On a Friday night at college, I was sick all day long and vomited at least 5-6 times. Finally around 9 p.m. while getting sick again in the community bathroom on the 7th floor of the dorms, a friend of mine from across the hall was in the bathroom at same time and said he was taking me to the hospital because I “looked like death” and that’s when the phone call to my parents happened and I was taken to the ER with an 858 blood sugar.

Two interactions from the ER that night replay in my head almost every single day.  First, when the triage nurse pricked my finger and said that I need to be rushed to a bed right away because the meter wouldn’t even give her a reading. At that time, I had no idea what that even meant.  The second interaction is when the ER doctor walked in and said, “Chris, you have type 1 diabetes”

And that’s when my new life began.

I have learned so much about this disease in these 10 years. It shocks me how many people living with type 1 diabetes barely even know enough about their diabetes to manage it.  I’ve met so many incredible people that have been such a positive influence on my life and motivate me to manage my diabetes better.  Hell, I would have never met my wife if it wasn’t for being diagnosed with diabetes.

One decade down, many more to go.



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