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Replacing Coffee with La Croix

If you know anything about me, you know that I love coffee. I love coffee too much. I’ll drink it from McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, or my favorite, local coffee shops, especially a cold brew. I used to drink a lot more coffee. Like, a lot more. But, my doctor scared me enough to realize that I was drinking too much coffee and I needed to cut back a bit.

I started to cut out my afternoon coffee, but I still needed the caffeine, so I was drinking a soda. The soda I was also trying to cut out because I was trying to lose weight. And I don’t care what studies say on either side of it, when I drink diet soda, it makes me gain weight, bottom line.

I needed an alternative.

I love water, and I drink a lot of water, but I needed something “special.”

Well, just as I was going through this time period of figuring out what I could substitute the afternoon soda with, I was walking through the grocery store and I saw it. There it was. On sale. BOGO. Buy One Get One Free.

La Croix sparkling water has replaced my afternoon coffee and changed my life! Click To Tweet

La Croix, Naturally Essenced Sparkling Water

I put it in the fridge and got it nice and cold and….. “EWWW” this stuff is disgusting. It was like I was expecting something super sweet like soda because it was carbonated, but it didn’t give me that flavor.

But then, I stuck with it. And now… you can’t separate me from my La Croix. I am now drinking 1-2 cans of La Croix everyday and I love the taste. I love the flavors that they offer.

And most importantly, it has replaced my afternoon soda, which replaced my afternoon coffee. I am not getting the caffeine that I needed, but giving myself the caffeine was just putting a band-aid on the wound, it wasn’t actually fixing the problem, which was, breaking the caffeine habit.

 

So, this is to you La Croix.

13 Years with Diabetes Today

So today marks 13 years since being diagnosed with diabetes. There’s always a debate about whether it is April 2 or April 3, but since I don’t have the official hospital discharge papers, I always go with April 3.

I went to the ER on Friday, April 2, 2004 but by the time the doctor said to me.. “you have type 1 diabetes” to was after midnight, so it’s April 3.

I still remember that entire day like it was yesterday. I’ve told the story so many times, which is why it probably sticks in my head.

I used to do some sort of celebratory event on this day every year, but now, it’s just like any other day. A business to run. A family to take care of. And a disease to manage.

So, here is to 13 years with diabetes.

And many more to come.

This is Not an April Fool’s Joke – I Am Back

This is not an April Fool’s Joke. I am actually posting something today. Let’s first talk about why I haven’t been posting lately on my site. There are several reasons, so here we go.

Facebook Attention Spans

Facebook (as well as Snapchat and Instagram) has created digital attention spans that last for about 8-30 seconds. After that, it’s just scroll on to the next thing. And in most cases, the 8-30 seconds is being very generous. It’s more like 2-3 seconds.

Because of this, I started to feel like people just weren’t reading blog posts like they once were. People were more interested in video, especially native Facebook video. So, I decided that I was going to do more video. Well, I’ve made a few, but nowhere near the amount that I planned on. That’s changing this month to as I am participating in a Vlog Every Day in April challenge #SSSVEDA

You can check those out at my Chris Stocker You Tube Channel

Politics, Politics, Politics

I am not one to typically let political talk affect me. In fact, it barely does. But these past couple of months have been draining. It’s not so much the stuff happening in DC (which a lot of irritates me), it’s just been the massive amount of content created around it. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, because we have to use our platforms to speak our voice. It’s just that, it’s all I was consuming. Every day it seemed to just be the same stuff, different angle. Which in the times we are living in now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

However, I am a firm believer that I am the one who is in charge of creating the life I want. This is why I don’t spend too much time on political issues or talking about them. I will if it’s something that I am extremely passionate about, like Pre-Existing Condition coverage. I am a proud supporter of DPAC and everything that they are doing and I will continue to promote and share their content until the cows come home. But, I don’t write about those issues because I can only write what I know about and what is top of mind for myself. Like I said, I will promote it though.

Because of all of this, I stopped writing. I felt like maybe this is all people want to read about now. They just want to find out about the next march or protest or other way to contact their local reps.

If so, then I don’t feel like I would have enough to contribute.

Business Development

As you may now, being the CEO of a CSI Marketing Solutions, a boutique digital marketing agency, is what I do for a living. This takes up majority of time. More than my wife would like for sure. This blog is more of a “side hustle” thing. Over the past few months, my business has been growing. Adding a few assistants, some larger clients, additional services and it has required more of my attention to be hands on during this process.

We all have 24 hours in a day. So the 1-2 hours that I had once put towards this blog during the day was now being used elsewhere. Which meant that this blog was put to the side.

But then over the past couple of weeks I’ve received an insanely high amount of emails coming from the site.

“Where have you been?”

“Is everything ok?”

“My son is in college and I always share your articles with him.”

And many more of the same type of emails.

And then I thought to myself. A long time ago, you set out to do this and you didn’t know what you were getting yourself into. But then you started to hear from people how a post changed their life or mentality or living with diabetes and you just knew you had to keep going to help inspire people. And you let them down.

I don’t mind failing. I do it all the time. But one thing I don’t like to do, is let people down. Especially people who rely on me.

So that’s why, starting today, I am back. I have audited my day and my time and I’m back. And I’m putting this out on the internet to hold myself accountable. I will be here 7 days a week. If I’m not, call me out.

Every day missed is a missed opportunity to inspire or help someone living with diabetes.

Top Posts in 2016

Here are the top 10 most read posts in 2016. Some of these were written in before 2016:

  1. Dario Review
  2. Diabetes in Dunkin Donuts
  3. Fired Up Friday: Diabetic Supplies vs Durable Medical Equipment
  4. JDRF vs ADA
  5. How Low Can You Go?
  6. Contour USB Review
  7. Medco Pharmacy and Tier 3 Drugs
  8. Josh Bleill Motivational Speaker
  9. You Down with PPO or HMO?
  10. OptumRX Strikes Again

Some of these posts may have opinions that may have changed over the time. A lot of these are based on issues that I had that it seems a lot of people have.

Life Had Me in a Rut

For the last three months, I have been in a bit of a funk when it comes to advocacy, being active within the DOC and basically everything to do with diabetes. There are multiple reasons for this and they are primarily all family focused.

Several months ago my wife and I decided that we were going to sell our home so we can travel between Pennsylvania and Florida a lot easier. This meant that we had to completely clean the house, pack and organize everything into our garage. We then had to get all the yard work done, plant flowers, lay mulch, pressure wash and all the other fun things that go into prepping a home for sale.

Once the house was sold, we had to move. After we moved, we decided that we were going to come up to PA for 2 months (which is currently where I am). While up in PA, I have basically just done as much stuff with family and friends as possible and that has left me with little time for work and all that goes with my diabetes activities.

Not only have I had zero time to do much else than hang out with friends and family, I’ve been having a bit of a battle with my own diabetes. Because of an insurance snafu a few months, I’ve had to switch to Novolin R insulin because I have no insulin coverage and have to pay 95% of the retail costs.

My diabetes has been very difficult to manage with using this insulin. The two hardest parts are having to take it at least 30 minutes before I eat and trying to correct a high.

I am not much of a planner when it comes to eating. Especially when on vacation. My wife and I just go along with the day and then eventually decide we’re going to eat and that could be within the next 5 minutes. Because of that, my blood sugar sky rockets. Then, when I use Novolin R to correct, it takes hours to come down.

With all of this added together, I have been in a rut. But, the only way to get out of the rut is to keep going and push through it. So that is what I am going to do.

Diabetes at the Farmer’s Market

Amanda and I have always been fans of local farmer’s markets. For me, I love the fresh food and small businesses that are out there hustling. I am a huge fan of homemade items that are usually sold at farmer’s markets, such as pickles, jellies, pepper jellies, baked goods, fresh veggies, etc.

Our local farmer’s market is located right next to the intracoastal waterway so it is a beautiful site as well. We had not been there in a while, so we decided to check it out and see if there were any new vendors. There were some new ones there and I knew it was going to be time for a BG check and some insulin because I saw some great free samples.

That leads me into what I wanted to talk about. During this time, I was taking an insulin pump vacation for the weekend and was just using a syringe and vial. Walking around eating free samples and not knowing exactly what I am going to be eating never worked out well for me when I was on MDI. When I am pumping, it is not a big deal because every time I decide to eat something, I just bolus for it with the pump and that’s that.

When I am on MDI, my strategy is a bit different. And in the comments below, or on Facebook, I would love to hear your feedback and your comments on how you handle situations like this.

In a situation like this where I am eating random items that are free samples, they typically are not large enough that I need to worry about a bolus. If I eat 3-4 free samples from different vendors and I feel like it was a significant amount of carbs, then I will simply stop and take a shot. If I know that I am going to eat something that is not a free sample, but an actual item (New England Clam Chowda at this farmer’s market is amazing!) then I will bolus directly for that.

The other issue is that depending on what you are eating (sweet pickles, pepper jelly) it is difficult to guestimate how many carbs are in a specific food. I honestly do not get mad if the vendor does not have that information. I just ask what they put in it and I do my best to guestimate. If I am wrong, then I correct, simple as that.

Usually after the amount of walking that we do at the farmer’s markets we go to (at least 2 miles altogether) the exercise helps burn off some of the food that I ate and helps balance out the blood sugar. Please note, I am not saying exercise is going to lower my blood sugar and I don’t need insulin, so diabetes trolls, stop right there.

Like I said above, I’m curious as to how MDI-ers handle situations like this? Would love to hear your feedback.

Process of Packing Supplies for a Day Out

The process of packing up and heading out for the day has definitely changed not only after my diagnosis in 2004, but even more now with a 1-year old (actually, just a few days shy of one). I have come to perfect the “leaving for the day” thing, except sometimes, I forget my diabetes bag.

Several years ago, while at a K-Mart in Pennsylvania, my wife found a Philadelphia Eagles pencil case and she bought it and then said to me, “I figured you could use this for your supplies in my purse.” I still use that case every single day of my life.

I found that there wasn’t a single glucose meter case from any of the companies that fit exactly what I needed. Here is what I keep in that bag:

  • Syringe
  • Vial of insulin
  • Vial of test strips
  • Meter
  • Lancing device
  • Reservoir for pump
  • Extra tubing for pump
  • Infusion Set
  • Infusion set injector
  • Lots and lots and lots of used test strips (literally 100 at a time)

This bag is usually kept in my wife’s purse, or now, the diaper bag.

I try to always have this bag stocked with items because when we have to leave for the day, we are both concerned about making sure we have enough diapers, wipes, food for the kid, extra outfit, etc. You know, all the crap a kid needs throughout the day.

There have been many times that I have forgotten the “Eagles Bag” at home and had to come back home to get it, or just hope that my current infusion set didn’t rip out or leak. So, my wife and I have devised a plan to make sure that never happens.

eagles bagFirst, we give each other a 15 minute warning for when we are going to be ready to leave. Typically, whoever is the one that is getting showered, dressed, etc last will give that warning.

Next, my wife gets started preparing the diaper bag for the long day, or short trip, whichever. If my wife is the one getting ready, then I will get the diaper bag ready….. meaning, I ask her one by one what needs to go in it.

Once the diaper bag is ready, I then go and grab my Eagles Bag and ensure that it has everything in it that I need. I then put it in the diaper bag. ┬áThe diaper bag is then put on the couch near the door so that when I am leaving and setting the alarm, I don’t forget the diaper bag.

I’ve forgotten the diaper bag in the past. I was told by my wife that I forgot the diaper bag. I have never again forgot the diaper bag.

After 12 years with diabetes (April 3 will be 12) and one year with a kid, we have finally gotten this traveling out for the day thing down…. so far.

I don’t think that people truly understand everything that goes into the daily life of someone living with diabetes. Things just as simple as getting in the car to drive to Target or visit family requires planning and prepping and making sure that you don’t forget crucial, life saving supplies.

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.

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.