Tuesday, July 16, 2013

my diabetes real life community: meet briley

i'm introducing my friends who i know in 'real life' that have diabetes.

today, you get to meet briley. you might know her, she's a member of the doc and has a blog. briley was the first doc friend that i met in real life. i'm happy to say that we're 'real life' friends!

briley lives in the greater boston area and is a nanny for two great kids. this is the second family she's worked for and she loves working with kids. every day she gets to laugh and has a great job!

what type of diabetes do you have?
I have type 1 diabetes.

how long have you had it/when were you diagnosed?
I have had it for 24 years. I was three years old and diagnosed on July 4, 1989.

can you tell us a quick summary of your diagnosis story?
My whole family was at my uncle's house on the river and I was throwing up. My mother kept giving me ginger ale and cranberry juice to settle my stomach. When I didn't get better, we went to the pediatrician's office, where we stayed for three hours while they figured out what was happening and from there we went to the hospital for a week while Mom & Dad learned how to take care of me. I had had my well-child visit just two weeks before, so it was a very sudden onset for me.

how do you treat it (shots, pump, pen, etc)? do you use any other technologies (CGM, etc)?
I take my insulin through an insulin pump, the Animas Ping. I chose this pump because of the remote bolus and it's waterproof. I also use the continuous glucose monitoring system Dexcom Seven+.

what are some of your daily concerns, worries or considerations?
The easiest and most consistent worry I have is that if I go low, it will be right before I need to drive somewhere. Being low while driving is never safe, but I always seem to over treat when I need to be getting in the car. I think the second would be, am I SWAGing correctly. If not, this will cause me to go low or high and I don't want the cause to be because my math was wrong.

what do you wish people without diabetes understood?
I wish that people with diabetes understood that getting to & staying at a healthy target level takes a lot of work. Just because someone isn't right where they want to be, doesn't mean they aren't working hard. This also means that even if they are, it doesn't mean they won't have a bad day or a bad number.

how do you describe the feeling and symptoms of lows and to people who don't have diabetes?Someone once described feeling low to me as being drunk. This made me delay drinking because why would I want to make myself feel low even if I wasn't. I don't believe that these two things feel the same way. I think if you picture a small child after a day of swimming, an amusement park, a field day, etc. They are dragging their feet because they are so tired. They are whiny and sweaty. There is no desire to move another muscle. That is what a low feels like to me.

what about the feeling and symptoms of highs?
A high can be easier to deal with (depending on the severity). I get really thirsty. That is usually the only symptom I get. If I go over 300 though, I will likely get a headache and become lethargic. If I have ketones, the only thing I want to do is vomit to get the feeling & sugar out of me.

what's your go-to treatment for lows?
My current go-to treatment for lows are airheads. They are easy to open and have 14g of carbs each (the recommended sugar intake for a low is 15g). If I am running though, or if I have a stubborn low, I like to have with liquid glucose or glucose gel. I feel much more confident with pure glucose in those situations.

what's your meal plan? do you follow a special diet? do you enjoy the same treats that 'everyone else' does?
I do not follow any one specific meal plan, but I do try to avoid processed foods as much as possible. I like to have a protein packed breakfast, usually nuts or yogurt post-run and a vegetable only lunch. This includes carby and not carby veggies. The rest of the day depends on the schedule, but a frequent snack is Ritz crackers with cream cheese, cheese and cucumbers. I believe that everything is okay in moderation, so I definitely enjoy treats. Cupcakes, ice cream, candy, etc. You name it and I would like to have it. I definitely take steps to limit how frequently I have them though.

what diabetes myth do you wish would get busted?
I think the myth I would most like busted is that we have done this to ourselves. Just because an organ in our body decided to stop working, does not mean that we deserve this.

what would you tell someone who was just diagnosed with diabetes?
First, I would ask, "what are your questions?" I would then tell them that they are not alone, and explain to them that they can call/email with any questions, stories, problems and successes. I would tell them about how the diabetes community lives both online and off, and that it's a common thread holding many groups together.

what's your favorite flavor cupcake?
I think my favorite go-to cupcake is Red Velvet. However, I also go for anything fruity or with caramel. :)

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