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Click for the We, The Undersigned – Tuesday 5/14 Link List
Recently various petitions have been circulating the Diabetes Online Community, so todaylet’s pretend to write our own. Tell us who you would write the petition to – a person, an organization, even an object (animate or inanimate) – get creative!! What are you trying to change and what have you experienced that makes you want this change? (Thanks to Briley of inDpendence for this topic suggestion.)

We, the Undersigned, would like for health insurance companies to cover reasonable amounts of the necessary diabetes supplies required to sustain our lives. Even though you don’t understand why we must go through 6 test strips to test blood glucose levels some days and more than 12 the next day, neither do we. It is called the fickle nature of diabetes. And while we are at it, please cover the continuous glucose monitoring sensors without charging exorbitant out of pocket fees to receive these supplies. Some of us are on fixed incomes, and cannot afford to pay $3,000+ per box of glucose sensors each month. These are not just luxury items, either. Sure, it is pretty cool technology and all to be able to have a device measure the general relative glucose level and show you trends, but that doesn’t eliminate blood sugar testing, and the whole reason that most of us who use these nifty continuous glucose monitoring devices in the first place? Oh yeah, it is because we can no longer sense whether our blood glucose levels are within safe ranges. I myself, while going through approval verification, did not feel a low blood glucose level until my meter literally registered “LO” and trust me, that’s not pretty! It is much safer, and much better if you pay for and approve these devices, because preventing just one emergency use of glucagon and the related emergency room and hospital costs associated will be much higher. Is that what you really want? Really? If you really want to keep us as healthy as possible, and keep us from having as little long term damage as possible, paying for technology like insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring devices will prevent hypoglycemic episodes, retinopathy, amputation, neuropathy, nephropathy, and more. You may have to pay more now, but you will save money in the long term when you don’t have to pay for dialysis later. Or, worse, when the kidney damage is so bad that we need to be listed for a kidney transplant. It happens. So please, look at the long term costs, not just the money that you are paying right now. Look at the long term health costs and the long term health benefits that we will gain from this technology. Sure, you may pay more right now, but look at how much you will save when you have healthier, more productive members of society in five, ten, or even fifteen years down the line.

Sincerely,

Aliza, a person with diabetes, type, quite complicated

Warmly, 

Aliza Chana, CHHC, AADP

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Click for the Share and Don’t Share – Monday 5/13 Link List.
Often our health care team only sees us for about 15 minutes several times a year, and they might not have a sense of what our lives are really like. Today, let’s pretend our medical team is reading our blogs. What do you wish they could see about your and/or your loved one’s daily life with diabetes? On the other hand, what do you hope they don’t see?  (Thanks to Melissa Lee of Sweetly Voiced for this topic suggestion.)

dblog week

For those of you who follow my blog, or who have even read a little bit of my blog, you’ve probably figured out that I’m not your typical open and shut case. Actually, there is nothing “typical” or “textbook” about me or any of my healthcare concerns. While I am seen at a teaching hospital, I am very used to seeing multiple care providers at each appointment, generally beginning with a medical student, a rotating resident, sometimes a fellow, and then, finally, my attending doctor. Fortunately, I’m at a point in my “medical history” where all of my physicians have been hand picked by my primary care doctor or other members of my team, specifically for the expertise that they have in abnormal cases like my own. I give my team a whole lot of credit. Actually, to put it in non-technical terms, my team is pretty freaking amazing! They give me the time, attention, and dedication to listen to my concerns, see the issues that may, and usually do not fit inside the neat little box (but when does diabetes ever play nice, and fit inside of the stereotypical box?!?), and work to appeal insurance rules that say that because I’m not a textbook “type 1 diabetic” I’m not eligible to remain on my current therapy of an insulin pump.

I’m lucky, because my team of CDEs live with type 1 diabetes themselves, and know what living with the ups and downs of diabetes is like. They know that sometimes, no matter what we do and no matter how hard we try, BG numbers are going to be wonky, and it will have nothing to do with what I did to manage my diabetes, or more, what I didn’t do. I consider myself to have the dream team when it comes to endocrinology providers, because when I ask about pump questions, chances are, my CDE will pull out her pump or CGM and show me how she’s doing things right now, not look down at me like I should have been able to do better. There is no judgement, and I feel so comfortable discussing what is and what is not working with my team. This hasn’t always been the case, but I feel so incredibly fortunate to have the team that I have now. They are truly amazing, and it makes living with a condition that must constantly be managed just a little bit easier.

(also posted at http://www.alizawithdiabetes.com)

Do you have trouble falling asleep at night? Or sometimes, even worse, you fall asleep, but you can’t stay asleep. You wake up a few hours later, if you are lucky, and lay in bed, restless, trying to get back to sleep for hours, finally falling asleep just before the alarm clock goes off in the morning.

Life doesn’t have to be this way. Do you believe me?

I used to be a chronic insomniac, and even further, I needed prescription medication every, single, night to just be able to get a few hours of sleep. My quality of sleep was horrible, and even with those “magic sleeping pills” the amount of sleep that I was getting each night was not consistent and definitely not enough.

Lavender_15ml

Do you want to give this a try? Here is where I source my oils. I only use the best Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade oils for myself and my family.

 

I tried. I really tried my best.

You see, during this time of year especially, living in Chapel Hill, NC, the weather changes irritate my body. I get sinus congestion, lung congestion, and then I get all wheezy. My blood sugar levels start to go crazy, and I get crazy tired all of the time. My chronic lung disease, stemming from genetic mutations and a rare form of cystic fibrosis cause more frequent infections, and if not treated, can lead to hospitalizations and further permanent lung damage.

So I rested. Quite a bit more than usual. I used my essential oils to try to kill and ward off infections, and I’ve been using decongestant medication.

But, Monday, I went in to see my doctor. I just wasn’t getting better, and I was feeling really sick. I had a fever in clinic, which is rare for me, even when I do have an infection. So, it was decided that IV antibiotics, at home, would be the best course of action.  Luckily, I am able to do this at home, and not have to deal with the hospital for several days.

I started my antibiotics this morning (Tuesday), and will continue to supplement with my essential oils and more holistic remedies. This time, my body needed some extra help, but overall, I’m getting stronger and stronger.

 

I live with insulin dependent diabetes, and I’ve been living with insulin dependent diabetes, since 2001, but positively since 2003. That was the year that I went on my first insulin pump. Since then, I’ve had two other insulin pumps, and I’ve had to jump through hoops to get them both. The pump that I currently have, in fact, was obtained by a “special” out-of-pocket upgrade offer from my pump company when this new model first came out. It was cheaper than an insurance deductible, and easier than going through the whole process. Anyway, it is about time for a new pump, and I started on that process last week with my endocrinologist and certified diabetes educator.

I’ve always used the same brand of insulin pump – Medtronic Minimed – but there some other really good options on the market these days. I was particularly interested in three other pumps and their features – all different, and things that my current pump cannot do. So, I did my research on Tandem’s t:slim pump, the newest on the market, the Animas pump, and Insulet Omnipod, a tubeless pump with a wireless PDM – an iPhone looking device that manages the “pod” and also acts as glucometer.

After talking to friends in the Diabetes Online Community, my endocrinologist, and my certified diabetes educator, I decided to go with the Omnipod tubeless pump! I’m sick of being tethered to tubing all of the time, and having to occasionally change my insulin pump site because the tubing snags on a random object. It will also be nice to wear a dress again without worrying about where to put my pump! Plus, it is waterproof, so I can go swimming without missing insulin. That’s always nice too!

I’m not thrilled that diabetes and insulin pumps are a part of my life, but as long as they have to be a continuing part of my life, I’m happy that I have the access to amazing technology to make living and managing diabetes much easier! Diet and lifestyle contribute to the overall management of my diabetes too, and just taking insulin alone will not solve or keep me healthy. It is a nice balance, a triangle, of medication, food, and lifestyle, that all has to stay balanced out to keep me as healthy as possible! Thankfully, I’m staying strong, and I think that my new pump will help to keep me strong, and even make exercise and activity a little bit easier!

Do you have tasks that you are completely afraid of doing? These can be in any area of your life, and I assure you, even the most confident among us have them! This week, let’s jump in, take the plunge and face our fears together!

This will not be as painful or as scary as you may think. Here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Make a list. What tasks need to be completed? Putting this down on paper can help to put things in perspective.

2. What are the steps that you need to take to complete your task? Write down these steps too. For example, if I write down that I need to work on my meal planning for the week for step 1, I need to write down specific ideas for meals for step 2, or search recipe sites and meal planning sites for meal and menu plans, shop for the necessary ingredients, and finally, cook the meal.

3. Make sure that the steps are broken up into manageable steps.

4. Set a deadline!!! This is really important, as open-ended items tend not to be completed.

5. Complete the items on your list!

6. Smile, and relax, knowing that you have completed an item from your to-do list.

This will get easier and easier each time that you do it, and soon, you will find that you are no longer avoiding the same tasks, as you have made them into much simpler and more manageable tasks! So jump in, and complete some items from your to-do list this week!

~ Aliza Chana Zaleon

For those of you who have followed my journey on my other sites or read my story, you will know that I came to the decision to become a Holistic Health Coach due to my involvement in multiple organizations where I volunteered directly as a peer counselor to others with similar chronic illnesses, and after I began working with a new primary care physician who takes a “less is better” approach, rather than keeping me on every possible medication that may possibly help my chronic conditions. This took some adjustment, certainly! I went from being completely dependent on IV and tube feed nutrition to being able to eat whole foods, including some of the previously off-limits fruits and vegetables, proteins, and high fiber grains. This was a huge step, and while extremely scary, one that I’m now very proud, and thrilled that I’ve overcome!

So this past week, I caught a strain of the norovirus that was going around Chapel Hill, my mom’s classrooms, and all over the community. My mom had it before me, and my dad even had a touch of it, but for me, due to my type 1 diabetes, any illness can be more dangerous. I jumped into sick day protocol, and I used some of my pepper int and lavenoils essential oils to help with the nausea, but I was still having trouble with nausea and vomiting. I knew that my diabetes could quickly become a problem. I was checking blood glucose levels every two to three hours, sometimes more often, and checking both blood ketones and urine ketones each time I used the bathroom, and I unfortunately was positive for ketones. When one has type one diabetes, ketones are not a good sign! I had to call my doctor, go into clinic, and ended up requiring IV fluids for a few days at home to fully rehydrate and flush out the ketones.

I’m improving now, though I still feel very dehydrated, and may need more fluids — the jury is still out! For now, I’m pushing fluids orally, and trying to get some rest to get over this stomach virus.

I have found that peppermint and lavendeok essential oils are really helpful to relieve nausea. You can diffuse the oils and use aromatically, or apply to the chest, belly, or the soles of the feet. I like to dilute the peppermint in a carrier oil first. A good carrier oil is fractionated coconut oil.

it has been a while since I’ve required IVs for a few days at a time for hydration at home. I used to be on IV nutrition every single day, but thankfully, no longer need that therapy. I’m very thankful that I can still administer my IV fluids or medications at home if necessary, and hope that I won’t need to use them too often!

Warmly,

Aliza Chana Zaleon, CHHC

More and more people are living with chronic illness, or even multiple chronic illnesses. A chronic illness does not have to mean the end of your life, nor does it mean the end to doing the activities that you enjoy! While living with a chronic condition can be overwhelming for sure, here are a few tips to help you live and thrive with chronic conditions!

Here are my tips for living with a chronic condition:

1. Know your condition! Know the name, what the symptoms are, what medications or supplements you take, and how the condition impacts you personally. You may not have the average symptoms, and that’s ok, but know how your body reacts.

2. Have a list of your medications, dosages, herbal supplements, and any other treatments prepared and either written or typed out so that all of your health care providers can see the same information. Keep this list up to date.

3. Keep a list of all of your health care providers, including physicians, nurses, holistic practitioners like naturopathic practitioners, massage therapists, holistic health coach, massage therapist, and any other member of your health care team And include full name, address, and phone number. Don’t forget to include your pharmacy as well!

4. When going to clinic appointments, write down your questions and concerns ahead of time so that you don’t forget. There is often a limited amount of time, and frequently, when you get to an appointment, you forget that really important question!

5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if they seem silly, simple, like you should already know the answer, or a far-fetched idea. That question might just hit on a great treatment option for you!

I hope that these tips are helpful!

Warmly,

Aliza Chana Zaleon, HHC

The most popular resolution made for the New Year, time and time again is to go on a diet, change eating styles drastically, and yes, loose weight. It is not altogether a bad resolution, as we, as an American society are gaining more weight than ever with an epidemic of preventable diseases like we have never seen before. Is the New Year really the best time to go on a new diet, and if so, how can it be done in a healthy, sustainable way?

Here are a few tips to get you started on your journey.

1. The most popular “fad” diet may not always be the healthiest. Think about everything that you can and will be eating, and ask yourself whether you will be getting enough nutrients – vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats are all important components for a healthy, balanced diet.

2. Take a any chronic medical conditions in to consideration, and run your plan by a health coach, your doctor, nutritionist, or other medical professional. The diet plan that may be perfect for your sister, brother, husband, or best friend may not be healthy for you.

3. Consider adding a multivitamin supplement to your daily routine to ensure adequate intake of essential vitamins and nutrients.

4. Explore some of the best gems on the Internet for recipe support and meal planning. Two of my favorites are Epicurious, which has an app that I can use on my iPad and iPhone as well as online.

5. write down and track your food intake! it will keep you accountable to yourself. I personally use GoMeals for tracking of my food intake throughout the day, and can track fat, calories, protein, carbohydrates, and more, as well as build recipes. They have a huge database of grocery items, fresh foods, and cooked foods.

Good luck with your goals for the new year!

 

Warmly,

Aliza Chana, CHHC

I live with multiple chronic illnesses, and I’ve accepted the fact that many of them and I will have to be “friends for life” – or at least learn to live as positively as possible due to the genetic and immune-system nature of the illnesses. By no means does this mean that I’ve given up on finding ways to make my life more manageable through lifestyle factors, and just prior to the start of the holiday season, I hit upon something really, really BIG!

What, you may be wondering did I decide to do? After years of GI problems, autoimmune issues, some which have firm diagnoses and some which do not, I decided to take the big step and go completely gluten free! Timing was not my strong suit, as I decided to do this just two weeks  (or perhaps a bit less) before Thanksgiving, but pulled off a wonderful GF thanksgiving dinner, and am still completely gluten free today, and not planning to go back!

why, you ask? I feel better!!! I have a “normal” GI system for the first time in my life, and complete resolution of “hot spots” that I’ve had chronically over multiple joints, including all of my fingers, knees, and others, since I was 4 years old. I also haven’t had a sinus or lung infection, and that is huge! My sleep has been regular, as have been my moods, and I just feel better overall! It is amazing! All from gluten!

Before I embarked on this gluten free diet, please know that I did discuss with my doctor and medical team, and I’ve had both a blood test and intestinal biopsy for celiac disease, which was negative, and must be done while still consuming gluten. I believe that gluten sensitivity is something that definitely impacts my life significantly, and I’m so happy that I’ve made this change!

Aliza Chana Zaleon, HHC