Type 1 and College…yikes!

Thankfully, I have six more years to adjust to my son starting college. Six years to stop hovering and to get used to the fact that he is growing up and can’t live at home forever. As a mom, it’s hard to let go, but as a Type 1 mom, I harbor a lot of fear–what if his BG goes low overnight and he doesn’t wake up? What if his roommate hates him and tosses out his insulin? What if he has to take back to back classes and can’t get lunch? What if his professors are jerks (trust me, I know they exist)? What if this or that? A million things can go wrong when you are diabetic.

This evening I came across this article about applying for disability services at college if you have Type 1. It in no way eases all my fears, but the article does help to know that my son can have at least some control over the many unknowns of going away to college when you live with Type 1.

Read the article here.

Diabetic patients lose in United Healthcare’s latest shenanigans

Yesterday, United Healthcare, one of the largest insurance providers in the country, struck a deal with Medtronic, making the latter’s insulin pump the preferred pump of the insurance carrier. This means that diabetics who are insured by United now have no choice in which insulin pump they use, as United will cover only Medtronic pumps and supplies. This is unfortunate, as not everyone (including my son) want to wear a pump with tubes–tubes mean less freedom and less glucose control, as any pump that uses tubes for insulin delivery must be disconnected before bathing or swimming. I am thankful our insurance provider is Anthem, but I fear Pandora’s box has been opened and it is inevitable for other insurance companies to follow suit. If that does happen, diabetic patients are the real losers in a game played at their expense. Here’s an article commenting on the decision.

Consumer Alert: Dexcom Recall

Dexcom, manufacturer of one of the most widely used continuous glucose monitoring systems, has officially recalled its G4 and G5 Platinum systems. This follows notification of users by certified letter that alerts for high or low bg levels may not be heard. The letter pointed to speaker malfunction as the problem and promised to have the problem fixed soon. I know for a fact, however, that speakers are NOT the problem. Two months ago, I woke at 4am to multiple alerts on my phone–two hours of them, in fact. I was shocked that I had slept through them–I’m a light sleeper and that was a lot of alerts, one every five minutes for two hours! I was doubtful, so I called Dexcom. They were super professional and concerned, but they did what I feared they would. They suggested I slept through the alerts.

Two weeks later, I received the first of two certified letters informing that I was not alone. There had been hundreds of calls similar to mine–people weren’t “hearing” alerts. Dexcom suggested the speakers were malfunctioning and promised to fix the problem.

I was doubtful. I rely on the Dexcom Share app–an app that works through the cloud to send BG readings to my phone. It is one thing if the Dexcom receiver speakers don’t work, but that should not affect the alarm on my phone app. The phone app alarms operate independently from the receiver my son carries with him. For instance, my son can have his receiver set to alarm when his BG drops below 80, but I can set my phone app to alarm at, say, 90 mg/dL. So even if the speaker is broken on his receiver, my phone app should sound an alarm regardless. I am convinced it didn’t do so the night I describe above, and I know it did not sound an alarm on March 14. I was in my office with my phone sitting on my desk when I noticed the text alert pop up on my iPhone. No audible alarm, though. I called school and spoke to my son. His receiver said 72, but he never heard the low BG alarm. Houston, we have a problem and it isn’t the speakers.

According to denizens of individuals on discussion boards, it seems these problems started occurring immediately after a software update. I can only hope Dexcom addresses the real issue and doesn’t go the route Toyota did when it had an acceleration problem caused by a flaw in software, but instead spent millions of dollars replacing drivers’ floor mats. Time will tell. In the meantime, we will use our Dexcom and set our clock alarm every couple of hours to ensure my son’s BG doesn’t go low overnight.

For more info on reported problems with the Dexcom G4 and G5 receivers, read here.

Summer Camp!

Teen-Weekend

Ah, summer…swimming pools, vacation at the beach, and summer camp! For the child living with diabetes, however, summer camp isn’t so easy, and that is especially true of overnight camp.

Luckily, we have access to quite a few options in Virginia for both day camp and resident camp for children living with Type 1.

Camp Too Sweet: This is a camp exclusively for children with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, held at Camp Bethel near Roanoke, VA. It is run by Carillion Diabetes and Endocrinology, and staffs an on-site doctor and trained counselors. Activities include canoeing, rafting, hiking, swimming, horseback riding, and more. Summer camp will be held July 18-22 in summer 2016. Also check out their other weekend camps for kids, families, and teens. For more information, visit https://www.carilionclinic.org/diabetes-endocrinology/camp-too-sweet.

Camp Jordan: This also is a camp exclusively for teens with diabetes, rising grades 8-10. The camp is held at Makemie Woods outside Williamsburg, VA. It will be held the same week as Camp Too Sweet, July 18-23, and features similar activities. For more information, visit http://www.makwoods.org/camp-jordan-overview.html.

Kids for a Cure Club (KFCC): This is a day camp for Type 1s (no Type 2s allowed) for children in first grade through 12 years old. Located in Fredericksburg, VA and sponsored by Mary Washington Healthcare, the camp will be held June 20-23, 9:00-2:30. The camp is run by licensed nurses, all working in diabetes care. Visit http://www.marywashingtonhealthcare.com/images/2016_fiesta_kfcccamp_brochure.pdf to find out more.

Lions Diabetes Family Camp: This three day camp in Chesapeake Virginia is for families with a child living with Type 1, and will take place April 22-24. One parent is required to attend, and the weekend includes lots of fun activities, diabetes education, and more. Visit http://lions-of-virginia-24d.org/Diabetes_Camp.html.

There are many more camps in surrounding states:

 

 

Nut and Berry Chocolate Drops

Low in carbs and high in antioxidants, these little treats are a favorite in my household. They are the perfect answer for a sweet tooth without sending blood glucose levels sky high. Each drop has about 8 carbs.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup Dark chocolate chips (I use Giradelli 60% cacao chips)
  • 1/4 cup whole almonds
  • 1/4 cup dried fruit (I use a mix of dried apricots, craisins, and raisins)
  • 1/4 cup shelled pumpkin seeds

Heat chips in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir and return to microwave for 30 seconds and stir. Repeat until chips are melted, stirring after each heating. Drop onto parchment or waxed paper with a spoon. Let set for 5 minutes. Arrange fruit, seeds, and nuts on each chocolate drop. Let set for another hour, or place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Enjoy!