Illustrations of sneakers, pen and paper, glucose monitor, cellphone, and wearable monitor.

My Diabetic Props

Hi! My name is Shelley. I live with type 2 diabetes. Like most of us living with diabetes, I live healthy. In order to do that, I need a few things - props. My props are very important to me because they are the things that help me to not just be healthy but to stay healthy. They help me cope with a disease that can be very difficult to live with.

My diabetes tools

So here goes, my props:

Running shoes

Nothing beats a good pair of running shoes. What makes them good? How affordable they are to start with and how they feel on your feet. Comfort and fit are everything. I want to make sure the shoes I choose are not creating blisters or friction sores. I need to keep my feet safe; so important for those of us that live with diabetes. I’m not a runner. I’m not a jogger. I’m a walker. You can't underestimate the value of good shoes for walking. I also need orthotics in my running shoes because like everything else as you get older, the arches in my feet headed south. Orthotics help to keep good foot alignment and prevent shin splints from occurring. Running shoes with orthotics allow me to do an exercise I enjoy.

Freestyle Libre wearable tech

I loved it to start. I still love it. I can scan anytime to see what is happening with my blood sugars. It is the neatest tech ever! You put it on, you scan when you need to, and no more finger pokes! At least that’s what I thought. (More about that as you continue to read). You scan it, send the data to an app on my phone and voila! I’m done. No fuss, no muss. But like everything else, there are a couple of downsides here.

I must admit, sometimes I forget I’m wearing it and because of that, I forget about scanning. I need to get better at that. Because you wear the device for two weeks at a time, some people are reacting to the medical-grade glue that allows the device to stay in place. I haven’t had any bad reactions but I definitely have had some irritation at the site when I remove it that takes a while to go away. And I have drier skin. I don’t use moisturizers on my arms which I think is the reason mine stay on for the full two weeks and doesn’t come unglued. It sticks so well in place that I need a special glue remover to get it off. That part makes me laugh. I have been reading that many people find they fall off. What doesn’t make me laugh is the cost. They are covered where I live by insurance or government plans if you are using insulin. I don't use insulin so I pay $89 every 2 weeks. Others pay $140 every two weeks if you don’t shop around.

Glucose monitor

For checking my blood sugar, strips and lancets are where I started. And...have returned to. Why? Well, I don’t seem to be scanning enough to really know what my blood sugars are doing. When I did, I saw fantastic numbers. I never double-checked to see if my glucose monitor matched the scanner within the acceptable range. Consequently, my A1C was much higher at my last check-up.

I don’t need to poke a lot but I still need to do it some. I do more checking because I see the case with the monitor in it and I have to carry it around with me. I had a few different monitors over the years. I keep coming back to the OneTouch brand which has been the most reliable for me. I have had several different ones in their line of products from ‘simple’ to ‘wow, that’s neat’ features. In terms of accuracy, they have been bang on for what my blood sugars are doing. And I don’t have to pay for these out of pocket, they are covered by my insurance plan.

Cell phone and apps

I need the cell phone to scan the Libre device. I need the cell phone to upload those results and that of my glucose monitor. I have tried many apps and have even written about a few of them, as have others. Some are complex and take more time to use. Others are simpler. I tend to like the ones that target the simpler things I want to know, not what they tell me I need to know. I have, on many occasions, loaded a free app that sounded good and then deleted it after I played around in it. Usually, it didn’t give me what I wanted or worse yet, it gave me too much! Sometimes I don’t know what I want in an app until I get in it. This is why I usually only use free apps.

I use apps for more than just my blood glucose results. I use them to track my foods, my water, my exercise, and more. Some are combined and offer one-stop shopping. The downside to some of the apps: they want you to buy their paid version. Now, I understand this, we all want to make money but when the ads in the app interfere with the use of the app, I’m out of there. This was my opinion with what was “my favorite app ever”, LoseIt! The free version was amazing when they were a startup company. Then they went to a paid version which I paid for and was also great. After a while, I had to re-budget and didn’t renew the yearly cost for the paid version. When I decided I needed to start tracking my foods again, I went back to the free version. There are ads in the middle of everything! Want this feature or that feature, pay for it. Want to know more about this or that, pay for it. There’s little free information anymore. These ads are not only annoying, they are distracting. Even more annoying, the ads are from the company itself, not external ads. They show up in the middle of what I’m doing. They take my focus away from why I’m using their app in the first place.

Pen and paper

Don’t laugh. I use this sometimes when I need to vent about the day I’ve had and how it affects my diabetes. I use this when the internet is not working well, or if the internet goes down. I use it when there are cell phone or app updates that take a while to load. I use it when I need to see things the way my mind processes rather than how the app thinks I will process it. It may be an old way of doing things but it still works. I can take those notes to my doctor's appointment to show my progress or to show where I need help fixing my diet or maybe where I might need meds to assist.

My support system

The props I need and use the most? My family and all of you! My online support is here. My family and you understand what diabetes is and how tough it can be to live with. I would not get through some of the darker moments without the support of my family and without your support. You know those dark days. You know those joyous moments. You know because you live it.

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