Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Most Magical Place on Earth (for my blood sugars).

This past Thursday my family and I went to Disney World for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. It was a great way to celebrate being done with exams and the fall semester.

Me and my brother on the Tea Cups
The evening started out great with a trip to Downtown Disney to eat at Earl of Sandwich where I had a BG of 118 at around 5 o'clock. From there we headed to the Magic Kingdom and made it into the park before 7.  Right away we headed to the Buzz Lightyear ride and then hit up Space Mountain, the Motor Speedway, the Tea Cups and Dumbo within an hour.

Under the Sea!

We then decided to get hot chocolate and cookies and waited in line for about 15 minutes - our longest line of the night. Before getting this delicious snack my blood sugar was 154.  We then went on It's a Small World and then headed to the new part of Fantasyland. Under the Sea was a pretty cool ride that easily summarized the story of the Little Mermaid in an aesthetically pleasing way. We then got more hot chocolate and cookies (BG  122!) and found a good place to watch the fireworks.

After the fireworks show we headed to Frontierland to ride Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain Railroad. There was absolutely no wait to ride Splash Mountain because it was a bit cold outside so we got right on the ride.  My brother, Bobby, and I were the only ones from my family to ride and, of course, we got a little soaked on the way down. However, it was well worth it. We then went to ride Thunder Mountain Railroad, only to find out that it was closed and they did not know when it would be fixed and back up.
The Parade!
So, we went down the path a little to watch the parade that was to be happening soon. We then got more hot chocolate because this was the one night of the week that it was actually cold. This time I forgot to test and just bolussed. Soon after we headed out of the park and back home. It was really great night. I then decided to check my blood sugar and found out it was at 100! I could not believe that after all of the walking and the hot chocolate and cookies that could have thrown me either way I ended up exactly where I should be. You just never know what is going to happen I guess. Diabetes sometimes has nice surprises too.

-Keep flying steady

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Finals Stress

So I have one final left and then I am done for this semester. I just got out of my physical chemistry final on which I don't think I did very well. Before the exam I checked my blood sugar and it was 143. However, in the middle of the exam I could tell it was dropping and I was losing my focus. Luckily, I had a Level glucose gel in my pocket. I was able to focus better on the exam within a few minutes of  consuming the delicious Strawberry-Banana glucose gel. This may have affected my test-taking for a few minutes, but my blood sugar was back up in no time at all.

I'm now preparing for my last final, Anatomy. After that I am free and get to go home to my family on Wednesday and then on Thursday we are going to Disney! I'm sure I'll have something to post about that.

Also, it seems that my primary doctor is currently sitting on my referral to DexCom for my next shipment of sensors, so I am currently without my CGM. I have, however, been testing my BG levels a lot more during this time, which is good because up until this test, my BG levels have been a lot higher than normal, including an inexplicable 400 earlier today!

-Keep flying steady

Friday, November 30, 2012

A busy fall.

So, again it's been a while since I've posted on here. This fall has been one of the busiest semesters for me.  Trying to study and keep up with classes this semester has been a little difficult. However, I am now on Thanksgiving break and can finally make an update!

The quidditch matches that I talked about in my last post ended up not really happen due to a thunderstorm. We were supposed to play several games at FGCU, but after our first game the rest of the day was canceled due to the thunderstorms. It was kind of a bummer, but there wasn't anything we could do about it. My diabetes didn't act up during that game and my BG levels stayed pretty good.

Our next meet wasn't going to be until the first weekend in November so we had more time to practice. Due to school I missed many of these practices and was not on the team for this meet. However, I went in order to play on a mercenary team and to become IQA referee certified.

Despite losing all of our games, I think the team grew well throughout the day, and we ended up playing really well in our last game, almost pulling out a win. Here's the team, The McGonagalls:

Since this tournament was not very far from where I live, the night before I drove home and had dinner with my mom before heading over for the Referee Training Test. There were many errors with the grammar and spelling and diagrams on the test, which made it difficult for all of us, but I found out the next day that I got the highest score in our group, which most likely one of the highest scores ever on the test.

After having a good night's sleep at home, I arrived back at USF the next day ready for the tournament.  I started out the day refereeing one of the first games. Since I hadn't refereed in a while I started out a little shaky, but got back into the swing of it pretty quickly. Up next for the day was The McGonagalls's first game of the day versus USF. This was our first game all playing together so we had troubles with communication and working as a cohesive force. We ended up losing 150 - 0. 

I was now off to referee the FSU-UM game. This was to be the game that I would be given my field test for referee certification. This game was a clear win for UM and there were very few calls that I had to make, but given that I knew it was my certification test and that on another field they decided to start the game in which I was supposed to be playing, I was not on the top of my reffing game and did not pass the field test due to a lack of confidence and assertiveness when making calls on the field. Of course, with my luck, this ended up being the only game that I refereed that day that I had this problem. Nevertheless, it was a really fun day and I enjoyed every bit of it. I ended up playing a total of three games and refereeing five or six.

Contrarily, my diabetes equipment was not behaving that day. Not one, but two of my pods fell off that day and I'm pretty sure the second one happened when I was receiving a hug. Despite that, my BG levels stayed relatively normal even into the night about two hours later. 

-Keep flying steady

(Despite starting this post over break, I got caught back up in studying and homework and didn't finish until now. However, Thanksgiving was delicious and for some reason my BG levels were much higher all week then when I'm at school.)

Monday, September 17, 2012

College vs. the Omnipod

Hey everybody!

Sorry for the long delay between posts. College has started back up again and I have been so busy. It has been far too long since I posted though so I figured it was time.

I think I have finally found the right way to keep my Omnipod attached during any Quidditch practice. I have been using clear medical tape and my sleeve from Bands4Life. During the last several practices I have not had a single problem with it falling off.

To continue with the Quidditch update, we had a match against FSU a week ago and we beat them in 2 out of 3 games and we all had a lot of fun. This coming weekend we will be traveling to FGCU to play against all of the teams in the FQC. We have had a lot of new and excited people come and join our team and I think the team is going to have a good year this Quidditch season.
Also, at our matches against FSU, this cuteness called Kidditch broke out.
So far my classes haven't been all too terrible, but the year is still young and I haven't had tests in several of my classes. I think my hardest class so far is Physical Chemistry and it is supposed to be the hardest class.

NEW TECHNOLOGY! Yes, I now have a DexCom CGM! I was so happy to get it in the mail the other day. So far it has been working really well. It helps to catch some lows and highs I otherwise would not have noticed.
My beautiful DexCom
I will hopefully be able to update again after my upcoming matches. Until then,

-Keep flying steady

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Level: The future of evening out lows

So the other night right when I was getting ready to go to bed I had a blood sugar of 64. Of course, they always seem to happen at the most inconvenient times. Anyway, when I was at the SWD National Conference I got to meet Ethan, the creator of Level Foods and a really cool T1 diabetic, who gave us samples of his new glucose gels. So I decided to use one the other night and it was a great decision. The gels are 15g of carbohydrates and have the same kind of fast working glucose other gels and tablets have. A half hour later I was sitting nicely at 116 and I could rest easy knowing that I would be fine throughout the night. My morning blood sugar was 88 so everything worked out really well. It brought my BG levels back up without a bad spike. It just kind of leveled them out like the name suggests.

I would really recommend these glucose gels to anyone. The best part is they even taste really good. There are four flavors, which I have finally gotten to taste them all. These flavors are vanilla, strawberry banana, caramel, and mandarin orange. Right now you can only get them on, but sometime in the near future they will be at stores. I'll be putting in an order for going back to college so that I'll have some good tasting glucose gels to save me from any lows I might get this year.

- Keep flying steady

(Additionally, I had an endo appointment today and my a1c was a 6.6! This is my first a1c since diagnosis 11.5 years ago below 7.0. Also, my endo was impressed with how I was handling all of this new technology (the omnipod and the iBGStar) and gave me the green light for a dexcom! I can't wait to have this new bit of technology to help further control my blood sugars.)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Brooms (and BG levels) Up at Ascendio!

Brooms down before the second game.
This past weekend I went to Orlando to take place in some demo Quidditch matches at Ascendio, a Harry Potter Convention at the Portofino Bay Hotel by Universal. It was another scorcher of a day in Florida, but we were all excited to show these Harry Potter fans how muggles play Quidditch.

Before playing the matches I checked my BG level and it came up with 301. I have recently been having problems with going high after lunch so this wasn't too bad. (I've since been fixing these problems). I did a temp basal of -50% knowing that my BG would be heading down soon after I started playing. However, after 1 game my it was up to 341. I thought this was because of the temp basal and decide to not set one for the next game. After playing that game I tested again and realized I was 565. I think that was the highest BG reading I had ever had, including right after my diagnosis. As I had been instructed by my doctor I checked for ketones next. They registered with a reading of 0.9! Trying to remain calm I gathered all of my supplies and then proceeded to first give myself a shot of fast-acitng insulin and then replace my pod. Within 45 minutes I had dropped over 100 and was headed in the right direction again.
Cruising down the field with Bridget, the ref,
giving me a weird look.

Since it was now 3 o'clock and I hadn't eaten lunch yet I went with a group to Citywalk to get some food. In order to bolus the food and the high blood sugar I was still experiencing I had to go over my bolus limit. This was one of the scariest experiences I've had with an out of whack blood sugar. I know now I must be more careful and pay closer attention to my pods when I'm playing quidditch.

To get away from all of the bad parts of the day I really enjoyed the rest of my day at Ascendio especially a part of the winning team for both games! I also bought myself a Hufflepuff sweater that is designed like the ones worn by the Quidditch players in the Harry Potter movies and an awesome bumper sticker that says "I'd rather be playing Quidditch." So overall it was a fantastic day with a bit of a hiccup thanks to the beetus, but one that I will certainly learn from.

-Keep flying steady

(I think I flew a tad too high...)

Friday, July 13, 2012


For almost a week now I have been released from the chains of the endo and set free into the wild with my new pump, "The Doctor." If you're a Doctor Who fan you'll probably get right away why I've named it such. When I'm changing pods it's as if it's "regenerating." Yeah, I'm a nerd, I know. But it also has the double meaning of it being like a doctor in helping me along with the beetus.

So far this has been very successful. I have had very few numbers above 200 since I've been on the pump and I used to get numbers above 200 more than I would like to admit. I have also not had too many "bad" lows either.

On Saturday I'll be going to Orlando to play Quidditch at Ascendio, which is a Harry Potter convention. I participated in a similar event at LeakyCon last summer so I cannot wait to do it again this year!

-Keep flying steady

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Quidditch vs. the Omnipod: Round 1

Last Saturday was the first time since I started pumping insulin that I had played Quidditch. I had the pod on while playing Quidditch before, but I just had saline solution in then so if anything went wrong it wasn't a big deal. However, I also recently got my new band from so I was ready to try it out and hope for the best.

Me with my omnipod on my left arm and the band over it.
I tried a mix of a temp basal and gatorade to prevent my numbers from dropping too low or going too high from overcompensating and the temp basal seemed to work the best. I started out with a blood glucose at 160 mg/dl and after an hour of playing and an hour of a -50% temp basal I was 117. I then drank I little bit of gatorade and continued playing. I was 134 less than an hour later and 153 an hour after that. So it seemed the gatorade was bringing me up too high while the temp basal kept me where I needed to be. However, since I didn't use it the whole time and didn't extend it past the time I was exercising my bg levels dropped the rest of the night.

The best part of this day of playing Quidditch was that the omnipod never fell off of my arm. The band served it's purpose in keeping it on and I would really recommend to anyone playing sports to where it and keep you omnipod safe from contact and safe from sweating off of your arm.

I had a great 4th of July yesterday complete with fireworks and a cookout. It was one of the largest boluses I've done since starting with the omnipod, but it was worth all of the delicious food.

-Keep flying steady

Monday, June 25, 2012

Pumping Iron...err...Insulin

Today I started pumping insulin with my omnipod!

I started the day off at around 220 and after eating a lunch that they said I could go all out on (oh, I did) I was 290-something, but did not have ketones. So everything was working well and they sent me on my way home. In the appointment they started me with a basal rate of 1.4 u/hr and a carb ratio of 1/10. I expect one of those things to change because at dinner time I was 47.

Well, we'll see what happens as I get fine-tuned here with my omnipod, which I really need to think of a name for. Calling it "my omnipod" just doesn't have a nice enough ring to it.

With 2 quidditch practices/ games this week we'll see if it'll hold up and how my BG levels are affected.

-Keep flying steady

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Start of the Omnipod

So I meant to post this Tuesday night after I made it, but I was too tired as you can see from the video...So here it is now.
Also, yesterday while playing quidditch I tested the omnipod's durability. Unfortunately, I must report that it did not really survive practice. It seemed to sweat right off. So I'm going to try a few different things to help it survive practice: skin tac wipes, which are supposed to help make it a bit more sticky and an arm band from Hopefully, between this two things I'll be able to keep the omnipod in place all the way through practice. If you have any other suggestions, please leave me a comment and let me know.

-Keep flying steady

(One last thing. I feel like I should explain "Keep flying steady." I was thinking about how diabetes could be compared to quidditch and I realized that you don't want to fly too high because then you're up in the clouds and not in the game anymore, but you also don't want to fly too low because then you're on the ground and also out of the game. So if you fly steady you're in the game and able to contribute. And the same really applies to blood sugars. If you're too high or low you can't really concentrate very well and it's like you're not really there. So if you keep a steady not-too-high, not-too-low blood glucose you're where you need to be and you can stay in the game of life.)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Quidditch World Cup 2011

My first appointment for my omnipod is coming up tomorrow so I don't have much to update on that right now. However, I would like to talk about my trip to New York last November for the Quidditch World Cup.

We had been preparing for this trip since the beginning of the school year in August. After many, many practices we had finally made it to our destination: The Quidditch World Cup. This years cup was held on Randall's Island in New York City. Since this was in November it was really cold. Everyone came bundle up and tried to stay as warm as possible.

We got into New York two days early so that we could see some of the city while we were there. We ventured through time square and a very small portion of central park. We went to the zoo. We went and saw Avenue Q off-broadway. We went to the 9/11 memorial site. We went shopping at various stores, even one that had a Harry Potter/Quidditch section! To say the least, it was a lot of fun.

Through these two days in the city I always had to make sure that I had enough insulin and test supplies with me at all time and, since I'm a guy and don't have a purse, I had to carry a backpack around in which to carry this stuff. This was my first trip to a big city with just a group of my friends so it was exciting and yet a bit scary since I wasn't sure what would happen if my blood sugars went to high or too low.  However, the first two days of the journey passed without incident.

The next day we were up early for breakfast and then off to Randall's Island for the start of the World Cup.  We were all very excited and nervous since we really had no idea what to expect. Our first game of the day was versus the University of Ottawa. It was a morning game so I knew my bg levels were still good from breakfast but I had snacks in my bag just in case. We started off the world cup with a win over Ottawa. Our next game wasn't for a few hours but I had to referee a different game soon so I took off to grab some lunch before heading to that. However, this was the lunch line of doom because it went on for miles it seemed. Luckily, my blood sugar wasn't low and I didn't need the food right away. 

Our second game of the day was against the State University of New York (SUNY) Geneseo. We again won in a well fought battle and my blood sugars seemed to be behaving. With two wins under our belt we were feeling good going into the final game of the day that night versus Arizona State University (ASU). After having a dinner of Hamburgers and chips (not the best meal for a diabetic, but it was probably better than the waffles), I was ready for this game. This was the hardest opponent we had faced and they really held their own against us. At one point I managed to wrestle the quaffle enough out of the opponents hand that the ball was awarded to me. We ended up beating ASU after our seeker's third consecutive snitch grab. We were ecstatic having gone 3-0 on the first day. Back at the hotel my numbers were starting to decline from all of the activity. I got some food into me and went to bed.

Our first opponent of the second day was the final for our pool: The Delaware Valley Dragons. They had gone 0-3 on their first day and knew they could no longer advance. They were out for blood. However, we would not stoop to their level and easily destroyed them. I scored twice myself and had two other goals that should have counted but did not due to poor refereeing. It was a good start to the day. While we waited to find out our seed going into the finals we found time to relax a little bit and eat some food. We found out that we were seeded second.

Our first team to play was Ohio State University and then we would keep playing through the bracket, game after game until the semifinals. We beat Ohio State and then McGill and then University of Pittsburgh. We were on a roll. We had made it into the semifinals. My blood sugars were somewhat good and we couldn't be happier. There was one problem though. The food place had closed and relocated to the stadium for the semifinals and finals. This meant that I had no access to food really. Luckily, while they had us waiting I was able to eat some of the snack food I had brought as my meal. I then took a much reduced insulin shot and prepared myself for our final games.

Our opponent in the semifinals was the University of Minnesota. They were the underdogs of the cup at this point having been ranked very low coming in. After a very close game we ended up winning on the snitch grab. Our seeker was now 8-0 on snitch pulls. He had won us some of our games, but we knew going into the finals that we could not rely on this fact. Our final opponent: Middlebury. They were the undefeated champions of the world cup. We were the first time participants of the world cup. The stadium cheered for both sides. It felt amazing to have a stadium cheering for you.

The game started with one final "Brooms up!" The game up early for Middlebury. Then we started to come back. I came in and scored twice with quick passes to me as I waited by the hoops. But, alas, we were not quick enough in scoring when the snitch was caught be middle bury we were only 10 points ahead of them and then succeeded in winning yet again with a final score of 100-80.

My blood sugars and I had survived a tumultuous day (and weekend) that ended with with me being a part of the second best team in the International Quidditch Association's league. We were proud of ourselves for making it so far, but we hungered for more as we knew we would be returning to the next cup.

(On a side note, traveling to and from New York I had no problems with TSA so I'm very grateful for that.)

- Keep flying steady

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The iBGStar Glucose Meter

Thanks to a competition that Students with Diabetes held and my video that I made I just won an iBGStar blood glucose meter! Here's my video entry:

Also, tomorrow my omnipod should be arriving and I'll be able to make my first appointment for that. New technology is here to help me control my diabetes better.

I cannot wait to get both of these new bits of technology here and working. I feel like a little kid in a candy shop with my new things, but then again I could say I feel like a diabetic in a candy shop because, face it, that smell is intoxicating to us and we get excited over that smell.

I'll have another post in a few days about the Quidditch World Cup from last November and I'll keep you updated on my omnipod!

-Keep flying steady

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Summer Quidditch: Round 1

Yesterday we the Florida Quidditch Conference had its first meet up of the summer. About 30 FQC players gathered at USF to play the sport we all love. We played many games and kept switching up the teams. We played until we physically couldn't stand the heat and were entirely exhausted.

While others were downing waters and gatorades throughout the day I had to keep checking my blood sugars to see if I needed to drink gatorade or just stick with the water.  After playing 2 games I checked and my BG level was 302, which may seem rather high for having just ran up and down the pitch many, many times, but I made sure my numbers started a bit higher to counteract the inevitable drop that was coming. After playing a another game or two I was down to 236. And finally at the end of all of the games I had hit 182, which was a decent place to end, but the drop was still coming. While driving home I was still drinking some of the gatorade, but by the time I reached home I had dropped to 67. Though my numbers started too high they ended too low. I'm still trying to find the best way to keep them just right the whole time.

Besides the slowly declining numbers, the day was a lot of fun and we all won at some point during the day. My favorite moment was during the first game where while I was falling off of my broom and having a bludger hit me in the face, I scored the winning goal.

If anyone wants to know the full rules of the game they can be found at or feel free to ask me!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Endo Visit

Today, was my visit to my Endocrinologist. My A1C came in at 7.2, down from 7.5, which for being on NPH and Humalog is pretty decent. However, I'll be getting my pump as soon as my primary doctor okays the actual pods. (I have no clue how they were stupid enough to forget that...) So, soon enough I'll hopefully be able to bring it under 7. 

I also asked my endo about getting a CGM. As soon as I am comfortably on the pump he is going to okay it! And I'm looking into possibly getting the iBGstar meter, which my doctor started talking about and I already knew where he was going with it when he mentioned Apple. 

Also, insurance companies that make you get referrals are dumb. I have been going to this endocrinologist  for the majority of my life. There is a reason for that. I shouldn't have to get my primary doctor to give me permission to see him.

Other than that little mishap that occurred with the referral today has been a good day. Let's hope I can continue this drive I have to better my control on my diabetes and have even better results in the future.

Students with Diabetes National Conference

So, this is my first time doing something like this, but after the incredible weekend I just had I decided it was time to share my experiences with the world.

First I'll start with a little introduction. My name is Jeremy Sparks, I'm 20 years-old and I'm a Junior at the University of Florida. I'm majoring in Chemistry with a minor in Mathematics. I also am following the pre-pharmacy track. I just found out that Insulet won my appeal against my insurance company so I will soon be the proud wearer of the Omnipod. However, since I was diagnosed at the age of 8 I have been on shots the entire time. The other side to me is that enjoy playing the sport of Muggle Quidditch, adapted from the sport imagined by J.K. Rowling. This is my way of staying active and keeping in shape.

Me playing Quidditch as a keeper at LeakyCon 2011.

This past weekend I attended a Students with Diabetes National Conference. This was one of the best experiences of my life. I learned so many things about Diabetes and how to better control it and I feel rejuvenated and ready to take it on with a new energy. I also met some pretty incredible people. I got to listen to Phil Southerland speak about growing up with Diabetes and how he used it to create Team Type 1 despite being told by a doctor that he probably would not live past age 25 and if he did he would most likely be blind and/or missing limbs. I also got to hear Bill King speak about how being diagnosed around 20 and then turning around and still running in marathons. Hearing these stories of triumph over great adversity made me want to go out in the world and not only help myself to live better, but to help others as well.
Bill King presenting.

There was one person that I met this weekend that had the biggest impact on me out of everyone else there and she wasn't even one of the speakers. This would be Catherine, another one of the attendees of the conference. She has her own blog that you can check out here. When she told me her story of being diagnosed and of the events that followed involving her dance career I was amazed at how much she has accomplished. She has a medic alert tattoo on her arm that, besides saying Type 1 Diabetic, says something that, to me, is more important: I kept going. To me those three words serve as a big inspiration. No matter what life throws at you, just keep going. Push through it and come out alive, on top, and a better person. I don't think any of the people I met would be who they are today if not for diabetes. And I think that is a very good thing because they are all incredible people.
Catherine and myself on Sandstorm at Busch Gardens.

One of the biggest things that I learned from this weekend is that having diabetes can be a good thing. Let it be the fire to ignite you into action. Go out into the world and accomplish something. Don't let diabetes hold you back and never use it as an excuse for why you cannot do something. You can do anything you want. Just watch your blood sugars.

Here's some of the other cool people I met this weekend:
Justin, Martin, Sarah, Rachelle, Ralf and Karla

April (Who I already knew from my university's SWD Club)

Melissa and Nia


William, Mike, Spencer and Neil

There were many others whom I shall not soon forget because this was a very fun, incredible, inspiring and educational weekend.

And finally, I must give a big thank you to Nicole (Miss America 1998!) and Steph for putting this event on. This was a wonderful experience and I hope to attend many more events like this in the future.