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.