I've been on Twitter since, well, it seems like forever. In 2013, I somehow stumbled upon the DOC and #DSMA. For those of you who are unfamiliar, DOC is the Diabetes Online Community and #DSMA is the Diabetes Social Media Advocacy. I cannot remember how I stumbled upon them but am certainly glad I did. I think it was when I was pestering all of Twitter for advice about insulin pumps as I "contemplated" getting one. (Come on, you know my doctor had already decided for me I'd be getting one.)
Every Wednesday evening on Twitter, from 8 until 9 p.m. central standard time, #DSMA takes over with an hour long chat. Sometimes the topics are about diabetes advocacy and how we can become better advocates, sometimes about our wishes and hopes in regards to diabetes and sometimes just silly things. For a few weeks straight, food kept taking over as the topic of discussion. Many times I ended the chat craving things such as a grilled cheese sandwich or nachos or Chinese food.
I try to make the chat each week but once in a while I have to miss out on it due to other obligations or because, once in a blue moon, I have a date. Overall though, #DSMA is, hands down, the best part of Hump Day aka Wednesday.
The DOC has embraced and accepted me for who I am. I have made, what I consider true friendships, with people I have never met face-to-face. They have answered my questions without rolling their eyes, they have been cheerleaders and most importantly, they have been instrumental in my finally accepting and at times embracing (?!) my diabetes. Okay, embracing might be the wrong word. Perhaps they have helped me find some of the positives to having it. That still sounds wrong but I'm sure you can understand what I'm trying to say.
Since so many in the DOC blog and their blogs provide a wealth of information for their experiences and what they've learned as amazing advocates, I thought I'd share some of the tidbits I've learned in the short time I've been involved:
- Have a pump? Want to wear a dress? Not a problem. Clip your pump to your bra. Can't wear a bra with the dress? Still not a problem. Buy a garter and clip it to that. Or clip it to some hipster or boy short style underwear;
- It is okay to take a "pump-cation." Sometimes you just need a break from feeling like a robot with all of the devices attached to your body. I've learned from others it is okay to switch back to MDIs for a few days or even when you are living it up on a Caribbean island. Just make sure to discuss it with your doctor so you have a plan;
- Just because the FDA only approved your CGM for one location, the stomach, doesn't mean you can't break the rules and wear it somewhere else;
- It is OKAY to complain about all the tiny things we have to deal with just to stay alive but we shouldn't complain all. the. time. because we are quite fortunate to have access to insulin and the medical devices which others do not have access to;
- No matter how often we think we are the only one experiencing something in our journey with diabetes, chances are at least one other person has or is experiencing it too. Don't be afraid to share your situation because you connect and even potentially help someone through it;
- I learned how to organize all of my pump supplies so it doesn't look like the area where my supplies are stored exploded;
- Just like me, most people rarely change their lancets. A good rule of thumb I've learned is to try to change it when we change the clocks and/or change the batteries in the smoke detectors; and
- Most importantly, I've learned how to save the insulin left in my reservoir when it is time to change it instead of throwing away valuable insulin. Because that is the worst feeling ever knowing there are still a few units in the reservoir but you need to change the site. You become overwhelmed with guilt.
Those are the two pieces you need to save. To save the insulin in your old reservoir:
- Fill your new reservoir with the insulin you need;
- Keep the blue thing on your bottle of insulin;
- Once the new reservoir is connected to your infusion site device and you've pushed some insulin into the tubing , remove the plunger as you normally would but DO NOT THROW the plunger away;
- Continue changing your infusion site as you normally would;
- Connect the plunger to your old reservoir by screwing it in;
- Attach the old reservoir to the blue thing on top of your vial of insulin;
- Push the insulin into the vial;
- Remove the old reservoir, the blue thing and discard of all of your trash safely; and
- Ta-da! You have salvaged what little insulin was still left in your reservoir.
With all of that said, these are just some of the things I've learned through the DOC and #DSMA. I know I've learned so much more but it is difficult to recall everything when you sit down and try to list it all.
In closing, I hope you'll consider joining us for a future #dsma, even if you don't have diabetes. It is a great hour!