This week… something completely different! It’s an episode all about my favorite things. With apologies to Oprah, this isn’t about the holidays – it’s a little late for that! And while some of this might make good gifts, this more of a season-less list. Just good stuff I like.
Couple of rules I set for myself: Nothing that needs a prescription. Nothing that I’m getting paid for. No one on this list will even know they’ve been mentioned until the episode goes live!
Hope you enjoy! -Stacey
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Episode transcription below:
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Stacey Simms 0:00
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This is Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms.
This week, something completely different. It’s an episode all about my favorite things. With apologies to Oprah, this isn’t about the holidays, it’s a little late for that. And you know, some of this might make good gifts. This is more of just something I’ve been thinking about doing for a long time. So I would consider this a bit of a seasonless list, just good stuff that I like. And unfortunately, unlike Oprah, I haven’t hidden everything I’m talking about here under your seat as a gift. So I can’t do that.
But I did set a couple of rules for myself, you’re not going to hear me talk about anything today for which you need a prescription. Right, I’m not gonna talk about medical stuff, and nothing that I’m getting paid for. I will put the links for all this stuff in the show notes, but they’re not affiliate links. So that means they go right to the product where I think it’s most easily available. They don’t go to a special link, you know, which tallies you up and then pays me. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with that as long as everybody knows what’s going on. And a couple of these folks may sound familiar, I’ve worked with them before, we have had partnerships and sponsorships with the mostly the booked clinic program. But I really just wanted this to be a fun way to share my thoughts. If you have a product that I mentioned. And the link is wrong or doesn’t go exactly where you want it, please reach out. I want to make this great for you and easy for my listeners. So drop me a line Stacey at diabetes connections.com. And maybe we’ll get a thread going in the Facebook group to find out some of your favorite things. Because you know, Benny is older now and the products that we really needed, you know, like the super cute insulin pump pouches that he used when he was three years old, he does not use anymore. So I don’t have recommendations for stuff like that. Maybe we can kind of get a list going and I can do a follow up in a couple of weeks or months for listeners but you really should be in the Facebook group. Anyway, if you’re on Facebook, I know not everybody is so if you’re there, come on over. Alright, so here are a few of my favorite things
let’s talk about keeping insulin at room temperature. A couple of products I really like for that we don’t have a ton of issue with this day in and day out. I do live in North Carolina and Benny of course is outside quite a bit in the summer, he does go to summer camp. When we’ve needed to keep something at room temperature. We use a Frio generally these Frio wallets pretty standard in the diabetes community you probably know about them. What’s nice is you can get them at CBS. Now, I think Walgreens carries them used to be online only. They’re really easy to use. Please follow the directions. Don’t be like me and oversaturate and then you can’t get anything in the wallet. You have to just read the directions. You’ll figure it out better than we did. But Frio doesn’t keep it cold. It just keeps it cool. But we love Frio.
Close to edging it out. And the only reason it doesn’t here is because of the price. And because it doesn’t yet cover vials. But that’s coming is the VIVI Cap. These folks reached out to me middle of last year, probably spring of last year and sent us a sample we decided to try it on Benny’s trip to Israel. If you’ll recall, my son went to Israel with his non diabetes camp last summer for a month. This included tons and tons of outdoor activity in temperatures that were in excess of 100 degrees. Quite often, he packed two bags, one was like the go bag, three days worth of supplies. And then the other bigger bag that stayed inside or in a refrigerated area, at least the insulin part of it did on the bus or you know, wherever they went, I have my suspicions as to whether it’s stayed perfectly refrigerated the whole time, but only a little bit of insulin went into the desert with. But the idea was he would take a pen, we would use the VIVI Cap, and then he would just change the pen out continuing to use the VIVI Cap in his backpack. Whenever he needed more insulin. He had vials he had pens we use both in his pump. And it’s always nice to have a pen in case you need to give yourself a shot something like that. So when he came home and this is so typical of my son went through his bag, for he did a great job with diabetes, but there must have been like a communications problem because he never changed out that insulin pen. He never needed to give himself a shot, which is probably why but he just always used the vials that I’d sent him with. I sent him with way too much insulin for a month but you know, you know mom’s What am I gonna do? So upshot of this long story is that the one insulin pen that we sent to Israel with stayed in hot temperatures definitely in excess of probably 75 degrees around the clock, and certainly in excess of 100 degrees for several days at a time during the daytime. And what happened to it right it was with the VIVI Cap the whole time so we decided to test it out. You know how he supervised setting right? I wasn’t going to let him use this pen and then jaunt off do overnights or whatever he was with us. And look, we would know right away if that insulin was no good. And guess what? It worked perfectly. It was fantastic. He was in range. I mean, he was really we were really watching obviously, right. But he was in range pretty much the whole three days. So it was fantastic. And I was definitely converted to VIVI Cap. That should be their tagline guys call me if you can stand the Israeli desert heat, right, you can certainly hang out a day camp in North Carolina this summer. They often have promo codes, discounts. It’s more expensive than the Frio wallet. But it’s also really durable and lasts for a whole year. And it has different sizes. So it will fit whatever insulin you’re using. My understanding is that they are working on a similar bit of technology for insulin vials, and that would be great.
Let’s talk a little bit about getting stuff to stick. I have a whole document about this. If you haven’t seen it, it’s been a pop up for a couple of months. It’s been incredibly popular. So I haven’t taken it down yet. But I’m probably going to move it over to the bookstore section. Do you don’t have a bookstore section on the website, we’re kind of creating a place to put documents a lot of stuff is free. There are PDFs, so we’re gonna move that over there. But of course there there’s my book to buy and there will be more later this year. But the getting stuff to stick is so personal. I think it’s really hard right? Everybody’s skin is so different. So here’s what we have liked over the years could not keep anything on Benny skin with a Skin Tac that is the brand that we like we get Skin Tac from Amazon. Over the years we’ve gone from just using the little Skin Tac wipes to using the liquid bottle we used to liquid for many years. I think gosh, Benny was like 13 or 14 and he was like no more. I don’t want that it’s not portable enough. He’s never home. So he uses the wipes. Now. He uses nothing to dissolve it. So I have no favorite product for that. He literally just rips things off his skin. I cringe every time but hey, it’s not my body.
We like Stay Put Medical patches. That’s the brand, Stay Put Medical just foyer for years and years. We had trouble in the water. I tried vet wrap I tried all the stuff that all the moms tell you to try. The Dexcom overlays that come free from the company are great, but it didn’t work as well in the ocean, or with sweat, that kind of thing. So Stay Put patches really were fantastic for us. The story I always tell is Benny with a diabetes camp for a full week, right Saturday to Saturday. And then we went to the beach and we restarted the ducks calm. This was a couple of years ago. And it survived to Stay Put and the Dexcom survived a week of diabetes camp where they swim and sweat and you know, they’re pretty gross for a whole week. It’s hot. Again, as I said we live in North Carolina, and then three days at the ocean, sand and ocean. All that stuff that you get and it really did stay put. So I really love that they’re big. He got an incredible tan line. That’s one of the only downsides of it.
We used Benadryl spray, Benny had a brief time of having a mild allergic reaction. I think this was to the Dexcom G5 years ago and my husband came back from the store with over the counter Benadryl spray not Flonase requested, and it worked fine. So it’s kind of a weird, favorite thing, but I haven’t heard a lot about Benadryl spray, but I’ll mention it here.
I also really really like next care waterproof Band-Aids, the brand doesn’t really matter. I mean, it’s just a Tegaderm bandage, but I’d like to mention it because you can get it at the drugstore or the grocery store. It’s over the counter. Unlike a lot of the stuff that has to be ordered from your medical company or from Amazon, you can take a waterproof bandage and in a pinch, slap it over your Dexcom or slap it over an infusion set. I mean, you have to cut a hole into for the infusion set. But sometimes you can just slap it on top. We’ve done that and then gently pulled it off later to reconnect to the tube to pump. And it works great. I’ve heard a lot of people say they’re afraid of doing that because they don’t want to block the signal from the Dexcom people. We have done this many, many, many times I can show you photos. When we went to the Dead Sea in Israel, I did not want to take a chance of the salt. Right. It’s so salty, corroding the transmitter. So we put a waterproof bandage over the Dexcom. And he left it on for a couple of days. I don’t know the probably wasn’t very comfortable, but he didn’t seem to care. And it worked fine. So that’s my in a pinch favorite thing at the beach
let’s talk about cases and organization something that my son doesn’t care about at all. And if I if this were me, I’m the kind of person that I love pouches and organization and cool stuff like that and he really doesn’t care. But I will go through and tell you what I like. I am a huge fan of T1D3DGear. This is just a fantastic family in the diabetes community to begin with, and their stuff is awesome. So as you can imagine T1D3DGear, they’re making stuff right they’re printing it out on their 3d printer and it’s everything from trays, which we do use, I love those makes your supplies really easy to find. And they’ve got different sizes for different brands to insulin protection vials, which I like a lot, and they will do custom colors as well, we’ve been so lucky, where’s the wood that I can knock that we’ve never actually like dropped a vial, but I always put the vial we’re using in the case. And that makes me feel so much better. It’s just a really easy, it kind of looks like R2D2 in a way. I don’t think that’s by design, but it’s really helpful and really handy and they’re making super useful products. They also make the cutest ones like if your kid wants a unicorn or different options. I’ll link up their website, as I mentioned,
Benny doesn’t really like pouches, but I make him use them anyway because otherwise his diabetes bag is just a complete mess. So we like the ones from casualty girl, some of these have a bit of profanity, you know, all my diabetes stuff. You can fill in the blank there, but they have a bunch of really clean ones, obviously, you know, for younger children, even for my kid I don’t like him carrying stuff in public that that has profanity on it, but they have some really cute stuff specific to diabetes, also personalized. They put names on it, and they were so nice. A couple of years ago we gave away a bunch of their stuff at friends for life, so I always like to recommend them. I also will recommend and link up Disney themed pouches that don’t look super Disney. I know a lot of you especially friends for life people you’re big Disney fans. I am too but I don’t like to have like Mickey Mouse on my purse. I like it to be a little bit more subtle. And at red bubble. There’s a bunch of people who will put together pouches you can see the samples. They just kind of hint at Disney so I have the small world pouch but it’s just like a pattern that is featured in small world. It’s not actually it doesn’t say small world. I got Lea my daughter for Hanukkah. This year. I got her one that has the Haunted Mansion wallpaper on it. You’d never know unless you knew. So very cool stuff. It doesn’t have anything to do with diabetes. But I love red bubble. They also have a fun bunch of diabetes stickers there. Oh, speaking of stickers. The best is Dia-Be-Tees This is my friend Rachel. And she has amazing T shirts. She is so creative. She’s got great stickers, she made an ugly Hanukkah sweater for diabetes, because a couple of years ago, she makes these great, ugly Christmas sweaters for their diabetes steam. They say funny stuff on them. But I pointed out to her like, hey, everybody celebrates Christmas and she was immediately on it. My favorite stickers are the Tyrannosaurus Dex, get it and the Banting fan club that she made this year for Dr. Banting. Very, very cool stuff. And I’ll link up to her Etsy shop.
Let’s talk about books. I promise I won’t talk about my book here. I talk about it enough. But I really would like to recommend some books that have helped us a lot over the years. My favorite, the one that I always recommend is Think like a pancreas A Practical Guide to managing diabetes with insulin. And that is by the amazing diabetes educator Gary Scheiner. He is out with an updated edition. So he did this book, it’s got to be I don’t know, Gary, I’m guessing 10 years old, but he does update it frequently. I think it’s the third edition now. It’s really a great source and resource to understand your diabetes and your child’s diabetes better and more thoroughly, let’s say then perhaps you might get these quick endocrinology visits, definitely better than the information you’re getting on Facebook.
I of course love raising teens with diabetes, a survival guide for parents by Moira McCarthy that has not been updated for the technology that has come out since its publication. However, I don’t think that matters. I think that there are so many wonderful ideas, thoughts and ways to recognize how tough a time it is for teenagers and come through that time with your relationship with your child intact. So I really recommend that I know Maura is working on updating it. But even still, it’s so good because I think so many people with teenagers, even as we say all the time Oh, it’s such a tough time. It’s they feel so alone. I still I mean gosh, you guys I always wonder and I call Moira. She would vouch for me. And I’m like I’m not doing this right. It’s hard. It’s really hard.
I also love Sugar Surfing how to manage type 1 diabetes in a modern world by the amazing Dr. Steven ponder, I would be lying if I said we are perfect sugar surfers. But we have used a lot of the principles that are in this book. And it does help you understand so much about how everything works and the dynamic way of managing. You know before CGM. It’s incredible to think how much Dr. Ponder was able to do. And now with the monitoring, it’s really, really helpful. But I will say you can get this for free. If you’re newly diagnosed, I believe it’s the first three months it might be six months, I will link it up. But I’m telling you right now, if you get this for free when you’re newly diagnosed, put it away for a couple of weeks at least maybe put it away for six months, because it’s it’s pretty advanced in my opinion, and you got to learn diabetes, you got to learn a little bit more about it before you start worrying about the Delta and other stuff that’s in here. But I love Dr. Ponder and highly recommend that one.
I get asked a lot about children’s books. And you know Benny and I read so many diabetes children’s books, so many I mean how many are there in the market but we read them so often when he was little And my favorites probably aren’t even available anymore. You know, Jackie’s got game was about this kid who was trying it for the basketball team. And then he goes low. We loved Rufus comes home, which is about the JDRF. Bear, there were a couple of that diabetes kind of popped up into lots of picture books that we read if the person in them didn’t have diabetes, or the animals in them. But I gotta be honest with you, I struggle to recommend children’s books, because I’m not reading them with little kids anymore. And I think they’re a really good judge, right? I do. Like when I go low, a diabetes picture Guide, which is a terrific book by ginger Viera. And Mike Lawson. And this is a terrific book, because both of those people live with type one, we had them on the show, you know, I’ve known them for years I full disclosure, but I think it’s so valuable because as a parent of a child with diabetes, who doesn’t live with diabetes herself, I don’t have that kind of insight. And I really trust those authors to share that information and help a child kind of give voice to how they’re feeling when they go low, that sort of thing. It’s a fun, cute book, it’s, you know, it’s not serious. It’s not scary. It’s really great.
And I’m just gonna say, and don’t be mad parents, if you’re thinking of writing a children’s book, just carefully consider it. Look at what was already out on the market. I talked to a lot of people who spent a lot of money to put these books out, you know, most of them are not published by a traditional publishing house. Some are but most are self-published. And that’s great. But you know, gosh, there are so many out there right now that are very similar. So you know, we don’t need a general explainer, please think about what the need in the community is, what’s the unique need, you can fill? And I would say, you know, that’s why I like when I go low, because it’s written by people with type one, we do need them. I mean, the children’s books are great. And there’s some wonderful ones out there, but I’ll tell you, what I’d like to see is some elementary school and tween level books. That’s what we really need around here. We don’t need another picture book, we need something that an 11 year old or an eight year old could read and see themselves in, you know, baby sitters club is the only thing I can think of where diabetes is there, but it isn’t always the focus, it would be really nice to have something else like that. Frankly, I’d like to see that adult level book as well. There’s a couple of authors that have written books were diabetes featured but isn’t like the main point. But boy, it would be really fun to see that in like a blockbuster bestseller kind of book if they got it right of course.
Alright, let’s talk about some just for fun stuff. years ago, Benny got his years ago on his 10 year diaversary. So five years ago, we gave Benny the I heart guts, stuffed pancreas. I heart guts is a company that makes they’re so funny. They make stuffed animal type body parts, I’m sorry, they call them plush organs. And since we purchased a few years ago, they have a few more options on their website. They have socks, they have pouches, I was talking about pouches earlier, there’s one that says party in my pancreas. But what I really like about this is you can get something for your kiddo with type one. But you can also find something for a sibling who doesn’t have diabetes, right? If you’re if you’re just looking for something silly, I gave my daughter the heart, right? I mean, knock on wood, thank God, there’s nothing wrong with her heart. But it was a symbol of my love for her. And while she thought it was kind of silly, you know, it’s a way to include her. So diabetes isn’t always you know, the middle of everything. And they I mean, this place absolutely cracks me up. There is so much here. They’ve got puns as far as the eye can see. So if your kid needs their tonsils out, if your wife is having a knee replacement, these are just really fun. And I may have to go and order a huge amount of the stickers.
One of the things I absolutely love is that a lot of businesses have popped up to make toy accessories for kids with diabetes. So you know, you’ve probably heard like Build A Bear has a diabetes kit, you can get that online. years ago, the American Girl doll kit kind of kicked this off. But there’s a bunch of people in the community making this stuff. So I recommend heroic kid, and they make tiny little CGMs for your Elf on the Shelf. If you’re into that, or you can put it on an American Girl doll. You can have a libre, they now make a bunch of insulin pumps. It’s awesome. I love this stuff. I mean, I can’t even imagine if we’d had a real real looking insulin pump for Benny when he was two years old that he could have stuck on his Elmo. Holy cow. So heroic kid is fantastic.
And the other thing for kids I wanted to share. And I I tell if you saw my newscast last week, we talked about this I broke this story in 2019. Jerry the bear, and Rufus the bear are now one, there can only be one, there was only one bear. And we talked about this when beyond type one and JDRF announced their alliance in 2019. I kind of jokingly asked like what happens to the bears? And they answered it with a straight face and said only one. We’re gonna figure this out because it doesn’t make any sense to have to, you know, we don’t want to be spending money on this kind of stuff. So what happened is Rufus is now $22 which is a lot less than the starting price of Jerry. And if you’re not familiar, I probably should explain. So Jerry, the bear is an interactive toy made by the folks at Sproutel, they have gone on to make things like my special AFLAC duck. They have, I think it’s called a purrburl. It’s like a little stuffed animal that kind of helps kids kind of calm themselves. It’s interactive that way. And but they started with Jerry, the bear was their first product developed when these guys were in college. It’s a really smart team. But Jerry is a teaching toy. And there’s an app on he’s evolved over the years and really looks great. And of course, now he looks like Rufus. So this is Rufus on the outside Jerry on the inside, and it’s available for $22.
I’m gonna call this next category, miscellaneous, because these were just a couple of things that I wanted to make sure to tell you about. But they don’t fit into many of these categories. And the first one popped up into my Facebook feed. But it looks beautiful. It’s a ring. It’s kinda like a zigzaggy ring. But it’s called to my daughter highs and lows ring, it is only $36. It is cubic zirconia. It is sterling silver plated with 18 karat gold. So this is not a you know, super expensive super valuable ring. And that’s fine. I think it’s great for what it is, makes it a terrific little gift. And it comes with a card that says the ring stands for the highs and lows in life, wear it as a reminder that I will be there for you through all of them. That’s pretty cool. And hey, moms, I mean, you can buy it for yourself. Even though we go through some highs and lows, they don’t all have to be diabetes related.
I want to mention, this is very silly. But this is our miscellaneous category. And these are my favorite things. I think everybody who uses a Dexcom should have a guitar pick lying around. Because you’ve probably seen the trick to use a test strip to to pry the Dexcom transmitter out of the sensor for a couple of reasons doesn’t work for us. I don’t know if our test strips are weak or our transmitters are strong. But we have found that a guitar pick does the trick very easily. And I’ll tell you the number one reason why we have to remove Dexcom transmitters, it’s because then he will start a dead transmitter, or I’ll start a dying transmitter. And he’ll ignore all the notifications, we’ll put the sensor on and clip the transmitter and then the transmitter is dead. So yeah, the guitar pick comes in handy to pry that out and then put the new transmitter in.
I also want to recommend a website not a product here but Useless Pancreas.com is a clearinghouse for so many products. They’ve done an amazing job. We had them on the podcast earlier this year. But since I talked to them, they’ve added so much. So if you’re tooling around and you’re not sure even what you’re looking for, like I need to get something that’ll make stuff stick or I need something that’ll they have these two categories, like what will make my kid happy. It’s just a neat place to go and find a diabetes marketplace. So I’d like to recommend that because, you know, you go on Amazon, there’s so many choices. But they’ve done a nice job of really trying to narrow it down and give us one place to go.
Alright, before I wrap it up here, I did ask Benny if he had any favorite diabetes, things to recommend. And he looked at me like I hit three heads. After thinking about it for a minute or two. He said, The silent button on my pump and Dexcom. So I can’t say I blame him for that. I am happy that he has the vibrate only we wish every alarm could be silenced. We understand why they cannot be.
So there you have it. That’s my very first favorite things episode, I will put a link in the show notes. For every item that I talked about here, I want to make it easy for you to find. Again, if you are haven’t mentioned and you have a product and you’re not crazy about the link I use, feel free to email me Stacey at diabetes connections.com or ping me on social media and we will figure it out. I want to make sure that people can find your stuff. And if you have your own favorite things that you’d like to list, I think I will put something in the Facebook group and maybe we’ll share that in the weeks to come.
Thank you as always to my editor John Buchanan from audio editing solutions. Thank you so much for listening. A couple of weeks left in December, we are going to have these Tuesday episodes, as I mentioned, including kind of a look ahead to next year some predictions possibly. And I’m really hoping to get one more technology update for you in before the end of the year trying to get someone from Tandem to come on and talk about that R&D update that I spoke about in the news episode. Last week. They laid out their five year plan for new products and software. But I will see you back here on Wednesday for in the news or if you listen on podcast. That’ll be Friday. All right. I’m Stacey Simms. I’ll see you back here soon Until then be kind to yourself.
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