Diabetes Helpers Share Tips on Getting Low Cost Insulin and Strips

by Shoshana Nacass,

We witness people help each other on a daily basis, on the HelpAround platform. Useful tips, advice, and messages of support are pouring every day.  We’ve started highlighting the content shared by our users and gathered on a previous blog post some of the best discussions that happened on the app.

One of our Star Helpers*, Gaja, who lives in Yucaipa, California with type one diabetes, started an interesting discussion the other day. She started sharing tips on how to get low cost insulin and strips in the US. Have a look and join the discussion if you have questions or good tips to share!

Happy helping everyone!

*A Star Helper is a Diabetes Helper who always volunteers to help other Diabetes folks on the platform. Whenever someone asks for help or has a question, Star Helpers join the discussion and provide great tips. We’re lucky to have a good number of them on the HelpAround platform and we’re thankful for their contribution to the community!!


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Diabetes Helpers Answer Each Other on HelpAround

by Shoshana Nacass,

Diabetes Helpers is a mobile help network built by HelpAround where people affected by type 1, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes answer each other about the symptoms of diabetes, how to lower their a1c, find help nearby when they’re in a pinch and learn more about diabetes diet and management. We gathered for you some of the top questions and discussions on our platform.

Travel & Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes: Nervous and looking for travel tips/tricks for #T1D family vacay. Extra pump ordered…but how to handle the florida heat & Disney lines?

Type 1 diabetes: I’m planning to backpack for a few months and would like some tips from diabetics who have traveled!

Type 1 diabetes : Taking a 2 week trip overseas and will be traveling for around a day before I get to my destination. Any tips for how to keep my insulin okay?

Type 1 diabetes: What is the protocol to flying?

Type 1 diabetes: Does anyone have any personal experience/tips on airport security/flying with a pump? 

Type 1 & Type 2 diabetes: Has anyone had an issues carrying an EpiPen in your carry on while flying? Like issues with TSA security check?

Type 1 diabetes: Flying abroad for 1st time since T1 diagnosis. GP wants £18 to write a letter so I can carry meds on flight, anyone else had this?

DKA & Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes: I have all the signs of DKA but mom won’t take me to hospital

Type 1 diabetes: Vomitting. Large ketones. Fruity/acetone breath. Pee a lot: DKA symptoms?

Type 1 diabetes: Checked BS 3 times, I have all the signs of DKA, what do I do? 

Insulin Pump Recommendations

Type 1 diabetes: I’m considering an insulin pump. Any recommendations?

Type 1 diabetes: Is anyone on an insulin pump and using novolog insulin?

Type 1 diabetes: My doctor wants me to look into the pump, any recommendation?

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The Burden of Diabetes (5) – Supplies…

by Fortune Mosseri,

I’ve thought of another burden of living with Type 1 diabetes! Exciting right? Isn’t it fun to bash the disease that’s taken over our bodies? I’m kidding, but anyways, let’s talk about supplies…

Underpacking, forgetting, carrying. Those are just a few words that come to mind when I think of having to leave my house for the day. Underpacking or forgetting your supplies for the day can be very annoying and a VERY big hassle; realizing you’re taking a shot with your last syringe (even though you could swear you refilled your bag with them last week) and then knowing you’re still out for the day-and still planning on eating more, then realizing you can’t break your syringe and you have to save it for later in the day.

But what’s even worse is knowing that you completely forgot to pack something. Forgetting can actually change your whole day, either change your schedule, or make you restrict your eating throughout the day so you don’t have to go back for the syringes or insulin or machine you carelessly left at home. Not only that, it also affects you mentally, you start putting yourself down for being so careless to leave something that can basically save your life, at home.

“Don’t forget a bag.” Who likes being the only one of their friends that constantly has to carry a bag for all their supplies? Not me, especially with my friends, they love to throw their loose stuff in my bag “because I’m carrying it anyway.” I love my friends and holding all their stuff but for once I want to throw my wallet in someone else’s bag! Finding a bag big enough to hold all your supplies is another whole problem. Sometimes if I want to carry a pretty bag as an accessory I’ll leave my machine parts, and syringes loose in my bag so the packages they come in don’t stretch out my bag. And I even get the loveliest looks when I pull out my money to pay for something and a syringe comes flying out with my $5 bill.

Also, supplies are expensive! (that’s the bottom line really…)

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The Burden of Diabetes (4) – Travel Pains

by Fortune Mosseri,

I hope you’ve all been enjoying my past posts on the burdens of living with Type 1 diabetes. This is my fourth post, about something some of us are nervous about, and even scared of — Traveling with diabetes (or even traveling with a diabetic).
Traveling is stressful enough as it is, but having to worry about having enough supplies, making sure they’re properly stored, and making sure everything can get on the plane can really add to that stress. Even if you’re just going on a day trip you have to make sure you have: a big enough bag to carry all your supplies, enough insulin, strips, syringes, lancets and sweets for the day, ice to keep everything cold enough (and making sure the ice doesn’t melt all over you and your stuff), back up supplies, back up supplies for your backup supplies, oh, and you also need the basics for the day (sunscreen, water, clothes, etc.)

If you’re on an airplane you’re constantly worrying about where your insulin is and if it’s cold enough or properly stored or even still in one piece (forget about even if you have enough!) Also, carrying that super big and heavy bag around is not good for you or your stylish vacation look.
You have to always make sure you have double the amount of supplies you think you would need, at least. This past January I went to Aruba with a few friends, I didn’t go with my parents but they helped me pack all my supplies for the trip, I packed enough supplies to last me a month, I was going for a week. The day before my flight was scheduled to fly home I got an email that my flight was cancelled. The first thing I checked was my supplies, I was only stuck in Aruba for an extra three days but I had enough supplies to last me for another two weeks. Another situation I found myself in was when I was in about 9th grade, I live in New York and went to New Jersey for the weekend to sleep by my friends house. It’s about a 2 hour drive, without heavy traffic. All of Friday and Saturday we were snacking and talking, on Friday night I realized I was over 600 and no matter how much insulin I took, my number wouldn’t go lower. It took me another day to realize my insulin went bad, I had another insulin stored in another place that was thankfully kept cold enough to stay good.

Traveling with diabetes is not easy, there’s no doubt about it, but traveling in general isn’t easy so don’t let having to pack a few extra bags stop you from seeing the world.

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The Burden of Diabetes (3) – Loneliness

by Fortune Mosseri,

I started writing a series of blog posts about the burden of living with Type 1 diabetes. The endless decisions, on-the-go-surprises, loneliness, financial burden and many more. Loneliness is one of the biggest and hardest burdens of being a diabetic. Thankfully, I have a diabetic younger sister to share my thoughts with, to see if I’m the only one who feels low after a shower, or is terrified when they wake up in the middle of the night because of a low number, to talk about tips and tricks of living with the disease.

I know many people don’t have someone to lean on like I do and it can be very hard, especially when you’re first diagnosed. You can feel like nobody understands what you’re going through (even I feel like that sometimes). You feel like no matter how hard you try to explain it to others, and no matter how much they try to understand what’s happening to your body, they’ll never actually get it. Going high and low can mess with your emotions and make you feel even worse about yourself for having such a complicated disease.

What’s most important to understand is that there are thousands of people who know exactly how you feel and are going through the same situation as you (even though it feels like you’re completely alone). I know I’ll always have someone to talk to and it’s important for everyone to have someone to vent to, even if they don’t completely understand what exactly it is you’re saying, they just have to be there to listen sometimes.

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The Burden of Diabetes (2): On-the-go surprises

by Fortune Mosseri,

I just posted the first of a series of blog posts about the burden of living with Type 1 diabetes. The endless decisions, loneliness, financial burden and many more. One of my greatest struggles of living with Type 1 is the on-the-go surprises.

Sometimes I love surprises. A surprise birthday party, or a “just because” gift are always great, but a surprise low? Not the best. You know the feeling. You’re in the middle of your day and start feeling dizzy, and hot, and start losing your breath; you know you need to find something sweet fast or else risk passing out in the middle of the store you’re shopping at (and we all know how embarrassing that could be.) Surprise lows are also very scary, one minute you’re fine and the next you’re dizzy and afraid to black out. When a low comes out of nowhere there’s not much you can do to prepare for it, you just have to plan ahead and have some candy or juice nearby, just in case.

But what about a surprise high? Those are even worse. You’re feeling great all day and decide to check for reassurance (and also so you can finally report a good number) but the 5 seconds after the blood hits the test strip a number above 300 shows up. WHAT? So you check again, go through the process of cleaning your finger, changing the lancet, putting in a new test strip, and taking even more blood out of your already bleeding finger, and still get a high number. Those are the worst, those make you want to re-evaluate everything you’ve done in the last hour, day, and sometimes even week. Surprise highs are sometimes caused by under-bolousing but more often caused by stress, sickness, or even the weather.

The worst part about surprises is just that, it’s a surprise, there’s no way to know it’s coming or to prevent it. You have to take the surprises and learn from them, maybe one day you got stuck without juice and dropped low, next time you leave the house you’ll know to bring some extra sweets. On a vacation one year, my younger sister forgot to check her blood sugar before going down to eat breakfast with my brother. She figured she was going down to eat, after all it was just an elevator ride away. The next thing we knew we were getting a call from the infirmary, my sister fainted from a low, and she had her plate in her hand, ready to eat. I learned from that day to never leave the house without checking my blood sugar, because that could have easily been me in the infirmary all day.

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The Burden of Diabetes (1) – Making endless decisions

by Fortune Mosseri,

Being diabetic is an adventure all on it’s own, and while I try to be as optimistic as I can about living with such a strenuous disease, sometimes it kind of just… sucks. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when I was 3 years old, on April 5th 2000. Almost 14 years ago. Now I’m 18 years old and I’ve pretty much been through all this disease has to offer, the ups, downs, really bad lows and even worse highs, and all the other stresses of living with Type 1 Diabetes. There are so many extra stresses us lucky diabetics have added to our everyday lives; endless decisions, on-the-go surprises, loneliness, financial burdens, a recurring sense of failure and so much more.

Endless decisions
Everyone makes thousands of decisions a day from the second you open your eyes in the morning to the second you close them at night. You decide what to eat, what to wear, how to travel, how to work, where to go. You even make decisions that you don’t even realize you’re making. Being a type 1 diabetic adds another thousand decisions to your already crazy day. We’re constantly deciding how much insulin to take when we’re high, how much to eat when we’re low, and even which foods to eat to help keep our diabetes under control. The decisions we make are an endless, snowball effect of what’s going to happen throughout the rest of the day. Like, you know when you wake up just craving a glass of orange juice with your breakfast? Sometimes, you give in and have the little bit of juice, but then spend the rest of the day catching up between high and normal numbers, just for that little bit of orange juice. It’s an even worse feeling than breaking your diet. Deciding how much insulin to take is even worse, if you take even a unit too much you run the risk of dropping low in the middle of your already busy day, and we all know how scary that can be. So next time you’re overwhelmed with the endless decisions of Type 1 just remember, you’ve gotten this far.

I’m here to answer any questions you have, questions you don’t want to ask your doctor, give advice on how to deal with this disease and even just to talk as a friend. I’m so excited to speak with and even meet you guys! I know how hard Type one can be, I’ve been diabetic for what I consider my whole life and I’m still not 100% with it, but that’s what this is all about, the important thing is to never stop asking questions.

I’d love to meet all of you so please feel free to message me on HelpAround, even if just to say hi!

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