Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Saturday (err Wednesday) Snapshot

I meant to post this on Saturday but got a bit busy so here I am.  I call this masterpiece

"Still Life with Diabetes"

Here is a pic of my two kits.  The blue one is my everyday meter, finger sticker, test strips, lancets, alcohol wipes kit.  Those black bags they give you with your kit are so boring, in my opinion.  The other one is my CGM/backup kit with everything I need to change my infusion or sensor.  I always want something bright and cheerful to keep all my supplies in...and will shamelessly use D as an excuse to buy handbags.

Friday, May 18, 2012

What They Should Know

Diabetes Blog Week Day 5

Diabetes is relentless.  That is what I'd like others to know.  It never stops.  It is not the kind of chronic disease for which you can take a pill in the morning for and forget for the rest of the day.  A PWD can't forget it even for a minute.  I could be fine one minute, and literally sweating, shaking and having a low the next.  It may look like I only deal with my diabetes at meal time- you might see me with my meter or putting numbers into my pump.  But, I am actually dealing with it ALL the time.  Everything must be planned- what I eat, when I eat, where I'm going, what I'm bring with me.

A perfect example of this is the time Hubs and I went away for a long weekend a few years ago.  I was pretty new to diabetes- probably had it for less than 2 years and I was on the flex pens for insulin. We were with a group of friends and had beautiful weather and a great day planned: watching a daffodil day parade, cycling out a picnic area for lunch and then having a big group dinner at a local restaurant.  My DH (dear husband) got us bikes and was excited and ready to go.

Before we could even leave I remember asking him a hundred questions: Where are we going? How long is the ride? Who is bringing the picnic? What kind of food did they make? Should I bring my own food?  Is it too hot to keep my insulin in the bike basket?  What time is dinner? Are we cycling back? Where is the restaurant?  Do I have enough snacks in case I go low? Are there any stores on route in case I need anything?...   DH was very understanding, but I could tell he was surprised at the number and almost-frantic nature of my questions.  I remember being close to tears because I felt so overwhelmed at managing the kind of day that is supposed to fun, spontaneous and relaxing.  In the end, we had a pretty good day.  We talked about all my questions and got stuff figured out but we were late getting to the picnic and I admit I felt a bit embarassed at my break down.

That experience shows the relentlessness of diabetes.  What would be a fun easy day for most people left me in a cold sweat trying to think about manging exericse, picnics and dinner in a restaurant.  I wish people could see and appreciate the constant planning, worry and  thought process and guilt trips that we go through just to do regular every day things.   As soon as I figured out that day on our long weekend trip, I had to get up and start it all over again the next morning....

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Fantasy Diabetes Device

Diabetes Blog Week Day 4

So far (fingers crossed/knocking on wood) I really don't mind the infusion set changes or wearing the sensor.  Sure my pump line usually ends up wrapped around my waist at night when I'm sleeping, and having two sites on my body at all times isn't ideal, but I can live with those things.

My fantasy device would be an app for smart phones that immediately and accurately counted the number of carbs in any and every meal.  You know how you can scan one of those bar code box thingies with your iPhone to go to a website or get more info? I would have the same technology look at the food I was about to eat and tell me precisely how many carbs were inside.  The app would take everything into account: condiments, sauces, garnishes etc. No more wondering about serving size, or asking yourself, Is this baseball sized or the size of my palm? the size of my husbands palm?  Does the restaurant consider this to me a S, M, or Large?  All those frustrating ambiguities would vanish and you woud have your carb count with the touch of a button.  Imagine eating pad thai, sushi, pastsa dishes with all kinds of veggies, salads with a hundred ingredients, casseroles... with no worries... and no nasty blood sugar effects... Ahhhhh.....Can someone invent this now please?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

One Thing to Improve

Diabetes Blog Week Day Three

I am cheating with this post.  I need to improve my A1C.  I know, not an original idea.  But still my goal.   I was expecting it to drop significantly when I went on th pump (after all I did my online research and found that this happened to so many people, it had to happen to me, right?) Yeah, no.  Mine actually went up by .2 pts.  I don't really feel like saying the exact number but lets just say that you take the year I was 4 years old, remove the 19 from the front of it, and put a decimal in between the remaining two numbers.

I know I'm cheating with this one- if I want to improve my A1C I'll have to improve my carb counting, frequency of testing, and looking at trends from my CGM...  But, that's my focus for the next three months.   I'd like to get the A1C to the year I was -2 years old, if possible.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

One Great Thing

Diabetes Blog Week- Day 2

For me, there is only one thing I am really great at with my diabetes.  And, I'm not being a downer.  I am good at testing, but not great.  I usually don't test before I go to bed and that's something I am working on improving. I'm good at carb counting, but not great. I  could look things up  more rather than guessing.

But... I am always great at managing my supplies.  We travel a lot.  My husband and I are renovating a mid-century (and I don't mean mid-century chic, either!) ski house in VT in our "spare time."  So we are always in the car driving to and from.  We also travel to visit our family who are located all across the country and we enjoy traveling for fun when we can.

All this on-the-go means I have to be ready with back up supplies in each house/location which is tricky because of insurance/supply regulations.  I wish I could order duplicate orders of supplies but I'm sure as many of you experience, I encounter "I'm sorry, your prescription cannot be refilled for another 3 days due to the insurance company's schedule of when a refill is appropriate.  Oh, you are going to VT and won't be home for four days?  I'm sorry your prescription cannot be refilled for another 3 days due to the insurance company's schedule of when a refill is appropriate.  Oh, your small town in VT doesn't have a CVS where you could refill this on the appropriate day?  I'm sorry..."You get get the idea.

So, despite all of that, I have *knock on wood* never run out of any of my supplies (insulin, infusion sets, sensors, inserter, back up flex pen, glucagon, no matter where I am, and I'm proud of that.  This makes me feel like I am in control of my d-life, and not the other way around.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Find A Friend

Today is the first day of the Third Annual Diabetes Blog Week.

I just started my blog three weeks ago.  It took me a looooong time to work up the nerve to "put myself out there."  I knew I wanted to share my story, and hopefully meet others that could relate to me, but I kept questioning if I should really do it.  What if some creep starts creeping around on my page? How much info is TMI?  What if my blog comes back to haunt me when I run for public office someday (I have NO desire to run for public office, so I'm not sure why that doubt kept coming up.)

I finally started my blog, and lo and behold, I discovered the timing was right.  After just three weeks writing a blog, I could participate in the Third Annual Diabetes Blog Week.  I knew I had made the right decision to create a blog the minute I saw this, and saw all the wonderful new writers and blogs I could check out.

As far as introducing you to a new blog, I really don't have any outside all the ones participating in this blog week since I'm so new to this world. But I would like to give a shout out to Shannon of An American in Dublin because she was the first person to post a comment on my blog!  I felt so great that someone "out there' in internet-land actually read one of my posts and I felt really encouraged.  So, thanks Shannon for my being my first connection (and friend, I hope!) from the DOC, and I hope I get to know many more of you in the future!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Oh what a night

Last night was one of those nights...

I have been on the pump for about 6 months now and since starting it, have gained almost 10 lbs.  I know my eating habits haven't changed drastically but nevertheless I seem to be packing on the pounds.  (Absorbing food better? Unwittingly eating more because of ease of boluses? who knows?)  I really noticed it last weekend when I went to a formal gala fundraiser and barely fit into a dress that was a little big on me last August.  Ugh.  Finding out clothes you haven't worn in a while will not fit unless you have Spanx on up to your armpits is the worst!  It finally hit home with me that I needed to do something about this weight gain.  Spanx can only do so much.  Ugh again. As if I didn't have enough to worry about.

I should also mention that I'm a vegetarian and have been since way before I became diabetic.  The struggle for me in being both a veggie and PWD is that without eating meat, it is very difficult for me to cut back on carbs.

But, anyway, I've been trying.  I went to the supermarket on Monday and stocked up on fresh veggies and fruit, and only low-ish carb bread like pumpernickel in hopes of cutting back on the amt of insulin bolus I need to see if that has any effect on my weight.. I've been so good all week.  I've also tried exercising more and started to go on "long runs" Hahahaha.  Long runs for me are 4 miles at the most.  But again, I've been trying.

Last night, I did NOT feel like running, but knew I really should.  It was 7:30 by the time we got out there, so we did a quick run (set a temp basal rate) and ending up eating around 9.   After the run I was in a baaaaaaaaaaadddddd moooood. I felt really frustrated about how much effort I had to put into the evening: running when I didn't feel like it, worrying about my weight, worrying about carbs, setting temp bolus rate, running with the pump, glucose tabs and meter bouncing all over the place, eating later...

I ate my tilapia (concession to D: I have started eating fish) and green beans and tiny half cob of corn in a wicked bad mood and went to bed.  I fell asleep fairly quickly, but after about 3 hours woke up with pains in my feet and hunger! I took some Motrin for the feet (they are not used to these long runs :-)) and tried to fall back asleep only to hear the low warning on my CGM go off.  ARGGGGHHH I am already in a bad mood!  Leave me alone!!! WTH!  I got up again, drank Gatorade and tried to sleep.  Guess the hunger I was feeling was a sign of a low coming on, but I thought I probably was actually hungry.  The CGM went off every hr or so saying I was low, but when I checked with the meter early in the morning, my BG was 227.

I repeat: ARGGGGHHH I am already in a bad mood! Leave me alone!!! WTH!  And why did I bother with that stinking low carb boring ass dinner when I woke up with high BG anyway?!!  ugh. disgust. frustration.  aggravation. As I said, it was one of those nights.

Thankfully, today was a lot better and the thought of the upcoming Diabetes Blog Week has cheered me up.  I got introduced to so many good blogs and its heartening to know that there are so many of us out there that can relate to "one of those nights." 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pump Fashion

I'm sure most of you in the DOC know about these, but in case you don't. makes great skins for every electronic device you can think of: cell phones, laptops etc. and even insulin pumps!  I just got a regular gray color when I ordered my pump, because they didn't have a green option.  When I was talking to the Medtronic rep she suggested I try skinit to see if they had a color I liked.  They have thousands of skins to chose from.  And, you can even upload your own photo to personalize your skin.  I ordered two:
Winter "Sweater"
A sweater pattern for the winter so my pump doesn't get cold.

Summer floral

And a floral pattern for the summer.

They aren't super expensive and are reusable.  Fun!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Pancreatic Cancer Fundraiser

This weekend I participated in an inspiring event called PurpleStride.  PurpleStride is one of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network's fund raising events, with 5K walks and runs all across the country.  I was introduced to this great event last year and this year, was happy to pull together a team of 12 family members and friends to walk in honor of my father who passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2008.  My incredible team raised $1,000!

My mom and I in our team shirts walking in memory of my dad

As a diabetic, I already know my pancreas doesn't function as it normally should, and I have to admit that in the back of my mind I do have a tiny fear of having even more pancreas problems someday.   My dad had type-2 diabetes and I can't help wondering about a connection between the two.  HUGE disclaimer:  I am not a doctor and my thoughts are based solely on my life experience and are not medical fact in any way.

PurpleStride is not only a great event for fundraising and remembering those who have died from the disease; it has practical benefits too.  I started running more to get ready for this event and will try to keep this up as the weather gets better and better.  Strangely enough my BGs were sometimes higher after running but...more to come on that later.

I am so happy that I was able to take part in such an inspiring event: seeing people walking in memory of their loved ones, trying to raise money to fight an incredibly deadly form of cancer, and seeing survivors walk along side us as they recover.  It was especially touching to see one of the nurses who took care of my father walk up to my mom and give her a hug, saying she remembered my dad after all these years.  At times like this my life gets put in perspective, and I realize that I really don't have it that bad. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Mixed Results

In my last post, I mentioned that I'd be going to a family party on Saturday and how hard it was for me to figure out the correct timing and dose of my boluses when "grazing" on party food.  The party was great!  The BG control was- ehhh.   Before the party, I decided to try a square wave bolus for the appetizer part of the meal, and then bolus again for the big meal.  Well, the best laid plans...

When we arrived, most of the food for the meal part was already out, so I did my first meal bolus right away.  Then I gave myself a square wave bolus to cover any additional snacking, and the dessert table. I have trouble gauging the square wave because its so difficult to know how many carbs I'm going to eat over the course of two hours, and I don't really feel like going low at a party and having to deal with the sweating, heart racing, and foggy head, not to mention the fatigue I have afterwards.  So, naturally, I underestimated, and my CGM showed my BG hovering around 220 for a few hours.

When we got home, I decided to have a small salad for dinner and took a normal bolus.

Later that night, after falling asleep for at least an hour, I heard the

For those of you with Medtronic pump and CGM you'll recognize that as the alert tone that your BG is low.  I looked at the CGM and it said 70 with no double arrows, so I figured ehh, I'm not that low...I didn't have any of the low symptoms so I ignored the alert.  Repeat 3 times with the same BG readings (68-70).  Its now 12:45 am and I can't take it anymore so I get up and drink a small glass of orange juice just to be on the safe side and try to fall back asleep.

In the morning I woke up at 8:30 with a BG of 220 from the finger test, while my CGM said 103.  As I said, mixed results.  Things I re-learned just from writing this all out.  Always test with your meter even if its 12:45 am and you don't feel like it. :-)


In an effort to make up for my roller coaster BG weekend, on Monday I decided to make no-noodle lasagna.  It was a cold day outside and I wanted to make something warm and comforting for dinner, that wasn't super high in carbs. I found a recipe online for lasagna with eggplant slices used in place of the noodles.  A whole eggplant has ~35 gs of carbs, so I figured that's a lot better than using noodles.  The rest of the recipe is pretty much the same as the regular kind and I added a lot of herbs and spices to jazz up the bland eggplant.

Continuing with the theme of this post, the results of this recipe were...well, mixed.  It tasted pretty much like regular lasagna.  The ricotta and mozzarella cheeses were just as gooey and delish, and the sauce was nice and spicy.  But the eggplant was still a little firm (after baking for an hour, and letting the dish rest for 15 mins)  and hard to cut through, kind of making it hard to eat in without trailing a long piece of eggplant from your teeth.  It just wasn't the same as noodle lasagna.  Hubs and I said it wasn't bad, and that we would eat it again.  It just wasn't our favorite.  We gave it a 6.5 out of 10.  The other mixed news is that it was so low-carb (good!) I ended up having a low of 47 a few hours after dinner (bad!)

Has anyone else experimented with low carb recipes?  What were your results?