Monday, May 17, 2010

Diabetes Blog Week - Day 7

so i realize i kind of dropped the ball on posting every day last week...i just had an unbelievably crazy few days, and i figured better late than never.  i am skipping day 6 on purpose because it's too late for me to take any pictures right now.

Day 7 - Dream a little dream - life after a cure. To wrap up Diabetes Blog Week, let’s pretend a cure has been found. We are all given a tiny little pill to swallow and *poof* our pancreases are back in working order. No side effects. No more insulin resistance. No more diabetes. Tell us what your life is now like. Or take us through your first day celebrating life without the Big D. Blog about how you imagine you would feel if you no longer were a Person With Diabetes.

i would go to max brenner's chocolate restaurant and eat some sort of obscene 392052 calorie dessert.  all by myself.

i would go for a run outside with no paraphernalia on me/attached to me.

i would go out at night with a clutch purse that barely fits anything in it.

i would drink a frozen margarita with some syrup-y flavor in it. 

my thoughts would be consumed with something else.

Diabetes Blog Week - Day 5

Day 5- Let's get moving. Exercise . . . love it or hate it? Do you have a regular exercise routine? Or do you have trouble finding your exercise motivation? How do you manage your insulin and food to avoid bottoming out during your workout? Today is the day to tell us all about your exercise habits, or lack thereof.

oh, exercise.  sometimes it's exactly what i need to bring down that frustrating high.  sometimes it leaves me shaking and disoriented at 60 mg/dL.  before i was diabetic i was big into working out.  i was at the gym a minimum of 3 days and a max of 6 every week.  after my diagnosis, it was a solid month before my doctor/CDE ok'd any sort of "vigorous" activity, and this was incredibly frustrating once i felt up to working out again.  of course, i now understand full well why they made me wait.  i am now back to my old gym routine, but it definitely takes some serious knowledge/effort to exercise with diabetes. 

when i was on injections, i needed to eat high carb pre-workout, and then fill my water bottle with 1/2 a cup of gatorade to avoid bottoming out during/right after my work out.  this was kind of annoying, especially when i wasn't hungry but too low to start a work out.  being on the pump has made exercise much, much easier.  no more gatorade or eating food i don't want.  even if i get a bit low afterward i just leave my pump off for a while and let my bg come up on its own.  reason # 2394 why i love my pump. 

Diabetes Blog Week - Day 4

Day 4 - To carb or not to carb. Today let’s blog about what we eat. And perhaps what we don’t eat. Some believe a low carb diet is important in diabetes management, while others believe carbs are fine as long as they are counted and bolused for. Which side of the fence do you fall on? What kind of things do you eat for meals and snacks? What foods do you deem bolus-worthy? What other foodie wisdom would you like to share?

before i had diabetes, carbs freaked me out a little.  the last few years of atkins/south beach hype have left the idea of "carbs" with somewhat of a bad aftertaste, and i've always tried to avoid/skimp on breads and starches wherever possible.  however, diabetes takes that to a whole new level.

the truth it is, it is much easier to eat as a diabetic if you keep things low carb, especially when eating out of your home.  when i'm in my kitchen and can weigh all of my food on a food scale, measure it, and plop it on my plate, i can be more confident in my carb measurements/bolusing (which still doesn't always work anyway) but when i'm out and about trying to gauge if there is 1/4 cup or 1/2 a cup of rice, things get difficult.  this is where the "bolusworthy" term really applies.  if i'm going to be bolusing for carbs, they better be damn good ones.  i almost never eat sandwiches because they just don't do it for me, but you better believe that a yogurt and granola parfait will be eaten and bolused for at least once a week.

my breakfast, oatmeal, is obviously overwhelmingly carb'd, but i measure and eat it at home so there's no real guessing involved.  when i'm out, i try to stick to salads, veggies, and seafood to keep the carbs low and the calorie gain low as well. eggs and peanut butter have earned a whole new category in my life as low/no-carb godsends.

of course, sometimes i'll be out to dinner, and the dangerous/sinful/regrettable/whatever the hell chocolate cake will be calling my name, and i will give myself some obscene amount of insulin in order to eat said dessert.  sometimes i will be spot on with this calculation, and sometimes i won't, but i've already come to terms with the possible highs/lows when i decided to eat the cake.  it must be bolusworthy - a word with an ever-changing definition. 

Diabetes Blog Week - Day 3

Day 3 – Your Biggest Supporter. Sure, our diabetes care is ultimately up to us and us alone. But it’s important to have someone around to encourage you, cheer you, and even help you when you need it. Today it’s time to gush and brag about your biggest supporter. Is it your spouse or significant other? Your best friend, sibling, parent or child? Maybe it’s your endo or a great CDE? Or perhaps it’s another member of the D-OC who is always there for you? Go ahead, tell them just how much they mean to you!

when i saw this prompt, i had a bit of a panic.  who could i really say is my 'biggest' supporter?  everyone plays such different, and yet important, roles.  there's my mom, who was in the emergency room with me the very second we found out my life would change forever, who patiently tried to answer all my questions about this disease as i attempted to wrap my mind around this seemingly unreal situation, and who now listens and consoles me whenever i feel the need to whine or complain about highs/lows, pump issues, etc.  she definitely has the more patience for my carping than anyone else in my life.

and then there's my dad, who lives far away but flew up to take me home from the hospital, called me every day for weeks after to ask "how my sugars are," and has been a huge source of support for me whenever i need it.

my dad's wife, kim, my friend and family member. one of the most understanding and kind people i know.  her willingness to listen and her prior understanding of diabetes makes her an invaluable supporter. 

my roommate/best friend ashley - how could i do it without her?  she's been learning about diabetes along with me, and she is one of those who really "gets it."  she's incredibly sensitive to my needs without being patronizing or treating me delicately.

my far away best friend, julia.  my co-workers.  my brothers.  my aunt judi.  cousin caroline.  diabetic buddies jeniece, brianna, etc.  this amazing DOC community.  there truly is not one person who is more important than the next when it comes to supporting me and my life with diabetes.  they all play a roll and help in different ways.  it would be unfair to say otherwise.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Diabetes Blog Week - Day 2

Day 2 – Making the low go. Tell us about your favorite way to treat a low. Juice? Glucose tabs? Secret candy stash? What’s your favorite thing to indulge in when you are low? What do you find brings your blood sugar up fast without spiking it too high?

when i get low, i get pissed.

it's a rare occasion that i want to eat or drink something that is pure sugar, and when these occasions do arise, it's usually only because that something is staring me in the face (read: when my candy-obsessed father is shoveling sour patch kids right next to me).  otherwise, any craving for pure sweetness can be quenched with a fake sweet, like sugar free jell-o or crystal lite.

instead of treating with the usual suspects, i go for things that are not CDE-approved to treat lows.  my favorites are nature valley granola bars and tasti d'lite ice cream cones.  both have fat and protein, which means they are not absorbed nearly as quickly as juice or a glucose tab, but i would rather sit and wait for my low to come up while i enjoy my ice cream cone than suck down a juice box that is totally unappealing to me.  

i should note that being a newbie, i've never had any really bad lows.  my lowest on record is 50 mg/dL, and since i feel low at 75 mg/dL, i can only imagine what 30 mg/dL feels like.  if i feel so awful that i wouldn't even be able to enjoy my food if i tried, i will go for fruit snacks or gummies to get up quickly.  if i'm near a tasti d'lite (my favorite thing in the world) and below 65 mg/dL, sometimes i'll get my cone with sprinkles to speed up the process.  but even tonight, when i was 60 mg/dL 1.5 hours after dinner, i had to find the tasti and get a cone, rather than go for the multiple treatment options i have in my purse, and i stayed away from the sprinkles for fear of a high later on.

lows are really awful, and i think we should be able to, at the very least, enjoy what we're forced to consume.  no juice boxes or glucose tabs for me, thank you very much! 

Diabetes Blog Week - Day 1

Day 1 - A day in the life . . . with diabetes. Take us through a quick rundown of an average day and all the ways in which diabetes touches it. Blood tests, site changes, high and low blood sugars, meal planning, anything that comes along. This can be a log of an actual day, or a fictional compilation of pieces from many days.  Thanks, Karen :)

7:15 AM - ugh...really?  i feel like i just went to sleep.  and it's only monday.  oy.  time to get up, and i'm still getting used to grabbing my pump before getting out of bed!  it has definitely hit the floor a few times, but i'm catching on.

8:00 AM - breakfast time!  i ring in at 135 mg/dL.  still can't seem to knock these morning numbers down, even though my CDE did a lot of night/early morning basal adjustments last week.  i would love to see something below 100 - hell, even 110 - when i wake up in the morning!  but at any rate, i plug this meh number into my pump, dial up to 45 grams, and enjoy my daily breakfast: old fashioned oatmeal with strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, banana, slivered almonds, cinnamon, and flaxseed!  yum!

8:30 AM - off to work!  put on my headphones, get on the subway, and go!

10:00 AM - i've been at work for an hour now, and it's already 2 hours post-prandial, time to see what breakfast has done to me...147 mg/dL.  not too shabby! 

11:00 AM - 3 hours post-prandial and i'm only 137 mg/dL...basically haven't changed since 2 hours.  strange, as i usually drop substantially from 2-3 hours.  at any rate, i try not to worry too much about it, and i head my weekly office meeting.

12:00 PM - the meeting ends with a surprise for my boss - a giant chocolate chip cookie cake congratulating him on his promotion, as well as a box of doughy, delicious cookies still hot from the oven.  my meter is in my office, so i assume i'm around 120, and i SWAG the cookies to the best of my abilities.  i eat a piece of the cake and nibble on 2 different kinds of cookies from the box.  55 grams?  sure, why not.

2:00 PM - here's the moment of truth, 2 hours post-cookies: 252 mg/dL.  UGH.  did i really eat more than 55 grams worth?  or is this site just not so great?  not happy to see this number, at all.

3:11 PM - can i eat now?  busy day at work + yucky blood sugars = late, late lunch.  176 mg/ least it's not above 200...and that's without correcting.  i love when my pancreas shows up to do some semblance of its job.  i eat safe foods - all veggie salad and some left over fish from dinner the night before.

5:15 PM - 118 mg/dL.  ahh.  finally, a nice, respectable number.

7:30 PM - leave work late, run some errands in the city.

9:00 PM - walk down the upper east side to the train.  this walk has been known to drop me, especially so many hours after eating, but i feel fine the whole way...a plus side to a "high" day.  

10:52 PM - time for a late dinner.  133 mg/dL?  really?  is this because i've been chomping on the raw broccoli i'm cutting up?  that seems unlikely.  the site?  i'm due to change tomorrow morning anyway, so no use messing with it now.  probably not the best time to eat pasta, but i measure out 2 oz on my food scale, throw a ton of veggies on, and bolus for 60 carbs, which includes my "dessert" of one 4g Dove dark chocolate and a sugar free orange Jell-O with fat free whipped cream on top.  wild, i know.   
12:30 AM - shower.  i worry that this pump disconnection will skew my post-prandial digits.

1:00 AM - andddd....200 mg/dL.  this day is dumb.

1:40 AM - 197 mg/dL.  sigh.  bolus .6 to correct and hope tomorrow's site change brings better numbers with it!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

"but how do you know?"

questions that we get as diabetics are always interesting.  as a newly diagnosed person, i've been muddling through these questions and answers myself for the last few months, but the learning curve is a steep one, and i now know probably 1000 times more about type 1 diabetes than i did last year.  at first i was learning along with my friends and family, and often times the many medical professionals in my family (and even friends) were the ones answering my questions.  now, however, the tables have turned. 

but of course, it's not those close to me who ask the most ridiculous/funny/stupid questions.  we all get the "but, don't you have to be fat to have that?" or the classic "oh, so, you just have to exercise and eat better then, right?" and even the "maybe it was that fried oreo you ate last year?" kinds of doozies, and i don't know about anyone else but my responses to these have become fairly canned: "that's type 2.  it's a totally different disease with a totally different cause.  what i have has nothing to do with my lifestyle; no one knows why i got it or why anyone gets it.  my immune system is killing my cells that produce insulin, so i have to give myself insulin manually." etc. etc. 

having just gotten a pump, i've been faced with a whole new set of questions as i excitedly show off my robotic pancreas.  my favorite is the title of this entry.

"so, whenever i want to eat, i just hit this [bolus button], tell it what my blood sugar is, and then put in how many carbs i'm going to eat."

"but how do you know how many carbs you're eating?"

this is when i smile and shrug.  "well, i have to figure it out."  it's one of those "oh, wow, diabetes is hard" moments.  it's such a great question, too.  i mean, how do we know?  the truth is that we quite often don't.  we make educated guesses based on our knowledge/past experiences, but with all the other environmental variables it's hard to really know what's what sometimes.   i think this question and it's answer embody a lot of the frustrations and unknowns of diabetes in general.  after all, "knowing" is a huge part of how we manage our diabetes, and yet so often we are left guessing, SWAGing if you will. [that's Scientific Wild-Ass Guessing, for those who aren't familiar].

in one of my neuroscience classes in college, we learned that a study had been done on london cab drivers who had been in the business for 20-30 years.  they found that the area of their brains that deals with spatial mapping was larger than an average person's.  how would this work for diabetics?  where's the carb area of our brains?  someone should study this.

after writing this entry, it was 2 hours post-dinner, so i went to check.  i cooked and measured these lentil tacos myself, so it should be a no-brainer, right?  easy and accurate carb counting.  235 mg/dL says not so much.  diabetes, you suck.