Monday 20 May 2013

D-Blog Week: Day 7 - Spread the Love

Today's Topic:  As another Diabetes Blog Week draws to a close, let’s reflect on some of the great bloggers we’ve found this week. Give some love to three blog posts you’ve read and loved during Diabetes Blog Week, and tell us why they’re worth reading. Or share three blogs you’ve found this week that are new to you.

I have a list of about 20 or so blogs that I check out every day.  I love finding new blogs to read and this week has allowed me to read a ton of new ones! I would list all of them but since I like following rules (hee hee) I have listed three that have been added to my daily reading list.  Check them out if you get a chance!

Princess of Pavement


D-Blog Week: Day 6 - Diabetes Art


Do I need a snack?                                          Do I have enough glucose tabs with me?

Where’s the juice?         Is that bolus worthy?                        I have to pee again, am I high?   
How many carbs are in that?                                          Is that person staring at me testing?

How much should I decrease my basal for my run/bike/swim?  For how long?

What was the last thing I ate?             Am I talking funny?                Did I remember all my vitamins?

Do my feet hurt/tingle/burn?        Do I have enough pump supplies at home?

 What’s my blood sugar?                                                              Do I have enough insulin in the fridge?

Am I hungry or low?                                       Why am I high?  Why am I low?

Is my vision ok?                                                                Is that person staring at my pump?

        My head hurts. Am I high? Am I low?  Is it just a headache?        

Is the time on my pump right?                                                Do I have my back up pump supplies with me?

Is that adrenaline/anxiety/nervousness?  Or am I low?                  Is the time on my meter right?

Why am I so grumpy? Am I low, high or just grumpy?             What finger did I prick last?

Ouch that hurt!                                 Where should I put my next infusion site?

    How many test strips do I have left?      Did I submit my claim to the insurance company?

                                Will I make it through the night?        I am sweaty. Am I low?

Friday 17 May 2013

D-Blog Week: Day 5 - Freaky Friday

Today's Topic:  Just like in the movie, today we’re doing a swap. If you could switch chronic diseases, which one would you choose to deal with instead of diabetes?

I live with two chronic diseases, Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease.  Managing both of these diseases is a difficult task that is daunting and somewhat like a part-time job.  I have gotten used to balancing these two diseases (well as used to it as I think I can).  My appreciation for anyone living with any kind of chronic condition is huge.  Would I switch these chronic diseases for another.  Nope.  I sure as hell would give the two I have away but I do not want any other thank you.

Unless of course there is a chronic disease of super fast running feet or the chronic disease of being awesome.  I would take those.

Thursday 16 May 2013

D-Blog Week: Day 4 - Accomplishments

Today's Topic:  We don’t always realize it, but each one of us had come a long way since diabetes first came into our life. It doesn’t matter if it’s been 5 weeks, 5 years or 50 years, you’ve done something outstanding diabetes-wise. So today let’s share the greatest accomplishment you've made in terms of dealing with your (or your loved one’s) diabetes. No accomplishment is too big or too small - think about self-acceptance, something you’ve mastered (pump / exercise / diet / etc.), making a tough care decision (finding a new endo or support group / choosing to use or not use a technology / etc.).

I have thought long and hard about this topic.  I personally think that surviving each day with Type 1 diabetes is an accomplishment in itself.  The work and attention it takes is never ending.  The physical and emotional toll it takes is indescribable.  As I was diagnosed less than two years ago I can think of things I feel I have accomplished. The first time I pricked my own finger, my first injection, the first time I had to treat a low, the first time I had to fix a high, the first time I inserted a pump insertion site and the first time I ran, swam and biked with diabetes. Although these are certainly accomplishments, they are also things that I really have no choice about.  These things have to be done in order for me to live another day.

I feel my biggest accomplishment so far has been my acceptance of having Type 1 diabetes.  The first year after being diagnosed was very difficult for me.  I was so angry and felt betrayed by my body.  I felt guilty every time I saw a high blood sugar.  I cried nearly every day for six months.  My life was turned upside down overnight.  I felt overwhelmed with the responsibility and the daily tasks of keeping myself healthy and alive. When I started to suffer with insulin neuritis and was virtually unable to stand without being in agony I hit the darkest point in my life.  I have been through some pretty shitty things in my life but that took the cake.  I never had the urge to hurt myself but I can honestly say that my motivation to live was not very high.  I was a mess and felt like I was falling deeper and deeper into a black hole.  I spent weeks on end not sleeping and just going through the daily motions.  Even as my pain started to disappear I felt like I would never be able to return to my former happy self.  I just felt totally and utterly overwhelmed.  Slowly however things did start to get better, each day got better and I started to feel like myself again.  Of course having amazing support from Ryan, my family and friends helped me immensely.
Rewind to six months ago when I got my pump.  Like I said yesterday this was a memorable day for me.  For some reason I felt liberated and the dark cloud that was following me around every day started to lift.  I began to accept that this is my reality now.  I cannot change the fact that I have diabetes and it became clear to me that I had the choice of either letting it control me or I could take charge and not let it.  I chose the latter :)  I feel I have come a long way in the last year and a half.  I have come to accept that life is no longer the same as it was.  I accept that I have to deal with a chronic disease for the rest of my life.  I accept that some days are going to be really, really difficult.  I accept that I will suffer with the lows and highs that unfortunately come part and parcel with Type 1 diabetes.  I accept that I have some nerve damage in my feet and that my teeth will never be perfect.

I accept that this is me living with Type 1 diabetes.  I am happy with who I am now and am stronger than I have ever been.  I certainly do not like having diabetes, but I have definitely accepted it.

Wednesday 15 May 2013

D-Blog Week: Day 3 - Memories

Today's topic:  Today we’re going to share our most memorable diabetes day. You can take this anywhere.... your or your loved ones diagnosis, a bad low, a bad high, a big success, any day that you’d like to share. 

I have been struggling with what to write for this topic.  I was diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic just over a year and a half ago at the age of 32.  I have to be totally honest and say that a lot of it has been bad memories.  The first six months after being diagnosed were hell on earth for me.  If you have read my blog entries surrounding my diagnosis and the complications I suffered after diagnosis you will have a pretty good idea of what happened to me.  Long story short within a few weeks of starting on insulin and having my blood sugars come down I began to suffer with tingling and pain in my feet, hands and chest. This progressed into severe insulin neuritis which resulted in me being in the most pain I can imagine (mostly in my feet) and I ended up being unable to work for nearly four months. I could hardly walk let alone run which was a big blow to me.  I still suffer with my feet to this day but it is very manageable.  I also ended up with cataracts in both of my eyes which required two surgeries.  My teeth have suffered terribly (something I am working on) and to top it off I was then diagnosed celiac last spring. I don't want to talk about these memories as they are too raw and to be honest I have never really shared the emotional toll it has taken on me.

Therefore I am going to concentrate on a very positive and pretty recent memory.  The day I started pumping insulin.  I remember walking out of my Endo's office feeling like I was on cloud nine.  I was like a kid at Christmas that had just received the gift they had wanted all year.  I had wanted to start on a pump since being diagnosed and was overjoyed when it happened.  My main reason for wanting to go on the pump was to help me achieve my athletic goals.  In the six months since I started pumping I have began to see these goals come to light. I love the freedom it has given me and find that it has helped lift the depression I was in.  It takes a lot of work to get it right, and trust me it does not always go right, but it is worth it for me.  Two weeks ago I found out my A1C is 6.0 and I could not be happier!  It is helping me get back to this:

Tuesday 14 May 2013

D-Blog Week: Day 2 - We the Undersigned

Today's Topic:   Recently various petitions have been circulating the Diabetes Online Community, so today let's pretend to write our own. Tell us who you would write the petition to – a person, an organization, even an object (animate or inanimate) - get creative!! What are you trying to change and what have you experienced that makes you want this change?

We, the undersigned, petition Type 1 diabetes to give us a hand when it comes to pushing ourselves physically.

If for an hour or two every day you could cooperate and allow us nice and stable blood sugars throughout, it would be much appreciated and you will be awarded with a healthier body to reside in.

If notice is given that the undersigned that houses and takes care of you wishes to enrol in, train for and participate in a longer event, such as a marathon or triathlon, you will be given ample notice and the undersigned asks that you cooperate accordingly.  Again you will be rewarded with admiration and top notch care.

We, the undersigned, thank you for your consideration!

Monday 13 May 2013

D-Blog Week: Day 1 Share and Don't Share

Today's Topic:  Often our health care team only sees us for about 15 minutes several times a year, and they might not have a sense of what our lives are really like. Today, let’s pretend our medical team is reading our blogs. What do you wish they could see about your and/or your loved one's daily life with diabetes? On the other hand, what do you hope they don't see?

Firstly I am so excited to participate in this years Diabetes Blog Week. I am going camping on the long weekend so may end up doing some double posts etc to squeeze them all in :)  Anyway, to today's topic.

I have often wondered if my health care team read my blog.  They know that I have one and I have written the name down for them to check it out, but they have never mentioned whether they have actually checked it out. If they do then a big shout out to Dr. Greg, Leona and Lisa!

Things I wish they could see about my daily life with Type 1 diabetes.  Mostly I would love them to see how I manage diabetes with all the activity I do.  How much effort it takes to get the fuel and basal rates right for the different sports I participate in.  My main sports, running, biking and swimming all do different things to my blood sugars and it can be quite the balancing act to get it right.  If I am running or biking in the evening I have to start my preparation earlier in the day to ensure I don't have too much, or too little, insulin in my body.  I think they would be happy to see that I check my sugars before, during and after and will adjust where necessary.  I can often be seen wolfing back some blok shots mid-spin or run so that I can continue. I would like them to see that I push my physical boundary's and that it can be done with Type 1 diabetes.

I would want them to see how I really make an effort to be as healthy as possible. I test regularly, count my carbs the best I can, get good sleep, take care of my feet and eyes.  I would like to see how the majority of the time I face the disease head on and don't let it get me down. When I attend my appointments and my health care team study my numbers and ask me questions about why I suffered a certain low or high, I would like them to see that sometimes I can pinpoint it but most of the time there is no reason.  Diabetes can be crazy like that. I would like them to see how hard it can be to get through a low blood sugar, how I sweat and slur and shake and how much willpower it takes not to eat the entire contents of my fridge and cupboards (wow that sentence has a lot of and's in it, bad grammar!).  I want them to wake up with me each and every night at 3:00am when my alarm goes off to check my blood sugars to make sure I am safe until morning.  I want them to see how I take my disease very seriously and work damn hard at maintaining it.

There are definitely things I would not want them to see.  I rarely change my lancet and wait until it is so dull I would have better luck biting my finger tips.  I do not change my infusion site every three days as recommended.  Heck I wait until I am down to the very last drop of insulin before I do, usually about every five days (does not seem to make a difference for me).  Sometimes I even change the infusion set right before bed (however do set my alarm to check to make sure all is good).  I do not really follow the 15 - 15 rule.  I do treat my low blood sugars with roughly 15 grams of fast acting carbs but rarely do I check again 15 minutes later.  If I suffer lows in the night I will treat and then just go back to sleep.  Sometimes I just go ahead and eat a treat without caring what my numbers will do.  I can adjust later.

All in all I would love to for my health care team to spend a couple of days with me to really get a sense of what it is like to be an active Type 1 diabetic!

Friday 10 May 2013

Day of Lows

Yesterday was an extremely frustrating day diabetes wise for me.  I woke up in the early hours of Thursday morning sweating and shaking.  A quick test confirmed I was low at 2.2.  Treated it and back to sleep in a sweat filled haze.  Woke up high at 11.4.  I could only guess that I was high due to my liver kicking out some glucose during my low in the night. Who knows how long I had been low before I woke up.

Off to work, ate my usual breakfast with a slightly higher than usual bolus due to a high blood sugar.  An hour before I planned to go for my run at lunch I checked and was 7.7 however had just over a unit of insulin on board.  Ate a granola bar and decreased my basal by 50% for two hours.  This is what I do each time I run at lunch and 99.9% of the time it does the trick.  Started off on my run and the first 6km were a breeze.  All of a sudden my head felt weird and legs went to lead.  I stopped, knew I was low and choked back some glucose tabs.  Walked for a bit and then tried to run.  It was a no go.  I felt like garbage.  When I made it back to the office my head started to spin again and my vision was all blurred.  I was having trouble standing upright.  Made it upstairs, tested and was at 2.2.  Drank a juice box in about two seconds flat.  Was very shaken and could not figure out what had gone wrong.  Not embarrassed to admit that I sat in the washroom and bawled my eyes out.  Not only was I low which can make me quite teary but I was frustrated beyond belief.  I had not changed my routine and had been hit hard with two lows.  Also so frustrated that I was even in this situation and at that moment hated diabetes with all my being.  Kept wondering how I was ever going to run another marathon if I could not get through 10km!

Fast forward to late afternoon.  I do a spin class every Thursday evening and follow the same routine each time.  Checked an hour before class and was 6.8 with no insulin on board.  I cut back my basal by 50% for an hour and a half, just like I always do, and headed off.  Did my usual half hour of core and weights before the class started.  Was 6.4 getting on the bike.  15km into the class my world started to close in on me and I knew straight away I was low.  WTF??  I leaned over my bike to get my tester and just about fell off the thing because I was so shaky.  Tested and was at 2.1.  Had some glucose tabs and kept peddling at a very slow rate.  Things were not improving and I threw in the towel.  I could feel people watching at me and I wanted to yell that I was diabetic and suffering with some serious lows all day and that I was not quitting because I could not hack it.  Quickly wiped my bike down and walked away tears streaming down my face.  I heard the instructor explain to the class I was suffering a low blood sugar and she jumped off her bike to make sure I was ok to get home.

When I got home I started to see stars again and could not believe it when I saw a 2.7 flash across the screen.  More juice and some swearing followed suit.   I may have also kicked the door. By the time I crawled into bed last night I was stable but felt like a bag of crap.  My head and body ached from all of the lows during the day.

This morning I woke up still feeling a bit shaky but so far today my sugars have been perfect.  Still not quite sure what happened.  I did not change anything but for some reason just had low after low.  I think some can be attributed to hormones and maybe some due to the change in weather.  The majority of it I just put down to it being stupid G'damn diabetes.

Monday 6 May 2013

April 2013 Training Wrap Up

Better late than never posting the numbers!  April was a pretty solid month training wise, I got more running in which I am happy about however no where near as many swims as I would like.  I was sick for three days and also had a lovely long weekend away with Ryan where we did do a hike but most time was spent relaxing and eating lovely food.  Here are the numbers:

Hours of training = 35ish hours
Spin x 19 = 247.6 km's
Run x 11 = 124.6 km's
Swim x 3 = 7,500m
Weights/tabata/kinesis/kickboxing/core= 9 hours
Rest days =5
Sick days = 3

Now that the weather is getting very nice I am going to start adding in more running and less inside stuff.  I am loving my biking and am hoping to add a real road bike to my life sooner rather than later. All in all very happy with my progress to date!

Wednesday 1 May 2013


The number six features twice in this post, both of which I am happy to write about.

Today marks my six month anniversary with my insulin pump.  I cannot believe it has already been six months! I have learned more about my body and its needs over the last six months than ever before.  I have had extremely frustrating moments and some fantastic achievements.  I have come up with the positives and negatives I have found so far being on the pump.  The positives, for me, far outweigh the negatives.

The main negative I can think of is the fact I am attached to a medical device nearly 24 hours per day.  It is a constant reminder of this disease and that can be mentally draining at times.  There is also the cost of having a pump, the supplies are not cheap!  I am very glad to have decent benefits to help me out and the monthly payments for the pump itself are quite manageable.  The minor negatives would be that I can no longer dilly dally in the shower as I don't want to be "unplugged" for any length of time. Sometimes it can hard to hide the pump discreetly when wearing tight clothes (thank goodness for a good bra and the girls!). Sometimes inserting the infusion sets hurts like a mofo and the sticky parts can irritate my skin.  The tubing loves doorknobs and I have lost more than a few sites to these things!  I do find that I test more so my fingers would say that is a negative.

Now for the best part, the positives.  I feel like I have more freedom in my lifestyle.  I can count my carbs accurately and dose accurately.  For me .10 of a unit can make a difference and being able to dose so accurately has helped me avoid lows.  I can eat what I like when I like. I love being able to set different basal rates through the day, particularly at night when I have the most insulin resistance (dawn phenomenon).  I love being able to set different basal rates for my hormones, this has helped me a lot.  By far the biggest positive for me has been being able to return to high intense activity.  This has been a work in progress and I have a long way to go, but I am starting to figure out my different needs for each type of exercise I do.  Being able to set temporary basal rates has been invaluable to me and has saved me from some mid-exercise lows.  I used to wonder if I would ever be able to run another marathon or one day do a half ironman (with the ultimate goal being a full one).  Now I am confident that these goals can be achieved.  It will take patience and a lot of trial and error but I feel positive about it.  One of my favorite things is knowing my insulin on board.  It helps me to determine whether I need a snack before bed, whether I need to set a temp basal rate and is a good guide to determining if I may go low.  Since starting on the pump I have had so many people ask me about it and I love that it gives me the chance to educate others.  I have also managed to drop some of the extra weight I was carrying and I think this is because I have had less lows and am not eating to chase the insulin.  Also the fact that my pump is 100% waterproof is wonderful!

Overall it has been the best decision for me.  Will it always be the best choice, maybe not, but for now I would not change it.  I have had some funny comments/questions about the pump. Most memorable would be someone asking why I had a dictation machine in my sports bra, lol.  People have asked if it is an underwater iPod (I wish!), a pager, a tape recorder or a new kind of phone.  A lot of people assume the pump can manage my diabetes by itself and are usually surprised to hear that  I do everything I did before and in fact it takes more work and more testing.  I still suffer lows and highs and I know this is part and parcel of having Type 1 diabetes. I am looking forward to the next six months of learning and reaching my training goals.

The other six I want to mention A1C.  I met with my endo last Friday and was shocked to hear that it has dropped to 6.0.  He was very happy with this as I have not achieved it through having tons and tons of lows.  He was able to pinpoint some patterns for me, mostly to due with exercise and the delayed lows I get.  He gave me some ideas to try and said he did not need to see me again for 6 months!  He was a bit concerned about the issues I continue to have with my feet (details to follow in a different post) and will monitor this closely.  I pretty much floated out of his office :)

All in all the last six months have been extremely positive for me and my companion Type 1 diabetes.