Saturday, June 26, 2010

June 26th

June 26th is one of my favorite days of the year.  On June 26, 1999 Pete and I went on our first date.  And on June 26th, 2004, Pete and I became husband and wife.

Happy Anniversary, SweetPea!!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Well, for someone who has a hard time sticking to an exercise routine, I sure seem to be blogging about working out quite a bit.  It was even the topic of a guest post I wrote for Kelly's fabulous blog Diabetesaliciousness.  The post was featured yesterday, if you want to pop over and check it out.  And I promise to be a bit less obsessed and resume blogging about topics other than exercise!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Giving "highs" a chance??

I know I've harped on this in the past, but I really hate having high blood sugars.  Given the choice, I'd almost always choose to be too low than too high.  It's not so much the feeling of the high . . . I think it's something more psychological than physical.  Highs feel like I've failed.  (And yes, I know that's not true.  I'd be the very first one to tell someone else with a high reading that they are not a failure and it isn't their fault.  But when it comes to me, I forget that fact.)

When reviewing the list of things I dislike about exercising, it stands to reason that blood sugar management would be very near the top.  Specifically, I dislike the feeling that I need to boost my blood glucose up high before beginning a workout.  Instead, I try to balance things out with temp basals and/or strategic meals or snacks.  I'm stubborn that way.  I refuse to send my blood sugars soaring just so I can exercise.

But as we all know, highs do happen.  I battled them all day yesterday, and all night as well.  No sooner would I get back into range than they'd start to soar towards the heavens again.  After some major corrections and a higher temp basal, I woke up this morning to this . . .

Not the worst fasting number, but certainly nowhere near the range I hope to be in first thing in the morning.  However, since we were starting Week 5 of Couch to 5K this morning, I decided to forgo any correction bolus and see what my run would do to the number.

In all honesty, the run actually raised my blood sugar slightly.  (Maybe I had some ketones going on, but it's more likely the fact that exercise sometimes makes my glucose rise a bit before it falls.)  Once we got home, I took the correction that my pump suggested and was at a happy happy 107 before breakfast.  BUT the important thing about my run this morning was that it felt AWESOME!!  We had progressed to a harder level, but I felt great.  And I'm wondering if starting with a higher than usual blood sugar had something to do with it?  Or if I just had a good day, regardless of glucose levels?

I know a lot of you have much much more exercise experience than I do, so I'm asking for your advice.  Do you run yourself higher before a workout?  Do you find it helps your performance?  Do I need to change the way I look at pre-workout blood sugar readings?  Or do you see that as counter-productive to the goal of blood sugar management?  Do you just try to time insulin and food strategically to get through a workout without plummeting too low?  Should I just keep doing what I've been doing all along?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Two Years . . .

It's hard to believe, but this blog turns two years old today. I still feel like my blog is very new - maybe because my knitting blog will turn five years old later this summer.  But I guess two years isn't that new, and I'm thankful for all of the wonderful friends my blog has connected me with!!

To celebrate, my blood sugars have been sky-rocketing and plummeting all day.  Not quite the party I was hoping for.  Maybe the nice stable numbers I was blessed with all weekend will return once the blog birthday festivities have finished. 

Friday, June 18, 2010

It happens to us all . . . .

You know what I"m talking about.  When you go to test your blood sugar.  And you press the button to trigger your lancet.  And squeeze your finger.  And nothing . . .   No blood comes out.

So, you curse under your breath.  (You do, don't you?)  And you choose another spot on your finger.  And you press the button to trigger your lancet.  And squeeze your finger.  And TWO blobs of blood come out!!!

So, you grab a little shard of tissue and make it into a smiley face.  And you take a picture of your finger for your blog.

What, you don't do that last part? No smiley face for your blog? That's just me?? And now you think I'm more than a little crazy???

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mmmmmmm Cupcakes!!!

Who doesn't love a good cupcake?  Okay, okay, maybe cupcakes are a bit scary this close to bathing suit season.  But not to worry.  These cupcakes won't expand your bottom or mess with your blood sugar.  These are very special cupcakes!!

That's right. These are calorie-free carb-free (and I suppose gluten-free) CRAYON CUPCAKES!!!! Wonderful Cara sent these along to me last week.  They arrived on a particularly bad day and really made me smile.  I dare you to tell me they don't make you smile too!!

Would you like some cupcakes of your own? Well, you are in luck. Cara is giving away another box of these lovely cupcakes in a blog contest!!  Get on over there and enter before she picks a winner on Friday!!

Thank you so much, Cara.  You are a wonderful friend and were so sweet to think of me.   You really did bring some brightness into a really really bad day!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

How to waste almost an hour on hold . . ..

I mentioned in passing that I recently upgraded my Minimed pump to the new Revel model.  I began using it on Monday night.  Saturday morning I got up and had some breakfast with my husband.  He left for a haircut and I went into my yarn room / home office to play on the laptop a bit.  And then it started.

Beep BEEP Beep

Pump alarm.  I pulled out the pump to see what the error message was, but no error message was found.  No alerts, no open circle (which is the alert icon).  I shrugged it off and continued trying to catch up on blog reading.  Fifteen minutes later . . .

Beep BEEP Beep

Still no error.  All pump settings looked fine.  Even though there was no Non-Delivery message, I disconnected my tubing and did a prime to make sure insulin was flowing.  It was - but better safe than sorry, right?  I decided I should call Minimed in case something was wrong with my new pump.

As always, they were experiencing high call volume.  Why does every other pump user decide to call Minimed at the exact time I need to talk to them??  Fast forward through 45 minutes of mind-numbing on-hold music and Beep BEEP Beep errors every 15 minutes.

MM: Hello this is "B", how can I provide you with great customer service today?
Me:  Hi, I just upgraded to the Revel.  For the past few hours my pump has been beeping every 15 minutes, but there are no errors or alerts.  It's the same beep you get every hour when a temp basal is set.  But I have no temp basal set, and it's beeping every 15 minutes.

He took all of my customer and pump info.  He asked if I had an open alert icon on my pump.  (I didn't.)  Then he asked if I still had my old pump.  My heart sank as I told him that I did.  I predicted he was going to tell me to send the new pump back and use the old pump until a replacement Revel arrived.

MM: Okay, can you get your old pump please.
Me: Sure, it's in a box right behind me.
MM: Does it still have a battery in it?
Me: Yes, I haven't taken the old battery out.
MM: Are there any error messages?
Me: Yes, there is a Low Reservoir warning. There is no reservoir in it, of course, but the pump doesn't know that and it thinks it's out of insulin.
MM: Have you cleared the error?
Me: Yup, I cleared it when you told me to go get the old pump. About a minute or so ago.
MM: Okay, what we often find is that an old pump is beeping with an error, and customers think it is the new pump beeping. Actually nothing is wrong with your Revel, you were just hearing the alarm from your old pump.
Me: Oh my goodness, I am an idiot.  Now that you mention it, the beeping started after I came into the room where my old pump is.  I'm such a dope!!!  Ummm, thank you for your help.

Okay, pass me the dunce hat!!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

How many calories does crying burn?

It may surprise you to know that Pete and I have been trying to work our way through the Couch-to-5K program.  Thinking of myself as a would-be runner makes me laugh, but I've found that I'm really enjoying it.  Until this morning . . .

Actually, things really started going awry last night.  I was low (52) before dinner, but I let the bolus wizard on my pump adjust for that.  Dinner was a meal we eat fairly often and is kind to my blood sugar.  A small steak, grilled asparagus and 27 carbs of grilled ciabatta bread.  A few hours later, after setting up my new Revel pump, it was time to enter a current blood sugar reading to get the CGM going.  (More on the new Revel soon!!)  I was surprised to find myself at 153, with a slight correction needed.  (Yes, I did base the correction on the active insulin according to my old pump, since my new pump was hooked up well after my dinner bolus.)  Then the high alarms started going off - and since I hadn't even been wearing my new pump for 30 minutes yet, I knew it was not to blame for my highs.

Things got much worse from there.  I was woken up to high alarms every hour until 2:45 am.  Each time I needed another small correction.  I knew my new pump was set up correctly, but I can't for the life of me figure out what the stubborn spike was all about.

Flash forward to 5:50am when the alarm went off.  Pete and I got up and threw on our running clothes.  I did a finger-stick . . . and found myself at 48.  I drank some grape juice and ate a spoonful of peanut butter and was determined to make it through my run.  Today we started Week 4, which alternates 3 minute and 5 minute runs with some walking in between.  By the end of the first 5 minute run, my CGM showed me at 147 with two rapid up arrows.  A finger-stick showed I was really at 87, so that wasn't a problem.  The problem was the lack of sleep, the grape juice and the peanut butter - which swirled together to make me feel like I was going to vomit.

While Pete completed the second 3 and 5 minute run segments, I began to walk towards home.  And I was so frustrated that I cried.  I'm really trying to be healthy and active and lose some weight.  I doubted I could make it through my first 5 minute run segment but I did - and I was very proud of that.  But damn diabetes forced the lack of sleep and pre-run snacks that prevented me from finishing today's training.  On Thursday we'll have to do Week 4 Day 1 all over again.

If I honestly couldn't do today's workout, I think I'd be less frustrated.  But the fact that I might have been able to do it and diabetes held me back . . . that's exactly what caused me to be the girl in the new running shoes who cried all the way home.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

White flag . . .

Lately I've just been feeling . . .  tired.  Tired of dealing with the lows.  Tired of counting each and every carb.  Tired of attempting to time out my dosing and meals.  Tired of the endless finger-sticks.  Tired of sticking infusion sets and CGM sensors into my body.  Tired of the itchy red splotches they leave behind.

Basically, I just feel . . . done.

I know, I know.  Having a bad attitude is fruitless.  Staying positive is important.  Diabetes isn't going anywhere.  I need to keep doing these things, no matter how tired of them I may feel.  And I AM doing these things.  My diabetes management hasn't slipped, even if my attitude has.

I'll keep going.  I don't have a choice, so I'll do what I have to.  I won't surrender.  I can't wave that white flag.  But sometimes . . .  sometimes I just get sick of it all.  And I wonder if I'm the only one who feels this way.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Summer Dresses . . .

A couple of months ago I felt like summer weather would never get here.  I guess I was wrong because we certainly got a taste of it this week in New England.  Summer weather makes me want to throw on cool pretty dresses - but I struggle with how to stash my pump.  I haven't done the bra-thing since the night it killed my first pump.  I've tried "shapewear" but found it extremely uncomfortable.  Shapewear is also too hot in summer weather and doesn't hold my pump for more than 30 seconds anyway.  I tried buying an iPod thingy and wearing it on my leg, but that felt like a torture device.  I did manage to find a couple of dresses with pockets, but those are few and far between.  So I continued my quest to find a good way to secure my pump while wearing a cute summer dress.

Then I remembered hearing about t&j design.  Or more specifically, their leg cuff.  There are a couple of things I liked about this cuff even before I ordered one.  The first is that each leg cuff is custom made to your own thigh measurement.   This eliminates the need for a Velcro closure, which always tends to twist around on me, leaving the scratchy part digging into my skin.  I also liked the cleaver use of a non-slip headband to help the cuff (hopefully) stay up.  I decided to place my order right away.

In about a week, my custom-made leg cuff arrived!  Joan, the business owner and cuff maker, emailed me several times to keep me apprised of my order status.  She also asked me to let her know how the cuff fit and if I was satisfied with it

I decided to really give the cuff a serious test run by wearing it to my ballroom dance lesson.  When I first put on the cuff, I felt like it was sliding a bit and I'll admit I was nervous that it wouldn't hold through a 45 minute cha cha lesson.  However, it must have just been settling into place, because for the remainder of the day the cuff stayed put.  Even through some so-called dancing.

*** In this video, we are practicing a cha cha routine we'll be doing at an event for our studio.  The dancing is not good - don't expect anything even close to Dancing with the Stars.  When this video was shot, we were still trying to get the steps straight, so we have a long way to go on technique and polish.  (Plus our dancing isn't that great anyway.)

This cuff is awesome!!!! It stays put without that "cutting off my circulation" tourniquet feeling.  In fact, I found I'd forget it was even there.  And it stayed put, even through swivels and lock steps!  My struggle with how to comfortably wear my pump with a dress is over!  Thank you, Joan, for a wonderful product and awesome customer service!!!

If you've struggled with a dependable yet comfortable way to wear your pump with a dress, I HIGHLY recommend checking out t&j design.  I'm thrilled that I did!