Thursday, October 25, 2012

The only thing constant is change . . .

Well, okay, actually diabetes is constant.  But I have to wonder if Heraclitus had diabetes too, because sometimes I feel like the only consistent thing about my diabetes management is that I have to constantly adjust and readjust and . . . . change!!

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been working hard on redoing our dining room.  After some intense physical labor, it’s about 93% done and looking fantastic.  But combine that extra activity with a monthly hormonal swing and a cold /  flu thing that hit yesterday?  Hello, epic lows.

For more than 24 hours I went no higher than 111.  And that graph reflects both a pizza dinner and a slice of cheesecake.  Even that didn’t bring me up.  Of course, today I've got a stuffy nose, a sore throat, and some stubborn germy spikes.

What’s a girl to do?  Well, temp basals to the rescue.  My latest post at The Loop is all about temp basals!!  Dial ‘em down for those epic lows, dial ‘em up for those germy spikes.  Head on over and check it out!

** My Medtronic disclosure can be found here. **

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wordless(ish) Wednesday - Holidays

Last night at my local JDRF Adult group we had a great presentation from my favorite CDE about navigating the holidays, diabetes, holiday stress and FOOD!  Halloween feels like the kick-off to the holiday season, so Molly gave us some great tips for enjoying the holidays and the treats that go with it.  I especially loved this handout to help us count the carbs on some of our holiday favorites!

This year, my biggest goal is not to feel obligated to pack too much in - too much partying, too much holiday baking and shopping, and too much eating and drinking.  Do you have a holiday game plan?

Monday, October 22, 2012

WILDfit Update - Week 5

It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted about WILDfit.  I suppose there is a reason for that.  All of that stuff I wrote about getting the most out of my investment in the WILDfit program and being motivated by the changes I’m seeing and blah blah blah?  Well, maybe not so much.

Week5I’ve definitely back-slid into some old bad habits during the past two weeks. I’ve been pretty busy working on a big project in my house and as a result I’ve missed a few workouts.  I did set up a complete diabetes logging system and did really well for a few day, but then slacked off on the logging too.  Sigh . . . .

It isn’t that I don’t like the program.  I really really do.  Last week one of our assignments was to try something new, so I pulled out a Wii Zumba disk that I had tried only once before.  The last time I tried it I quit after about five minutes because I didn’t know what I was doing.  This time I did the whole Zumba workout.  I still didn’t know what I was doing.  I have never felt so uncoordinated in my entire life!  But you know what?  It was a lot of fun, and I’ll be doing that Zumba workout again and again and eventually I will even figure out the steps.

This week my goal is to get back to it.  I will get my logbook back out and start logging everything again.  I’m still busy working on the house, but I will make it a priority to take the time to do my workouts.  I know my pace won’t be where I had hoped it would be by Week 5, but I need to learn to be okay with that.  I need to stop letting myself quit because I’m not doing as well as I want to be.

So, here’s what I’d love to know from those of you who exercise regularly.  What are your tips for  making time to exercise when you feel like you are just too busy?  How do you motivate yourself to workout when you feel like there are other things you need to be doing instead?

Friday, October 19, 2012

But how many carbs does it have??

Yesterday I got up at 4:30 a.m., and I didn’t mind one bit.  Why?  Because I was catching an early train to NYC to see a taping of The Chew!  I can't even describe how much fun it was!!!!!!!!!!
The episode aired today, and was an Extra Value Friday show on sandwiches.  If you watched the episode and blinked, you probably missed us!
Playing "Sandwich or Scamwich".  I got all three right!!  (Mom didn't - ha ha!!)
The guest was Emeril Lagasse and he cooked an incredible looking Chicken and Biscuit sandwich.  On Extra Value Fridays they always tell you how much the food costs per serving, and my Mom leaned over and whispered to me “They should tell us how many calories are in it!”  To which I replied “I’d rather know how many carbs”.

I had the same thought later when they sliced up the sandwich from the beginning of the show and passed pieces out to us.
How many carbs are in this huge sandwich??
I love to cook and bake.  I like to make things from scratch as much as possible, rather than eating pre-packaged foods.  But I have to admit, I do enjoy the ease of consulting the nutrition label on pre-packaged foods when counting up my carbs.  It sure would make life easier if any recipe I used came with nutrition information so I could easily dose my insulin for my home-cooked meals.

In the end, I made a conservative guess on the carbs in the sandwich slice they served us because I knew we’d be doing a lot of walking around New York after the taping, and my blood sugar was a happy 80 when I tested later.  When I’m feeling ambitious at home, I can type my ingredients into Calorie King and do some mega-math to determine the carbs in what I’m cooking or baking.  But often I just end up swagging it.  (As in “Scientific Wild Ass Guess”)
I asked Clinton Kelly what the carb count was, and he was stumped.
(Just kidding - although if I did ask I'm sure he would've tried to help!!)
How do you tally the carbs in things you make from scratch??  Got any great carb counting tips to share?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Guest Post: Our surprise diabetes meet-up

During Diabetes Blog Week this year I had the pleasure of getting to know Michael, a producer at  He emailed to check I’d be okay with him signing up the bloggers at The Diabetes Collective to participate in DBlog Week.  Of course, I was glad to have them joining in!  And today I’m thrilled to host a guest post from one of the bloggers at The Diabetes Collective, my good friend Scott K. Johnson.  He tells about the first time he and I met!!

Our surprise diabetes meet-up
It was only a few short years ago, but it feels like a lifetime. In February of 2009, I was able to extend a business trip in the Los Angeles area to visit George Simmons and his family. That trip was fantastic in so many ways.

I didn't know it at the time, but George is the master of making sure his guests have a great visit. We only had a few short days together, but there was a lot of action packed into them. We spent time at his house near Los Angeles, and then drove for a few hours into Las Vegas to meet Christel. Both George and I will go through a lot for a quality diabetes meet-up, and meeting Christel ranks way up there. In fact, it ranks right up there with our next diabetes meet-up.

Meeting Karen face-to-face
It may sound crazy, but after Las Vegas, George and I spent another five-plus hours in the car bound for San Diego to meet with Karen and Pete for dinner! The fun part about all of this was that George didn't tell anyone that I was coming along.

It was all a surprise!

We met Karen and her husband, Pete, at a Denny's if I remember correctly, and it was such a blast watching Karen's reaction. George didn't tell her anyone was coming with him. As we were walking up to them he casually mentions "Hey, I brought a friend with me."

Her face went from being ready for the required polite social pleasantries, to recognition, then surprise, then confusion (because I was so out of place there), and finally excitement! It was something I'll never forget.

Denny's!!We held court in that Denny's for what seemed forever. Luckily, we had the sweetest waitress who took such good care of us. She even tolerated my poking fun at her by saying that the four of us travel around the country eating at as many Denny's as we can find. She even brought out an entire carafe filled with Diet Coke.

You should take another look at Karen's post about all of this from back then--there are some great pictures. It was, by far, one of the best diabetes meet-ups of all time.

Why diabetes meet-ups are special
A diabetes meet-up with someone you know from the diabetes online community is really a special thing. It is a testament to how they share of themselves so openly when you can meet them in real life and are already good friends. That even extended to Karen's husband, Pete. It didn't take any longer than a few minutes before both George and I felt like we had known both of them forever.

Since then, I've had the pleasure of seeing and visiting both Karen and Pete several times.

I'm so thankful to have them in my circle of friends. They are worth their weight in gold. And insulin.

Thank you so much for the great post, Scott!!  It was a lot of fun to revisit my memories of that meet-up, which was among my first few and forever holds a very special place in my heart!  And any time you and George are ready for that cross-country Denny’s tour, just let me and Pete know!!  We are so in!

Please be sure to stop by The Diabetes Collective for some more great posts by some very talented bloggers!  And be sure to visit as well!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Taking a Break

I love my CGM and wear it 24/7 . . . . . . except when I don’t.  A couple days ago I decided to take a rare CGM break.  I did enjoy having a break from the alarms and the constant bg-info-overload I sometimes feel.  But all in all, I was extremely happy to start a brand new sensor yesterday.  And I was thankful for the alarm alerting me to a low while I was grocery shopping. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

You’re the Expert

So, I went to the endo on Friday.  For the last few years I’ve been doing well, so we agreed that appointments twice a year are fine for now.  Deep down I know I shouldn’t stress myself out before these appointments, but it never quite works.  I guess I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop, for the bad news that things aren’t go so well anymore.  Pretty pessimistic, I know, but it’s the truth.

I was a little calmer this time, and my blood pressure reflected that, so yay!!  When Dr. F walked into the exam room, he had a little surprise for me.  My pump trainer (who I haven’t seen in about four years) happened to be there after the nurse handed him the data she downloaded from my pump, and they both were really excited by my CGM graph.  When I say “really excited” I mean they practically cheered and my pump trainer gave me a huge hug.  I knew my WILDfit training was really paying off when I saw the CGM graph - I need to keep in mind how stable regular exercise makes my blood sugars!

The appointment continued well from there.  All of my labs were perfect (cholesterol, kidneys, liver, etc.) and the mega-dose of Vitamin D I’m taking is finally started to bring that level up too.  My A1C has remained stable for almost three years now in the high 5 range.  My feet checked out fine.  I had my dilated eye exam two weeks ago and the tiny bleeds found four years ago are completely gone.  The only red flag was that I’ve gained some (more) weight, so we’re going to recheck for thyroid problems next time I have my labs done.

We did discuss some hills on my CGM graph at 3 a.m.  I explained that this had just been happening for the last couple of weeks, and that I did slightly raise my basal (by .025 units) at midnight to help offset it.  I said that while I still needed a small correction during some nights, I’m hesitant to change that basal too much because my overnight seems to vary quite a bit depending on the time of the month.  I prefer to correct as needed, rather than change everything only to be plagued by middle of the night lows in a week or so.  To which Dr. F said, quite sincerely, “Well, you’re the expert”.

Am I an expert?  I’m certainly not an expert on diabetes in general.  But when it comes to myself and how my body will likely react to any given diabetes situation?  Well yes, I probably have the best idea about that.  I responded that since people with diabetes do all of the day to day stuff, we need to be our own experts.  And I told him how the Diabetes Online Community plays such an important role in providing support and empowerment.  I can’t do it alone - I need the DOC and I need my medical team.  But I’m so thankful that my endo listens to what I have to say about my care and recognizes the importance of me being my own D-Expert.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Distractions

When I’m huffing my way through a tough run, it’s really helpful that I can be distracted by this view.  #thankful

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I am an Athlete (???)

A few weeks ago I decided to finally get serious about exercise and signed up for WILDfit.  I’m just beginning my third week, and I’m really loving the program.  Okay, okay, I’m kind of hating it too - but hating it in a good way, because it’s definitely challenging!!


Basically, WILDfit is a 12-week program to get you in shape and to give you the mindset of an athlete.  The main message is that all of us, even people with diabetes, can be athletes.  There are weekly mantras to remind ourselves that “I am an athlete”.  I’m working hard on that one - although I haven’t quite convinced myself yet.

For Week One I started off strong!!  Although honestly, when I first saw the exercise schedule I was fairly taken aback.  It looked  much more intense than I had anticipated for the first week and I was sure I wouldn’t be up for the challenge.  But I read through all of my training materials and watched my training videos.  These gave me guidelines and information not only for the exercise itself, but also for diabetes and nutrition.  And to my surprise, I was able to complete all of my workouts without much of a struggle at all!!  I.  WAS.  PROUD!!  For the structured workouts (three days where you are given a specific workout to complete) we have the option to walk, run or combine walking and running.  I was able to “run” (sloooowly though)  for all of the segments, which really surprised me and gave me my first revelation.  Why have I struggled so much when training for 5Ks in the past?  PACING.  I never really knew what pacing was or understood how to use it.  The first week of WILDfit gave me a solid understanding of pacing and perceived exertion, which allowed me to complete my training.  Yay!!

Week Two didn’t go quite as well.  I partially blame the weather.  I need to be able to do my structured workouts outside because I don’t have a gym membership and my home treadmill is not built for running (aka: inexpensive manual treadmill that works great for walking but won’t withstand a run).  So rainy weather on the days I needed to do two of the structured workouts caused quite a problem.  I thought about what an athlete would do - and I decided that I would adjust and do the best I could.  I ran in place in my living room.  I matched the “Perceived Exertion” goals, but I still felt like I was cheating a bit.  Luckily on Saturday, the rain was gone and I did my last structured workout of the week outdoors.  However, I didn’t make it through my last run segment.  Okay, I did finish . . . . but I didn’t run the entire segment.  I was crushed.  I hated that I had to walk for several minutes during the middle of my last segment, and I felt like a total failure.  That kind of thinking is something I know I need to work on.  This is a process.  This isn’t supposed to be easy.  It needs to be a challenge if it’s going to allow me to improve.  So, as long as I am truly trying my best, I need to cut myself some slack.  (Hello, easier said than done!!)  I also know I learned more about pacing - specifically that I ran too hard in the first two segments, which is why I was unable to run the entire last segment.

The other thing I haven’t quite gotten down yet is our assignment to (ugh, here it comes . . . . . ) log.  Oh logging . . . . I used to be so great at it, but those days are long gone.  I’m supposed to be logging everything.  Blood sugars, insulin, food, and exercise.  I know this is helpful.  I know I need this information for many reasons.  I just haven’t quite gotten into the swing of it yet.

And here I am.  Week Three of my 12-week program.  Today is a structured workout day involving training on a hill.  I thought about where I can find a hill that meets the workout requirements - I have one in mind but I’m  not sure it will exactly fit the bill.  But I’ll give it a shot and do my best.  I’m motivated by the changes I’m already seeing in myself, both physically and mentally.  I’ve also found that another great motivator for me is the cost of this program.  At $150 for the 12-week WILDfit program, I definitely think it’s well worth the cost.  On the flip-side, it’s a larger investment for exercise than I’ve made in quite a while, and that’s a good thing because it’s driving me to make sure I get my money’s worth.  That is something that lies completely in my own hands, and I am determined to do every workout, read every newsletter, watch every training video, and use the program to it’s fullest.

I am an athlete?  Well, I might not be completely convinced yet . . . . . but I think I’m on my way.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


When I use the term Bolus-Worthy, I’m talking about something that can be difficult on my blood sugar, or that will require a larger than usual amount of insulin, but is absolutely worth the trouble.  I’ve been thinking quite a bit about Bolus-Worthiness lately, after a conversation with a T1 friend and also after spending the day at The Big E. (Nothing like fair food to really get you thinking about boluses!!)

My conclusion?  We probably all have a very different list of treats that are bolus-worthy and treats that are just not worth it.  And my list has many qualifiers to the items.  Curious about what I am and am not willing to drain my pump reservoir for?  Well, here are a few things that come to mind . . . .

BolusWorthySODA:  Never, ever bolus-worthy.  First of all, I don’t really drink that much soda anyway.  And when I do, I’m perfectly happy to choose a diet option rather than try to bolus for the big sugar spike.

CUPCAKES:  I’m tempted to say “always bolus-worthy”, but upon further reflection I find that’s not quite true.  Cupcakes form Crumbs, yes, are always bolus-worthy in my book.  But a crappy vanilla cupcake with icky-sweet frosting from my local grocery store’s less than stellar bake shop?  I think I’ll pass, thank you very much.

CHOCOLATE:  If it’s the high-quality, decadent stuff, I will always deem it bolus-worthy.  If it’s the cheap, waxy stuff, then no.  Except, of course, during that time of month where I will rip someone’s head off if I don’t GET SOME CHOCOLATE NOW . . . . then even the crap chocolate is worth the insulin.

ORANGE JUICE: never bolus-worthy
MIMOSA: always bolus-worthy
BLOODY MARY: even better, because I usually can drink one and not bolus at all!!

LOBSTER RAVIOLI:  oh hell yes!!  And also?  CHEESECAKE!

I’m sure I can go on and on, but first I’m curious to hear what you absolutely do and don’t deem Bolus-Worthy.  Care to share?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

(Not at all) Wordless Wednesday - D Fairy Tales

A couple of weekends ago, Pete and I met my in-laws at a park in Sleepy Hollow for a nature walk.  Yup, that’s right, Sleepy Hollow.  Luckily, we didn’t come across any Headless Horsemen.  But I did spot something intriguing . . . .

A test strip on the trail.  And a little further down, I spotted another one.  It was as if Hansel and Gretel both had diabetes and were checking their blood sugar after the Gingerbread House indulgence.  (Yes, they CAN eat that!!)  I think they were also leaving behind a trail to follow so they could safely return home after walking off all those carbs!!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Parakeets . . . .

Happy No D Day!!!!
No D Day is a wonderful event created by my fantastic friend George.  While we still do everything we need to do to take care of ourselves, we take a day off from talking, tweeting, FBing and blogging about D.  We take the opportunity to share other parts of our lives, because there is a lot more to us!!  Thank you, George, for encouraging us to explore the other parts of our lives!

So today, I’m talking about parakeets.  You see, on any given day I can walk into my backyard and see green parakeets flying around.  Nope, I don’t live in South America.  I live in New England.  Crazy, right?  But it’s true.  There is a large community of monk parakeets living right here in Connecticut.

Parakeet in my backyard.  Not the best picture, but those suckers fly fast!!

When I first bought my house and learned of these birds, I thought it was the coolest thing.  I was so excited every time I caught a glimpse of one.  But over the years my love for these birds has gone south.  (They should actually go south too, back home where the belong!!)

These birds are LOUD!!!!  Like screech-and-screech-and-screech-until-you-want-to-stab-knitting-needles-into-your-ears loud.  The little bastards winged creatures build HUGE nests on our utility poles, which often causes power outages.  And they are just kind of gross.  When I’m in my home office I can hear them in the pine trees, munching away.  It is really creepy.

Over all I do guess it’s kind of cool that exotic South American birds live in my backyard.  It’s neat that although there are dozens of stories floating around about how these monk parakeets came to live on the Connecticut coast nobody really knows for sure how they got here.  It’s still a bit exciting to look out the window and see a pretty green parakeet fly by.  But mostly, those loud little bastards birds are just annoying!!