Thursday, March 28, 2013

Disruptions . . . . .

It’s been a bad week.  My blood sugars have been all over the place, but mostly high.  I’ve tried early site changes.  I’ve tried opening a fresh bottle of insulin.  I’ve tried lowering my carb intake.  I’ve tried higher temp basal rates.  I’ve been going to the gym.  Starting to exercise (again) usually sends me into a week or two of epic lows, but no.  Nothing seems to work.  Yesterday my CGM went from “low predicted” to “high predicted” from the simple act of making lunch.  Just making lunch, not sampling and snacking as I went, just deciding what to eat and preparing it.  I am so freaking ready to quit this diabetes thing.

My best guess as to what is causing this dia-mess is that my normal routine is completely disrupted this week.  On Sunday, Pete left for a business trip to Berlin and the Netherlands.  I’m lonely.  I miss him.  I’m completely sleep deprived because I tend to be really scared being alone over-night.  (This is less due to diabetes and more due to memories of coming home about 10 years ago to find my house had been broken into.)  Basically, I know I’m being a big baby, but this week has really sucked.  And so have my blood sugars.


As I type this, Pete is here --->
and will be back home to me soon.

It's very frustrating to feel like you're trying your best to do everything right but nothing seems to work.  I can only hope that settling into my normal routine will help my blood sugar settle down too.  I think we are both tired of the disruptions.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Just Suck it Up . . . . .

I spent the first half of this week in D.C. for JDRF Advocacy’s Government Day.  I have so much about Gov. Day to share and I’ll be splitting it up into three posts next week about the people I was with, the information that was shared, and our time advocating on Capital Hill.  But today I have a diabetes tale to tell.

Although I’ve been taking some breaks from wearing my Continuous Glucose Monitor now and then, I consider it non-negotiable when I'm traveling.  I often don’t feel my lows until my blood sugar is well into the 40s, so I need that safety net when I’m traveling and sleeping alone.  I strategically waited to insert a sensor until the very last minute before I left, hoping to make it last during the entire trip.  I hate changing out the CGM when I’m away, but I believe in being prepared so I packed everything I’d need if I had to do a new CGM in D.C.  Or so I thought.

I wear my sensor completely taped over with Tegaderm, and there are two reasons why I do this.  First, if I don’t I tend to accidentally rip the sensor out in record time.  And second, if any water gets under my sensor I end up with big, red welts.  Unfortunately, I must not have done a good job with the Tegaderm this time, because it started to peel up.  I awoke on Sunday with a red welt and I knew I’d have to pull the sensor and find a fresh spot to put a new one.  No problem, right?  Wrong!  As I pulled out my supplies I realized I’d forgotten to pack one thing.  The inserter.

Cue the panic!!  Quite honestly, I still find the sensor’s needle to be a scary big-ass harpoon!  When putting it on with the inserter it ranges from kinda-hurts to not-bad-at-all, with an occasional holy-shit-that-hurt thrown in there.  I’ve heard of people inserting them manually, but it wasn’t something I ever wanted to try.


Of course, diabetes can throw a wrench into the best laid plans, and over the years I've just learned to adjust.  I didn’t have my inserter but I knew I needed a functioning CGM, so the only thing to do was to suck it up.  I took a few deep breaths.  I told myself it wouldn’t be that bad.  And I manually plunged the needle into me.  Did it hurt?  Yup.  Did I wonder if I got it in properly?  Yup.  Did it give me accurate readings for the rest of my trip?  Sure did - in fact the following morning the number on my CGM and the number on my meter were exactly the same.

Even after 33 years with diabetes, some situations and devices can seem scary.  But the important thing is being safe and healthy, so sometimes I just have to suck it up.  And when I do, I can't help feeling a little bit proud of myself.

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

Friday, March 15, 2013

Watch Over Me . . . .

This weekend I’ll be in D.C. to represent my chapter at JDRF Government Day.  This is my second year participating, so luckily I’m  not quite the newbie I was last year and I guess I kind of??? know my way around.  I’m excited to see the other advocates I met last year and meet some more volunteers that I haven’t met yet.  I have so many great memories from last year’s event, but this morning I find one keeps running through my mind.

DiabetesLifeguardDuring our first breakfast my fabulous Grassroots Team Leader, Mary, came over to say hi.  As we chatted, she told me something that resonated with me and that I’ve often thought about over the past year.  She said that at these events, she keeps a careful eye each morning to make sure all of the adult Type 1s on her team make it to breakfast and are accounted for.  In short, she watches over us to make sure nothing happened while we were sleeping alone in our hotel rooms.

After living with diabetes for more than 33 years, or 3/4s of my life, one would think I have this down, right?  But guess what?  I don’t.  I work hard and I do my best, but the truth is that diabetes can still throw a dangerous curve.  It has happened to me.  It has happened to those I love - off the top of my head Scott, Scully, Martin, Stephen and Kerri.

I try my hardest to live a confident and empowered diabetes life.  I try not to focus too hard on the negative things about diabetes, and to instead celebrate the positives when I can find them.  I try not to let too much fear creep in.  But the truth is that even if I do every single thing right, there is always a chance diabetes will suddenly strike and there is a chance I won’t survive.  That is the reality.  That is a huge part of why I’ll be in D.C. this weekend meeting with our government representative to tell my story and yours.  That is why we all need to do all we can to keep sharing the whole truth about life with diabetes.

I’m so thankful to know I have Pete watching over me when I’m at home.  And I’m so thankful to know Mary will be watching over me this weekend.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Chicken or The Egg . . . .

ChickenEggSometimes diabetes reminds me of the age old question “What came first, the chicken or the egg?”.  In diabetes lingo I’m pondering “What came first, the ketones or the crud?”.

Last night I went to another JDRF Type 1 Adult event, and it was fantastic!  (Hopefully I’ll get a post up about it soon . . . . )  While there, I had my favorite salad and some wine.  This particular salad is always a tricky bolus for me, because it contains candied walnuts and a honey dressing.  To make things trickier, sometimes the salad seems loaded with walnuts and at other times it has less (and sometimes Pete snags a few off my plate and at other times he cons me out of more than a few).  Basically I do my best SWAG bolus and adjust later if necessary.  Before bed I needed about a half unit correction and that seemed fine.

Fast forward to 4:30 a.m. when I woke up feeling cruddy.  I didn’t have a CGM sensor on because I’d decided to take a rare few days off, so I got up to test my blood sugar.  I was shocked to see 273 glaring back at me!  Even with the candied walnuts, popping a number in the 270s after that salad was crazy.  I bolused my correction, drank some water and tried to go back to sleep.  By 7:00 a.m. I was feeling really sick to my stomach.  I managed to hold things together and when I dragged myself out of bed and tested, I was happy to see I was back down to 144.

Unfortunately that didn’t last long.  A couple hours later I was back up to 259 despite the fact that I felt too icky to eat anything.  It occurred to me that I should check for ketones, and sure enough the strip quickly turned that pretty purple shade indicating Moderate.  So I’m drinking lots of water, I took my correction by injection, and I’m trying to eat a little something.  I've also happily ended my CGM vacation and fired up a new sensor, grateful to be able to keep close track of what is going on. 

But I can’t help wondering, do I have ketones because I feel sick?  Or do I feel sick because I have ketones?  If the injection brings me back into range, I’ll change out my site and see if that clears up the highs and the ketones, and hopefully the queasiness.  And I suppose I’ll have my answer.  But right now I’m in the endless chicken / egg circle of wondering what came first, the ketones or the crud?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Diabetes at the Gym . . .

After much debate, budget analysis and waffling (and probably because we both like eating waffles), Pete and I finally decided to join a gym yesterday.


This is definitely a good thing.  At home, there are too many distractions and temptations and reasons to put off a workout until later.  Then later turns into tomorrow, which turns into next week, which turns into never.  I’m excited to have more options than my tired old workout DVDs and Wii games.  I’m excited to be able to use a treadmill I can actually run on, since my home treadmill is built for walking only.  I’m excited to try a range of exercise classes and see what suits me best - zumba, yoga, pilates, boot camp, there is bound to be something I like!  I’m  very hopeful that I can finally get into some sort of workout routine, because I really do need it.

Believe it or not, this is my first ever gym membership.  So I’m not quite sure how to toss diabetes into the mix.  Those of you with gym experience, I can sure use your advice.  Obviously I’ll keep  my meter and some juice with me at all times and hopefully I’ll be able to handle any lows on my own.  But that little voice in the back of my brain keeps whispering “But what if you need help?’.  Yes, what if I do need help?  Do I have a quick chat with the desk attendants before my workouts, letting them know that diabetes shouldn’t be a problem but that they should be aware just in case?  How do you handle diabetes at the gym?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

That time a 474 made me smile . . . .

My first clue that the diet Coke the waitress set down in front of me might not be diet was the lack of a lemon wedge perched on the rim of the glass.  I took a tentative sip, but I just wasn’t sure.  Back in the saccharin days I could always tell diet from regular.  These days it’s much harder . . . . but I’m okay with that!  Instead I offered a sip to Pete, who is always really good at telling diet from regular.  Even he was stumped this time, although his guess was that I had been served a regular Coke.

It’s times like these that I’m so glad to have found the DOC.  Because posts from blogs and Facebook began to flash through my mind.  Someone used ketone sticks to test soda for sugar.  I didn’t have ketone sticks with me.  Someone else tested soda on their meter.  That I could do!!

The 474 on my meter told me the soda definitely was not diet.  When I asked the waitress, she confirmed she had given me regular.  (Either she forgot what I ordered or she had misheard me, I guess.)  I was really glad I decided to test it out on my meter instead of assuming it was diet and slurping it down.  And it was nice to be happy to see a 474 for once, even if it was just a confirmation that I needed to send my soda back!

(Upon reflection, I'm not sure if testing soda on a meter is actually okay for the meter.  It might be a good idea to do a little research before doing it, in case it could be damaging to the meter.)