Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Help an anxious girl out?

So.  Okay.  I might be freaking out a little over here.  And you are so going to laugh at me when you hear why.  But here goes.

So tomorrow I have to fly.  On an airplane.  A very very long way.  All alone.  Next week I’ll be posting more about the fabulousness that awaits me on the other side.  But for now, I’m completely freaking out about the flight.

Yes, I’m one of those nervous flier types.  It’s not so much the “oh-my-gosh-I’m-way-high-up-in-the-air” thing that gets me.  It’s more the “holy-crap-I’m-sealed-in-this-little-tube” that freaks me out.  I’m extremely claustrophobic and the last time I flew across the country the seats were really small.  I didn’t even really have the space to reach into my carry-on to get my meter and test.  It was bad.

IwishIf the seats were this spacious I'd be fine.  But they aren't, are they?

If the claustrophobia isn’t enough to agonize over, there is always the hassle of traveling with diabetes.  Being stuck in a confined place for a number of hours is nerve-wracking too.  I’m less concerned about going low because I’ll be packing plenty of glucose tabs and granola bars - but it’s unlikely I’ll be needing those.  I’m more worried about going high, and I'm not talking about altitude here.  The nerves, the stress, the lack of activity - they all suggest I’ll be fighting high blood sugars all day.  And the other people in my row won’t be too pleased with me climbing over them to run to the bathroom every hour because my blood sugar is making my bladder fill up at record speed.

So, can you help a girl out?  I know what to pack so I’ll be prepared.  But those of you who stress over flying - what are your tips for staying calm and keeping yourself occupied on a long cramped flight?  I’m begging you, lay your best travel secrets on me . . . .because I’m gonna need them!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Is Exercise a Four-Letter Word??

So yeah, I guess you can tell by the title of this post, I really struggle with exercise.  Or, more specifically, I struggle with the motivation to exercise.  Sticking with it for the long haul is my main problem.  Sure, my husband and I get a good workout at our weekly ballroom dance lesson, but that’s only forty-five minutes a week.  Last summer I stuck with the Couch to 5K program and completed three 5K races, but as soon as winter hit the running was over.  So my main problem with exercise is finding something I like and will stick to - even on days when I just feel like being lazy.

For me, the hardest thing about managing diabetes and exercise is figuring out the magic combination of pre-exercise snack, lower basal rate and physical activity to keep my blood sugar from getting too low or too high while working out.  And this is where my exercise inconsistency really makes things even harder than they have to be.  Because every time I slack on exercise and have to start my workout routine all over again, I also have to start my “workout blood sugar plan” all over again.  *sigh*

This post is my March entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival.  If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Breakfast Remnants

I knew the blueberry escaped into the sink when I was washing them for my breakfast.  But the test strip?  Not quite sure how that got there . . .

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Germ Magnet

After making it through that terrible stomach virus three weeks ago I thought I was in the clear.  I was wrong.  Apparently I have become a germ magnet and each and every little germy bastard is intent on making my body its home.

This time, it’s not a barfy germ.  It’s a throat-on-fire germ.

This germ also brought some body aches.  And just for fun, a very stuffy nose.  I suppose this could be Spring allergies . . . . but it feels like the work of some mean cold germs to me.

I’ve had enough of being sick.  I feel like I catch more than my fair share of the crud and I blame diabetes for that.  And to rub salt into the wounds, the stress of fending off those germs makes blood sugar management extra difficult.  My meter will back me up on that statement by showing that my readings ranged from 197 to 44 yesterday.

Got any tips for keeping the germs from attacking?  (ROAR)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Bitter~Sweet Chips

Today I’m sharing a few tasty morsels that have recently made their way into my in-box!
  • How would you like to spiff up your Spring wardrobe, save some cash, and donate to a worthy cause all at once?  Check out the JDRF and Gap Inc.'s Give and Get event.  From March 17th - 20th you can save 30% at The Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic - and 5% of your purchase goes to JDRF.  Click here to get your shopping pass!
  • In late September, the United Nations High-Level Summit on Non-Communicable Diseases will be held in New York.  In preparation, the International Diabetes Federation has began an electronic signature campaign to gather support for essential care for all people with diabetes.  You can help by clicking over to to add your e-signature and learn more about how to promote the campaign and get involved.
  • The 2011 Diabetes Mine Design Challenge has been announced!  You have until April 29th to submit your idea for something that will improve life with diabetes.  I always love seeing what the brilliant minds out there come up with and I can’t wait to see this year’s entries!
  • I’ll be posting more about this soon, but if you are in or near Fairfield County, CT be sure mark your calendars for the first JDRF Fld County Chapter Type 1 Adult Outreach Event.  Join us on April 28th for some beverages, snacks and chatting!  Click here for more details.
  • Have you taken a look at the #DSMA March blog carnival topic, Exercise Does A Body Good?  You have two weeks left to share your favorite exercises and what keeps you motivated.  Or share the most difficult part of exercising and what your favorite and least favorite exercises are.  Don’t forget to leave us a link to you blog post in the comments section!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Not Quite the Only One . . .

All weekend and into today, I’ve been immersed in the updates from JDRF’s Government Day.  I watched the Blogger Round Table live and was so proud of my friends who worked so hard to advocate.  (If you missed the live-stream, you can still catch the archived video here.  Click on the one entitled JDRF Government Day Blogger).  I’ve also been following all of the action on Twitter - look for the #JDRFGovDay hashtag.

One of the presentations this morning prompted some side chatter about whether or not others in our families have Type 1 Diabetes.  This topic actually comes up more often than you would think, and I always answer that I’m the only T1 in my family.  But when I think about it, I realize it isn’t really true . . . .

Only one person in this picture has T1 diabetes (hint: it's me).
But everyone in this picture has more than one relative with T1.

My aunt by marriage (she married my Mom’s oldest brother) had Type 1 diabetes.  (She’s not in the picture above.  I’d have to make a run to my parent’s house to dig out a picture of my aunt.)  For as far back as I can remember she was in poor health.  She was on dialysis.  She needed a walker.  Eventually she couldn’t come to our house for visits because she wasn’t strong enough to walk to the second floor to use the bathroom.  She was never anything but kind and loving and I don’t ever once remember her complaining about anything.  She was an amazing woman.  In the spring of 1986, just as we arrived home after buying my prom dress, the phone rang and we got the news that she was gone.  (And yes, I do think that was one of the events that pushed me into the diabetes denial and rebellion I experienced during my college years.)

That leaves me as the only surviving Type 1 diabetic in my family, right?  Well, no, not quite.  Her daughter, my first cousin, also has Type 1.  So why am I always likely to say I’m the only Type 1 in my family?  It’s not because I’m lying.  It’s because I honestly forget.  You see, my cousin is not in touch with our family.  The last time I saw her was almost 10 years ago, at our grandmother’s funeral.  Her surprise exclamation of  “Karen, oh my gosh, you’re a grown woman now!” is a clue to how long it had been since the last time we’d seen each other.

Does Type 1 diabetes run in my family?  Yes, I guess it sort of does.  I’m one of three T1s - one related to me by marriage and one by blood.  And still, in a way, I am the only T1 in my family.  And thinking about that today makes me very very sad.  I miss my wonderful aunt very much and I wish she had lived to benefit from all of the amazing advancements in diabetes treatment.  And I regret that my cousin and I don’t have a chance to share our bond and lean on each other.

On the other hand, these circumstances make me even more thankful to have found the Diabetes On-Line Community.  We may not be related by blood,  but we share a bond more special than family ties.  And for that, I am very grateful.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Never say never . . . .

I’ve said it more than once.  Oatmeal does not work for me.  I’ve tried different bolus combinations.  I’ve tried different types of oatmeal.  I’ve tried just about everything I can think of, but a little bowl of oatmeal always sends my blood sugars through the roof.
Until now.

Tuesday, after my #sweatbetes workout, I decided to have a couple of eggs for lunch.  And for whatever reason, I really wanted to have a bowl of steel-cut oatmeal.  So I did.  And to my surprise, the line on my CGM stayed flat all afternoon.  Crazy, right?

Yesterday I decided to really push my luck.  I did the same 30 minute cardio routine.  I added 20 minutes of strength training.  Once again I made a couple of eggs for lunch, but this time I made regular quick-cook oatmeal.  I saw a bit of a rise on my CGM graph, but not high enough to trip my 170 high blood sugar threshold.  My two hour post-lunch finger stick rang it at 147.  And before dinner, my blood sugar was holding steady at 83.

Holy glucose, I have unlocked the Oatmeal Key!!!!  I CAN eat oatmeal - provided I eat it later in the day and after a good workout.  Diabetes, you are one crazy intricate fickle master - but my days of never eating a hot bowl of oatmeal are over!  Ha, I win, the “oatmeal round” goes to ME!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

The One with The List

On Saturday, a bunch of us headed for a night out at the casino.  We love the casino - it has great food, the martini bar, entertainment (in the form of slot machines) and there is always free music in The Wolf Den.  As it turned out, the performer on Saturday was David Cassidy.  We stopped to watch and listen for a few minutes . . . . and I’ll admit to a bit of dancing and a few shrieks when he broke into “I Think I Love You”.  After all, when I was growing up in the ‘70’s Keith Partridge was pretty groovy.

This prompted my friend to ask me if David Cassidy was on “the list”.  You know what “the list” is, right?
The thing is, I've never given much thought to "the list" - although I suppose Daniel Craig and John Zimmerman would hold prominent spots.  (And yes, I actually HAVE met John Zimmerman.  But no, I did not sleep with him . . . )

While I may not have “the list”, I realize I do have “the D-bolus List”.  You know, a list of bolus worthy foods that I'll go ahead and indulge in no matter what my blood sugars have been doing.  What’s on "the D-bolus List"??  (These are in random order, of course . . . )
  1. Cheesecake
  2. Cupcakes from Crumbs
  3. Really good Mexican food
  4. Lobster Ravioli
  5. Italian Pastries
And yes, you might as well laminate my list - a la “Ross” - because I’m not likely to bump any of those in the future.  Do you have a “list” of either type??  Who or what made it onto yours?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Share how you use technology!!

I’m popping in for a rare Saturday post to let you know about a survey the fabulous crew at WEGO Heath are running.  They are looing for input on how people are using new technologies for health.  Maybe you turn to blogs for tips, maybe your smart phone is loaded with health apps, maybe you hop on Twitter when you are sick and panicked.   (I know I do all three, and them some!!)

Here’s a little more info about the survey straight from WEGO.
How Are You Using Technology for Health?

WEGO Health is conducting a study on people’s use of new technologies for health and they need your voice to understand the potential of technology to empower patients.
The survey will take about 10 minutes (you can stop anytime & come back later).  All completed survey responses will be entered into a drawing to win an iPad, one of three iPod Touches or one of 200 iTunes gift cards.  Everyone will receive a report on our survey findings.
This survey won’t be open much longer, so jump in now!
Take WEGO Health’s Health Technology Survey:

So go ahead and share your thoughts on health and technology!  You can even win some pretty awesome prizes.  But hurry, the survey is only open until this coming Monday!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Sicko . . .

Every Sunday we go to my parent’s house for dinner.  When we arrived last Sunday my dad was recovering from what he thought was food poisoning.  My mom thought it was a virus.  Mom was right, because she got hit with it on Monday.  And lucky me, I got it on Tuesday.

It came on fast.  I was fine all day, until it was time to pick Pete up at the train station.  I dragged myself out to get him, then came home and climbed right into bed while he went out for some supplies that would hopefully settle my stomach.  I was sick one more time before he got back.

Once home, Pete brought me a diet ginger ale and 22 carbs worth of saltines.  I played it smart and ate two crackers without bolusing to see what would happen.  I felt completely fine and hungry, so I bolused for the 22 carbs and finished my crackers.  And that is where things started to go wrong.


Twenty minutes later my stomach made it quite clear that the saltines were not welcome.  My blood sugar was starting to dip, so I tried regular ginger ale.  That was rejected.  I tried a popsicle.  Also rejected.  My blood sugar continued to fall so I forced down ginger ale sips and popsicle nibbles but they just wouldn’t stay.  We pulled out the glucagon in case it was needed, and (oh crap) it was expired.  And my blood sugar?  It was now 36.  And that’s when I started to panic.

I have never ever been in a situation when my blood sugar has been low when I’m sick.  So although I’m embarrassed to admit it, I’m going to be totally honest with you.  I’ve always kind of ignored the advice about having a sick-day plan - knowing all I'd ever needed to do was set a higher temp basal.  I’m here to tell you that not having a sick day plan is a very stupid thing to do - no matter how long you’ve been living with diabetes.  Being sick is stressful enough.  Being sick and scared and in an emergency situation is the worst!!

Luckily for me, things played out okay.  I was hoping to avoid a trip to the ER, and thankfully I did.  Common sense told me to suspend my pump.  Instinct told me to turn to Twitter and get some advice from the D-OC.  I was assured that suspending should work and reminded to keep a close eye on how long I suspended so I didn’t end up with ketones.  (Thanks @cerichards21 and @AbbyBayer)  I was advised that if necessary, I could always try the glucagon anyway - especially since it was only 2 months past the expiration date.  (Thanks @StaceyDivone, @jennaspetmonkey, @scottkjohnson and @sstrumello)  And I got tons of well wishes, support, encouragement to go to the ER if I needed to, and suggestions of foods that might be acceptable to my cranky stomach - which went a long way towards calming me down and soothing my fears.  (Thank you all!!!!!)  I also turned to Lorraine's blog to reread how she handled a similar situation with Caleb.  In the end, the glucagon wasn’t needed.  After two hours I was up to 115 and I took my pump out of suspend.  It took a full 20 hours before I could eat again, but during that time I was solidly in the 140 - 180 range.

It’s not often that after 31 years with diabetes I run into a situation I haven’t dealt with before.  But this story is proof that it can happen.  Ignoring advice about having a sick day plan just because I never needed one before was careless.  You can bet I am refilling my glucagon, making a cheat sheet about mini-dosing, adding concentrated juice and chocolate syrup to my stash of regular ginger ale, and making notes to talk to my endo about a sick day plan.  Next time, you can bet I’ll be prepared!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My (late) Most Awesome Thing

Oh my, where did February go?  I’ve been so busy reading and commenting on the DSMA February Blog Carnival posts that I never got around to writing my own.  In the spirit of “better late than never”, I thought I would share “the  most awesome thing I have done in spite of diabetes”.

There is a lot I have done in 31 years living with this disease.  Some may be awesome, most is pretty ordinary, but when I think about what I am most proud of 2010 comes to mind.

Last year, I began to see posts from many of my friends who were doing the Couch to 5K program.  I’ve never been an athlete, but I am a follower because the more posts I saw the more convinced I became that I wanted to try it too.  I never seriously thought I could stick with it.  I ran track in high school . . . . for two days before deciding it totally was not for me.

But, in August of 2010, at the age of 42 (and with almost 31 of those years with diabetes), I ran my first 5K race.  I ran a second 5K in September and shaved 15 seconds off my time.  I ran my last 5K of the season on Thanksgiving.  Sure, my time in all three was downright terrible.  But I did them.  I still can’t believe I did three 5Ks!!

Even more shocking is the fact that this past weekend, I was out running once again.  It’s tough after the winter break, but I find I’m excited to train for some more 5Ks in 2011.  I never would have guessed I had it in me!!

“This post is my (late) February entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival.  If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at  You can read the February carnival round-up here  And keep an eye on the DSMA blog on Thursday for the March Blog Carnival announcement!!