Diabetes- Type 1

Exercise Back on the Menu

Exercise and I never liked each other.

Exercise is supposed to be good for a diabetic.  Lower bloodsugars, loose weight, make you feel good.

Exercise for me: roller coaster of lows/highs/lows, gained weight, and felt like crap from the roller coaster ride.

With my new Dexcom and my diabetic educator, exercise is back on the daily menu.

Tips I Learned about Exercise:

-Exercise in the morning, before you have any boluses in your system.  If you have bolused in the last 4 hrs, be careful exercising.  My sugars bottom out quickly!

-Exercise for less than 30 minutes (light to moderate)- not a lot to change.  Bolus normally for breakfast, but watch out 6 hours later when your sugars will drop.

-Exercise for more than 30 minutes- be prepared to sip on watered down juice or gatorade for 10-15 g of carbohydrates.

-Anaerobic raises bloodsugars (weight lifting).

I have been biking for an hour in the mornings, pushing for 5 days a week.  I also have a 7 minute workout (jump jacks, planks, lunges, etc) and trying to get 10 good pushups in a day.

When you and Exercise have been at odds as long as I have, this will be quite an undertaking to keep up.

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Dexcom 5G Thus Far

A lot has changed since I wore a continuous glucose monitoring system five years ago during pregnancy.

There are no trials to test out the product.  Last time I used a CGM the results were sketchy at best and unreliable.

Pre-approval through my insurance was less than a week.  Before I had to battle with them for two rounds to get approval.

In December, I ordered a Dexcom 5G.  I had nearly met my deductible for the year, so my cost was $550 for a receiver, 2 transmitters, and 2 boxes of sensors.  I paid up front.

I love my new sensor. I am amazed at the accuracy between the Dexcom and blood meter readings!  With a good sensor, I am a couple points off.  I can see what is happening all the time (exercise is back on the daily menu).  It buzzes and beeps when I get too low. I can download to share reports with my diabetes educator.

Downsides:

It is bulky and one more piece of equipment to calibrate, manage, and remember where I put it.

I do not have an iPhone, but the sharing feature could be helpful to others.  Your iPhone can act as your receiver, then you can “add” people to view your bloodsugars.  Seems a little personal to me to be under watch 24/7, but a worrisome mother would appreciate this.

It was billed incorrectly through my insurance, so a claim for over $2000 came the next month. heartattack.  I had to contact Dexcom several times before a note was made on my account to work with my insurance, who billed the CGM as a prosthesis (Home Equipment) instead of Durable Medical Equipment (DME).  After this is over, I will find that funny.  Right now the looming bill of $2K is stressing me out.

The packaging for the sensor is not built for traveling and pieces fall off after a couple days in my bag.

My receiver died less than a month in.  ERR212 and ERR68 showed up.  All my data was lost.  I had to wait 3 days for a new receiver to be mailed to me.

Technical services can take forever to get back to you.  After 2 hours on hold, I finally turned in my errors to find out it was a programming error.

The tape on the sensor lasts for 3 days before falling off.

My skin isn’t keen on the big patch for a week.  I may need to find some new locations beside the stomach.

Overall, the Dexcom has allowed me to find patterns I would have missed and get back to exercising without the worry of bottoming out when out for a jog.

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Food the Enemy

Overeater: Food is a Friend.

Chefs: Food is a Job.

Valentine’s Day: Food is Love.

Diabetics: Food is the Enemy.

I have been diabetic going on my 4th decade (31+ years).  Over 30 years ago, table sugar was evil.  You could make “sugarfree” pumpkin pie using sweetener and 2 cans of apple juice concentrate.  (Note: a regular pie had few carbs and less impact on bloodsugars than that crummy tasting “sugarfree” stuff.)

 

Fast forward, carbs are the devil.  Diabetics can eat bacon, cheese, butter, but not bread, cake, or potatoes.  Oh wait, diabetics should only ever eat salads (just lettuce).

 

The fads of diabetic eating come and go.  But for a diabetic, one thing says the same “Food is the Enemy”.

 

Food makes your bloodsugars go high.  Food makes you fat.  Food makes you at a higher risk for mind-blowing complications.  Food is the devil.

 

Unless the food is locally raised, fresh, and in season.  In the middle of winter, staring at the wilting produce and bags of cheap, frozen green beans, “good” food is still out of my grasp.  Of course, I could make the 150 mile drive for a couple of fresh zucchini in the “big town” grocery store.

 

Three decades of type 1 diabetes burns into your brain the unworthy nature of your broken pancreas.

 

*You are not worthy to eat when your bloodsugars are high.

 

*You are not worthy to eat when you are above your ideal weight.

 

*You are not worthy to eat food that makes your sweet tooth sing.

 

*You are worthy to eat 15 g of glucose tabs when you are low.

 

*You are not worthy to eat more for lows, or pay for the rebound later.

 

*You are not worthy to eat when traveling, stressed, or have stomach nerve damage.

 

 

Food is the enemy and you are not worthy.

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Hello, my name is…. and I’m a…..

I have been working with my diabetes educator to try to get better control of my blood sugars.

After keeping track of detailed records, I am somewhat depressed with the results.

Marcey says I need to eat better, take better care of myself, eat a “real” meal for lunch & dinner (haha- she calls “supper” “dinner”).

She did not consider my tortilla shell with Nutella a real meal.

She did not consider my yogurt a meal.

She did not consider my peanut butter sandwich a real meal.

She did not consider my fruit snacks a real meal.

With all the high blood sugars I’ve had the last several weeks, I neither feel like eating or feel I deserve to eat.

eek! I realized…I’m one of them- the 8 out of 10 diabetics that have an eating problem.

I feel the need to recite “Hello.  My name is… and I have an eating problem.”

*High bloodsugars= I don’t deserve to eat right now.

*Low bloodsugars=I can eat all the junk food I want.

*Carbs= I love eating you now, but guilt will eventually kick in.  I will vow to eat only proteins from now on- eggs, fish, steak, hot dogs… I have canine teeth and I plan to use them.

*Fresh veggies and fruits= I don’t deserve to spend the money to buy them.  It should go to something more important- like blood testing strips or insulin.

*Diet Dr. Pepper=no sugar, but caffeine , which can raise your bloodsugars.

*Diet A&W= the only guilt-free thing I can eat (no sugar, no carbs, no caffeine, and a little flavor left)

Hmmm, she didn’t consider Dt. A&W a real meal either.

 

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Ever Had a Bad Bloodsugar Day?

Diabetics: have you ever had a really, really bad day?  That finger stick reveals sugars in the 240’s.

You bolus.  The next hour you are 289.

You exercise.

You bolus.  The next hour you are 312.

You stop eating for the rest of the day to try to figure out what in the world is going on.

You rage bolus.  Eat a bowl of ice cream and the rest of the Easter candy.  And take a nap.

You are 114.  Yeah!  You feel the numbers level out.

The next hour you are 280.  You feel the ketones cause the neutral pH of the blood to sway- proteins start to unravel, losing their quaternary and tertiary structures.

When you pull your infusion set, everything makes sense.

Usually, I have blood in the tube, or a slight kink when bloodsugars go astray.  Surely a 45 degree kink in my infusion tubing would have caused havoc…

Infusion setThe crazy thing is- I didn’t have any problems with this set.  My bloodsugars responded to boluses.  My basal was fine.

But seriously, how did this ever happen?  Maybe my six pack made the needle bounce back (harhar!).

 

 

 

 

 

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Starting from Ground Zero

I have been working with my old diabetes educator who moved shortly afterReeRee was born.  Like 13 hours (one way) away.

I was in a bubble by myself- dealing with my diabetes.

I was sick of not being able exercise for fear of the lows (50-) followed by the extreme highs (300+).

I was physically tired from the brutal swings, it was (and still is) exhausting.

I have been stalking Marcey for a while, because she is the only person who can make sense of my numbers.  After 30  years of living with the disease, it wasn’t getting any easier.

She is now doing distance clinics!  Perfect for me who dreaded (but considered) the 13  hr drive one way.

Marcey, for whom I love her positivity, sounded thrilled that “I was motivated”.

Hmmm, I thought to myself.  I thought I was at the bottom of the hole I had dug myself into.  Looking up towards the sky…

Goals:

  • to stabilize bloodsugars to avoid the up and downs (we are getting closer on this- with just evenings to figure out)
  • deal with my stomach emptying slowly (diabetic complication- you’ve heard of diabetics with nerve damage in their feet.  I have it my stomach… and maybe my brain.)
  • add exercise.  I haven’t broke a sweat in years.  Thinking of breaking a sweat is making me go low.
  • have a sick and broken pump plan.  What to do when the flu hits?  What kind of shot units do I give?

Looking into my crystal ball, I see a lot of work cut out for Marcey and I.  Problems?  Marcey would call these challenges!

I now have two people in my “diabetes bubble”.  Not being alone is a wonderful thing!

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Adhesive Capsulitis- Frozen Shoulder

I always thought old people were crabby, because they were old.  I was wrong.

I have been meaning to write about my “frozen shoulders” for a while.  My arthritis flared up last night, and “Frozen” the movie makes all things frozen popular. LET IT GO! LET IT GOOOOOoooo!  (ReeRee can really blast out this song.)  LET THE SUN SHIIIINNE ON THE SNOOOOOOOW!

It has been about 2 years since I had the symptoms.

  • sudden pain
  • sudden loss of muscle contractions in my arms (like when I was pushing myself up from playing on the floor with baby ReeRee & I would fall into a heap)
  • eventually, I couldn’t reach up.  The cups were too high to put away in the shelf.  You could have taped a million dollar bill to the top of a door frame, and I would have had to get a chair to get it.

I went to the local physical therapist (a mere 45 miles away).  She moved my arms around (or as much as she could, because I would finch and muscles would tighten down).  Then she left the room and called a doctor.  When she came back, she confirmed the diagnosis “Adhesive capsulitis” or frozen shoulders.

Adhesive capsulitis is an auto-immune disease that attacked the cartilage in the shoulder joint, causing it to become a tight, tangled mess of scar tissue.  Your once fluid joint is tightened down until movement stops.

Go figure- my body already destroyed my pancreas, why not my shoulder collagen?

For 10 painful sessions, the PT tried to break out the scar-tissue by stretching my arms.  By this time, I ached all the time and I started feel mean.  If I hurt this bad, why shouldn’t everyone around me feel the same way?

Then my insurance had maxed out her visits to ten and she suggested seeing a doctor.

To make a long story short, the doctor knocked me out, then physically broke out the scar tissue so my arms were able to rotate again.

Two non-cutting surgeries later, my scar tissue has been broke out.  The doctors warn that this disease has a tendency to come back every 3 years, so I am due for it back next year.

I try to ignore the fact I have a type of arthritis, but when weather systems move in (like these rain storms), my joints are painful and my bloodsugars tend to run higher.

So if you have the symptoms of frozen shoulder, don’t wait (for 9 months) like I did, thinking I had pulled a muscle.

Old people are crabby because they have arthritis and they hurt.  Not because they are old.

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Three Decades

cakeYes, this is a cake.  (This is a picture of a cake.)  No- I did not get to devour the entire thing.

Some would call this a “major milestone”, but I consider it a pain in the pancreas.

At the beginning of January, I “celebrated” a 30 year anniversary with Type 1 diabetes.

I use “celebrate” loosely, as I neither enjoyed nor appreciated three decades of needles, injections, blood tests, blood draws, tongue bites from low bloodsugars, arthritis/frozen shoulders, low stomach emptying that causes havoc with my bloodsugars, the frantic reaction of my parents to a hypoglycemic reaction, or the slim chance of overwhelming guilt I will feel when ReeRee is diagnosed with the disease from my genetics.

Good people embrace their weakness and proclaim to the world the wonder they have learned from the trials and how they would never change a thing.

I would trade for a healthy pancreas.

I would trade for a normal, guilt free childhood.  One that doesn’t matured me at age 5.  Living with death around the corner for that long takes a toll on your soul.

I would trade for the millions of dollars I have spent on the countless strips, needles, infusion sets, and kind but uneducated doctor visits.  I wish my parents didn’t have to endure the financial hardship raising two diabetic children in the worst ag economic recession.

I would trade for a life speckled with freedom to change plans (before planning the next basal due to the change), freedom to exercise without the belly dragging lows (a marathon almost sounds fun), and freedom to work at a job that doesn’t have health insurance.

I would trade for a future not painted full of fear by doctors- blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, nerve damage… I’m so looking forward to the next 30 years- oh wait, the doctors say the average life expectancy of a diabetic is age 55.  (More than likely, I’ll be dead to celebrate 60 years with diabetes.)

I would trade for a sense of self-worth not based on the number on the meter’s screen.  A good person has perfect control, right?

I would even trade diabetes for cancer.  Too much?  Consider this- I will NEVER defeat the disease called “diabetes”, but many people live and conquer cancer.  I would like to imagine a life “cured” and live diabetes-free.

So here’s to you, Diabetes, and 30 years.  I still hate you.

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Burn out and Blocks

If you have Type 1 diabetes, you realize the cycle of the disease.

Sometimes diabetes runs you over like a Mack truck.  Other times it is the slow, constant nagging and care of the disease, but everyone experiences burnout.

After constant weekend warrior work on the “new” house, a tad bit of sickness, and looking over the edge of “diabetes burnout”, I’ve lost interest.  I left the house early on Saturday, even though the cement guys were there, and I had to finish texturing the last wall of the kitchen.

I was just too tired and sick of it all.  I also didn’t take a bloodtest for most of the day.

I felt like I hit a brick wall…

Finished blockwork(Yes, I am asking you to stand on your head.  I have resaved, re-rotated, and tried everything under the sun on this photo, so please practice your handstands while viewing this picture.)

I should feel great that our block has been laid, but there isn’t even a smidge of excitement in me.

I blame running into the brick wall.  And this stupid picture is the last straw…

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Note to self…

As a diabetic, I have lived with the fact that there is a good chance I may never wake up in the morning.  Like most diabetics, I have learned to deal with this fact.  However, I never thought about the actual funeral.

Newt and pupsRolling back the clock, look at the three cute puppies and Newt.  Buster is on the left, Torpedo is in front, and Buster’s brother (who we didn’t keep) is on the right.  This was taken back… geez, so long ago I can’t remember… maybe 2007?

Buster grew up to be a great cowdog.  He was more aggressive than Pork Chop.  He had only one master and loved Newt more than anything in the world.  He was timid, but it took a lot to tired him out.

Clouds and BusterUnfortunately, Buster and Pork Chop got bored while Newt was calving.  Dogs + New Babies + Super Protective Mothers = A Commotion of Mooing and Snorting of Dog Tails.

So the dogs decided to look around the country.  The neighbor called from 8 miles away and said they had our dogs.  I said they weren’t our dogs, looked out the window to an empty doghouse, and “well, maybe they are!”

Newt picked them up twice.  Then one day I was driving to work and saw a black and white dog in the highway ditch- nearly 15 miles from our house.  I knew it was Buster, but the car mauled him up and I couldn’t bear to stop.

I called home from the office.  “Newt, I think Buster got hit on the highway.  Can you go pick him up?”  I thought we would take him home and bury him (or at least lay him to rest in the blowout).

The next day, my coworker asked if Newt had “taken care of Buster”.

“If you consider taking off Buster’s collar and throwing him into the ditch ‘taking care of it’, then yes.  Now I have to see Buster every day, twice a day, driving to work.”

Note to self: Don’t put Newt in charge of my funeral arrangements.  I may end up in the ditch with no collar.

PS- this is not an invitation for a puppy.  We have too much going on right now, but maybe later this fall 🙂

 

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