Thursday, June 23, 2011

10 Reasons I'm Glad I'm Doing This Triathlon.........

Ok- so I have been neglecting my blog a bit lately. In fact, if I am totally honest with myself- I have been neglecting a lot of things lately.
My social life, my overgrown lawn, Pilates workouts and my boyfriend all make the list of things that have been majorly ignored and lacking attention recently. Over the last few months I have been focused, or maybe I should even say even consumed- by training for the Philly Triathlon and starting a new job at work. The only two other things that have even had a fighting chance to squeeze in were a few family events and holidays and my diabetes care. I am not complaining though. Despite the added stress, sacrifice and even tears, I can truly say I have been happy to be very busy with these adventures in my life, especially the one involving my triathlon training.
With the Triathlon only a few days away, I am filled with so many emotions. Of course I am nervous; worried I will forget something or have a horrendous low blood sugar during the race. But I am also so excited and eagerly anticipating actually doing it all. Overall it has been a wonderful experience. Something worth the sacrifice and something I am so proud to be a part of. I would do all over again in a heartbeat.
So as I pray for good weather the next few days (rain will make the river too muddy to swim) I thought I would share with you 10 Reasons Why I Am So Glad I Got Convinced To Sign Up for this Triathlon……
1)      The Opportunity to Help People: The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is such a wonderful organization and my family, friends, and co-workers were BEYOND generous in helping me reach my fundraising goal and give back to a worthy cause. I am blown away with how much support I received and how much this will help those suffering from blood cancers.
2)      The Chance to Get in Shape: I was never much of an athlete growing up. I am still no Lance Armstrong but I am probably in the best shape of my life. I have lots a few pounds over the last few months and it has been great to feel like I am getting more endurance. My race time on Sunday will be nothing to write home about, but it has still felt good to see some of the long training hours pay off.
3)      I Conquered My Fear of the Bike: As some of you may know, I basically had to re-learn how to ride a bike. I started out slow and shaky but I am proud to report I am far from my days of practicing in parking lots and can safely ride with my clip in shoes and can even take one hand off the handle bars to reach for my water bottle!!
4)      The Great People: I met so many wonderful people through Team In Training. Coaches, Mentors, folks who have completed Iron Mans and others just like me doing their very first Triathlon. All of them have taught and inspired me so much. They offered great support, tips, and were so committed to helping the LLS and all of us triathlon “newbies”.
5)      The Open Water Swim at Lake Nockamixom: This Saturday Morning was one of my favorite parts of my whole training. It was not only my first open water lake swim but it was official intro to Wet Suits. I went crazy for the wet suit.  How can you not?!!  It helps you swim and it is basically a warm comfy Snuggie. Pretty amazing.
6)      I Will So Much More Appreciate Sleeping In. Some of the early Saturday AM workouts were tough. I will totally enjoy sleeping in after this training is over. And I won’t feel so bad if I skip a workout. Sleeping in and skipping work outs – sounds incredible.
7)      My Cool Biker Short Tan: Ha no- it’s not a pretty sight actually…..but I loved being able to spend so much time outside while biking or running and being able to explore new bike trails in my area and paths around Kelly Drive. It was really awesome.
8)      The Triathlon was my Hobby: I have always struggled to find “my thing”. I was never an athlete, artist, musician, gardener, cook, writer, or tech-geek. In fact- I am still not sure what “my thing” is. But at least for a couple months, I had a thing. I had a challenge and a goal. Raising money, training and being involved in this was my thing. I liked having a thing.
9)      The Cool Gadgets: How else would I have ever known that there was such thing as a lap counter? (You wear it on your pointer finger to time yourself and count laps in the pool). And I am totally addicted to my GPS enabled watch to track miles while running. Not so good for the wallet- but there are some really cool gadgets out there.
10)   It took Courage: I hate to admit it, but my diabetes scares me. Low blood sugars during workouts scare me and high and low blood sugars before something important scare me. This whole undertaking scared me because of my diabetes and because of the unknown of how my body would react to all of this day to day- workout to workout.  I certainly don’t have it all figured out. Nor did I get it right all the time or do I know what Sunday will bring in terms of my blood sugar control. This experience has forced me to dig up courage and be brave in some really big ways. Was I fearless and strong everyday? No. Did I sometimes doubt myself or want to throw my meter in pool? Yes.  But in the end it has all been worth it. I "tried again tomorrow" as my favorite quote below states and I think I am a little stronger because of it all.

Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow”
 -Mary Anne Radmacher

Monday, May 2, 2011

Thoughts on Blogging

Ever since my last post about my "day off from diabetes" I have been doing a lot of thinking about this whole blog thing. I started this blog for two reasons. 1- I wanted a way to reach out to the diabetes community and had hopes that my blog could somehow help or inspire others affected by Type 1 Diabetes and 2- I thought it would be a good outlet for me to share my ups and downs and help me as I work to manage stress and the variety of other emotions we all go through in our daily lives. I never wanted my blog to be a place where I would simply complain or vent negative thoughts and feelings and I certainly never wanted anyone to read my blog and be left sad, discouraged or thinking I am asking for any type of sympathy as I deal with my disease. At the same time, I want to be able to be honest about my feelings no matter which end of the spectrum they may be on, which is why I am struggling a bit with this last post.

After I put up my post about wishing among other things that I could run out the house with a very small clutch containing nothing that has the word "glucose" associated with it, I thought I had posted something light hearted but at the same time real and honest. It felt good to daydream even just for a half hour about having a day off from diabetes and it felt good to write about it. What didn’t feel good was having both my Mother and Sister say that reading the post had made them sad. On the one hand, I realize this was maybe in a way inevitable because they love me and only want the very best for me diabetes related and not. Still, it got me thinking if maybe that blog post (and other posts) have been too negative and maybe even seemed as though I wanted people to feel bad for me living in my world where I do not have a day off from diabetes. Although I do wish everyday for a cure for diabetes, every day I also remind myself of the many many blessings in my life. I have wonderful friends and family that support me and love me and bring me so much happiness. I am lucky to have a great job that allows for me to live comfortably and get fabulous medical care and overall I am in great health. I would like to think I don't spend much time feeling bad for myself in terms of my diabetes and in fact,I think this blip in the road has only made me more grateful and aware of all of the wonderful things in my life.

 Diabetes can be tough sometimes and I may get frustrated, scared and even angry at times but overall I know how truly lucky I am and I hope that this comes across to both those who know me and those who read my blog. I want to write about the hard stuff to show others with similar struggles that they aren't alone, but I realize I can't have a blog filled with only worries, wishes and complaints. Maybe I just need to make time to write more about all the special things going on in my life that I am so grateful for. Nieces taking their first steps, grandparents turning another year older, and having a simple dinner and movie night with my boyfriend. It is these things that make me feel so blessed and grateful but many times I am only moved to blog when something is troubling me or I feel the need to vent.

So where does this leave me with my blog? I am hoping to continue with my blog and with writing, but am realizing just how hard it is to put yourself and your real feelings out there. With a blog, you are only putting up small snip-its into your life and don’t know how others will interpret it. I guess I will do some more thinking about this blogging thing and keep writing as I find the time and feel inspired. But in the meantime, please know- yes I would certainly love a day off from diabetes- but a day off from everything else wonderful in my life- no chance.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

If I Could Have One Day Off From Diabetes.......

I would leave the house without checking my blood sugar or eating breakfast just for the liberating feeling that I can race out the door without thinking of ratios, the dawn phenomena, carbs or boluses.Once at work I would go to cafeteria for breakfast and get pancakes with syrup. Real syrup on real pancakes- and I would indulge in a breakfast that I have hidden away from for years due to the high sugar content.  I would attend all my meetings at work with only a notepad and a pen- no diabetes bag or CGM and wouldn’t have to worry about having an unpredictable low during an important meeting or event.
I would maybe have a mid morning coffee since I wouldn’t need to bolus for the what I call the "caffeine effect" and would be able to meet my co-workers in the cafeteria for lunch without stopping off to check my sugar and take my shots. For lunch I would take the plunge and get a sandwich despite not knowing exactly what kind of bread it was and how many carbohydrates that means.  If something came up and I wanted to save the rest of my sandwich for later, it wouldn’t be a big deal, I wouldn’t have any insulin on board waiting for that other half.
After work I would go out for a long run and maybe even a bike ride too without having to eat a snack first and I wouldn’t once worry about how blood sugar was doing. I would instead be able to totally focus on my workout and enjoying my “me/stress-free” time. I wouldn’t stop to check my CGM or blood sugar and would only turn around to head back home because I felt like it. I wouldn’t head home because I only had a half an apple before my run or because I felt my sugar dropping. I would stop my workout on my terms- when I felt as though I had gotten in a full good workout.
I would shower and get dressed happy to be getting ready without worrying about concealing the CGM device I typically wear and hide under shirts and dresses.  I would borrow back one of the small clutches or wristlets I have passed on to my sister since they don’t fit all of my diabetes stuff and go out for dinner and drinks with only a small bag that would not include a meter, strips, needles, granola bars, and glucose tabs. I would order a sugary strawberry daiquiri or cosmo instead of my typical white wine and if it took a while to get a table I would know I wouldn’t need to pop a few glucose tabs to hold me over. At dinner I would order whatever I wanted- again not worrying about carbs, how fat content would affect my insulin dosing, or hidden sugars. I wouldn’t need to hide blood sugar testing under the table or take my shots discreetly and I would maybe even order my very own dessert.
9:30PM would come and go without my nightly long acting insulin dose and I would get ready for bed without checking my blood sugar. I wouldn’t need to make sure my meter and all necessary supplies were on my nightstand within easy reach and I would sleep better than I have slept in years knowing that my blood sugar would be stable despite my exercise that day, food/alcohol intake or hormone fluctuations throughout the night. I wouldn’t be woken up in the middle of the night by feelings of shakiness or sweats associated with a low or by a beeping CGM device.  I would wake up after a restful night sleep and realize my one day off from diabetes was over. No more pancakes, worry-free workouts and clutches for me. I would get out of bed, walk downstairs to find my meter, and I would check my blood sugar.

Monday, April 11, 2011

First Group Bike Ride!

As some of you may know, the part of the triathlon that is scaring me the most is the bike ride. I am sure I should be just as nervous (or maybe even more nervous) about swimming in the Schuykill River or trying to get my legs to even move after a swim and a 25 mile bike ride, but the biking is what worries me the most. Getting comfortable on my new bike has been a sloooooow process but I am happy to say that I survived our first group bike ride this past Sunday.
My practice on the bike before Sunday had progressed from riding around an open parking lot near my house and just practicing getting on and off the bike to being out for close to 45 minutes on West River Drive two Saturdays ago. I was pretty excited about my 45 minute/8 mile personal record but realized I still had a long way to go when I overheard some real bikers say at a bike “101”  last week that 45 minutes is a mere warm up. (I didn’t realize this sport was going to be so time consuming!?! Sheesh!)
Anyway I was very nervous for Sundays bike ride since I knew we would likely be going 20 miles or so and I still get nervous about other bikers, curves in the road, how to pass, and lots of other things related to my bike. I wasn’t sure exactly how long the ride would be but I wanted to make sure I was prepared with all my diabetes stuff just in case. When go out running I typically carry glucose tabs or GU but I rarely bring a meter or my CGM. Since we would be out biking for a while and for a distance I had never gone before, I figured I needed to load up my bike bags with as much as I could.
In my front bag (one I could access with my hands if I had the courage to take one hand off the handle bars while the bike is in motion) I had my CGM, a meter, strips, a lancet, and glucose tabs- all in plastic baggies in case it rained. In my bag in the back I had my stuff to fix a flat (yea…not like I know how to use that yet…), a protein bar, sugary GU candy things, and a small Gatorade. It was a tight fit but I felt more comfortable knowing I had all of this with me.
My blood sugar was high when I woke up Sunday AM from Sean and I going a bit too nuts with the chips and guac at dinner out the night before so I took some correction insulin, but reduced my bolus in half for my toast with PB & banana to account for the ride. The ride began right near my house which was super convenient and I along with all my diabetes stuff, started out the ride near the back of the pack but with some teammates I had rode with before. The ride overall went well. Near mile 9 or so I saw my CGM buzz “LOW- Under 70” so I stopped to check my sugar. Some of the girls went ahead to stop off at the bathroom and I stayed back shifting through my front bike bag for my meter and strips. Although my CGM said I had dropped to 48 my blood sugar was 101- which wasn’t all that bad. I popped a few glucose tabs since I knew we were only about half way through and we went on our way. My sugar stabilized the rest of the ride and I ended the 20 mile bike ride with a BG around 140. We were out for about an hour and half and I felt good. I was tired but not too exhausted and had gone a lot faster and further than I had before. I had gotten practice on some small curves and hills and was getting a little more usto yelling “left” when riding by people on the bike path.
Today my legs are sore but a good sore.  And if it wasn’t for the 80 degree weather I probably would have taken the day off from training since I had pushed myself hard with my work outs Friday and Saturday too- but I just had to get out there and run today since the weather was so beautiful. I know I still have a lot of training and practicing to do, but overall I am feeling a lot better about the biking. When I go out on my bike it is now more because I want to- instead of feeling like I NEED to in order to overcome my fears and begin training. Now if I could only get usto my clip-in bike shoes!!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Good Day for Carbs

There are days when I am convinced my body must be producing insulin. Days when I feel as though I have been miraculously cured of my Type 1 diabetes and that somehow, someway my pancreas has come back from the dead to help me out. Yesterday was one of those days. My CGM hovered around my “low alarm line” of 70 most of the day and despite over-treating for lows, I never saw a blood sugar above 82. 
My BG Numbers for the Day.......
7:01am                 80           Great!
7:45am                 48           Ugh.
11:18am               81           Huh, surprised I didn’t rebound from that AM low…
12:07pm               42           After lunch…really?!?
2:01pm                 78           Still not climbing after waaay tooo many pretzels…..
4:51pm                 81           Eek-will I be able to workout today?!
7:04pm                 82           After an apple and spinning class…not bad…
8:27pm                 77           Guess I will have some fruit before bed….
Of course I am almost certain my pancreas did not have a change of heart and it’s likely the impact of my triathlon training is at least partially to blame for this crazy day of lows.  I worked out hard this past weekend, specifically on Sunday when I swam in the morning and went for a long run in the afternoon. I am sure my new workout routine is bringing my numbers down and changing my insulin requirements and I have been working to offset this by adjusting dosing and ratios. Still there have been days like this in the past, where exercise has not been as large as a factor, and I feel as though there must be insulin being produced somewhere in my body. It is not so much a “honeymoon period” because it only lasts a day or so but it leaves me exhausted, skipping workouts, reducing insulin intake and eating any carb I can get my hands on.
A year or so ago as I was having one of my “insulin producing” days, I found myself in the unlikely situation of sitting in a Dunkin Donuts eagerly scarfing down a blueberry AND a chocolate chip muffin. Usually straying away from donuts, bagels, and muffins since they typically send my BG through the roof, I walked away with a BG no higher than 150 or 160. Pretty much a medical miracle in my mind.
I will never be able to explain what was going on with my sugars that day or what caused all my lows yesterday. It could have been exercise, hormones, or maybe a pancreas beta cell giving a last chance effort.  Maybe it is a little of all three. That is what keeps diabetes interesting I guess. The only thing I really know for sure is that my brief period of lows will likely not last too long. I'll try to enjoy it, cause sooner or later a big fat 287 blood sugar will show up on my meter when I least expect it- reminding me that, yep, I still have diabetes.  I will slowly back away from the baked goods now.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Back From Vacation

Since my guest post on Kerri's Site about being the "perfect" person with diabetes, I have been well... far from the "perfect" blogger.  I wish I had found more time to write over the past two weeks since there has been lots going on, but somehow every time I sat down to write, something (including vacation) seemed to get in the way.

I first want to mention that the whole guest post experience turned out to be even more exciting and meaningful to me than I had ever thought it would be. I can't even describe how wonderful it was to read all the super nice comments I got on both her site as well as my own, from people saying they enjoyed the post and could relate to where I was coming from. To even just hear one person say that reading my blog made their day made my whole week! I am so appreciative to Kerri for helping me further connect to the Diabetes Community.

I  got back on Saturday from a week long vacation with my boyfriend in Clearwater Beach, Flordia. We were lucky enough to have a really great week- full of wonderful weather, time on the beach, a day trip to Busch Gardens and a few Phillies Spring Training games.

In terms of my diabetes while on vacation, I did have some highs, likely due to some splurges (homemade ice cream one night and some beers on the beach and at phils games- beer typically makes my blood sugar skyrocket) but overall my numbers were pretty good. My numbers typically tend to be better while on vacation because I am up and moving around more (versus sitting in a chair all day) and I am overall more relaxed and free from stress. It usually works out pretty nicely- the less stress and more activity helps balance my vacation indulgences.

While I was on vacation, I was also lucky enough to reach my fundraising goal for my Team In Training Triathlon. My family, friends, and co-workers have been BEYOND generous and supportive and I am so very appreciative. It means so much to me.  I very excited to be able to help the LLS raise this money and to be able to help this worthy cause. Thank you to everyone for their kindness and support!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My Guest Post on Kerri's Site!

I am super excited to have a guest blog post up on Kerri Sparling's Blog Site sixuntilme. Kerri is a huge inspiration for me in terms of being a mom with Type 1 diabetes who uses her voice to advocate and share her story with others.  She is a very talented writer and has a huge following in the diabetes community.

I had the chance to meet Kerri this past summer (the way I reacted you would have thought I just met Brad Pitt!) and I credit her with inspiring me to start a blog of my own.

Thanks Kerri for letting me guest blog on your site! It is truly an honor! :)

You can check it out here: