Friday, November 26, 2010

What I am Thankful For

Yesterday was my favorite day of the year. Thanksgiving. What I love about this holiday is that there is no pressure for gifts or mad rushes to the mall- simply a day spent with family and friends enjoying time together and of course lots of delicious food. In terms of my diabetes- I simply indulge- not worrying too much about how many carbs or sweets I am eating and just take A LOT and I mean A LOT of insulin.

Although I am a day late, I wanted to write about some of the things I am thankful for this year. There is so so much to be thankful for, so this list will in no way even come close to covering it all- but here are a few...

I am thankful for being able to spend time on Thanksgiving with both my family and my boyfriend's family. I am grateful both our families are in the area so we can spend time with both of them without too much craziness. Two wonderful families, two delicious meals, and two opportunities to spend time with our relatives and loved ones.

I am thankful for my sister who continues to amaze me everyday for her ability to manage her job, take care of her home and family, and raise two wonderful children. I look up to her and her ability to manage it so well and with such grace and love.  I am thankful that over the years my sister and I have grown closer than ever and we have been able to be there for each other through all the ups and downs. She is not only my sister but also one of my dearest closest friends.

I am thankful for friends- both old and new and love that Thanksgiving gives me an opportunity to spend time with some friends who are back in the area for the holiday. Keeping up friendships as well as making new ones is so very important to me and I am thankful for all of the wonderful friendships in my life.

Some of my favorite girls....

I am thankful for my niece and nephew who I love and cherish more than I ever thought possible. Of course I knew I would absolutely adore them, but they happiness they bring me and the love I feel for them is beyond what I ever imagined. Nothing makes me happier than hearing from my nephew..."Aunt Heidi...Wanna plaaaaay??"

I am thankful for my mom who is one of the most selfless and loving people that I know. I aspire to live my life as she does- always loving generously and giving so much to others.

I am thankful for being blessed with a job that challenges and teaches me and provides me with the ability to take care of myself, my diabetes, and my home- without lots of worry. (oh and it provides me with good health insurance too.)

Lastly I am thankful for my wonderful boyfriend who is truly my best friend. He inspires me, teaches me, and makes me laugh everyday and I feel so lucky to have him in my life.  Plus..he puts up with my craziness and my diabetes- what can else can a girl ask for?!? :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


So I am bit disappointed in myself that I have not been writing on my blog more often. To be honest it is  bit harder for me to find (or maybe just take) the time to sit down and write. Trying to find time to do everything I would like to do in one day is a constant struggle for me as I am sure it is for many many others. I can only blame part of my "time" issues on diabetes- I blame most of it on being a perfectionist and wanting to do everything as fully and passionately as I can all the time. I want to do well at my job, take care of my health and my house, spend time with my friends and family, and do things I enjoy like running and reading. Still, diabetes does take up a lot of time. So I got to much time would I have back if I didn't have diabetes??

I estimate it probably takes me only a minute or so to check my blood sugar and a minute to take my shots...but with testing 8-10 times a day and 4-5 shots a day- there is 20 minutes. And those minutes are even more precious when you are already running late for something and you inconveniently need to stop to find your meter and check and maybe treat a low blood sugar.  That brings me to diabetes time filler #2: the time it takes to treat lows. The actual eating should only take a few seconds if you dont over treat and just take a few glucose tabs, but the time it takes to return to feeling "normal" is usually 15 minutes or so. And for those 15mins- I am pretty much worthless. Sometimes if I have a bad low at night (after 8PM) I am usually done for the night and head to bed early. So those lows cost me over 2 hours. And we all know that I dont always treat the way I should with glucose tabs, and that sometimes I can spend 20 minutes raiding the cabinet and fridge in a fit of hunger eating anything from cheerios to coolwhip.

I also spend alot of time doing what I classify as "admin" type things related to diabetes. For example- scheduling and going to my doctors appointments, getting blood work done, filling prescriptions, trying to squeeze a meter, insulin pens, test strips, my phone, lip gloss, and a granola bar into a very small clutch, buying ketone strips, and arguing with insurance companies about claims and co-pays. I also spend alot of time "thinking" about my diabetes. I read in a diabetes blog once a comment to the question of "what would you do if they cured of diabetes?" There was one response along the lines of  "I don't even know what I would do with that entire side of my brain that is thinking about diabetes all day every day." and it is really true. I spend so much time calculating carbs (or at times completely guessing how many carbs are on my plate), deciding how much insulin to take, worrying about lows, and being frustrated and even scared when my numbers are out of wack for no reason.

Since diabetes is a big part of my life, it unfortunately takes up alot of my time. Although I will give it credit for helping me spend more times in certain areas. For example, I probably spend more time sleeping and working out than I would if I didnt have diabetes, which isnt necessarily a bad thing (as long as you dont over do it.) I probably spend more time grocery shopping to ensure I always have fruit and veggies and my other necessities on hand and also more time cooking or preparing food since I rarely stop for any type of fast food- pizza, burgers, etc. Again- not a bad thing. Lastly- as I have mentioned before- diabetes has helped me spend more of my time giving back to a charity that is important to me- the JDRF. The time and friendships I have made and time I have invested  with regards to JDRF have been life changing for me.  So again- not a bad thing at all.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My first 10 mile run....

For last few years, I have been running as my primary form of exercise. I run anywhere from 3-6 miles a few times a week with once in a while pushing myself to run longer- up to 7 or 8 miles. I hadn't pushed myself much farther than that primarily because of my fears of my blood sugar bottoming out and just really not being sure if I would need to stop to have some sugar at some point through a run longer than 7 or 8 miles. I know there are plenty of Type 1 diabetics that run marathons and do triathlons and manage to make it work but I had found myself in my mileage comfort zone- alittle uneasy to push myself further. This morning I decided to just go for it and I went for 10 miles for the first time. In order to prevent dropping during the hour and a half I was out running, I started with my BG close to 280 and ended up feeling great through the whole run. I am proud I pushed myself and conquered my mini "diabetic fear". I hate to admit that my diabetes held me back from conquering this fear earlier, but as I have mentioned in my earlier posts- sometimes avoiding lows on just my shorter runs is tough enough. Turns out managing this 10 mile run wasn't as bad as I thought, and it has given me confidence I can figure out how to manage going even further. I will likely be super sore tomorrow considering I had to rake leaves this afternoon after my run and we took Max for a long walk after dinner- but it will be worth it. I feel great physically and emotionally that I hit this small milestone and didn't even have a low in the process.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Frustration from Lows

I wanted to write this next post about lows. I think low blood sugars are one of the most frustrating part of diabetes. Preventing and being prepared for lows is always on the back of my mind, yet they still seem to sneak up on me and come at really inconvenient times. Most of my lows come on during a run or workout. Very inconvenient. I rarely feel like I can recover from a low that comes on during exercise so I usually end up having to end my workout early.  Its frustrating and usually leaves me envying those people that can continue on exercising without having to stop for Gatorade or glucose tabs. Instead of being able to spend another half hour or so releasing stress and burning calories, I end up calling it quits and consuming calories to bring my blood sugar up.

On Friday I had a really bad low at work, which brings me to inconvenient low situation #2: while you are at work or in an important meeting. On Friday I was leading a meeting and my CGM vibrated to indicate I was below 70. While the meeting continued, I checked my blood sugar and as my sugar continued to drop, my mind got fuzzier. I would have loved for the meeting (and work) to stop because I had a low, but I of course did not want to draw attention to my low and have to try to explain how I was feeling. So I suffered through my fogginess as a I slipped three glucose tabs into my mouth and waited for my sugar to come up.  Another annoying time for lows to come on is after a big meal. Those times when you know you ate alot and therefore took a bunch of insulin to cover and over estimated how much carbs/insulin you needed. Knowing you need to then consume more calories/sugar to bring your blood sugar up is again frustrating. I find it hard to explain to those not familiar with type 1 diabetes how I can be low after eating a huge meal, but it happens- and it stinks.

Besides being unpredictable, inconvenient, and forcing you to intake calories and carrying around some sort of food/sugar with you ALL the time, lows are a pain because they feel crappy. I had a low today while walking in the mall with my mom and in addition to being sweaty and shaking, I didn't even have the energy to hold a conversation with her until my blood sugar came up. They can leave you weak, light headed and confused and make you want to eat everything around you to make the feeling go away. (I will have to write another post about some of the weird things I have eaten when I have been low....I think I melted peanut butter and cool whip on a granola bar one time...).  I have heard of some Type 1's aiming to keep their blood sugar over 200 all the time just to avoid preventing lows. Obviously not the smartest thing to do but I can see why people would want to do that. We all try to avoid lows in our own ways, but unfortunately those of us who try for very tight blood sugar control experience them more frequently. For me, a few days without a low is a rarity- but putting up with the lows is worth it if it means my body will be healthy in the long run.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Good Things about Diabetes

There are many good things that Diabetes has brought into my life. I am healthier, more active, and take better care of myself than I ever did before I was diagnosed.  Diabetes has taught me about diet and nutrition, has made me more more aware of what I eat, and I am really good about ensuring I workout regularly.  Diabetes has given me great opportunities to get involved with JDRF and volunteering my time to a worthy cause that I am  passionate about. Diabetes has also made me more grateful for my many blessings in life, including my family, friends, and health.. My diagnosis has also allowed for me to meet many wonderful people. Many I have met through JDRF, others through diabetes related companies, and others simply a friend of a friend somehow affected by Type 1 Diabetes. I met my dear friend Monica a few months after I was diagnosed through my friend Colleen who works at JDRF. When Monica and I were first introduced, we met for coffee a few times with her being a sort of "mentor" for me since I was newly diagnosed and she had been diagnosed years before. Quickly our friendship turned from this to a mutual exchange and sharing of advice, stories, laughter, and tears. Monica and I immediately became close friends and have found so much comfort in having each others support. From pumps and CGMS, break ups and new relationships, high blood sugars and lows- Monica and I have leaned on each other through it all over the years and I deeply cherish our friendship. I will forever be grateful to my diabetes for bringing my Monica into my life and can only hope that everyone who gets dealt the tough hand of Type 1 diabetes can be as lucky as I was and be dealt some good "Monica's" too. I love you Mon!! :)