Thursday, December 30, 2010

Only Reason I'm Glad the Holidays are Over.....

Whenever December 26th comes around, I begin to experience what I call the “holidays-are-over blues”. It is similar to what you feel on a Sunday night when the let down of the end of the weekend sets in and you feel the dread of the upcoming work week. I get like this after the holidays because of all the built up anticipation and because I so much enjoy all of the preparation. (holiday parties, cookie making, shopping, decorating, etc). Despite January through March having a few high points (we are going to Phillies Spring Training this year!!), they are mostly cold and quiet months that lack the excitement brought upon by the holidays.

Something I am looking forward to in these next couple weeks is getting back on track with my diet and exercise. One of the only good things about the holidays being over is that there are so many less temptations for splurging and finding excuses to skip the gym. I can honestly say that I probably eat more cookies, sweets, and carbs between the weeks of Thanksgiving and the New Year than I do in all of the other weeks of the year put together. I do it fully consciously knowing that it may not be the best thing for my diabetes but feeling like I should let myself enjoy and “live it up”. Unfortunately I am often left with crazy sugars in the aftermath, feeling not so hot, and regretting my decision. It is a constant battle between my willpower and the feeling that I deserve to splurge once in a while. (Luckily my insulin is always off to the side waiting to see who wins.) I have been fairly good about keeping up with my exercise over the last few weeks but have eaten more like I did “pre-diabetes” and would like to get back on track. Not only will my sugars be a little bit less erratic, but I know I will feel better too. Of course during the holiday season (and always), I try to do my best with estimating carbs and insulin. But unfortunately more sweets and carbs equates to more insulin and more room for error and more likely a chance that I will end up with a bad low or high blood sugar.

Tonight I will make dessert for a New Years Eve party and it will hopefully be the last “sweet” thing I cook for a while. I will likely lick the bowl and taste how it comes out tonight (and again tomorrow of course) but I can honestly say I am glad to say goodbye to the “season of eating”. January will not have the temptation of egg nog, peanut butter cookies, stuffing, monkey bread, or pumpkin pie- and for that my diabetes and I gladly welcome in the New Year.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Video I Wanted To Share

I found this video on the diabetes blog sixuntilme (a great blog written by a type 1 named Kerri who inspires her readers through great posts on diabetes and motherhood- love her!)

This video reminded me a lot of a blog post I wrote myself a few weeks ago and then decided to take down. (not sure if that is allowed in the blogging world...) My blog post was about things people say when they are not familiar with diabetes- specifically type 1 diabetes. I wrote about some of the comments I have heard over the years, that despite coming from good intentions, still couldnt help but make me "twinge" a bit. After I wrote it and got some feedback from family and friends, I decided it was a bit harsh and I took it down. Although I want my blog to honest and discuss the tough parts of dealing with diabetes, I do not want to make anyone feel bad in the process.

So instead of sharing with all of you my take on the famous things diabetics "love" to hear, I wanted to post this video. It certainly made me laugh and my sister and I even found ourselves quoting our favorite lines and imitating the great computer voices. Enjoy!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Diabetes "Stuff"

Unfortunately with Type 1 diabetes there comes a lot of “stuff”. I can still remember the day I was diagnosed and my mom and I came home from the Doctor and CVS and laid out all of the supplies and prescriptions- almost enough to cover my whole dining room table. I must give diabetes companies credit because over the years they have done a great job in advancing technology and making devices smaller and more convenient to carry. Still, it can be a hassle to ensure you have all of your supplies with you at all times. I think it must be even tougher for guys because they cannot just shove their meters and test strips into a cute cosmetic case or purse and call it day. I was talking to my a guy friend this morning who is Type 1 and wears a pump and he was telling me that sometimes he just doesn’t carry his meter when he goes out on a Friday or Saturday night because it is too much of a pain to carry around in his pockets. Luckily he doesn’t have to worry about carrying around long oddly shaped insulin pens because he is on a pump, but still I can imagine it is not super convenient to have a blood glucose meter, test strips, and lancet device in your pocket (along with your cell phone, wallet, etc) when you are out at the bar on a Saturday night.  Most of the time my insulin pens, meter, test strips, lancet device, lancets, pen needles, and glucose tabs are in one of my many, many cosmetic cases that I carry around in my purse (yes- when you have diabetes you allow yourself to splurge on cute little bags to carry your stuff! J).  I cannot imagine ever going “meter-less” for a night or even a few hours so I have given up many of my super small clutches and have resigned to using clutches that can fit my loads of stuff.  In addition to all of the supplies I mentioned I usually have a granola bar or some other food with me, my CGM (continuous glucose monitor) if I am wearing it, and sometimes even a back up meter.
When I am out on a run, I usually do not carry my meter with me, but most of the time I stick glucose tabs or “gu” and my CGM in my bra or in a fanny pack thing around my waist. (I know- cool, huh?) Wearing an insulin pump does prevent you from having to carry around your insulin because you are essentially wearing your insulin, but you still have to carry around test strips and something to prick your finger with. When I was on a pump I usually carried back up pen insulin with me too in case of a pump break down.
We, as people with diabetes, are so reliant on our “stuff” it’s almost scary. On Saturday, my boyfriend and I were out for lunch and about to walk up to the Ruby Tuesdays Salad bar (yum!) and I went to the bathroom to check sugar, take my insulin and symlin, etc. When I opened my purse I realized my “diabetes stuff” bag was still in my gym bag in the car so I quickly ran out to get it before we began to eat. Totally NOT a big deal at all, but it reminded me of the times I have shown up at a restaurant or at work without my “stuff” and back home I would go because I could not eat or continue for more than a few hours at work without it. We are reliant on our “stuff” to tell us where are numbers are, where they are going, allow us to eat and absorb our food, and help our bodies function the way they need to in order for us to stay alive. Makes me think instead of complaining about it all…. I guess I should really thank the “stuff”.
My Diabetes "Stuff"

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Friday Night: Me, The Stomach Flu, & My Dexcom

This past Friday night, after eating a typical dinner at home, I began the dreaded “stomach flu” experience. I got sick pretty quickly after I ate, which of course left me concerned about the insulin I had taken for a meal that no longer was in my stomach. Many times when I am sick, I have the opposite concern. My sugars are usually higher when I have a cold or a mild stomach ache due to the extra stress on my body, but with the stomach flu my concern is always that my blood sugar will go too low.
To help get my sugar up, I ate some toast and sipped on some Gatorade, all the while knowing it would likely not stay in my body for long. As I watched my CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor) hover around 70, I took my CGM, Gatorade, diabetes stuff, cell phone, and trash can up to my bed for what I knew would be a long night.  The few times I have had the stomach flu since diagnosed with diabetes (it will be 4 years this January!), I have been lucky enough to have my mom with me, helping me check my sugars and ensuring I don’t go low in my sleep. To be honest being sick with the stomach flu with diabetes can be scary. You are in and out of sleep, getting sick and knowing you are emptying your body of its sugars. It’s a huge opportunity to have a really bad low blood sugar. Unfortunately my mom, sister, and boyfriend were all unavailable to stay with me and I didn’t want to bug my girlfriends, so I relied on my CGM to help ease my fears and get me through the night. I slept with it right next to me knowing it would alert if my sugar went too low.  I looked over at it every time I rolled over or got out of bed to be sick to see if I needed to drink some Gatorade or take some insulin. Luckily the “extra stress” factor must have kicked in and my sugars rose a bit despite being sick through the night.   
Being sick with a cold, stomach flu, or anything else is tough enough, but being sick when you have diabetes adds another layer of complexity to managing your illness.   In addition to worrying about trying to get healthy, you have to worry about trying to get your erratic sugars under control.  There is no replacement for having someone there to help you out when you are sick (type 1 diabetic or not) but I was really glad to have my CGM with me on Friday to help me monitor my sugars.
Here is a picture and link to website of the CGM device I use.
Feel free to visit it for more information on Continuous Glucose Monitoring.

(Picture is from Dexcom website