Health care is a basic human right, not a privilege. For some reason, we’ve allowed ourselves as Americans to be fooled into accepting that one must be blessed with “means” to actuate appropriate health care. As a nation we have failed to realize that our health care system is a barometer of our society’s value for human life.


Saturday, September 30, 2006

3.2 Miles of Glory I surpassed the three mile barrier. Over the past month or so I have SLOWLY (agonizingly so..) been building up mileage as I do some pretty intensive physical therapy building up the muscles in my leg surrounding my knee. Today I passed the three mile mark! Woooohooooo!

When I first started running, I remember that I used to feel so PROUD and so WARRIOR-FITNESS-GURU-WOMAN like once I surpassed the three mile mark. It probably took me around 4 months to get to the point where I could run three miles without stopping, so this was quite an accomplishment! Each mile I added as I built up my endurance was a new lesson in complete suckiness. I soon learned that the first three miles of any run always sucked the worst. Once I get past the first three miles, I hit a stride. If you are a runner, you know what hitting a stride is. It is when running becomes a part of who you are. It is when you don't work on controlling your breathing, your breathing is simply a part of you. It is when you suddenly look up and notice your surroundings and realize outside is BEAUTIFUL and start singing along with the music on your radio. So for me, as I've been building up my mileage, this three mile mark means that my running world is gonna start getting FUN again.

Today I ran 3.2 miles. That means I had approximately .2 miles of post-three-mile "I feel spectacular stride." The fun has begun, now all I need is a running partner who feels like singing with me (and doesn't mind my nasally singing voice!)!

Friday, September 29, 2006

My 1-Month Anniversary

Wow! I can’t believe I’ve made it this far and I haven’t given up yet! That’s right, I’ve been doing this blog, as of yesterday, for one month and counting. Now, I realize that in the grand scheme of bloggers (especially for us D-folk) that this really isn’t all that long, but I’m excited that I’ve made it this far, and I’m even more excited that at least some people seem to be READING the things I am WRITING!

I’ve been considering taking more of a pointed focus with this blog, but I’ve decided at this point, I want to just continue to feel out what is right for me. It just might turn out that I do best being able to consistently touch on all of the things that are important to me, and relate these things either pointedly or un-pointedly with my diabetes.

So what ARE the things that are truly important to me? To name a few (which I’m sure most of you have guessed these by now):

1. God – every opportunity that is given me to rejoice in the gifts in this life I have been given I need to take!
2. Family – I have been blessed with two ridiculously awesome kiddos and one awesome Bob the Babe. It suits me well to remember that there was a time that I didn’t have such a complex family order and I don’t know how I did it when I didn’t have quite as much to do!
3. Food (This list is not necessarily in order of importance! Well, maybe the first two are…) mmmmmm, I am OBSSESSIVE about food. This is a love/hate thing, and sometimes, yes, it pisses me off and freaks me out, but it is SOOOO important and tastes so darn good!
4. Exercise (namely running, all exercise is done in the name or running, even exercise that isn’t running)
5. Diabetes Care – I have a responsibility to myself. I have a responsibility to my family. I have a responsibility to God. I have a responsibility to take care of myself to the best of my ability. I have a responsibility to accurately (and with the utmost truth) gauge when it is time to really get serious and buckle down and when it is time to really get serious and let go for a day or two. I have a responsibility. It is like making the bed. It pisses me off, I don’t want to do it EVERY stinkin morning. Sometimes I take a day off and deal with that messy bed crap later on in the evening. But in general, I make the bed every day because it is a responsibility that is only mine. I cannot give it away. I cannot give diabetes away. This is MINE, and I need to make it mine. I need to dress it up in ways to make it suck less as I deal with it. I need to learn about ways to make my care more appealing and to help me achieve the results I desire. What results do I desire? I desire to live mostly complication free for as long as I can (is reduced hypoglycemic awareness considered a complication?) and I want to find joy and love in all that I do. I do not want diabetes to define me. I want to define diabetes and what it means in my life, in my family’s life, in the lives of those who are affected by me. I want to take control of what I can (my choices) and let go what I cannot control….

I guess as I grow with this blog, I may choose a focus to this blog that centers around one of those things above….but for now, I’m having too much fun sharing ALL of it!

On a side note, I need to congratulate my dear friend Carriss on the birth of her baby daughter….Carriss had a c-section to deliver her daughter yesterday, the baby only 28 weeks gestation. It saddens me to know that she has many months of hardship ahead because of the prematurity of this beautiful little girl. I am keeping my good friend, her husband, and their new tiny addition to their young family in my prayers, and I would hope that many of you will as well!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Controlling Post-Exercise Highs

Any type 1 diabetic who has intense exercise as part of their regular routine has more than likely had to deal with a FRUSTRATING post-exercise high. I personally find the post-exercise highs very hard to deal with. It seems to fly in the face of everything that your doctor/CDE tells you should happen. Exercise is supposed to cause a decrease in blood sugars for a variety of reasons, and it DOES. Oftentimes, you may struggle with keeping your blood sugars normal through an entire workout, and then in the hour afterwards watch your blood sugars spike (not climb, SPIKE) up to the 300’s! ICCCKKKK!

When I initially started having this problem, I went to my doctor and I asked for advice. She advised me to not completely shut off my pump while working out and to not lower my basals as much before working out. Sounds great right? Except that when I followed her plan, my blood sugars bottomed out. I had to shut off my pump to run, and I had to lower my basals extensively beforehand to be able to run, or risk severe hypoglycemia. So what do I do? What do you do if your doctor can’t even conjecture much as to why this happens? I did some pretty extensive research on this subject (mostly on the internet and asking questions of other more experienced type 1 diabetic athletes, so don’t get excited, this is no clinical/scientific research I pulled off) and I’ve learned some pretty fascinating things concerning what I believe is happening. I’ve narrowed this phenomenon down to four things that seem to be the root cause of my post-exercise highs.

The first of these concerns carb replacement during a workout and the body’s ability to absorb all of those carbs during intense exercise. It has been shown that your stomach’s ability to absorb food during intense bouts of exercise is greatly reduced. That means you are replacing carbs to keep your sugars up, but your body just cannot absorb them all nearly as quickly as you are putting them in. That means that when you are done working out, your stomach quickly regains its ability to absorb carbs more quickly, and WHAM you have a nice high blood sugar on your hands! I have noticed, personally, that on days that I had lower sugars and had to replenish my body with more carbs than other days, I had a healthier (read higher) blood sugar than normal in the hour after exercise. The main thing I can recommend to combat this is DRINK MORE WATER!! And if you can, drink the water as cold as possible! Cold water aids in absorption, so hopefully you will absorb more of those replacement carbs when you need them, DURING exercise!

The second of these is ketones. Your body releases ketones when you are burning fat/muscle rather than available carbs in your bloodstream. The possibility of this happening was actually brought to my attention by Scott over at Scott’s Diabetes Journal, and I was so intrigued by it I had to test it out on myself! Sure enough, after an especially long and hard workout, I had quite a bit of ketones! I’m actually amazed that this isn’t something my doctor hasn’t brought up as it sure drives home what I try to enforce anyhow when working out: DRINK MORE WATER! The presence of ketones will make you resistant to insulin, helping to feed that high you may already be heading for because of unabsorbed carbs! Hopefully this will help to reduce those ketones in the blood stream. Do not let yourself get dehydrated during a workout; the highs are rough to recover from!

The third thing I’d like to touch on is the reduction of insulin in your body in preparation for a workout. In general, most type 1 diabetics on a pump reduce their basal insulin in the time preceding a workout. Depending on the time of day, I greatly reduce my basal insulin for 1-1/2 to 3 hours before exercise. I then shut off my pump during exercise. This works GREAT while exercising. This practice helps to avoid lows during exercise, when your body is so much more sensitive to insulin in the body. However, basal reduction before and during exercise doesn’t address the first hour AFTER exercise when you have very little insulin in your body while your body is returning to normal insulin needs and may actually be insulin RESISTANT due to ketones. If this sounds like a catch 22 to you, well, ya, I agree! I’ve done a few things to help remedy this problem. I set a super high temp basal for the hour post-exercise (2u/hr) and if my post-exercise reading is high, I double my correction bolus. I am NOT recommending anyone do this, I am not a doctor! I will recommend, though, that you test test test after exercise to help determine what is really going on with your blood sugars after a workout. I used to test every 15 minutes for an hour and a half to see what was going on to try and correct the inevitable spike. I finally got to a point where I felt comfortable enough to add a bolus/basal combination to help combat these highs. I was very conservative initially, and I continue to be conservative. If I’m concerned about a low later, for whatever reason, I follow my gut feeling. Id rather run a little higher than bottom out. My doctor recommended that for my longer workouts I return my basal to normal near the end of the workout, or with 20-40 minutes remaining in the workout. I did this successfully for some of my longer runs where I would be out running for over 2 hours. I could start up normal basals about 30 minutes before the run finished, and then switch to the super basal (2u/hr) once the run was completed for the prescribed hour.

The fourth and final point I’ve found that affects that rise in blood glucose post-exercise is what I’ll call a “rebound high.” What happens if you have a workout where you are struggling with lows the entire workout, or you have a rather rapid drop in sugars, even if you don’t go low? This could cause your liver to release glucose, further exacerbating the previous three factors that contribute to a high! The best way to combat this is to avoid rapid drops and lows during a workout. I control my blood sugars with carb gel during workouts that last longer than 30 minutes and this helps to really even out my sugars. I cannot underestimate the powers of GU and how it has helped with my endurance training!

The main things I’ve done to help control post-exercise highs are:
1. DRINK MORE WATER (the colder the better!)
2. Tested my blood sugars every 15 minutes post exercise for up to an hour and a half to be able to more clearly see spike post-exercise
3. Set up a post-exercise basal rate for the hour post exercise (implemented as a temp basal).
4. Set up a special correction factor for correcting highs immediately after exercise.
5. Used carb gel to help keep blood sugars more level during a run.

I firmly believe that diabetics really can achieve the endurance exercise goals they set for themselves. I ran my first half-marathon at 27 years old. I had just quit smoking a year before, and I hadn’t worked out substantially for over five years when I started training for it. I’ve talked to type 1 diabetics who have run multiple marathons, and even diabetics who are triathletes. Diabetes makes things more confusing, and adds arithmetic to practically every aspect of your life, but it does not need to stop you from being as active as you feel you need to be! Diabetes can feel limiting and it can feel hopeless, but you can feel empowered as you overcome these feelings of being limited and expand your expectations to beyond that of even most non-diabetics.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Candy I’ve Been Eating

Today so far, I’ve had a Reese’s Peanut butter cup and 3 laffy taffy’s. mmmmmmmm, laffy taffy’s. I really don’t understand the need for office candy that is kept around for ANYONE to dip their mitts into and enjoy (then guilt trip about later). It isn’t even 9:30am and I’ve already consumed 466 calories.

Let’s break it down:
120 calories = glucose tabs to treat morning low. Im not happy about waking up at 6am to a blood sugar of 48, and this was 30 minutes AFTER I initially treated with glucose tablets (knowing I was low but not wanting to test). Hmmph. On top of that, I REALLY wasn’t happy that somehow yesterday at some point I changed basal patterns, so not only was my blood sugar low, I wasn’t on the right pattern so I couldn’t exercise this morning. BLECK!

186 calories = Reese’s PB cup (does anyone else FANTASIZE about the yumminess of peanut butter?) and 3 Laffy Taffy.

160 calories = Oatmeal. And not just oatmeal, my daughter’s leftover oatmeal from her breakfast, I just couldn’t throw it away.

If I didn’t take symlin then my blood sugar would be through the roof. Let’s check……103 (HALLELUJAH!!!!) This reading is 1-1/2 hours post oatmeal, and about 30 minutes post candy….

So, now all I have to do is think POSITIVE thoughts about my burgeoning thighs. …sigh…..I’m not sure how it is for all of you, but I can ALWAYS find something to be down about if the mood is just right. My blood sugar is perfect, but my calories are all out of whack, I feel chubby, and due to some weird subconscious action of my own switching basal patterns I couldn’t exercise this morning.

I’m so MAD (more like sad)! That I’m gonna go eat CAKE! (if there was some cake around…)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

This week in Food (or Rather Last Week in Food...)

I just wanted to share with you some of the scrumptious things I had to eat this past week! My camera is acting kinda funky getting some weird light lines, but I think the pictures, while not photography quality (I'm no artist anyhow) are at least passable!

I HAVE mentioned recently how much I love food right?

I've really been motivated by In Search of Balance lately to whip up a few new and different things! The first thing I really HAD to put together was this sweet salad. This is a spring green mix (fresh from the coop, awesome, and the whole box of the spring mix lasted TWO FREAKIN WEEKS!), walnuts, raspberries, blue cheese, salmon, and orange cranberry vinaigrette mixed half and half with pomegranite (sp?) juice. AWESOME! Although, I'd almost skip the salmon next time. I ended up eating salads for lunch almost every day for two weeks because of the spring green mix I bought AND the great inspiration for a sweet salad.

The next thing is some penne pasta with spaghetti sauce and fresh parmesan I made. The pasta is Ezekiel 4:9 pasta, which is sprouted grain pasta LOADED with fiber and made WITHOUT flour.

I recently completely stopped taking symlin in the evening, so I got to try out this meal without symlin and really test what this sprouted grain pasta is doing to blood sugars. One hour pp I was 132 (WOW!) and 2 hours pp I was 46 (ick!). I was happy with no extreme spike though, and the pasta was darn tasty. Spaghetti (w/o meat) is so quick and easy, I made this on a day I worked late and didn't have a lot of time.

Lastly I wanted to share with you a sweet snack I had on a MAJOR carb crave day. This is a cup of halved strawberries, 1 tbsp. of maple syrup drizzled over, and a bunch of cocoa powder. You can put quite a bit of cocoa powder over these with the maple syrup and it doens't taste bitter, it tastes like strawberries dipped in chocolate syrup. This snack is only 100 cals (screw those 100 cal pack wheat thins/ritz/whatever) and is AWESOME! The fiber in the strawberries helps slow up that maple syrup (1 tbsp = 13g carb) absorption, too.

Just so you don't think I am a food saint, let me also share with you my naughties of the week. I didn't take pictures of these though, Im not as proud of them! I had TWO read it TWO humongous monster m&m choco chip cookies (Im guessing 500-600 cals each) over the course of the week (one on Friday night for dinner and one tonight for dinner), and the second one I had I SLATHERED with whipped cream cheese frosting! mmmmmm! Sunday is my cheat day where I really don't count calories and allow myself to not be stressed out about what all is going into my mouth. I just try to count carbs as best as possible and reign in the sugars! Let me tell you, though, that frosting lathered monster cookie was INCREDIBLE!

Friday, September 22, 2006

God gave us empty brains…….

My son is an easily discouraged little boy. I think that this is a trait of his that is partially a part of his personality but mostly a trait that shines because of my impatience. I am an impatient and crabby person, and I’m almost ALWAYS in a hurry. These traits of mine reflect how I deal with Sandis. He wants to hurry up and finish whatever it is that he is doing so I don’t blow my top and get angry with him. When things don’t go like he wants, and he realizes he may be falling behind, he freaks out. He cries. He loses all ability to even attempt to keep trying because he gets sooo very upset.

On my end, I’ve definitely had to work on my patience level, my crabbiness level (okay angry mom level), and I’ve had to wake up earlier and stay up a little later to give myself a little extra time. On Sandis’s end, as we’ve tried to undo what I instilled in the first few years of his life, things aren’t as cut and dry and easy to correct. We are dealing with a six year old’s emotions, most of which he doesn’t understand very well, much less Bob and I! Bob is a very patient man. He lends me patience from his vast well of patience, just in case I run dry. He is also very patient with Sandis. He has had a few talks with Sandis, and so have I.

Sandis tells us, when he is upset and can’t think straight, that his mind is empty, and he doesn’t know things. He says this in such a sad way that it is enough to break your heart. Bob one day told him: “Sandis, that is how your mind is supposed to be! God makes everyone with empty brains so that they have lots of room to learn all that they will need to learn as they grow up!” (This probably isn’t verbatim, but you get the gist of this.)

I think that Sandis took this seed into his heart and nurtured it to help bolster whatever it was in his soul that felt inadequate. The other day we all had dinner with my Grandma. We had lasagna and salad, and MAN all that food looked really really really good, and I was PSYCHED that it was a weekday and I wasn’t cooking! We asked Sandis to say the prayer before dinner, because he does it at home and he does such a good job. So this is the prayer (not verbatim, again, but the gist of it):

“We thank you God for Grandma, and for this food, and for this lasagna, and for Mommy, I mean Grandma for making all this really good food. And we thank you God for giving us empty brains…..”

Silence. One of the girls (my cousin) snickered. I burst out in a huge smile. I didn’t want to laugh, but I almost HAD to, it was so unexpected and hilarious!

Grandma interjected quickly, “What a wonderful prayer young man, and you are right, God did give everyone empty brains, so they have plenty of room to learn all they need to!”

Sandis had a huge smile on his face, almost looked sheepish. We finished the prayer with an “Amen.” And we all dug in.

So just remember that, if you are learning something new and it is difficult, that spot in your mind that is supposed to hold the “how to” for whatever it is you are learning, is still empty. But God left it empty just for you to learn “how to”.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Tackling the Exercise Lows and Carb Replacement

In the past year, I have tackled some pretty daunting distance running feats. Now, I am no marathon runner (although I hope to be in 2008…maybe 2009, no firm deadline set yet) but I have managed to put some mileage under my belt. While running, as my mileage increased, I ran into three major problems. I imagine that most diabetics who attempt rigorous exercise beyond the norm have run into similar problems as what I will outline. The first major problem was lows during exercise. I actually would have lows that forced me to stop running as they would not come back up, despite carb replacement, unless I stopped the exercise altogether. This then leads to my next major problem concerning exercising and blood sugar control, and that is post-exercise spikes. Yuck! Nothing really sucks quite like hugging the line of bottoming out for two hours then skyrocketing up to 400 immediately after you finish. The third problem I ran into was a dip in blood sugars around 4-6 hours after completing the exercise. This was not consistent and seemed to vary based on the length of time I ran. I am going to focus on lows during exercise and carb replacement in this post, because I doubt you want to read a book today! Over the next few weeks I’ll follow up to detail how I tackled post-exercise highs and then beyond that, the post-exercise lows.

The lows during exercise were the first problem I encountered, before I even got to any real distance in running. I started with the initial mind-set that most of us would begin with, lower your basals and then have carb replacements available because no matter what you do, baby you are gonna DROP! I soon learned that running and vigorous exercise, however, can make some of the tricks you might take up for carb replacement on an exercise bike or a walk around the block, seem less appealing. First off, before when I exercised, I would just have an extra snack before I headed out, something along the lines of granola bars, saltine crackers, or fig newtons. I would then take along a bottle of sugar soda or Hawaiian punch in my hand or in a backpack, depending on the activity, for a quick sugar boost if I needed in the midst of the activity. As my distance increased however, running on a full tummy of Hawaiian punch and granola bars led to fruity burps, stomach rumbling, and yes, even diarrhea. Having all that extra crap in your tummy just does not lend to a good running experience. Another problem I had, was other than the discomfort, granola bars and sugary drinks just didn’t MAINTAIN my blood sugars beyond 50 minutes. I could eat this stuff at the outset, spike my blood sugar up to kingdom come, and then 50 minutes later be in a downward slide that no amount of sugary drink would bring back up. I would end up having to stop running and try again the next day.

I was blessed with a back injury while struggling with this 50 minute limitation in running that resulted in my introduction to a sports therapist/chiropractor who not only assisted in the mending of my broken (okay, not really broken, but a sprained iliac joint can FEEL like a broken back) back but opened my eyes to the wonders of GU. With the help of this fabulous stuff, I was able to take my running beyond the 50 minute/5-6 mile barrier I had always run into before. This stuff is great (tastes NASTY!!)!! GU is a short acting glucose along with a long polymer glucose gel that instantly will give you a boost in sugars as you head out but then is slowly absorbed over the course of around 45 minutes to keep kicking in sugars to help maintain blood sugars. I would start a run with one or two GU, then I would have another every 20-30 minutes or so (excluding the morning runs, when two GU to start was plenty for the longest runs). Try and drink water with this stuff to help avoid cramping (pile of carb gel gu sitting in bottom of tummy is NOT a good feeling) and assist in absorption. I tried to do at LEAST four ounces for each GU, but I have heard that eight ounces is the recommended amount. The great thing about this stuff is it is carb power packed into a little bit of gel. No Hawaiian punch/cookies sloshing around in your belly as you try and master yet another endurance threshold, only the carbs in your tummy that you need to maintain your sugars until it is time to stop. With the help of this GU, I took my running from 5 to 6 mile max to my longest run of 16 miles. Before GU, I physically could NOT run beyond five or six miles because my blood sugar drop was too severe and I could not replace the carb fast enough.

Try and remember that during vigorous exercise your tummy is not going to absorb food as quickly as it normally does. If you are having problems with low blood sugars when you go out, and you feel like you have eaten enough of the GU or other similar carb gel or replacement, try drinking more cold water the next time you go out. Cold liquids speed up your tummy’s absorption, while warm liquids and sugary drinks can slow absorption. Try not to mix a carb gel like GU with a sugary sports drink because that can REALLY slow down absorption because all of that sugar curled up at the bottom of your stomach. I used to put ice cubes in my water bottles when I went out to make sure the water I drank was super cold on my runs. I also scheduled when I drank my water to coincide with when I would take a GU so that I got the best absorption effect possible. I would map my runs and schedule in water/bathroom stops to refill my water bottles for later in the run. I would get some pretty rough cramping if I had GU and not enough water. This would only be on longer runs where I had had perhaps 4-6 GU and I really hadn’t hit the water like I should have been.

Along with the carb replacement aspect of exercise/running and diabetes, there is also the aspect of lowering insulin before you go out to help avoid a low. I found that for myself, the recommended lowering basals by 30% before going out just wasn’t low enough. My body is really sensitive to activity, needing twice as much insulin per hour while sleeping than I do during the day, and I found that I had to lower my insulin substantially (to .05u/h for 3 hours pre-exercise, down from .6u/hr) and then completely shut my pump off while exercising.

I think exercise initially can cause so much variability in most type 1 diabetics, especially when we test our own limitations and set new endurance goals for ourselves that are outside of most normal expectations. I have related what I learned for myself concerning tackling low blood sugars and carb replacement for endurance activities, but in reality, what works for you may be completely different! I am constantly amazed by what I read on the OC because everyone seems to have their own formulas for how to tackle different things! I would perhaps be less amazed if everything was neat and everyone had the same formulas, but we don’t! What works for me, in all likelihood, won’t work as well for you as it does for me! You can gather ideas from what I’ve offered, though, and through testing testing testing and more testing, figure out something that works well for you. Your own personal formula!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Subconscious Revealed….

This morning, around 4 or 4:30 am, I had a revelation. This was one of those “a-HA!” light bulb moments that you may have a few times in your life while in the plane of partially asleep, partially awake. I remember in college, while taking programming classes (and oftentimes the more advanced math classes), I would go to bed unable to figure out a problem, and in my sleep I would continue to do the work, and suddenly awaken with a similar “a-HA!” moment. Well, this had nothing to do with scholarly exploits, but more to do with how I am subconsciously dealing with my inner fears.

I realized at 4 am that I did not want to run because I was afraid. This is not a shocking realization, and honestly I’m not sure why I fought this for so darn long (a few weeks). I’ve been running for over a year now, but I’ve always run in the daylight. Mid-afternoon or mid-morning daylight. Daylight and traffic are all elements that lend to my feelings of safety during my runs. In fact the last time I ran alone in the dark, I was assaulted, fifteen years ago. Is it no wonder I have been DREADING going out to do something I love?

With this realization of my fear, I decided that I don’t have to run in the mornings during the week. I can run twice a week on the weekends because then I can run when it isn’t dark and I feel safer. I can run in the mornings if one morning I’m so inclined, but otherwise, I have TONS of tae bo tapes and other miscellaneous exercise tapes (courteous of Bob!). I had this realization and made this decision at 4:30 am and at 5:40 I was up and at em to do a round of Tae Bo. It isn’t the perfect solution, but with my schedule, this is what I can do, and I can work with this! I don’t have to leave the house and compromise my feelings of safety, but I can still work out! And on weekends I can do my running thing. Also, maybe when it starts getting lighter out in the mornings I can venture out to do morning running again. All this, and I just bought a reflective vest!

I knew inwardly that this was the reason I wasn’t waking up and going out. I may never eliminate this fear, and I guess that is okay. I want to enjoy what I am doing. I love to run, and I don’t intend to stop, but I need to work within my own limitations (emotionally and physically).

To end this entry, I got a few words of wisdom from Bob this morning, and I thought you all might enjoy it. Bob works with hardwood flooring, and because of the nature of his job (being in construction areas, etc) he goes through quite a few phones. So here goes:

“after talking to you I had to go back up to get my cipro and this time I
watched my phone fall out of my hoodie pocket onto the seat. It reminded me
of watching my last phone fall into the toilet directly from my hoodie pocket.(happened on two occasions) So watch out for the hoodie pocket you never know when it will get rid of it's contents.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Can't Get Runnin' Off My Mind

So, last week with the bronchitis tying up the first half of the week and my general laziness with the addition of increased work hours trying to make up all that time I missed, I did not exercise ONCE. GAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!. I try to keep the running thing right up at the forefront of things that MUST be done, but last week, I just didn’t. Not running while sick is of course understandable. I mean, I felt as though I were at death’s door, and I very well may have been were it not for the wonders of AUGMENTIN (I’ll spare you the details of the not-so-wondrous qualities of augmentin…). But not running while healthy, with my only excuse being I was “tired” is just ridiculous. So…..

I hit the pavement tomorrow, and Im almost dreading it. Sometimes those first runs back after a small break are FABULOUS and sometimes they really really SUCK really extremely badly. It doesn’t help that I feel like a blimpo and everytime I picture myself running Im picturing jiggling, jostling fat piles and I see only the things I hate about myself in my mind.

It is so excruciatingly easy to fall off the exercise wagon! Why is that? I love to run! I think that for me the big change in schedule is causing me some motivation problems. Sometimes, fighting the half asleep I don’t want to wake up yet vibes is damn near impossible. Its different from struggling with whether or not Im up to exercise all day, because I am completely awake and more acutely aware of how I will feel about myself if I DON’T run. While still asleep, this is less evident! When I wake up Im KICKING myself for resetting the alarm. Ahhh well, all I can do is keep trying. Failure in this just is NOT an option.

Why do my personal ideas of what I eat, how I eat, my body image, my exercise patterns, have to be so screwed up? I mean, I think for a large portion of the time I have fairly healthy ideas, but I beat the heck out of myself if I fall off the wagon for a short time. I feel so strongly that I need to take responsibility for the choices Ive made in my life and make, and the results those choices give me, that I don’t have the ability to forgive myself for making rotten ones! (and why is not exercising for a week equated to ROTTEN in my mind??!!!)

I KNOW that big goals are reached by reaching very small goals daily. DAILY. Before you know it, you look up and you have changed, you are perceived differently, and you perceive yourself differently. But there is always the ability to back track. Falling into old habits can be comfortable and very easy to do. I can’t allow myself to find comfort in old habits. So maybe I am hard on myself. Maybe Im just doing what I need to do to get my butt jiggling on the pavement again for my morning run. We’ll see, and tomorrow, after my run, I’ll be patting myself on the back rather than feeling rotten for missing yet another day!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

What Kind of Produce Consumer are You?

The world of fruits and vegetables to a novice just learning the tricks of the veggie trade can be pretty disappointing! How often have you decided to finally start eating those fruits and veggies, stock your cupboards with the life of the earth, only to throw most of it away as it goes bad and mostly brown (certainly not tasty, are pears SUPPOSED to be this mushy?)? What an investment gone down the drain! or in the wastebucket, literally....Even if you did get the chance to eat at least half, oftentimes what you get just isn't very tasty. More than anything, it leaves you feeling cheated, and CONVINCED that people claiming to like produce are dirty, dirty liars all involved in some weird veggie conspiracy.

Eating fruits and veggies for me has been a journey. My journey began at Cub Foods. I had similar experiences to what I described above. I bought things like broccoli, apples, oranges, and of course bananas. These are proven fruit and veggie staples and they are fairly inexpensive (in relation to others). I did not know to expect more! I did not know there was anything MORE to expect!

I happened across the produce section at Byerly's purely by chance. Byerly's is just up the road from me, I drive by it every day, and one day I decided I wanted to check it out. I believe that Byerly's is a specialty/deluxe chain grocery store. I don't know exactly the category it fits into, but wandering around in this store I noticed that the shelves were filled with specialty items.....The aisle with spaghetti sauce wasn't just Ragu and Prego, they had spaghetti sauce that was imported from Italy and cost like 12 bucks a jar. They stock the opportunity to feel "ritzy"! I decided in my third or fourth visit to try buying some of their produce. I mean, it looked delish' and with produce circling the store, you were tempted everywhere you looked. I was AMAZED when the broccoli and cucumbers I bought weren't browning within a few days and actually lasted over a WEEK. This was HUGE!

Soon after I started buying ALL of my produce from Byerly's. The difference in quality was so profound, both in taste and selection, compared to Cub. It really didn't even bother me that I had to pay MORE to buy produce from there. Over the course of the next few months I completely stopped shopping at Cub and switched to Byerly's. Also, for taste, quality, and ethical reasons I switched to all organic veggies and fruits over the few months following my switch.

Now, this is NOT an ad for Byerlys, I promise. I just think that there is a huge difference between a store that touts its produce as a pinnacle point of its products and a store that had a produce department simply because it can ship in produce from 2000 miles away to sell mass amounts of it at a huge profit. When I first started trying to eat more fruits and veggies I really did not realize the HUGE difference WHERE I bought my produce would make.

I now buy my produce jointly from the local coop and from Byerly's. Between the two places, I get a huge selection of organic fruits and veggies that are mostly from local growers. Have you ever bought a head of broccoli that can hold in your fridge for two weeks? Honestly? I HAVE.

I spend a LOT of money on produce. I choose to spend more than most people because I choose to buy organic produce from vendors that actually take pride in the produce they sell. They take pride in their produce because their consumers expect a LOT from them. Their consumsers won't BUY produce that is going to go bad in a few days, because they KNOW they can find produce that is better than that. Their consumers know that fresh pulled from the ground is the freshest and best tasting. Their consumers aren't afraid to pay more for quality, because even they don't enjoy eating disgusting ill cared for veggies.

It took me a long time to realize that where I shopped made a huge impact on how I eat. Before I had organic choices made available to me, I didn't realize that it could be an important option I could choose. I would advise anyone who is trying to add more fruits and veggies to their diet to seriously consider WHERE they are buying their produce. If you are buying subpar produce, expect to have subpar excitement as you add it to your diet. New foods and produce should be something you are EXCITED to add to your diet, and finding high quality helps to bring that excitement and lends more enjoyment to your eating!

Good places to try for great produce if you aren't happy with where you currently buy your produce are coops (great for local growers), specialty grocery stores, and in the summer farmer's markets. If your produce department where you shop is gross and you don't have other options, COMPLAIN! I know it is a cliche, but the squeaky wheel truly does get the grease!

Ive tried some WONDERFUL foods over the past year, and Ive been able to highlight all of my foods with some wonderful produce. I greatly enjoy pears, pristine green apples, dynamo pluotts, bananas, blood oranges, eggplant!, cucumbers, zucchini, broccoli, carrots (with the green tops still on, so cool!), sweet potatoes (mmmmm). My world of produce opened up with flavors when I simply changed the venue I bought them from!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Expanding Our Expectations (Further Thoughts...)

After reading and re-reading a bit of my previous post about my half marathon in June and the mishap with my pump, I feel as though I need to add a few more thoughts about the role in customer service that a pump company has.

Medtronic, when I called, had the opportunity to ensure that my diabetes was not a disabling condition. They recognized, to a certain extent, the value that my race had. It was not only a race, it was a goal. It was a long pursued milestone. My race helped me reach a point in my mind, in my heart, in my activities, where my diabetes is mostly a chronic condition that perhaps interrupts daily life but does NOT stand in the way of my most passionate goals and intents.

My pump is a tool I use to feel more normal. My pump is a tool I use to halt the elements of my diabetes that at times can feel “disabling.” I believe that it is Medtronic’s (or any pump company’s) responsibility to help us reach our goals by standing by their pumps in such a way as we will not be “disabled” if their equipment fails. A pump is not merely a medical device, it is a LIFELINE.

Medtronic made the right choice in dealing with my pump failure and recognizing my race as important. In fact, they made my race as important to them as it was to me, in their own sense. I can guarantee that had they not acted in the manner they did in replacing that pump in as timely a fashion as they did, come two years from now when I’m gearing up to buy a new pump (dump out more money than I spend on my own CAR!), I would NOT be shopping Medtronic.

I believe that we should have high customer service expectations of our respective pump companies. Because of a simple choice this customer service rep made, they not only saved a customer, they also aided in creating a brilliant memory for me, which is an awesome reward after months of discipline and training!

Heart of the City Half Marathon (and the Medtronic Mishap)

A few months ago, on June 3rd, I ran the Heart of the City Half Marathon in Burnsville, MN. I ran into my knee problems after this half, basically cutting my running season short . I did awesome on the run, feeling great throughout. The first half marathon I ran was just icky throughout. I crashed at 10 miles, I mean, completely crashed and walked/staggered the last three miles. This one I was much better prepared for and I ran basically the entire thing and finished with a time a full 7 minutes and 45 seconds faster than my first half marathon (Earth Day Half Marathon in Saint Cloud, MN). The fact that I was able to finish this run, which I had trained for MONTHS for, was a miracle in and of itself, and I have to thank Medtronic for this!

The day before the run, I planned to leave work at noon and head out to Saint Paul to spend the night up in the cities with Bob, so I would be close to Burnsville. This particular morning at work, I decided to change my pump from my leg to my abdomen to prepare for the race tomorrow morning. I didn’t want a new site, and I certainly didn’t want a leg site for a long run. As I’m priming my pump, it dawns on me that my pump will not progress past the initial prime phase to a fixed prime. The thing had BROKEN!

I called Medtronic practically in tears. I knew that they would have to deliver me a new pump and that they wouldn’t have it to me at least until Saturday afternoon, too late for the race….There was no WAY I could run a race on injections. There were just too many intangibles; I wouldn’t even know how to start with that! I felt like I had just thrown out all my months of training, long runs, all of my preparation because of a pump failure. I felt DEFEATED by my diabetes.

Medtronic gave me the response I expected. We’ll need to replace your pump……blah blah blah. I interrupted the customer service rep, basically frantic, my voice a few octaves above normal “ You don’t understand! I’m running a half marathon tomorrow and I need this pump TONIGHT! Or I can’t run. The race starts at seven, I need that pump NOW!”

This awesome customer service rep arranged to have my pump put on a plane, on an actual seat, that DAY to be picked up by a courier which would be hand delivered not to my address, but to Bob’s apartment so that I could have my pump in time for the race. I called them at 7:30 am and received my pump at 5:30pm. Just in time to put that baby on and have a humongous dinner and set my overnight basals in preparation for my long run.

My blood sugars were perfect during the run, and I remember several times, especially after mile ten, as I was still running, raising my arms to the heavens to praise God for giving me such an awesome ability to use my body in such an AWESOME way! I could not have done this race if it weren’t for Medtronic willing to take that extra step to make sure I had my pump in time.

Now, if they would only address the whole “pump breaking” thing. I’ve had my pump two years and this is ONLY the third time it had broken…..

Thursday, September 14, 2006

All You Need Is Sonar and Nerves of Steel....

So at some point during this week I reached, or will reach, my fifteenth year anniversary with my pal diabetes mellitus type 1……I don’t remember the exact date, and honestly, this date has never been all that important to me.

Perhaps I am more conscious of this date because I am getting a little older (EGADS CLOSER TO 30 THAN 20!), or perhaps because in the past few years I am paying much closer attention to those diabetes numbers than ever before, or perhaps it is because 15 years feels like a long relationship with diabetes and I have turned my inner headlights on to help spot complications more quickly…..

The other day while driving the kids home from school, I got to thinking about my life “back then.” I wasn’t really thinking about what happened at diagnosis, as that was pretty uneventful. My mom is a type 1 diabetic and thanks to her good eye, we caught my blood sugars at an even 347…..So it is safe to say that my diagnosis blood sugar has not been the highest sugar in my life! I was thinking more about the months that preceded my diagnosis and wondering if they played a part in my body’s autoimmune attack.

In April of that year, while running, I was attacked, beaten, and molested. Pretty traumatizing stuff. It has been fifteen years, I don’t think about this much anymore, but it just seems so odd that only a few months following such a traumatizing event I would be diagnosed with diabetes. Perhaps it was just coincidence…..I have heard about certain events “triggering” the attack of beta cells in the pancreas, usually a virus. I wonder if the devastating effects of my assault could have “triggered” my own autoimmune attack.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Shrimp with Ketchup

Being ill today, I settled on boiling some cooked shrimp for dinner (five minutes) and serving it with some cocktail sauce. Super easy and it is one of my faves so I figured the kids should love it. Boy was I wrong!

Here they are DEVOURING said shrimp, with ketchup (im inwardly recoiling just thinking about this).....Who knew?

Sick Sick Sick

Being sick always seems to put my diabetes numbers by the wayside. I actually seem to prefer my blood sugars between 150-180, because I so dread a low when I already feel so crummy, that I just won't correct for anything under 180.

I have bronchitis. It is just terrible. I don't often take off from work because usually it is just more economical to save my "vacation" days for when my kids are sick. Isn't that sad? I don't understand why there isn't more unions where people are standing up and saying, you know what? 1 week of paid vacation per year just isn't enough! I don't even get to use that paid vacation for vacation! I use it for FLU SEASON!

I think that Americans are used to not getting what they deserve. I think that Americans are accustomed to there being haves and have nots. I think that Americans have accepted that elitist health care (you only get it if you have money) is just how it is going to be! I don't think it should be this way. I think that for a leading nation which is "supposed" to be a wealthy nation ( I guess per capita it is? Don't tear me up on this, Im no politician)we just don't address social issues enough. We address lots of global issues. But the social issues of everyday people in this country are essentially ignored. And no, I don't think that a 100 dollar rebate on my taxes is a good way to compensate for gas that has soared up to $3.15 a gallon. (So Im rambling but bear with me, I have a fever!)

So here I sit today, trying to determine whether I should use a paid vacation day for today or just let it count against my attendance rate and not get paid. The only real difference between the two is how my paycheck will look next friday....And I am accepting the cards I have been given, because I cannot change them. I dont' believe anything I do will ever change any of this. Politics, my politics, feel beyond my reach and smothered by a thousand bureaucracies.

Im gonna go stop whining and snuggle up and watch some tv. Last I checked my blood sugar was 168. That is two hours post symlin, two hours into 4 hour duration bolus, 2 hours after eating a lemon bar (yummy!). I took 1u of correction because I believe this sugar is going to rise! But, that's all my sugars ever really do when I am sick anyway...RISE....

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Sole (Soul?) Mates...

For those of us lucky enough to have that significant other thrown into the mixture of our lives, I'd like to spend some time today examining the virtues of the "diabetic partner". I am so blessed to have a man like Bob in my life, and hopefully, he'll agree with how blessed I am to have such a patient Bob in my life! hehe.....

I can imagine that at the outset, perhaps being with a diabetic doesn't seem too challenging. There are a couple extra tubes and wires....There is maybe a few sharp pokey things (steer clear of those and for GOD'S SAKES MAN DON'T GO THROUGH MY PURSE! or ya might get poked....), and then there is the fake candy that kind of smells like candy but upon further examination (taste test trial) those glucose tabs just really don't pass the "candy yum" test.

As things progress and get more serious, you perhaps begin to realize that there is more to this than just tubing and pokey (hokey) stuff. Perhaps the first clue is upon going out to dinner....He likes Olive Garden, Im just really not big on pasta, and I haven't been big on pasta since I tried to eat it soon after diagnosis at age 13 and was snoozing with the high blood sugar sleepeies 45 minutes later. But WHY? WHY DOESN'T SHE LIKE PASTA? WHY MAN???!!!!

Then things progress even further, and we begin to spend time together that is more quantifiable and involves things OTHER than eating and making out, which believe me, both have their own "lightbulb" .... oh I see moments on the part of our significant others. From here, we move into crabby pants land. I don't know about you, but when my blood sugar is <70, I start to get crabby. Sometimes the only real symptoms I'll have with a low is extremely obtuse and argumentative behavior followed by I'm a crabby pants and I am gonna crab at you, FOREVER, behavior. Poor Poor guy. Its a wonder he still loves me! But feed that low and I will start to be sweet again, I PROMISE!

What kind of person does it take to understand the highs and lows (both emotionally and physically) of insulin dependent diabets? And If they can't or don't understand the physical aspect, how completely can they manage and assist us with the overwhelming lows? There is something to be said of the man or woman who calmly does not react to irrational low behavior. There is something wonderful to be said for the person who "gently so as not to piss us off" recommends we check our blood sugar.

Our diabetes takes our loved ones for a ride with us. I make the dinners around here, I do the shopping around here, My family eats in a controlled carb environment. My children "understand" that my pump is not for touching. Bob eats my experimental foods, usually not relishing it, but he does eat it, as we experiment with new and better ways to control my blood sugars. Because lets face it, if Im in control, we are all happier and much more mellow.

There is no way Bob will ever be a pro on my diabetes, and I don't want him to be. I want him for the quiet, supportive man he is. I think that all of us diabetics who have managed to corner a sweet soul to be our sole mate in this life have really been given a gift that keeps giving.

So here's to the BOB's in our life (and that doesn't mean bolus on board, I was referencing my Bob) and here's to their neverending (haha, hopefully they read this and realize we HONESTLY EXPECT NEVERENDING....) patience and their ability to bring peace and understanding to even the least peaceful and understandable situations.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Why Being Square Gets the Best of Me!

The other day, Scott over at Scott's Diabetes Journal wrote some about trying to plan for spontaneous happenings. I'd like to touch a little on the same thing but with an emphasis on how symlin can sometimes make that dealing with spontaneity thing just a little harder!

To start off with, I will say that symlin has helped TREMENDOUSLY with post meal blood sugars. Two hours after every meal with which I also use symlin I have basically flawless blood sugars, but there is a catch! Symlin reduces the speed that your body absorbs the food you eat. That means that 2 hours after you eat, you are still digesting your meal! I find that generally between 3-1/2 to four hours post meal I get a "truer" post meal blood sugar that is representative of how high my blood sugars are going to rise with that meal. This basically forces me to use LONG square wave boluses with each meal.

For breakfast I do a 2 hour square wave bolus and for dinner I wait one hour after eating to bolus, and then do a 1-1/2 hour square wave bolus. That means I am not done with my "insulin on board" for four hours!! for breakfast and FOUR AND A HALF HOURS!!! for dinner.

Imagine trying to go out for a bike ride after dinner. Normally, I would wait at least two hours after dinner to let most of that insulin finish up. With these long square waves Id have to wait until like 10pm to go out for that bike ride using this formula! The other thing to take into consideration is that there is no formula to help you figure out how much food you have left to be absorbed by your body. Ive noticed that most of my blood glucose rise is inbetween 2 to 4 hours after I eat. But say I wait two hours after my dinner to take my bike ride. I have 2 and a half hours left of insulin, my blood sugar is 113, and I also have most of my food left to digest! What do I do? Do I eat before I go just in case? I mean, all that insulin on board is going to make me nervous, but I also know I have food left to digest, but exactly how many carbs are left to digest?

Generally I avoid exercise within 3 hours of a meal with symlin at ALL COSTS. First of all, the food flavored burps during a run, are well, GROSS. Second of all, there are too many unknowns and it is just SCARY to try and figure it all out. I mean, what happens if I guess, and I guess WRONG? I usually err on the high side......Is that always better than the low side?

Another thing with these long squares, is what do you do if you have to disconnect from the pump for any reason? (say a shower, bath, etc...) I have a square wave going! It's gonna screw it all up if I disconnect! What I tend to do in this situation is I'll disconnect, making a mental note of how much of my square I've had delivered at disconnect. When I reconnect, I check to see how much I missed and manual bolus that in.

Symlin has been fabulous in helping me to iron out some of my post meal highs, but there is a humongous learning curve. So many different and new things come into play with this. You learn that your pump's computations concerning correction boluses may not be right if you use symlin and you are high 2 hours pp, because you are going to be absorbing most of your food in the next two hours, and half of your insulin you planned for that meal probably is not going to be enough. So you are back to guessing. That is hard, and you guess wrong, A LOT. But, you can figure it out, and I think for anyone embarking on a symlin journey, there will be people who decide it just isn't worth it. I can't say myself that I am totally sold on symlin. I haven't stopped, but I certainly have considered stopping.

Symlin also can take away some of that "spontaneity" freedom you can enjoy on the pump with faster acting insulin because of the need for longer square wave boluses. This can be a BIG problem. Generally, if I know ahead of time, I just won't take the symlin with the meal that will affect the activity later on. Symlin does make you feel strangely satisfied after a meal, but don't get too excited, this too wears off!

The main benefit of symlin, for me, is the ability it gives me to enjoy higher carb meals without crazy post meal spikes. I used to get really really tired after meals as my blood sugar did the one hour 240 2 hour 160 swoop. Now I keep a steady line after meals. An idea of what would happen with a high carb meal is 130 pre-meal, 85 1-hr pp, 120 2-hr pp, 130 3-hr pp, 143 4-hr pp (assuming I counted carbs right!). Whatever you do though, do NOT try to eat ANYTHING else in that four hour window after injecting symlin and eating your first meal! Its damned near IMPOSSIBLE to figure out which carb ratio to use (symlin carb ratio or no symlin carb ratio?)! Well it isn't, but that post meal snacking leads to most of my highs!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Fabulous Foods!!!

Over the course of the past year I have discovered some pretty awesome foods that I’d love to share with you. A few of these I'm sure you are fairly familiar with and a few I hope that you will be intrigued enough by to actually try. To start out with, though, I’d like to give you a little background concerning the relationship I have with food.

I LOVE food. I mean, I really truly love it! I think about eating when I’m not eating. As soon as I finish a meal I am thinking about what I am going to eat for the next meal. I love the comfort of a full tummy, and I love tasting new flavors. On top of loving food, I love SWEET food. It figures that I’d love something (SWEETS) that society frowns on me eating (not just society, my blood sugars a majority of the time as well.)

About a year ago when I first started running in an attempt to lose a few pounds, I also started revamping the way I ate. At first I just stopped buying Little Debbies (and that truly, back then, was a sad sad thing), but as time went on I moved from the “normal” food of over processed America to a mostly organic, non-processed (minus flour and processed sugar), non-artificially sweetened, whole food diet, which is the theme of my eating style today. In the process, I’ve also learned to cook! (Well a little, Bob never seems too thrilled, but the kids like it! Well sometimes the kids like it….)

What I have found over this long, and expensive process is that my blood sugars make much more sense than they ever have before. This does not mean that I don’t have my struggles, my binges, or my highs, because believe me, I DO! It just means that all this fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, etc has really helped me improve my blood sugars overall. I’ve run into a few bumps in the road, but along the way I’ve discovered some foods that I never would have tried before had I not started this journey for food & body harmony. With that in mind, here begins FIVE FABULOUS FOODS, along with reasons they are so stinkin fabulous!

1. Good Earth Original Sweet & Spicy Herb Tea
Around 5 months ago I gave up diet soda, FOREVER. Not necessarily for good, on occasion when we go out I’ll have a diet coke, but I don’t buy the stuff for the house, and I have maybe 5 cans of diet soda a month rather than 3 a day. In this process, my mouth was craving the sweet. I mean, really craving that sweet sweet flavor and refreshment that diet soda just fills you right up with. I found Good Earth Teas, and MAN! Is this stuff good! What makes this stuff so awesome is that it is SWEET but it doesn’t have any artificial sweeteners. This stuff is all natural man! You can also buy it caffeinated (with black tea in it) or un-caffeinated (just a straight herbal tea shot). If you are working on cutting caffeine or diet soda, this is a great alternative, and you aren’t sacrificing the sweet.

2. Quinoa
This is a grain from South America. It is similar to couscous, but um, not really. I eat it as a breakfast cereal, and also cook it up to have with dinner (in place of rice or potatoes). The thing that is great about this stuff is that it is a whole grain that has a TON of fiber and also is high in natural fats and proteins that help slow up the absorption by your body. This means for more stable blood sugars after a meal, and in the morning, at least for me, this is a huge necessity when my blood sugars rise the fastest! I do use symlin, so that is going to also affect how my blood sugars rise with this stuff, but I know that I have better luck with quinoa than traditional rolled oats. Quinoa is a great alternative to oatmeal, if you are tired of the old oatmeal routine. For breakfast I add some maple syrup (bout a teaspoon) and cinnamon and I’m treated to a delightful sweet breakfast. At dinner I cook it up with herbs and spices. Very tasty!

3. Soy Grits
This is another breakfast deal for me, but I love sweet stuff in the morning so I look for any way I can get that in! Soy grits is similar to rice cereal, but only has 8 carbs per serving. The calories are similar to an oatmeal serving (oatmeal is 150, soy grits is 170) but the carb content is sooo small. On a late morning without symlin at breakfast, I’ll sweeten this stuff with stevia and add some cinnamon and my blood sugars rise very slowly in response. It also helps that it has a nutty flavor that is fairly tasty.

4. Strawberries
As far as I am concerned this fruit is tops, this stuff rocks. Who doesn’t love strawberries? (unless you are allergic that is…) The cool thing about strawberries is that there is only 50 calories in a cup (which is about 6 or 7 medium strawberries, try measuring it out, you’ll be surprised). They are also loaded with fiber so these are a truly sweet treat that won’t damage your blood sugar, say, quite like a banana will. I like to mix up a tablespoon of maple syrup (13 carbs) with some cocoa and drizzle that on the strawberries (when I’m feeling terribly sweet and naughty that is!). It makes for a great evening snack, and my kids love it too!

5. Sprouted Grain Breads
Sprouted Grain Breads have truly changed my approach to bread and how I eat. For a time I specifically avoided bread, well anything more than a slice, because of the resultant very quick rise in blood sugar. Then someone recommended Ezekiel 4:9 bread. This is sprouted grain bread that is made without flour. It is LOADED with fiber. Since I got started on sprouted grain products, I’ve tried several, and I have to say that the Ezekiel bread is the one I like the most. It tastes the most “bready” (is that even a word?). It has around 12 carbs per slice (this varies with the different types) and around 5 or 6 grams of fiber. Another good kind to try is Men’s Bread which has only 5 grams of carb per slice (and like 6 or 7 grams of fiber!). It is pretty tasty as well, full of nuts and grains. It doesn’t taste quite as “bready” as Ezekiel, but I buy both, and when I want a sandwich with 2 pieces of bread, I go for the Men’s Bread. There is also sprouted grain: bagels, tortillas, PASTA (yum, yum). I encourage you to give these products a try if for nothing else than to give bagels or pasta a go again ( I hadn’t eaten pasta in YEARS before trying the sprouted grain pasta.)

This is definitely not an exhaustive list of foods I find fabulous, but they are, in my opinion, some of the most exciting and filling foods I find fabulous! They are also staples in my daily diet. I was excited when I learned about them, so I want to share them! If you ever find a food that is FABULOUS I’d love to hear about it. My family is a family that loves food and the deliciousness of the eats that God has given us!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

First Day of School

Sandis started kindergarten today. Man.....WHAT A HUMONGOUS DAY! I mean, I feel like I have been waiting for this day since well, the day he was born..! There are so many emotions that have been running through me today, and it is hard to organize all of it and then communicate it into well thought out paragraphs that are clear, but I think I am going to try! This is just too important of a day to let go by without some real documentation of my son's new beginning.
My son Sandis is six. You can see him over there in the picture with my sig. other Bob and my little peanut Gracie, who is three. Sandis's birthday is in August, and last year I held him back from kindergarten because I felt he wasn't ready. Last year I wasn't sure I was making the right decision. This year I truly am grateful for the decision I made because in all of the areas Sandis struggled with last year (attachment, ability to focus long enough to listen, social interaction with other children) this year, it is like he is a CHAMP! haha, I can hear people chuckling, yes yes, I know he is my son, and I will always be biassed towards him so it is hard to say if I am seeing him with clear eyes or not, but I do know that I walked a little boy into kindergarten today that could not have been any more ready for that day than he was today. I mean, this little boy was OOZING self confidence. It just makes me so proud of him!
I got pregnant with Sandis when I was 21 years old (ya, i BARELY got to drink....) and going to school at Clarkson University in upstate New York. I started my pregnancy care up in New York. I used to have to drive like 3 hours to Syracuse New York to go to a high risk OB clinic because in that little crap town of Potsdam, NY they didn't have any doctors who were actually qualified to be the charge for a type 1 diabetic pregnant mum (on an insulin pump).
When I was about 12 weeks pregnant I moved to Kansas City, MO to be somewhat closer to family. I had a sister that lived there and I figured she would be a good person to be close to through my pregnancy. I started my care at a residency OB clinic at a downtown hospital in Kansas City and soon discovered that I was going to have to figure out something different. On my first visit to this clinic, the resident (and head doctor), mostly unfamiliar with insulin pumps, told me that I was going to have to go back on MDI for the duration of my pregnancy. Aghast, I calmly told them no, and if that was how they intended my care to be, than I fully intended to find a different clinic to meet my needs during this prengnacy.
In the ensuing couple of weeks I called practically every endocrinologist in the KC area, actually interviewing the doctors (once I managed with whatever tactics I could to get them on the phone, VERY DIFFICULT!) until I settled on Dr. William Isley. I told him I was looking for an endocrinologist who would be willing to handle my diabetes and insulin pump therapy through my pregnancy. He was unsure at first, saying that he didn't usually do that, but after a couple more phone calls and me unabashedly BEGGING for him to help me so I didn't have to settle on OB care that would try to hitler my diabetes care into MDI, he agreed. Once he agreed to help me with my diabetes care, I chose to go to the OB clinic within his clinic system so that they could easily acquire my medical records associated with my seeing him and refer any recommendations/concerns for my diabetes care to HIM rather than to ME.
Although this was time intensive, back then, even only 7 years ago, insulin pump therapy just isn't as popular as it is now and not as many doctors were familiar with it. I was not willing to go back on injections and I was frantic to find a doctor who would feel comfortable assisting with my care during a pregnancy with a pump, and would be willing to work with my OB's to make this as smooth a pregnancy as possible. Until I had this arranged, when I went to the doctor I felt like I was FIGHTING to keep my pump, fighting with the doctors over appropriate care, and I felt it was a battle I could not win.
Anyhow, my blood sugars were FABULOUS through my pregnancy. My a1c's stayed in the low 6's throughout my pregnancy and Sandis was born August 17, 2000, an uneventful birth (mostly) and a healthy little boy, not too big, not too small. As soon as he was born, I imagined him at age 5, his next milestone, kindergarten.
Now, my crazy tiger is nothing like I imagined him to be. He loves to DANCE, not play HOCKEY. He is loud and opinionated, not cooperative and gentle. But he is fabulous. I could not have picked a better Sandis. I won the lottery with this kid! So today, as he started his new chapter in his great big life, there is sadness, but there is mostly happiness and anticipation. I feel like Ive waited my entire life to see him grow and to see him mature into whatever it is he will grow into.
Oh, and one more thing.... the other night, He stopped me before I turned out the light and said "mom! guess what? Im in love with a girl!" .....what?.... ".....and her name is EMILY!" haha, isn't that fabulous! And now he likes a girl....sometimes life just can't get any better.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

How Running Changed the Rain...

I always used to think of the rain as a pretty dreary thing....I mean, it just sucks to be stuck in the house in general. The combination of myself, my energetic six year old son, and my precocious three year old daughter stuck indoors for the duration of the day just makes things, well, hard.
I started running last August, so I guess Ive been running regularly for about a year. I was 5'7, 178 lbs, busy, and I felt fat. I decided to start running because in my mind, when I thought of the most physically painful cardio I could possibly do, I thought of running. I figured that if I did something that sucked THAT bad, I HAD to get results. So I hit the road for the first time, in the heat of Minnesota August, draped in my 178 lbs of well, mostly jiggly fat. I made it about .4 miles before I had to stop, feeling like my ears were going to explode and that my heart was permanantly housed OUTSIDE of my chest.
I kept at it though. After about 3 months I was able to run 3-1/2 miles and feel like shit afterwards. After about six months I was able to run 5 miles and feel kind of okay, not totally like shit. The thing about running was, I felt like I was doing something. Over the course of the past year, I HAVE lost, as of today, 14 lbs. Fourteen IMPOSSIBLE pounds.....I started running to lose weight, but after it become readily apparent that the weight was not melting off of me, I had to find OTHER reasons to keep running.
My blood sugars really suffered with the first few months of running. I went from an a1c of 6.9 to an a1c of 8.2 (at least initially, it has since varied from6.2 to 7.2). YOUCH! What all those tv commercials about diabetes DON'T tell you when they tell you to exercise, is that if you are a type 1 diabetic and you start a new exercise program, you will more than likely see MORE variability rather than less as you iron out all the difficulties associated with exercising. You know, difficulties like trying to run with 8 cups of hawaiin punch fresh in your belly. Trying to run with a 35 blood sugar and not understanding why suddenly the road feels so much closer to your face.....
I ran into SO many difficulties with running, especially as distances increased, and I learned some fabulous tricks about how to manage my blood sugars while running. I PROMISE I will post some of these tricks in the future, but for now, that is NOT the pont of this post.
At some point into my running, as I started getting up into higher mileage, and I was really learning the truth about runner's high (It is fabulous and lasts for about 20 seconds between miles 8 and 9, as long as it isn't too hot outside and you've had plenty of water and your blood sugar doesn't suck), I also discovered something about the rain.
I had always avoided running in the rain, thinking, ahhh the weather sucks today, I'll run inside at my indoor track. One day though, anxious to get outside after a long winter of running a track that I have to run around nine times to reach a mile, I braved the great wet outdoors. And it was fabulous. I praised the lord at 6 miles, I felt like kissing the pavement at 8! I ran ten miles after 8 hours of work and I felt remarkable the entire run! I didn't even have to refill my water bottle. The rain dripped off my brow, I couldn't wear my glasses, but by god, I was not too hot, I was not too thirsty, and I felt great.
The rain washed away my faulty spirit. The rain gave me a jump in my step that you just won't get on a weekday afternoon as you trudge out an impossibly long run and ingest ridiculous amounts of GU. The rain rinsed my sweat and hydrated my longing mind, anxious to push yet another long run out of my system so I could find solace in the four remaining short runs of the week.
After my first run in the rain, rain became my REASON to run. Rain became the one reason I could never be too tired to go out. And you know what? Today it rained! Im at low mileage right now as far as running is concerned as I have a right medial meniscal tear and Im trying to avoid surgery. But today it was fabulous. Two miles, hills and all, two nine minute miles (fast for me!), where I held my hands up in the air and praised Jesus for the opportunity to rejoice in his glory as he washed my spirit with his rain. Fabulous.
Running gave me the rain. It gave me the appreciation for it that I would never have had if I did not know that rain means a fabulous run, EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

When's the Last Time you made SUGAR COOKIES?

I spent the first 4 of my fifteen years as a diabetic (AT LEAST!) avoiding sugar. Remember learning to eat as a diabetic on two shots daily and the food exchange system? Remember how the sugar free substitute was always deemed the better choice? Well, old habits do die hard.
I started on the carb counting regime personally before my doctor even knew the term. The thing is, if you are 16 and you "cheat" on your exchanges, you figure out pretty quickly what happens if you don't take additional insulin for that food you just ate.
My parents NEVER hovered over my blood sugars. They pretty much let me take and hold the reins from day one. I was always in charge of what I ate and when, although my experienced mother was always available to answer questions if I had them. She always told me (maybe not exactly in these words) that I was the one that had to live with the diabetes and so I had to learn how to eat, how to exercise, and how to work with my doctors. She showed me so much by example. I swear, I watched my mom eat the same thing for breakfast for, well, my entire childhood! Raisain bran, two equals, and 1/2 c of milk (She even set the measuring cups in the bowl w/ the two equal packets out the night before! I wonder if she did that to counter any temptation she might have had in the morning to have something less tried and true...)
Ive moved on in the past five years to a much different eating style. Rather than focussing on avoiding the sweets (hello cravings!) Im focussing on the types of foods I am eating. I have shifted my focus from artificial sweeteners (and loads of diet coke) to natural sweeteners and whole foods.....I just never realized that things like soy grits and quinoa could be tasty, and something like cooking doesn't have to center on "diet" or "diabetic" food but can have more of a focus on natural food with whole flavors, where you can really TASTE what you are eating.....
We have also been truly blessed with new advances these past years. This fast acting insulin is a more four hours for a PP sugar that is meaningful (unless you are on symlin that is, but that is another story!), No more taking insulin an hour before you eat just to try and avoid that PP high and mighty! Some of us even have pumps that help us take insulin with much less pain (no injection) for every little bite that passes our lips. We are better equipped to eat much better, with more flavor, and less negative effect on our sugars than ever before!
There is always that time for the occasional indulgence. And there are those memories I carry with me of being a child, making cookies with my mom, and how much darn fun it was to lick the bowl! So diabetes be damned (well not really, but in theory)! We made sugar cookies today!
Just that fact that they are not only cookies but SUGAR cookies makes the entire thing so 4 sheets of sugar cookies baked, and 2 cookies in my tummy later (1 hr PP sugar = 185, and this is without symlin!) I feel as though my life is complete....complete with my indulgences, complete with my whole foods, and complete with making yet another memory with my darling babies.

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Amazing Human Body (Yes! Even Yours!)

Six years ago, at age 22, I went into the local emergency room with severe abdominal pain. I remember being doubled over in pain on the couch, with my son crying hungry at age 7 months. I was unable to pick him up. My upstairs neighbor came to check on me when she got home from work because she knew I had left work early and she found me in this sad state and took me in. Well, a shot of fentanyl later, I was sent on my way home with instructions to watch for a kidney stone as that was more than likely what it was.

This was no kidney stone. I remember just “knowing” that it was not a kidney stone. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew it was not a kidney stone. They were supposed to send me home with something to strain my pee for the stone but I didn’t even bother to go pick it up. I tossed and turned with pain for the next night and eventually, the pain diminished into a dull ache in my right side. Eventually even that pain lessened, and within a few days I was back at work.

Around a week later I started struggling with severe back pain. I was calling my doctor quite a bit with all of my complaints, but each time I went in they could find nothing wrong. As things began to get more and more painful for me and I upped the volume of my complaints, I met with a urologist and he found that my right kidney was practically the size of a football (no wonder I was in pain eh?). He brought me in for emergency surgery to have my kidney drained and to do something with the supposed kidney stone (I honestly don’t remember what they said they were going to do with it).

Well the pre-surgery x-rays they took showed something much different from a kidney stone. They indicated a grapefruit sized mass in my abdomen, weighing down on my ureter, which was not allowing my kidney to drain. Post surgery (uroscopy) they told me about this mass and what followed in the next few months was a battery of tests and speculation that threw me into my own personal health hell. We did ct scans once, sometimes twice weekly, with and without dye, to try and get better images of this mass. The weird thing was, it kept changing! I had 3 colonoscopies, upper gi’s, lower gi’s. Barium had become one of my primary food groups!

It started out as what looked like a large solid mass, but over time it spread and looked like several masses looping around my small bowel and intestines. The doctors speculated everything from crohns, to cancer, to strange illnesses only mentioned occasionally in the odd medical journal. Approximately six months after the discovery of the mass, my final CT scan showed absolutely no sign of lesion or mass…The doctors concluded that because of my initial presentation with severe abdominal pain that had classic symptoms of appendicitis (although no proof of inflammation in x-ray), combined with being unable to find my appendix in any of my 3 colonoscopies, that I more than likely had survived untreated appendicitis. It was explained to me that after my appendix had burst my body had built a wall around the toxic infection and had slowly eradicated the infection.

The AMAZING part of this story is that this is a REMARKABLE immune system response, and essentially UNHEARD OF in patients in type 1 diabetes. I was told that less than 1% of patients with completely untreated appendicitis live….I was also told that this response is a footnote in medical journals and practically unheard of.

I had been a diabetic for over nine years when this happened. What I want this story to do is to convey hope to all diabetics. We may have bodies that are ravaged by sugar variants. We may have problems with appropriate immune response and healing, but our bodies are AWESOME! Diabetics have a glitch in how our system works, but we are intrinsically miraculous machines, and in light of terrible odds, each one of us is a miracle in process! Do not doubt what your body is doing behind the scenes as you struggle to maintain balance in your routine. Each one of us has a body that is capable of AMAZING THINGS!