Monday, December 16, 2013

Part 2: New Doctor, lots of Tests

So my new Doc, Dr. Lee, decided to have me get a full panel of blood work.  I was to be fasting and have all of the blood in my body drained out for testing.  Not really, but this list was LONG!  I was actually really glad though, because I've been wondering about some things and feeling like others weren't properly treated.

Anywho, I got a taxi after 40 minutes of waiting in the rain and headed down to the medical center for labs.  Little did I know, the results were gonna be scarier than that dang needle.

The same day that I had my labs done, I went to my doctors office to have a CGM inserted for my blind trial.  Again, he wanted a blind trial so that I wouldn't be interacting with the CGM but rather to collect the data and make adjustments to my insulin regimen.

One week later, I went back to the doc to upload the CGM data, review that, and talk about my labs.

The week that I was wearing my CGM, my doc wanted me to be recording all of my blood sugars, meals, and insulin doses.  Introducing the mySugr app.  Very cool, highly recommend it!  It was a great little app on the iOs and I found it was easy to use and maybe even a little entertaining.  I logged everything really well for seven days and haven't used it since. What can I say?  I gave up on logging a LONG time ago!  Plus I log all of my calories on MyFitnessPal so that's just way too much time on logging!

I digress.  So, I went back to see Dr. Lee.  First we went over all of my labs.

Testosterone & Estrogen tests were normal: no PCOS (whew!)
Lipids (Cholesterol): bad (CRAP!)
Hashimotos (thyroid): still uncontrolled even though I take thyroid meds (SIGH)
Uric Acid (proteins in urine detecting kidney function): high (SHIT!)
Celiac (allergy to wheat): Positive (double SHIT!)

Then we went over my CGM and it was fine.

So, basically, my blood sugars are under control and I don't have PCOS but other than that I'm a complete mess.

This was REALLY HARD news for me to swallow.  Really.  Hard.

I'd seen a doctor about my thyroid and possibly having Celiac previously but I was never actually tested for Celaic.  I played around with gluten free for about a month and then I decided to move across the globe and basically forgot about all of it.

This time though, it's time to face the facts and realize what I already thought I knew.  Celiac. Positive.  And no more wheat for me! That SUCKS!

As for the Cholesterol, I'm just gonna go ahead and say that I had already had a high cholesterol come back and this one wasn't really a surprise.  In the states though, my beloved Dr. Day told me I could wait until I was 35 before starting on any medications.  Not this Doc.  He wants me on a low dose of Statins.  It took me almost a week to take that first pill.  So far no bad side effects so I think I"m good there.  And if it protects my heart, then I'll do what I gotta do.

Hashimotos.  or hypothyroid.  So I've got that.  I have been taking thyroid meds for quite some time and I knew they weren't enough.  I saw some whack job at the beginning of last summer and he wasn't doing it for me so I quit him and ignored it.  Until now.  I'm on double my dose from before and finally able to wake up in the morning!  Hooray for that!

As for the Uric Acid, I got to do the ever so enjoyable 24 hour urine collection.  I never heard back from them so I'm assuming that test was fine.  Geez!  I don't want to find out that my kidneys aren't working well.  Guess I gotta stay vigilant and do everything I know to keep this dreaded diabetes under control.

Celaic.  Damn. I can't believe I have Celaic.

Switching over to gluten free has been difficult.  I think that's compounded with the fact that I live in a freakin expensive country and it's hard to pay for regular groceries let alone switch it all up and eat a different way.  I had some really good go-tos back in the states when I tried this before.  Some of those things just aren't available here and I've resorted to eating eggs all the time.  Not really, but... really!  I am so bored and need some good gluten free meal ideas.  Particularly lunch.

I guess after a few months of focusing on the big move, and home-schooling my oldest due to some unforeseen circumstances, it is time to focus on me and my health again.  It's hard when you're a mom and have another life outside of taking care of diabetes 24/7.  But it's wake up calls like this that kick your butt into gear.

I didn't reach out to many in the DOC about all this, but it's time I put this story out there.

Update on my progress to follow.

Friday, November 15, 2013

New Country, New Doctor (part 1)

I've totally neglected this blog.  And at this point I'm sure no one is reading it.  I'm not sure if I should just delete it or... try to keep it up better.  I think the stories I tell (about Diabetes) are important and valuable for some to read and I really love it when someone has a question about something specific and I realize that I've written a nice long post on the topic.  The only problem I have with consistently blogging about diabetes is that I HAVE ANOTHER LIFE.  I mean, Diabetes is my life, but it's NOT my life and I don't want to spend ALL of my time talking about it, or writing about it.  So.  Yeah.  That's why I don't blog here much.

HOWEVER, there have been a few things recently that I should really put out there.

So most of you know that I recently moved to the other side of the world and now live in Asia; one degree above the equator, in the tropics, on a tiny little island, city, country called Singapore (no, not Japan or China or the Philippines).  Anyway, there are a lot of things about diabetes which were affected by my diabetes, or maybe it's the other way around.

First of all, I had to find a new doctor.  I asked some really great resources for help on referring me to a doctor here in Singapore.  Several people suggested this one doctor in particular so I figured he would be a good one.

I basically waited until the last minute to book an appointment.  I'm not sure why I was dragging my feet.  Maybe because I had plenty of other things to adjust to what with living in a new country or whatever, maybe it's because I REALLY like my old doctor and didn't want to face the fact that I am going to be seeing someone new for the next two or three years.  Dr. Day, if you retire before I get back, so help me!

Getting ready to go see my doctor.  I was so nervous! 

He was.  or... is, or whatever.

The first appointment I had with him went REALLY well.  I was very pleased with the experience and found him to be VERY thorough in getting to know me, my diabetes, and my health history.  He took my HbA1c and looked at my blood glucose data. He decided that he'd like more data and asked me to do a week on a blind CGM so that he could use the information to adjust my basal and bolus rates.  He also ordered a FULL panel of blood work.

I wasn't really pleased with my a1c but given the disruptions to my life the previous three months, I decided to give myself a break about it and aim for better next time.

Stay tuned for part two.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Making Friends

Met a new friend.  Decided to go on a hike with this friend.  The hike was intended to be a long one.  About 3 or 4 hours.  So, naturally, being diabetic, I had to think about ways to prepare for low blood sugars along the way.  My sugars were doing really well, staying within the normal ranges so I decided to lower my basals by 50% like I would during any exercise and carry three packages of mentos with me.  That's more than enough to cover any lows I may have had on the trail, as well as share some with the boys, and their new buddy.
It's really awkward, you know, meeting someone new and having to jump right in with, "so, I'm diabetic and..." But... I feel like, when doing this kind of activity, it's probably better to bring it up right away rather than, you know, try to explain while having a low or something.  
New friend has a kid.  This kid is basically a big fat brat.  He's asking for my stash of candy pretty much right away.  I tell friend that it is hard to have candy in front of kids when, you know, they're gonna want you to share, but that I always explain to my classes (substitute teacher) that they'd much rather NOT have the disease than share my candy, or juice, or orange or whatever it may be that I'm treating with.  And, I don't go out of my way to openly eat it in FRONT of the kids, but sometimes you have to, especially in my profession.  
So she says to me, "yeah, and I guess if they eat too much candy they can get diabetes too" UGH!  Really?  So I politely say, "no, not really, actually you're more prone to get it by genetic predisposition than by eating too much sugar"  "Oh, I guess I don't know that much about diabetes anyway".  
Right, I hadn't noticed.

Had tea with another friend and when I explained to her that I wear an insulin pump because I have diabetes her reaction was, "Oh, you have it THAT BAD?"  "yeah", I said.  

I mean, I don't expect everyone to know everything about diabetes, not by a long shot.  But since moving, I've noticed this kind of becoming an issue for me.  

I'm usually one to meet friends pretty easily.  I'm outgoing, friendly, talkative, and usually that ends in me rapidly making good friends with a lot of people. I'm usually really open about diabetes.  Don't mind telling poeple about it, don't mind people asking about it.  Until recently.  

I've had kind of a hard time adjusting to my new life here, in Asia, thousands and thousands of miles away from home.  For some reason, well, I know what the main ones are, but anyway, it's just been... difficult.  Add to that the fact that making new friends means they don't already know about diabetes like my friends back home already know about it... it's just added to the stress of it all.  

I mean, how do you just go up to a person and explain that you have this chronic condition?  It's so damned awkward.  I'd take the silly questions my OLD friends had over explaining it new for the first time any day.  

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Traveling with Diabetes

Below are my experiences in traveling with Diabetes. Recently, I moved to Singapore from the United States. I was in four air ports around the world. I have taken many flights previous to this journey whilst having diabetes. I've also been on road trips and have blogged about my pumping vacation last summer for a trip to the beach here:

Disclosure: I am not a doctor nor a TSA agent. These experiences are my own and as always, your diabetes may vary.

I've got SLC International Airport down to a science when it comes to wearing an insulin pump. But, I had never taken a year's worth of insulin across the world with me. So, I was a little bit worried about how that would all play out but it turned out fine.

I looked it up on the TSA website as well as asked them on twitter (and they responded!) about how to travel with diabetes supplies.  There I found out that I could indeed take a year's worth of insulin as well as the ice packs necessary to keep it cool on the 21 hour journey.  The website just said that I had to declare my insulin before putting it through.  Easy enough, I thought!

As I approached the security check, I told them that I had insulin and ice inside my bag.  The TSA agent asked that I separate them.  I pulled out both my insulin and my ice and put them in the totes provided and sent them through security.  I hid my pump under my shorts and easily walked through security. No issues and on to boarding.

The reason I choose to hide my pump is purely from experience.  The insulin pump has NEVER set off the alarm.  But, I've been leery of taking it through before, thinking it would set off the alarm.  A couple of times, while traveling through SLC int. I showed them my pump, told them what it was, and then proceeded through the metal detector.  Because I had shown them my pump, and NOT because it set off the alarm, I got the pat down.  As security measures increased, and full-body scanners, and full body pat downs came around, this process also involved an extensive full-body pat down.  Personally, I do not think a simple insulin pump warrants such treatment.  It is a medical device, OBVIOUSLY  a medical device.  It is also VERY COMMONLY worn and used by millions of diabetics in the United States. Therefore, I see no reason why a pat-down is necessary.  Especially when it doesn't set off the alarms.  The entire process would make me more and more frustrated and I just HATED the entire process. The ONLY positive side was that my husband had to deal with the kids, their shoes, coats, bags, the stroller, and whatever else our family of four was traveling with... for just a few minutes, while I was held up in security.  He usually had it under control by the time I finished and all I had to do was put on my shoes and follow them to the gate.

So.  One time when traveling to see the in-laws, I decided to hide my pump by wearing it clipped to my underwear (I ALWAYS wear my insulin pump with the belt clip) underneath my jeans.  No issues.  Whatsoever!  so... that's what I've done from now on!

But.. I digress. In San Francisco, we didn't have a lot of time.  So little, in fact, that unbeknownst to us, our bags didn't make it.  Security at the International gate at SFO was basically a nightmare.  It was HOT and extremely crowded.  The line was moving very slowly.  If we hadn't had business class priority, we probably would have missed our flight... maybe.  I followed the same procedure I had done in SLC but this time I made the mistake of ASKING the TSA agent whether or not I should separate my ice from my insulin inside of my carry on.  He agent told me that I did NOT need to do so.  And... of course, my bag was held up.  The boys' bags were also held up for some reason which they decided NOT to tell us about.  Damn those crayons!  ha ha ha.  Anyway, The woman on the x-ray side started chewing me out about not separating my ice from my insulin and I got right up in her face.  I was NOT losing my cool, but very firmly, and calmly, I said to her, "THAT is why I specifically asked about it.  I asked him, (pointing), right there, if I should separate my ice and insulin inside my bag before I sent it through the belt because they told me to do so in Salt Lake City and he told me that I did not."  "And that is why I ASKED SPECIFICALLY".
"Well," she responded "you should always do that."
"Well, that's why I asked" I told her again.
Eventually, our bags were all cleared through security and we were on to the gate at Singapore Airlines.

Our layover in Korea wasn't really long.  I think we had about an hour.  It was like 4:00 am our time and we all did very well with being awake at that time.  I have to give it up to the Koreans, their Incheon airport was fantastic.  Security could not have been easier.  It was 6:00 pm local time and there was no line whatsoever.  A nice man helped us all put our belongings into bins and carefully guided us though security.  No issues with the insulin, ice, or any other bags!  Quick, easy and so friendly.

By the time we made it to Singapore, we'd been en route for 21 hours.  My blood sugars did very well the whole time.  I did check them quite frequently, as recommended.  My insulin was still cold by the time we made it to our hotel and everything arrived safely... except for our bags.  ALWAYS carry on your diabetes supplies, even if you are taking a year's worth!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Moving across the globe with Diabetes

Many of you who follow me on twitter and Facebook know that I recently moved from Salt Lake City, Utah to Singapore!  Quite the change.  And when it comes to diabetes and pumping insulin, a 14 hour time change is something to consider.

Disclosure: I am not a doctor and as always, your diabetes may vary.  

About 2 weeks before we moved, I met with my Endocrinologist.  He updated all of my prescriptions and gave me a good plan for adjusting my insulin.

The plan:

- reduce my basal by 80% the day of my flight (or upon boarding)
- check blood sugar frequently
            side note: It would have been really nice to have a working CGM but my loaner transmitter died so I was flying blind
- change pump clock to local time upon landing at destination

Some people suggested changing the pump to local time upon boarding.  I would not recommend that because of the distance I was traveling.  It takes typically 3-7 days to acclimate to the time change and changing pump settings in advance when your body isn't used to the change could be dangerous.

The results:

I took my doctors advice and the plan has worked pretty well.  About three days after I was in my new home here in Singapore I was fully adjusted to the time change and at that point I probably should have changed my pump back to the normal basal.  I did not.  And as a result had some unstable sugars which resulted in a yeast infection--- fantastic!  But, if I'm being honest, this is a side effect a lot of women with diabetes will suffer frequently.  In fact, it was how I was diagnosed 12 years ago.  So, while I understand it's gross and totally TMI, it's the facts of being a woman with diabetes.  Polly wolly crappy too!

Next time: traveling through security with diabetes.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Product Review: iBGStar

So I did a really dumb thing and bought a meter without doing proper research; because of that, I thought I'd do a product review so that you can hear what I think.

The Positives: 

The meter was really cheap.  I've seen some of my "friends" post pictures of their blood glucose readings from their iBG Star meters and I thought it looked like a nice meter.  I found a really good deal on Walgreens and ordered it.  I think the meter cost me $5, shipping included!  Score.

I just discovered that I can use the meter WITHOUT  plugging it into your phone.  So, it is a very, very small meter.  But don't forget the test strip vial and your favorite lancet delivery device AKA poker.

I did like the log book.  That is easy to use, easy to read, and easy to make changes in my insulin and basal adjustments.  I really like that.  The graphs, logs, and statistics are all very easy to read and use.  I can email my data to my HCP if he even has an email address and then we can use that at our appointment.

It's a crowd pleaser.  Everyone loves that I can plug my meter into my iPhone and test my blood sugar.  And it does a really fun graphic while it's processing.

The Negatives: 

The strips are VERY expensive.  I called my Endo and asked one of the nurses to call in an Rx for strips to my pharmacy company.  Another mistake I made was that I did not look in to the price of said strips.  I was charged $318.00 for 90 days worth of strips.  My usual co-pay for 90 days (One Touch Ultra Link) is $50.  So, wow.  I was kind of shocked by that.  Once I'd received the strips, I could not return them.  So I was stuck using these expensive strips, hopefully making them last as long as possible.

I cannot use a case of any kind on my phone. I use the iPhone 4s.  It is really not a good thing to walk around with my case off all of the time but this is what I've resorted to due to the fact that I don't want to be taking my case off an on 6-10 times daily.  I know there's a case which keeps the meter plugged in all of the time but I OFTEN plug my phone onto a radio and listen to music in my home, office, and wherever I'm at.  So.. yeah.  Don't like that.

I really don't like haivng to charge a meter.  Finding a battery, even a weird battery, every, what? 5 years? is FINE BY ME.  But having to plug the meter in to charge, ANNOYING!

I don't like how long the meter takes.  It technically only takes about 5 seconds to register a blood glucose, but you have to plug in the meter to the bottom of your phone (or iPod if anyone is still using one of those) and wait.  It has to register the clock, register your last reading, and THEN it's ready for a test.
The graphic on it is pretty cool, but HONESTLY, I do not need a meter to do that.  I don't even need a meter to be in COLOR.  Just tell me the number.

There is no pump sync.  What a pain in the butt.  I hate having to remember the sugar, and scroll up or down to tell my pump what my reading was.  Meters which sync to pumps are MUCH better.  I know this may sound totally snob-ish but Diabetes is a big enough pain, devices which make it easier, I love you!

Errors.  I've had more errors with this meter than with ANY OTHER METER I'VE EVER USED.  When you're paying more for strips than you have for any others, that's just a real, big drawback.

The last thing is Apple's fault.  The meter will not work with the new generation of iPhones and iPods due to the different port they've put on their new devices.  iBG Star will have to go through the FDA again to get approval on a meter with the new port.  That's really lame, Apple.

Overall, I think the meter is too much of a gadgety gimmick.  It's not a practical meter at all.  The cost is outrageous and I'll be happy when I run out of strips so I can go back to my old meter.

Sorry for such a negative post.  If someone had been honest like this about the meter before I bought mine (totally my fault because I didn't read any reviews) then I definitely wouldn't have purchased it.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Tour de Cure

It was such an honor and truly an awesome time to ride in this year's Tour de Cure in Brigham City, Utah.  The American Diabetes Association puts this ride on in cities across America each summer.  This is my first time participating in the ride and it was really, really great!  I am SO GLAD that I decided, even though last minute, to participate.  I signed up for the ride less than a month before it was held and was able to raise $210 for diabetes research.  Many of you know that I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes (insulin dependent) in my early twenties.  And guess what?  I didn't get this disease by eating too much sugar!  Nope, my pancreas just pooped out on me as the result of a virus from a simple sore throat.  Researchers are working VERY HARD on finding ways to improve the lives of those who suffer with diabetes and I believe that there will be a cure some day.  So, that's why I rode.  Because I hate having diabetes, and what better cause to ride for than the very condition which I struggle with 24 hours a day 365 days a year.  

My little brother, Justin returned home from his mission in November and since he's been home he's really been trying to be healthy and do things to improve his own health.  Part of that includes finding more ways to be active.  I did the Women of Steel triathlon last month and he would have done that with me except that it was an all women's race.  At the beginning of May I called him up and asked him what event he'd like to do with me.  There were two to chose from that both fell on June 8.  He said, "Jen, you've got diabetes, we should do the Tour de Cure".  I knew he was right so we both signed up.  

We've really enjoyed training and riding together this last month and when the big day came, we were so ready!  

I woke up at about 6:00 and my blood sugar was 170.  I had my regular breakfast and took a full bolus because our race time wasn't until 10:30am.  Justin and I loaded up our bikes and left his house at 7:30 am.  We had to drive from Bluffdale to Brigham City so we wanted to have enough time to get there in time for registration.  It only took us an hour to arrive so we were there an hour before registration, two before our race.  Oops.  Lots of time!  So we got registered, grabbed our t-shirts, I got my red rider jersey and then we had lots of time to take pictures, stretch, and get a little snack before our race started.  
At the start, my sugar was 116!!!! Wahoo.  Finally, a race day with a normal blood sugar.  I decreased my basal to about 25% and ate three gatorade chews and we were off just a little after 10:30am.    

The course was awesome.  It was really nice and flat.  The tradition of Tour de Cure is that every time you see a person in a red jersey, a "Red Rider" or someone who is diabetic- rides with diabetes, you shout to them, "Go Red Rider".  It is a shout that means you support them, you realize it is difficult to ride a bike (or participate in any physical activity) with diabetes, and that you love them.  Everyone on the course was AWESOME about yelling that phrase to each other.  I saw LOTS AND LOTS of Red Riders out there.  I was sure to give them the shout as I rode past and they did the same for me.  It was such a sense of camaraderie and I really loved that.  

We were keeping a really good pace and I felt AMAZING out there, I'm sure the good blood sugars had a lot to do with that.  We finally reached the turn around point and they had a full-service rest stop but I wasn't really interested in hanging around for too long.  Justin grabbed a snack, I loosened my shoes, tested my sugar (130!), ate three more chews, and we were off.  

On the way back I did "feel" it a little more.  I was starting to slow up a little bit I think.  This one guy we passed started drifting on us and then he just hung around us until the end of the ride.  He was really nice and chit chatted with us as we rode.  

When we crossed the finish line, our sister, mom, grandparents, and Justin's girlfriend were all there waiting and cheering us on.  It was so cool!  They also saw us on the start so that was cool too.  We got some really great pictures I thought and this event was so fun that I think I definitely want to do it again.  

Ready to go in the morning.  

Before the race

I found a clever way to store my meter on my bike.
I strap it to the side of my saddle bag.
So far, it has worked out pretty well!  

Together at the starting line. 

grabbing a quick snack at the pit-stop

Half way done! 

crossing the finish line together! 
All done with our 24 mile bike ride for Diabetes! 

whew!  all done

We are still a little bit short on funds.  Justin has 4 more weeks to earn $87.  If you've been wanting to donate but haven't done so yet, please follow this link.  
Thank you SO MUCH to those who have donated already!  We thank you and love you so much for your support of such a great cause.  

Monday, June 3, 2013

Product Review: Level Life

I was asked to try these Level Life glucose packets out and report to you all about my thoughts.

I received quite a few samples in the mail and was glad to give them a go.  They come in four different flavors, as shown below.  Strawberry Banana, Mandarin Orange, Caramel, and Vanilla.  I think I like the caramel best, followed by Vanilla.  I love citrus usually but the Orange flavor just didn't really do it for me.

What I did really love about these is that they're small, they keep for a long time, and they come with exactly 15g. of glucose.  I really like that because I often find myself over treating.  So with these, I just took one and waited.  There was something about knowing that it was the correct amount of carbs for my low that just made it work for me. 

I've used these on my bike, a lot.  They fit really well inside of my saddle bag.  I've used them in the middle of the night, during the day, and at the gym.  They work really well.  Their priced pretty reasonably too.  I found them with the diabetes stuff at my local store and I know that most places carry them.  Try them out!  I liked them.  

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Woman of Steel

This year I set a goal to complete two triathlons and one Tour de Cure.  Last weekend, I completed the first of those triathlons.  A good friend of mine, Lydia, has done the Woman of Steel Triathlon twice before and really wanted to do it with a friend this year.  Teresa and I wanted to do it with her but Teresa's schedule made it so that she decided to do the Splash and Sprint in Bountiful the week before. I was quite excited to participate in this all women's race.

The week leading up to the triathlon was wonderful, warm weather.  Then it decided to rain, and rain, and rain!  I was getting really bummed out about the weather and then I just decided that there wasn't anything I could do about it so I wasn't going to worry any more.

Friday I made this great list of things I'd need because I had to work that day and I was worried about being able to remember everything when it came time to pack up.  I followed my list and packed up my car and gym bag carefully.  I took a nice bath and finished shaving, Justin came over and tightened up my breaks one more time.  I filled up my tires and loaded my bike then painted my fingernails and toes. LOL!
 My sugar going to bed was perfect, like 103 or something.  I didn't sleep really well, but I didn't sleep terribly either.  I checked my sugar at like 1 am and it was 95.  I ate two glucose tabs because I felt low.  I probably should have skipped those because my sugar was like 220 when I woke up. There's this weird thing that adrenalin does to my blood sugar on race day.  No matter what I do,  I can't seem to get enough insulin.  And that's weird, because you'd think with all of the "activity"...

 I took a shower, tied my hair back and got dressed.  I ate my breakfast and bloused for half.  Then all of the sudden I had to go to the bathroom really bad.  LOL.  As I was pulling up my suit, I ripped out my pump site.  I had 5 minutes until I wanted to leave so I hurry and thew in a new site.  I was kind of glad because I really wanted an arm site just to make it easier during transition.  This turned out to be a pretty bad mistake.  I often have absorption issues when changing my site.  Usually though, when I put a site in my arm, I don't have these issues.  This time, however, I did.  This site hurt pretty bad when it went in.  I think it must have gone straight into the muscle instead of the fat because of how bad it hurt.  It also wasn't absorbing well and my blood sugar was rising rapidly.  I was nervous about dropping due to the prolonged amount of exercise so I didn't take too much insulin.
to do list- helmet not included 

my gear, night before.  helmet not included

weather forecast was about spot on

getting psyched morning of

I left the house at 6 o'clock and drove me and my bike down to the American Fork Recreation center.  Traffic was nonexistent on Saturday morning so I got there pretty quickly.  Parking wasn't too bad that early (6:20) and I was glad for that.  I got my gear and headed over to the transition area to set up.  They marked us with our numbers on our arms and our age on our calves.  Transition spots were predetermined by number, I found my spot and it was awesome.  I was on the second row, the second bike in.  The only downside was that I was close to the entrance which meant I was far away from the exit.  As I was setting out my gear, I realized I had forgotten something very important.  MY HELMET!  AHHH!!! I couldn't believe I'd forgotten something so important.  It was really funny because as I was making my list, it never occurred to me, as I was driving down, I was reviewing my transition in my head and it never occurred to me, it never crossed my mind until I unpacked everything and was all set up.
my set up,  helmet not included

from the pool to transition

I called Colin and he was already out of the shower.  I let him know that I had forgotten my helmet so he was ready to bring it down to me.  Whew!  Lydia came and she got all set up.  We had a little bit of time to get nervous before the race meeting started.  My swim coach, Nichole Beckstead came and I was really glad to see her.  She and her husband Brad were marking participants in transition and cheering on their people.  Colin brought the helmet down and found a place to park.  Then we all headed over to the pool to get lined up by times.
Lydia and I before the race

There was this woman who was asking everyone  her times.  She was super rude about it but I tried not to let it phase me.  I really wanted a good seat for the swim since that is my strength.  I decided to seat myself under 5 minutes.  In reality, I can probably swim the distance (300 Meters) in about 5:30 but I didn't want to get caught up in the bottle neck.

Before we got into the water it was cold.  Really cold!  And all I was wearing was my suit.  So, I was glad that I was toward the front of the line so I could get in the water.  They had swim about 12 seconds apart so that was nice and we weren't all right on top of each other.  I had to pass one woman but no one passed me.  I was the 21st person out of the water and took 1st in my division.  I was so excited about that.  My time for the swim was 5:40 I think.  The only thing I regret about the swim was that I didn't get the boys' attention and they missed my swim completely.  they were looking around for me and my friend Lydia told them I was long gone.

My first transition took me way too long.  I was pretty nervous and a little woozy but definitely better than the I Can Tri.  I had thrown my towel on the fence so I grabbed it and dried off as I ran to transition.  During transition I put on my shorts, shoes, socks, and helmet.  Then I realized my jersey wouldn't fit over my helmet so I had to do that part over.  Then I checked my sugar and it was 345.  I was pretty pissed about that because I can perform so much better when my sugar is lower.  I took some insulin and grabbed my bike and headed out for the course.  My transition was about 4 minutes, I'm aiming for halving that next time.

I could tell dad was taking my picture so I sat up a little and smiled for the camera.  ha ha ha

I like this photo because my dad is there in the yellow coat cheering me on.  

The bike started out kind of rough.  Mainly because of my sugar.  But also because there's a huge hill right off the bat.  I did okay though and kept on pushing.  I took in as much water as I could.  As I got to to the top of the hill and came to the flat before the down hill I was feeling pretty good.  Downhill was awesome and I saw my mom, sister, niece, and dad cheering me on right at the corner.  That was cool.  I came around for the second lap and there were Colin and the boys.  They caught a few pics and I was off on my second lap. The wind had really picked up and it made that hill pretty rough.  I dropped my water bottle but it was empty by then anyway so I just kept going.  I saw my family again and came in for my second transition.
I did the bike in an hour flat.

My second transition went better I think.  I checked my sugar and it was like 280ish.  I took a little more insulin, I think and changed shoes, dropped off my bike and helmet and off I went.  The run went pretty good for me.  I hate running and am no good at it but I was able to push through and keep jogging almost the entire way through.

About a mile before the finish line, the weather got even worse and it started really raining.  I really didn't notice it too much though, just kept on running.  At the finish line, my mom, dad, sister and niece were there again.  They are such great cheerleaders!  It was so cool to see them there.  Poor guys though, it must have been freezing in that pouring rain!  I did my run in 35 minutes.

My total time was 1:48.  I was hoping for a little bit faster but I'm not at all sad about how anything (except the transition and the blood sugar) went.  I came in 8th in my division!

Help Stop Diabetes

In 2 short weeks, my brother and I will be riding in the American Diabetes Association's Tour de Cure.  We have been training hard for this 25 mile ride and we're pretty excited to do it together.  Thank you so much to everyone who has donated already.  We lack just a little more than $150 to reach our ultimate goal.  Please stop by and donate if you can!  Thanks so much!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Basal Pattern A

So I've decided to use the basal patterns feature on my MiniMed Revel pump.  Every time I go to my endo with a pattern A setting, he asks me why it's there and what I use it for.  I don't think he's being critical, just wondering when I'm using it so that he can adjust my basals accordingly.  The REAL reason I have a pattern A is for my period.  Sorry guys, it's true.  And, it's a perfectly good reason to USE the thing.  So, I'm going to try to explain why/how I use it now and what I'd like to do with it in the future, to see if I can improve my control. 

It seems that come that time of the month, I need a little less insulin.  If I don't decrease my basal, I'm going low constantly.  I'm a little afraid of lows.  And, I'm way afraid of gaining weight.  So to compensate for the lows I either end up consuming too many calories, or aggressively adjusting my basals, causing chaos weeks down the road.

With a pattern A basal rate for this special time, I find I don't worry too much about adjusting my basal rate and then spending the next three weeks with blood sugars which are out of control, wondering what my old settings were, trying to remember them, and ending up having to re-do the entire basal process over again.  So I just switch over to pattern A and then back after a week or so.  Works wonders!

Another trick I've FINALLY learned is a little thing called WRITING IT DOWN.  Hello, Jen!  But seriously, I'll write down my original basal rates, the changes, and the dates the changes were made.  Genius I tell you.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Thyroid the back story

I've always had issues with my Thyroid and didn't feel that my Endocrinologist was properly treating that aspect of my endocrine issues.  So I sought out a new doctor who would take some more time on my thyroid and leave my diabetes up to my regular doctor.  I did a little research and decided on two local clinics.  One clinic didn't take insurance, so I went to the other one.

Some of the symptoms I've struggled with having low thyroid are typical, and others, I didn't realize were because of low thyroid.  Here's a list from Web MD, suffice it to say that I have MOST of them.  

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

Symptoms of hypothyroidism may be vague and can often mimic other conditions. They may include:
  • Changes in the menstrual cycle
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Dry hair and hair loss
  • Dry skin
  • Fatigue
  • Greater sensitivity to cold
  • Slow heart rate
  • Swelling of the thyroid gland (goiter)
  • Unexplained weight gain or difficulty losing weight
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

The clinic that did take insurance, we'll call them "Fancy Thyroid Place" came highly recommended.  I knew a lot of women who have their thyroid treated there.  So, I booked my appointment for Fancy Thyroid Place and showed up not really knowing what to expect. The lobby looked like a spa and all of the employees dressed in black- felt like a fancy spa.  Anyway, I met with the doctor and right off the bat he was pretty rude to me.  I tried so hard to keep an open mind and I feel like I did eventually warm up to what he had to say.  We agreed to get some blood work done before making any changes to my regimen.

I had my blood work drawn and scheduled an appointment for three weeks later to have a look at things.  He opened up my file and right away said I had Hashimotos (hypothyroid) and that I needed to be gluten free.  He went over the rest of my thyroid numbers with me, told me they were all out of whack and wrote me a prescription for a different thyroid medication.

I took to the internets asking for help with this and was surprised when an endocrinologist friend told me that Hashimotos and gluten free don't necessarily need to go to there.  I wanted to be a good patient though and so I cut out gluten and started taking the new medicine.  I corresponded with this doctor friend a little more and she advised me that the medication this Fancy Thyroid Place was giving me, wasn't really a recommended or trusted treatment.  So.  I really had some decisions to make.

I kept with it and did the follow-up blood work about a month later.  In the mean time, I felt.  like.  crap.
I wasn't sleeping as well, I just wasn't myself.  But I sure was trying.

Follow up blood work suggested nothing.  Basically no change.  So in the end, I quit this doctor and went back to my old treatment plan.  And back to eating wheat.  (for a while at least).  See the continuation in these posts: New Country, New Doctor (part 1) and Part 2: New Doctor, lots of Test 

Monday, April 29, 2013

12 Years of a New Normal

Today marks 12 years I've been living with a new type of normal.  I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes on  April 29, 2001.  Since then I've gotten married, moved SEVERAL times, had two kids, and done many, many, other things.  Diabetes isn't very predictable, never reliable, but for me, it's pretty normal.  It's weird that I've had it longer than I've been married, before my kids were ever born, and nearly a third of my lifetime.
But, I do, and I press forward- most of the time.  It isn't always easy, but I try to deal with it the best I can, roll with the punches, and I definitely try to live my life doing the things I'd do if I didn't have it.  I try not to let it hold me back.
The other day I was thinking about diabetes, and the fact that my kids don't know me as anything else than a mommy who has an insulin pump and checks her blood sugars.  So, I thought I'd grab my camera and ask my son a few questions about it.  Apparently I didn't have much memory in my camera, so the video cuts short before our interview actually ended but you get a good idea of it anyway.
Here it is.

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Low that Wouldn't Treat

My son woke up at 10:30pm sick with the stomach flu.  I was hoping he'd go back to sleep and not be sick again.  Boy, was I wrong.  He was sick every 30 minutes for the next several hours.  At around 1am I turned my early morning swim alarm off.  By 4:00 am he'd finally fallen asleep.  At 6 my husband got up for work and I was so alert with taking care of my son throughout the night that I was afraid I wouldn't be able to fall back to sleep.  I texted my sister and let her know I wouldn't be able to watch her kiddos.  Luckily, Grandpa was home from work so she didn't have to miss.

Gladly, I got a little more rest until almost 8 am when it was time to get Little Brother off to school.  I thought it would be great to sleep while he was at school so that The Boy and I could get a little more rest but by 9 am he was ready to be up for the day.  I jumped in the shower, didn't bother with hair, make-up, or regular clothing and started in on a long day of cleaning.

The smell of sick was so strong that I decided I'd better go ahead and clean and disinfect the entire house.  I've never cleaned so much of this house in a single day before.  I did several loads of laundry: all of the bedding, bath mats, towels, and cleaning rags.  I cleaned all three bathrooms, bedrooms, and all of the floors.  Man, this house feels big!

The Boy did okay but he was definitely sick!  I tried my best to keep him isolated and just sprayed Lysol on everything else.  Usually, when I clean like that, I'll have a massive low-blood sugar.  But, for some reason, it never came.  So I never stopped.  I worked on cleaning the house from about 11am until 7pm; seriously like all day almost without stopping.  I didn't feel much like eating and barely did all day.  I had a couple of apples, some toast, and a yogurt.  That was about it.  I'm not sure why my sugar never dropped but it did spike at one point.  Even after correcting that, I never fell.

But last night, my blood sugar made up for it.  I've had many a middle-of-the-night lows but never one like I had last night.  I desperately wanted a hot bath after "dinner" so I soaked for a little while and the Dexcom alerted me that I was low when I was just about ready to get out.  So I dressed and scooped myself a heaping 1 cup serving of ice cream and enjoyed it.  I was still falling when I started drifting off to sleep so I treated with 4 glucose tablets and fell asleep.  About 2 hours later I woke with another low.  Tested, treated, and reduced my basal to 80%.  Usually, that would send me high.  Nope!  Not this time.  An hour and a half later I woke with ANOTHER low, tested, treated, and reduced my basal again.  I was shocked when I woke to a flat-line at 100 mg/dl on the Dexcom screen.  By the time I ate breakfast my number was 85.  Such an odd series of events for me.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Why I Love Exercise (with Diabetes)

So, I'm a huge advocate for exercise.  I love it.  I haven't always done it, but when I'm consistently exercising, I feel so much better, and I really start craving it.  

Most of the time, I do cardiovascular exercise.  I love cardio.  I'm addicted to it.  I don't do as much weight training as I should, and I put it as a last priority when it comes to my workouts, just not my strong-point.  I love to swim.  Swimming is my most favorite of all the exercises.  It's the only thing I'll get out of bed early to go do.  I learned to swim at a very young age and was a competitive swimmer in High School.  I was never very good, but compared to most people my age now, I'm a great lap-swimmer.  I also really enjoy bike riding.  I started taking Spin classes in my college days and have picked it up again in the past year or so.    I've tried Zumba a time or two but I'm not really in to aerobics or dance classes so much.  I run, but only when I have to... like when zombies are chasing me or something.  No, I run jog because it's part of triathlon and I know that it's really good for me. I am absolutely terrible at running, horrendous.  

Exercise with diabetes can be tricky.  Sometimes very tricky.  But for the most part, it's an essential part of controlling blood sugars.  For me, I always notice a difference when I'm exercising and when I'm not, in my blood sugars. When taking insulin, you have to be careful about how you dose your insulin, and what carbohydrates you eat, but once you figure it out through trial and error, it works as an excellent way to control blood sugar levels and insulin resistance or sensitivity.  Here's a bit about what I do to make it all work.  

Swimming Method: 
My favorite time of day to exercise is morning.  I either go before breakfast at 5:30am or after breakfast at 9 o'clock.  When I go at 5:30, I swim.  My pump is not water-proof so, I obviously don't wear my pump during those workouts.  I test my sugar, take my thyroid meds and hit the door.  If my sugar is low, I drink a juice and head out.  If my sugar is high, I usually take a 60-75% correction and go.  If it's normal, I just go. I leave my meter on the deck and have some juice and tabs in my bag.  I've used them once.

Spinning/ Cycling Method: 
When I exercise at 9 I usually take a 50% bolus for my breakfast.  I do corrections as usual, usually.  If I'm low, I sometimes don't take any insulin for breakfast.  During my workout, I lower my basal.  Usually 50% for the duration of the workout works fine for me.  Some have said that you should lower your basal an hour to two hours before a workout, but for me, that isn't necessary.  I have learned that if we're doing intervals or anaerobic exercises during my spin class (intense cardio) I need to lower my basal to about 30% of normal or I will go low.  I can feel my lows coming.  I cannot recover my heart rate as well and I sometimes get nauseous.
Often I get off at the half-way and test.  I do wear a heart rate monitor during that class.  I wear it for training purposes, to increase my athleticism.  There was once that I had to leave a workout because my son stole the Capri sun out of my bag.  And there was another time that I was taking symilin and I dropped to 40 5 minutes after arriving at the gym.  So, yeah, it doesn't happen very often.  Occasionally, spinning and swimming can give me an adrenalin boost and pump my sugar UP and it's so freakin weird.  But, that's why you test.  My correction boluses work normally for me.  

Running Method: 
When I run, I usually wear my pump with a lowered basal (usually about 60%), but sometimes I take it off, because it's a pain to wear on my running shorts.

During competition, my sugars ALWAYS go high.  Must be the adrenalin.  

The Results:   
When I was training for my triathlon I would test my sugar before a workout, 100.  Take 50% bolus, eat.  Lower basal to 50%, exercise for up to 2 hours, test half-way, take in SOME carbs, and test afterward.  usually, I was right at 100.  nice!  It really does work.  I never used to think that I could exercise with a normal blood sugar, thinking that it was better to run a little higher before, but now that I've experimented with it enough, I realized that that method isn't necessary, or optimal.
So, for as far as benefits, I think you know that it's so good for your heart.  Your muscles, your overall health.  But for diabetes, there really isn't anything I've found that helps me control my sugars quite like exercise.  
There are those time when it sucks, of course, but hell, you get that WITHOUT exercise too.  

Monday, March 18, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day

There has been a lot on my mind lately about diabetes.  I've been going through some really great times, some pretty awful stuff, and trying to balance it all within a normal, active life.  I have been pretty terrible at blogging.  I'd like to change that.  I'd like to blog more.  But in reality, I know I probably won't blog to regularly.  I don't want to make excuses, but I do have a lot going on in my life right now and with a smart phone, I just don't find myself logged in to a computer too often.  I'm going to try.  There are a few posts I'm going to work on getting posted.  Stay tuned.
Thanks all!
Happy St. Patrick's Day
yes, I eat cereal with sugar in it.  SHOCKER!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

48 things about SugarFreeSweety

1. Were you named after anyone?
I was kind of named after my dad.  My middle name is a twist on his middle name, which he went by, and I gave my first born son a name which is a twist on that.  You follow? 
2. When was the last time you cried?
Probably a couple of days ago, I cry a lot.
3. Do you like your handwriting?
4. What is your favorite lunch meat?
Turkey.  I could eat it every day!
5. Do you have kids?
2 boys. 3 if you count my husband.

6. If you were another person, would you be friends with you?
You bet!
7. Do you use sarcasm a lot?
8. Do you still have your tonsils?
9. Would you bungee jump?
I did that once.  I will NEVER do it again, nor sky diving or any other free-falling type deal.
10. What is your favorite cereal?
Honey Bunches of Oats.  We love cereal at my house, we have an average of 8 boxes at any given time.  But I like the grown-up types. 
11. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?
No.  Is that a thing?
12. Do you think you are strong?
Yes.  Thank you, Diabetes.  And thank you, swimming. 
13. What is your favorite ice cream?
Mint chocolate chip, am I right, Mel?
14. What is the first thing you notice about people?
I’m not really sure.  I NEVER know people’s eye color or notice what they’re wearing.  Maybe facial expression?  I’m not sure. 
15. Red or pink?
16. What is the least favorite thing about you?
My weight.  Mostly my belly… L

17. Who do you miss the most?
My sister-in-law.  She’s serving an LDS mission in Portugal.  Emails only. 

18. What is the technique that you need to work on the most?
Patience, that’s more of a virtue.  Standing up on my road bike. 
19. What color shoes are you wearing?
Just socks.  They’re blue.
20. What was the last thing you ate?
Chicken stir-fry.  Yum.  Also, go me for cooking!
21. What are you listening to right now?
Fox News
22. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
Hmmm… blue/green or teal
23. Favorite smells?
Babies, citrus, and clean things.
24. How important are your political views to you?
Very.  Sorry if I offended you around election time. 
25. Mountain hideaway or beach house?
BEACH!!! All.  The.  Way. 

26. Favorite sports to watch?
Basketball, football, swimming
27. Hair color?
Dark brown
28. Eye color?
29. Do you wear contacts?
30. Favorite food?
I like crunchy things, like crackers, and fruit, lots of fruit.
31. Scary movies or happy endings?
I hate scary movies.  But I’m more in to action than happy endings. 
32. Last movie you watched?
Zero Dark 30.  See?  Oh, that IS a happy ending though…
33. What color shirt are you wearing?

Gray, with silver dots that spell “diet coke”  So cute, got it for $4 in Vegas, wear it all the time. 

34. Summer or winter?

35. Favorite dessert?
Cookies and Ice Cream
36. Strength training or cardio?
37. Computer or television?
Both.  Usually at the same time. LOL
38. What book are you reading now?
Hmmm… suggestions?  
39. What is on your mouse pad?
Mouse pad?  Hello… that is SO 6 years ago!  The one on my desk has a picture of my 2 kids… it’s cute.
40. Favorite sound?
That click/fizz when you open a diet coke, the crunching of snow under your feet, and the ding of a text message.
41. Favorite genre of music?
Probably pop… I also like country, Latin, and alternative.
42. What is the farthest you have been from home?
The Dominican Republic.

43. Do you have a special talent?
I can say all 50 states in about 30 seconds or less, I know my alphabet backwards, and… I’m a REALLY great teacher! 
44. Where were you born?
San Diego, California
45. Where are you living now?
Salt Lake City, Utah
46. What color is your house?
47. What color is your car?
Red…. Wait a minute… my husband picked the color.
48. Do you like answering 48 questions?
Sure!  You should do it too!