Friday, January 19, 2018

What a mess!

So Monday the 15th I went in to the lab to get my blood drawn for my appointment with Carrie, which was scheduled for the 17th.  However, due to the snowstorm that hit our area Tuesday and Wednesday, the office called me Wednesday morning to tell me they were closed and my appointment would have to be rescheduled (again!).  At least it wasn't my fault this time, but I'm going to have to wait until Feb 8 to get the results of my A1C.  Ugh. 

Also, I've been having some trouble with my new receiver.  It has been giving me the System Check Passed message every 2 days since I started using it on the 9th and last night it gave me an error message telling me to call Tech Support.  I just got off the phone with them but all they could tell me (since it's still working) was to give it time to sort itself out (as it seems to be out of warranty) and keep an eye on any other messages that pop up.  So I'm playing a wait-and-see game.  *sigh* 

Monday, January 8, 2018

New year, new receiver!

Last night, I had to say goodbye to my original Dexcom G4 receiver.  I noticed that the mini USB cable port had come loose and was pushed into the receiver case.  I could no longer plug it in to charge or download my data, nor could I get the port to go back into place.  The receiver also became unresponsive, despite have plenty of battery left.  I pulled out my new Dexcom receiver and turned it on, then calibrated it with my current sensor/transmitter.  Today, I put on the purple sparkly PumpPeelz skin I had been saving. 
Old on top, new on bottom
I am back in business.  My old receiver lasted me from August 2014 until January 2018.  It still beeped and vibrated!  I was blessed to have it as long as I did...3 years and 5 months!  Here's to another 3.5 years with my new one! 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The side of diabetes most people don't see

There's a lot about diabetes you can't see.  It's an invisible illness, yes, but some parts of it are more tangible than others.  Most of you see the Dexcom sensor on my arm, or the Dexcom receiver in my pocket.  Or the glucometer and insulin syringes and vials I pull out of my purse.  Or the glucagon kit I have in 3 different locations.  You can see the graphs and charts and pictures of my daily blood sugar readings.  Diabetes is very much a physical battle.

But diabetes is also an internal battle, and very few people get to see that.  And only if I tell them.  
  • There's nerve damage that occurs when my blood sugar goes over 140 mg/dl.  You can't see it, but I can feel it.  It's like my fingers and toes are on fire.  Pins and needles. 
  • There's mental anguish when dealing with blood sugars that won't respond to insulin the way I want them to.  It's like the insulin is water, useless.  
  • There's frustration when I'm doing everything I can to manage my numbers and yet my A1C climbs up higher than I want it.     
Emotional breakdowns are still a part of my life.  They are less severe and less frequent than they used to be, but they are always going to be a part of my life.  Not only do I have 3 invisible diseases, I also happen to be an emotional, introverted woman and, while I don't try to hide things and keep my struggles bottled up like I used to, I still get overwhelmed with all the different aspects of my life.  Diabetes is 24/7/365.  No breaks, holidays, or paid time off.

The other night I had one such breakdown.  I was feeling particularly down about my numbers, frustrated that my insulin needs had mysteriously dropped one night and raised again the next night after.  I was angry at Dexcom for constantly alerting me that I was high.  I was tired of feeling like I was doing everything right, but had nothing to show for it.  I was worried I'd never be able to get my A1C down to where I wanted it, no matter what I did.  I was scared about my future, about the children we want to have someday.  I was so sick and tired of being overrun by emotional letdowns, I just couldn't hold in my tears any longer.  I'm so grateful my husband was more than happy to just hold me. 

Everyone is fighting a battle, and each battle is different.  We usually don't see the battles other people face unless we're walking alongside them but, sometimes even when we are, there are parts that remain invisible until they decide to bring them to light.  Some days are harder than others.
Let's try to remember we're all fighting different things and we all need comfort from someone in those times.  Diabetes may not control me, but that doesn't mean the emotional struggles aren't real.          

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Sudden Drop In Basal Rate

I've been taking 8 units of Levemir every 8 hours for the past 2 weeks or so and last night I'm glad I didn't bolus for dinner!
My basal needs dropped and I found myself watching Levemir cover my high protein meal of chicken and broccoli.
I dropped dose to 6 units Levemir at midnight and went down to 64 overnight (Dex woke me up). A little glucose brought me up to 94 and I dropped Levemir to 5 units at 8am.  After that, it seemed to be holding steady.
I've never seen this before but hopefully it's the start of improving my 6.7 a1c?  Or perhaps it's just female hormones trying to mess with me.  Either way, I was pleasantly surprised to not have to deal with blood sugar spikes overnight.

This is also a good reminder to keep an eye on how your blood sugar is reacting, even and especially when you're tempted to just continue what you're doing and throw your diabetes on the back burner.  Diabetes is like a child -- sometimes it cries for attention, and sometimes it's so quiet you begin to wonder what kind of trouble it is getting into.  It's up to YOU to keep an eye on it!

Monday, November 13, 2017

All Quiet on the Eye Front

Hubby and I had our eye doctor appointments today.

I don't know why, probably because of my higher A1C, but I was super worried about how my eyes were doing.  If you remember from last year, the doctor found that the blood vessels in my right eye had changed, but were nothing to really worry about nor did they need treatment.  This year, he found that my left eye looked clear, and my right eye was the same as the year before.  All clear!  "Keep up the good work and we'll see you next year!" 

My eyeglasses prescription has changed, though, which I figured had happened.  So since hubby and I both want new frames, we've decided to go ahead and get our new prescriptions filled!  We've had these old frames and lenses for about 5 years now so I think we're due!  Now we just have to figure out our money situation.    

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Lab Results and A1C

Yesterday, I received the results of the labs my holistic doctor ran.  These were primarily to assess my thyroid medication and A1C, along with my inflammatory and cardiovascular risk. 

Free T3:  3.2 (Range 2.0-4.4)
Reverse T3:  9.5 (Range 9-27)
Free T4:  0.8 (Range 0.8-1.8)
TSH:  0.38 (Range 0.45-4.5)
Total T3:  1.03 (Range 0.8-2.0)
Thyroid Peroxidase Antibody (Anti-TPO antibodies):  56 (Range 0-34)

Homocysteine:  6.1 (Range <15 p="">CRP, High Sensitivity:  1.5 (Range  <3 nbsp="" p="">Less than 1 = low risk
1-3 = Average risk
3.1-9.9 = High risk
Greater than 9.9 = Very high risk

Vitamin D:  101 (Range 80-100)
Ferritin:  90 (Range 10-291)
HBA1C:  6.7

Metabolic Panel

Glucose:  116  (Range 60-99)
Sodium:  139  (Range 135-145)
Potassium:  4.1  (Range 3.5-5.3)
Chloride:  100  (Range 96-106)
Carbon Dioxide:  29  (Range 21-31)
Urea Nitrogen (bun):  13  (Range 6-20)
Creatinine:  0.6  (Range 0.6-1.3)
Bun/Creat Ratio:  22  (Range 9-35)
Calcium:  8.8  (Range 8.5-10.5)
Total Protein:  6.6  (Range 6.4-8.3)
Albumin:  4.4  (Range 3.5-5.2)
Globulin:  2.2  (Range 1.8-3.3)
Albumin/Globulin Ratio:  2.0  (0.8-2.0)
Total Bilirubin:  0.3  (Range 0.3-1.2)
AST (SGOT):  14  (Range 13-40)
ALT (SGPT):  15  (Range 7-52)
Alkaline Phosphatase:  46  (Range 38-101)

He said everything looks good and, that since all of my thyroid levels are in range, he's okay with letting my TSH be low.  The only change he made was to cut out the red yeast rice he had prescribed as a natural statin, because it was the only thing that was keeping my blood sugars elevated (my A1C increased from 6.4 in June to 6.7, and he added the red yeast rice in June to see if it would help with my high cholesterol levels).  He said I am sensitive to statins, as they raise my BGs, and that I don't need them.  He expects my A1C to drop come January, and wants to know what the result is when I get it done again at my endo's office.         

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Diabetes is a Personal Disease

Three years ago, I wrote an article explaining my decision to not get a pump.  If you missed it, you can read it here.  I felt like I should write a follow-up post after reading a very inspiring Facebook post by a fellow diabetic, Caroline Levens.

Many people look at the picture she posted and think, "Why would you give yourself so many shots when you could just get a pump?"  The answer really isn't as simple as people think.

1.  Pumps aren't always the preference.
Believe it or not, some people don't like pumps.  Whether they hate being tethered to something or they don't like the inconvenience of having to change the infusion site every 3 days, or they don't want to deal with insurance headaches or pump malfunctions, some people don't like pumps.

2.  The method of insulin injection is not necessarily as important as receiving the injections.
If the pump works for you, great!  Stick with it!  If shots work better, great!  Stick with them!  Don't try to tell people they need to switch just because you like one over the other.  What works for you may not work for them.  You don't know their story.  Don't offer unsolicited suggestions if they seem happy with their choice.  In Caroline's case, she's not asking for pump suggestions.  She's showing us what a month of shots looks like, because that's her choice and she's happy with it.

3.  Just because she's taking more shots than YOU think is normal does not mean she's doing something wrong.
NEWSFLASH:  She's taking all those shots to keep her blood sugars normal and, if that's what it takes for her to achieve normal blood sugars, all the more power to her!  Don't go bashing people or accusing them of not being diabetic because they don't fit the "diabetic mold" that you've got preconceived in your head.  Diabetes is not a one-size-fits-all disease.  It is very much a personal disease, and everyone is going to manage it differently.  Don't go telling someone they aren't doing it right when they haven't expressed anything of the sort.      

I'm glad I chose to stick with shots.  That was the best decision for me.  I'm also happy that I chose to get a Dexcom.  I've been able to keep each sensor in over a week and it's been such a blessing.  I don't feel tethered to anything -- in fact, I feel freer!  The wireless aspect must be what makes the difference.

Do what works for you.  You deserve normal blood sugars.   

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

National Diabetes Awareness Month 2017

Today begins the month we seek to bring awareness to the metabolic condition known as diabetes.

I've covered several different aspects of diabetes over the years, so I've been racking my brain for a new angle.

I've been thinking a lot recently about commitment, satisfaction, empowerment, and control.  All of these things have become much bigger parts of my life while on a low carb diet and I wouldn't change anything.  I've become stronger, braver, and more determined to follow the course God has set for me while I walk the journey toward better health.  I am striving for these elements to become a part of other areas of my life because I've seen the benefits of implementing them on a daily or regular basis.  It hasn't been all rainbows and butterflies, I'll be honest, but it has been totally worth it.  I have the Lord and a low carb diet to thank, as well as the undying support and love of my family and friends in the diabetic community.   

On that note, I've been struggling with figuring out my insulin needs when it comes to covering protein with Regular insulin.  I'm eternally grateful for the TypeOneGrit community on Facebook that is so quick to offer support, encouragement, and suggestions for troubleshooting issues.  I don't know where I'd be without them.  I was able to determine that the protein/R ratio I was using wasn't quite enough.  I ended up doubling my dose (from 0.5 units of R per 1 oz of chicken to 1.0 unit of R per 1 oz of chicken) and saw much better results!
0.5 unit per 1 oz = a mess!  (both nights I tried this captured)
1.0 unit per 1 oz = smooth sailing!

Friday, October 6, 2017

My A1C History and Flatter Lines!

I'm due for another A1C test.  I hope I am back down in the 5s, especially since my thyroid meds have been working and my blood sugars have been improving.  These have been my numbers today:   
It feels so good to see flat lines again! 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

New Medical ID Bracelet

I came across this medical ID company on Facebook and decided to personalize a bracelet that totally fits me!

The paracord colors are royal blue and purple.  It was made by a Navy veteran.  I love how this company supports our troops with jobs! 

Thank you, Handmade by Heroes!  Thank you, Jimmy, for making my lovely bracelet and for serving our country!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Low Carb Frosty

The other night I was going to make my Chocolate Snowcream recipe but as I was measuring out the unsweetened vanilla almond milk, I discovered that it had gone bad.  Ugh.  So I improvised and got creative.  I think the results were pleasantly delicious!  The result was a thick, creamy dessert that tasted and behaved like a Frosty from Wendy's.

8 oz cream cheese
2 tbsp Pyure
2 tbsp Kroger baking cocoa
2 cups ice
3/4 cup water (or almond milk, if you prefer.  I didn't have any, obviously)

Blend the cream cheese, water/almond milk, Pyure, and cocoa power/vanilla extract.  Add the ice cubes after it is thick and creamy.  Makes 2-3 servings.

To make it vanilla, substitute vanilla extract for the cocoa powder.

New Transmitter

My new transmitter came yesterday.  I was only without my Dexcom for a day, so it wasn't too bad.  I am going to have to reorder more sensors, though, as the box I just got is almost gone.  I used to be able to get 3-4 weeks out of each sensor, but now I'm lucky if they last 2 weeks.  At least insurance completely covers them.

I was supposed to have my labs done this week with my holistic doctor, but a lack of funds made me reschedule for the end of October.  I will have them do an A1C test, since I'll most likely have to reschedule my appointment with Carrie for January due to our trip and a lack of available appointments with her.  I'm also looking around for home A1C tests, since Walmart has stopped carrying them in stock.  Rather annoying really, since I really liked being able to buy them in the store when I needed them.   

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Seeing Much Better Numbers

I'm very pleased and excited to be seeing more Dexcom graphs like this now:

 This is the magic number!
My next appointment with Carrie is scheduled for a month from now, but I will have to reschedule it due to a trip we want to take.  I am anxious to see what my A1C will be though.  Hopefully it will come down.  I also had to reorder a new transmitter for my Dexcom.  The battery alerted that it was low the other day.  I hope it gets here in time so that I'm not without my Dex.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Receiver Scare

Last night before bed, my receiver decided it would be fun to scare me.  Keep in mind, my receiver is 3 years old now.  Right as I was inputting my insulin for the night, the screen shut off and the buttons wouldn't make it respond.  I sat there for a minute, prepping myself to whip out my new receiver.  Was it really time to say goodbye to the receiver I'd had since the beginning?  My very first baby? 

An idea hit me and I grabbed a sewing pin out of my pin cushion on the table.  I used it to hit the reset button on the back of the receiver and it vibrated in my hand.  After a second, the screen showed that it was loading...

And it was resurrected!  Huzzah!  Not only that, but the data was all still there! 

Let's keep it going a little bit longer, Dex.  I'm not ready to say goodbye yet. 

Now let's see about these numbers...arg...

Thursday, September 7, 2017

We love Zevia!

I'd heard about Zevia on one of my diabetes Facebook groups but hadn't actively started looking for it until this past month.  I'm so glad I did!  We've both been missing root beer and cream soda, and of course I won't buy any of the brands with sugar in them!  I had heard that Bai had come out with these flavors, but they weren't in stock at our local Walmart. 

One day I was shopping at Kroger and happened to go down the aisle where the Zevia was.  I grabbed some to try and we've been hooked ever since!  No sugar, lots of taste!  And the cream soda and root beer are caffeine free!


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Nature-Throid Adventures

Friday was the beginning of our long-awaited, much needed vacation.  Hubby and I packed up and got everything loaded in the car for an extended weekend in the mountains of NC.  We had to make a quick stop at Walmart for my prescriptions, though, as I didn't have enough to last me.  The pharmacy assistant rang up my items and then had me step to the side to speak to the pharmacist about my prescription.  They do this every time I order a new prescription, but this wasn't supposed to be one of those times.  Or so I thought.

The pharmacist explained that my Nature-Throid was on company back order and they didn't have any in stock, so they swapped my prescription for Westhroid.  I explained that my doctor didn't want me to take the generic version unless he okayed them.  The pharmacist said he had okayed Westhroid, but he could call another pharmacy to see if they had the Nature-Throid in stock.  I told him that would be great, as I'd rather keep taking what I've been taking.  He called up the Walgreens across the street and found out they had some over there.  He transferred my prescription to them, had the assistant refund my money, and I hopped back in the car.  After a few minutes of waiting for them to get it ready for me, we were finally on our way!

I'll most likely have to have Walgreens refill it for me.  It's so odd that my prescription is for a 15-day quantity instead of 30.  They give me 30 pills and I'm taking 2 a day.  The Walgreens pharmacist also thought this was weird, but maybe it's because it's a new prescription and Dr. Goodyear is just having me test it out first before giving me a bigger supply?  It's only $4 each time.  Would still be nice to have more on hand, though.

I almost feel like the Nature-Throid is helping my blood sugars come down.  It's only been a month and a half since I started taking it, but my numbers this morning seemed to be lower.  My basal is still about the same, at 7 units of Levemir every 8 hours.  It's been like this for about a month.  Usually I fluctuate all over the place.  It's been nice but also frustrating as it's like playing a waiting game.  Seeing results now?  I hope so!    

Monday, July 31, 2017

Strength in Weakness

"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."  - 2 Corinthians 12:9

I used to be ashamed of my weakness, to mask my struggles with a happy face.  I thought putting on a brave face was the best way to make sure my burdens were only shouldered by me.  No one else needed to be weighed down by them.  They were mine to bear, mine alone.  

Except they weren't.

They aren't.  They're too much for me, even now.  

I am weak, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.  

Weakness is not bad.  Weakness is normal.  Weakness is being human - at least, in this fallen world, it is.  In the next life, when we are perfect, our weaknesses will be no more.  But for now, they are present.  

And God's grace is enough to see us through all the weaknesses we have. 

Truth be told, I've been feeling particularly weak lately.  The past few months that I've been struggling with my blood sugars have been really weighing me down.  Between feeling like I've been failing to take care of myself and struggling to stay on top of all of my other responsibilities, I've realized just how hard I've been on myself.  

I blamed myself when my blood sugars roller-coastered out of control - but it wasn't my fault.  It wasn't my fault that my thyroid prescription was changed, and ultimately skewed my hard work.  

I'm so blessed to have a husband who is willing to share my burdens, and can see things about me that I can't see.  Last night when I was feeling particularly down, he reminded me of what my holistic doctor said at my last visit when he was going over my thyroid results.  He said, "I'm surprised that you're still awake and functioning with lab results like these.  It's a testament to how strong you are."

Strong?  I've been feeling like a failure, and yet somehow I'm being called strong.  
Because I pushed through when my body wasn't functioning right?  
Because I have stuck to my guns, I've got grit?  
Because I haven't stopped eating low carb, even though I'm discouraged and feel like I'm on a low carb roller coaster?
Because I haven't given up on taking care of myself, even though it feels like I still can't get things right sometimes?

Strength isn't just a matter of physical power.  It's not just about muscles.  It's about determination.  It's about will-power.  It's about spirit.  It's about resolve.  It's about surrendering yourself.  It's about resting in God's grace to get you through when you're too weak to carry on.  It's about not doing things in your own strength, because we are nothing without God.  We can't live, we can't breathe, without Him holding us up.  The only way I see that I've been strong is by trusting in God's power to see me through every moment of every day.  My physical body is broken, weak, barely functioning.  He's the only thing that's been keeping me going.

And I'm okay to be weak if He is my strength.  His strength is the only strength I need.  It is sufficient for me.  More than sufficient.  

Don't be afraid, little lamb.  The Good Shepherd will protect you and guide you beside still waters.  He will comfort you and lead you on paths of righteousness, for His name's sake.  Goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life, and you'll dwell in the house of the Lord forever.   

Monday, July 24, 2017

Lemon Butter Tuna Steaks

Last night's dinner was so good (minus the high overnight blood sugars!).  We had tuna steaks marinated in butter and lemon juice, with a side of cheesy broccoli.  Even hubby liked the tuna!

I made a pound of tuna steaks (1/3 pound each) sprinkled with onion powder, garlic powder, and dill weed, with 2 tbsp Kerrygold unsalted butter and 1.5 - 2 cups of lemon juice.  I baked them in a glass Pyrex dish at 400 F for 35 minutes.  They came out perfect! 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Getting More Answers

As y'all probably know, I got my thyroid and cholesterol levels back this morning.  My holistic doctor is amazing, and gave me the good news with the bad while also making me feel hopeful.

First things first:  My thyroid.

Apparently in mid-February, after my last appointment with Dr. Goodyear, my pharmacy switched my thyroid meds from Armour Thyroid to the generic brand, NP thyroid.  This seems to have really messed with all of my numbers, as my thyroid levels are now way out of whack, as if my thyroid doesn't even exist!

Reverse T3 came back at 7.5 (Low.  Range = 9-27)
TSH was 43.01 (High.  Range 0.45-4.5)
Free T4 was 0.5 (Low.  Range 0.8-1.8)
Thyroid Peroxidase antibodies were 60 (High - went up a few points.  Range 0-34)
Free T3 was 1.9 (Low.  Range 2.0-4.4)

Dr. Goodyear explained that generic brands are not consistently formulated, meaning that different labs make them with slightly different formulas every time.  He prescribed me a new thyroid medication that hasn't been known to have differences or issues with reliability, Nature Throid.  If my pharmacy tries to give me a generic brand, I'm going to have to make sure to fight them and call Dr. Goodyear.

So, because my thyroid is out of whack, my cholesterol and blood sugars are also out of whack.  Turns out I'm not fighting insulin resistance like I thought, as my LP-IR score came back at < 25 (range < 45).

As far as cholesterol goes, I have high cholesterol but good HDL and Triglycerides.

LDL particle number was 3354 HIGH (range < 1000)
LDL cholesterol, calculated was 322 HIGH (range 0 - 99)
HDL-C was 73 (in range > 40)
Triglycerides was 99 (in range 0 - 149)
Total cholesterol was 415 HIGH (range 100 - 199)
HDL-particle number was 24.9 HIGH (range > 30.5)
Small LDL-particle number was < 90 (range < 527)
LDL size was 22.3 (range > 20.5)
Large VLDL-P was < 0.8 (range = < 2.7)
Large HDL-P was 13.7 (range > 4.8)
HDL size was 10.2 (range > 9.2)

So, for lowering the cholesterol, Dr. Goodyear prescribed a new garlic supplement, as well as Vit K2, red yeast rice, and CoQMax Ubiquinol, along with my other supplements minus biotin.  He also said to eat fish 4x a week, cut back on red meat (beef in particular) and chicken/turkey, and to maybe try to add legumes, peas, and beans.  They are higher in carbs though so I don't know if I'll actually add those to my diet or not.

While I am worried about my cholesterol being so high and the risk of cardiovascular events is now higher than it used to be, he made me feel much better when he said that the cholesterol numbers will come down with a thyroid medication that actually works and these natural and gentle "statin" like supplements.  I should also see my blood sugars return to normal, and that will also help bring down the inflammation that is causing so many issues.

Please keep me in your prayers as I work to turn things around.  I know God's got me and everything under control, but this has been such an uphill battle and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with everything I have going on.    

Monday, July 17, 2017

Magnesium: The Key to Fighting Insulin Resistance

I made a keto electrolyte drink this week and then a diabetic friend posted this article:

I knew magnesium was an important mineral but I had no idea it affected insulin sensitivity so much, not to mention all the other functions it plays in our bodies!  Magnesium deficiency is often overlooked, and I don't think it's hard to figure out why.  Our modern diet is almost completely devoid of good sources and actually plays a role in depleting our magnesium stores. 

So what is magnesium and why is it so important?

Magnesium is a vital mineral that plays a role in many bodily functions, including:
1.  increasing energy levels
2.  calming nerves
3.  quieting a racing mind and improving sleep
4.  improving digestion and relieving constipation
5.  relieving muscle aches and spasms
6.  regulating potassium and calcium levels
7.  supporting heart health, including blood pressure
8.  preventing migraine headaches
9.  preventing osteoporosis

It is also necessary for the function and manufacture of insulin.  I had no idea that it is responsible for transporting insulin into our cells where it is needed.  In other words, it helps insulin unlock the cells so that glucose can be metabolized.  Magnesium prevents the cells from becoming insulin resistant!

I seem to be struggling with a little bit of insulin resistance every now and then, especially at different times of the month.  Now that I've started adding this keto electrolyte drink to my diet, I am curious to see how much it helps my struggle with higher blood sugars during times of insulin resistance due to hormones.  I certainly feel more relaxed when drinking the KED (keto electrolyte drink) but I will keep an eye on the rest of my health and see where else I notice changes.


Tomorrow I get the results of my thyroid and cholesterol lab work back.  I'll be sure to update here when I know more!