Sunday, May 31, 2015

Something New

I am very excited to start something new in my diabetes care regimen.  Since joining a small handful of Diabetes groups on Facebook, I have gained new insight into ways I can smooth out blood sugars while on MDIs (multiple daily injections)...and it totally makes sense! 

For years (minus the years I was on an insulin pump) I have always taken two daily injections of Levemir (long-acting insulin).  This was always prescribed by my endos and I never thought about doing things differently because they told me that the insulin was supposed to be taken every 12 hours.  (And good little girls always listen to their doctors, don'tchaknow?)

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I recently saw another member of one of my groups talk about how she takes 3 smaller injections of Levemir every day and, after noticing that my blood sugars always rise before I'm due for another shot, I asked her  how I would go about doing what she does to smooth out my small unwanted blood sugar rises.  She explained that your dosage depends on your weight and gave me the amounts of Levemir and times of the day that she takes her injections.  I've decided to try taking my shots at slightly later times than she does since I don't seem to have dawn phenomenon (when your blood sugar rises during the early hours of the morning).  She also gave me a helpful link to a website that explains how to do basal checks, which I intend to do more of to make sure everything is correct.

Based on my current injection doses, here's what the change would look like:
13 units at noon
9 units at midnight

9 + 13 = 22 / 3 = 7.3

7 units at 12am 
7 units at 8am
7 units at 4pm

This means that instead of taking 2 injections of 13 and 9, I would take 3 injections of 7 units every 8 hours.  Based on my weight, I could even go as low as 3 injections of 3 units each.  I would of course do basal checks/experiments to make sure I am taking the right amount.  A rise or fall of 30 mg/dl would indicate not enough or too much insulin in my basal for that time frame. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Crazy Stories

"Diabetes can sure bring some crazy moments.  So tell us your Top 3 craziest D related stories!  If you can't think of three, don't worry.  We're just as happy with one or two..."
I don't remember exactly when it was, but I know I was traveling with my family somewhere on a very long car ride.  I was laying on one of the back seats of our van getting ready to take a nap because I was tired.  I had this quick thought that I should test my blood sugar and I'm so glad I did!  When that 34 mg/dl popped up on the screen, I freaked.  I dove over the seat into the way back of our van where we had a cooler with snacks.  I popped open a can of soda and guzzled it down as fast as I could.  The scary thing was that I couldn't feel my blood sugar dropping while the car was in motion, even though I was sensitive to lows.  I'd never been that low in my life, and thankfully I've only ever been that low 1 or 2 times since.

Lows have a bad habit of coming at the worst possible times.  Just the other night I was putting my baby niece and nephew to bed when I checked my Dexcom.  It said I was 70 and dropping so I checked my blood sugar on my glucometer.  It came back at 56 mg/dl, and my first thought was, "Not right now!"  I was shaky and holding my niece, so I had my husband run and grab me some sugar cubes.  Thankfully, it came up quickly and held steady.

Another example of bad timing came just the other week during the middle of the night.  I woke up to my Dexcom telling me I was 70.  I tested and was 68 or so.  I took 2 sugar cubes to bring me up into the 80s and waited for the sugar to kick in.  An hour of watching my Dexcom showed no blood sugar rise, so I tested again, and took 2 more sugar cubes.  I waited another hour with no sleep and saw no increase, so I tested a third time and took 2 more sugar cubes (trying really hard NOT to over do it on the sugar correction!) and watched as it finally went up.  It was really frustrating missing 2 - 3 hours of sleep but sometimes diabetics have to do what diabetics have to do.    

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Diabetes Blog Week - Continuing Connections

"The very first inspiration for Diabetes Blog Week was to help connect our blogging community, and that continues to be the most important reason it's held every year.  So let's help foster and continue those connections as we wrap up another Dblog Week.  Share a link to a new blog you've found or a new friend you've made.  Or pick a random blog off of the Participant's List, check it out and share it with us.  Let's take some time today to make new friends."
There are a few new diabetic bloggers that I've started following since before and after Diabetes Blog Week and I'm delighted to share them with y'all.
  1. Megan at Type 1 Diabetes Warrior
  2. Hallie (& Sweets) at The Princess and the Pump 
  3. Allison at The Blood Sugar Whisperer
  4. Tamsin at Type 1 Diabeater
  5. Laura at A1Conceive

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Diabetes Blog Week - Favorites and Motivations

"If you have been blogging for a while, what is your favorite sentence or blog post that you have ever written?  Is it diabetes related or just life related?  If you are a new blogger and don't have a favorite yet, tell us what motivated you to start sharing your story by writing a blog?"

For today's Diabetes Blog Week topic, I'm excited to be able to share my favorite blog post again.  It's only been 6 months since I wrote it, but all the words still ring true. 


Looking Forward to the Eternal Cure

Ever since I was little and diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, I've been told by some people that they wish they could take my Diabetes away. 

I know they meant well, they were trying to comfort me, but you know what?  I don't ever want to be "comforted" by this phrase again. 

Don't tell me you wish you could take away the very thing that saved my life.

Yup, Diabetes saved my life.  I didn't realize it until I turned 18, after I'd thrown myself into a fit of anger and depression.  I turned my back on God because I couldn't understand why He would allow me to have such an awful disease. 

Of course I didn't understand.  I was a naive little girl.  I've grown up now and I've done a lot of learning and growing.  I can see now that Diabetes is the very tool that God used to show me my need for a Savior.  And I don't want it taken away for anything.  I'm glad I have Diabetes.  I'm glad I have Celiac.  I'm glad I have hypothyroidism. 

Having a broken body keeps me humble and meek.  It helps me focus on God as my source of strength.  It reminds me that I am nothing without Him.  I am NOT self-sufficient.  I am NOT self-reliant.  I am NOT the center of the Universe. 

My trials, pains, and frustrations are for my good and His glory.  It's taken me years...YEARS, to learn this.  But I am grateful that these lessons were part of His plan for me.  He made me this way and He did it for my good, for my salvation.

Every trial has a purpose. Every setback has a reason. Every health issue keeps us humbly reliant on the One who created us. Our lives are about more than overcoming these obstacles; our lives are about glorifying God through them.

 It has taken me 18 years to come to this be able to say that I want to glorify God with every step I take as I work to manage my invisible illnesses. Diabetes, Celiac, and hypothyroidism do not define or identify me; they are merely a part of me. And yet, only for a fleeting moment, for they too shall pass and I will have the eternal cure for all 3 of them.

What will remain will be my True Identity, which is found in nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Diabetes Blog Week - Foods on Friday

"Taking a cue from Adam Brown's recent post, write a post documenting what you eat in a day!  Feel free to add links to recommended recipes/shops/whatever.  Make it an ideal day or a come-as-you-are day – no judgments either way."

Food.  Always a hot topic, especially for diabetics.  I was looking back at some of my old blood sugar logs from 2009 and I couldn't believe the numbers I was seeing, coupled with carbohydrate grams up the wazoo.  I was eating 200-300 carbs a day, I'm sure, and my blood sugars were constantly in the 200s, 300s, 400s, and some were too high for my glucometer to register.  It was suicidal.  No wonder I felt so awful all the time.  It was a lost cause.

Until I became a LCHF advocate.

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Sadly, I've gotten some unhelpful/uneducated responses to my low carb diet approach, like, "If you're not eating carbs, I don't know what you're eating!"

Um, foods without carbs!  My meals nowadays are not only filling but they taste great, too. 

*gasp*  Foods can taste great without carbs?! 

You betcha!

Not only that, but I also have a tremendous amount of energy!  Has anyone connected the dots yet?  It's really a vicious cycle...

Carbs make you gain weight...weight gain makes you feel lethargic...
Cut the carbs, lose weight, and get your energy back!
Anyway, onto the foods I eat.  Here's what a typical day looks like:

1 of the following for Breakfast:
Hard-boiled eggs, topped with white cheddar cheese seasoning
Scrambled eggs with cheese (with melted butter)
1 cup low carb Fage Greek yogurt (9g carbs per cup), topped with pecans or sometimes raspberries

1 of the following for Lunch/Brunch: (If I wake up too late for breakfast and combine the meal with lunch)
Meat rolls (deli sliced roast beef in a slice of Havarti cheese)  I usually have 2-3 of these...4 if I'm really hungry.  
Salad with shredded lettuce, pickles, black olives, tomato, roast beef shavings, shredded cheddar cheese, vinegar, and oil

1 of the following for Dinner:  
Scrambled eggs with cheese (if I'm lazy or want something quick and easy)
Lemon chicken, baked or stove-top cooked with lemon juice, onion powder, dill weed
Italian chicken, baked with Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder
Salmon, baked with lemon juice, onion powder, dill weed, and butter
Steak, grilled or baked with red wine vinegar, onion powder, garlic powder, Italian seasoning (dipped in A1, of course)
Crockpot Ranch Cheddar Chicken - chicken made in the crockpot with Ranch dressing mix, mustard powder, salt, pepper, water, and topped with sour cream and cheddar cheese

I almost always have the meat portion with broccoli cooked with butter

Snacks & desserts:
Strawberries & raspberries
Cheese sticks
Pecans (one of my new favorite munchies - 20g fat, 4g carbs, and 3g protein per 1/4 cup [roughly a handful])
Luigi's Italian Ice cup (20g carbs)
Low carb peanut butter cookie made with peanut butter, eggs, vanilla, stevia, butter
Low carb gluten-free cheesecake made with cream cheese, stevia, eggs, vanilla

Water with fresh lemon squeezed into it
Silk's Unsweetened AlmondCoconut milk blend (less than 1g carb per cup!)

You can find some of these recipes on my household blog, if you are interested. 

Overnight Basal Experiment: Night 12

10:51pm:  9 units Levemir
12:15am:  113
8:29am:  127

 photo 5-15-15 experiment_zpswihjyjvy.jpg

I am thrilled - no, FLOORED - at how well my numbers stayed steady overnight!  I kept waking up during the night to check my Dexcom and a straight steady line met my eyes every time.  THAT is what I want to see on a regular basis!  I feel really good about 9 units!  It helped that I was able to keep my blood sugars steady starting at 4pm yesterday and went to bed with an awesome number!  I also gave my Levemir a little bit early to prevent the little spike I usually get when it wears off just before midnight.  That really worked well.  :)  So, if 9 is my magic number, that means I've lowered my basal by almost 31%!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Diabetes Blog Week - Changes

"Today let's talk about changes, in one of two ways.  Either tell us what you'd most like to see change about diabetes, in any way.  This can be management tools, devices, medications, people's perceptions, your own feelings – anything at all that you feel could use changing.  OR reflect back on some changes you or your loved one has seen or been through since being diagnosed with diabetes.  Were they expected or did they surprise you?"

I feel strongly about diabetes management, and I certainly want to see EVERYTHING the doctors and endocrinologists TEACH about diabetes management change. 
  1. I want high carb, low fat diet education to be eradicated from doctor and nutritionist offices and replaced with low carb, high fat diet education.  
  2. I want CGMs like the Dexcom G4 Platinum to be more widely advocated, especially for Type 1s and those with the inability to feel low/high blood sugars.
  3. I want endocrinologists to test for thyroid issues and gluten sensitivities/Celiac disease, as well as Vitamin D deficiencies.  
  4. I want a single, universal A1C chart to be adopted and used so that doctors and patients are all on the same page.
  5. I want doctors and endocrinologists to encourage their patients to aim for non-diabetic blood sugar levels (83 mg/dl).
  6. I want people to stop assuming that Type 1 diabetes can be cure or reversed by eating a certain way.  My pancreas is dead.  Dead is dead, unless the Lord so decides to resurrect it.  Type 1 is for life.  It is not Type 2, which can possibly be reversed if the right steps are taken in time.  It is also not gestational diabetes, which is only present during pregnancy.
  7. I want people to understand that Type 1 is NOT caused by eating too much sugar.  It is an autoimmune disease caused by an attack on the beta cells in the pancreas by my own body.
  8. I want insurance companies to cover any and all medical supplies/medications needed by diabetics.  No IFs, ANDs, or BUTs.  No preferred medication lists, either!     

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Diabetes Blog Week - Clean it Out

"Yesterday we kept stuff in, so today let's clear stuff out.  What is in your diabetic closet that needs to be cleaned out?  This can be an actual physical belonging, or it can be something you're mentally or emotionally hanging on to.  Why are you keeping it and why do you need to get rid of it?" 
I think I have both physical belongings and emotional/mental belongings to clean out.  The physical belongings would be:
  1. Multiple old glucometers that I no longer use or have test strips for.  I'm not sure whether to keep them or sell them/give them away.  
  2. A stuffed panda bear given to me by my very first diabetic friend 19 years ago.  I'm keeping him for sentimental reasons.  He helps me remember I'm not alone in the world.
  3. My old Deltec Cozmo Insulin Pump, because I don't know what to do with it.  It was an expensive piece of medical equipment, but it's probably worthless now.
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As for emotional/mental belongings, there are days and there will always be days when my emotions run wild and doubts creep in.  There are still days when I am vulnerable to the lies that say I can't do it, that I should just give up, that it's too hard.  There are days when I burst into tears because my numbers aren't doing what I want them to do and I don't know why.  

I've cleaned out the emotional baggage from years ago when I suffered from several stages of diabetes-related grief, including denial, anger, and depression.  I look back on my old self and realize how far I've come, how much progress I've made, and I don't want to go back to those old ways.  I am even different from the way I was 1 1/2 - 2 years ago.  

Speaking of which, I suppose the biggest piece of mental baggage I have that I need to get rid of is a fear that I've been slowly chipping away at, loosening its hold on my success drive piece by piece, for over 2 years. 

How can I some day handle pregnancy with diabetes when I can’t even handle my diabetes?

I don't need to keep this fear; it only hinders me.  I need to let go of this fear if I'm ever going to move forward.  I've already seen that I am capable of handling my diabetes, and I now know I can!  Two years can make a big difference and, ever since I first admitted that this was my biggest fear and grabbed the bull by the horns, I've felt this fear slip out of my hands and break into a million pieces.  I have only God to give the glory for shining His life-giving light and truth into my life, and for sending me on a journey to find the answers I needed.  

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Diabetes Blog Week - Keep it to Yourself

"Many of us share lots of aspects of our diabetes lives online for the world to see.  What are some of the aspects of diabetes that you choose to keep private from the internet?  Or from your family and friends?  Why is it important to keep it to yourself?
(This is not an attempt to get you out of your comfort zone.  There is no need to elaborate or tell personal stories related to these aspects.  Simply let us know what kinds of stories we will never hear you tell, and why you won't tell them.)"
While I feel like blogging about my diabetes ups and downs has helped me open up a great deal more than I ever have before, there are definitely things that I still keep to myself.  I've always been a quiet, reserved person.  I've never been one to spill my guts (diabetes-related or otherwise) to people, even close family and friends - let alone the whole internet! 

So, today's topic is interesting...what sorts of diabetes things have I kept to myself and will never blog about on here?
  1. Intimate things only my husband is privy to know.  What happens in the bedroom stays in the bedroom.  
  2. Certain fears related to diabetes.  Most, if not all, fears are born from a lack of trust in God, and they do not need to show their ugly faces.
  3.  Anything I feel doesn't need to be said.
Like I said, I feel like blogging about my diabetes has helped to open up more, as well as to help me keep track of my care and motivate me to continue down this path of good diabetes care.  Writing has always helped me understand and process what I'm going through so I see no end to my blogging in general.  While others may not have a problem sharing things I placed on this list, I will not be outspoken about them.

Monday, May 11, 2015

2015 Diabetes Blog Week - I CAN

Today kicks off the 6th annual Diabetes blog week and I am thrilled to be able to jump in with my blog this year!  Today's topic is I CAN, so I'm excited to share the BIGGEST thing I never thought I'd be able to do.

I've had Type 1 Diabetes for almost 19 years and, as many of my closest relatives and friends know, I've always struggled with high blood sugars and high A1Cs.  I never thought I could ever have "normal" blood sugars - they were just impossible to reach.  I was put on a high carb, low fat diet, and my A1C stayed in the 10, 11, 12, and even 13% range for years.  My blood sugars never seemed to do what I wanted them to do, and it never made sense why they would spike and jump around no matter how much I tried to do what was right. 

After getting my Dexcom G4 Platinum in August 2014 and finally being able to see what my blood sugars were doing, I realized just how much I needed to choke up on my diabetes care.  I lacked the discipline and motivation for keeping a tight leash on my numbers, and my Dexcom gave me the eyes to see just how much I needed that motivation and discipline if I wanted to get my numbers where they needed to be.  My other ultimate motivation was good health for long life and healthy pregnancies.  So in January 2015, I really choked up on my care.  I went in search of a better way to keep my blood sugars steady - in a good range - and I found lots of other diabetics who were following a low carb, high fat diet that was recommended by Dr. Richard Bernstein.  I immediately started cutting out carbs and finally was able to buy his book, Diabetes Solution, which I am still reading through. 

Since May 2014, I have seen an amazing improvement in my A1C (my A1C has dropped from 11.1 to 8.3 in 8 months according to my endo's calculations.  Dr. B follows a slightly different chart that says I've dropped from 10.0 to 7.6), and I am thrilled to see that I CAN have normal blood sugars, and I CAN have steady blood sugars with strict discipline and motivation and encouragement from loved ones driving me.  I have just as much right to normal blood sugars as non-diabetics, so I'm NEVER going to believe the horrible lie that I can't have normal blood sugars again.

And guess what?

YOU CAN have normal blood sugars too! 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Overnight Basal Experiment: Night 11

Night 11
Testing 9 units of Levemir

(I splurged a little on chocolate and marshmallows - bad Rae-Rae!)
10:08pm: 185
12:46am:  214 (9 units of Levemir, new Dexcom sensor)
2:40am:  201
9:44am:  159 (1.5 unit correction)
11:26am:  82

 photo 5-9-15 experiment_zpsmr8lmvyt.jpg

Even though my number was in the 200-160 range overnight, it looks like it barely fluctuated.  And after I gave that 1.5 unit correction, it has leveled off and stayed in my target range! 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Overnight Basal Experiment: Night 10

Night 10
Testing 9 units of Levemir

To say last night was rough might be an understatement.  I seriously spent over 2 hours waiting for my low blood sugar to rise.  I'd had a stubborn low during the afternoon as well, and my theory is that maybe the cinnamon supplements I've been taking have something to do with it.  I'll have to try again tonight without the cinnamon and see what happens. 

11:26pm:  118 (no correction, 9 units of Levemir)
3:40am:  73 (Dexcom LOW 65 alert woke me up; 2g carbs)
4:32am:  65 (6g carbs)
4:57am:  (6g carbs)
5:55am:  77
10:00am:  122

I'm changing my Dexcom sensor again today, moving it from my right leg back over to my left leg.  I tried to restart it today and it gave me the ??? alert, so I'm done with it.  Most of the adhesive was gone anyway.