Monthly Archives: February 2011

Frosty the Snow Wimp

Yesterday morning was a disaster. I was supposed to run 16 km, but when the alarm went off at 5:50, and Mario went downstairs to check the highway webcams and saw a not-yet plowed path of snow, it was determined I would not be running with my favourite running chicks. I went back to bed, got up two hours later and had full intentions of getting on the Skytrain and going out to the Seawall, but upon checking the state of the sidewalks and seeing packed snow that looked like it could be slippery snow, especially with the incoming slush, it was determined my Seawall plans weren’t safe plans. What the heck? I knew there was no way I could run on the dreadmill for 16 km, the most I’ve run on there was 12 km and that just about killed me, so the 16 km had to be sacrificed. Damn you snow!

Instead, I did my first ever bricks workout combining two indoor activities I try to avoid at all costs: The Dreadmill and The Trainer.

YESTERDAY’S DREADMILL:

  • 10:15 a.m. BG before: 6.6 (granola bar, no bolus)
  • Temp. basal: -50 per cent
  • Distance: 5.2 km
  • Average Pace: 6:43 min/km
  • Time: 35 minutes

YESTERDAY’S TRAINER:

  • 11 a.m. BG before: 7.8 (piece of French salt chocolate = yum!)
  • Temp. basal (kept it the same) -50 per cent
  • Time: 55 minutes (an episode of True Blood)
  • 12:15 p.m. BG after: 6.2

And while I’m trying to take Mario’s words of wisdom that missing this one long distance run won’t kill me, won’t impede my training, won’t set me back, I’ve got the fitness, I got a whole lot of extra cross-training in on the weekend and this week I’ll be back at it. But that nasty little demon who likes to hang out on my shoulder keeps calling me a wimp – especially when I know two of my favourite running chicks didn’t wimp out and kicked the snow’s butt yesterday morning!

Do you think missing a 16 km run in week 6 of marathon training is detrimental?

Later in the day, we headed over to our friends to watch the Oscars. Mario and I have long prided ourselves on seeing as many of the Oscar contenders as we can before the show, and while he beat me out this year going to see a few of the movies without me (but I’m not bitter, oh no) I still saw a good portion of them, and had a good grasp on which were worthy and which were just added padding (True Grit, bah!). And so you’d think I’d also have a good handle picking out the winners for the Oscar pool right (we get right into it with ballots and even had Black Swan wine :D) Wrong.

I think the problem with seeing so many of the movies is that I get really attached to the ones I really like causing me to vote from the heart … like for Best Movie, I went for the dark horse pick of Winter’s Bone. Excellent movie. And for best supporting actress I picked Jackie Weaver for Animal Kingdom. Also, an excellent movie. And yes, I picked Natalie Portman because she was amazing in Black Swan and Christian Bale because he was The Fighter, but I snubbed my nose up at The Social Network because while I thought it was good, I didn’t think it was Oscar worthy, and I thought it had way too much hype, and I thought the same for True Grit, and I was screwed for The King’s Speech because that was one of the movies I wanted to see, but Mario went without me (again, so not bitter). And in the end, my love and attachment to certain movies like Black Swan and Winter’s Bone and Harry Potter totally kicked me in the butt when it came to winning the ballot votes. Our friend’s son, who’d seen like one of the movies on the list, won! I lost. But whatever, I saw the movies!

Do you watch the Oscars? Did anyone else think the female fashion was seriously lacking this year?

127 hours sans amputation

Who says you can’t go shopping in the middle of a run? Not me, oh nooo 😉

So I had planned on running on Friday to make up for missing Wednesday’s run, and had even changed into my running gear and was just about to leave the house when my blood sugars got in the way. After struggling for nearly 2 weeks with high blood sugars, they finally came down – a lot. With a 3.1 BG, I ate a few sugar tablets and a granola bar for insurance, and waited … and waited … and waited. But those darn blood sugars, they were stubborn, and before I knew it, the daylight hours were fast fading. The run was a no go.

So, that left Saturday. But because Saturdays are usually my rest days, it was somewhat difficult to get my butt out the door. I needed an incentive. Hmm, I thought, the Lululemon factory outlet store is about the halfway mark for a 10 km run = incentive. Now, generally I’m not a Lululemon fan; I don’t like their prices and I don’t like how they don’t much cater to girls with ghetto booties curves like mine. But last week one of my favourite running chicks who lives in “Lulu” was wearing these super cute pants that weren’t super tight and I thought those would work for me. And so, Saturday morning, with snow pelting me in the eyes, I ran to Lululemon.

You’d think I’d be a star walking into that store with a runner’s glow right, I mean it is a store of athletic wear after all, but no, I got some serious stares. It was as though my sweat was contagious! But, I walked away happy, new pants wrapped in my fuel belt, $20 cheaper than I would have paid in the real store. Mission accomplished.

YESTERDAY’S RUN:

  • 10 a.m. BG before: 8.8 (1/2 granola bar, no bolus)
  • Temp basal: -50 per cent
  • Distance: 10 km
  • Average pace: 6:16 km/hr
  • Average heart rate: 165 bpm
  • Time: 103:14
  • 12 p.m. BG after: 8.5

The run wasn’t my only exercise. A few weeks back I was connected with Olympic rower Chris Jarvis, who also has Type 1 and who runs the non-profit organization I Challenge Diabetes, which hosts a variety of events/activities for us diabetics. He invited me to an upcoming rock climbing event at Cliffhanger Gym in Coquitlam. I got to be honest, I was so incredibly freaked out by the notion. While I was a great climber as a kid, and loved monkeying up the trees with my big brothers, I almost always had issues with the down. On several occasions my dad had to put the hero hat on. And, uhm, hello James Franco, need I say more? But I was also really intrigued with being around other like-minded diabetics, so I kicked my scaredy cat to the curb and embraced my inner kid.

Oh my gosh, I cannot believe how much fun I had. I was climbing, and pulling myself up higher and higher, and using my limbs for leverage, and shimmying up against the wall, and getting stuck and then unstuck. And sure I was shaking to beat all hell to begin with and was somewhat untrustworthy of the dude holding my rope in place, and only twice did I let go of the ropes with both hands to rest for a bit, and only after much coercing from everyone down on the ground. But my gawd, it was great fun. I woke up this morning with bruises all over my knees and shins, and even a lump, and achy arms. It’s like war wounds! And when I climbed to the top of the “chimney” (oh yeah, I got the lingo) a narrow wall that was crazy hard in some spots, the sense of accomplishment I had touching the chain was like … butterflies 😀

I wasn’t as crazy as Chris though. There was no way I was attempting this:

There was actually only three of us there for the adult portion of the event, myself, Chris and his buddy Steven who also has Type 1. After the two hours, we sat for a bit and talked about the disease and how we each work it with our sports, and the different things we do to make it all work, etc., etc. And it was really cool, because it’s not every day I can share notes with like-minded diabetics, in fact, it’s very rare.

Have you ever gone rock climbing?

Operation Blood Sugar fail

And the drama continues. So you know how excited/relieved I was a couple of days ago to discover that maybe I’d been drawing my insulin out wrong, which could have been the reason for of all these nasty high blood sugars I’ve recently been experiencing, which meant that it could be fixed, and I’d soon have those much-desired, oh-so-perfect blood sugars again. Well, after two more days of bad blood sugars, I’m really starting to believe that maybe, just maybe, it’s not me that’s the problem at all.

And so, this morning when I woke up with an in-your-face BG of 16.7, I went into Operation Blood Sugar mode.

Normally my days consist of three meals, plus a whole lot of snacks: 1 to 2 snacks in the morning, 1 to 2 snacks after lunch, and 1 snack/dessert after dinner (what can I say, I love food :D) but today I went snackless to see how long it took for my meal bolus/BG correction to bring down my blood sugars or if it did anything at all (And let me just say, a hungry girl is the equivalent of a spurned girl … apparently I was a little, uhm, snappish. I was starving!). I tested my blood sugars every hour. At 9:30 (2.5 hours after breakfast) they were 14.4. At 10:30, they were 12.4. At 11:30, they were 11.7. At 12:30, they were back up to 12.8. Awesome. I had my regular lunch to which I have the exact carb counts for) and gave myself yet another BG correction on top of my carb bolus. At 2:30, my blood sugars were 14.6. At 3:30, they were 13.2. At 4:30, they were 12.7.

It was time to give Animas another call. Not like it did me much good though. They don’t seem to want to believe the problem could be anything but me. The woman I talked to today asked me a ton of questions (Am I pregnant? Am I getting my period? (sorry if that’s TMI folks, but she asked) Am I on any new meds? Am I eating any new foods? Am I stick thin? (yes, she did actually ask that) Are my infusion sites irritated? Are my infusion sites leaking? etc., etc..) And my response was a continuous no. She didn’t go through the pump settings as the rep I talked to on Tuesday had done that already. She asked if my site areas had scar tissue, to which I said no, I’m pretty diligent about rotating them. But because I told her I pretty much stick to my abdomen, hips and back, she found an in. It must be scar tissue, she told me. It couldn’t possibly be the pump, oh no, it has to be me, or my body, or my process. I got to say, it’s times like these where I feel seriously tempted to enact on my pump what I did to my last iPhone, except this time there will be a hammer involved. Maybe then they’d agree it wasn’t me!

Needless to say, while I still don’t agree I’m the problem (how can I be when I’ve been so perfect for so long?) once I got off the phone with the useless “helpful” Animas rep, I spent a good hour reading Pumping Insulin (an insulin pumper’s bible) trying to figure out the math for adjusting my total daily basal (ongoing insulin) dose with hopes of finally putting the highs to bed. If I’ve added everything up right, and let’s hope I have, I’ve increased my daily basal dose by 5 per cent. Previously my total basal dose was 13.275 (0.625 from 12 a.m. to 6 a.m.; 0.525 from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.; 0.600 from 11 p.m. to 12 a.m.). Now, it’s 13.90 (0.650 from 12 a.m. to 6 a.m.; 0.550 from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m.). Please let this work!

Again, if anyone has tips, please do share – this princess is getting desperate!

A weather butt-kicking

Snow? Black ice? Are you freaking kidding me? It’s practically July! What the heck is this?

On Monday evening, I drove through near white-out conditions on my way home along the flats and this was what greeted me upon my arrival at my moms before pilates:

On Tuesday evening, after a full day of cold, blue sunshine, the flurries were back, but not for long … or so I thought. This morning, on my way to work, I got not one but two phone calls from co-workers warning about the roads. I had no idea what they were talking about as the highway was perfectly fine where I was. And so I cut them short, told them I already knew there was an accident and that I had planned to get off at the exit before the reroute exit, and quickly hung up (I had some Pride and Prejudice to get back to after all). But when I got off the highway, it was as though I’d been jet-setted to Alaska! Gone were the clear, smooth roads and in their place, a thick sheet of black ice! Oh. My. Gawd. Did I mention I have summer tires? Because I live on the West Coast!

I went for a walk later in the morning and in 20 minutes I nearly slipped 5 times! This picture doesn’t look like much, but believe me, it was a death trap waiting to happen. If I wasn’t gonna die of pneumonia, I was going out with a broken neck … seriously, whatever happened to people throwing down salt? Oh wait, it’s February, it’s the West Coast, it shouldn’t be this freaking cold!

So, needless to say, I totally wimped out on the run tonight. But I did do a trainer ride AND my blood sugars were near perfect! Looks like I ridded myself of the insulin air bubbles … finally!

TONIGHT’S TRAINER

  • 8 p.m. BG before: 11.1 (it had risen 6 mmol since dinner an hour prior)
  • Temp basal: -60 per cent for an hour before and then I put it back up to the full dose
  • Time: 55 minutes
  • 9 p.m. BG after: 7.1

And the ride, it was meant to be really. Mario informed me, as I was pedaling away, that this weekend is the start of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad cycling race; the first Belgian race of the season. And guess where it’s starting? Ghent. Where my cousins Filip and Griet and their daughter live. And guess where else it’s going through? Laarne. Where my cousins Martin (who’s a serious cycling race watcher) and Crystal live. And guess where else it’s going through? (I promise this is the last one) Lo Christi. Where my roots first began. Like I said, meant to be.

Do you run when it’s icy out?

Drama on the diabetes front

Okay seriously, how the heck do I go for more than a year doing something wrong and it only starts showing up now?

I’ve had major blood sugar issues for over a week now. I’ve changed my infusion four times since the highs started taking over my blood stream; I’ve changed my insulin vial completely; I’ve been getting up in the middle of the night testing; I’ve gone hours and hours without eating; and I’ve done BG correction after BG correction with no improvements. For a princess who’s used to averaging between 5.0 and 7.0, readings, getting ones between 12.0 and 18.0 is so NOT cool. And not healthy.

I think I was pretty close to my breaking point today. I changed my infusion again this morning to discover more air bubbles in the line and the canula was full-on bent out of shape, which would definitely explain the blood sugar drama. It was vexing because after having almost no problems at all with my infusion sites, I’ve now had two issues in a row. But, I diligently changed it and thought I’d see improvement. My after-breakfast readings weren’t too, too bad at 8.1 at snack and 8.4 at lunch, but still not perfect. My 3 p.m. reading, however (three hours after lunch) was an F-bomb waiting to happen: 14.4!!! What the hell? I wracked my brain: What have I done different? What is new? What is making this happen? Nothing. My routine is exactly how it has been for months, I’m exercising the same, I’m eating the same, I’m not sick, I’m not stressed any more than I usually am.

When I got to the point this afternoon of being so frustrated I was near tears, I called Animas. I was sure something was wrong with my pump, it had to be, there was no other explanation … or so I thought. I spent a good 35 minutes on the phone with a representative. I told her what had been happening, what I had already done to try and correct the problem, we went through all the settings on my pump, went through my basal/bolus history, and then we talked about how I loaded the insulin cartridges. Bingo.

What NOT to do:
When ridding the cartridge of air bubbles, do NOT push them straight into the insulin. For more than a year, I’ve been doing exactly that, and the rep suggested it was probably making air pockets more prevalent in my insulin as a whole. Oops.

What you SHOULD do:
1. Cycle the empty cartridge a few times, drawing the vial up and down to lubricate the cartridge
2. Pull the empty cartridge back to about the 70 unit mark X
3. Put the needle into the insulin vial and with the vial upright, push the air in X
4. Turn the vial upside down and pull the plunger slowly back to the 140 unit mark
5. Take the needle OUT of the vial and push the air bubbles out X


Looking at that list of what I should have been doing, I majorly failed, getting two out of five steps right. But what still boggles my mind is how the heck I got by doing this for more than a year with hardly any issues that I can recollect?

The representative left me with one final tip: If you experience two unexplained highs, don’t wait, change the infusion right away. And this already expensive disease of mine just got a whole lot more expensive. Joy 😦

For my diabetes peeps: Do you have any additional tips on what I should be doing to avoid insulin pump failure?

Snotcicles and Lego hands

Exactly one year ago today I was a miserable, envious runner in rehab. Today, I was just an ice-cold runner … and maybe a tad bit miserable!

So the incident to make me so miserable last year actually happened two weeks prior to this date when I went and ran a practice run of the Historic Half race route (19 km of it at least). I’d been having a lot of hip and knee issues leading up to this run, and not even 10 km in my knees were screaming at me, at 16 km, they full-on quit. I had to walk the remaining three in, trying with all my might not to shed a tear. They could have the F bombs, but I would not relinquish a tear, not one … or so I thought. The half hour drive home was filled with tears. Two weeks later, while several of my running chicks were racing a race I should have been racing, I was at home embittered with ice on my knee.

Fast forward a year and look me at now. I completed my first full marathon eight months after bowing out of that race, and am now a good five weeks in to training for my second. I’ve also got a half marathon lined up for when I visit the Onterrible this spring, and am contemplating adding a 10 km race somewhere in the mix as well. Yes, I still have issues, most notably my ankle, but for now, I’m loving my runs. So what’s changed? I’m listening to my own body, and NOT to what others who don’t live in my body think my body should be. Oh how things do change 😀

TODAY’S RUN

  • 8 a.m. BG before: 14.4 (YIKES!)
  • BG correction: (I gave myself a slight correction of 0.30 units … not like it did much though)
  • Temp basal: -50 per cent
  • Distance: 16 km (lsd)
  • Average pace: 7:13 min/km
  • Average heart rate: 152 bpm
  • Time: 1:55:30
  • @45 minutes: GU gel
  • 11 a.m. BG after: 16.0 (Seriously?)

Today’s run, however, well I’m thinking it’s probably NOT one I’d put in my all-time highs. It was freaking cold! Miserable cold! Winterpeg cold! We ran into a head wind for about 12 of the 16 km, and it was a brutal, nasty, ice-cold head wind. Just check out my pony tail blowing in the wind:

My face was frozen, my eyes were frozen, my lips were frozen, my hands were frozen. I couldn’t speak properly. The snot in my nose became snotcicles. I even got brain freeze, you know the kind you get after drinking a slushie too fast? That’s what I had. But the worst were my hands. They were so cold, they had seriously froze into the Lego people hands! I kid you not, when I waved at cars thanking them for moving over, my hands wouldn’t straighten, not even a smidge, it was full-on Lego hands! And then when Carol tried putting her gloves over my gloves to help warm my hands up, they weren’t exactly cooperating.

How do you stay warm while running in the cold?

The weather wasn’t the only thing acting up, my blood sugars were too as you might have noticed. The other day I changed my infusion thinking that’s what was causing my recent stint of high blood sugars, and I still do believe that was a cause, as my blood sugars have leveled right out over night, but I am still having daytime issues, and then combine that with screwing up my morning bolus, and I’m right back out of whack all over again. The issues this morning: new raison toast with different carb counts and increasing my I:C ratio a little too high and not inputting a bolus for the half banana I had. Small things, but when you add them together, horrendous results:

PRE-RUN BREAKFAST:

  • 6 a.m. BG: 7.4
  • I:C ratio: 1:24
  • Raison toast: 42g (should have been 46g)
  • Peanut butter: 0g
  • 1/2 banana: 0g (should have been 8g)
  • 1/2 cup smoothie: 15g
  • Total carbs: 57g
  • Total bolus: 2.35 units (no BG correction)

Lesson learned.

What goes up…

I like hills, but my god, what was I thinking?

I was scheduled to do 8 to 10 km today, and when I asked for some route suggestions on Facebook, I got some really good options, and a few crazy ones too, but because I wasn’t departing from home, I decided my route had to start from my brother’s where I could change into my running gear with ease. Now, this is a location I start many of my solo runs from, but I generally stick to 1 or 2 routes, and today those routes just didn’t cut it for me. I wanted something different, a change. And oh man, did I get that change: six major, massive, insane, knock-you-in-the-face, kick-you-in-the-knees, psycho hill-training kind of hills! You know that saying what goes up must come down? Well, for 90 per cent of this run, I was mapping out a way of tracking down the dude who came up with that saying so I could call him a freaking liar, and then kick him in the knees – these roads just kept going up and up and up and up!

TONIGHT’S RUN:

  • 4:30 p.m. BG before: 8.4
  • Temp. basal: -20 per cent
  • Distance: 8 km
  • Average pace: 6:32 min/km
  • Average heart rate: 168 bpm
  • Time: 52:18
  • 5:30 p.m. BG after: 9.1

But when they did finally start going down, the view that was gifted to me was some kind of spectacular … not quite so spectacular I’d go out and do this run again anytime soon, but maybe you know sometime in the future … the far future! And the upside, my legs will still probably be pretty fatigued for Sunday’s lsd run, ensuring I run it at a proper slower pace.

Today was the first day I’ve ever had to change my infusion before it was time to be changed. I’ve been struggling with my blood sugars for days, they’ve been consistently high and I just can’t seem to pull them back down no matter how much insulin I take. They’re high after breakfast, really high after lunch, and really high in the middle of the night. But my food intake hasn’t changed, I don’t think I’ve been under stress (well not more than I usually am) and I’m perfectly healthy. So why is my body now requiring a total daily dose of insulin that’s almost double what I usually average? I guessed the infusion. I don’t know if I was right, but when I took it out, the line was clumped full of air bubbles, so maybe, hopefully that’s all it was.

In other news … I BECAME AN AUNTIE AGAIN!!! It was 20 years ago that I first became an auntie and I still remember the weeks leading up to my dear niece’s arrival and how my sister would call super early every morning before school, and I’d wait by the phone, willing it to ring, and as soon as it did, the first question out of my mouth was “Is today the day?” That excitement, it doesn’t get old. My newest nephew, who we will continue to call Baby Number 3, is my ninth in a line of nieces and nephews. And the excitement of last night and this morning was just as strong today as it was 20 years ago!

I’ve definitely got a date planned with this little man this weekend. What are your plans for the weekend?