Monthly Archives: August 2014

Surviving diabetes Russian Roulette

Okay, seriously, who actually carries around a backup insulin plan if their pump fails? Be honest.

I don’t.

For as long as I’ve had the pump, when I’m out, I’ve solely relied on the pump. I don’t carry a pouch with extra infusions or syringes and spare insulin for just in case (in this heat, would it really survive anyway). I guess you could say it’s almost like a diabetic’s version of Russian Roulette.

And today, I nearly got the bullet.

It was new infusion day, and as is always the routine, I changed my infusion first thing before breakfast. I also changed my CGM sensor, so I didn’t have access to an approximation of my blood sugars for two hours after doing so. It was a busy morning, I didn’t really have time to think about what my blood sugars were doing inside me until snack time three hours after breakfast. It was 8:45 a.m., I stabbed my finger, waited 5 seconds, and HOLY FREAKING CRUD MONKEY!!! They were 17.4. A second test had them at 18.1.

What the frick???

I pushed my snack aside, there was no way I could eat with the highs already shooting through me. I checked my pump to make sure I’d given my breakfast bolus, which I had. I dialed up a correction dose and waited.

I’m not very patient.

A half hour passed and they were still 17.1. Another half hour passed and they were 17.4. I walked around the block, tested again, and they were 16.9. We are now 1.5 hours into my correction dose. I have a very high insulin sensitivity rate; I should have been seeing those numbers going down fast. I did another correction dose, and again, nothing.

My fed up with diabetes tweet at 1 p.m.

My fed up with diabetes tweet at 1 p.m.

Maybe I put too much faith in my pump, probably, but I kept thinking, it’s going to start working. My new infusion site, which was located in the softness of my belly, looked fine; there was no blood, no angry redness, no protruding canula, nothing that I could see that should cause alarm. But something WAS wrong.

Because my office is an icebox, I pretty much always have a cardigan on, but the blood sugar dramas were having me feeling like I was going through menopause. I was sweating, uncomfortable, suffering ridiculous hot flashes. Finally, at around noon., I tore the cardigan off, anddddd – oh look, there’s my old infusion site still stabbed into my arm!!!

My insulin back-up plan.

My insulin back-up plan.

Again, with the honesty, I have to be one of the laziest diabetics when it comes to removing old infusion sites (and probably other things too… like throwing out blood testing strips). They’re often stuck in there for at minimum an extra day, sometimes three. Big Ring even mentioned that I’d forgotten to remove it this morning, and still I didn’t remove it.

Thank goodness!

Today, my laziness became quite fortuitous 🙂

And when my BG finally started bottoming out, hells yeah I deserved some chocolate for the ordeal!

And when my BG finally started bottoming out around 3 p.m., hells yeah I deserved some chocolate for the ordeal!

YESTERDAY’S TRAIL RUN:
5:45 p.m. BG before: 5.6
Temp. basal: -50 per cent
Carbs: 1/2c applesauce and 1T PB (45 minutes before) 4 dried apricots (15 minutes before) No bolus
Distance: A hilly 5.39 km
Time: 37:23

Average pace: 6:56 min/km
6:45 p.m. BG after: 3.8

My intention with yesterday’s run was to not get lost, which meant no charging off ahead of the group, and to power up the hills, kick those hills’ butts like they’d never been kicked before! And when I came out of the trees, I was so super satisfied with the run. I didn’t get lost, even after I sped ahead for the final stretch, AND I put serious huffing and puffing effort into those hills. Good job me!

A sweaty mess following a super satisfying run.

A sweaty mess following a super satisfying run.

 

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Diabetic superstar, meh

I wasn’t planning on writing about this; it was something that happened about a month ago, and at the time, I just didn’t have the energy to put into it. But my thoughts on the topic wouldn’t stop, and this weekend, they went into overdrive. So, here goes.

Last month, diabetic social media circles were a buzz with news about type-1 beauty queen Miss Idaho. Can you believe it, they fluttered. She wore her insulin pump on her dress and bikini – for ALL to see!!! Shocking, right! Congratulations, they applauded. Good for you, they clapped. Wahoo, score one for Team Type 1, they cheered. And for those who actually think the Huffington Post has any credibility (please, don’t get me started on that!) they, too, endorsed her as an inspiration for all diabetic women. Only a few expressed their disgust towards it, up in arms about this young woman exploiting her body in such a mind-dumbing experience.

But me, frankly, I didn’t get it.

I didn’t understand what made this young woman such a diabetes superstar. I wasn’t angrily opposed at her choice to participate in the beauty pageant. If she’s confident enough to prance around in a barely there bikini and doll herself up in Dynasty style sparkly gowns and sound like a broken record with “World Peace” then that’s her prerogative. But seriously, how does standing in front of a panel of drooling and catty judges – with your insulin pump on display – make you a superstar?

I don’t get it.

If that truly is all it takes, I should be the most famous diabetic chick around. I have never hidden my pump. Since Day 1 it has been clicked on my belt or my waist band for all to see. Even with most dresses, it’s not obscured. I don’t have ample breasts, so I can’t store it there, not unless I want to start the square boob trend; I have no use for so-called “diabetic-helpful” waistbands and leg bands; nor am I keen to stuff it in an already snug jeans pocket.

It's been a full display accessory for almost five years now.

It’s been a full display accessory for almost five years now.

This weekend, I swear my insulin pump must have been glowing neon with the amount of times I was stopped. Over two days, I had three people stop me to ask about it – two complete strangers and one acquaintance. (Likely due to the infusion in my arm; my go-to stabbing spot as of late.)

The arm infusion almost always brings out the masses.

The arm infusion almost always brings out the masses.

It’s not the first time this has happened. I’ve been stopped by moms whose children have diabetes, a pregnant woman with diabetes, a man whose wife is a nurse, a couple of doctors whose baby nephew has diabetes, a co-worker whose twin has diabetes, an elderly woman whose brother  is on the pump, curious onlookers who have no diabetes in their family, etc., etc.. They’re all very apologetic, almost like they feel they’re being intrusive. Not at all. I have no problem telling them about it, answering their questions, sharing a bit of my story, listening to theirs. And frankly, I feel their stories are far more rock star than a potato-proud beauty queen.

The mom who sews her little boy jet pack style inserts for his insulin pump on the back of his onesies so he’d feel more superhero than sickly. SUPERSTAR!

The mom in the retail outlet who had been researching insulin pumps for her teenage daughter and used me as another studying tool. SUPERSTAR!

The pregnant woman on the seawall who proved the myths of diabetes wrong with her watermelon belly and wanted to learn more about arm infusions. SUPERSTAR!

The elderly lady who was shocked to see the infusion in my arm, but open-minded enough to want to learn more for the benefit of her brother. SUPERSTAR!

Maybe I’m wrong about the effectiveness this beauty queen had with her insulin-pump strutting walk, but I just don’t see why her act of simple beauty is poised as diabetic inspiration. I’m sure she’s got some great qualities, maybe even superstar ones, but truly, a month has passed and all I remember is a pretty young woman dressed to the nines with an insulin pump accessory attached to the outside of her dress. I see pretty people all the time – some are most definitely NOT superstars.

So, the next time you see an insulin pump on display, please don’t automatically label the person attached to it as heroic, because not all of us are. Ask questions first, then decide: Superstar? Or not?

TODAY’S INTERVALS:
1:15 p.m. BG before: 7.4
Temp. basal: none
Carbs: (45 minutes prior, no bolus) 1/2 PB and banana sandwich (30g)
Time: 36:33
Distance: (10′ warmup with 4×30 second sprints, 4×500 metre sprints, 10′ cool down)
Average interval pace: 4:45 min/km
2 p.m. BG after: 5.2

GIVEAWAY WINNER: Cue the drum roll…

Thanks to @theBigRing1 for drawing the name!

Thanks to @theBigRing1 for drawing the name!

Congratulations jmosh21!!!  You’re the lucky winner of $60 worth of Level Life products. Please email me your contact details and I’ll forward them to the company to send out the package 🙂

For Diabetics By Diabetics

People, take note: the quickest way to get a sneer from me – AND my belly – is to present a product advertising low-carb and/or diabetes friendly.

I’m pretty sceptical of anything (aside from insulin of course) that is marketed specifically for diabetics. I’ve been burned far too many times. I practically broke my teeth on the diabetic candies given to me as a child, and diabetic chocolate, oh man, can you say Norwalk!

And don’t even get me started on low-carb. I know there’s a large faction of diabetics, and regular people for that matter too, who believe carbs are the devil incarnate. Yes, I understand that carbs are a huge challenge for us given that that’s where insulin dosages come in, but I do not, do not, DO NOT believe in scrapping carbs from my diet. Good, whole carbs are so freaking beneficial to overall health, they should NOT, in any way, be eliminated. And if you try and tell me that certain fruits are bad for me, I’ll pretty much punch you in the face!

Yet, it’s really quite, hmm, funny, how today I am going to sing the praises for a product that boasts both low-carb and diabetic-friendly. What???

Recently, when I received an email from Ethan Lewis, founder of Level Life Foods, asking if I’d be interested in trying his product, I’m not gonna lie, my nose did turn up, and I almost deleted the email. But there was something about it that had me clicking on the company website. I wasn’t sold, but I was intrigued.

What??? Why the change?

Simple: Ethan is a diabetic. Level Life is like FUBU for diabetics!

I was sent a large box of products – an assortment of protein drinks and granola bars. All low-carb, low sugar, high protein.

FROM THE WEBSITE: The Level Life Program and Products are designed for people who refuse to let diabetes get in their way. It’s designed to help lose weight, help level blood sugars, and help keep you moving forward.

Now, there are a lot of things about the website I don’t agree with and it’s probably because of my history with low-carb diets (I did a major one about 12 years ago, pretty much stopped eating anything with carbs, including fruit, lost an insane amount of weight, only to gain it all and then some back as soon as I stopped the diet… not cool!) but if I looked at these products as easy snacks, post-run protein shakes, and blood sugar elevators, then hells yeah, it’s a pretty darn good product.

The granola bars also made for quick and easy, on-the-road, post-run snacks.

The granola bars made for quick and easy, on-the-road, post-run snacks.

I LOVED the milk chocolate protein drink – it was like dessert in my mouth! I kid you not, it tasted just as good, if not better than chocolate Muscle Milk! The caramel protein drink was also a lovely post-run sweet drink that not only quenched my thirst, but given its 19 grams of protein, likely also helped repair my exhausted muscles.

And the best part: there was NO holding my bum, running to the washroom episodes. For a diabetic product, that’s pretty freaking amazing!

TONIGHT’S TEMPO:
5 p.m. BG before: 8.5
Temp. basal: none
Carbs: 1/2c applesauce and 1/4c pecans (no bolus)
Time: 30 minutes, 5′ warmup, 25′ tempo
Distance: 5.44 km
Average tempo pace: 5:26 min/km (bit slower than I’d like)
6:30 p.m. BG after: 5.2

YOUR TURN: Level Life Foods is sponsoring a giveaway on this here blog. So, if you’re interested in the product for whatever reason (they’re also gluten free if you care about that!) check out the Level Life website at www.levelfoods.com, and then come back here and leave a comment as to what product you’d most like to try and why – what can I say, I’m nosy 😉 The winner will receive a premier bundle pack of bars and shakes worth $60.

A winner will be selected on Sunday, Aug. 17.

(Note: As always, while the product was sent to me free of charge, all views are my own; I was not paid in any way, shape or form to write this post.)

Radler in. Water out.

Ok. I know I’m a diabetic, and I know I’m a runner, and I know that lemonade to a Type-1 is like creepy friendly guy in a van with candy to a five-year-old, and I know that beer is not the recommended post-run bevvie of choice, but come on!!!

Put yourself in my shoes:

I was up for speed intervals today and had every intention of doing them first thing prior to Big Ring heading out for a ride with his riding group, but good ol’ Dear Diabetes got in the way… and maybe a little poor judgement on my part too.

Earlier in the week, after a co-worker had bragged endlessly about her homemade pizza, I suddenly had a craving for Big Ring’s homemade on the BBQ pizza, which, wow!, is amazing! We hadn’t had his pizza in awhile as I’ve really cut back on pretty much all white flour product (grilled cheese included – shocking, I know!), but I put a bug in Big Ring’s ear, and, when it comes to his Neapolitan-style pizza, there’s no asking twice. Not even two days later and the pizza was on the BBQ, and, well, I couldn’t not eat it. Yum.

But ohhh that melt-in-my-mouth mozzarella and that perfectly crisped farina-flour crust wreaked havoc on the blood sugars from pretty much first bite. Up, up, up they went. No amount of rage bolusing was bringing them down – I even increased my basal by 75 per cent for an hour! (Note: I’ve never been able to figure out my blood sugars with pizza, but I don’t recall it ever getting this bad.) And then, just before I was to put my head to pillow for the night, they dropped. Fast.

The BG appears to be fine, but the double down arrows, bad, combined with the IOB (insulin on board), super freaking not cool!

The BG appears to be fine, but the double down arrows, bad, combined with the IOB (insulin on board), super freaking not cool!

I spent a good two hours battling the lows. It was almost an exact reciprocal of the earlier highs in the opposite direction. When the alarm bellowed at 5:30, my blood sugars were still borderline and my head space completely trashed. So, I rolled over and succumbed to the fact I’d be doing my speed intervals after Big Ring’s ride.

Noon. 4×500 metre sprints. 10 minute warmup. 5 minute cool down. Right through the fiery flames of New West hell! (Also known as the incessant heat wave we’re currently enduring!)

It was hot. My body, so slick with sweat, I looked as though I’d just jumped out of the shower. I had water. I drank that water. I found more water. I dumped it over my head. I was still hot.

And so, there was only one other thing left to do:

Run to Steel and Oak brewery, which was conveniently super close to where I was running today, and order a glass of their new Radler – a mix of beer and lemonade. So refreshing. So perfect when water just don’t cut it! So a big FU to Dear Diabetes!

Worth every last rebel rousting drop!

Worth every last rebel rousting drop!

TODAY’S INTERVALS:
(They were supposed to only be 3, but I accidentally turned the timer off for one when I meant to lap it, so I figured I’d add a fourth.)
• 11:45 p.m. BG before: 7.1
• Temp. basal: none
• Carbs: 1/2c applesauce (12g) and 1/4c almonds
• Intervals: 4×500 with 10′ warmup and 5′ cool down.
• Average interval pace: 4:42
• 12:45 p.m. BG after: 7.0

Goodbye journalism

attachment
(One of the only photos I could find of me working circa 2012)

Today.

Today, I did something I never imagined I would do when I first read that birthday horoscope 22 years, 2 months, and 1 day ago. A horoscope, that if I dug deep enough in my boxes of memories, I’d find still taped, albeit faded, on the front of the thick black journal I carried on my person everywhere I went as a teen. A horoscope that told me I shared the same birthday as Marky Mark Wahlberg (sigh!) and told me I was destined for journalism.

Today.

Today, I started the month-long goodbye to a career I forever dreamed of, a career I loved, a career I always thought would be a part of me.

Today.

Today, I handed in my resignation. Effective Aug. 28, 22 days from now, I will no longer be an actively employed journalist.

Today.

Today, I am a bag of emotions. I am excited for this new journey towards becoming a dietitian. I am nervous as hell about once again becoming a full-time student after a 13 or 14 year absence. And I am incredibly sad to be leaving a career I loved prematurely. Don’t get me wrong, it is time, but it is only time because of the abysmal state of the newspaper industry.

Today.

Today is the start of a new chapter in the Book of Katie.

super duper...

Choose Your Own Adventure

Cockiness is a directionally challenged runner’s demise.

For the past month or so, I’ve been running the trails every Tuesday with a group of favourites. I’d run this route four, maybe five times total. The first two or three times I’d had Miss Hills (also known as Speedy Hill Hero) guiding me, but last week Miss Hills was MIA, and the others not so keen to go speedy. And so, I cautiously ran ahead and stopped at every turn awaiting direction on my next steps. This week, however, (Miss Hills still MIA) I was not so cautious.

140805trails1
All smiles when I stick with the group.

It didn’t start out that way. I had intended to run slower today, I had even started out purposely running behind the group so as to prevent my feet from charging up the hills as they, for some crazy unknown reason, some times like to do. I’d done speed intervals yesterday, today should have been a recovery style run.

140804speed
No slacking off on early morning intervals with this wee drill sergeant!

But then there was that hill. It was a long hill, seemingly never ending hill, the kind of hill that taunts you upon approach, where you can almost see the imprint of a tongue blowing raspberries at you in the dirt. And dammit, I refused to let that hill beat me. With Miss Hills in mind, I charged that sucker, wiping that teasing tongue right off its dirty face.

I kept going.

Before long, I could no longer hear the light conversation and heavy breathing of my favourites behind me. It was just me and the trails. This time, I didn’t even think twice about stopping, I figured, I had this, it was a whole lot of rights, a few lefts, there were uphills, downhills, a bridge, open spaces, I was good to go.

But there was a fork. This fork, like all forks, had three Choose Your Own Adventures. The first adventure was the WRONG one. It took me about five minutes, maybe less, to realize I’d made the wrong choice. I turned around, tacked on another hill to my distance and made my way back to the fork. The second adventure I chose, pretty sure that too was the WRONG choice. Again, I made my way back to the fork where there was a map and pretended I could actually read the map and understand where I was and where the hell I needed to be. NOTE: I could not!

140805trails2
“Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road…”

Did I mention, I was in the trails? Did I mention, I forgot my phone in my car, which at any rate probably had no cell service in the thick of the bushes? Did I mention, this was an evening run, the sun would eventually be going down? Did I mention, the sounds rustling through the trees nearby, and my thoughts of bears, lions and cougars, oh my?

Holy frick, I was freaking out!

140805trails3
It was all a green and brown blur spinning in my head.

I finally asked a kindly looking old man with a golden retriever, who I silently hoped wasn’t a serial killer, to help me with the map. I pointed at it and said, “I think this is where my car is, how do I get there?” He gave me directions, thankfully did not chop off my head, and eventually I did find my way back to my car, coming out of the trees in the complete opposite direction to where I should have been. D’oh!

Once again foiled by my non-existent directional sense!

FOREVER LOST RUN:
5:45 p.m. BG before: 5.6
Carbs: 1/2 cup applesauce (12g) and 1/4 cup almonds 45 minutes before, plus 3 dried apricots 10 minutes before.
Temp. basal: -30 per cent (1 hour)
Distance: 5.5 km hills
7 p.m. BG after: 4.9
Temp. basal +30 per cent (1 hour)

* Note: All pics taken were from last week’s run.