Tag Archives: high blood sugars

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!

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.


Sad day

Pic-a-post #3: If computers and cell phones can change the clocks over automatically, surely the insulin pump industry can to. Behind the times Animas, just saying…

While the world over was celebrating get an extra hour weekend this weekend, I was mourning the loss of a dear friend. This friend wasn’t a friend I saw often, in fact she rarely came around, but those times she did were so special, filled with smiles and laughter and warmth, such an incredible warmth. But today, her warmth was iced over.

Goodbye waffles, my friend, I will miss you dearly.


When Mario woke me up this morning, he asked if I’d be interested in waffles for breakfast. It’s not a question he asks often as he knows I love, love, LOVE the waffles – plain waffles, buttery waffles, fruit laden waffles, syrupy waffles – and that I really don’t have the resistance to say no. He also knows that, despite this bordering on crazy love, I struggle so stupidly in trying to figure out how to calculate the proper insulin dosages for her.

And let me just say, the CalorieKing carb counter book lies.

That’s only half of the scribbles I’ve written on that page trying to figure out the perfect equation. I’ve used the book’s suggestion, which failed. I’ve eyeballed the size of the waffle and guessed, which failed. I’ve even measured the bloody thing, but again to no avail. Today, two hours after waffles, my blood sugars were a sickening 17.1!

This is the waffle trend. And sadly, today, the realization hit me like a slap in the face. I could no longer be a lover of the waffles. I would have to say goodbye to my beloved friend. A sad, sad day.

On another note: Not even three posts into my month-long initiative for pic-a-post diabetes style, and I totally screwed up. Friday’s post should have had a diabetes-related photo, but did not. Good thing this post, with TWO diabetes related photos, makes up for it 😉

Travel woes

I love traveling. I’ve driven across Canada twice, visited several states in the America, have fallen in love with the likes of France, Italy, Spain, Belgium and Germany, and nearly every day I am dreaming of new places to discover. However, traveling doesn’t always love me.

Clockwise from top: Florence 2009; Bruge 2010; Paris 2007; Barcelona 2009.

As a Type 1 diabetic, I need to know carb counts for everything I eat in order to figure out how much insulin to take. At home, it’s fairly easy. I have product bags and boxes and containers with pertinent nutritional information posted. I also have a carb-counting scale that calculates carbs for a whole range of things, fruit, beans, ice cream, pasta, etc. But on the road, those tools are not readily at my fingertips.

Evening dessert: 1 apple = 23.35 carbs, which is rounded down to 23 carbs. At 1 unit of insulin per 18 grams of carbs, this apple is worth 1.25 units of insulin.

When Mario and I travel, we usually rent apartments equipped with kitchens that enable us to eat breakfast and some dinners at “home.” And generally speaking, I eat a lot of the same foods, especially at lunch (sandwich, salad, fruit, yes please) so that helps. And for the most part, my blood sugars do stay in line.

However, last weekend, that wasn’t the case. The girls and I stayed in a hotel in San Francisco. While I had brought reduced-sugar instant oatmeal along for my breakfast (not my favourite, but at least I knew the carb counts for it) every other meal was eaten out. And two of those meals were carb-heavy pasta meals.

My blood sugars went on a shrieking roller coaster ride that my body is still reeling from.

Before going on the pump, I didn’t know how to carb count, and I didn’t need too. After more than 20 years with the disease, I was pretty talented at eyeballing my food and guessing correct insulin dosages for what I ate. But with the pump, I couldn’t do that anymore as I didn’t have long-acting insulin to fall back on if I’d somehow screwed a dosage up. Everything had to be perfect. And now, after nearly two years of carb-counting insulin preciseness, that talent seems to have left me.

In the four days I was away, my blood sugars ranged from a head spinning 1.9 to an ohmygawd, are you freaking kidding me 18.1! And it’s taken a full week of normal routine to get them back into good working order again. What the F?

So, what do I do? I will not stop traveling, in fact, we’ve got plans for London and Italy in the spring, and yes, there will be apartments rented out on that trip, but what about the trips where apartments aren’t available and hotels are must? What then?

Happy – uhm – Anniversary

Just in time for the anniversary, my blood sugars decide to revolt against me – just as they did 24 years ago. Let’s take a walk down memory lane shall we.

It was on this date, my friends, that I was offered my last guilt-free, auntie home-baked Mennonite cookie (the best EVER home-baked cookies!) of which I regretfully declined. Hours later I was told no home-baked cookies for you ever again. Bastards! (The docs were a lot more strict back then.)

It was also my big sister’s 18th birthday. She’s now 42! Happy Birthday Jules, love you to pieces, and once again I apologize for ruining your birthday 24 years ago. But, in my defense, I was given a faulty pancreas, so really, it wasn’t my fault. Blame the dude upstairs for this one.

Jules and I a few years ago with one of our nephews at my big, big brother’s wedding.

And here she is chasing after me at about 34 km into my second marathon cheering me on, shouting as loud as her lungs would go! Huge hearts!

I remember early on counting the years following diagnosis, and counting down to when I was supposed to have a cure, to when I could stop poking my finger multiple times a day, stop pumping myself full of synthetic insulin, stop avoiding the sugar nazis. I got diabetes when I was nine, and was told that by the time I was 16, I would be a free child again, and then it was extended to my early 20s, and by the time they were telling me my 30s, I’d pretty much given up hope on a cure. I’m skeptical, jaded if you will, that I will ever see a cure in my lifetime. This disease, like many others, brings in way too much money, which is disturbing on so many levels, but frankly, reality.

I know I’m sounding bitter, and for the most part, I try not to be when it comes to my diabetes given that I’m kinda stuck with the disease and all, better make the best of it right. The last couple days, however, my glucometre has been spouting off higher than desired readings – ever since that bloody mojito! They’ve been hovering in the 10-13 range, once even surpassing 14! Quite the drastic surge from my desired 5.0 to 7.0 numbers.

After a full day and a half of high blood sugars, I started thinking maybe the mojito wasn’t fully to blame. (WARNING: a brief moment of ‘girl talk’ to come) I started counting back the days, trying to remember the last time I had that ‘monthly monster’ and discovered that yep, I may very well be encroaching on pre-monthly monster, which could be the cause of my current BG wars. Oh joy.

Without going into details, I contacted my big brother (a math genius!) for some mathematical support in changing my basal rate settings on my insulin pump. My friend Google suggested I increase my settings by 1/10ths of what they currently were. Are you kidding me? How the heck am I supposed to know what 1/10 of 0.650 is?

My big brother, bless his heart or wring his bloody neck, once again tried to give me a lesson in math. And you know, I got to say, for such a super smart guy, dubbed the golden child of the family, why he can’t grasp the fact I will never understand the math world, just boggles my mind. Seems simple to me really.

This is what I received in an email response from him after he gave me the numbers I required: FYI – when calculating tenths…..1 tenth = 0.10…2 tenths = 0.20…………..so, to calculate the above, 0.650 x 0.10 = 0.065 + 0.650 = 0.715.

He should seriously know by now that by putting that addendum at the END of the email AFTER already giving me the numbers I wanted, it’s pretty much ignored. Er, I mean, thanks for the math lesson big brother 😉

Here’s hoping the temporary settings and the premature changing of my infusion will help.

One for the bucket, one for the belly

Everyone told me not to do it, that I’d be far too uncomfortable, miserable even, but I didn’t listen, oh no. Me and my pretty girl gumboots were out picking berries yesterday afternoon in 30 degree heat, oh yes we were. And we looked pretty darn cute doing it too! Life is about fashion after all isn’t it 😉

Mario bought me the gumboots for Christmas three years ago and I haven’t had much opportunity to wear them as they sometimes cut the circulation off in my legs (not good) and really you need the right event to wear them to; they’re not just any old gumboot.

I came close, last summer, of being able to wear them to a girlfriend’s outdoor wedding. The morning of the wedding, the rain was coming down in buckets and as I put my frilly sundress on, the excitement in my belly grew. Today would be the day, I thought, my pretty girl gumboots would finally be matched with a style they deserved. But no, the weather gods were not in our favour. By the time we reached the wedding locale the rain had disappeared, and the beautiful sunshine appeared. Boo 😦 Er, I mean, I’m so glad my girlfriend got her beautiful rain-free wedding after all.

A couple of weeks ago, when my girlfriend Shona suggested I come blueberry picking with her pilates/wine-drinking/running/martini-drinking/zumba girls, I figured it would be the perfect gumboot occasion. And yes it was, despite the sweaty legs!

I haven’t picked berries, aside from watching my moms pick blackberries for me every year from her bushes, since I was maybe 13. And back then, it was a job, where I actually got paid and inevitably got asked not to return after just one day’s work. Apparently I didn’t heed the constant reprimands regarding not picking the bushes clean, and for eating more berries than I was picking, and for padding the crates with leaves and such before they got weighed. Seriously, what do you expect from a 13-year-old?

This time around though, while I was still operating on the one berry for the bucket, one for the belly method (organic, no spray berries = big berry bellly) I was NOT padding the bucket, and I WAS seeking out the most delectable berries. And it wasn’t like work at all, not even when my head nearly got decapitated by two intertwining berry branches, or when the berry blew up in my hand, or even when the icky spider went crawling down my sweaty sports bra … I may have let out a high-pitched screach, but I did NOT run away crying. A perfect girls get together.

After about two hours in the fields, we averaged about six pounds of berries each, and called it a day. The hard work had us sitting on the patio at Earls not even 15 minutes later for lunch and a refreshing drink.

Unfortunately, however, instead of choosing a trusty pint of beer (of which I know has 10-12 grams of carbs in it) I opted for a more girly mojito – but only after the server assured me there was no added sugar in there, that it was made from all fresh ingredients, and even repeated ‘no added sugar.’ Given my history of people telling me there’s no sugar in something when there actually is, I was skeptical when I first got the drink, and so I took a small sip. It was tart, like really tart, refreshingly tart, not sickly sweet. I put my trust in the server, I put my trust in the mojito. My blood sugars, however, two and four hours, later told a completely different story. My BG before lunch was 10.6 (probably a result of the one for the bucket one for the belly operation) two hours later it was 14.4, and two hours after that it was still 13.1 – even after I had given myself a 2.50 unit BG correction.

Lessons learned: 1) Never trust a mojito. 2) Don’t embrace change; change sucks.

Anyone know how many carbs are in an Earl’s mojito?

Pain in the ass

I want to scream, like full-on scream, a scream laced with vicious f-bombs, and with my fists punching the walls and my feet kicking the doors. I am mad as hell, and the source of my anger starts square in the middle of my ass. I ran to Fort Langley yesterday and I thought all I got out of it were a ton of lousy mosquito bites, but no, it seems I also got the gift of a pain in my ass. Oh freaking joy.

Once again, my body (as diagnosed by Mario and I) is out of alignment. Cue the bloody F bombs!


  • 11 a.m. BG before: 7.9
  • Temp. basal: -50 per cent (4 hours)
  • Distance: 15 km
  • Average pace: 6:33 min/km
  • Time: 1:39:09
  • Temp. basal: +50 per cent (2 hours)

I wasn’t feeling the motivation for yesterday’s run. I’d had a few glasses of wine the night before and was feeling a tad lethargic. But I had to run, it was Sunday, I run on Sundays. So, because Mario was riding his bike to my parents, and because my parents were having a family barbecue later in the evening, I opted to run from my parents to Fort Langley, a cute, historical community that just happened to be a perfect 15 km distance away.

9 km in, still feeling not bad.

The first three quarters of the run weren’t too bad. It was humid as hell, and I was sweating buckets, but the clouds were thick and grey with only a few cracks of sun burning through, and there was a nice breeze for the majority of the distance. At 4 km, I hit the killer hill; there was no way I was running down that sucker because if I had, I might very well have gone into rapid-fire somersaults – that’s how long and steep it is.

This was taken a quarter of the way down!

There weren’t too many people on the road for about the first 13 km, in fact, I only saw the same two cyclists twice, once coming at me as I was walking down the killer hill, and then again about 5 km later as they passed me going the other way. (I saw them again in Fort Langley too … we laughed.) No runners.

But I did see …

Seemed an odd place to store a bike helmet.

Cinderella circa the bad hair decade!

Ahh the nostalgia of mixed tapes … unfortunately Robyn, I hate to tell you, but I don’t think he loves you anymore 😦

The last 3 km were brutal. All of a sudden my right shoe wasn’t fitting properly, the laces were too tight, the top of my foot was rubbing, I swear I retied them like five times before finally giving up on them. The bugs were flying into my eyes, into my mouth, up my bloody nose. My mouth felt like I’d just swallowed a handful of cotton balls. And I had to pee!

Then there was the drama going on in my blood stream. You’ll notice above I did not post my post-run BG. It was high, like really high, like embarrassingly high, like 21.6 high. What the F? How the heck did that happen? I started with near perfection, I didn’t do anything different from the previous week, except run two extra kilometres, my infusion was fine, I didn’t see a kink in the line. Not cool.

And if all that wasn’t bad enough, I now have a sore ass, majorly sore, can’t put pressure on the one side without wanting to yelp out in pain. Guess I’m heading back to physio. Oh freaking joy.

Eat dirt!

Maybe screwing up the dates last week, and maybe getting a head start, and maybe battling the Grouse Grind in monsoon-like weather were the reasons for me totally rocking the mountain yesterday in near perfect Grind-climbing weather. OR maybe I’m just that awesome 😉


  • 9:30 a.m. BG before: 14.5
  • Temp. basal: zero
  • Distance: 2.9 km, 2,830 stairs
  • Elevation gain: 853 metres
  • Time: 55:20!!! PERSONAL BEST BABY!!!
  • 10:50 a.m. BG after: 13.5
  • BG correction: 2.15 units

Did you see that finishing time? 55:20! One minute 18 seconds faster than my previous best three weeks ago, which was 37 seconds faster than my previous, previous best, and more than 20 minutes faster than when I first started climbing the Grind six years ago!. So what if I had feelings of upchucking, or had scratched the hell out of my hands, or looked as though I’d taken a nasty fall with all the mud caked on my thighs, or had been eating dirt for the better part of the climb, that time was worth every second of the pain. If I could have screamed through my heaving breaths, I would have. Flopping onto the nearest rock, however, was all I could manage the next best option.

I totally look like I’m about to jump for joy don’t I? Totally!

There were some challenges though. Blood sugar challenges. Normally before strenuous exercise, I cut my breakfast bolus insulin by 40 per cent, and for my runs, it usually works starting me out with a BG between 9.0-10.0. But yesterday, major breakfast bolus fail. When I sat down to the breakfast table at 7:30 a.m. my BG was 7.2. By the time I was ready to climb two hours later, they had surged up to 14.5. Yikes! And, as much as I hate to admit it, looking at previous Grouse Grind posts, it seems I have a history of climbing high 😦

It was probably a good day to have a high though, as I was meeting up with the peeps from I Challenge Diabetes, a non-profit organization founded by Olympic rower Chris Jarvis that brings Type 1s together for athletic endeavors. And while none of these people are medical professionals, they are all diabetics, they have all lived this disease, and the information they’ve gleaned through years of trial and error can oftentimes far exceed what a doctor on a tight schedule can give you.

Chris and I sharing our diabetes tales.

So I was talking to Chris about my BG issues, and he suggested maybe it was stress kicking my blood sugars up. I’m not sure why the Grind would cause me stress as I’ve done it tons of times before, but given the state of my belly every time before taking on the Grind, maybe he’s on to something. But then again, it could also have something to do with the fact that my breakfast was two hours prior and maybe the inactivity was just too long for such a reduced bolus. I’m thinking it might be time to enact a little of my own trial and error.