Thursday
Aug232012

Checkpoint

So I just conquered another T1D first. About twenty minutes ago I cruised through the TSA checkpoint at San Jose International Airport without issue or incident. I had read all the details on the TSA site regarding "hidden" medical conditions but I was still a bit nervous as not only am I traveling with a bunch of insulin, needles, etc. but I am also using that nifty cooler pack I have to keep everything cool. And that is well over the 3oz of gel and liquids allowed.

Haha! As I'm writing this, the cell phone of the man next to me just rang. His ring tone is totally what I use for my Lantus alarm and I almost grabbed for my pen.

Am super excited for my little vacation with the ladies to begin. Only 30 more minutes until the plane begins boarding.

Friday
Aug172012

Clubbing with T1D

Despite this post's exciting title - I did not, nor have I in recent memory - gone clubbing.  I, dear friends, was referring to my headlong jump into diabetes-related activities.  Last week, me and other members of the JDRF Walk Team T1DWTF (join or donate now!), went to not one, but two, baseball games all in the name of T1D.  

First on Tuesday, six of the crew headed to see the Oakland A's take on the Los Angeles A's (Oakland won if you are curious). As one of the top-fundraising teams for the JDRF walks, we won tickets to watch the game in style from one of the outfield suites along with some other top fundraisers.  Not only did we get sausages delivered to the room but there was a uncrowded bar in walking distance and most important - a private bathroom. Also, we got a good view of a crew of about 40 folks who apparently attend most, if not all, of the A's games, wave flags and perform, in unison, the "Bernie" dance.   

Friday was the 'big' day in that it was the Kickoff Party for the Bay Area Walk to Cure Diabetes at the SF Giants game which was a tailgate party followed by watching the game as a crowd. It was also the first time to really engage with the JDRF and see what it's all about. Turns out it's about nice people, good food and a great cause. I couldn't have asked for a better evening in the city. It was gorgeous outside and not only were there lots of teammates present but I also got to meet a woman who connected with me via my blog, check in with some of the point people from different support groups in the area (who gave me great advice, contacts, and were incredibly gracious) and I saved a boy.

That's right, you heard it here first - I saved a boy. Well saved him from high fasting blood sugars, but I'll take the win just the same. His family had accidentally left his Lantus (long-lasting insulin) at home. Because of the way this insulin works, it's really critical that you take it around the same time each day so that you don't go without any insulin in your system when the fast-acting insulin wears off. So yay on my first diabetes share (don't worry medical personnel - I had extra pen needles). 

Save for the Giants loss and a low BG reading (it did justify stadium food however), the night was tremendous. Although this was certainly not a club I was seeking, it's one that I do look forward to being a part of. It's amazing the comfort that comes with shared experience. I have been so refreshed by the attitude, grace and overwhelming kindness of those that I have reached out to and those that have reached out to me. In the coming weeks, I hope to get to know everyone a little better, feel a bit more at home at these kinds of events, and hopefully one day I'll be able to help someone do the same.  

Half of Team T1DWTF (and Kevin!) - just wait till we have our team shirts people - it will be epic.

Saturday
Aug042012

keep on keeping on

About a month has rolled by since I got up the steam to write a post. To be fair I do have a couple drafts written, for a rainy day I suppose. Just haven't had the energy or the time really to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.  

It's been a hard month generally.  Althought there have been bright moments, like having my mom visit me for a whole week. But really, this month has been draining mentally, physically, and emotionally.

I've spent a lot of time wondering about being an adult. I understand it's not all grand times and happy occassions, that often life is peppered with sad and disappointing events as well.  Just ask any member of my family, god only knows the hell or so that we've had to endure.  I guess, I just thought, at least up until now, that the hard stuff got dished out a little at a time rather than a consistent stream of bad news.  

Perhaps I'll choose the bright side today and say that this just means I'm good for like 10 years before anything else bad swings my way.  Tomorrow however, I'll probably reconsider this and brace myself again against my reality. I'm 28 and a shelf in my kitchen cabinet is full of medical supplies. I have my own sharps container and am a member of the Rite Aid Diabetes Care program. 

My optimisim has certainly gone in waves since diagnosis, like anyone else I imagine, so don't freak out that this is a bit of bummer of a blog post. Just trying to get my thoughts sorted and hopefully get out of this funk of not writing as I do think it's beneficial to air my grievences, as it were.  

On the upside, I've decided to attack all other ailments/issues etc. I have medically as I think diabetes is quite enough for me to deal with.  As such, I'm getting a refreshed allergy test next Thursday so I can begin allergy shots, my asthma is basically just a winter/cold-weather issue, and I'm going to more seriously look into Lasik. What I save in allergy meds and contacts/glasses is probably minimal in the scheme of things but it will be nice to cross a few worries and expenses off the list. 

Thursday
Jul052012

A request. 

Ok kiddos - I've got a request. Don't ask me, "Is this something you can eat?"

Please.  

Let's try instead, "Is this something you want to eat?"  

When I get asked the former, I feel put in a diabetic box. Like I have no say in my food choices and I'm just stuck with sugar-free candy and cheese sticks for the rest of my days. And frankly, I'm not a fan of that.  

Because Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease (not a metabolic disease - like Type 2), I can truly eat whatever I want. I just have to offset whatever I eat with the appropriate amount of insulin.  As a result, there are certain items that I now choose not to eat, simply because it is easier or I don't like how my blood sugar rises (despite insulin offset) when I have them.  

For example, on average I take about 5-8 units of insulin when I have a meal and if I choose wisely - that can be a lot of food - yummy veggies, tasty proteins, and even a sweet.  On the flipside however, if I just choose whatever, then that 5-8 units might only coverage a couple pieces of french bread that come before the meal is even served.  Thus I choose to skip the french bread in favor of a full meal and a smaller dose of insulin. There's also super sugary drinks, such as a margarita, that despite insulin offset, will send my blood sugar through the roof and clear into the sludgey 200s (mg/dL), resulting in a groggy, irritable Michelle - which, let's face it - no one is a big fan of. And thus, I have myself a glass of wine instead and skip the high.  

If you have been a person to ask me the dreaded question I ask you now to rephrase - please know that I understand that you are asking from a place of concern and trying to comprehend how my lifestyle has been modified. And know that I appreciate that you care.

Let's just not do it again, shall we? ;)

Wednesday
Jun272012

Winning the game

So big things happening this week on the diabetes front. Got the results of back of my first post-diagnosis A1C and I have to say I'm pretty proud. Here's the run down:

Normal Hemoglobin A1C: 4.8% - 5.6% (Therapeutic goal for a diabetic is >7%)
Normal Average Glucose: Range is 70 - 110 mg/DL

May 1st(Diagnosis)
A1C: 13.3%
Average Glucose: 336 mg/DL

June 25th
A1C: 7.5% (a 6.5% drop)
Average Glucose: 169 mg/DL (166 point drop)

So I'm pretty stoked about these numbers. Particularly because this these results are skewed from my highs pre-diagnosis which hopefully means that when I retake my A1C in late August, I will be squarely in the normal range. That's the plan anyway.

My endocrinogolist was very pleased with my numbers and was very congratulatory about such a big drop in just shy of two months. It was really nice to get the encouragement particularly when I've been having some tough days this month.

We have been crazy busy with visitors and parties and volunteering and just general to-do lists that it seems like I've hardly got time to catch my breath. This has been all well and good but it has proved challenging when it comes to eating as we have gone out quite a bit or to potlucks where it's a crap-shoot as to what will be available to eat and how it will be served. This last weekend for example, we were at a potluck and I decided I wanted a beer - okay 1 unit of insulin there. But wait, what about dinner? Well at this point, dinner is not yet served so I can't account for what I'm going to eat yet. So I take the shot of insulin for the beer. Thirty minutes later, it's dinner time. I load my plate and then take another shot to cover those carbs. But wait, there's more. That's right, you guessed it - dessert! And German chocolate cake to boot! When was the last time you had German chocolate cake?! Exactly! That's what I was thinking, so I took a small slice and yet again another shot of insulin to cover the cake.

Three shots over the course of about a hour/hour and a half. Three needles. Three injection sites. Three times to attempt being a diabetes ninja (when you can test your blood or taking your insulin shot in the blink of an eye without drawing attention to yourself).

And although I had been toying with this thought over the last few weeks, it dawned on me then in a post-German chocolate stupor, this would have been a lot easier with an insulin pump.

This past Monday, I met again with Chandra (RD/CDE) and amongst other topics, we chatted once again about a pump. The reasons have been adding up for me and as much as the tubing idea freaks me out, the benefits have swayed in favor of a pump. I think a lot of the hold up for me was my misconceptions about pumps. I had it in my head that a permanent catheter would be implanted in my tummy, that the tubing was the size of a water hose, and that I would forever have to wear a fanny pack to transport the thing (this being the scariest factor of all). Not the case it turns out.

Chandra was very reassuring about the pump and made it very clear that if I don't like it, I don't have to use it. That if I was to disconnect from it for an hour, a day, a week just because I feel like it, that that's fine too. I will always have to have some insulin pens on hand in case of a pump malfunction, so if I decide to go back to pens for a period of time or a specific circumstance, then that's okay too. She reminded me that the pump is to let me have better control and to make my life easier and that ultimately I need to determine a strategy that works for me and it's okay if that's a combination of pump therapy and MDI (multiple daily injections) if that is what I want.

So after thinking on this and talking to Nathan, I pulled the trigger today at my appointment with my endocrinologist and she is going to get started on the paperwork for the pump I'm interested in using. I think she is rather please with my decision to give it a go, although I think she wanted me to go with a different version that has a linked CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor). Can't please them all, right?

Oh and the salad I mentioned last week - here's the recipe - it's delicious - you're welcome.