Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What makes me tick - Volume 3 - Athletics (Part A)

The next post in my series of shit-that-gives-me-massive-amounts-of-anxiety is athletics. It really doesn’t make sense. Then again, nothing I’ve written about my sources of anxiety make much sense (to me at least).

This isn’t going to be easy to explain, try to bear with me. I’m splitting the post up because I lose myself trying to read these essays, I'm sure  you have better focusing skills than me but just so I don't lose you...

Athletics are a huge part of my life and that’s why this is a major one on my list. 

When I was a runner I never really improved. Sure I ran a marathon and a dozen halfs but they certainly weren’t breaking any records or putting me near the top. In fact, I consistently came in the bottom third if not bottom quarter of every event I did. I trained a lot for those races. I just wanted to have a decent result that I could actually feel good about but I never got it. That was my own issues though because no matter how slow you are, you can always enter a race without embarrassment.

I quit running to focus everything on cycling and also because of an irritating and degrading osteoarthritis diagnosis in my clavicle. From what, we still don't know. Possibly an injury or years of rock climbing. I was bound and determined to race bikes though. It had become my new passion. 

This is an explanation of the realistic differences between a running race and a bike race according to ME. These are my opinions and experiences only so you might not agree. That's you're problem. This isn't your blog.

Anybody can run. The entrants into a running race are in the thousands! There might be hundreds of competitors in the same age category. This means that 99% of people running a race are NOT striving for the podium. Running races are more for personal achievement and personal records than they are about winning. There's no ability to draft or utilize other runners (unless you are an elite).

Bike racing is evil and degrading. In my category there could be as few as 3-5 ladies. That’s why they bunch 3-4 categories together in one field and we still often only make up 20 riders. The more riders the better because there's more opportunity to spread out the work load. If/when the field splits, you'd have a better chance of finding people to work with. The categories are different to boot. There is an age category but there's also a category based on experience that one can work their way up into. The nature of cycling is to conserve as much energy as possibly by way of drafting behind other riders which can gain you up to a 30% reduction in effort. That is, if you can keep up with even that. Basically, once you get spit out the back aka: the dreaded, “DROP”, your race is pretty much over. At that point there isn’t a chance in fucking hell you are going to catch the group and stay with them. It happens - yes -  but rarely. The group does not wait for you to catch up. The group does not even take notice of your divorce in fact that’s what they want. Weed out the weak ones.

This one race I did in Tennessee they packed up the start/finish line before I even got a chance to finish. I’m not even shitting you. This is fairly common practice. You don’t get a T-shirt and a goodie bag. You don’t get water, bananas, medals or even a cheer. 1st, 2nd and 3rd place are all that matters. PERIOD. It’s like paying to suffer and endure the embarrassment of everybody watching and knowing how bad you (me) suck. Should you choose to remove yourself? You have to announce to the commissaries. AND THE RULES... holy shit the rules.

with the field.

A different race but.. not with the field.

Never have I ever wanted to disappear so bad before than while racing my bike after I get dropped. A dropped rider is like an orphaned red-headed child. Nobody wants to look at them in the eyes directly. I have freckles and auburn hair, that puts me at risk :P. Some spectators will still clap but it’s more of a slow clap. Without saying anything everybody knows the truth. What’s worse is that everybody knows who I am. I can’t hide the recognizable kit and bike. At least with a running race everybody is pretty unrecognizable. I just want to slip into the shadows. Please don’t look at me, it only furthers my shite performance.

That being said… bike racing is NOT for the faint at heart. It requires immense amounts of training and suffering (compared to running IMHO) and still, you need to be as good as the rest of the riders. You can’t just be “mostly good”. I have learned that maybe bike racing does not suit my personality and issues with anxiety. It's not like I can't see this. I’ve been trying to get on top of the emotional rollercoaster that comes with it. Whenever I ran a race I never freaked out. Sure there were some race nerves but that’s just the atmosphere of lining up with thousands of people. I think it’s more the excitement than anything else. 

I don’t sleep the night before a bike race from pure anxiety and nerves. I ruin it for myself before it even starts. I spend days beforehand wanting to quit and right up until that air horn goes off I am contemplating a suicide mission. Nobody would notice if I just deek off at this corner will they?

I am not very good. I’ve been training pretty hard for a few years now and I still get dropped in every race. I see the tiniest bits of improvement but have yet to finish a race WITH the field. I probably get singled out by stink eye. Riders recognize me immediately as NOT A THREAT. There’s that Novofit chick, we don’t need to worry about her, she won’t be with us long. These thoughts don’t help me at all, I know.

So why do this?

To be continued…

Friday, September 5, 2014

What makes me tick - Volume 3 - WORK (Part B)

I would probably be able to “deal” with my broken morals towards my job for a few more years if it weren’t for one big thing. (Go HERE for Part A.)
 
DISTANCE 
 
Before I go on I will say that this is entirely my fault. It was my choice to follow when the office moved. Then I quit after 8 months because it was too far. Then it was my choice again when I went back after a couple years. The job was fucking awesome when it was one city away. Now it’s not just far away but located such that I am now driving into Toronto like everybody else (and their grandmothers because grandmothers still work) in this area. Not only that but the location of the office is such that it makes public transit nightmarishly impossible. Oh it can be done, but it takes a good 3 hours (1-way), train/bus transfers and probably $20/day. I ride home on my bike in less time than that.
 
So here we are at the crux of my dilemma and anxiety with work. 
 
Commuting wrecks my zest for life. Y’know how there are certain things in your life that just drive you to insanity? Specific things that you have absolutely no patience for? For me, it’s traffic. It always has been. I don’t get road rage I just get antsy, irritated and miserable. It could ruin my entire day. I don’t know how people do it seemingly unaffected for years. I try to put up with it but I can’t help how much I fucking despise it. I cringe and chew my lips to shreds while maniacally switching radio stations like an ADD superstar because radio ads make me want to stick a pencil in my eye. 
 
When I think about the 12-13 hours a week I spend just getting to and from work I want to sharpen that pencil a little more. The shit I could do and the more hours I could put on my bike with that time. Possibilities are endless. BUT, traffic. Brain dead. Tanks of gas which equals a shit ton of money. Intense wear and tear on my car that equals even more money, my mind, my patience. Toll highways for sanity but at the cost of an appendage – more money. When it comes right down to it I pay more money to get to work than it makes sense to.
 
That would be my car on a tow truck after it broke down on the side of the highway. That bitch of a repair cost me WAY TOO much.
 
I’ve done audiobooks and podcasts and lectures and talk radio. It sometimes helps but often I can’t stay focused. 
 
I know what you’re thinking…
 
“But it’s entirely your fault y’know! If you aren’t happy why did you go back?”
 
It just ended up this way. This job, this choice, this life. I liked the job enough to try and make it worth it. It’s just worn on me in a major way over the years. I guess I was wrong when I thought I could do it. I thought it would get better, both the job itself and the commute. I was wrong. Also? I have been pushing and hoping for work-from-home capabilities but I seem to get a rolled eye or turned up nose at every suggestion. I’m not even going to get into the benefits to everybody involved when it comes to telecommuting. 
 
That’s not the point though. 
 
The point of these series of posts is to express how these aspects of my life affect my overall mental health and anxiety. When I contemplate my triggers I immediately question what I can do to alleviate the stresses that clearly make my anxiety worse. I’ve done a lot over the years. I’ve learned to say “No” to pretty much all social events. I’ve learned that when I feel my anxiety taking a turn for the worse I ignore everything and everyone around me. Sometimes it lasts days or weeks. Sometimes laundry doesn’t get done. It’s my fail safe mechanism though, to close out the world and get by with minimal interaction. So it’s no surprise when my mind keeps saying I need to find a more suitable work-o-sphere. My first reaction to anxiety is to RUN AWAY and that’s not healthy. I know the commute is a massive trigger on so many levels and what’s worse is that I don’t have the answer right now as to how to fix it other than throwing drugs down my throat.
 
I’ve been working on trying to manage how I mentally deal with it. I’ve been trying to get a grip on myself daily with the traffic and commute. In some ways I’ve tried to re-wire my coping mechanisms and force myself to believe it’s “not that bad.” A sort of suck-it-up-buttercup band aid solution. It’s not that bad, everybody else does it and they don’t seem to be sticking sharpened pencils in their eyes (that I know of). There’s gotta be a way to self-soothe and manage the anxiety before it becomes all-consuming. There’s got to be a solution for me other than running away aka: quitting because I’m a fucking wimp. If the commuting is causing more anxiety than the actual job, to me that’s a roadblock that I should logically be able to deal with.
 
Logic… HA!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What makes me tick - Volume 2 - WORK (Part A)

It’s not about what I do for a living it’s about how it makes me feel and what happens around the work week.

I'm a bit nervous as to who my blog reaches. I don't want current or prospective employers to get the wrong idea but I guess that's the risk putting something like this out there. No matter what I do for work whether I like it or not I am generally a model employee. It's a strength as much as it's a weakness (to myself). I've done many jobs. Taught English in Taiwan. Slung coffees as a barista. Lived and sold camping equipment as a way of life. I've even danced on the side of the road in a clown costume with a sign for a flower shop. Yup, I was pretty stellar at that one too. 

Right now?
In a nutshell:
 
I am an Architectural Technologist. I draw houses ALL DAY. I have no need to talk to anybody at work ever. I don’t receive emails or phone calls that hold any great importance. I don’t participate in meetings outside of an occasional snore fest. I hardly ever talk to co-workers or bosses because there’s just very little need to. I spend my time day after day sitting on my ass staring at a computer and drawing the same houses over and over. I don’t love it, as you can tell. I don’t hate it either, it’s what I studied and trained to do so there must’ve been some kind of reason for it.

For a change I am not going to be self depreciating and say I'm damn fucking good at what I do. I can say that with honesty because I know it's true. It's one of the only things in my life that I'm actually really good at. I suppose that's why I'm still here doing it after 10 years.
 
When I was a wee kidlet I dreamt of being an architect. Specifically a big fancy house designer. I followed this dream to a certain level but lacked the self-confidence and motivation to take it further. So here I am, not exactly what I expected. I am not particularly social or outgoing but having to deal with people would at least make my days slightly more interesting. I don’t like my personal life interacting with my work life which is probably a culprit to why I feel so much self-isolation. The reason for that is simple; I share nothing in common with the people I work with. I am only close with one person and he's hopefully the only one who would read this. (HI!)

a la Tim Burton styles
 
 I feel like I achieved half my childhood dream. I am drawing houses and working in the field I always wanted. Except I work for a large company and I am just another cog in the wheel. Can you say “cookie cutter?”. Could I have gone the rest of the way? I wanted to at one point, but lost the motivation at the thought of many more years of school complete with suffocating debt. That didn’t seem like the right decision to make. I had to admit that I missed the boat on that one. I kind of fucked up.
 
It was when I started seeing my work as something I don’t fully and morally agree with that it all started falling apart. I have strong beliefs on how we occupy space and the whacked goals as society we have grown to strive for. Big houses. Too many rooms that get filled with “STUFF”. I became interested in minimalism and ecological architecture. Earthships, alternative energies and environmental impact are actually important to me.  Except I don’t have the skills to try and force those beliefs into the industry. Who would listen to me? I have no voice. I’m just a CAD monkey.

Where the "magic" (??!!?!?) happens.
 
Do you know how many years I’ve been secretly telling myself to just shut the fuck up and suck it up? I’ve tried to force myself to be complacent with it. To use a scary word, “SETTLE”. Just go to work, put your 40 hours/week in. Take your measly 10 days of vacation a year and just deal with it. Why do I have to gain some sort of satisfaction? Why can’t I just BE that cog? Does it really matter how I make money and just that I make money? I have a very good job in my industry. One many people would probably suck dicks to get. I get paid well. I have health insurance. SO WHY CAN’T I JUST BE HAPPY WITH IT? What more do I want? Why do I keep expecting that proverbial fence where the grass is greener o’er yonder?
 
The real reason why I’m still here is that I’m just too damn anxious about the unknown. The thought of starting my own business is overwhelming. I know full-well that’s not something I’m capable of. Why? My anxiety. It’s too much to bear and be responsible for. Not having a steady income or good health insurance isn’t an option. I just know myself well enough to say I wouldn’t survive something like that. I’m not good at it. I also wanted to be an artist when I was a kidlet. I think I am predisposed to the creative side of things without the pressure of managing shit.
 
I have no idea where I’m going with this. It’s turning into a really fucked up thought process.
 
In the end I don’t morally agree with the wee cog that I am. I feel like I contribute nothing to society and in return receive zero feelings of worth and reward with the work I do. I’m surprised I haven’t been replaced by a machine yet. Most people probably wouldn’t care but I actually enjoy it when I am doing something I feel good about. I’ve never really felt good about this career. I blame me. 
 
The only job I ever had that left me feeling like it was worth it was when I worked in a camping goods store/outfitters. It was the best job I ever had despite making the least amount of money ever. There was reward and satisfaction. I felt like I belonged and was actually appreciated.
 
I’m really not sure what else in life I would do but I’ve been slowly contemplating other career moves for more years than its safe to admit. I’d probably be happy working in a gluten free bakery – but I have never been successful at making my own GF bread. Or a greenhouse – but I don’t know anything formal about green things. Or a bike shop - but I actually don't know much about bikes, just how to ride 'em. I taught English in Taiwan for 2 years and enjoyed the reward from that – but I’m not going overseas again. One thing is for sure, something close to home would make life with anxiety so much easier. That leads me to a veritable segue…
 
to be continued …

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What makes me tick - Volume 1 - FOOD

It’s true, I’ve written about food before. A few times. I’ve even written about food in terms of anxiety.

After re-reading what I wrote last night I have a few things to note. Rest assured you will think one or all of these things after reading this.

1. This chick is WHACK
2. who actually thinks like that?
3. No seriously, this is fucking bananas
4. Wow, she really is fucked up.
5. Holy shit, ALL OF THE ABOVE

Why? Because until I read it myself I had no idea. That's a lie, I know how screwed up I am but I've never told anyone. Until today that is.

.........................................

I actually really hate food. I fucking resent it. I hate that I resent something that keeps me alive. With the double negative you’d think it would cancel itself out in the end. Alas, hatred is not like math. If it was, I could hate something to the power of infinity and that would be an easy way to express myself.

I have issues with food and it begins with a massive fear of being sick. I think… any way... I’m not sure. I kind of want to go to a psychotherapist or someone that can analyze my brain to tell me the cause and effect. I’d like to hook my head up to a diagnostic machine. I imagine it would print out a long list of fucked up shit. 

I am afraid of two things in life. Like… legitimate earth shaking phobias. Spiders and vomit. Please no jokes about puking spiders (it’s really not funny). Those are the only two things that paralyze me and bring me to my knees in a puddle of tears and convulsive shaking.

I once fainted in the ER because someone else was sick (and I blogged about it). I can count the number of times I’ve puked in the past 16 years. ONCE! And it was out the passenger side of a friends vehicle as he was driving me to emergency because I had an obstruction in my small intestine. Look, I blogged about that too! I could fill a bible-sized book with everything I have to say about this phobia but right now it's making my stomach feel sick.

Okay. So I have a major issue with food. This means that I freak the fuck out as soon as my stomach feels even the slightest bit distended. I imagine the nerves and receptors in my gut are neurotic personal space freaks and the moment something touches them, they send sick signals to my brain. Little dysfunctional freaks that they are. I’ve been like this for so many years (we’re talking decades now) that I know for a fact this is the rest of my life. I have NO IDEA what it feels like to be full. Absolutely zero recollection. I eat tiny amounts and often. I have to see everything I’m going to eat before I eat it and that can’t change. You’ll rarely see me just grabbing and eating all willy nilly. I have to keep track of it in my head. I need to know how much I’ve put in vs. how much is left. I neurotically make mental notes with how my stomach is feeling. Does it feel a bit stretched? If so, stop eating right away. I will wait half an hour or maybe an hour until I feel safe again. You’ll almost NEVER see me drinking liquids with my food because that takes up space. I pretty much feel sick after everything I eat.

I have insane memory recall to boot which doesn't help when I'm trying to move past something.

I relate everything to my black porcelain bowl at home. I tried 3 times to take a picture of it for this blog post but I couldn't handle the embarrassment of this obsession with a FUCKING BOWL! How does this item of food look in that bowl? How much space does it take up? If it looks okay in my minds eye I will be fine.  On the very rare occasion that I mindlessly eat, I will inevitably freak out. It only happens when I’m distracted. It’s not the fullness factor that freaks me out either, it’s my fucking paranoia.

This also leaves me beyond anxious about food that might be slightly questionable. I won’t touch anything if I feel like I don’t know everything about it. Buffets are my WORST nightmare. I get nauseous simply at the thought of a buffet. I'd rather die and that's not even a joke.

BREAKFAST

In addition to my anxiety and paranoia with food I sort of really hate get-togethers with people. Why does it always have to be centred around food? Can’t we ever get together to just talk and drink water? Talk and walk? Talk and sit? Why is it always talk and eat?! I absolutely dread ANY get together with people that has anything to do with food. I often wonder why we have evolved to need so much goddamned food. How have we not gotten to the point where we only need to eat once a week? The fucking human body is bloody inefficient. Yes, these are the things I think about.

Don't even get me started about the guilt that comes with food as it relates to diabetes. FUCK ME CLOCKWISE!! I am the strictest eater of carbs you'll ever meet. I don't think I've ever eaten more than 40g of carbs I one sitting. I usually cap it at about 20-30. If there are more than that I'll have one bite or I won't touch it at all. A piece of chocolate here or a gluten free cookie there is about my max. To be honest, this is a whole different level of food anxiety that is completely separate from my sick anxiety. Two things working against me.

I consider this a sort of quasi eating disorder, I always have. I just never knew how to explain it no has anyone ever even come close to my issues. Nobody understands. I don’t really know where it started either. This is my life though, every fucking day.

IT'S NOT NORMAL.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Anxiety is at the bottom of the triangle

Well if I'm going to start anywhere it should be at the bottom.

Anxiety.
 
It rules my life.
It ruins my life.

(Please excuse my shitty Microsoft Paint skills)

No doctor has officially diagnosed me with any sort of anxiety disorder. Probably because I'm always going to docs with physical ailments. Stomach cramps, nausea, dizziness et al. One doc got close and gave me an IBS diagnosis which is pretty much stress and anxiety induced distress.

Over the years I've come to understand that my issues are anxiety. I can pinpoint when it started too. I did have a lot of on and off undiagnosable issues growing up. Looking back it was most likely anxiety. The real turning point was about 10 years ago. I was in a relationship with a man I eventually married and then quickly divorced. That relationship was heavy on the mental strain and trauma but I didn't really see it at the time. The damage was cumulative and when I started losing my shit I began getting dangerous panic attacks. Still, I didn't know at that point. It wasn't him, it was how we were and how I let the relationship exist around me for so many years.

During the separation I was the worst mess I've ever been. I tried a few different anti-depressants but none of them really helped until I went on a stronger more anti-anxiety specific drug. I started to feel better, more human. I still didn't see that my problem was anxiety. I was pretty stupid really.

Ah but then last year I embarked on an almost 12 month journey to get off them. The problems started coming back. Here's the thing though, my symptoms don't typically present themselves as textbook anxiety. I dismissed it because of that. I get stomach cramps, nausea, dizziness and a whole hoard of other physical symptoms. I wasn't denying that coming off the drugs made me feel worse, I just thought I had to adjust to being off them. Since then I've had loads of friends and people I don't even know come and tell me they've experienced the same things.

Then I really started thinking about it and I mean REALLY. I thought about the times I felt the worst and what was happening. I thought about what stresses me out and began making connections to everything in my life. People, racing, commuting, events, planning things, social outings and food... FOOD. Food is the bane of my existence. Diabetes didn't make the list surprisingly enough.

There are a few things that will require their own blog posts that connect all of this together:
1. Food
2. Work
3. Sensory processing disorder
4. Athletics

I am 99% sure I need to go back on the drugs. I am 100% trying to find any way possible to manage without them. 1% of me that's left is crying for help.

I haven't decided which blog post is next. Feel free to tell me what you want to read about most.

Friday, August 22, 2014

A directionless direction

I was talking to a girlfriend the other day about life, the future and anxiety. I haven’t been totally forthcoming with my issues and keep a lot of it inside. This seems to put me in a precarious situation with a fine balance between resentment and depression towards many things.

She was trying to help me find a way to manage my anxiety and we got on the topic of writing. Not necessarily writing for the sake of public viewing but writing in general. She asked me what I would choose to do with my work life if money weren’t an issue. She said she would write because she loves to write. I love to write also.

I often feel like all I do is complain. Its something ingrained deep within my soul. I remember my father giving a eulogy at my Nana’s (his mother’s) funeral. It was the sweetest thing I’d ever heard (and the only time I’ve EVER seen my dad cry). He talked about how Nana, no matter what life dealt her, never complained. He talked about their long arduous and hellish boat trip from England to North America. He spoke about the hard financial struggles of eking out a life in a new country. He spoke about how hard he has tried to adopt that non-complaining way of living. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized how much my dad is like his mother. How he was able to be such a non-complainer in a world that is cruel. Raising my two siblings and myself was probably a feat of massive proportions. From that day forward I decided I want to be like my dad and my Nana. I don’t want to be one of those people that complains all the time and so I set out on a mission. Even though I am cynically pessimistic. Kind of gives a whole new meaning to "Life's Mission". That was about 8 years ago. I have failed time and time again but inside the thoughts are always there. 

I stopped blogging awhile back (or at least not very often) because I felt like I was complaining too much. I have 32 unpublished blog posts (which will remain unpublished). I try to tell stories without the bitching but when I read them back all I see is complaining hiding behind humour. People tell me my perception is wrong and it’s not like that at all. I let them humour me but I know underneath it all I am bitching.

I thought long and hard about my friends’ desire to write for the sake of writing. My whole life, I’ve always adored writing about my experiences and adventures. Even when I tell stories face to face my primary goal is to express the feelings from those moments, not so much the plot. I really love to write whether I’m good at it or not. 

Last night I had a dream about reading old journals and diaries of which I haven’t kept for many, MANY years.

So, in an effort to try and re-organize my life and send it in a different – unknown – direction, I am going to test out the writing waters. Bear with me because I haven’t got a clue what the end goal is. This may be nothing to do with diabetes, a rule I always vowed to follow for this blog. What I do know is that I need some help with my debilitating anxiety issues. I need help finding a direction in life with work and athletics. I don’t know where I’m going but something needs to change. Even if nobody reads it or it seems like I’m being one of those annoying bloggers. I still don’t know how I feel about “BLOGGING” in general.


Also, along the "out of my comfort zone" lines, here is a selfie. Why is this selfie so important? Because this is the picture I sent to the same friend with the note that I hate selfies but for her, I'd make an exception. I was already out on my Saturday ride. She was nervous about an event that morning so I gave her a nerdy "thumbs up".

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

An Absurd Challenge

Saturday started like any other long ride day. Friday was a particularly busy, hectic and hellishly anxiety-ridden so I didn't have a ride planned. I looked at all my routes on Saturday morning and none of them were appealing. I innocently said to Ryan, “Where should I ride today?” expecting a “go in this direction.” and I would come up with a route based on that.

Oh no. I should know better when it comes to Ryan. He is king for coming up with ridiculous challenges and ideas. He spit out “25 times up Sydenham.” Maybe it was that I hadn’t finished my coffee yet, or maybe I was completely delusional and neurotic. I started to say “you’re NUTS” but what came out of my mouth was, “You’re nnnn….. wait a minute… maybe… that sounds like a torturous challenge!”.

He left for work. I attempted to prepare myself for something so absurd…

I’ve written about Sydenham before. We don’t have mountains with hour long climbs around here. What we have is the Niagara Escarpment. It's about 100m elev. gain at 1.4'ish km long with an average grade of 7-8%. (330ft, 0.9miles). It's nice because the road is wide, drivers are ALWAYS aware  of cyclists and the pavement is smooth.

When I do hill repeats I do at most 6 reps so the idea of 25 was the most unbelievably daunting challenge. What the hell, it’s not gonna kill me, what have I got to lose? (my sanity from going up and down the same 1.4'ish km section of road for 4 hours?!) As Ryan would say, “A challenge is something that’s just out of your reach, otherwise it’s not a challenge.”

My only concern was time. This was going to take me FOR FUCKING EVER! It’s not like I could attack the hill with the utmost power 25 times. This wasn't going to be any sort of show of awesomeness it was going to be a show of suffering. This is a task that once you start you just have to settle into it and take it slice by slice. Deal with the monotony.

I listened to some music and audio books but at the end, I listened to nothing at all but my whizzing whirring dehydrated brain.

I watched the sun move overhead and witnessed blotches of shade morphing and shifting. I started to memorize every crack and ripple in the pavement. Every little stone and leaf and stick and what I can only assume was a puddle of dried up vomit. I watched guys roofing a house at the base of the climb. At one point they stopped me and said they were enjoying watching me and said I was amazing. I dunno, maybe it was just the constant sight for hours of a chick in spandex because what I was doing wasn’t anything close to amazing.

SLOW doesn’t even begin to express my climbing abilities. I was adding 2mins/climb from my usual intervals on any other given day. I had my spots between signs and other landmarks that I would get out of the saddle but near the end my ass was firmly planted. I was pedaling squares and had given up any attempt at form or finesse. I was suffering. I tried it all. Mash the pedals, pull up on the pedals, sit back and use my ass muscles, drop my heels, use my toes, relax my shoulders, rest on the hoods, the bars, head up, head down, chest raised.... YOU NAME IT!

I stopped 3 times to chat with friends who had heard of my stupidity. I saw hoards of cyclists come and go. Some for one climb, others for a few more. I climbed with one guy for 3 reps. He was going even slower than me but I didn’t have it in me to pass him. Not like the view was great, he wasn’t anything worth watching (trust me). We spoke no words either, just climbed together. I feel like I experienced Sydenham for the day. People would come and park at the lookout. I’d see them for a climb or two. Then they’d move on. I saw 2 guys doing hill repeats running and one of them was faster than me which was degrading. I watched the hill like a reality TV show because for 4+ hours it WAS my reality.

Diabetes was pretty spectacular if I do say so myself. Though my nutrition was PISS POOR.

I reduced my Lantus down to 6 units that morning. I ate some oatmeal and took 1 unit of insulin for it.

I had some slightly concentrated Honeymaxx in one of my bottles which I drank in between the water and which also made me gag. I watered it down after awhile.

@5 climbs I stopped to check my BG, text Ryan and chat with a friend for a second. I was 3.4mmol/l (61mg/dl) so I had a GU.
@10 climbs I was 5.8mmol/l (104mg/dl). I did nothing because I was a bit nauseated from the heat
@12 climbs I chatted with a friend for a few minutes
@15 climbs I was 5.5mmol/l (99mg/dl). I had 2 shot blocks. I also went to the farmers market at the top of the hill to buy some water.
-----this is where I made the decision to stop at 20 climbs. I was feeling delirious and progressively more rotten. I hadn’t eaten anything since 8:30am and it was now 1pm. I couldn’t stomach anything either which is a bad sign. Mostly? It was time. I was out there already for over 3 hours. Another 10 climbs in the "feels like 31C (88F) heat"? I couldn’t bear to think about it. Physically I could have forced it but my body was already beyond the point of no return with regards to nutrition and dehydration.
@18 climbs I chatted with another friend for a few minutes
@20 climbs I had a little “WOO HOO-imaginary fist bump with nobody” celebration. It was just me, alone. I didn’t even stop, I just turned my bike around and went down the hill one last time. I didn't stop at the cafĂ© (like I usually would) I didn't pass GO, I didn't collect $200. I went home because I was dying. BG was 5.9mmol/l (106mg/dl) when I got there.

the extra big bump at 15 is where I went to the farmers market further up the hill for water. The shorter bump at 18 is where I met with a friend at the lookout. After we chatted I turned around to go back down the hill and technically didn't finish the whole climb. *GASP*

I reduced my PM Lantus also to 6 units and for the first time ever after a ride like that I didn’t tank during the night.

12 units of Lantus and only 3 units of Rapid for the whole day. I swear, if only I could find a way to ride my bike all day every day I'd rarely require insulin.

I had only consumed 60’ish grams of carbohydrates. THAT’S WAY TOO LITTLE!! That’s probably a little more than how much I should be taking in PER HOUR. The ride time was 4:10 but the elapsed time was 4:50. I stopped to check my blood sugar, buy water and chat with 3 different people, otherwise I was consistently climbing. It was very hot. When I got home I was a wreck. I couldn’t think (or see) straight. I couldn’t get anything done that I needed to do (I was supposed to work). I never really recovered mentally until the following morning. It took me hours just to shower, clean up and put a load of laundry in. I was hardly able to eat so I took in what little calories I could. When I got in my car to go meet Ryan I felt unsafe to even be driving. 

Hello friend

Yeah, I could have done 5 more climbs but I know my body pretty well. I would have needed serious help and I didn’t want it to get to that. Not to mention nobody was around to help me.

It was absurd for sure. I got a lot of people questioning my sanity. Not me though. I thought the challenge was a great idea. Thanks to my Ryan for having such a wild imagination. What a way to really test myself. It's safe to say I won't be asking him for ride ideas again for awhile though.

In the end? I climbed 2,157 metres (7,077 feet). No it ain’t no Pyrenees but it’s the most I’ve ever climbed in one day.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

This 'n' that - shitty weekend health-wise

I have a lot to say about 2 days. This could probably be 3 separate posts.

Saturday morning I woke up to a murderous uterus. I drowned it’s sorrows in a couple of extra-strength ibuprofen. It helped with the pain but not the stomach and GI upset. I spent the day either feeling nauseated or starving. It was really fucked up.

We wanted to have an epic day just Ryan and I. We started with an hour drive to play on some dirt jumps. I’ve never been on dirt jumps and my off-road cycling skills are seriously lacking. I tried and fell once, scraping up my leg a wee bit. Then Ryan told me how to position my body on the bike.  Ahhhh.. makes all the difference. At some point I went over to test my BG at my car since I was too nauseous to finish my green smoothie earlier but already took insulin. I noticed my meter case, which houses my insulins, was rather toasty. I then put the case in the wheel well of my car. See where this is going?

Oddly enough I took this picture to send to a friend just a couple weeks ago. My cute bike case is gone :(

 
 
We got 20 minutes away before I noticed. We drove back all the while knowing it would be gone. Someone would have picked it up or it got crushed when I backed out. It was gone either way. Sigh. Not a big deal but I really loved that case with all the bicycles on it! Since we were on our way to Toronto and nowhere close to home we found the nearest Shoppers Drugmart for a quick over-the-counter re-supply to get me through the day.

They didn’t have my glucose meter of choice so I had to buy a different one. One that I’m not familiar with and one that I ended up hating because of no backlight, strip light or beeps. It would just be for a couple days because my spare meter at work will replace my original meter and this piece of shit will become the spare at work. It cost me $170 to get back up and running. All of which will be reimbursed by my insurance. We would be home before my nighttime shot of Lantus so I didn’t have to buy that.

For an entertaining interlude in this rather bad diabetes blog post here is a little video of Ryan playing around in a bowl on his over-sized dirt-jumping BMX bike. You can take the skater off his skateboard but you'll never take the skater out of him.
  

 
We then went to one of the worst indoor climbing gyms I’ve ever been to in my entire life. We were holding off on an outdoor crag because of the rain threats but anything would have been better. Lesson learned though.

I hardly ate anything the entire day because of the wavering between nausea and starvation. It didn’t make sense. I blamed it on the murdering rampaging uterus. 

I was still feeling pretty not great on Sunday morning but this was my alone time to ride my ass off. I hit the road after eating fuck all for breakfast. I sighed. I thought, well this is gonna hurt at some point. I was prepared to just deal with the imminent muscle aches and cramps.

The aches and cramps never came. In fact I had one of the best rides I’ve had in a LONG time. My BG stayed in the 6's and 7's for the entire 3.5 hours and ate only 2 of my chocolate date energy balls. Sometimes riding to lose a few pounds is good too. I had Richard Dawkins “The God Delusion” audiobook playing in my ears which was highly interesting until I couldn’t concentrate on it anymore. Why? Because I was entering a familiar territory called hyponatremia. I’m not going to go into the nasty details, click the link for more info. I could tell though. I knew it. I’ve been here before a couple times but one time in particular was rather severe. My not eating much the day before was a culprit. Plus my blood pressures natural tendency to run low. I generally have to consume copious amounts of salt post ride to stave off intense head rushes.

I stopped at a gas station for a fill-up on water. I had already drank twice as much as normal and I was struggling to conserve it. In retrospect, I should have bought some Gatorade or potato chips. By the time I got home I was a wreck. I made some fresh lemon water with salt which tasted fucking disgusting but I sipped on it until it did the trick. 2 glasses of it. Still though, I didn’t eat hardly anything the rest of this day too because of post ride nausea. OH NAUSEA!!!!!!!!!!!!

Enter Sunday night. Post hard ride BG tanked twice before bed. It tanked hard and fast and came out of nowhere. My morning AND evening Lantus shots were reduced by 2 units each for the past 2 days because it’s the weekend. I tried to eat before bed and perhaps I ate a little too much.

Ryan’s 1:30am alarm goes off. He refuses to let us turn it off most nights. He has valid reasons, I don’t. First check (on the annoying meter with no lights that caused me much frustration at 1:30am) had me at 16.9 (305). Really? Second check on another finger resulted in 15.8 (285). Dammit. Another annoying thing with using syringes (it’s just my preference right now because it all fits nicely in my meter case) is needing light to draw up the right amount. I went into the bathroom to turn the light on, drew up 2.5units, stuck it, went back to bed.

Shitty meter. Time stamp is behind by an hour.

Sometime around 4am I bolt up terrified. I can’t feel my mouth. I’m dripping with sweat. I don’t check, just gobble back 4 glucose tabs. I wait and wait and die a little more. The sweat pours off of me soaking everything. I’m hyperventilating and moaning. When I am able to test I see a 1.7 (30). For fucksakes!! I eat another 4 or 5 or 6 glucose tabs. I lost count. Our alarms are set to go off at 5am to get up for work. This is great. Just great. Lows like this leave me so ill. It’s not so much the low but the resulting sugar hangover. My tummy does NOT tolerate sugar EVER. It’s kind of a cruel joke. Almost all my lows leave me feeling nauseous. I was topless and hugging a bath towel rolling around in agony.

I took Zofran and went back to bed after I already got dressed for work. I slept in my clothes intermittently tossing and turning for 2 extra hours. I started work 3 hours later than usual and got caught in a 1:45 hour commute but I kept thinking, “At least I made it to work, it could have been worse… I could have not woken up at all.”

What went wrong? A weekend without eating much didn’t help. A 95km solo ride somewhat dehydrated, edging on hyponatremia and not fueled? Yes. That too.  

Then I remembered that my diabetes turned 12 earlier this month and I didn’t even know it. Hello 13th year of hell.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Summit Diabetes!

Sometimes I get contacted to promote a person or product. 99% of the time the email gets trashed from the subject line alone. It’s nothing against any one, okay, it is something against EVERYone. This one read, “summit diabetes” and had an intro about fundraising. I know I’m a heathen because I hate fundraising. I deleted the email. A couple days later something triggered me to go and read it. It was probably while I was bored sitting on the toilet. I immediately pulled the email from the trash and wrote back eagerly saying “Yes! I will write about you!”

Why? Because this is something I can relate to. Read on!

Note: I thiefed these pics off the website so you won't get any info about these two by clicking the pictures. Go to Summit Diabetes to learn more.



A 15year old girl, Haley with Type 1 Diabetes and her older brother Ethan will be embarking on a remarkable backpacking adventure. I pulled some of this info from their website and a bit of Q&A.

WHAT are you doing?

We plan to hike 221 miles on the John Muir Trail from Yosemite National Park to the top of the highest peak in the continental United States, Mount Whitney. Expecting to average roughly ten miles of alpine hiking per day, we will begin hiking on July 16th and finish three weeks later around August 6th. We are backpacking, meaning we will be carrying everything on our own backs for the entire duration of the hike. There will be two resupply points along the way for us to refill on food, while we can treat water from streams and lakes throughout the hike to stay hydrated. We will be hiking all by ourselves with no outside assistance other than resupply points along the trail.

 
It is quite the undertaking. I am crazy impressed. They leave in ONE WEEK!

Why are you doing this?



We're doing this hike to make a difference. To bring closer a much needed cure for those living with type 1 and relief to their loved ones. To show people living with this disease that it can in no way limit or define them unless they allow it to. To show the world that you can do anything you set your mind to regardless of where you are from, your age, your afflictions, or your circumstances.

Raising funds for research for this disease brings us one step closer to better and more affordable treatments. It brings us closer to a day where those with type one don't have to worry about losing their limbs, their eyes, their heart, or their life due to the constant struggles of managing it. And most of all, it brings us closer to a day where type 1 diabetes is no longer a threat of our future, but a problem of the past. We will not stop until that day comes, and when it does, we can say that we have persevered, overcome, and summitted diabetes.

How much money do you hope to raise?

After much deliberation, we decided to set our sights high and place our fundraising goal at $221,000, which represents $1000 per mile of the hike. Though it may seem a lofty goal for a 15 year old girl and her brother, we believe with enough help and support of those fighting for a cure for type 1 diabetes, it can be reached. Last summer Ethan and our brother Reid raised over $96,000 for Phoenix Children's Hospital, which saved his life a couple years back. Through the network of support for those with type 1 diabetes and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, we believe that together, we can reach this goal and bring researchers one step closer to finding a cure. 

Where does the money go to?

100% of all the money raised goes straight to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. We will be financing the entire trip ourselves and will not be taking a single penny of donation money. The goal of our trip is to raise money to research for a cure for type 1 diabetes and we would never consider taking funds away from research to finance our expedition.

 "How are you going to manage your diabetes out in the middle of nowhere?"

I will be wearing my Animas One Touch Ping insulin pump, which I have been using for the past three years. Instead of injections, the pump is attached to me through a site with tubing that allows the insulin to be delivered. The site must be changed every two to three days. In addition to testing my blood sugar 8+ times per day, I will be using the Dexcom G4 Platinum continuous glucose monitor (CGM), which illustrates your blood sugar trends and warns you if your numbers are going too high or low. Additionally, we'll carry a glucagon kit in case of a dangerously low blood sugar.

Managing my diabetes will be in no way easy. The intense physical activity and altitude will make managing my blood sugars significantly more difficult. High and low blood sugars will be inevitably common, so we will be taking much extra food, glucose tablets, insulin, and a backup meter and pump to ensure we handle anything the backcountry throws at us.
 
A couple questions from the backpacker and T1D in me:
 
How are you going to prevent insulin from getting too hot (or too cold?) I'm not entirely familiar with the climate you're going into... What about altitude? will that mess up the pump and insulin requirements?

We have two Frio packs, one for my backpack and one for Ethan's in case something were to happen. All you have to do is soak it in water, and it keeps the insulin cool for up to 45 hours. At night, the temperatures might drop down to the 30's, so if that's the case, the insulin is coming into the sleeping bag with me. The entire trip will be a learning experience as far as dealing with altitude, etc. I usually run a bit higher in higher elevations, but on our most recent high elevation training hike (10,000-12,500 ft), I kept running low. So, it's definitely going to be a balancing act, but we'll be paying a lot of attention to my CGM the first few days to try to see how things go, and adjust accordingly. 

Are you prepared for emergencies? How do you prepare exactly? ie: pump malfunction and possibly needing a new one.. 

If any emergency happens, we'll be able to manage it. We got a loaner pump from Animas for the trip, so if something happens to mine, we have a spare. If something were to happen to that one, we will have extra syringes and Lantus with us as well. We will be using a SPOT Connect, which will allow us to send text messages and, if needed, SOS signals with our exact location. We'll have glucagon, cakemate, and, of course, 200 individual packets of honey for those unavoidable lows.

 
What do you eat? prepackaged camp food? homemade camp food? (I asked this because prepackaged camp food is calorie dense thus making it heavy on the carbs, I can’t really tolerate it while I’m camping even with exercise.)

As far as food goes, our goal is to carry as many calories in as little space as possible. I will be eating 3000 calories a day and Ethan will be eating about 4000. All of our food must be stored inside bear canisters, and we only have two resupply points. Our food is all store bought. We'll be carrying a small stove which we'll cook oatmeal, ramen, instant potatoes, a few of those typical prepackaged camp dinners, etc. You can guarantee we'll be sick of trail mix and clif bars after the hike is over, but it'll be worth it!
 
GOOD LUCK guys. What a great idea and a big adventure. I'm a bit jealous, I'd love to do something like this.
 
Although I stated above that I'm a heathen, should you choose to help them meet their fundraising goal please go to Summit Diabetes to do so. You're a better person than me for donating.
 

Friday, June 27, 2014

How am I feeling?

I know this is long over-due.

How am I feeling?

Same as I always am. Nauseated and defeated.

The results from the skewering (colonoscopy/gastroscopy) are nothing. No problems. I am apparently very healthy on the inside. Biopsies fine. Everything is fine.

Well fuck me.

I hate the word FINE.

If you are chronically ill like me you can understand why that is so disturbingly upsetting. I want some help, I think that’s obvious with the doctors I’ve been going to. I would like a problem or an issue or something that I can find a way to manage or treat. With no answers I have no treatment plans which means I have NO IDEA how to make myself feel better!

As time goes on my days of feeling “normal” are fewer and far between. Sometimes I have a span of a couple days where I feel okay. I can sort of eat normal and go about my days. Then there are spans of days where I feel like a bag of shit. I don’t know why I feel this way or how to make it go away. Sometimes it comes out of nowhere and floors me wherever I am and whatever I’m doing.

All I can do is just attempt to manage my symptoms.

The worst is trying to work while feeling like this. I go through the motions of the day yet inside I feel like HELL. I try to make it through the day and when it gets so bad I can’t even sit upright, I take myself home to bed. 95% of the time I trudge through it at my desk. Why? I don’t want to be that person. I want to imagine I’m okay even when I’m not. The brain is a powerful thing. If I stayed home every morning I felt sick I would never work.

I have never felt so helpless for so long. 


My gastro doc throws her hands up in the air. The only saving grace is that she seems very interested and also has noticed a poor quality of life. Ergo she has gracefully given me a semi-permanent script for Zofran. Something I begged my GP for but who shook her head and gave me just a few. I asked for Zofran because the only anti-nausea med we have available to us over-the-counter is Gravol (Dramamine for my US friends). Gravol is wonderful BUT makes me feel high and knocks me the fuck out, ergo, making it impossible for me to use it at work. Zofran, I can still go about my life with little or no side effects.

She does think it might be gastroparesis (a wonderful complication of T1D) but I disagree. We are holding off on drugs to treat that to see what happens in the interim. She has me on a prescription ant-acid which is doing fuck all.

My naturopath throws her hands up in the air. I’ve officially lost faith in her. She was the one person I had a modicum of hope for. I paid for a food sensitivities test out of my pocket. Over $300 to find out I have next to NO food sensitivities. 

I’m really starting to think this is all in my head. My anxieties? My sensitive processing issues?

In the end….. (yes… I’m at the end) I am left hopeless. Sometimes helpless. Most of the time useless as a human. Everything makes me feel sick. All my bike riding? Sometimes I take Zofran just to ride my bike. Other times I come home so nauseous I can barely shower and get myself to bed. Granted there are times I feel great but like I said, those times are fewer and far between these days.

I have really learned to cherish the times I feel good because they never seem to last long.

As I seem to get worse the answers seem even farther away. They don’t exist. I’m done with all the doctors. I appreciate the help and investigatory nature they have done but for over a decade, no doctor has ever figured it out.

What’s worse? I hate writing these blog posts. I want to say something good for a change. I don't even know what to say anymore.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sometimes doing the things that you suck at requires more mental fortitude than anything else

My weakness with cycling is climbing. Which is funny because I seem to be pretty good at climbing….. ROCKS, just not hills on bikes. I suck in ways you wouldn’t think possible. I’d be awesome at bike racing if all routes were flat or downhills but that just ain’t possible.

Last night I did hill repeats just like I’ve been trying to get in twice a week. It hasn’t always been working out that way due to torrential thunderstorms and feeling sick the past couple weeks.
 

I don’t love these workouts in fact I really hate them.
 
Last night was no exception. It was a slow night on Sydenham. Usually any night of the week there are cyclist doing repeats like gangbusters. Its one of the gnarliest hills we have in our area and people come from all over to climb it. I only saw a small handful this time.
 
Before the first hill my BG was 4.1mmol/l (74mg/dl). I ate two shot blocks.
 
By the first hill I was trying to devise a way to cut my workout short. I’ll admit, I kinda hoped a low blood sugar would send me home. Stupid right?
 
By the second hill I conceded with myself that I would do at least 4 reps when I usually do 6. There is no rhyme or reason as to why I choose 6. 6 is my favourite number and it’s an even number. I won’t do odd number intervals. 6 always seems to work out to about an hour and 45 minutes round trip from home so that’s good for me.
 
By the third hill I tested 5.7mmol/l (103mg/dl) at the top. I really really didn’t want to climb hills anymore. I told myself “just one more and go home.” It was looking like it would rain. I wanted to get home and hang out with Ryan. By this point I was just looking for excuses.
 
Since the 4th hill was supposed to be my last I powered up it hard. Then I felt supremely nauseated so when I got to the bottom I forced myself to do another to push my limits with the nausea. I thought it would help my stomach calm down. It was a super easy slow climb. 
 
It started to rain.
 
Well by that point I had done 5 reps. As I mentioned, I hate doing things in intervals of odd numbers so I had no choice. I had to do another. It was a 20-25min ride home so there was no avoiding of the rain at this point.
 
Well lookie here….. 6 reps. Through the power of mental fortitude I ended up completing the goal which I set out for myself. Even though my last two hill climbs were at a sickeningly slow pace, I still did it.
 
I rode home feeling much better for not crapping out early “just because I didn’t want to do it.”

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Device phobia

More is not always better.

Technology helps our lives, except when it doesn’t.

When I quit the insulin pump, I had no idea how good it could be. I had no idea how bad the insulin pump made my life with diabetes until it was gone. What started as an intentional few weeks break turned into permanency. The biggest take-away for me that I didn’t expect was just how EASY managing diabetes could be. The insulin pump complicated my life in ways I was never able to see from where I was standing. Sure, diabetes is still a fickle bitch most of the time and I hate it more than I hate anything that could exist on this planet. I curse it and question “why me?” more often than I care to admit but my life sans pump is glorious compared to before.

The idea of the insulin pump intrigued me. I was on injections for 5 years before I went to the pump. It was so customizable and would adapt seamlessly into my lifestyle of athletics. I could set everything to suit me best, how could that not be a step in the right direction? It was a step backwards.

It wasn’t until I walked away that I was able to see the complications of it. Clogged tubing. Kinked cannulas. Bubbles. Cooked insulin. Infected infusion sites. Scar tissue. Poor absorption. Or even a combination of any of those. Accidentally coming unclipped in the middle of the night and waking up to flu-like symptoms? Not to be forgotten in the mix are problems with taking too much/too little insulin. Or miscounting carbs etc. It was much harder to differentiate.

NONE of these things were easy to correct. Each and every one of these problems resulted in hours of trial and error trying to diagnose the problem in the system. Sometimes it was easy but most of the time it was a giant maze of confusion. I found highs on the pump were the worst I’ve ever had. Often I would have to give massive injections of 8-10units of insulin and wait countless hours. Now? I don’t take much more than 10 units of rapid TOTAL for the day. 10 units would send me to the hospital. I found myself instinctually going for the needle each time to correct the high. I stopped using the pump because I didn’t trust it one bit.

I found myself dealing with one or many of these problems on an almost weekly basis. It was never HUMAN ERROR and it was always a malfunction somewhere in the pump system. That thought alone was enough to piss me right the fuck off. What was I doing? This device made life so much more difficult. I’m not even talking about the physical discomfort of being attached to a massive pager-like unit by a tube to my body 24/7. That alone, was enough to make me want to tear my own skin off. I’m not even bringing up the added pain in the ass of a CGM either (Continuous Glucose Monitor) which is a separate precarious thing sticking out of my body and sometimes a separate device to haul around. 

Finding yourself in another city, a few hours drive from home and discovering a pump malfunction? Failing to have a back-up medical cabinet on your person at all times? Hell. Utter Hell. Result? Feeling sick, thick and heavy while trying to maneuver through the “movements” of deciphering the problems. 

Could it be the insulin? I don’t know. How do we find out? Try new insulin. Could it be the site? Don’t know. How do we find out? Replace it. Could it be scar tissue? I don’t know. How do we find out? New site. Each problem resulting in HOURS of waiting and carefully monitoring. The questions were endless. A terrible high could take 6 hours to come down.

I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THAT SHIT!

This is all happening around LIFE. I can’t just crawl into bed and monitor my sick self because I feel so ill I can’t function. What if I’m at work? What if I’m on vacation? What if I’m doing anything a normal person is doing?

 
Needle and insulin.
I recently forgot my insulin pen at home so I switched over to this for the time being. I just haven't got around to putting the pen back in my purse.

My only problem now is sometimes forgetting it or cooking it or ….. well that’s about it.  I go buy a few syringes and a bottle (at any pharmacy) to get me through the day if I forget it ANYWHERE. I toss it if I’ve left it in a hot car for even a couple hours. 

My only problems now are usually human error. Forget to bolus. Take too little, take too much, miscount carbs, exercise too hard or too little. Perhaps stress or hormones will have a small effect but more often than not it’s just my error in judgement. The best part? Any problems I have now are fixable within the hour and require far less trouble. I can count on one hand how many times my BG's have reached the +20's mmol/l (360+mg/dl) since going back to injections almost 2 years ago. On the pump, it was a weekly occurrence.

My 5 year stint with the insulin pump made me “device-phobic”. I’ve now gone the complete other direction. I get anxiety when I think about it. I still get the heebie jeebies at the thought of a pump or a cgm or anything for that matter. I’m done but y’know what? I’ve never been happier. I’ve never found managing diabetes this easy and so not in your face. EVEN with athletics. Simplicity is where it’s at for me. My A1C dropped. My weight dropped. My stress and anxiety dro…. Well – no -  that’s always going to be an issue. I have far less things to write about because life - with diabetes - is less complicated.

Kudos to you guys for making it work but have you ever wondered if LESS is maybe MORE? If we’ve created a monster with technology? If this technology has maybe, possibly complicated things too much?

It’s back to the basics for me and this is where I will stay.

The Artificial Pancreas Project? You can have it. I don’t want anything to do with it.
Yes, I'd rather stab myself with needles. I see the APP as an interesting thing but extremely complicated and not worth it. It defeats the purpose of helpful. The CGMs we have available are highly inaccurate. I don't want machines making life or death decisions based on a blood glucose number that may or may not be accurate.

I wish, truly, that they would spend research money on finding a cure rather than investing billions into more intrusive, expensive ways to "manage" diabetes.
 

 

Please keep in mind these are MY opinions only and YOUR DIABETES MAY VARY! I understand that. I understand there are people that love the pumps and the CGMS and couldn’t live without them. I tried to be one of them. I tried to make it work for 5 stinking years. These are my personal accounts only.