Friday, July 3, 2015

My Sharpie is my app

I have figured out some bizarre ways to not kill myself with diabetes. Some of my lessons have been picked up from other diabetics and others are my own creation.  This one is mine and for all intents and purposes it’s completely archaic.

In the age of smart phones, apps and technology I have found myself sinking farther and farther away from it. Just yesterday I expressly rolled my eyes at a couple of young ladies using one of those selfie-stick-pole thingies. I called it something like “really stupid”. Okay let’s be honest, I said it was “fucking retarded”. I turned to Ryan and said, “I’m totally gonna be one of those crotchety old ladies that just doesn’t get new things.” I quickly followed that up with, “scratch that, I already am that person.”

The thing I have the most trouble with on injections is not having a record. With the pump I could just go in and see when and how much insulin I took. When you inject, once it’s in your only recollection is your mind. When it’s something you do 8’ish times a day it becomes quite the routine and I find it easy to forget. This mostly pertains to my twice daily Lantus injections. There have been so many times where halfway into the morning I do this fucking jerky squirrel move. I sit up straight out of nowhere, cock my head to the side, look up into the magical ceiling and ask myself, “did I take my Lantus this morning?”

How would I know?

Wait until blood sugars went super wonky? Sometimes they go wonky anyway. Risk it and take a late dose which would then result in a possible double dose? Listen, I’m trying to NOT kill myself here. I find the Lantus to be so routine that I forget I’m even doing it.

I used the reminder app on my phone but the alarm drove me crazy. I wanted something that I could “check off” twice a day but would also send me a little nudge of a reminder without a vibrate or a beep. I played with 3 or 4 apps and alarms before I conceded that technlology just isn’t the way to go for me. This has been the story of my life lately. Sometimes I’m on the move or in my car or fuck.. whatever and the idea of having to unlock my phone and open an app was just far too convoluted for me. Just having the alarm wasn’t enough because there still wasn’t any recording of whether or not I TOOK the insulin.

I toyed with the old school paper and pen idea but it would have to be small enough to fit in my meter case with my syringe and two insulins or there’s no chance I would ever use it. I know me well. I found a mini sharpie marker and started putting a little “x” or happy face on my hand with each lantus injection (twice a day). Since the doses are administered approximately 12 hours apart it was long enough that the marker would wear/wash away but also long enough that I could see it and be reminded should I question my own self.

That didn’t work because Sharpie just doesn’t wash off fast enough and I ended up with marks all over my fucking hands.

So that’s when I came up with this. It sure ain’t perfect but hell, it’s working! I'm only posting this so I can showcase my awesome paint skillz yo.

Saturday and Sunday are the pinky and ring fingers on my other hand.

With my mini Sharpie that fits in my case, I put a wee dot on my finger. Each finger has a day and each day has a morning and an evening. The dots wash off a lot faster and are slightly less obvious. No matter what, I have forced myself to make the dotting a habit. If I chose to one morning not use it then how could I trust myself? It had to be a thing that happened with every single Lantus injection. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve saved my own ass. Sometimes it’s less than 5 minutes later I look around and wonder if I’ve taken my Lantus. The reassuring feeling of looking down and seeing the stupid dot has made my life so much better. It takes the guess work out of it and means that injecting Lantus can go back to being a routine habit I don’t have to think about.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The familiar is comforting no matter how bad it is

I go through life with anxiety. Some days or hours (or weeks or months) it’s more prominent than others.

I go through phases where I feel like the mastermind boss with anxiety firmly squished beneath my thumb. I get a false sense of security out of this which makes me feel invincible even though I know it’s fake. Like a fist bump of epic proportions inside my imaginary mind if nothing else but temporary.

It never lasts. I know this because it’s still here on and off throughout my entire life. I have memories as a small child. If I could remember my first few years of life I bet it would have been there too.

So I've mentioned before how empowering it feels when I hit pockets of existence without debilitating anxiety. I live it up like a college student fresh out of exams for the summer while staying at the parents’ house with no expenses other than booze and drugs.

The ultimate freedom.

I'm coming off what feels like a few solid weeks of stifled anxiety. I hesitate to say “anxiety-free” because one with severe generalized anxiety disorder does not simply become anxiety-free... EVER.

The familiar comes back to haunt me slowly at first until it stops me. I sensed the nausea and discomfort which caused more nausea and discomfort. I continued to push through it as if it wasn't even there. As if I was WILLING it to give me a few more days or hours without it’s fucking presence. You’d probably be surprised at how bad I feel sometimes and yet on the outside you’d never even know. I have become supreme at hiding it from the outside. It persists. I try my Jedi mind tricks with it. By that I mean some of the skills I learned through cognitive behavioural therapy which really are just Jedi mind tricks. Perhaps if I believed them to be true they wouldn't be tricks but I have a hard time forcing myself to believe that which I feel is irrational.

I don’t even know the trigger.

Anxiety is an asshole with too many fucked up facets. I can rarely nail down the cause unless I am in a situation that is obvious. Like in a group of people in a social situation surrounded by food. WORST FUCKING NIGHTMARE. As in, not sitting quietly at my desk plugging away seemingly unaware of the world around me. 

It still creeps in. I ignore. It stops creeping and starts screaming. Okay, okay you little fuck face, listen here! You’re like a bad goddamn boyfriend who is an arrogant self-serving control freak that’s inconsiderate to the world around him. Shit, that’s my ex-husband in a nutshell. I wonder if learning to live with anxiety is like living with my ex. Perhaps I need to exercise a loss of will and give up on any semblance of self confidence. It seemed to work for years with him, until it didn't of course.

The thing is, the anxiety is familiar. It’s so familiar that it’s almost comforting in a way. Oh, you again. Yeah, I know what I'm in for. I know I need to get my stash of ginger tea and Zofran while not counting on being able to eat much for the next while. Two days? Two weeks? Two months? How long this time? At least I don't need to make lunch for tomorrow.

It’s an eerie feeling when badness washes over you and you’re all like, “yeah, so what?”. Welcome home I guess. It's uncomfortably COMFORTING. I don’t want to be here but I can’t run away from myself.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Dblog week day 6 - linkity links

Today's prompt is:
If you have been blogging for a while, what is your favorite sentence or blogpost that you have ever written?  Is it diabetes related or just life related?  If you are a new blogger and don't have a favorite yet, tell us what motivated you to start sharing your story by writing a blog?
Dear Laddie get's the credit for this one.

I'll be honest, I'm not overly psyched about this topic mostly because it requires too much thinking. What motivated me to start a blog, hmmm, probably just the desire to connect. I could see so many others sharing and connecting and I wanted that too. I was going through a rather messy separation/divorce and was an emotional fucking ticking time bomb. I needed something to put my thoughts into and had been lurking the diabetes blogosphere for quite awhile at that point.

My favourite blog post by someone else is hands down THIS one by Jacquie. It's from many years ago and I still think about it.
I also adore THIS one about the crazy rabbit from Celine. These posts are pure genius.

As for me myself and my bloggy blog, I've been writing this thing on and off now for 5 years! holy shit... To top it all off this is my 500th published post, that's a bit coincidentally timed. I have to state "published" because I currently have 35 unpublished posts.

To get a "best" idea of popular posts I'll have to go into my stats.
If you ask the stats, my most popular post and not just by a landslide but by a fucking insane amount of page views is my "Rockets vs. Smarties" post. I wouldn't even recommend clicking the link. It's so lame the pictures are even broken. I wrote this in August of 2010 and it is still the post that gets the most page views. 20,780 to be exact. The next post down only has 1923. So, that tells me that people are VERY curious about Rockets and Smarties. Also, I think it just comes up at the top of the google search when you type that in. But seriously.. over 20,000 page views? bananas.  Now that I've got the words "rockets vs. smarties" and another picture I bet this is going to get a bazillion page views now too. 

The next two posts down that got the most hits are:
My hatred rant about the VerioIQ blood glucose meter.
Another device rant about Medtronic insulin pumps.

After reading those two posts.. it's no wonder I'm so anti-device, anti-diabetes technology and anti-flashy shit. I've had nothing but bad luck with it all.

My favourite posts are my old 12 of 12 posts. I really loved the 12th of each month when I would take 12 pictured during the day and post them. I stopped doing it a long time ago and sort of feel like starting it up again. Alas, most of the older pictures are gone (basically anything before December of 2012) because I'm a fucking idiot stick and accidentally - okay not accidentally. I deleted my google cache without knowing all the pictures were linked to my blog. I'm an idiot.

So that's what I've got. I can't think of my favourite post because I don't really keep track of anything. All I've got to go on is stats and I guess they speak for the blog. Those stats say that people are really fucking interested in Canadian vs. American Smarties... Y'all are a bunch of candy freaks out there!

For more posts on today's topic, go HERE.

Friday, May 15, 2015

D-blog week day 5 - a day of food

This is probably the post that got me to do Dblog week at all. Not only because it was recommended by my favouritist blogger Katy but because it was cool.

The premise? document a day of eating. YESS! something that requires a day of pictures is my favourite. I was all stoked and then the day just ended up being super busy and super boring. 

How do you know when someone is vegan? don't worry, they'll tell you.
I'm vegan and due to celiac disease I have to keep a gluten free life.

The morning started at 4:40am when my alarm went off. I dragged my ass out of bed by 5. I am studying for an exam next week so I'm squeezing in study time wherever I can. This means no bike commuting which means I am in one hell of a shitty mood.

It started with a plain rice cake with some coconut oil with my cold brew black coffee. I don't "eat" breakfast until much later so in order to keep my stomach from revolting with gut rot and coffee jitters I have to put something down there.

8:00am BREAKFAST on the way to work/at work. Most mornings it's a green smoothie. On special occasions when I have prepared beets I have this gem. It's boiled and refrigerated beets (about 2 medium beets), one frozen banana, 1tbsp of ground chia seeds, 1/2 scoop of vanilla vegan protein powder and a mixture of unsweetened almond milk/water. Drinking this delights me with red pee and a magenta poop the next morning!

My Fitness Pal says its 60g of carbs which is GIGANTIC-O-SAURUS but my body feels different about that number. I used 3 units of insulin and still ended up low. Pre injection this would have been 10 units of insulin and still end up high.

10am middle of the morning slight low BG

10:15am the low is worse than I thought so I downed a handful of jelly beans for faster action. I followed it up with a unit of insulin to now cover the bar which wasn't going to hit until a bit later. Oops. fuck you diabetes. Fuck me for not taking in fast acting carbs to begin with.

12pm. I take a late lunch because... I don't know. Because the afternoon goes by so fucking slow. I ate half of my carrots before taking a picture. Steamed and refrigerated. Cold soggy carrots are my favourite way to eat them. If they were raw I would be doubled over in pain a couple hours later so steaming them is my only option. 

2pm. This is my lunch pretty much every single day. My co workers actually make fun of me for eating the same thing. Those diabetics out there will understand why. It's a bean salad I make at the beginning of the week with lentils, chickpeas and fava beans with some sesame oil, balsamic, garlic and spices. I then throw a bunch of grape tomatoes, a layer of 2tbsp of hemp hearts and a whopping load of nutritional yeast. On top of that is as much alfalfa and pea sprouts I can cram in. I use more sesame oil and balsamic vinegar as a dressing or on days that I have prepared ahead of time I make either watered down tahini or watered down hummus dressing.

My Fitness Pal says my lunch is 30g of carbs. I suppose that's right. I often pre-bolus 30 minutes if I'm a little high or post bolus if I'm a little low. Usually 1.5-2u of insulin.

I had a red apricot. I don't remember when

This makes most people laugh. Yes, I bring a container of emergency peanut butter wherever I go. It holds 2-3tbsp. I do this for work because all day long I super duper crave peanut butter. Like to a dangerous level! I used to keep jars of it at my desk but had trouble restricting myself. I would eat the whole jar in a couple days if I allowed myself. If I don't bring it with me, no joke, I'll come home and go straight to the jar with a spoon before even taking my shoes off. At least this way, I get my fix and don't turn into SERIOUSLY CRAZY PEANUT BUTTER OBSESSED INSANE-O.

9:30pm. Yes, this was "dinner" and super late. LAME! A rice cake with some coconut oil and mashed up avocado. I didn't even have the patience to put some sliced tomato which I often do. I usually cook and I love cooking. However after I got home I went out for a run with a couple friends to burn off some of the stress of the day. I haven't been exercising because of studying and I was going to explode. I was in a fucking rotten mood. After getting home and preparing for the next day it was pretty late, I didn't even have a shower after the run. We had no time to really cook and I just needed something to stick in my belly before I went to sleep. Oh this was also after another handful of jelly beans as a result of another low.

Rice cakes are a staple around here. They are a platform for pretty much everything. I like them instead of gf bread. 

I'm bummed I didn't get a chance to display some delicious cooking but, well, this is the day I chose so be it.

Y'know what? Let's pretend I cooked THIS tonight ;)

There, that feels better. 

Thanks Katy!

For more posts on this topic, go HERE.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

D-blog week day 4 - changes

Prompt for today:
Today let's talk about changes, in one of two ways.  Either tell us what you'd most like to see change about diabetes, in any way.  This can be management tools, devices, medications, people's perceptions, your own feelings – anything at all that you feel could use changing.  OR reflect back on some changes you or your loved one has seen or been through since being diagnosed with diabetes.  Were they expected or did they surprise you?


What does that even MEEEEEAN?

Change your lancet? Well I have a trick for that. It’s not really a trick actually just more of a TIP. Every time I open a new bottle of strips I put a lancet in with the strips. I store it all together so it's become just something I do. Grab a bottle, flip the lid, insert lancet, get on with day. I almost always throw it in my bag as I’m running out of the house and hopefully at some point in the next day I will switch out my lancet. So I somehow manage to change it with every 50 tests which could be every 3-5 days. I deserve a fucking medal for that yo.

I wish I could change my own perception on diabetes treatments. I am pretty pro injection now and I wish I had known how awful the insulin pump was going to be for me. I wish I hadn't tried so hard to MAKE it work when it just wasn't working. This left me really angry towards devices. Why the hell did I suffer for 5 years? Why did I think the insulin pump was the answer to all of my problems? How did I not see that it was just making it so much worse? This has left me pretty bitter towards devices and equipment of most kinds. I don’t want to be bitter. I’m trying to understand that it makes life easier for some people. I just can’t get over how terrible it made mine and often wonder how many other people keep plodding along with a less than perfect life-sustaining medical devices that would be better off the old school way too.

I should really work on changing my syringes out maybe once a day. That would be nice. They would probably leave a lot less track marks if they were fresher. Oh and I don't use a sharps container. Totally going to D-Hell and not gonna change that. 

I’d like to really change my attitude towards parts of the online diabetes blog world. It used to be such a source of peace for me but now it kind of really bothers me. There’s less and less personal blogs about people sharing their lives WITH diabetes. I know it’s not just me that has seen this shift. I’m kind of hoping this DBLOGweek is going to reconnect some long lost quality bloggers. If I’m being honest, I hardly read any blogs any more. They just seem so impersonal and full of news, gadgetry and conference talk. Blah, BORING.

I’ve changed a lot over the years with this disease. It started shell shocked, the Internet was in it’s infancy. I’d never met another insulin junkie before and it was a good 8 years before I would. I lived my life in relative solitude with diabetes. I then got really involved both with blogging and offline advocacy. I got pumped on Connected in Motion and my dedication to being on Team Type 1 (Now Team NovoNordisk). I was fueled by the absolute camaraderie I got from it all. Then I lost my shit. Anxiety and diabetes burnout pushed me into isolation where I’ve kind of been ever since. I could use a change again but since I'm totally honest (most of the time), I kind of prefer the lurking-in-the-shadows style now. 

Lastly? I miss blogging. I get into these routines where I get increasingly uncomfortable with sharing. Sometimes it just feels like I'm putting this shit out there with the goal of views and comments which is not at all the case. It's therapeutic for many reasons. Obviously my own perception but when you write a blog it just really feels self-serving. I know it's not because you guys tell me all the time but I have trouble shaking that. 

But on the contrary it's a double-edged sword because I DO enjoy stretching my writing muscle. So that's something I want to change. Write more perhaps.

Any way.. there's a few things that could use a change.  

For more blogs about today's topic, go HERE.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

D-blog week day 3 - get it out

Today's blurb:
Yesterday we kept stuff in, so today let's clear stuff out.  What is in your diabetic closet that needs to be cleaned out?  This can be an actual physical belonging, or it can be something you're mentally or emotionally hanging on to.  Why are you keeping it and why do you need to get rid of it? Credit for this topic goes to Rick.

I feel like I'm going to struggle to not air my dirty laundry here. Complete with streak marks.

It hurts me when someone says “yeah you used to eat so much candy so we all thought it was only a matter of time.” I got diabetes 13 years ago and that’s what you've been thinking all this time?

I bite my tongue, hard. If it was literal, blood might be spilling out of my mouth. I try nicely to articulate that a candy addiction had fuck all to do with my diagnosis. I answer questions if asked and I educate where possible but this sort of thing really upsets me. I can’t help it. For the record, thanks to diabetes I now UTTERLY DESPISE candy! But seriously, I always try and see things from my perspective before I got diabetes. Maybe I would have said and thought the same things because who the hell researches things like diabetes unless they have to? It's really just a lack of education. Except I can't help that it still hurts to hear shit like that. No matter what, I need thicker skin.

This goes along the same lines as overhearing people say, while they eat a donut, “I don’t care, I'm going to get diabetes.” I don’t know if I've been hearing it a lot lately or if I'm just noticing it more. BTW, there are WAY too many donuts that come through my office. I'm glad I can't eat them.

Or when people I know well start comparing managing diabetes to their condition and always trying to make diabetes seem not so bad. Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking for a bad ass badge but you really have no idea.

This makes me irate. Like to an elevated level of almost losing control. I don’t want pity but I do want you to understand just exactly HOW much diabetes steals from my life. Hour to hour, minute to minute. It controls every decision I make - or don’t make. Don’t try and compare this ever flowing and constantly changing (perpetually unmanageable) disease to a condition that affects you about 1/1000th of the time and expect me to pat you on the back for being such a trooper. YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW! You’ll never know. Again, this goes back to yesterday’s post. Maybe It’s because I just don’t share enough.   Eish, there's a piece of grass stained pants. Sorry.

I want to get out a lot of things. We could be here all day. But this is not about streak marks and pit stains.

On the contrary, I want to get out that I am proud of what I've accomplished with my diabetes management. I'm proud because my life took such a dramatic upturn since going back to injections. It's really hard to find a system that works for you since diabetes management can be so drastically different for everybody. I mean a system that REALLY works for you. It's scary when you are switching up things that are potentially life threatening. It's so easy to NOT try something. I can confidently say I have 80% MORE control over my blood sugars than I did with the pump. It gives me great pleasure to feel safe and secure knowing that this is exactly where I want to be. Could it be better? It can ALWAYS be better but I feel a great sense of relief the past couple years and I don’t fear things nearly as much as I used to.

I also want to say that I've had some diabetes books that have sat on my shelf unread now for years and it doesn't bother me one bit. I have zero motivation to take part in diabetes lately. All I know is whatever I'm doing is working better than anything else I've ever done. #FACT

that's just a silly little confession. I mean if we're going to start confessions.....
-I use the same syringe until it barely pierces my skin. Sometimes for a week at a time. At 8'ish injections a day that's pretty much against all needle protocol
-I stash pile test strips and insulin (far beyond what I'd ever use) and manipulate the system to earn points at the pharmacy that I then use to buy household goods. And chocolate, lots of chocolate.
-Sometimes I drink diet pop even though I know how bad it is for my body.
-I haven't seen the endo in over 2 years and I've had my A1C tested once in that time. I have no intentions of going to the endo. His sole purpose was for signing pump paperwork. He was a useless twat otherwise. But I am super curious about getting my A1C tested.

There, streak marks and pit stains!

For more posts on today's topic, go HERE.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

D-blog week day 2 - keep it to yourself

Today's prompt:
Many of us share lots of aspects of our diabetes lives online for the world to see.  What are some of the aspects of diabetes that you choose to keep private from the internet?  Or from your family and friends?  Why is it important to keep it to yourself? 

Kudos goes to Scott at Rolling in the D for this topic.

Here's what I have to say:

This topic has brought about a lot of thinking for everyone it seems. Given that most of us blog about diabetes, in essence, that makes us pretty transparent with how we feel about it all.

There are definitely a lot of things I keep to myself. In my diabetes online presence it’s mostly opinions that I don't share. They’re not great but that’s why I keep them to myself! I’m allowed to think however I want and I would be terrible if I pushed those opinions out there. I mean, sometimes I do. I have so very little filter after all. I’m a firm believer of “do now and ask for forgiveness later”. Or in my case, “cause havoc and apologize profusely.” Garbage comes out of my mouth faster than I can stuff it back in, it’s a weakness. I know. It constantly gets me in trouble.

If I were to think about just one (I guess there's two actually) thing I don't share online? It would be both my negative opinions and my true feelings towards this disease. I know it may seem like I come across rather negative towards it and it's true. But what I really truly feel, I'll never share for fear of someone coming and locking me up. I swear, if diabetes were a person I would rip the asshole limb for limb and throw it in a garbage disposal. If diabetes were a person I would willingly go to jail for murder.

In my real life world I keep most of it (betes shit) to myself. Even from my family. Perhaps it’s due to being dx’d at 22 and already in full adult mode so not needing my parents to take care of me. There is so much that people close to me will just never understand either from lack of knowledge (I don’t blame them) or because I just don’t talk about it. They see very little of my life with diabetes and I prefer it that way. It just doesn't really come up because it's so foreign to them. This is a disease that can only be managed by me and that in itself is isolating. There’s only so much I can share and most of it just worries people. Ryan is the only one who can vouch for me sometimes.

I prefer the smile ‘n nod option. That’s if I can stop from shoving my feet in my mouth the rest of the time.

Online I share a bit more because it’s an easier forum to be transparent since I communicate my feelings better via a keyboard than I do with my voice. I'm so bloody awkward in person on top of my social anxiety. I do my best not to be serious about my writings though because that makes me feel like I’m bitching. I add humour to dampen the severity of certain situations. Sometimes when it's actually happening I can’t help but slap myself upside the head anyway.

I mean, let’s be honest. Most of the diabetes shit stories are of my own doing so I have to take the idiot blame where it’s due!

I’m not really sure I fulfilled the prompt for this one. I guess what I don’t share, you probably don’t want to know anyway. And if you know me in real life? You know I share even less.

For more posts on this topic, go HERE.

Monday, May 11, 2015

D-blog week day 1 - I can

I have decided to try and participate in diabetes blog week. We will see how far I get. I reckon I may finish all 7 posts, just not on all 7 days.

I haven't done this in years but the topics this year actually seemed interesting to me whereas they didn't appeal to me in years past.

All credit goes to Karen at Bittersweet Diabetes for the brilliance.
For a list of participating bloggers, go HERE.

Today's blurb and explanation:
In the UK, there was a diabetes blog theme of "I can...”  that participants found wonderfully empowering.  So lets kick things off this year by looking at the positive side of our lives with diabetes.  What have you or your loved one accomplished, despite having diabetes, that you weren't sure you could?  Or what have you done that you've been particularly proud of?  Or what good thing has diabetes brought into your life?

Here's mine:

“I CAN”.

I have diabetes. Life goes on.

There, that’s the blog post.

Just kidding… you know I’m more of a blabbermouth than that.

Over the course of my almost 13 years with this disease I’ve heard a lot of “I can’t believe you do that with Type 1 Diabetes.” My response is always, “what else am I going to do? Stop living my life?”

Before I was diagnosed I was heavily into the outdoors. My passions were rock climbing, mountain biking and backcountry camping primarily. In fact the onset of the destruction of my pancreas was essentially a result of a climbing trip in a round-about way.

Climbing =poison ivy =a trip to the walk-in =a high dose of prednizone =overnight sudden onset of diabetes.

I have continued to live my life. Instead of looking at something and thinking “I can’t” I look at it and think “how can I make this work?”. Less than a year after being diagnosed I found myself in Taiwan on a teaching contract. I never once considered not going because of my disease. Instead I worked my ass off researching HOW I was going to make it work. I spent two years there. I figured out how the system worked to get my insulin and test strips. I backpacked around South East Asia for 6 months flying by the seat of my pants in countries with no access to insulin what-so-ever. Was it risky? HELL YES! In fact looking back, I’m not sure how I didn’t end up more sick. But y’know what? I don’t remember at all managing diabetes. Sure I remember a select few lows in bizarre places but I don’t remember dealing with diabetes. My memories are all about what I experienced there.

Yet the simple act of going to sleep at night is probably the most paranoid I get. The amount of times my body wakes me up in a panic because my glucose has dropped to catastrophic levels is way WAY too many. If I were to guess it would be an average of a couple times a week. What am I going to do? NOT go to sleep? We set alarms nearly every single night in hopes of catching it but it doesn’t always work. Just two nights ago I woke up in a panic soaked in sweat and unable to breath. The BG alarm wasn’t set to go off for another hour. So it doesn’t always go as planned.

If I want to go out on my bike for 6 hours. What do I do? Say “NO” because diabetes will fuck shit up? Diabetes is going to fuck shit up any way. I stuff my jersey with enough carbs to sustain a tour de France rider for a week along with insulin, syringe and my glucose meter. Can’t forget a credit card just in case I need to make an emergency purchase of either insulin or sugar. Oh, and my health card in case something really bad happens and I need to get shipped off to the hospital.

Other people go out with a house key and a bottle of Gatorade.

Again, what am I supposed to do? There is no NOT living my life and since this is the life and hobbies I chose, I am forced to make it work.

That time I had to get my insulin back from the police and this is what they put it in.

Yeah I’ve cooked, frozen, smashed and lost my insulin. I’ve had it confiscated. I’ve run out of both carbs and insulin before. I’ve forgotten it or my meter or the lancet or the strips. I’ve called for pick-ups from too many lows or highs making me feel sick. I’ve probably spent hours sitting on the side of the road somewhere low as fuck. I’ve stuffed too many things in my bra to keep meters and insulin from freezing. It’s always on my mind.

I just fucking do it not because I have to but because I want to. BECAUSE I CAN.

Go HERE to read all the other participants who wrote about DAY 1 - "I can"

Monday, May 4, 2015

P2A 2015

For those of us around here we call the "Paris to Ancaster" Race simply, P2A. Or as I like to call it, "The ghetto version of Paris Rubaix". There is a ghetto Parix Rubaix in just about every city this time of year. It's a race of weird proportions.

Ideally the bike to use is a cyclocross bike but this race brings out the gamut. No shortage of fat bikes, mountain bikes, commuter bikes and even tandem bikes! The route is varied. From gravel rail trail to muddy single track to a touch of road both dirt and paved.

I did this race last year and up until the finish line this year I wasn't certain I'd ever want to do it again. Last year was tough. Like, really fucking tough. It wasn't my lack of training that failed me because I was certainly trained last year. It was just the unexpectedness of how long and how seriously hard it was. We had a lot of rain in 2014 so everything was saturated. Never mind my re-ranting, you can read about it HERE.

So Ryan asks me to ride it with him this year. I think he just wanted to use his brand new carbon cross bike. Nevertheless we sign up as a team where both times count towards a whole. Teams are not necessarily meant to ride together but we did.

I wasn't heading into this event on solid ground. I had a stomach bug the Wednesday prior and then I was commuting to Toronto for a 2 day lecture series. I had hardly eaten anything in 4 days and what I did eat was making me feel so fucking sick. Needless to say the goal, if there even was one, was to finish. I mean, I was going into this expecting the shit storm from last year. Turns out it was anything but.

I had been going on and on about the soggy wet farmers fields to Ryan for months. Each time we'd enter into a field I'd say, "this is where it starts". Each time I ended up being wrong. I started questioning my recollection of last year. I thought maybe it was just one farmers field that traumatized me. No... no it wasn't. I distinctly remember countless farmers fields of hell. We encountered none. Like maybe a few soggy spots but nothing like I had remembered. Turns out this spring has been a lot less wet.

We had a great time spare a few moments I cursed saying how much I hated this race. There were a few moments I bitched out Ryan for riding too hard. I had to keep reminding myself I was working on absolutely zero energy stores. In the end it was actually pretty uneventful. Even the ritual mudslide near the end was lame compared to the previous year. I still couldn't make it up the final super steep climb to the finish. Ryan was fucking wheely'ing up it a la Sagan which got some chuckles out of the spectators.

I did get maimed in a way. I was too lazy and busy to bother switching out the saddle on the loaner bike. I figured, what's a couple hours? Surely I can handle a couple hours on a seriously inferior saddle. I didn't want to be snobby. Turns out I should have been snobby. Within the first 20km there was this weird burning sensation on my ass. Just the one cheek. The familiar burning of a hot spot not unlike the kind that results in blisters. At the water station half way I stuck my hand down my bibs thinking there was a seam from the base layer I had on. No, no material, no nothing. What the fuck?

The pain continued and I knew something was really wrong. Once we finished I hightailed it to the bathroom to get changed only to discover some insane chafe. Not as insane as the "Worst. Chafe. Ever" but the fiery burn of fresh chafe was there. The shower once we got home was.... interesting.

Then I had to take the entire week off the bike. I tried to sit on a saddle once and it was just too painful. There really aren't any options. I am glad it was just one cheek but I was picking my clothes out of the wound for days. That damn generic one-size-fits-all must have been the problem. I've never in my life had chafe like that from a bike and never on my ass like that.

Ryan's glamour shot

I had no real blood sugar problems either. I was slightly high at the start and let it be. At the aid station we stopped to pee, fill bottles and grab bananas. My beeg was sitting at 10.0mmol/l (180mg/dl) I took one unit of insulin and chowed down on a few more shot blocks. I had planned to eat the banana in a little bit once the insulin started working. I ended up falling on that banana.

My beeg started to tank about 10km from the finish. We stopped just long enough for me to test and eat another couple shot blocks with some watered down Honeymaxx before getting right back on and going. I believe I crossed the finish line and tested with a 5.7mmol/l (102mg/dl). All in all I consumed next to nothing the entire race save a few shot blocks and some gross watered down Honeymaxx. It was at least a few more days before I was able to eat and not feel super sick, just regular sick.

In the end... we came in 13th out of 17 teams with a time of 3:20 each. Kind of crappy but we did our best. I should say *I* did my best because Ryan could have gone a whole lot harder without me.

Next stop, the car wash station.

Monday, April 20, 2015

A trail race

It's been a long time since I signed up for a running race. It's been at least 2 years probably more like 3. Crazy considering running was my only obsession at that time. I've also never ran a trail race.

Running for me these days is completely recreational. I never run alone. Some times I run every week, sometimes it's once every two weeks and other times it's 4 days in a row. I run with Ryan and with his meet-up group from time to time. I don't take it seriously as it's become just "something I do sometimes" usually because someone else is doing it. I don't run because of the pain it used to cause me in my collar bone. I don't run because I am usually so focused on cycling. I'll save that for another post.

So I signed up for Ryan's trail race. He coordinates the race series where he works and created this gem of an event last year. It got so much interest that it became the biggest event across the board. I coerced my BFF Steph to play with me.

Mr. Race coordinator himself.

Much to every body's surprise the weather was fan-fucking-tastically beautiful. SUNSHINE and WARMTH!

I fucked up though. I fucked up and failed my diabetes. Lately I've been going low every time I participate in physical activity so I padded my BG a little. What was supposed to be a little turned out to be killer. Right before the start I was sitting at 9.2mmol/l and had no insulin on board. Breakfast was mostly out of my system also. I had my shirt stuffed with 2 gels and 3 dates just in case cuz y'know... diabetes. We were trotting along at no intense speed or anything. In fact we were chatting about life and probably annoying all the other folks.

Half way through and my wee jog started to suffer. My lungs felt pushed to their limits and my legs replaced with blocks of concrete.

We turned to go back to the start and I could hear Ryan's voice over the loudspeaker which made me feel safe and comfortable. That's my husband! This is his race! We went past the start/finish to do another loop in a different direction which sucked because we thought we were done! My Garmin was in my pocket. After heading back into the forest I finally stopped to test my bg. First number was 16.9mmol/l (304mg/dl). WHAT THE FUCK? that can't be right, test again and see 15.7mmol/l (283mg/dl). A loud "FUUUUCK" was screamed from me. I stabbed myself in the boob with 3 units of insulin and resigned myself to just fucking getting this shit over with. I was in it now and nothing I could really do was going to make this any less painful. I was thankful I ran with my meter and insulin on me. Yeah, no wonder I was struggling and suffering harder than I should have.

After crossing the finish line I slumped down on the grass. Head in my hands and trying to drown out the noise and hubbub. I considered getting someone to take a pic but then I chose not to. Steph rubbed my back as I fought back the tears. My body hurt so bad. My stomach nauseous. I couldn't even move. I tested a few more times topping out at a whopping 17.6mmol/l (316mg/dl). I don't see numbers like that often so when I do, it feels REALLY bad. I took another 2 units into my quad. A nice big muscle that was just being used to move me through 10km of trails. A muscle that would work in my favour to get that insulin into my system faster than if I stuck it into fat.

I laid down on the barely there brown and damp spring grass. I couldn't think, I couldn't do anything. I was suffering. I looked up to find out I was in the middle of the show as Ryan was announcing the winners. This is awkward. No fucks were really given by me because I was in so much discomfort and pain. We sat there with a few friends while they rubbed my back assuring me it would be okay soon. I hate it when people have to see me like this.

I was in a different kind of pain cave that not very many of the some 350'ish people there could ever fathom.

The race itself was fine! a wonderful and super challenging course! The end feels like a blur to me and there are parts I don't remember at all. Here's the kicker of all kickers.. the results. Now, previously in my years of running I'd be lucky to place anywhere not in the bottom quarter. No shit. Always, the bottom quarter. I've never run a trail race and typically it's just common knowledge that you can't move as quick in the trails as you can on the roads.

I know it's just a small local race but, Officially, I was the 11th female out of 50. Whaaaat?? I uploaded my Garmin data when I got home and had to rub my eyes. My first assumption was that the data was wrong. It lost a signal or something. The Garmin had me at a time of 59:04 for 9.8km making the average pace of 6:01/km. I've never run any race that fast and I officially don't run any more. However, much to my disappointment (not surprise) data was indeed lost. The chip time had us at 60:05 minutes with an average pace of 6:31/km. Okay fine. I guess chip time knows all. Still though, to come in 11th out of 50? In a running race? In a sport I don't even do any more? In not just a running race but a TRAIL running race? Perhaps I need to go back to running. Ryan is convinced it's because I changed my technique last year to a forefoot strike. He could be right.

Post race rest of the day was spent somewhat hungover. The insulin eventually did it's job where I obviously could not. But WHY? why did this happen today? A banana on top of a 9.2mmol/l BG before a hard hour of running should have been perfect!  It wasn't even a very BIG banana. *should* have been does not mean it will. Not today.

I love my BFF for taking care of me more than anything. I really needed her in that moment. It's not often I show these extreme diabetes situations but I'm grateful for having someone there for me. I'm sorry Ryan for collapsing in front of you and you being unable to leave your race director post.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Creative new glucose meter (FRED) in need of feedback

I don't normally do this.

I'm being pimped!

I meet this dude in a coffee shop one day. He contacted me through my blog because he had an idea for a new glucose meter. At first I was like, yeah whatever, I'll meet you. I told Ryan not to worry and that I wasn't going to be murdered but he still worried.

It's not everyday you meet with a complete stranger from the internet. Disregard the fact that I met my husband on the internet!

So this young entrepreneur from my 'hood introduced me to a product idea and I kind of liked it. I more than kind of liked it. I thought it was an innovative idea. Yeah an all-in-one glucose meter that is incorporated into a smart phone case may not be for everyone. Even I had a hard time thinking it was something I would use.

We diabetics like new things but some of us (ME) get really stuck in what works and I've used the same glucose meter for years (and years). GO FREESTYLE LITE!

But I liked the young guy, Paolo, he was eager and a go-getter as they say.

So here I am, being pimped out. I'm sharing these images for him. He has been trying to gain some data and feedback from us, the diabetes online community.

Have a look and send either me or him (pdidonato2 at gmail dot com) your feedback. While you're at it, there's a survey HERE that will take only a few minutes of your time and will provide him much needed info to tailor this invention to what WE would want and use.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

numbers that keep me alive

I did an experiment. Okay it wasn't an experiment, all did was track my insulin usage over a month. I guess that's an experiment if you consider that I don't track shit.

Being on injections means I don't have a fancy digital device recording everything. Pen and paper are my only way of tracking (or the notepad app on my phone). 6 weeks ago I smashed my pen vial while cross country skiing. (Keep in mind I use loose pen cartridges and old school syringes). I fell on it. We were a few hours up north and as much as I tried to make it back home, I was very hungry (4 hours of skiing will do that to ya). I needed insulin in order to eat or else I'd end up sick with high BGs. Not a risk I was willing to take. We stopped to buy some which means I got a whole 10ml vial. At the rate I use insulin, a vial would technically last me 3ish months and since insulin expires after 1 month it's just not logical for me to use vials. It's not "viable" hahahaha! I would throw out more than I would use. Trying to keep a box of pen cartridges refrigerated inside a hot car on the way home wasn't an option either.

So I decided, out of curiosity, to actually track how much of the life juice I use over the month. I took a picture at the beginning of the vial. Then two weeks later we were skiing again in -40C hell. I tried as hard as I could (put a hot pocket in the case with the insulin) but my vial froze. Again, we were hours up north and staying the night so a 45min drive to the nearest pharmacy was our only option and again, another vial was purchased.

Needless to say I gave up on the "after" picture.

Here's what I learned in numbers:

In 30 days:

I injected 120 times. Plus 2x a day for Lantus. Total injections = 160
Averaged 4 times a day. The least amount of injections was 3 the most was 6 (rapid only because Lantus is a given 2x a day no matter what)

I injected 177 units of novorapid, 480 units of Lantus. (I take 8u of Lantus twice a day)
I averaged 6 units per day of rapid. The lowest day was 4 units and the highest was 9.5 units.

If you spread this out over a year the numbers would look like this:
1,440 shots of rapid + 720 shots of Lantus = 2,160 total shots.
5, 310 units of rapid + 5, 760 units of Lantus = 11, 070 total units of insulin.

As always, I have to enforce that YOUR DIABETES MAY VARY (YDMV).

What did I learn from this?
1. tracking anything sucks.
2. I use even less insulin than I thought
3. Insulin pumps will never be an option for me*(1)
4. Fuck I hope I never get curious about doing this for blood sugar readings*(2)
5. I really don't care how many times I stick myself with needles
6. Wow, I really got through many days during the month on 4 units of insulin?!
7. I was able to notice which days were crazy exercise days
8. Because I hate ending on an odd number.

*(1). Let's put it this way, I was regularly injecting 50-60units of rapid acting insulin per day when I was on the pump. I have always maintained a low-ish carb diet to boot so this was even more frustrating.

SIXTY! Sixty units would get me through a week and a half now. I know from my own experience that higher amounts of insulin left me with higher pounds of weight. I dropped 30lbs after stopping the pump. I was a chub. It's no myth that higher levels of insulin is a direct relation to higher absorption of carbs and therefore, more chub. That's as scientific as I can get so definitely don't take my word for it. Yes, the insulin pump accounts for both basal and bolus insulin and it's all rapid acting life juice. I take Lantus now for my basal so a daily TOTAL of Lantus AND basal would be roughly 22 units. Still, a far cry from my 60. Also, not all insulin is created equal. I ain't no gosh darn scientist but long-acting insulin like Lantus and Levemir doesn't have the same effect on the body as rapid shit does. In summary, this is only ONE of the many reasons why I just wasn't into insulin pumps. Clearly, my body was not receptive to them. I know of people who are the other way around. On pumps they take a fraction of what they did on injections, so I know it goes both ways.

I'm proud of my small insulin usage. It makes me feel like I've got some sort of understanding of this fucking disease.

*(2). Ah fuck. Now I want to do the more complicated tracking. Can I do it for one month? uuuuhhhggg... I'm so fucking curious but really REALLY hate it.