Friday, April 29, 2016

Paris to Ancaster 2016

I don't do races any more and rarely do I do events. I've written about this race for the last two years so I felt like it was necessary to continue the tradition. Especially because I got a last minute entry into the event. I still don't like calling it a race. To 99% of the participants it's not a race. It isn't even sanctioned by the UCI so anybody can do it if they wanted. I will direct you to a good friend who was in the 1% of the people racing this thing. He recounts this years race in the most humourous way possible. I laughed the entire time I read it. It's a brilliant read. Thanks Nigel. Go read it, seriously. If anything go read that and don't bother with mine.

I said I wouldn't do it this year but then a week out I felt a bit of fomo (fear of missing out) and started regretting not registering. Oh well. This even sells out months in advance. Low and behold you put that out in the universe and someone somewhere delivers. A friend of a friend was selling an entry literally 5 days before so I snapped it up.

If you read my last two years I haven't had the best time doing this. First year was absolute misery. Last year was an effort to not just fall over and go to sleep due to lack of energy from a rogue illness just days before. I just re-read those two blog posts and the first year was stellar commentary.

I woke up the morning of the event this year giddy for a change. I was riding with two of my friends and the goal was laid out ahead. The goal of "let's just have fun".

Liz and Pete. You'd almost think we were out for a chill Sunday ride on a dirt road with a strange picture of NOBODY else around!

It has been a very dry spring and typically this race is known for it's muddy, wet mayhem. So there was almost no mud to be found. It was very unusual. In fact the biggest problem was dust and not mud. The grossness of dirt road was apparent when I got home and blew my nose. We all had dirt on our teeth.

I found myself mostly just chasing Pete and telling him to wait up. This was the majority of the ride. Nothing but dust because it was so dry.

The three of us spent the entire race together save a few moments of getting lost in the shuffle of the hoards of cyclists or getting cut off and separated in the single track. It took longer than my two previous years to complete mainly due to some local asshole sabotaging the race. Since the route snakes itself through rail trail, dirt road, farmers fields and single track it goes through a lot of private and public property. Roads are shut down for hours at trail crossings and despite proper notification ahead of time, people still get right pissed off. Someone took it upon themselves to fell many very large trees one after the other over a couple hundred feet of public trail. This forced cyclists to slow down to a crawl to navigate the freshly cut trees. By the time we got to that section it was such a bottleneck that we were stopped and moving at a snails pace for about 1/2 an hour. Looking at the Garmin data our moving time was 3:25 but our elapsed time was 3:53. That's a whole lot of wasted time from the logs and the flat! (see below!)

I never get flats.. until I get a flat. :(

Not long after that I got a flat. Well, a "mostly flat". My rear tire had me contemplating if I should try to top it up with my CO2 or just replace the whole tube. It was about half empty. I went with replacing the whole tube just to be safe. BUT, this cost us another 10 minutes or so. Maybe 15.. I don't fix flats in minutes.

The only almost injury I had was getting nailed in the cooter by my bike saddle after hitting a pothole I didn't see. I did say out loud to anyone around me that "I didn't need that vagina anyway".

My personal shining glory was being able to ride up the stupid final hill. The last two years I did the walk of shame. Ryan kept telling me I could ride it but I had been traumatized. So the entire duration of the race all I wanted was to ride up that fucking hill and it had been bothering me. Turns out it's not a hard hill at all. Go figure. First year was awful and last year I wasn't well. What posed the problems this time was all the cyclists around me going so slow and not having the common courtesy to share the road.

I was pretty chuffed with myself for riding up that hill. Actually, I felt pretty strong the majority of the time and was never really riding at my max. capacity for a change.

Liz coming through the finish line with her usual shit eating grin just a little demeaned after getting ass kicked by that hill.

What's even better is the next day Liz said, "I think this is the first time I've ridden with you and you hadn't had to stop for blood sugar issues." She was totally right and it was a reality check from an outside perspective of someone who has spent a lot of time on a bike with me. When we hit dirt road sections I would hang back to test my BG while riding and catch up again. I finished almost all my water. I had a plan of eating only dates and bananas and no sugary shit. I began with a date early on in the ride so as to stay on top of it. I took zero insulin the whole ride and sipped some Skratch. The only time I went almost low was with 15km left to go. I dropped down to 4.4mmol/l (80mg/dl) and that's when I ate two glucose tabs and a few shot blocks (there goes my goal to not eat sugary crap). 4 hours out there with a banana, and a few dates aside from that almost low fix. I felt great the whole time.

This was a total diabetes win. For a change. It's very rare.

All and all it was actually a pleasant day!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Amusement Park Anxiety Attack Is Not Amusing At All

We went away on a little road trip vacation last week. The plan? Huntin' down roller coasters. Yeah, we are 12 years old.

I wasn't thrilled about this trip because amusement parks and roller coasters give me anxiety. I am going to write a whole post on my journey to overcome this specifically another time. It's really deserving of it's own home because it became quite the leap for me.

This story is same same but different (as they say in Bangkok). I had a very long and arduous anxiety attack at a theme park. I'm embarrassed so much that I have to write about it. We arrived at the park in the morning all stoked and ready. I was mentally and emotionally prepared to conquer some fears. I was fucking ready! Except that deep down in the core of my being something was off. It was off from the moment I woke up in the tent that morning. Something just wasn't right. It was the slow build of an anxiety attack that had started tightening it's grips on me the night before as we were going to bed. I woke up multiple times during the night with mild panic but swiftly stifled that shit and stuffed it away.

We rode one coaster and on the outside I was feeling exhilarated and wonderful AND NORMAL. Not moments after walking away with the adrenaline still pumping I sensed the anxiety starting to overflow. The dam had burst. I tried plugging a hole here and there. I tried so fucking hard to tell my brain to shut the fuck up already but I couldn't. I just couldn't. Here we were walking around a fucking amusement park and I'm in absolute shambles. Literally the worst place ever to endure an anxiety attack. I threw some more anti-nausea meds at that shit and patiently waited. I watched Ryan go on ride after ride and all that was happening was my anxiety was steadily mounting and my coping was non-existent. I couldn't escape it. I worked hard to try and get past it but it kept coming in ebbs and flows. Deceiving me with moments of feeling normal only to be shaken down to almost not even being able to move. I was done. It was emotionally exhausting me.

In the midst of said very horrible anxiety attack. I asked Ryan to take a picture to document it for a future blog post. I didn't want to stand up. I didn't want to move. Hands in fists, this is my normal.

We left the park and went back to our campsite. I sat still in almost tears while Ryan went for a trail run on his own. I felt like my body weighed a ton and I couldn't do anything but sit and stare at nothing. I walked a few feet into the forest where I saw a sunny patch and plopped my ass down on the forest floor with my legs outstretched. I stared. I breathed. I thought long and hard. I knew what was triggering this anxiety and it still embarrasses me to my core because it's an absolute fucking stupid reason. I'm not even going to mention it.

The point is, I sat there sometimes with my eyes closed and other times watching the beetles and ants musing about in the leaves and dirt. I really meditated for the first time probably ever. It was so quiet and comforting sitting on the forest floor. Nobody was around. I lost track of time but I think I was there for about 40 minutes. Just still. It felt like 15.

Ryan got back from his run and I insisted we go back to the park for a couple hours before it closed. We did and we had a really sweet time. I can't explain what happened but what I learned is I made it happen. I focused and overcame a day-long anxiety attack which usually would have taken me out until the following morning. That's the first time ever that I was able to sit down with my anxiety and bitch slap it upside the head. I made that happen. I made it stop. Yeah I lost a good 3/4 of the day but the point is, I overcame.

I told Ryan countless times that I have to deal with this. I have to find ways to pacify myself no matter where I am or what I'm doing. I'm ashamed to admit that I rarely have grips on it when it arises in situations like that but I NEED to work on it when it does. I must find ways to address it so I'm not left running the fuck away. Especially on holidays when I don't really have a "safe place" to go to (in my mind and physically).

I'm not sure the outcome would have been the same if I had access to wifi. Being in the US means our phones have no data and we only have access with wifi. Sitting at that campground I felt a little stir crazy for not having my phone to occupy my brain while I endured waves of anxiety. Turns out it was a good thing because it forced me to confront it.

Later that evening.

Friday, April 1, 2016

pre-bolusing and carb allowance

Carbs. Diabetic Kryptonite.

Carbs are how we make or break our hour to hour lives with diabetes. It's what diabetes is all about. There are debates about how fat and protein affect blood sugar. Some people take insulin for something that has no carbs and some people do not. I think it's largely based on the outside factors more than what's in the food. Morning BG rise? Maybe need a unit with that plain black coffee that has no carbs but the caffeine will raise blood sugar.

One thing is for certain, carbs. Carbs are for certain to fuck shit up. All carbs are glucose in their basic state. Glucose raises blood sugar. Insulin lowers it. Eat carbs, take insulin. That's the condensed version.

It's more like this:
Think of carbs -- BG starts to rise -- take insulin (wild guess at how much) long before -- eat carbs -- wait for blood glucose annihilation -- suffer highs or lows based on not taking enough (or too much) insulin or not carb counting properly or not eating as much or too little.. you get the idea.

Lately, I've really come to value the pre-bolus. Most people hate it. Most people get frustrated by it, myself included. It's really hard to take insulin 45-60 minutes before you eat. You have no idea how hard this is! Sometimes you just don't know when you'll be sitting down with that food. Injecting too early and it's tankage right before you eat. Inject 5 minutes before eating? well now you wait another 40. Or you eat anyway and suffer the consequences. The suffering is not something I am willing to cooperate with. If I don't pre-bolus and eat all willy-nilly I suffer. Even just 30-40g of carbs which is a normal meal for me will raise my BG into the teens an hour after eating.

Sometimes it depends on what the food is-I know. Or if you're low to begin with-I know. I hate the pre-bolus with a passion. BUT.... doing this has made the post food spike almost disappear. For me I try to wait at least 45 minutes but 60 minutes is ideal. That's how long it takes for the insulin to start really kicking in (for me). It actually makes me feel like the biggest fucking nerd. I wish so bad this wasn't the case.

Aside from that, how do I like to spend my carb allowance?

I'm not big on baked goods. I really REALLY hate candy and the like. I could spend my allowance on rice and potatoes and I DO eat this stuff in small quantities. What I will spend my allowance on - without hesitation - almost every single time is CHOCOLATE. People think I'm some kind of big health nut when they offer me baked goods (that are usually filled with gluten). I turn it all down (mostly because of the gluten). I evidently get the response "Oh you can't have this because of the sugar." or "you won't want this, you're a super health nut." It's not that. If you DID offer me a gluten free cupcake I'd most likely eat it even if it's not vegan. It's just that you aren't offering me a gluten free one. It's so much easier for people to remember I have diabetes and forget I have celiac disease.

Yes, I am a health nut but I also munch on potato chips, the occasional cookie and my body weight in peanut butter. I don't exist on kale and tofu only.

But chocolate... it almost doesn't matter sometimes where my blood sugar even is. Lock up the chocolate. Lock it up good 'cuz I'm coming for it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Different strokes. Humble beginnings.

It may not come as a surprise to most people but I'm really not a people person. *GASP*!

Yes, I'm one of those introverted types. I'm also a sufferer of generalized anxiety disorder. On top of those, I have some sort of fucking sensory processing sensitivity. In summary, I'm a ball of stress that does better alone and in silence.

So I quit my job. Actually, I quit 6 months ago! A career I have been doing for over a decade at various companies. I had a myriad of quitting reasons. Primarily, my freelance business had been slowly picking up steam and therefore one had to go. I had been dreaming of doing contract/freelance full time for years but was never financially stable enough to take the transitioning risk. For the record, I freelance doing the same shit I did at my job so it's not as big of a leap as I make it seem.

I had been going from company to company with the same measly 10 days vacation a year. Do you know that the standard 2-weeks vacation was implemented in the 60's? I've been working for over a decade and I still only ever got 2 weeks. You can't really do shit with that. Also, I'm sorry but 10 days is not 2 weeks. I recently had next to no sick time (4 whole days for the entire year. That's ONE illness!) and zero other benefits or positive company rewards. I don't think I ever really got a raise. My fault for changing jobs so much though, I know. Sure I had health benefits but I was tired of working for companies who gave no fucks about me or appreciated my expertise and experience. I decided to take my knowledge and apply it to myself only. I was tired of being treated like a shit commodity.

I didn't do this alone though. Without Ryan's steady income and health benefits I would be literally screwed. Thanks expensive diabetes for ruining all the fun. If I didn't need $500/month to keep myself alive it would be an entirely different story.

I honestly don't know what I would do without hoodies. They are my favourite.

The benefits to this?
I have essentially cut down on most of my hella anxiety triggers. Wearing seriously uncomfortable work clothes that would make me twitch during the day. Not having to "put on a face" and pretend to be interested in co-workers weekends and evenings. I don't own make-up so I didn't have to put on a face that way. It's not that I don't like talking to people.... Okay, I don't like talking to people. It's more that it causes me great anxiety. Socializing is something I absolutely dread. Even though I know that avoidance is not the answer to any anxiety problems, I can't help but be happy about it. My anxiety is triggered by so many things related to talking and being around people.

I work better when I can just put my head down and plod away at my own time. In fact, I get more quality work done this way. It's better for everybody involved. I'm less likely to be found curled up in a ball under my desk this way.

Sure, I don't get paid vacation or compensated sick days but that's a small price to pay for happiness and the freedom to make my own schedule. I don't feel work guilt for spending half the day in bed when I'm truly not feeling well.

No, there really isn't any job security or stability. Sometimes I have to hunt down cheques for work that's completed. I have to put aside hoards of money for taxes and in the end I'm not earning as much as I used to. I have to deal with the business sides of things which doesn't bode well for my non MBA brain. But my life is better, finally.

I'm a better person to everybody as a result of this but most importantly to me. It's peaceful and quiet and it's physically comfortable. My hatred for socks and shoes bothers no one! Sitting here in a sweater with the hood pulled up makes me feel content. Bras? what are those?

I don't know how long I will do this. Eventually I will want a decent pay cheque again and maybe I will earn that on my own. For now, I'm considering it a chance to grow and see if I can even BE successfully self-employed. I owe it all to Ryan for encouraging me to take the leap and support us financially while I test it out. Without him, this never would have happened.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Oops, I did it again...

I won't apologize for putting the song in your head as you read this post. I couldn't help myself!

I did it again. OOPS. Twice in 14 months I accidentally overdosed on insulin. It sounds so much more badass when I say I OD'd. What I'm really saying is that I'm a fucking turd sandwich.

It was Monday night (last week). Ryan got home from work and we were sitting there talking about our days when my Lantus reminder alarm went off on my phone. 7pm, like clockwork.

Meter case
chat with Ryan
Syringe.... Cartridge
chat with Ryan
draw up, INJECT
chat with Ryan
Look down and see the wrong insulin on top of everything in my case

pop 1/2 a gravol because I know what's coming.

15 minutes later checking into the ER. I injected 9 units of novorapid. At this time of the night that's close to 225g of carbs I need to consume in a couple hours. I waited until I started to see a drop in my blood sugar before taking my now missed dose of Lantus. JUST IN CASE I didn't fuck up even though I knew without doubt that I did.

I learned a lot about my last visit to the ER for just such a thing. I learned that I didn't want the IV dextrose because of it's horribleness!! It made me feel so sick.

Y'all must know by now I have a very strong vomit phobia. To the point of panic attacks. It's not something I'm proud of and it affects almost every aspect of my life.

The ER on this particular night was a nightmare. I got treated so well the last visit that I wasn't expecting what happened this time. Firstly, the triage nurse was so LAH-DI-DAH that I almost punched him. "I'm running out of time, I don't think you understand the urgency of this, I'm on a clock!"

I got shuffled from one waiting room to another. Bottle of honey in hand trying to count the swigs. We waited for a long time. Probably an hour before a doctor saw me and just shuffled me along to another waiting room. I had a small panic attack when I saw how overflowing this waiting room was. I remember saying to Ryan that I'll probably have to pass out before anybody deems my condition urgent enough.

One swig is maybe a teaspoon (More than that and my gag reflex would kick in). Maybe 10 swigs by now. 1 teaspoon of honey is 8g carbs so roughly 80g. Plus a container of glucose tablets (10x3=30g carbs). Plus two dates is 30g. Okay... I've taken in almost 150g of carbs, only another 50 or so left to go. Panic is subsiding as my nausea increases. I can do this.

My stomach is starting to revolt and I stop sipping honey.
Keep in mind that this whole time I have been keeping my blood sugar just above 6mmol/l (108mg/dl). I tested close to 25 times in the span of a few hours.

They move me to the third waiting room. My BG finally starts dipping below 5 and I swear I can't put anything else in my mouth. I am so nauseous by now that I'm getting the watery mouth and cold sweats. However, because of my vomit phobia this only worsens my anxiety level. I'm crying now. I'm crying because I am fearing the IV dextrose. I am crying because I feel like I'm going to be sick. I am crying because I am so uncomfortable and helpless. I owe it to Ryan for calming me down and taking my phobia seriously for someone who doesn't understand it.

They get the IV in. I beg them not to give me the dextrose. I wanted to wait and see. If my BG dropped below 4 (70mg/dl) I would say shoot me up. I was doing everything in my power. Deep breathing and my go-to anxiety relief game of Book Worm on my phone. I sipped a bit more honey.

They moved me to another waiting room, the 4th one.

I played my game. I breathed. It's been almost 4 hours.

Novorapid starts working in 20-30 minutes. Peaks at 1.5-2.5 hours and is gone out of your system at 4.5-6 hours.

I'm almost past the peak. Nausea is steady but all that shit is staying down.

This whole time I still hadn't seen a doctor. I'm sure if I had fallen over someone would have come but there was no monitoring. They checked my blood sugar twice in the 4 hours and didn't bat an eye when it said I was normal. Yeah, have you seen all the shit I've been eating?! It's normal because I'M making it normal. If I had started vomiting then action would have to be taken. They gave me a heck of a time when I asked to be discharged. "You haven't even seen the doctor!" They said. "I don't need to see a doctor, this isn't something that required a doctor at all in the first place. I didn't come here to see a doctor." I tried to explain that I'm a fucking type 1 diabetic. I accidentally overdosed, it's not rocket science! It's basic fucking math. Too much insulin = many many carbs needed. Me, not sure I can consume enough and keep it down! A doctor would have done fuck all for me. It just goes to prove that I honestly feel the docs and nurses in the ER don't know shit about type 1. I understand it's protocol but I didn't know how to say, "Hey nurse, you're the only medical professional for me. I only need you in my life." 

I dropped to tankage levels around hour 5 and 6 but I was able to correct it with a couple glucose tablets due to the fact that the insulin was just petering out at that point.

Two lesson learned the last two times.

1. Avoid IV dextrose if I can
2. I CAN consume 260g of carbs if I try hard enough. In the end that's how much it took! 260!!!!! needless to say I have a 1:30 insulin sensitivity at night.

Next time? Not going to the ER. Next time? get a new box of glucagon and learn to mini-gluc myself. Next time? Fuck I hope there isn't a next time.

The aftermath?
Tuesday was one of the worst days of diabetes sick I've had. I could hardly move for the entire day. I didn't eat anything spare a plain rice cake. I took so much Gravol I'm surprised my eyes were even open. SO MUCH NAUSEA. From what? From all that sugar in a body that doesn't tolerate sugar.

What have I done to try and correct my mistakes?
I told a few people that if you see me taking insulin, just stop talking.

I put an elastic band around the Lantus cartridge even though I don't think that helps me. It's not about feel and looks because the vials are already different. It's about being so stupid and absent-minded.

I now remove my Lantus, the sharpie and the syringe from the case. I push the case aside. Yes, it's Lantus. Yes, it's the purple one. Yes, the one with the elastic. I'm trying to be mindful and 100% present in the moment. I'm trying to take myself away from all the other tasks and just focus now. twice a day, every day so I never do this again.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The bender continues!

I left off with Ryan and I going on a great 10km run Monday night.

I felt like I was out of the thick of the anxiety and BG woes. I had an apple and peanut butter for dinner and took no insulin for it because of the run. Sidenote: Yes an apple and peanut butter is most definitely a meal!

My blood sugar, however, kept dropping in the evening. I set two alarms. One alarm for 1:30am and one for 2:30am since those are usually the hours where I have the most trouble.

At 1:30 my bg was 3.7mmol/l (66mg/dl). I ate a date and went back to bed. I call dates "carb bombs". A carb bomb should have been enough for a simple low like that. At 2am I thought I was dying. BECAUSE I WAS DYING! 1.8mmol/l (32mg/dl). Honey+couch+patience. Except I don't know anybody with enough patience for what ensued. Here is how it went down after that initial 2am check:

2:40am: 1.8mmol/l
2:50am: 1.8mmol/l
3:10am: 1.8mmol/l
3:25am: 1.8mmol/l
4:00am: 3.7mmol/l! Hurray!

Approximately 2 hours at 1.8mmol/l. I must have taken 6 swigs of honey and nothing was happening. In my mind I was worried. Ryan was out cold because he took something to help him sleep. I considered waking him up in case a hospital visit was in the books. I came so close if that 4am check still wasn't budging. At 4am when I deemed it safe to go back to bed I took a Zofran. I woke up at 7am to a 14.1mmol/l (253mg/dl) What the fuck man?! The honey must have been "slow-release" or something. I guess I should have read the label. I tried to get an extra hour of sleep. Tuesdays are the only days I work somewhere and I was horridly hungover. Any other day I would have taken advantage of the whole self-employed thing and tried to sleep it off. I pulled myself together with so much coffee that my hands were shaking for the first half of the day trying to work.

Then it all went wrong. I was severely nauseous by the time I got home and basically could hardly move off the couch. How could I still be this badly hungover? This set my anxiety off on another acid trip. Fear and Loathing in Scully's body. I took a Zofran and not much changed. I drank ginger tea and took some Gravol and still not much changed. I settled into a long night of rolling around with severe nausea and not sleeping, eating or drinking. I fell asleep at about 3 or 4 and woke up at 6. Still with a really bad upset stomach and very heavy anxiety. For fucksake man. What the hell is going on?

I didn't even know any more if this was anxiety or diabetes induced. Or neither (?!) Or did one cause the other? Was it the precise combination of the panic attack + period + run induced low + blue skies? Typically my anxiety comes on in a cumulative manner. It builds and builds then, BAM! I know anxiety and womanly cycles affect my diabetes and vice versa.

Wednesday morning was still rough. I had about 4 hours to get some work done before Ryan and I had plans to go do something. Wednesdays are his days off so I often make them my day off too. I struggled to drink a couple sips of coffee and water.

Near the 2nd half of the day I was able to eat a rice cake. JOY! It had been nearly 24 hours since I ate anything. Slowly but surely by the end of the day my stomach was finally feeling a bit better. Now I was just fucking exhausted and lacking energy from not really eating or sleeping.

By Thursday I was almost myself again. I even got on my bike for an easy 60 minute spin but I felt pretty awful after so maybe that wasn't the best idea.  On top of that, my BG continued to be high ALL DAY and not reacting to the exercise or insulin. In fact the bike ride made me spike to sickly levels despite having copious amounts of the sauce running through my body. It seemed like I was on a 2-units every 2 hours for 2 days before finally seeing some semblance of my normal.

Oh Diabetes and Anxiety, you think you make a great team.

By trial and error I can usually ascertain that its a team mission. Usually, it's the deadly combination of both and not one or the other individually. Diabetes and Anxiety. D&A BENDER TIME! The perfect storm. Or better yet, the ideal party situation for two misbehaving conditions.

I'm still picking up the dirty laundry and broken glass. A weekful of it!

I'm always up for any ideas at all to not make this such a bad trip for next time. There will be a next time. My life's experiences tell me so.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Diabetes and Anxiety go on a bender!

I knew it was coming but what I wasn't expecting was the myriad of problems that followed.

Anxiety? Diabetes? They were like best friends going on a bender on my behalf.

It started on Friday like any other good weekend bender. I received a rush contract job that required me going to a location and measuring a 19,000 sq.ft. building. I specialize in residential and this was explained to me to be something simple and easy of which it was neither. It was my mums bday dinner celebrations the following day and I was responsible for preparing a selection of food. I still had to get to a few stores to get the ingredients and the birthday present. I wanted it to be perfect! I arrived at the building I was measuring and immediately felt under-prepared. This job came up so suddenly I didn't have a moment to collect or acquire the things I needed and therefore it took me three times longer than it should have. I looked like a tool. I looked down the long-ass hallway and started panicking. My heart was racing and I could hardly catch my breath. How was I going to accomplish this? What have I got myself into? Am I ruining my own business or what? This makes me look really bad. Nobody is going to refer me now.

I sucked it up. I took some deep breaths and settled into the idea that it will get done when it gets done. The other things I had to do today were just going to have to wait. My day spiraled into a hell hole of not having a second to breathe or even put food and water in my mouth.

Saturday morning I woke up and it all started again. SO MUCH to get done and no time to do it. All the while stressing out so much that I knew I couldn't get any work done. Today, mums birthday was the priority and I wasn't going to let anything screw this up!

When we left my parents house that night I was right fucked on the verge of my head exploding. The party was in full blown *RAH*RAH* mode. For the record, my ears have been ringing since Saturday (almost a week now) as if I went to a concert. The loud voices of my family. Everyone talking over everyone else. My fucking whoopie pie deserts that I spent so much time and money on kind of failed in the desert realm. I just wanted to make something special and I was saddened that it was a flop.

Sunday started the shit hole of hell. These guys were not giving up on the party just yet. We're talking 3-day festival styles. We had things to do that were going to take the better part of the day and were planned weeks ago. Again, I'm freaking out that I wasn't going to get this work done that I promised I would have ready for Monday. That's the problem with being self-employed freelancer, there's no such thing as "weekends". I take days off when I can but there's no schedule. I went to a yoga class and upon finishing it had a panic attack. A real panic attack. I removed myself from the situation and escaped to my car where I managed to calm down. We went to where we had to go which turned out to be a much more anxiety-inducing situation than I expected. Also? I got my period this morning which didn't help my situation at all.

It's okay, just pile it on. Another layer of stress and anxiety ain't gonna change this already sinking boat anyway. I'm in too deep already. Anxiety was gearing up for it's confetti filled bender!

By the time we got home it was 3'ish. I had time to do some work and ease my mind! Or so that's what I thought. Nope. My BG skyrocketted to the evil number above 20. I haven't seen a 20mmol/l since I was pumping over 3 years ago. It was AWFUL. I couldn't move. I couldn't breathe. I felt sick to my stomach and in pain. The usual, y'know? Needless to say I was couch-bound and in tears. I knew why this was happening. Real panic attacks used to fuck my BG up for about 24 hours. I used to put my pump on 200% basal rate the moment the attack happened. It's been so long since I've had an attack that it didn't even cross my mind. I struggled all evening and all night berating myself for not seeing the spike sooner. I had an alarm set every 2 hours to check and inject.

Monday came and I was feeling rough but the results of the weekends celebrations hadn't quite settled in yet. I worked as hard and fast as I could to get this job done before 5 while putting off all necessary self help. I promised Monday. I was in over my head and this is my livelihood we're talking about. I'm only just starting on my own so I have a lot to prove. I got it done. I GOT IT THE FUCK DONE. I could finally chill and be happy with myself. I celebrated with a well deserved and moderately hard 10km run with Ryan. Time to relax!

Or could I relax?

..... to be continued.

Monday, January 4, 2016

old school: Lows vs. Highs

I didn't think lows vs. highs were a thing until I had a few comments back in response to my post on D-hacks.

First, since I know I have a few readers not completely consumed with diabetes like myself and other T1's, let me explain:

I will assume you already understand the basics of keeping blood sugar in a very unrealistic margin. Ergo, many highs and many lows will inevitably ensue. Lows are a result of too much insulin and not enough glucose. The wee brain runs exclusively on glucose so a lack of that in the body causes the brain to have a temper tantrum and start shutting down some pretty important systems that keep our body alive. Often it's from too much insulin injected probably due to miscalculation of carbs consumed (or not eating what I originally planned to). Or too much exercise and not enough fuelage (read:carbs). I'll just leave it at those two main culprits.

Highs on the other hand are the opposite. Too little insulin and and too much glucose running amok in the body. Either from eating too much and not taking enough insulin or countless other bullshit reasons. ie:hormones, stress, sick, blue skies etc.

Lows and Highs happen. Sometimes a lot. Hour to hour, day to day.

Why I would always prefer to be low rather than high is complicated I'm beginning to realize. It's deeply ingrained in my psyche also. A low usually comes on hard and fast. It requires fast acting carbs like glucose tabs to correct it. It kinda feels like you're dying. Brain temper tantrum remember? It's a fight or flight response to lack of glucose so it's kind of terrifying. That is, if you aren't used to it. MOST lows are corrected in less than 20 minutes after consuming sugar. If left untreated, one goes into insulin shock resulting in a seizure of sorts and then possible coma. When treated...on with the day. Unless you're me and sugar upsets your stomach most of the time. That's irrelevant to this topic though. Point is, they come on like a tornado causing immediate flight or fight response. Some glucose and a few minutes of being collapsed over, life goes on. They look really bad from the outside and they feel even worse from the inside.

Highs. Highs are motherfucking assholes. Look at it this way; the range of blood glucose is as such: Under 4mmol/l is low. Above 7mmol/l is high. There's not much farther to go below 4. However there is a shit ton above 7mmol/l!!! Like between 7 and over 30. Blood sugar doesn't rise noticeably as fast. It's not until it's above that tipping point (everybody is different) before one notices it. It's simply an over-abundance of glucose. The only way to get it back down is more insulin. (I only WISH it was more cowbell) Or exercise if that's a possibility. I often feel so ick that I can hardly move. Depending on the severity of the high it could take a couple hours which feels like an eternity.

Therein lies the rub for me.
Lows are fixed in a few minutes comparatively speaking. Sure they feel like death, BUT, they are quickly remedied. Highs are my nemesis. Your Diabetes May Vary! I feel icky at about 13. I start getting tired and unbelievably cranky and bitchy (just ask Ryan). At 15+ my stomach hurts. Its a pain I've never been able to describe. It feels like all the blank space between my organs are being pulled and tightened which double me over in a ball. At 18+ the indescribable nausea hits along with the pain. My eyelids become stone and my breathing gets laboured. I haven't been above 20 in years but it's the super danger zone. The worst part about this is by the time I know I'm that high it's already too late. The insulins we have available to us these days just aren't fast enough. Even an injection of fast acting won't start working for at least an hour. So by the time I realize I'm high and inject, I know I'm going to go even higher. It always gets worse before it gets better. It often takes 2-3 hours for me to get back in range. Most people complain of being incessantly thirsty but I am so nauseated and headachey that I can't even swallow anything. Yes, there is the inhale-able insulin that works wonders in a fraction of the time but it's just not available in Canada yet. Maybe next millennium.

Then there's the psychological aspect of being high. I know I'm stuck there for hours. What damage is happening inside my body being this high for that many hours? I panic. I freak out. I'm learning to force calmness on myself knowing it will help reduce the stress and cortisol output which only persist the highs even more. But inside I'm scared of causing permanent damage. At least with a low I've never passed out or gone into insulin shock. I've never been hospitalized or ever used glucagon. Sure I've been low enough to warrant it but I've always taken care of it myself. Even the worst lows that leave me deathly hungover for a day are more tolerable than hours of being so high that I am a bitch on wheels.

So there you have it. Why I'll take a low over a high any day!

And why I chronically over-dose as a result.

Monday, December 21, 2015

December 12 of 12

I'm still here. Still fucking around. Here are some pik-it-ures for no reason. It was a Saturday. I took these pictures on the 12th but am just now getting around to posting them. WIN and immediate FAIL. But pics are forever (if you back them up three times in three different places like I do).

1. Saturday morning coffee.

2. Ryan had to work at noon so we did our weekly grocery shop first thing in the morning. 

3. I uploaded this photo because I was backing up photos and forgot that I hadn't posted anything from this trip Ryan and I took in the summer. We rode over 300km in 3 days with just a messenger bag each. We stayed at a hostel and a motel along the way. We encountered freezing cold temps, RAIN and sweltering heat in the span of less than 3 days. The picture shows how we basically fucked both our bikes. Ryan had to rebuild his bottom bracket and mine was relegated to being hung up for nearly two months while he rebuilt almost my entire drive train. Don't do this folks. Just because the gravel trail was a more direct route doesn't mean you should take it. OOPS!

4. WORK WORK WORK. Being self-employed and working from my living room means there's no routine so I just work when Ryan works. 

5. This has become my favourite go-to. Rice cake, smashed avocado, tomato and vegan Daiya cheese.

6. It's been awhile. It took about 18 months to complete my one sleeve and we are about 1/2 way through the new sleeve. This was recent work.

7. I went out to do some errands. Hitting up the B.Barn because PEANUT butter.

8. We've been shopping at a produce wholesaler. It means at least 2 stops for groceries and this place is cash and carry with very limited opening hours. However, hauls like the one seen is usually 40-50 dollars. It's insanely cheap. Being that we do almost all our own cooking as vegans this is an awesome place for us.

9. I snuck a short 45minutes on the bike. I wanted to get outside but didn't have much time to spare in the day.

10. Another shot from the rollers

11. Ah, my other daily obsession. I eat this most days. It may look healthy but my peanut butter to apple ratio makes it more meal-like than snack-like. We're talking like a 1:3 apple to peanut butter ratio. 

12. I wish this one came out better but the photo kept crashing my phone! Fish-eye + Ferret = SUPER ADORBS!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

11 of my 'betes lifestyle HACKS!

These are my diabetes hacks. Or if you prefer, the tricks to how I "get by" with my treatments.

1. Sharpie Marker. This one I recently wrote a post about. It's how I "remember" that I've taken my Lantus (or not taken it yet) without relying on a stupid smart phone app. It may seem archaic and simplistic, that's because it is!

2. Listerine strips container. This one is an oldie, but a goody. For on-the-go purposes like cycling and running where I don't want the shake rattle and absolute annoyance of the strips smashing around in the bottle. It's small and convenient. Just remember to point the bottom of the strip down. Too many times pulling them out with sweaty hands renders them useless.

3. Pre-filled syringes. A typical syringe will hold 3 units with the plunger cap on. Ideal for the odd high BG when I'm out exercising and I don't want my insulin to get fucked up by the elements. Let's face it, here in Canada we get both ends of extreme temperature. 3units is way more than enough. Sometimes I'll carry two syringes if I'm out for the whole day on my bike and I'll be stopping to eat. I can still inject 1 or 2 units at a time and leave the rest for later. I learned this trick from my good friend Missy.

4. Half-inserted test strip trick. I wake up to my beeg alarm every single night at around 1:30am. Often again at 4 or 5am. Before I go to bed I set up the meter with the strip half inserted so all I have to do when I'm groggy and asleep is stab my finger, push it the rest of the way in and hit the light button. No fumbling and dropping shit all over the place. It's such a well oiled machine that most mornings I look over surprised because I don't remember testing. Now, having the wherewithal to know what to do with that number in the middle of the night is an entirely different story. So many times I say, "must shove some raisins into my....." back asleep. Then wake up deathly low a few hours later.

5. Pen cartridges instead of vials. I don't trust the insulin pen. It's still a mechanical injection device and that means it too can fail! I know this because it's given me problems in the past. It's also too big to fit in my case. A typical 10ml vial would last me many months but with a 28-day shelf life it's a waste of money and insulin. So I use the pen cartridges. Bonus? No need to inject air into them! I also feel less bad if I freeze, cook or smash one.

6. Lancets. This one I mentioned awhile back also. I keep my lancets in the same spot as my strips. When I grab a new bottle often on my way out the door I quickly throw a fresh lancet in there. That way at some point in the next couple days I'll switch out my lancet.

7. The infamous Scully parachute landing! I blogged about this years ago. I just searched my whole blog but couldn't find it so I gave up. I still stand by this method. When I am high, like really high. Like 16+mmol/l (280mg/dl+) high I will take a rage bolus of about 4 units. Back in the insulin pump days that would have read more like 8-10units for the same result! It's too much but I do it on purpose. I knowingly over-dose. In my mind my bg comes down quicker with more insulin on board. If you know me, you know highs are my nemesis and I'd always much rather be low. Whether it actually comes down faster or not, I don't care. So I wait until it starts dropping rapidly and then just when the time is right I'll eat something for a soft gradual landing. Tankage-free. Like the way a skydiver comes down in a parachute.

8. Dex (glucose tablet) container in my car. Seems so common sense but I only just started doing this. I have a convenient cup holder in the door of my car. Glucose tabs are resistant to heat and freezing. Again, Canadaland temperature extremes! I often need glucose when I'm out and about and this means the small container of dex in my purse doesn't get depleted as much. In return it means I don't replace the purse dex as often which is key because I eat the purse dex and forget to replace them. Thus leaving me in a shitty situation way more than I like.

9. Honey. This is by no means a hack or a trick or anything. It's just how I treat the super lows. Or the lows that come with nausea. Or the rapidly falling lows. Honey is easy to swallow and packs a wicked carby punch. The only problem is that it often makes me gag and it's so fucking expensive.

10. Freezies! Like the #9 above, these have a purpose sometimes. Obviously timing has to be accurate as in I have to be not SUPER low. More fun than a juice box but the same amount of carbs. Added bonus: comes with an ice cream headache!

11. Advil and Zofran. Another old topic but an important one for those hellish low hangovers that I get so bad.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

12 of 12 for reals

I remembered the day on the day and during the day for a change.

It was Thanksgiving here in Canadaland. Not that it matters much. I quit my job to do full time freelance/contract work so holidays pretty much mean nothing to me now.

 1. I started my day finishing up a bit of work while Ryan went to the skatepark with his buddies.

We then went on a little adventure to a secret DIY skatepark in the city.

2. Ryan found a silly concrete covered log.

3. While I found a new ride

4. I finally blew the dust off my digital SLR camera

Next we went exploring at an old abandoned theme park. There wasn't much left of it at all but Ryan always finds something weird to skate anywhere he goes.

5. Like an abandoned tube slide. He went to this park a lot as a kid but I don't ever remember going. This slide looks like it would have been a shit ton of fun in it's hay day.

6. no caption necessary

We then explored a little more in the area.

7. Does the pic count when I've stolen it from someone else? Thanks Ryan. 

From here we snuck our way into an old abandoned hotel. It looks like there was once a fire. The whole place was creepy as fuck

8. It smelled really bad also.

9. peeling paint from the fire I pressume.

10. The hotel pool wasn't really swimmable

11. One of the fun parts of using an SLR camera. This one is still blurry but I was really just fucking around. Those are Ryan's ghostly legs and feet.

12. The "entrance"

13. I had to add one more for the creep factor and because it makes the pictures 13. It's October after all. Perhaps next time I'll make more of an effort to get some none blurry photos. We didn't go downstairs. We've seen enough Walking Dead to know where the zombies are.