Long Time No See.

Hi there.  Believe it or not, this blog here does still exist.  I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I’ve posted anything.  WordPress even looks different since the last time I’ve written!  To anyone that may care, I apologize (and I do not mean that in a snarky way!)  I feel that life gets in the way a lot of times.  Or it could just be something that I’ve realized about myself recently ….. I am lazy AF.

 

My friend George posted recently and maybe you can say he gave me a little motivation to post for the first time in a while as well.  I would have a lot to go over to update you on the past 14 months so I won’t go down that road.  I’ll just mention the big parts 🙂

 

I commemorated the 35th anniversary of my diabetes diagnosis on December 24th.  It’s truly hard to believe I’m old enough to have had type 1 for so long!  I didn’t necessarily do anything to “celebrate”.  Being that it’s on Christmas eve, that always steals the thunder 😉

 

Let’s see.  Most recently, I have been recovering from surgery to repair tennis elbow (or lateral epicondylitis).  Don’t ask me how I got that because I haven’t the slightest idea.  I first went to the doctor for it March of last year after it had been bothering me for a few months.  He tried a cortisone injection but sadly, there was no improvement.  I went back in September after the pain was getting worse and the doctor was straight with me that if it was lasting this long with no results from cortisone, it was highly unlikely any other treatment would work beside surgery.  This doctor had performed not one but two trigger finger surgeries on me in the past so if I had to have another surgery, I was glad it would be by him.  He sent me for an MRI just to verify the condition and it showed that not only were the tendons damaged, there was a tear as well.  No wonder it hurt so much!   So a bit over 6 weeks ago the surgery was done and recovery has been going well so far.  It’s been challenging at times since it was on my dominant arm, but the incision healed nicely and I hope to be using my arm again fully soon.

 

I’ve had some struggles on the blood sugar management front – my A1c was at its highest in years in the fall.  I’ve managed to get it back down some at my endo appointment last week but it still needs work.  I do attribute some of the rise to a change in birth control pills (TMI?) that occurred in the summer.  Man, did I have some awful insulin resistance!  My insulin was like water for quite a few weeks.  I am more independent when it comes to changing insulin rates and whatnot but it came to the point where I called my endo in desperation.  She could not believe how much insulin I was taking.  But I’m glad I thought of the new meds because other then raising my ratios, she didn’t offer much in terms of finding the root cause.  Things got more “normal” when I switched back to the pill I had been taking previously.  Thank goodness.

 

And back to my laziness.  In being a hermit for a few weeks recovering from surgery, it highlighted just how lazy I really am.  And that definitely plays a part in the work that my A1c needs.  I do not log.  Ever.  I almost never upload Dexcom or pump info.  I occasionally check the Clarity app to see what my estimated A1c is (which was spot on with my latest reading at the endo by the way) but don’t look at the trends really.  I don’t exercise like I should.  I don’t eat like I should.  I don’t pre-bolus like I should.  Yet I do bolus for every food I eat.  I do wear a medical ID bracelet.  I do carry some form of glucose with me.  I do not over treat lows.   Those things my endo always looks for makes me look like a super star.  But how do I get over my laziness and do the little things that will make the most difference?  I wish it were as simple as telling myself to just do it but I already hear in my head – I don’t feel like it.  Have you ever been faced with similar feelings?  Have you found something that gave yourself a good kick in the rear?  I’m open to suggestions 🙂  Being that I’ve had strong anxiety about something happening to me health-wise (more on that in another post), I’m surprised that hasn’t been the kick that I need.

Some Updates.

I realize I have not been blogging much lately so wanted to say hello to everyone and let you all know what’s been going on around my neck of the woods and keeping me busy.  Or maybe distracted.

 

  • It seems my blog anniversary completely slipped by me!  The end of August marked four years since I started here and I want to thank everyone that has ever stopped by to read, to comment and support me.  This wouldn’t mean to me what it does if it weren’t for all of you.
  • In July, I had a repeat gastric emptying scan done.  Unfortunately it confirmed what both me and my gastroenterologist figured, my gastroparesis has progressed.  Compared to the first one I had four years ago, it is still considered mild but it has gotten worse.  She prescribed two medications to take as needed and luckily I’ve been able to manage without them.  My hubby did some investigating to see if there were any natural remedies to help and he found out about ginger root.  I have been taking capsules before most meals and have noticed that it does help.  Thank you hubby!  I have learned a lot about this condition and it is not something that I would wish on anyone.  I’m truly hoping that managing my blood sugar as best I can will help keep it mild.
  • A few weeks ago I had my very first insulin pump infusion site infection, after almost 8 years of pumping.  I had removed the pod from my lower back and it was a little sore which is not completely unusual.  However the next day it was extremely painful and with the advice of a friend, I had it looked at by a doctor.  It was indeed infected so was put on 10 days of an oral antibiotic.  It has healed nicely but I have to admit I’m a bit weary of getting another one.  I’m hoping it was just a one-time-fluke type of thing.
  • I have been more involved with IRL citizenship and advocacy type efforts.  I am part of the citizenship committee as well as the disability network at my job.  It is very fulfilling to be part of such great networks and helps make my “regular” job more worthwhile.  I am also on the walk committee of my local JDRF chapter this year.  It makes me proud to be part of an organization that has announced such exciting advances in type 1 diabetes research in recent months.
  • Over the past 2 months, I haven’t exercised and my eating habits weren’t always the greatest.  While I’m finally working on changing that now, I was extremely surprised at the results from my endo appointment this past week.  A1c went down, not up like I expected and also one of the lowest I’ve ever had.  Also I lost a couple of pounds.  None of this makes much sense to me and really not the motivation I was hoping for to get back on track but honestly I’ll take it.  It makes me think back to all the times I was expecting and hoping for an A1c a lot lower than it turned out to be.  Sometimes diabetes is just unpredictable.
  • Most importantly, on September 3rd, my Mema (grandmother) passed away.  It wasn’t sudden as her health had deteriorated rapidly since earlier in the year but I still cannot believe she’s gone.  I’m glad I got to spend more time with her the few weeks before she passed, even though she may not have realized it was me.  I’m glad and thankful she was a part of my life for so long.  I’m glad that she lived such a full life – she would have been 95 next month, had 8 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren.  I’m glad that she went peacefully and is now in a better place.  But it still hurts and I miss her dearly.

 

I suppose that’s most of it in a nutshell.  I’m hoping for more peaceful times to come and to make a better effort at blogging more often.  Especially with a big month coming up with a lot to do and say.  Oh, one more thing.  I got the new iPhone 6 on Friday (I was one of the crazy people who pre-ordered early in the morning on September 12th and not the crazy person who got on a line at the Apple store two weeks ago) and would highly recommend it for other iPhone lovers out there!

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(image credit goes to the internet)

Something Funky.

I realized today that I’m in some kind of funk.  I don’t know if it’s a touch of the winter blues.  I’m not sure if it’s from the sinus crud that has been plaguing me lately.  I don’t know if I have a bit of burnout.  But I do know that I haven’t really been feeling myself and can’t seem to shake it.

I have zero energy.  If I didn’t have real life obligations, I think I would stay in my pj’s and robe and watch tv on the couch all day.  I’m finding it very hard to get out of bed in the mornings, even when it’s 10am on the weekends.  I don’t feel like doing anything at all.  I’ve only worked out a few times in the past 2-3 weeks and I was doing so good.  While my blood sugars haven’t been terrible, they haven’t been stellar either.

I’m trying to determine the cause of this so that I can work on the solution.  But I can’t seem to pinpoint it on any one thing.  I believe my sinus issues may play a part – while I don’t have an infection, I have been suffering a lot from allergy symptoms for some reason and I know lethargy is a big symptom of many things sinus.  I know I need to push myself but I can’t seem to find the motivation to do that.  What I’m really hoping is that this is only temporary.  Because I would like more than anything to feel like me again.

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Big Blue Test 2013.

I posted about the Big Blue Test last year.  And I’m going to reflect back on that post since the initiative is going on again this year!  If there are 20,000 tests logged by November 14, 2013, the Big Blue Test grants (St. Anthony’s Medical Clinic in San Francisco, CA and University of Colorado, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Aurora, CO) will be funded to provide people touched by diabetes who are in need with lifesaving supplies, medical tests, treatment, and/or patient education (each will receive US$2,500) and an additional US$5,000 will support projects in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Big Blue Test.

 

 

 

One of the things that I struggle most with in terms of my health and(or) diabetes management is consistent exercise.  Usually I do well for a few weeks then work hours are longer or I have more things to do and I get off track.  I’ve made a promise to myself recently that I am going to make it a priority in my life no matter what.  What helps me a lot to stay motivated honestly is support and inspiration of others.  When I see someone post about working out or read about the accomplishments of athletes living with diabetes or pass by someone who is running or riding a bike in my neighborhood, I want to get active.

 

That is why I love the Big Blue Test.  It is a movement started by the Diabetes Hands Foundation in 2010, to help promote the positive affect physical activity has not only on a person with diabetes’ blood sugar, but on everyone’s health in general.  It is so simple.  All you have to do is test your blood sugar, exercise for at least 14 minutes, test your blood sugar again and log it over at http://www.bigbluetest.org.  Those people without diabetes can participate also, just minus the blood sugar readings part.  The best part is this:  if 20,000 entries are logged by November 14th, Roche will donate $100,000 to organizations that will provide life saving diabetes supplies to those who need it the most.

 

I know together, we can achieve this goal and help those less fortunate than us while helping ourselves stay healthy.  I’ve logged my Big Blue Test three times already this week.  Have you?

 

 

A Day Late.

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Yesterday was No D Day.  It is something that my friend George started a few years ago.  “It is one day a year when we all try our best to NOT mention diabetes online, all day. ALL DAY!  We all spend a lot of time talking about Diabetes and our lives are filled with more that that disease. We are more that a disease!”  While I am a day late, I still wanted to get my No D Day in.

Ever since Kerri posted her Anti Rant a couple of weeks ago, it has been on my mind to do the same.  So here goes my list of just some of the things I am thankful for 🙂

  • Pumpkin.  It sounds cliche but I love pumpkin flavors or scents.  My living room smells delicious with the wallflower scent of Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin from Bath and Body Works.  So do my hands for that matter with the same scent of cream.  Who doesn’t love a pumpkin latte?  I’m on the hunt for some pumpkin pie spice to add to my meal replacement shakes in the morning.  And a pumpkin cupcake from Crumbs?  I’m not even going there.
  • Boston.  My hubby and I have visited there 5 out of the last 6 years.  We love it.  We just enjoyed a weekend there and the weather was absolutely beautiful.  Boston Common has got to be one of my favorite places on earth.  I could sit and walk around there all day 🙂

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  • A good workout.  Honestly.  I don’t know why I fought exercise for so long.  100% of the time when I am done, I feel great.  Whether it’s a ride on my spin bike or one of the few programs I have at home, it’s all good.
  • Easy days at work.  I work for an investment bank so my job is a high stress environment.  There are times when I feel too burnt out for my age after working in this industry since college.  But there are those rare days that are not completely filled with meetings or deadlines or audits or issues.  And I cherish those.
  • Sleep.  I am not one of those people who get up before their alarm on their own.  Ever.  Now that it is the time of year that it is dark when I get up during the week, it is so much harder to actually get up.  I hate it.  I count down the days until the next time I can sleep in!
  • A good book or movie or TV show.  I love when I’m reading a book that I cannot wait to get back to or even make extra time to finish reading.  Any book by Elizabeth Joy Arnold is one of those.  And thank goodness for Netflix!  During our long trip to Boston over the weekend, I was able to start catching up from the first episode of New Girl.  Hilarious show.  I highly recommend it if you don’t watch it already.
  • These kids.  My daily life is very different from those of you who have children.  It’s quiet 😉  I can do whatever I want, wherever I want, whenever I want.  And while I enjoy that piece of my world, there is always that part of me that deeply misses out on having my own children.  But these three?  They come pretty darn close.  (Especially since they could pass as mine thanks to the identical twin genetics that I share with their mother!)

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There is so very much that I am thankful for.  But I wanted to keep this post at a reasonable length 🙂

Pump It Up.

I have always struggled with maintaining an exercise regimen. I’ve tried gyms and never stick with it so wind up cancelling my membership. I do my best working out at home so I have tried numerous workout programs. My generous hubby got me an elliptical a few years ago which did get some good use but not consistently. I liked the Biggest Loser Challenge game for the Wii for a while and Zumba for Xbox Kinect. Those didn’t last either. I even did a Kettlenetics program for a short time. I worked with Ginger for a bit and worked on some routines that she gave me. I didn’t mind them but wasn’t something I really enjoyed doing either (sorry G!!) . For some reason I never stay motivated enough to keep up with something. That is until recently.

Working with Ginger, I learned how your body and BG are affected differently from different types of exercise.  Ultimately weight training or intervals are better for losing weight as well as for managing BG.  (I will not pretend to be the expert and get into all the details here! 😉 ) I’ve heard about programs like P90X and Insanity, that they are difficult but result provoking.  For some reason though, I never had any interest in trying them.  However, my fellow T1D friend Jen, posted a few times about a fitness program called Les Mills Pump on Facebook and it got me intrigued.  I chatted a little with her about it and figured I’d give it a try.  Well, I love it!  It’s a 90 day program consisting of eight different workout DVD’s of lighter weight training at high repetitions.  It comes with a schedule that you should adhere to that I don’t exactly follow but have been working out 4-5 days a week which is a HUGE improvement for me.  Along with that program I am also alternating some HIIT spin workouts on my newer spin bike courtesy again of my generous hubby 🙂  Although the program is suited for 90 days, I can see this as something I’ll stick with much longer than that.

Have I noticed any weight loss yet?  Not exactly.  But I am hoping to see a difference in my body soon.  I am not only doing this to lose weight.  My BG have been fabulous (for the most part of course – it is diabetes we are talking about here) and I feel great.  More important is that I actually look forward to working out when I get home from work or on the weekends and it doesn’t feel so much like a chore anymore!  I truly find motivation from others.  Their posts.  Their pictures.  Their stories.  I hope that this pushes a little motivation your way if you are in need of some!

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From Arnold Sports Festival Facebook Page

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(image credit goes to the internet for these)

**I do not have any relations with Beach Body or Nintendo or Microsoft nor do they have any idea I even wrote this post.  I do not work for Ginger or Jen but am lucky to be friends with them from the diabetes community.  I would however recommend getting to know both of them 🙂  Thank you to both of them for sharing their knowledge and motivation with others.  It is greatly appreciated.  And also a thank you to my husband for always being supportive of my overall health and encouraging me to do things that will keep me healthy.**

Talking with a True Inspiration.

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of speaking with Kris Freeman. If you are not familiar with who he is, I hope I can help with introducing a great person in the diabetes community. Kris is a professional American cross-country skier. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) at 19 years old.

Kris Freeman

(image credit: Lilly Diabetes)  

Kris has been partnering with Eli Lilly since 2002 for advocacy. He wants to teach others “don’t let go of dreams because of diagnosis”.  This year he will be the guest of honor at 10 diabetes camps across the country in conjunction with the Lilly Camp Care Package program.  Kris feels that in a setting such as diabetes camps, people with diabetes can draw together for support and be more mentally equipped to handle the day to day challenges. I could not agree more with him. I have never attended diabetes camp but I have attended other events or just meet ups and have made so many friends along the way.  My attitude or my outlook would not be where it is today without that support, that’s for sure.

I’ve been working out more than usual recently. By that I mean 4-5 times a week for 30-45 minutes. And I felt so accomplished for this. Until I spoke with Kris that is! A basic day for Kris would include about 4 hours of some sort of training. A 2 hour roller ski, an 8 mile run, 2 mile swim. Then when he is training for the Olympics (which are coming up in a few months!) that is taken to a whole other level. He does 100 mile bike rides, 5km road races. Six days a week with only one off day a week. Whoa. Now I’m not a professional athlete but that kind of workout schedule still impresses the hell out of me.

Kris is a fellow OmniPodder and Dexcom user. I could imagine that being an athlete like himself, wearing the pod vs. a conventional insulin pump would be much more practical and easy. I asked him what his favorite site was for the pods and believe it or not, it’s his pecs! Beside his triceps, that is where he most wears his pods.  He never takes a Dexcom break and likes that he can be more discreet, able to check his BG with a glance at the Dexcom instead of having to do a fingerstick among his non diabetic peers.  I think we can all appreciate that!

In addition to using modern technology and heavy duty sports training to manage his BG, he also is a big believer in a high glycemic diet.  He is always thinking about his blood sugar.  I sit on my butt all day for work and think about my BG constantly so I can only imagine that being as active as he is would make me think about it even more.  A rhythmic diet full of fruits and vegetables, high in protein for breakfast and high in carbs for dinner is what he finds works best for him.

One thing Kris said resonated with me very much. He said that diabetes doesn’t go away but learning about it makes it easier. After living with T1D for 31 and a half years, I myself am still learning. And I have to agree that the more you know and understand, the easier it can be to deal with.  After being told to forget about his Olympic goals after diagnosis and dealing with road bumps along the way, it never even occurred to Kris to give up.  That is what makes him stand out.  What makes him a true inspiration.

Thank you so much Kris for taking time to speak with me. It was a pleasure hearing from someone as inspiring as you.  And best wishes for your upcoming endeavor in the winter Olympics!