Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The "Bad" Kind

"You must have bad diabetes"...

I am always taken back when I hear this statement. It's happened several times throughout my life with diabetes and I never know what to say. Today I was talking to some nurses at work when one started looking at my ID bracelet. That's when she said, "I didn't know you have bad diabetes". My reply, without trying to be too sarcastic, was "I didn't know diabetes was ever good." She then tried to explain further by comparing the way I manage my diabetes against another Type 1 nurse in the unit. Needless to say, she only dug her hole further.

I am always torn when answering this statement. On the one hand, I rarely feel "sick". I think of myself as healthy 99% of the time. (Granted I am writing this post with a blood sugar of 455 and large ketones, another post for another day). Since Sunday I have run about 16 miles, went to a spin class and an ab class, and chased a loose dog for 45 minutes with a nine year old neighbor. I eat more healthy food than much of my lunch table at work and I am at a healthy weight. All in all I feel healthy and would never claim to be sick.

Yet, diabetes is serious. It requires MUCH attention everyday. It can be all consuming, both in time and thoughts. It takes a lot of hard work to remain healthy and live with diabetes. I feel like there is a delicate balance in explaining the complexities of living with this disease. I would never use diabetes as a crutch and yet I want outsiders to realize that it isn't as simple as taking a shot of insulin.  The truth is diabetes can be seriously debilitating if you don't pay attention to your body. However, I never want anyone to look at me and think "there goes that diabetic girl who is always sick".

I don't blame the nurse who said this today. If I think about my life prior to diabetes I probably would have said the same thing. The media does such a poor job of accurately displaying diabetes that often times it is all people know. The conversation ended well. I was able to educate my friend and hopefully she can spread it on to others. All in all, diabetes is a serious disease with horrible consequences IF I don't care for myself. All I can do is take every opportunity to manage my diabetes to the best of my ability.

Monday, April 4, 2011

It's Dega Baby!

So it's been awhile since I updated. Not too much going on in my little world. However, I did run the Talledega 21000 Half-Marathon this weekend. Now, even though I grew up in Alabama I have never been a NASCAR fan. 'Dega (as it's commonly called here :) is only about an hour from Birmingham. According to friends with firsthand experience, it is a weekend full of RVs, copious amounts of beer, and mullets. I ran it with my dear friends Nora and Jessica in honor of Nora's dad. The race proceeds went to the UAB Department of Urology. Nora's sweet dad was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer. We had some awesome bright pink shirts made especially for Nora's dad. Jess had a great "Girls gone wild" trucker had to top it off. We also rocked some awesome nicknames on the shirts. Jessica was "mugs" and I was "jugs" :) All in all this was a great race. I haven't run much recently (still recovering from the bike incident). In fact, I only ran a total of 9 miles in the two weeks prior to the race. Nora, Jess, and I also ran the Seaside 1/2 three weeks ago with our running group. I really expected to have to run/walk this one but was greatly surprised. We finished in 2:08! The race course was actually fun. I feared it would be boring but the race track is a fascinating place. I had no idea the track was on such an incline. Seriously, it was nearly straight up on some parts. We began by circling the track, heading out to town, and coming back through the stadium to the track again. Nothing like hearing the winner being announced as you pass mile 7 :)

Blood sugars were great through the race. I think I finally have it down to an art. I have a totally separate basal pattern for any run over 10 miles. I usually fear bolusing before I run which leads to being high if I eat anything. This time I bolused about 2/3s of my breakfast. Started out at 187, checked in at 82 at mile 6, ate a gu, checked in at 72 at mile 10, ate some gummies, and finished with a blood sugar of 123! The dreaded A1C date is fast approaching. I am hoping these four 1/2 marathons in the past four months will impact my A1C for the better.

We had our first Glucomotive team call this weekend. I am so pumped about Insulindependence University in June! Seriously, I can't wait. Now to buckle down and fundraise!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Aftermath

Time: 1:30am
Blood Sugar: 40ish
Carbs Consumed: way too many
Amount of diabetes education remembered: 0%

Remember that 15/15 rule we were all taught about lows at diagnosis. I believe it was something like "eat 15 carbs and recheck your blood sugar 15 minutes later, if you're still low repeat." Yeah, that totally goes out the window in the middle of the night. The above picture is what I awoke to a few weeks ago. Yes, that is a knife for the juice box. I lost the straw, desperate times call for desperate measures :) This particular event occured a couple of weeks ago, however they are all the same. Anytime I am low in the middle of the night I cannot control the amount of food I consume. Anything is fair game, especially cereal. There is no limit to the amount of cereal I can eat with a raging low at 2am. Please tell me I'm not the only one who deals with this:) Of course my middle of the night lows leave an aftermath in the morning. Usually I wake up even higher than this particular morning. I have a bad habit of simply disconnecting my pump to not have to deal with another low (This is not a smart thing to do!) The intelligent thing to do would be to keep a simple juice box next to my bed and not even venture into the kitchen. This. never. works. I usually end up drinking my bedside sugar and still eat like a mad woman while standing over the kitchen sink. The low headache and the high nausea make for great fun the next day.

Though I'm making light of the situation there is some seriousness to it. I bought a house about a year ago, this is the first time I have lived completely alone. To be honest, middle of the night lows scare the crap out of me. I was intentionally making myself high at night for fear of these lows, particularly after long run days. I have tried some different approaches to combat my fear but it still exists. I set an alarm on my phone for 2am but most of the time I sleep through it. I use a temporary basal rate most nights just to ensure I won't go low. I don't know if there is a way to truly overcome my fear short of a roommate or a husband. It has gotten better, but it still worries me. I'm not usually a diabetes drama queen but this probably is my only fear when it comes to diabetes. I can control how much I eat (during the day anyways). I exercise during the day to help my blood sugars. I can take a daily aspirin and analyze my basal rates all day. However I can't stop a random midnight low. I know serious consequences of night lows are usually rare but they do happen. I have the CGMS but it is inaccurate more times than it is accurate. Honestly, I try not to think about everything that could happen. I try to be as educated as possible so that I can be best prepared for the randomness of diabetes.

Oh the woes of midnight lows...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Fall Risk....

Yep, that just about sums it up. You want to know why I like running so much? Well, it's because I am bad horrible at biking. It all began in this past Fall when I decided I should take up biking to do my first triathlon. I purchased a used bike on Craigslist and rode it a few times until the weather got cold. I have a family friend that lives in rural Alabama who also rides. He asked me to come down this past weekend to try out a 50 mile course with him. I'm not very experienced but I knew I could finish a fifty mile ride so I was in.

So here's where it gets interesting. We were about 25 miles in. I was cruising along and feeling great. We were literally in the middle of nowhere. All of the sudden I realized I was really close to Glenn's back tire. I panicked and attempted to move out of the way. I hit Glenn's tire and he sped away. I on the other hand, ended up face first on the asphalt. I didn't know what hit me. I sat up and realized there was blood pouring from my face. I don't really remember when my shoes detached from my pedals but my right thigh was killing me. Remember, we were in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone service. Thankfully, rural Alabama folks are probably some of the nicest people in the world. I kind of lost track of time but eventually a nurse came to help out. She was amazing. She took me to her house to clean up while we waited on Glenn's teenage son to come take us to the emergency room. Unfortunately, Caleb got extremely lost. Come to find out he drove nearly sixty miles away and had to borrow money from a stranger because he ran out of gas. Thankfully my new nurse friend savior drove us to the emergency room. Two hours later I left the ER with one fractured nose, a couple of super glued cuts, an antibiotic prescription, and some loratabs. I have been limping around since Saturday, but am feeling a bit better this afternoon. I am so thankful because the wreck could have been so much worse. My helmet was cracked on the front right side and my head is pretty sore from striking the inside of the helmet. I'm pretty certain my biking days are put on hold for a while. Not sure I'm ready for that triathlon in June anymore:)

The irony in all this is that I have a blind date on Thursday... 

Haha, the date may need to wait a week or so!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

First time is a charm!

Welcome to my first attempt at the blogging world! Don't you all feel so honored? Actually..I'm kind of lying. I attempted a blog several years ago to no avail. Here's hoping I stick with this one! I have been an avid reader of diabetes blogs for the past few years. I am so honored to have been selected as a captain for 2010-2011 Glucomotive team. (Check it out at You can support me while you're at it ;). Many of my wonderful teammates have blogs to chronical their journeys with Type 1 and exercise. I have been encouraged and inspired to try it out as well. My disclaimer: I am NOT a skilled writer, so don't chastise me! I am excited to share ideas and bond with people who are changing diabetes everyday. is a bit of my journey. In 2006 I was a senior in college. My life was full. Days were filled to the brim with friendships, classwork, and preparing to graduate. I noticed I was losing a bit of weight, more tired than usual, and drinking more. I attributed it to getting ready to graduate and preparing for a month long trip to Guatemala. After graduation I traveled with a group to Guatemala to work in an orphange. I spent the entire month sucking down as much liquid as possible and immediately peeing it out. After one fated meal at Taco Bell (never, I repeat, never eat Taco Bell in a third world country :) I became really ill. I attributed it to food poisning, thinking back I'm pretty sure I was looking down the slope of DKA. I came home about 20 pounds lighter and as thirsty as ever. I began a new job as a caseworker for the state foster care system. I finally saw a doctor and was told my A1C was 16.1. Unfortunately, the significance of this number was not really explained to me. I was started on 1 unit of Lantus and told to call the doctor if my blood sugar was still high. Needless to say, I talked to the doctor the next day to ask was "HI" meant on the meter;) Thankfully  I saw a great endocrinologist soon after.

Initially diabetes was difficult. My entire life changed in an instant. I remember standing at the refrigerator tossing food I thought I could never eat again. Meanwhile my roommates stood by staring at all the untouched food in the trash can, praying I wasn't about to crack! The first year was lonely. I did not know anyone else with Type 1. I felt like I needed to do something to prove that I could still live my life with diabetes. Sixteen weeks after my diagnosis I ran in a local half-marathon. Running has been vital to my diabetes management since that time. I have been able to get involved with many diabetes organizations in my community. This past January I had the greatest opportunity ever. I decided to run the Carlsbad Half Marathon with the Insulindependence team. I am so grateful I chose to participate. This organization is truly revolutionizing diabetes management. As difficult as diabetes can be sometimes, I am thankful for it. I am thankful that it has brought me to so many amazing people. I am thankful that it forces me to think about my health. It gives me a reason to run, to prove to myself I can overcome things that seem impossible.