Thursday, July 28, 2011

sensitive sugar, Seattle and a sore sensor site

Like that alliteration? :)

Last week, I noticed (or was reminded of) that my blood sugar is SO sensitive to exercise. That may be because I went from a workout fiend to...a person who rarely works out. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but at some point--between working later and feeling dizzy during my workouts--I started going to the gym less. I started getting frustrated that my blood sugar would drop so fast, so often. I got annoyed with having to cut my workout short or needing to stop and take a juice break. And then it just became a habit! Instead of figuring out my blood sugar so that I could work out, I just went straight home from work, made dinner, and relaxed. But, I know I feel so much better when I workout, and when I do, my blood sugar drops sooo quickly. Even just doing a 20-25 minute Jillian Michaels video made a huge difference. Not just for the day, but for the next day, too. I had to change my insulin ratio back to what it used to be when I worked out every day--1:15. On the 3rd day, I had to change my ratio back to what it is currently--1:12. This just shows me I need to workout more. And I need to work harder at figuring out my blood sugar for my workouts. I used to be good at it once upon a time.

Over the weekend, I went to visit some of my favorite people in Seattle! I love Portland, but sometimes I think about moving to Seattle. Two of my best friends from college live there--one actually just got done with grad school and moved back last month, so I was extra eager to see her. She was my roommate all 4 years of college AND we still call each other roommates. It was just us 2 for the first 2 years, then we acquired a 3rd roommate our junior year, and then a 4th senior year. My other Seattle friend, Laura, never lived with us, but we always lived close to each other and considered her our roommie, anyway. I always seem to luck out with roommates! Even now, after college.

So my boyfriend and I made the drive up to visit them, and we had so much fun. It was a short trip, but I plan on seeing them more frequently! The WEIRDEST thing happened when I was there, though I'm pretty sure I know what happened. My friend and her bf have 2 adorable, but semi-crazy cats. Well, my pump kept beeping because I was falling low. Every time, I woke up, I fished around for the wire and pulled my pump up to see what was going on. Until...I reached down and didn't feel the wire. I decided to start from the site--aha, there it is. Started trailing up the wire until my hand stopped--because there was NO wire. It was broken, cut, split off. I was so alarmed, that I shot straight up out of bed and looked for my pump. It was off to the side of my mattress (we were on the floor) with the rest of the wire attached. One of the cats had CHEWED the wire until it split! The weird thing is I wake up really easily and the wire didn't LOOK chewed. But that's the only explanation! My friend was a little shocked, but I told her it was no big deal and I had brought extra supplies so I just changed it out.

When I got home, I had to switch out my sensor and decided to try...the side butt spot. I usually go for the stomach region, but I wanted a change...and I've heard that people get good readings near the butt. But, I can only reach so far, and I don't want it to hit the toilet when I sit down. I don't know why that weirds me out (especially since it's covered by tape!), but it does. So I put it in a spot that's more like the side of my thigh. The only downside is that eventually it started pinching and getting a little tender. If I move my leg a certain way or my purse bumps against it, it huuuuurts. BUT, my sensor has been pretty terrific, and I don't want to give up a good spot just because it pinches every now and then. Gotta ride these sensors out!

A few pictures from over the years...including one from pre-D!

The 4 roommates senior year

Audrey, Me, Laura--freshman year (2003)

A & L visiting me in Portland (2007)
In Portland for my 25th birthday (2009)
Visiting them in Seattle (2011)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Understanding what it means

I understand that diabetes is a complicated disease to process for those who don't have it or manage it on a daily basis. I try not to overwhelm people with information when they ask questions. I try not to make it too complicated. But every time--it is. There is nothing "simple
about it.

I haven't been feeling so hot this week and every Wed., I'm in a meeting where we go over the layout of the ad. One of the ladies who has that sweet, nurturing, protective-bear Momma thing going on asked me if I was OK. Clearly, I wasn't looking so hot either!

Apparently it looked like I was going to pass, my blood sugar wasn't low (I checked). I then told them I would try not to pass out on them!

This then launched into questions about diabetes, which I was totally okay with. I appreciate when people WANT to understand. I can tell the people in my Wednesday meetings want to get it. So they started asking me about low blood sugar and what makes one go low. I rattled off the usual...too much insulin, exercise can make you drop, so can drinking so you have to be careful...etc. Of course buyers kept walking in for their turn, so it got a little awkward for them to come into the middle of what sounded like a medical conversation. The lady who came in on the last part about low blood sugar and alcohol said something like, "Well MY blood sugar must be low all the time then!" Ha ha ha ha. I didn't want to explain to her that I am type 1.

Then they asked what they should do if I ever do get too low and pass out during the meeting? I told them someone should call 911, and then someone should try to give me sugar. I got a little uncomfortable during this one likes to think about this happening! The designer asked how would they do that and I said that your mouth/gums absorb the sugar, so probably the best is sugar packets instead of candy or juice since I could choke (am I wrong? If so, someone please inform me!). I also told them I have a glucagon pen upstairs in my cube, but they would have to read the instructions.

It was all very sweet. I could tell they wanted to feel prepared for such an emergency. And I love that they want to help. I did reassure them that I haven't passed out so far, and I always carry glucose tabs with me so that I have some fast-acting sugar on hand at all times. Of course then another buyer came in while we were discussing this, but no one else told them what was going on, which again I appreciated. But since they are nice and seemed curious, I explained to them that I am a type 1 diabetic and we were just going over what to do in case of a low blood sugar.

The Momma-bear of the group said it was good for her/them to know, so I'm glad they feel like maybe they will be better equipped or more mentally ready for that kind of situation. Of course I'm hoping it NEVER happens! I also told them my signs of going low--shaky, sweaty, can't think straight, etc. At that time I was actually sweaty and shaky, so that was when I checked my sugar and it was at a good number. That's the thing I hate--if I'm sick or something is just off with me, I immediately think it's related to diabetes. I can't help it!

When I was first diagnosed, I didn't want anyone to help me. I wanted to be able to do everything on my own. Eventually, my friends, family and other people told me they wanted to help...they wanted to know things about diabetes and how it affected me. They have been understanding and I appreciate that so much because it makes it easier on me.

Truthfully, I sometimes feel bad when people ask me to lunch and I say, "I have a high blood sugar right now, so I might wait at least 30 min or an hour to eat if you want to wait...if not, no big deal." And I feel bad when I'm visiting my friends in Seattle and we're walking around downtown for a while until I finally say, "Uhhh, I think I need to check my blood sugar." And then they stop with me as I check and say, "Why didn't you SAY something sooner?!" And then they make me eat or drink something. There is no judgment--only concern. I don't feel like a burden or like a "sick person." There is no making me feel bad because I have to do things a little bit differently than they do.

So I understand that not everyone gets it or wants to get it--you can't understand it fully until you live it 24/7 and are impacted emotionally, physically, and psychologically by it. But the people who ask questions, who want to get it, who I can see trying to process it and who want to help...I love you all the more for it!

I almost feel bad

I just received a customer response comment from the company I mentioned in my last post...and for whatever reason--maybe it's because I'm a nice person and feel bad when I complain--I felt a little bad. For the record, I have had excellent customer service from them in the's just these last few months that I've been a little frustrated over my shipment. I guess it makes sense that they found my post and commented on it...I'm guessing part of their customer service duties is to scour the Internet for any mention of their name. And I don't think I'm an unreasonable customer, so I don't think I should feel bad about it.

They left me a name and number to contact, so I'll do that, but honestly I may just switch over to Medtronic because of faster shipping. I don't even blame the company I use for that since they're based in Florida, and clearly it's going to take a little longer to travel to Oregon. But if Medtronic can ship it faster, then I may switch over just for that benefit.

I know my blog isn't private, but it's always a little surprise when you realize that people do, in fact, read your words!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

One of these is not like the other

Picture is blurry, but you can see that these are test strips. One is blue. The other is black. This is my garbage basket full of peanuts from my shipment of sensors.

I was cleaning up my room a bit and of course, there are several test strips on my bed and on the floor. I start tossing them, until I look down at the floor and see a black test strip. My test strips are blue--I've never used a black test strip...never even knew that One Touch strips came in different colors. Confused, I picked it up and looked at it--this was definitely not one of mine. This is really weirding me out at the moment. I don't know where it came from. Maybe I carried it in on the bottom of one of my shoes? That's the only explanation I can think of, anyway. But it's really tripping me out to see a test strip on my floor that did not come from my own supply!


I don't want to seem like I complain a lot--I really don't! But, it's easy to talk about the "bad" instead of the "good," especially when venting. And that's what blogs are for, right?

So I'll mention the "good" first. I'm grateful to feel my lows. I really am. I know there are many out there who don't feel their lows until they're in the 40s or lower, and I know there are many who don't feel them at ALL and just happen to catch them by chance. I've also heard your sensitivity to lows can decrease the longer you have D--not sure if that's true or not. Sure, there have been a few times in my D life that I've been on the low side and thought, strange, I feel completely fine! But, most of the time, I feel my lows, and I'm especially glad I feel them while I am asleep.

I usually wake up 2-3 times a night, sometimes more, and that's without my pump & sensor vibrating and beeping. Last night, I woke up around 2:30...nothing out of the ordinary for me. Check my sensor and it says 100. Good, all is well, so I close my eyes, ready to fall back to sleep. No...something is wrong. I feel a little off. I feel weak. So I test and my meter says 62. Only then do I notice the sweat piling up. Also, I'm really hungry and want food, not glucose tabs. I had maybe half of an Odwalla bar in my purse, so I eat it and lay back down, trying to be patient and let my blood sugar rise. Now I'm really noticing the shakiness and the weakness and the sweatiness. It's hard to be patient, but I know it's not going to do me any good unless I wait at least 10 min. Check again: 144. Whaaa? No way can it come up that fast from a bar, plus I still feel sweaty and shaky. Re-check: 70. I'm glad I can trust my instincts! 70 isn't good enough, so I grab a glucose tab and wait until the shakes and sweats disappear. And my boyfriend managed to stay awake until I felt better (I woke him up).

I'm not sure why I went low... I was a little high at bedtime and corrected, but I also worked out that evening and my body is SO sensitive to exercise. Or maybe it's sensitive because I haven't worked out in months! My roommate bought the Jillian Michaels 30-day Shred video and we did level 1 right before seeing the final Harry Potter movie. I really recommend that video if you want a good workout and don't have time for the gym. Serious, my legs were weak by the time I was done! And also, my blood sugar dropped from 160 to 118 within TEN minutes and I needed to chug some juice in order to keep going. I really think exercising plus not eating a substantial dinner is what caused my low.

#1 disappointment: My sensor is SUPPOSED to catch my lows. That's one of its sole purposes. My sensor has very often said I'm going low as my blood sugar drops through the night when in fact, I am not actually low. So I'm somewhat upset it didn't catch this low. It said I was 100 (no arrows) and I was actually 62.

2nd "good" part. I'm glad I have access to D supplies. I'm glad I have insurance and that it doesn't cost me too much to have the supplies that keep me alive and thriving. I'm lucky and I know that.

Now for the 2nd disappointment of the day! I cannot remember why I don't use Medtronic for my D supplies. I get all my supplies (minus my sensors) from a company called CCS Medical. I've had a great experience with them until recently--they don't seem to understand that I want EXACTLY what my prescription says. I don't care that I have "enough" to "get me by."

My prescription was updated by my endo (since she forgot to update it this year and I was having a problem with not getting enough test strips) and so I was confused when I got my recent shipment and only 5 boxes were inside. There should be 6. I figured it was just a simple misread of my updated prescription, so I called CCS this morning to get it straightened out. I explained to the guy what was going on and he asked if I had enough to get me to the next shipment. I said yes, but I should know by now to just say no. So he went over my next order and said they'd send me 6 the next time. I said okay great, but can I please get my other box for this last shipment? He said, well you have enough to get you through. Well, I know, but I like to have extra, just in case. Plus, my prescription from my endo is for SIX boxes, so I'd like to get my full amount. He said he understood and that he would send out another box.

I don't understand why it's been such a struggle lately to get my full amount of supplies, especially when I used to get 19 total for 3 months. I don't think they understand that as a customer, I am entitled to get what my prescription allows for. And I'm really close to telling them I am done with them and switching over to Medtronic for everything. Plus, Medtronic is faster with their shipments and that alone is reason enough for me to switch.

Customer service is really what makes or breaks your relationship with a company or organization. I don't want it to be a struggle. I don't want to keep explaining to them why I want and need all my test strips. And I don't think I should have to.

Monday, July 18, 2011

I love Medtronic

I really do--and no one made me say that! I'm talking about their customer service (not the pump). Though I will say I like my pump a lot as far as insulin pumps go, but I can't actually claim that it's the best because I haven't tried any others.

Medtronic's customer service is AWESOME. I've never had a bad moment with them and they are always so quick to respond and deliver--I love it!

Last Friday, I had 2 fails. First, my sensor does NOT seem to last more than 6 days. I don't know what it is, but after I re-start it on the 7th day (the Medtronic sensor times out on its own every 3 days), it just goes wonky. And by wonky, I mean one minute it will say 109 with 2 arrows down and the next reading will say 240 with 2 arrows up. A little unnerving. That's usually when I know it's time to change it because if I wait all day for it to "right" itself, it never happens. Eventually it will just lose the sensor and refuse to be renewed. I gave it the benefit of the doubt last Thursday and didn't change it...until finally it said, "change sensor." Of course it was in the middle of the night and I was not at my house, so I couldn't switch it out.

The next morning, I tried to test my blood meter counted down like usual, and after 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, I got a "WARNING. CHANGE BATTERY." Um, what?! Thanks for wasting my test strip, meter. So I take out the strip, turn it will turn on and perform functions, but it will NOT let me test my blood. I swear I've gotten this warning before and it still lets me test--that's why it's called a warning! It's warning you of the battery being low...and if it's able to turn on, I don't see why it won't let me test. I pulled an old trick I use on the remotes and switched the batteries to their opposite sides. It doesn't work... The meter is too smart for that.

I checked my extra battery. No access to my supplies since I'm not home yet. And I didn't want to drive without testing first. I felt fine, but didn't want to chance it. And I've found that if I worry about going low while driving, chances are my brain will trick myself into thinking I am low. I took the battery out of my pump and put it in the meter....test...97. Put it back in the pump and headed to my car, only to get the beep of "failed battery test" from my pump.

I drove home, grabbed my stash of batteries and replaced both in the meter and the one in my pump. I know it doesn't seem like a big deal, and it's not, but I just don't want to deal with this sometimes, ya know? So one problem was I just needed a new sensor.

I had called Medtronic the day before to order new sensors. One nice thing is you can order supplies yourself, so it's pretty easy to just get what you want. But the automated response told me they wouldn't ship for 2 weeks so I talked to someone and she ensured me they'd ship out Friday and be at my house Monday. Awesome. I have 2 sensors left so shouldn't be a problem. Also, I was happy with the fact that I got my last shipment in November, which means I managed to make my 3-month supply last about 8 months (I think I took a month off though at one point).

So, I prepped my skin and tried to insert the needle...something weird happened and the needle didn't go in all the way. I don't know if the inserter got stuck or I wasn't placing it right, but the needle only went in half way. I stared at it for a second before deciding to pull it out and toss it. Ok, no problem, I still had one left. I prepped, inserted...and the SAME thing happened. Hmmm. This time I decided to just manually push in the needle until the tape sticks. So I did and it looked ok, but my pump did not find the sensor after many, many attempts.

I always feel a little lost without my sensor working, but it's kind of nice to get a break from it too. But much to my surprise, my sensors DID get here today and once again, Medtronic came through for me. Hopefully I've learned my lesson--make sure you always have at least one extra battery on hand...and don't wait until the last minute to order supplies--even when you think you should be set!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Going gluten-free

I've only gone GF once before when I did an elimination diet for 4 weeks to see if certain foods were bothering me. I actually can't remember how I felt afterwards, but I do remember that I felt like complete shit going cold turkey with no coffee and that dairy and I are not the best mix. Every now and then I think about going GF, even for just a little while, to see if it benefits me. I was tested last year to see if I was allergic to gluten, which I wasn't, but I think there's a different test for gluten allergies vs Celiac. Even though I wasn't allergic to gluten, I definitely get that fuzzy-headed, spaced out feeling throughout the day, and I wonder if following a GF diet for a little while would help with that.

If you follow Cooking Light, they posted this cool deal today for someone to win a free copy of their new GF cookbook. All you have to do is tell them about your GF story--why you follow a GF diet, struggles and successes with it, etc. Thought I'd share it with my DOC friends who might be interested!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Do you have a Monday mantra?

Last week was a short week, which meant more work and less time to finish it. As the work kept piling on last Friday, I could feel the stress build...and even when I finally left for the day, my mind was racing with what I had to do for Monday.

It is really hard for me to relax, which seems weird because my overall attitude is laidback and I tend to easily go with the flow. BUT, I have always been prone to anxiety and I have always stressed out internally. So even though I appear calm, cool and collected when faced with various projects and deadlines, I internally stress out and my body feels every bit of it. And therefore, my blood sugar feels it.

Sometimes it's hard for me to do it, but I need those breaks...I need those reminders to relax and those self-checkpoints to make sure my shoulders are not tensing and I am actually breathing. Yes, when I stress or am anxious, I tend to tense and hold my breath and do other not-so-good-for-me things like not drink enough water or not look away from my computer, or move much for that matter.

So as I completed my work today, I was thinking about how I need a mantra for Monday (or any day really!) when I realize I am starting to stress out. My therapist actually recommended some kind of meditation workshop, which I should probably look into before I see her again so I don't seem like I'm slacking.

It's just crazy how much stress really IS a factor in your blood sugar levels. My blood sugar is normally so much better on the weekends because I'm much more active and usually there is nothing to stress about! I have actually witnessed my blood sugar dropping after work as I drive home.

OH and I FINALLY started logging my blood sugar #s, food intake and my boluses. Happy Monday to all!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My sensor skills are off

Yesterday, my sensor was pretty much spot on. I love when I feel like I can rely on my sensor. But is a different story. Today my sensor was mostly off--and I mean, 100 points off. Not cool. Just now it went to over 400, which doesn't even register on the graph. And yes, I am high in real life, but not 400 high...not even 300 high! I was 287.

Why am I 287? Because I refused to believe I needed THAT much insulin for grapes... grapes! I haven't eaten them in a while and I recalled 15 grapes being 15 carbs. But with my new ratio, I wouldn't get what I used to get for 15 carbs...I'd be getting more. And for some reason, that seemed like too much to me. And there may have also been a few extra grapes popped into my mouth that I didn't account for.

Anyway, after only two days, I decide that I should switch out my sensor right now. In the meantime, my roommates are in the living room laughing and I am grumbling to myself over diabetes in my room. Being at 287? Sucks. Sensor lasting only 2 days? Double sucks. Diabetes: 2 Val: 0!

Even though I'm grumbling, I'm not too upset. I am just going to correct and move on...and remember that even though grapes seem small and harmless, they will fu*k your sugars up!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

wacky readings

Sometimes, it doesn't matter what you do...and I really just don't get it sometimes! My numbers were really wacky yesterday. I think part of it was I was relying on my sensor and it started tweaking out, which is always a sign that it's going to need switching out. Not being able to get a handle on your blood sugar is frustrating. I just let it go yesterday and kept trying to stabilize my level without getting annoyed. I eventually got it at a decent # for bedtime and woke up at 122. Ok, not terrific, but not terrible either. I will take it!

Then comes...10g of carbs. Doesn't seem like that much, right? All I had was a multi-grain waffle and a few sips of coffee. I've had this breakfast plenty of times...I even bolused 10 min before eating this time, which I usually don't do in the morning because usually I am running late.

I feel fine...slightly hungry, so I test. Sensor shows me at 205, but I figure it's off since it's been 3 HOURS since I ate breakfast and I should be good to go by now.

Test shows 258. WTF?!

Ugh, I can't tell you how annoying it is when a measly 10g of carbs makes your blood sugar rise. Yes, it's the first day back to work after a 3-day weekend, but I don't feel stressed so I can't figure out WHY my blood sugar would rise that much. And it's even more annoying when you're hungry and want to eat. When I'm this high, I never eat, even if I'm hungry. I'll wait at least 30 min-1 hour so the correction has time to lower my level. I have a sit-down job, so I can't really do much exercise to help bring it down unless I take a break and go for a short walk...but that's hard to do when you have deadlines and it's a short week.

I'm also annoyed because I still don't have my shipment of supplies, which I knew would happen. I'm actually going to call and complain, even though I really do like my medical company. I really didn't like the last lady I talked to, and she was the one who said, "well, you shouldn't run out of supplies, so hopefully they'll be there Friday." BUT, she was snotty about it. All I asked for was the supplies to be sent out a DAY earlier because I knew they'd be delayed with the Monday holiday. And yes, I still have enough supplies, but that's not the point! They used to tide me over with an extra box of test strips, and she seemed to think they shouldn't be giving me an extra box. And that ONE extra day of not having test strips can make a difference, so I feel like I should call in and explain my frustration.

Meh, I don't want this kind of stuff to ruin my day, but it's definitely making me a little annoyed!

Friday, July 1, 2011

I'm outraged...are you?

If you follow Diabetic Living on Facebook or are a regular on Diabetes Mine, you might have already seen this. If not, you should check it out!

If you have or know something with diabetes (which I think ya DO!), then fill out a postcard. It just takes a couple of clicks--and if we all do it, it will hopefully get the message across that this is urgent and necessary and SHOULD be a priority.

I'm outraged...are you?

If we all take small steps, it will lead to one BIG stand. It's time to stand up for yourself and the one(s) you love!

Happy Friday :)