exercise

Giant Chicken

Wrestling with The Giant

It has been a couple of weeks since I’ve put together a solid blog post. I’ve been busy. I’ve been traveling. I’ve been exhausted. I’ve been preoccupied. But mostly, I’ve just been out of whack.

Normally, my blood sugars are prone to running low. I can be eating and run low. It’s just the flavor of diabetes that I’ve been blessed with, despite the basal testing and best precautions. The past couple weeks though, I’ve found myself in the 200’s on more than one occasion. At work sometime around mid-morning, 229. Before spin class, 250. A few hours after dinner, 240. Granted, I still have an occasional low, like yesterday’s lovely panic-laced BG of 37, but still. I hate running high.

Since I am accustomed to running numbers in the double digits rather than triple figures, I can feel every single mg/dl of a 200+ blood sugar. It makes me tired, it makes me irritable, it makes me unable to focus, and it makes me wonder what in the Sam Hill is going on?!

To try and figure out where this out of whackedness is coming from, I figure it’s worth taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture. I can’t keep proceeding like this, so I have to find out where my stresses are, and remove them.

So my blood sugars are higher than normal. Why? The first guess is something to do with my diet. I will admit that I’ve had a few more carbs in my meals than I should have lately, but I’ve also started back at the gym for the past three weeks. I need those carbs for fuel. I’ve discovered spin class at the gym, and I can’t keep up the pace for 45 minutes that burns calories, gets my heart pumping, and leaves my entire body covered in sweat if I don’t have the proper fuel. My blood sugar can easily drop 100-200 mg/dl in one single spin class, so it requires a careful balancing act of fuel in and power out. Still, if I’m being honest with myself, I probably don’t need ice cream, pizza, or Chinese take-out to fuel my gym experience. I know I could do a bit better job. But is that it, just my diet that could use a little fine tuning?

Being tired is easy to understand. I don’t sleep enough. But why am I not sleeping? Probably because I have way too much on my mind lately. My mind is all work, responsibilities, money, worry, friends, family, never feeling like I am getting enough accomplished, needing outlets and not being able to find them, not being able to share and say what I really think about things, not getting the support that I need, keeping way too much bottled up inside…too much thinking!

Or maybe too much coffee. Naa…no such thing.

Ironically, I can’t focus because I have too much to focus on. To give one thing my undivided attention, I stress out over everything else that gets ignored and suffers. It’s this constant vicious cycle that keeps repeating over and over, and meanwhile I feel like I’m falling further and further behind.

As you can see, it isn’t just one thing that is the challenge that must be overcome. It is all of it added together that makes it a giant. I don’t know what the exact solution is, but I know I have to keep trying, and hope that I’ll find a way to bring this giant down to size before he looks at me and says, “Hmm…tastes like chicken?” and then eats me alive.

Giant Chicken

Today I’m going to put a new CGM sensor on my body, and I’m going to pull the rug out from under these high blood sugars at least. I hate them. They make me feel awful. So goodbye to them. I’m bad about taking breaks away from CGM, but I didn’t get it just to look at it. I got it to warn me of when there is a problem, diabetically speaking. Be it warning me that I’m high or low, the CGM has a purpose, and I’m not giving it a fair opportunity to help me when I’m not wearing it. And clearly, I need the help right now.

I’m also going to resign myself to focusing on just one project, at least temporarily. Not 30 projects and things that I need to get done. Just one. And I’m not going to stop until that one is done. Because then I will have 29, instead of 30. And that is progress, no matter what speed it travels at.

OMG Scale

Prendojitters

I’ve got the Prendojitters, and maybe even a new entry to the Diabetes Terms of Endearment. You’ve probably contracted the Prendojitters before too, but you just didn’t know what to call this particular collection of symptoms. The Prendojitters are a collection of nerves, angst, and apprehension that you get before an upcoming endocrinologist appointment. Thus, pre-endo-jitters…Prendojitters.

It takes a couple of weeks for the Prendojitters to fully present themselves. They start with a mild case of reflection. You look back at the last few months of your life with diabetes and start to examine and evaluate how well you have been taking care of things. No matter how well your diabetes has been managed, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably overly critical of yourself. Maybe you haven’t done as many BG checks as you should have. Maybe you haven’t been wearing your CGM sensor around the clock like you had planned to do when you went into debt to buy the thing. Maybe you’ve let a few too many desserts invade your sensible diet, derailing your weight loss efforts and sabotaging your summer beach body.

OMG Scale

Once you’ve given all these self-defeating thoughts a breath of existence, your case of Prendojitters progresses to the next level. You can diagnose yourself with stage two of the Prendojitters when you find yourself unceremoniously scrutinizing data. You compare your weight at your last doctor appointment with what that lying bastard of a scale in your bathroom is telling you now. You look at that last A1C and marvel at how good or bad it was, and go to work convincing yourself that this next one is going to be far worse and even less explainable. You look at your daily carb counts and exercise efforts from the logs you’ve been keeping (Right? Riiiiiight.) and settle on the data driven fact that you’ve been having too much of the former and not near enough of the latter.

In a blink, your Prendojitters progress to stage three, the third and final stage before intervention is scheduled to occur. Now you are at full alert to everything that is going into your mouth, every fingerprick and blood drop squeezed, every unit of insulin entering your subcutaneous layer, and every BG altering activity that you might be engaged in. The anxiety of the upcoming visit with your endo has sculpted you into a well-oiled diabetes managing machine.

Unfortunately, it is going to have little to no effect on your weight, A1C, cholesterol, or chances of winning the lottery, because your appointment is tomorrow morning and you’ve just caught on to what you should have been doing all along. So what do you do?

You finally relax a little in the blissfulness of seemingly defeat. You go see the endo, and then realize that things aren’t quite as bad as you worked yourself up to believing. Your endo is on your side, and he gets it: Diabetes is a lot of work to keep up with, and not every progress report is necessarily going to be all sunshine and daffodils with flying unicorns that poop sprinkles and sneeze glitter onto carbohydrate free cupcakes.

And just like that your Prendojitters are cured…until next time.

NYC D-Meetup

30 Years With Diabetes

Today’s Diabetes Blog Week topic is diabetes bloopers. You know, those things that make you go, “D’Oh!” and facepalm yourself. I’ve had my fair share of diabetes bloopers: Dropping & shattering glass vials of insulin, running off on trips without all of my diabetes supplies, forgetting to dose for a meal, forgetting that I already dosed for a meal, finding the cat playing with rogue pump tubing, catching the dog gnawing on a perfectly good tube of glucose tabs…the list goes on and on.

The blooper that is really on my mind today is the one that my pancreas made 30 years ago when it decided to quit working. Or maybe it was my immune system that decided to work too well. Or maybe it was because I had chicken pox. Or maybe it was because someone got me wet or fed me after midnight. Or maybe it was because a butterfly flapped its wings in China. 30 years after the fact there is so much more we know about diabetes, but what exactly causes it and how to cure it are still not on that list, despite what we were told about how close we were to a cure when we were diagnosed.

Today is a day of celebration, of blessings, thankfulness, and appreciation. I have learned more in my 30 years with diabetes than some people learn in a lifetime. Living with diabetes has taught me so much, and coupled with other life lessons, I would be remiss to not stop for just a moment and appreciate the gifts that I have been given…thanks to diabetes.

The 1st 10 Years

  • If you’re low, anytime is snacktime.
  • Bananas and peanut butter on vanilla wafers is the best snack in the world.
  • You can’t go play when you blood sugar is high. But if you can sneak away when your parents aren’t looking, it’s fair game. The back door doesn’t squeak and make noise like the other ones do.
  • Swimming always makes you go low.
  • Visiting the cute nurses on the Pediatric floor at the hospital when you’re there for lab work is always a treat. They know you by name.
  • When you hear the term “A1C” you think of steak sauce and hamburgers.
  • You don’t know anyone else with diabetes.

The Teenage Years

  • If you’re low, it’s a nuisance, and you have to stop what you’re doing and take a break to feed it. Not always ideal when you’re being paid hourly at a part-time job.
  • Whatever is fast and convenient is the best snack in the world.
  • You hardly notice when your blood sugar is high. Until it makes you feel awful. Then it is all you notice.
  • Swimming still makes you go low.
  • Visiting the cute nurses on the Pediatric floor at the hospital when you’re there for lab work is still a treat. Other floors are acceptable as well, as long as there are cute nurses. You know THEM by name.
  • When you hear the term “A1C,” you also hear words like “goal” and “lower.” Those cute nurses are a good distraction.
  • You’ve heard of other people with diabetes, but you still don’t know anyone that has it.

The Last Ten Years

  • If you’re low, your CGM alarms and you drop everything and treat it. Except when you have low-brain and can’t seem to focus. Then it becomes more of a struggle, and is sometimes followed by a hangLOWver.
  • Cheese, nuts, and other low carb foods are the best snacks in the world.
  • Because you are in better control of your diabetes, you can feel a high blood sugar in the upper 100’s now. 200+ makes you feel like dog’s ass.
  • Swimming still makes you go low, and now you have to replace a pump site when you get done because the sticky doesn’t stay stuck in the water. You are able to ride a bike for over 100 miles in one day. You’ve discovered OTHER activities that have the same effect as swimming on your BG’s, and are just as much fun.
  • Visiting the cute nurses, wherever you can find them, has become a rarity. Now you mostly settle for Helga, the former wrestler with the mustache and gallon sized syringe and harpoon needle to do your lab work. She knows you as a number.
  • When you hear the term “A1C,” you start thinking all about decimal pointed numbers like 5.6 and 6.5.
  • You meet an amazing community of people online and in real life who also have diabetes. You start a blog, and start sharing your life with diabetes. They inspire you.

The Next Ten Years

  • Your diabetes is tightly controlled, and you don’t have any of the complications that others who don’t take their diabetes seriously often suffer from.
  • You’re slim, fit, and eat right so that you’re able to do the things you love and experience the world. You look fantastic naked.
  • You accept that there will always be things that make you go low. You’re prepared for them, and never let diabetes keep you from being able to do anything that you set your mind to.
  • You have a family now, and your diabetes is not the center of the universe, but just a piece that helps explain your awesomeness during bedtime stories.
  • You vow to only have lab work done from cute nurses in the future. You have diabetes, so you deserve it.
  • Your doctor rarely mentions the term “A1C” anymore. He’s more interested in what awesome things you did in the last three months so that he has success stories to share with his other diabetes patients.
  • You continue to write about diabetes, speak about diabetes, advocate for diabetes research and better treatments, and share your world with diabetes. You challenge others to take control of their own diabetes, and cherish those stories of how you inspired someone else to save their own life.

Today, May 11, 2011 is my 30th Diaversary. Thank you all for being such an amazing part of it.

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” — Mae West

 

NYC D-Meetup

Allison, Caroline, me, and Brenda at a May 2011 D-Meetup in New York City

2010 MS150

Master of Disaster

Exercise, for most folks, is hard to get around to doing. Our days are consumed by so many things that we simply don’t always feel there is enough time to add exercise to the mix. By the time we get up, get dressed, work all day, come home, make dinner, eat, wash dishes, chase the dog, pet the cat, do laundry, get a shower, and try to relax for five minutes, there often seems to be little time left to do much of anything else. That doesn’t even factor in those folks that have kids, and all the shenanigans that I can only imagine (for now) comes with offspring.

In the late Summer of 2005, Hurricane Wilma came roaring across the southern part of Florida and left most of us without power, transportation, and necessities for days, and in some areas even weeks. The local weather coverage had prompted everyone to be prepared for a “mild Tropical Storm,” but they did not anticipate that the storm would gain strength while crossing over the Florida Everglades and pound the opposite side of the state, where I was, as a Category 3 hurricane.

While nothing like the major disasters of Hurricane Katrina and the tsunamis in Indonesia and Japan, Hurricane Wilma still left us in a catastrophic predicament. Like fools, none of us had taken the forecast seriously after being told to expect nothing much more than a mild thunderstorm. Meanwhile, the gated archway at the entrance to my apartment community had succumbed to the winds and had landed in a heap of rubble (blocking our escape by car), roads were closed and impassable, power lines were laying on the ground with no indication as to whether or not they had electricity coursing through their veins, and a mandatory curfew was in place from dusk to dawn for all affected areas of southeastern Florida. Everything was a mess, and a dark mess too after sunset with no lights…anywhere. Because of all the lights, stars are not a sight you get to see in south Florida very often, so it was very surreal looking up and seeing them in all their sparkling glory.

Word eventually got to us that some areas had power and supplies, yet there was no way for me to get to them. I was an easy 200 pounds heavy at the time, out of shape (unless you consider “round” a shape), and hadn’t made exercise a part of my life since grad school. It was then that I realized the perils of my choices that had left me physically incapable of getting from points A to B, so I vowed that I would never get stuck in that same situation again.

That was when I started cycling. I went to a bike shop nearby and overpaid the owner for a bike that I could ride a fair distance, and would withstand the abuse of a 200 pound gargantuan (see also: fat ass). At first I couldn’t ride but maybe three miles before I would be out of breath and energy. But I kept riding, day after day, and I got stronger, and I stretched those three miles to four miles…

…then to six miles…

…then to ten miles…

…then to 13 miles…

…and by the following June I did my first 26 miles in an organized charity bike ride.

1st Bike Ride - 2006

My 1st organized bike ride + hair + heft.

By the end of that Summer in 2006 I felt that I’d earned a better bike, so I got a Trek 1500 as my first road bike, and I have been pedaling ever since. I’ve wrote before about how cycling benefits me both physically and mentally, and long endurance riding comes with its own share of challenges, but I know now that in an emergency I could absolutely get from points A to B, and probably to C and back again if the situation called for it. Last April I completed my third 150-mile bike ride from Miami to Key Largo and back.

2010 MS150

Outside of the Team Stormriders tent in Key Largo, my 3rd MS150 with the team.

In my case, dropping the weight and getting fit was a side effect of my desire to be able to get to where I needed to go. In doing that, I discovered a passion for a sport that has partially defined who I am today. No matter your circumstances, don’t wait for a force of nature to force you to exercise. Get moving now, and be the master of your own disaster!

 

This post is my March entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival.  If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at http://diabetessocmed.com/2011/march-dsma-blog-carnival.

Stuart Smalley

Endo Affirmations

When I set my goals at the beginning of this year, #1 on my list was to get my A1C down to a 6.2 or better. That is a formidable goal, trying to achieve an average blood glucose over time of around 120, depending on what research you consult. At my last endo appointment back in December of last year, my A1C was still reasonable, but it had ticked upwards. I couldn’t let that upward trend continue.

I had gotten my Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) and new pump just after my previous appointment in September of last year, and with all the change, I was burnt out. Or maybe just overwhelmed. But really, is there a difference?

I was wearing my CGM intermittently, and was dealing with major information overload with all the beeping and pricking and checking and counting and pumping and beeping and…I was exhausted.

After I wrote my A1C down in my notes, and realized that I had allowed my control to slip in the short three months since my previous appointment, I knew that I had to turn the ship around. I don’t want my A1C to continually creep northward, and me pay for it with problems down the road. I have too much life and dreams ahead of me to get lax with my diabetes management.

So I sat myself down and gave myself a stern talking to. I said to myself, “Self, all is not lost. I want you to look in that mirror, and I want you to repeat after me. I can do better. I have some awesome tools to help me get to where I know I can be. I can wear my CGM all the time, and not take several days off between sensor changes. I can carry around glucose tabs right there in my little pocket to treat a low. I don’t have to be a great diabetic. All I have to do is be the best Martin I can be. Because I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”

Stuart Smalley

Daily Affirmations with Stuart Smalley

 

I’m glad we had that talk. Since then, I’ve done really well with wearing my CGM. Every time the sensor battery runs out of juice, it hits the charger, and I’m already putting a new site in and getting everything ready for another round. I’ve gotten to where I really don’t enjoy being without my CGM, and am hoping that I didn’t do too much damage for all the years before now when amazing technology like this didn’t exist.

Lows are still creeping around occasionally, but they are manageable. Nothing a few glucose tabs can’t fix in a pinch. I expect my CDE and endo to want to make some adjustments, and I’m open to that. I’ve started a low-carb journey now, so I don’t expect that I need as much basal rate insulin at certain times of the day as I did with a diet heavier in starches.

Something else that I’m not happy with myself about is that I let myself get lazy, and stopped exercising the way I physically and mentally need to. The scale showed me the truth about that. So far I have lost six pounds, down to 184 lbs. It’s not a lot, but it’s progress, and that is the most important thing right now, to be moving forward. I’m making some big changes to my lifestyle to eat smarter and make better choices. I have my eye on my goal cycling weight, and to slim up and firm up so I look good naked, or at least in a swimsuit. Yes, I’m vain like that.

Back to the A1C, I know that we can’t base our entire diabetes report card on the A1C alone, but it still resonates with all of us where we are in our journey with diabetes when we see that number. I am confident about this upcoming appointment. I am determined. I have a plan. And it’s true, I don’t have to be the best diabetic. I just have to be the best Martin I can be. The rest will find its proper place.

Skinny Caramel Latte

A Moment Without Diabetes

This past weekend was a working weekend. I spent the vast majority of my time on the computer and frequenting my local Starbucks for liquid motivation. I have a big work project that I’m trying to get finished ahead of schedule, so I had to make sacrifices at the expense of my weekend. If I wasn’t certain that the end project is going to be awesome, that might bother me more.

Coffee houses are very interesting places to do work. You get see all kinds of people come in and order their custom cup of Joe. My personal favorite (from Starbucks) is the skinny caramel latte. In my head it is a dark, sexy cup of deliciousness with just enough cream and candy sweetness to indulge in without too much guilt, equivalent to the joys of silk pajamas. In reality, it’s a latte made with sugar free caramel syrup and fat free milk. They would probably sell more of them if they went with my description, but that’s neither here nor there.

Skinny Caramel Latte

While I was sitting in Starbucks on Sunday, something interesting happened. Earlier in the afternoon I had gone to the gym and did hill climb intervals on the stationary bike, and managed to sweat off my CGM sensor. After the gym I went home and put the transmitter on the charger, got a shower, and immediately put a new CGM sensor in and reconnected.

Two hours later, while sitting at a table in Starbucks with my trusty laptop and mostly minding my own business, my CGM alarm screeched at me and notified me that it was time for a calibration. I grabbed my kit, did a finger prick, and took care of business. Nothing special there.

The special part was that, while doing this, I was having a conversation with a gentleman next to me about the oddness of the electrical outlets at this particular Starbucks being located behind the removable back cushions of the bench we were sitting on. Our conversation had taken place despite diabetes trying to interrupt. Neither he nor I had given diabetes the courtesy of the time of day.

Normally I feel like I have to hit the pause button on my life for these moments with diabetes. Even having had diabetes as long as I have, I notice them, like red flags on a green golf course. I have to hide the red blood drop from a squeamish passerby, or ask the person waiting on me to go somewhere to hold the door for just a few seconds so I can check my blood sugar first, or choke down a couple glucose tabs and wait a few minutes before finishing a conversation.

This was different. Although diabetes was there, this was a moment without diabetes, and it was so subtle that I almost missed it. It was nice, and I appreciate it, even if it was only for that one moment.

CGM Almost No-Hitter

The Difference A Day Makes

With the exception of a couple lows in the past few days, my blood sugar levels have been exemplary lately. I mean, in serious 2011-goal-A1C-of-6.2-or-better getting contention. I have my CGM rates set to alarm if I drop below 70 mg/dl or spike higher than 160. Just the other day I was 20 minutes (not units…MINUTES) away from getting a no-hitter in that tight range. The stupid dawn phenomenon managed to thwart my efforts in the early morning hours with a CGM reading of 165 around 4:00am before dropping back down to normal, preceded by an ever so slight low around bedtime the previous night. Vengeance will be mine!

CGM Almost No-Hitter

My Almost No-Hitter

On Saturday of this past weekend I went to the gym, something I’ve started recently as part of a one month trial with a gym here in my neighborhood to get back in the habit of exercising regularly. I’ve been hitting the weights, trying to get my muscles to wake up and remember what they are there for, and the past couple visits I’ve added cardio back into the mix.

Cardio plays all kinds of tricks on my BG’s, usually with sneaky lows during and sometimes hours after the actity. I have had issues in the past of pushing myself too hard while exercising, especially cycling, and seeing numbers on my meter that are too low for me to continue, so the CGM really helps me and allows me to correct problems before they get out of hand. The CGM is another valuable tool in my arsenal that I use to control this diabetes beast within, and on Saturday it was working great.

The thing about cardio is that I sweat…a lot. I get into it, get my heart rate up into that aerobic calorie burn zone, and really push my limits. I enjoy the stationary bike in the gym, and I challenge myself while trying to hold a particular cadence (rate of pedaling) or speed for a certain amount of time on the bike. It’s an absolute blast for me to rock out with my iPod in my ears while conquering a ride intensity level that I’ve set into the computer of the bike. It’s not as much fun as a real ride, but for training and gym work, it keeps my attention.

So I did my bike work on Saturday, got home, and after a rest I realized that the sticky on my CGM sensor was just barely hanging on after all the sweating and training. I went ahead and removed it, as it was starting to irritate me, and since it was late I decided to take the night off before putting a new one in. That was stupidity on my part, and not the first time I’ve done it.

On Sunday morning I woke up later than ideal to get ready for a family event that I needed to get to, and I was in a rush and didn’t take the time to put a new CGM sensor in before I left the house. I went about my business at full throttle all day, and didn’t take a break to eat anything. By the time I finally got around to eating something for an early dinner, my BG was 43. I sat there cramming carbs like it was my job, and didn’t bolus enough to cover them. On top of the that, I’m trying really hard to ween myself off of carbs, so my body seems to be very hypersensitive when I do eat them, causing my BG’s to spike through the roof. By the time I got home and settled a couple of hours later, my BG was 292.

Both the low and the high could have probably been avoided, or at least better acted upon, had I taken the time to put a new CGM sensor in immediately after removing the old one. This is a challenge that I seem to continuously battle. I love it when I have the CGM, and I am a bit of an addict about keeping my BG’s within normal range. I’ve been doing SO GOOD! But once in awhile I convince myself that I need a break, and I take it, and then I regret it when my BG’s decide to go all random on me, with a stubborn high here and a severe low there, which was what happened on Sunday.

One day with CGM and I can keep my BG’s in tight control and quickly react to changes in blood sugar levels, whether they start to sneak up from an inaccurate count in carbs or drop from excessive activity.

One day without CGM and I have severe lows and highs that make me feel like I’m the world’s worst at managing diabetes, guilt trip included.

One day, I’ll learn.

3 Stooges - Going for the Goal

2011 Goals & Resolutions

To me, there is a big difference between a resolution and a goal. In my mind, a resolution implies that something needs changing, like a bad habit that needs breaking. A goal, on the other hand, aspires to be something greater. I’m a believer that if you put something in writing it serves as a reminder, holds you more accountable, and is an investment in others being able to support you along the way.

So here are some of my 2011 goals and resolutions.

Goals
1. A1C <= 6.2. Less would be good.
2. Run (not walk) a 5K.
3. Start cycling with a group again, and get back into organized & scheduled rides.
4. Like everybody else on the planet, drop a few pounds. Goal weight: A stable 165 lbs.
5. Pay off at least two debts.
6. Have an adventure…regularly. Take pictures.

Resolutions
1. Wear my CGMS 24/7/365, and stop taking 2-3 day breaks in between sensor changes. (I could have titled this one “Stop being stupid Martin” but I felt I should be more specific.)
2. Realize that it’s okay (and encouraged!) to spend money on diabetes supplies before other bills.
3. Go to the ophthalmologist and dentist at least once this year.
4. Find excuses to exercise, instead of excuses not to.
5. Remember that any day can be a “No D-Day” if you want it to be.

3 Stooges - Going for the Goal

Go for the goal!

10-10-10 - photo by Woodley Wonderworks on Flickr

New Rule: 10-10-10

101010 - photo by Woodley Wonderworks on Flickr

10-10-10: 10 THINGS for you to take 10 MINUTES to share with 10 PEOPLE about your diabetes.

#1
That you have diabetes.
If you aren’t comfortable sharing it with a group, share it with just one person at a time. A friend, coworker, or roommate is a great start. You may need them one day, and awareness is in both of your best interests should that need arise.

#2
What type diabetes you have.
Each different type of diabetes requires a different set of rules and things to be aware of. An easy talking point is to share what type diabetes you have, and how it compares to others. It’s also always fun to baffle people with your expert knowledge that yes, you can indeed get “juvenile diabetes” (Type 1) as an adult. Mind blowing! Because it takes so much of our attention to manage our own diabetes, check the ADA web site if you need help educating yourself on the various types of diabetes.

#3
Your story.
Every one of us has a collection of diabetes stories. People can most identify with what you went through when you were diagnosed. Some of us, like me, were far too young to remember, but maybe your parents or loved ones passed these stories down to you. If not, share how your life has changed pre- and post-diagnosis. I have found that most people are very impressed by how much us diabetics know about our bodies. Toot your own horn!

#4
How you manage your diabetes.
Some of us use an insulin pump, continuous glucose monitoring (CGM), multiple daily injections (MDI), and hopefully all of us with diet and exercise. Share the tools and tricks of the diabetes management trade that work for you. You don’t have to go into the nitty gritty details, but sharing that you know what you’re talking about and how to manage your diabetes goes a long way into the comfort levels of all involved in being able to talk about it openly. I like to show off my insulin pump and BG meter when I am sharing, and curiosity usually gets the cats to talking. This is also when I like to point out that I can eat the same foods as everyone else, as long as I know my BG and count carbs. This goes a long way in warding off the Diabetes Police.

#5
The difference between a low and high blood sugar for YOU.
Although this can dance on the edge of being clinical, it’s something that most non-diabetics don’t know. Try to put into words what it feels like when you have a high or low BG. For example, when I am high, it feels like my blood has turned to molasses, and doing anything is like trying to do it while submerged in Jell-O. Most people can appreciate that description, unless they’ve never had Jell-O. And if that is the case, you get to make a new friend tomorrow by bringing them a Jell-O cup. I suggest Sugar Free Lime or Strawberry Banana.

#6
Symptoms of a low blood sugar.
As scary as a low BG can be, this is quite possibly the hardest part of the “I have diabetes…” conversation, because it is 100% serious REAL LIFE when it happens. Describe a low blood sugar in your own words, and include those symptoms that are most common to you and your diabetes. We’re not all the same. If, like me, you’re prone to nonsensical motor mouth as a symptom of a low BG, share that. Then, if you’re talking too much and annoying your friend, at least they have an out by suggesting that you go check you’re blood sugar so you’ll shut up. Winner, winner.

#7
How to treat a low blood sugar.
Share the important details, such as where you keep your glucose or Glucagon hidden, and that insulin does NOT make your blood sugar go up. I don’t know why so many people think that insulin makes blood sugar go up, but they do. Educate them. Let people know what works best for you to treat a low BG. If juice is your go to low BG fix-it-all, then tell them that, and where they can find it. Your life may depend on it, and it will reduce panic if you need an extra bit of help.

#8
Your medic alert identification.
Point out where it is, whether it is a bracelet, necklace, wallet card, or other form of medic alert. I have had diabetes nearly my entire life, and am as guilty as anyone of not wearing my medic alert ID like I should. So, dig it out of your underwear drawer (or jewelry box, if you’re a girl) and put the thing on. If you don’t have one, go buy one. No excuses. I’ll even guilt you into it: Don’t put the people around you in the position of having to answer a paramedic’s medical questions about you in the event of an emergency. Emergency personnel are trained to look for medical alert ID’s, so get after it.

#9
What you can do despite diabetes.
I think it is so important to let people know that diabetes is NOT a death sentence. It is so very far from a life ending condition, and as long as we manage it successfully, we can do anything that anyone else can. Thanks to modern technology and medicine, we can play sports, have a family, and even be a celebrity. We are only limited by our own imagination. Diabetes only holds us back as much as we allow it to, which coincidentally means that us people with diabetes (PWDs) are notoriously stubborn. I think that’s a side effect we can live with.

#10
Where they can learn more about diabetes.
As much as we know about our own diabetes, none of us knows everything about diabetes. Some great places to refer others to learn more about diabetes are the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, American Diabetes Association, and the Joslin Diabetes Center.

Lake Ella at Dusk

No D-Day: Hit the Ground Running

Today, October 7, 2010 is “No D-Day”. The Diabetes Online Community is taking one single day away from diabetes. We will still be checking our BG’s, counting our carbs, dosing our insulin, and managing our diabetes, but we will not tweet about diabetes, we will not blog about diabetes, and we will not update Facebook about diabetes…for just one day. There is so much more to all of us than just diabetes. You can find all of the “No D-Day” posts on Twitter by searching for the the hashtag #noDday, or you can visit Ninjabetic.com for a list with links. I hope you enjoy this and all of the “No D-Day” posts today, and perhaps one day we can make every day a…

No D Day

Running and I are not friends. Running is hurtful, vindictive, and immature, and even tries to make me jealous by playing so well with others. Running is a complete bully towards me. It hurts my left ankle that I cracked when I was a kid. It hurts my knees, which get sore from time to time, especially when I’m really training hard for cycling. Being honest, it really hurts all of my leg muscles. But last Friday, something changed with mine and running’s long term tepid relationship.

As I was spending all of my energy on chores last Friday, taking clothes to the laundromat, sweeping floors, washing dishes, putting clean (and warm!) sheets on my bed, I got the notion to stop working so hard and go do something I enjoy: Exercise.

The Fall season is just arriving here in north Florida, the humidity levels are down, and the temperatures are dropping (not to my liking, I might add!), so it was a good evening to get outside of the house. I dawned my workout clothes, grabbed the iPod, and went a couple blocks away to Lake Ella, which has a nice paved sidewalk all the way around it that totals 6/10 of a mile per lap.

Lake Ella at Dusk

I started out with an easy walk. Although I’m an avid cyclist, I haven’t deliberately gone for a run in years, so I didn’t want to just take off running right out of the gate and injure myself. That might result in me not being able to go on a bike ride, and that simply cannot happen. I need my bike rides. Got to have priorities in this world people, even when it comes to exercise.

So I started walking. The cool thing about Lake Ella is that there are always a lot of people there to ogle. That makes walking around and around the lake a lot less monotonous. Pretty soon I got good and warmed up, iPod playing in my ears, and I started to become aware of people passing me.

Now, perhaps I was a race horse in a former life, but the competitive nature in me was starting to get antsy. I’m a cyclist. I can pedal 33 miles in less than two hours on the St. Marks Trail. I’ve completed the Five Boro Bike Tour in New York City. I’ve done the MS150 from Miami to Key Largo and back three times. Surely I can pick it up enough to keep up with everyone else, right?

Wrong.

For the record, running is not cycling. It uses a completely different set of muscles, many of which I’ve learned that I’ve been neglecting for too long. Now, I’m no Calvin Klein underwear model or a perfect 10 on the “OMG he’s dead sexy!” meter (I’m a humble 9.5), but some of the folks that were passing me as I was jogging like a pirate with two peg legs looked to be much heavier and not in near as good of shape as I am in. This ties back to the start of this post, about how running makes me jealous by playing so well with others. How do they do it, keep up the pace, and make it look so easy?

I still don’t have an answer to that multifaceted question. But I do know that I had a fantastic time dragging my limping carcass around Lake Ella for 5K last Friday evening. So much so that I did it again on Monday. And I vow to continue to push through the pain of running, and find that common ground where running and I can coexist without arguing so much, and hopefully one day the two of us will inspire enough jealousy in others for them to want to push through the pain too.