DBlog Week – Day 1: “I Can”

Karen over at Bitter-Sweet has been doing DBlog week for an amazing 6 years. This is my first year (so let me know if things don’t work, like the fancy links and buttons!).

Today’s topic is “I Can”. You can check out other posts for this topic here.

This is the entirety of today’s prompt:

In the UK, there was a diabetes blog theme of “I can…”  that participants found wonderfully empowering.  So lets kick things off this year by looking at the positive side of our lives with diabetes.  What have you or your loved one accomplished, despite having diabetes, that you weren’t sure you could?  Or what have you done that you’ve been particularly proud of?  Or what good thing has diabetes brought into your life? 


I am thankful that I was raised to believe I was always capable of anything I wanted to do. I’m not sure if I just ignored my parents a lot, or if they just never mentioned that diabetes would make life more difficult. I don’t remember a time before diabetes, so maybe that’s part of it as well.

Diabetes has never been the limiting factor in anything I do. Therefore, I’m not sure what I would say for this topic. If I wasn’t sure I could do something, it was more likely time, talent, money, etc. that was going to stop me from achieving it.

So perhaps for me, my most exciting “I can” moment was from this year, where I learned that not only can I do everything with diabetes, but I can do everything, and actually achieve good control of diabetes. I guess I had put diabetes in the back seat and always focused on everything else. This year I decided to put a tiny bit more effort into diabetes and I’ve been amazed at the outcome. This isn’t to say I’ve limited anything else I’ve been doing, I just check in on diabetes a little more often while living life.

I guess an interesting example of this is that I’ve been paying attention to what alcohol does to my blood sugar, and actually doing something about it. Before, as long as I wasn’t low, I was pretty happy and went on with my day/night (blood sugars of 400 were quite common). Now that I’ve been using my Enlite I can see a bit more detail about what alcohol does to my blood sugar and have learned to adjust my insulin accordingly (and therefore, not sit at super high numbers all night). That’s not to say I haven’t simply turned off my high alarms, because, hey, who wants to always be paying attention.

Similarly, and much, much healthier, has been paying attention to my blood sugar during work outs. Same deal as above, it used to be that as long as I wasn’t low, I was content. (There was nothing that drove me crazier than ending up low and having to eat a bazillion carbs to correct, thereby negating my exercise!) Now I’ve learned, unless I’m doing cardio, my blood sugar actually goes UP when I work out. Crazy.

So, while I’ve never let diabetes stop me from drinking or working out (kind of polar opposites, you’d think I’m still in college), now I pay some attention to what happens when I do. People recently probably think that I’ve always been as interested in how things affect my diabetes but that certainly isn’t true.


 

I am hopeful that I will be able to go around and read everyone else’s posts this week, but I seem to have agreed to do this while at the same time having a ton of other things going on, so it may be a while before I make it around!

Diabetes Ut-Ohs

So I started this post a week ago, with the intention to update it the next night and post. Well, that didn’t happen, so here it is, a week late.

I’ve finally been getting back into the running this spring. It’s a lot later than I was intending, race day is in less than 2 weeks. Oops.

It was following my run this weekend that I stumbled on two new diabetes ut-ohs for me. I say ut-oh, because that’s usually the words out of my mouth, and they aren’t really big enough to warrant much beyond that.

The first was seeing the location of my previous sensor (3 days since it was on) being all mean and red looking. I always end up with the spots around the edges that collect extra fuzz from the adhesives, but the entire thing being red? Not normal. Not sure if there’s enough space on that side to fit another sensor when I have to head back there. Maybe I’ll have to try an “unapproved” spot, or turning to sensor a different direction.

Diabetes utohs

The second was seeing my infusion set filled with blood. I realize this probably happens to some people all the time, but I’ve never seen it before. Bleeding profusely when I take a site out? More common. Thankfully not all the time because that makes a mess. I took to Dr. Google to find out what to do about the site. The general out come was that as long as blood sugar wasn’t being affected, it should be fine. So I plugged that puppy back in and away we went.

Of course, now looking back at the past couple days (with this site) my sugars have been running higher, and I’ve not had quite the same post meal drops that I was seeing earlier. Now the site is timed out and I’ll have to put a new one in anyways, so too late to do anything about it. I will be mad if this becomes common, as this is one of my favorite spots to put sites!

The week late update to the post:

My Endo appointment was on Wednesday, and I was actually excited to go. I’ve been working a lot harder at my blood sugars over the past couple months and wanted to see the results. Well, it turned out great. Check out the shot below of my past A1c’s. These span a lot of years. Pay particular attention to the final one.

Okay lies. My computer/internet/blog seem to have something against uploading photos recently (not to mention general struggles). I’ll add this after I get the post up. To summarize, I have lots and lots of 8s and 9s in my A1c’s. This is my first one, like ever, that starts with a 7!

I’m pretty damn proud of myself, and it’s proof that these sensors are totally worth it.

Carb Counts

This past Friday I was lucky enough to be invited to a going away party for my friend Emily. We were headed off to a cabin for the night. It was described as a “cabin cabin” not a “house cabin”, out-house and all. Packing list to include sleeping bag, pillow, warm clothes, shoes you don’t mind getting muddy, snacks and drinks.

I was in charge of hashbrowns for breakfast, so I had to run to the store to grab those. I decided to pick up some snacks while I was there. You’d never know I try to eat healthy and am diabetic by looking at this pile of treats.

Sugar? There's no sugar here...
Sugar? There’s no sugar here…

Now, this wasn’t nearly as amusing to me until I went to the Liquor Store for something to drink. I decided that I would like to have cider for the night, as I drank my fill of mixed drinks the weekend before. I’ve liked the slightly less sweet ciders for a while, and keep looking for more. Besides the fact that with my CGM now, I can see how everything affects my blood sugar. 12g of carbs/12oz cider is a pretty nice even out amount for me. No insulin needed for the drink (probably shouldn’t have forgotten about the insulin for the peeps though). For those of you who don’t drink cider, or don’t care about carbs, most ciders on the market now have 26-29g carb/12oz. That also ups the calorie count, which I wouldn’t care about if it was needed. So I spent at least 20 minutes at the Liquor Store reading labels on the cider bottles. People probably thought I was crazy. I ended up with a couple different new kinds to try.

Party Fridge

I took a shot of the fridge when we started the night off. It was pretty darn empty when we left, and I was very happy I suggested that we bring something to cook for breakfast. Not much better than eggs, bacon, and hashbrowns. It was a blast of a night with fun had by all. Minnesota to Vermont is a pretty big move and was well worth celebrating.

The hardest step

This was definitely a perfect description today. I got home from work, knowing that a run was on my calendar. I had zero desire to do it. However, knowing myself, I changed out of my work clothes and straight into running clothes. Then I sat down. Oops. 35 minutes later, I finally made it out the door.

I decided I would run to the gym and swipe in (the whole, if you get 12 gym visits you get $20 back is a pretty good motivator). The gym is 1.4 miles from my house. So of course by the time I was back close to home, I was in enough of a groove to decide I should really knock out a 5k (3.1 miles). I was pleasantly surprised that I killed it in 31 minutes! That includes the time I had to stop for traffic and for my swipe at the gym! I had originally had a goal of under 30 minutes for my 5k on April 18th, but I think I can do better than that. We shall see what I think as it gets closer.

I’m not sure what everyone else eats for carbs before exercise, but I’d love to hear it. My current favorite is the Starburst Fave Red Jelly Beans. So good. So many carbs that hit me quickly. 180 before my run, 15g of jelly beans and off I went. Felt great, it wasn’t a long enough run for me to worry about seriously dropping while I was out. Came home, checked the CGM before hopping in the shower and I see 123 with double down arrows. I seriously didn’t think I worked that hard! After the shower 91 with one down arrow. And I wasn’t hungry. Good thing those jelly beans are tasty because my meter says 77. I used to try to determine if my runs were calorie neutral, but that can be such a bummer when they aren’t, so I stopped.

More runs to come!

Paint Nite and a New Pump

I want to give a quick thanks to everyone that stopped by on #dblogcheck day! Perhaps some of you saw that on Monday night I was going to a Paint Nite event… this is the outcome from that!

It was a blast. I am actually super surprised at how much I like my painting! As you can tell from the pictures, they aren’t lying about painting in a bar. There’s a small glimpse of my drink right next to the canvas. (I got to try a cider I hadn’t had before… Hoppin Mad Apple by Angry Orchard. Quite a nice change from most of their cloyingly sweet ciders.) The downside of the painting in a bar thing, is that the lighting was atrocious — hence the also atrocious pictures. It did make for a more interesting painting being slightly unsure of what it would look like in real light.

Paint Nite

It was interesting to see that everyone’s painting turned out slightly differently. But the most surprising was when everyone was frustrated with how bad they thought their trees looked. Someone decided to go grab a glance at the instructors painting a bit closer up, and noted that her’s looked just like ours! It was just that from a distance you couldn’t tell. Shortly after that, everyone is painting, then backing up ten feet to look at it. Very much a good way to go about it.

On unrelated news, I got a new pump today! I’ve been getting a “MOTOR ERROR” quite frequently lately and was sick of it, so I called. Turns out if you try to look at your CGM data while a bolus is in progress, it freaks out. They decided to send me a new pump anyways. Good thing because my most recent pump has once again gotten cracks at the corner of the screen (this is time, 3 I believe). This is a fine thing in the winter when there’s less than zero humidity, but come the Minnesota summer, my screen starts to fog up when I go outside.

I’ve been using my sensor like crazy lately (can we say love?), so I set that up right away on my new pump. To return my old pump, I just had to set the basal to zero, so it was still up and running. I let both of them get the sensor data for a while. It was interesting to see. They would both have the same arrows (one up or one down, they would agree), but the numbers were off! This sensor is about 5 days old, and has been quite well tuned after day one.

I had heard that the Medtronic CGM uses multiple calibration data points to determine blood sugar, but I’d never seen how that could affect the data before. This definitely explains why the sensors get better with age. To a point.

#dblogcheck

I’m not sure how I am just now starting to discover the wonderful world of the DOC (Diabetes Online Community), but I seem to have found it at a pretty good time.

I made a new years resolution to improve my A1C this year, and decided a blog might help me out (please don’t ask how my brain functions). In the process though, I decided to google “diabetes blog” and see what everyone else was writing about. I already knew curling and my love for traveling (and pending trip in the early phases of planning) would make it into this, but wasn’t sure what I should or shouldn’t include about diabetes. I’ve never been particularly shy about sharing the fact that I’ve got diabetes (heck, I’ve got it tattoo’d on my wrist!), but for some reason wasn’t sure anyone else would care.

I’ve decided to participate in the #dblogcheck, even though I feel like I’m really unsure what I’m doing with this blog and exactly how it functions. I will probably add my URL out there for people to find me now, and see what everyone thinks (not that it matters, I’ll be trying to keep this up anyways). But if anyone has suggestions, improvements, etc. let me know!

You can follow me on social media, but I’m not sure if you’ll actually find anything there for a bit. One thing at a time; blog first, social media second.

Apostle Island Ice Caves

The news of the Apostle Island Lake Shore Ice Caves being accessible this weekend was very exciting! I was bummed last winter when I was much too busy with curling and life to make the 4 hour drive up to the shore. When I found out that my bestie Katie wanted to go hike out to see the caves, I was pumped.

We decided to go with the up early to leave option, meeting at 630AM! These trips are never without coffee for me and I’m happy to say, the sun is finally up at 630 in the morning.

We weren’t sure what we were getting into when we got to the entrance and saw cars parked for maybe a mile before and after the parking lot entrance. Luckily, we were prepared for hiking (it’s a mile from the beach entrance to the caves).

The ice was ever so slightly terrifying to walk over. You could see the bottom! There were lots of cool ice structures to see, some from cracks in the ice, some from what must have been a different sheet of ice the broke up into pieces and then froze again. Take a look at a couple pictures I snagged.

Some shots of the ice on Lake Superior

They weren’t joking when they said you would want some type of ice grips on your shoes or hiking poles. We went with the poles, and plenty of layers to make sure we stayed warm. As you would expect from a diabetic, my back pack was full of everything: water, snacks of all varieties, meter, extra hat and mittens.

We found a cute little cave, and I decided I should try to see if I could fit. It was tough to climb up the ice, but I made it! Of course, the only way down was to use the ice like a slide. I think the people around may have thought I was crazy.

Just some pictures of me enjoying the hike!
Just some pictures of me enjoying the hike!

We spent 4 hours hiking around, which was totally worth it to see the sites. I was impressed by all the different types of ice sculptures the lake made. It didn’t seem like we walked that far, but my fitbit told me that I took 19,000 steps! And we sure were glad that we got there early. Cars were parked a mile father away when we were leaving. I’ll leave you with a couple pictures from hiking around.

Ice Caves - Caves

A quick stop at Grandma’s in Duluth for some (much needed) food, and back home we went. The 8 hours in the car were worth the 4 hours of hiking. Not sure when I’ll get to see something like this again.

National Champions!

Curling is one of my favorite things to do. Figuring out how to handle my diabetes while I compete is definitely not one of my favorite things to do. Curling presents adventures in blood sugars like nothing else I’ve found. The sport is interesting because it is an anaerobic exercise. It has a different effect on my blood sugar than the same amount of aerobic exercise like running. I have found (with the help of my enlite sensor) that my blood sugar doesn’t really drop during a game. The six to ten hours following a game are when the exercise effects show up (which frequently coincides with when I would like to be sleeping). I would love to get a better understanding of why this happens!

2015 USA Curling National Champions
2015 USA Curling National Champions

This week, my team managed to win the National Championship, regardless of what my blood sugar decided to do along the way!

 

Location Location Location… of infusion sets

Is there anything more annoying than when you put a new infusion set in, only to find out you actually picked a quite annoying location for it? I generally change my infusion sets immediately after a shower. So I just pick a spot that looks like it hasn’t been used in a while, and put that sucker in. Today, that spot happens to be exactly where my pants waist band wants to sit. I guess I will have to wear other pants tomorrow.