Thursday, May 31, 2012

History Written in A1C

After my endocrinology appointment and subsequent A1C test last week, I started thinking about how my A1C results have often reflected the different milestones in my life. (For the record, I see any A1C over 6 as a fail. I don't want to be a "normal diabetic." I want to be a "normal person." Or, when possible, better than a normal person--Super Human.)

  • April 2009
    • Diagnosis
      • A1C = 13
  • July 2009
    • My life revolves around the big D
      • A1C = 5.3
  • October 2009
    • Love this honeymoon stuff!
      • A1C = 5.4
  • January 2010
    • Nine months strong!
      • A1C = 5.7
  • May 2010
    • Graduate from college
      • A1C = 5.8
  • September 2010
    • Meet my boyfriend at a festival over the summer
      • A1C = 6.0
  • January 2011
    • A little less focused on diabetes, a little more focused on life
      • A1C = 6.7
  • April 2011
    • Enter a diabetes trial for alpha-1-antitrypsin treatment at the Barbara Davis Center
      • A1C = 6.5
  • July 2011
    • I think its working!
      • A1C = 6.0
  • November 2011
    • Is it wearing off already?
      • A1C = 6.3
  • February 2012
    • The holidays aren't kind to my pancreas, it's time to get serious!
      • A1C = 6.4
  • May 2012
    • Discover the awesome power of nature in the form of superfoods and supplements
      • A1C = 5.8

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Whole Food Experiment: Quercetin

What is it? Quercetin is a flavonoid that helps protect the membranes of the eyes from the accumulation of polyols that result from high blood sugars (among other things).

Recommended daily intake: 300 mg

Whole Food Sources:

  • Black and green teas
  • Capers
  • Lovage 
  • Apples
  • Red onion
  • Red grapes
  • Citrus fruit
  • Tomato
  • Broccoli
  • Red and purple berry varieties
  • Nopal cactus fruit

Disclaimer (because this is America): I am not a dietitian or a physician. I am a diabetic armed with a giant book called Prescription for Nutritional Healing (Phyllis A. Balch, CNC, 2010) and access to a whole slew of nutritional websites. I experiment on myself constantly, but that does not mean you should. Unless, of course, your doctor says its ok.

Helpful sources for quercetin information:,

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Diabetes Pal???

Over the last few weeks, we have hired on a whole slew of new people at my job. Normally I don't pay much attention to the fresh blood as they rarely last more than a month. But there was one in particular that caught my eye. She wore a little metal bracelet with an all too familiar emblem on it.

Could it be? Had the universe finally conspired to bring me a diabetic pal?

At the first opportunity I got, I coyly introduced myself.

"And what's the medical alert bracelet for, if you don't mind me asking."

The excitement was bubbling up in me like a giddy child.

"Oh," she said, "I'm allergic to penicillin."

Dammit. So close.

Someday someone will join my Special Bracelet Club.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Whole Food Experiment: Chromium

What is it? A mineral used by the body to process glucose and increase insulin's efficiency.

Why take it? Chromium can help maintain normal blood sugars and reduce insulin needs.

Cautions: May significantly reduce your need for insulin, so always work with your doctor before starting on a chromium supplement.

Recommended dose for the average person: 20-45 mcg/day

Recommended dose for a diabetic: 400-600 mcg/day

Whole Food Sources:
High Quality Brewer's Yeast- 1 tbs = 60mcg
Corn on Cob- 1 ear = 52mcg
Sweet Potato- 1 medium = 36mcg
Apple- 1 medium = 36mcg
Organic Egg- 1 medium = 26mcg
Tomato- 1 medium = 24
Ham- 3oz = 10
Beef and Turkey- 3oz = 2mcg
Red Wine- 1 glass = 1-10mcg (depending on the brand)

Disclaimer (because this is America): I am not a dietitian or a physician. I am a diabetic armed with a giant book called Prescription for Nutritional Healing (Phyllis A. Balch, CNC, 2010) and access to a whole slew of nutritional websites. I experiment on myself constantly, but that does not mean you should. Unless, of course, your doctor says its ok.

Useful Sources:,

Let the Whole Food Experiments Begin!

Chromium. I've said it before: This is something I believe all diabetics should be taking--Type 1 or 2. For Type 2s, it is an obvious supplement to add to the daily routine. Chromium is necessary for proper glucose metabolism and is important for proper insulin utilization. In other words, it can be seriously beneficial to people with insulin resistance. If you are a Type 2 and your doctor has never mentioned chromium, odds are pretty good that they have been bought and paid for by the prescription companies. If you're a Type 1, odds are good that no doctor has ever mentioned anything about supplements to you.

When I was diagnosed, all anyone ever told was how to use my insulin and change my diet. I never thought about supplements being able to help. My body doesn't make insulin, so of course the solution is simple and singular: take insulin. But what about all those supplements out there that make insulin use more efficient within your body. I have to pay for the stuff, I might as well get my money's worth. Even beyond that, there are supplements out there with the potential to help the pancreas and beta-cells to stay healthier longer, and supplements to help control sugar absorption in the gut. Even some that curb sugar cravings, which is important when you are headed off the deep end at the end of a long work week (but I want cake now! There is no time to count all these carbs!).

But supplements can be expensive. There have been multiple occasions when I have put myself on a regimen of this supplement or that, and seen great results from it. But then I run out at the worst time, or the store is suddenly out of stock, or the prices go up, or whatever. And I go off the regimen for a while. My insulin needs start to crawl back up and I wonder if it is worth it to start again, knowing the same thing will happen at the end of the month, when I'll be too broke to buy more, again.

But my friend Andrea recently gave me an idea. Why not skip the supplements and go right for the foods that are rich in that mineral or vitamin. Supplement critics have always said that taking a vitamin or mineral or amino acid in a pill all by itself is a waste of time. Our bodies weren't meant to ingest singular nutrients at a time, they were meant to take in a whole slew of them along with fats and proteins and sugars. Our bodies need that stuff in order to properly absorb everything else.

Now, I'm not quite that skeptical about the worth of supplements, but I do believe absorption is best when in a natural, whole food form. So I am taking my friend up on her suggestion and I am going to do some research into the various nutrients that can potentially help diabetes, and I am going to find out the best foods to find these illusive vitamins and minerals in. And of course, I am going to share my findings with you!

Disclaimer (because this is America): I am not a dietitian or a physician. I am a diabetic armed with a giant book called Prescription for Nutritional Healing (Phyllis A. Balch, CNC, 2010) and access to a whole slew of nutritional websites. I experiment on myself constantly, but that does not mean you should. Unless, of course, your doctor says its ok.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Guest Post: Barb Stephens

Here is a guest post for all the T2D readers out there by Barb Stephens. If rates keep rising the way they are, by 2050 1 in 3 people will have Type 2--a prediction that is no doubt putting a smile on the face of Big Pharmaceutical. No matter what disease you are suffering from, you should always do your research when it comes to your medications and possible alternative treatments. Most doctors aren't super geniuses. They don't know everything. And a growing number of them only know what prescription companies want them to know. Bottom line: Question everything.

*          *          *

How to Stay Informed About the Safety of Diabetes Medications

By learning the dangerous side effects of common diabetes drugs, asking your physician the right questions and utilizing internet resources, you can safely take your diabetes medications and avoid painful surprises. 

Be aware of common safety concerns.

Sulfonylureas may cause heart problems.

Meglitinides should only be taken before meals.

Thiazolidiones may cause difficulty breathing, immediate weight gain and fluid retention — all possible indicators of heart failure. 

Actos, which is in the thiazolidione class, may cause blood in the urine, a frequent need to urinate, urinary tract infections, and stomach and back pain — all possible indicators of bladder cancer.
This has led some patients to start filing an Actos lawsuit after receiving the prognosis of bladder cancer to help make the companies providing this drug fund their recovery.

Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors should be taking at the beginning of meals and should not be used by people with intestinal diseases.

Talk to your doctor.

Whenever you get a new medication, ask your doctor about what you are taking and why you are taking it.  You and your doctor together can determine if the medication you are prescribed is the best for you based on your weight, diet, exercise habits, current medications and pre-existing conditions.

Before you leave your appointment, make sure you have written down all of the following information for each prescription:

  •          Name
  •          Dosage
  •          Frequency of dosage
  •          How to take medication
  •          Best time to take medications
  •          How often to refill prescription

Once you get the medications, you will want to take the time to read not just the text on the medicine bottles and boxes, but also the paperwork that your pharmacy provides. 
Although it may be a struggle to comprehend the medical terminology, you can make it easier by knowing which words apply to you.  For instance, if you have had kidney problems in the past, be on the lookout for warnings that mention kidney or renal.

Research your medications online.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has a website where you can learn how your medications work, what their side effects are and possible dangerous interactions.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has booklets and fact sheets on diabetes medication that you can print from their website.  You can also use put the name of your medication in their search bar to find specific information.

The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC) has a dictionary where you can put in both medications and words associated with medications that are unfamiliar to you.
By being informed about the medications you take, you can avoid adding unforeseen pitfalls like Actos side effects to the pressure of managing diabetes. And always, always, ask questions.

Author bio: Barb Stephens is a writer for She uses her medication knowledge to help inform consumers about potential risks involved with certain medications and to help promote overall drug safety.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Meter Wars

What a week! For me, Diabetes Blog Week was a great success. I was able to connect with a lot of new people in the D community and I found some great new blogs to add to my daily Reader. And I loved the challenge of having to write every day. I need that kind of motivation.

On the diabetes side of things, last week was a little hectic. I have been trying to find a solution to my massive pharmaceutical bills. Since Aetna dropped their individual coverage in Colorado, I have been forced to switch my health insurance provider to Cover Colorado (there are not a lot of options for people with preexisting conditions--PPECs--such as myself). I'm certainly grateful to have the coverage, but they aren't exactly saving me much money.

Last week I attempted to get my meter and test strips changed to a generic brand (right now the test strips are costing me a hundred bucks a month even after the insurance kicks in their 60%). But, my doctor refused to fill the script for me, saying that generic meters are highly unreliable (ok so she didn't refuse, but she did make a compelling argument). She recommended I apply to CCS Medical and see if their mail-in pharmacy could save me any money. The bad news is, they don't carry my meter type. The good is, my doctor gave me a free kit that included a One Step meter and 50 free test strips (bonus!).

Unfortunately after a few days of dealing with the CCS people (they were incredibly helpful, I will give them that), it became very obvious to them that my insurance company would not save either one of us any money. They told me my best option was to go through the Rx company that works directly with my insurance (hey, why didn't I think of that!). Unfortunately, over the course of the week I spent dealing with all this, I ran low on both my insulins and my test strips and had to reorder from my normal pharmacy. So I am back to using my old meter (which is a huge relief! That meter has been with me since practically the beginning. I felt like I was cheating on it with the new one...) and I am forced into waiting another month before I can finally get this prescription thing solved.

Oh the joys of diabetes. You learn new lessons everyday!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Diabetes Hero

Post 7 for Diabetes Blog Week

So I had big plans to write this post about Bret Michaels (I mean come on, the man survived the 80's as the lead singer of a glam metal band all while living with T1D--that's a note-worthy accomplishment). But then it struck me very suddenly and very obviously who my real diabetes hero is: my boyfriend Colter.

I have to give credit where credit is due. He has done (and puts up with) so much.

He didn't run away in fear on that first date, even while I used one hand to stuff pizza down my throat and the other to stab myself in the stomach with an insulin pen.

He acted legitimately interested on that second date when I overly-explained the difference between Type 1 and 2.

He asked questions and read Diabetes for Dummies and even bought a diabetes cookbook.

And now that we live together, he gracefully puts up with my sudden mood changes that accompany unexpected highs.

He never makes fun of me for that one time my BS bottomed out at 36 and I started crawling around on the couch and bawling like a baby. (I like to think of it as an out-of-mind experience.)

He laughs when he finds a stray test strip in the kitchen or the bathroom or inside his shoe.

He instantly asks "What do you need? What can I get" when I glance at the back of my hand. (It gets pale and swollen when my BS dips.)

He now, too, gets angry when he hears someone make an ignorant comment about diabetes.

He tries so hard to make meals that are healthy and easy to calculate.

He bites his tongue (at least most of the time) when I scrutinize the ingredients lists of the items in his shopping bags and pretends to care as much as I do about hydrogenated oils and yellow #6.

He is there for me, even when I'm not at my best. And with me, that kind of commitment takes a superhero.

He even looks like a superhero!

Friday, May 18, 2012

What They Should Know

Post 5 for Diabetes Blog Week

Don't even get me started. The lack of education on this disease baffles me. I could go on and on. But for your sake, I'll try to focus. What should they know? The first thing I have to explain to just about everyone is that Type 1 and Type 2 are two very different diseases (yes, I know, despite the names).

Why does it bother me so that no one knows the difference? Well, here is a list of responses I have actually gotten from real people when they learn I have T1D:

"But you're so thin" (this was my nurse at the hospital the day I got diagnosed)

"But you have always been so active and fit"

"Just take care of your feet, that is the most important thing" (another nurse)

"But you don't seem to be overweight or anything" (the diabetes educator provided by my mail-in pharmacy)

"If you just eat grapes and be more active you can easily become a Type 2 instead" (um.... What?)

"I have another client who had Type 1 diabetes for years, but she really started working on her diet and now she is a Type 2" (this was an Aflac insurance rep--needless to say, he did not get my business)

"That's the bad kind right?"

"Oh, well, at least it's not the bad kind."

"Is that the good kind or the bad kind?"

First, let me just clarify one point. There is no good diabetes and bad diabetes. Why? Because there are no good diseases. I think we can all agree that diseases of any degree suck. Even Spider Man thought his spider-bite-inflicted-super-human-capabilities-disease sucked some of the time. So NO, Type 1 is not the good kind. Why don't you go talk to a Type 2 and ask them if that's the good kind.

What I usually tell these ill-informed people is this (actually, I am usually way too peeved to even continue the conversation):

I have Type 1. My immune system is attacking my beta cells--the cells in my pancreas that make insulin. Now my body cannot make enough insulin to process the carbohydrates I eat--yes all carbs, not just sugar. So I take insulin injections most every time I eat (plus one extra dose a day, but I usually don't get into that). Eventually my pancreas won't make any insulin at all. I can eat whatever I want as long as I take the right amount of insulin for it (but not eating whatever you want is an important step of really getting control of the disease). There is nothing I can do to rid myself of this disease because (as of now) there is no cure. I will never morph into a Type 2 (I guess if I started eating massive meals of pasta and donuts and pizza and shooting up massive amounts of insulin I could probably cause my body to develop insulin resistance, but I would still be a Type 1, too). Oh and by the way, you don't have to be fat to develop Type 2 (I have to throw that one in there for my T2D pals).

One thing that would solve all these problems? Change the name! We'll let the T2s keep the rights to "diabetes" (as so many late night infomercials have tricked the population into believing that "diabetes" is synonymous with "insulin resistance") and we shall change T1D to "Autoimmune Induced Glucose Intolerance."

No I do not have diabetes, I have AIGI disease.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Fantasy Diabetes Device

Post 4 for Diabetes Blog Week

I will try not to get too fantastical here. (Fantasy device? Easy, a new pancreas impervious to immune system attack).

I will admit, I am pretty much living in the stone age when it comes to diabetes devices. I have a meter (actually like ten meters, but that's only because I never turn down free stuff). And I have insulin pens. But that's really as far as my diabetes supplies go. I don't even have a cable for my meter (who has a hundred bucks lying around to buy a little tiny cable?). Compared to the many hot-wired pump and CGM wearers out there, I might as well be a neanderthal. It's not that I don't want all these fancy instruments, it's just that I am comfortable where I am, at least for the moment (and I really, REALLY hate squabbling with the pharmacy and my insurance company). But, that doesn't mean I still don't dream about my fantasy device...

First, this device would definitely have to erase the need for test strips. I hate those little, tiny pieces of paper. They cost a fortune, they get everywhere, and they are impossible to handle when your blood sugar is crashing and your hands are shaking like crazy!

Second, it could definitely not involve any kind of typical sensor. I have had the pleasure of wearing a CGM a few times for a clinical trial I was in. The first time, they put it in me the day before I left for the Bahamas. With the help of some waterproof tape (wrapped around and around my torso) I was able to keep the sensor in for a grand total of four days. The second time I had to wear one, I sweated through the tape within hours of getting home (packing and moving in the summer is never fun). Again I had to resort to wrapping myself with athletic tape, but the senor still slipped out on the third day. And the last time I wore one the sensor errored-out three hours after I got home from the clinic. Those little senors just don't like my zero percent body fat and corrosive sweat glands.

Lastly, this genius little fantasy device needs to integrate the carb counting aspect of the disease. With all the recent advances in technology, I'm guessing a machine is way more accurate in predicting how many carbs are in the plate of pasta the waiter just dropped off than I am (especially if it has wifi). And wouldn't it be great if it kept track of your meals and how many units you need for each of them?

So this, after much deliberation, is my fantasy diabetes device: a tiny sensor inserted under your skin completely (think something like the microchip between your dog's shoulder blades) that continuously sends blood sugar readings to a small wireless device you can carry in your purse or on your belt. This sensor is so advanced that you never have to calibrate it or replace it (so long test strips!). And this little device has the power to calculate carb info on your meal just from a picture. And it will calculate the insulin needed for you, too. While we are at it, lets just say this little device connects wirelessly to a small device implanted in your abdomen that automatically releases insulin into your blood stream and bolusses on command. Of course this little device would never need to be changed or refilled because it makes its own insulin constantly by some awesome feat of science...

Ok, so it got a little fantastical.

My sensor hanging on by athletic tape on day 2 of  the Bahamas vacation (it made for a great tan line).

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

One Thing to Improve (Perfect Imperfection)

Post 3 for Diabetes Blog Week

Now this is a topic I could write a novel about. What can't I improve on?! But I must stop myself and think for a second. My last A1C was 6.3. I eat healthier than anyone I know. I've recently taken up yoga and distance running. I bend over backwards for this disease. So why so many complaints about myself?

Oh, I know why.

I am way too hard on myself. If I test and find my BS is over 130, I can feel my mood drop instantly. If it's over  200, well, my nights ruined. If I'm having trouble counting carbs or getting my sugar levels down, you better not even try to talk to me because I will snap at you (only because yelling at myself might give people the wrong impression). The first time my A1C came back as being over 6, I was upset about it for days.

The guilt I inflict on myself, that's the worse. If I go down to my parent's for the weekend and indulge in some delicious meals and a little desert, I have to spend the whole next week eating like a bird just to punish myself. I could barely bring myself to eat a donut on Donut Day (what I have coined the anniversary of my diagnosis and one of the few times out of the year that I let myself indulge) this year because I had been doing so well with everything and didn't want to chance ruining it.

I am a stubborn perfectionist. I am also a passionate foodie, a party animal, and a free spirit. There is bound to be a little internal conflict.

I have been working on it, though. Now I can shoot up and shrug off an unexpected high in a matter of minutes (a matter of 30 to 60 minutes) while a year ago it would have been impossible to talk to me for the rest of the day. But starting now, as today's blog prompt instructs, I will work at improving on this even harder. I will stop beating myself up for things that are impossible to control. I will stop expecting myself to be a perfect diabetic. I will be cut myself some slack, ease up, and chill out. And if I am not perfectly happy with myself at all times, then I will just yell and scream at myself until I am.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

One Great Thing

Post 2 for Diabetes Blog Week

When I was diagnosed, I took the entire event as a personal challenge. I had doctors and nurses and dietitians telling me my boundaries. What I can still do, what I can't. What I now have to do. It was new territory for me. No one tells me what I am capable of! Ok, so that wasn't my mindset at first (lying in a hospital bed hooked up to tubes and wires with a BS of 598 while doctors hastily explained to me what diabetes was--I was in no mood for questioning anyone). But as things progressed and I slowly became more comfortable with my new condition, the old me came back to life. What do you mean the honeymoon period only lasts a few months? My endocrinologist told me one of her patients honeymooned for two years. I can do that. I can do anything!

I was in better health that first year with diabetes than I had been my entire life (and still am). I ate good food. I exercised with an intense enthusiasm. And I never stressed about anything (I was just happy to be alive). I calculated and administered my insulin with the precision you would expect from an up and coming scientist. I brought my A1C down from 13 to 5.4 in the first three months. I mastered the carb count and adjusted my meal sizes to align my insulin perfectly to the BS I wanted to have two hours after I ate. I took my doctor's advise and tailored it to fit what I wanted to do, to my own boundaries (which were none, of course!).

Two months ago I went down to the Barbara Davis Center to get some tests done. After getting information from me about my current insulin needs (which still fluctuate constantly--my long acting dose can be anywhere between 9u and 2u depending on the day--that's a three year honeymoon by my count) my doctor called me "atypical." Atypical? As in not adhering to predicted boundaries and expectations? Yes.

And that is what I am great at. Being atypical.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Find a Friend

Post 1 for  Diabetes Blog Week

A diabetic friend. I have to confess, I have always wanted one. Someone who would understand why I get so anxious about ordering food at restaurants. Someone to lend me some test strips when I wait too long to renew my prescriptions. Someone to talk me down when I'm standing in front of a tray of free donuts. And someone who will be angry along with me when my blood sugars spike for no reason (instead of trying to tell me everything will be fine and it's no big deal).

Unfortunately (big sigh), I have no PWD friends. The only other person in my family that has T1D was my mom's cousin (you can bet my diagnosis came as a bit of a shocker). No coworkers. Not even friends of friends. My great uncle (who I have met twice) has type 2. The hour I spent talking with him the last time he came to town was one of the greatest hours ever. He spoke my language! Well... almost.

I have no real diabetes friends. So I blog (virtual friends can be just as good). And I read blogs. I bitch with others about the trials and tribulations of this disease through the written word. I celebrate with them through links and pictures and comments.

One of my favorite blogs (and the one that really pushed me to start my own) is Kerri Morrone Sparling's Six Until Me. I read her posts and fantasize about being that involved in the D community. I wish I could talk face to face with others going through this. I wish I could fly to Europe to learn about new research and products. I wish I had a pump. (This is my absolute favorite blog from SUM. It still makes me laugh!) After all the envy has faded, I go and write my own very different blog about going at it alone. About searching for the natural remedy that will lower my insulin needs to an affordable level. And about the adventures that spring from that kind of independent mind set.

But in the end, this blog is (as they all really are) about finding a friend.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Never too Soon for Friday

Thank you, thank you! It's finally Friday. And a real Friday for me for once. No work tomorrow! Instead I get to cruise down to the parent's house to spend some time with my mom on her special holiday. I will also be attending a natro-path convention where my friend will have a booth set up. I'm hoping to find some potions/supplements/superfoods to experiment with.

Next week is the Third Annual Diabetes Blog Week! I am so excited to be a part of it this year. If you are on a mission to find more D Blogs or if you know someone who needs some serious educating on the subject, this is the perfect way to get it done! (This little event will also force me to post a blog a day next week--that's 7 whole posts for those counting. It will be a great challenge for me!)

Now all I have to do is survive today. It all starts with a latte (my special Friday reward), then a long, busy, eight hour shift with sixty plus very excited pooches, and hopefully time for two baths for a couple very stinky hounds of my own.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Red Tape

I read an article yesterday about a woman who was on a seemingly endless search for a daycare that would take her diabetic toddler. The ones that were willing to accept him either would not give him his insulin (they expected the mother to leave work multiple times a day to give him injections and check his BS) or they would only enroll him if she was willing to pay double. This seems illegal. And it is. But who has the time to get a lawyer involved? (Especially considering that in the end, the Americans with Disabilities Act only dictates they allow the child to come to daycare, they can still choose not to give him his medication.)

Unfortunately, diabetics see this kind of thing everywhere. I believe there is really only two reasons for it: ignorance and liability. Diabetes is a scary, mysterious disease that causes people's feet to fall of without warning! They may fall into a coma at any moment! Ignorance. (Liability on the other hand is a much bigger issue. Sue thy neighbor has practically become an American pastime.)

Shortly after reading this article, I went to yoga class. Before instructing everyone to move into shoulder stand, the teacher warned that anyone with high or low blood pressure, or anyone with diabetes should move into candle stick instead. Why? Does the simple fact that I have the disease make sticking my feet in the air a death sentence? Am I going to fall into one of those mysterious, spontaneous comas from attempting a simple inversion? No of course not. In fact I with my stellar cholesterol levels, perfect blood pressure, resting heart rate of 57, and 5 doctor check-ups a year, am probably the last one in the class that is going to die from doing a shoulder stand (I tried this same argument on a health insurance agent, to no avail).

What the teacher should have said is, "Anyone with high or low blood sugar may not want to attempt the shoulder stand. Oh and by the way, you probably don't want to be at yoga class right now. Maybe you should get that taken care of."

The first time I went to get a massage after being diagnosed, I noticed some fine print on the questionnaire. Right below the box that asks you to identify which diseases and conditions you have, there was a small side-note that said something about not being able to work on anyone with diabetes unless they provide a doctor's note. Now to me, that seemed a little silly (what am I, in elementary school?). And diabetes is a pretty big header to categorize people under. Type 1, type 2? Newly diagnosed? There is a big difference between a ten year old with well controlled type 1 and an overweight eighty year old suffering from neuropathy.

I did what any respectable diabetic would do. I ripped off my medical alert bracelet and lied on the form.

Tattoo and piercing release forms have the same fine print. I can bet I took better care of my tattoos than the tens of thousands of drunk teenagers that get them every day.

I say we drop the ignorance. Instead of categorizing and alienating people based on broad headings that our legal teams tell us we need, lets start educating ourselves and printing up liability forms that actually make sense. Yes, if your A1C is 13, you probably shouldn't get a tattoo. If you are lazy, irresponsible, and unhygienic, you probably shouldn't get one either.

How about we differentiate between type 1 and type 2 while we are at it (for those that don't know--and I freely admit, I was in this boat at one time in my life too--they are completely different diseases, they just have similar symptoms). I read an entire article yesterday about how diabetes can lead to fatty liver disease. I got all the way to the last paragraph before they mentioned that it was the insulin resistance factors that caused the liver damage--something that only happens in type 2 diabetics. (I'm all for renaming type 1. If I hear one more person say "but you're so thin" after I tell them I have diabetes, I will lose it. How about Autoimmune Induced Glucose Intolerance? AIGI for short.)

Education goes a long way. And having a little faith that if you are kind enough to accept my diabetic child into your daycare with no strings attached I won't sue you if something goes wrong, is also a step in the right direction.

Monday, May 7, 2012


It is gloomy. The rain has been trickling down from grey skies all morning. And it's Monday. I hate Mondays. Especially gloomy Mondays that start with a high. After going to bed with a very respectable 121, I woke up this morning with a very frustrating 165. The last few nights I have experienced seemingly unjustified high blood sugars after dinner. Last night, I finally caught on. I double my dinner dose. And it worked! Well... Apparently not. I am struggling to hang on to the inspiring words that my yoga teacher shared with us yesterday: Life is not a given right, it is a gift. So I look outside and force myself to say, "Oh good, rain. We can really use it. It's been such a dry spring. I will enjoy this rain (and this gloom)." And I look at my monitor and clench my teeth in a smile, "I will enjoy this opportunity to listen to my disease and understand what it is telling me" (even though I cannot possibly wrap my mind around what the hell is going on here). I say these things aloud, but I still slump my shoulders and stare out the window with a frown because the grey skies make me depressed, the random imperfect blood sugars make me angry, and because the new iBGStar smartphone glucose monitor is only for the iPhone (come on Android! Does Apple have to win at everything!?).

I can sit here and bitch all morning (and I am compelled to). Or I can get up, put on my rain jacket and go for a run. The rain will energize me. The run will tame the rising sugars. And the post workout rush will make this Monday (maybe) a little more tolerable. Again I say it, this time aloud:

"Life is not a given right. It is a gift. Live in every moment. Take nothing for granted."

(Not even gloomy Mondays. Someday those will be gone too.)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

After the Ride

I am slowly recovering from the grueling bike ride on Thursday. I am not nearly as sore as I thought I would be (actually my sit-bones are just as sore as I thought they would be). The new trail (the Cheyenne Rim trail at Soapstone Natural Area) proved to be a little harder than I had anticipated. It took us about two hours to get to the turn around point (and only one hour to get back to the parking lot--I do love down hill so much better). But the pay off was well worth it. After 7.6 miles of tedious elevation gain, the landscape opened up to a beautiful red dirt valley. We stopped and ate lunch on a rock outcropping and took in the magnificent scene. We were the only people for miles. There is something so healing about that kind of silence.

Before we started the bike ride, I drank a homemade protein shake (about 17g protein, 20g carb). That, along with a conservative amount of insulin at brunch, held me over pretty well. I checked my sugars around the 6 mile mark, after a painful hill climb left me feeling drained. 67 and likely dropping. I took four glucose tabs and hopped back on my bike. I could sense that the halfway point and subsequent lunch break were near. It turned out I was being a little too hopeful in that aspect. by the time we did stop for lunch, I knew I had some room to work as far as blood sugars were concerned. I ate freely with little regard to carb counting (just one of the many benefits of serious activity). The way back was mostly downhill and by the time we got back to the car my blood sugar was holding strong at 93.

We ended the day with a home cooked meal and some celebratory drinks on the patio. (Did I mention that my parents kick ass?)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Activity is the Best Thing

Down to 2u of long acting insulin! Things are definitely looking good. Thanks to a very fun integrated iPod adaptor my boyfriend got me, I have been pushing my morning runs farther and farther each day. I have my eyes set on three and a half miles for Friday. That is, if I can walk after my 15 mile mountain bike trek tomorrow. My parents are coming up for a belated birthday celebration and we have big plans: brunch at Snooze, bike ride, and homemade Moroccan shish kabobs for dinner. With any luck, I will be able to ditch the Lantus entirely for a few days and embrace a life that involves three needle pricks a day instead of four.

To all the T1Ds out there who were told they had to limit their activities because of this disease, it is just not true. I was lucky enough to be ignorant to that myth and to have an outpatient nurse with an eight year old diabetic son. She knew, just as I do, that diabetes does not have to keep you pinned down. Eat before you exercise, check your sugars frequently, and always pack glucose tabs and extra snacks. You can take on the world.