Thursday, June 28, 2012


When I opened the cupboard to get a glass this morning, I found a carton of juice staring me in the face.

A half-full carton of juice? In the cupboard?

Oh that's right. I had a low last night.

Some things only diabetics (and lunatics?) have the pleasure of experiencing.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Right Kind of Sacrifice

I am finally taking a long, deep sigh after one hell of a work month. A multitude of factors, including an attempt to put together a fundraising event for a local dog rescue (eventually successful, but not without cost to my sanity), all led to the last few weeks being some of the most stressful of my life. I had to make a lot of sacrifices in my daily routine just to keep from going insane (this blog, unfortunately, being one of them).

And all this sacrificing has started me thinking (now that the madness is over and my brain is again capable of doing so). Few people know daily sacrifice the way a T1D does. I don't know any healthy diabetic that hasn't had to change their lifestyles (turn it upside down really) in order to stay healthy. You change what you eat, how much you eat, when you eat, how you exercise, when you exercise. You change your social interactions, you change your likes and dislikes, sometime you even have to change your friends. All in the name of living with diabetes.

But I, long ago, learned that you can't live with that mindset. If you look at everything you do for the sake of staying healthy as a "sacrifice," you won't stay healthy for long. So, I no longer make sacrifices in my life in order to stay a healthy diabetic. I now, instead, make sacrifices in my diabetes health in order to live a little.

A healthy diabetic is who I am. But what's the point of staying healthy in order live, if you never actually live?

So, I still make sacrifices. I sacrifice a perfect blood sugar streak in order to go out for a drink with my friends. I trade in that beautiful 5.5 A1C for a glutinous Thanksgiving with my family. I go on exotic vacations and fun-filled road trips knowing full-well the traveling will set my sugars off for days. I throw carb counting out the window so I can enjoy a stress-free and romantic night out with my boyfriend.

The point is, I LIVE with diabetes.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Can't is a Dirty Word

Things I have been told I can not or should not do by peers, doctors, liability waivers, and strangers, because I am a diabetic:

  • Get a tattoo (I have three)
  • Get a massage (get one every couple months)
  • Get a facial (have had one)
  • Get a manicure (have not had one, but only because pretty nails don't last long where I work)
  • Do a shoulder stand (my second favorite yoga move)
  • Drink alcohol (guilty as charged)
  • Walk barefoot (I would do it ALL the time if society would let me)
  • Eat dessert (I have been known to indulge)
  • Exercise (won a metal a couple weeks ago at a 5k--second fastest time in my age group)
  • Participate in extreme activities (I've climbed 3 14ers, finished a 27 mile mountain bike race, and I will be spending most of September at a surf camp in Costa Rica)
  • Get decent health insurance (ok, so far this one is proving correct)
What are some things you have been told you can't or shouldn't do, and how have you proven them wrong?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Whole Food Experiment: Vanadium

What is it? Vanadium is a trace mineral that aids in insulin's ability to move glucose into cells.

Recommended daily intake: No more than 1.8mg (though there does seem to be some conflicting information on this--definitely talk to your doctor or dietitian if you are taking vanadium supplements).

Whole Food Sources:

  • Dill Weed
  • Parsley
  • Black Pepper
  • Mushrooms
  • Olives
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Shellfish

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 vanadium information:,, 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Calculating on the Fly

Calculating carbs at a restaurant is always difficult. The food comes to you all dressed and pretty, the carbs intermingling with the fats and proteins. The apparent quantity skewed by the size of the fancy plate. Sugars hiding in the dressings and marinades. And don't forget about the bread you downed before your meal came. Or that spoonful you stole off your table mate's plate. And you should always consider the Q factor (aka the quantity factor--the more fats and proteins you cram into your stomach the longer those carbs take to digest, causing you to miss that key moment when your insulin and glucose digestion are supposed to peak at the same time).

Calculating at restaurants is difficult.

But having a paper table cloth an a crayon make it a little easier.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pancreatic Abuse

I am finally recovering from what was a VERY busy weekend. There was a 5k (my spotted sidekick and I took 2nd in my age division), a festival complete with booze, greasy food vendors, and awesome 90's rock, my family was in town, and every moment I wasn't playing, I was working. Add it all up and what do you get? A little pancreatic abuse.

The morning started out promising. I woke up in the 90s, ate a normal breakfast and downed a protein shake (17g protien, 20g carb, 3g fat) before the race. After the 5k I had to stick around the festival to work the booth, pimping out my dog daycare to the half interested passers by. I ate a granola bar (15g carb) and made it easily to lunch in the low 100s. After that, me and my family, who had come up for the Taste of Fort Collins festival, all jumped on our bikes for the 3 mile journey into old town. Half way there I felt my sugar dip and had to pop four glucotabs at a stop light. The lows meant I was free to indulge a little at the festival without much of a consequence (at least, that's what I told myself). And indulge I did. We made the long bike ride home after a few too many luke-warm festival beers (but who doesn't love flying down a dark bike path when your a little tipsy?). I was a low 77 before bed, and ate a small snack before crawling under the sheets.

I woke the next morning feeling a little anxious and looking a little flush. 42. And from the throbbing headache and puffy face, I guessed I had been low for most of the night. I ate a small snack while waiting for the others to get ready for breakfast. The low was biting at my mind the entire meal and I made the easy mistake of over indulging. My blood sugar peaked a few hours later at 203 and continued to seesaw throughout the day.

Apparently beer and exercise can be a little too much for failing pancreas to handle.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Whole Food Experiment: Coenzyme Q10

What is it? Coenzyme Q10 is an oil-soluble, vitamin-like substance that helps improve circulation and stabilize blood sugar.

Recommended daily intake: 80mg

Whole Food Sources:

  • Red Meats (wild game contains higher concentrations than domestic; boiling the meat preserves more coQ10 than frying)
  • Fish (salmon, tuna, herring, trout; boil to preserve higher levels)
  • Oils (canola and soybean)
  • Nuts and Seeds (peanuts, walnuts, sesame seeds, pistachios; raw seeds have higher levels than roasted)
  • Hard Boiled Eggs

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 Coenzyme Q10:, 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Adventures in Catering

Among a fist-full of crazy endeavors that have been monopolizing my time lately is my new job as a caterer. As a person who has spent most of their work life talking to dogs, the food service industry might seem an odd choice. But, the pay is good, the hours are flexible, and I had an in with one of the other employees. It is the perfect second job to put a little spending cash in my pocket. And in fact, it just may be the most perfect job for me ever! It's all about food (delicious, tantalizing food), expressing my anal-retentiveness (napkins and silverware should be straight!), and running around like a mad woman (empty glass there, empty plate there, my god, get that woman some water stat!)--All things I am very good at.

But when you are a diabetic, no new task is ever a simple one. It is always an adventure. Throw in free food (including chocolate cake you can smell from ten feet away), a lot of moving and sweating, and a touch of nervous anxiety, and you have yourself an all out expedition into an unknown land.

I showed up to the catering place for my first gig on Saturday. Nervous, excited--my blood sugars were teetering on the high end of normal. I was thrown in the mix immediately--Fill this up! Put this in the van! Now go get that! Quick! (BS normalizing.) Then it was a one hour car ride to the ranch where the wedding was being held. (BS threatening to climb again.) Followed by an all out sprint to get the tent set up before the wedding party took over. (Dropping.)

By 2:00 we had everything in place and ready for the reception. And it was exactly two hours past my lunch time. Not fully sure of the etiquette associated with eating the food you are serving, I opted instead for the emergency peanut butter and agave sandwich I had packed. The second I took the first bite, the crowd of wedding patrons over at the gazebo started to cheer and stand up. Crap. They were heading for the reception tent where I was supposed to be. But the insulin was already on board. I shoved the sandwich into my mouth one giant, sticky, chocking bite at a time and forced it all down with a bottle of water.

I spent the rest of the evening running around busing the tables, filling water glasses, and serving the best smelling chocolate cake ever. By 8:00 things started to wind down and the servers gathered in the kitchen tent to graze through the left overs in the buffet trays. It was again two hours past my dinner time and the allure of the amazing yet untouchable food I had been handling all night, proved to be too much. I threw all caution and carb counts to the wind and started shoveling the food into my mouth.

The reckless eating combined with an hour long drive home, a staff celebration at the bar after dishes were done, and a full day of not having the opportunity to check my blood sugar led to a spectacular 221 when I finally had time to prick my finger at 11:30 (spectacular because it could have been much much worse, but I had been hoping it was much much better).

But next time I'll know: The chaotic running around doesn't burn as much energy as you feel like it should; The cake is best left to the patrons; and before you fill your mouth with food scraps, take a moment, and take some insulin.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Guinea Pig

I came across this article while skimming through my daily diabetes news brief today:

Omni Announces Type 1 Diabetes Trial Results

This is the trial I have been involved with since January 2011. I personally saw some pretty amazing results during the initial few weeks on AAT. At one point I was off long acting insulin completely! While being a guinea pig is a bit of a strange thing, and maybe a little scary at times, these kinds of trials do so much to help scientists understand the disease and get that much closer to a cure. (True, I have stated my distrust in pharmaceutical companies before, but I have faith that scientists will overcome Big Pharma and develop a true cure--even if I have to go through the black market to get it!)