How a Post-Meal Walk Effects My Blood Sugar

A post meal walk almost always lowers my blood sugar.  But in varying degrees that are sometimes unpredictable or at least, not obvious.

Last night, I ate Thai food at a restaurant we go to frequently enough, that I know (usually) exactly how much insulin I need to take, to have a happy result with my blood sugar post-meal.

Like I said:  usually.

But that’s the thing, isn’t it? When it comes to diabetes and blood sugar control, what works perfect sometimes, even most of the time, can for whatever reason miss the mark completely another time.

And so was the case with last night’s Pad Thai Woon Sen.  I went to dinner with my dad, my brother, and Fermin.  We were sitting around after dinner, and my Dexcom started alarming me.  I have it set to start nagging me at 150 mg/dL, so when it first started buzzing, I figured my insulin just needed a little more time to get in there and start battling it out with the carbs.  But the alarms continued, and the trend graph was going nearly straight up. By the time I got home, it had risen to about 230 mg/dL. CRAP.

Once my blood sugar gets over about 170 mg/dL, it becomes more challenging to get it down around 100mg/dL. Which is why I was planning on a taking extra insulin PLUS taking brisk walks with each of my dogs.  But I was in such a hurry to get out the door and walk, I realized I forgot to take my shot.

I figured I’d just take it when I dropped off Lucy and grabbed Ricky for his walk.

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Lucy and Ricky are always up for a walk with me~ What a great support system these two are!

So Lucy and I went on our very brisk walk for about 20 minutes. It was easy to walk fast, because it was already dark into the night, and honestly, I didn’t feel 100% safe for some reason.  I saw an opposum, and I heard the clanging collar of another dog that I couldn’t see at first.  Luckily, once I did see the dog, I also saw that it was attached to a leash and a person. But those things made me feel a little edgy and kept us walking at a brisk pace.

And it felt great.  When Lucy and I got home, my Dexcom was showing 153 with an arrow pointing straight down. That was a big fall in just 20 minutes time, so I decided not to take anymore insulin. That drop was a little shocking, and not typical for me at all. I figured I might be able to get it down around 80-100mg/dL with a second walk with Ricky.

And that’s close to how it turned out.

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Look at that big drop that happened in less than an hour! I ate around 7pm, and went on a walk around 9pm. That walked dropped by blood sugar about 100 mg/dL in 40 minutes time!

I think my glucometer actually said I was at 106 mg/dL by the time I got home from my second walk.  I was happy with that, so I took my bath, and called it a day around 11pm. However, later in the night, once I had gone to sleep, I was having a slow upward trend that eventually got well above my 150mg/dL marker.  I ended up taking a shot, going back to sleep, and it was around 85mg/dL when I woke up in the morning.

I don’t really know what that was all about.  All of it was weird and a little out of the ordinary. But anyone who has Type 1 learns that you can never get things figured out so that one formula works every time.  It just doesn’t work that way at all.

As an example, today I ate lunch and took my insulin.  My blood sugar started to get up around 140 about an hour and a half after I ate.  So, I did something similar to what I did last night… I took my dogs on brisk walks.  And I actually walked a little further this time. I walked each dog for about 30 minutes.  And look!  Although it went down some, which I was hoping for, it was nothing like last night!

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I ate around 12:30, and went for an hour walk around 3, as shown on this graph. This time, my blood sugar moved at a more gradual pace.

Ahhh, the mysteries of diabetes! It definitely keeps me guessing, and trying to figure it out.  Just when I start to feel cocky and think I’ve got it, it changes it’s game.  But I will never give up!th-1

 

Traveling With Diabetes

Having T1 diabetes has certainly never stopped me from traveling anywhere I’ve ever wanted to go.  But it probably slows down my speed of packing my bag and getting myself out the door.

Tomorrow my husband, my two dogs and I leave on a road trip to Colorado.  We’re driving the 12 hours rather than flying, so we can take our dogs, a.k.a The Ricardo’s, a.k.a. Lucy and Ricky.  Although I’m not necessarily stoked about the long drive, it will be totally worth it to have them there with us.

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Lucy
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Ricky

Because the daily plans will look something like this:

1.eat

2.hike

3.relax

4.repeat

And those are Lucy and Ricky’s favorite past times… and pretty much, mine too!

Typically, I do best not taking ANY insulin (other than the long acting Tresiba I have floating around in me 24 hours a day) before exercise.  So on a normal day, when I’m at home, I do my main walk, run, yoga, or any other workout I do first thing in the morning before taking any insulin.  I generally have a steady blood sugar of around 90 mg/dL in the morning, and although it starts to go up when I start my day (adrenaline?  I’m not sure what it is that spikes it, but as soon as I get out of bed and put clothes on, it starts rising about 30-50 mg/dL).  It’s kind of perfect, because as I exercise over the next hour or so upon waking, my blood sugar starts to fall. By the time I’m done, it’s (hopefully) around 80 mg/dL.  If it drops a little too much, I grab a piece of fruit, or Mentos candy if I’m not near something more nutritional.

But I know on this trip, I’ll be hiking more often, and most likely at various times of day.  Which means…

I need to remember not only to pack candy, but I’m going to have to be wearing my fanny pack looking like a dork so that I always have it with me.  And I am going to try hard to always think it through before injecting my insulin pre-meal, “Will I be hiking within the next couple of hours? How active am I going to be?” Because I HATE having to eat sugar (or anything honestly) when I’m not at all hungry, but instead, just fighting a low.  And inconveniencing whoever I’m with…

We’ll be meeting up with both my brother and sister, and although they know I have diabetes, they don’t really have to deal with it, and never have. So I hope I don’t slow us all down with the lows I’ll more than likely have to battle from time to time.

Whenever I travel, I bring about double the amount of everything diabetes related I might need- insulin, test strips, candy, etc.  I make sure I have all my Dexcom supplies, and I bring a fresh sensor in case my current one loses it’s steam while I’m on the road. I check and recheck, because what a nightmare it would be if I forgot something I have to have.

Whenever my husband and I pack for vacations and are trying to figure out if we’ve forgotten anything– like sunscreen, phone chargers, underwear, etc– we always sigh and so, “Oh well, we’re not going to a third world country.  If we’ve forgotten something we can just buy it.”  This does not apply however, to my Dexcom, my insulin, glucometer and test strips.  Although maybe I could buy those things, it would be ridiculous, and loads of trouble insurance wise.

So I spend maybe an extra 10-15 minutes packing for a trip because I have diabetes and I always need to be prepared.  Not a big deal.  And just like bringing the Ricardos on this upcoming adventure, SO WORTH IT.

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“We Love R&R!”

 

My T1 Diabetes Blog’s “Diaversary”

Last July, I started My T1 Diabetes blog.  (It began as a Blogger address, but has more recently moved and is staying here.) Now that I’ve been writing my blog for a year, I decided to reflect a little on why I started writing it in the first place, and why I plan to continue.

My History and Love with Writing

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my first diary circa 1978

Since I learned how to write, I’ve kept a diary.  I think I got my first one when I was about 6 or 7 years old.  It was pretty sporadic, and sometimes there wasn’t a lot to write about.  I have lots of reports regarding what the weather was like in Dallas back in 1978.  As I got older, those diaries became more and more about boys!  And fights with friends over boys!  My best friend (then and now) and I have referred back to those diaries over the years, our bellies sore from laughing so hard reading about how boy crazy we both were.

As an adult, that diary keeping morphed into journaling,  which is the exact same thing as keeping a diary, but journaling just sounds more grown up.  I love that I have books and books and books of journals from all these phases of my life.

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some of my many diaries and journals

Once the online world came about, I had a website.  I’m a musician, so it was sort of necessary when I was gigging a lot.  I had a blog page on that website.  I wrote about my music life, but lots of other things too… books I was reading, movies I loved, events and experiences that were challenging and/or awesome. I began blogging about a dozen years ago and have continued ever since. (You can visit that website and blog by clicking HERE)

But I never included much (if anything really) about my life with type 1 diabetes.  Somehow, that stayed out of my narrative for many, many years.

What I know about writing- whether it’s a diary, a journal, a blog, or even a song- is that not only does it help me document things I care about, but also, it’s during that process of writing that I really look at something closely and come to understand it better.

Type 1 Diabetes Diagnosis

thI learned a lot about Type 1 diabetes when I was first diagnosed, over 20 years ago.  I didn’t necessarily want to, but I had to.  I learned about shots, carb counting, low and high blood sugars, etc.  I read all the books I could get my hands on about the topic, and I had a page full of questions for my endocrinologist at every appointment I went to during the first few years after my diagnosis.

Eventually, it seemed I had exhausted all the resources available to me.  And it seemed to be enough.

Fast forward about 2 decades.  I was on auto pilot with my T1 diabetes regimen. My doctors and I were going along with that idea of, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Things were going pretty well with the routines and practices I had adopted all those years ago.

New Things To Learn About

About a year and a half ago, I went to an event here in Dallas hosted by JDRF called Type 1 Nation. There, I heard all sorts of new things that had come out in the world of diabetes since I had last tuned in- New ideas, medicines and technology. I realized that by not staying in tune and connected with the diabetes community, I had missed out on hearing about all of these exciting developments.

It was around that time that I started using a Dexcom CGM.  I’ve written about the Dexcom on my blog a few times (here and here). Needless to say, I love it and now it’s hard to imagine how I got by without it for so many years.

Because of the Type 1 Nation event, and also because of the powerful tool of using a Dexcom CGM, I feel excited, hopeful and recharged with my interest in diabetes.

 My Type 1 Diabetes Blog

So, why not write about it?  Why not write for myself about the things I’m learning and the experiences I’m having all related to Type 1?  When I really want to figure things out, I know writing about them serves me well.  And hey! Maybe I can even help somebody else out along the way.  Someone who is a little new to this diabetes game, or someone who just needs a little encouragement to tighten up their management. Or maybe someone who just wants to read about another person’s experience with similar challenges.  I know reading other’s blogs, articles and books has helped me tremendously.  Maybe my voice can resonate with other people going through some of the same things I go thru.

That’s why I started My T1 Diabetes blog last July.

Thank you so much for visiting my blog today.  Please “follow me” by providing your name and email address (on the right) so that you won’t miss a single post.  You’ll receive a weekly email when a new post has been published.  Or, just bookmark my page and check back weekly for new articles.  If you have any questions, comments, or just general feedback, you can get in touch with me anytime with an email.

Comparing the Dexcom G5 to G4

(*This post originally appeared on my now defunct Blogger blog, but because this article still gets a lot of traffic, I wanted to move it to this current blog in the hopes that readers could find me!)

 

DEXCOM G5

I got mine last week.

I was uber excited that:

1. All of the data from my sensor would go directly to my iPhone, and cut out the middle man, aka, the receiver. I misplace that stupid little thing often, and cannot tell you how much time I’ve wasted looking for it.  At least if I misplace my phone, I can call it from another phone and it will ring. Also, one less thing to carry around?! Sign me up!

2. I was told that if I was out of range from my iPhone, once I was back in range, it would upload the data.  This would be a big improvement, since sometimes I’ll forget my receiver when I go somewhere and will lose hours of data that will forever remain a mystery.

3. There is a phone app called “Clarity” that goes along with the G5. I have an older Mac and couldn’t use the other software that analyzed the data of the Dexcom G4. I had heard Clarity was very easy to read, and had lots of valuable info, including a predicted A1C.

After having had the new Dexcom for about a week now, my opinion is- it’s really not that different or improved than my previous G4 version. I am not blown away by any means.

1.  Yep, it goes directly to my iPhone. BUT I actually prefer a few things about the receiver, which is surprising to me.  It’s smaller than my ultra huge iPhone 6 Plus- I can’t even fit my mega phone into most of my pockets I’m now discovering.  Also, with the receiver, I just touch one button, and voila~I can see my blood sugar reading!  With the iPhone however, I have to hit a button to light up my screen, then hit my 4 key code to unlock (because just my thumbprint pretty much never works), and then hit the Dexcom icon.  That’s between 3-7 button pushes compared to 1.  It’s a small complaint, but it is a complaint.  (And neither of these problems are Dexcom’s fault, I realize.) If I’m somewhere like my yoga class, it’s one thing to press one button on a little meter, but it looks pretty obnoxious to have my iPhone in class and press several buttons to see what my blood sugar is– I might look like some asshole texting a friend during yoga. OH NO!

One advantage the iPhone has over the receiver is that I can set my alerts to different sounds, and I can adjust the volume.  BUT- and it’s sorta a big but- BUT, often the alarm only comes by way of a text alert, but not the sound. Maybe it’s a software glitch that will be cleared up soon, but for now, that’s not working consistently for me. Also, I have to remember to keep the volume on and up or I don’t hear the alerts anyway.

Another positive- I like the display on the iPhone- it looks like this:

Dexcom G5 quick glance graphic

And if you turn it to landscape, you can view it over the past 1 hour, 3 hours, 6 hours, 12 hours or 24 hours.

my last 12 hours graphed on the Dexcom app

If you run your finger over the little dots, it tells you your blood sugar for each individual dot.

(specific blood sugar readings for each dot on the graph as you move your finger along the line)

2. If I’m out of range, that missed data does NOT upload once I’m back in range.  It’s just blank areas of the graph. (You can see that in the above graph- I was out of range for a while around 11am and so it’s blank.) The Dexcom rep who told me that was either wrong, or mine doesn’t work right. So in this regard, the G5 and the G4 are the same.  Out of range is lost data and one of life’s great mysteries.

3.  The Clarity app makes no sense to me. For one, I can’t turn my phone and see it in landscape mode, so I can only see an unreadable version that looks like this:

I’ve got great eyesight, but I need a magnifying lens to have any idea what this says.

I have no idea what that graph is all about, and it’s such a small amount of information, helpful or otherwise even if I could read it.  However, that could change once it’s collected 14 days of data.  But so far, 6 days in, this is ALL it shows me.  And it’s not impressive at all.

So maybe I set the bar a little too high for the G5 before I got it.  It’s more or less the same as the previous model. Having the blood sugar data come directly to my phone hasn’t made a big difference in my life, like I thought it might.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my Dexcom, and at this point, can’t even figure out how I had decent blood sugar control without it- and how I avoided daily severe low blood sugars, especially during the night.  I’m just saying, the G5 hasn’t made me fall any deeper in love.

But I’m only 6 days in…

My Easy Tip to Reduce Carbohydrate Consumption

Although, I CAN eat anything I want, like any other sensible human being- diabetic or not, I try to be mindful.  I try to eat things in moderation- Especially carbohydrates.  And it doesn’t really matter if it’s cake, potatoes, rice, bread,… Carbs are carbs, as far as my blood sugar is concerned.  All carbohydrates cause my blood sugar to rise.  Depending on the type of carbohydrate, it may spike more quickly, or stick around a little longer, but like I said, carbs are carbs.

By the way, carbs cause everyone’s blood sugar to rise.  Even non-diabetics.  The difference is, a non-diabetic has a functioning pancreas with the ability to squirt out insulin to counterbalance that rise in blood sugar.  (“Squirt” is probably not the most scientific word to use, but I am not a scientist, so it’s okay.) But for me, and the other Type 1 diabetics of the world, whenever we consume carbs, we need to inject synthetic insulin, hoping to mimic what the non-diabetic’s pancreas does naturally.

Here’s how I like to think about the whole carb “situation”.

The less insulin I have to take, the easier it is to not have extreme high and low blood sugars.  And the easier it is to not make a mistake when dosing my insulin.  I believe in that saying “Less is more.”

I know there are many T1s that swear by a strict carbohydrate reduced diet. For me though, just being mindful, and not overdoing it, seems to work best. Why deprive myself of something I love when I just don’t need to?

So, here’s my easy carb-reduction tip of the day if you’re a bread lover, like me.

If there is an option to “skinny” your sandwich (they do this at Which Wich, and Potbelly), do it!  Lots of sandwich places will cut out some of the bread when preparing a sandwich so you end up with about half the bread that would have been there otherwise. I always tear away at even more of the remaining bread, and only eat what is really necessary for me to feel like it’s the perfect balance!

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this was a “skinny” sandwich, which I made skinnier by tearing off bread edges i really didn’t need

The same goes for anything else with a bread “element”- like a hamburger or pizza.  My husband calls my method of tearing away at the bread on my plate the “Low-Carb Kerri” plan.  I don’t feel like I’m missing out at all, but it certainly reduces what could be consumed if I wasn’t being mindful, and tearing away at what I just don’t need.

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hamburger bun, reduced by at least 50% by just tearing around the edges as well as tearing away the top bun
what remained of my little pizza once i tore away the crust- at least half of the bread wasn't really necessary
what remained of my little pizza once i tore away the crust- at least half of the bread wasn’t really necessary

 

As you can see, my carbohydrate reducing method for bread is pretty simple and doesn’t look like I’m depriving myself of much.  And that’s exactly why I don’t mind doing it.

Nudging Blood Sugars Along… Thanks to Dexcom

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DEXCOM G5 xoxo

I love my Dexcom so much.  I mention it on this blog often. It allows me to nudge my blood sugars in the right direction whenever things get a little off track.

In the days prior to having a CGM, if I remembered, I would check my blood sugar with my glucometer about 2 hours after eating, as advised by my endocrinologist.  It gave me a little information, but not a lot.  I didn’t know if my blood sugar was still trending up, if it had stabilized, or if it was falling.

I rarely bothered with a correction dose if my blood sugar was a little high. Or even a lot high.  I’d just check it again before my next meal a few hours later and regroup at that point.  It was a lot of highs and lows…a rollercoaster that was not very fun!

These days, it’s a whole lot different and a whole lot better.  I’ve learned to use the Dexcom to a great advantage!

As an example…

Yesterday, I ate lunch around noon.  And oh, yes!  It was delicious.  I had a hamburger from this yummy local spot called Diggs.  They “dig” out part of the bun to allow space for the toppings of your choice.  I dig away even more to get rid of some of the unnecessary carbs. But I digress…

Before my hamburger, I pre-bolused my insulin, about 25-30 minutes before eating.  Then, about an hour after I ate, I noticed on my Dexcom, my blood sugar was steadily trending up.  I knew since I had a lot of protein, this upwards trend would most likely continue if I didn’t do something about it.  (I know protein does that to me, because I’ve noticed this based on lots of meals!)  But I also knew I still had short acting insulin working away, trying to battle things out.

I thought about taking a small amount of extra insulin.  But then I looked outside, noticed the rain had stopped, and looked over at my Ricky Ricardo.

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Ricky says a walk is always a good idea!

We talked things over, and we decided we’d go on a brisk walk,  between raindrops, and then see what my blood sugar looked like.

It wasn’t long before my trend line changed it’s direction. And Ricky’s tongue was hanging out.  And the sky was starting to darken once again.  So it seemed the perfect time to head home.

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I thought I had it made.  But before too long, that little trend line was heading up again…

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But the good news was, the rain wasn’t heavy at all, and I had another friend that wanted her turn to walk with me!

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“Take me! Take me!” said Lucy.

Lucy and I walked (fast!) for about 30 minutes.  I think that walk kept my blood sugar from rising higher, but it never really brought it down near 100 which is ideal for me.

Once I saw that my blood sugar was stuck around 135/140, (which isn’t bad but not as low as I’d like it once I’m sure all my fast insulin is out of my system), I took a very small correction dose and then things slid in the right direction.

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Back in my happy range!

I know that walking helps the insulin I have taken really get going and do it’s job usually.  I was lucky, because I had a flexible schedule yesterday. I’d rather try a walk first, and then if necessary, take insulin if my blood sugar is still higher than my target range.  Of course, I can’t always do it this way, but it is ideal.

The rest of the day, things stayed steady.  I find that if I just nudge my blood sugars here and there, slightly up and slightly down, it’s so much easier than once I’m really chasing things down (in either direction). I owe it to Dexcom for giving me the ability to handle things this way.

And I thank my two best friends, for always being willing to take a walk with me!

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The Cheerleaders: Lucy
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and Ricky!

Insulin Mistakes Happen

Back when I was using Lantus for my long acting insulin, I bought a Timesulin cap to help me remember not only IF I had taken my insulin each evening, but WHEN I took it.  It was helpful to me, because prior to that handy Timesulin cap, I would occasionally go into a panic around bedtime trying to remember, “Did I take my insulin, or did I just think about taking my insulin.”  There was no great way of knowing the answer other than waiting until the next day to see if I had a big spike in my blood sugar.

Anyway, this simple little Timesulin cap solved that problem. You just cap it on your insulin and the digital timer starts so you know when you took your last dose. Easy.

Until I switched over to using Tresiba for my long acting insulin.  I definitely prefer the way Tresiba worIMG_0426ks for me(it lasts longer, and doesn’t seem to have a peak at all- it’s very steady and predictable). However, the Timesulin cap doesn’t fit on the top of the Tresiba pen.  But, the way I’ve  solved the problem has been to keep that old Lantus pen in the drawer, beside my Tresiba.  I no longer use the Lantus insulin, but I take the Timesulin cap off and put it back on as I take my daily Tresiba shot.  Great.  So far, so good.

Until last night.

I was tired and I was multi tasking (which never works for me, no matter how simple the multi tasks are!), and as soon as I gave myself a the my shot, I said out loud, “Oh shit!”

I had given myself my usual dosage of long acting insulin… but I used the old (very old) Lantus instead of my Tresiba.  It wasn’t dated as expired, but I had stopped using it about 5 months ago.  All that time, it had just sat in a drawer in my bathroom- unrefridgerated.  So was it still working?  Even a little? I’ve always been told unrefridgerated insulin lasts only a month or so.

There was no way to really know how well this insulin could actually do it’s job, but it seemed a little too iffy and dangerous to just pile on more long acting insulin by taking a second shot, with my Tresiba pen.  Like I had said out loud to myself, Oh Shit.

But that night, and the next morning, everything seemed pretty typical, and my blood sugars were staying in the range where I like to keep them.

But by about 4pm that day my blood sugars started climbing.  I hadn’t eaten anything that would explain this late afternoon spike, so it seemed that whatever long acting insulin had been working earlier in the day, was finally leaving the building.  And it was running out of there pretty quickly all of the sudden.

I went ahead and took my Tresiba, far earlier in the day than I usually take it- Or a day late, depending on which way you look at it.  I also had to take some short acting insulin to get my blood sugar down near 100 (finally…it took some time, multiple shots, and patience).

Now, I’ve taken the needle off of the Lantus.  Duh.  Why didn’t I do that the first time around so that a mistake like this couldn’t happen?IMG_0427

But that’s the great thing about mistakes.  You learn from them.  And if you’re lucky, you won’t make the same mistake twice.

Managing Type 1 Diabetes is a constant learning process… I make all sorts of mistakes.  But I don’t let them bum me out.  I just learn from them, and try to do all that I can to do better next time.

 

 

Tricks of the Trade With Type 1 Diabetes

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This is the last day of Diabetes Blog Week, and today’s topic is “Tips and Tricks.”

Let’s round out the week by sharing our best diabetes tips and diabetes tricks. From how you organize supplies to how you manage gear on the go/vacation (beach, or skiing, or whatever). From how you keep track of prescription numbers to how you remember to get your orders refilled. How about any “unconventional” diabetes practices, or ways to make diabetes work for YOU (not necessarily how the doctors say to do it!). There’s always something we can learn from each other. (Remember though, please no medical advice or dangerous suggestions.)

I have 2 quick little tricks to share that work well for MY T1 DIABETES…

I used to take my “fast” acting insulin about 15 minutes or so before eating, as recommended by my endo.  It wasn’t until I got a Dexcom CGM that I became aware of how slow that fast acting insulin actually is… at least in my body, with my metabolism.  Some days, it’s a little faster, some days, a little slower- I’m sure, for a whole host of reasons.  I now typically take my insulin shot 30 to even 45 minutes before eating.  It depends on what I’m going to eat (how fast will it spike my bs), how active I’ve been, etc… But I use my CGM to see when that trend line starts to travel south- But I don’t let it get to the point of taking a dive, or reaching an uncomfortably low number.  This is NOT advice, but it’s just the way I do it, and for me, it serves me well.  It’s one of the things that’s helped me to bring my A1C from the mid 6’s to the mid 5’s, while staying in my target range 80-85% of the time.

There have been the occasional unintended lows from this method, for sure!  But it’s always treatable, not a big deal because I see it coming (thanks to the Dexcom!), and it always teaches me something. I’ve gotten more and more in tune with my body and the way it reacts to all the things that effect the timing of the rise and fall of my blood sugar.

My 2nd and final tip for today’s post is just to be as active as possible.  I’ve got a couple of high energy dogs that keep me active- I walk briskly with them about 2 to 2 ½ hours a day.

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Lucy McGilicuddy
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Ricky Ricardo

I take Ricky and Lucy on separate walks, and they each get two walks a day.  It’s easier for me to handle them one at a time, it gives us a little one-on-one bonding time, and it ups my activity level times two.  SO, it’s a win-win. I use to run anywhere between 6 and 8 1/2 miles daily, now I walk it instead.  It takes a larger chunk of my day, but has the same over all (great) effect on my blood sugar.  I never have to take a day off, because it’s just brisk walking.  I’m never sore from it, or I feel like I need a recovery day. I’ve read, and believe based on my own experience, that those long daily walks keep me highly sensitive to insulin.  And the less insulin I need to take, the easier it goes for me.

Those are just a couple of simple little tricks I’ll share today- I can’t wait to visit other T1 blogs to see what others have to say on this topic!

One Simple Wish

Today’s topic for the “Diabetes Blog Week” is about healthcare.

Most people who live with a chronic illness end up with a lot of experience when it comes to dealing with healthcare. How would you improve or change your healthcare experience? What would you like to see happening during medical visits with your healthcare team? How about when dealing with your health insurance companies? What’s your Healthcare Wish List or Biggest Frustration? Today is the day to share it all!

I go to my endocrinologist every 3 or 4 months, but it sometimes seems like an unnecessary cost to go so often.  Now that I have a Dexcom CGM, I have a pretty good idea what my A1C is these days, even without the lab work at the doctor’s office.  That used to be my main motivator to go to my quarterly appointments.

Since Type 1 Diabetes is a self-managed condition, especially after having it for 20-something years, I’m not waiting for my doctor to tell me how to adjust things when my blood sugars start to get a little jacked up.  I trust myself to make adjustments in my management… because that’s really what Type 1 is all about– constant adjustments! So really, why am I still going to those endo appointments as often as I do?

I’m happy with my current endocrinologist and I especially like the diabetic educators he has staffed at his office.  The thing I used to dread the most about my appointments at my previous endo was getting my blood drawn for lab work.  Needles, combined with veins, is just something I’ve never gotten used to.  And saying it’s just “something I’ve never gotten used to” is actually a huge understatement.

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This kid is handling it much better than I usually do…

I get pretty nauseated and there’s a big dramatic build up. Then, because I get so nervous, I tend to freak out the nurse that has the unlucky task of drawing my blood. It’s usually not pretty, or easy. But the great news is, at Diabetes America (where my current endocrinologist practices), they use a simple finger prick to give me A1C results.  It’s only once a year that they do a more thorough panel that requires the dreaded vein drain.  And that has been a dream come true for me!

Although I don’t dread the appointments nearly as much as I used to, they do consume at least half of the day, require me to “fast” for 4 hours (which depending on time of day, and my blood sugars, can be challenging), and they are costly! And they give me little to no new information. So again, why am I going to these appointments on a quarterly basis?

Maybe it’s because I want to be a “good” diabetic and follow the “rules”.  (A little lame, I know.) Maybe it’s because it keeps me motivated to have a “good” A1C that a health care professional is going to look at and hopefully praise me for. (A little shallow, I realize.)Maybe (and this reasoning actually seems to have some value), keeping regular appointments keeps me very accountable and makes me feel like I’m doing everything in my power to say on top of diabetes.  And that’s important to me! But maybe, “regular” appointments could just as well be every 6 months, rather than every 3 months.

So I guess I’m putting that idea on my wish list… The wish list I’m pretty sure is going to come true!

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Language and Diabetes

Because I was out of town, and then in a training class the week I returned from vacation, I’m late to the game of  “Diabetes Blog Week”.  I didn’t realize it was going on until I visited a few blogs I follow just last night.

This is my first year to participate, because, well, it’s the first year I actually have a blog about diabetes!  I’m so excited to participate and write about the remaining topics of the week.

So, here we go!

Language and Diabetes. There is an old saying that states “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. I’m willing to bet we’ve all disagreed with this at some point, and especially when it comes to diabetes. Many advocate for the importance of using non-stigmatizing, inclusive and non-judgmental language when speaking about or to people with diabetes. For some, they don’t care, others care passionately. Where do you stand when it comes to “person with diabetes” versus “diabetic”, or “checking” blood sugar versus “testing”, or any of the tons of other examples? Let’s explore the power of words, but please remember to keep things respectful.

There are very few words that offend me.  And personally, whether someone wants to refer to me as a “diabetic” or “a person with diabetes”- I totally don’t care.  I prefer the word NOT be pronounced like this though: “die-a-BEET-us”. But does it offend me?  Not at all.

The only “language” that sometimes frustrates me in my  world of diabetes, is that although Type 1 and Type 2 have so many major differences, they are both referred to as diabetes.  I feel a  little ridiculous clarifying and saying “I have TYPE 1 diabetes”, however the distinction  seems necessary.  I wish there were just two completely different words for the two conditions.  I don’t at all expect people to know all about my disease, but often times, they mistakenly think they know more than they do. I guess that’s  because Type 2 diabetes is so prevalent.  (about 95% of people with diabetes have Type 2)

Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease.  I got it in my early 20s. I cannot reverse it, or make it go into “remission” by changing my diet and exercising more.  And actually, I do look like someone with diabetes.  Trust me.  And yes, I have to take shots (or be on a pump) because my body mistakenly attacked my cells that produce insulin.  If I want to live, I need insulin, and I need to take synthetic insulin since my body doesn’t make it’s own.  But no, I don’t think of Type 1 diabetes as “the bad kind”.

That’s it.  That’s my only beef with the language around diabetes.  I think, as a rule, each disease should get it’s own, distinct name.