I haven’t joined a gym yet here in Portland, for a few reasons, the foremost being that I don’t have a job up here yet and I don’t feel entitled to spend on money on a gym membership when running and walking are free and I don’t have a steady income yet (plus those pesky COBRA payments. Ug!)
But, I still have a wedding coming up and a wedding dress that will be showing off my shoulders, arms, and upper back, and I want to make sure I’m looking my best on the big day. I’ve been running three days a week, but hadn’t thought about building upper body muscle until this week when I realized we’re three months out from the wedding. So on Monday, I decided to do a little resistance training to focus on those areas.
Back in college, when I first learned my way around the weight room thanks to an old boyfriend on the football team, I developed a 30 minute routine that worked all major muscles groups. Lifting from that circuit, but also sticking with exercises that don’t require any equipment, I pulled together a short, 20-minute strength training routine and made my first round on Monday. It involves push-ups, tricep dips, crunches, planks, lunges and squats. I worked my way through three sets of each exercise, doing as many reps as I could (but not more than 25 on any of them….and seven if you’re talking about the push-ups. So damn hard!).
It’s a challenging enough workout that I know I’m actually building muscle, but still simple enough that I should be able to stick with it three times a week. I’ll alternate this workout with my running days, for a total of six workouts a week.
I’m excited to have added strength training back into my routine, although nothing could have prepared me for the level of soreness I have felt over the past few days. Turns out going to Asia and not working out for three months doesn’t make for an easy re-entry into the strength-conditioning world. Just getting off the couch today elicits a groan that makes me sound like I’m 95 and pretty doggone cranky.
But sore muscles are also a sign that whatever I’m doing is working. And since I’ve only got three months until the wedding, it’s definitely time to kick it in to high gear, with or without a gym membership!
Wedding dresses aren’t exactly everyday attire. As we get closer to our wedding and I put my dress on for fittings with the seamstress, I’ve also realized that the undergarments that work best with a wedding gown aren’t exactly everyday attire either. Now is the part in the blog where I attempt to share a diabetes-related undergarment story without over-sharing everything else…you’ve been warned.
I went to a local department store to get the perfect under-things for my dress. These underthings are meant to provide lift in certain areas, and smoothing and shaping in other areas so that the total figure of me in my wedding dress looks just right (ladies out there know what I’m talking about, fellas, this is just all part of the “magic show” that we put on. Don’t over think it). Suffice it to say, I found myself in a dressing room with a saleswoman taking my measurements while wearing minimal clothing. As soon as she stepped in the room, I told her about my two devices, explaining that I have diabetes and what they were for.
“Oh wow. That’s so cool. Wait so what do they do?”
“Well this one checks blood sugar” I said pointing to the Dexcom sensor on my stomach. “And this one gives insulin” I said while turning my back to her so she could see the pod.
“How cool! You’re like a little robot!” she exclaimed.
“Yes, exactly.,” I said laughing. “A robot pancreas.”
“Robot Pancreas! I love that!” she said laughing. “Hey if they make your life easier, that’s so great! Ok, let’s get you measured. ”
She proceeded to take my measurements and we talked alternately about diabetes and the wedding. You could tell she was used to measuring ladies of all sorts in their skivvies because nothing really phased her. She made sure not to include my pump in her measurement around my waist, and didn’t bat an eye at my peeling, tape-residued sensor.
“Ok, I’m going to grab you a slim-fitting slip to try on for under the dress. Do your little friends stay on?” she said, completely serious.
My little friends. My little friends? What is she….oh! She’s talking about my pump and sensor!
“Um yes! Yes they do! My little friends stay on with everything I wear….”
“Oh good” she replied, “I just didn’t want the slip to pull on them when you put it on.”
My little friends? Well, they are two of the most helpful devices I’ve ever met, so what if they’re inanimate objects? Me and my little friends go everywhere together. Best buds! I had to laugh at her choice of words, and I loved that she kept everything light-hearted, even though I was standing there a bit exposed and vulnerable. If only everyone had that reaction to diabetes!
There are a few things in our weird little diabetes world that give us an odd sense of satisfaction. Things that folks without this disease just can’t appreciate like we do. For example, seeing a fresh supply of insulin filling up your butter compartment. It feels so good. So…safe, in a weird way. Or changing your infusion site and knowing that you won’t have to worry about inserting a new one for a few days. It’s like a little relief, just for a few days, while managing the exhaustive list of “Things to Worry About with Diabetes” list.
A big, huge, box of pods arriving at your doorstep, replenishing your supply and giving you one less thing to remember to re-order…at least for the next three months.
It really is all about the little joys with this disease…we have to get excited about something, right?
Sometimes, I feel the need to confess my diabetes sins. Us folks with diabetes make choices all day, every day. We carb count, interpret numbers, plan ahead, look back, decide doses, and navigate the obstacle course that is Life with Diabetes. And sometimes, we knowingly don’t make the best choices. These are the times when I wish there was a little booth I could step into and confess my diabetes indiscretions. A Diabetes Confessional if you will. Since that hasn’t been invented (yet), I often post my mistakes here on the blog, with all of you out there serving in place of a priest.
Today’s confession would be the fact that my blood sugar was high when I woke up at 4am on Monday morning (I woke up, of course, because I had to pee. Which is indecently how I knew I was also running high. The joys of being sweet-blooded). But did I correct the high before getting back into bed? No. I ignored it and went right back to sleep. Why? Because I wanted to go running when I woke up a few hours later and I didn’t want to be low (see also: paint drying).
Selfish? Yes. A bit reckless? Yes. The wrong diabetes management choice? You betcha.
Forgive me diabetes, for I have sinned.
Now, if only there were steps I could take – a few prayers to recite or candles to light – that would absolve those sins (and any damage I did to my body) that would be the ultimate solution. But until then, I’ll have to take “do better the next time” as my only path to retribution. And thank goodness I have the opportunity for a next time.
I get a lot of random emails from folks asking for me to try this or that “diabetic” product, or to check out a website/event/book/totally-made-up-cure-for-diabetes-involving-bark-from-a- random-shrub-only-found-in-Peru. It’s part of being in the whole blogging world. But when I got an email from someone who signs their title as “Chief Type 1 Dad”, I just had to learn more.
Michael DeSoi contacted me about a website that will be coming soon called Type1moms.org (you can see their pre-launch site here. This website will contain one minute videos from real-life moms and dads of kids with diabetes. The videos will cover all sorts of topics, from dealing with rebellious adolescents to how Type 1 diabetes can affect your family’s finances. The videos are purposely kept to only one minute long because the DeSoi family knows how busy moms are, and especially how busy the moms of Type 1 kids are. The founding family has a daughter who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2009. Lauren DeSoi, the mother, needed advice, but wasn’t satisfied with her initial search results for support groups online. She wanted to make it easier for parents to get the information they needed from people who had been through the exact same thing. So she and some friends started the website, and Lauren now “heads an organization designed to help share information, offer support and deliver hope – for sixty seconds everyday.”
Although the site was initially intended for moms, they make it clear that they will absolutely be including dads in their videos and they hope, in their readership. Anyone can submit a video, and they will also be interviewing an initial round of moms in the Philly area for the videos to kick things off. You can also donate to their Kickstarter fund to help keep the project going.
What I like about this website is that they are offering real advice from people really living through it. Type 1 diabetes is one of the most confusing, nonsensical, frustrating, and misunderstood diseases in the world, and no one really gets it unless they’ve lived it. I think parents of kids with diabetes will truly appreciate honest insight from other folks going through the same issues. And the fact that each video is only sixty seconds means that parents can have time to learn something new every day without having to sign up for a class or meet up with a support group (both excellent resources as well, but more time consuming of course). I think this is such a great idea for the busy parents with Type 1 kids. Because those folks are true heroes in my eyes.
Visit their website for more info!
At first, I roll my eyes when I see the elderly man walk in the door of the Starbucks with a small poodle in tow. Why do people feel like they can bring their dogs anywhere? I wonder to myself. Why do they think their dog is different and should be allowed in restaurants? But then I see the red “service animal” jacket on the poodle and realize it’s a companion animal, and pretty darn cute to boot. Then I see that the dog’s jacket not only says “service animal” but “diabetes awareness” on it. I can’t resist at that point. I turn to the man, who has just sat down with his cup of coffee and newspaper at a table behind us.
“I have diabetes too,” I say. He smiles at me. “Can I pet your dog? I ask.
“Well sure, he’s friendly.”
I reach down to pet the dog and look back up at the man. “Does he help you feel safe?” I ask.
“Oh. The vest. Well, it’s mostly ornamental, you know.”
From there, our conversation is about diabetes. He’s in his eighties, has had Type 1 since being diagnosed in his mid-fifties. He doesn’t see an endocrinologist but has a great internal medicine doctor and uses an insulin pump and feels his diabetes is in good control. I show him my OmniPod and he’s impressed at the wireless technology. He tells me he doesn’t think having diabetes is so bad, and I agree. It becomes very clear that the dog is not a diabetes awareness dog, but just his buddy and there for moral support, if anything. Soon, he finishes his coffee and departs, the poodle scooting along behind him on his leash.
And here, friends, is where I don’t know what to think. The man has fudged the dog’s credentials. The vest was probably ordered online or made at a local embroidery shop, and isn’t backed by any actual training. This, to me, is upsetting because it devalues the very real need for actual service animals who are very much helping their owners live a normal and safe life.
On the other hand, the guy was in his eighties, by himself, and the dog wasn’t bothering anyone – in fact it spent the entire time under his chair in the Starbucks. But does all that matter when someone has lied about a very serious medical need? I don’t know. It still seems wrong to me, but at the same time, I sure as hell wasn’t going to tell that to an 80+ year old man.
How about you guys? Is it offensive? Harmless? Somewhere in between? And does it matter that the dog was extremely cute?
I tried to solve for the following equation at lunch yesterday:
Pre-lunch BG of 168mg/dL
+ Sandwich consisting of two large slices of bread, estimated at 20 grams of carbs each for a total of 40 carbs
+ 4 units of insulin for the carbs using a 1:10 ration
+ 1 unit of insulin for correction of the 168 (using a 1 unit for a 50 point drop in BG ratio)
+ 0 minutes of exercise that day to account for
+ no sickness/added stress to account for
+ no current insulin on board
Huh? Over 300mg/dL two hours post-prandial? Didn’t I calculate for this? Did they accidentally use sugar cookies instead of bread on this sandwich? Was the turkey laced with caramel that I didn’t taste? Does my carb ratio change on Wednesdays to 1:5 and nobody told me? WTF?
Type 1 diabetes: Bringing you the finest in nonsensical bulls&*% since the beginning of time.
I started a bolus for my Thai food last night, but a few seconds after the confirmation screen popped up, I heard the piercing beeeeeeeeeeep that a dying Omnipod makes.
“OCCLUSION! BOLUS STOPPED” screamed the screen. I hit “confirm” which stops the pod altogether and it off my back. And there I saw not just a slight kink in the cannula but a full-on, 90 degree bend, complete with insulin backed up at the blockage. Yep, I’d call that an occlusion. The same way I’d call the Hoover Dam a water diversion….
And I’d really, really like to know what on earth I did to my pod to bend a cannula that way.
Diabetes doesn’t just affect the person who has it – the people around you are also subject to diabetes ridiculousness on a regular basis. And if you happen to be on a CGM and also share a life with a significant other, they are also being “alerted” to highs, lows, rises, and falls when you are. Especially when those alarms sound in the middle of the night and you’re sharing a bed.
Jacob and I are both light sleepers. In some ways, this is a good thing when you have diabetes. I know he’d wake up if I was having a serious problem, and he’s always checking in on me when I have to get up to treat a low. But he doesn’t need to wake up every time I’m making a diabetes management decision, especially if that involves treating a pesky night time high or if I’m “skirting” the alarm (that’s when you have an alarm set to buzz at say, 180mg/dL, and you annoyingly keep going from 178-182 the entire night, causing repeat alarms). The last Dexcom model had an alarm and vibration combo that was just loud enough to wake only me up (if I put it on the carpet beside the bed). But the new G4? Holy. Cow. That. Thing. Is. LOUD.
Both the alarm sound and the vibrations are louder on the new G4. And don’t get me wrong – this is a good thing! Most people with diabetes worry about sleeping through those important alarms, especially parents who are monitoring their young children. I am pretty sure the new louder alarms and vibrations are the direct result of customer feedback, and that should be applauded. It just so happens I (and Jacob) fall into the category of “light sleepers who jump out of a deep sleep and also their skin when that effing bull horn/jackhammer goes off at 3am.” Portland homes are known for gorgeous hardwood floors, so there’s not carpet beside the bed anymore for me to put it on.
So these days, this is where the Dexcom will be living at night. It’s very own teeny little sleeping bag. So that hopefully, my darling husband-to-be can get a little shut eye around here!
You know how people have that saying about something being really boring that goes “I’d rather watch paint dry.” Well, I’d like to modify that saying to “I’d rather sit around and wait for my blood sugar to come up so I can go running.”
Last year, I made the switch from evening to morning workouts, using a highly scientific method of triple-shot cappucinos and pep talks given to myself at 5:30am on the way to the gym. And while working out in the morning is easier on the ‘betes in some ways (no food in your system yet also means no insulin on board to worry about), these AM workouts have a unique set of issues as well. The most annoying of which is when you wake up with the best intentions to get in a killer workout before the sun comes up, and your blood sugar has other plans. Plans that include hovering around 71mg/dL for an hour or so while you pretend to watch the news but actually compulsively test your blood sugar to see if it’s coming up while also tinkering with your basal rates.
I hate this waiting game. I hate it because it gets more complicated as the minutes go on. When I wake up a teeny bit low, in the high 60s or low 70s, my BGs will often rise on their own as the “wake up” hormones start to take effect, signaling the start of a new day. But I’ve made the mistake of assuming this will happen during a workout, only to crash and burn 10 minutes in. As a rule, I don’t like to work out with a number lower than 85mg/dL, and even with that number I might still have a small snack. The trouble with morning workouts though is that if I treat the semi-low by eating before I workout, and I lower my basal rates as an extra precaution, my BG will often shoot through the roof by the end of the workout (again because of the “wake up hormones” which are similar to those we use while working out – cortisol and adrenaline, both excellent at pushing BGs up). Exercise-induced highs are very difficult for me to bring down, causing more trouble than they’re worth hours later.
So, I sit. And I wait. I nibble one-eighth of an apple and see what that does. I reduce my basals by 70% and then decide that’s crazy and change it to 50%, then decide a 60% reduction is what I should have done all along. All the while, I’m starting to get hungry as the morning wears on and I have yet to break the fast. I fiddle, I test, I burn out the battery on the CGM, I get antsy and annoyed.
Yep, I’d rather watch paint dry.