3 Documentaries That Will Impact My Lifestyle in 2016

Top 3 Documentaries

Woohoo – We made it to 2016! In the days prior to popping a cork and celebrating an epic 2015, I took time to reflect. What did 2015 bring to the table? What lessons did I learn or refuse to address? What literature had an impact? What lifestyle choices moved me forward? My preferred form of geeking out is definitely documentary films and three particular films made quite the impact on my dietary choices (thus my diabetes management) and overall mental state when it comes to what I put in my body.

THAT SUGAR FILM – One man’s journey to discover the bitter truth about sugar. Damon Gameau embarks on a unique experiment to document the effects of a high sugar diet on a healthy body, consuming only foods that are commonly perceived as ‘healthy’. Through this entertaining and informative journey, Damon highlights some of the issues that plague the sugar industry, and where sugar lurks on supermarket shelves. CLICK HERE to watch the trailer.

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 6.13.13 PM Continue reading

Transforming 2015’s Diabetes Lessons Into 2016’s Resolutions

2016 Diabetes Resolutions

Life is an apt teacher. 2015 didn’t disappoint in regards to the diabetes lessons. I went back through this year’s posts and pulled a few observations that I’d like to act upon in 2016. Maybe these connect with your own diabetes management. If not, at least it was therapeutic.

Have a Happy New Year everyone!

Denial exists even after 18 years

You’re thinking “how can a person who writes for a diabetes website have denial about diabetes?” Pretty valid question. Let me explain.

This fall, I was listening to a professor talk about how he radically changed his own diabetes management. After he visited his endocrinologist, received an a1c of 11 after getting the diagnosis a few months earlier, the facts had to be faced. He was a diabetic (person with diabetes). His pancreas is not coming back. Sugar is a toxin. Every added gram he put in his system jeopardized his heart disease risk. He stopped eating a jar of jelly beans every morning. His a1c dropped to 6.

I don’t eat jars of jelly beans but I did buy cereal that has added sugar, trail mix with chocolate, and put maple syrup in my oatmeal. After I heard him describe his own denial, I stopped buying those foods. Perhaps you’ve already made this subtle choice, but using my otherwise healthy vegan diet as a crutch, I too faced the facts and have felt a significant change in my blood sugars. Continue reading

The Guide To Mountain Biking On A Random December Afternoon

Flexibility is opting to hit the trail, instead of the weights, on a December afternoon (when it’s 60 degrees outside). I couldn’t resist the urge and have no regrets. It was beautiful, I took the GoPro along, and the ride evened out the blood sugars. A few of these details are hinted at during the video, but here’s the ride logistics:

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The Hypoglycemic RoundUp: Our Best Low BG Posts from 2015

Top 3

PWDs are constantly juggling the lows and highs of this disease. As Amber and Ryan look back at posts from DDG’s past – low BG was a common theme. We hope you enjoy our top three Low BG posts for 2015 as much we did writing them.

1. Tuesday Topic: Can  T1D Affect Your Parenting Skills?

Stink EyeI’m NOT a parent and after my behavior today, it might be a good thing.  My sister and nephew are in town and I made a point to have quality one-on-one time with Greg (a.k.a Grandpa Henry).  GP Henry is four and 100% boy – fearless, somewhat stubborn and off the charts a cutie pie.  We like to sing songs, eat vitamin C organic lollipops and solve the world’s problems. CLICK HERE to read more.

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The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me: A Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis

before and after

I was obese, ill, tired, suffering from major depression and diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. My blood sugar was out of control… no wonder I was feeling so unwell!

Back in September of 2014 I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. I had been feeling poorly for quite some time, was overweight and out of shape. At 35 years old and 5′ 8″, I weighed in at almost 20 stone (280 lbs.). I drank a lot of alcohol and smoked roughly 20 cigarettes a day. The alcohol was a big problem and it had been for years. This was more than likely contributing to my depression, but I didn’t want to admit it. The alcohol helped me block out the negative thoughts – and this is the “vicious circle“. Continue reading

The Vegan T1D Grocery List Essentials: Balancing Blood Sugar With Real Nutrients

Vegan Type 1 Diabetes Grocery List

So what do you eat? Once upon a time, I use to respond to my name. Now, I respond to that question only. Okay, I’m somewhat kidding, but I get that it’s a curious decision: going plant-based with a type 1 diabetes diagnosis. To shed light on the question and provide guidance, I’m rolling out the mini-grocery list of essentials for the person looking to make the plant-based leap, while keeping the whole pancreas deficiency thing in mind. Continue reading

Breaking The Silence About My Period With A Diabetes Gameplan

Woman On Toilet

Pretend that’s a tester

No one wants to talk about their period, but why aren’t we discussing the impact it has on diabetes? Well, I’m here to break the silence! With each dia-versary, I realize something new about myself and how I differ from the average person. This includes my period – BUT it has never been discussed in my endocrinologist or OBGYN’s office unless I brought it up. Even then, there wasn’t literature or a site to visit to learn more so when I recognized a pattern it was time to take action. I came up a “Period Plan of Action” to follow each month so I won’t be at total T1D shitshow.

  • About four days prior to staring my period it’s hard to keep my morning BG below 225.
    • I test around 3am and give Novolog if above 225. Be careful, you don’t want to overcompensate while calculating half asleep.
    • I up my 5:41am Lantus dosage a unit or two.

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The Haphazard Art Of Hypoglycemic Decision Making

Low Blood Sugar Decision Making

Maybe you’ve heard the adage: HALT. Take precautions when Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired, especially when it’s decision making time (this skill is sufficiently difficult by itself for me, not withstanding additional emotions). Let’s add another L to the acronym: Low. Trying to do much of anything while hypoglycemic is already a challenge, but oftentimes the tiniest decisions turn tortuous.

How important is this understanding? Well, important enough to write a blog about it. Looking back, I think things would have just been easier if used the thinking plan I use now, “Okay, Ryan you are low. I know this feels like something really important that you should do right now, but this will be simpler in 1o minutes. Find some food.” Remind yourself of the past experiences where things were never as bad as they seemed when you were low. Really though, it’s never that bad.

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5 Strategies To Survive New Holiday Traditions With Strangers

Thanksgiving Dinner Guest

I’m always down for a road trip so when I was invited to Austin to share Thanksgiving with new friends, I starting packing my bags. I met Lisa and her family in Hawaii and spent a number of evenings with the Thomas family. I even attended her daughter’s wedding, so driving a few hours for Thanksgiving was a no-brainer.

As the departure date approached, I felt the anxiety creep in. I was excited to see everyone, but nervous to spend 72 hours in someone’s home I barely knew. We had discussed my diabetes so they were familiar with me testing my BG and shooting up, but a wave of insecurity came over me.

  • What if I can’t eat what they’re serving?

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Podcast 12: The Guide To Surviving The Holiday Gauntlet | Kelly McKeever, PWD & RN

Real Life Diabetes 12

In the next month full of holiday occasions, the focus is on family, friends, and in reality, FOOD! When turning down pumpkin pie, fudge, and or a hottie tottie, we can sacrifice long-standing family relations. What’s the pancreas-deficient to do? We got your back, dishing out the best advice we’ve got built on the back of a few hangovers, highs, lows, and good times. Kelly McKeever Registered Nurse, making his 2nd appearance today, dropped by to lend some professional and personal advice as a guy with a type 1 diagnosis.

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6 Unorthodox, Kinda Questionable, But Effective Uses Of An Insulin Pump

6 Unorthodox Uses Of An Insulin Pump

Pager? Pedometer? Pacemaker? Curious folks have inquired in regards to what that thing is in my pocket with those questions. Despite not being any of those devices, an insulin pump can be quite handy. Could the manufacturer have anticipated any of these extra, notable functions? Perhaps. If so, I’d like to meet that person. Some of the following functions have become such indelible facets of my life, it would hurt considerably if they vanished (if the cure ever arrives I’ll keep my pump in my pocket).

So, with that said, let’s jump into the unorthodox, kinda questionable, uses of an insulin pump: Continue reading

What It Takes To Finish 26.2: Temp Basals, Glucose Tabs, and Guts

Preparing For A Marathon With Diabetes

What it takes to make it 26.2 with T1D

I began running when I was around 24 years old (12 years after my diagnosis with type 1 diabetes). I had always been reasonably fit, participating in sports during high school, but during my three years at university and a couple after I let my fitness slide. At the time I didn’t ponder its impact on my diabetes until I started back.

My best friend signed up for a 14km race in Sydney, Australia and got me to sign up–now I had no choice but to train. He had a head start on me, and was naturally a lot faster. I struggled to keep up in general, consistently worrying about lows during runs which would make me tired and slow me down while I scarfed down a snack. I was embarrassed when these things happened, which was pretty often at first.  I was still on injections at the time, not managing my diabetes at the best of my ability, and just getting use to exercise’s effects. Improvement was my only way forward. Continue reading

Introducing Diabetes While Getting Introduced: Doing Our Disease Justice While Dating

Introducing Diabetes While You Get Introduced

This is a different subject matter than the aforementioned methods, with it probably standing on loftier moral ground. Brittany got the dating ball rolling earlier in the week, and lately I’ve been pondering this very concept as I traverse the first few weeks of getting to know someone I really like, while not really knowing how much they’re into me, knowing that I’m into them, guessing she’s kinda into me because we definitely wouldn’t be spending this much time together if not, but all the while just ‘playing it cool’. As unnecessarily complex as that last sentence sounds, the diabetes intro is simpler… or it should be. Continue reading

How We Even The Score With Our Pancreas (That SOB)

Exercise: The Great Simplifier in Diabetes Management

As a person with a type 1, we develop immunity to the supplement (cinnamon) ads and the “one food to stop eating to cure diabetes” ploys. This immunity, albeit strong, is still willing to identify things that do work on blood sugar, every time. Exercise (let’s use this under the assumption that the word exercise comes along with the idea that fun is also happening at the same time) is one of those things. It works every time. Every time.  Continue reading

Podcast 11.5: Chasing The Driving Dream with T1D | NASCAR Driver Ryan Reed

Real Life Diabetes Podcast - Ryan Reed, Nascar Driver

Diabetes and driving – race car driving that is… is the topic today as Amber recently won the Lilly Diabetes My Diabetes Pit Crew Sweepstakes! She’s officially an honorary member of Ryan Reed’s pit crew and was given the opportunity to interview the Nascar driver about life on the road with diabetes. In this first ever MiniPod, we talk real life – Amber style (no filter). Ryan Reed indulges her “non-traditional” questions, shares his go-to recipes, and who has access to giving him a shot. Continue reading

I’ve Come To Terms With Being A T1D Walking Science Project

Science Project 4

Every day hosts a new set of challenges for a PWD. You have to think on your feet while planning well in advance if there’s a shot in hell of maintaining your BG goal. I’ld like to believe my BG report card would have an A+ in this every evolving science project we call diabetes. Any rational T1D knows that even though we strive for an A+, some days are just a C or even worse, an F. The science project continues…

Daily Formula: Current BG + Carb Ratio + Correction Factor Hormones + Stress + Anxiety + Exercise + Allergies + Sickness + Booze + Altitude Whatever else is going on in life = Hoping For The Best! Continue reading

Is Diabetes Management Really Just A Big Game of Jenga? Duh.

Diabetes Risk Management

 

I do like definitions, and that’s where we’ll begin the Jenga and risk management discussion: “To assure uncertainty does not deflect the endeavor from the goals.” When it comes to diabetes management, what is our endeavor and what is the uncertainty?

The possible endeavors can be divided into two distinct camps: today’s and life’s.

My life’s endeavors tend to aim in the big picture category; or they amount to very specific things in which I hope won’t happen, in regards to diabetes: keeping my feet, maintaining my vision, seeing my grandchildren graduate from high school, traveling to places I haven’t yet imagined, and having an incredible marriage.

My today’s endeavors include the reach for more immediate goals; albeit important priorities to get the most from the moment: be able to exercise when I want to do, have my mind in a place to write, genuinely connect with people, and continue to grow into a healthier, complete person. Continue reading

Stop Those Low Thoughts From Becoming Real Thoughts

Dangerous Low Blood Sugar Thoughts

The low mind is a desperate mind: consumed by negativity much like myself after a Dallas Cowboys’ loss and uncompromising like an addict. In such a state, our mind can be taken by our deepest fears. If uncertainty finds itself anywhere near you life, you’ll find out when you’re low. A little worried about your job performance lately? You’re getting fired. Got a test in the morning? Bombing it. Things been off with your girlfriend lately? She’s cheating on you.

It’s one thing to have those thoughts; it’s another to carry them back into your presence as a sane, otherwise normal person, at a normal blood sugar. But this does happen. All the time. Think about it like a dream where your boss walks in and lets you go from a job you love. You wake up, go to work, and it takes until lunch to really trust your boss again. It takes awhile for the root of the thought to be dug out. Continue reading

Podcast 11: What You Don’t Learn At The Endo: 8 Diabetes Lessons Discovered The Hard Way | Amber & Ryan

What You Don't Learn At The Endo | Real Life Diabetes Podcast 11

As Amber and Ryan have poured their collective souls into the Internet (a slightly terrifying thought) over the past two years, they’ve noticed a few themes when it comes to living life with this disease. That’s what today’s all about: realness in the form of personal experience. With 40+ years of experience between the two, they widdled down the advice into 8 simple, everyday lessons.

Here’s what you’re in for today: Continue reading

5 Tips To Survive Having Blood Drawn

blood drawn

I would rather swim in a shallow pool with a hungry great white shark than have my blood drawn, so signing up for my annual blood panel takes a lot of guts. I stab myself 4+ times a day, making me an expert in my own pain management. I’ll be damned if I feel comfortable allowing someone else to stab me with a needle.

As much as I would like to talk myself out of this test – I MUST have the blood work done. The lab gave detailed instructions – Nothing but water past 10pm. WTF? I’m a T1D and shit can hit the fan in the middle of the night! Would that forfeit my appointment? I’ll arrive anxious, hungry and most definitely cranky. Continue reading

What I Think About When I Have A Beer

Having a Beer With Diabetes

Let’s go ahead and say it–when we take a drink, our thought process breaks from the regular dude at the bar during happy hour. We have a diverse set of worries.

Normal people consider how many they’ve had. We consider how many carbs each drink has.

Normal people ponder whether or not they even like beer. We ponder whether or not our blood sugar is in a place to even drink a beer, then decide if we even like beer.

Normal people worry about whether they can drive their car home. We try to figure out the difference between being low, being tired, and being drunk, while still at the bar. Continue reading

High Altitude’s Never-Ending Love For Hypoglycemia

High Altitude and Low Blood Sugar

On trail to Mt. St. Vrain in the Rocky Mountain National Park

2 days. 8 low blood sugars. The numbers tell the story: the higher you climb, the lower you fall. We all enjoy good paradox, right?

Am I a mountain man? No, partly because it takes me 3 weeks to grow a 5 o’clock shadow, and I spend the majority of my life at sea level. Oxygen likes to have a good time at sea level. It glides into my lungs with relative ease, slips into my blood, and enjoys homeostasis. At high elevations, especially those approaching 10,000 feet, oxygen gets depressed. It hides out with its cats and starts crocheting. In response to this hermitism, the heart works double time. Being that the heart is a relatively selfish organ in its oxygen (and subsequently glucose) use, it singlehandedly elevates our metabolism, by 10-20% at my best guess. Continue reading

Red or Green Apples: A Debate Beyond Colors And Into Your Diabetes Philosophy

Red and Green Apples Debate: Diabetes Management

A classic dual worth a bit of contemplation, chiefly due to autumn’s arrival, apples (we’re simplifying by omitting yellow) have been a staple of human society since possibly the Stone Age. The bulk of the apple’s use in history can be chalked up to the recreational buzz from a good glass of cider. Only within the last hundred years have breeds been cultivated for the palate; out of the 1000s of apple phenotypes, only about 10 are sold for widespread commercial consumption, including the subjects of today’s discussion.

I will eat any apple: red, green, small, large, sweet, bitter, cider, pie, etc. I love the sour first bite, and subtle sweetness of a Granny Smith. I crave the overwhelming sweetness with light tart of a Fuji. With all this apple talk, wish I could teleport into New England for a few weeks. Whatever, I’ll settle with the watermelon in OK.

The choice of apple, largely the selection of color, can result in substantial differences in both blood sugar considerations and nutrition benefits. So, let’s weigh the options: Continue reading

Stopped In My Tracks By Back To Back Low BGs

GREER INEZ-8374

This image sums it up. There are days when I have NO control and feel compelled to tell the world to f**k off! There was nothing different about my routine. I gave 12 units of Lantus at 5:41am and headed back to bed. A series of weird dreams and the need to pee woke me from my slumber. I recognized this feeling and forced myself to get up and test.

BG 38

While sitting on the toilet, the number confirmed my gut instinct – BG was 38. No time to pee, in fact, my body wouldn’t let me. I stumbled into the kitchen and downed a Gatorade. Continue reading

My Strangest Low Blood Sugar Tale Of All Time

My Strangest Low Blood Sugar Tale Of All Time

Ever had one of those frozen taquitos? Okay, so you’ve been to college. Ever had one of those frozen taquitos, without thawing it? Alright, you might have been low. Do you remember it? Then you weren’t that low.

Given my level of consciousness teetered between an anesthesia-like blackout and that first 10 minutes of falling asleep, we are relying mostly on the story-telling accuracy of my father to describe some of the events; needed that established.

The story’s genesis involves the the high cost of test strips (Sorry, every chance I get to hammer them for this fact is seized). Even back in 2001, the era of this story, test strips were, as they always are, at a premium. If you had ample supply, you hoarded those things like Harry Potter fans collect sticks that happen to look like wands. My family enjoyed a few extra boxes due to the recent Pfizer inhaled insulin study we’d joined when I was 10, the year prior. Continue reading

Podcast 10: How Integrative Medicine Can Transform Diabetes Management… With Supplements? Okay, Not Just Supplements | Tonya Cameron, RN

Tonya Cameron, Real Life Diabetes Podcast 10 Diabetes Daily Grind

Welcome to the 10th episode of Real Life Diabetes Podcast with guest Tonya Cameron – She’s a dear friend and mentor of Amber’s from her days of slinging pasta and chatting at Joe’s Taverna in Norman, OK. Tonya is a full time registered nurse, certified mirco-pigmentologist, lover of all things flora and fauna and a professional student according to her mother. Passionately devoted to a healthy lifestyle, her value in an Integrative Medicine Clinic is unquestioned. This gal can talk kale smoothies, load an IV, or give a botox injection while blowing your mind with her wealth of knowledge and opinions on all things health transformation. She’s the perfect DDG guest!

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You Can’t Stop The Waves But You Can Learn To Surf… With Diabetes

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(Ryan is not currently scanning the coast but the pathophysiology of asthma. Authored July 2015.)

Let it be known: I am not a real surfer, yet. Can I swim? Aptly enough. Can I catch a wave? Yes. Can I stand up? Occasionally. Can I turn? Sure.

That said, as I scan a nice break off the coast of Maui, humbled is my main qualification. Surfing is an art honed through decades of work in salty water, watching the sun rise and descend on opposite horizons, all on the same day. I have observed real surfers. Those who are the art and the religion–no separation between their body and the waves, riding the earth’s energy. Gorgeous stuff.

Having paddled out now over 30 times, blood sugar themes do their emerging thing, and I know what to expect. In many ways, I’ve found surfing to be a simpler, more-straightforward cause and effect relationship between movement and glucose levels (compared to running or cycling). Continue reading

The High Handbook: Rule #3 — Be With The Bear

The High Handbook: Rule 3, Being With The Bear

I do love a good distraction. We all love a good distraction: Facebook, Candy Crush, Netflix, essentially anything on our phones. You know when we really dig a distraction? When we’re high. That’s when the bear in me comes out. I do suppose that getting high is a good high distraction, too, but I’ve yet to experiment with its potential. Anyways, we do anything to get our minds off an undesirable state, high blood sugar. It’s time to explore an alternative route, outside the mind-numbing process. What if we turned toward our own high experience?

That turning towards process is our Rule #3: Continue reading

Surprising BG Numbers After Enjoying A Craft Beer Festival

Craft Beer

Over the weekend my new neighborhood celebrated the 20th Anniversary Mesta Festa and craft beer tasting. I rarely drink beer, but when I do, I limit myself to two because my BG roller coaster experiences have kept me skeptical of this frosty beverage. My justification – the $20 beer garden entry fee was going to a good cause and I might meet a cute, craft beer guy. No brainer, right? As I left my house, my BG was 77 so I sipped Perrier with a little blueberry-pomegranite juice en route. I fork over the cash and join my dear friends at the 405 tasting table where I sample their newest brew, the Trae P.A. Delicious!

Mesta Festa

The small neighborhood block probably featured about 10 local breweries. I had no intention of trying all of them so I set out to hit up the few that were of interest before they ran out.  Continue reading

The Endurance Exercise Principles (i.e. The Guide To Avoid Lows At All Costs)

How To Avoid Going Low During Exercise

Exercise is quite the paradox in diabetes management. On one hand, it provides long-term stabilization and a natural lowering of glucose. On the other, it supplies the most significant swings in glucose levels possible. As outlined in previous posts, depending on the kind of exercise being performed (aerobic vs anaerobic), one can expect different glucose results. Today, I’m exploring a couple of principles that I’ve noticed over the past two years of marathon training and duathlon events. I’m no professional. Just a guy who likes to get his heart rate up every once in awhile, while avoiding the catastrophic low. Continue reading

At Last, A Simple Solution To The Age Old Absorption Dilemma

pumpsiterotation

I just finished reading Ryan’s post, The Enlightenment: Why Did I Wait So Damn Long To Return To The Stomach?, about forgetting to use his stomach as an effective pump site location. It made me think about my own system that I’ve wanted to share for quite some time. After 29 years with T1 and 10 years pumping, I’ve come up with a simple, effective rotation. When I was diagnosed, I initially received a site rotation card from one of the hospitals or doctor’s offices I had visited and it illustrated the various sites, but I still felt that it was a little complicated, so I made adjustments.

This is a great method for busy people who don’t always remember their last site, pill, dose or whatever repetitive action you have done day after day. That is me in a nutshell. So, here is the visual aid I created and I’ll walk you through it with a few tips. Continue reading

The Enlightenment: Why Did I Wait So Damn Long To Return To The Stomach?

Best Pump Site Location - Diabetes Management

 

As is par for the course with much of my decision-making, the original reasoning escapes me. Was it done out of boredom? Just a random change of pace? Perhaps I grew tired of my belt nudging it. Maybe it was the other morning in the shower when I felt the dense scar tissue building on my hips. Possibly, I realized those hundreds of microscopic white scars on my stomach aren’t going away, even after a 4 year break.

Or, in the more likely and less melodramatic version of the story, the moment happened in Metabolism class, when my teacher mentioned that blood glucose is absorbed most effectively by visceral adipose tissue, that stuff surrounding our internal organs or hanging over the belt, when signaled by insulin. Haven’t we all been told “stomach, butt, thigh, or back of arm”? But to hear that it acts fastest and best around the stomach, that struck a cord. Thus, I made the move back to the stomach. Continue reading

Can One Hotel’s “Superfood” Campaign Be Legitimately Healthy? My Blood Sugar Says So.

SuperFoods2

A monumental girl’s weekend was being planned and while on hold with The Westin Stonebriar Hotel & Golf Club, the recording boasted superfood options. It made me think – is this just another marketing ploy? After traveling extensively over the past couple of months, I’ve picked up a few buzz-words hotels and resorts are using to lure guests.

I dropped my bags at the door and couldn’t wait to do a little investigating. What were they offering and how were they marketing it to the general public? Low and behold, the first page of the In-Dining Menu options read, “Maintain a healthy lifestyle on the road with our nutrient-rich and delicious SuperFoodsRx™ dishes. The following page actually listed 25+ super foods with a brief description.

SuperFoods Continue reading

The Story Of How We Built Our Strongest Character Trait

The Top Diabetes Strength

 

We devote much attention to the downside of situations in our life first, even when the positives are notably greater. This is no secret.

How often do you sit around and ponder your strengths driven by diabetes? Me, I’ll give it some thought; going as far to mention it in a job interview, scholarship essay, or speech. Do I think about it daily? Not usually, with the bulk of my thinking consumed with highs, lows, and the in-between.

Today I argue that our strongest character trait, something we have to acknowledge, has developed naturally, over many years, over many days, over the smallest of moments–that being professionalism. Continue reading

Recapping The T1D “Back To School” Mindset & Coping Mechanisms

Back To School

Going back to school can be a bummer for everyone, but adding a “disability” to the mix throws in an additional layer of stress and anxiety. Today, I recap different stages in my life where diabetes reared it’s head and how I dealt with the highs and lows during this treacherous time of insecurity and adolescence. I’m breaking it down and sharing a few coping mechanisms I only realized as an adult.

Elementary School – My homies and fellow Girl Scouts knew what was going on. That didn’t make it any easier per say, but at least the cat was out of the bag.

  • Girl Scout CampI allowed adults to help out. I busted my first bottle of insulin during this particular Girl Scout camp. I was mortified, but everyone rallied and we scored another bottle so I could be a part of the camping on a concrete platform experience.
  • I kept snacks in my desk and have shared how to handle bullying in Cheez-It Trauma.
  • I took my lunch… I was even “particular” at an early age. This allowed me to have healthier options while not feeling weird about not consuming the hamburger, fries, fruit cup and milk option. (What were they thinking???)

Continue reading

One Parallel Between Golf and Diabetes We Must Take To Heart

Golf and Diabetes Parallel - Diabetes Management

Golf is a game of life. Diabetes is a game of life. For those who have held a club, struck the small white ball off the tee, and tallied shots, you will understand today’s analogy, just in time for the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. For those who have not, you too will appreciate the talk. Golf is merely the vehicle for a mightier conversation—diabetes happens to share the same fairways and greens.

Suffering seems to be an inherent aspect of both golf and diabetes. Again, for those who have swung an iron, seen the ball skyrocket off the clubface into knee high thicket out of bounds, after having just driven the ball dead down the middle of the fairway, this can be a tortuous place to reside within the mind. In my experience, this feels pretty much the same as waking up with a blood sugar of 105, eating your standard breakfast, taking your experience-driven insulin dosage, and two hours later, discovering blood sugar of 263. Both results do not meet expectations—expectations we feel we own. Continue reading

How To Travel, Surf, And Be An Islander | Amber and Ryan from Hawaii | Real Life Diabetes Podcast 8

How To Travel, Surf, And Be An Islander | Real Life Diabetes Podcast 8

All in all, Amber and Ryan were pumped to cross paths on the island of Maui and share their traveling journeys to date. How do each of them deal with airport security? What do they eat in airports? Snacks? You know they both had snacks. At the time, Ryan had been on Maui for a month, mainly combing beaches and pretending to be a surfer. Amber focused on socializing in every happy hour across the island for two weeks. She breaks down the Hawaiian culture and cuisine, while he gives us insight into managing blood sugar while surfing. Continue reading

To Dog Or Not To Dog? That Is The Question.

Should I get a diabetes service dog?

For the past two months, I have been debating this very question: should I invest in a diabetes service dog? Until two months ago, I didn’t even know this was a thing. In my defense, it’s quite recent- although service dogs have been used for years, diabetic assistance dogs only started popping up in the past few years, after anecdotal evidence suggested that dogs could sense blood sugars. Diabetes service dogs are trained to smell your scent when your blood sugars go low or high, and both alert you (by nudging, pawing, laying on you, etc.) and assist you (by bringing you testing supplies, glucose, insulin, or even getting help). For a Type 1 diabetic that lives alone, the latter part is really appealing.

Since moving into my own place a few months ago I have had at least 3 true blood sugar crashes that made me fearful of what could happen. One morning I woke up and the site of my insulin pump had become detached, resulting in sky-high blood sugar. Continue reading

The Single Understanding To Stay Sane With Diabetes

The One Understanding To Stay Sane With Diabetes

You know that place–the simple longing for normalcy after a long bout with high and low blood sugars. All you want is to feel like yourself again; balanced, centered, in control. In the midst of the roller coaster ride, it’s difficult to remember that you will eventually make it back. You always do.

Before making it back to that normal zone of self-awareness, we’re different–not ourselves but not entirely not ourselves. I think that was a triple negative but you get the point, ultimately the one understanding to sane with diabetes: Continue reading

Tuesday Topic: Low BG vs. Hallucinating – Is There Really A Difference?

Brain

I want to make it clear from the start – I’ve never taken a hallucinogen, or at least not that I can remember. I may not have enough street cred for this post to be valid, but after a rough morning battling my BG, I felt compelled to articulate a serious low blood sugar. For some reason – LSD came to mind. I’ll begin by describing this low BG experience so you can better understand.

As I’m laying in bed, the mattress seems to be hugging me with a deep embrace. I feel loved and calm – nothing could remove me from this pleasant slumber. My mind begins to wonder and my thoughts are powerful, colorful and ever probing into the darkest parts of my brain. Continue reading

The Tales Of My Traveling Testers

The Tales Of A Traveling Tester: Diabetes Management Issues

 

Now that I say the word “tester” aloud–not positive of its use by most people to describe their glucose meter–but alliteration always wins, thus testers will suffice in the title. In a recent podcast episode with my parents, we discussed how many testers have disappeared over my 26 years of existence. I think I’m approaching triple digits.

Whether it be OneTouch, Precision, Bayer, or Freestyle, I will part ways with no attachment to brand. During the college years, the pharmacist at Walmart knew who I was, not by my prescriptions (those resided at Walgreens), but by how many of these I purchased.

The natural question to ask is why? It’s most likely a multi-factorial problem but this is my guess list of most likely causes: Continue reading

Altering The Course Of A High Afternoon With A Good Walk

Walking And Blood Sugar -- DiabetesDailyGrind.com

 

Afternoons. The cyclical portion of day’s own calendar that most resembles summer. Summer, not my favorite season, but can’t say that I hold any disdain. Same goes for the afternoon. It’s the drawn-out gap between the morning’s potentiality and the evening’s evanescence. Outside of the symbolism, the afternoon happens to hold the bulk of my high blood sugars. Perhaps my carb-fiend lifestyle during breakfast and lunch finally catches up. Maybe I need to change up my basal rates. Maybe if I exercised more in the mornings it would alleviate. Whatever, I sometimes end up high in the afternoons.

Walking found its way into my afternoons. To say that walking has a certain, implied disdain amongst athletes, former athletes, and the weekend warriors, is fact. How many people in CrossFit t-shirts do you see strolling the neighborhood? “Why walk when I can do dips off the curb and burpees in the grass, bro?” The casual walk is mostly reserved to the following people: dog owners, couples who actually enjoy conversation together, and those without Netflix. Continue reading

The Extra 10%: Useful Knowledge For Anyone Who Knows A PWD

The 10 Percent Rule: Diabetes Management

 

This is for anyone searching for insight, perhaps into someone they know or themselves. Diabetes, on the surface, is simple. Deep down, it’s full of complexity. This isn’t breaking news. The 10% rule has held true, time and time again, through various meanings in my life.

 

Meaning #1: No matter the day, the hour, or the minute, our mental load consists of an extra 10%.

Given that my experience is limited to my own mind since the age of nine, the exact percentage shouldn’t be trusted completely. Just a guess. I suppose any given person has their worries. For me, minute by minute, I am checking in with my vision, tongue dryness, mouth taste, leg strength, thought patterns, and mood, all in the predictive goal of tracking blood sugar continuously. Why do we do this? Well, because it’s nice to be yourself. Not being yourself happens when your blood sugar moves out of range, resulting in the aforementioned symptoms. Now’s the perfect spot to move into the next meaning. Continue reading

Person First Language, Low-Carb Vs. High-Carb Diets, Skinny Pants Syndrome, and How Close Is The Closed Loop? | Kelly McKeever, RN and PWD | Real Life Diabetes Podcast 7

Real Life Diabetes Podcast 7

At the age of 13, did an event define your career path? For Kelly, it happened. A PWD–the importance of using this term instead of a diabetic was discussed, too–he now counsels patients with diabetes on a daily basis as part of a diabetes clinic. His real perspective for patients is invaluable. He relates to the ineffectiveness of the 15–wait–15 rule. He understands what it’s like to do something you regret when low or high. He’s been in that spot, where no matter how much insulin you dial up, your blood just won’t come down. He can empathize. 

 

We discussed how he became a diabetes health professional, his top advice, his approach to patients, the importance of the diabetes online community, and the story behind how he received his diabetes diagnosis, from a football coach. Kelly joined the DDG team over in Amber’s living room, on a sweltering Oklahoma summer day. Continue reading

The Yoga Lessons: 5 Diabetes Aspects To Keep In Mind

Does it have any effect?

Diabetes has never been afraid to teach a lesson; thus, its effects have meandered into my yoga practice. Do normal people have to think about these things? Not a chance.

 

1) Know which side your pump site is attached.

If it happens to be sore, and you roll over on it after a calming savasana, all of that peace can disappear quickly.

 

2) Tuck in your tubing!

Continue reading

It’s Time To Curb The Push Notifications… I Mean CGM Alerts

A CGM Break

 

Research indicates that the more a patient wears the CGM, the lower the a1c travels. This makes sense. If you see your blood sugar rising, you’re probably going to take action to stop it. If you don’t see your blood sugar risking, you’re probably not going to take action until you feel high, or test again. That’s a good 30  minutes to 2 hours saved from having a high blood sugar. Like I said, all of this makes sense. Every CDE will share this advice, as they should.

 

I need to backtrack first. Technology is taking considerable chunks out of our lives. I get an urgent “request” from an app, website, or social media site to install a new push notification just about daily. I know I’m not alone in this sentiment, sometimes it feels that way, but I do not like getting notifications. I do not want to be told what the score of the Thunder game is at the end of the 1st quarter. If I want to know the score of the Thunder game, I will check the score. In my experience, the conveniences offered through push notifications are rather inconvenient. Continue reading

Tuesday Topic: Will Sugaring or Waxing Throw My Diabetes Management For A Loop?

Waxing

Summer is upon us so it’s time to consider some much needed and dreaded body maintenance. The annual ritual came up after a vigorous attempt at tennis with a dear friend. We both enjoy our unfiltered discussions so of course waxing was the first item on the body maintenance to do list. The conversation took a new angle this year – waxing vs. sugaring? Sugaring is a foreign concept so she explained it’s actually a blend of natural ingredients with no chemical additives and is gentler, safer, and a more progressive method of hair removal. After she described the process, we both looked at each other and said – “Could sugaring or waxing effect my diabetes?”

The answer is undoubtedly NO, but it did make me ponder how this invasive, somewhat painful process could throw my diabetes for a loop. As a T1D, I have a few things to consider when rolling into the spa…

  • Will my anxiety about the procedure spike my BG?

To Surf, Or Not To Surf, With My Pump

surfing with type 1 diabetes

I hope Medtronic doesn’t read this post. Why? I think I’m going to surf with my pump attached this summer.

 

The story starts back with a New Year’s Resolution. Upon waking on the first day of 2015, I knew I had to surf this year. Not sure why. Didn’t know how it was going to happen, but I could feel the ambition. It was a true one. Now 6 months later, I’m kicking it in Hawaii with no agenda… but to surf. That’s it.

 

The board and I got in the water for the first time yesterday. As I stood there ready on the beach, I looked down and saw my tubing. In less than 30 seconds, I knew that I had to take it into the water. Well, had probably isn’t the best description of the choice, but a choice was made. The car was a long walk back. I wanted to keep the sugar in a good range. The beach was pretty crowded with limited shrubs for hiding. I had no flip flops or shirt to disguise it under. I’m, after all, on an island pretty far away from backup resources, like a spare pump.

 

Continue reading

The 80/20 Rule: Playing By My Own Rules

percentage

The 80/20 rule usually means that 20 percent of the causes create 80 percent of the results. As a TID for 29 years, I think of it a little differently. I like to believe if I follow the rules 80 percent of the time, I can “bend” them for 20 percent.

So, what does that really mean for a person with T1D?

It means that I’m not so hard on myself when I slip-up.
It means that I’m not pressured by the illusive perfection in diabetes management. Continue reading

A Journey Back To Playing Shows After Open Heart Surgery | Mike Hosty | Real Life Diabetes Podcast #6

Real Life Diabetes 6: Mike Hosty

This man has a story to tell and we jumped right into it. Mike Hosty is a musician by trade, playing 2-3 shows a week across the Southwest. His weekly Sunday institution at The Deli has entertained a couple of decades of students, leading to more than a few skipped Monday morning classes. We brought him on the podcast to hear about his health journey.

With a family history of a bicuspid heart valve where there should be a tricuspid aortic valve, Mike found out four years ago that he was at risk for some major complications–a cardiologist at a show he was playing diagnosed him with an echocardiogram right before a show. After an open-heart surgery resulting in a new cadaver valve, Mike has traveled the tough road back to playing gigs and being an active Dad. For anyone on the chronic disease path littered with adversity, Mike has plenty of words of wisdom to apply to the journey.

Kick back. Enjoy the show. Try to laugh.
Continue reading