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 →
I feel like a broken record because I’ve written numerous posts on the effects stress has on my blood sugar, but a few events last week reinforced how diabetes can take over your life. My life/work scenario forced me to take a seat on an insanely large BG roller coaster and I’m still waiting for the downhill plunge.
I believe a timeline is in order to help you understand.
Thursday – BG 214.
Odd because it’s usually around 120 – 150, my preferred roll out of bed BG. Maybe I have an infection??? Continue reading →
The DDG was contacted by a wonderful woman from the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center about a pilot camp rolling out this summer. We jumped on the opportunity to meet with Heather to learn more and offer our help, should she want it. As the conversation progressed, she said they were looking for a few T1D camp counselors. In years past I volunteered at a leadership camp for high school seniors. I felt confident in my ability to lead the youngsters and still be 100% myself – but would I be able to do the same for a group of T1Ds?
This thought inspired me to weigh a few pros & cons that came to mind.
I have 31 years under my belt and plenty of stories to share.
A1C is 6.3 (Not bragging, just proud of my hard work)
Get your mind out of the gutter, I’m not just focusing on my butt, but the whole package. I don’t plan to share my goal, but will say it has nothing to do with weight. For the first time in my adult life, I actually like my body, but it definitely could use a tune up. I hope you enjoy my short and somewhat absurd list of things that will help me get moving.
I’m a firm believer – you can never have too many shoes! I ordered Chacos today so I have the proper attire for outdoor hiking. Continue reading →
The DDG does a fabulous job of documenting our favorite recipes and random food concoctions. In honor of the Sixth Annual Diabetes Blog Week, I want to highlight a few recipes that keep my healthy eating habits in check. As a T1D, my week begins with a mental check list:
Grocery shopping – I’ve admitted in a few posts how I feel like a grocery shopping nazi because I frequent at LEAST three stores a week.
Meal Planning – What am I craving and won’t mind eating a few times?
Make A List – Put your cravings on paper after checking your cabinets for ingredients.
Food Prep – Prioritize your weekly game plan and schedule time to prep food.
Whew. It sounds like a lot, but these four steps help me to prepare and enjoy a healthy lifestyle. Below are a few of my favorites – I hope they get your wheels turning and your mouth watering.
Breakfast: Blue Corn Breakfast Taco
I haven’t written a recipe for this finger-licking breakfast, but it’s super simple. Scrambled eggs, black beans, avocado, salsa and fresh cilantro. YUM! This recipe was a winner on Mother’s Day.
Saturday night I happened upon a ridiculous show on Animal Planet, America’s Next Cat Star where Brimley was in the final round of contenders. The judges referenced the striking resemblance the cat had to Wilford Brimley. The first thing that popped to mind – Diabeetus, not his accomplished years as an actor. It made me think – why do I feel the need to correct someone when they say “diabeetus”?
I’ve written a lot lately about my big move and the effects it’s had on my diabetes. I’ve battled highs and lows, exhaustion and dehydration, but the biggest challenge has been the inability to cook. I knew when I signed the lease the gas stove was from 1920????? I made subtle hints to my new landlord, whom which at this point I had never met. I explained that cooking was a HUGE part of my life and gave her information about the DiabetesDailyGrind. She assured me my stove was the cadillac of all gas stoves and not to worry… Continue reading →
I’ve been writing for months about my spiritual journey and affirmations are a BIG part of the “New Amber”. This week the Universe tested me big time – encouraging me to come up with a new affirmation – I will not kill anyone at the pharmacy because it’s not their fault the system is broken. This story began when I attempted to call in a refill for my syringes and noticed the label had my previous endocrinologist. This minor detail made getting needles an 8 day journey. Continue reading →
The DDG is looking to expand in hopes of reaching a larger audience because according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), there are 29.1 million diabetics in the United States. We’re willing to bet these folks could use a little real support for the diabetic life – DDG style. We are currently looking for a few fellow passionate folks to share their story.
My life is very different than the average person my age. I’ve never been married, don’t have children and have shared my home with a housemate for the past 10 years. This unconventional lifestyle allowed me to pursue my dreams and the freedom to travel, but next month everything changes. I’m branching out and going back to living alone. YAY ME!
I look forward to walking around naked, leaving dishes in the sink, having multiple closets to house my shoes and storing diabetes supplies wherever I want. Continue reading →
Our field of contenders is complete. Thank you to everyone who submitted their life-saving food or drink choices. In regards to many of the snacks, I can recall specific instances where I consumed that food when low. With that said, speaking from personal experience, I have written a review of the low blood sugar snack contenders.
It’s time for us to crown a champion of low blood sugar recovery. You get two votes. Pick two snacks off the list, yes, they must be on the list, and submit those two snacks in the comments section below. The DDG team will tally the votes and declare a champion at the beginning of next week. Voting will last one week.
They’re cheap and easy. Not usually an attractive description, but here, it’s perfect. Coming in at a smooth, versatile 27 carbs, this fruit gives your blood sugar a bang for its buck, with staying power due to the fiber. Continue reading →
Yesterday was similar to a holiday for many–it was Apple Keynote day. I had no idea that it was happening. I have an iPhone. It works for me. I’m no Apple geek. But, one of my med school buddies was watching it live, saw the announcement about ResearchKit and diabetes, and sent me a link. After reading it initially, my interest peaked. The iPhone would be an incredible vehicle to gather data on a HUGE scale, think about their 700 million users, but I needed more information.
Basically, Apple has partnered with a few prestigious research organizations, Massachusetts General, Mount Sinai, Stanford, etc., allowing them to gather data on very large populations of people with diabetes, asthma, heart disease, and Parkinson’s. Here is the official verbage from the app GlucoSuccess by Massachusett’s General Hospital:
GlucoSuccess is powered by Apple’s new ResearchKit, allowing you to participate in a medical research study focused on Pre-Diabetes and Diabetes. Our study team at Massachusetts General Hospital hopes that this app will not only further research into Diabetes, but also help you gain insight into how your behaviors affect your health.
As a diabetic veteran, I’m accustomed to the arsenal of diabetes inquiries in addition to the ten page questionnaire about my family history. As I strolled in early to get my mammogram, I was greeted by two lovely women who were easily over the age of 85 and adorable. As I checked in one of them said, “Sugar, do you know where you’re going?” I don’t know that I’ve ever been called Sugar, but am delighted by her sweet demeanor. I make my way through the labyrinth of hallways and reach my destination – Women’s Imaging. I check in, grab my pen and am ready to start knocking out the paperwork, but instead the nurse asked me about insurance and had me return to my seat. NO diabetes questions? Continue reading →
It’s now afternoon. I’m staring out of the window from my desk at school, trying to pound information into my brain with little progress. The weather’s perfect. It was time. Time to ride. I mean, for February in Oklahoma, I’ll take anything above 40 but yesterday it was 60!
Let me digress, our story really begins at lunchtime. I was running low on groceries, so campus food was the only option. I stroll up to the cafeteria salad bar at the bottom of Children’s Hospital, looking to put together a relatively healthy salad. At this point, the blood sugar is 90. As a plant-based, vegan eater, I always check first for beans and peas, the old reliable sources of protein. Neither were in site.
I bailed, then walking half a mile up to the student union for a taco salad bowl. By the time I got there, the glucose was hanging out in the 60s. Now, I’m absolutely starving. I eat the bowl, and casually check the CGM (continous glucose monitor) to see when my blood sugar starts to tick back up. Once it did, I dialed up a few units and didn’t give it another thought. Two hours later, I get the high blood sugar alert at 250. Knowing that I’m about to take off on a bike ride, I only take a unit to play it safe.
The cardinal sin of CGM wearing is not testing your blood sugar on the meter before correcting. I sinned. Continue reading →
My bruised right hand has an IV port continuously putting something called insulin in my body. This is first time in weeks where I haven’t had to take a leak. A nurse just told me that I will be pricking myself and taking shots for the rest of my life – pretty sweet news as a nine year old. My parents look completely distraught, drained by the question, “Is this our fault?” Some diabetes educator hands me a book on how to have courage and count carbohydrates. That’s a cool word but I have no idea what it means. Now my endocrinologist reenters the room asking an important question, “Ryan, now it’s time to test your blood sugar. Would you like to prick yourself or would you like your parents to do it for you?” I look up into the caring, worried eyes of my parents. I gaze down at my hands. I make eye contact with my physician and say, “Give me the damn needle.” Continue reading →
This bowl delivers just what everyone wants after a month full of stuffing, fudge, turkey, and pie–an explosion of taste not involving sugar or butter. It’s quick, incredibly nutrient-rich, and full of the slow-digesting, fiber-rich carbs. Perfect for a New Years Eve party or family get-together, try out this recipe from The Engine 2 Diet. Continue reading →
I like to think that books allow another mind into my own. Life’s about growth. To me, books can be that stimulus. These are not books written about the diabetic journey. These are books about life. From my experience, diabetes goes as my life goes.
2014 was a year to remember, with these five books serving as my guide:
I walked away asking myself one question: “Will I do everything in my power to chase my dreams? Do I have what it takes?” Through the eyes of a young shepherd looking for his treasure, it encourages you to join the journey.
So, this is touchy. Just thinking about an A1C test can make your pulse go up. It defines us. Should it? There’s an argument for both sides–but at the end of the day–yeah, it goes a long way towards determining future complications. In speaking with my CDE (certified diabetes educator), we broached the likelihood of complications topic. This was my question, “What’s the A1C number where complications (foot, kidneys, eyes) are unlikely?” She responded by saying 7 or below.
Alright, according to this calculator, we need to be averaging a sugar of 153 to make it happen.
It seems straight-forward. Keep your sugar below 153 and life is good. Here’s where it gets dicey.
We all have a number–a number where we feel our best. Energized. Competent. Compassionate. That’s the real number. That’s the number that stands alone outside of our targets. This number has been sculpted from years of diabetes education, lessons learned, scars, and regret. For me, I feel like I can save the world at 140. Below it, I wouldn’t say that I feel low, but I would say that feel anxiety. Above it, I feel alright until about 180. Continue reading →
Oftentimes, exercise can be treacherous–inciting low blood sugars immediately after, then the resulting high blood sugars, and leaving us wondering why we signed up to exercise in the first place. It’s time to provide clarity to something we all need and crave in our lives: movement. Matching personal experience with research, I’ll provide a few generalizations that will help you traverse the exercise path with optimum, never perfect, glucose management.
How does this whole diabetes thing play out when we date people? Do we address it early? Do we conceal it for several months? It can be complicated. It certainly weighs heavily on the minds of many an insulin-dependendent. Hopefully the next four tips will shed some light on the diabetes dating scenario.
1) On a first date or encounter, avoid the cliche “I should probably tell you something” line.
You don’t have kids (well maybe you do) or a sexually transmitted disease (well… yeah, my apologies if you do). Don’t make a big deal out of it. Let it come up naturally–like when your CGM wakes them up at 3AM. Continue reading →
Periodically, I’ll ask Amber about a recent observation about my own T1D life, “When X happens, do you feel like X?” She promptly shoots me a quizzical glance and responds, “You always say things like this to me and I can’t say that I’ve ever experienced that specifically.” If you’re not following me yet, be patient, this is where diabetes gets weird.
Our bodies are complicated. The king of this complexity is the nervous system–especially the sensory feedback. Being a T1D presents unique insights into the nervous system. These insights are everywhere.If you listen carefully, you find your language. Your language is different than mine. It’s full of clues. What drives the language? Blood glucose levels. Continue reading →
Last Friday night, Halloween, marked the opening of a new era in my life–going out with continuous glucose monitoring. Some may say So what? Big deal. I’d respond with Have you ever tested your blood sugar at the bar? Try remembering to test your blood sugar at the bar.Continue reading →
If you have diabetes, you know the Dawn Phenomenon. Perhaps you haven’t been mindful of its occurrence, unconsciously adjusted for its presence, or have just thrown your hands up in the air in frustration. Before we get into the research behind its existence–close to 200 research articles have been published on this–let’s look at how this usually evolves in a diabetic day. Continue reading →
I received the Type 1 diagnosis 15 years ago. Since, announcements about an artificial pancreas, pancreas transplants, and various stem cell developments, have disappointed. I understand that these have all been important developments. I get that we’re getting somewhere. Yes, the future is bright. How about today? Still filled with diabetes. It’s been easier to casually follow the research without getting invested, attempting to appreciate what’s happening in research. Continue reading →
The DDG was recently out and about at a September institution: The Oklahoma State Fair. Amber took in the sights during a weekend afternoon and Ryan reveled in the Friday night lights. What we saw, well, isn’t all that surprising I suppose–all things fried, parents spanking in public, and 14 year olds smoking cigarettes. All that being said, only judgment through diabetic eyes was passed. Here’s our list of the most disturbing observations from the fair:
#1 – Deep Fried Gummy Bears
Do you really need to deep fry something that is already so unhealthy? What joy does a deep friend gummy bear bring to someone? Wouldn’t they taste better normally? Please explain.
#2 – Corn Dog Stands
While making an hour long lap around the fair grounds, I counted 18 corn dog stands. Do we really need that many options for battered, fried meat on a stick?
For at least the last decade, I can recall the same test strip options being available: Freestyle, Freestyle Lite, Accucheck, OneTouch, and Precision.
Do these brands come up with new, more precise technology? No doubt. They do. Are the most up-to-date options, with the most accuracy and painless application, ever covered by my insurance? Never. Take for example the IBGStar testing machine, Sanofi’s development for the iPhone. This is real cool but not cool enough to pay $1.50 per strip. Continue reading →
I stumbled across an article that actually offended me last night, Ten (Quick and Easy) Toddler Lunch Ideas. I am not a dietician, but feel confident stating that dried cranberries, potato chips, crackers, cheddar cheese, and a fruit burst do not add up to even a remotely healthily lunch. I can’t imagine how horrible a child would feel after eating this for lunch.
While working on this post, I happen to catch a few minutes of The Doctors, where they were discussing a controversial campaign to combat childhood obesity.
The episode featured a powerful public awareness video campaign created by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. The video shows an obese 30-something-year-old man being rushed to an emergency room after having a heart attack. It then flashes back through the past 30 years showing the man eating fast food and candy and sitting on the couch playing video games. The video flashes forward to the ER again, and the tagline on the screen reads: “Your child’s future doesn’t have to look like this.” The Doctors say the “Rewind the Future” video might seem harsh to some, but parents need to understand its strong message: Unhealthy food choices that start as children can have deadly consequences.
No, I have not been paid off. No, I am not in the pockets of big pharma. No, I do not purchase all prescriptions from Walgreens. Yet, my perspective on pharmacy refills took a turn for the grateful last week with the singular effort of one pharmacist.
In accordance with a common theme, I was looking to pickup a prescription right as I need it. Picking up a prescription early has never crossed my mind. Due to some insulin resistance from scar tissue (referenced here), I made the switch back to the pens (Lantus and Novolog). When I called Walgreens expecting it to be ready within the next hour, relayed to me was the news that each prescription would be costing $150 under my coverage (BCBS Oklahoma under HealthCare.gov). Continue reading →
In one year, my life with type 1 diabetes changed in ways I never thought possible.
After 12 months of eating a plant-based diet, my insulin needs decreased by 50%. As a 24 year old with Type 1 diabetes, I injected on average 60 units of insulin per day. Now at 25, I dial up 30 units per day. While defying conventional wisdom, I achieved these results while doubling my carbohydrate intake – effectively increasing carbohydrate consumption from 100 to 200 grams per day.
For those not familiar with Type 1 diabetes, let me clarify. People with Type 1 diabetes make no insulin. Every carbohydrate I eat is compensated for with insulin. We with diabetes do not know why our pancreas went on permanent vacation, but it did. I can exercise, eat right, and meditate until the proverbial cows come home, and I will still be using insulin.
How then, can we explain that I am eating more carbohydrates (fruit, vegetables, grains and legumes) but taking less insulin? Continue reading →
The DDG is thankful to partner with local organizations that make a difference on the healthy living front. I hope you check out Food For Thought Learning Institute, who teach vulnerable members of the community basic kitchen safety, nutritional information and food preparation skills needed to overcome hunger in their homes. They whipped a diabetic friendly bread pudding recipe for us. Hope you enjoy.
Since my diagnosis date, I only recall a handful of occasions when I’ve actually addressed my thoughts about having diabetes. I’ve allowed my anger to surface when an uncomfortable situation personally or professionally reared it’s head. I knew it was 100% this damn disease – BUT I never shared my inner thoughts and consumed myself with anxiety and hate. I’ve always been amazed that my physicians could break down the chemistry of my very being (carb ratios, correction factor, etc), but my mental state was never even brought up. No one ever told me it was okay to be angry!
As an adult, I choose to address the dark rooted fears and feelings of utter universal defeat. I had allowed the negative thoughts and energy to fester, effecting every part of my life. One day when I have the courage, I’ll write about the moments that broke me and allowed me cry in the dark – wondering… WHY ME? The Diabetes Daily Grind has fueled my desire to address my feelings. I hope our stories will help you reach a new level of self acceptance.
When the negative thoughts try to creep in, I do my best to face them by practicing the following: Continue reading →
Anyone associated with diabetes knows what a test strip looks like because they are everywhere and seem to pop up in every nook and cranny. The DDG documented a few recent sitings and would like to challenge others to participate by sharing their photos. If you locate one of your own pieces of blood-spattered plastic in an unorthodox location, share it with us! Post your photo to Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook using the #stripsearch. The award for Most Outstanding #stripsearch location will be announced next Monday. Start the search!
All runners know the moment intimately. You’re halfway through a long morning run. You know that the finish line is crossable. You’ve been chewing on dates, Hammer gels, and all other forms of caffeine carbohydrate concoctions for the last hour or so. You can actually hear your stomach growling. All the pain or fatigue starts to disappear, being replaced by this insatiable hunger. All you can think about is EATING. Continue reading →
Sometimes, in lieu of a cure, all diabetics want is consistency—a simple assurance that when we go to bed and our blood sugar is 130, we will wake to a number in the 100s. A hope that when we eat the same breakfast each morning, take the same insulin amount, and control all other meaningful factors, our blood sugar will react similarly day-to-day. What happens when that doesn’t happen? What happens when you eat that same breakfast you’ve always ate, take the same insulin, and your sugar is at 320? Continue reading →
Viacyte, a San Diego based regenerative health/drug company, set off ripples of hope and relief in the diabetes community. We’ve been dreaming of drinking coffee without blood sugar spikes, running an hour without being low for the next hour, and not having to smother my pump’s low battery alarm during meetings.
Here’s a quick review of the announcement—Viacyte is moving forward with an application, to the FDA, to initiate Phase I/II clinical trials in Type 1 diabetes patients. They’re testing safety and efficacy of an implantable device that secretes insulin through enclosed stem cells, turned to pancreatic beta cells, effectively removing the need for diabetics to take insulin. Found on Viacyte’s website, here’s their grandiose take on the product’s possibilities:
“In short, ViaCyte’s VC-01 combination product has the potential to transform the way diabetes care is managed. The product could be a virtual cure for type 1 diabetes and an important new therapy for insulin-requiring type 2 diabetes.”
Mid-august has arrived. Summer is holding on for dear-life. The chance for one last adventure looms. Us Oklahomans just spent a week on the Carolina coast, a place unfamiliar to the land-locked. Sun was had, drinks were guzzled, laughs were aplenty, and diabetes subtly influenced it all.
While out by the water, mostly drowning in an attempt to body-surf, we came up with 6 sure-fire ways to live it up on the beach with insulin-dependence: Continue reading →
It’s all about balance. I like to run–often to a point of obsession–but I also ride the road bike and do a little yoga. Cross-training provides notable returns across multiple disciplines. Continue reading →
Diabetes folks are frequently asked, “Does that hurt?” after we prick our fingers. Well… yes and no. Once you’ve stuck yourself 87,000 times (a figure calculated by the high school Algebra class I taught in 2013-14), the pain of the stick can be coolly dismissed by a simple “I’m used to it”. When the pain exits the familiar experience and enters the realm of pain experienced when the nurses test my sugar, that’s when I usually switch lancets. Continue reading →
Saturday nights can take one of two paths. Path number one is the relaxed, free-flowing night – most likely a result of people not going out the night before. Path number two is the forced and tired means of searching for something night – a result of either going out the night before, a grinding week in the office, or a low blood sugar… Continue reading →
As a native Oklahoman, I can say that hiking is not part of our DNA. I am a flatlander by birth.
That being said, hiking contributes significantly to why I love waking up each day. The challenge, smells, camaraderie, and drinking beers afterward on the tailgate, make up the appreciation I have for glorified walking.
Most summers I travel out to the Rocky Mountain National Park , outside of Estes Park, CO. Yesterday, I took off on a hike with my grandpa (yeah, he’s 70) to Bluebird Lake (13 miles roundtrip). We covered about 2500 feet of elevation gain pretty gradually with a steep climb to the lake nestled next to Ouzel Peak. We hiked and explored for roughly 8 hours. This can be a real challenge for a diabetic. Continue reading →