Anointed by the Huffington Post, mindfulness is the 2014 word of the year. As we enter the final month, in honor of the word, I thought I’d apply the idea to diabetes management. In short, mindfulness is knowing what you’re doing and thinking and why you’re doing and thinking it. Today, we can be mindful in these three ways:
1) When checking blood sugar, only check your blood sugar.
Don’t combine this activity with the barrage of life as we know it: conversation, social media, talking on the phone, etc. Why? Being attentive while making management choices gives empowerment and the opportunity to learn. After demolishing everything in the cupboard, it’s important to know how you got to this place. This is hard but a game changer.
It takes insulin awhile to get going.
With the CGM alongside, I now understand the speed at which insulin operates. Yesterday evening, my glucose trended up towards 200. I corrected with a unit of insulin. At the moment, I was attempting to study, which invariably leads to a search for any excuse not to study. Insert CGM. I kept looking to see if the insulin was working. It didn’t initially. Fifteen minutes later, I could see the readings crest and begin trending downwards. This is the indicator to stop giving insulin unless you enjoy being low, or well… crazy. Continue reading
Over this discourse, I am going to rationalize why it’s okay for folks with diabetes to use the disease to pick up a love interest. Some would label these tactics as exploitation—I see it as using your resources wisely. I’m completely cool with using up karma from previous suffering (Reference here, here, and here) At the end of the day, don’t we all just want to be interesting? Given that diabetics usually carry, at any given moment, syringes, a portable IV-like machine, sugar tabs, and sharp things, we are incredibly interesting! Plus, it allows us to be vulnerable right off the bat. Not many can achieve that. These methods, while rather crude, have been tried and tested in many situations during high school, college, and early adulthood. Continue reading
Getting some feet wet in the rising tide.
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
Lately I’ve been exploring more creative placement of the pump sites. I use Medtronic’s Paradigm insulin pump with the Sure-T (6mm) site.
For the first 4 years or so of pump life, I targeted the stomach as the primary target. As I began running and cycling, available area in the stomach thinned up a bit. During college, I used mainly my hips and upper butt. I noticed a bit of scar tissue when I started running more often and decided to explore. Continue reading
Rarely in my life have I opted to go back to shots. It’s usually a last resort. My membership card for Team Pump has never been in question. I love the on-the-fly corrections I can make based on symptom awareness. Nevertheless, my employer switched up insurance companies last month and due to a few logistical issues I was thwarted back into the land of Lantus for two weeks. It wasn’t all bad. Check out the top 5 pump-free powers I rediscovered:
1) No strategic sleeping
My favorite pump site location is on the upper, outside butt region (almost above the hips). Occasionally, these sites can get pretty sore, even after one day. Because I pay for my sites, I like to get my money’s worth and keep them in for at least 3 days. At night, sometimes I avoid sleeping on a certain side if things turn tender. Continue reading
It haunts us. It’s almost indescribable but you know the feeling. Described as anxiety, lack of focus, restlessness, or the time when you act like a person you aren’t. It doesn’t happen when you’re blood sugar’s high. It doesn’t happen when you’re blood sugar’s low. It strikes when your blood sugar is in the twilight zone: 70-90.
We know the signs of being high – foggy eyes, agitation, thirst, etc. We know the signs of being low – nonsensical hunger, dizziness, fatigue, etc. In the twilight zone, it’s really hard to recognize any signs. It isn’t a physical sensation except for perhaps a faster heart rate. Particularly, it’s purely mental, the inability to control your thoughts. Allow a monk on a mountainside in Tibet thirty minutes in the middle zone and he’ll never be the same. Continue reading
Count your carbs – take your insulin. This is the mirage we chase tirelessly every day.
Here’s how the situation usually places out. Tuesday I wake up and my blood sugar is say 80. Not where I like to wake up but not a low blood sugar that slows down my mind all morning. I make a blueberry banana smoothie with a scoop of protein powder. Looking at bolusing for about 45-50 carbs by my count. I send 3 units in through the pump. Feel great all morning. Blood sugar looks good at lunch. I OWN THIS DISEASE!
Flash forward to Wednesday. I wake up. Make the exact same smoothie. Blood sugar is at 123 this time. Given the higher blood sugar, I take 3.5 units of insulin. By 9AM, in mid-lesson, I feel that wave of anxiety and insecurity move through me. Words and coherent thought escape me. You guys know how that sweat feels. Here we go – blood sugar is at 70. What just happened? Continue reading
It was my first day home and my mom looks wicked stressed. It was time to take my first shot and I recall her shaking while drawing out the insulin. I sat on the steps in our dining room and she came in for the kill. I don’t remember freaking out because I knew what was going down, we had done this in the hospital a few times.
She began to sweat and I thought she might pass out. She splashed water on her face and came back. I took the needle from her and gave my first shot in my thigh. She was relieved and I am free, free from having to rely on anyone else. Continue reading