Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

This is what happens when two Type 1s date each other (and walk around the mall before dinner.....)

Adventures in Feasting and Type 1 Diabetes

Holidays are an interesting and difficult time of year for people with Type 1 Diabetes. Raised in a family where love = food or at least where food is an integral and well enjoyed part of any holiday celebration, I am still learning how to be healthy and happy during the holidays.

I am always tempted to overindulge, overeat, and enjoy a second slice of pie, but I am teaching myself to hold back. I don't need a big helping of mashed potatoes or another slice of pie to be happy. Ever so slowly, I am building healthy habits and a healthy mental approach to food on the holiday table.

So, how did I approach Thanksgiving this year?

Early last week, I knew it would be vital to exercise and eat very healthy before Thursday. I knew that even though I would be moderate with what I ate, I would still be taking in more calories than normal. I packed salad for lunch Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and I had small dinners. On Tuesday, I went for an almost 7 mile run with a running group, Wednesday night I was on my feet doing housework and cooking for a few hours, and I woke up extra early on Thursday to sneak in another 6 mile run before festivities began. Then, the day after Thanksgiving, I convinced the BF to go for a 3 mile run with me. Success! :)

The host and hostess of the Thanksgiving I was going to provided the main staples of any Thanksgiving dinner - the turkey, gravy, and mashed potatoes- and everybody else was asked to volunteer for other sides. Although the idea received a bit of criticism, I brought a salad as a side. I figured that if I pigged out on vegetables, I wouldn't pig out on the mashed potatoes. The Thanksgiving dinner was delicious, and I still ate more than I should have, but I think this was, by far, the healthiest Thanksgiving I've had to date.

Because big meals take a longer time to digest, I played around with my insulin dosing to account for the delay. I used a dual wave bolus to give a few units of insulin at the very beginning of the meal followed by an extra unit or two over the course of an hour. I tested my blood sugars a lot during the weekend and tried not to stack boluses on top of one another. The results? I didn't see a blood sugar over 200 for the entire weekend. Granted, I don't have a CGMS so there may be something I missed. However, I believe I had excellent control. If I can handle my blood sugars over crazy holidays, I have faith that if I'm diligent, I will be able to lower my HbA1c before my next doctor's appointment. Bring it on, Diabetes. I can handle you.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanking My Lucky Stars

It's the time of year to survey our surroundings, count our blessing, and be thankful for what we have been given. Things that I am thankful for:

  • The BF. He gets me. I can be ridiculous. He'll eat anything I cook. He fully understands what life with Type 1 Diabetes is like. He loves me. He is there for me when life is tough. He supports me and my dreams. Every day with him is happy.
  • My family. I have a very caring and overprotective dad. I have an amazing mom to who I talk with every day. I have a wonderful twin sister who, in spite of all our differences, gets along with me and ran a 10 mile race with me to support me this year. I have an uncle who lives nearby who is willing to hang out with me and who has the patience and willingness to teach me how to fix my car. How did I get so lucky?

  • Knowing what I want out of life. I have a goal, and I know the steps I need to take to achieve that goal. Knowing where I'm headed makes each step in life feel purposeful, and every day is one step closer to achieving my dream.

  • The ability to run - I probably take it for granted too often, but this year, I am thankful that I am mobile, injury free, and able push myself past my limits.
  • Health. In spite of my medical conditions, I am taking care of my body and my mind to the best of my ability. Of course, I can't say I'm as healthy as can be, because the truth is that I can always be healthier, but I am healthy.
  • Quality time with family and friends. This year was filled with a lot of difficult and a lot of amazing experiences. I was able to get to know my aunt and uncle better as my aunt battled Mantle Cell Lymphoma with chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant. As difficult as that was, in October, I was able to spend 5 days with my parents and sister in Minneapolis. I know this won't be happening again soon.
  • The joy that running brings me. Whenever I'm stressed, worried, upset, or frustrated, a run can take that away. When I'm in a good mood, running just adds to my joy.
Pure happiness

  • Blogging and all the friends and opportunities it has brought me. When I first started my blog, I did so out of frustration from not being able to run due to an injury and feeling like I had insight to share on what life as an athletic Type 1 diabetic is like. I didn't expect anybody to be interested in reading what I had to say, so it always surprises me when people comment on my blog. I've made some long distant friends like Scully. I've also had some really great opportunities because of my blog- an alternate for the Nuun Hood-to-Coast team, making friends with some Seattle area runners/bloggers, and much more.
  • Finally, in thinking of the next couple of days, I am thankful for the BF's family. They have made me feel like I have a family away from home, and they have been there to support me when my family was too far away. They have such large hearts. I can never thank them enough for supporting me, including me, and celebrating my successes and milestones with me as if I were a true part of their family.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! ........ Now to figure out if I can squeeze in one more run between cooking, packing, and sleeping before we begin our road trip tomorrow morning.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Green Lake Gobble Video

Check it out! I made the video that our local news station took for the race. I appear around the 15 second mark closer to the right hand side of the video. :)

                                   

Green Lake Gobble 5K Race Report

Yesterday morning (Sunday), I ran the Green Lake Gobble 5K. I had been contemplating doing the race, but I didn't commit to do it until the day before.


Anyways, I woke up bright and early on Sunday morning, and wanted to stay snuggled under my blankets. The first thing I did was check the weather which said it was 31 degrees Fahrenheit outside. Brr (yes, I'm a wuss. I'm spoiled by living in Seattle. All my Montana toughness has been destroyed). I decided on running tights, shorts, a running tank, and a green running pullover that would help make me easier to spot for the BF. Since the race was short, I decided to try out my Brooks PureConnects.
Green Lake

About an hour before the race, my blood sugar was 85. I suspended my pump, ate a  banana and some yogurt, and expected that it was enough to get my blood sugar to just where I wanted to be pre-race. After bundling up in a few more layers and finding my inhaler, I drove to the race site. I parked far enough away that I used the distance to the race start as my warm up jog. Blood sugar before I left my car was 151. Perfect. I arrived pretty close to the start time so by the time I had checked my clothes and used the bathrooms, it was time to start lining up. I positioned myself between the 7:00 minute/mile and the 8:00 minute/mile pace markers as I was hoping for a pretty good time. My realistic goal was to run the race in 24 minutes. My "big dream" goal was to run the race in 23 minutes.

The weather for the race was cold but beautiful. The sun was shining, the air was clear, and there wasn't even the slightest breeze. I've run many races at this particular venue, and it can be miserable when it's windy because of the "lake".

With a very anticlimactic start, we were off. I was apparently very focused on the race because I didn't the see the BF at the start when I ran by him. Granted, he didn't see me right away either as he was distracted by someone wearing a similar outfit....
Start of the race

Turkeys, Spiderman, and some super fast people
Off to a good start - Form looked good in this race too

The first mile went by fast - 7:14. I knew I was going too hard, but I couldn't make myself slow down. About halfway through the race, I had to stop to pop my ankle. I know that sounds weird, but sometimes when I run, I get a dull, achy sensation in my ankle that gets worse until I stop and stretch or pop it. Then again, around mile 2, I had another quick walk break to use my inhaler. I ran the second mile in 8:13. During the final mile, I had to take 2 little walk breaks to keep from throwing up but they were no longer than 5 or 10 seconds each.
Turkey closing in on the finish- The race had a "Burn the Turkeys" contest where if you beat the turkeys, you were entered to win some nice prizes.

I was watching my Garmin while I ran, and I knew I was pretty close to my realistic goal time. If I pushed it, I could make it or come close so I gave it all I had. I ran by the BF again (this time I saw him), and all I could do was to kind of wave my hand in acknowledgement as I sped by. I was on a mission to get my goal time. Mile 3 took 8:25 to run.
Pushing to the finish
3 Mile Marker

Crossing the finish line, I heard my name announced. Awesome! Although I didn't make my goal time, I came really, really close with a time of 24:30. Looking at my Garmin file, I was maintaining a heart rate average of 184 for the entire race. I gave it all I had, and I'm pretty impressed with myself. Here's are the results (also listed on my Races and Results page):

Time: 24:30 (Average pace of 7:54)
Overall: 187th / 1126
Division (Women Age 20-29): 25th / 220
Gender: 50th / 736

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lately

Life has been busy, not even including all the doctor visits, and it has been quite a while since I've felt "normal", but routines are slowly finding their way back into my life, and old hobbies are being picked up again. This past weekend, the JDRF NW chapter and the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes Group got together for an early celebration of World Diabetes Day. We went on a short bike ride through Seattle


I haven't been on MY bike since I rode the Seattle Century at the end of July. The bike ride was fun, but holy frozen feet! It was SO cold. I rode to the start from my house, and not even 1 mile into it, my feet were numb. 20 miles later - BRRRRR. The course for the ride was an out and back that traveled close to my house. Near the end of the ride, I split off the group and opted to go home for a hot shower instead of ride back to the start with the group where they were going to have lunch. Hot shower? Amazing after my feet regained feeling, but while my feet were warming up, I was in so much pain, I actually cried. Needless to say, I'm going to have to stay away from cycling until I get some warmer socks and some windproof/waterproof cycling booties.

The next day, the BF and I bundled up in layers upon layers of warm clothing to watch cyclocross races nearby. The BF's friend (and pro triathlete) won his category, and it was fun to be out there cheering for all the people we knew.

And then, there is the whole culture of cyclocross. Much more fun than road races. I say it's like tailgating with bikes. People are a little crazy. Some wear tutus. Some grow epic facial hair. Beer is welcome. Cowbells are everywhere. It was amusing, to say the least.

I was lazy on Sunday and didn't go for a run, so I ran home on Monday night instead. I was mad at diabetes because halfway through my run (mile 3), I felt extremely tired because as it turns out, I had a blood sugar of 58 after starting the run with a blood sugar of 142. (For the diabetics out there, I also had 0 units of insulin on board, and I suspended my pump an hour before running). I ate a Cliff Bar, and angrily walked until I felt good enough to run. Stupid blood sugars. Anyways, because of the fall back, it is now dark by the time I leave work, so I wear reflective stuff to be safe. Part of my run is on a mixed use pedestrian/bike path where cyclists ride very closely past pedestrians without any vocal warning or signal. This is the best I can do to not get hit:

Nothing else too exciting to report. I'm not training for anything specific. There is at least one 5k and one 12k race that I'll do before the end of the year. Beyond that, I haven't decided anything yet except I want to be ready for a half marathon by February, and if career changes turn out well, I just may start training for a marathon. Just have to wait and see...........

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Seven Is Not a Lucky Number

Last Thursday, I had an appointment with my endocrinologist to check up on everything. I get to see him every 3 months. For a while (1 year actually), I was allowed the privilege of being an every-6-months patient, but then my endocrine system started freaking out, and I was put back on the every-3-months patient list. Yay, I'm special. :)

I was a little nervous for the appointment because I knew that my diabetes management hadn't been spectacular over the past few months. Don't mistake me- I take my condition seriously, and I always take care of it, but there are times when I am more detail-oriented and uptight about it than others. The past few months, a lot of life changes were going on. I finished taking evening classes, I trained for the TC 10-Mile and took some time off from running afterwards, I moved into a different apartment, I celebrated several milestones, I began searching for CNA jobs, and I began working towards launching a mentoring program for Type 1s. With everything going on, I chose to be a little lax with my diabetes. Coffee date? Ok. Celebrate something with some dessert? Ok. Go on vacation? Ok. Freak out about diabetes? Not so much. I recognized that a lot was going on in my life, and I kept in mind that I would buckle down on management as life resumed some sort of normalcy.

So, 7 is not a lucky number, and it is what my HbA1c has risen to in the past several months. It went up from 6.8%, and now I've got to turn things around and get the number back down. In the goals I have set for myself, I don't ever want to have an HbA1c over 7%. Time to get serious about diabetes management again....

In other fun news, I need to get a new head MRI. 5 years ago, I had some crazy results from some blood work. A head MRI revealed a pituitary tumor (or adenoma.... either way, it's noncancerous) that was causing an overproduction of a hormone. There is oral medication that is supposed to reduce the levels of hormone, but despite being on the highest dosage and taking my medication religiously, the hormone level has risen up again. Fun fact, did you know MRIs are expensive even with health insurance?

Anyways, I picked up a copy of "Think Like a Pancreas" from the library today. The author, Gary Scheiner, gave a talk to the Sports and Diabetes Group Northwest this past April. I'm hoping it will help or inspire me. I'm also thinking about starting a manual log again and maybe even toting around my copy of Calorie King...... Here's to a much improved HbA1c in 3 months!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award/Tag

Last week, I was tagged/awarded Versatile Blogger by Skipping in Seattle. The rules:
The rules to this award are as follows:
1) Thank the person who nominated you
2) Share 7 random things about yourself
3) Pass the award along to others

First of all, thanks to Skipping in Seattle. Hopefully, one of these days, we will get to meet up in real life.

Now, 7 random things about me:

1. My first job was as a barista at a store called Hastings. I didn't start drinking coffee until after I quit that job and went to college.

2. I was in my High School Color Guard. For some strange reason that I can't remember, I decided to join Color Guard. My HS Color Guard was a) Ridiculous, b) Not glamorous or fancy, c) Not good (at least with the whole dancing with flags thing- we were good at presenting the US, State, and school flags at assemblies and basketball games.)

 3. I'm a bookworm. I just read "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks". In the past 2 weeks I've read that as well as The Book of Lost Things, Through A Glass Darkly, and half of "Till We Have Faces" by C.S. Lewis.

4. My favorite author is Margaret Atwood. I own and have read almost all of her books except for the newest 2 or 3.

5. I made a dress out of duct tape (but not a prom one). Have I used that one before? I can't remember. Note for the curious - duct tape is really hot and doesn't breathe. It's miserable to wear. I don't know how people can go to and survive an entire prom in one.

6. I was in 4-H. I was excellent too - I have a large collection of blue ribbons back home in Montana as well as a number of achievement pins. No, I didn't raise any farm animals - I lived in a "city" so I did all the other things like sewing, cooking, knitting, embroidery, photography, child development, etc.

and finally 7. I once played piccolo in a ska band made up of a bunch of my friends, and I sort of, kind of used to be a punk rocker (to the extent that my parents would allow). I hung out with all the punk rockers, I wore lots of black jackets with zippers and extra metal, I had the punk bracelets and the punk belts, etc. etc.

And for the final rule, passing this on to others. This is not my favorite part so I'm making it short. Here we go:
-Scully aka Canadian D-Gal  (Hopefully this can help with NaBloPoMo?...)
-Céline from Running on Carbs
-Anybody else who wants to do this.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Race Medals and Bibs Display

A while back, I showed you all my "Wall of Race Bibs" here, but since then, I've moved to a new apartment where my bedroom is my only space to decorate. Sadly, the wall of race bibs came down, and will not be resurrected.

I think I also mentioned in that post that all of my medals were still lying around in a shoebox doing nothing but collecting dust. I have seen medal displays before, but I wasn't super impressed with any of them. Then, one day I was looking at Etsy (a crafts/handmade website), when a running medal display from Running on the Wall popped up. I checked out their store on Etsy, and also found that they had a bib display that was also pretty ingenious (2 different hook sizes to accommodate the 2 most common sizes of race bibs). I loved the slightly rustic and homemade feel of their displays, and I always love to support people who craft. I bought their combo package in turquoise and received both a bib display and a medal display. Here they are set up on my wall:
(The last 'medal' is actually my spike key...)
 Medals in order:
1. JDRF 25th Annual Beat the Bridge for Diabetes 8k (2007)
2. Seattle Amica Marathon (2009)
3. Seattle Rock'n'Roll Marathon (2010)
4. Skagit Valley Tulip Run - 2nd Place (2011)
5. Seattle Survivor Mud Run (2011)
6. Seattle Athleta Iron Girl 10k (2011)
7. Medtronic TC 10 Mile (2011)

Pile of Race Bibs- I need to go back and finally take off all the safety pins.
Anyways, I'm super happy with my new race medals and race bibs displays, and I didn't realize that I had that many medals. Yay!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Frazzled Friday

Yesterday, I went to bed with a drippy nose and the beginnings of a sore throat. This morning I woke up to a full blown sore throat, drippy nose, body aches, and tired eyes. Not a good way to kick off a weekend or finish up to the work week.

I forced myself out of bed after hitting snooze a few times too many, and went into work. I originally had plans to go to the gym this morning, but obviously that was not going to happen. I didn't have to talk in the morning, so that was quite nice, but in the afternoon, I had to train somebody which involved lots of talking. Yuck. My sore throat was not happy, and although I was working, I felt like I was in a fog. I was definitely happy when the day was over.

After the most bumpy bus ride home ever (seriously, I sometimes think the Seattle buses are going to fall apart as they are driving- when I drive the same roads in my car, it's MUCH smoother), I buried myself under a pile of blankets for a mini nap and was out in seconds.

I'm throwing any plans I had for exercising this weekend out the window. Tomorrow, I'm going to sleep in and lounge around all day. I hate being sick. Is it wrong that I wish my mom lived closer when I get sick?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. Doctors- I have my endocrinology appointment next Thursday. I went into the doctor's office this morning to get my lab work drawn only to discover that it is changing from a walk-in laboratory to an by-appointment-only laboratory. Boo. On another note, the very kind phlebotomist had to take something like 8 vials of blood for all the tests my doctor wants to run. My doctor is known in that lab for requesting more tests than others, but this was a lot, even for me. That is because some of the blood work to be done will be testing to see whether or not my Raynaud's Syndrome is a symptom of yet another autoimmune disease or if it is a symptom of one of my already existing autoimmune conditions. Also, I may have problem-solved some of my own thyroid issues. Maybe I'm a bit paranoid, but usually, I try and analyze things with common sense and good judgement. It seems like I've been losing more hair lately than is normal which is a common symptom for people with hypothyroidism. At my last endocrinology appointment, my thyroid levels were inexplicably out of range despite the fact that I am religious about taking my medication every morning. Well, I've been taking generic instead of brand name. Guess what? According to many endocrinologists, generic synthroid is much less tightly regulated and not as effective. I'm hoping that switching back to brand name after my appointment next week fixes some issues. A girl can dream......

2. Diabetes - On Tuesday, I presented my mentorship idea to the planning committee of ConnecT1D, a new (just over a year old) nonprofit organization for Type 1 diabetes that is local. Aside from the few legal liabilities that need to be worked out, they loved my idea, and they see the need for it. First, I should say that as of Tuesday, I am now a member of the ConnecT1D Planning Committee. Secondly, my job this month is to come up with an in-depth action plan to get a pilot program going relatively soon. I will present this at the December meeting. I'm so excited, but it's a little scary how fast things are moving forward. Yikes! If you're curious, you can check out their website: http://www.connecT1D.org or find them on Facebook.

3. Dirty Work- Instead of going on my usual Saturday morning long run last weekend, I went to my uncle's house and learned how to change my front rotors and brake pads on my car. The sad part? I've been told for a year that I need to get my front rotors replaced - this includes the guys at Les Schwab and my regular mechanics in Seattle. Upon inspection myself, the rotors were not even at their minimum width, and the brake pads were far from being worn down. The ONLY issue I could find was that their was one small groove in one of the rotors. Well, I had the new parts and had time to learn, so we changed them out anyways, but my mechanic is going to get an earful from me the next time we talk. Also, they've been telling me that my driver's side inner tie rod is wearing out so I need to get a replacement and an alignment. We didn't notice anything on the driver's side, but we did notice that the boot cover of the steering rod on the passenger side was broken. Why have they never mentioned THIS to me? My sister, who works as a Service Writer and also works at an automotive parts shop, gave me the best advice. Ask them "Why?". If they say something has to be done, ask why. If you don't understand, tell them you will call them back or that you need to talk to someone (and then call someone who knows more about cars than you do). It irks me to think that every time I've walked into my mechanic's shop, all they've seen is a bunch of dollar signs walking in because I'm a girl. Hmmm, what can we con her into this time? It makes me exceptionally mad because I probably know more about cars than a lot of women who walk into their shop. Might be time to change mechanics, but not before one more conversation with them.........

P.S. I've still been working out, but it's nothing to write home about. My short 3 mile run yesterday was shortened to a 2 mile run because it was raining hard and my legs were frozen.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Well, At Least It's Not (Fill in the Blank)

Another National Diabetes Month post.

The things people say to try and make you feel better sometime fall very short of the truth. I admit that in my first year as a diabetic, I threw many pity parties for myself, but I've accepted my condition and am doing the best I can. Truth be told, Type 1 Diabetes has brought both positive and negative things into my life. Without Type 1, I probably wouldn't be as motivated to exercise or take care of my health. Without Type 1, I may have never worked up the courage to ask my (now) BF out to coffee for the first time. Without Type 1, I'm not sure I would have found the right vocation or career path. All these things are good.

That being said, it always shocks me a little when people say "Well, at least it's not (fill in the blank)." Most often, the blank = cancer. Um, thanks for trying to make me feel better? I have to admit that at first consideration, any normal person would agree, but I don't. Yes, it's not cancer, but it doesn't mean that it's any better or worse. It doesn't mean that diabetes doesn't make life difficult. Not that I have disease envy, but here are some things to consider:

- Cancer is curable for the most part. Diabetes, at the moment, is only treatable but that involves multiple injections, many finger sticks, and having to be vigilant.
- Diabetes is a forever thing. Cancer is, for the most part, not a forever thing.
- Cancer patients get much more support, sympathy, and research money. Because cancer treatment often has very visible and recognizable symptoms, they get a lot of support. Diabetes tends to be an "invisible illness" such that we deal with our disease every day, but you can't always tell by looking at us what kind of struggles we go through.
-I know that it depends on the type of cancer and the stage at which it is caught, but 1 in 20 Type 1s die because of a low blood sugar, often at night when they are sleeping and not aware of having low blood sugar symptoms.

Okay, okay. I don't have disease envy. I wouldn't trade diabetes for cancer, but living with diabetes is a difficult thing. There will be no vacation from it until there is a cure. So the next 60+ years of my life (yes, I'm planning to live to a good old age) are going to be filled with diabetes. It's no walk in the park.

Here are a few blogs I read a few months ago that inspired me to write today's post:

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Type 1 Diabetes Day

If you're part of the "normal" population, you are most likely unaware that November is National Diabetes Month. This includes several blog related celebrations, a few days related to different types of diabetes, and World Diabetes Day, which is on November 14th.

I'm not sure I talk all that much about my diabetes on my blog, but this month, I will try and focus on diabetes. So here it is:

Today is Type 1 Diabetes Day.

Things non-diabetics should know about Type 1 Diabetes:

-Although it is also referred to as Juvenile Diabetes, many people are diagnosed in early adulthood and later in life. This is happening more and more. I, myself, was diagnosed when I was 17.

-It is not caused from eating too much sugar or not exercising enough. It is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system kills the beta cells (insulin-producing cells) of the pancreas.

-I can't fix it with diet, exercise, or cinnamon. I HAVE to inject insulin. No way around it. Many of the "diabetes cures" out there are for Type 2 Diabetes (where the body still produces insulin but doesn't use it effectively).

-Type 1 Diabetes accounts for approximately 5-10% of the total number of cases of diabetes.

-Type 1s can eat anything we want as long as we take the proper amount of insulin for it. We should exercise some reason i.e. not sitting down and eating an entire chocolate cake at once, but really, I can have dessert or that cookie or something other than salad.

-Finally, a PSA. Don't tell me about your uncle who lost his foot to diabetes. It seems a good majority of people have a relative like this. I don't want to hear. You can search Google for more in-depth lists about things not to say to a Type 1, but this one is my #1. Thanks but please don't scar me with another diabetes horror story.