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Checking In.

Hi… how are you? I’m doing well now, thanks.

When I started this blog over four years ago, one of my goals was to keep sort of a history of my life with diabetes. So every now and then, I sit down and chronicle what’s been going on in my world. Partly for me (it’s my blog, after all); and partly for any family (and you’re family) that may come by, now or later, to find out what was really on my mind back in the spring of 2016. So here’s the latest:

You probably know I’ve been traveling a lot. Las Vegas in March, Northern Virginia a couple of weeks ago, California a few days after that. On the way home from Las Vegas, I had a cough, but I attributed it to the dry climate, and thought I would be better once I got home. Then, on my flight home, I wound up next to someone with a mask on (or off and on) through the flight, who was coughing a lot. A couple of days later, I was real people sick, which turned out to be bronchitis, which I never had before. It was treated, but apparently not enough, because a couple of weeks after that, I came down with something else I never had before: pneumonia. Long story short, a couple of weeks of antibiotics, and I’m back to my old self. Thank goodness, ’cause I felt pretty awful there for a few days. Pneumonia takes no prisoners.

Traditionally, my blood sugar runs high when I travel. Chalk it up to a mixture of food I don’t always eat (and thus have trouble bolusing for), and the fact that I’d rather be high than dangerously low when I’m in a hotel room by myself.

But lately, travel has been no trouble at all. Except for one weird breakfast occurrence in Los Angeles where, after breakfast, I found myself low, then ate the carbs I intentionally ignored over breakfast, then suspended my pump, then ate candy, then ate Skittles (thanks Karen). That kind of low doesn’t happen very often. It must have been the animated conversation.

At home, it’s been a revolving door of sorts. It seems like just when I get home, The Great Spousal Unit is headed somewhere herself. So there has been a fair amount of time at home alone for both of us, though we did travel together for the Friends for Life Falls Church event (and I’m super grateful she decided to come with me/let me drag her down there).

Here in Maryland, it’s finally spring. The azaleas are blooming, I have to mow the grass once a week, and plans are being made for throwing mulch down in multiple beds around the yard. I also put up a new window box for Maureen. She was ecstatic.
I got the vegetable garden started over the weekend (which is a week or two late for me– blame travel and the weather), so in a couple of months at most I should be feasting on home grown lettuce just about every night. I can’t wait.

The BGs at home have been playing nice too, mostly. I just have the feeling that my basal rates are really good right now. My dietary bolus needs have changed a bit over time… does that happen to you too? I don’t even touch half a bagel anymore, let alone a full one. Requires gobs of insulin to bring me back down into range, no matter how much I pre-bolus. Seriously, I’m finding that a donut requires less insulin than a bagel these days. Potatoes don’t seem to require much for me now. Bread, on the other hand, is a nuisance. Pepperidge Farm makes a low carb bread that I found a couple of weeks back though, and it actually tastes like bread and requires far less insulin to cover, so when I’m eating a sandwich or toast, it’s at least a decent option.

Other than that, I must admit to going primarily low carb in the last five or six months. Not crazy low carb, but… you know how People With Diabetes say that over the years, orange juice starts to taste like medicine instead of juice? Well, for me, mindless carbs are starting to look like poison to me. I still eat a little of the poison here and there, but I’m also okay with a salad for dinner and something like quinoa rather than rice. My BGs and my weight have responded positively.

Okay, so that’s a lot of my life right now. How’s it going with you? I’d really like to know. Let’s talk!

Just stop it already.

What a beautiful weekend of weather we just experienced here in the Mid-Atlantic. Sunny days, highs in the 80s. The Great Spousal Unit and I worked on getting things uncovered and cleaned up on our screened porch off the back of our house. These are the days that feel just fantastic outside.

So I was certainly excited at the possibility of getting on my bike for an actual outdoor ride for the first time in six months. I had too much to do on Saturday, so I knew Sunday was the day. On Sunday, there were pressing issues at home that required my attention. But I planned things out so I could do my ride beginning at 2:00 in the afternoon.

I had a high-carb lunch about 12:30. I made sure not to bolus too much, knowing I would be out in the hottest part of the day burning off those carbs. I got my bike out, checked everything to make sure it was okay, inflated the tires, and changed my clothes. To be sure, I did a quick glucose check before I got started.

The result: 55 mg/dL

What made it worse was the fact that I still had a unit and a half of insulin on board. So I knew that even after stopping my pump and ingesting a few more carbs, it would take a while before I could raise my BG to the level that I would feel safe riding for an hour. I decided to just bag the ride and try to head to the gym on Monday morning before work.

I don’t generally go around feeling like everything is my fault. But if I ever do, it’s at times like this. I can’t tell you how much I wanted to ride this weekend. And when that 55 came in, I was pretty unconsolable. I’m feeling pretty out of shape (pretty much like I have at this time every year for the past thirty years), and I hate when I miss opportunities like this weekend.

But… I’ve got to just stop it already. Sure, Sunday’s ride was a bust, and I think it’s okay to be very unhappy about that. But I also know I can’t change it now. The only thing I can do is the absolute best I can do today. Yesterday was a point of disgust for me. I’m not above using it for motivation to crush those feelings of feeling crushed today and the rest of this week.

I hope you’ll join me in feeling that way, both about my preparation for the ADA’s Chesapeake Bay Tour de Cure in May, and about your daily journey with diabetes. It’s not about your diabetes. At least it doesn’t have to be about your diabetes. It can be about the great life you’re living. Or at least about the inspiration you provide in trying your best every day despite this stupid diabetes. Just stop it already. You are worth the journey. And you are worth far more than whatever you’re going through.

Looks can be deceiving.

I had a wierd high and a strange low in the past four days. Neither fit the stereotypical low or high.
Thursday night at about 3:00 a.m., I found myself with a very dry throat and an overwhelming urge to use the bathroom. When I came back, I did a quick BG test to find a 53 mg/dL staring me in the face. Not a common occurrence.
Sunday, the tables were turned. I had completed a hard hour-plus workout at the gym. I spent extra time to recover and drink lots of water to rehydrate my muscles. Apparently, it wasn’t enough, because when I got back into my truck, a quick test revealed 260 mg/dL as the result. Probably too low of a temp basal during the workout, and I was still dehydrated.
Moral of the story: Things are not always what they may seem. And test, test, test.

It just feels good. And it works.

I’ve noticed this phenomenon each of the last two holiday seasons. This is a time of year when I’m unable to work out as much as I’d like and therefore, my insulin doesn’t seem to work out as well in my system. In short, my numbers are higher than the rest of the year.

But…Here’s what is so amazing about this time of year for me:

Last Sunday, we had our annual holiday open house. After a snowy afternoon filled with sweet and salty carbs and lots of conversation among friends and neighbors, my 6:00 p.m. BG check showed 113 mg/dL.

Monday, I had a normal day at work, eating something close to my normal diet, and couldn’t muster anything lower than a 156.

On Tuesday, more of the same. Okay dietary choices, worked through the day, came home, and my pre-dinner check showed 165 mg/dL. But: After dinner, our next door neighbor came over and we spent a few hours talking and laughing and sharing stories. Can you guess? My BG check after came in at 75 mg/dL.

Hey, I can’t explain it. I’ve never been known as a social person, though that’s changed a lot over the last couple of years. But I know that people-to-people contact has definitely had a positive impact on my glucose this holiday season. So I’m going to seek it out as much as I can.

I’m curious… Do in person get-togethers help you with your BG management?

Holiday goodness.. and badness, all at the same time.


Man, the holidays can be tough sometimes.

I’m talking about the difficulty of keeping your glucose in a good range despite all of the festive cheer that adorns plates and cups and crock pots full of cider and filing cabinets at the office with cookies, and lions, and tigers, and bears… oh my!

I don’t have any great advice for you on how to avoid the temptations and spikes to your glucose that giving in to those temptations means at this time of year.

Instead, I’ll tell you what works for me (most of the time—not always). Hopefully, there will be a nugget or two for you in here.

First of all, I try to perform BG checks a lot during this time. There are two reasons for this: 1) If I check, I know how to bolus, or adjust basal rates, of course. And 2) If I check, and I’m not in an optimal place, I know I have to wait. This doesn’t always work for everyone, I know, so it’s not advice. But for me, a high number often shames me into just saying no.

That said… Second, I try to never say never to anything. But in my case, I really try to think of less. If I think, “hey, I’d like to have some crab dip on some of that great bread in the basket there”, I’ll give myself about 15 minutes before I actually go for it. Often, that 15 minutes makes the difference, and I don’t go for the crab dip, or maybe I just forego the bread. I don’t do this all day, but if I do it here and there, and it works, I wind up eating or drinking less than I might have in the first place. Every little bit helps. Oh… if I do all this and I still have trouble with my glucose, I try to remind myself where I’d be if I hadn’t done all of this in the first place.

Third, I remind myself that there are certain truths regarding the holiday goodies. They are good. Because they are often things I don’t have the rest of the year, they’re harder to bolus for. Other than a snack in the evening, eating at any time other than mealtime is just not my thing (though, truthfully, you wouldn’t know that by looking at me). And I know that I won’t be tempted by this stuff a month from now. It is the holiday season after all, not the holiday year. It makes sense if our numbers are off from time to time in December. Which makes having a number that’s in a good place really fulfilling right now. I hope you get more than a few of those 80 mg/dL – 120 mg/dL readings this month.

Thanks for letting me write this out. It feels good getting this out of my head. Again, it’s not advice, it’s just what works for me. I’m just trying to enjoy the holidays without a ton of guilt, while keeping the BGs in a place I’m comfortable with. That’s like climbing an icy roof this time of year. But keeping track of where I am, making do with less, not none, and understanding the realities of holiday fare makes things a little easier for me to handle.

I wish you luck with your holiday indulgences. Have any great tips for me?

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