A Year in Review with Diabetes

It's time to reign in this year with one last post. I've had a second appointment with Dr. Feel Good in December and much to my surprise my Hba1c had lowered even more coming in at 5.7%. I was sure that it had crept up from the miraculous 6.0%. But nonetheless it was lower and my cgms readings were more stable (less ups and downs) and I'm actually starting to think things are getting easier. I'd like to recount 2010 with diabetes because it's been a big one for me.

April 2010     
Talk of pregnancy
Solicited help from Dr. B 
Started wearing CGMS regularly
Began training for RAGBRAI
Became interested in the DOC

May 2010     
Not much help from Dr. B
Hba1c of 7.0% for a second time
Started Young and Type 1
Began writing this blog

June 2010     
Consultation with High Risk Maternal Fetal Clinic
Char, amazing APN, began reviewing my CGMS data online
Experimented with foods that have different glycemic indices 
Adjusted basal rates and temp basals
Met T1's for the first time in years
July 2010       
Rode my bicycle across the state of Iowa
Found it difficult to control sugars with beer
Met T1 in 3rd trimester who recommended Dr. Feel Good

August 2010
Experimented with dual wave boluses
Met more amazing T1's
Met Dr. Feel Good
Hba1c 6.0%

September 2010   
Felt success
Stopped taking birth control
Started bolusing 15-20min before eating

October 2010        
Celebrated(?) my 14th year with diabetes 

November 2010
Tried to maintain steady state
Found it difficult with winter and holidays

December 2010   
Volunteered at the JDRF Gala
Hba1c 5.7%
Things are getting easier.


New Tricks

Foods that I find "scary" are things such as pizza, scones, pasta, homemade apple pie and french fries among others.  I have avoided these foods that I am scared of because it will do crazy things to me for the next 24 hours, like, say, a blood sugar reading of 402 after one slice of pizza.  But now that I am armed with all of my new tricks I feel somewhat giddy. I had success with pizza recently with the help of trick #1: the dual-wave bolus. This morning I ate a scone for breakfast with favorable results using trick #2: a 20 minute early bolus. My favorite trick, #3: red wine. I've enjoyed a glass of pinot noir with rigatoni as a blood sugar lowering tool. With my new tricks and sensor data to back me up, I feel as if I can expand my repertorie of what I eat and drink without the guilt. That feels good.


The Feel Good Doctor

I got a call from my doc today to review my most recent blood sugars that I had uploaded and amongst all of our conversation back and forth she managed to give a little praise...

me: I have a complaint from a type 1, I'm getting low too often and as a result, fat, I've gained five pounds from all of the sugar I've been consuming, can we do something about that?
doc: yes, I agree you have been low often, let's adjust XYZ.
me: (whew! I didn't have to argue) thanks
doc: You know, your doing a stellar job! Just look at these numbers, this is so great, you should be so proud of yourself.
me: silence. um, thanks.

As I tried to remember if a doctor had ever told me that I did a good job, I felt all of those endorphins rush to my brain and put me in a state of pure bliss. I felt so damn good for days.

Let's give it up for the doc who realizes what a little encouragement can do for the mental and physical health of her patients!



I've finally come to terms with fat. Eating it that is. When I was first diagnosed the plan was to follow the standard ADA pyramid diet with the majority of calories at the bottom of the pyramid coming from breads and grains and the least at the top from fat and sweets. Saturated fat was as bad for you as inhaling uranium and to be avoided at all costs. Margarine or low fat butter(an oxymoron if I ever heard one) was highly recommended. Lean meat such as chicken and fish were encouraged. Bacon and sausage would make the devil thrive in your right ventricle. Drink skim milk only. 2% will create slugde in your arteries. No cream cheese. Eggs should be limited--oh and don't eat the yolk, the devil will lurk. Very little fat is acceptable. After all, diabetics are at a higher risk of heart disease. As a 15 year old, I listened thoroughly, took the medical advice and tried to be a good patient.

In the last few years I have eaten real butter. Do you know what real butter tastes like? It's AHHH....MAAA...ZING. I snack on nuts sometimes, mostly almonds. I eat sausage, bacon and steak. I eat eggs, yolk included. I eat things on the top of the pyramid. If you go on the ADA's website and search for the food pyramid you will find a short blurb stating that it is no longer in use as a meal planning tool. I find this disturbing, not only because I followed medical advice that didn't put me at an advantage against this disease, but because I don't know what kind of advice I am following now or in the future that could be detrimental to my health.  So I have adopted my own philosophy for food, it's not original, but that its something I can live with, enjoy and feel confident that I'm supporting my body. I stay away from processed food, such as sugar-free cookies. What are those things made of anyways? I shop at farmer's markets in season and buy organically when I can. I focus on lots of fruits, vegetables and protein. I limit carbs, I don't avoid them. I've decided that eating real food, fat or no fat, is better than eating something that has been synthetically produced. People need fat. Even diabetics. If complimented with exercise, fat is your friend. It should be enjoyed.

My fat-loving ways were recently validated by my new endocrinologist. She suggested that I drink whole milk instead of 2% with my morning oatmeal or eat eggs every morning to decrease post prandial spikes. Drink whole milk? I gasped. And then I said, I like you.


D-Day: Sugar Invasion

Today, October 9th, is the day I was diagnosed 14 years ago.  It was the day that sugar invaded my body in places where it shouldn't have been, like my eyes. Things were blurry back then. The things I remember from that week in the hospital, not in any particular order:

-Being scared, but not sure what I was scared of.
-My mother stepping into the hallway to call my father.
-The autumn plant my stepmother brought to my hospital room.
-My brother visiting.
-Playing with plastic food to get an idea of how exchanges worked.
-Tiger, the stuffed animal, my stepfather brought me. (It's still in my bed.)
-Being embarrassed and not wanting to tell any of my friends.
-My mother sleeping on the couch.
-Getting released for a night, only to end up back in the hospital, because I was scared.
-My father, quiet.
-Holding a needle in front of my pinched stomach for hours trying to give myself the first injection.
-Giving the orange an injection instead.
-My aunt Karen, dressed in purple.
-Get Well cards from kids at school.
-Calling a friend to tell them about my new life.
-Morning snack. Half of a banana and vanilla wafers. I always wondered who got to eat the other half.
-My exchange book.
-Wanting to do a good job.


Wine or Yoga, What Would you Choose?

This is the dilemma that I am often faced with: exercise or something else. In this case, it happens to be a glass of red wine. The day has been long and less than desirable and more than anything I want my thoughts to disappear for awhile, to decompress. I can achieve this by attending an hour long session of yoga. I like the instructor and if I attended the class I know that I would be satisfied when I completed it. I would walk home with my shoulders back and chest lifted a little.  I would lift my chin, slow my breaths and feel superior to everyone crossing the street. I would applaud myself for attending the class and be rewarded with a noteworthy blood sugar.  However it requires pants, leaving my home where I have just arrived and walking 5 blocks to the athletic center.

OR, I could have a glass of red wine. I could easily walk from my living room to kitchen, without pants, and pour myself a glass of pinot. I could let my mind disappear in the rivulets running down the glass.  My body and mind would relax and I would be content.  I could eat a pasta dinner and still be rewarded with an ideal blood sugar. Tonight I have chosen the glass of pinot. So why does it feel so wrong?



Ah! I'm not doing very well. It's now Saturday and I haven't posted my Friday Food Blog. I love pesto. The flavor is rich and the texture is smooth with a little crunch. It goes on anything, a turkey sandwich, pasta, crackers, vegetables, bread and so on. It's super easy to make, especially if you have a food processor. I like to pick up a giant batch of basil from the farmer's market and make enough to freeze for the winter. Put all ingredients in food processor or blender.  2 cups basil, 1/2c parmesan, 1/3c pine nuts, 2 garlic cloves and 1/2c olive oil. Salt and pepper as you wish.