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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Identify Yourself

As I mentioned in my post last week, my first medical ID bracelet broke when it got caught on a loose string.  Here is the broken bracelet:

Day 111 by Arnold_and_Me
You can see the broken lobster clasp in the upper right corner. 

So I got online that night to order a new one.  Why the urgency to buy another bracelet?  I know some diabetics wear a medical ID, some don't, and some rely on their insulin pump to be their ID.  My mom ordered my first ID before I even got out of the hospital, so she obviously believed in the power of the medical ID.  And I can't count how many times I've heard of car wrecks where the driver experienced "diabetic symptoms" (as the radio announcer calls it). 

But what really put me over the edge to have a medical ID at all times is a conversation I had with an EMT friend last year.  He noticed my bracelet and praised me for being responsible for wearing one.  I honestly asked him if wearing this thing was even worth it, or was I wasting good wrist space for a cuter piece of jewelry.  "Oh no," he said, "It's definitely worth it, especially if you wear it on your wrist.  If you're debilitated, an EMT will check your pulse on your wrists' first as part of a vitals check.  And if they see you have a chronic disease that could be contributing to you being out of it, the faster we can treat you."

So there you have it, from the mouth of the one person or party who would actually use my medical ID.  It's worth it.  By far, it's the cheapest life-saving device you can buy. 

But that doesn't mean my medical ID can't be cute, either.  So back to my online hunt.  I wanted an ID that would be cute but also obviously a medical ID.  I eventually stumbled upon StickyJ where I found pretty decently priced IDs with a plethora of bracelet options.  I settled on a heart-shaped charm with my full name on the front and my conditions on the back. 

Day 113 by Arnold_and_Me
I have diabetes in my heart. 

I wear this ID at all times, even during softball games when we're technically not supposed to wear any jewelry.  No one's ever given me trouble about it, but I will argue that this is not a piece of jewelry to me.  This small piece of sterling silver is just as vital as my insulin pump or CGM in my diabetes management. 

I try to tell as many people as I can that I'm diabetic when safety situations call for it (like my spinning instructor, softball coach, and lab coordinator), but this bracelet would be able to tell the world when I can't. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Everything

Today is Good Friday, the day of the ultimate Passover when Jesus took on the sins of the world as the blood sacrifice.  When Jesus said, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" it wasn't because he felt abandoned on the cross.  It was because Jesus was wearing all the sins of the world at once, and God couldn't bear to look on Him. 

"Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" ~John 1:29

I love this skit to Lifehouse's "Everything".  It pretty much sums up the hope and meaning of the cross in 5 minutes, 33 seconds.  Especially the last part with the knife, because I know several people with diabetes have felt that hopeless.  Gives me chills every time I watch it.


Happy Easter! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Freakin' Out!!!

I have a confession to make:  I'm not the most graceful, organized person (please contain your shock), especially when I'm stressed.  And when it comes to the devices of technology that I rely on to keep me alive, I am particularly anxious.  If one of them goes missing, I pretty much become a basket case. 

Yesterday I started a new project at work, which wouldn't be an incredibly stressful thing except I also had my first softball game yesterday.  So I was at a new place and out of my routine--something that diabetics thrive on.  I had already missed my afternoon snack, sending me low in the middle of a lab test, so I was already frazzled.  With 15 minutes left before I needed to leave, I went to the bathroom to change from my work clothes to my softball clothes. 

I was wearing a really pretty peasant dress yesterday that had no pockets.  Arnold was securely tucked away in my undergarments, but Constance would switch from my purse to my jacket pocket so I could keep an eye on her.  In my hurry to get dressed, I put Constance in my shorts pocket when my medical ID got caught on a loose string.  I pulled with one, swift jerking motion and *SNAP* the lobster clasp broke.  "Fantastic!" I sarcastically retorted.  I had this bracelet since my diagnosis, so it was bittersweet to know it was broken (even though it was still sporting my maiden name).  I threw my broken bracelet into my bag, threw my hair into a ponytail, and headed out to my car. 

I called Trey on the way, and he asked if I was going to eat before my game at 6 PM.  "I'm stopping at a gas station right now to get a candy bar or something."  I was about to get out of my car when I reached for Constance in my pocket . . . except she wasn't there!  "Nooooooo . . ." I whispered.  I immediately freaked!  I frantically started going through my gym bag, purse, jacket where she hung out most of the day.  I got out of the car and thoroughly inspected underneath the passenger and driver's seats.  I forgot the candy bar and jumped back in my car headed back to the lab where I just came from.

 I ran back to the lab the same way I came out, scanning the parking lot for my black-colored egg, starting my Easter celebrations early.  I went back to the bathroom where I got dressed and got on the floor looking for my trusty CGM.  I made 2 more loops around the parking lot (I considered this my "warming up" for the game) before giving up and deciding that my poor little CGM was lost somewhere in a dark place, crying and BEEEEEEEPing for me to find her.  I fell back in my car, exhausted and crying, I kept saying "No, no, no!!!" over and over. 

I was already considering making some of these. 


I immediately called Dexcom and inquired how much a new receiver would be.  They told me that since my receiver was still under warranty that I would only have to pay half of its normal value (just FYI if you've ever wondered).  I decided to wait on ordering another one because I'm not the greatest at finding things, especially when I'm running late/stressed/tears running down my face.  I told myself I would wait until I got home and Trey and I could take apart the car together. 

I parked at the softball fields, already running 10 minutes late, I decided to go through the car one. more. time.  I go through my gym bag, purse, and jacket on the passenger's side as well as looking underneath the seat (also note to self:  Holly, clean your car!  Pretty sure I interrupted some dust mites having dinner).  Then I go over to the driver's seat and looked between the seat and the center console . . . and there she was, neatly tucked between the seat belt clasp and the center console department.  I could barely see the familiar opening where the charger cable plugs into.  It was as if I put her there on purpose.  

I pushed my monstrous hands (yes, for a girl, I have big hands) pass the seat and grab my long-lost CGM and actually kissed it!  "Thank you!" I said as a prayer back to God for the many, many "Please help me find it!"s I said on the way to the ballpark.  I breathed a sigh of relief and headed to the field, contemplating using duct tape to tape the receiver to my leg.  Constance showed that I was 153 mg/dL headed straight up (hello, stress). 

So I ended up having a great game, including scoring a nice welt on my left leg from a slide.  I went home and Trey and I ordered me a new medical ID.  All the while I kept patting my pocket every 5 minutes seconds to make sure that Constance didn't decide to fall out again. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Little Close to Home

This post discusses the movie Soul Surfer that came out this past weekend.  Thus, it may contain some spoilers that may or may not reduce your own personal enjoyment of the film.  You've been WARNED!!! 

This past weekend was the best weekend I've had all year.  Mexican dinner Friday night with friends, dog park on Saturday followed by a steak dinner at home while watching The Town (excellent movie!), and Sunday was church followed by a matinee movie.  The movie we saw was Soul Surfer--the story of pro-surfer Bethany Hamilton who lost her left arm in a shark attack when she was 13-years-old.

I was initially drawn to this movie because of Bethany's outspokenness about her faith, something that I struggle with all the time.  While I'm definitely not a pro-surfer, there was one scene in the movie that felt eerily close to me.  The day after the shark attack, Bethany is laying in the hospital bed with her dad sitting in the chair next to her.  She wakes up and notices her dad crying and she tells him, "Dad, don't cry."   Her dad covers his face and says, "I'm not crying."  Yeah, right.



That scene took me back to that hospital room in early December 2006 when my dad walked into the room, took one look at me, and turned around to cover his face.  "I'm OK, Dad.  Don't cry."  It didn't matter, though, because my dad had already lost it.  I'm pretty sure I looked like death with a tube in my nose, IVs in my arm, and hair that hadn't been washed in 3 days.  My dad drove 5 hours to see his daughter like this, a hard site for sure. 

After watching Soul Surfer, I got to see my diagnosis from the point of view of my loved ones.  I could never imagine how Trey felt when he had to carry my lifeless body to the hospital after I had collapsed into DKA.  I can't imagine what my parents thought when they saw me giving myself shots, wanting to help, but not wanting to interfere because they knew I had to do this on my own . . . for the rest of my life.  I never knew how many countless prayers and phone calls were made on my behalf.  I never knew or saw the worry; I was just trying to recover.  But Soul Surfer brought me to the other side, and watching it was almost too much.

What really struck me about Bethany was her constant positive attitude.  Only once did she get frustrated and give up on surfing, but it was for a short while.  She gave God the glory to the fact that she was still alive and was given the public platform of professional surfing to give hope and inspiration to countless others.  She took her tragedy and turned it into her testimony.

I'll probably never have the platform that Bethany has, but I still wonder how my having diabetes is supposed to fit into my testimony.  I've written how having diabetes makes my soul stronger, but how can I use that for God's glory?  Other than this blog, I haven't really shared how my diabetes and faith fit together.  But I definitely feel a kinship to Bethany because we both lost something.  Her loss is more evident, whereas mine is invisible.  Her positivity, even through her actress playing her character, was infectious and I hope I can be as much of an inspiration as she is.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Relaxing on the Weekend

Managing diabetes is best done on a consistent routine.  As such, I'm very diligent about my diabetes management during the week.  I eat the same thing for breakfast almost everyday, and it's easy for me to count my carbs using my handy dandy MFP app.  I also have an accommodating job that allows me to hear Constance and test whenever I need to.  Barring some 2-hour long meeting or the random tornado warning that sends the entire office down into the basement (like maybe today?), diabetes and me work well during the week.

However, the weekend is a totally different story.  My weekends start as soon as I leave the office on Friday afternoons, because we usually go out to dinner with friends.  Then, on Saturdays we hang out around the house, consuming a big breakfast and 2 pots of coffee while watching some home remodeling shows.  If we don't have any immediate plans, I will spend a few hours cleaning the house, so there's some exercise.  I try to be diligent about testing at least before meals, but I admit I rely on Constance to alert me to a high or a low.  On Sundays, we head to church, have lunch, and I spend the afternoon doing laundry and getting ready for another week.  Again, I test before each meal, but I forget to check 2 hours later to see if I'm still in-range.  This is pretty much my routine for every weekend we are in town.  And if we happen to go out of town to visit family or family comes to us, then diabetes management all but goes out the window. 

This is something I'm trying to nip in the bud, especially since I'm planning for pregnancy and I can't take a break on the weekends with a little bud growing inside of me.  I'm pretty sure if you did an average of my BG readings per day of the week, it would be around 120 mg/dL on Wednesdays and 180 mg/dL on Saturdays.  If you take the average of these weighted by the day of the week (cuz I'm a math nerd), that gives me an average of 137 mg/dL.  I'm either going to have to lower my average during the week (which I don't want to do, especially since I've got the exercise thing going on), or try to wrangle in these weekend numbers. 

I've tried to do some things like increasing my protein intake for those big Saturday morning breakfasts or having a lighter lunch in preparation for the larger dinners.  I'm also trying to sneak in an exercise session on Sunday afternoons like bike riding or walking the dogs, something that I enjoy that's not as intense as my exercises during the week.  This past weekend, I was getting really frustrated with seeing my 24 hour line hanging out around my 180 mg/dL threshold that I thought I had a bad site or bad insulin.  But this morning I woke up at 133 mg/dL and dropped to 60 mg/dL by the time I got to work.  Nope, it wasn't a bad site or bad insulin, just bad diabetes management or what I like to call "User Error." 

"I'll be right here if you need me." 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Something's Working

So 5 weeks have passed since my endo appointment where I was told to lose 10 pounds in order to help my elevated-but-not-high blood pressure issues.  The first week, I upped my workout routine and decreased my diet mainly be getting rid of snacks and alcohol, and I lost one pound that week.  After that, I was stalled, stuck, not moving, etc. for 3 weeks!!  I stayed at the same weight for 3 weeks, battling lows after workouts, and constantly adjusting my basal rates.  Luckily, I never gained, because I'm unsure if that would have made me give up. 

It finally seemed like I found something that worked, BG-wise, for my basal rates because I stopped having so many unexplained lows and tweaked temporary basals for workouts.  For example, for spinning class, I disconnect Arnold an hour before the class and don't bolus for my afternoon snack, which has to have a good combination of carbs and protein in it.  I was finally able to go a week without having a low after working out.  After that week, I broke my plateau and lost half a pound!  It may not seem like much, but after 3 weeks of no change, I was happy to see any change at all! 

This past week, I decided to change up a few things and do some different workouts via Netflix (other than the Wii.  sorry, virtual trainer.) and increased my intensity at spinning class by increasing my resistance on the bike.  And I did my best to maintain my diet during the week with some splurging on the weekend (I have to, or else I'll go insane!).  I figured all this would (hopefully) lead to another half pound loss, but when I got on the scale this morning I saw a loss of one pound!!!  A whole pound!  I couldn't believe it!  I actually smiled and said, "Huh," which is a lot of emotion for 5 AM in the morning. 

So since my appointment, I have lost 2.5 pounds.  But personally I have lost 4 pounds since the beginning of this year.  Some people might not consider that a big deal, but for a type 1 diabetic having to balance cardio with insulin it's a huge deal!  Plus, I'd rather not lose a whole bunch at once because I'll be more likely to bounce back up.  I would love to keep up a one pound/week loss, but I'd feel safer with half a pound/week.  Besides, it took me about 8 years to gain 20 pounds (hello, Freshman 15 plus five), so it's going to take some time for my body to get used to being lighter and stay that way. 

I still have a ways to go:  7.5 pounds to meet my endo's goal and 14.5 to my personal goal.  I really think the spinning class has a lot to do with it, honestly.  I burn over 300 calories in 45 minutes in that class alone.  One of the things that's a challenge right now is changing up my diet to keep my body guessing.  It's so easy, diabetes-wise, to eat roughly the same thing everyday because I know how my body reacts to it.  I'm slowly introducing different foods into my diet other than Greek yogurt, fiber cereal, and popcorn.  All of those are fine, but I have all of those multiple times during the week.  So I'd love any suggestions for changing up my food wardrobe if you have any. 

I'm feeling really good today, not just because of the weight loss, but because I've found something that I love doing even if my weight loss stalls.  I keep saying to myself, "Just keep spinning, just keep spinning.  Spinning, spinning, spinning . . . " 
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Disclaimer

DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, nurse, certified diabetes educator (CDE) or any medical professional of any kind. (But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express!) Therefore, please do not use any of my postings as medical fact. I am simply a blogger expressing my highs and lows (pun intended) with diabetes. For changes in your medication, exercise regiment, or diet please consult a qualified physician.

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My name is Holly and I live in north Alabama with my hubby, two cats, and a dog.