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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

3.5

I am pleased with the number 3.5 for a couple of reasons.

First, I have officially moved to Illinois (the reason why my blog has been neglected for the past week). I am living on the third floor of my apartment building. It is the first time in my life where I am truly living on my own. While I am excited and nervous about this, I have liked it so far. I like my 3rd floor apartment, although it has no furniture right now (it is coming on Thursday).

Secondly, I am running 3.5 miles this week. I get to run for more than 20 minutes....yay! Although I am not running nearly as much as I would like to be, it feels good. Running makes me so happy...a feeling which is hard to explain 100% to a non-runner. Needless to say, with my move and running, I am pretty happy right now!

And lastly, I signed up to do a 5k back in Iowa on Labor Day, about 3.5 weeks away. It will be my first race since the Flying Pig in May. I am excited to race again, even if it is only a 5k. Originally, I was going to run the 1/2 marathon instead of the 5k, but with my stress fracture that isn't possible. I have not raced a 5k for about 3 years. I don't even remember my time from that race, but I was the first female to cross the finish line. It was a super small race for schools in the town where I went to college...I sure my time wasn't very fast, but it did feel great to be the first female to cross the line.

Tomorrow I get to go into my new classroom for the first time. I feel like a new chapter of my life has begun, and I am excited and so happy about it. Life is good.

Monday, August 3, 2009

"Do you still have all of your toenails?"

I recently had breakfast with an old friend and got to talking about running. Her friend runs a lot, and made a comment about how disgusting his feet were. She said he was constantly losing toenails. Then she asked me, "do you still have all of your toenails? Or...are your feet deformed?"

I told her that I never lost a toenail because of running, and hope it never happens. The thought of it just sounds like it would hurt a massive amount. Are my feet deformed? Well, I wouldn't say that they are lovely but they are not deformed either. Feet, in general, are rather not the most attractive body part.

This conversation got me thinking. Since I was diagnosed with diabetes, I was always told to take special care of my feet. My first endocrinologists said that if I didn't have good control I would lose a toe or foot. If I wanted to keep my feet, I had to take care of them and my blood sugars.

Except, I never took (and take) care of my feet. I rarely look at them. They don't hurt and look fine when I wear sandals; however, I never take the time to examine them. It isn't a priority for me I guess. Even as I type this, a thought ran through my head about how maybe I should actually look at them, but it soon left my head. I guess I go on the philosophy that if my feet feel fine and aren't causing me any trouble, then they are fine.

Maybe I'll look at my feet tomorrow when I get my pedicure while I am picking out the new color I would like on my toes.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Lot 8 recall

If you use a Medtronic pump, I'm sure you know about the Lot 8 recall. And, if you know me at all, I like to be prepared.

After getting a letter from Medtronic, I went through my inventory of pump supplies and dug out all of the Lot 8 infusion sets. I consider myself to be fairly new to the pump still, as I have only been on it 3.5 years. It was not until my Lot 8 recall letter came in the mail that I realized how many supplies I accumulated. I had enough extra supplies so I would be able to use my pump for over a year if the company went out of business (which, by the way, they are not).

As I was going through the house and locating all of my pump supplies, I started to wonder how I had gotten so many. I change my pump site every 3 or 4 days. Sometimes, especially in the summer, my sites need to be changed more often. When I got everything together, I started to count the number of boxes and individual infusion sets, just as Minimed requested: I had 18 unused boxes and 13 individual infusion sets!! That would be 1 year and 7 months worth of them, not including my 4 boxes that were not Lot 8.

When I called Minimed about my supplies, I asked them when I would be getting my replacement infusion sets. I was told that I would be mailed 1 every 3 weeks, to which I responded, "you are going to mail me one box every three weeks for over a year?!?" I have yet to receive one in the mail. It has been about 3 weeks, so maybe one will come today?

I realize that Minimed had to recall many, many infusion sets, and I don't need my right away. I just think a year is a bit excessive. Yesterday I opened up a piece of mail from the president of the company, stating how sorry he was for the Lot 8 recall. Although it was a nice gesture, it would be more helpful to replace my sets promptly.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

An Unlikely Friendship

When I lived in Ohio, I belonged to a large gym. I liked it and would occasionally say hi to a few people, but had one main goal every time I went through their doors: to run/workout. If I were friendlier, I bet I could have met more people. Maybe I wasn't because I knew my time in Ohio was limited? Or, maybe I'm just not friendly (hopefully not!)?

Now that I'm back in Iowa and have been here for over a month, the most time I've spent here for five years, it is very evident how different life is here. Although, by Iowa standards, I live in a city (65,000 people); by Ohio standards I would live in a mere town. The neighborhood and city is incredibly safe and many people don't even lock their doors. The pace of life seems much slower, along with the driving. It was hard to get used to driving 30 mph on city streets compared to driving on I70 or I75.

There is no large gym here for people to belong to, however there are a few smaller ones. After getting injured, I knew that I would need a gym to work out at since I would be using the elliptical religiously. Instead of paying to join a small gym for 2 months, I decided I would just use the gym at the country club my family belongs to. Their workout room consists of free weights, about 5 weight machines, 2 ellipticals , 5 treadmills, and 2 stationary bikes. I go during the day when the normal person is at work, so I never have trouble getting on machines. It is just very different than what I was accustomed to.

There is a sign when you enter the workout room that tells you to "sign in, please." We are very polite here! There is no membership card that needs to be scanned or receptionist to tell you to enjoy your workout, rather, on most days an empty room to welcome me. About a month ago, a couple older guys would come to the workout room on Monday and Wednesday afternoons. One day, one of the guys asked me if I knew someone because he saw my name on the sign-up sheet. The person ended up being my aunt, and after a while, one thing led to the next and we figured out I went to high school with his granddaughter.

Ever since that day, this man and I exchange greetings when he enters the room. We have talked about many things, from living in Africa to living in Chicago to injuries to golf. One thing that i can always count on is that he will have a smile on his face. The other day he came into the room and was grinning, ear to ear. He told me that he shot his age - 78 - during a round of golf last week. He was so proud and it made me smile.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that it is the little things in life that count. It is not about how fast or how many miles I can run or how perfect I am being, but rather, about being nice to people and simply saying "hi" to them. As someone once told me, it doesn't cost a penny to say hi.

:)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Race to Cure Diabetes

Yesterday I was trying to find some races in the Chicagoland area in the fall, but found something even better - a race that supports diabetes research. The Dash to Cure Diabetes is located in Barrington, Illinois in May, and you can guarantee that I'll be participating in it next year.

When I found out about this race, I intuitively clicked on the link to go to the website. In bold font, it states: "Imagine you have an incurable disease... ....now imagine that you're 4 years old." As a matter of fact, that is how old I was when I was diagnosed with diabetes. However, as a 4 year old, I didn't really understand what diabetes was, or that it was incurable. In my young mind, it was just something I got and meant I couldn't eat some things.

I have never imagined that diabetes is an incurable disease. I can remember my first meter, the size of a small notebook, which took over 2 minutes to read my blood sugar. I had to take out the test strip and wipe it off in the middle of the reading. Needless to say, those days are long gone. Technology keeps getting better and better, with new insulin pumps, CGMS, meters and more things available today.

Right now, there is no cure for diabetes (I wish there was, though!). It is hard for me to imagine my life without it, since I don't remember my life before it. But, I have always believed that a cure was attainable. Growing up, my parents always said that although there was not a current cure, there would be one in the future. They supported diabetes research, through JDRF, and more recently, through the SpringPoint Project. My brother raised money and ran for SpringPoint during the Boston Marathon a few years ago.

I believe there will be a cure for diabetes in my lifetime. But, until then, I'll support research to make that possible while doing one of my favorite things - running.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Scarred

I have loved my CGMS and hated it during other times since getting it a few months ago. Currently, I like it. It has been pretty accurate and given me good, solid information to help me manage my diabetes better. However, there is one bad thing about it: it has left me scarred.


I only wear my sensor on my side, and it is apparent, and very ugly. There are little dots from where the sensor was in my body and also some light bruising. I am not sure if everyone who wears a sensor has these issues, or if it is just me? So if you have advice for me, I would greatly appreciate it. Until then, I'll remain scarred...

Friday, July 17, 2009

I'm Moving Up

This week I was able to run 5 days according to my running regimen, logging 1.25 miles each day. To my surprise, I did not become too out of shape in the past month and a half, which I am very thankful for. I completed most of my runs in 9 minutes and a couple seconds. However, you really don't have to be in that great of shape to log that time. Next week will give me a better picture of my fitness level, when I get to run 2 miles for 6 days of the week.

I have not been injured since high school, when I got hurt playing basketball. I was on crutches for 3 weeks and then in a lovely boot for quite some time. For the past 6 years, I have been running injury free and seemed to have forgotten the tole of being injured. Not only do I require more insulin because I am not burning as many calories, it has also effected my mindset and presence.

Before being injured, I would have a goal in mind of how many miles I wanted to run. Sometimes I would run more, rarely less, or decide to run and then work out on another machine. I could spend hours at the gym, and feel great afterword. Now, I have to have a different mindset before working out. I have to prepare to only run for that set amount of miles, and then demand my body to stop so it can get better. This past week, I wanted to keep running, but knew that I couldn't. It made me feel sad.

I think the next thing is the hardest to explain: being injured has effected my presence. It is like there is something missing if I can't run so many miles a day. Running makes me happy, and although it is not the only thing that makes me happy by a long shot, it feels like there is a void in me right now. Running provides balance in for me and gives me time to think about things I need to think about. I don't really know how to explain it, but I do know not running leaves a void in my life.

So you might be thinking that "you are running again, so why do you feel this void?" I don't know...I think it is because I want to do more than I can. I had a little taste of running, but want more. For the meantime I'll stick to the plan and hope for the best.

Monday, July 13, 2009

On the Move...

The past few years I have had my fair share of moving - from Iowa to Minnesota to Ohio and in August, to Illinois. (feel free to ask any questions about living in the upper Midwest - I'm sure I can answer them) For the past two years I have lived in southwestern Ohio while completing my master's degree and teaching in a volunteer program. I never thought I would live in Ohio, home of the Buckeyes, since I always have been/will be a Hawkeye fan. But, I ended up there, and am glad I had that experience.

In June, I moved back to Iowa for a few months. This past fall I interviewed at a school in the Chicago suburbs and got offered a teaching job for the upcoming school year. It was everything I hoped for...I wanted to be closer to my family and friends, live close to a big city without actually being in one and teach in an affluent school. I am a little sad to leave behind some people/things in Ohio, but am looking forward to what comes next for me.

With this being said, I went to look for an apartment this past weekend. After touring various apartments, I chose one that is in the suburb I'll be teaching in. I'll have a five minute drive to my school and covered parking, both a huge plus. Covered parking means that I'll get to sleep in an extra 10 minutes in the winter instead of spending time scraping the ice and snow off of my car (and I'm not a morning person, so this means a lot!). Another thing that sold me was that there are a 5k and 10k trail about a 1 minute walk from where I'll be living.

My move-in date is in early August - the 8th to be exact. I am excited to be moving and close to Chicago. Another exciting thing that I heard is that DESA might have their convention in Chicago next year, which I would love to attend. So if you are in Chicago let me know...because I'm guessing no one is coming to Iowa for anything anytime soon.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Another Week, Another Running Regimen

I'm in my second week of recovering from my stress fracture, and so far, everything seems to going fairly well. This week's running regimen is running 1 mile for two consecutive days, then taking one day off, then repeating it. The past two days I ran 1 mile and felt good during both runs. Today I'll be resting and spending some time on bike and elliptical before running again tomorrow. I'm hoping that my leg starts to get stronger, like how it was, because I can tell a there is a difference in my two legs while running, and after. I am just happy to be making progress!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

On Being Cold and a Funny Story

I am cold about 99.9% of the time. Right now it is summer and I am wear long pants and a jacket, and it is in the mid 70s. I often wonder if ice runs through my veins..???

I recently went to a movie theater, a very cold place to begin with. The movie was good and held my attention, but my mind kept wondering off and thinking about how cold I was, which made me think of something that happened about a year and a half ago. Please know that as I am typing this story, I am actually laughing.

Two years ago I lived with three other people. As part of a program I signed up for, we had to do "community events" together. That could be anything from going to a movie (as in this story) to shopping to going out to eat. We were just supposed to spend time together.

We decided to go to a movie at night, which started at 9 or 10 I think...not too late. We got there, chose our seats, and talked with each other before the movie began. When the movie began, one of the people I was with dug into the bag she brought to the theater and pulled out a blanket. I about died, thinking in my head, "who does this?!?! maybe a child under the age of 5, but not a 20-something!" However, it would make more sense if you knew the person. She means so well, but is just socially awkward beyond belief.

Don't worry...it gets better. So the movie is playing and I was watching it, only to look over at the person with the blanket to see her asleep in her movie chair, covered with her blanket. A lot of times I fall asleep during movies, although I do it when I am in the comforts of a house, not out in public. As the movie progressed, I continued to sneak glances at her, and she remained asleep for the majority of the movie. My favorite line of the whole night was when we got back to the car. One person asked the blanket-sleeping person how she liked the movie, to which she replied, "it was really good." It took all of my might not to break out laughing.

This is a memory that I think I will always have of my time spent in Ohio. It always makes me laugh and always will. Another person who was at the movie theater with us that night and I talked about this event this year, and still laughed about it.

Although I am usually cold, it is for sure that I will never bring a blanket into the movie theater. I'd rather turn blue....

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Running Again

I went to the sports medicine doctor on Monday for my stress fracture check-up. I was expecting him to say something like, "you've still got one more week to rest before you can start running again." He checked out my leg, asked some questions, and then I heard the best words ever: "YOU CAN START RUNNING AGAIN." I was in complete shock, but filled with happiness after he said those words.

In order to avoid future stress fractures, I get to complete an intro. to running program. My doctor, who competes in triathlons, said he has used this plan as well as many patients and it is pretty successful. The first week consists of running 1 mile every other day. When I read it I started to laugh, thinking that it is nothing. He told me to start running on Tuesday.

Yesterday I got to the gym and warmed up on the elliptical. I started using the elliptical last week and realized it is not as bad as I originally thought, given the fact that i had not run in a month. It seemed wonderful to be on it. After a nice warm-up and vague stretch, I ran my amazing 1 mile and although it did not last long, the feeling I got when I was running was something I desperately missed the past month.

I must admit I was a little nervous before I actually started to run. I know I am not in as good of shape as I was in, but still, I am in decent shape. I wanted to take my mile slow, so I started off and ran the first 1/2 in a little over 4. It felt okay, then as I ran on, my leg felt funny. I then started to play mental games and wonder if I could even run a mile. I ended up finishing my mile in 8 and some change. My leg did not have any problem when I was running, but my foot did. It was like it was not bending properly and I felt like my stride was awkward. However, although it felt odd, it did not hurt. Maybe I'm just not used to running? I am not sure, but I am going to do my 1 mile again tomorrow.

Running brings a sense of balance to my life. It gives me a chance to let my mind wonder most days. It brings me peace and happiness and I am glad I can do it again.

Monday, June 29, 2009

"Real Age" isn't that Real

A person recently told me about a Real Age test you can take. Dr. Oz, a frequent contributor to the Oprah show (so I'm told), created this test so a person can know their true age. A friend and I were discussing this test and then decided to take it.

I took the quiz online and was a bit shocked at the results. I asked a friend what they thought my real age would be, and they said 18. I was happy with that answer, I enjoy being younger. However, according to the quiz, my real age is 31.7 years old! That 7 years older than my actual age.

The thing that I found most interesting about the quiz was that although I put that I had diabetes, it asked specific questions related to how I take care of myself, such as my A1c and how tight of control I have. It also had a box to check for how many years I have had diabetes, where I checked the 13-20 box.

When I first saw my results of the quiz, I thought I had misread the screen. I feel like I am pretty healthy, and would say that I am healthier than the average person. But, the true thing about the quiz is that it is only a quiz, not reality. People often think I am younger than my true age and since I feel happy and healthy, that is all that matters to me.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Half Way There

If my leg is healing like it should, it should be half way healed by now. I am going to see the doctor on Monday and am hoping for some good news. I know that my body takes longer to recover and heal from things than most people, but I feel like I have been exceptionally good at following all of the rules he game me. Can you put me on the poster for "model patient?" just kidding...

I can feel that my leg still isn't healed, though. It doesn't hurt necessarily, but it just feels different. I don't even know how to explain it. I am just hoping it continues to heal so I can start running again.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Nighttime Numbers

Since I have not been able to run, my insulin needs have increased. My basal rates are higher than they were because I am not exercising. However, I've noticed something: I feel like I have better control of my numbers now that I am not exercising, which is weird.

There were many nights when my blood sugar would increase between 2 and 4 am, at which point my CGM would alarm and wake me up. I would test and often be higher than what was on my sensor. But then on other nights I would be fine. It was a mystery to me.

When I look at my blood sugar trends over 24-hour periods, I see only small increases or decreases in my numbers - which i like. I have not been high at night once since I have stopped running. In fact, my trend lines are so straight I often wonder if they are correct. But, when I test in the morning my pump has been right on, which leads me to believe that they are accurate.

I began thinking about why this was...was running part of my nighttime trouble? I am a late afternoon/early evening runner, so did the time effect my blood sugars? I recently read on Phil Southerland's blog that he takes 3 units of insulin right after his run to avoid going high. Maybe I was going high later on because of my run? However, that just doesn't seem right to me.

Hmm...I'll keep wondering what the deal is. In the meantime, I am hoping that my blood sugars remain level.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Cookies...

A weird thing happens when I go low...and it happens every single time I go low - I crave cookies. I really don't like drinking juice or eating glucose tablets when I am low because they don't taste good. All I want is cookies, preferably with chocolate in them. Is a cookie the best choice to treat a low? Probably not, because it does not kick in as fast as juice, but the taste is far superior.

I have only had one cookie that I didn't like - with cranberries, probably because I don't like cranberries to begin with. However, I love all other kinds and would happily consume multiple cookies a day if they weren't so many carbohydrates, had so much fat, and were bad for me. As for now, I'll practice self-discipline and not indulge in freshly baked batch of peanut butter chocolate chips in the kitchen.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Vitamin K

This past weekend my dad gave me an article to read about the older percentage of the population fracturing bones. He brought it home and handed it to me, saying "I think this might be valuable to you." I looked at it, set it on the kitchen table, and continued on with what I was doing. Last night I read the article, which stated that Vitamin K (I had never heard of this vitamin before) helps promote strong, healthy bones. The article recommended that older people take it because they have an increased chanced to fracture their bones.

Knowing this information and being determined to heal my stress fracture quickly, I decided to look for Vitamin K at the grocery store. I pa roused the health market aisles, looking for it, but did not have any luck. I spoke with the health foods manager, who told me that you must have a prescription to get Vitamin K. It sounded a little fake to me. I mean, why would it not say anything about getting a Vitamin K prescription in the article?!?!

Tomorrow I am going to search for Vitamin K around the "city." I am determined to heal this stress fracture as fast as possible.

FYI - My first race of the summer was Saturday. It was cold and rainy during the 4-mile race. They had many people registered that didn't show up. One neat thing is that they had chip timing, but the "chips" (actually a piece of black plastic) didn't' have to be turned in; instead, you could throw them away. I had never been to a race that had throw-away chips. People are getting smarter!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Stick

Recently, I went to a running store with a friend. She is training for a 5k and wanted to get a new pair of running shoes. I met her there one afternoon and I was late (this is normal for me). By the time I got to the running store, she had already picked out, tried on, and did a test run in her shoes. I wasn't really much of a help.


Before we went to the store I knew I wanted to get The Stick, a message stick for runners. My brother got one a few years ago and I know some other runners who have them that have commented on their usefulness. I decided to purchase a nice, new, red-colored Stick.


I only used my Stick a few times, since I got it in late May and have not been running. However, when I was using it, I liked it. The white, circular tubes around the barrel of the Stick worked well on my leg muscles, especially my calves. I found that it was beneficial to do at night to work out the tension in my muscles from my run that day. The link above states that "The Stick is a must for serious runners." I don't necessarily agree with it, but I think that it definitely helps sore leg muscles. Although, I think it might market better if it was called the Running/Runner's Stick instead of just "The Stick." Just a thought...



Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Diagnosis: Fibula Stress Fracture

This past weekend I attempted to run, only to find out that I couldn't because I was in so much pain. My leg was feeling awful, and I knew a visit to the sports doctor was inevitable.

Luckily, one of the nurses used to be our neighbor and was able to get me in to see the doctor yesterday. I spoke with him about my issues and he understood both mentally and physically what I am going through, since he is a runner himself. I got 7 x-rays done and then came back to speak with him again. As it turns out, I have an extra bone in my foot (weird), and a stress fracture in my fibula.

The doctor told me it was the best bone to choose, since fibula fractures take the shortest amount of time to heal - 4 weeks. In the meantime, I can ride the bike or attempt the elliptical, but he told me to listen to my body. If something hurts - stop doing it. I still can't really walk today so I haven't done anything.

Every time I thought about my leg this weekend I started to cry. I can't race this summer, and my hopes of running a marathon in the fall have been wiped away. The first race I signed up to do is on Saturday, a local 4-mile "gallop" around an older neighborhood in the city. It is the second race I signed up for that I am most disappointed I cannot run. It is a 7-mile hilly race about an hour south of here. However, my uncle, cousin, brother and I were all going to compete in it together. I guess the showdown will have to happen next year.

According to the doctor, rest and calcium are the two things that help stress fractures heal the fastest. Given the fact that I do not drink milk, I have decided to eat a lot of yogurt- a dairy product that I kind-of like. Do you know anything else that can help, or what to do? I'm hoping for a speedy recovery.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I'm Going Crazy

Over the past couple days, I have organized almost all of my "teacher things." Now, I feel like I am a pretty organized person to begin with for the most part, but until Tuesday morning, I didn't know how unorganized I had become. I sorted through boxes of files, posters, bulletin board sets, trimmers, and window clings (all vital components to a colorful, happy, "I want to learn here" classroom in my opinion). I only have a couple things left to go through now, and it feels so good. Everything is neat, tidy and where it should be. Hopefully this makes setting up my new classroom in August easier.

Since my ankle/leg hurts, I have devoted numerous hours to organizing. However, yesterday I started to feel like I was going crazy. It had been almost a week since I really exercised. I don't remember the last time I took that much time off consecutively. I have been icing my ankle (thank you, Marcus, for the advice) and I think it helped. Today I went to the Country Club to use their fitness room. I knew that I should not run so I planned on going to bike and lift some weights.

However, when I walked through the fitness center entrance I immediately saw the treadmills staring back at me and got sad. I wanted to run on one so bad. It also did not help that on my drive over there I saw numerous walkers and runners out. And the weather is upper 70s and purely sunny today does not help either. Knowing in my head that I must heal, I walked past my beloved treadmills and got on the stationary bike for awhile. At 30 minutes on the bike, with my IPOD on and the TV on, I was bored to death. I decided to lift some weights and then get back on the bike to end my "workout." I was there for 1.5 hours, but it didn't really feel like I accomplished anything.

On my way home, as I passed all kinds of runners/walkers, I thought to myself: how come I can run for miles and be fine, yet bike for 10 minutes and go crazy from boredom? I think I just have a runner's mind, if there is such a thing. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll be able to run this weekend. Then, just maybe, I'll stop going crazy.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Injured!!!

Last week while running my ankle started to hurt. I ran on it the following two days, and then the pain got worse. I took the next three days off. I hate taking days off - I feel so lazy when I do. But, I wanted to get better. I have to be healthy for the summer and my races.

On Sunday I decided to run again on my ankle. I felt good right away, and did the first two miles under 7:30 pace. My legs felt fresh and strong and I wanted to get 5 miles in. Then, the pain started. It got to be so bad that I stopped after 2.5 miles, not wanting to injure myself.

Yesterday I stayed off my foot all day. I drove from Ohio to Iowa, an 8-hour car trip so I had lots of time to look at flat corn fields and think. I realized that when I lifted my heel and went onto the ball of my foot that way, I did not have any pain. However, when i flex my toes up to my body is when the pain is most prevalent.

I iced my foot last night in hopes that it will help it. There is nothing worse than being injured. I have decided that if this issue does not work itself out by tomorrow, I'll go to the doctor. I'm sad and frustrated about the whole situation. Do you have any advice for me?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

an anniversary almost forgotten...

Amidst the busy weekend and trying to pack up and move, I almost forgot my anniversary - my long distance running anniversary. On Memorial Day weekend three years ago I ran my first half marathon and was so proud to have finished a race that long. I didn't realize how much my time sucked (honestly!!!) but was just happy to finish in all one piece.

Having remembered my anniversary on Monday, I decided to do a nice 10-mile run in honor of my first half. I took it nice and easy - not too fast but not too slow. It was not hard on my body since I've been logging quite a few miles everyday. However, when I woke up this morning I was incredibly sore. My right ankle bone (on the outside) hurt so bad. It nagged me throughout the day, but I went running on it in the afternoon - an easy 5-mile job at 8:20 pace. It seemed like I was in slow-motion the whole time going that pace, but my ankle continued to bother me. I had some Advil so hopefully that will remedy the issue.

I always get paranoid that whenever something hurts, I have something majorly wrong. I'm sure that when my 3 alarms go off tomorrow morning (I hate getting up in the morning) I'll feel better. It's kind-of like my first half, I was a little sore, but felt better in just a few days. Hopefully I have the same result with this issue.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sensors, Technology, and the Future

As you know (if you have been reading my blog), I have been having problems with my CGM sensors and system. However, I have been pleased with my current sensor. It has been pretty accurate for the most part. Today when I calibrated before I ate lunch was the farthest it had been off. It said I was 194 when my finger stick read 151 (I hate being that high at lunch, but a correction put me back in line for the afternoon).

It is amazing how much I now rely on technology. I resisted getting a pump for many years and for various reasons. It was not until a little over three years ago that I gave in and got one. I thought it was okay at first, and as I had it longer and longer it grew on me. I can't imagine my life without it now. The thought of going back to taking insulin shots does not appeal to me at all. I was diagnosed with diabetes when I was 4 years old so over my lifetime I have taken my fair share of shots. And do not miss them.

Now, I not only rely on my pump but also my CGMS. Technology has let me take better care of myself and I hope in the future that it continues to get better. I recently had the opportunity to talk to a person who works for Minimed and asked what new products they would be coming out with in the near future, since it seems like they have not had anything new for awhile. She said they are close to make the sensor for the CGMS and the pump infusion site one set. I think that would be great - I would have to wear one less thing on my body. I hope it comes out soon, and works well!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

THe Wonder Veggie

Five years ago I became a vegetarian, although I am terrified of and hate animals. I got to the point where I thought about where the food I was eating was coming from and it started to nauseate me. I have always been a picky and particular eater. I do not like a lot of "normal" foods and like some weird combinations of foods.

For example, I hate all kinds and flavors of pie and cake. Ketchup is the world's most disgusting food to me, but I love mustard. I have eaten the same thing for lunch every day I have taught: carrots, an apple, and Kashi crackers. I think Cool Whip should be a food group of its own because I love it so much.
This year I discovered "The Wonder Veggie" at my grocery store. I try to eat organic and all-natural all of the time and stumbled across Seaport Farm's Dry Roasted Edamame one day while pa rousing the organic aisles. I bought a bag of it and have been addicted to it ever since.

According to the label on the bag, 1/4 of a cup gives you 32% of your daily fiber and 28% of your daily protein. Not only is it rich in fiber and protein, it also tastes wonderful.

I used to love (and still do) peanuts and almonds, until I realized that I would have a high blood sugar a few hours after I ate them. Edamame does not have that effect on my blood sugar, probably because there is not nearly as much fat in it. I typically have 1/4 cup with my dinner and it fills me up and does not impact my blood sugars. Have you ever tried edamame? I am sure that you will love it, just like me!


Monday, May 18, 2009

Warning: Grumpy Post

I am grumpy today. Yes, downright grumpy. Tired. Frustrated. Stressed out. Overburdened.

In a nutshell, my sensor went bad last night and I called Medtronic. It seems as though every time I call, which has been often recently, I get different answers. I know that it is not realistic to expect everyone to be 100% on the same page, but all the different help people give different advice. The lady I was talking to last night (when I should have been getting my beauty sleep) told me I was calibrating at the wrong time. She attempted to explain to me the good times to calibrate a sensor, which I replied by saying I have already talked with my doctor about this and my times are just fine, thank you very much. Was I a bitch? Probably. Was I tired and frustrated? Totally...I wanted to throw my pump out of my window.

I do like Medtronic, I just don't like it when people tell me different answers every time I call. A supervisor called me this afternoon and he is sending a replacement sensor, which is what should be done in my opinion. I spoke with the pump trainer here and left her a message about my recent problems with the sensor. Being the kind, caring, and nice person, she has tried to figure things out, too. I saw the sales rep. tonight and she is also nice. She wears the CGMS and said that sometimes she gets frustrated at it, too.

After calling my dad about the sensors and a nice cry when I was on the phone, I do feel better. Am I asking for pity? Not at all. Sometimes I have bad days, and today was one of those days. The good thing is that tomorrow is another day, and I'll more than likely be happy again.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

It's a Small World

I went to hear Dr. Heile speak a couple weeks ago at a pump support meeting hosted by my endo.'s office. At that meeting, I knew one person out of the twenty-five or so that were there. However, since the meeting, I have run into two fo the people randomly. It is truly a small world.

While I was at the Flying Pig expo, I was stopped by a lady working one of the booths. She said, "hey, were you at Dr. Heile's presentation? I noticed your insulin pump and thought I saw you there." I told her yes, I was there and we struck up a conversation about his presentation, exercise and diabetes, the Flying Pig, and DESA. It was really random.

Then, tonight I had to stop at the grocery store quick and who do I run into? Another lady that sat directly behind me at the presentation. We were talking and apparently there is another insulin pump support group meeting next week. We spoke about our pumps, her Omnipod and my Minimed, insurance, CGMS, and going low. She did ask me if I graduated from, "high school or college?" When I told her I was done with grad. school, she replied that it is good to look young. It just made me smile...I used to get those comments all of the time from people.

Living in a medium-sized metropolitan area in Ohio, I never thought I would see any of the people at the pump support group. The probability of me running into two of them again was probably slim to none. But, it happened. It makes me feel happy when I can talk candidly about diabetes to people who understand and who go through some of the same things that I go through.

Support is such an important part of caring for diabetes. In the business world people have to make connections and network if they would like to do better business or change jobs, or other stuff (which I admit tingly know nothing about), but have a diabetes network is very beneficial for me, too. Therefore, I think I'll go to the pump meeting on Monday to learn some more things. Maybe I'll run into these people, too. You just never know...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Superheroes

Today my school had a play about superheroes. Although it was long and I lost interest, compiling a list of things to do in my head for later on that day, week, month, in the future, it did give me the opportunity to think about what super-natural power I would like to have.

I thought, "would it be best to take the diabetes route, and go with the ability to be 83 at all times? Or, what about the running route, and run incredibly fast mile times?" I then pondered what life would be like if I could wave my hand and have all of my papers graded for school, or have the most time-consuming projects laid out and ready to go for me?
Then I really started to think seriously. If I didn't have challenges, life would get boring. I like having to reach for something farther in my life and the thrill of attaining goals. I am competitive and work hard at (almost) everything. I like to overcome obstacles.

So really, I don't think I would like to become a superhero. Although when I was younger, I had a "super power ring." It was gold and came out of a 25-cent prize barrel. I told my mom that its magical ability was to turn all red lights to green lights. I still have it today, although it is not in my car. Maybe I should test to see if it still has its special powers?

In the meantime, enjoy the picture below of me as a superhero.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Dr. Heile’s Wisdom

A week and a half ago I was able to go to a presentation by Dr. Heile, a doctor in Cincinnati who has diabetes and has run marathons. The diabetes center that I go to sponsored the event, which my endo. encouraged me to attended since I run a lot. Here are some of the most beneficial things I got out of his presentation:

Interesting fact: 1/10 of 1% of the population runs a marathon. Hopefully I will be part of this small percentage soon!

Hypoglycemia is a cycle. If I go low today, I am more likely to go low tomorrow as well. I had never thought of this before, although I firmly believe it. Going low is a bad cycle to get into, which I have been in and constantly struggle with.

Diet, insulin,, exercise and testing are like four legs on a chair. If one is missing, it is hard for the chair to balance. Being in control of your diabetes means effectively managing all four parts of it. This is easier said than done!

Some ways to avoid hypoglycemia are to decrease insulin (basal) before and after exercise, pre-treat exercise with carbs and test 1 hour before exercise. To put it bluntly, I am failing miserably at these things. I do not touch my basals, except in the morning on the weekend, where is need more insulin. I always test my blood sugar before I exercise, but it is right before I exercise and never an hour before. I treat with carbs if I am not at a high enough number (in the mid-100s). Testing 1 hour before is hard for me. Many times I do not know exactly when I’ll be exercising.

Exercise makes diabetes more forgiving. I totally agree with this because I do not have to be as strict with my when I exercise a lot. Exercise makes everything more forgiving I think.
The more you control diabetes the easier it is to control. If I test my blood sugar a lot, then I have better control because I always know where I am. Right now I am filling out a log sheet for my endo. because my blood sugars have been unpredictable. He is awesome and gives me feedback. I have been keeping track of everything to try to get things back to running smoothly before summer begins. Although it is a lot of work and not enjoyable for me, it is necessary. I am working hard to control my diabetes even better so it does not control me, my life, and things I want to do.

Diabetes is a marathon, not a sprint. I thought it was interesting Dr. Heile said this because I have a magnet that says “It’s (meaning life) a marathon, not a sprint.” Diabetes takes time to figure out.

If you ever get a chance to hear Dr. Heile speak, I would recommend it.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Ready for More

When I got done racing on Sunday, a couple things went through my mind that have been stuck there ever since. The first thought/feeling was that I was proud that I PR'd again. As I was walking through the finisher's area with all the food and stuff, I did not feel sore, like in the past.

As I continued to walk through the finisher area, I was thinking about how far I have come in running. When I completed my first half marathon (Mad City Madison (in Wisconsin) Marathon in late May of 2006), I was so thrilled just to finish. At that time I had started to run farther distances and wanted to see if I could run for 13.1 miles in a row without stopping. Looking back, my time was horrific, but I was so proud of it.

The following year (after my college graduation) I decided to sign up for the Madison half again, knowing I could do better. I had logged more miles in preparation for the race and knew I could PR. In that race, I broke the 2:00 mark, and was again happy with my performance. I was proud that I had made it down into the 1-hr. mark, which just sounds a lot better than 2-hours.

My first two half marathons are special. I signed up for them with my brother, who had excellent races at both, placing in the top 5 the first year and 8th (I think) the second year. I knew the course the second year and felt prepared. The entertainment was good, and the runners were friendly. The course was flat (in my opinion), something I love.

I then took a year off before signing up for the Wright-Patterson Air Force 1/2 Marathon in September of this year. I once again made improvements, running 1:50. I was proud, but knew I could do better. I started to train even harder although I did not have another race in mind. Then, I decided to complete the ORRRC 1/2 a couple days before it was scheduled and then the Flying Pig.
After finishing the Flying Pig, I felt good, but it was much different than before. It wasn't that I was not satisfied with my time, because I was. I PR'd, which is always good. I just feel like after completing 5 1/2 marathons, I am ready for a new challenge.

The past couple days I have been thinking about a marathon. I am done with grad. school now which will give me more time to do the things that I want to do. The Flying Pig marathon bag had many brochures for various marathons across the country. As I was flipping though these on the back to my house, I felt like I wanted to run one.

Although I think it funny to type this, a goal of mine is to run at least 10 half marathons and at least 1 full marathon by the time I am 30. I think the half marathons will not be too difficult to conquer, as I am already halfway there. Given the fact that I am in good shape right now, I think it only makes sense to start to accomplish the other part of that goal, completing the full marathon.

Any suggestions on a good marathon to sign up for? Or, which one are you competing in this fall? Let me know your advice!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How many days until Summer?

Today I am lacking motivation on many levels. I think summer needs to get here, and soon. It is my time to rejuventate myself as a teacher. I like being able to get my full 8+ hours of "beauty sleep" every night, drinking coffee when I wake up without having a time I have to get somewhere by, and soaking up the sun.

I did have a good run/workout today. 4 miles in 29 minutes, then I hopped on the arc trainer for 20 and back to run 2 more in 16. It felt good to run after taking yesterday off from the 1/2 on Sunday. Everyday that I do not run I feel like something is missing from my daily routine.

Hopefuly my motivation will return tomorrow for a more meaningful, useful blog post. I know this one was pretty much worthless.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Flying Pig Half Marathon - the great, good, bad, and ugly

I am still digesting the events from the weekend, but it was definitely memorable. The Flying Pig was great, good, bad, and ugly. Before this race, I didn’t know I could feel such a way about a race, but now I do. According to the brochure in the Race Expo. Bag, the Flying Pig is one of the top 10 most fun marathons in the U.S.

I got to Cincy a little before 5:30 a.m. I woke up at 3:30 to eat breakfast because I did not want to have any active insulin in my body on the start line. I went into the stadium and got loose – “stretched” and used the bathrooms (a major plus of this race is that runners actually got to use real bathrooms and not porta-potties). At about 6:15, I was finally out of the ridiculously long bathroom line and decided I should make my way to the start. My dad went with me, so I gave him all my warm-up clothes and proceeded down to the street.

I should have come down a long time before that because I went into the crowd and noticed I was with the 5 hr. marathon pace team. My original plan was to run with the 3:30 pace team. I had to scramble through thousands of people to try to get up to the place I wanted to be. It never happened, and the whole first mile was a sprint for me to catch up to Pace Roger.

The first 5 miles went well. It was neat to cross the bridges in downtown Cincy and run into Kentucky. There were a lot of fans out in Covington and Newport to support us. For the race, I decided to rely solely upon my CGMS. My last race with it went well and it was very accurate, so I decided that would be best for this race, too. However, I was totally wrong. My CGMS was not accurate at all.

At the start line it said I was 150-something, which is where I wanted to be. The first 5 miles I dropped to the 130s, so I ate some glucose tabs but my blood sugar would not come up according to my sensor. The hilly part of the half marathon started at mile 5, and I wanted to make sure I had enough gas in my tank to conquer the hills. I ate 4 more glucose tabs at this point, and then it all went wrong. At mile 6 I was still with the pace team, but started to feel kinda bad. I felt sluggish and knew that I shouldn’t. I ate some more glucose tabs since my sensor was still reading 120. I thought I was just low. At the halfway point, mile 6.5, I put some tabs in my mouth but could not chew them. I felt them get stuck in my throught and started to choke. It felt like I could not breathe. At that point I knew that I had to stop because I felt like absolute crap.

I went off to the side of the hill and just stood and tried to swallow the tab in my mouth. A lady that was watching came up to me and rubbed my back, saying “are you okay?” I told her that I just really, really needed water. Luckily, at that time, another spectator, a middle-aged man, was walking up the hill and happened to have a water bottle. The woman said to the man, “can this girl have your water bottle? She really needs something to drink.” The guy responded by saying he drank half of it, but said I could have it. I drank a huge gulp of water and thanked them both. I walked for a couple more steps and then started to run up the hill again.

At that point in the race, I was well behind the 3:30 pace team with many hills left to conquer on my own. I ran the 7 – 9 miles relatively slow, still recovering from my choke. By mile 10, I felt a little better and began passing people again. I picked off people and used positive thinking to finish. By mile 12, I knew it was possible to PR so I poured it on. My last 1.1 miles was under 7:30, which I was happy with.

I PR’d, a miracle considering everything that happened (read on further for more explanation). My official time was 1:43:07. I am happy with it, but wished I could have broken the 1:43 mark. I thought I would with the chip time difference, but it was not meant to be.

When we got back to the car, my CGM was still reading 140. However, I tested and my real blood sugar was “Hi” on the meter – over 500!!!! No wonder I could not swallow the glucose tabs – I had no water in my mouth and probably had tons of keytones at that point. I was beyond disappointed in my sensor and wanted to throw the whole thing in the garbage when I got home. Being off by over 300 is not okay!!

The ugly – my numbers during the race; my starting position; choking on glucose tabs

The bad - the fact that I did not listen to my body signals and solely relied on my CGMS

The good – the fans were good. At each water station there was a different organization. My personal favorite was a high school football team. They had funny comments as I ran by.

The great – People are good. The lady and guy that helped me were so nice. I don’t know what would have happened without their generosity. Also, it is good that I PR’d.

Who could forget a day like that?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

One busy week

Last week I was so busy I felt I barely had time to breathe. Some of the highlights included:

Wednesday: went to hear Dr. Heile from Cincy speak about exercising and diabetes, met Rdn5cents

Friday: drove to Cincy for the running expo., family came to town

Saturday: it is official - I graduated with my master's degree!

Sunday (today) - Flying Pig half marathon, a memorable event in many ways

I did not get much sleep last week and am exhausted right now since I got up at 3:30 a.m. Check back tomorrow for a blog about the Flying Pig - the great, the good, the bad, and the ugly of the race.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Directionally Challenged

I have no sense of direction. If you ask me what way north is, I would tell you I have no idea. Since I cannot tell north from south or east or west, traveling is sometimes a bit difficult for me. When I moved to Ohio, I learned to navigate the city fairly easily. I know the major interstates I take, and everything is pretty much located off of them. I have been lost my fair share of times, but nothing too bad.

This weekend, in preparation for the Flying Pig, I decided it would be beneficial to take a drive down to Cincinnati to check out the route. I wanted to see how big the hills were from miles 5 to 8, through the Eden Park district. Knowing that the Reds were in town and the race starts by their stadium, I wanted to make sure I left early enough to miss the baseball traffic. When I got in my car to start my drive, I thought I was in good shape. I had the directions, the half marathon course, and felt ready to go.

Then, I started driving. I have only been to Cincinnati two other times, although both have been to the suburbs, and not the city. As I continued my drive along I-75 through Cincy, I thought in my head I should be getting off soon. I stayed on, and eventually my exit came up. I got off, only to find tons of people and policemen everywhere. When I am situations like this, I get super nervous. The street I was supposed to turn on was blocked by the numerous moms and their strollers (I think there must have been some type of walk, but I am not sure). I began to panic in my head, fearing I would get lost in Cincy (ah!). Plus, there are a lot of one-way streets, which also confuse me.

At that moment, I saw a sign for I-71. I decided to get on I-71, knowing that it would connect me back to I-75 due to a previous shopping excursion to Kenwood. As I got on I-71, I saw an exit for Eden Park. Since the interstate was not very crowded, I looked out my window only to see what resembled a mountain! I knew that if I got off at the exit, I might not be able to find my way back on, considered how I was already flustered. I continued driving, thinking about how huge that hill was. I hope that they do not make us run up the entire thing. That would just be cruel. In the end, I made it back safe and sound.

Luckily, I live with two people from the Cincinnati area. I am sure they will be able to give me some insight into the route. I looked at the half marathon elevation chart on Flying Pig page and it appears as though miles 1 through 5 are flat, 5 through 8 are uphill, 9 to 11 flat, and 11 to 13.1 downhill. Hopefully the 5 - 8 mile incline is not the mountain that I drove past in a panic!

I learned a couple of things from this experience: first, I should have gotten my GPS now instead of waiting until the summer to purchase one; and secondly, it is good to be able to laugh at myself. I know I am directionally challenged, and I am just fine with it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Time to Call the Toe Truck

My mom always said this phrase to us when we stubbed our toe as children. Anytime that I have a foot issue I always think of her and this phrase.

In high school I found out that I had a problem in my left foot. I think the technical name is tarsal coalition, but I am not quite sure. Basically, I have two bones connected that are not supposed to be. To fix my problem I had custom inserts for my shoes made. I was supposed to wear them at all times - during my basketball games, when I ran, even in my dress shoes (not realistic, though).

The orthodics seemed to fix my problem at first. However, as time went on, I began wearing them less and less, until not at all. I do not even know where they are right now because I have not worn them in a couple years. I think I may need to dig them out.

My big toe on my left foot has been hurting at random times recently. Sometimes it is during a run, other times when I am not doing a single thing. The pain, although it is not severe, comes and goes at it pleases. It is rather annyoing.

I have been trying to figure out why I am having my toe issues. I have not gotten new running shoes recently, and the shoes that I have been wearing during the day are pairs that I wear on a consistent basis. So, why the pain?

As far as I know, there is not much you can do for an ailing toe. I'm sure it is recommended that a person rests, but I have a hard time doing that, especially with the Flying Pig coming up. What do you think I should do?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My Favorite Diabetes Number

83.

Is it weird that whenever I see the number 83 on my meter screen that a smile crosses my face? I thoroughly enjoy being 83.

I have always liked numbers. I love math (even as a student, when most kids don't like it, it was always one of my favorite subjects and now is my favorite class to teach). One year for Christmas I even got a book all about numbers that famous sports players wore. I have read the entire book, too.

To me, 83 is the perfect number. It means that I do not have to take a correction bolus for being too high, or eat something or take less insulin for being too low. It means that I get to remain where I am, in my happy world.

Growing up, my parents always got excited about the number 100. They always tired to make a big deal about congratulating me for being "the perfect number." However, I have never succeeded at being 100. Rarely when I test does that number come up on my screen. Last week, when I was on vacation/break, I actually got a reading of 100. I went to show my dad because I was in disbelief. (My body likes the number 98 a lot I noticed and is not a big fan of 100).

When it comes to all other numbers, I am a big fan of 31. I was born on the 13th, the reverse of 31. It was my basketball number all 4 years of high school. Growing up I loved Reggie Miller, who also wore 31. 31 and I have a long history together. It has been good to me.

However, 31 is not a number I like to see on my screen. For those readings, I'll stick to my 83, which makes me smile.

(Side note/update: I had a good run today....9 miles with 1 cool down in a decent time. I am happy with it. The field trip went well. It was just a little chilly but the sun was out and the kids had a good time.)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Running Update

I feel like the Flying Pig will hit me hard. The past couple days have been rather rough for me, and I have not logged nearly as many miles as I should have. This weekend I plan on driving down to Cincy to see the course and the hills. I do better if I know where I am going, instead of just running and following people.

I have been so tired lately (really the past 2 days). I can tell I need to get more sleep at night (which I plan on doing tonight...hopefully). I know that I run better, feel better, and am able to accomplish much more when I am well-rested. Hopefully a quality night of sleep will help me have a good, long run tomorrow.

My students are also going on a field trip tomorrow. We are going to a retreat center to "hike" some trails, visit a grotto, write some prayers, and then, of course, have some time for recess. It has rained a lot here lately and I am pretty sure the trails will be very muddy. I am not a mud person, but hopefully will manage. I'll put on a pair of old running shoes for the hike and be good to go. Not that my 10 and 11-year old students can move at a blistering speed... Hopefully the rain will hold off and it will be sunny during the time we are there, like the Weather Channel has predicted.

Monday, April 20, 2009

My Mary Poppins Bag

Last week I had the opportunity to see the Broadway play Mary Poppins in Chicago. I can take a play or leave a play, but I wanted to see this one because I watched the movie when I was a kid. The play was awesome (Bert walked up the side of the wall, across the ceiling on a board and down the other side during the song "Step in Time", which was by far my favorite part).

If you are familiar with Mary Poppins, you know at one point in the play/movie she pulls out tons of stuff from her bag. The stuff just keeps coming out and out, like a lamp and pillows and tons of other stuff. I think I carry a Mary Poppins bag.

A couple years ago, I was able to fit my meter, insulin pen, insulin pen cap needles, and finger poker into my ugly testing kit that comes with a meter. It worked fine. I had a snack in my backpack in case I got low, and everything was peachy.

Then, I got out of college and into the "real world." I did not have the luxury to going to my apartment in between classes if I had a problem with my pump or anything else. It was then that I upgraded from carrying a purse, to carrying my Mary Poppins bag.

I love my Mary Poppins bag (it is a Vera Bradley one with Pink Elephants that zips, although now it is really dirty..but don't worry, I just got a new purple flower Vera one). I feel like I carry so much stuff that it is ridiculous. Not only do I have a new pouch-thingy for my meter and stuff (also a Pink Elephant bag), I have to carry more stuff with the technology that I use. Just to entertain you, here are a few things in my bag:

1. Pink Elephants small bag (meter, finger poker, extra battery, dime, gauze, extra finger poker lancet cartridge, three vials of test strips)

2. box of tough-strips waterproof band-aids

3. insulin pump supplies (reservoir - 1; cording/adhesive thing that sticks to your skin - 2) and the quick set device for putting it in

4. planner, Nalgene, wallet, Tylenol, four packs of gum (sweet mint, supermint, spearmint, and peppermint), cell phone, Panera gift cards, and a book.

As I was typing the above part of this post, I thought about how lucky I am that I am a girl. Seriously...what do guys do with all of their diabetes-related stuff? How do they carry it? Maybe I should "down-size", but them I am afraid I'll have to re-do a pump site in the middle of a school day and not have my necessary supplies. Or what happens if my battery goes dead at the gym? I have to have a spare with me. Hopefully I won't have to upgrade to a suitcase in the future!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Straight Lines

If you know me in real life, or if you were to meet me, you would know that I am very particular about certain things. Ask people about my eating habits, and they would tell you I like my food a certain, particular way. I like my vegetables burned a little bit in the microwave (I know it is weird), eating carrots at every meal, cinnamon on my oatmeal in the morning, having a Fuze at 9:00 everyday, and absolutely nothing involving ketchup or oranges/orange flavoring.

I like to lift light weights two days (but only two) a week, on Monday and Wednesday. I like to walk at least a half mile after each run to cool down and think about how the run went and what I will be doing the rest of my day. If I am on a machine at the gym, I always have to end perfectly on a mile or half mile increment. I could never run say 5.14 miles. The thought of that just makes me get annoyed.

Ever since I got my CGM, I have wanted to see a straight line on my 24-hour graph. I hate having high blood sugars more than anything and avoid them at all possible costs. My trouble time is in the night, and I can't really figure out what is going on. Since I am on vacation this week, I decided to experiment with some stuff. I set a temporary basal for the past two nights so I coudl see the difference in my 2-4 am numbers. Increasing it slightly has made a noticeable difference and I have not gone high (high is relative, though: my CGM alarms at 200).

As I was checking my CGM today while visiting with my grandparents, I noticed something that my anal self become delighted in: a straight line for my 24-hour blood sugar graph. I felt so proud of myself. I have seen many straight lines on my 3-hr. graphs, but never one this straight on my 24-hr. graph. I felt like doing a victory dance right then and there!

There have been many days since getting my CGM that I have not had my high alarm vibrate at me, but never once has a line been so straight. I hope to see many more straight lines in the future.

Monday, April 13, 2009

When Pigs Fly...

This week I am visiting my family in Iowa. My parents, brother, and one set of grandparents all live in the same city and my aunt flew in for the weekend. It was nice to see them all and visit with them, although it does come with some challenges.

I became a vegetarian 4 years ago. My sister (who is about as different as different can get from me) is a pescatarian (she only eats fish). My dad, who likes to try anything in moderation, has been telling me I should try fish for many years. I hated fish (and many other foods) when I was younger, and could never get up enough guts to try it. On Sunday we went out for brunch at the country club my parents belong to. One things being offered was some type of fish, which my mom got. As I ate my plate of fruit, I kept looking at her fish. It was covered in something and I inquired about it. To get to the point, I tried a centimeter of fish, which thrilled my dad. My verdict: it was okay. Will I eat it on my own? no, at least not right now. I prefer my plate of veggies and fruit any day to meat and bread.

One of the benefits of visiting my parents is that they live in an extremely, extremely safe city. I have been able to run outside the past couple of days, and it has felt wonderful. There is a street that I like to do a 5-mile loop on. It has a lot of old houses and is flat. It has reminded me that running outside, in a way, frees me. I do not have to count the number of laps I am running and do not have to be on the treadmill. I am able to go at the pace I want to go at, all the time. It has been a nice change, and the weather has been perfect - shorts and a jacket is my favorite thing to run in, which is what I have worn.

Other news that I am excited about:

1. I will be graduating with my master's in less than 3 weeks.
2. I signed up for the Cincy Flying Pig 1/2 marathon. It is the day after my graduation. I am looking forward to it. I love the name of this race!
3. I am doing a 4-mile race in June here in Iowa. I did it a few years ago. The race course is part of my 5-mile loop, which I love.
4. My grad paper is almost done! I need to re-read it through and make some more corrections, but it should be good. It has to be submitted online one week from today.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Vacation

Today is the first day of my spring break. Although I love teaching, it has been a long time since Christmas. I think I needed the break more than my students. Over my break, I hope to accomplish many things: finish grad paper/powerpoint, log many miles (this week has been light for me since my half on Sunday) and relax. I am going to my parents house for some of it to visit them. My mom and I are also going to Chicago for 3 days, something we had planned for a while. I must admit I am very excited for it. Whenever I am on vacation my blood sugar tends to run higher than I like; hopefully it won't be too bad this time. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Finally over...after 6 months!

My school had a "weight loss challenge" for all faculty members that wanted to participate in it, which began in the very beginning of November and ended today. I feel like I work with many people who do not live as healthy as they should, but whatever, it is their life and not mine. Most people are much older than me, mostly in the upper 40s or 50s or even older. It all started because one of our staff members was diagnosed as being a pre-type 2 diabetic and another teacher wanted to try to help her lose weight.

We got into teams of three or four and started our challenge. Now, I am fairly lean and knew that by signing up I was doing it more for the team aspect because I miss that about competitive sports, not becaues I felt like I needed to lose weight. Before our first weigh-in, I acutally did something very unhealthy and purposefully ate a lot of carbs the day before so I would be a pound heavier. My team members were all bigger than me and could afford to drop numerous pounds. Some of them just changed their diet and were able to lose some weight.

Going into our final weigh-in today, my team was neck-and-neck with another team, who had a rediculously anal and competitive team captain who got on my nerves. Anyhow, my team pulled it out at the finish and beat the other team. I contributed a small amount to my team, but enjoyed my numerous talks with our school nurse about diabetes, exercise, and heathly eating. I got to know her a lot better, and was able to be a "cheerleader" for her. She actually ended up losing 30 pounds. At my last weigh-in today, I weighed the least I had all throughout the competition.

This summer I was trying to lose some weight in order to become a faster runner. It was a long process, but I lost some and now am faster because of it. Something that has always stuck with me over the years was a doctor (not my own, though) saying that type 1 diabetics with A1Cs in the "normal range" (below 6) are likely to be fat. I have always taken great offense to this...and this summer I wanted to prove that I could be skinny and have an A1C under 6, and I have achieved my goal. In a way I like to think that I have overcome all odds, but really, I know that many athletic diabetics have A1Cs under 6 and are in shape, like me.

I did not realize how "in shape" I was until my last endo. visit. When I was talking to my doctor about where to put my CGM on my body, he said, "(my name), you really don't have that many options. You don't have much fat on your body." We talked about the places - legs (I have always hated giving shots there because it hurst too much, so that was ruled out), butt (I have never tried it here, but cannot work up the guts to do it - it just seems wrong), and my "love handles", where we decided. I guess it is not too big of a problem to have.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Great Debate...

Recently I feel like I have read a lot of blogs that cover the issue of getting type 1 diabetes early in life compared to later in life. Here are my thoughts...

I was diagnosed when I was 4 years old, on Halloween. I really do not remember much before I was diagnosed, although I remember some details from my actual diagnosis day and my time thereafter in the hospital. I can remember eating lunch at our kitchen table with my mom and brother and having a Snickers bar for dessert. I went to the doctor in the afternoon and remember my mom telling me that I had to go to the University of Iowa hospital to get better. I was there for one week while my parents were educated by the nurses and doctors. I can remember doing some things there, like making a mini-pizza, only to find out that I had to give it to my dad because they said I could not eat it at the time. Later, the nurse told my dad that I could have eaten the pizza and he felt awful and apologized for hours about it.

I am glad that I have not known life without diabetes. I cannot imagine being able to freely eat and exercise and not have to worry about my starting blood sugar or reading the signs my body is giving me. It is always something I have known and cannot imagine not doing it.

I admire all those people who got diabetes later in life, and actually remember living a "normal" life compared to one withe diabetes (although living with diabetes is still a normal life in my book, it just takes a little extra dedication and motivation). Even now as I type this blog I cannot imagine one day waking up and knowing that I would have to give myself insulin shots or be attached to a pump in order to live. In many ways, I feel lucky to be diagnosed at such a young age. I cannot imagine my life without it, which is why I have a hard time thinking about a cure. Maybe someday I'll wake up and there will be a cure. For now, I will keep living my life the way I have always known, only with better technology.

Monday, April 6, 2009

PR baby!

In a nutshell, I had a good race on Sunday. To warn you in advance, this is going to be a long post about everything it entailed. In case you want to know the details right away: finish time was 1:43:46, a 7:56 mile pace.

I woke up at 57, had my morning breakfast of oatmeal and took my bolus wizard correction. On my drive to Xenia for the ORRRC half marathon, I debated what I should do with my insulin. Typically, I do not suspend for the entire part of a morning run because I have the dawn phenomenon.

I got to thecheck in place and was sitting at an 87 so I checked on my meter and it said 86 - perfectly aligned. I got there an hour early so I had time to "stretch" and go to the bathroom about 100 times. I started to see arrows down, so I drank some Gatorade. I started the race at 160 up one up arrow. It was 40 degrees and cool, but felt pretty good. I decided to suspend my pump to see where I would go...I would rather be high than low for the race.

I knew that if I wanted to be near 1:45 I needed to run a little over 8 minute mile splits. This is a really small race, so there are no pace groups, so I had to rely on myself and my watch. At mile 1 I was at 8:16 because I started back a little bit in the pack; but by mile 2 I was at 16:08...right on target.

Near mile 5 I started to feel sluggish so I looked at my CGM...150 with a down arrow. I popped 5 glucose tabs and felt better in about 2 minutes; regaining my speed and passing some slower runners. I felt good for awhile, then looked down again to see that I was at 166...perfect I thought. By mile 8 I was at 122 with a down arrow. I ate 5 more glucose tabs and kept on going, once again regaining my energy.

By mile 10 I felt really good...I had a stable 170 on my CGM and felt good. By mile 12 I thought I needed a little boost, although I wasn't getting any arrows and was at a 158, but I ate 2 more tabs. By this point I never wanted to taste another glucose tablet in my life.

I felt strong at the end of the race and still had gas left in the tank when I finished, so I could have pushed even harder. All in all, I was proud of myself for getting lower than 1:45, my original goal.

I was happy about my time and how much the CGM helped me during the race. In my previous half marathons, I did not run with my pump and did not have a CGM. I now realize how much it helped me during the race. In fact, I emailed doc Parilo to tell him how well it worked. I know I have the best doctor, because today he emailed me back saying that he was excited and "good job" on it working so well. Seriously, I love him as my endo.

My body is sore today from running on the cement for so many miles, but I am excited about my future races. When I first started running, I never thought I could be this fast. I am in the best shape of my life right now, and it is awesome. The CGM is working miracles for me. It gives me hope that I will be able to compete in a full marathon in the near future; something I never thoughtpossible for me.

All in all, I must admit I am happy with how I raced.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Ready to Run!

I went today to get registered for the ORRRC half marathon tomorrow. I like to mentally prepare by looking at the course map, although they only have the full marathon course map online and not the half because it is a small event. All I really know is that from mile 1 to 5 appears to be an uphill climb. I'm excited to be racing again! Early to bed tonight...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

CGMS, running update

Although I have only been on my CGMS for a month and a half, I have definitely noticed some trends:

1. If I leave my senors in for 5 days, they work pretty well. It is when I leave it in for the 6th day that the readings are incredibly inaccurate. Today was day 6, and my CGMS was doing well up until noon. Then, it had major problems. I entered by lunch BG into the meter to calibrate it, and after that it was all downhill. My high alarm (set to 200) was going off immediately after I bolused for lunch. Now, I typically go up a little after I eat, but not very much. My CGM went up, up , up, up and stayed there. It had the double arrows going up, a message I have only seen one other time. To get to the point, it got all the way up to 307, but when I checked I was at 161. At this point I was at the gym, and the readings still said I was in the upper 200s, although I knew that was inaccurate while I was working out. Needless to say, I think I'll be changing it for sure every 5 days in the future.

2. Tough Bandaids are working like a dream. I bought the waterproof ones and they have stuck on me great, all five (or six) days. A fellow avid diabetic runner gave me this tip and makes me realize even more how important collaboration is in order to achieve ultimate success.

3. I got a quality run in yesterday, and have decided, as of now, to run a half marathon on Sunday. I have not prepared like how I normally prepare for my normal half marathons, so my time should be interesting. I am looking forward to running with my CGMS on and hopefully it will help me perform better. Each time my goal is the same: to improve. Therefore, I need to break the 1:50 mark on Sunday. I know I'll be excited and nervous...I am right now just writing about it! It will be the first race that my mom has not accompanied me to; hopefully it won't matter. I love running. :)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Feeling the Burn

After running 8.5 miles today and then getting on the arc trainer for half and hour and then lifting weights, I am officially exhausted. My legs are especially tired...and I think it might be hard to get out of bed tomorrow morning. This is not a ton of exercise, but it has taken its tole on my body today, probably because I do not stretch.

That is correct: I rarely, if ever, stretch. If I do, it is for about 3 minutes. I have never been into stretching, and can even remember thinking it was mindless back when I ran cross country, track, and played basketball in high school. Maybe this is because I have never had a really, really serious injury before. Granted, one time in high school I got hurt playing basketball and was on crutches for 3 weeks in the middle of winter and over Christmas (not fun in the Iowa snow and ice!), but seeing a specialty foot doctor solved my problem. He told me that I have two bones connected in my left foot that shouldn't be, and fitted me for custom shoe inserts. Those solved my problem, and then I got tired of wearing them and have not since. And, I have never had a problem.

I have had some minor injuries that have required taking ice baths (jr. year of xc), calf issue (track jr. year), and some foot problem when I was in college but solved myself (self-diagnosis: running 10 miles everyday for many days in a row is not good on the body = take a day off). Still, even after all of that, I have not stretched.

My brother who is a runner and I signed up for the Madison half marathon a few years ago. We did the race two consecutive years together, with him always in the top 5 or 10, and me much farther behind. My mom accompanied us both years so she could hold all of my stuff while I ran, which made it a lot easier on me. Before the race, my brother went to do a warm up run and then stretched. I went to the bathroom, walked around to get out my nervous energy, and stretched for 3 minutes, declaring I was ready to go when I saw him again. He said to me, "Did you even stretch?" I replied by saying yes, for a couple minutes. He did a good job of masking his disbelief at my lack of stretching.

After finishing the half marathon, he went for a cool down run while I decided why bother with that? We were together and he was stretching, me chewing on gum and excited to have a new PR. Once again, "are you going to stretch?" Me: "nope." Another face of disbelief followed.

I think right now that I will probably only consider stretching if I have to in order to run. Right now, I'll just hope my legs work themselves out over the course of the night in order for another good run tomorrow.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Gum

I am addicted to and love gum. I think I was born addicted to gum. I cannot ever remember not chewing it or liking it. I have tried just about every kind, but like the minty kinds the best (I am currently chewing on a nice piece of Sweet Mint gum as I type this post).

Gum is my go-to food. I have to chew it when I run. I know this is mental, but I truly feel like I run and perform better when I have a piece of gum in my mouth. It makes me feel better if I have a high blood sugar. It helps me stay awake on long car rides when I am driving to visit my parents. I could not imagine my life without it.

One of the best parts of gum is that I do not have to count it as any carbs. I like eating low-carb and carb-free foods, and gum fits into this category. One thing I must admit is that I am bias when it comes to my brands. I typically buy either Extra (spearmint, polar ice, or sometimes peppermint to mix it up) or Orbitz (always Sweet Mint). However, today I was at the stores and saw Pomegranate gum. Now, I like Pom Fuze drinks, so I was thinking as I stood in the check-out line, "what would this taste like?" I decided to buy a pack and as I left the store, I threw away my mint-flavored gum and put in the piece of Pomegranate gum. It was a delightful change. I think it will go nicely with my Pom Fuze or other sugar-free juices that I consume on a regular basis.

My other desire is that gum provided me with some type of nutritional value...but oh well, maybe that invention will come in the future. For now, I will sit back and enjoy my delightful piece of Sweet Mint gum. chomp...chomp....chomp...