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


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...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

How many times can I break till I shatter?

I love OAR. My brother got me hooked on their "That was a Crazy Game of Poker" song awhile ago, and have listened to them ever since. Needless to say, my IPod running mix features many OAR songs. I find them easy to run to, and since I like them, it just works.

How many times can I break till I shatter? This is a line in OAR's song "Shattered," which I was listening today while running. I kept think about this line...and think that I am at a breaking point in my life, but hope that I do not shatter. I need a change of pace, and desperately! Being a perfectionist is hard work...and something that requires tons of effort.

My running has been going okay...I ran a nice 7.5 today with a 0.5 mile cool down in a decent time. I did not plan on running all out, and wanted to take it easier because my body was hurting today. After a nice, relaxing run I lifted some light weights before calling it quits for the day.

So I have been reading diabetic running and cycling blogs and need to know some advice. Almost everyone starts out their run/ride in the lower 100s, but then refuel throughout their workout. Is it weird that I do not refuel at all? For example, today I started at a nice 92 and had 1 glucose tablet. I ran my 7.5 miles and after lifting checked again and was at 81. I suspend when I run, but turn the insulin back on when I am lifting. After my half hour drive home, I was 130 (mind you, I did not eat anything since my 1 glucose tablet).

This got me can people suspend their pump and intake carbs during runs/rides? I feel like if I did that my blood sugar would spike a lot. Maybe it is because of my basal rates? In the afternoons I get no more than 0.35 units/hour (at the highest point). Any thoughts? many times can I break till I shatter? Being a perfectionist and extremely hard worker, to the outsider I will never shatter (or hope it appears that way); but on the inside, I might have a few more pieces left to be broken before I shatter. Hopefully I can heal myself, my mind, my body, my soul quickly to get back together.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

This One Has No Title

I feel like it has been awhile since I have last posted. I am tired from the weekend, so here are a few brief updates:

My blood sugars have been inconsistent lately, especially during the night. It is hard to predict what is going to happen with them.

Running has been doing good - I am not running as many miles and doing some other training on the cross trainer to break things up.

I have not worked at all on my grad. paper. It needs to be turned in 3 weeks from tomorrow. I am burned out of school. I have not had a break from school for over 20 years.

I had one bad CGM that was so inaccurate I ended up taking it out early. However, my current CGM has been very accurate. This gives me hope again!

Does anyone know how I can get more iron in my diet?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Life as a Perfectionist

Like last night...I was up almost all night because I had high blood sugars. I was so upset. Why? I had my normal dinner, did my normal things, and when I got into bed I had a steady number with no arrows on my CGM. I got the nice notice from my pump for the first time at 1:30 - high Blood Sugar (my alarm is set to 200). I check and am at 260 and felt pretty awful. In my head I was going through what it could be - I changed my set before I went to bed, maybe that was it?

I got out of my bed and did a site change. When I took out the old set that I inserted before bed, it was fine. I made a correction bolus and laid in my bed for a while, still not feeling the best. Then I started to see some up arrows. By 2:30 my pump alarmed me again and said I was up to 250. Really, I tested and was at 290 and felt sick. I got paranoid and did another correction, the entire time trying to figure out what was wrong. Frustration had set in.

By 3:30 I was in the 260s still. I was starting to wonder if my insulin had gone bad. I did not open up a new bottle and the expiration date was months away, so I did not thinkthat was it. At 6:00 I decided to do another set change, throw away the insulin in my reservoir and hope for the best. In the end, my blood sugar did not come down until 7:00, when it was in the 150s, although I still did not feel good because my body was recovering from being high all night.

Sometimes I feel like diabetes laughs at me. Last night I wanted to get a really good nights sleep so I could be well rested for today, and have a good run. In reality, I got barely any sleep and was tired all day.

I am a perfectionist. It kills me seeing any number in the 200s or above on my meter or CGM. Mentally, I have a hard time dealing with it. Even if the number is above 140 I start to wonder what is up. Last night I got so frustrated because I did not understand why my body was not accepting the insulin I was giving it. At night I have a sensitivity factor of 1:71. I had to give myself many units for corrections. Giving myself that much insulin for corrections is something that I do not like. It kills me.

Being a perfectionist is not something that I would recommend to anyone. I expect a lot from myself in all areas of my life, from training and sports to academics to teaching. I have high expectations for the kids in my class. Are my expectations too high? Possibly, but it always gives me a goal to accomplish. I was not always as much of a perfectionist as I currently am. I think I always had that trait when caring for my diabetes, but it really spilled over into all other areas of my life in my ladder high school years (maybe you'll hear about it another time).

One time when I was having a phone interview for a program I was considering doing after college, they asked me what my best and worst trait were. For me, it is the same: perfectionism. It is good because i have high goals and work incredibly hard to attain them; it is my worst because all I do is work and worry. It is kind of like diabetes: I hate that I was diagnosed with it, but I know that it has been good for me.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Itching to Race

I feel like I really do not have much to post today due to the length of yesterday's post and all that it entailed. I did a nice, steady 7.5 miles at the gym with 1.5 miles of "other stuff" for a total of 9. It is a bit bizarre right now because my body does not feel worn out from it. I did not push myself while doing the 7.5 today; tomorrow I hope to get in a nice, fast tempo run to get the muscles really working again after their small break due to CGM mishaps.

I am itching to compete right now. I want to run in a race so bad. I think I'm going to do the ORRC half marathon on April 5th and see what kind of time I can post. It will be interesting because all of my other long races I have had someone accompany me, hold my pump while I run and my other stuff so after the race I can test, etc. I like my mom to be that person - she was always there at the end of my cross-country races in high school but I know she won't come out for it (my parents are coming to visit me in a week and a half and I don't want to make her come out again, especially when I am visiting them the following week). The major deal before was what to do with the pump, however, now I want to wear my pump to get a better sense of where my numbers are. Overall, I feel like I am in decent enough shape to run a half. I'll just need to get in a few 10-milers and then I should be okay to go.

I think Daylight Savings Time has caught up to me. I was really tired the whole day. I am looking forward to a nice, long sleep tonight.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I Heart my Endo and Happiness!

Today was pretty great for me. It started off good and pretty much kept getting better. To start my fabulous day, I wore a new coat that I purchased this weekend with my friends. Two of the people I live with said they liked it as I walked out the door this morning, which only made me smile. I love getting compliments.

I got to school and was productive. I took ½ of the day off in the afternoon because of my endo. Appointment. As I was leaving, I put on my coat and my students commented on how I “looked like a detective.” It made me smile again. One boy said, “Ooh. Miss ---, your coat is sweet!”

I went home for a bit to do a couple things before hitting the gym. This is the only not-so-great part of my day. When I got there my Bandaids were doing well and sticking, or so I though. I had successfully changed my CGM this morning and thought everything was running smoothly. I had prepared to run a long run of 10 miles and was getting ready. I had a stable 130 to start – perfect. I started at a good clip and ran the first 2.5 in 18+ minutes…then I began to feel the Bandaids come loose. This made me upset. I stopped running and went down to the locker room to put on more Bandaids. This was a little tricky because I was sweating and really, really wanted to get back to running.

I applied the Bandaids and they seemed to be doing okay. I wanted to make sure, so I hopped on the elipticle for a bit and realized that my newly-applied Bandaids were not sticking that great either. I ended up doing 3.5 miles on the elipticle and then went over to lift some weights. I was frustrated, but my frustration was overcome with excitement as I was going to see my endocrinologist.

Before I went I had made a list of all of the questions that I wanted to ask him…from CGM to pump site rotation to food. I had a lot of them…a whole typed page full. This may surprise you, but if you knew me, I ask a lot of questions and like them all to be answered. In this way, I am demanding and sure have annoyed various people with this personality trait. Oh well…
I had to wait 30 minutes before I actually saw my doctor. Before he came in the nurse downloaded my numbers from my meter and took my A1C. I sat in my little exam room solving Soduko puzzles the entire time, and actually finished the book I was working on.
Anyway, the endo. came in with an “observer” (she was kinda awkward, but whatever). Can I just say right now….I LOVE MY ENDO! We talked about everything on my list, all of my questions, issues I am having at night, CGM stuff, calibrations, my meter (and he gave me the updated version of it – now I have one that glows in the dark), running issues, etc. Near the end, I told him I was moving in the summer, but really, really, really, really wanted to keep him at my endo. He said that he has many out-of-state patients, and he would do that for me, but I need to get one in case something goes wrong in the suburbs. Yay! I get to keep my endo! Seriously, I bet you have never met a better endo. For lack of a better phrase, he is the bomb.

Drumroll please…my A1C was 5.7

I left the doc’s office feeling so good and happy. I know not all visits bring such happiness to my life, but this one was so nice. He is even bringing in a marathon pump-wearer to speak in April. Although, when I asked him about the date (I am going to visit my parents in Iowa/going to Chicago the week after Easter), he thought it might be the week I am gone. One of my friends suggested having him tape the speaker so I could watch it still. I’ll have to check on that…I’m sure it will happen.

Other news…the pump educator gave my email address to another runner that lives close to me. He emailed me yesterday and I am going to respond after I am done posting. The funny thing is that he has a diabetes and running blog ( ) and I had read it before. It is a small world. Anyway, I am hoping he can give me some good advice about pumping and running. I don’t really know any diabetic athletes in real life, so this is kind of exciting ( I only know my fellow bloggers).

Happiness was all around today. The weather was perfect and makes me want it to be summer even more now. You can’t beat walking out from a wonderful doctor’s visit to 70-degree and sunny weather. I am hoping to get in a nice, long, fast run tomorrow.

Monday, March 9, 2009

random Monday thoughts

I changed my CGM for the first time by myself. I must admit that I was nervous at first, just thinking about how much each one costs, but then realized it is so similar to the pump changes and it did not turn out to be a big deal. I got it calibrated fine, however, it gave me some error messages throughout the day on Saturday. All seemed to be working fine by Saturday night, though. I was relieved and am ready for my next change tomorrow morning.

I am going to see my endocrinologist tomorrow. For the first time ever, I am actually looking forward of going to the doctor. I always dreaded going to the doctor because I like to think that I am perfect, and know that in reality, it is not possible to be perfect all of the time. Anyway, I started seeing my current endo. about a year and a half ago. The only other endo. I had was from when I was first diagnosed. I saw her for 20 years and then switched to my current one when I moved to Ohio. He knows his stuff, big time, and is in-tune with the exercise world and the effects it has on the body. My blood sugars are varied in the nighttime for some reason that I cannot figure out. I am hoping he has some good advice for me, although I assume I'll have to do some basal testing for him.

I am also very curious to see what my A1C will be. From junior high through December 2008, it was always in the 5's...from 5.0 to 5.9, although I had my fair share of low blood sugars. In December it was 6.2. I cannot remember the last time it was that high. I wonder what it will be tomorrow. Obviously I would like to see a number in the 5's, but who knows. I'll update tomorrow with the results... My prediction is in the 6's.

Today I was working out and had a short run, even walked a little bit because I was feeling stressed out and sometimes walking just clears my mind. Then I got on the elipticle. I know people who love the elipticle, my uncle being one of them. But for me, the elipticle is not working out. I feel like even though I was on it for a half hour, it did not do much for me. I don't really consider it part of my workout...rather, it is a machine that I can use to get in a few extra minutes of light cardio before leaving. Maybe you have more success with the machine, however, I don't. Tomorrow I plan on getting a solid, hard workout in before hitting the endo. for my late afternoon appointment.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Bandaids and More!

Could this be the name of a new store? I put 3 Band-aids on over my MiniLink and sensor last night and they stayed while I worked out today. I thought I felt the minilink bouncing around a little bit, but that was my imagination, or at least I think it was. I checked about every mile to see how it was doing, and it held tight the entire time. I was very sweaty today, so this is encouraging! Hopefully it will work again tomorrow. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Last night was not a good night. I woke up at about 3 am and felt sick. I have been having nighttime highs so even though the CGMS said 226 (my alarm is set to go off at 250), I checked on my machine and was 294. I bolused, but then felt worse as the night progressed. I ended up checking and bolusing every half hour or so. My 24-hr. graph does not look good right now! Anyway, I changed my pump site this morning because I know that I should have come down, at least a little bit. My little plastic "needle" thing was shaped like a candy cane at the end. Now it makes sense why the bolus corrections did not work. It took me all morning to recover from this, and finally by lunch I was able to eat and feel good again. Although, I did skip breakfast (well, I had a piece of green sugar-free finger jello because I was hungry). By lunch I was tired physically from not eating, but hungry.

Looking at my 3-hr. graph right now truly makes me happy. The line is practically straight. I am currently at a stable 109 according to it. However, I am hungry again so I am going to eat a snack, so I'm sure it will go up. Oh well, so is life.

I'm looking forward to the weekend. I need time to work on my action research project paper and catch up on other things, including sleep. The more sleep I get the better I am able to run. Lately I have not been getting enough which has negatively impacted my runs. I read on another blog that for every hour you get before midnight counts as double. I am going to test that theory tonight, and hopefully see the results tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


After getting my new pump and CGM last week, I had my training today with the pump educator. It was information overload, with her pretty much talking staright for 2 hours. I learn best in cases like this by doing it myself, prefereably at least twice. I got to try with an expired sensor, and then with my own, but I still feel very unprepared to do it on my own. I probably felt the same way about my pump, although I do not remember it.

With my pump, I set all of the settings on my own, and kept them like that for over two years. Seriously...they did not change at all. I never did basal testing to figure out what needed to be changed, though. I am excited that basal testing is going to be so much easier now! I think that I have my afternoon and early evening basals off, but I am not sure by how much. Now, figuring this out will become a task that is much easier for me.

One issue I have had so far with my CGM is keeping it stuck to my body. I sweat a lot when I run and today the clear tape stuff just peeeled right off during mile 4. I had to stop and figure out what to do. The pump educator told me about a guy who runs marathons who uses band-aids to secure it down. I did not have anything handy with me at the time, so remember this I went to the front desk and asked for 3 bandaids. I put them on, rand a mile and a more with a little trouble coming at the end of the second run. Two of the three bandaids cam unstuck to me.

I called the pump educator to tell her of my woes. She suggested trying the bandaid method and then to call her back tomorrow and let her know. She said that if that does not work, we'll get something else to work. I am going through CGM trial and error right now.

I must say that I love the fact that the graphs and the entire CGM is so mathematical. I love math. When I was a student, it was my favorite class; and it is my favorite class to teach my students. Being able to see the trends in my blood sugars is great, both the three hour and the twenty-four hour screens. I know that I will learn a lot about my body and insulin from them.

One small concern that I have is that I tested my blood sugar before dinner and it was 151 on my meter. Now, my CGM had me at a stable 100. I know that it measures different things, but 51 points seemed a little high to me. I am trusting it...right now it says that I am at a stable 119.

I could probably write pages upon pages about how much I love my CGM right now. There will be bumps along the way, like figuring out what makes it stick the best to my skin and others, but hopefully they will all get sorted out. Right now I am in a happy place, and want to remain there.