Letter To A Diabetic

Or I Understand What You're Going Through

Tag: Diabetes management

Endo-Anxiety (or A Rare Condition Involving Irrational Fear of Not Having Control of Your Diabetes).

Another endo visit awaits me on Thursday, during which I will no doubt be weighed and measured, quite literally. Sometimes the trips drive me crazy, sometimes they’re welcome, but they are always useful. And that’s the part we need to remember. You can learn a lot about controlling your diabetes during your endo visit. Remember, though, that you are your only real health advocate and it is up to you to go fishing for information. So next time that (perhaps dreaded) visit roles around, do yourself a favor or two.

~Get a copy of your most recent lab results. After all, that’s why you’re there, to go over results and check in. So get a hard copy and start a file so that you can keep your own records and follow along.

~Let your endo, (and medical assistants) know what you need help with. You’re literally standing in a great resource for information and help. Ask for it.

~Don’t blame yourself if your results aren’t where you want them to be. If you’re alive, and have a good to terrific quality of life, diabetes isn’t winning. Take comfort in that and keep on truckin’.

~But mostly, remember that at the end of the day, you’re head will be on your pillow. Nothing lasts forever, and most of what we worry about is in our imaginations. We worry about things that might happen or will happen or won’t ever happen at all. You’re here, on the right side of the earth for living, and we can’t forget that while we carry a disease around inside our bodies, days come and go, life moves along, and we are just as entitled to living it as anyone else is.

Love and light,

Melissa

How To Test Basal Insulin Levels

For five days in a row, I woke up with 200+ readings. Okay, a pattern. I get it. So back to basal testing to make the necessary adjustments to my pump settings. So I tested every two hours last night and ran low 100’s, then get up this morning with a 71. If anything, that indicates my basal insulin needs to be reduced a few hours before waking. Zoinks! So I’ll see what I wake up to tomorrow and retest if needed. But it brings up a good point: do you know how to test your basal insulin levels?

For pump users especially, because we can adjust our settings, this is a very important piece of info. Even if you are on MDI therapy, it is still a must-have piece of info. How it works:

Eat your normal dinner at least four hours before heading to bed. Then don’t eat again until the next day. No food! Not even a skittle. 🙂

Set an alarm to go off every two hours. Something annoying that can’t be ignored is good.

Test just before going to bed and write down your bgl. If it anywhere between 100 and 250, don’t do anything to correct.

Every two hours, when that super annoying alarm goes off, test and record your bgl.

If the numbers stay within a thirty point range, you’re great. Don’t make any changes.

If they drop or increase more than 30 points, talk to your doc about adjusting your basal levels.

My doc has me increase or decrease in 10% increments as needed to make adjustment. Example: I have my basal insulin set at .5 units/hour. A 10% decrease to lessen the amount of basal insulin (if my numbers drop more than 30 points between any two testings) would put me at .45 units/hour. The basal adjustment has to be set for somewhere between 1 and 2 hours prior to the change in bg readings to allow time for the adjustment to take place.

BUT REMEMBER! If this whole basal testing thing is new to you (or even if it isn’t), talk to your doc!!! before making changes to your regimen.

Happy Valentine’s Day (Yes, Diabetics Can Celebrate Too)!

i love youJust because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean we have to submit ourselves to feast or famine. We can still ride the blood glucose middle line and avoid both the crazy highs from indulging in too many of those sweets, and the frustration of feeling like we can’t eat anything at all. There’s a word for this. It’s called: moderation. And planning. Yeah, they’re both the word for it. Plan ahead, use moderation, and remember that, like always, those little chalky, heart shaped glucose chunks are NOT worth a 297 reading on the ol’ glucometer. And neither are all those delicious cupcakes and cookies. Sorry guys, but our feet and eyes are far more important. 😉 Besides, Valentine’s Day is all about love and that, my friends, is always carb free.

Take a look at this WebMD article for a little more on the topic.

Educate Yourself

I say again and again how important it is to educate yourself – especially when it comes to diabetes. One of my favorite places to start gathering easy info is youtube. Now, of course you have to keep in mind that anyone can post anything on youtube but there is also some great info on there posted by creditable organizations who really do know what they’re talking about. Take a few minutes to dig through and you may be surprised by what you find.

 

Why Is My Blood Sugar High In The Morning When It Was Perfect When I Went To Bed?

The rebounding blood sugar following undetecte...

The rebounding blood sugar following undetected diabetic hypoglycemia can easily become chronic when the high morning blood sugar data is misjudged to be due to insufficient nighttime insulin delivery. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I saw this question today and I’d like to give it  moment because it is an excellent and common question. The reason this happens is related to our bodies having a natural rhythm in which they release glucose into the system and at the same time, our bodies metabolize these sugars at different rates throughout the day.

Typically, someone on insulin therapy will need higher basal doses in the mornings. This happen for two reasons. One, in the early morning hours, our body starts to kick out glucose that we will need for things like waking up, moving around, conscious thought. Yes, thinking on purpose requires more fuel than daydreaming. The second reason is that our bodies generally metabolize those sugars at a slower rate in the morning.  Put the two together and your 107 mg/dL at bedtime can easily turn into 253 mg/dL at 8:00 am. Sucks, huh?

And, sometimes, you drop low in the night without knowing it and your body naturally “rebounds” to save itself. See photo at right. —>

So, what do you do about it?

Well, you can adjust your pump settings to a higher temp basal rate during those early morning hours.

You can change the time of day that you inject your basal insulin if you use multiple daily injection therapy (MDI).

I find that exercising in the evening hours helps to keep my numbers stable over night but this is not for everyone. It could very easily lead to a dangerous night-time low. Go back to photo at right.

Before you do any of these things, you MUST talk to your endo or diabetes educator. True, once you have goals, settings, and techniques set up, you can (and will have to) make adjustments on your own. If you are having trouble with unstable BGL readings, you aren’t there yet. Diabetes management is very serious and trying to go it alone can be deadly. No shame in admitting you need help. After all, we weren’t born with this disease and we certainly weren’t born knowing what to do with it. So, no worries, no shame. Work with your diabetes management team and stay alive. Survive and thrive!

Eat The Rainbow

It’s more of a request than a catchy title. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you have Diabetes. Sucks, huh? I say over and over again one of the best things we can do for ourselves as Diabetics is to eat well. Picking up a piece of food and putting it in your mouth is easy. So why not pick up something that won’t contribute the destructive power of your disease? Pick up a Snickers ooooorrrrrrrr….pick up an apple. A banana. Some broccoli. Avocados. Spinach. Carrots. Blueberries. Strawberries. You get the idea. Eat something that grew in or on or above the ground. Not something that is processed and packaged and stuffed full of the chemicals that are slowly killing people.

“But, it’s hard.”

NO IT IS NOT.

It takes the same amount of body strength and motor skill coordination to the eat a carrot as it does that killer candy bar. And you get so much more for you effort. Vitamins! Ooh, and making the right choice and caring for yourself and making yourself healthier. Cool, huh?

Put the candy bar down.

Okay, okay. A candy bar here and there won’t kill you. But it HAS to be here and there if at all. Really. And here and there doesn’t mean hiding them all over your house so that you find one over here and over there. It means if you cave and eat a piece of junk food once or twice a month you’ll probably be just fine. Best plan though – just don’t buy the junk. Your pancreas will thank you for it.

So, do what I did. You don’t have to go vegan over night (or at all – I frickin’ LOVE eggs!)

Make a list of all of the fruits and vegetables you can think of. In one column, list the ones you’ve tried. In the other, the ones you haven’t tried. Then commit yourself to adding at least two of the ones you haven’t eaten to your grocery runs. Oh, and, you have to eat them. That way, you can find new things you like and ease them into your diet.

Step two: Replace your junkie snacks with fruit. I did this and after about two – three months, I didn’t want the other crap anymore. As time goes on, I want more live, raw food. My body loves it and I crave it.

Throw in some exercise and before you know it, you’re doing swell. I lost 60 pounds doing this. Put healthy fuel in your body. Use the fuel. Get adequate water and sleep. That’s it. Those easy things can help improve your Diabetes management more than you can imagine.

If you are already working on this – WAY TO GO! If you fall back a little, big deal. Get up and move forward again. As long as you’re not dead, you have time to make yourself healthier.

 

Diabetes and Hoop Dance. Take Control of YOUR Diabetes! – article

Hoop Dancers Headline Health Message

Tonto Apache Health Fair seeks to combat diabetes with education

By Michele Nelson

“The hoop dancers will engage with the crowd to show how to integrate a different form of exercise into a diabetes management routine,” said Stouder. See more here.

 

 

 

Photo is of Allisone Light. She’s a gifted hoop dance  instructor in the Sacramento area.

 

Letter to a Diabetic (Or I Understand What You’re Going Though)

Dear Diabetic,

I want you know that you’re not alone. I want you to know that there are a lot of other diabetics out there that get what you’re going through. They feel what you feel. They understand. I understand. And I’m writing this in the hopes that someone will see it and get some comfort from it, and know that they are not alone.

My name is Melissa Ratner. I am 32 years old. Last summer I discovered that I have adult onset Type I Diabetes. My pancreas decided to strike. Every day I have to check my blood sugar a minimum of 7 times. I have to inject myself with insulin a minimum of 4 times for a minimum of 11 needles per day in my fingers and injections sites. I’m covered in bruises and track marks at my injection sites. I have to count every carb. I have to record every number, injection, and reaction. I live my life 2 hours at a time (at most). I am aware of the complications and increased health risks associated with Diabetes. I went through fear, anger, depression, empowerment, confusion, and finally gave in to feeling completely overwhelmed. I broke down. I couldn’t function. I couldn’t feel anything but the anger and the injustice and the frustration. I hated people for eating. I hated people for not having to hurt themselves to have a meal. I hated people for not having a diseased body. I understand what it means to live with an invisible illness that few understand or take seriously. I understand that my life expectancy has shrunk, and that my quality of life is severely challenged. Everything is different now.

And here’s the most noteworthy thing I can say about my life right now. I can laugh. I can smile. And I think that there are some jokes about diabetes that are so funny I almost pee my pants. Some people think it’s poor taste to joke about diabetes but I need to laugh. Some days that’s all I got.

Look, diabetes is a disgusting, progressive, incurable disease that makes every day a pain in the ass and bitch slaps your sense of security. Even if you’re not afraid of dying, sometimes a diabetic thinks of the inevitable outcome. And why wouldn’t they? Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, non-traumatic lower limb amputations, and new cases of blindness among adults in the United States. Diabetes is a major cause of heart disease and stroke. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. I’m taking these stats straight from the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet which you can find a link to on the American Diabetes Association website. 

But some good things have come from it. I’ve dropped from a size 16 to a size 8. I can run without getting winded. The new diet has gotten rid of 95% of my GI issues. All the exercise I have to do has helped reduce my menstrual cramps dramatically, and sex? Waaayyyy easier (and a lot more fun). Fat and fatigued…not sexy.

Diabetes doesn’t take a day off and neither can you. So you have diabetes. You can still live. You can still love. You can still laugh. And you can still play. It’s NOT a death sentence. It’s a change. It’s a big, scary change…that you can handle. You can. Really. Take control of your diabetes management. And research, research, research. Education is your best weapon.

A few fun facts before I close. I want to drive home that you’re not alone. At the time that I am writing this, there are 313,601,744 people in the United States and there are 25,800,000 children and adults in the US with Diabetes. That’s more than 8% of the population. A lot of good people are surviving and thriving with this disease every minute of every day.

Here’s the thing. Life is always uncertain. It’s not usually easy. And with diabetes, it’s definitely going to be a challenge. But like my brother always says about life and how to get through it…buy a fuckin’ helmet. Cause it’s gonna be one hell of a glorious ride.

With love and understanding,

Just Another Diabetic

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