Monday, August 31, 2009

DIabetes Shots

Like a lot of diabetics, I keep my insulin in one of the shelves in my fridge door. While I try to keep the butter separate, it does often end up mixed in. In case you're trying to read labels, there's a box of Lantus SoloStar pens, vials of Lantus, and boxes of NovoLog pens. I keep the insulin in my fridge until I'm ready to use it, then try to take it out the night before so it has a chance to warm up a bit. I hate injecting cold insulin.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Calorie Shmalorie

I’ve given up my calorie-counting ways, or at least the documentation of them. For about two months I noted everything I ate, what I drank, how much I exercised. It was a good lesson in portion control and learning to look at a nutrition label for something other than carbohydrates.

However, I realized at some point it started to become a royal pain in the arse to keep dragging out my computer every time I wanted a snack. I also realized that I was focusing so much on numbers of fat grams, calories ate and calories burned, that I was starting to lose my grip on the other numbers, the ones on the meter.

I’m not good with numbers to begin with, so having two sets of numbers rule my life seemed like the beginning of a very bad idea.

I lost a few pounds, I can fit into a couple pairs of jeans that used to cut off my circulation from the waist down and I’ve gotten myself into a very nice exercise pattern. So now I’m just going to wing it. This little calorie song-and-dance number is over. Exit, stage left.

As always, more to come…

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Diabetes Shots

This is my exercise “bike” I have under my desk at work (those cords are for my computer). When I’m doing something online that doesn’t require full-on concentration, I try to ride my bike. I have to lower my chair a bit, so I doubt my fingers on the keyboard are ergonomically correct, but I can still type, so it’s all good. It came with a timer, and most days I try to do about two hours, randomly spaced throughout the workday. It’s not a full-on exercise bike, but it’s better than just sitting there!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Old Switcheroo

Used to be, I had trouble with my numbers at night; I couldn't keep them down where I wanted them. During the day? Perfectly fine. Nary a rumble of disgruntlement.

But now. My diabetes is exercising its right to vary.

Nighttime numbers aren't the issue anymore. It's the 4pm high that's killing me. It's like my body all of a sudden has decided lunch, well, we don't really need that, do we? Or perhaps we should only eat one carb unit at a time, wait until the numbers level off, then move on to the next one?

Pfft. I'm hungry. I want to eat my sandwich, my applesauce and my animal crackers, all at the same time. And give myself one shot to cover all of it. One. Shot.

I'm asking a lot. I know I am. I guess I'm just going to have to keep testing and playing with the Novolog until I can get it right.

Pfft. Stupid diabetes.

As always, more to come...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Diabetes Shots

My kitchen is ground zero for most of my diabetes activities. I dump my bag on the counter at the end of the day, pull out my blood kit and my Novolog kit, and they stay there until I reload the bag in the morning. I test on the counter and I shoot on the counter. As a result, there's often a lot of diabetes debris on the countertop. I finally, after much urging from the husband, grabbed a small container to store the flotsam in. This pewter pitcher is about four inches tall, and despite the fact that my actual garbage can is less than ten feet away, I find it easier to stash used test strips, swab wrappers and needle caps in here. I wind up emptying it about twice a week, depending on how stealthily I've crammed.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

K2 + L1, Part Deux

((Note: If you’re travelling here from Diabetesaliciousness and want to get straight to it, go ahead and skip to START HERE. If not, read on…)

If you’ve been hanging around the DOC for any length of time, you undoubtedly know who K2 is—Kelly K. at Diabetesaliciousness. Kelly is wise beyond her years and a rockin’ good chick who makes a mean mojito (or so I’m promised). The L1, that’s just me—Lora, with one L. I don’t have a cool nickname (although Kelly did refer to me as Lorabetes, which I thought was wicked fun).

Kelly has had diabetes for a really long time, and was diagnosed as a kid. I’ve had diabetes for a relatively short time, and was diagnosed as an adult. The two of us got together and decided to have a conversation about how different and how much the same our experiences have been with the Big D.

The conversation actually starts on Kelly’s blog, Diabetesaliciousness, and finishes up here (two, two, two blogs in one, errr…one, one, one blog in two!). After you’ve read part one…

Kelly: Your turn to answer: How and when did your diabetes education formally begin?

Lora: Baptism by fire. You know how the doctor said I should go to the hospital if I started throwing up? On Sunday, the day before I was supposed to go back to the doctor and learn everything, I was home alone and started throwing up. Projectile vomiting all over the bathroom, every five seconds. After about 15 minutes of non-stop, I finally caught a temporary break, grabbed my car keys, my bottle of Lantus and drove myself to the hospital.
I ran into the emergency room, threw the bottle of Lantus at the nurse and told her I had just been diagnosed with diabetes. She asked me what my blood sugar was and I told her I didn’t know. She started to lecture me and asked me why I hadn’t checked and I told her I didn’t know what she was talking about. She started to cuss out my doctor for not giving me a meter when I motioned that the vomiting was about to commence again. They immediately threw me in a bed and I spent the next week on an insulin drip in the ICU.
I thank that hospital every single day because as soon as they realized I had no clue what I was doing, they set up appointments with a CDE and a nutritionist and I got a crash course on how to be a diabetic, and some lovely pamphlets to take home for reference.

Kelly: You did go through baptism by fire! Hey, was “Mr. Hypo Is My Friend” one of the pamphlets??

Lora: No. Because I’m sure I would have remembered that one, and probably hung it on my fridge! Let’s talk about shooting up. Did they teach you how to do injections while you were in the hospital? Were you scared? Did your parents shoot for you?

Kelly: I was terrified of needles and would immediately start to shake and cry. I remember one nurse being afraid to give me a needle and saying something like: “She’s terrified. I’m afraid she’s going to pass out if I give this to her. She’s shaking.” I remember trying not to cry when it came time to shoot up. I’d actually stop crying and start shaking. The whole being- afraid-of-shots thing was why I was in the hospital for three weeks after diagnosis—they didn’t want me to leave until I could inject. Which I just realized now. WOW.
When I came home, my parents and my sister began giving me my injections. About a month later, I started doing it myself. My first shot took forever to inject and it was in my thigh. I remember my sister telling me to just stick it in and get it over with, but I did it my way—slow and steady.
After the first one, no one in my family ever gave me an insulin shot again! I realized that when I did it myself, it hurt less. Plus, and this might sound odd, but being able to inject my own insulin at age eight really gave me confidence and freedom. My friends thought I was brave. I remember my friend Theresa being amazed when I tested my urine sans the tape. I used test tubes and fuzzy pills and my bathroom looked like a lab—COOL. Also, injecting meant I could go on sleepovers without having my mother come in the morning to give me insulin. I knew what to inject and the sliding scale for high glucose levels in urine. I was proud I could do it on my own. Looking back, though, it might have been better if my mom had come over in the morning. But this was preglucose testing and the rules were different—and incredibly archaic.

Lora: Sounds like you were able to take control pretty quickly. Maybe there was an actual bit of Quincy in you…

Kelly: What about you? Were you afraid when you first starting injecting?

Lora: Terrified, just like you, even though I was 26 years older! I was the little kid who had to be held down by my mom and two nurses so the doctor could give me my vaccination shots. My first solo shot, I sat on the edge of my bathtub for over half an hour, reading the Lantus instructions and trying to screw up the courage to jab my thigh. I kept shaving off a couple of minutes each night until I could do it in a timely manner. Still not my favorite thing to do, but you do what you have to, right?
And by the way? I agree that’s it’s much easier to give yourself a shot than to have someone else do it. I’ve never had anyone give me an insulin shot.

Kelly: Seriously—you’re my SHERO! SO, did you ever blame yourself for your diabetes?

Lora: At first. I thought maybe if I had eaten better, kept my weight under better control and exercised more, I could have held the diabetes at bay for longer. After all, I had gone 34 years before it reared its ugly head, couldn’t I have gone even longer if I’d made the planets align just so? I was also in a bit of denial. I kept thinking maybe the test the doctor gave me was wrong. Did I have Gatorade that morning, thinking it didn’t count as fasting? Could that have thrown my blood sugar off and caused a misdiagnosis? Then I’d stop myself and remind my brain that DKA doesn’t happen because someone drinks Gatorade.
I could be wrong, but I think as an adult, you tend to look for reasons why and to place blame. As a kid, I think you just accept that’s the way it is, even if you don’t like it. I think my parents were a little more like the kid in my diabetes diagnosis; they didn’t really know what it meant, and they accepted what I told them. How did your parents handle your diabetes?

Kelly: My parents were very much into making me take ownership for my diabetes. They wanted me to be independent, and they set some wonderful examples. Exercise was paramount, as was diet, yet they still allowed me to have ice cream and be a kid. Honestly, Lora, our house was a diabetes pressure cooker. Looking back, I know my parents were under a tremendous amount of stress, and I truly think they were overwhelmed by diabetes and were just doing their best to survive day to day. I think they felt worse about it then I did. To this day, I have no clue how they did it.

Lora: How did you handle your diabetes as a kid?

Kelly: I hated that MY disease hurt my parents so much. I felt so guilty. I tested my urine and yes, sometimes I lied about the results. I’m not proud about that, but I was afraid of my family’s reaction to a high reading. I saw how upset and sad they became when my tests were high. I started lying about my results so I wouldn’t see the pain in their faces. I don’t blame them; they had SO MUCH on their plate. But, I was and am a people pleaser, so lying about my numbers made sense at the time.
I didn’t want my parents worrying about me. I kept a lot in as kid. I’d make them laugh and admitted to nothing. Everything was always fine, even when it wasn’t; I would rather cry in my room at night than worry the people I loved.
I remember getting the flu in the middle of the night and not telling my parents until the morning. I just grabbed the bucket, some ginger-ale and Saltines, and went back to bed. I told them I was sick in the morning. They were so mad—they were afraid of me going into DKA. But I saw how much time my sister being sick took from them, and I just wanted them to get a good night’s sleep.

Lora: Sounds like, as a kid, you felt more accountable about your diabetes to your parents than to yourself… At what age do you think you truly took control of your diabetes, and did it for yourself?

Kelly: There was no real “this-is-all-me” moment. I knew that when I moved out of my parents’ house, and even when I was in it, that my diabetes care was up to me. I didn’t do great with my diabetes in college or immediately after. It wasn’t until I was 25 that I started really owning it. Once I started owning my diabetes, it ceased to own me. I became empowered and I felt great.
I started the pump in my early 30’s, after my endo begged me. Pre-pump, My a1c was very low, around 6.4, because I was working out like crazy at the time. BUT, my stomach looked like a freaking color wheel—various shades of green, yellow, and purple. My endo made me a deal: If I tried the pump for one year, I could get rid of it if I really hated it. I agreed and have never looked back! I love it!

Lora: We’ll definitely have to have the pump discussion down the road. I think I’m as reluctant about it as you sounded. Do you remember life before diabetes? As a seven-year-old… ;)

Kelly: Lora, I’ll answer any pump questions you might have—I know that you’d LOVE it. Life before diabetes barely exists in my memory. Before I was diagnosed, I was surrounded by insulin junkies. I grew up drinking Tab even when I didn’t have to.
Before my diagnosis, I remember Pixie Sticks and Fun Dipp; “The Wonderful World of Disney” on TV every Sunday night; tap-dancing lessons on Saturdays; and gymnastics on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Summer days were spent on the beach and going to the Margate Movie House for free whenever I wanted, drinking ginger-ale from a real glass during “Bambi” because my brother was a theater usher.
Those same things occurred after dx as well....sans the Fun Dipp and Pixie Sticks. That pre/post diabetes line is severely blurred, which is probably a good thing...
Of course there were times when I wanted to be “normal,” but diabetes didn’t make me feel not normal or dorky. I felt different because of my looks and my interests, not necessarily because of my disease. I’ve had my F Diabetes moments of course, just like everyone else.

Lora: Sounds just like my childhood, complete with Donald Duck and minus the gymnastics—I’m so uncoordinated. Definitely not gifted in that area…

Kelly: But gifted in others…because of diabetes! What gifts has diabetes given you?

Lora: A true appreciation for irony. I hated shots as a kid, now I have them daily. I hated math all through school, now I have to count, multiply, divide carbs and insulin units every couple of hours. All the foods I love the most are the ones that mess with my sugars the most.
I also have a little more courage than I used to. I’ve always wanted to travel and had just started about three years before my diagnosis. I was afraid diabetes would stop that and I refused to let it. Four months after dx, I flew to Tokyo for vacation, just to prove to myself I could do it, and everything else I wanted to. Without the dx, Japan might still have been on the back-burner, while I explored safer options. I had to come up with that courage and keep it in the forefront to conquer quite a few things.
I’d also have to say I’ve come out of my shell a little more. I can be shy by nature, but I realized really quickly that if I need information and answers about my diabetes, I have to speak up and ask the questions. I also put myself out there with my blog. I’ve kept a personal diary since I was 10 and have always kept everything pretty close to the vest. With the diabetes, I felt like keeping it too close to me wouldn’t do me any good; I would obsess without anyone stopping me and have pages and pages of worries and admonishments if I left it all in my journal. Externalizing everything I’m thinking and feeling and worrying about with diabetes helps me keep things in the proper perspective.
And, of course, I consider the folks of the DOC a gift. I don’t know anyone personally who has diabetes, so it’s nice to read about what other people are doing. I learn a lot about the technical side, and the emotional side. K2, you are an excellent teacher!

Thank you, thank you, thank you (K2 and L1 take a deep bow). We’re here every day on the DOC—you just gotta look for us….

As always, more to come…

Monday, August 17, 2009


See also: Lora.

As a diabetic, I count carbs. I’m so focused on this aspect of food, that when I check nutrition labels, I often zone in on the carb count and forget to check the calories.

Unfortunately for me, I’ve been trying to watch my calorie intake as well as my carb intake, and I totally goofed. Last week we went to Sam’s Club and I bought a box of Ferrero Rocher. Three pieces is a serving size, and it’s only 15 carbs per serving. Only one unit! Yes! Perfect! I could have a little taste of chocolate, not blow my diet and not blow my carb count.

Ferrero Rocher, if you’ve never had one, is a very rich chocolate, which, according to their Web site, is “a tempting combination of luscious, creamy, chocolaty filling surrounding a whole hazelnut, within a delicate, crisp wafer…all enveloped in milk chocolate and finely chopped hazelnuts.”

Pure joy. Pure evil.

You know when they use the word “enveloped” to describe a food item, it means it’s really rich, really good, and really full of calories. 220 calories for three pieces, to be exact. Only one carb unit! But 220 calories.

And, it being Sam’s Club, the box is the big size. While I have yet to scarf down the whole thing in one sitting, it has not been an uncommon occurence for me to crinkle six gold wrappers within a five-minute time period. Only two carb units! But 440 calories.

How easily I’m suckered into eating something just because the carb count is low. How easily I’m suckered into buying shiny chocolate. Sucker Lora must remember to read little (or very large) number next to “Calories” in addition to number next to “Carbohydrates.”

As always, more to come (until the box is empty, that is)…

Damn. Now I want another one.

Friday, August 14, 2009

I Saw Donuts And, Well…

I take my inspiration where I can get it, and today, it came in the form of frosting and sprinkles. I needed a little change. (So did you. Admit it. Everyone likes a makeover.)

Okay. So the whole Twitter thing. I do have a log-in, and I do try to write something every now and then, trying to do my part with the hashtags and getting diabetes as a trending topic. (I hope I used all that lingo right.)

But the truth is, being on Twitter for longer than five minutes is difficult. At work, it’s hard to justify why I would be on it for any sort of duration. At home, I stay off my computer as much as possible, since I’m on it all day. And, since I’m being honest here, I’d rather watch an episode of Leverage or The Closer or Make It Or Break It, or sit outside with my dogs (where my Wi-Fi doesn’t reach) and read a library book than roam through the Internet. As such, when I do log on to Twitter, I usually have to go through 24 hours or more of Tweets to get caught up, and even then, I miss a lot of stuff.

I think Twitter is great for instant community support, and if I ever find myself in a job where I can just monitor and add a note as I please, I’m sure I’ll be addicted. But until then, I like the blogs. I like reading what everybody has spent some time thinking about before posting.

I even like to make a comment here and there. But sometimes I don’t, just because I feel a bit out of the loop. I’ll hit the “comments” button and see a bunch of people have congratulated or commiserated about something not written about in the blog, but Twittered. I feel a little dumb just saying what I was going to say, ignoring something that seems so obvious to everyone else and making me appear, in my mind, like I’m a cad for not acknowledging something important.

So. (And I do love that word; it’s such a lovely, easy transition.) So. I’m just going to go with being in my own little blog world, reading everyone’s posts and commenting as I normally would. Please excuse me if I don’t say the appropriate thing or don’t get what everyone else is talking about. It’s not that I’m being rude or mean, it’s just that I’m not Twittering.

As always, more to come (#bgnow 95)…

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Why Is It...

...when you only have five test strips left in the bottle, and no back-up bottles with you, that it takes three strips to get a test result?

Six hours to go, two test strips left.

As always, more to come...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Summer Vacay

I’m not officially taking a summer vacation; I usually don’t. Perhaps that’s why I’ve somehow, without my approval, decided to take a break in other areas of my life.

I’ve been good about keeping up with my exercise, the laundry, my Tivo, returning the library books. What I haven’t been good about is keeping up with my diabetes. I just realized when I finished my last test strip in the bottle yesterday that it had been a very long time since I’d opened that bottle.

I should be testing six or seven times a day, but I think I’m somewhere around two or three. I usually test first thing in the morning; it’s become as routine to me as hitting the bathroom right after rolling out of bed. This morning, I let the dogs out, fed them, did my weight-lifting exercises, turned on my computer, got everything out of the fridge to make breakfast and lunch and realized I hadn’t yet tested.

I’ve also been bad about the insulin. There’s been times in the last couple of weeks where I’ve finished my meal and realized I never shot myself. I try to do the after thing, but it doesn’t work as well. And there have been times where I just didn’t shoot at all. Then I didn’t test, so I don’t know what the numbers even were.

I’m not purposely doing it, at least not consciously. The whole diabetes things just sort of slips my mind. I know it can be a pain, but I’m only in my sixth year and I have a lot of years ahead of me of doing the testing and shooting routine. I’m hoping this is just a temporary break, and that I can get back on the bandwagon. I’d hate to have to plan a real vacation just to put myself back on track. Wouldn’t I?

As always, more to come…

Monday, August 3, 2009

Good Enough For Me

C is for cookie, and that’s good enough for me. It’s better than good, it’s my heart’s desire right now, my obsession, my one and only true thought and my demon.

There’s only an hour and 15 minutes to go before I head home from work. I haven’t taken a lunch break yet, though I ate my sandwich and applesauce about four hours ago (diabetes has its occasional perks; I’m the only one allowed to eat inside the actual office). It’s really, technically too late to take lunch, yet I know I could hop the elevator downstairs and walk right into the built-in bakery/cafĂ© in the basement of my building and buy a cookie and be back in a flash.

I could buy five crispy, soft, thick half-dollar-size chocolate chip cookies that are really, really good. Or I could buy one jumbo, giant toffee cookie that would feed a small village and tastes incredible, thereby satiating my cookie urges for at least three days.

I might normally indulge. But not only am I in carb-counting mode, I’m in calorie-counting mode. Carb-wise, I could bolus for the cookie, but then it would throw off my sugars for dinner and I’d be a mess for the rest of the night. Calorie-wise, I’m trying to lose a few pounds and I’ve been succeeding, but now I’ve hit my plateau and I need to stop the cookies or I’ll be stuck forever in the half-way there zone.

So I’m not going to buy that cookie. Even though I really want to.

And what does this all mean for you, my gentle readers? It means I’ve just managed to kill another ten minutes of not buying a cookie. Only an hour and five more minutes to go. (Sorry for luring you in with the hope of an insightful entry, then using you for my own horrible purposes of killing time.)

As always, more to come (but NO COOKIE, not even a C)…