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A Relaxing Weekend with Diabetes

This weekend was filled with a lot of excitement, well at least I think so.  What I mean by exciting is a relaxing weekend with diabetes.  I don’t even know where to begin, but I guess I will just start on Friday.  Friday night may have been boring for most people, but to me it was great because I had a chance to relax and catch up on some reading and reviewing certain things, mainly healthcare reform debates, and not have to worry about being anywhere in the morning or at night.  The night started out a little rocky because at football practice my infusion set had fallen out.  No big deal though because there was only about 20 minutes left of practice and when it fell out I checked my sugar and it was 75, so I didn’t need any insulin for a while anyway.

After I got home and showered, I sat down and reviewed President Obama’s speech from last week again, but this time with a little more detail and not just taking it all in like I did the first time.  But more on that later on in the week.  The rest of Friday night was spent researching the options in creating a business in the state of Florida.  A lot of paperwork and dumb fees, that’s what I concluded!  Finally the night ended with a refresher course on basic HTML.  I know how boring this night sounds, but it was so damn relaxing for me.  And the whole time my blood sugars were at great numbers.  Just to stress this point, a Friday night life of a diabetic is not much any different than a Friday night of someone who isn’t, so take that diabetes!

Saturday morning did not start off too well however.  I volunteered to help out with the local JDRF at a sidewalk sale where all profits went directly to JDRF.  I drove down to Boca and when I got there, I was getting out of the car and riipppp.  My infusion set tubing got caught on the door and it pulled my infusion set out.  Two infusion sets gone in 2 days, not a bad pace.  I had to go back home and by the time I did all of that, there was really no point in going back down to the fundraiser, so I had to miss out on this one.  Saturday night came and it was a little like the night before.  I didn’t do as much work because I decided to just relax and watch the USC-OSU game all night.  I did very little work.

Sunday came which means my Philadelphia Eagles.  I made myself a promise that I would not allow myself to get all worked up and make my blood pressure and blood sugars go crazy anymore. I would not allow these 5 reasons to affect me this week.  The game was pretty much wrapped up after the first or second quarter, so I was not on edge like I normally would be, but my blood sugars were perfect.  I tested before I went into the sports bar and then again 3 hours later after I left.  It was 175 when I entered and 106 when I left, and that was after French Onion soup and a chicken quesadilla.

So, that was my exciting weekend.  Not much to it, but just a normal day living with diabetes.  Now it is time to enjoy some Monday Night Football (Brady, Moss, Pats Defense all on my fantasy team) and watching this incredible match between Federer and Del Potro.

Have a great day and night everybody.

Need to Wear CGM More Often

In a previous post that I had after my doctors visit I discussed that I promised not just my endo but myself that I would wear my CGM more often.  And I started to, but then I haven’t put it back on in a few days.  And why may you ask?  Because I am lazy, and since there are only certain times during the day that I can put it on, I usually decide not to do it.  They say to not put it on during a time that your blood sugars are fluxuating or not stable.  Well that eliminates the morning time and also night time.  So that leaves when I am at work.  Well, it’s not the most comfortable thing to do at work.  So then that leaves me doing it on the weekend, which allows me to have the CGM on from Saturday – Tuesday (unless it falls off during golfing.)

I know all the good things about the CGM.  That it is going to help me conquer my morning lows by knowing more of a minute by minute analysis of what my blood sugars are doing.  There are article out like this one from Science Daily, that states, which we all pretty much know by now anyway, “…patients averaging at least six days per week of CGM use had substantially greater improvements in HbA1c compared with those who used the device less often.”  Hmm, so do I need any more proof or any more of a fire lit under my butt?

I vow to wear my CGM for 7 straight days.  Then 14.  Then 21.  If I start with a goal of 30 days in a row, I have a problem reaching long goals without setting smaller ones in the short term.  This is my promise.

What is the longest that you have worn a CGM in a row?  I don’t mean, did you sneak 4 or 5 days out of a 3 day sensor from Medtronic.  But as in, you inserted a new sensor the same day you took an old one out, etc.

This all makes me think about my mindset.  I am usually so good about doing things the right way.  I have done things the right way my whole entire life.  I worked my butt off to be the best basketball and football player I could possibly be.  Of course there were times that I was lazy, but I would make up for it the next day or next week by working even harder.  Or if you have one of those days and you are a little slower at work, you can catch up on work the next day.  But diabetes is completely different.  If I want to take a day off, or be lazy, I can’t just make that time up or just work harder the next day.  This post could potentially become the change of my life and how I see things and act with my diabetes.  I have had A1c right around 7.0 or below for over 2 years,  but it’s time to stop being complacent with those numbers and continue to work harder.

I am committed to making this life of a diabetic a better one and in turn a longer one!

Weekly Weight loss update

Some computer problems prevented me from posting yesterday. My computer still isn’t up to par so I am trying to create a whole post from my WP IPhone app. Ouch my finger is getting tired already.

I wanted to give an update on my diet today. This weekend I slacked off just a bit because of the long weekend but that should not be an excuse at all. I am still right around 240. It seems that no matter what I do I can’t knock this weight off. I look skinnier I feel thinner and my clothes fit better so why does the scale say the damething.

Amy from DiabetesMine had a great post about this and a TIME front cover magazine article a few days ago which sums this whole thing up.

The number one reason that I am not losing the weight is because I am being lazy and not working out like I should. I will go to the gym for 20 minutes and then leave like that is enough time to do what I have to do. My eating habits have become better however still not the best. For instance, today I brought a Lean Cuisine meal with me for lunch that is only 250 calories but I decided to go with the group to Firehouse and eat a 400 calorie sandwich. Right there is 200 less calories that I could have had in my diet. Over 15 days of that 200 calories would be one pound.

Well that is it for today hopefully I can have my computer back up and running by tomorrow night.

Have a great night everybody.

Hollywood and Diabetes, Another Failure

I saw a few posts over the last few weeks about diabetes and Hollywood and how Hollywood gets diabetes wrong a lot.  Well over the weekend I saw another movie that they just got it wrong, another failure.  This movie was “Panic Room.”  I saw this movie when it first came out years ago and remembered the little girl having some sort of problem that was making her blood sugar go low, but at that time I didn’t know it was her blood sugar or what her problem was.

For those that haven’t seen this movie a mother and daughter are locked inside of a panic room when 3 men are attempting to rob the new house they live in.  The little girl has diabetes and her blood sugar is dropping throughout the whole movie.  Good thought and plot for a movie, but not the best at the details.

The first thing that bugged me was when they first moved in they were eating dinner downstairs and the girl with diabetes was drinking a regular soda.  I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t enjoy a regular soda for dinner, actually don’t think I have had one for pleasure in about close to 10 years.  How could the director or whoever is in charge of this let this little moment make the cut?  Failure number 1.

Second thing was the CGM, or futuristic CGM she was wearing.  I had heard of this thing and saw it online, the GlucoWatch, but I haven’t seen anybody actually wear it.  Basically it was just a watch she was wearing that was giving her blood sugar readings to her.  We all know that it’s not that easy.  How about showing her inserting the sensor into her skin and allowing people to see what actually goes on behind the scenes.  People are already ignorant to diabetes and don’t know what we go through on a daily basis, so why give them the thought that, all you have to do is look at a watch to see what your blood sugar is?  Failure # 2.

Using diabetes in a movie plot can be a great tool and make the movie extremely interesting, but only if it is done in the right way.  Add some educational aspects to it.  Explain how this person’s diabetes is going to affect them later on in the movie, give hints, just like you do with the rest of the plot.  I remember seeing a sci-fi movie, (wait I’m sorry, now it’s Sy-Fy) about a year or so ago that involved these alien looking creatures who lived off of sugar.  Without sugar they would die.  Of course there was a group of teenagers that were somehow being attacked by these aliens, but there was one girl in particular they really wanted and nobody knew why.  Well it turns out she was diabetic and had really high blood sugar and they were looking for some insulin so the aliens would stop trying to attack them.  If I remember correctly, the insulin ended up being the killing formula to the aliens.

Although the movie was cheesy, it explained diabetes.  The girl explained to her friends that without insulin her blood sugar will continue to get higher and she will not be able to runaway from the aliens because her body will slowly start to shut down on her and cramp up.  She also explained what the insulin did and how it lowered your blood sugar.  She used the PacMan analogy by saying the insulin eats up the sugar like PacMan.  Maybe not the most scientific explanation, but it works in my book.

So today I dare somebody in Hollywood to make a movie that explains diabetes.  Put a character on tv that explains diabetes, and no not Brett Michaels.  I mean somebody respectful, not washed up, a has been and does diabetes the right way and not keep their blood sugar higher so they can enjoy sex.  Hollywood, you have been challenged!

Somebody make this life of a diabetic a happy one and have a great day.

5 Reasons Why Watching Sports Affects Your Blood Sugar

I wasn’t able to get a post up yesterday because I was having computer issues.  I have a WP app on my IPhone, but there’s no way that I can type that much on that phone.  So it’s Saturday afternoon and I am at the Spanish River Library in Boca Raton with a nice venti bold from Starbucks, with my beautiful girlfriend and getting some work done.  Why am I at the library on a Saturday afternoon when I am no longer in college?  Because football officially begins tonight which means I will have just about zero time left from now until January to do anything at all. Tonight my Virginia Tech Hokies kick off against the Alabama Crimson Tide.  It also means that my diabetes gets tougher.

For those that have been following me for a while probably know that my Hokies and Philadephia Eagles screw with my blood sugars big time.  This year I have a CGM and vow to wear it for every single game so I can monitor how my sugars are going up and down.  At my last Endo visit I was told that I need to track my blood pressure a little more frequently as well since it was 140/80 when I came in and also when I left the visit.  During Eagles games I can feel my heart pounding rapidly on big plays and also at the end of the game.  When they are winning easily it doesn’t really affect me.  More on the Eagles in a further post when their game is coming up.  Right now, it is all about the Hokies.

I am already becoming a little nervous because our star running back is injured and not going to be playing.  Not to mention that we are playing the #5 team in the country.  Grant it, we are #7 in the country, I hate having to play these top teams during the first game of the year every single year.  Let’s get into the diabetes part of it though.  And the reasons for why my sugar goes up.  I have narrowed it down to 5 different reasons why they are all over the place.

# 1 – Passion and Nerves

I am a very passionate and die hard sports fan.  I have been fans of the teams I am fans of pretty much my whole entire life.  I grew up an Eagles fan, became a Hokies fan when I was about 7 or 8, so I feel attached to these teams.  I have also had no luck with my sporting teams winning championships, except the Phillies last year, that I want them to win every single game.  When they lose I become upset and pissed and feel like I am part of the actual team.  Obviously I don’t want to feel pissy but when it is fourth down or there is 2 minutes left in the game and we are down by 6 my blood pressure is shooting through the roof.  My goal this year is to take deep breathes and relax and tell myself that my life is not affected by this game.

# 2 Food Choices

During sports games I am not always able to watch the game at my own home just because of regional TV decisions.  So, at times I must go down to the local sports bar.  While I am there, I may as well make a meal out of it and eat also.  This leads to a game long appetizer of homemade buffalo fried chips from Bru’s Room in Delray Beach, FL.  Second part of the meal is usually a Memphis pulled pork sandwich or some sort of non-healthy meal with some mashed potatoes.  You may have guessed why I named a specific food, because I am extremely superstitious and don’t like to go away from something that I ate when my teams have won while I ate that.  I know, I know, I’m crazy!

# 3- Beer

Beer and football, just makes sense.  Do I really need to go into why the beer intake messes with my blood sugar?  I don’t think that I do, your educator can take care of that.

# 4 Guessing, not Testing

If I go to the sports bar then there is about a 5% chance that I take my meter with me.  During that 5%, there is about a 1% chance that I will test my sugar.  I also am kind of guessing how many carbs are in the food.  Usually what I do is just take a 25 unit max bolus and then eat to cover my insulin.  If I “feel” that I am getting low then I will just eat more of the chips or maybe even order a dessert or something else.  Not a great decision for a diabetic.

# 5 Stress

This one comes during the game which I started to get into during reason #1.  The stress gets even worse after a loss.  I will be stressed out and down in the dumps for a few hours or even the next day until I finally get over it and realize that next week we get another chance to win.  The later into the season the worse the stress gets.

I now know the reasons why sports affect my blood sugars, now it’s time to do something about it and fix these 5 things.  Well I am going to the sports bar tonight even though the game is nationally televised, but I am going to eat healthy.  No beer, no pulled pork.  I will have an un-sweetened iced tea, a cobb salad and maybe a cup of French Onion soup.  Maybe, just maybe I may cheat and get some jalapeno poppers because Amanda also likes them.

Insurance Companies, Did You Just Cringe?

Insurance companies.  How many of you just cringed and made a sour face as soon as you read those first two words?  I know I do.  I don’t know what it is about that set of words. Even when I was younger I didn’t like those words, and I didn’t even know anything about them.  As my uncle always called them, “in-case-stuff-happens companies” as in they are useless unless stuff happens.  Insurance companies brought a whole new level of hatred into my life when I became diabetic.

I didn’t really deal with them the first 2 years of my diabetes because my mom handled just about everything.  I just simply went to the pharmacy to pick up my prescriptions and went to the doctors office and handed them a card.  Once I moved to Florida to finish college, that’s when I had to deal with things myself.

I can remember the first bad experience that I had with them.  I had only 1 vial of insulin left and I pulled it out of the fridge to get it to room temperature about a day or 2 before I would actually use it.  As I was taking it out of the nice little box it comes in, it slipped out of my hands and smashed on the floor and insulin went everywhere.  Not only did I have an insulin smelling floor, (disgusting!) I was now going to be out of insulin within the next few days.

I went over to the student pharmacy the next day and pharmacist said ok it should be here tomorrow.  I get a phone call the next morning to come in and see him.  Guess what?  Insulin is there but the insurance company isn’t covering it so it is going to cost me approximately $500 with the student discount.  Reason for why they won’t cover it you may ask?  Because I have a 90 day supply and we are only on day number 78.  I still remember the day of my 90 day prescription I was on because it made me so pissed.  After I explained to the rep that I will be dead before day 90 comes around, she transferred me to multiple people.  Finally, on a one time basis, they will cover the insulin.

Now, fast forward 3 1/2 years to last week.  I received a new pump and CGM from my diabetes supplier earlier in the year. They are out of network with my insurance so no big deal, that will eat up my out of network deductible.  Well I keep receiving statements in the mail showing that none of my deductible has been met.  This doesn’t make sense to me.  Also, every month I receive a letter telling me that I haven’t sent in the additional information that was requested of me and I must send in something in writing or my claim will be denied.

Huh?  What?  I never received anything in the mail stating I had to send in anything!  Every single time I call they tell me that I just have to submit my appeal in writing.  Well, what the hell am I appealing?  I haven’t received anything telling me I need to appeal!  Long story short they are requesting months of blood sugar logs, CGM reports, A1C reports, etc.  If they just would have told me that months ago I could have had it to them right away.  Hopefully I can get this all straightened out and taken care of.  I don’t need the added stress.

Just another reason I can’t stand insurance companies!

And just another day in the life of a diabetic

Back to School, The Diabetes Version

It’s time for all the little kids, big kids and college kids to go back to school.  For some however, there is the diabetes version of going back to school.  Thinking back in my own life, this was the time of the year that football had just started so I was so excited to see all of my friends again and start playing sports also.  It was also time to go to the Reading Outlets in Reading, PA where it was school shopping central.  Going to the Jansport outlet store was the hottest place because I obviously needed a new backpack for the coming school year.  And not just any backpack, but one that nobody else had.  Then it was off to K-Mart to get notebooks, pencils, folders then eventually Wal-Mart, but Wal-Mart didn’t open in my area until I was in 5th or 6th grade.  Finally, it was the morning of the first day of school.  Time to get dressed in all your nice new clothes and new shoes and stand next to my brother because my mom had to take a picture.

Growing up as a child I didn’t have to worry about much other than making sure my homework was done and making sure that I was at football practice and learning all of my new plays.  As I grew up and went through high school the basics stayed the same, however some things became a little different.  Didn’t care about the backpack, stopped going to Reading Outlets because they decided to shut them down, sad sad story by itself.  Then it was off to freshman year of college.  Wow, was that totally different.  Now it just wasn’t about going to Wal-Mart for notebooks, but to Wal-Mart for a fridge, futon, and other neat college dorm supplies.  But everything changed that April night in 2004.  Diabetes had entered my life and now preparing for the next school year became a lot different.

As I entered my second year of college, it wasn’t just all about remembering my textbook and notebook for class.  It now required me to remember my meter, strips, insulin pen, a few pen needles, alcohol pads, some candy in case of a low and an emergency card.  Paying attention in class at times had become a lot more difficult as well, especially when my sugar would start to get lower.  So as most people are taking notes while the teacher is talking, I am pulling out this weird machine that beeps and makes people look at you because you’re making noise and then digging through my bag trying to find that bag of Skittles that I put in there this morning, or did I forget them today?

I finished my last 4 years of college, yes I was on the 5 year plan, with diabetes and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  It forced me to accept my diabetes and share it.  I had about 8 different roommates in that span of 2 years of living on campus and it all started out the same way.  “Hi, I’m Chris, and I’m diabetic.  This is where my sugar supply is. This is what to do if I get low.”  It also gave me the opportunity to introduce diabetes into the lives of 8 people who otherwise had no clue what it was.  I was even lucky enough to sit next to 2 other diabetics in some classes that I had.  One on an insulin pump and one on MDI.  It was great to be able to talk to them and see them test their sugar, so that way there was 2 weird people in the class now.

As I watch my girlfriend, Amanda, get ready for school this morning (she is a teacher) I think about how different my life would have been growing up with diabetes.  Would I have been the same person that I am today?  I would like to think that it would have just made me a stronger person and mature at a lot faster age.  Since I wasn’t diagnosed until my freshman year of college, I never experienced diabetes in elementary school or middle school.  As I read some other blogs about parents taking their kids to school and making sure every teacher knows and nurse knows etc, I truly respect you for what you go through on a daily basis.  Obviously my future children run the risk of becoming diabetic, so I may one day have to deal with it, but until then, I will continue to learn from others how to deal with the school year coming around.

On the bright side of things, I would really like to hear some funny stories about diabetes and going back to school.  We always here the bad about diabetes, but let’s share some funny ones.  If you have any, please comment, I would love to hear them.

I wish you all a day better than yesterday, hope your blood sugars are under 150 all day.

Review From Doctor’s Visit Last Friday, To Symlin or To Not Symlin

Friday brought me another doctors visit. Let’s go through the checklist for the visit.

Insurance card, ID, meter, pump, clean socks, clean feet, food log, reasons for why I didn’t wear my cgm all month long.

Ok I have everything I need so now I can go to the visit, let’s check my sugar one more tome before we go. Ut-oh I ran out of strips. Once again I don’t have an extra box at work or in my laptop bag.  Going into the visit, I wanted to accomplish a few things.  They were to get my basal rates at right levels, get my morning sugars lower, figure out a better diet plan, learn more about temp basals and square wave boluses.

To start the visit off, I had weight a few pounds lighter than the last visit, even though that scale is way off.  Next came time for the blood pressure, not so good, it was 140-80.  I don’t know why it was so high.  I have been a little stressed lately with less sleep and some things going on at work.  Once the doctor came in the very first thing we discussed was why I didn’t have a lot of readings from the CGM.  So good thing I prepared for that one.  But I told her straight out that I just didn’t wear it as often as I should.  Then we started to look at the levels from the meter.  At previous visits, I had brought in 3 or 4 different meters and gave them the readings from those because I used different meters at different places.  That was one of the things from last visit I tried to stop and attempted to use the same meter almost every time, and I was pretty successful at doing so.

Now it was time to take a look at the bolus readings from the pump.  There were a lot of 25 unit (max) boluses without even having a blood sugar reading.  She did not like that very much.  The reason for those is when I know I am eating bad, and I don’t test before I eat, I just take 25 units, then will test later and correct from there.  Usually because I know I am eating enough carbs to cover that 25, which at my ratio, 5:1, that is at least 125 carbs in one meal, not too good.  There was even one in there just from last week that was two different 25 unit boluses within an hour of each other, (Olive Garden visit).

The last part of the visit was doc and I discussing the possibility of using Symlin.  The reason being is because she wants me to lose weight and she thinks just by my eating habits that I am not going to be able to do that.  This was brought to my attention with my previous doctor as well, and I had decided to throw the sample away and lose the weight myself.  Pretty much the same result this time.  I told my doctor that I want to attempt to lose the weight myself and by the next month if I don’t lose weight, then I will go on the Symlin.  I really don’t want to do that, but if I have to then I will.

Which leads to me to my question of the day.  How many people out there are currently or have previously used Symlin?  How did it make you feel?  Did it make you lose weight?  Was feeling like crap worth the weight loss?  Please let me know your experiences with Symlin.