Friday, 14 December 2012

Power Foods for Diabetics

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Following on from my healthy eating/healthy living trend of recent blog posts I found this article on Diabetic Living Online about the Top 20 Diabetic Power Foods. I thought it would be interesting to see how many of these foods I actually eat on a regular basis. So, for my own interest I thought I'd take a look at my own diet and see how many of these "power" foods I actually eat.

1. Asparagus
Eat lots - when in season!

2. Blueberries
These would have been an eat little, but I've been having blueberries in my smoothies lately so I've bumped them up to eat some.


Image credit here


3. Red Grapefruit
Eat little - I rarely eat this. The only time I can recall in the last year was in a drink... with Gin. 

4. Beans
Eat LOTS! - Love my beans. Kidney/Black/Green Beans etc. 

5. Broccoli
Eat lots - This is a staple vegetable in our household and often ends up in meals

6. Carrots
Eat lots - Again, safe as above. Except we'd probably eat carrots more. 

7. Fish
Eat little - I rarely eat fish. Over this past year I've had tuna 3 times and battered fish once. Not enough I reckon! 

8. Flaxseed
Eat lots - I take flaxseed oil supplements every day. It's supposed to be good for skin, mine is chronic for getting dry and attacked by eczema :(

9. Cranberries
Eat little - Have recently started eating a small amount of the cran, mostly in baking - but I worry about the sugar content.. 

10. Apples
Eat some - To be honest, it's probably boderline of the eating some. I'm not a huge fruit fan in general but have been making an effort to add apples to my lunchtime diet on a regular basis.

11. Melon
Eat little - Again like the cranberries, melon doesn't enter my diet much. Mostly due to price/availability reasons

12. Nuts
Eat lots - Definitely on this one! Have almonds/brazil nuts as a snack on a regular basis and have recently purchased some LSA (ground up linseed, sunflower and almonds) and add that to a bunch of stuff. 

13. Oatmeal
Eat some - Oats make their way into my baking on a semi regular basis.

14. Red Onions
Eat lots - These are a regular addition to meals

15. Raspberries
Eat little - Again similar to cranberries and melon as raspberries don't enter my diet much. More than the latter two but could do with getting a bunch of frozen ones and keeping them in the freezer.

16. Spinach
Eat lots - I'm a big green fan. I add spinach to a bunch of different meals.

17. Soy
Eat little - I'm working on this one! I've been wanting to experiment with Tofu for some time now, it's on the cooking agenda. And I also have Chocolate Soy Milk in the fridge currently. 

18. Tea
Eat/Drink little - I'm not a big one on hot drinks in general and when I do it's normally espresso coffee but do go through stages of drinking tea especially herbal ones!

19. Tomatoes
Eat lots - I don't really eat a lot of  fresh tomatoes as they're pretty expensive in NZ when they're out of season. But eat heaps of canned tomatoes and buy fresh when they're cheap.

20. Yoghurt
Eat lots - There was a phase there where I didn't eat any yoghurt at all. Correction: I'd eat spoonfuls of other peoples yoghurt. But this past year I've found it to be a really good snack food and also use it in smoothies.

So, all up -
Eat lots: 10
Eat some: 3
Eat little: 7

Definitely going to look into ways to increase my fish and soy intake. Hoping to increase berry/fruit intake by smoothies. Would be good to lower that eat little number and increase the other two. But all in all, I think that's a pretty even spread.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Is A Plant Empowered Diet For Me?

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I've been reading a lot about nutrition, wellness, healthy living and all that jazz recently. I stayed up late the other night learning about Gerson Therapy by complete accident. It's well known to all my friends that I'm addicted to the internet (most, if not all, would say Facebook). While there's some truth to this Facebook addiction, I am also genuinely in love with the amount of information, inspiration and ideas that are out there online! Gerson Therapy seems to surround cutting out everything from your diet and having juices 6 times a day. It's not something I could ever manage as a Diabetic but it was interesting nonetheless.



Awhile back a friend of mine gave me the link to the trailer for the documentary Forks Over Knives. I'd heard about it before but hadn't looked into it. If you're not familiar with it, this blog gives a really good review. Good as in balanced :) Basically it's about how living a plant empowered diet is better for you. Just a warning for Diabetics, I felt just a slight kick in the gut, when I heard this line in the trailer:

"I have reversed the Diabetes. The Diabetes is not coming back."



Of course, comments like that in general make me not want to give any kind of credit to the documentary as I believe that the millions of preconceived notions and assumptions about Type 1 Diabetes stem from things like this. However, since I'm addicted to the internet and information I of course, looked into it. I really do believe in the power of plants. I think there's something to be said for eating organic, natural and unprocessed food. In a previous blog post I posted a photo showing the difference between free range and store bought eggs. If that's not enough evidence that eating organic/natural foods is good I don't know what is.

But what does that mean for me?
I'm not 100% sold on the idea of never eating meat again. I thought about living by myself last year and if I had I would probably have ended up making mostly vegetarian meals. However it ended up being cheaper to live with a group of friends. One of their comments was, I'm so glad you're not vegetarian. The idea is to do flat cooking and they obviously have a bit of bad will towards vegetarians! I don't but I can see how a vegetarian would make flat cooking a bit tricky. For me, I would just see it as a challenge to make sure I was including enough vegetables with my food! But each to their own. So it's looking like I'll be eating a bit of meat for flat dinners. This isn't something that bothers me but I'm going to make it a bit of a new years resolution to increase the amount of meat free/plant empowered breakfast and lunches that I have. At the end of the day, I don't need to be eating meat with every single meal. In an ideal world I would be eating a mostly plant empowered lifestyle with organic meat 2 to 3 times a week. For now, and for 2013 my focus will be on delicious plant empowered lunches and experimenting with my own flat meals. I found this year that a lot of my flatmates meals were often half carb, half meat. E.G Spaghetti Bolagnaise. So I'm going to ensure my meals have a heap of vegetables in them, and low GI carbs etc.

I love how Forks Over Knives calls it a plant empowered diet. I think it's much more politically friendly than just saying Vegan/Vegetarian. And I also love the idea that what I eat empowers me.

On a similar note, the friend who showed me the link for the trailer is also visiting me next week. I haven't seen her in over a year and I'm bouncing off the walls with excitement! She's a vegetarian and also a chef so I love seeing her ideas for meals. I also love her to pieces for everything else, not just her amazing cooking abilities.

I truly believe that Friends are the backbone to my own happiness and sanity  :)

xx

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Changes and Refresh

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Someone posted a question on Reddit recently that made me think. It was How do you make yourself care *about* your diabetes, not for it.

There was a few comments that were I like my eyesight/limbs/want to watch children grow up and etc. But when you're living in the here and now, Diabetes complications seem like such a far off thing. I've always "cared" about my Diabetes. I know it's this long term, chronic condition with the likelihood of complications if you have poor control. In all honesty, my way of dealing with it was to just take my insulin every day and test on an ad hoc basis. Over the last 6 months how I care for my diabetes has changed into this scientific guessing game. Carb counting, correction doses, balancing, exercising. It's exhausting. But I keep going. Because I know I can do this. 


This is one of the replies to the question, it really encapsulated how I feel - Not sure if you can read it but I'll put the majority of it here:

It boiled down to not feeling defeated if you screw up during the day. Like, if I checked my bloodsugar only twice throughout the day, I can't think, "Oh crap, I'm taking shitty care of myself so why bother at all?" Instead I try to think of it as a win. "I tested two more times than I did the day before! I'm working on it, so it's ok."
It's always a work in progress, so you have to take the view that anything you do is better than nothing. "My A1C is down .2 points! Great!" or "I tested 4 times today!" I know I should do better, but thinking in this way has made me feel less like I am always circling the drain. Instead, I am slowly clawing my way out of it. I hope that helps.

Sometimes you can't win with diabetes, it throws in curves ball blood sugars and whacky overnight lows. But you just have to keep trying.

I fell off the wagon a tiny bit with recording all my food and exercise (slash actually doing exercise) but tomorrow is a new week! I'm starting small but my goals for this week are:
- Producing 3 diet records for the Dietitian
- Exercising 3 times - I think this will be more of the walk variety but I have access to some lovely gardens so will make sure this includes some uphills! Ultimately I'd like to do some running but just starting small. 
- Some sort of strength/core training exercise twice.

It's all very manageable. Since I've been super busy lately I've had less of a routine, so I'm getting back into it. Changing it and just starting afresh! Writing it down helps keep it present in my mind and makes me actually want to complete some of my goals. 

Until next time!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

A few crazy, hectic weeks

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Whenever I'm super busy I become really focused on one thing. Often this is to the detriment of my own health and sanity. I feel like I've been like that this last week. Last Friday I completed my Legal Professionals Course, otherwise known as Profs. It's the NZ equivalent of sitting the Bar exam for Lawyers. Basically it's a 5 month online course with two onsite modules. Last week I was completing the last module. It consisted of two exams, a 4 day workshop and performance assessments on the Friday. The whole thing was stressful and I was glad to be done! But I was seriously overworked. I'd had a couple of advocacy cases to deal with through my work, which meant I had to schedule meetings as well as completing the full time workshops. 

Also, I'm dealing with a lot emotionally, as my wonderful, amazing, precious boyfriend is leaving the country in a week. I feel like these past two weeks have been a complete and utter roller coaster. But last week instead of dealing with anything, I just focused on my profs course. Now that it's finished I feel like I have room to breathe again and writing all this down is a very healing and relaxing move for me. I'm supposed to be packing as I'm going away with the boyfriend for a couple of days before he leaves but instead I'm taking 10 minutes of me time. Just to sit, post a blog post, catch up on the mountains of blog posts from others that are filling up my google reader. My blood sugar levels have not been ideal, and I haven't been as focused on checking them as I should have been. Diabetes is a roller coaster in itself and although I have gone off course a little bit I'm still heading in the right direction. I may not have been checking 6 - 8 times a day but I have been managing about 3 or 4. My levels have been a bit higher but not outrageously. I think no matter what I did, management wise, my levels still would have been sitting higher than normal due to the stress.

I feel a little bit like I'm broken but I know that its the stress and emotions talking. I just need to take time, gather myself and get back on track. I'm really looking forward to a couple of days off and just relaxing. This is what life is all about. The stress, the crazy, the hectic. I usually love it. But what I need right now is to just relax. 

And that's what I plan to do. :)

S xx

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Happy Anniversary!

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I've got a couple of blog posts about healthy living/a plant empowered diet/etc in draft mode but this one especially needed to happen today.

I've been focusing on this last assignment I have to do for my legal professionals course and it's doing my head in, so much formatting and rules to follow. Argh. But, I thought that I would take a chill pill and write this blog post. :)

It's my Diagnosis Anniversary today! Later on this afternoon/tonight I will have officially reached 9 years with this chronic condition. And I call it a condition because I don't like talking about Diabetes like it's a disease. For me using the word disease turns it into a weakness. And it's only recently that I've come to terms with the fact that this condition I have, is really, my greatest strength. Friends often think I'm scatter brained and unorganised. Some part of that is true... but I think I seem unorganised because I have this thing, this condition that I constantly have to take care of. I have to make sure I carry around my insulin, meter, sugar, snack, money (in case I need to buy sugar or snack). I have to think about everything single piece of food I put into my mouth. For breakfast this morning I had a banana and blueberry smoothie, so I had to work out how many carbs that was and how much insulin to inject, I needed to know what my blood sugar level was and how much insulin to inject if it's too high. I have to figure out when I can have lunch because I need to make sure there's a 2 hour gap between injecting insulin. And there's even more. I know that I'm not unorganised, not at all, I'm someone that is constantly balancing all those things every single day. 

I like to think Diabetes is about balance more than anything else. Image credit: Here

And so, things like where my phone and keys are become less important. Because I know where my insulin and meter are. It's exhausting. But it's my life and it second nature to me now. Being able to to juggle all this and still be standing is my greatest strength. It hasn't always been something I've seen as a strength but over time I've stopped resenting my Diabetes and starting thanking it for making me a stronger person. 

I've taken huge leaps in the last few months with how I deal with my diabetes. I'm trying to be more open about it. And making sure I'm testing more. I used to hardly test my blood sugar at all and now I'm sitting on that 6 - 8 times a day average. But changing how I look after myself hasn't meant that I was on an 8 and a half year holiday. It's been a constant companion with me. The main change is just really really focusing on what I'm eating, how many carbs and actually working it out (you know, instead of guessing!). I've found the website Calorie King (AU) to be a super help as it is an Australian version so has a lot of the same brands as NZ.

I'm not really even sure where this blog post was going, or how it turned into a ramble about my organisation skills. But all I know is, 9 years ago today, my pancreas stopped working. And I'm beginning to be okay with that. Dealing with Diabetes and learning to love it, isn't something that happened over night for me. But I'm getting there. 

For now, it's back to reality and finishing my assignment writing a notice of opposition to an interlocutory application:



Cheers,

S.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

What's Really In Our Food?

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There's a show on TV in New Zealand called "What's Really In Our Food?". The show is about debunking common myths and misunderstanding surrounding nutrition as well as looking at any other health benefits or risks that could stem from every day food.



I've only watched two of the episodes this season and they looked into the scientific aspects of food quite a bit. For example, in the "Curry" episode they attached temperature taker things to people and then got them to eat curry to see if the food actually increased your temperature. I find it to be really interesting mostly because I love food. I love cooking it, baking it, experimenting with it and just generally learning about nutrition in general. Since really taking a hold of my Diabetes and writing numerous diet records, trying to carb count more precisely, I've become really aware of what I'm eating. I've become a bit obsessed with blogs in general and a lot of what I follow are food blogs. And I'm constantly faced with this question: What's really in our food?

Case in point:

On the left hand side are eggs from the supermarket, on the right are eggs from my flatmate's parents farm. There is such an astounding different between supermarket bought eggs and ones that are free range. Look how yellow the free range eggs are?!

Seeing the comparison of these eggs side by side really gave me food for thought (Pun!).  In the past I haven't been one who is insistent on only buying organic, free range food and etcetera but this has been mainly due to financial reasons. But, just seeing that very real difference between those eggs has made me really change (or want to change) my supermarket buying habits. Living in a flat situation makes it a bit difficult but I'm doing what I can now to buy organic and free range food. One of my potential plans for next year is to live by myself for 4 - 6 months and the thought of being able to have my own pantry is very liberating and exciting. I could totally fill it with delicious, healthy and organic food! Wholegrain flour instead of white! "Lite" sauces and condiments instead of the sugar laden ones we currently get. Trim milk all the time instead of blue. I'm getting a bit side tracked here. For now, I'm working on eating healthier, greener, and just trying to make better choices. So far it's working out - I'm meeting with a dietician soon and will ask her about my diet, see if I need to add in any more protein/iron etc and to see if I'm carb counting correctly. Healthy Living for the win! 

S xx

Sunday, 21 October 2012

19km later...

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One of my most annoying habits is a tendency to not finish something or to put it off for the rest of time. I can pinpoint numerous examples, the jewelry making supplies I bought off Etsy, the C25k programme I was going to start, the blog posts I have drafted but not written and published.. And these examples are from the past couple of months!

However, that being said. I am really happy to report I have finished my first long distance, endurance walk/race. It does bear some element of previous mentioned annoying habit - I had some intentions of entering it to run it - but I kept that conditional on how much training I did. As I should have anticipated, this "idea" of me running this 19km didn't come to pass. A friend I work with was going to run it and she encouraged me to enter anyway and walk it. Her justification was that it was a nice walking track and it was a fundraising events. So, I entered it and committed myself to walk the event. The event itself was held over a long weekend and was called the Twizel Hard Labour Weekend. It consisted of three events, a mountain bike on the Saturday, a run/walk on the Sunday and a road bike on the Monday. My committing to the Sunday event was made easier by the Boyfriend, who had committed himself to all three events. So there I was at the start line, ever so terrified of what I had undertaken, when said Boyfriend said to me "You don't have to do this you know." I knew in my heart, I could back out. But by him saying that I got the push I needed, I didn't want to back out, I wanted to do this and finish! And so, with that determination I took off, knowing I'd see him a bit later when he overtook me on his run.

The Map: Here's the Google Maps link for more info
The scenery itself on the course was beautiful, but there was a couple of things I'd underestimated, one being that everyone else seemed to take it way more seriously than I did! I ended up at the back of the pack, I'd thought there'd be more people taking it slow! And second, was that the giant hill in the middle of it was an absolute killer. I should have had some idea, given it was called the "Pyramid Run." All in all, even though I walked about the pace of a sloth up and over that hill, I enjoyed myself. 

Diabetes wise I'd started off the morning high at 13.2 mmol/l but I didn't correct that as I wanted the buffer in there. I'd decreased my lantus dose the night before, had breakfast as per usual. Had a glucose gel at the first drinks station, 7km right at the saddle of the pyramid. Had a museli bar at 11am and 12.30pm, checked my BSL at 12.40 and it was at 5.6mmol/l. I finished just before 1pm (having started at 8.3am) so it was probably the longest I'd ever exercised. I ate a whole bunch of carby meals following this, thinking I would drop down quite low as a result of delayed exercise blood sugar lowering but it turned out that wasn't the case. I was actually in my teens for the rest of the day. I've heard of having delayed lows of 1-2 days of lowering so I've been keeping my eyes on that.

Overall, crossing that finish line felt fantastic! It was such a adrenalin rush of happiness. I actually got really choked up with tears as I rounded the corner, something about seeing my wonderful boyfriend hobble over to me (after running said 19km!) so he could hold my hand as I crossed the finish line combined with just the physical effect of it all. I had a sly cry as he came over to greet me, but quickly wiped it away so I could cross that line. 

It felt fantastic. Something I will definitely do again. Every time I've gotten out of the car today, or stood up from sitting for a while, I feel my body creak and groan but know it is just the sign of a happy accomplishment. I'm proud of myself and proud of doing something I said I'd do a long time ago. Take that annoying habit of putting things off!


My number - gonna keep this baby around for daily inspiration :)

P.S I've just seen this blog link which talks about 3 Type 1's running their first half marathon - also very inspirational :) Canadian D-gal: 3 T1D's run a half marathon for the first time

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Why I Love My Blogroll

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I recently added a blogroll to my blog. I unashamedly love it!

As I've mentioned before I've only recently discovered the DOC but I fall in love with it more and more each day. I love hearing about other diabetics experiences and that reassuring feeling that others are going through what I'm going through.

However the DOC isn't the only reason I love my blogroll.. I love it because it is my own crazy, wacky mix of things I like. Broadly speaking, there's food, fashion and the DOC. I'm not fussy about who is on my blog roll, the more the merrier! I just enjoy having a big mix of diabetes and non diabetes related stuff. All the blogs on my blogroll are ones that I personally read, there's also some that I'm yet to add.

I'm not sure how others read/subscribe to blogs, but I do mine via Google Reader, it's this handy wee part of Google/Gmail where all your blog entries are listed in one place. I've created quite the routine where I have my breakfast/coffee at work at my desk and read what's new on my blogroll. I find it to be a nice, calming start to the day.

What's on your blogroll?

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Remembering To Look After Yourself... And all the things I used to do

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I have to admit, one of my go to pieces of advice is something along the lines of: "Look after yourself, do what makes you happy." I think I forget to do that myself every now and then. I had two volunteer shifts for Youthline on the weekend and it reinforced the fact that I like helping others.

Volunteering is amazing! I encourage everyone to do it :)

BUT..

Whenever I'm too busy, stressed out, tired I always want to forget about my diabetes. I try and hide it from it! It used to be my go to move. I'm really making an effort to stop that. And I feel better for it. It's genuinely me following my own advice, looking after my body, my health, truly makes me happy.

I'm also pretty happy that the average amount that I am testing a day is about 6 or 7 times. I used to test about once, twice, never times a day. I'm happier testing more. It's taken me a long time to realise that. I'm truly glad that I can see the change in how I look after myself and I'm much better for it. Even my boyfriend has said that "You're much better at looking after that (Diabetes) than you used to be."

Diabetes is a constant battle and I'm still fighting to get my blood sugars and A1c down. I'm more aware of the actual effect of my blood sugars now and realise that I feel like absolute rubbish when I'm high. Today was the first day this week I woke with a blood sugar level below 10 and it felt good. I was able to get up without a struggle. I'm an eternal optimist and know that I'll feel like I'm at a point where I'm finally winning the constant battle of balance. For now, I'm about ready to say good bye to my bad habits and all the things I used to do.



Monday, 1 October 2012

Shakes? Apprehension? Hunger?

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I'm currently passing the time until I can check my blood sugar again. I'm trying hard to obey the 15: 15 rule: Eat 15 grabs of sugar, wait 15 mins and then test. Except the juice box I have only has 13.1grams - how unhelpful! I have two flavours of juice - Orange and Mango which is 13grams and Blackcurrant which is 17grams. So I chose the Orange and Mango tonight because my level was 3.7, if it was under 3 I would've got the Blackcurrant. Anyone in New Zealand know of any juice boxes that are exactly 15?

I often get frustrated at these lows, the ones that are low enough to feel but not to be significant. Right now I have this weird feeling of apprehension and just generally not able to concentrate. It's quite bizarre because I've found a couple of times I find myself getting really scared, must be some sort of physical tension that being hypo does. I've often notice this fear or apprehension before the other symptoms.

Anyhow - Juice did the trick. I've bounced back up to 5.2 and writing this short post has given me something to do while waiting 15 mins!

Now I get to enjoy this delicious treat slash complex carb.

It's a peanut butter sandwich rolled up - Nom nom nom

I know a lot of people add something to peanut butter but I like it on its own. And I roll it up.

What crazy feelings have you guys had when you've gone low?


S xx

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Balls

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As you might have guessed from my blogroll, I'm a bit obsessed with food! I love experimenting with different flavours and ingredients. My newest purchase is Agave Syrup - and so far I love it! My ultimate dream for this blog is to turn it into a mix between diabetic and food experiences. Usually when I bake I forget to take photos or to even follow a recipe. I like to spend a night researching a particular recipe and find all the different variations out there. This is so I can get an idea of the ratios of liquid/ingredients/spices I should have and partly for my own inspiration. Armed with all the information from a night of researching I then embark on my journey in the kitchen and make it all up myself. It usually works.

The latest experiment was inspired by Chocolate Covered Katie - her mantra is healthy desserts which is definitely my kind of thing. The original recipe was Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Balls - but I thought adding banana in there would be yummy! While I am someone who enjoys sweet treats, for the most part I'm more of a savoury person. These peanut butter balls are rather sweet though - I can only handle one of them. So the result of that is that I haven't even tried the end result as of yet. This is because I tried the batter/dough mix instead! 

Anyhow, here's what I did:

Assembled the following ingredients:


Mixed in a bowl - the result is a very sticky gloopy mess. So I chucked it in some silicon baking cups and put it in the freezer.


Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Balls
1 mashed banana
4T peanut butter
1/2C chocolate chips
1/2C rolled oats
1t Cocoa powder
2T Agave Syrup
2T flour - helps to take the stickiness out of the mixture. 

Mix ingredients in bowl - put in freezer to set - VOILA


These don't photograph particularly well - but they are tasty! Or so my flatmates tells me, I've only eaten the batter/dough mix so far haha. I was a bit worried they wouldn't set in the freezer but I checked just a minute ago and they have set pretty well!

Chocolate Covered Katie has some nutritional info over at her recipe but I'm not really sure about mine! There's no refined sugar in it and the carbs in it would come from the peanut butter and banana - I would guess about 5-7grams of carbs? No sure though. At the end of the day, they'll make a good treat in place of a cake or cookie which would have butter and sugar in it. 

EDIT: I put the recipe through the analyzer at calorie.com and the end result was 12.5-15grams of carbs. Can't give an exact amount because I'm only guessing how many balls it made.
Here's a very rough nutritional guideline!


EDIT x2: These pretty much fall apart if you leave them out of the freezer for awhile so beware! Did that today for lunch at work and ended up eating it with a spoon. Still delicious though!


Sunday, 23 September 2012

Blood Tests Don't Lie

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When I was younger I used to imagine up BSL numbers and add them to my log book. I quite clearly remember doing it. I'd fill in my log book with all my "real" numbers and then go through and add more numbers to show I was testing more often that I actually was.

I look back on it and just shake my head at 16 year old me. Making up numbers helps no one! And given insulin ratios are adjusted based on my numbers it could have been very dangerous. It wasn't something I understood back then but I do now.

But at the end of the day, blood tests don't lie. Not like imaginary log book numbers. Even though HbA1c isn't completely accurate and has to take into account you might be swinging between lows and highs to reach that number, it is the main measure of control that we have.

My HBa1c has never really been that controlled. I think I've jumped around 7 - 10 quite a bit. At the end of last year I had an incredibly shocking number (Cringe, 12) which was a result of an extremely stressful and busy year. The whole A1c numbers jazz has mixed opinions in the DOC. I've read some people that see at as incredibly personal and something that doesn't need to be shared. Juice Box Diaries has a really good blog post about it. For me, I do see it as a personal number but also something to share. The whole reason I started blogging was so I could document my experiences and look after myself better. I get inspired on a daily basis by those online who have numbers under 7 and feel hopeful for other people, who like me, are trying to look after themselves better. It's a constant battle of balance.

I'm very happy to report I had a blood test recently and it has jumped a lot lower than my last one. In NZ we are measuring with the new way - from percentage to mmols/mol and I've gone from a 112 (12.3) in November last year to an 81 (9.5) so I'm happy with that change. Very happy and relieved actually. I know it's not ideal but I feel glad to have a significant change. It was very much my win for the day/week/month. I don't feel as if that number entirely reflects what I have been doing, the average on my meter is 11 but that A1c reflects an average of 14.. So that could be for any number of reasons. But for now, I am just very happy to have that drop. I just feel as if I have a new burst of encouragement within myself to keep going with that constant battle of balance.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

The Clubs That We Belong To

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This post is inspired a lot by Tu Diabetes and is something I have been thinking about for a while. 

In my experience as people, we tend to belong to all these clubs. It's part of how we define ourselves. Personally, I belong to the the club of being Diabetic. It's something I haven't wanted to take ownership of before, I've wanted to pretend it's not me. I've wanted to hide away from it. But, delving more and more into the online community - I've discovered, as Kerri from Six Until Me would say - "Diabetes doesn't define me, but it helps explain me."

Being Diabetic is only a part of me. It's not who I am. I'm also a whole bunch of other awsome things:
  • Almost a practicing lawyer! - Currently undertaking a Legal Professional Course, which in NZ is a precursor to being Admitted as  Barrister and Solicitor - we join the two here. 
  • Someone who loves reading! My book case currently has about 10 books that are on my imminent "To Read" list. So, with that in mind I recently bought 3 new/second hand books off the internet. I'm addicted to buying second hand books. Seriously. 
  • Someone who enjoys helping others - I'm currently training to be a phone counselor with Youthline
  • And many others
But - these things aside. It occurred to me a while ago that saying I belong to the club of being "Diabetic" isn't really enough! When I began exploring the Groups section of Tu Diabetes it really began to open up my eyes to all these differences we have in being Diabetic! For example, I'm Type 1,  use a pen, use Lantus & Novorapid and etc.

After reading a bunch of discussions I felt so reassured, that even though these differences exist we still all have these wacky diabetic "clubs" which we belong to.

Recently I joined another one - one I read about on the forums and thought, man that's so stupid, how could anyone do that. It's really the inspiration for this entire post.

The "I've injected myself with way too much short acting insulin, because I thought it was my long acting stuff " Club.

I injected myself with 24 units of Novorapid (my usual Lantus dose) at 1am one day last week. It was single handedly the stupidest thing I have ever done as a Diabetic. I'd had a manic day and I picked up my Novorapid pen - which looks entirely different to my Lantus:


And bam injected! It was at that point I looked down and felt a sense of dread and shock going through me at this point. Something along the lines of "Oh wholly crap, I did not just do that."

But I did. It shows how exhausted I was. And then followed a VERY sleepless night of eating and rechecking my BSL over and over again. Right before an exam. Blergh. But I felt a little bit comforted knowing that others had done the exact same thing as me! Thank you DOC!

I don't usually take Lantus at 1am - That was just me renewing my membership to the "Oops I forgot to take my insulin Club"

I have many Diabetic related clubs - some wacky, some not, some serious and some light hearted. Here's a few:


  • The "I've woken up to Paramedics in my bedroom club"
  • The "I've eaten tablespoons of straight sugar to treat a hypo club"
  • The "I've been DKA club"
  • The "I've imagined up BSL numbers to make my log book look better club"
  • The "I've felt inspiration from others online club"
  • The "I'm addicted to Diet Coke club" - and then later
  • The "I'm addicted to Coke Zero club" - and now
  • The "I'm addicted to Pepsi Max club"
This can is from today, even though Pepsi Max is a current favourite, I still go back to my classic Diet Coke from time to time. Coke Zero or Pepsi Max wasn't even available when I was diagnosed!



We all have these little "clubs" that individually do not define us - but together make up who we are.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

A busy busy week

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I've had a pretty full on week. I can't do any of it justice with my summary right now but just briefly - Monday - Study
Tuesday - Exam on Property Practice
Wednesday - Exam on Trust Accounting
Thursday - Exam on Commercial and Corporate Practice
Friday - Interviewing Clients Workshop & Travelling to Wanaka
Saturday/Sunday - Had my first experience skiing, and spent time in Wanaka, a popular NZ holiday destination.

All in all I'm a bit exhausted. 

As I've said before I'm trying to look after myself better. I have this go to move of not doing that when there are other things on my mind. So whenever I was stressed, busy, travelling it used to be that I would conveniently forget to look after my Diabetes. This was in different ways, eating less healthy food, injecting insulin probably too late to prevent a spike in BSL's, not testing etc. But this weekend and this week I have been trying to make a really concerted effort to ensure I knew what was going on with my Diabetes and I'm happy and healthier for it. 

I have this long list of blog post topics in my head and to it I will add talking about this week in detail!

Until next time,
S

Monday, 3 September 2012

Those pesky low blood sugars

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I had one of those pesky lows last night. The ones that turn up at the most annoying of times.

I have exams coming up tomorrow - I'm undertaking my Legal Professionals Course, which in NZ translates to a 5 month course you do after graduating with your law degree. It turns you into an "actual grown up" lawyer. But in any event I've been spending the last wee while studying and making sure I remember everything! So, as I was finishing up the last of my study I noticed I was getting a head ache. I thought nothing of it and continued. I turned the light out and lay down to sleep.

KAZAMM

My brain would not chill out. I felt my heart racing. I put it down to stress and tried to will my body to chill out. It didn't.

It suddenly occurred to me I might have a low blood sugar. And once that thought popped into my head I knew I was right. I checked.

1am = 2.8.

I lay there for a few minutes with this weird contemplation of ignoring it. It's an entirely stupid idea, but sometimes your brain just doesn't think straight. I eventually willed myself to get out of bed and get something from the kitchen. Laid back down, waited the 15 minutes and checked again.

1.15am = 3.4

Argh. Got back up again and retreated.

1.30am = 4.5

Got back up AGAIN and got myself a snack.

By that time I was thinking more coherently. It would have been much easier if I had just treated my hypo with the glucose tablets I had in my room instead of getting up and going to the kitchen three times. I could have gone once and just made myself a sandwich.

On a good note, I was happy to have noticed the hypo, I've been having too many lately that I haven't been feeling :S I'm hoping to get that sorted soon.

Sigh. So much for a good nights sleep.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

The Daily Grind

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As a Diabetic, you are constantly checking your blood sugar. It becomes normal for you to see an abnormal number and think, how the heck did that happen?

So whenever I see an in range number... I always feel like that is another win for the day :)


Life in Photos

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I wanted to share some specifics to my diabetic life. Instead of just writing a bunch of information. I thought I'd share via photos :)

My Insulin


I'm learning to love these babies. 
I'm on Lantus - 24u per night and NovoRapid 1u:10g carbs. I operate on what Kerri calls a SWAG Bolus.  Which means a scientific wild ass guestimation of how much insulin you should take. I have been making a real effort to weigh and calculate my carb count but I find it hard when I haven't cooked the nights dinner. I live in a flat situation so we each cook a different night. Makes it tricky but I try. This usually involves looking at the packets/recipes others are using. I'm sure my think I'm weird but they're not too bothered about it.

The Novopen also holds a place in my heart. It's about 9 years old! And was the very first pen I started using :) You can't quite see it in the photo but it is a silver pen with a green (ish, the paint has come off!) top. So in reality it's a combination of two pens! The silver pen has always been for my novorapid, but the green pen I used to have was for my old Protaphane, my precursor to Lantus. I haven't always used this pen and I'm not sure when the lids became switched! I vaguely recall my green pen dying on me. Anyhow, my friends would call me pretty chronic for losing things. And so, unsurprisingly, I have lost various pens over the years. When I lost my most recent pen a couple of months ago, I went back to using this old pen. I'm hoping to get a new one when I go next go to the hospital. But it is always nice to have a back up :)



My trusty AccuChek Performa. 
This is my second meter, I can't recall my other one. It was AccuChek though. It was blue and white if I remember correctly. I haven't always been good at testing my blood sugars, I went through years of burnout.  Somehow between being an adolescent and young adult I really put my body through hell. I would not test for weeks at a time. Then perform crazy guessing games with how much insulin to take. I ended up in hospital with DKA and still I didn't learn my lesson! I think I'll write about my DKA experience in another post but a year and a half later I returned an HBA1C of 11 so I still wasn't managing that well. BUT. As I said before, I'm making a real effort now! I test 4, 6, 8 or 10 times a day and taking food diaries to show to my CDE. I recently had a HBA1C blood test so I'm looking forward to seeing what that is. Slightly scared but I know it will be lower than last time. 

As well all know, there is one other thing that comes with a meter. Copious amounts of test strips!



Since I started testing on a way more regular basis I've noticed I am chopping through these things! My strategy for dealing with them is to keep them inside my meter bag and empty them out periodically. If you come into my room, you're likely to find a pile of them (see above photo). It seems that emptying them out and then putting them in the bin are two different steps. 

I'm happy to finally be taking control of my diabetes. And learning to love it as well :)

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Online Inspiration

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Just wanted to write a short post about this. Since starting this blog a few weeks ago I have been delving into the Diabetic Online Community more and more. And I've found it to be really inspiring. It's almost become an addiction! I genuinely enjoy reading up about others experiences and seeing how they deal with the very issues I face every day. There is this constant feeling of reassurance, that there are people out there that get how you are feeling. It is truly inspiring and heart warming. Thank you to all those out there :)

Friday, 24 August 2012

Feeling a lot better

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I feel a lot better than I did last time I posted. I even had to go back and fix some of the grammar issues from the last post. Pretty glad I was sick though, it really made me get my act together and start to look after myself more. Testing on a regular basis hasn't exactly been my strong point. I've spent the last few years being really really slack. And it's shown. My last HBA1C was 11 and that terrified me. I remember the Doctor not seeming too angry though which I was thankful for. He was pretty straight up about it. Something along the lines of.. "So, what's been happening, this is too high. You need to get back on track." That's the sort of Doctor I need, someone who is straight and to the point without feeling the need to lecture me.

So over the past 6 months I have been making an effort. Sort of. I felt the Diabetic Burnout take over me quite a bit. But gradually I'm starting to look after myself more and more. And when a friend of mine was diagnosed a couple of months ago I really got a kick start into looking after myself. And so, when this sickness hit I really started to test every a bazillion times a day. I got in touch with the Clinical Nurse Specialist at the Hospital. I started taking food diaries and making a real attempt to carb count - previously I operated on a guestimation system. I feel happier and just generally able to handle this cough/chest infection I have knowing my levels are settling down and getting under control.

Meanwhile, one of the best things about being sick is breakfast in bed :)


Tuesday, 21 August 2012

8 Glucose Tablets Later

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I finally went and saw my GP who prescribed antibiotics. I'm pretty glad I went today to be honest. Even though I don't feel completely bed ridden (which is my definition of sick!), . I do feel exhausted. Bursting into tears at the Doctors was definitely a sign! I did make me stop and think about the last time I took antibiotics. Which I honestly can't remember? Maybe for this eye infection 6 or 7 years ago? I'm hardly ever sick.

She attempted to try and prescribe prednisone for my asthma but I wasn't really so keen to take it! She did say it would elevate my BSL's a bit. Anyone have any real experience on taking it? I just always remember being told not to. So I always try and refrain when GPs try and prescribe it to me.

The one thing being sick has done is send my BSLs on a rollercoaster. It goes something like this:
9am - 3.4 argh. (Time for sugar)
12pm - 15.1 (argh x2 Time for correction dose)
2pm - 12.8
3pm - 9.9
4pm - 7.9 (At this point I can feel myself getting lower so I decide to check fairly regularly)
4.15pm - 5.5 (Argh x3 - Stop dropping!)
4.30pm - 5.7 (PHEW)
6pm - 3.7 (At this point, I'm not even surprised. Grab my glucose and munch 4 tablets)
6.10 - 3.6 (4 more tablets)
6.20 - 4.1 (Banana time)

8 Glucose tablets later I'm finally out of hypo range. What a day. And I still have the night to go. This is why my body is feeling so bad. Rollercoaster BSL central anyone? I usually use La Vita Glucose tablets to treat lows.

But after eating 8 of them today It's probably not going to be financially viable for me to use these every time!

I'm determined to kick this sickness. So much so I've assembled an army of pills to attack it.


 
These are:
Antibiotics
Antihistamines
Flax oil pills
Birth control
Garlic/Vitamin C/Echinacea/Zinc combo pill
and lastly good old Ibuprofen.

Take that sickness!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Today is a new day

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I've had a few blah days recently. A combination of getting over sickness, being tired, generally grumpy and just being a bit over it all.

But, today is a new day :) And I woke up with a nice 5.0 so if anything that is a sign of things to come!

I've been researching natural sweetners a bit and am thinking about experimenting with them. They say Stevia is 2 to 300 times sweeter than sugar. Which is craazy. In all the recipes they say use a couple of drops of it. So that would give you an idea of the potency of it! Has anyone else tried Stevia? Going to get some next pay day and see how it goes.  Would love to hear if anyone has any advice with Stevia and baking/cooking! :)

Mother Nature is mind boggling sometimes. Stevia is actually just a plant. 

Image credit: Wikipedia. 

A plant with flowers even!!


I'm a Novorapid user so here is a picture of some pens I found on the internet. Mine used to look like this but then one by one I lost the nice shiny pens I had. Now I'm using the pen I first started using when I was diagnosed, back in 2005.



I should probably get my act together and get a replacement. My old pen does work fine though. Except it doesn't do half units or dial back. I also find it handy to have 2 Novopens around, one for handbag and one for home. I use the Lantus solostars that are throwaways so I always have them lying around. Right now I have about 3 on the go, 2 at home and 1 at the boyfriends. Insulin supplies following me everywhere I go! Welcome to the Life of a Diabetic! :)



Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Yes, I can eat chocolate.

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I get sick of justifying what I eat to others around me. I get frustrated at others wanting to take care of me and losing my independence. So much so that I hide my Diabetes from others around me. I like it to be a private thing and something I keep close to my chest.

I really don't know why and how that happened. But I've realised recently that by hiding my diabetes I'm not embracing who I am.

I think I should stop doing that. And open up more to others. I don't mind talking about it, I love answering questions and teaching others. So I thought I would open up to the internet first. It seems easier that way. Writing a blog is a  way for me to be motivated to keep a record of my levels. And ensure that I'm taking all my insulin at the right time and eating enough. I've been down the track of DKA and it is not something I plan on doing again. But, for right now - the 14th of August I'm sitting at a  healthy 4.5 and I'm happy with that. I'm not the most on to it person when it comes to checking my levels! So for my own information. This is where I've been at today.

9am 2.6

8pm - Dinner 8.5
11.00pm 3.1

Now - 4.5

I don't know why I've been so low today. But I did eat a bunch of biscuits at  lunch/afternoon tea and then take extra insulin to cover it. Which is okay in itself. What I should have done was tested and corrected instead of guessing. But I really don't like seeing bad numbers on my meter! :S

I'm going to start being true to myself and my diabetes. Taking more readings is probably the first step.

I'm getting there.

My Story

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Living life as a type 1 diabetic is a bit of a rollercoaster. So I thought I'd blog about it. It seems appropriate to begin with my story.

I'm 24 years old, living in New Zealand. Recently graduated from University, working full time for the first time in my life (well apart from summer holidays) and I will celebrate my 9th birthday of being diagnosed later this year.

And that, let me tell you is craazy. How has it been 9 years? How is it that I still struggle to test before every meal? That my HB1AC has never been that good? Life has been pretty full on for the last couple of years. But now, I finally feel settled and happy. I've been reading a lot of diabetic blogs recently and found that I was wanting to tell my story. My own crazy experiences, the awkward conversations, the ridiculous overdosing on sugar when you are in the midst of a bad hypo, the hypo's where I've had paramedics called, that time I ended up in the Intensive Care Unit because I thought it would be okay to skip my insulin. I've been through a lot and I want to tell my story. I think that ultimately, telling others about my experiences might help me learn something about myself.

Welcome.
S x