Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Hit the links.

With a little help from Kerri I was finally able to sit down and figure out links. Thanks Kerri!

I originally figured I'd put all kinds of links to diabetes and yoga stuff on my links list, but after checking out Elizabeth's excellent blog diabetes 24/7 and reading her post from December 14th about quality of life with diabetes, I decided that would be boring. Because life isn't just about having the best sytem for keeping track of your daily BG tests. It's about laughing at the ridiculousness of Chuck Norris. It's about finding people with better taste in music than you have. Even if it's a fifteen year old girl from Santa Monica. And as you'll soon read, I need to be reminded of that pretty frequently.

When I first started testing my blood, I just tested and licked the blood off my finger. After awhile, my fingers started to look like I'd licked them and then dipped them in a pepper mill. So, this is what I came up with.

I test my blood anywhere from 8 to 12 times a day. I've devised a system to keep track of which finger and which side of the finger I tested on last so that my fingers get as long a break as possible between pricks to heal. I use the paper log book that came with my UltraSmart and I make a list. 1L, 1R, 2L, 2R, all the way up to 10R. The number is which finger and the L and R are obviously which side of the finger. After each test, I make a little mark next to the number so that I know I won't test in that spot again for at least 20 pricks. I've also been using a BD Alcohol Swab to clean the area before and after each prick. So here's the routine:

- Open Swab Packet
- Clean Finger
- Prick Finger
- Test Blood
- Clean Up Blood with Swab
- Get Result
- Smile, Frown or Shrug
- Replace Lancet
- Toss Old Lancet in Sharps Container
- Toss Swab in the trash.
- Mark which finger and which side of the finger I just tested.
- Zip up meter.

Are there people out there that do even more than that? I'd love to hear what other's routines are like, because if my OCD is getting the best of me, I'll be the last to know it and then the next thing I know I'll be wandering around in my robe, Kleenex boxes for slippers and stacking the veggies in my fridge by size, color and country of origin. Please, please, help me... But check out zoeradio first.

Have some fun today.

UPDATE:

Has this ever happened to you? I went to finger test and was having a hard time getting a big enough sample, so as I was squeezing on the finger, my last test on the opposite side of my finger started coming up. The smiley face was added later...




And scroll down to see how well "red eye reduction" works on iPhoto. Viva la Mac!















Friday, January 06, 2006

Work, work, work, work, work...

Has anybody else thought that "post" could really be short for "procrastinate"? It has all the letters and everything...

Anyway, I've been putting off work way too long, so I can't post today but I did find this old article from "The Onion" that I found amusing. Enjoy.

WE HAVE ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD TO CURE DIABETES

By Dr. William C. Martz
Director - American Diabetes Foundation
March 7, 2001 | Issue 37•08


Did you know that diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S.? Seventh. That's really not that bad. Cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's–now those are bad. But diabetes is not exactly a disease we need to race against the clock to cure.

Every day in this country, thousands of diabetes sufferers die of this disease and its complications. Of course, the vast majority of sufferers do not. All in all, we're only talking about 65,000 deaths per year, tops. Not 65 million, but 65,000. With the total U.S. population approaching 300 million, diabetes can hardly be called a national crisis.

There is no huge rush.

As director of the American Diabetes Foundation, I know all too well that diabetes isn't going anywhere. So when you consider making a financial contribution to ADF, think again. That money might be better spent on a more pressing ailment. After all, why panic over a disease that's not even in the top five? Our time and resources would certainly be better spent curing the number-one killer, heart disease, or even improving vehicle safety.

Diabetes can be serious. It can cause heart disease, high blood pressure, blindness, and kidney failure. Luckily, these complications occur in just a small percentage of diabetes sufferers. Not only that, if you're suffering from these complications, chances are you're probably not following the treatment plan outlined by your doctor. So is it really fair to force a team of top medical researchers to skip their summer vacations to help a bunch of people who are irresponsible about their own health?

Diabetes is a problem, but it's a problem most of us can live with. And while it's true that diabetes cases are rising, they're doing so in accordance with rising levels of obesity–exactly what we thought would happen. This definitely isn't AIDS. Diabetes is not contagious or mysterious. It's not like we need to hold some major world conference or sew a diabetes quilt or anything.

They say slow and steady wins the race. That's why our goal is to eradicate this semi-dread disease by 2340. Top medical professionals across the nation will be working on it, but they certainly shouldn't feel any huge pressure. We must forge ahead in search of a cure for diabetes, but we must remember that diabetes researchers have lives and families, too.

You may not have diabetes, but, chances are, you know someone who does. Or, at least, you know someone who knows someone who does. Not that you'd ever ask around to find that out. That would be weird. But let's just assume there's some friend of a friend out there with diabetes. That person, assuming he or she is under the care of a qualified physician, really doesn't need your help. As long as that person takes insulin, minds his or her health and diet, and visits the doctor regularly, he or she should be able to lead a normal life. No need to panic there.

All Americans should be aware of the serious complications of diabetes. Or at least those Americans who actually have diabetes. Luckily, clinics and hospitals already have tons of informational pamphlets and brochures that can be distributed to diabetics. So there really isn't much to do in the awareness-raising arena, either.

As ADF director, I care a great deal about diabetes. But, keeping things in perspective, I realize that diabetes isn't important to every person in the country. That would be selfish of me to expect others to care about diabetes as much as I do just because it's my particular field. It certainly wouldn't mean much to me if I were, say, an electrician. And I certainly wouldn't like it if some electrician were constantly hassling me about wire safety or something.

At this very moment, scientists are exploring numerous possible cures for diabetes. They're experimenting with pancreas transplants and artificial pancreases. Other researchers are attempting to cure diabetes through genetic manipulation. But that kind of cure is way off. Way, way off. Besides, if medical science ever does master genetic manipulation, we'd certainly be better off using it to eliminate something like multiple sclerosis. The important thing to remember, though, is that no matter what diabetes cure lies ahead, it can happen without your help.

Well, who knows what the future holds in store? Let's hope it brings a cure, you know, sooner or later.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Sheik vs. The 5 elements

I've kind of started a trend post-New Year of waking up somewhere in the 128-137 range. This morning was 132. Not too bad, but before the holidays I was waking up to 94-112s and I liked it. I liked it a lot. But, I can accept the new numbers because I feel like my body has probably got some rogue sugars hanging out in tiny little spots and it's going to take some time before they lose hold and finally go away.

This is my theory about blood sugar. And I'm perfectly willing to accept that it's either totally insane or it's kind of basic diabetic knowledge that I somehow am just coming to understand. Your bloodstream is like a wet towel. If you leave it piled up to dry in a corner, after awhile the outer edges and most of the towel will appear to be dry but the inside will still be almost nearly as wet as the first day you left it there. For that core to actually dry, it's going to take a couple of weeks or a good long stretch in the sun. And if it somehow gets even the tiniest bit wet again, then you have to start the whole thing all over again.

That's how I feel about my blood and my diet. If I'm hardcore for 2 weeks, then the numbers start dipping into "normal person" range. But if during those 2 weeks, I slip up even the tiniest bit, I have to reset the clock for the next 2 weeks.

But I'm trying. I've been fairly good. Since New Year's I'd say I've eaten 100% vegetarian, 85% raw and completely avoided any sweets binges. BUT, last night I had a little ice cream after dinner. Not a ton, but enough to make me expect high numbers in the morning.

So this morning, I was 132. Fine. Especially when the last thing I put in my body was Dreyer's French Vanilla. I take my 3 Metformin, my 2 Prandin and I dial up a 7 on the Lantus pen. Then I prepare my breakfast. The 5 element smoothie.

1/4 cup of water
1 Lemon
1 Banana
1 Pear
Dash of Crystal Salt
Dash of Cayenne
Tbsp of Flax Oil

Blend it up. Drink it down. It's not nearly as bad as it might seem. I'm not sure what the 5 elements all refer to, but there's a video of the guy making it at www.powerorganics.com and he explains them all. It's about minerals and sweet and sour and I don't really have any idea... I'm not a salesperson or a shill for the company, I'm just using their products because I was turned on to them by my now cured cancer friend. I'm not sure if it's bad blog etiquette to plug websites. If it is, and there's actually anybody reading this, let me know.

Then, for the first time of the New Year, I go to see my trainer. The Sheik. He's not really a sheik, he's not even middle-eastern, he's Indian. But my co-worker and I who train with him lovingly refer to him as "The Sheik". He does not know this.

For an hour and ten minutes we work on arms, back and legs.

I get back home and test. It's now two hours since the smoothie. I'm expecting at best 180s, but as of late, after the smoothie it's gone as high as 225. It was a dead solid perfect 89.

I'm hopeful that if I can avoid the late night ice cream, in a few weeks I can once again drop the Lantus from the regimen and go back to just being a pill popper.

Which brings me to this. I'm doing this raw food, 5 element smoothie, herbs and minerals diet and it seems to be working for me when everything I've sort of heard or read about diabetic diets would indicate that a breakfast that includes an entire banana and an entire pear and not a ton of protein or fiber would kind of be the worst thing I could take.

I had a dietician when I was first diagnosed and I found it insulting. On every visit she would look at my diet log and then she'd hold up little pieces of rubber food and say, "Instead of 4 egg whites and 1 piece of toast with butter, why don't you have (holding up rubber toast) one piece of toast with say... (rooting around a deskfull of rubber fruits and vegetables and then holding up a rubber spoon with rubber peanut butter in it) a tablespoon of peanut butter?" Lady, I'm thirty years old, you don't have to SHOW me what toast and a tablespoon of butter looks like.

I don't need a dietician who's going to tell me what's good for me. I understand the food pyramid. I want a dietician who's going to say what I should focus on so that I'm going to get a maximum amount of viable vitamins and minerals in my diet and also maintain healthy muscle tissue and blood sugars. Has anybody found their dietician to be useful in that way? Anyone? Or are the dieticians kind of like the researches who keep telling us that if we keep our A1C low we'll avoid complications? Redundant.

Monday, January 02, 2006

56 and Juicy


56 and Juicy is either the title of a sex-starved baby boomer's autobiography or a new term for a crashing diabetic enjoying a post-lunch pear. Sadly, it's the latter.

56! AFTER lunch. AFTER a piece of Pumpkin Pie. Raw Food Style pumpkin Pie, which tastes an awful lot like baked pumpkin pie, just a little squishier.

I did get to --

Dave just farted. Dave is a dog, he's allowed to fart randomly.



I did get to yoga this morning. My practice was w-e-a-k, weak. I think I sweat out the last of the champagne (sparkling wine, whatever) from New Year's eve and I was able to get some work done this morning before lunch. My whole plunge into blogdom was brought on by serious procrastination of my day job. Luckily, as the last drops of Yuletide sugars are working their way out of my body along with the aforementioned booze, I'm able to think a little more clearly and get back to work. (This is a lunch break. Yesterday it was 4 hours)

So yoga. Yes, more of the L.A. hippy influence that separates me further and further each day from my mid-western upbringing. For the last few years, off and on, I've been practicing Ashtanga Yoga. It's the kick-your-ass-older-cousin-twice-removed of Bikram that doesn't require the room to be pre-heated to 100 degrees to bring out every drop of sweat in your body. I only bring it up, because in the past when I would get on a good run of consistent yoga (3-5 days a week) my BG --

I'm using BG, assuming it means Blood Glucose. It just seems like all the other diabetes blogs are using BG. Personally, I always just said "Blood Sugar", but I'm trying to fit in.

-- My BG would level out very nicely. No super highs, no super lows. So as part of this "new age" approach I'm taking, I'm trying to get the yoga back into my routine. Right now it's not such a big deal because it only takes an hour. As I add more poses and get back to my previous level, I'm looking at at least 2 hours a day.

As soon as I figure out how to put links on this, I'm going to try and find some interesting Ashtanga people to link up to, as well as some of the raw foodies out there.

Back to work....

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Pretty Good For Gluttony

210. That's where I'm starting the year at. I guess technically I started the year at 139, but 210 is where I'm at after breakfast. Which isn't really terrible considering that part of breakfast were the last two pieces of Stollen (German cake that's layered with sugar) that we had lying around, as well as a banana and some kiwi. I was diagnosed about 2.5 years ago and since then have kind of grown to hate the diabetic community as well as my doctors. I was annoyed that as an active 31 year old with relatively good eating habits, I'd been hit with this disease. And on top of that, my first endo refused to classify me. I was too young and not heavy enough to be an obvious Type 2, but my pancreas was doing more work than a Type 1. So, I classified myself as Type 3. I've grown to truly resent the obese Type 2's and the literature that coddled there "woe is me" ways. Quote from a pamphlet in my doctor's office, "We know it's hard to get off the couch, but why not start off easy with a fifteen minute walk around the block." Yeah, and while you're at it, make sure you don't walk to 7-11 to load up on that Super Ridiculous 4 Person Snickers Bar you love so much, Fat Ass. I was frustrated at the "deal with it" attitude that permeates the world. When I went online, it seemed like all I could find were chat rooms where people would bitch about the food they couldn't eat, or how their feet were hurting them. Where were the people like me who weren't anywhere near obese and were looking for ways to FIX THIS SHIT. Something went wrong in my body. Something flipped a switch that blew a fuse and now my body was eating itself and I was/am pissed off about it. I could reason that I was lucky. This came along at a time in my life where I was already trying to be healthier. If it had come along when I was in my fat and drunk twenties, I'd probably have lost a foot by now. And thank god I'm not a true Type 1 and had the switch flipped when I was 7 or 8. Those kids and their parents are beyond my understanding. Whatever your God, I hope he/she blesses them and the unbearable amount of work they must deal with. I'm guessing that when those parents are trying to force juice down their kids throat because their sugars are bottoming out and their eyes are rolling into the backs of their heads they don't feel a whole lot of sympathy for the tubboes on the couch either.

I'm the first to admit it; I've been lucky. Since the day I was diagnosed I've pretty much been on an extended honeymoon. Living on Metformin and Glyburide for the first year and then switching over to Metformin and Prandin. Pills and exercise kept my numbers so low that if I ever got into the 200's I would panic.

That was until a few months ago. I was stuck in a "fuck it" phase. Eating crappy all day, not exercising and started waking up to BG's of 180. Figured, "Screw it. It was a good run, the honeymoon is over and it's time to start learning who the hell these Bolus and Basal guys are." Go to the doc, ask for the juice, he gives it to me, I start shooting up and instantly the next day I'm waking up to a 96. And then it hits me. The whole time I was eating crappy and not exercising, I was basically in a fog. I believed that I was eating well and exercising enough, but I wasn't. The slow creep up to high BG's had clouded my ability to think clearly, and thank god for the insulin which snapped me out of it. I'd had 2 good years of avoiding insulin and I wasn't ready to give up that freedom just yet. So I (once again) recommitted. I started working with a trainer, doing a daily yoga practice, getting more sleep and then, and this is where it gets crazy, went on a juice cleanse. Following the lead of a friend who basically cured himself of thyroid cancer, I decided to give an extreme diet a chance to see what would happen. Raw food. No cooking. No meats and cheeses. No dairy. Just raw fruits, vegetables and nuts. And none of it cooked over 120 degrees. Since I'd been diagnosed, I'd pretty much given up eating all fruits. I loved them, but I figured if I was only going to be allowed a certain amount of carbs every day, then it was going to come from a McDonald's soft serve Ice Cream Cone (if you haven't had one, you must. They are, in my opinion, the best thing to come out of McDonald's. Ever. Don't even think about saying Apple Pies, because you know as well as I do that those haven't been worth a damn since they stopped frying 'em.) and not a boring old apple. But this diet required me to eat them. Not only eat them, but eat a lot of them. For one week, I drank nothing but freshly squeezed fruit juice for breakfast and lunch and freshly squeezed veggie juice for post-lunch snack and dinner. And yes, my BG started off high, but after a few days, I had to come off of the Lantus because my BG's were getting into the 40's. I was still taking the Metformin and the Prandin.

That was the first week. The juice cleanse. Once that was over, it was on to the raw food. Thank god I live in the fruitcake capitol of the world that is Los Angeles. This has got to be the only city where a diabetic can decide to try and live on raw food and then discover that not only has one raw food restaurant just opened up in his neighborhood, but another DIFFERENT one has just opened up a half mile from his work . And it's good. I'm serious. And I'm no vegan. I loves me some beef, but you wouldn't believe what these hippies are doing with their veggies and their nuts. It's fantastic. And there's also a co-op that will deliver fresh, locally grown organic fruits and vegetables to your house once a week for $35! I was spending twice that picking the stuff up at Hollywood Farmer's Market. And there's another service, www.rawvolution.com that will "cook" you a weeks worth of food and deliver it to your house as well. So, needless to say, I dove in. Much to the consternation of my co-workers, family and friends.

And for 5 weeks, that's what I ate. Not entirely, I'd say it was something more like 85% raw. I'd have a fruit smoothie in the morning, some raw something or another at lunch and snack on all the fruits, veggies and nuts I wanted throughout the day. And my BG's were great. Without insulin. Even after a huge orange. I'd go as high as 180, but then drop down into the 110s. I felt great. I had eliminated the guilt I would feel from sneaking a couple of Hershey's miniatures after lunch, because they were off the list entirely. I lost a few more pounds. I dropped a pant size. (Pant? Pants? Not sure.) In fact, I felt so freaking good that I told myself, come Christmas, you can eat WHATEVER THE HELL YOU WANT. You've earned it.

Mistake.

It might not have been so bad had I started slowly, but I broke my sugar cherry on Christmas Cookie batter on the 22nd and didn't stop nibbling on sweets here and there until the 26th. On top of that, the only thing close to exercising that I did was shuffling around our kitchen cooking for my family. (It IS hard getting off the couch...) All things being equal, my numbers weren't TERRIBLE. Mostly in the 90 through 140 range. 225 after lunch on the 21st. 220 after lunch on the 22nd. 228 after lunch on the 24th. But all of those surrounded by numbers as low as 64, and mostly in the low hundreds. Pretty good for gluttony. Then it was Christmas day. I woke up with a 92. Kick ass. I decided that because I was going to be overloading my system, I should probably brace myself with a shot of Lantus. I did and then I dove into the Stollen. (Again, german Christmas cake, with a thick layer of sugar on top. Delicious.) I think I had 3 pieces. Some pecan roll. Some cinnamon roll. An almond croissant. God damn, I love Christmas morning. BG after lunch? 111! Yeah, baby! My plan is working perfectly. I have a huge roast beef dinner with my family. Everybody loves one another, peace on earth, my after dinner BG is 123. Hallelujah. Day after Christmas, I'll pull in the reins, and ease back into the world of lentil bean burritos.

Not so fast.

Not anywhere near a fast actually. Just more pounding of food. For the next 3 days, I nibble and peck at left over cinnamon rolls and stollen (you know what it is, hell, you've probably gone out and gotten one for yourself by now) and I wake up on the 28th with a 260. Shit. Cut it out. Eat like a normal person, fat ass.

The 29th I hit a new personal high. 367. Holy shit. What have I done to myself? I've overloading my last remaining islet cells and they've seized up on me. Take a shot of Novolog. You've never done this before and you've forgotten what your endo told you a month ago, but what the hell? 10 seems like a good number. If you go too low, you've got plenty of cake laying around the house. (And healthy, locally grown organic fruit for that matter, but my mind can't even comprehend thinking about that right now. I'm like a drunk in the Seagram's warehouse.)

246 before dinner on the 29th. CURSE YOU GINGER COOKIES!

179 BEFORE lunch on the 30th. 337 that night. I'm done for. Fuck it. Maybe I should look into getting a pump.

New Year's eve. Hating myself. What are the other crybaby diabetics doing for the holidays? I wondered. And I started checking out blogs. And there were a lot more of them than I remembered being able to find the last time I looked. And there were some good ones. Still too many people who seem resigned to their fate of pumping fake insulin, but with really healthy attitudes regarding the ups and downs of dealing with something that never lets up and never sticks to a routine. And like that first shot of Lantus, these blogs sort of cleared my head. Maybe there are other people out there that are trying to fight this disease a little. I can't possibly be the only one that thinks that the power to maybe flip the switch back to it's correct position could be in my hands. So that's what I'm going to try and focus this blog on. And hopefully I'll get some of you to tell me you've been through all of this before. You'll probably tell me it'll work for a little while and then the disease will regain it's footing and fight back a little harder. You'll tell me that cinnamon doesn't do shit. (Which I kind of figured was the case.) But that you've had good results from brussel sprouts and licorice or something. I don't know.

But I do know that I finished off the last piece of stollen this morning. The ginger cookies are just crumbs. I've got a disease that I know isn't going anywhere, but It's a new year and I had a healthy lunch with some high fiber bread and my current BG is... 78. Rock and roll.

Time to get me some Nut Cheese Chutney Rounds from my friendly neighborhood raw food restaurant.