Friday, July 25, 2014

The Week in Review


  • I played golf on Monday with my lady friends at our favourite 9 hole par 3 course. This time last year I was working hard to break 50 on that course. A month ago I was struggling to get under 46. On Monday I got a 39! 

  • At the end of a team meeting this week we were asked to answer the following question: name something in your personal or your work life that you are working on 'letting go'. My answer popped immediately into my head. "I am working on letting go of the instant anger and frustration I feel when someone says something entire asinine and insensitive in response to my saying 'I have diabetes'." My shoulders and neck tensed as I said this which made me admit that perhaps I wasn't as far along the 'letting go' path as I'd like to be. 

  • I did my new favourite 6x800m interval run yesterday morning. My neighbour came out just as I was heading around the block for my third 800m. "Going for a run?" she asked. "Yep" I replied. I returned 4 minutes and a few hands full of seconds later. She looked at me and said, as if disappointed, "Oh, that's all you're going to run?". "No" I replied. "I just ran 800m. I've already done it three times and I have three more times to go". Her eyes widened and she said "you're crazy!". I grinned and headed off again for number four. When I got back I asked jokingly if she wanted to join me on number 5. "I don't jog" she said wistfully. "Neither do I" I replied. I don't know if she got the running humour or not but I grinned and she grinned back so we're good. 

  • It was a little cooler than is typical for a Thursday in July so, after my intervals, breakfast and shower I pulled on my jeans, compression socks and running shoes with orthotics and headed off to work. I am almost embarrassed to tell you how good my legs felt after a few weeks of sandals. Their sigh of relief at being so spoiled was audible. 

  • I changed my pump site and put it higher on my abdomen than I usually do in search of some fresh real estate. In fact it's less on my abdomen and a bit more at the bottom of my rib cage. It felt fine going in and worked just fine but started hurting a few hours after being inserted. I've done this before and the pain was familiar. As was the stubborn response that immediately popped in my head. "Suck it up princess. It's only four days. You just changed it and you're not going to waste $20 changing it again if it's working just fine." Sigh. 

  • I made my favourite home alone dinner this week. Quinoa, steamed kale, roasted sweet potato, goat cheese, olive oil and soy sauce. It was so tasty that I was almost entirely ok with the fact that we were out of black beans. I had to buy the world's biggest sweet potato because that was all that they had at the store. I had visions of it taking 2 hours to roast. As I stood at the counter I had the brilliant idea of slicing it into 1/2 inch slices, drizzling olive oil over the slices and roasting it that way. It took 30 minutes and was delicious. That, my friends, took me at least ten years to figure out. Maybe next time I'll do beets too. I was so amazed at the potato discovery that I went completely wild and stirred a bit of sriracha sauce into the quinoa. 

  • I went for bloodwork on Tuesday in preparation for my upcoming appointment at the Diabetes Centre on August 7th. I got back to work and my cell phone rang. It was the Diabetes Centre calling to reschedule for October 7th. Fabulous. My bloodwork is going to need to be dusted off by the time I get there. 

  • I go through a swim suit every few months thanks to the wonders of chlorine. I am currently wearing a red one that I like very much. I also have a red swim cap that I got from a triathlon last summer. It has my race number on it and I like it very much as well also. I'm not usually that colour coordinated at the pool but I have been wearing red for a while now and feel very 'swimmer' when I do. On Monday, partway through my workout, my swim cap split. Right up the middle of my forehead. I sighed a sigh of sadness and pulled it off in the ten seconds we had between sprints. I used to swim all the time without a swim cap so I figured I'd finish the workout sans problème and dig out an old one for my next workout. Within seconds I realized we had a problem. My hair is all different lengths now and half of it fell out of the elastic in about five seconds and was all over my face, I discovered that water does not flow past my head as smoothly without a cap and it kept churning up my nose which may sound totally bizarre but I swear it's true. I had to lift my head higher to breathe and I was slower as a result. I cannot believe I used to hate swim caps. I also had to spend an extra ten minutes in the shower trying to comb out all the tangles from my hair. Never again she said. Never again. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

If Running Were Like Golf...

Imagine for a moment if other sports were like golf.

If running were like golf, you'd start off running fairly well but, after a little while, you would second guess how your feet should land at each stride. And then you would feel that something was not quite right so you would tweak how your arms swing but that would lead to you having to adjust the amount of bounce in your step which would lead you to wonder if you really should wear those shoes for that run when these shoes might work better if you tie them just right. And then, after a few weeks of self-tweaking, you'd have to pay a pile of money for a running lesson because you had completely lost the ability to run from one end of the driveway to the other without falling down twice and then running head first into the garage.

If cycling were like golf you would only be able to cycle at certain times of the day. And you would need at least three other people to cycle with you. If you didn't have a group of four, a nice man you may or may not know would ask if you minded very much if rider A and rider B might join you on the ride. And it wouldn't matter how fast they could or couldn't ride or how well they climbed hills, whether they had completed in Le Tour de France or whether they still had training wheels on their bikes, the etiquette of the game would dictate that you should embrace these two new cyclists as friends and agree to spend the next four hours with them.

If swimming were like golf they would keep moving the black lines in the pool so every time you went they would look slightly different. The length of the lane would change a wee bit from day to day. The ropes lining the lane might shift slightly. Swimmers would stand at the end of the pool (in groups of four) and debate the exact distance from one end to the other now that the lines had moved five inches to the right. They would eyeball the distance, they would pull out their iPhones with their fancy distance-measuring apps and then they would carefully select the correct swim cap to wear to maximize their distance/speed ratio for that length. At the other side of the pool they would turn around, eyeball or gps the distance back, remove their green swim cap and put on their red one which might be their lucky cap, it might be the one that helps elevate their legs just that fraction more or it might be the one that cuts through the water all that much better. All this would be done with the utmost seriousness and everyone would keep score on how they did and what swim caps they used.

Golf, thank heavens, is in a league of its own. The minutes you stop enjoying in and start trying too hard, it falls apart. The minute you start thinking too hard about any part of it, the whole thing disintegrates into a mess of water hazards and bunkers.

But when the sun it setting on a summer's eve and it feels like we are the only ones out on the course, it's the most beautiful place to be.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Next Issue = Sore Abs

Alright I admit it. I like magazines. 

Don't get me wrong. I'm a big fan of 1000+ page novels and other reading commitments but I do enjoy spending an afternoon lazily flipping through pages of a magazine looking at the beautiful photography and reading the short and easily digestible articles. 

Have you heard of Next Issue? I love it! It's a monthly subscription service that allows you access to a wide variety of magazines on your reading device. In my case an iPad mini. The range of magazines is pretty broad and you can pick the ones you're interested in. At the moment I have 31 different magazines I get every month but I can change that any time I want. There are probably just as many I don't get and they are adding more all the time. 

Thirty-one magazines. And some of them are weeklies. Think about that for a minute. 

I love it because I can explore magazines I wouldn't ever go out and buy and would never subscribe to. But, since they're included in my subscription, why not? I read golf magazines, cooking magazines, news magazines, financial, running, fashion and health magazines. I have National Geographic and The New Yorker. I have things for the days when I want to look at pretty clothes and nail polish colours, things when I need some workout inspiration, financial encouragement or news bites. Thanks to Next Issue I am never at a loss for things to read. 

And imagine how much more fun it is to fly when you have all those magazines at your fingertips! 

So the other day I was catching up on a few issues of Prevention magazine. One of those magazines that I had never even heard of before Next Issue and would probably never buy. It's a combination of articles like how to get in touch with your pet's emotional side intermixed with how to increase the amount of iron in your diet and a smattering of tips and tricks for how to strengthen your calves. 

I was flipping through it in bed the other night and came across one of those articles that shows a few different exercises you can do at home to strengthen your core. You know the ones I'm talking about. They have tiny photographs of a lovely looking model doing all sorts of seemingly easy poses using a kitchen chair, broom and cans of soup. I usually flip by those in a hurry to get to more substantial articles. 

This time I didn't. 

I stopped and read the intro article. I studied the 14 exercises. And I thought "I can do that!" 

In fact I took it one step further and thought "I want to do that". 

See, I'm a big fan of cardio-type workouts. I swim, run and cycle regularly. But I don't have any strength training in my routine. I used to lift weights at the gym years ago but haven't in a long long time. The workout that I read was designed to strengthen the core muscles as well as arms, shoulders, butt, legs etc. There were 14 exercises that you do for one minute each and then you repeat the entire cycle. 

Thirty minutes. 

I can do that. 

So on Sunday morning I put on my sadly unused yoga top and shorts and headed to the living room. I pulled out my yoga mat, my elastic band thingie and some hand weights I used to use (8 pounds each because those were the lightest I had). 

I worked my way through the workout and was dripping by exercise 4. Shaking by number 6 and unable to completely do the last few. I collapsed on the mat for a few minutes at the end of the 14 and then convinced myself to do a second run through. It was a little easier the second time but nowhere near easy. Thirty minutes later I was a weak, humbled, soaking mess of my former self but I was grinning from ear to ear. 

"I'm so gonna hurt tomorrow" I said. 

By bedtime I was actually a little disappointed that nothing hurt yet. I thought I must have worked some muscles hard enough for them to hurt. But nothing. I went to sleep feeling oddly bothered by the fact that I felt fine. I woke up around 3am having to use the ladies room. I was lying on my stomach so I quietly began to push myself up but quickly stopped. Bloody hell - my abs are killing me. Instead of pushing myself up and clambering out of bed I gingerly rolled myself out. My abs hurt, my legs hurt and my butt hurt. 

Yay! 

It's been a long time since I've felt that familiar ache of a tough muscle-burning weight training session. I forgot how much I used to enjoy that. 

I'm giving myself a few days to recover and will be doing it again on Thursday. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Would You Rather...?

My little sister likes to play a game called "Would You Rather?". It works particularly well on long car rides. It involves asking "Would you rather" and then giving the person two choices that they must decide between. The choices can be related - or not. They can be serious - or not. But the choices we choose often lead to animated discussion that start with "why would you ever pick that option? That makes no sense."

Here is one example from the last game: Instead of having two arms and two legs would you rather have four arms or four legs?

We debated the merits of our choice (four arms naturally because that way your 'feet' would also have opposable thumbs and you could do all sorts of cool things) versus her husband's choice (four legs naturally because legs are much stronger than arms) for a good part of the afternoon.

I'm feeling in the mood for games. Anybody want play "Would You Rather" with me?

 1. Would you rather be high every time someone offers you your favourite dessert so that you can't have it or would you rather go low after every big buffet dinner so you have to eat even though you're full?

2. Would you rather do every half marathon race in the rain, or into a headwind?

3. Would you rather get stuck in an airport for two days because they cancelled your flight at the beginning or at the end of your holiday?

4. Would you rather be forced to play a sport you hate once a week for a year? Or not be allowed to do an activity you love for a year?

5. When you tell someone you have diabetes would you rather that they insist on telling you about the latest miracle cure that you should try or telling you about their aunt who died because she too had diabetes and just didn't take care of herself?

6. When you're golfing would you rather get an eagle (two under par) when you are playing alone and there is no one to share it with, or get a double bogie (two over par) when you're playing in front of a crowd of people?

7. Would you rather fix a flat tire by yourself or call someone to pick you up?

8. Would you rather have the perfect summer day when your'e stuck in the office or have it pour rain all day when you're off?

9. Would you rather have a reduction in the cost of your diabetes supplies or would you rather receive a financial incentive for doing things to take care of yourself (exercise, healthy eating etc)?

10. Would you rather have type 1 diabetes or would you rather be cured but, in exchange, you have  to draw a different autoimmune disease out of a hat?

11. Your turn!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Analyzing Diasend Trends

A week and a half ago I wrote about the excitement I felt when I discovered that I could upload data from Rose to a website called Diasend. 

I talked about how I could analyze the data to my heart's content - looking at daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or even 90-day trends in blood glucose data, insulin data etc etc etc. 

I posted a few graphs from my original upload. Like this one: 

This was a graph showing my blood glucose readings over a one-month period. My average (the red dots) at every hour of the day fell in between the high (10.0) and low (4.0) blood glucose ranges I aim to stay within which made me happy. I didn't drop much below 4.0 when I did go low which was good but I was not particularly pleased to see how high I my blood glucose numbers went some days. 

After seeing that graph, I made a few adjustments to my basal rates. I increased them starting at 5:00pm until about 4am. I didn't increase them by much. Just enough, I hoped, to get those highs a little less high without causing more lows as a result. 

On Saturday, I uploaded data from the past 9 days from Rose to Diasend. Here is what the last week looked like. 

If you compare with the first graph you'll see that the red dots are still in a pretty good range (not too high - not too low). The highs I was having late at night and in the early morning have decreased.  

I have gone lower than I would like around the 2am mark as well as around the 5:30pm mark. The afternoon one shouldn't have anything to do with my original basal changes but I'm keeping an eye on it. I may need to lower my afternoon basal rates a bit. 

So I made a few more tweaks and have increased my overnight basal just a bit. Not back to where it was before but probably half way. 

Let's see what this next week holds. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Double Arrows and a Lotta LOWs

I put in a new CGM sensor yesterday morning at 8am. Zombie Rose had lasted 17 days and then, without warning, died a final death on the bathroom counter. So I put a new one in and, at 10:00am, Rose was buzzing away telling me to enter two blood sugars to calibrate.

I did and went back to work at my desk.

I have heard rumours, or perhaps rumblings. that the first day on a new sensor is not particularly accurate. That it takes a day or so for the sensor to 'marinate' as it were before the numbers are a little more reliable.

I've only ever experienced wildly inaccurate readings on the first sensor day once. They were all over the place - telling me I was climbing or dropping when I wasn't. Telling me I was 5-6 numbers off from where I was. I Things did settle after a while but, as it turns out, it's actually more annoying to be told wrong blood sugar numbers than to not actually know your blood sugar numbers.

Yesterday was one of the craziest crazy rabbit blood sugar days I've had in a while.

I calibrated the new sensor at a time when my blood sugar should have been fairly steady. I think it was pretty steady at 10am but, at about 11am, the wheels fell off the cart. Between 11am and 7pm (when I'm actually writing this blog) I had double down arrows 3 times. I dropped below 3.1 twice. I skyrocketed to 13 and then dropped back down to 2.7.

I kept double checking my numbers on my glucometer and, despite all of the ups and downs, Rose was pretty accurate. Particularly on her first day.

I kept thinking it was just her but no, I really was riding some pretty wild waves.

So much so that, for the first time in living memory, I had to sit in the car for 20 minutes after doing groceries to let my blood sugar climb above 5 so I could drive the five minutes it takes to get home. My blood sugar hit 5 and I started the car. Within five minutes I had double up arrows telling me I was 7 and then 9 and then 11. Twenty minutes later I had double down arrows that didn't stop until I hit 3.0 again.

During that particular wave I had no insulin in my system other than my basal rate. It is not the first day of my period which is the typical cause of such wild fluctuations. I did not eat anything out of the ordinary. I was not stressed or getting sick. I had not done any unusual physical activity.

I've gone back to swimming regularly but does it make sense for my body to react to that increase in activity by having lows after I've been swimming 5 times?

Rose at 7:30 last night. Double arrows again. You can see in the middle where I dropped so low she kept alarming "low" without actually give me a number. That's when I sat in my car munching on glucose tabs and hoping my frozen fruit wouldn't melt before I got home. Then you can see where  I spiked up to 10 within fifteen minutes only to drop back down to 3.1. 

It's frustrating. I've eaten three healthy meals today as well as about 500 calories of pure sugar. Fabulous.

I dropped my basal rates at bit to see if that helps. Yesterday might have been just a fluke but I sure as hell don't want to do that again any time soon. I'm sure Rose doesn't either. It can't be fun to have to vibrate so much or to set off the 'you are below 3.1' siren in public places. I'm sure it embarrasses her as much as it does me.

Right Rose?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Building in a Bit of Rest

I've been back in the pool for two weeks now. I swam twice last week and I'm in shape to get three swims in this week.

I've gone from survival mode to slow and struggling to I can handle it and finally, yesterday, to I think I'm back.

I'm not back to my best ever swimming form by any means but I no longer feel mild panic when I hear the workout. I just buckle down and do it.

Yesterday was a pretty hectic workout. There was a lot to do and very little down time.

Our warmup alone was 1500m of swimming, kicking and pulling.

Once that was done, our main set was a total of 25x50m. Some were fast, some were build and some were 'easy' but all of them were on one minute.

As soon as that was done I was told I had to do 2x100m fast on 4:00.

"You want me to swim 100m twice in 4 minutes?" I asked.

"No, I want you to swim 100m as fast as you can and then take the rest of the 4 minutes to rest. Then I want you to do it again" I was told.

"So if I swim 100m in 1:45 that means I have 2:15 to rest?" I asked.

"Exactly".

That is a ton of rest.

At the top of the clock I pushed of and I went all out. I figured I had a lot of recovery time so there was no point in saving myself. I hit the wall in 1:42 which, for me, is pretty zippy. Considering I've only been back swimming for two weeks, that was really really speedy.

I then stood at the side, sipping my drink and relaxing for over 2 minutes. It felt weird. It felt luxurious. It felt good to completely recover.

When it came time for the second 100m I had enough energy to give it my all and I did. Arms and legs were churning from one end to the other. I hit the wall in 1:37.

I had knocked five seconds off an already fast time. Simply because I had two minutes rest.

Nice!