Wednesday, April 23, 2014

(Almost) Naked Shower

Yesterday I just missed having my second naked shower since November. 

One in six months. That's just sad when I think about it.

Yesterday morning I went out for an 8k run in the cold spring rain. Dexter, who was already 10 days old and holding on by a combination of sheer determination, the fear of my wrath if he let go before day 10, and some well-placed tegaderm, didn't survive. My wet and heavy shirt kept rubbing on him and, by the end, he had come completely unglued. 

When I got home, I dug him out from under my wet layers, placed him on the counter to dry and headed up for my shower. 

After my shower, I noticed that my infusion site was also barely holding on after the rainy run. There was just enough insulin left in my pump to make it until dinner so I taped it in place, crossed my fingers and went to work. 

I fought highs all day. Not high enough to go home and change my site but high enough to make me think that I may have caused some structural damage to the site and not all the insulin was getting in. 

I changed it the minute I got home and that is when I realized that, if I had changed it in the morning when I was doing Dexter (that sounds worse that it should), I would have been able to have a naked shower. 

Dammit. 

Naked showers, for those of you who get to take one every day, are a luxury that I rarely get to enjoy anymore. 

The thought of not having to gingerly wash around my cyborg parts and just being able to enjoy the shower is, well, I can't even think of the right word for what it is but it's a damn nice thought. 

The thought of not having to think about where and how I stand in the shower so that the water doesn't directly hit one of my sites when the edges are already started to come unglued. 

How many of you actually know how to stand to make sure that some parts of your body get wet but never actually get directly sprayed by the water? How many of you care? I'm guessing it falls in the category of 'who the hell does that?'.

And imagine the whole post-shower drying off process. Dry arms vigourously. Dry legs vigourously. Dry abdomen...oh wait, dab, dab, carefully dab so as not to knock any cyborg parts off. 

Sigh. 

I missed my naked shower by a handful of hours. 

With pump site changes every 4-5 days (usually in the evenings) and with Dexter changes every 8-14 days, the odds of both sites coming off on the same day at the same time just before I need to shower are roughly the same as the odds of my taking up figure skating.

Or ballet.

Or anything else that requires a combination of grace and short skirts. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Zip's Easter Weekend Adventures

Hi kids!

It's me, Zip. Remember? The Fibit.


Well, I arrived a few days earlier than expected and I was able to spend the entire four-day Easter weekend with my new pal Céline. 

We seem to be getting along (that's a relief!) and I've already learned a few things about her. 

First of all, she's the most active sedentary person I know. It's crazy. She'll be all quiet and peaceful in bed for, like, 8 hours and then suddenly the alarm clock starts chirping and she's up. Next thing I know we're dressed and heading out for a run in the dark.  

Or a bike ride in the freezing cold. I mean I don't really track bike rides since I'm a pedometer but she took me along anyway. Probably to test whether or not I counted steps while she was riding. 

Well I'm pretty smart and I assure you that I did NOT mistake a bike ride for a walk in the park and I didn't count a single step. She seemed pleased with that. 

She also took me to the pool but I'm not waterproof so I sat in her locker. It was a little creepy since I was stuck in there with this guy named Dexter who kept crying out for her until she came back.  It was dark and she took a long time. I almost started crying too but didn't want her to think I was wimpy. Anyway, that's another story. 

So she's pretty active but then she'll also spend hours happily sitting quietly on the couch after whatever activity she just finished. Sipping her coffee and reading. For hours. 

Like hours and hours. 

There were two pretty crazy days though. Friday and Monday she took me golfing. I could not believe how much this lady walked. And she had already been out for her 5:30am swim. 

Both golf games took just over four hours and she walked and walked and walked. She also carried her clubs which seemed a little hardcore but she assured me it was actually quite comfortable and easy to carry them. 

On Friday she walked over 13,000 steps and I logged the distance at over 10k. On Monday she walked about 15,000 steps and together we walked about 11k. 

I've been with her four full days now and, according to my calculations, she had walked 55,000 steps and covered 43km, including a 10k run on Saturday morning. 

That's, like, a lot. 

Now, today is a work day so I'm guessing my job is going to become a little less interesting. She'll run in the morning before work which should be fun but she warned me that her job is pretty sedentary so I'm guessing I'll be having a pretty quiet day. 

Hopefully I can guilt her into walking around the block after lunch...

So far, my biggest worry is that she will forget to take me out of her pocket at the end of the day. Twice I ended up in the laundry bin before she remembered I was still attached to her pant pocket. 

Since I really am not waterproof I'm guessing I will eventually meet my demise in the watery depths of the spin cycle. 

Until then though, I'm going to hang with my new pal C and cheer for her on the golf course. 

She did well by the way...for a beginner. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Dexter and I Spending Quality Time Together

Sometimes I picture Dexter like a night in shining armour. He protects me. He keeps me safe from the diabetes monsters. He watches over me while I sleep and yells at any sign of danger.

Other times, Dexter is more like a puppy that has completely destroyed the living room couch and is sitting innocently in the kitchen when you discover the mess.

What?!? Me??

And the only reason he's still alive is because I somehow manage to hold on to the memory of the times when he has protected and cared for me.

On Friday, Doug and I went golfing with some friends. We walked all 18 holes, had dinner at the club and then drove home. My blood sugar during the game was pretty stellar. Thanks to a reduction in my basal rate and a well-timed Larabar, I hovered between 6 and 9 the entire time.

I ordered the curry chicken with basmati rice and naan bread for dinner. I bolused for most but not all the carbs because I figured those four hours of walking would catch up to me.

We enjoyed dinner, came home and settled on the couch for an hour of West Wing before bed. I bolused for six squares of chocolate to enjoy during the show and checked Dexter every five minutes to see when my blood sugar would start dropping so I could enjoy the chocolate.

Enter crazy puppy covered in couch stuffing.

My blood sugar when we got home at 8pm (we had a rather late dinner) was 10.0. By 8:30 it was 14 and by 8:45 it was 16. Dexter is set to alarm once I hit 10 and keep alarming every fifteen minutes until I drop below 10 again. He was having a fit on the table.

I bolused despite the fact that I still had a ton of insulin in my system from dinner. I also checked the site to make sure it wasn't leaking (it wasn't).

By the time the show ended at 9pm, I was 20 and still climbing. I was also feeling pretty awful. I put my chocolate squares back in the cupboard for another night. I checked the infusion site again (no problem), checked for air bubbles (none), and double-checked that I had indeed taken insulin for my dinner (I had). I also double checked my blood sugar on my glucometer in case Dexter was playing a joke on me. It matched up right to the decimal point.

Despite feeling exhausted from our golf game, I couldn't go to bed so I took another bolus, stretched out on the couch and tucked Dexter in beside me. I dozed off for fifteen minutes until he buzzed. I was still 20 but no longer climbing so I figured the insulin was kicking in. I dozed again for fifteen minutes until he buzzed me awake again. Still 20. Damn.

Doze, buzz, check, bolus, repeat until 11pm. I was still hovering between 19 and 20. No signs of a faulty site but no signs of any blood sugar drops either.

Fine!!

I bit the bullet and changed my infusion site and filled a new reservoir with fresh insulin just after 11pm. I took a full correction bolus for a blood sugar of 20. For me, that is 3.6 units. With the other 7 units that were supposedly coursing through my system, I now had enough insulin in my body to probably kill me twice.

I settled back on the couch knowing that Dexter would keep alarming every 15 minutes until I got back down to 10.0 again. No point in keeping Doug up too.

We settled into a routine where I dozed between alarms and woke up to check. After fifteen minutes I had already dropped to 18.5. Within 30 minutes I was down to 17. Every fifteen minutes I was at least one number lower. Sixteen, fifteen, fourteen, thirteen.

When I hit 12.0 I headed upstairs. It was almost 1am and I figured there would only be one or two more alarms from Dexter before I dropped below 10.0. That was exactly correct and, thirty minutes later I drifted into a grateful, uninterrupted sleep. I woke up a few times on my own and saw that I had dropped from 20 to 6.5 and then settled there for more of the rest of the night.

My last correction bolus was the only one that seemed to work. I have no idea where those other 7 units went but I keep waiting for a rogue pocket of insulin to explode under my skin and send me plummeting into the blood sugar depths. It's been two days and I'm still leary of touching where the previous infusion site was in case there is a rogue pocket of insulin hiding there.

As for Dexter, he buzzed every fifteen minutes from 8:00pm on Friday night until almost 2am on Saturday morning. I was grateful he kept waking me up and yet I was ready to throttle him at the same time. He was minutes away from execution.

I'm guessing he was feeling roughly the same about me.

Would that woman just get her damn blood sugars under control so I can get some sleep!!

The next morning he was quiet and stoic with a lovely flat line on his screen. I looked like I had survived a rather rough night on the town.

And thus concludes anoother chapter in Céline and Dexter's diabetes adventures. Not one I ever want to read again.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

It's Happening

In the last two years, the following things have happened:

I have started dyeing my hair and I eagerly look forward to each appointment at the salon because I can actually see fistfuls of grey appear between appointments.

I have started paying attending to the face cream I buy. I need to make sure that it had as high an SPF as I can find but I have also started looking for words like ‘anti-aging’, ‘overnight recovery’, ‘wrinkle-fighting’ etc.

I am shorter than I used to be. Not by a lot but by enough that I would much prefer that my doctor asks to check my weight rather than my height. It makes me sad that I have already reached my peak height and am heading down the other side.

I am now considered a senior golfer at the golf course.

On the other hand I have gone from being the oldest in my age category to the youngest which will be fun this summer when I'm doing triathlons. 

I have stopped wearing shimmery eye shadow and now gravitate towards matte because it seems more fitting for people "my age". 

Of course, when I'm out with my sister I usually wear some crazy combination of colours and we prance around like glamour girls.

I have come to realize that warm-ups and cool-downs are actually an important part of any workout. In fact when I hop on the training for a cycling workout and the guy on the video says to warm up at 80rpm, it takes me the entire length of the 10-minute warm-up to warm up enough to be able to cycle 80rpm.

I wear contacts when I am outside in the sunshine which allows me to wear sunglasses to protect my eyes. 
I need the contacts to see far. I can see just fine close up without my glasses. Turns out that, when I wear contacts, everything close up becomes blurred. To the point of not being able to read small print or be able to tell if there are air bubbles in my insulin tubing.

I have to dress up more often than I used to which makes me feel like I'm acting more mature than I actually am sometimes. I've learned that wearing fun socks helps that. Anyone with x-ray vision can see that, under my fancy dress boots, I am wearing socks with sushi pieces all over them, knee-high bright pink socks with black moustaches or crazy striped ones. It's fun and makes me feel a little more me. 



I love playing Scrabble as well as doing sudoku and other puzzles. I used to do them purely for fun. Now I do them mostly for fun but also to keep my brain active because that's what we are supposed to do to keep sharp in our dotage. 

I add spinach to my breakfast shake to make sure I am getting enough vegetables in my diet. 

I read Macleans. I watch Sunday Morning and 60 Minutes. I am currently reading a handbook on golf rules. 

I say things like "that's totally awesome" and then secretly wonder if anyone else says that kind of stuff anymore. 

When I look online for shoes or sandals, I always click on the "orthotic" option because there is no point in buying shoes if my orthotics can't fit into them. Right? 

Right??

Omigod it's happening isn't it?

I am turning into my forty year old self. 

Sigh. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Meet Zip



Oh hi there! 

My name is Zip

I am a fitbit.

I'm a super-duper pedometer. As in I track your steps and keep track of how far you've walked in a day. I also sync with your iPhone or iPad and keep track of your progress. 

Oh, and I'm a wicked shade of green and just look really cool. 

I'm currently sitting in an Amazon.ca warehouse somewhere but that is about to change.

A nice lady, well I assume she's nice anyway, just ordered me. Her name is Céline. That sounds like the name of a nice person I think. If all goes well, I should be packed, shipped and delivered by next Tuesday.

Rumour has it that this Céline lady is planning to spend a lot of time golfing this summer. As in three or four games a week!?! Rumour also has it that she's a bit of a fitness freak and prefers to walk most of the courses she plays.

She apparently keeps track of her other activities (running, cycling and swimming) and decided that it would be fun to also track how far she walks and how many steps she takes during a golf game. And I'm guessing, since she is apparently a new golfer, she will be walking A LOT!

An hour of research, some reading of reviews, a few clicks of the mouse and voilà! I'm about to have a new home.

Give us a day or two to get settled and then I promise to be back with a review of how it's going. She might take a bit of getting used to as I figure out her quirks but I have every confidence that we'll get along fine.

Hopefully she comes with a manual...?

Stay tuned for more updates from Zip and Céline on their golfing adventures.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Personal Support Team

I ran 18k on Saturday morning.

In shorts!!!

Afterwards, I stretched in the sunshine on the back deck and watched a robin hopping around in the garden looking for nest-building supplies.

It really does not get any better than that.

Oh wait, it does.

I ran 18k on Saturday morning.

I headed off to the country roads. I saw the ditches and rivers swollen with spring runoff. I saw the red buds on the trees and the tiny flowers blooming underneath. I heard the birds singing with the same happiness I felt as my body remembered the joy of running in the sunshine.

For the first hour, I was completely alone. Alone in my thoughts with only the sound of my feet to keep me company.

And then exactly halfway through my 18k run, a familiar black car approached and slowed to a stop a few feet ahead of me.

Doug, my support team and my cheerleader, had arrived. With my water and my Nuun. With my glucometer, salt tablets, edisks and snacks. With a smile and a twinkle in his eye.

"How's it going baby? You look good. Feeling ok?"

If that doesn't sound good an hour from home, I don't know what does.

He was there at 9k for my big pit stop and blood sugar check. He was there at 12k and again at 15k for a quick water break.

And with a wave and a last few words of encouragement, he was off, leaving me alone for the last 3k home.

I have run 18k alone many times. I could have run 18k alone this time too. I know what I need to bring with me to be self-sufficient and I am happy to do it.

Every once in a while though, it sure feels nice to be taken care of.

Especially by someone with such a nice smile!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Outcomes for Diabetes Conference

Last Friday was a pretty amazing day.

It was the day when I spoke to a room full of diabetes educators at the Options for Diabetes Conference in Kingston.



I've been preparing for it for a few months. I developed my presentation and I practiced it over and over again - usually in the car as I drove to appointments. I would practice, realize that a slide I had created needed to be moved or changed, practice again, and tweak again.

My goal?

To inspire people by telling them how, with a slow and steady plan, I went from not being a runner to becoming a half marathoner. How I went from not being able to swim 50m to swimming over 3km, 3 times per week. How I went from never having been to a race before to becoming a half-marathon finisher and a triathlete.

More importantly though, I wanted to paint a picture of what it is like to live with diabetes. And how, after we leave our appointments with our diabetes support team, we go back home again. Home to live our life with diabetes without their support. For months and months on end.

I painted that picture and then I talked about how important it is for people with diabetes to find other people like them. I introduced them to the DOC and I stressed what a crucial role it plays. It does not replace our medical support team but it does help fill in the time we spend dealing with diabetes on our own.

Finally, I talked about how important it is for them, as our medical support team, to get to know us as people. By learning a bit more about who we are and what is important to us, they will be better able to support us the way we need and want to be supported. I talked about One Page Profiles, showed them mine and talked about how much of a difference they can make.

Do you know what happened?

They liked it.

They listened.

They asked a ton of questions.

They caught up to me in the halls afterwards and asked more questions.

They asked if they could email me, if I would like to speak at other events, and if I would be willing to help them learn how to better get to know the people they support. I was even asked if I would be willing to help with one page profiles for a sports camp for kids with type 1 that happens at York University.

And I said yes to every single request. How could I not?

I wanted to make a difference that day and I want to make a difference every day.

In less than an hour I helped get a room full of people jazzed about how they can get better at helping people like me.

In less than half a day I met people who seemed to really want me to help them do it.

Who knows how far this will go but I like to think that, somehow, my little talk in Kingston may make a difference.