December’s DSMA Blog Carnival

CLICK HEREPer December’s DMSA blog carnival topic, today I’ll be reviewing 2013 as it relates to my diabetes.  So in January of 2013 I got serious about my blog and converted my free WordPress.com blog into a WordPress.org blog.  It started out with barely any views, but now I average over 10,000 a month.  I started out strong, blogging on a scheduled basis, then I met a girl.  LOL!  A type 1 diabetic actually, and so I didn’t blog for a couple months.  The girl didn’t last, but thankfully the blog has.

In June I went to my very first diabetes conference in Chicago.  It was the 73rd Annual American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions.  I went to a #doc dinner party.  The coolest thing ever was when the food came to the table and everyone reached for their CGMs all at the same time.  It as hilarious.  My friends at the Diabetes Hands Foundation were a big help at that conference.  I’ll never forget that.  I met the leaders of DSMA as well, which was really cool, and met a few of the leading bloggers in the diabetes online community.  This happened on the weekend where I was suppose to be in Las Vegas with my Team Beachbody family, but budget prevented that trip, so I’m glad I got to spend it with my diabetes family and still had an awesome weekend.

In September I fired my endo, and at the suggestion of my amazing CDE started seeing a nurse practitioner.  Best healthcare decision I’ve ever made.  My endo was an idiot.  He was basically there to write my prescriptions and that’s it.  This NP though knows what she’s doing, and actually troubleshoots my diabetes like an engineer.  So I’m really digging that.  My A1C has stayed very level all year long, at 8.2.  Been trying like a madman to bring it down, and I know what I’ve got to do, I’ve just been stubborn.

Over the last year, I’ve received hundreds of comments on my numerous social profiles and my blog here, of people that are appreciative of the help I’ve provided them.  This inspires me to keep going.  The most dear compliment I ever got was from a 4 year old boy who knew I was type 1 diabetic like him, and while sitting on his mommy’s lap looking at her computer screen said “I want to be strong like him when I grow up.”  I still get a lump in my throat while writing this.  Whew.  Wow.  Yeah, that’s worth every minute I spend doing this.

In the last quarter of 2013 I’ve picked up the reigns of my Beachbody business, which I put down when I started focusing on diabetes advocacy.  I’ve still been using Beachbody workouts all year, but just haven’t been coaching very much.  I want to go back to doing that too, and using what I’ve learned to help more people, including non-diabetics, live long healthy lives.

Changes I need to make in the coming year?  I need to change what I eat for breakfast, because that’s where my blood sugars are the worst every day.  Right after breakfast.  So starting tomorrow, Shakeology for breakfast.  I would like to break myself of my diet coke addiction, although I’ve tried and tried in the past.  Maybe I’ll try hypnotism this year?  I also need to get to the dentist and eye doctor.  Something I always dread, and sometimes go for more than year between visits.  I don’t see myself getting any new diabetes toys or gizmos, but something could surprise me.

“This post is my December entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival.  If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at http://diabetescaf.org/2013/12/december-dsma-blog-carnival-3/‎

Test Strip Accuracy Is Important To Me Because

ISO 15197Test strip accuracy is important to me because . . . . . I like to go to bed with my blood sugar under 100 mg/dl, so I can ride out the night in a perfect blood sugar range.  I have my basals set almost perfectly to give me a flatline through the night while I sleep.  However, if my blood glucose reading is “off” because of my test strips being less than accurate, it might read to low even though I’m not, and then I’d carb up before bed when it wasn’t necessary.  More importantly, if it reads higher than normal, like 85, but I’m really only 65, I could go to bed already hypo thinking I’m good, and then I’ll wake up an hour later unable to think, sweating, afraid, etc.  Hypoglycemia is never fun, but it’s worse when we sleep.

The current ISO standard for blood glucose meter accuracy is ISO 15197 and it allows for 20% variance above 75 mg/dl.  That means if it reads my blood sugar is 85, it could actually be 68.  But wait, it gets worse, since there’s no enforcement of this standard, it could actually be 60, or 55, or anything!  There’s been a revision to improve the standard, but what good does that do, if there’s no enforcement by the FDA?!

Now check this out.  I said 20% above 75 mg/dl right?  So lets say your blood sugar is running high.  Lets pick the number 320.  My correction bolus is set to 60, and my target is 80-120.  So that means I should bolus for 3.67 units of insulin.  Remember that 20%?  That means my blood sugar “could be” only 256, but I just took enough insulin to correct for 320, so that means I’m going to crash . . . hard.

Recently the NY Times reported that the FDA will be regulating smartphone apps.  Smartphones.  Non-medical devices.  How long have we had smartphones?  Since 2007.  6 Years.  Blood glucose meters are real medical devices.  How long have we had blood glucose meters?  Since 1980.  33 years.  They have thousands and thousands of diabetics, begging them to regulate glucose meters, and they won’t.  Yet they’ll regulate smartphone apps at the drop of a hat?  WTF?!?!?  Hell, there isn’t even a standard for regulating smartphone apps!!!  We already have a standard, and they won’t even regulate it?  **SIGH**  Can you tell this gets me pissed off?

Test strip accuracy is important to me because, inaccurate glucose readings lead to highs and lows, and both cause complications for me.  I already survived cardiac arrest, I don’t need to survive anything else because my freakin’ meter can’t read my blood sugar right.

Please go to the Strip Safely website to learn how you can help effect positive change in this struggle to gain FDA regulation of blood glucose meters and test strips.  http://www.stripsafely.com/

Happy Blue Friday . . . the 13th!

Blue FridayI started Blue Friday the 13th by working on a project to organize a local adult type 1 community.  Then I got all decked out in blazing blue for blue friday the 13th.  Even my underwear was blue!  *grin*  Do you participate in #bluefriday?  If not, it’s not to late! Click on the hashtag to learn more about it.  I also decided to participate in the #bigbluetest as well today, so I took my blazing blue self to the disc golf course on this ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL DAY and played the front 9 at Eastern Park Disc Golf Course.  I set some records for drives, and I made par twice.  Mostly I bogey everything normally.  I kinda suck, but I don’t care.  I just love being on the course in the beautiful weather, and it’s easy light exercise.

Vietnamese Pho'So I said I wanted to do the Big Blue Test, but on the way the course, as I’m toolin’ down the street, I see a flag banner on the side of the road that says “Pho’ Pho’ Pho’”, then one that says “Saigon Bistro”.  I slam on the breaks and turn into the parking lot.  Do you know what pho’ is?  It’s an amazing Vietnamese soup, that I was introduced to years ago by my friend Sharon.  I haven’t had it in years, because I live in Iowa, where I there’s very little culture.  I used to live in Chicagoland where it was available pretty much in any suburb.  So I went inside and had a heavenly bowl of pho’.  Downside, is that pho’ is full of noodles, and the owners of the restaurant gifted me with a free Vietnamese desert, and it would be disrespectful in their eyes if I refused it, so I kinda screwed up my blood sugar before going to disc golf.  It was so worth it though!

So next I threw my round of disc golf in my blazing Blue Friday outfit, helped an autistic guy find his disc in a really nasty weed patch, listened to Queensryche Empire in my earbuds while I played, and threw my longest drive ever.  Now I’m writing this blog, I’m jammin’ to my metal Pandora channel, and next I’ll be making my first batch of Dragon Fire Chili of the season, for a family gathering tomorrow.  I think there to many comma’s in that paragraph?  What do you think?

bluefridays-bigbluetest-discgolf-friday13th

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a pretty great Blue Friday the 13th.  I hope yours has gone as well as mine.  Ok, gotta go.  Gotta go headbang, and dance like nobody’s watching in my living room.  Later!

Diabetes Devices

When your doctor tells you they want you to go on the pump, or they want you to change your blood sugar meter, or they want you to get a continuous glucose monitor, or any other diabetes devices, how do you decide what to get?  Do you just get what the doctor tells you to get, or do you go out and start shopping around like you would for a new TV or a new car?  Should you get a Medtronic Minimed, an Animas Ping, or an Omnipod?  Maybe you’re looking for info about the Dexcom G4 vs. the Medtronic Guardian?  Many people ask their doctors for advice.  Some will do their own research by calling manufacturers, or looking up magazine reviews, and now in todays age, people will Google for information about the diabetic device they need.  What’s the best way to do your research though?  How will you find out the secret little things that no sales rep, doctor, or nurse will know or tell you?

Well here is my opinion about doing research for diabetic devices.  Ask people who use them.  Certainly doctors will be full of info they’ve been trained on by the manufacturer reps, and the manufacturer reps will tell you all the reasons their product is better than the competition, but the people who will tell you the honest truth about a product, are the people who it.  Doctors will skew you towards the products from the manufacturers who bring them donuts, cookies,  and coffee more often,  the manufacturer reps won’t tell you about the “known issues” with their product because they want you buy it, but the people who use it, will tell you EVERYTHING.  The good and the bad.

How do you find the people who use the products?  In local diabetes support groups, in JDRF meetings, at diabetes walks, and ONLINE.  The diabetes online community is jam packed full of people who just love to rave about their devices.  Just go to Twitter and search for the hashtags #doc, #dsma, #review, etc, and you’ll find people who can help.  You can also of course do Google searches for personal reviews written by real diabetics like me.  For instance, if you go to Google and type in “dexcom review” or “medtronic guardian review” or “dexcom vs. medtronic”, your going to find this blog in the top 10 search results.  I love to promote my Dexcom, and I’m not a fan of the Guardian!  I really should work for Dexcom I think.  Hey Dexcom, wanna hire me?!  LOL!!!

I have only 3 diabetic devices.  My Medtronic Minimed pump, my Dexcom CGM, and my One Touch meter.  My Medtronic pump I got simply because it’s the one my doctor at the time recommended, and it’s the only one they were trained on in her office.  That was in 2006.  I’ve stuck with it over the years because it’s never failed me.  Not once.  In fact, I’ve only had 2 pumps in those 7 years, and the one I have now is only a year old.  That means my pump with a 3 year warranty lasted 6 years, and it still works!  Why would I change, right?  My Dexcom I got because of the failure of the Guardian I had.  I got the Guardian because it was matched to my pump.  It was horrible.  The #doc was full of people posting about how they love Dexcom though, so I did some research, read some personal reviews, asked some people who use it about their experience, and couldn’t be happier with it.  My One Touch I use because I’ve used it for more years than I can remember.  Insurance sends me new ones every once in a while, and I just keep using them.

Well, I hope you found that bit of perspective helpful.  Happy shopping!!!

 

This post is my June entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival.  If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at http://diabetessocmed.com/2013/june-dsma-blog-carnival-3/

What do you get a diabetic for Valentine’s Day?

LoveSo I don’t usually get really excited for Valentines Day because like Halloween (Samhain), it’s usually surrounded by candy and chocolate.  So if not chocolate or candy, what?  What could you get a diabetic, that would convey your love, friendship, or affection.  What you get someone might depend on the level of your relationship with them.  Of course flowers would be a good choice.  Even some guys I know enjoy flowers.  One of my guy friends even breeds champion orchids.  Most girls I know like flowers and especially red roses, well . . . 1 girl I dated didn’t.  She liked black roses.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to find black roses?  OMG!  (I’m so busted if she reads this.)  Anyway, so flowers are nice.  A heartfelt card, with some poetic words that convey something you can’t convey in your own words.  These are all nice non-food gifts, but I think what really makes a Valentine special, is a small token made by ones own hand.  Something you’ve put your loving energy into.  A flower or plant you’ve grown yourself, a piece of jewelry you’ve hand crafted, a poem you’ve written, a piece of art you’ve created.  Those are what I think make the most meaningful Valentines gifts . . . for anyone . . . and they work great for a diabetic friend or loved one since they try to avoid carbs.

In the DMSA blog carnival this month, it was suggested that we offer YOU . . . our readers, commenters, and lurkers (Do I have lurkers?!  COOL!), a special valentine.  So here is a collection of my nature photography, selected just for you . . . . .


Happy Valentines Day DOC!!! by richthediabetic
Thanks for all of your support and encouragement in the last year.  Thanks for your comments, tweets, and posts.  You let me know that I’m actually making a difference in someone’s life.

 

May you find the love your looking for this Valentines Day . . . . . 

This post is my February entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival.  If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at http://diabetessocmed.com/2013/february-dsma-blog-carnival-2/

New Year with Diabetes : Striving for ___ in 2013!

DSMA-logo-2012-LGThis is my first ever entry into the DSMA blog carnival.  Ok, so lets get this done.  In 2013, I’m striving for an A1C of 7.0 or below.  In all my life as a type 1 diabetic, I never really even understood what that A1C score was for.  Never paid attention to it.  I only got it checked every few years or so, by doctors that had no clue about how to treat type 1 diabetes.  I never really lived my life like a diabetic.  Didn’t even know what an endocrinologist was, until my cardiac arrest in the summer of 2003.  I didn’t even start to understand my diabetes until after my cardiac arrest, and it wasn’t my doctors that got me interested in understanding it, it was bodybuilders!  When I went through cardiac rehab, that got me hooked on exercising, so I found a trainer . . . . . that just happened to be a competitive bodybuilder.  TrainerThat’s him off the right.  That was in late 2003.  I surrounded myself in that lifestyle, although I wasn’t a bodybuilder.  It was those bodybuilders who began to teach me about insulin.  Bodybuilders understand insulin better than most diabetics, and even better than most endocrinologists.  I began to understand metabolism, exercise, nutrition, etc.  2011 rolled around, and I started a home business as a Team Beachbody coach, which made me become even more interested in improving my diabetes.  Then, in early 2012, I discovered the 2 things that have been instrumental in improving my diabetes.  The paleo lifestyle, and the diabetes online community (#doc).  Slowly over the last year, I’ve become even more of a nutrition nazi, and biochemistry hobbyist.  Reading book after book, learning more and more about insulin, metabolism, biochemistry, and more.  I’ve read more books this year than any other year of my life!  All of them on nutrition.  (I’m going to start a book review series on this blog as a matter of fact!)  Although I’m an online diabetes advocate now, that doesn’t mean I’m a perfect diabetic.  It does make me want to improve my A1C to a respectable level if I’m going to be an advocate though.  I struggle just like everybody else.  My A1C did drop by 2.5 points in 6 months last year, which I was really excited about.  Still a little way to go to reach 7.0, but I’ll make it.  I have a lot of people that have thanked me for what I do in the online community, but I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of you.  Were it not for all of you, I wouldn’t be improving nearly as well as I have over the last year.  In helping you, I’m helping myself.  thanks Diabetes Online Community (DOC)!!!

 

********** Now ya know, and knowing is half the battle.  Go Joe!!! **********

If you found this article helpful, please give it a LIKE and share it with others who might benefit from it.  Thanks for paying it forward!  If you’d like to connect with me, you’ll find my social networking profiles to the right:  ————————>

This post is my January entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival.  If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at http://diabetessocmed.com/2013/january-dsma-blog-carnival-2/

What Causes Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA)

300Diabetic ketoacidosis.  Diabetics everywhere know this term, . . . I hope.  What is diabetic ketoacidosis?  How is it different than ketosis?

I’ll start by explaining ketosis, and try to keep the sciencey (Yes it’s a word.  It’s MY word.) stuff to a minimum.  Ketosis is a natural body process that occurs when your muscles require fuel, but there’s none in your system.  That fuel starts out as carbs.  If you don’t get enough carbs, your body will naturally enter ketosis when your body starts to break down your fat, thus producing ketone bodies which it can use as fuel.  Your brain and your heart actually run more efficiently on ketones, than they do on glucose.  Our bodies were built to do this, to survive when there was no game to hunt, no plants to forage, no food nearby.  This is NOT dangerous, . . . it’s natural, unless you’re diabetic.  Why is it only dangerous for diabetics?

Because ketone bodies are acidic, and when they reach a certain level, a non-diabetic will secrete insulin, which reduces the ketones just like it does blood glucose.  We of course don’t have this mechanism.  When a diabetic gets ketones, and their blood glucose is above 250, this is the formula for diabetic ketoacidosis.  I know what you’re thinking.  I still haven’t told you what causes it.  Well, here we go.

What causes it is simply a lack of insulin or fuel.  A lack of insulin caused by a faulty infusion set, simply not taking your insulin, being sick and dehydrated, or not eating enough carbs.  The reason your body would enter ketosis is that it doesn’t have enough fuel in the form of carbs, OR . . . it has plenty of fuel, but not enough insulin to get it into the muscle cells.  If the body cannot process or does not have fuel, it will create it by breaking down fat.  This is ketosis.  NOW, your body can’t use the carbs you’ve eaten due to lack of insulin, AND ketones are rising because of lack of insulin.  Rising ketones turn your blood acidic.  This is what can kill you.  If you’re sick and you’re vomiting or have diarrhea, it’s even worse because that creates dehydration which causes insulin resistance!  Ever had ketones while you’re sick, and wonder why in the heck you have to take 3 times the insulin to bring down your blood sugar and ketones?  You need insulin for the blood sugar, for the ketones, and to compensate for the insulin resistance.  Now I can see the wheels turning in your head.

When you go to the hospital, they’re going to treat you with a saline IV, an insulin drip, and electrolytes.  These treat all of the symptoms of DKA all at once, and bring you back to normal.  Your dehydration, your high blood sugar, your high ketones, and your low electrolytes.  So . . . clear as mud now?  Well, I hope it’s clearer than mud for you.

 

********** Now ya know, and knowing is half the battle.  Go Joe!!! **********

If you found this article helpful, please give it a LIKE and share it with others who might benefit from it.  Thanks for paying it forward!  If you’d like to connect with me, you’ll find my social networking profiles to the right:  ————————>

Hypoglycemia Symptoms With Normal Blood Sugars

photoCANM2EOXHave you ever had hypoglycemia symptoms, but when you check your blood sugar, you’re completely normal?  So then you wait 20 minutes, check again, and you’re blood sugar hasn’t changed.  Yet you still feel hypoglycemic?  It’s kind of a phantom hypo.  Yeah, I have too.  Annoying right?

Recently I’ve seen a lot of tweets that people were experiencing this syndrome, and could not explain it.  Then suddenly it happened to me a few times in a few days.  It’s happened to me before, if only rarely, but all of this chatter about it made me want to know what the heck is going on.  When we ARE hypoglycemic, we know what to do to correct it, but what are we suppose to do when we have symptoms, and we ARE NOT hypoglycemic?  I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather deal with high blood sugar than low blood sugar.  High blood sugar affects my body, which I can deal with, but low blood sugar affects my mind, and I can’t handle losing my mind.  So I needed to know how to fix this.

Well, I think I’ve found the answer.  Everybody’s symptoms of a hypo are different, and mine even change every so often.  So I went looking for my symptoms on the web, and kept finding the same thing over and over.  A combination of dehydration, and low electrolytes.  My last post was specifically about the spiraling hole that dehydration can cause for a diabetic, and the importance of correcting it.  What are the symptoms of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance?  They’re almost the same, and include but are not limited to:

  • Irritability
  • Light Headedness
  • Mental Confusion
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Weakness or Fatigue
  • Irregular Heartbeat

Do those symptoms look familiar?  Looks like hypo symptoms for most people right?  So what if our phantom hypo is really dehydration, and electrolyte imbalance?  Well, I tested this theory.  Last week, when I had my last phantom hypo, and I started researching all this stuff, I reached for my carb free protein powder, which has a good dose of electrolytes in it.  I mixed up a shake, gulped it down, and 15 minutes later my symptoms were gone!  Now, I’m not saying this is definitive by any means, but I’d recommend you go ask your educator or endocrynologist about this.

Some of my favorite foods that are high in electrolytes are bananas, avocados, leafy greens,  some fish, some seeds, and more.   There are many sports electrolyte drinks out there, but I don’t recommend them because they are have carbs.  There are also things like Emergen C Electrolytes, and Pedialyte, but I think they have carbs too?

So the next time you have phantom hypo symptoms with a normal blood sugar, you might be low on electrolytes?  Again, please ask your endocrinologist or diabetes educator about this before taking action.

 

********** Now ya know, and knowing is half the battle.  Go Joe!!! **********

If you found this article helpful, please give it a LIKE and share it with others who might benefit from it.  Thanks for paying it forward!  If you’d like to connect with me, you’ll find my social networking profiles to the right:  ————————>

 

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