Over the past few months I have been making some changes to my usual Diabetic routines. Especially just in the last few weeks. I became really inspired by Dr. Bernstein’s book titled “Diabetic Solution.” I came across this book after reading many forums. The general consensus is that whether you follow Dr. Bernstein’s plan exactly or even just a little you will begin to notice significant changes in your health as a diabetic. I think I am more apt to listen to him than my own endocrinologist, because not only is he a diabetic specialist, but he is also a Type I diabetic and has been for most of his life. Most of the medical professionals I have encountered in my own experience have not been diabetic. The only diabetic I have come across is my minimed rep, who is also my pump specialist that I meet with every few months at my doctors office. She is great and has really given me new ways to approach using my pump and controlling my sugars. We have a great medical relationship and she has helped me out a lot over the last year. Combine her professional training and her own personal experience on the pump and she has proven to be very helpful and insightful .
With such a positive result from working with my pump specialist I am also eager to learn what Dr. Bernstein has to teach. I am far from being finished with the book, but I have already begun to apply some of his basic principles. I have to admit that the further I am getting into his book the more I am coming to realize that some of the things that I was initially taught were not necessarily contemporary principles. For example, I was taught to have no more than 60 carbs per meal and no more than 15 carbs per snack. I was taught to have a balanced plate of vegetables, lean protein and a proportionate carb selection. Pretty basic stuff when you get down to it, but I am not sure this type of diet is necessarily a good idea for a Type I diabetic. According to Dr. Bernstein, I should not be eating more than 30 carbs in an entire day. Most of my diet should consist of vegetables and protein.
This is shocking to a carb addict like myself! 30 carbs per day really! Are you kidding me?!?! I eat 30 carbs per snack! Regardless of what I think I am not one to judge or knock it till I have tried it. Especially since I know my current system is not working as well as it could be. When I eat a high carb meal I can feel my blood sugars begin to sky rocket quickly. I become very sensitive to light, I am tired and I become much hungrier towards the end of the meal than I was at the beginning of the meal. Where as if I eat a high protein and low carb meal or snack I do not have those same symptoms and for the most part my blood sugars are much more steady. My biggest fear about trying this low carb theory out is that I will not feel energized or full, especially since I work out on average 4 days a week. I averaged my total carbs I was consuming daily for the past month and I was around 170 carbs per day.
I decided to try out Dr. Bernstein’s theory, but with my own personal compromises. Just like you can’t take a crack addict and Alcoholic off their fix quickly I believe that you can’t get a carb lover like myself to go cold turkey either. Over the past two weeks I have been eating no more than 30 carbs per meal and skipping snacks all together if I can. My plate is filled with more protein and vegetables. I have stocked up my house and desk at work with low carb options and have trashed much of the higher carb choices so as not to tempt myself. My goal is to stay under 100 carbs per day. If I need a little something between meals I have been sticking to low carb snacks like raw almonds. I have even begun charting my results to see if this modification in my diet has made a difference and I have to say it has made a huge difference.
I have decreased my insulin usage from 40 to 50 units per day down to 30 to 40 units per day. My average BG has gone down to 148. I have had consistent and steady results, and I have been feeling pretty good. The first few days of kicking my carb addiction was tough, but it is getting easier. The hardest part has been the weekends, but I am finding ways to not cheat too much. I now know that I can’t use the excuse that I would not feel full, because I have actually felt pretty satisfied after meals. Once I have gotten used to eating under 100 carbs per day I am going to slowly try to wean myself down to 60. I doubt I personally will ever want to go as low as Dr. Bernstein recommends, but even just this little change has helped.
I know I do not know everything about battling this disease, because if I did I would be cured by now. I am a very flexible person and have become even more so since being diagnosed. I am still learning so much, but as the days wear on I am becoming more hopeful that we are getting even closer to finding a cure. One of the most powerful and inspirational paragraphs that I read recently in Dr. Bernstein’s book Diabetes Solution was:
Many people (including the parents of diabetic children) view having to use insulin as a last straw, a final admission that they are (or their child is) a diabetic and seriously ill. Therefore they will try anything else — including things that will burn out their remaining beta cells–before using insulin. Many people in our culture have the notion that you cannot be well if you are using medication. This is nonsense, but some patients are so convinced that they must do things the “natural” way that I practically have to beg them to use insulin, which is as “natural” as one can go. In reality nothing could be more natural. Diabetics who still have beta function left may well be carrying their own cure around with them–provided they don’t burn it out with high blood sugars and the refusal to use insulin.
Page 51, last paragraph
This statement alone was enough to inspire me to stay healthy for as long as I can, because I do not want to risk my chances of not being able to receive a possible cure one day. All because I decided it was much more important to be lazy, stubborn and to loose control. I believe that it is never too late to start over, or to try and form better habits. Thanks Dr. Bernstein for writing this book and sharing with the diabetic community your insights. Thank you Tudiabetes.org members for inspiring me to buy this book in the first place.
I am not sure if anyone else has had this phenomenon, but whenever I go on vacation or, if I am out having a great time like at a concert, club, or whatever the activity may be my BG are almost always higher. I am sure it is probably a mixture of the endorphins, the excess carbohydrates and whatever else, but the timing could not be any more inconvenient! With that being said It is official that the “betes” is out to ruin my fun, but it does not realize how stubborn I can be.
This past weekend was my husbands birthday. I changed my infusion site on Saturday morning anticipating some fun in the sun. It was a nice 80 degrees in Southern California and I did not want to get any circular tan lines on my stomach, so I switched my site to a bathing suit friendly area. We made our way down to the Belmont Shores area of Long Beach around 2 p.m. I was feeling great and all my readings from my meter were looking good. I thought what the hell I will help myself to a couple of beers with our friends. As the day continued to wear on, my BG readings continued to get higher. I set a temporary basal and got back to the good times.
As the evening approached I continued to have high readings despite the Temporary Basal. I bolused correctly for the beer and my food, so I was not 100% sure what the deal was. I was not sure if it was my infusion site, or just the excitement of the day, so I made a game plan. I would monitor my BG’s through the day and attack the highs with the insulin. If after a certain point they had not come down I would change my infusion site. I did not want to assume right away that it was my infusion site, because I have wasted too many Quick Sets lately. Typically the moment I have uncontrollable high BG’s I assume that the cannula is bent. However, once I pull it out more often than not it is just fine.
There were about 12 of us that stayed at The Westin, which can I just say is beautiful and has the most comfortable beds ever! We got ready in a hurry and made our way out for the night to meet up with other friends at Panama Joes. I was in the low 300′s before we left, but I was still not convinced that it was the cannula. To be on the safe side I packed a Novolog Flex pen in case I had to correct myself. Once we got to the bar everything was great. My husband was having a ball and all of our friends were there. The only thing that was not good were my blood sugars. It was like they were on a slow and steady climb during the day and on a sprint once the nighttime rolled around. I must have dosed almost 3 times within a 4 hour period not to mention I cranked my basal up to 180%! I was then convinced that it had to be the cannula.
I did not want to have to leave the fun yet again, because I was having a diabetic moment, so I finally just gave myself the novolog injection. It seemed to help a little. However, by that point I was in the low 500′s. What is worse than feeling like crap from high blood sugars is feeling like a burden on other people. My friends, family and husband are great and I try to conceal when I am having a bad betes moment, but they are too clever to be fooled by me. I am no good at concealing my emotions, so they are quick to figure out that something is not right. On Saturday once a few people figured out that I was not doing so well they began to keep a watchful eye on me.
I swear anytime my blood sugars are out of check I get a sour stomach and I feel like I have to puke. It is the worst feeling! I think I almost hate it more than the feeling I get from having low blood sugars. I downed about 5 big cups of water and made my way back to the hotel by 11:30 p.m. Once I got back to the room I pulled the stupid cannula out and guess what the p.o.s was bent in a complete zig zag shape. I attempted to get a picture, but the quality was not so good. I was so mad, but so relieved at the same time. I changed the infusion site and pumped up the insulin. I spent the next 12 hours high, followed by 12 hours of lows. We had a barbecue the next day with our family. Despite the headache and the memories of the roller coaster ride my betes took me on the night before I was doing much better.
Sometimes this disease can make me feel like a jerk, because it is not fair to the people closest to me to have to also be burdened with my diabetes. I can deal with the betes, but I cannot deal with it affecting others. I had a great time and I probably would have had an even better time if I did not have my little episode. Regardless of what happened it turned out to be a really nice and fun weekend. My husband had a great time celebrating his birthday from what he tells me and that is all that matters.
On this Valentine’s Day I want to acknowledge that unfortunately with any disease, friends and family members are going to feel the effects, whether we like it or not, because they love us and want to make sure that we are doing well. With all that being said I want to say how much I love my friends, family and husband. You are all so patient and helpful. I know it has to be annoying at times, but you never ever let me know. You guys are always so supportive and I could not do this without you. I have the BEST SUPPORT TEAM in the world, which when it comes right down to it is one of the strongest advantages I have in this fight. I appreciate all that you do and please know that even the littlest things are not overlooked by me. Happy Valentines Day everyone and to my love Happy Happy Birthday!!!
Have you ever had one of those days where being a diabetic did not run your life. I had one of those days today. My BG’s were pretty stable and I did what I normally do, but it really never once crossed my mind that I am a betic. It was nice! I went to work like normal and followed my usual routine. I got in a nice workout and nice long walk with a friend. Now it’s off to watch Grey’s and look up some healthier recipe options for this Sunday’s Barbeque for my hubbys birthday! Since it wasn’t a diabetes dominated day I really do not have much to write about. However, I do have to say that I am excited to read this new book I just bought by Dr. Bernstein’s titled Diabetes Solution. I was turned onto it by my fellow tudiabetes.org members.
I fell off the diabetes wagon this weekend! Between the very high and low blood sugars and all the side effects in between I am now ending the weekend with regrets and anticipating better choices from here on out. To kick the weekend off my husband Aldo and I went to have dinner at a delicious Lebanese restaurant. I did very well when it came to eating. I avoided my nemesis rice and stuck with the veggies and proteins. However, I slipped myself up when I decided to give in to my sweet tooth and help myself to some Baklava. Baklava is a very rich and sweet pastry made with layers of filo dough, syrup, honey, and nuts. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I did not enjoy the high BG I had to deal with afterwards! Apparently when it comes to carb guessing I am no good at it. If I do not know what the carbs are from a label, my personal knowledge or my calorie king book I am S.O.L!
Saturday I had planned to get a workout in since I did not do anything on Friday, but I slept in way too late and could not muster up any energy to do so. I ended going out Saturday night with a girlfriend to dinner, where I committed another series of bad eating decisions. We had Mexican food and I ordered a blended strawberry margarita that came topped with whipped cream! The whipped cream was literally formed in a happy face design on my drink. Again it was delicious, but probably not worth the blood sugar roller coaster I went on afterwards. I checked my blood sugar two hours after dinner and I was 421. After some correcting and a few more hours I checked again hoping for lower numbers only to see that I was still only down to 377, so I corrected yet again.
At this point I started to get a little worried because earlier in the day I had changed my infusion site and my body has been know to reject the cannula. I have pulled out more bent up cannula’s from my skin than I would like to count. When I am having uncontrollable highs it is normally an indicator that something is not working. Anyways getting back to my story I proceed to check again on my way home and I had finally come down to a more reasonable number of 73. I knew then it could not be my infusion site. It had to have been my poor carb counting and crappy dinner. Once I got home and got to bed I was awakened with a LOUD ringing in my ears and an a cold sweat that consumed my body. My heart was racing as if I was in first place at the LA Marathon. I knew this could not be good, so I got ahold of four Starbursts and devoured them quickly. I then made my way to my testing kit prepared to see a low number. I was not expecting my one touch ultra to literally tell me that I was “LO!”
In my experience when my testing kit says “LO” I am probably somewhere in the 20′s or lower and headed for disaster quickly. I got my hand on every single carb/simple sugar that I could and went to town till I started to feel better. Let me tell you that was no easy feat in a house where both husband and wife are trying to loose weight, because literally we have like no junk food! The rest of the night and all day Sunday I have being dealing with highs and the feeling that I was hit by a truck.
The lesson I learned is that I tend to do a really crappy job taking care of myself on the weekends. I eat and drink things that I shouldn’t and I get very absent minded when it comes to carb counting. I am beating myself up a little bit, because I expected more from myself. I am not aspiring to be perfect, but this routine of cutting loose and loosing control on the weekends leaves me feeling exhausted from my weekend rather than rejuvenated. I am planning on getting back into my routine tomorrow. I am also going to try my best to stick with it all week long. I hope that this time next weekend when I am writing I am a lot more optimistic. I need to get to the grocery store tomorrow too, because my fridge and pantry need some filling from my unexpected binge eating!
I know most of my previous blogs have been somewhat cliche and that life is all rainbows and butterflies. Today however I am tired, cranky and I just have to say that sometimes life with diabetes really really really sucks!
I have come to realize that there are three types of diabetics in this world. There are the kinder-betics, dia-betics, and super-betics. I have come to this conclusion based on the numerous forums, tweets, blogs, personal experiences and support groups I have come across over the last 3 years and four months.
Kinder-betics tend to be a little irresponsible to say the least. They halfheartedly check their blood sugars and could care less about maintaining a healthy diet and exercise. Kinder-betics act as if they do not have diabetes at all. They are in a dangerous and unhealthy state of denial. When it comes to taking their medications routinely you soon notice it is done on a whim. For example, I remember meeting a girl shortly after I was diagnosed. She was related to a friend of mine. The whole night I observed her behavior and actions. The first thing I noticed was that she was drinking coca-cola straight up! The entire time I never once saw her check her blood sugar or give herself insulin. Worse than drinking the regular soda, she kept pouring copious amounts of vodka in her drink. She did not seem to have a care in the world.
We got to talking and I could tell that she was not comfortable talking about being diabetic. I learned that she had been a Type I diabetic since she was a pre-teen. I asked her about the regular soda, but she just brushed me off. I asked her for any tips about living with diabetes, because at that time it was all pretty new to me. She basically told me she didn’t have any information to give and that it was a shitty disease. She did not take proper care of herself and did not really seem to care. As a result she was completely blind in one eye and was almost fully blind in the other eye.
I remember being so mad at this girl. Why did she not care?!? For diabetics out there that have given up, please reconsider. Even if you do not care about yourself and your well-being someone out there does. Take better care of yourself and don’t become another statistic. Diabetes is reeking havoc on your body. Don’t assist it in it’s destruction by not trying or learning how to fight it. Stop making excuses and praying on everyone’s pity. Diabetes does suck, but you suck even more if you don’t try.
In contrast to the kinder-betics there are the SUPER-betics! These are the diabetics that have been obviously living with this disease for awhile. When you post things I literally check you credentials because I am convinced that you are an Endo, Rn, Bsn, Cde or whatever other medical job title you can think of. You guys have the jargon, and the short hand down! I sometimes find myself having to google what you say, because I am completely lost. I am sure you know your disease better than anyone, you just make me feel like I do not have a clue about my own. I have to say that you guys inspire me, and yet at the same time I feel threatened by you. The rhetoric amazes me. I hope to one day graduate to being a SUPER-betic without forgetting where I came from. I hope to teach and help others without intimidating them.
Finally there are the Dia-betics. We are a little bit of both. We have learned a lot, but we still have much to learn. Our blood sugars are not always perfect and we ride the roller coaster of highs and low. However, we try to be safe when on the trip. We check our blood sugars as routinely as we can, we carb count to the best of our abilities and we administer our medication as noted.
As a diabetic I do not wish to be treated any differently than anyone. The worst thing you can do is take pity on me. I have a condition that is not curable. However, it is treatable and I would take that any day over a multitude of other serious diseases. I want to grow old with my husband and live a long and happy life and that is just what I will try to do. Have a great night everyone. I am off to enjoy a glass of red wine and nice dinner.