Life in LADA land

Living Philippians 1:6 with type 1.5 diabetes

That elusive thing called discipline

Discipline.  It’s one of the things that is required to manage diabetes. It is also helpful to be disciplined about things like work, managing a home, raising children – fun stuff like that.  But what I have been confronted with lately is that I am not good at persevering at discipline.  I want a vacation from having to be disciplined!

But of course, diabetes does not take vacations.  If I drop my guard, chaos ensues.  It’s a downward spiral of eating badly, neglecting exercise and then the rotten blood sugars that result from all of this.  That makes me grumpy and I feel hopeless, so it is hard to muster up the energy to fix what needs to be fixed.

So I am trying to get back on the discipline bandwagon.  Exercise is a good place to start. When I am exercising regularly, I tend to eat better. Something about how hard it is to make myself exercise makes me want to make better choices about what I eat so that I don’t sabotage that effort.  It is especially hard to motivate myself to exercise in the awful heat and humidity that we are enduring right now.  I do love to swim, but it is more convenient to walk, and I feel like I need to strengthen my knee a bit, so I am trying to walk as often as possible, despite the weather.

And here’s the good news.  Starting to exercise regularly makes me want to continue. Maybe it’s the endorphins, but whatever it is, I am grateful that it works like this.  There is also something weirdly satisfying about coming in after a 2 mile walk all sweaty and hot and knowing I DID  IT.

So, I will hopefully hang in there with this for a while, varying between walking and swimming as I can, and seeing good results.  Diabetes being what it is, there is no guarantee that just because I do everything I think I should that I will see great blood sugars. But at least I know I am doing what I can to manage this disease as best I can.  For now.


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Weird days

I have had some weird days lately. I am just coming off of a pump vacation. I took six weeks off of my pump and am really glad I did. I proved to myself that I could do just as well with shots (as I did at the beginning of this adventure) as I have done with a pump. That was helpful to know. I had become too involved with technology and just needed to go simple for a while.  I did. Now I’m done with that and happy to be back on my pump again. It was a little weird for the first few days to get used to that bump on my hip again, but that soon passed as my pump became part of  me again. (As an aside, I knew I was ready to go back on my pump when the shots actually starting hurting again!)

Last week I had a couple of days of roller coaster blood sugars that kept me off balance.  The weird part was that it did not frustrate me nearly as much as episodes like that in the past have done.  I am extremely grateful for this. At the time, I was working on writing a testimony of how God has changed me since being diagnosed. The relative calm I experienced has a lot to do with the things I said in that testimony. You can read it here if you are interested.  I am hoping that this relative peace through the rocky times  is my new normal.

It also made me realize that living with diabetes is really just a series of weird days. No day is like the one before it or the one after.  A new and mostly unwanted surprise is waiting just around the corner.  The low that hit me last night at midnight was the same as any other midnight low and not as extreme as some, but sent me into a sweaty panic, looking for something other than the raisins I had at my bedside to treat it. Why did I go stumbling into the kitchen looking for  something else?  I ended up just grabbing another box of raisins and heading back to bed, knocking stuff off tables and making a racket along the way.  Why was this low different than the others?

But here’s the thing. Maybe because of having to write that testimony, which required me to think back on how I have changed in the past five and a half years since diagnosis, I feel more capable of handling ‘weird’. I feel stronger.  More confident.  I am not idealistic about it- I know the challenges of diabetes have not changed. But maybe I will feel less a victim of those challenges and more equipped to cope with them.

God really HAS changed me.

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Week One

I am a week into this pump vacation. So far, so good.  I am finding that overall my blood glucose levels are less erratic. I’m not wild about injections, and I now remember why I found the transition to a pump so joyful!  But there are some benefits to this regimen and I am happy about what I am learning.  About diabetes and about myself.

So one thing I have noticed is that it is clearer to me what and how things affect my blood sugar.  For the past few months, it has not always been clear to me if highs were due to something I have done, something in my environment or something wrong with my pump or infusion site. Now when my blood sugar is out of range, I can usually figure out what happened.  I find that things I don’t think are stressful are perceived by my body as stressful and my blood sugar goes up.  Sometimes dramatically.  I can see much more clearly how physical activity affects me – and how fast my blood sugar goes down. Sometimes it will rebound on its own, sometimes not.  I know better how long it takes insulin to get to work after I inject, and so I can try to time my doses before meals so that the spikes after the meal are not as big (this is an art, not a science though, and my best laid plans often go awry…..).

At the same time, I have been working on not being so dependent on knowing exactly where my blood sugar is at all times. I have consciously been NOT looking at my CGM unless something feels wrong.  This is hard. It was a challenge given to me by two people that I trust and respect dearly, and I took the challenge seriously.  I have been obsessing on data. Yep, I said it out loud.  I have been much too occupied with trying to control my blood sugar so tightly.  Being off the pump is a good opportunity to do this, because I am less tied to technology.  And, because the pump can dose much smaller amounts of insulin than I can do by injection, I would literally micromanage my blood sugars.  I can’t do that now. I can only dose in full units of insulin, and since 1 unit drops my blood sugar 50 points or so, I can’t afford to do that unless I am far above my target BG.  I have less control. And that is a good thing for now. I am learning to relax a bit about this. Really.

My plan is to stay off of my pump for another 3-4 weeks at least.  It is inconvenient, and sometimes it hurts to inject.  But it is what I needed.  I love the technology we have to manage this disease and I am really looking forward to the changes that are coming in the years ahead.  But I need to learn to use it wisely and not let it rule my life.  I think I am beginning to put things back in the rightful places in my life. Kerri Sparling says ‘Diabetes doesn’t define me, but it helps explain me’.  I want that to be true of me as well. I think it was beginning to define me. That is NOT where I want to be. I’m getting back to letting diabetes just be one part of who I am, and not a controlling part of me.  I am very thankful for that.