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April 09, 2013

Firsts.

Exercise isn't something I'm shy about, but doing it in front of other people scares the hell out of me.  I don't know why - I think it's because I've been blessed (?) with such a high level of extreme awkwardness that the concept of doing anything in front of people makes me freeze up.  I didn't want to walk down the aisle at my own wedding for fear of tripping and falling (I wanted to furtively rise up on a platform from underneath the floor, like an elevator, and just appear at the front of the church to say, "I do!").  I am nervous about going from my table to the podium when I speak at events.  So the idea of crossing a finish line with an audience and an event photographer made me wish I was a WonderTwin and could morph into "shape of innocuous shrubbery!" or something, last minute. 

Which is why it was a big deal, to me, to participate in my first "official" (meaning where there were other people and a start/finish line and people were wearing bibs with numbers instead of lobsters on them) 5K race.  Thanks to a husband who understood that I wanted to try this first one out on my own, I headed out early on Saturday morning, still making excuses in my head as to why I didn't want to do this. 

"I'm really proud of you for doing something that is so far outside your comfort zone," Chris said, and that's exactly it.  That's why I felt compelled to follow through.  A few of my runner friends have these t-shirts they wear, boasting about a race they completed, and I wanted to earn a t-shirt, too.  I started attempting to run back in November and at the beginning, finishing a mile without stopping or pitching backwards off the treadmill was a big accomplishment for me.  Since November, I've built up some endurance and wanted to try the 3.1 mile race with the aim to finish, without walking, and without falling into a ditch.   

Finished!

"Do you know where the registration table is?" I asked a lady at the event, who was wearing fancy sneakers and a worn-looking t-shirt that claimed a marathon finish back in 2010. 

"I actually have no idea," she said, and since we were both alone, we walked around the venue until we found the small table staffed with caffeinated volunteers. 

"Oh, here we go!" she said, and we both checked in, grabbed our bib numbers, and stood off to the side to pin them to our shirts.  

"Where should I be sticking this?" I asked, fumbling and awkward and ready to bail because my nerves were fraying.

"They want them pinned to the fronts of our shirts for this one," she said, gesturing to my belly button.  "Is this your first race?"

"It is."  I pinned the number to my shirt, noting ruefully that the "138" was just three points higher than my Dexcom was reading. "Can you tell?"

"You'll be fine.  Once you start, just keep going until you finish, right?"  She pulled on her gloves to warm her hands against the unseasonably chilly April morning.  "I'll see you at the finish line."

So far outside my comfort zone that I couldn't even see the hazy edge, I finished the race.  I didn't walk. I didn't come in last.  My pace was decent.  My blood sugars didn't tank.  I felt proud of myself for following through on this, and not backing out in the end because I was self-conscious.  Now I have a t-shirt, and I earned that shit.  Oh, and I didn't fall into any ditches and roll down a hill or anything.

And oddly enough, I am looking forward to doing it again.  

February 26, 2013

Fun With Injuries, Revised: Achilles Tendonitis.

Oh the HOTNESS!!!"Is this related to diabetes, or is this purely a running thing?"

I think the podiatrist guy could read my face, pleading for him to tell me this was simply a sports injury.

"I see a lot of runners coming in with this, especially those who are doing daily distance, and if you have even a mild pronation, Achilles tendonitis is very common."  He paused.  "And it's much more common in my diabetic patients, due to blood sugars and their effect on tendon health.  Have you had issues with tendonitis before?"

I thought back to just after Birdy was born.  "I had issues with my wrist after the birth of my daughter, so it's not a big surprise that I've wrecked up my ankle."

The podiatrist took x-rays to entirely rule out plantar faciitis, and then fitted me with an immobilization boot (which made me clomp around like a graceless dinosaur - yes, different from the dinosaurs you often see ice skating competitively). 

"The absolute best thing you can do is stay off of your foot, but with a little one at home, I'm sure that sounds impossible."

I nodded.

"So wear this boot as much as you can, just not when you're sleeping.  Put it on first thing in the morning and wear it continuously throughout the day.  Do not drive in it, though, because the point of it is to restrict your foot's movement.  You should take breaks and ice your ankle periodically, but then put the boot back on.  If you aren't feeling any percentage of relief after a few days, schedule a follow up appointment, as we may want to do an MRI to rule out a tendon tear."

And for once, I followed directions.  (I know.)  I sat around my house, mostly mobile, for a week, with this velcro-clompy boot strapped to my right foot.  After three days, I saw minimal approval, if any at all.  But after about a week and a half, my foot is finally back to being able to support my weight without forcing my body instantly into Leaning Tower mode.  And through the magic of over-the-counter support braces like this one, ibuprofen to keep the inflammation at bay, stretches, and good, old-fashioned laziness, I'm finally starting to see some real progress. 

Traveling over the weekend to the Las Vegas JDRF's Health & Hope Symposium was a little tricky, with all the walking around in the airport and standing up during the conference, but it's now Tuesday, and it's been almost three weeks since I woke up feeling like my ankle was made out of garbage.  I'm very grateful that the podiatrist was able to see me on such short notice (he got me in two days after posting this, which in HCP Availability Land, that's borderline magical), and that he suited me up with that crazy-ass space boot right away. 

Even though I've felt like a (five-toed?) sloth for the last few weeks, I'm more interested in mending this mess than making it a chronic thing.  (I have had my fill of "the chronic.")  I'm looking forward to getting back to running, but am wiling to take it slow in pursuit (ha?) of a full recovery. 

February 11, 2013

Fun with Injuries: Plantar Fasciitis.

Image from NIH.And I was doing so well ... or at least for me.

When I started running back at the beginning of the fall, a half mile was an accomplishment.  I wrote about this before, and I also hit on this topic over at Animas, but I've always considered myself to be too awkward to do anything athletic that required any stamina.  I could go for long walks or hikes, but challenging myself to actually run, and to keep running, was something I always shied away from.  Lots of reasons, but the main one was a lack of confidence in my ability to not tip over and/or fall into a ditch.

However, I've made good strides (terrible pun) in the last few months, and up until last week, I could churn out 3 - 6 miles at a good clip, without feeling like I was slogging through a pool filled with Nutella.  (Oh man, that sounds delicious.  So long as no one pees in the pool.)  For the last three months, I've been running almost every day, and feeling stronger and more capable (and less awkward) with each step forward.  My blood sugars weren't perfect, but they were tolerant of this new exercise regimen, and I was proud that I didn't want to skip a workout; I actually looked forward to them.

But I do realize I've been overdoing it a bit.  I feel goofy even saying that, since so many of my friends with diabetes are running half-marathons, marathons, Ironmans (Ironmen?), triathalons, Ragnars, etc, but for me, several miles a day might have been a touch too much.  And this was proven to me two mornings ago, when I woke up and my foot was in a ton of touchy, achy pain that made it nearly impossible to walk without lumbering like Bob Malooga looga looga looga looga

"I feel stupid even asking this, because I've never had any kind of sports injury in my life, but is there an injury you can get that makes this part of your heel really hurt?"  I asked Chris, pointing to the pad of my heel.

"It could be plantar faciitis," he said.  "A lot of runners get that." 

After Googling the hell out of this new phrase, and then consulting with the physical therapy office that handled my De Quervain's, I decided to treat this injury at home for the time being.  Which means stretches for my foot, a foot brace while I sleep, icing the area when I can, and taking a week off from the gym. Which also means this sense of having lost momentum.  Which I found frustrating.  

Because when did this happen?  When did I become someone who wanted to work out, someone who wanted to go for that run?  When did I become someone who called Chris, excited because I'd done five miles at a faster pace than the week before?  When did I start not caring what I looked like but instead became someone who just wanted to try?  

I'm hopeful that a week off will help heal what ails me.  And that a careful return to running will put me back on the path to that feeling of "doing so well."  Because running is the first thing I've done in a long time that's made me feel like I'm not the one being chased, not by medical worries or by stress or by obligations or by emotional upheaval. 

It makes me feel like I am the one who chases.

(Sorry.  The opportunity to end with a play off a Breaking Bad moment?  Couldn't resist.  Also, this rules.  And now I'm done.)

January 09, 2013

:: Head Explodes ::

 BLEEEEEECH.  Blech.(Or at least I wish it just WOULD already.)

I've never had a sinus infection before, but I've heard the rumors.  Some family members of mine have been plagued by this sort of this their whole life, and they describe the swollen head feeling with their hands almost touching their temples, as if connecting their fingertips to their head will ignite the switch.  Until yesterday, I was as empathetic as I could be, from my ivory tower of inexperience.

But hot damn (one), I've earned some stripes in the last 24 hours.

Something not unlike a brick has taken up residence behind my nose and eyes, surprising me when I look in the mirror and I don't see my eyes bugging out like a cartoon wolf.  With this comes a headache (no surprise) and a fever, and the stupid, head-shaking high blood sugars that require a 185% basal rate and some aggressive bolusing to bring back into some semblance of range.  This sinus brick plague also requires acetaminophen, rendering my Dexcom useless for the time being.  Trace ketones hung tight for the majority of the day, and overall it was a strange battle of hydration, sinus pressure relief, and blood sugar stalking.

Last night was the peak of my desperation.  The Vicks vapor salts or whatever they are called worked to relieve the pressure for a few minutes.  A steaming cup of tea provided ten minutes of proper breathing.  And a hot shower helped a little, but the effects were temporary.  What worked best was a short clip of cardio exercise.

"What are you doing?"  

"I'm going downstairs for like five minutes to use the ellipmachineI read online that it could clear my sinuses."

Despite the fact that it was 10:45 at night, Chris just nodded his head.  "Go for it."

And hot damn (that's two), it worked.  After a few minutes on the elliptical, the brick in my head shifted a bit and let me breathe like a human.  The benefits of exercise rear their arrogant heads once again.  (YAY!) 

I climbed into bed that night, armed with Kleenex and a humidifier and other assorted bits of hotness.

"If you wake up and I'm not here, don't be alarmed.  I might be downstairs on the elliptical," I said to Chris.

He laughed.  "Whatever it takes."

"Dude, I'll use that thing all night if it's the only way I am able to breathe."

This morning, the sinus pressure was significantly reduced, the ketones were MIA, and I'm hoping this means I'm on the road to having a brickless-head.  The faster this mess mends, the sooner I can put my Dexcom back on and reassign my workouts to normal hours of the day.

Hot damn.

December 07, 2012

Insulindependence: Watch This.

There are a lot of videos on YouTube, but there are few that give me goosebumps.  And watching these kids making the most of their lives - diabetes be damned! - gave me some serious goosebumps. 

Exercise is important for everyone, but as people living with diabetes, it can be the key to our longevity and best health.  I firmly believe that Insulindependence, and any efforts that inspire and help people to get up and MOVE, are as important as insulin.

If you haven't checked out Insulindependence yet, DO.  They're currently recruiting for Junior Captains, but if you're interested in becoming a Captain or Chapter Chairperson, there's info for you, too.

(And in completely unrelated news, happy birthday, Larry Bird!)

September 04, 2012

With Kid In Tow.

My numbers run best when I'm in some kind of groove (most often found in the heart), even if my schedule isn't exactly predictable.  The groove applies to exercise as well, so even when I'm traveling, I have to find time to run around a little bit, be it at the hotel gym (with my favorite diabetes conference #sweatabetes partner, Scott), or getting out and exploring wherever I happen to be.  My diabetes nonsense seems to align more smoothly when I'm exercising regularly. 

Trouble is, when I'm in the normal ebb and flow of Stuff At Home, the gym is my main source of exercise.  (Or working out with the ellipmachine at home, but Birdy goes to bed so late now that by the time she's asleep, I'm close to snooze myself.)  For days when Chris is under deadline and busy all day long, getting to the gym can be tricky.  So I've been exploring ways of exercising with Birdy in tow.

Literally.

This is our new adventure:  pulling my little Bird behind me as I tackle the local bicycle trails.  We picked up an InStep trailer (not cheap) and gave it a go for the first time yesterday.  It was some added weight (Birdy weighs just a hair under 25 lbs and the trailer itself is about 30 pounds), but on the reasonably flat Rhode Island landscape, the extra baggage wasn't too much to manage. 

And holy crap, was it fun to listen to her talk about the landscape as it whizzed by.  "Oh, trees!  I saw a tree, Mama!  And a rock!  Two rocks!  Three rocks!  One more three rocks!" 

"You mean four rocks, Birdy?" 

"Yes, four!  Now fives!"

When I started the ride, I was at 168 mg/dL, which was high enough for me to feel comfortable exercising, but not so high that I felt like I was wearing lead boots.  Birdy sat in the trailer with my backpack, with the Dexcom receiver sitting in the front zipper pocket.

"Mama?  Your Dexcom has beeps!"

"It's beeping?"

"Yeah.  Like this:  Beeeeeep!"

"It's okay.  It might beep a little bit."  My high alarm is set at 160, so I knew it was beeping because I was cresting around that number.

About 30 minutes into our ride (her "ride," my "pull"), I stopped to check my blood sugar - 115 mg/dL.

"This so fun, you know," Birdy said, nodding as I took a swig of Gatorade.

And she was right - it was so fun.  I liked being able to fit in some proper activity without having to find baby-sitter, and I really liked having my daughter along for the ride.  Eventually, once she's big enough to ride her own bike, we'll tackle the trails together.  But for now, I'll carry her safely, listening to her exclaim happily from her trailer, "I see peoples, Mama!  More peoples on bicycles with their helmets!!  For safety!!!"

Exclamation point!

August 28, 2012

Biking in Acadia Park: The Low Chronicles.

Last week, Chris and I took a skip up north to spend some time in one of our favorite places in New England:  Bar Harbor, Maine.  (And ha - a skip?  Six hour drive.  You can begin and end a relationship in that amount of time.  Or write a children's book.  Or scour Spotify for fabulously terrible 80's and 90's songs.  We have tested all of these options.)

We love Bar Harbor because it gives us some quality time to play outside.  We've gone camping, and hiking, and this year, we went biking around Mount Desert Island.  On the whole, I can hold my own when it comes to outdoorsy type crap.  If Chris wants to go hiking up Mount Goram, I can keep up with him.  Leisurely hike around Jordan Pond?  I'm all over it.  Biking 15 miles along the carriage trails in Acadia Park?  Bring it on. 

View from Cadillac Mountain.
View from Cadillac Mountain.

My favorite restaurant EVER.
2 Cats - best breakfast EVER.
Unless I'm low.

After a hearty (and delicious) breakfast at the Two Cats Inn, we went into the bike rental place to get suited up with bikes and helmets.  I checked the Dexcom while we were waiting for the guy to bring our bikes around, and was surprised to see 89 mg/dL and an downward-trending arrow.

"Bit low," I said to Chris, reaching into our backpack for some glucose tabs.  "I may have overbolused for breakfast."

We grabbed two extra bottles of Gatorade to complement the array of glucose tabs (thanks, GlucoLift!) and after I chomped four tabs and took a long sip of Gatorade, we started our ride up to Acadia Park.

I'm not a bike rider (as evidenced by the fact that I didn't use the word "cyclist"), but I knew that my legs shouldn't have been as wobbly as they were.  I was jittery and sweating madly, even though we'd been on the road for literally minutes.  

"I need to stop for a minute and have some more Gatorade.  And I think I need to wait a few for this crap to hit my system."  We pulled off to the side of the road and I tested my blood sugar.  97 mg/dL, but the Dexcom still warned of a low on tap.

So began 35 minutes of stupidity.  I should have stayed on the side of the road and waited for however long it took to see upward trending arrows.  Or at least until my legs started feeling more like they were made out of flesh and bone and less like they were inhabited by SpaghettiOs.  Chris has the patience of a much saintlier type of person, and he would have waited.

Instead, after a few minutes, I announced, "I'm good," and encouraged him to set our pace.  I rode behind him and struggled.  Bears on unicycles have better balance than I had during those first few miles.  Temp basal would have been useless - it was already cranked down to 0.25u per hour for our trip, and I was iffy on turning the pump off for a bit because I didn't want to encourage any ketones.  I felt my blood sugar laboring to get up the hypoglycemia hill as much as I was physically trying to push my bike up the road.  

It wasn't until we were at least six miles into our journey that I started to feel human.  (I knew when I was around the magic 90 mg/dL mark, because I felt like proper athlete, all sweating for reasons of exertion and not due to hypoglycemia.)  It took another few miles to hit stride, with a blood sugar of 130 mg/dL finally showing up on my meter.  And then it felt awesome. Fun.  Outdoorsy and fresh-airy.  Overall, we did close to 16 miles of the hilly Acadia National Park, and despite crushing through as many glucose tabs and the bottle of Gatorade, it was awesome.

Look, Ma!  I'm infusin'!

A bit later, as we ate lunch at the Jordan Pond Teahouse, I looked at my Dexcom graph and saw it plotting steadily between 70 - 130.  My belly was full of freshly baked popovers and blueberry tea (and glucose tabs).  And Chris and I didn't have unruly bicycle helmet hair.  

I'll take it. 
Jordan Pond.

August 09, 2012

High Flying.

I hate running.  So much that I have a Spotify playlist dedicated to my disdain for it.  (The songs are quality, though.  I posted a link on Twitter to the disastrous tunes that keep me upright for 45 minutes.)  But it's a new part of my daily workout regimen, and it's extremely effective at dropping my blood sugar like a rock.  I see my numbers tumble from 180 mg/dL to 80 mg/dL regularly during workouts (which is prompting me to start experimenting with temporary basal rates and different kinds of foods to help keep from plummeting - oh the math!). 

So yeah.  It's a new kind of exercise that's taxing my body in a new, positive way.

But giving running a go when my blood sugar is high?  Holy crap, that's a rotten way to start a workout.

There's something about a high blood sugar that makes my body feel weighted down, like I'm wearing a chain mail suit (not one of those "Forward this or a rabid snail will imbed itself in your ear!" kinds of chain mail - I mean the legit, medieval kind).  Or that I'm exercising with weighted boots on.  Even when ketones aren't present (and I always check for them if I'm over 240 and heading to the gym), high blood sugars make slogging through a workout akin to traipsing through waist-high snow drifts.  It's crappy.

What amazes me is when I feel strongest while working out.  Every time I feel powerful, or strong, or jacked up on exercise endorphins, I usually click on my Dexcom and see a blood sugar around 100 mg/dL.  It's amazing how good I feel when my blood sugar is completely in range.  (My favorite workout number is 90 mg/dL, but the trouble is, it doesn't last very long in that range.) 

"Is this what normal feels like, all the time, for you?"  I've asked Chris, trying to explain how awesome a workout feels for those moments when I'm hovering around 100 mg/dL.  He can't answer, because he has no idea what steep blood sugar fluctuations feel like.

NO WAY did I go on this ride. I stood on the ground and photographed it from the safety of my fear bubble.

I don't often have envy for those who produce their own insulin, but I have be honest:  Sometimes I'm downright jealous of people who don't know what it's like to fly so high while working out.  I'd love to know how fast, and how far, I could go with 90 mg/dL as my norm.

But those brief moments of envy pass quickly, as I work harder to prove that I can go faster and further, fueled by determination ... even in a chain mail suit.

February 02, 2012

Exercise Lows.

This thing is used for more than just hanging clothes on!Last night was an at-home workout (so I could get a little exercise in without missing the Wednesday night #dsma chat), so I was holed up in the basement with the ellipmachine and Stephen Colbert, with a starting blood sugar of 138 mg/dL.

At the twenty-three minute mark of my workout, I started to feel a little strange.  Heavy.  Like each foot had a big, fat chicken sitting on it, trying desperately to hatch it.  My arms were over-cooked spaghetti noodles.  And from the shelf, just a few feet away, I could hear the Dexcom buzzing over the sounds of Colbert's applauding audience.

"Twenty-three minutes ... I can get to thirty." 

Stupid, stupid, stupid Kerri.  This is the same brand of stupid where I think I need to test my blood sugar at 3 am before any drinking juice, despite the fact that I'm damp with nighttime sweat and dizzy.  And the very same brand of stupid where I clean the house instead of treating the low.  When the glucose is sapped from my cells, my brain doesn't know how to prioritize. It's like I need to challenge myself, taking control of a situation that's rapidly spiraling out of it, despite the fact that the smart and safe thing to do is treat the low.  But my brain doesn't function properly when I'm under a certain blood sugar threshold.

So instead of stopping my workout and going upstairs to raid the fridge, I pushed through the workout for a few more minutes, until that rational part of my brain spoke up.  

"Um, Kerri?"

I keep moving my legs, concentrating on the computer screen halfway across the room that was broadcasting the Hulu show.

"Hey, Kerri?"  My Internal Motivational Speaker pipes up again, more forcefully this time.

"Unh." 

"You need to go drink some juice."

I'm so low and so confused, but still trucking forward with this workout.  In my mind, I'm an elite athlete and moving with pop-and-lock precision.  But in reality, I'm loose and fogged up, my knees buckling every few seconds.  My whole body is screaming at me to STOP but my brain is drunk with power (seeing as how it's probably the only part of my body receiving any glucose).

"I need to get some juice," I say outloud, like I just thought of it.  I can hear my Internal Motivational Speaker sighing.  The ellipmachine shows a completed time of 18:58 and my brain is rattled by the fact that the numbers aren't round and complete.  (What is it about that need for symmetry and control when my blood sugar is in the trenches?  Why can't I force myself to focus on what I need, instead of what my OCD flare-ups are re-prioritizing for me?)

Once upstairs in the kitchen, my meter shows me at 48 mg/dL.  The grape juice enters my system almost immediately, firing off the synapses that were previously on snooze.  I start to relax.  I start to come up.  My brain switches back on in full.  And I realize how stupid, stupid, stupid I am.

"I'm an idiot," I mutter, wiping the sweat from my brow.

"I agree," the voice in my head mutters back.

(But damn it, once I was back up in range, I finished my workout.  Am I stubborn?  Yes, yes I am.)

April 21, 2011

Wait - That's Exercise, Too?

Exercise has been tough to come by lately.  I've had a hard time getting to the gym for a regular workout because of BSparl's schedule, my work deadlines, and the overall chaos of Casa de Sparling.  By the time 7 pm rolls around, the last thing I want to do is skip off to the gym and mess with weights and cardio machines.  Nope.

However, ways of exercising are finagling their way into my day - WITHOUT MY EVEN KNOWING IT.  How am I clued in?  Why, the Dexcom wails alert me to my moments of physical exertion!  And my total daily dose of Humalog is down from 28u to 25u lately. Over the last two weeks, my #sweatabetes hasn't come in the form of formal workouts, but instead random and bizarre things. 

To illustrate:

  • BSparl and I danced our way through an entire episode of The Cat in the Hat, complete with twirling at the "Here we go, go, go, go ... on an adventure!" song part.  You'd be surprised at how much work it is to chase after a little bird all day long, but that kid keeps me moving.  We dance, sing, corral the cats, pretend that we're squirrels ... watching my daughter is the most constant form of exercise I'll ever, ever have.  Kid wipes me out!
  • I spent over an hour each night in the backyard, removing the blasted red mulch from the garden and replacing it with gardening soil and brown mulch.  Back in the day, I would have scoffed at the concept of gardening as "exercise," but damn!  Raking, weeding, digging, carrying heavy bags of mulch and soil, and scoping up the discarded stuff into the clean up bags was murder on my back and arms.  And legs.  But the garden is starting to look good.  And hopefully I'm burning mad calories being all domesticated and whatnot. 
  • In keeping with my Suzie-Sunshine-Domestic-Goddess fakery, I've been working around the house to prepare things for BSparl's big ol' first birthday party.  Even with just our families, it's going to be a sizable gathering.  So Chris and I have been finishing up some last repairs on the house, and these chores are making my blood sugars plummet like I'm spending the afternoon at Target.  Moving things in the garage, cleaning up the office downstairs ... it's all a constant flow of activity.
  • Not to mention the few times I've made it to the home gym, watched some Hulu, and made the ellipmachine my bitch.  (That's formal exercise, but since I didn't leave my home for it, I can't call it a "real workout."  Because, in my mind, a real workout includes beeping my key fob at the gym.)
Exercise is sneaky.  It's not always found clad in yoga pants and a sports bra.  Sometimes it's messy and covered in mulch.  Sometimes it's working alongside small, cat-themed gardening tools that my daughter is supposed to use but I may or may not have used on my own at one time or another (I needed to dig around a very fragile plant!):

CAT GARDENING TOOLS!!  They make everything.  And the little rake thing creeps me out, because the rake spokes look like legs. Spider cat?
(I make these live outside because they creep me out just a wee ickle bit.)

Exercise:  It's everywhere.  Sneaky little pest!  How do you work in your workout without hitting the gym?

April 13, 2011

Mousercise!

Sometimes it's a 33 minute workout on the treadmill at the gym.  Other times, it's an at-home workout on the elliipmachine and an episode of Mr. Sunshine (which I watch only on Hulu and I keep wishing will get better but it doesn't and I'm all "awwww, Chandler"). But on rare occasions, my sweatabetes workouts take place in my kitchen.  While trying to wrangle in a teeny, brown field mouse named Cheesels.  (Pronounced "cheese-els."  As in "OMG there's Cheesels!")

Our house has a nice yard, and with it comes a bevy of critters.  We have squirrels that appear to be planning some kind of coup, dancing madly in the backyard and running at a break-neck speed with nuts in their cheeks.  We have the neighborhood cats who are sometimes on our back deck, making faces at our cats and flaunting their vast knowledge of the streets.  And apparently, we have adorable field mice that want to have breakfast with us every morning.

Or at least we have this one, really resilient field mouse that refuses to vacate the premises. 

Our first line of defense was our arsenal of cats.  Three cats, you'd think they'd tap their instincts and make quick work of our little Cheesels.  Nope.  The first time the mouse made an appearance, all three cats were lounging in another room playing Risk.  The second time, we actively put our most wily cat in the mouse's direct path, but Prussia simply licked her chops and strolled off. Our third attempt involved a humane mouse trap that had intentions to trap the mouse for a later, live release (but instead appeared to simply offer snacks to our squatter, and offered no actual 'trap').

But the fourth time Cheesels popped his little mousy head out was when Siah was on watch.  And Siah beat the mouse senseless. 

"Holy crap, it's like a mouse murder scene in here."  Fuzzy brown fur littered the floor.  "Surely this thing is dead now."

But nooooooo.  Because yesterday, as my mother was hanging out with BSparl and I, we heard this little scuttling sound from the kitchen.

"Mom, you stay here with the baby.  I'll go investigate.  I think it's Cheesels."

"Okay," she said.  (And I love that no one questions the fact that we've named our rodent nemesis.)

Do NOT eff with this mouse.  He will cut you.I slowly moved into the kitchen, broom in hand, to see Siah stalking something underneath the kitchen table.  Upon closer inspection, I saw our mouse friend, wielding whiskers and a switchblade.  And Siah looked positively elated with her new friend.

"Ahhhhhh!!  Ooooooh!!!!"  I yelled mostly unintelligible words and swatted madly at the mouse, who scurried away towards the stove.  

"Come back here!  Ahhh!  Get away!  Go outside oh my god get into the trap! Die!  Get out!  Siah! Kill this thing! Be a cat, damn it!"  I knew I was sending this mouse mixed signals, but I just wanted it the eff OUT of my house.

My mother came out of the baby's room, looking determined.  "Give me the broom.  You go in there with the baby.  I'll get this out."  She seemed ... strong.  Ready to battle the mouse.  So I handed her the broom and went in to comfort my startled, non-mouse-fearing baby girl.

What happened next was an awkward and loud dance of mother, daughter, mouse, and broom.  Yelling, "ooooh'ing," jumping on chairs and freaking out while trying to open doors to usher the mouse outside ... the calories burned must have been tremendous.  It was the most graceless but direct form of mousercising my kitchen has ever witnessed.

"Did we get him?"  we both said in unison, looking at the open door and not hearing any telltale squeaks.

"I think I shoved him out with the broom.  He's gone.  We're all set," my mother said, brandishing the broom like she was finishing a crusade.  We were soothed by our conviction that we'd indeed solved the problem.  The Dexcom wailed from the kitchen table, confirming that my mousercised sweatabetes was effective.  (Oh exercise, how I find you in the strangest of places.)

My mother headed home.  BSparl was snuggled and tucked into bed. Chris wasn't expected home for a few hours.  So I settled in at the kitchen table to finish some paperwork.

Until.

I heard the scuttling of little feet.  And I felt something staring at me. I turned around, slowly, to see Cheesels standing on the top of the stove, little paws raised in victory and holding my wallet.

I'll get you next time, Cheesels.  Next time.

March 31, 2011

#Sweatabetes.

I wish I could write this really health-conscious post about how exercising helps me manage my blood sugars better.  Or about how a lower body fat percentage and a higher muscle mass ratio helps me to use less total insulin throughout the day.  Or how the exercise endorphins make me want to transform into a happy dolphin so I can jump through waves, smiling and shouting "I love exercise!!"  

Not the case.  I exercise because without it, my body becomes very frumpy.  I'm not sure if it's my genetics or the way I need to manage food as a result of diabetes, or maybe a combination of the two, but without regular exercise, I hate the way my body looks.  I'm self-conscious enough to know that when I feel embarrassed about my physical appearance, my mental health takes a hit.  And when my mental health is suffering, my overall diabetes health suffers, too.  

When I was in Washington, DC for the JDRF Government Day(s), I ended up in the hotel gym.  Normally when I travel, I bring sneakers and a sports bra in hopes of working out, but usually I'm so exhausted that I collapse in bed, instead.  But this time, I had some of my fellow PWD to work out with.  Scott, Kelly, Cherise, Kim, and myself.  We rocked a #sweatbetes session at 10:30 pm, doing cardio, weights, and a few of them even attempted following Scott in pursuit of the perfect Turkish Get-Up.  We worked out hard, and even though there were some lows and some beeping CGMs and pump tubing hanging out all over the place, we rocked that gym.

Poor Scott.  Four cups of ice cream, balanced on his dome.  And he's all "What?"(Which is precisely why we celebrated with ice cream and wine at the bar afterward.  What??)

I exercise because I want to eat ice cream without feeling guilty.  (Don't get me started on the food guilt.  I would need a whole new blog.  Called Food Guilt, written under a nom de plume like "She Of Many Cheesecakes.")  I want to enjoy the meals I'm eating without needing to upgrade my wardrobe to a bigger size a few weeks later.  I want to sleep better at night (exercising does help with that) and I want to look in the mirror and feel proud of what I've accomplished with this so-called compromised body. 

I want to continue to be healthy to be kicking around in this skin for a long, long time.  So fine:  I'll do the 10:30 pm sweatabetes.  I'll use the ellipmachine at midnight, once the baby is completely settled and not bothered by her budding teeth.  I'll jump rope on the back deck.  I'll use the wimpy little weights at the gym while my wrists build back up to the heavier ones. 

I'll take my daughter for long stroller walks in our neighborhood to keep her mama health and to show her the world. 

This post is my March entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival.  If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at http://diabetessocmed.com/2011/march-dsma-blog-carnival !

January 19, 2011

Weight a Minute ...

"Larry Bird, I'm hot on your heels ..."

I actually said this.  Under my breath, of course, and no one could hear me, but I still said it out loud.  And I meant it. Last night was my first night back at the gym - for real - since BSparl was born.  I've been exercising since her birth, but avoiding any weight training or true exertion for several reasons:

  • The c-section made me feel ... tender.  That scar, so low on my abdomen, felt strange and a little uncomfortable at times, and I feel like it took a long time to heal.  I favored it because I was afraid to put too much strain on it.  (In my mind, I had this awful image of the wound giving way and my belly contents spilling out.  Only I never pictured MY belly contents.  Instead, I always pictured the stomach of a great white shark, so like a bucket, a tire, and a license plate would spill out.)  That, and trying to do any kind of abdominal exercise those first few weeks post-surgery were comical attempts.  I would lie on the ground, try to sit up, and nothing would happen.  Tumbleweeds would roll by.  Good times.

  • Wrist issues also impeded my workouts.  Before I was pregnant, I had tendinitis that kept me from doing a proper weight workout, but after the pregnancy, that mommy-induced De Quervain's tenosynovitis hit hard and had me in physical therapy for weeks.  And that pain is still in play.  So lifting anything has been a struggle, and doing free weight workouts hurts my hands.  (Wah wah, I know.  But this issue isn't going away, and I'm pissed!)

  • Lastly, scheduling made things tough as well.  With our work schedules and deadlines and baby needs and moving into our new place and construction and holidays ... and on and on, it's been hard for me to work in a workout.  I know "you have to make time," but for everyone who tells me that, I want to punch them (politely) in the face.  Finding the time, and then finding the energy, has been a struggle.

Excuses, excuses, right?  But this week, my friends and I booked a trip to a warm and tropical location for a vacation at the end of March, and I'd very much like to enjoy how I fIn my shark belly, there are also palm trees.  And tin cans.eel and look by the time that trip rolls around. So last night, I was back at the gym and finally returned to the weight room.  Even if I can't handle free weights at this time (thank you, evil wrists), I can do leg exercises.  And I can tone up by using my own body weight as resistance.  Even with the excuse-laden hurdles I want to blame my laziness on, there are things I can do to get back into better shape.  I just have to do them

Now I have a goal, and it's not so ambitious that I will burn out in a week.  My goal isn't to weigh a certain amount or hit the gym X number of times.  It's totally emotional.  I just want to put on a bathing suit, and to feel decent in it.  I want to feel a bit healthier, a lot stronger, and a little less flumpy. 

And with the promise of palm trees and white sand on the horizon, I've found some incentive.  :)

October 13, 2010

Interview with a Fellow New Mommy: Kim Lyons.

According to her website, Kim Lyons' goal is to "help the world become a healthier place ... physically, mentally, and emotionally."  I can subscribe to that.  Trainer from the Biggest Loser and national fitness guru, Kim gave birth to her son, Jake, about four months ago.  And I can attest to the fact that the girl has gotten herself back into shape right quick - I met up with her at the TCOYD conference in Providence a few weeks ago and she looks like she bounced right back.

Kim agreed to chat with me about fitness, pregnancy weight gain, and coming back from the post-partum body changes.  (And now I feel even more inspired to get my rear end in gear!)

*   *   *

Kerri:  As a prominent figure in the fitness world, how did you deal with the weight gain of pregnancy, both physically and emotionally?

Kim, pregnant.Kim Lyons:  As a trainer, I have a simple straight forward approach, No Excuses, period. I have heard them all, too tired, not enough time, this or that hurts, no money, etc. Bottom line, I will find time in your schedule, I will energize you with exercise, I will work around injuries, and I will give you thousands of exercise you can do for free with out a gym! I simply do not entertain any excuses.

When I found out I was pregnant, I was so excited. It not only explained my odd cravings and complete zombie state of mind but it explained my “less then aggressive” workouts. I’ve spent 15 years learning to listen to my body and for weeks my body had been screaming “slow down”. There really was no pushing through. I’ve been tired for workouts many times before and managed to still get in an intense workout. This was different and as soon as I saw the results on that little white stick it became so clear.

I never thought of pregnancy as a challenge. It was going to be simple, I’d just go about my normal routine and I’d have a little basketball belly.  All of the sudden, my hormones were a bit off (I cried about folding laundry), the scale went nuts (I gained 10lbs, not 3lb, in the first trimester), and the comfort level of my bed took on a whole new meaning! I quickly realized that, more then ever, I was going to have to crack down with my own motto and make a no excuse plan for myself.

That plan included mentally accepting the massive changes that were going on in my body and coming up with an exercise and nutrition game plan! My workouts needed to be short, effective, and accommodate for the changes in my body. My nutrition was no longer about maintaining a six pack, instead, it was about supporting the little life inside me. My little bionic body was no longer selfishly mine to beat up with daily workouts and a strict low calorie diet!

I truly thought it was going to be easy, but the truth is, there were many times when I looked in the mirror and cried. I felt so guilty for being so vain about my six pack, perfectly sculpted arms, and tight little buns. I have spent the last 15 years of my life studying the human body and how to get anyone, big or small, into top shape. For the fist time in my life, I was faced with a new challenges, I wasn’t in 100% control of my body. It wasn’t all about me anymore!

My vision of just gaining a little basketball belly was replaced by the mirror image of my arms smoothing out, my hips widening, and my boobs taking on a life of their own! The closet became my worst nightmare!
The good news is that as I settled into the pregnancy, I took on a new frame of mind. I decided to really embrace the daily changes going on in my body and follow my own no excuse approach. This workout includes a few of my favorite moves to help you keep your body in shape during your pregnancy, prepare your muscles for lifting and carrying your new little baby, and having a great and healthy body in the years to follow.
Most challenging…

The most challenging part of exercising while I was pregnant was the extra weight and the lack of flexibility in my mid section. Everything became awkward and difficult, even simple daily movements. Reaching down to pick something up no longer was a simple thoughtless movement, instead I had to think, wide squat-like stance, toes out, not to fast, sit back in the heals, and keep the abs tight as possible to support the back.
I gained 30 lbs during my pregnancy and I felt everyone of them as I walked up and down the two flights of stairs in my house. Walking became great exercise where before I never huffed or puffed or broke a sweat on a daily walk.

Most enjoyable part was that during my pregnancy I took the time to stop and smell more roses! Literally!! Usually I exercise with such focus and intensity that I don’t take time to slow down and smell the flowers. While I was pregnant I went on walks with friends, spent quite days in my home doing these exercises between errands and emails, and even worked out at the same level as some of my beginner clients. Once I set my mind to except slowing down, I really enjoyed it!
 
Kerri:  Babies are a lot of work, and taking care of them takes up a good chunk of our days.  As a Kim Lyons and her little kidlet, Jakenew mom, did you find it difficult to work in working out into your schedule?  What helped you get back into shape so quickly?

Kim Lyons:  I do find it challenging, new moms don’t have much time for themselves and when there is some down time sleep and other “to-do’s” tend to fill the time. However, at the end of the day we make time for the things that are most important and that is exactly what I had to do. I allowed myself to be flexible with when I got in my workouts, but I didn’t allow myself to skip them. I began slowly with 30 mins min exercise a day. Some days I was able to get in a bit more. I think a lot of women feel guilty asking someone to help out while they go work out, but it’s so important for mom’s to make time to exercise. It cannot only help with self esteem, but it can also help women avoid post partum depression.

Of course being in the public eye and returning back to work about a month after having Jake was a huge incentive! I have had so many women over the years say “wait until you have kids” or “you obviously don’t have kids” and I wanted to prove to everyone that you can do it. I had someone say that to me at a conference not long ago and I was so happy to say, “Actually, I have a 3 month old baby.”  Her face was priceless. It’s not easy, but I don’t except excuses from my clients and I sure the heck wasn’t going to allow myself to make excuses!
 
Kerri:  My husband and I are excited to make playing and running around a part of our daughter's upbringing.  How do you plan to instill the values of physical fitness and regular exercise into the life of your child?


Kim Lyons:  I want Jake to see exercise as fun. I grew up playing outside, climbing trees, playing tag, and playing sports. Now it seems kids just sit around and watch TV, sit on the computer, or play video games. Our food is getting worse and our kids are becoming less active. I don’t care if Jake is a super athlete, but I’m going to make sure he finds something active that he loves. I’ll expose him to martial arts, gymnastics, soccer, football, baseball, and anything else he wants to “play”! We’ll spend weekends and free time riding bikes and going for hikes instead of sitting around eating fast food!! Kids learn everything from the examples their parents set!
 
Kerri:  What advice do you have for someone who is looking to achieve a new level of fitness?  Any inspirational tips or suggestions on how to make fitness a priority?

Kim Lyons:  Achieving a new level of fitness requires total commitment and consistency. It’s important to find things that you enjoy whether it’s in a gym or not. It’s also important to have a support system. Find friends to help hold you accountable, put dates on the calendar, and set goals!
 
Kerri:  You work closely with the diabetes community, with appearances at the TCOYD conferences and other diabetes outreach events.  What made you get involved in the diabetes community?


Kim Lyons:  While working on The Biggest Loser I saw the impact that exercise and proper nutrition can have on people with diabetes. However, most people that have diabetes or are pre diabetic go to the doctor not to a trainer! Don’t get me wrong, they need to go to the doctor, but it is a trainer that can help get these people moving and eating properly. I saw a huge need for some help in the diabetic community and I have really embraced them. I am so passionate about helping people live healthier, happier lives.
 
Kerri:  What kind of difference are you looking to make in this community?


Kim Lyons:  I want people to see that diabetes is not the end of the world! With proper exercise and nutrition it is totally manageable. My goal is to help educate people about the common complications of diabetes, primarily pDPN [diabetic nerve pain].  pDPN can be very painful and many people give up on exercising. However there are so many ways to treat pDPN and exercises that they can do. I’m involved with the “Take the Next Step” campaign and travel around showing people these exercises.  You can also see them on line and read all about pDPN at www.diabetespainhelp.com
 
Kerri:  Through your experiences with the diabetes community, have you learned anything about this disease that surprised you or changed your previous perceptions?

Kim Lyons:  It surprises me how many people with diabetes don’t take care of themselves. We only get one body and one life and I just want to help people learn how to manage there diabetes and get back to doing things they love. There is so much information out there, it can be overwhelming, but at the end of the day if they take one step in the right direction it could save their lives.

Kerri:  Any other thoughts you'd like to add?

Kim Lyons:  I have an incredible on line training website that embraces all elements of living a healthier lifestyle. We help everyone from all over the world and have an incredibly support group of trainers, challenges, retreats, prizes, live chats, and a daily video blog from me! It’s really fun and amazing to see how much people love it and are achieving incredible results. The site is www.FastTrackToFatloss.com

*   *   *

Thanks, Kim, for both the information and the inspiration.  And your kid is a cutie - does he like older women?  Like almost six month olds

October 08, 2010

Stubborn Fool.

Last night, I went to the gym later in the day - around 7:30 pm.  Chris was home with BSparl and I couldn't wait to have an hour to myself and to watch Project Runway on the gym televisions.  (Yes, a month of hospital bedrest will indeed make you addicted to weird reality tv shows that make you talk about what an obnoxious sasshole Gretchen is, as though you know her.  /digression)

I'm on the elliptical and plugged in, watching tv while I work out.  About four minutes in, I see this weird spot in the bottom right hand corner of my right eye.  Nothing too dramatic, but just this nagging little floaty thing that makes my eye feel like it has a filmy cotton ball covered the bottom portion of it. 

I continue my workout, and at the seven minute mark, my sneakers feel like cement blocks and that eye thing is still foggy.  And this thought actually goes through my head - "Should I test?" - but because I am a stubborn fool, I don't quite yet.

I reach for the Dexcom receiver, only to realize it's at home on the coffee table.  So I walk for a few more minutes, not realizing I'm listing to one side and hanging on to the hand rail.  (But once my brain starts musing about how I'd maybe wear some of those Project Runway outfits, it dawns on me that I should probably test like right now.)

A bright, shiny 43 mg/dl smiles back up at me from my meter.  The eye thing, the cement feet, and the headache suddenly magnify.  But I am a stubborn fool.  And for some stupid, stupid reason, I decide to keep going.  I bring the treadmill back to a 0% incline and reduce the speed to 2.0 miles per hour.  The sports bottle I brought with me, filled with juice, is drained in a millisecond, and then I just plod along.  Plod, plod, plod.

Internal Motivational Speaker pipes up in my ear.

"Kerri.  Get off the treadmill, you stubborn fool.  You are going to hurt yourself.  Your blood sugar is way too low for you to be physically exerting yourself."

I keep plodding.

"Are you ignoring me on purpose?  Because I can go all night, lady.  You'd better listen up and get yourself off the treadmill and sitting tight until your blood sugar comes up."

I furrow my brow.  "I don't want to.  This is the only time I get to myself all day long and I am determined to banish this abdominal fluff and seriously?  This low is making me so mad at diabetes crap that I want to throw something.  So no, I'm not stopping.  I'll go slow.  I already drank the juice.  And I'll test again in a few minutes.  But I'm not stopping."

I know I should have quit as soon as I saw that low number, but I didn't.  I am stubborn.  I walked slowly and unsteadily for a few more minutes, and then my sneakers felt a bit lighter.  And my eye fog was lifting.  It wasn't until the Project Runway outfits started to look ridiculous again that I felt completely better.  Quick blood sugar check showed me an 81 mg/dl.

"This could have ended badly, you know," said my Internal Motivational Speaker as she filed her nails. 

"I know."She totally looks like this.

"You're a stubborn fool, Ms. Kerri.  You need to listen to me sometimes, even when you don't want to."

"I know that, too."

"Okay.  Next time, you sit out for a few minutes, just to be on the safe side." 

"Fine.  I will."  I glanced up at the tv again.  "Dude, Gretchen looks just like Skeletor."

"She totally does."

October 01, 2010

Joining the Gym.

We moved at the very end of August, and when we left our apartment, we also left behind our gym.  Lovely, right-there-in-the-building gym that was easy to get to because it didn't require getting into the car and trekking across town.  I worked out for the majority of my pregnancy, thanks to this gym, and only stopped when pre-eclampsia started to make my body its home.

Yesterday morning, I weighed myself and saw that I'm back to my pre-pregnancy weight, numbers-wise.

"Whaaaa?"  I said, looking into the mirror and assessing the various areas of squish.  "This is not how I looked before that little biscuit of a BSparl arrived."

Weight, for me, has never been a numbers game.  I've never cared in the least about what winks back at me from the scale, but more how my clothes actually fit.  Over the years, my weight has fluctuated due to muscle mass, stress, season (summer = ice cream), and work schedules, but overall, I've remained the same general size.  

But when BSparl came into town?  (And by town I mean "uterus.")  Chaos.  My body has taken on shapes I have never seen before.  Contents definitely shifted during landing, and I'm looking at a whole new me when I see myself in the mirror.  And honestly, I'm not the biggest fan of what I see. 

Some things, I'm fine with.  Like the scar from the c-section.  It's a sizable sucker, but it's proof positive that my baby came from my body, and I'm reminded of that every time I see her.  Some women call it a badge of honor.  I'll take that.  The stretch marks?  I'm less snuggly with those, but every week they fade a little more and every week I notice them a little less. (And Palmer's cocoa butter helps.)

Other changes in my body can be filed under "changeable," and now that BSparl is five months old, we've moved, and my travel schedule is about to lighten up over the holidays, I'm fixin' (nod to NBF) to get myself back into shape. 

So last night, I joined a gym.  And I worked out for the first time since we moved into our house.  Granted, it wasn't the most aggressive of workouts, but I was there.  I spent 45 minutes on the cardio circuit, and even though my weight didn't shift even a smidge, I felt worlds better when I left.  Like I wasn't just sitting at home, wishing I was making a change.  There I was - making it.

At the end of December, I'll be in Marco Island with my family and my extended CWD family (including my daughter's favorite spit up target, Mr. Scott Johnson), and I want to feel good about how I look when I'm there.  I have three months to reign things in, and I know that - for me - with exercise comes better diabetes control. 

Hear that, Larry?  You thought you shook me off for the last few months?  Pfffft.  I'm comin' for you.

Shhhh!  Larry is always watching.

September 09, 2010

Running with Diabetes.

I don't run.  Not well, anyway.  Running isn't my activity of choice because my body doesn't do well at high speeds.  But when I go walking or any other exercise that's outside and brings me far away from my car, I grapple with that whole "what the hell do I do with my diabetes supplies" issue.

For the most part, I usually carry a small bag.  Sometimes I bust out the meter from it's protective black case and throw it into a SpiBelt, adding in a tube of glucose tabs and my keys and cell phone and ... suddenly, I'm a pack mule, careening up the mountainside. 

I am not a "travel light" diabetic.  I'm a messy, throw-it-all-in-a-bag-and-hope-you-don't-lose-the-bag diabetic.  But some PWDs have figured out a terrific way to keep tabs on their diabetes while exercising.  Like my friend Melissa (a fellow Clara Barton Camp alum), who MacGyver'd her meter into her running shoes.  Here's a shot of her kicks, that she's graciously allowed me to share with you guys:

Melissa "Rebel" Kauffman and her diabetes running shoes.
Photo credit to Melissa K.  She also has a series of glucose stashes on her run route, in case of a low.  Clever girl!  (But no, I have no idea where she keeps the actual test strips.  You'll have to ask her.)

I think this is brilliant!  How do you keep your supplies at the ready when you're on the run - literally?  Are you like me, with an awkward bag of everything, or are you as streamlined as the pictured PWD?

July 27, 2010

How Accountable?

A week ago, I felt very crummy about my level of physical activity lately.  And about my post-baby body.  And just about everything related to diabetes management.  I felt like the only thing I was doing was raising the baby, and everything else was falling by the wayside.

I needed to be held accountable to my desires to realign my health.  And for the last week, I've gotten back on track a bit.  I haven't missed a single fasting test (we're talking immediately testing, like before I even vault from the bed in the morning) and my meter average is down in the last 30 days, from an average of 175 mg/dl (horrible for me) to 126 mg/dl (almost there).  Even though I'm not liking all the numbers I'm seeing (hello, 214 mg/dl this morning after a miscalculated midnight snack), I'm at least emotionally ready to handle any number that shows up.

Hoping these averages continue to tumble a little more.  :)

I also think I've hit a bit of stride with working out, as well.  It's not so much the actual workout, but more just GETTING THERE.  With BSparl and her cute little needs, she and I spend a lot of time together.  Scheduling a time to get a workout in has been a challenge.  I can't bring her to the gym with me, so if I head out for a real "gym workout," I need to negotiate with Chris's schedule as well.  We have the ellipmachine here in the house, but I need to have BSparl either napping or in a chilled out state (read:  memorized by her hands or the flying snail) before I can climb on for a 30 minute haul.  For me, I had to break through the mental wall of "I deserve some time for this."  I was making what I've heard is a classic new mom mistake, which is to let the baby dictate everything about my day:  wake up when she wakes up, sleep when she sleeps, and exercise once she goes to college. 

I needed to grow a pair and do some things for myself.

(Ew, Kerri.  Did you seriously just write "grow a pair?"  Where's your class, lady?  Hathat.  /digression)

BSparl usually goes to bed around 9:45 pm and sleeps until about 8:30 am, without waking up.  (Except for last night, when she woke up at 3 am and wanted to hang out and talk about her presidential picks for 2012.  She made some mention of a Hilary/Siah ticket, which I would love to see.)   So I'm trying to schedule my workouts for either before she wakes up in the morning or after she hits the sack.  I'm doing the same for my consulting schedule, working my conference calls in during scheduled nap times and for days when Chris is also working from our home office.  Now that the baby is developing more of a set schedule, I can work mine around hers.  (Which explains why I was on the ellipmachine yesterday morning at 11 am, during the first of BSparl's naps.  And at the gym again late last night, after the little biscuit had gone to bed.)

Workouts are slower than they were, pre-pregnancy, but much better than a month or two ago.  My c-section scar is healing very nicely, and I've regained some muscle mobility in my lower abdomen (meaning that I don't have to roll on my side like a crustacean when I try to get up from doing situps).  Overall, I'm aiming to do more cardio these days because I want to lower my overall body fat percentage, and because I have tendinitis so badly that I can't pick up a damn weight even if I wanted to.  But now that I've gotten myself to the gym a few days in a row, I feel back in the groove of working out ... and I missed it.  So I want more of it.

And that's the feeling I missed.  That desire.  For something more than making certain the baby is healthy and happy.  I want to be healthy and happy, too.  

Game on!

July 21, 2010

Trends.

So here's a trend:  Today, I woke up to the sound of my baby cooing from her bassinet.  My hands reached over to the Dexcom receiver and I clicked on the button to light up the screen.  I saw a "74" and an arrow trending oh-so-slightly down.  So while Chris changed the baby, I went out to the kitchen to grab a swig of juice before settling in to breastfeed BSparl.  I fed her and then went into the living room to play with her.

Notice any problems here?  Anything ... oh, I don't know ... missing?  Like maybe a blood sugar check when I woke up?  Or at least one after I fed her?

Nope.  Nothing.  No test.  I went all the way from waking up to freaking NOON before busting out my meter.  This is a terrible trend.  And it's happened twice in the last four days.  I'm relying way too much on my Dexcom for guidance, instead of double-checking every hour or two with my meter.  I mean, missing a fasting blood sugar?  I've never, ever done that before.  Even in college, when I was at my diabetes worst, I still tested first thing every morning.

This is not a trend I want sticking.

I miss these little blue guys.  :)Here's another trend:  For the most part, I am BSparl's daytime friend.  During the day, Chris leaves our home office for a distraction and baby-free zone where he can focus on his writing.  So for several hours a day, BSparl is left to her mommy's devices.  (Including, but not limited to, visiting friends for lunch dates, running household errand-type things, and my own attempts to get work done.)   When I'm hanging with the baby, getting to the gym is impossible, and with the weather so hot and humid lately, I don't feel comfortable taking her for a walk in the stroller.  By the time Chris gets home, and we talk for a while, and we have dinner, etc. etc., it's suddenly so late that it's almost time for Colbert to come on.  (NATION!)  And I'm too exhausted to hit the gym.

This is not a trend I want sticking, either.  

A lot of the baby weight has come off (thank you, breastfeeding), but I am in desperate need of some muscle toning.  I need to get some workouts in as part of my schedule in a hurry, because I'm growing tired of feeling flumpy.  Before I got pregnant, I felt good about my body.  Now?  I need a little more effort to get back to fighting shape, or at least faux-fighting shape.  (Like the kind of fighting that includes throwing styrafoam peanuts.  Or something similar.)

The trends of missing blood sugar checks and workouts must end TODAY.  These habits are too damn crappy to let them continue.  I can't let these two trends wreck my goal of good health.  Small changes can make the biggest difference, so as of this moment, I'm realigned myself to test every morning and to get some exercise in at least four days a week.  (I was doing five days a week for years, so four days isn't a bad starting point.)  And it doesn't have to be a gym workout - I'll take anything from a long walk with the stroller and BSparl to an ellipmachine workout to a bike ride. 

Why am I rambling on about this?  Accountability, my friends.  By telling you, I'm setting myself up to be accountable for my actions (or lack of action).  It worked in helping me get my diabetes reigned in for pregnancy, and I hope accountability can help me get my act together to be a healthier mom.

June 14, 2010

Muscle Memory.

All I need is a handlebar moustache.Exercise professionals say that muscle has memory, and that even when you are away from exercise for a long stretch of time, your muscles "remember" the level of fitness they once laid claim to, and rebuilding that muscle becomes easier.

To this, I say a hearty HA! 

HA HA HA!!

Because my muscles, which were in decent shape before my pregnancy, have developed wicked amnesia.  As evidenced by the fact that when Chris and I attempted to bike the hills of Block Island this past weekend, I was a disaster.  

"Can ... we ... aah ... hang on a minute ... can you slow ... down?  For like ... a sec?"  I panted, trying like hell to keep up as we navigated our bikes up a 90 degree (okay fine, maybe like 40 degree) incline. 

"Sure.  You okay back there?"  Chris called back to me.

"My legs?  Hate me.  And ... my stomach?  Agrees with my legs."  I caught my breath and tried to peddle up the hill towards where Chris was waiting patiently.  

"These hills are tough, Kerri.  I'm feeling it, too.  You're doing great.  Don't forget where you were eight weeks ago."

He had a point.  Eight weeks ago, I was in the hospital, recovering from BSparl's escape.  Eight weeks ago, my feet didn't fit into my sneakers, thanks to the extreme swelling, courtesy of preeclampsia.  But now, it's been almost two months since BSparl's birthday, and I'm itching to feel more like myself.  

"I know, but I want to be able to do all this crap again.  It's going to take me a while to do this ride, but next time, it will be easier, right?"

"Right."

My lower abdominal muscles were pissed off, and rightly so, after the bike ride.  They haven't been bothered too much lately (especially after I tried to do sit ups last week and almost died of shame), but the strain in play during the bike ride reawakened them. And even though I felt like I was going to keel over and I definitely almost burst into tears on one of the major hills, the next morning, the aches in my torso and legs actually felt good.  The kind of good I felt whenever I'd start a new workout. That sick, sadistic kind of good that makes you contemplate doing the workout again.

I haven't done much exercising since the seven month mark of my pregnancy, so my body is a bit rusty.  (Rusty = lazy and kind of squishy.)  I feel like I'm learning to workout all over again.  And it's awkward and clumsy.  And hard.

Slowly but surely, my muscles will remember what they should be doing and how they should be responding. That muscle memory I've heard so much about will eventually kick in.   

Until then, I'll feed them a gingko biloba cocktail.

May 14, 2010

Working on my Fitness.

'Round and 'round I go.  (Because secretly, I am a Fergie fan.  Even if she pees her pants onstage.)

Before BSparl, I went to the gym every day.  But wait - I have a good excuse! My then-boyfriend/now-husband already had working out as part of his daily routine.  So, in folding our schedules together, I somehow ended up at the gym with him.  I can't complain, though.  It helps to have a very motivated partner to help keep me motivated.

But I do not really enjoy working out.  I'm not one of those endorphin junkies.  Of course, it feels good to push  my body and to have that limber, stretched feeling, and I really like sports bras and yoga pants (comfy!), but I don't really like to sweat. 

Don't get me wrong - I see the benefits of exercise, and not solely from a diabetes perspective.  A good workout helps me lower my blood sugars (most of the time, unless it's one of those freak times where exercise makes me higher), increases my muscle mass (which helps me better use insulin), and also helps me maintain my weight (helps ward off insulin resistance).  But diabetes stuff aside, I also like the way that exercise keeps me toned up.  Before BSparl, I wasn't the slimmest or most fit creature on the planet, but I didn't feel ashamed of how I looked.  I felt pretty strong.  And my body had a more athletic tone to it, which was nice.  And while I'm not a huge fan of the gym, I really like going hiking and riding my bike and doing activities that keep me moving and out of the confines of four walls.

However, now I'm in the After BSparl realm.  It's decidedly ... squishier.  My body feels and looks completely different to me now.  After nine months of a constantly growing belly and hormone levels pinging all over creation, my body is a bit worse for the wear.  During the course of my pregnancy, I tried to keep exercising, but by the end of the second trimester, I was starting to puff up.  And by the end of the third trimester, I was hospitalized.  Not to mention the whole c-section thing, which was my first surgical experience and left me unable to get out of bed comfortably, nevermind start climbing mountains. Today, even four weeks out from BSparl's birthday, my uterus is still in the process of shrinking back to its normal size, leaving my belly flompy and with a nice scar along the southernmost part. 

It's hard to look in the mirror these days, especially after working so hard for years to maintain a good weight and decent muscle tone.  It's strange to not be able to do sit-ups because (even though I know this is a ridiculous thought) I keep picturing my incision giving way and flapping open.  And it's frustrating to wait through the six week healing process until I can start working out again.  But I'm trying.  And I'll continue to try.  Right now, my workouts are limited to long, easy walks on the treadmill.  I'm looking forward to lifting even little weights again.  (For now, I'm using BSparl as part of my makeshift my resistance training.  She's 8 lbs of wiggly weight!)

Every day brings me closer to "healed," and spending all this recovery time snuggling with my daughter isn't a exactly a bad thing.  Besides, chasing after her once she's able to crawl will definitely burn some calories!  I should rest while I can.  :)  

February 03, 2010

We Can Work It Out.

The Dexcom seems fit enough.  I need to get my yellow legs in gear.(Great song.)

Now that we're back from our trip, it's time to reintroduce myself to the "swing of things."  While we were away, Chris and I were up late, eating fancy food at fancy restaurants (including desserts and carb-fantastic sweet potato french fries and gelato ... things we wouldn't normally eat but we devoured in spades - and in our mouths - all week long during the festival holy run on sentence), going to bed at 3:30 in the morning, battling the frigging hills, and waking up the next day only to do it again.  For nine days running.

It was exhausting. 

But now we are home.  And in the comfort of my own schedule, I can wake up early, eat a breakfast that doesn't include sausage (not the cat), get enough sleep at night, put my feet up as necessary, and get some exercise in.

Oh, the exercise part.  How you plague me.

I used to be awesome at getting to the gym.  Not to toot my own horn - more to toot Chris's, actually - but his dedication to the gym helped me keep my proverbial (and literal) butt in gear.  It was just part of our routine, and it was easy.  And the benefits were tremendous:  good health, pants that fit, and that feeling of "ooh, I'm sort of strongish."

But now?  As the baby belly grows and my sense of balance leaves the building for the next 75 days?  Exercise is hard.  Wicked hard.

Since we've been home, I've been back at the gym with Chris, only the workouts I'm doing now feel completely lazy-ass, compared to the ones I was doing before.  No weights (thank you, retinopathy), no jumping rope (thank you, bouncy belly), and no increased heart rate over 130.  

So I walk.  For like 40 minutes on the treadmill, without an incline and at a speed of only 3.0 miles per hour.  On paper (screen?) that looks wussy, but in reality, it's kicking my behind.  I'm not sure if it's the weight I've put on in the front or the fact that my lungs are squished in there, or maybe just because my whole body is completely different now than it was seven months ago, but just walking on the treadmill is a challenge these days.

I'm going to see how long I can keep exercising.  I've heard that many pregnant women make it to the day before they give birth, and I've also heard that the more active I can remain, the better my recovery will be after having the little baby.  Activity helps keep BSparl healthier, too, which is even more incentive to keep plodding.

Weird thing is, my blood sugars don't drop during exercise anymore.  In fact, they seem to go up a little bit.  Before becoming pregnant, I would disconnect my pump and exercise without insulin, but now I need to leave it attached.  And I sometimes need to bolus during the workout, depending on how the Dexcom is trending.  It's very odd, what my hormones are doing to my blood sugars these days.  I also had to increase part of my wee hours of the morning basal today, after two mornings in a row of waking up at 150 mg/dl.

"Kerri, you're rambling.  You realize that, right?  You're just rambling on about exercise and blood sugars and do you actually have a point with this post?"

Why thank you, Internal Motivational Speaker.  I appreciate you bothering me.  Yes, I'm rambling, but I'm just trying to get all these thoughts out before I lose them.  Which seems to be the case lately.

"Why don't you just tell them that the real reason you're fixated on exercise this week is because when you came home from Sundance, each cat had gained 5 pounds?  Now you have a trio of porkchops racing around the apartment?  Why don't you admit that Siah can't even fit under the couch anymore because she's too darn fat?"

Sigh.  I need to get back into the exercise groove. 

And apparently so do my cats.

January 08, 2010

BSparl: She's a Mobile Biscuit.

We're just over 23 1/2 weeks with Ms. BSparl, and she's an active little biscuit in there.  I know I mentioned it in my vlog earlier this week, but this baby is scooting around all over the place inside of me.  Last night, for the first time, Chris and I could actually SEE her kicking from the outside.  Feeling her kick is one thing, but seeing it?  Completely amazing.  When she shuttles and rolls from one side of my uterus to the other, I can see her moving.  My belly swells more on one side, and then I can feel and see the 'bulge' move over to the other side.  (I'm trying to get a video of her doing this, but usually when it happens, I'm too taken by surprised to grab the Flip!)

Baby Girl Sparling, 23 weeks along

On the diabetes front, my insulin resistance is climbing.  Daily.  Like a cat in a tree, howling from the top branch and refusing to come down.  (I need the fire department - stat!)  My basals, once at a conservative 12.4u today per day, are at an even 20u per day and I'm sure they'll need to be upped again sometime next week.  I feel like I'm chasing my tail right now with these blood sugars, but so long as I can continue to effectively stalk them, I'm confident that I'm not boiling BSparl.  This morning, after three days of waking up at 140, 155, and 203 (gah), respectively, my fasting number was 79 mg/dl and the Dexcom reflected a steady overnight, too. I'll take that, and hope it happens again tomorrow. 

But if it doesn't?  CRANK it up again!

A big hurdle I'm encountering is the exercise bit.  Honestly, I haven't had a good workout since before we went to Spain (and returned with Ms. BSparl).  In the first trimester, I was usually too exhausted to get to the gym (went three times a week instead of the five I was getting in before), and then we moved out of our apartment in Connecticut, so that whole transition sucked out my desire to work out almost entirely. 

Now, well into the second trimester, I'm trying to get to the gym but it's just so boring.  My exercise options feel so limited, and I'm not used to the whole "get on the treadmill, walk steadily for 35 minutes, END" routine.  No ab workouts, or I could smoosh BSparl.  No jumping rope, or all these new sticky-outtie parts of my body might leap off of me and my pelvic floor could be weaked.  (Kidding on the body parts leaping off but true on the pelvic floor concerns. I also can't imagine jumping rope being almost 6 months pregnant, nevermind the fact that the kid won't like it.)  And no strenuous weight lifting, thanks to compromised diabetic eyes. Those little five pound weights I have are borderline questionable, considering my retinopathy progression.  Booooooo.

So the treadmill it is, for long and awkward ambling.  (For now.)  And even though it's a whole lot of boring (I've watched that "build a six foot gingerbread house in 8 hours" challenge on the food network like seven times now), it is getting harder and harder to keep moving.  With BSparl expanding every week, my organs are getting a little smushed in there.  An expanding uterus puts pressure on my bladder, my diaphragm, and every other organ I have in there, leaving me short of breath a lot of the time and generally feeling like I'm going to tip over a little bit.  I guess these walking workouts are still exercise, even though they aren't even close to what I was doing before BSparl's creation.  

Every week is different, but I'm definitely not complaining.  Pretty damn grateful, actually.  I'm so happy to look in the mirror and see that my waistline has all but disappeared and has been replaced by this bump o' BSparl.  She's in there, she's doing well, and in just about four months, she'll be here.  

August 04, 2009

Biking Block Island.

After the loooooooong day in Boston on Friday, I needed to work off some stress.  So Chris and I decided to 'sail away on the Block Island ferry.' (This is the theme song for the ferry, but I couldn't find a YouTube clip or anything.  If someone can find audio proof of this song, please send it to me!  Lyrics are "Sail away on the Block Island Ferry, take a trip back to carefree times.  Sail away, Block Island awaits you.  Just leave your troubles behind."  And thus ends this digression.)

Our ferry ride over was a little choppy, and we were ... green by the time the ferry docked at Payne's Dock, but we shook off our seasickness quickly after breakfast at the Mohegan Cafe.  Then we rented some dented bikes from the shop by Ballard's (I left my bike back in CT ... foolish Kerri) and got on the road.

I must admit:  July was a tough month for me, exercise-wise.  I was traveling way more than I'm used to and only made it to the hotel gyms a handful of times.  My own gym membership at home went virtually unused, save for a few ragtag workouts.  But I thought I was still in relatively decent shape, so I didn't think the bike ride would kick my ass.  I was even grinning before we attempted the hills, all hopeful. 

Oh how stupid I was. 

The first leg of the ride was all uphill.  We followed Spring Street straight up to the Southeast Lighthouse and by the time we reached the top of the bluffs, I was dying.  DYING.  My legs were wobbly and I was panting and my blood sugar was plummeting.   Thankfully, I'm a nerd and I chose the bike with the little basket on the front, and since I didn't have a small dog to stuff in there, I instead had a secure place for glucose tabs.  Which I ate.  Happily.  Next to the Southeast lighthouse. 

Exhibit A:

Tabs by the lighthouse.  Of course.

We hung out for a while at the lighthouse because my numbers just wouldn't budge, so I are a few more glucose tabs near the bluffs. 

Exhibit B:

Tabs on the bluffs, yo.

The Dexcom (also stuffed into the bike basket) finally stopped BEEEEEEEEP!ing and a quick test confirmed a number finally in the triple digits, so we ventured on our way.  Thankfully, the way down was easier on our legs, and we stopped at the Block Island airport to take a break and watch the teeny, tiny planes land.  (Note:  No.  I will never go on one of these planes.  They hold four people.  Including the pilot.  Oh hell no!)

Water Street in the background.

It was fun, though.  Chris and I had a great time - hard not to in one of my favorite places.  Even though my legs were burning and my wrist was a little aggravated from the ride, it was awesome to be out in the sunshine, taking in the sights of a beautiful place like Block Island as we whizzed by on our bikes.  (We also found the same pond three times.  Sad senses of direction, we have.) 

I already have a bike, but it's been sitting in our storage space for the last few years.  I used to ride all the time when I lived in RI because my apartment was across the street from a beautiful eight mile bike path.  Now I think I want to bust that thing out and toddle around town on my ridiculous bicycle with my equally ridiculous helmet (thank you, Nicole), maybe with Siah in a basket on the front. 

Or maybe just my meter would be more realistic. 

Either way, it was awesome to be outside, far from the glowing computer screen, pedaling away my stress on the summer streets of Block Island.

June 18, 2009

Working On Working Out.

Way overdue on a new vlog post, but I was inspired by George's post yesterday about getting back on track with exercise.  So here's my vlog post about diabetes, working out, and what motivates me to move.

Some of my reasons are a little goofy, but I think whatever gets me to exercise is well worth laughing at myself a little bit.  What gets you to break a sweat?

March 16, 2009

The "Ellipmachine."

The Ellipmachine ... by Mennen.When I was preparing for our wedding last year, I spent a lot of time at the gym.  A.  Lot.  As in, too much.  If I wasn't at work at dLife or doing wedding-esque things like cake tastings, dress fittings, and bridal shower fun, I was working out and doing my best to keep the stress from fattening me up.

Fitness was my priority.  

But after the wedding, other stuff started to crop up.  Weekends home in RI.  Travel for work.  Writing projects that required lots of attention.  New focuses at dLife.  Every day was this whirlwind of chaos and while I've been having fun and being very productive, my days at the gym were harder to come by.  Before, I was working out faithfully Monday - Friday after work.  But "life stuff" kept cropping up, and suddenly I found myself at the gym only four days a week.

Then it all became a perfect storm of distraction.  I was working late on dLife initiatives.  I was answering emails from my Blackberry into the wee hours of the night and sleeping less.  My wrist exploded in a fit of tendinitis and low blood sugars returned to my life with a renewed sense of determination.  Piles of snow kept falling and the gym kept closing, and on other days, I worked too late to get to the gym before it closed.

My time at the gym went from frequent and intense to only four days a week and pretty remedial.

Not okay, because my body wants to be fluffy.  It may be a family gene pool thing and it might also be exacerbated by diabetes factors, but if I sit still and let nature take its course, my body wants to be a happy 15 lbs heavier.

I, however, do not agree.

But I was frustrated because between feeling stressed and having lows again, my caloric intake far exceeded my burn off.  Thus, I lost any semblance of abs.  (Shame, too, because I liked them while they were there.)  So, in effort to reclaim my abs before I get pregnant and become a happy beach ball swallower, I did my part to stimulate the economy:  I bought an elliptical machine.

Or, as I keep calling it by mistake, an "ellipmachine."

It was delivered and assembled last Monday morning, and I called Chris (who was on business in California last week) to tell him it had arrived safely.  

"It's here!  The ellipmachine!"

"The what?"  

"I mean the elliptical."

It's a nice machine - very smooth and not clunky as to annoy our downstairs neighbors (I do not want to become Shoes) - and I used it every day last week for an hour.  Now I'm able to go out with my coworkers after work for an hour or two and still manage to slide a workout in.  I am also hoping to use it in the mornings (provided I'm able to get to bed at a reasonable time and eek out a 20 minute workout in the am).  My main hope is to reclaim the level of fitness I worked so hard to achieve before the wedding but lost a bit due to that pesky "life stuff."  

Last week, while Chris was out of town, he called one night and I answered, panting.  

"Hey baby ... what are you doing?"

"Dude, I'm on the ellipmachine."

I could hear him laughing.  "The ellipmachine, eh?"

"Oh you know what I mean."

Here's hoping that the ellipmachine can help me get a workout in even when my schedule wants to thwart my good intentions.  I'm ready to battle.

(Take that, early gym closings!  En garde, late nights at work!  Pffffft, snow days!  Come back, sort-of-abs!) 

February 17, 2009

Larry Bird, At Home.

Larry doesn't let me slack.  Damnit.Brrrrrrrrrriiiiiiing!

"Hello?"

"Keeeeeeer."

"Larry!  dude, how the hell have you been?"

"Dude, don't call me out on being MIA.  You're the one who has been hiding out lately.  Eating kettle corn by the fistful.  Skipping the gym to have dinner with those Fairfield County Dinner ladies ..."

"Hey, wait a second.  I'm not allowed to have a social life?"

"No, you can, but you need to stick with the workouts.  And not just going, but like you need to mentally be there."

"What?  I go!  I'm there!"

"Kerri, you know what I mean.  Over the last two months, you have read seven books while working out.  You can't work out hard when your nose is buried in a book!"

"I'm trying to relax a little bit, too.  Managing stress just as important as exercise!"

"It totally is.  You don't think I got stressed out that January day in '85 against Portland, when I had to hit that baseline jumper at the buzzer?  But you aren't de-stressing.  I've seen you with your Blackberry while you're working out.  Your BLACKBERRY?  That's how you avoid stress?"

"Larry!  How the hell did you see me?"

"Skylights.  I climbed up on the building.  But anyway, you need to tune back into those workouts, Kerri.  You are going through the motions, and that's not going to help you lose those 10 pounds you've gained since the wedding."

"Five pounds, smartass.  And wait, did you say you were peeping through the skylights?"

"Five.  Whatever.  And yeah, the skylights are comfortable.  I usually bring headphones.  But anyway, I want to see some serious effort from you this month.  You were doing really well, and I want to see you back in better shape by the end of March, okay?"

"I can do that.  Actually, we're buying an elliptical this week for the house, so now I can do you at home."  

"That joke never gets old for you, does it."

"Nope."

"Okay, Ker.  Keep it real, and don't let me see you with that frigging Blackberry on the treadmill anymore.  Got it?"

"Got it.  Thanks for checking in, Larry."

"No problem.   Happy belated birthday!"

"Thanks!  Stay off the damn skylights."

Click.

January 28, 2009

If You're Going to Stare ...

I like this image, so I'm using it again.  :)Last night at the gym, I put my bag in the locker and took off my sweatshirt.  Wearing my black yoga pants, sports bra, and a tank top, I went into the bathroom section of the locker room to put my hair in a ponytail.

Two other women were at the sinks, chatting in Spanish and washing their hands.   They were standing to my left and as I raised my arm to put the elastic in my hair, I noticed that both women had stopped talking for a minute and were staring at my arm. Staring like I had moldy peach stuck to my arm, or maybe one of those bizarre happy spiders

Then I remembered that the Dexcom sensor is comfortably resting on the back of my left arm.  Facing them.  

I had a quick surge of "Grrrrr," as in "What are you staring at, woman?  Never seen a CGM sensor before?" ... then I had to check my attitude.  No, they probably haven't ever seen a continuous glucose monitoring sensor before.  Just because it's something I'm used to doesn't mean it's something they are used to.  After yesterday's post purge and your wonderful and inspiring comments, I felt ready to cast off some of this anger and try, instead, to help.

So I decided to smile instead.  

"I'm sorry, I don't mean to notice that you're staring."  Gestured to my arm.  "This thing - it's for my type 1 diabetes.  It's a glucose monitor."

"Oh my goodness, I did not mean to stare," said the woman in the green shirt.  "I was like, 'Is that an iPod thing or something?'  I have never seen that kind of thing before."

Her friend with the glasses leaned in.  "For diabetes?"

"Yeah.  I know it doesn't look completely natural, and I would stare, too, if it wasn't something I was used to." Glasses and Green Shirt smiled back.  "It's cool.  I just didn't want you wondering if I was some kind of cyborg or something."

Green Shirt laughed.  "Cyborg?  No, chica.  It's interesting looking.  I was waiting for, like, the music to come out of it or something.  But I didn't mean to stare.  Lo siento, my friend."

"Not a problem at all.  Have a good workout!"

I left the locker room and went to do my workout.  After I was done, I went back in to grab my sweatshirt and saw Glasses and Green Shirt getting their gear together.  Flashed them a quick smile.  Glasses smiled back.  Green Shirt tapped her left arm and gave me a knowing nod.

Some people can try to bring you down.  But others, even strangers, can raise you up.  

[Dexcom disclosure]

January 26, 2009

The Biggest Loser: Diabetes-Style.

The Biggest Loser:  Diabetes-StyleReckon that on these here diabetes blogs (spits into spittoon), we do a lot of sharing.  We share our best diabetes practices, our literal highs and lows, and we also have the common bond of this disease.  And through these shared experiences, we learn to take care of ourselves, and each other. 

(Is that Jerry Springer's line?  I can't remember.  But in any event, I mean it.)  

So when I heard about The Biggest Loser:  Diabetes-Style, I knew this was another example of the power of the diabetes blogosphere.  Turns out that 18 of our very own are taking on a "Biggest Loser" type challenge, and they're letting us follow their progress and become inspired by them along their journey. 

My friend Landileigh, creator of Landileigh's Little World and this weight loss challenge, took some time to talk with me about The Biggest Loser:  Diabetes-Style and how she's hoping it will rock their worlds!

Kerri:  What made you want to start The Biggest Loser - Diabetes Style?   And how long is the program?

Landi:  With having Chronic Kidney Disease, I need to be at a weight that won’t be so hard on my body for when the time comes for dialysis. My good friend George over at TheBADblog.com was also going through a similar weight realization and I knew he couldn’t go through this alone, and neither could I. The Biggest Loser ‘D’ Style was born with helping the two of us out. I never thought I’d have 18 people join up!  We’ll be following the schedule of the show … so 12-16 weeks.

Kerri:  What was the catalyst?

Landi:  Seeing this picture! I never realized I’d gotten so .. ummm.. large.

Kerri:  You say on your site that it's not about diet or exercise, but more about supporting one another as you work towards better health. How are you guys rallying the troops and keeping everyone inspired?

Landi:  I’m sending daily emails to everyone who is participating, and posting on my new blog at www.landileigh.com.

Kerri:  How are you holding one another accountable? How do you keep track of where people are "starting from" and what their goals are?

Landi:  No holding back, it is out there on the internet for everyone to see. If you can’t post it and show it, you can’t say to yourself that you want to do something about it.  I have a large spreadsheet in Excel that is keeping it all [the results] straight for me.

Kerri:  You have Other Diabetes, and many of the other participants are also diabetic, or the parents of diabetic kids. Does the same kind of inspiration work for all kinds of participants, or do you need to tailor your approach?


Landi:  I think the main goal is doing this for our health, diabetes or not. Obesity and being overweight is one of the largest health concerns there is today. I’m not guiding people on what their diet/exercise plan is. There are tons of them out there for them to pick from. But I am asking that people say, "Here I am! I want to do something about it!" Kind of like an AA program for being overweight. I also wanted to help my comrades in the D-force!

Kerri:  What happens when you guys cross the finish line?


Landi:  For every week that you completed that week’s challenge and sent in your weight, your name goes into a hat. At the end of the 16 weeks, names will be drawn and given prizes. So far I’ve gotten donations from Rickina at StickMeDesigns and AmyT at DiabetesMine will also be donating prizes.

Kerri:  What happens once the 16 weeks are over?
 
Landi:  Hopefully they’ll be less of us! And I’ve already been asked to start a Biggest Loser ‘D’ Style II for people that weren’t able to get in on it this time.

To follow the success of the Biggest Losers:  Diabetes-Style, scuttle on over to Landi's blog and stay tuned!  (And look out for some prizes from me here at SUM - hopefully it won't be a lock of Siah's fur.)  Thanks, Landi!!

November 18, 2008

No More Larry Bird.

Dexcom - I need  you back!They left me alone for several months, but now the lows have returned, and they brought friends. Last night, before we left the house to go to the gym, I tested at 137 mg/dl. Knowing I'd be doing at least 30 minutes of cardio and some weights, I figured I should eat something. Grabbed a bar from the cupboard and chomped on it.

"Will that do it?"  Chris asked as he mixed up his protein shake.

"Yeah.  It has like 18 grams of carbs.  If I disconnect and eat this, I should be good."

Munch, munch.  Feeling good.  We drive off to the gym and go our separate ways - Chris to the weight room downstairs and me to the women's cardio section.  I hit the treadmill and dial up a 30 minute workout.

Music is loud - a little Muse.  My legs feel strong and my sneakers pound against the treadmill.  Strong, healthy, strong, healthy ... the words jostle around in my brain with each step.

But I start feeling a little funny at the 20 minute mark.  The music is too loud.  My headphones feel tight against my ears and my hands are numb at the very edges.  I scan the far wall of the room and the walls look a little wobbly.  My legs are a little wobbly. 

With the treadmill still running, I jump off quickly to the side and grab my meter from my gym bag.  Jump back on to the treadmill with the meter in hand, slowing down the pace so I can unzip the bag and lance my finger.

33 mg/dl.

"That sucks."  I press "Stop" on the treadmill interface and open my bottle of juice, taking eight long slugs from the plastic bottle.   My legs, which just a few minutes ago were holding me up just fine, feel like they're made of yarn.  Leaning against the railing of the treadmill, I finish the bottle.

This low feels particularly rotten.  Waves of nausea and a feeling of extreme light-headedness are coming up from my knees and cresting over my eyes.  I know I need to get downstairs and find Chris, just in case.  My legs work on autopilot, bringing me downstairs and into the weight room, where Chris is working out.

One look is all he needs.

"How low?"

"Thirty-three."

"Hmm.  Larry Bird."   He guides me by the elbow over to where I can sit down.  "Did you drink juice?"

"Yeah. I'm frustrated.  I only got 20 minutes into my workout.  And I feel like I'm all ..." Words aren't processing properly in my head.  "Mushy.  I feel mushy."

"You just need a few minutes.  You'll be okay.  Right?"

"Right."  The affirmation makes sense.  "Baby, I'm sort of tired of Larry Bird."

He smiled and we waited for the numbers to climb.

I don't know where these lows are coming from, but they are sneaky, intense little suckers that buckle me at the knees and steal the words from my mouth.  I'm waiting on my next order of Dexcom sensors to be shipped, but last night was one of those moments where I missed the Dex.  I would have at least seen the low creeping up on me a little bit.

But the wildest part is how strong I feel when I'm in that range, that 90 mg/dl range.  It's my magic number.  I feel strong, capable, almost borderline athletic.  (For those of you who know me in real life, you know how remarkable that statement really is!)  It's crazy how much just a little fluctuation in these numbers can really change how our bodies respond. 

Dex, I need you back, buddy. 

November 05, 2008

More Sweet Irony.

Last Friday, we had a little Halloween party at dLife, complete with costume competition.  And there were treats - oh holy sugar rush, there were brownies and candy bars and cupcakes and other delicious, carb-laden tasty bits.

But somehow, willpower had settled into my brain on the overnight and took up residence there, keeping my hands steady when the sugary treats were passed around.  And while other moments of willpower are hard for me to maintain, this one was easy.  I've felt a little "off the wagon" lately with my eating, so I'm trying to revert back to pre-wedding mentality, with a focus on lower carbohydrate consumption and ramping up my workouts a little bit.

"No thanks, I'm all set," as the candy dish is passed around.
"I'm cool," while the brownies are being cut and served.
"I'll have coffee," when offered a delicious cupcake.

And it wasn't difficult.  I actually felt unaffected by this mysterious willpower.  It was kind of nice to just coast without feeling any pangs of "Man, I wish I wanted to take the leap and eat that ..."

So why, dear diabetes, did you decide to take a mini-hiatus for the afternoon?  My "good behavior" was rewarded by a series of low blood sugars that righteously kicked my ass.  As soon as I got to work, I started taking pictures of my co-workers' costumes and enjoying the festivities.  But after a few minutes, I realized there was a hollow tin to the way everything sounded, and my lightweight Red Riding Hood cape felt like it was about 33 (Larry Bird) lbs of fabric.  

I tested, and sure enough:  34 mg/dl.

Fantastic.  I had to borrow change from a coworker and grab a juice from the kitchen, chugging it in almost one gulp.  Thankfully, my body recovered fast and by the time my friend asked, "Hey, are you okay?", I already was.

Forty-five minutes goes by.  And I'm sitting at my desk, typing away in an email and realizing I've typed the word "diabetus" instead of "diabetes."  I hit the backspace and tried to retype it, but my fingertips skidded off the keyboard clumsily.  The headache behind my ears was a pounding one, and beads of sweat were on my forehead.  Oh for crying out loud - another one?  I reached back and grabbed my bottle of glucose tabs, popping two in my mouth at once as I fumbled with my meter.  

Well lookie here:  48 mg/dl.  How did that happen?!  I haven't eaten anything that required a big, potentially miscalculated bolus, so what gives?  Whatever - treated it and tried to move on.  (But I giggled again at "diabetus," and promptly had Liberty Medical commercials stuck in my head for the next three hours.  Digression?  Don't mind if I do!)

We had our Halloween costume contest, gave out the prizes, and work resumed again.  I was talking with my coworker when I felt the old, familiar symptoms creeping back up on me.  Her voice was too loud, the heating vents were too loud, the buzzing from the computer screen was creeping into my brain and gnawing on my nerves.  I felt testy.  Overly sensitive.  I wanted to tell her I felt low but the words coming out of my mouth weren't ones that had checked in with me, first.  

"I wanted to ... you know, I'm sorry.  I think I'm low again.  I need to test."  Shunk.  55 mg/dl.  I didn't know what to say.  Why won't this low just back off!?  Does it want brownies that badly?  I moved my chair back and reached for the glucose tabs again, my coworker pausing to look at my quizzically.  "Apparently, I'm cured," I said with a shrug.

I do not understand what causes these lows that hang around for hoooooours.  I didn't change my basals.  I didn't do anything bizarre, like run five miles before work or start doing crunches at my desk.  I hadn't eaten anything out of the ordinary, and I was eating snacks at very regular intervals.  But for some reason, this low blood sugar was hanging with me - we were buddies.

Dear diabetes, if you wanted a brownie, you could have just said so.  Seriously. 

Diabetes wanted a brownie.
  

September 03, 2008

Kerri in the Wild.

Maine was awesome.  Despite the crazy long drive (6 hours from Providence, where we left from on Saturday morning), Acadia National Park was gorgeous and Bar Harbor was the perfect little seaside town to explore.

On Sunday morning, we woke up at 4:33 (Larry Bird) in the morning and drove up Cadillac Mountain to see the sunrise.  According to the geniuses at Wikipedia, Cadillac Mountain is the first place in North America that sees the sunrise.  And we watched that sun come up, all right.  We were exhausted, but it was truly beautiful.

Cadillac Mountain sunrise

After watching the sun rise, we ventured down to Bar Harbor to rustle up some breakfast.  Since it was well before seven in the morning, we had plenty of time to kill.  The views of the actual harbor were so beautiful that we snapped a pile of pictures.

Bar Harbor boats

The breakfast place we found was AWESOME - 2 Cats Inn and Restaurant.  Among the very first patrons that day, we enjoyed an excellent organic breakfast (which included a biscuit with strawberry-flavored butter - so, so awesome) and woke up slowly.  I'd recommend this breakfast joint to anyone.  The service was a little slow, but the food was among the best I've ever had.  And there was a cat sauntering through the dining room, which I thought was cool.  Against health codes?  Sure.  But I don't care.

Best breakfast in Maine!

In Acadia National Park, we drove the Park Loop and tried to see as many parts of the park as we could.  We visited Thunder Hole twice, but the tides were never high enough to experience the full effects of the promised "Thunder."   We had to bring our own waves.  (HA - the puns never stop!)

Thunder Hole - We had to bring our own waves.

The hiking trails were great, too, and my blood sugars seemed to enjoy working out in a different environment.  We did the 3.3 mile loop around Jordan Pond (and yes, we had popovers at the Jordan Pond Tea House) and later in the day, we climbed up Gorham Mountain.  The views were incredible, and being the only people on the mountain at that time of day made us feel like we were real explorers (nevermind the cairns placed on the mountain).  We reached the summit after a hard 0.9 mile hike up.

Kerri conquers Gorham Mountain.

Even camping out was decent - we devoured s'mores (after taking a full hour to make a damn fire) and slept in our tent.  The dirt and I made our peace with one another.  And we have a whole slew of photos on Flickr, if you want to see more of the scenery.

The Internet is intruiging.  Work is comfortable.  And checking out what different cities have to offer is fun.  But being out there in the woods and seeing what nature has to offer - that's a whole different kind of existance.

August 28, 2008

Everybody Exercises.

There are days when I feel like I'm draaaaaging myself to the gym.  Literally, like scooping my legs off the floor, forcing them into my workout clothes, and dawdling over to the door.  The weeks after the wedding and through the beginning of August were particularly hard, because my numbers were on the level of "sucking royally" and my body was infected with a general feeling of "vlah." 

Thank goodness that Chris is usually ready to roll.  It helps to have someone who is also dedicated to being healthy, because it makes it easier for me to keep from slacking off due to my own laziness or vlah-ishness.  Especially when work gets busy and freelance is hopping - getting my sorry butt to the gym becomes a real challenge.  Chris and his equal quest for good health and a long life serve as more motivation to get moving.

It also helps that the Sausage does her part.  

By trying on my running shoes. 

The cat wears sneakers.  Enough said.

Wrong foot, Siah.  The other one.

There you go, Siah.

There you go, piggy.  That's the correct foot.

Diabetes requires support on all fronts.  Even from the cat. 

July 16, 2008

Body Image.

What fits.Beauty benchmarks seem to be measured in what size pants you fit into and what designer hand bag you have draped over your rail-thin arm. 

This is the biggest bunch of crap I have ever heard.  In my life.

There's a lot of body image problems in our society.  Women are shown almost-unattainable media images and are encouraged - expected? - to achieve that look.  As a girl with diabetes and part of a family of curvier people, whittling my body down to that socially mandated size isn't easy ... and wasn't accomplished.  Life with diabetes puts a huge emphasis on food, making me unable to eat just a raisin for lunch.  Instead, I ate in accordance with the then-peaking of my insulin and tried to keep my weight, and my diabetes, under control.  This was difficult at times.

I was never a "thin" adult.  I've always had more of an athletic build than that of a runway model.  As a kid, I was scrawny, but once puberty hit, my body took on womanly curves and held fast to them.  I never felt shapely or feminine - instead, I felt fat. In college, I lived with six other girls (six until me?) and they were all teeny little things.  They had thin arms and thin legs and they shared clothes with one another, but I couldn't get in on that scene because I was about two sizes bigger than all of them.  If they were wearing size 4 pants, I was in an 8.  I always felt a bit bigger, a bit more awkward, and very shy about my body. Despite whether or not I looked as overweight as I felt, my mind was entrenched in thoughts that were self-conscious.  I was very unfair to myself, just like many other women are.  It sucks to feel bad about yourself.

Diabetes challenges my health, but it sometimes offers up a healthy perspective.  It took me several years to really come to terms with the fact that my body needs to have different priorities.  Going to the gym has become less about slimming down my stomach and more about improving my cardiovascular health, lowering my A1C, and reducing body fat so that I can make better use of my injected insulin.  It couldn't be about fitting into a smaller dress size because it needed to be about being healthier every day.

I'm not going to be teeny.  I will not be the girl who appears to be challenged by every breeze that blows through.  My body will be strong and curvy and ornamented by various medical devices, like a diabetic Christmas tree.  It's taken me a long time to achieve a level of confidence in how I look and how I feel about myself.  But I see myself now and realize that I don't look much different than I did in high school or in college.   I just feel different.  I feel like the numbers that matter aren't the ones on the scale or sewn into the tag on my skirt, but instead the ones stored in my meter. 

I feel happy, and that looks better on me than any stitch of clothing I own.

July 10, 2008

Slackin' A Bit.

Larry Bird is my workout buddy.  In my mind, at least.The phone rings.  I look at the caller ID and groan.  I do not even want to pick this call up because it's going to be nothing but a bunch of nagging and I don't want to ...

Kerri:  Hello?

Silence.

Kerri:  (sighs)  I know it's you.  

Larry Bird:  (laughs)  Dude, you always know.  How do you know?  It's like you have a sixth sense or something.

Kerri:  Or caller ID.  You're calling my cell phone.

Larry Bird:  Oh.  

Kerri:
  Besides, I sort of figured I'd hear from you this week.  But I have a good reason!

Larry Bird: 
Kerri, I can't think of a single good reason you haven't been to the gym since Monday night.

Kerri:  Larry, Chris was sick with a nasty cold.  And I wanted to stay home and keep him company ... you know, hang out a little bit?

Larry Bird: 
Great, so instead of going to the gym and doing me on the treadmill, you decided to stay home with your husband's germs and see if you can get sick, too?  (giggles)

Kerri:
  I wanted to hang out with him!  I don't need to justify that to you ... dude, why  are you giggling?

Larry Bird:  I said (giggles uncontrollably) "do me on the treadmill."  Out of context, that just sounds ridiculous.

Kerri: 
(laughs)  You have a point.  And I'm going to the gym tonight, so get off my case, okay?

Larry Bird: 
You know I only bug you because I care.  Otherwise I'd just call you, say "Merry f#%&ing Christmas," and bury another three-pointer.

Kerri: 
Another good point.  Okay, thanks for checking in on me once again.  I promise to be more on the ball with getting some exercise in.  But I swear, I've been to the gym five times a week for a good long time now.  It's officially a routine.   I won't let it slide.

Larry Bird:  Good to hear.  Best to the husband.  Be good to him, okay?  There can only be one.

Kerri:  Merry f#%&ing Christmas.   (laughs)

Larry Bird: 
Smartass.  

Click.

March 10, 2008

A Little Fitness Info.

The folks at Fitness4Diabetics contacted me with information about their upcoming webinar - with Hope Warshaw, who was at Divabetic last week!  Here's the scoop from the release:

"On Thursday, March 13th,at 7pm EST, Fit4D will be hosting Hope Warshaw, author of multiple books on healthy eating, including Eat Out, Eat Right, along with Fit4D Director of Nutrition Services, Susan Meeke, MS, RD, LD,CDE, for a very special presentation for nutrition month. This promises to be a lively and interactive discussion about healthy eating and increased activity levels as a means to long-term lifestyle change.

In honor of Fit4D's two year anniversary providing diabetes coaching services, Fit4D will contribute $5 to JDRF for the first 100 hundred people who register and attend the March 13th webinar.   We want to thank you for your help in promoting our monthly webinars. 

Participants can register at http://www.fit4d.com/newsletter.php?a=signup  or sign up for our newsletter and updates on future seminars including Mom, Can I Have Cookies? Diabetes in Childhood and Committing to Your Health.  For more information, please visit www.fit4d.com or call 866 411 0254."

February 26, 2008

Countdown to Wedding.

Over the past two months, I've been slacking - big time.  I've been indulging in desserts on the weekends.  I've been going away with Chris and enjoying decadent dinners at French restaurants and sipping cappuccinos every chance I had.  Work has been extremely busy and I've been putting in plenty of hours.  Freelance projects have included some late nights to meet deadlines and some trips into the city for different events, so I've only been able to get four workouts in per week. 

And I've seen a bit of a flux in my body - nothing noticeable on a scale but I don't feel as strong as I did a few weeks ago and I feel a little sloppier.

No more of this namby-pamby crap "I'll do my best and see what happens."  Change needs to be made and I just need to plain make it.

So, with the guidance of my fitness-freak fiance and armed with enough information to safely manage any diabetes disaster, I'm starting a whole new regimen.  I will roll with this until my wedding date, after which time I will be on my honeymoon, happily married, and not plagued by the white dress stress.

My plan is to take a standard approach to every day, eating almost exactly the same thing daily and following as much of a schedule as possible.  I know that when I eat similar items, I see similar blood sugar responses.  I'm hoping that a more finely-tuned diet will eliminate blood sugar fluctations and help me keep better tabs on what I'm eating.  (Because those almond Hershey kisses on my co-worker's desk are delicious and I keep snaking them throughout the day.  No more of that for the next two and a half months.)

I'm going to try to follow this meal plan at least Monday - Friday:

8:30 am:  Oatmeal and walnuts, with my morning cup of tea.

10:00 am:   Yogurt.

Lunch:  Salad of baby spinach with baked chicken, cherry tomatoes, and portabella mushrooms with balsamic vinagrette dressing.

2:30 pm:  Apple and peanut butter.

5:00 pm:  Breakstone cottage cheese double.  (These things are delicious.)   

Dinner:  Eggs, or soup, or chicken and that zippy white bean salad, or something else healthy along those lines.

Bedtime snack:   Light, low-carb snack, like nuts or a cheese stickPhoto credit:  www.rewardlicious.com

As far as the workout goes, I'm changing things a little, but not completely.  Generally, I'm at the gym Monday - Friday and doing 15 minutes of weight training, then a 30 minute cardiovascular workout.  I'm doing a variety of weight exercises (like tricep dips, push-ups, box jumps, jumping rope, lunges, I'm exhausted just writing this stuff, ab exercises, etc.) and doing 2 minutes walking - 10 minutes running as my cardio workout

Re-reading this, it sounds so regimented.  BORING.  But I've worked very hard over the last few years to change my body and I'm so hopeful that this new routine brings me to a new level of fitness and diabetes health overall, making me ready for my walk down the aisle. 

Because I tried on my wedding gown again this weekend and it fits like a glove.  A glove without much room for weight gain. 

No more nervous nibbling - it's time to buckle down and make this work. Let the sweating begin!

January 29, 2008

We Can Work It Out.

I have been busting my arse at the gym for the past few weeks, pushing myself harder than I ever thought I wanted to go.  Long workouts comprised of resistance training and cardio circuits.  I'm forcing my body to lift things it doesn't want to lift and go distances that are too damn far, and I'm finally hitting my stride.

I'm not gasping for air while I'm running anymore.  I'm also not watching the clock and praying that it ticks faster so I can decrease the speed after my ten minute intervals.   And thankfully, I've stopped worrying that I'm going to fly off the back of the treadmill and embed myself into the wall.

I've also noticed an increase in my strength, and not in that weight-lifting way, but in the real-life way.  I can bring in more grocery bags without having my biceps burn.  I can stand on my tiptoes steady enough to grab a teacup off the highest kitchen shelf. 

It sounds silly, these little achievements, but they mean so much to me.  It took a few months to not view my visits to the gym as "Arghh ... arduous crap!" and it's taken me many, many more months to see results from these work-week workouts.  None of this workout stuff has been easy.  Making the pursuit of fitness part of my intrinsic routine instead of some torturous event has been a tough road, but it's completely worth it.

Because yesterday, I had this (fictional) message on my voicemail:

BEEP

"Ker.  Dude.  Larry here.  I haven't heard from you in aLarry, line two. while and I know your wedding is coming up.  Wanted to make sure you were doing okay with your workouts and you're ready for all that white-dress girly crap.  You know how I feel about giving 100% all of the time, things will work out in the end.  And in this case, you'll be healthy and happy and ready to become Mrs. Sparkling or Spaulding or whatever his last name is.  Keep at it, girl.  I'm here for you, just like Mr. Holland was for me. Man, this message is long!  I'm going to delete it now.  Going to re-record it ... now."

Thanks, Larry.  I'm glad you're (fictiously) with me on this.

January 15, 2008

CGM Sensibilities.

An Exercise in Jotted Thoughts, by Kerri Morrone:

Ahem.

I am on day five of the sensor (placed it last Friday into my arm) and it seems that the longer I MiniLink transmitter - photo from Google.wear this, the more accurate the results become.  Last night, I tested with my OneTouch and saw 132 mg/dl.  My CGM said 130 mg/dl.  I'll take that.  I just want accurate results.

The thing is, this sensor stung a bit going in.  The site itself is slightly reddish and a little sore to the touch.  I know I should change the site today, but I'm reluctant to because I don't want to wait the 24 hours for decent results again.  I spoke with another Minimed Rep last night and she told me that the first 24 hours tend to be a little dodgy for everyone.  It's a difficult decision, making the leap from "trialing" to "purchasing."  Every time it buzzes when I'm high or low, it's hard to think about taking it off.  But every time it buzzes because it's bored or lonely (or whatever the hell it's buzzing about), it's hard to think about not feeding it to the cats. 

I'm still on the fence as to its place in my diabetes life.  But for now, I'm trying to learn from this experience.

I was working out last night at the gym and during my run, watched my numbers hold steady for about 15 minutes, then make a sharp turn towards hypoglycemia.  Testing to confirm and then taking a quick swig of juice, I finished my cardio workout at 108 mg/dl.  Watching workout trends helps me better determine when I should hit the ol' juice bottle and when I need to watch out for falling sugars. 

Also during my workout, while wearing a sports bra and a tank top on the treadmill, I noticed a woman staring at the exposed sensor on my arm.  It made me feel self-conscious for a minute, then oddly empowered.  Go ahead and stare, lady.  See if you can find it next week, when I put the transmitter somewhere else. 

One thing I'm definitely picking up on, like I did with the Dexcom, is that my numbers cruise around when I'm not counting carbs with precision.  I know this sounds like diabetic common sense, but when I bit into that sharon fruit this morning, I didn't bolus for the actual carbs, but I dosed instead for the estimated carbohydrate content.  Apparently, this sharon fruit had more than 18g of carbohydrate in it - more like 22g - and my numbers after consuming were in the 190 mg/dl range.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  If I want a tight A1c, I need to buckle down and pay attention to all the details, both delicious and detrimental.

It's been a week of serious diabetes stuff, with tangled emotions and blood sugars alike. 

Good thing I had a little Siah Sausage to wake up to this morning, her small nose pressed against my cheek and her paws on my face, the sound of her purring like a jet engine in my bedroom.  It felt strange to wake up laughing.  Damn cat.

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December 20, 2007

Tune Up.

I spend a lot of time thinking about health and fitness.  

There's my job, where I am often found perusing diabetes-related press releases, checking out the latest websites about endocrine health and wellness, and writing about what day-to-day life with diabetes is all about. 

Then there's my handsome fiance, who has spent time as a personal trainer, writes for various fitness venues (including AOL), eats a regimented, healthy diet, and has a physique that is evidence of time well-spent at the gym.

Oh, and then there is the whole "white wedding dress" thing, where everyone will be looking at me in a few months on a (hopefully sunny) May afternoon.  Not to mention my disease, which I manage with an insulin pump, my meter, attempts at healthy eating, and regular exercise.

So I'm constantly checking out different websites about health and fitness, as the themes touch so many different parts of my life.  My magazine collection is a mish-mash of Women's Health, Shape, and Modern Bride.  These pages are dog-eared and occasionally ripped out and pinned to my cube wall or my office bulletin board. 

Never mind the daily webcrawl I make, bouncing from my daily check of Women's Health online for some daily tips and inspirations, FitDay to continue on with my goal of keeping a food journal for a full month, Slashfood for some foodie snippets.  Recently, I've been checking out iVillage's Your Total Health site, Healthbolt, and Lift Magazine for some newer viewpoints. 

It's all bit-sized bits of health information, which fit into my multi-tasking sort of lifestyle.  But the part that I'm having trouble with is cutting down the workout to a sensible size.  Fitness doesn't appear to come in teeny bits for me.  I need to work out long and hard in order to see results, constantly fighting the uphill battle of treating low blood sugars and the demanding schedule of any fully employed twenty-something.  (Scratch that - the schedule of anyone is demanding, ranging from kids to senior citizens to circus clowns.)  I need to buckle down and make efforts to really reach my goals.  Bit of a tune-up.

A few months ago, I decided I needed to change my workout.  My legs were killing me.  But, as with anything else, my body adjusted and I needed to switch things up again.  I now have a few different methods of attack:  keeping a food journal, avoiding all holiday sweets until the New Year (it's like the Pre-New Year's Resolution), and making some awkward attempts at bringing running into my routine. 

Oh how I hate to run.  I feel awkward and like a great, traipsing gazelle.  But over the last two weeks, I've been trying to work in a circuit of running to help me tone up a bit more before the wedding.  (Five months!)  A combination of weight training and running was constantly touted by all those fitness sites as a killer fat loss program.  So I'm trying it.  First, I did five minutes running, five walking.  Then seven on, five off.  Last night, I did twelve on, five off. 

And I watched as my blood sugar fell from 160 (started the whole workout at 200 mg/dl) to 68 I only wear two sneakers, unlike my little pal here.mg/dl.  When my workout changes, my diabetes management methods need to change, too.  Hopefully I'll find a way to trot with a bit more grace.  And hopefully my body will shift into shape by the time I'm donning my white dress for my big walk down the aisle.

Oh hell, maybe I'll run.  Just to prove a point.  ;)

December 05, 2007

Chilled.

With a smiley face on it, it actually looks a bit friendly.It's fricking freezing here lately.  Gone are the winters of 2006 where I barely turned on the heat and didn't bust out my wool jacket until almost February.  Here come the constant snow showers, rotten and battered hands, and frozen meters.

Yes, frozen meters.

Last night, after going to the gym, Chris and I stopped at the grocery store to pick up the ingredients for another attempt at soup.  (Pearl onions, chicken, black pepper, and celery.  It was definitely another good recipe from that book.)  Since we were just popping in for a few minutes, I left my gym bag in the car - with my iPod, water bottle, and glucose meter.

The wind was bitterly cold and biting through my sweatshirt.  I scampered over to the car and started it up while Chris loaded the groceries into the back seat.  (What a guy - always protects me from the elements!)  Feeling a little light-headed, I rescued my meter from my bag and unzipped the case.

"Whoa.  This thing is like a block of ice!"  I said. 

"What?"  Chris asked from outside the car, over the rustle of the plastic bags. 

I popped a strip into the meter. 

TEMPERATURE ERROR.  OUT OF OPERATING RANGE. 

Oh fantastic.  I rubbed the meter between my hands and blew on it, trying to thaw out its innards.  After a minute, I stuck the strip back in.

TEMPERATURE ERROR.  GOOD TRY, THOUGH.

Arghhhh.  Still feeling foggy, I cracked open the juice in my workout bag and took a few sips.   Then I opened the battery compartment and breathed onto the disc batteries, hoping they'd warm up. 

TEMPERATURE ERROR.  KERRI, TRY YOUR ARMPIT.

"Excuse me?"

STICK ME IN YOUR ARMPIT.
IT WILL WARM ME UP.
REFER TO OWNER'S MANUAL.

Is this thing serious?  I removed the meter from the plastic holding case, looked from side to side to see if anyone was watching, and then shoved the meter into the armpit of my sweatshirt.  After waiting another minute, I tried again with another test strip.

AH, THANKS.  CODE 22. 

I pricked my finger and applied a drop of blood.  Five second count down.  68 mg/dl.

DO YOU NEED A SNACK?

"I already had some juice.  I'll just wait to come up."

OKAY.  MAKE SURE YOU TEST LATER JUST TO MAKE SURE.

"I will." 

Chris opened the door and settled into the driver's seat.  "You will, what?"

"Nothing.  I was just ... nevermind."

LOL.

November 28, 2007

Operation WillPower.

It actually tasted good.  I swear.I spent the majority of yesterday beneath a mountain of blankets on the couch, anchored on either side by a fluffy cat.  Miserable and sick, yet capable of impressive levels of boredom, I watched daytime TV until my brain started to melt a little bit.

Itching to alleviate the boredom, I gathered myself together and exhibited my only smidge of culinary prowess:  cooking soup.

I'm not exactly known for my skills in the kitchen.  I can make a delicious breakfast, a bang-up cup of tea, and the occasional salad excursion.  But my true (and only) talent lies in the soup pot.  I make a tasty soup.  Using a book I had picked up at The Strand bookstore in NYC - Soup for Every Body.  Boasting a selection of low-carb and high-protein soups, complete with illustrations, this book was perfect for Chris and I and our picky little eating habits.

And it was only six bucks.  Good deal, this.  AND the soup ended up being delicious.  Chris claimed it's "restaurant quality."  Let me assure you, this is not a compliment often offered up, so I did a little sicky-jig of happiness.

I've been thinking about eating habits a lot lately, especially with the holidays coming and my will power on a bit of a hiatus.  As I wrote in my dLife column this month, the whole "special occasion" caveat during the holidays is tricky for me.  With so many parties and events, it's easy for me to succumb to "Oh, just this one time," and have that piece of cake/glass of wine/forkful of creme brulee.   Next thing I know, I'm indulging at every turn and my jeans don't fit as well as they did a month ago.

Never one to react to a problem, I'm trying to take a more proactive approach to this holiday season.  Enter:  Operation WillPower.  (Similar to Operation Thwart.)  Now that I'm two days into the antibiotics for strep and well on my way to being fully mended, I need to take control of my eating habits and get my act together. 

Back to heavy workouts.  Back to low-carb meals.  Back to paying attention to all the bits and pieces of diabetes management and readying my body for that wedding dress.  (Which, by the way, is being delivered in January and I'll be having my first fittings.  In less than two months.  Holy crap.)

So long, delicious treats!  I miss you already. 

Commence Operation WP.

November 25, 2007

And the Cats Survived.

Pretty red leaves that lined the shores of the lake.

There was Fondue Night with my college roommates, dipping whatever we could find into cheese and then chocolate fondue (no, not at the same time), drinking wine, and gossiping like fools.

There was Thanksgiving with friends and family, spending time with our closest loved ones.

We had a delicious dinner at The Cheesecake Factory in the city and then explored Providence with the new camera, snapping shots of the Statehouse and the cityscape from an empty park at midnight.

A visit to my mother's house brought us on an impromptu hike through the woods and snapping pictures at the shore of the lake.

The loooo-ong drive back down 95, back to our home and back to work this week.  We're sleepy, inundated with emails, and toting suitcases crammed with half-folded laundry.

And even though they were all puffy-tailed, bored, and mewing when we came back home tonight, the cats survived.

November 19, 2007

No Dessert 'Til Brooklyn.

I am a Country Mouse.  It's an undisputed fact. 

I find considerable joy on the almost-desolate beaches of Napatree Point in my hometown.  I like hiking.  I loved the trails in St. John and the question of "Has anyone been this way before me?"  The idea of my own personal greenhouse or garden makes me grin.   

So finding such excitement and possibility in the cityscape of NYC is a completely new thing for me.

Last night, Chris and I visited Brooklyn and dined out with Chris's friend from high school, MT, and his fiance Melissa.  Their neighborhood is very cool and had a tangible sense of community.  There was something so comforting about the streets lined with what looked like Boston brownstones, neatly wedged together like books in a shelf.  Their apartment was roomy and cozy and was the first piece of livable real estate I've had the pleasure of visiting in the NYC area (as opposed to the breadbox apartments with cubbyholes renamed as second bedrooms and a kitchen not nearly big enough for my poor fat cat Abby to slide into). 

We had dinner at this terrific French place in Park Slope called Moutarde.  Chris and I have both grown up in decidedly Italian households, with pasta dinners and homemade gravy.  But after our second French meal in a week (first at Les Halles), Chris is now a self-proclaimed Francophile.  Chris had the salmon and I had the hanger steak and green beans -- and yes, we dipped into the crème brulée again

For the record, I started this meal at a tenuous 73 mg/dl, but thanks to some bread and a quick This is just plain delicious.  And at least 4 units of insulin.swig of orange juice, I hit the ground running at 157 mg/dl.  I would have remained under 180 if it hadn't been for that blasted crème brulée, which tossed me up to 212 mg/dl before a soft landing at 98 mg/dl later in the evening.   

Generally, I have my meal plan under control and I'm able to deftly avoid temptations.  (I've even trained myself to substitute green beans for potatoes, which is remarkable considering how much I'd love potatoes.)  But something about going out to dinner makes resistance tougher for me. 

Dessert?  Sure, I'll have some of that deliciously creamy, sugar-filled concoction.  Twice.  In one week.  In my foolish mind, being "out to dinner" means that it's a special occassion and it's okay to splurge.  But with the frequency we've been dining out and the holidays looming like fat pants on the horizon, I need to be more mindful of the calories I'm reeling in.  And with my Joslin appointment right after Thanksgiving, it's important that I'm on the ball.

Mmmm.  It would be great if the whole ball was made of crème brulée.  

(Apparently I'm a Country Mouse with a newly-cultivated sweet tooth.)

November 04, 2007

Thigh Highs.

Scene:  Friday night, post-workout.  Kerri's Thighs sigh, in unison,  leaning against the back of the movie theater seats as Kerri cuddled in to watch a movie. 

Left Thigh:  Oh man.  Thank goodness this girl is finally sitting down. 

Right Thigh:  (nodding in agreement, as best a thigh can)  No kidding.  That workout?  From last week?  I thought we were done with that.

Left Thigh:  Exactly!  She was whining about feeling sick, and trotting around with high blood sugars ... after that grueling first try last week, I figured we were pie-in-the-sky thighs.

Right Thigh:  What?

Left Thigh:  Pie-in-the ... never mind.

Right Thigh:  Dude, I can't even flex myself right now.  Box jumps?  What is she thinking?

Left Thigh:  The guy told her to do it.  (nods over to Chris, who is sitting next to Kerri in the theater)  He said it would be a good way to change up her workout.

Right Thigh:  (mocking Chris in a high-pitched voice)  Oh, I'm Chris!  I think it's a great idea for Kerri to try these sadistic exercises!  Maybe she'd like to be drawn and quartered next?

Left Thigh:  I have a plan.

Right Thigh:  (still speaking in high-pitched voice)  What is it?

Left Thigh:  Why are you still talking like that?

Right Thigh:  I don't know.  I can't stop.

Left Thigh:  (sighs a thigh-sized sigh)  Dude, all we have to do it wait until she goes to bed.  Then we clench up like those fist things and watch her have to crawl from bed in the morning.

Right Thigh:  Awesome!  That way she won't ever try to do that circuit workout again.  She'll go back to leaving us the hell alone.

Left Thigh:  So we're agreed?  Commence Operation Thwart?

Right Thigh:  Agreed.  A guy from my old job actually had this lamp on his desk.  He is awesome.  He will always be awesome.

Right Thigh and Left Thigh: (in unison) To Operation Thwart! 

Kerri:  (whispering)  I can hear you guys.  And I'm doing the workout again, regardless of your stupid pact.  We have a wedding in six months, guys.  Six.  And I'll be damned if I don't make some improvements before then.  Get ready for more of this.  I don't care if you complain.  Now shut up so I can watch the rest of the movie.

Chris:  Are you talking to yourself again?

Right Thigh:  (still mocking Chris)  Are you talking to yourself again?

Kerri:  You are totally getting the infusion set next time.

Right Thigh:  (voice dropping back into range)  Damn.

October 31, 2007

Change Your Workout.

"Change your workout."

This is our mantra.  It applies to all things.  When Chris is feeling like he's not seeing good results at the gym, he changes his workout.  When I feel like my fiction writing is starting to become repetitive, I start the chapter fresh and start doodling on the notepad by my desk - "Change your workout."  When he and I feel like our lives are stuck in ruts, we mutter to one another "Time to change our workout."  (Yes, this is similar to the "Time to make the doughnuts," commercials from Dunkin' Donuts a few years ago.)

Change your workout to see results. 

So I was feeling completely bored at the gym.  Bored as in I changed the music on my Shuffle daily and I was still struggling to stay in the game for 50 minutes.  Felt like a hamster going around in the same wheel every day. 

"I'm bored at the gym."I was starting to feel like this.

"Time to change your workout."

A few days later ...

"I'm bored at the gym."

"Time to change your workout."

After I've mentioned my gym boredom a few (read: billion) times:

"Baby, I'm bored at the gym."

He stops as he's pulling his sweatshirt over his head.  "Kerri, I'm going to show you a few things at the gym today.  It's time to change your workout."

For the last few months, I've been doing a variation on this routine:

30 minutes on the treadmill on an incline of 7.5 and a speed of 3.8 mph.

20 minutes upstairs in the weight room, doing an ab workout that varied every three weeks.

This routine had me leaving my pump at home, kept my sugars relatively stable, and helped me reshape my body.  But now that I've reached a certain level of physical capability, the workout continued to keep my sugars stable and maintain my shape, but it didn't produce any new results.

So Chris showed me a routine that worked through a resistance training circuit quickly enough that it also became a cardiovasular routine.  When he was doing it, it looked relatively easy - intervals of jumping rope, box jumps, planks, push ups, lunge presses, and split squats.  Max reps on each one.

Ah, but it always looks easy when he does it.

I gave this circuit a whirl on Saturday and it was a disaster.  Maybe it was because I was starting to feel sick, or maybe because I had never done some of these exercises before, but I was in crisis mode the entire time.  My blood sugars were swinging (hitting highs of 300 mg/dl and settling back to 125 mg/dl), my balance was shaky (oh awkward Kerri), and my frustrations were mounting as I forced my reluctant body through the circuit three times.

The next day, I could barely walk.  The box jumps, coupled with the split squats, made my calves into mushy pockets of oatmeal.  I walked up the stairs to my office and my legs begged me Attempting to be fit.repeatedly to take the damn elevator.  Using the bathroom was tricky, as my legs were so sore that I almost toppled directly into the toilet.

It was brutal.  And then I came down with a cold, as well as with a Sausage.  (Frigging cat.)  So I took another day off from the gym.

Last night, I gave it another go.  A few insulin tweaks.  And it was oh so slightly easier.  My body was not pleased with my decision to try it again, but I'm hoping that this workout change will show me more results instead of maintaining the progress I'd already made.

Hopefully tomorrow I don't fall into the toilet.

September 26, 2007

Workout Plateau

I'm bored at the gym.

I am there, though, working hard at least five days a week.   (As opposed to the lady I saw there yesterday who was just sitting on the bike and watching tv.  She was there for a full 45 minutes.  Just sitting there.  Not pedaling.)  I hit the treadmill.  I'm on the stepper.  I'm trying to make sense of the elliptical machine without looking like Bill Murray in Lost in Translation.  (If you know where I can find a video clip of that, please let me know.  I've scoured the internet but came up with nothing.  And it's a very funny clip.)

The point is, I work out and push myself, but not as hard as I could be.  And I've reached a bit of a plateau.

It was at this moment of realization that the fictional phone rang.  (Ahem.)

Kerri:  Hello?

Larry Bird:  Kerri.  Hey!

Kerri:  Larry!  Oh my God, I haven't talked to you in ages.  What's up?  How's your weight?

LB:  Honestly, I've been up and down lately.  You know, all the cookouts in the summer and late nights out.  I'll tone back up this winter. 

Kerri:  Me, too.  I feel bored working out lately.  I've started changing my weight routine so that's more cardio-based, you know?  No breaks between sets.  It's exhausting!

LB:  Good move.  Tip from Chris?

Kerri:  Yeah.

LB:  I'm trying out pilates.  And yoga.  I'm feeling pretty Zen lately, Ker.  Soon I'll be back to practicing my three-point shots with my eyes closed.

Kerri:  Any suggestions on how to beat these workout doldrums, my friend?  I'm bored, dude.

LB:  Honestly?  I know you change your cardio workouts gently so you don't hit the hypos hard, but how about a new playlist for your shuffle?  Didn't you pick up a sweet shuffle from the AADE event?

Kerri:  That sounds good.  I've been listening to the Beastie Boys lately.  And mixing in some Arctic Monkeys.Where's Waldo Morrone?

LB:  Sometimes new music goes a long way.  How about some Kenny Rogers?  Man, I love me some Kenny Rogers.

Kerri:  He looks like my Spanish teacher from 8th grade.  But I'm not too into country music.

LB:  Well, find what works for you, Miss Kerri.  Whatever keeps you sticking with it.  I'll check in on you later.  Tell your mom I said hi.

Kerri:  Will do.  Thanks for calling, Larry.

LB:  No problem. 

Ah, Larry.  Thanks for seeing me through this bout with fitness fatigue. 

August 29, 2007

Smooshed.

Yesterday afternoon was crummy - I had a low that lasted for over three hours and I felt like that truck, chock-full o' penguins, had made another run through my body.  I managed a workout and trudged through two bottles of juice, holding steady at 74 mg/dl but feeling like I was teasing the edges of a low for hours.  (Yes, I should have skipped the workout, but I was feeling determined and, well, stupid.)

Later that night, exhausted and full of grape juice, I was finishing up some work in our home office.  I was feeling melancholy.  Moody, even. 

Then I saw her.

As though she had fallen asleep sitting up and had tumbled over, like a chubby man on a park bench. 

Mushed and asleep Sausage.

It struck me as so damn funny.  A laugh, louder than I expected, burst out of me.  I grabbed my ever-present camera and took a picture of my silly sleep Siah Sausage.

Funny how quickly that moodiness passed.  Thanks, Siah, for being a constant source of LOL.  (But don't think for a second that you can continue to torment Chris and I while we're sleeping.  You jumping all over our heads at 5:00 am is unacceptable.)

August 23, 2007

Work It Out.

I've been in a bit of a funk lately

Could be the work stress, could be the wedding chaos, could be the fact that Ms. Sausage won't stop putting her nose in my ear while I sleep.  (Thankfully, we've started sleeping with the bedroom door closed to keep her meddling paws out.  But every morning, when I open the door to go out into the living room, she's smushed against the bedroom door, eyes startled from the door being jerked open and puffy with the excitement of being able to follow me around.  Blasted cat.)

Holy digression.  Anyway, I needed to reclaim my glee last night.

My mission began at the gym. 

Nothing makes me feel more in control than a hard workout.  With my new iPod shuffle (thank you, AADE conference) blasting out some Beastie Boys, I forced myself to pop the treadmill to an incline of 12.5 and forced the thoughts of stress out of my mind.  I banished blogging to the back burner.  I tossed my article list for dLife out of my brain.  Wedding budget?  Deal with it later.

Solid cardio workout sent my stress packing - Bird woulda been proud.  Another 20 minutes of resistance training in the weight room again forced me to concentrate on my muscle movements (a challenge, as I'm not terribly coordinated) and didn't allow any room for chaotic thoughts.

As I walked out of the gym, I felt sweaty.  And strong.  My blood sugars held steady throughout the workout, starting at 102 mg/dl. popping up to 168 mg/dl (thanks to the swig of juice before I started cardio), and landing softly at 128 mg/dl. 

I'll be hitting the gym harder, to let off steam and try to be fitter for my wedding gown.  Physical exertion helps me.  I think I found a tap dancing studio near my house, so I plan on signing up for classes there, too.  (Have I mentioned that I was a tap dancer for over 15 years?  It was the only athletic thing I was ever good at.  Have I mentioned scoring a goal for the wrong team during a round-robin soccer tournament?  Case in Reaching for relaxation.point.) 

Chris and I are heading away for a relaxing, romantic weekend at the beginning of September, during which we will leave cell phones in the car and laptops at home.  Maybe I'll stop working on projects every night and start taking some time to relax. 

A little fun goes a long way.

One of my biggest obstacles in diabetes management - life management, I guess - is stress.  I let the littlest things make me nuts, and the even bigger problems send me into the stratosphere.  My EOS (End Of Summer) Resolution?  Better manage the stress in my life. 

How do you guys handle stress?  What's your EOS Resolution?

August 10, 2007

Another Round as the Dexcom Warrior.

After a whirlwind week of travel, eating sloppily, and missing a few crucial workouts, my blood sugars were in a tailspin of chaos and I needed to reign things in.

I grabbed my flashlight and sent out the Dexcom Signal. 

Sending out the Dexcom signal.

Help me, Dexcom!

Dexcom responded with a shrill cry and leapt from the box.  Within a few minutes, the sensor was making its first appearance on my outer thigh and I started the two hour calibration waiting game.  (And why do I always start this thing at ten o'clock at night, forcing me to be fussing around with diabetes toys at the stroke of midnight?)

As I prepared for Round Two as the Dexcom Warrior, I noticed that I was very particular about where I chose to pop in the sensor.  Last time, I wore the site on my abdomen and while it was accessible and easy to put in, it bumped up against every piece of clothing I wore and was visible underneath both my gym clothes and my work attire.  As someone who prefers to keep all diabetes hardware relatively quiet, I opted for a thigh site this time.

I inserted the sensor, which pinched a bit but not to the point where I clenched my teeth, and pulled out the needle, leaving the hub attached and the wire inserted.  (Yes, this sucker has a wire in there instead of a plastic cannula.  If I think about it too much, it makes my stomach feel a bit queasy, but I couldn't feel it at all when it was in there.)

With my pump infusion set on my right thigh and my Dexcom sensor on my left, I felt like some kind of diabetic pack mule.  My hips felt vulnerable, as though banging into any door jamb would send me into a robotic meltdown. 

My euphoria wasn't as intense for this second round of testing.  No Techno-Joy.  (Cannot access printer?  But it's here.) I wasn't obsessed with the new gadget, but instead treated it like it was "just another meter."  I traveled with the receiver in my purse and kept it on my desk while I worked, instead of forcing myself to keep it clipped to my clothes.  Not wearing the receiver felt liberating. 

I noticed it physically, though, while I was at the gym.  Lying on my side for an ab exercise, I felt my pump infusion set mashing against the floor.  When I flipped to work out the other side, the Dexcom sensor was pressed hard on the floor.  I remember back to when I had the sensor on my abdomen and I felt it pressing then for sit-ups.  While I appreciate the technology of this device, I would appreciate it even more if it were smaller and less intrusive.

For anyone who thinks the Dexcom results are supposed to perfectly match the glucose meter results, that's not going to happen.  While I had some very closely matching results, the Dexcom remained a bit higher, on the whole.  Like here:

Overnight readings

This reading of 146 mg/dl was countered by my meter as 101 mg/dl.  Bit of a difference there.  But the trending I saw was spot on.  That 101 mg/dl (or 146 mg/dl according to Dexcom) was the upswing of a 72 mg/dl I had earlier in the morning. 

More Dexcom readings.

And then I watched as the correction for the 146 mg/dl brought me back town towards 120 mg/dl.  I like that positive reinforcement that my insulin is working and that my body is able to hold steady for a spell, despite the fact that I'm trying to compensate for a busted pancreas.

I gained a good feel for what times of the day I needed to pay more attention.  (Can anyone say "late afternoon snacking tendency"?)  I also noticed that wearing the site on my thigh instead of my abdomen made me less aware that I was sporting the site in the first place. 

Dexcom and I have parted ways once again, as I need to order more sensors.  Onward towards the weekend, where the Rhode Island Film Festival and a concert in Boston await!  See you Monday!

July 25, 2007

Larry Potter.

I'm still not done with the Harry Potter book, but I only have about 200 pages left to go, so I'm getting there as fast as my tired, strained eyes can take me.   Working full-time and negotiating a number of side-projects has my reading time painfully limited.

Oh, but there's always the gym.

Chris and I are at the gym for about an hour every night, excluding most weekends.  Usually 33 minutes of cardio on a treadmill, stepper, or elliptical machine (sometimes doing 11 minute increments on each machine to mix it up a bit, or banging out the whole 33 in one swoop) and then about 15 - 20 minutes with resistance training and an ab workout.  My iPod, my meter, and my water bottle and I are a constant fixture at Undisclosed Gym, bouncing from machine to machine and occasionally singing out loud by accident.

But this week, not so much.

I'm the biggest geek of all time these days at the gym.  I have my water bottle, my meter, a bottle of juice, and a 750 page book balanced on the edge of the treadmill.  Forget the resistance training.  Forget any abdominal exercises.  I'm clutching the side of the seventh Harry Potter ... brick, really, and walking along for almost a full, joyful hour just so I can read the book.  I'm not willing to let the need to read supersede (whoa, holy rhyme time) my fitness goals.  And it's obvious that I have no shame and will bring the book to even the most meat-head of moments.

I can almost hear the guy behind me thinking out loud.  Larry Bird is a Deathly Hallow.

"Why is that girl reading a dictionary at the gym?  And why the hell is she muttering happily to herself every few minutes?" 

In my mind, he nudges the guy next to him.  "Do you see this?"

"Dude, I so see it.  Maybe she's learning English and that's why she's readin' the dictionary and stuff." 

They high five.

And I keep reading.  And walking.  And hoping that I don't drop this massive book on my foot.

Larry would be proud.

July 19, 2007

A Handful of Items

Item One:  Arching in as topic one (oh ha, the puns!), I will be at the Annual AADE meeting in St. Louis this year.  (My poor editor-in-chief is my travel companion.  I hope she doesn't mind when I'm half on the moon from xanax for my fear of flying and rambling on nonsense about my cat until the medication wears off.)  Will any of you be there?  I'm very excited to participate in this event as a member of the dLife team.  And I'm very excited to see the big ol' Arch. 

Item Two:  Back when we went rafting, the raft guides has some rogue kayakers who skipped ahead, perched themselves on the rocky sidewalls, and snapped photographs of the rafters as we passed by.  Here is how we rolled:

Rolling down the river.

Item Three:  Wedding planning, though having taken a bit of a backseat to different work projects for both Chris and I, is in full swing.  We've booked our reception hall and nailed down our actual wedding date, so now it's time for all the other stuff - like the photographer, the church, dresses, and deciding how many flowers is really "too many."  Admittedly, I have no idea what I'm doing.  I have several books and have consulted with The Knot on several occasions (only to notice that my post about Oliver's gas was linked from their discussion boards - I laughed until I cried), but time is going by so quickly and I fear I'm falling behind. 

Our engagement party invitations came in, so that's all set to take place on August 18th (yay!), but aside from that, I'm sort of lost.  How exactly do you find a photographer?  (If anyone has any recommendations for a photographer in the RI area, I'd love to hear from you.)  How far in advance do you need to find a wedding dress?  How hard is it to wrangle all the bridesmaids into one style of dress or can I have varying styles along the same color theme?  How much wood would a woodchuck chuck, were he so inclined? 

Item Four:  Social networking is all over the place these days.  LinkedInTwitterFacebookNing networksMySpace.  Whoa.  (No, "whoa" isn't a social networking platform.  At least not yet.)  There are plenty of networking opportunities.  I'm sure there are plenty that I have no clue about.  Any new ones that you know about?

Item Five:  I don't know if you caught this link on my sidebar, but I want one of these in the worst way.  And I can't figure out why it appears to have a hand brake.  Bizarre indeed!

July 10, 2007

White-Water Rafting.

I was completely terrified of getting on the raft.  Jenn (Chris's sister), Steve (her husband), Chris and I fastened on our life jackets.  Armed with a yellow helmet, a paddle, and a life vest, I looked like a Nintendo character and I felt like I was going off to war.  We carried the raft down to the edge of the Kennebec River and got ready to climb on.

"I don't know about this.  I am scared, dude."  I grabbed Chris by the arm and shot him a panicked look.  (I also briefly wondered why I called him "dude," but that's neither here nor there.)

"It's going to be fine.  Once we start, you'll love it.  I promise."  He rubbed my arm and we climbed into the boat.  Scott, our rafting guide, shouted to us from the back of the boat.

"Okay, so the pace-setters in the front," Chris and Steve took the front spots.  "And then file in behind them."  Jenn and I sat behind them and the other four rafters filed in behind us.  Eight rafters, one guide, and one jam-packed fanny pack filled with my meter, glucose tabs, tubes of cake gel, juice, and insulin pens. 

Two seconds into it, I was beside myself with fear.

About 30 seconds into it, I thought it was awesome.

And despite my terror, this whole trip was awesome.  I'm not the woodsy-type (contain your shock), so the idea of being out in the middle of class 4 or 5 rapids with nothing but a paddle in my hand and my legs locked against the center pontoons of the raft to keep me from falling out didn't sound terrific to me.  I was also worried about the diabetes-related implications.

But something about being in the middle of nowhere with water raging on either side and feeling scared, excited, and completely alive all at the same time was worth every damn second.

The great outdoors!

We stayed at the Northern Outdoors lodge in a cabin tent, so we camped out at night, cooked s'mores on the fire, and had the benefit of a bathhouse (read: cabin where there were flushable toilets) within walking distance.

We suited up in our wetsuits and conquered the Kennebec River (read: didn't fall out of the raft).

Chris, me, Jenn, and Steve.

After our day on the raft, we went out and drank with our rafting guide.  Here he is, rather drunk, telling me that I wasn't the only diabetic he's seen on these rafting trips and dagnabit, I did it!

Scott, lecturing me.

Diabetes-wise, this trip wasn't easy.  After spending the week reacclimating myself to Lantus and readying myself with insulin pens and syringes, I felt confident that my blood sugars would remain semi-stable.   My blood sugars were a little higher this past week, but nothing too obscene.   However, the anxiety and excitement of rafting sent my sugars skyrocketing, tossing me up into the 350 mg/dl range about halfway through the trip.  Thanks to the trusty insulin pens I brought with me, I came down quickly, but it was annoying to reach that peak (mainly because it made me have to pee and peeing in the woods is not my thing.  blech). 

After considering all the options, it was a good idea for me to stay off the pump for the trip.  I wasn't confident that it would remain dry, even if I had an aquapack or something similar.  Rolling pumpless allowed me to jump into the "swimming rapids," where we could swim in the class 2 rapids, let me leap off the raft when we were easing down the last part of the river, and I didn't have  that constant worry of "Is it okay?  Am I still connected?  Is it dry?"

My main (Maine?) concern was bringing enough reaction supplies.  Thanks to the terrific rafting guide and my traveling companions, there was enough cake gel on that raft to sponsor a Barbie birthday party.  Chris and Steve each had a tube in their pocket, I had three tubes on me, and the rafting guide had a stash of juice, cake gel, and an insulin pen in his dry pack. 

Testing on the boat proved to be a bit of a challenge.  I had my One Touch UltraMini encased in two plastic bags, so it remained mostly dry, but finding a moment to unearth it from within both bags, set up the strip, test, and keep things dry was tough.  I tested every 30 minutes or so, despite these conditions, and the Green Mini kept things controlled.  (Although the tampons would have been helpful from an absorption standpoint.  It was soggy on that damn raft.) 

I missed my pump terribly, though.  More on that tomorrow.  But pump and I have been reunited, I am now a white-water rafting veteran (or at least I can say I did it), and I'm looking forward to going again next summer. 

I DID IT.  I am quite proud of myself.  Diabetes be damned!

Visitors since November 7, 2005