It’s Gonna Be a Long Week (Fitness, Dexcom, Homework)

This post is gonna be as long as this week is because I have SO MUCH to share with you guys.

Let me start with our first work out challenge. Last week I wrote about how a lot of diabetics that I spoke to have problems losing weight. Let’s face it, when it comes to diet and exercise, we have a lot more to be concerned about than the average person. If we work out with a lot of intensity, odds are our sugar will go low and we will end up consuming calories that counter-act the benefits of working out. In regards to diet, cutting out things and experimenting with different foods can do wacky things to our sugar levels. Beyond that, insulin makes you gain weight. So last week, I decided to be your guinea pig. However, the challenges that I will be doing…it would be cool if you did them too. It is appropriate that I am starting this plan this week, because I am also doing a test trial with Dexcom. (More on that later.) Therefore, I will be able to report how all of these lifestyle changes impact my sugar. Note that I am not a health care professional, and my experience may not mean that you will have the same results. However, I think if we are motivated together it will be mutually beneficial.

So for the first week’s challenge, I am going to focus on the most effective way to burn fat: cardio. One of the most effective ways to burn fat is called HIIT training, or High Intesity Interval Training. you can read about that here. What this pretty much entails is shooting your heart rate up and then letting it drop and repeating. I hate running. I find it very boring and monotonous. However, I force myself to do it on a regular basis. What I discovered is when I incorporate HIIT training into my runs, though they become significantly more difficult, they go a lot more quickly and are more fun. I also feel that I get a better quality work out with them. Therefore, this week I am going to do 30 minutes of “suicides” Monday-Friday. Suicides are when you sprint as fast as you can for a certain period, and then walk while your heart rate recovers for a certain period. I like to run for a minute and walk for 2 minutes. The first 3 rounds are easy and pretty exhilarating, but after that you can really feel the burn. I also think this is a good exercise for people who don’t usually work out, because you can change the walk/run ratio to suit your needs. If you start out running for a minute and walking for two but feel a lot of burn out, up your walk to 3 minutes and give yourself more of a break. I am going to monitor my sugar before, during, and after each session. Does anyone want to join me on this? πŸ˜‰

Cardio and weight/flexibility training go hand in hand. I am not going to do a challenge for that this week, however I will make a recommendation. One of my favorite websites is Blogilates.com. There are a lot of quick and fun videos that target various areas of the body. There is a menu tab for abs, glutes, thighs etc. with videos to target any location you want. Because they are all super short, I like do do a few different ones and make a whole work out. However, if you don’t have a lot of time, this is a great website because most of the videos are less than 10 minutes and you can do them all from home with minimal equipment. If you try it out, tell me what your favorite videos are!

Lifestyle challenge: I don’t know if you guys have seen “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” (which you can watch on Netflix instant watch) but it seems like a great way to detoxify and cleanse your system. A lot of Type 2 diabetics got rid of their diabetes with this diet. I spoke to my endo about trying it and she was basically like “we don’t recommend you do that.” However, since I have the Dexcom and can add lots of fruits to the juices for carbs, I really want to try it. I’m not challenging anyone to do this with me, as obviously it was not recommended by my doctor. However, I do plan to document how this journey goes. It basically consists of substituting all your meals for homemade fruit/veggie juice. I plan to run a test trial of it for 3 days, and sugars permitting I will extend it to 5 or 7. A lot of people who did this diet for a week lost 8 lbs! I am not a fan of crash dieting, as you tend to put all the weight back on, but I plan to end this juice fast with 2 weeks of mostly raw and completely vegan dieting. I am already a really healthy eater, so I feel like I have to make a drastic change in my eating habits to see results. I have to go to Gainesville to present at a research symposium on Wednesday. Therefore I will probably start this on Thursday, as I don’t want to experiment with my sugar while driving long distances. For your part-I challenge you to cleanse out your system as well! Drink the actually recommended full 8 glasses of water per day. I’m sure a lot of you haven’t even done that since right before you were diagnosed…if you know what I mean. πŸ˜‰ (For those of you who don’t, extreme thirst is a side effect to undiagnosed diabetes.) Let’s kick-start weight loss with really doing a good thing for our bodies!

Dexcom: For those of you who don’t know, Dexcom is a Continuous Glucose Monitoring system, or CGM. I wear it like my pump (24/7) and it measures my glucose all the time. It also has a handy graph that shows the trends that your body experiences based on your daily activities andΒ  food intake. I was pretty hesitant about ever using a CGM because having one thing hooked up to me 24/7 seemed like more than enough. Additionally, as some of you may have read, I attempted to wear the Medtronic CGM and had a panic attack. However, it seemed like a really cool piece of technology, and when I was put in contact with a Dexcom representative, I decided to give CGM another go. Any time I have read or heard about someone using CGM (even if their pump is Medtronic) they have used a Dexcom. I have NEVER met anyone who uses a Medtronic CGM with regularity. After looking at the Dexcom for 3 seconds it was obvious to me why that is. The cannula/overall Medtronic device is HUGE. The medical tape that is used to stick to you cannot really support the weight of the actual device. A lot of people who wear them have to use additional medical tape to keep them on. The Dexcom cannula looks like an eyelash. And though the tape that keeps it stuck to you is bigger than the Medtronic tape, the actual device is a lot smaller and smoother so as to be less noticeable under clothing. Though the insertion of the Medtronic CGM didn’t hurt, it was a lot harder to insert as the certer goes in at an angle that is very easy to mess up. The Dexcom one has a certer that guides the device in at a precise angle, which takes out a lot of the guess work and uncertainty. Anyway, I have worn it for 3 days now, and I am pretty sure I want one. I don’t think I will wear it all the time, as I still feel like that’s ANOTHER diabetes thing to think about. However, I feel it is especially useful right now as I plan to increase my work out routines and change my diet. Also, it is really fun. Maybe that is because I haven’t had it that long, but I look at what my sugar is every 3 seconds. And at least once every 15 minutes I show it to Nick saying “Look, my sugar is going up,” “Look my sugar is going down,” “Look, my sugar is stable.” I don’t think he is exactly as fascinated as I am… Anyway, I documented the whole thing in photos and plan to write a full review of it after I take it off at the end of the trial period. So…stay tuned for that. πŸ™‚

So many people have been awesome about getting surveys to me! I think I have about 25…and last week I was stressing about getting 10. But keep them coming! The more the better! However, I plan to compile a full draft by next Sunday, so I sort of need all the data ASAP so I can analyze it.

Last but not least, I told you guys a few weeks ago I plan to walk in a JDRF walk to cure diabetes in a few weeks with my dad and Nick. My original goal was to raise $200, but so many awesome people have helped me raise $315 so far. Therefore, I raised my goal to $500. Again, 100% of these proceeds go to the JDRf, the leading non-profit for funding Type 1 diabetes research. (Who I happen to have an interview with in about a week!) If you would like to donate, here is my personal page go here.

So many exciting things are happening for me right now! Can’t wait to update you on all of them! πŸ™‚

Hope this brightens your day!

I found this hilarious Facebook page.

It was nice to read some Type 1 memes!

Here are my faves! All from the Type 1 Diabetes Memes Facebook page.

Hope that put a smile on your face! πŸ™‚

Type 1s: Trimming Down and Toning Up Together

What I am about to say is sort of hypocritical since I just wrote a post complaining about how I am too small to comfortably insert my pump anywhere. That being said, I want to feel comfortable in my own skin, and right now…I don’t.

I have complained before about how I have gained weight since my diagnosis. I just don’t like how it sits on me, especially on my face. When I wrote about losing weight with diabetes, (which you can read about here) a lot of women contacted me saying that they too experienced frustration with loosing weight and diabetes. I have also read this on a lot of other diabetes blogs, and spoke to diabetics about this in person. Whether loosing weight is a personal goal, or you are using physical exercise as a way to control your blood sugar, exercise is an immensely important part of a healthy diabetic lifestyle.

Therefore…I have decided to be your guinea pig. This has mutual benefit…I have to keep up with this since I committed to blogging about it, and you can share your experiences, tips, and questions with other diabetics. Every week, I will post at least one challenge. This will be an exercise, lifestyle commitment (such as drinking 8 glasses or water a day or using the stairs as opposed to elevators etc.), or a diet/recipe to try.Β  I will also be testing out how different diets affect my blood sugars and weight. I will be measuring myself with a tape measure to see how many inches I lose over time (as weighing will be less useful because I will probably gain muscle).

I know that we have different fitness goals…but we share one thing, diabetes. So I am making a commitment to you to share my experiences. I hope that you will try some of these things as well!

Addy= 5lb weight

Challenges start on Monday! Are you ready???

I just want to close in saying that I am not a health care professional. All of my tips are based on my personal experiences. If you are considering any serious diet/exercise commitment you should consult a healthcare professional.

Insulin Pump Woes

Overall I do find my pump more convenient. But sometimes things just get to me…such as the following.

I HATE BUBBLES. No, not bubbles from gum or the soapy kind you blow when you are a kid. I hate insulin pump reservoir bubbles. For those of you who don’t have a pump/don’t have diabetes, the reservoir is like a vial where you put the insulin for 3-4 days in your pump.

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Me filling a reservoir with insulin. If you look closely, there is a bubble in the reservoir toward the top.

Anyway, because I am not injecting the insulin directly into my veins or anything, a few teeny tiny champagne type bubbles are permissible. However, it seems that every time I change my pump site I have a huge air bubble stuck to the side of the reservoir. I push and push the plunger trying to get all the air into the vial before hand, but there is always a bubble. So then I flick the side of the reservoir (like you see nurses do before they administer a shot) to make the bubble float to the top so that I can push it back into the insulin vial. However, I flick and flick and flick the reservoir until I feel like my fingernail is going to fall off and it takes FOREVER for the bubble move. I don’t like to change my sites when Nick isn’t home because usually we are passing the reservoir back and forth between the two of us flicking it and yelling about how irritating it is. Are we doing something wrong? Is this just us? Why is this so annoying?

The bubble thing happens almost every time I change my set. However, it is not nearly as annoying when I get a bent cannula.

The cannula (or catheter) is a tiny plastic tube that stay inside me and under my skin for the entire duration that I wear my pump. I change the cannula and the rest of the site every 3-4 days. Because I am relatively small, sometimes the cannula will rub against muscle in areas where I do not have fat. Often this is painful. But it can also cause the cannula to bend. Sometimes I will change a site and a few hours later I note a 200-something on my glucometer. I will give myself insulin through my pump to correct this. When I recheck it will be the same or higher. Then I am annoyed. Firstly, this is annoying because I wasted a perfectly good pump site. I don’t have too many spots to put the darn thing so having to pick a new one is like a waste to me. Secondly, it is a waste of pump supplies. Thirdly, I have to go through the whole stupid process of filling up a whole new infusion set. This is a waste of insulin as each set needs to be primed. What this means is that I hook the set to the reservoir and wait until insulin has moved completely through the tubing and is dripping out of the cannula. So I do that, then reinsert the site. Annoying, annoying, annoying. Lastly, obviously, because of this whole ordeal my sugar is high which is the worst part.

Check this out:

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This is a photo of my recently bend cannula. See the little plastic part at the top? That is the cannula, which when not bent stays under my skin and gives me insulin.

The last issue I have with the pump is probably the worst. I have only had it for a few months, but have some how already exhausted a lot of my usable tissue. Because of my size, the pump is not very comfortable in areas where there is not a lot of fat. The area around my belly button has always been the chubbiest part of me, so I like to put the pump there because it doesn’t hurt. Also, with the pump on my butt, pants tend to hurt it and I sit on it all the time. So I was using my stomach a lot, which is unhealthy because you develop scar tissue on spots that are overused. When this happens your body cannot absorb insulin. And then you get notifications like this:

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This alert also sets of an irritating alarm. I had three no delivery alerts in one week. Once on my stomach, so I changed the site to my butt. Then after a few days, I tried my stomach again on the opposite side. At 3 in the morning my pump woke me up with a no delivery alarm and my sugar was close to 400. I called the Medtronic help line who told me to change the site AGAIN. So I did. I also had a mini-panic attack because I was so upset that the pump wasn’t working, which lead to me and Nick laying on the floor of our kitchen in the middle of the night while I freaked out. The next morning at 7:50 a.m. (my alarm was set for 8) I hear that same stupid noise. I got ANOTHER “no delivery” alarm. I thought that there was obviously something wrong with my pump, so I called the help line…again. They told me I had probably developed a lot of scar tissue. I made an appointment with an awesome diabetes educator here in Orlando. She told me that I probably shouldn’t use those sites for 6-12 months. I was shocked. My stomach is the ONLY place my pump doesn’t give me constant irritation. That was when I went on shots for about two weeks and realized how that was actually even more inconvenient to me. Now I am using my butt and my upper stomach even though it is very muscular there. I can’t use my thighs as I don’t have any fat on them. And I know some people use their arms, but I don’t like theΒ  idea of having my arm tethered to my pants, as I clip my pump to my waist.

So yes, these are my insulin pump woes. What are yours?

Lows and Highs

I made arepas and guacamole for myself and Nick for dinner tonight. Even typing that made me want to throw up because I really underestimated the carbs and felt like I was going to vomit all night. Now I am at a decent 147, but though I usually don’t get very strong symptoms from a high…that one was just gross. When I eat too many carbs (over 70 or so) even though I give myself enough insulin, sometimes my body doesn’t digest the insulin and carbs at the same time. When this happens my sugar (and my stomach) does horrible back flips for hours. However, as most diabetics will probably agree…lows are the worst. The shaky, confused…profusely sweating lows make me feel like I am about to die.

But high and low symptoms and sensitivity are different for every diabetic…so I am here to ask, what are your high and low feelings??

Happy that I have a fruit tart!

Sad that I ate said fruit tart and now feel gross.

A Big Thank You!

Thanks to all the people who have reached out to me to take my survey as well as spread the word about it! The power of the internet is amazing, and in one day I have surpassed my goal number for participants. But keep them coming! The more people I hear from, the more valid my project will be, and the more accurate of an idea I can provide others about how being a pumper affects women!

Thanks to:

Karen @ http://www.bittersweetdiabetes.com/

Tristan @ http://blog.felcore.com/

Valerie @ http://diabeticallyyours.com/

and anyone else who shared, followed, or responded to my survey. You are all amazing!!

One Down…One To Go

I just finished a 25 page thesis that I have been working on for over a year. I conducted two months of research in Paris and then New York City. I collected hundreds of flyers. I spend 87583465746 hours in front of my computer. I am done! πŸ™‚

Now I have about 10 days to finish a full draft on the other one. I have received about 5 of the 15 surveys I am trying to get filled out…so here it is:

Do you have Type 1 diabetes? Are you a female over the age of 18? Do you use an insulin pump? If you answered “yes” to all of these questions…please be my new favorite person and fill out a survey for my honor thesis! It won’t take you very long, and you’d be helping out a fellow diabetic. My e-mail address is cara913@ufl.edu. PLEASE help me out. If you have already completed a survey, and know a pumper who fits these requirements, please ask them to help me out. Thanks so much! You guys rock!

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