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 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™‚


CGM and my panic attack

CGM: Constant Glucose Monitoring is a secondary device that can be worn along with a pump is a huge innovation for diabetes care. It works by constantly measuring blood glucose in the “interstitial fluid” in fat. Therefore, it does not not measure exact glucose on a second to second basis, but it cant measure glucose trends over a period of days to help a diabetic see how times of day or habits affect sugar. Additionally, an alarm goes off when the glucose level is raising or lowering very rapidly.

So enough of the background stuff. I thought I’d try it out. Wearing an insulin pump with another larger device at the same time sounded awful, but I wanted to know what my glucose levels did when I was sleeping so that I could prevent lows. I figured I could wear it for a few days and then only use it if I was really sick or ever decided to have a kid. I signed up for a training session and prepared myself for the uncomfortable days ahead. When I got to my training, my Medtronic representative told me that the patient before me had showed up but never checked in at the front desk, so no one even knew that she was there. Then my rep. asked me if I would be comfortable sharing my training with her to which I responded, “Oh yeah! I totally don’t mind, please bring her in! Us diabetics have to stick together!” And I meant that…even though I did have a minutely selfish pretense. (I am writing my honor’s thesis for my undergraduate degree on how the insulin pump affects female self-esteem and body image and I needed to recruit interview participants…but that’s another story, however if you have a pump and happen to be reading this leave me a comment cuz I’d love to interview you.) So the woman came in, and she was a reasonably friendly, older Type 2 diabetic. We made small talk and were mostly laughing until we pulled out the insertion device for the sensor which stays on your stomach to do CGM. It was huge. Probably 4 times wider and longer than the infusion sets I wear with my pump. I was immediately intimidated. The lady in my training, on the other hand, seemed ready to go. So I asked her to go first. She injected it with the scariest insertion device of all the ones I have ever seen, on an angle, with a huge needle. The sensor had to be taped in place because it was so large that with out the tape, it pulled on her skin and wouldn’t stay in place. However, she informed me that it hadn’t hurt at all.

After about 15 minutes of hesitation, I psyched myself up enough to let the Medtronic lady insert the CGM for me. It didn’t really hurt…it felt, well similar to putting in the pump. But I could feel the plastic cannula bulging under my skin. Imagine running plastic tubing in your stomach right below your epidermis, and when you place your hand over it the tubing pushes back against your fingers. Well, it grossed me out. And then I look over at the nice Type 2 lady and her stomach is gushing blood. So I had a panic attack. I felt woozy at first. So I sat down. I didn’t want them to take it out because I had worked hard enough to let them put it in in the first place. I tried to focus on that thought, but ultimately ended up on the floor of the bathroom at the doctors office puking my brains out. I remember yelling and begging them to rip the CGM out of me, but that’s about it. Next thing I know, its out and I’m sipping orange juice across from the other woman who is still messing with her bleeding sensor and complaining about all the complications she has from her diabetes. She says sometimes she can’t feel her feet for months. She tells me when she puts her pump on she will bleed profusely and that sometimes she can see clotted up blood in the tubing that leads from her cite to her pump. She tells me that she has weird pains for no reason all the time.

…And yea, I know…she’s Type 2 and I’m Type 1. I take really strict care of my diabetes, and she may or may not have managed it for any number of years. She was packing a lot more weight and health problems than I was. But still, this freaked me out. A lot. Diabetes is just something I live with every day of my life, but when I complain about it, I usually say things like “I can’t figure out how to wear my pump with this outfit,” or “I am hungry but my sugar is so high,” or “When I put my pump back on it hurt really bad and now I can’t stop scratching it.” Never so I complain about how one day I’ll be a high-risk pregnancy candidate, or maybe have really terrible vision problems. And to hear this lady complain about all the things her diabetes causes was a reality check that I wasn’t ready for. Not only was I completely nauseated by the whole experience, but I was also scared…scared that’s what was going to happen to me. In a way it inspired me to take even better care of myself, even though I have not attempted to try CGM again. But also, because of that experience, I really don’t know if I will. The Medtronic rep. really tried to get me to reschedule my appointment, and initially I was sure I would. But with my consistently stable sugar levels, I know that right now, I’m doing pretty well with diabetes with out it. And focusing on right now has a whole new meaning of importance for me.