Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Games and War

Type 1 diabetes is a game, and I am a party pooper and hate games in the first place. Only 5% (according to the American Diabetes Association) of people living with diabetes have type 1. Those of us who have developed this goofed up disease have no choice but to play.

 I think I started thinking in this direction today when my co-workers were talking about the movies Braveheart and Gladiator. Guys were talking about wanting swords and going into battle after seeing these movies and getting all riled up and ready to be all guyish and aggressive. When I looked at my Dexcom receiver a short time later I started thinking about the battles that we have with “D”.  It really is like a game, or a war if you will, at times. There are times like a few days that I had last week when it’s pretty smooth sailing, no steep ugly highs and no drastic bottoming out lows. Those are the days that are few are far between, but are as close to a break as we will ever get. Days like that help to refresh and make us think we are ready for the next impending battle. Then comes the onslaught………….. Hormones act up causing a spike in BGs, an insulin pump site in the upper thigh that was in a blood vessel and wouldn’t absorb insulin and splurts out blood when it’s pulled out.  A site that  kinked or just goes bad for no good reason and it takes hours to correct the high that you believe should never have happened in the first place. Or the carb count on the package of burger buns cannot possibly be right because you know you ate plenty of carbs besides that bun but for some reason you are now plummeting down like Niagara falls and must eat everything in sight to feel like you are not going to pass out and die. There is the work out you did that you had a small snack for beforehand and you were so sure that if you set your temp basal rate on your pump down any lower you would end up as high as Mt. Kilimanjaro but instead you had to stop the bike ride because you still dropped to 42 and really feel ready to kill over.  These are battles that make us feel defeated.

Then there are the games. These games are a bit easier, yet more intense when there is a CGM (continuous glucose monitor) involved.That's the point of view that I'm going to take here, but I did play this game before, only with my meter alone. When the arrow on the screen of the CGM receiver is going straight east and you’re at a happy number, and it’s been that way for some time and you are just cruising along not going high or low, this is intermission during the game. 

Then it’s game time again and the game changes. That’s when the arrow starts to steadily point slightly due north or south. 

Depending on how steady  that number is changing when it updates with a new reading on the screen every five minutes, depends on what move you should make to win the game, or if you even get to make a move. You can feel like your are sitting on pins and needles. Then, if it turns into a straight up or down arrow or even double arrows, then you really have to get ahead of the game and take action. It’s feels at times like I’m trying to beat the graph on the receiver screen and not just control my BG from going haywire. It really does feel like some crazy game when I see straight up arrows and I keep checking the screen most likely less than every five minutes and then putting that number in my pump to see if it’s my “move” in the game and I can get more insulin in my system or if I have to wait my turn until I see an even higher number. Those long stretches of seeing a number like 286 and it’s just steadily going straight forward, not up or down, but according to the pump I have too much insulin on board (in my body) at the moment to do a correction bolus to get that number down. That point in the game is torturous! Waiting for my move, but then………… it changes, but not the way I thought. Instead it starts to drop, I feel a short lived sigh of relief at finally seeing 198 instead of 286, because before I know it, it’s gone from the straight arrow that was at 286 then dipped to 220, then 198 to a double falling arrows and “Dang really? That’s how you want to play the game? Now I have to eat fruit snacks because I’m falling too fast and I’m going to reach 60 before I know it?!” Yep, that’s how diabetes like to play the game. I just have to try my best and keep up.

Even though a lot of this seems like defeat, and there are plenty of tears, plenty of screaming inside, plenty of mentally cursing my body, Dexcom, food and whatnot, really, each and every day I’m alive I’ve won the game, I’ve won the battle. Every doctor’s appointment with an A1C that is even slightly close to my goal is a battle won, and when I have my A1C right where I want it it's a victory in the war. Every insulin injection is like a sword stuck into my enemy's side even if I don't think it's making an impact because I can't see the results right away, it's twisting that high sticky glucose like a sword in my enemy's side. Every healthy food choice, every work out no matter how short, each of these is another part of the game I must play with every thing in me. These are hard fought battles, and even though I will feel defeat, I will not be defeated in this ugly war of T1D.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Breaking Habits and Healthy Living

Why is it that once a habit has developed it’s so hard to break? That is unless it’s a good (as in healthy) habit then it seems to be really easy to break. So I guess I should be aksing, why are bad habits so hard to break? Brad and I were talking last night about how we have both gained weight and we really need to make some changes. Yes, I know that it’s normal to put on weight after getting married, but really? I’m the heaviest that I’ve ever been, and I know that there are uncontrollable factors that I can’t do anything about when it comes to my weight, things like my hypo thyroid, and BG lows due to trying to keep tighter control of my BGs that force me to consume unwanted calories. However there are things that I’ve realized that I have gotten in the habit of that can make a difference. So even though it’s a new year and I don’t like new years resolutions, and I’m not going to say that any of this is a new years resolution, but a way of life, and I’m making some changes. Even if I don’t shed the pounds like I would have in the past due to the things above and getting older and slowing down metabolism, these change will do my body good regardless, and I’m hoping that I’ll be feeling healthier and better overall.

What changes am I making???

When I saw a nutritionist 5 years ago when I was first diagnosed we figured out that at the time since I needed to gain weight, (I only weighed 105lbs),in order to reach that weight and not exceed the desired number I should be eating 45 carbs per meal for my height and to reach a healthy weight. I’ve strayed away from that over the last year. I did really good for the first few years but even a little while before getting my insulin pump almost a year ago, wow it’s been almost a year?!, I started eating more carbs and I know that now that I’ve been on the pump I’ve really strayed away from that rule. Now that I could stand to lose a few, back to the 45 carbs per meal rule for me. I think that this will also help with getting better control on BG levels, even though they aren’t horrible, they are pretty darn good I think that this will help.

Clean eating… We do pretty well with that I’d like to think.  It’s just too easy to go for a quick meal and grab something frozen or canned and there’s dinner, but lately I’ve been trying to stay away from that. I’ve been on this whole “make from scratch” kick lately. Weekends are wonderful for making a big batch of something yummy and freezing it for a quick week night meal or left overs for lunch at work.  I even made my own pizza crust the other night. I mean that was so easy I don’t know why I ever even buy crust or kits at the store. I always have the ingredients on hand. But since I really want to make some changes and lower my carb intake I think I’m going to have to try the cauliflower crust recipe that I’ve seen on pinterest.

Get moving! I have fallen off the work out wagon. 2013 despite the weight gain, was probably the best year for me working out. I always go through the pattern of working out for a month or two and then stop and then maybe pick it up again a few months later. This past year I think I did pretty well sticking to walking after work and if it was raining or too hot/cold outside then I would work out inside. That routine got a little rocky in maybe October and then the holidays just really threw a wrench in things. For the last month my body seems to be confused if it wanted to catch a cold or not so I held off from getting back into a workout routine. I’m hoping to start back on a schedule of some sort this week. I’ve struggled of course with the fact that it feels so counter-productive if I’m lowish enough to have to have a snack before/after a workout, so if I’m  “too” low before the time I want to work out I’ve tended over the end of 2013 to just  pass on the work out because I didn’t want to consume those calories. I’ve decided to instead of passing on a workout that if I have to have a snack then maybe an orange or an apple, some kind of healthy choice will be better. At least I can feel good about eating a piece of fruit opposed to the fruit snacks or other candy  that have no nutritional value except to get my BG in line. That will have to be an experiment I guess since I’m not sure how my body will react to a fruit choice instead of candy before a work out. I would think that it would still keep me from plummeting? Guess I’ll find out.

Snacking and the small things……. I’ve got to cut unhealthy snacking out. I didn't really understand it before I had an insulin pump when I would hear that it’s so much easier to eat food and this and that with a pump. I figured there couldn't be that much difference than reaching for my insulin pen and shooting up. Oh but there is! It is easier because I can put in my carb count or guestamate and then bolus and boom, that’s that and I’m done. Therefore I do find that I “cheat” more often that I did before. I’ve also developed the habit of keeping dark chocolate in my desk at work and having one piece in the afternoon after lunch. My reasoning has been that it’s okay because it’s one little piece and it cuts the craving and I’m not going for a candy bar or something really bad from the vending machine. But I just looked and guess how many calories are in one piece? There may only be 10 grams of carbs, and I haven’t felt bad about bolusing for that, but there are 190 calories in one small piece of this dark chocolate. Maybe if I really have to give into temptation I should be cutting that little chocolate bar in half. Resist temptation!!!! Coffee cream, that’s another bad one. I’ve been really good about going caffeine free for the most part, but I still drink decaff and I love my coffee creamer. I mean, I really like creamer in my coffee even way more that sweetener. I think I need to look at Trader Joe’s and see what they have as far as organic and “light” creamer. Maybe there is a substitute that I am unaware of? 

Here is to a happy and healthy 2014!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Lentil & Chicken Curry Soup

In honor and preparation of the snowpocalypse I made this last night.

I've been trying to find a recipe for lentil soup but any that I've found have not appealed to me until I found this one. I added a few things and made this recipe my own. It turned out way too yummy for me not to share!

Lentil & Chicken Curry Soup

This recipe fills up a large soup pot or dutch oven. If you don't want lots of leftovers you may want to reduce ingredience by at least half.

2 palm fulls of dried chopped chives
2 Jalapeno peppers seeded and chopped
2 tsp dried ground ginger
1 cup cilantro
4 apples peeled and roughly chopped
1 large yellow onion
4 tsp curry powder
2  13.5oz cans of light coconut milk
8 cups of low sodium chicken broth (or veggie if you want to go vegetarian)
2 cups of uncooked red lentils
6 boneless/skinless chicken breasts uncooked
Black pepper and salt to taste

Pulse chives, jalapeno, ginger, cilantro, and garlic in a food processor until well mixed. While pulsing add the onion and then the apples a few at a time until well chopped.
Cook curry powder in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat, stirring until lightly toasted, about 1 minute. Whisk in both cans of coconut milk until smooth, cook until reduced about half, about 5 minutes. Add the apple onion mixture and 1 tsp of salt. Cook about 5 more minutes to thicken.
Stir in chicken broth and lentils. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium-low heat and simmer until lentils are tender and broken down, about 30 minutes. Add chicken and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serving size: 1 cup
Per serving: Calories 399; Fat 9g; Saturated fat 6g; Cholesteral 58mg; Sodium 446mg; Carbohydrates 50  ; Fiber 16g ; Protein 18g

                       Husband out in the snow, and it's still snowing with no signs of stopping!