Starting Over Sunday

I woke up this morning with the worst stinging in my left eye.  Occasionally this happens, and it’s really annoying when it does.  But all I wanted to do was crawl back into bed.  Not a good start to the day, but I forced myself up and out, put my darkest sunglasses on and hoped it would get better.  Time to shift my focus…onto food 🙂

Morning BS reading: 205

Breakfast: Store bought Greek yogurt with homemade applesauce– I changed the recipe slightly (only used apples and cinnamon: no sugar, no syrup)

-1/2 cup honey flavored Greek yogurt: about 15 grams of carbs depending on the brand you choose

-1/3 cup applesauce: about 7 grams of carbs

-1 cup of coffee with artificial sweetener: no carbs


Post meal BS reading: right after I ate, my BS shot up to over 350 and a couple hours later it registered at 299, trending down quickly (double arrows pointing down). I’m thinking it went up because I completely forgot to factor in the milk I put in my coffee, but I can’t imagine it going up that much because of a little milk.

Mid-day BS reading: 253

While I’m fortunate enough to get free lunch at work, I have no idea how anything is made or how many carbs there are.  So I do my best to guesstimate.  I also try and get the healthiest and freshest options. Some days that’s grilled chicken and broccoli, other days that’s half a grilled cheese sandwich.

Lunch: Salmon burger (no bun), roasted vegetables and salad with light dressing

-about 1/2 cup roasted vegetables (don’t know what kind of oil was used to cook them): 0 carbs

-full plate of lettuce with light salad dressing: 10 carbs

-1 salmon burger patty (not sure if they’re store bought or made here, but it was the best  lunch option compared to pizza and French fries): 0 carbs


Post meal BS reading: 177 and trending down (I was feeling a little lightheaded so I ate a small orange and now it’s level at 181)

Dinner BS reading: 232

Dinner: lemon pepper chicken with 1 corn tortilla and 1 cup corn and edamame salad

-1 large chicken breast (for 2 people- hubby’s gotta eat too) season with lemon pepper and bake in  Extra virgin olive oiled baking dish for 30 min at 350 degrees: 0 carbs

-mix about 1 cup frozen corn and 2 cups edamame with 1 minced garlic clove, 1 tsp. olive oil and dash of salt and pepper.  Place on foil lined baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes: 1 cup 5 carbs

-toast corn tortilla on stove, careful not to burn your fingers!: 1 tortilla 8 carbs

chicken edamame salad

Pretty good for day one.  I just looked at my CGM immediately after eating dinner and my sugar is 331 and trending up.  Hopefully my correction and meal bolus is enough to cover it.  That’s why this exercise is good, it let’s me see exactly what I eat and how it affects my blood sugar.  My doc’s are gonna love me :).


Food…Friend or Foe?

Food is a big issue for diabetics, whether you’re Type 1, 2 or gestational it’s always going to be on your mind.  I can’t just eat an apple and feel happy that I chose a healthy snack. I have to consider what my blood sugar is and how big the apple is and how soon after a meal I want to eat the apple and whether or not I need a correction.  It’s a lot to process for a healthy snack.  Now that I’m meeting with Meg, I’m learning so much about food and I’m excited to keep learning new recipes and healthier options.  I was told that since my body is so used to high blood sugar readings and since I’ve gone so long without calculating  bolus’s, I’d start gaining weight if I gave myself the correct amount of insulin for the kinds of food I currently eat- and I didn’t really want that to happen. While I’m not underweight like I was in college, I’m comfortable at my current weight (110 lbs).  So until we find the right balance between my basal rate and bolus’s, I need to think about the quality of every bite that I eat in addition to how many carbs I’m eating and how it will affect my blood sugar.  That’s a lot to think about. I don’t like thinking about it.  I’m used to feeling hungry then eating whatever is in the fridge, or if I’ve had a busy work week and my fridge is empty, then whatever takeout is closest to my apartment. 

I’ve been doing a lot of homework on diets, foods and how they work with T1D, and I’m still trying to figure out what works best for me.  Since working with Meg I’ve only gained a couple pounds, and I’m fine with a couple pounds.  What I’m not fine with is my high blood sugar readings, dry mouth, nausea and headaches when I eat something I probably shouldn’t.

Meg has provided me with some really great food options and eventually I’ll try them all.  For now I’m sticking with my favorites and trying to make them my own.  This whole next week (starting tomorrow) I’m planning on tracking everything I eat.  This will probably force me to follow Meg’s advice to a t, because I’m not going to want to have to post that I ate an entire box of Girl Scout cookies (not that I’d ever do that, but I cant say that I never have either).  It’s easier for me if I plan my meals a head of time, that way I know what I’ll be eating everyday and I’ll make sure to have all the ingredients I need.  I’ll post pictures, the ingredients I used and what I estimate the carbs to be.  I’m probably going to be off some of the time, but I’m learning as I go along. 

In addition to meeting with Meg, I’ve been researching different eating plans for diabetics.  One that has piqued my interest is the Ketogenic diet which is basically a low carb, high fat diet (good fat i.e. avocados, olive oil, full fat yogurt).  I’m particularly interested because unlike Atkins, T1D’s have claimed to have lowered their A1C to non-diabetic levels and cut way back on their insulin with the Ketogenic diet.  That’s the goal right?  I’m afraid to go too low carb though, especially since Meg specifically instructed me not to. She would like me to eat roughly 100 carbs a day. But I’d be willing to try this in the future, once I’m hovering around a 7 A1C.  In the meantime, I’ll skip the dinner rolls and load up on protein, veggies and fruit.

My first steps

I started my journey at the beginning of this year.  My first appointment with my new, fantastic endocrinologist was on January 6th, 2014.  I had heard wonderful things about Dr. Peters from other doctors, diabetics and parents of diabetics.  So after some online research I prayed that she was still taking on new patients and made an appointment.  Just walking into her office made me feel better.  It doesn’t feel like a regular waiting room.  There’s nothing extraordinarily different about this one.  It’s actually smaller than most waiting rooms and has the same pamphlets, generic artwork and family photos you’d see in any doctor’s waiting room, but everybody who works there is just so positive and wonderful I couldn’t help but feel comforted.  She has the friendliest nurses and is the nicest, most comforting doctor I have ever met with.  As is my nature I completely broke down and just started crying buckets during our initial meeting.  She assured me that cases like mine are her specialty and that she will safely bring my numbers down and help me feel better, because after all, that’s why I was there in the first place.  I was sick of feeling sick and completely over waking up every morning with my sugars over 400.  I was ready for a change.

We’d take baby steps, Dr. Peters told me.  The first job I had to master was checking my blood three times a day and giving myself a correction before each meal.  I didn’t have to count carbs, I didn’t have to drastically change my diet, I didn’t have to start wearing my Continuous Glucose Monitor, I didn’t even have to lower my basal rate that much……yet. I would be doing all those things soon; however, for the next month my only job was to gather data for Dr. Peters.  I haven’t had an actual logbook in at least 10 years, but I was able to use my insulin pump to log my blood sugars that whole month.  I felt hopeful and capable of staying on track.

At my next appointment we discovered that my sugars are consistently between 300 and 400, with just correction boluses and a high basal rate.  I was frustrated, but I knew it would be a long and difficult journey to see my numbers where I want them to be.  I started meeting with Meg, a wonderful and dedicated dietician.  Together, we came up with meals and snacks that are not only easy to make, but absolutely delicious.  She answered all my texts and emails. How many carbs are in an acai bowl? How nutritious are those diabetic shakes really? How many carbs do I need to eat everyday? Do I need to give myself a full bolus if I eat a meal after I workout?  I discovered that avocados are ‘free foods’ and I don’t need to give myself any insulin for them- which is incredible because I could eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the rest of my life. She is teaching me how to calculate the carbs in the foods that I eat, and she is showing me quality foods that don’t leave me feeling guilty for enjoying.

Since then, my blood sugars are consistently hovering between 250 and 350…for now.  I’m working really hard to do whatever Dr. Peters and Meg tell me to do. They still shoot up to 400+, but those readings are becoming less common.

Enough is enough

A new month brings a sense of new beginnings. A blank slate. I’m going back to the basics and ready to re-learn everything I was taught regarding type 1 diabetes 12 years ago- when I began a lifetime relationship with my Paradigm MiniMed insulin pump. I started using an insulin pump because I had an amazing opportunity to travel to Europe with family friends. But in order to go I had to be comfortable with an insulin pump which would give me more freedom than twice daily insulin injections at 14 years old did. I’ve had the pump for the past 12 years, but once again it seems completely new to me. While I was in control over a decade ago, I have in the last 8 or 9 years become a victim of my pump. All through college and my post grad life I didn’t check my blood as often as a T1D should. In fact there were periods of time that I would go weeks without once pricking my finger. And then I’d feel bad about it and start checking religiously for about a week. I never gave myself meal boluses and relied only on my obscenely high basal rate and occasional correction boluses. I’d run out of insulin in my pump and often go about a day or two before changing it. I forgot how to count carbs. I even forgot what foods to avoid. Instead of gaining the dreaded Freshman 15, I lost about 20 pounds. But I can’t say I’m surprised. After eating pizza, bagels, ice cream and pasta every night in the dining hall for 4 years and not getting any insulin for it, it’s no wonder all my clothes were falling off me and I had to start shopping in the children’s department. I didn’t realize what I was doing and didn’t even recognize the link between my weight loss and state of denial until I read an article about what is commonly known as ‘the black diet’, when diabetics purposely refrain from taking insulin just to lose weight. I don’t think I’ve fully processed that moment. Even after I read that article and realized what I was doing to my body I didn’t change. Sure, there were times I’d vow that I’d check my blood 6 times a day and count all the carbs I ate for each meal and eat healthy, quality foods. And I’d start out living up to the promises I made myself, but like clockwork, within a month I’d fall easily back into my old habits.

I don’t know what’s different now. Maybe it’s because I’m closer to 30 than I am to 20. Maybe it’s because I got married last year and it’s not just about me anymore. Maybe it’s because I’m feeling more like a grown up. Maybe it’s because eventually I want to have kids and I’ve seen Steel Magnolias (spoiler alert….don’t see Steel Magnolias). Maybe it’s because I’ve told myself for years how serious T1D management is and now I’m finally ready to do something about it. Whatever the case, I’m working closely with my fabulous endo who has seen cases like mine hundreds of times and who truly cares about her patients. I’m meeting with her and an amazing dietician who has completely changed my perception of quality diabetic meals once a month and I’m going to do everything I can to take back control. I’ll probably mess up, but this time I won’t let it stop me.