About Me

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I'm a glass-half-full type of girl. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, grave's disease and celiac disease in 2010 and life-altering allergies in 2013. I believe having a positive attitude is the only way to live with dis-ease. I also believe that life doesn't have to be PERFECT for it to be WONDERFUL. Dis-ease is expensive, so I live a frugal yet healthy lifestyle. This is just my blog; my day-to-day story.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Pan-ny Christmas.

Did you have a nice Christmas? Mine was pretty good. I am proud to say that aside from a few gifts I purchased, I didn't buy anything new for Christmas this year. No new decorations, ornaments, wrapping paper, candles, etc. I have some pretty rigid financial goals for 2012 that I'm trying to get a jump on now (paying off medical bills from 2010), so this was a very frugal Christmas. Being frugal is actually quite fun. It challenges my creative side and me feel really proud of what I am able to accomplish on a small budget.

This year, I asked for gift cards to TJ Maxx. I've been diligently saving gift cards over the course of almost a year. With the gift cards I received at Christmas, I was finally able to buy my dream pan set; pans I've been wanting for a long time. These beauties carry a hefty price, even at TJ Maxx, but cost close to double that if I were to get them at Macy's or another department store. As you can see from one of the price stickers, these pans are re-DEE-culously expensive. Which is why I've been saving my gift cards. I don't have a lot of extra dough laying around to spend on pans.

Since becoming both a T1 diabetic and a celiac in 2010, cooking has become a BIG part of my life. I cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner, every day. There's little to no eating out for this girl.

So why Le Creuset pans? Well, all the bad press that nonstick pans are getting really creeps me out; the chemicals they give off and make people/pets sick if cooked at a high temperatures. I decided I wanted better-quality pans. I tried my hand at a cast iron pan, and haven't given up on it exactly, but still have issues with everything sticking like crazy to it (sorry Diabetic Camper; I tried, I swear). And not to mention, I still swear that my nonstick pan usage is what killed my two birds, Mozart and Mona, in 2005. I guess there is no way to prove it, but I highly suspect it. I have an old dog now; she's got health issues; lots. And so do I. So, since I sometimes feel I have little control over many other factors in my life, choosing which pans I want to cook out of is one that I DO.

Maybe this is TMI, but I don't socialize as much as I used to. Maybe it's the feeling self-conscious about my illnesses, specifically the dietary restrictions that make eating outside of the house more of a chore than an enjoyment. And also the fact that instead of being asked how my job is going or how other important things in my life are going, I'm usually only asked about how my diseases are doing. It's like nobody sees anything else about me anymore; not my accomplishments, my talents, my personality, my quirks. Not even the traits that I used to be known for. So I find a lot of enjoyment in staying home and cooking awesome meals. Even if I am the only one who ever tastes it.

Who knows, maybe my new pans will give me some incentive to cook up some good chow and invite people over to eat with me. I'd say that's a good possibility.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

'Tis the season! I've been baking a lot and experimenting with different gluten free recipes. Good thing my A1c won't get checked for 2 more months :) Last night, I made chocolate truffle brownies, white chicken chili and turkey wild rice loaf. Tonight, I'm in the process of baking Mexican Wedding Cakes. That's the picture you see, fresh out the oven. I'd show you a picture of the brownies, but, um, well...

It sure would be nice to have someone to share all my holiday food with. Not sure why God blessed me with mad cooking skills but no hubby. You want to come over for dinner??? Cooking for one is not much fun. My co-workers will get to enjoy the fruits of my labor. I love cooking, so the extras just go into the freezer.

Learning to cook gluten free has been both fun and challenging. Things bake differently, and sometimes taste differently (texture-wise). But I have begun to suspect that God gave me this particular illness (Celiac Disease)to serve as help and inspiration to others. I can't tell you how many people at the food co-op I've approached when I realized they were buying all gluten free foods. I've met so many newly-diagnosed celiacs that need encouragement, and I've made new friends. One even had a daughter that was just like me- a T1 and a Celiac.

There's a certain comraderie that comes with finding another T1 or another Celiac, and an even stronger bond if they have both. It's like an unspoken fist-bump when you see someone wearing a pump and they see yours, too. Or you see a gluten free frozen pizza in someone's cart, and know no one else would be paying $10 for a personal pan sized pizza unless they had no other choice. It makes me feel happy to develop these bonds with others, even if they are strangers I'll never see again.

This is a time of year when you can feel really lonely, for many reasons, but this year I don't. I feel encouraged, empowered, and hopeful.

Friday, December 9, 2011

You know you're diabetic when you...

ask for giftcards... to WALGREENS... for Christmas.

On being broke and diabetic.

It's not easy being poor when you're a t1 diabetic with celiac disease. Sadly, I wouldn't be poor if I was healthy. I make a decent salary, enough where I should be able to afford nice things. I have no credit card debt. I should have a healthy amount of disposable income. But I don't. Why? Because being a person with diabetes or a person with celiac is damn expensive. When I was eventually diagnosed with both diseases? I actually heard my checkbook explode.

I pay several hundred dollars a month for just two of my prescriptions (insulin and test strips). Let's not forget there are copays for lancets, ketostix, glucagon, insulin pump pods ($450 for a 3 month supply is my portion of the copay), and CGM sensors (another $450 for a 3 month supply is my portion of the copay). And I have two other auto-immune diseases I have to treat.

Celiac is not cheap, either. Ever purchased a loaf of gluten free bread? It's $5.50 a loaf and up. A loaf that is HALF the size of a normal loaf of bread. Gluten free pasta? Triple the cost of your average pasta. Gluten free pretzels? They are $7.99 a bag. Compare that to the 99 cents the normal ones cost on sale. My food bill easily tripled when I got sick.

So how does an average single chick manage such expenses on her one income? The simple answer is, I don't always get the medication or supplies that I need. Not on a regular basis. I have to go without. I can't afford it. As for affording a gluten free diet, I don't buy bread, snack food or other processed treats, because I can't afford them. Although this forced medical diet has definitely helped me to eat a better, cleaner diet (read: meat and veggies), I do miss just stopping by the bakery on a rough day and grabbing a 6-pk of cupcakes for $2.49. My gluten free ones are $5.99 for a 2-pk. Want to make a sandwich? Not in the budget.

It just doesn't seem fair that someone who has a good job, makes a decent wage and purposely avoided wracking up credit card debt, can't afford the basic medication and supplies she needs just to be alive and healthy everyday. It just doesn't seem right to me.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The trials of a single adult with T1 diabetes

It is a wonderful Saturday morning. I'm sitting at Caribou Coffee, drinking a skinny Ho Ho Mocha and reading a new book entitled My Sweet Life: Successful Women with Diabetes. What a great book to read. I bought it after seeing fellow blogger Alexis Pollack (www.irunoninsulin.com) post it on her blog. She actually has a chapter in it! I am also enjoying Riva Greenberg's chapter. I have essentially the entire book left to read, so I am really excited to learn more of these amazing women's stories.

But what I am hoping to find are some stories of women who were diagnosed with T1 when they were adults. So far all of the stories are of women who were diagnosed as children. I have a hard time finding stories in any book/magazine of people like me. As a person who was diagnosed as a single adult woman, the diagnosis impact, I think, is different than those diagnosed as children. Neither impact for either situation is good. But I think they are very different experiences.

I was a single adult when I was diagnosed with t1 in 2010. I live 700 miles away from the closest family member. I had a job. Bills. Responsibilities. Social calendars. Student loan payments. A chronically ill dog who I love(who's still with me). And I was taking care of it all on my own, I was a self-sufficient machine. And then I got t1 diabetes. And just like that, everything started to fall apart. As a newly diagnosed t1, (when providers are still playing with your insulin dosages to figure out what works for you), I was very ill with both extremely high and low blood sugars every day. I missed so much work that I eventually lost my job and sole source of income. There was no one there to help- as a single adult, you're on your own. There's no one to step in and pay your bills, do your grocery shopping (or buy your groceries for you), bring you chicken noodle soup, keep your house up and assure you that everything will be taken care of and you'll be okay. There were no parents to do that, no husband. It was just me, my dog and my diabetes. I drove myself to every doctor and hospital appointment (which totaled more than $169,000 in the first 11 months). I picked up my own prescriptions. I wrote my own appeal letters to the insurance to have my diabetic equipment and drugs covered. I drove myself to the ER and urgent care, when needed. I took my own notes during my appointments and asked all the questions. I had to argue with my insurance company when bills weren't paid correctly, then follow up with calls to clinics to let them know I'd called the insurance company. I set up my own payment arrangements in attempt to pay for all the medical expenses I now had, using my unemployment income to pay for all of my bills.

When you are a single adult, there might not be anyone else to help you manage things. Some of us are too old to move back in with our parents and don't have anyone else to support us (emotionally or financially). Friends can definitely help you out when you are sick, but in general, the help of friends may not be as consistent (you are not their responsibility in the long run).

And I'd love to start reading more about people's stories who are similar to mine- diagnosed as an adult, having to carry the entire burden on their own shoulders. And do it successfully.

I'm still a single adult managing my diabetes alone. Add to that Celiac Disease and Grave's Disease. And I'm doing it pretty successfully. I am once again working, supporting myself, running life's day to day responsibilities, and still trying to pay off 2010's medical bills. I've got my system down, have some friends who love me and have found additional support through my online diabetic and celiac friends and blogs. I've learned to treat and talk about my t1 and celiac confidently, because I'm not ashamed of it anymore. I want people to see 'hey, I'm a diabetic, and i also can't eat wheat/barley/rye/oats because I'm celiac, but I'm still a normal, happy person.'

My diseases are just two of the traits that define me. I'm also poetic, a great cook, advocate, a funny person, super compassionate, animal lover, 4.0 MBA student, a dedicated employee, Jesus follower, food lover, coffee-a-holic (decaf only, please!)and a loyal friend.

Anyways, I'm excited to read this book. I'm always looking for additional sources of inspiration, whether it's in a book, a new hobby or a new friendship. I'd love to hear what your source of inspiration (read: sanity) is. What do you do?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Oh Normal Day!

Didn't someone once say something about a normal day being a treasure? "Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are." Isn't that so true for a diabetic? A day when everything is normal? Your blood sugars, your work day, your commute to work? Today was such a normal day that I think people wondered why I was so happy about it. Simply because there were no surprises, there was no bad news, work was steady but not crazy, and traffic was good. And for that, I am very grateful.

Since I went back to work last month, my diabetes has been very uncooperative. I took off work for 10 months in order to manage the 3 autoimmune diseases I was diagnosed with last year. It was much easier to manage the diseases when THEY were my full-time job. It's a different story now that I'm working. Last Friday, my endo said my diabetes was becoming more brittle. I feel like I'm losing the war, and the war only started 2 years ago (well, actually 1 year, 9 months ago). Diabetes is a disease where effort does not equal outcome, but I still put every effort into it.

But let's focus on today. Today was a good day. I'm sad to say goodbye to today, not knowing what tomorrow will be. But I'll do tomorrow what I did today, eat breakfast, go to work, drive home, read something uplifting, listen to my Dr. Weil Mind/Body Toolkit CD and maybe make a big pot of chili.

Thank you to everyone who contacted me about my 11/9/11 blog, you lifted up my spirits just when I needed it, in a way that no one else could. I'm so grateful to my online diabetic friends. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I hope everyone has a good tomorrow.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Crap faux pas

See this picture? Notice anything, oh, disgusting about it? This was me, at work today around 2:30pm, in a meeting with a room full of people I don't know.

Awesome to realize I've been walking around all day at work with dog sh* stuck to the front of my boot and just now saw it.

The only reason I saw it AT ALL is because the guy sitting next to me at the meeting kept looking down at it. So I looked down to see what he was looking at. Mortifying!!! I had an immediate reaction- I started laughing uncontrollably like a crazy person, my face red with tears coming down and no one around me knew what was so funny.

Dog crap in two big blobs stuck to the FRONT of my boots; one of the blobs even has dog hair stuck to it. See it?

I've been a little stuffy due to allergies and now wonder if it stunk, as well. Probably better I not know.

I have no idea how this happened, but something must have happened when I took my dog out this morning while it was still dark. I just wonder how I couldn't have seen it myself ALL DAY!!!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

stress. changes needed.

It's been a long time since I wrote. I've been feeling overwhelmed with things and sort of fell down the rabbit hole for a while.

I accepted a job offer last month. It's a good job with a mail order pharmacy company. But since I've been back to work, my blood sugar has been out of control, my energy levels are almost zero, and I feel tired and depressed. I work with a nice bunch of people, but none of them understand anything about Type 1 OR about Celiac disease. I actually tried to hide the fact that I had either; but there's only so long you can hide a disease before you've got some explaining to do. Now I feel like I am viewed as the 'sick person.' I don't feel like I fit in.

In an effort to not worsen things, I've made a point to not tell them details about either disease. For example, they don't know about low blood sugar or how to treat it. I have successfully acted my way through several low blood sugar episodes without anyone knowing I had one. I felt like I was going to pass out I was so low, but didn't want anyone to know because I don't want to make things worse. This is my first new job since getting these diagnoses. At my prior job, I worked with my coworkers long enough PRIOR to getting diagnosed that I wasn't afraid to talk to them about it. They cared about me and were genuinely curious about it. It's different at this new job. I don't know what to do. I don't want my new boss to think "Oh great, I hired a SICK person."

I feel so isolated and alone. I don't really have anyone to support me. Having bad bg numbers has only fueled the situation.

I don't know how to handle all of this stuff. My first instinct is to quit my new job and just stay in my house, where I feel safe. For now, I just tell myself to just get through things one day at a time...

I am also feeling like I would enjoy a new pace of life, living outside of Minnesota. Texas? San Diego? Las Vegas? Those would be my top 3 I think. Know of anyone hiring an Analyst for an Pharmacy Benefits Management Company or similarly-skilled area (health insurance company?)I'm a smart girl who learns quickly and has a heart of gold.

I just need to make some changes. I just don't know where to start.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Good News for Type 1s!!!

You'll have to forgive the bad-quality video taken on the spur of the moment on my old Sony camera tonight, but I caught this story on the local (Minneapolis) news tonight. It is hard to believe that there might be an actual CURE for type 1 diabetes in 2013. I had to upload the video to Youtube because it was too big of a file to download anywhere else. It's about 5 minutes long, and you'll hear me lose it (sobs) about 4 1/2 minutes through it (sorry, didn't know the sound would pick that up). I am still getting teary-eyed even talking about the prospect of an actual cure; something we've all hoped for; something we hoped would happen in our lifetime. Who knew it could be this soon?

Happy day, people.

Click HERE for the video.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

30 Questions for Invisible Illness Week.

Okay, I missed the boat on the Invisible Illness Week (it was last week). So here's my late questionnaire.
1. The illness I live with is: type 1 diabetes, celiac disease and grave’s disease
2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: all in 2010
3. But I had symptoms since: 2010
4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: managing two medical diets that conflict with each other (T1 and celiac), and having to take a pill with strict guidelines everyday (must be on empty stomach, same time every day, can’t be within a couple hours of any calcium or within 4 hours of any vitamins or birth control pills--grave’s disease.)
5. Most people assume: that I’m sick every day since I have illnesses (not true!)
6. The hardest part about mornings are: Making a concerted, conscious effort to stay positive all day. I actually have an internal conversation with myself upon waking, every day before I get out of bed. I tell myself all the things I'm grateful for.
7. My favorite medical TV show is: dLife on CNBC. I watch it every Sunday night without fail!
8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: my meter and insulin pump. I quite fancy my CGM, too.
9. The hardest part about nights are: Having too much time to worry about my health and to over analyze things.
10. Each day I take 4 pills & a billion vitamins. And a probiotic and digestive enzymes.
11. Regarding alternative treatments I: believe that diet/nutrition and stress play a bigger role in causing/maintaining illnesses than what doctors emphasize, and that our healthcare doesn’t give alternative treatments enough credit for helping us to manage or ease disease.
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: Invisible because I don’t like people assuming I’m “sick” every day just because I have a diagnosis. Most days I live a very normal life like everyone else!
13. Regarding working and career: I am really interested in diet/nutrition and in the beauty industry. I don’t know which one I’d rather work in!
14. People would be surprised to know: that I have journals that date back 15 years (it’s great to see how my younger self thought, and serves as a great memory of what life was like pre-disease).
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: 1. People always looking at me with puppy dog eyes and feeling sorry for me. 2. Realizing how difficult it is to lead a normal social life with celiac disease. That’s been a harder adjustment than the diabetes.
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: 1. find enough meals/food that works for both medical diets! 2. Talk about my diseases without crying. 3. Be strong enough to help others in the same boat.
17. The commercials about my illness: seem to focus on the negatives (like the complications) and don’t focus on how to live well with disease. They make it seem like the best you can aim for is to feel normal, but not happy.
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: eating out without fear of cross contamination. It’s difficult to not be able to eat at most restaurants that my friends can eat at.
19. It was really hard to have to give up: gluten. Definitely harder to give up than anything I had to give up for diabetes.
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: reading gobs and gobs of health-related books, positive thinking books (channeling Louise Hay!) and healthy, gluten free cook books.
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: Go out to eat at a restaurant I cannot normally eat at and order whatever I want! With gluten! And high carb!
22. My illness has taught me: 1. That Microsoft Word with always autocorrect the word “carb” to “crab,” so be careful! 2. That you can live a pretty normal life with diabetes and a semi-normal life with celiac. 3. That no matter how good you feel, you’ll always feel different than your healthy counterparts (always feel like you are in a slightly different category).
23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: 1. "My aunt lost her leg to diabetes." 2. "My aunt died from diabetes." 3. When someone asks me if I’ve seen Steel Magnolias,(yep, been asked several times), in case I didn't know what suffering with or dying from my disease looks like. 4. When people say “I give you credit because I could NEVER maintain the diets that you have to” (oh, you mean the ones that keep me alive? Trust me people, despite what you say, you would do it). 5. When people are surprised that someone like me can get diabetes (“you’re too skinny!”)
24. But I love it when people: 1. Try to understand my illnesses. 2. Don’t see me as a sick person.
25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: It's more like a philosophy than a motto/quote, but health is more than the absence of disease, and therefore, I am healthy/health is within my reach. I can be healthy WITH a diagnosis.
26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: Join a support group, especially for celiac disease and join the DOC and read blogs for T1. It will change your life!
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: 1. You’ll have to think about it every day, forever. There are no more carefree, spontaneous, throw-caution-to-the-wind days, because you will always have to plan ahead for T1 and celiac. 3. That it would open my heart to understanding others with different diseases than mine. I try to put myself in their shoes for their particular challenges, more now than ever.
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: Stay up all night with me when I was scared to fall asleep.
29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: Well, technically I missed it, because I didn’t know about it (oops). But invisible illness week is important b/c it helps me to remember that there are others with invisible illnesses, and not to focus solely on mine.
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: That you are probably in the same or similar boat, or you probably wouldn’t be interested in my blog to begin with! But also makes me feel that you can probably relate very well to the answers I wrote.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Diabetes craps on my parade...once again.

Forgive me if this entry ends up rambling and nonsensical. My blood sugar is still really high right now and my eyeballs hurt and I feel awful.

The day started off great with some volunteer work. Afterwards, driving home from downtown Minneapolis, I was in a great mood and enjoying the 74-degree-and-sunny day with the car windows down and Louis Armstrong's CD playing loudly. I almost felt like I was in San Diego (sans the palm trees or ocean views). When I got home, I knew I needed to hit the books before my first class tomorrow night, so I changed clothes, grabbed my book bag and headed off to Caribou Coffee. I was there for about an hour and a half when I started feeling...weird. A diabetic knows exactly what I'm talking about, I don't even need to describe it. It's the feeling of your blood sugar screaming up or down quickly. Next thing I knew Sam the CGM was wildly beeeeeeeping at me, almost as if he sensed something was wrong at the same moment I did. Sam said I was 237 with upward trending arrows. No more than 5 minutes prior, the CGM had been reporting a steady stream of 115-120 readings. My meter confirmed I was higher than that...241. How or why, I have no idea (thanks, liver?). I hadn't eaten anything carby before hand, and had eaten a healthy, balanced meal a couple hours prior with no problems.

After bolusing...and bolusing... and a recheck bg of 259, Sam the CGM is still showing up arrows, so I knew I hadn't reached the peak of what it was going to be. I packed up my bag, and headed for the car, sulking, mad, scared, pissed, you name it. Why does diabetes always have to interrupt important tasks? Driving home, my eyeballs were hurting (again, only another diabetic can truly appreciate what it feels like for your eyeballs to ache)and I started crying. When I turned the power on the radio, it picked up in the middle of the song that I had been previously listening to, What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong. So I'm listening to this song, with tears streaming from under my sunglasses, driving home.

I'm home now, waiting for my eyes to quit bugging out and the fog to leave my brain so I can finish my reading. It's not exactly light reading and it requires my full attention.

I'll bounce back; I always do. But there's nothing like a random quick high bg to remind you that you cannot control this disease and sucker punch you in the gut.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Do you DRINK that????

Nope, it's not stomach bile. It's my breakfast. It's my green juice that I make regularly in my juicer. It consists of 3 broccoli stalks, 3 celery, 3 cucumbers, 3 leaves of romaine or kale, sprouts, and either a couple baby carrots or a 1/2 apple. It's gluten free, tastes pretty good and gives me more energy than any cup of coffee ever could (well, I don't drink caffeine, so that could be why). Trying to figure out how to bolus for it is, well, another story. That's a whole lotta veggies... in juice form (read: instant blood sugar affecter). But I could never eat that many veggies in one day, so it's kind of nice to drink it down in a matter of seconds.

Diabetics will never have clean sheets.

I must have had a gusher during the middle of the night. I routinely wake up and check my bg in the middle of the night without turning on the lights. Sometimes I do almost all of it with my eyes closed, only peeking to see what the number is.

This morning I woke up with finger poke -sized blood stains and smears all over the place, like under my pillow. Then when I checked my bg on my PDM, I saw that the buttons were all bloodied up, too. Yep, must have had a gusher last night and didn't even know it.

Every set of sheets I own have finger poke blood stains on it. It's inevitable. I was mad because I had just bought a new, expensive set of sheets from Bed, Bath & Beyond and within a couple days had new stains on it. I guess that's just part of Big D, never having clean sheets.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It's been a very busy week.

Today was a good day. Today, I was notified that I was accepted into my 2nd Master's program, Master of Arts in Holistic Health Studies. I'm about finished with my first Master's, an MBA.

It's been a grueling week of verifying that all paperwork has been received, references filling out paperwork and submitting it, gathering transcripts, writing personal statements and interviewing.

So my classes begin next Thursday, and I'll be taking a full time load. That in addition to the fact I'm planning on returning to the workforce after taking 8 months off to get healthy (see my 2/12/11 post for details on what I'm healing from).

I hope to work for a corporation that focuses on wellness and healing. With my business background, it would be great to open up my own wellness consulting company once I have a few years of experience under my belt. I used to be all about the business degree...until I got so sick in 2010 that I almost died. Then my focus changed to health and healing. And that is where my passion now lies- staying healthy and helping others to discover their own healing capabilities. I'm not under any illusion that I can get rid of my chronic illnesses, but living in a holistic manner has made a night-and-day difference in how I feel everyday. And the results are actually measurable- my blood work shows it.

I was just recently asked by a large health system here in Minnesota to meet with endocrinologists to help improve relationships between them and their patients, and to give doctors ideas for how they can promote self-care. Part of this includes talking with them about the techniques I am currently using to manage all my illnesses.

AND, I offered to help take care of a friend after surgery next week, so I've got to fit that in between things as well.

So I've got a lot going on! All good things, all exciting but demanding and challenging. I don't want to overdo it and end up wrecked from stress. But over time as my health has improved, I've been getting bored with all the time on my hands. Guess I won't be bored any longer!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How do you cook in cast iron????

Okay. We need to talk. I need someone out there who knows something about cast iron pans to help me. I received a Lodge cast iron skillet as a gift recently. I only have one other frying pan, and it's a non-stick pan, which I know isn't great healthwise, so needless to say I was uber-excited about this gift. I carefully read the pan's instructions to see if it needed any special handling (pre-seasoned, etc.) and it said it was ready for immediate use, no pre-greasing or seasoning needed.

Now look at that picture and tell me what I'm doing wrong. Why does everything stick???? I tried to cook eggs tonight, and well, you see how that turned out. I lost at least one egg to the bottom of that pan.

I'm beginning to think that cast iron pans should just be used as weapons against intruders and NOT for cooking.

Anyone got any advice????

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pump crap

I had a really off-day with my Omnipod for some reason. All of the following happened when I was in a hurry to get out the door (of course). It all started when my Omnipod insulin pump alarmed to let me know it was expiring and needed to be changed. So, I began the process for shutting it down and firing up a new one. There was one problem... I couldn't get the pump off. The adhesive was so stuck that it was taking layers of skin off of my arm. I began to think that the adhesive had melted into my skin from being out in the heat a lot the previous 3 days. The areas where the skin came off are now scabbed over and ugly.

I gave up on trying to get that one off. I figured I'd dig out my adhesive remover (Uni-Solve) later and work on it. I proceeded with firing up the next pod. I was trying to put it on my lower back, but it wasn't sticking. Why aren't you sticking to me, pod, I asked. Oh yes... I put on my Vaseline body oil right after my shower. My skin was like a moisturized oil slick. Crap. So I took it off, what little amount was actually sticking to me, alcohol-wiped the area, and tried to put it back on. No dice. It won't stick now. So I tried to see if it would stick to my stomach. For some reason I apparently thought the skin was "different" there. Again, no go. There was no amount of tape or anything else that was going to rescue this one.

I tried to pull the insulin back out of it to put in a new pod, but I bent the needle head. Grrr. So I tried to use the new needle in the new pod packaging to pull the insulin back out of the now-defective pod. But the insulin wouldn't come out. So I threw out the pod and loaded up the new one with a new batch of insulin. As it was priming itself, BEEEEEEEPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP. It's alarming. Something's wrong, who knows what.

I pick up the phone and call Insulet Corp-Product Support. I reported the alarm and they will ship me a new one. They were very nice when I called. So, on to a new pump (#3 for the day). I slowly performed each step to get it on, so as not to cause another alarm or break anything. I held my breath as it primed...and primed...and primed. I waited for the friendly beep-beep it makes when it's ready to be put on. And this time it was successful. Exhale.

All of this took an extra 26 minutes. I was running late to begin with and was in a foul mood and this just made me more mad. But in the end, I relaxed and reminded myself to have positive thoughts to bring on positive activity in my day. It was a good reminder that sometimes things happen and you can't get upset about it. So what if I ran late- nobody died as a result (lol). And now at the end of the day, getting that mad just seems silly.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Terri & Me and church tonight

This is a pic of my friend Terri and I at church tonight. She is so sweet and full of positive energy. Inspiring. Down to earth. She's a good person to call a friend! I'm a lucky girl!

Are any of you on TWITTER?

I just joined Twitter yesterday. Yes, I know I'm a bit behind the tide on this one. I've resisted long enough. I'm missing out on some good stuff!!! But I'd like to follow some of you guys that read my blogs. Are any of you on Twitter? If you are, comment below or send me a private msg if you don't want to list it in the comments. I'd love to follow you!

My Twitter handle is: DbetesSunshine

It just was too long to put Diabetes and Celiac Sunshine (Twitter rules, I guess).

Hope to see you on there soon!!!!

x0x0 Nikki

Friday, August 12, 2011

How do you organize your diabetes?

These are my diabetes drawers. One is an actual drawer, labeled "Diabetes," and the other is a storage ottoman. Someday I hope to have enough storage to keep everything in one spot, but that is not the case right now.

Every month when I get my new stash of diabetes supplies from the pharmacy, I have to rearrange my drawer to make room and "rotate stock," so I'm using the oldest stuff first.

Do you have an organization system?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Your refridgerator is your pharmacy


Do you eat for enjoyment or necessity? Maybe a little of both?

I largely eat for necessity, with the occasional treat thrown in, of course.
The bottom picture is of my spinach cranberry turkey burgers (sans spinach, b/c I forgot to buy fresh spinach at the store-oops). It's just turkey burger, a handful of fresh spinach, maybe 1/4 cup of cranberries, and 1 egg. Mix 'er up with a fork and form into patties. They will feel wet and difficult to keep together at first, but trust me, they'll fare just fine. Just fry them up in a pan. I'll eat these later in the week.

The top picture is of my dinner tonight. Fresh salmon. As a nice treat, one of my church friends gave me some fresh salmon that their family had caught in Canada. I was so happy and surprised! Yum! The picture here shows what I did with it. That's fresh dill, garlic, evoo, and lemon on top of fresh salmon, right before entering my oven. I ate it with a side of freshly sliced mango.

I must have over bolused for the mango, tho, because about an hour post-eating, my bg tanked. Yikes. What happened there, who knows. Feeling icky and seeing the down-trending arrow on the CGM, I over-corrected: a 15 carb juice box, followed by about 15 more carbs of whole grain crackers.

Tonight I caught up on my dLife recordings. I try to catch it on Sunday nights on CNBC, but b/c it's broadcast here at 6pm, it's usually in the heart of a very busy part of my evening and gets missed. So tonight, I had two weeks' worth to watch. I am so happy there is a show dedicated to D.

Last week I met with another dietician/CDE, this time at the University of Minnesota, on a referral from my primary doctor. The dietician is a specialist in persons with both celiac disease and diabetes. I'm pretty sure I struck gold with her. My appointment was for 2 hours, and we used up every minute of it. I confided in her that I get jealous of other diabetics who only have diabetes (versus celiac w/ diabetes). I told her that I used to complain about having to follow a diabetic-friendly diet, but once I had celiac AND diabetes, I begged for the days that I only had to follow ONE diet (diabetes) instead of two. It can be incredibly taxing, emotionally and socially, to manage two medical diets. I began to resent people who could just order food mindlessly, without a care in the world. I would think, it must be nice, to just order whatever you want with no immediate consequences.

Yes, I am already aware I have anxiety when it comes to managing my diseases. I try to be perfect. The dietician picked up on this. She referred me to a therapist who specializes in ppl with multiple auto-immune diseases, with an emphasis on diabetes.

The best advice I have been given for managing the diets didn't come from a doctor or therapist or a dietician/CDE; it came from one of my non-diabetic, healthy-as-heck friends. He works out a lot at the gym. He told me to view food as medicine; advice he follows himself. I know that sounds incredibly boring and horrible, to not eat for the sole purpose of enjoyment, but for me it turned out to be invaluable advice. Once I started viewing food as medicine for my body, it took some of the pressure off me. It gave me a new way to look at food. When I view food as medicine, I don't feel as disappointed, like when I can't go out to eat somewhere because there is nothing safe (gluten-free) at the restaurant. It's like Kris Carr said and now I say: Your crisper is your pharmacy.

So now when I see other people eating whatever they want, I get a little tough-love on myself and remind myself that my body is broken, for goodness sake it attacked ITSELF and it needs proper and specific nutrition in order to function properly. I know I'm not like those other people. I have multiple auto-immune diseases, 3 of them, and a fourth one could be fatal or at the very least, debilitating. So I have extra incentive to follow a strict gluten-free/blood sugar regulating diet.

It's also given me incentive to cook and enjoy doing so. I have only eaten out at sit down restaurants 3 times in 2011. I've cooked all of my meals, all year. I've gotten creative with my healthy food. I've learned new flavors and new combinations that work. I've tried new foods that I'd never heard of (like teff and amaranth). I can't believe how much I like my own cooking and that I've learned to manage two medical diets, a feat that seemed nearly impossible 12 months ago. I'm proud of myself for what I've accomplished.

Whatever your food philosophy, you gotta agree that what you put in your mouth is important stuff. And sometimes it feels like the only piece of our diseases we have control over. P.S. I really recommend trying those turkey burgers! Easy and yum.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Rewarding oneself for good disease management.

I feel like I experience burnout more often than normal, due to the fact I am managing two autoimmune diseases instead of just one (well, technically I'm managing three, but the first two require much more work/daily diligence than the third). How I keep myself motivated is with little rewards. I don't like to reward myself with food treats, since my hips get mad at me (as does the double chin that suddenly appears). So non-food treats is where I turn to. I don't want to blow out my monthly budget on a treat, so I find inexpensive treats. Like what I bought today!

Today, I treated myself to some new jammie shorts from Target. Two were clearanced out, the other two were on sale. Four pair for a grand total of $25. They are so comfy! The secret is to buy all pj bottoms one size bigger than you actually wear, so they aren't tight-fitting on your waist or tummy. Plus, I don't like tight waistbands rubbing my CGM or insulin pump off my stomach/back while I sleep. That's urrritating.

Do you reward yourself for good behavior? How do you keep yourself motivated?

What's in my Bag

Here goes. An unedited look inside my ginormous bag. I'm curious myself to see what's hiding down deep.

I need a bag that's big enough to fit, well, my life. This bag is London Fog. It's red and shiny. I have a love for all things (fake) patent leather.

We'll start with the outside pockets. Each one houses one roll of glucose tabs. Nice hiding place, eh?

Inside: Hobo wallet, Glucagon Emergency kit, ReliOn glucose tabs (geez how many of these do I have in this purse???), small pink leather food journal, grocery shopping list from 2 wks ago, MAC lipglass in Clear, Curel Hand & Cuticle Therapy (not sure this is gluten free but am cautious not to put hands near mouth when using), 2011 calendar with a cartoon yoga chic on the front, orange-inked felt pen, individual Crystal Light packet in White Grape, MAC lip liner in Subculture, a dime, Aquaphor individual sized tube, Dex4 glucose gel in Berry Blast, MAC lipgloss in Viva Glam V, Bountiful, and Instant Gold, MAC lipstick in Twig, Softlips chapstick in Sugar Cookie, black ink pen, and the black-and-white polka dotted makeup bag houses my Omnipod, lancet, strips, Novolog and all things diabetes. Found in inside side pocket: "Love, Express" sample perfume, small scissors, ponytail holder.

My purse still has a ton of room in case I need to carry a book, my Filofax, magazines, bottle of water, or food. I heart this bag. And it only cost me $45 at Sam's Club!!! Bargain.

Damn Good Chili for diabetics and/or celiacs

Need a yum recipe for dinner for yourself and/or family? Or how about need a recipe that is SAFE for anyone in your life who has a food allergy to one of the top 8 allergens? This recipe is SOGOOD. It's also lower carb. This recipe is always a hit, regardless of my audience. It's easy, it's tasty and (drum roll) it's HEALTHY!!! I got this recipe from my non-insurance covered dietician at Nutritional Weight & Wellness here in Minneapolis. She created a meal plan for me that is healthy for both my diabetes and my celiac disease. I love all of her recipes, but this one, it's amazeballs. I'm sharing it with you, even though I had to pay a $200 office visit charge to get it (aren't I nice?). It makes a big batch and for you single peeps you can freeze it if you can't eat it all.

Top a bowl of this with sliced black olives or sliced avocado for a healthy fat. My hero dietician doesn't want me eating dairy, so no cheese or sour cream on top. I do top it with an extra splash of Red Hot, tho (salivating). Hurry up, crock pot!!!!!!!

Here's the recipe:

2 lbs ground beef or turkey (I used turkey this round). Brown in pan, drain & set side.

1 T. olive oil
1 C. onion- chopped
1 C. green pepper(I forgot to buy one, so it's not in my current batch)
2 cloves garlic- chopped
Heat olive oil in pan and cook the vegetables until tender.

Mix the following ingredients in a big bowl:
2 T. chili powder (I use all McCormick's seasonings b/c they are gluten free)
1 t. cumin
1 t. oregano leaves- dried
1/4 t. Tabasco sauce (I use Red Hot cuz that's what's in the fridge)
6 medium fresh tomatoes- diced
1 (15-16 oz.) can organic tomato sauce (I use Glen Muir or whatever it's called)

Throw everything together in either a big pan (heat to boiling, cover and simmer for 1 hour stirring occasionally) or in a crockpot (throw on for a few hours on high or low, until all ingredients are broken down).

16 oz. can kidney beans-drained and rinsed
10 large black olives- sliced (optional)
avocado- diced or sliced (optional)
Add kidney beans after chili has cooked for 1 hour. Serve topped with olives or avocado.

My dietician recommended eating this on top of a serving of green beans instead of rice in order to keep carb count low.


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Who eats dry mix???

As a diabetic celiac or celiac diabetic (poTAYto/poTAHto), eating gluten-free while couting carbs is just a part of my life. My diabetic side of life is used to reading serving sizes and carb counts. My celiac side of life is used to scanning labels for gluten and cross contamination risks.

I made these gluten-free brownies the other day. You can imagine my surprise to see the "serving size" on this packaging. 3 tablespoons of DRY MIX????? HUH? Who eats dry mix? How much brownie is that? Now, I know you may say "But Nikki, just read right below it. It says there are 12 servings per container, so just do the math." Okayyy, except that on the box, (not pictured) it says "Makes 16 brownies." ???????? I do have a food scale, but I don't know if when they say "37g" for serving size if that, again, is measuring something else, like dry mix. I have no idea. I ended up guess-bolusing for around 31 carbs, based on the carbs listed on the box.

Has that ever happened to you? I think there should be a mandatory protocol for determining serving sizes on food. It should always be in weight (oz, grams, lbs) of the FINISHED product. None of this dry mix BS. Stoooooopid.


Last night's awesome message. Annoying!!! It stayed that way for a few hours and then it fixed itself. Whew...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I hate putting this thing on. I love having the security a CGM provides, but being afraid of needles, it can take me HOURS to get up the nerve to put this thing on. Sometimes, I'll have already removed the adhesive backing and have it stuck on me, but I am too afraid to move forward, and I'll walk around (the house, not in public) with the entire contraption stuck on my belly until I feel I can finish the process. My endo told me I am his only diabetic patient who is a needle-phobe. Can that be true?

Today: wake up weight: 118.0. Didn't eat on a good schedule today and didn't eat all that healthfully. Bkfast: 2 egg whites with Mrs. Dash and pepper, 1 pc. gf toast and 1/2 avocado, decaf coffee with soy creamer (love soy creamer, yum yum)and sugar alternative. Skipped lunch; ate breakfast too late. Dinner: left over gf pasta from previous night's dining out. (A rarity; the last time I ate out was the night before Easter.) Snack: pumpkin seeds and no-sugar-added apple sauce (pre-measured to 15 carbs). Trying to get weight to 115. Guess I'll have to incorporate more exercise, sigh.

I need to call my insurance company tomorrow. I got a call from my pharmacy tonight letting me know my insurance denied my test strips refill. Argghh. They don't think I need to test 6 times a day anymore, or 200 strips per month. Firstly, I actually test 8.3 times per day, on average, according to my dr, so them having to pay for only 6 of those should seem like a bargain. Besides, they've paid for 200 per month for the last 17 months (since when I was diagnosed), so why do they randomly decide to deny me? No idea. The pharmacist, a nice older gentleman, was quite annoyed with them. I told him not to worry about it; this wasn't the first time and I'd deal with the insurance company tomorrow.

On a happy note, I got my August 2011 Diabetes Forecast magazine in the mail today. I pretty much will sit down and read it cover to cover. I'm sort of a magazine junkie; I have subscriptions to Whole Living, Glamour, Self, Diabetes Forecast, Delight Gluten Free, Living Without, Diabetes Self-Management, Everyday Food (came free with the Whole Living subscription), All You, US Weekly and Gluten-Free Living. I think that's all of them. US Weekly is great for my celebrity smut fix; that's my reading material for the morning coffee. And Diabetes Forecast and Gluten-Free Living beat out the rest of them for which ones get read first. I rarely skip any articles in these. Many magazines have good recipes for food I can't eat- either too carby or has gluten in it. So I usually skip over the recipe sections of the non-medical magazines. Anyways I was reading Diabetes Forecast today and read through the section where readers submit feedback about the previous issue. I wanted to tell a few of those readers to go have someone pin their tails back on (channeling Eyore), because their comments seemed unnecessarily negative, kind of over the top. Personally, I think it's great to have a magazine that is focused on this disease. That every article and advertisement from cover to cover is specific to me. That's how I feel with my gluten free magazines, too. I'm so happy to have magazines entirely dedicated to diseases that affect my life 24/7. That provide updates, recipes, ways for coping and most importantly, a sense of community. I enjoy these mags much more than my girlie magazines because the girlie ones usually have many sections that have nothing to do with my life (hello, have you seen the price of the clothing in the fashion sections? Sweater, Marc Jacobs- $1,250. REALLY???? Who is their target audience, anyway???) Sections about parenting (cuz I have no kiddos), marriage advice(nope, not married), fashion (can't afford what they are advertising and it's ugly, anyway), 20-somethings who sleep with their bosses/guys they just met at the bar/ their best friend's boyfriend and then write in to the advice columns wondering why their relationship didn't work out, etc. etc. I get that their relevance has to cover a wide base of readers and that these articles are helpful to different populations. I'd rather spend my time reading info that's relevant to me.

Anyway, enough randomness for one night.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Artificial Pancreas, Here I Come

The visit to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN turned out to be a very interesting visit, indeed. As is standard Mayo Clinic practice (at least at the one I go to), you don't get to pick the time, or the date, of your appointments. If you want to see a physician there, you send a request either online or by calling them. The request goes to a review committee, who then sends a notification to you in the mail notifying you when your appointment is and with which doctor (the specialists pick their own patients based on their specific interests/emphasis or delegate to associate specialists). It can get tricky when you have more than one appointment on one day; they do the best they can to get them lined up, but it doesn't always work. As was the case today. I had fasting bloodwork at 8:00am, but then didn't see my dr until 1:30. Ugh. I killed time by walking around the Mayo campus and then walking to the Barnes & Noble they have on campus. Walking is no small task when you have to carry your ginormous purse, a backpack full of crap for the day, and a cooler of food. And being diabetic. And it's hot outside. Having celiac disease makes finding safe food to eat almost impossible, so my cooler was packed with my breakfast, snacks, and a lunch.

Anyways, despite the fact I had an A1c done a week ago at my other clinic, the Mayo endo also ran the test. 5.9. I like this one better than the other one (6.1). My eosinophil cells are still high. I have a disease of the white blood cells (eosinophil cells), but that really doesn't mean much to me right now b/c I have no symptoms and they are not recommending any course of treatment (whew). So whatever.

But that's not the interesting part.

The interesting part was at the end of my 1.5 hour appointment, when the endo told me that they (Mayo) are beginning their trial study of the artificial pancreas later this year and he said I am a good candidate. Would you like to try the artificial pancreas, he asked. It involves an inpatient stay, followed by outpatient visits regularly. All charges are covered by the NIH, since they are sponsoring the study. I felt like I was getting proposed to. OF COURSE! I said with excitement. So, I meet with him in October for details.

I walked away there with more questions that I was too excited to think about at the time, for example, I have pretty good control right now, how will this thing affect it? What if it malfunctions and unloads a whole batch of insulin? If a pump malfunctions, you can turn it off. How do you turn this thing off if it goes haywire?

He said they are programing some sort of physical activity detector in it, so it can adjust your insulin to your exercise routine. Nicccceeee. Although since I myself have not been able to determine this, I am highly suspect that a piece of technology with no knowledge of, well, ME, can guess it correctly. Guess I need to do some research on the JDRF website about the artificial pancreas.

I also learned today that for some odd reason, my pancreas has started to produce some of its own insulin. Why and how, they have no idea, but my C-Peptide test confirmed it. There's no way to preserve the functioning or know how long it will last, but hey, I'll take it. He thought up 3 possibilities that may be supporting the insulin production: 1) the fact I was put on an insulin pump 1 week after my diagnosis (promoting tight control right away), 2) getting my other two auto-immune diseases diagnosed and under control likely helped my diabetes to be somewhat more manageable and 3) my pretty strict adherence to a carb-controlled diet has helped me to maintain good control, or at least has helped make it more predictable. I'm trying to be careful not to come across as giving anyone advice, because I know how individual diabetes is. I'm just saying what I do that seems to be working for me. Nothing fancy here, but as I've mentioned in previous blogs, I eat pretty much the exact same carb counts for each meal, and always eat a carb with a protein and with a healthy fat, to help prevent spikes. So for example, I eat 30 healthy carbs for breakfast every day. The same food for every breakfast. Boring, I know, but it works for me. And then I eat about 30-45 carbs for lunch, and again at dinner. Again, I stick to similar types of meals. I know this wouldn't work for every diabetic and I know most ppl would rather blow their brains out than eat the rigid diet that I eat. But I do it out of sheer desperation to help manage an unmanageable disease and for me the payoff has been worth it. Although I still have days where I fall off the food wagon and eat like total crap. It happens. But I just get right back on the next day.

Anyway, it was a good day at the Mayo. Can't wait to see what they tell me in October!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mayo Clinic begins 7am tmrw morning.....

Today was a good day. I forced it to be. Nothing was going to get me down today. I ignored the fact it was 104 degrees out (actual temp), ignored that with humidity, the temp felt more like 116, and ignored the fact I'm on a strict budget, and went shopping anyway.

It was fun meandering around the stores, with no aim or purpose.

I was also happy that my tooth problem resolved itself over night (whew!) Which totally made my day.

Tomorrow I have a full day of testing and appointments at the Mayo Clinic to check my Eosinophilia disease and my Type 1 diabetes. Then I report to each doctor tomorrow to go over the results of the lab.

I'm keeping a positive outlook even tho I feel pretty nervous.

I'll be checking in by writing some new blogs as I get new information, so you might see a few different blogs from me tomorrow.

Wish me luck/keep me in your prayers. Y'all are in mine, too! Enjoy your days tomorrow, kittens! Make it a great day!

Check back with me tomorrow morning....

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My teef hurt

I need to start having a weekly blog entitled "What was I thinking??"

Last night I made a bad decision.

As I was cleaning out my bathroom's linen closet yesterday, I found my old teeth bleaching trays. Low and behold, there were 3-two year old syringes filled with teeth bleach still in the box. Well shoot, I thought. I should see if these still work. I mean, their old, but at worst they've probably lost their potency. So, before bed, I loaded up the teeth trays with bleaching solution, actually, I used EXTRA solution assuming it had lost it's potency, shoved them in my mouth (yay the trays still fit!) and laid in bed to read. I'll just leave them in until I shut the light off for the night; maybe an hour or so.

Fast forward to 7am this morning when I woke up to tooth pain. One tray was still in my mouth and the other was lost in the sheets. I felt like every tooth in my mouth had a toothache. I couldn't breathe through my mouth. I went into the bathroom and read the instructions, which stated to not leave the trays in longer than 2 hours. Good job, Nik.

It's now evening, and it's been a long day of not being able to chew, drink hot or cold beverages, or take a deep breath in through the mouth. I've been running my tongue over my teeth all day as a confort mechanism. I took some ibuprofen (which did nothing). I just now bolused for a piece of toast (which I barely toasted to make it softer to bite into) and guess what- I can't bite into it. So I tore a corner off and shoved it in my mouth, and ended up almost swallowing the bite whole because it hurt to much to chew. In fact, the only meal I've successfully eaten today was breakfast, when I made scrambled eggs and waited for them to be room temp to eat them. And each chew was made slowly and with planned intent. I keep singing the commercial for Tums, but substituting the words Dumb, dumb dumb dumb DUMB! Srsly.

All that pain, and my teeth don't even look whiter.


Monday, July 18, 2011

My Bedside Table.

This is where I keep my buddies. Sam the CGM sleeps ALWAYS by my head so I can hear the alarms. He tends to lay next to my SNUGGLE pillow. My glucose meter is kept on my bedside table, as it looks every night. Pink lamp, jade health charm, Sunset with God nightly devotional, hand/foot cream, and silk rose arrangement. Sometimes I'll leave room for a cuppa tea.
I don't know if others sleep with their equipment right up there next to you. For me, I feel safer knowing I'll hear it if it's by my head. We're doing ok here at bedtime tonight; according to Sam, I'm sitting at 104 (Glucose meter confirmed bg was 107). A little higher than where I like to go to bed with, but I'll leave it alone instead of bolusing it down into the 90s. Since I wake up a little in the 90s or 100's I like to start a little lower at bedtime because it always goes higher by morning.
Do you guys have a routine routine or your diabetes, or if you are a caretaker, are there specials steps you take? Just interesting to me and would like to hear from others so I have something to compare myself to!!!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Today was filled with appointments. I scheduled as many of them as I could in one day to get them over with. This morning started out with a check up with my primary care doc. Quite possibly the nicest, most sincere, genuine doctor I've ever met. He even asked me how my social life has been handling all the medical diagnoses (fair to partly cloudy). He asked me how I've been sleeping (would be better if I wasn't checking my BG at all hours of the night). He actually PRESCRIBED me to have more fun with friends throughout the week. Not in a funny way, either. He was genuinely serious and scheduled an appointment for August for me to follow up with him to make sure my social life (read: emotional health) has improved. Defensive, I told him I DO have fun... I have my t.v. shows that I watch, I go for run/walks with the dog, I'm reading like 7 books simutaneously and I even told him about my new Kitchen Aid mixer. And then I heard myself talking and made myself a loser sign with my hands. His prescription was well-taken, and he also sent me on my way with a new Rx for a mild sedative to help me sleep.

Next visit was 2 hours later, with one of my endos. Let's get this right out of the way, my A1c was..... 6.1! Hurray! During the appointment, he decided it would be best to scale back on the daytime basal rate, to help prevent the lows I've been having in the afternoons. I gave him my spreadsheets of bg readings, food logs, a print off of my PDM settings, and a page of things I've noticed with my bg over the past 2 weeks. Overall, he said he rarely sees diabetics who have as tight of control over their bg readings as I and that he has no other suggestions except to lighten up a bit with the control (read: CALM DOWN, WOMAN! QUIT WITH THE TYPE A CRAZY BEHAVIOR! LIVE YOUR LIFE!) Okay, I see a theme here goin' on with the doctors. Point well taken.

The final visit of the day was the dreaded eye exam. I don't like getting my eyes dilated. The eye doctor looked over my medical history and then said to me "Somebody has an auto-immune problem," Yeah, no sh* buddy. Good eye. (ha). The eye exam was over 2 hours long. In the end, yes, I still should be wearing reading glasses, yes my Rx has changed a bit and I should get a new pair of glasses, but the great news is I am showing no further signs of eye damage. The blood vessels in my eyeballs are lookin good! Yay!

After the appointment, I hadn't eaten since breakfast and it was now after 8pm. My bg was hollering at me heyyyy, I'm hunnngggrrry. I stopped off at the grocery co-op and picked up some brown rice tortillas and a german chocolate cupcake. I came home and made some baked chicken, chopped it up and threw it in the brown rice tortilla with some avocado and some mayo and chowed down.

Now I'm just staring down the cupcake. It's fate is sealed.

On another note, how has everyone else's A1c's been doing? We're family here; no judgment. YOU ARE IN A SAFE PLACE! Got anything else on your mind today? DM questions/concerns, Celiac questions/concerns. Feel free to bring anything you want forward.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Two Diets, One Life: Managing Celiac Disease and Type 1 Diabetes.

Today is my 1-year anniversary for Celiac Disease. One whole year! Wow, did that go by fast. One year ago today, my celiac disease diagnosis was confirmed with an intestinal biopsy. I had 100% villous atrophy, Marsh stage 4 celiac disease, meaning maximum damage to my small intestines and immune system. I began juggling two diets beginning that day- diabetic and celiac. It's been one full year since I've had real pizza, bread, fast food, pasta, cake, cereal (including my beloved Cream of Wheat and Lucky Charms) or anything from Starbucks. Sigh. I can't believe it's been a year.

Adding celiac disease to a 5-month old type 1 diabetes diagnosis was incredibly overwhelming. It added an entirely new element of management to an already-difficult diabetes diagnosis. You see, when you ingest any trace amount of gluten (even teeny amounts from cross-contamination), it damages the small intestines, which in turn messes with the amount of insulin you need daily because your body cannot absorb nutrients from your food or insulin. For example, because your body did not absorb the 50 carbs of food you just bolused for, you end up with extremely low blood sugar as a result. As the intestines heal, your insulin needs change. It makes managing your t1 diabetes difficult, like a moving target. And it makes avoiding gluten crucial- right down to making sure your waitress doesn't touch bread with her hands then touch the straw that she's now putting in your drink.

In the Summer 2011 edition of Delight Gluten Free magazine, there is an article entitled Two Diets, One Life: Managing Celiac Disease and Type 1 Diabetes. Finally! An article for peeps like me! This article is written in an upbeat, inspiring fashion. In case you can't tell from the picture, it's a chick looking into an empty fridge. That's definitely how you feel sometimes. One paragraph reads: "So how does a patient keep up with the demands of both diseases? Here are three major tips for a happy and healthy gluten-free and diabetic-friendly lifestyle." I was so excited to see this article and read the happy and healthy tips that I didn't mind paying $5.20 for it at Barnes & Noble.

I've been counting down to today for a long time. It's the final one-year anniversary mark for my disease diagnoses. T1 diabetes: 2/6/10, Grave's disease 4/10/10, Celiac disease 7/13/10. I can move on now.

Wish me luck- I get my A1c checked tomorrow, 2pm. Not sure what it's going to be. Last one was 6.0 in March, but that was with a strict, daily diet regimen. I mean, I have worked hard overall to keep it lower, but you know, you have those days that you just bomb out and give up. Since my last A1c I've had 3 holidays (Easter, Memorial Day, 4th of July) and my birthday, all excuses to eat horribly. You think of every one of those incidents the night before your A1c test. I know that my A1c shouldn't determine my level of self-esteem, but I'm only human. A higher A1c will feel like a failure. A failure of that magnitude with stress me out and make me crave chocolate, which in turn with spike my bg. Do you see the hopeless cycle here?????

Well, time to go. I'm going to continue watching my dog trying to attack a moth on the other side of the window...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The newest addition.

I broke down today and purchased a Kitchen Aid stand mixer. It was an inevitable purchase, really. As a celiac, I can't eat regular bread/muffins/cookies/baked goods. If I want to purchase a loaf of gluten free bread (none of which are low carb either), it will cost me between $6-$10 a LOAF. A loaf that is smaller than the normal bread ones.

I want to start making my own bread and muffins, number one because of price and availability, and number two because I want to control what ingredients are in it (I can make it healthier and higher in fiber). The problem is that no mixer can hold up to gluten free dough, which is tougher, thicker, and feels like it weighs about 10 lbs. My last hand mixer (bless it's little heart) tried hard to mix through the gluten free dough, but alas, it let off a horrible burning smell and died mid-mixture. RIP.

Everyone (celiacs, at least) has been telling that I need to get a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, the seemingly only mixer that can stand up to gluten free dough. But who wants to drop $350 on a mixer??? But that's exactly what I did today. I bought the cadillac version with the big-a** 425 watt motor. It's huge and even looks mean. I mean, seriously, it looks like it could kill someone. It's got personality and I plan on naming it. I love it.

Human Behavior

It's very strange to me when random people come up to me and ask me about "that thing on my arm." Like today at Target. I was totally engaged in reading the back of a mustard bottle (to check for gluten) when I hear someone say "Excuse me." I look up to see a man in a Target uniform. "Can I ask you what that is on your arm?" I explained it was an insulin pump. "I thought those had wires. My so-and-so/inlaw/friend/cousin had one of those things but he wore it on his waist and it had these wire things (as he demonstrates with his arms what the wires looked like)." Yes, I replied, I have the wireless pump that you can wear in different areas. "Oh... is that new? I haven't seen that before." Yes, it's not brand new, but newER I guess. He mumbled something else, which didn't register with me. I must have had some sort of look on my face, because he said nicely "Sorry to have embarrassed you. Thanks for talking with me." I tried to shake off whatever look I had and said Oh no, it's no problem. Have a good day.

This is the 2nd time in a little over a week that a random person has come up to me to ask me about "the thing on my arm." It doesn't bother me, just takes me by surprise when I'm not expecting it. I guess there have been times when I've seen someone in a store who maybe has visible scars from an accident or maybe has a limb amputated and I wonder what happened. But I don't think I'd ever approach them in a store and ask them. I guess it made me wonder if the people that asked me about my pump actually did know what it was, but just wanted to tell me their story about someone they knew that has diabetes. Maybe as a sign of support?? I dunno. It doesn't bother me. I am just curious about why people do that. Do others have people come up and ask them about their pumps?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Green light for oats.

This may not seem like a bfd (big freaking deal) to my T1 friends, but to my celiac friends, you may well understand my excitement.

A year ago on 7/13/10, I was diagnosed with celiac disease and my GI doctor told me to eliminate oats from my diet (bye-bye morning oatmeal, oatmeal cookies, granola and granola bars w/oatmeal)for at least one year. So depressed! Well guess what. I just received a vm from my gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic, giving me the green light to start incorporating small amounts of oats back into my diet. There are restrictions, tho: 1. it must be certified gluten free oats, 2. no more than 1/2 cup serving per day. I'll return for another biopsy of my intestines in a couple months to see how they are handling the oats.

Oh how I've missed my morning oatmeal with coconut milk, walnuts and cinnamon on top. Don't get me wrong, the quinoa flakes I've been using in it's place have been pretty darn good. But I LERRRRVE oatmeal and am praying that my intestines can tolerate them going forward. I love that I can still get excited over seemingly little things!! I went out right away and bought some Udi's granola, the cranberry one. They have so many flavors I wasn't sure which one to get.

Mind you, I'm still diabetic so I still gotta track the carbs. I get 1/4 cup for 19 carbs. That's not a whole lotta granola. But still a nice snack. I'm pre-measuring the servings out into my snack-sized ziplocs tonight for nice grab-n-go snacks! Yum.

New hope for people who've had Type 1 diabetes for more than a decade.

This was the header of the article in Minneapolis/St. Paul's newspaper a couple days ago: Way to Reverse Diabetes? Drug Shows Promise. Naturally, it caught my attention.

It states:

"An 80-year old drug used to protect people against tuberculosis may help reverse Type 1 diabetes, the most severe form of the disease, in patients who have had it for years, an early study in the six atients found.

The medicine, known as bacillus Calmette-Guerin or BCG, killed abnormal white blood cells that interfere with insulin production in the pancreas, said a study presented at the American Diabetes Association meeting in San Diego. Patients getting two small doses four weeks apart showed signs of restored insulin prdouction for about a week, said Denise Faustman, director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Immunobiology Laboratory.

While many researchers are looking for ways to stop Type 1 diabetes in newly diagnosed patients who still produce some insulin naturally, there are few options for people who have had the disease for more than a decade, she said. The findings suggest it may be possible to regenerate the critical pancreatic cells, she said.
"The trial effectively is showing for the first time that the pancreas can turn on briefly after the first wave of killing the bad T cells," those that attack the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, she said. A second, larger trial is in development, she said.

Here's more about the trials: http://bcgclinicaltrials.com/default.aspx

Interesting and hope-inducing!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Diabetes 1, Nikki 0.

Feeling really alone tonight. You know you just have those days where you don't feel as confident about things. Sometimes life feels really...long. How am I going to manage a chronic disease, every day, forever?

I just treated a low blood sugar that my CGM didn't catch. I was lucky enough to feel the low. I looked at my CGM, which was reporting a healthy 89 bg. But that little voice inside me wondered why my fingers were shaking so I tested. It made me realize that we are never really safe with diabetes. There are meters and pumps and CGMs, but none of them are 100% reliable. There's so much at stake when they are wrong and it overwhelmed me tonight with fear and anxiety and ultimately, tears. It made me feel so alone and overwhelmed by the responsibility I have to keep myself alive everyday.

Today's score: Diabetes 1, Nikki 0.

But tomorrow's a new day. I'll get all the fear/anger/self-pity/self-loathing out tonight and start fresh tomorrow.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Blogger down

Sorry, right now my list of followers has disappeared from my blog. It still shows you are there in Dashboard, just doesn't show you at all on my blog page. Blogger is aware of this outtage and state they are currently working on it. Please don't think I deleted you as a follower!!


Coffee, quiet, relax, and.... screaming kids.

Went this morning, quite tired, to Caribou Coffee to get a nice hot expresso drink. Was looking forward to the peace and quiet, time to wake up. But alas, that was not the case (boo) with all the children who were there running around and yelling.

And that's when I saw this magnet on Caribou's coffee maker, which made me laugh.I really wanted to ask the manager if that was their actual stated policy (One can hope) or if it were just, well, a magnet. She just winked at me.

Feel better.

You are likely about to feel a whole lot better about your medical charges and bills when you see mine. It's pretty over the top. I go to the Mayo Clinic Celiac Disease Center, and I also see the Mayo Clinic's top type 1 diabetes endocrinologist there, too. I guess that's what insurance is for, I guess. I'm on a mission to be healthy, no matter what it costs me.

Am I going to far to take care of myself? Is there a reasonable cut off that I'm missing??

Ur thots plz!!!!!!

What It Takes.

Not pictured: Align probiotic pills.

I remember the good old days when all I took was a multivitamin. Then I got t1 diabetes. And grave's disease. And celiac disease. With each diagnosis, my doctor(s) recommended supplements,as did the dieticians I saw. Next thing I know, I'm taking all of these. Me, a girl who has problems swallowing pills. How did that happen?

Well, I chose to do whatever I could to be healthy, and forced myself to overcome my fear of swallowing pills. Fear of death/blindness/amputations trumps fear of swallowing pills. I use to sit next to a registered nurse at the insurance company I worked for, and I talked to her about my absurd fear of swallowing pills for fear they wouldn't go down and I'd choke on the big ones. So she had me bring them all in and take them at work, since she was right next to me. It was just the security blanket I needed. Now I take them -alone- at home by myself. Although sometimes the bigger ones get a bit melty in my mouth by the time I convince myself to swallow them, yuck (hello omega 3s and the super B complex!)

I'm still on the hunt for an easy to swallow, gluten free calcium pill. I could take Viactiv, which is gluten free, but wonder if they have too much sugar in them (??) Citracal makes a "Smaller, Easy To Swallow Pill"-- that's not gluten free (bummer). Does anyone have any suggestions for a calcium supplement?

Are there any vitamins out there- for you diabetics and for you celiacs- that you take that I'm not and should be? I'm open for suggestions. My urine is florescent GREEN from all the vitamins. Crazy!!! I'm up to 17 vitamins, a few I take 2 times a day so it's more like 19 or 20. Maybe I'm nuts.

I've become obsessed with being healthy!!!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Diabetes Humor

I found this diabetes website today and just laugggghhhhed. If you have diabetes, or take care of someone who does, you will be nodding your head "yep" to many of them. Be forewarned, it does use strong language, so it's not for the faint-hearted.


Birthday Weekend!

Do you like birthdays? For those that like them, I put up the "party cake" picture, and for those who don't, well, I put up the poop cake picture. I love my birthday. Yesterday was my birthday. I'm getting OLD!!!

It was my 2nd birthday with t1 diabetes, and my 1st birthday with celiac disease (celiac diagnosed 7/13/10). A year ago, I ate real cake. This year, it would have been gluten-free cake, but I chose to have gluten-free blueberry pancakes for breakfast instead of having cake later in the day. For my diabetes' sake, I thought I better choose one or the other. Seriously, I don't know how many I actually ate, but it was the first time that I ate so much of ANYTHING that I felt nauseous afterwards.

I spent the day out with different groups of friends. I went to the zoo and walked around for 3.5 hours. I went to a party in the evening where I was able to spend time with friends. Had a great day and was in bed by midnight. I don't drink, so I woke up today feeling great and refreshed!

This time, last year, I wasn't celebrating much of anything. I had a new t1 diabetes diagnosis, had just (a couple weeks earlier) completed radiation therapy for Grave's Disease, and little did I know, was about to be diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I was unbelievably sick. I am so grateful that a year later, I feel better, stronger, happier and more confident. I enjoyed my birthday more this year than I have in many years. Why? Because if there's one thing that my diseases have taught me, it's to appreciate life and to appreciate every good day (which most days are!) Birthdays are milestones!

I might not be as carefree as I used to be, but I am as happy, or maybe even happIER, than I've ever been.

It's easy to find the negatives in, well, everything. But most days I choose to focus on the victories and the blessings that each situation brings. Because whether it's celiac disease or t1 diabetes or grave's disease, it doesn't matter whether I hate it or not- I still have it, I will always have it, and I have to take care of it. Daily. Period. So I might as well quit using up all my energy cursing it.

Happiness is not a place, nor is it a health status. You can be happy regardless of your circumstances. And it sure makes life easier for those around us, who take care of us and love us, when we choose to be happy people.

I hope everyone had a wonderful and blessed weekend. I have a suggestion for you. The next time you are in a situation where you feel anger or stress, or even despair (e.g., traffic, grocery store, balancing your checkbook, taking care of your disease or someone else's), stop yourself. Picture a nice big red stop sign. Then try to identify something positive about the situation. There's something positive in everything. You will be surprised at the weight you physically feel come off your shoulders (aka tension!). Night night!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Exercise and T1

It's definitely warmed up here in Minneapolis, to which most of us here say...finally. Over the half the year here, it's dreadfully cold. So while some complain about the 95+ degree days we've had for the last four days, I am actually enjoying it.

Yesterday, it reached 99 degrees. For some reason, I felt like it was a good idea to go for a 3.2 mile speed walk session. I strapped on my Spibelt, threw in it my CGM and a roll of glucose tabs, grabbed my iPhone and earbuds, and hit the pavement. I ate a healthy snack one hour before the workout (1 small banana with all natural peanut butter, 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds and 2 turkey sausage links). Right before leaving the house, I drank a toddler-sized Juicy Juice, just to be extra prepared. When I left the house, my bg was 133.

The speed walking felt good. I don't mind the sweat pouring down my limbs. It felt like progress. Every 10 minutes or so I checked my CGM. The lowest my bg got was 79, which was awesome! When I came home, I did 75 crunches and pushups and then ate a full, healthy meal (stuffed peppers, stuffed with quinoa, organic hamburger, garlic, onions, and tomato sauce. I've been cutting out dairy lately so I didn't put any cheese on them. Instead, I seasoned with oregano, Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle, pepper and nutritional yeast flakes.)

All went better than I anticipated. I thought to myself, maybe I am one of the diabetics who aren't affected much by exercise or heat.


My CGM started alarming me of lows starting at 11pm and continued throughout the night. I wasn't dangerously low, but low enough to have to get up each time to eat glucose tabs or drink juice. The last of the alarms went off around 4:30am. In between the alarms, I dreamt of being awake and checking my blood sugar. I'd wake up and realize I was dreaming. The dog had enough of my getting up all night and around 5am, she started whining that she needed to go to the bathroom. I opened my heavy eyelids and thought to myself "are you kidding me?" So, I got up, took her out to go to the bathroom and this time, I just stayed up. I knew that trying to go back to sleep when I had to get up soon would only make things worse.

I have been in a sleepy fog all day. I had to drive down to Rochester, MN (about an hour from my house), had to be there by 7:30 am. I was so tired driving back that I almost fell asleep a couple of times. I feel like I went on a binger last night. (I actually don't drink, but I do remember my college years ;)

I'm realizing that exercising with diabetes is a little challenging because it can affect you long after you're done. It's unfair! I want to exercise and be healthy, but having residual lows makes me scared to do it. It also sucks that in the end, I end up eating all the calories (to treat the lows) that I was trying to burn off in the first place. I was going to go for another speed walk today, but the high today is 100 degrees and humid. So I thought I'd take a pass today. I think it's supposed to be cooler the rest of the week, so I'll try again then.

On a happier note, I'm pretty psyched about Crystal Light's new drink flavors (sugar free AND gluten free). I usually try to steer cleer of artificial sweeteners, but for these flavors, I'll make an exception! I tried the margarita flavor yesterday and it's FAB. Gotta appreciate the MOCKtinis!