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.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Notice anything different?

You may have noticed a little title change in my blog. Formerly "Diabetes & Celiac Sunshine", I changed it to Celiabetes. Why? I wanted a blog address that incorporated BOTH of my diseases, because both affect my life daily (and affect each other) and also so new people who saw the blog address would know I talk about both diabetes AND celiac disease.

So I did something pretty fun this past weekend. I decided to drive down to Des Moines, IA last Saturday to attend the TCOYD conference. It's a little over 3-hour drive south from my house in Minneapolis. It was a great event, but what I loved most about it was meeting bloggers in person that I have met through the online community. Here is a pic from the event. If I look a little rough, it's because I got up at 2:50am to drive down to the event! No time to get ready and seriously felt like I was half dead when the alarm went off that morning (do I even call that 'morning'???)

Kim from www.textingmypancreas.com, me, C from cslifewithd.blogspot.com.

I was able to meet other cool bloggers in the D-community, shout out to Mike Durbin, Marie and Bea!! So cool to put names with in-person faces. And I got to hang out with Scott and Heather, two members of the DOC located here in Minneapolis with me. So fun!

I also got to meet Bobby Dean, Paula Deen's son. Good looking + thick southern accent = HOT!

Yeah, he was into me. (RIGHT!)

They served a delish meal for lunch, which on top of being diabetes-friendly was also GLUTEN FREE. Holler!!!! It was this chicken dish with a mango salsa on top, with a side of black beans and veggies and a slice of flourless, GF chocolate cake. OMGosh, so good.

So yesterday I decided to re-create said meal at home, following the recipe provided at the event. I didn't make the dessert, but made the chicken dish. I'm sad to report that while the dish turned out scrumptious, it turned out to be quite expensive to make! And took over an hour to prepare. The mango alone was $3.42 (gulp), then buying ingredients I won't likely use that often like dried rosemary, fresh cilantro and fresh jalepeno. I loved the dish, but won't be making it anytime soon since the cost is above what I'm willing to pay for a meal. Here's what mine looked like:

Yesterday I had my 10-week post surgical follow up. It went great. Xrays show that the fusion is beginning to take (yay!), and I was told that my xrays looked like that of someone 4-6 months out of surgery, not 10 weeks, so that's awesome. I love being ahead of schedule! Still have restrictions that are tough to adhere to, like no yoga, running, lifting above my head, lifting (weight) restrictions, etc. But I am happy to be feeling good with little or no discomfort. Not too shabby. While I was at the hospital, they had a hope board posted, where you could write on a sticky what you hope for. I wrote "Cure for Type 1 Diabetes" with a blue circle for the upcoming World Diabetes Day. And I placed it right above my favorite sticky entry on the board:

I LOVE that this little kid wrote a cure for type 1 diabetes, hope AND MUSTACHES! Hilarious!!!!! I want to meet this kid.

Lastly, this is my last week of nothing-ness. I return to the workforce next Monday. Talk about nervous. I love the excitement of starting a new job, but am nervous about dumb things, like fitting in. I'm self-conscious about diseases that cannot be hidden from view. I can hide the spinal cord injury, I can hide the grave's disease. I can't hide the diabetes or the celiac disease. In fact, both tend to rear their ugly heads on the first day of any job; usually when your new team surprises you with a potluck you can't eat or a lunch invite to a restaurant with no gluten free options. Yep, no hiding it. And let's not forget an ever-BEEPing insulin management system. Oh well, guess I'll just hope that my **sparkling** personality overshadows the food issues! (tee hee).

The rest of this week is getting ready for next week. I'm ironing all my wrinkly clothes, putting some outfits together. Planning lunch menus and snacks. I'm already making a big batch of the black bean burgers I told you about previously and freezing them for next week. I think I'm also going to make a batch of GF pasta with veggies and sauce and freeze them for ready-made frozen lunches. And I'll probably also make a big batch of lentil stew for freezing into individual sized servings for lunch, too. These are easy meals that you can pull out of the freezer and just add on a healthy side, like pack a little side salad, a no-sugar-added fruit cup or a side of veggies. For snacks, I already mixed together a big batch of trail mix. I really like the Nantucket Trail Mix that Sam's Club sells; but it's too expensive so I bought the ingredients separately and mixed a batch at home. In it: shelled pistachios, craisins, unsalted/roasted almonds. (The Nantucket Mix also has raisins in it but I don't want the extra carbs). Another snack I'll have ready: Wild Garden Hummus with sliced carrots, celery and whatever other veggies I have in the fridge. I don't buy baby carrot sticks; I buy the full sized carrots and slice them myself (cheaper).

Do you have any other healthy snack ideas? I'd love to hear them. Comment if you do!

Talk to you tomorrow!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Back from vacation

I am back from vacation! Good to be back! I drove back from Indiana last week and spent the rest of last week getting organized. A LOT has changed since the beginning of July. Let's begin with the obvious; the spinal cord injury and subsequent surgery to correct, then in August I moved into a new house (the other one finally sold, of course it would sell right after I've had major back surgery and can't pack or move boxes), and about a week ago I received a new job offer, which I accepted and am so grateful for and excited about. So between the packing/unpacking (well, as much as you are able to do yourself when recovering from spinal cord repair), the trip to visit the family in Indiana, and now preparing to start a new job, I have been BIZZZZY. Finally almost all of the boxes are unpacked. And although my new house is 1000 sq feet bigger than the last, I seem to not be able to find room for some of my stuff, which is prompting me to possibly have a garage sale this fall. And my dog hates the new house, HATES it. It's been a rough transition for her. I'll be posting pics of the house shortly and hope to do a vlog to show you what's in my gluten-free, diabetic kitchen. I'm excited to show you!

The week I was in Indiana my blood sugars were horribly high. I'm sure the stress of trying to do too much with too many different people in too short of a period of time had something to do with it. I also suspect I got glutened from a coffee shoppe while there. I was quite sick for a little while after drinking a coffee drink, the celiac disease kind of sick that rears its ugly head when you accidentally ingest gluten. I confirmed ahead of time that the beverage was gluten free, but I think they were wrong.

It was nice to visit with my mom, who was diagnosed with celiac disease just this past January. That saying misery loves company is absolutely true because I loved having someone to go out to eat with who completely understands what it's like and knows all the local gluten-free friendly hot spots in town. It's also nice that I can go to her house and eat anything because I know everything is gluten free. No need to label read! Being home made me uber home sick. I like the slower pace of life back home. I like having the support system. I like the familiarity of things, places, people. It made me realize how lonely I feel sometimes living in a big city, 600 miles away, without my family. I was never alone there, which at times drove me its own kind of nuts, but that's largely because I am not used to being around people all the time. I live a very quiet life in Minneapolis. I'm not a partier, I don't have a large circle of friends (by choice) and I enjoy doing some things alone. But not always. Sometimes I wish I had my sister, nieces, cousins or parents nearby to do things with.

But right now I'm too busy to feel sad. I'm still organizing the house- daily- and am a little worried about my back and whether I am ready to return to work. I have been having pain in the surgical area, not severe or anything, but bothersome and continuous. I have another follow up this week and hope to God they don't find something wrong that would prevent me from going back to work. I NEED to go back to work, people! Ain't no one else going to pay my bills, you hear what I'm saying?? I can just imagine the doctor saying that they won't release me to work until my next 6 wk check up, and I imagine me freaking out right then and there. I don't want to lose this job opportunity to work for a company I've applied to several times!

Hopefully the dog will get out of her depression soon, that my house will magically put everything away, and that my orthopedic surgeon will tell me that everything looks fine on the xray.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

New Twitter Handle.

Hi everyone! I changed my twitter handle from DbetesSunshine to Celiabetes in an effort to recognize BOTH of the diseases that affect my life immensely. I think it's important to reflect the unique challenges that a person who has both of these diseases faces. I will be creating a Facebook page for the Celiabetes soon, where both diabetics and celiacs can connect with me! Find me on Twitter if you aren't following me and I'll follow you back. Looking forward to connecting with you!

Gluten Free + T1 = Road Trip

I am currently in Indiana visiting my dad. I drove here the day before yesterday from Minneapolis. A 9-hour drive is never an easy venture for a type 1 diabetic/celiac, especially when she is driving alone. Nor is it easy for her overly anxious old dog. First, I had to pack all my food for the trip in a cooler, since being a celiac prevents me from stopping at a drive thru or grabbing gas station food along the way. Second, it’s hard to test your blood sugar when you are only stopping for gas once during the entire trip. Luckily, I had my trusty Dexcom CGM on, which helped me to keep track of my blood sugar during the long drive.

Staying as a guest in someone else’s home (including family) is tough when you are celiac and they are not. I have only had celiac disease for 2 years, and so my family never had to deal with it growing up and they are not accustomed to the needs of a celiac. At my home in Minneapolis, my entire house is gluten free, so there is no risk of cross contamination or being glutened in any way. But when you are at someone else’s home, you must be constantly on guard, watching for cross contamination risks with cooking equipment, surfaces, and accidental cross-contamination from other people. I wash the silverware, dishes, and cups every time I take them from a cupboard/drawer, because most cupboards and drawers have crumbs in them (ever seen all the crumbs in your silverware drawer?) or residue from baking supplies like flour. As an example of cross-contamination risks, I packed my toaster oven, since my dad’s toaster is completely off limits. I use my toaster oven for baking, and also for toasting my gluten free bread. In the refrigerator I have my own tub of Earth Balance butter, which I labeled with a sticky note and permanent marker “GF” so others would know not to use it. But my dad got confused and I (luckily) caught him using my butter to spread on his toast. The butter became gluten contaminated from the butter knife he used on his whole wheat toast. It put wheat crumbs in my butter. If I hadn’t seen him doing it, I would never have known, because my butter already had crumbs in it from my GF toast. I would have just gotten ill and probably never discovered the source.

Another source of cross contamination is the fridge. I follow the gluten free “rule” of keeping the GF food on the upper shelves, and the non-GF food on the lower shelves. That way, gluten-y crumbs and drips don’t accidently fall in my food (I also take great precaution to cover all my food tightly).

I brought my own pans to cook in, the toaster oven, a cutting board, Tupperware storage containers, spatulas and flippers, my own spices, salad dressing and about 3 boxes full of gluten free food, plus 2 coolers of cold food items. Not to mention, enough diabetes supplies (insulin, back up syringes, test strips, Omnipods, Dexcom sensors, batteries, chargers, etc.) to last at least double the amount of time I plan on staying, just in case. It is a lot of work. A road trip is no longer a carefree, spontaneous, easy trip. It requires a ton of planning and list-making to ensure you bring everything you need (or you’ll end up buying it again when you get to your destination). That’s not even including the “normal people things” you would pack for a trip, like clothes, and health & beauty stuff, backpack, books, computer, dog bed, dog food, extra pillows, etc. Every inch of my Subaru Outback was FULL. Since I’m on a strict budget, I made sure to pack everything I would need for this trip so I would not need to spend more money when I got here. When I arrived, I had to clean out a cupboard where I could safely store my gluten free items, so I vacuumed it out, then wiped it down with hot soapy water to remove any gluten residue or flour. Then I had to move things around in the fridge and label my food GF. So, the first few hours after my arrival were spent prepping and cleaning the kitchen so my food would not get glutened.

Today, I was walking around the mall and after a lot of mall walking (no buying, just walking!) my blood sugar dropped quickly and I needed something in my tummy. I walked over to the food court, hoping that maybe one of the food places might have a gluten free option for me. I looked around at all the Chinese food places knowing those were all off limits, then I saw Subway (nope), a pizza by the slice place (nope), Annie’s Pretzels (uhhh NO), a burger place (nope) and finally, Chick-Fil-A. The manager there was not sure if their fries were completely gluten free and said she “thinks” the grilled nuggets are gluten free. She referred me to their website for additional information. So I thanked her and walked away. I went to Gloria Jean’s coffee to see if I could get a gluten free coffee drink to temporarily fill me up. I walked to the counter and asked the manager if their coffee drinks were gluten free. She said to me “No, all of our coffee drinks have sugar in them.” I told her that gluten isn’t sugar. I told her that gluten is wheat. She reiterated that the drinks have sugar in them and sugared powder. I gave up at this point. If the manager doesn’t know what gluten even is, there is zero chance that I am going to receive correct information. I gave up, thanked her, and walked away.

When it comes to celiac disease and gluten, I’ve learned one thing: Doubt Means Don’t. And that it’s always better to be safe than sorry. It’s always better to walk away (albeit hungry and frustrated) than to be glutened and pay both the short and long term consequences.

Anyway, overall my family receives an “A” for effort. They are all trying to understand my dietary needs. Although they would love to have me enjoy their cooked meals with them, it’s in my best interest to cook my own food, especially with my food allergies and food preferences, diabetic dietary needs, and of course gluten free needs. I know if I cook that all my ingredients are GF, the cooking equipment isn’t cross contaminated, and I won’t get sick later. I don’t enjoy being so high maintenance but I didn’t choose this life. It just is what it is…

Anyway, I have read a few celiac/gluten free blogs where the families have a dual kitchen, meaning they have both gluten and gluten free food. They usually have two sets of everything like toasters, strainers, etc. After being at my dad's house for just a few days, I really think that is too much work, to have the dual kitchen. You know, like at my house, if I drop food on the counter, I pick it up and eat it because 1). my counters are clean but more importantly 2). my counters have no gluten residue on them. But at my dad's house I have to really think and be careful about every risk. This morning when I was doing dishes, I washed his dishes first, cleaning off his glutened dishes and silverware and pans. Then I put new water in and was about to clean my dishes, when I suddenly wondered 'should I be using a separate dish cloth? Because this one has gluten crumbs stuck all over it." So I grabbed a new dish cloth. With celiac disease, it only takes a weebit of cross contamination to have intestinal damage. It sucks how careful you have to be. So if there are families out there that have a dual kitchen, I'd love to know your secret for making it easier while not increasing risk.

Well, I've talked enough for now. Thanks for listening!