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.

Monday, November 18, 2013

How a diabetic celiac packs for a trip.

If you have diabetes or celiac disease, you know that travel can be a daunting experience. Packing for your disease takes a lot of planning and a lot of room in your suitcase. I find road trips or driving to a location MUCH more desirable than flying, due to the number of items I need to pack. However, I recently flew to see my family for a long weekend, so I’m going to show you, in pictures, how I packed for a 3-day trip.

Firstly, I suggest you start writing your list of things to pack beginning a week before the flight. Keep it out on the counter, so you are able to add or remove items as you think of them. Waiting until the last minute to pack will almost ensure you forget something you are going to need.

I started off the day by putting on a new insulin pump pod and CGM on prior to the flight. I don’t want to have to change either device during the flight. Also, I wore easy, comfortable clothes for the flight.

I packed a diabetes “grab bag” of supplies, using my 50/50 Medical Supply bag. Although I would have only needed 1-2 pods (pump supplies) for the weekend, I packed several plus an extra Omnipod PDM (the handheld device).

I packed lots of Multi-Clix lancet refills, an extra 50 Accu-chek Nano test strips (in addition to a bottle of 50 in my purse), 1 extra lancing device, 2 needles, a Justin’s Maple Almond Butter individual pack, and several forms of fast-
acting glucose.

I couldn’t forget my stickers for decorating my pod.

This little pack zips up quite nicely and it went right into my purse for easy access.

For personal care supplies, I packed my prescriptions, baby powder for my hair, makeup, toothpaste/brush, hair clips, deodorant, allergy creams, Benadryl, face/eye cream. This zipped up nicely and went in my suitcase. This is a very old Victoria’s Secret travel case that I have had for many years. I have never been able to find one exactly like it. It’s been a staple in my traveling.

Not pictured: 3 oz containers of my own shampoo, conditioner and soap, since I am allergic to every kind out there, and the ones I use are not found at most stores. Also a little mini honey bear. These all went into a Ziploc bag that would have to follow the security check’s “3 oz containers in 1 ziploc bag” liquid rule. I had so much shoved in that Ziploc bag that it wouldn’t close all the way. They were sideways/upside down, whatever way they had to be to fit in that bag. Here was the little honey. I thought it was so cute!

I only used one small suitcase (I didn’t check any bags!), so I had to be very selective with what I chose to bring. I brought a couple outfits, 1 pair of shoes stored in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag in addition to the Nikes I wore on the plane, a mini cutting board from Macy’s Martha Stewart line (I need something to cut food on upon arrival at my dad’s house, as his cutting boards are all cross-contaminated with gluten), phone charger, chapsticks, a birthday card, and printed recipes for my sister. In the side pockets I packed two Go Picnic lunches, so I’d have food to eat when my plane landed at 10pm. I knew my dad wouldn’t have any “safe” gluten free food options for me and I was going to be starving! This would buy me time to get to the grocery store to buy a few food items for the weekend.

“Can I fit in your suitcase?”
Bella doggy was well taken care of during my long weekend. I sure did miss her, though!

Next, is my purse. I carried a large purse, my Louis Vuitton, which I never use because it is too heavy. But my other purses were too small for traveling. I packed all THIS crap in my purse: Glucagon kit, glucose tabs, juice box, wallet, “FLY” letter from Endocrinologist that states I am diabetic and celiac and need to carry supplies and food with me, pump supply bag, raw almonds, albuterol inhaler, word search, Prevention magazine, kleenexes, sunglasses, Mike & Ikes and CGM.

You cannot even imagine HOW MANY things had to go on the security belt. Multiple devices: iPad, iPhone, CGM, Pump, needles, bag of liquids, insulin, food, shoes, fly letter for security to read in case of any confusion. They must have thought “Who is this crazy girl??”

Upon arrival, I stopped at a grocery store to pick up some eggs, fruit and a couple GF frozen food items that I could heat and eat for the weekend. Since I did not have access to cookware that was not cross contaminated, I did not buy food I would have to cook. If it were a longer trip, I would have driven the 9 hours instead of flown, so that I was able to load my car with my pans, toaster oven, cooking utensils, and bags of groceries to eat. I bought a larger vehicle 2 years ago when I realized that my small sporty car was too small to transport everything I needed for a road trip and fit the dog, too. Yep, celiac disease actually influenced what vehicle I purchased. Basically every time I travel by car, it looks like I’m moving.

I had a great time while I was there. I was invited to a birthday party. Due to celiac disease, I was unable to eat any of the food there, so I stopped at Chipotle on the way there. While everyone else ate this

I ate this

But I choose to focus on the people and the special time I had with them, and not focus on the food I cannot eat. No time to feel sorry for yourself when you are having so much fun!

I did not have any issues at the airports coming or going, so that was a huge blessing. My blood sugars were high on the flight there, because I suspended my pump AND carb loaded prior to the flight. Lesson learned: one or the other will do.
So there you have it. This is how I fly.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Don't make food your focus at the holidays.

Here in Minnesota winter is on its way and today brought with it extremely high winds, not much sun and cold temps. No snow yet (whew). It is not weather you want to be outside in. And I'm also trying to watch my budget and anywhere I can think of going involves spending money. So today was a stay indoors and catch up on reading day. I get behind during the week reading the blogs I love, magazines, emails. It was also a lazy cooking day. Breakfast was scrambled egg whites and Eco Planet oatmeal (which is really millet and quinoa) and is AMAZING. I craved oatmeal this morning, but with type 1 diabetes, it requires a little bit of planning for me. I gave myself insulin for the 27g of carb 15 min ahead of time and made sure to eat my protein (eggs) first. It worked and 2 hours post-eating my bg (blood glucose) was 110. YESSSS. I can't say that my dinner went as well- I made a chicken quesadilla on an Udi's Gluten free tortilla (30g carb) with chicken breast, 1/4 avocado and 2 tablespoons of salsa, totaling what I guessed was about 45g of carb. I bolused only 10 minutes ahead, since my bg was 82. Well,1 hour post I'm sitting at 179 and the CGM is reporting a sidewards-up arrow. Fail. My body tolerated the morning carbs but I guess eating them again for dinner was maybe not the best idea. My bg is sensitive to carbs and it doesn't take much to send it soaring. Lesson learned; tomorrow will be a low carb day (a normal day for me).

Sometimes I like to "treat" myself with carbs but it seems like I always regret it. I now will chase my blood sugar around for the rest of the night. For some people, that's the trade off and they don't mind the swings as much. But I do. I aim for very tight blood sugar control so seeing a 140 or higher will send me rage bolusing to get it back under 100.

Tomorrow I will be making a batch of homemade chili (I know, I ALWAYS make chili) and chopping up salad material for the week. I also thawed a pack of Applegate All Natural hotdogs for a quick eat option (no bun). I have a butternut squash and a few sweet potatoes to bake, too (I use earth balance "butter" and black pepper on them). I like to keep my prepackaged food to a minimum for health reasons. I also think prepackaged food is a waste of money for this frugal girl. Making something completely from scratch (like chili) is inexpensive and yields a high quantity of food. I don't use any chili starters, I season it with herbs and single-ingredient spices that don't have sodium. Homemade also ensures a GLUTEN FREE meal that is safe from cross contamination, which is a necessity for this celiac diabetic.

I've been feeling tempted with all of the holiday food recipes I've been seeing posted online. Lots of gluten free holiday desserts. But I am trying to maintain the weight loss I achieved so I plan to make some healthy alternative options. There are lots of gluten free desserts, but they are no healthier than their gluten-laden counterparts. Just as much fat, salt, carbs and calories. Having to follow 2 medical diets changed my perspective on holidays. I no longer focus on food as the main event, not even on Thanksgiving. My focus is on the people- the family and friends. I want everyone to eat what they want to eat, but as for me, I will eat in moderation this year just like I did last year. I didn't walk away from the holidays bloated or 5 lbs heavier. I didn't feel guilty for what I ate. I didn't have blood sugar swings. I felt GOOD and happy. If you make food your focus during the holidays, you will either feel guilty (for eating poorly and gaining more weight or having blood sugar swings) or feel deprived (for not eating what everyone else was eating). You may even feel sick. So my advice is to focus on the games on tv, the board games you play, the conversations/ interactions you have. Focus on the healthy food options and have a small nibble on the other stuff.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

You can't live in a bubble, even though it probably would be easier.

I envy extroverts. People that socialize effortlessly and stress-freely. They seem to really enjoy social gatherings. I used to be an extrovert, pre-2010, the year I was diagnosed with multiple autoimmunes. I used to accept every invite to every social gathering and I looked forward to each one.

Nowadays, when, IF, I accept an invite, it is met with much anxiety. Will it involve physical activities that I cannot participate in? Will there be food I can eat? What do I need to pack in my purse? Is the activity something that will affect my diabetes and that I should start planning for in advance, insulin-wise? What if my diabetes isn't behaving that day? Is it at someone's house where I may come in contact with one of my allergens? Do they have cats? Will all the food choices be glutened or cross contaminated, leaving me to eat my GF protein bar while everyone else enjoys a delicious meal?

These are just some of the questions that I must answer when considering whether to accept an invite or not. There are times when I feel my presence at an event may hinder the "fun," as in instances where many of the plans would need to be changed in order to accommodate my needs and so I may choose not to attend. I never want to feel like a burden and I also don't want to be viewed as a "downer" for having to constantly say " I can't eat that," or "I can't do that." Having multiple chronic health issues DOES alter your social life, and in my case, hinders my self esteem/self confidence.

On an average day, my life is good. I'm happy. I Iike my job. I love my dog. I enjoy cooking A LOT. I read a ton- books, blogs, magazines, journals, you name it. I like talking to family and friends. But when it comes to going out, my social anxiety seems to really take over things. I panic. I sweat. I don't want to go. I have cried before out of sheer anxiety. My life is good until I receive an invite to step outside of my bubble.

Situations that involve only family, or are one on one with a close friend do not cause me anxiety. It is parties, dinner invites at other people's houses, holiday gatherings, group gatherings and work events that send me into a panic. I will do just about anything to get out of them. And when I do get out of it, a wave of relief washes over me and my mind relaxes. I feel safe again.

I originally thought this was a phase I was going through and that once I had adjusted to living with chronic illnesses and allergies that this would all go away. Instead, it has intensified.

It is the one area of my life that I seek to improve. I want to be happy in ALL areas of my life, especially my social life. I'm working on it and feel confident I will overcome this anxiety.