Thursday, November 17, 2011

Of Two Minds

I'm usually a one topic a day kinda blogger.  I like exploring one thought rather than jumping all over the place.

With that preamble out of the way, I'm happy to announce that today's blog is a two-topic blog.  Partly because there are two things I want to write about and partly because I have a dinner/concert date with my mom tonight and don't know if I'll have time to write a blog for Friday.  This may be it for the week.

Part one: Diabetes + Swimming = blood sugar weirdness.

When I started swimming six weeks ago (yep, it's been that long already) I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of blood sugars.  I had done a good job at mastering (as much as that's possible) running and cycling but swimming was an entirely different beast. Since I was swimming at 6am, I knew I didn't want to wake up at 4:30am to change my basal insulin.  I figured I would compensate for having potentially too much insulin in my system by eating a snack.

Week one, I ate a date or two before each swim.  After being in the pool for an hour, my blood sugar climbed by 4-5.

Week two, I ate one date before each swim.  My blood sugar climbed by 4-5.

Week three, I didn't eat anything.  My brain told me that was crazy but my numbers told me that made sense. My blood sugar after an hour in the pool climbed by 2-3

Weeks four and five were the same.  I was still in the pool for an hour but I kept increasing the number of lengths I swam so I figured I would start seeing a drop in my blood sugar from the increased activity.  Still, my sugar would climb by 2-3.

For those of you who are thinking "helloooo??? the dawn phenomenon!?!" - yes I did think of that.  But I was being extra cautious because I had learned the hard way that running even thirty minutes in the morning required 20-40 grams of carbs to avoid a low

And for those of you who are thinking "what the hell is the dawn phenomenon?" here's a quick diabetes lesson.  Blood sugars tend to rise in the early morning hours.  That means that those of us who are on insulin often need to increase our basal rates in the early morning hours to avoid a spike in blood sugar.  This can also mean that exercise in the morning can have a lesser effect on our blood sugar than exercise in the afternoon and evening since our bodies are pumping out extra sugar.

Moving on...

On Wednesday of this week, I woke up with a BG of 7.2.  I figured what the hell and took 0.5 units of insulin.  I ate NOTHING and swam 60 lengths of the pool.  My post workout sugar was 5.8.

If I tried anything that crazy on a run or a bike ride, I would be in some serious serious trouble.

Swimming, it seems, defies all diabetes least for me.  Not only do I not need to eat anything but I actually need to take insulin to prevent my BG from climbing despite doing a 60-minute full body workout.

Let me tell you, it's an odd yet refreshing change to be able to exercise and not have to eat unless I want to.

Part two: Bone Scan Update

Last week, I wrote that my family doctor had called me to say that my bone scan showed shin splints but nothing else of concern.

Well, yesterday I had an appointment with my sports doctor and he showed me the bone scan report.

It very clearly says that I have an early stress fracture in my left tibia.

So there we have it.  A diagnosis.

Even better - it's a diagnosis that explains the symptoms I had two months ago as well as the symptoms I have now which are very different.

One shouldn't do a happy dance when they hear the words stress fracture but I'm the kinda gal who likes to know what's going on.  And now I know.

So I'm supposed to take six weeks off running (which I have done as of the 14th) then ease back into it.  Run/walk every three days on a soft surface like a trail or a track.  See how it feels and built from there.  Stop if it hurts.

I think, based on the fact that things still feel tentative, that I'm going to be an 8-week off stress fracture patient.  That gives me two more weeks to heal plus I have one massage and one chiropractor appointment in the next two weeks so that will give me two more expert opinions to add to the mix.

So I officially have a stress fracture.

I'm surprisingly ok with that diagnosis.

At least now I know what the hell it is.

Just to add to the fun - I've been referred to a biomechanics specialist for a gait analysis.  That might help determine why I'm always suffering from shin splints as well as determine what may have caused the stress fracture...and stop it from recurring.

Stay tuned for the next chapter in Céline's Running Adventure.


  1. the morning workouts are pretty neat eh? I'm liking them be it running or cycling because I don't have to do anything and I feel like a real normal person for a change! Later in the day - well that's another story.
    HURRAY for stress fracture! Um, yes, that's a good thing because now there is no more wondering! Happy healing. Your shoes miss you.
    Your reg. doc is a bit of a turd. sorry.

  2. I'm so glad that you have a diagnosis now!! It's a sucky one but it's a diagnosis.

  3. I know this is unrelated to your post, but I wanted to stop by and say that it was awesome meeting you today at the Type 1 Update event! :) Thanks for chatting with me, and I hope our paths cross again soon!

  4. I have a two-part comment. :^)

    First, I'm glad you have a diagnosis that you can live with and that will help move you back in the direction of running. Yay! No pressure at all, but... it could be fun to run along with you at ATB. Just saying.

    Second, swimming is a crazy BG thing. Keeping in mind that everybody's diabetes is different (blah blah blah) here's what I find. I turn my basal insulin off about 45 minutes before I swim. If I don't eat before most half-hour long swims, my BG goes down about 20-30 mg/dL (1-2 mmol). If I eat a gel right before I start, my BG doesn't really move at all while I swim. If I swim longer than an hour, I need to eat ~20g of carbs beforehand because my BG eventually starts to fall.

    It doesn't seem to matter whether I'm in the pool or in open-water.

    What I have also found over the last year is that I absolutely have to give myself some insulin when I'm done, no matter what number I see on my meter. Part of that is because I always have to give myself insulin after I exercise (regardless of what kind), but I'm sure that being disconnected from my pump for an hour has a lot to do with it, too.

    But kudos for being brave enough to give yourself some insulin before hopping in to swim laps. You're my hero.