Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Time in the Kitchen

Sunday morning was busy with a gorgeous and hilly spring bike ride. Including a superfast trip down the Brock Hill (for those of you who live in Niagara you'll know the place) where I managed to keep fairly close to the rest of the group and gently used the brakes rather than my usual death grip.

Sunday after lunch we went to a friend's house to pinch some of their periwinkle ground-cover and then headed home and planted it in the cursed part of our yard where nothing else seems to grow. Fingers crossed that this hearty sun-loving plant takes hold.

Afterwards, I headed to the kitchen with three goals:
- whip up a wicked salad that I can keep in the fridge and turn into easy lunches.
- chop all ingredients so that we can make homemade pizza for dinner
- bake a batch of fruit and nut energy bites - a great recipe I discovered at Oh She Glows last year.

90 minutes later, the dishes were washed, the pizza was in the oven and I was sipping wine on the couch.

My salad was inspired by the amazing salads of Israel. A big bowl full of kohlrabi, red cabbage, carrots, celery, cucumber and red pepper. A ton of chopped cilantro and a can of chickpeas. Hearty, vitamin rich, tasty and so so good for you. Every morning I'll scoop a bunch into a container and, at work, I'll top it off with avocado or goat cheese and a simple dressing of olive oil and tamari. At home I'll mix up some tahini, olive oil and fresh-squeezed lemon into a traditional Israeli dressing.

The energy bites are delicious. They make a great mid-morning treat at work and are the perfect go-to snack for busy days and, I'm guessing, four-hour golf games. If you do decide to try the recipe - I have found that dried cherries work well and I like to trade half of the dates for dried figs. Lots of fun flavours in every bite.

My body always feels better when I eat well every day. And the easiest way to do that is to spend a bit of time on the weekend making healthy options to see me through the week. It's going to be a tasty one!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Five Fingers = One Hand

When I was a little kid, I really didn't like sports. I like being outside and going for walks and bike rides down the canal but I really did not enjoy exercise. I hated gym and often lied and pretended I forgot my gym shoes so that I could be the scorekeeper. I did try soccer and our team ended up winning the gold medal but it was no thanks to me.

In high school, I still really didn't like sports. I tried basketball and hated it (sorry Scott!). I tried volleyball and hated it. I loathed gym and did what I could to get out of it. I hate to say this but, if I had type 1 diabetes in high school I probably would have used that as a  convenient excuse (which would only have served to perpetuate the misconceptions of T1 I know but, still, I would have used it).

In university I went to the gym with my friends and learned how to lift weights and do aerobics. I didn't love it but it probably kept the frosh fifteen down to the frosh ten in terms of weight gain so I'm grateful for that.

Somewhere along the line, years into adulthood, something clicked and I discovered an activity that I liked and then loved. Running. I was as surprised as anyone by how much I enjoyed it.

Then a year later I found cycling which I like a lot and think I could learn to love without too much trouble.

The next thing I discovered was curling and I quickly fell in love with that too. Curling was the most surprising for me because it is a team sport which I abhor. I had too many bad childhood experiences with team sports and being the last picked and the one most likely to cause us to lose the game. I feel pressure the minute my performance impacts a team result and I usually fall apart pretty quickly. For some reason curling didn't seem to bring out the same unresolved childhood sports trauma issues and I just had fun.

Last year I added swimming to the list of athletic pursuits that I love, bringing the total number of activities I do to four.

And last week I tried golf. I had a golf lesson on Friday which went surprisingly well. On Saturday I asked Doug to take me golfing and we headed to a 9-hole course where all the holes were par 3. I'm sure there is a technical name for this kind of course but I think of it as the baby steps course. It was my first game and, with only one lesson under my belt, I set a pretty reasonable goal of trying to play a 63. That would allow me 7 shots per hole. I ended up playing a 61 and even got a 4 and a 5. Pretty horrible by most standards but fine by mine.

As we drove home in the setting sun I counted on my hand.

Omigod, I now do five different sports: run, bike, curl, swim and golf.

One more and I'll have to add my other hand when I'm counting them.

"That's just crazy" said my eight-year old self. "Good for you."

Friday, April 26, 2013

I learned...

Things I learned this week.

1. I learned that communication, no matter how hard or awkward it is at the time, it better than no communication. As you know, I decided to go with Animas for my new pump. Talking to them was easy and fun. Talking to Medtronic was not but I did it anyway. I could have just disappeared from their radar, quietly mailed back my pump in a few weeks and gone about my business.

I chose the high road and emailed the local Medtronic rep to tell her about my choice. She called me. I saw her number on my call display and agonized for a few seconds about whether or not to answer. I answered. I told her why I made my choice and she was wonderfully supportive about it. No hard feelings and she's even willing to keep my name on her list of presenters in case she organizes a panel discussion and can include me. It might never happen but, still, I'm glad we chatted.

2. I learned that a decision made that is immediately followed by a feeling of relief is probably the right decision. I made two decisions this week. One was about my pump. I signed on for five years and felt immediate relief. The other was about whether or not I want to take University courses to upgrade in order to apply for a Masters. A decision to do this would have meant me starting classes next week and being in school part-time for five years. I decided, for a variety of reasons, that this is not a good idea and felt immediate relief.

3. That being said, no decision, no matter how positive, happens without regret. I will miss my Medtronic pump. And I am sad that I won't be adding Masters student to my list of pursuits (at least for now).

4. I learned that homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are really tasty. So is homemade curried celery soup.

5. I learned that I follow baking recipes to the letter. I use cooking recipes as guidelines and scribble all over them so I remember the changes I made for next time.

6. I learned that people make the weirdest cakes for baby showers. Check this out if you need a laugh.

7. I learned, again, that diabetes is crazy. Like possessed. I swam on Wednesday like I always do. I hopped in the pool with a blood sugar of 5.8 AND I bolused 0.3 units just to keep me in line. I left the pool to discover that I was 14.4 instead of my usual 7.0. I changed my site, bolused for breakfast, waited 20 minutes and was 18.9. I bolused again (the full amount for a second time), waited 20 minutes and was 16. It took an hour for it to drop low enough to eat and then it shot right back up again to 18.

By lunch, I was fine and have been ever since. Crazytown.

8. I learned that I can indeed master the super tough Bending Crank Arms cycling workout. It's rated a 9.5/10 for difficulty (which I only noticed on my fourth time doing it thank goodness). I now finish the workout feeling energized instead of wanting to die and I no longer walk around for two days afterwards with aching muscles. Only took four times.

9. I learned that it's really hard to describe things in words sometimes. I was writing a basic iPad user manual for work and couldn't believe how hard it was to describe all the different gestures we use when using an iPad (like pinching two fingers together to shrink a page). Try it for yourself. Do a specific gesture with your hands and then try to figure out how to describe in words what you did. Hard.

10. I learned that it is really nice to sit after work with a glass of wine and chat with a good friend, or with my parents, or with Doug. This week I had the chance to do all three and each conversation was stimulating, hilarious and wonderful.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

It's Official

I picked up the phone yesterday morning and called the Diabetes Centre. They called back around 1:30pm and I explained my pump situation (mine died after the warrantee was up, I'm on a loaner and I need a new one). They said that it would be no problem to fill out the paperwork for a new one and asked which pump I would like to go with.

"Animas" I replied.

"Ok great. I'll send it off today" was the response.

At exactly 4pm, Animas called.

They asked me questions. They answered my questions. I picked my pump colour. It should arrive next week. They're setting up an appointment for pump training asap. I should be all hooked up and ready to hop in the canal as soon as the water is warm enough for open water swimming.

It's been a few weeks of pretty hard decision-making as you all know. The moment I said "Animas" on the phone, I relaxed. It is the right choice for me. The choice that best suits my lifestyle now and for the foreseeable future.

A lot of people chose Animas because they like the waterproof feature.

I chose Animas because I NEED the waterproof feature.

By 4:30pm yesterday, I had made the arrangements. By 5pm I received an email from the woman who came to my house two weeks ago and showed me the pump. She was thrilled and so excited to learn that I had signed on with Animas and said that stories like mine inspire others.

By 7pm I received an email from the Animas Marketing Manager in Vancouver. She was excited to hear about my swimming goals and talking about the fact that Animas likes having people like me share their stories as a way to inspire and motivate other people with diabetes. I said YES PLEASE!

I need to sign and fax off a form and have the Diabetes Centre write a letter. Once that's done, it's full speed ahead.

Now I'm going to have to start gathering ideas from people who do open water swimming with their pumps. Where do you put it? Do you wear some kind of belt to keep it safe? Any tips and tricks I should think about?

Such an exciting time! So many new things to figure out and try to master. And so much more flexibility.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I picked the green one.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Baby Steps

It is April 24th.

Since April 1st I have spent $385 on prescriptions. Since January 1st I have spent $845.

Three hundred and eighty-five dollars. That is what I paid after benefits which pay 80% of all prescriptions (other than pump supplies).

Yes, I receive quarterly cheques for pump supplies (thank you thank you thank you). But that is a still a pretty big chunk of cash to wave goodbye to in three short weeks. Especially when I'm in serious pay down debt mode. Even more especially when my next quarterly cheque is still two months away which means that total gets added to my credit card and sits there until the cheque arrives.


Why is it that I have tons of patience for baby steps in most areas of my life and yet very little patience for baby steps in my financial ones?

On Monday morning at the pool we sacrificed a hard workout to focus on technique. My goal was to learn to keep my head down and my eyes focused on the bottom of the pool (I lift my head too much when I swim). It took me a while to get the hang of where my head needed to be but I figured it out - only to completely lose my other skills that I thought I had mastered. Like bending my elbow properly and not crossing my arms in front of me. I immediately went back to my old swim technique...but my head looked good.

When I ignored my head-lowering issues and tried to just swim I could no longer remember what was the correct way for me to swim. I turned into an ungainly swimmer whose head was too high, whose elbows didn't bend and who crossed her arms in front of her. The only solution was to leave the pool hoping that I would get back in on Wednesday morning and remember how to swim.

Baby steps.

I can't run and won't be running for another month. When I do get back to it I will have gone from being able to run 20k sans problème to wondering if I can run 20 minutes. It will take weeks to build back up again and the injury could reappear during that time and sideline me again.

Baby steps.

Diabetes is crazy. I understand how something affects my blood sugar and master it. Something else goes wrong and I focus on fixing that only to lose control of the things that were working well. I focus on bringing those back and then I get sick which throws the whole thing off. Or I get my period. Or it's a stressful few days. I slowly wrestle my numbers back in order and then the season changes. Or I get injured and can't run. Or I recover from an injury and can run again.

Baby steps.

I paid $300 toward my credit card in April. I only put one purchase on my credit card in the month of April - a $385 charge for diabetes supplies.

Baby steps.

Just breathe.

You'll get there.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Five Years - The Long and Short of it

Several times in the last few weeks and a few more times in the next few weeks, Doug and I have had to make decisions based on the future.

The future, you might have noticed, is a complete unknown. The past is a little more predictable.

We can be pretty confident about what we'll be doing tomorrow. Or even next week (knock wood). But I have learned (multiple times and in often surprising ways) that there is no way to predict what will be important and what will no longer matter down the road.

Looking ahead five years and looking back five years are two very different exercises. One is about learning, the other is about wild ass guessing based on what it important today.

I bought my car over four years ago and took on a five year loan that will be paid off in 14 months. The car was purchased based on a lifestyle that I no longer live. It was purchased to do things I no longer do. And I bought rather than leased based on mileage I no longer drive. I love my car and am very happy with it but, if I needed a new car today, I would make very different decisions.

I signed on for an insulin pump over four years ago based on a lifestyle that I no longer have. I love my pump and the difference it has made in my diabetes management but I am seriously considering not getting that same pump again because my lifestyle today is so different.

In the next few weeks I, and therefore Doug, need to make several long-term decisions. Nothing serious so no worries but they are decisions that involve me committing significant amounts of money and time for the next several years. They will be decisions made based on my lifestyle of today.

And yet we all know that life can change on a dime.

Five years from now, I could have swum across Lake Ontario. Or I could have decided I no longer enjoy swimming and have switched my energy to golf and racket ball. In five years I could be working at the same place I've been for the past 16 years or I could be working a completely different job in a completely different field with a completely different salary. I could be in the exact same state of health I am now or I could have developed celiac disease, retinopathy and high blood pressure.

I could be in the same house. I could be living across the province. Heck, I could have decided to move to Israel.

The odds decrease as the degree of craziness increases but still, who knows where life will take us next? We make decisions every day that affect our future. I think it's when we actually have to sign on the dotted line that it feels really real.

We can't count on the future. Heck, we can't even count on tomorrow. Thankfully there is one thing that I've always been able to count on. My ability to adapt to wherever I am and whatever I am doing. I may not have the right car or the right pump for my lifestyle but I always find a way to make things work and, after a while, hardly notice the difference.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Injury Checkup

I went to Toronto on Saturday and, despite the freezing temperatures and biting wind, spent a good part of the day strolling around. Nothing too aggressive but more walking than I've done since coming back from Israel with a foot injury.

It's been exactly three weeks since my last run. The pain along the top of my foot had slowly diminished to almost nothing. I have no intention of running yet but figured a walking day was a safe enough thing to do. And a good test.

My foot injury didn't hurt at all during the day. Yay.

My ankle did a few times. Weird.

Every once in a while a rather mild but unmistakably problematic pain would shoot down my ankle. It felt like it was inside the ankle bone. Nothing debilitating. Nothing that stopped me in my tracks or made me think I should stop walking and hail a cab.

Later that evening, as I lounged on the couch, I gingerly felt the top of my foot. It wasn't sore but was definitely a little tender. It was back to what it felt like about a week ago.

I'm definitely not ready to run yet. And I'm definitely going to tack on another three weeks before I reassess again and, perhaps, attempt a run. That will give me at least six weeks off. Six weeks of injury recovery.

And six weeks of thrice weekly workout sessions on the bike.

Which I'm actually starting to like and look forward to - surprisingly.

I feel stronger with each workout and have managed to survive four sessions of Bending Crank Arms now. I'm getting quite good at isometric squats.

And to think I didn't even know what those were a mere month ago.

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Cycle Continues

Well, it's Friday today. Again.

Some things are so reliable aren't they?

Like Fridays arriving every 7 days.

And weekends flying by at the speed of light.

And Monday's lasting twice as long as Saturdays.

Winter giving way to spring.

The sun rising in the East.

Insulin pump site changes.

Not my best segue ever but it's kind of a nice image. 

I have spent this week going back and forth between desperately wanting to stick with my Medtronic pump to desperately wanting a waterproof pump, to seriously considering making the leap to Animas,  to hating the idea of Omnipod to loving the idea of Omnipod.

I'm sitting on the couch typing this. I have my freshly refilled Medtronic pump attached to the waistband of my comfy pants. I have my fake Omnipod pod attached to my lower back.

I'm remembering the doubt and the hopes I felt five years ago when I was first making the switch from needles to the pump. I'm feeling different doubts and hopes this time around but the intensity is the same. Can I live with the size of the pods? Can I live with changing my pump every three days? Can I live with another five years of tubes and clipping the pump to my belt? Can I really leave consider leaving my beloved Medtronic?

Right now, my thinking is that Omnipod is my favourite option with Animas at a close second. Medtronic is third, mostly because of the waterproof issue but partly because I like the idea of no tubes.

Once I know about my insurance options for Omnipod, I will know whether I'm deciding between three options or two (Animas and Medtronic). In the meantime, I have one more question to ask. Medtronic told me last year at the Global Heroes weekend that they had a waterproof pump coming out and that it would be in Canada. I will be emailing the lady who told me that to find out when. If it's in the next few months, Medtronic is back in the game. If it's not until 2014, I don't think I want to spend another triathlon season untethered nor do I want to spend another 9 months of thrice weekly swimming sessions untethered.

Fridays arrive every 7 days.

Mondays arrive much too quickly.

Spring follows winter.

And every five years, I agonize about insulin pumps.

Everything is right in the world.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Podding While Pulling Buckets

Wednesday morning at the pool was interesting to say the least.

I showed up with my real insulin pump (as per usual) as well as my fake insulin pod attached to my arm. I felt very Robocopish.

I unhooked the real pump and headed to the pool with my fake pod firmly attached to my arm. I proudly showed it to Christine and told her that I wanted to see if it could withstand my active lifestyle. She looked doubtful but I told her that it was absolutely waterproof and quite firmly attached. Not that it was a big deal if it filled with water and fell off (since it's just a trial pod anyway) but I'd rather know now if it's going to hold up.  Christine liked the idea that you could bolus with the PDM because, as she put it, "you can be in Lake Ontario and we can adjust your insulin for you from the boat". (apparently she has great plans for me...)

We hopped in the pool and discovered pretty quickly that we were in for a tough workout. Not tough in terms of distance but tough in terms of power.

We warmed up for 600m (swim, pull and kick for 200m each) and then did 8x25m sprints. Christine wanted us to swim all out. No holding back. She gave lots of rest in between each one but was quite adamant that had what it takes to push ourselves to swim 25m in 17 seconds. So we tried and we tried hard. The first few were 22, 21 and then 20 seconds. Then 18. Then 18 again. Then 17! Not 17.0 seconds but 17 point something which was enough to make her pretty excited.

Next, she handed us some buckets. Everyone got a strap that attaches around their waist. Tied to the strap was a stretch cord and tied to the stretch cord were two buckets. The kind that little kids take to the beach to make castles. Designed to add a lot of drag and make any kind of swimming really hard. Think running through quicksand or cycling up a hill into a nasty headwind.

Everyone got two buckets...but me.

I was handed a contraption that had three buckets attached to it, not two.


"Céline" Christine announced "is the most consistent swimmer I have ever known. She reaches a pace and then swims it consistently over and over again. The only way to help her get faster is to force her off that plateau. So she's swimming with three buckets today because I want her to be able to swim 100m in 1:35 in the next few weeks".


We strapped ourselves in and prepared to repeat our 8x25m sprints. Ever tried sprinting as fast as you can while tied to something that holds you back? Go ahead and try it. I'll wait here...

Fun eh?

Everyone else did their 25m sprints in about 24-25 seconds. I did mine in 27-28 seconds. I have no idea how much extra drag one bucket adds but I was pretty proud to have kept up as much as I did.

After that, we swam 200m with buckets.

Then 4x50m sprints without them. (which I managed to do in 42-44 seconds each for those of you who care about times).

Then 200m with buckets.

Then 5x25m sprints without buckets (all in 18-19 seconds).

Then a cool down.

That was a lot of arm flailing and a great workout. It was also a pretty good test of my Omnipod pod. Guess how it held up?

Well, the adhesive was awesome and held up beautifully. Despite all the drag on the pod in the water, the adhesive didn't budge. The pod, on the other hand, didn't fare so well. If you can picture it - the adhesive is stuck to my skin and then the pod is stuck to the adhesive. The part where the pod is glued to the adhesive ripped and the pod was half detached and kinda dangling there by the end of the workout.

Not good.

I had to take it off when I got home because it would not have survived the day. So my first pod lasted 12 hours. Granted, I put it on my arm and went swimming with it but still. I would like to have the option to wear it on my arm, particularly in the winter, so this was a very reasonable test. Yes, I could tape it. Yes, I could wear an arm band in the pool to hold it in place but that just makes things more complicated and the Omnipod is already proving to be more complicated than I want it to be.

When I got home I removed the first pod and I put the second pod on - on my back just above where my pants sit. I wore it all day yesterday and, despite hours of sitting, driving and more sitting, I hardly noticed it. I like it there and was again reminded of how nice it would be to wear a pump without tubes. The big test will be Friday morning in the pool. It will sit above my bathing suit and, again, be exposed to the water.

Let's see how holds up then.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Omnipod Thoughts

Well, I met with two ladies from Omnipod yesterday in my quest to decide which insulin pump I want to go with. I must confess that I went into the meeting with two reservations which I tried very hard to push aside. I am trying to be as open-minded as possible during this research process. Animas surprised me in ways I hadn't expected and I wanted to give Omnipod the chance to do the same thing.

Omnipod is a completely different insulin pump setup than Medtronic or Animas. There are no tubes. At all. Nothing to clip on to your belt or tuck into your bra. Nothing to snag on doorknobs.

There are the pods and there is a PDM (Personal Diabetes Manager). The PDM looks kinda like a  chunky iPhone. It is the brains of the operation and is what you use to control the pod and insulin delivery. It also acts as a glucometre if you choose to use it that way. There weren't really any features on it that the other two companies don't have (temp basals, insulin on board etc).

The pods stick directly to your skin (the back of your arm, your lower back, stomach or thigh). Once you have it firmly stuck in place, you use the PDM as a controller. At your command, it quickly (but not painlessly I'm sure) inserts and withdraws the needle, leaving behind the cannula. You use the PDM to bolus, to change temp basals etc. Without the PDM, your pod will continue to provide your regularly scheduled basal insulin but is otherwise uncontrollable.

Here is what I learned:

The reservoir in the pod takes 200ml of insulin. So do the Animas ones. My Medtronic pump takes 300ml. I use every last drop of insulin before I change my sites. At approximately 45 units of insulin per day, I can get six days out of a Medtronic reservoir. I would get 4ish out of Animas and, in theory, the same out of Omnipod. The problem with Omnipod is that the pods stop working after 72 hours (plus an eight hour grace period during which time the pod beeps every hour, then every fifteen minutes, then constantly until you change it). They explained that this is an added safety measure to ensure pump users change their pump sites as recommended but, since I rarely, if ever, have problems going a full six days, I am not a big fan of being told I have to change the site every three.

Especially when each pod costs $30.00.

I live in Ontario and I get $2400 per year from the Assistive Devices Program (ADP) for pump supplies. If every single one of my Omnipod pods last the full three days and none need to be removed early or are accidentally ripped out from walking too close to a doorway, I will pay $3600 per year in pods. Subtract the $2400 I get from ADP and that's an extra $100 per month out of pocket. Add to that the cost I pay for insulin and test strips and I would be paying over $200 a month out of pocket. Omnipod did offer to contact my insurance company to find out if the costs not covered by ADP could be picked up by them. I will take them up on this offer because, at the end of the day, the cost would be a deal breaker for me.

Those are my two biggest concerns about Omnipod.

The size of the pods is a little disconcerting after being used to the size of infusion sites. They kindly left me with two pods (sans needle) to try. I've attached one to the back of my left arm and will wear it there for the next three days. It will have two swims in the pool and three sleeps. Once that one is removed, I'm going to try the second one on my thigh (I think) or my lower back. I just want to see if I can live with it.

I have to be honest. The thought of no more tubing and no more wearing the pump on my belt is appealing. But not if I hate the size of the pods. So I'm giving myself a full six days to see how well they fit into my lifestyle.

Here is what the pod looks like attached to the back of my arm. 

The other thing I'm not super fond of is the PDM. Having to think about, and carry, a separate device will be annoying at times. My Medtronic pump is easy in that I clip it on in the morning and go. It comes along for runs and bike rides and follows me into meetings and medical appointments. If I go with Omnipod, I will need to carry the PDM with me. Not a big deal most of the time but a big deal on long runs when I'm already carrying so much. A big deal during races too. It's nice to have a waterproof pump for the swim portion of a triathlon but it's not particularly helpful if the controller is tucked away in the transition zone because it isn't waterproof. As Doug said, I'm trading the convenience I had during runs for the convenience of a waterproof pump during swims.

I think I'm sounding much more critical of Omnipod than I was of Animas. I don't mean too. There are a lot of really appealing things about Omnipod and it is a serious contender for my ultimate affections. It  is a very different way of managing diabetes and I think I just need to wrap my head around the differences. Just like how I had to come to terms with the pros and cons of pumping after years of injections.

Omnipod pros:
- no tubing
- no pump to clip on my belt
- completely waterproof and can be worn swimming for hours
- must less limiting to my wardrobe (i.e. I can actually wear a dress every once in a while)
- if worn in the right place (which I have yet to figure out for myself), it will be pretty unobtrusive

Omnipod cons:
- must change pod every three days even if you don't need to (I am an adult. If my diabetes management works for me, don't presume to tell me to do otherwise).
- the cost of pods (if my insurance doesn't pick up the difference)
- having to carry the PDM around

**I have yet to decide if the size of the pod is a pro or a con. I'll let you know.

Now that Step One (pump research) is done, it's time for Step Two.

Step Two - find out if my insurance will cover the costs. If yes, I'm deciding between three pump options. If no, I'm deciding between two.

Step Three - make an appointment at the Diabetes Centre to have the paperwork filled out to apply for a new pump.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Stuff and Nonesense

I'm no expert but here are a few tips I've learned along the way:

- wrapped chocolates are easier to resist than unwrapped ones. That's why I try to buy individually wrapped treats rather than heading to the Bulk Barn and buying a big bag of something. Those tasty mini Easter chocolate eggs that are on sale now for $0.74 a bag are perfect. I pour them into a bowl, take four, bolus, and enjoy.

- exercising in the morning is WAY more reliable than exercising in the evening. There is less opportunity to make excuses and the alarm goes off so early that you're often too tired to even coherently think about not going. I'm usually in the pool before I even realize what I'm doing and I'm dressed for a run before I notice it's raining.

- exercising in the morning, if you have diabetes, is a heck of a lot easier. The fact that I haven't eaten or bolused in about 8 hours eliminates so many variables. It's totally worth the 5am alarm.

- if you, like me, find yourself biting your nails or picking at your fingers, put hand cream on. All the time. It tastes nasty and help stop you from doing it. It all else fails, paint your nails in bright colours.

- if you have trouble committing to your running (swimming or cycling) routine, sign up for a race. Pay the fee. Tell people you're training for it. The odds are better that you'll get your runs (swims, rides) in.

- use good face wash and skin cream. Your skin will thank you. Don't wait until your skin itches and cracks before digging out the cream. Put it on after you shower, from head to toe. You'll feel so much better.

- say yes to things that scare you. Sign up for races that are a little too far for comfort. Raise your hand when they ask for volunteers. Offer to speak in front of people. Soon enough, these things won't be scary anymore and you'll be looking for other things that scare you.

- never ever ever stop fighting. For yourself. For your health. For love. For friendships. For your sanity. For your family. For the people who can't fight for themselves.

- take care of your body. Have fun and enjoy life but take care of your body. I'm not even 40 yet and I can see the difference it makes in people my age who take care. It's an uphill battle as the years go by. Never stop trying to be as healthy as you can.

- invest in your future. Life can change on a dime. You need to be responsible for yourself and make sure that you're ok.

- try new recipes. It's easy to get stuck in a rut and get bored with the menu. Try some of those funny-looking vegetables you see at the grocery store. They're actually quite tasty.

- don't avoid any food groups because you read that they might be bad for you. Carbs are ok. Fats are too. So is protein. Do a bit of research so you know the difference between healthy and unhealthy options and then enjoy.

- tell the people you love that you love them. Over and over and over.

- open your mind. You might be surprised at how much you like things you thought you didn't. Heck, I spent last weekend watching the Masters for goodness sakes. And I loved it! I also discovered curling that way. And running.

- don't judge. Just don't. Period. You can't possibly know why people do what they do, why they end up where they are, why they look the way they look and why they believe what they do. Ask if you really want to know but don't judge.

- buy the good stuff. Olive oil. Apple products. Skin cream. Running shoes. There are lots of things you can buy the lesser versions of. Some things you can't. Decide what those are for you and then buy the good stuff.

- if you have diabetes it sucks. I'm sorry but it does. That being said I want you to use it to make your life better. To make others' lives better. Take the time to teach people what diabetes really is. Dispel the myths. Stop the stereotypes.

- if you have something you love (a special perfume, an expensive jacket, a treasured watch) wear it. Don't save it for the perfect day. It might never come. Don't save the things you love. Love them. Wear them out. Show them that you love them.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Butt Meets Bike

I figure that I might as well take advantage of my running hiatus and see if I can get better on the bike.

When I am actively doing all three sports, I run three times a week, swim three times a week and squeeze in one bike ride with my Sunday morning cycling group. C'est tout.

I enjoy being on the bike but I just can't ever seem to drum up any excitement about trying to get better on the bike.

I'll work hard in the pool to shave seconds off my time. I'll add speed and distance to my runs and I actually look forward to hill training.

Well, I have no excuses now. I still swim three times a week and have no plans on adding any more days to that routine. So I can either have four off days every week or I can get my butt on the bike.

Guess which option I chose?

Last Sunday, it was dangerously windy outside so Doug and I headed down to the basement for a cycling workout on our trainers. We popped in the workout called "Bending Crank Arms" and hit play. Bending Crank Arms is a workout for competitive athletes and it has a few off the bike sections that involve squats and isometric squats (where you squat and hold it). I've never done those before because I always worried about putting pressure on my shins. I'd just increase the resistance on the bike and work hard during the squat sessions.

This time, I did them. Every single painful one. We had four squat sessions during the one-hour video. Each involved three squatting cycles made up of a) doing as many squats as possible within a set time (30 seconds, 45 seconds or one minute) followed by an isometric squat we had to hold for either one minute, 45 seconds or 30 seconds.

They felt pretty easy at first but I quickly turned into a jelly-legged, panting, sweaty mess as I tried desperately to keep up. I did keep up, and never cheated on the isometric squats, but holy hannah that was tough. It took four days for my legs to completely recover from that workout.

Six days after that workout, on Saturday, Doug headed out for his run and I headed down to the basement for Bending Crank Arms Part Two. I figure if I can build up to doing this workout twice a week, I'll definitely be stronger. I completed the entire workout and survived feeling a little less beaten up and a lot less nauseated than the first time.

And the next morning I was able to join my cycling group for a 28k ride. Up and down the escarpment we went and, instead of dragging behind from fatigue as I had feared, I kept up. My legs felt strong and powerful and not the least bit tired.

Today was swim day but, Tuesday morning, I'll back in the basement on the bike. My legs might not be recovered enough for Bending Crank Arms but they'll definitely get a workout. Who knows, this foot injury may end up doing wonders for my cycling talents.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Masters

It's Masters weekend.

And by Masters, I'm talking golf, not my swim class.

Before Doug came into my life, golf was a completely foreign activity that I knew very little about. I know that it involved sticks (clubs), balls, special shirts and funky shorts. I thought rich people did business on the course and regular folk drank themselves into obnoxious golf cart drivers. From what I saw on television, everyone had to whisper so as not to disturb the person with the stick as they prepared to hit the ball. It seemed like a lot of fuss and nonsense to me.

After Doug came into my life, some of those ideas were forced to change. Doug golfs. He golfs well. He loves it and speaks of it in ways that made me (slowly) change my thinking. He talks about the history of the game. He tells me tales of the courses he has visited and tells me stories of the players he watches on television.

Slowly I went from standing with my arms crossed not wanting to hear about it to mildly intrigued to actually being able to hold a conversation. I've spent lazy afternoons watching golf games and learning all sorts of things that turned a foreign activity into something I actually understand. Heck, I can even name more than a handful of players (and not just Mr. Tiger Woods).

This weekend is Masters weekend. The biggest golf weekend in our house. Which means that we don't book very much on Saturday and Sunday afternoon so that we can watch the drama unfold. We'll make pizza and eat it in the living room (gasp!). I'll ask tons of questions. Doug will tell me the story of the two times he was able to go to the Masters. And, by the end, I'll be invested enough to care who wins.

This summer, I'm moving beyond the television to the actual golf course. I've decided to give golf an honest to goodness try. I did try it once, years ago, but I went into it expecting not to like it and I didn't. This time, I'm going into it expecting it to be really hard. I'm expecting to be really frustrated by it. I'm expected to feel very embarrassed by my performance.

The difference is that I'm also expecting that I might actually kinda like it too.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Animas Update

Monday night, I had a date with Animas.

In order to decide which pump I want to go with I've set up an appointment with Animas and one with Omnipod (on April 16th). I also spoke with the local Medtronic rep over the phone to ask about new features that I should be aware of.

On Monday night I got to play with my first Animas pump.

I won't lie - I was impressed. And intrigued.

The most appealing point of Animas has always been the waterproof factor. I spend too much time in the water every week for it not to be appealing. I asked all my questions about how waterproof is waterproof and was convinced that I could indeed wear it during swim sessions as well as races without a worry. The only thing I would need to do is replace a tiny yellow rubber ring that makes the battery compartment waterproof - probably every 6 months. They cost $30.

I didn't think I would care much about the ability to remote bolus (since my pump is always accessible on my belt) and it seemed pretty gimmicky to me...until I tried it. It was pretty neat to see how I could check my blood sugar and then dial up my carbs into the glucometer. Hit go and the pump vibrates and delivers the insulin. I can see doing that just to save a few seconds of having to enter my blood sugar into the pump.

That being said, the glucometer is pretty bulky compared to the Verio IQ I use every day and it's several times the size of my One Touch Mini that I take on races and long runs.

The menus on the pump are different than Medtronic's but they are pretty intuitive and I was whipping through them in no time. The language Animas uses is different but all the features that I use now are available with Animas too.

The biggest difference in the every day use of the pump was the extra step when bolusing. On my Medtronic, I enter my BG and the carbs. A screen appears that tells me the recommended bolus and it breaks it down into the bolus for the food I'm about to eat plus any correction bolus to deal with high or low blood sugar. It also shows insulin on board from any recent boluses. Animas does that too. The difference is that Medtronic shows their recommended bolus and, if I agree, I hit one button and the bolus begins. With Animas, it shows the recommended bolus amount and then I have to manually enter that amount and then hit a button to confirm. An extra few seconds but, after getting used to the speedy Medtronic way, it seems a little cumbersome. Not a deal breaker to be sure but a little annoying.

The infusion sets are pretty much identical. The size of the pump is pretty comparable. The only other issue I have is that the size of the reservoir is 200ml. My Medtronic reservoir is 300ml. I use between 45-55 units most days so I go from 5-6 days between set changes. With Animas, I would only be able to go 4-5 days between set changes. Not a huge difference but, at $20 a set change, it adds up over time.

- remote bolus

- extra step before each bolus
- smaller reservoir

Problem: I wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did. I was expecting to think "well, it's fine and all but I really want to stick with my Medtronic". Now I'm not so sure.

Omnipod is next. Let's see what they have to say shall we?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Then Don't Touch It!

"Doctor, my elbow really hurts when I rub it."

"Then stop rubbing it".

That's how I'm feeling about my wee foot injury and I can even hear a gruff doctor voice in my head telling me to stop checking to see if it still hurts.

It's been fifteen days since I got home from Israel. Fifteen days since I stopped walking for 8+ hours every day. Fifteen days since it stopped hurting every time I put weight on it. I got on the plane in pain and, after almost 15 hours of hardly moving it, I got off with no pain at all.

During the last fifteen days, I ran a grand total of once. After four days of no pain, I tested it first with a walk (no problem) and the next day with a run (problem). It felt fabulous during but hurt a lot afterwards. That was eleven days ago.

Six days ago, I went to see my massage therapist. She poked and prodded around and was able to isolate the exact spot where the problem was. Spots actually. My fourth and fifth metatarsal on my right foot. If you think of your hand, essentially it's my pinkie and my ring finger bones that hurt, right along the top. If you push anywhere else - nothing. If you push there - ouch!!

Then don't push there...right?

My foot hurt for a few days after the massage because of all the poking and prodding. My massage therapist and I are both hoping that it is simply bruised from all of the walking I did. She told me to take a month off and then try an easy 15 minute run to test it out.

Can I cycle and swim?

If it doesn't hurt during or after was the answer I got.

So I swim. I cycle. I walk around and I carry on with my day with not even a twinge of discomfort.

Unless I rub the top of my foot. Then I feel it.

Then don't rub it!

It's my new daily test. I wake up and immediately think about my foot. I rub it gently against the blankets - nothing. I walk to the washroom. Nothing. I get in the shower and take a deep breath before I get to the point where I scrub my foot. I pass my hand along the top and it hurts. A tiny bit less every day but it hurts.


I want it to stop hurting. I'm used to having injuries that, after a few days, don't hurt. I am used to just waiting out my no running for x number of weeks sentence and then I rebuild and carry on. I'm not used to the pain lingering and encroaching on my going back to running time. I was told to wait four weeks before running. I'm already nearly two weeks done. That doesn't leave much time for the pain to be completely gone and the injury to heal.

I'm starting to psych myself up that it might look more like 6 weeks (or even 8). That's entering stress fracture recovery time so, if it's more than just a bruised foot, I'll be playing it pretty safe. Still though, it's getting nice out. I'm itching to run. My legs want to. My feet want to. It's just my metatarsals that are a little hesitant about the whole idea.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

You Have Diabetes? Wicked!

Every once in a while someone will write a blog about the silly, offensive, awful, judgemental, close-minded and hilarious things people say to us about diabetes.

As an alternative, here is my list of things I would love people to say to me:

- oh, you have the pump? I'm impressed that taking care of yourself is so important to you.

- you test your blood sugar 10-15 time A DAY??!? Wow, you really do try hard to take care of yourself. I am SO impressed.

- are you sure you should be eating that cupcake? Your blood sugar was really good when you checked it, why not have two cupcakes.

- you have diabetes? So did my grandmother. She lived to the ripe old age of 104, her eyes were great, she was still living on her own and still ran 5 kilometres a day, every day. She died bungee jumping.

- you have diabetes? You should try eating cinnamon - it's delicious. Especially when sprinkled on French toast with lots of maple syrup.

- I think diabetes is so sexy. There is just something really hot about people who have calloused fingers and infusion sites. I mean really really hot.

- I noticed that you just checked your bloodsugar. I totally understand how personal that is and would never dream of asking what your number was. I just wanted to tell you how awesome you looked while testing. Particularly when you sucked the extra blood off your fingertip. Rock on!

- You have diabetes. I bet Steel Magnolias really pissed you off eh? What an awful way to misrepresent diabetes. It did nothing to help educate people about what diabetes is really all about.

- You have diabetes. As your friend (co-worker, lover, partner etc), I really want to understand it so I can share it with you and be there to help if you need me to. Will you teach me what I need to know?

- You have diabetes? That means you can do ANYTHING you want to do.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Calcium and other Deficiencies?

If you Google: type 1 diabetes vitamin deficiency, guess what comes up? 

Not exactly what I was looking for but I did learn that a deficiency in vitamin D might be linked to the development of Type 1 diabetes. 

Interesting but a little late for that particular tidbit of information. 

Then I tried: type 1 diabetic athlete deficiency and found out that there is a lot of information out there for people who coach type 1 athletes and a lot of reminders that the athletes are deficient in insulin.

Again, it might be helpful for other people but I know full well just how deficient I am in that department.  

Basically, I was just curious about whether having type 1 diabetes puts one at risk of being deficient in certain vitamins or minerals and figured I'd be able to get my answer in a few clicks of the mouse. 

Not so much. 

The reason for my sudden interest was my latest foot injury which, by the way, my massage therapist and I are hoping is simply a bruised 4th and 5th metatarsal. My foot injury got me thinking and here's how that train of thought played itself out. I was making a plan for how to take care of my foot when I began thinking of my shin splints and then my stress fracture and then wondering if stress fractures can be caused by not having enough calcium in my diet which lead to me wondering if I have enough calcium in my diet or, dammit, maybe I have enough for a non-type 1 but maybe type 1 diabetes somehow affects ones ability to absorb calcium. Bloody hell, if that's true I'm going to be really pissed off. Omigod, what if there are other vitamins that I am not getting enough of? What if I've been low in all of these things for years and didn't know it? What if diabetes is slowly eating away at my bones or my zinc levels or my vitamin B12. 


(and that's the thought process of someone who isn't a hypochondriac by nature)

That's when I decided to Google and discovered...nothing particularly helpful. Granted, I did stop my research after about 10 minutes because I was sitting at the curling club watching Doug's team fight their way to the finals and wanted to focus on the game. Still though, I was hoping to find a simple answer like: no, there's nothing to worry about or yes, you should take a multivitamin every day plus a calcium tablet before bed. 

Seriously though, I have no idea if having diabetes affects my ability to absorb calcium and whether my stress fracture is a result of that. Or whether my stress fracture was the result of increased training for my first marathon and whether all the calcium I get in my diet is the only thing that kept me running for as long as I was able to. 

Who knows? 

Well, the DOC might. You guys are a wealth of knowledge. Do YOU know if having Type 1 diabetes puts us at risk of any vitamin/mineral deficiencies? 

I take Vitamin D every day at the suggestion of my diabetes doctor. I take iron a few times a week because I always struggle with getting enough. Other than that, I rely on a fairly healthy and varied diet full of fruit, veggies, grains and meat...plus a heaping scoop of VEGA in my breakfast shake for good measure. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Dusting off the Cobwebs

I've been home for a week and a half and I feel lazy and yet not.

I no longer walk for 8-10 hours a day in the fresh air. A leisurely yet non-stop level of activity. With vitamin D to boot.

On the other hand, I am back in the pool and back on the bike for much more intense and yet much shorter workouts. And, because it's still pretty cold in Canada, I swim in a chlorine-filled pool and cycle in my basement. The only vitamin D I'm getting is in pill form.

My body feels stiff after a few weeks away from my usual routine and is grateful for, and yet slightly intimidated by, the workouts. It also aches for the sunshine and fresh air that it enjoyed for days on end in Israel.

There is something to be said for low intensity, hours-long exercise. My body has always felt its best at times when it moved constantly (camping, hiking, cycling through Québec). It just likes to move.

I do love the crazy hard workouts in the pool and the challenging hills on the bike but they don't really make up for the 8-9 hours I spend sitting at my desk.

Transitions are hard...sometimes.

I had no problem at all transitioning to life in Israel.

I AM having a bit of trouble readjusting to life back home. Not all of it of course. I was more than ready to come home to Doug. To my family. To my curling and swimming friends.

To my desk and synthetic vitamin D?

Not so much.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Ready or Not, I'm in Injury Mode

I've decided not to run the Women's Half Marathon in June.

That race was not something I had really really committed to. It wasn't something that was officially on my 2013 list of goals and I had not started training for it yet.

I ran it last year and really liked it. It's a nice run along the Niagara Parkway and by Niagara Falls. It's a fun race and you get a bottle of wine when you sign up. Plus my friend Ross is the organizer and I wanted to support him and the race in its second year.

My tentative plan was to run the Tel Aviv half, take a week or two off and then jump right back into training for the Women's half. A few weeks after that, tri season begins.

Of course, plans need to change when your foot hurts. It does not feel awful but there is definitely something going on at the outer edge of my right foot. Extensive Googling has lead me to self-diagnose either peroneal tendonitis or a stress fracture in the fifth metatarsal. I have an appointment with my massage therapist on Friday afternoon so we'll see if she has any thoughts.

In the meantime, I'm in injury recovery mode (a mode in which I am well-versed after my 2011 stress fracture).

I decided not to train for the half because I would need to be running 12k this Saturday and I don't think that is a very sensible thing to do no matter what the problem ends up being. I also know that my priorities this summer are to complete a few triathlons so I am willing (although sad) to sacrifice a half in order to be able to do the tri races.

I figure that, worse case, it's a stress fracture. I will need to take another 5-6 weeks off running which brings me to June. That leaves me 6 weeks to work back up to 10k for the Olympic tri. At this point I think that's reasonable and doable.

Of course,  I am making these decisions based on a few website searches and my instinct so things might change after Friday's appointment. In the meantime, I'm taking advantage of my free time to spent more time on the bike which is always a good idea.

Why is it that I dedicate the least amount of time to the sport that takes the most amount of time during triathlons?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


I've been home for over a week already and the sights, smells and tastes of Israel no longer haunt my dreams like they did the first few nights. I am settling back into my routine and have managed to swim, bike and run at least once.

I did manage to post photos on Facebook and Flickr while I was away but not all of you are part of that world so I'll share a few here too.

I was in Israel for essentially 12 days if you subtract a day of travel on either end of my two week adventure. One of those 12 days was dedicated to running, and then recovering from running, the Tel Aviv half. Every other day was spent either exploring Tel Aviv and surroundings by foot or day-tripping all over the country by car, bus or train. Five days were spent on the road and, during those five days, I was able to visit Cesaria, Jerusalem, Akko, Masada, the Dead Sea, the Negev Desert and the Sea of Galilee. Each one was unique and memorable.

Along the way, I tried to absorb the history of Israel which proved to be quite the challenge. I'm used to history being rather linear. You know like: King whatshisname ruled and then Queen whatshername took over until she was beheaded and then prince whatshisname stepped in. Once you know the order, it's pretty easy to understand what happened.

In Israel, the history is linear (or horizontal if you will) but it is also vertical. There are so many layers and so many players that it was nearly impossible to keep them straight. I learned about the Jews, the Romans, Christians, Muslims, Crusaders, Palestinians, Mamluks, Bedouins, Arabs, Russians, and Romanians. Some of the history is religious, other parts are political. People are divided or joined by language, religious beliefs or country of origin.

As a Canadian, I was pretty free to go where I wanted but it is not that easy for everyone. There are invisible lines that I could not see and yet others I was with could not cross. Language or accent could be enough to get a person in pretty serious trouble and yet, for me, it opened doors. "Where are you from?" "Canada" "Ah Canada! Welcome. Welcome" was a daily conversation for me. My trip was rich with experience because I was able to interact with every group I met. It transformed Israel into a country I felt very safe in and a country I would happily live in. That surprised me because I had not expected to feel that.

I also discovered that I look rather Tel Avivian. My dark wavy hair and blue eyes fit right in and it was always assumed I was local and spoke Hebrew until I opened my mouth. I'm used to looking like a tourist when I travel so it was nice to feel welcome in a way that I don't usually feel.

Want to see a few pictures of the trip?

Baklava was everywhere and absolutely delicious. I quickly learned that it was an Arab, not a Jewish, treat so we had to head to the Arab villages and markets every time I had a craving. 

Juice stands are to Tel Aviv what Tim Hortons are to Canada. One on every corner and always a line up. This one was a particular favourite and the place where I had my daily pomegranate juice fix. 

Pomegranates, my favourite fruit, were everywhere and sold pretty much any way you wanted them. 

A Greek-Catholic church in Jerusalem - completely empty and absolutely beautiful.

One of the stations of the cross (via de la rosa) in Jerusalem. The crosses are there for people who would like to carry a cross as they walk in the steps of history. 

There are four quarters in Jerusalem: Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Arab. The markets in the Muslim quarter were by far the most colourful. 

Lunch in Akko, the oldest port city in Israel, involved sitting by the water and watching these boys jump off and climb back up the ancient stone walls. 

Doors in Akko are all painted this gorgeous blue colour. Apparently it wards off the evil eye. It also makes for pretty nice pictures. 

Old Jaffa, part of Tel Aviv was visited several times. The old stone streets and buildings and wonderful shops kept tempting me back. 

So did the blue doors. 

Masada - built by Herod at the top of a mountain in the desert. This photo does not do the ruins justice but it gives you an idea of the dust storm that rolled in while we were there. 

Satan's gate - the entrance to the small crater we visited while in the Negev Desert. 

One of the spectacular mountain-top views in Galilee. 

That is just a taste of some of the sights I saw while in Israel. If you are at all interested, I have a much larger collection of photos posted on my Flickr site

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


So I have some pretty major pump decisions to make in the next few weeks.

As you might remember, the day before my Israel trip, I had a bit of a pump fiasco and my beloved Medtronic pump died in my arms.

I'm now bonding with my loaner pump but he can only stay with me for 90 days and we're already over 20 days into his visit.

I need to get a new pump and I need to decide which one to get. This is proving to be a harder decision than I thought it would be.

I'm seriously looking at three options:

I've been pumping for over 4 years and Medtronic is the only pump I have known. Based on the fabulous support they have provided, as well as the pump itself, I have a lot of brand loyalty. They are also the folks who made me a Global Hero and that certainly counts in my books. I love the Medtronic pump. The buttons and menus work very well for me and are quite logical. I love the Bolus Wizard and how easy it is to see how much insulin I have on board. My Medtronic pump and I are a good team. I have no complaints, save one, and would be happy to sign on for another five years.

My one complaint is that it is not waterproof. I swim three times a week and must unhook every time. I do triathlons and must unhook for an uncomfortably long period of time. It's doable and many people make it work (including me) but, if Medtronic's pump was waterproof, they would win hands down.

Animas is waterproof. That's a big deal for me.

The Animas pump has most other features that Medtronic has although, apparently, they don't have a Bolus Wizard. There are also a few extra steps for bolusing and the menus are, again apparently, not as intuitive.

At this point, being waterproof is the only selling point for me so, unless you folks have other reasons why I should switch, I'm not yet convinced. I'm currently struggling to decide just how important the waterproof feature is.

I originally hated the idea of the Omnipod. But then again, I also originally hated the idea of an insulin pump and now I love it. So I'm trying to keep an open mind.

The reviews of the Omnipod are pretty positive and most people say that they would never go back to tubing again. I like the idea of no tubing and no longer having to clip my pump on my belt but I don't like the idea of the bulge that the Omnipod would create. It seems kinda big to me.

It is waterproof though which is a bonus. Omnipod is sending me an info package and we have booked a house visit on April 16th so I can check it out, play with it and check out how the menus and controls work.

That being said, the cost is pretty crazy compared to my current costs. It is at least $300/month for supplies. I receive $600 every three months for supplies so I'd have to cough up at least $100/month. The difference may be covered by my insurance - I'll have to check - but it still adds up and I already pay a LOT out of pocket to keep myself alive and healthy.

Other factors
I don't currently use a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) although I have in the past and would like to again if the cost were not so crazy. Medtronic's CGM is integrated with their pump but it is not as good as the Dexcom. Dexcom is a separate CGM so, if I went with Animas, and I wanted a CGM, I would have two separate systems going. That being said, Dexcom isn't even available in Canada at the moment so it is not really an option anyway.

Animas has a remote that allows users to bolus without having to fish their pump out of their bras or wherever else it is hidden. I clip mine on my belt 99.99% of the time and don't care a whit about this feature. Nonetheless, it is a feature that many people do care about so I'm mentioning it.

Infusion sets: the Medtronic ones work well for me and I have never tried any other than the original ones I started off with. There are all sorts of other options though but I don't think they are a selling feature for me.

So folks, what say you. Tell my why you love your pumps and what the selling features are. If you're Canadian and have experience with costs and insurance, let me know. Ontarians with experience with Assistive Devices Funding AND insurance coverage - please share your knowledge. I don't have super long to decide and I put a lot of value on people who use them every day and in all situations.

Monday, April 1, 2013

March Goal Update

Three months into the year already. How DOES that happen?

How are those resolutions going? Still working on them? I am and it's time for the monthly update.

My goals that I set for the year are:

log 1000k of running this year
run the Tel Aviv half marathon
complete three triathlons, including one Olympic distance
stay injury free
pay down debt

Drumroll please...

1. 1000k of running

Well, I logged 66 kilometres in March. That is much lower than the 87k I logged in January and the 105k I ran in February. My 2013 total is now 258k and I'm still on track to hit 1000k but I was hoping to log closer to 100k in March which I did not end up doing. I blame it on a two-week vacation in Israel where I walked for 10+ hours every day but only laced up my running shoes twice during those 14 days.

2. Run the Tel Aviv half marathon

Done and done. It was definitely a memorable, and really really hot, experience. I have a medal and t-shirt to prove that, yes, I was there and yes, I did cross that finish line.

Showing some Canuck pride

3. Complete three triathlons, including one Olympic distance

Well, I've signed up for the Gravenhurst Olympic tri and have decided to compete in Welland in June. The third might be Guelph Lake2 that I did last September but I have still to commit to that one. Open water swim practice starts in May and I'm back on the bike already. So far so good. 

4. Stay injury free

Well...I'm not sure how that is going to be honest. I was injury free up to and including the Tel Aviv half. The next day, I still felt fine. The day after, not so much. The outside of my right foot began to ache and did not stop for the rest of my vacation. It went from aching to hurting to sharp pain. Walking every day for 10+ hours did NOT help. By the end of my trip, I was worried I had a stress fracture - it was that bad. 

Then I spent 18 hours traveling during which time I hardly walked. I stretched a lot on the flight but made a point of standing but not walking any more than I had to. By the time I got home, the pain was gone - completely. No pain at all the next three days. I tested it with a hike and a curling game on Friday. Still nothing. I then tested it with an 8k run on Saturday. No pain during the run but it hurt afterwards. I stretched and iced and it felt better again. So I'm not sure what is happening. Hopefully it's on the mend but, technically I guess, this goal is kinda over. 

I propose to change it to: heal my foot and have no more injuries in 2013. Everyone ok with that? 

5. Pay down debt

So far, so good with this one too. I started off the year with a set amount of debt. I knew it would increase a bit in January and February as I tried to save for my trip. As planned, I saved, I travelled, I got home to an income tax return which I immediately put towards my debt. I now have almost $1000 less debt than I did on January first. So I'm definitely headed in the right direction. Unless my car dies or the roof collapses, I plan to toss a few hundred dollars a month on the debt pile, chipping away slowly but surely.