Thursday, August 28, 2014

Four Days of Oatmeal and Hallucinations

Hi folks!

Sorry about yesterday. Doug and I were off adventuring, got home late and, well, I just didn't have time to write anything. Life comes first right?

I'm back.

All sorts of things have happened since we last spoke.

- I dropped my golf handicap by another stroke. Woot!

- I had a no hitter day. That's a day when my blood sugars don't hit the high or the low threshold I have set on Rose. No buzzing. No beeping. Just a nice easy up and down ride between 4 and 10. The best part? I wasn't even trying.

- I tried a new oatmeal. I usually make slow cooking rolled oats when I'm craving oatmeal but, a while ago, I found a cereal that has those plus 7 other fun things. Like flax seeds and quinoa flakes and other fibre-filled tasty goodies. I made it the other day, topped it with raspberries and blueberries and a bit of almond milk and voilĂ ! Delicious, nutritious and 10 grams of fibre to boot.

I have been forty for four days. In those four days I may have:

1. hallucinated that my shoulder was covered in ants. They may have also been real. I was watering my parents' garden, looked over and noticed there were about 50 of those big black ants crawling all over my left shoulder. I freaked out, brushed my shoulder so vigorously that they all disappeared and then I freaked out more and hosed off my entire shoulder. I then spent 10 minutes wondering how they got there in the first place, if they were real or imagined and whether the neighbours think I have lost it.

2. forgotten more than a handful of words and said the complete opposite of what I had in my head out loud more than once. As in "it's crazy how much colder it is on this side of the building when we are sheltered from the lake". "Did you mean warmer?" "Yes, yes I did."

3. developed mild carpal tunnel in my left wrist after playing two golf games over two days.

4. discovered that I have been looking over and under my actual glasses when trying to look at something up close for a while now. I tried to fill my new insulin reservoir and noticed that I can't do it unless I don't actually look through my glasses. Do I see bifocals in my future? I also can't read small print while wearing my contacts. I'm going to become one of those ladies with three different pairs of glasses in her purse.

5. found a grey eyebrow hair. I wasn't even looking. It was just sticking straight up one morning. How does that happen?

Like it just grew two inches overnight? Really??

And how do ants just mysteriously appear on your shoulder. I was not standing under a tree, they were only on my left shoulder and nowhere else and there was like an entire colony of them.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


I'm a huge fan of radio stations like CBC and NPR. I'll take fascinating interviews on subjects both familiar and foreign over music and commercials any day.

Some of my favourite interviews to listen to are interviews with authors. They introduce me to fascinating people I have never heard of and also give me book suggestions to help feed my insatiable reading appetite.

Last February, Doug and I went on a road trip and spent many hours listening to the radio as we drove. By the end of the trip I had five new books downloaded on my iPad ready for reading. As I also had a pile of books on my nightstand and armfuls of magazines to work through, I'm still reading my way through those books I first heard about as we were making our way down through the Eastern United States.

The other day I started one of those books. It is called the Once and Future World. Being a huge fan of the Once and Future King (it's about King Arthur and, if you haven't read it, please drop what you're doing and start) I was immediately drawn to someone who would pick that as their title.

The book is about nature which appeals to my biology-loving side. The author talks about the idea that the state of nature as we know it is the state that we use as a basis of comparison. In other words, the number of birds singing in the trees when I was a child, the volume of the frog chorus in the nearby pond and the diversity of plants and trees in the forest when I grew up is, to me, the way nature should be.

My 'normal' would shock the people who lived there two generations earlier and their normal would shock the people who lived there two generations before that. Our world is slowly but steadily loosing richness and diversity but, in many cases, it's happening too slowly for anyone but scientists to really freak out about it.

He talks about how there are efforts all over the world to return natural areas to an even more natural state but that there is great debate about what that natural state actually is. Do we want to return our forests and prairies to what they were before 1492, when Christopher Columbus arrived? Or earlier than that, when it was even richer and more diverse? And, if we really are committed to this, what does that mean for the animals that used to be here that we might not want to have walking around? Like elephants in North America? And large members of the cat family (think lions only bigger)?

I'm only a handful of chapters into the book so far but it already has me thinking a lot about our ideas about what nature is and what value we put on it. And how our age and where we grew up plays a huge role in how we feel about the state of things today.

Thank you NPR for yet another thought-provoking book suggestion.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sweet Sixteen

Half marathon training is predictable in its distances but unpredictable in terms of how the body will do on any given day.

There are all sorts of ways to train for a half and all sorts of long run schedules you can follow. I've followed a predictable training schedule for the last bunch of races and it works. Just in case though, I do a little voodoo dance, spin around twice and toss chicken feathers over my shoulder in the hopes that it keeps working.

Here's what my Saturday long run distances look like:
10k easy week
10k easy week
race day

Build up for two months. Get three runs in that are 20k or more. Taper back down for the last month. This routine works for me and leaves me feeling relatively confident for race day.

Race day is still a long way off so I'm at the beginning of this schedule. On Saturday, I ran 16k. It went surprisingly well. My body, my energy and my blood sugar did what I wanted them to do the entire time. I even managed to shave a few seconds off each of the last few kilometres instead of add seconds like I usually do.

As I finished the last few hundred metres, I thought to myself, 16k is my favourite long run distance.

It really is.

12k and 14k usually feel a little harder than they should as my body struggles to get used to ramping up the distances again. It's both a physical and a psychological struggle. By the time I hit 20k, I'm in survival mode. By that I mean that I have to run 2+ hours, I've been doing this for almost two months and I'm getting tired.

But 16k is that sweet spot. It's far enough to feel like an accomplishment and yet it's not so far as to feel overwhelming. In fact I could happily head out for 18 holes of golf after 16k. Nothing really hurts. A good shower and a warm lunch is all I need to bounce back and I walk around all day with a nice post-workout glow rather than a desperate need for a nap.

Seven more weeks and I get to do it again!

Friday, August 22, 2014

A New Decade

I'm writing this post as a 39-year old.

When Monday's post goes up, I will be a woman in her 40s.

I'm not particularly bothered by the idea of turning 40 but I am rather shocked at the idea. How is it possible that I've been on this planet for four decades when it feels like yesterday that I was reading Anne of Green Gables, watching Thundercats and playing with Legos??

I still remember when my father turned 40. Vividly. I was almost five years old at the time and now I am as old as my father was then. And since that is his first birthday that I actually remember, I am as old now as the youngest version of my father that I remember.

He is 75 now and, if I am even close to being as active, fit, well-read and hilarious when I'm 75, I'll be doing just fine thank you very much.

It's important on the dawn of a new adventure to take a moment to look back.

Ten years ago I was standing on the precipice of 30.

I had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes a mere 22 months before and was still struggling with the day to day of it all. I carried juice boxes in my purse, was on multiple daily injections, had a glucometer that took 30 seconds to count down and flat out refused to even consider an insulin pump.

I had no idea what a blog was and, if asked, I probably would have said that bloggers are ridiculous. Who would read them anyway?!?

I had yet to discover running and could not have even guessed at how long a half marathon actually was.

I did not own a road bike and had no idea there were pedals that people clipped their shoes to.

I was 7 1/2 years away from my first attempt at swimming for fitness.

I was not an athlete by any stretch of the imagination.

I was a vegetarian and had been for almost 18 years.

I had short cropped hair.

I did not own any makeup other that perhaps a lip balm of some kind.

I drove a rusty old Nissan Sentra.

I lived alone in a small apartment.

I had yet to meet either of my brothers in law. 

I had no idea how wonderful it would feel to be an aunt.

I would never have imagined the life I have now. The life I love with a man I adore. A life full of adventure, of activity, of challenges, of family and of friends.

I love my life. I love the people in my life. I know very well how lucky I am and I try to take the time to appreciate what I have.

As I stand on the edge of the precipice, forty is looking pretty wonderful so far.

See you all on the other side.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Hole In One

Perspective is everything.

A gentleman who swims at the pool every morning one day collapses in the locker room and does not survive.

Some people ask how that is possible since he was so active. Some people wonder if all the exercise put too much strain on him and caused the heart attack.

Others wonder how many years the swimming added to his life and think about how much time he may have given himself by taking the time to add fitness to his routine.

A woman was a long-time friend and yoga instructor to a man who, recently, committed suicide.

The instructor wonders why they weren't able to help them.

I wonder if they unknowingly helped add years to his life simply by being a friend, by giving him a quiet place to calm the voices in his head and unconditionally loving him.

A family member passes away and the funeral mass is packed with family and friends.

I could wonder why some people were not there.

Or I could marvel at the effort made by the ones who were and spend the next few hours catching up to cousins not seen in decades.

In every organization there are many many employees who are competent, fun to work with, inspiring and committed. There are a handful who are the opposite of that.

We can choose to focus on supporting to folks who move things forward...

...or we can waste hours of frustrated energy on the few who don't.

On a 9-hole par 3 course every hole is technically within striking distance from the tee.

I can cross my fingers and hope I hit a shot that isn't too bad.

Or I can try every single time, week after week, to get a hole in one.

Life is a journey we cannot predict nor control.

How we respond to life's events, large or small, has a huge effect on what the journey feels like.

I think the man at the pool added years to his life by going swimming every morning and it inspired me to continue my own efforts to be active and healthy.

I think the yoga instructor helped her friend in ways she will never understand and may have save his live many times over without ever knowing it.

I am grateful I was able to attend my uncle's funeral and have time to spend with cousins who last saw me when I was in high school.

I choose to support the folks who try to move things forward and make this world a better place.

And I try on every single par 3 hole I play, at every golf course I play at, to get a hole in one. When I don't, I'm extra motivated to get it on the next one.

One day I will.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

T-shirt Troubles

There is something odd that happens when running in a t-shirt.

Actually, I should probably clarify that a bit.

There is something odd that happens when running in a t-shirt if you have type 1 diabetes, wear an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor (CGM).

And you're me.

The t-shirt running season for me is usually fairly short. In the winter I run in winter running clothes that have nothing to do with a t-shirt. In the early spring I switch to shorts but keep a long-sleeved shirt for a few more weeks. Then it's shorts and a t-shirt but only until it's just barely warm enough and then I switch to my tank top that I wear all summer. Then reverse everything I just wrote as winter rolls back in again.

Last spring, I wrote about how running in a t-shirt seems to dislodge my insulin pump site and/or my CGM. I figured it was the back and forth flow of the t-shirt that did it since my tank top and my winter running tops are all snug and don't move. I wrote about how I was having to run home from work to change a leaky infusion site or having to re-tape my CGM back on because it was barely holding on. Then I stopped writing about that during the summer because it stopped happening.

Yesterday morning it was just cold enough that I put on my t-shirt. Not even thinking.

I ran 7k.

By 2.5k, the shirt had rubbed my CGM to the point where it was barely hanging on and no longer saveable. Since it had already lasted 9 days, I was ok with the sacrifice. Anything under 7 feels like a loss but anything over feels like a win. Still though, 15 minutes of running and my CGM, complete with extra adhesive, fell right off? That won't do at all during long runs and races when I rely on that to tell me what my blood sugar is doing.

I got home, tested my blood sugar and prepared to bolus for breakfast. At the last second I remembered that my site would often leak after running in a t-shirt to I lightly pressed a tissue against it while the insulin went it. I pulled it away afterwards and there was a tiny wet spot that smelled suspiciously like bandaids (insert bleh noise here).

I decided to push the infusion site rather than change it too and it did well all day - no unexplained highs but it did leak a bit with each bolus.

Surprising what one 7k run will do when there is a t-shirt involved. It cost me an $80 CGM site and almost another $20 infusion site. I should take that money and see if I can find a t-shirt that fits like my tank top.

Because I've been reminded that the t-shirt thing just doesn't work for this type 1 gal.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Oh Shut Up!

Do you ever get tired of yourself. Fed up with the predictability of some of the voices in your head? You can almost predict when they are going to start their singsong chant of 'you can't, you're not good enough, you're not tough enough blahblahblah'.

I don't usually pay much attention but, on Saturday morning, I literally barked at that voice to shut up.

I was 3k in to my 14k training run. The first 14k of my latest half marathon training. Not the one where 14k feels 'easy' because the week before I ran 16k but the one where 14k feels hard because the week before I ran 12k. I'm building up the mileage right now, not tapering back down.

I was 3k in and I was feeling ok. Not bad. Nothing hurt. But I wasn't feeling frisky either. Just m'eh.

My brain said what it always says when I'm increasing my mileage.

If 14k feels hard, how are you ever going to run 21k? 

Oh. Shut. Up!!


You KNOW you can do this. You complete the training every time. Your body is strong. You build up the distance. You get it done even when it's tough. You know the first few kilometres always feel m'eh and then you warm up and feel better. You know that an extra 2k is less that 15 extra minutes of running. You know all of this because you have done it 12 times before!

So Shut UP!!!

And it did.

Just like that.

The voice disappeared and, for the rest of the 11k it didn't utter so much as a peep.

For heaven's sake, that's all I had to do?

(For any of you who may be concerned, I yelled back using the same inside voice that the voice in my head used. So no drivers, cyclists or runners had any cause for alarm."

Monday, August 18, 2014

Muscle Jabs

It is possible to stick an insulin pump infusion site into muscle rather than into fat? I suppose it is but, in my five plus years of pumping, I've never had a site that felt like it was in muscle before so it never occurred to me that I could actually do that.

Last Wednesday evening I changed my site. I use one of those insertion devices that, at the push of a button, jabs the needle in. As the needle went in, I felt a bit more resistance than usual but nothing odd. It hurt a bit more than usual but, again, nothing odd.

Thursday, every so often, when I moved a certain way, I felt a twinge. I ignored it. It got worse. I ignored it. It started to twinge when I sat down or stood up but not while standing or sitting. It started to hurt when I folded slightly forward but no amount of moving side to side caused the same feeling. I started to wonder if I had somehow struck muscle with my infusion site.

I decided to try to gently wiggle it a bit to see if I could dislodge it from the muscle without causing it to actually dislodge from my body. It helped a bit but didn't solve the problem. It also hurt a lot.

I decided to use my Friday morning swim as a way to either solve the problem or force me into action. I figured the swimming causes me to move my abs in all sorts of ways as well as lengthen my body. I hoped all the movement would 'fix' the problem.

The swim, as it turns out, didn't cause any pain but also didn't solve anything. I felt nothing during the entire workout but, as soon as I went to climb out of the pool, I could feel it again.

Sigh, I hate wasting pump supplies.

I went home and stubbornly refused to change it. I went to work and gingerly moved my way around the office, getting up and sitting down more slowly than usual. I wondered if I could do it for two more days until I was actually due to change the site.

The big test would be my friday night golf game. Would the golf swing movement be a problem? I did one test swing in my kitchen and immediately knew that I had to make a choice. Change my site or skip the golf game.

Of course I changed my site. I'm stubborn but not that stubborn.

Nothing seemed amiss when I removed the site. No bent cannula. No bleeding. One removed, the pain disappeared. Just like that.

Maybe I should have an extra cookie or two, buy more maple fudge, maybe eat more salt and vinegar chips.  You know, to build up that adipose tissue cushion on my abdomen.

Friday, August 15, 2014


Between the time this blog posts at 7am Friday morning and the time I sit down for dinner on Saturday evening, I will have put 34km on my legs.

I have not technically been training for this incredible feat of endurance but I guess I could argue that I have been untechnically training all summer.

I'm not really doing anything out of the ordinary other than squeezing in my regular stuff into a fairly tight window.

Friday, after work, we're heading to the golf course for my beloved Friday afternoon pastime of 18 holes of golf.

Enter the first 10k of the weekend.

We will get home fairly late (by my standards anyway) and I'll fall right into bed upon arrival.

Saturday morning the first item on the agenda will be heading out in the early morning hours to get my 14k training run in.

Enter the next 14k of the weekend. I'll be up to 24k by noon.

Saturday afternoon Doug and I are back on the golf course for our second 18 holes of the weekend.

A final 10k for a grand total of 34k.

Toss in a sister date on Sunday and I'll probably top 40k by the time I get back to work.

Do I get a medal if I cover the marathon distance over 2 1/2 days instead of a handful of hours?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Come, Enter Into My Imagination

Sometimes I feel like I write so much about athletic adventures and diabetes misadventures that I feel like that's all there is. That is not all there is. So I put together a collection of some of my favourite lines from books, tv themes, broadway musicals and other important moments from childhood, teen life and adulthood. See how many you can place.

If you go out to the woods today, you're sure of a big surprise.

I shall impersonate a man. Come, enter into my imagination and see him. His name...Alonso Quijana.

You take the good, you take the bad. You take them both and there you have...

There is a legend about a bird which sings just once in its life, more sweetly than any other creature on the face of the earth. From the moment it leaves the nest it searches for a thorn tree, and does not rest until it has found one. Then, singing among the savage branches, it impales itself upon the longest, sharpest spine. And, dying, it rises above its own agony to outcarol the lark and the nightingale. One superlative song, existence the price. But the whole world stills to listen, and God in His heaven smiles. For the best is only bought at the cost of great pain… Or so says the legend.

When the day shall come that we do part," he said softly, and turned to look at me, "if my last words are not 'I love you'-ye'll ken it was because I didna have time.

Oh Captain, my captain.

Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.

The best laid plans of mice and men.

Dashing and daring, courageous and caring, faithful and friendly with stories to share. All through the forest they sing out in chorus, marching along as their song fills the air.

We are such stuff as dreams are made on.

To strive. To seek. To find. And not to yield.

Out flew the web and floated wide
The mirror crack'd from side to side;
"The curse is come upon me," cried
The Lady of Shalott.

All the guards and all the porters and the stationmaster's daughters will be searching high and low. Saying Skimble, where is Skimble? For unless he's very nimble then the night mail just can't go.

Who can say if I've been changed for the better? But, because I knew you, I have been changed for good.

He's like the son I might have known. If god had granted me a son. The summers die. One by one. How soon they fly. On and on. And I am old. And will be gone.

All saints preserve us! We thought you died, Da! I did son, I passed away... I've come back to tell you something. You're an especially odd boy. You came back from the dead to tell me that I'm odd?

The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.

Good night you princes of Maine, you kings of New England.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Birthday Swim Workout

The other day, Triathlete magazine posted a link on their website to the "birthday swim workout".

My birthday is this month so I clicked on it. Yes, it was that easy to make me click on a random link. 

In fact, if you're interested in reading about it, click here.

Anyway, so I clicked on it and was taken to an article about a swim coach who designed a 'birthday swim workout' that he would toss at his team when it was someone's birthday. As I read it, I thought it might be a fun thing to do on my birthday. I have the day off that day and it's a regular swim day for me so I toyed with the idea of doing it.

Then I got to the part about the actual workout.

It's 100x100m.

I'll give you a minute to let that sink in.

100x100m = 10km of swimming. That, I would guess, would take me roughly 5 hours.

They even build in 'fuel breaks' to make sure you don't die before the end which is kind of them.

To put this in perspective, I swim about 3.4k every time I go to the pool. That includes a warm up, main set and warm down. That takes 90 minutes to do. I could definitely do more at the end but I don't think I could do it twice more.

On many days our main set in the pool involves a workout I consider pretty tough like, say, 16x100m. on 2:00. Fifteen seconds rest (at most!) between each 100m means you're basically swimming 1.6km with hardly a chance to catch your breath.

This birthday workout includes things like 30x100m on 2:00, a break, and then 15x100m using a pull buoy. Which means you don't kick. Which means your arms are pulling you for 1.5km. After you've already warmed up with 20x100m and then done the 30x100m thing.

As much as I'd love to say I did the famous birthday swim workout on my birthday, I don't think I'll be doing that. There is ambitious and then there is another category entirely.

It's kinda like running 10k runs and then, on your birthday, deciding to wing a marathon. Not the smartest move.

But if anyone else feels like doing a birthday swim workout on my birthday for me, let me know how it goes eh?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

12k = 8k + 4k

Half marathon training has resumed!

It has been 10 weeks since I ran the Niagara Falls Women's half marathon and, while I have been running regularly and running well, I have been keeping my weekend 'long runs' around the 9-10k mark.

Last week I pulled out my calendar, did the math and realized I had better work out my long run schedule if I still want to run the Niagara Falls International Half Marathon at the end of October.

And yes, I do still want to run it.

So last week I upped my Tuesday morning run from 7k to 9k. On Thursday I did an interval training session of 6x800m. And Saturday I ran 12k.

I started off that 12k run feeling pretty good. Nothing hurt. My body seemed ready for the distance and my legs were eating up the kilometres at a steady pace. I told myself I would stop at 8k to see what Rose had to say about my blood sugar and, once I knew that was when I was stopping, I didn't have to have that internal dialogue with myself. You know the one:

Why don't you stop at 6k instead of 8k? It's halfway through. 

No, I want to run 2/3 of the distance before I stop. 

Why don't you stop at 7k then? You'll only have 5k left by that point and it will break it up nicely. 

No. I'm stopping at 8k and not one step before. 

To be honest I actually stopped at 7.7k.


Because it was the last bit of shade before a long sunny stretch of road and I was hot.

As soon as I stopped I could feel Rose vibrating on my hip. She's hard to feel when I'm running and I don't often notice when she is trying to tell me something.

Rose is vibrating at 8k? Wow, I must be high. That sucks.

Nope. I was low. Not only was I low (3.6) but I was low with two arrows pointing down which means I was dropping fast.

Very strange considering I don't usually go low on runs. Stranger still since my blood sugar had been good before I started and I had eaten two dates before heading out.

I had two packs of fruit chews with me and 4k left to run. I downed them both and paced back and forth in my patch of shade for a few minutes. I checked again and I was 2.6 (bah!). More pacing. Five minutes later I was 3.4.

I took off at a slow trot. I figured I had started to climb back up which was good so I had better start making my way back home in case I dropped again. I ran about 800m but was feeling a little too woozy to keep that up so I walked the next 500m. Then I ran 1.5k and was again feeling too woozy so I stopped. Each time I stopped I checked my pump. Rose told me that I climbed up to 5.7 but then went back down to 4.5 again. I speed walked the last kilometre home figuring I could keep a consistent fast walking pace better than I could run/walk.

I didn't go low again and the rest of the day my blood sugars were pretty steady. So whatever happened to cause an unexpected low in the run seemed to settle itself down again.

My 12k turned into a great 8k run followed by a meh 4k run/walk.

This week, I'll be running 9k on Tuesday morning, doing hills on Thursday and then upping my Saturday morning run to 14k. And I'll be tossing a few extra packs of fruit chews in my pocket just in case.

Let the half marathon training begin!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Green Curry

I adore Thai food. Years ago my family and I went on a two-week adventure in Thailand and, ever since then, I am a huge fan of Thai food of any kind. The flavours. The freshness. The fact that the minute I smell good Thai food I am brought back to Bangkok, Ko Samui, Chaing Mai and all the other places we explored. It's like a portal to another country.

One of my favourite Thai dishes is green curry. The veggies combined with the grapes and pineapple pieces mixed in that delicious green curry sauce and then poured over jasmine rice is one of my preferred ways to spend a meal.

I don't have it often. In fact, there is just enough time between green curries for me to forget what happens before I have it again.

This, my friends is what happens when I eat green curry. 

I met a friend for lunch at our favourite Thai restaurant. I ordered my green curry and bolused 3.5 units 15 minutes before I ate it. I started eating and a small voice in my head told me that I had not taken enough insulin. So I took two more units. Before I was even finished eating, Rose was alarming that I was climbing too quickly. 

Within an hour I was 20. Between 2pm, when I got home, and 3:30pm, I bolused six more units of insulin in increments of 2. I'd wait 30 minutes, see that I was not moving, and bolus two more. At 3:30pm I was 22 and holding and had been there for almost two hours. I had guzzled about 2 litres of water in an attempt to dilute things. Nothing seemed to work and I was feeling about as bad as it is possible to feel when it comes to diabetes. 

Did I mention that we were meeting friends at 4pm for 9 holes of golf followed by dinner?

I put on my best 'suck it up princess' look, changed, and we headed over. My body felt stiff. Almost like my blood was so thick that my joints were not moving properly. I was dehydrated despite all the water, my mouth was desperately dry and I had a pounding headache. At 4:15pm, we teed off. The walking seemed to help a bit and I was feeling marginally better even though my numbers still weren't budging. 

By the third hole I had dropped from 22 to 18 and was much happier than I should ever be to see that number. I then climbed back to 20 by the fourth hole. Bloody hell! Despite the fact that I was in the middle of a 2-hour walk, I bolused another two units. That last bolus, plus the low level of activity finally seemed to do it. 

As we played, I filled my water bottle every second hole and drained it again. I slowly dropped to 18, 17, 16, 15. By the time we started the last hole I was down to 9. Single digits!! By the time we finished it, I was down to 6. By the time I got to the locker room, I was 4.6. I double checked on my glucometer and it confirmed 4.6. I had a pack of fruit chews and headed in to dinner. 

I went below 4 for a few minutes but nothing scary and it righted itself as soon as I started each my dinner. 

I felt 100% better than I had two hours earlier. 

I went from 7.5 to 22 and back down to 4 within 6 hours. Four of those hours were spent between 20-22. I took 13 units of insulin which is more than half the amount of insulin I usually take for breakfast, lunch AND dinner combined. All because I had a lunch-sized portion of green curry and a cup worth of jasmine rice. 

Some people have a hard time eating pizza. Others it's sushi. My diabetes nemesis seems to be green curry. 

I would like to say that I will never have green curry again. I really would. But I love it so much that I can't make any promises. 

Funnily enough, despite the physical challenges my body was going though, I got a personal best on my golf game that night. 

Go figure. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

All Figured Out?

I have had diabetes for 11 years, 10 months and 7 days. 

You'd think I'd have it all figured out by now. 

I like numbers and patterns and I have a degree in biology. Heck, I even took an entire course called "The Discovery of Insulin". 

You'd think I'd have it all figured out by now. 

I like routine and, when something works, I do it over and over rather than messing with a good thing. 

You'd think I'd have it all figured out by now. 

And yet...

Yesterday morning I did my 6x800m speed workout. Other than my easy 1.5k warmup where I lope along at a leisurely pace, the rest of the workout is basically me sprinting as fast as possible at a speed I can just barely maintain for the entire 800m. I take a 2 minute rest. I do it again. The entire workout is just under 7k in distance and takes the same amount of time as when I run 7k but I'm running 12 fewer minutes overall because of the rest. 

When I run 7k at a steady pace, my blood sugar steadily drops throughout the entire run. In order to deal with that, I typically eat one (or two) dates before my run, depending on my blood sugar. The dates keep me pretty steady and I have been known to start and end many a morning run at the same blood sugar number - right down to the decimal point. 

When I run 7k in a speed workout, my blood sugar does not drop steadily throughout the run. It seems to either stay steady or even climb a bit. Having a date beforehand is not necessary and it can even cause a spike in blood sugar that is neither helpful nor particularly nice-feeling. 

But I have to tell you that it takes a lot of willpower NOT to have a date on speed work mornings. My brain keeps telling me I will go low if I don't. It freaks me out to do such a tough workout with no backup sugar on board. I stalk my CGM like a hawk during the workout and I put several packs of emergency carbs on the roof of my car just in case. Even though the distance between the roof of my car and my kitchen is about 50 feet. Because you never know. 

So I have figured out short steady runs (eat 1-2 dates) and I have figured out speed workouts (DON'T EAT A DATE!). I have not yet mastered hill workouts. They are tough sprint-like runs with rest periods built in. Kinda like speed workouts. And yet I seem to trend downward as I would in a regular run. The problem is that hill workouts don't take that long and I don't do them that often so I have yet to figure out the pattern. 

So I eat my date because it makes me feel better. I bring extra carbs with me because that is the sensible thing to do. And I bolus a tiny bit extra with my breakfast if I climbed to high (ha!) during the hill workout. I guess that means I have figured out a pattern while I figure out the pattern. 

Of course all of this will be shot to hell when the temperature dips below zero again and the winter winds blow cold and strong.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Real Estate

I had a visit from the Crazy Rabbit on the weekend.

He showed up on Sunday afternoon and had a new trick up his sleeve.

He sent my blood sugar spiking after every meal. Even low carb ones. Even ones eaten right after exercise. I would take my regular insulin and, instead of happily bobbing along between 7-9 after eating, I would spike straight up to 16+.

It would take three times my regular insulin and 3-4 hours to get me back down.

Once I got down, I stayed down. Even overnight. My blood sugars happily hovered between 4-6 all night long.

Work through it with me. See if you can figure out the problem.

If I spike like that after a meal my first thought is that there is something wrong with my infusion site and I am not getting insulin properly. Then I wonder if it's my insulin. Did it get too hot? Was there a huge air bubble I didn't see in the tube? Did I actually remember to take insulin? (yes, that does happen).

After a few extra boluses of insulin my blood sugar did come down. Ok, so I am getting some insulin. Maybe not all of it but some. Now that I'm down, if I'm not getting all of the insulin I should be getting my blood sugar will start to climb again.

But it didn't. Even after 8-10 hours overnight. I didn't climb at all. So I'm getting all of my basal insulin.

Next breakfast? Bolus extra insulin and wait 20 minutes before eating. Blood sugar starts to drop as expected. Eat. Wait 15 minutes and it starts to climb. Spikes up to 16 despite a few rage boluses. Takes hours to flutter back down but, once down, it stays down until I eat again.

This happened on Sunday and Monday. I decided to test my Tuesday morning breakfast and, if things kept up, I'd change my site. I ran for an hour before breakfast, bolused, waited, ate and went to work. My blood sugar was stellar. It stayed between 5-7, never spiked, never dropped. Sweet!

Crazy Rabbit went home - finally!

At lunch I counted my carbs, bolused, waited 20 minutes just in case, and ate. Thirty minutes later I was 16. It took four hours and a ton of insulin to get it back down again.


I went home, changed my site, my tubing, my vial and put in fresh insulin. I also went for real estate that had not been used in months. I don't like putting my pump on my right side for all sorts of reasons. It gets in the way of my golf swing. It gets in the way when I sleep. It gets in the way period.

I put in on my right side in order to properly address each and every variable I could think of.

If things don't improve, I'm making rabbit stew!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


One of the best things about being connected to the Diabetes Online Community (aka the DOC) is that they stumble across things that I might not stumble across and are then nice enough to share it. Which means that I learn more, read more, appreciate more than I would if left to my own devices.

Like yesterday. When my friend Scott shared a link to a position paper posted on a blog I had never heard of before.

The paper was about adults diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. As in they were diagnosed when they were adults. Not when they were kids as T1's alter ego, Juvenile diabetes, would suggest.

The paper talked about the high number of adults who are misdiagnosed with having Type 2 diabetes. Who are put on exercise regimes and diet restrictions and pills and who are then judged when things don't improve. They not only don't improve but they get worse.

People have ended up in comas because of being misdiagnosed.

People have died.

I was misdiagnosed. It was November 1st, 2002. It was probably about 10am at the time and I was sitting in my doctor's office. She took one look at my blood sugar of 30+ and told me I had Type 2. She told me I would be put on a pill, that I would have to watch what I ate and that I would be fine. She sent me for bloodwork and sent me home.

She called me a few hours later to say that I had to go to the hospital immediately because I had diabetic ketoacidosis. According to her I still had Type 2 diabetes.

The endocrinologist who appeared in my hospital room promptly announced that I had Type 1 diabetes, not Type 2, and transferred me to the Intensive Care Unit where I stayed for four days.

I was misdiagnosed but it didn't even take 12 hours for someone to figure it out. I was on insulin in no time and feeling better by the minute as my blood sugar went down for the first time in...weeks? I never really think much of that day other than to use it in presentations when I tell my diagnosis story.

Then I read that blog post yesterday. I read other people's stories, one after the other. I read about people who were judged for not being able to get their blood sugar down on their own. People who didn't find out for months and months what the problem really was and who came dangerously close to death before they do.

We. Don't. Make. Insulin.

No amount of encouragement, berating, pill prescriptions and exercise regimes will help.

Without insulin. We. Will. Die.

I was down to a vial and a half of insulin in my fridge on the weekend. Enough to get me through almost two weeks as long as I didn't gorge on baklava for breakfast. Enough to certainly survive one statutory holiday. And yet a tiny part of me was freaked out at how low my supply was.

What. If. Something. Happens?

I have come to expect that people who have no experience with something, be it Type 1 diabetes, disabilities or whatever, will often have preconceived notions that can be quite far off from reality. I do my best to help clear those up but I try not to judge people for not knowing when there is really no way they could have known.

Reading about how many people with Type 1 have been misdiagnosed by doctors (doctors!!) frightens me. Type 1, in the big scheme of medical conditions, is not a very hard one to diagnose. Take a blood test. Check for insulin sensitivity. Ask a few questions. Bingo.

And yet when you combine the fact that many more adults are being diagnosed with Type 2 AND Type 1 has that 'juvenile' label attached to it and suddenly it's a problem.

From the sounds of it, it's a big one.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Long Weekend Workouts

Last Friday if you had asked me how many open water swims I had done this summer I would have said "zero".

Today, if you ask me, I can proudly say "three!".

Last Friday if you had asked me when was the last time I ran three days in a row I would have said "I have no idea. It's been a few years at least."

Today, if you ask me, I would say "this past weekend" and go on for a few minutes about how crazy that is for me.

Last Friday if you had asked me when was the last weekend I didn't play at least one round of golf I would have said "April?"

Today, if you ask me, I would say "this past weekend" and made a sad face.

I ran hills on Thursday morning and planned to run 12k on Saturday. An unexpected and very brisk 7k run happened on Friday morning. Not enough to let me call it my long run day but enough that, combined with the hills the day before, made me doubt my ability to run 5k on Saturday, let alone 12k. I didn't do 12 but I did do 10k and, while my legs were undoubtedly tired, they held up nicely.

I had hardly walked in after my long run when my phone rang. My sister was in town and wanted to know if I would help her practice for an upcoming open water race she was doing. Sure. I showered, ate and drove to meet her. We hopped in the water and, for the first time this year, I swam where I couldn't see the bottom. It was wonderful.

We did it again on Sunday and again on Monday.

Golf, unfortunately, took a back seat. There was a tournament at our club which meant we couldn't play our regular weekend games. So I haven't touched a club in a week. Sadness.

Having lots of interests is a wonderful thing but it can be challenging at times to fit in all the things I enjoy doing as much as I enjoy doing them.

Friday, August 1, 2014

July Roundup

How is it possible that it's August already? How is it possible that it's now dark when I get up to go swimming? It wasn't dark a few weeks ago but now it is. We've turned the corner folks. Time to start sharpening our pumpkin carving knives and pulling our sweaters out of mothball storage (that is if anyone actually does that anymore?).

August first means that it's time to report on how July went in the exercise department. 

Here's what the numbers looked like: 

I cycled once. Very embarrassing but true. I blame it on wedding showers (still!!) and rain. Anyway, I've cycled a total of 1.5 hours and covered a whopping 32.5k. Sigh.

I have added that strength training workout I wrote about last week. I've done it three times so far. I'm not sure how to report on strength training other than to say how many times I've done it and happily report that each time my muscles were less sore afterwards. 

I ran 12 times. I covered 85k in 9.5 hours. I did two interval sessions (both 6x800m), two hill training sessions and one unexpected tempo run on Tuesday. My Saturday long runs have been 9-10k. I'll be adding distance to those in August but I'm very happy with how things went in July. 

I'm back in the swimming groove. I swam 7 times and covered 23450m in 10 hours. I've done distance sets, 75m sprint sets, 100m repeats until I can't remember my own name sets and have loved them all. Best moments? When I managed to somehow do 100m in 1:35 and this past Wednesday when I had to do 16x100m on 2:00 and kept all of them between 1:44 and 1:47 (pretty fast for me and very consistent which was the whole point of the workout). 

I golfed 8 times in July. Some 9-hole games and a bunch of 18-hole games as well. 8 games translates into 21 hours of walking (while carrying golf clubs) and I covered 52k worth of manicured lawns on my own two feet. All the walking had me a little worried about how my cranky shins and once-broken foot would hold up but they seem to be doing just fine. If fact I went for a massage this week and was told that my legs felt better than they have in years. 

Grand total
I did 30 different workouts in July. I had six days off but every other day I did at least one thing. My body was active and moving a total of 43 hours and on feet, wheels or in the water I covered 190km. 

My body seems happy with all the exercise and seems to respond well to the variety. 

Looks like I'm not a 'put all your eggs in one basket' kinda girl. 

August goals 
Find more time for the bike and try to get 10 of those strength training workouts in. Everything else I'm happy with as it is.