Tag Archives: dexcom

008. My first 10K!

Last Saturday, I drove 3 hours to Chicago where I boarded a plane for a 4.5 hour flight to San Francisco to spend a week with my friends, sans husband.

After landing at 10pm local time (add 3 hours for my native time) and struggling to get a shuttle to the hotel, I crashed for a restless 5 hours of sleep before waking up to run my first ever 10K!

Elizabeth and I have been friends for basically forever. Well, roughly half our lives at this point, so close enough. She’s ran countless races including many half marathons, and has been wanting to do a race with me for years. So the week before I boarded the plane, she signed us both up for the 10K, knowing full well that 1) I’d never gone that distance before and 2) that I’m super duper slow. She was willing to take one for the team and run with me, and I “trained” by running with my friends Michael and Chris to prepare for the race.

We were almost late because of construction. And by “almost late,” I mean Elizabeth had to jog to the starting line and reached me right as they told us all to GO so I don’t think she got to stretch at all, and I maybe got 3 minutes of stretching in. I definitely felt that later on in the race!

The half marathon that was happening as well had started about 30 minutes before the 10K did, and the courses were largely the same. The half broke off from the course somewhere around the 2 mile mark and went for a large loop before meeting back up with the 10K course only a short ways further ahead, so when we were in mile 2, the half was at mile 9 or so. Of course, I had to get a funny picture.

The course was very flat and Alameda looks largely like something out of a Michael Bay film. I kept thinking I’d see explosions or people jumping out of the buildings or something because of how unique they looked. It was cool and so different from the scenery I’m used to here in Michigan.

Mile 2 was, as always, my biggest struggle! I wanted to quit. I was tired, sore, and irritated that we were getting passed by the 1:30 pacer for the half marathon, and the group that was with him were all super ripped and looked like it was nothing whereas I felt like I was about to die. But I pushed and got through it, with plenty of walking breaks.

I didn’t push my body to run, I was patient and listened to it, and allowed myself to focus on the distance and not on the time. Of course, there were a few race volunteers who were “trying to be helpful” by “encouraging” us to run. Please, if you see me out there, don’t encourage me to run or I will cut you. I am pushing my un-athletic body to do something unnatural for it, and telling me “you can do it! Don’t walk, run!” is not only annoying but also ignorant of what I’m actually achieving out there.

My blood sugar actually cooperated for the race! I was in shock, and it was literally the only time my blood sugar cooperated for my ENTIRE trip to California. I had set a temp basal of 1/4 my normal basal rate for 1 hour and that seemed to do the trick! I had 3 glucose gels with me just in case and luckily, I didn’t need them.

My official chip time was 1:37:11 and I am happy with a 15:40 average pace because I did 6.2 miles when earlier this year I could barely do 1.0. It’s a start and now I have a time to improve upon!

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My Non-Diabetic Husband Wore My Continuous Glucose Monitor for 2 Weeks and This is What Happened

I recently upgraded my Dexcom system to the G5, which has allowed me to ditch the G4 receiver. However, I still had some juice left in my G4 transmitter, so I asked Allen if he would be willing to wear it for a week – Just for a fun comparison of his blood sugars versus mine.

If you know my husband AT ALL, then you know he’s completely squeamish when it’s his own blood, but mostly fine when it’s someone else’s. He inserts my sensors without fuss, and goes with me to my quarterly blood draws, but when he had to get his blood drawn for a physical at his work, he passed out. So I figured he would say no to my proposal, but I was thrilled when he agreed to be my pincushion for a week. He agreed knowing full well that he was committing to the initial insertion plus calibrations.

When he was finally ready to do the insertion, we got comfy on the bed, with a bucket in case he puked, and we got to work.

I don’t usually insert Dexcom sensors, but I know most of how it works, so I stuck it on, and prepped him for the actual insertion. Luckily he didn’t flinch, and I quickly pulled the inserter off. There was a little blood but not too bad. He let me know that it didn’t hurt and he was doing okay.

But then I had to insert the transmitter piece. There’s a little plastic arm on the sensor base that makes inserting the transmitter easier. However, that piece had fallen off as it sometimes does, which makes the transmitter insertion harder. So when I tried to insert the transmitter, I had to push really hard.

Allen freaked out. He laid down to try not to pass out, and ended up sitting back up and vomiting. I started crying because I felt so bad for what I felt was “making him do this.”

Thankfully, a few minutes later, he and I both calmed down. He pulled up a YouTube video to distract himself and I quickly jimmied the transmitter into the sensor base without any more fuss.

So the experience began!

The first day, Allen ran high for a non-diabetic, but I think the readings were not accurate. There was probably a bad initial calibration or something, and once we added a few more calibrations, it fell into range.

(Allen’s numbers are on the pink receiver, mine are the screenshots)

The most interesting part was how steady his lines usually were compared to mine. I expected that he’d hover in the 80-100 range all the time, but not that he’d stay so completely steady even when eating high carb meals.

Even his “dawn phenomenon” wasn’t actually that – he had eaten right before sending me this screenshot below.

I think the most amazing comparison was this one of a 24 hour time span near the end of our 2 week experiment:

A typical non-diabetic and a typical diabetic for 24 hours. The difference was amazing. I even found myself trying extra-hard to be in a “normal” range to compete with him. Of course, I failed miserably, but it was a great experience.

I am so thankful for my husband being willing to experience a snippet of my life for two weeks. Even through our anniversary, a trip to Wisconsin, and many days of work, he carried that pink receiver without fuss. He said the transmitter in his arm didn’t bother him much at all. His tegaderm looked WAY better at the end of two weeks than mine EVER does. And removal when he was done was a piece of cake. Overall, it was a great learning experience for us both! (And he’s said he’ll never do it again… but we’ll see.)

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oo6. Holy Rib Cramp!

Today I ran my third 5K of the year!

It was a small local town race, so it wasn't chip timed, but it was inexpensive and I didn't have any other plans for that day, so I signed up a couple weeks ago and have been running a bit here and there to prepare.

What I didn't prepare for was the awful rib cramp that would hit me at 0.5 miles and never relented.

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Apple Watch vs Pebble Time vs …Softball??

I recently joined a softball league that my work is sponsoring. I am NOT sporty/athletic but I had played in middle school on a league and we were really good (we won the city championships both years, the first year as underdogs!) plus my best friend Katie is the one who started assembling the league. 


Of course, things were way different when I played in middle school. I was 12/13 years old – it was literally half my life ago. I was in better shape and I was not diabetic at that time. 

Today is our first game. I’ve been struggling with finding the perfect bg balance during practices. Most times I’m running ultra high even though it’s been 90 degrees and super humid, but one practice I did crash low and had to sit and smash a few rolls of smarties while everyone else kept practicing. That sucked. 


As much as I LOVE my Apple Watch for monitoring my bg during various activities, I have to do what’s best for me out on the field so I can perform at my best. That’s why I made this decision: I will be wearing my Pebble Time while playing softball. Here’s why!


1) Constant display! The Simple CGM Spark watchface updates every time my Dexcom does meaning I have live readings at a glance! 

1a) I have to sidebar and note that the WatchSugar app I have on my Apple Watch is great, but it only updates every 20 minutes or so. This is an issue on Apples side of not updating Complications. It will be changed in WatchOS3 coming out next week where we can have timely Dexcom updates on the watchface. 

1b) Also note, the native Dexcom app gives live updates but it is not ON the watchface. I have to navigate to it. And then wait for it to update. I can’t use that much time staring at my watch while on the ball field!

2) I will be a LOT less devastated if my Pebble gets destroyed by a line drive than if my Apple Watch did. 

2a) The Pebble is pretty rugged. It has a couple scratches on the face, sure, but overall it’s pretty tough! Sadly I feel like my Apple Watch wouldn’t take the abuse as well. 

3) Since I’m only using it for softball, I shut off all the extra stuff on my pebble. I don’t need my calendar, or text message notifications, etc while I’m on the field. That’s a lot easier to do than switching those settings on and off all the time on my Apple Watch!

4) Battery life. The Pebble lasts way longer than the Apple Watch. Plus it charges so fast, I could throw it on the charger 10 minutes before a game and probably have enough juice for the whole game. Not the case with my Apple Watch. 


One of the big Cons to this setup is that my Move goals on the Apple Watch won’t be accurate. Of course I’m gonna be moving during the games and since I’m not wearing my Apple Watch, my “rings” won’t catch that movement and I’ll look super lazy on those days 😉 But it’s a small trade for the benefits of using my Pebble on the field!

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#DBlogWeek: They Don’t Care About You

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Check out my other #DBlogWeek posts here. Learn more about #DBlogWeek here.

Today is my fourth post for #DBlogWeek. Here’s today’s topic!

Most people who live with a chronic illness end up with a lot of experience when it comes to dealing with healthcare. How would you improve or change your healthcare experience? What would you like to see happening during medical visits with your healthcare team? How about when dealing with your health insurance companies? What’s your Healthcare Wish List or Biggest Frustration? Today is the day to share it all!

I’ve discussed the insane cost of my supplies here, and I’ve also written about how Obamacare saved my life. However, I’ve mentioned a little more quietly that I was hoarding supplies all last year.

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So here’s what I’ve discovered in my short time of being type 1 and dealing with lame adult things like insurance companies.

  1. Know what your deductible is and how long it will take you to meet it. Sometimes this can take a little estimating, but it’s worth figuring up if your work/insurance offers more than one deductible level like mine does. I went for the higher premium/lower deductible plan this year because I am able to hit a $1000 deductible in 2 months time – and that made the overall year’s cost lower than the seemingly cheaper $1500 deductible plan.
  2. Never stop hounding. Your supply company is at your mercy, not the other way around. If you know it’s authorized, or you’re supposed to have your shipment on a certain day and it isn’t there (AHEM, Solara), hound them. Email them every day. Call them twice a day. Ask for supervisors. This is your LIFE on the line – and you are your own biggest advocate. They don’t care about you, so you have to do everything in your power to get what you need.
  3. Know and accept that you may have to choose a job based on insurance. This is a reality we have to face. The state of American healthcare today means that we have to do whatever we can to have the best opportunity at survival – which means never ruling out the fact that your company may change their insurance to something completely terrible (as my husband’s did this last year) and you may need to look for a new job with better insurance. Dear America, please stop sucking and revolutionize healthcare a la Australia or Canada, please!
  4. If your medical care team isn’t working for you – switch! My initial misdiagnosis led me to seek other options for care, and that ended up being in my best interest. I found a doctor who trusts my judgment and listens to what I want, and we work together to find the best treatments for me. I can’t say enough about him and I wish everyone had a doctor as great as mine!

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I hope this helps someone in some way!

Read more posts for #DBlogWeek here.

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I never realized I’d have to give insulin for…

Cold medicine! 

I’ve been sick for like, forever. (Okay, I’m exaggerating. Realistically, it’s been a week and a half. But that feels like forever!) And it seems like no matter how much Robitussin and Sudafed I take, I’ve yet to really start feeling better. 

Luckily, my blood sugar levels have been very normal throughout the entire sickness (which usually isn’t the case!). Instead I’ve faced a new quirk in diabetes-land: most cold medicines contain things like high fructose corn syrup, which is in other words, sugar! And I’ve seen noticeable blood sugar changes after having a dose of medicine. 


The black line above my graph shows my blood sugar before taking my nightly dose of Robitussin. The blue line is the peak of the increase after taking it, when I finally bolused for the rise. 

All is well now that I know this medicine causes a rise in my blood sugar, and I’ll be paying closer attention to the ingredient listings in the future!

Fellow diabetics, what is something you never even thought to give yourself insulin for?

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Potluck Day

I stumbled into work at 7:08 this morning, still half asleep. I’m not a morning person, and getting me to go into work even earlier than my required 8am – especially on a Monday – is quite the feat. However, I needed to go in early today, so I did. And when I arrived, I quickly realized it was not going to be just another day in the office. 

Today was a potluck day. 

 Ask anyone who works in my building and they’ll tell you that we love our potlucks. And I mean LOVE them. We used to have them more than once a month, until we all realized we were gaining weight. Now we only have them for special occasions, and every once in a while we’ll have one “because we haven’t in a while.” We love our potluck days because the food is always SO good. Since quite a few of us have been working in the same office space together for several years now, we’ve all perfected our favorite dishes for potlucks. 

Of course, as a type 1, potluck days can be challenging. Especially when we usually start digging in before 8am! However, I try to just keep bolusing for each treat I have, and do my best to guess at the carb counts.   

  
Today’s potluck produced some very successful blood sugar numbers. Only over 180 for 10 minutes the entire day say what!? Unheard of! I’m pretty proud of the accomplishment. Tomorrow’s a new day and the next potluck will be yet another challenge in a never ending stream of challenges, but I feel good knowing that I can enjoy potluck days just like everyone else. 

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Confidence

So far, 2016 has been a journey of self-discovery in both my personal and professional life. One of my main points of focus in both aspects of my life has been working on my confidence. 

A lot has changed in a few short months. At work, I would be placed in a situation where I needed to make a decision that was slightly above my pay grade, but I was capable of making those decisions – I just wasn’t ever confident in actually doing it. Now that I’m having to make more and more of them, and being expected to now that I am acting as a “team captain” of sorts, I have been working on exuding confidence in my decisions and accepting critique if I make the wrong decision. So far, so good. 

 
In my personal life, it’s been somewhat similar. Allen and I were faced with an important decision to make – and we needed to be confident in our choice. The stakes were impossibly high, and the stress had pushed my heart rate and blood sugar averages both even higher. After a lot of talking and soul-searching, we made the decision to leave our church that we’ve attended for the last 10 years. 
(I have to sidebar here for a couple reasons. First, people don’t just LEAVE the church organization we were attending. Especially people who are seen as lifers – ones that will be there forever, which we were. Second, we didn’t leave on bad terms – in fact, we were given the Pastor’s blessing to leave the church and were told that we were welcome back at any time. It was incredibly amicable.)

  
However, no one really knows the full reasons behind our decision to leave, and due to that, plus the fact that nobody leaves the church, we’ve been ostracized by our peers. Being treated as if you’re dead is harder than I even imagined. Especially when it’s people you’ve grown up with for the past 10 years – people you’ve watched graduate high school (and did their senior pictures), people whose weddings you’ve attended (and even photographed), people who have spent countless hours at your house for youth nights and who you called honest-to-God friends before you made the decision to leave. 

It hurts that your supposed “friends and family” for the last decade don’t even ASK what happened – they assume they know, or just don’t even care. But, I’m confident in knowing that our true friends will be there for us as we go through this adjustment period. I’m confident that we’ll come out of this stronger, smarter and better off. I’m also confident that we made the right decision for our health, happiness, and overall life direction. And lastly, I’m confident that if people truly care about what’s going on in our lives, why we left, or want to be our friends, then they’ll come around. Otherwise, it was all fake, and we’re better off without it. 

Why am I talking about all this? Well, my Fitbit had made sure I knew that my resting heart rate was way too high, and my Dexcom made it painfully obvious that I was dealing with stress highs. In the days after we left, my blood sugar and heart rate averages both dropped dramatically. 

   
Confidence is so important, and it’s something I’ve always struggled with, but no more. I want to be the best me that I can be, in every aspect of my life.   

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Don’t Cry Over Spilt Milk – Unless You’re Low

I reached a new level of low blood sugar last night – not in terms of actual mg/dl number, but in the events that transpired. 

When I went to bed last night, my blood sugar was a little high but on its way down. I woke up twice to correct for the low in the night, eating a total of three rolls of smarties. 

Then at 3am, my husband rolled over and woke me up, complaining that both my Dexcom and my Enlite cgms were alarming (because I’m running both at the moment for a future blog post). In my low and half-asleep stupor, I yelled at him that I had already eaten a bunch of smarties, before I finally rolled out of bed to get a glass of milk. 

I made it to the kitchen, tested my blood sugar (72) and calibrated both cgms. I grabbed the chocolate milk and began pouring it into a glass. But I started to feel weird, like I was going to pass out. I raised the glass up to my lips and immediately it fell out of my hands and spilled all over the counter, the floor, my dexcom and myself. The room was spinning. I stumbled and sat down on the floor of the kitchen and mustered up enough strength to yell for my husband. 

Allen jumped out of bed and, seeing what had happened, quickly poured me a new glass of milk. He got a towel to clean up the mess, and also grabbed his phone to snap a picture of the mess, because he knew I’d want it for my blog. 

    
Meanwhile I sat in a ball on the floor, drinking my milk and trying not to cry. I was so embarrassed that I had lost control like that, especially when I wasn’t even all that low! But every low is different and diabetes is still unpredictable. I’m just thankful that the cgm technology I am lucky enough to have did its job and woke Allen up. 

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