Friday, July 31, 2009

Goal Number One

It might be a silly thing to start with, and it might not even be working toward good health as much as I would like to think, but within the next few weeks, I hope I can get off Diet Coke entirely.

So far today, I have drank close to 60 ounces of the stuff. It's only 3:45 pm. I'll go home, cook a healthy, diabetes friendly dinner of meat with vegetables and sugar free applesauce, and then I'll drink another third (at least) of the 2 liter in my fridge. All this caffeine ant artificial sugar I put into my body cannot be good for me.

It started in high school, I'm sure. The year after I graduated, they removed the soda machines from my high school in order to combat obesity. Or something. They replaced them with juice and sports drink machines. I was glad they waited til after I graduated. Every day, I grabbed a can from the fridge on the way to school. I bought a 20 oz bottle with lunch, and another before my after-school activity (unless it was softball, in that case I drank a water on the way and bought a 20 oz on the way home). Sometimes, my after school drink would actually be a 32 to 44 oz fountain drink. I worked at Sonic and would drink the DC constantly while I was at work (we got it free from the fountain if we brought our own cups).

In college it just got worse. I kept my mini-fridge stocked with cans and drank from the fountain every meal, including breakfast (even though my school only provided Pepsi, yech!). I had officially formed a caffeine addiction, which I'm sure started in high school. When I went home for my first Christmas break, I had headaches for three full days before I realized what it was and bought a 24 pack to last the rest of the break.

My first full day working here at GWCNM, I went home with a MMCH. Massive migraine caffeine headache. It was terrible.

I'd love to stop drinking the stuff, switch to Green Tea or something more healthy until I can break the addiction. The reason I'm writing is to find motivation. I would really like to be off the stuff by the time classes resume on the 24th, but with eight solid days of work without a break and a vacation with multiple eating out opportunities ahead of me, I wonder if I can do it?

(And I finish the 20 oz bottle sitting on my desk).

Friday, July 24, 2009

Does the heat affect blood sugars?

I am interning at a National Park for the summer (see my other blog for some stories). Since it's in Southwest Missouri, it is totally HOT. Well, we have had some unseasonably 80 degree days recently, but today it returned to the infamous 90+ with 70% relative humidity that much of the lower Midwest is famous for.

Yesterday, I was walking the 3/4 mile trail at close in order to clear it of all visitors and shut down the park. As I headed up the last leg of the trail, I could feel my sugar levels plummeting.

Usually, I take a sierra mist or Gatorade on the trail with me in case of situations like these. Today, I just didn't. Lucky for me, I ran into a family and had to turn them around. I didn't explain my situation to them, but I figured they would run for help if i collapsed.

I didn't collapse, and my sugar was only 69 when we got back, but...

My co-worker's immediate response to my situation was, "Oh, it's because of the heat, isn't it." (It was only about 87 yesterday but the humidity made it feel well past 90). She's asked this before, and I said, no, it's because of physical activity.

But I wonder, was it because of the heat? I don't think so, but living in an area of the country that gets really hot, it would probably be a nice thing to know.

But I honestly just think it's from the actual walking, and not the actual heat.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Swing Swing Swing

My second post will come tomorrow when I have time and patience for research. Today has been a crazy one at work and tonight will be filled with homework followed by some karaoke time with my besties at a local bar. Diet coke will be my drink of choice! Alcohol and my blood sugar are not friends, especially on a day like today where my numbers have been all over the place. After forgetting my insulin at home, I downed my breakfast before realizing that I didn't have it. The 30 minute drive back gave my numbers plenty of time to rise well past 200. After correcting with insulin, just before going outside for my 10:45 tour, my sugar dropped to 72. Not dangerous, but I was getting ready to make a 3/4 mile hike with a bunch of 7, 8, and 9 year olds. Downed some Gatorade and was off.

Lunch was awful. I had nothing at home except some things that were chalk full of carbs. I ate a lean cuisine microwaveable pasta dish and paid the price after lunch. Then while giving a presentation at an off site (told you I had a busy day), I crashed again. Lovely!

I'm now holding steady at 15o. Not where I want to be, but I'll try to bring it down after work. I think a short bike ride might be in order.

What do you do when you begin swinging? Anybody have any secret tricks?

(disclaimer: consult your own endo before changing your routine!)

Diabetes Resources

A list of Diabetes Resources for you:

American Diabetes Association
Juvenile Diabetes Resource Foundation 

 Diabetes Social Networks: (Why Join a Diabetes Social Network?)
Diabetic Rockstar
1 Happy Diabetic 
Diabetes Daily

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Meal Management 1/2: Back Story

I have a formula. I haven't determined whether it will or won't work because I have trouble sticking to it. But I'll share it with you nonetheless.

But first, backstory. I think I am addicted to carbs, which is unfortunate for a diabetic. I don't feel full til I've had my fill of bread or pasta. Veges just don't do it for me. And I love fruit, but it leaves my stomach rumbling and me craving more dessert until I get some cookies or cake in me. Ok, so it's not this bad all the time, but often it is. It makes diabetes management very hard.

I could blame lots of things besides myself, even though I'm ultimately the responsible one. I blame my switch from regular to Humalog most of the time. I was a candidate for a pump when I was 14, and switched to Multiple Daily Injections (MDI) at that point (do they even call it that anymore?). Here I am, eight years later, and I am still taking multiple injections because my a1C's haven't come down far enough to actually enter pump education (not to mention I sitll can't afford the copay for a pump. Outrageous!). My logic: when I switched to MDI, my doctor told me I could essentially eat whatever I wanted. Wow! Whatever I wanted, and just take a shot with it! Awesome! I think I ate anywhere from 100-200 grams of carbs a day after that, and a lot of it I didn't take insulin for (oops).

My mom is the same way. She and I are about the same weight, although she is taller than me and carries her weight at her hips (I dangerously carry mine around my stomach, which I ironically inherited from my great aunt who I am named after). But we both enjoy eating, and we both feel fuller when we have had a good carbo-filled meal.

But it's so dangerous anymore. Recently, my Doctor put me on Symlin (an Amylin supplement; Amylin is a hormone made in the liver that tells the brain when the stomach is full and also helps control post-meal spikes, something I was and do have problems with). The hardest part is remembering to take it. It does affect your stomach until your body is used to it, and so you have to start taking it gradually, anytime you eat 30 or more grams of carbohydrates. If you stop taking it, you have to start again at the smallest dose and work back up again or you get really sick (I found this out the hard way). I also stuffed myself silly before I felt the least bit full (another sign of Amylin deficiency).

Moral of the story is, because of these factors, I had (and still have) very, very poor meal planning abilities. Top that off with living on a college campus for 3 years (eating the limited salad bar with light ranch as the only "healthy" dressing option gets old fast), and you have a recipie for disaster.

Living on my own has helped tremendously. It is so difficult though. It's easy to buy frozen dinners and shove them in the freezer (my biggest temptation is to buy several Totinos pizza's that only cost 1.25 each and eat the whole pizza in one sitting - about 60 grams of carbohydrates and more calories than I even want to mention). But, as a former proponent of "I don't cook," I've begun to enjoy the hobby. As I am working 40 hour weeks this summer (a new concept to me!) I find that coming home and cooking a meal destresses me after a long day (dispite the fact that during southwest Missouri's way-hotter-than-normal June my roommate refused to turn on the a/c!).

I have come up with a game plan for meal planning. As I've rambled on about myself enough for one day, I'll share it with you tomorrow.


Create Your Plate

Create Your Plate

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Lifestyle Choices to Change to Fight Obesity

As I stated in the previous entry, I'm overweight.

No, don't try to argue with me. Don't tell me I'm "not fat." It's not a self-esteem thing. My self esteem is as good as any 22 year old girl's.

No, it's absolutely a health thing. My risk for heart disease is already high. Diabetes and heredity, as well as being a former smoker put me at high risk. If I can shed some weight, I can significantly drop that risk!

I recently read a book called Water with Lemon, by author Zonya Foco, creator of Lickity Split Meals, a cookbook which has a special edition for diabetics that I own and use on occasion. The part about the book that struck me most was the push to "never underestimate the power of one good habit." I decided to start with Zonya's list of "good habits" to follow (they are available for printing on her website, however, apparently since the last time I checked she has created a "password" which you have to have read the book to have(I'd love to give it to you, but I'll have to go home and look it up).

The point is, everyone has good, healthy habits and bad, unhealthy habits. By making lists of good habits we want to achieve and bad habits we want to eradicate, we can live healthier lives simply by working toward those goals.


Healthy Habits to Achieve:

  • Drinking more water
  • Exercise 4-5 times a week
  • Test glucose levels at least 4 times a day
  • Replace processed foods with fresh and organic foods
  • Eat more Omega 3 fatty acid foods (to raise my good cholesterol)

Unhealthy Habits to Get Rid of:

  • stop drinking so much diet coke!!
  • Stop eating pre-packaged meals with preservatives, artificial flavoring, and massive amounts of sodium (but they're so easy!)
  • Stop eating at least 3 hours before bedtime (I am queen of late night snacks!)
  • Lower my sodium intake
  • Stop staying up late at night (unless I can get a full 8 hours in)

There are my lists. What are some other things on your lists?


Welcome to my experiment. I have been an on and off personal blogger for quite some time, but recently started reading diabetes-centered blogs in an effort to tighten the reigns on my own health and well-being. So here I am, starting my own diabetes blog, for both my benifit and the benifits of others living with the chronic illness.

Forewarning: Do not take anything I write about as medical advice. Consult your own endo before making any changes in your management plan (this is a given, I hope). Do not assume that all the termonology is correct. I was last "diabetes educated" eleven years ago and things have changed drastically. This is why I am starting to read and try and keep up with new developments in the feild. I'm only 22 and feel behind on the times, at least when it comes to diabetes!

Now, who am I? I am a college student, majoring in History. My ultimate goal in life is to work for the National Parks Service; I've been interning at a local park this summer. The NPS actually offers opportunities for me to use my degree. I'm going to get my masters first, starting next fall.

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was 11 years old, on my mother's birthday (some birthday present). I was in the sixth grade. I was active, participating in dance and sports. I knew what diabetes was because I read the Baby Sitters Club books, and one of the characters had diabeetes. I actually kid of suspected I was diabetic, but never mentioned it to anyone (because, who wants that anyway?).

I have struggled wtih management since then. I excellently managed until I hit puberty (late, as many type 1's do, about 14). Since then, my numbers have been all over the place. In high school I got tired of going to the nurse before lunch and quit checking my sugar at school. Then I gradually quit checking it at all, unless I felt high or low. This trend continued in college, and like many people, I continue to sturggle with it today. I take my insulin shots, but don't check my glucose levels. Smart, huh?

The thing is, I am kind of in diabetes denial. I'm sure it's normal. But I'm 22. Ten years of 8+ A1c's have got to be taking their toll on my body.

For example. I'm overweight. Weight has been an issue, well, since I was diagnosed. I gained the weight I lost plus some within weeks (as is normal, I suppose). This is one thing I'll be writing about on here: figuring out how to lose weight (with the help of my diabetes team) and manage my diabetes. It's hard! But I know I can do it.

Here are a list of my goals:

-Get my a1c below 7.0 (It was at 7.8 at my last visit, the first time it was below 8 since before I started seeing this endo, 5 years ago), preferrably within my next 3 endo visits.

-Shed the 30 lbs I've gained since trasnferring colleges in 2007

-Start testing before and after meals to see how foods and activites affect my levels

-Just start testing in general!

-Take my meds on time - not after I eat, not three hours later.

I'd say these are problems many diabetics have. As I research solutions to these problems I plan on blogging. I hope that by helping myself I'll also help others.

Diabolical Diabetty: Defined

I'm Sarah Jane. I'm a student, I'm a retail associate, I'm a writer, I'm a singer, I'm an amature designer, I am a girlfriend, a sister, and a daughter. These are a few of many ways I define myself. Oh yeah, I'm also a blogger.

One way to define myself is by my given name. My name is Sarah Jane. My internet handle is sajabla. Sajabla is derrived simply - Sarah Jane (last name that begins with Bla).

I also go by The PWD PK. PWD stands for Person With Diabetes. This is one of the ways I define myself. I have diabetes. I was diagnosed in 1998 at the age of eleven. You can read more about my diagnosis story Here and Here. I have been pumping insulin using an Animas Ping pump since November 11, 2009 and using a Dexcom 7 Plus continuous glucose monitor since November 17, 2009.

PK stands for Pastors Kid. My father has been a pastor since before I was born. I've grown up in church, never having a pastor who was not my dad. While I define myself less and less as a PK as I enter into adulthood, it is still something that defines my upbringing and childhood and will remain with me my entire life.

You may be wondering who this Diabolical Diabetty character is. She is my alter ego. She is an evil villian and a super hero all wrapped into one. I got the name in high school where some lovely teenage boys decided to make fun of me carrying around syringes and dubb me Diabetty. Eventually this became Diabolical Diabetty and I was the arch nemisis of one of the guys. I think we should have made a comic book out of it all. But I digress.

Diabetty is the ego I pick up when life with diabetes is hard. When I get frustrated. When I get overloaded. Diabetty is the strong side of me. Becasue diabetes attacks people without judging how strong they are. Sarah Jane isn't strong, but Diabetty is.

OK, I know this sounds creepy and a little mentally off, but I promise, it's not. It's about confidence and doing what you have to do to make it through life. Thanks for sharing in my life by reading my blog. Please leave a comment so I know who you are. I enjoy conversing with my readers.


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