Sunday, December 6, 2009

how to eat a low glycemic diet, part 3 (final)~

so what do I eat?
well, i try to do my best, so don't take me for being perfect and the be-all, end-all raw food fanatic or something! i crave cookies just like everybody. (now i just make my own, haha.) a few months ago i went psycho on the nutella and ate an entire jar in a week. seriously, peabody was not happy with me. i am also known to love icecream and cupcakes and to be a connoisseur of dark chocolate.
but the best thing i did for myself was start to eat now i'm never hungry and i never eat 100 grams of carbs in one sitting. i'm telling you, just try eating that whole "6 small meals a day are best for diabetics" philosophy and it'll change your life. your body can figure out way better what to do with synthetic insulin, and your blood sugar will thank you. or you'll thank your blood sugar. ;)

in the morning, i usually eat a small piece of fruit and some nuts, or even dark greens with a few slices of cheese (i know, i know: [insert laugh here]), or a boiled egg with a piece of spelt toast, or one of the almond flour-based muffins i bake for the week (yum!) or greek yoghurt with berries and sweetened with agave nectar. because morning is the time of greatest insulin resistance, go easy on your insulin intake. i'd say eat your lowest carb content meal of the day in the morning. protein and good fats (nuts, greek yogurt, a couple of slices of cheese) in the morning are way more important to wake you up and get you going than french toast with syrup (or even cereal, for that matter.) talk about a gusher. also, cut the caffeine: i know, i know: i am now pure EVIL! but i did some research a while back and found out that caffeine causes delayed hyperglycemia. it was a bit painful, but i slowly weaned myself to total decaf and now have the psychosomatic response i need from it. by the way, the World Health Organization labeled it a 'true drug', as in addiction. :)

about 9 or 10 a.m, i have some nuts or seeds, a small piece of fruit, a piece of peanut butter or almond butter [wholegrain] toast, greek yoghurt again, or a drink like a homemade almond shake or fruit smoothie. again, these are not huge servings. a bit at a time (especially if you are a buff guy, being hungry is understandable: that's why you eat throughout the day and not all your daily calories in one sitting.) :)

lunchtime i have a salad with tuna, egg, beans, or coldcuts, or dark cooked greens (very filling!) with some cold cuts or cheese, or beans (homeade chili) or soup, hummus in a whole grain wrap, avocado salad, quinoa salad...notice all of these are very real foods that burn a lot slower than a glucose tab (ok, better than pasta or a big hoagie.) try to include dark greens for lunch, they'll seriously fill you up. garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and the spectrum of spices all add wonderful flavors to veggies. i often think this is why people don't eat enough of them: they've just never been prepared with much flavor.

afternoon snacks are the same as midmorning, only lately i've been making it a hot drink, like a big cup of hot chocolate almond milk (or coconut). i also have a lot of wonderful recipes for healthy 'cookies' made from almond flour, coconut flour, spelt, and quinoa. call me a health nut. ;) the key with these is that they are merely nuts ground up; which is not making it 'over-processed' like the poor little pod that wheat once was. you're also getting healthy protein and monounsaturated fats in nut flours, whereas in most other carb-based flours all you're getting is...carbohydrate.

for dinner, i take it easy because i really believe how in chinese medicine, the body is 'slowing down': your stomach's hour is turning off around 6, so you want to try not to eat your carb-heaviest food after that. it doesn't mean you shouldn't eat, it's just best to not make it carb-heavy: hello pasta and pizza! we tend to eat a lot of chicken, pork, fish, kebabs, wild rice, baked veggies, chili, lentil soup, root veggies...and yes, potatoes with their skin.

*on a strange note, i do like larabars. they're 'raw food' snack bars with only a few ingredients in flavors like cherry pie and pb&j and they are stupendous for treating lows or before/after exercise. they never go over about 30 grams of carbs as far as i've seen, either. the only thing i don't like about them is the pretty penny they cost: about $1.29 here in the Q. i wish i could figure out how to make them, i know they're not baked, but how do they get the consistency so.very.right??

does my diet seem...boring? probably to most. but you know, i think getting bored with food is a 'first world' (i hate that phrase) problem. i'm guilty of this idea of boredom just as much as anyone. but we need to rethink our notions of boring, too, and focus on flavor through cooking with herbs and healthy fats like olive oil and nut oils (if you are not allergic), cacao over 70% when baking (for the antioxidants), and using truly unrefined sweeteners like coconut sugar and dark agave nectar---the only two i bake with and sweeten with now. they're lower in carbs per serving and lower in glycemic load, too. as a result of becoming cognizant of how i flavor the basic ingredient of my food, it's become yummier and not so---sugarcoated, if you know what i mean. i can actually taste my food.

on a safety note, i noticed that i often have to take my dose over a bit more extended period of time because of how slow low GI/GL foods can burn. i wouldn't recommend taking your whole dose of insulin at once if you're eating avocado or nuts in the meal. talk about mid-meal hypos! this just goes to show how much slower and steady the rise in BG is, let alone less if the food's got a low glycemic load. and um, yaaay to lower post-meal numbers!

two of my absolute favorite recipe websites:

big shout out to elana and kimi!
this post is dedicated to dear, patient elizabeth. ;)

*this is officially the longest blog post the planet have ever seen; thank god i broke it into three parts. :)

how to eat a low glycemic diet, part 2~

what's the deal then, you ask? how the heck am i supposed to figure out what to eat?
listen to michael pollan, a food activist i'm going to blatantly steal from here:

eat real food. mostly plants. not too much.

if you have diabetes and can make that your food mantra, you will live a long, healthy life.
(i do want to point out that he's not promoting vegetarianism, he was just trying to point out what to fill most of your plate with when you eat, and to make it what truly 'fills' you.)

think of all the frankenfoods and over-processed foods we've been taught are normal: cereal, snack bars, crackers, cookies, sports drinks, muffins, pasta, chips...the list is endless. there's a reason you feel tired and hungry after you eat these foods: your body is having to work way too hard to process them. they are fillers. they confuse the human body and make it spill waaay more insulin than it was designed to. it doesn't matter if you have type 1: you are your pancreas now and will only have to take more of the blessed hormone. this is where the term glycemic load comes in and why it's more important than glycemic index: you never want the foods you are eating to be a 'heavy' load on your pancreas' output ability...hello type 2 diabetes! where do you think we get the terms "carb coma" and insulin resistance from? why do unhealthy type 1 diabetics begin to resemble unhealthy type 2's over the years? don't give your body more than it can 'carry.'

the key to low glycemic eating is just real food. i eat a lot of fruits and veggies (very few are high glycemic, here's a list i used to start learning after my diagnosis) and when it comes to grains and legumes, i eat just that: grains and legumes in their most basic form. that means you just do your best to stay away from any real food that's had the life processed out of it: fruit into juice, wheat into white flour, sweeteners so refined they resemble nothing of their former plant self. call it bad-cosmetic-surgery-on-food.

when in doubt, ask yourself:

  • is it real food? (in as close to its natural state for me to consume?)
  • is it an 'old' food? (how long have humans been eating it? real food is old food.)
  • did you make it? (how many ingredients did you use: less is more.)
  • does it have its own rich color or one that is dyed? (naturally dark pigmented foods are vital nutrient sources.)
  • has it been sweetened? (does it really need to be?)
  • did i break it down more than it should be? (i.e., potatoes with skin turned into peeled mashed potatoes)
  • what 'kind' of sweet is it? (fructose, lactose, dextrose, sucrose: the larger the molecule, the longer it'll take your liver to turn into glucose: this is gentle, this is good.)

how to eat a low glycemic diet, part 1~

i've had a lot of people in my life ask me about my diet recently. even my nice, new endo. while i've certainly learned a helluva lot more about healthy eating with the disease than without, i will say that eating a low glycemic diet has helped maintain blood sugar balance tremendously. bummer i had to get type 1 to take such a keen interest. ;)
first things first:
what does "low glycemic" mean, anyway? there's a lot of talk out there using the phrase (and somewhat carelessly, i might add) but often little understanding of what it means to eat food this particular way.
it's important to understand the difference between glycemic index and glycemic load, also.
*note: while the picture above only states 'GI' on it, low GL foods also look the same graphically. also, that picture i borrowed sucks. the time is horizontal (as is traditional in algebra, duh) and the blood glucose is vertical. also, the red line is High GI and the blue is Low GI.
the term glycemic index was first coined after scientists figured out the [standard] insulin response to carbs. specifically, it relates to the quality of a carbohydrate and thus how fast the blood sugar will rise. values are placed on foods: the lower the index, the slower the rise. the index ranges from about 20 to 100. obviously, pure glucose is rated 100. there's a reason we all know to have pure sugar when we are low, right?! we need our sugar to come back up fast! so, a good rule of thumb: the more processed a food is, the higher its index. most fruits contain fructose (a more complex sugar than pure glucose, thus it takes longer for your body to break it down: a good thing!) and are low to medium GI foods. this is not only due to their carb content being made of mostly fructose, but also fiber (if you're diabetic and don't like fiber: GET WITH IT! FIBER IS YOUR BEST FRIEND!)
on the other hand we have the more recently coined term, glycemic load. this was figured out after scientists at harvard realized it was not only important to know the standard effect on blood sugar rise, but also the actual amount of carbohydrate in that particular food. glycemic load ranges from 1-20. thus, while a food like beets has a high GI (64/100) it has a measly glycemic load of 3 because its carb count is only 5. same goes for pumpkin, watermelon, get the picture.
so, do you think i memorized the GI/GL values for carbs? uh, no.
can i get a loud UH, NO!
don't be ridiculous. as you read my 3-part series on low glycemic eating, you'll get pointers and even the basic list i started learning with from the good (but somewhat problematic lowcarbdiets on but more importantly, a way to trust your gut when shopping for food or eating out.
low to moderate GI/GL numbers are key to balanced blood sugar---for anyone, not just people living with diabetes.
you will learn to eyeball food values that'll burn fast or slow or moderate just like you did when you learned to count carbs. in fact, you already know a lot of this, i believe.
this is where a healthy sense of low-carb eating enters: ever try to eat white-pasta-based mac&cheese and wonder why you thought you were going to die?
simple answer: a GI of 64/100 with a glycemic load of 19/20.
god help your little pancreas (even if you're type 1 and it malfunctioned.)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

things that make me happy~

i really need to write about what makes me happy, because frankly, while i'm still very excited about my pump, it's been rough. i don't like focusing on the negative things of life and i really, truly believe this is why my life always works out (and believe me, it hasn't been a hay ride.) i don't really believe in good and bad luck.

i make my own luck.
[see random photo taking over the page.]

so here is my gratitude list of things that make me jump for joy even while life is handing me some serious humor-sucking blood sugar lemons:

  • my pump is green. i love green! (even though i have no idea what i'm doing yet!)
  • i love teaching english to refugees and forging the friendships i have with them (even though we have no idea what the other is saying half the time!)
  • hiking in new mexico in the fall; there's just no comparison to the colors, textures, air...(you get my point.)
  • the new music i've been downloading for my workouts (rox my sox!)
  • i love baking and especially love all of the seasonal food we've been eating: dark greens in our stews, pumpkin in the muffins, and green chile to warm us up! (but not too hot, garcia's cafe!)
  • i have a stronger desire to play the harmonica lately (thank you, revival tour!)
  • oh good gracious, matthew gave me a ring for that finger :)
  • jimmy stewart films make me bubbly (and not just "it's a wonderful life.")
  • straight-up, loyal friends are a gift i value (and yes, i mean what i say.)
  • the good healthcare i have received so far from my cde and family doc (and my own brain's ability to process complicated issues while reading, haha.)
  • getting to do more massage therapy on people actually makes me feel good. :)
  • i'm getting purple streaks in my hair! (they might be blue or pink sometimes!)
what makes you feel better when you're going through a rough patch? what do you remind yourself of?
how do you make your own luck?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

extra-rude endos~

my last post was all about how upsetting some of the adjustments to the pump have been for me. however, all in all it's been a great thing, this little complicated (but not really) contraption. i have to admit how surprised i was at how user friendly my ping! is.
but then i met my 'new' endo. funny that i like the mechanical device attached to my body more.
this guy was a real piece of work.
classic napoleon complex, on top of his own version of "i have this need to prove that i'm better than everyone."
the resident working under him (pity her) though is super great. she's been very understanding and really makes an effort to tell you how well she thinks you're doing.
get this: she even laughs. at real jokes.
so when this guy walked in the room, all pompous with his chest puffed out, i wanted to stand up and say, " i can see where this is going" even before he opened his mouth. a judgement, i know. but sometimes your gut is nothing but right.
i was really stressed out about the numbers i'd been having. i knew going in that i wanted my basal upped temporarily so i could actually do a real basal test.
i also know my total daily dose, how much was averaging for correction, and how i needed a lower insulin:carb ratio in the morning. but he didn't care about that. he didn't trust anything i said. he wanted to 'figure it out' himself.
so this guy grabs my pump off my pants without asking and starts fooling with it. as he heads to the bolus menu (which is a bit sensitive on the ping, no fear, if you hit too many buttons, it'll just 'bolus' zero, but still...) i start to hear myself saying nooooooooooo! in my head. he kept 'delivering' (zero insulin) but it annoyed me because i could hear the cartridge. i could feel myself sweating.
but the best part: he'd make that shhh sound and put his hand up to stop you when he didn't want you to talk. or, when he asked you a question and heard 'enough' of your response. nice.
then he asked me about carb intake. i said i'm not a carb freak, but that i also don't feel type 1's do very well with high carb bolusing anyway.
he shhh's me, his hand in my face.
ok, you can stop shouting at me now.
in the end, he regurgitated back to me what i'd tried telling him in the beginning. he stood up, satisfied with himself.
the most upsetting thing about such a visit is your lost sense of dignity and intelligence. this is my disease. i own it. i live with it. to ask me nothing about myself, to care nothing about my responses, my real concerns, my worries is simply...socially retarded if you're a doctor.
as this one wonderful endo once said to me, "it's my job to help you see the forest from the trees." he was also the one who taught me not to have more than 45 grams of carb in one meal. lifesaver.
lately, i've been doing a lot of reading and ruminating on how to speak my mind and heart, stand up for myself with certain kinds of people, and to truly get away from the competitive and possessive nature of many relationships. yesterday, i felt like a failure because he caught me so off guard that i could barely open my mouth. that's a problem with me in general. when and if i finally tell how i truly feel, people either completely ignore me or just attack, never trusting that what i'm saying might uh, actually be how i feel. genius.

while i work on these things, i can at least say this as rule number one:
no one will ever grab my pump off my body like that again.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

yes, i cry a lot~

only in front of my boyfriend and best friend, though. :)
this transition to the pump is overwhelming me. i am doing basal testing but ever since a couple of days ago, i've had mostly high BGs. we're talking even a 370. painful. my control was so tight before on mdi's. of course, i experienced more hypoglycemia due to stacking, so maybe i need to stop whining for a while until this all gets worked out.
i just wish i knew what to do. all i can do is get the basal rates down for now, i know. i need to stay focused on that, because surely it isn't the bolus i did for salad. but i worry that the whole 'the site can affect the absorption' thing people talk about is at fault here. god, i hope not. i only have so much subq fat. i'm a really small gal, so it's not like i can use the little bit of fat in my lower abdomen every.three.days. i have to go upwards a bit and i'm also using the bit by my hips (commonly known as love handles, of which i have none, LOL.) is the absorption really that different?
and man, am i hungry! this testing-requiring-fasting stuff is really hard when you hear your tummy growling. i can rarely go four hours without eating. boo.
i'm seeing my endo tomorrow, maybe we can just up the basal rate immediately due to these clearly out of control highs. i can barely stand it. sigh. the perfectionist in me.
on a positive note, matthew pointed out to me how well i adapt to things. it's only been a year and a half, and despite the (literal) blood, sweat and tears, i always keep on. i'm not afraid of change, that's for sure. at this point in my life especially, nothing shocks me anymore, LOL. much still surprises me; disappointment mixed with a whole lot of joy.
i also have two beautiful classical songs i downloaded that have harps and accordians and pianos and violins. they hint of sadness and hope intertwined as perfectly as i feel right now.
think i'll just keep it on repeat.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

on babies and tangerines~

so i had my preconception counseling appointment with the great and wonderful dr. larry leeman at university of new mexico's family medicine clinic. this guy is great. just scroll to the bottom of that link when you open it to find his impressive "about me" section.
if/when i get pregnant, i wouldn't be delivering at the wonderful midwifery practice. maybe someday they'll have step-down options for some type 1's. but the most important thing to me--that he be a compassionate, understanding, easygoing doc (and a little crunchy)--was all there today. he was really engaging and willing to work with me on so many levels. he was understanding of my anxiety of controlling my own disease, only to fear handing it over to a bunch of people i've never met. he was super excited to take me on as a future patient and just kept asking when are you guys getting pregnant?!
it's amazing to me, that statement.
so often, all we hear as type 1 women are the fear-mongering, overt, threatening gestures meant to warn (or ward off) our desires to get pregnant. it's not too often that people get this bright smile on their face and say, "good on you for being type 1 and trying to get pregnant!" ya right.
now i don't want to be too hard on people. all day, my docs have told me time and time again, how they deal with diabetics who refuse to do anything to even get a teeny tiny bit more in control. so it's understandable that it's hard for them to just adjust their attitude immediately upon meeting someone who really and truly owns their disease; treats it like a bad-neighbor-turned-best-barbq-buddy.
so i'm super excited. we've some time to go before we really start trying, but it takes a while to get everything in order, as anyone who's type 1 and had a bebe will tell you! he thinks (if all goes well with my disease) that we should be able to deliver naturally and he might let me go to 40 weeks. sigh. you know, it all depends on....waiting. in the moment. every moment.
which brings me to my final point: being in the moment. as thich nhat hanh said, "present moment, wonderful moment" with his meditation on the tangerine.
sounds cheesy, but it's basically this story of a person who gives this other person a sweet little tangerine as a gift. and it makes the person who receives it truly stop and think about the small, beautiful little gifts that life offers us, that we offer each other. gifts we so often ignore; gifts we so often scoff at because they seem insignificant.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

melting down~

so i had a melt down the first day i tried to change my site.
haha, go ahead and laugh.
it wasn't the insertion site, it was the fact that i couldn't draw up the insulin without matthew's help because the blue plunger thing on the cartridge is that hard to move without pulling it out. and the bubbles that resulted! oi!
i think that week just devolved for me, though. after my lovely little post below about my first day being great, i went on that night to get rear-ended by somebody at a red light. ya, red, i said! the next day my landlady suddenly had this burst of do-it-all-today energy, and i realized i had no test strips for my new meter.
hrmph. not a big deal, i know, but it kinda bummed me out i couldn't start using my one-touch til next week.
they say "when it rains, it pours" and that person wasn't kidding, eh? but a car accident? seriously, was that a necessary addition?
it's funny how the sky is certainly clearer after a good storm, though.
here's to hope and change.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

ze pump is IN~

this is my picture of me with my little green pump on the very first day.
sorry, i couldn't resist. ;)
and uh ya, the tegaderm is huge!
the cde is ordering some tiny tegaderms for me. she laughed and said, "clearly, we need a smaller tegaderm. you're so tiny!"
but it's all very exciting!
i only had a weeeeee bit of trouble getting the sticky-tape-hand-maneuver-hold-the-cannula-down-while-removing-the-needle part down, but i think it was just because i had two cde's and the pump trainer watching me (!) it was just like when i was a medic doing iv's...honestly, only smaller and kinder and not vein-oriented. and i liked the "tender" insertion set they ordered. it's just like the 'silhouette'.
so i went straight home to have some lunch and you wanna hear something funny? i actually had a moment where i started reaching for a needle and felt something along the lines of...anger? like, sigh, more injections. it was all very subconscious and momentary. but the moment was certainly there! (so i guess i've been even more ready for this than i thought.)
then i grinned and reached for my pump.
to be sure i'll have days where i say this thing has got to go but it's so great to think that sometime in the near future i'll understand it, and we can start trying for a bebe next year!! [cross your fingers!]
it's been so frustrating the last couple of months, especially. my diet's pretty low-glycemic, so keeping-up-with-my-lentils had become a tortoise-and-the-hare kind of race. when's it coming? should i take more? should i have taken less? how much do i have left? am i going higher or lower?!
today my post-prandial was about 165. just yesterday i would've sat there pondering if i needed more insulin to fix it. today, i could look at my insulin-on-board still and know that another.whole.unit was still on its way.
the best part?
my a1c came back this morning at an even 6%.
i know i've got a learning curve ahead of that requires a lot of patience, but still:
it can only get better from here. ;)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

natural, sugar free pancakes~

so the other day we went to our local (no kidding, it really is locally-owned: yipeeeeee!) grocery store. i'm always willing to at least skim the nutritional information of [often so-called] sugar free products until i find my usual long list of disappointing ingredients to include but not limited to: maltitol, sucralose, soy protein, etc. more on my issues with these things later. but for now, the good news.
matthew (my partner) found this pancake mix. it's from "maple grove farms" and at first, i was like, yaaaaaaaaaa right! but like i said, i always obligingly look.
not bad at all: wheat gluten, corn starch, unbleached wheat flour, whey protein, leavening, salt, and 'natural flavor' (whatever the hell that means, right?)
so it comes out to about 2 small/medium pancakes a person with only about 8 carbs per pancake (you read that right). it says 'only 6 net carbs' because of the fiber subtraction, but we figured we made the pancakes a bit bigger. also, we like them very thin, so you may want to take that into account if you like thick 'cakes. by the way, no they do not taste like cardboard. matthew, my ever-honest-type 3-diabetic so kindly stated, "ya know, they taste just like whole-wheat pancakes!"
next time we're having the organic apple sausage from applegate farms, and voila! our breakfast will be gourmet stupendous!
but what about syrup, you ask?
well, first i must say i am appalled at the amount of carbohydrate in syrup; yes, even organic, all natural: 56 grams per 1/4 cup [scream!] pancakes are like, the out of the out breakfast option for me. adding even an 1/8 of a cup to already carb-coma-inducing pancakes sounds like pancreatic hell and i just can't justify putting peabody through that mess. think of your children, people! ;)
so we found a different option:
enter maple butter.
i found this stuff at the same grocer, it's from "shady maple farms". the best part is it's organic! and it's only about $3! it'll last forever too, because you barely need any. just be sure to put it on right when the pancake comes off the griddle or else it doesn't spread and melt as yummily.
mmmm, this stuff is amazing! for a big fat tablespoon, you get the same taste for 16 grams of carb. ok, i know it's not runny and fun like syrup, but the taste is swonderful and let me tell you, when you add up all the carbs you're eating: about 48 (2 pancakes, 1 Tbsp butter) instead of say, 100+, trust me: your pancreas will thank you.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

the countdown~

i know i keep going on and on simply about getting my pump...(just getting it!) but i can't help myself. THIS IS NUTS!
i'm actually getting it next thursday!
i really have mixed emotions. and i know i keep saying that, too.
every time i see a person with one, my nerves are soothed. but the thought of it alone is like, what the hell am i doing?
i picture it as this HUGE THING attaching itself to MY ABDOMEN---maybe even talking and shit, like, "you will never be rid of me! i am going to grow too and take over your...elbows!"
[insert nervous hysterical laughter here.]
then i lighten up and realize my imagination has gone too far. again.
and yet, ironically, just as i am saying this, i've been having issues the last couple of weeks controlling my BG the way i usually can. it's not horrible, just averaging about 130, which is not great to me. i know, i know: COOL IT, birdy. a lot of it i've realized, is seasonal changes.
so i think about the pump as this tool that's going to help smooth out these rough edges i'm having. i know most of it is due to my not being able to do dual waves and extended bolusing. well, i try, but bolusing 3 units over a period of 5 hours is tedious, to say the least.
hey, it's green though and the hipness of that tiny fact comforts me. ;)

Friday, October 16, 2009

ze pump has entered ze building~

or left the building.
that's animas' factory, i'm saying.
so my CDE wrote me and said they're tentatively looking at October 29th to start my training.
i'm kinda nervous, guys!
i think i just learn and practice in the first session, and then the next time we actually do the first insertion site.
for some reason, i'm starting to get all jittery about this again.
there's a part of me that wants to say,
ok, this has been REAL fun, but i uh, changed my mind.
i know, i know.
and then i think of how annoying it's been to inject myself 10, 000 times a day.
and how impossible it is to eat an avocado with a piece of toast. bad combo.
i need to remind myself that i am not alone. that my hopes are huge for this because it's leading me somewhere better, more comfortable, flexible, and certainly healthier for any future pregnancies...

on a positive note, my work with refugees at catholic charities is going awesome. today we did massage on them; such beautiful people. their essential needs are being met, but it is so nice to also offer them some peace, lavender oil, and compassionate human touch.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

by the way~

i have no idea what went wrong with the font in that post below!
the proof is in the...yoghurt!!

some foods are so not peabody-friendly~

i literally have a fight with my breakfast every morning.
my stomach screams HUNGRY!
my BG screams TAKE IT EASY, SISTA!
i'm lucky though, i don't struggle with dawn phenomenon. well, not really. as you all know, sometimes baby D loves to kick us in the pants, though.
anywho, my point is that i can't really eat a carb-heavy meal for breakfast because i will seriously pay for it around 10 o'clock with something in the oh, let's say...200's?
this means, all the pancakers, waffle-eaters, french-toast-fiends can kiss my little ass (this is all due to jealousy, of course).
well, i could just eat a waffle for lunch and then go for a hike, right? might not be a bad idea!
like this morning. i tried yoghurt. again.
non-fat. cherry vanilla. 20 grams of carbs.
like clockwork (well, it is clockwork) two hours later, i check (sometimes earlier!):
what the heck is in this yoghurt?! straight glucose?
hello, i'm peabody the pancreas. i do not recognize insulin that wants to assist in the processing of yoghurt products currently at this time. please try again later.
so i fix it.
but the problem is (i know, i knoooooow) i've got it down with having a small piece of fruit (peach, nectarine, grapes) and a handful of almonds. toast won't cut it, even oatmeal was too much for me. this is so weird!
2 units. 2 hours. perfect 100.
here's my problemo, chicos:
but then i think:
what about the third world?
those people don't complain about what they eat for breakfast everyday. i've met them. they don't even always get breakfast everyday! (i'm being serious here! so not funny!)
i'm thinking i'll give a boiled egg a try. i like boiled eggs. but i need a little carb to go with it! and fruit and eggs? bleh.
there goes my picky-american-type-1-but-more-than-surviving-and-thriving-mentality again.

Monday, September 28, 2009

akbar, our big reminder~

meet akbar.
no, that's not his little brother lying next to him.
they're both newborns. ya, you read that right: newborns.
his name translates as The Great in arabic, apparently.
frankly, what happened to akbar is not so great.
in fact, it's every type 1's worst nightmare regarding pregnancy, and every type 1's reminder to keep their sugar in tight control.
unfortunately for akbar's mama, she developed gestational diabetes and didn't really have a choice in the matter. her BG was probably pretty out of control when she became pregnant and a gestational diabetic. akbar has macrosomia; which causes babies born to mothers with major hyperglycemic averages to be, ah-hem, larger than average.
what's the diff, you ask?
please click here if you don't know what gestational diabetes is. women with pre-existing type 1 diabetes with tight control do not develop gestational diabetes when they are pregnant. gestational is a whole other beast.
so how did akbar get so damn huge?
this was no 'freak accident'--- the way the media is trying to spin it; turning it into a sensationalist's dream joke.
more than likely, his mama did not have access to or understand her daily needs for insulin (because the oral meds used to maintain pancreatic efficiency are not safe for pregnancy) during her pregnancy, thus giving her daily high blood glucose. this in turn, causes growth hormone issues centered on insulin---i've even read that it causes the baby's pancreas to spill insulin too early on to cover mom's high plasma glucose. the result: ONE HUGE BABY.
this sucks. akbar's only issue for now is his macrosomia. however, he is now at greater risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, as early as age 15! this just makes me sad.

i want to make it clear that i am not making a judgement on akbar's mom. i'm putting this info out there because while he made the news for being "Akbar the Great" it infuriates me that health media is not using this as yet one more opportunity to discuss the serious risks that uncontrolled blood sugars pose in utero, let alone as a way to prevent women from entering their pregnancies obese---thus placing themselves at a huge risk for even developing gestational diabetes.
this kid's gonna have some major issues. this is not "great" and we shouldn't be making fun of him or his mom.

Monday, September 21, 2009

pumpin' it~

i forgot to tell you all:
i'm going to get a pump!
i know, i know. i was soooooooo anti-pump. then again, give me a break. i've only had type 1 since 2008. things take a while to get used to! i have to say though, i think it was good that i really "learned" this disease by way of having to go through all the drawing-up/self-injecting/often spaced out into small multiple injections for certain [*ah-hem*] annoying foods. i really do understand more than i think i would have had i rushed into getting the pump too soon after diagnosis. it seems about a year or so later is a good time-frame to start shoppin'. as i said in that earlier post, it wasn't about vanity. it was deeper than that. as my type 1 friend alayna said, "it's ok in the end. but it's certainly weird to get used to wearing your pancreas on your britches!" ha!
so early this year i obsessively kept mulling over the pros and cons and really just kept getting stuck emotionally in the whole OHMYGODICAN'THAVESOMETHINGATTACHEDTOME issue.
i can't tell you that anything particularly huge came over me, but i can say that this is just my nature. i'm a very gradual girl. i like to read, research, talk to people, think through it myself. look at lots of pictures, LOL. i hate being pushed into things. i'm definitely a think-for-yourself kind of person. god, and i am sooooooo insulin-sensitive. this one-shot-deal that lantus offers is not exercise friendly at all. it is getting really, really old.
it also helped to start researching pregnancy and type 1 heavily and realizing there was no way in hell i was gonna be able to have the control i currently have with injections during a pregnancy with injections. trust me. after reading all of the literature and research, it's crazy to try and manage type 1 with MDIs when we have pump technology with such minute, accurate dosing and wave patterns. i was like, what the hell was i caught up on?!

so i'm 98% positive i'm getting the animas ping. it seems to fit me the best and its little nuances are what are 'selling' me on it. although, i must say, it's been a tough pull between medtronic and animas. they both really seem to be great companies from what i keep hearing from 'pumpers'.

*i'd love to hear from you all about your pumps, how they changed your life, and what you like and don't like.

so i just wanted to put it out there that i'm super excited about it. i really am! it makes me so hopeful for my [possible] future as a healthy type 1 mama.
and guess what? because i'm a loud, silly, unabashedly au naturale type 1 gal:
i'm gonna get the green one.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

a hard lesson~

so i've been essentially going through what is known as "preconception counseling" so my honey and i can be in the best health possible before we uh, try to conceive. so i got my bloodwork done like a good girl which included about 15 tubes, a urinalysis, an ear swab and a fingernail sample. ok, i lied about the last two. but that's what it seemed like they were gonna do next. i was like, why don't you just do a body catheter and take whatever you want! haha.
so it all came back great.
except my LDL (bad) cholesterol was like a normal human being's.
*sorry, diabetic friends. i couldn't resist. but you know the drill:
we have to be FREAKIN' AMAZING! we're diabetic! we're not normal! nothing about us is normal!
(by the way, this was all intensely discussed with grave concern (ie, you might have to go on a statin drug to get it down , WTF?!) in spite of the fact that my HDL (good) cholesterol was 'abnormally' high and my total cholesterol number was below average, i.e., meaning: MY HDL WAS A COMPENSATOR.
ya. i exercise and eat right (this is how you increase your HDL.) but no i don't scrape EVERY LITTLE SPECK of butter off my bread at the irish pub we like. would you like me to throw the foam off my cappuccino into the garbage, too, doc?
i must say, for such an elegantly chained molecule you see up there, that little guy can start some serious fights!
the American Diabetes Association loves us so much they expect us to keep our LDL cholesterol at or below the 'average' person's : 100 (god forbid mine was 115.) ok, i understand. we're special. we have a higher risk for heart disease. but we're also human and capable of maintaining our health. um, hello, i do that every day. and my A1c's 5.8%! so when you look at someone's lab results, you've gotta look at the person overall before trucking out the Big Pharma reps to pour pills down our throat. especially the wrong person's throat. that fat guy sitting next to me on the bus is at a way higher risk for heart disease than i am (not to mention type 2 diabetes...) i don't care what you say. i'm not gonna have cardiovascular problems just because i have type 1 diabetes. so how 'bout this to mess with your little med-school mind:
i could end up with heart disease if i choose not to take care of my diabetes.
i really hate how they never even try to talk nutrition or health, even with a super-health nut like me. it could go something like this:
emily, can you think of anything you might be eating too much of in the saturated fat group that might've increased your LDL?
my response could've then involved something like,
why yes, despite my tremendous intake of monounsaturated fat, i do enjoy coconut oil, if i do say so myself.
so then i could've admitted the only thing i could think of that might have increased the LDL: my slight addiction to coconut oil the last few months; which i did not know was such a bad saturated fat. i used it in my baking, especially. ok, i was going pretty overboard.
so we could've discussed eliminating it and checking back before pregnancy to see if any changes occurred. instead of always hailing some drug i'd have to go off of anyway (because it's not safe for pregnancy) as the savior to my fifteen-points-to-a-nondiabetic-status-freak-out-session.
so here's the dealio, folks:
all are monounsaturated fats, excellent for cooking, what i usually use anyway...and try not to bake with coconut oil like i obsessively did. now i'm using safflower and canola for baking because olive oil is a bit too...let's call it too peppy for baking.

note: you should know by now i'm not a doctor and you are absolutely stupid if your own bad cholesterol is dangerously high and you refuse to do anything about it through diet-change, drugs, or both.

so hello, i'm cutting out my beloved coconut oil, alright?! it's not like i have a reserved booth at mcdonald's.
however, i stand by the fact that coconut oil makes a very nice base for all natural sunscreen.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

kelly has it DOWN~

i love kelly kunik's type 1 blog.
pleasepleaseplease read this post by her. it is perfectly lovely and true in every way possible.
even though your pancreas is... misadventurous, know that you're doing your best, you matter, and there are many who love and understand what you deal with everyday in the DOC!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


i've been really 'off the map' this summer.
i'll just state the facts:
i felt drained.
so lately i'd been really contemplating my emotional state with this disease and also many other futuristically-inclined fertility and children and type 1 diabetes and natural birth.
(ya, don't freak out. you must know by now i'm a healthnut, right?)
so i first started thinking about balance. (i'll get into what i'm learning about birth options/advocacy in other posts.) for now though, i felt like i lacked some of that good balance-stuff.
yesterday i saw an acupuncturist for the first time in a long while and while i found her to be a person unaware of what exactly type 1 is (autoimmune, here we go again) i think all of the meridian points she chose to address really did some good. my sugars are usually in good balance with a good A1c, but we all know that test is just a little bit problematic (standard deviation, anyone?)
but i've barely needed any insulin today. the only reason i think it's related to my appointment yesterday is that i usually need to start increasing my doses a bit as i head towards ovulation, and i'm not. it went down. weird. you can laugh if you want, but i think there's a direct correlation.
i actually saw her for stress and to just 'open' myself as we begin to try to start our family---in the next year. preparation. paranoia. preventive medicine. call it what you like, i just want to be the healthiest i can be when we go down that road.
i've always had a soft spot for chinese medicine ever since i took my first course in massage therapy school. it helped that it was taught by a super-genius-amazing-integrative DOM (doctor of oriental medicine.) she really had a way of explaining things from both the western and eastern perspectives. i still feel the memory of how that class blew me away, even with how much i've learned on my own since taking it. and it's still a profession i consider, even while being completely dependent upon western medicine---which i love and appreciate (thank you, frederick banting!) ah, the reality behind true integrative healthcare; what wonders it works! i'd love to be that person to people someday.
but for now, for the first time, i'm taking care of me. it's even hard for me to say those words. i feel selfish just saying them. but i know that i can't really help others if i'm not in a good place myself, and right now in my life i'm trying to address some of those deep desires (like children) and family (of my own, with no 'conditional love', like the family i was raised in) and making good, whole foods for those i love.
i guess what i'm trying to get at is, if you can do just some small, holistically focused health care for yourself, try it. get a massage--even if only once a month (i've plenty of clients who can only afford it this often) or a good belly-breathing session, or seeing an acupuncturist. it really makes you zone-in, instead of out, so that you can be introspective and slow down and balance out. your thoughts become clearer, and i promise it will even have wholesome physiological effects.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

flipping it on its head~

it's been a rough summer.
the last of my endogenous beta cell function is so officially gone now.
man, dawn phenomenon has been really, really fun. and of course, the cortisol i must be releasing due to taking over full-time summer classes has really helped the insulin resistance.
i know, i need to stop complaining. my everyday averages are still holding at what comes out to about 6.2% for my A1c, but you know how it goes when you see the averages increasing...increasing...increasing.
this is not a very positive post!
but you know what?

on a positive note (LOL)
it really hit me this summer how much more aware of my body i am---in a way that most will never be:
diabetes teaches you when to say when.
and i used to live like that was a bad thing! it was always,

so sad!
and ya, it feels pretty pathetic sometimes to admit that this disease came into my life, affecting every thing i put into my mouth, every stresser i experience, every exercise activity i participate in...and more, but the truth is, i've learned to be kinder to myself. to be grateful for how much more i am aware of what goes into my body, what i allow to affect me, and in reality; just how far i can push myself in ways i never knew i could.
we live in a culture that does not know how to walk the fine line between being kind to oneself and pushing oneself. people seem to be one extreme or the other.

i think having diabetes has taught me how to walk this fine line i myself crossed one too many times before i got diagnosed. a sad way to learn, and man, did i learn it this summer!
i know it wasn't a punishment.
rather, i try to look at it as a very strange, serendipitous.... opportunity.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

hit me today~

that sometimes i just need to take my own damn advice.
end of story.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

running with needles~

someone asked me recently if i ever ask "why" and i said, "sure i do. all the time.
but there comes a point when you stop feeling sorry for yourself."
then today i asked why.
i looked at the big beautiful woman of a desert sky and i cried out as loud as my heart could scream,
and you know what someone said to me today specifically?
"if it was anyone else it wouldn't have meant as much to them."
i felt a pang initially.
but he was right.
some of us type 1's certainly go down the road of anger and depression. i've met them. the resent oozes out of them.
but others are like light. they don't retreat. they smile and spread and share and have found a way to make it work. this doesn't mean they're the extroverted loud-mouthed funny guy everybody can't get enough of. the type 1....representative of all. nope.
they're just them, inspiring everybody around them in their very own way.
and i'm just me.
we all carry our story around. the one that describes the day we got diagnosed and how everything and nothing and everything in between...changed.
so i philosophize everyday the meaning of all of this.
i am a walking dichotomy.
it's so painful sometimes i can't breathe. especially when dealing with the diabetes police, the people who know nothing about type 1 autoimmune-based cause, and of course, you can't forget the ones who think you just ate too many skittles or something...ya, i didn't try hard enough.
but other times i am proud. proud of my ability to buck up. proud of my ability to rise above such an unforgiving process of day-to-day living. proud of who i am; who i've become.
you should know that even though you are one of the 3 million who have type 1 diabetes, you are one in 3 million.
your story matters. your story is your own.
you can still do it all and live the life of your dreams.
i'm attempting to continue that this summer. i try so hard it makes me cry. but dammit, i'm not giving up.
i'm gonna keep running, even with these damn needles.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

adapting to change~

so the seattle trip was a success. not a no-trouble-at-all-success, but a small victory in the sense that traveling (from my understanding) can be cause for anxiety for many type 1's. it became a metaphor for adapting to change!
and ya, it was rough at first. i had to manage some pretty bad morning highs (low 200's every morning i was there until the last day, actually) most likely due to lantus/novolog overlap issues...or, in all honesty, late night eating issues: i cannot eat very late at night and especially not dessert (boo!) unless i want my a.m reading to royally suck. and ya, we had a weird eating schedule (duh, vacation!) and enjoyed many a late-night italian cafe tiramisu, organic icecream with friends, and french dessert fixes to boot. oi!
my 30 day averages still managed to maintain at 117, but i think that's because the rest of the day i managed to just stay on top of it, and ya, try to eat as best as i could: lots of ethnic food was on our yummy-to-eat-list anyway, so that helped, considering the way most people in the rest of the world eat is uh, not the american way of but you know, it's hard. a lot of the fun of vacation is getting to try new desserts and food and just lazying off your regular schedule. so....
i posted this little image i found (courtesy of because i found it to be perfect as far as true adaptation goes. my little trip---only a few days, and west (which is the easier of the time changes on the blood glucose because you gain hours rather than losing them) was a good first lesson in how to what i would say initiate (attempt something such as a trip for learning) how to adapt in order to ultimately stabilize again. then, it all comes together so you feel braver, [somewhat] more spontaneous, and shall we say...normal (?!) i was so determined not to let myself get completely out of [glucose] control so i could literally stay feeling good, but also, so that i could actually enjoy the fun that vacationing lots of exercise and laughing and dancing and socializing. that's all good for the BG!! it hit me that everything in our lives always balances out in the end. my body truly was stabilizing by the 5th day we were there. and we were only there 5 days, so it got me thinking that sometimes all we really do need is time. i thought, "i know this in general in my life, why wasn't i willing to just apply it so easily here, too? i'm always saying to people, 'give it time'!"
time to plan it, initiate it, adapt to it, and we do every day, all day. we can do it! i feel i can take a trip anywhere now and know that all will eventually be well. we know it always is. it may take a little extra time and patience, but it doesn't have to stop you from say, kayaking. things might take a little extra monitoring, but to be sure, in a few days things will always work themselves out. i actually find it kinda funny that i still sometimes fear trusting this basic fact of life when it comes to my blood sugar.
even if i do the harder of the two time changes next time (go east, young woman with type 1 diabetes!) i know i'm now taking baby steps toward....someday going back to africa to continue community health work!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

cozying up to it~

so much has kept me busy: i graduated with my BA, am moving on towards medicine, have been working like crazy---especially for our little trip to seattle this week (anyone up there wanna give me some fun ideas?) and have just been enjoying gardening, reading and relaxing.

      it's amazing how taking my mind off my BG a bit has worked wonders for it!  i think some of it is that i've finally 'plateaued' with it.  not like i'm never going to struggle again, i just mean it's so weird how my 30 day averages seem to have just come down on their own because i slid off on logging every number, every dose.  and i have to say, i haven't had too many bad numbers as a result.  honestly though, i 've been lucky throughout this whole first-year-after-diagnosis; i bounced back and in control relatively quickly.  but you all know the worrying that comes with dealing with t1 can really begin to consume you if you're not careful.  sigh. the fine line between tight control and being OCD about it, eh? lol. 
      guess i'm just saying that it's great to finally relax a bit.  it's here to stay, but i'm healthier, more self-aware, more reflective in such a balanced way than i've ever been in my life.  so strange!  i can hardly describe it at times.  it's like a strange blessing that arrived in an old beat up basket.  instead of making me into a basket case though, i feel like it's turned into a beautiful little gift; a bit of that 'insider info' we all wish we could have in life sometimes.  i think i've got some now and i'm at peace more than i've ever been. 


Saturday, May 9, 2009

herbalist class~

i can't even begin to rave enough about my herbalist class.  marylou singleton is one of the most dynamic, integrated, amazing women i have ever encountered. she's a complex pioneer, unafraid to mix the best of both worlds (allopathic, biophysical medicine, with traditional natural therapeutics approaches.)  she's also got the greatest laugh, super contagious!
    i'm learning so much in this course about the body; not only in healing the root cause of an illness, but also tonifying and rebalancing it.
it's made up of a group of ladies who all have different backgrounds and interests, but all of us have that one thing in common: we are fascinated by the healing properties of plants.  also, we are learning about relationships with plants.  i know some people might find this weird, but i was never taught to view the plant and animal world this way; and let me just say it is very moving and healing in itself.  i see scarlet globemallow, mallow neglecta, and wild lettuce everyday on my way to the university and it's like, "hey you! just hanging out waiting to heal us!"  
     something about merely talking about plant medicine all these years bugged me, and so i've realized with this class that it was the missing relationships!  when we took our first herb walk with supermarylou, everytime she showed us a new plant: valerian, clematis, rosehips, sweet sicily....this deep urge came over me to actually greet the plant.  finally! nice to meet you!  i've heard so much about you!  hysterical! 
     i feel so blessed in my life right now. i'm graduating, i'm really healthy with my type 1, my garden's taken off, all of that joy that used to define me now defines me again, and now i'm developing healing relationships with other species (who are never malicious or twisted or have hidden agendas like some people i'm dealing with this year, ouch.)

now go munch on some lemonbalm!

Monday, April 20, 2009

we are giants~

isaac newton said,
"if i have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants".
however, i say this:
you are the giant.

stand on your own, see for yourself. grow yourself into that giant.
it means no one carries you on their shoulders to see; it means your view will be that much more rewarding, because it will be your own.
your own hard fought views, your own hard fought truths. your own hard fought life.
it came to me today, when i read isaac's words:

i am a goddamned giant.

no one will take away my view of this beautiful world; demanding i see it only from theirs, subjecting myself, submitting myself, selling out to make someone feel better about their twisted, sorry self.

life is not a competition;
there are many cracks and crevasses up the mountain;
we each have our own side to climb.
when we finish, we can only sit and share our journey with one another.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

on colds and eating clean~

so i had a pretty bad cold this past week.
    my first time 'officially being sick', since uh, GETTING type 1 last year, of course....
    not too bad!  i mean, other than the feeling of niagra falls being constipated inside my sinus cavity.  but my neti pot took care of that.
    but i was really nervous about being sick for the first time with type 1, to be sure it's much worse with the stomach flu (my poor type 1 friend, lisa!) because then you've actually got something really serious to worry about: ketoacidosis.  however, dehydration and vomiting were not on my list of worries this time 'round, so thank goodness for that, eh? 
   however, since i've always eaten 'superclean' whenever i've gotten colds, this time was no different.  but i definitely noticed something different:  i got to see my blood sugars, right?  and as this one doc said, "if there's any advice she can give to anybody (diabetic and nondiabetic alike) regarding health:  keep the blood sugar in balance. 
   whew!  i had no problems!  and it's not because i ate like a rabbit.  feed a cold, starve a fever, as they say, no?  
   well, i did eat a lot, but as i said, i ate really 'clean', as i call it:  tons of veggies, broths, herb teas...and no dairy or refined sugar.  
   as we all well know though, you can't avoid the simple fact that all food, eventually (even a bit of that protein in your chicken) turns into glucose, or at least has an intimate relationship with it. because everything is about fuel; everything you eat is about energy, and that energy is all about glucose. 
but wow, i gotta tell ya, really taking that extra precaution, really taking care to avoid the junky-junk... was simply amazing for my blood sugar!
  by the way, 'the nourishing gourmet' offers sound advice we could all use regarding health and hydration during a bad cold...not just for kids.   superb broths!
   of course, it's hard.  (it's not like i'm headed to raw-foodie land, friends).  and not because i'm some kind of refined-sugar-dairy-frappacino-fried-food-addict.  it's just the idea of leeway, right?  because i had that cold, i didn't feel a lot of leeway simply because i felt ill.  i wanted only herb tea and fresh greens and soups and lean meats.  but now...sigh.  now i'm back to craving some hazelnut coffee in the morning.  now i want some cookies.  (even if they are 'organic'---what does that mean, anyway?!) 
but that cold really put my overall health into perspective. 
    and i always think i eat so well.  people always tell me how amazed they are at how well i eat.
it makes me laugh, because as my honey's mom said:
"there's no such thing as a 'diabetes diet', there is only a 'healthy diet', and we should all be on it!" 
so true!  certain fats, sugars, and forms of cooking should really be viewed as treats (or cut out completely, oi!) because the inevitable spike in BG a person experiences, is just not worth the stress caused in trying to 'keep up' when eating foods like that.  there are so many other options! 
    so, i learned something new.  not new, something was just... reinforced.  we'll see how long my 'lesson' lasts, eh?  haha, i'll be honest and tell you i had some chocolate coconut milk ice cream after dinner tonight and it was damn good. (better than regular ice cream, right? by the way, you should try it...super yummy!)
   ultimately, what i'm trying to say is that i agree with good ole' michael pollan: 
                           "eat real food.  not too much.  mostly plants!"

Monday, March 30, 2009

i'm fighting the pump~

i know, everyone tells me "once you get on the pump, you'll wonder how you ever lived without it."  
but to be hooked up like that picture you see there....i'm not there yet. 
ya, it's not that bad, but to me, it's that bad:
cyborgish, in a sense. that's how much i shut down when it's suggested by my endo and my cde.
    in medtronic and animas' ads they're all like, "on one side you've got your pump infusing insulin, on the other, you've got your continuous glucose monitor checking your blood sugar every minute."  hmmm, not so much, i say.  sorry, just not feeling the "excitement!!"
but this technology that would be attached to me (helping me no doubt)...i'm still not ready for it. 
and believe me, this has nothing to do with vanity.
to be honest, i'm not having any real problems: my last A1c was great, i manage my highs and lows well. but i've gotta tell ya, exercising and eating certain foods and the monitoring that goes with staying on top of that is certainly frustrating. but i'm fighting the pump because like Dee, my sweet diabetes educator said, "when you go on the pump, i think that's when it really hits you that you've got it."  on some level, i'm still associating the pump with imprisonment by my disease, and yet all the info out there---including from members of the online diabetes community---say it's what frees you.
but i'm not there yet. 
someday, to be sure, i will be.  i've always been a gal who adapts well: i take my time, think things through, really ruminate my thoughts and feelings.  never been rushed or easily pressured.  i just do my thing. because when i make a decision, i am strong and devoted to giving it my best shot.  and honestly, that's all that's going on here.  
so for now, it's just me and peabody and my needles and insulin vials, without any other friends along for the uh, already crazy ride

Thursday, March 19, 2009

on spring lettuce and herbs and pistachio pudding~

      after my somewhat melancholic type 1 first anniversary---i can't lie, i indeed moped around a bit the early part of the day.  it didn't help that the weather was windy and sullen; so i let myself feel it, take it in, chew on it...and then i proceeded to spit the sadness out as the day went on because i realized (i know, i know: i'm forever going on about finding joy and laughter despite disease...and any disease, not just mine!) that well,  i'm alive.  maybe it's stupid that i like to think about this fact most of us take for granted, but i sure as hell don't.  i was raised in a way that made one feel that we should really be more concerned with what happens after life. as far as i'm concerned, this is it, i'm loving it, and no one will ever be able to prove anything different to me because, well, you're not dead yet, either.  so let's stop with the bullshit and start skipping. 
    that was right about when i took my too-sad-to-smile-photo you see here and moved on.  i then began to think about my urban spring garden that will be full of container pots: lettuces, arugula (mmm, spicy!) gorgeous japanese eggplants, cherry tomatoes, cukes, and drying herbs in my new little shed in the fall after taking my awesome community herbalist class with ms. mary lou singleton this spring.  she was a student of the incredible michael moore (uh no, not the director.)  he just passed away, so mary lou is kindly sharing his anarcho-herbalism philosophy of medicinal botanicals with the world...well, albuquerque.  i'm so lucky!  

then i started craving pistachio pudding.

(ya, this post is officially tangential.)
so i found an amazing homemade recipe for it on this gal's super blog.  i adjusted it a bit, of course due to sugar content:
-you can substitute agave nectar -about 1/2c to 1c due to its naturally intense sweetness (which comes out to 48-128 carbs for the total recipe.)  divided by the 4 servings, that's 12-32 carbs per serving, depending on how much you add.  basically, it's 8 carbs per tablespoon, so just multiply.
-erythritol; cup for cup. (you'll have to order it online; i like the company 'NOW'.)  but since my palate is healthily changed to no longer crave/like/need too much sweetness (hand over the turkish coffee!) i always eyeball it lower.  remember, erythritol has been shown to have no impact on blood sugar (and i use it all the time so i can tell you: it's the truth!)  i think it's pretty sweet, so don't overdo it in my humble birdy opinion.
-instead of milk, you can use unsweetened almond milk.  if you use the unsweetened vanilla almond milk, you do not need as much of your choice sweetener! 

and there you will have a super snack, homemade so you know exactly what's in it and therefore exactly how much insulin to take.  the best part though is that it's really good for you and your friends, too! 

oh ya, and i have the most amazing friends (they are what i call "my family tribe".)  on my type 1 anniversary they held a surprise party where we all confused the waitress with our talk of 'peabody crapping out' cried and laughed and giggled and ate cheesecake.  the best part though of course, was feeling so loved and accepted by such amazing people...


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

poetry: ahora vivo! (now i live!)

now i live because this week last year i almost died. 
now i live because on march 6th 2008 i finally stopped being stubborn and went to the student health center.
now i live because i was given what my body could no longer make for itself: insulin.
now i live because my life is not promised to me everyday, it is injected if only i choose to make that commitment every single day.
now i live because i am surrounded by deeper friendships, new friendships, and rekindled friendships that have all rejuvenated me.
now i live because my life has deeper meanings than i could have ever imagined; meanings that drive and inspire me to re-evaluate my life and be as strong and yet as flexible as the trees.
now i live because i want to, not because i have to, or because i take waking up every morning for granted.  
now i live because for the first time in my life, i'm aware of my age.  i am turning 29, and i feel it in my back, my right knee, my left ankle.  
but now i live.  now i live because i still walk and breathe and talk and laugh and eat and love and cry and take care of myself.  type 1 diabetes has not incapacitated me so much that i cannot still work towards studying medicine so that i can help take care of others.  
"to whom much is given, much is expected."  

Monday, February 16, 2009

open up wide~

whew!  i am seriously starting to get overwhelmed with trying to make a decision about what to do after i graduate in may.  i have so many options, which i am trying to view as a positive thing; it would be really snobby of me not to acknowledge the fact that having my bachelor's is opening up a lot of roads for me, regardless of however i might feel about those roads.
sigh, "the road not taken", right? 
such as:
-i could do grad school in community health.  this is  a nice option considering how much i loved doing it in africa; let alone the possibilities regarding disease management model design, educating marginalized communities to empower themselves....however, it will take almost 3 years; therefore pulling me away from my true love (sorry, matthew): clinical medicine.  hands on, people! 

-matt's mom suggested grad school in social work.  this was actually appealing because it really is hands-on in that i could work in a hospital, helping families in emotionally and financially difficult situations to access the proper networks and resources.  however, it also would take 3 years (i'm trying to plan for a kid, people!!) be entirely full-time, and again: it's still not treatment based; i really like medicine!!

-the 'nurse to doctorate in family medicine' track.  this one seems to appeal to me the most because i could take the fast track to a second bachelor's (in nursing, of course, but wow! the advisor informed me it would only take me a bit over a year!  ah-hem, this is all because i took the entire pre-med track, arrrrrgh! then i could just apply to the schools i like that carry the doctorate for family nurse practitioners after we start a little fam-fam.  oi!  but here's a problem:  how will i continue in my love of natural therapeutics studies? i guess there's always ceu's....
but bend-bend-bendable birdy!  i always find a way, since i'm self-taught in most things au naturale medecine, haha.

    i have no idea why i just blogged about this, lol.  maybe because it's why i've not been an 'interesting blogger' of late.  gosh, in this economy, with this disease, with these academic concerns...i know i'm not the only one!  i know i could do a multitude of things and be happy; that's just the kind of person i am.  i don't complain a lot, i love people, and i love to learn.  i do hate being bored, being around overly negative people that have no reason to be, and not feeling like i'm doing something meaningful.  that's why i like medicine so much: you get to be really present to people. 
     but it's been hard this year, i won't lie.  i'm so glad i've learned to become a tree the last few years; we really are meant to be like them: strong but swaying.  having to truly learn the art of flexibility and compromise...all while finding a way to stay true to professional and personal goals.  it was nice to find out before going to med school this fall though, as that would've royally sucked ass to have to be making decisions like, "should i stay or should i go?  all the while thinking, 'jesus h.christ, do you even know how hard i worked to get here?!"  
    now i'm happy to just be re-thinking and re-organizing my life so that i can do everything like having kids, managing my type 1, studying medicine, and still make time for travel, humanitarian work, language studies, dancing, and learning the harmonica! 

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


    well, i had to increase my lantus (long-acting insulin dose you take once a day) dose.  it mimics the human body's basal (base-line release every body does with insulin) quite well.  i'm lucky, cos i have a friend who did not  respond to lantus at all.  
    here i am, under the full realization that i was truly honeymooning (my pancreas was still releasing its last bit of insulin for me) over the last year.   i won't lie, it's hard watching an organ lose function.  maybe i'm just emotional right now for other reasons, but i really do get teary-eyed sometimes!  it's like, "cut it out!"  i haven't enjoyed watching my pancreas slowly 'die'; of course it's not dying, peabody's just.....not functional.
    but what does that mean? functional.   it's a word we americans use a lot, no?  overall, i am functional.  i am a functioning member of society.  i have functional relationships with some people; and dysfunctional relationships with others. 
    my immune system does not have a functional relationship with my pancreas.
it really is an emotional time, to have to increase doses, to correct highs and lows, to acknowledge that for instance, the 90 you went into a lecture hall with may leave you at 150 simply because you had to give a nerve-wracking presentation to your colleagues.  ah,  the things we type 1's get to see happening in ourselves. 
whatever the case, i increased my lantus dose last night and woke up to an excellent morning sugar; my first good one in a couple of weeks, really.  the day's numbers went well, too.  funny, i am eternally grateful for the discovery and use of insulin, but that 1 unit dose, it's just gets to me because of how deep it hits, how much of a painful reminder it can be that...i am now my pancreas.