Little Steps in my Journey!

I am a list person!  For me, they are energizing, profitable, and heck… just lots of fun!  This list, is not one that will be crossed off, but rather laminated and used for wallpaper in my house!

Ben and I were driving this weekend,  and he helped me come up with a list of things I have been doing lately.  I am sure I will need help to remember them!  I also hope that they will be a to other diabetics out there longing for a lower a1c reading.  Mine went from 8.7 to 6.7 in 6 months!  Big news for this “most-of-my-life-in-the-double-digits” girl!

I made lots of changes in these areas…

My Pump

  • I changed it every 3 days instead of waiting until day 4 or 5.  This means I used more supplies, but the absorption is much better this way.
  • I used new areas for my pump instead of the same stomach locations; again, this also allows for better absorption.
  • I made use of both the “dual” and “square” bolus options.
  • I made adjustments to my evening basal rate.  I did not need a doctor to tell me what I was seeing was a pattern.  I trusted myself and did it!

My CGM

  • I faithfully wore my Continuous Glucose Monitor!  In the past, I would take it off and plan to put it back on in a day or two.  I NEED the constant feedback.  I would only take it off if I had time to changes sites RIGHT THEN.  If not, I did not take it off!
  • I changed the “low” and “high” settings on my CGM so I am notified the minute things start moving in the wrong direction.

My Highs & Lows!

  • I only correct with Skittles, and occasionally a spoon of peanut butter.   Before, I would use a “low” as an excuse to eat anything I had been eyeing up in the kitchen.. now, I only allow myself to use Skittles because I can predict how my body will respond to them.
  • My body has slowly become more used to the 70-90 range.  Before, I would correct if it were headed into the 70s.   I now feel pretty comfortable there, and feel no reason to correct, especially if a meal is right around the corner.

My Diet

  • I have read about health and diet recently.  Literally, thousands of pages… the most helpful have been a book called “Trim Healthy Mama” by Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett and also the “500 Low Carb Recipes” cookbook by Dana Carpender.  I also read a few doosies concerning low-carb living, but I won’t mention those!
  • I had a total epiphany about the correlation between blood sugar and diet.  It’s so simple, I don’t know why I never realized it before: if I don’t eat high carbs, my blood sugar can’t go high.   (Take a moment to laugh if you’re diabetic… because you know that there really is not way to say “can’t” about high blood sugar.)  I can’t prevent it, but I can at least have the science on my side!
  • Armed with this knowledge, I decided to eat generally low-carb, including little low carb switches.  The list merits its own post… so come back for that!
  • I try to limit myself to 30 carbs a day.  Generally spaced out evenly: 10, 10, 10 at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • I do not snack on carbs.  Only at meals.
  • I do not eat carbs after 8.  For me, I have learned that if I eat any carbs late at night, I WILL have high blood sugar at night, regardless of how much insulin I take.
  • No food vacation days.  Before, I would say I probably took a little diabetes diet hiatus about once a week.. it just is not worth feeling sick!
  • I started weighing and measuring my dinner as I make my lunch.
  • I round up with I count carbs.
  • I am also trying to take insulin early if I know that I will be enjoying something higher in carbs than I usually have.
  • I keep almonds or walnuts in my purse for snacking
  • There is more to say on this, but I will stop here for now… :)

My Holiday

  • Celebrations being so prevalent in the past months, I had to rethink how I celebrate.
  • I had my first cookie exchange without eating a single cookie.  Whew.. that was rough!  I almost stayed home.  Glad I didn’t!
  • I can remember the two Christmas cookies I allowed myself to enjoy: a  Scottish Shortbread Cookie and a round little powdered sugar shortbread morsel.  Can you tell I love shortbread.  Please don’t ever bring Sandies to my house.  I will not be able to contain myself.
  • I tried to tell people ahead of time if I thought that I would need something different to eat or if I would not be eating at a gathering.  Sometimes this is appropriate, and sometimes it is unnecessary.
  • I tried to not think of the holidays in terms of food.  I actually went to my Grandma Drendel’s house without eating her thumbprint cookies.  It was hard!  So hard, but I knew that ONE would not be enough.  But you know what?  I still had a wonderful time with my Grandma Drendel & family.  I don’t need special food to celebrate!  I need special people! :)

My Team

  • One word: BEN!  He has been my biggest cheerleader throughout this whole process!  He literally said to me as I was trying to make wise eating choices, “Bri, if we spend all of our savings on groceries so you can figure this out, then that’s what we’re gonna do.  Get what you need!”  He has trusted me and supported me, and he is one of God’s most supreme gifts to me.
  • I have joined many diabetic Facebook pages.  They are SO helpful.  I wish I had found these about… oh, ten years ago.
  • My only true strength is Christ.  Anything right I ever want to do is from Him.  I am elated when I consider Him, grounded when I look to Him, and strengthened when fall before Him.

Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness. Ps 115:1

This list is long and fractured, but it is some of the things that have been helpful for me recently.  I really needed to write some of them down.  The more I write, the more solidified it becomes in my heart.  I hope to continue to chronicle the journey.  I have been learning so much!  I can’t wait to share it with you!

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Resolved to a Relationship.

Have I bitten off more than I can chew?

You know all those “really fun” camp games where the announcer just asks for two volunteers and creates lots of hype surrounding the mystery activity–“someone is going to have more fun than a cat with a McDonald’s ball-place amount of yarn spheres, and it could be you who has all this fun!”  So you jump up and down and you cheer and you scream till your lungs shake and you try to contain your excitement when it is in fact you who is chosen?  There you are–up in front of everyone–ready to represent your team–anxious to find out what feat you must perform and be crowned victor for your team.  And suddenly, the stage hands bring out a circle of golden-crusted blueberries–a pie eating contest.  Yuck, you think to yourself.  I didn’t come to camp to snarf down baked goods.  It will be embarrassing to be up here in front of everyone devouring this lump of sugar and berries. I’m going to look ridiculous.  I do NOT want to do this and I DON’T want to be seen doing this.  Why did raise my hand again?  Why did I shout and jump up and down and draw attention to myself?  Why did I ask my friends to point at me and jump up and down and shout and draw attention to me?  Because now, here I am, all in front of everyone, on the brink of dashed expectations and disappointment.  Maybe I should have just sat in the crowd and let them choose someone else.  Someone more qualified and skilled at eating pie.  Someone who enjoys eating pie.  Someone who would not let the team down.  

Have I bitten off more that I can chew? 

      Well team, this is where I’m at (minus like everything involving camp). I’m feeling like I can’t do it.  And  now I have to fail in front of everyone!  I’m feeling like, “why did I draw attention to this?”  “Why didn’t I just keep my head down and try to figure this out on my own?”  In some ways, I love the pressure of people knowing about my diabetes and where I’m at.  I love the prayers and encouragement when I go to an appointment or as I’m trying out some new equipment.  But here, up in front of everyone, (the whole virtual world–theoretically, though I know just a little corner of my world reads this) I don’t want to let the team down!  By this, I don’t mean that I have thrown in the towel and I’m “NOT DOING THIS ANYMORE!”  I do mean that I feel very exposed and aware that others want me to be successful–“eat the pie, so we can win, Briana!  We’re all watching!”

My expectations of myself have been rather high.  I thought, go see a good doctor, have some accountability, (this blog, for instance) and a good attitude, and you’ll beat this thing!  I do have a systematic plan to work through, but I feel like I’m caught on number 3 in a list of 50!  I still hold on to this mentality that I need to balance all of it in perfect harmony (meal plans, diet, exercise, schedule, carb counting)  or I can do none of it.  My all-or-nothing personality and great if I’m in ALL mode.  It is so difficult for me to be satisfied with some success.  I haven’t let on how difficult the nutritionists’ suggestions have been to follow through and do!  I have only been successful to eat 45 carb meals at breakfast.  I have eaten a few lunches and dinners with a conscious effort to count carbs, but for most others I have been on the run or just not in the mood to eat and/or count!  Ugh.  So, I find myself wondering, do I need, like, smaller goals?  Do I just need to suck it up and DO IT?

I want to take some time to think about this.  I just wanted to let you know where I am at.

Meanwhile, my goal for tomorrow is to check before and after each meal and eat 45 carbs at 2 meals (at least).

Please don’t get the idea that I am super discouraged.  I’m not.

I just wish it were as easy as starting a blog and seeing a good doctor.

This can only be accomplished in a strength that is not my own.

A commitment that seeks for more than good health, but also obedience.

And a resolve to a relationship, not merely a “better living” resolution.

Wait a minute, I know JUST where to find those things! 

Jots and Tittles

I have been frightfully silent for the past week, though many things to say have been whirling around in my head!  I actually went to Starbucks with the intention of writing on the Wednesday after the hurricane.  BIG MISTAKE!  When I got there I remembered that all schools had been cancelled and half the city was without the internet.  It was packed.  After the Barista called, “tall, extra-hot, upside-down caramel macchiato” (my heart fills with joy at the mention of it!) I stood there with two bags and looked kinda sweet but also pathetic in hopes someone would want to rescue me from my seatless plight, but they were all too busy drinking their favorite drinks and typing on their computers to notice! I even entertained the idea of sitting outside on the cold, wet patio furniture, but sense seized me and I headed back to the car.  That is a very long and somewhat dramatic tale, all to say, writing has been on my mind, but not the top of my to-do.

Last week was sensational!  Using the CGM was literally all that it was “cracked up to be!”  Constant feedback is so helpful and encouraging.  It also, undoubtedly, leads to much better control.  I did have to write everything down last week.. everything.  Mood, activity levels, snacks, meals, carb counts, stress levels, (who can tell??) and anything else I thought relevant.  I was dreading it a little, but it just became part of my routine and I didn’t mind it.  I didn’t love it, but I didn’t mind it.  There was satisfaction in knowing that my jots and tittles would help my doctor help me.    I was able to talk to a Dexcom representative that it trying to help us figure out how my insurance would cover a Dexcom CGM for me–I gave her all the information a thought I knew only to find out later that I didn’t actually know it.  From now on, I think I’ll pass those calls along to Ben.  He’s on top of that stuff! (Thanks, Honey!)  Basically, as soon as I get a hold of this lady again, I should have a Dexcom as soon as the US Postal service can accommodate–with no cost to us personally. This is another reason to PRAISE GOD for Ben’s job even though the hours are difficult to handle sometimes.  God has perfectly guided our steps here.  I am thankful for the whole picture even though I can only see a corner of it right now.

“The heart of the man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.”

Proverbs 16:9 ESV

I would not choose even some of the steps in the current stage of my journey.  I want what I want because I want it–I want it to be different–and I want it NOW! But when God gently reminds me that He wants the ultimate best for me–His best–I can rejoice in the stages of life He brings.  He truly is my Good Shepherd!

“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside still waters.

He restores my soul.

He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil,

for You are with me;

your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

You anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

ALL the days of my life,

and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

Psalm 23 ESV

I must not let the familiarity of these words breed contempt!  He leads, protects, cares and provides for, and gives goodness and mercy to me.

  Following where He leads is an amazing privilege and honor. 

He is a joy to follow.