Happy Frappie!

Well, to celebrate a happy appointment today, I decided to be BAD! I wanted to indulge a little…. Chocolate, coffee, coconut….. You know what I’m talking about… Velvety deliciousness. Am I saying these things out loud on a diabetes blog??

…. Or did I?

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My delicious Treat was inspired by the Trim Healthy Mama book that I have mentioned before. It was only 7 carbs and completely delicious! Keifer, Whey protein powder, Hershey’s Dark Chocolate powder, ice, coconut milk, cold brewed coffee and Stevia to sweeten…. Plus a little secret ingredient called Glucomannan. When it mixes with Whey PP in my magical Ninja, it creates a frothy, fluffy deliciousness! In Trim Healthy Mama, it is suggested as a no carb thickener that can be used to make puddings, gravy, etc.. I love the addition. Best part…. Look what it did to my BG…

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Yay! I can have my chocolate and eat it too!! :).

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!

One-eyed, One-Horned, Flyin’ Purple People Eater!

…well, that’s what I was expecting anyway!  

The nutritionist actually ended up being a two-eyed, real, live, normal (as normal gets?) person!  She was kinda quarky and clearly much better at Math than I, and I liked her very much.  In my experience, I have not met so many encouraging, helpful diabetic support people.  Is Pennsylvania like a utopia of healthcare professionals?  Is Wisconsin a burying ground of sour-puss endocrinologists?  Maybe, just maybe, fault falls to the hearer–not the various tellers of information–for the previous negative experiences.  That hearer, of course, is this girl right here!  It is refreshing to be at a place in my heart where I can hear.  I know that this is the result of God’s loving, constant pursuit of my heart in this area.  I am truly thankful that He continues His work until it’s done!  (Phil. 1:7).  Thank you, Jesus!

Well, now that I am listening, what did I hear?  Is life as I know it done, or what?  Will I never look a chocolate cake in the face again? —- “Nutritionist” what a horribly super-negatively-charged title to have.

Dun.. dun… dun!

After I kinda laid out for her my history and my self-diagnosis, she proceeded to be very helpful.  YAY!  This is what we came to.  My doctor does not yet have a proper carbohydrate-to-insulin ratio for me.  When I eat food, my body has a special “sweet spot” (pun intended, I guess) when it comes to what I eat and how much insulin it takes to cover any given amount of carbs.   Carbs are like the holy grail to diabetics.  We live and die by this number.  What Lynn (this is how I will refer to my nutritionist for the remainder of the post) said was if  I could make some changes until we get that specific ratio figured out it would be very helpful.  At this point, she lost me a little with a lot of sciency-talk.  The goal is to eliminate as many variables as possible.  I cannot necessarily control stress or other contributing factors to glucose variation, but I can control the amount of carbs that I eat.  (Sometimes, I feel like I CAN’T, but I’m going with her theory on this!)  So, the game plan is this: for the next 2 weeks to a month I am going to eat the same amount of carbohydrates at each meal: 45.  This eliminates that variable.  As I follow this plan, my doctor and Lynn will be able to find my body’s specific ratios.  Then, whether I’m eating 20 carbs or 120 carbs, the ratio will be correct (theoretically).  This is not a forever thing, but it may be an until-the-end-of-the-year thing.  Of course, I’ll probably take a few vacation days during Thanksgiving and Christmas, but for the most part, day-in and day-out, I’m going to be eating 45 carbs at each meal.  (If for some reason you find yourself in possession of some great 45-carb per meal recipes, comment!)

This will not be easy.  It seems simple enough–but, oh boy, this will not be easy.  To break it down for you, my daily eating looks like this: small, if that, breakfast.  Lunch is kinda my dinner meal with Ben.  Dinner is usually those Lipton cup-o-soups, if anything.  Then because I don’t eat or eat little, 9:30 pm is a mad (bad) dash to the pantry to find anything salty and/or sweet.  Not a perfect break down, but sadly, accurate enough.

I told Lynn this and she gave me some pointers.  Since I don’t like to cook dinner for just me, and I don’t always make lunch, (lots of soup here, people!) she suggested making two BIG meals a week that I can re-purpose later in the week.  She said, “Buy a rotisserie chicken; buy rice in the bag that you can throw in the microwave for a minute; buy those steamer bags!”  She added, “Anything you make can be dressed up the next day as a salad, a pizza, or a sandwich!”  Creative leftovers, I can do that.  The biggest concern for her is that I can go days without multiple food groups.  I stick to lots of yogurt and soup.  I went months without buying bread.  I thought the goal was no/low carb, but she said people should have 130 carbs a day at least.  I don’t want to burden you down with all the food nitty-gritty (not nutter-butter) details.  Big picture: I need to try to include 3 food groups at least at each meal and each consistent carb totals.

My goals:

– make a list of 3 breakfasts @ 45 carbs

-make a list of 3 lunches @ 45 carbs.

-make a list of 3 dinners @ 45 carbs.

~~This is a BIG one~~

ACTUALLY EAT THOSE MEALS

We are still waiting to hear back from the Dexcom representative that I accidentally gave the wrong insurance information to.  I’m sure the end of the year is busy for them because people want to purchase equipment before the new years’ deductible rolls over, but that’s exactly what we’re looking to do as well.  Would you pray with us that this could be figured out soon and I could have a Dexcom before January?

Get in a Row, Little Ducks!

As I have been testing over the past few days (yes 7+ times!) I have noticed a change in the way that I process my blood sugar readings.  I have been working hard to count carbs and know what I eat so I can cover for what I eat—and even still, sometimes the numbers aren’t exactly where they should be.  In the past, that would be so discouraging for me because I would think, “I did everything perfectly, how could this not be perfect??”  But now, when I have seen a high reading I think, “Well that wasn’t the right amount of insulin for that food–let’s make a note so I can change that next time.” (of course there are factors other than food like stress or illness or unknowns to take into account too!)   I see unexplained blood sugar readings as more of a problem for my doctor to help me solve or something that I can learn from instead of a personal judgment.

For many, many long years, I have struggled with thinking that a “good” number reading made me a good person and means that I did everything right that day; whereas a “bad” number made me feel guilty, frustrated, discouraged, and sad.  When honestly, blood sugar readings are fairly predictable with a fair amount of certainty, but there are unexplained, uncontrollable highs and lows.  I am not saying that highs and lows are outside of my control, because to a large degree, they are tethered to the decisions that I make with food and insulin coverage.  What I am saying is, I cannot get caught up in the few readings that are wandering off somewhere in no-man’s land.  In the myriad of times I have started again (or dreaded starting AGAIN) to really seriously control my diabetes, I thought that I needed to have every “plate” spinning perfectly: exercise, meal planning, testing blood sugar, doctor’s visits, eating healthy (and loving it!), sleep schedule (does this mean no sleeping in??  Gasp!) — and if I’m going to do all these things, I might as well do everything else in life right too like sending birthday cards to my relations, entertaining regularly, brushing and flossing 2x’s a day, keeping my nails painted, making meals for the sick, volunteering at church, etc… I mean, if I’m going to figure out diabetes, I probably need to figure out EVERYTHING while I’m at it.   It goes with out saying that I barely made it twenty minutes before I decided it was impossible.  I’m exaggerating slightly about all the things I try to figure out at once, but truly, only slightly.  For some reason, in my mind, everything will run together smoothly and fit, or out of frustration, I will ignore it and complete and under chaos will ensue.  Those seem to be the only choices.  If I’m going to do one thing right, I need to do ALL things right, or what’s the point?–that’s how I think.  That’s how my flesh thinks.  God says that I cannot, no matter how many ducks I get in a row, attain perfection.  In fact, He says the good I can do is like a “polluted garment”  (Isaiah 63:6).  And His love for me is not tied in any way to my performance.  He chose to love me while I was “dead in my sin” (Ephesians 2:5) knowing fully who I am from toe to tousle.  He didn’t choose me because of my goodness or despite my badness–He chose me because He wanted to!

“He predestined [chose] us for the adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will.”

(Ephesians 1:5 ESV)

It doesn’t stop there—God doesn’t just choose me and leave me be. He also promises to finish the good work He has begun in me.  (Philippians 1:6) Meanwhile, I need to remember that He will be the one that accomplishes it–not me and my mile-high recipe-for-discouragement checklists!