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?

20140124-221412.jpg

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…

20140124-222843.jpg

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

Advertisements

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!

Little Less Conversation…

… a little more action!

That’s right.  In the past 3 months, this blog has seen very little attention from me.  In the case that I have been silent on this blog, one of two fundamentally opposed things are taking place.  Option 1: I have fallen off the wagon into an abyss.  In this abyss, there is lots of cake.  And with my mouth so full of cake, I just can’t find my diabetic voice.  Option 2: I am grabbing that feisty diabetic bull by the horns and can’t be bothered to write about it.

Headed into the “holiday months,” I must confess, I was extremely nervous.  Last year, I was doing well up until those pesky pilgrims came out to share their cornucopias and pie, I fell into more of a rut.  That followed through Christmas and into January.  In February, I was bitterly assaulted by a sinus infection that left me on the couch for weeks.  (The plus side of this: watching the entire first season of Once Upon a Time.)  In March, I had my blood work done, and it was horrible.  I was very discouraged, because I knew that my heart had changed so much regarding diabetes, but it was not showing up in the labs.

THIS YEAR MUST BE DIFFERENT.

I must stop Post-Christmas Blood work from coming!  …But how?

Knowing the tendency to “relax” around the holidays, I determined to make the same choices over Christmas as I had been implementing already.

The bloodwork:  in. 

The results: Fantastic!  

My a1c is finally, for the first time in my whole diabetic existence, in a “normal” range.  For those familiar with the test, my number is 6.7.  I had not even dared to hope that it would be below the 7’s, but God’s gracious gift to me was much better than I anticipated.

Thank you, Jesus!

Hey, Where are YOU from?

Perfect & Fun

These are my people–this is “back where I come from.”  On the itinerary of my “personality passport” it says, “Hometown Perfection, Frequent Visitor of Fun Country.”

Ben and I took a personality quiz a while back–we answered questions about what pumped us up, what disappointed us, what made us crazy.   We also figured out things like our top motivations in life; not necessarily what you’re good at, but what you really enjoy.  I came to a startling conclusion while reviewing the results of the test: my personality’s “home country” as the lingo of the quiz labeled it, is FUN!  I want to hear “it’s gonna be SO AWESOME”  “You’re gonna love this!”

 “WOOHOO” is one of my favorite words!

Ben’s home country was PEACE.  He spends a majority of his time here.  A huge canyon of space separates his home country, Peace, from his favorite vacation spot, Perfection.  So, he’s a steady-eddy who likes things in order.  Agreed.  This quiz nailed it for my B.

When it comes to my favorite vacation spot, there is not a canyon of space between–more like a revolving door–because I spend so much time there.  Destination?  Perfect Country.

It was hilarious when we were talking to Paul, who helped us talk about the results of our quiz because he turned to me and said, “Do you ever feel that those countries (Perfection & Fun)  are at war?  And all of a sudden, SO MUCH made sense to me!  I often feel a conflict within me of competing desires.  “The things I want to do, I don’t! The things I don’t want to do, I do”  comes to mind.  Everyone has the flesh v. spirit conflict within them, but this is not what I’m talking about here.  There is nothing inherently better or less sinful about either of these dispositions, they just don’t tango together very well.

I can clearly see how each of these sides to my personality take over at different times.  Some days, my house is picture-perfect.  Everything is neat and orderly.  Picturesque.  Other times, even days (Moments?)  later, there is chaos!  I like both because usually chaos = crafts.  :)  But some days, I just love the crazy mess.  Other days, I long for the order.

Perfect & Fun

I see this being especially frustrating in my journey with Diabetes.  I have spent some weeks recently being meticulous with carb counting, testing, meal times, and collecting data.  I loved those weeks.  It was fulfilling to put myself into something completely.  I felt great!  I had energy and strength.  I slept well, and I was happy to be doing something meaningful.  BUT those two weeks were SO HARD!  I was able to do it because I knew there was an end.  I was collecting data for a specific dr. appointment, so I knew the end was in sight.

I can live in Perfect Country with Diabetes.

As long as I can hop a plane to Fun any time I want.  But that’s not how Perfect works, is it?

It’s War.

I am currently in the process of processing this.

Today, I’m thankful because…

Today, my body is in full revolt.  Let me explain where this mutiny originated.  Ugh.  Over Christmas, I had the flu, followed by a school week of general yuckinesses when it comes to energy–basically the desire to do anything other than lounge about pretending to be the Queen of Sheba.  After this stint of feigned royalty, I went to Florida for Drendel family festivities—house-warming for my parents, Christmas, and birthday celebrations included.  My new favorite daydream, Florida, will no doubt be discussed at another time.  Germane to this story is the fact that I got sick in Florida too!  Could it have been the multiple airports?  Could it have been the afflictions of my poor sister—who was “kind” enough to share??   Perhaps it was the fact that I share and germ-incubator with 12 four-year-olds each day: this space is otherwise known as a classroom.  For whatever reason, I got sick again—and I mean sick—reaching its zenith as a sinus infection that had me hibernating on the couch for a week.

No teaching, barely any standing, and just about that much relief.

 Long story short: I feel as though I have been sick for a month since Christmas.  And today, I sought to firmly vanquish all memories of the past month through pure determination:

 “I AM GOING TO THE GYM!  I AM GETTING BACK ON SCHEDULE!  I AM NOT SICK ANYMORE!!”

Well, I went.  Recalling the introduction of this entry, my body is in revolt…

As a result, when I got to school this morning, I was wearing CRANKY PANTS.. cranky, complain-y, I-don’t-care-about-you-just-me pants.  Of course, that’s not what I want to show as I’m greeting young learners and their parents at the classroom door, but it was there, looming under the surface.  Each self-centered thought fueled the next and my annoyances and ailments got bigger and more consuming.

I’m glad I caught myself here. I knew this was not the way to go into the school day, so I decided to have a circle time with the students where we would all go around and say, “I’m thankful today because…”  We went around and the students were saying, “legos,” “my mom and dad,” “school,” “friends,” and similar answers.  Then, one little boy said: “I’m thankful today because GOD!”  I truly held back tears as what he said registered.  He didn’t say “I’m thankful for all the stuff God gives me,” or “I’m thankful that God makes everything fun.”

…“I’m thankful today because God!”

Those words echoed.

I just had to smile.  He, in his four-year-old simplicity, was right!  I have so many reasons to be thankful, chief of which being that God is.  Why is this truth so easily eclipsed by “I don’t feel good today,” or even “that person is frustrating me”?

I want the beat of my heart,

the thought in my head,

and the words off my lips

to be thankfulness to God! 

I will be going to the gym in the morning—however, in the succeeding body-revolt,

I will be thankful.

I will be thankful “because God!”

“But God…”

“Bri needs her spontaneity, I need my schedule, and we need each other!” — Ben Frei

I always thought my husband said it best by describing us in this way.  I don’t do too well in boxes.  I like to wander.  I like midnight movies.  I like to feel freedom to make choices on a whim.  Ben likes to plan.  He enjoys knowing each step and what will be next.  We are a good balance to each other in this way–I keep his eye on the horizon and he keeps me grounded.  I’ve always thought that it would be someone like Ben that would do great with diabetes.  Someone who already has a set schedule and a routine way of proceeding through the day, they could just add a few extra steps and voila! diabetes managed.–but not a crazy like me!  In a way, I am more like a hurricane, flying through the house grabbing things, doing my makeup in the car (maybe), leaving the house with at least 3 bags in the morning (usually a cup of coffee too–it’s a balancing act for sure, I should charge admission for this show!) and still HOPING I have all the things I need.

Sometimes Christians like to say, “I can see now why God gave me (insert trial), because it has smoothed out my rough edges.”  I think that this is a true enough statement.  But I don’t believe that it is right to consider this the motivating factor for a trial.  Let me explain:  for a LONG time, I said, “I can see how having diabetes really works against my natural tendency to be unscheduled and under-planned.  God gave me diabetes to help me smooth out these rough edges.”  Which sounds nice enough.  What I was really thinking:  God doesn’t love me the way that I am so He gave me this stupid disease because I’m not scheduled enough!  This caused me to see my diabetes as a punishment for “the way I am.”  I truly did.  How could I, with a perspective like this ever think of diabetes as a gift? You know what, I didn’t.  It made me boil under the surface when people would suggest such a thing!  It even made me resent those who were able to joyfully embrace their difficulty as “a gift.”  “Pha!  That’s not how you really feel,”  I would think.  All the while I would struggle with my own guilt of not seeing my diabetes that way and not understanding why God saw fit to punish me in this way—especially since He is supposed to know what is best for ME!  This was not best for me–for the crazy, unscheduled girl!  It might be good for someone like Ben, but certainly not for me.

It is destructive for me to label my diabetes as God’s little sanding block in competition with my rough edges.   To be clear, it does do that.  Each step in our life is designed by God to make us more like Christ.  “And we all with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:16).  We are meant to be growing to be more like Christ–and that takes a little elbow grease on the corners, but God’s disappointment with us does not send the sandpaper–what does?

His emphatic LOVE for us! 

It is not God’s disappointment in us that motivates Him to do anything; it is His compassion and love.  Changing our natural tendencies is a “fringe” benefit, not the spark that lights the fire, but a bystander receiving heat from the flames.  My misunderstanding of this truth gave me a warped, crooked view of God and His love.  He is not a heavenly “life coach” looking to help me make improvements.  He is no more in love with me as a hurricane-crazy than He would be if I were as scheduled as the orbiting planets–His love and approval do not hang on me.  His love and approval have already been purchased for me as Christ hung on the cross.  He died for me–not to make me a better person, but to demonstrate His eternal love for me, and for those that accept His death as payment for their sins.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us,

even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–

by grace you have been saved!

So that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:4-5; 7

Because of God’s LOVE He saved.  Because of God’s LOVE He “sands.”

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.