A Blogging Vacation

Laddie_Head SquareI’ve been on a blogging vacation. It wasn’t intentional, but one missed post turned into another missed post. And another missed post. Before I knew it, my twice weekly postings had turned into none. Blogs aren’t supposed to be a burden, so I’m not feeling too guilty. Unfortunately my blogging vacation has been accompanied by a lapse in my diabetes care.  A few (well, maybe a lot of) bad decisions along with infusion set problems have resulted in a series of days (weeks?) with less than optimal numbers.

My diabetes care is never perfect, but for the most part I do pretty well and spend a lot of time in my “target range”.  For much of the last year I have had success with a low carb diet (most of the time) and an insulin regimen that has controlled my morning blood sugar spikes (most of the time). So what has thrown everything out of balance?

A little bit of this and a little bit of that.

Balance is the hardest part of Type 1 diabetes. Without a functioning pancreas, our bodies have no sense of equilibrium. We live on a tightrope where good numbers are a small step from catastrophic lows and higher numbers seem to send the glucocoaster spiraling out of control. It’s the reality that everything today is connected to everything yesterday and will influence everything tomorrow.

I eat a couple of chocolate chunk cookies. Okay, they are the (huge!) chocolate chunk cookies (delicious!) from Costco. I take a boatload of insulin and my BG numbers seem to stay in check. But at 2:00AM my Dexcom screams that my BG is high and rising quickly.  I program a correction dose into my pump and unfortunately wake up with a low at 6:00AM. Two glucose tabs and before I know it, I’m back to 180 and rising quickly. I test frequently and take enough insulin to vanquish two plates of pancakes, a banana split, and half a loaf of Wonder Bread. But wait, I didn’t eat any of those things. I either ate nothing or my normal 17 carb breakfast of Greek yogurt and apple or blueberries. The dog walk that usually prevents huge post-breakfast BG spikes is rewarded with numbers in the 200’s.

My endocrinologist claims that overnight lows result in hormones that ultimately cause highs. I think she’s right because the more overnight lows I have, the more daytime highs I see. The more I correct the highs, the more I end up low. Dexcom tracings that resemble the Himalayas multiply rapidly and refuse to give way to somewhat gentler blood glucose slopes.

The cookies are long gone and the sweet, yummy, chocolaty taste is a pleasant guilt-laden memory.  The problem is that my diabetes remembers the indiscretions and even when I’m eating a judiciously low-carb meal, my body is quick to spike and quick to crash. Add frustration and diabetes burnout to the mix and it’s hard to get back on the straight and narrow.

Dexcom Tracing

Mixed in with things I can control are things like infusion set failures. I have used angled sets (Silhouettes and Comfort Shorts) successfully for most of my pumping life. Skin problems, inflammation at pump sites, and insertion pain have motivated me to explore other types of sets. In my last supply order, I included a box of Insets and a box of Cleos. I started with the Insets and loved the pain-free insertion.  Since I weigh a little more than the last time I used 90-degree sets, I was encouraged by the performance of the first 9 sets with no pain, no failures, and all of them lasting 3 days. Then came #10. It was a blast from the past with an absolute failure five hours after insertion. I rarely get insulin blockages with angled sets. This site failure reminded me why I had quit using Quick Sets ten years ago and learned to live with the horrible insertion needles of angled sets. I’ll use the box of Cleo’s and probably go back to Comfort Shorts. I can stand a little pain and inflammation to have reliable insulin delivery.

After covering a lot of subjects here without much sense of direction, I’ll wrap up by saying that I’m back to blogging after a brief hiatus. Judging from the last two days, I think my diabetes care is back on track. In many ways these two things go hand-in-hand because they are reflections of how much diabetes is like a spoiled child who demands all of our attention and won’t settle for less than 100%. Not even when you want a vacation….

Choosing a Blog Name

Laddie_Head SquareThe hardest part of starting my blog was choosing a name.  Every website in the Diabetes Online Community seems to have a perfect name and I was convinced that all of the perfect names had already been taken.  Of course that’s silly and I assume that almost everyone struggles to pick a name that captures their personality and attitude towards diabetes along with a bit of whimsy.

The first names I considered were things like Doors Wide Open, One More Day, and A Balancing Act.  These are all very relevant to my diabetes.  In recent years, I’ve slowly  been opening the doors I’ve hidden behind for years in relation to my diabetes.  We all know about doing it one day at a time and for one more day.  We try to stay balanced on the tightrope of Type 1 by juggling the many tasks required to keep our blood glucose somewhere in the zone between dangerously low and off-the-chart high.

Blog Name TakenThe above names were already taken because they apply to everyone’s life, diabetic or not.  Doors Wide Open is a book as well as a jazz band.  One More Day refers to a four-part comic storyline about Spider-Man.  A Balancing Act is a yoga studio in South Carolina as well as the name of a book.

So onward to more names.  I considered A Toast to Type 1 because many of my blogging ideas surface during my second glass of wine.  But that wasn’t the best idea because drinking and diabetes can be a very serious subject and it would be bad form to make light of it.

Then I really got inspired by Diabetes in Counterpoint.  I am a former pianist who enjoys contrapuntal music where diverse melody lines merge into one harmonious composition.  Counterpoint has tons of rules, five species, and even a dissonant type.  What could have more types and dissonance than diabetes?!  But this was way too esoteric and I didn’t want “Diabetes” in my blog title.  Am I still hiding, or do I just want a little more flexibility for my blog?  I vote for the latter.

The next titles are where I started to get into trouble.  I thought about the over-under in sports betting.  I am almost always over or under on my BG readings, so this seemed a good fit.  I will provide no links here, but over-under has some strong sexual overtones No Bad Blog Namesthat I had never heard of and I am lucky not to have gotten far with this idea.

And then I jumped at No Sissies Allowed.  We plus-60 year olds always say that growing old is not for sissies.  Well, I would say the same thing for diabetes.  I couldn’t believe that this domain was still available.  Fortunately I Googled this phrase and found out it has morphed into a very anti-Gay phrase.  Or maybe it always was and I just didn’t know it.

On another track of perfect blog names, I played with Guess and Go.  A nice ring, but I really do test often.  I didn’t want to introduce my endo to social media with that idea.  Then there was Test and Guess followed by Test and Go.

Finally I decided on Test Guess and Go.  I test a lot.  I guess a lot because no matter how much I follow the diabetes rules, it’s always a crapshoot as to what the day will be.  But through 36 years of Type 1 Diabetes, I always go.  It has never dawned on me to stop my life for diabetes.  Surely I’m more neurotic than I would have been without diabetes, but maybe not.  So I went yesterday.  I go today.  And gosh darn it, I’m going to go tomorrow!

Test Guess and Go.