Scott's Diabetes Blog

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Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in April of 1980. I recognize the incredible mental struggle of living with diabetes. I hope to share my struggles, my successes, and everything in between.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

What exactly is it...

What is it that I hate so much about Diabetes?

I spend a fair amount of time and energy being angry about diabetes. There is a lot of raw emotion there. There are a lot of feelings of it being unfair, of it being hard to do well. There is a lot of vague fear or worry about what is in store for me later in life.

But I have recently started to wonder, what exactly is it that I hate so much about diabetes? Why does it bother me so much on some days, and what exactly am I so mad about?

Is it a tangible thing? Is it some physical thing that I can touch and feel? Something real? Or is it all of the intangible emotions that go along with a chronic condition? Might I be better able to cope with it all if I can identify what exactly is going on?

There is a lot of work that has to be done when trying to manage diabetes well. We all know that. Some days it feels like it is just too much. But what feels like too much? What is it that pushes those frustration buttons?

There are days where you feel like crap. You have some highs or lows that literally wipe you out. They take you down and hold you there until they’ve had their way with you.
Sometimes they are unavoidable. They just happen.

What is so frustrating about those is the fact that life does not slow down and wait for you. Most of the time you have to find a way to push through whatever difficulties you are having.

How many of you have been at work, with a high blood sugar for whatever reason, the blood in your veins feeling as thick as molasses. Feeling so very tired. Every blink feels like there are magnets trying to keep your top & bottom eyelids together. You would give anything to just sleep until your insulin brings that high blood sugar back down.

Frustrated because it will take HOURS for that to happen, and you have so much to do.

Or how about being bitten with a ripping low blood sugar during a meeting or an important phone call? I consider that one to be a very tangible frustration.

There are financial frustrations too. I am very fortunate to have health insurance, and I am thankful for it. But there is still a very real financial burden to deal with for supplies and medicine. I know that there are many of you out there who simply can’t afford to get what you need for optimal care.

How about other aspects of that financial piece such as the denial of private life insurance or disability coverage?

Is it the fact that we have to plan and prepare for everything? We have to do our best to anticipate everything that might happen and be ready for it? Most of the time that is not too hard – or maybe we’re just getting good at it. So much practice you know…

Is it the ever present fear of future complications? It’s like a big storm cloud always on the horizon. We all do our best to stay clear from that storm, but what if it’s not good enough? What if we are not trying hard enough? And just how fierce will that storm be? Will we be able to deal with it?

There are almost always a bunch of extra hoops for us to jump through. Little things like time for medical appointments, or needing to take a little extra time to prepare for an outing. The work involved in making those preparations mentioned above.

We have to be so damn conscious of the food we eat. Even if the dietary choices are not the best, we still need to know how many carbs we are eating. I think that is the hardest part for me. Not hard as in difficult, but rather just the fact that I need to count (or try to count) every damn thing! I hate it.

Another aspect of things that gets to me often is the fact that I did everything “right” and didn’t get the result I was expecting. Two plus two does not always equal four.

After almost 27 years, I know that it doesn’t always work like that, but it still makes me mad every time. It feels like a slap in the face.

I look at my average day to day stuff, and in the big picture it’s really not that bad. But maybe it’s the fact that it’s day-to-day, everyday, forever and always, that makes it hard to bear.

What is your story? What is it that you really hate about diabetes? Have you come to a point where you are able to healthily deal with it all mentally? How?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

"What just happened?"

I had an authentic "What just happened?" moment today.

As many of you know, I play basketball a few times a week. Usually about an hour and a half or two hours at a shot. Great exercise. Great fun. Great challenge in managing blood sugars.

You would think, that after playing routinely for a while, that I would have things pretty well figured out. Well, that's just not the case. I do my best, and most of the time that works out relatively well. Let's take a look at a day from a few weeks ago:

A little trouble after breakfast, but I evened out nicely during basketball. A pretty "low maintenance" afternoon on the court. Again some trouble trying to prepare for another (yes, I know I'm crazy) session of basketball later in the evening. You can see that as I started basketball, both times, that my blood sugar went down. The drop in the evening was farther and steeper than I'd like. The point is, basketball = drop in blood sugar. Most of the time.

I am aware of the whole adrenaline thing, which can in some cases make your blood sugar go up. I'm also aware that the presence of ketones can make your blood sugar go up. There is a delicate balance between the exercise and insulin, which drop blood sugar, and the other "raisers" that, um, raise blood sugar.

I feel pretty comfortable with my basal rates on the mornings of my basketball days. I also feel pretty comfortable with a routine that usually works pretty good for me. My troubles are usually self-inflicted. Due to bad eating decisions. Today? An english muffin with butter & peanut butter for breakfast, and some type of protein/nutrition shake before basketball. Most of the time, this works great. Same exact thing as last time (minus the 1/2 sugar cookie last time. Shhhhhh...). Let's take a look at today.

Sigh. Started the day off at 75 mg/dl. Almost low. I did not treat this. My blood sugar rose up to 110 mg/dl by the time I got to work. 8:45 am, I had breakfast. My english muffin with butter & peanut butter. I bolused for 30g. 10:15 am, blood sugar is 129 mg/dl. Not bad - about an hour and fifteen minutes from hitting the court. 11:00 am, 119 mg/dl. Lower than I would like being only a half hour out from playing. I have my sport shake in the car. 27g.

I get to the gym, get changed, start to warm up. Blood sugar? 161 mg/dl. Perfect. Right where I like to be. A bit of insulin on board from breakfast, but I've got my temporary basal reduction and that sport shake balancing it all out.

Amazingly I didn't check my blood sugar again until 1:30 pm. For one, there were exactly 21 people in the court. Two games going at all times. Breaks in between just to get the next players switched out and then the games started again. I felt good. I felt confident. I was not worried about my blood sugar going low - which is the usual danger I have to watch for.

1:30 pm, games done, people are packing up and heading to the locker room. I sit down next to my bag and check my blood sugar again. 270 mg/dl. Huh? What the hell? What just happened?

What was so different today from other days? Ketones? I really thought so at first, but tested negative once I could finally test for them. Besides, it's unusual for them to cause such a high and rapid spike all by themselves. Infusion site trouble? No - I came down just fine afterwards. I just don't know what happened.

I DO know that I wish I would have tested more often! I'm sure that my stamina & performance was affected by the high blood sugar. If I could have caught this earlier I may not have spiked so high, and may have enjoyed the latter part of basketball even more. Lesson? Test more often! I usually do - four or five times during ball most days. I found myself concerned about making 9 other guys wait around while I "tended to myself" for 10 seconds or so. Silly, I know. Especially because many of them know I am diabetic and have to do that. Lows demand attention - but target and highs do not usually present "symptoms" for me.

I chalk this up to being another "what just happened " day, a "WTF" experience. I am determined to take a few seconds to check on myself better, and try to head this one off in the future. We cannot always explain what happens, and it's even harder when you don't have much data to "explain" it to you. Take what you can from it and move on. It's the only way to go.

* Excel logbooks courtesy of Kevin at parenthetic (diabetic)

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The OC New Me Challenge

Do you all know about "The OC New Me Challenge"?

If not, you should. And you'll need to get to it quickly - the last day for registration is tomorrow, January 7, 2007.

Here's the deal. We all have some goal we would like to achieve in 2007 regarding our weight, our A1C, or both. Allison has put together The OC New Me Challenge.

You set a goal or two, back up your commitment with some greenbacks (cash), and check in regularly along the year. If you meet your goals you get your cash back (with the possibility of getting MORE cash than you sent in!). Along the way you are encouraged by benchmark rewards and drawings for things like books, CD's, gift cards, etc. It also sounds like Allison is pulling together some experts to inform us and offer advice through the website periodically too. How much more can you ask for?!

I like the fact that it's a year long. This gives you time to make lifestyle changes rather than drastic and possibly unhealthy radical changes. I like the fact that I'm accountable and have to check in regularly. I like the idea of little rewards and prizes along the way. I like the idea that we have yet another way to pull together and encourage, challenge, and support each other.

There is really no good reason for you not to join the challenge.

Me? I'm in for $100 big ones. About 50lbs and 1.5 points in my A1C.

Here's to a NEW ME and a NEW YOU in 2007!

Me and G-Money are going to figure out some kind of virtual "workout buddy" program or something. :-)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Wow! Thank you!!

I don't even really know what to say.

I started this blog about two years ago, mostly as a place to express my thoughts, emotions, frustrations, struggles and successes in living with type 1 diabetes.

I found that blogging about things was very therapeutic for me. A way to flesh out these really vague feelings and emotions that I have about our condition. A way to explore my path to acceptance, to deal with grief, to work towards the positive.

It's also a piece of history. My kids, grand kids, great-grand kids and more will be able to look back on the book of Scott's life (at least the aspect of dealing with diabetes, which is pretty all encompassing most of the time). We don't often have an opportunity like that with the ones we love. I would love an opportunity to listen to the stories that my mom had, or my dad has, or my grandparents and other loved ones have.

Being diagnosed at the age of five, much of the emotional side of a diagnosis like type 1 diabetes was just not dealt with. How could it be? At that age you just find a way to cope with things, and move on.

As I grow and try to mature, I am finding a need to work towards acceptance. Blogging is one of the ways for me to do that. It's just something I need to do.

Before long I started to enjoy a handful of very much appreciated benefits.

1) My dad started reading. Our relationship has grown through my blog. He is able to get a view of what goes on in my head. Through that we are able to talk more about a very difficult thing for both of us to deal with. His young son diagnosed with a lifelong chronic condition, and me growing up and dealing with challenges around living with that condition.

2) Connection. I think that those of us that live with or deal with diabetes connect almost instantly with one another. We know. We experience. We deal and we cope. Through the wonders of the Internet, we are able to easily share our stories, and participate with one another. Not more than a few years ago, you had to know much more about how the "web" worked and how to develop your own web pages. Not to mention hosting, domain names, e-mail services and all that jazz too. Now, you go to and fill in a few things - BAM! You're online. Nice.

3) Contribution. To know, through your comments and e-mails, that my story has had some impact in your life is really touching to me.

4) So many great friendships that have developed. Even though I know all of you only "virtually", through our blogs, I feel like we are all old friends. We could so easily meet in real life and be instantly almost 100% comfortable with each other.
I did know Violet in real life, then she split town. It's cool though. I promised her I would not scare off the next local celebrity I meet...
I was also reaquanted with my long lost brother from another mother.

5) An opportunity to write for the really awesome (and AWARD WINNING) Who would have EVER thought that I would be doing something like that?! Crazy I tell you! Who could ask for a better group of people to work with?

6) So many other things that I won't try to capture and explain here.

I am really honored and surprised by winning these awards. There are really so many other great blogs out there. I'm just glad to be a part of this family we have. I'm in great company with the other award winners, but also am very proud to consider you all friends. It really does mean a lot to me.

Thank you.

A special thanks to Allison for taking the time and energy to not only set up the Awards, but also for the incredible amount of time and energy it took to organize the Official Diabetes OC Website. And yes, I know she hates when we blather on about how much we appreciate all she does for us, but really, it is such a great thing for her to do. Thanks Allison!

A side note: I have been procrastinating on the task of updating my template since switching over to the new blogger stuff. I've just been worried to death that I'll do something that wipes the current template out completely. I've saved a backup, and will probably work this weekend to update things - I've got a couple award icons to display now! Wish me luck!

Thanks again everyone - I really do appreciate it.