Sloppy Evenings, Low Blood Sugars, Guilt, and Fear

This has been an active week for me. It feels good. My body feels good.

Four days of basketball, with one seriously kick ass weight session afterward. Four days of tossing a football around with my son and shooting baskets with my daughter. One short bike ride back home after taking my old pickup truck to the repair shop.

As far as exercise, I’m doing it. And it feels good.

But I get sloppy in the evenings. High carb foods combined with estimated carb counts and ballpark boluses PLUS a lot of exercise and activity equals an evening full of lows that leave me feeling fat, guilty, foolish, frustrated, helpless, stupid, and scared.

The first low blood sugar I treat with glucose tabs. But because I’ve been so sloppy with my insulin dose, they are not enough to do the trick. So I have food.

But then I worry about having over-treated, and I’m sure I’ll be sky high later. So I toss a little more insulin into the mix. You know, to balance it all out.

My blood sugar never crawls above 96 mg/dl (5.3 mmol/L), but because I’ve got all of that insulin working, it’s not long before I’m low again. I’m full, and the last thing I want to do is eat more. But I’m low (again) too, so I eat. Glucose tabs, wait, regular soda, wait. Doritos then ice cream. That should do it. That is enough to fix all of the low blood sugars of the DOC combined!

As I come to my senses, I start thinking about the doritos and ice cream. Slow food. Fatty food. So I program some insulin to be slowly delivered over the next 4-5 hours to help curb the rebound high that is sure to happen. My CGM is all confused, reading just enough lower than my blood sugar to trigger the unchangeable 55 mg/dl (3.0 mmol/L) alert over and over again. Not wanting to be pestered by false low BG alerts as I try to fall asleep, I turn it off.

But I can’t sleep. I start thinking about my daughter lying next to me, and those that we’ve lost overnight, and start praying that tonight is not my night. That I wouldn’t want her to be the one to find me, cold and grey and gone.

What the fuck. Am I losing it? Something not right. Something nagging at me. God told me to check my blood sugar.

No rebound high. More low. Ironically, it is 55 mg/dl (3.0 mmol/L). Right where my CGM had me pegged before I shut if off.

I’m still full. I’m sleepy, but with a weird adrenaline edge to it. I’m jittery and exhausted.

I’ve packed in a fourth dinner and really don’t care how high my blood sugar will be when I wake up. My stomach is bloated enough to push doors open before I walk through them. I feel miserable.

My activity level and sloppy insulin dosing led to a world of trouble tonight, and I know better. There is a lot of guilt and frustration I’m dealing with, because I know better. But I need to let it go. It is not my fault. My pancreas is broken, and our very best attempt is still not as good as the real thing.

I need to try and remember that my activity level does not grant me a free pass to eat less responsibly. In fact, with diabetes, it probably requires MORE attention and precision, more thought and planning for the rest of the day and night.

If I would have simply done a better job of counting carbs for dinner, this spiral of crap would have been much less crappy.

Even though I’ve had all of this trouble tonight, I have every intention of exercising again tomorrow. I’m also going to try my best to be smarter about my actions after exercising. That’s where it all comes together. Even if I can’t get it perfect, it will surely be closer than I got tonight.

Stepping It Up

I’ve been working hard to mix in some weight lifting with all of the basketball I’ve been playing lately.  On a good week, I’ll play ball 4-5 times and lift weights 1-2 times (it’s a start, right?).

Last week was tough.  Thursday was the Thanksgiving holiday here in the US.  There was also a problem with one half of the basketball court on Monday, so that messed up my routine for the week.  With a lot of effort, I made it back to the gym on Friday (the day after Thanksgiving).

Basketball was just so-so, but I pushed myself into into the weight room afterward.  One of the exercises I’ve been doing regularly is the “Step-up”.   This is where you stand on the ground, put one leg up on a weight bench or platform, then “step-up” onto it.  I try to do 10 on each leg, and do three sets of them (usually holding some dumbbells too).

stepupThe YMCA where I play basketball has four “boxes” made just for step-ups, and each one is a different height.  There’s a small one, one of weight bench height, one that is just above knee height on me, then a really tall one that is just below my waist.

I usually use the box that is the same height as a standard weight bench,  but Friday I felt like I needed to push myself a little harder.  I used the next higher box.  It was scary-tall, but after a few steps I started to get my balance.  I felt pretty good about it.  Then the kid came up…

He was about 20 something, skinny as a rail, but strong – I saw him working the squats and deadlifts. He lined up in front of the super-tall box and started doing step-ups.  But at the end of the motion he would bring the knee of his off-leg up to his chest.  And he was also holding a 45-pound plate above his head.  Jerk.

I’m kidding, about the jerk part.  I’m sure he started just like I am, doing regular step-ups on a realistic sized box.  And I still felt good about what I was doing, because it’s all relative to my fitness level, not compared to others in the gym.  But holy smokes that kid was killing it!


Life Coaching, Weight Lifting, Book Writing

Picture of Ginger

How many of you have heard of Ginger Vieira?

I guarantee that not enough of you have, and I’m going to shout her praises from the highest rooftop I can find.

Ginger was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and celiac in 1999.  Besides being an absolute angel, Ginger is a professional writer, a contributing author at Diabeteens, an I.S.S.A. certified personal trainer, a certified Ashtanga Yoga instructor, and a Therapeutic Yoga instructor.  Pretty impressive!

Oh yeah. She also holds 14 national, drug-tested powerlifting records AND the Vermont state record for the female bench press!  Holy Crap, right?

I say that Ginger is an angel because her mission in life is to help others.  And she is good at it (that qualifies for “understatement of the year”).  I met Ginger last July at the Roche Social Media Summit.  Later in the year she helped me get back in the gym by throwing together a quick workout program.  Earlier this year she asked if I would be willing to help her with a project she was working on.  After all the help she gave me with the workout program, of course I would help!

She wanted a guinea-pig for her life coaching business.  Not sure I wanted to get involved with introspective, deep-thought type stuff  (that’s a lot of hard work!), I was a bit hesitant.  But I have all sorts of things I could improve on, and I want to help Ginger with whatever I can, so I decided to jump in with both feet.  We’ve been working together for almost two months.  It is good stuff.  She is good stuff.  I’m glad I made the right decision.

I was worried it would feel a lot like traditional therapy.  Her asking silly questions, lots of dead space in-between those questions and my obligatory answers, and lots of uncomfortable silence.  I was worried about lots of “how do you feel about …?” and other Dr. Phil type nonsense.  But Ginger is not a therapist.  She will not look at my past and my problems, but rather who I am now, where I want to be, and how I can get there.  It’s different.

By deciding to really be open and honest with Ginger, she has helped me make big steps in a few different areas of my life.  What you put in is what you get out.  Ginger is easy to open up to, and she holds no judgment.  She did not giggle at me when I told her my vision of me exercising regularly was a mental image of Kerri on her ellipmachine

Well, actually, we both laughed hysterically about that.  But still.  Ginger is really great, and if it’s Ok with all of you, I’d like to share more about our experiences over the next few weeks.  In the meantime, check out the interview Ginger did with Kerri, um, not on the ellipmachine

Also check out the interview that Ginger did here at Diabetes Daily recently!