Friday, January 22, 2010
i am a complete addict to reading about low GI foods and healthy diet related things, but unbelievably it's taken me a long long time to pick up the insulin pumping books my mum bought back when i first got my pump.
all those bits of paper are all the notes we took in the first few training sessions, which were pretty interesting to read in themselves. but i really wanted to retrain myself about basal rates, and there were lots of helpful things i can't believe didn't really sink in since i first learnt everything.
- it takes 5 hours for all the insulin to be absorbed. i think this is just a changing of age thing...that it takes longer to absorb as you get older, but no-one has told me this really, so i haven't adjusted. instead, up until 2 days ago when i read the book, i would correct my level 2 hours after bolusing if it wasn't back to normal. now, i know that i should wait a bit longer and it should be back to normal before my next meal, and if it's the perfect level i'll know to have a little snack to keep me going to my next meal. when i was younger and my metabolism was faster i guess it would have gone in that quickly, but it certainly doesn't now.
- there's all these phenomenons in the night and the afternoon. there are common basal types for diabetic, of which i fall into two categories: the night time high and the afternoon low. i have adjusted my basal rates accordingly now, but i hadn't fully appreciated that this was common and at what times of day i should edit my basal to account for this.
anyway, my levels are fast approaching normality thanks to this knowledge, and a drastic change in the way i handle things.
i've edited my basal rates throughout the day, so they are higher at night and lower in the middle of the day. plus i've stopped food grazing, and unnecessary snacking: if my levels are good then i ought to need a snack twice a day to keep them on the right track.
i've been checking my levels way more over the past week. havoc for my poor fingers, but great for my levels. and thanks to my 'diamedic' iPhone application I can really see where my sugar levels are going and keep tabs on them much better.
perhaps i'll look into getting a more recent insulin pumping book to keep myself 'in' on the latest news! any suggestions?
Thursday, January 21, 2010
When I was younger and sulky my mum always would remind me of how fortunate I am in comparison to other children...I can still walk, I can still see, I have a good brain, I have a lovely family, etc. This is by far the best way to keep a diabetic level headed.
It's only an illness if that's what you make it, you can't let it rule you. I'm never a diabetic, I just happen to have diabetes.
Another way I learnt to encourage myself is to make special versions of things. For example, healthy pancakes or dark chocolate mousse, which would make me feel super healthy and happy. Once you realise that the things you can't eat are bad for you anyway, I think it makes things a lot clearer.
I know that for a young child who wants to eat cake and cookies and stuff it can be hard, but I reckon if I were the parent of a diabetic I would try super hard to make sure that they never felt left out and always had their own more delicious looking food so they weren't tempted. Make them feel proud of their food too; not all kids will find a raspberry whole wheat muffin so tempting, until you put some dark chocolate chips in it and wrap it in a really posh muffin wrapper. That kind of thing will make it look posh and expensive without actually being so...and it'll make the child much more proud of their food. It's like the kids whose sandwiches are cut into triangles instead of rectangles; it just shows more love and thought has gone into the food - i was always jealous of the triangle sandwiches!
Also, it's important to keep just healthy food in the house, and make all the family eat the same low GI food as the diabetic. Giving them separate meals will just make them feel worse, I can assure you. It should be only when they can make the choice of eating something different that it's ok for them to have a separate plate...otherwise I would suggest all eating the same til then (and that'll probably be when they're 18 and leave home).
You need to encourage the healthiness of the food, and not negate it. And disguise meals too, make them look like regular meals, and don't mention that it's whole wheat or low GI until they're old enough to understand why that's important - and they're the ones to mention it.
Also, if it's an important event where there's special food, like a birthday or Christmas, then don't tell them they can't have something. Let them have a small sliver of birthday cake and make some low sugar mince pies. Let them feel a part of it, it's even more important on these occasions that they join in.
If it's you that's the diabetic, then you just need to be prepared for the consequences of your actions. I can quite happily not eat real pizza or real ice cream because I know how ill I feel afterwards. I am sensible when I'm at a buffet to choose lots of vegetable dishes and avoid the pastry things. And I know that choosing sensibly will have a huge effect on how long I remain healthy. It's important not to abuse your body, and eating healthily has a massive impact on your long term health as well as the short term.
If your child or you are feeling really depressed about diabetes, then it may just mean a change of doctor. My old doctor made me cry and feel like nothing I did would change the future of my health. But a soon as a I switched to a specialist doctor who understand A LOT more about how I was feeling and coping, I wanted to feel better and knew that all the effort I was making was actually making a difference to my health. I want to go to see the doctor knowing that I've done everything I can to keep myself well; so that they are proud of me.
If you are looking for some motivation then think of a couple of things, how you want to outlive your parents so that you can look after them when they are old instead of the other way around, and how you want to be a great parent when you are older and have enough energy for your kids. If it's your child that needs motivation, then short term motivation is probably better and you could also set up goals and targets with them. For instance if they can drop their average sugar level over a week or decrease their HbA1c level next time they go to the doctor, then you'll take them horse riding/swimming/cycling in the forest/berry picking. Let things not be motivated by food, but some healthy family activity!
I hope that helps some of you struggling parents out there and keeps you diabetics happy. My last thing to say is that, it's not realistic to be positive all the time, sometimes what you need is a really good cry before you can move on. Don't forget to get the perspective in your life and work hard towards a longer, healthier and happier life! Remember too that if you are looking after yourself you will naturally feel happier and more positive!
If you want some healthy recipes you can either check out my healthy eating blog Not Just Apples or go to the Enjoy Healthy Eating website, where there's plenty of nutritious recipes.
Monday, January 18, 2010
i've mentioned when i've had bad levels before, but that might just be one or two over twenty and i'll have a pretty good idea of the cause. but the levels i've had since after christmas have been ridiculous and inexplicable.
generally once levels get high they are very difficult to keep back down again, so it's always best to prevent that through exercise, healthy eating and regular set changes. but we all know that some of these can slip out of falter quite easily, can't they? actually, i think my problems started once i got back from my round the world trip (see some of my previous posts for more info) as i went from a very active routine on not much basal insulin to one with very little exercise on the same amount of insulin - and i didn't figure it was too different that it needed a change, what a silly person i am!
fyi, whenever you change your routine, do a fasting blood glucose to redetermine where your basal rates should be at, as they will almost definitely need to change along with your everyday activities! if you don't know what a fasting glucose is, it's basically where you fast for one meal, and check your levels every hour within that period. it's a very effective way of checking your basals are right. there's just one tiny problem with it...you have to start with a good level - something i've not been able to do properly yet!
so what i have done to keep myself in order with these levels is:
- to change my infusion set - i find that different batches of sets can sometimes be the problem, so open a new box if it doesn't seem to work well on the second change.
- to eat super wisely - i always do this anyway, but writing down what you eat, how much and when can help to determing whether this is making a massive difference on your levels - any secret fats?
- to up the exercise - which becomes increasingly difficult when you start to run out of energy, but a walk is always good, just make sure someone is with you
- to keep drinking loads of water and do ketone tests, if you show signs of ketones you might have to go to hospital for permanent supervision as this is really dangerous
- to get a good amount of sleep - your body will need rest and recuperation to restore it's body back to health, which will take some time for sure, give it the chance to have good sleep by going to bed earlier than normal
- to phone the hospital after 3 successive days of trying and constantly bad levels you don't understand - i spoke with a nurse who insisted it must be my basal rates or an underlying illness (i now have a cold and a much higher basal rate!)
have a great day all of you!
Friday, January 08, 2010
We had not been to cold country, had never experienced snow/winter. Do we need to take special care or precaution for pumpy during winter ?
Now, I feel I am vaguely able to answer this question, seeing that I am currently looking out at 3inches of snow (and have been stuck at home for the last few days because of it!). Snow isn't something we usually get in England, and when we do everything shuts down or doesn't function properly. But it is nice to look at isn't it?
Friday, January 01, 2010
Ok, well this is blatantly something that comes with maturity. i’m sure of it. or, a very strong will and sensible head. both of which i guess i’m slowly acheiving!
this last couple of weeks has really seen an interesting set of sugar levels, and i’ve been trying to fathom why they should be so. and here’s what i have concluded:
- partying and pumps generally don’t mix, but they can work if you plan them out properly and you check you sugar level frequently. and it’s even more important to check your levels and look after yourself before and after the occasion, or around the party season in general!
basically, i had amazing, near perfect levels from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day, but the week before and the week after were incredibly rubbish. partly due to it being a time of rest = no exercise = bad control. and also due to the different types of food and change of routine – both bad and not so easy to control.
anyway, i was totally psyching myself up and preparing for amazing levels on the three most festive days, and totally missed the before and after parts. next time i must learn to be aware the whole holiday season.
but, when it comes to specific parties there’s a few things to keep in mind to keep your control good:
- if there’s dancing, make sure you change your basal rates as the level tends to plummet in the middle of the night otherwise.
- make sure you ascertain the timings, like when it starts and when it finishes, and prepare yourself for an early exit so you don’t throw your routine off balance
- if there’s food don’t be afraid to ask what type, ask for a special meal or ask when you’ll be eating. this is very important!
- figure out how long it’ll last and what kind of activities there will be, so you can be prepared for all eventualities
- in case of a party you must attend that’s secretive or you can’t quite get all the details, take spares of everything with you, and loads of snacks and emergency supplies to keep in your car.
basically just don’t be afraid to ask anything, don’t be shy, and make sure that you LOOK AFTER YOURSELF to the best of your ability. some times you might feel annoying or a bit pestering asking all these questions, but it will help you enjoy the party more, i promise!!
as always, if you have any questions, leave them in the comments sections and i’ll get right on with answering them!