30 Days With Diabetes: I Can’t Eat

So even though my CGM says my blood sugar has been around 170-190, when I got home tonight I checked it and realized it was 294.

And while I may be actually hungry, the truth is my hunger may only be attributed to my high blood sugar. And since I picked up sushi from Whole Foods (which tends to be full of carbs), I can’t realistically eat it until my blood sugar comes down. So I sit here and stare at my food and wish for a different life.

This post is part of my 30 Days With Diabetes series

30 Days With Diabetes: Diabulimia Research

I’m not a stress eater. In fact, when I’m stressed, I typically lose weight from “not eating.” Back in 2014, when I was commuting 5.5 hours per day to and from Baltimore and DC and nearing the end of a long-term relationship, I dropped down to 118 pounds (my lowest adult weight to date).

Fortunately now, the people closest to me know this about me and are great about checking me on this matter. So is diabetes. Before (and even after) I was diagnosed with Type 1, I struggled with a positive body image. I engaged in unhealthy behaviors, and although never diagnosed, I exhibited the signs of an eating disorder.

Even when diabetes came along, this was a hard habit to break. I ended up developing a binge eating disorder because I resented diabetes for not allowing me to indulge in certain foods anymore, and then I started omitting insulin so I wouldn’t gain weight from the binge eating. This is called “Diabulimia.” It’s something I’ve written about before on this blog.  Continue reading

30 Days With Diabetes: I Gotta Eat

Today was a busy day. And when 4 p.m. rolled around, I realized I hadn’t eaten anything since noon. Not only was I hungry but my blood sugar was dropping (even though I decrease my basal insulin rate in preparation for my commute). I usually snack on something like an apple, banana or almonds before I leave work to ensure my blood sugar stays stable during my commute home.

But since the metro currently sucks, and I know it will take me more than an hour to get home via bus if I don’t leave by 4:15 p.m., I left work without that snack. I had glucose tablets with me just in case. I turned off my insulin for the next hour. But by the time I made it through stop and start traffic (because in addition to my metro line being down, they decided to do work on one of the busiest center streets in the city causing all kinds of traffic jams), I was feeling light-headed and hangry. Continue reading

30 Days With Diabetes: Tourists

It’s draining enough for me to be around people all day, especially crowds of tourists. In addition to energy depleting, it’s also a strain on my blood sugar.

The stress and anxiety of the crowds can contribute to an increased blood sugar (above 120). The constant walking and limited food/water supply can lead to lower blood sugar levels (below 90).

It’s very tricky to navigate this “abnormal” routine. Considering the amount of walking and energy depletion, I usually play to the “high” side and adjust my insulin settings so I’m not getting as much insulin during this time frame to ensure my blood sugar doesn’t drop. I also don’t take as much insulin for food.

So, when my dad asks if I need to eat while touring the Natural History Museum at the Smithsonian, I say yes, not because my blood sugar is dropping (it’s actually been stable at 170 thanks to my proactive management style), but because I legitimately need the energy.

It’s nice to feel normal every once in awhile.

This post is part of my 30 Days With Diabetes series

30 Days With Diabetes: Cleaning

1. I wake up.

2. I run some errands and spend the better of the day cleaning in prep for my dad’s first solo DC trip.

3. I don’t account for how much physical exertion cleaning requires and do not adjust my insulin settings.

4. My blood sugar starts dropping.

5. I eat a banana.

6. I clean some more.

7. My blood sugar severely drops (still have not adjusted insulin settings).

8. I drink Gatorade and eat some pretzels.

9. I turn off my insulin.

10. Blood sugar returns to normal.

Story of my life.

This post is part of my 30 Days With Diabetes series

30 Days With Diabetes: Dating, Dinner Parties and Lasagna

Once upon a time via text message…

Guy: What are you doing Saturday night?

Me: Nothing as of now

Guy: My friend is having people over. Would you like to come?

Me: Sure. Do I need to eat beforehand?

Guy: His girlfriend is going to make some food so no. They’re expecting us to eat there.

Me: Ok, I just have to be cognizant of my diabetes but I’m sure it will be fine. Is it a dinner party or just having people over?

Guy: He said “I’m having a party and my girlfriend is cooking a bunch of food”

Guy: I’ll inquire what kind. Continue reading

Throwback to Day One

Nine years ago, this month, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. What exactly was going through my head that fateful day? I didn’t write much in those first few months getting to know my incurable chronic condition, but I did take the time to document my experience in the hospital post-diagnosis. The following excerpt would eventually inspire my book, Sugarcoated. I’ve trimmed some of the content for this blog.

Me writing in Paris a year before I found out I had Type 1 diabetes

I hear the drum of the metal cart on the tile floor, its rusted wheel curved backwards towards the slanted door. Its heavy frame makes a swishing sound when the nurse appears, and I cuddle beneath the thin scraps of my blanket. She checks my IV with a smile, and I no longer try to conceal my runaway tears. She says if I need anything to call, and she will be back in an hour to administer my long-lasting insulin injection. I hardly know what she’s saying, let alone believe that I need insulin to live. The door’s shadow disappears behind her, and once again, I’m left alone to the static television and a view of the parking lot.

I see the lights from a golf course in the distance and think of my boyfriend’s family on Easter, enamored with the flat screen television and shouting with each successful hole. I think of my boyfriend now sitting around the campfire at his aunt and uncle’s house with a good meal in his body – a meal I will potentially never feel again. He boasted about his aunt’s cooking all week, and I looked forward to a weekend with the family and then an afternoon at the Great American Ball Park with my co-worker and her boyfriend. They offered free tickets, four rows up from the dugout, and I even bought an outfit for the event (seeing as I never wore red). I packed my clothes on the way to the hospital in the hopes the doctor would discharge me by early morning.

I look at my flip phone with scratches on the screen, and I wish to see a blinking light, a sign of life, but the battery died from excessive texting. My roommate left me before I realized I had forgotten my charger. The University health center doctor set me up near his practice in Northern Kentucky so he could oversee things, but I feel so disconnected from everyone in Cincinnati. Even my boyfriend’s car could not make the drive across the river, and when my roommate left around dinnertime, I wished for morning. Continue reading

Being Adventurous with Diabetes

The holidays are always a tough time for someone with Type 1 diabetes. I’m constantly surrounded by holiday treats and carb-heavy foods. Holiday parties tend to be the worst culprit.

This could be why I’ve been a bit anti-social lately. I don’t want to be tempted. This past year, managing my blood sugar levels became increasingly more difficult. Maybe it’s because I’m older and my body is less resilient? Maybe it’s because I “cheat” more than I used to? Maybe it’s because I’ve had this disease longer, and it’s starting to take its toll on my mental and physical health?

Maybe all of the above? I recently took out a life insurance policy. That felt weird. And although I do my best, I know there is no guarantee with this disease, and in case anything terrible should happen as a result, I want my loved ones to be taken care of. But in the meantime, I’m still rooting for me. Continue reading

A Day in the Life with Type 1 Diabetes

Halloween is a surreal holiday. It’s my favorite holiday, but it is also a reminder of how much life with an incurable chronic condition affects my perception of positive childhood memories. I’m lucky that I could grow up with trick or treating without Type 1 diabetes, but I am also cursed in that I will never relish in the same devilish appetite now that I have a disease that negates sugar.

So, it seems appropriate on this almost All Hallow’s Eve and in preparation for November — National Diabetes Awareness Month – that I should write about what it’s truly like to live a day in the life of someone with Type 1 diabetes. A few weeks ago, I took an ordinary Monday (well, as ordinary as a Monday can be) and tracked every time I thought about my diabetes – every time I checked my blood sugar, every time I calculated carbohydrates for a meal, every time I felt something was “off,” and every time I administered insulin to keep my body alive.

Even I was amazed at how much managing diabetes has become a part of my everyday life. With advancements in technology, I’m able to do more, and I’m able to have more variety in the foods I eat. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think about it any less. That doesn’t mean I can take a break from being there for my body.

So, here’s one example of one day (because no day is the same) with Type 1 diabetes (there are no days off). It’s a long one, so bear with (just keep in mind that this is really how much I think about diabetes on a daily basis – believe me, it sucks). Continue reading