Traveling Alone

August was a difficult month, for many reasons. I told one of my best friends recently: I feel like I’ve lost myself. I’ve been pushing myself for so hard for so long I’ve forgotten what makes me happy.

Last week, I learned about the annual Library of Congress National Book Festival, which took place Saturday. A friend and I (both avid readers) decided to check it out. It was madness. I couldn’t believe the crowds and felt proud to be among such a city of nerds.

And I remembered how much I love to learn, whether that’s about the sting acceleration of a jellyfish (up to 5 million g) or the divided friendship between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. I may feel a little astray right now, but when it comes to learning and exploring something new, I am never lost.  Continue reading

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30 Days With Diabetes: Almost

I was about to go to bed when I realized I haven’t posted today. I’m on Day 27 – it would be almost comical to miss a day now.

But the truth is I’m tired of talking about my diabetes. Yes, I have a book and a blog devoted to it. And yes, I live it every day, but if this series has taught me anything, it’s that I am more than my diabetes.

For years after I was diagnosed, I was terrified to try new things. Just this past year, I went whitewater rafting for the first time. And I recently got my passport renewed because I’m considering traveling abroad again. Continue reading

30 Days With Diabetes: Ketone Test Strips

After posting about testing my blood sugar levels with test strips and a glucometer, someone reached out to me and asked if it was possible to measure ketones with the same meter and test strips.

With diabetes, it’s important to test ketones when you’re sick or have high blood sugar to ensure your body doesn’t go into diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). When I was diagnosed, I was given urine strips to test for ketones and never thought to question that method. Until now. 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: The Beach

The sun is my best friend in the midst of this new monsoon season in DC. But it’s more like a distant acquaintance with my insulin.

Heat aka long hours exposed to the sun can reduce the effectiveness of my insulin therefore impacting my blood sugar levels therefore impacting my overall quality of life.

Unfortunately, the pod that carries my insulin is usually exposed in a bathing suit. Today, it was under my left arm. Tomorrow, it could be on my stomach. Continue reading

30 Days With Diabetes: Basal Rate

Managing Type 1 diabetes involves more than just giving myself an insulin injection before I eat. It’s a basal-bolus routine.

basal-bolus routine involves taking a longer acting form of insulin to keep blood glucose levels stable through periods of fasting and separate injections of shorter acting insulin to prevent rises in blood glucose levels resulting from meals.

It gets more complicated. My basal rate – the amount of insulin I take in between meals – changes from week to week, day to day and hour to hour. This can depend on my schedule (weekend vs. weekday vs. traveling), hormones, exercise and even stress.

Here’s a breakdown of the basal rates I have preset within my personal diabetes manager (what I use to administer insulin via the pod attached to my skin). Continue reading