Insights into my personal life.

This blog includes the personal details of my experiences as a recently diagnosed Type I diabetic and the impact of that diagnosis on my endurance athletic pursuits.

Please understand that I consider myself to be a work in progress. I am willing to share both my successes and failures, so please do not take my words to be professional dietary or medical advice. This is a blog, this is only a blog. I research my choices carefully, and take my health very seriously. The choices I make are my own, I am doing the best with the resources and support that I have. If you have questions or concerns feel free to comment, but please be constructive and understand that this is my life. I value it dearly.

My goal is to live a happy, healthy and active life where I can balance my internal drive to push my physical limits and the challenge of safely maintaining stability despite the challenges of Type I diabetes.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Spent the weekend with my family in Fond du Lac this weekend.  It's so easy to get wrapped up in my 'busy' life and not make the time to go so my parents.  But my life is only as busy as I make it, so that part is really up to me.

This week I decided I need to make my parents a higher priority on the list.  Sure I'm still working on things for myself, however - barring losing my PDM for my pump, I've got this diabetes thing completely under my control (for normal daily living).  My daily management is simple enough where it no longer requires so much conscious focus.  I've passed the test of traveling and managing - the only part to work on is training and racing nutrition - but in a very bad analogy... that's just icing on the cake.  (coconut oil on the kale?)

While daily living is settled down, there is still an unlimited amount of info that I'm pursuing.  But not all of it has to do with me.  Now has come a time where I'm much more capable of helping those around me.  I know several of my family members could benefit from what I have been learning.  The challenge to them is to not overwhelm them with my intensity.  My new goal is to serve as a resource where anyone can come to me when they're ready.  I'll introduce a few topics, but I know that I can't make someone change - but I can support someone when they make an effort.

While on vacation and the 70 some hours of flight time, not counting the U-rail time, I was able to read through several of the books I packed.  One goofy one caught my attention, "Reverse Parkinsons Disease" written by John Pepper, a South African guy who has been living a very happy life with Parkinson's for the past 30 years.  He's not any sort of scientific expert, he's not selling anything.  He's just a guy.  Another canary in the coal mine.

I learned a lot about Parkinson's, but what was also interesting is how it tied into the previous book that I read "This is your brain on Music" by Daniel J. Levitin.  I came across the music book thinking it would be a fun interconnection to my old interest in Neurobiology (who isn't interested) and Kim's Musicology pursues.  What I didn't expect was to make connections from Music to Parkinsons.  The brain is amazing.  Neuroplasticity, parallel processing, conscious control and mindfulness.  These few books have renewed a lot of hope in simple solutions.

The simplest solutions are the most elegant.  I now know better how to prompt my father into consciously focusing on the task at hand.  What I'm realizing is the problem with Parkinson's is that a PwP (Person with Parkinsons) still has many of the motor functions and muscle strength to do a task, what they lack is the ability for their 'subconscious' to do it.

For example:  This morning I knocked back a cup of coffee.  I then realized I had to pee.  I stood up, walked through a narrow hallway and maneuvered effortlessly to the toilet, had a nice pee (won't be too graphic), changed out of my pajamas and jumped into my jeans.  All told, probably less than 1 minute (not that I was racing).  During that minute - I didn't one think about what I was doing.  You wouldn't either.

The problem for a PwP is that the tasks that we normally relegate to doing without thinking, simply don't happen.  If my dad wants to walk across the room - HE CAN - but he has to concentrate on every little step.  Pick up your leg - push off the toe of the back leg - swing your arms - choose the clear path.  He cannot let himself get distracted by the dog or by the smell of the food or the conversation.  He CAN do it.  But he can only do it well when he forces himself to focus on it.  There are reasons for this and it has to do with using other parts of his brain rather than the 'subconscious'.

Note:  I use subconscious similar to how John Pepper does.  What he really means is the specific structure that is under attack and no longer producing dopamine - I forget whether it was the Nucleus Accumbens, the Substantian Nigra, Cerebellum etc... I'd look it up in my book, but my mom took it from me so that she can read it tonight.  :)

Over the past 2 months both of my parents are doing so well.  I wish I could have contributed more to their help, but it has a been a team effort with all of my siblings stepping up to the best of their abilities.  Together we make a pretty good team.

Even my mother is doing well.  She was very open to letting me do the cooking this weekend.  I was able to prepare her food the filled her up with tons of nutrients, but also satisfied her appetite.  No added sugar for this lady any more - she's learning how good she can feel when she's in control.

She's doing so well in fact, that it was fortuitous that last night she instinctively skipped her bedtime insulin and relied upon her oral medication alone to move her from 180 to 80mg over the course of the night.  And while those numbers don't sound amazing - they are a huge improvement.  Now that's she's addressing diet, she's going to have to make adjustments to her medications.

Currently she is taking 14U of lantus in the morning - and that covers her well.  She exercised in the afternoon and dropped a little low (mid 60's), but correctly that perfectly with 4oz of juice (I made a carrot orange juice).  Then after a good dinner she again rose up to about 180 before bedtime.  She is going to skip her evening Lantus again tonight since we predict that the oral meds will likely drop her again.

Obviously I do not want her dropping below 80 overnight and she will discuss the continuation of her oral medication with her doctors.  She had exercised harder the previous night than she did today so perhaps she won't drop as much.  She has a banana by her bedside and will plan to check her blood sugar when she gets up in the middle of the night.  We've already discussed that it may be better for her to exercise post dinner rather than post lunch, since that is when her morning dose of Lantus is wearing the thinnest.  This change alone would prevent her from having gone low in the afternoon and high in the evening.  But low & high are relative - 80 to 180mg/dL is a huge step as far as control for her.

It's been fun to hang out with my parents.  And success is also fun - so I enjoy seeing the success that both of my parents are experiencing.  I'm blessed that they are both open to my ideas and are willing to take control over their lives.  How can that not make me feel happy.

I'll be damned if this hasn't been one of the more rewarding weekends of my life.

4/15/2013 - Barb Seder set the goal of getting herself off of insulin.
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