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.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Favorite Christmas memories.


I remember coming home from the school bus and decorating the pine trees in the front yard with lights.  Walking circles around the trees, using a pole I devised with a wire hook to hold the string and reach an extra 10 feet.  These trees were probably 20-25ft tall so I also got to play around and learn how to safely lean a ladder on a tree, while on a hill.  One year Dad got extra into the decorating with me and suggested we do the 40 ft pine tree.  Man that took forever! A 30 ft extension ladder, my lanky frame reaching with a pole, barely getting the top, and then figuring out how to circle around.  It was so much work coming down each time and moving the ladder!  At one point I remember balancing on the ladder, and then our cat Patches climbed the ladder and jumped on my shoulder while I'm trying to work.  That cat had serious skills.

Giant snow mouse.

When I was a little kid I loved the mouse Fievel from American Tail.  Pretty cool character back then.  So what.  I also liked seagulls, my teddy bear and a stuffed puppy.  You got a problem with that?  Didn't think so.

Somehow this fondness for Fievel manifest into building a 12 foot tall snow Fievel in our front yard.  What would you have made if your goal was to make something 12 feet tall?

Certain ornaments and decorations.

I admit I'm a sucker here too.  There was a white porcelain figurine that wound up and spun slowly as it played Silent Night.  My favorite Christmas Song.

As for ornaments, I didn't know the full story behind most of them but as the 5th and youngest child in a family with a 20 year head start before I entered the equation, there were a lot of odd shaped ornaments.  Now most people would consider them gaudy, but several were hand made. Nothing really matched but all came with a story.

The Living Room.

We had so many gift opening in that same living room, but it was great that I can remember so many of my family members fitting into the seats and couches.  With a big family and some very generous parents the room was always knee deep in presents.  I was seriously spoiled, but both of my parents really enjoyed giving gifts.

Extended family cameos.

Not that I have a cousin Eddy (Christmas Vacation movie reference), but Uncle Bob would make a pretty solid substitute.  Many of these relatives wouldn't be seen that often, especially now with everyone either getting older or just spreading their own way, but both of my parents have 5 siblings as well so there was always a fairly large extended family on these occasions.

Aunt Rosies cherry cheesecake.

As a kid I didn't like cherries, but this was an exception.  This treat was always at my Dad's brother Randy's and Aunt Rosie's party.  Randy could always be counted on to provide the punch with sherbert.  I don't think our punch ever got spiked, but my cousin Steve will never outlive his puking in the chex-mix after consuming too many whiskey-balls (cookies).

Wooded Hills luminary display.

After church we always took our time to driving the entire subdivision display of streets and drive ways lined with candles burning inside of white paper bags. This is also when Santa would time his arrival at our house.

Monday, December 16, 2013

No one is perfect. Mistakes are part of the learning process.

Well I wouldn't be honest if I all I wrote about were my successes.  So here's a little bad news, just to remind me not to make that mistake again.

I've slipped up on my diet before.  To remain in nutritional ketosis it's usually recommended to consumer fewer than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day.  This value varies depending on the individual, the amount of exercise done during a day and excess protein certainly has an effect on this as well.  I learned to not overindulge with protein earlier this Spring after an all-you-can (but probably shouldn't) meal at Samba Brazilian Grill.

Six weeks prior to IMAZ I got into a bag of Halloween treats, but that was a rather minor slip-up.  This time my slip up was more agregeous.  I found myself on the UW campus near the lab where I used to work.  That lab just happens to be across from the Babcock Dairy Store.

For a variety of reasons, the primary one being that I am human and prone to mistakes and poor judgments - but there are a few others that I won't get into now - I'll just say that it's been the most stress filled week of my life and leave it at that for now.   But for a variety of reasons I slipped.  Slipped and fell face first into a bucket of Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice-cream.  This used to be treat I would indulge in a couple of times per week.  Triple scoops on my lunch breaks after a nice swim workout - Michael Phelps style!  (I didn't know better at the time - it's not like it ever made me feel sick).

So I walked in, bought a half gallon and by the middle of the next day I ate the whole damn thing.  It was like crack to me, I knew better, but you know what? - I didn't care. I tried to cover the massive amount of sugar with the right amount of insulin - which was probably more than I use in a normal week.

My numbers only peaked in the mid-200's.  For me that's unbelievably high.  The last time I had numbers that high was in February when my my insulin had expired while and I was sick - well before my foray into ketosis. Blood glucose in the mid 200's is bad, but not hospital bad or anything. I'm actually curious whether I'm still at as high of a risk of DKA, seeing as my body and brain are able to use ketones I doubt they would build up high enough to cause acidosis.  The one blood ketone test I did actually showed my ketones to be very low at 0.3mM.
 Knowing that I've made similar mistakes in the past I adjusted my basal insulin to a higher level and eventually I've stabilized.  But wow!  It's amazing how long lasting the metabolic changes from that one day of gluttony last.

For the entire week my basal insulin level has been increased from 0.3U/hr all the way up to 2.0U/hr.  On top of that I also need to increase the amount of insulin to bolus and cover meal-time carbs.  Suddenly I'm quite insulin resistant.  I knew this is what would happen.

Like any mistake it is a learning experience.  These are the same adjustments that I would need to make if I ever come down with the flu.  Side note:  I haven't been sick at all this year.  Although doing this during flu season might have been reckless as this leaves my immune system impaired.

Other negative results of this: poor sleep, goobery eyes when I wake up, headaches, lethargy, inability to concentrate (compared to the great focus I have while solidly in ketosis - but still doing better than before my diagnosis), I think I even have some funky body odor, an increase in ear wax (sexy, right?!), cramping in my calves and feet, aching joints, neuropathy in my arms where they arm numb/asleep when I wake up - which I also experienced a lot of pre-diagnosis, , nerve pain in my feet while working in the cold - another symptom I remember experiencing as far back as 2011, and my appetite was rampant! One week later and I'm 15 lbs heavier, from 215 lbs all the way to 230 lbs - talk about inflammation!

But I'm not going to dwell on this mistake.  Like I said, it was a hell of a week.  I'll definitely learn from it.  As a result of the lethargy and instability (and the damn cold weather) I hadn't been exercising very much, I imagine exercise would have mediated some of those negative effect.  I'm back on track now.

Did some yoga yesterday (inflammation has had a negative effect on my flexibility), and got in an hour long swim today.  The swim actually felt very good.  My goal will be to swim as often as possible as swimming seems to have the greatest positive influence of reducing my insulin requirements back to where they should be.  It will likely take me another 2 or 3 weeks to get my basal insulin level back down to below 0.8U/hr - hopefully all the way back to 0.3U/hr - we'll see.  This will be a good test for how well swimming actually will work for that.  Plus it will give me something to focus on during the holidays.

One thing is for sure - I won't be tempted to indulge in any more sweets and treats.  Lesson learned.