Game Changers for Diabetics

You might find this link interesting:

http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/new-smart-insulin-patch-could-be-game-changer

I don’t get too excited about things, yet, because I know it can take years and years, but I thought this was interesting. Anything to make those frequent shots better is a win in my book. I can’t imagine what it is like for my husband or for any of the other diabetics, tied to a significant other, not of their choosing. Diabetes is a stalker that will not be ignored, only accommodated.

Anyway, check out the link, ignore the name of the website, and tell me what you think.

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Diabetes Yo Yo

It was a bit of a rough night. The morning started way too early for my liking, although our two year old seemed okay with it. (UGH!)

When my husband tested his blood sugar last night, it was in the 240’s. We kind of expected it to be high, because we had jasmine rice at dinner. We rarely have rice, but last night I was hankering for this for dinner. I will be having it for lunch today too. It was hard to stop at just one bowl. 🙂 At about 2:30AM, I heard my husband’s c-pap machine turn off. At 5:45, I don’t notice it, but my mind must have known it was the wrong time. I sat up, put my glasses on and asked what was going on. I asked if he had a low blood sugar and he said he thought so. He sounded a little slow, so I got up to check it for him. 57!

In the course of four and a half hours it went from 240 to 57.

This does not reassure me about his upcoming business trip!

After bringing his blood sugar back up to the normal range, covering the sheets from his sweat fest, and laying back down, I couldn’t sleep. First he was snoring. Then that two year old wasn’t interested in going back to sleep. I was going over “Where did we (I) go wrong?” And I couldn’t stop thinking about how to prepare him for his trip, to ease my mind and to help him in the case of a low blood sugar.

I told him that he had to wake up to test each night he is gone, no matter what. I am going to make sure he has some Squeezable apple sauce, pbj’s, and small sodas available. And I am going to pray A LOT.

(What are some other ready to go snacks he could have available?)

Parents of kids with diabetes, how on earth do you survive time away from your kids? I feel like a control freak, or that I am being really annoying about this. We’ve survived time apart before, but still I worry.

By the way, I went to the library yesterday and brought this home:

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Just a little light reading for the kids’ summer break. 🙂

Back to that low blood sugar, what’s the deal with rice anyway?

A Diabetes Break

The thing with diabetes is it never gives you a break. It is constant and you always have to TRY to be one step ahead of it . Some days you will succeed and others you will fail miserably. Every day you have to get right back on the horse, or the bike, or your motorcycle and try, try again, because giving up is not an option. My husband will never ever get a break from diabetes. It will go wherever he goes. It’s a constant companion. No matter where he goes or what he does, he will have to consider diabetes. It’s almost like a girlfriend that turns into  a stalker when you try to make it go away.

My husband will be going on a business trip soon. He will take his diabetes with him. He will take a box full of goodies, hopefully enough for his time away. He will need some carb-y snacks and some low carb snacks. I’ll probably stick some peanut butter, crackers, glucose tablets, etc in there. I will also probably worry the entire time he is gone. Especially at night. He sleeps soundly, but I get up at least once per night. No matter what wakes me up, I make it a habit to check on him. Depending on what his activity level and/ or blood sugar was before or at bedtime, I might check his blood sugar.

These are the things that worry me when he is away for any length of time. It hasn’t happened very often. I can probably count on one hand how many times it has. When he went to Reno 16 years ago, I don’t remember worrying. He was diabetic then, but it hadn’t infiltrated my life as much as it does now. We are constantly checking in with each other on his blood sugars, his insulin doses and how he is feeling. He CAN count carbs, but typically he relies on me to tell him what they are, because I prepare most of his meals. (he’s generally on his own for breakfast and takes leftovers for lunch)

So he won’t get a break…. ever, but I will. He will be gone and I won’t be able to count his carbs or prepare his meals. I won’t have to meal plan with him in mind, while he is gone. The kids and I can graze if we want, we can have ice cream, sandwiches, cereal. I won’t have to make sure that the meal I am providing is well rounded.

It sounds almost delightful, but I am sure that when the time comes, I won’t think so. I will probably worry too much to really enjoy it. He HAS promised to keep in touch morning and night with his blood sugar readings. It sounds awful, like he has to check in with a mom, but he knows that it gives me peace of mind.

And as a side note, have you seen this? http://www.wral.com/news/national_world/national/video/14722595/

Do you think a cure for diabetes is possible? I’ve seen many hopeful “cures” that haven’t panned out, so i am a bit hesitant to get excited about anything that seems possible.

I’ll check back in at a later date and let you know how the time apart went. eeeek.

Sugar!

Yesterday my husband and I were at Lowe’s, looking at this and that. When we found something we wanted, we moseyed our way up to the cash register. I looked at him and asked if he was okay. He said “Yes”, but I could tell by the look on his face that his blood sugar was low. I asked him if his blood sugar was low and he said “yeah, it might be”.

It was just a quick trip to Lowe’s while the baby was napping and I didn’t know if we had glucose tablets in the truck. The soda fridge was right there, so I grabbed a Mt. Dew, “just in case”.

As we walked to our vehicle, I looked at the nutrition label and gasped. “This has 77 grams of sugar in it!”‘ I told him that if his blood sugar was low, he only needed to drink like a third of it. He tested at 54, and drank just a third. I was actually surprised. He typically chugs a soda if his blood sugar is low, which makes it go sky high. Those of you with diabetes know the drill. Too low, too high, just right is somewhere in between.

When we got home, I got our little scale out and measured out 77 grams of sugar:

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It’s not the world’s greatest picture, but LOOK AT ALL THAT SUGAR! In one 20 oz soda!

How much is 77 grams of sugar? There are 4 grams of sugar in one teaspoon. (77 grams = about 19 teaspoons) Three teaspoons in one tablespoon. (19 teaspoons = about 6 tablespoons) Four Tablespoons in a quarter cup. (6 tablespoons = 1/4 cup + 1/8 cup)

To say I was flabbergasted is an understatement!

I have never been a diehard sugar avoider, but this made me look at some of the foods I eat. Yikes.

The World Health Organization recommends that the maximum amount of added sugar per day for women is 25 grams. For men, 37.5. So if you are a woman, a Mt Dew is three times the daily allowance, and twice the daily allowance for a  man.

Whoah.

At first I was confused, because milk has 12 grams of sugar per 8 ounces and I thought “Wait! That is half the daily allowance!” Thankfully, it is ADDED sugars, although we should not be overindulging on the natural sugars either.

If it wasn’t for my husband’s diabetes, I might not have even noticed how much sugar is in stuff. I tell you, I was a crazy woman, running around, checking the nutrition label on EVERYTHING I put in my mouth. It’s not pretty. Sugar is added to nearly everything. They don’t make it easy for you either, because added sugars and natural sugars are counted together on nutrition labels. So you kind of have to super sleuth it.

How much sugar is in your favorite food? Have you ever realized how much sugar is in everything we eat?

As a side funny, my husband told me that the 77 must have been a misprint, he’s never seen it that high. I used that trusty Google to visit the manufacturer’s site and there, right on the site, 77 grams! I showed it to him, then he brought up that time that I thought the speed limit on our road was 40 and went to prove it and it was only 35. I don’t know what that has to do with sugar, but whatever. 😉

Have You Tried Essential Oils?

Ahem. I might step on a few toes today. That is not my intent, but sometimes the suggestions given to my husband are crazy, even if they are well intentioned. Nobody likes to see a friend or a loved one suffer from a disease that *might* be cured or managed. My husband has heard some zingers. These are a few of the suggestions he has heard from others regarding his diabetes and the reason(s) why he is not/ has not/ will not try(ing) them.

1. Have you tried essential oils? No. His doctor doesn’t really recommend essential oils has a viable method of controlling his diabetes.

2. I heard that okra in water will cure diabetes. No. I think if this worked, we would all know about it and there would be an okra shortage. (Source: http://www.diabetesdaily.com/blog/2014/03/why-okra-will-not-cure-your-diabetes/)

3. If you just had more faith, your diabetes would be cured. Do I believe that God COULD cure diabetes? Yes, but so far He hasn’t. My husband said that he was approached at a family wedding by an aunt who thought she could cure him with her faith. This many years later, he’s still diabetic. This has become an inside joke for us though. When his blood sugars are whacked, I tell him to get “in the word”. I’ve heard it’s a cure for all that ails ya. (Don’t hate us, we’re believers. We also think we are funny)

4. Medifast.  I can’t tell you how many times Medifast has been recommended for my husband for weight loss and diabetes control. I have seen Medifast work wonders for some people. I am not discounting that it’s a great product for some people; however when we looked into it we were told that my husband needed to check with his health care provider before starting this program. In fact, straight from here is this: If you have type 1 diabetes, it is essential to discuss Medifast with your health care provider or diabetes specialist before you start any of our plans for weight loss. He has been seeing the same doctor for 15 years. He has a good relationship with him. He asked him about Medifast. His doctor said that he did not think this was a good option for my husband. Rather than leave the people hanging that had recommended this to us, I politely informed them that his doctor did not recommend this route. These were the responses:

  • “What? Really? I have never had a doctor say no before” (There’s a first time for everything?)
  • “He obviously doesn’t understand what it is. Let me give you information to take with you next time. In fact, do you want me to come with you?” (no)
  • “That’s weird. Our doctor said it was okay for my diabetes.” (ok)
  • “Why would he say no? That doesn’t even make sense!” (none of your business)
  • “If his doctor said no, he has a good reason. Honestly, I sell it and wouldn’t recommend it for your husband.” (smile)

5. What about an insulin pump? Yes. Yes. Yes! We have looked into this before, but at the time, the cost was prohibitive. Now my husband has double coverage. I just checked his benefits and BOTH insurances cover the insulin pump! He has had some major medical expenses in the past two years and our out of pocket costs have been minimal. It looks like this will be the case for the pump. He has an appointment with his doctor soon and we will be asking about this again!

Did I step on your toes? I hope not, but when you are a diabetic (I am not) you have heard it all…. for the most part. To keep our patience, we try to remember that people are just trying to help because they care. It’s actually the people who are offended that we are not taking their suggestion that test our patience. We have learned to say “Thank you” rather than give the reason why what they said will not work for him. If you are diabetic, what are some helpful/ unhelpful things you have heard to cure or manage your diabetes? 

ETA: Out of all these things, the only one he has tried is prayer, although he isn’t praying that he’s cured. He’s praying that he manages well. So he can’t say without a doubt that none of these will work to manage his diabetes. 🙂

P.S. in an earlier post I talked about how my husband’s insurance only wanted to cover 100 test strips a month. We talked to a different pharmacist the last time we filled his test strips and she knew the work around/ coding needed for insurance. They just needed to know that he had a condition that required the test strips, because people like to fake diabetes, you know. 

Links and Resources

It’s a short one today, dear readers. Short but important. I want to share the links and resources that I find are valuable in managing my husband’s diabetes. He tests the blood sugars and gives the shots, but I learn the info. It works for us.

Here are two other diabetes related blogs I have come across since starting this blog. To be honest, they found me, and I am so glad they did. I enjoy reading their writings:

Diabetes and Donuts

MumofType1: Surviving parenting 3 boys, one with Type 1 Diabetes

Resources 

These are a few of my favorite go to Resources

Think Like a Pancreas This is my go to book. It has great information. The best part is it’s written FOR diabetics BY a diabetic. (Type 1)

Google Yes. I love to google. It is quick, easy, and painless to Google “how many carbs are in watermelon?” Try it. 🙂

Calorie Count We make a lot of meals from scratch and the carb count isn’t always available. This website makes it simple. I have found a few times when the carb count was off, but balanced with what I know and what I can Google, it’s a wonderful resource and gives a ballpark idea.

Apps: A list of apps for helping to manage your diabetes. These are Android apps, because that’s what we use. I know that Apple has some too. 🙂 My husband uses Accuchek. He has finally ditched the small paper book, which is great because those are getting difficult to find!

What are some of your favorite resources? Do you know of other diabetes related blogs? I’d love to visit! 

Let’s Grab a Bite to Eat

I prepare, shop for and cook meals approximately a bazillion times a month. There are some days that I just don’t want to do it again.

Or

There are times we are out and about. We didn’t plan very well and someone gets hungry and/or my husband needs to eat because he can feel his blood sugar dropping.

So let’s grab a bite to eat!! A burger, some fries, a soda! Yum.

If only it were that easy for my husband, a type 1 diabetic. It’s easy to grab a bite. It’s more difficult to figure out how many carbs are in a meal so he can dose properly for it. Fortunately with smart phones and web sites, the nutrition info is usually right at our finger tips. I have the mad Googling skillz yo!

I’m going to be completely honest here. My husband and I were blown away, flabbergasted, and shocked at the nutrition info for a lot of meals. One glass of regular soda at Shari’s had 48 carbs. 48! If my husband were to drink that, he would need to take 6 additional units of insulin. (he always orders diet, but recently we went to Shari’s and our totally distracted waitress brought him a regular soda and not diet. And this is how we know how many carbs are in a regular soda)

Typically, a meal from a restaurant has more than DOUBLE the carbs of a meal I prepare at home. And do you want to talk about the calories? My husband’s employer often orders lunch for everybody. We looked up the menu online and an order of a burger and fries had 1800 calories! This is how many calories it is recommended that my husband eats per day. IN ONE MEAL!

I can’t even imagine the people who don’t need to know the nutritional info. Downing 3 or 4 sodas because they are unlimited. UGH!

When my husband orders a meal now, he immediately asks for a to go box and splits his meal in half. He only eats half and saves the rest for his next day’s lunch. Meals at home are typically 30-45 carbs, Meals in a restaurant, or the meals he likes, are typically 90. Splitting his meals in two reduces the amount of insulin he takes, and carbs and calories he consumes.

We are also attempting to be proactive. His employer orders from the same restaurants frequently. We are looking up meals and noting how many carbs are in what he orders. This way he never has to guess at the last minute how many carbs he is about to consume. He has proven time and again that diabetes and guessing just don’t play well together.

In summary, grabbing a bite to eat is just not that easy for a diabetic. And there are more calories and carbs in that bite to eat than you realize. (UGH!)

Do you eat out a lot? Do you know how many calories or carbs are in the meals you eat? 

As a side note, I was so disgusted when the next city over from us started posting the calorie count of items on their menus. I never ordered a milkshake again. 😦