Monday, October 27, 2008

Winter on the Way

Life once again got in the way of my fall outdoor enjoyment. Very little riding, color watching etc. This weekend, I did get something done that has been put off far too long - a dedicated spot to ride the trainer and run on the tread mill. I cleaned out the shop equipment and organized (somewhat) the back room in the basement. It's been used as a catch-all storage area, work shop and cat room for far too long. But now, there's a treadmill, stationary trainer, and TV with VCR/DVD combo set up. I've got to pick up an 8X10 carpet remnant and it will be complete. All set for winter workouts for the whole family.

My endocrinologist appointment was pushed back to November 20th, much to my consternation. I've been getting bumped quite a bit lately by the clinic, so I called to complain. The gal on the other end of the phone actually listened and found me a spot for this Wednesday. I may get my answer on the insulin pump sooner than I planned. It will be nice to know, one way or the other. In the mean time, my blood sugar levels are lower and more consistent than ever before. I was warned that I would probably gain weight when using insulin as my main medication, but so far, so good. The gym set up will really help, I do believe.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Well, my side projects are finished at last. My blood sugar is in good shape, I have an endocrinologist appointment next month to sign off on the Omni-pod insulin pump. It's not like getting a prescription and going to the pharmacy and picking one up. Paperwork, insurance approvals etc. It will be a least a month. I wore a saline filled sample for the weekend to see if would work and it did. I put it on the back of my upper right arm and didn't notice it until it started beeping at 4:15 this morning. I peeled it off and checked for skin irritation. All OK.

What's missing in all this? Riding. I just haven't had any riding time for the last month or so. Yes, I do slip out after work for a quick spin, but no meaningful mileage. Now that I have the time, I'll need to put on the lights since it's getting dark early. Riding at night is a whole different experience, one which is pretty unique in that you're senses are heightened and you are much more aware of you're surroundings. I'm getting fired up!

Monday, October 13, 2008

A New Course

October first was a strange day, one I'll remember for a long time. I had a cortisone shot in my left knee. No big deal, I thought at the time, but that needle changed my life. At first, I thought, for the worst. My blood sugar went through the roof. My eye sight went fuzzy, feet ached, I got very fatigued, my energy was gone. Gloom and despair ensued. I called the diabetes nurse and got hooked up with some Novolog insulin. It worked well in getting my glucose down in a few days. As soon as I stopped using it, my glucose went sky high. So I'm on it full time.

Most people would probably react to this differently than I have. A lot of my friends and family seemed to say things like "sorry to hear that" or "bummer". From my point of view, it's the best thing that could have happened. I've had up and down control since I was diagnosed. Every bite of food was an uncertain adventure in futility. Any amount of carbs, unless followed by intense exercise, was a trigger for an unpleasant experience in many ways. I got guilty over even taking a glance at anything tasty. Pasta. Potatoes. Rice. Bread. All banned from my plate. I was causing problems with my home life. The mood swings and anger were ruining my social life. Something had to give.

Taking the insulin changed all of that. I can actually eat most anything in moderation without severe blood sugar spikes. Just estimate the amount of carbs I plan on eating, inject the proper amount of insulin, and go. So far, my readings are below 100 most of the time upon waking up in the morning, and stay steady all day. It will be really great as soon as I get the Omni Pod pump. I wont have to carry around the Flex pen and needles any more. The Byetta had quit working, so that's gone. Two less shots a day doesn't bother me at all. Plus, my digestive system will go back to working as designed, instead of being artificially restricted. This all is adding up to putting a smile back on my face and living a much more normal life. Cool.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Fall Colors and the Pump

The fall colors are in prime display right now here in the northland. The 2 bright red trees across the street from my house really glow at first light. The vibrant yellow-gold of the tree in second pic doesn't really come through in the picture, but is stunning in person. A lot of people from other areas never get to see such beauty. No bad for them.

Well, after my cortisone shot disaster, it appears my pancreas shut down. It's probably not coming back. So, after intense insulin therapy for the last few days, my glucose is coming back to normal. I'm off the Byetta, added before meal Novolog insulin, along with the Lantus basal insulin. I'll be going on the Omnipod insulin pump next week. That's a high tech wireless pump with no plumbing to mess with. The glucose meter acts as a remote control to set figure and set dosage. Very simple and ideal for active people. I'm looking forward to it. And to better glucose control.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Me And My Big Mouth

In my last post, I made the bold statement that things were looking up. One thing "up" in a non-positive way is my blood sugar. Seems the cortisone shot cried havoc and unleashed the dogs of war on my system. It has been known to happen. It happened last time I got one, but not to this extant. Last time it raised my fasting glucose about 50 points for a couple of days. This time, over 300. I called the diabetes nurse who is handling my case, and she put me on Novolog, a fast acting insulin that is normally take by type 1 diabetics. It works by taking it before meals to cut the rapid rise in glucose levels after eating. It sure is working. Small doses throughout the day and night brought it down to 170 this morning. Still much higher than normal, but at least well below the ketosis range of 242 and up. That ketosis is no fun. You get tired and loose all energy. You just want to sleep. Exercise is not recommended until glucose levels drop below 242, so you have to rely on drugs to get it down. Tough on the kidneys, too.

I've read several reports that cortisone shots can worsen type 2 diabetes to type 1 symptoms to the point that one has to inject before meals and be ever more diligent with monitoring and treatment. Hopefully, it won't happen to me. One thing I do know is that this episode has heightened my awareness of my problem. Diabetes is relentless. No days off. Everything one does revolves around it. So many systems can be effected by uncontrolled blood sugar. And so many terrible consequences. But, if I do end up having to take several shots a day, I won't be devastated. Look at team Type 1, bike racing on the international level with several type 1 diabetics on board. They make it work, looking at diabetes as just part of life, not something to mope about.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Taking The Needle

Visited the orthopedic surgeon yesterday for a cortisone injection in my ailing knee. It wasn't bad, pain speaking. He said it would be very painful, but it was just a little uncomfortable, at worse. The result was an @ 80% improvement almost instantly. It seemed to tighten up the joint considerably. So after work, I took the MTB out for a leisurely ride around the neighborhood. The knee held up just fine, and feels even better today.

This weekend, I plan on finishing one of my side projects, then I can get back to regular riding. I hate missing the fall colors being stuck inside dry walling. I'm finally going to order a compact crank form my road big, and have started a slush fund for a good cross/commuter rig. Things are looking up on all front, so it's nice to be able to get back on track.