Updates: Bullet Point Style

It’s been almost a month since I posted. It’s crazy to think it’s been that long but at the same time, in my head, that was just last week. So much has been going on and I’ve basically just been concentrating on life than my blog, and I’m learning that that’s okay. I’ve been contemplating what to do about the situation… should I try to blog more? On a scheduled basis? But I’ve realized that I’m not a person who blogs based on schedules or requirements – I blog when I feel I have something to say or news to share. And, it may be that after 5 1/2 years that it may be time to slow down a bit. After all, I’m no person of authority or status to be sharing as if what I have to say or think is important – I just blog to blog. To get things out of my head. And I’m coming to grips with a lot of things lately in relation to diabetes and life, and diabetes blogging lately hasn’t made the top of the list…. it’s barely on the list, really.

Anyway, the updates I have are simply going to be bullet point style, because, honestly, there are a few topics that I’m just going to spit out randomly.

  • At the beginning of the month, I had a viral infection in my throat called “herpangina”. It’s the cousin to Hand, Foot, Mouth disease because both are caused by the same virus just different variations. It was painful, and I’m still – two weeks later – dealing with one big sore left in the back of my throat that’s taking a while to heal. The pain was awful in the beginning – and I could not eat anything that wasn’t a milkshake. 10665183_699683870117237_2650253020165325563_nNot even soup because it was too spicy (yes, soup!) and set me on fire. I sneezed at one point and thought my entire throat was going to come out. VERY very painful. I finally went to the doctor because I thought it may have been strep – but nope. He knew I was in a lot of pain, so he gave me a low-dose of prednisone to help the healing process. And, thankfully, the pain started to dull by that afternoon.
  • Speaking of prednisone, I now understand why doctors are cautious of giving diabetics steroids. Within 1 hour, my glucose readings went through the roof. But, the pain was easing, so I didn’t care. I raised my high threshold on my Dexcom, called my endo and asked how to handle the difference in BG’s (because, honestly, I didn’t feel like trying to troubleshoot on my own. I’m thankful to have a very good endo who has my back whenever I need him).
  • The prednisone gave me a new perspective on insulin resistance that was similar to how things were in my third trimester of my pregnancy, but without the worry of harming my unborn child. Seeing how I could go from a 1:8 carb ratio to one of 1:4 within 1 day and then have to remember that, yes, being off by just 2g of carb really COULD make a difference in my glucose later… yeah… it was nerve wracking, but so very cool at the same time. It was a learning experience, and one that made me feel even more compassion to those who deal with insulin resistance every day.
  • School is back in session, so my past weekend’s break was nice. And my BG’s were easier to control, so it made me realize just how stressed I’m staying while in school, and it makes graduating in May look that much better.
  • I finally have a treadmill. My husband promised we could get one for our anniversary, so we scouted and looked and finally came across one that was half-off and more within our budget range. It’s not a top-of-the-line gym model, but it will do for what we need, and for what we paid for it – I would have paid a 1-year gym membership, so we broke even there but the biggest advantage is that I can use it at home whenever I want/need to.
  • 1899983_705997876152503_6975308679029554123_nOn the topic of my t:slim and the Accu-chek Ultraflex infusion sets – I have been doing so much better with those verses the Insets that I loved so dearly. I have no idea for the reason, all I know is that it works. So, even though I don’t’ have the cool colors to choose from, I’m happy because I have been able to use my t:slim without issue.
  • And, lastly, my eyes. I went for my checkup about the swelling/edema from the macroaneurysm earlier this year and all of the swelling and fluid has resolved and my vision has gone back to normal in that eye. I do have some “hard exudates” (collections of cholesterol/fat stuff from the fluid) left, but he said those would resolve on their own, but much slower. I do have a few places that need to be watched just from simply having diabetes for almost 26 years, so I’ll continue to see him every 6 months from now on.

That’s about it.. Wraps everything up. I’m not sure how often I’ll be posting until the end of this month but I’ll be sure to try to post more next month since, you know, it’s National Diabetes Awareness Month and all 🙂

 

Also, starting on the 20th (that’s this coming Monday), the Big Blue Test restarts the counter for this year’s Big Blue Test challenge. Click HERE to find out more about it!!!

Take A #bluecircle #selfie!

So, there’s this app from the International Diabetes Federation, or IDF, that lets you snap a photo and have the World Diabetes Day blue circle placed on top of it… automatically. No photoshopping, no Twibbon-ing, nothing. It’s all right there on your phone, in the app.

 


Take your photo with your camera right then, or choose a photo from your photo library.. you know… since you might not be selfie-ready at the moment or you might already have an awesome selfie in your library to use…. Don’t want to have your face in it? That’s okay.. you can take a picture of anything, like your diabetes supplies, a BG number, or an infusion site!

IMG_6584

You can choose to share your photo or download it (which, of course, you may share it even still after that… I did so I could put it on Instagram too 🙂 ).

IMG_2389

 

The only thing I wish it would let you do is to place the circle onto a square photo (yeah, I’m TOTALLY a square pic girl), but you can move the circle to where you think it would be there if you cropped the photo for Instagram or a profile picture.

Of course, in the app, you can also give the IDF automatic permission to use your photo in their Blue Circle Selfies Flickr account, to help spread awareness. I did, and a few of mine are already up. But if you change your mind, you can turn it off if you want to later.

IMG_3350

I have to say, I love this app. It’s simple and easy and it lets me put the WDD circle on my pictures. Go get it. Play around with it. Add your photo to the other #wdd #bluecircle #selfies and let’s share the blue circle love.

My New Fav. App : CalorieKing, ControlMyWeight

When I had to upgrade my from my Disetronic H-Tron Plus to the new Accu-Chek Spirit years ago, the representative went over several options I had for carb counting. Reason being was because since the Disetronic had no way of calculating carbs, I honestly just knew to eat a certain amount of carbs and to bolus a set amount. It was a strange way, but it worked for me back then. When I upgraded, it came with a Palm Treo cell phone that had their own bolus calculator and logbook integrated into the phone (or you could choose a PDA if you wanted). Anyway, to make a long story short, she suggested the CalorieKing website. I was hooked from then on. All I had ever known was the book, but to have a website with search? Yep. Totally up my alley.

Fast forward until today. Pumps have come a long way since then. Most all of them have some sort of calculator in their system making it much easier to calculate your dose based on various amounts of carbohydrates. Granted, I still stick to having a steady amount of carbs per meal, but I can vary those if I want, but I just have to be mindful of the total amount of carbs no matter what, and CalorieKing remains my go-to source for carbohydrate amounts in foods I’m not familiar with. Since it was available, I’ve had the CalorieKing app on my phone – no matter which phone I use. It’s a staple in my diabetes care. And now, with all the fitness apps out there too, such as MyFitnessPal (which I LOVE), CalorieKing has one of their own as well. It’s called ControlMyWeight (obviously they like their words to run together… like a hashtag… minus the hashtag). In this app, you can set up a set amount of calories you’d like to track for a day, and it also lets you track water intake and minutes of exercise. But, what I love most about the app is you can set it to show the total amount of carbs per meal.

IMG_9902

IMG_2734

This way, you can just search for all of the foods you plan to eat, and it keeps a running total. Granted, as far as a weightloss app, it’s pretty fair but expensive in my opinion at $4.99, but I still think MyFitnessPal beats it (because it’s awesome and free). And if MFP integrates an option to total the carb count per meal, I’d absolutely have no reason to look anywhere else. But as far as just finding out how many carbs would be in your total meal for something you may not be used to eating, the Control My Weight app does a good job at keeping a running total for you. And, if you choose to let it be your calorie counting app and you keep a dedicated log in it, you can tap the circle that has the lines in it in the upper right hand corner, and it will give you a summary for that day, with Calories and Carbs at the top. So, if you have a goal per day that you aim towards, you can see how you’re fitting in there.

IMG_4649

Why do I see all of that as important? Because when it comes to taking insulin, it’s good to maintain a good basal to bolus ratio. So, for me, a 60/40 ratio is ideal. Since *my* daily total basal is 20.7u, then my boluses should typically average 13.8u per day, or about 150g of carb. (Your diabetes may vary**). This is also why when I go on a lower carb diet, I typically have to lower my basal rate, otherwise the ratio is thrown off and I go low a lot more often and and up making up the excess with glucose tablets.

To some, this may not be a big deal. If you have the Tandem t:slim or Asante Snap pumps that also have a carb calculator built in, you may not need something like this and could rely on just the standard (and free) CalorieKing app, but if you don’t, this may be an app you might want to check out and see if you like it for yourself.

FridayFind 6 – Site Selector App

(Sorry for not posting any this week. I had a problem with my site and some hackers and stuff, so I was working hard with my hosting company to get it back to working order. Now, on to my post…..)

Welcome to this week’s Friday Find! Several weeks ago, I was wanting to have an app that would track my sites – CGM and Infusion. Well, actually, this has been a dream for a few years now, but I actually started proactively looking for a way to make it happen. Well, unbeknownst to me, a good friend of mine – Brian Bosh (@Bosh) also had the same idea, but actually had the means and know-how to do it. He had developed an app called Site Selector. It was still in infancy stage, but I was so thrilled to see it and use it! I reached out to Brian with some suggestions of some improvements, and he worked hard on incorporating them. And now, I want to share a bit about it with you.

1. The app is FREE! Yup, FREE! Always a great point to make, right?

2. You can track both CGM and Infusion sites by long-tapping on the “body”, which will then place the site, or short-tap to zoom in on the area, and you can long-tap to mark the spot. A menu will then come up to ask if it’s a pump or CGM site, and then it places a dot for the site. Purple for pump, orange for CGM. It’s then recorded in the app and kept track of.

3. When you initially set up the app, it suggests healing rate times for sites, but as we all know, YDMV (You Diabetes May Vary), and some heal slower than others. You can change this to how fast or slow you think you heal. In doing this, it makes the app know how fast to “fade” the dots where your sites are to represent where they are in the healing process.

Pump and Insulin Settings
CGM and BG settings
Additional settings

4. It not only logs your sites, but you can also log your blood sugars in the Logbook section which can then be exported, but only if connected to your computer. But Brian gives excellent instructions on how to do this, and it works quite well.

5. With the reminders set, it alerts you as to when your current site has expired and needs to be changed:

Change Alert

As with anything diabetes-care related, you have to do what works for you. This app works for me because it can be as simple (only track CGM and infusion sites) or as complicated (those plus BG’s) as I need it to be. I absolutely love that Brian make it because I am a visual person, and being able to see where a site might be a no-no due to healing is a great help.

So, what are you waiting for? If you have the iPad or iPhone, go download it and give it a try! And, if you can, rate it for Brian so he knows how he’s doing. Or, if you have any suggestions, contact him at siteselector (at) alternateinterior (dot) com.