My T1D Burnout & Getting Back on Track

As with any part of life, you go through periods of time when everything is right on track, and moments were everything is down-spiraling out of your control.  I’m there, and I’m climbing out of it.  

I’ve had two batches of bad insulin, insulin resistance, and three weeks of levels in the 200-300s. I’ve had the flu and a common cold the whole winter season, and my fatigue levels have been astronomically worse than usual. My Dexcom graphs (seen below) look like the craziest roller coaster ride in the world…and I feel all of it.

Burnout, in my experience, is when I just do not care anymore. I don’t care about taking my insulin on time, I don’t care if I forget my supplies, I don’t care much about anything diabetes related.

If you are going through a frustrating T1D time, or feeling like you just can’t do it anymore, I encourage you to reach out to the T1D community online, because you are not alone.I love my family and friends, but they do not know what to say or how to help me.  I don’t blame them, either. I can barely explain my complete diabetes regime to anyone.

For me, it is texting some of my T1D friends and just explaining what is going on. A simple conversation or just someone who understands how you are feeling has meant the world to me. Here are just a few of the responses that I have received from the online community.

“You can do it!”
“”If I can survive today, you can too!”
“At least we have CGMs and insulin, it could be worse. That doesn’t make our day any easier, but at least we know we CAN deal even if it’s hard. And sometimes knowing you can do something is all you need to actually do it”
“So even when it’s hard, don’t forget that you can do it because you already have a thousand times before”
“That’s why we have a community of people to pull you back down when you can’t do it yourself”
“You’ve got this girl! I’ve been going through the same recently and working each day slowly to stay more aware of my body’s feelings and diabetes. Finally had a good day yesterday and know you will too!! #wellness2018 is my motto!”
“Been going through a bit of burnout. Bad blood sugars can really destroy you emotionally”

I hope that you read these words of encouragement and understanding and realize how you are not alone. Looking into the future of always having T1D is daunting, but taking it one day at a time is important. Having just one person that you can reach out to can make all the difference.

2018: Goals, Intentions, & How to Make Them

A new year brings the overload of resolutions and goals flooding your social media and circulating through friend groups.  I think that it is awesome when people are determined to reach a goal, and make it a point to announce their goals to their friends and followers.  Setting goals, however, don’t always work out for me. Goals don’t drive me with the same passion and motivation that it may drive others. I am more driven by the plan.  The plan that I need to create in order to make the goal a reality is what motivates me.  My why. 

I digress…

So…what is the actual definition of a “goal”?

Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines “goal” as the end toward which effort is directed.  The word goal is a noun. It is simply the definition of an endpoint, or your final destination. But, how do you actually reach that endpoint? Goals usually don’t mention the effort part of the definition.  Goals, in my opinion, are typically very high expectations that you set for yourself (i.e. I want to lose 20 pounds by June or I want to run a marathon). These are great goals, but goals that require action, planning, purpose, and a desire to overcome obstacles, break through your comfort zones, and push yourself.  A goal suggests something attained only by prolonged effort and hardship.

For example, let’s go back to the goal of wanting to lose 20 pounds by June.  How will you achieve this goal? I would first focus on the WHY. Why do you want to lose? Is it an emotional burden? A health concern? For vanity? Set your intention. Next, how? What are you going to do to make this difference? It will require diligence with nutrition, exercise, and wellness.  To stay on track with those three elements, you will need to build accountability. What time will you need to wake up to go to the gym? Do you need to prepare meals in the mornings/nights to fit in with your work schedule? How will you fit this new health regime into socializing and going out with friends?

In just two minutes of brainstorming a lofty goal, I have diluted that goal into a series of intentions and objectives that need to be thought about and reached in order to achieve that goal.

I focus more on the process, and less on the lofty goal that I have in my mind.  I’m not saying goals aren’t good, but I will say that goals can be discouraging.  Start small and build your way into setting yourself up for true success.

I digress…

Let’s focus on the actions of goals.  Synonyms of the word “goal” are the verbs intent, purpose, design, aim, end, and objective.

I’m going to stay on Intention. When you break down the word, you come to the word intent. Intent suggests clearer formulation or greater deliberateness.  Intentions, therefore, are what you INTEND to do.

Intention, by definition is a determination to act in a certain way. Another definition is what one intends to do or bring about.  The definition of intention for students is an aim or a plan.

I would describe my 2018 intentions as a list of specific actions that are steering me to act in a certain way.  With these actions, I am determined to live each day with a purpose to put my health and my happiness first.  My health has been a major factor in the past years.  Suffering from Type 1 Diabetes has heightened my struggle with anxiety, depression, and other autoimmune diseases.  I have noticed my mood, energy levels, and positivity shifting in the wrong direction.

I’m going to take the next posts on my blog to specifically talk through my intentions and share my why and my how.

Have you made your intentions for the new year? What are certain things in your life that you want to focus on? I would love to hear them!

Thank you so much for reading, and be sure to check back in for more posts coming soon!

#MyCauseMyCleats: NFL Players Lacing up for Charitable Causes

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During Week 13 of the @NFL, hundreds of NFL players are able to use their shoes as a canvas to support any cause of their choosing through the #MyCauseMyCleats initiative.

This incredible campaign is a creative and effective way for NFL players to use their platform as a way to bring attention to causes. Additionally, #MyCauseMyCleats allows fans to get a personal glimpse into the lives of these superstar athletes. While they are successful athletes on the field, they do have a personal story that can be unveiled through the message on their cleats. I encourage you to check out NFL’s #MyCauseMyCleats Website to learn more the initiative and get a in-depth look at each player’s story. You might be surprised to learn about the charities that your favorite players support, and hear why they have decided to represent the specific cause.

As someone who is living with Type 1 Diabetes, I was so ecstatic to see the number of NFL players who proudly decided to choose JDRF as their organization of choice. I have linked each player’s Instagram accounts, as well as any pictures of their cleats. Give them a follow, and see how #T1D is all over the NFL!

Nathan Peterman – Buffalo Bills

Instagram: @natepeterman

Reid Ferguson – Buffalo Bills

Reid’s brother, Blake, has Type 1 Diabetes.

Instagram: @reidferguson

Check out this article about Nathan and Reid’s cleats, as well as their reasons for supporting JDRF.

Jameis Winston – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Instagram: @jaboowins3

Cliff Avril – Seattle Seahawks

Instagram: @cliffavril

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Deshazor Everett – Washington Redskins

Instagram: @deverett

Thank you so much for reading, and I hope that you all have an amazing holiday season with your friends and family!

NYC Marathon Recap: The Good, The Bad, & The Blood Sugars

23172473_10156719964354008_1435986931976350476_nAfter about a week of intense stretching, long romantic dates with my foam roller, and several hours of sleep, I am starting to feel recovered from the NYC Marathon on November 5th.

I cannot really put the experience into words.  Running a marathon was an absolutely incredible feat to accomplish, and has always been something that has been on my bucket list.  The special component of the New York City Marathon is the spirit with the runners, and through each borough that we ran.

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I’m going to break down the race mile by mile, and add in how I managed my type 1 diabetes throughout the course in blue. 

The night before the marathon, I had the philosophy to go big or go home. So I went big, and ate 3 slices of ginormous pizza and some salad. I started off at about 200, and bolused 8 units of Novalog for the pizza. For my Lantus (basal), I would usually take 19 units. That night, I HALF of my amount…9.

I woke up around 170 at 4:30am.  My adrenaline was kicking into high gear, and I ended up being 160 when I got on the JDRF bus to drive out to Staten Island.  I ate one half of a peanut butter & banana sandwich (2 pieces of whole wheat bread, one banana, LOTS of PB) at 6:30am.  I was going up to about 230 when we arrived 90 minutes later to the Staten Island.  I ate the other half of the sandwich at 8:45am. My levels were continuing to rise, but I didn’t bolus. I was also snacking on Starburst and coffee before the start.  By the time that I got up to the starting line at 10:45am, my blood sugar was 285.  I was high, and I felt it.  BUT, I could also feel the adrenaline kicking into high gear.  

Miles 1-2: The START.  Frank Sinatra’s New York New York  was blaring from the speakers as we all took off.  I remembered tips from previous runners was “don’t take it out too fast”….so I jogged slow.  I soaked in the beginning excitement and was able to really absorb the amazing environment that I was in.  The views were incredible, despite the fog surrounding us.  At this point, the rain began to fall.

Between Mile 1 and Mile 2, I reached my highest blood sugar, of 305.

Mile 2-6ish: Brooklyn. Lots of screaming spectators with signs and banners.  Little kids sticking their hands out hoping for a high five.  Friendly, kind, and enthusiastic.  The course here was very flat, and I was settling down into my original pace.  I found my pacer (11:15 mile) at Mile 2, and I tried to always stay within distance of her.  I knew that this was one of the keys to success during the race.

Mile 4: Dexcom double arrows going DOWN…I didn’t panic because I knew that this was going to happen. 

Mile 6ish-11: Brooklyn…the course was still flaaaaaat, and it was a little boring. I was able to feed off of the crowd for some support and motivation. I was feeling GOOD: legs were feeling great, and my head was in a good place.  At Mile 7, I knew that I had to go to the bathroom, but I kept telling myself to ignore the feeling. MISTAKE… at Mile 11, I RAN to the bathroom and immediately felt 10 pounds lighter and 100% better.  But, I lost my pacer and I freaked out….I knew that waiting in line for the bathroom took about 6 minutes, so I knew that I had to make that up.  I picked up my pace and searched frantically for that freaking sign with the 11:15 plastered on it.  I finally found her right before Mile 13!!! EXHALE.

Mile 6: I had furiously plummeted from 305 to 125, and was going slightly down according to the Dexcom.  So, I resorted to my plan from the get-go.  Take Gatorade at every stop to get some bit of sugar in my system (by the end I couldn’t stand the taste in my mouth, but I did it anyway), and eat 1 Clif Blok at every mile.  When I saw the 125, I immediately ate 2 Clif Bloks and had Gatorade at the stop.

Mile 13.1: The Pulaski bridge was my indicator that I had made it halfway! I was still feeling pretty good at this point. My feet were hurting, but nothing too bad.  I kept my cadence of my training pace, and I continued to maintain.

At this point in the race, my blood sugars were surprisingly stable because I was constantly giving myself sugar.  I was always continually having ClifBloks, taking Gatorade, and taking water. 

Mile 15-16: The Queensboro Bridge – AKA the scariest, soul searching, mentally challenging part of the whole marathon. There are no spectators allowed on the bridge, so all you could hear was the sound of everyone’s feet.  I heard moans, saw people break down on the side wincing in pain, and the heavy breathing of hundreds of runners.   This nervous energy gives a way to a lot of negative mental talk for all runners…and I was feeling it.  My legs seemed to hurt more than before. My feet were barking, and my thighs were on fire. The the rain had completely soaked through all of my clothes and it was very uncomfortable.  With all of that negative energy trying to seep into my brain, I acknowledged that it was coming, but I moved past it.  I knew that I had a few more minutes left of the screaming silence.

Clif Bloks at every mile… staying between 110 and 140 throughout.

Mile 16-19ish: FIRST AVENUE – AKA the world’s largest block party…and I needed that.  There were spectators (at least 5 deep) cheering and giving you high fives. It was encouraging to hear my name screamed by tens of drunken screaming fans…I’ll tell you that. At Mile 17, I saw all of my friends on 77th Street.  That was an absolutely epic moment that I will never forget.  I B-lined over to them all and immediately hugged and screamed in excitement. That moment pushed me the next couple of miles.

Clif Bloks at every mile… staying between 110 and 140 throughout…continued this way through the entire race!!!!!! 

19ish to 20ish: We passed the Willis Ave Bridge, which took us to the Bronx for about 2 miles.  I had read, been told, and watched people experience the “Wall”, but I finally got to feel it for myself.  The Wall happens when your body runs out of glycogen.  All of the dark thoughts flowed into my brain. I wanted to stop. I thought about how I could sneak off of the course. At this point, I couldn’t feel my legs, and there was no way of getting any sort of life back into them.  I felt so nauseous, to the point that I thought that I needed to throw up.  I was dry heaving. I knew that I had to continue to drink Gatorade, water and Clif Bloks, but my body felt like it was rejecting all foods and drinks. That wasn’t an option to stop eating and drinking. I needed those liquids and that sugar to get me through.  BUT, my mentality shifted.  If I walked, my legs were going to burn and feel as heavy as iron rods.  If I ran, my legs were STILL going to burn and feel as heavy as iron rods…BUT I would be at the finish line faster. So, I kept going. I ran. I didn’t stop at any point of the race to be honest. I walked through every water stop and never wanted to keep my legs stagnant.

Mile 21-23: BACK in Manhattan. Still in extreme pain. I was struggling hard…but I kept on going with the mindset that the faster I ran the sooner I would be done with running.  I kept going.  5th Avenue has a small incline for someone who hasn’t been running 22+ miles, but it literally felt like a MOUNTAIN to me. I might as well have been climbing Mount Everest.   The crowds were thinning out, but there were many generous spectators who handled out pretzel sticks for cramps.  I grabbed a few and stuffed them in my mouth, hoping that there was some magic ingredient to give me the strength to keep going.

Continuing on the ClifBlok routine, also had 2 pretzel rods that were handled out by a volunteer. 130. 

Mile 23: Central Park – We entered Central Park at 90th and 5th Avenue (Engineer’s Gate). I had heard that were were some turns and downhills, but they seemed MUCH worse than I was told.  I don’t know if I was delirious…or just out of brain cells at this point. Regardless, it was a beautiful few miles. It was, however, 3 miles of absolute adrenaline.  At this point, it was my mind that was going to carry me to the finish line. I knew that for a fact. I was looking down at the ground, following a blue line that is the tangent.  It was a great visual cue to set because I couldn’t think anymore.

When we hit Central Park South, we left the park and ran across 59th Street.  This was it.  The last straightaway. I saw the 25 mile marker and looked at my watch.  I challenged myself.  I knew that I could run a 10 minute mile, and I made that my goal.  10 minutes, 1.2 miles…YOU ARE ALMOST THERE.  I literally ran with every fiber of my body.  My legs were crying inside, but my mind was focused on finishing.  I looked straight ahead and powered through. I ran along the side of the course and passed people. There was nothing stopping me from getting this over with.

800m left…400m left… and there was the finish line.  Adorned with bleachers and screaming spectators. I crossed the finish line and felt the biggest sigh of relief. It was over. No more running. I could feel myself smiling from ear to ear as I received my medal and took the obligatory finish line pictures.  At the time, my mind couldn’t really comprehend what an amazing feat I had just accomplished.  Instead, I just wanted to get the heck off of the course and see my family. I felt sick, nauseous, and in excruciating pain.

Ended my blood sugar at 116 after I crossed the finish line!!!

Another hard part of the course was the 2 mile trek to exit.  I swear, it was the Walking Dead.  Hundreds of runners, hobbling, stumbling, and silent as we were corralled through the course to receive our ponchos and warm down.  I heard some cries of relief, happiness, people Facetiming and calling their loved ones, but I physically couldn’t even bring myself to pick up the phone. I was mentally and physically exhausted. I had felt every single emotion along this race, and I felt absolutely drained.

My day was MADDDEEEEEE when I finally saw my family!  My sister also ran the marathon, and finished minutes ahead of me. It was an amazing moment to embrace her and celebrate the fact that we had accomplished such an incredible milestone together.  From the moment I was born, I always followed in her footsteps. We wore the same outfits, did the same sports, and imitated each other constantly.  Years of love and friendship with my sister has made me so grateful for her.

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The day ended with a quick shower, and a celebration at a NYC bar with my friends and family. It was amazing to see my all of the people who are important to me in one place, celebrating, laughing, and enjoying the night.

Overall, the marathon was AMAZING. 26.2 miles were conquered by yours truly.  Will I run another one? At this point, I would say no….but I can be persuaded. 😉

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Children’s Congress Reflections: Why Should you Share your Story?

This week, I had the opportunity to be a part of JDRF’s Children’s Congress.  Children’s Congress was INCREDIBLE.  Over 150 T1D kids/teens packed into Washington, D.C. to urge government officials to renew the Special Diabetes Program and continue funding for the NIH and FDA for technological advances, research, and a cure.  I was blown away by the strength and bravery of each delegate.  Each one has their own unique story and background, but we all have the commonality of living with such a demanding disease like T1D.

I was able to speak at the H.O.M.E. Room on the first day of the event, which stands for Healthy Lifestyle, Opportunity, Motivation, Empowerment.

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I spoke about my experience sharing my story through blogging and social media. Someone asked me, “What made you start your blog in the first place?” and I thought, Whereeeeee did this desire to write about my life come from? Why did I think people would care?

Here’s the story:

Writing has been an important part of my life, even before I was diagnosed.  I had always grown up writing in a journal.  Writing was how I expressed myself, and I loved keeping a reminder of every little thing that I did.  When I was little, I wrote about every single day.  Just a page of what I ate, who I hung out with, and how my day went. Doodles, drawings, maps, every single thing that a little kid can think of is documented in over 8 notebooks. I fell off the map with writing in a journal in middle school and high school because life happened. I didn’t find the time or enjoyment to write.  I feel BACK into writing when I was going through a rough time during my freshman year of college.

I was playing Division 1 lacrosse, and had just broken my foot in two places.   I was sick, run down, and very discouraged.  My coach was extremely hard on me and constantly demanding more and more from me.  I was always in trouble, and never felt “good enough”. She destroyed my self-confidence and self-worth.  At the end of the year, I was voted by my teammates as “Most Likely to be in the Dog House”.

I was enrolled in a Poetry class during my 2nd trimester with two of my teammates.  The class was small; 15 kids crammed into a small basement classroom with the desks arranged in a circle.  Each poetry assignment was about a certain topic or style of poetry. From there, we read our poems to the class and discussed them.

Writing turned from being an “assignment” to being a way for me to express how badly I was hurting.   I used each poem as a chance to get down on paper how emotionally and physically drained I was.  I was able to release that pain into words.

The class was basically the therapy and outlet that I needed from being constantly engulfed in a life of playing a sport in college, dealing with an injury, and having such a difficult time with my coach.

I continued to write… and then my diagnosis came.

I fell into writing again when I was asked by a friend to write a post about living with Type 1 Diabetes for a project.  That was the first time that I had been honest about what was going on. I realized how much I was hurting.  My facade of being an energetic and outgoing college student was hidden under years of suffering, sadness, and anger.

Check out my original article right here.

The main point of my presentation was to SHARE YOUR STORY.  Blogging is an effective and creative outlet to cope with balancing a life of Type 1 Diabetes, or anything that you are dealing with.

Dealing with an autoimmune disease like T1D can make you feel alone, isolated, and misunderstood.  Certain situations, problems, emotions, and issues that a T1D goes through are hard and complicated for anyone else to understand.  Bottling up these frustrations and emotions can greatly affect a person, most physically and mentally.

Instead, use your platform as one of the million people living with T1D to share your story.  You can use your story as a tool to empower and instill hope in yourself and other people.  It doesn’t matter if 100 people read your work, or no one reads your work. You can keep a personal journal, or you can post your story for the public to read about. Letting out your emotions and writing about your life is a way for you to release any emotions or feelings that you are holding onto.

My goal with blogging is to always be as authentic and genuine as possible. To always be honest about what I am going through, and to hopefully impact someone’s day in a positive or helpful way.

Thank you so much for reading! Have a fantastic weekend. 🙂

 

 

A Letter to My Mother

I dangled my legs over the medical exam table while you sat nervously beside me. We laughed about the fact that we both rolled out of bed and were still wearing pajamas.  All that we wanted was coffee, and we were anxious to get out of there. The doctor came in with a nurse, with the smiles stolen off of their faces.  I don’t remember much about that conversation until the doctor told me that I had diabetes.  We laughed. There was no way.

Those next few weeks were hell.  Together, we tried as hard as we could to understand how, what, and WHY this was happening.  Blood work, needles, consultations, bouncing around hospitals.  Tears, anger, sadness, and devastation.  I felt trapped in a rip current of questions and confusion.

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You held me through it all.  From that first alarming appointment, you supported me with unwavering steadiness.  You gave me a reassuring feeling that no matter what was going to happen, that your support was everlasting and that you would be by my side throughout this journey. Your calmness was admirable. Your ability to make me feel like I was not going through this all alone was so important. You made me laugh in those moments when I was uncontrollably crying. You sat with me even when I did not want to talk.   You took all of my anger, my blaming, and my confusion.  You listened to me try and comprehend how my life was going to change with positivity.

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Most importantly, you gave me strength during a period when I honestly thought I wouldn’t make it through.  You gave me hope in those moments when I couldn’t comprehend this new reality. You gave me light during my darkest moment.

You challenged me to take care of myself when all I wanted to do was quit. You motivated me to take charge of my health by exercising, and eating healthy.  You pushed me, even though I yelled, cried, and complained, to not give up.

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Even from 3,000 miles away, you still pick up my 7 a.m. phone calls when it is barely 4 a.m. your time. When I am mentally exhausted from spending hours on the phone to get a doctor’s appointment, you do everything humanly possible to somehow get me an appointment the next day.

Your beautifully handwritten cards adorn my office and room walls as a constant reminder of your presence.  Your paragraph long texts filled with hope and inspiration pick me up when I have no energy left to give.

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It’s not possible for me to put into words the appreciation and love that I have for you. Words would not do my feelings justice.

But what I can say is thank you. Thank you for being the most important and influential person in my life. Thank you for standing with me through one of my darkest times and guiding me through with grace, and walking with me into a period of happiness and positivity.

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You will always and forever be my best friend, my biggest inspiration, my counselor, life coach, cheerleader, and most importantly, my mother.

I love you so much.

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Intermittent Fasting & T1D

Intermittent fasting (IF) is not the new fad diet on the market; it is a pattern of eating. IF does not change what you eat, it changes when you eat.   The word “fasting” might make you feel like running for the hills, but this new perspective on fasting makes sense, and IT WORKS.

How does IF work?

First, you will need to understand how your body reacts to the food that you eat. Your body goes through three main stages.

FED STATE:

  • when your body is digesting and absorbing food
  • starts when you BEGIN eating and lasts for 3 to 5 hours
  • increased insulin levels

POSTABSORPTIVE STATE

  • when your body isn’t processing a meal
  • lasts until 8 to 12 hours after your last meal

FASTED STATE

  • your body has absorbed all food
  • your body can burn fat that was inaccessible during fed state (stored fat)
  • fat burning state
  • insulin levels are low

It is RARE that our bodies are in this fat burning state because we are accustomed to eating every 5-6 hours. Fasting puts your body in a fat burning state.

To achieve the fasted state, you need to fast for over 12 hours.

Why IF?

T1D BENEFITS

  • Avoid insulin resistance (more insulin needed to normalize blood sugars) /high blood sugars in the morning
  • Normal blood sugars for an extended amount of time during fasted state
  • Smaller food intake period = easier to manage insulin intake
  • Increased insulin sensitivity (less insulin needed)

WEIGHT LOSS BENEFITS

  • Your body uses the energy stored in fat cells INSTEAD of your food
  • You eat less: fasting involves consuming 30-40% less calories

HEALTH BENEFITS

  • Increase of your body’s blood levels of human growth hormone
  • Cellular repair: removing waste materials from cells
  • Can reduce oxidative damage an inflammation to body

The easiest IF schedule that works for me is the 16 hour fasting and 8 hour feeding time frame.

FASTING SCHEDULE

12pm – 8pm: Eating lunch, snack & dinner

8pm – 12pm: FASTING (sleeping, water, sparkling water, black iced coffee)

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

I am a fan of Intermittent Fasting because it’s easy, effective, and fits into my schedule perfectly.  I do not restrict myself from foods in any way; I merely change when I am able to get those foods.  I still do eat relatively healthy, but I have seen a difference between healthy eating with IF and just healthy eating.

I struggled for a long time with high blood sugars in the morning, and IF has completely wiped out that issue because I do not have to worry about how much insulin that I need or what the perfect breakfast food is.  I do not deal with the stress of breakfast anymore. I screenshotted some half-day and day long Dexcom readings to show how steady my blood sugars have been since I started by IF journey.  I also find that I have more energy when I wake up.  I don’t feel sluggish from eating breakfast.

GET STARTED WITH IF

  • Figure out the best fasting schedule that works with your daily lifestyle
  • Ease into fasting by letting your body adapt to the change slowly
    • Start with fasting from 8pm to 9am and increase each hour until you feel comfortable at 12pm
  • Drink lots of water and black coffee
    • I drink bottles of water, La Croix, and iced black coffee during my fast
  • BE AWARE of how your levels are affected
    • If you have T1D, consult your endocrinologist about starting IF
  • Download IF Apps
    • Download the App, IF Diet, which sends you reminders on when to start and stop eating

DAILY DEXCOM GRAPHS WITH IF

Below are some of my daily 12-hour and 24-hour readings on from a combination of IF and being ON TOP of all my insulin with food.

Turn Up the Heat: Summer Trips & T1D

Summer is the time for amazing weather and weekend getaways!  For any trip, you need all of the necessary travel items, as well as your T1D supplies.  Check out these tips below to determine exactly what you need to stay prepared for your vacation.


Here are a few things to think about…

  1. TRAVEL – In my experience, traveling affects my levels. Whether I’m on a plane, train, or bus, I always see a spike in my blood sugar levels.  This could be from a variety of things, such as stress or lack of sleep.  In any case, see how your body reacts to traveling and plan to track your numbers tighter than usual.
  2. WEATHER – Are you going to be in humid and very hot conditions or in more mild temperatures? Hot and cold temperatures, as well as the change from one to another, can affect your blood sugar levels.
  3. ACTIVITY LEVEL – Are you going to be sitting on the beach relaxing or going on excursions and adventures? If you plan on having an intense weekend of exercise, be aware of what additional items you need to bring. This could be anything from adding extra low supplies or carrying more sensors than normal in case one falls off in the pool/hiking.
  4. LENGTH OF STAY – Are you going to be traveling for longer than a few days? If so, you may need to carry a refrigerated pack for your insulin. You will also need to bring more sensors and transmitters to change.  Always bring MORE than you think.  You never know what can happen!
  5. SLEEP – Sleep is a HUGE factor. Time differences and activities can get in the way and interrupt your normal sleep pattern. Also, you will have to adjust when you take your basal injection (If you are on MDI). A lack of sleep can affect your blood sugar for days, as your body is trying to catch up with the missing rest.
  6. WATER – Don’t forget to fit in your daily amount of water! Depending on where you will be, you might either need to purchase water bottles during your vacation or invest in a reusable bottle to be constantly filling up.
  7. SWIMMING – Are you going to be swimming in the pool/at the beach? You will need to think about making sure that your devices (CGM and/or pump) are secured on your body. I always recommend GrifGrips or KT tape to wrap over the device.

Based off of these main points of concern, you can figure out what exactly you need to bring. The following is a packing list that I have created myself for my upcoming beach weekend in Montauk, New York.  My past experience with traveling has helped me to create how I will combat my travel “highs”. I have taken the steps to ensure that I prepare for the stress of travel by eating low carb meals, not eating late at night (past 8pm), and drinking lots of fluids.  I also try to make sure that I begin my travels in a good blood sugar range.  I get very stressed out when I get on a train or plane and my levels are out of control.

Going on vacation doesn’t mean that you can go on vacation from your diabetes management.  I know that I am going to be eating more carb-heavy meals, drinking alcohol, and going out during the weekend. However, I am taking the steps on my travel days and preparing for the relaxing days in advance.

THURSDAY

Eat at 12pm and bolus accordingly (preferably a low carb meal below 20 grams)

1pm: Depart from Union Station to New York’s Penn Station

Bring water, sparkling water, gum, and nuts for trip (will not require a bolus)

4pm: Arrive at Penn Station

Coffee, water, light meal (preferably a low carb meal below 20 grams)

5:55pm: Take Long Island Railroad to Montauk Station

Protein bar, stop eating after 8pm

9pm: Arrive in Montauk

FRIDAY/SATURDAY

Stay as on top and aware of my blood sugar as possible.  Continue to monitor CGM, take bolus and basal injections, and stay on top of my eating and drinking habits. Set alarms for my Lantus dosages so that I do not forget them (half of my dosage at 10am and half at 10pm). Plan to exercise on all days of vacation.

SUNDAY

Eat lunch around 1pm and bolus accordingly. Eat early enough to make any corrections BEFORE I get on the train.

3pm: Train from Montauk to Penn Station

Eat low carb snack for the upcoming train ride

7pm: Penn Station to Union Station

With this plan of action, I can create my packing list to make sure that I have everything that I could possibly need for a successful T1D weekend away from home.


PACKING LIST

T1D ITEMS

  • Glucometer
    • Extra test strips in case of emergency
  • Fast-Acting Insulin (Novalog and Afrezza)
    • Novalog pen with needles
    • Afrezza inhaler and cartridges
  • Long-Acting Insulin (Lantus)
    • Lantus pen with needles
  • Low Supplies
    • Pack of juice boxes
    • Little bags of skittles
  • Extra Dexcom transmitter (*in case of emergency or accident with current sensor)
    • Skin-Tac
    • Alcohol swabs
  • Ketone Testing Strips
  • Reusable Water Bottle
  • Phone Charger (my iPhone is my receiver, so it HAS to be charged at all times)
  • Portable Phone Charger
  • Medical ID
    • If you are going to a new place, make sure that you always wear a Medical ID that shows that you have Type 1 Diabetes and you are Insulin Dependent.
    • You can add the Medical ID to your iPhone. Search the app called Health (installed automatically in all iPhones) and you will see the icon for Medical ID to set up your personal profile.  The Medical ID will show up on your Lock Screen.
  • Small waterproof bag to carry supplies at beach/pool

Wherever this summer takes you, make sure that you are good to go on all of your T1D supplies! Run through the above checklist and figure out exactly what you need to have a safe, relaxing, and enjoyable trip. Thanks for reading!

Reflections: Four Years Living with Type 1 Diabetes


June 23rd, 2017 marks 4 years with T1D. That two weeks of learning that my life would change forever were filled with confusion, pain, and sadness. It was absolutely devastating. The thing with being diagnosed as an adult is that I remember life BEFORE T1D. I remember eating, drinking, and never worrying about what my blood sugar was (or knowing anything about diabetes to be honest). I could run in my high school lacrosse game until I could barely breathe or eat a huge meal without worrying. I was deathly afraid of needles. I didn’t have to carry around a bag of supplies everywhere I went. I didn’t need to bring around Skittles and juice boxes. 🍭🍡🍬

My life now is T1D 24/7. 🔁I am constantly checking, injecting, balancing, testing, and figuring out how my body works and reacting to my day to day life. One of the biggest tips that I have learned is to love, nurture, and listen to my body as much as I can. ✨Your body is powerful and has a mind of its own, but you can take ownership of the things that you CAN control and learn to react as proactive and positive as you can when things are OUT of your control. 🔑I struggled greatly with the mental part of living with T1D, and couldn’t get past the anger and sadness that I was met with 4 years ago. BUT, I have found my peace and am slowly learning to take advantage of what I can control (healthy eating, exercise, relaxation, taking “me” time, sleep) and catching myself when I feel overwhelmed, upset, and mentally/physically exhausted about things that don’t always go my way (Dexcom failing, incorrect boluses, painful injections, stinging, stubborn lows/highs). I still do get so extremely drained and frustrated. But, changing my mindset and learning how to react to those low moments as helped me tremendously. ✊🏻

I encourage you to share your story 💉, struggles 😥, and little victories. 🎉You never know how much your experiences will mean to others. You will also gain a sense of strength/identity when you open up to others, ask questions, and become involved in whatever way you can! Thank you all for listening to my story and thank you all for always being my inspiration to keep fighting. ❤️

TCS New York City Marathon for TEAM JDRF!

BIG NEWS!!!!! I’m running a marathon!

Alex Reidy’s NYC Marathon Fundraising Page

In June of 2013, I went into my doctors for a routine physical required for my new college and the lacrosse team. That summer, I was transferring from UC Davis to Gettysburg College to continue my academic and athletic future.  What I thought was a normal physical turned out to be an unexpected, scary, and life-changing diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes.  From that moment, I fell into a period of sadness, anger, and rebellion.  I couldn’t handle how my life was about to completely change, and I felt so alone and lost.  I fell into a pattern of drinking and not taking my medicine or checking my blood sugar, which left me hospitalized, constantly sick, and extremely low in energy.  This was my rock bottom, and I felt completely out of touch with my body.

I am about to hit exactly four years living with Type 1. I have battled mentally, physically, and emotionally the pain of living with an auto-immune disease that requires 24/7 attention.  Life with Type 1 Diabetes is not easy.  It requires constant blood glucose monitoring, insulin injections, and managing diet, exercise, stress, weather, and sleep in order to maintain good health. It is exhausting, and every single day, MILLIONS of children and adults manage T1D. It cannot be prevented and there is no cure.

Thankfully, I have found the strongest sense of self, and felt the love and support of the Type 1 community from working with JDRF. I have taken ownership of my diagnosis and feel stronger and more confident than ever. I am proud to be apart of a group of individuals that are strong, fearless, and brave. I know that this disesase WILL NEVER stop me.  I can challenge myself to do anything that I want to do. In this case, it is running my very first marathon!!! 🙂

I am so proud of honored to have been chosen to run for Team JDRF. JDRF is a tremendous cause, and has been rated as one of the most efficient non-profits in the country, for using 80 cents on the dollar for every dollar donated. JDRF is the largest nongovernmental funder of T1D research and the only global organization with a strategic research plan to fight T1D. This science is complex and costly, and every dollar JDRF is able to direct toward research comes from every dollar that is donated to the organization.

Follow me along on my journey of balancing marathon training, T1D, and daily life into the mix on my blog.  I’m so excited to start this great challenge, and I really cannot do it without the support and love from my community, both online and in person.

Please consider making a donation to my fundraising page.  Your funds will be going DIRECTLY to helping me and millions of others get one step closer to a cure. Type One to Type NONE. Click on the link below and stay tuned for more blog posts! 🙂 Thank you SO MUCH.

Alex Reidy’s NYC Marathon Fundraising Page