Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween and Diabetes!

Happy Halloween!!

This post is in response to a question I received from a reader. She has a 10 year old daughter with Type 1 who is going trick or treating tonight dressed up as a black cat. She wanted to know what my Halloween experience was as a child.


I cannot really talk too much about how difficult Halloween is for diabetic children because I actually did not get diagnosed with diabetes until I was 17.


 As a child, Halloween was one of my favorite holidays because I loved to dress up in a costume and go trick or treating with my sister and friends. In addition to the gobs and gobs of candy we got on Nichol Lane and Richland Ave in Nashville, we went to Halloween parties and ate caramel apples, popcorn balls and pumpkin bread. For me, one of the thrills of Halloween was getting tons of candy, eating a lot of it on the one night of the year that my parents didn't enforce more balanced eating habits, and trading the Mounds and Milky Way's (yuck) for Reese's (my absolute favorite).
Candy sculpture made from more than 3,000 pieces of unwanted Halloween candy. Artist Leo Sewell created this rocket ship which was commissioned by Nestle Crunch


Diabetic children want to be normal and enjoy the thrill of Halloween, just like everyone else. Parents and care providers allow them to indulge in a few pieces of candy and adjust their insulin levels accordingly. The problems arise when there is tons of left-over candy and when other children in the same family get to eat more candy than the diabetic child.




I guess the trick is to take the focus of Halloween off of candy and take the opportunity to teach all kids that they should never eat more than a piece or two at a time. When looking at the health statistics of our country, it's clear that some education on healthy eating would be beneficial to children everywhere. Halloween night might not be the easiest night to do this, but it's something to think about.




Halloween can be a great time to teach diabetic children how to balance holidays and their diets. Like I said before, I am really glad I was able to enjoy Halloween as a kid before diagnosis. I don't think, however, that a diabetic child cannot enjoy Halloween as much as a child without the disease.  It is important to indulge in a little something every once in a while, and everyone deserves to be a kid on Halloween, no matter their age!


"Candy Couture" for Dylan's Candy Bar, NYC





Ideas for Halloween in a Diabetic Household:
1) fill children up with healthy dinners before taking them trick-or-treating
2) make costumes and pumpkin-carving the focus of Halloween, rather than candy
3) make artwork with the leftover candy
4) exchange dimes for your children's candy... every kid loves to make a little change!
5) take the extra candy to school and use the opportunity to teach other kids in the classroom about counting carbohydrates and diabetes
6) allow your child to indulge in a few pieces







There is great information and advice for dealing with Type 1 Diabetes on JDRF.com. Here is their "Halloween Survival Guide for Parents"http://www.jdrf.org/index.cfm?page_id=105984



See how many carbs are in each different kind of candy here: http://www.jdrf.org/index.cfm?page_id=106002




Tricks -not- Treats,
Eileen

D-Life in College #3

How do you keep a sweet balance in college when you are stressed out???

My answer is that it is nearly impossible. Stress, both mental and physical, can send your blood sugars REALLY high, regardless of what you have eaten and how much activity you are partaking in.

We all move at a fast pace with obligations to family, friends, school, work etc. But for people with diabetes, the fast pace can take an emotional and physical toll on health. Blood sugar levels rise during a stressful event in everyone because the stress hormones like epinephrine and cortisol kick into action. One of their major functions is to increase blood sugar in the body so that the person has available energy to "fight or flight." Both emotional and physical stress can prompt the release of these hormones which is why my blood sugar is higher both when I am feeling sick and before a test or when I am upset. 


People who are not diabetic have bodies that can compensate for the elevated blood sugar. People with diabetes cannot do the same.  Diabetics are also taught not to take a bolus of insulin unless they are eating something. For this reason, its important to check your blood sugar often when you are feeling stressed or overtired because it is likely that you will need a little more insulin than you normally take. One of the most important things for a diabetic to do is to learn what their body feels like when they are stressed out. 


When I am stressed out about school work, I always get stressed out about my diabetes and compound the issue, sending my blood sugar higher.  It is a vicious cycle!!


My goals for days like today when I have tons of studying to do? 
1) Check blood sugars every 2 hours
2) Eat only complex carbohydrates, if any at all
3) Drink lots of water
4) Take a hot shower








XOXO
Eileen

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Updates

This morning came and went without me putting that continuous glucose monitor on... I chickened out! I scheduled an appointment at the diabetes center for them to put it on me and program it for me though.  I really want to wear it, but I know it is going to be a little bit of an adjustment and I feel like I just need a little more guidance, especially since I am so stressed with a million things for school this week. Is this avoidance or good judgment?? Time will tell.... XOXO Eileen

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My New CGM

Hello All!

My new continuous glucose monitor arrived today : ) It is called the Medtronic  Paradigm REAL- time and I am debating whether I should put it on tonight or tomorrow.... I could wait for a fasting glucose so that my first numbers would be fabulous, but its all shiny and new and I sort of want to attach to it.  I guess I should just wait it out... It came in a HUGE box for such a small little monitor.

Getting a continuous glucose monitor is an exciting thing! Or at least I am really excited about it right now. It took me a while to come around to the idea of having another device hooked onto my body, but everyone who wear them say they are really a great way to tighten up blood sugar control.

A blood glucose meter measures glucose in the blood while the glucose sensor measures glucose in the interstitial fluid (which is the fluid surrounding the cells in the tissue...) Glucose travels first to your blood, and then to your interstitial fluid, so the meter readings and the monitor readings will rarely ever match exactly, but they should be close.  For this reason, you have to calibrate your blood glucose meter to your monitor about 4 times a day.







For all those lazy type 1's out there... you actually have to calibrate a minimum of 1 time every 12 hours in order to receive sensor glucose readings.

I am going to be better about posting regularly! Thank you for the email reminders! I have had a crazy week but with this new monitor, diabetes is on my mind more than ever and so I will have lots to say.

Have a great night!
Eileen


Monday, October 25, 2010

We Live in a Small Town

I went to Fido with my friend Mary Lyn... She is really incredible (JDRF of Middle TN Executive Director) and very inspiring to me to continue trying to get better and better a1c's... and how could I forget?  she is hilarious.

We ordered our coffee, entertained some small talk and then BAM. She told me that last week (or whenever it was that I wrote about my experience at Signature Nail Spa) she told the story I wrote about to a TRENDY MOM who stopped in at the JDRF office. What are the odds?! The woman I saw at Signature was the same woman Mary Lyn told the story to at JDRF...  Nashville is such a small town!

I am getting a Continuous Glucose Monitor tomorrow and I am listening to a lecture on Diabetes in school today.... I will have lots to write about this week!

Have a great day,
Eileen

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Medical ID Bracelets

People of all ages with Diabetes want to live "normal" lives. Often, this means not talking about the disease, not letting anyone see them check their blood sugar, NEVER letting anyone see an injection and so forth. I think this is probably the case with other diseases as well. Some people want their disease to be kept very private and that's pretty understandable. The bottom line, in my opinion, is that people are in their right to maintain elements of privacy but that maintaining privacy of vital information can prevent safety.


It is really important to share your information with the world. Wear a medical ID bracelet! While this is a good thing to buy for any person who likes to run or hike alone, it is especially important for diabetics and people who are allergic to bees,peanuts and the like. And if you aren't comfortable talking about your diabetes to your friends, community etc, it is a great way to protect yourself in the case of an emergency without divulging all of your personal experiences.


All of these are med-ID bracelets from www. laurenshope.com
 Mine says: Eileen Campbell, Type 1 Diabetic, Call for Emergency Help and then my mother's cell phone number.








AND they make them for your PUPPIES!!
Roughly 1 in 500 dogs have Diabetes 
... go adopt one! 




not your thing? Put one on your SHOES! 


Go get one of these at www.roadID.com


XO
Eileen





Saturday, October 16, 2010

Hilarious Things Only A Diabetic Can Say

Though there are a million situations that require immediate attention and are not at all funny, others require an element of humor in order to swallow the facts and move forward. My personal philosophy (which you cannot hold me to all the time... and it might change tomorrow) is that if you can't laugh about some aspects of diabetes, you are not coping with it well.

Some things diabetics say on a day to day basis are inherently hilarious when said in mixed company. Said amongst diabetics, it goes unnoticed when I comment that "I am high." Most people in college mean something else by that statement....

Favorites for a Public Setting :

"I feel so high"
"I need to shoot up"
"I have a bubble in my tubing"
"Ugh! Where is my needle??"
"I have extra syringes if you need one"

(I always laugh at my own diabetes jokes...)


Go read this blog as well! Kelly Kunick is hilarious and FAMOUS for diabetes humor. She also does a lot to educate the public on the disease and can be serious when she needs to be.

diabetesalicousness.blogspot.com


On another note entirely, Congrats to Claire who is getting married today : )

XOXO
Eileen

Friday, October 15, 2010

It Comes in Pink!

Maybe this is old news to some of you.... But I haven't been on the market for a new pump in four years!
IT COMES IN PINK!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Medtronic Mini-Med Beep

Today, after a long week of tests,  I treated myself to a pedicure (good for diabetics! increases peripheral perfusion to the toes) and went to lunch with my friend Cecilia. I swear I have a 6th sense for diabetics around me because within the two minutes I stood picking out my nail color, I heard "the beep"and knew another Type 1 was at Signature Nail Spa.

This is Cecilia. Doesn't she seem fun??

The beep that I am referring to is very distinct. Its the good ole Medtronic Mini-med Beep. The, "Oh Shit, I must be out of insulin," beep. My first instinct was to check my pump. The beep wasn't mine. A minute and thirty seconds later, I heard it again. I checked my own pump once more. Still not my pump. Why I checked it again the second time, I don't know. I guess that sound triggers an action in my brain to look down at the pump before I actually process the thinking behind it.

Anyways, some really cute and trendy mom was getting her nails "shalacked" (a new gel-nail trend that is supposed to be fabulous but is not allowed for nursing students in the hospital...) while her pump was beeping at her. I walked towards her, my pump in hand, ready to laugh about the fact that I could know that beeping sound anywhere.

Alas, it didn't happen as I expected. Trendy mom was trying to explain diabetes, insulin pumps and the problem she was having with hers to a dear woman with limited English skills... and all the while, with wet nails and hilarious hand movements. The real kicker in the whole scenario was that Trendy Mom was asking the nail technician to please unclip the pump from her bra. Upon seeing me with a pump, and before I could even get a word in, she said, "oh hi, you have it too! I'm so embarrassed, can you pull it out? It's in my bra. Sorry. Thanks. OMG you are a lifesaver."

A woman I don't know asked me to stick my hand up her shirt at the nail salon and remove a little machine that was making obnoxious beeping noises. So what did I do? Stuck my hand up her shirt and got that bad boy. Then we had a little chat about our pumps.

Beyond hilarious.

I guess she just knew we had an unspoken understanding of, what I just decided to call, "the diabetic privacy barrier"... sometimes its just easier to dissolve it and get a stranger to help you out.

I don't know her name, but she wears a grey Medtronic Minimed 522.

XO
Eileen

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

D-Life in College #2

Food groups of exam week: 
 
 


I have not been so balanced... But I am keeping things in perspective tonight as the miners in Chile are rescued : )

Love,
Eileen 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My sweetie-pie friend Olivia

She is amazing!! For my birthday in September, she sent me a really cute magnetic board for my desk and I LOVE it. She is one of those people who never misses a birthday and always sends the present a few days in advance just to make double- sure that you have something to open on your big day.

Well... when she came back home to Nashville to visit last weekend, she surprised me with another gift that was so touching and meaningful to me. I don't even know how to thank her. It was the nicest thing a friend could do.

Olivia raised $1,300 for JDRF in my name!! She designed t-shirts, had them made, sold 115 of them to Chi-Omega girls all over the south (SMU, Georgia, Baylor, Texas A&M...) and then went to the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes in Dallas in the pouring rain.

She enlisted lots of helpers : )


 She told me all of this by making me read through a little book she made that walked me slowly through all aspects of her fundraising efforts and the walk. I was in complete shock. This was honestly the most thoughtful gift. It just goes to show that she is an amazing and dear friend, and that diabetes affects all of us. With love and support from friends, the management is easier : )

love!
Eileen

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Starbucks... and a brief definition of Type 1

This afternoon, after an eight hour day in nursing school, I sauntered into Starbucks near campus looking for a caffeine fix and a break.  When I ordered my usual grande unsweetened iced coffee with skim milk (only 15 calories!! and the only sugar is lactose!!) I had no idea that one of those horrifically awkward moments was approaching... yep, you guessed it... someone made a diabetes joke to me and I had no idea what to say back. 

To joke or not to joke? 

It goes like this....

Me: Hi! May I please have a grande unsweetened iced coffee? Just a little room for milk please...
Hipster/Musician/Nashvillian: Hey, uh, yep! You got it. 
Me: Great, thanks! (Look back down at my phone... not really paying attention)
Hipster/Musician/Nashvillian: Is that all for ya today? Maybe a donut... or ha! Nope... guess you wouldn't want diabetes would ya? You seem like you might like almonds.
Me: uhhhhh. ha. ummm. No I guess i would not want diabetes.... ummm no thank you to the almonds. Ha. Um. Coffee is all.

I was totally zoned out looking at my phone until I heard the magic d-word.... then I didn't say anything about having diabetes myself (because that would have been weird... and awkward...) If I had said anything about having diabetes myself, the barista would have felt bad and profusely apologized which would have then made me feel bad for admitting to it. Not admitting it, however, makes me look like an idiot as I stumble over his donut joke and walk away to get my coffee. Hilarious dilemma. 

One of the things that bothers me the most about diabetes is the common misconception that it is caused by eating sugar. People who do not understand the disease seem to promote the stereotype that diabetics are people who do not take care of themselves and who do not value their health. Not Type 1!! And not all of Type 2 diabetics are unhealthy, overweight or have high a1c's either! Oh well. Next time I will try to do a little more to educate .... maybe. 

For the record...
Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease. Diseases that are classified as autoimmunity diseases are caused when the body's defensive cells fail to recognize other cells in the body as "self," meaning PART OF YOU! The body tags it's own cells as antigens, or invaders just like a pathogen would be, and produces an immune response to kill it. Since our bodies fight off little bugs daily and produce strong immune responses, our poor little islets don't stand a chance once they have been "tagged."

The problem is started by what is predicted to be a viral attack against islets (cells... produce secretions!) in the pancreas which produce insulin. A proven cause of diabetes is still unknown. Once these islets are gone, no insulin is produced. WIthout this insulin, red blood cells circulating the body cannot utilize the sugar in the blood stream(from food and metabolic processes) for energy. Without energy, the red blood cells have a difficult time bringing nutrients and oxygen to the various organs of the body. Organs need oxygen and nutrients in order to function properly. Because every person needs insulin to live, Type 1 Diabetics have to inject insulin into their bodies.

Though this is very oversimplified, it is important to understand that Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease, not something caused by lifestyle habits or food choices. You all can thank my Starbucks barista for my post : )

searching for that balance!
Eileen

Monday, October 4, 2010

Diabetes on Family Guy

YouTube - Diabetes Family Guy


Click above to watch Wilford Brimley in action. An interesting take on the effects of diabetes to be sure...

I am pretty sure that everyone with diabetes finds humor in at least some part of the cartoon. I think most are also fearful, however, that this is how all Americans really perceive it to be.

D-Life in College #1

Diabetes life in College

Part of what is so difficult about being a diabetic in college is the lack of routine that is inherent in the life of a student. Some days I have so much work to do that I am up late into the early hours of the morning. Some weekend mornings I am so tired from working that I sleep in until 10 or 11, missing breakfast completely and waking up with a low blood sugar.

 Though I have healthy food options available, I have no way of knowing how many carbohydrates are in it... school restaurants and cafeterias don't come with easily attainable nutrition facts.  To make a long story short, some (not many...) of my a1c numbers have been atrocious in college... and none have been as good as my a1c in high school. After sitting in nursing school all day and hearing about how horrific diabetes is, I always start to get really down and out about my disease management.

My sweet friend's response to me feeling guilty about having bad blood sugars and feeling bad? "It's not your fault. Good thing you are a dia-ninja." Thanks E, you really are a sweet and hilarious friend.

xo Eileen

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Cranberry-Ginger Streusel Pie

Long ago, I asked a bloggie friend who loves to bake (bluerdigebaker@blogspot.com) to make some yummy diabetes treat that wouldn't be too bad on the blood sugars. Though I don't have the nutrition facts for the pie, I think it is delicious and worth sharing!

A Note From the Baker:
"This pie is about as healthy as a pie can be. It is sweetened solely with palm sugar, and uses nothing but whole wheat flour. There is a minimum amount of butter, as well as a little olive oil.Although the filling is almost entirely cranberries, it is not overly tart. The combination of palm sugar, vanilla extract, water and fresh ginger forms a delightful sweet, slightly spicy thin jelly-type layer below the cranberries which was a delightful surprise when taking my first bite. If you want to, other fruits can certainly be combined with the cranberries to sweeten it even more.I was so impressed with the texture of this crust. It certainly isn't the same as a traditional crust that is laden with butter, but it has a charm all its own. It is so quick and easy to make, it cuts perfectly into beautiful clean slices, and is lovely and tender. It has a definite wheat flavor, and if that doesn't appeal to you, you could certainly do a combination of whole wheat and white. I really liked the earthiness of the wheat, and thought it paired nicely with the cranberries and ginger."

Cranberry-Ginger Streusel Pie  

Before beginning, preheat oven to 350 and butter a 9" pie plate.

Streusel Topping

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
2 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup palm sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine flour, palm sugar and salt in small bowl. Add butter and toss with fingers until all flour is moistened and crumbs have formed. Refrigerate until the rest of the pie is assembled.


No-Roll Whole Wheat Crust
adapted from Joy the Baker

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup butter, frozen
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons cold milk

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder. Using a box grater, grate the frozen butter into the dry ingredients. Add the cream cheese, and using your fingers, rub the butter and cream cheese into the flour mixture until they are well-incorporated, and there are butter bits of various sizes. Whisk milk and olive oil together in a small bowl and pour over flour/butter mixture. Toss together with a fork until all of the flour is moistened - it need not form a ball. Dump into a prepared pie plate and using your fingers, evenly press dough into the plate. Place in freezer while you make the filling.

Cranberry-Ginger Filling

4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (If using frozen, work quickly so they don't defrost)
1/2 cup palm sugar
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons water

Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl, and toss with fingers.

Finishing the pie:

Remove crust from freezer. Pour cranberry filling into crust. Scatter streusel topping evenly, ensuring that there are crumbs of various sizes throughout.

Bake pie for about an hour, or until the cranberry juices are released and they have thickened. The top layer of cranberries will keep their shape, but should give way when pressed. If topping looks like it is browning too quickly, place a foil tent over the pie. Let pie cool for at least an hour before cutting.

this recipe and the contents describing it came from bluerdigebaker@blogspot.com
go check out her website!

And so I begin...

And so I begin... I am writing to share my experiences with Type 1 Diabetes and my journey finding and maintaining a sweet balance between happy college living and a healthy hemoglobin A1C. For those of you who do not know much about the disease, perhaps this blog will give you a better understanding of it and some education on the science behind it. For those of you who are well versed in diabetes lingo and relate with what I can share, hopefully I can entertain you : )

Diabetes is one of the fastest growing diseases in America, yet so many people misunderstand the diagnoses. There are books and blogs dedicated solely to parenting a child with diabetes and supporting a spouse with the disease, but I have never found an interesting read regarding life with diabetes as a college student or as a young woman. Maybe I should have continued searching until I found something supportive... but I became impatient (which you will find is a general trend for better or worse...) and gave up looking for something I could make myself.

Currently, I am in my senior year of college AND in my first year of nursing school at Vanderbilt University. My undergraduate degree is in English literature. I used to model and play a lot of volleyball but now find that I am spending all of my time studying. I love reading, riding, traveling, laughing, cooking, fashion, exercising.... the list goes on!

wishing you a sweet balance,
Eileen