I started this blog yesterday. Returned to it today, and it's gone :'(
That has never happened before.
Interestingly, yesterday I started by whining and complaining that one does not ever get "caught up" in an Urgent Care.
You can get it down to 1 patient left, about to let them go, and have hope that you'll get to gaze in awe and wonder at an EMPTY tracking board, BUT NO... as soon as you come out after saying goodbye to the final contestant... there are 6 more...
2 sad things. The blog disappeared. And... the real issue of the week...
My Freestyle Libre died. Here it is.
A Freestyle Libre is a continuous blood glucose monitor. I checked my glucose almost 90 times in 2 weeks. Teeny tiny needle. Painless insertion. Amazed: It lived its whole life expectancy of 14 days. Nearly ripped that sucka out 30x when I donned and doffed sports bras every day or passed the soapy wash rag over it real aggressively forgetting it was there.
Nurses - IYKYK. That water gotta be scalding hot after work. Anyway.
It was enlightening AF.
<moment of silence for my Libre>
sigh. ILY. bye.
LeeAnn Rhimes is the jam that comes to mind.
How do I live without you I want to know How do I breathe without you If you ever go How do I ever, ever survive How do I, how do I, oh how do I live
Please tell me baby how do I go on..." (1)
I got real lucky... and I almost never believe in luck. But, I have a nurse friend from working in
ER, who sadly, I haven't seen in years, but we keep in touch still. She left to be a super-cool-travel-nurse-just-freshly-graduated-NP and I'm here rotting, but she still claims me. She just so happens to be a Type 1 Diabetic, and I have learned so much from her. I have had personal struggles the last 3 years and I was sure some of it was related to hypoglycemic episodes.
Hypo = Low (versus Hyper = high)
Glycemic = Sugar/Glucose
She and I have talked about my symptoms so many times and she has tried to help me in so many ways, bless her heart, but my crazy goes down swinging. And then! Enter: FreeStyle Libre. She just so happened to have an extra one lying around the house that she isn't going to use... So she MAILED IT TO ME *squeal*. Stuff I now know:
FreeStyle Libre does offer a 14 day free trial! You have to have a prescription from your doctor with a qualifying diagnosis.
There are a tonnnnn of commercially sold glucose monitors available to the public, but they are really pricy. If you have the extra money - go for it. I'm talking monthly subscriptions upwards of $200-$400...
FAT can be our friend. Not body fat, food fat. Good fat. It's my friend at least.
I had gotten myself very "dependent" .... maybe even "codependent" on CARBS the last few years, for a list of reasons, and I finally got so frustrated with that cycle that I did an experiment.
During my recent 6 week "post-op" period (I had cosmetic facial surgery and I don't care... bye) I was on 100% activity restriction. Like. I was cleared to walk outside to the MAILBOX after 2 weeks. So, I found this to be a great time to experiment with eating less carbs. Not none, not Keto, but less. To my surprise - I can indeed survive without eating fruit and bread at breakfast.
**What is a "carb"?** I have a blog about this, but... a carb is ANY FOOD that is primarily composed of carbohydrate... NOT just sugar! All food gives us energy = calories. Some foods give us energy from protein, from fat, or from carbohydrate (most are mixed)... but "carbs" can be candy, soda, bread, pasta, potatoes, fruit, cereal, cakes, Little Debbie christmas trees, veggie chips, rice, etc.. K... so....
6. I experimented with eating less carbs overall (no specific number goal) WHILE I was not exercising or having any physical activity. I tracked what I was taking in in the MyFitnessPal app, and paid attention to how I felt, what worked, what did not work.
7. What I learned is... MY body tolerates carbs better in the middle of the day. Not the beginning, not the end.
8. What else I learned is... MY body reacts very well to a carb paired with a FAT. NOT a carb paired with a protein (which is what I had habitually been doing for a long time) at breakfast and dinner. Check it out, the 3 screen shots below are from Friday September 30th. Thursday September 29th, I went to a restaurant with friends for a mini reunion. Had the best time... but really didn't eat enough food. Shared appetizers and ordered myself a salad, aaand there was that 1/2 bottle of wine... Check out my glucose pattern in the first photo... My blood sugar dropped to almost 50 at least 4 times during the night while I was asleep...YIKES... somehow I woke up feeling fine, but man, my body was working HARD to keep me alive all night. I don't like that one bit. Second 2 screen shots... as a control for this science experiment, I also had wine this night... BUT... I had a salad from a local restaurant (El Paso, highly recommend)... and ALL that's in it is grilled chicken, spinach/greens, purple onion, tomato, avocado slices and I put balsamic vinaigrette... translation: a lot of FAT and zero food carbs (except the wine).... and CHECK...OUT...THAT...WAVE... flat and steady ALL night!!! I saw these situations pan out over and over and over during the 2 weeks I had the Libre on. Changed my habits and saw a lot of flat lines... the good kind, not the dead kind.
9. What else else I learned is... Blood glucose monitors are permitted to be off by TEN TO TWENTY PERCENT on any given reading and still be FDA Approved in the United States....
"Blood glucose test results are used by people with diabetes to make critical decisions about their treatment; therefore, it is important that the results are accurate so that nutritional and drug dosing errors are better avoided. Your studies should demonstrate that your SMBG is sufficient for this purpose by showing that 95% of all SMBG results in this study are within +/- 15% of the comparator results across the entire claimed measuring range of the device and that 99% of all SMBG results are within +/- 20% of the comparator results across the entire claimed measuring range of the device." (3)
Why does this suck?
Because. But, it depends. It depends on what you're using these readings for. If you are monitoring your blood sugars, "just to see" how you trend... No big deal. But, if you are diabetic, pre-diabetic or insulin resistant, or taking medications that affect blood sugar to treat other conditions (like Metformin for treating infertility)... and you see a reading of 85mg/dL... your actual glucose reading could be 70 or 100. How fun is that???
If you are making treatment decisions in your daily life based on blood glucose monitor readings, you can see why that would be problematic. To eat or not to eat? To administer insulin or not to administer? Are my medications generally working or not working? Am I fine to exercise right now or not? Can I have that glass of wine or not?
We can only do the best we can, and are limited by technology, but, I was just unpleasantly surprised to learn that factoid.
Opinion warning: Riding the glucose-insulin roller coaster can contribute to mood problems.
I truly believe that a lot of people probably think they have problems with moods or emotions and that might be true - but I also would bet that poor eating habits are highly contributory. Especially in kids. If your blood sugar drops quickly or if you drop low multiple times during a day, routinely, because you are consuming highly sugared beverages, or a large amount of carbs (breads, chips, candy, punch/koolaid, energy drinks, etc...), and you find yourself to be irritable, moody, aggravated, tired, blah, up and down... Consider your diet as a culprit... End of opinion.
Eleven. This website editor will NOT let me type "11" and restart the numbering where I left off *rawr on my keyboard*. 11. My body is not broken. Multiple times, as shown above, my blood sugar dropped to almost 50mg/dL during my SLEEP, including at times that I actually woke up during the night to check the baby or to potty, and I felt FINE. Over, and over, and over, my body CORRECTED my blood sugar ON ITS OWN, as it is DESIGNED to do (grateful to be healthy in terms of diabetes/pancreas/all that). This was a big deal for me. To SEE it on a graph... that I'm not broken and I don't have to constantly be FED.
12. Just because I'm not what people would call "fat" or "obese" or "overweight" does NOT mean I don't eat my feelings. Eating my feelings - in my case, a lot of anxiety, sometimes panic, distrust of my body - is what got me to a point of wearing a Libre. Life can be a real bitch. And sometimes, we eat to feel better in order to function. I am hard headed, they called me a "head case" in college on the cheerleading team, and I am the type that needs proof that I am wrong. And, thank you Libre, I was indeed wrong. Here is just ONE example of many from the 2 week experiment. Maybe you don't deal with anxiety, insert whatever emotion or stressor or negative experience that causes you to use FOOD to make yourself feel better.
Food is a DRUG. Sugar is a drug. Food can be abused or misused just like any other substance. You can be addicted to food. You can lose control with food. Food can hurt your body and your mind. And it's a lot more insidious.
Sugar is simply morally acceptable. There's no stigma with sugar. Nobody bats an eye if you drink a coke with breakfast. Crack a beer or pour wine in the break room at work? Straight to HR you go. Sugar doesn't have time constraints. There's no day of the week, or time of the day, or holiday that is more "appropriate" to consume sugar, or over eat, like there is for other substances. Vacation, holidays, birthdays, parties - these are times that people will choose to consume things they don't normally. But sugar, junk food - no moral, time, or situational constraints.
13. Just because a food is "healthy" ... doesn't mean your body likes it... Look at this...
a BANANA. big huge giant spike in my sugar ... all the way up to 180!! In the third screen shot, I tried just one more time to see if it was a fluke. Definitely did not get the same giant spike but had a hard and fast "drop"... bottomed out. You see a tall black peak followed by a drop "into the red". No. Bueno. The fourth screen shot is Anna talking about "dressing the carb." A banana by itself is a "naked carb"... eat it with some raw whole nuts, or peanut butter, or almond butter... and that makes it "dressed" with a fat. This slows down digestion and therefore curbs the glucose spike and fall. I found that if I paired a carb with a protein, such as meat or beef jerkey, I'd get the same response. Only if I added a fat did I avoid the rise and fall. **These spikes and drops are exactly what I referenced earlier in terms of FOOD being a possible culprit in MOOD problems. If you eat very little healthy fat or protein daily, and you are consuming a mostly carbohydrate diet... do you also have fluctuating moods, concentration, emotions, and so on? What about your kids?
Final thoughts: I changed my habits. I no longer eat bread at breakfast. Certainly not bread AND fruit. If I eat fruit, it's a very small serving, and likely a day I plan to workout pretty hard.
I started adding MCT/Collagen protein powder to my coffee in the mornings and this has also helped me SO much in terms of glucose stabilization!! I certainly did also experiment with sobriety (LOL emoji) during this 2 weeks. Check it out... The last 3 slides below show my glucose pattern after eating chicken, cucumbers and 7 grain blend. Very little fat, zero alcohol... terrible overnight pattern. Again, this is something I was able to reproduce multiple times during the 2 weeks.
If you are interested in doing something like this, make an appointment with your PCP to see if there are insurance-covered options for you. There are tons of CGMs (continuous glucose monitors) on the market that you can just buy, but again, they are pricey. A caveat to that is...look how much information I got out of just TWO weeks with my Libre. If you can save and swing even 1 month on a retail CGM with a 1 month subscription - man, could be life changing. Really cool stuff, technology can do great things. I am so grateful for this experience!
Insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, or Diabetes is so common where I'm from, it's nearly seen as a normal change of aging. Uncontrolled blood sugar and insulin response has SO many consequences for your health, it's beyond the scope of this blog for me to even address it. Mountains of information about that on the internet though. A glucose that is in range more than 90% of the time is #goals.
Over and out.