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Happy Diaversary!

Posted by on 8:36 pm in Carb Counting, Events, Insulin, Lifestyle, Stories | Comments Off on Happy Diaversary!

Happy Diaversary!

On Sunday, April 10th, I celebrated my 1-year Diaversary at 30 years young. Almost all Type Ones remember the exact date that they were diagnosed, unless maybe you were too small to comprehend what was going on. If that’s the case, your parents probably know… Should Type One Diaversaries be celebrated? The disease itself is definitely not something to celebrate, BUT looking back at how far you’ve come should earn a big applause – no matter how far you’ve come. When I was diagnosed on Friday, 4/10/15, I knew very little about how to manage Type One Diabetes. Having an identical twin sister with the disease, I did know that you could get too low or too high – but the logistics of how many units of insulin to give yourself at meal-time or correct a high number was foreign to me. My knowledge was limited to: if you were too low, you needed carbs, fast. My sister, Amy, often times woke me up in the middle of the night raiding the kitchen. I would hear the refrigerator door open and knew Amy was too low – standing there drenched in sweat and shaking in the kitchen. It’s amazing how fast a year flies. My mom texted me on Sunday and asked me how I felt about it? Honestly, I feel like I’ve had the disease almost my entire life! I cannot imagine sitting down to eat a meal and not test my blood sugar or count the carbs on my plate. I do know how lucky I am. On my exact Diaversary, I attended JDRF’s Type One Nation at Hotel Irvine, in which I spent the day hearing from JDRF initiatives and other Type Ones, who shared their experiences, their frustrations, and their hope. I sat with 2 small girls at lunch, probably around 8 years old, who also had Type One. I watched them test their blood sugar, tell their parents their glucose levels, count the carbs on their plate, and collectively decide <with their parents> how many units of insulin to give themselves. It both warmed and broke my heart a little, as they’ve had to do this a lot longer than me, at such a young age. They were truly my heroes, as I watched them program their pumps together and begin to eat. Again, I am lucky. Mentally, I’m in a great place. I recently splurged on the Dexcom G5 CGM and I am obsessed! It’s truly the best visibility, as I’m able to see my glucose levels at all times, especially when I’m exercising. Exercise is one of the best Diabetic medications for my sugar levels.  An intense 60-minute cardio session will bring me down 100 points. I bring 2 sugar tablets to eat during my work-out, and try to begin with a glucose level of about 135. My Insulin Regimen? I’m on 2 types of insulin pens for my shots, which I prefer to give in my stomach. If I’m wearing a dress – or around people that I don’t know well – I’ll give the shot in my arm. I use Humalog for my bolus (meal-time) insulin and Tresiba for my basal (long-term) insulin. I give myself about 1 unit of insulin for every 10 carbs I plan to eat, typically about 20 minutes prior to...

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Hello, It’s Me. Amy’s Dexcom.

Posted by on 7:13 pm in Carb Counting, Events, Insulin, Lifestyle, Stories | Comments Off on Hello, It’s Me. Amy’s Dexcom.

Hello, It’s Me. Amy’s Dexcom.

Due to last Monday being a nationally recognized holiday celebrating Martin Luther King, I received the day off from work and spent the day with whom else? My momma! Together, we did a lot of our favorite things which included a lot of eating, going to the Nordstrom Rack, and taking an (extra-long) nap. Does that sound like a great day off or what?   During lunch at Riverside’s finest – El Torito (insert wink face here) – my mom had looked her at phone and then quickly at me. With a smile, she said something along the lines of, “Honey, you better eat some more chips.” She receives notifications on her iPhone when my blood sugar is trending too low via my Dexcom 4 Continuous Glucose Monitor, which is both a blessing and a curse. With a sugar level of 49 and an arrow down (meaning that my blood sugar is still fiercely dropping), my “followers” are then alerted. It’s one thing to be with me (like my mom was that day) because she knows I am OK and have carbs entering me. It’s the other times when my Dexcom followers are not with me, I often feel guilty. I think last night my followers received 10+ notifications of dangerous sugar alerts. No one ever plans to get low blood sugar. Being a Type 1 Diabetic for numerous years now, I still get lows when I think I won’t. What is unfortunate now is I don’t get the symptoms of low blood sugar like I used to – sweats, shakiness, rapid heartbeat, and irritability (well, I guess I still get irritable for other reasons). I didn’t know this until recently; however, the more “lows” you get, the less your body reacts to them.  Five years ago, whenever I got below 60 when sleeping, I would always wake up an intense sweat as if I just completed the hardest workout of my life! Now? Nothing happens. Luckily today, this is when my Dexcom comes in and speaks up with a loud (annoying) beep that sounds nothing like Adele (see title above). But you know what? Those beeps are music to any diabetic’s ears! XO, Amy...

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Nighttime Lows

Posted by on 9:23 pm in Carb Counting, Insulin, Lifestyle, Stories | Comments Off on Nighttime Lows

Nighttime Lows

As all Type 1 Diabetics know, there’s no way to manage healthy glucose levels 100% of the time. We all battle the occasional high or low, and correct ourselves when fall outside of the 70 – 140 blood sugar range. Last night, I woke up at 2 am with low blood sugar. I didn’t even test myself; I’m guessing I was between 45 -50. I went straight to the kitchen and washed off a vine of grapes to eat. I knew I was low because my body started to shake  – so much, that it woke me up. Because I’m a new Diabetic, the symptoms of low blood sugar are a lot more obvious than someone who’s experienced lows for years. My doctor consistently advises me that it’s important to avoid low blood sugar levels because “the more low you get, the less you’ll feel its symptoms.” And if you get too low, it can result in a coma. Case in point: my sister, Amy. She does wake up anymore by herself when she gets low overnight. Instead, she has an alarm on her Dexcom, which beeps if her blood sugar drops below 55. Her Dexcom wakes her up, instead of her physical symptoms – reinforcing the momentous value of her Dexcom! For non-Diabetics, what does low blood sugar feel like? For me, my body feels very weak and nauseous – like I have the flu. I get shaky too, and if my blood sugar is really low, I sweat – A LOT. On Christmas Eve, I woke up with a blood sugar of 43 and my shirt was completed drenched. YUCK. The worst part about low blood sugar is the urge to feel better – quickly. How do you do that? Eating carbs of course! Lately, I’ve been good about the carbohydrates that I choose to eat, which is usually fruit. If I’m between 40-50, I usually eat 15 grams of carbs to get back to a normal level of 80. However, once you eat these additional carbs, feeling better is not instant. It usually takes a least 10 minutes for my body to start feeling good again, and that’s the most difficult part. It’s human nature to want to feel better instantly, and when you’re low, you naturally want to eat until you feel better – i.e. everything in the frig! {See how that turns out here…} That’s when the strict control comes to play. Eating the right amount of carbs and waiting. Waiting to feel normal again… Ultimately, blood sugar lows require strict control – strict control not to eat everything in sight, which in contrast, leads dangerously high blood sugar levels. Goodness – so much math, so little time! : ) Xo,...

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Rob Kardashian Diagnosed With Diabetes

Posted by on 2:45 pm in Carb Counting, Insulin, Lifestyle, News | Comments Off on Rob Kardashian Diagnosed With Diabetes

Rob Kardashian Diagnosed With Diabetes

Understanding Type 1 & Type 2 Diabetes Last Tuesday, my Facebook feed flooded with news that Rob Kardashian was diagnosed with Diabetes and admitted to the hospital. Initially, I thought there was a slight chance that it was Type 1 Diabetes – being that he was in the hospital. I read on to discovered that he was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, which makes more sense considering reports about his recent weight gain. I don’t follow the Kardashians, nor watch their TV show, but I still feel for anyone diagnosed with Diabetes. We all have to count our carbs, check our blood sugar levels, and take medication to regulate our glucose levels. However, when this news hit about Rob, my heart sank a little. For myself,  most of the battle with Type 1 is explaining to people the differences between Type 1 & Type 2 Diabetes. Sometimes, I feel like I’m just defending myself – and the fact that prior to my diagnosis, I led a healthy lifestyle. I’ve heard every response… “You should just try eating healthy” or “I’m juicing. It’s supposed to prevent Diabetes” or “My Grandma has Diabetes too” or  “But, you’re not overweight?” And now, with this latest news about Rob Kardashian’s weight gain and Diabetes diagnosis, my struggle continues to educate people about this differences between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. Below are a few key points about Type 1 Diabetes, in comparison to Type 2 Diabetes: Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone people need to get energy from food. Its onset has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. Symptoms of Type 1 are unintended weight loss, in comparison to weight gain with Type 2. Other common symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes include increased thirst, extreme hunger, irritability and other mood changes, fatigue and weakness, and blurred vision. The treatment of Type 1 Diabetes includes insulin injections – either through shots, a pump, or inhaled insulin – while Type 2 Diabetics usually take an oral pill. The popularity of Type 2 Diabetes is much higher than Type 1. In 2012, 29 million Americans – or 9% of the population – have Diabetes. Of that, only 1 million of those Americans are Type 1 Diabetics. Type 2 Diabetes can be primarily controlled with diet and exercise. For Type 1 Diabetics, like myself, we must take insulin injections in order to prevent uncontrollable glucose levels. Type 1 Diabetes is often called Juvenile Diabetes, because most of the time, it’s diagnosed during childhood. Happy Friday! Ashley *Kardashian photo courtesy of...

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The Holidays: The Struggle Is Real.

Posted by on 9:13 pm in Carb Counting, Lifestyle, Stories | Comments Off on The Holidays: The Struggle Is Real.

The Holidays: The Struggle Is Real.

Well, I have to admit it: I never thought that my primary New Year’s resolution would stem around healthy glucose levels. This year, that’s my main focus – and it will probably be for the rest of my life. For Type 1 Diabetics, the Holiday struggle is real. There are so many desserts and carbohydrates centered around work parties, Christmas dinners, and other celebrations that you must have strict discipline in order to maintain healthy glucose levels. 2015 was my first year with Type 1 Diabetes during the Holidays and it definitely was a struggle for me. A lot of highs – a few lows – and constant finger pricks and insulin shots to keep my levels (somewhat) healthy. Over the last 2 weeks, I definitely did not have the discipline that I usually do. I consciously indulged in sweet desserts and tasty drinks, and my glucose levels suffered. My highest was 282 (last night in fact), and my lowest was 45 (Christmas Eve at 4 am). And, with a January 19th doctor’s appointment around the corner with a new A1C test, I admit that I’m a little nervous to see the results! But today is Monday – the first Monday of the year – and I’ve never been more ready to get back on track! How will I accomplish my New Year’s goal? More veggies & protein, and less processed carbs. And how do I effectively do this? Buying the right foods at the grocery store and meal planning. Sounds easy, right? Not every day – all day! However, making healthy choices at restaurants and parties is doable too; it’s just learning to say no when you’re offered carbohydrate-dense food. Simply saying “I’m a diabetic” does wonders when people ask you to enjoy bread, cake, and beyond! No, I’m not a prude… it just doesn’t do a Diabetic body good. 🙂 Oh yes, and hopefully a Dexcom CGM to see how my glucose levels are trending! Happy New Year to all my Types Ones! How are you going to stay healthy this year? Xo,...

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The Pursuit of 100

Posted by on 3:34 pm in Carb Counting, Insulin, Lifestyle, Stories | Comments Off on The Pursuit of 100

The Pursuit of 100

The Most Excellent, Yet Elusive Number In grammar school, we are encouraged to strive for perfection. Our papers were often graded with A, B, or C marks and depending on your performance, you may also earn a “+” or “-” symbol with these grades. The basis of these grades are often measured against a 100-point scale with a A+ being the prestigious mark of perfection (or the elusive 100). As we move forward, way forward in life … almost as if we take a Delorean from Back to the Future and head 50 years into the future, we suddenly become focused on earning 100 again. However, this time 100 relates to both our blood oxygen levels or glucose levels. Our focus shifts from earnings an A to maintaining a 100 blood oxygen level, which is measured by a pulse oximeter. We focus on our blood oxygen levels later in our life, because the amount of oxygen in our blood diminishes as we become older. Similar to earning a B in grammar school, any mark below a 90 is not ideal. Once again, we are encouraged to strive for 100% excellence (or close to it). The pursuit for 100 continues as we turn our focus on daily living. For any Type One Diabetic, as well as Type Two Diabetics and even non-Diabetics, maintaining 100 blood sugar level is ideal. 100 means we have enough sugar or glucose in our blood system, but not too much. Similar to a sycophant (kiss ass) who continually turns in too much extra credit in grammar school, a blood sugar level over 100 is not ideal. Contrarily, a C or D blood sugar level of 70 or 60 is not ideal either. And if we fail with a F or blood sugar level below 50, we better study some more (AKA get some sugar in our blood system fast). Even as a non-Diabetic, I can even feel the effects of dropping below 100 when I have not eating enough for the day, or I exercised too much and my glucose levels have dropped. In grammar school, we had to work to earn excellent grades in order to move to the next level. The more effort and dedication we put on our studies, the higher grades we generally earned. As we earned better grades, more doors opened, such as college admission letters and job offers. Similar to studying hard in grammar school, focusing on diet, exercise, and the proper insulin dosages helps Type One Diabetics maintain a glucose level of around 100. When 100 is maintained, the quality of life is ideal. I’m proud of my wife, her sister, and other Type Ones who constantly make the effort to maintain this elusive 100 number with their blood sugar levels. I know it’s not easy. They are required to study and take daily exams in the form of finger pricks, exercise, and proper diet to help stay around this level. However, their diligence allows them to live a healthy, active, and adventurous lives. Hopefully, as medical advancements progress, it will be easier to maintain this 100 level for all Type One Diabetics and Type Two Diabetics. As we advance, let’s continue stay focused and determined on reaching and maintaining the excellent, yet elusive...

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A Half of Year with T1D

Posted by on 3:12 pm in Carb Counting, Insulin, Lifestyle, Stories | Comments Off on A Half of Year with T1D

A Half of Year with T1D

Well, mid-October marks my 6-month anniversary living with Type 1 Diabetes. Life has changed dramatically for me, but in many ways, I’m still my same old self! Two weeks ago, I had a new A1C test done, which was 5.6! HARD WORK DOES PAY OFF. Since my T1D diagnosis in April with a glucose level at 500+, my constant finger pricks and insulin shots have resulted in a 5.7 A1C in July, and now a 5.6 A1C. My Doctor is impressed, but my sister still assures me that I’m still honeymooning. Can’t one honeymoon forever? Wouldn’t that be fantastic? : ) Right now, I’m averaging about 6 shots a day of insulin, 8-10 finger pricks, and in the process of getting a Dexcom G5 CGM. (Insert big smiley face here.) However, my Doctor is a bit hesitant that my on-point A1C levels will prevent me from getting approved for one by my insurance company. I told him, shouldn’t good behavior be rewarded… that A1C didn’t just “happen” (you can ask my wonderful hubby for a second opinion…). We’ll see what happens, but I’m optimistic and still suffering some painful low blood sugars at night, so I’m using this to my advantage here. I’m becoming a lot more resistant to insulin, which means that my own beta cells are diminishing (AKA honeymooning). Right now, I take 1 unit of insulin for every 15-20 carbs I eat, except if I’m drinking and exercising. I went to Napa the other weekend, and because I was so active and sipping red wine (which also brings my sugars down), I didn’t have to take any Lantus OR Humalog throughout the trip. However, I did stick to a very low carb diet, but I still think that Napa is my heaven. : ) Unfortunately, exercise has become a lot more of a “planned” activity. Whether it’s walking, running, or yoga, I have to get “high” in order to work-out, because it brings be down 50-100 points, depending on the intensity. I usually try to eat some fruit or glucose tablets right before, so I don’t get too high, in order not to get too low. (Are you confused, yet?) My husband and I take nightly walks after dinner, so I can take less insulin and reduce my glucose levels naturally. And last but not least, I have been a lot more open with the people around me that I’m “a Diabetic”. I’ve given up on explaining the differences between the 2, as I figure as long as they know why I eat and plan my meals the way I do. Especially if they ask me about my food choices, altering a restaurant menu item, or why I’m the (lame) person not having dessert?! (That’s worth a blog post right there!) I don’t go into details about which type of diabetes I have, as most people don’t even know that there are 2 types, but I figure that the more people know, the more they can encourage me and support my food choices. With that said, I’ll end at wishing all of my courageous and brave Diabetics a Happy Diabetes Awareness Month! Keep up the constant finger pricking, carb counting, and insulin injecting… you are all rockstars in my eyes.  Xo, Ashley...

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Remember November

Posted by on 3:32 pm in Carb Counting, Insulin, Lifestyle, Stories | Comments Off on Remember November

Remember November

It’s officially National Diabetes Awareness Month and for obvious reasons, November holds a very special place in my heart.  As I have been getting more involved with Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, I have been more exposed to the battles that children and their families face with managing this ongoing and serious battle. This post is dedicated to them. I think the misperception of Type One Diabetes comes a lot from the fact that most people with the autoimmune disease look healthy. We really do. A lot of people in my life have no idea that I am diabetic as I am perceived to live a very “normal” life style, doing most things that the average person does. However, there’s always something on my mind – every minute, all day, every day. That’s blood sugar.  Type One Diabetics get no days off, managing their current sugar readings with really everything that we do. It’s well-known that physical activity and food are main influences to blood sugar numbers; however, emotions play a part too. Am I stressed, tired, nervous? Constantly making sure my readings are the best possible is draining in itself, and there’s truly no other option here. One slip-up could be catastrophic – not to mention fatal – so these daily finger pricks and insulin injections have to carry on. Another important detail of Type One is that there’s not a standard insulin “dosage” that works perfectly for everyone. Daily insulin injections are personalized to each individual and to what their body needs. And even then, some days are different and dosages have to be recalculated. This is probably one of the most frustrating parts. For 6 years now, I have been actively managing my sugar levels to the best of my ability. Being diagnosed as a 23 year old young adult, I understand this disease and why it’s so important to continuously stay on top of my latest sugar readings. Children with Type One Diabetes do not have that advantage.  As managing “highs” and “lows” still remains a challenge for me, I can only imagine what’s a kid with T1 Diabetes goes through every day when most of their peers are living life without this ongoing second “job.” For this reason, I dedicate November to all those kids. You’re truly unrecognized heroes and I truly commend you for continuing to fight this battle with me. Together, I promise, we will find a cure and turn Type One into Type None....

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How Low Can You Gooo

Posted by on 4:01 am in Carb Counting, Insulin, Lifestyle, Stories | Comments Off on How Low Can You Gooo

How Low Can You Gooo

Low Blood Sugar and Cleaning out the Refrigerator Last night was rough. I over-corrected my 170 blood sugar after dinner and ended up at 40 at 11 pm. Which led me to my happy place with shaky hands and sweaty palms: the refrigerator. However, I was well-behaved at this point. I ate a handful of grapes and went back to bed. Feeling worse (i.e. lower) 5 minutes later, I went back to the refrigerator where I did some major damage. Mint gelato, a pumpkin bar, a slice of pineapple, and a vegan cookie couldn’t get in my bloodstream fast enough. At this point, I knew I was going to be high afterwards, but I didn’t care. But then, thinking more clearly, I thought – I’ll set my alarm clock for 12 am and check my new blood sugar level in an hour to correct myself. BRILLIANT. However, I slept through my alarm (who am I kidding?), so I woke up naturally at 4 am and decided to check it. My meter read 256. ARG. So, I gave myself 3 units and went back to bed, and awakened to a 60 glucose reading at 6:30 am. I was actually shocked that 3 units brought me down that low… All Type 1’s have a rough night here and there. However, I really want to get a Dexcom G5 for Christmas. Sounds like a fancy car, right? Not so much… The Dexcom G5 is a continuous glucose monitor that constantly monitors your blood sugar levels to see how you’re “trending” – going up, going down, or staying the same. However, with my PPO insurance, it’s a pretty penny, but hopefully, it will allow me to live a healthier, longer life with less highs and lows. : ) More exciting Type 1 news coming soon! I can’t wait to share. : ) Xo...

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OMG. CMG!

Posted by on 8:23 pm in Events, Insulin, Lifestyle, Stories | Comments Off on OMG. CMG!

OMG. CMG!

This past week has been extra memorable for me. I finally took the initiative and got a Continuous Glucose Monitor (“CGM”) and I am in L-O-V-E. After conversing with my Endocrinologist, I opted for the Dexcom4, which has been anything but amazing. I am completely obsessed to see how I am trending all day, every day. This continuous glucose monitor has been be SO insightful and has me now wondering why I didn’t get one sooner?! I first want to summarize what a Continuous Glucose Monitor is, especially since I just found out about it recently. As depicted in the picture, a CGM is another device inserted into the skin, every week. Transmitting to a cell phone-like receiver, its function is to show how my sugar levels are trending: are they heading down. steady, or on the rise? It also gives me my estimated blood sugar, which on average has been 5-20 points off, which is exceptional in my opinion. Plus, I have reduced my daily finger pricks by about 50%. Who wouldn’t love that?! Another amazing feature of the Dexcom4 is that is can be connected with cell phones and all readings can be shared. **ATTENTION** all concerned parents: your prayers have been answered! I will probably never hear my dad ask his routine question of, “how have your numbers been, sweetie?” because he can check them whenever he wants. With that being said, there’s alert settings too. If I get too low (55 or less), anyone who is “following me” can opt to get these alarm notifications. (A blessing or a curse, Mom?) Some Notes from my 1st Week with my Love, Dexcom!  I have been over-correcting some bedtime readings; therefore, I’ve been getting extra low in the night. (To my 6 followers – I apologize for all the recent late-night alarms!) With using an insulin pump, I am being reminded that I need to follow my pump settings to calculate any insulin needed. Last night was a success; I know this will get easier… I did a lot better with blood sugar readings during the past weekend, because I am much more active than during the week. CONFIRMED – weekend shopping is cardio : ) I’ve been taking my Dexcom to my gym classes now. Working out can significantly reduce my sugar levels, so it’s much more comforting knowing where I am at in the middle of class, so I feel confident pushing myself the last 30 minutes of class without getting too low. I never knew this before, but coffee increases my sugar levels, verified by my Dexcom (and my sister). Even though I use only one Splenda, the caffeine still makes it rise. I never knew that these past 6 years! Last weekend, I attended a friend’s wedding and unintentionally left my Blood Glucose Meter at home. Realizing this right before dinner, I probably would have panicked if I hadn’t had my Dexcom. With my new CGM, I felt much more secure without having my actual meter with me. To summarize, my first-week thoughts for the Dexcom4? BFF & Lifesaver. XO,...

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