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Category Archives: Type 1 Diabetes

2,016 Miles in 2016 Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

Triple Digits

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2,016 miles in 2016!(3)

I’ve reached triple digits in my 2,016 miles in 2016 challenge! This week was especially hard. With a nasty blizzard on it’s way, my joints were angry all week in anticipation. I rejoined the gym and was able to use my favorite machine, the Arc Trainer, which is much more gentle on my joints than walking or doing other cardio exercises. If you have Rheumatoid Arthritis or any joint issues, I highly recommend giving it a try.

The other hurdle I’m trying to deal with is my blood sugars plummeting while I exercise. My endo gave me a lot of suggestions on when to start temp basals on my pump, what to eat, etc. but this week was still bumpy. Even after eating a banana and a peanut butter sandwich before exercising, having my insulin completely suspended, I will still drop dramatically during exercise. I hate the idea of having to eat because of exercise, very frustrating. This week I’m going to try drinking Gatorade while I exercise- low cal but has some sugar so hopefully it will keep me in check. If you have Type 1, like me, how do you deal with lows while exercising?

In order to meet my weekly mile goal, I made sure I went to the gym every day, Sunday through Friday, including Thursday night and back Friday morning before the storm. I gave myself a much needed break on Saturday (doubt I made it over a mile). Today my joints are still pretty painful plus I have the added bonus of a methotrexate hangover but I’m hoping to meet my step goal by moving around my house. We’ll see!

 

2,016 Miles in 2016 Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

Still moving..

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2,016 miles in 2016!(1)

It hasn’t been easy but I’ve kept up with my goal of walking/running/crawling/dancing my way to 2016 miles in 2016. There are days that I don’t want to move at all and days that despite telling myself the opposite, I don’t feel better after reaching my goal of 5.5 miles a day…I actually feel worse.

But I’ve kept on. Why? How?

  • I’ve made my goals public. Very public. I talk about them at work, at home. I post on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
  • I’ve broken down my goal into smaller daily/weekly goals.
    • 5.5 miles a day or 38.8 a week doesn’t seem as insane as 2,016 miles
  • I have even smaller goals for steps during the day at work
    • 2,000 by 10am; 3,500 by 12pm, etc.
    • I try to get up and move around every 30 minutes, even if it’s just marching in place

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my Fitbit. From weekly or weekend challenges with friends to just seeing my steps and miles go into the “green”, my Fitbit One is a tremendous motivator and makes keeping myself accountable super easy.

How are your resolutions or goals going? What helps you to stay on track?

2,016 Miles in 2016 Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

Resolution to move!

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2,016 miles in 2016!

This year I’ve committed to walking/running/crawling/dancing my way to 2,016 miles in 2016! This resolution was an easy one for me to commit to in theory. Getting my steps in each day makes my blood sugars better, makes them more consistent. Walking makes my joints feel better (my knees haven’t gotten this memo yet but they’re working on it) and will strengthen the muscles around my joints, providing them with better support.

So how does 2,016 miles translate to daily goals? I need to get between 5.5 and 6 miles in each day. This is about 12,000 steps or so depending on the activity I do. On days I’ve been feeling strong, I’ve tried to get a little more than 6 miles to cover the days where my joints are angry and having nothing to do with any resolution I’ve made.

Every Sunday I plan on updating this graphic to keep myself accountable. I track with my Fitbit and they calculate my weekly miles to make it easy for me.

What resolution(s) have you made? Are you still going strong on Day 10?

Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

Injecting Emotions

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I get emotional after my methotrexate and Enbrel injections. Sure they hurt but this is after the pain has subsided. The tears come. I took the time this morning to think about why I get so teary. 

  

Type 1 Diabetes is real for me almost every minute of the day. I don’t have periods of coping, I’m on insulin, via a pump, attached to me 24/7. Sure a high or low might rock me for a moment but I’ve had the disease for over 27 years and I’ve come to terms with it. Does it suck? I guess. But in the big scope of life, it’s manageable. Bolusing for meals is second nature…I often don’t have to think about setting up a temp basal if I’m trending low. I just do it. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis is different. It isn’t a quiet disease. There is pain that brings me to tears, makes me truly want to give up. Pain wakes me at night, makes it difficult to drive. Fatigue hits me like a wrecking ball, I truly believe I could lay down anywhere, at any time, and sleep. 

Taking my weekly injections are a reminder that my disease is winning. Seventeen injections of Enbrel and things aren’t even predictable or controlled yet. Adding methotrexate back in is a gamble. I could easily get an infection (as I have before) and I have a guaranteed weekend of fatigue and nausea. 

I cry after my injections because it’s a moment where I don’t have control. I can’t take these drugs and get immediate results like I do with insulin. I take them and hope that this is the week I’ll feel amazing, I’ll feel something. And the honest truth is, deep down, I don’t think that’s ever going to happen. This jerk of a disease will somehow always manage to come out on top. 

Chronically Grateful Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

Who on your healthcare team are you most grateful for?

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Day 2 of the #ChronicallyGrateful challenge: Who are you most Grateful for on your healthcare team?
  
Having multiple chronic illnesses is hard. Having both Type 1 Diabetes and Rheumatoid Arthritis is especially difficult. One of the standard treatments for RA is prednisone which makes life with diabetes hell. Other issues aren’t as well known. Stress can raise your blood sugar and so can pain. Rheumatoid Arthritis causes tremendous pain and I am often battling with my blood sugars as a result. 

I’ve had Type 1 for over 27yrs and have always felt the need to be a “perfect” diabetic which translates to “perfect” blood sugars. At my last endo visit, I told my doctor how hard it had been to manage my blood sugars while my disease flared. She looked at me and said “you’re doing the best you can”. Those little words meant the world to me. She saw me as a person, not just a “person with diabetes”. 

Therefore, the person I am most grateful for on my healthcare team is my wonderful endocrinologist. 

Type 1 Diabetes

Silly & Unnecessary 

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Is there something repeatedly that you do, that’s silly and unnecessary, but you keep doing it anyway? For me, it’s when I’m in the shower. After I put shampoo in my hair, I rinse the shampoo off my hands before then using my hands to help rinse the shampoo out of my hair. I have no idea why I do it and I think to myself every morning “why are you doing this?!”.

I do a “silly” thing with my diabetes too. I associate the kitchen with juice. I know, crazy, right? When I have a low blood sugar, my brain makes me go to the kitchen. It has done this for 27 years. Why is it silly? Because there is a bottle of juice and a pack of fruit snacks on my nightstand (as well as a pack of gum to remove the sugar from my teeth..yes, I’m a dork). There’s also this great guy, my husband, usually asleep next to me, who would take care of me whenever I needed him.

As a teenager, low blood sugars would cause my hands to shake. In fact, if I couldn’t tell if my blood sugar was low or not, I would always hold out my hand and see if it was shaking. This resulted in quite a few broken glasses on the kitchen floor from either trying to pour juice into them or drink from them.

I changed my CGM sensor site last night before bed…I rarely do it at this time but oh well. I woke up in the middle of the night to test my blood sugar and realized I couldn’t read the display. After multiple tries, I could read it. It said 33. 33. Did I wake up my husband? No. Did I reach for my nice warm apple juice? No. I got up and walked down the stairs to the kitchen. I was sweating profusely and I’m lucky I didn’t trip over the cat, who was so excited to have someone else up in the middle of the night. I also had the nerve to make sure my Fitbit was on me so my steps to the kitchen would count. I’m ridiculously annoyed with myself.

Do any of you do something similar? Have you trained yourself to stop?

Chuck It List Type 1 Diabetes

Chuck It List 

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Most people have bucket lists- whether they’re written down, on Pinterest, or just in your head- we all have things we want to do or see one day. 

A Chuck-It List, on the other hand, is comprised of things I have no interest in ever experiencing. Some I’ve tried and others I have no intention of trying. 

1) Pretzel M&M’s: my son asked me to try one of these a few weeks ago and I promise, I will never willingly eat one again. #PeanutButterM&MsForLife  

2) Drink a glass of milk: I haven’t had a glass of milk since I was ten, twenty-five years ago. That year I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, two weeks before I was supposed to go to France with my Mom, Grandmom, and cousin. My doctor said I could go on the trip but I’d have to follow my meal plan as closely as possible. My mother insisted I drink milk at every meal. Milk that was warm and tasted completely different than what I was used to in the United States. To this day, I have not had milk again and I never will! 

  
3) The Zipper: I rode the Zipper years ago in Ocean City, MD. I honestly thought I was dying. As someone who loves roller coasters, this is disappointing to admit, but never again. Never again. 
  
Stayed tuned for more items but in the meantime what is something you swear you’ll never experience again? 

Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

It’s a Good Thing

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Good Things About Having Rheumatoid Arthritis

  1. Due to almost always having a low grade fever, my cheeks have a natural flush that people pay money to obtain through cosmetics.
  2. My pharmacy knows me- we’re BFFs. I never have to spell my last name and they know I’ll be annoying if my prescriptions aren’t ready so I’d like to think I get faster service than everyone else.
  3. I can nap on demand. It’s a wonderful talent and yes, you should be jealous.

Good Things About Having Type One Diabetes

  1. Needles are afraid of ME
  2. Sometimes it’s medically necessary for me to eat the last brownie. Sorry I’m not sorry.
  3. I’m basically a robot.
  4. I can bring food or a drink to almost any concert or event just because I’m diabetic.
  5. I get felt up every time I fly. Every. Single. Time.

What would you add to this list? 

Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

Page None

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In hopes of finding something, that’s not in pill form, to help combat the pain and fatigue from my Rheumatoid Arthritis, I checked out a book. A bunch of books actually. I’ve been walking by the stack of them in my kitchen for the past few days, not really knowing where to start. I mean, obviously, I could do it the old fashioned way- pick up a book, open it, start reading the first page. But I don’t want to. I don’t want to waste my time, waste my hope to read a bunch of hocus pocus. 

Having Type 1 Diabetes has made me this way. I’ve had the disease for 27 years and if you aren’t familiar with it, in short, my pancreas doesn’t not work, will never work, and is just taking up space in my body. Over the years I’ve been told that cinnamon will cure me. I’ve been told that not eating gluten will cure me. Did I research any of these suggestions? NO! I have zero faith in the idea that adding cinnamon to my diet or sprinkling it directly on my pancreas, will cause my organ to come to life and allow me to throw my insulin pump into the wind. 

With that being said, I’m skeptical. Rheumatoid Arthritis isn’t as cut and dry as Type 1 Diabetes is. With diabetes, you take insulin..a fast acting one, a long acting one, or both. The insulin goes in and lowers your blood sugar. Sometimes it’s spot on, sometimes your blood sugars get wonky. But even then, guess what the solution is? Insulin. Yep, more insulin. There is no other option (at least for now). RA is different. There are a multitude of drugs and ways to take them: pill, injection, infusion. I could be diagnosed at the same time a someone else and we will each react completely different to the same medication. This is not a one size fits all disease.

So for now, I think I’ll let these books sit in my kitchen until they’re due back at the library. I’ll glance at their pages in the meantime and come across one like this:  

 

As someone who spends thousands of dollars on medications & doctors visits, I’m really not in the position to ensure that I’m showering with “toxin-free water”. And if my shower is really a “huge burden on my immune system,” why doesn’t my doctor or insurance company demand that I get filters? 

Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

Get used to it

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It’s hard to pinpoint when I got used to being a diabetic. I’ve had this disease for 27 years now and I’ve accepted it as part of who I am. Does it bother me if my pump looks funny in my clothes? Sometimes. Do I enjoy high or low blood sugars? Nope, not one bit. But I’m used to it. I’m used to the fact that eating a box of raisins today may not change my blood sugar but tomorrow it will. I’m used to the unpredictability of Type 1 Diabetes and I’ve accepted it. 

What I am not used to is my Rheumatoid Arthritis, but I think I’m getting there. When I was diagnosed three years ago, I was a mess. Fast forward 6-9 months later, thanks to Humira and methotrexate, I was basically in remission (or how I imagine it to be). I very quickly got used to less pain, more energy, and feeling more like myself. 

Fast forward a few months from there..I got sick and taken off of my miracle meds. I’ve been fighting since. But this time, I know my sense of remission will be different. My doctor, and various imaging and tests, has confirmed that I have permanent damage to my elbow, knee, hands, and feet. This was confirmed prior to spending nine months on Orencia with things getting worse. Permanent. Permanent damage. Permanent stiffness. Permanent pain. 

Up until this week, I viewed a lot of things as bandaids. I would often say “once my biologic works, I won’t need these compression gloves/knee braces/elbow supports”. “Once my biologic works, I won’t have trouble sleeping or need pain meds anymore.”

The goal of my RA medications is to stop or at least slow down the progression of my disease..to reduce inflammation. They simply won’t change what’s already happened to my bones and joints. I’ve known this for awhile now but it never really sank in until yesterday. I caught myself telling my doctor that “as soon as my Enbrel started working, I’d be able to run, sleep well, and wouldn’t need any more pain medications”. As much as I would love for this to be true, I have to start being honest with myself and look for ways to improve my quality of life amongst the pain and fatigue. 

To start, I’m vowing to realize that exercising for a few minutes is better than nothing. Just because I can’t go for a long time like I used to, is no reason to stop trying. I am not going to put myself down and/or think about when the day will finally come that I feel great enough to exercise for hours. I’m going to do what I can, as often as I can, and leave it at that. I just have to get used to it