Posts filed under ‘resources’
Nothing much to report on the insulin front. Some days I feel like a lab rat with all these charts, graphs and needles, but I do like labs and some rats are pretty cute, so that’s OK.
The first few days of high blood sugar readings were tiring, both physically and mentally, but I think I’m starting to get a better feel for dosages and timing. It’s tempting to draw conclusions about carb intake right now based on the fact that the only good numbers I’ve seen this week have been after lower-carb meals, but I will hold my tongue and give it some time.
For my diet and blood sugar tracking, I’ve gone low-tech and started using some photocopied worksheets that the dietitian gave me. The upper third of the page is an area to plot my BG on,the middle third is a chart with a column for each hour of the day and rows for blood glucose, carbohydrates, exercise, insulin doses, stress, ketones, etc. The bottom third is for food and other notes. This format will be the easiest to fax back to my PA at the end of each week, plus I really enjoy connecting the dots on the glucose plot at the end of the day. I’m thinking of enlisting my husband to makes some improvements, notably a place to record where I injected. Right now I just randomly pick an injection site and hope I don’t hit the same place twice.
I’ve returned to FitDay for my diet tracking. Combined with the occasional quick lookup on CalorieKing.com and the handy recipe analyzer on Calorie-count.com, I have a decent system for carb counting and making sure I’m getting enough calories each day. I would still like to get some sort of pocket-sized nutrition handbook to carry with me and to keep in the kitchen so I don’t need a computer when I’m planning meals and doses – any recommendations?
These How-To articles on Dsolve.com have been quite helpful in helping me understand that only time, patience and diligent testing and documentation will lead the way to normal blood sugars with insulin. Even though I have a newfound appreciation for the ease, simplicity and efficiency of Starlix, I haven’t resorted back to it – I’m just too determined to get the insulin to work.
Aaaah – spring in the South: the weather is beautiful, the skies are clear, the trees are in bloom, and pollen-induced lethargy has sent in. Even our Scottie is suffering – we took him to the vet today for relief for his goopy eyes and itchy, irritated skin, and he fell asleep sitting up at the exam table. I’m trying to scrape together the motivation to exercise – something I haven’t had to force myself to do all month. I don’t think I could lift a weight if I tried, so I will reluctantly proceed to the freakishly hyper-energetic world of Turbo Jam for a little Cardio Party. I’d link that for you but the Turbo Jam site is the interweb version of a TV infomercial and therefore is quite high on the annoyance scale.
I finally got around to installing Health Engage on my laptop. It shows promise, but a few major issues:
- The user interface is awkward. The food input mechanism would probably get easier as time goes on, assuming you eat the same things frequently.
- It’s a memory hog. If I leave it running on my laptop for more than 12 hours, even if its just sitting there idle, it starts gobbling up virtual memory. 512MB for 2 days worth of data?
- My biggest complaint: the teeny-tiny, non-resizable viewing window. It’s fine for inputting data, but not for viewing reports.
Overall I’m not impressed. I’d be willing to give it a chance if and only if I can import data into it directly from my meter (Freestyle Flash), but I don’t have high hopes that this will be possible since I am still on a Power PC-based Powerbook. I’d be interested to know if any diabetic Mac users out there with Intel-based macs have had luck using PC-only software and data management products with either Boot Camp or Parallels.
Another online tool I took a look at this week was MyCalorieCounter.com. It showed promise, but I never returned to use it because the features that I really needed (nutritional totals per-meal and per-day) are only offered to paid users. How am I supposed to decide if I want to buy your product if I can’t at least have a trial of the features I’m paying for?
So for now I’m sticking with iCal and the occasional FitDay for looking up carbohydrate content. I have a few more tools and websites to try, but I’m losing steam already and will probably just stick with what works, with the exception of giving CalorieKing.com a try for carbohydrate look-ups, and possibly trying the (gasp!) analog Glucograf data sheets recommended by Dr. Bernstein.
A large part of my weekend was spent with my nose in Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution, which arrived on my doorstep Friday afternoon. I’d hoped to get more read before my appointment with my endocrinologist’s PA this afternoon, but at least I got through the most important parts, which were sections on diet, exercise, and oral hypoglycemic agents. This book is incredible – I already have a better understanding as to what exactly is going on with my body, but at the same time I’m a bit nervous about the work I have ahead of me if I want to aim for the goal of TRULY normal blood sugars. By truly normal I don’t mean my current goal of 130mg/dl one hour after a meal – I mean normal as in what a non-diabetic would have (under 100mg/dl), which seems to be the only way to completely avoid diabetes complications down the road.
I also finally understand why the low-carb diet is so crucial to all diabetics, no matter what kind of treatment they are on, and that injected insulin can never do as good as a job that the insulin your body makes, so insulin is not going to be my free ticket to eating “normal” again like I once naively thought. I also learned that consuming fat does not make you fat, and that your body can survive quite fine on very few carbohydrates at all – yes, even you non-diabetics! That’s pretty darn cool.
Speaking to my PA and doc today about Starlix putting me at risk of beta cell burnout was already #1 on my list of things to bring up, and Dr. Berstein’s information on beta cell preservation, paired with the fact that he never prescribes Starlix and other drugs that work by pushing or stimulating your pancreas to produce insulin, definitely make this topic seem all the more urgent. Other topics I’ll be bringing up are:
- what are my alternatives to Starlix?
- what are the advantages/disadvantages of insulin?
- what is the effect of caffeine on blood sugar?
- what is the current availability of Constant Glucose Monitoring devices for non-insulin dependent diabetics?
I also hope to get a prescription for a larger allowance of Freestyle strips (150-200/month) since my current 100-count prescription isn’t lasting me through the month – if I check 5 times a day, which sometimes I check more, I need at least 150 a month. More thoughts on my Dr. Bernstein readings later, time to make my way towards Dr. Diabetes’ office!