20 December 2009
24 November 2009
A little background, last weekend I went on a sailing trip to Catalina with 4 fellow sailors. It is an entirely new situation for me as far as dealing with diabetes goes. Most of my adventures since acquiring this "medical challenge," as my mom puts it, have been very active, hiking the grand canyon, running triathlons, surfing for hours on end. This one would involve sitting or standing for hours on end which can be a total disaster with diabetes. I, also, would be stuck on a boat if anything went south.
Friday morning I wake up high, 241 at 5:30. Correct with 1 unit for every 50 points above 100. 240-100=140/50=Push 2.8 units. I'd been battling bronchitis for 5 days, the extra bacteria will send my sugars
10 November 2009
My life seems to be cluttered with half finished projects. A poster size map of the Inter Coastal Waterway, a book of architectural designs and master plan of a New Urbanism community, the twelve-string guitar I once knew how to play. They were all so easy to drop, too. As soon as I have that picture in my mind of what it will look like when it was finished, I no longer felt the need to create it. It is finished in my mind and that is good enough for me.
Sometimes I wonder if this trip will become another of those projects. I think I have bitten off a little more than I can chew. Sure I have dreamed of going off to sea in a 25' Catalina, spending months on board, eating eggs and cantaloupe for breakfast for weeks on end. The dreams started my freshman year in college and have grown stronger and clearer just as my responsibilities and forays into adulthood have multiplied. But, lately, I've been wandering around in the thoughts that it was too soon, that I know too little, that I have far too many other things that need to get done. Before, I had plenty of time to get it all done, over a year. Over a year
15 September 2009
You see, my REI’s had become legendary in my house, so much so that they developed their own moniker. You know that pair of socks, the ones you got last year for Christmas from some relative, the
03 September 2009
2. Your concept of a date night with your husband is to get a babysitter, go on a 25 mile bike ride, and then stop in for some recovery nutrition.
3. To get ready for a night out, you don’t spend 2 hours getting showered and dressed, you spend 2 hours on a run to burn off the calories you plan to consume at dinner later that night.
4. You coordinate your wedding site with the site of your race later that week.
5. You mistake your Body Glide for deodorant.
6. Watching a movie is no longer killing time, but is an essential part of your recovery plan.
7. Your three year old recognizes Andy Potts on a magazine cover and your six year old can rattle off the names of over 10 pros including who won the first Ironman at Kona.
8. The walls of your home are no longer covered with fine works of art, but are plastered with your race numbers.
13 August 2009
With estimating being so unsure, you need to have a Plan B. Plan B usually consists of some easy to eat, easy to carry, easy to digest sugar source. When I was first diagnosed, I followed my doctors
23 June 2009
11 May 2009
I live a near normal life most of the time. Most people who know me have no idea I have this hidden life. The only people at work who know have been told so that in the case of an emergency someone will be able to tell the paramedics that the reason I am lying unconscience in front of a room of 11-year-old, terrified school children with a partially drunken juice box laying nearby is not because I am a passed out drunk, but because I have Diabetes. Most people I socialize with may have heard something about it, but really have no idea of what it means. They get the shooting up thing and they have some faint notion that either I caused it because I ate too much sugar as a kid (which, of course, I did) or that I now can't have any sugar. They have no idea how sick I am. I do a good job at keeping that under wraps.
10 May 2009
27 April 2009
08 April 2009
So here's the plan...
July 2010. Fly into Miami, grab a car and drive to Marathon, about halfway down the keys. Check Continuous Glucose Monitor to see how sitting still for 6 hours has affected my blood sugars. Adjust accordingly. Find a place to stay and get some grub at a nearby eatery. Bolus. Try to find an internet hookup to update blog, revel in the fact that most people down here are too busy living real life to worry too much about having internet connectivity in every possible location at every possible moment. Think about moving here for that very reason. Walk back to my shack. Stop in amazement at a sunset over land. A new thing for this west coaster. Get some sleep, probably the last I'll get for a while. Morning of Day 2, calibrate sensor so I get good readings on my CGMS, go meet Pagan Charm, my 27 foot Balboa that will be my home for the next 4 days, get familiar with the boat. Load the food for the trip that has become both my savior and my tormentor. Set sail. Play around with my basal rate to try to get it to match the change in activity that you make when on a boat. First stop, Big Pine Key. Anchor, check out Key Deer,
06 April 2009
The bosun he rants and raves.
And the whole scurvy crew
Says, it’s true, yes it’s true,
Ol’ Captain Blackbeard’s shaved.”
We had buried some treasure (and bodies as well)
And was just sailin’ back from the cave,
When he calls fer boiled water
And stomps down below
An’ gor’ but he comes up shaved.
There’s a chickenish stubble, and fishbelly skin
On that face, once so blazin’ and brave.
And his ol’ faithful parrot
02 April 2009
18 February 2009
15 February 2009
This weekend, though, it looked like I might have another shot at it. With four hours of a less than entertaining game, I would have plenty of opportunity to find out. The 49'ers had done their part in scoring 14 points in the first minute and a half of the game. That at least took the distraction of a nail-biting game out of the way. Now all I had to do was open my mouth and ask. Ask why he ended things, what he thought might happen that he worked so hard to prevent. And all those overly-girlish questions like "was it something I did" and "was there someone else?" I figured I would start small and go from there. And so after much deliberation I went with. "Aren't you bummed you're not snowboarding?"
In a lot of ways, I was in over my head dating a guy like Matt, not maturity-wise or in my ability to carry on a relationship, but in life experience. I was 17 and he was 21. But it wasn't so much the age as what we had done in those years. He had lived a full life before he met me and we were in such different worlds. He was always so afraid of having his past life somehow tarnish me that he kept a lot to himself. Matt moved to California from Florida where he was living with his girlfriend of two years. I had never really dated with the exception of a few boys in Junior High. But we didn't date as much as "go-around" whatever that meant. I hadn't kissed a boy in four years and Matt, well, Matt had been living with this woman and all that that implied.
Now he shared a cabin with two coworkers at the camp where he had taken a job as a cook. I got the couch and we got out from all the legalism. Without the oppressive safety net, the tension once again began to rise and with it my ever increasing paralysis. Maybe it was only in my mind or maybe it was in both our minds, but, either way, I was powerless to find out. It seemed we were always teetering on the verge of picking up right where we left off. However much I could convince myself that all the signs were there, I couldn't convince myself to act on it.
As I flipped on the pre-game show and settled in for a day of self-indulgent pity, I realized I was not the only one who had forgone the best snowboarding day of the year. Matt sat down on the floor next to the tweedy nightmare with a soda and a bowl of chips, which he promptly offered. I obliged.
The snow outside had built up to a good twenty-four inches overnight. The whole reason for coming on this trip was shot. I would be left behind when all my friends would take off to hit the slopes. Left behind to watch one of the most quickly won Super Bowls, one of the most boring in years, and one of the most memorable. The day before Super Bowl Sunday a couple of us had been outside playing in the snow. We had borrowed a friend's cabin and were spending the weekend away from the ever-warm and snow-free Southern California. We had gone into the snow like a bunch of giddy kids, throwing snowballs, slipping on icy streets, and enjoying being young.
I found a pile of freshly fallen snow and decided to climb to the top and claim "King of the Mountain" or rather "Queen of the Mountain", my ignorance of the snow glaring as I quickly sank knee deep into the mound of snow as white and glimmering as a starlet's newly bleached teeth. Eric, never one to pass up an opportunity for physical humor, seeing me trapped, thought it might draw a laugh if he pushed me over. He only partly succeeded. My top half went down like a felled tree. My leg from the knee down stood motionless like an impersonation of an English Royal Guardsman. Walking became a sad impression of Groucho Marx and snowboarding was definitely out of the question.
11 February 2009
I was in my thinking spot, more commonly referred to as the shower, the only place I can get a period of time long enough to complete a thought in my head, reflecting on my last piece of writing and more over the tone of the last 4 months of my writing, when I realized that I had once again fallen into the depressing part of my emotional tide chart. Just like the tides come in and out with some predictable regularity, so too I tend to fluctuate between the heights of optimism, a I-can-conquer all attitude, and the depths of my dark humor and despair. I rode the tide of the dark side for long enough and decided it was time to see the moon pull on my side of the earth for a while.
The last thing I wrote was a simple exercise in letting the mind wander as I inspected me, 25 random things about myself. I realized how easy that was and thought I might be up for a bigger challenge, 25 good things Diabetes has brought into my life. I am sure I could rattle of a good 5 or 6 typical responses but to get to 25 I would actually have to think. I thought it might be interesting to see how many would be up for the challenge to look at their own tragedy or trial and try to see how many they could come up with. Maybe it’s just what the doctor ordered. And so it is, 25 good things diabetes has brought…
1. It wasn’t cancer or Leukemia. Those were the other options my doc proposed that my symptoms would match.
2. It has brought great discipline to my life. I have always been an undisciplined sort and had been praying that God would give me more discipline for about 2 years before he obliged. Little did I know…
3. It gave me a greater appreciation for what an amazing body God has designed in that it can balance the amount of insulin released from the pancreas, the amount of glucose released from the liver, the signals of fullness after a meal, the amount of stress hormones flowing around and the ever changing needs of muscle tissue for sugar. And it only allows the amount of sugar running around in my blood to vary less than 40 milligrams in every liter of blood. When I am left to the task I sometimes can’t get it to stay within hundreds of milligrams.
4. It has allowed me to team up with some pretty amazing people who are charging and changing the face of diabetes. People who challenge the notion that diabetics need to be mellow when it comes to pushing their bodies to the limit. People crazy enough to do the Ironman Triathlon, to climb mountains and to run a 200-mile relay over 24 hours. They inspire me to push myself harder every day I am out training. Without diabetes I would never have pushed myself to join a group (I was never much of a joiner)
5. It has made my life hard enough that I often get to the point where things are so bad that all I can do is resort to laughing at how ridiculously hard all of this is. What else can I do when my blood sugar is so low that I can barely control my impulses and have come within seconds of pouring an entire box of cereal over my head because it seemed like it might feel nice.
6. Without Diabetes, I would not have found out so quickly how great my husband, Tony, would be at taking care of me and forcing me to talk about all that I was feeling.
7. Diabetes gave me the ability to take off an extra 6 months during my pregnancy with Eli. That was time that I got to be a stay-at-home-mom for my eldest, Shea, time I treasure. It also gave me 9 months off when Shea was born.
8. Diabetes gave me a reason to write a book, or maybe I should say, be in the process of writing a book.
9. 25 is going to be hard…
10. Diabetes really drove home the divide between spirit and body. I can remember in the early days walking out of my doctor’s office in Los Alamitos and realizing my body was now broken. My pancreas just didn’t work like it was supposed to. But my spirit still remained as it was. It forever divided the two in my mind.
11. If Diabetes is the worst thing that has happened in my life, I have led a charmed life. There are many worse things that can happen.
12. I get to bring my own candy anywhere I want, movies, meetings, etc.
13. It has humbled me in a way that I needed big time. Being an arrogant, pompous fool never benefited anyone. I figured out real quickly that I was just as susceptible to harm and tragedy as the next guy. The invincible teen years ended before their time.
14. Diabetes started my running, swimming and triathlon career. When I was diagnosed my doc said I had to exercise everyday. I was in college so I couldn’t really join any teams, wasn’t quite good enough for college ball. So I did what I could do alone and with no equipment, I ran. One of my friends got me into swimming at the pool at UCSD between classes and I already rode my bike daily (the result of personal budgetary restraints and expensive parking permits on campus.) My competitive spirit put all three together and I started tri’s.
15. My daughter is well trained in calling 911?
16. I think it turned the balances in my favor in getting sponsorship with the Power Puff Girls/Cartoon Network for surfing. I wrote some cheesy paragraph in how I am just like the Power Puff Girls because I fight my own monsters. Yeah, I know, I played the D card. But every now and then you have to.
17. I have a great relationship with my doctor because I see him so often. He is so comfortable that he’ll sit down and rap with me for a while about the good ol’ college days. So when I do have a problem he always takes the time to hear me out.
18. I can always look back and say the reason I got a C in O-Chem is because my sugars were in the 7 or 800’s when I took my final (even though when I took O-Chem C I got a C too but I was fine.)
19. I never have to pony up a doctor’s note for an absence if my employer asks because I have a chronic condition. (Anyone up for a Tuesday morning surf when the Santa Ana’s are blowing and everyone else is at school or work?)
20. It has on many occasions forced me to face my own mortality.
21. I have met a few good-looking firemen and paramedics when I have had to call 911 because my sugars had gotten too low.
22. Diabetes makes sailing solo through the Florida Keys for four days more than a self-indulgent pleasure cruise and turns it into a chance to inspire others to do what people have told them they couldn’t because they are supposed to be good little diabetics and not push themselves to find new ways to conquer what in their Pre-D lives would have been commonplace and so easy.
23. It gives me a cause to raise money for. Insulindependence.com has this same mindset of helping Diabetics push themselves and inspire other diabetics to do the same. Check them out. (And if you want to help me, check out http://www.firstgiving.com/erinspineto.) Yeah I know it’s a shameless plug, but what can I say? It is an advertisers world.
24. Maybe diabetes has just allowed me to give you a reason to see the bright side?
25. Diabetes gives me a reason to come up with 25 reasons that diabetes has been good to me and spend the last hour practicing some writing skills.
08 February 2009
1. i am a procrastinator. look how long it took me to do this. I am so behind on the trend.
2. i am a diabetic, type 1, who runs triathlons and sails to prove that i am in control, not my broken pancreas.
3. i am writing my memoirs on doing #2.
4. i hate capitalizing stuff when i type.
5. i want to sail single handed around the florida, keys. alone. by myself. without any one else (starting to get the point of the trip?)
6. i am not actually a writer
7. biochem degree from UCSD and a minor in visual arts just to give my brain a rest ( and because secretly I am an artist- just don't look to my work for confirmation of that fact.)
8. married my best friend after telling him that, even though he was getting the word from God that we were going to get married, i too had been praying and getting the opposite answer. One of us was wrong and it certainly wasn't me. (not the last time i was wrong, or "mistaken" if we are using p.c. speak)
9. married an artist, an oil painter to be more precise. so i guess i put that art degree to work after all. i try not to sound too stupid at all the gallery openings we have to get all gussied up for.
10. kind of random, but i guess that's the point... hadn't kissed a boy in 8 years when i first kissed tony after he proposed
11. want to do lots of traveling but mostly with in the 30's. (that's latitude for the geographically disinclined). no need for the rolling forties or roaring fifties near where its way too cold for people to actually exist without 42 layers of clothing.
12. live in encinitas, ca because its a community where on saturday morning most of the kids at the coolest donut shop on earth are only in their trunks and never have their hair combed and are only making a quick stop before they hit the beach until sundown and sometimes after. Their parents, most of the time, match.
13. wow... really... 25?
14. i have 28 teeth?
15. lived with a different group of 6 girls for the last 3 years of college with at least one each year with an eating disorder.
16. think that the only acceptable source of caffeine input should be Diet Dr. Pepper. no coffee, tea only if i think i am writing while sitting on the floor at a barnes and nobles after the kids have gone to bed for the night
17. had a birthday party when i was 10 that no one showed up to. i would like to think it was because it was the same weekend as halloween parties (dumb planning) but really it probably wasn't. too much grrr in my early days. didnt learn to fake the bubbly perky until later in life and still dont do it well
18. just had to get up and test my blood sugar because it often drops when i write. probably from all the energy i have to expend to come up with all this super "deep" stuff :) <---that is the silly little symbol people type to show that they are making a joke? right? i think id rather go with a "ha" from deep within the belly, kind of like one santa would do if he got drunk and forgot his lines, "ha, ha, ha" "isnt that the stupid line they always give me in all those sappy, crappy movies aired just before i get my break in jamaica?" 22. Yeah is kipped a couple.. what of it? 23. i just learned to spell piece when i was 25 when my 6th graders got sick of my misspelling on the overhead and leant me the silly little saying i still repeat in my head each time i spell it. "piece of pie." translation piece starts just like the word pie p-i-e 24. i still can only tell my left from my right when i picture myself taking off on a wave. i instinctly know my right is front side and my left is backside. the whole put your pointer and thumb out to make an L doesn't work for me because they both look like L's to me . sorry I had a hard time flipping my letters as a kid. think they should have put me in special ed and medicated me for that one. (insert another lame symbol or maybe we should dod the LOL thingy here) 25. i have just finished this thing
25 January 2009
Type 1 Diabetes is a multi-talented killer. It kills quickly, it kills slowly and it can kill by stripping you of any desire to truly live. One slip up in your dosing math, one time you forget your safety sugars, one underestimation of how hard that workout really was and the amount of sugar in your blood plummets to the point where there is not enough to support your brain and heart function. I’m sure you can guess the outcome of that, and it can happen in the blink of an eye. We all do a pretty good job of staying on top of it, but slipups do happen in the diabetic community. It’s a tribute to all of us that it doesn’t happen more often.
But even if we can prevent the Superlows from happening, it is virtually impossible to keep from getting too much sugar in your blood from time to time. Whether its that hot fudge sundae you’ve had your eye on for a week, a forgotten bolus of insulin because one kid’s crying, one was screaming and that pesky telemarketer just knew it was the right time to call, or you got sick and your body decided that it just doesn’t feel like responding to the triple dose of insulin you had to give it. Then little by little your blood gets thick with those killer glucose molecules that like to attach themselves to any available red blood cell like an over-40, still-single, overeager, “my-biological-clock-is-ticking” woman when she finds any man who shows even the smallest smakeral of interest in her. So what if your red blood cells get a little bigger? So what if trying to pump those enlarged cells around your body will wear out your heart a little quicker or that they start to tear at the littlest capillaries like a three-year-old through presents on Christmas morning? Those capillaries aren’t in anything really important anyways, just your kidneys, eyes, hands, feet and one other really important part. And so very, very slowly Diabetes silently wears out your body. We all work hard to slow this process. We all use the latest technology, we analyze all sorts of data and walk around like Robo-diabetic with pumps, meters, and continuous glucose monitors strapped to our bodies, belts, and in every bag, backpack and purse we own all in attempt to slow the coming tide.
But, I think worse than both of these, is Diabetes’ ability to strip you of all desire to truly live. Your doc tells you never again walk barefoot, no flying or scuba diving, forget Ironman training, just walk for 20 minutes a day. Everything in moderation, he tells you. And that’s the killer, Moderation. When was the last time you got the least bit of a thrill from Moderation? Have you dreamed about your Moderation for two years straight, saving every extra penny, telling everyone you know, being possessed by your Moderation? Never. But talk to any diabetic who has stepped out of the cloud of Moderation and they will turn your ear bloody talking about their training plan and what their blood sugars were every 15 minutes during their last sub-4 hour marathon and every detail of their next trip climbing Machu Pichu. They are truly living. And they are talking to anyone who will listen. But for years they were talking to those who didn’t know much about diabetes, those who don’t know Type 1 from Type 2, those who couldn’t help with the right basal rate reduction for an 11 hour hike, those who don't know a thing about the low blood sugar induced Midnight Munchies. That is until a few of these diabetic athletes happened to sit down together at a table together at a conference and started talking. What was born out of that conversation was the plan to build a community to get diabetics together to talk and to support their moderation-busting adventures.
I, too, have been bit by the bug to abolish moderation. For me its a sailing trip. Four days, alone on a 22 foot Catalina, in the Florida Keys. To sit alone for 96 hours, to sail, to think and to write. To get a grasp on what diabetes has done to my life and what I am going to do to diabetes. And to support others who want to do the same thing in their own way. I have decided to use this trip to raise funds for Insulindependence and to spread the word that Moderation will never win. We can't let it.