A Period Piece

IMG_5338Disclaimer: This post might skeeve you out. If you’re one of those people, than you should probably be the first to read it because it’s 2016 and we’re a progressive society and talking about the one thing that privately unites almost every woman around the world every 20-some odd days is supes, supes importante. It’s not a faux paux. It’s not “disgusting”. It’s science.

I am not a medical professional. But I am an expert in lady problems, that’s for damn sure. And on this month’s edition of, “Here, I got you a present! It’s made of blood and pain and suffering! Hope you like it!”, I made a huge discovery: my period dramatically effects my blood sugars. I got my period how many years ago? And diabetes how many years ago? I just made this connection. Unlike some of the more obvious trends (ie. adrenaline spikes), this is one of those patterns that might not be immediately obvious to every gal out there. It could possibly have something to do with the fact that, well, when your insides feel like they’re on fire and exploding and punching you simultaneously all while you’re trying not to ruin your underwear, you’re a little preoccupied.

But ladies, let me tell you. Hormones are the cheekiest little bastards when it comes to blood sugars. Yes, men have hormones too, blah blah blah, but this specific experience is totally unique to not just women as a sex, but every woman individually. For some, their time of the month drives their sugars sky high in a frustrating way, only adding to their fatigue, nausea, and (totally excusable) bitchiness. For many of us, we only need 70-80% of the insulin we typically inject to stay in a safe range. There’s nothing more nerve-wracking than waking up 60, looking at my Dex, and realizing that I’ve been hovering there for hours. Luckily, I woke up to this trend this month, so last night I took a stab at adjusting my basal rates*. For my trial run, I set a 7-hour temp basal just get through the night worry-free. It ended up working like a charm, and it got me thinking: this is something we all need to talk about more openly with each other.

I know that chatting about period stuff outside of your safe circle of besties and confidants can be uncomfortable. But it’s definitely something worth bringing up with your doctor if you think your Auntie Flow is impacting your blood sugar.

Stress, anxiety, nervousness, lack of sleep, and allllll the other hormonal fluctuations can have a big impact on our insulin resistance at any given time. Be aware of change. Don’t get down on yourself. Don’t fight your body on its natural ebbs and flows. And if it’s bothering you, and taking away from your day to day, speak up!

 
*IMPORTANT: do NOT adjust your basal rates without consulting your doctor first, or learning how to do it with their supervision. ‘Tis not something to mess with if you’ve never done it before. I’ve had 6 years of practice and know my insulin resistance very well. 

 

 

To Independence!

429855_10200147669553980_2000493280_nWelp, here it is: July 4th. America’s birthday, the kickoff to summer, the first time a lot of people dust of the ol’ bikini and hope for the best, and for most people, a long weekend filled with memory-making and lobster roll chowing. 

This time of year is a tough one for diabetics. There is a pretty big wardrobe transition that requires us to reconfigure all of our sites and pump hiding locations. There are crazy hot temperatures that threaten to spoil our insulin (and our bank accounts), and we might act like we know, but no one seems to have a clue how many carbs are ACTUALLY in a margarita. #TheEternalMystery

Unfortunately for us, summer can be a bit of a bummer (Oh shit! That rhymed!) In a way, we’re kind of forced to be more public about having diabetes. Or at least that’s how I feel, anyway. I’m more fragile in the summer, and that often requires me to be more vocal about my needs and my limitations. It drives me bonkers to be needier than normal, but that’s just the way the sugar-free cookie has crumbled, my friends.

For example, last month my boyfriend and I went on an insanely INSANELY epic road trip out West, and when we were hiking in Moab, UT (where it’s 100+ degrees everyday), I literally cried because I was so nervous my insulin would go bad if we left it in the car too long. I was so angry that I couldn’t just bust out of the car and go. I felt so guilty for holding him back, that my emotions got the best of me. But at this point, Sean knows the drill, and after a quick compromise, a very nice man at a very clean gas station sold me several cheap bags of ice to heal my worry-wounds. The insulin did not go bad, and neither did my trip. 

It’s frustrating! It’s really fucking frustrating. I’m a summer baby, and July is when my body really wants to just be free and half-naked, running around shoeless like I’m totally limitless. But now, I have to think and prepare more. I lose stuff more easily. I am more forgetful. And overall, that annoys the hell out of me. Everybody else seems to be having a grand old time, why can’t I? The FOMO on freedom is soooooo real. 

But what is our alternative? Sit inside all summer and watch reruns of the Bachelor while everyone else is taking selfies on the beach? Yeah…no. There is so much out there for us to go DO in the summer. And just because we need to take it a little slower at times, doesn’t mean we get to mope around and wallow in a misery that’s as fabricated a Humolog. 

Below are some things that have helped make my last 11 diabetic summers much easier. Hopefully they find them as refreshing as a leaf of mint in your cocktail. 

swellStep 1: Treat yoself to some high quality hydration. I don’t if it’s because I’m from Maine, or what. But when I get really, really hot, I panic. And a dehydrated Libby is a really nasty Libby. So I always always keep water on me. S’well makes an amazing water bottle that is so frickin’ adorable I wanna kiss it, and it keeps your liquids cool as a cucumber for a million hours. Also…if your sugars tend to run high in heat, you’ll dehydrate faster than anyone else. Do your due diligence, and drink up!

bsuitStep 2: Suit up according to YOUR body. I’ve never liked myself in a bathing suit. Ever. I always feel so floppy and squishy and strange. Add the fact that I now have to find a place to clip my pump and tuck away tubing and forget about it. It’s a lost cause. But I’ve always been a firm believer that the best dressed out there are the gals that know their bodies, and respect their shape. Also, if you’re feeling self conscious about your gadgets, one pieces are so in right now. Floppy tatas spilling out of triangle tops are not. Do what you need to do to feel supported, and like your pump isn’t going to fly off because you were wearing dental floss for a bottom. Nordstrom and Target always has great suits, and I heard a rumor this could be your last chance for a Victoria’s Secret suit (my personal fav because they make big tops for big ladies like me!

bagguStep 3: Pack with purpose. Nothing feels better than having the right size bag for the right size adventure. Invest in a good weekender and a good kit for your pump, cgm, and miscellaneous supplies. To be honest, I never even really unpack my travel diabetes bag – I just do an inventory check and update before every trip. This way, I’m not halfway to Timbuktu only to have one of those “OHHHHHH FU******** BABE WE GOTTA TURN AROUND” moments. I am absolutely OBSESSED OBSESSED with my Bric’s carry-on, my L.L.Bean weekender, and my Baggu travel bag.

birks.jpgStep 4: Walk it out. One summer in college, I was living and interning in London and my blood sugars were bad. I did so much walking all over the UK and Paris, that I had blisters all over my feet from my cheapo sandals. Because my sugars were a mess and I had dinged my feet up badly, I got some really nasty infections that were SO PAINFUL. After that experience I was like, “NEVER AGAIN”, and now that I live in NYC I’m even more careful about what I expose my tootsies to. Converse and Birkenstocks are your best friends this summer. Get rid of the gladiator sandals, and get on board with the Birks, baby.

FRIO_Grande1Step 5: Keep it cool. Frio insulin ice packs are a life saver and I’m an idiot for not using them as religiously as I should. Go buy 10 right now. I mean it. I’m gonna do it, too.

Alrighty, that’s all, folks. Enjoy your 4th of July. Don’t drink too many Americas (aka Budweisers, duh) or play with fireworks near your face or small children. TEST YOUR BLOOD SUGAR OFTEN. And damnit, remember…#MeFirst. It is Independence Day, after all. This (and every) summer should be about you, and what YOU want to do as a happy, healthy, fun-loving human.

Okay, I’m gonna go play with my family on a boat now. Love you all! Happy 4th of July! XO XO!

Untangle your headphones and press play

13282151_10104096448131935_181169014_nA few months ago, I Internet-met LA video and radio guy, Craig Stubing. This is Craig’s bitmoji and I think it describes him (or what I know of him) to a T.

Craig Stubing also has type 1 diabetes (he’s one of those guys who never calls himself a diabetic, he has type 1, he isn’t a type 1. ughhhh. what a stickler!)

Anywho, Craig has a podcast called Beta Cell where he chats with other diabetics PEOPLE WITH DIABETES, and they share their stories. I love podcasts. And I love hearing myself talk. So naturally, we chatted about getting The SugaSugs on there! Photo on 5-19-16 at 8.56 PM #3

Here I am with a microphone. Which was the most fun toy I’ve ever had in my possession. Like, ever. The project has been a labor of love; mostly on his part because all I had to do was talk (for 2 hours.) I sincerely appreciate you, Craig, for cutting out about 40% of the f’bombs I irrationally dropped while recording, and for making sure I am speak at the very least, semi-coherent English throughout the episode.

So without further ado, check out the Pod! And as always, don’t hesitate to reach out, ask questions, or scold me for saying “like” too many times!

Also be sure to check out Beta Cell on:

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The Dex Debate

FullSizeRender-2Today, I got the most magical email in the world: “Congratulations. Your order has shipped.”

Dex 2.0 is on his way to my body in all his glory. After just over a month of a sad and unfortunate insurance melt-down, I’ve been CGM-free. It’s been weird. It’s been liberating. It’s been filled with blood sugar mysteries and adventures. There have been days that I’ve felt incredibly limited by my lack of CGM, and others where I’ve felt free. But at the end of the day, after a mental cat and mouse debate, I’ve decided I need my Dex back. And I need him now.

When I first got my Dexcom last fall, I hated it. I’m sure you remember my post…I was begging for mercy and for my body’s surface area back…I even created a campaign to remind myself that I am still the potty-mouthed, fun-loving Libby I was put on this earth to be. But after this brief break, I have learned a few things. So if you’re thinking about getting a Dex, or taking a break from one, here are some insights and thought starters for ya:

  1. Old Habits Die Hard
    Though it was refreshing to feel like I was no longer being hand-held and babysat by a tiny little device, I admittedly fell back into some ooooold habits pretty quickly. Grazing, snacking, and just generally not testing enough were an all-too-easy place to go back to. And no, no major damage was done. In fact, it felt like on average my numbers were better because. But I know myself. When I know I’m not being supervised, I’m like a 12 year old boy that spastically draws all over the walls and ruins at least 4 things that don’t belong to me.
  2. Surface Area Struggles
    At first, I felt like Dex was taking over so much space on my body. Really cramping my style and de-sexy-fying my already too large love handles. But in the past month without him, I haven’t really noticed any difference of him being there or not. It was nice to give my skin a break from the adhesive, but over all…noooo major change in that department. I was anticipating climbing to the top of the nearest tower and yelling, “I’m freeeee!” but…alas, I was never compelled to pursue such dramatics.
  3. Listen Closely
    Having this break forced me back into my body’s natural intuitive tendencies. I could quickly feel again that I was leaning into how I was feeling as opposed to what my Dex arrows were doing. Going back into the Dex, I will bring this insight with me. My body still wins all wars when it comes to the feels and sensing change.
  4. Where Am I?
    Contrary to my previous point, I really missed knowing whether I was rising or falling. There’s only so much I can feel, and before I bolus, it’s insanely helpful to know at least which direction I’m trending. Saves for disasters down the road, ya know?
  5.  I’m Okay. 
    For 11 years, I’ve been living with this. And for 10 of them, CGM’s didn’t even exist (really). So when I went without it for the last month, at first, I was like a toddler when his mom walks out of the room. I panicked. Thinking I wouldn’t survive a day. But after one night of a very (very) restful, alarm-free night where I went to bed 160 and woke up 98, I remembered…”Oh hell yeah! I know how to do this!”…And that’s the biggest take away from all of this…we’re professional diabetics. Routine change or not, only we know what’s best for us. Technology, diet, exercise, etc., it’s our choice. Taking breaks from technology every now and again is actually a really refreshing way to remind ourselves of how amazing we are at taking care of this disease and ourselves. Royal insurance fuck ups are out of control. But we’re 100% in control of how capable we are at being independent, healthy humanoids. Having a CGM is a frickin’ miracle. But not having it didn’t cripple me. I was okay. And you’ll be ok. And we’ll all be ok no matter what.

    Boom,  that rhymed.

    Ok, now I’m going to race home and go check my mail and pray to the postal service gods that Dex 2.0 made it to New York safe and sound.

 

A Homework Assignment

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 10.40.04 AMStep 1: Pick up your phone. BAHAHHAHA jk jk jk jk jk…. I know you already have it in your hand. It’s 2016.

Step 2: Dig through your photos and find one where you remember feeling 100% yourself, 100% in the moment, and at least over 60% happy (maybe 100% yourself is Grumpy Cat. No shame in that.)

Step 3: Open Instagram

Step 4: Post the shit outta that pic explaining why you LOVE this photo and why that moment made you feel like such a baller. This is your moment in the spotlight to say some really nice stuff about yourself, so don’t be shy. Let ’em have it. Also DON’T FORGET to tack #MeFirst on the end of your caption.

Step 5: Sit and wait while all the loves and likes come pouring in. And trust me, they will. You just reminded the world why you’re a boss. But more importantly, you reminded yourself.

 

Step 6: Be on the lookout for a DM from me because I will find you, and I will celebrate you.

We’re going to start an unapologetic movement, amigos. Diabetes can’t keep us from being who we were put on this earth be, or how we live our truth. YES, of COURSE we need to take care of ourselves and our diabetes. But it sure as hell isn’t going to stop us from getting out there and doing the damn thang.

Read more about this movement on Beyond Type 1Instagram, and here on The Sugars.

Giddyup, year 11

cakeThis month, I will round the bend into my 11th year as a human being living with diabetes. Can we just take a moment and acknowledge that 11 years is a really fucking long time to have or do anything? Yeah. Consider yourself acknowledged, Father Time.

11 years goes by pretty fast when you’re in the most vulnerable, transitional years of your life. College FLIES by. I don’t even remember where I went to school. Jk, yes I do. But barely. On top of college, I’ve had a few boyfriends, a few jobs, a few apartments, several different roommates, I’ve lived in 4 different states, and the world has essentially taught me that all it wants from me is my money and my time.
(Shoutout to ConEd, Time Warner Cable, the US Postal Service, every landlord I’ve ever had [minus my current one, she’s the shit], the MTA, the MBTA, United Healthcare, Walgreens, and JFK airport for stealing a majority of said money and time…)

But what has been the most formative change of all, is my diabetes. Every year has welcomed both positive and negative transitions with my routine, and the technology I’m using to make this whole operation possible. There are years where I don’t remember diabetes even being there. And years where it felt like the only thing I knew. But where I stand right now, is a very new place. I am now TOTALLY out in the open. Public, honest, and constant (big thanks to my CGM who has heard me call him some really mean names. I don’t mean it, I promise. Please don’t be mad.) 11 years ago, my routine was the exact opposite of what it is now. I was covered in small bruises on my ass and arms, and the sound of my insulin pens clicking haunted my dreams. But I would go hours without testing. I wouldn’t talk about having diabetes. I didn’t care about what I ate or drank. Not to mention, I was in honeymoon for almost 4 years after my diagnosis, so I was never forced to make it a priority. I was very fortunate. I never had any scares. But I was totally alone with it all. I knew no one. I felt like I had no one. And I certainly wasn’t comfortable bringing people into it with me.

Hot dang, how that has all changed. Now, I am almost fully bionic. And though the amount of work I have to put into keeping myself up in running feels 10x harder than it used to, there are no more secrets. There is no more guessing. Everything is out on the table. Piles of CGM infusion set trash and all. Ya’ll know the drill. Not to mention, I’m not alone anymore. Which leads me to theme of this year’s diaversary: YOU GUYS! 

Writing this blog and getting to know all of you has been truly life changing. I had no idea there were so many people out there who could or would want to be on this journey with me. From all of the people who have emailed, or messaged me on Instagram to tell me I make them laugh, to my family and sexy live-in “burse” (boyfriend nurse, get on board) who hasn’t eased up on his support for one second, it’s been humbling, emotional, and most of all… inspiring to have you all on my team. I never dreamed of walking into a spin studio in NYC, seeing my instructors pump, and walking out with a new role model. I never imagined someone would meet me, hear my name, and light up with recognition because she’s read this blog for years. I’ve never felt stronger. I’ve never felt more motivated to keep our conversation about punching this stupid disease in the face one prick at a time. I know I’m really fortunate. I know I’m really lucky. And I want you to know that YOU GUYS FUCKIN RULE. THANK YOU.

So cheers to you, year 11. I can’t wait to see how many more amazing people you bring my way.

 

 


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