Find your break

This past weekend I went on a run with a friend. I resort to running when I’ve crammed my life so full that I feel it’s necessary to expedite working out. My usual preference is for walking, which I’ve just returned home from.

Here are some of the things I saw on my walk:

  • White and pink Dogwood blossoms. Dogwood trees have a distinct smell – sweet and earthy.
  • A black and white cat tiptoeing through an overgrown corridor of leggy flowering grasses.
  • A mockingbird trilling from a tree limb.
  • Tightly packed azalea flowers flocking front porches.

This walk and yesterday’s yoga class were inspired by suggestions from two people whose wisdom I value. They suggested that in order to get everything I needed to done, I take a break. Different times call for different sorts of breaks, and lately I’ve needed a computer break. Like my friend, I’ve been losing productivity as one assignment blurs into the next. I’ve been losing sleep too and waking up with high or low blood sugars. These past couple days, stepping away and doing something slowly has made space for me to breathe – which, one could argue, is just another way to practice public health.

Constant Resolution

As I alluded to in a recent entry, open conversation, not being silent, is still key right now. In the spirit of embodying my 2017 theme, I’m going to string together a few pearls of wisdom I’ve picked up from the various people who inspire me every day. Then I’ll talk briefly about diabetes, too.

My head is brimming lately with all these phrases and metaphors that my friends have shared with me as the wisdom that guides them around their busy lives. One of my friends, as we were driving down a street full of piles of leaves and Christmas decorations that had been taken halfway down, shared a quote by Martin Niemoller, a Holocaust protester and survivor, which I had heard many years ago but had forgotten until then. It’s important, and I don’t want to forget it again:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

So much of what I have to be grateful for in my life comes from the friendships, like that I have with this friend, with wise women and men around the world who are searching for purpose and striving to be all they can be every day. Another friend of mine, who I’ve recently reconnected with, reminded me that we are never through becoming ourselves. And yet another, in a parallel conversation earlier this month, shared a favorite guiding quote of hers, “the most important thing in your life is…your life.”

Translating all that to diabetes management, as is the constant struggle, leaves me with some interesting reflections as well. In 2016 I left the pump and moved back to insulin injections. This was a really positive change for me. Interestingly though, so was the pump when I started with it. Which reminds me that diabetes management, like life, is not a static endeavor. Our needs change and being able and willing to adapt is a sign of healthy coping, not an indicator that we are failing or were wrong before.

Now I’m enjoying more fruit and less wheat, more cooked vegetables and spices and hopefully, just a little less hot sauce and salty condiments. I’m borrowing some wisdom from both my Southern mother and Chinese medicine, that cooking foods, especially in winter, makes the nutrients more accessible to the body and of course easier to digest.

And finally, my 2017 health resolution, both because it directly improves my blood sugar and because it makes me friendlier, is to prioritize sleep. I rang in the New Year with this theme last night. But I’m also hoping that regular sleep will also help me effectively abandon it when I have the chance to work on my last, little, other resolution, which is always my resolution, to dance more.

So in sum, may we never be done listening to each other, learning about life and ourselves, and resolving.

 

A Change-Up

So I’m pretty excited about this. A few days ago I wrote about my recphoto 3(4)ent disgust with my own optimistic attitude about diabetes, even though that attitude is what has pulled me through over the past nine years. I’m happy to announce, I can feel it coming back! Largely because diabetes does teach me some strange and interesting things.

For the past few days I haven’t been sleeping well at all. I’ll feel tired, reading my book wrapped up in an afghan in a cozy chair, spits of snow coming down outside. Then I’ll lay down in my cozy bed, warm and tired. And then…

I’ll get this feeling like my bones are hollow and I’m a little bird on a windy branch and I could just blow away, and the feeling is sort of in my heart and mind too, like I’m a reed humming in the wind.

Being low around bedtime often feels to me like I’m vibrating slightly, but lately that feeling has extended to include a low-grade but constant mental agitation. Even when my blood sugar has been elevated, I’ve been edgier. The only and best way I can describe it at this point is a swirling feeling of being unsettled.

A couple of weeks ago I was craving more carbs and food in general at the same time that it felt like my blood sugar was frequently stuck. I wasn’t receptive to insulin like usual. I would hit 250 and stay there on and off for hours. I woke up one morning, mouth dry, feeling like I’d been on a long road trip with no water, and I could tell I hadn’t been getting the insulin I needed from my pod.

So I switched from my usual sight on my upper glute to my belly. I don’t really like having the pod on my belly because I’m more aware of it and it gets in the way of yoga, but immediately my insulin needs and the time it took for insulin to start working went down.

Unfortunately these benefits came at the same time as my sleep troubles. At first I thought I wasn’t sleeping well because the different site was less comfortable to me, but I sensed that there was something beyond that at work.

For two pod changes I kept the pod on my belly. For nearly a week I slept like a guard dog, waking up at every creak and rattle in our albeit pretty noisy house.

Then, suddenly it hit me. That swirling unsettledness was centered around my navel.

Yesterday I changed my pod back to its old favorite spot.

Last night I slept like a champ.photo 1(9)

Now the good news is I’m back to better responsiveness to my insulin with the pod in that old spot. I suspect that area did need a break; maybe I had hit some scar tissue or my bun muscles of steel were bending the cannulas. Who knows, maybe I’ll have to eat some more of these truffles from the Chocolate Lounge where I’m writing this.

It’s snowy out today, but not icy, so we spent all morning building snowball players. The title of this post comes from the lady pitcher who’s about to throw a change-up. It’s a pretty weak pun, but she is very strong, so I wanted to put in a picture of her.

So I’m curious to know what other people’s experiences have been with how their blood sugars, emotions, and sleep patterns respond to varying pod or infusion sites. Any feedback or comments are welcome.