Friday, July 29, 2016

Stupid Girl

I’ve been abit behind in trying to blog lately … life has got abit crazy and if you follow me on some of the sites I post at … you’ll know why … with my DH aka Mr. Evel Knievel‘s wipe out on my D-anniversary motorcycle I’ve had for abit (it’s repairable … and luckily … he is repairing too with 3 broken ribs and stitches to the face).  It was scary the first 24 hours, watching the monitors, and him being out of it.  I basically broke down 48 hours afterwards due to  lack of sleep, food and just the fact I could have lost my husband, I was exhausted and needed a Calgon moment (hasn't happened yet). 

Taking someone to ER is scary, especially when it’s someone you love.  I’ve only been rushed to ER once in my life, when I was 13, and in DKA … at that point I was in and out of comatose state for a few days, while my body fought to regain control.  Yes, I was a really really #badass with my diabetes as a teenager.  I often hear of other diabetics being Frequent Flyers at the ER, but even in worst case scenarios (e.g. when I had a bad experience while sailing a few years ago) … I sort things out.  I hate hospitals with a passion, and even more so when it comes to surgical procedures that require me to put myself in someone else’s hands, and my diabetes control is temporarily out of kilter.

This is now where I finally explain Part Deux of what occurred with a recent colonoscopy that I had at a local hospital.  If you haven’t yet read it yet (how could you not have already – shame, shame) and wonder why I’ve entitled my blog this way … go to this link  to play catch up.

Do ya like my tush twinkle?
The day after having my colonoscopy done a few weeks I had my 3 month endo appointment.  Due to not being able to think properly, I had my DH drive and accompany me to the appointment (the hospital had told me 24 hours after the procedure not to operate any machinery or drive).   I needed his arm to support me for walking /  thinking and probably should have had him help with my infusion change the day before ( it seemed to take forever because I was so out of it and I’ve really got to show my DH how to perform this duty if I’m ever in this situation again).

As I’m trying my best to stay “ with it “ during my appointment, my DH is talking for me to help explain the situation.   I know at some point I tell the endo that I kept my insulin pump on, and that I’d told a fib about reducing the basal.

My endo basically slapped me in the face for my stupidity

Okay, she didn’t really “slap me”, since I only see her face on a screen since she lives 100 km away, but she was not happy with me.  Her reason for calling me stupid?   Well, I think after reading what she said, you may come to the same conclusion … I was plain stupid and taking a risk with my life not just with the colonoscopy but previous surgery that I’d had a long overdue repair on my knee for a meniscus tear (it couldn’t be saved).

She explained to me,  " what would have happened if by accident the surgeon had perforated my colon, and what is a simple 10 minute procedure could have lasted an hour or two "?  Meanwhile, unknown to the surgeon or RN’s, my pump is still running full throttle with basal not having been reduced as I told them.  What if the pump had started to do something wonky?  She admits that not many surgeons or RN’s understand pump technology … and even if they did … a mistake could happen, since I am the one responsible for how it is run. 

I of course went on about how the surgery I’d had almost a year ago where my blood sugars had zoomed up to 22 mmol/l after what was supposed to be a 1 hour surgery became 5 hours.  No insulin had been in the drip (they no longer do this) … you can read that blog at this link if you’re interested. 

I found out she has a Type 1 diabetic brother (still on MDI) and that if he was on a pump she would NOT have him wearing it during surgery.  She would rather see him go high then low; since it can be more easily corrected then if he went low  (I can hear a few of you making some noises at her statement).  And as my DH pointed out to my endo that after the hysterectomy surgery last year, he was there advising them how much insulin to give to me to bring me down since I was semi-conscious at the time and was trying to tell the RN's the same thing.  So it wasn’t like I was in exact danger of going into DKA, though I could have gone into hypoglycemic mode if he’d not told them at the time to not give 10 units of rapid insulin … I would have crashed with that amount since I’m still sensitive to insulin after ½ a century of being diabetic. 

I’d never really looked at it her way before.  Of the what if’s ….

I then told her how just a month previous to the colonoscopy that an anesthesiologist (Dr. McDreamy aka Dr. Cook in reality) had actually allowed me to wear my pump (after I showed him how to shut it off if my CGM started to go alarm I was going low).  It was so nice waking up after that surgery with perfect blood sugars, and feeling like I could leap over tall buildings  (well – not quite exactly like Superman) 

Ohh, ohh, another virtual slap (this is started to sting abit)

Once again, she explained all that could have gone wrong, and I actually began to see where she was coming from.  She even said that if I had one of the CDE’s beside me, watching things, it still is dangerous, that they may make an error despite all the knowledge that they may have, they are not YOU! 

It really made me face reality with what could/can occur during even the simplest procedure, while you are out flat on your back.  In future, I will rethink my control freakiness to have the perfect blood sugar during and after a surgical procedure (I’m hoping to not have another one for many years … well … at least 5 more years until my next colonoscopy).

So I've now come to the conclusion that MDI will be my future way to go … and know that even if I do spike high in my blood sugars, that I’ll be okay. 

I'm no longer a Stupid Girl 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

I want you to have a great colonoscopy

On July 4th (no fireworks that day, sorry I'm Canadian) I finally got around to my 2nd colonoscopy (I have them done due to my Dad having colon cancer).  My previous one that was done back in Quebec was an easy process, with doing that usual day before clean out, liquid diet (yes, beer counts as it’s a clear liquid).  When it was done (I wasn't on the pump then just my "poor man's pump" ), I was hooked up to an IV with a slow drip of insulin, no sedation, and got to watch the whole show of my squeaky clean A-hole on a screen.  Easy peasy – though they wouldn’t give me a copy of the video to share with friends on the big screen as we all ate popcorn!  I remember being so hungry, that a greasy breakfast was a must for me, and I was able to resume back to work the next day.

When I’d left Quebec last summer, I was still waiting to be called up for my 2nd colonoscopy which already was going into year 3.  Ontario seems to be alot better with wait times as I was referred  after going to a local walk-in clinic.  Night and day over Quebec health care system where the waiting game can go on for years.

This time, totally different, starting with the prep the day before.  It was a day of not being  actually able to work, despite sitting on my behind for the majority of one of my jobs I do.  Perhaps due to being a wee bit younger last time, what I'd used to "process" the goop out of me, who knows.  All I could do the day before was be a slug and I now understand why people don't like the prep bit - I feel for you all now.

The other difference this time, I was to be sedated aka " conscious sedation ".  I was told that I could not wear my insulin pump for this 10 minute procedure – but to give ½ my usual dose that AM (this was stated on the hospital form – obviously insulin pumps haven’t been updated onto the form).  I had planned on just giving a unit of rapid insulin in my pump, and then disengaging, but with some of the comments on my Facebook posts of how they'd kept them on during this procedure,  I convinced the RN that by lowering my basal rate of my pump by 50% things would all be good.  I decided at the last minute though, with my blood sugar showing 7.1 mmol/dl / 128 mg/dl – that I’d leave it be, and not reduce the basal.

I didn’t tell them this …

After a weigh in, that I insisted on them doing since they asked me what my weight was, and I told them I really didn’t know  (they wanted me to guess … it’s like … WTF?).  I found I'd lost 15 pounds (maybe the previous day of fasting helped shed some?) - and now I understand why my pants keep on falling down.  I figured the amount of sedation would be based on my weight (I have later found out since, that there is a limit to how much they give a patient (Versed and Fentanyl were used on me). 

Then came the " let’s find a juicy vein ".  Two RN's tried to find one in my forearm (and they're commenting on how tough my skin is … hello … diabetic of ½ a century … we have tough skin). They give up despite my saying my hand is the best bet but the clock is ticking for the next patient to be processed and they're understaffed.

So, it’s wheel the patient, moi, into the OR.  Where the doctor takes over in the game of finding a vein in my hand, and even better, he uses a butterfly needle, which just glides into that juicy plump vein in my hand (I sound like a junkie don’t I? LOL).   Then its lights out, night night Pussy Cat … despite being told by RN that I would be awake during the procedure.  No watching the screen like  the classic 1960's movie The Fantastic Voyage  ... I'm out ... cold ... no seeing the bowels of the Earth.

I awoke, wondering WTF, ½ an hour had passed since being wheeled in, and I was being asked if I wanted any biscuits and water.  It’s like, yes please.  Sadly, within 5 minutes, I was trying to be polite about requesting a … fetch me a bucket Garcon … and just about hopped out of the bed to go searching.  At that point, after the hurl session or two,  the RN brought me my clothing and I wobbly got dressed, texted my DH to come and fetch me.  I'm still amazed how I  managed to get myself out the right door to where he picked me up, I was that out of it and wondered why no one was asking if I needed a wheel chair.  For the next 3 days that was how I was, the effects of the sedation making me feel like I was having a hangover from Hell going between hurling, coldness, nonstop sleeping, and eating was a chore, but wait … this isn’t the end of the story yet of my anal probe.

Are you wondering about the highlighted bit above “I didn’t tell them this …”?

Stay tuned for the 2nd part of this blog, and be ready to be as surprised as I was …

Psst,  remember, if you don't follow me on Blogger, maybe now's the time to get cracking ... so you can keep up with my occasional blogs that come forth from my sponge brain!!!  I always aim to make them both educational and entertaining!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Barley can help lower 'bad' cholesterol according to a recent study

Did you know that the cholesterol-lowering effect of barley could be a benefit to your LDL and non-HDL cholesterol level which is found to be high in Type 2 diabetics? It also has 2x as much protein and 1/2 the amount of calories as oats.

So, after reading the article that was posted at CTV news what does this gal who loves to cook with barley from time to time do (see my blog post with a delicious gluten free recipe from Katie Zeller of Thyme of Cooking at this link ) ? Goes on the hunt for a breakfast cereal recipe that uses barley and is also gluten free (I was coming up with recipes that contained wheat - so instead plugged in "gluten free barley recipes").

So, feast your eyes on the one below that I found at Project Open Hand that was posted back in 2013 by Raymond Palko and get started yourself on exploring other options for cooking with barley and feel free to post any other ones you may find below in the comments section!!

Also, if you are wondering what some of the barley types are that you will see in the recipe links below - then scoot on over to this link - which helps explain the different types available.

Hulled barley is a hearty and nutritious grain that makes a wonderful breakfast. It’s high in fiber and may help lower cholesterol. Barley takes longer to cook than some other grains, but the following tips make it a convenient breakfast staple in your home.

Soak barley to decrease cooking time. Soak 1 cup of barley in 2 cups of water overnight in a covered container, in the refrigerator. Drain and rinse the barley before cooking. This will provide multiple servings, which can be stored in the refrigerator and quickly reheated over the next 3 days. (NOTE: These directions are for hulled barley. Pearled barley commonly found in the grocery store does not require pre-soaking.) Barley can be cooked in a pot on a stove or hot plate, in a slow cooker, or a pressure cooker. It cooks fastest in a pressure cooker, slowest on the stovetop.
  • Stove: Add 3 cups of water to the soaked barley. Over high heat, bring the barley and water to a boil. Cover, and reduce the heat to low. Allow the grain to simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Pressure cooker: Follow the above directions, but cook for only 15-20 minutes.
If you like your barley chewier, cook for less time. To make it creamier like porridge you will need to cook longer. Once it is a texture you prefer, drain off any remaining liquid.

Now that your barley is cooked, add any combination of the following items for a delicious breakfast:
  • Milk or soy milk (note from FatCatAnna ... almond or cashew milk is what I'd use)
  • Fresh or frozen fruit
  • Raisins or other dried fruits (note from FatCatAnna WARNING will add more to carbs so be careful)
  • Protein trail mix
  • Peanut butter
  • Nuts
  • Yogurt
Yes, I had to put a cat picture somewhere in this blog !!
Other resources to get your barley fix? Just look below -
  • Bob's Red Mill Barley Flakes (the recipe post above uses whole barley) ... so check it out here - you'll also find recipes using the product.
  • GoBarley - an international site based in Canada - that has some great recipe ideas and the story behind barley.
  • Heart and Stroke Foundation - just search for barley recipes - and you'll find alot of mouth watering ones to try.
  • I couldn't resist posting this recipe - that is made with mango, coconut and bananas (the recipe states that the barley can be made ahead of time and eaten over 5 days ... which is what I already do with oatmeal that I soak in milk overnight).
  • Last but not least - not into a sweet breakfast meal with barley? Then check out this baked savoury one that has me licking my chops as I finish up this post .... you can find the recipe at this link .

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A perfect chocolate cake for Mother's Day

Okay, with upcoming Mother's Day - I was thinking of what dessert recipe would I love to serve up to my Mum if I was to have her over for a meal and immediately came up with this Nigella Lawson chocolate cake classic made with olive oil (and can also be made gluten free).  
Now, my Mum is on a particular diet that she follows after a few nasty episodes of Diverticulitis that I sometimes think is harder than a diabetic diet.  She would probably nosh on the flour version of this cake (she's got a thing for nuts now even if they're finally ground) but she'd not like the raspberries or strawberries I'd serve along side the slice of cake so she'd would opt for a calcium supplement of ice cream.

So, if you're looking for a healthy alternative to a chocolate cake dessert that won't muck up your blood sugars, then this is the one (and remember, you can eat a smaller slice, which will reduce the caloric and carb count even more - so you don't have to miss out on a slice).  I like to do the 50/50 version I show below, just because I try to limit my carbs I eat, and it still tastes as good as the full sugar version.  
Please note, I have never made the gluten free version yet.  So if you do try that version, let me know how it turns out, whether you use the full sugar version or 50/50 version I've shown below!

Bon appetite and Happy Mother's Day!

Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
·     5 tbsp boiling water
·     1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
·     2 tsp vanilla extract
·     3/4 cup all purpose flour
·     1/2 tsp baking soda
·     1/4 tsp salt
·     1 cup granulated sugar (*or use ½ cup sugar / ½ cup Splenda*)
·     3 large eggs
·     2/3 cups olive oil

1.    Preheat oven to 325F. Lightly coat a 9-in. springform pan with olive oil and line the bottom with parchment paper.
2.    Pour boiling water over cocoa powder and whisk to combine. Whisk in vanilla. Reserve.
3.    Stir flour with baking soda and salt in a small bowl and stir until uniform.
4.    Combine sugar with eggs and olive oil in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on high until mixture is fluffy and pale yellow. Scrape in cocoa mixture and beat until smooth. Gradually add flour mixture and beat until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.
5.    Bake in centre of oven until a cake tester inserted into centre of cake comes out almost clean, about 50 min. Let cool in pan for 10 min, then run a knife around the sides of the pan and release sides from base. Remove cake from pan and set onto a rack to cool completely. Peel off parchment paper before serving.

Calories – 318 (recipe above is supposed to serve EIGHT)
Protein – 4 grams
Carbohydrates – 36 grams (*with 50/50 split of sugar – 24 grams*)
Fibre – 1 gram

~ Gluten Free Version ~

2/3 cup regular olive oil, plus more for greasing
6 tablespoons good-quality unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
½ cup boiling water
2 teaspoons best vanilla extract
1½ cups almond meal (flour) (see Note below)
½ teaspoon baking soda 
Pinch salt
1 cup superfine sugar (**or use ½ cup sugar / ½ cup Splenda**)
3 eggs

1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 1 x 9-inch springform pan with a little oil and line the base with parchment paper.
2. Measure and sift the cocoa powder into a bowl or pitcher and whisk in the boiling water until you have a smooth, chocolatey, still runny (but only just) paste. Whisk in the vanilla extract, then set aside to cool a little. In another smallish bowl, combine the almond meal with the baking soda and pinch of salt.
3. Put the sugar, olive oil and eggs into the bowl of a freestanding mixer with the paddle attachment (or other bowl and whisk arrangement of your choice) and beat together vigorously for about 3 minutes, until you have a pale-primrose, aerated and thickened cream.
4. Turn the speed down a little and pour in the cocoa mixture, beating as you go, and when all is scraped in, you can slowly tip in the almond meal mixture. Scrape down and stir a little with a spatula, then pour this dark, liquid batter into the prepared pan.
5. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the sides are set and the very center, on top, still looks slightly damp. A cake tester should come up mainly clean, but with a few sticky chocolate crumbs clinging to it. Let it cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, still in its pan, and then ease the sides of the cake with a small metal spatula and spring it out of the pan. Leave to cool completely or eat while still warm with some ice cream, as a dessert.  It'll be abit "wobbily" in the centre making it more like a pudding type of cake ... but still good according to Ina in her recipe link above.

Nutrition for Gluten Free:
Calories – 379 (recipe above is supposed to serve EIGHT)
Protein – 6.8 grams
Carbohydrates – 31 grams (**with 50/50 split of sugar – 18.5 grams**)
Fibre – 3.4 gram

Psst!  There's also another olive oil version of this cake too with lemon ... that I hope to make one day ... you can find it at this link, but I haven't figured out the nutrition in this recipe yet.  That will be another baking day experiment, and probably perfect for Father's Day!!

Calorie Count - - was used to analyze nutrition values above.  I find this helps me when calculating for carbs, etc. with foods that I make at home from a recipe.   Remember, I am not a dietitian or CDE or medical professional … therefore … if you are not sure of the nutritional amount … either ask your own health care provider and/or do the calculations yourself!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Canadian Diabetes Association #T1DExpo 2016

~ Steve Edelman ~

Those words above I think are what really made the 1st Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) Type 1 Diabetes Expo (#T1DExpo) come to full realisation with 700 participants (and all adults - whoo! whoo!)  involved in this event that was held in Toronto.  Note:   I have since found out that similar events have been going on by The Charles H. Best Diabetes Center in Brooklin, Ontario - and their next one is taking place on May 6th in Ajax, Ontario with similar topic discussions).

I’d say about ½ the participants were all T1D’s and at least 10 of us with +50 years of diagnosis and all in good health!  I’ve never been to a Canadian event that was aimed just at T1D’s .  I didn’t have to travel by air or too long a distance to attend, and be with people who aren’t all insured American with devices that we don’t have here in our country or the ability to afford them.  Yes, we Canadians vary much from our friends south of the border who sometimes seem to boast without thinking of their  ability to have a new insulin pump (after they've decided the one they just received isn't their cup of tea after a few months) or CGM.  Here in Canada, we wonder if we can ever try these devices they post about, let alone find a private/work insurance provider and/or province that will help fund it.

Chicken !!! (I just about swerved the car off the road when my friend screamed this out when driving through Port Perry) !  Yes, a fairly almost 9 hour drive to get to Barrie from Cornwall (a few pit stops along the way).  It made for some interesting experiences along the way with a T1D  friend of mine that I picked up in Kingston.  

Now on to the serious stuff .. the #T1DExpo ...

What did I learn from this conference that I didn't already know about?   I did find out  about a study taking place  called Ease-2  for an oral medicine that will be used in combination with insulin to help regulate blood sugars better in T1D.  I may contact the two researchers, Nancy Cardinez and Bruce Perkins (if the hyperlink above does not work for you - click on the following link for more information -

One of the speakers was Dr. Steve Edelman, who I've heard of through the grapevine.  He's had T1D since he was 15 - and along with his fellow co-worker who is also a T1D, Dr. Jeremy Pettus ... they created some great laughs along with getting to the more serious side of diabetes management.  Both work at TCOYD based in San Diego and put out some great videos (Steve Edelman went through the "warranty program" live at this conference - but you can get a jist of it at this link ). 

What was interesting with the two speakers above?  No pushing of whether insulin pumping or injections was the way to control your diabetes, it is whatever works for you to keep you in control of your health.   American conferences I've attended in the past, seem to push pump technology, but that is probably much due again to the way American health system works hand in hand with the insurance/pharmaceutical/medical supplier companies.

The emphasis though ?  Very strong on the use of the CGM, and both Americans did state that they understood that not many Canadians have insurance coverage for these devices.  Again, that south / north border thing with our two countries - we can only dream of using a CGM at times, unless you've lucked in on "donations".  Like myself, they stated that if they had a choice of either a pump or a CGM .... the CGM would win hands down.  I found that pretty amazing coming from them, and glad to see others thinking the same way (my next blog post will expand abit more on this MDI vs pump after a recent endo visit).

The one interesting thing, I spoke to a few diabetics who had been diagnosed 40+ years ago, much like myself, and when asking them about insulin pumping, I found it abit odd to hear that they were not interested at least in giving it a try.  To live in a province that funds pumping defies my sponge brain as to why not give it a go and the reason I moved here to Ontario!

Overall though for a first time attempt at encompassing a group of T1D's compared to the usual T2D crowd that many of us find CDA cater to ... it was a pretty amazing.  The only thing that many of us as T1D's found difficult though was the lack of carb counts on the foods we were eating, along with lack of low carb foods (which hopefully for future expos they're holding this year will be better organised).  Many of us were disappointed in that small aspect of the whole day, and paid dearly for it with blood sugars going abit whacky.  

Also, I've heard through the grapevine, that CDA will hold it in a bigger venue for next year, due to the size of the crowd (the cut off was originally 500), which made it difficult to get into the exhibition area if you weren't into being squishy and friendly with everyone as you tried to get information.

Thank you CDA and their volunteers who without them events like this wouldn't go as smoothly.  For  those of you wondering if a #T1Dexpo will be coming to a town near you ... check out this link - it could be closer then you think !!!  

Sunday, April 3, 2016

A River Runs Through It

I’m looking at my CGM aka Bowie, and seeing a good number for a change of pace.  In the area I like it to be.  It’s difficult to attain that perfection in both the blood sugar zone and A1c that seems to plague many of us with diabetes.  It’s not easy, with dealing with other aspects of life that make things go up and down, just like a roller coaster ride.

Since having the surgery last September that resulted in having one of my ovaries removed due to it acting funky wonky, along with removal of fibroids that I knew would eventually shrink down due to menopause without under ongoing surgery … well … that pretty well upset the balance of my body.

Meanwhile, I was still playing around with sorting out the earlier diagnosis in 2014 with a sluggish thyroid aka Hashimoto.  This is something that seems to plague many diabetics since it’s another autoimmune condition.  I thought at that time, I would be put into a looney bin with how that affected my mental health … and along comes menopause!

I just did a months trial to help with the hot flashes that made knowing whether I’m having a low blood sugar or not abit easier.  I can’t say enough about EstroGel (see note below)!   After a few weeks, I was actually experiencing normal sleep, not waking up with a river running through my girls.  Because it feels the same as having a low blood sugar being all clammy, my body has been trained over the past ½ century of having diabetes to wake up and save itself from going too low. 

That’s where the CGM has been helpful, in alarming when it is an actual low, provided that the sensor is behaving (it’s pretty accurate most of the time with lows, not so much when in the higher areas – which luckily isn’t too often).  Still, it’s hard to break out of the habit of waking up, it’s been built into me, but having 1 full week of no waking up was like the best holiday I’ve had in awhile, and I didn’t go to any exotic location except home sweet home.  People who know the value of a good sleep will be nodding in agreement, it makes or breaks you, and as a diabetic, it also effects how your blood sugar readings will be.

It’s a wicked circle – sleep – hormones – everyday life – sometimes taking care of diabetes can be overwhelming.

Sadly, I’m no longer on the EstroGel due to my gyno being abit concerned with the breast cancer aspect of being on hormone replacement therapy (HRT).  I’ve knew the possible side affects of heart attacks, strokes, or blood clots with using the gel, but didn’t realise the cancer bit.  Because of having had diabetic mastopathy, where my breast in the end had to be removed due to unawareness of the condition at the time, he felt that being on hormones might aggravate the condition in the other.  

So, in order to help with the hot flashes, he’s put me on a month’s trial of a low dose antidepressant (I didn’t know this at the time, until getting home and having a mind seizure reading what the drug was supposed to be for since I’m not depressed).  It’s called Paroxetine, and I’ve been given the lowest dose possible of 10 mg which is supposed to help with the serotonin level of your sponge brain, and help with elevating hot flashes and improving sleep.  It takes about a month to take full affect, and I’m only into my 2nd week.   And so far, the side effects of the drug which scared the bleep out of me, aren’t happening.   There are other similar drugs out there that the pharmacist I spoke to after I flipped out said were more common, but I’m going with what my gyno has recommended that I try out in the meantime.

UPDATE:  Since starting this blog (and exploring some of the aspects of the EstroGel ) I’m realizing that maybe it’s better to stay off of it.  Reports of gaining weight (which I have seen with an increase in my stomach and legs, despite it making for better real estate for injections) along with possible mucking up thyroid, hmmm.  I think the anti-depressant is the better option to be on as long as it works.  So, the original plan that my gyno and I were doing together with investigating how the HRT affects diabetes mastopathy is not going to be an issue that I’m going to look any further into. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

I Wanna Be a Pole Dancer

Yes, I do like to joke about taking up this hobby when I retire in some of the places I post at in the social media world for diabetes, I'm looking as this being one way to be able to afford my diabetes gadgets that help me to stay in control when I am no longer working (retirement is fast looming up after 35 years as a 9-5er).

So come into my dream world, and dance away with me ..... 'cause  "I wanna be yours" ...

Three weeks ago, I had a second go with an MRI scan that had been delayed from a previous visit when I found out ... a Dexcom sensor cannot be worn, even if it's not placed anywhere near where the portion of your body is being scanned (my knee has been acting up over the last 3 years).  The problem was the day before I had only placed a new sensor on my upper body, which usually lasts an average of a month.  No insurance coverage for the CGM (and I'm not alone in paying out of pocket) meant I wasn't about to rip it off.  So my file was left open, and viola, 4 weeks later ... I was back without any piece of metal on/in my body (I didn't know tattoos can react to MRI's as well - and I have one). The things you learn, but in reality, these questions should be given to the patient prior to making an appointment, not on the day you arrive.

So, after the 2nd MRI (I twitched alot even though I tried to be still during the 20 minute scan), I went back home to place a new sensor on.  This time, it wasn't going to be on my regular real estate  portion on my body which is either my stomach, upper back, upper thigh or arms.  I had seen a post from JeVonda Flint who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes (T1D) 6 years ago.  She places her sensor on her calf, and finds it works well for her there.  So between myself and another T1D here in Canada, I decided I'd give a try.

Yes, I was abit terrified about placing it into what is abit of a muscular portion of my leg (actually I think there's alot of fat, if I was a chicken or a turkey, I'd feed a family of 4 easily).  The good thing, I felt nothing when inserting it.  If any of you have seen the introducer needle for the Dexcom sensor, it looks abit scary.  I felt nothing at all, and even thought to myself, "did I do it properly - did it go in?".

Two hours later, calibration done (you have to take 2 blood tests to get the CGM going) ... I was all set to see if the sensor would work as well, and as long on my body as the other sites do that I place it in.

Sadly, it didn't ... by Day 3,  I was seeing gaps on the trend line or 1/2 hour here and there, along with a few other warnings (e.g. having to restart sensor due to sensor failed warnings - and I tried twice that day to restart).   I realised it wasn't worth continuing to try to keep it on.

The only three factors that I can come up with:

  1. When coming back from a walk as well that day, had my boot cuff (yes, it was still cool here in Canada 3 weeks ago), did I perhaps rub on the sensor too much since it's advised not to have anything bump up against it).
  2. The sensor was expired and this time my luck ran out?  The majority of the time 2 out of 3 sensors I use are expired and work fine  (I can only afford to buy new sensors a few times a year due to cost, once in a blue moon I get a lovely package of expired sensors from American diabetics who do have insurance coverage).
  3. Is my receiver starting to maybe go (I haven't had any warnings yet that should say it's on going to stop).  It's getting close to being 2 years, again, the receiver was gifted to me, and I really have no idea of how much it was used prior to my receiving it.  I have already replaced the transmitter portion that is inserted into the sensor, and so far, it's gone past the 6 months time frame. So eventually, this will go as well and I'll have to buy a new one.
I'm now approaching into my 3rd week without a sensor, and in the beginning I did miss it, but one thing I didn't was how it affects my sleep at night with alarming (combine that with menopause hot flashes, etc. I don't sleep like a cute little kitty).  The same goes with my insulin pump as well, that I'm still not reattached to since the end of January when I went on my holidays to Cuba.

The one thing with not having the sensor on,  I'm not constantly obsessing about the trend of my blood sugars during this period, and from others I have spoken to who wear this device, they can be checking it alot compared to my once in an hour check up.  Along with comparing it against my blood meter (and with the calf placement I was doing check up alot due to how it was not as close to the real thing from the blood meter).  I'm very fortunate that I can still detect when I'm going low (though I think wearing the CGM has made me abit lazy since I woke up to a few in the 2 mmol/l range ... which I never used to do).  Also, I know for some die hard CGMS wearers,  it can be dangerous due to their not having hypoglycemic unawareness!

So, yes, I will be placing a sensor on again, probably next week, and I will probably not be placing it back on my calf again due to the results I had with first placement.  I'll stick to my usual spots, and know that I will hopefully get my 3-4 weeks out of the sensor.  Maybe if I had coverage, I'd be different with not being so anal about keeping the sensor in place, but when you're not quite a pro a pole dancing, well, a cat girls gotta do what a girls gotta do.

Oh, and the outcome of the MRI, despite my twitching knee during the whole process?  I had been trying for past 3 years in Quebec with no success of seeing a specialist (I tried but kept on being told to call back in 6 months and there might be an opening) and  GP who looked at my MRI in the beginning, said it was my age and  arthritis.   Finally, I've been diagnosed by an orthopaedic surgeon  -  with a torn meniscus  - and am now on waiting list for surgery - whoo! whoo!.  It'll be nice to have a knee that doesn't go wonky on me - but at least I finally got to see someone who knows their stuff (and they're interested in what I do within the DOC as well)!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

It's the most wonderful time of the year ... taxation time in Canada

It's that time of the year again ... filing your income taxes here in Canada.

For those of us with health conditions, like myself with Type 1 diabetes, it can be a challenge to figure out what you can claim as " eligible medical expense " ( Lines 330 and 331 ).

Well, help is on the way thanks to Christina from Hamilton who reads my #dblogs from time to time - and had sent me a link from Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to pass on to you.  It shows what Canadians can claim on our returns if you or your spouse/common-law partner paid for "eligible medical expenses" during the 12-month period ending in 2015 (or any that you did not claim in 2014). Whoo! Whoo!

The info is all pretty well straight forward, and you might even come across a medical expense that you didn't realise you could claim (I saw a few that I didn't know about).  Click on the following link  to find out more -

And if you've not applied for  the Disability Tax Credit (I've written about it at in the past) - then it's time to get cracking!  When I applied for it, I was granted a total of 15 years.  You can find more information about how to proceed with filling out the form through the great website run by Barb Wagstaff at Diabetes Advocacy.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The pros/cons of diabetes costs in Ontario

I am fast learning 6 months after my move from Quebec, that though we may pay less in provincial taxes, some costs are higher.  Though the one pro so far here in the small town I live in … when I go to walk in clinic (wait time is far less than in Quebec but for surgical procedures about the same according to 2014 statistics).  This is where things excel, along with referral to a doctor being quick when going to the clinic here in my town.  So I guess it all depends on what is more important to the individual.  For myself though at the moment, seeing my salary and eventually savings when I retire go towards funding the pharmaceutical companies due to my type 1 diabetes, is getting me abit down.  Luckily, my Dad taught me early on in age, whatever I was making, even at $7/ – to save for a rainy day - though I don't know if he meant it to be used on medical expenditures).
I’m finding that prescription costs in the small town I live in are much higher than  in Quebec.  Most of my prescriptions costs are up by $10-$20 more, along with a prescription fee being tacked onto that price as well.  It doesn’t help, living in a smaller town, as my pharmacist explained when I switched the brand of pen needle I use to one that is $25 less.  It’s all about how much they, the pharmacy buys for their clients to use, that controls the prices we pay due to volume.   It’s like really?  So, maybe moving my prescriptions to a bigger city (making a trip every 3 months) – is the way to go while I still have wheels. 

So, some of my little tricks I’m learning in order to feel like I have some sort of control as to how much the big pharmaceutical companies/pharmacy makes from me is to shell out for 3 months supplies of my prescriptions here in Ontario.  This makes the prescription fee less expensive (ohhh and I earn more travel rewards faster on my credit card BUT just have to pay it off in time before I get hit with interest).  Prescription fees in the town I live in can range from $8.41 up to $20.  The reason for the variance floors me to no end and sadly to make the drive to Ottawa, where Costco only charges $4 (remember – you do not need to be a member there to use the prescription service).  I did try to see if the current pharmacy I go to could match Costco’s … but nope … not possible.

Now, if I wasn’t making enough, then it would be a different case with being on the Trillium prescription plan here in Ontario.   I’ve been working on/off over the past 40 years, so I’ll never qualify unless I declare bankruptcy or some other way.  So there’s no win win situation – as one retired person put it to me– if they had to pay out what I do for my diabetes health – they’d not be able to go on their holidays.  That sort of hit me hard with that remark, and even worse was being told that having the insulin pump and CGM would be something they wouldn’t have in order to still do what they want to do.  Yuppers, I can see some of you stunned at that too.  If only they knew what these devices we now have to keep us well controlled can do to make our lives more productive (hey – we’re paying taxes to help pay for their pensions, etc.).  Now, if they’re reading this, maybe my they’ll rethink their comment.

The magic age of 65 is still abit of a ways away, but the main earner of the family after 35 years of working is giving the heave hoe to his work place, since if he stays on, he'll still be paying into a pension fund that won't mean he gets more if he leaves later.   So, while we both have good health, hoping to take advantage of some time off before we are sitting in our rocking chairs watching reruns.  I'm also  hopefully still alive and kicking to take advantage of the services my parents boast about.  

Yes, I’m freaked out about getting old (I can live with the aching knee joints and taking naps in the afternoon sun on the porch) – it’s all about the cost of staying healthy with my diabetes and trying to enjoy the golden years!  Anxiety over this is something I have to keep on pushing away and telling it to F-off!!  

The other option is to move to another province to get more bang for our bucks ( New Brunswick has been calling me for a few years and we are going there in June to check it out - compare it's medical coverage - cost of living in that part of the east coast of Canada ).  

NB:  If you’ve never applied for the Disability Tax Credit that I’d written about in the forums at … then check out how to go about it, along with other tips on how to save at the Diabetes Advocacy website link that you will find here