Strawberry Chicken Salad…yummy!!

image

It is important to maintain portion control. You can add more chicken or cheese to this salad if you need more calories than what this provides. This salad is also good with beef or turkey. A very tasty salad/meal.

Strawberry Chicken Salad

75 grams fresh spinach
125 grams strawberries
50 grams blueberries
15 grams red onion
150 grams chicken breast
3 Tablespoons sugar-free balsamic vinaigrette

Calories 272
Fat 3 grams
Carbs 23 grams
Protein 38 grams
Fiber 6
Sugars 12
Sodium 277

Once chicken is cooked, shred it and layer salad, pour on the dressing and enjoy!

Advertisements

Keep calm and manage yourself.

The length of this posting is a bit longer than usual. Just wanted to make sure you were prepared!

image

There is quite a bit of angst in the blogs I have read about T1D. All of it is justified, but I think sometimes it can become a store house for fear. There is, in my opinion, a very fine line between education and fear. I think most diabetics struggle with the fears of the unkown, if you didn’t fear the unkown you would not be human. There are bad and terrible things that happen to people everyday, just look in the news, it is not surprising, to me, that bad things happen to T1D’s young and old, although it is no less tragic. I have learned to try to tune out the noise of fear so I can concentrate on the management of my disease.

First, I have to remain calm so I respond to what is going on, or not going on, within my body. If I am fearful, I will react and do something rash that will hurt me in the long run. It took several years for me to be able to find the right tools that work best for me in my management of this disease. I started with injections and two slower acting insulins, Humulin and Novolin, I had to inject myself and wait 30 minutes before I could eat. It was a bit frustrating for my family because I dictated when we could or could not eat. And since I was on a schedule for insulin injections, I had to eat at nearly the same time each day.  Then came another tool, faster acting insulin, Humalog and Novalog. It took a bit to adjust because I had trained myself to wait 30 minutes before I could eat, now I could eat at the same time of my injections. Then another tool presented itself, an insulin pump, and for me it was the best fit because I now had the stability of continuous flow of insulin like my body used to do and I had greater flexibility in when I could eat and what I could eat.

However, these tools still did not and have not corrected the basic structure of my life, what I put in my mouth to eat. The most difficult thing for me was to restructure how I ate. All the wonderful tools I had in my possession did little to manage my disease. I had to look at food differently. The hardest part of eating anything is knowing what is in it and how it potentially reacts to your system. Processed foods are high in fat and sodium and are difficult on my blood sugars. Fried foods, packaged foods, canned foods…etc all were easy to prepare and convenient for my life schedule but were rough on my blood sugars and  the containment of them. Thus raising my fear and stress, which further raised my blood sugars, which wrecked my mind and emotions. Through trial and adjustments I discovered my body works best when I feed it smaller portions more frequently. A typical day is breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, mid-afternoon snack, and dinner. Breakfast and dinner are my largest meals for obvious reasons. I also wanted and still want to be aware of my weight management, so I use a calorie counter app for my phone and keep track of my calories. I try to stay in the 2000-2100 daily calorie range to maintain my weight and even lose a few. I know this sounds like a real pain to do daily, it can be. But I feel this is necessary for the stability of my blood sugars and more importantly the stability of my emotions and mental health, which I think is more important for me. I mean, anyone can manage blood sugars, but the real test is am I able to manage blood sugars and be happy, healthy, and calm?

I do not believe any one thing will be appropriate for all, but in all the blogs I read about T1D’s there is little mention about alternative eating. I read about MacDonalds, Burger King and the like, which everyone should enjoy once in a while but these high fat, high carb meals might be what destroys management of this disease and may be an indirect cause to the fear and emotional upheaval that comes with diabetes (or diabetus depending on where you live!! ;)).

I love to eat. I love greasy, fatty, high carb meals! My mouth waters as I write about this now, but I have to do what is best for me in the long run. If I want a pizza, I have to use flatouts by flatout bread instead of pizza crust…is it the same? Absolutely not, but it is easy on my blood sugars. If I want spaghetti, I use spaghetti squash, is it the same? Nope. If I want ice cream, I have to use alternatives that are not like the original. Occasionally, I will have the real stuff, like today, I wanted a cream cheese and apple stuffed Kolachy roll, so I got one….It. was. glorious.  I know I will pay a price for the sugar and carb rush, somedays are worth it…but it has to be once in a while, not once a day.

About the picture of the bars. These are some of the protein bars I have found work really well for sustained hunger management and blood sugar control. They taste good, not like chaulk, have decent consistencies,  and I enjoy them. Check them out at Questnutrition.com. Keep fighting the good fight fellow warriors!

Things I’ve learned about myself the past 20 years…

Uh oh, here it comes, the ‘timeless’ wisdom of yet another diabetics’ past failings laid bare. I mean, seriously, who needs another confession, after all this isn’t church right? However, there seems to be some major angst when it comes to regulating blood sugars on many of the posts I have read. My heart goes out to all that struggle with regulating either their own blood sugars or those little ones who are most vulnerable. It compels me to share a few things I have discovered over the past 19 years of running the numbers every single day!

First: There are going to be days I am unable to control my sugars. Seriously, this was one of the hardest truths I had to wrap my brain around the first decade of managing T1D. There are going to be days, yes I said days, where I do everything right, I count every carb….correctly, I give the correct amount of insulin dosage, I eat the right foods…all of you know what I am talking about, and my blood sugars register anywhere from 250 (13.9) to 400 (22.2). It is terribly frustrating and worrisome and I have to not flog myself for not doing things right. Often times I do everything right, but my body just doesn’t cooperate. The thing I had to learn was to continue to do the right things and treat the readings consistently. What I found out was if I panicked and over treated my high sugar readings during these few days, I was on a blood sugar roller coaster that caused even greater problems and side effects. I learned to stay the course and my sugars would, eventually, settle down.

Second: I learned that temporary high blood sugars do not mean, automatically, ketone production. This was a hard thing for me to learn. I was scared, initially, with how my sugars would fluctuate wildly, thinking I was damaging my kidneys in the process. However, after 19 years, I have no signs of kidney damage or neuropathy at all. My creatinine is in the normal range and even though I had high readings, my over all Ha1c’s have been consistently in the low 7’s over the past 19 years. And I have managed to stay out of the hospital’s emergency room since December 4, 1996…when I was initially diagnosed.

Lastly: I had to learn that I am in a super marathon, not a 100 meter dash. I learned, for me, there will be times I hit a wall, much like a marathon runner, but I have to push through it. Recognize we train for the hard times by consistently managing our blood sugars during the good times.  I am a survivor, just because I have had to manage a disease most people in the world have no clue about. I believe all of us who have T1D are survivors and have to learn to be mentally and emotionally tough. I have to place a disclaimer here, I have not had to watch my child go through this terrible disease, it is much different when it comes managing a child’s disease. I am just sharing what I have learned about my disease and my experiences.

I have to control what I can control and manage what I am unable to control. What I am learning as I continue to age…I mean mature, is I really do not control very much in my life. I have to continue to relax and not exascerbate the disease any more than it is already exascerbated…fight on my friends!

Some other thoughts…

After hearing that I was selected as one of the participants of phase 2 clinical trials, I spent the entire day yesterday (6 hours) riding horse at Zumbro Bottoms horse camp with hundreds of miles of trails up in the hills and along a river valley…absolutely beautiful. I have included some pictures to give you an idea how amazing the riding was.

As I was riding Izzy, I began to think about the new possibilities participating in this trial has opened in my mind. One of the thoughts was, I just might be cured of this disease. My mind stuck on this possibility and out of this came some other thoughts; what is ‘being cured’ going to look like? Over the past two decades I have had Diabetes direct every aspect of my life. Everything had to be planned around this disease no matter what I did. For example, yesterday I had to plan for every contingency regarding my disease before I was able to ride. Do I have enough food? How do I keep my meter cool enough to take my blood sugar readings? What happens if my tubing from my insulin pump gets torn out by a tree branch? What happens if my pump fails, what other methods of insulin delivery can I use? What happens if I get sick and need to get to a doctor? Some of the areas I rode in were only accessible by horse and helicopter. I had to think through and plan every possibility before I left camp for the trails.

Then, as I was riding, my thoughts turned to some not so comforting thoughts about being ‘cured’. I am totally excited about the possibility, but the psychological piece of this question, can I return to a new normal, is working on my brain. I have dreamed of being cured of this disease since I first entered the emergency room back in 1996, the transition from non-insulin dependency to taking 4-6 shots a day (before my pump days) was overwhelming, emotionally, to me. Plus I would faint at the sight of a needle. The nurse who took care of me during my intensive care assured me, one day, this would be as normal to me as breathing. She was absolutely right, at the time I thought she was a nut case!!! Now I face the same paradigm shift if I am cured. How am I ever going to trust that my body will not fail me again? This question is emotionally overwhelming for me. How can I make the transition back to ‘normal’ now that I have adjusted what normal is? How do I not worry about my blood sugars spiking or bottoming out? I have trained myself to live this way for a long time, to just switch it back seems alien to me.

So….what is normal? For me normal is planned spontinaeity, normal is checking my blood sugars often, every single day. Normal is preplanning everything that may or may not happen in a day. It is filling my pockets with glucose tabs, protein power bars, fruit, or other snacks for my daily activities. It would be unusual for me to not crackle or crunch from the wrappers of food in my pockets as I walked or rode or did whatever. Normal for me is riding the blood sugar roller coaster, being tired after the ride and hoping my a1c’s do not reveal a bigger potentially life threatening problem every 3 months. Normal is trying to find health insurance plans that will cover all my diabetic supplies which are thousands of dollars a year every year! Normal is my insulin pump connected to me 24/7, 365. Normal for me is sameness, now it may change, cue the intense music as my anxiety rises. Boy I am not completely ready for this!!!! I will be because it will become the new normal and after some major mental adjustments, will also become ordinary and everyday….but not today.

Some photos of my ride!
imageimage

imageimage
imageimageimageimageimage

image

It’s official!

It’s official, I’m in! Faustman Labs called today confirming what I already knew. I am officially selected in the phase 2 clinical trials for BCG injections. They will call me in one month to schedule the first round of injections, they will also schedule and pay for the flight and lodging to Boston. So excited, who else has heard officially?

There will be 150 others who are being selected as I write this blog entry.

A quick Faustman Lab update….

Below is an update from Faustman Labs about when the trials will begin. They have indicated they will start the injections in September or October. I am incredibly happy to hear from them. There has been a prolonged silence since initially being identified as a likely candidate for the trial. It made me doubt if I was going to be selected. Funny thing silence does to a mind when one is waiting for important and potentially life changing news. I will update again once I hear from them about the exact dates. Hope remains!!!

 

Larry,
Thank you for your continued interest and support! We will reach out to you within the next week or two since we are currently going through all potentially eligible participants and reviewing their medical records. We will most likely start first injection visits in September/October. Please let us know if you have any additional questions in the meantime.

Best,
Danielle

Danielle Baum
Faustman Immunobiology Lab
Clinical Research Coordinator
Massachusetts General Hospital
CNY, 149 13th Street, Rm 3603
Charlestown, MA 02129

There is always hope.

In light of the recent tragic news within the type 1 Diabetic community of the death of two very young children from complications of type 1 Diabetes, which was misdiagnosed, there is always hope. While it is hard to imagine, there is always hope. Hope that a cure will be found for this terrible disease. Hope there will be more educated people when all is said and done. The memory of these precious children hang on hope. As a grandfather the almost insurmountable pain has to be the deepest, darkest abyss imaginable. We all want to hug our children or grand children even tighter.

There is hope, however slight, that change will occur to the collective consciousness of the world concerning this disease. While it may not kill as many as cancer or other horrible diseases, the pain is still as unsufferable by the families who are put through this torture. But change is slow, I only need to look as far as the mirror to demonstrate how slowly change occurs. As a self-professed, self-indulgent American, the idea I am not able to take a pill to cure this disease tends to put me in the catagory of demotivated changer. (This is work are you kidding me?) When I was first faced with the reality of type 1 diabetes, nearly 20 years ago, I had to face the fact that I had to change. Change the way I eat, the way I act, the way I interact with others, the way I depend on help, and the way I think. As a typical American, prior to this disease I was fiercely independent and wanting to do things MY way and MY way only. This ‘virtue’ is embraced by the culture…heck pick yourself up by your own boot straps is every American’s mantra. I don’t need no stinkin’ help was an attitude that had to change. One must understand it took over 30 years to fix this dogma securely in my thinking; to make the changes necessary to accommodate my life to this new disease took some time. A.lot.of.time.

My natural response to change was ‘yeah right’ and I kept on doing what I wanted to do, to my added discomfort. Because I was unable to ask for help, I was alone when I first got home from the hospital after being diagnosed and woke up one morning nearly blind. I could not see anything. Apparently my eyes were so used to high blood sugar counts for so long they adjusted to the high numbers, once I began to control the numbers, my eyes had to adjust back. I went from 20/20 vision to 20/400 vision for about 4-6 weeks. The nurses and doctors failed to tell me this may be the case. I had to find a way to get to the eye doctor 2 miles away, by myself, not being able to see. It was then I realized things had to change. I was not able to cope with this disease alone. I was an emotional trainwreck, in a panic. I thought I could cope, I couldn’t. Human beings tend to resist change, the older you are the less likely significant change will occur…even if change is thrust upon you. How do I know this? I have lived it, sad to say.

I have been slow to change because I have not wanted to be uncomfortable or embarrassed by needing help from others, but I changed. I had been passive in asking questions directed to my doctor to ‘train’ him or her to my care plan, bodies responses and reactions to enviroments and illnesses, allowing them to dictate what I knew was not helping. But things have changed.  (Poor doctors now are grilled by me like a drill sergeant!!) It takes time for doctors to change too…but I am one persistent son of a gun and most are trainable!!

The hope remains, for the memories of these young children, we as a diabetic community must educate others to be the change. Yes it will take time, but we are the only ones who can lead the change…the ones who are in it. If we wait for someone else to do it for us, we will lose the battle.