Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Obvious isn't Always Obvious...

"Relinquishing My Mental Frustrations"
I have this crazy hobby, or maybe obsession.  

I read anything and everything related to nutrition.  I mean everything....Research, Diet Books, Blogs, you name I read it.

I read it with a pair of Diabetic Glasses on, looking for ways to improve my health(and others) I have written posts about food, and controversial topics like What's Up with the Food Guide and Pro Carb vs. Low Carb so one could say I am a little biased in my opinion.

I am now trying to figure out why so many in the medical profession (at least the ones I meet)tend to not agree with reducing the carbs.  So I started looking into what knowledge the General Practitioner gets regarding Nutrition. 

I asked a brand new, wet behind the ears Resident or Family Doc in Training how much education he received in the area of nutrition during his medical degree.  His response was, "Hardly Any" 

Hmmmmm. So I decided to pull a Medical Physiology Textbook written by Guyton from the shelf to have a look at what these doctors review in terms of Insulin Metabolism, and the storage of Macronutriants, like Carbohydrate, Protein, and fat.  Thinking, there must be a profound reason we are offering the general public a guideline to consume a diet that contains 65% carbohydrate. So I flip it to the pertinent section. And read the following:

In time, the insulin plays an important role in storing the excess energy substances.  In the case of excess carbohydrate, it causes these to be stored as glycogen mainly in the liver and muscles.  It causes fat storage in the adipose tissue.  Also, all the excess carbohydrate that cannot be stored as glycogen are converted under the stimulus of insulin into fats also stored in the adipose tissue

Okay, so they are taught in medical physiology that insulin is the main stimulus for fat storage. So I ask myself, what causes increased levels of insulin in the human body?

Excess Carbohydrate causes an increase in blood glucose, which in turn cause an increase in insulin which in turn gets stored as fat.  Apparently most of the world has missed this point.

Okay, I also read from the same text, now this is for those interested in how to up the fat burning engine in your body, which definitely includes me. 
All aspects of fat breakdown and use are greatly enhanced in the absence of insulin
Short quote. Now in the complete absence we'd be dead, so I guess what this Medical text is suggesting is that in cases of reduced insulin levels, we set our metabolism up to burn more fat then if we have higher levels.

So as I read this from a Medical Text Book on Physiology, that Doctors use to reference, I question how the hell we can in good conscious tell people to increase their insulin levels beyond capacity, when basic Insulin Metabolic Theory indicate the outcome of doing so?

What's my point?

Well, I guess I don't understand why the obvious isn't noted, and practiced. Perhaps it's the "Hardly Any" training some groups of health professionals receive in the area of nutrition. However, even the Professionals that are trained in the area of nutrition still encourage this high carbohydrate approach.

Who knows.


Textbook of Medical Physiology, Guyton, Arthur C.8th Edition, WB Saunders Company, 1991. pp. 858-859. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Marriage & Partnership with D-Kids

"My Love and Super Diabetes Manager"
A question was posed by a commenter asking about Parenting Diabetic Kids and Keeping the relationship strong. Which is a good question as I think we all struggle with Marriage when we have Kid(s). 

And, like my previous post, maintaining relations with kids is hard enough and takes planning, communication,  love and a strong friendship to endure. BUT, throw parenting kids with diabetes or any other time consuming, emotionally draining chronic disease (cerebral palsy, MD, for example) and it makes the maintenance that much more challenging.

And, you bet, some days, note the pleural, we(My wife and I) pass each other with minimal communication. So how do we stay strong, close, happy and yearning to hang out? 

-We always sit beside each other at the dinner table, forget the head of the table rule, this way we can try to talk to each other a little.
-We always go to bed at the same time, talk, read, cuddle, and sometimes, well, you know......
-In order for the above to work we have pretty strict bedtime rules, so we actually have an hour to our selves.
-We have very few friends.  Now this is by choice, since any spare time we conjure up, we jump at the chance to go out together.  This is crucial.

Diabetes Management etc:

-Well, we share.
-I tend to do the tweaks, insulin adjustment, regime changes and stuff. My wife used to do a lot of the testing.
But with 2 type 1 kids, we divide and conquer. In the mornings, I'll test and inject Rowan, while my wife gets the toddler dressed. 
-We have one golden rule in our house, if ones up working, then we all are up helping, we rest together, and play together.
-For evening care. I do more of the meal prep, and my wife tests and figures out doses, boluses, etc. I think she does more testing, as she understands that I am often testing myself as well, so the situation is a little unique.
-Now the night time stuff, in the beginning my wife did more, as she was able to rest during the day. But now, we share, as she is also working full time.
-Groceries, we now do together, and try to have fun doing the same, like sipping coffee while reading labels, dancing in the isles to the cheesy music, good times!
-Emergencies and doctors apt. Well depending on work, feeling, exhaustion levels, we decide on a whim. I tend to take em to the endo, since I am more comfortable driving into the city
-We also give each other a break, so we can have alone time, key to keeping sanity

I find the minute I become complacent, and say "all is good in our marriage", we argue or drift, so I try to keep the lines of communication flowing, and remind myself that it takes work, effort, planning, and a desire to connect to manage a marriage with kids, and diabetes.

AND yes, some days are certainly easier then others.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Hardest Job on The Planet is........

I read a post on the DOC that prompted me to write this.  Just want to say hang in there all of you fabulous parents who have been forced (no-one asked you) to take on the role of EXTERNAL PANCREAS.

PARENTING in my humble opinion is THE HARDEST job on the planet!!!

Now, before you say ya, whatever, what do you know, you're a man, please hear me out.  True.....I certainly haven't stayed home full time as long as my better half parenting our brew has. However, I stayed home for a year, with a New Baby a 2 and 4 yr old, while my wife did her teaching degree, and I worked nights on the week-end to pay for the rent, and oh, my diabetes supplies. AND----

 It was bar none, the HARDEST year of my life. This was all before any of our five offspring had Type 1 diabetes. Okay, what am I getting at, I am, in a man way,  trying to say,  I kinda, sorta had a glimpse of how tough and emotionaly exhausting parenting is at times, and this is with out throwing TYPE 1 DIABETES into the mix. 

My wife and I have lost more sleep in the last 41/2 years out of 13 years of parenting thanks to that STUPID disease destroying 2 of our kids Beta Cells.

I'm not sure when----.but hopefully with better technology, or ANYTHING to make diabetes safer and or less stressful, to aid us in our role as the crazy multi-testing, carbohydrate calculating, meal planning, nocturnal worrying substitute for a dysfuncional pancreas that our child and us have to put with, just maybe----Things in time will get a little easier. 

From one caring house full of Type 1's to another....I thank the DOC for sharing, as it is nice and unfortunate at the same time to know there are others who understand and are there for all to listen to.



Monday, July 25, 2011

She'll Get Used to It....

  A comment made to us by a nurse sticking an infusion set into our 2 year old Type 1's arm for her very first time 4 years ago.

The memory popped into my cranium on the way to work today.  I do believe because it was a terrible experience, and a statement we as Type 1 PWD hear likely more often then we'd like.

"So you must get used to taking needles, right?"

Well, not really. It simply isn't normal to stick a sharp object into your skin, it's kinda like trying to keep your eyes open when putting in contacts. You get better at it, but never really used to it.

I know for me, I still after 29 years hesitate prior to injecting, knowing I may hit that (1 in a 100) spot that hurts and burns like, well, like freaking hell!

SO in response to the Nurse whom I owe the title of this post, who by the way doesn't have diabetes; no she won't get used to it!!!

I think honesty is best, like saying; "It may sting a bit, and it may not" Which is a more appropriate comment to make prior to sticking a large bore set into a wee little arm. 

I know this "Needle" fear or in some people phobia, is a barrier to better control, and often a huge hesitating factor for Type 2's needing to start on insulin.

I tell em; "Look, it's going to hurt some times, but usually you won't feel a thing"  As I demo on myself using the 4 mm BD needle to ease their mind. Even then, they often refuse to start that day and ask to post-pone the inevitable for a "bit". 

When I ask about their feeling regarding injections, they conjure up stories about GIANT NEEDLES they had in the past usually at the dentist or from a past immunization. When I display the 4mm needle tip, they often say, "Wow that's tiny".

What is my point exactly, well..... if adults are reluctant and hesitant and admittedly afraid, then OUR children truly are the BRAVEST little people on the planet!!!



Friday, July 22, 2011

My Thoughts on Closing the Loop

"Closed Loop System"

When I have idle time at work I use it to review any and all information related to Diabetes. Yesterday I stumbled across a site called and was scrolling through the numerous summaries regarding new research, nutrition etc...

I reviewed the topic related to closing the loop, since a cure is too distant at the moment, perhaps the focus should be on designing a complex computer feedback system whereby a Continuous Glucose Sensor communicates with a microscopic mega computer that in turn uses fancy algorithms to communicate with the pump telling it what to do.  Sounds pretty cool, except for a couple of things...

My issue and the researchers mainly in Europe feel the challenge is how the computer program will account for things like, spontaneous activity, stress, and the human bodies biochemistry, aka "Diabetic Curve Balls" that get thrown our way on a daily diabetic basis. I have to say I can't see the system being too successful, just my humble opinion.

I know, I am a natural sceptic.

I think they need to focus on insulin analogues that respond to micro changes in blood glucose, like a non-diabetics where the minute the body senses a micro increase the beta cells send out the first responders. Now I am not a biochemist, nor really that smart, I get by, but this just seems logical   Don't know if its possible and I am sure they are working on it.

When I reflect on such things, I can't help to marvel at how truly amazing the human body is designed, how complex our inner workings really are.

What do you all think about this?



Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Things We Find

As some of you may know, I have a few Diabetes People in DA House.

And, any of you with kids, or even those who have been temporarily exposed to these tiny creatures, it is a known fact that possessions can,  and will mysteriously disappear in their company.

I have found my missing watch buried in the closet around dolly's neck. I have stumbled upon the TV remote underneath my toddlers pillow, and the list goes on, and on........

So the other night, I was looking for my daughters fancy glucometer, the Contour USB port one, to no avail.
So I decided to evoke my right as commander in chief to start Operation "FIND ALL THE DIABETES STUFF"  So it began.....

After about an hour of rummaging, cushion flipping, junk drawer emptying, doll house searches, we had a pile of supplies on our counter.

We had glucometers, Pens, Empty Pens, Needles, Needle TIPS, Empty and full test strips, Lancets,  and empty vials of insulin. Crazy the amount of stuff, I honestly didn't know we had.

As I was matching all the strips to meters to lancets to cases, I thought of the DOC, and how odd it is that this really is the norm for us folks.

Instead of finding the remote stuffed between a couch cushion, we find a meter, instead of finding a pen on the counter we find an insulin pen.

Bizarre how normal it becomes.



Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Where's the off-ramp from Life in the Fast Lane?

I need to tell you how I feel, not complain, but try to create clarity through expression, if you know what I mean. Sometimes getting it out, opens the cranial paths to solutions and ideas. So here goes.

Is it just me or does life get quicker as we age?  It seems that with each passing day, there are less and less hours, and each passing day seems blurrier then the last and before you know it,  you're staring at yourself in the mirror asking yourself;  "where the hell did that year go"   Too Fast I say!

I recently picked up a second job, so I work Monday to Friday and on the week-ends. Crazy but the cost of living is insane. I desperately want to minimize the unessential things in our life but feel trapped being the Father of a rather large number of Offspring who look to me to provide their every need. My wife also works full time.

Okay,  to put it bluntly, somethings gotta give.

I persistently argue with myself saying, "It's temporary" or "It is good to be busy" but This Life in The Fast Lane is going to take its toll eventually.

Take its toll on my diabetes and health that is.  I find it harder and harder to exercise. Meal planning is also more challenging. This winter resulted in the highest A1C I have had in many years. And I can't help to charge my busy life as the culprit and cause of my poor diabetes control.

Time is limited and I sooo need it to heal, manage, and improve my health.

Any PWD knows that stress makes diabetes harder to control, well, I guess that has been my issue.

Ideas to improve above dilemma:

-Cancel all unnecessary distractions, like the hundreds of channels through our cable provider.
-Focus on eating healthy - Already doing that
-Quit both jobs - kidding - Money is unfortunately as important as Oxygen at the moment.
-Baby steps - short work outs at lunch maybe - More playing at the park, even when tired, as it's good for me and the kids.
-And any other ideas the DOC wants to throw my way - thanks in advance!

On a positive note - Seen my Eye Doctor yesterday, and zero evidence of Retinal issues, eyes are good!

Well, just letting my thoughts channel through fingers - to keys - to screen in an attempt to find the off-ramp.



Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Too Fast - Too Complicated?!

"My Middle Kid and Chuck. Note No Technology"
Hello DOC and DOC stumblers, I wrote this over a month ago, and didn't post it. Better late then never I guess.  Oh, and it has absolutely nothing to do with Diabetes.

Today is what I would refer to as a free thought post.  Meaning no planned topic. Just what's on the Melon.

I have touched on the concept before of Making Things Too complicated.

Life being a Race, Hamster Stuck on a Wheel, type theme.

Cell Phones, Computers, iPads, TV, Video Games.  These are all great things in their own right, but at what expense. 

A few months ago, I was at the mall in a food court. At a nearby table sat a teen and his two parents. The father was talking to his son.  During this conversation the Boy never made eye contact, and continued to use his iPhone.  The crazy thing is, the father continued the conversation as if it were a normal thing. Now my wife and I commented afterwards how we would have taken the phone and had a serious discussion regarding proper communication.

I see people everywhere, driving, walking, in line ups, movies, you name it, they are on their gadgets, everywhere, all the time. Kids don't call each other anymore, they text or Facebook. To the point that doctors are seeing younger people with posture pain from looking down too much, crazy!

I can't help to ask, at what expense. Now before I proceed, I am not saying I don't agree with using technology, hell I use it all the time. I am just reflecting on what I observe and the potential social implications.

What I observe in the workplace for example is an increase in social avoidance and often more passive aggressive behavior. Professionally I rarely communicate directly anymore, its Voice Mail, Email, Text, and if that fails, Phone. Which is never really a good thing. People misinterpret  written emails the wrong way, because unlike verbal interaction there is no instant feedback loop and zero body language which is 70-80% of all communication. I find it cowardly to email an issue when you are in the same building, and was a little shocked at how often this happens. I feel people are getting worse in some cases at communicating as a result of all the other non-face-to-face options. Just my opinion of course.

I know this is a huge topic, that entails, email and FB bullying, online dating, gambling, and car accidents related to cell phone use. I am more concerned about one thing.

It is said that technology increases connectivity, but I also see it actually increasing social disconnectivity(I know it's not a word)

Instead of shutting off the TV, Cell, Computer, Video game, and going out to socialize, we are spending more and more time having our minds sucked into the technological realm and distracted from real life.

I guess this whole post stems from my more frequent walks and bike rides over lunch instead of spending it at my desk in front of my computer.

There is really something to be said when you hear a person's voice, see their expression, here their laughter.

I am once again not discouraging use of computers, or cells, but think we need to be aware of the social, physical and emotional ramifications of letting them overtake our every waking moment.

Sorry for the deep post. Not really diabetes related. Just stuff on the ole Melon.