Thursday, June 27, 2013

Forty-Five Plus Forty-Five Equals Two Out Of Three

I ran 35 minutes on Tuesday. 

I ran 40 minutes on Thursday. 

My foot is feeling great and my running energy is slowly coming back. 

Saturday we have a triathlon training plan. 

See, here's the thing. I am building my running fitness which is great, and important, but there is no way I'm going to be running 2+ hours in two weeks.

Which is fine because I don't need to. I'm not running a half-marathon after all. 

But I do need to be able to sustain a pretty high level of activity for 2+ hours in just over two weeks. 

So we have a plan for Saturday. 

We're going to head out for a brisk 45-minutes bike ride. It will start and end in our driveway. 

When we're done, we will hop off our bikes, pull on our running shoes, check my sugar, and head out for a 45-minute run. 

An hour and a half of sustained activity, a brick training workout and some much needed confidence building all in one.

Followed by a chocolate milk, stretching session on the deck and a tasty lunch I'm sure. 

And perhaps an afternoon nap...

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Cost of Living

My quarterly cheque arrived on Monday for insulin pump supplies. Happily, the infusion sets that Animas gave me to try lasted just long enough for me to wait for the cheque before placing my first big order. The charge goes on my credit card and, thanks to my quarterly cheque, immediately goes off my credit card. Which is exactly the way I like it.

I studied the Animas order form. I needed three things: 
1. a battery cover (I'm supposed to change it every three months since I swim so much. My plan is to order one every time I order supplies which should work out to every three months). 
2. cartridges (those little plastic vial thingies that hold the insulin)
3. infusion sets (the tubing and the part that gets inserted into me so that the insulin can enter my body. I didn't word that very well but you know what I mean right?)

On my new pump I'm changing my infusion set every 4 to 5 days. A box of 10 infusion sets costs $195.00. 

If I change every 5 days,one box will last 50 days and two boxes will last 100 days or just over three months (when I get my next cheque). 

If I change every 4 days, one box will last 40 days and two boxes will last 80 days. Not three months. 

Two boxes of cartridges, two boxes of infusion sets and one battery cover = $540.92

Two boxes of cartridges, three boxes of infusion sets and one battery cover = $735.92

My quarterly cheque is $600.00

So I decided to order two boxes and see how far I can stretch them. If I run out, I'll place my next order early. If not, then perfect. And heck, the thought of running out early is enough to make me second guess a chocolate bar or extra helping of pasta which probably doesn't hurt either.  

So in two minutes I just spent $540.92 for three months of pump supplies. And that doesn't even include insulin or test strips. 

Or the calcium I take now. Nor the vitamin D I take with it. Or the cholesterol meds I'm on. 

Diabetes is a lot of things. 

Some good, some bad. 

Always expensive.

(psst! Jeff. Hey, Scott! - I decided to order the infusion sets with the harpoon launcher. You've convinced me to give them another go.)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Olympic Realities

Now that the Welland triathlon is behind me, I need to focus very intently on the Gravenhurst Olympic tri which is in less than three weeks.

When I signed up, back in January, I was right in the middle of half-marathon training and running well. I was swimming three times a week and swimming well. And I figured I could work on my cycling as it got closer. I also figured I would be running the Women's half marathon in June so I would have worked up to being able to sustain 2 1/2 hours of constant movement.

Now we're down to three weeks. I'm a strong swimmer and don't have many worries about the swim. I am much stronger on the bike and I figure that will be ok too.

I'm worried about the run.

Partly because I am not at my peak running form and 10k is 10k.

And partly because I won't have time to work in many (if any) long workouts. So doing a 3-hour event is also way out of my comfort zone.

Last summer's triathlons happened while I training for spring and fall half-marathons. So a 2+hour racing event actually felt like a break after all the 2+hour runs I had been churning out. At least I got to switch activities to give my body a break.

Now I can swim for 1 1/2 hours. I can cycle for 1 1/2 hours. I can run for 35ish minutes. But I certainly don't feel ready to do them one after another...without a day off in between. I think I can do it...but I don't think I can do it well. And I think that it's the run at the end that will suffer for it.

Which makes me kinda sad, a little scared, and makes me look back at last summer's running fitness with longing.

It is what it is and it will be what it will be. I'm spending the next few weeks doing what I can to build up and then taper down. I'm planning to participate in a 1.9k swim race on July 5th. I'll squeeze in a few longer bike/run combination workouts. I'll take very good care of my foot.

And I'll cross my fingers.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Welland Sprint Triathlon 2013

Well folks, the first triathlon of 2013 is complete....and I have the marks to prove it.

If you run out of sunscreen, black marker is apparently a very effective alternative

The event was harder and easier than I expected it to be...and my basal profile experiment proved to be more effective and less effective than I hoped it would be.

Let's start at the beginning shall we?

I was up and making breakfast by 5:45am. We ate, dressed, loaded the car, and headed to Welland, arriving just after 7am for an 8:30am start. We racked our bikes, got our numbers, organized our transition zones and headed down to the water for 7:45am.

I had figured out the perfect spot for my pump. Tucked safely out of the way, no tubing dangling anywhere and no chance of it falling off into the murky abyss that is the Welland Canal. 

Here it is, in case you didn't spot it in the first photo. 

I hopped in for a pre-race swim. The water, like last weekend, was brisk but not uncomfortable...for me anyway. By the start of the race, I counted three (myself included) people who were not swimming in wetsuits. The other 276 folks were all stuffed into their rubber suits, looking rather uncomfortable. 

Pre-practice swim

My post-practice honk.

Twenty minutes before the race, my blood sugar was 7.4. That number is pretty perfect but I was a little worried that my basal profile wouldn't work so I had a box of raisins before the start - in addition to the GU that I had planned to have. 

The swim is a staggered start which means that one swimmer heads off every 5 seconds. I was number 132 ( as you might have noticed in the first photo) so it took a while before my turn came up. When it did, I pushed off and headed out for my favourite part of the event. The swim went very well. I settled into a nice rhythm and passed a bunch of swimmers. Only two passed me! 

Out of the water I came and I had to run 400m on asphalt. Barefoot. I took it gingerly but still ended up with pretty sore feet by the time I hobbled to my bike. I transitioned as quickly as I could and headed off for 30km of riding. The bike went surprisingly well. I held a 30km/hour pace for most of it, only slowing down in the headwind. It was getting hotter and more humid by the minute so I forced myself to drink my entire bottle of water. 

Off the bike and back into transition. My blood sugar check showed 8.9 which was pretty sweet after starting the race an hour and a half earlier at 7.4 It had barely moved. It also meant that I was too high for my second GU gel so I headed off with it in my pocket...just in case. 

The run was...tough. 

I was tired and it was really hot and really humid. I had planned to run 9 minutes and walk 1 to protect my foot. I did that for the first 9 minutes but, once I stopped, I found it really hard to run again. I ran five minutes, then walked two. Then I ran four minutes, then walked again. My foot didn't hurt at all during the entire 7.5k but I felt like a brand new runner, not someone who has been running for years. I didn't have the physical running fitness (or the mental running fitness) I needed to push myself to just keep running. I made it back to the finish doing a pretty pathetic walk/run routine and I was pretty tired by the end. 


My finishing BG was 10.2. 

Here are the lessons from the day. 

My blood sugar was fairly steady throughout the event which means that I did a pretty good job with the basal rates. I think the fact that I was a little higher than I wanted at the end was a combination of the pre-race raisins and the fact that it was really really hot and I was more dehydrated than I should have been by the end. 

As for the race itself, let's compare it to the Guelph Lake triathlon of last September when I was in fine running form.

Welland triathlon 2013
750m swim 14:30 (pace 1:56/100m)
30k bike 1:03:17 (pace 28:40 km/hour)
7.5k run 55:33 (pace 7:25 min/k)
transition 1 2:30
transition 2 2:39
Total time: 2:20:45

Guelph Lake 2012
750m swim 16:44 (pace 2:14/100m)
30k bike 1:10:46 (pace 25:40 km/hour)
7.0k run  47:27 (pace 6:47min/k)
transition 1 3:01
transition 2 2:53
Total time 2:20:48

I am a much faster swimmer and much stronger cyclist than I was last year. 

I am getting faster at the transitions zones (although there is still lots of room for improvement there). 

My running fitness definitely declined from where it was last year. 

And my finishing time didn't move an inch. 


Friday, June 21, 2013

My Week in Bullet Points

My week in bullet points.

  • the receptionist at my doctor's office called to say that the results of my bone density scan came in. She said that my doctor wanted me to take 1000mg of vitamin D and 500mg of calcium every day. "What were the results?" I asked (not knowing if there was a bone density number we're supposed to strive for and how far off the target I was). "She just said that you should start taking vitamin D and calcium" was the response. Fine, I'll assume I'm not in the final stages of osteoporosis and I'll ask for more details at my next appointment. 
  • I ran 25 minutes on last weekend and 30 minutes on Tuesday. My foot was a little achy (but no pain I swear!) after Tuesday's run. I had a massage on Wednesday and it felt much better. Neither my massage therapist nor I have any idea why my foot would ache after some runs but not others. Why there is no pain ever but an ache. Keep running unless it gets worse was the message I was given. I took Thursday off as a precaution and will see how things feel on race day. Oh dear, that's tomorrow! 
  • I set up my race day basal profile on my pump.  A calculator was involved because I had worked out my profile based on percentages of my current profile and then realized I needed to figure out what the units/hour actually were. I relied on a calculator to make sure I didn't screw up and end up really messing up my race day. My math teachers would be so disappointed in me but my diabetes education team would be proud of my careful planning. 
  • I went to the driving range twice. The first time because I hadn't been in two weeks and really wanted to practice. The second time because I was so bad the first time and needed to try to redeem myself. I didn't. Apparently, golf, like any other sport, requires more than twice a month practice sessions in order to improve. 
  • I changed the battery on my Animas pump for the first time. Let me tell you, Animas may come first when it comes to being super waterproof but the battery-changing process leaves something to be desired. It took me over five minutes to change the battery and work through all the safety checks (like rewind the pump, reload the cartridge, re-prime the pump). I understand these are all useful safety features but I'm no longer going to be able to change my battery on the fly (like in the middle of a half marathon or while driving on the highway). This is going to take some pre-planning. 
  • I didn't wash my hair yesterday. Because I swim, run or bike every morning, I need to wash my hair every day whether I want to or not. Since I skipped my run, I simply tied my hair back, took a quick shower and went to work. It felt very weird but I sure liked all the free time I had in the morning. 
  • I think I'm more susceptible to suggestions than I want to be. I wrote a blog earlier this week about hating the harpooning devices for infusion sites. Scott and Jeff both wrote to say that they love them (in fact I believe Scott used the word "addicted"). I immediately decided that maybe I could love them too if I just tried a little harder. I'm even considering ordering a box of them so that I get more time to learn to love them. Boys, you are a very bad influence on me. If I become addicted like Scott to spring-loaded insertions, it's on your heads. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Sprint Triathlon Basal Profile - Draft

Alright folks, I've worked out a rough draft for my race day basal profile. I have never tackled a race day like this before and I'm excited to see how it works out.

First, the logic behind the numbers.

1. I want to eat breakfast 3 hours before the race so that most of the bolus insulin is out of my system by race time.

2. I want to be able to have a GU gel (20 carbs) without bolusing before the swim and again before the run.

3. I want to avoid lows at all cost but I also want to avoid the highs I was plagued with during each triathlon last summer.

I am planning to create a race day basal profile that I will start on race day and my basal rates will change at preset times so I don't have to remember to do it myself in the heat of the moment.

Here is the race day timeline based on estimated finish times of the swim, bike and run:

5:30am breakfast
8:30am swim start (have a GU right before the swim)
9:00am bike start
10:15am run start (have second GU in transition zone before the run)
11:00am race finished

Here's the proposed basal profile and rationale

7:00am 60% basal rate - to prevent lows during the swim and the bike
8:30am - have a GU gel immediately before the start of the swim
8:45am 120% basal rate (to counteract the GU and the high that I would most likely have after the short swim)
9:00am 60% basal rate (to prepare for the run)
10:15am second GU gel
10:45am 120% basal rate - to prevent the post-race spike in blood sugar and to help deal with the GU
11:30am 50% basal rate - to prevent the lows I have in the hours after the race
2:30pm 100% basal rate - return to my regular basal profile

I may tweak this a bit more before race day. I want to factor in the delicious chocolate milk that they serve at the finish line but I'm not sure if I should adjust my basal rate in anticipation or just bolus for it.

I have no idea if this plan will make for a perfect BG race or make for three hours of this guy:

Meet the crazy diabetes rabbit

The only way to know is to try it. I promise that I'll check my blood sugar before, during and after. I promise that I'll carry plenty of emergency carbs with me and I won't have the GUs if I'm high. 

And I promise to keep you all posted on how it went so we can all continue to learn from each other. 

Warning: your diabetes may vary and I am not a doctor. Play with your basal profiles at your own risk. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Hating the Harpoon

I don't like those self-inserting little devices.

At all.

I remember the first time I learned how to insert the Medtronic continuous glucose thingie. It felt like a harpoon. Once I did it once and knew what to expect, the subsequent times were worse. I would stand there holding the insertion device against my skin and try to talk myself into pressing the button. I would count down, close my eyes and squeeze.

Typically I didn't squeeze hard enough which meant that nothing happened.

Except that I would be drenched in sweat, freaked out AND angry that I didn't press hard enough.

I much prefer the do it yourself slow insert of any sharp object. And yes, I realize how horrible that last sentence might sound but it makes perfect sense to a diabetes person.

I have mastered changing my infusion site and have learned that, if there is any pain when I first touch the needle against my skin, I need to try another spot. I've pushed through the pain before only to discover that the pain wasn't going anywhere and the site hurt for the next 5 days.

So I hunt down non-sensitive areas and use those. By hunt down I mean that I keep gently pressing the tip of the needle against my skin until I find a spot that doesn't hurt. Sometimes it takes on try. Sometimes a handful. But it's worth it. Once I find a painless spot, it rarely hurts when the needle goes in and rarely hurts during the 4-5 days before the next site change.

The problem, of course, is that sensitive spots move around a lot so the place that worked last week won't work this week.

When I first got my Animas pump, the nice trainer lady left me with several samples of three different types of infusion sites. Some went in at a 90 degree angle. Some at a 45. Some had a small adhesive area. Some had a larger one. Two of the three types came with those handy-dandy self-insertion devices that remind me so much of harpoons.

Being the cost-saving person that I am, I committed to using every single free sample before placing my order. Plus, I figured it would force me to get used to the harpoons. Who knows, perhaps I'd like them more than I thought I would?

Nope.

I've gone through 5 harpooning devices now and disliked all five experiences. I hate pressing it against my skin and having to make myself push the button to jab the needle down. And yes, I realize that I do just that 10-15 times a day when I check my blood sugar. I just really don't enjoy committing to a site for four days without knowing if it's going to hurt when the needle goes in.

I have a few more left and then I'm placing my first Animas order. And I will be buying the sites that I put in by hand. Slowly, carefully and, almost always, painlessly.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Bloody Hell it's Cold in Here!

Monday night after work, we headed out for our first open-water swim.

We are down to mere days before the Welland triathlon and I really wanted to get in to open water to make sure I still knew what to do and how to do it.

I had delayed as long as possible in the hopes that the water would warm up but it just hasn't been hot and sunny enough this year to make much of a difference.

We got there and walked to the edge of the dock. A guy was standing there with his wetsuit.

"How's the water?" I asked.

"Much nicer now" he replied.

"Nice enough to swim without a wetsuit?" I asked.

"Not that nice" he said with a shudder.

Great.

I sat on the edge of the dock and dangled one foot in. Yikes! Not a good idea.

I stood back up again. This was not the kind of water temperature that one should ease themselves into. It was the kind that you had to commit 100% and dive in. So I did.

And my last thought before hitting the water was: I wonder if it's too cold for my pump?

My first thought once I hit the water was: bloody hell, it's too cold for me!

I popped up, swore, and started swimming. My breath was gaspy as my lungs shivered so I switched to the breast stroke until things calmed down. Within a minute, I was fine. Within two, I decided that the water temperate was just fine, thank you very much, and I swam a few hundred practice metres.

I practiced breathing, I practiced sighting. In no time I remembered how very much I love open water swimming.

On the way back I passed four swimmers heading out. They were all in their wetsuits.

No thanks.

I love the freedom of a bathing suit and the refreshing feel of the water.

Saturday, here I come!

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Great Swim Workout For You

I haven't talked about our early-morning swim workouts in a while.

Friday's whiteboard had us doing some pretty tough swimming. For anyone interested in poaching swim workouts, this is a great one.

The workout was split into two very separate sections. The first was about playing with our rest time. The second was all about brute force.

We warmed up with:
300m swim
200m kick

Then we did:
12x50m on 1:00 minute
I was able to pull off 43-46 seconds per 50m which gave me 14-17 seconds of rest between each one.

When we finished that, we discovered this written on the whiteboard.

4x50m on 0:55
4x50m on 0:50
4x50m on 1:00
2x100m on 2:00
3x50m on 0:55
3x50m on 0:50
2x50m on 1:00
2x100m on 2:00

"I'm playing with your rest time" said Christine.

No kidding.

"Do we rest between each time change?" I asked.

"No, once you start there is no extra rest until you're done."

We looked at each other in fear. We took a few extra swigs from our bottles and set off, not sure if we would be able to keep up the pace. I had two others in my lane. The first started, the second went five seconds later and I went five seconds after that. I did the first 4x50m in about 0:48 (each) so I had 5-7 seconds rest in between. The next four were about the same but, since we had to do them on 0:50, that meant that the first swimmer had already left and the second was pushing off when I touched the wall. Essentially, we didn't stop at all. We just kept swimming.

By the time we were nearing the end of the workout, we were all slowing down and doing 50m on about 0:52 seconds. We weren't even meeting the times.

But it was a really good workout that kept us swimming for 1400m at a really good clip.

We collapsed at the side of the pool at the end, grabbing at our drinks and looking wild-eyed with exhaustion.

This was written on the whiteboard:

10x50m kick on 1:15
swim 100m
10x50m kick on 1:15
swim 100m
cool down

That's a kilometre of kicking. Ouch.

I was the strongest kicker in our lane so I got to lead the troops. I finished the first one in 0:58 which was pretty crazy and a pace that I couldn't sustain. The other nine hovered between 1:02 and 1:04.

The 100m swim was pretty slow as I dragged myself through the water without moving my legs.

Christine decided to switch up the last 10x50m. "I want you to be back at the wall in 1 minute so I'll let you do them on 1:20 so you have lots of rest between each one. And I'll let you kick 5x50m, swim 100m and then kick 5x50m again. You ok with that?"

Yep.

I did them all between 1:00 and 1:02.

By the time we were done, my arms were shaky. My legs were shaky. I was exhausted and yet surprisingly full of energy at the same time.

My blood sugar? It was 4.8 before. I had about 8 raisins before I left the house. It was 4.8 when I finished.

Have I mentioned that I love my waterproof pump?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Updated Triathlon Plans

Call me crazy but I just signed up for the Welland sprint triathlon.

The one that is eight days from now.

The one that involves me running 7.5 kilometres after swimming 750m and cycling 30k.

I know. I know. I said that I was going to just do the swim/bike but, the closer it got, the more the little voice in my head told me to do the full triathlon.

I'm already running 20 minutes straight (or 3.20k according to my Garmin). If all goes well I'll be up to 35 minutes by next Thursday and I figure it's only about ten more minutes of running for me to do 7.5k.  So it's a little bit outside of my injury recovery comfort zone but not terribly so.

I've decided to play it safe and do a walk/run combo on race day to give my feet a rest. So I think I'll go back to the run 9 minutes walk 1 minute routine that I was doing last week. It won't be my fastest time but at least I'll get to do a full triathlon and put my mind at ease about the Olympic tri that is looming on the calendar.

I'm also a little worried about the swim. Not because of the distance or the course but because of the water temperature. We've had some sun here in Niagara but not enough to warm up the water. Sunny days have been interspersed with plenty of cold, rainy ones and, the last I heard, the water temperature is 60 degrees.

That's pretty darn cold for a wetsuit-eschewing swimmer like myself. Too cold for any open-water practice swims yet. I'm hoping for a hot, sunny week to heat things up a bit. If not, I'll be shivering my way through the swim.

Seriously though folks, what I'm looking forward to the most is testing out my waterproof pump and working out a race day basal profile that will allow me to have a pre-race gel and a pre-run gel without sending my blood sugar soaring.

I'll let you know next week what my basal plan of attack is and will certainly let you know how it works out on race day.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Disability Tax Credit and a Glass of Red Wine

In October 2012 I applied for the Disability Tax Credit.

In December 2012 I received a letter from Canada Revenue Agency saying that they required more time to review my application.

In February 2013, I receive a letter saying that, after careful review, they determined that I was not eligible for the disability tax credit at this time.

I, of course, appealed.

I carefully reviewed the reasons they gave as to why I was not eligible and I explained each one.

I submitted my appeal.

I received a letter a few weeks later saying that they had received my appeal and that I could expect to be contact within a few months.

Yesterday, I received a letter.

The letter stated: "Having carefully reconsidered the determination with reference to the information and reasons set for in your objection, the Minister of National Revenue renders the following objection:

You objection is allowed and the determination is reversed. Canada Revenue Agency's records have been updated to show that you are eligible for the disability tax credit on a temporary basis from 2002 to 2016."

Yes, I did indeed do a happy dance when I read that.

My 2011 and 2010 tax returns will be automatically adjusted and they provided me with information for how to apply all the way back to 2002, the year I was diagnosed.

I am also now able to open a Registered Disability Savings Plan where the money I invest is matched, at least partially, by the government.

I don't know what happens in 2016, and how I reapply but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. In the meantime, I can invest a bit more money for the future, pay down some debt and breathe a little easier.

That, my friends, deserves a big glass of red wine!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Random Questions

Why is it that having music during a run doesn't bother me but having music at the pool does?

Why is it that having the radio on in the car is fine but having the any volume on my GPS is most definitely not?

Why is it that my ring fits on one finger in the morning, a different one in the afternoon, and then back to the first one again in the evening and overnight?

Why is it that I insist on washing out my coffee mug before I put more coffee into it but I'll drink out of my water bottle for two weeks before I put it in the dishwasher?

Why is it that I won't drink wine if the bottle isn't open, won't eat the nutella if the jar isn't open and won't nibble on crackers if the bag isn't open? I am an adult, it's our house, our wine, our nutella and our crackers. I can open them whenever I want to...yet I don't.

I will, however, open a new package of cheese, yogurt or nuts with no hesitation.

Why is it that nail polish stays on my toes for three weeks and my fingers for two days?

Why don't I care if the bowls are lined up straight in the cupboard or that my socks aren't super organized in my sock drawer but yet my running shirts are all folded and put away in piles based on sleeve length?

Why do I readily donate clothes that I no longer wear or that no longer fit and yet I hold on to running hats that are so old I can't wear them anymore and old purses that I know I will never use?

Why do I always dig my heels in every time the person I love suggests I try something when I know full well the suggestion makes sense and I'll end up doing it...and liking it...eventually. Can you say golf? Curling? iPads? Keurig? Duathlons? (By the way, I'm getting better at just saying yes even when I want to say no. It saves time that way since I'll end up saying yes eventually and being glad that I did.)

Why is it ok to read the papers on our iPads at breakfast but not ok to even glance at them during dinner?

Why do I happily sport my insulin pump on my belt or my bathing suit and feel proud when someone looks at it and yet am embarassed if someone notices that I wear compression socks under my pants?

Why do I have eternal patience for some tasks (like waiting for sweet potatoes to bake or ironing clothes) and why do I have to always cultivate patience with other tasks (like waiting for bread to toast or water to boil)?

Why am I horrified by scary movies and refuse to watch them and yet am fascinated with Dexter? And why is it ok for him to kill people? In fact I'm always glad when he rids the world of another bad guy...by stabbing them in the heart. Seriously?

Why do I love reading so much that I often only read one chapter at a time to drag the book out longer?

Why do I put hand cream on all the time to keep my hands feeling silky soft and yet refuse to wear gloves when digging in the garden, painting or tying back rose bushes?

C'est moi - la femme des contradictions.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Mr. Leclerc's New Home

Saturday morning, we were having breakfast after my rehab run.

"We need to go look at our roses after breakfast. They're a little overgrown."

"Agreed."

Out we went. We have five rose bushes along the side of our house. One was there when we moved in. The other four we planted at the end of our first summer, when the rose bushes were on sale at the grocery store. Each one was named after a famous Canadian. Felix Leclerc was the runt of the litter, a wee scrappy bush covered in thorns and tucked in almost behind the central air unit.

The rose bush that was already there was pretty well established. We bought a black, rod-iron trellis-thing to try to tame it and my job every spring and fall was to cut it back into submission.

This year, it seems that the entire Canadian contingent of rose bushes have taken off.

Here is that it looked like on Saturday morning.



We debated. Do we buy some more of those individual rose trellises? Functional, but boring. Doug grabbed a pencil and a notepad. We talked, he sketched. We came up with a plan. We headed to Home Depot and came home with...


Two 4x4s, six 2x2s, four spikes to hold the 4x4s, a box of screws and a sledgehammer.

 Doug got the grunt work (ie. hammer the spikes into the ground without killing the roses or damaging the house).

I was in charge of the paint and the roller...and the iPhone camera. 

By this point it was getting late so we left the paint to dry until morning and headed in for dinner. 

Sunday dawned bright and sunny. We went for our bike ride. I did my 12 minute rehab run. And then we were back at it.

The plan was taking shape. 

We measured, we cut, we drilled...and we tried not to get too damaged by the thorns.

We tied the roses to their new home - getting very damaged by the thorns.



And voil√†! A do it yourself rose trellis. Mr. Leclerc, the little Frenchman on the far right, put up a bit of a fuss while I secured him to the 2x2 but after a harsh "Tais-toi!" he settled down. 

And that is how we spent our weekend.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Earning Versus Getting

Doug took me for my second golf game on Friday night. It was, as he described it, very Scottish conditions.

Cold, damp, drizzly.

Being an Irish girl at heart, I loved it.

The course we play at is a nine-hole course. All holes are par 3. It's ideal for a newbie like me.

The first time we played, I insisted that we count every stroke I made. Some holes were 9, some were 7, one was 5. My total score was 63. Nothing to write home about but, technically, it was a PB.

My original goal was to continue to count every stroke and watch my score slowly improve over the summer. I would be nice to play a 50 but I have no idea if that's too ambitious for my first summer.

Then Doug gently told me that proper golf etiquette is to stop playing a hole if you've already shot more than twice par. So, on my par 3 course, I technically should give up on a hole if I haven't sunk it in six, score six on my card and move on.

Fair enough. It keeps us moving around the course and groups playing behind us don't get too frustrated with my snail pace.

So I've changed my plan. If I take a 6 on each hole, my score will be 54. Whether I earned it or not.

We played in the Scottish conditions and it was fun. A little frustrating of course, like when I used my driver and sent the ball about 15 yards off the tee. Still though, I like the challenge and I played more consistently than the first time we went out.

Out of nine holes, I got a score of six on all nine of them.

Two of those sixes I actually earned. The other sixes would have been sevens but I obeyed the rules and picked up my ball after my six strokes.

I'm guessing I'm going to be scoring 54 for a few more games yet. I'm fine with that.

 I'd like to work towards earning that 54, not having it given to me.

Oh, and I'd like to score a 5 on a hole or two.

Friday, June 7, 2013

When it is Better Not to Know?

As some of you know I work with adults who have a developmental disability. I work with them but I also work with families of adults who have a developmental disability. And I work with other agencies who support adults with a developmental disability.

Oh, and I also work with foster children who have a developmental disability. And their foster parents. And their caseworkers. 

Basically, I work with a lot of people. 

I like to think of myself as a realist and I firmly believe that it's usually better to know than not to know something. 

Not always, but usually. 

So what would YOU do if you were meeting with a child (and by child I mean 17 years old) for the first time and they have no idea that they have a disability? I don't know this of course and when I tell him that I work with people who have disabilities, he looks shocked and asks if he has one. 

And then I got to watch his worker awkwardly try to explain without actually saying that he has a disability. 

Afterwards his worker apologized and said that she just couldn't bring herself to tell him the truth. "He's just such a nice kid" she said. 

To which I replied "yes he is, and he has the right to know". 

This is not the first time I've experienced this. I've met several parents who asked me not to tell their adult child that they have a disability. 

Really!?! 

That's kinda like not telling someone they have diabetes. Just telling them that they're lucky because they get to have an injection every time they eat anything. 

Look, I'm the first person to tell you that labels should not define you. Nor should they set limits for you.  

But labels help us understand ourselves and each other sometimes. Hearing the word 'diabetes' was pretty scary and overwhelming but it sure helped me focus on what I needed to do. And it helped me understand how I needed to do it. 

To me, it's just plain wrong to withhold information in order to 'protect' someone. The truth is always the best way to go. 

Non?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Smile for the Camera

Tuesday afternoon was pretty fun.

I left work 30 minutes early.

I drove home.

I changed into my running clothes, grabbed my swim bag and headed to the pool.

There I met April from Animas and Geneviève the photographer.

The next hour was a photoshoot with me in front of the camera instead of behind it.

I ran, I stretched, I smiled, I played with my pump, I swam, I posed.

Hopefully at the end of it all Animas will have a couple good shots they can use.

Apparently the next step is a phone interview.

Followed by an article in Animas' magazine.

How's that for fun eh?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

One Month of Lucky

Well, I've had Lucky now since May 6th.

I've gotten used to his little quirks. Like the fact that he is sometimes noisier than my Medtronic pump was and sometimes quieter. I can actually hear him deliver little basal drips of insulin when I'm sitting at my desk. It's kinda cool because it is comforting to hear him working away, keeping me alive.

Other times I expect the boop-beep-boop noises that my old pump makes and Lucky just sits silently waiting for me to tell him what to do. Like when I'm changing my site and I rewind the pump so it's ready to take a new cartridge of insulin. After all the whirring noises are finished, I expect to hear boop-beep-boop but I hear nothing.

Being someone who dislikes loud noises of any kind, I'm grateful for the little things like peace and quiet.

On the other hand, I had gotten used to Medtronic's double warning system when my pump was running out of insulin. It would boop-beep-boop when I was down to 20 units and again when I was down to 10.

Lucky plays Fur Elise (which I still haven't learned to recognize as a warning sound and usually glance around looking for the source of the music) when I'm down to 20 units. There is only a single warning. On Monday afternoon, I got the warning. I acknowledged it and went about my business. I had dinner. I had a bedtime snack. I took a little bolus during the night to correct my 8.7. On Tuesday morning I woke up, went for my 30 minute run/walk, made breakfast, showered and dressed. As I was hooking back up again I suddenly remembered that I was supposed to change my pump. I look and saw that I was down to 2 units. Oops. That was close.

I'm also adjusting to having 100 less units of insulin in my pump. Which means I can only go about 4 1/2 days now instead of 6 between site changes. It's actually less annoying than I thought it would be but I am still finding myself surprised when I get the 'it's time to change your pump soon' warning. Already?!?

Lucky's sidekick glucometer is pretty cool and I often remote bolus with it even when Lucky is sitting right out in the open on my belt. That being said, I switched back to my Verio metre to use up some of the test strips I had bought for it and am finding that I don't miss the remote bolus feature at all when it's not an option. So I guess I can take it or leave it.

The bestest difference, hands down, that Lucky has made is at the pool. I knew that would be the case but I'm still so thrilled every time I get ready for my swim and I clip my pump to my suit rather than unhook it. It makes everything so much easier and for that reason alone I am grateful I made the switch to Animas.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

SPIbelt or Risk the Gods?

Attention please all you waterproof pumpers out there who do open water swimming and triathlons. 

I have a question. 

Where do you put your pump? 

In the pool, I clip it to my bathing suit, facing in. It doesn't move. It doesn't even budge. I don't think about it until my swim is done and I'm heading for the showers. 

When I mentioned to the Animas folks that I might just do that during open water swimming, they looked horrified. They said that the clip wasn't tested for open water swimming and it might not hold.

I mean that odds are pretty slim that the pump will unclip from my bathing suit, pull out my infusion site and sink to the bottom of a murky lake to be lost forever but I guess there is a chance. I guess there is also a chance that the pump will detach from the clip but it would still have to pull out my infusion site if it's going to sink to the bottom of the lake no? I mean the thing is attached to the clip and to my body. That's a lot of things that have to go wrong.

Animas suggested I get a SPIbelt and put my pump in there when I swim in open water so that it doesn't unhook, yank out my infusion site and sink to the bottom of the lake. 

Here are my concerns. When my pump is hooked to my bathing suit, the tubing is safely covered by my bathing suit. There is nothing for the tubing to snag on. If I put my pump in a SPIbelt, there would have to be a length of tubing that is exposed, increasing the odds of it snagging on something. The pump would be in a zippered pouch, which could, conceivably, unzip. Non? The odds are slim but so at the odds I mentioned above about my pump unclipping. 

Also, I already wear a SPIbelt for the bike/run part of a tri. My race number is attached and the little pouch is already filled with my gels, lip balm and other essentials. 

So do I wear two SPIbelts? That seems crazy. 

Try to find one with two pouches? Then I'd have to attach my race number to it during transition (since I'm not going to swim with it on) and stuff the second pocket with the things that aren't waterproof. That's a lot of lost time folks. 

I've looked (not too seriously but a bit) to see if I could find triathlon clothing with pockets on the inside. No luck. I've asked local stores that sell tri clothing if they know of any clothing that has inside pockets that could keep my pump secure - no luck. 

Any other ideas? I really just want to clip my waterproof pump to my clothes, swim the race, and attach my SPIbelt with my race number and snacks during the transition. 

It's the easiest of all the options. 

I just feel that, if all the diabetes gods work together and my pump does unclip, yank out my infusion site and sink to the bottom of the lake, the Animas folks are going to fingerwag and say "I told you so". 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Rehad Updates

The stress fracture rehap is going well so far.

Yesterday's run was a mixture of walk three minutes and run seven for a total of thirty minutes. That means that I am now running 21 minutes out of 30.

I've been taking notes on each rehab run to keep track of how I'm doing and feeling.

It's interesting to look back and see the difference three minutes per run makes in terms of pace and distance.

Here's how things have been progressing so far.

Walk 9 minutes, run 1 minute  - three times      Average pace: 9.28 min/k
Walk 8 minutes, run 2 minutes - three times      Average pace: 9.27 min/k
Walk 7 minutes, run 3 minutes - three times      Average pace: 9.13 min/k
Walk 6 minutes, run 4 minutes - three times      Average pace: 8.33 min/k
Walk 5 minutes, run 5 minutes - three times      Average pace: 8.30 min/k
Walk 4 minutes, run 6 minutes - three times      Average pace: 7:52 min/k
Walk 3 minutes, run 7 minutes - three times      Average pace: 7.16 min/k

My distance has gone from 3.0k to 4.2k.

I know that this is all about slowly building back up to running without injuring myself again and my pace and my distance is not at all relevant. Still though, it's nice to see the distance increasing and the pace picking up day by day.

My body is holding up well. My cardio is ok. My feet aren't hurting although there have been a few achy days and my knees and legs are handling the pounding like troopers.

I have two more runs in phase one of the program (walk 2 minutes run 8 on Tuesday and then walk 1 minute run 9 on Wednesday).

By that point, I will be running 27 minutes out of 30 with breaks in between.

Phase two of the program changes things up and it's no longer about 30 minutes. It's about running longer stretches with no more walk breaks. I will run every second day and I run 12 minutes, 15 minutes, 17 minutes etc. Within two weeks I should be running 40 minutes.

Assuming of course that nothing goes wrong...

I still haven't signed up for the Welland swim/bike because my little optimistic self is wondering if perhaps I could pull off the full sprint tri. I may not be running 7.5k by then but I'll be close. So I'm crossing my fingers and waiting a little longer.

Oh, and I saw my family doctor on Friday and, after a little cajoling on my part, she agreed to send me for a bone density test. She also told me to take extra calcium. So perhaps I'll learn a bit more about why I developed two stress fractures in less than two years.

Onward.