Check

I haven’t written in forever. So here’s an update.

I trained, and trained, and trained for the half marathon. The longest I ran before race day was 8.5 miles. I got sick with two separate week-long illnesses (one cold and one flu) during training. I hoped that the excitement and flow of race day would get me though. And it did! That and having Emily and Matt my cousins, and my bff Suzi at my side. Emily and I ran the entire thing together. I would have finished by myself, but I wouldn’t have done it before they officially closed the course. At the 7 or 8 mile mark, Suzi sped-the-heck up and went for gold. Matt stayed with one of our group-mates, Ayla, while she slowed down. Emily and I toughed it out together, walking the hills and running the straights with our identical buzz cuts.

I could tell tell Emily started to struggle at mile 10. The only thing that hurt for me was my arms, where the insides were chafing against my sports bra. No side ache, no knee or foot pain, so I couldn’t really complain. I did my best to coach Emily to mile 12 with my brand of running ‘coping methods.’ I had us run to certain signs, count our strides, and provided ample words of encouragement. We walked approximately 1-2 total miles between miles 9 and 12. I really wanted to run the last mile. I didn’t know if I could get Emily there myself, so I asked Matt to talk us through the last 1.1 miles. He did a great job. He extremely encouraging without pushing us to the limit.

Matt, Emily, and I crossed the finish line together. It was a great feeling. My time was 2:47. Here are all of my other stats. Also proof that I finished. It made me a little sad to see that out of 1154 runners, I finished 1121. That’s ahead of a whole 33 runners. It doesn’t count the people that didn’t finish at all (which I estimate at 30-50 people), or the people who finished after the 3:00 hour mark (which was maybe another 10-25). But it’s still a little embarrassing.

Here is the progression of half-marathon goals from January to race day:
1. Finish it by any means possible.
2. Run more than half of it.
3. Finish in under 3 hours and 30 minutes.
4. Finish in under 3 hours (when I found out that the official course was closed at the 3 hour mark).

I achieved goal #4 which means I achieved all of the other goals. This was all after waking up on Friday morning with a sore throat. I consumed my body weight in Emergen-C (which didn’t do anything at all) and hopped myself up on DayQuil, pseudoephedrine, and Vitamin I (a.k.a. ibuprofen) on the morning of race day. I felt fine/normal during the race, but rapidly declined in health afterwards.

I was extremely sore and felt a general sense of malaise for the rest of Saturday and all of Sunday. On Monday I knew something was wrong when, in the evening, I got a major case of the chills. My temperature topped out at 103 degrees on Monday night. I had the flu. I’m glad it didn’t keep me from running the race, but it was the 4th time I’ve been sick this school year (which is how anyone who works at schools counts the number of times they get sick).

I can’t say I ever want to run a half marathon again, but if the cousins would be down, I’d do the same race again next year. We had a Grade A group of cheer-er-on-ers. Mama Linda, Papa Paul, auntie Laura, uncle Frank (also race day photographer) sister Beth, cousins Maggie and NIck, friend Jenny, and wiener dogs Pippa and Nico cheered us on at 4 (or 5?) different points on the course. It was awesome.

I’ve had no knee or back pain, which is common among the runners in my family, but am experiencing some plantar fasciitis type symptoms in my right outer-heel. I feel a bruise-like pain toward the outside of my inner heel in the mornings. It goes away after 5-10 minutes of walking around, but is back the next morning like clockwork. I am also experiencing some bruise-like pain on the top of that same foot, which probably has something to do with the tendons. I’m resting it–hard. I haven’t run or engaged in any strenuous activity since the race on April 17th. I’m going to give it 6 full weeks before I think about taking up running again.

Diabetes wise–here is low down.
I woke up on race day at 179, which was good. I ate greek yogurt with berries and granola. I only bolused for the carbs–not to correct the 179. I completely suspended my insulin for the entire duration of the race (3 hours). 10 minutes after finishing, my blood sugar was 116.

I resumed my regular basal program about 30 minutes after the race’s end, thinking my sugar would continue to drop. I went home and took a 2 hour nap. When I woke up I was at about 389. I corrected, ate lunch and bolused for the carbs. I went back to sleep, and when I woke up the second time, I was at 410. I gave an actual injection of insulin and started consuming lots of water. It eventually came down into the 250s, and by the time I went to bed was back down in the 100s. I think the stress hormones and all the other chemicals in my body had something to do with the major rebound afterward. Next time (if there is one), I will be watching far more closely after the race. I had more fear that I would go low, but I knew there was a good chance I’d end up high.

I’m still alive and kicking, and looking forward to achieving the next goal I set for myself.
Whatever that may be.

Everything’s Up

I had an appointment with my interim diabetes practitioner on Friday afternoon. Dr. K is on mama-leave with her kids, so I’m seeing PA. L, who is an endocrinology physician’s assistant. I had my labs done and everything is up including the a1c. It’s now at 7.4. As much as I’d like to blame it on the Freestyle test strip recall, it’s also due to guessing on carb counts at lunch everyday and eating too many treats at work. We made small changes to my basal rates, bolus rates, and correction factor, but two mornings in a row, I’ve gone low at the all day correction factor of 22. Between 6am and 9am it should probably be closer to 25. It all feels like one big test of trial and error, but at least the snow is melting.

I also donated a pack of unused Levemir pens to the clinic, along with 100 or so used pen needles. Just kidding. They had not been used. They were sealed and all. Since I use a pump, I don’t have a need for the long acting insulin. It’s been sitting patiently in my refrigerator since two Octobers ago. The expiration date is August 2014, so I figured I should let some living being get use out of it before it goes to waste.

I contacted a twin cities dog rescue, and they told me they would be happy to take it. Dogs use the same long acting insulin as humans, albeit in smaller amounts. I noticed there was a diabetic doxie on their site named Junior Mint, and emailed them letting them know that I would be happy to donate the insulin to be used for any dog that needed it, and that if a family adopted a diabetic dog that I would be more than fine with them taking the insulin to ease the initial cost of the adoption.

After consulting my ever wise and patient sister, Beth, I decided I should offer it to the nurse educators at my endocrinology clinic for human use. They have an ’emergency supplies’ area for patients who are in between insurances, aren’t/weren’t covered for health insurance, or don’t have enough money for their prescriptions even if they were covered. The clinic happily accepted it, and I feel good today knowing that the insulin I donated will keep someone from having to urinate 46 times a day, blurred vision, headaches, and a general feeling of malaise.

OmniPod Adhesive Update #3

It’s probably a little early to report the results of an experiment submitted by a reader, Donna, to curb the skin reaction caused by the adhesive on the pods, but so far so good…

Donna posted a comment on my OmniPod Adhesive Update post saying that she had found a way to prevent the contact dermatitis! A nurse told her to apply a water soluble corticosteroid to the skin before putting on a pod. The water soluble corticosteroid of choice? FLONASE (Or any generic equivalent)! Yes. That stuff that you sniff in your nose to help with allergies.

As fate would have it, I’m allergic to my wiener dog, and already have myself a prescription for fluticasone. Before going ahead and using a steroid on my skin, I consulted a doctor who is a family friend. She gave me the go-ahead. So I tried it, and the result was magical.

I spritzed the fluticasone on my skin and waited until it was dry. Then I applied a new pod. The pod was on for 2.5 days. No issue with reduced stickiness. I would estimate the reaction was reduced by 80-90%! It was completely comfortable for the whole duration. I pulled the pod off today after my shower and there was no severe reaction like before. My skin used to look and feel like a giant mosquito bite. Not this time!

This really is a Christmas miracle! (And totally makes up for the Christmas Eve miracle that wasn’t a miracle at all).
Thank you, Donna!

OmniPod Adhesive

It’s Sunday morning, I just got Starbucks with the cousin, and now I’m blogging in bed with the trusty steed, Nico, noodled up against my leg. It’s a good day so far.

Overall, I’m loving the newest version of the Omnipod system. I am still experiencing some weird pod failures, but I experienced pod failures with the old system, too. More recently, the pods have been failing while they are priming. Perhaps I’m not paying enough attention to air bubbles in the syringe. Either way, I think I’ve lost 3 pods total while priming, and another 3 or 4 have just alarmed while they’re on me.

Another thing I’ve noticed, but haven’t ever written about, is how the pod adhesive reacts with my skin. I noticed a small reaction with the old pods, but the formula for the adhesive must have changed slightly with the new pods, because I’m noticing a more pronounced reaction.

After putting on a new pod, I start to notice an itching sensation about an hour after application. The itch is localized to the area covered by the adhesive. Sometimes scratching around the area quells the itch, but often times it doesn’t. It’s not an intense sensation, so I’ve just been trying to ignore it as much as possible.

When I remove the pod, I try to do it as gently as possible. Usually after a hot shower when the adhesive had become water logged. Even when I take a pod off as gingerly as possible, a rash always appears. About 5 minutes after I’ve pealed off the pod, the area becomes red and inflamed. It a combination of itching and pain. I’ve been putting hydrocortisone on it, and it relieves about 80% of the reaction. The bummer is, the rash takes about 4 days to calm down and go away. I never put a pod in the same place two times in a row, but it’s still a bummer.

I know I’m not the only person to experience a reaction to the adhesive, and I know there are some spray-on skin barriers that have been helpful for others. I’m just too lazy to try it at this point. Some people have also suggested using a particular type of alcohol wipe prior to attaching the pod to the skin. The wipes are $20  per pack, and I’ve been feeling very miserly lately.

Check out the photo below of my back. Any suggestions on what I else I could apply after taking each pod off?
Diaper rash creme? Olive oil? Buttercream frosting?

IMAG0273

Screamers

Sometimes, for whatever reason, a pod will malfunction and emit a constant high-pitched alarm . Most of the time the PDM responds and tells me something like, “Insulin Delivery Stopped. Change Pod Now.” Once I acknowledge it, the PDM is supposed to tell the pod to stop alarming–or as I call it, screaming.

Well, sometimes the PDM can’t tell the pod to shut up–probably because the pod is just in way too much distress. So the PDM says, “I’m ready for a new pod. Are you ready for one?” and the old pod just keeps screaming away.

There aren’t a lot of options to get it to stop. When it is wintertime, I chuck it into the snow for 2 months. I’ve tried the freezer, but it either isn’t cold enough, or the pods are too dang tenacious. I put one pod in the freezer for 2 days, and it stopped, but no less than 5 minutes after I removed it from the cold, it started up again.

I’ve also tried throwing the pod repeatedly at the ground. That is also not an effective silencer. The other option I’ve read about is prying the pod open and removing the batteries. I’ve actually never tried this, but the next time one goes off, I’m going to town with a screwdriver.

New Omnipod System

I just set up my new Omnipod system. Different PDM and smaller pods. It looks very much the same, save for the pod size. Overall the set up and application of the new pods was just as fast as the old ones.

There is one annoying difference in the PDM. Each time it’s turned on to do anything, it makes the user confirm that they’re the…user. Mine reads, “PDM ID – Andrea Dry Bones. Press Confirm if correct.” The tricky thing is that the ‘confirm’ button is never in the same place so it can’t become an automatic keystroke. It cycles between three different soft keys. It’s probably an additional feature to prevent people from ‘butt-bolusing.’ I believe I just coined a new term. It sounds absolutely disgusting.

Rats

I called OmniPod in the beginning of March to tell them to put a hold on shipping me new pods. I had a bunch left, so I decided to wait. When I called on the 1st of April, the representative asked me how many pods I had left. I told her I had about ten. She paused and asked me if I could wait to have the next order shipped on the 15th of April.

It was a little curious, considering I was already a month past when they should have shipped my last order. I told her the 15th would be fine, and she enthusiastically responded, “great!” After the phone call ended, I had an inkling that perhaps the new, smaller pods and new PDM would be shipping out on the 15th. I wondered if the lady wanted to save me from having 40 unusable, old pods. And then I got really excited.

So I waited patiently until the 15th, and there was no box. And then it was the 20th and still no box. So I became very convinced that they were indeed going to send me the new system. Until today. When the box came. And it was more old pods.

And now I’m frowning.

Messed Up

Aw, man.

Last night when changing my pod, I stuck it on the wrong side of my back–the side that doesn’t absorb. I only realized it once I’d activated it and sealed it down really good with tape. I gave a correction dose right after I put it on and waited a half hour to see if, maybe/perhaps/hopefully it would work, but it didn’t. At all.

I felt like a dumb truck. The terrible part is I was cognizant that I had to put it on the good side–my left side. I was thinking about it and I still messed up.

If I get a tattoo, it shouldn’t be of my medical alert, it should be a giant X on my right flank so I can remember not to put pods there. The same kind of X I put on the tag of old/stained tank-tops so I remember not to wear them out. Part of me thinks that some night I’d forget that the X meant bad side and that it actually marked the spot where I should put the pod.

I’ve probably wasted about 7 pods (pod failures, bad absorption spots, pods not sticking, and the like). Mama chalks it up to the learning curve. I chalk it up to the left/right confusion I’ve had since kindergarten…AND good-old, home-grown…stupidity.