Life Beyond Diabetes Blog

Diabetes in COVID-19 Isolation

Apr 15, 2020

Is anyone else just OVER the whole social isolation captivity?

To be clear, physical isolation is absolutely necessary and the alternative is far worse. Along with most of the rest of the world, I'm staying home. On the rare occasions that I venture out to the grocery store or pharmacy, or to pick up take out, my stylish mask is securely covering my face. (Thanks, Mom, for making masks for the family!)

Unfortunately, COVID-19 is going to be with us for a while and we need to get creative at figuring out how to not just survive but actually THRIVE!

This even more complicated for people with Type 2 Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes. One of the things that many people are doing to pass the time is making bread and other baked goods. Not a great idea for those of us who are extremely carb sensitive. Another issue for us is the need for consistent exercise to improve insulin sensitivity. I don’t know about you, but I’m struggling to get in much activity. I didn’t realize...

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Virtual Endocrinology Appointment

Apr 08, 2020

Today, I saw my Endocrinologist via a telehealth visit. As a patient, this was a new experience for me. I routinely have quick telephone check-ins with my own patients and since the advent of COVID-19, I've been offering appointments via Zoom video chat. As a solo provider, I don't have the resources for an official "telehealth" software suite so I was curious to see what it would be like to experience an appointment offered through a large corporate practice.

Yesterday, a medical assistant called me for my "pre-check-in." It was pretty much the same as being at an-in office appointment, except no one took my weight or blood pressure. I verified my allergies, current medications, and told the MA what I needed to talk to the Nurse Practitioner about. Because I wear a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) that provides excellent insight into my blood glucose over the past three months, I had opted not to go to the lab for my routine A1C test (3-month average of blood sugar). The...

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Chili for Dinner tonight!

Nov 04, 2019

A cold November night calls for chili for dinner! I'm celebrating Diabetes Awareness Month by sharing a favorite recipe every week. The recipe is at the bottom of the page.

My husband is making an Instant Pot version of the chili found in my family-friendly low carb meal plan. (It's pretty much exactly the same as the recipe in the meal plan, just less simmering time. Feel free to drop me an email if you'd like details on how to convert the recipe for cooking in your Instant Pot.)

When the weather turns cold, I turn to a cooking frenzy. It used to be all about bread. Now that I've significantly reduced the carbs in my life, I get excited about soup and roasting things. Roasted cauliflower is another of my fall favorites that will be showing up in my kitchen pretty soon! (also on the meal plan)

I'm always on the lookout for new low-carb recipes. What do you make that will get my mouth watering for fall cooking? Head over to the Facebook page and post a link to your...

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Understanding Low Blood Sugar

Oct 08, 2019
Do you know what low blood sugar feels like?

People experience it in many different ways. Recognizing your body’s response to low blood sugar is an important of overall diabetes health.

Low blood sugar is called Hypoglycemia. People with Type 2 Diabetes usually only experience hypoglycemia if they’re taking insulin or taking a medication that causes their pancreas to release insulin. These medications are called insulin secretagogues and include the drug classes sulfonylureas and glinides. The most commonly prescribed drugs in these classes are Glimepiride, Glipizide, and Glyburide. Occasionally people taking other drugs for Type 2 experience hypoglycemia, but it’s not as common.

If you take insulin or one of the other drugs that causes an increase in insulin, you’re at risk for experiencing hypoglycemia and it’s important to be able to recognize and treat low blood sugar.

Symptoms of hypoglycemia vary from person to person and even between...

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Put on Your Own Mask before Assisting Others

Oct 01, 2019

It’s such a familiar phrase that I can practically see the flight attendant demonstrating how to put on the oxygen mask. We all know the reason why you need to put on your own mask before assisting others: you’re no good to anyone else if you’ve run out of oxygen.

We all know what it means to “put on your own mask” in the context of oxygen on an airplane, but what does this phrase mean when applied to self-care? We hear over and over that we’re useless in caring for others if we don’t first take care of ourselves. But those of us who live in the real world know that that’s much easier said than done, particularly for those who are caretakers, employees, and caring friends. As women, we’ve often been cultured to put our own needs last.

So, in practice, how can you actually put on your own mask first?

First you have to figure out where your self-care is lacking. Is it sleep? Exercise? Food choices? Whatever the situation,...

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Real Self Care for Type 2 Diabetes

Sep 03, 2019

The Oxford English Dictionary defines Self Care as “The practice of taking action to preserve or improve one's own health.”

We talk a lot about “Self Care” these days. A Google search of the phrase “Self Care” brings up more than 65 million results. I perused the first few pages of results and found that, while the dictionary definition of self care is related to managing one’s own health, most of the articles give just a cursory mention to maintaining physical health and instead focus on mental health and things to do to make yourself happy and relaxed in the moment.

I don’t want to make an argument that mental health isn’t important and that many of the suggestions, such as meditating, spending time with friends, and enjoying the company of pets aren’t an important part of health. But I DO think that the focus on the pampering aspects of self-care can get in the way of doing what we need to do to REALLY take...

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Does This Diabetes Drug Make Me Look Fat?

Aug 20, 2019

Recently, someone asked me if her insulin might be making her gain weight. She was making all the right food decisions, she had increased her activity, and her blood sugar was improving, but she was frustrated that all her clothes seemed to be getting tighter. She had posed the question to an internet support group and was answered with, “it’s what you’re eating. Eat less and you’ll stop gaining weight.” She felt shame about the weight gain but was sure she was doing everything she could. She wanted to know if I thought maybe it could be even a little bit about the medication.

Her story was almost identical to mine!

About 6-8 months after I was diagnosed with diabetes, I complained to my endocrinologist that I was gaining weight and that I thought the medication I was taking might be causing the weight gain. I was doing everything I was supposed to be doing: eating even less than prescribed and spending hours in the gym. I was trying so hard to LOSE...

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Road Tripping with Type 2 Diabetes

Aug 13, 2019

I LOVE a good road trip! I can get in the car and drive for hours. I particularly like taking side roads and seeing crazy things that are off the beaten path. Some of my favorites have been the Spam Museum and the Jolly Green Giant (both in Minnesota), the prairie dog colonies in the Badlands of South Dakota, and the World’s Largest Rocking Chair (on Route 66 in Missouri--Though I just Googled and learned that it's been outpaced by a BIGGER one in Illinois. Time to get back on the road again!). As you can probably tell, I’m usually just as excited about the journey as I am about the destination!

Road-tripping with Diabetes requires a bit more preparation than just hopping in the car and driving. But with the proper planning, Diabetes doesn’t have to get in the way of the adventure!

Here are a few things to think about when prepping for a road trip when you have Diabetes

Check your blood sugar before you drive! This is particularly important for people who take...

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Talking about Your Type 2 Diabetes Part 2

Aug 06, 2019

In Part 1 of this 2-part series about talking to your friends and family about your Type 2 Diabetes, I wrote about who to talk to, why to talk to them, and what they need to know about Type 2 Diabetes to really support you. 

I think some of the things people need to know about Diabetes are pretty heavy and I hope you spent a bit of time wrapping your mind around them and owning them. This isn’t the easy, breezy disease that we sometimes gloss over in our minds. Give yourself credit for taking charge of your health and facing your Diabetes head on!

 Let’s get back to the things you need to talk to your important people about. These tips are practical things you can tell your family and friends as they look for ways to support you. I’ve written these from a first-person perspective because it’s so personal. These are the things that I need and I’m guessing you do too. Of course, feel free to personalize these items for your situation.

People who...

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Talking about Your Type 2 Diabetes Part 1

Jul 30, 2019

Telling people about your Type 2 Diabetes is something that many people find difficult. One more thing in the middle of trying to figure out how to live with this diagnosis!

Even though it’s difficult, telling those closest to you about your diagnosis is important. Why?

  • They’re going to find out anyway. If you’re managing your diabetes with medication or lifestyle changes, chances are that your close family and friends are going to notice the changes.
  • If you talk to them, YOU get to set the expectations. People who love you are going to try and help you, even if you don’t want it. By talking to them first, you have a chance to tell them what’s helpful and what’s not.
  • Your friends and family care about you and want to help. Talking about it allows you to acknowledge that and set some boundaries and expectations around how you want to manage your disease.

So, who should you talk to? Your health is personal and you get to decide who you want to...

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