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Happy Diaversary to Me

February 24, 2019

On this day, 36 years ago, my life changed forever. I was in seventh grade and was coming off a week of being sick with a virus.

I went to school that Thursday, but was called out of class in the early afternoon. My mom was at the principal’s office and met me with a somber look. I had to go to the hospital, she said.

It was diabetes.

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What’s in the Bag(s)?

February 3, 2019
Myabetic bag and ziplock freezer bag containing Brian’s needed supplies.

Some of my lifesaving gear is kept in these bags.

As everyone with diabetes knows, we are slaves to the medications and equipment we use. If you’re a multiple daily injection (MDI) diabetic (meaning, someone who uses syringes or insulin pens), having your meds and testing gear available is an everyday necessity.

If, like me, you use an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor (CGM), you know how finicky (and, sometimes, inaccurate) the CGM can be, and there’s nothing worse than running out of insulin.

So here’s where the case comes into play. But what all do I keep in my go bags?

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Rolling With My Pancreas: Making My CGM Stick

January 27, 2019

The products I use to keep my CGM secure: Medtronic-issued tape, Smith & Nephew pre IV wipes, and GrifGrips.

My ability to train Brazilian jiu-jitsu effectively over the last year is directly related to my use of the Medtronic 670G with Guardian CGM. (Note: Medtronic really needs some help in naming their products; Additional Note: I’ll be complimenting Medtronic and their products in this post, but I’ve had some issues with them in the past. You can learn what I’m talking about by checking out these past posts.)

When I have a water break, I’m able to consult my pump, which has been getting readings from the CGM that’s in my abdomen or thigh or upper arm. That info will then inform whether I need some sports drink, or water, and keeps me fueled for the next bit of training. It also keeps me conscious and able to learn.

But I found out that training BJJ while wearing a CGM can sometimes be a frustrating–and expensive–proposition.

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Rolling With My Pancreas: Fighting the Hypos

January 20, 2019

I sat there, sweating and shaking, trying to make sense of where I was.

“You OK?”

It was my coach. I was in the locker room, alone and thoroughly confused.

“I’m good,” I lied.

“You almost got locked in here,” he said, still trying to figure out what was going on with me.

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NDAM 2017: Diabetes and the Gym

November 10, 2017

It’s been a while. Since my last post, I’ve continued to train in Brazilian jiu-jitsu (very poorly at times), have settled into something of a rhythm at work, and kept experiencing the diabetes roller coaster.

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Rolling with My Pancreas: Riding Out the Highs and Lows

April 13, 2016

One way in which diabetes and jiu-jitsu share some similarities is in the need for practitioners of each to maintain a balance. Don’t let the highs get too high; don’t let the lows get too low.
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Rolling With My Pancreas: Getting Back in the Flow

November 11, 2015

After a long five-year hiatus, I finally made my return to the mats to start training in jiu-jitsu again. This inauspicious return actually happened about six months ago, but I’m still in the process of getting my fitness back. 

You see, over my five year sabbatical, I became a fairly soft, fairly sedentary fellow, and I knew it would be a long road back. In my first class back, I was wiped out after the warm up and had a fear of myocardial infarction. Seriously, I was a mess physically. 

I kept at it, though, and tried to keep working, learning and pushing in order to get my conditioning back where it needs to be. 

Getting back on the mats was an additional challenge as I had to factor in my pump and CGM use, too. 

The pump situation was solved pretty easily: I’d disconnect for the hour-long class and reconnect as soon as I got back to the locker room. 

The CGM situation, however, has been a more complex one. You see, jiu-jitsu is a very close-contact, very sweaty proposition. Sometimes (read: often) sensors have been pulled out while training. 

“That’s to be expected,” you say. “What are you complaining about?” you ask. 

Well, sensors are expensive. Like, to the tune of about $100 a pop. So I’ve been trying to find the right combo of location and covers/bandages that will allow the sensors to stay intact. It’s still a work in progress, though. 

My return to training has also hit some roadblocks in the form of shoulder tendinitis, not being as young as I once was and a recent battle with bilateral pneumonia that, in combination with a trip overseas with my lovely wife, kept me out of the gym for about six weeks. 

Anyway, I’m also still walking a blood sugar balance beam, ensuring my glucose doesn’t bottom out during the sparring (or “rolling,” hence the title) sessions every class. The key, of course, is to listen to what my body is saying and try to limit the risks I’m taking  

As I said, it’s a long road back, but I’m thrilled to be doing it again. I’ll write more to share my glucose experiences, and hopefully I’ll be able to share that I’m able to start improving my skill set again soon. 

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