Posted by Emily On May 31, 2017
Shannon Popkin is a local author/speaker who has challenged me tremendously through her talks at my church’s young moms group, Bloom. She just published her first book, Control Girl, early this year. It was free on Amazon one day, so I picked it up.
I devoured it when I read it in March. God used His word and Shannon’s book to open my eyes to control issues in my life.
One area that seems to keep coming back to haunt me is my health. I just firmly believe I’m a healthy person.
- I eat the best food I know how to prepare.
- I exercise regularly (while having periods of not exercising, I’ve been active and/or exercising since middle school!).
- I don’t use chemicals in my house.
- I try to read my Bible regularly.
I keep telling myself that I’m doing everything right. I’m checking off all the boxes to keep my health in check.
And yet…things keep falling apart…
If I allow them, these thoughts start to snowball on me. If I leave it to fester, all of the sudden I’m at death’s door (in my mind’s eye).
This is not the life God has for me.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
Worry, anxiety (aka. control) are not what God has for me. Psalm 37 is full of good “do not worry!” advice. It is more focused on comparing yourself to others, but I think God doesn’t want us to worry no matter what!
Do not fret because of those who are evil
or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.
Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For those who are evil will be destroyed,
but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.
Psalm 37: 1-9 (emphasis mine)
I can do what I think are all the right things, eat all the right foods, exercise very faithfully, and yet my body still might fall apart. God knows the number of my days, and He also knows if those days are filled with health or sickness.
I gain nothing by worrying about why my body isn’t quite right. I lose valuable time and energy that could be used to further His kingdom.
My focus for today: Give God control back. Not that I truly had control in the first place, but I like to think I do!
Posted by Emily On May 23, 2017
I realized more and more how much I am affected by music. I thank my mom for playing the piano while growing up and teaching me to play it too, and growing up in a church that sang hymns. Even though I no longer play (I think I could still bang out parts of Chopstiks and Fleur-de-Lis!), I have a deep appreciation for good music and good lyrics.
We sang Oceans in church yesterday. I was struck by these lyrics:
Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now
So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
God’s grace abounds when I’m in over my head. When I realize I can’t do it on my own, when I’m failing on my own, He is there to step in when I finally surrender.
I am a very driven person. I have a hard time with failure or even perceived failure.
It wasn’t until I took an actuary exam that I experienced failure academically. Crazy, right? I thought I knew so much. I had majored in mathematics in college, and I graduated with a 4.0 in my major. I must know SO MUCH, right?
I barely studied for the first actuary exam. I started flipping through the 1.5 inch thick guide the week before the exam. My heart began to sink very quickly.
This was hard. Very hard.
Want to know my score on that first exam? It’s graded on a scale of 1-10.
I got a 0.
Yes, a 0. You can, in fact, score less than 1. Ha!
It is so funny to me now, and I actually appreciate that 0 so much more than my stream of A+’s in high school and college. Through my actuary exams, I learned through failure. In fact, I’m a firm believer now that you can’t learn without failing. You NEED to fail to learn. When I used to tutor for the GED exams, this was a concept I tried to drive home.
You need to get problems wrong to figure out why the correct answer is right. It won’t stick until you’ve done it wrong (possibly many times!).
You need to fail. You need to get things wrong.
I did eventually pass that first exam. It took me 4 tries. That’s probably higher than most actuaries, but I learned so much about calculus, how to teach myself, and how to problem-solve through that exam.
On to the reason for this post: I’m back on insulin. It felt like total failure at first. I had researched so much, learned so much about diet and Type 1 diabetes. I thought I had it figured out: just eliminate gluten and all will be well. Well then I learned I still needed to watch my carbs. That was minor though, things were pretty much in line once I started that.
Then my fasting blood glucose numbers started being higher (around week 4 of the gluten-free/no insulin diet). I was consistently in the 170’s when I woke up. It’s really odd because I would go to bed around 130 or 140, and my BG would rise overnight to 170. I didn’t have any snacks still working in my system (to my knowledge). So this phenomena was odd to me.
I consulted with my doctor, and we agreed to go on 1 unit of Toujeo (a long acting insulin) per day.
1 per day!
Are you laughing at me yet???
I am. Well, now anyway.
I am a Type 1 diabetic who is only taking 1 unit of insulin per day. I don’t know what the “unit” is measuring, but it’s very very small.
The crazy thing about this 1 unit is that I will be low for lunch and dinner if I don’t have a snack 1-2 hours before those meals. Can you believe how sensitive my body is?? I’m still a little shocked.
Ok, done typing. I have more thoughts, but they can wait until another time.
Edit: I forgot to wrap around to my initial thoughts! Ha! When I am down in the dumps over my failures, physical or spiritual, that is where God meets me. In fact, I think He’s more present in my failures than when I’m sailing through life (most likely because I’m less in tune with God then). His grace abounds in deepest waters.
I desperately want the Spirit to lead my life. To take me to the edge of my capabilities, because it is only then that I have to let go of my control and let God lead.
Spirit lead me…
Posted by Emily On May 19, 2017
I wish I had pictures to go along with this post. I’ve had eczema spots on my right hand for years. For most of the time, it would only pop up during the winter. I tried all kinds of creams, using gloves to wash dishes, always wearing gloves outside, etc. It never really helped, and it never went away completely.
The last year or so, the breakouts have never gone away, even in the summer. It’s been a year-round condition for 1-2 years.
I’ve read that eczema and other skin conditions can be autoimmune in nature and irritated by gluten. I wondered if my gluten-free diet would change it.
The eczema on my right hand is GONE. G-O-N-E GONE.
No way. I’m in amazement myself. It took almost 4 weeks on a gluten-free diet. I seriously can’t believe it. Water doesn’t hurt my hand anymore! The skin is soft and irritation free!
My evening numbers have been a little high lately making me wonder if I’ll need to start low doses of insulin soon. If I do, do I keep up with the gluten-free diet? I was questioning if this was all worth it. Now, I’m thinking yes! Even if I end up on insulin (which is very likely, eventually, I’m still a Type 1 diabetic!), I’d love to keep the scaly, painful rash away!
I never thought I was allergic to or even sensitive to gluten. Now I’m thinking differently…isn’t this amazing?!?!
Posted by Emily On May 9, 2017
This song popped into my head today as I was doing school and coloring with Jackson.
Rejoice in the Lord by Ron Hamilton
God never moves without purpose or plan.
When trying His servant and molding a man.
Give thanks to the LORD, though your testing seems long.
In darkness, He giveth a song.
O REJOICE IN THE LORD!
He makes no mistake.
He knoweth the end of each path that I take!
For when I am tried and purified,
I shall come forth as gold.
I could not see through the shadows ahead,
So I looked at the cross of my Saviour instead.
I bowed to the will of the Master that day,
Then peace came, and tears fled away!
Now I can see testing comes from above,
God strengthens His children, and purges in love.
My Father knows best, and I trust in His care;
Through purging, more fruit I will bear.
I can see clearly now the trials that God has put in my life. Truly, not to harm me but to mold me, to refine me, to make me like gold.
I’m struggling today because it is looking like gluten-free + low-ish carb might not work. This whole diet has been an experiment, and I’ve known that from the beginning. It is still so disappointing to see high blood glucose readings when I think I’m being “so good.”
I do need to give it more time for the gluten to get completely out of my system. How long, I’m not sure. Also, how long is too long for the damage high blood glucose can do to my system? And how high of a BG damages my organs? 143? 180? 200? 300????
Besides the two meals this weekend, my numbers have really been good, but a couple have been in the 140’s before a meal. The last doctor I saw made it clear that was not good enough, and the perfectionist/people-pleaser in me feels like a failure. On the other hand, my sister-in-law thinks those numbers are great as she works with my teenage niece to control her blood glucose.
Where is the balance? Am I good enough, being in the 120-145 range before a meal? Am I causing harm to my body at those levels? I haven’t done much research yet. I need to get out of my funk and figure it out. When I feel like I’ve failed, I tend to sit on my butt and do nothing.
I’m not opposed to insulin. I will take it if I need to, but if there is a way to keep my pancreas alive AND not incur the huge expense of insulin (savings to me and everyone in the healthcare system!!), why wouldn’t I keep at it? I just don’t have definitive confirmation that what I’m doing will work. It looks like I’m forging my own path here based on my own research. It’s kind of scary.
Back to the song, “He makes no mistakes. He knoweth the end of each path that I take.” God’s already at the end. He knows what happens, and He is with me every step of the way. He didn’t allow my body to attack my pancreas on accident. It was no mistake. God knows what He’s doing all the time. This is just another opportunity to put my faith in action and trust.
Posted by Emily On May 8, 2017
I thought I had my diet and blood glucose (BG) levels all figured out, and then, I got lazy. Two meals this weekend I eyeballed my portion and carb load and definitely missed the mark, by a lot.
The first meal was meatloaf, rice, and corn. I knew I had about 20 carbs in a half cup of rice, and I guessed the meatloaf was very low in carbs, say less than 5. I didn’t give the corn much thought. Big mistake.
It’s a vegetable, right? The diabetes educator said I could basically eat as many vegetables as I wanted because it requires so much energy to digest them that the carb load is negated.
Well, I forgot her caveat about starchy vegetables.
I tested 4 hours after dinner on Saturday night, and wouldn’t you know, 284 BG. WHAT?!?
I thought my hands were dirty so I washed then tested again…283 BG. Hmmm…
I immediately thought it was the meatloaf…it did have a sauce…oh, ketsup has like 4 carbs. So it’s not the meatloaf.
Then I thought I had forgotten how many carbs are in rice…nope, about 20 for a half a cup is right.
I guess, maybe, it’s the corn. (Still in doubt, still believing it’s a regular vegetable.)
Google: “Carbs in corn”
123g in 1 cup
Holy moley. That’s the problem. Unknowingly, I had eaten close to 90 carbs for dinner. Lesson learned, not all vegetables were created equal!
Although, the lesson was not learned completely because I did a similar mistake the next day.
Lunch on Sunday was red beans and rice. My portion was probably a touch large, but should’ve only been 40 or so carbs. What I forgot to account for was dessert…creme brulee…my favorite!
So that meal, I ate 70 or so carbs and was pushing 300 BG three hours later.
So here’s where I’m at now: keep each meal less than 50 carbs (including dessert!) and eat lower glycemic vegetables.
My BG have been super good since introducing exercise again last Thursday. I think I may be able to control my diabetes without insulin! When eating gluten-free and 50 or less carbs per meal (with a 20 or so carb snack in between), I’m able to be below 130 BG before each meal and before bed. Woot!
Now to see if the doctor’s agree…
Posted by Emily On May 5, 2017
I met with my endocrinologist office this week to review my numbers and make sure I’m on track.
The office had never heard of treating T1 diabetes with a gluten-free diet. This is a little concerning to me; however, new research is coming out all the time, so it is probably hard to keep up.
The doctor I spoke with was supportive of the diet, of course still checking blood glucose (BG) regularly to make sure my BG stays in line. I was a little disappointed that she thought my BG were still a little high. I just had <150 stuck in my head. So I thought levels of 130-140 were perfect. The pre-meal BG needs to be <130, and the 2 hour post-meal BG <150. I should be <130 in the morning too, after the overnight fast.
Oh rats, maybe the diet change isn’t good enough. I’m regularly 130-145 pre-meal or fasting in the morning.
I want to give the diet more time, especially since I JUST started feeling better/normal again. I’m checking in with the office next week, and we’ll go from there.
Here’s my latest thought or thing to research: is the goal of insulin and diabetes management to make sure my BG returns to normal level after eating or is it to make sure my BG doesn’t spoke to high while eating? Somewhere in between? Both?
Posted by Emily On May 4, 2017
Today is the first day I feel almost normal. I still felt a little sick/nauseous this morning, but I pushed through and did a workout.
I didn’t push myself very hard during my workout, but I’m feeling really good this morning. My BG were good too. Yay!
So for the record, it took me 6 days to return to normal after symptoms started. It is odd that the symptoms took four days to hit… maybe not. Maybe it’s a delayed response.
I’m glad I feel better because today and tomorrow are garage sale days! Woot! Hoping to unload some stuff!
Posted by Emily On May 1, 2017
Folks, it is still working. Eating gluten-free is allowing my blood sugars to be very stable (for a Type 1 Diabetic, not a non-diabetic) while still eating 30-50 carbs at a meal. I find this amazing.
I tried to document my first couple days in my last post, but it is confusing. There are so many numbers!
I have not been limiting my carbs other than not going crazy. At each meal, I eat what I want and the portions I want. I just make sure they are gluten-free. I have not taken my fast acting insulin since Tuesday, April 25, 2017. Not a drop. My body is able to cover the carb load at every meal.
Since Tuesday, I had been taking my long acting insulin. I thought I might still need it, but on Wednesday evening (4/26/17) I started to go low in between meals. So on Thursday, I lowered my long acting insulin dose from 7 units to 5 units. I had low episodes that afternoon and evening. In fact, I found myself at 86 BG right before bed. Rats. I might go lower through the night! This incurred a late night call to my lovely sister-in-law who is holding my hand through this whole ordeal. I fixed that level through juice but did set an alarm to check my BG in the middle of the night.
On Friday, I lowered my Toujeo dose again to 4 units. Here’s where I get super frustrated. I was low at 10am, 11am, and 12:45pm. By lunch I’m feeling like I need a juice IV! In the middle of those lows, I was at Costco. I know I’m not supposed to drive if my BG is below 100. So me and my two children are just sitting in the van, do-dee-do, waiting for my BG to go up. So frustrating!
Saturday, April 29, 2017, I decide to not take any insulin. Repeated low episodes are so annoying and potentially dangerous. Here is where it all falls apart…
Saturday was not a normal day, Dan was brewing with a friend, and my friend and I were going shopping while the hubby’s watched the kids. I rushed my breakfast and lunch, not eating the carb or calorie load I normally would. While I’m out shopping in the afternoon, I’m feeling progressively “off.” I repeatedly check my BG, but it’s not low. I began around 1:30 with a BG of 148, and I proceeded to check is every 45 minutes or so as I grew shakier and shakier (the lowest reading I had this entire ordeal is 96…not low at all). I also had shortness of breath and the feeling I was about to vomit.
As we are driving home, I start to pass out. I start shouting, “I don’t feel good. I don’t feel good!”
My sweet friend calmly pulls over (bless her heart!). She gets juice ready (the feelings are like a low even though my BG says otherwise). I quickly take 2 units of Toujeo (It seemed like the right thing to do. My BG wasn’t low, but I thought maybe it would stabilize me somehow) and recline my chair.
I start to feel better so we continue on. We decide to pick me up a protein bar at a grocery store, and by the time we are back at the car, I’m feeling like I’ll pass out again.
We try to decide if we should go to the hospital, go home, or call an ambulance.
The feeling hits again a few minutes later so we pull over and call an ambulance. While waiting for it to arrive, I start to feel better again, but I think it’s too weird to not seek medical help.
The ambulance arrives and checks me out. I’m fine. Blood pressure, blood glucose, heart rate (so odd to me, I felt like my heart was racing!) everything looks fine.
We talk my symptoms over with the EMTs. They scold me for changing my dose of insulin on my own, and we leave the ambulance.
We were stopped at a meat market. We decide to go in to get ice cream for dessert. I don’t even make it to the front door, and I start to feel faint again.
Dan and I decide to go to the hospital.
I feel so bad walking in to the ER that I just lay down on the ground while Dan checks me in. Ha!
The ER runs all kinds of tests: EKG, chest x-rays, blood work, urine tests, blood pressure in different positions, etc. I’m fine. 100% clean bill of health. Absolutely nothing wrong with me.
Right. As I lay on the bed visibly shaking. Of course there’s nothing wrong with me.
I’m super scared at this point. They are discharging me, and I can’t calm down. They say I can just come back if I feel bad again. AGAIN??? I STILL feel bad. I’m still shaking!!!
I really feel like I’m going to die, and the hospital has no idea why. Looking back maybe I should’ve taken comfort in this. The Lord knows my time and there’s nothing a hospital or team of doctors can do to change that.
I’m really just scared stiff to leave. The last doctor asks me about my anxiety level. I begin to wonder if it’s a panic attack. I decline any medication and decide to head home.
As I’m talking to the last doctor, I ask Dan to start researching what happens when people stop eating gluten.
We get back to our friend’s house. I still fee rotten. They serve me up dinner quickly, and I start to feel better very quickly. The shaking is still present but the faint/ill feeling subsides. Yay!
I spend the next hour trying to get a hold of my endocrinologist just to run everything by them. Could not using insulin cause this? I really thought the fault lied with me not taking the Toujeo that day.
We get home, get the kids in bed, I get off the phone with the endo, and Dan says, “So it looks like gluten withdrawal is a real thing.” What?
We read several articles that night that tell personal stories of gluten withdrawal being very similar to drug withdrawal. We couldn’t find any medical articles, but there are PLENTY of personal stories floating around the internet.
I’m now one of them. I think I exacerbated my symptoms by not eating enough, but gluten withdrawal is a real thing. I’m a believer. It felt awful, like I was dying.
I’m now 2 days from the episode. The shaking is nearly gone but gets worse if I wait too long to eat. I’m eating every 2-3 hours and feeling fairly normal now. I have not taken any insulin (fast or quick acting) since Saturday, April 29, 2017 at 3:45pm. My endocrinologist agreed with my assessment of my BG and subsequent reduction in insulin. She is completely on board with 0 insulin unless my BG spikes. I have only had 2 readings higher than 150 since I started my GF diet.
- One was because I loaded my system on juice before arriving at the hospital (215 BG…not THAT high really).
- The second was last night. I was 197 before bed. I had a snack mix that evening. I’m wondering if there was gluten in it. Not sure what happened there.
Another example, for lunch today I was 90 BG pre-meal. I ate a lower carb (for me) lunch at 20-25 carbs (all gluten free) and was 126 BG 2 hours post-meal.
Amazing. Everything I’ve read about gluten prohibiting the carbs from absorbing correctly in my gut (instead heading straight for the bloodstream) appear to be correct. Another note, I think the reason this is working too is that my pancreas is not 100% dead yet. I am still producing some insulin and not having gluten in my diet is allowing my body to use that small amount of insulin better.
Posted by Emily On April 27, 2017
I have very hopeful results to share on my gluten-free diet! I’ve only been gluten-free for about 24 hours, but I’m already seeing interesting, promising results.
Let’s talk numbers! This may only interest me, but I’m finding my results absolutely fascinating.
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
I tested my blood glucose (BG) at my brother’s house with a result of 522.
Friday, April 7, 2017
I have all my supplies (insulin, glucometer, plan for how to administer insulin based on BG prior to each meal). For the following week, my BG numbers looked like the following.
|Pre- Meal BG||Carbs||Insulin||Pre-Meal BG||Carbs||Insulin||Pre-Meal BG||Carbs||Insulin||Bedtime BG|
|Sunday||236||?||4||114||?||2||204||?||4||235||Low @ 9pm|
|Monday||209||?||4||95||?||0||142||?||2||211||Low @ 8pm|
You may not notice a theme, but the BG are too high (<150 is goal). There is also a disconnect with the BG before the meal and what I intend to eat at the current meal. With this plan, I was dosing my insulin only based on my BG at the beginning of the meal. This is protocol so as to not overwhelm the patient who is new to diabetes.
This is not my first rodeo, folks. So I pressured my doctor to add carb counting to my management on Thursday, April 13, 2017. They were still hesitant, not wanting to overwhelm me, but I won (or really we won, Dan and I). We left that appointment with my first carb/insulin ratio to hopefully adjust at each meal for the current BG and the carbs I’m about to eat.
Side note: I’m not sure my endocrine office knows what to do with Dan and I. I think we’re a bit intense for them. 🙂
Here are my results after the 4/13/17 meeting:
|Pre- Meal BG||Carbs||Insulin||Pre-Meal BG||Carbs||Insulin||Pre-Meal BG||Carbs||Insulin||Bedtime BG|
|Monday||174||22||1||93||73||2||154||38||1||155||Started working out|
Overall, you’ll notice the BG numbers are way lower, mostly <150. Woot! Progress! Carb counting is obviously working, and the doctors are pleased. I continue on this course until I find the article I mentioned in my last post.
I started eating gluten-free at lunch on Tuesday, April 25, 2017. Here are my results so far:
|Pre- Meal BG||Carbs||Insulin||Pre-Meal BG||Carbs||Insulin||Pre-Meal BG||Carbs||Insulin||Bedtime BG|
|Wednesday||140||27||0||89||60||0||117||20||0||86||AM workout, 3 lows during the day|
So these are still higher than your average non-diabetic person, but what the what?!? To be clear, the above lunch and dinner on Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday were all gluten-free.
I also take a long acting insulin that’s not recorded in the charts above. I had 3 low episodes yesterday so I think my need for that insulin is decreasing. I usually take 7 units, and today I took 5 units.
I don’t know if this is a fluke or if my insulin will continue to decline. It’s exciting though!
Posted by Emily On April 26, 2017
I have always believed these gluten free diets that abound today are a bunch of hooey. It really goes deep into my worldview. I believe God created the whole world for us. I believe it provides good food in season when we need it. I believe wheat is good for us.
I believe in moderation. I believe in eating whole foods (so if you buy it in a box or bag at the grocery store, it is most likely not good for you).
Thanks to a good friend watching out for me, I came across this article this week: Remission without insulin therapy on gluten-free diet in a 6-year old boy with type 1 diabetes mellitus.
What the what?!?! A gluten-free diet caused this boy’s body to stop attacking it’s beta cells. Seriously?!?! He was able to halt the killing of his pancreas by changing his diet.
A little back story: Dan and I like to watch documentaries, particularly ones on food/diet/health. We strong believe in the power of good food on the body. One of the documentaries did a study on curing cancer through diet. In summary, they were able to halt the production of cancer cells within the body by changing the patient’s diet. I was very compelled by this study, and I told Dan, “If I’m ever diagnosed with cancer, I’m finding this doctor and signing up for this treatment. Why would I not want to change my diet to save my life?”
So here I am today, with a life-threatening (if not managed through medicine or some form) disease that has the potential to be treated through diet.
How can I not try it?
Gluten-free…here I come!
Circling back to God’s goodness providing food on this earth, I am questioning parts of my worldview. Here’s where I’m at now:
- Sin in our fallen world – This takes several forms one possibly being that NOT all food is good for us. I don’t know this for sure, just a guess. The biggest agrument in my mind is that every culture has a basic grain that provides the basis of their diet. How did ours turn against us? This leads me into my next point…
- Sin nature in humans – We are greedy, self-centered people and our corporations are run by human with these tendencies. We farm for profit, and we do all we can to ensure profit: GMO’s, pesticides, unnatural crop rotation, highly processed food, unnatural by-products in our foods (high fructose corn syrup!!!), etc.
I know I’m out there in my views on food. I believe it was all created good, but we messed that up. I’d love to hear your side if you disagree.