Mental Illness & Me

This is always a tough topic for most people to talk about and I am no exception. I really wish I had some of my posts from my blogs from the worst phase, depression wise in my life. They would really provide me with some insight I think into the way my mind works sometimes and maybe some insight for other people in my life to see where I was then and where I am now. I don’t want to say that it is all a thing of the past for me, because it is not. I still and always will suffer from depression, anxiety and panic disorder. It’s not something I think that will ever 100% fully will go away for me.

However, that being said I think I am at one of the best points I have ever been in my life in regards to mental illness and me. That doesn’t mean I don’t still get depressed and have bad thoughts. Not talking suicidal, I have not had those in many many years. I do still sometimes think very negatively about some things that have happened to me past or present. Much like anyone would I guess. I don’t want to say I suffer from PSD because I don’t but sometimes I do have a little bit of stress from past traumas or past life experiences that have affected me. I’m not really going to get into detail about them right now. I’m not sure if there is posts about them on this blog or not but feel free to dig if you want to know. I can’t honestly remember what’s there.

I still have days where I do not want to get out of bed or that I feel things are hopeless or that it will never go away. But I think my depression has changed and evolved a little bit. Now it is more situational. I get depressed or anxious more when I think about certain things then just always feeling depressed or anxious. I think also now that I am married, I have someone to share it with that I feel 100% comfortable sharing with and who feels for me in a way no one ever has. Someone that gets me in a way no one ever has and that helps. Someone who experiences my highs and lows and just rolls with it and works with me to help me learn how to deal with my emotions. If you have someone supportive in your life it helps. I only wish everyone could have some but realize that sometimes some people aren’t so lucky.

If I am having a problem at work or at home I still dwell on it more then is healthy. I over analyze and get frustrated and angry very easy. More them most people? Well, who am I to say. Everyone is different. Even situations in my own life though seeming similar to past situations may not be the same from one time to the next. And I also worry so much about things that are beyond my control. Before my depression was a constant in my life that I could always depend on to be there. It was something familiar that I just took for granted would always be there.

Then I had a few years where it was almost non-existent. I even thought I was cured and no longer needed medication. I am now resigned to the fact that even though I am not on and do not need medication at the present that I may in fact need it in the future at some point. I also realize fully that I may not and that there are so many factors that go into it that it is impossible to predict and that if I do need to go back on medication for my depression, anxiety or panic attacks at some point down the road that it is not a failure but in fact the exact opposite. It is a win. Why? Well because to me failing to notice and/or denying there is an issue, that would be more of a failure then recognizing I need help. It’s okay to need help, but it is imperative to ask for it and not to just wait for it to be offered.

Exercising & Walking

I’ll be honest, I am doing up a couple posts at a time and scheduling them as I know I will not have time during the week days. Friday and Saturday are my days off, Edwards too. I am not aiming to make this a diabetes blog but it’s what’s on my mind right now. I want to go into a bit more detail about one of my May goals.

Since I am now taking the bus back and forth to work I am walking to the bus stop and back. Which I will be honest about as well, it is not far. 4 minutes and then I get off at Scotia Square Mall and just walk into the mall through the food court and upstairs via the stairs, elevator or escalator depending on my mood. Going home I have to walk a litte further since I take a different bus home and have to walk about 7 minutes to my bus stop from the mall. I also walk around the mall a lot just to increase my steps and my walking time. My phone is a Samsung Galaxy G6 with the Samsung Health app on it which I am hoping to utilize more. I am getting about 30-45 min walking a day and about 3500-7000 steps a day.

I want to aim for 1 hour and 10,000 steps. To start anyways. I would like to add more exercise in other forms as well. I am considering a gym again or the Canada Games Centre which I previously a few years ago had a membership for. For now though I had previously set my goal to half the recommended which was 30 min walking/5000 steps. I am consistently doing that now and more. I have set it now to 45 min/7000 steps. Once I consistently meet that which I hope to do in a week or two. I will increase to 1 hour/10,000 steps. I am trying to figure out ways in my everyday activities to increase my walking time and steps without necessarily going out for a specific walk, which I would like to do as well. Once I get the bus route down to work and back (just started taking it last week) I will start walking a few extra stops on the way to work so that I am walking 2-3 stops beyond mine. I don’t want to do that at night when I come home at 9:45 PM for safety sake. My area is safe enough but still.

I am hoping to get Eddie and I up and out walking for an actual walk 2-3 times a week to start for an hour each time just around here. There is lots of walking paths at the end of our street as well as it’s a very residential and rather safe area (despite not wanting to walk it alone at night) with lots of streets to make walking loops on. I can easily map out a 5k, 10k and 15k walk with MapMyWalk. So I am hoping to go once each weekend and at least 2 times during the week working up to just about every day.

There is a Gym in Bedford called Fit4Less which is a 15 min drive (opposite direction to my work unfortunately) which has two memberships $4.99 biweekly (for one location) up to $10.99 biweekly (for any location across Canada, shareable with family) for a membership. I have been considering it. $4.99 biweekly for each of us is not bad. Eddie said he would go. But I am concerned time wise if we have time. Closer to us (literally at the end of our street through a path and a ball park is the Canada Games Centre which I previously had a yearly membership for which is $23.35 biweekly for me and $13.22 biweekly for Edward however it has a gym and so much more, there is pools, 2 waterslides, saunas, a hot tub, weight room, indoor track and a field house and other stuff I am likely missing. I am really wanting that more then Fit4Less and it is much closer and would be easier to get in an hour in the morning before work a few days a week and on the weekends anytime.

My only concern with either is will we use it. The membership I had before I used for a while and then just kind of stopped going and ended up cancelling. As they are both yearly memberships I want to make sure we will both use it. With paths, side walks, a ball park and outdoor track etc at the end of our street (all part of the Canada Games Centre but free to use outside) I don’t know if it is worth paying. However we might only use it in the summer. I love to swim. I love waterslides. That is what really makes me want to get the Canada Games Membership more then the Fit4Less one. I want the access to the pools and slides and indoor track etc.

I have been on the fence for months about it. It’s a lot to shell out if we get stuck in a one year contract and end up not using it. I am really craving the exercise for a lack of a better term. I really loved the Canada Games Centre once I got over my initial fear of exercising in front of strangers. I am not sure if Edward would feel the same as I did in the beginning. He says he’d go. I just have to talk us both into it and have to set aside the money to do it.

May Goals

Today’s a double post day. As I mentioned in my post earlier today I want to do a monthly post on my goals for the upcoming month. So I decided I would do two different posts one in the morning and one in the evening.

Here is a list of my May 2018 goals.

  1. Walking – By the end of May I would like to be walking 10,000 steps/1 hour walking a day and two 5-7 km walks each week. The longer walks would likely be more on the weekends then the rest of the week but I don’t see why we can not get a walk in before we start work. It’ll mean getting to bed earlier and getting up earlier which would be good for us anyways.
  2. Blogging – I would like to post at least 2 times each week even if the posts are written at the same time and scheduled through out the week.  I have been looking for a WordPress plugin with a daily prompt on the dashboard. I remember one that I had installed sometime in the past but can not find it. I find it hard sometimes to come up with things to write about but I really want to challenge myself to write about what is happening in my life and about things that are important to me. Not so much for anyone else but for myself.
  3. Blood Sugar – I would really like to get my blog sugar under better control. I would like to keep it within my target range as much as possible which is 4.6 to 7.8. I have mentioned this in a previous post I think however I even though I got my A1C down to 6.1 which is pretty good for a diabetic. I want to keep it there or even lower it a bit more and also get myself in my target range more often. I really feel like a failure when I spike up above 7.8 and I also feel stupid when I go below 4.6 because that means I am not being careful.

What are your goals?

Insulin & Glucose Monitoring

I am such a baby sometimes. I hate pain. I hate pricking my fingers to test my blood sugar, hence the Freestyle Libre FGM (Flash Glucose Monitor) on my arm. There have been points in my journey so far with learning how to control my blood sugar levels where I have literally had panic attacks when trying to or thinking of checking my blood sugar  with my Contour Next One or giving myself an insulin injection. It’s not so bad now that I am only taking Basaglar once a day and only need to test when my blood sugar levels are changing rapidly  or don’t match how I feel and otherwise can just scan my arm.

When checking my blood sugar with my blood glucose meter instead of the FGM I found it quite painful each and every time I tested. My fingers were a mess as I imagine any diabetics who doesn’t use a FGM or CGM would be and who tests often. They were bruised and sore and sometimes when I pricked my finger and got no blood and so I would squeeze it would not only come out of the hole I just punctured but also sometimes out of old ones as well. It got so painful I would skip checking and wait until I felt really horrible before checking which is why I decided I wanted to see if Manulife would cover the Freestyle Libre and asked my doctor about it after his receptionist who uses it told me about it. Now when I have to use my old machine to test since I do it only occasionally I find I’m not as hesitant and somehow it doesn’t seem to hurt as much.

As for insulin injections I find that they really hurt almost all the time. If the needle itself doesn’t hurt going in then the insulin burns like hell when injecting it. Very rarely is it pain free. I only inject in my stomach because that was the only place they taught me to. I watched videos on my own of injecting into the outer thigh and in the back of the arms but to be honest I am not flexible enough for the back of my arms and am terrified it will hurt, which it might not since out of the 8 or 9 Libre sensors I have applied only the last one I did a few days ago hurt or bled, it did both. The other ones not one of them hurt or bled more then a tiny bit under the sensor. As far as the outer thigh I tried one leg once and thought I was going to pass out from the pain. Then again I am a bit of a wuss.

In the stomach the injections hurt most of the time but at least I am used to it hurting and know what to expect. They welt which is likely the Dermatogrphia according to the endocrinologist I was seeing and the allergy specialist. At least it didn’t end up being an allergy to the insulin like they initially feared. They also bruise often and I get large lumps. I am chubby around the waist area which I was told would lessen the pain but it doesn’t really seem to. The insulin I am on I read can burn a lot more then some of the others. It’s kind of hit or miss.

Another issue I find is I am really unsure about dosing and when to increase or decrease my insulin. My doctor started me on 50 units of Basaglar because I was on 60 of twice a day Levemir (I don’t remember how much in the morning and how much at night but together it was 60 units a day) and because of the welts which would itch something crazy so he switched me to Basaglar. After reading horror stories of it not working or major reactions to it or it burning like crazy which it can sometimes I wasn’t overly enthused but it does seem to have worked.

It worked to well at first, 50 units was too much. I think the 60 of Levemir was too much as well. I was told as a Type 2 diabetic I would require more insulin then a Type 1 typically as a Type 1 diabetic especially younger Type 1 diabetics are not insulin resistant like I am that they just don’t produce it and that I likely do but am resistant to it and therefor need more because my pancreas either doesn’t create enough or that it was not being utilized by my body correctly (or something like that). It’s all rather confusing to me.

Either way. I am still unsure of dosing. I decreased it myself as no one really told me to but I knew it was too much when I was having 3-4 or more hypo’s each day. I was going down as low as 2.4 mmol which is way too low and was frequently under 4.0 mmol. I find anything under 4.5-4.7 and I start getting symptoms of a low. Not sure if that is right or not but that is what it seems so I have decreased it down to 32 units each night before bed. I did this on my own by decreasing 2 units each night if I had 2 days in a row with more then 1 low. I just googled it to be honest. I mentioned this to my family doctor and he said 32 was fine and agreed to decrease or increase it by 2 units if I went to low to often (I didn’t count it if I did something stupid like forgetting to eat, etc). And up 2 units if I had mornings in a row that I was over 6 mmol when I woke up.

Right now I am staying mostly between 4.3 and 9.0. But I would like to try and get the 9.0 which is mainly after meals or if I snacked a bit to much down by controlling what I eat better and exercising more. I know that exercising which I admit I don’t do much of could change things more because I may be lower overall if I get more exercise throughout the day which I am by walking more.

I find it frustrating that I am not getting much support by my doctors. I don’t know if I have too many or too little people helping me honestly sometimes I think too many and to much is getting lost between them with no or little communication or if it is to little because the Endo is no longer following me since I am not pregnant and am where she wanted to get me to before getting pregnant so now she does not want to see me again until I am pregnant which is a whole other ball game and a whole other post for another day. If you are new to my blog and don’t know you can look back through some of my TTC posts. Even though there is more to it then what I have blogged since well it’s been a year and a half since my post a few days ago and the one before it.

Right now I feel overwhelmed with information I have gotten from reputable sources (I don’t look at the others I go to sites like the Mayo Clinic or the American, British or Canadian Diabetes associations and some of the other well known better sourced sites) as well as information I have gotten from support groups on facebook and blogs which I know to take with a grain of salt and to research and check with my doctor or pharmacist who is a diabetes educator and was trying to help me sort through some of my confusion this winter and last summer when I first started insulin.

I started out with NovoRapid first 3 times a day (meals) around this time last year and then they added in Novolin NPH twice a day and then they switched kinds and at one point dropped the NPH and just did the Novorapid again and then the added Levimir and said that I was controlling it enough and with the issues I was having with the welts and itchyness they said I could just do the Levemir and then at some point in the last 3 months switched that to the Basaglar.

I am happy with the Basaglar and hope that I do not have to start taking the NovoRapid again (the only one I do not have a reaction to) but I guess only time will tell. In 3 months I have to have my A1C repeated and if it’s high I will have to go back on it again. So hopefully I can figure out the eating right, the exercising, and the insulin and glucose monitoring. I would have thought after a year of insulin and 18 months of glucose monitoring I would have figured it out by now.

Work vs Life Balance & the Freestyle Libre

I’m not sure why I keep paying for hosting or to keep this domain since I just don’t really feel the need to blog like I used to. I’m just too busy. Edward and I both leave for work at 12:20 PM and catch the bus and by the time I get home at 11 PM and take my insulin, change and head out in the car to pick Eddie up for Midnight and drive home it is almost 12:40 AM. We sleep 7 or 8 hours get up and do it all over again. That’s been the last year and a few months in a nutshell.

At first I was working 3 PM to 11 PM and was able to get discounted parking at $76 a month but then I requested an earlier shift at my doctors suggestion to help regulate when I ate supper and had my afternoon and evening breaks before and after supper because I was on both short and long acting insulin. Testing my blood sugar when I woke up and went to bed and before and one hour after every meal. They put me on a 1:45 PM to 9:45 PM shift with a 3 PM break, 5 PM lunch and 7:30 PM break which works out pretty nicely except that now I get to work about 1 to 1:15 Pm because I like being early and discount parking doesn’t start till 2 PM at Scotia Square’s Parkade. So I switched to taking the bus back and forth to work as the non-discounted parking is something like $200 a month with taxes.

It means using less gas, less wear and tear on the car and also more walking (walking to the bus stop, being outside more) and generally getting a bit more exercise so that part is a plus but I have to leave at 12:20 PM to get there by 1:08 PM for my 1:45 and when I leave at 9:45 the next bus is not till 10:23 PM which gets me home about 11 PM. So it’s a bit of a trade off. Bus passes are like $78 a month so only $2 more then parking. It’s just I could have left around 12:45 and got home by 10:15 If I drove.

There is no like work vs life balance really. Our weeks are taken up so much by work and getting to and from work that we have time for nothing else. When I worked at a place that had free parking and when I was on day or rotating shifts I found I could typically get more time to have a life and do things on the days I worked. So right now we are really living for the weekends lol.

I shouldn’t really complain. I get paid more then most people I know, more then my husband by about $6 an hour and because of me we have health benefits that cover 80% and dental that covers 90%. As well as I have short term disability benefits that cover 100% for a certain number of weeks and then 66.67% for the remainder until I am back at work and since I have been hospitalized twice since I started working there a little over a year ago and had to go on short term benefits 3 times in a year and 3 months I am really extremely lucky there.

Because of my benefits I was able to get this. It’s been’s a wonderful tool to have, the Freestyle Libre flash glucose monitoring system. After installing the sensor on the back upper arm you can just scan it whenever you want to see what your blood sugar is. Took me a little bit to get the hang of using it but now I use it almost exclusively and only test when it shows I am rapidly going low or high and even then when going low I know it. I can feel it and can act to catch it before it happens because the arrow shows me going low and then within minutes I feel symptoms. I admit I scanned like 35 times a day in the beginning. I was paranoid it was not working as I didn’t understand the 10-15 min delay and how to spot trends but now I can accurately use it to dose. Even though I still use my Contour Next One to double check.

I was able to bring my A1C down from 8.2% to 6.1%. With 8.2 that means my average blood sugar was about 11.9 mmol/l (215 mg/dl) and I brought it down to 6.1 which means average of 7.8 mmol/l (140 mg/dl). My target right now is I would like to get below 5.6% for my A1C and keep it there. But as with a lot of diabetics it will likely fluctuate I will likely go up and sometimes down. I just have to really use the Freestyle Libre and I am also going to try signing up for and using the LibreView software which I am going to sign up for after this blog post to see if I can figure it out. There is so much more I can be doing with it like recording insulin, carbs, exercise and using the charts to determine where I need to make more changes.

At the beginning of this post I said I don’t know why I keep paying for hosting and keep this domain but maybe I can use it to connect with other bloggers who are diabetic either type 1 or 2. I always loved the support you could receive in the blogging community and have been blogging for over 18 years. In fact I bought this domain in 2008 though I do not remember the month so this blog is now in it’s 10th year or almost in it’s 10th year! Wow