When you can’t find one that fits, make your own

After checking out one logging sheet and book after the other, I finally came to the conclusion there is nothing out there suitable for what I want.

I need a flexible sheet that I can edit with more or less entries, add new columns to when the time calls for it, make easy to read graphs with, and all without the fuss of having to lug through a ridiculously stuffed sheet or an app with a nightmarish UI that makes my head spin. Simple, clean and flexible is what I want, but often struggle to get.

No more! After spending most of my Saturday morning playing around and making something useful, I present my personalized Food & Glucose Sheet.

The “Food” and “Notes” columns expand and wrap text so you can write as much as you like without messing anything up. As I only take insulin once a day, I feel comfortable using the notes section to log it and my oral meds, but if I switch to bolus I can easily add a new column to track my insulin usage there. (You could too if you want this sheet.) New rows can be added freely, even between existing entries, without disrupting any of the data (as long as the time stamps make sense of course). If you log a hyper (10+ mmol/L) or a hypo (-4mmol/L), the entries will be color coded for easy spotting when reviewing later on.

You can edit your hyper/hypo ranges in the Conditional Formatting for the Glucose columns if your targets differ.

The tables will automatically show your total carb consumption for the day as well as the average of your glucose readings. There is room to log your weight every day as well. The graphs are optional but can be copied and modified next to a new day table. While this sheet is not composed of minimalist data, it can be printed quite nicely if the graphs are copied at the same size for each day. I recommend these settings to save as PDF and to then print the PDF (or email it to your healthcare team, save some trees!):

exporttopdfThe sheet is versatile. Values don’t get messed up if you don’t use a column for the day. Some days I will use this only to track my diet, other days I will track everything.

Some basic knowledge of Excel / Google Sheets is required if you want to make edits. This is not a one size fits all and it’s not really meant to be. Adding rows in the middle of a day is sometimes necessary. Some days you might test 10 times and need to record every step. This sheet will accommodate you plenty if you know how to use the basic functions. Graphs are a good visual tool, but you need to know how to select the ranges (time + glucose) to make it work. The sheet is optimized for mmol/L but you can easily change it to mg/dl through some basic editing.

If you grabbed your own copy and need some help, let me know! If it’s not too much work I will happily help you make some changes. 🙂

Did you find this useful? What’s your favorite way to track your dietary intake and glucose values?

The first shot is in!

Whoo boy, today was a ridiculously stressful day for me. I woke up feeling anxious as all hell and wanting to not go out because of what I had to do. But I did it!

This morning I set out to my doctor’s office and was shown how to use the insulin pen. At first I got to practice on a little box with a ‘skin’ on top that emulates what it feels like to insert the needle. The pen is filled with water, not real insulin, for practicing purposes. That went well. Then I got to put on a new clean needle and insert it without injecting anything. It was as good as painless to my surprise! We talked a little more and then I was on my way to group. (To be clear, I did not do my injection at that point yet.)

I spent the better part of the afternoon there. After lunch my glucose levels were definitely in the okay range, likely thanks to the ridiculous heat we’re experiencing right now. Being stuck in a heat weave seems to be the only thing keeping my values down, geeshe. (I guess that’s kind of a good thing when your GL is consistently too high though!) I left to go home without snacking (good going, me) and was heading towards a hypo once I’d come home from my cycling adventure.

Had a snack to bump my GL back up, ordered dinner (Greek food whoop!) and I waited for 8pm to draw near. That’s the time I’ve decided to do my daily basal injections. Deep breaths. I was in full on adrenaline rush mode by the time that time hit. My heart raced, my hands felt unsteady, I was dizzy. I mean, it might be the heat, but that feeling in my stomach is definitely a sign of being too nervous.

I prepped the insulin pen like I’d done earlier that day. I remembered the instructions. I set the dose. I squirted 3 units out of the needle to ensure the pen was functioning. I inserted the needle and immediately felt a burn that I didn’t feel this morning. Oh, right, I just squirted some insulin out of this needle so that’s probably why it’s already stinging. Okay, so far so good. Once in it didn’t hurt. I adjusted my grip on the pen four times before very slowly pushing down the button to inject the insulin.

There was some very mild burning and stinging, but nothing I can describe as pain. Kind of like putting some icy hot on my tummy, you know? I held down the button and counted to 10. Toujeo lets you count to 5, but I want to be double sure that I’m doing this right. Then I started pulling out the needle without releasing the button, stopped halfway, released and pulled it out all the way.

That was it. I was shaking so badly from the ridiculous tension I’d built up for myself over what turned out to be a minor inconvenience at best. It wasn’t painful. Yes, I felt it, but it’s nothing compared to the back pain I endure every day. Once my adrenaline had crashed I got incredibly dizzy and short of breath. Great that Toujeo’s allergic reactions are at least 50% consistent with panic attack symptoms! I was Skyping with a friend who helped me feel calmer about it because it was very obviously just my anxiety kicking me in the balls, ugh. I’ve been tense for a week now and having panic attacks, is it any wonder I’m feeling like crap after riding an adrenaline high for two hours?

I checked my glucose levels again, 2 hours after dinner: 5.3 mmol/L. Okay, that’s pretty low but nothing that I can’t explain: my greek food was greasy, I know this delays carb absorption. And I definitely did not have too few carbs. I went to do my thing, melting in the heat inside my apartment; the building retains heat very well and we need some rain to help it cool off. An hour later I test again and I’m going upwards to 6.6 mmol/L. Good! It’s climbing, that’s great.

As it’s a basal injection once a day, I don’t have to worry too much. Toujeo is designed to reduce a hypo after injection. I’m going to have a snack before bed just to be sure, but I’m noting down two curve days for my doctor sometime these coming 7 days. I’m very tired, but proud I overcame my panic attack and did it. I’m proud that I’ve started a journey to a better health and a better life!

Bonus: my doctor also had this ADORABLE pen case for my insulin. My glucometer also looks like a 2000’s MP3 player lol.

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It’s been a 2 year struggle

The time has finally come: I’m going to be on insulin injections.

I had my appointment with my diabetes doctor today. After not eating or drinking in the 10 hours prior to the appointment, after biking to the doctor’s office on an empty stomach, my glucose level came in at a whopping 9.5 mmol/L. My A1C went up a little again from what it was last time. It was very evident to her that my insulin production is simply too low at this point. No surprise there, we both knew I’d get here eventually, being a type 1.5 diabetic. She offered me two options.

1. I could continue with my medication, up the glicladize dosage (the one that stimulates insulin production) and hope for the best.

2. I could get started on insulin, which means all supplies and medication gets covered by the insurance company. I’ll be able to monitor 5-6 times a day and have a long-term 24h working injection once a day to start with. In 6 weeks we’ll see how I’m doing, and if necessary we can move on to multiple injections a day to deal with the peaks during mealtimes.

I told her I was more interested in option 2, simply because I feel like I have no control over what my body does and can’t monitor it properly on medication alone (insurance doesn’t cover the glucometer strips if I’m not insulin dependent, which means I use the strips sparingly at best). Injections and frequent tests allow me to adjust my diet and exercise regime more accurately than a “pop a pill and hope for the best” approach.

I got a prescription for Toujeo which I picked up this morning on the way back home. I will be getting a new glucometer shortly. I have an appointment with my doctor on Friday morning, where she’ll show me how to use the injections. Then we’re going to do another blood test after 6 weeks to see how my body’s adjusted to the insulin and go from there.

It’s very exciting and a little scary. I don’t mind needles, but it’s all very new and very life changing! I am very grateful I had two years to adjust to the idea that this day would come. I’m grateful that I was able to spend two years getting things under moderate control on medication. Even better, I’m otherwise still healthy and doing well without diabetic complications, and I hope that a tighter control on my condition will make that last even longer.

Here’s to a new chapter in my life, hopefully a positive one!

Brief notice

Just a few quick notes:

  • I changed my blog’s theme! I felt it was time for a change. I adore mermaids and a sea theme fits perfectly with that!
  • The artwork in the header was drawn by me (from scratch, I am an artist), but it belongs to The RP Repository. It placed in a contest and they own it now, but I was allowed to use it on my blog as long as I give credit (which I do in the sidebar). 🙂
  • I really want to exercise today, but my period started and it didn’t start slow like usual. Instant kick in the uterus, ugh. I think I’ll forfeit my undoubtedly extremely uncomfortable stationary bike ride and go for a walk instead, possibly after dinner. I don’t need a pushed to the limit exercise routine, but I do have to stop myself from being stationary too much!
  • I’m doing well with my little diary on the side, keeping track of some of my activities and what I eat.
  • Gotta keep an eye on my bank account, as soon as my money comes in I have to order new glucometer test strips. I’m running low and would like to have some before the beginning of next week.

Yeah, I think that’s it! Isn’t it wonderful how writing down some things can help you sort your day?

That’s a bummer.

Fasted for a minimum of 9 hours. Glucose level at 11 mmol/l. I tested again 2 minutes later and it’s at 11.8. Now there’s a possibility the device may be malfunctioning, or my enthusiasm from yesterday simply stemmed from the fact I hadn’t really eaten much prior to my test. Who knows? Perhaps it’s the gliclazide that’s lowering my levels during the day, as I only take 1 pill in the morning and it wears off eventually.

Next Friday I have another fingerprick test at the office. I’ll bring my meter and test with it to compare results with their device. I did test from different fingertips and who knows, my technique may be wrong?

Either way this kind of put a damper on things for me. I was excited at having the meds work, and if this reading is accurate they don’t. Argh! This is going to drive me up the wall. I have to hold back from checking my levels obsessively throughout the day now.

I think it’s time for some mother-effing breakfast. Damnit.

Edit: After poking around a little I noticed meters can have a 10-20% discrepancy, which would explain the difference in the readings. Slightly put at ease but still taking the damn thing with me on my next test.