A few weeks ago, Bianca and I were lost for what to do on a Sunday. We
happened to walk past the Melbourne Exhibition Centre (yes, the one of
Diabetes Expo fame) and looked inside.
“Health and Wellness Expo”. Pfft.
“Free entry”. Ohh... what the heck. If there was any chance I
could improve my health and wellness it would be time well spent.
Nothing better to do anyway.
We weren’t particularly surprised by what we found. There must have been
about 50 clairvoyants. Healing crystals, dreamcatchers, tarot cards,
aromatherapy. I don’t mean to ridicule these things; I think many of
them do work, just not necessarily by the principles that the proponents
put forward. And that’s OK, because the real principles are so complex
and subtle that science is hopeless at describing them.
Of course there are things that are downright dangerous, or nothing more
than making money off the gullible. They’re not OK.
Anyway, there was a much wider variety than that, such as saunas,
beanbags, gluten-free, massage, and vegan meat (pretty good actually).
I saw someone up ahead holding out a little cup of almond milk, and
having recently become an almond milk convert (it tastes like milk but
has hardly any carbs! Almonds are like unicorns I swear) I was on the
lookout for what was available.
It was good. Really good. So smooth. I had a nice chat with the lovely
lady who seemed to know the additives in my previous brand off by heart
and sold me on the benefits of this product. I’m not going to repeat the
spiel here, as the claims aren’t mine to make. Do your own research. All
I claim is that I think it tastes better than other almond milks I’ve
It was a pleasure talking with her and she was so convincing that I just
assumed she was a salesperson. As it turns out, she actually started the
business, because of her own experiences with an autoimmune condition!
It’s called Almo and it’s becoming easier
and easier to find. It’s probably cheapest online but it’s stocked at
Harris Farm among other places if you want to try some.
I also got to try this Almo Creme stuff which is really nice.
because Bianca and I like almond milk doesn’t mean you will, but if
you’ve never looked into it, almond milk is really low in carbs! But
make sure it’s unsweetened.
We ordered two boxes of the stuff online, thinking they would last for
ages. (But we like it so much, our intake of milky beverages has
increased, so they’re going pretty fast.)
We made the order the day before we were due back, thinking it would
take a couple of days. Apparently delivery was attempted within a day.
We got one of these:
Then the drama began. I logged onto the Star Track site, and elected to go and pick
the stuff up directly. I was told I would receive a message shortly.
... nearly a week passes ...
While waiting and waiting we eventually got fed up (or rather,
dehydrated) and bought a bottle from Harris Farm. Then another.
Anyway, after nearly a week I called up Aus Post. They tell me that my
request was submitted but not actioned, and that they would resubmit for
me and I should hear back the same day.
The next evening, I called again. This time they put a case worker onto
it! I didn’t know they even had those. Apparently the depot in Botany
was not responding to the requests and needed someone to get on their
back. Fine by me.
Another day passes. I get a very apologetic call from my case worker who
explains that she’s in another part of Aus Post in Melbourne and is
doing everything she can from where she is, and that she will ramp up
Later that day, and over a week after it all started, I got a call
saying I can go pick it up. If I can find it. It’s in the most obscure
part of an out-of-the-way industrial complex full of trucks. I nearly
got hit by a truck when I tried to reverse out of a wrong turn.
Then I got to the depot and waited about half an hour for them to find
my package. They were very friendly people. They had trans-friendly
posters on the walls. But the delays were ridiculous.
I shouldn’t be so excited about this
My first Almo box!! (Well, two boxes.) Bianca and I are giddy. I know
it’s silly. I guess it’s just fun to be part of an adventure.
Good Bad morning everyone! I hope you slept better than I did,
although knowing diabetes I’m sure there are a couple of you who really
I lost count of how many times I was jolted awake by my CGM alarms last
night, but it was around 5. Lows and highs, as usual. Geting up to
treat lows several times.
I’m sleep deprived already, for various reasons, so when I woke up this
morning with that disgusting lazy tired angry lead-weight feeling, I was
Obviously I Do Not Want this to
happen again. Preferably ever (haaaah). The go-to approach is to try to
isolate the cause. Recent exercise? Pre-sleep carbs or insulin?
But... recently my insulin sensitivity has plummeted (4 units seem to
do what 1 unit did a couple of weeks ago), my basal needs have been
playing party politics (right, left, and independent!) and pretty much
nothing is stable so basically...
The way things have been going recently, the “diabetes debugging”
approach is futile. That’s when I resort to “diabetes tinkering”.
(Don’t do this at home.)
In plain English, that means that it is useless to try to find what
caused this problem; I just need to mess around with things until they
work. Which is actually fairly typical of MDI basal problems, although I
don’t think that’s the main factor at play here.
Over the last couple of weeks, my Levemir dose has been slowly migrating
from evening to morning. It was at around 8 in the evening and 2 in the
morning, and there was a complex dance including the addition of
a few units in the early afternoon, and an overall rise in total daily
basal, and now my evening basal seems intent to reach zero.
Such crazy things are happening—I’ve been steadily losing weight on
low-carb, which of course is supposed to increase insulin sensitivity.
The opposite has happened. People say their insulin needs drop when they
start low-carbing. Well, mine didn’t. (When I tried low-carbing for a
while years ago, insulin needs dropped maybe 60%.)
So once again,
Of course, I have been having snacks in the evenings, and being lazy
or making mistakes. And I’ve also started using a very different kind of
insulin (Afrezza). And my epilepsy medication hasn’t been consistent
recently. Those last two things scream for “diabetes tinkering”.
Plus, life is hectic. I feel like, because of this blog, I need to be an
example for others, or something.
But after all these years I haven’t managed to get to the point where
I can usually go “ahhh... it’s doing that thing again” and know what
to do about it. It’s like the space of diabetes configurations is
infinite and diabetes wants to explore them all.
Some people have it easier; some have it harder. Some can find carb
ratios and basals that more or less work for long periods of time.
Others are living on a roulette table that never stops spinning.
And it can change over time. In the years when my epilepsy was
untreated, everything would swing and flap around, weekly. Now it’s
not too bad—although I’m asking for trouble by changing diets and
insulins and psychotropic medication.
Did I have a point...? Oh that’s right—my diabetes is all over the place
and I wanted to share that with you, rather than hiding it.
PS I remembered that in one of my fitful dreams last night, I had a
compelling reason to remove a pillow from a pillowcase. I don’t remember
the reason but there was one. I thought it was just a dream. But I went
to the bedroom just now and I found this...
I expect this is a known psychological effect, or maybe it’s just me.
But I think it’s a psychological effect.
When you have two options to solving a problem, and one of them feels
out of the question, you can sometimes forget it’s still an option, no
matter how bad the problem gets.
Take Type 2 diabetes for example. Most people are terrified of insulin
injections, so they will choose diet/exercise/tablets and forget that
insulin is an option... no, wait, they won’t. Bad example.
It’s more in situations without an inevitable ‘last resort’. For example,
if a person hates the idea of a teacher’s wage, and becomes a lawyer or
software developer but ends up unhappy with their job, there’s a good
chance that it won’t even occur to them that they can change careers.
So here’s what happened to me.
Thanks to Lamictal, I shot up from being so crippled I could barely
work, into an intense, high-stress job in the space of a month. An
Due to the stress, I didn’t feel I could handle giving up the comfort
of my favourite foods. Due to the fast-paced job, I couldn’t afford
risking a loss in energy, cognitive function, mood, triggering epilepsy,
or changes to my medication needs.
So low-carb was considered, and deemed absolutely out of the question.
Diabetes was pretty terrible. Teaching has the same effect on blood
sugar as sporadic bursts of exercise—which for me are disastrous.
Stress levels were up and down, and we all know that stress hormones are
not easy to measure. My general routine was unpredictable. And I
comfort-eated. Ate. Whatever.
Low carb had already been discounted. Didn’t even occur to me. I just
got on with a roller coaster of bolusing and correcting and CGM alarms
and crappy sugars.
This got worse and worse. Stress built up. Diabetes got harder which
created more stress. I had a day here and there of extended exercise,
each time making diabetes wash out for a week. Possibly worst of all,
my intramuscular injections gradually became ineffective.
Low carb was still off my radar. I was trying to problem-solve some
diabetes related thing with Bianca’s help (as frequently happens) and
suddenly it hit me. Low carb was an option.
It became apparent that the status quo had become more out of the
question than low carb. Impossible, right?
So, grudgingly, I switched. Having done it years before, I knew what to
expect food-wise. And how limiting the options were for eating out.
Nothing bad happened. My cognitive function and energy levels did not
decline. My epilepsy seemed to be fine. It’s a pain to cook and clean
up, and food is much less fun. But in the last few weeks my sugar has
stopped being so out of control.
I do feel that, had a new option become available, I would have
jumped at it. But since low-carb was old and dismissed, it didn’t
even register. Well, for quite a while, anyway.