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  • Writer's pictureErin Spineto

Just Another Diabetes Fail

As we prepare for the One Drop Caicos Adventure in June 2017, we are doing a ton of training. These training diaries are stories from the field and things I have learned from my time in training.

With only eight weeks left until we take off for the One Drop Caicos Adventure, my weekend training sessions are starting to max out. Sunday’s paddle was three and a half hours and, at that length, things start to change with my diabetes.

The morning started off great. My overnight blood sugars were hovering right around 100 all night. I woke up and had a bagel and two veggie sausages.

I halved my bolus for the meal thinking that I didn’t want too much Humalog firing off while I was paddling, but I forgot to take into account that it was early morning and I am more insulin resistant in the mornings.

Most of my long paddles have been in the afternoon, which requires a different plan. But the wind was supposed to be unruly that afternoon and I wanted to get some time on the water before everyone showed up.

By the time I got to the lagoon I was already 211. I didn’t correct for it for the same reason as before, which was pretty dumb.

I had planned on bringing my pump with me in a waterproof bag in case I needed to correct over the three plus hours, but forgot in the midst of collecting all of my other gear. I left it neatly wrapped up on the car seat.

The lagoon was just as I had expected, calm and nearly vacant. Only a few hard-core paddlers out that early.

My nutrition plan while on the water is to stop every hour for a Gu Stroop Waffle. They have 23 carbs and a few grams of fat and protein. On land I would bolus a unit for one, but while paddling I usually don’t have to.

Two hours into my paddle and I was still hovering around 220 which isn’t too bad. But, after two hours, things start to get a little wacky.

On a normal cardio workout my blood sugars will trend downwards. So I do the usual things to keep them up; cut my basal, reduce my bolus for carbs and drink plenty of Gu Roctane.

But if I am pushing hard for over two hours, they often will start to rise. So after two hours of hard paddling they began to climb. And my insulin was in the car.

I wasn’t about to cut my workout short. I had to get in my hours. And it was the first day where the weather was perfect summer weather.

I woke to a bright and clear sky beckoning me to get on the water. By the time I dipped my feet in the salt water, it was in the mid-seventies. Perfect practice for the type of weather we will have in the islands.

The wind was calm, which I never get to experience. I typically paddle on weekend afternoons, after my husband has finished his multiple-hour triathlon training in the morning. By that time of day the winds have picked up to ten to twelve knots and make it a struggle to even keep moving forward.

The lagoon that morning was perfect and I was determined to enjoy every minute of this paddle. I planned to finish up and then correct once I got back to the car.

After completing four loops of the lagoon, I picked up my board, limped back to my van, and strapped the board onto the roof rack. I checked my blood sugars and was so disappointed. 402.

Not exactly the payoff I was looking for after killing myself with exercise for over three hours. And feeling that high on top of feeling completely obliterated from paddling is not my idea of fun.

I grabbed my T:slim to get some insulin into my system to fight off that ugly high, and got a message, “All Deliveries Stopped.” My pump had overheated.

Just like if you leave your phone in the sun and it gets to temperatures where it won’t function, the T:slim will notify you if it is too hot. The good thing about that is if your pump is too hot to function properly, you also know the insulin is too hot.

With my old pump, I would have had no indication that things had gotten too hot. I would have tried to correct with the bad insulin and seen no results. Then I probably would have changed my site, corrected and waited. Then, finally, four or more hours later, I would have changed the reservoir.

Now, I knew right away my insulin was shot. I headed home to refill and then correct. Just one more reason I am stoked to be using the T:slim now.

After a quick cartridge change on the pump, I was off to my favorite post training food spot, Veggie Grill, with Tony. All the plant-based food you could hope for, and it actually tastes good. And to top it all off, it has a patio in the sunshine.

I fought off the desire to lay down on the table’s bench and sleep long enough to stuff down a chicken sandwich and fries. And then I was off to take a nap in the sun in my backyard while the insulin did it’s thing.

The ride back down to normal blood sugars after a super hard workout takes a few hours. The cortisol released when I pushed so hard takes a while to clear out of my system, and while it is still in there, I am insulin resistant.

By the time I woke up I was back in the normal range and ready to eat again. And ready to learn a few things from my mistakes.

I need to remember that morning workouts need more insulin. I need to get a Humalog pen to take with me on long paddles. And I need to keep my pump in a cooler on warmer days.

I’ll make sure to store those tidbits in the back of my mind so that next time will be better. Because every out of range number is not a judgment of your ability to do diabetes. It is just a result of one more scientific experiment that can better refine out tactics to defeat an ever changing enemy.

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