Las Vegas Route 91 Festival: My Story

The Las Vegas Route 91 Music Festival

I almost didn’t go. I almost sold my ticket to the Las Vegas Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. I can’t help but think that I would have felt worse if I would have sold it and someone would have had to go through what I did. The friend I was going to go with ended up unable to go. I was ready to sell my ticket when a friend told me her roommate, who I’d met a few times, didn’t have anyone to go with either. So we decided, “Why not? Let’s go!” and booked hotels and flights. I’ve been trying to do more this year, and not be afraid of the what if’s. Spend my money on experiences, not things. Take a chance. So I went.

An Interesting Start to the Trip

In my Lyft on the way to the airport, I realized my Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitor stopped working. For those of you that don’t know what this is, it tells me my blood sugar at all times through an app on my phone. I changed the site so many times trying to get it to work that I had to make the driver turn around and go get more sensors (sticky piece that inserts on my skin). I called Dexcom, only to sit on the phone for 30 minutes, twice, and be told I needed to put a new transmitter in (a piece that looks like a thumb drive and actually transmits the data, snaps into the sensor). I had grabbed the extra transmitter while I grabbed the extra sensors. Thank goodness. The only reason I was able to spend that much time on the phone with Dexcom was because my flight was delayed. My first bout of luck. I was frustrated, but wasn’t going to let this ruin my weekend!

I flew in earlier to met my boyfriend’s (Ryan) mom for lunch at the Wynn, since they live in Las Vegas. We took pictures of the elaborate flowers in the hotel, and talked about how intricately decorated and updated the hotel is kept. She told me tons of stories of the old Vegas, and we spent a few hours together.

Las Vegas

Once I met up with Natalie we quickly found we travel great together, and had an amazing time on Friday and Saturday. Some of Natalie’s friends from Stagecoach were also at Route 91, so we met up and ended up with them at some point each evening.

Las Vegas

Sunday Night

Jake Owen played and Natalie and I ventured up front and center, just as we had the night before. We met a random group and danced and laughed with them. After Jake Owen, we decided to get some food, and go find our group. Looking back, I am thankful I insisted we get food that night, because I had to have a turkey leg before the festival was over! Otherwise, we may have stayed in the middle of the crowd where we would have been trapped by people when things got scary.

Las Vegas

As Jason Aldean began to play, we stood with our group on the right side, kind of close to a bar, and a walkway. On the map below, it would be about O-P, 24-25.

Las Vegas

We took a few selfies, and I vividly remember Chris, the guy on the right below, mentioning how he used to hate pictures. But since someone close to him passed and he realized he didn’t have many photos, he takes more pictures so that he has them for memories. Kind of chilling, considering what unfolded.

The Chaos

10:05 pm: I remember the first rounds, looking behind me because they sounded like they were coming from next to the bar, on a walkway that went by VIP. I even said to one of the guy, “What kind of idiot brings firecracker poppers into a place like this? Someone could get hurt!” The second round, again which I thought were firecrackers, brought a pause in Jason before he played again. Only to have an “Oh shit!” moment when people started screaming and the shots kept going as he ran off stage. People started yelling to get down, and we all hunched down for cover. I remember looking towards the strip, thinking that’s where it was coming from. I remember a woman taking a video that thought it was funny, like, “look at these idiots.” Because I thought it was street level, I figured it couldn’t hit us through all the fences and bleachers and trailers as we huddled on the ground.

At some break in the gunfire, one of the guys with us pushed us to run towards the bar next to the stage. We sat up against the fence that ran along the edge of the stage. There was a man that was shot, that people were trying to shove into the trailer for protection. I thought he was for sure gone, as he was white as a ghost. I cannot express how happy I am to tell you as I write this, that he is alive. You can see half of the trailer on the far right of this photo, the little white rectangle in the middle of the picture:

Las Vegas

But then the shots kept coming. Still not knowing where it was coming from, I said to a woman, “I’m scared it’s going to come from the other side of this fence.” So the guys started to push people to move further from the Strip as the shots continued. In utter shock, people were moving slower than felt safe, so I told Natalie to run through some buckets full of beer behind the trailer bar. We took cover, in a pile of people, on the side of the trailer furthest from the strip. I kept thinking, why don’t the cops shoot this guy? Or just plain run him over with a car??? I even sent a few texts to Ryan’s mom asking if she knew what was happening on the strip. You can see the top of the trailer in this photo that literally saved my life. It’s in front of a fence, in front of other trailers. The black on the right side is the stage, to give some perspective.

Las Vegas

As I was behind the trailer I looked at the ground and saw an Omnipod (the part of my insulin pump that is attached to my body). At first it didn’t even register it was mine, I think I said, “Someone’s insulin pump fell off.” Until I felt my side and realized. It was mine. Little did I know this would be my saving grace later in the evening. I put my phone in my backpack at that moment as I kept getting jostled and my phone had dropped a few times. I am so glad we got backpacks (to carry snacks in, duh) as many, many lost their purses, phones, etc.

We continually looked to one of the guys for guidance. So when he said run, we booked it. He wanted to stay behind and help. This was 10:27 pm. 22 minutes after it all started, and 12 minutes after the gunshots had allegedly stopped. Fortunately, the gunfire was over and we did not have to dodge bullets like most had done as they ran. Unfortunately, that meant that on our run to the Tropicana (the entire length of the venue), we saw the leftover carnage. I hate that word. But I’m not sure what else to call it. Dead bodies? Sounds even worse. The pictures posted online don’t even begin to show what I saw. They are pretty G rated in comparison. This photo is G rated in comparison. But gives you a sense of what we literally ran through.

Las Vegas

I had a panic attack as we ran. It felt like a low blood sugar. I felt so heavy. So slow. Super shaky and unsteady, like I was going to pass out. It was onset when I saw this girl, around our age, just looking at us as we ran. But she wasn’t actually looking at us, because there was no life left behind her eyes, and the placement of the bullet hole told me why.

What else I saw, was so many people step up. Like it was their job, even though they were there to enjoy themselves just as we were. So many men lead us in the right direction on our escape route, told us to remain calm, that they would stay with us. It was amazing and honestly what I needed. I had no sense of where to go or what to do. I’m not even sure at what point I realized where the gunfire had been coming from.

After going through some bleachers and I’m sure over a fence that someone knocked down, we ran through a street, a parking lot, and were ushered into a conference room at the Tropicana. We ran upstairs and as we were running, I called my mom. I knew they were sleeping, so I called the house phone. I was so utterly confused I didn’t know what to tell her except that we were safe, and there was a shooting. I also called Ryan’s mom as I didn’t want her to be worried when she checked her texts in the morning. Ryan was deployed, so I helplessly sent an email as that is the only way I could reach him. I hoped he’d receive it before hearing what happened (but he didn’t).

We ended up in an upstairs portion of the Tropicana, not where rooms are, but shops and an elevator. We could look over a railing into the casino. I remember going into the women’s bathroom and there was a man in there with a hammer or a crow bar, mumbling a bunch of things about everyone needing to protect themselves. He was super creepy and not helping the situation at all.

At one point, everyone in the casino came running towards us on the upper level, screaming that there was a shooter in the casino. I have been told that someone dropped a glass or a car backfired or something. Who knows. Everyone was on edge. We hid out on a roof for a awhile, then came back inside.
After a bit, some of the guys appeared, shirtless and beltless, from using theirs as tourniquets on the injured. Later, the cops and hotel security came through, told everyone to keep their hands up as if they were sweeping for someone or something suspicious. It was then that I started to realize I needed to do something about my insulin situation.

I had insulin, but no syringes, as I don’t regularly use them. I also somehow had dumped a portion of my supplies out earlier in the day in another bag, so had no inhaled insulin either. I text a doctor that I work with, and told one of the guys, who flagged down a hotel worker. He led us to a cop, who walked us down to a ballroom where they were starting to have people congregate. Something odd that happened on that walk was, I distinctly remember the cop telling me it was happening other places too, and the only one I remember him saying was Paris. At the time I thought, Paris in France, but now I realize he meant, they thought there were shooters at other hotels.

When we got to the ballroom, we were met by EMTs and told them the situation. And then Natalie realized. They were part of the group we were goofing off with earlier during Jake Owen. Since they knew they would not have syringes anywhere in a locked down hotel, they told us to go to the hospital. One of the guys said “I put my wife in a car and sent her home as soon as we were on the Strip because who knows what other danger there is, or when you’ll be able to leave. This is your one chance to get off the Strip tonight. Take it.” He walked us, and another hysterical lady that had been hit her head, out towards the Strip. It was so very eerie. There was no one. But there were the lights. And it was silent. Another cop told us that unless we were shot, we would not be put in an ambulance, so the EMT offered to get his car out of the lot and drive us. A taxi pulled up though, randomly, and they put us in it.

We got to the hospital and they wouldn’t let us in. Only the critical could go into the hospital, and the non-critical were stuck waiting outside. I didn’t even want to go in anyways. I told a nurse I just needed a syringe and she brought me two and I was able to take an injection of Humalog.

The doctor I work with started calling in prescriptions for me for a short and long acting insulin. The first Walgreens we went to was on lockdown, so we had to go to one further out. Thank God that several Uber and Lyft drivers continued to work that night. Also, I was worried because I did not have my insurance information on me. My backup plan was to call my insurance, but was baffled when I only had a normal copay for the prescriptions. I’d just changed insurance providers. Somehow, Walgreens had the information even though I’d never filled with them with the new insurance. A prescription had accidentally been sent to them a month earlier. I was speechless.

Once we had my prescriptions and some essentials from Walgreens, we were wondering where we could spend the night. All the hotels were on lockdown and it was impossible to get to the Strip, back to our hotel. Somehow, some friends of Natalie were still awake and lived just outside Las Vegas. We were able to go to their house and they welcomed us with open arms. They’d just flown in on the last flight to land from San Diego that night, with a 10 week old puppy. And they already had another. I have never needed a puppy more in my life.

                               Las Vegas                           Las Vegas

The news was buzzing and I didn’t sleep all night. A lot was on the news that night that was legit information, and is no longer being talked about. It’s disheartening.

Turn’s out, Natalie’s friends lived near my boyfriend’s family in the suburbs of Las Vegas. His mom and dad picked us up the next morning and took us to our hotel to get our things, and then the airport. I was numb. I still couldn’t believe it happened. But it felt good to be around parents. I wanted to be home, but I was terrified of the airport, which turned out to be so anxiety provoking. At one point we had to freeze and not move for about 10 minutes. Every time they paged someone they used an alarm sound, and at one point I asked Natalie if we should go hide in the bathroom. My flight was somber, as it seemed like everyone had also been at the festival. There was even a man with a broken leg who couldn’t get seen in Vegas, so was coming home to go to the hospital.

The Aftermath

I am having a hard time knowing what to say when people ask if I’m ok. Physically, I am ok as I can be. Otherwise, I am struggling. I am having nightmares and not sleeping, making me irritable and spacey. I can’t concentrate and continually forget what I’m doing, where I am driving, or even to put on deodorant. I’m not thinking about it all day long either; my brain is just in a fog. But I see people functioning as normal and have a hard time comprehending; I feel like I’m in a purgatory, or operating on another planet. Lately it feels like this experience is a tumor inside of me, making my skin crawl, and I need it removed. But I am not quite sure how.

We were lucky. We made it out with only scrapes and bruises. Up until that very last set, the weekend had been amazing, and I was so high on life. But the images are seared in my memory and hard to forget. Even when I have a better day, my nightmares don’t allow me to forget that feeling of sheer terror. I wake up with it almost daily, on an adrenaline high, ready to run from whatever was in my dream. I am taking it day by day, going to a group support meeting, and seeing someone to talk about everything, but it is a slow process. I am grateful for the people I have had reach out with their love and support. It truly has been more than I could have imagined.

Las Vegas

Flying with an Insulin Pump: What Your Doctor Forgot to Tell You

Having an insulin pump has been a life-saver for me. It really has.  But flying within it has been an absolute nightmare that I had little warning about. Hopefully my experiences can help others have a more pleasant experience. And though I use an Omnipod, which has no tubing, this may also help others using a tubed insulin pump.

I fly probably 6-12 times/year. I’m actually flying as I write this. My blood sugar is also 50 at the moment. I’m eating maybe my 6th glucose tab, and I have already had at the least 60g of carbohydrate before eating these glucose tabs. I’ll admit I’m about on the verge of an anxiety attack and focusing on writing this is keeping me a little more calm. Oh and my ESA dog on my lap.

flying
Tucker looks out the window while I down some more glucose tabs.

 

Anywho, if that doesn’t tell you what a mess my blood sugar is, I don’t know what will.  I was 153 when we took off.  No insulin on board. I bought a snack pack with 42g carb at the airport, and ate the applesauce before we took off, and the crackers/meat/cheese after we were in the air, without any insulin.  Mostly because my Dexcom was resetting so I couldn’t see my blood sugar and knew sometimes I go low on flights.  I figured worst case, I’ll just take insulin if I go high.

The stewardess came around and gave us honey peanuts and Wheat Thins.  I ate those too.  Hey, I hadn’t eaten all day in my last-minute-getting-ready frenzy! And that did not attribute to the lows because I frequently skip meals with no issues. FYI.

Now my Dexcom just says LOW. WTF. Ugh. Turn around Dex, turn around!!!! I’m absolutely positive I’ll go really high after this. And I’m not talking about the airplane altitude.  Hardy har har.

I’ve had this issue before.  I have a normal or even high blood sugar as the flight starts, and mid flight I’m clammy, eating all my snacks, and asking the stewardess for more.  For absolutely no reason.  It took a few times before I finally decided to Google the issue.

The Low Down on Flying With a Pump

Apparently with insulin pumps, the change in pressure in the cabin of the aircraft can push extra insulin out of your tubing due to any air bubbles.  I know, and Omnipod has no tubing, but it can still push out extra insulin from any tiny air bubble in the device (obviously, it’s doing it to me). From my research, Omnipodders have commented on the discussion threads saying they don’t have this issue as often, but I am one of the lucky bunch.  And apparently if you are using a tubed insulin pump, you’re even more likely to be lucky.  BUT if you have a tubed pump, it is way easier to avoid the issues.

For anyone flying with diabetes, PACK EXTRA SNACKS. Pack all the snacks.  All of them.  As a chronic over packer, I hate packing things I deem unnecessary (like a bunch of food) but THESE ARE NECESSARY. Glucose tabs and your favorite candy bar. Seriously, this is your chance to possibly consume, take it.

So for the easy part, if you have a tubed pump, while flying, disconnect upon ascent and descent. This will for the most part prevent the air bubble issue and your pump should function as normal.

Oh I’m finally 45 and not LOW! Yay! Oh the little victories.

With an Omnipod, this is much much more tricky. You literally have to take your pod off to disconnect.  Doing that twice is tedious and nor practical. So what can you do? Once you board the plane, suspend your delivery. Even if it’s 30 minutes until you leave, suspend.  Then wait until you’re about 30 minutes in the air to resume. That’s about an hour without insulin delivery, but it should compensate for the extra insulin. Granted, I am not your doctor and these are SUGGESTIONS only, but this is what has worked when I’ve done it.  I just thought my carb consumption would make up for it today. Clearly not. But it will be way easier to correct a potential high than deal with a potential low (in my mind). Also, if your blood sugar is relatively high ahead of time, you may not need to.  It’s a learning game and it’s pretty much never the same to be honest.  But awareness is key.

Oh! 77! We are on the upwards (and likely seeing something super high way too soon).

So once I started noticing the issue and Googled it, I asked my doctor, who also was the person that came to my home and trained me on my pump.  She had no clue. Had never heard of the issue. REALLY? Blew my mind. How could I be the only person with this issue? But like I said, I’m super lucky, sooooooo.

And now the rise alert from my Dexcom, because I’m rising faster than I should be, and the plane is about 15 minutes from landing. Looks like I’m about to ride the diabetes rollercoaster that is my life. Luckily I have some Afrezza with me to hopefully blunt the rise/precent me from going too high. I’m going to need a nap after this and it’s not because I had a drink on the flight…

Update: I started to rise but then dropped almost low (see Dexcom photo), likely from the descent. Of course expecting to drop further, had some juice and then spiked. Flying home I am going to turn off my Omnipod and see what happens!

flying

Tonsillectomy: What You Can Learn From Mine to Survive Yours

Word to the wise, if a doctor even hints that your child may need a tonsillectomy, just do it then and there. The sooner, the better. If you love your child even just the smallest amount, you will do it.
It’s pretty well-known that an adult tonsillectomy is way more painful than when children have the surgery. A doctor told me in high school I’d eventually need my tonsils taken out. Why didn’t he take them then?? So I learned the painful way how to handle the 2-3 weeks of pain following a tonsillectomy.

Long (like, really long) story short, I was talking to a friend about how terrible I sleep, and how hard it is for me to catch my breath when working out, and she suggested I go to an ENT (ear, nose, throat) doctor.  She had the same issues and had a deviated septum, that once fixed, solved everything.

At the appointment, I was blown away by how many of the symptoms they asked about I checked off the list. Sleepy? Cranky? Irritable? Hard to focus? It goes on and on, and some of those may be character traits, but regardless, things started to make sense right there.  They then stuck a really uncomfortable probe up my nose to look in my throat. Results? My adenoids and tonsils were huge. Kinda knew that.  Also, adults shouldn’t really have adenoids anymore so the fact that mine were huge….Anyways, he said we had to do a sleep test for insurance purposes to see if it was affecting my sleep. Huge eye roll from me on that one because, duh, it’s affecting my sleep, that’s why I’m so cranky all the time! Or maybe that’s just me.

I did the stupid at home sleep test and definitely slept like crap.  Seriously, who is able to get a normal night’s sleep with all this gear on?

tonsillectomy

 

Follow up appointment, I have slight sleep apnea, because my tonsils and adenoids are blocking my airway. Time to yank ’em out. I strategically scheduled my surgery after my birthday and when my mom could come take care of me.  I honestly probably would have thought I could go without my mom if I didn’t have diabetes. I just wanted her to watch my blood sugars while I was in surgery. This was a bad assumption. You need your mom. Or your dad. Or a significant other. No matter what. There is no circumstance in which you should attempt this alone at all. Just a ride home from the hospital from a roommate is not enough.

The day before surgery my mom arrived and we had a last meal at Olive Garden.  I never ever eat there because it is WAY too many carbs, but I knew I wasn’t going to be eating for a while so went all out and ate every last carb I could find. I won’t go into detail on how bad that screwed with my stomach. But it was delicious and that’s all that matters.

Surgery day I barely remember.  I don’t even remember falling asleep on the table.  I slightly remember waking up and someone giving me a pain pill (highlight of the day?) and then my mom giving me some vitamin water and trying to get me to drink it at home. When I finally came to that evening, I didn’t feel right. I felt like puking, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t swallow…I’m pretty sure I had a full on anxiety attack. Thinking back, I may have just panicked.

Anyways, my mom took me to the ER, where I was finally admitted at like, 4 am. After the surgery, the doctor had put a local anesthetic on the back of my throat that lasted 3 days, and somehow it was making me produce a lot of mucus I was unable to swallow. So I spit. For three days.

I spent those three days in the hospital and I can’t exactly tell you what I did for three days.  I watched one movie, but not really any TV. I didn’t read or text.  I just, stared at the wall.  And spit.  I hardly slept either because I very rarely was allowed any pain medicine or anti-inflammatory. It really varied depending on the nurse. So when I had that relief for a few hours I slept a little, but that’s about it. I also didn’t eat. At all. I couldn’t swallow so I didn’t eat. And I wasn’t hungry. For three days.  What the what? I can usually only go three minutes without being hungry!

tonsillectomy
At the hospital, I somehow got a picture of my wonderful accommodations.

And on the third day…I went home. Finally. And miraculously I stopped needing to spit. My mom mixed some Percoset with some vitamin water and I was set. FINALLY some pain relief and a nap! She also changed her flight to stay a week instead of the three days she was originally going to stay.  Thank the Lord, because I definitely needed it.

Here’s what the doctor failed to mention:

  1. You are literally OUT for two weeks.  At the minimum.  It’s not two weeks of pain, it’s two weeks of doing nothing.  I couldn’t even concentrate to work from home.
  2. Set an alarm for every 4 hours to take pain meds. If you don’t, you will wake up feeling like death for an hour, and have to ice your face while you wait for the pain meds to kick in again.  And that’s if you can swallow them.
  3. The swelling is what causes the most pain/discomfort.  When I left the hospital they gave me an anti-inflammatory to take for five days, but only five because it can cause liver issues.  Let me tell you, I rationed that like no other. It was better than the pain meds and helped me to sleep.
  4. Even protein shakes hurt going down. You can literally only have things with absolutely no texture.  Popsicles are clutch.
  5. When you do start eating solids, and by solids I mean mashed potatoes, it will take at least 30 minutes to eat half a cup.  You are going to have to learn to eat again.
  6. Your blood sugars will be the best you’ve ever seen them, because you aren’t eating!
  7. Forget talking. You’ll maybe whisper for 2 weeks. Then have half a voice for the next two.
  8. And don’t even try to whisper close to someone’s face.  Your breath will be bad. Really bad. Like my mom wanted to call my doctor because she thought something was wrong bad.
  9. Once you can eat something solid again, DO NOT BINGE. DO NOT EAT JUNK FOOD. DO NOT GO CRAZY. Because your body has not had this crap for so long, it can’t handle it.  Guess who threw up chicken wings and fries her first night eating solid food??? (But seriously, tell me you wouldn’t be craving these wings either).

I’m pretty sure I blacked out the three weeks after my tonsillectomy. I really remember very little.  My mom somehow moved me into a new home. I definitely could not have survived without her.

Was it worth it? Definitely.

According to my Pillow app on my Apple Watch, my sleep quality has drastically improved.  Also, I can work out!  Granted, it’s been slow getting back into it after first breaking my wrist and then having the surgery soon after that healed. But I can feel it when I run or get my heart rate up.  Air can actually flow through my nose and into my lungs.  It’s almost liberating. If you need a tonsillectomy, you should get it done, but really be ready. I thought I had a high pain tolerance, but definitely fell to the mercy of tonsillectomy pain. Again, the younger the surgery, the less painful the recovery (at least with a tonsillectomy) so if there’s even a remote possibility tonsils are affecting your child, just get them taken out and save them the pain later.

 

 

Paleo Pumpkin Muffins or Dessert Bites

The creation of these Paleo Pumpkin Muffins or Dessert Bites ensure that I get to keep the title of being the most basic friend among my group.  If you’re not sure what exactly that means you can head on over to Urban Dictionary for the most hilarious/degrading meanings of the term, but we typically use it to describe a “typical” girl: yoga pants, UGG boots, and Starbucks coffee, which around the holidays is always a Pumpkin Spice Latte.  Basic girls love pumpkin around the holidays!  It’s all in good fun and I do my best to live up to my role (joking).

ANYWAYSSSSS, I do love pumpkin spice around the holiday, but most recipes and treats take the health out of eating pumpkin and make it a sugary dessert. Pumpkin is actually pretty good for your health and low calorie, so finding healthy versions to munch on during the holidays instead of the treats can be beneficial to your diet and your health.  This is a pretty easy recipe for anyone to follow, and these can be eaten as a dessert, or a breakfast muffin.

For this recipe you will need:

1 can pumpkin puree

2 bananas (the more ripe the better)

1/4 cup honey

1 egg

1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Dash of sea salt

Preheat your oven to 350 F.

It is easiest to use a hand blender to mix the ingredients, but if you’d rather get a workout, feel free to use a wooden spoon.  Mash your bananas first, and then blend in the other ingredients.

Paleo Pumpkin

 

I used a small muffin pan to make pumpkin bites, but you can easily make bigger pumpkin muffins, or a pumpkin loaf from this recipe. Quick tip if you’re doing muffins, use liners!  I did not, and these are very moist, so hard to get out of the pan AND leave a mess behind that takes forever to clean. And yes, I greased the pan before hand, so that wasn’t the issue.

 

 

I’ve learned lately that not all ovens are created equal, and that even my oven does not bake things in the same pan equally, SO, bake for about 10 minutes, and then do the toothpick test.  If when poking through all the way to the bottom of the pan the toothpick comes out clean, you’re done!  If not, give them a few more minutes and repeat until they are done.  Mini muffins will cook the least amount of time, muffins longer, a loaf the longest.

Paleo PumpkinIf you are just looking to make Paleo Pumpkin muffins, you’re done!  This should make 24 bite size treats.  Your nutrition for one bite is:

Cal: 29

Fat: 0g

Carbs: 7g

Sugar: 5g

Protein: 0g

To spruce these up and make them more of a Paleo Pumpkin dessert, add some Paleo Whipped Cream! I had to experiment a bit to get the right consistency on this, but posted what finally worked for me.  With 1 Tbsp. Paleo Whipped Cream on top, your nutrition becomes:

Paleo Pumpkin

Cal: 51

Fat: 2g

Carbs: 8g

Sugar: 6g

Protein: 1g

 

Paleo Whipped Cream

This Paleo whipped cream is a great substitute for the real thing due to the texture being similar to real whipped cream.  Plus it’s pretty tasty!

I love whipped cream.  Love it.  On everything.  It’s a light, fluffy, sweet addition to any dessert, or I really like it on my coffee.  Buttttttt, it’s not made of the greatest ingredients.  So I decided to try to make Paleo whipped cream, because it’s all natural and has healthy fats.  To be honest, it’s harder to make than I thought, and I ROYALLY screwed it up the first time.  It seems easy because there are only a few ingredients, but definitely read through all the instructions or it is very likely you will end up with coconut cream soup.

Ingredients you’ll need:

1 can full fat coconut milk

1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract (maybe more to taste)

1 Tablespoon coconut sugar (maybe more to taste)

 

Paleo Whipped Cream

 

DO NOT MISS STEP 1!!!!

Refrigerate your can of coconut milk overnight! This helps separate the liquid and the cream.  So when you take it out of the refrigerator, don’t shake it!

 

 

Paleo Whipped Cream

Open the can and use a spoon to spoon out the cream into a mixing bowl.  You’ll have some liquid left in the bottom of the can that won’t be used.

Using a hand blender or whisk, whip the cream with the vanilla extract and coconut sugar.  My coconut sugar is brown, so it did make the whipped cream have some spots.  If you absolutely want white whipped cream, use your cane sugar substitute of choice.

Taste the whipped cream, and add additional vanilla/sugar substitute to taste.  If you frequently eat more Paleo foods, the suggested amounts should be good, but those used to a more sweet taste may need to add a little more.

The nutrition on this is very approximate and will vary based on how much extra coconut sugar you use.

Serving size 2 Tbsp:

Cal: 44

Fat: 4g.

Carbs: 1g.

Sugar: 1g.

Protein: 1g.

Cucumber Prosciutto Appetizer

This cucumber prosciutto appetizer is a healthy and low carb alternative to a classic, guaranteed to be a hit at any party.  Especially if you have fittie, foodie friends and family!  Not to mention it’s quick and easy to whip up!

What you’ll need:

Cream cheese

Cucumber

Prosciutto

Cut the cucumber into bite-size chips.  Place a dollop (this is an actual unit of measurement, but if you only know standard measurements 1/2-1 tsp) of cream cheese on each cucumber chip.  Cut the prosciutto into strips with the width of the cucumber, and the length being that of about two cucumber chips.  Fold strips in half and place on top of the cream cheese.

YOU’RE DONE!  Easy right?  No need to turn on the oven or spend way too much time prepping your contribution to a party.  These also make a great low carb snack at any time.

 

cucumber prosciuttoStats (approximate for 1/2 cucumber, 10 tsp cream cheese, 2 slices prosciutto):

Cal: 161

Fat: 11.5 g.

Carb: 5 g.

Protein: 10 g.

 

 

Stats courtesy of My Fitness Pal, for the most exact numbers, plug-in the exact brands you use.  This is one of my favorite apps to use for both calculating my insulin (based on carbs) and tracking what I eat.

 

Diabetes and Hiking – What to Pack and Expect

Hiking is one of my favorite weekend activities.  Living in Southern California, I try to take advantage of the weather as much as I possibly can.  After all, I pay more for pretty much everything to live here, so I better enjoy it!

Hiking

Lucky for me, I have a friend who writes a blog about hiking, both in Southern California, and other places she’s traveled.  She is always looking for people to go on hikes, so lucky me, I get to go along all the time.

First time hiking, I didn’t know what to expect with my diabetes.  I took my Camelback and some glucose gel/tabs just incase, but did not expect anything to happen.  I had been having highs with Crossfit, so I totally did not expect lows on my hike.  WRONG.  Holy cow.  Holy low hell.

The first time it happened, I had taken insulin in the morning to correct my morning blood sugar.  So I decided to not correct my blood sugars in the morning before a hike.  This helped, kind of, but sometimes left me high through most of the hike.  The other times I went low, I had been on the higher side of normal, but still plummeted.

I asked my doctor for advice to not go low, and she suggested eating about 10g of carbs every 30 minutes.  Umm.  The point of a hike is to burn calories?  At least for me?  So I really didn’t want to waste my hike calories on eating to just not go low.  And I told her that.  So she suggested doing a temporary, lower basal setting on my insulin pump.  For those not familiar, the basal rate on an insulin pump is the constant drip of insulin you area always getting.  If you take insulin shots, it’s basically the replacement for Lantus/long acting insulin.

The next time I went hiking, I set my basal rate to 50% less than I normally get, about 30 minutes before we got to the hike.  It worked!  For the most part, that has been the key to keeping my blood sugars from being too high, or dropping too low while hiking.  I still sometimes have lows, or sometimes have to take some more insulin on my hike because the lower basal rate makes me go higher.

Hiking

So in preparing to hike, I have a few essentials I always take with me. This Camelback bag has been phenomenal for hiking.  A friend gave it to me when I first moved to San Diego, and I wasn’t really sure I’d ever use it, and now I use it almost every weekend.  I can carry water and all the essentials without completely weighing myself down.

I always keep a debit/credit card, my license, and some cash with me just in case of an emergency of any kind.  For my diabetes emergency planning, I make sure to have glucose tabs, a glucose shot or gel, and a snack with fat and protein in it.  I’ve honestly found that the gels/liquids work a lot faster for me than glucose tabs.  For the snack, I really like KIND bars with nuts because the carbs/protein/fat ratios are pretty good if you notice you’re getting a little lower than you’re comfortable being, but not quite low enough to treat.  Or you just plain don’t want a glucose tab!

The diabetes supplies I also keep with me (not pictured) are my insulin pump, which also has a monitor, strips, finger poker (does that have an official name I’m not aware of???), glucagon, and my phone, which receives my Dexcom continuous glucose monitor (CGM) readings.  I honestly don’t know how I would hike, or even be as active as I am without my CGM.  It alerts me when I am starting to approach going low, so I can more easily prevent a low.

I love hiking, and overall, when I really watch my blood sugars around hiking, I am able to take less insulin overall the days that I hike, because my body absorbs the insulin I do have a lot better.  Aerobic activity such as hiking does wonders for helping maintain normal blood sugars and keep insulin levels low.  It’s a great activity for diabetics, as long as caution is taken and emergency supplies are on hand.

Happy hiking!

Megan

Hiking

 

Diabetes and Crossfit – My Experience So Far

Information on Diabetes and Crossfit is hard to come by.  There’s little to none, especially that is helpful.  In writing about my experience, I hope to be able to help others that are struggling to find the delicate balance between the disease that constantly controls their lives, and doing something they love.

The first time I tried Crossfit, I absolutely hated it.  Why?  I sucked, I was dizzy, and I wanted to puke.  And that was after just the warm-up.

Fast forward about two years, and I decided to give it another shot.  I saw a gym with a deal on a fundamentals course, and signed up.  That was the beginning of the end.  Just kidding, it’s never-ending.

From everything I’ve ever been told, exercise is expected to lower blood sugar.  I went into Crossfit thinking I would need to watch my blood sugars for lows.  Boy was I ever wrong.  Once I started taking classes, I noticed my blood sugar would be fine throughout the class, but rise drastically about an hour later.  And then NOT GO DOWN.  It was like I was pumping myself full of insulin and my body rejected all of it.  For typically the entire day.  Luckily I wasn’t going into DKA (a harmful, potentially deadly state of high blood sugar) because I wasn’t super high, but I was higher than I felt comfortable being all day long.

Not only was this freaking frustrating, but as I was gaining muscle, I was also gaining fat from all the insulin I was taking, and absolutely NOTHING fit me.  I felt terrible.  I knew I had to do something.  Others mixed diabetes and Crossfit and excelled…so why couldn’t I?

So I took it to the Googles.  I figured someone with Type 1 diabetes had dealt with crazy blood sugars and written about it.  Or maybe a doctor posted an article about it.  So I Googled “Diabetes and Crossfit.”  But nothing.  I found nothing.  One post by Robb Wolfe, but it barely covered enough to help.  So I changed my search to “lifting and diabetes” and then “lifting and insulin,” and that’s when I found the craziest, but most helpful information.

Turns out, body builders have used insulin for years to get gains in the gym.  Hold up.  What?  Insulin makes you fat.  That’s what I’d always learned.  Insulin = fat.  But apparently there’s more to the story than I knew.  Here’s the very basic version of what I depicted.  Insulin takes nutrients to your cells.  This includes your muscles.  When you workout, insulin takes nutrients to your muscles.  The way body builders are using insulin, is by taking it around their workouts so that more nutrients get to their muscles than their body would deliver on its own.  INSANE!!!

Anyways, from intense workouts, the liver can produce glucose in trying to feed the muscles.  So this gave me enough information to realize that I need to actually take insulin during my workouts.  But how much?  And when?

As I was trying to eat pretty low carb at first, I started taking 1 unit of insulin right after my workout.  This was hit or miss for me.  Sometimes it worked perfectly and I never saw a spike.  Sometimes I saw a slight spike, but the insulin took care of it.  Other days I still went high.  And then there were the lows.  It was a mess.

What I’ve found to work the best so far, is to eat healthy carbs immediately following my workout.  This seems to end the glucose being released by my liver.  In regards to the insulin for those carbs, I take it before the last chunk of my workout, which is 15-30 minutes.  I also correct my blood sugar at this time if necessary.  About the time I finish my workout, I am seeing the insulin start to work, and it’s the perfect time to eat.  By doing this, I rarely see a huge spike an hour after my workout, but as anyone with diabetes knows, it’s never perfect.

My go-to post workout snack is a banana with my protein shake.  But word to the wise, did you know that the ripeness of the banana can affect when it hits your blood sugar?  A super ripe banana has already converted to glucose and will be absorbed more quickly by the body to be used as energy.  With a green banana, the body has to metabolize the fructose into glucose, and it will not hit your blood stream as quickly.

Diabetes and Crossfit

 

 

My guilty pleasure post-workout is a Perfect Bar, mostly because my gym sells them and the Peanut Butter flavor is to die for.  The mix of fat, protein, and carbs seems to also be perfect for my blood sugar if I take the insulin for it 15-30 minutes earlier.  And yes, I couldn’t even wait to take the picture before eating this one.

 

 

 

As with all things diabetes related, this may work for me, and not for others.  Mixing diabetes and Crossfit is hard, but that doesn’t mean that a diabetic can’t do Crossfit.  Hopefully it’s a starting point and some good information for anyone going through the struggles I have had.  I plan to put more effort into analyzing my blood sugars and different types of workouts, and of course write about it.

Happy lifting!

Megan

Crossfit