Tag Archives: alchohol and diabetes

My Top 5 Diabetes Blunders

 

Because I’m human, have something so ongoing as diabetes to take care of, and well, because I’m ME, naturally there will be plenty of mistakes.  The key is to learn from them.

Here are my Top 5 Diabetes Blunders-so far!  (In no particular order)

5.  You may have already read this story.  You can read it here.  I once gave 20 units of Humalog in place of Lantus.  I had been up very late the night before and was sleepy the next morning when I gave the injection.  I realized I used the wrong bottle of insulin just after injecting all of the insulin in.  I took matters into my own hands and had my husband, who was my boyfriend at the time, rush me to the ER where I proceeded to inform them I’d need intravenous glucose immediately.  They thought I was suicidal, I thought they were kinda ignorant.  Fun times.

4.  When I was 13 I rebelled against all things diabetes.  I tried to manage my sugars about half of the time while the other half was spent pushing the boundaries.  Somehow I managed to survive a year with an A1c of 11.6.  I spent Christmas that year especially miserable because I had a gum grafting surgery in my mouth which was to stop my sliding gums from sliding all the way off of my teeth.  My blood sugars have never been so high since feeling the fear of losing my teeth.

3.  Not managing my blood sugars well during my wedding.  Honestly, it was a huge disappointment for me to dance my first dance with my husband and focus on foot pain because my blood sugar was really high and I was in uncomfortable and sky high heels.  My honeymoon was spent in pain as a result-not cool.  If one could only go back :(  Check out this guest post I did for LemonadeLife.com about Diabetes Wedding Day tips.

2.  One of the best nights I ever had with my husband was when we were dating.  We were at a party, had tequila, and danced the night away.  You know that saying, “One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor!”?  Part of what makes the story so memorable is the way I hit the floor a few times while dancing and how nice Alex was about it.  For this diabetic, being drunk (something I have done a few times in my life) was a way to escape diabetes-if not for a moment.  Truth is, it does not work.  After being super happy that night I finally tested my sugar and found I was over 400.  I vowed to never let it happen again.  Alex vowed to never drink again because he was so upset at how high my blood sugar was.

1.  I drank too much again despite that previous vow.  This time, I didn’t feel my low until I went to test and came up 30 on the meter.  I panicked as stupid drunk people can do when a grim reality sets in.  I don’t remember much except scaring Alex to death, throwing up in the parking lot of a gas station, and screaming about my blood sugar.  I try to promote and advocate for fabulous diabetic women taking care of themselves.  This sort of story is one I remember from time to time and feel ashamed of.  Sure it can be sort of funny, but, what if the worst had happened?  How fabulous would I be then eh?  I shudder to think.  I have now gone years without this sort of thing happening again and intend on keeping the vow this time for good.

Believe it or not, the most alarming thing is I have hundreds of stories similar to the ones above…I just can’t think of them right now.

So If any of this relates to you-know you’re not alone.  Also, know that sometimes you’ll be lucky and other times you may not be.  If you are a diabetic, you can live a pretty “normal” life.  But, managing blood sugars should be the top goal-and not taking wicked chances.

 So, what are your diabetes blunders?

Wine and diabetes, is there low carb wine?

Indeed, there is.  I haven’t tasted any personally but, so far there are two popular low carb wines.  They are called One.6 Chardonnay and One.9 Merlot.  How many carbs are in these wines?

The number is impressive, in fact, surprising.  The Chardonnay has 1.6 grams of carbohydrates per 5 oz glass and the Merlot has—you guessed it, 1.9 grams of carbs per 5 oz serving.

From what I read…they taste pretty good. 

Important note:

Do remember that although alcohol in wine is NOT a carbohydrate, our bodies seem to metabolize it much like it does a carbohydrate.  For some, this means you may need to plan for this by giving a little more insulin to cover the wine.

Anyway, if you are interested in knowing, these two wines are produced by Brown-Forman Wines, can be found in stores all over the US, and cost only about $10-$13 a 750ml bottle.

If you’ve tried this, fill us in to the taste!  In any case I’ll look for it during this week’s trip to the store.  I may have to go to a wine shop, I think.  I’m so curious it just may be worthwhile.

Wine and diabetes

 

Wine is becoming increasingly popular in many places. Many are even learning to like wine in place of beer. This can be a good thing for wine loving diabetics, if we can exercise the discipline to stop after several ounces.

Most people who drink beer do not stop at one or two where as most people who drink wine do. (According to certain stats, anyway) Since beer has more carbohydrates than your average red or dry white wine, the wine lover is going to have less of an impact on their blood sugar.

What if you don’t like wine? Be glad! Because diabetics really don’t need it. To those who don’t have perfect health, alcohol is just a system aggravator, throwing off the balance even more. But, that lady down the street with diabetes drinks wine all the time you say? Well, chances are, her health could improve big time. Don’t be fooled. A lot of diabetics don’t take care of themselves the way they should.

For those of you who have pretty good diabetes control and health and cannot stay away from beloved wine, well, a dry wine is probably your best bet-and certainly just one glass at a time.

We hear a lot about resveratrol, the anti-aging chemical found in red wine. Problem is, you could get a lot more resveratrol from a pill than a glass of wine. And that glass of wine gives you alcohol.

Another thing to point out is if you are the type that can stop drinking when you want, you have a big advantage towards those who cannot. If you cannot, you really shouldn’t be drinking. I tend to do most things in extremes so I am not big on drinking. If I don’t have a drink I’m fine. If I have one I want another. So, I just don’t start. How about you? Which category do you fall in? And if you drink wine, what type works best for you? Do you just have one glass?

For guidance and info on drinking alcohol, read: Diabetes and alcohol; how much can I drink?

Looking back on Freshman Year

This is a contributing post by my sister Ana (also a type 1 diabetic).  Look forward to hearing a lot more from her on this site in the near future :)

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Back in January, I wrote about the food aspect of college in Diabetes and Food: A University Perspective. Now that I’m back at home on summer break, my eating habits have improved significantly. I drink less soda, eat more organic (organic) foods, and cut back on the processed foods.

Looking back, I can’t believe how quickly I got through my freshman year at JMU. Nonetheless, I remember the roller coaster of emotions I endured during that time. At the time, I felt that college took a significant toll on my level of sanity. In other, less dramatic words, it stressed me out a whole lot at times. This was expected, but it’s different when it’s actually happening…

It was mostly a matter of trying to get work done, taking care of myself, getting enough sleep, going to church (in my case), keeping in touch with family and close friends, and learning to live with a stranger who was very different from me, all while trying to maintain some kind of a social life and getting involved in clubs and other activities.

 

Me on campus
Me on campus

                 

The definition of a “social life” for most of the college students I know involves partying. While I enjoy having a good time, my idea of a fun party differs from my peers’ ideas of one. The major difference is alcohol. I don’t go to parties and drink not only because I’m underage and simply don’t like alcohol, but also because I know it’s more of a risk for me, as a diabetic, to drink. I don’t know how my body would react to too much alcohol, and I don’t want to find out when I’m among people who aren’t even aware of my diabetes. I wouldn’t expect anyone to take care of me when they can’t even take care of themselves if they’re under the influence. I consider myself fortunate for not having the desire to drink, because it allows me to take better care of myself. Since most of the parties consist of people drinking, I just chose not to go to any.

 

As a studio art major, I was constantly working on some type of art assignment or project. It was a whole lot harder than I thought it would be to dedicate a sufficient amount of time and energy to each of my five classes. Being more interested in my success as an artist, I made my art classes my priority. While I still worked hard in my other classes such as literature and macroeconomics, I know that if I had more time to do so, my grade would’ve more clearly reflected that. This obstacle, in which I had to balance different challenges in different classes, was a major cause of stress for me, and my inconsistent blood sugar levels were proof. I found that going to sleep early, eating well, and remembering to stop and breathe were the best ways to decrease how stressed out I was feeling at times.

 

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  one of my 3D art projects—consisted of roughly 1000 rubber bands

one of my 3D art projects—consisted of roughly 1000 rubber bands

 

Fortunately, I rarely had cases where my blood sugar dropped while going to class or while I was sleeping. One time, however, my blood sugar dropped down to the 40s when I was alone in my room close to 2 am on a weekend. Normally this wouldn’t have been a big deal since I always had food and/or juice in close proximity. Always, except for at that moment. I started panicking a little because I could feel my sugar dropping fast and I knew I had to run down 3 flights of stairs, through the study lounge, up another flight of stairs, and across the TV lounge in order to get to the vending machines. But I had no other choice so I grabbed my ID card and my phone and ran out the door. A seemingly drunk guy called out to me as I darted past him in the stairwell, but I just ignored him. I could barely feel my legs and I was shaking and sweaty, but I finally reached the vending machines and bought a bottle of apple juice and some fruit snacks and mini muffins just in case. I drank half the bottle of juice, walked back to my room, and collapsed onto my bed. I didn’t feel okay till about half an hour later, but I was relieved to be back in my room with food. After that incident, I made sure to always have some source of sugar close by.

 

Even though I was away at school, my family, especially my parents, still checked up on me and made sure I was taking care of myself. Although sometimes I wish they would leave me alone to deal with myself, I’m really glad they don’t because it helps a lot to have that kind of support system. Hopefully everything I experienced and learned during my first year at college leads to an even more successful second year with consistent healthy habits, normal blood sugar levels, and (crossing my fingers) less stress! Wish me luck! And good luck to all you students who are starting your first year at college this August ?

How to safely go out clubbing as a diabetic

         

I was asked by someone to share what I’d do to go out clubbing while keeping it safe.  So I just want to share what worked for me during my “clubbing/partying” years. I could tell you what didn’t work but that would be a scarier story…

The first rule I’d put down is NO alcohol or at least limit it to one serving. Being out in public with lots of music and people for distraction is challenging enough for good diabetes management. Add alcohol into the mix and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. If you feel left out of a group who is having some drinks, focus on the fact that you are fabulous and do not need an alcoholic drink. Only you can take care of yourself so be proud and confident about your decision to not drink or to limit it. If it helps you, keep in mind lots of famous celebrities do not drink for reasons of maintaining their health and good looks. People still worship them just the same. Alcohol does not make the world go round.

Now, how to carry all your necessities into a club without bringing the big purse? What I have done is find a clutch purse that is small but, big enough to carry my meter, insulin, syringes, and glucose tablets in it. Then I either keep it on my wrist or hook it onto my jeans. What is that I hear? You want to wear a dress? Well, in this case I have danced with the clutch in my hand or had my date carry my necessities in his pockets. This only works if you trust your date enough to carry your stuff and to stay around in the case you need it.  Once, I had the bartender stash it behind the bar counter next to the rum-but again this demands trust and I wouldn’t put my diabetes supplies in the hands of someone I didn’t know.  I suppose you could also get a clutch that has a long strap or chain attached and wear it cross body wise and wear it the entire time. 

What helped me most was eventually accepting the fact that we’re different because of having diabetes and we have to do things a little bit differently. It would be sad and stupid to sacrifice our health and our life just so we don’t stand out as being so odd amongst the crowd. Besides, isn’t it good to stand out? Isn’t that a tiny part of the reason you spent two hours getting ready to go out? Yeah…I thought so.

And again…you may be bummed to have to give up getting tipsy but, trust me you can have an awesome time without alcohol. Focus on the music, your friends or your date, getting your hair like Ke$ha’s, get your nails done all wild. What happened to girls going out and just having fun? 

Remember to test before you go inside!  And here is something I was able to order for free at the bar:  glass of water with a squirt of lemon juice and some mint leaves on ice.  Everyone seemed to think I was having a mojito.  Nope, just getting hydrated :)

Take care of your health first-it’s the most attractive thing you can do for yourself, trust me.

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