Tag Archives: diabetes management

Apply Pareto’s Law to Your Diabetes Management

 

Things which matter most should never be at the mercy of things which matter least.

~Goethe

There are things we all do for our health and things we undeniably don’t do for our health-that we know we should.  Many of us are aware of a number of things we should do and in order to compromise with ourselves, we pick and choose a few things to focus on instead of do them all.

But don’t you want the most bang for your buck?  What I mean is, don’t you want the efforts you make, to provide the greatest positive impact on your health possible?  Sure you do!  I know I do!

This is where Pareto’s Law or the 80/20 rule comes in to possibly help.  Here is a little bit of history.  Vilfredo Pareto was an Italian economist.  In 1906 he noticed that 20% of the pea pods in his garden gave him 80% of the peas.  He applied this observation to many other places.  For example, he found that 20% of people in Italy owned 80% of the land/wealth.  Even today, it has been observed that (according to Wiki) “In health care in the United States, it has been found that 20% of patients use 80% of health care resources”.  (I wonder if a good chunk of those 20% are diabetics and I wonder if the government placed more importance on helping us diabetics manage our health better, would we all save and benefit? Hmmm…)

So what if 20% of your actions created 80% of your overall state of health?  Are you doing the right 20%?

For example, you could drink plenty of water, exercise, eat healthy, and control stress, but if your blood sugars are always high, you’ll be dehydrated, unable to get much out of exercise, have difficulty controlling stress, and your healthy eating won’t save you.  That is because managing blood sugars is very key to your overall health.  In fact, it’s crucial. 

Let’s say we have five goals right now. (For the purpose of this example)

1.  To make more money

2.  To spend more quality time with friends/family

3.  To exercise more

4.  To improve blood sugar management

5.  To lose weight

A lot of people have these goals.  They are relatively common.  Realistically though, if we try to tackle all five of these goals at once, we’ll quickly either become overwhelmed or unmotivated. 

How about we just focus on blood sugar management.  Years ago, these were my five goals at some point.  And after ongoing failure to achieve any of the five goals I decided to tackle the biggest one-blood sugar management. 

To my surprise, I started losing weight, which helped me exercise more.  My mood, focus, and energy levels improved and I became more productive at work.  Eventually I started making more money. 

I just needed to take care of that which yielded the highest results.  And since I only had one goal-blood sugar management, all of my focus and energy went full blast, enabling me to succeed.  Not to mention, having great blood sugars impacts all areas of one’s life.

I could have focused instead on trying to make more money or losing weight, but, with blood sugars still out of whack, I might have never really become more productive at work or lost any weight. 

We don’t have to necessarily think about 80/20.  In some cases it’s 90/10 or 60/40.  The point is however, to place your focus and energy on that which will yield the greatest impact. 

Pareto’s law is mostly used in business.  Remember, Pareto’s law means that 80% of consequences or results come from 20% of causes.  Business students are taught (or should be taught) that 20% of customers provide 80% of sales.  And 20% of customers also provide 80% of business complaints and hassles.

From the above last two sentences, which 20% of customers would you focus on?  And that’s the point.  There are only a few things which are really important.  If you spend your time and energy on those few things, you’ll profit, in business and in life.

So back to our diabetes…let’s say we want to break down things we need to do in order to improve our blood sugars.  Make a list of 10 things you know you need to do better in order to improve blood sugars.  Put a percentage next to each.  The higher the percentage, the more positive impact on your blood sugars you foresee that one item providing you.  For example, I’d personally rate “testing blood sugar more frequently” as a much higher percentage than I would “eating healthier”.  This is because if I don’t test, eating healthy may still mean I’ve got unmanaged blood sugars since without testing I don’t even know where they are.  Get my drift?

Anyway, when you’re done with your percentage values, take a step back and pick out the one or two highest percentages.  Those are the one or two things you need to focus on.  Those one or two things will greatly impact your blood sugar management.  Once you’ve got that down as a habit, you can move on to tweaking your blood sugar management by addressing the other items on your list which hold lower percentage values.

Few things really matter…the rest, not so much.  I know we can think of all sorts of ways to apply this.

The Science Behind Type 1 Diabetes and Weight Gain

 

It’s understandable that any community would prefer to say, “To each his own” when it comes to personal choices like eating preferences.  So I frequently hear diabetics say that they can eat whatever they want and advocate for other diabetics being able to do the same-as long as each person is successfully able to manage their blood sugars.

And this makes sense to me.  It’s true that every person’s diabetes varies from the next. 

Something that also makes sense to me is what Dr. Bernstein calls “The Law of Small Numbers”.

It’s something I figured out before hearing about Dr. Bernstein.  Since a certain percentage of insulin going in us isn’t being absorbed each time, there is a varying error margin.  The more insulin we need to give, the higher the error margin. 

For example when I lost weight, my blood sugars improved, in part because my insulin resistance was lower and I then needed less insulin than before.  When I changed my eating to lower carb intake, I again noticed better blood sugars because I took less insulin and therefore saw a lower margin of error every time insulin was given.  This lower margin of error is nothing short of miraculous on blood sugars.

If I eat a bowl of pasta, I’m personally, going to give about 7 units of insulin.  A certain percentage of this insulin will inevitably not be absorbed efficiently.  This means that after eating, I will most likely have to correct blood sugar with insulin or some sugar. 

If I eat a steak, I give about 1/2 a unit of insulin.  Again, a certain percentage of this insulin will not be absorbed efficiently.  An “X” percentage of 1/2 a unit of insulin is surely to be less than the same “X” percentage of 7 units right?  This means that with the steak, my chances for having a low or high after eating are minimized AND it means that if I do get a low or a high, the low won’t be very low and the high won’t be very high.  So I’m more likely to stay within a better range. 

This is why I don’t feel that a pump necessarily equals better blood sugar control.  If someone is eating all the carbs they want and just correcting with boluses and sugar as needed, then the likelihood for a higher A1c goes up-because of “the law of small numbers”.   

My lowest A1c test result was over 2 years ago and was a 4.6.  My doctor automatically assumed I was having too many lows and should let my “blood sugars run higher”.  “Really? Higher than yours get to be?”, I thought.   I had to explain to him that I had fewer lows during the time reflected in that A1c test than I had during the time my A1c was a 6.8.  I just had more consistent numbers.

The months prior to that 4.6, I was experimenting with low carb eating to see how my A1c would turn out.  Not only did I lose weight, but the greatest thing was how my blood sugars stayed even keel.  The swinging blood sugars stopped, as did my swinging moods.  Of course, there are still plenty of things that affect blood sugars but, for me, eating low carb made post meal 40’s turn into 70’s and 250’s turn into 150’s. 

It’s so much easier to get a 150 down to 100 than it is to get a 250 down to a 100.  Plus, correcting for a 250 means again that because you’re giving more insulin than if you were 150, there is a higher margin of error and a high risk that in a few hours you’ll need more insulin or more sugar. 

This brings me to my next point.  For type 1 diabetics eating a lot of carbs, weight management becomes difficult.  Most of the thin type 1 diabetics I’ve known of are either adults eating low carb diets or children who are still growing. 

How many type 1 diabetic children don’t start struggling with some weight gain once they turn 18 or 21?  Of course there are exceptions to every rule but, for the most part, I’d say that a way to minimize weight gain in type 1 diabetic adults would be to eat fewer carbohydrates.  The yo-yo on blood sugars that a higher margin of error exacerbates translates to more insulin and more sugar correcting.  This directly translates into weight gain. 

I know it’s not what you want to hear.  After all, we diabetics can eat anything we like and just cover with insulin!  Sure…but, I don’t know about you, I like to be thin.  It means less insulin resistance and better glucose numbers and an easier time exercising.  It also means there is less stress on the body in general.  Such as our feet.  What about knees?  10 pounds of weight loss equals 40 pounds of pressure off of your knees.  So the benefits continue on and on.

I’m making a case here because I wish someone had made a case to me when I was in High School.  I was on the Varsity Soccer Team and so I exercised at least 2-3 hours a day.  I was heavier than all the other girls on the team even though I ate less.  Not fair!  I could have been spared a lot of heartache and frustration. 

Back to today.  Currently, major financial restraints have me eating more carbs than I’d like to (more brown rice, less meat) and my daughter being allergic to eggs means I can no longer rely on an egg’s cheap, low carb, and perfect nutrition.  It’s probably why I’m not losing weight right now.  I eat 40% more carbs than I did 2 years ago.

But before all this, here is what used to work great for me:

Breakfast:  One or two eggs

Lunch:  Chicken salad or tuna

Dinner:  chicken/beef/fish and a side of veggies

Snacks:  Beef jerky, raw veggies, nuts, dark chocolate

Several times a week:  small servings of lentils or beans, fruit, green vegetable juice, Ezekiel Sprouted Grain bread.  (I try to make these my low correcting foods if I’m not too low)

Drinks:  Water, herbal teas, coffee (diet soda would work only it tends to make me really hungry)

I admit it isn’t easy or very cheap to eat this way (especially not cheap if buying all this in the organic section).  You get used to it though and dropping pounds and feeling healthier makes it more than worthwhile.  I’ll say it again.  It’s not easy.  You may feel something is missing from your diet.  Yet, if you are having trouble losing weight or if you are trying for a lower A1c, this is the best way I know of to do both.

I share this info because it proved invaluable to me and my health.  You take it or leave it or take a little of it, whatever you like. 

Salud!

Oral Medication Resource for Type 2 Diabetics

 

A big reality for type 2 diabetics is oral medicine.  This is something you’ll never ever see me write about because I don’t have a clue about oral meds. 

I did want to share with you however, a resource guide about oral medications for type 2 diabetics that Registered Dietitian, Emilia Klapp has put together. 

It’s always good to be safe when taking any medication and her guide includes such information you don’t want to ignore if you take any oral meds.  And I don’t mind stearing you to her site as it includes helpful daily info regarding important topics like hypertension and cholesterol and of course diabetes management.

So check out the Oral Medication Resource and The Diabetes Club when you get a chance!

Have a nice weekend!

10 Thanksgiving Tips for Diabetics

 

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.

-JFK

I think Thanksgiving and respect go hand in hand.  We give thanks on Thanksgiving Day and when we give thanks, we are grateful.  When we’re truly grateful for something we have the desire to maintain it or keep it.  For example, I’m grateful for my husband and children and try to do my part to keep them safe and healthy and happy.  I’m grateful for my current state of health and therefore work to keep it that way.  I’m even grateful for this awesome computer and try to treat it nicely so it doesn’t die on me (even though sometimes I want to throw it out the window). 

So since Thanksgiving and respect are like cousins, I want to propose that although you might look forward to filling up without regrets on Thanksgiving dinner, may you also keep in mind just a few things.

Below are 10 Thanksgiving Day Tips:

1.  Whether you’re religious or not, your body is your temple.  Give it some turkey, veggies, and don’t weigh it down too much with the mac and cheese or neverending bread rolls. 

2.  Be mindful of every bite.  Be grateful for every bite.  I once inhaled 3 pieces of pumpkin pie only to realize, much to my dismay, that I forgot to enjoy a single bite of those 1000 calories!  What a tragedy…

3.  Go for fresh and simple.  Green bean casseroles are yummy, indeed.  But, have you tried plain steamed green beans with a little seasoning and salt?  So fresh and flavorful and a perfect compliment to other heavier foods.  Easy to make too!

4.  Distract yourself from food.  For some reason I eat less on Thanksgiving than I do on the other days of the year.  I’m weird in so many ways, believe me I’m just happy that in this regard, my weirdness is actually beneficial!  Anyway, the reason I eat less is I’m overwhelmed with everything else going on.  I’m bopping along to music, talking and joking with others, seeing what interesting special is on TV, etc.  The point is, I’m not eating too much, and I’m having fun.  You too, can balance out the large meal you’re going to have by getting up after dinner and trading seconds for a fun impromptu dance in the living room.  Or karaoke.  Or whatever, you get the point.

5.  Be picky.  I don’t eat certain dishes every Thanksgiving.  Not because I don’t like them.  It’s just that I like other dishes more.  So by being a little picky, I can reduce lots of calories and carbs and still enjoy some of what I really love-like dessert!

6.  Focus on people.  Ask anyone what they think is most important about a Thanksgiving gathering.  “People, loved ones, family, friends” is usually the answer.  However, we spend tons of money on food, eat tons of it, all at the expense of our health and in the end, don’t our loved ones want to see us healthy and feeling good?  A great way to distract from food is to focus on all the conversations you have with family and friends.  Act like food isn’t the main attraction (even if it is).

7.  Get creative.  I once knew a family that had an interesting way of avoiding over-eating.  Instead of eating and then lingering at a table covered with possible second helpings, everyone would eat slowly and when everybody finished, they’d all get up and help out with clearing the table.  They would just leave out water and wine and sit and talk without all the food tempting them to eat some more.  I thought it was a great idea.  They would soon relocate to the living room for more talking, TV, music, and games.  And everyone went to bed without feeling like a stuffed turkey.  

8.  Tweak holiday meals.  You don’t have to replace your favorite dishes.  You can do a lot of good by just searching for healthier alternatives online.  Try a search, I guarantee you’ll find lots of raved about recipes.

9.  Breathe deeply.  Holidays are stressful.  Lots of heart attacks occur on Thanksgiving and the days surrounding Thanksgiving.  Try to remind yourself to breathe deeply throughout the day and try not to sweat the small stuff. 

10.  Last but definitely not least, don’t forget to test.  In particular, don’t test right before eating, test an hour before eating.  Trust me, you don’t want to find out your blood sugar is high right before eating.  This happened to me once and I sure regretted having to eat dinner all alone at the table an hour after everyone else. 

It may seem a bit much to go to so much trouble for your health on Thanksgiving but, remember, one of the greatest things to be thankful for is your health.  Treat your body like you’re truly thankful for it.  Unlike all that stuffing, it always loves you back in the end.

Check out last year’s post, Be a Grateful Diabetic on Thanksgiving Day.

Soda and Diabetes

 

Firstly, I want to announce that anytime I give a recommendation, it will now be referenced so you can read the science for yourself and know I didn’t make it up.  Then, if you want to tell me you disagree, I’ll ask for your references as well.  We’ll learn more from each other this way, it’s a win-win. :)

I recently read about how just one soda a day hikes up a person’s diabetes risk by a whole lot.  This study concluded that other drinks containing High Fructose Corn Syrup did the same thing.  This would include sweet tea, energy drinks, etc.

An article talking about this study is here

This study showed that people who had one soda a day were more than 25% more likely to get type 2 diabetes than those who didn’t have nearly so much soda (no more than one drink per month).

Most people I know have at least one soda or sugary drink each day.  Does that mean many people have increased their risk for type 2 diabetes by 25% or more?  It looks that way.  So while  type 2 diabetes isn’t caused by too much sugar, it looks like drinks with High Fructose Corn Syrup play some sort of a role in type 2 diabetes incidences, no?

Anyway, it’s not too late to cut out sugary drinks.  No matter who you are or what diabetes you have you can still decide to do this. 

Not only will you significantly improve your health with one step, but you’ll likely drop a few pounds (as long as you don’t make an increase in caloric intake somewhere else in your diet). 

I had a hard time giving up regular soda when I was 11 and diagnosed type 1 diabetic.  I never had more than one soda a week but, still.  I enjoyed that one soda a week.  I didn’t like diet sodas for a while but, eventually learned to absolutely love the taste of Diet Coke.  Then after researching artificial sweeteners I decided to cut out Diet Coke, too.  This was really hard but, after doing so felt so much better and stopped feeling hungry all the time.  Now, I enjoy a Diet Coke about once a month and that’s it. 

The key is just adjusting to a new norm.  Even though it feels impossible to substitute water for sodas or other sugary drinks, it won’t always feel that way. 

Something that helped me adjust was to add lemon or lime juice to my water and to discover herbal teas.  I also enjoy making my own hot cocoa which allows me to control how much sugar goes in.  Over time you’ll be pleased to notice that a regular soda suddenly tastes so sweet it makes you gag.

The point of all this is, A) studies prove you have lots to gain by cutting out or minimizing sugary drinks, and B) I know you can do it!

Start today and if you have a hard time, just minimize your intake very gradually so you hardly notice.

Note: If your blood sugar gets low and you usually drink something sweet to correct it, I suggest 100% natural juice or drinks with sugar and not High Fructose Corn Syrup.  I usually carry 100% orange juice with me at all times.

You’re So Worth It

 

I feel like I’ve arrived at a pretty decent place (wasn’t always this way).  It involves self appreciation and self respect.  It highly influences my diabetes management and my control of that pesky depression issue…

Maybe you’ve already noticed but, I’ve got a bit of a “loner” personality.  I’m not the type to bend to peer pressure and I never was a “social drinker”.  Heck I can enjoy champagne all by myself.  I used to love eating alone at a restaurant and even going to the movie theater alone.  And I didn’t go in hiding or as if ashamed to be alone.  Red lipstick and high heels came along for a fabulous night out with moi.  This had nothing to do with picking up a date or anything either.  It was about just getting excited to spend quality time with myself.  Long ago the thought of going out alone would have killed me.  Now I’ve romanticized the idea of taking care of myself and appreciating my own company.  I honestly have convinced myself it’s the cool and fabulous thing to do.  After all, we are all worth treating ourselves right, right? 

This doesn’t mean I put others last or that I always put myself first.  It just means that instead of bashing myself all day, I try to be nicer and more appreciative.  The way my body looks drives me bonkers since giving birth to twins but, ahh isn’t it nice how my belly stretched to absurd greats just to accommodate two new lives-kind of magical no?  Yes, it is.

People poke fun at me for being a total nerd, but on the other hand isn’t it fantastic when someone loves learning and gets excited over Albert Einstein’s quotes!?

And yes, I’m pretty bad about functioning in the morning but, maybe that just means I have more energy in the afternoon!

You need to do this for your amazing self.  Even if it feels a little silly. 

In many cases people hold their self-worth lower than other people.  This should change.

Example:  If you need to lose weight, tell yourself that you are so worth cooking healthy food for.  You are gorgeous and fabulous and deserve to take a little time out of your busy day to exercise.  When you want a third helping of cake, tell yourself you are worth the trouble it takes to restrain yourself.  (Sometimes this means I tell my husband to take it away from me but, hey, same outcome)

Maybe one of these days you could plan a date night for you and yourself.  Just go somewhere you like-the coffee shop or a bistro or theater or ball game and enjoy your own company.  Treat yourself nice, get a nice meal or snack, spiff yourself up (in your own style/fashion of course), and don’t you dare think a negative thing about yourself the entire time!  Think about your strengths and appreciate the parts of your body that are working properly, as opposed to thinking about your pancreas-don’t even stop there for a second.

You’d be surprised how much this will help guide your decisions regarding your diabetes management in favor of wonderful you.

6 Things I Want You to Know About Diabetes

 dblogday

 

6.  I want you to know that Diabetes is very serious and although diabetics often seem carefree, they’re often not, whether they manage they’re diabetes well or not. 

5.  I want you to know that Diabetes is not nearly as common in 3rd world and Developing countries as it is in Developed ones.  This means that we should pay attention to what we’re doing differently and learn what we can change to help ourselves-such as eating differently.  Just because we’re “developed” doesn’t mean we’re doing all the right things.  Nor does it mean the convenience of pop tarts is worth it.

4.  I want you to know that Diabetes doesn’t have to stop you from reaching your dreams.  Your dreams however, may have to make some small adjustments.

3.  I want you to know that Diabetes isn’t as silent a killer as people think.  If you don’t feel super duper great, then your health isn’t in tip top shape.  Many adults don’t know they have diabetes but, they know they don’t feel too hot.  We should expect to feel healthy and if we don’t we should strive to figure out what is between us and feeling great and then work towards feeling wonderful again.  Maybe we’ll never feel wonderful but, most can get pretty close with a lot of hard work.  Our standards for feeling healthy should rise.  Don’t settle for feeling so-so.

2.  I want you to know that Diabetes is the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with.  And I’ve dealt with loss of family and friends.  Not to mention large kidney stones, surgery, many years of depression, and chronic childhood shyness.  (And there’s much more).  Diabetes has been the worst experience of all and I’m afraid the worst is yet to come.

1.    I want you to know that a cure for diabetes is being significantly delayed by a greed for money.  Money rules the world only because we allow it to.  We have more power than we think.  Angry about corn syrup being in much of our food supply?  Boycott any product with corn syrup.  If many of us did this I promise you corn syrup would start disappearing from ingredient labels.  Upset over the lack of diabetes support groups?  Start one.  Stop being a victim and start being the change you want to see in the world. 

Gandhi sure had it right.

Watch This Video and a Child Will Get a Week of Life-Saving Insulin

The eye of a doctor looking at a droplet on a ...
What would you do without this?   looking at the needle from Crestock Photos

 

The Big Blue Test, was started by the Diabetes Hands Foundation last year and entails encouraging all people with diabetes to test their blood sugar on World Diabetes Day, November 14th at 2pm.  Here is how it works:  Test your blood sugar, do 14 minutes of any type of activity, test your blood sugar again and then share your results here!

This year, Roche Diabetes Care has teamed up with Diabetes Hands Foundation to try and get at least 100,000 views of the Big Blue Test promotional video.  Every time someone watches this video, Roche will make a donation (up to $75,000) 

Then, Diabetes Hands Foundation will be using the money to aid the Life for a Child program, run by the International Diabetes Federation, and Insulin For Life.  According to AskManny.com (the man behind the Diabetes Hands Foundation), these two global, humanitarian organizations provide diabetes medication and supplies to children in the world’s poorest countries.

I’ve long stated that although I wish for everyone to be able to afford diabetes pumps and a CGMS, my greatest concern is the many diabetics out there who don’t even have regular access to insulin and syringes.  This is a way to help those who are much less fortunate.  All you have to do is spread the video so we can get all the views we need to send all the help we can.

Visit BigBlueTest.org to watch the video (or watch it below):

 

Try This When Diabetes Gets Hard

 

 

I honestly don’t remember where I heard this…but I once read something where a long distance runner from Kenya was asked “how on earth” he runs so many miles at a time with seemingly little effort (we’re talking 20-some miles at a time, several times a week!)  His reply was really interesting.  He said something like, “When it gets harder, I get easier.”

I had to think about what he meant for a minute.  I never felt too sure until one day I tried something different.  Usually, seeing a blood sugar over 300 brings me down.  My mood shoots down, my energy, my thoughts, my productivity, everything.  This time I remembered what the Kenyan said.  And instead of allowing a negative rush to take over me, “I got easier”.  Meaning, I accepted the reality and decided I wasn’t going to go weak or upset over it.  Instead, I took a few deep breathes and gave myself insulin.  Then I went back to work without focusing on how I didn’t feel well.  An hour later I tested and made sure I was coming down.  I was 190.  Another deep breathe.  I continued working.  Eventually it was lunch time and I was 92.  Time to eat!  That wasn’t so bad, I thought.

I realized how the same would have happened had I gotten all worked up only staying calm and relaxed really helped me enjoy the 2 hours between that 300 reading and lunch-and I was productive at work.  Making the decision to let the anger and frustration go did take effort but, It was definitely easier than fighting a fight that wouldn’t lead to anything positive. 

So many of us do this with our diabetes.  Next time something gets you down, remember that sometimes allowing yourself to get extremely frustrated doesn’t do you any good at all.  And if you just “get easier”, you might find the ride a lot more pleasant and be amazed at all you can accomplish.

Diabetes Juggling Act and Scary Creatures

 

I’m often most frustrated at my diabetes when I’m forced to multi-task between it and several other things.  I am a proponent of single-tasking in order to really give things the proper attention they deserve and in order to provide a greater focus to a task.  However, sometimes life makes you juggle a few more balls than you’d like. 

This week my son has been dealing with strep throat and because he has a twin sister and a diabetic mother, the week has been kind of nutty.  It has been a never ending stream of separating the babies so the other doesn’t get strep and disinfecting everything from the ground up about 3 feet (which is a lot of disinfecting!), trying to remember when pain medicine and antibiotic was given, cooking food for each meal only to find son won’t eat it, and last but not least, trying to keep on top of blood sugars even in the midst of feeling under the weather.

Yesterday I carried both my kids for 30 minutes (50 pounds in total) because they were crying pretty dramatically and finally when I thought my arms would burn off I decided to let them cry on the floor as I tested my sugar.  It was 32.  I’m sensitive to my children’s crying so much so that I separate logic and emotions and sometimes skip a diabetes related task just trying to comfort them.  That 32 snapped me out of that!

Still, I felt immensely frustrated because the diabetes was in the way of my mothering and I didn’t want it to be.  And what if something had happened to me?  I was alone!  Well, later that day Alex came home early to help and my mother came back over (she came by that morning as well).  Three adults and two babies and it was still plenty hectic.  At least I could test at this point without a baby trying to grab my meter and run with it.

Something else has been bothering me this week…I’ve spotted a bug twice in two days that I’ve never seen before (and I’ve lived here well over two decades!)  At first I think, “A spider? no…a giant stink bug? no…an evil praying mantis?”  My husband, whom I affectionately refer to as “animal planet” felt he knew what this was and captured the 1.5 inch long creature in a jar and after a little research we discovered the bug to be a blood sucking, disease carrying, “assassin bug”.  Supposedly these bugs are bed bugs if they get in your house and like to come out every couple days and fill up on animal or human blood for about 15-20 minutes.  I’m confused because why have I seen two in two days?  Husband and wife?  And why in Virginia?  They’re also called “kissing” bugs.  Did they hear Virginia is for lovers?  Apparently they are commonly found in Mexico, Central America, and South America.  In the US they’re found in Florida and Arizona more than anywhere else (which makes sense) but, why have they come way up here?  Doesn’t matter…what matters is this thing is a vampire and looks like this:

Wheelbug, a type of "assassin" or "kissing" bug
Wheelbug, a type of “assassin” or “kissing” bug
Top View
Top View

 

Sleep well tonight…. :)