Monday, March 27, 2006

Day 33 Status Report

I knew it had been awhile since I posted, but then Johnboy gave me a gentle nudge and I said I've got to give an update.

The jb100 is still alive and well and a 40 minute bike ride earlier tonight completed day 33. Exercise is so good for people with diabetes and I have really been reaping the benefits, especially in the bG range. Most of the time my readings have been very good... most of the time. There is still the occasional dietary indiscretion or missed carb estimate that throws me above 200 and I guess there will always be. Exercise manages to cover a multitude of these sins, however.

Another benefit is that I've lost between 6 and 8 pounds, depending on the day and how gently I step on the scales. At this point I'm not too concerned with my weight as my BMI currently calculates to 22.4. What I really want to work on the next 33 days (or however long it takes) is reducing my waist size. If I could drop 3" in jean sizes I would be delighted. I'm really trying to avoid that middle-age belly that so many guys get, so as of a few days ago I've incorporated 50 crunches and a bicycling type manuever that's helping to tighten those abs. I may have to 'kick it up' a couple more notches to achieve the results I striving for. I'll see how it goes.

My posting may continue to be light as I am in hot pursuit of a job or contract work, whichever appears first. I'm also trying to upgrade my skills on some .NET (pronounced 'dot net') developer software as well as pursing a certification or two. I've got a good handle on a couple of these areas but still not as comfortable as I want to be before sitting for an exam. A day is never complete, however, without checking the blogs of my fellow OC'ers.

Peace and good bG's to all.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

A Quick Update

First off, you may remember my post on the CGMS I made after our last area meeting of diabetic groupies. The meeting speaker was our area Minimed rep sporting a new Guardian RT. He had an endo appt the next day and I indicated I would post his A1c number when it became available. Last week I received word his A1c was 5.9... a pretty awesome number. I'm further impressed as he spends alot of time on the road and I know his diet is less than optimal. Okay, I'm pretty much sold at this point although I don't really want the bother or the expense just yet. I guess it's a good thing I can't afford it. It's reassuring to know when I get ready for a Guardian it will be more refined than the one currently available.

Second. After my mild rant on the Choice A1c Home Test, I was impressed that my refund check came in the mail Saturday, 8 days after my conversation with their support person. My opinion on the product hasn't changed and was confirmed by several fellow bloggers, but I'm impressed that Norartis stood by their word and refunded my money quickly, not the usual 4-6 weeks that everyone else seems to take.

Finally. I'm still on track with the jb100, the 100 days of fitness inspired by johnboy. Today is day 22 for me. I've had a couple of close calls with not getting it done or not wanting to get it done, but I've managed to prevail. The accountability to this group has much to do with it. I don't want to tell you guys I missed a day unless I have a very good reason.

I will say my stomach has been a little queasy the last couple of days, so rather than do my usual full workouts I've walked on the treadmill for 35 minutes at a 3.5 - 3.7 mph pace. Enough to get my heartrate up but not so much as to further agravate my stomach. I think I will feel better soon and walking at this brisk clip still fufills the 100 day requirement. My house was filled with sickness last week as both my boys were on spring break and came down with some kind of yucky head/chest/stomach condition where they felt miserable most of the week. I've probably had a minor brush with whatever that was. It's looking like I will escape the full brunt of this particular bug.

I know it's only Thursday, but here's to starting the weekend early if you can. Hope everyone has a good one!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Case of the Troublesome Treadmill

I've been having some trouble with my treadmill. Last Friday was the worst. Twice, both times during running portions of my workout, it just quit. The power went off and it stopped. Dead. This is very annoying, especially when I'm in full stride run. Actually it's beyond annoying.

I've suspected I knew the cause of the problem for some time. The safety switch. So Sunday afternoon I got ambitious and took the control panel off the base, brought it upstairs and had a look. What I discovered was the little microswitch on the inside was faulty. When I hooked my volt-ohm meter to the switch I found that it had a partial connection even in the open position. In the closed position, sometimes it was completely on other times off.

It was beginning to get on towards workout time so I had an idea. I'll remove the switch and solder the two wires together. Not the safest thing but it would get me through a workout. So I did it.

What I didn't realize, the EE's that designed the board knew there would be guys like me. When I plugged in the treadmill it displayed 'PO' on the panel. I pushed every button and combination of buttons to try to reset the panel, but to no avail. "Curses, Red Baron!"

I had to unsolder the wires, plug the treadmill back into the power source and reconnect the safety wires to get the panel to display/function correctly. Fortunately, I had a pair of alligator clips attached to a short length of wire that I used to complete the connection. It sufficed for the evening and I was able to complete my workout. I was still somewhat nervous. I had the two safety switch wires protruding out the slot where the plastic safety key normally resides and attached to them was the yellow alligator clip assembly. I could envision the clips coming off, either by becoming entangled in my swinging arm motion or via the vibration produced by my running strides, but they held fast.

Since Sunday, I have taken the microswitch assembly down to my local electronics store, found a replacement and installed it. It has worked perfectly throughout two sessions and I'm regaining confidence in the treadmill again. Treadmill workouts are slightly easier when I'm not so concerned about coming to an abrupt stop.

P.S. I still have my exercise streak going. As of tonight it's 9 official days (since March 1st) or 15 days actual. A couple of days it's been rocky but I've managed to forge ahead. For those participating lets keep moving ahead!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Choice A1c Home Test

Yesterday morning I purchased a Choice brand A1c home test. I had to cancel my February Endo appt partly due to financial reasons and I've been curious to know what my latest A1c results would show. I've been shopping around for a several days but ended up at Wal-Mart as they are the only ones who had it in stock. FYI, I paid $18.98. I tried to get it cheaper, but this is the going rate.

I couldn't wait to get home and try it. My bG's have been good for the last month and I was hoping I would be rewarded by a nice low A1c number. By "good bG's" I mean my meter is telling me I have a 14 day average of 134 and a 30 day average of 139. Not bad and I give most of the credit to launch preparation for the 100 days of fitness - the jb100.

If you've never run one of these tests it's a little more complicated than I originally thought, but nothing that can't be handled. After carefully following the directions and meticulously getting the right size blood sample, mixing it with the dilution kit, you then apply the diluted blood sample to the monitor opening. You then wait for what seems like an eternity (8 minutes) to get what you hope is a great number... 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1......... (flash) QCOK (flash) 8.9 (flash) QCOK (flash) 8.9 over and over and over. I was in disbelief, it had to be wrong.

This result got me re-reading the instructions, even more closely this time. The temperature range for the test is between 64° and 82° F. It's been in the low 40's here today and our house is between 65° and 68°. Close, but in range. The other thing I noticed is the test expires on the 28th of this month, 25 days hence. I could find nothing else that might possibly make the result erroneous.

I called the 800 number listed in the documentation. After a about a five minute wait I was connected to a customer service rep no doubt located in India who, I must admit spoke pretty good english. Twice, she made it a point to tell me she was a health care professional. I explained the situation to her emphasising the the temperature range and expiration date concerns. She agreed that they were close but within range. I also told her about the 14 and 30 day meter averages. She asked about my last A1c and said she needed to talk with her supervisor. When she returned she again said that everything appeared normal but if I was unhappy the company would send me a refund. Somewhere during the course of the conversation she also said that as of December 31st, 2005 they company is no longer manufacturing these kits.

I was very pleased that the company offered me my money back, less sales tax of course and I took them up on their offer. At this point I am unsure I'm going to try this again. I need to do research on why they are no longer manufacturing these kits and if there are other kits available. I've read and re-read Mendosa's page on A1c home test kits and have still not come to a definitive conclusion. I've gone to my endo before and been surprised by my A1c results, both pleasantly and otherwise. Most of the time I know roughly what to expect and I feel strongly this result was out of line.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Launch - The jb100 Is Away!

On the very first day I had a brush with failure... fortunately things turned out OK. On Tuesday evening I went to a Geek meeting and had dinner complete with iced tea. The dinner was great, white chicken chili and an great salad garnished with russian and bleu cheese chunk dressing. The tea, however, must of had a triple dose of caffeine as I could not get to sleep later that evening. Actually I think it was a combination of miscalculating the meal's carb value and the caffeine. I was 245 when I got home, promptly bolused and ended at 72 right before bed. Normally a 72 is not a sleep destroyer but it combined with the caffeine evidently turned into a stimulant elixer. To cut to the chase, I got four hours sleep. About 6pm I started getting really tired, but managed to push through it. Got on the bike about 8pm and had a really good ride. I pushed the resistance up another level for a couple of minutes before backing it down. Day 1 successful.

The good news is I'm beginning to see results. This is, however, the fourth week of exercise, it's just gotten intense for the last two weeks. My TDD is averaging ~37 even with a few 4.5 unit correction boluses thrown in. My bGs are pretty much in the 80-150 range (notice I said pretty much) and I think my clothes may be fitting a little better. Possibly the best news is my sweetie wants to start exercising too. I'll keep you posted on the results as they develop.