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  • The Piquant Storyteller

What's Your Boat?


The Pacific Northwest provides many opportunities for kayaking and other boating adventures. A few months ago my husband was bit by a boating bug. He was bit pretty hard. Symptoms included an itchiness to kayak, followed by an insatiable desire to buy a kayak. The red-hot swelling associated with bug bites manifested as complex planning of taking the young men in our church congregation on a kayaking High Adventure.


There is no cure for this type of bug bite. The best course of action is to just buy the kayak and associated equipment. Caretakers simply need to listen. For hours that spill into days, weeks, and months of constant kayak delirium. I will admit, as much as I love Heath, my eyes do glaze over.


When we were in Victoria B.C., I agreed to walk with him to a kayak shop. I can be a hero too. The walk was longer than either of us expected. Once inside, I was immediately smacked in the face by boredom. I tried to care, really I did. It was just so dull in there! REI isn't my store as I am a strictly indoor sort of girl. This kayak shop made REI feel like Disneyland. We did one lap before my patient husband mercifully escorted me out the front door.


Boat bug bite medication includes a strict adherence to short term goals that eventually result in the long term goal of having the boat. Heath decided that he would not allow himself to buy a boat until he lost 30 lbs. first. To do this he tracks the number of calories he consumes and burns each day via his Samsung Smartwatch. That's it. No designer diets. No banned food groups. Just smart choices. As I predicted, the weight has melted off. He has lost over 20 lbs. since mid October. That means his pants are baggy, his shirts fit better, and his face is visibly thinner. All while expertly navigating Halloween and Thanksgiving. Christmas is the next big hurdle and then he will be home free.


I started using the auto-mode feature on my new pump, that I like to call Patrick, about the same time Heath set his goals. The auto-mode feature is pretty cool because it determines my insulin needs by checking my sensor glucose every five minutes! Type 1 diabetes technology has been steadily improving at a high rate in the 31 years I have lived with the condition. It's fantastic that there is now a pump that so closely mimics what my defunct pancreas should be doing. The more accurate I am with carb counting, the better the pump functions.


Heath has always been supportive of me and my endocrine limitations. It has been so nice to have a buddy with similar nutritive goals. I owe much of my success to my determined husband. Neither one of us were banning food or dieting, but we were both changing habits together. There have been times when he had room for a treat and I didn't. Or many, many times when my blood sugar was low and I needed to treat it, when Heath didn't need the extra calories. He used to snack with me at night.


In the beginning, we were more evenly matched. I worked out in the morning and Heath worked out at night. He got on the stationary bike to keep up with me and vice versa. When the going got tough, as it often does, I powered through because I couldn't let Heath beat me! But I had a lot more days when I had to skip my workouts due to meetings, appointments, or Patrick. Missing workouts just makes it that much harder to bust through the wall. I cry a lot when I ride now. Tears help.


I wouldn't completely blame my lack of weight loss on inconsistency with exercise. Normal people can take small steps to make big changes. Stop overeating, exercise more, drink more water. I am still subject to a pager sized piece of plastic medical equipment clipped to my waistband. Overeating is not my temptation. Snacking is not my temptation. Calorically I do have to do both when I have frequent hypoglycemia. Low blood sugar equals food. Which is why I tend to gain weight when I start an exercise routine. The exercise causes my blood sugar to drop and then I get to eat. Yay me.


Patrick is getting closer to figuring out my daily patterns without causing so many lows. It's been months of waking up 3+ times every night with pump alerts and alarms, most of which were due to low blood sugar. It's like having an infant that never seems to mature! Instead of feeding a baby, I'm feeding myself.


The rules are 15 grams of fast acting carbs to treat a low. So I have glucose tablets by the side of my bed, along with candy and juice. It looks like I have a sweet tooth (which I do not - I hate sweets) and my garbage looks like I binged at a convenience store. Fast acting insulin also only lasts about two hours, at best. Not enough to get me through the night. And my doctors wonder why I would overtreat lows in the past! I can't overtreat now because Patrick just more aggressively attacks rising blood sugar and I crash and burn every time. If it sound like I'm complaining, it's because I am. I hate living with diabetes!


That was a long explanation of why I have been bouncing between the top and bottom end of a 10 lb. range for several years now. The biggest problem is I don't have a boat to reach for. Competition isn't enough for me anymore. I can't think of anything that I can realistically hold over my own head until I lose the weight. Heath wanted to lose enough weight to more easily fit into a kayak. Using the kayak is going to take care of the rest. What is my boat? I don't know.


What is your boat?

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