Sunday, October 28, 2007

A perfect day

Is there such a thing in D-life? I don’t know, but looking at the readings at least it sometimes seems so :-) I had such a day Thursday this week. All of my reading were in target, from 4.2 (76) to 6.7 (121). Go me!

Actually this week has been rather good BG-wise. When I look at the pie charts in Kevin’s logsheet that I use for logging, I can see that so far 72% of my readings have been in range and only 5% above. The part of readings below target could be smaller, but at least when looking at those values, only a minor part of them are really low (I must admit, I don’t really regard readings of 3.5-3.9 (63-70) fasting or just before a meal as low, or at least I don’t treat them with anything but the meal that I’m about to have). When I left work Friday afternoon the statistics were even better with 81% of the readings in range and only 3% above, but weekends generally have a tendency to mess things up a bit.

I wish there could be more such days, preferrably weeks! :-)

Today I went for one of my “marathon” bike rides (little more than 43 km (just short of 70 miles), so actually it is longer than a traditional marathon ;-)). My experience tells me that I better do these rides in the morning to have least possible BG-issues. Today, however, the weather was a bit rainy all morning, and I must admit that I prefer to make these rides in dry weather, so I postponed it, hoping for better weather in the afternoon. Around noon it seemed like the rain had subsided, and I decided to go for the ride in the afternoon. I reduced my basal by 50% 1.5 hours before starting, and my BG was 10.3 (185) when I started my ride. The weather was quite windy, which usually is very effective in lowering my BG when I ride my bike. Riding my mountain bike also increases the resistance when riding on paved roads, which I – unfortunately – do most of the way, even though I go off-road every where I possibly can :-) Since I started out at a good level, and also felt quite good riding, I didn’t make a “pit-stop” for testing until half way through my trip. Little more than an hour of MTB-riding had dropped my almost 8 mmol/L down to 2.6 (47)! Although I usually have a little snack midways on my trips, the aim of these rides are NOT to be able to indulge in sugary snacks while riding. Today’s trip however, caused me to ingest a total of 64 g of carbs as the halfway through low, was rather resistant to treatment, and reared its ugly face again halfway through the last half of my trip :-(

This week Jimmi and I went for another visit with the dog that we were going to have. I say “were” because yesterday Jimmi got a txt-message from the owner, who apparently had gotten surprising news about the father of the pups. It seems that the father is actually a Smaller Münsterländer, and as these dogs grows to about 50-60 cm (shoulder height), our pup would likely get a lot bigger than anticipated. Also the owner, who we’ve had long, honest conversations with about our wishes for our coming dog, said that she actually didn’t really like the father dog and didn’t see it as a smart dog, so she could understand if we wanted to back out on this deal. After a lot of information search and talking back and forth, we did decide not to get Trille anyway, even though we were actually now really looking forward to getting her home :’-( However, the prospect of her getting that big (I know it could be a lot worse), doesn’t really fit our settings. If we lived in a bigger house with a bigger garden, then a bigger dog wouldn’t be a problem, but given the fact that we don’t live in that big a house, and our garden/terrace is only the size of our living room, to us doesn’t seem ideal for a dog this size, so now we need to look for a replacement. When you see the picture below, you’ll know that this is not going to be easy :-(

Jimmi with a sleeping Trille in his arms

Trille awake on my lap

Mayby she already knew that she wouldn't come home with us? She does look sad here. Bye Trille, we hope that you find another good home!

On the Scotland front I just heard from my supervisor over there that the German research fund’s money have finally arrived on the right account at the Scottish university, and that the registry office are pushing hard to get the registration through as soon as possible. I am looking forward to see if this will then cause the missing salary from the past three months to enter my account!

Monday, October 22, 2007


I cannot say that patience is one of my strongest assets, though it does somewhat depend on the context (if that was not the case I think I wouldn't be able to work in science ;-)). When it comes to my education and carreer, however, I have been rather impatient to move on ever since I graduated two years ago. I wanted to pursue my wish to optain a PhD-degree sooner rather than later. Thus, I was very annoyed by the fact that no positions seemed to be available within the areas I had the most interest, and when finally one was, I was overlooked by my supervisor because "we do have a meeting coming up about a potential project next month" (this meeting had already been postponed causing me to seek other opportunies) and the newly graduated, who got the position, needed to have employment in order to extent her visa.

Because of this, I wasn't expecting too much w
hen the day of the planned meeting arose back in January. I hoped that the project would be a good one, and that the main supervisor of it would be someone that I could see myself working with. Fortunately, this was the case, and though I had about 5 months left of my contract as a research assistant at the time, my former supervisor, who would also be a co-supervisor of the project, my coming supervisor, and I all agreed to start up the project as soon as possible. There was a lot of formalities and paperwork to be taken care of beforehand, though, so I was actually able to finish my contract before starting on the new project.

Back in the first months after our initial meeting I had several e-mail correspondances with my new supervisor, and among other things asked him about the application for registration at the Scottish university where he would move his research group to by August. At that time I was told that we should wait with that until he had had some more information from his superiours-to-be in Scotland. That seemed reasonable at the time, and also in June when I spend a few weeks at his laboratory in Germany - at the latter time there were still some issues about the transfer of the German research fund's money that should pay my salary in the next couple of years. We also had to search for a fee waiver as there wasn't room for tuition fees in the research fund money pool, and it became clear that this waiver would by no means take effect before October 1st, leaving August and September as a couple of months surrounded by uncertainties. For June and July I was employed by the German research lab, but we could not register me as a PhD-student at the university in Scotland until the fee waiver could take effect. We discussed the possibilities of employing me as something else, e.g. visiting scientist, research assistant or whatever would solve the problem of me continuing to work on my project AND being payed by the German fund's money through the Scottish university. However, no aggreement was settled, and because my supervisor was super busy moving both his own family and the lab in late July and August plus having to get use the different administrative standards, time just went without anything happening.

Thursday last week I finally received the offer letter that I should sign in order to get the registration rolling. It seems that until the registration is settled, the fact that the money that shall pay my salary is German and not Scottish is immaterial because it still needs to go through the university's finance department.
By now it has been almost 3 months since the last salary entered my account. I don't think it is fun anymore :-( I feel sorry for my German supervisor also having to struggle with this, but most of all I feel screwed by the ridiculous bureaucracy that prevent the money in coming my way. I certainly hope - almost expect - some kind of compensation once this issue is finally solved. Until then I'm actually only working for my own sake, keeping myself up on the beet of biotechnology, but keeping my results and struggles with my samples to myself. I will not give anything away for free!

Well, that was a bit of a rant, but I needed that. I will finish this entry somewhat more positively. Jimmi and I have decided to buy a puppy. Jimmi is hoping to be able to somehow train it into recognising my lows by time. The pictures below is "our" new puppy at 4 weeks of age, on the lower picture, mommy-dog gets a lick :-) We get the dog in a couple of weeks, and have yet to decide on a name for her. The owner calls her "Trille", which in Danish means "to roll" or "trundle". I don't really know if I like that name for a dog, so if you have any good ideas, let us know :-)

Monday, October 15, 2007

I'm still here

It has, once again, been quite a while since my last post, but I’m still here!

There have been an awful lot to do the past months, and thus I’ve had to prioritize, and doing that, blogging as well as reading and commenting on other peoples’ blogs didn’t make it into my top 10 to-do list. I’m a bit sad about that actually, because I do enjoy and appreciate the DOC a lot, and I hope that even though I will probably be busy with various things in the future as well, I will still be able to stop by here once in a while :-)

My last entry was a question about hypothyroidism and diabetes, and I guess I better give an up-date on that side, as well as a very belated THANK YOU to everyone who responded to my questions.

The blood samples, of course dare I say, showed TPO-antibodies, along with a TSH-value of 7.43 (as far as I remember). This ensured me yet another appointment with a doc at the hospital. The appointment was rather useless in my opinion, though, but summa summarum the doc wrote me a script for Eltroxin (the Danish version of Syntroid), 50 mg/day and set me up for a follow-up appointment 6 weeks later. The follow-up appointment was almost just as useless, and I was the one having to ask questions in order to find out what the status actually was, and how treatment should continue. I was told to increase the dose to 75 mg/day by taking 2 50 mg pills on even dates and only one on uneven dates (I will not even mention the fact that the pills can actually be split nor that this instruction, if followed literally would actually only work due to the long half-time of this medication, as there are actually several times years when there are two uneven dates following each other ;-)). I was also told that in the future the control of my metabolism would pass to my regular endo. There are a few issues about this, but I will not go into those here. Some of you will know what I’m talking about anyway.

I had an appointment with my endo last week, just short of a month after the follow-up appointment for the metabolism issue, and thus not really ideal for evaluation of the upped Eltroxin-dose. My endo, however, hadn’t even realised that treatment was initiated, though, as he told me, when commenting on my lab-results, that it still wasn’t necessary to start treatment! I had a little chat with him about that fact, and had it not been for a hypo during the appointment, I had probably asked to switch to another doctor. While I like my current endo, he doesn’t seem to be the ideal choice for issues like pump treatment and hypothyroidism (again, some of you know more about the background of this). Anyway, I think that my endo actually realised a few things during our last appointment. We were discussing the number of tests needed to be performed on a daily basis (I am not sure if we will ever agree on this, but that’s another matter), as well as my efforts in avoiding really low sugars, when he asked me what I though my sugar was at the moment. I told him that I had a feeling that it was on a down-slide, if not already low, and he said that he thought that he could see as well as hear it on me, so he ventured off to get me some juice. I was rather calm, though a bit annoyed, about it and just got out my meter to test. I had assumed that I would be around 3.0 (54) or something like that (I was 9.2 (166) before my bike ride (5.5 km = 8.8 miles) to the hospital about an hour earlier). The result that my meter showed just as my endo re-entered the office with a glass of OJ and an apple was much lower though: 1.8 (32). While I hate readings below 2.0 (36), I don’t panic too much about them anymore, as least not when I don’t feel too bad, but my endo was baffled and immediately ran out of the office to get more juice + some rye bread with cheese to follow up. While I was consuming all these carbs he was all, “I’m right here with you, just take your time”, and “can you feel it rising?” It was actually nice that he took the time, even though I wasn’t feeling that bad, also because it was a real show off of the fact that I have been trying to make him clear that sometimes I seem to function rather well, even when incredibly low, and I will actually feel the worst “symptoms” when the BG is rising again afterwards. He could hardly believe that it had been possible for me to be part of our dialogue seemingly problem-free, even though he did note that I had slowed down a bit, i.e. was talking a bit slower than I usually do (I didn’t even notice that myself, but I don’t doubt that it could be true). In general, I think this little episode scared him the most, but then I have been there before, and he probably hasn’t :-)

Now that this is already a lengthy entry I might as well end it off by a little up-date on my PhD-project. Back in June, when I got back from my stay in the German lab, the plans were for me to re-join the group once they were settled in Glasgow by mid-August. There were some unsolved issues about my status in August and September, as the Scottish study year doesn’t start until October, and thus the fee waiver that we were to apply for wouldn’t either. These issues still haven’t been solved although we are now in mid-October. Actually, my registration at the Scottish university is still not settled despite the fact that I was promised to receive the offer letter Friday last week so that I could sign it and send it back in time of the next registration date, which is…….October 16th! I hope that all these issues will resolve soon enough. I think that it is about time to get some salary again – I haven’t gotten any for August or September yet, so things are getting a bit tight now.