Thursday, May 27, 2010

It’s a crazy idea that just might work

Let go.  Easier said than done but today I realized that’s what I have to do. 

Today I visited my endocrinologist.  My A1c is 7.1, which is down one whole point from the last time I had the test done.  It’s supposed to be below 7.  My endo told me the result and said that he was happy with it because it’s moving in the right direction.  The rest of the test results from my blood work were fine.  My kidneys are fine, my liver is fine, my cholesterol is fine.  The A1c is not great but it’s coming down. 

He told me I looked good on paper.  So I asked why I don’t feel as good as I look on paper.  I told him I feel like I keep fighting with my blood sugars every day. 

“Why are you fighting?”

When he asked that question it was like all the noise suddenly stopped.  The sail was effectively taken out of my wind and I just sat there wondering why I fight everything so hard. 

I told him about last week.  How I had never bolused early for a meal but because I was so frustrated by my numbers I tried it.  It was magic.  For three or four days in a row my blood sugars were perfect.  I was on Cloud 9.  What a simple change that seemed to make all the difference. 

But then the magic stopped.  One day was perfect and the next day I did everything the same.  Except my blood sugars were all over the place but mostly high.  What happened?

He didn’t have an answer.  There is no answer.  It’s diabetes.  If it made sense like math, with only one right answer, diabetics would be fine. 

He said that everyone is different.  Some people are really sensitive to stress or things like that.  Maybe that’s what was causing the fluctuations in my blood sugar readings.  I admitted that I am an anxious person.  It’s who I am.  He basically responded that I need to stop worrying so much about my blood sugars. 

He told me that if I let it all get to me and start making changes every time I see something I don’t like I will be changing settings constantly.  I’ve done that!  He told me to just go with the flow and ride it out before I get so upset over things. 

“You’re getting better.  You should be proud of yourself.” 

The drive home was self reflective.  It usually is in one way or another.  Somehow his words made so much sense.  I have tried everything I can think of to isolate variables and figure out what is going on.  He’s right.  Why am I fighting?  I should be proud of what I have done.  I have worked hard and I deserve to congratulate myself on my accomplishments and forget about the rest of it.  He also said that nobody is perfect and to think that I am perfect means I’m nobody because nobody is perfect.  

I am giving myself permission to stop thinking.  The more I think about diabetes the more I get depressed and cry about it. 

This song says it all.  I chose this version because the lyrics are on screen.



I can do this.  I’ve done so many other things.  All I have to do is let go of the power struggle with myself. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Pitfalls of Cell Phone Technology

Technology.  It’s wonderful and it’s a pain in the butt all at the same time. 

Take phones for example.  The telephone has made some dramatic changes in a relatively short amount of time.  Everyone has their own phone number now.  No more sharing phone lines and listening for the right ring combination.  Can you imagine sitting by the phone waiting for it to ring only to have the ring combination be for your neighbor?

Not that long ago talking on the phone meant being chained to a small area with a cord.  Now we have cordless phones that don’t work when the power goes out. 

Cell phones were invented after the idea was conceived on Star Trek.  That alone is amazing.  A popular science fiction television show was the inspiration for cellular technology. 

I am grateful for cell phones.  Houston Cellular helped me pay my bills my sophomore year of college.  I was a telemarketer trying to get people to buy cell phones over the phone.  After a long day of classes I called mostly older people trying to convince them that a cell phone was a good idea.  Emergency use and only paying for minutes used were my best rebuttals.  By the middle of the six hour shift I could barely say the word cellular correctly.  All that aside, I hit goal more often than I missed it.  Then I was moved onto other projects and Bell South’s Houston Cellular faded away. 

Cell phones are interesting.  Some people only have cell phones.  Some people refuse to use one because that’s just another way for them to be reached. 

My pet peeve with cell phones is the voice mail.  This is what usually happens to me.  I call someone and they, of course, are unavailable.  First of all, isn’t that the point of a cell phone?  That it’s permanently attached to your hip?  Isn’t that why you gave me your cell number saying it’s the best way to reach you?  What are the chances I manage to call you every time you’re in the bathroom?

While their message plays I’m frantically trying to think of what to say.  I always get voice mail when I was really hoping to just talk to the person.  Sometimes I pray for voice mail and that’s when I get the live person.  Murphy’s Law.  I come up with something to say and then I have to wait another 10 minutes. 

What is up with voice mail instructions?  “The person you are trying to reach is not available.”  I know.  The person just said that and now I need a computer voice to tell me again!  “Please record your message after the tone.”  Again, I was just told that by the person I was trying to reach!  Then the arbitrary stuff.  The stuff that makes me completely lose my train of thought because it takes so long for the computer voice to get through it all. 

“To leave a call back number press 5.  To send a numeric page press the letter B.  Press the pound key if you feel heavy after you eat a large meal.  Press the star key if you would like to speak to a Hollywood star.  Press 2 if your eyes are green.  After your message you can press 1 to listen to your message and if you like it you can press Y to send it.  Or you can simply hang up.  Press zero if you can’t remember what to do.  Or stay on the line for more options.  (Pause pause pause) Press the umlaut key if you want to hear these options again.  Oh you don’t have an umlaut key?  Please wait for the tone.”

Good heavens!  By the time all that is finished my message sounds like this:

“Uh . . . um . . . I can’t remember who I’m calling or why . . . wait!  I got it!  This is Tristan and I’m calling you because”


Cut off again!  Then the computer voice comes back on and gives me another 10 minutes of instructions on keeping or re-recording the message and how to book a flight to the Bermuda Triangle in case I didn’t get how to delete the message. 

The message is sent.  Then I sink into a heap on the floor. 

This is why I never give out my cell number.  I certainly wouldn’t want to inflict the computer voice on a dog I didn’t like.  Besides, I never answer my phone and rarely have it charged.  Technology really is wonderful and a pain in the butt all at the same time. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ignorance is Bliss

What you don’t know won’t hurt you.  I promise. 

Remember when you were a kid and you hadn’t a care in the world?  You would eat the dirt out of your mother’s potted plants.  What happened?  Nothing.  Your mom told you to stop eating the dirt because it was gross, and while you were at it stop eating the dog’s food too because it’s for the dog! 

So you went outside to play with your friends.  You all sat around the sandbox oblivious to whether or not cats used it as a litter box.  Your friends would eat the sand and told you to try.  So you did but it was crunchier than the rich plant soil you just enjoyed.  “No thank you,” you said, “I like dirt better.”

Remember how you would drink water from the creek?  What happened?  Not a thing. 

You used to eat paste.  You thought it was delicious.  What happened there?  Nothing.  Well, there was that one time you smeared it on the faucet of the drinking fountain and nobody wanted to get a drink anymore.  But nobody knew who did it.  And nobody got hurt. 

Remember when you would play cops and robbers?  Your brother would tie you to the basketball standard with a jump rope and rub your arms until they were red and burned.  That was as violent as any kid got because nobody spent hours in front of the TV playing video games and watching shows that glorify violence, murder, and sex, only to watch the news and see how their peers were shooting each other. 

The news today is filled with random deplorable violence.  Murder happens regularly enough they compare homicide numbers over the years or even months. 

The fluffy news stories now include dramatic music and shocking reports that canned food is causing cancer and Type 2 diabetes among other things.  Don’t buy canned food!  Let us reiterate that you should never buy any food produced anywhere outside your neighborhood.  If you live in another country, by all means, eat the food produced there.  But if you live across the street, that’s not local enough. 

Senator Diane Feinstein:  This is a concern of mine.  I don’t eat canned food.  I don’t even buy canned food anymore.   I urge you not to buy canned food.

Reading between the lines – If you are poor you will not survive this new nutrition scare.

Cell phones are dangerous.  They make men impotent and women get breast cancer.  The radiation emitted will slowly kill you.  Don’t use a cell phone. 

A study shows that people are happy at 50.  Before the age of 50 people are stressed out.  You wonder if it’s an instantaneous deal.  At 12:01 am on a person’s 50th birthday are they suddenly overcome with overwhelming happiness and a washing away of all stress?  You start to worry because you won’t be 50 for 20-30 more years! 

A reprieve from the scary news brings a daunting commercial about termites and how easy it is for them to take over your home, your life, and start a relationship with your significant other. 

The news is back and the reporter is in a neighborhood talking to a police officer. 

Reporter:  Can you tell us what’s going on?
Cop:  No, I can’t discuss any details at this time.
Reporter:  It smells like marijuana.  Like a lot. 
Cop:  Yes . . . the smell is hard to miss . . .

“The state received tons of rain but why is the governor saying we are still in a drought?  Is politics behind this?”  You wonder if maybe conserving water may not be a bad idea regardless of political indoctrination. 

“Attention Facebook and/or Twitter users.  Don’t give out personal information!”  You smack your forehead.  Oh no.  What was I thinking?

Another commercial makes you feel guilty for owning any appliance that comes with a remote.  Turn it off!  Turn it all off!  If you see a glowing light even after it’s off then that means your remote will work so you must unplug everything. 

The next commercial shows a girl blow drying her hair with a fan and a boy peering at the ocean in his refrigerator.  A seagull flies at his face and his mom gives him a dirty look for keeping the door open.  Wait.  That last part wasn’t part of the commercial.  But it should have been. 

You don’t know what to think.  You grab your remote to turn off the TV.  Screaming in agony you pull the plug.  Soon you feel that creepy crawly feeling like something is on you. 


You swear you see their brown nasty bodies.  It’s hard to tell in the dark.  You imagine hoards of them coming up the drains like the drains vomited up termites.  The walls are suddenly covered in ants sacrificing a spider to appease the Orkin gods. 

You pull out all the canned food and open each one.  You leave the cans for the pests hoping the BPA will kill bugs faster than it supposedly messes up humans. 

You reach for your cell phone to call for help.  Instead you stare at it like a hot potato and throw it at the wall.  The ants scatter as the radiation singes their bodies.  You run from your house in your underwear waving your arms above your head yelling like a banshee. 

All of this could have been avoided if you would have just stayed ignorant.  What you don’t know won’t hurt.  I promise. 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dream a little dream

Day 7 - Dream a little dream - life after a cure. To wrap up Diabetes Blog Week, let’s pretend a cure has been found. We are all given a tiny little pill to swallow and *poof* our pancreases are back in working order. No side effects. No more insulin resistance. No more diabetes. Tell us what your life is now like. Or take us through your first day celebrating life without the Big D. Blog about how you imagine you would feel if you no longer were a Person With Diabetes.

When I was about 12 years old I was walking up my street.  I saw a bumper sticker on the back of a neighbor’s truck that had a profound impact on me.  I don’t remember exactly what it said but I remember the sentiment was that child abuse was to be abhored.  I hated so much of my life but something changed, like someone flipped a switch.  In that moment my jaw was set.  I made up my mind about the rest of my life.  The cycle would stop with me. 

I had dreams of what I would say to my father the day I turned 18.  Little did I know my life would change sooner than I planned when my mom left, taking her children with her.  I turned 15 a couple weeks later. 

There was a strange absence.  There was no party and true laughter returned much later, and sooner, than I imagined it would.  My new life and the welcome hole in it surprisingly took some getting used to.  People expected us to act a certain way because of the divorce.  Nearly everyone was surprised to hear why since we never talked about it.  The truth changed people’s perspective for better or worse and new expectations were often born. 

The idea of a miraculous cure for diabetes almost feels the same way to me.  Of course I want it but it would be strange.  It would take a lot of getting used to. 

Physical changes would be immediate.  All prescriptions related to diabetes would be unnecessary.  Insulin, test strips, zestril (an ace inhibitor that protects organs), lancets, pump supplies like infusion sets and reservoirs, adhesive tape to hold the infusion set in place as well as the CGM sensor.  Wow, I have prescriptions for a lot of things!  Chances are I forgot something too. 

More physical changes would include freedom from a pump, continuous glucose monitor sensor, testing blood sugar, counting carbs, any math at all with insulin, timing, eating, exercising, etc. 

There would be no more reason to have stashes of glucose tabs or food all over the house.  I may even say goodbye to my purse.  I am not a purse person and only bought one because it was easier to carry my meter and snacks in.  That thing holds my life in it when we go anywhere! 

I’m probably forgetting physical changes.  There would be no more marks on my fingers from testing my blood sugar, no more red splotches all over my abdomen from old infusion set sites.  No more dry skin, no more itching.  No more irritated sites underneath tape.  Is it possible I’m allergic to insulin?  My mom wonders that but I think I just am an extremely sensitive person when it comes to having a plastic cannula stuck in my stomach for a couple days at a time covered by tape.  No more bruises or physical marks of any kind left from diabetes. 

This CGM-003_thumb would never be worn again.  I guess I did have a picture to share yesterday!  I wear my continuous glucose monitor sensor on my arm because it was so uncomfortable on my stomach.  I barely feel it on my arms and it’s out of the way.  I do get really sick of all the gasping “What happened to your arm!!!!!” questions when I wear it though.  So a cure would mean never wearing it again.

Yes, those physical changes would be monumental and very welcome.  It would be so strange though.  It’s my routine to take care of the demands of diabetes.  I don’t see myself changing my eating habits.  I’m pretty sure I would do carb math in my head long after a cure.  I know a cure would not change my feelings about pizza or doughnuts!  Sorry to my husband and kids.  It’s a taste issue over insulin to carb math. 

A machine would no longer dictate hunger.  I was 10 years old when I was diagnosed, old enough to remember what it was like to not have diabetes but I was also young enough that I honestly don’t remember what hunger feels like.  My glucometer tells me whether or not I should have a snack. 

I could exercise whenever I wanted to without having to play the blood sugar numbers game first.  I could go to bed without wondering if I should eat first.  I could sleep through the night. 

So many immediate physical changes.  It’s hard enough to write all the minute details of diabetes to even imagine life without them. 

The emotional changes would be something else.  That part of a cure is what made me share a moment from my childhood.  I do everything in my power to be normal.  Yes, I’m diabetic and I work hard to manage it well but I don’t like to think about it.  I’m not the diabetic lady.  I’m me.  Diabetes will not keep me from being who I am. 

So the physical changes from a diabetes cure would be as public as those needs are now.  I imagine people focusing on that.  Oh, you’re cured now.  Now you don’t have to do . . . all the things I described.  But the emotional part.  The part I share fully with my husband and bits and pieces of with other people when I feel it’s appropriate, would be the part nobody would think of.  Like when the nightmarish pieces of my childhood ended.  Nobody thought about that part.  Everyone just thought the crappy part is over. 

And they were right but there’s more to it than that.  I’m 32 years old, haven’t spoken to my father at all in over 10 years, I know I’ve forgiven him but I’m still terrified to run into him somewhere, and I still think about it all.  I never imagined I would be an adult and still have to think about it but I do a lot.  I dread the day I have to tell my kids.  So far I’ve been able to dodge their questions. 

My diabetes is so intertwined in who I am I really think I would have another welcome hole in my life if I were cured.  Taking away such a source of emotional stress would take some time to get used to.  Even when something happens that is wrong and needs to stop, having it actually stop is disorienting to some degree.  Diabetes would be no different. 

Right now I imagine letting my 4 year old skip my CGM transmitter across the ocean but what would I really do if I were magically cured? 

I actually don’t mind being diabetic most of the time.  I cope by not thinking about it more than I need to.  I live my life and pursue my dreams.  It’s those unexpected moments when I cry about it, wishing it away in vain. 

I believe God made me this way for a reason.  I have no doubt that He knows exactly how I feel.  I know He is there cheering me on the same way He cheers on all of His children.  He didn’t send us here to fail.  He’s not laughing at our trials.  He gets emotional with us and like a good parent, He knows our trials will only make us stronger. 

I am who I am.  My life experiences enhance who I am, making me stronger than I ever would have been otherwise.  While a cure for diabetes would be welcome, to answer the question of what would I do and how would it change my life . . . I don’t know. 

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Day 6 Taking a walk on the wild card side of DBW

Wild card - Blood Sugar Nirvana or Moronic Moment. (inspired by Kelly Kunik at Diabetesaliciousness) Blog about the time you ate a meal that tends to spike you to the moon, but your perfectly calculated and timed bolus kept your blood sugar happy. Or tell us about that time your brain had a little diabetes-blip and you did something you think is “stupid”. (Because chances are, we’ve done it too!!) Go ahead, brag about your triumph or commiserate about your d-blooper.

Solitude blankets the house.  Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.  The children were nestled all snug in their beds while visions of SpongeBob danced in their heads.  With husband in his kerchief and I in my cap,  wait, that’s not right! 

Soft snuffling snores stopped by


I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter, hissing a naughty word as the silence was shattered.  I patted myself down from head to foot thinking my CGM sensor had fallen out – kaput. 

As I patted my thoughts were many and frantic.  It’s a trial sensor I thought in a panic.  I searched all two pump screens remembering that the sensor held all info for insurance means. 

Finally my husband had an ah-ha look on his face.  He laughed as he lunged and started to race . . . for his laptop. 

“The battery is low warning it may soon be dead.  I’ve shut it up now, so let’s get back to bed!” my husband exclaimed.  We had a good laugh and soon closed our eyes.  Blissful sleep returned.  To all a good night. 

Not as easy to rhyme as it seems but this is my favorite d-blooper. 

Friday, May 14, 2010

My secret love affair Day 5 of DBW

Day 5- Let's get moving. Exercise . . . love it or hate it? Do you have a regular exercise routine? Or do you have trouble finding your exercise motivation? How do you manage your insulin and food to avoid bottoming out during your workout? Today is the day to tell us all about your exercise habits, or lack thereof.

He is fit and shiny. Like some kind of tight cotton spandex glistening treat. My heart starts pounding within seconds of being with him. He is so dreamy. Without saying a word, he makes me believe if I just do it I will look sooo good. Some girls can’t seem to resist the “bad boys.” His promises are too good to pass up. I try but inevitably fail.

No, I say. I’m too tired, I have better things to do today, maybe tomorrow, my blood sugar is too low anyway.

He finally relents his steely stare when I play the hypoglycemia card. We both agree on tomorrow.

Tomorrow comes and everything is in place. Timing is perfect, blood sugar is a little on the high side, but why can’t I make myself do it?

No, I moan. I’m too tired. The bed is too comfortable. It’s cold out there. Whine whine whine.

Telepathically he sends me an image of my white bathroom scale, the third trifecta of this crazy, secret love triangle. Fine, I grumble. I stumble out of bed and into my stretchy clothes. I turn the fan on even though the goosebumps on my arms tell me not to. I’m always grateful I did.

The right buttons are all pushed and before I know it, we are in the throes of it all. Suddenly this primal competitiveness surges out of me. I will not be outdone by some cartoon with visible abs under his T-shirt!

I push myself to my limits. When it’s over I pull out the fitness ball for ab work. My muscles are screaming in agony but it feels incredibly good at the same time. I’m hooked. We have to do this again soon, I say. He simply smiles that irresistible smirk of his and I know tomorrow will be another pressured conversation to go again. Our trysts are complicated.

Exercise and I may be the classic on again off again couple but when we are on speaking terms and are in sync, watch out. I am a power house. Nothing will stop me.

Exercise, and my personal trainer I have named Julio, have given me shoulders. Shoulders! I have never had shoulders before! I’m not even kidding. My neck sits on top of this wide plateau that slopes out like a mountain. I have never had shoulders, yet there they are. My legs have always been amazing but they are getting tighter than they have ever been. And my calves . . . well, they’re just awesome!

I have one more day of the EA Active 30 day challenge for the Wii. It’s only taken me a year to complete them all but there’s only one more to do. When school is over I think I will try to do the 30 day challenge in 30 days again. Gotta keep up my girlish figure that is finally being chiseled out of indolent lumpiness.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Just a Taste

To carb or not to carb. That is a good question. Let’s talk about the benefits of each decision.

Disclaimer: Now, I am not a nutritionist, nor do I remember anything from my college nutrition class I took to fill a general credit requirement. The only thing I remember was the professor saying that people who eat Total cereal think they are so smart because they are getting 100% of their daily vitamins and minerals. “What do they do the rest of the day?” she asked. Hmm. Good point. One bowl of cereal in the morning and you don’t have to eat the whole rest of the day! That would be awesome for an anorexic.

Carb Abstinence

Man cannot live on meat alone, especially when he’s diabetic and has an inevitable low. Let’s face it, at some point carbs will have to be consumed.

But I have tried carb abstinence with my last two pregnancies. I kind of had to. My blood sugar was impossible to control if I ate anything, bolus or not. I ate lettuce wrapped hamburgers. That was not as romantic as it sounds. I ate a lot of veggies because they have less carbs than fruit. And I ate crackers or fruit snacks when my blood sugar dropped low enough between meals. I could guarantee that lows would happen every day and I looked forward to it! I savored every bite of that rich carb goodness!

It is worth noting that my modified Atkins diet really did affect my weight. I gained a pound a week with my second pregnancy. Not an average, no, I gained 6 lbs by the time I saw my perinatologist when I was 6 weeks along. By the third trimester I was gaining almost 2 lbs a week, which is when I started the Atkins diet to control my blood sugar. The couple weeks where I had gained extra were followed by an equal number of weeks where I gained nothing. Then I was back to gaining a pound a week. My last pregnancy was hard for me to gain weight. I finally gained about 30 lbs with most of the weight gain in the last month or two. I was on the good old modified Atkins diet for about 7 out of 9 months.

Once the baby was born I was back to normal. I asked for a plain bagel with plain cream cheese after my second was born. The guy who delivered it was kind enough to cut the bagel for me since I only had one free hand with my 6 lb. 8oz. baby discreetly nursing in the other arm.

I went a little nuts with carbs after my short stint with carb abstinence. I am not even the tiniest bit surprised I still carry around as much baby weight as I do.

Carb Freedom

My philosophy is not to make food taboo. I believe that if you think a food is “bad” you’ll want it that much more. Moderation in all things, I say. My favorite doctor agreed with me. Based on his validation when I was 18 I have lived this way ever since.

As you can see in the video, I’m not afraid to let my children experience childhood, including *gasp* sugar. But how do I feel about consuming sugar myself? Eh, I’m not too interested. I don’t have a sweet tooth. But give me tangy, sour, chewy candy and I’m all over it. I love Skittles, Air Heads, Starburst, Laffy Taffy. Stuff like that.

I am a traitor to all womankind by not being much of a chocolate fan. Shocking I know. Every once in a while chocolate sounds good but that’s about it. My favorite candy bar is Snickers.

Oh but you wanted to know about regular food with carbs. Healthy food with carbs. I think healthy food has almost more carbs than the packaged stuff. The packaged stuff is a little easier to measure and bolus for. Just my opinion.

Foods I find bolus worthy regardless of carb content:

Cheetos, Fritos, pasta, Mexican food, burgers and fries

Foods I hate:

doughnuts, pizza, cinnamon rolls, pancakes

A food I don’t understand all the negative hype about is popcorn. Have you ever looked at the label on a package of microwave popcorn? It loses a lot of carbs just by popping it. Popcorn doesn’t affect my blood sugar so I snack on it with wild abandon. My all time favorite thing to eat after a long day, when the kids are in bed, is a bag of popcorn and a 20 oz. bottle of Diet Coke. Maybe watch a movie or catch up on DVR’d shows. It does not get any better than that!

Given the facts, I still strive for carb freedom but realistically I can’t do it like I used to. After 22 years with diabetes and three babies later, my body doesn’t respond to carbs like it once did. I hate to admit I’m getting old but it appears I am. So I am trying to cut down on carbs and eat more fruits and vegetables. It really helps my waistline. It’s not easy but I’m getting more used to it.

Do I want to be the model diabetic? Not really, if it means I have to eat a certain way. I am a human being whose pancreas gave out years ago. I try to live my life as normally as possible. The good news is with all the medical technology we have now, living normally is a lot easier.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I would like to thank the academy . . .

I thought I would share some history for today's writing prompt.

A month or two before I moved back home to student teach, I was on the phone with a Type 1 diabetic stranger. She knew my mom because they were both RN’s together at the same hospital. My mom had arranged the phone call because the nurse had an insulin pump.

I had heard about these cool little pager sized boxes that pumped insulin into diabetics. Beats the heck out of “shooting up” four times a day, which I was doing at the time. Humalog for meals and NPH to stick to my ribs and stay in my system working side by side with the “fast acting” Humalog.

This nurse was nice and briefly explained the benefits of the pump. The one thing that stuck out in my mind was her saying that diabetics that use the pump have to be willing to answer a lot of questions about it. Since junior high I had been telling people about my diabetes on a strict as needed basis. Now I was going home to ask my doctor for a neon sign announcing to the world my addiction to insulin! I just didn’t realize that most people would simply think it was a pager or a cell phone clipped to the top of my pants.

The Mini Med representative set up an appointment for me at the doctor’s office. Then at the last minute he canceled on me so I canceled my appointment with my doctor. He was not happy that I canceled to take a substitute job for a teacher I was hired to replace when he moved to another school district.

The cancelation was serendipitous because I met my husband for the first time between the canceled appointment and the rescheduled appointment. My husband has been my biggest support from the moment I met him. Well, maybe not. It was not love at first sight for us but that’s another story.

We started dating and at some point I told him I was diabetic. He didn’t even flinch. His mom had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes not long before we met. His interest in the disease was real. I told him about the $5000 worth of pump equipment and supplies 100% paid for by insurance that was sitting in a closet at my mom’s house. I admitted I had not seen the video yet. He eagerly told me he would watch it with me.

He is a gadget guy. A real guy’s guy. My pump was another toy to him. He helped me set it all up. I could not have been more grateful for his love of technology.

I remember we went to the park for a picnic dinner. We grabbed Subway on the way. Counting carbs was not a new thing for me nor was guessing how many carbs were in a fast food meal. I looked at my sandwich and did some math in my head. Then I held my thumb down on the up arrow key so the bolus units would come up faster than one tenth of a unit at a time. The love of my life watched me for a second before saying, “It’s not candy!” My appreciation for his quirky sense of humor would come later.

I share these stories because this is where it all began. Yes, I have always had family supporting me with my diabetes. I have had the rare friends I actually confided in about my diabetes. I have so many people in my corner ten years after these stories. Family, in laws I am extremely close with, friends, Internet friends (I met Shannon aka Mommy Going Crazy recently when I went home to visit my family. She and I met through blogging just months after her 4 year old was diagnosed with diabetes. A year later her youngest was also diagnosed with it.), I of course have met several people on Twitter and through this blogging week. But my biggest support has always been my husband.

He is the one who talked me into getting a CGM. He tries not to take it too personally that I still hate it. When I was doing my second trial with the CGM, for insurance purposes, I had to write down everything. What my BG’s were, what I ate, how much I ate, when, why, my height, weight, bra size, and every time I moved. I hated the exercise part of it. I wasn’t doing formal exercise at the time so I counted cleaning my house and trips to the playground with my kids. It was just hard to determine whether it was low, moderate, or high levels of exercise. My husband said I should write down intimacy every night for a duration of three hours each time! He said, “You know, just to give them something to read and talk about!”

My husband lets me cry about diabetes and he picks up the pieces when I’m done. He lets me rant about my endocrinologist, who I don’t like. He helps me analyze my data because my endo doesn’t do it effectively. Too bad we don’t know more than we do.

I’ve already mentioned how he pushes the button for me when I change my infusion set and he also inserts my CGM sensor in my arm for me.

My husband and I both wanted to have babies. He was a huge emotional support. He knows first hand what a challenge diabetes was in that process. He also supported me, without fully understanding why at the time, when I refused an amniocentesis to find out if our last baby really did have Down Syndrome or Trisomy 18. My reasoning was that she was our last. I could not tempt diabetes again with another pregnancy and I was not going to risk miscarriage just for piece of mind. She was born perfectly normal.

Karen said to gush and I have gushed till you’re all puking, if you’re still reading. My husband is an incredible support to me and the never ending demands of Type 1 diabetes.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Weapon of Choice Day 2 of Diabetes Blog Week

Day 2 – Making the low go. Tell us about your favorite way to treat a low. Juice? Glucose tabs? Secret candy stash? What’s your favorite thing to indulge in when you are low? What do you find brings your blood sugar up fast without spiking it too high?

I am the model diabetic.  On the rare occasion that my blood sugar drops low I eat exactly 15 grams of carbs and retest exactly 15 minutes later, retreating with another 15 grams as necessary. 

I almost never have to retreat a low because, as the model diabetic, I treat lows with glucose tabs.  Sour apple are my favorite.  Or I will use the drink that comes with the two glucose tab bottles from Costco.  Sometimes I splurge and buy the tube of frosting that looks like Halloween makeup and tastes like feet. 

Ok, I can’t keep this charade up much longer!  I am anything but the model diabetic.  I do have glucose tabs by the side of my bed but I rarely eat them.  I usually use them when I’m on vacation or at church.  I have a small tube in my scripture bag.  Sour apple really is my favorite.  My husband says glucose tabs look like big Smarties.  He finally tried one a few weeks ago, just to see.  He said it tasted like a big Smartie too.  And the diabetic frosting . . . have you ever had the unfortunate need to eat one of those?  I did at the hospital, visiting my baby in the NICU.  I nearly puked it was so nasty!  The nurses were very sympathetic. 

No, my weapon of choice is fruit snacks.  I have been eating fruit snacks with virtually every low for the last nine plus years.  I honestly don’t remember what I ate before I met my husband.  I think I just binged on whatever I could find in the house.  Tortillas were my favorite. 

My husband bought me a Costco pack of fruit snacks either when we were engaged or soon after we got married.  It had three different varieties in the pack.  Cherry, Strawberry, or Mixed Berry.  They are absolutely nasty.  They taste like toxic silly putty.  But when you’re low you don’t taste much.  At least I don’t.  I have eaten dinner so fast I was disappointed I didn’t savor it.  But I was low! 

The nice thing about the fruit snacks were the fact that there were 2.5 servings in each bag.  So I was eating about 40 grams of carbs.  Too much I know, but since they were made from fruit juice the extra carbs helped sustain my blood sugar over time. 

Costco stopped selling the yucky fruit snacks so I got hooked on Welch’s.  Those are really good.  Made with 100% real fruit juice.  Mmm . . . tasty.  The packages were small so I usually ate two.  Now Costco doesn’t have the Welch’s fruit snacks anymore so I eat my kids’ Jelly Belly fruit snacks.  We used to buy two different boxes of fruit snacks.  One for me and one for the kids.  My kids would say their blood sugar was low hoping I would let them eat mine!  Now we all eat from the same box.  Is that weird?

The Jelly Belly fruit snacks are delicious too, they just stick to my teeth.  Hard to shove the whole package in my mouth in public and have a normal conversation with anyone later.  Actually, if I ate them one at a time they would still stick to my teeth. 

Yes, I’m a pig.  I eat the whole thing at once because I’m low and in a hurry.  I also do it because the flavor is more intense that way.  I eat Skittles the same way.  It just tastes better.  My four year old is always saying, “Watch this Mom.  I eat them like you!”  I have lectured him many times against this because it’s bad manners. 

My kids know where I stash all the fruit snacks.  They know I have tons in my purse.  For me and for them.  My purse is a bag of tricks that keeps my kids happy in public when needed.  They have seen my stash by the side of the bed, they know I have at least one package in my scripture bag, and I used to keep them in the car.  But I haven’t for a few years.  Fruit snacks are actually quite gross and they taste even worse when they’ve been heated up in a hot car and cooled down at night several times.  The good news is they contain 100% of the recommended intake of Vitamin C for the day.  My fluffy tummy is actually full of extra Vitamin C.  I’m sure of it.

Just in case you were wondering, if I eat fruit snacks at night, I eat one package and have a glass of milk.  The protein helps it sustain my blood sugar.  Most of the time anyway.  If I’m super low in the middle of the night I eat cereal. 

I do eat other things when I’m low depending on my mood.  Let’s face it, as diabetics, that shaky feeling means freedom to eat whatever.  Sometimes I do.  There have been many times when I have eaten until I feel better then paid for it later.    The joys of diabetes!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Day 1 – A day in the life . . . with diabetes

Take us through a quick rundown of an average day and all the ways in which diabetes touches it. Blood tests, site changes, high and low blood sugars, meal planning, anything that comes along. This can be a log of an actual day, or a fictional compilation of pieces from many days.

I thought I would do this game show style. Imagine several women have been chosen to compete on a reality show. These women all have Type 1 diabetes given to them for one day. That right there is amazing. If someone could be given this obnoxious disease for one day doesn’t that mean the rest of us can take a day off from it? How awesome would that be?

Anyway, back to D day on

Survivor Diabetes Island for Mothers

The day begins in the middle of the night where the mothers are given one of the following scenarios to deal with.

1. Child waking up in the night to be nursed and/or bottle fed, or is vomiting, or is not breathing from a case of croup. If Mom gets through her situation without low blood sugar, 20 minutes after she falls asleep again she will wake up sweating with her heart pounding out of her chest. Once the low is corrected, sleep will not return until 15 minutes before the alarm goes off for the day. Welcome to motherhood with diabetes!

The mom who tries to tap dry formula in her mouth while her baby drinks the bottle to counteract low blood sugar is disqualified. So is the mom who sucks on the breast milk soaked burp cloth. The mom whose husband feeds the baby a bottle while Mom feeds herself, or feeds Mom brownies glucose tabs while she nurses, gets 50 extra points.

2. The alarm goes off and Mom forces herself out of bed to face the day. She remembers she needs to change her infusion set. If she can do this herself she gets my utmost respect. I am too terrified to do it myself. Like Mos Def’s character in The Italian Job, “I had a bad experience!” So if her husband is like mine and will do it for her, well, she gets 100 extra points right there because diabetes waits for no one, irrational fears and all.

3. Breakfast. Mom gets points added or deducted based on her blood sugar reading and her ability to react to the situation. Her decision will be based mostly on her insulin resistance for this time of day. Many people are very resistant in the morning. Me, I’m now resistant at lunch time. Weird.

4. Get children ready for school all while gussying herself up for the day. If this can be done without anyone yelling for any reason, oh wait. That has nothing to do with diabetes. But that’s kind of the point. I may have diabetes but I’m still a wife, mother, friend, blah blah blah. Life goes on.

5. Drive children to school. The curve ball thrown in here is that Mom can feel her blood sugar dropping. She desperately tries to avoid the gossipy moms who can detain her at school for an hour or more all because they know she’s a SAHM. She carries her cell phone so she can pretend to get an important call “while the phone is on vibrate” or an emergency text even though she doesn’t pay for texting service. Ooh. That mom is smart. She gets at least 30 extra points for her brilliance.

6. The morning continues without incidence. Maybe Mom finds time for exercise, maybe not. As long as the kids are alive and happy it doesn’t matter. Bonus points for Mom who interacts in a meaningful way with her kids. But again, that has nothing to do with diabetes.

7. Lunch. Like breakfast, Mom is awarded points for eating something healthy. Choosing to bolus for Cheetos is frowned upon but not forbidden. She is still a busy mother after all. Cut her some slack.

8. In the afternoon Mom goes to school to pick up her child/children. As she is walking across the schoolyard her preschooler randomly announces, quite loudly I might add, “My blood sugar is low.” Mom knows the child is not diabetic. She tries to downplay the situation by mm hmming. He insists. Mom is starting to get embarrassed because other mothers are looking at her. She finally says, “You shouldn’t talk like that since you don’t have that problem.” Not that I’ve had any experience with this . . .

9. Mom goes on a cleaning frenzy. What will this do to her blood sugar? What will she do about it? What will she say to her children who don’t understand why she gets to eat before dinner?

10. Dinner. You know the drill. But just to throw a wrench in the day of lows, let’s say Mom has a really carb rich dinner.

11. Post dinner test. Oh, was I supposed to mention that Mom tests before and after every meal and anytime she feels crappy in between? Well, she does. And if she does she gets 10 more points. Only 10 because it’s not like testing is hard. If I’m good at doing something I expect everyone else to be too. Just kidding. Anyway, Mom’s blood sugar is higher than a kite. Now what?

12. Mom is awarded points for successfully bringing down her blood sugar post dinner. Mom has points taken away for falling asleep on the couch because of her high blood sugar that is so unresponsive to the corrections she has thrown at it. But is that really fair? Some days diabetes sucks rotten eggs.

13. Eventually Mom goes to bed. Not that it matters. She doesn’t sleep. Diabetes, snoring, and children all take care of any physical need to reach REM. If REM is achieved her vivid dreams can raise or lower her blood sugar. Exercise, like trying to run away but her feet are stuck in sand, will lower it. Eating chocolate cake will raise it. And yes, we are still talking about dreams.

The mother with the most points wins. But they’re all winners because once the game is over they go back to their normal, non diabetic lives. The rest of us try to balance real life with the demands of a disease that has no cure. Only ways to cope and manage. On the bad days I like to watch this video.

On the good days I quote Spongebob Squarepants. spongebob

Yes, I realize the blanket was attached to the door backwards. Like diabetes, it is what it is.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

What’s that in the shopping bag? A new self image!

New clothes are fun.  New clothes boost self esteem.  New clothes inspire. 

These reactions to new clothes transcend all ages.  Adults like new clothes because only babies need to replace their entire wardrobe every three months.  Children, surprisingly, enjoy new clothes too.  Just not as much for gifts. 

It’s obvious when someone gets new clothes.  Besides the tell tale new clothes smell and the perfect creases, the person is seen strutting.  They stand straighter with shoulders proudly thrown back.  They walk differently when it’s new shoes too.  After a few steps the person holds their foot out, however subtly, to admire the pristine shell covering it.

Stacy London and Clinton Kelly have fashion careers built around the successful advice to dress one’s body in it’s current state.  Don’t wait for some magic number on the scale or any other procrastinatory excuse.  The time to look good is now. 

Clinton Kelly has told women who want to lose weight that if they feel good about themselves now, they are more likely to do what it takes to lose the weight.  Truer words have never been spoken. 

My new clothes are sitting in a bag just waiting for me to knock out that new clothes smell with drippy, salty sweat rings.  My new clothes are workout clothes.  It’s not like I got a new power suit! 

These workout clothes are an epic change for me.  I have always loved working out.  Send me outside to play and I would rather lie in a lounge chair sunning myself.  But put me in a weight room, or in front of a TV with some routine workout video and I’m all over it.  I have aerobic steps, weights, a fitness ball, and a large rubber band with handles.  Run around the park?  Not interested.  Isolate myself in a room of torture devices and a video that never changes?  I’m there! 

Because this is how I choose to exercise . . . by the way, I also count standing in front of a wall while someone drives their car up to me stopping inches from my toes as exercise.  Whatever gets your heart rate up is the definition of cardiovascular exercise right?  Anyway, because my way of exercising doesn’t require me to see other people I have never owned anything close to workout attire. 

I lied.  In junior high I was in a dance class so my mom made me cotton spandex shorts and leotards to practice in.  The stretchy form fitting clothes were made with love but I never could dance.  Maybe that’s why I chose to block the experience from my memory. 

Any time I have worked out in public I have worn a pair of boxer shorts and an oversized t-shirt that would probably fit my husband’s 6’2” frame.  What I wear now to work out in, in the comfort of my own home, is a pair of boxer shorts from college that were too little then and a tank top that has shrunk to the point that my stomach spills out the bottom.  Sexy.  Oh, and I wear a nursing sports bra.  It’s not really a sports bra.  The saleslady told me it was what I could wear to bed so my nursing pads would stay in place.  And anyone who has ever nursed or slept with a nursing woman knows that at night the possibility for drowning in breast milk is really high. 

Needless to say, I throw on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt to take my son next door on my neighbor’s carpool day.  I wouldn’t want to subject my neighbors to blindness from my endorphin laced sense of fashion at 8:00 am.   My new clothes will allow me to answer the door if needs be without having to find a robe or a large parka first. 

My new clothes make me look amazing.  Seriously.  Up until these miraculous stretchy cotton duds entered my life, I have tried to make peace with my stomach.  Like Kevin James, I want to work it until it stops shaking when I brush my teeth.  Then it’s all maintenance after that.  But then I put on these capri yoga pants.  They looked plain and unpromising on the hanger.  I stepped into those pants, pulled them up and my legs were immediately transformed into Greek goddess perfection.  And my stomach . . . what stomach? 

I thought I was being tricked by the mirror.  But when I showed my husband the clothes he got me for Mother’s Day (it takes a real man to think outside the chocolate box), he asked when I got so thin.  He’s seen me in all my glory and I have never looked that good!  Not even pre kids. 

All I can think about is what Clinton Kelly said about dressing your body now so you have the confidence to lose weight.  Holy that’s all I want to do!  Step into my magic pants with my real sports bras and performance tank top or t-shirt and use all my implements of exercise torture to melt before your very eyes. 

New clothes are so inspiring.  Have you had any life altering experiences with new clothes?