So, about that First Trimester.

That was the worst hangover of my life.

Literally, the first trimester was like a hangover that wouldn’t end.  Without the funny stories or pictures from the night before.  What a buzzkill.  I, unfortunately, suffered from morning sickness something fierce.  I naively expected it to be along the lines of feeling sick, puking, and feeling better.  Not so much.  I’d feel sick, puke, and continue to feel sick.  Luckily, I was able to get a prescription for zofran, which helped, but didn’t eliminate, the symptoms.  At one point, I blew a blood vessel in my eye and my eyeball filled up with blood.  Stayed like that for 2 weeks.  I looked preeeeeetttttttttty.  (Pictures available upon request).

My blood sugars did well during the first trimester.  I didn’t really experience the constant lows that some pregnant Ds talk about.  I did experience MORE lows, but I would treat and most of the time they would play nicely and come up.  I’d have a random stubborn low, but that’s par for the course with diabetes, right?  My A1c hung out between 5.7 (!!!) and 6.3.  My endo wants me below 6.5, so she’s happy with that!

One thing that did kick in for me – hypo unawareness.  Many times my CGM would bark at me and I’d be like, “LIAR!  I don’t feel low!” only to test and yeah, be in the 50s.  Thank goodness for that little gadget.  It woke me up quite a few times overnight with it’s beeping so I could treat a low.

On the topic of morning sickness and lows…probably the most frustrating for me with this whole pregnancy thing (thus far) is feeling nauseated AFTER bolusing for meals.  To combat this, I’d try to eat as much as I could and either rock a temp basal of 0 for quite some time or, if my tummy allowed, down a glass of milk.

In the grand scheme of things, the first trimester went pretty smoothly.  Along with the common pregnancy symptoms (I could’ve napped every.single.day!), diabetes definitely had a role, but I followed the mantra of “Correct and overcome.”  I’m not shy about tweaking pump settings or trying new things.  Being pregnant with diabetes is definitely not a walk in the park but with a good attitude, careful monitoring, and persistence, it’s definitely manageable.

I’m 22 weeks now.  I’ll update on the second trimester happenings soon!

Hello, yeah it’s been a while. Not much, how ’bout you?

Hello, DOC!  I’ve missed you!  I know it’s been a while since you’ve heard from me.  My excuses/reasons for not blogging are kind of lame – busy at work, need a break from focusing on the D, busy getting busy, holidays, etc., etc.  I miss blogging, I just haven’t had the motivation to make it a priority right now.  But, I have some down time at work and thought I’d post an update on life.

Update #1.  Not pregnant.  Still trying to get a baby up in there, but no luck so far.  Not sweating it, yet, but I gotta say, it can be frustrating to do everything “right” and not get the results you want.  Kind of like how our blood sugars can behave one way one day and another way the next, despite doing the same thing.  I keep reminding myself that even with “perfectly timed” sex a healthy couple has a 20% chance of conceiving any given month.  Hopefully it’ll happen soon!

Update #2.  Holidays were not as hard with new robot parts.  Last Christmas I was still on MDIs, CGM-less, and felt like crap.  Between traveling 7+ hours to get to our hometown, eating dinner around 10pm on Christmas eve, and not having handy gadgets, I was nauseous most of the holiday last year.  This year was much better with my CGM and pump.  It was easier to make adjustments and I’m happy to say that I felt good and enjoyed myself!

Update #3.  Endo-conundrum.  I received a letter a few months ago that my beloved endo is reducing her hours and therefore will only be in the clinic on Thursdays.  Commence Panic.  How is this going to work?  Especially when I’m pregnant and have many more appointments?  After chatting with a few other patients of her’s I decided to see how it goes at my next appointment with the nurse practitioner before deciding if I wanted to change practices or stick with my current doc, despite her limited availability.  I had heard that the NP isn’t the greatest and rubs many people the wrong way, but I liked her.  So, for now, I’ve decided to stay with my current practice.  Hopefully when I do get pregnant, I will still receive excellent care.  If not, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Update #4.  A1c!!! My A1c has dropped from 6.8 to 6.7.  Woohoo!  I’m happy I stayed under 7.0.  My next goal is 6.5!

Update #5.  I have an annoying as eff coworker.  My cubicle neighbor has serious issues with his bodily functions.  He’s constantly snorting, snarfling, neighing like a horse, talking to himself, etc.  He drives me slightly insane.  There is going to be a day when I have the perfect storm of low blood sugar, PMS, and am having a shitty day where I go apeshit on him.  Thank goodness for headphones, but damn, he bugs.  Other than him, I love my job (Except for the whole keeping me away from the DOC thing).

Have a great week, everyone!

You can watch TV if you get bored.

So.  I guess I can go ahead and say that the husband and I are officially “trying” for a baby.  Being that I’m neurotic and can’t just see what happens, I’ve jumped into the deep end of the pool in this whole “making a baby” thing.  Dr. Google is my new best friend.

Stuff I’ve learned:

  • A “healthy” couple under the age of 35 usually gets pregnant within 5 months, but it can take up to a year.  So after a year, one should have a chit-chat with her doctor.  Am I considered healthy with this D thing?  When do I go crying to my lady doctor?
  • On any given cycle, there is a 20% chance of getting pregnant.  I graduated with my M.A. summa cum laude.  I can’t deal with this 20% success rate.  Overachiever.
  • Apparently having sex a lot ups your chances.  Duh.  But some women on a baby board that I may or may not post on are getting it on like 2 or 3 times/day.  Ummmm, I’m walking funny just thinking about it.
  • I get to track even more numbers!  I’ve started taking my basal temperature every morning so I can see some patterns with my cycle, figure out when I ovulate, all that fun stuff.  More stuff to keep track of.  Thank goodness for iPhone apps.
  • I can’t find any scientific information on the interwebs about blood sugars and ovulation, implantation, etc.  This annoys me to no end.
  • When you start trying, pregnant women are like squirrels.  They are everywhere.

The husband is a good sport with my neurotic self.  He’s learned some stuff too about the female body – interesting stuff and some gross stuff too.  But he’s super excited and I know he’ll be a great dad.

And luckily, we haven’t gotten to this point…yet…

Arm Site Review

I’ve been wanting to try using the backs of my arms for a CGM site for quite some time now.  My High Risk OB told me that once I get pregnant (I’m not yet!) I shouldn’t wear my sensor on my thighs for some reason or other.  I forget what the reason was as it was an information-overload type of appointment, but anyway, I remembered she said that!  So when I got a mild rash from my last site, I decided it’d be time to give my thighs a break and try the back of my arms.  Sadly, I don’t have Cameron Diaz guns, so there is a lot of fleshy area to choose from.

I wanted to have my husband insert it (hehe, see what I did there?) but he seemed a little apprehensive, so I took matters into my own hands.  (You could go so dirty with that last sentence, but I’m going to assume that the kind readers of my blog will be keeping their minds out of the gutter.)  So, using a mirror, I put a sensor in the back of my left arm.  It wasn’t easy, but it was do-able.  I’ve been wearing this sensor for almost 2 weeks and had my husband reinforce it with some OpSite FlexiFix for me a few days in.  So far, it’s been sticking like a champ.  Probably better than it sticks to my thighs.

A few things I don’t like about the arm site – I seem to meet so many more door frames.  I swear, I’m constantly bumping it. Visibly, it is definitely more noticeable than thigh sites.  Also, I’ve noticed that overnight it doesn’t seem as accurate.  Maybe because I am a side sleeper and my sensor doesn’t have clear access to my receiver?  Regardless, I’ve woken up a few times with it pretty far off.  This morning I tested at 168 and my Dexcom said 102.  On Thanksgiving morning, it said I was 144 and I was 222.  I haven’t yanked it due to this inaccuracy just yet, as it only seems to happen over night.

Also, it’s really nice to not have to remember to be careful of my sensor every time I go to the bathroom.  I think the arm is definitely the way to go as far as out-of-way-ness, (as long as I miss those door frames!), but accuracy-wise, my thighs seem to work a little bit better.  But, it is great to know that my arms may be a good Dexcom spot for a future pregnancy!

 

15 years.

Today marks 15 years since I was diagnosed with diabetes.  During those 15 years I’ve gone from MDI to a pump back to MDI back to a pump.  Here are a few interesting stats I’ve come up with…(yay, math!):

  • Today is my 5480th day with diabetes.
  • For the 26 total months I used MDI, that means I’ve given myself at least 3200 injections.  Don’t you dare complain to me about your yearly flu shot! 🙂
  • Assuming I check my blood sugar an average of 8 times a day, that is 43,840 finger sticks.  (Who wants to treat me to a manicure?)
  • I’ve gotten blood drawn for A1c Tests, thyroid monitoring, etc. about 60 times.  And it hasn’t gotten easier.
  • I’ve changed my pump site approximately 1550 times.  I still suck at doing it left-handed.
  • Zero.  That’s the number of times I’ve clobbered someone after they have made an uneducated, rude, ignorant comment about diabetes.  Do I get a prize for this?

Fifteen years.  That’s a long time.  That’s longer than most Hollywood marriages.  It’s been a hell of a ride with this whole diabetes thing.  It’s made me a stronger woman, more compassionate towards others, more patient, some days a little angry and blue, but mostly, I’ve just been me.  I don’t know any different and I think if you told me that there was a cure and I’d be able to live life free of a pump, finger sticks, and worrying about how that food/exercise/adult beverage/sleeping in will affect my blood sugar, it’d be an interesting adjustment period.  One that I would welcome, of course, but it’s hard to grasp the concept of a life without diabetes!  Could you imagine?  It has been such a big part of who I am, but not all that I am.  I am also a friend, a sister, wife, daughter, kickboxer when I’m not lazy, wine lover, cartographer, blogger, Phillies fan, pasta eater, aunt, volunteer, beer drinker, (Volunteer beer drinker? Sign me up!), Homeland watcher, employee, baker…I am not just a diabetic.  I am Laura.  There’s so much more to me than diabetes.

Blue and organization!

Slacking on my Diabetes Month Photo-a-Day posts!

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I may not always wear blue on Fridays (I really try though!) but I always make sure I sport my “Cure Type 1 Diabetes” bracelet! Thanks JDRF!

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My pump supplies cubbie. Don’t worry, I just placed an order today!

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My test strips/extra Rxs/Random D stuff drawer. Anyone want to have a BG testing party?

Sadly, I don’t have a fun spot for my Dexcom supplies.  They just stay in their box in the bottom of my closet.  I feel I need a cute (blue) basket for them!

Proud.

Day 4 of Diabetes Month Photo-a-Day is “Proud”.  I think that people who live with diabetes (and our awesome Type 3-ers) have a lot to be proud of every day.  This isn’t an easy disease to manage.  We constantly have to juggle, do math, chase highs and lows, etc.  It can be exhausting and every day is a victory!

But for the purpose of this Photo-a-Day entry, I want to share a picture of me after one of my training runs.  I have completed two half marathons – The Virginia Beach Rock N Roll in September 2010 and the Flying Pirate (Outer Banks) in April 2011.  Granted my times were pretty pathetic (Running is so not my thing) but I did it, managed my blood sugars along the way, and got the medals to prove it.  I think this goes to show that even people who aren’t the best athletes can set a physical goal and achieve it.  Thumbs up to you!

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After one of my training runs for the Flying Pirate Half – notice I’m wearing my Rock N Roll half shirt? (Also, can I move back to the Outer Banks? Oh how I miss living on the water…)

“That is so cool.”

In a meeting the other day, a coworker noticed my CGM receiver (which I still rock in the Dexcom provided 1990s business-person themed leather snappy case thing).

“What is that?  A MP3 player?”

“Oh, it’s my continuous glucose monitor.  It tells me what my blood sugar is.  See?  Right now I’m 98 and steady.”  (I wanted him to high-five me for my awesome reading, but alas, he did not.)

“But….how?”

“See this lump on my leg?  It’s a sensor that’s reading my blood sugar level.”

“So, does it alert you if you go out of range?  Is that what those lines are?”

(Dude. He must be brilliant.)

“Yup!  It beeps and vibrates and acts like a jerk if I go too high or too low.”

“That.is.so.cool.”

And to think, a couple of months ago I was all sorts of nervous about starting a new job and explaining diabetes and stuff.  Now I’m clearly the coolest kid on the block!

 

Talk to me Tuesday, 10.8.13

Today I’m e-chatting with Liz, Mom with Type 1.  Check it out!

Tell me the basics. What’s your name?  Where are you from? When were you diagnosed with the D?
My name’s Elizabeth but my friends call me Liz. I’m originally from California but I call Ohio my home now. I was diagnosed at 18. December 2005/January 2006.

Care to share your diagnosis story?
I was sick for a few months leading up to my diagnosis. In November of 2005 I started showing signs of diabetes brought on, they think, by a horrible case of strep throat. Everything lasted until about the end of December when I had dropped a bunch of weight and I started guzzling everything I could get my hands on. I was in the middle of switching my insurance carriers and wasn’t able to be seen until January 1st of 2006. Instantly the doctor knew what was going on and rushed me to the emergency room where I spent a week in ICU. It was a bit traumatic for me. I had never been that sick before. Spent a few days in a regular room where they taught me about my new life.
That must have been awful, having to deal with the symptoms from November to January!

If you could go back in time, what would you tell your newly diagnosed self?
Research, everything, don’t take what the doctors are saying for gold. I have learned so much more about this disease through research and talking with others then my doctor at the time had informed me.
So true!  I think sometimes doctors don’t think of us as individuals and may forget that what works for Patient A may not work for Patient B!

What treatment methods do you use to manage your diabetes?  Why have you chosen this particular method?
I’m on MDI. Manuel daily injections. So I check my blood glucose on a glucose meter about 9 times a day and inject insulin about 5 times a day or more. Depending on different daily factors, of course. I’ve stuck with this method because it is all I know. Since diagnosis I have been MDI and it has worked for me. Why mess with a good thing.
True!

How do you stay informed about the newest Diabetes technology?  What are you most excited about?
Honestly, I get a lot of my information from the diabetes online community. There is always someone in the know and willing to share the information. Not really excited about anything, unless there’s word of a cure, then I am all ears. 🙂
Haha, me too!  I actually learned about the Dexcom from the DOC. 

What is your dream D-device?
I’d like a device that checks my blood sugar without the use of pricking myself/blood. Not sure how that would be possible but I would love it.
Yes, and one that would be 100% accurate too! (still love you, Dex!)

Some non-D stuff.  What are some of your hobbies?
I enjoy spending time with my family these days. I craft a little here and there. I consider writing a hobby. It’s something that I enjoy doing just to clear my head.

In the past year, what’s been your greatest achievement? D-related or not!
It’s terrible to say that I never cared about my A1c before but lately I have been trying to take my health into my hands and control it better. I was so happy that my last A1c was a 7.0. Which made me very proud because I worked hard for that. I am hoping to get it lower with even more hard work.
Never terrible to say that you are taking charge of your health!  Great job on the 7.0!

Who inspires you?  Non D and D?
Non-D I would have to say my sister is a fairly huge force in my life. She has been through a lot of battles and still comes out knowing exactly who she is. She’s always encouraged me to follow my dreams and not let anything stand in my way. A D inspiration would be anyone fighting the good fight. Staying strong through this diabetes journey. It’s difficult sometimes but when you wake up in the morning ready to beat this disease down then you inspire me to keep going too.

How has your attitude towards your diabetes management changed since you’ve become a parent?
The instant I became a parent I knew this disease was going to be affecting my daughter. Maybe not physically but emotionally. I knew that I needed to start taking care of myself so that I could be here for her when she needs me the most. I am very serious about my health and sticking to everything I need to do.

What is the hardest thing about being a mother with diabetes?
I think the hardest part of being diabetic and a mommy has nothing to do with the disease itself. It’s more in terms of how this disease makes my daughter feel. When she sees me upset/sick it crushes her. She says she wants to be a doctor so that she can cure me. Being a mother means never wanting to see your children suffer but when that hurt stems from something in your life it makes it so much harder to handle. If that makes sense.
You sound like a great mom!  And your daughter sounds sweet too.

What makes you happiest and saddest?
A lot of things make me happy. Waking up with awesome blood sugars in the morning put a little pep in my step. Calculating my carbs perfectly and coming out on top feels like a win. Sad? I’m only sad that sometimes I let the “bad” days defeat me from time to time. I’m still learning and growing.

What’s been your best vacation?
This last Summer was amazing, it was my daughters first real summer vacation from school. We stood around home but we went everywhere. Baseball games, the zoo, movies, amusement parks..and I did it all with nearly perfect blood sugars. I was proud. Great memories.
Nice!

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
I’d like to go overseas somewhere. Paris, Rome..something like that. Though I would be nervous to be flying so far away from home. The farthest I’ve flown is from Ohio to California and back.
I’d love to eat my way through Italy!

What’s your favorite book or movie?
My favorite book is The Giver. Such a beautiful story. I’ve read it about a million times.

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
Maybe how much I actually struggle with diabetes. I smile a lot. I try to put on a very brave face even when I am feeling discouraged.
I hear ya.

Back to diabetes.  What have you learned about yourself since being diagnosed?
That not every day is the same when dealing with this disease. It’s alright to hate it  just as long as you continue to fight. I’ve learned that I am strong but not invincible.

What was your scariest Diabetes moment? What is the scariest thing about living with diabetes?
Scariest moment was getting behind the wheel and not checking my blood sugar. I was driving along with my daughter, feeling fine, when it hit me. The dizziness, the shaking, the sweatiness. I panicked. I knew I had to pull over. My heart was racing and my vision was getting blurry. When I turned onto a side street I barely saw the car coming from the other direction and we nearly collided. Thankfully I was able to react fast enough but the moment frightened me. I kept thinking about my daughter and the other drivers. I wasn’t going super fast but damage could have occurred. When I finally checked I was at a 35. Since then I make it a priority to check, double-check even, my blood sugar before driving anywhere. Things have been better.
It’s always a good habit to check before driving! 

The scariest thing about this disease is not knowing if this is what is going to take my life. Complications. High/low blood sugars.

The constant what if’s with this disease scare me.

What has been your best diabetes moment?
The best moment for me was getting through my pregnancy with diabetes on board and having my daughter come out absolutely perfect. No major complications. Even with all the worry.
Yay!  I’m happy to hear about another successful diabetes pregnancy!

What is your personal diabetes motto/attitude towards it?
Own it or be owned. It speaks for itself, I think.

Do you have a blog?
Yes, I blog at Elizabethfritzblog.wordpress.com I’m a newbie blogger but it’s a wonderful outlet.
I love your blog!

How do you think being part of the diabetes online community has affected how you take care of yourself and your diabetes? How has it been beneficial/detrimental to you?
I think almost any form of community is beneficial. It sort of keeps me accountable. The people I have met through the DOC genuinely care about me and how I am doing day-to-day. It’s been a real blessing being able to share my ups and downs with people who just get it. 🙂

Why do you follow my blog?  Any tips or suggestions or specific topics you’d like to see me write about?
I love following people who understand where I am coming from. When I came across your blog I felt a real connection. It’s not easy being diabetic, and speaking solely from a personal place, it’s not always easy being a woman either. It’s nice knowing that I am not alone. As far as tips or suggestions..just keep doing what you’re doing. I have no complaints. 🙂
Awww, thanks!

Other than insulin, how else do you keep your diabetes in control?
I try to exercise as often as I can. Also, I try to make healthy food choices, though it can be easier said than done. It’s all about compromise, I think.

Any tips/hints to other PWD?
Look on the positive side of things, yes. “I feel like crap today, but tomorrow is a new day.” It’s more than alright to vent and want to punch diabetes in the face though.

What would you say to someone who is newly diagnosed?
See my above answer. I think at first I felt like I had to do everything perfectly, which lead to a huge bout of depression when I wasn’t getting the results everyone wanted, then I realized that yesterday will not be like today, even if I do everything exactly the same. Realize that some days will be better than others. Diabetes isn’t  perfect and neither are we.
Great advice!

What would you say to the general public about diabetes?
Other than the obvious, no I didn’t do this to myself and too much sugar wasn’t the cause either..I’d say..don’t be so quick to judge. Diabetes is a real disease. Diabetics are real people with real feelings. Mocking, joking, being blatantly cruel..it hurts. Imagine how you’d feel.