Invisible Illness Awareness Week 2013

Did you know that this week is Invisible Illness Week? I didn’t either until this blog post came across my reader. Thanks Rose!  I used to love filling out the old email surveys way back in the day, so why not? Here’s an easy chance to learn a little more about me and my diabetes. Don’t worry, there won’t be a quiz at the end.

30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know

1. The illness I live with is: Type 1 Diabetes

2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: 1998, 4 days after my 18th birthday!

3. But I had symptoms since: Not long before diagnosis. Maybe a month before? I lost weight (Yay!) and was peeing a lot (Non-yay when there wasn’t a bathroom on my floor in the dorms!) but I didn’t think anything of it.

4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: Testing my blood sugar, injecting insulin/wearing a pump, and carrying all the crap ever around – wherever I go.

5. Most people assume: That diabetes is just having to test my BG and taking insulin before meals. I don’t think people realize how serious it is and how I am constantly aware of what my BG is/how my body feels/how my actions affect my numbers.
Or, that my foot is going to fall off.

6. The hardest part about mornings are: Giving up cereal. My BG hates it. No matter how I try to bolus. I miss you Cocoa Puffs.

7. My favorite medical TV show is: Grey’s Anatomy. I’m one of the 4 people who still watch it.

8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: My Dexcom CGM. Seriously my most favorite Diabetes device ever! I credit it for helping me get my a1c down to 6.8 and I always say I’ll give up my pump before I give up my Dexcom. It has given me a sense of security and much more awareness of my diabetes.

9. The hardest part about nights are: Deciding if I need a snack before bed. Seriously. Food is hard.

10. Each day I take __ pills & vitamins: 2 Pills – Sythroid and Vitamin. I’m usually on Vytorin but my doc took me off of it in preparation for baby making. Also, continuous insulin via the pump.

11. Regarding alternative treatments I: Think they have their place. Although, with T1D there really aren’t any alternatives to insulin. But I think there is nothing wrong with seeking out a natural treatment for more common ailments like the common cold if that’s what you choose.

12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: Invisible. I don’t like my diabetes being made a huge deal of and I imagine if I had a visible illness I would feel uncomfortable much more often.

13. Regarding working and career: I’ve been working in some capacity of another since before my diagnosis. I don’t think that Diabetes has affected my ability to get and keep a job. I’ve really only missed maybe 3 or 4 days of work because of wonky blood sugars. In 14 years, that’s not too bad. I do feel guilty sometimes for having to miss time for doctor’s appointments, but I supposed that is what PTO is for!

14. People would be surprised to know: We really don’t want to hear stories about how your best friend’s cat has diabetes, or that your uncle “died from diabetes” or that your former boss’s mother’s sister lost her foot because she was diabetic. Really. Not helpful.

15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: My reality isn’t really “new” but back in college, the toughest thing to accept was that this is permanent. At least for the next 5-7 years until there’s a cure, right?

16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: I got nothing. Ask me again in a year or so and hopefully my answer will be “Have a baby.”

17. The commercials about my illness: Annoy me.

18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: Eating without thought. I miss not having to test, figure out my insulin, not having to wonder how this meal/snack will make me feel in the next 15 minutes, hour, 3 hours, etc.

19. It was really hard to have to give up: One piece bathing suits and low cut dresses. Female pumpers will understand.  Oh, and cereal.  And money.  Diabetes is expensive, yo.

20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: Blogging. This is a really new hobby!

21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: Eat all the pasta without a worry in the world.

22. My illness has taught me: A lot of stuff.

23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: See number 14.

24. But I love it when people: Ask questions and actually listen when I explain what I live with, my pump and CGM, etc.

25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: Tomorrow will be a better day.

26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: Diabetes is a pain in the ass, there’s no sense sugar coating it (Pun intended). But it is manageable and even though it seems like you are being inundated with information right now, in just a short amount of time, all of this will become second nature. You can do this. And if you feel like you can’t there are tons of people both online and in real life who are happy to support you, answer your questions, or listen if you need to vent.

27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: That even though there are people around for support, it can be very isolating. That’s why I am so grateful for the DOC and IRL D-friends I have. They “get it”.

28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: My college roommate took me to the hospital and sat with me for hours in the ER on what was a pretty useless ER visit (Something I could/should have handled on my own, another blog for another day). Also, my husband does nice things all the time – getting my meter for me, checking my CGM receiver when he thinks I’m not looking, grabbing me some juice, starting dinner when he’s not hungry yet so I can eat/won’t go low, etc. I’ll keep him.

29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: My blog isn’t so invisible, so why not?

30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: Happy and hopeful that you weren’t terribly bored.

 

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wordy Wednesday

I’ll get back to Wordless Wednesday next week.

Today I had my much-anticipated endocrinologist appointment.  This was the first appointment in which I’d get my a1c since going back on the pump and starting with my Dexcom CGM.

I was called back by the nurse and she took my vitals.  I told her that I was super excited about getting my a1c and was hoping it’d be around 7.0.  After doing her thing, my a1c still wasn’t ready so she sent me back to the waiting room and told me she’d come out and let me know what it was.  A few minutes later she came out with a huge smile on her face and whispered in my ear….

….

what do you think?

Did I do it?

……

Did I hit 7.0?

Well, I didn’t hit 7.0.  I knocked it out of the freaking park!  6.8!!!!!  Sixpointfreakingeight!  I haven’t had an a1c that low since…never.  I honestly can’t remember having an a1c in the sixes throughout my 14 1/2 years with diabetes.  I may have when I was first diagnosed, but not in the last 8-10 years, I know that much.

I almost started crying.

I am so happy that my a1c has shown all of my efforts.  And, I was texting with my friend and made the realization.  It has been tough, sure, but it’s not like I’ve stopped living my life in order to reach this goal.  I’ve made small adjustments and just made my diabetes management a priority.  The Dexcom has helped tremendously.  I no longer fear going low as I have faith that it will alert me if I need to take action.  And when it tells me I’m higher than I’d like to be, I adjust.  The constant contact with my CDE and her feedback have also been an enormous help.

So, back to the appointment.  My endo walked in and also had a big smile on her face.  She asked me if I wanted to hear the good news.  I said, “6.8!!!”  She was bummed that the nurse told me, haha.  She said that she is so proud of me.  When I first started with her last June, I was 8.9.  My last a1c in April, I was 7.9.  I’ve made diabetes my bitch.

I had a long list of questions for her regarding a (hopeful) upcoming pregnancy.  Here’s a rundown:

  • Given my current numbers/a1c, when can I start TTC?

    • NOW!

  • What are my pre/post meal BG goals during pregnancy?

    • Pre – 60-90

    • 1 hour post – below 140

    • 2 hours post – 100-120

  • When should I start taking pre-natal vitamins?

    • Now.  (I already did.  I win)

  • Vytorin – when should I stop taking it?

    • NOW!  She was adamant about this.  Guess I gotta lay off the steak and other cholesterol-y foods from now on.

  • What about synthroid?

    • Keep taking and call her AS SOON AS I have a positive pregnancy test.  (She said, “don’t even tell your husband, CALL ME!”)  Haha.  I guess as soon as I find out I’m pregnant, I need to take extra synthroid that week and adjust my dosage.

  • How long before we start trying should I stop taking pills?

    • She said that although “they” say it takes about 3 months, it can happen the first month so she suggested a month or two before, but “Be ready” for a positive result!

  • Caffeine/artificial sweetener intake during pregnancy?  What is safe?  When should I give it up/start limiting it?

    • She is OK with small amounts of caffeine – in her words a cup of coffee with stevia and half and half is OK.  She said one additional drink with artificial sweetener is OK.  I think I’ll switch to half caf and possibly go to decaf.

  • How often will I have to go to the DR?

    • Endo appointments – monthly.  Email BGs weekly.

    • OBGyn – probably about twice/month, more towards the end (obviously)

    • CDE – communicate via email, appointments as needed.

  • If BG is high/low, what is the best way to correct?  does the 15-15-15 rule still apply?  Bolus or increased temp basal?

    • 15-15-15 rule still applies.

    • She said most women bolus but if they remain high, then they will do a temp basal.

  • What is my carb intake goal at meals?

    • She was telling me something about the rule of nines – 2/9 of my carbs will be at each meal (so 6/9 total) and 1/9 at 3 snacks.  Although she didn’t give me my daily carb intake.  But did say that I will be meeting with a nutritionist.

  • Daily calorie range?  How much weight gain is expected/realistic?

    • 300 additional calories per day.  25-35 pounds is normal, but since I’m fat already (my words), I’ll have to be careful and shouldn’t gain as much.

  • Any foods I should stay away from other than the usual for pregnant ladies?

    • She didn’t say anything specific.

She wants me to make an eye doctor appointment within the next few months.  We also made some adjustments to my I:C ratios – lunch went from 1:9 to 1:8 and dinner went from 1:8 to 1:6 to prevent some of those mid afternoon and post-dinner spikes.

Soooo, there you have it.  As soon as the hubs and I are ready, we can get down to business.  Eeeeeeek!  I’m so excited/nervous/scared/happy/about to poop my pants!

Here’s your picture for WW – my “Oh shit!” face!

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Friday Fives: August 9, 2013

Five things that (irrationally?) worry me about a future pregnancy with Type 1

1.  What the heck am I going to drink?  This makes me sound like a lush, ha.  Seriously, though.  My CDE said I can have 2 artificial sweeteners per day.  I use Stevia, which, according to my reliable resources on the interwebs, is safe during pregnancy.  Awesome.  I can have brewed Iced Tea sweetened with Stevia (right?).  Of course I don’t want my future baby born with 3 eyes or anything, so I will do my very best to eliminate/strictly limit all artificial sweeteners and caffeine.  *gasp*.  Bye bye coffee.  Hello….water?  Milk?  What else is there?  Should I ween myself now?  I have no problems with giving up wine and beer (although, nachos just don’t taste the same with water!), but I fear that giving up coffee will make me a nightmare to live with.  It’s going to be a long 40 weeks!  Sorry in advance for the crankiness, husband.  ♥ you.

2.  Is my job going to hate me with the 900 million doctors appointments I will have?  My Endo’s and future OBgyn’s offices are a good 30-40 minutes away and as far as I know, do not offer evening appointments.  However, I’m not willing to change because I love my endocrinologist and her team and I especially love my CDE.  Luckily my CDE is very responsive via email so I am hoping that maybe, possibly, she will continue to help me adjust my rates and answer my questions via email when I am pregnant.  Taking a lot of time from work to go to the doctor is something I already feel self-conscious of.  I really am nervous that my coworkers will be frustrated when the time comes and I have so many more doctor’s appointments.  However, I think that my direct supervisors will be more than understanding, as one of them recently herself had a high risk pregnancy.  But still, I don’t want people to think I’m a slacker.

3.  Working, period.  Diabetes is a full-time job.  My job is a full-time job.  Being pregnant will be a full-time job.  I’m tired.

4.  Keeping the secret.  The hubs and I have agreed that we don’t want to tell anyone until I’m 12-16 weeks along, however this may prove difficult.  I imagine I will tell my sister sooner since she lives close by and I see her frequently.  And I was the first to know (after her husband, of course!) with all of her pregnancies.  (Neener, neener Mom! Haha!)  But there are going to be challenges, depending on when we conceive.  It could be a non-issue, in that we wouldn’t see our parents for the first 12 to 16 weeks due to schedules, when holidays fall, etc.  Or there could be lots of time spent with parents in which I’ll have to lie my tender boobies off.  It is pretty important to me that we don’t tell anyone until after the first trimester so we will just have to do our best.  I’m looking forward to having a little secret with the husband.  ♥

5.  Guilt.  I’ve read about this on so many different blogs of D-mommies/mommies-to-be.  The guilt they feel when their BGs aren’t in range.  I really want to enjoy my future pregnancy and be as laid back as a pregnant PWD can be, but knowing myself and how much I already love our future baby, I just have a feeling I will be super hard on myself if I am out of range.  I hope I can find a good balance.

6. Judgement from others.  (OK, it’s friday fives plus a bonus!).  I’ve never been pregnant.  I am scared, nervous, excited for that day when I see two lines on the pee stick.  I have no idea what it will be like, how it will feel to hear my baby’s heartbeat for the first time, to feel the flutter of movement, etc.  I am researching pregnancy with type 1 as much as I possibly can in an effort to educate myself so I can kind of know what to expect.  I know that it’s going to be hard.  I know I’ll have to make sacrifices (see #1).  I know that there’s a decent chance I’ll have to have a Cesarean section.  I just worry that people will judge me based on their experiences and what they think is right.  I know my husband will have my back and I will just remind the judgey McJudgersons that although they may have been pregnant, they’ve never been pregnant with type 1 and I’m doing the best that I can for my unborn child.  And if all else fails, I’ll break out some kickboxing moves and show them who’s boss.

I am thinking about this stuff more and more lately as the day when we start “trying” doesn’t seem as far off as it did a few months ago.  I am so inspired by the type 1 women who have had successful pregnancies and know that my pre-worrying is a bit on the cuckoo side.  But I also know it’s normal as we PWD can’t just throw caution to the wind and have to actually really plan and work hard for our pregnancies.  In the end when I hold that little life, it’ll all be worth it.

The Weight of it All: Kicking and Boxing.

Well, I did OK-ish on the food front this week, however I don’t have a loss to report.  Honestly, I’ve been struggling, especially on the weekends, for the past month.  Since my nephew passed away, I’ve been turning to food for comfort.  Which is typical of me, I am an emotional eater.  Always have been.  This is a constant struggle.  I see food as comfort, a friend when I’m in need of one, a celebration, entertainment when I’m bored, etc.  I recently ordered Ginger Vieira‘s book “Emotional Eating with Diabetes” and am very much looking forward to diving into it when it arrives.  (Yes, I still read paper books.  Maybe Santa Husband will get me a Kindle this year? *cough*HINT*cough*).  I really hope this book will give me some tools to prevent over treatment of lows and to not abuse myself by abusing food.  I’ll be sure to post a review once I read it.

The husband and I have been doing a pretty poor job of planning our weekend meals, which has led to lots of eating out.  Related to what I said above, I have this mental block where I see eating out as a reward or celebration.  The little devil on my shoulder tells me I’m not going to go to a restaurant and get something boring like grilled chicken and veggies when I can make that at home.  I’m getting stuff I don’t normally cook  – fried goodness, heavy pastas, etc.  I think that the husband and I need to not only be better about including weekend meals in our menu planning, but I also need to remind myself that this is a journey and a process and going out to eat does not give me a free pass to throw calories out the window.

One victory I do have to post about is that I went back to the gym yesterday for the first time in over a month.  I had previously posted about a fear of exercising because my blood sugar seems to behave pretty erratically when I work out.  I’m really striving to keep things as steady as possible with less drastic blood sugar swings.  This was making me hesitant to work out because of the naughty behavior of my blood sugar during and after exercise.  But, after some encouragement from friends, I decided I need to face this head on.  I like boxing and, duh, exercise is good for everyone but especially for a person with diabetes.  So, I went to the gym yesterday and surprisingly, stayed level the whole time.  Started my workout at 169, ended it at 161.  I also was OK after too.  I’m going to continue to play with this and take meticulous notes on my phone of my basal rates, snacks I eat, etc. to see if I can figure out a good game plan for boxing days.  Go team?

My goals for this week are:

  • Go to the gym at least 2 more times.  (And make notes of snacks, BGs, etc. in relation to said workouts)
  • Don’t let the weekend derail me.
  • Make better decisions when dining out.
  • Remind myself that food is fuel and question myself if I am eating due to emotions or boredom.
  • And, not to fart whilst I exercise:

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The Weight of it All – June 25

As you can imagine with the sudden passing of my nephew, I have been slacky McSlackerson on the weight loss front.  In fact, for the past 2 weeks I haven’t journaled a single morsel of food or put on my boxing gloves once.  Sometimes there are other, more important, things to worry about and you just have to give yourself a break.  However, this break ends for me today.  The scale has crept up to 205.4 and, just, ewww.  I have had a long enough diet hiatus.  I’m not angry at myself, but at the same time I’m not going to allow myself to continue on this path.  I think Josh would want his aunt to be healthy and happy.

The Hubs and I are back on our respective food plans today (counting calories + exercise for me, super low carb + exercise for him) and I think we are both pretty motivated to get back on track.  I am going back to boxing tonight and am looking forward to hitting the bags and getting some endorphins in my system.  I’m sure it will be pretty painful but I need to rip off that band-aid and just get my butt in the door.

I am in a wedding in early September and although I don’t like to set number goals, I’d like to lose about 10-15 pounds by then.  I am going to focus on this and even if I don’t reach that goal, hopefully I’ll be a few pounds lighter and a few inches smaller!

Here’s to a good week!

The weight of it all…

Although this is a Diabetes blog focused on day-to-day life with the disease as I try to get healthy to have a successful pregnancy, I can no longer ignore the elephant in the room…my weight.  (Elephant in the room…see what I did there?).  Anyway, I am finally coming to the point where I am ready to face my weight issue head on and I am ready to quit being lazy and in denial about it.  I kind of have to be.

I stepped on the scale this morning and was above my “scary weight”…I weigh, in interest of full disclosure, 202.4 pounds.  The highest I’ve ever weighed was 206 pounds and give me another few weeks of eating like a complete jerk, and I bet I’d be there.  I refuse to let this happen.  Enough is enough.

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Those endorphins were pumping!

About a year before our wedding, in September of 2011, I made the decision to get in shape, lose weight, and be a “hot bride”.  I wanted to lose 50 pounds.  I stepped out of my comfort zone and joined a kickboxing gym – something I talked about for months before actually ripping off the band-aid and walking through the door.  I was scared that it was going to be all these super fit, in-shape people and as an overweight woman I would not fit in.  I was so intimidated.  Luckily what I found was a friendly, supportive environment.  I started hitting (hitting, get it?) the hour-long kickboxing classes 4-5 times per week and within a couple of months was working with a personal trainer once a week.  The weight was falling off and in the meantime I was having FUN with my workouts and made some great friends.  In November and December of 2011 I participated in a Bootcamp, further pushing me out of my comfort zone and upping my results.

Also in interest of full disclosure, my doctor had also prescribed a low dose of Phentermine for me when I started on this fitness journey.  Something that I am sure a lot of people do not agree with, but she felt I was a good candidate for the drug.  Let me tell you, it gave me a lot of energy, as well as the hot flashes of a menopausal woman.  However, I really do think it helped me with my weight loss.  During this time I was losing about a pound per week – some weeks more, some weeks less.  I was driven.  I was dedicated to my health.  Nothing was going to stop me.

Until we decided to move.  A bunch of factors went into our decision to move – I was severely under-employed and had a long commute to my entry-level job, my husband was a contractor at the time (working from home) and we felt that if he lost his contract there were minimal employment opportunities for him in our coastal town, we are planning on having a family in the future and the medical facilities in our town were not exactly top-tier (I had to drive almost 2 hours for my endo appointments, pain in the neck when one is going weekly during pregnancy!), real estate costs at the beach were outrageous, etc., etc., etc.  I received a job offer in early 2012 and we made the decision to move in early spring.

I’m not going to lie.  My head knew it was the right decision, but my heart was screaming, “nooooo!“.  I was falling into a rhythm with our life on the Outer Banks.  After living there for 2 years I was making friends, getting in shape, and could honestly say that with the exception of the long commute/job situation, I was whole-heartedly happy.  Moving was an adjustment, to say the least.

During our first six months here I focused on the wedding.  I believe knowing this date was coming really helped me with my diet – I counted my calories on My Fitness Pal and luckily only gained 5 pounds from the time we moved to our wedding day.  I did not reach my goal of losing 50 pounds, but I lost about 30 and that made me pretty darn happy and proud.  I think that had we stayed at the beach and I continued with my trainer and gym, I would have met my goal, but I cannot think like that.

Our honeymoon was perfect – we relaxed, slept in, explored, oh, and did I mention ate and drank our faces off?  We returned from the honeymoon in early November so I got in the mindset of “It’s holiday season!  My birthday!  Thanksgiving!  Christmas cookies!  Traveling!  There’s no sense in trying to start a diet now!  I’m going to enjoy myself.”  And enjoy myself I did.  I think I went to the gym three times in November and December.  Whatever, I’ll start over in 2013, it will be my year.

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Not quite at my goal, but much closer than I am now!

Since we moved last April, I have been what I like to call “gym shopping”.  I had such a great experience at my previous gym that I refused to settle for a ho-hum environment.  First I tried a chain boxing gym.  Hated it.  It smelled and the people just weren’t friendly.  So I quit.  Then I found another local chain gym that had sort of a subset Muay Thai (kickboxing) school.  I liked it, but the schedule annoyed me – classes were from 6-7 so I wouldn’t get home until close to 7:30.  Plus it was really, really intense and I always got partnered with a woman who, I swear, never washed her hand wraps.  (Imagine gym socks that never see Tide…hand wraps get NASTY!)  So I bailed.  Finally, late last summer, I found a smaller gym that had boxing two nights per week and kickboxing on Saturdays.  In between it had bootcamp type classes.  I liked this gym but was not a fan of the price, $100 per month.  After the wedding, I found myself going less and less and finally decided to quit back in March.

Recently a new boxing gym has opened and I have joined.  It opened about a month ago and I’ve gone a handful of times.  Every time I go, I really like it.  The problem is that I just find excuse after excuse not to go.  Laziness wins out every time.  I cannot seem to find that drive or focus I had when we lived at the beach.  It just isn’t there even though after each workout I think to myself, “I need to remember how fun this is and how good it feels tomorrow when I’m talking myself out of going!”.

I am letting myself slip into this unhealthy lifestyle of eating whatever I want to eat and spending my evenings sitting on the couch instead of moving my body.  For diabetes blog week, I even posted about how I’d selfishly temporarily trade places with someone who is paralyzed so that I can celebrate what my body can do.   I’ve been inspired by blogs touting the importance of exercise even when we don’t feel like it but then as soon as I close the internet window, the inspiration goes along with it.  I’ve been in a slump and I really want to get back to that kick-ass woman of 18 months ago who was happy, confident, and high on endorphins.

My husband has been doing a fantastic job of losing weight.  We’ve dedicated this year to the year of getting healthy and physically ready for a baby.  I feel like a complete jerk that he has been so focused and doing so well and has been doing it on his own.  He’s lost almost 50 pounds and his drive and dedication is admirable.  I’m so proud of him.  I wish I had an iota of his dedication and perseverance.  He has mentioned to me a few times that losing weight is so much easier as a team and I know that it’s been tough for him to watch me not have the drive to do this.  But still, living with someone who’s on a mission still hasn’t been enough for this couch lover.

One would think that the thought of having a healthy pregnancy and baby would be enough to motivate me.  Up until now, it hasn’t.  Yes, it’s motivated me to become more vigilant about my carb counting and properly bolusing for my meals, but it has done nothing to kick me into gear with weight loss.

But I know that I have to do this, like it or not.  Maybe that is the first step in the motivation process – getting angry enough at myself to punish myself with an exercise and food plan.  Maybe after a few weeks, once I see some results, it will get easier and become a habit.

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Time to put down the fork..

So for now I am going to “fake it til I make it”.  It’s going to suck and I know that, but I am going to track my calories on My Fitness Pal and go to the new boxing gym at least 3 times per week.  NO EXCUSES.  I am going to limit my calories to 1300 on days I do not exercise, and 1500-1600 on days that I do.  Oh, and my beloved beer and wine?  No more.  I typically burn about 800 calories in a boxing class.  I cannot continue to let my weight creep up and do nothing about it.  I am 32 years old and will likely be 33 by the time we start trying to conceive.  If I’m going to do this, I need to do this now.

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…and pick up the boxing gloves!

I am going to check in every Tuesday with my weight and progress and a quick blurb about how the week went.  I ask that you call me out on any excuses I make, because really, there are none unless I’m lying in a hospital bed.  I have the time, I have the resources, I have the support…

And, speaking of elephants, really, how cute is this guy?

Freaky Friday!

Diabetes Blog Week, Day 5.dblogweek

Just like in the movie, today we’re doing a swap. If you could switch chronic diseases, which one would you choose to deal with instead of diabetes? And while we’re considering other chronic conditions, do you think your participation in the DOC has affected how you treat friends and acquaintances with other medical conditions?

I am selfish – I don’t know much about other chronic diseases.  I have friends who suffer from Crohn’s Disease, Asthma, Celiacs, Allergies.  I’d love to trade places with them to see the struggles they deal with on a daily basis so I can better understand and be a more supportive friend.

However, in answer to this prompt, I would like to temporarily trade places with someone who is paralyzed.  I believe this would help me appreciate the amazing things that my body can do and to serve as a reminder that even though I may be tired, may be feeling lazy, and just may not be in the mood to exercise, I am lucky to have this body and lucky that other than a dead pancreas, it’s functioning and functioning well.  I need to celebrate this with more movement!

Yay, team!

Diabetes Blog Week, Day 4.

We don’t always realize it, but each one of us had come a long way since diabetes first came into our life. It doesn’t matter if it’s been 5 weeks, 5 years or 50 years, you’ve done something outstanding diabetes-wise. So today let’s share the greatest accomplishment you’ve made in terms of dealing with your (or your loved one’s) diabetes. No accomplishment is too big or too small – think about self-acceptance, something you’ve mastered (pump / exercise / diet / etc.), making a tough care decision (finding a new endo or support group / choosing to use or not use a technology / etc.)dblogweek

Hmmmmm, good question!  I feel like I haven’t mastered anything when it comes to my diabetes care.  I mean, I have mastered the motions, testing my sugar when needed, changing my pump sites, bolusing, etc.  But I am still, 14 1/2 years in, not 100% confident to say “Yes! I kick ass at diabetes!”  My sugars are not perfect, I don’t exercise every day, I still enjoy a carb or 20, and I have days where I’m crying out of frustration that I have to live with this crap for the rest of my life.  Sometimes my blood sugar is just a real jerk for no reason (like last night for example – for about 4 hours I was cruising between 43 and 80 despite 20 oz of OJ and two not-so-small spoonfuls of peanut butter).  Is there anyone out there who really has mastered diabetes?  Who can go to their endo every three months and know that their A1c is going to be 6.0?  Who has the perfect attitude when it comes to living with this?

But, the question wasn’t if you’ve mastered diabetes.  It’s about diabetes-related accomplishments.  Recently I made some pretty darn important care decisions.  As the Hubs and I want to have a small human in the next year or two, I knew that the time had come where I need to get serious and get as close as I can to mastering diabetes.  I decided to end my months-long pump holiday and resume pump therapy with the help of a CGM.  This was something I thought about for weeks months before finally accepting that I’m going to have to become a cyborg again.

You see, in theory, I love the pump.  Don’t have to carry around syringes or pens, your meal schedule can be more varied, and it offers better management for most people than multiple daily injections.  Blah, blah, blah.

But in reality, the pump is a pain in the butt.  Site changes, being connected all the time, it’s expensive, it beeps at you, it’s bulky and gets in the way, and it makes wearing dresses a headache!  My pump-cation had been glorious!  However, knowing all of the negatives that come with wearing a pump, I decided the best thing for my health and the health of a future pregnancy would be to get back on the pump and to get a CGM.  So the research began.

I googled, I youtubed, I blog-stalked.  Wow, there are a lot of people online sharing their experiences with various pumps and CGM setups.  The doctors and manufacturer’s’ sites will only tell you so much, these blogs were so helpful in sharing real-world experiences and opinions.  I especially found blogs written by women who are in similar life stages as me to be very helpful and was so happy to find their sites (Texting my Pancreas and SixUntilMe especially).   With the help of my new blogger buddies and the fabulous interwebs, I decided on the Dexcom G4 Platinum CGM and Animas Ping pump.  In black and silver – stylin’.

Change is scary and although I had previously been on the MiniMed Paradigm pump, I was pretty nervous about going back on pump therapy.  I had a breakdown one night about the fears of the unknown and how much it sucks that I have to do this and think about these things a year before we even want to start trying for a baby.  He, however, reassured me that there are other ways to start a family and if I absolutely did not want to do this, I didn’t have to.  He also made the great point that if I hate it, I can quit.  He’s so smart.

Fast forward to today and I’m almost 2 weeks into my new cyborg life.  Have I mastered it?  Nope, not quite.  I’m still aware of the pump clipped to my pants and the CGM sensor and transmitter taped to my body.  I still feel dorky about my “diabetes tool belt”.  My sugars aren’t perfect and I definitely miss the freedom of not being attached.  But one thing I have mastered is my attitude that I’m just doing what I have to do.  And knowing that diabetes care is something that can be adjusted and modified to fit my needs at the time.  Not everyone needs to be on pump therapy.  It’s not the best course for every.single.person with a dead pancreas.  But for me, right now, it’s the best choice in regards to my goal of becoming a mother, and I’m cool with that.  Will it be my choice 5 years from now?  Who knows.  All we can really do in regards to our care is to make the best decision with the knowledge we have at the time.  I think a series of making the right decision and small accomplishments will lead me closer and closer to that whole mastering diabetes thing.  But for now, I feel like I’ve accomplished the right attitude.

Memories, sweetened through the ages just like wine…

Diabetes Blog Week, Day 3.dblogweek

Today we’re going to share our most memorable diabetes day. You can take this anywhere…. your or your loved one’s diagnosis, a bad low, a bad high, a big success, any day that you’d like to share.

I would be willing to bet that most people feel that their most memorable diabetes day is the day they were diagnosed.  At least for me, that was absolutely the most significant day in my diabetes life.  But, I won’t bore you with the details because you can read about it already.

I would like to share a more recent memorable “diabetes day”, and that is my wedding day.  The Hubs and I have been married for almost 7 months now and leading up to the wedding I was pretty nervous about how my diabetes would behave.  It always seems to be naughty at the worst times.  Seriously, it’s like a toddler throwing a tantrum in church.  I had a horrible fear that I’d have a low or high blood sugar during the ceremony or toasts at the reception, or that my diabetes would be a major focus of the evening and I wouldn’t be able to relax and enjoy myself.  I really didn’t want this, all I wanted was to be a “normal bride”, enjoying her wedding day and being surrounded by her favorite people.

To accomplish this normalcy, I decided to go off the pump a few months before the wedding.  I figured it’d be easier to just take injections rather than figuring out where I was going to put my pump on my dress (although I had a little bit lot of poof to work with!), and plus when you’re unattached, you can almost forget about diabetes.  I didn’t want to have to think about it any more than the bare minimum on my wedding day.  I wanted to focus on my new husband, my friends and family, and the dance floor!  (OK, and a glass or two of wine as well.  Oh, and the CAKE!)

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You wanna fight, diabetes??
(Note. There were no fights at my wedding. However, there was one kick-ass dance off, pictured above).

Mission accomplished.  My sugars were great throughout my wedding day, despite having a horrible cold and a case of nerves.  I tested when needed but wasn’t consumed by it and honestly can’t even remember when I tested (but I know I did, in case you’re reading this my wonderful doctor).  Although this wasn’t a dramatically memorable “diabetes” day, it was absolutely memorable in the sense that I had an uneventful wedding in the diabetes aspect.  I managed my disease and did not allow it to detract from my day.  It was pretty eventful otherwise, because, you know, I got to marry my best buddy.  Even on the best days of our lives, diabetes is still around.  But it doesn’t have to be the memory we take away from these days.

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We, the undersigned…

dblogweekDiabetes blog week, Day 2.

Recently various petitions have been circulating the Diabetes Online Community, so today let’s pretend to write our own. Tell us who you would write the petition to – a person, an organization, even an object (animate or inanimate) – get creative!! What are you trying to change and what have you experienced that makes you want this change?

Dear Carbohydrates,

I, the undersigned, hereby request that you stop tasting so darn good.  Upon my years of diabetic research, I have determined that you, carbohydrates, are the reason why I am not the perfect diabetic.  You make my blood sugar go up and don’t help my A1c come down.  I have concluded that this is because you taste delicious.  Sweets, pasta, nachos, breads, potatoes…please heed my petition and stop tasting so wonderful.  I blame the sensory pleasure you provide to my taste buds for blood sugar readings that spike into the 200s (or higher) despite my feeble attempts to counteract with insulin.  And why, carbohydrates, must you so often be paired with alcohol?  Pasta and wine, Nachos and beer…please, please, stop with the yumminess!

I am a reasonable woman.  I am fully aware that I could just say no when you end up on my plate, but I have never met one of you whom I didn’t like.  I am weak.  You’re just too appetizing.  I implore you to start tasting like something disgusting…let’s say liver…so that I can better manage my diabetes.

I thank you in advance for your cooperation in this matter.

Regards,
A1-Conceive.