Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Thank You, Flu Shot . . .

Given the news that this year’s flu shot has been less than effective, you might think I wrote this post title with a heavy dose of sarcasm.  That could not be farther from the truth.

shotI’ll let you in on a little secret.  Until this year, I never bothered to get a flu shot.  I’m not against them or anything.  I guess I just never got around to it.  And I get lots of colds but hadn’t had the flu in forever.  But this year, I happened to remember to ask about a flu shot at my September endo appointment.  Honestly, both my doctor and the nurse were shocked that I never had a flu shot.  “Never?”  “Never.”  “Never ever??”  “Yes.”  And with that,  my first flu shot was administered.  I felt cruddy the rest of the day.  My arm ached for longer than I expected.  And then reports came in that this year’s round of flu shots wouldn’t protect against newly mutated strains of the flu.  I rolled my eyes at the irony of my situation and put it out of my mind.

Until, however, Pete came home sick from work.  The next day I was also sick, and we thought we had really bad colds.  But for every symptom I had, Pete had a more severe version.  And many of his symptoms never hit me at all.  Four days later I was much better, while he still had fevers over 100 degrees and aches and pink eye (which I thankfully escaped) and was sleeping almost 20 hours a day.  It took a trip to the doctor and a round of antibiotics and eye drops to get him back to 100%.  In fact, although he’s no longer contagious and has gone back to work, I think he’s still not quite 100%.  (Just ask the snoring that keeps me up at night . . . . )

So it looks like I picked the right year to start getting a flu shot after all.  Because it’s the year that we actually came down with the flu.  And even though diabetes usually makes sickness worse for me, in this case my flu shot gave me the upper hand.  (Although as a side note, diabetes did throw a sticky low at me as we left for Pete’s doctor’s appointment.  He didn’t feel up to driving, but ended up driving both ways because it took treating three times to get me back into range.  So much for having the upper hand . . . . )

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Revisiting: Sick

Pete came home one day last week with a cold.  Of course, as always, he shared.  After four days cooped up in the house together, we both started to feel better.  (Except for the fact that we pretty much wanted to kill each other by that point.)  Luckily, Pete went back to work yesterday . . . . but came home feeling worse than ever.  Things when from bad to worse last night when he proclaimed “Sweetheart?  I think I have pink eye.”.  So he’s off to the doctor today.  Luckily, I’m still feeling much better (just trying to ignore the power of suggestion that is making my eye itch).  But I have a sick husband to take care of and a ton of laundry and cleaning to catch up on.  (And even more, now that I need to disinfect everything of pink eye germs).  So, it seems like a good time to revisit a little rhyme I wrote in 2009 when another cold had me feeling cruddy.

A nose that’s stuffed,
A throat that’s sore,
Blood sugars running high.
Chills and shivers
And ears that ache,
Just make me want to cry.

Some stupid germ
Some mean virus
Has nestled in my head
Making me sneeze
And sometimes wheeze
And turning my poor nose red.

Can't clean or blog
Or do laundry
No treadmill for me today.
Will soup and tea
And a nice long nap
Please make this go away?

I'll watch TV
and get some rest
And have plenty of time to knit.
And hope that tomorrow
when I awaken
I no longer feel like like . . . .

Monday, January 5, 2015

Low-Brained To-Do List . . . .

It was one of those bad middle of the night lows.  One that freaks me out later when I realize what a difficult time I had waking myself up.  The meter flashed 43 and I cursed the fact that I wasn’t wearing my CGM because I had received a new transmitter that day but hadn’t taken the time to set it up.  I woke Pete and told him I was low but okay and that I would head down to the kitchen to treat.  I then arranged my meter just so on the night stand.  Then I looked for my glasses.  Then I paused to pet the cat.  And put on socks.  There were so many things that seemed more important than treating that sweaty low.  Clearly I was not in my right mind and instead running on Low-Brain.

As I sat on the kitchen bench eating, my (low) brain was whirring a mile in minute, coming up with ever so important things that I was sure would be forgotten by morning.  So what did I do?  I stopped treating that sweaty blood glucose of 43 and instead went into my home office / craft room to dig out a pad and pen so I could jot down all of the extremely important things.  And, of course, the next morning it was quite obvious that most of my list items weren’t actually very important at all.

LowBrain

For example, first on the list was “Buy more Fritos”.  The thing is, I don’t even really like Fritos but I had bought some for a get-together.  And as I stuffed them into my mouth trying to feed that insatiable low hunger, they were suddenly the most delicious thing on the face of the earth.  I absolutely needed to remember to buy more.  I apparently also really needed to look into buying a spare remote control and new battery for the light / ceiling fan fixture in our kitchen.  (What???)  And yes, sending a wrap up email and submitting my report for the latest DiabetesSisters Virtual PODS meet up was important, but chances were slim that I wouldn’t remember to get it done.  After all, I remember every month without the help of a to-do list scrawled as dawn breaks.

But the list item that really makes me laugh is the one that reads “Blog post about low experience tonight”.  Well, okay, check that off the to-do list.  However, I think I need to add one more to-do to this important list . . . . . .  

“Stop doing stupid stuff like making to-do lists and treat that low!”

Friday, January 2, 2015

Dismiss the Lies . . . .

So here we are again, starting another brand new year.  I’ve come to realize that making resolutions really doesn’t work for me.  (It seems many others feel this way too, so I’m in good company.)  But as I say good-bye to one year and embark on the next, it’s the perfect time to take stock and make a fresh start.  And I realize the one thing I need to do in 2015 is dismiss the lies in my head.

2015-New-Year-Clip-ArtQuite honestly, the past few months have been crap.  I’ve struggled with depression and loneliness and diabetes burn-out.  I know when we feel these things it isn’t our own fault and often we need help getting our head back on straight.   But in this case, I can make things right on my own, and I’m ready to get started.  I simply need to stop listening to the lies in my head.

It’s true that I spend most of my days home alone, with Pete working long hours and only my cat for company.  (She is a loving and cuddly companion, but she isn’t much for long meaningful conversations.)  It can be tempting to believe that I have no friends - but the truth is I have plenty of friends that I’m not so good at keeping in touch with.  It’s time to dismiss the negative, friendless thoughts and make a call or send a text or write an email and keep in touch.  It’s time to make plans for coffee and lunches and long catch up sessions.

It’s true that some days I feel like I can’t possibly deal with one more second of diabetes management.  I bet I’m not the only one who runs into this.  But the fact is, I have to . . . .so I can.  Just one extra blood sugar check, just inserting the sensor I’ve been taking a break from, just getting in one workout, just taking a minute to properly count and dose for my carbs.  When I really stop to think about it, they are pretty small things to do.  But when I do them, diabetes often runs a lot more smoothly.  Which in turn, makes me feel less burnt out.

It’s true that I often let my fears of failure stop me from even trying.  It’s true that I believe in everyone else a whole lot more than I believe in myself.  But in reality, I’ll never know just what I can do if I don’t even try.  I need to remember that it’s okay to fail as long as I tried my best.  What isn’t okay is not failing because I was too scared to even try.  I  need to make the most of each opportunity and if something doesn’t work out then maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.  But at least I didn’t let the opportunity simply pass me by.

I’m hopeful that I can be in a much better place in 2015.  I’m hopeful that I can dismiss the lies in my head and stave off the loneliness and burnout and depression.  That I can appreciate all of the good things I have and choose happiness.  It’s what I wish for me and it’s what I wish for all of you.

Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

35 years . . . .

cupcakeOne day this month is my 35th diaversary.  We don’t know my exact diagnosis date, so I always just pick a day somewhere during the middle of December to observe the demise of my pancreas.  Today seems as good a day as any.

I find myself with conflicted feelings about living 35 years with diabetes.  It seems like such a huge chunk of time.  And as I like to say, life with diabetes hasn’t been all bad.  I’ve met some of my best friends because of diabetes.  Real-world friends.  On-line friends.  And, perhaps the most dear to me, on-line friends who have become real-world friends . . . . or actually more like family.  And even my “twin”.  I’ve had some great experiences and opportunities that probably wouldn’t ever have come about if not for diabetes.  For all of that, I’m thankful.

But honestly, at this moment I feel the good is no match for the bad.  There are things about diabetes that make me so angry.  And I’m going to vent them here, today, because I’ve decided after 35 years I have that right.  Here goes . . .

Diabetes, I hate that on Sunday morning I was sleeping soundly and in the middle of a dream when I awoke to Pete putting his hand on my back.  He explained that I wasn’t moving and he couldn’t see me breathing, so “I got scared and had to make sure you still felt warm.”.  That moment showed Dead in Bead is a real fear for my husband, and I despise that.

Diabetes, I hate that 11 year old me had to watch other kids eat cake that I was denied at birthday parties in the days of exchange diets and crappy insulin.   I hate that I still carry scars from that.

Diabetes, I hate that every time someone judges my diabetes management, a small piece of my confidence is chipped away.  And I hate that every time someone judges someone else’s diabetes management, a small piece of my heart breaks.

Diabetes, I hate that no matter how badly I need to take a break from you, that isn’t possible.  Pete and I have talked about giving me a Diabetes Day Off, but I think he’s so afraid of hurting me he just can’t do it.  We joke about wanting to bribe hire a D-Mom to come take over for a day.  Truthfully, it isn’t really a joke because I would absolutely love to be able to do that.

Diabetes, I hate that as a teen I would lay awake at night counting how many healthy years I thought I had left.  I didn’t think I had many, maybe 5 or 10.  I was sure I’d be long dead by now.  I really thought there was no use trying to take care of myself, because complications and early death were guaranteed.  Yes, I’m happy I was wrong about that, but I hate that I felt I had no future.

Diabetes, I hate that you make my loved ones worry about me.  I also hate that their worry probably runs far deeper than I can even imagine.

Diabetes, I hate the fear you bring to every eye exam and lab test.  I hate feeling like I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

In 35 years I’ve built up a lot of diabetes hatred.  But, of course, I know diabetes is here and it isn’t going anywhere.  So in the end, after I’ve let myself have this good venting session, I’m picking myself up and just continuing on . . . . . .

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

New Blogging Venture . . . .

I’m excited to share that I’ve recently contracted with ReliOn to contribute some posts to their new blog.  The posts are meant to be short and easy to read, with basic information and actionable tips.  As someone who tends to be very long-winded, this has been a fun writing challenge for me. 

relion_logo_new7.25The first three posts I’ve contributed are up, if you’d like to take a look.  I tackled the topics of involving family in diabetes management, ways to stay positive with diabetes, and tips for traveling.  Feel free to let me know what you think!

** My disclosures can be found here. **

Monday, December 15, 2014

Reboot my Pancreas . . . . .

Last week was a craptastic one.  The coffee maker went from leaving a small spot of water behind after brewing coffee to completely saturating the cloth I’d been putting underneath to catch that bit of water. So off I went to Target for a new coffee maker (since coffee is priority #1 in my house).  Of course, I went low in Target (like you do) and probably made a bit of an ass of myself at the register because I was pretty damn confused by the checkout process.  After several Starbursts and a GoGo Squeeze apple sauce I was okay to drive home, only to find my laptop’s hard drive had died.

computer
So obviously most of my weekend revolved around my computer-less status.  Words like reboot . . . . reinstall . . . . . import . . . . backup . . . . pepper my vocabulary more than I’d like.  Which made me think, although this whole process is like spending some quality time with Lucifer, wouldn’t it be worth it if we could do for a pancreas what we do for a computer?  First, before diabetes comes to visit, we backup.  At the first diabetes symptoms, we do a virus scan on our immune system and send the virus to the vault.  Then, import that healthy immune system and pancreas that we backed up and reinstall them.  And then, do a reboot and no more diabetes!

Ah well, it’s nice to dream, isn’t it?  But I suppose a pancreas reboot isn’t happening today.  I’ll have to settle for the import / restore that is happening on my brand new laptop instead.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Holiday Strategy . . . .

‘Tis the season . . . . for a bazillion articles with advice on how to handle diabetes during holiday parties.  Everywhere I turn I’m reading game plans for resisting festive treats and eating healthy at celebrations.  And can I let you in on a little secret?  I ignore all of them!

partyI work really hard on my diabetes management all year long.  I’m not perfect - not even close.  Shit happens.  But I follow the game plan my endo and I have come up with and, for the most part, my labs are all good.  We are happy with my A1C.  My standard deviation is fine.  The small bleeds found in my eyes several years ago are long gone.  My hard work is paying off for now.

So, quite frankly, I’m NOT going to eat an apple before leaving for a party so I’m not tempted by the appetizers.  I’m NOT going to fill up on crudité without the dip.  I’m NOT going to choose only lean proteins and vegetables at the buffet.  I’m NOT going to drink sparkling water instead of wine.  I’m NOT going to have only one bite of dessert to taste and pass on the rest.  Don’t get me wrong, if those tips work for you then I certainly respect that.  I’m just not willing to do any of it.

Here is what I will do.  I will pump up a temp basal.  I will estimate carbs and bolus.  I will keep an eye on my CGM graph.  But most of all, I will eat, drink and be merry.  I will have fun at holiday parties instead of worrying too much about what diabetes is doing.  It’s okay if I spike.  It’s okay if I go low.  It’s okay if things are a little off track.  It’s okay,  because it’s Christmas and I deserve to splurge a little and enjoy the season.  I may not get a true break from diabetes, but I’ve earned the right to loosen up a little and just have fun.  And THAT is my holiday strategy this year.