Friday, September 23, 2011

Things I’ve learned this week . . . .

in bullet list form.  Because it’s Friday and I’m really really ready for the week to be over.
  • My eyes are good.  We ramped my eye appointments up to every 6 months a couple of years ago when my eye doctor started to see some small leaks.  As of Monday, my right eye is 100% clear.  And my left eye has “just a ghost of the tiny spots” she had seen in prior exams.  My eye doctor said that eye is “as close to a non-diabetic eye as you can get”.  Which sounds pretty good to me.
  • The rest of me is doing okay too.  The results of my blood draw and urine sample were pretty darn great.  The only thing we’ll keep an eye on is my thyroid level, which had crept up a tiny bit.  It's still in the "good range" but it's something to keep tabs on.
  • A Diabetes High-Five is priceless.  My endo greeted me with the following sentence: “Hi!  Did you know you are my greatest success?  You are the pumper success story I tell other patients about.”  In that moment, any shred of Diabetes Burn-Out I may have been feeling melted away in a pool of pride.
  • Maybe being a neurotic perfectionist isn’t such a bad thing.  After all, if I’m going to be totally invested in something, what better thing to totally invest in than my health?  And this week’s appointments and tests all showed that I’m doing something right.  So yay for neurotic perfectionism?
  • Life is fleeting, so enjoy it while you can.  So this is the bullet point where I completely contradict my last bullet point . . . sort of.  Yes, working hard to stay healthy is very important.  But so is enjoying life.  We never know how much time we have left.  We can spend time with a loved one and never realize it will be the last time we’ll get to see them.  So don’t forget to take a break sometimes, don’t forget to slow down a little and enjoy the moment, and don’t forget to tell your loved ones exactly how much they mean to you.
good-bye, I love you

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mirror Mantra - Perfection

This week I remembered to join in on Mike’s Mirror Mantra again!  Yay!!


I am perfect at being a perfectionist!!  This week (and beyond) I’m going to work on letting go a little bit.  Hopefully that will help with my endo appointment stress??

Thursday, September 15, 2011

So when does it get easier??

For years and years I struggled with my A1C.  It was always too high.  No matter what I did, no matter what my endo and I tried, no matter what I couldn’t get it where I wanted it to be.

So, before I go any further, let me clarify that I am not saying an insulin pump is the answer for everyone, nor do I believe everyone should pump.  We are all different.  What works for one doesn’t work for everyone.  Let me also say I am not trying to brag about my A1C at all.  Okay, but, for me the pump has been kind of magic.  Since going on the pump about three and a half year ago, my A1C has been right where my endo and I have wanted it to be.  Sound the bells, strike up the band, everything is great, right?

report_cardWell, not quite.  I think back to when I was working so hard and not getting any results.  I think about how much I dreaded each endo appointment.  I remember wishing I could just get my A1C in line because then all of the stress and fear would be gone!!!

And I did.  My A1C has been in line since August of 2008.  Each and every lab slip comes back with nothing but the numbers we've been shooting for.  But guess what?  The stress and fear, the dread before each endo appointment?  They are just as strong.  What . . . the . . . . fructose??

I see my endo on Wednesday.  I procrastinated getting my blood drawn at the lab until today.  I secretly toy with the idea of coming up with some excuse to push back my appointment.  I’ve had several dreams about being in that tiny exam room and finding out that my A1C is HORRID.  I am convinced I am doing terribly - even though when I download and analyze my numbers they are right where they should be.  It's not just the average that is good (because to paraphrase my friend Rachel Y, a 210 and a 30 on the meter work out to a perfectly acceptable 120 average.)  The numbers, the pie charts, the standard deviation- they all check out just fine.  And yes, I pour over the numbers from both my CGM and my meter, never really believing that either of them are telling the true story.

All of those years I spent wishing I could get my A1C where I needed it to be, sure that once I did I could stop worrying neurotically over each number and appointment, seem kind of like a waste.   Because I’m finally there . . . . yet I am still just as neurotic.  Why can’t I relax?  Why can’t I trust that I’m dong well?  Why am I sure I’m gong to get blindsided by a sky-high A1C, even when everything points to that not happening?  Why am I so afraid of letting myself, and my endo, down?  Why did I think that once I got my A1C to a certain number all of my diabetes problems would be solved?  And when, oh goodness when, does it get easier?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Those Highs and Those Lows . . . .

Since posting yesterday’s Mirror Mantra I’ve been pondering it quite a bit.  Not so much the fact that I tend to have emotional responses to the numbers I see - I think that’s just part of my personality.  (Spoiler Alert:  It is my inspiration for next week’s Mantra!!)  Instead I’ve been thinking quite a bit about how I view the numbers on my meter.  I’ve often admitted that given the choice, I’d rather be too low than too high any day of the week.  Rational thought will tell you that too low is just as bad as too high, so how have I twisted things around in my head so that I believe highs are bad and lows are good?  I’m no shrink, but here is how I think I developed this skewed view of blood sugars.

What gets drilled into a diabetics head over and over?  “You have to take care of yourself or you’ll go blind, lose your feet, wreak your kidney, die, etc. etc. etc.”  Thirty plus years of hearing those scare tactics boil down to a feeling that high blood sugars equal complications.  And thus, high blood sugars are bad.  This is true enough, but we all know that no matter how hard we try, sometimes highs are bound to happen.  That’s why it’s so important to start taking the emotion - and the fear - out of those highs and instead applaud ourselves for catching and treating the high blood sugar!  Positive reinforcements beat scare tactics any day - at least when it comes to my motivations.

How about those lows?  How on earth has my twisted brain come to view a low as a success?  After all, lows can be just as dangerous as highs!  The easy answer is that lower blood sugar means lower (which we’ve been told time and time again equal better) A1Cs and less chance of complications.  But there’s more to it than that.  The more I thought about my reaction to lows, the more I realized that my response is quite Pavlovian.

From the moment of my diagnosis, and for the decades to follow, sugar was taboo.  No more cake, candy, donuts, sweet treats - unless they were sugar-free, and back then the sugar-free “treats” were just plain gross.  But there is an exception to every rule, and growing up the exception to the “no sweets” rule was a low blood sugar.  Even now, I often treat lows with Starbursts or jelly beans or a spoonful of chocolate frosting.  If a low gets “rewarded” with candy, it’s pretty easy to start seeing it as a great thing, right?  Perhaps I need to treat lows with my least favorite flavor of glucose tablets instead . . . .

So there is a peek inside my warped Brainabetes  Diabrain  Diabetes Brain.  Thanks to my Mirror Mantra, I’ll be trying hard to rework the way I view both highs and lows.  Any warped views in your Diabrain??

Monday, September 12, 2011

This is the one where I remember the Mirror Mantras

I’m a big fan of Mike over at What Some Would Call Lies.  Every week I look forward to seeing his Mirror Mantra.  And every week I think “I’m so gonna start participating in these.”  And every single week, I forget.  (Loser!!)

Until this week!!!  Look!!!!!  I remembered to do a Mirror Mantra!!


This one is to remind me that I need to take some emotion out of my blood sugar readings.  And also that low blood sugars are not “good” - they are just as out of range as high ones are.  This one also reminds me that I need practice taking these mirror pictures.  (Hello, my whole head should be in the picture . . . . and the camera should not!!)  But that’s what next week is for, right?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wordless(ish) Wednesday - JDRF


I can’t even begin to describe how much I’m enjoying getting trained and starting work in my new volunteer Advocacy Team Chair position!  Have you signed up for your local JDRF Advocacy team?  Have you signed up to participate in the Promise to Remember Me campaign?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Insulin Pumps and Type 2s

This morning I went up to the hospital to visit my Uncle Joe.  Uncle Joe is my father’s twin, my godfather, and a Type 2 diabetic.  He spent his 70th birthday in the hospital, where he’s been for over a week.  He’s in ICU and has been quite sick, but luckily he’s getting better and stronger every day.

UncleAs far as I know, the reasons Uncle Joe is in the hospital right now are not diabetes related, although they are still running various tests to determine what is going on.   But naturally, diabetes usually comes up in our conversations.  This morning he asked about my pump - how I like it and how it works.  I know he has a hard time with diabetes.  A few months ago he had a really bad low and was taken to the hospital by ambulance.  He was switched from oral meds to insulin years ago.  He seemed genuinely fascinated as I explained my pump and he asked to see how it connected to me.   As I showed him the infusion site on my leg and explained how I change it every three days, he asked “Could I get an insulin pump?”

I told him I thought he could if his doctor prescribed one for him.  I do think it might help him.  I know he struggles with both high and low blood sugars, and his A1C is never where he and his doctor would like it to be.  But alarm bells went off in my head when I thought about insurance.  He has great insurance, but I honestly have no idea if it is difficult for a Type 2 to get approval for an insulin pump.  So I’m reaching out for advice and information.  Who better to ask than the DOC?  Does anyone have any information I can pass along to Uncle Joe?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Diabetes Art Day!!

September 1st is always a very special day, for two reasons.  The first is that it’s my wonderful husband’s birthday!!!  Happy Birthday, SweetPea - may your year be filled with joy!!

What is the second reason?  Well, September 1st is also Diabetes Art Day, a wonderful project organized by my good friend Lee Ann to let our creativity tell our diabetes story.

Last year, I made a Diabetes Voodoo Doll to show how diabetes makes me feel like a human pin-cushion.  This year I was having trouble coming up with a project.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to create until just this morning.  I pulled out my beading and jewelry making supplies and thought about the pretty diabetes necklace Lorraine was wearing at Friends for Life.  I’d been thinking about making one for myself, although I’m certainly no jewelry maker.  But I got to crafting and it didn’t come out half bad.

It’s a blue circle inspired by the World Diabetes Day symbol.  I added a couple of tiny red beads to represent blood - blood sugars, finger sticks, A1Cs  . . . . diabetes is quite a bloody disease.  I strung my circle on invisible wire to represent that diabetes is an invisible illness.

Believe it or not, after I finished my necklace I did come up with an idea for another diabetes art project.  I think I’ll note it on my calendar for next year!!  Did you participate in Diabetes Art Day?  What did you create?