Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cupcakes and Sock Monkeys . . . .

Over the past week or so, it became pretty clear that it was time for a new meter.  After all, I can’t remember how long ago I bought the one I was using, and it gets quite a workout each and every day.  It began throwing weird E-5 errors at me several times a day.  So I knew it was time to send it to the great meter ranch in the sky, where it could run free with its other blood sucking friends.

I was kind of sad though, because my meter got blinged (blung?) out at Friends for Life!!  I was going to miss my happy little stickers.  Unless . . . .

Unless I pick up some fun stickers at Target when I buy the meter!!!  Oh yes!!  My new meter sports a cupcake and a sock monkey - what could be more perfect for me than that?  Sure, I am (supposed to be) an adult.  But let’s face it, all that testing is a drag.  The numbers sometimes make me sad.  Why not have some fun and bling out my meter??  At least I know I’ll smile when I look at it - regardless of what shows up on the screen!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Eat, Drink and Be Merry . . .

Saturday was the night of our annual Christmas party with a group of close friends.  I knew there would be lots of food - Barb was hosting this year and she always goes all out.  I also knew there would be lots of yummy drink options, with alcohol.  I knew this party might make it tough to keep my blood sugar under control.

Saturday afternoon my CGM sensor conked out.  I had hoped to make it last until Sunday, but it didn’t work out that way.  I decided to go to the party without it.  I’d be flying blind, but part of me just wanted to relax and have fun without hearing my high alarm passing judgment on what I was consuming.  I just wanted to enjoy the company of my friends.  I just wanted to eat, drink and be merry!

When I left the house, my blood sugar was in the 80s.  I bolused for everything I ate and drank.  I cranked up a higher temp basal to cover the merriment.  I made sure I didn’t pile my plate too high - even though the home-made potato skins sure were tempting.  We talked, we laughed, we played some Christmas party games that were hysterical (like the Reindeer Antler Game).  I didn’t worry about my blood sugar once.  And when I came home and tested, I was in the high 70s.  It was almost a Christmas miracle!!

I have no idea what my blood sugar did during the party.  It might very well have spiked into the high 200s and then came back down by the time I got home.  With diabetes, what you don’t know CAN hurt you and I’d never advise someone to go out and ignore their blood sugar.  But I did, just this once.  And it was okay.  And when you are feeling completely worn out by diabetes, sometimes one night off is just what you need.  I sure did!

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Today is my Diabetes Anniversary (Observed).  Since we don’t know my actual diagnosis day, just the month and year, I pick the 15th as my Diaversary because it’s half way through the month.

So today it is.  Today marks 32 years I’ve lived with diabetes.  And I’m struggling with what to say about that.  I thought about looking at all of the changes I’ve seen.  Urine testing to glucose meters the size of bricks to tiny meters to CGMs to non-invasive measures some day.  One shot a day to MDIs of long and short acting insulin to a pump to the artificial pancreas some day.  Exchange diets and no sugar to carb counting and yes I can eat that.

diaversaryIt’s amazing to see how far things have come.  I know I should be proud and thankful to be here and healthy.  But honestly, I’m struggling with this Diaversary like I never have before.  I’m not happy.  I don’t feel like celebrating.  Pete bought me chocolate truffles and champagne to celebrate, and when he gave them to me I burst out crying. I just feel tired. I feel really sad.  It’s been too long, and there is no end in sight.

I don’t know why I’m having such a hard time this year.  It’s not a milestone like 25 years or 50 years or something.   It doesn’t mark a significant portion of time, like next year when I’ll have lived with diabetes for 75% of my life.  It’s just a random number, thirty-two years.   And deep down I am proud and I do know how lucky I am to be here and healthy.  I can appreciate the really wonderful things, amazing people and great opportunities that have been brought into my life because of diabetes.  But I still feel like I’m struggling a lot with this Diaversary.

I guess it’s just that 32 years seems like a very very long time.  Probably because it is.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Connecting among Paper Airplanes

Paper airplane
So my husband has a hobby . . . . he loves to fly remote control helicopters.  He has even gotten my dad interested in it - which is great because it means Dad and Pete can go do helicopter things together and I don’t get dragged along.  (Selfish?  Sure, but trust me, “Fun Flys” aren’t really very much fun.)

Saturday was their Heli Club’s annual Holiday Party, and that’s one event my mom and I always attend with the guys.  They serve a nice dinner, raffle off some door prizes, and pass out song sheets so everyone can join together and sing carols.  It’s not so bad . . . . until after we sing.  Because then comes what seems to be the highlight of the evening for the grown men.  They all fold their carol sheets into paper airplanes and proceed to fly them around the room.

This year we sat with a friendly gentleman named John.  He chatted with us throughout the evening.  When dessert came and we saw a huge dollop of whipped cream on the cake, we knew my dad wouldn’t eat it.  (Dad hates anything with whipped cream - except for the sopapillas served at our local Mexican restaurant.  He loves them, so we tell him they are topped with “frosting”.  Ssshhhhhh)  None of us had room to eat a second slice of cake, so we offered it to John.  He declined by saying “I’d love a second slice, but my diabetes doctor wouldn’t be very happy with me”.

Diabetes doctor?  Diabetes doctor!!!!  I unhooked my pump and held it up for him to see, and his face broke out in a big grin.  We talked about his diagnosis at age 50, and how the oral meds he took didn’t work all that well for him and he asked his doctor to add insulin to his regime.  We talked about my diagnosis 32 years ago.  He asked if I had a family history of diabetes, and told us of his diabetic grandmother.  Then he began to beat himself up a bit, saying that he isn’t a very good diabetic because sometimes he doesn’t eat at exactly the right time and sometimes he slips a bit on his diet plan.  I responded by saying “I think that’s pretty normal, John.  After all, it’s a lot of work and we never ever get a break.  Sometimes just a week off would be great, wouldn’t it?”  The look that came over his face still makes me happy when I think about it.  His smile was joyful and his eyes showed just how relieved he felt to talk to someone who didn't judge and really understands because she’s going through it too.  I felt like I was in exactly the right place at exactly the right time - and I was grateful to help John see he isn’t a bad diabetic at all.  He just struggles sometimes, and he sure isn’t alone in that!

I wish I could give John a break from diabetes during the holiday season.  But hopefully we got his diabetes guilt to board his paper airplane and fly off for a little vacation.  And I look forward to sitting with him again at next year's holiday party!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Health Activist Awards!!

I spent a lot of time this morning going through the diabetes blogs I read and making a list.  What kind of list?  Well, I was making a list of blogs I wanted to nominate for WEGO’s Health Activist Awards.  The cool thing about this awards program is that it celebrates health activists across all health communities, providing us a great opportunity to interact and learn from each other.  It would be great to see a strong showing from the diabetes community, so I’m sharing the information from WEGO in the hopes you’ll all nominate some of your favorites in the wide range of awards open!!

In December, the online health community and WEGO Health will be celebrating all the awesome achievements made in health leadership and patient advocacy in 2011! WEGO Health,a different kind of social media company dedicated to empowering Health Activists, has just launched the first-ever Health Activist Awards program, to recognize Health Activists (both new and established) for all of their great work over the course of the year.

This interactive program lets everyone get involved by nominating their favorite Health Activists and sharing what has inspired them, moved them, and made a difference in the online health community. I’m looking forward to nominating some of my favorite Health Activists and I hope you’ll take some time to recognize your favorites too.

You can check out WEGO Health’s Health Activist Awards 2011 homepage for details on the 10 different awards, how to join the Health Activists Awards Jury to help select the Award winners, and to find out what Health Activists will win if they’re chosen.” 

Nominations begin December 1, 2011 and winners will be selected in early 2012 - so get your nominations in now and celebrate the Health Activists that have made the biggest difference to you in 2011.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

2 in the morning.

It’s Monday night.  I’m tired.  I wash up, put on my jammies, and climb into bed.  I sprawl out in the middle and flip on the TV so John Stewart and Stephen Colbert can make me chuckle before I drift off the sleep.  I check my blood sugar and I'm happy to see a 110.  Usually I go to bed somewhere in the 90s and stay flat all night, so I let the 110 ride.  K.C. is curled up in her bed, which is next to me, already sleeping away.

At midnight the phone rings.  It’s Pete, calling from his hotel in California.  He’s arrived safely and checked in.  He’s had dinner and is getting ready for bed himself.  I miss him so much already, even though I saw him just this morning.  We say goodnight, I turn off the TV, and I fall asleep.

Although I don’t realize it, I’m having “that dream” again.  The one I can’t really explain.  My mind is racing overtime.  I am counting and sorting and trying to fit something into place.  I manage once, but I have a few left and I just can’t do it.  I keep trying.  My mind keeps racing.  I am restless.  It’s not working.

scary I’m sort of awake now, lying flat on my back with K.C. sprawled across my chest sleeping.  I don’t know how one little ten pound cat can throw off so much body heat, but I am drenched in sweat.  I guess it doesn’t help that the weather has been mild.  But oh my gosh, it is hot in here.  I drift back and forth between sleep and a feeling that I will spontaneously combust at any moment.  I’m so hot and sweaty.  I finally wake up and decide to go to the bathroom, just so I can get out from under the covers . . . .and from under the cat.  It occurs to me that since I’m up, I might as well check my blood sugar.

38.  My blood sugar is 38.  Of course it is.  That’s why I was having “that dream”.  It’s my low dream.  Why didn’t I realize that sooner?  And that’s why I’m soaked in sweat.  It all makes perfect sense and I feel like an idiot for not thinking of it.  I almost didn’t even bother to test my blood, how stupid is that?

Aside from feeling like a total moron, I also feel the need to eat . . . . a lot.  I down a bunch Swedish Fish, but I really want something salty.  I climb into bed with a mostly empty bag of chips and finish them off.  I know I’ve eaten way too much.  Moron.  And now I’m so cold, I can’t stop shivering.   I wish K.C. would come snuggle on me again, but she’s back in her own bed happily sleeping.  Me?  Not so much.

I feel like hell when I get up Tuesday morning.  I’m upset that I didn’t realize I was low sooner.  I’m afraid to tell Pete what happened because I hate to make him worry.  I’m scared to sleep alone for the next two nights until his trip is done.  In fact, I barely sleep at all Tuesday and Wednesday night.  I intentionally eat larger than usual dinners and under-bolus.  I see more 200s in those two days than I’ve seen in months.  I’m not sure I care.

Even after 32 years, diabetes can still really scare me.

***This post was inspired by one Kerri wrote.  And, I suppose, by that f’ing blood sugar.