Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Thank You, Sussy Pal!

Thanks so much to Melissa for the fabulous sussy! I love the plush kitty most of all--but everything is SO sweet. Thank you!

(One item is missing from the photo--my husband claimed the Elvis calendar as his own, it's hanging above his desk. We were just talking about going to Graceland in the spring, how did you know?!)

Hope the rest of the OC enjoyed their sussies. Thanks to Beth and Amylia for arranging this wonderful little exchange!

1983...Another Fateful 'Meeting'

This man came along, and changed everything...well, for me anyway :-)

Like many teenage girls, I bought all of Corey Hart's records and watched his videos on MTV (back when they played music!). I wrote him letters and talked about my favorite songs. Much to my surprise Corey started answering some of them. Ah, those were happy days :-) Later on I finally got to meet him a couple of times. And believe it or not, he actually remembered me. What a sweet man.

Music has always helped me deal with the ups and downs of diabetes. We all have those songs that reach inside and cry with us when things aren't right. Or, the ones that have us cranking our car stereos as loud as they'll go. What are some of yours?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Show Me the Money

Some other bloggers (Bernard, AmyT) in the OC are talking about the various costs of diabetes care today. This has been a past topic as well (for Kerri, Scott, Amylia and others), but it seems the "outside world" is only just now getting clued in to how much these numbers mean to us PWDs.

Personally I've been lucky to avoid complications all these years, but I know others have these additional burdens, and someday it may be my turn in their shoes. My relatively good health hasn't come cheap, though. In preparing for my taxes, I discovered that I spent over $2,000 out-of-pocket on prescriptions and doctor visit co-pays for last year alone. This is no doubt far lower than what some others pay, but it still adds up. Add to that the days off work for things regular people don't usually give a second thought to (the flu, bad colds, and the ensuing blood sugar rollercoaster). And healthy eating can be expensive. Thank God I'm able to work and my husband also has a job; I'm also grateful for all the years my parents were able to help me out with either insurance coverage, or help with the hefty premiums. Without them I don't think I'd be as healthy as I am now.

All the same, we can't doubt the value of our care--after all, what's the alternative?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Another 1983 memory...

...this time a happy one, this was the same year I "met" these guys :)

Ah, love at first sight! Which Duran was your favorite, girls of the OC? (I loved Simon Le best friend loved John & Nick!)

Happy Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

25 Years Ago...A Souvenir

Some other OC bloggers have mementos from their diagnosis. This is a pillow case I made in the craft room while staying at the hospital. I was way too old for the only play group there, and I really didn't want to hang out with the little kids. So one of the volunteers gave me some fabric paint and a pillowcase, and invited me to make a 'keepsake' of my stay. I remember missing my cat, Tiger, intensely...I also remember wanting to make something that looked happy to cheer up my mom and dad. I didn't feel like sunshine and flowers at the time, that's for sure.
Back then I also loved E.T., and I vividly recall my brother bringing my favorite E.T. doll to the hospital for me. I have never asked him how he felt growing up with his 'special' sister. He has always been a model big brother to me, the classic strong and silent type who rarely talks about his feelings. When my niece was born last year, she suffered hypoglycemia for a few days afterwards. (Her mom probably had undiagnosed gestational diabetes.) It's sad to think her father knew instantly what those low glucose readings meant after so many years of being around me. So today I am thankful for my brother, my first friend, steadfast protector and steady presence throughout my life.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Seesaw

Yesterday was a frustrating day for me for many reasons, including diabetes management. Here's a play-by-play:

6:45AM: Wake up groggy, as the cat has once again decided to walk on my head at 4:30 in the morning. And it was one of those rare nights when a crashing low didn't hit me between 3 and 5AM. Oh well. My first test of the day: 259. Ugh. Do a 2u Humalog shot to bring it down, hopefully, by the time I get to work.

8:40AM: After the hour-long, 10 mph slog in to downtown, dropping off my husband at his building, fighting crazy cab drivers, nearly hitting a deranged bicycle messenger, and jockeying for parking space in the garage, I'm finally at my desk. I check e-mail while testing again. Down to a respectable 159; I inject a little more Humalog (4u) so I can have a breakfast bar. I have a daylong meeting outside of the office, so as soon as I'm done I grab my coat and rush off.

10:40AM: Clock in at a nice 101. However, this is not good. I've unexpectedly been asked to help present for the next two hours; I won't have the chance to treat a low without disrupting the meeting. Instead of concentrating on what we're working on, I have to calculate the risk of running too high after eating/drinking something now, rather than take a chance on dropping any further. I decide to sip some juice during the presentation. Wrong call, as it turns out...

12:40PM: Ugh: 238, nearly back to where I started my day. Although I usually avoid doing so, I take a correction dose and a meal bolus together in one shot. I also take my daily Lantus shot. Lunch will be my last chance to eat for some time. Normally I repeat my morning approach--take a small correction dose, wait for signs of downward movement, then eat after injecting another small bolus. Today I'll be presenting again all afternoon, plus the caterer has orders to remove the food right after our break, so I can't delay my meal. I choose some steamed veggies, chicken, and a small dinner roll. Dessert is out of the question. (I could handle the sticky-sweet pastries on offer with extra insulin, but I'm a little 'old school' and still avoid everything but the odd slice of cake, or scoop of ice cream.) I have another Diet Coke and hope I don't go any higher.

2:40PM: Back down to 171. My lunchtime calculation seems to have paid off. Over the next two hours I stress out over some work issues with a difficult client, while fighting through traffic in a snowstorm to get back to my office. I'm spent by the time I finally reach my desk. I check a few e-mails, then call my husband and start the reverse slog/commute home.

5:40PM: What.the.h***: 60. Not the usual "I'm feeling weird, better test" 60, but a knock-down, drag-out, hands-shaking, Skittle-scarfing, husband-frightening 60. And it came from nowhere. My meter is an old el cheapo generic model and sometimes gives me funky numbers, so I suspect 60 is really 50. We sit in a local fast food joint while I cling to the table and wait for the floor to stop spinning. Amazing to think I managed to drive home through it all. I should have tested before I got going, but in the rush to leave I skipped it. My fault...

6:40PM: Home again, and back up to 166. I've had half a bag of Skittles and some peanut butter, and took a few units to cover it all. But I am too tired to move; for tonight I'm through fighting this beast. A gym workout becomes a pipe dream. At least "Celebrity Apprentice" looks mildly entertaining.

8:40PM: The rebound high hits, and I'm back to 231. I do a small correction shot, then sink back down on the couch. My husband rubs my back as the cat purrs in my lap. I'm ready to sleep, but e-mails and phonecalls keep me up for a couple hours. I finally hit the sheets at 10:40 and hope the next day brings better numbers.

In good news, my latest A1C (done last week) was 5.9. So I'm doing something right...

(P.S. Back in battle today, as my numbers have been off again all morning after a perfect waking test of 101. Oh well...maybe it's the Arctic chill 'round here that's to blame. Stay warm, everyone!)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Did someone say "free"?

The 2008 Chicago Diabetes Expo is happening on Saturday, April 12 at Navy Pier. Here's a link:
(Beware--the registration button points you to the Hartford, CT Expo)

Regardless of your feelings toward the ADA, it's always cool to see what's going on out there in D-world...and stock up on freebies :-) If you're attending and would like to meet up, let me know!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Let's Get Physical

Hope all my fellow readers in the Diabetes OC had a good weekend :-) Besides the usual chores I had a good workout on Saturday. Though my husband and I do our best to get to the gym at least three times a week, the weekends end up being our "big" session, meaning resistance and aerobic activity combined. Of course, diabetes raised its ugly head during the session--I dropped 60 points in the 20 minutes I spent on the elliptical machine, so I figured I'd better eat/drink something to avoid bottoming out. Wouldn't you know it, the vending machines had no juice and the drink bar was closed (at 3PM on a Saturday?!). So I opted for some Skittles. I felt crappy an hour later on the way to dinner, and sure enough, I'm up in the high 200s. Ugh...

I'm interested in learning better resistance training options. Right now I'm trying traditional free weights (7 lb. hand weights) and some machinery. My curiosity is piqued, however, by the idea of doing some exercises with stretch bands and/or an exercise ball. Anyone try this, and if so, is it worth checking out? We have weights, bands and a ball at home, and I'm thinking it will help during the week if we can't fit in a trip to the gym.

Back to Cube-ville for now...

Friday, January 11, 2008

Electrical Storm

As soon as I saw them, I knew the flashing lights meant trouble. Slowly I lost the center of my field of vision and could no longer read the gauges on the car dashboard. The display rapidly bloomed in both eyes. Flashing, multicolored rays zigzagged through the night sky. My retinas had gone to Vegas, baby, and the party was hopping...

"Honey, I don't think I can drive anymore. We need to go home."

My husband looked at me from the passenger seat. He said nothing, but I could feel him tense up with worry. We were lucky to be close to our apartment. I managed to park the car and get myself upstairs without incident, even though I was effectively blinded. The cat cuddled close by as I lay in bed, waiting for the storm to pass. Twenty minutes later I could finally see again. I opened my eyes and there was my little world, looking just the same as it always had. I closed them and saw blessed, serene darkness, a night sky with no moon. Silently I offered a prayer of thanks and relief.

"Retinal detachment" pops into my head every time this sideshow happens. As scary as it is, however, the true cause is (for once) not directly related to my diabetes. It's an ocular migraine, or migraine with aura. I suffered the first one in my early teens, and have had them once or twice every couple of years since then. Tonight was the same as always, complete with the usual terrifying special effects. My only luck is that I never get the post-aura headache, nausea or other typical symptoms. But I think I would trade them all for these silent, sudden monsters. They seem a particularly cruel way to torment someone who already has such a high risk for eye problems.

My ophthalmologist reassures me that ocular migraines are harmless. I hope so, although when one hits me I cower in fear, wondering if I'll be able to see when it's over. Is this what it's like to go blind? I wonder; I kick myself for all the times I let my diabetes get out of control; I beg and plead with God for the continued gift of sight. And every time my vision returns, I realize anew how fragile and precious my eyesight really is.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

At Work

Eating healthy food during the day has been a real challenge for me over the years. Right now I work in a government office complex with poor access to good, affordable choices. The food court downstairs offers little besides Taco Bell, Sbarro, Pizza Hut and KFC. There used to be a Subway, but they're now gone and the only place left that served salads has also closed. And just thinking about Panda Express makes my blood sugar rise...

Believe it or not, one of my best options lately has been the Walgreens nearby. They recently started carrying freshly-made sandwiches and fruit from a local catering vendor, so I tried out one of their offerings. Not bad and not expensive, either. While there I pick up some handy snacks that can also treat lows, if necessary:

In the past I've also brought my lunch to work, which I've been doing more frequently to save money. (There may soon be a holy war over space in the fridge here in Cube-ville, however) Most of my colleagues never debate their lunchtime meal beyond choosing which fast food establishment to patronize. It amazes me that nutrition hardly elicits a second thought, when it's always a part of my internal dialogue. I'm comforted, at least, to know that other PWDs have similar food struggles.

How about you, fellow readers? What are your workday food tips, tricks and habits?

Monday, January 7, 2008

25 years ago...Part Two

I had just turned 12, and I was still going to the pediatrician I'd been seeing since birth. His office decor was a 1970s riot of color and kid-themed prints; textured wallpaper with blue striped zebras, orange lions, purple monkeys, and red giraffes. After the workup Mom and I sat down in the doctor's office, waiting to see what it was that had caused me to morph from normal into a thirsty, pale scarecrow of a girl in so short a time. The doctor finally came in. He looked very serious and concerned.

"I'm afraid you have diabetes," he said.

My mom burst into tears. Her mother had suffered from type 1 for 20 years. I remember trying to comfort her, saying "it's all right Ma" and holding her hand. The doctor read off the symptoms I'd been having and explained why I needed to go right to the hospital. I remember asking him if he was sure, since I hadn't been hungry at all. I was very calm; my doubt gave me strength. I was sure this was all just some temporary misunderstanding. I remember calling my dad from the room. Mom was still too upset to talk.

"Hi, Dad. The doctor thinks I have diabetes, so we have to go to Children's after we leave. I'll be OK, though, so don't worry." (Later Pop said he'd been working on a ladder at home and, when my brother handed him the phone, he nearly fell off it after hearing what I said.)

Children's Memorial Hospital was only three blocks away. I had been there once as a four-year-old, to have my tonsils removed, but never since. The gusty, humid wind hit me as we walked from the parking garage to the lobby. It was the last time I would be outdoors for eight days.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

BG reading of 246...

...and an overarching feeling of "ugh". Body aches, sneezing and fatigue too, which can only mean one thing: another winter illness. Grrr ):-(

Back later, for now it's Tylenol and the couch.

Friday, January 4, 2008

You know you want it...

Fellow addicts, unite! (:-)

25 years ago...Part One

...I was in the seventh grade, thinking that the biggest challenge ahead for me was doing well on the Iowa achievement tests. Little did I know that greater trials lay in wait. At home my parents had already noticed how much weight I lost after Christmas; I went from 102 to 75 lbs. in six weeks. At school, I ran to the bathroom after every class, barely able to hold it through the period. Climbing even a few stairs left me sweaty and out of breath--my home room on the third floor was the summit of Mount Everest. I became so ill one Saturday that I went back to bed after eating endless bowls of Lucky Charms; my mom told me years later that this was when she really got scared, because she couldn't wake me up afterward. Amazingly, I came out of this near-comatose state on my own.

A few days later Mom and I were planning to go shopping. Dad needed a new Thermos, and though I had already downed two bottles of soda, I was already mentally mapping my route to the ice cream stand in the mall for another. First, though, we headed to the doctor for a checkup. The troubling symptoms could no longer be ignored. I wore tan corduroy pants that hung from my frame even with my belt cinched on the last notch. I remember thinking, wow, maybe I can finally fit into
those skinny designer jeans now. Nothing seemed much out of the ordinary on that cold, bleak February morning as we entered the waiting room. For the first time, however, I had no problem filling a sample cup to overflowing.