Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Visit from Saint Infection

'Twas the day before Christmas, and I had a hunch
That something was wrong when we returned from lunch.
On my ma-in-law's couch I had sudden pains,
I thought 'bout my ovaries, tried to stay sane.
But it was the wrong time to see my monthly friend,
So I hoped this agony would come to an end.
And to my nose it came, a familiar smell,
My infusion set sprung a leak, aww hell.
Matt and I then drove back to my mom's home,
While the pain in my pelvis caused me to moan.

My mom, baking cakes, asked me, "Is it your bladder?"
"I don't know, but it hurts a lot. Something's the matter!"
I sat at the table, filled pumped and primed,
Then we drove to the ER, making good time.
We waited and waited, and so I supposed,
It's Christmas Eve, all the doctors have closed.
We sat in the waiting room, sipping coffee and things,
And I smiled at a 5-year-old in an arm sling.
My mom then joined us; her cakes were done baking.
Just HOW much longer should this be taking?

Now, outdated magazines! Now, reruns of soaps!
Now, when is it my turn? Soon, I should hope!
The others have gone, so when will it be?
Please hurry it up, 'cause I've got to pee!

When they call my name, I happily go,
After 3 and a half hours, with hubby in tow.
Her scrubs red and green, and her cheeriness ample,
The nurse cocked her head, asked "Can you give a sample?"
I grabbed the small cup and went toward the loo.
I knew that holding it was the right thing to do!
I was put on a bed to wait for the doc
In my hospital gown and my undies, no socks.
Doc poked and he prodded and then told me why
My innards were hurting--a nice UTI!

I got dressed again and was dosed with a pill,
Antibiotics are always a thrill.
Big giant white things, seven days, take 'em twice,
But it's now a week later and I still don't feel nice.
So my Christmas was cool, except I was sick.
I got lots of nice stuff from my fam and Saint Nick.
Perhaps I should've had more water to drink,
But the drugs would have cleared things by now, you'd think!

But there's a happy ending to this UTI sorrow:
My doctor's office is open at 8 tomorrow.

Ugh. Let's hope New Year's Eve ends up a little better for everyone involved.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Dorkabetic Holiday Photo Special!

So Christmas is just about here, and it is starting tonight for us. I'm making some roasted chicken breasts, sweet potatoes, green beans, etc. Matt, Nigel and I will be opening presents. We'll probably watch a movie if we have time as well. Tomorrow, Matt and I head off to Williamsport until Wednesday. We'll get to see all of our family, and also some of our friends.

I hope you all have a terrific holiday!

As a treat, I thought I'd post some pics for your enjoyment. Here goes:

Supremely silly. This is my "family", Matt, Nigel and me. I think if we had a gang, from the looks of this pic, we'd be neither east nor west, but "nerdside". Word.
This is Sadako. (Say, "SAH-dah-ko".) Nigel named her after the creepy girl who crawls out of the well in the original Japanese Ringu series. She's not scary at all, but she is by no means normal. And we wonder if she's secretly Japanese. She loooves Miso soup.
That's Nigel's stocking on the right, and Sadako's on the left. Here's a hint,'s full of meat bi-products. Yum.That's right, we have a real tree this year. I love it. Matt's kneeling on the left, decorating. Some musical instrument is in its gig bag on the right.This is the Christmas Skull. He's been up since Halloween as just a skull, but I thought it would be a riot to buy him a hat. Yes, we actually do have that Christmas Amp. The skull and a tiny fake tree sit on it.This is Batman. He lives at the Plymouth Meeting Mall in the mini golf course owned by the comic book store. I think they should have decorated him for the holidays.

Speaking of holidays, I need to get cookin'! Christmas kisses and sugar-free candy canes to all, and to all a good night!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wondering About the Why's, or Cushing's is not Cushy at All

For some time now, my mom has had various symptoms of something the doctors can never seem to define. They always chalk it up to the fact that she's heading further into her 50's, or that she's overweight, and it was only a matter of time.

Forgetfulness, sleep apnea, swelling in her legs (she's already got bad knees), the early onset of osteoporosis, depression/anxiety (as a divorcee with a lot of other family issues right now, this seems common), and her hair has been thinning for years.

But one day, it started sprouting up all over her body. Her back, her arms, her face, her toes were suddenly really hairy, but the hair was falling quickly out of her head. As this progressed, she realized it was probably some kind of hormonal issue, so since my mom is whip-smart, she called up my old endo in Williamsport and made an appointment for herself. In the meantime, she had an appointment with her regular doctor. He told her she really needed to lose weight if she wanted to be a candidate for a knee replacement. And she ESPECIALLY needed to lose weight because her fasting blood glucose was high, as were her blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

These things were NEVER problems for her before, and my mom stays up to date on her physical exams. It's not like it had been years since she'd seen her family doc. She described some problems she was having, and he sent her for a CAT scan.

About two weeks ago, my old endo's office calls my mom to ask her if she could come in earlier than her scheduled appointment in January. They'd had a cancellation. Mom took an early appointment.

Finally, after years of everybody overlooking her problems due to her age/weight, there was an answer. Dr. S (for SuperEndo, lol) broke the's Cushing's. Disease or Syndrome, it's not certain yet. She has to have more tests done. Mom and I are both holding our breath that once they treat this, some of her problems will finally disappear. I don't know if Cushing's is genetic or not, but reading over the list of symptoms, so many of them sound like me:

-Thin arms and legs, carrying weight in the body's midsection
-Loss of libido
-Rapid heartbeat/palpitations
-Oily Skin
-Below Normal Body Temperature
-Fatigue/Waking feeling unrefreshed
-Swelling in hands/feet (ankles and feet for me?)
-Hyperlipidemia (saw it on my chart at the endo's office)
-Insulin Resistance

I really feel for my mom, and I really wonder about myself. Sure, these are only a few symptoms, but I always feel like nobody takes the time to thoroughly investigate my health concerns because I have diabetes, and I'm definitely not an ideal weight. And every endocrine-related issue out there seems to have symptoms that overlap, so maybe it's my thyroid (which I'm always told it isn't), or maybe it's Cushing's, or maybe it's just diabetes. Someone even asked me once if I have PCOS, but when I said I'd never been checked, they just said I'd have irregular periods.

Someone who's been on birth control for 4 years shouldn't be having irregular periods, don't you think?

But diabetes doesn't explain my body, and how it's a smaller version of my mom's. And it's never quite explained the swelling in my legs and ankles; I've never been told I have poor circulation, and my sensation tests always come out normal. Diabetes doesn't explain my at times severe acne, or my body temperature that's usually hovering around 97.7 degrees F. If I'm "normal" at 98.6 degrees, I feel feverish sometimes.

You know what? I'm excited that I'll be seeing a new endo soon. I plan on venting all of this frustration to see what comes of it. Maybe I should print out this post and take it with me. It could be something other than diabetes. Perhaps it's ALL diabetes, and all my previous doctors were just being vague with me.

I want, hell, I deserve some answers here. This is my body. I live in it; it's my home. I just want it to stop feeling like a foreign entity.

Monday, December 17, 2007

"We Are Okay in a Misguided Sadist Way"

Listening to Glassjaw at the moment while applying for some jobs online.

Music says a lot about a person. I think a lot of people who meet me wouldn't believe some of the music I like to listen to, and this goes for all kinds of people. Hipsters might not necessarily realize I like Fall Out Boy and No Doubt. People who like rap and hip-hop probably wouldn't peg me as the kind of person who likes songs like "99 Problems".

Here's a sampling of some bands/artists that I like, in an effort for you to know more about me:

The Faint
Rilo Kiley
Bright Eyes
No Doubt
Fall Out Boy
The International Noise Conspiracy
Saul Williams
Fiona Apple
Franz Ferdinand
Phantom Planet
Regina Spektor
TV on the Radio
Green Day
Gwen Stefani
Amy Winehouse
Lily Allen
Reel Big Fish
Foo Fighters
The Misfits
Blinker the Star
The Decemberists
Death Cab for Cutie
Ben Folds (with or without the Five)
Motion City Soundtrack
The Killers

And that's just a short list. But you've got rap, ska, punk, indie, screamy dudes, keyboard driven pop-rock...there's a ton of stuff. I mean, looking at the list, it seems fairly cohesive to me.

But I like what I like, and that even includes disco, showtunes, and a ton of 80's music.

What's your favorite music?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Questions We Face

Sometimes, I go to the doctor's office, and even though I have diabetes, I feel pretty normal. Maybe I'm there for a sinus infection or a mysterious rash. It's some kind of general illness, the type of visit where my prescriptions will be minimal, no one will poke at my feet with a pin, and no one will request a full record of my blood sugars.

It's just like a regular drill for me. Old hat, I suppose.

Matt has been sick. I found us a doctor here in Blue Bell, and we went for an appointment last night so he could see about getting some antibiotics. I realize, by accompanying him, how foreign doctor's offices can be for most people. He frowned over the forms he had to fill out. I am not a fan of endless paperwork myself, but the questions were different coming from him. The corner of Matt's mouth turned down, and he leaned into me. "Which number is the ID number?" He looked at his insurance card and the multiple sets of numbers that are on the front. ID number, Group number, RX Bin number, Customer Service phone number. I know which of these is which even when they're not labeled.

The nurse finally calls him back, and he asks me to come along. He looks a little confused when he's asked to step up on the scale. He seems lost as she takes his blood pressure, asks him a bunch of questions about his family and medical history.

"Are you allergic to any medications?"

"Yes, penicillin and cephalosporins, and I think pseudoephedrine."

"Are you on any medications right now?"


As the nurse ticks down the major list of everything they always ask you as a new patient, I think of how many time I've had to go through this routine over the years. How I would answer the questions differently. Heck, half the time I forget to count insulin as a medication when I answer that question. I think of it more like something that I just use to function; I hold it in the same regard as eating, sleeping, going to the bathroom. It's necessary. Oh, and I guess it's medication, since I need a prescription to obtain it.

Family histories come up. Matt's mom has Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. His dad had Thyroid Cancer. Maybe some high blood pressure in his grandparents. Maybe a stroke. One great grandmother with type 2. No stomach or digestive issues. No other major cancer issues. Minimal heart problems.

I think about my Mom's many medical issues over the years, the latest being a potential adrenal problem (but I don't know more about it yet, she just found out today), of my grandfather's skin cancer, my dad's and grandfather's prostate cancer, everybody's high blood pressure (except for my mom), my dad's heart problems (his dad died from a heart attack, too)...I could go on. And on.

We both really liked the new doctor. She seemed really cool. She recommended Matt make an appointment for a physical, so he can get some thyroid tests done, etc. I ask the doc for a recommendation for a new endo, and she told me about one she thinks is really nice and knowledgeable. He got his prescription. We went to get it filled and have some dinner.

I have appointments to make for myself in the near future.

But the whole thing just makes me wonder...what is a healthy family like these days? What's normal to have in your medical history in terms of the bad stuff? When I read off my laundry list of medications and family conditions, do I sound like the average person, or am I some kind of extremist?

Merry-Go-Round Massacre!

It seems over the past week, everywhere I go I come up with a title for a B-Horror flick that has yet to be made. It started with "Cannibal Club Owners", and today brought me to "The Merry-Go-Round Massacre"! On my way out Christmas shopping, I noticed one of those massive Christmas inflatables in someone's yard--a snow globe with a revolving carousel in the center. Earlier in the week, Frosty, Rudolph, and Santa were riding in circles together. Today, they are just hanging skins on a rotating post. How macabre! Hmm, anybody ever see that movie "Black Christmas"? It may have been like that.

However, over the past few days I feel like I've been on that carousel of doom. Up and down and up and down, swirly organ music is optional, but the boop-BEEP-boop of my pump should be in the background for sure. Here's how the ride plays out, in a nutshell:

DOWN: Get my period. Woo hoo, if you really want to know.

UP: Go to Curves and work out, get to chat with the ladies I always see. Come home, email, Nigel comes home, Matt comes home, and then we end up going to dinner with our friend Mike. Tasty Vietnamese/Thai food.

DOWN: Get back from dinner. Pump beeps, wants a battery. No big deal. I sit on the couch. Pump beeps again. No delivery. I resume delivery, and stand up. This thing is far from empty. No big deal. I sit down to play cards with the boys. Pump beeps again. No delivery. It seems sitting down is my actual problem, probably blocking the cannula with my innards. I excuse myself to go change my infusion set, delaying the game another five or ten minutes. End up going to bed with a high sugar at 2am.

UP: Wake up when Matt is getting ready for work around 6:30am. Check sugar. 115, but feeling like I'm dropping. I chalk it up to period-related hormonal weirdness.

DOWN: Wake up around 10am, a little sweaty, still feeling odd. Check sugar. 66. Chomp on some glucose tabs. Drink a swig of water. Get back in bed, feeling run over. Sleep 'til noon.

UP: Get up, get dressed, sugar seems steady at 94. Head out for a holiday shopping extravaganza. Stop for fast food. Nom nom nom. Hold a door for a guy at Barnes & Noble, and he thanks me profusely. That may have been the nicest thing anyone had done for him all day, because he said he probably didn't deserve it. "Of course you did," I smile at him. "Merry Christmas!" Continue smiling because I like doing nice things for people, especially at stressful times of year.

DOWN: Bend down to pick up a book in the store, and my pump tumbles out of my bra when I stand up again. Luckily my set has not pulled out at all, and there was no pain. I quickly step aside in the aisle and wind the tubing around my hand, rescuing my pump from its hanging place by my ankle. Feeling like a pile of guano when I finally exit the store, I check my sugar. 239. Ugh, somebody underbolused for that order of small fries. I correct, and move on.

UP: Shop shop shop! Watch me go! I even stop at Curves on my way back from shopping, and I am glad I didn't talk myself out of it. I'm feeling strong these days, and my swollen ankles are making an improvement!

DOWN: Low blood sugar again later at home. 82. Not low for some people, but generally I feel it.

Things could be a lot worse. In fact, I am sure they are getting better. I feel like I'm coming out of my funk a bit, and I'm definitely getting some things accomplished that I've been wanting to do. However, I may be riding the Carousel of Carb-Counting Conniptions for the rest of the holiday season! SCARY!


Or the Frosted Flakes, apparently.

Time to get back on the ride. We'll see what kind of bouncing around tomorrow holds.

Monday, December 10, 2007

It's That Time of Year Again!

So is anyone else finally getting excited for the holidays? It's definitely taken me a while, probably due to the move.

However, a trip to Target with Matt yesterday made me giddy for Christmas gifts, both giving and receiving. A copy of Ken Burns' The War hardcover book for my father-in-law was only $35 instead of $50! We got a mini-stocking and some Christmas mice for Sadako! And some awesome little treasures for Nigel (who might read this, so no spoilers here). Plus, several ideas for what I actually want.

Yet, I wish for things that I won't have until I have a new job, like a savings account. I wish for a job. I wish for furniture to finally make this house a home. I wish for some new friends so I don't have to spend my jobless days at home alone. I wish for insulin that the insurance company doesn't try to limit. I wish for boxes of pump supplies that I don't have to pay for, good blood sugars, and for 10 pounds of me to suddenly disappear.

I'll be satisfied with whatever I get for the holidays. I'm pretty easy to please.

And I plan on some baking. Maybe not a mass amount of cookies or anything, but lately I've been in the mood to bake. I blame the season. This week, I think I'll be making muffins. Next week, who knows? Last week, I made a cake, then was momentarily taken aback because Matt and Nigel both asked, "We don't have any icing, do we?"

I have spent so many years not caring if my cake has icing or not, I didn't even give it a second thought. Sorry boys. Welcome to the world of Baking with Diabetes.

What are you excited for this holiday? What are you wishing for?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Sullenness with a Sprinkle of Happy News

The happy news is that I have a telephone interview today at 4:00 for a really cool job. Wish me luck!

Not the point of this post, however.

Maybe it's the weather--something to do with the lack of sunshine for the past two weeks, with the snow that's falling today. Maybe it's being alone nearly every weekday. Maybe it's my inadequate use of my anti-depressant medication while I was waiting on my pharmacy, but I am glum today.

It probably started last night, I snapped at Matt for no good reason. Maybe the high blood sugar was to blame, but sometimes I wonder if I blame my moods on my blood sugar too often. But as apologies were made and sadness was talked out, I still didn't feel any better. Matt is really feeling the stress of working and the worry of finishing his Master's. He was busy beating himself up over the fact that he shouldn't have started a job before finishing the thesis.

When I think back on it, he had already pushed back his job start date, and he was terrified that if he tried it again, they would take the job from him. I don't know that they would have, but I've never been an engineer, and Matt didn't have any experience outside the world of academia.

So sometimes it's really hard for him to accept things like having to wear a tie every day except Friday because that's just the way it is. Or that he needs to just come home from work and maybe devote an hour or so to working on his paper, or get up early on the weekends to work on his paper because...that's just how he needs to manage his time.

I am a procrastinator. Always have been, always will be. I think it's practically genetic. But it hasn't been that way for him. Matt likes to get things done, so it's hard for me to understand why he can't just jump in and get to work like he always did before. He says he's fine, but I worry about him a lot. It's hard to believe that someone who's awake in bed worrying about how he's going to manage his time is "fine". All I can do is be supportive.

But by telling him he should just "do what he's supposed to", I feel stressed out. Why? Because I sound like my Mom! More specifically, when my Mom used to talk to me about my diabetes. Inaccurate carb counts? I should just "do what I'm supposed to". No logged glucose numbers prior to a doctor visit? "Why can't you just do what you're supposed to? Don't you want to stay healthy?" I'm eyeballing a plate of cookies, contemplating just one, and there's Mom's frowning face in my mind, with no comments, just a look of disappointment because I'm probably not "doing what I'm supposed to".

But I think all this time, what I was "supposed to" do was make sure I felt sane while taking care of myself. For a while, I never did, so I didn't take the best care of myself. Now I know what I'm supposed to do is make the best efforts that I can. That I should know it's not always going to be perfect, but I should just make the most of things. When you are not the person who actually has diabetes every single day, it's easy to say, "Just do what you're supposed to do!" because you don't realize that it's a situation requiring more nuance than that.

Because at the time, what I was "supposed to do" was get good grades in school in ALL my subjects, including my weakest ones, make sure I was not staying out with my friends too late or I'd get grounded, I was supposed to be doing my chores, supposed to be studying a lot, supposed to be attempting to squeeze in a full life while micro-managing every aspect of my health, all before I was 18. Of course things weren't going to be perfect, so no matter how much I did what I thought was important, it never felt like the right thing.

I think this is something I'll tell Matt tonight. I realize I might sound like an ass just telling him to do what he knows he's supposed to do. I need to justify what I'm trying to tell him.

Or he'll end up like me. Glum and unnecessarily stressed out.

So what is it that you're expected to just DO, and not question, that drags you down?

Monday, December 3, 2007

You Might Have Too Many Online Friends When...

Last night, I had a dream that I was working out at Curves. Of course, it wasn't like any place I'd been in real life, and for some reason they had a front and a back room area to work out in.

The front room was full, so I was sent to the back. Who did I find back there but Kerri and Nicole! The three of us were baffled because we all had no clue the place had a back room, and half of the equipment was broken. There was a treadmill on a really steep incline, but it didn't have any handles to hold onto, and the tread only worked on one side.

It was really weird. Despite all of this, I still didn't get to the gym today.

Maybe it's because I knew you guys wouldn't be there, haha.

However, I did apply for 3 different jobs, hopefully straightened out my prescription situation, and later I'm going to see either "The Darjeeling Limited" or "Lars and the Real Girl" with my friend Mike. (Matt and Nigel are going to band practice. In Delaware. That's dedication, folks.)

Tomorrow, I think I'll hop onto my insurance company's website and find myself some doctors finally. And make appointments. Maybe then, this prescription stuff won't have to be a pain in the butt anymore.


Anybody had a dream about me lately? :)