Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Last Day, Two Ways

Today is the last day of November, which wraps up two important events this month.  One is NaBloPoMo, in which many of us worked hard to post something on our blogs every single day.  The other is of course, National Diabetes Awareness Month, which was on everyone's minds here in the Diabetes OC.

We helped other people learn about diabetes by talking about it on D-Blog Day.

We educated the world and brought lifesaving insulin to children by banding together in time for World Diabetes Day

We counted our diabetes blessings.  We even took a few moments to acknowledge our siblings!  (Well, those of us who aren't only children like me.)

Thank you out there to my readers, to the Diabetes OC who made it possible for me to get this blog going back in 2006, and to the good folks who put NaBloPoMo together!

I did it again.  30 posts, 30 days, a lot of days about diabetes, but every single day about my life.  December brings the holidays and more fun.  I'm proud of myself for sticking with it.  Let's make a date and maybe do this again next year.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cranky Post.

Great weekend full of food and friends and family.

Now, the hubs is sick, and I think I'm catching something too.  I'm just tired and cranky.

Almost there, NaBloPoMo.  Almost there.  Hopefully I won't be hacking up a lung or losing my lunch tomorrow for my last post of the month. 

And have my blood sugars given me any clues?  It's Thanksgiving weekend.  Nothing gave me any clues.  Especially not the pumpkin pie.

Ugh.  I think it's time for bed...early.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Food Recovery Sunday

We are home from Thanksgiving vacation.  Only two out of three gigantic meals were spent consuming mass amounts of turkey.  Not bad.

Did I count carbs obsessively this weekend? 

Nope.  Did I care that much?  Nope. 

Sometimes you just have to live your life.  Without a ton of turkey.  And a slice of pecan pie.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Self-Portrait Saturday # 2

Oh man, can you believe the hipsters they are letting into the shows these days?
Self-portrait with husband, hipster edition.  Nada Surf show just before Easter 2010 at the First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia, PA.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Two Bodies; One Brain.

Tonight, I will be attending my 10-year High School Reunion.  Honestly, I'm not good friends with a lot of people from high school anymore.  I don't have a high-fallutin' job I want to go brag about.  I'm not even sure if it's going to be a lot of fun.  I am going because of this woman:

Me on the left, Cari on the right.
Ladies and gentleman, this is Ms. Cari J.  We have been friends since we were, what, eleven?  Twelve?  We bonded while singing showtunes at our weekly Odyssey of the Mind team meetings, and shortly after, she moved into my neighborhood.  If you look out from the back of the house where I spent most of my formative years, you can see her house.  We used to talk about how we should've just bought walkie-talkies and saved on phone bills.

Cari called me up a couple months back and asked me the question I was about to ask her: "Are you going to the reunion?"  We could've cared less about the event itself.  Let's face it, at least some part of going to your high school reunion is about entitlement.  We grew up as Honors students in a pretty small town.  Many people we know either stayed in Williamsport and started raising families, or they got as far from town as they could, though they are maybe wrapped up in med school or a burgeoning law career.  I guess we fancy ourselves to be almost-hip, urban suburbanites who have the pleasure of being mostly free in our late 20's.

We'll eat some mediocre, overpriced food and reminisce about the good old days.  Then we'll just talk about life.  Cari still sends me awesome birthday presents.  She's funny, smart, and has recently joined an ice hockey league.  Look out world; she's got pink hockey gloves.

But she did start her career as a Type 3 with a little diabetes law enforcement.  She used to keep me from sniffing candy wrappers during the course of our friendship.  I forgive her for that.  Especially because this year for Halloween, she dressed up as the world's favorite new celebrity diabetes spokesperson!
Just like every pump has its dawn phenomenon...
So here's to friendships that last beyond high school.  To those people you can live hundreds of miles away from, yet the instant you meet up again you're still finishing each other's sentences.

Man, I hope this reunion thing doesn't suck.  Oh well, if it does, I'll be in good company.  Then we'll take our boys and go drink somewhere that we can have a REALLY good time.

Oh, and if you want to know more about what Cari is like, I suggest you go read her blog, The Caustic Critic, in which she discusses movie guilty pleasures, TV obsessions, Sookie Stackhouse novels, and does Cannonball Reads of books.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone out there is having an enjoyable holiday.  Just remember--today's excess carbs can be burned off by charging through the malls tomorrow on your excess shopping sprees. ;)

My weekend feasting is shaping up this way:

Today--Huge lunch, small dinner.
Tomorrow--Pie for breakfast, medium-sized lunch, probably large dinner at Ten Year High School Reunion (more on that later)
Saturday--I have no clue whatsoever, but a deep-fried turkey will be involved
Sunday--Leftovers?  Convenience store food?  What time are we getting home again?

I am thankful for my insulin pump so I can just keep bolusing away on crazy weekends like this one.

Meanwhile, I'm starting to get a bit peckish.  It may very well be time for a sandwich; however, I am leaning toward bologna at this point, or peanut butter.  Goodness knows there is more bird to come.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Type 2s Pumping It Up?

My co-worker called me this morning not long after I came upstairs after working the reception desk.  "Can I see you in my office for a minute?  About something personal?"

"Sure thing."  It's nothing new for the two of us to sit around and talk.  We have a pretty friendly office.  I plopped down in one of the chairs in front of his desk.  "So in three minutes or less, tell me everything you can about your insulin pump."

My co-worker and I have talked diabetes before, but now his doctor is insisting that he get an insulin pump for tighter control.  I believe there is also some suspicion that he does not actually have Type 2, but may be more of a Type 1.5 or a case of LADA.  Either way, he is trying to prepare himself mentally for the task of possible pumping.  I gave him a short overview of what I like about it; I tried to address some of the usual questions quickly, like "Do you take it off to sleep?  What about when you shower?"

From what he's described to me, I think a pump is going to work wonders for him as long as there's not a steep learning curve in terms of programming. 

Are there any Type 2's with insulin pumps out there?  Are there any sites or resources I can share with my co-worker?  Let me know!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Diabetes Blessings Week

(Thanks to Mike over at My Diabetic Heart for coming up with this one...I feel like I am running out of steam here at the end of NaBloPoMo!  Topics are incredibly helpful.)

Yesterday, I had to rant and rave about things which I'm NOT thankful for, but today, I have decided to pitch in my two cents for Diabetes Blessings Week.  I know, it's probably a foreign concept to most people to come up with ways something debilitating can bless your life.  It takes a little soul-searching to say, "You know, Diabetes, I don't always think you're an a-hole."

But here are some ways diabetes has been a blessing-in-disguise for me:

1.) I visit a doctor multiple times a year.  Whether it's an endocrinologist, an opthamologist, an OB-GYN, or just my family doctor's office, I have always been encouraged to stay up on my health.  I've always tried to speak up when something is not right with my body.  Do I slack off sometimes?  Yes.  But I always know where to turn, and whenever I move, I end up searching out a whole new team to work with me.

2.) I eat healthier than I might have otherwise.  Lately I've really been fixated on getting enough fiber in my diet and drinking more water.

3.) I try not to take things or people for granted.  You never know who you may need to lean on in a tumultuous time of your life.  You could be perfectly fine one day and horrible the next.  I am often ready to embrace change!

4.) It's made me smarter in odd ways.  I am terrible at algebra, but pretty good at working on my correction formulas.  I can tell you what's a sugar in the ingredient list of a packaged food, and I can probably tell you what artificial sweetener they've used as well.  I've rigged up MacGuyver cooling packs for outdoor days in the summer.  I can talk at length about the Glycemic Index, and I've never been to nutritional school.  That time we did a blood-typing lab in my college biology class, I was the most popular girl in the room because I could prick my own finger and bleed without fear.

5.) It makes me think.  What time are we eating?  What kind of bolus should I take?  What kind of correction do I want?  How much alcohol do I plan to drink at this party?  Who are the empowered patients?  What can I do to make my blog look better?  How many grams of carbs in this salad?  What will I write about tonight?  Do I call the endo or the CDE?  Pizza or subs?  When will I be ready to do this damned basal test?  Do you think I should get a Dexcom?  Diabetes questions run through my head ad nauseum. 

6.) I understood the importance of decent health insurance from a very early age.  I also learned how to navigate health insurance earlier than a lot of my friends.

7.) On a similar note, it's helped me figure out how to get through to a real person on most automated phone lines! 

8.) It's made me even more self-aware.  I need to question if I'm being cranky because I'm low, or perhaps high, or perhaps I'm just genuinely cranky and need some sleep or a cup of coffee.  Like now.  Now is a good time for me to go to bed.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Things To Be Unthankful For

It's Thanksgiving week, it's true.  It's a time I like to think about all the good things in my life.  All the people, opportunities and things which I'm thankful for.  But you know what?  I feel like this year, in order to be truly thankful, I need to get those things off my chest for which I am not at all thankful.  So let's call this a Thanksgiving Week Thanks-But-No-Thanks list.


1.) Depression.  I have been taking Wellbutrin for over a month now, and while I feel like it's really helping me to feel less hopeless and apathetic, there are still so many things needing my attention.  I'm not really giving it my all yet.  I might be getting closer, but then some days I just break down crying over something stupid.  Spilled milk.  A sideways glance.  The fact that my pants don't fit.

2.)  Swollen Ankles.  The cause of them?  I still don't know.  My really cool GP is actually concerned about them, compared to the rest of the world who seems to just shrug it off.  She wants me to go have a stress test because of the swelling and the tachycardia I get sometimes.  I just get annoyed because it's difficult to buy shoes.  It's tough to have lower self-confidence when it comes to my legs.  For years, I've always thought them to be one of my better physical features.

3.) Bad Infusion Sites.  Blockage detected.  Beep beep beep.  This set is brand new, so what the hell?  Put in a new set in a different spot, and it's almost guaranteed to be one of the most painful sites you've chosen in weeks, just to continue spiting you for pulling a bad set.

4.) Diabetes and Illness in General.  I hate the fact that sometimes blogging feels like I am taking too much time to catalog my maladies.  I worry that you, my readers, aren't getting to know the real me, but the sick me.  The one who is trying to fight diabetes but struggling so much at times.  Honestly, folks, don't look to me as a role model on how to care for yourself.  I want to be here for you.  I want to present my life with as much truth as I can muster. 

5.) Work Stress.  The busier things get, the less time I have to focus on my writing, which is always important to me.  I get home exhausted, and much like tonight, I will veg in front of the TV for four hours instead of maybe trying to write or blog during at least half of that time.

Those are the biggies plaguing my mind this week.  I feel better already for airing my grievances.  But wait, I thought Festivus was a December celebration!  Hmm.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

OMG ZOMBIES!!1!

Are you watching The Walking Dead on AMC? 

Because I am. 

You may be saying, "But I don't like zombies.  Or gore.  Or horror.  Eek!"

However, The Walking Dead is not just a show about zombies and grossness.  At the risk of sounding cheesy, it's about human drama in the worst of times.  Seeing the best and worst in people. 

I'm sure there are comic book purists out there who don't like the characters they've added in and the changes that were made, but whatever.  Nobody is ever satisfied with interpretations of books that are made into TV shows and movies. 

What I'm saying is that this is what I'm really into these days, it beats any reality crap that you can watch, and shows emotions more genuinely than anything out there where characters tell you about their true feelings in a confessional. 

It helps me having reliable escapism these days, even when that escape isn't always a sunny, happy-go-lucky kind of place.  I can go somewhere where I can immerse myself in something completely different from myself.  And even worse. 

I guess watching zombies stagger about and people occasionally getting eaten makes me feel better about having stomach issues, depression, diabetes, job-related stress.  And it could probably help you too.

Friday, November 19, 2010

More Pokes, Less Ouches: The Multiclix

I purchased an Accu-Check Multiclix lancing device, and while I don't have a huge write-up about it prepared yet, I would definitely like to say that I'm really enjoying it.  It makes the lancer that comes with the One-Touch Mini seem like a guillotine. 

Thanks to the d-blogosphere, I have finally upgraded to a lancing device that doesn't suck.  I know tons of blog friends consider them a cult favorite among lancing devices.  It seems strange saying that something pointy that makes your fingers bleed could be a "favorite" at all.  For the record, yes, it still hurts sometimes, but it doesn't thud into your finger like some lancing devices do.  Perhaps I'll check back in about it after using it for a week or so.

In the meantime, glucose-check time just because a little less ouchy.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Epic Win [Butler]

I love music.  Always have.  Always will.  I know I am extraordinarily late to the party, but I am currently obsessed with Arcade Fire. Recently, I saw from various random internet sources that Kings of Leon called them a bunch of douchebags or pretentious assholes or pussies or something. Look here, Kings of Leon. Your songs don't make me cry.

So if that makes me some kind of pretentious, Canadian-loving douche, so be it. You try playing a song in an elevator using a magazine for a percussion instrument.



And hey, KOL, you guys are okay. But do you have a song that is more of an anthem to me? Something that makes me want to raise my arms and weep like some people do in church? I don't think so. I can't see this video enough without thinking about how epic this song is to me. And if that doesn't make me one of the macho masses, then screw you. I never was.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Game is Afoot!

Today, I am just here to say that the hunt is on.  I think it is high time to find a new endocrinologist.  Now, don't get me wrong, my current endo, Dr. B, is actually a really nice lady.  She's really helpful when I go in for checkups.  Yet thanks to the practice she is a part of, I have issues.

First of all, they never make reminder calls.  Ever.  I've even checked to make sure they have my phone number on file, and they have it.  It's correct.  Perhaps I should just keep better track of my own appointments by logging them on Google Calendar or putting appointment cards somewhere where they're easy to find, but all of my other doctors (GP, psychiatrist, gynocologist) have made reminder calls.  Why not the doctor who should be most important to me?  Also, since they charge a $25 missed appointment fee, I'd REALLY like to know when I'm supposed to be there.

Second, I usually arrive to my appointments right on time.  Then I end up waiting a minimum of 20 minutes for the nurse to even call me back for the weigh/measure/blood pressure rigamarole.  That's a minimum.  Often, I am trying to get back to work after an appointment.  People tend to talk if you have been gone for two hours in the middle of the day for a doctor's appointment that is only a few miles away.  Also, the current endo's office is somewhat closer to where I work, while all my other doctors and my dentist are very close to my home.  It's inconvenient for me to make morning appointments at my current endo's office because it's a distance to travel without traffic, and the morning rush in that area can be harrowing.

Last but not least, all of these annoyance factors combine to keep me from going to the endo's office at all.  I have not been to see her in over six months because I just get frustrated at the practice itself.  Dr. B hasn't done anything wrong.  I really wish that I could just transplant her to my neighborhood in an office where she's the lone endo.  She was even recommended to me this way: "Dr. B is great!  But don't bother seeing anyone else in her practice."  I think she just needs to get out and find a practice of her own, but until that day comes, I think I'm endocrinologist shopping.

Have you ever had to "break up" with an endocrinologist you've otherwise liked?  [I'm thinking for a reason other than moving.  I switched endos' offices when I moved from Delaware to Pennsylvania, obviously.  That was a natural transition.]

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

An Unexpected Workday Low

An hour and a half before lunch, I realized I had forgotten to bolus for the two clementines I ate for breakfast.  I checked my blood and it was a whopping 369 mg/dl. 

"Those damned carby little fruits," I muttered to myself as I programmed my pump to give me a correction bolus.  I went back to doing my work.

My co-worker returned from picking up our lunch at around 1:00pm.  I checked my blood: 102 mg/dl.  I cheered my pump.  "Good work, insulin correction factor!"  I bolused for my six-inch tuna sub and bag of baked Lay's chips.  It was tasty, and I enjoyed my lunch break.

Around 1:45pm, some colleagues from another office dropped in needing work space.  The plan was we were to all meet together to go over some process stuff.  Not a big deal, but a lot to go over on very short notice.  I showed them to the conference room, then as I walked the 15 feet back to my cubicle, I began to feel...off.

A wave of slight nausea and lightheadedness passed over me where I stood.  I felt shaky on my feet.  My heart started beating faster, and I suddenly felt voraciously hungry.  "Oh shit," I thought, "I'm low, and I have to go into a meeting in like 20 minutes.  Wait, am I low?  Because I did everything I was supposed to."  And then, after checking my glucose and finding it at 68 mg/dl only about 30 minutes after my lunch bolus, it dawned on me.  I had overcorrected.  I had corrected myself for being 396 mg/dl, and not the actual number of 369 mg/dl.  I was sinking like a stone, and people needed me to be available soon.

I quickly chomped down five glucose tabs instead of the usual four, and also found two fun-sized Nestle Crunch bars to take the edge off my hunger pangs.  I am NOT saying this is what you should do in this situation, but my time was limited and so was the time of the visiting colleagues.  I can function with a high blood glucose, but NOT a low one.  I ended up so busy for the rest of the afternoon that I did not have a moment to myself to sit down and do a retest.

I did what I had to do, and in the end, I think the meeting with my colleagues was really productive!  My blood sugars for the rest of the day, however, may be another story.

Monday, November 15, 2010

In Defense of Creativity

Well pointed ranting, for the world, from Hannah.

There is always more on my mind than just diabetes.  A huge part of my brain is dedicated to creative pursuits.  I am always thinking of some off-the-wall thing to say.  I doodle in the margins of my meeting notes.  I make up songs while driving in the car.  My internal monologue is pretty loud, and it often sounds like descriptive passages in a novel.  (For the record, it's sometimes in first person, sometimes in third person.)  Coming up with new ideas, looking at things from new angles, and putting words to paper/computer screen is my livelihood. 

I am considering a slight revamping of the blog, and my mind starts whirring every time I think about how I want to arrange things.  Thoughts of new color schemes bring a smile to my face, and don't even get me started on how cool it will be if I can get a 3-column format with tabbed pages across the top.  Any time I actually have time to finish a poem these days, I feel like I could throw a party.  In this party, we will most likely have costumes and themed beverages.  I am creative, through and through.

Well, I am tired as hell of feeling like that's just a secondary thing in life.  I don't think those of us who have creative minds get taken seriously, and it's a tough hurdle for many of us to get over.  In jobs I've had, I sometimes find the belief that creativity and the arts are still mere leisure pursuits.  I believe that the successful people in creative professions are some of the most passionate people about their work.  Honestly, passion makes a real difference for anyone in any line of work!  I have a friend who gets very excited when he talks about accounting, statistics, and retirement funds.  I know he will make an excellent CPA.

It seems to me that creativity is often discounted by the business world.  I feel that some people shame the creatives for not doing any "real work".  The events planner gets to "put little parties together" (yes, in passing, I once heard this phrase being used) and the graphic designer gets to doodle all afternoon.  The writer [of this blog post] sits with her laptop in a coffee shop until an idea strikes her.  When an artistic person gets excited about expense reports, selling things to people, operating machines, pouring your coffee, whatever, suddenly you are on your way to being this well-groomed corporate grown-up that people expect you to become if you want to get anywhere in the working world.

I smile a lot.  I laugh a lot.  I have the perkiest receptionist voice in the greater Philadelphia area.  (Seriously, if they had a contest for that, I'd totally win.)  I catch on to all sorts of computer programs, processes and filing systems very quickly.  I am slow to anger, quick to answer questions with accuracy.  Yet, on some intellectual level, or perhaps from a career standpoint, I don't always feel at home, and ultimately, I think that's where I truly see myself in five years.  I want a home away from home that I'm happy to go to on the weekdays, a place where creative people are celebrated.  Sure, some may say that's a pipe dream, or I sound like a hippie, but there are creative, interesting places to work wherever you go.  I hope one day, I can get into that sort of a place.

I'm a creative.  In school, I was a daydreamer.  A procrastinator.  I had A's in English, C's in Math.  I've never been good at fitting into molds.  Just last week I told my mother I don't think I'll ever truly do anything the traditional way.  One of these years, maybe I will get to write for a living.  Maybe I need to go back to school.  Maybe I need to look into freelancing.

I just wish more people understood that being creative doesn't have to be something you reserve for a hobby in your after-work hours.  Artists and creative people are not slackers.  Our passions drive us to succeed, just the way yours do.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Happy World Diabetes Day!

So the day is almost over, but I hope everyone out there has taken this opportunity to help someone else learn about diabetes, to educate your families and friends, and also to just take a few moments to be grateful for all that you have. 

I know it's not Thanksgiving yet, but I have to say that I am so thankful for insulin.  Even though I felt kind of blah today and missed the Big Blue Test, I hope that it was a smashing success.  Am I a Big Blue Fail?  Hell no.  I'm still here; I'm still living the best life I can.

And that's what World Diabetes Day is about for me.  The fact that I'm still here to share it with others. 

<3

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sick Saturday

Good Idea: Getting a flu shot so you don't get sick with a nasty flu over the next few months.  Hooray!

Bad Idea: Getting a flu shot just before the weekend so you feel like crap half the night Friday and most of the day Saturday. 

Every other time I get a flu shot (because I know it's not every single year), I feel ill for the next day or two.  I'm actually now quite glad I had other plans for tonight and had to miss the big diabetes meetup in NYC today.  I don't think I could have handled the entire afternoon on my feet, wandering the exhibit.  In fact, here's where I was mere moments ago:

Urrrgh, I feel like...urrrgh.  Naptime again.
I had a mind to accomplish things today, but I woke up with a low blood sugar, and when Matt and I got back from brunch and some errands, I spent the next hour and a half in bed.  Today feels more like an energized sick day than a fun Saturday.  Now if you don't mind me, I should go rest up for seeing friends tonight and going to a show. 

Don't forget, tomorrow is World Diabetes Day!  Go watch the Big Blue Test video and join the Diabetes Online Community for the Big Blue Test tomorrow!  I hope I am feeling well enough for 14 minutes of physical activity in a row.  Blah.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Freakin' Friday!

Rushing all over the place, I had a loooong day with good things and bad things, but now I must prepare for a big ol' poetry slam!  EEEEK!

Monologing will be left for tomorrow.  Tonight, I perform on stage!  Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

i, fanblades

My fabulous husband is in a band--i, fanblades.  They have been playing a lot lately, and it's always fun.  These are not the best pictures in the world because I think I took them with my cell phone, but here, you can see the rockstar awesomeness.  That's my hubs, Matt, on the right, and that's Nigel, our former roommate, on the left.  Yes, Nigel has a mohawk, and yes, it is awesome thank you very much.

I don't have a lot of time to wax poetic today, but I thought you might enjoy a glimpse at something I see often on the weekends.
Not Pictured: Chris, on drums, and JW, on percussion. Why? I don't have photos of them on my cell phone!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Twitchy twitch.

I don't like using the blog to catalog every malady that comes my way, but dammit, I need to talk about these things somewhere.

I've scored a doctor's appointment for this Friday for the weird minty-fresh feeling in my chest, and while I'm there, I think I'm going to have to ask her to take a look at my right hand/wrist.  I keep having wrist pain, and my right ring finger keeps twitching, especially during the day when I am typing or using the mouse at work.  I am beginning to suspect that I am suffering sympathy tendinitis for Kerri

Ouchies.  Does this ever happen to you?  Do you ever feel like multiple parts of your body are rebelling at once for no apparent reason?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

D-Blog Day 2010: 6 Things You Should Know About Diabetes

For the full list of D-Blog Day Blog Posts, please visit the link at the end of this post!

1.) Diabetes is not easy.
I talk a big game.  I make it seem like diabetes isn’t a big deal.  I’m kind of a low-key, relatively laid back person when it comes to talking about diabetes. It’s there, something you just put up with, like waiting on a bad haircut to grow out.  One more fact of life, because sometimes, that’s all it is.  You are just focusing on living your life.  You test, you bolus, you eat.  Life goes on, ob la di ob la da.  Yet there will always be late nights with bad blood sugars.   There will be a day when your blood glucose drops a second time even though you chomped down seven glucose tabs.  You might be judged by a doctor as soon as you walk in a room and say, “I’ve been diabetic for ___ years now, and no, my A1C is not perfect.”  Sometimes, diabetes feels like something I can put in my pocket or hide in my purse.  I’ll take it out and show it off if necessary.  But I’m just going to come right out and say it here, maybe even wave it around in your face a bit:  DIABETES IS HARD.

2.) Diabetes drains your energy…and your patience.
I was 9 or 10, and it seemed like the most simple thing in the world.  Mom told me to take my offending soda to the counter and request that they replace it with diet, as that’s what I ordered.  I marched up to the counter with my Happy Meal-sized cup and got the attention of the nearest employee.  “Excuse me,” I said, “but I ordered a diet Coke, and this is definitely not diet.” 

The woman behind the counter was confused and bewildered.  Was a 9-year-old actually requesting a diet soda?  How precocious!  “Ummm…” the lady started, and I cringed.  I quickly responded to her lack of concern with “I need diet soda because I have diabetes, could you please get me a new drink?”  Suddenly she looked sympathetic and switched my soda immediately.  It feels the same way today sometimes.

Whether someone is asking if I can eat that or trying to tell me that some new health issue of mine is OBVIOUSLY because I have diabetes, people make judgments and generalizations, and despite my best efforts to educate and end stereotypes, generalizations and misinformation are always going to be a part of life.  Guess what?  I’m not necessarily grumpy because I have diabetes—I’m grumpy because I’m tired of having to explain to you what that means all the time!

3.) It’s not something that can be outgrown…or cured…at least not yet. 
You have diabetes.  You will always have diabetes until someone cures it.  It doesn’t matter what type you have, what age you are, or how much weight you lose.  You will always have diabetes.  Oh sure, you might be able to lose weight if you’re a Type 2 and have it sort of slip into a remission of sorts, but it’s not really gone.  This is why we need to own our conditions rather than be ashamed of them.  They’re not going anywhere.

4.) It can make you strong.
If you don’t have diabetes, or even if you do, you may want to vomit when considering poking yourself with a needle.  Every day, I may cringe slightly, but I make myself bleed.  Or I’m jabbing myself in the abdomen with an infusion set or a syringe.  Sometimes multiple times a day, and I barely even bat an eye.  It has given me the guts to speak up for myself at the doctor’s office.  It has given me the gall to start this blog.  Honestly, before I started blogging, I barely talked about diabetes or what it meant to me.  I am with Amy, who says we may not want to be recognized for our bravery, but I think as diabetics, we want to be recognized for our strength in dealing with this every single day of our lives.

5.) It will break your heart.
I’m not saying it’s going to cause a lover to leave you, necessarily, but it can sink in and rip you apart.  When it’s quiet, and you’re by yourself, you’ll think of diabetes, and how there is no end in sight.  You’ll wonder about your random aches and pains.  You’ll pray that you are healthy enough that you will live a long, complication-free life.  You will break down at the dinner table in frustration.  You will wonder why we are always supposed to just suck it up and live with it.  Some people might think that diabetes is your fault.  Some people will set you up to expect your body to just one day fail, despite your best efforts.  Some of us may accept that awful fate until it becomes truth.  Some of us will leave this earth far too young, before we even reach adulthood.  It can chip at your sanity, your self-esteem, your happiness.  It will scare you, yet I think the biggest heartbreak of living with diabetes is wondering, “What if I had been normal and healthy?  Would it still be like this?”

6.) It DOESN’T stop me, and it shouldn’t stop anyone else.
Things I have done with diabetes: Learned to drive, went to 4 proms, graduated high school, went to college away from home, joined an improv comedy troupe, served as news director of my college radio station for two years, made a ton of friends, got engaged, appeared in two performances of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, graduated college, represented Delaware on two National Poetry Slam teams, edited (and still edit) a literary magazine, got married, worked multiple jobs, rented multiple apartments/houses, got drunk now and then, partied like a (indie) rock star, sang karaoke, kissed in the rain, fell for all kinds of men (even when they didn’t know), made a ton more friends.  Most importantly, I have loved fearlessly and lived a life that truly makes me happy.  You should too.

More D-Blog Day Goodies Here!  Thanks, Gina, for organizing!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Things That Shouldn't Be Minty Fresh

I had some great ideas for today's post initially, but guess what?  They have been pre-empted. 

Attention all interweb hypochondriacs, amateur doctors and real doctors alike: I have a symptom and it's weirding me the hell out.  Over the past couple of days, I've had this passing cold, tingly sensation that occurs between my throat and the upper part of my chest.  It came and went, I assumed it was just a side effect of the colder weather here in Pennsylvania now that it's November.  But today it is here with a vengeance.

What is this sensation exactly?  It's the sensation you get when you bite into a York Peppermint Pattie.  It feels like I've swallowed some severe toothpaste, or I've been sucking down menthol Halls all day long.  It is making me nervous.

So of course, I turn to the internet's finest health professionals (yeah right), the dwellers of internet message boards, because a Google search yielded no reasonable results from less dubious sources like the Mayo Clinic or the CDC.  They seem to be telling me 3 things:

1.) It's acid reflux/GERD/something else I forget that's related to your stomach.

2.) It's my heart (which scares the ever-lovin' SHIT out of me)
3.) Nobody knows. Nobody's going to tell you what it is.  It'll come and go in a couple months, tops.

Not helpful at all, unless you count helping in making me feel a bit panicked.  Yes, I know the end result should be calling a doctor, but I just want something now.  Do I go buy some antacids and see if they provide relief?  Do I stop at the urgent care clinic on the way home, or do I just wait it out until morning to call my doc? 

If I do go to the doc, I don't want to see Dr. P, the lady doctor who mentioned Diabetic Gastroparesis back in August.  I got so angry with her, and yet here's a symptom that could potentially be tied in.  The last thing I want that smug woman doing is giving me that I-told-you-so look.  Or telling me outright she doesn't understand my problem and I should just get my diabetes under control.  It's hard to get your diabetes under control when you're anxious about what's happening to your body!

Here's the deal.  It's not pain...it doesn't hurt.  It isn't a burning sensation, but I think maybe that's changing a bit?  Either that or I'm paranoid that it's happening.  It's cold, it's minty-fresh, and it doesn't belong there. Now what?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Friends and Family Day

One of the prompts from the ADA 30 Blogs in 30 Days challenge asks you to consider and write about the friends and family who contribute to your well-being.  How do they help you?  What is it that they do for you?

I like to think I don’t heavily lean on family and friends when it comes to taking care of myself.  I consider myself an independent person who is strong, smart and capable of doing what’s necessary.  However:

1.) If I have a low in the middle of night, or if I am somewhat far away from the fridge, I always feel comforted if Matt can bring me a glass of juice or something to eat.  If I’m high and a bit groggy/cranky, I take a correction bolus and request a glass of water.  We read carb counts on food wrappers together.  We are trying to eat more veggies together.  I may be the primary person responsible for The Big D, but no doubt about it, we are a team.

2.) I am grateful for the care I received from my mom and dad when I was young.  I probably don’t say that enough.  They both worked really hard to make sure I got to be a normal kid who just happened to also have diabetes.  My mom gave me my morning injections.  My dad gave me my injections before dinner.  I learned how to give myself injections when I was in fourth or fifth grade--I was diagnosed during the summer before I started third grade.  I was always happy that my parents were supportive and helpful when it came to diabetes, even when they were annoying the hell out of me in my teen years.  (But whose parents don’t during that time of life?)

3.) My closest friends throughout middle school and beyond and their families affected me, most of the time for the better.  I think some friends’ mothers were so excited that I was around.  Finally, they could serve their family a balanced meal with lots of veggies and everything!  I must admit I often worried I was a bother.  I always felt, deep down, that I was disturbing other people’s family routines, maybe I was a bit of a burden.  Cari’s mom felt obligated to buy sugar-free ice cream if I was coming over, no matter how many times I mentioned that I could still eat the real stuff.  She and Melissa’s mom both started purchasing diet sodas.  Melissa’s mom had a whole shelf in her pantry where she kept the “Hannah Food”.  My dear friends, if my requiring “healthy foods” ever caused your moms (and you *know* how they are) to make you feel bad about yourselves, I’m sorry.  I hope they never said anything bad about me in return, but you never know.

Anyone who has ever touched my life has, whether directly or indirectly, touched my life with diabetes.  So thank you, all my beloveds, for buying Diet Coke for your parties, for not minding my poking myself at your dinner table, for putting up with the super-scheduled meals of years gone by, for cracking jokes about my insulin pump.  I will even thank everyone for their occasional nagging.  I know it’s not always well-received, but your intentions are good.  And yes, Mom, I still don’t regularly log my sugars like I should.  But I love all of you.  Thanks for all you do for me.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Two Things Tonight

These are both important, so pay attention.

1.)  Set your clocks back an hour before you go to sleep.

2.) Change your lancet already, would ya?

I surely will.  NaBloPoMo marches on!  See you tomorrow.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Freaky Friday: Weird BGs and More

1.  Lately, I've been going to bed with high numbers, correcting, and thankfully waking up with normal numbers.  The only problem is I keep waking up thirsty!  I often wake up panicked that I've pulled out my infusion set during the night.  Sometimes I suspect that my correction bolus didn't work at all!  I went to bed at 300 mg/dl, so where the hell am I at now?  The same?  HIGHER?  Every time I test, it's like...163.  Or 132.  Slightly elevated, but so much better than what I went to sleep with.  Oh well, at least the corrections are working.

2.  Maybe some of the corrections are working a little too well.  I found myself at 253 mg/dl as I arrived at work this morning.  I blame last night's Chinese food.  Anyway.  I correct and go about my morning at work, which is relatively inactive.  The biggest workout I had this morning was flexing my right arm and bending my wrist to get the jammed paper out of the copier.  Around 1:00pm, I start to feel it.  The shaking, coupled with the hunger that says "Feed me, Seymour!  Feed me now!"  Test my blood.  72.  Low for me, and this is even after I had dove into the leftover Halloween candy dish without bolusing for that fun size Butterfinger.  Luckily, there were two mini boxes of Milk Duds with four Milk Duds each.  They hit the spot and brought me up relatively quickly.  Back to work I went.

3.  I kinda poured my heart out last night in my post.  I hope you had a chance to read it.  It's not often these days that I get to spill my guts and have it not be slightly diabetes-related.  Unadulterated joy and emotion can so easily make us forget our troubles and forgive our faults.  There are a number of fairly devout bloggers out there, but these days, it seems that music is my church.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

How To Stay Sane, Part 1.

I have work in the morning at 8am.  I will probably be up until 1am, maybe even 2am.  When I go to concerts, I feel alive.  Sometimes I just close my eyes, absorb the music, and know that there are better things out there for me.  When I hear the music, I can hear the possibilities in my mind.  I start composing poetry that I don't write down.

Now that I'm 28 and my friends are closer to their thirties as well, I sometimes hear that they are getting too old for this stuff.  Usually, they just mention these things jokingly between head-bangingly loud sets.  These days, we wear earplugs more often.  We scoff at what "the kids" are wearing this year.  I don't want us to actually get to the point where we are too old for this.  This elation should never get old.

When I feel the kickdrum in my chest, I can't help but be happy.  There is always catharsis, and the best shows lead to optimism.

In these moments, I don't worry about work.  I don't worry about sadness or drama.  I don't think about having diabetes.  I don't worry about the future.  I stomp my feet.  I swivel my hips.  I sing louder than I can even sing in the car or the shower.   Maybe I think of a past love or an old friend or someone who should be there with me to share the experience.  Music is so important to my life, so transformative at times.

Wolf Parade, Trocadero, Philadelphia PA.  11-4-10.

A thousand little gloves
What makes you know you’re alive
This heart’s on fire
This heart’s on fire


--Wolf Parade, "This Heart's on Fire"

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Depressed and Diabetic: The Winning Combination!

Remember back when I was talking about diapression?  I still think the word is utterly ludicrous; however, I never did doubt that it was a real thing.

A few weeks ago, I went to a psychiatrist for the first time in my life.  I was nervous.  I had thoughts in my head of men with cigars who pay you no mind as you talk about your dreams.  I pictured Betty Draper, from Mad Men, lying on that black leather couch in season 1, talking to a man who never seems to really be listening.

When I got to the psychiatrist's office, I found it rather...doctor-ish.  The ceiling of the waiting room was your standard white-panel ceiling with florescent lighting.  There was a lamp, for ambiance, I suppose.  Next to me was a small end table with one of those table-top fountains on it, the tiniest trickle of water running through it...for ambience, I suppose.  There was a coffee table with various magazines on it, and a magazine rack on the wall with your typical trashy doctor's office fare.  I wondered if it was healthy to be looking at doctored-up photos in Glamour magazine when you're supposed to be receiving mental health care.  Don't women with serious body issues come into this office?

I filled out some paperwork and took some deep breaths.  Eventually I was called back to see the doctor.  He had a relatively nice office despite the conventional doctor's office location.  I sat in a moderately comfortable chair by his desk.  We talked a bit.  I was a wee bit surprised that he was not trying to plumb my subconscious for information.  He wasn't asking me a lot of questions, and if he was, it felt more like a conversation than an interrogation on my mental state.  He diagnosed me as depressed and put me on Wellbutrin, which was kind of what I requested, as I've been on it before and it didn't cause me any irritating side effects.

So here I am once again, "blessed" with these two D's in my life...diabetes and depression.  I go in for my first follow-up visit tomorrow.  I guess I've noticed some small changes in these three weeks, but I don't know yet.  I do feel a little less hopeless.  I'm definitely crying less, trying to talk through things more.

Just don't make me call it diapression.  If I do have to call it diapression*, please make sure I do this while sporting some jeggings* and talking to an audience of tweens*.


*Now you know 3 of my least favorite words.  My number one least favorite word?  Eyesore. Ick, I don't even like looking at it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Big Blue Test Video Fundraiser

It's worth repeating, even if I mentioned it yesterday.  Go to YouTube and watch the Diabetes Hands Foundation's Big Blue Test video!  All you have to do is click that there link, watch the video, and insulin will be donated to children in need around the world.  It's less than two minutes, people.  What the heck are you waiting for?

Maybe you were expecting Wilford Brimley's Diabeetus Dance Mix?  Or the Diabetes Rap?  ("I'm a type 1, son!")

Oh, you were expecting a lengthy, introspective blog post?  Well so was I until Firefox ATE IT.  So...videos!  Watch them!  Happy NaBloPoMo/NaDiAwMo!

Monday, November 1, 2010

What would you SAE?

When I say SAE, I am not referring to the Society for Automotive Engineers.  SAE stands for what should be the three tenets of  National Diabetes Awareness Month here in the US: Support, Advocate, Educate.  Today is SAE It Loud Day in the Diabetes OC, the brainchild of the fabulous and talented Sarah of Sugabetic.com.

Support
Now that it's National Diabetes Awareness Month (declared by President Obama) and/or American Diabetes Month (declared by the American Diabetes Association), there are going to be a lot more people out there raising awareness about diabetes.  There are going to be a lot of new people who may be turning to the Diabetes OC for support, help, information, answers.  I am going to make an effort this month to comment on other people's blogs instead of just reading and darting off to the next one.  I am going to support myself by checking my blood glucose more often, keeping up appointments and communication with my kickass CDE Sarah K, and calling my endo's office to make an appointment--finally.  I've been putting it off since I cancelled the last one.  Not good, I know.

Advocate
Did you know that just by watching a short YouTube video, you can help a child in need receive a week's worth of insulin?  Also, you'll be able to learn about the Big Blue Test, a great way for everyone to advocate for diabetes, on November 14, World Diabetes Day 2010!  In case you didn't click the link the first time around, you want to GO HERE for the video.  Bonus: the video stars real people with diabetes, including George and Manny!

Also, tomorrow is Election Day!  Go out and vote!  I know I will.

Educate
I am not a Certified Diabetes Educator.  I apparently need a degree in one of several AADE-approved fields plus I need to pass a licensing test.  I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications, which means I'm pretty decent with my words.  (Also 100% not AADE-approved, unless you're trying for a job in their PR department or something...) So while I am not a health professional of any sort, I am still able to educate people about diabetes.  Writing is often my best avenue to achieve this, so this month, I have taken on the National Blog Posting Month challenge!  I will write a new post every day this month, weekends included.  I haven't undertaken this challenge since 2007, so let's see what happens, shall we?

Additionally, the American Diabetes Association, in conjunction with their new blog, Diabetes Stops Here, is hosting their own 30 posts/30 days challenge!  There's going to be a lot of talking here over the next month, so I hope you readers enjoy my posts.  So I will say this, and say it with confidence: talk to you tomorrow!