Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tree For All

I don’t put Christmas lights outside my house. I don’t hang a wreath on the door. I don’t have bed linens with holly or couch throw pillows with Old St. Nick needlepointed on them.

What I do have is a tree. A real, giant tree. And I’m a little fanatical about it (filled with excessive and single-minded zeal, according to the dictionary—and my husband).


This year’s piney confection is an eight-footer (not including the extra couple inches t
he star on top adds). I’ve gone larger in the past, but I wanted it to fit in the living room this year, and eight feet is my ceiling limit. I’m also on a holiday budget this year, and the taller the tree, the more expensive it is. This little gem only cost me $20 at my local grocery store, a fact I’m very proud of. (Okay, yes, it looks like someone took a bite out of it at the top, but I filled the hole with lots of shiny ornaments, so from across the living room, you can hardly tell there’s no pine branches or needles in that general region.)

Since I’ve being seeing everyone else’s trees, and admiring them very much, I thought I would return the favor and show mine, along with a few of my favorite ornaments. Ready for the tour?

This is the tree without the flash…


This is the tree with the flash…


I have kind of a thing for the Wizard of Oz,
and this ornament is a replica of the
balloon that takes Dorothy back to Kansas.



My mom made all sorts of sequin ornaments in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. She was a stay-at-home mom at that point, and she said making the ornaments helped her from going crazy. She’s not big into Christmas trees, so I’ve early inherited a lot of them. I like them not only because she made them, but because they sparkle a lot under the lights.

In the Christmas meme making the rounds, I answered that one of themes on my tree is stars and moons. I don’t have a “perfect” tree with all the same ornament and color-coordination, but when I see an ornament in the shape of a moon or star, I tend to pick it up.

This is one of my favorites. I have one sister and one brother and my sister and I found these ornaments when we were together and laughed hysterically like only sisters can. We each have a brother and a sister one and I still laugh each time
I hang it up.

I also have my share of kid-made ornaments, including a gingerbread boy my brother made when he was in kindergarten—that’s a ’75 in the corner for the date. He doesn’t currently have a tree, so I’m hanging on to it for him and hanging it until he does. I also have a few from my niece through the years; she’s 15 now, 16 in February, so I think I’m probably done with the kid stuff for now.


This is a Hallmark ornament or something of the sort. You pull on his tassel and he makes a ribbit sound as he gets a big grin on his face.







I should probably also mention the lights. That dang Martha Stewart. I watched a show years and years ago where she demonstrated how she put lights on her tree; she wraps each individual branch with the strings so every inch is covered. I’ve been doing it that way ever since. I think my light string count is hovering near 20 this year and it took me four hours to do it. Just the lights. No ornaments included in that time period. (And you’d think I would burn carbs doing it that way, as it involves ladders and twisting and turning and kneeling and bending, but nope. Sugar stayed the same.)


I like looking at my tree. It’s pretty. Lora has pretty tree. Lora likes tree. Lora hopes you like tree, too.

As always, more to come…

Friday, December 19, 2008

Ho Ho How

We’re having our holiday party at work today. It’s a big, giant brunch at a very fancy hotel.

I’ve been working for the same company for 15 years, and the holiday party is always the same, so at least I know what’s on the menu.

It starts at noon and there are a ton of things to eat and the champagne flows freely.

I checked my sugar this morning when I woke up, chugged a small V-8 and ate a 1/3 or a NutriGrain bar for breakfast (my dog is on antibiotics and I had to hide her pill in 1/3, then give my other dog 1/3 so he wouldn’t be jealous; why is it medications are always so complicated, even for dogs?). That’s about 1 carb unit total.

I’m taking a slight chance that I might tumble lower than I’d like before we get to the brunch, but I know that if I’d ate a full 3 carb units for breakfast, I’d be too high to eat much of anything but cold salmon and roast beef. And they have really good shortbread cookies…

So here’s to guessing and hoping that 15 years knowledge of the menu, six of them as a diabetic, will play in my favor. Sometimes educated guessing is all you can really do.

As always, more to come…

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Trashy Girl

I keep my diabetic supplies in the office, right off the living room. Before I go to bed, I step in the office to take my shot and grab supplies to fill my blood kit. I have a garbage can right below my diabetes drawers for easy disposal of all the packaging that seems to come with diabetic supplies.

I threw away a syringe last night and laughed when I looked at my garbage can. Here's a picture.


One of these things is not like the other. One of these things just doesn't belong. Can you tell me which thing is not the like the other?

As always, more to come...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Big Switch

My husband recently got a new job. We've been on Cobra insurance for the last three months, keeping on his old work plan until the new insurance at the new job kicks in. (No insurance at my job; since the diagnosis I'm uninsurable on my own; thank god for marriage.)

As of January 1, I'll have to pick a whole new slew of doctors, as from what I've seen, none of my current doctors are on the new plan.

While I do consider this a slight pain in the butt and something I wish I had a personal assistant for—to do the research, figure out the hospitals, etc.—I can't say I'm entirely disappointed to see my doctors go.

My primary care physician is a nice lady, but she doesn't go above and beyond the normal check-up. She's good for prescriptions and for getting an HbA1c, but beyond that, I don't really think she's all that (and certainly not a bag of chips).

My endo is a nice, quiet guy. He looks at my numbers and tells me to keep doing what I'm doing. The encouragement is nice, but sometimes I'm not really sure he's hearing what I tell him. The one, big, giant reason I do like him is because I have his e-mail address and he actually answers me when I e-mail him. He won't diagnose me over sbcglobal.net, but he will tell me what the generic is for a prescription I'm taking, and he'll let me know if the new Lantus pen is in the office and who I can call to set up an appointment to get one.

I almost feel like they're both a little on the robot side—they do what they're told when I press the right buttons. I think I'm ready for a fresh team who might have some good advice and who can help me see a really old age in fairly decent shape. I'd also like a diabetes educator. Sometimes I think I'm doing okay, but other times I have a million questions. It would be nice to have someone I can ask without waiting three weeks for an appointment.

So. I have a task ahead of me. To find new doctors in my new network. Let the research begin.

As always, more to come...

Monday, December 8, 2008

I Want My Two Dollars

Ever seen the movie Better Off Dead? It has John Cusack in it, and as a teen who grew up in the ‘80s, I had a crush on John and watched every movie he’s ever been in and even own several of them on DVD.

Anyhow, in Better Off Dead, there’s a paper boy who’s trying to collect. John answers the door and blows him off (his girlfriend had just broken up with him, how can you blame poor John?).

The paper boy proceeds to stalk John throughout the rest of the movie, chasing him on a Huffy bike sneering, “I want my two dollars.”

Today, I’m stealing the sneer and the phrase:

FREESTYLE, I WANT MY TWO DOLLARS.

Two test strips, in a row, dead before I even inserted them in my meter. Wouldn’t take my perfectly shaped round bead of blood and give me a number. I had to go through three test strips to get the number, and I didn’t even like it. One buck per dead strip, two strips total. I want my two dollars.

As always, more to come…

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Caught!

I ate too many carbs for breakfast; this I know for sure without even checking my blood. (Damn scones. I should know better.)

So I'm at the copy machine at work, waiting for it to warm up and make my copies. I decide to jog in place to try to burn off even a tidbit of carbs. No one is in the room with me. I'm doing my jogging jig and a very distinguished looking woman wearing a nice black pants suit walks in, walks past me and grabs her paper from the printer and walks out without even a word. Of course, I stopped wriggling around when she walked in the room, but I was impossible not to see.

Perhaps I've already earned my reputation as being slightly crazy, and now no one takes notice anymore? Hmmmm....

As always, more to come...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Trying for Festiveness

Okay, here's my attempt at joining the yuletide merriness...a meme in the form of Christmas. Feel free to pluck it for your own holiday cheer....

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Wrapping paper, preferably color coordinated and with silk ribbons.


2. Real tree or artificial?
Real, real, real and as tall as I can get it.


3. When do you put up the tree?
Whenever I have a free weekend before the big day; sometimes it's been two weeks, sometimes it's been a couple days.


4. When do you take the tree down?
Right after New Year's day. Well, within a couple weeks anyway.


5. Do you like eggnog?
Drinking eggs? I think not...


6. Favorite gift received as a child?
Probably the JCPenney stereo turntable my sister and I got to share. That and the giant teddy bear.


7. Hardest person to buy for?
My bosses. It has to be nice enough so they think highly of me, and not so nice that they think I make too much money and won't give me more. :)


8. Easiest person to buy for?
Myself!


9. Do you have a nativity scene?
No. I can't get the dogs to sit still.


10. Mail or e-mail Christmas cards?
I only e-mailed last year when I found an animation thing where my dogs could sing Jingle Bells. If I send them at all, they're usually handmade and mailed.


11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
An ex-boyfriend gave me a gift his co-worker got and didn't like. Little bottles of chocolate filled with liquor. I caught him bragging about it to his brother on the phone. Re-gifting gone horribly, horribly wrong.


12. Favorite Christmas movie?
Meet me in St. Louis. I just love when Judy Garland sings "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas." I also enjoy Christmas Story and Miracle on 34th Street, the original black and white version (which I've already watched once this year).


13. When do you start shopping?
I bought shoes for myself this week, and I'm buying some new clothes this weekend. After me, I'll start on everyone else.


14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
No. Yes. Maybe. I'll never tell.


15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Rum balls that my mom makes, after they've sat in the tin for a few days.


16. Lights on the tree?
All white and thousands of them. My tree has to emit heat before I'm happy.


17. Favorite Christmas song?
That Wham song that goes "This Christmas I gave you my heart" (I'm a child of the '80s), Merry Little Christmas by Judy Garland (see above) and Blue Christmas as sung by the little girl on the Christmas special from the '70s.


18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
Home and to relative's houses. We keep threatening to go somewhere warm, but haven't made it happen yet.


19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?
Yes. Wanna bet me a dollar?


20. Angel on the tree top or a star?
A big, silver, glittery star I bought in Tennessee years and years ago.


21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
Christmas Eve with my parents, Christmas Day with other family members. Random moments with my husband (the engagement ring came at midnight on Christmas).


22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?
Constant Christmas music and people sending me e-mails about Christmas before Thanksgiving (CATHERINE, although it does come in handy now).


23. Favorite ornament theme or color?
Stars, with the occasional moon thrown in.


24. Favorite for Christmas dinner?
Christmas cookies. Oh, wait, that’s breakfast…


25. What do you want for Christmas this year?
A healthy, happy life. And a pair of slippers.


As always, more to come (with a festive air, hopefully)...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Slacker

Just so all of you out there don't feel like this blog isn't the only thing that's gone by the wayside in past days, my overall general mentality has been that of major slacker.

I took forever to order my diabetes supplies online and am now rationing strips until the package arrives, hopefully by Thursday. (I did, however, manage to order two new pairs of shoes from Zappos...)

I haven't done anything even remotely related to the holidays. For Thanksgiving, we ordered Chinese. For Christmas, my house is as unfestive as May 12 (a random date for which there is no decoration). I usually love a great, big, tall, real tree with all the trimmings, but I just can't seem to muster up the energy or festiveness to climb into the attack and retrieve my ornaments or shop for the biggest tree I can find.

I haven't even finished my library book, and I've already renewed it once.

My house is cold and I refuse to turn up the heat, so my best option seems to be to cuddle up on my big chair with a pile of blankets on top and a dog laying over my feet.

I do have plans to motivate in the next week or so. I'm just looking for that big kick-off moment. Maybe when the new shoes arrive...

As always, more to come...

*Okay, how's this for a Freudian or subliminal slip. I typed "attack" instead of "attic." My attic scares me. I have to climb on a tall ladder and dangle momentarily until I can crawl inside. Did I mention I'm terrified of heights? Attack actually seems more appropriate than attic...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Too Low To Go

Sometimes if I'm in a rush in the morning, or if I have an extra 10 minutes or so, I skip eating breakfast at home and stop at the Starbucks or the little bakery shop on the way to work.

I drive the 20 minutes to my parking spot, then stop about halfway on my 10 minute walk to work for sustenance (small, decaf, skinny vanilla latte and a scone at Starbucks; cinnamon chip muffin and small non-fat milk carton like I used to get in grade school at the bakery). It's a little more carb than I usually eat in the morning, but I tend to run lower in the a.m. hours, so I just wind up having a small lunch.

Since today is the day before a holiday, there's a good chance the bosses will let us out a little early from work, and I won't have the opportunity to take a lunch break. So it's a good day to stop for a few extra carbs for the morning meal.

I always check my sugar when I wake up and it's usually in a pretty good range for me to just go, go, go without having to munch on something. This morning, though, I was under 60 and that's just a wee bit (read: a lot) too low for me to navigate Chicago morning rush hour traffic. So I'm eating a carb unit as I type (Pringles Baked Wheat Vanilla Stix: 90 calories, 4g fat, 12g carb) before I start the engines.

And I'm off, no longer too low to go, but just right for honking and shaking my finger at bad drivers (literally shaking my pointer finger, like your mom or grandma used to do to you; I find it gives better results than the lone bad finger).

As always, more to come (baked goods, to be exact)...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Question Of Cocktails

I was going to blog about World Diabetes Day, but really, all I have to report is I saw a couple blue lights, but not nearly enough considering I live in a city full of skyscrapers who can manage to light up with green and red for Christmas (BEFORE Thanksgiving, mind you). Suffice it to say I’ll be doing some letter writing before the next WDD…

So on to other, more pressing, more curious topics. Alcohol. Cocktails. Beer. Wine. Champagne. Ouzo. Vodka.

I did my fair share of drinking when I was in high school and college; I would say no more than the average teen and no less than the usual 20-something. When I was diagnosed with diabetes in my 30s, I was in the habit of being a social drinker—wine with dinner, a cocktail at the appropriate cocktail hour and beer with burgers at the bar. Occasionally I would misjudge (sometimes on purpose, sometimes accidentally) and I’d wind up tipsy, or even downright drunk. I never abused, but enjoyed. After all, they say a glass of red wine can even be healthy, like popping a vitamin (don’t ask me who “they” are. I’ve seen the news, I’ve read reports, and while posting a link would be the good-Samaritan thing to do, I’m hoping everyone out there has heard the same information so I don’t have to).

When I was diagnosed, I took the literature and pamphlets very seriously that said a little alcohol was okay once in a while, but no alcohol ever was better. I became alcohol-free as well as sugar-free all at once. Not even a good-bye champagne toast.

Well, just as I lightened up on the “no sugar ever” policy, I lightened up on the “no alcohol” policy. It started with just a drink on special occasions, then it went to maybe once a month, and now it’s about once a week. My usual choice is a vodka martini (dirty, with three olives, in case you’re curious), which basically has no carbohydrates. Sometimes I drink a beer, maybe two (Amstel Light is my preferred choice, but any light beer will do).

I don’t get drunk (that’s a lie; sometimes I do, but it’s more like the accidental once a month here and there, and less often more than more often). I do have more than one drink at a time, but generally no more than two. I watch my sugar when I’m drinking and I count the carbs in the drinks when they have them.

Even though I’m taking everything in to account, I still flash back to the “no drinking is best” idea I was originally handed. Am I messing something up by having a martini or a beer once a week? Do other diabetics drink? Have you had problems or complications because of it? What do your doctors say about it? Your diabetes educators? Any and all advice and comments are welcome. I just want someone else’s thoughts on the subject, since I’m so conflicted. In fact, I’m so conflicted, I may have to have a martini tonight…

As always, more to come (with three olives, please)…

Friday, November 14, 2008

WDD Day

It's World Diabetes Day today. Happy, happy to everyone who is taking note of it, and to all of you out there who are oblivious to it, but are about to be accosted by someone who knows why that building is lit up in blue.

I, too, am lit up in blue. I have on a blue tie (borrowed from husband) and a blue sweater (also borrowed from husband) and a blue-jean skirt.

When I went through my closet this morning, I realized my own wardrobe is sadly lacking in blue. All I could find was one thin little short-sleeve silk shirt that was not appropriate for November in Chicago.

Usually in the morning I'm worried about what my numbers are before exercising, what my numbers are after exercising, eating enough breakfast to last through the morning without over doing it so I can still eat lunch, packing said lunch and making sure there's enough carbs to keep me going, but not too many so I have to pause before dinner. And then there's filling my test kit with lancet drums, strips and alcohol swabs, and noting that I need to place an order for more supplies and knowing that despite my best intentions, it will take me several days to actually remember to do it. Do I have a granola bar in my bag in case of emergencies? How are my emergency supplies at work? Do I need to bring more? Where are my walking shoes, because I'm not supposed to walk that many blocks to work in my heels? All this and so much more.

But this morning, I have WDD to thank for a lovely change of pace. Today, I was thinking of colors, and not just numbers. And tonight, I'm watching to see what buildings in Chicago light up in blue, so I know which ones I'm going to write a letter to for next year's WDD.

As always, more to come...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

To Sleep, Perchance To Dream

My mom quit smoking when I was really little. Years and years and years later, I remember her saying that sometimes she still dreamt about having a cigarette and could still taste it.

I'm a big snooze-alarm person, letting the buzzer go off every eight minutes for damn near an hour (I can only snooze for an hour before the alam shuts itself off; I know this from experience). While I appreciate the extra sleep time, one of the other things I appreciate is the mini dreams I have during these eight-minute segments.

During the actual course of the night, I'm sure I dream, but I'm so damn tired and so very deeply asleep, that I rarely remember anything about them. In the morning, however, I'm not so deeply under and I can have wild, vivid, fun, scary mini-movies. Sometimes I have three or four of them; sometimes they bleed into each other with barely visible threads.

This morning, I had an incredibly vivid dream about a beehive-shaped pastry. It was crunchy on the outside, like an overdone croissant, and it had a chocolate icing drizzled over the top. When I started eating it, bottom to top, I discovered it had a cinnamon swirl in it. I can still, 25 hours later, taste every single bite of it, feel it on my tongue, the weight of it in my stomach. It was buttery, and cinnamony and chocolately and just the right texture of melt-in-my-mouth and there's-enough-to-chew to satisfy every pastry desire I could ever have.

Yes, I indulge in the actual thing, but not as often as I used to pre-diabetes. Perhaps this dream was a gift from my subconscious, allowing me to have this delicious, carb-free ambrosia. Perhaps the universe is looking out for me. Maybe a dreamweaver living on another plane sent me this dream gift.

Then again... I should probably also mention that the dream included a slam contest with Keanu Reeves ("Well, you're like a bad toaster: burned out, smoky and way too crispy."), a girl covered in snot who was sleeping next to my husband on an old couch, and a transparent piece of paper I had to sign with my room number, which I could only remember ended in a "b."

As always, more to come (but no more Keanu; I really have no idea why he's in here)...

Monday, November 10, 2008

When The Planets Align

I wrote about my (early, early, early) low yesterday morning. While I don’t like to be low, sometimes the planets align just right and make a match I can’t argue with.

Somewhere in there I mentioned having risotto the night before. It was asparagus and shrimp risotto, from Carmine’s on Rush. Now, risotto and I don’t always get along, given the carb count, but it was an early dinner, and we were going to be doing some walking afterward, so I took a chance.

When the waiter brought the plate out, I thought I was going to choke. It. Was. Huge. It was also incredibly delicious, and I barely made a dent in the enormous amount—I couldn’t even pick out all the shrimp because I was so full. I had them wrap it up, thinking my husband would get a couple good lunches out of it this week.

And then the low hit on early Sunday morning. When I woke up at the more reasonable hour of 8:00, I was still low. So I had risotto for breakfast.

I did a little housework, did a test and—still fighting that low. So I had risotto for lunch.

If my sugars had been on track, the risotto would have been lost to me. But somehow, somewhere, Mars, Venus, Pluto and the moon wanted me to eat all that risotto for myself. And I did.

Is it weird to be happy for a low when there’s risotto—asparagus and shrimp risotto—in the fridge?

As always, more to come…

Sunday, November 9, 2008

D-Blog Day: EARLY

Today is the 4th Annual D-Blog Day, where bloggers who normally write about diabetes, all write on the same day. See?


I was definitely planning on participating. Just not quite this early.

It's 5:12 in the morning. On a Sunday. When I would normally be in bed for at least three more hours. But something woke me up. It woke me up an hour ago and I ignored it. When I woke up again, I put on my glasses and headed downstairs to test. A low. A definite, not-going-back-to-bed-just-quite-yet-low. I grabbed a juice box and sucked it down. I ate some granola-y type thing. And now I'm waiting for about 15 minutes or so to test again, to make sure everything took.

Did I mention it's 5:12 in the morning? Did I mention it's freezing outside, and freezing inside my house (my heat is turned way down low, because who's up at this hour?)? Did I mention I'm still tired and still want more sleep? Did I mention I had risotto for dinner last night, something that should have more than carbed me up to last through the night and well into the morning? I should have woken up at 8:30 with a respectable, non-low number. Instead, I'm up at 5:12 treating a low. Guess my body knew what it was doing when it woke me up.

Happy D-Blog Day to everyone. I'm going to test, and I'm going back to bed. See you on the flipside, when there's actual sun to type by.

As always, more to come...

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Little Things

…that annoy/disturb/perturb me as a diabetic:

*When I tear open an alcohol swab and rub it on my skin, only to discover there must have been a tiny hole somewhere, because the swab is completely dry.

*Opening a container of test strips and trying to pull out just one, but getting about 10 of them scattered across my kit, my lap, the front seat of my car…

*Blood droplets on the inside of almost every shirt I own, transferred from my preferred test site on my forearm.

*Bleeders. Sometimes I practically have to put my arm in a tourniquet to squeeze enough blood out to fill the meter. Other times, usually when I’m dressed up, wearing a white shirt, or in public, the blood just keeps coming and coming and coming. And I have no Kleenex. And I have to lick my arm. Multiple times.

*Getting that bubble of insulin when it pools up just under my skin before it absorbs. It feels weird and freaked the hell out of me the first time it happened. It still feels weird.

*Being really, really good and passing up something I’d truly like to eat because I think it will be too many carbs and I’ll be too high, only to discover an hour later that I’m obnoxiously low—and the opportunity to eat that fabulous thing is gone, gone, gone and I’m stuck with a Nutrigrain bar.

*Realizing two days too late that I should have ordered more supplies last week and having to ration.

*The smell of insulin.

*Trying to be subtle and test below the tablecloth, and dropping my lancet on the floor. Then having to crawl around to find it. Shoulda, woulda, coulda, never remember to just test on top of the table.

*The actual word “diabetes.” There are so many cool-sounding words in the English language. This isn’t one of them. How about diabetrix, like the Matrix?

As always, more to come (but maybe not so whiny next time)…

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My Tippi Hedren Moment

(From the “& Stuff” portion of this blog.)

I was walking from my parking space to my office this morning, cutting through the park as I normally do.

My feet were on auto-pilot and my mind was lost in thought—how many carbs are there in that croissant waiting for me at work? Why did she send me that e-mail? I’ve got to buy leggings before the cold weather hits. I think I need to own a copy of Broadcast News. Who invented liquid soap and why?

So unaware of my surroundings was I that it took a flock of 20 pigeons taking off two feet from me before I was brought back to reality. One came within inches of my head, another brushed against my knee. I had to pause to avoid walking into them as they were ascending from the ground. My thought then? Tippi!

It takes a village to raise a child, it takes two to make a thing go right, it takes no more time to see the good side of life than it takes to see the bad, and it takes a flock of pigeons to get Lora out of her head.

As always, more to come…

Monday, November 3, 2008

Destiny

Evidently, I’m going to hell, on insulin, with flabby muscles, completely alone.

At least, according to late-night television commercials.

I got sucked into a movie on a woman’s channel at around midnight on Saturday night. I’m assuming since I was the one watching, I was probably their target audience, and the commercials were skewed to me.

They had multiple commercials for diabetes meters, and one intriguing one geared toward Type 2 diabetics telling them it was okay to go on insulin if their current meds weren’t helping. It was a rather lengthy commerical for the time period—a good two minutes—and showed two people who said their lives were better for having gone on insulin. I wasn’t quick enough, or I was too tired or what have you (it was late, it was only an entertaining movie and not one that had my brain cells in overdrive), but I didn’t catch the tiny print to see if it was sponsored by an insulin company, or just a “health group.”

They had several Bowflex commercials that promised me a leaner, meaner body in only 20 minutes a day, five days a week. The people in those commercials are ripped—every muscle in their body defined and bulged out like a Ken doll on steroids.

Sandwiched between insulin and muscles were commercials from the Latter Day Saints offering me a free Bible and commercials for “I’ve fallen and can’t get up” personal alarm systems.

Based on this, I can only assume my initial statement above is true. I’m obviously already on insulin. I’m not ordering the free Bible. I don’t have a personal alarm system where a distinguished-looking gentlemen with white hair will ask, “Lora, your alarm went off. What can I do for you?” if something bad happens. And, although I do actually own a Bowflex, there’s not a remote chance that even if I did fourty minutes seven times a week that I would ever look like that girl in the bikini.

So, with my fate already decided, I guess I just have to sit back, relax, and watch more television. Or, try another time period on another channel and see what they have to tell me. Fortune by commercials.

As always, more to come (eventually from hell???)…

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Thrill Of A Needle

I have exciting moments in my life—fabulous vacations, lovely spring days, winning raffle tickets, the Indian and the star, a great interview coup at work, my on-hold books coming in at the public library—the usual gamut of things.

And then there are long stretches of days where nothing much of anything happens. The world continues to spin and my life makes slow circles with it.

I’m in an ordinary, mundane frame of being right now. I balanced my checkbook this morning. The gutter people are coming on Saturday to give us an estimate. I need to make a dentist and a doctor appointment. I have to order and pick up prescriptions. The dog threw up at 3am last night. I’m back on the treadmill. I have to do a load of towels tonight. Etcetera. Etcetera. Etcetera.

So imagine my surprise when my biggest thrill of the last few days came last night in the form of a needle.

I switch between using the traditional syringe/bottle Lantus injection method, and using the Lantus pen. I usually save the pens for when I travel, as it’s easier to pack and deal with once I’m there. I went out of town for a night last week, I was due for a new bottle, so I took the pen.

I like the Lantus pen and it’s easy to use. The only thing I’m not super-crazy about is the length of needle I currently have in stock for the pen—it’s short. With the shorter needle, I find the insulin tends to pool up under my skin and takes longer to absorb, thereby causing me to become the little Dutch boy and stick my finger over the hole to keep the insulin from leaking out. Such a scene can often cause unnecessary pain (granted, minor, but still an irritation nonetheless).

Last night, I only had 26 units left in my pen, and I’m currently on 46 units. So I gave myself the 26 from the pen, did the finger-on-the-hole thing, then went to grab a new bottle from the fridge and a new bag of long-needle syringes from my box-o-diabetes-stuff. I filled the syringe, which felt surprisingly light and tiny compared with the pen. I injected the remaining 20 units I needed and, because of the longer needle, the insulin stayed where it was supposed to, and with nary a blip of pain. I think I’m in love with my syringes again. It was a tiny, itty-bitty thrill in my otherwise currently ordinary life.

Who knew diabetes could offer such moments of “Wow.”

As always, more to come…

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Celebration

Okay. I admit it. I'm addicted to Facebook. It's a fun way to keep in touch with my friends and my super-cool 15-year-old niece. And it's easy to drunk-write in Facebook--or tipsy-write as the case may have it. Case in point. Tonight, here's what I wrote. Set-up: My husband had his swearing-in ceremony this morning to become a lawyer in the state of Illinois (read from the bottom up)...


What are my numbers? Who cares?

(I will test before I go to bed, but I won't be freaked out. I'm learning. Sometimes living is more important than diabetes.)

As always, more to come...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I Feel Funk-kay

Well, hi there!

First off, thank you all for the birthday greetings; they made my slightly rough birthday a little nicer and I am grateful to you all!

I tend to be very indulgent and very good to myself for my birthdays. Years and years ago, in my early twenties, I was counting on some friends/boyfriend to do something fun for my birthday. One circumstance led to another and I found myself home alone on my birthday night, feeling incredibly depressed. It was then that I made the decision to always make my own birthday as good as I wanted it to be.

Every year, I pick a really, really nice restaurant and take myself out for dinner. Until I got married, the rules were the dinner was only for me, only I was allowed to go, I got to order whatever I wanted, and I had to go on my actual birthday. My husband is now allowed to go with me, but all the other rules stay the same.

I did it for about a decade by myself, and for the last few years with my husband (okay, I let him go when he was my fiancee, too). I've never had a disappointing birthday since, but have had many incredible meals to look back on.

This week, I had the whole week off of work, as the husband and I were supposed to be taking a trip to the south of France to celebrate. Due to circumstances beyond my control, the France thing got killed and I find myself trying to fill the days and still make it seem like a vacation. As a treat, I went to a gourmet grocery store on Sunday and bought all kinds of delicious things to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Some things were carb friendly (the sugar-free Italian lemonade soda, the prosciutto di parma, the brie), some things not so carb friendly (the red velvet cupcake with cream-cheese frosting, the pecan cinnamon roll).

To make what has become a long story short, I'm high on food right now. Not only am I currently in a brie coma (triple creme is the only way to go), but my actual sugar is high and I'm feeling a bit woozy from that. I usually don't go this high,* and I have to admit while I know there's a massive headache on the way and I'm beginning to get cotton mouth, right now, right this minute as a write this, it feels rather like I had a strong beer. This is a new sensation for me, and not entirely unpleasant.

However, I do not intend to repeat the week-long food indulgence (although it will continue through Friday and possibly Saturday). I decided that the best gift I can give myself (not including the spa day and pretty new id bracelet) is a healthier me. On Sunday, I'll clean out whatever is left of the good bad food and hit the grocery store for healthy stuff. I'm actually kind of craving it after all the rich foods...

So, look for the vitamin, broccoli, fish-stuffed new and improved Lora next week.

As always, more to come (but in a healthier package)...

*I've decided to exclude actual numbers. It seems to upset some people when I name a number that is high for me, but they consider low.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ugh.

Today is my birthday. I am 40.

I can't think of anything else I can possibly add to that. It's 40.

As always, more to come (from a 40-year-old)...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Vacation Is All I Ever Wanted

I'm on vacation next week, and that means a lot of extra job stuff this week (don't ask, crazy company). I've been working from 7:30 am until 8:30 or 9:00 at night, not getting home until 9 or 9:30.

I've been scarfing down V8 juice and granola bars for breakfast, snacking on foil-wrapped snacks for lunch and eating whatever doesn't require any effort for dinner before passing out for the night. In addition to the bad eating habits, there's also a huge stress factor involved, no time for exercise and all-out brain fatigue. And no routine.

My body thrives on routine. If I can keep everything just about the same every day, my body is very happy and rewards me with pretty blood sugars. If I throw it out of whack just a little bit, it forgives me. If I completely overturn what it's used to, it revolts, rebels, yells, kicks, screams and tries to make itself wholly and fully known with headaches, neck cramps, knots in my back and anything else it can think of in its evil cell system. And, of course, all this leads to high blood sugar.

I take my insulin between 9:30 and 10:00 at night, usually two hours after I eat so I know what dosage to apply. However, when I'm eating dinner at 9:30 and giving myself a shot five minutes after I finish, it's kind of hard to know exactly where I'm at. And with the stress and aches, my sugar can read high one hour, and then I feel woozy the next hour because I've managed to breathe for five minutes and my sugar has plummeted.

I have a busy day planned today and tonight to kick off my vacay, but starting tomorrow, I've got to get myself back in a routine. A real breakfast, lunch and dinner at the normal times, de-stressing, exercising--the whole shebang.

The good news is that with everything else going on, I'm not beating myself up over the high numbers; I simply don't have the time or energy. I've accepted this is what it is, I know the reasons for it and I know it's temporary.

And, I know what's really important: VACATION!!!!!!!

As always, more to come (but not from work!)...

Friday, October 10, 2008

I Have This Friend…

I met Catherine some time in high school, probably around our sophomore year. Catherine (she also goes by Cath and Cathy, but told me once she really likes Catherine, so I try to oblige) is one of those people who always makes you laugh. She has funny anecdotes and she has an infectious, identifiable laugh (we were at the same movie theater years and years ago without knowing it—until the first comic scene came up and I heard her laugh from rows away; at least two people, me included, shouted her name to let her know she was discovered). She’s one of the best moms I know and if I were a kid again, I’d definitely make friends with her daughter so I could hang at the “cool mom’s” house.

Cath is a nice person, she’s genuine, she gets along great with people, which is why her profession as a nurse is the perfect one for her. She’s just an all-around good egg (and she’s probably snorting right now that I referred to her as a “good egg”).

Earlier this week I got an e-mail from Catherine:

So friend,
How are things? I may be joining the diabetic club in the near future. Actually, I'm pretty sure I'm in it, I just haven't gotten official word from my doctor yet.
I had a fasting glucose of 199 about 10 days ago. It was repeated today and was 190. I also had an HbA1c done today and it was 9.1. I see the doctor on Thursday for the official conversation. Whoo Hoo. Better to find out when you’re feeling normal than when your sugar is 500+. I've been paying attention to carbs in food lately and boy those little buggers are everywhere. Wish me luck.

Her doctor officially told her yesterday, and put her on Actos. She has appointments with a dietician and a nurse already set up, and she’s in the process of making one with an endo. I must say she has a positive attitude:

The ball is rolling. I can't wait to feel better. I don't feel sick, just tired and sluggish. The whole lifestyle change thing is a bit overwhelming. I know it's what I need to do and have to do. Later in life I don't want to lose my feet, kidneys and eyesight because I was a slacker. So, here I go! I'm jumping off with both feet into a healthier way of living.

Of course, I’m much less poetic, and my initial response to her was, “Shit.” I also told her I didn’t feel like I could welcome her into the “diabetic club” because welcome didn’t seem appropriate. Nor does “Congratulations,” “Way to go!” or “Yay!” So I told her I would simply give her a “hi,” and that she should call me anytime and I’d fill her in on anything I’ve learned so far (every tiny scrap of information that fits into Tinkerbell’s thimble, which contains everything I know).

It sucks when you hear your own dx, and it sucks when you hear about someone else’s.

I asked Catherine if I could write about her, and she said she was cool with it—if it helped just one person, it’s worth it. Well, Cath, I think it helped me. Because even though it all just sucks (I’m sorry I keep repeating that word; it just really seems like the most appropriate), you’ve reminded me that I have the power to help myself, and that I should get my butt on the treadmill more often. Thank you!

And everyone out there, please give Catherine a big “hi!”

As always, more to come…

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Whirling Dervishes

Sometimes, when I’m leaving my parking space at the end of the work day, I see the Whirling Dervishes walking down the alley.

It sounds more exotic than it is. I park next to an apartment building and there are at least two guys who live there who work at what I can only assume is a Mediterranean restaurant of some sort. Blue shirt, puffy black pants tucked into boots. I’m certain the correct terminology for their outfits isn’t even Whirling Dervishes, but that’s what I’ve named them. Sometimes there are two walking together, sometimes only one. Sometimes I don’t see them for days on end, then two days in a row they’re there.

I take my fun and my wishes where I can find them, and for some reason, the Whirling Dervishes always make me smile. Like if I’m seeing them, it’s a lucky night or a safe night or a night full of possibilities.

Seeing the Whirling Dervishes is like finding the Indian and the star on the Tootsie Pop wrapper. I was explaining this to a group of people at a party the other night, and apparently, I’m one of the chosen few who learned this as a child. When you unwrap your Tootsie Pop, spread out the wrapper and look for the Indian with his bow and arrow. He’s shooting at a star, and if you get the whole Indian and the star on your wrapper, you get to make a wish.

I also make my husband pull wishbones with me, I never pass up the opportunity to hop to Sky Blue on a hopscotch board, I wait until the clasp of my necklace slides to front and center before twisting it back and making a wish at the same time, and I always sing Happy Birthday and make a wish when I happen to glance at the digital clock and it says “10:21” (my birthday). I’m not superstitious—I do step on cracks and I never forward chain e-mails, despite the many death threats that accompany them.

I’ve said this a million times before so I’m sure I’ve written it here, but when asked if the glass is half empty or half full, I always respond that somebody drank my half. I guess my little good luck charms and wishes are my way of compensating for that crappy attitude.

So what does this all have to do with diabetes? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I did these things before diagnosis and I do them now. I suppose I could add a new trick: Whenever I find a used test strip in an odd place, I can make a wish. But then I’d be creating the source of the wishing possibilities and that doesn’t seem right. (Plus, I might even become tired of wishing, given how many of those strips I find in so many different places so often.)

I guess my point is that I don’t have a point. I just have a few wishes.

As always, more to come…

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Purple

Because I think it's unfair that I said I have purple hair and didn't show you...


As always, more to come...


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Round-Up

Life:

* Turns out, I did take my insulin shot the other night. It was confirmed for sure when I hit a 70 mid-day.

* My sugars are holding steady at the higher insulin dosage of 43. Insulin ain't nothin' but a number.

* On a totally non-diabetes related note, I had my hair dyed purple. See? Even diabetics go wild and crazy.

* If you've lost five pounds, please let me know. I seem to have found it...

As always, more to come...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Subconscious Maintenance

It's 10:30 on Friday night and I'll admit that I'm definitely tipsy, bordering on downright drunk (please excuse all typos, grammatical errors and ramblings).

I am a victim of subconscious diabetes maintenance.

Before I go to bed, I take three pills and my nightly dose of Lantus insulin. One pill I take upstairs, two I take downstairs at the same time I take my insulin.

I follow the exact same routine every single night and don't really vary.

So tonight I went out to dinner with my husband and had two martinis and a glass of wine over the course of three hours. Somehow, for some god forsaken reason, I got into a discusssion/debate/argument with my husband over the Greek system. Please keep in mind that I have been out of college for over 18 years and my husband has been out for slightly less than that. There's absolutely, positively no reason either of us should feel that passionate about sororities and fraternities and the reasons people join them or don't, but somehow, we were. We kept arguing and debating back and forth about the individual merits; his university versus mine; his situation versus mine; his experience versus mine. (For the record, he was in a fraternity, I was not in a sorority.)

So, during this hour-long back-and-forth, I think I started preparing for bed. I remember taking my two pills from the insulin drawer, filling a crappy tupperware cup from the dish drainer with water and swallowing them, and measuring out insulin in my syringe.

When it came time for my husband and I to call a truce and go to bed (still slightly irked at each other and definitely still tipsy), I could not remember if I had actually given myself the injection. Did I take my insulin shot or not?

I'm on a one-dose a day regimen of Lantus. I get one shot at night and that carries me through the next day. If I don't take it, I run the risk of being really, really high the whole next day (especially when I've already been running high) and basically starving myself all day to keep from going any higher. If I accidentally double the dose, I'll be shoveling food in my mouth all day to keep the lows at bay.

And the thing is, I'm due to drive three hours by myself tomorrow to another state. Not exactly the best time to be monitoring a constant low or a constant high.

Ugh.

And ugh again.

I follow the same routine every single night, so individual memories no longer stick out in my brain. Was it tonight or last night that I opened the new bag of syringes? Was it last night or tonight that I remember flicking the bubble out of the syringe? Was it last night or tonight that I have the sensation of sticking my finger over my injection spot and massaging the insulin all the way in so nothing leaks out?

I can't remember.

I'm at the point where one shot no longer distinguishes itself from another and I can't for the life of me remember if I gave myself a shot or not.

I'm like a detective (a little drunk, tired, third rate detective), trying to search for clues in the mystery of "Was there Lantus or not?" I remember thinking earlier this week that I would need to change out my bottle of Lantus this weekend. In my insulin drawer, the bottle of Lantus is missing. Does this mean I gave myself a shot and threw the bottle away, knowing I would open a new bottle tomorrow? Or does this mean I set myself up to take the shot, left the bottle on a random countertop somewhere, and never took the shot? I went through the garbage can and there's a bottle in there, but is it from last month or this month? I usually keep the old bottle just in case. (I always figure old Lantus is better than no Lantus if I should somehow be forbidden to get my prescription filled.)

So now I'm left with the decision with what to do. Do I trust my memories from being from tonight? Or do I assume I've consumed a little too much alcohol to think rationally and I need to start from scratch on all the pills and the insulin?

And if I can't decisively make that decision, what's the worst of all evils? Too much insulin or not enough? I think I'm rational, sober, enough to think that less insulin is better. I can adjust my eating and live with some horribly high numbers for a day if I don't take the insulin, but it will be tougher to fight constant lows with a double-dose of insulin if I take it (again) and especially when I'm driving. I don't want to have to freak out every four minutes if I feel a twinge and instantly wolf down a Nutrigrain bar.

I feel absolutely stupid and young and irresponsible for getting myself into this situation. It's just such a rote thing that I do, giving myself this nightly shot, that I don't really have a conscious thought about it. I just do it, like I go to the bathroom before I go to bed without thinking about it.

So. I think with this entry I've convinced myself that I will not take an insulin shot. That I've already given myself one. That I've already taken my anti-anxiety med and my Avapro and that I'm set for the night.

And I guess time will tell. If tomorrow I wake up and my sugars are through the roof and they get higher and stay that way through the day, I'll know I was wrong and I didn't take my shot tonight. If I have a panic attack midway through the day because the car is passing over a bridge, I'll know I didn't take my anxiety meds.

If I make it through the day relatively normal, I'll know my memories are from tonight.

Either way, I know I need to make more of a conscious action of giving myself a shot and swallowing pills, no matter how many martinis I've had. My husband and I have this thing we do when we pull out of the garage. We live in the city and if you leave your garage door open, you're bound to get robbed (we lost two bicycles, a ream of toilet paper and a shovel at various times). We linger in the alley and one of us says, "door down" and the other one repeats "door down" so we're absolutely sure the garage door is closed. Maybe I need to do that with my nightly medicinal routine. "Shot done." "Pills swallowed."

It's times like this when I'm torn. Do I want my diabetes to become so much of a part of me that I don't always consciously acknowledge it, or do I want my diabetes to become so much a part of me that I'm 100 percent aware of what I'm doing every second of the day, even under the influence of 42 Below vodka?

As always, more to come...


Thursday, September 25, 2008

My Body Doesn't Know

So I’m still working through those highs. There’s no logical explanation for why all of a sudden I was waking up at 134 and shooting to 185 after eating one carb four hours prior. (I usually wake up around 95 and one carb unit does not make me break 180.)

I’m not sick. It’s not that time of month. I’ve got the usual amount of stress. I’ve been exercising. I changed my meter. I changed my strips. I changed my injection site. I started a new bottle of insulin. No difference.

So I started creeping up my insulin doses. I do one shot of Lantus nightly, then control my sugar during the day strictly by what I eat—no more insulin. I was at 36 units in a 1/2cc syringe. Now I’m up to 43.

It’s a tricky business with the Lantus. Since I only do the one nightly shot, there’s no chance for me to correct if I didn’t give myself enough insulin. And if I gave myself too much, I just have to eat constantly until I can drop my dosage later that night.

I inch up my doses unit by unit, waiting to see if it will get rid of my highs, without giving me the lows. It’s working so far; I haven’t seen a number over 140 in the last couple days. I also haven’t seen more than one or two numbers under 100. And I’m eating a really constricted carb diet (and lots of cheese and salmon and other non-carb things). I’ll probably inch up another unit or two over the next few days and see if I can’t get my range a little closer to where I like it, and where I can eat a normal meal again.

I get a little freaked out when I have to go over 40 units of insulin. I don’t know why. My syringe holds 50 units and I’ve pledged not to have to go to the next size syringe. The more I go over 40, the closer I get to having to buy that bigger syringe.

But I got a good piece of advice that I’m trying to keep in my head whenever I suck back the plunger: “Your body doesn’t know how many units of insulin it’s getting; it only knows it’s getting the insulin it needs.” Units ain’t nothin’ but a number.

I also feel a little sense of doom when my sugars go high and stay high and the only thing that drops them is more and more insulin. You’d think that after five years of being officially diagnosed, I’d be completely over that “Maybe it was a misdiagnosis thing and I’ll magically wake up one day and be done with it all.” But obviously, my body likes the whole “give me insulin” trajectory its on and has no intentions of giving it up. A not-so-subtle reminder to me that the whole diabetes diagnosis thing was obviously not a lab mix-up.

So. So. So. I’m making peace with everything…again. For those of you out there who’ve had diabetes a whole lot longer than I have: How many times do you have to reconcile with yourself and your diabetes before it’s a done deal? Or will I always, every now and again, be throwing up a white flag?

As always, more (insulin) to come…

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Stubborn

My sugar isn't budging. My numbers are stubborn today, mostly because I'm being stubborn as well.

I had one sick day that raised my numbers, and now they won't go down. So I'm being stingy with my carbs to see if I can get them low. It seems that whenever I start out high, I just stay there unless I can jolt myself low.

This morning when I woke up, my number was 114 (I usually wake up around 90). I ate nothing. I got on the treadmill and did 37 minutes of brisk walking. I got off the treadmill and tested again: 104. I ate one container of yogurt, some turkey and some cheese. The yogurt was 11 carbs (that's less than one whole carb unit, for those of us who are counting) and that's all the carbohydrates I ingested. That was at 7:30 this morning.

I just tested again, now, at 11:17. My number: 112.

Stubborn, stubborn, stubborn. I realize 112 isn't a bad number, nor is 114 or 104. But seriously, am I doomed to eat just one carb at a time, with a half-hour of exercise between? This better be just some wonky phase I'm going through. I'm going to get awfully cranky surviving on just cheese, no matter how much I like it.

And here's the "let's throw in another diabetes weirdo for Lora to figure out": I feel like I'm low. I think my body is in a routine that automatically starts the low blood sugar symptoms at a certain time during the day and is continuing that routine, regardless of what the actual sugar level is. And trust me, I've tested finger after finger every time I feel this way, and always come up with a number well above a hundred. And I test 15 minutes or half an hour later to make sure, and 8 times out of 10, I'm even higher. I know it's not low blood sugar, but it feels like it.

So what's a girl to do? I normally treat the symptom if I feel low, and I'm usually right on target. But I know (from the past couple days experience) that if I treat the low feeling and not the number, I'll wind up 158 one carb unit later. I don't like 158. Again, not a high number for some, but high for me, bringing with it that rotten headache of a high number.

I'm upping my nightly insulin shot one unit at a time until I can get my numbers back on track and still eat. I'm even shooting in my thigh (which I haven't done in years) in the hopes that a "change of venue" will help.

I wish this sloggy low feeling would go away.

As always, more to come...


Friday, September 12, 2008

So Far, So Good

I got my new lancing device, the Accu-Chek Multiclix on Wednesday. It was delivered to work and I immediately opened the box. And immediately determined I was actually going to have to read the directions to figure out how to work it. I didn’t think I could get away with sitting at my desk experimenting for 15 minutes when I was on deadline, so I impatiently tucked it aside until I got home that night.

Once I figured out how everything worked, I decided that I like it. It’s a little more complicated than the crappy little lancing device that came with my FreeStyle meter, but then again, that’s why it probably works better—it was designed as its own mechanism, as opposed to an “aside accessory” to throw in with my meter so they can charge more for a complete “kit.” (Wow. That’s a lot of quote marks. Good thing we’re not having an actual conversation, or I’d look like that girl from Say Anything. I digress. Did I mention I have a fever and took a sick day yesterday?)

I am still figuring out the whole depth thing to get the right amount of blood, but I’m only about a drum of six lancets away from perfecting the process. I also, on a not-completely-safe note, will say that I think this will be much easier to use when I’m testing as I’m driving. It was kind of a pain to pull off the lancing device cap, insert a lancet, pull off the lancet cap and put it in my mouth so I could put it back on later, put the lancing device cap back on, pull the plunger back and press the button, all while holding on to the steering wheel and rudely gesturing to bike riders who keep cutting me off (Digress. Fever.).

One of my biggest surprises: how quiet it is. It doesn’t make nearly as loud a sound as the old lancing device did. It’s like getting a new high-tech dishwasher or washing machine with the “quieter action” option. (More quotes. It’s a “quote” “fever.”) I also really like that there’s six lancets already in there for me. In my fever-induced, ragingly high sugar situation, I’m testing quite a bit more often and it’s been a lot easier not to keep having to plug lancets into place. Also, on another digression but amusing/horrific note, my dog has been known to try and steal my used lancets from where they pile up on the countertop by the end of the day and that’s just wrong. I think the drum thing will help that—still a lot of test strips that wind up in weird places, but less actual lancets.

And now, in fear of another digression, I sign off.

As “always,” “more” to come “…”

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Reckless

I have one test strip left.

I could have sworn I had another vial somewhere, but about a week ago, it became evident I didn’t.

I’ve been clinging to three test strips for the last three days, “saving” them for when I think I really need them. Turns out, I always really need them.

Without testing, I feel reckless—like driving without a seatbelt in rush-hour traffic or eating sushi from a 7-11. It’s like being a little tipsy all the time, and not knowing if you really are tipsy, or just a little off kilter.

I’m so used to testing five times a day that not testing at all seems abnormal. I’m not sure when in the last five years that subtle switch happened, but it did. Testing being the norm; not testing being the weird.

I figure in a situation like this, it’s probably best to err on the side of high, rather than low. I’ve been eating my regular meals without a lot of variation, but throwing in an extra carb unit here and there. If I feel even a hint wonky, I eat something.

My new supply of test strips are due to arrive today (I’ve been tracking them via UPS). As of this afternoon, I’ll be back in control—and I’ll know for sure just how in control I am. But just in case there’s a hold-up, I’m saving that last test strip in case of emergency.

As always, more to come (300 test strips, to be exact)…

Friday, September 5, 2008

Bruised And Boycotting

I’ve written before how much I hate my lancing device. It’s the mini one that comes with the Freestyle mini meters. I don’t like the mini one, but my big one had gone astray so I’ve been using the cheap little one. I got some great advice (thank you Diabetic OC!) about changing the type of lancets I was using to gentler ones, and that seemed to work for a little while.

But now I think my lancing device has a rebellious streak, or more accurately, a hostile attitude, and I’m convinced a spring has wound itself too tightly or the trigger is too trigger-happy and I’m back to hating the whole set-up.

I test on my arms for regular testing. I can normally test on my left arm (I’m right-handed) until the cows come home, with little fanfare other than some permanent red dots and a constant, slightly red, dry patch. Right now, however, each arm is covered in dime-size bruises and red welts. That’s right, both arms. I even tried switching back and forth but all it did was make both arms angry. And, as every diabetic knows, it’s hurts—a lot—to stick a needle (from a lancet or a syringe) into a bruise. Don’t even get me started on what happens if I test on a finger or my palm…

So today, I was ordering new test strips online and I said, “Enough!” and I ordered a new lancing device. I’ve previously done a little homework on the World Wide Web and at Target, checking out what’s there and what I think might work, and I went with an Accu-Chek Multiclix lancing device and that drum thingy that you use with the lancets inside. I’ve only seen one online and through the plastic packaging at the store, so I have no idea if I’ll like it or not, but seriously—can it be worse than what I’ve got now? If it’s even 5% better, I’ll be a happy camper. (But just to be on the safe side, I only ordered two boxes of lancet drums instead of my usual bulk six-month supply…).

Now I just have to wait until sometime next week when my box arrives via UPS Ground (it’s free that way). I can’t believe I’m excited about getting a new lancing device. (This is what my life has come to as a diabetic; I think I’m more excited about this than when I’m expecting new shoes from Zappos.)

As always, more to come (and I hope it comes quickly!)…

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Honeymoon’s Over—Again

My sugars were low. Were being the key word.

I’ve been on some sort of honeymoon with my numbers and I’ve been taking full advantage of it. So when I ate two slabs of fresh, crusty bread toasted and smeared with Neufchatel for breakfast, then showed up 77 barely three hours later, I figured I was still in the clear.

It’s very, very gloomy and rainy outside today; the temperature has barely cracked 65. So I did what any normal, red-blooded (and I definitely know it’s red) girl would do: I ate a toasted cheese sandwich. With french fries. And then I had a piece of cheesecake (How could I resist? They combined a cheesecake with a carrot cake. Two of my favorites in one delicious, rich, fattening, carb-loaded piece of sin.)

I just stabbed my arm and four hours later: 148.

I’d say my mini-honeymoon is definitely over. And I’d say that my dinner tonight is going to be cheese, cheese and more cheese.

As always, more to come (well, not so much more as less in the carb department)…

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

2 Good 2 B True

My numbers have been good lately. Really good. Scarily good. So good that I’m beginning to wonder if my meter is broken.

It was a holiday weekend and although I kept a rough sort of carb count, I by no means was the perfect eater. I barbecued. I drank wine. I ate homemade chocolate chip cookies. I even had pancakes for breakfast.

My numbers before bed are usually the rough ones; I usually go no-carb or one-carb for dinner and I’m still in the 135 range more often than I’d like. The last five or six days: 110, 115. And when I wake up: 83, 85. And the rest of the day fills in somewhere between that.

Maybe I’m experiencing another honeymoon period. Maybe vacuuming my whole house burns more carbs than I thought. Maybe reading burns carbs (I went to the library this weekend and tore through two books in two afternoons). Maybe my meter is broken.

That’s a lot of maybes, but I think I’m just going to add one more: Maybe I’ll take those really good numbers and go with it.

As always, more to come…

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Pain In The...

I got a call from my sister on Wednesday afternoon. “I’m in the emergency room.”

“What, who?” I jumped all over it.

Evidently my 15-year-old niece K. was having really strong abdominal pain and had come home early from her first day of school. The nurse warned my sister it could be something serious and an hour later they were in the ER, with K. unable to walk or move.

Since abdominal pain could be caused by any number of things, they had to run a million tests to rule things out and confirm others. When the results came back around 7 o’clock that night, the verdict was appendicitis. Her appendix wasn’t perforated, but her white blood cell count was ridiculous and the surgeon on call decided the appendix had to go that very night. When they took it out, it was twice the size it’s supposed to be.

The doctor told K. that with all of this, she had to have felt some pain earlier than that day, and had probably had some form of pain for at least a week. She said she had, but didn’t really think much of it until it became bad.

She’s home now, recovering in her own bed with her mom and dad serving her hand and foot, and a gaggle of new messages on her Facebook page.

But lesson learned, at least for me. Take the pain seriously. Give it some thought, consider what it may or may not be, and if you can’t make a judgment call on what it might or might not be, ask the doctor. You can’t be brave and “not a wuss” when you’re laid up in the hospital…or worse.

As always, more to come (but not from the hospital, please)…

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I'm A Busy Girl

I am, I am. I'm a busy girl. I've got a project at work I really like doing, so I'm actually working at work. I've been keeping my house in order, so that takes up a little time (I'm determined not to have to do any work over the Labor Day weekend (laundry included), so I'm trying to catch up on everything before the weekend.

Then there's the Facebook thing. I signed on a few months ago, but never put up a page. I was hoping just to be able to check in on my 15-year-old niece here and there, but it didn't work. Then I got an invite to be "friends" with my cousin. Then one from a friend in Las Vegas. Then my niece figured out I had a log in, but not a page and I was told I needed to be on there. So last week I created my Facebook page and accepted everyone's friend invitations. Then I got hooked, looking up old friends and writing on people's walls. I find it fascinating and addictive—at least for the next couple of weeks, when I'll undoubtedly emerge from the infatuation cloud. I'm proud to say I now have nine friends (this is actually a little pathetic, given that my nice has 834 or some obnoxiously high number, but it works for me). The best part is that I have almost daily contact with the niece, which is very nice.

My numbers are okay. The freakish low day continued straight through until two in the morning, when I set my alarm to check and came in with a 125; finally a number I felt comfortable with. The next day I ate a bagel (a big no-no for me) and that seemed to be the last carb boost I needed to gain control again. I went grocery shopping this weekend and stocked up on all sorts of fun 1-carb-unit foods and refilled my supplies at work and home.

Life is okay. I like okay.

As always, more to come...

Friday, August 22, 2008

This Is What I Ate:

1 small tube of red writing icing (1 carb unit)
2 yogurt Nutrigrain bars (4 carb units total)
1 Pringles snack stick pack (1 carb unit)
1 Snickers bar (2 carb units)

This is what my sugar finally climbed to when the dust settled and the crumbs cleared:

93

I have absolutely no explanation for why I went low and could not get high no matter what I ate during the last five hours. It’s just one of those frickin’ freaky diabetes episodes that can neither be explained or denied.

This is what I’m doing right now:

Waiting for the giant mountain of carbohydrates I ate to come out of wherever they’ve been hiding in my body and not showing up on my meter to enter my bloodstream. And give me a reading that’s through the roof. For which I will simply sigh and continue watching TV.

As always, more to come (but no more food, please—I’m quite full)…

Thursday, August 21, 2008

All You Have To Do Is Try

All my life, I’ve been a people-pleaser. I do what I can to make other people happy, make sure they have what they need, offer favors and services to make their lives easier. It’s a role I don’t mind; I’ve never really felt taken advantage of and I like when the people around me are content and I’ve had something to do with that.

Most of my adult life, actually from about the mid-teens on, I’ve also felt the need for control. I’m fairly organized, I like to plan things. I write appointments on calendars. I have a to-do list at work. I have a house projects binder at home. I have a grocery list on my computer that I created based on how my grocery store is set up (really). I like being able to cross things off and know that I’m going to get done what needs to be done. Or if I need a piece of Scotch tape, I know which clear plastic bin it resides in among the other many clear plastic bins containing a variety of objects (tissue paper, ribbon, glue, markers, mosaic tiles, glitter, nylon wire, etc., etc., etc.).

So imagine my world coming to a screeching halt when I got the big diabetes diagnosis. Not only did I have to learn a whole new set of rules regarding eating, testing, shots and all that good stuff, but I had to learn a whole new way to deal with my ingrained behaviours.

I made a valiant attempt for several months—there was so much to learn that my mind didn’t have an extra second to process anything else. When it finally did, it went a little crazy.

At first, it was just random thoughts that would niggle at my brain and keep me up for hours. I obsessed for weeks about the water in my outside garden hose. I turned the nozzle off, but what if there was a build-up of water behind the nozzle. Where does the water go? Will it explode under my house?

Then the thoughts started doing more than keeping me up at night—they started to give me panic attacks. Minor hyperventilation, wringing of hands, the inescapable feeling that something was going to go horribly wrong even though logically, intelligently, I knew it was impossible.

Enter a brand-new therapist and Lora’s first exposure to psychology as more than a class to pass. The therapist explained to me that my panic attacks were a backlash of my behaviors trying to adjust. Control freak? Can’t be that all the time when you’re a diabetic—diabetes does what it wants and there’s just no way you can have total control over it. People-pleaser? While I could still fill my traditional role some of the time, I now had to put myself first with the diabetes—make sure I was eating when I needed to, testing when I needed to, exercising and anything else that was vital to my health.

Better living through chemistry. A phrase that I believe has been bandied about and one I came to understand after my therapist prescribed anti-anxiety meds. At first, I was reluctant to take anything. I’m a big “mind over matter” type of person and I thought I could talk myself through the panic attacks and give them less power, eventually gain control (I do love that word) over my mind. I figured out that my panic attacks were triggered by a completely illogical element—vibrations and the idea of some sort of crash or ruination happening because of them. Being completely illogical, I should be able to overcome them. Right?

At first, it was actual vibrations that got to me. If I was in the living room, and my husband was on the treadmill in the next room, I could feel the vibrations on the floor and, bam, I’d be in panic mode. Then it moved to the thought or inference of vibrations. I was watching the movie Footloose, and in the prom scene at the end, everyone stomps on the floor. The husband was watching with me when I softly said, “Oh.” He looked at me and said, “The floor on the TV is shaking.” And I said, “You got it. Panic mode.”

I tried a little self-motivation. I printed out signs on my computer that said “All you have to do is try.” I picked pretty fonts. Inspiring fonts. I printed about ten of them and hung them in various places around my house where I would continually see them. All I had to do was try to make it through the next panic attack. It didn’t work.

The final straw came when we got a new washer and dryer. I really wanted them, but had deep-seated, hidden fears that they might really bother me. The old ones were so worn out, they didn’t really cause much of a commotion.

I was sitting in the living room when the high speed spin cycle on the washing machine kicked in for the first time. It was loud (I still think the installation is a little off), and the machine shook so hard, the box of dryer sheets on top of it fell off. I’ve never had a panic attack that bad before or since then. I was sweating profusely, I was hyperventilating, my hands were raw from wringing them, my heart was beating so fast I thought it would stop, my brain was swirling and spiraling and I couldn’t quell anything. I finally had to leave the house, shut the door and sit on my back deck, crying and trying to catch my breath until the machine finished.

My next visit to the therapist, I asked for drugs.

I don’t take much—just enough to keep everything at bay. It’s not so much medication that I can’t still have a panic attack, they’re just slower to come. And if I can’t stop it through my own willpower—which I’ve gotten better at—then I have an extra special pill I can take.

I used to have a panic attack two or three times a week. Now I have one maybe once every two or three months. The last tingle of one came when the window-unit air conditioner in my bedroom made a funny noise and I jumped to the conclusion that it was about to crash two stories down into the gangway. I was already in bed, but I got up and paced back and forth in front of the air conditioner until I was sure it wasn’t making any more weird noises, and that the window was securely holding it in place. My husband also assured me that he had “really stuck that thing in there” and there was no chance it was going anywhere. I made it through without having to take the special pill and eventually fell asleep—without having to turn the air conditioner off.

I have learned how to give up some control, and to take the time I need for me, even if it means telling someone no, or doing for myself instead of for someone else. I still have my moments, but that’s what my therapist is for. (I’ve also stacked several heavy books on top of the washing machine in an effort to hold it down, and I make a serious effort to avoid the laundry room altogether after I've thrown the clothes in; I just wait until I hear the ding and enter when I know it’s safe).

I’ve taken my “All you have to do is try” signs down from around the house, except for one. I left the one hanging on the cabinet above the washer and dryer taped up. When I come downstairs in the morning, it’s the first thing I see as I hit the first floor. It’s a good reminder, a pleasant little piece of encouragement for anything I might be facing that minute, hour or day. Because no matter what’s going on, all I really have to do is try.

As always, more to come (but hopefully no panic attacks in the near future)…

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I Like Them A Lot

I craved peanut butter this weekend. When I crave peanut butter, I have two choices: I can either eat peanut butter, or I can eat everything else in sight first, trying to avoid the peanut butter, then eat the peanut butter anyway. I chose to cut out the middleman (by the way, highly amusing show on ABC Family channel, The Middleman) and just go with the peanut butter right away.

I could have just had a spoonful, but that wasn’t the peanut butter I was craving. I wanted sweet peanut butter. I went with peanut butter Rice Krispie treats (yes, I made them with brand-name Rice Krispies, so I’m allowed to use the name here without fear of copyright infringement).

These are good. I like them a lot. Unfortunately, my husband is not so fond of them, so I wind up eating them all myself.

I eat them for breakfast after I exercise (it’s cereal, right?), then I eat one for lunch, then I eat a couple for dinner and go with non-carb real food for the rest of my meal. Last night I ate feta cheese and olives, then tuna mixed with Neufchatel in half a yellow pepper—and about five peanut butter Rice Krispie treats. I knew I had gone too far when I hit the third one, but just kept going, half hoping to make myself sick on them so I’d throw the rest of the container away (didn’t work). To completely avoid sugar/carb overload, I jumped on my trampoline during the commercials while I watched The Closer.

When I went to bed last night, I was 136. This is not a completely accurate number. I had just finished my last round on the trampoline, so I knew my sugar would go lower. It also hadn’t been a full two hours after my last peanut butter Rice Krispie treat, so I knew my sugar would go higher. I figured I let my body duke itself out during the night. It must’ve worked, because when I woke up, I was 86. A good number, a normal number for my morning reading.

I only have about six more peanut butter Rice Krispie treats left (I keep them in the fridge; they’re very good when they’re cold and I like them a lot. Did I mention that?), and I’m going to try to use my willpower and only eat two tonight. This may take some pro-active activity on my part; I may have to call the husband before I get home from work and have him hide the container. And, if my day goes well and is fairly annoyance and stress-free, I may just leave the container hid. If it goes badly, I may have to use the water-squirter attachment on my kitchen sink as a form of torture so he tells me where he hid the peanut butter Rice Krispie treats. (I’m still working on that whole “comfort eating” issue…).

As always, more to come (but only two more peanut butter Rice Krispie treats tonight)…