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


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


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...