Thursday, December 30, 2010

Not So Unflappable Me

This year for Christmas, my grandmother wrote all of us inspirational notes to accompany our gifts.  In my mother's note, she called her unflappable.  And it's true.  (And it probably drives my grandmother crazy.)  I, on the other hand, am not so unflappable.  So as we were enjoying our snow day, I was becoming more and more agitated with diabetes.
9:10 AM - 275
11:06 AM - 279
12:23 PM - 80
12:48 PM - 49
2:16 PM - 238
3:14 PM - 81
3:46 PM - 68
4:02 PM - 122
7:26 PM - 345
10: 21 PM - 274
11:19 PM - 133
And after being sick the day before, I yell out in frustration "It's a good thing I'm going tomorrow!"  (to Joslin) And then I finished my lunch, and sat down at my computer to read some blogs before going back out to shovel.  And I sit down and I start reading about Kerri being honest and I'm glued to my screen.  It's certainly not what I want to see (for any person with diabetes), but it's exactly what I need to see.  I remember when I first started reading sixuntilme, and I sent the link to my longest dia-buddy and she said, "Briley, I can't read this.  She thinks 160 is high."   I've been a 8._ A1C-er probably since I started college.  The lowest I ever got was 8.4.  So the 8.2 I got last time was huge for me.  And yet, I'm still sitting here going crazy.  As I'm glued to my computer, my mother is standing at the counter tapping her foot waiting for me to get my snow gear back on.  I talk to her about the blogs I read, but she doesn't quite understand how much they mean to me, and how much they help me, and especially how reading Kerri's has gotten me back on track.  (Kerri, if she only knew how much you help me, then you'd have a bigger fan than any of us in the DOC.)  By the time I finished reading I was furious.  I was mad that this post that is really helpful to me, is now tainted with this frustrated feeling.  I love to comment, but I couldn't.  I didn't want my anger highlighted for all to see.  Instead I've been stewing for a few days.  How we all get there.  How do we get out of it.  How do we get the help we need?  Do we have all the help/support we need?  Is there more I can do for me? for others?  Will I ever get under 8?  How hard will it be?  If I do, can I keep it there?  What about someday, way far off, when it absolutely needs to be lower?  Will I be able to do it?  So far there is no evidence (as an adult) that I can.  Did my unflappable mother ever have these doubts about herself when she was taking care of me?  If she did, I certainly never saw them.  How did she hide them? (Now that I'm an adult, I do know that she had them, but she never let me see.)  How do I go from working really hard and seeing results to working really hard and not seeing results?  And why?  And how do I not let it get the best of me?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sick Day

When I woke up on December 26, there was something not right.  I rolled over and tested and I was 344, but still, there was something else.  I made my way downstairs, found my ketone strips and back upstairs.  Holy crap, that thing turned deep dark purple.  I had large ketones.  So now: do I feel gross because I have ketones or, do I have ketones because I am sick?
I don't look this cute sick anymore
I went downstairs and got out my phone (calculator) along with my pump, a piece of paper and a pen.  I figured out my correction, wrote that down.  I figured out 20% of my Total Daily Dose (TDD), wrote that down.  I was hungry, so I figured out my correction for my bagel and coffee and wrote that down.  I got out my insulin pen and dialed up 25 units of insulin.  I think the last time I took that much, it was in the form of Lantus.  I sat down in front of the wood stove and ate my bagel with my father and double fisted water and coffee.  When my mother got back from visiting my grandmother, I told her about the ketones and the not feeling good and I plopped my butt on the big comfy chair.  I finished watching Julie & Julia, and then I turned some other movie on until it was time to watch my boys with my dad.  I was a little bit nervous when the Bills scored first, but not really.  Dad even got me noodle soup.  I grabbed a pillow and I grabbed the hassock and I was basically laying down across the chair (so comfortable).  Throughout the morning, I was drinking tea and testing my ketones and before the game started, I was at negative, but I still didn't feel good.  I was forcing myself to stay awake, and I would "just rest" during half-time.  I fell asleep just before the end of the second quarter, woke up at some point during the second half, noticed the score was 31-3, and then fell back asleep.  I woke up after the game was over, and my mother looking me in the face and I was wondering who won the game.  So the game is over and I wander over to the table to test, and a beautiful 36 is staring me back in the face.  "mom.  fill up a big glass with juice. please. now." The incoherent-ness in me made my mother listen to me.  (The last time I demanded something from my mother and she listened was....)  I drank my juice, and I sat at the kitchen table.  I was coherent enough to know that if I plopped back down in the comfy chair, I felt like I'd fall asleep again.  My parents were getting ready to go to a party (and I wanted to be there too!) but I stayed in my pajamas, heated up some dinner, watched more movies and ate lots of food (without testing).  I was up in the 200s, then bolused realizing I forgot earlier.  Those damn lows mess with the brain!!  On Monday, I was feeling much better, although the diabetes was still crazy. :/

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Family Affair (or two)

As I was skiing with a lot of my cousins on Christmas Eve, Karolyn kept talking about the Italian feast her parents were making at home.  I knew that our only plans for the night were going to mass, but nothing else, so I kept joking that I was going to crash dinner. Well, after mass, we headed over and there was so much food.  Clam something-or-other as an appetizer, then homemade pasta for lasagna, and fettucine alfredo, meatballs & sausage, chicken parm and veal parm.  Yes, looking at this meal made me high (^400 to be exact).  As we're sitting around the counter, we were talking about how many year it had been since "something" passed (I don't remember what the something was), and of course the "I've had diabetes for 21 years so that means it's...." From there we figured out how long it had been since "something" had happened.  And then, my uncle turned around, looked at me and said, "Ya know, that day sucked."  We were at their house on that day, and then, of course, everything changed.  "You were so little, and so sick"  And then my mom looks at my aunt and says "And that's when Kate got chicken pox because you couldn't bring her to visit."  It's funny the things you remember based on the biggest day of your life; things that otherwise wouldn't be remembered.  Our conversation continued, not related to diabetes, but the impact of this dinner with family was altered, from just a few simple statements.

We have a lot of family & family friends with young children and/or expecting within the next year.  The topic of "sleeping in" on Christmas gets discussed and how no child ever sleeps in on December 25.  And that is when my mom and I pipe in with, "Well..."  I am the oldest grandchild on my father's side, and we have room in our house to host.  So my father's lone sister spent the night because really, who wants to miss a 3 year old on Christmas morning?  All four of my grandparents were also in attendance and the story goes that they were all awake and sitting in the living room, in front of the fireplace and the stockings and the evidence of Santa delivering his goodies, just waiting for precious little me to wake up.  I looked at my mother and said, "Was I three or four?"  And we both answered: I had to have been three because I wasn't allowed to sleep in post-diabetes-diagnosis.  One simple day, and all of a sudden a story has a specific date.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Diabetes gave me Santa

Santa from the Enchanted Village
Tonight, a very special man will visit lots of homes around the world.  My parents totally embraced Santa and all he stands for.  Mostly that the season is about giving, AND that he'll give you things you REALLY want even if your parents have said "No way Jose!"  And of course, there's the year I got an orange, when I should've gotten coal (the next year I got coal).  And oh yea, every Christmas I got REAL candy in my stocking.  This was my favorite.  And I got it one day a year, after Santa left it for me.  Even if I had the  opportunity to have it the rest of the year, I never did.  I got old enough where all my peers stopped believing; and then my friends joined them.  I can remember being outside for recess and all the kids talking about how NO ONE believed in Santa anymore and it was crazy if they did.  I just ran around with them and didn't say a word.  On the way to the Pops in sixth grade, I was in the car with my grandparents, mom and best friend, and I said something about Santa coming and my friend looked at me and said, "You know there's no such thing as Santa, right?"  Rather than believe her and be heart-broken, I said, "I only get the strawberry candy once a year and it's from Santa.  Of course there's such a thing as Santa!" And she said okay.  That was it, we kept going on and my friends knew, but no one ever said a word.  They knew why, and they knew me, so they just kept going on with their lives as if believing in Santa at 12 years old is completely normal.
Sometime that next year, my parents told me that there really isn't a Santa *gasp!* and that Christmas as a thirteen year old was the hardest Christmas I had ever experienced.  But now that I'm a nanny, the magic of Christmas is back, and this time it has nothing to do with diabetes :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Between Christmas and Girl Genius not having school this week, the blog has been moved to the back burner. Enjoy your Christmas with family and friends and I'll see you on the other side :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Getting on the Roller Coaster

If you follow me, thank you for putting up with my roller coaster since Thursday (and a little before).  I've certainly been in a "life isn't fair" mood, and while I try to get out of it, I've never experienced it so suddenly.
When I was twelve, I went to Symphony Hall for the first time during the Holiday Season.  I fell in love.  Now my mother goes with many of her friends and this year my father was going too.  Normally my father gladly gives me his ticket, but there still a seat available right near their tables, so I got to go to the Pops on Thursday night.  Mom had brought Buddy to the vet in the morning, and the ultrasound showed an enlarged heart.  He was okay for the night, but would go back the next morning for more tests.  As we sat there enjoying so many wonderful songs and performances, my father kept leaving when his phone went off.  I was appalled at how rude my father could be!  I was trying to ignore it though and just enjoy the music.  Because Christmas was officially here and nothing can bring me down.  I look up to the second balcony in the corner and there's this man, who looks EXACTLY like my grandfather.  But not the grandfather I had the last 5 years, the grandfather I remember playing tennis with, and who loved floating in the ocean with just his face and toes above the water, and the man who loved the snow.  I was mesmerized and I couldn't take my eyes off him.  I leaned over towards my mother and got her to notice this man too.  A moment or two later, my father got the last of the phone calls.  I "know" that when I saw this man, Buddy was leaving me.  When the show was over, I was the last of our group to leave the hall, and I walked out into the lobby, putting my coat on and I met my parents and my mother turned around and her face was bright red.  My eyes jumped between my parents and I just said "NO!"  That morning my mother told me not to worry and now I'm standing in the middle of Boston fancy-ness trying not to scream, but a river instantly running down my face.  My mother and I step to the side embracing each other, but thoughts of "what the hell happened" and "life sucks" and "I didn't get to say good bye" were instantly in my head.  They drove me home, and I walked up the stairs, opened the door, and the sobs came.  How my roommate didn't wake up is beyond me.  I was texting my closest friends, not knowing what to do.  I started playing The Big Bang Theory from the DVR and I was able to laugh.  At some point I moved into my bedroom and realized that my eyes were burning so I should turn out the lights and go to sleep.  Good old Rebel reminded me that I still needed to test, and I was in the 200s.  I bolused and sobbed into my pillow until I was asleep.  I woke up at some point in the middle of the night, and I knew I was low. I was still drained though, so I reached over to my bedside table and grabbed the bottle of tabs.  It was a brand new bottle, so I had to take off the plastic, open the jar, take off the seal and get the tabs.  And I managed to do it all while laying down.  I ate 2 tabs then rolled back over.  When I woke up in the morning, I was 72.  And I was ready for the ride.

December 20: White Christmas

Friday, December 17, 2010

In Memory of Buddy

His name is Buddy, and he's my Babes.  
After seven glorious, funny, and loving years, he passed away last night.  
I'm a mess, because he's not "just a dog."  He's my everything.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Melting My Heart

Earlier this week, as I was eating lunch with Boy & Girl Genius, I was overcome with heat.  And I knew.  I knew that I was low.  I did a temp basal of 0% for a half hour, and after the kids were done with lunch, I went and tested and I was 56 mg/dl.  Girl Genius had just come back downstairs and she was talking to me about Coffee (the stuffed/pretend dog) and what we should name his friends.  I wish that I could get a picture of him for you, but they are attached at the hip.  Coffee eats lunch, breakfast and dinner every day, and when he wags his tail, he gets me in the knees. As Girl Genius was asking me how to spell Emily so she could make a nametag for Coffee's friend, I walked over to the fridge, grabbed the juice and poured myself a nice glass and sucked it down.  (Although, I like my juicy juice better because the cold makes it harder to gulp.)
Girl Genius looks at me, "Briley, are you low?"
Me: "Mmm."
Girl Genius: "Okay, I'll go in the playroom now.  Will you tell me when you're better so we can play again?"
This little 4 year old melts my heart.  She's been asking me "What temperature is your blood sugar?" when I test lately, so I thought she wasn't understanding any of it, but she's four, so I don't mind as much.  And then when my "patience" is wearing thin, she totally gets it!  This is the moment when it's worth it.  I'm sure that it stinks to have your nanny all of a sudden be sitting on the sideline, but she handled it with such grace!  Those symptoms hung around for quite a while, but as soon as they were over, we were singing Christmas music and making name tags for all the friends, as if nothing got in the way.

December 16: The Christmas Song

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Low BG + No Parking Spots

Lately I've been going home, or somewhere else kinda far away every weekend.  Not that this is bad, it just means that I end up driving back late on Sunday.  I test before I drive, but BGs can change quite a bit in an hour.  There have been a few times lately where I start to feel low as I'm getting off the highway.  Luckily, I live within a mile of the exit.  Not luckily, I have to park on the street.  In the most perfect of conditions, I am not a good parallel parker. When I am feeling low, and I need to figure out whether my car will fit in certain spots or if there are spots at all, it is not good.  A few weeks ago, I had to go wait in the classy joint across the street because there were no spots.  I keep my tabs in the handy cup holder on my door, but the heat and weakness overwhelmed me.  I am literally two buildings and a street away from my apartment, and I can't go there!  When all I want is to be  in my cozy apartment, I'm stuck in my car.  Watching people go in and out, and generally on the phone.  But sometimes no one answers, and then I'm even more nervous.
Tonight I have synchronized swimming, so I'm hoping that my BGs and my neighborhood allow me to get off the highway, park my car and collapse in my apartment, rather than waiting in the parking lot.

December 15: Home for the Holidays

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

When I was skiing my sugars were good

When I got the pump when I was sixteen, skiing had to change.  In years past, I woke up, ate breakfast, went on the slopes, stopped at 10 for snack, back on the slopes, lunch at 12:30 then back outside after lunch.   Snack was at 2:30 and that's usually when we would end our day, because the trails are no where near as nice anymore. But all of a sudden I've got this $5,000 piece of equipment attached to me that needs to survive the elements.  Plus, up until that moment, I was a lente and regular user, so I didn't need to test before every snack.  Just meals and bedtime.  So I got my cousin's hand-me-up snowpants which were bulky and seriously nice with giant pockets.  (I am now 25, and she is now 18, and I got those snowpants when I was 16; in case you wanted evidence that I'm the short one in the family.)  I got my pump March 16, 2002 so there was less than a month left of ski season, and it was during the mild weather, so getting that pump to last through the elements wasn't as much of a problem.  It's the meter though that has always given me trouble.  We still stop for snacks because we like to warm up a little and need a little human replenishing, not diabetes replenishing.  I've spent countless ski snacks sitting there breathing on my meter waiting for it to be warm enough to use, while my mother sits there and tells me that I need to test before I can eat.  And in my head, all I can think is "Yes, I know this, but right now this THING is not cooperating with me and I'm hungry! And oh yea, everyone else is nearly done already."  So on Saturday I didn't bring my meter on the mountain.  I had my juice boxes, tabs, insulin pen, phone and camera.  And as we stood up to go buy a cup of coffee (in a different lodge than where our stuff is), my mother asks why I haven't tested yet.  I explain to her how it's the only meter I have at the moment so I didn't need it to freeze.  I get a "This is completely 100% unacceptable."  I know that I'm supposed to test before I eat, but I made the choice to make sure this one meter I have lasts.  I used to have two meters, but then the batteries leaked in the other one, so now I'm down to one.  So I made the conscious decision to make sure it lasts.  But since my A1C was good when Mom took care of it, she clearly knows better.  Keep in mind this was pre-pump and early teen years.  And that was about ten years ago.  So Mom is really upset at me as we walk to get our coffee.  But we drink our coffee and then we go back on the slopes.  We went in around 1, and my lunch time BG was in the low 100s.  I didn't make a big deal about it, but I wanted to yell "SEE!!"  My BGs kicked butt all afternoon and I was pretty darn excited about it.  When it was time to change my site though, I was in the high 200s.  So I bolused with the pump, then changed the pump, and then we went to dinner.
I sat in my favorite ski bar with my parents, I hear the distinctive "beep beep beep beep beep" and I know that I'm getting a No Delivery alarm.  When I changed my site, I started at 298 mg/dl, so I knew that I was already high, so no delivery was definitely not something that could be waited on.  I had already had one bad site change, and wasn't too excited that the second one failing too.  Somehow I remembered to put a new pen tip in my purse this week, so off to the bathroom I went and was soon able to go back to dinner.  As I sat back down, Mom said "Did you go to the bathroom to shoot up?"  And in between laughing, I said "Good thing Dad didn't say that because the whole restaurant would've heard and I'd be taken away by the police soon."  I gave myself a correction and a food bolus, and enjoyed my delicious drink and food.  We get back to the hotel and I change my site again, and test my ketones and there they are, small.  I felt high the rest of the night, but a little less than 2 hours later, I was back in the 100s, and negative ketones.  Unfortunately, I crashed at 3AM and then woke up low too.  But at least I know how to keep steady while on the slopes.

First failed site

December 13: Silent Night

Monday, December 13, 2010

Weekend Happiness

On Friday night, I drove up to Sunday River with my parents.  We drove through the snow, but we saw some beautiful places, like this in Twin Mountain, NH. 
On Saturday, we went skiing for the first time this season.  The sun never came out, but the skiing sure was great.  Here is my mother at the top of the trail Risky Business. 
This is looking down the trail American Express. 

And this is White Heat.  Closed right now, but I'll be back for it. 

We cut our ski day short, went in for lunch and then went walking with Earl :)
After going back to the beautifully decorated Jordan, we went out to dinner at our favorite restaurant. 

When we came back, Dad watched the Heisman show, while Mom and I watched It's A Wonderful Life. Sunday was a snowy, rainy day, so we needed to leave early.  We got up, drove to Jefferson, NH and went out to breakfast.  What a delicious way to end a short, but wonderful trip to Maine

December 13: You're A Mean One Mister Grinch
This was my favorite movie as a kid, and loved to watch it all year long. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

"The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder."

For all of you who participated in #dsma on Wednesday night, I want to thank you for welcoming me with what felt like open arms, open minds and open hearts.  The replies & RTs made me feel like I've been there before.  I have to admit though, I'm not knowledgeable about insurance and insurance company policies, or how it can affect me.  I just got my own insurance, but have not had to pay for my own prescriptions since I still have insulin and strips from the last time on my parent's insurance.  And the only thing I knew about clinical trials is that Rebel got denied for one this summer because her pancreas still makes C-peptide (or something).  

As I was thinking over the entirety of the conversation yesterday, I remember sitting in class my freshmen year of college, and the professor talking about three different types of information.  There are things you know.  There are things you know you don't know.  And then there are things you don't know you don't know.  (Yes, it took me a long time to understand that last one.)  But one day it clicked.  And on Wednesday it clicked too.  First and foremost, I had no idea it would be so hard to read and respond simultaneously.  There's just so much awesome stuff being said!  But I got to read about others' experiences and I got to ask questions.  It was so helpful, especially to just read at times.  I wanted to research what was happening in front of me, but it was all happening so fast, and all of a sudden it was 10:00 and we were done.  

And then last night I listened in on the blogtalkradio show, and that left me feeling even more astounded.  There are so many smart, articulate people out there, and I'm glad that I have found you, but now where do I go?  My brain was trying to process what it was hearing and reading, but there was no output in return.  I asked questions, but I had nothing to give.  It feels good.  I know that there is more out there I need to learn about, and now I've got a reason to get started on it.  These conversations have lit the fire under me.

December 10: Let It Snow

Thursday, December 9, 2010

"My Blood Sugar Must be Low"

As you will come to learn in the next few months, I LOVE to ski.  My "tagline" is that I've been skiing longer than I've had diabetes.  (By just a few months, but nonetheless, it is still true.)  In real people world, I'm also one of the shyest people you will ever meet.  That is why I joined the Boston Ski & Sports Club last spring so I could meet people.  I've played tennis and kickball with them, but now it's winter, and ski time.  So I joined the adult team racers (ATR).  It starts in January and I cannot wait.  On Tuesday night we had our get to know you/learn everything you need to know dinner.  As we were all mingling, a few of us were talking about how we were pretty hungry.  The girl I was talking to all of a sudden said, "my blood sugar must be low."  I needed a Twix moment so that I could pull up Kelly's Blog and respond.  But as I was trying to respond these thoughts kept running through my mind.
If I make a smartass comment, what if she actually does have diabetes too?  She never actually mentioned diabetes.  Her description is actually kinda sorta accurate.  She has no idea that I have diabetes either.  I ended up saying nothing, and went on through the rest of the night, but this has definitely been kicking around in my brain.

December 9: Holly Jolly Christmas
And who doesn't love clay-mation?!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

And What A Wonderful Year It Has Been

Last year, on the first Friday in December, I babysat for Boy & Girl Genius.  After they went to bed, I watched It's A Wonderful Life on TV.  Shortly before George yells "I want to live!" Mom & Dad Genius came back.  I sat down with Mom Genius at the kitchen table and they offered me my job!!  It's my first "big girl" job, and my first job out of college.  And what a wonderful year it has been:

  • I moved to Boston with my best friend.  We found a steal of an apartment and it is a place where when I walk in the door, I instantly feel safe, secure & calm.  
  • I connected with old friends, and they have become so close once again.
  • We had a big St. Patty's Day party where all our friends came to see our apartment for the first time.  The next day I went into the hospital with DKA.  I was in the ICU for three days, until I had a nurse whose husband has diabetes and she told me that after 20 years, to go with my gut, and not what the ICU docs said.  I came home, scared & weak, but prepared to start anew.  I started anew in September when I jumped into the DOC and have not looked back.  
  • I joined a sports club, where I joined a kickball team and met a few new people.  This is a big step in my life because I showed up all by myself without knowing anyone.
  • I welcomed Rebel to the East Coast and welcomed her into my apartment for the summer.  We traveled to the beaches, Fenway, the North End, Connecticut, New Hampshire and lots and lots of good times.
  • I bought my first car!
  • I said goodbye to my grandfather for the last time. 
  • I went out to Oregon and paid for my very first vacation.  I got to visit with friends that I didn't think I'd get to see this year, and I became a renewed person
  • I started my blog and joined the DOC!
  • I transferred from my parents insurance to my own.  I then found a PCP so that I could go to Joslin.  I'm finally being proactive in taking care of me!

December 8: Auld Lang Syne

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Baking Cookies

I decided that this would be a good weekend to spend in NH.  There wasn't really much going on in Boston, so I headed home.  I started my day on Saturday in Boston with a run and a crazy BG drop (but I didn't go low), then drove up for the University of Oregon vs. Oregon State Civil War football game. I enjoyed good food, good company, and a great game with my parents and some friends.  On Sunday, I helped my mother decorate the house, and we went to pick out a Christmas tree, and we watched Eloise, and then we baked cookies.  We started with the gingerbread cookies, and then moved onto sugar cookies.  The child in me jumped at the opportunity for the sugar cookies because I got to use all the cookie cutters.  I made snowmen, santas, candy canes, bells and nutcrackers.  As a kid, my two most favorites were a large bell and large snowman.  They were my favorite because Mom would make a special exception for me to be able to eat those, even though it was closer to three starches.  They are the simplist of our cookie cutters, but they were mine.  And I could only make one of each.  As I compared them to our new cookie cutters, with fancy decorations, the "large" bell and snowman don't seem so large anymore.  I mentioned this to my mother, and she remembers this too.  It seemed a little crazy to both of us.  We kept on going though, but I still marvel at how big our cookies are.  And of course, the projected carb count/starches are running through my mind.  Along with, "how did she manage to give me a cookie worth 3 starches?"  We were almost ready to bake them, and we got out the sugar and sprinkles and other fun decorations.  I went to town with red and greens and whites and combos of all the above.  (I don't use the silver balls anymore though, because what's the point of decorating a cookie with something you're not supposed to eat?)  I kept some cookies free for my father though, since he doesn't have a sweet tooth.  And then mom says, "do you want me to make some frosting?"  As a kid, I can remember wanting frosting on the cookies more than anything else in the world.  But we never used frosting.  With the tennis team in college, we decorated cookies and mine were so intricate.  I didn't even notice.  Everyone else did, and when they mentioned it to me, all I could say was "I've never been able to decorate with frosting before."  So mom makes her frosting and she gets out her fancy frosting thing-a-ma-bobber and I start to decorate.  After a while, I'm sick of it, so we add red food coloring and then the rest green.  I've never been a marathon cookie maker, so after a while, I turn to mom and have her finish them.  As she's loading the last onto the drying rack, she says, "you know, we never did this when you were little."  "Yea, that darn diabetes and starches got in the way."  Our cookie baking tradition continues, but now we get to make them even better.

December 7: Happy Christmas

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Diabetes Memory

December 3: Oh Christmas Tree
This song will always make me think of one of my best childhood friends.  Her mother is German, so never knew the words that we knew.  I remember that I knew the words to this song in German at one point as a child, and then again in high school when I was taking German.  

Back to diabetes.  We love it, we hate it, we live it every single day.  But sometimes there are little changes that we miss.  Like grabbing a new bottle of strips for instance.  Today, if I forget to grab a new bottle, I come back to my apartment, or stop at CVS, Walgreens or Target and just buy a new box.  When I was in third grade, I was at my friends house, and it must have been a day we didn't have school because I needed to test, meaning I was eating lunch there.  I went to test (and you should see the bag I used to carry around, it was huge!), but there weren't any more strips.  Her dad piled us into the car and we drove to the pharmacy.  This is a local pharmacy (where if the pharmacist didn't get the prescription from my doctor, he'd at least give me enough to survive the day), and closer to my house than hers, and he buys me a box of test strips.  I show him the one I usually get (the largest one), and that's the one he buys me.  We go back to her house, and I'm starting to realize that this is big.  We finish our day, and her father brings me home and Mom & her dad talk, especially about the trip to the pharmacy.  Mom goes to her purse to pay him back and I remember something to the effect of "If you pay that much all the time, please let us do this."  It was a huge day for our family.  Firstly because I wasn't prepared.  But because someone else just picked up and took care of my diabetes the same way (but with less blaming) my family would. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Morning Snack

I don't usually have a morning snack, but yesterday I started that tradition again.  At Girl Genius's school, her best friend hasn't been there all week because she's sick, and then I read about Kerri being Real People Sick and then on Wednesday when I was at my apartment during the middle of the day, my roommate was on the couch in all her sickness glory.  And that's the one that makes me most nervous.  So now I'm drinking Mango deliciousness and C-Boost.  It packs some serious carbs for a small serving (4 oz. = 20g), but if it will help me not be sick, I'm totally riding this train.

December 3: Believe from The Polar Express
This was always a favorite book of mine back as a small child, and then the movie (and the songs that go with it) just make my heart feel good.  And while I was at Plymouth State, I volunteered for Believe in Books and their Polar Express event.  I got to be a hot chocolate chef  and help all the children believe when they hear the bell ring.  Seeing the looks on those children's faces is what this season is all about.  

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I've never had the fancy eye pictures taken before, and the whole process kinda freaked me out when I was at Joslin, but I was definitely intrigued.  The eyes are the one thing that scare me when it comes to diabetes complications, and I got kinda yelled at for not having had an appointment in two year (yea, I know...but it will be happening later this month, so stop your worrying.)  When I saw an envelope in my mailbox from Joslin, I didn't know what it would be.  It was this! (that I'm holding in my hand)  And you know what it says?!
No evidence of Diabetic Retinopathy and No Diabetic Macular Edema for either eye.  It wasn't really a concern at this point, but to have it confirmed = wahoo!! :D

December 2: I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas

This is one of my mother's absolute favorite Christmas songs, especially because it was written to raise money for a zoo.  It has since also become one of my favorites.  And last year watching Mom & one the synchro girls do a duet to this song was beautiful, funny & heart-warming.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wearing Blue for Diabetes

My goal for the Month of November was to wear blue every day.  And I made it!!  Here is my proof (And I don't count my glasses or jeans because I wear those every day.)

November 1, 2010
November 2, 2010
November 3, 2010
November 4, 2010
November 5, 2010
November 6, 2010
November 7, 2010
November 8, 2010
November 9, 2010
November 10, 2010
November 11, 2010
November 12, 2010
November 13, 2010
November 14, 2010
November 15, 2010
November 16, 2010
November 17, 2010
November 18, 2010
November 19, 2010
November 20, 2010
November 21, 2010
November 22, 2010
November 23, 2010
November 24, 2010
November 25, 2010
November 26, 2010
November 27, 2010
November 28, 2010
November 29, 2010
November 30, 2010

As a special addition, I read about a blog advent calendar, and I LOVE Christmas, so I'm joining in too.  Every day I'm going to share a song, or movie clip, or maybe just some holiday pictures with you.  I hope that you enjoy this special extra, and hopefully you're in the Christmas spirit too!!

December 1: Where Are You Christmas by Faith Hill

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Good Diabetes Things from the course of the month

I'm going to start with my favorite of my Six.  This day made me feel so good, and so empowered to have this disease.  I felt normal; I felt that there were things I never put into words, but when others did, I thought, "yes!"  So here is my favorite of mine:
"I don't make a big deal about my diabetes.  I fight tooth and nail every day not to because I want to be treated like a normal person.  I don't want people telling me that I can only eat certain things, or that I can't participate in activities, or to use it as an excuse in a way that I am acting.  But it is a big deal, because it can affect everything.  The one day every year that I make a big deal about it is July 4.  And while I don't want people making a big deal about it every day, I want you to make a HUGE deal about it July 4.  Celebrating every anniversary has always been a big deal in my family because every year it is an accomplishment.  If it has been a bad year, then it means we survived and we're on to the next one.  If it was a good year, it is time to celebrate and give ourselves a pat on the back.  And hope for the same things in the coming year.  Every year is big; because every day is big."  

I was sitting in the waiting area of Girl Genius's gymnastics when I heard this conversation between a mother and daughter.  I was alert because I heard "my" pump beep, but nothing was showing up.  
"Well this is my sensor."
"How come you have diabetes?"
"I don't know.  Some people do and some people don't.  That's just the way it is."

This was a bunch of people's facebook statuses:

"Its Diabetes Awareness Month. It isn't pink or sexy, it doesn't involve boobs, football players or cute t-shirts. Its about being grateful when you or your loved one wakes up in the morning. Its about 3am blood sugar checks, needles, low blood sugars and the smell of insulin on your hands after changing a pump site, or filling a syringe. Thats a Diabetics LIFE. Repost if you love or loved someone with diabetes."

This was a facebook post on my page from Rebel (and not really good, but definitely funny):
voice mail from student health: "Hi melissa I wanted to let you know that the results of your blood test (from electrolyes and iron for running) have come back and it's urgent that you call me because your blood glucose was 200 and could be a sign of type 1 diabetes." please call me back !!! ... left 2 messages in a row.

I called and first thing i said was I know I have diabetes... and its in my chart. 0.o

This was a text message conversation:
Me: I don't know if you know this, but I have diabetes and I had a really bad low in the middle of the night and it made me a zombie this morning, so I need to get everything together tonight and then I'll go up in the morning.
new person: yea, I saw that Briley, I def know what you mean I have some friends who diabetics and I know what they go through.  I have some family members who are diabetics too so I understand completely!  thats ok you will still have fun tonight either way
Me: I'm glad you understand
NP: oh god yea i def understand for sure so never feel like you can't talk about it to me im all open to it and i def know how you feel!  i was actually going to tell you that at some point and be like never be shy to tell me that if u want to talk about it, im wicked open like that!
Me: That makes me feel a lot better, because I've definitely gotten some jerk comments before
NP: seriously?  well you know what then whoever said those comment to you are complete &*#$*&$ and have no idea!  friggen jerks out there i'll tell ya
Me: Yea...I feel like there is so much more I could say about it, but I'm going to keep it concise with a plain thank you.
NP: I def understand, believe me a thankyou is fine but never feel like you can't say more about it to me, i completely understand know where your coming from so no worries!

I was at an open house for a friend and her brothers because they were all in town at the same time.  It was like childhood all over again, except that no one recognized me.
Woman: And how is your diabetes doing?
Me: Oh, it's good (At this point I was a little irritated about the mention of it.)
Woman: You know, I always admired you for having diabetes.  I know you make it look easy, but you never complained and I'm sure it's much harder than we think and you just need to know that I've admired you from the time you were diagnosed.
Me: Thank you.  (What else can you say to a woman who you don't know very well, but you just want to jump up and hug?!)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Hypoglycemic Unawareness

Lately I've apparently been suffering from hypoglycemic unawareness.  When I was a kid, I definitely suffered from it, and there came a time when I didn't anymore.  It wasn't apparent, but all of a sudden there was a realization that I would feel low, I would test, be low, and have the chance to take care of it.  I wouldn't be low when I tested just because it was time to test. Previous to last week, I would feel low, test, and be somewhere in the 60's.  And as much as I don't like being low, 60's certainly isn't a bad low.  But last week, I would test because it was time to test, or I'd start to feel a little low, and I'd be in the 40's.  One night I woke up at 4:30 AM, was 41, grabbed two juice boxes and sucked them down, then rolled back over and went back to sleep.  But really?  41?!  That's a scary number.  (And I don't generally consider middle of the night hypoglycemia unawareness.)  And last Wednesday while I was trying to get Boy & Girl Genius packed and ready for the airport, I was in the 40's again.  I got out a glass, got some orange juice and Girl Genius talked my ear off.  She wants to know why I don't have to cut it with water.  And then in the middle of drinking it, I get a brain freeze.  And I semi-snap.  "Girl Genius, I will pay attention to you, but first I need to finish my juice."  

But where do I go from here?  As a child, this was the only thing that I had to worry about.  I had my mother to worry about everything else.  I needed to work on feeling low, and then all of a sudden it happened.  But how do I do it now?  I already know what it feels like.  I'm alert to how my body feels now.  I've been the best diabetic I've ever been since I started this blog.  How do I start feeling low again?  I test nearly 15 times per day, and yet I'm still missing these lows.  Is there anyone else who has experienced this before?  How do I go back to catching them when I'm barely low?  

Friday, November 26, 2010

So Much to be Thankful For

I woke up far too early, but I was excited to see my cousins.  My parents and I bundled up and headed to the pub to meet the rest of the family for breakfast.  I got to see my grandparents, three uncles, an aunt and four cousins that I wouldn't have been able to see otherwise.  (And there's also something to be said for Bailey's at 8AM.)  From there, we went to the Turkey Day football game.  It was pretty cold & windy, but we got to see more good friends and spend more time with my grandfather.  At halftime, Dad & I left because Mom's side of the family was at our house and it was time to start the festivities at home.  We laughed, we watched the Pats, we enjoyed all of our beverages and appetizers, and we set the table so we could watch the game during dinner.  (I drank apple pie martinis all afternoon, and every hour I bolused for 10g over the whole hour, and let me tell you, it worked!) 
Grammy made her potatoes, and mom followed her list, and we sat down to eat right as halftime ended.  There was delicious turkey, green beans, stuffing, rolls, twice baked potatoes, cranberry sauce, squash, gravy and I'm sure I'm missing some things.  We ate and those boys on the TV kept getting better and better, so we stayed and finished watching the game in there.  When the game was over, we cleaned up, and moved back in front of the wood stove.  After a while, we got out some pies, and my mom, aunt, and grandmother started singing.  The rest of us waited...Mom & my aunt took my grandmother back home, and the rest of us stayed and watched a movie.  Everyone else fell asleep at one point or another, but I managed to stay awake the whole day.  Around 8:00, we got out all the food again and had round two.  And from there we watched more football and movies, and we all went upstairs quite early to sleep.  And we woke up this morning and braved the roads to get to Tilton for Black Friday.  

I had a fabulous day with my family, with lots of boluses, lots of testing, and lots of "wow, I'm doing awesome!" today.  I hope that everyone else feels just as wonderful as I do today.  

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I am thankful for my family.  I know that this sounds generic, but especially this year.  It has been an all over the place year, and it starts with my parents.  When I started my first full time job, they were both there the morning I left.  When I moved in, I didn't have to do much because they were there.  When I was in the hospital, they were both there every day.   When my grandfather passed away, well, they were there to help me then too, even though mom was dealing with her own grief too.  On my birthday, which was probably one of the toughest days to get through for me, they made it a good day.  These are the big things, but every single day, they are there to support me.  I am thankful for the rest of my family too.  Where to start?  Well, there's the grandparents, the aunts, the uncles, the cousins, the cousins once removed, the second cousins and the family friends who might as well be family.  I got to enjoy seven full months of this year with my grandfather this year.  I got to tell him about Boy & Girl Genius, and their funny stories.  I may be devastated to have lost my first family member this year, but I got 24 years with four grandparents. That's pretty damn sweet!  I am thankful to all my aunts, being there for support and my uncles to bring laughs.  Not that the uncles wouldn't support me, it's just that the aunts are better at it.  I got more support this year from them, through private emails and cards on the hard days, and congratulations on the good days.  My cousins are there for support, like most people have siblings.  I love them for all their quirks, support, laughs and uniqueness.  I don't know where I'd be today if it weren't for them (even though most of them are younger than me).  And family friends, well, they've been there since the beginning too.  Back when I was tired all the time from working and commuting way too far, they were there to love me and bring me back to life for Monday morning.  And now that I am living super close to work and loving every minute of that, I still make the time for them, and them for me, and always leave with a smile on my face. 

I am thankful for my friends.  They are my backbone, my support, my shoulder to cry on, my group to laugh with, they are my everything.   When I didn't want to commute from NH to Boston every day, I lived with my roommate and her parents.  I have reconnected with old friends this year, which I couldn't be more grateful for.  I have made new friends as well, and who can't help but love new friends!  When it seemed life was being filled with death, they were there to help me live my life to the fullest.  I am thankful that I have friends on both sides of the country, and that I was able to see all of them this year.  I  didn't think that would be possible, and it's the best gift I could've given myself.  When life seems to knock me down, these are the people who always know how to pick me back up.  

I am thankful for my job.  Granted there are days when my bed is comfortable and I don't actually want to get up, but I look forward to seeing Boy & Girl Genius every day.  I know that every day there will be someone to hold my hand, give me a hug and making me laugh.  This week I was astonished when Boy Genius was talking about the differences between carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide (he's seven).  Other subjects we have talked about include manual transmissions, weather patterns, and building a remote control, battery operated car.  And then I get to be Tinkerbell hugging stuffed animals with Girl Genius.  Sure, there are days when I walk through the door and look at my roommate and say "give me a drink!"  But they are few and far between.  Mom & Dad Genius are also very supportive.  When I was in the hospital, they almost brought the kids to visit me, but Boy Genius was sick too.  They brought me to Utah, where I got to ski incredible powder, and that helped me reconnect with an old friend who lives there.  When my grandfather passed away, they found places for the kids to go so I didn't need to be at work.  They are some of the nicest people I've ever met.  I thank God every day for the opportunity to work with this family.  

I hope everyone has a fabulous holiday, filled with people you love, food too bountiful, lots of laughs, and everything else you want.  HAPPY THANKSGIVING!