Thursday, March 30, 2006

Quotes that rule me lately

From Forrest Gump:
"Mama, what's my destiny?"

From Scrubs:
"Sometimes the best way to lose something is to want it too bad."

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Cleaning Up

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve posted, but it’s simply a reflection of how ridiculously busy I’ve been at work and home. So here are a few of my thoughts over the past (eek!) two weeks.

Not what I expected: I flew for the first time post-diabetes last week. I have flown since Sept. 11, but not much compared to how much I used to fly. I asked my fellow diabetic mommies what I needed to be prepared for in terms of going through security with needles, took out plenty of breastmilk from the freezer, and tried to think of anything that would fall into Murphy’s Law.

I made it through security on the way out with no issues. I was happy to not have had to explain why I was carrying syringes with me. On the way home, though, as I stuck the breastpump through the security x-ray, the man looking at the monitor said: “Ma’am is this a C4 pack?” I swear he said C4. And I thought, but of course, because I always travel with explosives. I think the mere mention of the word “breast” set this poor old man off because he quickly sent me on my way.

The Lesson: I’ve never tested well. Especially not standardized tests. I will grudgingly admit to earning a 720 combined on my SATs and a 19 and a 21 on the ACTs. Despite those terribly awful scores, I was a very good student; my GPA climbed each semester in high school and college. However, as I mentioned, I’ve never tested well.

We made this point very, very clear to all of the college counselors we met with. My high school counselor got a special call from Butler University telling me I had made it in thanks to my written essay, and I’m sure in part to our persuasiveness and explanation of poor testing skills.

So, several weeks ago, after sending a mass mailing to publishers in Missouri looking for freelance copy editing and proofreading work, I got a bite. I was thrilled! I was to go to an FTP site and take, you guessed it, a proofreading test. I really thought nothing of it. I was certain I would ace it. I was so certain, in fact, that it was quite a blow to my ego when I barely got 83% on the test. I could have kicked myself. If I averaged 83% at my job as a copy editor and proofreader, there’s no way I would still be employed here. But these tests are designed to make you fail. They’re designed to find out where your weakness is. Mine is taking tests.

I took a shot in the dark and asked the company to give me a second chance, going so far as to tell them to send me their toughest, nastiest challenge just so I could prove to them that I was better than a B-. After several agonizing days, the answer was no. That, coupled with spelling “editor” wrong on my address labels for that entire mailing, sent me a clear message: No. 1, stress is really no good for me; and No. 2, even the best of us makes mistakes, so I must pay better attention even when I think something’s a cinch.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The fury of Mother Nature

After Hurricane Katrina blew over the Gulf, I started asking myself this question: If I had, say, 10 minutes to leave my house and take with me whatever I wanted, what would I take with me? What are my most prized possessions? This, of course, ensuring that my family was already safe.

I would take pictures. I've always loved photography and I love to take pictures (my husband used to tell me that I should just wear the camera around my neck all day) and it's important to me to have a record of our lives. So, I would take pictures. I even thought about how I would get all those photo albums out of my house because they can be pretty heavy and cumbersome, you know. I would put them in every suitcase I can find. And I frequently back up my digitals on CD, so I would make sure to grab those, too.

Grabbing all those albums crossed my mind on Sunday afternoon as I stood in the living room with the baby strapped into The Ultimate Baby Wrap, and the big kids standing in front of the door hanging on to a teddy bear and a baby doll. With a super cell and possible tornado bearing down on us in our 120-year-old house, we figured the brick and cinderblock fire station across the street was a better hide out.

As my husband grabbed a battery-powered radio, a flashlight and his firefighting gear (in case the house blew away and he was called to help), I stood there clutching my purse, my diabetes supplies, and a diaper bag with one change of clothes for the baby and enough diapers to maybe get us through the night (in case the house blew away). I momentarily thought WAIT! I want those photo albums. But we walked out the door with all that was really important to us and I quietly mourned for a loss yet to come.

We and the house are fine, by the way. But some other folks in our area weren't so lucky.

What would you take with you?

Friday, March 10, 2006

And the magic number is...

My A1C was checked yesterday for the first time in a year. Last year at this time it was 7 and yesterday it was 5.9! I'm so psyched. I have a feeling that it was even lower during my pregnancy, but I can get back there.

So my first-ever appointment went very well. The doctor and his nurse seemed surprised that 1) I had essentially referred myself there (no doctor told me I should go) and 2) that I had every last blood sugar I ever recorded with me. Again, pretty proud of myself on both of those counts. He checked my feet, asked me if I had any pain, blah, blah, blah. We discussed alternative treatments, although he prefaced with saying that "what you're doing isn't broken." He suggested going on orals, even though I said I didn't think that was approved for breastfeeding women. He checked, and the one drug (Glucophage, I think) he was thinking about was considered "probably safe" for breastfeeding women.

A lot of what we discussed will essentially be up for consideration when I'm no longer breastfeeding. It was nice, though, that he took the time to go through some of that stuff. He seemed to take a very laid back and open approach to me and my diabetes. And I was happy in a way that I wasn't scolded for my hefty eating.

He did, however, sort of leave some decisions up to me whether or not I wanted to change to orals. I told him I was there for his opinion, that I would do what he thought was right for me. So we discussed my problem areas (fasting, post-breakfast and insatiable appetite most likely due to breastfeeding) and changed my Lantus regime slightly. Instead of splitting my dose, I now take one whopping dose in the evenings. Our hope is that it will help with my fasting and post-breakfast reading.

My follow up isn't until July, which makes me feel more confident that he thinks I'm doing a good job. I told Mom last night that I felt like I sort of wanted him to be harder on me because I did admit to not-so-good eating choices. But then I realized that he probably wants me to realize that I need to change those habits for myself and not because someone tells me to. And, it's possible that I'm being a little too hard on myself. I have a way of doing that.

So, I've been on a high all day from my fabuous A1C results!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Today's the day

I meet with my first-ever endocrinologist today. I'm excited, actually. I'm not entirely sure why, though. I think it has something to do with the fact that I was in such tight control and accountable to so many people during my pregnancy and now I'm only accountable to myself really. So I think that's one reason I'm excited to see him. I gathered every last blood sugar reading I ever recorded to bring with me. I know he's not really going to care less what my post-breakfast reading was on October 4, 2005, but I'm bringing the records anyway. Partly because I'm proud I still have them, partly because I'm proud of how far I've come. Looking back, in the beginning I had some pretty high fastings (248, 212, 152) and some pretty high post-meal readings (269, 224, 230). Throughout my pregnancy, though, I was 98% in range. I was always, always under 90 fasting and most of the time under 120 post-meals. Often, under 100 post-meals.

I'm also fairly scared. I have more or less fallen off the diabetes wagon lately. I'd say I'm about 70% to 80% in control, but I fudge enough that I really worry what my A1C is. I keep thinking, though, that it can't be much worse than 7, which is what it was a year ago when I was diagnosed. At that point, I didn't care at all what I was eating. Now, however, at least I'm good 70% to 80% of the time. Still, I'm not nearly as diligent nor in control as I was even just four months ago. I think in the back of my mind I'm hoping that this doctor will give me one of those looks and make me take ownership of what I've done and make me realize that I can't go back to living the way I was pre-diabetes.

I'll really only have one question for him, but it is a big' post-breakfast readings are going way too far up. I can't figure out if it's some kind of insulin resistance or if my body is somehow reacting to all the crap I eat at night. Will have to ask about breastfeeding too. I've never breastfed almost exclusively. I breastfed my older two children, but when I went back to work I wasn't able to pump and therefore only breastfed the kids when I was at home. This time, though, I pump at work and leave to feed the baby. I know that has something to do with my insatiable appetite, which is making me eat almost everything in sight. Hopefully, he'll have some suggestions for that. My CDE has mentioned putting me back on Novolog, but I really don't think that's necessary. I don't know, maybe the doctor will agree.

Anyway. I'll have plenty up update on tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The only constant is change

And you'll notice that my blog has changed. This is the third time, yes, third time, that I've changed the outward appearance of my blog. I guess I get bored easily.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Where has all the compassion gone?

Somehow, of course, diabetes always seems to come up. I'm not afraid to talk about it or to tell people I've got it. Because I do have it, it hasn't got me. Anyway, so naturally, somehow, the baby's sitter and I discussed my diabetes and she revealed that she is pre-diabetic. We talk about it every now and then.

Today, when I picked up the baby, I noticed a packet of information on her dining room table with Diabetes Diet something-or-other written on it. When I casually asked if "they" were changing her diet on her, she said no, this time it was her husband. I knew that he had lost a daughter to diabetes very suddenly when she was too young. Who knows if it was really diabetes, but the 25-year-old was diagnosed and within a very, very short time (like a month, maybe?) she had had a heart attack and died.

So we were discussing his diagnosis and what the doctors wanted him to do. He's a veteran and was therefore getting his care from the VA. Read into that what you will. I asked if they told him he was pre-diabetic. No, he said, but it's coming on, is what they told him. Hmmm... that sounds funky, but he was getting a little weirded out by all my questions. So, I asked if they were having him check his blood sugar. Yes, he said, once or twice a day, every other day. Huh? To me, that just didn't make any sense. I mean, how would you be able to tell any patterns? How would you really know what was going on if you only had a portion of the picture?

I asked what kind of literature he was given. Any books, I said? No, just the packet of information with such generalizations about what foods to avoid that it was going to be easy for anyone to get lost in it. I'll bring you a book I have, I told him. And to his wife (the sitter): I'll give you some of my recipes. Which brought up food. It wasn't the carbs they wanted him to stay away from, it was sugar, he said. Well, duh, but carbs turn into sugar, I told him. Clearly, he had no clue.

So I left there wondering what kind of information this poor guy had been given. And I wondered what kind of direction he had. It seemed like he had been sent on his merry way with a diagnosis (sort of), a blood glucose meter, and a packet of probably fairly useless information. Did he even know what his range was supposed to be? He did tell me that when they checked his sugar at his last appointment it was 135. What time of day, I asked. 4 p.m. When was the last time you ate? Noon. Hmmm...that's not so great. Wait, he said, I had a capuccino thing from the gas station before my appointment. Ok, that makes sense. But still, I got the sense that he didn't know if 135 was good or bad.

Not that I feel completely obligated to help, and I certainly don't want to stick my nose where it doesn't belong, but I just feel like maybe he could use some direction. So tonight I'm putting together some recipes for him. And I'll put a note together of where his numbers should be and urge him to test at least once a day, not every other day. I don't know. Maybe I'm wrong and barking up the wrong tree here, but it just seems that doctors have said to this man that diabetes is coming and instead of aggressively treating it so that it doesn't get too bad too fast, they're just saying let it come and we'll deal with the complications later.

Sometimes I wonder about what we're really doing with all this wonderful medical technology and information at our fingertips.