Monday, December 17, 2007

You know I'm not dead!

I am still here...on blogging hiatus...hopefully not for too much longer. Miss blathering on for ages.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Diabetes in the office

It's been our busy season at work, so teh blog is getting ignored big time...but I did want to record the fact that I just met another person with diabetes in my office. He's a building operations manager - ie, runs around like crazy all the time. I went into the pantry to fill up my water bottle and I heard him discussing control solution with someone else.

I couldn't help myself so I interrupted (mostly to admit I haven't used control solution for ohh...5 years or so). He's Type II and is an older gentleman, so how we control our diabetes is very different (and I believe our understanding of the disease is different also - he's dead set on following this 2000 calorie diet, not so much on counting carbohydrates). Still so cool to meet someone else who deals with the big "D" on a daily basis.

Okay, back to the grind. Almost...over...I think...gasp...choke...

Friday, September 21, 2007


Complaining post 31,875:

So today I was being "trained" (ie, subjected to a long diatribe about something or other that I would learn better by doing rather than watching and half-catching everything the trainer was saying at warp speed). My brain decided to remember at that moment that I needed to change my site - and sho' 'nuff, I was out of insulin! I excused myself from the group quietly and dashed over to my desk.

I was rushing so as not to miss anything important. The site was in, all was well, and I turned to go. Somehow, my fingers got caught in the pump tubing....YANK. That site came out so easy it wasn't even funny! Guess the adhesive really needs time to start sticking. So, rushing again (because I learn from my mistakes, y'know) I put in another site pretty close to the old one. The adhesive on the second site covers the blood welling up from the previous site.

I go back to the training and think I'm good until I realize that there is blood seeping through the adhesive and onto my - of course - white shirt.


Moral of the story: Always, always pack two site changin' sets in your purse. Cos if I hadn't today, I would've been up the poop creek paddleless.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Food scales are cool, and other stuff.

So today I finally set up my shiny new Salter food scale (it's thisaone) after the constant nagging of my darling husband finally broke my "ehh I don't really NEED that" spirit. It was a gift to commemorate our matrimony so I guess maybe he was personally offended that I wasn't busting into it yet.

The truth is that I'm kind of drag-assy about learning new ways to deal with my diabetes. If it's not baroque, don't fix it, amirite? Actually, am just lazy.

So I opened it, and . . . IT IS SO FREAKING COOL, YOU GUYS. Okay, assuming that it actually *works* (because I haven't yet bolused according to its wisdom). But still.

I put an apple on the scale - something I would guesstimate at 30g, give or take. The scale says "25.1g" next to the carbohydrates section. NEAT!

I put a banana on the scale - something I would guesstimate at 40g, give or take. The scale says 37.7g. NEAT! Oh, and "LO" on the glycemic index as well.

I put an entire honeybear on the scale and made Will do the math. "Ummm, I think about 270g." Scale says 300.1g. NEAT! (Oh, and "HI" on the GI. Dur.)

So anyways there's my food scale, and I guess I'll be using it when I'm at home. I haven't figured out how to do more complicated foods such as, say, a taco . . . but even for fruit and unpackaged evils of that nature it's a nifty little machine.

Other stuff...uhhhhmmmmmm. I'm having some sort of existential crisis over here. I don't know, I'm not gonna whine about it because then I just solidify my patheticness for all of the internet to read about and LAWD KNOWS the internet has enough emo to go around. I suppose I still am just unhappy at work and I should really do something about that BUT guess what is more interesting than that will ever, ever, ever be?

BABIES BABIES BABIEESSS. I promise not to become a "mommy blog" or whatever (even though I secretly love mommy blogs), and at any rate I'm not even a mommy yet so I can't. But we are y'know, doing that thing that everyone in high school warned me about. The funny part is I'm not instantly 9 months pregnant and lurching to my Algebra I class. Nope. Turns out that in real life it's a little more complicated. I'll keep you posted, internet. In the meantime, keep practicing putting the condom on the banana.

Also, looking at real estate in the area. Why, Northern VA? Why? Why must you do dis to me, Dimmeh? Do I really want to buy a crapped up piece of crap for 500,000+ and call that a steal, and then subject ourselves to thousands of dollars in renovations? Or should we shell out megabux for a brand new (relatively) townhouse, subjecting ourselves to years of guilt every time we let the dog and the kid out to wander the wild outdoors (a 2x2 piece of "yard")?

Opinions? Hints? Stock options?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Justa grumble.

At work.

Just ran out of test strips.

Am worst diabetic ever.

Two hours to go.

Readings today: 70, 260 (DAMN YOU BLUEBERRY MUFFIN!!! DAMN YOUUUUU!), 190, haha dumbass, you're all out of test strips.

Lessons learned: Seriously Kendra, you can't eat muffins. Or scones. Or danishes. Any breakfast pastry you see is cackling in sweet, merciless glee at your attempts to bolus for its sinful carb count. Just back away from the doughnut lady, and no one gets hurt.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Chronic Illness, as told by the spoons

G'wan and read The Spoon Theory.

I don't have lupus, but this rang true for me in many ways. Great analogy...I'm going to have to tell someone to be thankful I'm spending a spoon on them next time they get all up in mah grill.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Everyone else was doing it.

I've taken around 5 or 10 Myers Briggs online tests (and despite having a doctor of psychology for a mother, I've never been given an actual, real life test). Anyway, I always end up ISFJ.

And it always irks the crapola out of me that the first job is "Accountant." NOOOOOOOOOO, is this REALLY what I'm meant to do? "Librarian" sounds pretty cool though. Libraries smell so damn good. Books = friends.

Thanks for the diversion, Kerri and Julia.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Weird diabetic food concoction #682

  • 1 unsweetened tea from Subway drink machine
  • 2 packets Splenda
Rip packets of Splenda open. Pour into paper cup. Place plastic top on cup. Place straw in hole. Swirl.

Taste? Meh.

But c'mon, if a Virginia girl can't have her sweet tea in the summer . . . is life even worth living anymore?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I'm hungry, I'm hungry, I'm hungrrrrreeeee


I am subsisting on one damn piece of ricotta cheese pie (YES leftovers from the party WHEN will they all be digested, NO ONE knows). The ricotta cheese pie that earlier graced me with the 272.

Since then:

242 (11:30am)
210 (1:06pm)

So, pump appears to be working. Feeeebly working. But no lunch for me. Nope! Refuse! I should probably stop being squirrely and just break out the syringe but ah...nope, refuse again. My boss thinks I took a lunch break; in reality I took a blog break, and a cup-o-water break. And my stomach is grumbling.

Hey, did I remember to mention The Smashing Pumpkins? Like, I totally saw them at the 9:30 club on 7/10/07 and they like totally rocked. I shook Billy Corgan's hand, and as I was shaking it I realized I had offered him my BAND-AID HAND. The day before, I had given myself a lovely paper cut with the side of a plastic binder ( really, a plasti-cut). It gapped open deep enough that I swore I could see the Mines of Moria, so I band-aided the sucker. Unfortunately, the humidity in the city (whoa rhyme) caused the band-aid to get a little flaky before the band arrived. So, Billy Corgan shook my grody peeling-offy band-aid hand. Sorry, Crog, it's only a paper cut I swear.

This was seconds after I contaminated him:

Yes, I am somewhere in that photo...and no, I am not the bald guy. If I was the bald guy, I would say eff this crap and just buy a new pancreas for myself on a periodic basis.

And I would also cry a lot and beg James Iha to come baaaack, pleeease come baaaack to meeee....because damn it musta been fun to look at that guy all day long.

By la way, someone requested wedding pics. Here's a link to a few. Don't make fun of my armpit fat, I slouch and I know it.

What in the f*#@ing f!%k?


Buzzy head - check.
Yawning approx. every 2 seconds? - check.
Site change last night before I went to bed, coupled with a 184 fasting? - check.

If this doesn't turn around by 1pm or so, looks like I'll be riding the syringe train...

Monday, August 13, 2007

twennysomethin pt two

So what was I rambling about earlier? I guess the main point of this post is: when am I finally going to figure out what in the hell I'm doing? I feel like my life, while comfortable, is puncutated by moments of sheer panic or overwhelming feelings of inadequacy. Those pangs of "WHAT IS GOING ON, SERIOUSLY GUYS" that hit around 11:43pm. When am I going to be an adult? When I am going to be able to swagger around like that dude in my office with the expensive watch?

Here are the marbles marbling around in my cranium these days:
  • Homeownering. Seriously DC and NoVa, what is up with the price of real estate. Since when was ANYTHING made in 1952 worth $674,500? Puuhhhleez. Unless maybe the price is high because the house is now considered an antique? Ahhh, I get it. And this is the "buyer's market" they say! I know urban sprawl is horrible, but is it really too much to ask to have my own plot of grass? I just want my kid to grow up with some green. That doesn't mean I want my morning commute to be 2 hours, either.

  • Speaking of the kid. YES, we absolutely want children. YES, we are looking forward to being parents. YES, I know that it won't be all roses. YES, I realize that I have not a damn clue about how hard and stressful being a parent is going to be . . . er, wait, do I really want to do this? (Let's not even get into the whole 'the human race is horrible' 'the world is going down the drain, why would you bring a child into it' lamentations!) The thought of being childless is even more daunting than the thought of having a child, but what if I'm one of those boring saps who's going to end up having my identity completely swallowed by the creature that erupts from my uterus?

  • . . . and on the subject of self-identity. Dude, what in the hell am I doing. How do I define myself? If it's by one's career, I'm on the slippery slope to effing that one up. In no way do I want to associate the majority of my being with the company I currently work for, or the position I'm currently in. I'd be much happier if, when asked what I do, I could say "I'm a dog walker." Or maybe . . . "That person in the park with the stabby thing picking up paper bits." I think that says a lot, don't you? Why am I HERE when I know I want to be anywhere else? Problem is, I really don't know where anywhere else is either. When I was little I wanted to be a vet. When I was 17 I realized that would involve more than 4 years of school and broken cat jawbones and I begged off. When I was 18 I wanted to be a novelist, and then realized that most likely I'd end up a bitter, starving artist. That and there's roughly 20 or 30 million people who are more talented than I am, and my ego quakes at the thought of not being awesome.

    When someone asks me what my 5 or 10 year career goals are (yes, senior manager, I'm looking at you), I can feel the blank stare expression settling over my features. I can firmly see my children, and maybe a cat or something, but as for the rest of me? Not an iota of a clue. I'll probably gain y'know, 50 pounds or so, but beyond my fattening ass it's all smoke and mirrors!

Friday, August 10, 2007


So my new boss just rushed out of the office with a stricken look on her face. Her 20-something stepdaughter has some sort of nebulous autoimmune disease that causes her to have seizures on a semi-regular basis, and today she woke up slurring her speech...they think she made have had a stroke.

I don't know much about autoimmune diseases outside of my own, but my impression is that her stepdaughter's disease is its own animal and the symptoms are hard to prevent or treat. It's lupus-like, but it's not lupus...and it came out of nowhere a few years ago. That coming out of nowhere part sounds familiar, but the not knowing what you're dealing with part FREAKS ME OUT and makes me have that weird sensation of being...glad? relieved?...that I have diabetes. At least diabetes is (relatively) straightforward enough that I can help myself. At least it's common enough that doctors have some idea of how to help me. I can live, and live well, with this disease 99.9% of the time. Yeah, that other .1% is horrid, but on the whole I would describe diabetes as manageable. I know I forget to be thankful for that! The thought of staring into the yawning black hole of the unknown and being helpless is terrifying...

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Long time no blog

I wonder how many times that's come up as a blog entry title in the history of Oh well, I never pretended to be original anyways. Far too exhausting to be unique when it's 110F outside (and NO, I don't live in Phoenix! What gives?!)

So what's been up with me, non-diabetically...and how it affected me diabetically:
  • Marriage celebration! Miraculously I survived a barrage of Australians, my in-laws, and my mother's collection of roughly 20 varieties of homemade cookies, at least three cheesecakes, three ricotta pies, candies, and a wedding cake (and that's the very brief overview of what she made for the reception). All of the leftovers are sitting in my fridge now, but I didn't actually eat all that much on the any rate, my blood sugars stayed steady and unremarkable from the beginning of July to the very end, although I had a slight paranoid moment before the ceremony where I thought I was low. I wasn't! Hurrah :) Now I just have to figure out how to finish the cake in my fridge without going into a coma.
  • Canada! Two nights in Montreal (poutine = not as bad as you think), one night in Toronto (very. tall. buildings.), and one night in Niagara at a B&B (Canadian Vegas indeed). My blood sugars were great in Canada, except for the worst low experience of my life on the 2nd night in Montreal. There just aren't that many carbs in a squash soup, Kendra. One overbolus led to a 40-something that persisted for over an hour and a half. I felt like I was going to pass out, or seize, or something very bad...but I didn't. Needless to say I hope I never feel that awful again. I woke up at 3:30am with a 415. Thank you liver, but you're a little late.
  • New job! Well, new position, same company. I have - no idea - what I'm doing (yet) but at least I get to do it from 9:00am to 5:00pm, at the same address every day. That may sound boring to you, but I'm thrilled. And hopefully I can get up to speed soon enough. Anyone know what OID, REMICs, and negative amortization are? A duurrrrr... :D Diabetes-wise, this should be a piece of cake compared to the old job...except apparently every Friday is "bagel day." Uh oh.

Thursday, July 5, 2007


Is it possible to have a breakdown in your 20's? Mid-life crisis, except not in the middle of your life? I think that so far, my 20's have been far more trying and terrifying and exciting than my teens. And I can't imagine being more confused in my 40's (please god no...if I'm still THIS befuddled in 25 years, put me out of my misery).

More on this later. No worries, I'm not depressed. ":D" <-- See?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Vicious streak

So I went to Bonnaroo last week . . . let me be up front: NOT MY SCENE. However, I really wanted to see some of the bands (Tool, The Police, Fountains of Wayne, Franz Ferdinand) and my husband's friend was in from Sydney and was dying to go. It felt just a bit too stick-in-the-muddish to say "Nah guys, I'll sit this one out." I also hate whining about how much unfun it's going to be to worry about diabetes in a hot, sweaty camping situation for four days. What am I, 75?

As it turned out, my diabetes was surprisingly well behaved. Yes, I had a few lows, but the highs were nearly nonexistant despite me tossing back frozen lemonade, pizza, pretzels, beer, and ice cream. I joked to my husband that I should walk around all day for the rest of my life - I was about 80, constantly. Amazing! (Incidentally, as soon as I returned to work this week - on travel - I began spiking to high 200's and 300's...seriously peeved here, but working on it.)

I took myself by surprise, though. I've posted before about being sick "for real" and how it annoys me and makes me feel seriously put upon. I guess I feel like since I have diabetes, a seriously scary PITA, I should be exempt from the myriad of other petty human ailments (or even the not-so-petty ones). The feeling's irrational and self-pitying, but it's there.

On the last day I'd be at the festival, this past Saturday, I got up as normal and was sitting outside of the tent reading a book. Enjoying the weather before it got too hot. I was sunning my feet and generally enjoying not thinking about much of anything. The boys got up and we headed to the main festival grounds for some grub. While walking there, I noticed that the insides of my ankles and lower calves were turning seriously red, and getting itchy. I thought back to anything I might have gotten into that could cause this, even though I've never been the type to have sensitive skin / get rashes. Putting my feet in the grass last night? Nah.

I stopped by the medic tent and was diagnosed with a case of heat rash. They gave me some sort of anti-itch balm. Okay cool, I can deal with this. I smeared the stuff on and rejoined my pals. Twenty minutes later, the itch turned into a "IT BUUUURRRRNNNNNSSSS!" sensation anytime that the sun happened to shine on the rash (which was constantly). So freaking weird, and so freaking miserable. It felt like I was holding a hair dryer on high right next to my skin, or pressing my skin onto the hood of a car that has been parked in the sun all day. The only thing that brought me any relief was to sit in air conditioning and cover my legs with a wet cloth / aloe.

Unfortunately I was at a rock festival with limited amounts of any of those things. I had some sort of mental breakdown at this point for whatever reason - I had spent a lot of money on these tickets, I had been having fun despite limited sleep, no showers, and being surrounded by roving, drunken hoodlums for the past three days (:D), and no one else here I saw had stupid heat rash. Everyone was having a great heat-rash free diabetes-free time, and stupid defective me was going to end up spending most of the day inside at a ROCK FESTIVAL. Am I truly not allowed to have any fun anymore, even when I make the conscious effort to be adventurous and try?! I was incredibly angry at myself and stomped off, cursing and crying, into a lukewarm tent sponsored by MTV (haha). My husband was extremely supportive (if a little exasperated with my overreaction) and made the trek back to our tent to get me some novels to read until the sun went down. The burn abated as long as I stayed inside, and when I ventured out around 4pm the worst had passed.

Looking back it was so silly; of course there were other diabetics there. Of course more than one person left those camp grounds in the back of an ambulance, so really the rash I got was so minor. I just have no patience or tolerance for my body anymore when it doesn't do things exactly right (or exactly as I plan). I never got a sun burn - and had religiously applied sunscreen, kept hydrated, and wore a wide brimmed hat the whole time I was there - and I still walked out of the festival with an injury. My red rash is fading, but I still hate feeling like a fragile, delicate flower who should give up anything the least bit "rugged" and spend the rest of my summer in a library. I was angry and full of self-resentment at the time...just one of those days I really wished I was NORMAL, dammit. Back in the day I would've brushed the rash off as inconvenient and painful, and I wouldn't have let it escalate into a personal attack on myself. Having diabetes makes me beat up on myself on a daily basis already. I gotta learn to check the baggage for the rest of life's little PITAs in the future.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Oh, vending machine.

Diabetic forgot her breakfast today in the mad rush out of the door!

So now it's a choice. Skip breakfast and try to hold out until lunch? Risk grumbly stomach, hunger pangs*, and hypoglycemia? Nah that sucks.

Visit vending machine? I generally consider vending machines my friends, as they are full of all sorts of sucrose-filled joy. Perfect for treating that late afternoon 47. This morning, not so friendly. Breakfast materials enclosed within: cinnamon swirl iced pop-tarts. Total carbs: 69g. Shit. I haven't had a pop-tart (unless I was low) in years.

I went for the pop-tarts, despite the fact that my 89 mg/dl was screaming at me. "I AM PERFECT, WHY MUST YOU DO THIS TO ME? WHYYYYYYYY?"

I'll check my sugar level in another 30 min. Hope I didn't totally screw myself.

* I am a total wuss about hunger pangs these days. I'm so rarely hungry anymore, what with the balanced meals and the hypoglycemia induced snacking, that when I feel empty stomach pains I am simultaneously mystified and incredibly put-out. Used to be that I was a breakfast skipper. Sometimes a breakfast AND lunch skipper. Not anymore!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Uppin' ze droogs

So I recently changed my basal rates AND my carb ratios. I always feel kinda weird when I have to increase my insulin intake, and there's been no discernable difference in diet or exercise habits. I think the scariest/most frustrating type of diabetes to be saddled with would be "Type 1.5" where you not only make no insulin, but are also extremely resistant to any insulin you take. I know I'm not Type 1.5, but I guess it's a part of life that at different times and places I am going to need to make some changes to my insulin regime.

Back when I first got on the pump I was on a .55/hr overnight rate, with .65/hr during the day. What's funny is, that was about half the number of units of Lantus that I had been on for my first two years as a diabetic. I self-adjusted my basals over the years, eventually adding in a jump to .75/hr in the wee am hours to combat the dreaded dawn phenomenon.

Recently I've gone to .70/hr for my late morning to mid-afternoon. Then I jump to .75/hr. Then from 12am to 4am I'm at .70/hr again. Then from 4 to 6 I'm at .95/hr. Then from 7 to 10, back to .75/hr. I've never done a basal rate test, but for the most part this seems to be working. I could probably stand to extend the .95 out another hour or two in either direction in fact . . . Overall it's only 17.8 units a day, still about half of the typical Lantus shot I used to take.

Yesterday I changed my i:c ratios from 1:9 to 1:8. When I was first diagnosed I was getting away with 1:15. Then it went to 1:12. Then 1:10...I'll have to start multiplying instead of dividing soon, it feels like!

Maybe this is the reason for the highs I was bitching about before. It just seemed kinda sudden is all...

I wish diabetes was as scientific and predictable as doctors and pharmaceutical companies would like us to believe. Yeah, I should do a basal rate test and really pin things down to a tee. I can't shake the feeling that half of diabetes management is intuition, though. An art, if you will!

Current blood sugar: 184. ACT-bolus-manual bolus-normal bolus-1.5-ACT!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Crisis over.

Just as I start to complain, things return to normal. What was with those crazy couple of days? My rage boluses are now, quite rightly, sending me packing into hypoglycemia purgatory. I'm no longer on an elevated basal rate (mostly because I forgot to extend the temp rate last night), but I woke up at a pleasant 85.

I think diabetes was just having a laugh at my expense. Ha. Ha. Haaaa.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Grumbledy grumbledy groo!

This is a first . . . persistantly high blood sugars for the past two days for no discernable reason, despite frequent testing and way more insulin than usual. Doesn't matter what I eat, I'm 200-something. Doesn't matter how much I rage bolus, I'll be 200-something in a few hours.

The following variables have been eliminated:
  • bad site (I changed my site this morning and am still experiencing The Wonky BS)
  • stress (work is pretty slow, husband and I are fine, marriage party planning is okay)
  • bad insulin (it works...eventually! I actually got down to 65 yesterday after a few rage boluses. AND despite The Wonk, I have woken up both days with 100 and 109 fastings. I attribute this to a temporary basal rate set for 24 hours at 126%!)
  • pregnancy (tested today; "Not Pregnant." Phew!)
The following variables could be the causes of The Wonk:
  • sickness (maybe I'm still getting over last week)
  • period (I'm a couple of days late at this point, but my cycle has been kind of stupid for the past few months anyway. And I've NEVER had persistant highs like this from premenstrual hormones. Sure, I've had *some* resistance, but this is ridiculous.)
So I guess I'll just soldier on with my basal rate at a temporary 126% and keep rage bolusing until the status quo this point whatever my Bolus Wizard says, I automatically add 1 or 1.5 units and I'm STILL not in range all of the time. I don't know whether I am more mystified or pissed off. Insulin usually works for me. Maybe I need magic fairy dust?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Medical Mania

Actually this is a happy post! Last week was awesome timing...the planets must've aligned, because I didn't work at allllll. My job is great for killing you one week and leaving you with crap-all to do the next week. (I hate that by the way, but I think I've beaten that horse good and dead so we'll move on.) I felt like low-level shite all week, so it was good to have a paid vacation. I sat on the couch, monitored work emails, and did whatever I could without arousing the headache demons.

I've decided that doctors really are a little...sigh. I don't know. Sadist? Funny? Utterly perplexing and infuriating? They're like computers...can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em. When they work they're great, when they don't you want to throw them out of a window. Pick your cliche, I've got 'em all! I have two examples from the past 7 days or so.

I went to my gynecologist on Tuesday of last week, after I met with my endo. She wanted to confirm that my lymphy lump (lumpy lymph?) was truly of lymphatic origin and wasn't something like a hernia or the C-word. Sure 'nuff, WebMD and myself were correct - Dr. Vag* took one quick feel and said "Yep, that's definitely your lymph node!" He then asked if I had any infections in my nether regions that would cause such ire to form in my groin. I couldn't think of a darn thing, except for my pilonidal cyst.

"But it hasn't flared up in almost a year! I do my best to take care of it and it's not that's never messed with my lymph nodes before."
"Well, can I see it? I used to be a general surgeon when I started practicing medicine 500 years ago."

So I mistrustfully turned over, even though I think my pilonidal was probably not at fault in my lymphatic catastrophe. Things have been relatively quiet down there. Dr. Vag immediately stuck a finger right on the tender spot that I do my best to keep off of at all times and PRESSED and RUBBED, just to assuage his curiosity.

Extreme pain! I should've flipped over and treated him with a swift kick to the jaw, but he's elderly and I'm too nice to people.

"Ha, this is nothing. This is a baby pilonidal. Out of all the pilonidals I've ever seen, yours is nothing."

THANKS, THANKS A LOT, I DON'T CARE ABOUT MY PILONIDAL, I KNOW IT IS PRETTY UNREMARKABLE AS FAR AS ASS ABSCESSES GO. Now that I've got my daily dose of pain and you've poked at all of my tenderest spots and confirmed what I had already figured out myself, am I excused?

He then proceeded to tell me that the only way to cure pilonidals was to "cut them out all the way to the bone" (not true) and that diabetics are prone to infection and that I would probably have a lot of problems with infections in my life.

Sigh. Yeah that's me, the leper. I'm just fallin' to pieces here.

My second example of exasperating doctors concerns the aforementioned cholesterol worries I've had over the past months; ever since I've started going to my new endo, in fact. Today I got the results of last Monday's blood work:

A1C: 6.5. Woohoo!
LDL cholesterol: 68. WHAT THE?! Down from 109 four months ago?! I haven't changed my diet or exercise habits.
Total cholesterol: 120, down from 136. WHAT THE?!

So my endo said my HDL was a "little low" in relation to the LDL, but that it looked "fantastic" and if I exercised the HDL should go up.

Ummmmmmm. Okay. How does my cholesterol from "slightly elevated; you should go on statins" to "fantastic"? The only difference I made was that my bloodwork this time was fasting, whereas usually I eat cereal/milk before I go in for my appointment. Could that really have that big of an impact on cholesterol readings? And if so, how many people are inaccurately placed on statins? Can cholesterol really fluctuate that much? Don't get me wrong, I'm ecstatic - but I think I'll be darned before I let myself get pressured into going on pills for my "elevated cholesterol." Seems like blood work is highly variable...?? Is my A1C even reliable? What the heck?

*Name changed to product the innocent and also for minor humor value. If you're into toilet humor like myself. Hur hur.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Sick f'real

I admit that I am a total wuss when it comes to being acutely ill. There's something about a cold or a stomach bug that registers extremely high on my Misery Scale that diabetes just can't touch. On a day to day basis I consider diabetes more of a "condition" than a "disease." Hit me if that doesn't make any sense, but diabetes is like a constant, physical state of being to me. Yeah, it causes discomfort, but on a typical day it doesn't totally incapcitate me or make me feel super uncomfortable. I can deal with diabetes, but a cold or any other seemingly minor ailment? Pisses. Me. Off. I also think this is cos I've got a huge chip on my shoulder - I already have diabetes, I don't deserve anything else, right?! (Pft, tough titty, sister.)

Anyway, I've been feeling a little funky since allergy season is now in full force. This isn't unexpected, but most years I can soldier on by popping a couple of antihistamines and going about my business. Last week I felt nauseous a few times in the am (yeah, making me nervous) but I attributed it to general funkiness. On Thursday I started feeling a mild tenderness on the left side of my groin (where exactly IS the groin, anyway) . By Saturday evening it had swelled to a Genuine Lump. I did a quick internet search and it sounds like I've got myself an angry lymph node friend down there. Well, the general funkiness intensified over Saturday night and by Sunday morning I couldn't stand upright without giving myself a pounding headache. I've had a sinus infection before, about 3 or 4 years ago, and this was similar but not quite the same...I'm still blaming it on sinus though as my nose was a faucet and my face felt puffy around the nasal region. Spent the whole day in bed. It was actually kind of nice, but also frustrating...

This morning I had an appointment with the endo...last time I saw her was in January. I was attempting to fast since I knew I'd have bloodwork drawn. I've never done this before and my stomach was rumbling like crazy about 15 minutes before I left the house. I decided to have a cup of green tea to try and assuage the grumblies. Awful, awful idea. I ended up puking up whatever was in my stomach - mostly tea. I haven't puked since 2002, so this was decidedly unfun. I'm not sure quite what's up with me, but I'd like to have it stop, pronto!

In better news, my PA and endo have given me the green light to go get knocked up (assuming that the blood work they draw today shows that my A1C is under 7). I won't be trying to conceive until late July or early August, but it was nice to get the "good job, way to go" pat on the back. My A1Cs have been under 7 for a couple of years now and my docs seem to have a lot of confidence in my control and ability to self-diagnose and dose. The goals and monitoring we discussed weren't off the wall either - under 90 fasting, 90 pre-prandial, and under 120 2 hours post prandial. Yeah, I am definitely not there yet but as my PA explained, blood sugars tend to drop during pregnancy anyway . . . and like I've said before, babies are great motivators. I've achieved "good" control without busting my butt too much, so if I start busting a little more things should elevate to "great!" I'll get a lot more doc help than I currently do also - fax in the sugar logs a couple of times a week, and a monthly appointment.

From now until August I think I'll be focusing on keeping my nose wiped and my lymph nodes normal sized...ugh!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Quack, quack, quack.

This is a post I've been debating writing about for a long time now. It's my post about alternative medicine and it'll probably be long and incoherent because that was what my experience was like. You see there used to be a time when I underwent some pretty weird treatments in search of a cure for diabetes. I'm obviously still diabetic, but I don't want this to become a bitter or angry post. I am not pointing fingers at anyone, conventional doc or alternative doc. I'm past that...I just want to put this out there in the hopes that you find it interesting or that it gives you a little more insight into the lesser known medical community out there. I still believe that the medical community as a whole would greatly benefit from an integration of conventional and complementary therapies instead of mud-slinging, but that's never gonna happen so whatev. It'd be nice though - you'd get rid of quacks and at the same time give proper respect to new and developing therapies without automatically crushing them in the name of big pharma.

My foray into the realm of alternative medicine and nutrition started when I was still a little kid. I wouldn't call my parents commune tree-huggers by any stretch of the imagination, but they did have some good friends who were pushing this blue-green algae product. The algae was harvested from Klamath Lake in Oregon and was marketed as a "superfood" - in other words, grown naturally, full of nutrients, no pesticides, not overcooked, no preservatives. I think we started popping back the algae pills - as a family - when I was about 10 or 11. The thing is, these pills could never hurt you, so looking back on it I don't mind taking them. At the very least I consider them to be part of my daily green vegetable serving...and if I didn't eat anything else green that day, at least I ate the algae. My mother swore that they made her menstrual pain disappear. As a kid with effortless good health, I didn't notice any effects one way or another. In my mind they were basically vitamins.

Fast forward about 8 years. I wasn't as active an algae taker, and my parents weren't either - they were still consumers, but they were no longer interested in trying to peddle the product themselves. I think this was mostly due to negative reaction by family and friends ("Pyramid marketing scheme, awesome.") and also because it took a hell of a lot of time and start up cash.

I get diagnosed with diabetes. We learn right quick about insulin - about treating the symptoms in order to survive. My parents, and especially my mother, I think, were so desperate to see me get better. They were ripe to the suggestion that maybe this could go away, and all conventional medicine could tell them was "a cure will come soon" I don't blame them for what they did; hell, I was 18 years old and I went along with it. I think that to this day they are still wrapping their minds around the fact that one of their children has a serious, chronic disease. So'm I. Anyway.

So when the original algae friends popped up again with news of hope, Mom jumped at the chance. I'd say this was about 6 months or a year into my diagnosis. Mom's friend mentioned a naturopathic MD based in GA. Apparently, he had successfully treated a Type I diabetic about my age. She wasn't CURED, per se, but she was no longer dependent on insulin. So effectively a Type II, diet controlled, but without the insulin resistance. Pretty cool, right? Well, better than Type I anyway.

Mom launched the idea to me, and my immediate reaction was "NO." I didn't have anything against alternative therapy (at the time), but I was still learning how to take care of myself on a day to day basis. I thought that adding herbal supplements and other random therapy would throw too many variables into my equation. How was I supposed to follow advice from two doctors when they didn't communicate and were operating from two completely different medical walks of life? Well, somehow she wore me down. I mean, what did we have to lose besides money and time, right? And it might help. There was nothing so disheartening to the newly diagnosed diabetic me like that hopeless feeling I got when I remembered the nurse in the ER saying that it was never going to go away. That this is a life sentence. And then my endo confirming that he can never cure me, only treat my symptoms. If that hopeless feeling would go away, I'd try it.

We made the ten hour drive down to GA. On the way I had the worst stomach cramps I have ever had in my life. I puked out the window, even. Awesome! I honestly think I was experiencing food poisoning from an IHOP caesar salad...still won't touch the damn things. The doctor said I had had a mild "gallbladder attack" due to an excess of gallstones. Errr...well, I'll let you know when my gallbladder conks out, but I haven't had any issues like that since. I'll just keep avoiding the caesar salads at IHOP, thanks.

At the first appointment, I learned that the method of diagnosis most heralded by the doctor is electrodermal stress analysis. In a nutshell, this is mapping acupuncture meridians to electric signals that are produced by your body to detect "inflammations" or "deficiencies." You sit there and hold a moistened metal rod in one hand. The doctor uses a metal probe hooked up to one of them there electrodermal machines (see link; I was diagnosed with the Omega AccuBase Platinum device). Then the doctor asks your body a question, and touches the metal probe to acupuncture points on your fingers and feet. These questions were anything from "What kind of medicine does she need?" to "What is her true biological age?" After the diagnosis sessions, I'd go get adjusted by a chiropractor and clear any "emotional pain" found by the electrodermal machine. Then the machine would be used again to determine what sorts of homeopathic tinctures and herbal treatments would best suit my ailments. The idea was that the body dredges up the thing that's wrong with it the most at any given moment, so treatment is a g r a d u a l process.

Predictably, my body always complained about stressful emotions, liver, pancreas, endocrine, and immune system issues. Once it even threw my lungs and my heart out there. I was always a little older than my biological age, and I always always always needed tons of pills and horrible-tasting liquids. I visited this doctor for two years. I received EDTA chelation therapy - as my initial diagnosis was heavy metal blockages in the main blood vessels leading to my pancreas - foot bath detoxification, lymphatic massages, and several chiropractic readjustments. I swallowed down countless detox shakes of grapefruit juice and olive oil to "cleanse my liver." My doctor convinced me to put off getting the insulin pump and give his methods a try. I did. I cut down my carbs to 15g or less per meal - usually less. I was on one shot of Lantus a day, 30 units, with Humalog to supplement if I overstepped my carb boundaries. My doctor told me not to treat lows with sugar, but with enzyme pills. This was his next explanation for my diabetes - overall body acidosis. The theory here is that sickness thrives in an acid environment; parasites, bacteria, etc. If I would just cut sugars and other "acidic" foods out of my diet, I would be cured. Oh, and I also had a couple of "miasms" (which are basically like genetic disease footprints passed down to you from your relatives). Nothing like being a 20 year old woman carrying around a bottle labelled "Syphilinium" to get rid of her syphilis miasm.

There were a few ocassions that really convinced me that this stuff was the real deal...I wish I could remember now, but it's fading a bit. One that I can recall was a seemingly random appearance of "Teeth" on the electrodermal analysis screening. What could my teeth have to do with diabetes? Well, let's ask the machine.

"There is a problem with the teeth that is affecting the diabetes?"
*machine bleeps yes*
"Are there fillings in the teeth?"
*machine bleeps yes*
"Are they mercury amalgam fillings?"
*machine bleeps yes*
"Are mercury vapors being released into the mouth and causing inflammation of the organs?"
*machine bleeps yes*

Amazingly (coincidentally) I had received my very first fillings ever just a few days prior to the appointment. Unless the doctor hired a private investigator on me, he was taking a pretty big chance making up the teeth thing. I come to find out through research later that metal fillings are a big deal with a lot of alternative practicioners - and I agree with them, mercury in your mouth is bad...but looking back on it it was a pretty cheap way to convince me that this machine was legitimate. Also the machine constantly harped on generational bad emotions passed to me through my mother's family. I guess this is digging out a lot of skeletons, but let's just say it sounded really plausible. And it was actually kind of fun to pull these "answers" almost out of thin air, out of my body - that unknown betrayer was finally being forced to fess up.

But isn't that what they always say about fortune tellers? Fun? Plausible? Generic? Obvious?

I guess what really began to make me feel fed up with everything was not just the huge amounts of travel and money that we were throwing into this therapy - with a total lack of results - was when my husband, then boyfriend, came to an appointment with me. He said he damn near cried and felt sick to his stomach when he saw what was happening. This is the guy who hates going to the doctor on general principle, but he hated it even more when he couldn't get scientific answers out of the doctor. He couldn't wait to get out of there, and we stopped talking about my treatments together.

The still, small voice inside of me began to whisper that I might be on very little insulin, but that was only because I wasn't eating much of anything to require insulin. And I couldn't ignore the fact that every time I walked out of that office I felt horribly flawed, horribly sick, and doomed, somehow. Like every move I made in my life was bad for me. Let's face it, it's hard to be healthy in the modern world. But what a weight I felt on my shoulders during that period of time. The crushing responsibility of my own health and my inability to control it. The long drives back to Virginia I spent laying down in the backseat, head in a book or anywhere else but in the bag of medicines my mother closely examined. I was always snappy and sad when talking about the "progress" (or regression) I had made. I felt like I was 75 years old after those visits and it took me a few days to recover. Healthy, huh?

After copious amounts of frustration on my part, mom heard from her friend again. Apparently there was this doctor in Chula Vista, CA, who had cured diabetics. We brought his name up to my doctor in GA, who brightened immediately and became excited. He highly recommended that I go see the doc in CA, they were pals who did lots of international seminars together. The CA doctor used a technique called "live cell therapy" in which he examines your blood using a big ole expensive microscope. Based on whatever he sees in your blood - parasites, plaque, Mickey Mouse - he sends you over the border to Tijuana, Mexico, to be treated at his hospital there. I endured two weeks of enzyme pills, enemas, green shakes, and constant IV treatments. I was injected with bovine stem cells at that hospital - but the whole time I was there I felt a sense of foreboding. I was too scared to think that this might actually help, and I was again feeling the huge weight of my negative destiny. The doctor had me cut back my insulin to practically nothing after I was treated with the shots "to see what would happen." In the meantime I read testimonials from former patients who were either no longer using insulin at all, or had cut back to 50% of their prior use. Hope hope hope. When the night doctor came in to examine me, read my night blood sugar readings, and heard that I was taking no insulin, he scoffed. "What does he think is going to happen?"

At the time I thought that guy was rude. Now I know he was right. My blood sugar levels hovered in the 300s and 400s for over a week, and eventually the doctor relented. I started the insulin up again, left Tijuana, went back to school. The much-lauded effects of the cell therapy never materialized. In fact, my blood sugars were uncharacteristically erratic - as in random HIGH highs - for a few weeks after I came home. My calls to the doctor were largely unanswered, unless I called several times a day.

After more than two years of travel to GA and CA, I finally told my endocrinologist what I had been doing. He got a pained look on his face, but as we were very close I think he prevented himself from flipping out completely. During that appointment we learned that I had antibodies for Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Had I, with the best of intentions and the highest of hopes, inadvertantly caused my immune system to backfire on me again? I don't have a thyroid issue yet, but the antibodies are a good indicator that it's going to happen. And again, my conventional doctor can do nothing for me but treat my symptoms. And the alternative doctor can only propose more and more cracked out therapies and tell me that that potato chip I'm eating is the entire reason for my body's inability to cope. Again, the weight of my doom on my shoulders. I hurt myself if I do this, I hurt myself if I do that. How do I keep from killing myself? It was just impossible.

The final straw came when I was traveling into DC for further chelation treatments prescribed by the naturopathic MD in GA. The travel down to GA was just too much at this point, so I was going into the city to a MD who specialized in allergy treatments. He also provided IV fluids w/ vitamins, etc, for his allergy patients. He happened to have the stuff that the naturopathic MD wanted me to get at the time. Anyway, some billing rigamarole happened that caused my mother a huge amount of stress. I said I wanted to call off all of the damn treatments right there. We were calling one of the naturopathic MD's associates in Leesburg, VA to try and sort the mess out and even as I was near tears on the phone with her, she was trying to pitch another treatment to me. She had been cured of Crohn's, she asserted! If I just got rid of those miasms....I don't even remember all of the details, just the huge feeling of being sick of feeling sick. SICK OF IT ALL.


I haven't gone back to GA since. I seriously doubt I will ever dabble in alternative therapies again. Did the doctor help me? Maybe. Did he hurt me? Maybe. What did I lose? Confidence, time, money. What did I gain? A healthy sense of skepticism. I've always wanted to assert myself as very open minded, and I still feel I am. We don't have all the answers. Doctors are certainly not gods - conventional or alternative. Should I feel bad about wanting to hope? No. That was the primary motivator in all of this - hope. It didn't pan out, and for a long time I was angry about it. I felt swindled and manipulated, plain and simple - my parents' pain and fear gobbled up as greedily as the dollars that fell out of their wallets. But I still can't convince myself that the people offering these treatments and information are operating with an evil purpose and that some of these treatments do not have a basis in truth. Some undoubtedly are motivated by the money, but others will swear over and over that it has helped them tremendously. And maybe these treatments are effective for their ailments...but it never helped my diabetes.

I'm sittin' back for now. I'm enjoying my (relative) good health. I'm fine-tuning my basal rates. I'm not stressing myself out about this stuff anymore. I'm still walking the open minded road, but I don't think I'll be taking any turns too quick. I hope that my parents - if they read this - don't feel like I'm nailing them for buying into these treatments. I think it's perfectly understandable and I still feel like there's great untapped potential in the arena of alternative therapy....but I don't have room in my life for another endless tail-chasing session, or for more self-doubt and worry. My conventional doctors said "In 5 more years..." and my alternative doctor said "With 5 more chelation treatments..."

As far as I see it, no one's got diabetes nipped in the bud yet, but there's still plenty of false hope to be peddled around. I guess it's human nature.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Diabetic stress dream

Thought some of you might get a chuckle out of this one, cos I had to laugh at myself when I woke up this morning.

Most. Annoying. Dream. EVER.

I don't remember the context or background, but I was trying to test my blood sugar and couldn't get enough blood on to the strip - I kept seeing "E-3" (don't know if that's the right error that would show for my BD Paradigm Link or what, but it's close). After I finally got enough blood to come out, it smeared around on my finger and I wasn't be able to get a confined drop to put onto the strip. 4 strips later, I finally had a nice-sized drop and I guided it toward the strip...and I put it on before the meter was ready, so I got another error. 5 wasted test strips! ULTIMATE FEELING OF DISGUST FROM SAID DIABETIC!!!

Then I woke up! ":D"

Monday, April 16, 2007


I'm not even going to attempt an eloquent post, but . . . I graduated from Virginia Tech in May 2006. The shooting in August 2006 was shocking enough. Today? Absolutely mindblowing . . . I lived in West Ambler-Johnston my freshman year. It was always very beautiful and peaceful, in contrast to other places I have lived.

Friday, April 13, 2007


Nearly! In a good way! Celebrate this with me...this is the first day in a LONG time that my blood sugars have looked like this. Of course, there's always the rest of the evening to totally mangle with my horrible snacking habits, but for now I'll just feel good about myself, okay? It's nice to not see a bunch of jagged points or evil smiley faces.

These relatively calm blood sugars are surprising because they're in direct contrast to my emotional state. I had a really rough night yesterday for no good reason. It was one of those times when you're laying in bed alllmost asleep . . . and suddenly you get this rush of adrenaline when you realize - da da DUNNNNNN! - you forgot to do something very important during your long and busy day, and you can't do a damn thing about it because it's 12:41am. In my case, it was work related - so of course my upset doubled and trebled in a matter of seconds. I worried myself sick about it for over an hour, worked up some tears, ended up sleeping on the couch. Of course it wasn't a big deal and I took care of it this morning with no problem, so why does my mind insist on making catastrophic scenarios and/or holding itself to unreasonable standards? Everyone forgets stuff. I feel bad for my husband - he shouldn't have to put up with such a basketcase. I've always been prone to freaking out internally when it came to something in which my achievement was going to be assessed - such as a work or school situation - but it was rare that I worked myself up into tears over nothing and lost sleep. I wasn't always like this, people. July can't come soon enough . . .

Oh and by la way, credits for the blood sugar log layout go to Excel genius Kevin at parenthetic (diabetic). I am VERY grateful to have such a wonderful tool to use. It's like a lo-fi CGMS graph! :D

Monday, April 9, 2007


The brownies were pretty good.

I'm going to start keeping a detailed blood sugar log again, cos I've got a looming endo appointment in May. I've changed my basals a lot over the past few weeks, but I'm still getting random yurky highs. I wish I was having more trouble with lows. Hopefully my endo can point out a few patterns for me. Most of the time she's just very happy that I'm testing so often and that I treat any issues quickly, but I wish I never HAD the issues. Sometimes I feel like a "bad diabetic" because I see at least one or two out of range numbers every day. I know they happen whether I see them or not, and whether I've done all I can or not (temporary post-prandial spiking, anyone?) , but it's still frustrating to me. I judge the quality of my control subjectively, by whatever feeling I get when I think of it. Right now I'd grade myself a B-.

My diabetic dream would be to have an average of 115 on my pump, and a logbook full of 80's. But in reality, 80's freak me out. In reality, my pump average is 145. Yikes.

My meter says "83." And the subtext to that little number would be "...and dropping!" I've never been able to be a steady-freddie 80. I can blissfully hang out at 125 or 130 for hours. But 80? Nah.

Back to work...

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

And now my hair smells like an ashtray!

Diabetic conundrum #728: do you bolus 20-30 min before the food to avoid the blood sugar spike, or do you wait until the food is prepared and ready to eat before you bolus? There're downfalls to both.

If you don't pre-bolus, your blood sugar won't be as stable (assuming you're not yet a Symlin guru). If you don't wait until the food is ready, you're loadin' up on hormone with no guaranteed sugar for it to squirrel away in your cells. Use whichever cliche you like...counting chickens before they hatch...there's no such thing as a sure thing...

Tonight I decided to watch some Gilmore Girls from the lonesomeness of my hotel room. Despite the lonesomeness the room is one of the best I've stayed in this year (Marriott Residence Inn in Plainview, NY). This is proven by the complimentary bag of popcorn sitting in the kitchenette. DVD, popcorn, you know the rest. I haven't cooked popcorn in . . . probably over 5 years. I don't eat the stuff much; every once in a while I'll have it at the theater, but popcorn has no real place in my life except for spur of the moment Gilmore Girls in a hotel room moments.

So anyways, I carefully examined the carb count on the back of the back. Bolused for 40g worth of carb. Noted the "do not overcook - popcorn will scorch" warning.

Guess who scorched the fucking popcorn. Just call me Mrs. Cleaver!

I'm now two dollars lighter and had to consume snack-stand carbs that came in the form of Kellogg's "Soft Batch" chocolate chip cookies (which I give a C- for "carbs worth eating" value).

I'm looking forward to my flight home tomorrow. Long Island has been rainy, cold, and full of greasy food. Probably not a fair assessment as I'm just growing sicker of my job and I didn't exactly come here on a pleasure jaunt. I even told a senior on my team that I was probably definitely maybe possibly thinking of quitting soon sometime in the near future presently. He seems like a cool guy and has his head on straight, but I don't know if it's kosher to go around babbling about how dissatisfied you are to all of your coworkers. To be fair, he brought it up - a discussion about the culture of the American people vs the Australian people (who are becoming scarily Americanized . . . an unstoppable world trend, unfortunately).

In other news, the anniversary of my diagnosis was last Saturday and I completely forgot to celebrate or be morose about it until today. I've had a major spill in the endocrine and immune aisles for five years now, friends and neighbors, with no pimply stockboy wielding a mop in sight. The first thought that sprung to mind when I calculated the time was that I'm probably no longer considered "newly diagnosed." My diabetes would probably not be reversible at this point, if they figured out a way to save the folks who still have feebly kicking pancreases. Maybe mine is totally done now.

Diabetes seemed to be swirling around me very publicly this week for some strange reason, so I guess it was inevitable that I started to dwell on it. Aforementioned coworker (from my hypoglycemic post) announced to more than one client and coworker this week that I had diabetes - I chimed in after her PSA and explained about how I had no limitations yadda yadda yadda blah blah blah. I guess I should've been annoyed at her but to be honest, I wasn't. I had only a split second of put-on-the-spotitude at each occasion and I was only outed because of the damn "low reservoir" alarms. I've never been a pump hider, and I'd be only too happy to explain ZE TRUTH if confronted with ignorance.

I think I'll throw myself a belated d-anniversary party. With BROWNIES!

Monday, March 26, 2007


I just linked to this blog from my facebook account. I don't know if that was stupid or what, but I'm not worrying too much. (I have quite a few "work" friends that may or may not stumble onto this blog. FIRED CUZ OF MAH BLOG. What can I say, I have been nothing but honest. And let me reiterate that I think this job / company is a great place to build a career . . . for someone else. Oh, and I've been writing my blog entries on my lunch break :D No worries!) Okay enough spinelessness.

This weekend was interesting. I woke up on Saturday morning at 11:45. Barely the morning. I felt like SHITE. Awful. Awful. Horrible. But Kendra, you say, you got over ten hours of rest! Isn't that wonderful?

Not when your fasting blood sugar is 177, I say. Keeping in mind that that's probably the lowest it's been in hours since it was nearly noon by the time I got around to testing and I hadn't eaten since 7pm the night before. Mind and body felt like gum. Gummy gum. Husband, chipperly asking if I was well-rested after such a long sleep.

I rather brittlely replied: "Next time I sleep so long, could you help me out and test my blood sugar to make sure I'm not too high? Maybe even give me a correction bolus? If I'm out of range I'm going to oversleep. Sometimes I'm not really that tired, but my body is out of whack." (Lows wake me up, but highs make me sleep the oversweetened sleep of sludgy blood.)

"Uhh, sure, I guess . . . I mean I've seen you test lots of times but I don't think I've ever done it . . . "

Huh, I guess he's right! I've tested his sugar at least three times in our relationship. Once, he was drinking a grape soda and was a cool 120-something. The next time he was something too perfect..a pre-dinner 88. The next time he had just come in from a several-mile summer bike ride into the city, and was an exhausted 68 (! Of course I would've been -868 at that point.) He sees me test anywhere from 2 to 10 times a day. But he's correct, he has never wielded the lancet himself.

I sense a time to be smug, ho-ho! And in my hyperglycemic state I couldn't resist the urge to be snarky. I "let" him test my blood sugar allllll day...AND the whole of the next day, until he was whining to be released from duty! "But honey, I do this ALL THE TIME, what's the big deal!" I couldn't resist, I couldn't. I know, I know. He did have the gall to reply "I'm not diabetic, though." (Implied: It shouldn't be my problem, toots. Oh-ho.) I did take my small delights here and there, though - watching him fumble with holding the meter and squeezing blood out of a finger at the same time. Watching him struggle to get a slippery/sticky test strip out of that infinitesmally small strip bottle opening. "Why don't all of these damn things have automatic dispensers for the strips?!" (insert mad cackling here from myself) Watching him squeeze a freshly-pricked finger, only to have no blood emerge. How puzzling. Watching him wrinkle his nose up at how to dispose of the leftover blood. Such a messy, fussy disease.

Later that day I did apologize, thinking maybe I might have come off too bitchy - blaming him, maybe, for not having the diabetic sixth sense to test me while I snoozed. I know he's worried about me as I slept before, so I thought - why not empower him? I would love some help now and then, if he was willing. He assured me he knew he wasn't being attacked, and that he was glad he now had better finger-prickin' skillz. He also acquired some familiarity with my pump menu (due to premenstrual hormones, there was plenty of correcting to be done this weekend). Next up folks, the partner pump site change! Ha. Now there's trust!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


I feel like my diabetes management is standing still right now. I don't think I'm doing awful, but I'm not expecting much change from the 6.8 A1C I had a couple of months ago. My next appointment is in May. I'm actually more concerned about my cholesterol reading - I suppose I'm just dreading getting into an argument about whether or not I need to be placed on statins.

Nothing really remarkable, but I'll remark anyway. I'm not eating as well as I could be. If I have bad blood sugars they are almost always related to something I'm shoveling in my mouth that I really didn't need to eat. And I bet it's not making my cholesterol go down. Maybe I'm just slightly depressed or out of it these days because I'm unhappy at work. (And since work is most of your life, I guess I'm unhappy most of the time.) Maybe my whole LIFE is just standing still.

Sometimes my fasting is fine. Sometimes it's not. I can't seem to nail down a pattern. Last night I went to bed with a 91, and woke up at 143. Bleh. The other day I went to bed at 198 with a correction bolus, and woke up at 81. So maybe 198 is better to sleep on, ha. Anyway that's not a typical pattern. I feel bored when I think about it, but I'd rather be interested!

Where I'd really like to be diabetes-wise is getting my A1C as close to 6.0 or under. To be exercising regularly, too. I want to prepare to have a child, but I'm having trouble finding the motivation to finish my damn state taxes let alone keep detailed blood sugar records. Doesn't help that I have two states to file taxes for, either. (Thanks again, job.)

I wish I had the guts to do what everyone else says - if you aren't happy, say see ya! Not that easy when there's health insurance, a wedding to pay for, and everything else on the horizon.

Oh, I did confirm that business traveling and blood sugars aren't friends. I've been on the road since March 6 - first in Dallas and then in Indianapolis. Vacation travel is different because I'm up and walking around, being active . . . and feeling really happy, which usually has a positive effect on blood sugars. Business travel I'm exhausted. I sit around in an inadequate office all day. I eat a lunch with clients. I go back to the office and sit around. Stress. I have a big dinner. Per diem, baby! I go back to the hotel and lay around watching Gilmore Girls reruns and trying not to give into cravings to go to the vending machine and get a huge effing Snickers bar. I can't survive on salads all damn week, and even if I did, it's not a guarantee of level blood sugars.

At least I'm home for a couple of weeks now . . . and something to celebrate: I'm getting new glasses tonight! "I can SEE, it's a MIRACLE!" :)

Friday, March 2, 2007

The Future of Diabetes

This is a question I've read on other blogs: What is going to happen to us? What is our life going to be like?

Assume there isn't a cure coming out in the next 10, 20, 30 years (I know, I know). Assume that you're going to be diabetic until the day you die. What's going to happen to us? "Us" meaning the people diagnosed with diabetes in the current era of diabetes management - daily self monitoring and self adjustment, carb counting, continuous glucose monitoring systems, pumps, and regular endocrinologist appointments. What is our life expectancy? Are we going to lose our eyes and feet even if our A1Cs are under 7?

I started thinking about this yesterday when yet another woman on Diabetic Mommy was the victim of a side-comment from a nurse that ended up being incredibly scary and / or hurtful. Her A1C was 6.9, and on her forms the nurse marked "uncontrolled diabetic" and then said that it made sense to her, looking at the readings downloaded from the woman's blood sugar monitor.

Hold up now. What the hey? I'm the queen of spinoffs, so I'll try and stop myself before I get off on a tangent. . . but isn't an A1C of under 7.0 considered pretty damn good, according to the ADA? Your body makes no insulin. Unless you want to spend your days eating the same meal, at the same time, and pretend like you live in a vacuum with no emotional upsets, exercise, stresses to the body or mind in any way . . . crap, even that won't work. A Type I diabetic is going to have major blood sugar flucuations NO. MATTER. WHAT. She is busting her ass, testing like crazy, and doing everything as best she can. So what is this "uncontrolled" garbage? How about having a box on the form that says "This disease sucks ass; all things considered she is doing very well." Then the other box can say "This disease sucks ass; patient doesn't give a hell and walked in with a jumbo-sized Pixie Stix."

I guess that box on the form hints at the fact that the ADA may very well be full of caca-poopy. How do they know that an A1C of under 7.0 guarantees long life? What if the only way to escape DEATH BY DIABETES is uh, if you aren't diabetic? (And let's not even get into the "the A1C is not a good indicator of overall control" discussion.)

The word on the streets right now is that no one really knows what's gonna happen to us "kids" working to keep our A1Cs under the magical threshold. All the studies on what creates complications are based off of the older diabetes models and patients. The whole culture and feeilng surrounding diabetes is best summed up by those magazines I receive from my insurance company in the mail . . . some cheap, thin rag with a retired gentleman walking his dog on the cover, and the same tired "information" inside. Are you testing your blood sugar regularly? (I could cut glass with these finger calluses.) Do you know the symptoms of hypoglycemia? (Rattle n roll, tootz.) A yummy meal plan for you! (Wow, fat free imitation butter spread AGAIN? Shocker.)

Is 6.9 good enough? Is 6.8 (my last one, in January) good enough? Is 6.2 (my 2nd-to-last one, in September) good enough? Is anything we do good enough, or are the complications inevitable?

I guess I'm also curious at what a typical A1C is for people who are "controlled" - I mean people who test more than 4 times a day, count carbs every time they put something into their mouths, and think they have a pretty good handle on basal rates and bolus ratios. I think my view of this is a little skewed since I'm a regular DM visitor, where the ladies have some of the most stellar blood sugar records around (babies have a way of motivating like nothing else). It's easy to feel "out of control" there when your two hour post prandial reading is - gasp - 140 or your A1C rockets off the charts at 6.5+.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Emotional Organs

When I think about my pancreas, I feel sad. I want to cry for my pancreas. I have in the past. Maybe I'm melodramatic, but I imagine my pancreas a prisoner inside of my body, struggling and sighing with exhaustion. "Saaaaaave meeeeeee...!"

I wonder what it looks like these days. Was it pink and healthy in 2001, and now it's grey and war-torn? Or has it shriveled, become a ghost of its former self? Is it like those pictures of a smoker's set of lungs, next to the pristine tissue of a non-smoker?

According to a biology professor, my pancreas still makes enzymes like lipase and amylase, even though I am diabetic. (He winced a bit when I asked him. "Don't bother me, kid!") Of course I've never thought to ask an endocrinologist, but I assumed that those enzymes were secreted by different cells. So maybe my pancreas is still alive and kicking (working hard or hardly working?), still pumpin' out those enzymes . . . it's just the beta cells that I should be sad for. The loss of those extremely important little dudes, pumpin' out the amylin and the insulin. I still take an enzyme supplement just in case.

I'm not perfect. I don't always respect my body as much as I should. But I still feel sad about my pancreas.

What about my immune system. Isn't it the killer of my beta cells? An insane murderer? "Your honor, my client was unaware of the consequences of her actions. She was out of her mind, your honor." Forgive it, for it knows not what it does.

No, I can't be angry at my immune system. I feel sad when I think about it, too. I was never one to get sick. The only notable childhood illness I had was the chicken pox, and it wasn't a bad case. These days the old I.S. is still pretty darn reliable. I use and abuse it every day, and it's still tickin'. Since I've been diabetic the only problems I've had were an ongoing infection (pilonidal cyst, a tough cookie to tackle for anyone's immune system), a short-lived pink eye infection in college, a moderately crappy sinus infection, and a cold this past fall that was over in three days. Kudos to my immune system.

I feel sad because I feel like it was something I did. No, I'm not talking about the idiotic "You must've had too much sugar when you were little." I feel like it was my inability to say STOP to the Type-A side of my personality that pushed me to the breaking point in my academic career, and still wants to push me to stay in a high stress job. Why do I do this. Why is this important to me. Who the eff is going to care about this in 100 years. No one, no one. Yes, there are some things I couldn't have known, couldn't have prevented - genetic predisposition, or the fact that I had had an ongoing infection from the time I fell on my tailbone when I attempted to ski for the first time, or the reaction my body would have to the multiple vaccinations I received for entrance into university. You can't tell the medical establishment to go screw itself if you don't know if they're wrong, anyway. But I think I had a choice, and I still have a choice, when it comes to the stress and the self-degradation and the push to be important, to "add value," to Be A Success. I could tell society to go take a flying f**k at the moon so that I can just chill out and spend my time taking care of myself instead of always telling myself I've

Oh damn, how do my posts always degenerate into hippyfests? I feel like it's so unrealistic to want to step out of this whole show, like it's never gonna happen. I'm just going to keep doing it to myself. What's next, cancer?

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Spaceman

What is it about hypoglycemia that is so (terribly) fascinating? Yes, a high blood sugar has its symptoms as well, and more than its fair share of complications. (The especially nasty ones, namely.) But there's nothing like that low that gets a group of folks with diabetes comparing their experiences. They are mostly annoying, sometimes intensely scary.

My coworkers caught me yesterday. Just when I think everyone knows I have diabetes, someone else pops up and plays 20 Questions with me. For better or for worse, I've never shied away from these conversations. I think the worst I do is make light of diabetes . . . never fails that the phrase "It's not that bad" slips out of my mouth. Only later am I smacking myself in the forehead. Anyway, I digress.

Yesterday around 11:00am, I was popping a glucose tablet into my mouth to head off a 65-and-dropping feeling when one of my peers - let's call him Dave - walks by.

Dave: "Hey, what's that?"

Me: "Oh, it's a glucose tablet. I mean, sugar."

Another coworker - let's say Shirley - pops up.

Shirley: "Ohhh, my roommates in college were Type I diabetics! They were twins, they got it when they were 8 and 11. Theirs were always the orange flavor!" (Holy crap. Think of their parents, people. Jeez.)

Me: "Yeah, mine are watermelon . . . it's not 1984 anymore, I like to mix it up a little."

Dave: "Can I try one?"

I think about how expensive the stupid things are and then shrug. Of course! Share the chalky love!

Shirley: "They are like Tums, I think . . . "

Me: "Well they're not that bad. I know a lot of diabetics don't like them but I always have and they're easy to carry in my purse and get me feeling better fast."

Dave, a bit concerned all of the sudden: "Wait, are you okay?"

Me: "Well the whole reason I'm eating these is because my blood sugar is lower than it should be. I need sugar to bring it up. I just feel a little funky right now, but (HERE IT COMES) it's not that bad."

Dave: "So what do you feel like?"

Me: "I always say it's like being a spaceman. Like I'm walking on the moon and not really all here."

Dave, laughing like a fratboy: "That sounds pretty cool to me!"

Yeeah . . . a little more convo from here, but what I didn't tell him was that I have also experienced the following "cool" symptoms:
  • shaking
  • cold sweats
  • HOT sweats
  • impaired coordination
  • numb lips, jaw, face, thighs
  • nausea
  • blurred vision
  • overwhelming feelings of adrenaline coursing through my body ("flashes")
  • feelings of doom
  • intense mood swings
And I know there are more out there that I haven't experienced yet. It really is like an out-of-body experience to me more than anything, though. Sometimes it feels like my feet are bouncing off of the floor.

The dreams I've had while low are remarkable to me. They are vivid and lucid and have probably saved my life on a couple of occasions. The d-dream I remember best took place during my freshman year of college. My roommate had met a guy two weeks into the semester, so I had my room to myself every night. Nice, but not exactly safe for a college frosh with diabetes on MDI, dealing with whacky mealtimes and huge amounts of academic stress and whatnot. (Funnily enough, my mother had been immensely relieved to learn that roomie's dad was also diabetic, so she would be a "BIG HELP" to me during the year. Haha...) Anyway there I was at o'dark thirty and my subconscious is showing me this scene:

I'm at the bottom of a huge stone staircase. It looks like the one from The Exorcist. My friend Paige is standing at the top, calling to me to follow her. I reply, "I can't get up there! I'm too low!"

I snap awake immediately after I say this to her. I am soaked in sweat and my whole body feels like it's quivering. I grab out Ye Olde One Touche and test. 25. Currently my lowest low to date. I lurch out of bed, snap on the room light, and grab a box of cereal.

Later that morning I come to and see cereal bits all over the floor, and the opened box by my bed. Classic!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Two posts in one day, holy moly.

Can ya tell it's a "non-chargeable" day at work? :)

Inspired by someone else's blog entry about avoiding sweet foods...I present to you...

The List of Foods Kendra Almost Never Eats Unless She Wants A 250+ or a 40 Two Hours Later
  • Pizza (Admittedly, I eat this at least once a month. Yes, I know, dual wave bolus. Still haven't nailed it down though.)
  • Bagels (With cream cheese, without cream cheese. It does not matter. Devil food.)
  • Doughnuts
  • Anything pastry from Starbucks
  • Hamburger and fries (Sometimes I get this right. But not enough to make me feel good about it.)
  • Chinese (Kinda like the hamburger and fries. You never can tell from dish to dish, restaurant to restaurant, rice serving to rice serving...)
The List of Foods Kendra Almost Never Eats Because They Just Ain't Worth the Carbs
  • Non-diet sodas (Don't miss them.)
  • Hard candies (Usually. Chocolate is its own food group and is excluded from "candy.")
  • Cheap sweets - Sports drinks, slushies, wafer cookies, pop tarts, all that stuff that is sweet and you eat cos it's there but you're not sure if you really liked it in the first place.
The List of Foods Kendra Eats Even Though Diabetics "Aren't Allowed" to Eat Them
  • Cookies (I am a cookie monster.)
  • Desserts in general (In moderation of course. Includes pudding, cake, ice cream, pie, cobbler, chocolate, sorbet, fruit salad, etc etc etc)

My Job and Diabetes

This is a timely post as yesterday I had "The Departure Talk" with my performance manager. I'm in my first job out of university . . . I work at a Big 4 corporate tax firm, and boy has it been a show. 60+ hours a week during the busy season (after my mandatory hours were upped unexpectedly from 40 to 50 from September to January . . . hear that whistling sound? Yeah, it's my salary dropping. No, we are not compensated for overtime. MAYBE you'll get a bonus! Wow!) In addition to the crazy hours and multiple bosses asking you if you're done with those memos yet, the 25% local travel quoted to me during my interviews looks more like 50%+ and it's all over the country. Or wherever else the client is. For weeks or months at a time.

I feel like a wimp, but here's my beef. Even before I was diagnosed with the big D, I was a homebody. I never wanted a high falutin' high powered corporate job. I accepted this position only after expressly asking several people about hours & travel and was assured that it was a steady, predictable job . . . okay, I thought, diabetes won't be an issue at all then. My first week on the job, one of my superiors asked me if I was ready to go to Minnesota and North Carolina. I must've given her the googly eye face - I was genuinely shocked. I thought, okay, I'll stick it out. So eight months later here I am, and I still hate my life! Ha. I can't see it getting easier as I gain more and more responsibility and knowledge.

One of my major "selling" points in asking for either reduced hours and travel OR for an exit interview is that I physically can't handle this. I struggle with feeling like a phoney, though. I CAN handle it . . . but I feel like I'm doing myself a great disservice. Despite testing ten times a day and doing my best to make wise choices on the road, my A1C has still crept from a 6.1 to a 6.9. I know that's not a huge leap, but it's a move in the wrong direction and I know stress is involved. I'm so $*#&ing tired all of the time. All I think about is work and carbs, and my marriage is starting to go. I feel like the diabetes should be my major stressor, not diabetes AND my job AND my marriage AND whatever else life brings. What about when I want to have children? Diabetic pregnancy and this job . . . I shudder to think.

Then that said, I know there are tons and tons of people with diabetes out there who have stressful jobs, or jobs that require them to go "above and beyond." And people have fought for so long to show others that they are capable and employable and that diabetes doesn't hold them back . . . but don't we have to be honest sometimes?

Diabetes makes a hard job harder. I see the physical impact it has on my coworkers who are seemingly "healthy" and I feel like I'm working myself into an early grave despite my best efforts. I guess I'm trying to deal with what I feel is right for me and the guilt I feel on behalf of anyone with a disability . . . I know I am a great employee but I also want to respect the seriousness of my disease.

I guess I have to be my own advocate. I'd be willing to settle for less money if I could have peace of mind and peace of body.

Monday, February 5, 2007

The Ironic Bunny . . .

I guess a little background is in order, to set the stage. I find diagnosis stories fascinating - they are like births to me. If you don't share the sentiment, feel free to move on. I understand. It's a touch emo, no?

Without further ado, I'd like to introduce you to Me Before Diabetes.

The basic Kendra model, version 2/19/84. Third child of my father, first child of my mother, only daughter for both. Undamaged goods. Early to walk and talk and read, read, read voraciously. Lover of animals and my little brother. Stepped on a bee with my bare foot and lived to tell about it. Favorite food: peanut butter. I'm eight years old and everyone in my family has the flu, except for me. I'm mostly shy.

I'm growing up and developing a love for HTML and the Smashing Pumpkins. I've met my first real boyfriend on a James Iha messageboard, and boy is it getting heavy. Even if he is in Australia. (Yikes.) This guy I go to school with is giving me hell for being in a long distance relationship. He bets I'd date him if he was tall and skinny. He tells me I treat him like shit. I thought we were just friends, I never led him to believe anything else. He's spreading rumors about me now.

Getting enmeshed in all of the hysteria that goes with applying to colleges; I'm the smart one, you know, so no pressure but Mom says maybe you should apply to Columbia and UVA just in case you get in, wouldn't that be neat? Walking around with the shining cloak of invincibility flapping in the wind of my youth . . . ahhh. Heck yes, I'll have another serving of lasagna. Jeez, I never knew you had to have so many vaccinations just to go to school. How many shots have I had just in this past week? Ow.

Talking to my boyfriend about the importance of physical fitness; and hey Dad, can you back off? I'm not THAT skinny . . . but to be honest my butt sort of hurts, so can I see a doc? Oh you have got to be kidding me. "Pilonidal cyst"? Ewwww. I guess I have been spending a lot of time in a computer chair. Fine, I'll take the antibiotics. I'm healthy, this is an easy fix! Wow, I'm only 115 pounds? I'm usually about 125. Guess maybe Dad is right.

I'm 18! I'm legal! Obligatory celebratory dinner at Outback with the fam. I get a free piece of cheesecake. MAN am I tired now; I guess I ate too much.

Running around the halls at school, becoming a regular visitor at the water fountain between classes. I sure am thirsty these days. I think it's because I'm so stressed out; all these AP classes take it out of you. And what if I don't get into my first choice school? I don't even know what I want to do yet anyways. Gosh I am really thirsty. I think I'll start bringing two soda cans with me in the car in the morning. That ought to get me through first period, anyway. I never used to drink very much before, but maybe I'm just catching on to the bottled water craze a little late. Now I know what everyone else feels like. And y'know I'm not the ONLY person to have 3 refills of Hawaiian Punch at Pizza Hut, jeez.

Finally, Spring Break. I can just REST for a while now. We're going to my aunt and uncle's in Philly for Easter dinner. I'm packing for the trip but I wish I could just take a nap. I take naps every day. Dad tells me I should go exercise but I just . . . I just have NO energy after school. I need that nap I tell ya. I put my head on the pillow and I'm gone for a couple of hours. It doesn't help the school situation though; there's too much homework to sleep for long. Well I also think I'm so sleepy because I have to get up and pee about three times a night.

You know, I looked up "frequent urination" and "thirst" on the internet today, just because these two habits are getting pretty extreme. The only thing that came up was diabetes. Yeah right, like I have diabetes. I've only met one person in my whole life with diabetes, and that was when I was like four. I don't have a serious illness. It's just senioritis. It's almost over.

We're stopping for gas on the way. Oooh, Code Red Mountain Dew! A true sign of nerdliness is consuming this beverage in huge amounts, and I do love my nerds. I'm getting 32 ounces of this stuff!

We're stopping again; Dad's bladder is impatient and so is mine. McDonald's? Sigh, not a fan. But Dad's grumbling as he gets back into the car and he shoves a large vanilla shake at me. "Drink this, you are too thin!" Okay, okay. I'm not one to turn down some ice cream, anyway. I'll drink it.

We are finally at the rel's house. I have a huge headache at this point and my stomach is feeling a little rebellious, but I'll converse with the cousins, make nice with grandma, etc. Have several bowls of chicken soup . . . all that wet, it tastes so good. Feeling a little better now. Chat with boyfriend. "Yeah, I feel pretty nauseous, I think I'll just hit the hay early. Talk to you tomorrow." Oh but before I go brush my teeth I just have to have something else to drink . . . I polish off the entire carton of orange juice (oops, I'll replace it, promise...) Climbing into my cousin's loft bed. I'm down for the count.

Oh, oh, oh. When was the last time I felt this feeling? The room is spinning. Wow. I might as well get up and take a shower. Ohh jeez. Standing up was a bad idea. I'm going to be sick. I haven't thrown up in six years. I hate throwing up, it pulls my back muscles. Oh, I feel like twice-baked shite. The toilet smells. Here we go again. Man. At least my stomach is empty now, that should be the last of it. I think I'll go lay down again.

It's 11:00. Sorry Mom, I know I was going to help you and Aunt M. cook but I really just don't feel well...yeah I don't know either, usually I can walk it off but I feel really sick. What a bummer, it's Easter Sunday! Yeah, I know Uncle S. just got over the flu. There must be something going around in Philly. I'm just going to lay down for awhile. I hope I'm over it by this evening; it sure smells good down there! I love food.

Aunt M. makes me move to my other cousin's room because I'm starting to have trouble climbing into the loft bed. I've made about five trips to the bathroom because I have to pee all the time. Bad part is, every time I stand up I feel like I have to puke. So I puke, then I pee. Then I puke, then I pee. I'm well beyond the stomach-bile part and into the dry heaving. This flu isn't screwing around. I'm just going to try and sleep.

Dad brings me toast, yogurt, a banana, and some tea with jelly. I eat it, but what I really want is FLUID. Too bad the city water here tastes A W F U L. Dad, can you get me some Gatorade?

I think I drank at least 4 bottles of Gatorade between 11 am and 5pm. I'm getting really tired, I should probably just try and rest. My lips are sticking to my gums though and when I pulled them apart they started to bleed. It really hurts. And my mouth tastes like a woodchuck died in it. I'm pissed I'm going to miss dinner. I drink some more Gatorade. Gatorade's supposed to be really good for you when you're sick. Please Mom, I do not look like a Holocaust victim. Well yeah I have big circles under my eyes but I've spent the whole day puking. I bet you wouldn't look so hot, either.

Oh, who's this Mom? Aunt M's sister in law? She's a nurse and she'll take a look at me? Okay fine, but I just have the flu. I just need to go home and rest and stay hydrated. I think it's under control.

"Get Louise's glucose meter."

Glucose meter? Mom echos the question. Aunt M gets a horrified look on her face, but disappears and returns with my grandmother's meter. A doctor told my grandmom she was diabetic once, but all of her other doctors say she isn't really - she's just old and things aren't working as well as they should. But she still has her meter.

"Can I have your finger? It's just going to be a little stick."

Fine whatever, I'm really tired. Can you just let me sleep some more? Sleeping is the only time I don't feel absolutely horrible. My head is really heavy, i feel like I'm on one of those old timey carnival rides where you get stuck to the wall . . .

"She has diabetes. She needs to go the emergency room right now." I see the meter in her hand says "HI." Hi to you, too. She leans toward me and sniffs me. "Well, I don't smell anything but she needs to go."

I snap out of my fugue. Anger and frustration is flooding me. A second ago I was tired, now I am PISSED OFF. Tears cloud my eyes - where did my body find the water for tears?

"I don't want to be a goddamned diabetic!" I snarl at anyone in the room. My Mom just looks at me. I rub my eyes furiously, covering my face. I wish they'd all stop looking at me. I know it is true, in every starved cell of my body. I'm a diabetic. Oh god, oh shit . . .

Dad snaps into action. "I'll get her coat."

I am helped down the stairs and into the car by my parents, one at each shoulder. I feel like an invalid. What is this crazy bad trip? What..? Mom says we're going to Bryn Mawr Hospital; apparently they have a really good diabetes education program there. According to Aunt M's sister in law anyway. Diabetes education? God I hope I don't puke in the car. That'd be gross.

Out of the car and into the ER. I hover behind my parents as they approach the nurse at the desk, swaying slightly on my feet. I see a man with his elderly mother sitting in the plastic seats. Dad and Mom explain. The nurse immediately comes out and sniffs me. What the hell is with the sniffing, people?

"Well sometimes diabetics smell like rubbing alcohol or fruit. Whatever, she needs to get hooked up to IV fluids right now." She ushers me into a side room with a cot and lots of IV hangy-bag thingies. I hear the man angrily saying "I was here first!" "Yes, well, she is going to die if we don't take her right now and your mother only has a broken arm."


My mother starts to cry as a young male nurse hooks me up to the fluids. I lay back on the bed, trying to let this sink in. Was I really dying just now? Did someone just save my life?

"Is this going to go away?" Mom asks the nurse.

"No, it never goes away."

"She'll have it for the rest of her life?"

"Yes. She has juvenile diabetes, it's permanent. Hey, how old is she?"


"Oh wow, she's lucky. Just snuck in!"

I'm LUCKY? I kind of want to kick him in the balls. My legs are starting to shake uncontrollably; there's a new nurse now and he explains it's because of the temperature of the fluid. Hey, despite the shaking I actually am feeling tons better.

I'm kind of hungry, actually.

Mom and Dad sit in the plastic seats and watch my legs tremble. If you looked up "shellshocked" in the dictionary, a portrait of them would be there.

A young doctor walks up with a clipboard.

"How do you feel?"

I'm feeling enough like myself to laugh sarcastically.

"Oh, I'm great," I reply. I don't think I've ever tried to be that much of an ass before. I have had it.

He laughs uncomfortably. "Well, would you like something to eat?"

"Yeah, sure, I'm missing Easter dinner."

I get lasagna, salad, and a roll. I eat it all. Mom remarks on how much better I seem, and it has only been 45 minutes. I feel pretty much normal. I give her boyfriend's email address and to please email him and tell him what has happened, because I had promised to call him that evening.

I get moved to the pediatric ward - I'm 18 and lucky after all. Just snuck in. I have to share a room with a little girl who has compound fractures in both of her arms, thanks to a gymnastics horse. (I never was any good at gymnastics.) Her parents talk about me in hushed tones that night. "What a tragedy," they whisper. The little girl cries from the pain and they bring her ice cream and candy to soothe her. I feel ashamed to be a tragedy. I cry bitterly (silently) as I listen to her eat the ice cream behind the curtain. Her arms will heal, but I'm a permanent tragedy.

Nurses poke me periodically through the night; I assume these are my first glucose tests and insulin shots. The next morning a nurse insists on me performing the glucose test myself. The tester is huge and arcane and requires a lot of blood. I squeeze the tip of my finger very hard, so hard it hurts. I put the blood on the strip. It isn't enough. She chastises me. "That isn't enough! You have to get more blood out! You just wasted a strip, and they are expensive. Oh here, I'll do it, but you're going to have to learn how to do this really soon." She grabs my finger and about squeezes it off. She doesn't tell me what the number is, but she does give me a shot. I just feel mildly harassed and really grody. I want to take a shower but those people are over there and I don't want them to whisper about me when I walk past them. I'm 18 years old in a hospital gown, lugging around an IV cart. And I look like hell. No contest to the cute 6 year old in dual arm casts being plied with lollipops.

I end up staying in the hospital for 3 days, until I'm so bored I can't take it anymore. I have had a crash course on diabetes. I think I'm kind of numb. My parents look like they have aged 10 years. Besides I only have 4 days of Spring Break left, and if I spend it all in a hospital I might start missing some school...and I have homework to get done.

That night we go to a CVS. I pick up Humulin and Humalog vials and worry about mixing them wrong. My best friend comes over to my house and gives me my first shot in my arm, but the insuiln shoots back out. Newbie error.

The next morning, I call my boyfriend. His voice is hollow, and scared. He said he took the day off work when he found out. That it punched him in the gut. That he cried all day. I didn't share his sentiment exactly. I don't think I was there yet. I worried beyond belief that he would break up with me . . . we had discussed the importance of our good health before, and now mine was gone. I wasn't healthy anymore. Damaged goods. So instead of telling him that I was a tragedy now, I told him over and over how good I felt. How things were going to be okay. I'm going to be okay. This is liveable. I can do this. Please don't worry about me, I'll be okay.

Later that day I carefully measured out macaroni and cheese, and carefully took my shot. My blood sugars stayed below 150. Mom made me an appointment with the only endocrinologist in town. I did some homework.

So, pleased to meet you. I am Kendra, version 3/31/2002.

Since that major release, I have had a few minor upgrades (first to Lantus and Humalog pens, and now to Novolog and the Minimed pump).

I guess I am still okay.