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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Not a Goat

Thanks to everyone regarding my last post.  This disease is an emotional one as well as a physical one, but I'm so glad I have this platform to gain support and have virtual arms wrap around me.  Things have leveled out, finally, and I feel confident going forward.  

I just wanted to update you all that our appointment went great!  We have a perfectly healthy little baby with all the right organs in all the right places.  But you'll have to wait on the gender announcement for a few days.  We have a few people we need to tell first, like grandparents and stuff.  

Boy or girl, I am just so happy with this gift that I want to burst.  I'm also glad it's not a goat. 

My Worst Night Ever

Last night was, by far, the worst night I've ever had with diabetes.  I set a new record for myself for a low, not that I'm bragging in the least.  I still feel scared writing this down, because I'm not really sure how I'm alive. 

It all started when I was battling a high for 3 hours before bed.  It was a nice Bell curve high that made me want to use my CGM for target practice.  I stacked bolus on bolus as well as having an increased basal to make this high go down.  Normally this practice results in me going low, in fact it usually does.  But it's usually nothing I can't handle, and I'd rather be low than high right now.  So when I finally when to bed at 160 mg/dL with an arrow going down, I thought I would coast to a landing around 100 mg/dL and have a nice flatline that I normally do overnight.  

I woke up at 1 AM completely drenched in sweat, the only thing waking me up was Constance blaring at me.  I don't remember walking to the kitchen, but I got there somehow.  I put the strip in the meter and pierced my left index finger.  Five seconds later . . . 

22 mg/dL 

That's the first time I've ever had a number lower than my age.  Surprisingly, I didn't really get scared at the number.  I just remember thinking, "Uhhh, I probably need to correct that."  I ate a banana while making a peanut butter sandwich.  I finished it off with some cranberry juice.  I considered that it was probably an overcorrection, but I was freaking 22 mg/dL!  I was in survival mode.  So when I woke up again at 2 AM to a high alarm, I laced in 2 units for good measure.  It was hard to go back to sleep at that point, but I finally did at 3 AM.  

My alarm goes off at 5 AM, and I decide to snooze due to last night's festivities.  I also decided to go ahead and bolus for my breakfast so the insulin could be working while I snoozed.  Bad idea!  Trey and I slept through the 2nd alarm and neither one of us woke up until 6:30 AM.  Actually, Trey woke up and was standing over me with a glass of juice.  "Baby, you're sweaty.  Here."  I mumbled and eventually woke up, but Trey had to pull me up into a sitting position.  I drank the juice while he walked me to the kitchen.  I tested, this time on the left middle finger:  22 mg/dL.  I heard Trey gasp, and I whispered, "That's what I was last night."  "What?!"  I made my cereal and sat down on the couch, all while Trey was following me like a hawk.  "I'm hovering until you come up."  I smiled, finally feeling better but cold from all the sweat.  

How could this happen?  I reached my lowest threshold twice in 6 hours.  I'm grateful for my CGM and my husband, because I honestly don't know if I would have woken up without them.  I feel horrible this morning, even thought I should be looking forward to our gender ultrasound later this morning.  The last 24 hours have been the worst ever for me with diabetes.  At this point, I don't care if our child is a goat, as long as their healthy and haven't felt the effects from all this.  That's what makes this post so hard. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What Matters to Me

Merry post-Christmas, everyone!  I hope you all had a great holiday and got to eat some bolusworthy food and your BGs behaved well.  I experienced some food guilt, which seems to be subsiding for now.  My mind is filled with all things baby right now, especially after seeing family and getting ready to find out what little Ferbie is on Thursday.  So I hope you'll indulge me for a few posts (as if this blog hasn't been baby-filled already).  

One thing I noticed when I became pregnant is that for as many "Congratulations!" I received, I got just as many "What are you going to do about . . . " inquiries.  And the "abouts" ranged anywhere from breastfeeding to attempting natural childbirth to vaccinating.  To be honest, I hadn't thought about half of these things before I saw two lines on my bathroom counter.  I simply knew that I was pregnant and this child was mine and I was responsible for it, that was about it.  

Now that I've had a few months to think about it and get used to this whole parenting idea, I've realized that a lot of that stuff is exactly that . . . stuff.  I don't think my kid will care in 20 years if I had an epidural or even a C-section when they were born.  I'm pretty sure they're gonna care that they're here.  And whether or not I make my own baby food or buy it from a jar, I'm pretty sure they won't care as long as they're fed.  My list of things that I care about are extremely short compared to those that "everyone" (you know, the proverbial "everyone" that is really no one) seems to think I should.  

The one thing that matters to me more than anything is that my child has a good character.  To me character is defined as that choice you make when no one else is looking.  Children are a gift from God, so my main job as their mom is to make sure they don't grow up to be heathens.  That's what matters most to Trey and me, not whether or not their mom could breastfeed for 3 months, 6 months, or one whole year.  

So for every "It's best for your child if . . . " statements, I'll simply nod my head and smile.  I'm not going to think I'm any less of a mom if my child has an organic apple or a store bought one.  It's a freaking apple!  If they say "Thank you" after I hand it to them, that's more important to me than where the apple came from.  And I also don't think any less of any mom if they choose to vaccinate, can't breastfeed, or chooses any other method of parenting that they think is best for them.  It's not my child; I simply care that they grow up to be somewhat good people who open doors for the elderly and know how to wait their turn (hello, frantic mall shoppers).  

This might be a pregnant hormone-fueled post that I might end up regretting later.  But I just think someone needs to say this, so it might as well be me.  So long as they're dressed and fed and eventually learn to be grateful and love the Lord with all their mind, body, and strength, I could give a rip about everything else. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

16 Week Goodies

There has been a lot going on this week pregnancy-wise, even though I didn't have an appointment this week (shocking!). I'm starting to feel like I should get paid for going to the doctor, because I'm there enough for at least some part-time pay. Maybe if I learn to do some filing I can save on some of the copays?

First of all, I've really started to pop this week. All of my pre-pregnancy pants cease to button anymore, and I bought my first pair of maternity jeans last weekend (which I L-O-V-E!!!). I'm starting to walk around with my pants unbuttoned with a shirt over the zipper, hoping that no one will point out that my fly is constantly down. I'm kind of glad that I'm finally start to feel pregnant on the outside, instead of from the inside out. Speaking of morning sickness, my pukies have definitely subsided in the past week. But I still have the occasional morning upchuck, which I've come to accept as part of my routine. 

My 16-week pot belly.

Also, insulin resistance has started to rear its ugly head. It started out sporadically, so I wasn't sure if it was the real thing or not. But after 2 days with lunch post-prandials in the 200s for a couple hours, I knew something wasn't right. And after a post dinner high of 180 mg/dL that stayed with me for 5 hours, I decided to make some changes. I've upped my insulin:carb ratio from 1:10 to 1:8 and increased my daytime basals by 0.1 units. I don't go back to my endocrinologist until after the New Year, but I can't wait on his guidance to wrangle in these numbers. My changes seem to be working so far, but the lows still plague me. But I'd rather they plague me than any stubborn high.

And finally, I'm getting kicked! I felt what I thought was the first kick last week while Trey and I were out to dinner. However, it didn't really feel like a kick, but more like Ferbie was doing flips inside me. Like when you dive into a pool and do a flip in the middle of the water. They like to do it a lot in the mornings, right after I get to work. For a good 30 minutes or so, I can feel them their doing gymnastics's routine. They also like to do it when Trey gets home from work. It's like they hear his voice and go crazy in there! I know it will be awhile before I feel them on the outside, but I'm loving these little flips.

I don't have any more appointments until after Christmas, so hopefully Ferbie and I can endure the holiday festivities without totally succumbing to the insulin resistance nightmare. In the meantime, I'll be here--getting kicked.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Grateful to Celebrate

Yesterday was my 5th anniversary of being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.  Given that fact, I probably didn't "celebrate" in the way I should have.  I didn't have anything truly "bolus worthy" like a cupcake, nor did I really make a big deal out of it other than a Twitter update.  In fact, yesterday was more reflective than anything, surrounded by my normal Sunday activities--church, laundry, and some light Christmas shopping. 

Thinking back to that day, more than anything I'm extremely grateful.  I'm grateful that I made it through diabetic ketoacidosis and surviving a blood sugar above 1400 mg/dL.  I'm grateful that I've avoided any complications to date, even if my diabetes is still young--I will continue to celebrate that fact as long as it's true.  I'm grateful that I've managed this disease on my own from the very beginning with an average A1c of 6.5%.  I'm grateful that I haven't let this disease define who I am, and never will. 

Diabetes is hard and diabetes sucks, big time!  I've certainly had my breakdown moments, like when I threw my CGM across the room when I was over 400 mg/dL (thank you, bad insulin).  And I don't want to count the number of times I've gone to bed crying into my husband's arms because of a stupid number.  These moments happen and will happen again, and I've learned that they need to happen because it's my nature to be emotional and let things blow once in awhile.  I can't be ashamed of my tears, because they remind me that I need to rely on God. 

I hope to be here another 50 years with this disease.  Maybe there will be a cure, maybe not.  Personally, I'm not holding my breath.  Right now, I just want to celebrate the fact that I AM HERE, when I shouldn't be.  So many things in this life don't matter.  But those that do matter, I want to celebrate.  I want to celebrate my family who poured over me in love in those first few weeks after my diagnosis.  I want to celebrate my wonderful husband whose arms are the safest place in the world.  I want to celebrate my friends and everyone in the DOC. 

I want to celebrate simply because I can, and that's something worth celebrating. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Fifteen Weeks

Yesterday, I had my 15-week checkup with my OB.  Even though my appointment was scheduled for 10:45 AM, I didn't get called back until 12 PM.  My measly snack of a pear was long gone, so it was a good thing that this appointment was very short.  

After waiting for what seemed like forever, the nurse finally calls my name.  She instructed to go to the designated "Pee Room" and give a sample, standard procedure these days.  Then she took my blood pressure, which was significantly better than what it was last time but still above normal.  I've noticed that my blood pressure is always lower if I can manage to get some exercise in the day before.  I know I need to make it more of habit, especially later in my pregnancy.  Finally, she took my weight, which has yet to move +/- 2 lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight. 

Next, I make it to the room where Trey was waiting on me.  Another nurse came in and said she was going to use a doppler to find the baby's heartbeat.  For those that don't know, a doppler is like this wand thing connected to a huge iPod looking thing, and they put the wand on your belly to find the baby and listen to its heartbeat.  She asked how far along I was and when I said 15 weeks, she said, "Ok, so they'll still be pretty low.  I'll need you to unbutton your pants and lie down."  I lie down and expose my belly for her, and she waved the wand thing over my belly, bellow my belly button, from the right to the left.  A few seconds pass and then I hear "Whump-whump-whump."  I immediately smile and the nurse said, "Oh yeah, there it is.  156--that's very good."  I always like getting that confirmation that there's still a baby inside me and they're doing well; it's easy to not feel pregnant all the time especially when I have no proof of it yet (i.e. no baby bump).  

A few minutes later, my doctor comes in and he looks as ravished as I was.  I know doctor's have long days, too, so I was understanding.  He asked me how I was feeling with fatigue and nausea, and I brought up the fact that I have been having some heartburn.  I know heartburn is not uncommon during pregnancy, but I've had a history of chronic heartburn since I was 19.  I've been taking an antacid daily for the past 8 years, even before I was diagnosed with D.  He seemed a bit concerned that I was having heartburn above the capacity of my antacid, but I always feel better once I take my pill at night.  Everyone is happy with that solution for now.  

I also brought up my lack of weight gain, and he told me he was absolutely fine with it.  He said he normally doesn't see a lot of weight gain in his patients with preexisting diabetes.  He did suggest that I go ahead and try to add 300 calories to my daily intake (1% milk, here I come!).  Next he instructed me to lie down so he could measure my belly (I swear, everyone wants me to expose myself in this office.  Next time I'm coming with no pants just to make things easier).  He took out a tape measure and measured from my pubic bone to the top of my belly button.  He seemed very pleased with the number (17 cm) because he finally smiled and said "That's great!"  

I scheduled my next ultrasound for 3 weeks from now, where we'll get to find out what this baby actually is.  That will be a nice post-Christmas present!  Then Trey and I went and grabbed some burritos that we ate in about 5 seconds. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cry Me a River

I've always been a pretty emotional gal.  It doesn't take a lot for me to shed a few tears, especially when I'm stressed out.  So when I got pregnant, the gamut of my emotions hit a whole new level thanks to all the lovely hormones.  Here is a list of things just in the last month that have left me shedding enough tears to fill a trough: 

  • My vacuum broke.  I've had this thing for over 5 years (hey, it's a Hoover) and it's served me well between my apartment and the two houses I've lived in since being married.  But recently it refuses to pick up anything.  I will spend 45 minutes vacuuming the whole house, only to still find a layer of dog hair on the top of the carpet.  I broke down and swore to make all our pets outdoor inhabitants for the rest of their days. 
  • I literally have not had time to go grocery shopping.  I don't know what it is about this time of year, but we have something going on every weekend for the rest of 2011.  So I spend my week nights catching up on laundry and taking care of the animals that by the time I think about heading to the store it's already 8 PM.  Plus the fact that it gets dark immediately after lunch, I just want to go home and hide.  
  • Any blood sugar over 250 mg/dL.  While my A1c is the lowest it's ever been since birth, it certainly hasn't been without some scary highs that seem to be magnified with being pregnant.  I usually get frustrated after the number doesn't come down after 5 minutes and I put my basal on 200% and stare my Dexcom into falling.
  • Feeling the baby "bubbles".  That's right, I'm 15 weeks along, but I'm pretty sure I felt little Ferbie doing flip flops in there yesterday.  I tried to hold my reaction to a smile, but I ultimately started crying.  It seems even happy things lead to tears.  My make-up has no hope of staying on all day.  
  • Christmas songs.  I can't handle it!  I freaking tear up anytime I hear "The First Noel" or "All I Want for Christmas is You".  This whole magical season has turned me into a sentimental basketcase.  Thank God I haven't heard "Christmas Shoes" yet or I'm sure I'll just melt into a puddle. 
I know these swinging emotions are just part of the process and ultimately a temporary thing for this little person inside of me.  I just hope he or she is used to having a momma with some wet cheeks, because I think it's only going to get worse when they get here.   The crib bedding we decided on arrived in the mail yesterday, and I'm keeping this thing in the plastic for now to save it from my tears. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Happy Birfday to ME!

So today is my birthday, and I had an endocrinologist appointment this morning. I didn't exactly want to go to the doctor on my birthday, but my endo's office has very little wiggle room in their schedule. So I went with the hopes that my 8:30 AM appointment wouldn't ruin my first day on my 27th year here on Earth.

The one happy thing I got for waking up that early: SNOW!!! I don't know if we've ever gotten snow this early in Alabama, but it was a beautiful site to wake up to this morning.

I got ready and headed out the door with my thermos full of decaf coffee and freshly place antlers and red nose on my SUV (What?! It's Christmas season, right?). I knew today was definitely my birthday because I got a parking spot on the lobby level of the parking deck, which means I didn't have to travel the four levels, uphill on wet pavement to find a spot.

I signed in and took my spot in the very empty waiting room. Apparently, some patients canceled their morning appointments due to the snow. They called me back right at my appointment time and took my weight. So far, I've only gained 2 pounds since I found out I was pregnant, and I'm 14 weeks along. I'm not sure how I feel about that yet. I mean, I fear the overall weight gain and trying to lose it when the baby is here, but I want to make sure the baby is well-fed while he/she is being baked. My nurse assured me it will go up and I'll certainly be miserable about it by the end of my pregnancy.

Next came the blood pressure check, which I have come to absolutely dread. I've had "above normal" readings for almost a year now that I just come to expect it and justify it with white coat syndrome and move on. But to my surprise, my reading was . . . normal, on the low side: 108/72. "That's good," I said as the nurse put the sleeve back in its holster. Either I'm starting to master white coat syndrome or the lack of caffeine is having a positive effect on my blood pressure.

She started spinning my A1c while downloading the readings from my new pump. We made small talk about Black Friday and baby stuff while I watched the timer go down on the machine. Finally, the machine finished and I got my A1c:

14 weeks endo appt by Arnold_and_Me

I'm proud of this number, but I'll admit that most of that number has been from lows. I've been tolerating them for the sake of baby, but I don't know how normal diabetics (ha! that made me laugh) tolerate this number all the time. I can't wait until I can get back to the 6s without guilt. My endo agreed that I was having too many lows, even in the short number of readings from my new pump. So we increased my basal rates for now, but we're expecting it to go back up in the next few weeks when insulin resistance hits.

So to recap: snow, killer parking space, stellar BP and A1c reading. All of this before the snow melted. I think 27's gonna be a great year.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Blogging over at Diabetes Sisters

I am excited to announce that for the next 6 months, I'll be guest blogging at Diabetes Sisters as their pregnancy blogger.  You can check me out over there for a weekly update.  I'll still be blogging about my pregnancy here, and will include most if not all the same information for each post.  But my posts here will continue to have that "Holly flair".  

My first post is up, so check it out and let me know what you think!  

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Twelve Weeks

Yesterday, I had my 12 week appointment with my OB.  I'm beginning to think I need to check out some apartments behind the doctor's building, seeing as how I will be living there soon.  We kicked things off by taking a look at our baby on the ultrasound.  He or she was doing great in there!  Their heart was fluttering away at 154 bpm, and they are measuring a little ahead for the size of a normal 12 week baby, which means they are probably taking after their 6'3" daddy.  Their size is strictly related to its length, not girth.  And has nothing to do with diabetes.  ;-) 

Next, I had to get my blood pressure taken and give samples (urine and blood) for testing for protein and baby-related stuff.  My blood pressure was a little high (not officially high, but just higher than normal), but I attribute that to white coat syndrome and the fact that they took FOUR (count 'em, 1-2-3-4) vials of blood from me.  Even though I'm diabetic, I hate LOATHE having blood drawn.  I don't know what it is, but the whole feeling of having a needle sticking in my vein makes my skin crawl.  I just sit there, my head turned and my eyes closed and try not to think about the needle getting loose and my blood spraying all over the nurse and the walls.  By the time the nurse was done, my whole body was shaking from the experience and the sight of 4 vials on the table.  

The final thing was the state-mandated vaginal swab for chlamydia and gonorrhea.  I understand it's something that they have to do, but there's something funny about having my husband sitting in the chair next to me and getting tested for STDs.  I think I was getting a little drained (literally) from the appointment, because while we were waiting on the doctor to come in, I started getting low.  I wonder how many other patients have sat on the same table, pants-less with a paper skirt, while chewing on tropical fruit glucose tablets.  Probably not very many. 

The doctor came in and we discussed my good ultrasound and my BP reading.  I explained that whenever I test my BP on my own that it's never that high and that it must be a doctor thing because I always get nervous at my appointments, to which my doctor said, "Yeah, stupid doctors."  He said he's not concerned about it at this point, but he would keep an eye on it for sure.  He was more elated with my last A1c (5.5%) and said that was the best thing I can do for a good pregnancy.  He said I was his healthiest diabetic pregnant patient in his office--I guess that's an award to be happy about.  We briefly discussed me getting to keep my pump on during labor, even thought that's a lifetime away at this point.  But he said he's more comfortable with my pump than an insulin drip.  +1 for the good doctor. 

I received a goodie bag with all the information about the maternity centers at each hospital and several baby magazines.  It was like a "Welcome to the 2nd Trimester" club package.  We scheduled my next appointment for 2 weeks before Christmas (holy cow, where has this year gone?!)  and I went to refill my blood supply with a steak burrito.  

Now that I'm about to enter the 2nd trimester, that means my expansion is coming on quick.  My pants are getting tighter and trying to button them requires some effort.  I feel like I'm walking around with a bloated, post-Thanksgiving dinner belly.  My engineering husband has taken on the project of measuring the outward growth of my belly on the baby's unpainted bedroom wall.  I've grown a half inch in one month, which surprised me for some reason.  The growth of my belly is a lot more progressive than I thought.  I'll find myself rubbing my belly at random times, which I'm sure is puzzling to strangers in the grocery store. 

Yeah, don't make fun of the pants.  They have pockets, hence their functionality. 
Besides the vampire nurses and feeling like a glorified lab rat, I feel absolutely blessed right now!  This is my favorite time of year with the holidays right around the corner and enjoying the food, family, and friendships.  And the other day I got a little teary eyed about doing it all next year with a baby on my hip.  And the fact that we'll have to buy another stocking to go on the chimney.    

I'd thought I'd end this post will a little photo of Ferbie.  Right now it looks like a little alien, teddy graham baby, but they look cute to me! 

"Hello there, DOC!"

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


This past weekend, my husband and I took advantage of the long, cool weekend and went camping. For us, camping means sleeping in a tent and cooking over a fire or a propane-fueled grill. It was the perfect weather with cool 30 degree nights and calm 70 degree days.

Each day we took a hike through the beautiful scenery. The first day was only a 1.5 mile walk that left me at 38 mg/dL and draining a can of lemon-lime soda. The second day we planned for a 3.5 mile hike, so I did a little more pre-planning before the walk. I disconnected my pump completely about 30 minutes before the hike and packed some granola bars and glucose tabs to have just in case.

About halfway through our hike, we found this ginormous oak tree! Pretty sure it was the biggest tree I've seen in real life.  Trey got a picture of me at its base for a nice perspective. 

Biggest Tree Evah!  by Arnold_and_Me

Holy Oak Tree!!!

At this time, we took a break to split a granola bar and a mini-bag of pretzels. Still un-pumped, we continued our walk back to camp. By the time we got back, I had been disconnected for over 2 hours, with a granola bar and a handful of pretzels, and my blood sugar was 133 mg/dL. Seeing that number was almost as beautiful as the fall leaves. Almost.

There were some scary moments during the trip, too. Like getting my first ever "TEMPERATURE WARNING" on my meter after the first night of 30 degree temps. I had to keep my meter in my jacket pocket so it would keep warm. There was also the time I woke up drenched in sweat (at 31 F, that's a cool wake up) and finished off my jar of raspberry glucose tabs and a bar of chocolate that was reserved for smores. I woke up later at 95 mg/dL, thankful that I decided against bolusing for the chocolate bar.

Camping also seemed to agree with my pregnancy symptoms, or lack thereof during the trip. The relaxing atmosphere and fresh air pretty much ceased my nausea and fatigue. If I could live in the woods for the rest of my pregnancy, I would. So long as there's a fire.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A1c Thoughts

When I found out I was pregnant and excitedly told my endo, the first thing he did was increase my basal rates 0.1u/hr.  This increase made my daily total jump from roughly 16 units to almost 20 units.  This puzzled me at first, because I had only heard of the plaguing first trimester lows associated with a diabetic pregnancy.  So I thought my basal rates should decrease or at least stay the same.  My endo warned me that I needed to arm myself constantly with fast-acting carbs for these oncoming lows. 

For the first few days after that appointment, I followed my low-treating guidelines by the book.  I religiously corrected using the 15/15 rule with scary precision.  But I kept correcting, and kept correcting, and kept correcting.  Eventually, I got tired of constantly correcting with oh-so-perfectly measured glasses of juice or exactly 4 glucose tabs.  Especially in the middle of the night, low correcting rules go out the window.  My low treating method became something like this:  drink enough juice that gets rid of the shakes, eat a tablespoon of peanut butter, chase with more juice or chocolate milk.  I'll admit that this resulted in some scary rebound highs that left me crying and vowing never to go outside the rules again. 

Things seem to finally be settling down and my 24-hour window on my CGM doesn't look like the cutting side of a bread knife.  Part of the resolution is learning my limits when correcting lows (like filling a glass of juice is always less than drinking it straight from the jug) and maintaining a constantly grazing schedule (like every 2 hours or less, seriously!). 

I know that being friendly with lows is good for Ferbie at this point in my pregnancy, and I'm quite proud that my A1c is in the 5s for the first time since I went on the pump.  But I must admit I could not do this everyday for normal diabetes management.  I know that everyone's comfort zone for A1c is different, but I feel the best when I land between 6.0-6.5% for my A1c.  Higher than that means I am hanging out on my higher end too much, but lower than that means I am spending a good majority of my days being low. 

I am coming to the conclusion, though, that the A1c holds a lot more value than it should.  My endo might give me a "Good job!" with an A1c of 5.5%, but looking back at the past month in my meter log shows that my body is roughly 50% apple juice.  I really put more value in my quarterly blood work for my kidneys and cholesterol, my yearly eye exam, and my overall "feeling" of health.  As long as those things get an A+ from all the medical personnel, I don't think it should matter what my A1c is when they happened. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

What Makes My Heart Skip a Beat?

I had never been more nervous for any appointment than I was before our first ultrasound appointment.  I don't know why I was so nervous.  I suppose because up to that point, it hadn't been "real" yet.  Sure, I had been puking like a champ everyday for two weeks, but the idea of actually having another life inside of me hadn't hit me.  I was also worried that things weren't going to be 100% perfect--a product of living with an imperfect condition, I guess. 

The nurse called us back to the ultrasound room where I hoisted myself on the table and held my breath.  The entire room was dark except for the screen facing away from me, towards the technician and Trey.  I waited anxiously while she looked for the baby and, more importantly, a little heartbeat.  A few seconds later, she said, "Oh yeah, there it is."  She turned the screen towards me, and what I saw absolutely took my breath away.  It was the tiniest little peanut with a flicker on the left side.  Seeing the heart actually move at its own rhythm caused me to instantly break out some tears.  Instantly, I felt the need to apologize.  "You're probably used to this, right?  Pregnant women crying?" 

She printed out a few snapshots of the little peanut for us to take home (which now are proudly being displayed on our refrigerator).  While we waited on the doctor, Trey and I kept looking at the pictures and smiling at each other.  This was real.  This was happening.  Holy crap! 

The doctor walked in and said, "That's a good looking baby!"  He let us ask a plethora of questions, from who should take over cat litter duties (Trey gets to take it on for the next 7 months. *score*) to how long before the puke fest should subside.  The last question I asked him was the most important one in my mind, "Have you ever done a type 1 pregnancy before?"  I knew my OB was high-risk, but this question was important because it was personal to me.  I needed to know his experience with "my kind". 

He looked at me, one eyebrow up, "Of course!  I've been around for over 20 years, and have certainly seen my share of type 1s."  Actually, he said that type 1s are usually some of his healthiest patients because they're diligent about their health before they're pregnant.  I've always loved my OB, but seeing him that day made extremely grateful to have him as my doctor in this process. 

We got to see little Ferbie (yes, my creative nickname.  better than "it".) again yesterday, and the little teddy graham was dancing in there like it was doing hula hoops.  I'm already proud of this little squirt. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sounds Like a Dinasour

Because of my diabetes, I'm automatically put in the "high risk" category for pregnancy. Therefore, I get to enjoy all of these extra tests, beginning with blood work immediately after I find out I'm pregnant to see how "pregnant" I am. The two variables they check are hcg, which basically measures how the baby's growing, and progesterone, which measures how my body's supporting the pregnancy.

They did back-to-back bloodwork to make sure my levels were doubling or at least rising. I'll be honest and say I didn't know anything about these variables or what they should be during pregnancy. All I could think of was that "progesterone" sounded like a name of some dinosaur.

 dinosaur by Arnold_and_Me
"Rawr, I make babies grow."

My first results were fine, right on schedule for where I should be. But my second results were less than stellar. My hcg levels were fine, almost doubling from 500 to 970. But my progesterone levels actually went down from 18 to 12.

The nurse prescribed for me to go on progesterone supplements to get my levels back up above 15. Even though she said it is normal for those numbers to go down, I was still freaked out. If this is normal, why am I being put on supplements? I googled progesterone levels and what they should be at this point in my pregnancy. Big, big mistake. Never ever google anything related to your health, especially pregnancy. I pretty much scared myself into stressing out and crying at random times (of course, that could be the pregnancy itself). I was also dealing with a weird complex of taking these supplements and wondering "Am I not woman enough to carry my own child?"

I went back in for more blood work the next week to make sure my levels were still rising. I had to wait 24 hours for the results: torture! I had less than a day's worth of supplements in me, so I was worried about the time between my last blood work that was 4 days ago. However, I got the best call the next day. "Hello Holly? Your results are wonderful. Your progesterone increased to 25 and your hcg increased to 9,000!" I was so relieved! The next set of blood work they took the next day made the nurse sing, "Your results are out-stand-ing!" Progesterone stayed the same at 25 (the nurse said that was fine) and hcg increased to 18,000.

These results made me so relieved! Also, the fact that my progesterone levels doubled in 4 days mostly from me (and not the supplements) made me feel a lot better. And the fact that the hcg levels (a.k.a the baby) increased out-stand-ing-ly made me feel like he/she is doing great regardless of my shortcomings.

All in all, I'm somewhat grateful to be placed in the "high risk" category because of my diabetes. It means I get the comfort of extra monitoring and testing that lets me know that the baby and I are doing OK. It can be stressful if there are any hiccups, but the doctors can do their thing to help me or the baby before anything bad happens.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pregnancy Update and Morning Sickness

First of all, I want to thank everyone for all the wonderful comments on my pregnancy announcement. I still go back and read all of them multiple times throughout the day. I definitely feel the support and love of the DOC. Now that I'm "out", I wanted to give you guys a quick update on my pregnancy so far these past 9 weeks.

When I first found out I was pregnant, I didn't really have any symptoms. I had some soreness and cramping, but nothing that was discomforting. But once I hit 6 weeks, it was like the plethora of pregnancy symptoms hit me like a ton of bricks.

I had heard about the pregnancy lows accompanied with a type 1 diabetic pregnancy, but I didn't realize that they were on a completely different scale. It's like my body wants to be at 60 mg/dL all the time without any symptoms. All I can say is THANK GOODNESS I have a CGM. The majority of the time, Constance catches my lows before I feel them. I honestly don't know how low I could be most of the time without her alerting me. The only problem with this is she seems to go off all. the. time! Especially when I (try to) sleep, she keeps beeping at me every hour that I'm below 70 mg/dL. And when she woke me up last night at 1 AM for the 5 millionth time, I busted out into tears because I just freaking wanted to sleep. I know these lows are manageable and it's better for me to hang out in the basement end of my range for the next few weeks, but I'm looking forward to getting back to the 100s as "normal".

Another symptom that hit me in the gut is morning (umm, all day) sickness. I've always had a pretty strong stomach. Even if I get a whiff of something that turns my stomach, I can usually hold it in and still eat like nothing happened. But it seems that pregnancy has turned my iron stomach into mush. And the main culprit that makes me run to the bathroom? Ground beef. Even just typing that makes me try to think of something else. But as it stands right now, I can't even look at a hamburger right now without turning the other way (towards the bathroom).

This pregnancy side effect actually caused me to lose 5 pounds the first three weeks I was pregnant. But it seems I have turned a corner recently because I can eat something larger than a tennis ball. The nausea is still there, mainly when I first wake up and if I go more than 3 hours between meals.

At my 2nd appointment with my endo since I found out I was pregnant (where my A1c was 5.5%! Woo!), I asked him what was the standard procedure with insulin and puking. Because I mainly worry about "eliminating" something I just bolused for and the oncoming low. He said the best thing I can do is either suspend my pump or put my bolus on an extended square for an hour or two to make sure I keep most of my meal down.

I've got roughly 3 more weeks of the pukes before it hopefully gives up altogether. Until then, I'll keep my diabetes supplies stashed with diet ginger ale and whole wheat crackers.

Ginger ale by Arnold_and_Me
My new love.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Music Therapy

I love listening to music!  I'm not musically-inclined at all (minus that one year I played flute in junior high), but I definitely feel my soul lifting when I hear a good song.  I gravitate towards songs that have some inspiration behind them.  One of my favorite artists right now is Manafest (a Canadian Christian rapper, eh?), and I'm really digging on his new song "Every Time You Run".  I've heard this song a couple times before, but today when I heard the chorus I thought about the DOC. 

Every time you run, every time you hide
Every time it hurts, every time you cry
Every time you run away, every time you hide your face
And it feels so far away, I'm right here with you

I know we all experience some bought of diabetes burnout at some point or another.  When I heard this song today, I just wanted to give everyone in the DOC a big hug and let you know that we are here together.  We are in this together.  You can lean on us whenever you just feel like throwing your hands in the air and saying "Forget it!"  I love you, DOC, and I'm right here with you.  

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Day I Found Out I Am PREGNANT!!!

It feels weird to be writing this post since you guys probably won't see it for another month or so, but I know this time in my pregnancy is important and I need to get down every emotion and feeling.  This post was written on September 26, 2011.  

I'm 5 weeks!  It feels awesome to be writing those words.  I feel so incredibly blessed and excited with this pregnancy.  Trey is excited, too!  Every once in a while he'll just look at me and giggle--I don't have to guess what he's thinking about.

We found out I was pregnant last Tuesday, September 20th.  I knew there was a strong possibility I could be pregnant because I was 2 days late, and that never EVER happens to me.  I'm very . . . "on time"?

The dogs started their usual stirring around 4:30 AM, and instead of telling them to "Shhh, lay down!" to try and get those few extra minutes of sleep, I went ahead and let them out so I could take the test.  I did the test and put it on the counter to wait the instructed 3 minutes, but I didn't have to wait that long.  After less than a minute, the "Pregnant" line showed up clear as day, and after 3 minutes it looked like this:

The proof!

I woke up Trey and said, "Come look at this!"  My sleepy husband got out of bed and came to the bathroom.  He looked down at the test and said, "I told you so!"  He had guessed a few days ago that I was pregnant, but I wanted to wait until I was officially late to test.  We hugged and kissed, then looked at each other.  "So what do we do now?" he asked.  "I'll call my OB later and my endo to get the ball rolling."

I went to my OB that afternoon to do the initial blood work.  I got a call back the next day that my levels were right on schedule for someone who's 4 weeks, my hcg levels were over 500.  I did another blood draw on Thursday, which I'm still waiting for the results. My first ultrasound was scheduled for October 20th, I'll be 8.5 weeks and praying they find a good, solid heart beat.  (If you guys are reading this, then they did.)  ;-) 

I saw my endo that afternoon as well.  He congratulated me on my pregnancy and took my A1c.  To be honest, I was a little nervous about what the number would be.  We figured we had gotten pregnant while on vacation and I was CGM-less for a week, not the best environment for good blood sugar control.  However, I was astonished when I saw 5.6!  I actually asked the nurse, "Is that right?"  She looked back at the machine and said, "It's right.  Not gonna argue with it are you?"  "Not at all!" I said with a smile.  I texted Trey and said "A1c = 5.6! Hellz yeah!"  We set up my next appointment for October 24th, with blood work a week before. 

I haven't really been having any bad symptoms yet.  I keep having this nagging worry that something will happen before our first ultrasound; it plagues my mind all day.  I have made conscious efforts to keep those thoughts out of my mind, even to the point of writing down reasons why I shouldn't worry:  I'm a young, healthy female.  My numbers are solid.  There's absolutely no reason to be worried and every reason to celebrate.

I'm sitting with a smile on my face at that last sentence.  For the first 4 weeks of this pregnancy, I haven't really celebrated because I was so worried.  But now that we've seen the heartbeat and know there's a baby inside me and not a monster causing my morning sickness (more on that later), I can't help but smile . . . and freakin' tear up a tiny bit.  

Friday, October 7, 2011

What I Advocate

So for No-D Blog Day, I wanted to talk about something that's really near and dear to my heart. To be honest, I'm a crappy diabetes advocate. I've been to one JDRF walk in the almost 5 years I've been diagnosed. I haven't contacted to my local congressman to talk to him about funding towards a cure or the artificial pancreas project. For the most part, the only time my husband and I discuss my diabetes is when it is extremely evident via a scary low or high.

But there is something that I'm a real advocate for and that's adopting rescue animals. When Trey and I discussed getting a puppy to add to our 2 person, 2 cat family, we tossed around the choices of breeds we wanted. He wanted a boxer, I wanted an English bulldog. However, after researching breeders in the area and realizing the amount of rescue shelters there were in town, we decided to get a rescue.

We were lucky to pick out an 8-week-old, 10 lb. ball of fur at PetsMart, because most rescue dogs are older and have some type of behavior problems. Roscoe's momma came to the shelter pregnant with him and his 7 siblings. And we got to pick him out when they brought them to the store that day. Half Labrador retriever, half Siberian husky, my Roscoe is all love! Loyalty is his middle name, because he's never more than 3 feet from me. I love that big ball of mess.

Missy we adopted as a roughly 1-year-old boxer/lab mix, or a boxador as I call her. She came to us with some neglect issues, because we noticed that she wants nothing more than for someone to pet her and play with her ears. We gave her all the love we could and balanced it with enough discipline to make her a great dog. She has the shortest attention span of any dog I've ever met, especially when she sees a squirrel. She's our little sweetheart.

dog_fair by Arnold_and_Me
Our family at the local Dog Fair

So if you're looking to add a furry animal to your mix, I extremely advocate looking at rescue animals. There are millions of dogs and cats in our country that are waiting for someone to give them a chance. And after a few years, the old saying is really true, "Who rescued who?"

Friday, September 23, 2011

Don't Worry

For the most part, I'm a pretty positive person.  I enjoy the company of my family and friends, playing with my dogs, and a good cup of coffee.  However, I know that I'm a worrier.  I consider it more of a "pessimistic reality"--meaning if something bad can occur, I at least like to dwell on it and prepare myself.  My dear husband constantly reminds me "Why are you worrying about things that aren't even real?"  I wish I could dwell more on the positive, because for the most part that is usually the outcome.

For example, I have type 1 diabetes.  Most articles on my disease warn of possible complications such as eye, kidney, and nerve damage.  I certainly try to do my part to take care of my disease to make sure that I don't get any of those things.  And I haven't (coming up of 5 years this December).  In fact, I would argue that I'm the healthiest I've ever been in my life, THANKS to diabetes.  My A1c this past Tuesday was 5.6!  The best I've had since going on the pump. 

Also, I am married and have been for 3 years now.  We received a lot of warnings when we were preparing for marriage that we would be miserable.  That we would wake up one day and realize we hate the person we're with!  I couldn't fathom that scenario at the time, but I at least prepared myself for that reality.  But our marriage has been so fun and so sweet and so . . . blissful, that I think all those "warnings" were nothing but smoke.  Sure, we've had our hard times, but it's nothing that "Holly & Trey" as a team can't handle.  I was worried that I would hate my husband, but I love him more and enjoy him more that I ever prepared myself for.

The same thing happens all the time.  I worried about a test in school, but I end up doing awesome.  I worried about not passing my thesis defense, but I was passed within 5 minutes.  I worry, I worry, and I worry.  Most of the time, over nothing. Some might say that my worrying just puts me in a more aware, prepared state of mind.  But I'd like to go through some things in life not worrying in the beginning and enjoy the process.

I know the best thing I can do is surround myself with positive people to counter my negativity.  I hate that most doctor's appointments will be spent making sure nothing is going wrong, at least in my mind.  I need to look for the positive.  I need to BE positive.  The Bible has 365 verses where the phrase "don't worry" is mentioned, but my favorite verse about having a positive mindset is Phillipians 4:8,

"whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such thing."

I need to tattoo this phrase on my right wrist, next to my medical ID.  

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"It's Called a Lance(t), Helloooooo!"

Last week, my standard issue lancet from my OneTouch UltraLink was down for the count. The "pricker" (sorry, best term I can come up with) kept getting stuck in the chamber, refusing to actually make contact with my fingers. I finally had to resort to manually pricking myself, which is very unpleasant.

So I knew I needed to break down and buy a new lancet. I had heard good buzz about the Accu-Check Multiclix being really small and super swift, so I stopped by my closest retail pharmacy and picked one up. (I don't think I've ever paid that much for a lancet, or paid for one ever. Just fair warning.)

Payment aside, this thing is awesome! The "pricker" is like 10x smaller than a normal lancet (OK, not that much smaller, but I do need my glasses to see it). It has multiple depth settings for the sensitive to the calloused fingertips (after almost 5 years with diabetes, I'm only on the 2.5 mark out of 5). But perhaps the best thing about the lancet is the fact it comes with 6 "prickers" in a round. This might inspire me to change it more than once a month!

The first few days after I got it, I was so excited about using the lancet that I forgot to put a strip into the meter first. It's quite ungraceful to use one hand to open the vial and put a strip in the meter while holding the other hand up with a drop of blood ready to go. Regardless, I'm quite pleased with this purchase and I'm tempted to replace my backup meters with the same lancing device. Going from the "I can barely feel it" lancet during the day to "my finger has a heartbeat" lancet at the gym and by my bed is quite a contrast.

NOTE: No one paid me for this post. I paid my hard-earned money for this lancet. All opinions continue to be my own, unless they'd like to send me a free round of "prickers". =D

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Day the Dexcom Died

One of the great advantages of having a CGM is being able to monitor my blood sugar during off-routine times. like a beach vacation.  So when receiver went kaput on me our 2nd day there, I felt completely vulnerable the rest of the trip. 

At least it was serene. 

Let's back up a bit.  One of the things I love to do at the beach is ride the waves on a boogie board.  It's exhilarating and it's a great workout.  Even thought I can't take Constance in the water with me, she can keep up with me when I get back to my chair.  However, the heat of the sun on the receiver sitting on the beach chair is something I didn't consider. 

The receiver was fine the rest of the day, but it did give me some off numbers towards the night.  When I did my nighttime test before bed, I got an ERR1 message.  Not wanting to stay up another hour to recalibrate, I shut down my receiver with intents on calibrating in the morning.  But when the morning came, I couldn't turn on the receiver.  I held down each button multiple times, for longer than I needed to.  I finally called tech support, and they instructed me to try the reset button the back of the receiver.  Nothing happened. 

My receiver was fried. 

Unfortunately, my system was out of warranty.  So that meant I would have to start all over and get insurance approval and chart notes from my endocrinologist.  That was probably the worst news from this whole situation.  The last time I went through this process, I waited a month while the paperwork sat on my endo's desk.  I kind of assumed I would have to go through that all over again. 

But this also meant that I would have to revert back to my pre-CGM management routine, including testing 2 hours after a meal like clockwork.  I know that you're not supposed to rely on the CGM in place of finger stick testing, but I would find myself relying on it more and more, especially if the CGM was proving to be accurate.  My numbers the rest of the week were less than stellar, but not outrageous.  I had high numbers after breakfast, which is typical for me with the absence of exercise.  I did miss being able to monitor my BG when it wasn't in-range, relying on testing every hour or 30 minutes for a correction.  Those gaps in time were excruciating, but I managed the best I could.

On the last day of our vacation, I got the best call.  My Dexcom rep told me that my insurance was still going to cover most of the cost of my new setup and sensors, AND my endo had already signed my paperwork needed to submit to insurance!  I was elated.  And this all occurred on a day that my endo's office is normally closed.  He's really been on his game, especially since I've been discussing the idea of pregnancy

I should receive my new Dexcom system next week.  I can't wait to get back to being a real-time diabetic.  Next time, though, I think I'll leave the receiver in my room, or at least get it its own hat. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Diabetic Nightmares

Shortly after I was diagnosed, I had a nightmare that involved diabetes.  I dreamed that I had snuck out in the middle of the night to go to a bar.  But not just any bar, a bar that served nothing but CAKES!  I remember being drawn to this one in particular, an Oreo cake--a circular white cake with Oreo cookie crumbles all over it.  I felt guilty for even being there, being diabetic and all.  Even though I was told at my first meeting with my CDE that I could have cake, as long as I take insulin for it.  Diabetes was taking over my subconscious!  

And last night, I had another nightmare.  I dreamed that I sat down at a nice Italian restaurant when Constance starting blaring at me that I was HIGH.  I went to the bathroom to check and apparently I was so high that my ketone strips started BEEEEEEEPing, as well!  I tried to discretely walk back to my table, but my CGM kept beeping and I felt like crap (in my dream).  I remember thinking I didn't care how high I was, I was going to enjoy my big bowl of pasta and would deal with the consequences later. I was relieved when I woke up this morning to find out I was a little low, 65 mg/dL. 

Has this ever happened to anyone else?!  Please tell me so that I don't feel like a complete looney.  Diabetes seems to be at the center of my attention every waking moment.  But does it have to be so in my sleep, too?! 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Convicted about Carbs

For anyone who has been following my blog for any length of time, you know that I firmly believe that diabetics should be able to eat and drink anything they want.  I even went as far as to perfect the bolus for the tricky combination that is pizza and beer.  A typical day in my diet includes cereal for breakfast (it's Kashi, so give me some credit), Greek yogurt for a mid-morning snack, a turkey sandwich for lunch, popcorn or a cereal bar in the afternoon, and a protein-heavy dinner but usually includes a side of bread like a roll or cornbread.  Occasionally, I will indulge in some ice cream before bed (but don't we all?). 

I love carbs!  (As you can probably tell.)  But I also believe that our bodies need carbs to function, especially the brain.  I've always wondered what long-term effects the Atkins diet would have on a body, because it can't be healthy to wrap a Big Mac in lettuce.  But carbs come in all different types of food, from your typical bread products, to pure sugar, to natural sources like fruit and starchy vegetables.

And after reading this article, I started to become convicted about what I put into my mouth and justifying it with the flag of "I'm diabetic, but I can eat what I want!"  I'll admit, I sort of carry a chip on my shoulder for anyone who gives me a glare when they see me check my blood sugar at a restaurant and then order a big bowl of creamy Alfredo pasta.  That article was basically God retorting my reasoning with, "But what about what I say?"  Eeesh, it was prick at my heart that I knew could only come from Him.  The sin of gluttony is one that's not talked about a lot, especially in our current culture, but it's one I'm guilty of A LOT. 

I started to re-evaluate my diet and look at what I could change from having strictly bread products.  I started by having a chargrilled chicken salad with fruit toppings for lunch.  It had the same amount of carbs that a typical turkey sandwich would have, but a lot less calories (I suppose bread-like carbs are more bloated with calories).  And this morning for breakfast I had 4 slices of turkey bacon, a small clementine, and a glass of skim milk.  Again, almost the exact same amount of carbs that I usually have with my Kashi cereal, but less calories and more protein. 

Obviously, I'm not expecting to go completely bread-free from here on out, but I think I can make small changes in the meals I'm in charge of to eliminate the heavy carbs.  And when I say heavy carbs, I mean the big 5:  bread, pasta, rice, tortillas, and cereal (this last one made me tear up a big, I LOVE cereal!).  Besides, I think if I can make most of my total carb amount come from more fruits and starchy veggies than bread products, the healthier all around.

This is MY personal conviction, and I'm not saying that I think ALL diabetics should follow this plan.  This is just something I'm following through with because I truly feel convicted by it.  But if there are those out there that have followed a similar plan (i.e. avoiding the big 5), I would love to get some meal ideas from you.  I know I need to stock my fridge with more fruit and vegetable choices so that it will be easy to grab and go.  But what else can I do to avoid bread products (and not go crazy at the same time?).

EDIT:  I wanted to add that my resource for the "Big 5" came from this video with Dr. Lois Jovanovic about diabetes and pregnancy.  I think some of her thresholds are a little extreme, but YDMV as they say.  

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tube Meet Wires

Tube meet wires by Arnold_and_Me
Tube meet wires, a photo by Arnold_and_Me on Flickr.
How in the world does this happen?! The wires for my earbuds get linked with my pump tubing that's tucked into my pants. Two pieces of technology, reaching out for each other?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Ready to Run

So in the ongoing effort to keep up my dedication to exercise, I am taking the plunge to start a running routine.  But here's the thing:  I HATE/LOATHE/DESPISE/whatever-word-you-choose running.  The impact on my legs and knees as I hit the pavement is extremely uncomfortable.  Not to mention the fact that I feel like I'm swimming through the Alabama humidity. 

I've attempted to go running with Trey a few times (because he actually enjoys running, what a strange man!), but my gym sack that contains all my diabetes junk (meter, glucose tabs, syringes, glucagon) bounces against my back and makes it even more uncomfortable to run than the impact.  The only time I've ever had a successful run with all my diabetes junk is when I can stash them all in my windbreaker.  But there's no way I can do that with temps in the upper 90s and heat indexes in the 100s. 

Enter my SPIbelt

It's like a fanny pack, but cooler! 

This SPIbelt (small personal items belt) contains my OneTouch mini meter, lancet, and strips vial (because putting the whole meter case in there was too bulky), a sleeve of glucose tabs, and of course my CGM.  I'd like to be able to fit a few more things in there, like my glucagon or cell phone, but these are the essentials for running. 

So yesterday morning I wanted to give this new accessory a try.  Trey and I decided to get up for a morning run at 7 AM, when the humidity would only be stifling instead of unbearable.  The belt did great!  I could hear the zipper bouncing on the outside of the pack as we ran, but the pack wasn't bouncing against me--and that was the main goal.  I already noticed that the pack works the best slightly off-center from my spine, so there's no gap between the pack and my body. 

The run was fun, too.  We only went 2.0 miles, which was enough for me as a run-hater.  But I could slowly see myself getting into running, as long as as I have my SPIbelt and a running buddy.  =) 

Disclaimer:  SPIbelt did not ask me to write about their product, nor did they provide any compensation.  I had to buy this sucker myself, so all opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Stress and Diabetes

The past 2 weeks have been super stressful, feeling like I've been stretched at every limb.  Multiple projects at work combined with house renovations going on at home has me searching for a hole to crawl in to avoid them all.  It literally feels like I have a ball of wires strapped around my neck, and the wires have choked me to point I can barely breathe.  Monday was really bad because I was searching for a boarding kennel for the pups for a trip out of town this weekend.  They've never been boarded before, so I was stressing out about trying to find the best one in town. 

And thanks to the tornadoes that came through in April, we've had the joy of getting our roof replaced and some drywall redone.  For both of these events, I was at home "supervising" the contractors (re: I hid in the guest bedroom with my Nook) while listening to the banging and sawing on all sides.  Then, when I would come out of my escape, I would see the house in a mess.  Nothing stresses me out more than strangers causing a mess in my house.  NOTHING!  After the drywall contractors left, Trey and I had to leave for a movie date (Harry Potter, DH2) so I couldn't immediately start cleaning up like I wanted to. 

I started noticing the stress in my numbers when I was waking up in the 170s.  I knew I had 2 options:  increase my basal or try to reduce my stress level.  I can tell when I get really stressed because I become physically exhausted.  And it hasn't helped that I haven't been able to work out as much with everything going on the work/home fronts.  I was able to make my softball game last night, and even though we lost, I could instantly feel some relief from all the stress.  My numbers felt the relief, too, because I cruised in the 70s overnight.

Unfortunately, the stress isn't over yet.  Between the trip this weekend, family visiting next weekend, and trying to stay above water at work, I need a game plan.  I've decided that I am going to workout on my new Total Gym first thing when I get home, regardless of how much I just want to plop on the couch and not move a muscle.  I need to clean the house.  I need to get the carpets cleaned.  I need to make sure we have enough towels for 8 people being in my house all at once.  However, I first need to take care of me, and that includes taking care of my diabetes.  But I also need to take care of my mental health. 

The correlation between diabetes and depression is too strong to ignore.  I feel so much better when I can strap on my earbuds and jam out to P!NK while busting it out on the elliptical.  I can feel the tangled ball on my neck begin to loosen and I feel like I can handle things better than before.  I just need to keep in mind that this season of stress is only temporary and my beach vacation is only 5 weeks away.  I need to staple that vacation pamphlet to my forehead. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Send Me to the Stratosphere

Diabetes is tricky.  ("Duh," you say.)  The math itself is complicated enough to make this gal who has a bachelor's degree in physics and a minor in mathematics bang her head against the wall.  It's non-linear and seemingly has no formula solution.  Nothing is more frustrating!

Such is the case when I forgot to program Arnold for my extended bolus for pizza this weekend.  I must have had my ratios wrong or something, because the first hour after I ate I was chugging juice to keep from going low.  So I decided to forgo the extended square bolus following the initial bolus because I kept going low.  And when I tested before bed at 103 mg/dL, I thought I was set.  I was only missing 1.0 units from my original bolus, no big deal. 

Uh uh.

I woke up at 4 AM with Constance blaring at me, dry mouth, and a slight headache.  She said I was 335 mg/dL and a test confirmed I was 300 mg/dL.  My correction bolus was a little over 3 units of insulin!

How in the world does 1 unit missed equal 3 units for correction?!  It boggles my mind!  Is it like going into orbit away from the force of gravity?  The further away you are from the central force, the less effect it has.  Thus, sending you into a momentum of climbing higher and higher into the stratosphere.  That's my engineering/physics mind trying to figure this out.

Has anyone else noticed this?  Diabetes can get so out of control in a hurry.  Just goes to show how important that initial bolus (before eating) is to keeping a nice streamline on my numbers.   The fact that we can maintain numbers the way we do with a body that wants to live in the stratosphere goes to show how awesome we diabetics are!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I'll Take That A1c!!!

This morning I had my quarterly endo appointment.  But today didn't start out very optimistic and sunny, quite the opposite.  Severe thunderstorms were entering our region and causing power outages across the area.  It's really freaky to be driving on the road and watching the street lights go out!


I get to the parking garage, check my blood sugar (118 mg/dL), and head to the office armed with my Dexcom printouts.  I only wait 30 minutes (woo!) before my name was called.  The nurse takes my weight (I didn't ask her if it had gone down since last time, I didn't wanna know), my blood pressure (122/86), and my blood sugar (118 mg/dL, yay for accuracy!) and A1c draw.  I've written before that it is torture to get my A1c taken at my doctor's because I have the pleasure of watching the timer inch its way down from 5 minutes to 0:00.  My heart felt like it was about to jump out of my chest before I saw the number.

I'll take that. 

"Good job," the nurse said.  "The doctor will be in shortly."  I immediately texted Trey the number, to which he responded, "woohoo!"

My doctor walked in and excitedly said, "Hi, Holly!"  He was obviously pleased with my decrease in my A1c from 6.8% back in February.  He asked me how I thought my blood sugars were doing, and I said I was pleased with them but just trying to avoid the lows with working out.  We also discussed the possibility of me getting pregnant, and my doctor made the point that even though I'm doing well with my control now, that it's much easier to be in control when you're doing it for someone else.  That is so true!  There have been plenty of times where I SWAGed for a piece of cake or didn't wait 30 minutes after taking a bolus to eat because I didn't care about the consequences.  If I were pregnant at those times, I guarantee that I would think twice about SWAGing for the key lime pie.

I was also given a copy of my lab work that I had done last week, and this is the first time I've ever been given a copy of the results.  It's quite extensive, but my doctor said my results were stellar.  I can spend time deciphering all the codes later.  He scheduled my next appointment and left.  I grabbed my mounds of paperwork (Dexcom graphs, pump downloads, and lab work results) and made my way to the receptionist to checkout.

I started getting a little choked up thinking about all the hard work I've done, the hope of a successful pregnancy, and the peace that my body is perfectly healthy despite having a chronic illness. I celebrated my success my grabbing a caramel macchiato on the way to work.

Now, about that coffee addiction . . .

Monday, June 20, 2011

Doctors, Doctors, Everywhere!!!

Life has been insanely busy lately, from my crazy work schedule to keeping up with somewhat of a social life, I've been out of the social media/blogging loop.  Thankfully, my diabetes has somewhat behaved during all of this.  My current 30-day average on my meter has been hovering around 140 mg/dL.  (Thank you, diabetes gods!)  But I have several doctor's appointments coming up that make diabetes hard to ignore. 

Last Friday, I went to have blood drawn to look at all my levels including cholesterol, lipids, and (of course) A1c.  And my pathetically small veins made it hard for the nurse to get enough blood in the vial at first.  She had to squeeze my upper arm to make enough come out.  So this lead to having to keep the needle in my arm for half a second longer than I wanted it to.  Next time, I'll just take a jog up and down the hall to get my blood pumping. 

This weekend, I downloaded my latest Dexcom graphs, and it looks like my A1c should land around 5.8 (median) to 6.1% (mean).  I feel really good about this A1c, but I had similar graphs before my last appointment when my A1c came back at 6.8%.  Most people would probably be happy with this number, but I'd rather be below 6.5% before we get pregnant.  Even though we're not trying right now, I don't want to have to wait on diabetes when we are ready.  I've been trying to keep my A1c in the baby-safe range for the past year, so that all my doctors and company will give us the green light without hesitation. 

The other numbers that I'm not so excited about is my weight and consequent blood pressure.  I was really diligent with my diet and exercise until we were without power a for week due to some local tornadoes.  After that, work got crazy and all I could manage to keep up was a spinning class once a week and playing on my company's softball team.  Diet?!  Pssssht!  What diet?!  I've done more eating out and SWAGing this past month than I care to admit.  So I'm hoping that my physical exercise is enough to give me a normal BP reading, at least.  I've been testing on my own about once a week, and although I've been landing in a normal range, there's always white coat syndrome.  Weight-wise, I'm exactly where I was in February, even though my legs appear a bit toned thanks to spinning.  I'm trying to get back in the groove with exercise AND diet. 

Non-diabetes wise, I also have a dentist's appointment the week following my endo appointment.  And I also need to schedule an appointment with a PCP, and I'm still on the hunt for one I can be comfortable with

Such is the life with diabetes, it seems.  Just as soon as life gets busy enough to make diabetes the background noise in your life, you get an alert on your calendar to go get blood work done for your endocrinologist's appointment the next week.  Then diabetes comes back into full focus, exactly where I hate for it to be. 

At least I have a new toy (re: Nook) to keep me entertained in the waiting area. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Baby Confession

So as I've posted a few times before that Trey and I are preparing our home (namely, my diabetic body) for pregnancy.  I am incredibly excited to be a mom someday and hold my own little son or daughter. 


I have a baby confession I need to make.  When it comes to babies that I consider "mine" (like my nephews), I have no problem holding them and playing with them or their projectile fluids.  But when it's other people's kids, I have this sort of hands-off approach where I'm standing at arms length saying "Awww, how cute!"  I know babies are just little balls of spewing bodily fluids ready to blow at any time, like a volcano--it's a scientific fact.  And I have this issue with having other people's snot, puke, or poop on me.  (I guess I'm weird.)  So when I'm holding someone else's baby through some random pass around, I don't sit there thinking how cute they are.  I keep looking for the signs of an eruption in their facial expressions.  Such was the case the other day at work. 

One of the ladies in our office just had her 3rd daughter (!) and brought her into the office to show off.  I heard all the cooing coming from the hallway, so I walked into her office to see the little angel (at arms length).  But before I knew it, I was handed the 2-month-old infant with a "You wanna hold her?"  Well, I guess so.  (I suppose there's some general assumption that all women old enough to procreate are able to hold babies.  I'd like to start a campaign to squash this assumption.  Who's with me?) "Sure, I'll hold it."  IT!  I called this woman's daughter an "it" like my 2 neutered dogs.  *slaps face* 

So I'm holding this infant, carefully watching her expressions to see if my white sweater was about to become a neutral shade of puke, then she smiled.  Whoa!  Not even with my nephews have I ever held an infant and they smiled in my arms.  For a moment, I forgot my fear of handling other people's DNA and enjoyed holding her.  She opened her eyes for me and I said, "Hi!"  And she gave me this look like, "Wait a minute!  You're not my mommy!", then she started to squirm.  And I gave her back to her mom. 

Everyone has told me, "It's different when it's your own kid."  I sure hope so, because I need to be comfortable with a little ball of flesh oozing bodily fluids from all entries.  But at least half of the fluids will be coming from me.  How beautiful! 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Personal (Under)Wear

The temperatures this week have brought summer ROARING into the southeastern United States.  During these hotter months, I like to wear really comfortable cotton sundresses, complete with a pony tail and flip flops--classy.  However, this presents an issue when it comes to wearing my pump Arnold.  I know some of my gal pal diabetics like to wear a thigh holsters or some Spanx-type shorts with a pump pocket.  To me, both of those options add an extra piece of clothing that I can't handle with the heat and sweat.  So what's a girl to do?

Enter hiphugger underwear!  I'm a rather hippy girl to begin with (and not in the "groovy" kind of way, but in the I've got a nice set of "birthin' hips" as my mom would say), so underwear choice is a very important decision for me.  Not long after I got Arnold, I noticed that the amount of fabric covering my hips was exactly enough to hold Arnold in place in his long-rectangular form with the tube parallel to the floor (have you got the image? because I'm not taking a picture for you).  This set-up is perfect for wearing flowy sundresses because you can't see the pump outline on my hip.  Even though I favor the hiphugger shape in underwear, this also goes for briefs or "granny panties" if you please. 

So why am I sharing this extremely personal information with the entire internet?  Well I just wanted to make sure that every girl sporting a pump is privy to this information because it would be the type of nugget that I would want to know.  Also because this type of information is also great if you don't have PJs that have pockets (which dictates my PJ purchase nowadays).  And if you have another tip for hiding a pump in your everyday wear, then let me know in the comments! 

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Rest of That Week

About 2 weeks ago, I promised to recap the rest of the week after the April 27th tornadoes that came through our area.  So what has happened since then that has prevented me from doing so?  I've been locked away in a lab doing some high voltage tests on flight instruments, unable to keep up with the social media world.  (I'VE MISSED YOU GUYS!!!)  But I do want to give you guys a small recap, because diabetes was in the mix during all that mess. Then I can get back to regular diabetes shenanigans.

The morning after the storms was like camping.  We broke out the Coleman stove and our camping kitchenware and made fried eggs and oatmeal.  We were also able to make coffee using boiled water and our French press (I knew that thing would come in handy one day).  After breakfast, we attempted to begin the cleanup process.  Trey began cleaning up the yard, and I proceeded to cleanup . . . the house?!  As strange as it sounds, it made me feel better during all the chaos to keep a clean house. 

Soon after we cleaned up, we got a call that a relative of ours had an extra generator they could lend us.  So we hopped in the car with barely enough gas to get us there and back.  We attempted to get gas while we were out, but most places were either without power or had lines over 2 miles long.  You'd waste more gas sitting in line than what you would get.  While we were out, I got in touch with most of our friends to make sure they were OK, but cell phone connection was spotty at best. 

Back at home, we hooked up the generator and plugged in all our necessary appliances:  refrigerator, freezer, coffee pot, the essentials.  We also plugged in the radio, which was our main source of communication to the outside world.  Callers would tell the DJs where there was gas, generators, food, etc. 

And when we weren't outside cleaning up debris, we were inside listening to the radio and getting by on our own entertainment.  Trey would play one of his non-online games on his laptop, and I would lose myself in the book Helter Skelter.  I've always wanted to read this book, and this week provided the perfect opportunity.  It's been such a long time since I read a book for fun, and with nothing else to do all day, I would camp out on the couch and read until there wasn't anymore light.  I would even go outside and read on the patio to get the last few minutes of daylight that I could.  I finished the book on the last day before we got power back. 

We eventually settled into a routine each day where we would get up, turn on the generator, make some breakfast, clean up our yard or help out our neighbors with their yard, fix some lunch, hang out listening to the radio while reading or playing, make dinner, and go to bed with the sun around 8 PM.  Showers became something I looked forward to and feared at the same time with temperatures around, oh, freezing.  As some restaurants became open (on generators), we would spend most of our meals out just to escape the house for awhile.  This lead to the decline in my diabetes control. 

The first part of the week, my numbers were awesome.  We were spending most of our time pretty active in cleaning up the branches and tree limbs in our yard.  But towards the end of the week when were just hanging out and going out to eat, my numbers started creeping up.  Also, I was missing one thing pretty vital to my diabetes management--routine!  I was so out of sorts without exercising and carb counting.  I bumped up my basal rates towards the end of the week to account for the creeping, and they've stayed there ever since.  I'm hoping that they can start to come back down now that I can keep a steady routine. 

Six days later we got power back, and 13 days later we got cable/internet.  The debris is (mostly) gone and life has gotten back to (somewhat) normal.  And I've learned several things that I need to be better prepared for another natural disaster:  a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, back-up to my back-up D supplies (thankfully, I just did a pharmacy refill right before the storms), and always ALWAYS have a good book on hand. 

As the cleanup here still goes on and we see the saddening effects of other storms in Joplin and other areas, I hope we all take a moment to be better prepared and remember those who lost their lives.  We were EXTREMELY lucky during all this to only have lost a tree and some meat in the freezer.  Some people lost everything!  I still get a little choked up on my ride home where the horizon of pine trees has been lost to what looks like toothpicks with no branches.  Thanks to everyone who sent me texts and emails asking if we were OK.  Above everything else, I'm so glad to have the love of the DOC! 

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DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, nurse, certified diabetes educator (CDE) or any medical professional of any kind. (But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express!) Therefore, please do not use any of my postings as medical fact. I am simply a blogger expressing my highs and lows (pun intended) with diabetes. For changes in your medication, exercise regiment, or diet please consult a qualified physician.

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My name is Holly and I live in north Alabama with my hubby, two cats, and a dog.