A Touch of Diabetes

Watching the news the other night with my husband there was someone being interviewed about some health issue and this is what we heard:

“My mother had some trouble with diabetes and I think I may have a touch of diabetes too. Yeah, just a little bit of diabetes.”

I turned to my husband, R, and he had a knowing look in his eye and a smirk on his face, knowing that I was about to pull out my soap box.

Outrage in my voice, I say, “A touch of diabetes?”

The volume rising I ask, “So if he has just a little bit of diabetes does that mean that I have a whole bunch?”

The smirk on R’s face is more like a smile now. He knows so well how the lack of education about diabetes pisses me off. We both break out into laughter but not before I get in my dig about the lack of education about diabetes for the average American. And then I put my soap box away and just enjoyed laughing with my husband.


Girly stuff, lows, and laughter

Let me first say that I love my doctor. She is my primary care doc, internist or whatever you call the one who handles anything that is not diabetes. At least now that I actually have an Endo, but before I had an Endo she helped me with that, too. This doc is young, hip, friendly, knowledgeable, very willing to try new treatments, and just someone you could picture being friends with. She will also do all the ‘girl stuff’ (pap, breast exam, etc.) that is recommended yearly.

I had an appt. this week to see her for a consultation about some prescriptions, my trouble sleeping, and to have the dreaded girly exam. I was not looking forward to that part of the appt. at all. It has been years since I had any of this recommended stuff done and by the time the appt. rolled around I was questioning the wisdom of having everything done by the same person. I worked myself into such a tizzy over this appt. that I was a shaky, sweaty, elevated heart rate mess by the time the doc came into the exam room. I had to admit that I was nervous about the appt. and she couldn’t believe how frazzled I actually was about this appt. Her: “You come here all the time, Melissa.” Me “Yeah, but I usually get to keep my clothes on.” Her: “You are really sweating.” A light bulb goes off in my head and I do a blood sugar while trying to keep the handkerchief sized gown secure. Yup, I was low.

We both laughed at my getting so worked up that I made myself low over a simple exam.

You have to laugh at yourself or you’ll cry your eyes out….


I (insert your personal favorite expletive for hate here) lows!!!!!

I was jolted from a peaceful sleep at around 5:30 this morning by my throbbing hand. This is my body’s newest way of telling me I am low. I fall out of bed, do the requisite b.s., guzzle juice and burrow back under the covers since lows make me extremely cold. I don’t technically need to get up until 7:00 to get ready and leave the house by 8:15 to make it to work on time so I stay in bed with the morning news on drifting in & out of sleep. Next thing I know I look at the clock and it reads 8:00…SHIT! I jump out of bed, and start running around frantically trying to get ready in record time. I look at the clock again and it read 8:15 but in my mind it registers as 7:15 so I slow down and continue to get ready at my regular pace. I feel a little groggy from my earlier low (which was 70 and really wasn’t that low) and feel a low headache coming on but not too bad.

I make coffee and have some cereal, which I bolus for without checking my blood sugar again. At some point during my getting ready for the day I glance at the clock and it reads 8:45 but in my mind registers 7:45 and think, I’m doing o.k. on time. I get in the Jeep, turn the key and the radio clock reads 8:58. What the %$&@? It finally processes correctly. I am supposed to be at work right now! What happened? I guess I should have checked again when I woke up for the second time.

Needless to say I was quite late to work and the day hasn’t gotten any more normal. My low headache has reached epic proportions (no thanks to the drilling of concrete going on right outside the front door), my blood sugar has rebounded, my sense of time is completely out of whack and I am getting the strangest inquiries and requests from visitors to the church today.

“Where would I find my doctor, in the Yellow Pages or the White Pages?”

“Is my name in your historical book? I think my mother was one of the founders.” Keep in mind that this particular church was founded in 1820.

“What is the name of that restaurant across the alley from that one restaurant around the corner from you? I will need a little more information to help you since there are several restaurants and a couple of alleys right nearby as this is a downtown church.

“I was there last Sunday and I dropped some change…did you find it? My name is _______”

“If I sign up to volunteer, how much will you pay me?”

“Got any soap?”

Ah, the joys of working at a downtown church with a mind hazy from being low.


Reformed Test Strip 'Collector'

I am a reformed test strip ‘collector’. I used to drop them many places in my halfhearted attempt to contain the used strips in the pocket of my One Touch case. That was until my CDE pointed out to me that it was pretty gross, and unsafe to let those little strips with the dried up blood on them float around. Part of me thinks that this is no big deal, it’s such a tiny amount of blood and it’s my blood, but part of me agrees with her. The part of me that agrees with her is the same part that also wants to impress her since she is such a cool lady and so I have heeded her suggestion of putting the used the test strips in an empty test strip bottle. So simple yet I had never thought of this before.

So now, since I never liked the case that came with my meter that came with my pump I throw everything into a much cuter little case that my friend gave me (thank you Court) and so that I can tell apart the two bottles
I have put stickers on the discard one.

I am not by nature, a neat freak, by any means. I have to consciously try to be neat and remind myself to close cabinet doors, but this is one little place where I can keep some order.


Endo Appt.

Hemoglobin A1C: 9.1

The doc was not concerned since this is no higher than my last A1C over a year ago and I have only been on the pump and recommitted to my care since January. I was really hoping for lower.

I get so worked up over these routine appointments. You would think that I would be used to them after 23 years but I’m not. Driving to my appointment, my stomach is in knots and I am nervous, worried that this will be the time when my blood work will show that my body has finally had enough. I am lucky, other than my high A1C, I have avoided complications yet again.

“Your blood work looks good…kidneys are fine, liver fine, your LDL is a little high (105) but your HDL is great so I’m not worried about that…Your BP also is great.”

Huge sigh of relief.

We changed my basal rates and she, of course told me to get some 2 a.m. checks. She told me about the CGMS and recommended getting it if at all possible. The general consensus was that I was doing alright, just needed to keep working on getting those blood sugars down and in turn get my A1C closer to 7.

I left feeling pretty darn good about it all.

Then I looked at the paperwork she had given me with the results of my labs and notes from the visit. Under Review of Systems - Weight: Gained. Physical Exam: Obese. I am well aware of the fact that I need to lose some weight but to see the word ‘obese’ on my chart was a bit of an eye-opener. Obese means unhealthily overweight. Not a thing was said about this. Having diabetes puts me at a higher risk for all sorts of things and being what they call obese cannot be good, so I would think that would be addressed. It was pointed out to me that perhaps the doc figured I had enough going on (with the diabetes & depression) so didn’t think it was a good idea to bring up my weight and that maybe I was looking for someone to tell what I already knew. She may be right.

I suppose I can do one of 2 things: waste energy on being upset about something I already know (that I need to drop more than a few pounds) or I can do something about it. I’m going with the latter. Today will make 3 days in a row of walking at lunch time for me – GO ME!

Small steps, one day at a time.


Interviewee Answers

Here is my interview by Art Sweet:

When did you know that your husband was The One?
Honestly, I think even before our first date. I am the one who asked him out first and I remember thinking that I had to be ready before I did so, ready for something big. In many ways it didn’t make sense because we are different in many ways but I just knew.

Is there anything you'd like to do, but haven't done because of your diabetes?
It’s hard to decipher whether it was the diabetes or just me that has kept me from doing things…

What do you hope to do once you're done with school?
Anything but the boring job I am currently in. Finishing school for me is more about actually finishing that goal than the result. Officially my degree will in Marketing. This was a decision made spur of the moment right around the time I did not get the job with ADA that I desperately wanted & I thought that a marketing degree could help with getting a job doing fundraising or such for diabetes. Bottom line, I want a job that means something to me, that I am passionate about.

What's the best thing about living where you live?
Family & friends nearby.

How often do you see/talk to your family?
My sister who lives in town I talk to a couple times a week and see just about weekly.
My parents I try to talk to once a week and see them every couple of months.
My sister in Chicago I probably talk to once or twice a month and see a couple times a year, although it’s been more often lately with her baby on the way, and my wedding last year.
My in-laws are all in town as well so I talk to & see them fairly often.
The few aunts, uncles and cousins that I have I only see on special occasions but thanks to my mom keeping in contact with them I get info on what they are up to.

If you want to participate:

  • Leave me a comment saying “interview me.”
  • The first five commenters will be the participants.
  • I will respond by asking you five questions.
  • You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions.
  • You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
  • When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.


"it's not my fault"

I have, in my own way, been trying to stop and really think about why I make some of the choices that I do. Some of the reasons behind the feelings have been pretty obvious especially when I took the time to analyze them. You know, procrastination and avoiding confrontation at any cost, because my coping skill is avoidance, rebelling against diabetes because I am angry that I have it, that sort of thing.

One that took me by surprise is the realization that I hate it when my blood sugar is ‘good’ but I don’t feel good. If my blood sugar is not in range then I have my explanation of not feeling well right there. I have found that I really don’t like not feeling 100% especially when I don’t have a reasonable explanation for it. Could this be why I often let my blood sugars wander higher or lower than I should? I also don’t like it when I have say a pain in my hand but no visible sign; I want to be able to see concrete evidence of what is the matter with me, not just symptoms.

Diabetes really doesn’t work that way. It is more a behind the scenes kind of disease, wreaking havoc without the apparent gore. At least if my readings are off I can pinpoint what is causing me to feel bad. Much, much, more than I should, I use the disease as an excuse. Some of my rationale is that I put up with so much from diabetes, that I am entitled to get something back where I can. I’m not saying that I use the disease all the time, to get out of doing anything unpleasant, just that I fall back on the excuse more than I should. I liked being low during school as a kid because then I got to go in the coatroom and eat lifesavers, and act silly.

I marvel at the bloggers out there who say they never use the ‘betes as an excuse and refuse the let it limit what they achieve. Me, run a marathon or have a very high stress, high profile job, yeah right, I just don’t see it. My self-confidence has not reached that level.

Yesterday, my blood sugar was 142, but I felt like crap. Near perfect reading, not too close to feeling low for me. I felt dizzy, run-down and just not right. Looking back over my numbers, I realized that they had been pretty darn good for the day, the past few days even. I hated it. My blood sugar was good, so I was supposed to feel great, dammit!

Where I get these ideas I do not know. Reasonably I recognize that I am ordinary person who happens to have diabetes and that this does not mean that I don’t experience the regular everyday ailments that we all do. Illogically, though I want to be able to explain and yes blame all those aches, pains and flaws on the ‘betes.

Diabetes is my nemesis, so it makes sense that everything is its fault, right?



How is it possible to love so much, a little tiny person you haven't even met yet? My sister is 8 months pregnant and I just saw her last weekend. I could not contain my excitement for this baby on the way; I just had to keep touching her 'belly', kissing it and letting baby know that her Aunt Melissa can't wait to meet her! Already, I know that I would do anything to help this tiny person and feel fiercely protective of her. Yes, we do know that she will be a girl thanks to chromosome testing. Madeline Grace is the forerunner for names but do you every really know until you lay eyes on them? My sister was getting slightly annoyed with all us fussing about her, telling her not to do anything, but it was all out of love and she knew that. This will be the first grandchild/niece for my family of origin so we are especially thrilled.

The other night, as I was thinking girly thoughts about ‘Maddy’, how cut she will be, wondering if she had any idea how much she is already loved an awful thought came rushing in: would she have a higher risk of developing diabetes because of me? Out of all the things I could pass along the next generation diabetes never, ever made the cut. I would rather give any of my other faults, but not diabetes. As I pondered this I was calmed by the thoughts that would have to be a cure before Maddy would even have to worry about it. Right? Then I remembered what I was told growing up about when there would be a cure and how that time has come and gone. Still no cure.

At least little Maddy will have an aunt and a family who is experienced in living with diabetes to help her every step of the way if she should happen to develop diabetes but I am really hoping that she doesn’t have to deal with it…no one should.