Every now & again this whole diabetes thing gives me a good laugh. Not
often, but once in great while. The other day on my way to work I was
doing what I often do: multi-tasking. In this case it meant I wasn't
quite ready to leave the house when I actually had to leave the house to
make it to work on time. What this usually means is that I am doing my
blood sugar, bolusing and having breakfast as I commute. I did the
glucose test fine (only one noticable swerve) and moved onto bolusing. This is a bitmore tricky since I live in Cleveland where the winters are cold and it is necessary to bundle up, and I also had my seatbelt securely fastened. My pump is hooked to my belt on my right side, under my coat, under my thick sweater, all strapped under my safety belt. In the interest of safety, I did not unbuckle before digging out my pump to bolus. Somehow I managed to find my pump and pull it up to where I could I see the screen and use my Bolus Wizard to set an amount, all the while trying desperately to not let any bare skin be exposed as it was COLD.

The reattaching of my pumpwas what got messy. I got the pump totally tangled through not only both parts of the seatbelt but also my belt. With no slack left in the tubing, the pump dangling somewhere near my lap and after I was reasonably sure that I was still in fact attached to the pump, to avoid any further annoyance I left it to deal with once I arrived at work and concentrated on driving.

Reaching my destination I went to reach for my bag on the passenger seat I simultaneously remembered that I was completely tangled up in my pump and looked down and saw the tubing tangled around the seatbelt & I simply laughed. I laughed out loud, all by myself, in my car. Not just a small giggle of amusement, but more a huge, stomach-clenching, tears in my eyes laugh. To this day, I still do not quite know how I got my tubing as
tangled as I did but it still makes me smile.

Note: I had to disconnect and pull the pump out of its clip before I could unwind it form the seatbelt and then actually take off my seatbelt.
Miraculously the tubing was not damaged.



I feel jittery, hyper, like my heart is beating too fast and I can’t stop fidgeting. Did I drink too much coffee? Have too much caffeine? I don’t think so. Plus, too much caffeine usually leaves me feeling more headachy and sick to my stomach. I’d better test my blood sugar.

My reading is a perfect 90 – that explains it. My in-target blood sugar is making me feel this way. It’s making me feel as if my pupils are dilated and there is too much light in the room. It is so hard to hold onto a thought. I feel so excited and energized, like I might burst.

My poor body is not used to blood sugars like this. It doesn’t know what to do; anything below 120 & I start to feel like this or I feel low. I know it’s because my body is all out of sync and that the lower my readings stay, the better I will feel, but this sucks. At 180 or even 200-I feel so much better, so normal. It’s ironic that my good blood sugar is making me feel bad; that’s diabetes for you.

irony a (1) : incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result (2) : an event or result marked by such incongruity


"Mel Time"

Some comments about my Fruit Loops & Ice Cream post got me thinking about how truly supportive my parents were & not just my sisters. It was my mom’s goal from the very beginning that I think of myself as a person who happened to have diabetes and not a diabetic. She, especially, was adamant that I learn about my disease in order to be as independent as possible. From the very beginning my parents helped but did not do it all for me. I gave most of my own shots; with some help pinching enough skin in a tricky spot like the upper arm, and from what I recall, I did most of my own urine, then blood sugar testing.

My dad often helped me get my bedtime snack: just about always nachos (Tostitos with cheese, melted in the microwave) and sugar-free chocolate milk. To this day, that is still comfort food to me. Much of my childhood and even into my teens my bedtime snack was a ritual never to be missed. During that time I was also having a problem of dropping low in the middle of the night and had quite of few hypoglycemic seizures as well. Glucagon to bring me back and Phenergan suppositories to help with the vomiting that always followed, were staples in our house. All administered by my parents. How scary it must have been to have to give a shot to your convulsing kid, wait for her to awake groggy and disoriented, and asking “did I have another one?” Then try to get her to drink some regular pop or eat something as she’s asking for something, anything to throw up in. They did it. Sometimes we had to go the ER for an IV if I couldn’t keep anything down and my blood sugar wasn’t coming up. They did all this and yet somehow kept their calm, didn’t let me know just how scary or awful it was, and let me feel like it wasn’t such a big deal.

My parents were my biggest fans and supporters in the annual Bike-A-Thon to raise money for the diabetes youth group run by the team at my doctors’ office. Dad borrowed a truck, the kind with the lift on the back, from his work each year and gave all us kids rides which was always a hit. Today they are still among my biggest supporters in the annual ADA walk. They tried to treat me the same as my sisters, but isn’t that nearly impossible when I had a chronic illness such as diabetes? At Halloween I would go trick-or-treating with all the other kids then turn in my candy to my mom in exchange for a toy or later a jean jacket I just had to have. At Easter I usually got a toy or something too; after we figured out that the sugar-free candy caused stomach problems. Not such a bad deal.

Aside from a strong aversion to actually writing down my blood sugars, one which I still have, by the time I graduated from high school I was an independent, comparatively responsible 18 year old heading off to college 10 hours away from home. That is when my diabetes control became my sole responsibility & I started screwing it all up. I don’t want to reminisce about the self-destructive path I was on for quite some time (at least not now). I am finding strength in remembering the sacrifices my parents made for me, the knowledge to care for myself and my disease that the bestowed in me, and all the love and support they gave and still give to this day. I am drawing on that strength and thinking I CAN DO THIS. I really can find a way to live in harmony with diabetes and be happy and healthy.

As with most things, I will do it in my own slow, sweet, “Mel Time” as my mom calls it.


Happy Valentine's Day!

be in the moment.
each one is given for a reason.


What is Your Blood Sugar?

As far back as I can remember, me saying, “I don’t feel good” is always followed by someone saying some variation of, “What is your blood sugar?” When I am especially grumpy or really sad, or just not all there, it is almost always blamed on my blood sugar. Argh!!! Why can’t it just be that I don’t feel well or that I am having a bad day? Why can’t it just be a normal ailment that a regular, non-diabetic person gets? Why can’t it just be me? As if my numbers are not already constantly on my mind, and right in front of my face.

Every illness or stress I have can and often does affect my blood sugar and more often than not, it is my out-of-whack blood sugar making me feel like crap. I know this, yet the question still bothers me when I know it shouldn’t. People only ask out of concern, yet it still does. A lot. If it wasn’t my blood sugar that was causing me to feel off in the first place, an out of range number is sure to follow. It’s a vicious cycle: moods, stress, illness and life in general affect blood sugar and, in turn, blood sugar affects moods, can cause stress, makes you feel ill and disrupts your life. It is an endless merry-go-round that is not very merry.

If it is not in fact my blood sugar that is contributing to my moodiness, then the next question my husband and close friends will ask is “Have you been taking your medicine?” By medicine, they mean my pal Prozac. I have tried not taking it daily and sometimes still have lapses where I seem to think I will be okay without; the result is not pretty. I have been taking Prozac on and off for close to 6 years now, so with the help of my doctor I am resigned to the fact that this is what I need. I am well aware of the multitude of controversies surrounding Prozac and other ‘mood-enhancing’ drugs, but I also know that, for me, it makes my life livable. When I get lulled into the idea that I feel great, with no extreme bouts of depression or dark days, I start to think that I don’t need this help anymore; I am brought back to reality in a couple weeks’ time. I hate that the question of whether or not I have been taking Prozac has to even be asked. I wish I could be okay without it, but I have learned from experience that I am not.

I feel bad that when I yell at my husband about something totally stupid like our grocery shopping, he has to wonder if it is my blood sugar or if I have not been taking my meds. The man is a saint and lets me get through my yelling at him for no good reason followed by my subsequent hour long nonsensical sobbing before gently asking me what my blood sugar is and if I have been taking my medicine.

Medicine injected into me through a tiny cannula attached to a pump on my belt and medicine swallowed each night to allow me to function as a normal human being – ain’t life grand?


Fruit Loops & Ice Cream

I don’t have many specific memories of my childhood before diabetes. Poking oranges with syringes to practice giving shots, the playroom in the hospital where I got to make all sorts of cool crafts, and the exact outfit I had on when I left the hospital the day before my 9th birthday; those things I remember in detail. I loved being in the hospital. I was not sick, sick, but rather there to learn all about this new disease I had. I was looking forward to being in the hospital for my birthday, as that would obviously mean a ton more presents. It hadn’t occurred to me that perhaps shopping for my birthday presents was not number one on my mom’s agenda, given that her youngest was in the hospital having just been diagnosed with a terminal illness. She knew firsthand where the disease could lead since she was a R.N. who made home visits. Then, I just saw it as a way that I was unique and special. No big deal. The day before my birthday came around I was cleared to go home. I put on my pale yellow oxford shirt, railroad striped OshKosh B’Gosh overalls, tied my maroon with silver swish Nikes and pinned on my Garfield pin. I was ready to go.

It never occurred to me until much later that maybe my family wasn’t as ready as I was. My mom pretty much made my two older sisters and I eat healthy even before my diagnosis, so I’m not sure things changed all that much. She was what we now affectionately call “a hippie mom.” You know; made her own granola, made pizza at home, colored on meat trays… For the couple of years before diabetes, my sisters and I had all gone to camp together for a week or so in the summer, but now that I had been diagnosed with the disease I was going to Camp Ho Mita Koda (the name means welcome, my friend) instead. I loved Camp Ho. I cried endlessly when it was time to go home and back to the real world. Camp was a sort of vacation for me because almost everyone there had diabetes. We all waited in line to test our blood sugars then walked up to the dispensary for our shots. The meals and snacks as well as the exchanges were all figured out for you. Looking back now, I’m sure it was a vacation of sorts for my family as well. Their diets were not restricted and they didn’t have to worry about me while I was at camp.

Long after I had stopped going to camp my sisters confessed to me that after the family dropped me off, they got ice cream at a place down the street from camp. Then, once closer to home, they picked up Fruit Loops, Honeycomb and other ‘fun’ cereal at the grocery store to enjoy while I was away. The fact that for all those years they did this without telling did not make me jealous or angry but rather made realize just how much they, too, had to give up. It made me realize just how much they loved me.

Loved me then and still do now. I truly have the best big sisters in the whole world. Each would do anything for me and I for them. Sara & Krista, thank you for all the sacrifices you made on my behalf and for only getting to enjoy Fruit Loops and ice cream while I was at camp.


I'm back...

So...I took a little break. The break from blogging was not deliberate, per say. The holidays came around, work got really busy...and well, life happened. After the holidays I had plenty of time, but by then I was questioning whether I had anything original to say (more on my longing to be different, yet the same later) in this huge world of d-bloggers. So I procrastinated some more. I'm really good at the whole procrastination thing, by the way. By then I had started slipping into, well probably more like crashing into my old ways of not dealing with the diabetes, and was obviously not in the mood to conjure up something witty about the disease for the entire world to see. Diabetes was tucked way back in the far recesses of my conscience and only accessed when completely necessary to do so. My body was nowhere near to being the Ritz Carlton of places for diabetes to stay; more like some seedy roadside motel that offers rooms by the hour.

I had given myself permission to be a slacker because I knew I would be going back on the pump soon and that then I would have to be good. I would be using the (new to me) Paradigm 715 pump with the Paradigm Link blood glucose meter that sends the readings right to the pump and has the Bolus Wizard to figure out your insulin dose for you and then all the information could be uploaded to your computer and combined to give you reports etc. on all your information. No more trying to combine information from several places or having to write it all down on my own. It would take care of some of the annoying little details that I absolutely hate doing such as calculating, correction, and carb doses and then not having one place that stored all of my results, as well as providing useful reports. I was very excited. I even wanted to blog about it.

But by then it felt like it had been too long since I had written to just throw another blog out there. It’s not like anyone would notice or care. I’m not some profound writer. In fact, I am only able to post my entries after an awesome friend who makes them look better has proofread them. I haven’t conquered my diabetes demons so I don’t have great advice to offer others. I’m just a girl with this disease called diabetes that has been my nemesis for as long as I can remember trying to figure out how to live in harmony with it. I have sorted through my complicated feelings about writing this blog for other people; worrying about what they think, or if it is witty enough. I have remembered that I am doing this for me.

Well, ok, not so little a break, but I’m back!!!