Saturday, July 29, 2006

Boy, it's sure nice to be back, reading thought-provoking blogs that say things just like I feel, only they say it so much better than I do. I've been in Chicago for the last 3 days, having met up with my best friend SJ who I hadn't seen in 14 months and 15 days. We had a jam-packed trip. I went to the Contemporary Museum of Art alone on Wednesday (I will say no more); Wicked the musical Wednesday night (it was awesome); the Shedd Aquarium and Navy Pier Thursday; swimming in Lake Michigain and the Art Institute on Friday. I had envisioned a free-wheeling, fun, girly time -- no worries, no constraints, just fun. And I did have fun...except that I couldn't leave my diabetes at home.

I ran low all day Thursday because of all the walking we were doing. I suspended my pump; I drank maintenance Pepsi and ate so many Hot Tamales that my tongue hurts and I suspect cold sores are immenent. At my lowest I was 46. But then every morning I'd wake up high, and have to decide: do I do an extra bolus? Do I trust the walking to bring it down?

So really, I came home disheartened. And as I write this with a 322 blood sugar and the feeling that my insides are trying to get out of my skin, all the sugar is jumping around so much, I am even more frustrated. Usually I am a stoic diabetic. I have it. I deal with it. I work with the highs and the lows. I don't wish for a cure, usually. But today I wish I could take it off, like the pump, and travel free for a while. See a city without worries. Walk without having to consume 600 extra calories just to keep me going. Lighten the load and leave some of the baggage behind.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

17 Really Cool Things I've Done Since My Diagnosis (in no particular order):

1. Became an English teacher
2. Married the kindest, cutest man in the universe
3. Was baptised by immersion
4. Became a member of a wonderful church
5. Graduated in 3 years with 2 majors (English and Political Science) and an unofficial minor (History) from a superb liberal arts school where I...
6. ...Became friends with S.J., the most dedicated and faithful friend a girl could have
7. Lived and worked in Washington D.C. for 9 months. Hated it. Learned what I valued.
8. Learned how to knit
9. Went parasailing twice
10. Roadtripped to Rhode Island by myself...there and back in 3 days!
11. Roadtripped to the Grand Canyon and Maine, and went to Europe (all with the above SJ)
12. Got an insulin pump!
13. Was able to honor my brother by speaking at his funeral and sharing what a wonderful relationship we had and what a beautiful young man he was
14. Got much-needed treatment for a prolonged depression
15. Stood up to my sixth grade teacher. She needed it. So did I.
16. Started the process of getting over my fear of failure and my insistence on perfection. Note the knitting, and the golfing (!) I did last week
17. ...I'm looking ahead here, but I'm going to think positive: finished my dissertation!

And because I like setting goals...

Some things I will do in the next 17 years...

1. Become a professor! Hopefully sooner rather than later
2. Learn to speak Spanish fluently
3. Own a home
4. Also own a Spain
5. Do Karaoke
6. Be a mentor to ungraduates and graduate students
7. Honor my brother by starting some sort of program that would reflect who he was and what he valued...the details are fuzzy, but it's something I feel compelled to do
8. Learn to play the guitar

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Diabetes OC motivates me! When I read that some people do their basal tests by simply not eating, I thought, "that's a good idea." I have always hated those tests and have not done one since shortly after I got the pump. It's not so much that they're inconvenient as that they're another reminder of the inconveniences of having diabetes. (Circular logic, maybe, but then, I got a "C" in logic).

So, I was pumped (hah!). I was going to do this. I was going to (gasp) skip breakfast. Today was my day.

I woke up at 204. Yesterday I was 203. The day before that was 124. So either the heat is doing its thing or I need more on the 2:30 - 5:30 am set. I gave a slight bolus to correct the 204, tell myself that if I woke up high I should skip the test, and then ignore my advice. I've prepped myself for this and I am going to do it. (So rarely do I try to be a "good diabetic").

Then I debate -- do I go for a powerwalk or not? On the "Yes" side: It's my Tuesday form of excercise. I will feel badly if I don't. I'm 204. On the "No" side: I'm 204. I might go low. I'll skewer my results. I go with the "yes," and compromise with the fear of lows by suspending my pump.

I come back at 257. Later I am 255.

I throw in the towel. Eat some chicken bryani. Do what I think is enough insulin. Clock in at 258.

So, for once in my life, I am remarkably consistent. But I haven't learned anything. Are my basals off? (They weren't last week...) Did I screw up with the walk/suspend? Did I miscalculate lunch? Are my consistent highs a result of the weather, hormones, a bug I'm fighting? Who can tell?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Recipes were made to be broken. At least in my book. Substitute here, cut there, make something better....Except that sometimes the recipes know what they're talking about. Which is why I just wasted 2 cups pretzels, 1/2 cup butter, 8 oz. cream cheese, 1 cup whipped topping, and some sugar. Said ingredients are now in a very unappetizing blob in our trash bin, baking in the sun.

See, I was making Strawberry Pretzel Dessert. I love this dessert, and try to eat it, if not make it, every summer. The crust is pretzels and butter and sugar. I decided to cut the butter from 3/4 cup to 1/2 cup. This calculation makes sense; very rarely do we need all the butter in a recipe, just like we don't need all the sugar (which I cut from 3 TBLS to 1). Except, butter adds moisture, and moisture keeps a crust together. So, when I started slathering on the cream cheese mixture, it was very difficult to spread. The crust started coming up like a crumbly carpet. But being the adventerous cook, I decided to see what would happen if I just mixed the pretzels and crea, cheese mixture together. It would still taste good, right? Wrong. The yumminess disappeared to be replaced by the Pretzel Blob. No amount of squishing would make it lie flat. And so, with unceremonious anger and juvenile zeal, I used a spatula to plop the blob into the trash and announced "I'm never making another dessert again." (This is not the first dessert-in-distress I have conconcted).

The butter cutting was ill-advised. But for anyone who decides to make this dessert or has made it in the past, the 1 cup sugar in the cream cheese mixture is more than enough. The whipped topping is really sweet. I think 1/2 cup would suffice (I used 3/4 cup, and the mixture was too sweet). But then, you may not want to take my advice on this dessert.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

This posting is brought to you by the color Gray and the bloodsugar Low.

It is gray, gray, gray out. Pouring rain gray out, although the rain stopped long enough for me to take a very humid walk. A few years ago I was diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder (not so affectionally referred to as Seasonal Defective Disorder), but really, I think I just have an allergy to Gray.

I wasn't motivated yesterday and I certainly am not motivated today. This does not make dissertation writing easy. Nor does the 13th low in 5 days. One day I was only above 100 once. Now, I like good, low-end blood sugars, but perpetual lows are zappers. And although I've cut insulin daily it hasn't done any good.

On a sunnier note, our anniversary get away was beautiful. The Bed and Breakfast was a huge, 150+ year-old farmhouse; the jacuzzi was fair-sized; the champagne was bubbly, and the Nic was happily talkative. I wish we could celebrate our anniversary more often!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Happy Anniversary to us...

This weekend marks (more or less) our 3rd anniversary. Handsome Hubby and I are celebrating with a trip to a bed and breakfast tomorrow, and a visit to our favorite winery on Sunday. We have visited this winery every annivesary since our marriage. We mosey on down through the "quaint" towns, our cooler packed with Alouette Cheese and strawberries. At the winery, we sit at the tasting counter with our eyes wide, trying to decide: do we taste the same wines? Do we taste different wines and share our opinions? Then the question becomes: which wines do we buy with the money we have set aside?

Having made our purchases and also purchased the requisite bar of french bread, we deliver all but one bottle to our car and grab our cooler. We meander through the winery gardens to the pond, where we debate over the merit of shady v. sunny pincic tables and inevitably compromise on one with shade (for him) as well as sun (for me). Pulling out our real, from-our-house wine glasses, we pop the cork and savor the wine, the cheese, the strawberries, and the sun.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Day: Sunday, July 2.
The Time: 11 am.
The scene: Nic is in the kitchen. Her blood sugar is 61. She is shaking, and hot, and more symtomatic than she has been in a long time. Her heart is racing. She has had some juice, but feels it is imperative that she have a ham and cheese sandwich, now.

But first she needs the cheese slicer. She looks under the sink, where some dishes are stored, and starts rooting through them. She looks in the pile of dirty dishes on the counter. She clangs some silverware and bangs around some plates as she looks, frantically but ineffectually. Tears are streaming down her cheeks.

"I'll do the dishes later," her husband says. He sits placidly on the couch.

She is sobbing as she takes out a plate (as she is unable to find the cutting board either) and grabs a knife and starts to saw at the cheese.

"I don't care about the dishes. I need the cheese slicer and I cant' find it. This is why" (deep, snotty, self-pitying breath) "I don't like us [read: you] to pile the dishes like this. I can't find anything." She glares at self-satisfied husband as he refuses to comfort her in her temper tantrum.

The cheese won't cut, a combination of a very dull knife and an uncordinated Nic. It is all hubby's fault.

She throws the cheese into its drawer and kicks the door shut. Sobs as she grabs a knife and bread and slaps on peanut butter. Glares at her husband the whole time. Wishes he knew what it felt like. Inhales the sandwich, very unhappy that it is not ham and cheese, the only real remedy to this egregious low, and sits back down.

It's funny now, but this was the scariest low I have ever had. I am rarely emotional with lows, and I was a mess with this one. And I was 61, not 30 -- which, incidentally, I don't usualy feel and have thus far (but not holding my breath) been fully capable of dealing with in a rational manner.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Today is Sunday, and my husband and I are missing church yet again. Our summer attendance has been spotty because of travels, and also because we work with the early two-year olds. But today we are missing by choice, choosing to miss the crowds of the community picnic and the pomp and circumstance of the patriotic sermon that we know awaits us.

I am not one of those who thinks that to miss a Sunday is sin, or that God will judge me for choosing to sleep in or take a mental health break during a busy week. But today, I am longing for God. I am hungry for his word. And this is because I know I need it.

I am worshipping finances rather than God. Recently a friend met with me to help me with a budget, and the more I work on finalizing it the more I worry about where our money will come from. Summers are always tight. There are weddings, there is our anniversary, there are unforseen expenses. There is the Handsome Hubby's car, which in the past three months has cost us $2,5000. We picked it up from the shop yesterday, only to have the clutch break 10 miles later. And so I look at our money draining away, away, away...and I forget to look to God to provide. And he always has provided, from the beginning. We were fairly impovershed when we married, but thanks to wedding gifts we were able to repair Handsome Hubby's car, get new glasses for both of us, buy needed clothes, and to sock some away in savings. Money has come from odd, unforseen places ever since. And yet I always worry...

And then there is the matter of insurance. My hubby is a dreamer; I am a pragmatist, partly by nature, partly by diabetes, and partly because the dreamer needs balance. And so, when he thinks of looking for a new job, I say, "but what about our insurance?" We have marvelous insurance, which insures that we pay very little for my pump supplies. What if? What if? What if? And so, in the name of financial security, I am the dour dream-shooter-downer. I do not like myself for this.

And I do not like that I am worshipping finances and financial stability over God. After all, what else is stable in this unstable world?