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June 30, 2008

Radio City Music Izzard.

Our seats were, admittedly, kind of crap.  But being waaaaay up there in the third mezzanine of Radio City Music Hall wasn't the worst place to be on Saturday night.  I mean, we were in the presence of greatness:  Mr. Eddie Izzard was performing.

The view from our seats.  Gorgeous theater!

Thanks to the power of a wicked zoom lens and the fact that there really is no bad seat at Radio City, Chris and I took in our first Eddie Izzard performance this weekend.  And Eddie was fantastic.  It took him a few minutes to get rolling, but once his act was in full gear, we were hooked on every word.  From musings about keeping gazelles in a bag to a discussion about covering thy neighbor's ox, I realized that Eddie Izzard may be the cleverist comedian on the very planet.

Weird thing is, he wasn't dressed in drag.  Izzard normally performs in drag (see: Dress to Kill), wearing fabulous kimonos, high platform shoes, and a whole pile of make-up.  The first time I saw his act, I was like, "Who is this guy in drag?"  Now it seems strange to not see him dressed in women's clothing.  This past Saturday, he wore a tuxedo jacket and jeans.  No make-up.  He even had a goatee.  (Sorry, Hannah.  No fabulous shoes.) 

Eddie Izzard, that handsome devil.

It felt good to sit there and laugh.  Like the kinds of laughs that errupt out without permission and make you throw your head back a little bit.  We took in the performance, snapped a few pictures as Eddie ran up the platforms so he could bow to us folks up in the nosebleeds, and then had a nice quiet dinner at a place in Chelsea. 

We spent Sunday checking out the Beardsley Zoo and then visiting a few vineyards on the fine CT wine trail (we love the wine trail).  Sunday afternoon ended with us having iced coffees at a java house in the Middle-Of-Nowhere CT (where we caught part of a set by local musician Mike Griffin - surprisingly talented singer, considering we just stumbled upon him playing for a group of five people in this coffee house). 

I love spending time with my husband, disconnected from work and the internet and instead reconnected with each other.  That's the way life should be sometimes.  :)

June 27, 2008

Jeff Vader Runs the Death Star?

The Friday Six:  June 27, 2008 editionIt's hazy.  Hot.  Humid.  Perfect weather for a snitt fart.  Or the Friday Six.

1.  Yesterday, I received my copy of Laurie Edwards' book "Life Disrupted: Getting Real About Chronic Illness in Your Twenties and Thirties."  I'm honored to have been a part of this project as one of the five people with chronic illness that she interviewed.  If you are living with chronic illness, or if you care about someone who is, this book should be on your bedside table. 

2.  So what are you up to on July 12th?  If you're a diabetes blogger and in the New England area, you should meet-up with Bernard and others at the first New England Bloggers Meet-up.  I'm trying my best to be there that weekend, but I know there will be plenty of PWDs peddling around.  Check out the events page at TuDiabetes for more events in your area!

3.  Also, July 1 has been dubbed CGMS Denial Day.  Have you been battling with your insurance companies for continuous glucose monitoring coverage?  I've been writing about my experiences with Dexcom and insurance coverage here on SUM, and I'm definitely not the only diabetic who is trying to gain coverage.  Should insurance companies be covering these CGMs?  Should the manufacturers be charging less for their product?  Share your thoughts on your blog next Tuesday!

4.  With the CWD conference coming up quickly (I am so excited to be attending this year!), it's time to brush up on your Disney with diabetes skills.  Thankfully, Bennet of YDMV has written a terrific tip sheet that's published on dLife.  Check it out - and also find out about how he cooked insulin in a fridge.  (Yes, really.) 

5.  In non-diabetes stuff, we're still doing wedding wrap-up.  This week has been busy - and FAST.  We've just heard from our photographer who won't have our photo disc and album to us until August.  ARGH.  In this digital, instant-info age, that time frame infuriates me.  But in better news, our thank you cards/emails are almost completed, but we received several gifts without cards.  If you sent something to my office and I haven't sent you a card or an email, PLEASE email me!  I want to thank everyone for their tremendous generosity and kindness - you are such an amazingly giving and wonderful community and Chris and I are so grateful for all of your well-wishes.  I want to properly thank everyone who thought of us!  (Especially whoever sent the cat wine topper thing.  I freaking love it and haven't been able to track down who sent it!) 

6.  And this weekend is going to be awesome, for several reasons.  First, we aren't going to be schlepping back to RI and spending hours on end in traffic.  (Boo on not seeing friends and family, but holy YAY for relaxing!)  We're off to see Wall-E tonight - because I am a five year old - and tomorrow night we're going to see Eddie Izzard at Radio City Music Hall.  I.  Cannot.  Wait.  We ordered these tickets MONTHS ago and I've been looking forward to it since.  I have loved Mr. Izzard for quite some time now and am thrilled at the opportunity see him perform - at Radio City, no less!!!

Monday, Monday, Monday ... I'll see you then.  :) 

June 26, 2008

Surprising Gym Results.

I like my gym.  It is small, tidy, and there's never a wait for the machines.   Chris and I go there every weeknight for about an hour.  My workout varies from resistance training, circuits, and sometimes just some plain old cardio.

Last night, I did a cardio circuit that involved 10 minutes on the elliptical machine, 10 minutes on the treadmill, 3 minutes jumping rope, and then another 10 on the stationary bike.  (Thirty-three minutes.  Larry Bird, baby.)  After I was done on the bike, the machine beeeeped! and flashed a message of completion which took me by such surprise that I yelped.

Slut!!

Excuse me? 

Apparently the machine was programmed in the wrong language, because as it cycled through the results, it offered me my snitt fart count, as well.

Snitt Fart workout!

I do not know what language this is.  All I know is that it surprised the hell out me.  And I ended up with an impromptu ab workout due to uncontrollable laughter.

June 25, 2008

Nice Happy Baby Range.

First comes love, then comes marriage, then something goes in this baby carriage thing.Oh no, not yet.  Definitely not this year, and maybe not even next year.  We're not quite there yet, but now that we're married and happy, starting a family is on our collective Sparling radar. 

I know that pregnancy is a wild ride, diabetic or not.  But from what I've heard, being a diabetic woman and being pregnant can be a challenge.  I've heard both horror stories and problem-free successes, so it seems like those nine months vary from person to person.

For me, I'm going to make getting healthy my goal for the next year.  While I was engaged, I was very focused on getting fit for the wedding, keeping that white dress in mind (and oh, all those pictures that I'm still waiting for and it may take another five weeks and Kerri is not happy about waiting so long but wow, run-on sentence much?).  But that mindset was very superficial.  This whole "getting ready for baby" thing is a mindset I've never experienced before.

I found myself making phone calls last month to set up doctor's appointments, as I mentioned.  I scheduled an appointment with my primary care physcian.  I make my yearly gynecological appointment.  And I also made an appointment to start the pregnancy clinic at Joslin later this summer.  In the past, these appointments were more routine maintenance events.  Now, I'm intent upon optomizing my health in hopes of carrying a child in the next year or two.  It's not too early to be thinking about this - it's actually the best time.

Last week I had my yearly appointment and after my doctor congratulated me on my recent nuptials, she got right down to the discussion about children.

"You're young and you're healthy, so we are not going to worry.  What I want to do is get your A1C down to that nice happy baby range.  When are you planning on coming off birth control?"

"Not at least until March or so of next year."

"Good.  Okay, so from now until March, we work on those blood sugars.  Under 7% is a good goal, but you are already there.  We want a nice happy baby range.  We want as close to 6% as we can get.  How does that sound to you?"

"Good to me.  I'm actually working on getting a continuous glucose monitor insured as part of my pre-pregnancy plan, so that will help."

"I like the sounds of that.  And once you are in that range ..."

I couldn't help but interrupt.  "The Nice Happy Baby Range?"

She laughed.  "Yes, the NHB range.  We get there, we talk with your husband about when you want to start trying, stop the birth control methods, and then you two go let nature take it's course.  But that A1C is important.  You're ready to make that commitment to your diabetes, right?"

I thought about that maternal instinct that has bloomed in me over the past decade and that feeling of a soft, sleeping baby tucked underneath my chin.  I pictured my husband as a father.  I saw myself as someone's mother.  This may not be easy, but I think it may be the most rewarding experience of my life.

"I am ready to do that.  I can't think of a more important reason to make these changes now."

My doctor gave me a smile and leaned across her desk, motioning for me to come closer. 

"Baby or not, Mrs. Sparling, it's worth making these changes just for your own health." 

June 24, 2008

My Own Shoes.

These are the shoes I am wearing today.  :)In the past, I have written about Shoes and her ridiculously unneighborly habits.  But I have my own shoes issues I need to fess up to:  I love shoes that are not diabetes-friendly.  (Oh come on, like you don't have a vice?)

Ever since I was a kid, doctors have been preaching on about the importance of good cardiovascular health and how even the smallest blister on my foot could bloom into a raging infection that bears will eventually smell from the woods and come devour my toes ... okay maybe not bears, but that blister would cause more damage to my diabetic body than it would to the toes of my brother or sister.

Unfortunately, I am slow to heed this warning.  As a kid, I wore (gasp) flip flops all summer long.  I tap-danced for over a decade in high-heeled, patent leather nightmares.  And as an adult, I've donned everything from strappy sandals to back-breaking heels, occasionally causing a rub or a blister on my feet. 

It's one of those things I have a hard time grasping.  I realize that my body may be slower to heal than your average Kerri's, but I have a hard time worrying about diabetic foot complications at this stage in the game.  When I go to Joslin, my endocrinologist does the foot-tickly thing with the tuning fork and checks my feet for cuts or abrasions.  So far, I've passed with flying colors.  I exercise regularly to keep my cardiovascular system as top notch as I can.  I regularly inspect my feet for any unsightly bits.  And I swear that I always wear clean, moisture wicking socks when I work out.

But I like fancy shoes.  I like heels and sandals and fun colors and open-toe styles and the occasional wedge.  I'm embarrassed to admit that I don't heed "the warnings." Even today, knowing full well that these shoes would be a bitch to break in, I'm sporting them at work (at a diabetes company, for crying out loud!) and waiting for the sting. 

It's a hard habit to break.  Maybe it will take just that one pinchy ouch to bring me back to my senses, or maybe I'll continue to have both Wolverine-esque healing powers and fun shoes.  But I can't be the only one who is breaking this cardinal rule of diabetes management ... can I?

June 23, 2008

Of Course It Is.

I had to make a call to the Public Relations folks at Disney World this morning to gain access to some of their editorial images. I dialed the number and absently checked my email as I waited for the House of the Mouse rep to pick up the phone.  After just two rings, a very cheery, very high-pitched voice answered.

"Hello!!!"  

She spoke in exclamation points.  Immediately I had the mental image of the bouquet of helium balloons floating above her desk, serving as some kind of snack.  

"Hi.  My name is Kerri and I'm an editor at dLife.  I'm calling about [insert work reference here]."

"Okay!! You just need the media username, password, and your own email address to get started!!"  Garage doors in Florida must have been going up in unison as she spoke.

"Great.  Can you share that username and password with me?"

"I can!!  The username is 'disney'!!"

"No kidding.  That's very clever.  And the password?"  I felt my voice dropping deeper and deeper in contrast to her pinging little twitter.  I could imagine her sitting there at the desk, a pair of Minnie Mouse ears anchored on her little head and her hands dancing along the keyboard, clad in white Mouse gloves.

"The password?  Why it's 'magic,' silly!!!!!"Silly!

Of course it is.

Silly!!!

June 20, 2008

Dexcom, Batman, and Gaseous Emissions.

The Friday Six:  June 20, 2008 editionWelcome to this week's edition of The Friday Six - your source for diabetes information, random websites worth checking out, and the occasional fascinating game about farts.  (Because farts are perpetually funny, despite my best intentions to grow up and act like the adult I'm supposed to be.)  Consider it "brought."

Uno.Now that my insurance appeal letter has been sent, I'm in the 30-day waiting game that Oxford Health plays.  I'm hoping that I don't need to go through a second appeal process, but I'm assuming that will be the case.  So while I wait for a response from my insurance company, I'm compiling data.  I've officially switched over to the OneTouch UltraLink, so now every time I test, I hear the subsequent "beeeep" of my pump receiving and logging the result.  When I upload my data this weekend, I'll be able to see what my numbers were and how my boluses correlated.  I'm also pulling records from when the paramedics were called in 2003 for a hypoglycemic episode and my last string of A1C results.  When the insurance company comes back with a "no," I'll have an arsenal of information to offer up.

2.  Also, the diabetes community is indeed a tight one - this was proven to me beyond a shadow of a doubt this week.  While I was away on my honeymoon, the dLife CEO met with a Dexcom representative in our area.  While they were talking, it came out that I worked for dLife.  Turns out that the Dexcom rep was someone from my diabetes past.  This representative is the woman who used to baby-sit me when I was young, when my parents went away on vacation.  Her son is a type 1 diabetic and she was the person who guided me and my parents through those first tenuous years after diagnosis.  Now, she's my Dexcom rep, and she's coming to hang out with me next week to discuss the finer points of Dexcom'ing.  Small world, eh?

3.  In decidedly non-diabetes news, I came across a link yesterday that really brought out the grown-up in me.  It's a very serious online game that deals with such mature topics as gaseous emissions and space exploration.  In fact, PuzzleFarter was one of the most serious links I've ever sent around my office.  No, it did not make me giggle like a five year old, silly.  (Hat tip to my brother, who continues to find the oddest damn things on the internet.) 

4.  Another link I've come across in the last few days has been the one where people are recreating their childhood photos.  Have you seen this?  The pictures are part of a site called ColorWars 2008 and the pictures are the "YoungMe:NowMe."  I love this one.  It makes me happy.  And this one just plain makes me laugh.

5.  Tonight we'll be trekking back to RI to hang out with friends and family, and to celebrate Batman's birthday!!  My superhero friend is ringing in her big day tomorrow and this is the first time in seven years I haven't been able to buy her the new Harry Potter book for her birthday.  Strange rite of passage.  But if you are feeling like wishing a happy birthday to the Batman friend, feel free to leave her some love in the comments section.  :)

Six!And lastly, this one last website almost caused me to end up on the floor in shock.  Prior to today, I wasn't aware that cat sharks existed.  Now I know.  And knowing is terrifying. 

Have a good weekend, Blogosphere!  :D  See you on Monday.

June 19, 2008

Cannot Deal.

It's been very busy at work this week and projects at home have been even busier.  (Try bringing piles of wedding gifts into an already packed apartment.  We're blessed to have such generous friends, lucky to have had such a nice wedding, and currently weeding through our belongings and tossing the old to make way for the new.) 

Thank goodness all three cats have simultaneously gone berserk in the last few days.  

Prussia has taken to jumping from windowsill to windowsill, trilling her little brains out until one of us claps our hands to quiet her.  She also has been making out with my shoes on a regular basis, which is making me slightly uncomfortable. 

Abby went from being fat and docile to fast-pawed and overzealous.  More often than not, I see her waddling at a precarious speed towards the other cats, trying to use her lightning-fast double paws to cuff them in the head and incite a riot.  She then attempts to hide under the couch, but realizes that she's about three hundred meals past not fitting.  (Poor Abby.) 

And then there's my arch nemesis:  Siah Sausage.  This annoying little biscuit has been clawing at the bedroom door every night, wailing to be let in.  She has successfully eaten half of the carpet outside of door and once I open the door for her in the morning, she proceeds to stalk me while I'm getting ready each morning.  Yesterday she ran off with one of my earrings.  Today she managed to snuggle up to the black sweater before I had a chance to put it on, leaving a furry little Siah-shaped furball on the front.  

"Sausage, I'm trying to get things done around here.  Please stop tipping over the laundry basket."  "Please do not jump up on the counter and trot off with half of my sandwich."  "Please refrain from sticking your cold kitty nose in my ear while I'm sitting, unsuspecting, on the couch."

Her response?

She's meeting Mick for sushi today.

She does not take me seriously. I do not know what to do with her.

June 18, 2008

Dexcom Days.

Thanks to the wonders of my pre-wedding disorganization, I managed to misplace a Dexcom sensor.  Luckily, I found it in the linen closet on Monday night and slapped it on.  Just in time to see some weirdo numbers, apparently. 

Since I've been back from my honeymoon, I've had some trouble getting my numbers back under control.  Seems like all the basals and ratios I was using as "Kerri Morrone" don't seem to work for "Kerri Sparling."  ;)  Thanks to the CGM big picture, I'm trying to isolate what's causing me to go high and low at different times.  Like the morning highs. 

Part of the reason for these highs has to be my morning shower routine.  I have a tendency to wake up, test my blood sugar, disconnect my pump, and then hop into the shower.  After the shower, I need to blow-dry my hair.  Then find something to wear.  (Notice I haven't mentioned reconnecting yet. Whoops.)  Suddenly, I realize that over 35 minutes have passed and I haven't been tethered.   

This wouldn't be such a big deal were it not for the fact that my morning basal rate is cranked up to 1.0u (vs. my normal 0.4u) between the hours of 6:30 am and 10:00 am.  Therefore, I'm losing over half a unit while I'm showering and getting dressed.  This insulin-skip causes my blood sugars to leap up around 9:00 am on some days, leaving me mucking around with a high until almost 11 am.  

"Armed" with the Dexcom 7.

Armed - literally - with the Dexcom, I was able to view this phenomenon first-hand yesterday.  Holy spike.  Today, I tried bolusing 0.3u before I disconnected for my shower, then taking another 0.7u once I reconnected.  The results were much better, and I'm hoping to see even better results tomorrow.  (Has anyone else worn a Dex sensor on their arm?  How did it work for you?  Getting it on there was a hassle, I'll admit.  Thank goodness for Chris's patience!)

Last night I was able to see my overnight patterns.  Dex woke me up at 3:00 am, hollering that I was 49 mg/dl.  I didn't feel low at all, so I tested to confirm the result.  My meter claimed I was 64 mg/dl.  Fourteen point spread, but close enough that the wake-up BEEEEEP! was timed early enough for me to catch the low before I hit the trenches.  I grabbed a swig of juice and checked the graph on Dex - sure enough, I had been falling for over an hour.  

It's very enlightening to have access to these patterns.  When before I thought my mornings were decent, baesd on a test at 7 am, 9:30 am, and 11 am, I'm now seeing that there is a significant amount of fluctuation between these snapshots.  I'm curious to see what the graphs show me tomorrow, when I tweak a bit further. 

And THANK YOU to everyone who offered their insurance battle feedback.  I'm in the 30-day waiting period now, compiling data and trying to follow everyone's suggestions to present my second appeal.  Thanks to Manny for his compelling video, and to everyone who is fighting this same fight.  The technology exists, and we should all be able to access it.

June 17, 2008

First-Level Appeal Letter re: Dexcom Denial.

Hear me.I received a letter today from Oxford Health Plans, denying my request for CGM coverage.  "Our Medical Director has determined that the request is:  Denied - Not Medically Necessary."

My First-Level Appeal letter is below.  This is the first round of a potentially long battle, but I'll see it through as far as I can, I promise.  A price tag on my health?  I don't think so.  Here's hoping they listen.

"June 17, 2008

Clinical Appeals Department
c/o Oxford Health Plans, Inc.
PO Box 7078
Bridgeport, CT  06601-7078

To Whom It May Concern:

On September 11, 1986, I was denied a normal childhood when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.  My parents were taught to measure my food, test my blood sugar, and inject insulin into my body.  We were taught about diabetes complications and how they may end my life.  We were taught to plan for the worst and hope for the best.  This was my mortality, handed to me when I was just a child.

On January 27, 2003, I was denied the ability to control my blood sugars with insulin injections alone.  My medical team determined that my diabetes would be best controlled with an insulin pump instead of multiple daily injections.  Thanks to my hard-working medical team and my personal dedication to good health, I started using an insulin pump.  My A1Cs have been lowered and my risk of diabetes-related complications lessened, thanks to the benefit of this technology.

On April 15, 2006, I was denied the symptoms of a low blood sugar while I was at the movies.  Thanks to my years of hard work and my desire to keep my diabetes as well-controlled as possible, my body was less sensitive to the symptoms of low blood sugars.  Therefore, a blood sugar of 27 mg/dl snuck up on me without warning, leaving me moments from a diabetic coma.   Currently, I experience severe hypoglycemic unawareness, leaving my body at risk for potentially lethal, undetected low blood sugars.

On May 18, 2008, I was denied a wedding without diabetes.  Surrounded by friends and family, and with my husband-to-be standing proudly at the front of the church, I walked down the aisle.  My mother cried, later admitting she always feared I would not see this day in good health.  My blood sugar plummeted, without warning, before the first dance as a result of my excitement.  I did not feel the symptoms.  I spent my first dance with my husband clinging to his arm, trying to focus and waiting for the glucose tabs I had just eaten to raise my blood sugar.

On June 13, 2008, I was denied health insurance coverage for a continuous glucose monitor by Oxford Health Plans. 

I am twenty-nine years old and have spent more than two decades living with type 1 diabetes.  My wedding was barely a month ago.  I am so excited to start a family with my loving husband.  I will not be denied the chance to have a healthy pregnancy.  I will not let my mother be denied a good night’s sleep because she’s worried her daughter will have an undetected hypoglycemic episode in the middle of the night.  I will not let my husband be denied a healthy wife. 

A Dexcom continuous glucose monitoring system receiver costs $800. The sensors cost $240.00 for a pack of four.  Over the course of a year’s non-daily use, the Dexcom system will cost approximately $1,800.00.   

Compare this cost to that of laser surgery to treat diabetic retinopathy.  Or the cost for kidney dialysis or transplant.  Or the cost of daily medications to treat high blood pressure, cholesterol elevation, or kidney disease.  Or the cost of an amputation, as well as any attendant costs for rehabilitation and lifestyle adjustment.   Please be advised that keeping me healthy now will save your company from greater expense later; preventative measures taken at the present time will mitigate the overall financial loss your company would otherwise incur in the future. 

Denying my claim to protect your company’s bottom line is to deny my chance for a long and healthy life. You have marked my claim as 'not medically necessary.'  You have boldly put a price tag on my health. 

Your denial may cost me my life.  I urge you to reconsider your decision.

Sincerely,
Kerri Morrone Sparling"

Summer Shoes.

Dear Shoes,F-ing Shoes.

Goodness it's been hot lately in our building, right?  The sweltering heat, the insane humidity, and the constant hum of air conditioners in everyone's windows.  People are hot.  Irritable.  And sometimes it's tough to sleep at night in these early summer conditions.

So I'm wondering, right, why you and DogShoes are thrashing around in the apartment at two in the morning?

Aren't you hot up there?  I hear DogShoes thundering back and forth, chasing whatever tennis ball or stick or Playmate cooler you are throwing down the hallway for him to retrieve.  I also hear him barking at BoyfriendShoes when he comes home from work at night . DogShoes must really, really like your boyfriend because her bark just booms with deafening joy upon his arrival! 

I know you are taking precautionary measures to keep DogShoes cool in this relentless heat.  I mean, it's so swell of you to have him running laps in the wee hours of the morning - when the sun is down, of course - instead of during the day when the sun's rays are the hottest.  You are a good owner, Shoes.  Always thinkin'.

I know you and BoyfriendShoes are doing your best to control DogShoes.  Between the moments of doggy feet pounding against the hardwoods, I hear you two talking animatedly about "Throw it in the tub and see if he jumps in," and "I saw you talking to her again outside of work and so help me God if you are cheating on me I will throw you out on your ass."  I appreciate your dedication to DogShoes' exercise habits and to the fidelity of your relationship, I really do.   I'm just an eensy bit concerned about the luggage taking residence underneath my eyes.

I'll wait it out until it dawns on you that most people are sleepy at two in the morning.  Or that they don't want dog thunder rolling in our ceiling.  If I was taller, I'd bang on the ceiling with a broom.  But I'm not taller and I can't reach the ceiling without teetering precariously on a chair.  And I'm also not 74 years old  with a spindle in the back bedroom.  I can handle the noise, Shoes.  I just don't like it.

In the meantime, I'll stay downstairs with my husband and my melting doormat cats.  And someday, when I'm taller, I'll let loose on that ceiling with a hammer.

Cuddles,
Kerri.

June 16, 2008

You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Low.

You wouldn't like me when I'm low.  Or maybe you would.

While we waited for the traffic to disperse this past Friday night, we went to see The Incredible Hulk.

So Ed Norton (who I love ... loved him in Fight Club and The Illusionist) plays The Hulk and spends the better part of the beginning of the movie trying to keep his rage under control because ... you know ... you wouldn't like him when he's angry.  He wears a heart rate monitor to help keep him safe and controlled.  It's one of those wristwatch bits that beeps as his heart rate climbs and wails insistently when his numbers are too high.

"Dude,"  I lean in to Chris.  "I didn't know the Hulk wore a CGM!"

He whispered back, "I know!  I thought the same thing!"

The movie continued, and Ed Norton finally loses it and becomes The Hulk.  After his episode is over, he's shivering, weak, and holding his tattered pants close to his body.  He looks completely spent and in need of a solid nap.  Much like how I feel after a wicked low blood sugar.

"Only minus the tattered pants part," I explained to Chris after the movie.  

It's strange how movies depict diabetes.  I remember watching Panic Room and seeing the little girl experience a hypoglycemic episode.  She was blue-lipped and sweaty, lying helplessly on the floor while her mother scrambled for sugar.  But I didn't see myself in this Panic Room character, even though she was written as a diabetic and her symptoms were "appropriate." 

Instead, I empathized more with The Hulk as he closely monitored his heart rate, those numbers taking precedence over all other things, their fluctuations determining many of his actions.  And I felt a pang of recognition when he came to after an "episode," bewildered and fragile and not knowing quite what happened. There are strange bits of empathy and recognition found in the most unlikely of places.

I bet if The Hulk needed a CGM, insurance companies wouldn't deny him.

"Hulk smash ... insurance companies!"

June 13, 2008

The Long Road Towards Insurance Coverage.

Pay to keep me healthy?  Or pay when I am sick?  Your call.(This is a loooong post.  And contains many terms that I just learned today.) 

Dexcom and I are looking forward to being reunited (out of sensors at the moment), but before we can do our Dex-y dance again, I need to get this stuff covered by my insurance plan.  My contact at Dexcom put me in touch with their insurance management team, and they've been working hard to get the proverbial ball rolling.

I spoke with one of the reps earlier in the week.  She was very hopeful about insurance coverage, telling me she'd start processing the claim through Oxford Health (they are my insurance provider) and would touch base with me with the good news.  I laughed.

"Good news?  Let's be honest.  There's rarely ever any good news when it comes to insurance ... anything.  So let's assume they'll reject it, and we'll create a battle plan from there."

She laughed.

"Right.  A battle plan!  I'll contact you as soon as I have any new information."

True to their word, an email came in from Dexcom yesterday. 

"Hi Kerri,
We have not had any luck in getting other patients through Oxford. We also tried to go through a distributor without any luck. So, we are going to ask Oxford for a predetermination or "one-off" approval. We may need to come back to you for more information should they request it. We will keep pushing on our end.

Your plan does provide for DME devices (the DexCom products are a DME benefit). However, you have a $1,000 deductible, with $0 met to date. After that, your coverage is at 70%.

Thanks,

(Dexcom Guy)"

Arghh - directed at insurance companies, not at Dexcom.  $1,000 deductible, and even after that's met, a 70% coverage rate?  Blast, that's pricey.  And am I ignorant because I have never heard of a DME before?  I asked my boss and she explained that DME stands for "durable medical equipment."  I looked up these kinds of requests on the Oxford site and found the following:
 
"Durable medical equipment (DME)* No charge - Deductible and coinsurance"
 
Uh oh.  What's that asterisk all about? 
 
"These services require Oxford precertification. You must call us at 1-800-201-3080 at least 14 days in advance of request. Mental health and substance abuse services can be precertified through the Oxford Behavioral Health Department by calling 1-800-201-6991."
 
Okay, so that notation means I need Oxford precertification.  What the heck is that?
 
Before I could research too much into it, another email came in from the folks at Dexcom.  It was from one of the reimbursement managers and she carefully outlined what actions she had taken with my insurance company.  She spoke with the benefits department at Oxford, the Medical Management Department, and letme know what the next steps are.  I really appreciated her thoroughness and at least had a timeline to attach my frustrations to.  
 
At this moment, my request for precertification is in play with Oxford Health, despite the fact that the Oxford rep told my Dexcom rep that the sensor codes are not covered by Oxford insurance.  These are the hoops we must jump through?  Blast again.  The policy and rationale of Oxford's "nah, we don't want to" is as follows:
 
"Due to insufficient clinical evidence to support medical efficacy, the rental and/or purchase of continuous glucose monitoring systems for long-term use in the treatment of diabetes mellitus will not be reimbursed by Oxford.  This service and/or device is not proven to be clinically effective and, therefore, is not considered to be medically necessary."
 
Not effective?  Didn't this thing save me from losing it at the bank?  And didn't Chris say to me this week that he's glad I'm pushing for insurance coverage because he sleeps better knowing I'm protected on the overnights?  And aren't these questions rhetorical?  (Yes.)
 
Looks like the deck is a bit stacked against me at the moment.  But I have the attentive staff at Dexcom on the case.  And I also have a team of terrific doctors, both at Joslin and here in CT, that are going to go to bat for me on this.  I'm currently drafting up a letter of medical necessity to be sent to my insurance carrier.  And I'm also not giving up on this.  Chris and I are a married couple now, and starting a family in the next year or two is in the cards.  I experience severe low blood sugars at times and have a tendency to run high when under duress (yay), so the idea of a CGM to help keep me and my future child safe while he or she incubates inside of me sounds like a necessary safety measure for both me and my baby-to-be.  
 
So ... I'm on the long road towards CGM insurance coverage.  I will show these insurance reps that diabetics have every right to the tools available to manage their disease.  Cover me now, and I'll achieve tighter control.  My blood sugars will be more closely monitored and managed.  The risk of debilitating diabetes complications can be reduced.  My life may be improved, just as an insulin pump improved my control.  I may live longer, for crying out loud.  That's a plus, right?  I tend to think so, and I'd venture to say that my family agrees.
 
I know insurance carriers don't care if I'm happy.  They don't care about my children or my husband or my mother.  They care about their bottom line.  Well how about this:  Make the investment in me now and I will be healthier. 
 
It costs less to manage diabetes than it does to manage diabetes complications.

June 12, 2008

Job Perks.

Should be a fun time!I've worked plenty of crappy jobs (none as crappy as the Poopsmith, but pretty crummy nonetheless), so I don't feel bad at all about enjoying my current job at dLife.  Aside from terrific co-workers who both inspire and entertain me, a quick commute, and the opportunity to be creative, I have the chance to make a difference in both my diabetes life and the lives of other people living with diabetes.  (Not to mention the traveling Frog.)

Oh, and they've decided to send me to the CWD conference in July.  :D  I am very excited!

I've never been to the Children With Diabetes Friends for Life conference, but I've heard some great things about it.  Chris and I be traveling on Tuesday and arriving early in Orlando, then attending as many of the events that we can.  Any suggestions on what focus groups are expected to be the most informative?  What are you guys most interested in hearing feedback on?  And if I have the chance to embroider my name on Mickey Mouse ears, should I do it? 

Maybe ears that say "Sausage."  I wonder if she'd wear them.

If you are attending the conference, I'd love to hear from you.  I'm excited at the opportunity to meet some of the people I've been communicating with over the past three years, to see what kinds of events are offered, and to walk into a room filled with the friends and family members of diabetics and think, "Everyone here understands."

June 11, 2008

Unreliable.

Meter accuracy - that's the target!We're back in the swing of things at home:  working, writing, laughing at the stupid cats, going to the gym, exploring our surroundings.  Stress levels are lower, thanks to the wedding being behind us, and our routine is a bit more predictable. 

BUT - before the wedding, everything was running amuck.  My schedule was erratic, work was insane, and I was stressed to the point where I couldn't wrap my head around anything.  For the six weeks or so before the wedding, I tweaked my basal rates and bolus ratios several times.  On our honeymoon, I had to tweak again due to a completely relaxed schedule.  And now that we're back, I need to re-tweak once more.

As a result of this readjustment to normal life, my blood sugars have been sort of scattered.  An occasional morning high of 197 mg/dl (which never, ever happens - my overnights are the only thing I have nailed down), some tricky lows at work, and a sticky high after lunch one day.  I'm in the process of working towards Dexcom insurance coverage, but in the meantime, I'm out of sensors and going on my meter results alone.

Last night, after we returned from the gym, I tested.  165 mg/dl post-workout.  No problem - I reconnected, took a correction bolus, and then jumped in the shower.  About five minutes into the shower, my head started to fog up as quickly as the mirror.  My brain was only half-focused on the lather-rinse-repeat routine and instead was starting to wander down that "should I test?" road.

"Nah."  I said to myself.  "I was 165 like ten minutes ago.  Insulin doesn't bullet in that fast."

I yelled out into the hallway.  

"Chris?  I feel kind of low.  I just wanted to let you know.  I'm getting out soon."

"Why don't you just get out now and test?  Do you want me to bring you juice?"  I could tell by his Doppler-voice that he was walking down the hallway towards me.

"No.  I'm fine.  I'll get out when I'm ready, okay?" 

Internal Motivation Speaker yawned in my ear, still not adjusted to being back from vacation.  "Kerri, why the highly bitchy response?  He's right, you know.  Just get out and test."

"I just tested."  I muttered to myself.  

Internal Motivational Speaker sighed.  "Just test.  God, you can be so freaking difficult."

"Fine."  Miserable.  What was with this headache, and why aren't my hands responding to my requests?  I fumbled awkwardly with the towel as I wrapped it around myself, my skin bristling at my own touch.  I grabbed my meter and dried my hands off.  Shunk.  102 mg/dl.

"102.  Maybe I'm sick or something.  I feel like shit."  I sat on the floor for a minute.  Chris stood above me, concerned.

The sound of the air conditioning unit was becoming louder with each second.  Abby came waddling up, urging her head underneath my hand so I would pet her.  Minutes passed, but they felt like hours.  What the heck was wrong with me?  I felt miserable.

I unzipped my meter again.   "I just feel so bad.  I'm going to double check."

Shunk.  35 mg/dl.

"Ah ha!  I knew it!"  I yelled.

"I knew it, too." 

"Okay, let's get some juice."  I drained the bottle in eight quick gulps, leaned back against the side of the bed, and waited for my blood sugar to rise.

It's a strange battle in my body at times.  I knew I was low.  I felt low and should have trusted my instincts.  But sometimes my instincts are unreliable, like when I feel low but am just hungry, or when I feel completely fine and am instead 345 mg/dl.  Maybe I should have trusted a CGM.  But CGMs are best for trending, not spot-checking.  So I should trust my meter.  But sometimes my meter gives me botched results that aren't the fault of hand lotion.  Arghhhh ... who can I trust?

All of these new products being buzzed about.  All of these bells and whistles and colored screens and fancy upgrades and ambitious developments.  I am so thankful for the advances, but all of these companies need to remember that we use this technology to keep us alive.  These bells or whistles aren't substitutes for old-fashioned accuracy.

June 10, 2008

Believe It, Or Not!

A few weekends ago, Chris and I found ourselves wandering through NYC.  Actually, we went to the city with intentions of being all educated and high-brow, venturing into The Met for an afternoon of "Oh, how educational!" and "Wow, my brain synapses are firing like maGarbage cans are art, right?d.  Aren't yours?"  If we were to drink tea, it would be with an extended pinky finger, for certain.

The planetarium was beautiful.  Because I was feeling so damn brilliant, I didn't want to miss any of the exhibits.  As we walked around the Hayden Planetarium, I motioned for Chris to climb the stairs towards another small display.

"Chris, come over here.  There's one more." 

"Kerri, there's nothing over there."

"There is.  Over here."  I walked confidently towards a black silo-shaped exhibit with hole cut out in the top.  Would it be a video of how the planets were formed?  Maybe something about black holes?  Oooh, what if it was about asteroids?  I looked inside as Chris followed behind me and saw ...

Garbage.  

It was a garbage can. 

"Kerri, that's a garbage can."  Chris was starting to smirk.

"I know.  I knew it was a garbage can."  I tightened my grip on my purse and started walking towards the stairs.  He followed, on the verge of laughing.

"You didn't know it was a garbage can, did you."  

I turned to face him.  We were in NYC, enjoying a great museum, all smarty pants.  

"Dude, I had no clue."

We laughed until we cried.  I was laughing so hard that a security guard looked at me and playfully said, "No laughing in the museum."   My gasped response:  "A garbage can ... I thought ... art!"

Recognizing the fact that we are just two ridiculous people, we left The Met and found ourselves at the Ripley's Museum (right next to Madame Toussaud's).  This was way more my speed.  We spent the rest of the afternoon oogling the oddities, including an iron maiden, a sculpture carved from camel bone, and a moment with the tallest guy in the world.

Mr. Robert Wadlow and Mrs. Kerri Sparling

At least considering the garbage can to be an exhibit here isn't much of a stretch.  ;) 

June 09, 2008

A Delayed A1C.

Stuff that needs to get done.I used to be a more organized person, though you wouldn't know by looking at my desk or in my bag.  Like most creative people, I'm a bit of a slob.  But an organized slob, if such a thing exists.  (I know precisely what pile of papers that story idea is hidden, I swear!)

I spent the last year with diverted attention, trying to plan a 200 guest wedding while working both a full-time job and managing a freelance career.  Things like changing my pump site, exercising, and testing my blood sugar didn't fall by the wayside, but things like A1c check-ups, endocrinologist appointments, and prescription maintenance did.  Now that the wedding dust is starting to settle, I'm noticing I haven't had an A1c done in eight months.  I also have an envelope of prescriptions I need to send to the mail order pharmacy.  I should plug in my meter and pump and siphon out all these results.  Nevermind the several appointments that need to be scheduled, namely with a dentist, endocrinologist, and gynecologist.  (Whoops, TMI, perhaps?  Shake it off, F.R's.)

I find it a bit tough to chase down the wagon after I've taken a tumble.  After so many months of being focused on things other than diabetes management, these distracted trends have unfortunately become habit.  I need to keep up the good habits that are already in place and start wrangling with the bad ones.  

My diabetes to-do list is short, but sweet.  (Too many puns there to pick just one.)  I need to start downloading my blood sugars.  I'm a moron for not doing this, because it's so easy with all the computer software available now.  I need to make (and KEEP) my doctor's appointments.  And I definitely need to reacclimate myself to the Dexcom.  With all the wedding stuff, I never had a chance to start the insurance process.  I'm now waiting to hear from the insurance representative at Dexcom so I can arm myself with the information I need to make Oxford Health listen up. 

Time to buckle back down and regain some semblance of control.  Of my diabetes.  (The Sausage cat?  Well shoot, the cat ate so much while we were on our honeymoon that her little gray body is no longer little.  She's less sausage and more haggis at this point.  Time to slim down the ol' feline, because when she jumps on the bed, she leaves a Siah-sized dent.  Once I get my diabetes reigned in, Siah is next.)

Editor's Note:  Thanks to those of you who let me know that comments weren't working on this post.  I hope the problem is fixed now! 

June 06, 2008

Scampering Paws Friday Six.

The Friday Six:  June 6, 2008 editionThere has been so much work going on this week that we're all in meltdown mode on a Friday afternoon.  Columns are being edited, podcasts are being uploaded, and deadlines are being met.  But there's an air of Friday meltdown in the office, which includes outbursts of laughter, iced coffee, and fun.  Time for a post-wedding Friday Six!

1.  There is a dog here in the office today.  Usually, this dog is extremely chill and very well-mannered.  But for some reason, today Lucy the Dog is training for a marathon.  She's been racing up and down the hallways, occassionally munching on a squeaky toy.  So every few minutes, you hear the frantic scampering of doggy feet, accompanied by squeeeeeeeak squeeeak squeaky. This is what it sounds like in my brain when things get very hectic.  Strange to see it and hear it happening in real life.

2.  We spent a lot of time last night loading up the honeymoon pictures to Flickr.  There are some fun shots of Chris and I horseback riding on the beach, dining on the beach, and enjoying the evening scenery.  We're proofing our wedding album and hoping to receive our photo disk from the photographer next week, so wedding day photos are coming soon.

3.  I received an email from Austin Cooper last night, asking for a mention of his medical ID site, Evasion ID.  He created these bracelets as medical alert jewelry that PWDs would actually want to wear.  Check out his creations - they are pretty cool.  And 10% of all purchases goes towards the JDRF, so there's a little charity involved in this venture as well.

4.  Also, Tandem Diabetes Care in San Diego, CA is launching a new insulin pump soon.  They're also sporting a new, yet almost completely empty, website.  I received an email from their team yesterday, looking to gain some traction in the blogosphere.  I asked them for some information on the product but they didn't have any they were willing to share.  Hmmm ... would've been better to have some product details instead of a "coming soon" website, but hopefully they'll have something to show us in the near future.

5.  Back in the world of diabetes social networking, Lindsey Guerin of dLife's Blogabetes has started her own diaebtes network on Ning - Diabetic Echoes.   According to the site, "Echoes wants to provide an international place for every diabetic to get information, support and ideas. We hope to provide new treatments, physician's information, emotional support and a global community to you."  Will another new network survive?  Only time will tell. 

6.  And Nick over at Diabetes360 is looking for a new name for his insulin pump.  As he is Waldo's godfather (oh just typing that sounds ridiculously silly, as the dog scampers by with the squeaky toy in her mouth one more time), I have a vested interest in the moniker assigned to Nick's pump.  If you're feeling a bit silly this afternoon, offer up some suggestions for Nick. 

This weekend will be filled with thank you notes, a visit to a few local arts fairs, and maybe a trip to the beach.  It's supposed to be 90+ degrees in western CT this weekend, with enough humidity to make Siah as flat and listless as a kitty pancake.  Stay cool this weekend, and for my friends and co-workers at ADA's 68th Scientific Sessions in San Francisco, have fun!! 

June 05, 2008

The Honeymoon.

After all the whirlwind wedding events, Chris and I were long overdue for a nice vacation.  We spent our honeymoon at the Excellence Resort in Punta Cana.  We flew out on Monday morning (early - so early that we only spent a few hours in our fancy honeymoon suite in Providence the night before) and landed in the Dominican around two in the afternoon.  It was so, so awesome to be greeted at the front desk of the hotel, after hours of traveling and a hellish cab ride across the island, by a woman who said, "Welcome home, Mr. and Mrs. Sparling," and handed us a glass of champagne. 

Arriving at the Excellence resort, looking a bit scummed up.  But whatever.

The resort was just gorgeous.  We took hundreds of photos, with the white sand beaches and the thatch hut cottages as our backdrop.  We spent hours on the beach and in the pool, watching as a local hacked open a coconut with a machete, mixed up some crushed ice, rum, and assorted other goodies, and served us a Coco Loco to drink right out of the coconut shell.  And then there was a huge outdoor chess set, where my husband schooled me almost daily.

The outdoor chess set.  We loved this.

We ate at one of the fancy-pants restaurants every night.  We scrubbed off a day's worth of sand and sun and dressed ourselves up each day.  These dinners, my Faithful Readers, are where my diabetes bit the big one.  We had dessert with every meal.  And I don't even mean one dessert - there were multiple desserts with each seating.  My total daily dosage of insulin before the wedding was around 22 units per day.   On our honeymoon, my insulin needs bloated up to 40 ... 42 ... 45  units a day.  (That's an awful lot for me, as I usually eat low-carb and keep away from desserts.)  Thankfully, my blood sugars weren't crap the whole vacation.  They were actually pretty decent. 

Dressed up for dinner.

It was truly paradise.  They even had a different towel animal critter in the bathroom every morning - and you know how I feel about towel animals.

I love me some towel animals.

We had a romantic dinner on the beach, where we dined on French cuisine.  (This is also where little sand bugs dined on us until we slathered ourselves with bug spray, but that's a story for another post.) 

The view from our romantic dinner on the beach.

We relaxed.  It was so awesome, especially after such a huge event.  And it was definitely nice to disconnect from the "real world" for a few days.  No emails, no cell phones, and absolutely no internet access.  We didn't worry about blogs or media ventures or articles that were pending or any blasted deadlines.  Our focus was on each other - and that was it. We disconnected in order to reconnect.  And it was awesome.  Now I know why people do second honeymoons.

At romantic dinner.  Taken by romantic husband.  !!

(I'll add the rest of the honeymoon pictures to Flickr in the next few days.  I have plenty of Diabetes365 photos to upload!)

June 04, 2008

Where's Waldo?

Holy crap - this made me laugh out loud.  Part of yesterday's post involved Nick naming my new insulin pump "Waldo," since it's always hiding and people are trying to find out where it's stashed.  I liked the name and thought it was pretty damn funny.

So this morning, I received an email from Michelle.  She attached this:

Where's Waldo?  Oh wait, he's right here.

Which made me almost lose it.  I had to share.  Where's Waldo?  Oh wait, he's right here.  Waldo the Insulin Pump.  I love it. 

Not My Father.

My cell phone trills from the depths of my work bag while I'm driving.  I execute a quick, one-handed dive into the bag, retrieve the cell phone, and see that the caller's number is blocked.  It must be my mother, or my friend Batman, or a customer service call.

"Hello?"

"Hello, Pumpkin."

(Or my father.)

"Hi there.  What's up?"

"Not much.  Just calling to see how work is going."  He sounded very happy.  Which is bizarre because, let's be honest, he's not the most chipper guy in the world.

"Work is good.  I'm just getting back in the swing of things.  On my way back from lunch now.  How are you?"

"Good, good.  Hey, it was great to see you guys last weekend."

Last weekend?  He must mean two weekends ago.  Chris and I were on our honeymoon last weekend.  But whatever.

"Yeah, it was good to see everyone."

"Yeah.  So did you give Amelia any of those pills?"

(Silence.)

"Amelia?  Who's Amelia?"

It wasn't my father.(Now he was silent.)

"This isn't Melissa, is it."

"No, and you're not my dad, are you?"

He laughed.  I laughed. 

"You sound just like my dad.  And he calls me 'pumpkin.'"  I felt stupid.  "I feel stupid."

He laughed again.

"Me, too.  Sorry about that.  Thanks for the chat, though!  Now I need to go find Melissa.  Have a good day!"

"You too, Pumpkin."

June 03, 2008

Diabetes On My Wedding Day.

Yesterday I wrote about my wedding, focusing on the parts that meant the most to me:  the man I love, our families and friends, the church service, saying "I do," and dancing ourselves silly at the reception.

But diabetes was a part of my wedding day.  We did our best to keep it quiet and unnoticed, though, using several tricky methods.  I'm like a diabetes wedding magician ... sort of.

First things first:  the dress.  Wearing an insulin pump is the easiest and least intrusive way for me to take my insulin, and I wasn't about to go off the pump just for the sake of fashion.  My solution?  Design a pocket to hold my insulin pump, hidden in my wedding dress.  I spoke with the seamstress at Ye Olde Bridal Shoppe and she and I designed something that left the pump accessible, yet hidden.

Insulin pump hidden in the wedding dress

Even if you were looking for it, the pump pocket was almost impossible to find.  Hidden along the seam of my wedding gown, it was held shut with a small piece of velcro.

Reaching into the pocket.

The hole cut in the seam was just big enough to fit my hand into, so I could reach for the pump.

Pulling the pump from my pocket

The hole was big enough for the pump to be pulled through. 

Wedding day bolusing

And once it was free, I could make whatever adjustments I needed and then slip the pump back into its pocket.

Insulin pump hidden in pocket.

The pocket itself was underneath the main fabric of the dress, attached to the petticoat.  It was sized to be about half an inch bigger than my insulin pump, leaving room for my hands to reach in and access the pump.  We stuck a safety pin to the top of the pocket so that when I reached in, I could feel around quickly for the pin and know exactly where the top of the pocket was located.  This made pump retrieval and replacement very easy.

Concealed!

The tubing itself went from the top of the pump, through a hole cut into the petticoat, and attached to the infusion site on my right thigh.  I had to plan ahead of time where my infusion set would be located so the pocket could be properly situated.

And during the entire course of my wedding, no one had any clue that I was wearing my insulin pump in my wedding dress.  Even my friends who know about it couldn't find it unless I pointed it out.  I felt empowered and like a secret agent ... only the bridal version.  

So insulin pump:  check.  And I had a few other tricks up my sleeve.  Like the flowers carried by my maid of honor:

Flowers with low blood sugar backup treater

After speaking with the florist, she devised a small pocket in the ribbon of NBF's bouquet.  This pocket could hold a life saver (as pictured) or even a tube of cake gel.  As I stood at the altar, I felt safe knowing that NBF had a quick dose of sugar at the ready, if I needed it. 

Diabetes, on the whole, didn't affect my day enough to matter.  I danced, ate cake, and experienced a wild array of emotions.  But there were a few moments when it required some attention.  Like after the ceremony at the church, when I tested and realized my blood sugar had cruised up from 156 mg/dl pre-ceremony to a whopping 380 mg/dl afterwards.  (Nerves - they hit me right in the A1c.)  Before the ceremony, I was running on the high end, cresting up around 160 - 180 mg/dl and holding steady.  And during the reception, I was too excited to eat much, so I let my numbers run higher there, too, to compensate for all the dancing. 

I did have a pretty aggressive low blood sugar just before our first dance, but thanks to my fast-as-lightning maid of honor, a glass of orange juice from the bar held me steady as we were announced on the dance floor as Mr. and Mrs. Christopher and Kerri Sparling. 

"I'm a little low," I admitted to Chris as the opening bars to "The Luckiest" played from the speakers.  He held me close and gave me a smile.

"You'll be fine.  Just focus on me.  As far as I can tell, there's no one else in this room but you." 

You may have had your moments, Diabetes, but my wedding day was mine. 

June 02, 2008

Mr. and Mrs. Sparling.

Photo courtesy of Erick Browne Photography.  All rights reserved.The night before my wedding, NBF and Batman holed up in a hotel room with me, keeping me company and aiming to keep me sort of sane. 

"What if I fall on my face while walking down the aisle?  You guys know me - this is sort of likely."

"You won't fall on your face, Kerri."  Batman stuck her tongue between her teeth as she helped to touch up my nail polish.

"I could.  This is me we're talking about here.  I know I'm marrying the right guy and I know I love him, but I'm scared to death I'm going to take a digger in the middle of the church."

"You.  Will.  Be.  Fine."

I fell asleep with a racing, panicked mind and my nerves all bundled up. 

But the next morning, I woke up to bright spring sunshine streaming in through the window and a feeling of serenity.

"I'm getting married.  Today!"

NBF was throwing her clothes into her bag.  "You ready, future Mrs. Sparling?"

I grinned at her.  No more nerves.  I was a tumble of excitement and unexpected calm.  "Let's roll."

The morning cruised by on fast forward.  We stopped for iced coffee.  We filled NBF's car with sequined shoes, hair curling irons, make up bags, and bridesmaid dresses.  And since it was nine o'clock on the morning of my wedding, of course we blared "Baby Got Back" and sang along as loudly as we could.

We met up with my mother, my cousins, and the fine ladies in my bridal party at my aunt's house, where we spent the morning drinking coffee, doing our make up, and having our hair coifed by The Fabulous Liz.  Even though everyone was twittering about and fussing over different details, the world still had this warm, calm center to it.  The whole morning was a whirlwind, ending with my mother helping me into my beautiful , ivory-colored wedding gown and all of us scurrying into the white stretch limo outside of the house.

In a blink, we were at the church.  My bridesmaids guided me down a long basement stairway so I could enter the doorway at the bottom floor of the church, keeping me from being spied by my handsome groom.  Everything was moving so quickly - suddenly I found myself at my father's arm.

"It's time.  Are you ready?"

I nodded.  And the music swelled.

Every moment of our wedding is a crisp and fine-edged memory in my mind.  I remember seeing my college roommates in the church pews.  I remember my mother's face smiling at me as I walked by.  I remember seeing Chris as he stood by the altar and how my whole heart ached with happiness.  I remember our flower girl and ring bearer, nervously grinning as they walked down the aisle.  I remember my MOH's face as she adjusted the train of my wedding dress.  I remember taking his hand and promising to love him and cherish him for the rest of my life.  I remember him taking mine, vowing to love me in sickness and in health, just as he does now. 

And I remember how "I do" melted like cotton candy in my mouth.

"I now pronounce you husband and wife.  Go ahead and kiss your bride."

We kissed.  "We're married!"  We laughed.  We posed for pictures.  We rode in the limo by ourselves and drank champagne and fell in love once more.  We walked in to the reception hall as Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Sparling.  We danced our first dance to "The Luckiest."  We listened as his best man and my maid of honor toasted to our love.  We ate delicious food and cut red velvet cake with butter cream frosting.  We watched as my nephew did his seven-year-old version of break dancing by himself on the dance floor.  We took more pictures, only plenty of these were damn silly. 

With my insulin pump tucked safely and quietly in a pocket at my hip, we celebrated the biggest day of our lives surrounded by our families, friends, and loved ones.  I am so, so blessed to be the bride of this man who keeps me safe and makes me feel loved and takes care of me in a way that keeps my mother from worrying. 

My wedding day was the proudest moment of my life.  I am so happy to be his wife.

(And I did not fall on my face walking down the aisle.  That, my friends, is certainly saying something.)

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