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October 31, 2009

Looking Back: Reflections on Halloween

Happy Halloween!  Today, I'm revisiting one of my first columns for Generation D, written back in 2006 about a Halloween experience from when I was in middle school.   (Believe me, it's safer than watching the Halloween video I did last year, before I figured out how to edit and instead rambled on and on and on and ... you get it.) 

Happy Halloween!!

*   *   *

More Than Candy and Costumes

Dressing up was not an issue. I wore my silly costumes proudly and they were always homemade. I was a fairy godmother one year. I was a gypsy for about three years running. Another year I was Bo Peep, complete with sheep.

Then one year, I was diabetic.

When the central focus of the holiday is eating candy, what’s a kid with diabetes to do?

I can’t admit that I remember it being a big deal, but my mother will recount that first Halloween, when she leaned in to give me a kiss and she smelled chocolate on my breath. “I thought it would kill you,” she admitted. That panic, that first taste of unadulterated fear was something my parents felt so I wouldn’t have to. I was just a little six-year-old kid. I was more concerned about whether or not my gypsy skirts were getting tattered on the edges from running through the streets on Halloween night.

In the first few years after my diagnosis, the candy was monitored and handled by my mother. I had a few pieces, a little bit was stashed away as “reaction treaters,” and my brother and sister bartered with me for the rest. My older brother, little sister, and I would sit on the floor after trick-or-treating and pour our pillowcase collections of candy out onto the floor, separating the candy into genre piles – one for chocolate, one for hard candies and gum, and a potluck of the non-candy items like pencils and stickers. Somehow, I usually ended up with all the pencils and stickers as my brother and sister grinned at me with chocolate-stained mouths.

I used to sneak pieces of candy, though. I do remember finding the “reaction treater” stash and cramming five or six mini-Snickers bars into my mouth. The chocolate taste was sickeningly sweet and tasted like a melding of delicious deception. I didn’t get caught but the feeling of guilt I experienced is something I can still feel deep in my stomach if I think about that moment too much.

So now I was a diabetic trick-or-treater. Couldn’t tell by looking at me. In my group of friends, you couldn’t pick me out of that crowd. Which is probably why the cop used his police cruiser intercom to harness my attention.

I was about nine years old, trick-or-treating with my friends in one of their neighborhoods. There were seven or eight of us and we were all costumed and toting pillowcases to carry our bounty.

The headlights came up behind us first, then the swirling red and blue police lights. The intercom squealed on.

“Kerri Morrone?”

We stopped dead in our tracks. No one turned around. My friend Christie whispered loudly to me, “Did he just say your name?”

“Kerri Morrone? We’re looking for Kerri. Is she with you guys?”

My blood ran cold. What could I have possibly done? Did they know I talked during the D.A.R.E. presentation and they were mad about it? Did they find out I had pinched my sister on the arm for telling on me? Oh my God, did they know I sneaked candy every Halloween?

Like a convict on the run finally giving in, I turned around slowly and raised my hand over my head.

“I’m Kerri.”

The intercom squealed to life again. “Please come over to the car.”

I shuffled my shoes, now filled with lead, toward the police cruiser. My friends stood back, clutching their pillowcases and staring.

The window of the police car lowered and revealed the smiling face of Officer Mark, the young D.A.R.E. officer who visited my middle school every fall.

“Hi, Kerri. Sorry to scare you.” The grin on his face was warm and friendly. “You know, my wife is diabetic. She likes this special sugar-free candy. I thought, since you were diabetic too, that you might like some.” He reached to the seat beside him and handed me a white box with a black and orange ribbon tied around it.

Are people aware of the very moment they affect your life forever? The moment that they make you feel less alone?

“Thanks, Officer Mark. Really, thank you. This is awesome. I thought I was in trouble, though!”

His grin became even wider. “Yeah, well you’re not. But make sure you and your friends stay out of it!” He leaned out the window and gestured toward my friends. “Be careful, girls! Have a good night!”

“Bye, Officer Mark!!” they all called in unison.

The next year, I dressed up as a gypsy ... again. I was also still a diabetic.

I was okay with being both.

*   *   *

Have a safe and happy Halloween, and don't forget - NaBloPoMo starts tomorrow.  So does NaNoWriMo.  Who's in??

October 30, 2009


Sorry for the late post, but we were meeting a friend today for lunch.  A new friend.  A little friend.

BSparl - October 2009

Internet, meet BSparl.  We won't find out if it's a boy or a girl until late November, but BSparl is getting big and growing along at a healthy and safe pace.

More later, but now it's time to celebrate the Hallween weekend!!!  See you on Monday!

October 29, 2009

Diabetes Can be a Five Letter Word.

... and that five letter word is "guilt." 

At the ePatient conference last week, Sue Rago was talking about diabetes and the complications that can arise.  "But the complications of well-managed diabetes?  None." 

And despite the fact that I met and enjoyed hanging out with Sue, this statement cut right through me.  Well-managed diabetes produces no complications?  So diabetes-related complications are just the result of an inattentive "host," or "slacking off?"  It's not the fault of diabetes itself?

The direct relationship between diabetes and guilt has always made me feel ... well, guilty.  I'm not familiar with what it's like to live with any other disease than type 1 diabetes, so I do feel lucky that I have never experienced something like cancer, but since my scope is limited, I know this diabetes/guilt dance all too well.  And diabetes - as a disease state including both type 1, type 2, and gestational - always seems to come with some added bonus of "You did this to yourself."  It sounds harsh, but I hear it all the time.

It makes me feel so frustrated, this assumption that diabetes only does what we tell it do to.  "The pump does it all for you, right?  So diabetes is like, simple to manage?"  Or "Just follow the rules and you'll be fine, right?  Bad stuff only happens to people who are lazy and don't take care of themselves."  I've never, ever heard someone ask a person living with a different disease - "Oh, what did you do to make this happen?" - but I've heard someone ask me about my diabetic retinopathy and respond, "Well, you must not be controlling your diabetes very well."

I work damn hard to manage my diabetes, and before I took the reigns on my disease, my parents worked hard to manage it.  I take my insulin, I test my blood sugar, and I see the doctor as often (maybe more often) than I should.  Efforts are made to best manage my health, but the fact remains that I have a disease.  I don't classify myself as "sick" and I don't view my life as compromised, but the reality is that type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that causes my pancreas to stop its production of insulin.  As a result of this, the blood sugar homeostasis of my body has been forever disrupted.  And while the medical advances of the last few decades have been tremendous, giving rise to things like improved meter accuracy, insulin pumps, faster-acting insulin, and continuous glucose monitoring devices, there still isn't a cure.  My pancreas remains busted, so I will never be in "perfect diabetes control."

Yet so many people think that a pump or a medication is the answer, robbing fault from diabetes for any complications that may arise and instead making complications the result of "something I did."  I will fight that assertion tooth and nail for the rest of my life, because I care too much about my health and work too hard to let the perception of complications be that of fault. 

Back in March, I found this piece of paper wedged into an old diary of mine from middle school:

Diabetes and guilt - nasty combination.

Even then, as a kid, I was taught to feel solely responsible for my diabetes, as though diabetes itself didn't play a role in any of the outcomes.  "If I want to live:" is how that piece of paper starts off.  What a heavy burden for a child with diabetes.  High blood sugars?  My fault.  Spilling protein into my urine?  My fault.  Any threat of complication?  My fault?  Diabetes wasn't the cause - I was, apparently.  (Granted, many times highs and lows were a result of being a rebellious teenager or eating a 'forbidden food,' but were it not for the diabetes in the first place, it wouldn't be an issue.)

I don't agree with this mentality, and I refuse to subscribe to it.  Type 1 diabetes requires daily maintenance and diligence, but even if I follow "all the rules," there can still be complications.  My genetic make-up plays a role.  My family history plays a role.  And of course, my actions play a role.  This isn't a diatribe to give me a free pass to slack off and not care about my health. I need to take care of myself and work hard for my health.  I have always tried to remember my role in this relationship with diabetes, but I can't fool myself into thinking that if I just work hard enough, my body won't ever exhibit diabetes complications.  If my eyes start to bleed, it's not because I didn't care enough.  Things happen, and I need to be able to roll with whatever life dishes out.  I live with diabetes every day - I don't need the guilt.

Because at the end of the day, diabetes complications are the result of diabetes.

October 28, 2009

ePatient2009: Voice of the Patient.

"I'm Kerri Morrone Sparling and I'm not the voice of THE patient.  I'm just the voice of A patient.  And I'm sorry I have to present from behind the podium, but the tech guys couldn't link me up with a lav mic because of the other diabetes devices I'm wearing.  Ran out of room."

And that is how I had to open my ePatient 2009 presentation, because if "awkward" isn't my middle name yet, I should update it.

I was asked to present at the ePatient conference in Philadelphia earlier this week, talking about the "voice of the patient."  And honestly, I felt a little weird pretending to speak for all of us, so I had to make it clear that no one spoke for all of us.  That's why we blog about our illnesses - we speak for ourselves.

Kerri Sparling at the ePatient 2009 conference.

I told them about how diabetes has been a part of my life longer than just about anything else, with me at every school dance, every college class, as I walked down the aisle, and now, as I'm building Bsparl.  (I'm sorry - I still get a kick out of saying "BSparl.")  "Before I was an 'e-patient,' I was e-impatient.  Where were the other people who were living with their diabetes?  Was everyone just dying from it?  I couldn't be the only diabetic out there who was alive ..."

We aren't alone with our diabetes, and I shared that fact with the group at ePatient 2009.  When I started, there was just a small handful of diabetes blogs - could count us on one hand.  But now?  Hundreds of sites are dedicated to diabetes management and lifestyle, and we are SO not alone.  The diabetes community is vibrant and engaged and wants to step outside of the literal computer box and even meet up in person.  

(And I showed them proof, by way of some of the photos I've taken of "diabetes in the wild."  See?  We are real people!!)

"But while many of us have risen up to be considered 'patient opinion leaders,' we're not your target market, or your consumers.  We are people, and it's important for companies to remember this.  We're not out there blogging because someone told us to, or for financial gain.  We don't blog because we HAVE to - we blog because it helps us heal.  The emotional support gained from patient blogging and reading the blogs of patients is unparalleled."

I think they got it, guys.  Or at least they seemed to.  And I was so damn proud to be part of the community at that moment, because we do break the mold of "consumers."  We're people living with, or caring for people living with, diabetes.  And that gives us an unbreakable bond.

Diane Bayer, my co-presenter, followed me with a beautiful and heartfelt presentation about why she blogs.  She started by talking about the diagnosis of her son's autism, and then told the story of her own recent diagnosis with MS.  Her powerful words moved the crowd, and after she spoke, we took some questions from the audience.

One question that made me actually laugh was about the presence of pharma in social media.  And since I'm a bit shorter-fused than normal lately (I'm blaming BSparl again on this one), that question just about put me over the edge.  

"I'm a lifelong diabetic.  Pharma's job is to keep me alive.  I use their drugs and their devices to stay healthy.  THAT is their priority.  I don't care how many page views they have.  If they want to have a Facebook page or something after they've accomplished that goal?  Fine by me."

It's a strange dance, watching people who are living with different health conditions in the same room as marketing teams and pharma companies and people who might view us as "consumers."  But at the end of the day, I'm idealistic enough to hope that we're coming together to find ways to improve health and wellness for us all.  And if that's not their goal when they sign up for these things, I'm hoping it's at least on their list when they go to leave. 

(Don't roll your eyes.  I'm pregnant, and I'm erring towards optimism as I prepare to bring a child into the world. I'll be back to my regularly scheduled cynicism next May. ;) ) 

October 27, 2009

Diabetes Linky Bits: What I've Been Reading.

Due to some recent traveling, I've been falling way behind on my fellow diabetes bloggers.  But there have been some posts in the last few days that I think are must-reads.  So today, while I finish up my visit in Philadelphia at the ePatient 2009 conference, I wanted to share some of my favorite posts from the diabetes blogosphere:

Diabetes blogs rule.Lee Ann at The Butter Compartment is a longtime type 1-er and a lady who understands the trials of fitting an insulin pump into a fancy dress moment.  Thanks to some Twitter tips and some good, old fashioned ingenuity, Lee Ann managed to McGyver her way into a fashionable moment.  (And personally, I never underestimate the power of duct tape.)

Diabetes blogs rule.Wendy at Candy Hearts stumbled upon a Letter to the Editor from some idiot who saw a little boy take an injection at Burger King.  Apparently, the man who wrote the letter was horrified  by the drug taking at the table and felt the need to write to his local paper.  And while Wendy admits to having no idea what was in that syringe, she wrote a response to The Burger Grump, outlining why certain people may need to take an injection before eating (namely, did the kid have diabetes). 

Kelly at Diabetesaliciousness added her two cents, as well.  What's your take on this Burger Grump?  Do you feel that a PWD should be able to inject in public?  (Personally, I think it's no different than blowing your nose at the table.  If you can keep it clean and sanitary and discreet, it's fine.  People are allowed to manage their diabetes in public, so long as they aren't creating unsanitary conditions for others.)  If you want to chime in with your own letter to the editor, click on this link and visit the Pocatello Idaho State Journal website.

Diabetes blogs rule.And those of us here on the East Coast apparently missed an AWESOME event, at last week's TCOYD in San Diego.  Manny touted it as the best diabetes conference he's ever attended, Cherise gave it a definitive thumbs up, and George agreed.  I've never attended one of the TCOYD conferences, but apparently there's one in my homestate of Rhode Island next September, and BSparl and I will definitely be in attendance.  Will you be there? 

What have you been reading in the diabetes blogosphere?

October 26, 2009

Ground Control (Solution) to Major Tom.

Get in control.  Cheesy photo description, no?(That’s just a cool song and I’m in the mood for a little David Bowie.  Humor me.)

I’ve learned a lot in my frequent visits to the Joslin Clinic over the last six months or so, which just goes to show that it doesn’t matter how long you’ve had diabetes – there’s always something new to learn.  As I was preparing for pregnancy, there was a lot of focus on blood sugar control, and frequent monitoring.  That, I knew.

But what I didn’t realize was how often I should have been checking my meter with control solution.  

I have to be honest:  Before Joslin told me to get my act together re: using control solution, I never used it.  Ever.  It would come in the meter kits when I first opened them and it was the first thing I removed.  I ran on the assumption that my meter was the diabetes equivalent of “the customer” – it was always right.

The Joslin CDE disagreed.

“No, you need to be checking the accuracy of your meter with the control solution at least once a week, Kerri.  That’s important to make sure everything is in range.  Think about it – you’re dosing insulin based on these results, and you’re calibrating your Dexcom, too.  Don’t you want to make sure the numbers are accurate?”

Good point.  But how naïve am I to assume that the numbers ARE accurate?  Sometimes I get a result on the meter that I know is way off, and I usually test again to see what the deal is.  But I never thought to bust out the control solution to keep tabs on the accuracy, as well.  

Since I was (and am) trying to be Captain Compliance when it comes to Joslin instructions (thanks to the ever-growing BabySparl), I dug up some bottles of control solution and started double checking my meter.  And yes, I do feel soothed when the control test comes back right on target, because it reinforces my faith in the meter.  And no, I haven’t seen any wonky control results come back yet, but at least I’m looking out for them.  

If you’re already checking your meter with the control solution, bravo!   Just wanted to pass this info on, in case you were like me and tossing the control solution into a shoebox to reside with dust bunnies under the bed.  (Or with Siah bunnies, depending on how much your cat sheds.) 

As I’ve mentioned, I’m learning so much now that I’m in constant contact with my doctors, so I want to pass on all the tips I find to you guys.  Because it’s quite obvious that while I try pretty hard, the rules of the game seem to change overnight.

October 23, 2009

The Friday Six: Diabetes Community Bits.

The Friday Six:  October 23, 2009 editionThere are some cool things that have cropped up in the diabetes community this month, and I'm a little late in announcing them here - but BSparl is a mind control baby, so my will is not entirely my own these days.  ;) 

Here's a quick Friday Six, highlighting some new adventures in the diabetes community!

A leaf.World Diabetes Day is coming up on November 14th, and the crew at TuDiabetes are marking the day with The Big Blue Test.  It's similar to the test-in from a few months ago, and here's how you participate:

1. Test your blood sugar.
2. Run, jog, walk the dog or do anything you’d normally do as part of your exercise routine for 14 minutes.
3. Test your blood sugar again.
4. If you are a member of TuDiabetes click on the home page banner and share your readings and what exercise you did between them. If you have a camera, you can also add a photo of your reading(s) or you exercising.
5. If you have a Twitter account, post your readings on Twitter (use the #bigblue hashtag) and link back to: http://bigbluetest.org.

Even though November 14th is a Saturday, we can all still raise our collective voices and post our numbers at approximately 2 pm.  For more info, visit the TuDiabetes Big Blue Test page.

A leaf.And have you checked out The Diabetes Resource, a diabetes website database put together by Gina Capone and her team?  You haven't?  Dude,  you MUST.  Visit The Diabetes Resource, which is the self-proclaimed "first and only Ultimate diabetes directory for everything diabetes. The Diabetes Resource covers everything you need so you can find what you want, when you need it most."  You can find diabetes bloggers, diabetes events, and learn more about the management team. Nice job, Gina and team!! 

A leaf.In self-pimpage news, I'm now contributing to the MyDiabetesCentral team at HealthCentral, so if you have a chance to skip over and check out my shareposts, that would be stellar.  (Latest one involves a broken ass.  Yes, the truth hurts.  A lot.  In the hindquarters.)

A leaf.Also, also, there's a new diabetes site called A Sweet Life:  The Source for the Healthy Diabetic.  It's run by a woman named Jessica Apple (I do so love people with fruit as their last names, especially in these days of vitamin C cravings ...) and she and her husband, Mark, are both living with type 1 diabetes.  "We know that diabetes is a very serious and frightening disease, but we also know that life with diabetes can be normal. It can even be sweet. Rather than think about diabetes in the negative sense of an illness, we prefer to think of it as our lifestyle. And we are determined to be healthy diabetics. We believe we are succeeding, and we hope that the information we provide through this site will help you do the same."  You can check out A Sweet Life and get to know this new member of the diabetes community!

A leaf. dLifeTV is looking for some new people to feature, and I wanted to pass the word on to you.  Here's what they're looking for:  "Have you had a specific life experience, event, or revelation that inspired you to turn things around and get better control over your diabetes? If you were previously neglecting your diabetes care and 'got inspired' to get healthy, we want to hear from you!"  For more information, click here.

A leaf.And lastly, I'll be at the ePatient2009 conference in Philadelphia on Monday and Tuesday, so if you're attending, please say hello!  You can catch me on Twitter @sixuntilme or by email.  Or if you just look for the slightly potbellied girl with the enormous purse, you'll find me that way, too.  ;) 

Have a wonderful weekend!!

October 22, 2009

Diabetes, Lovenox, and Bathroom Jane Fonda.

The flight to Las Vegas from Boston is a long one – six hours on the way there and five on the way back.  I talked with my doctors before taking the flight, and being pregnant, I’m dealing with an increased threat of deep vein thrombosis.  The Factor V Leiden gene in my body is also a red flag, so these longs flights caused some concern for my medical team.

“We’re not worried so much as we have some rules for when you’re flying. The first is that you need to get up and move around about once every hour to keep your circulation steady and your legs moving.  And the second thing is that we’d like you to take Lovenox on the days that you’re flying.  That will help combat the Factor V risk.”

Take a shot?  No problem.  At least that’s one thing I can commit to without fear.

So about an hour and a half before my flights took off, I snuck into the airport bathroom and pulled out the pre-filled syringe of Lovenox.  Lovenox is an anti-coagulant drug that helps to prevent blood clots.  I don’t know much about it, other that it’s safe for pregnant women to take and it was one of the conditions set forth by Joslin, so I pretty much do what they say these days.  I’ve never taken anything like it before, so Wednesday evening was my first time.

Fellow diabetics, I just need to say that we have it good with our teeny, ultra-fine needles.  This Lovenox needle was clumsy, long, and thick.  “Inject it right into your abdomen, where you’d normally take an insulin injection,” the doctors recommended, so I did just that.  But it sucked a little bit.  One of the side effects of the injection is bruising and soreness, and they’re not kidding.  Within 15 minutes of taking the injection, a deep red thumbprint popped up on my abdomen, tender to the touch.  

But that seems to be the only side-effect I’ve experienced.  Except for a little bit of paranoia.  And now, a few days after the trip, I have the itchiest, red rash at my injection sites. 

Once a doctor tells me that I could be at risk for something, I do what I can to help mitigate that risk.  For these flights to Las Vegas, I took the Lovenox injections and made sure I was up and about once an hour, but I also did something else.

Every time I went into the airplane bathroom, I did some weird kind of calisthenics.  Thanks to BabySparl, the need to pee is hourly (making me test my blood sugar all the time, wondering, “Is this because of Baby or am I high?), so I’d use the ladies’ room and then face the mirror.  And then do this bizarre mix of high knee raises, running in place, and stretching.  Thankfully, being barely 5’4” gives me enough room to move around in there, but I felt like a tool.

“And stretch!  And stretch!”  I heard Jane Fonda in my head as I faux-exercised in the airplane bathroom.   

I prayed that the stewardesses couldn’t hear me thrashing around in there.  How the hell would I explain that?  “I don’t want a blood clot so I’m doing a little dance here in the bathroom.  That's legal, right?”

The itchy frigging rash from the Lovenox injections.
The flights were fine.  (If you don’t count the flight from Boston to Las Vegas, which included an extra hour on the trip due to a strong headwind, expired food, not enough meals for passengers, no movie, and no working radios.  US Airways, you sucked it up on that one.)  Lovenox was a success.  And now I feel like I’ve managed to fit in a workout, even at 35,000 feet.  But I’m curious to know if anyone else has ever taken Lovenox, or another kind of anti-coagulant.  And if anyone has ANY tips at all on dealing with this frigging itchy rash.  It's starting to go away, and I know it's just part of the side-effect fun, but it's making me scratchy-crazy. 

It’s all new to me, and I’d appreciate any feedback from someone who’s been there.  (And if you have airplane exercise tips, share those, too.  I’m heading to Florida in two weeks and am wondering how I’m going to embarrass myself on that plane, too!)

October 21, 2009

Unpacked and Vlogging.

Here we go:  diabetes vlogging about the potbelly, our new apartment, sharing a bathroom with the cats, and a craving for Apple Jacks.

And please excuse my belly rubbing fixation.  It's new, so I keep touching it.  :)

Some Pregnancy (and Diabetes) Stuff.

Do you know how hard it was to not tell you guys I am pregnant?  Sitting on that information for three months was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done.  There were SO MANY questions I wanted to ask, and so many stories I wanted to share, but I knew it was best to keep my mouth shut until we were past a certain point.  And it is still early in our pregnancy, all things considered, so I shared our news with hopeful optimism and in hopes of some positive thoughts being sent our way.

And holy crap do you guys deliver.  I’ve read every comment on the Dear Baby post, even though I’ve had to take breaks to grab tissues because you made me tear up quite a bit.  My husband, my mom, and my mother-in-law are reading the comments, too.  And they say thanks for the support as well.  :)

So now you know.  And now I can talk about what the past three months have been like.  (Video to come this afternoon.)
I referenced the exhaustion before, but I must mention it again. BabySparl makes me want to spend the majority of the day snuggled up against a cold pillow and a warm down comforter.    I keep reading in all those “Hey, You’re Pregnant!” books about how tired the baby building can make a woman, but I thought they were sort of kidding or at least over-exaggerating a little bit.  Not the case.  Naps are my friend.   I take them constantly, and sometimes I’m skipping the gym in efforts to snag a random hour of sleep.  

Low blood sugars also appear to be my “friend,” only I’m not as happy about those.  Over the last three months, I’ve had some very persistent low blood sugars.  My A1C is down to 6.2% as of my last endocrinologist appointment on October 9th, but it’s not without the nudging of these lows.  (Thankfully, the highs have tapered off to almost nothing, but still.  THE LOWS.)  Other diabetic women had told me that my A1C will be at its lowest during the course of my pregnancy, but I always thought it would be because of all the blood sugar stalking.  I didn’t realize that building BabySparl was going to make me burn more energy than I ever have before.  A few weeks ago, I had a blood sugar of 60 that stayed with me for 12 hours, regardless of the carbohydrates consumed.  I’ve made some headway in peeling back on some of  the lows, but I’m sure once I have it sort of figured out, my basals will change AGAIN.  (They have changed every three weeks since I found out I was pregnant.  Unpredictable body of mine.)  

And the food cravings.  For the first month and a half, I didn’t have any cravings at all.  Nothing new appealed to me and I wasn’t even having any food aversions.  But by the time I hit the 8th week of pregnancy,  I was all over the map.  Just to prove how confused my body is, I’ve gone from despising seafood in all forms to craving grilled shrimp.  SHRIMP?  I even ordered scallops at dinner the other night.  There is something wrong with me.  In addition to the suddenly-seafood cravings, I’m also fiending for fruit.  Vitamin C-heavy fruits in particular.  I think the ideal meal these days seems to be grilled shrimp and scallops with sliced kiwi and whipped cream for dessert.  Orange juice (with pulp - the best!) to drink.  And in even odder food news, I am completely turned off from coffee in all forms.  (I KNOW.) It’s not the caffeine I’m trying to avoid, but the taste of coffee in general.  It makes my stomach do flip-flops and that boggles the hell out of my brain. 

Three months pregnant.  And a banana plant.  It's how we roll.

And now, as of early last week, I’m seeing a baby bump that I can’t suck in anymore.  Earlier in the pregnancy, I had some bloating that made me ask, “Whoa, am I showing already?”  But it would come and go throughout the day, so I knew it wasn’t actual baby bump.  Now, though?  Pants don’t button.  There’s a definitive bump just below my belly button that is hard and protrudes just enough.  It is the most amazing thing I’ve ever felt, and even though it’s hard to adjust to the whole concept of “getting rounder” when I’ve fought an uphill battle to “get smaller,” every time I look at the ultrasound photo on our fridge and feel the hard, rounded belly forming under my shirt, I feel a rush of excitement.  There’s really a baby in there.  That very concept just blows my mind.

I’m beyond thankful to have resources like you guys to help me through the next six months.  And I’m thanking you in advance for being tolerant of all the questions!  This is the coolest thing I’ve ever had the honor of building, and I’m hopeful every day that BabySparl is having a grand ol’ time in there.

October 20, 2009

Vegas, (with my) Baby. Vegas.

In addition to participating in the BlogWorldExpo medblogger track, I spent an extra day in Las Vegas with my husband, checking out the sights.  

Yes, I went to Vegas for the first time, married and pregnant.

(Something tells me I should have made that journey a bit earlier in my life.)

So now that the pregnancy is out there, I can admit that I’ve been exhausted for the last three months.  Not falling-asleep-at-work kind of exhausted, but while I was working at dLife, I’d come home on my lunch break, take a nap, and then sleep again right after work was over.  The first trimester made me the kind of tired you read about – no morning sickness, no weird food cravings, but I was exhausted just about all the time.  And now, even though I’m into the 12th week, I still haven’t kicked that sleepy feeling.  So being in Las Vegas, dealing with the three hour time change and the general sleepiness that comes with attending a conference all day long, I was a little bit off my game.

But Chris, my ever-patient human xanax (Yes, he had to sub-in for my xanax because now that there’s a BabySparl, I’m not able to medicate before flying.  Thank God for Chris.  Without him, I may have lost my mind on both legs of the flight.  But that’s a whole other blog post.), was ready to explore Vegas with his knocked-up wife.  

We stayed at the uber-swanky Palazzo hotel, in a suite that made me sort of wish I lived in a hotel.  Huge, snuggly beds, flat screen TVs in every room (including the bathroom, which I thought was very fancy-pants), and posh restaurants all over the damn place.  Country bumpkin that I am, I was IMPRESSED.  And the lime-scented toiletries smelled just like Apple Jacks, which I’m now craving.  Using the soaps made me want to take a bite of them.  (No, I don’t have pica.) 

The Palazzo hotel - swanky town.

The view from our hotel room was awesome, both in the daytime and at night, overlooking the Treasure Island hotel and casino.  (And pirate ships.)

The view.  It was pretty spectacular.

Our hotel connected with the famous Venetian hotel, where we watched the gondolas glide by.  The ceiling was amazing - it actually looked like we were outside!  Oh Vegas, is anything here real??

The gondolas in Vegas.

On Friday night, we checked out the Blue Man Group, which I thought was awesome.  I’ve never seen them perform before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I just knew we could be in for it when we sat down in the second row from the stage and were advised to slip on the plastic ponchos, provided by the venue.  “You could end up covered in non-toxic paint, or cereal,” advised the usher.  “Um, okay?”  We slipped them on and tried not to laugh when the opening sequence involved drums that shot paint high into the sky with every beat.  I can’t begin to explain what the show was like, but I can just say that it involved an audience member dining out on a dinner of Twinkies on-stage with the three Blue Men, a makeshift xylophone made of white, industrial tubing, and massive rolls of toilet paper being unrolled from the ceiling in the back row and passed on up to the front of the stage, where it collected onto our fellow poncho-wearers in massive piles.
Upon my retirement, I think I’d like to be a Blue Man.

Knocked up in Vegas.  HA HA HA.

Overall, the trip was a great opportunity for me as a blogger and an exhausting one as a mom-to-be.  Vegas, I’ll have to return after my baby is born so I can drink from one of those two-foot silos and dance on a table somewhere.  You know, like a classy mom would.

(More photos on Flickr, if you’re looking to waste some time.)

October 19, 2009

BlogWorldExpo: Medical Bloggers Make Their Debut.

Last week at the BlogWorldExpo new media conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, the medical blogosphere staked its first claim, with the very first medblogger track taking place on October 15th.  The medblogger track was co-sponsored by Johnson & Johnson and MedPage Today, and they flew us out there and put us up, which was quite jazzy of them.  (Actually, the whole thing started with Kim on Emergiblog raising her voice.  She got this ball rolling, big time.)  I joined the BetterHealth crew and represented for the patient bloggers.

And by “represented,” I mean that out of four different panels totaling 16 participants, I was the only patient blogger panelist.  I stood out as the “one without a medical degree” and there are no initials after my name, but I did my best to show the medical blogosphere that patients are a powerful voice in this community, and that we are a growing group in the blogosphere as a whole.

I participated on the “The State of the Health Blogosphere:  We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby” panel, with fellow panelists Kevin Pho of Kevin, MD and Nick Genes of Blogborygmi, moderated by the always-fabulous Kim McAllister of Emergiblog.  And we went first, which was both nerve-wracking and exciting - nothing like kicking off the BlogWorldExpo medblogger track!

Photo courtesy of Doctor Anonymous.

We discussed how we all started in the blogosphere, citing who was already out there when we started our blogs (and I mentioned good ol’ Scott Johnson as one of my favorite originals!), and how the public perceived blogs back in the day.  (Back in the day being like 2004/2005 – the Internet is a time warp.)   I talked about how I wanted to find others living with diabetes, instead of constantly coming across the internet health horror stories, and when I couldn’t really find what I was looking for, I decided to create it for myself. 

“It took me a while to say the word ‘blog’ without stretching out the ‘O’ a lot.  ‘Blaaaaaaaaaaag.’  No one I knew wrote a blog, and they didn’t know what a blog was.  It seemed a little bit like a joke – who the heck is going to want to read this online diary stuff?  But it turns out that I wasn’t the only one who was looking for other people living with diabetes.  And once the comments started, and the emails from complete, warm-hearted strangers started coming in, I realized the impact that patient blogs could have on other patients.”

“But I also realized the intense impact that blogging could have on me.  It made me feel like I had a place to share the emotional side of my disease, emotions that I battled constantly but doctors didn’t really ask much about.”

It was a very cool experience, sitting there as a panelist with Kevin and Nick, two influential medical bloggers who represent the practitioner perspective with class and confidence, knowing that patient bloggers are now part of this conversation.  It’s not just a bunch of doctors sitting around, talking about our diseases and our conditions without having a portal into what real life is like with that disease.  Now they can tune into our patient blogs and get that perspective, one that could help shape the way they deal with their patients.  Our voices, as patients and the caregivers of patients, are crucial in the greater medical blogging discussion.

I missed the memo on the crossed arms thing.

There was also a lot of discussion about Grand Rounds, the premier medical blog carnival created by Nick Genes.  Everyone on the panel pretty much agreed that Grand Rounds were an extremely effective way to get a weekly snapshot of the best of the medical blogosphere.  “I can’t remember where I first stumbled upon Grand Rounds, but it seemed like the perfect way for me, a diabetes patient blogger, to connect with other medical bloggers outside of my diabetes bubble.  It was like literary networking.”

And we also touched upon the recent Federal Trade Commission discussions about requiring blogger disclosure, which thankfully many of the medbloggers already have covered.  (And for the patient bloggers, guys – sign up for the Patient Code of Ethics badge and make sure you have a full, prominently displayed disclosure on your blog.  This FTC thing could come to find some of us, so make sure you’re making a preemptive strike by being fully transparent with your relationships.)  From what we discussed, it seems like anything over $11,000 dollars may require full disclosure, but the panel agreed that all health bloggers should be disclosing as many relationships as possible, regardless of the dollar amount involved.

But of course, I managed to embarrass myself a little bit.  I had to admit to being a little starstruck when it came to hanging out with the doctor bloggers.  “After several months of blogging, I’d connected with many other diabetes bloggers.  But I knew there was a whole host of other medical bloggers – the doctors.  And I was fascinated by them because as far as I was concerned, I viewed my doctor almost how I viewed my grade school teachers:  they lived in their offices, they slept in the closet, and if I ever saw them at the grocery store, I almost died of shock that they actually ATE FOOD.”  (And, for the record, the doc bloggers eat food.  And drink wine.  And have been caught singing karaoke at dinner, but I’m not mentioning that yet.  Whoops.)

The crew at BlogWorldExpo '09, crashing Dr. A's podcast.

Blogs are credible sources for information, if you pick your sites right, and they can really help to improve people’s health.  We’re able to share the real stuff that we deal with, from the actual trenches.  And while patients are connecting with one another and we’re sharing best practices and gripe sessions, I think that doctors and nurses who read us are reminded that patients are more than their diseases or conditions.  We’re people, too.  You might even see us in the grocery store one day.

Or crashing Doctor Anonymous's podcast while he tries to broadcast from the expo floor at BlogWorldExpo '09.


October 16, 2009

The Friday Silence.

Sorry for being totally MIA, but I'm in Las Vegas for BLOGWORLDEXPO and these have been long days for this jet-lagged time traveler.  The time change and the baby are making me face-plant exhausted, totally neglecting my blog.

But I wanted to check in to say thank you for all of your love and support about our baby.  Chris and I have been reading the comments together and are touched by your words.  So thank you, and we're really excited to share this next part of our lives with you.  

More on Monday - about the pirate ships that battled below our windows, or the mountains that loom in the background behind the strip, or the BlogWorldExpo conference itself, or the fact that I can't take xanax to fly anymore due to BabySparl and how fun that is (/sarcasm), or some feedback on the rebels of the medical blogosphere.  There's been a lot going on, and once I'm back on the east coast, I'll fill you in.  And post incriminating photos.  :)

See you Monday!

October 14, 2009

Dear Baby.

Dear Baby,

I've been thinking about you for a long time.

My doctors told me it would be a challenge to have you.  They said that diabetes would be a tricky hurdle as I planned for you.  They said you might not happen.  There were so many reasons to be scared and so many reasons to doubt, but I never gave up on you, Baby.  I have always wanted you and have worked so tirelessly to make my body safe for you.

And at the end of August, at the Joslin Pregnancy Clinic appointment several weeks ago, I thought you could possibly be there.  I thought there was a chance, because your dad and I were ready to try for you, so we took that leap.

"It's so early, so the test might not show a positive result, but we should do one anyway.  But remember, it might not be positive because you wouldn't be very far along."  The CDE gave me a warm smile while the nurse went to test the sample.

Your dad went into the waiting room to sit.  We didn't know how long it would take to get the results back.  And while I was waiting, the CDE and I were talking in the hallway about how great it would be if you really were there.

Then the nurse opened the door of the lab and came out with the test in her hand.

"Oh, she's definitely pregnant.  Look!"

I'm pregnant!!!

And I saw two lines.  And the CDE began to cry.  And then the nurse began to tear up.  I cried, too, because I was so scared and humbled and in love with you already.

"Chris, Chris!"  Even though we were in a waiting room with people who were there for their own appointments, the world sort of stopped for a minute so we could have our moment.

Chris heard the commotion from the waiting room, and came over, his eyes shining.  And Baby, I wish I told him about you with even a scrap of grace.  That I'd whispered, "We're pregnant!" or "We're having a baby!" or even, "Oh my God!" 

"It's on!" is what I said.

Super classy.

We hugged.  And we kissed.  And the family in the waiting room burst into a quiet applause.

There have been many weeks that have passed, and they haven't been the smoothest.  There have been some very scary moments, and I'm still scared to be writing this all down.  There have been so many doctor's appointments since that day.  Thankfully, everything seems to be just fine and on track, and my diabetes is under the best control I've ever achieved.  (Last A1C, taken Friday, was 6.2%!)  You are growing fast, and we've slowly told our friends and family about you.  Everyone is very excited, and I'm working really hard to make sure that we both remain safe.  You're coming next spring  and we couldn't be happier.  Being your mom is the most important job I will ever have, and I'm ready.  

When I looked in the mirror this morning, I saw the rounded baby bump and felt such a surge of happiness.  I don't know if I'll be the best mom, or the most "together" one, or even if I'll be one who has any clue what she's doing.  But I'm so excited for you to arrive, even though I am scared and careful and preparing as best I can. 

You are so wanted.

Baby, I can't wait to meet you.  I've always wanted to be your mommy.  And in just under six months, I'll be able to hold you in my arms instead of just in my heart.

I love you so much.  And now everyone knows.

Your Mommy

October 13, 2009

Quick Blast Before Vegas.

Tomorrow afternoon, I'll be heading out to Las Vegas for the BlogWorldExpo conference, hanging with my medblogger pals (and meeting Dr. Anonymous after all these years - yay!).  I've never been to Vegas, so this is a first for me.  Hopefully I won't end up covered in sequins or some such nonsense.

A few things to announce before I sign off and relax on the new couch (that the cats are ALREADY picking, little jerkfaces):

Since it's starting this Thursday, I should mention it first:  BLOGWORLDEXPO!  I'm totally excited to be attending this event, and beyond humbled to be sitting on the State of the Health Blogosphere:  We've Come a Long Way, Baby panel.  Kim McAllister from Emergiblog is moderating, and my fellow panelists are Nicholas Genes from Blogborygmi and Kevin Pho from Kevin MD.  There's a whole slew of medbloggers representing, and I'll be there to rep for the patient bloggers.  I'm really excited to meet some of these bloggers, and I'm hoping to do right by the patient blogosphere.  (And I'm also looking forward to checking out the rest of the conference, which is shaping up to be pretty cool.  Anthony Edwards will be there - can I keep myself from calling him Goose?)

I'm happy to (finally - been waiting weeks to announce this!) say that I'll be speaking at the Diabetes Research Institute's Diabetes 2.0:  Connecting the Community event in November, hanging out as a panelist at the Connecting Online session, with Manny Hernandez, Scott Strumello, Ellen Ullman, and moderated by Jeff Hitchcock.  (I hear we're the lunchtime panel, so if someone can slide a sandwich onto the table about halfway through the presentation, that would be awesome. Chicken salad would be my first choice. ;))

Also, if you're in Philadelphia at the end of October and you're able to visit the ePatient Connections 2009 conference, please do!  I'll be speaking on Monday, presenting with Diane Bayer, on the Patient Opinion Leaders Panel, but will be hanging out for the duration of the conference, so if you'll be in the area, email me!

There are a few other conferences that are still firming up their itineraries, but I need to wait until those are all set before I blog about them.  For now, I need to get packing for Vegas, baby.  Vegas!!!

Becoming Leafers.

What's the smartest thing you can do just a week after moving to a new place, new state, and new work arrangement?

Why it's getting into the car and driving 5 hours to bar Harbor, Maine, of course!!

Chris and I love Bar Harbor.  We love checking out the lobster pounds, driving along the scenic highways, and climbing up to the tops of mountains and watching the sun rise.

But this round, it was cold.  As I mentioned yesterday, Alaska-cold, and it kept us from climbing up any mountains because our extremities would have frozen right off our bodies.  So, instead, we went from active 30-somethings to actual "leafers."  We took more photos of frigging leaves that the memory card on my Nikon almost yawned.  

LEAVES!  There were many leaves.

But we thought they were awesome, so we didn't listen to the bored Nikon.  "Screw you, camera!  Just take the pictures."


Once again, we ended up at the top of Cadillac Mountain, only not in time for the sunrise this year.  (Because that would have been at 4:45 in the morning, and no thank you).  But we did see the finest of the New England fall foliage from the summit, looking down on the harbor below.

View from the top of Cadillac Mtn

Despite the cold, we really took in plenty of the brisk, fresh air and the natural beauty.  (I'll also have to post the outtakes with this stupid hat, because I looked like a complete tool.  More on that later.  But it was cold up there, so screw fashionable.)

Kerri and Chris hanging in  Bar Harbor.

But we didn't just sit around in the car and take pictures of leaves.  We did the 3.0 mile Jordan Pond nature trail again this year, and then rewarded ourselves with popovers and blueberry tea at the teahouse.  The views from the nature trail were spectacular.

The Bubbles at Jordan Pond.

And of course, before we left on Monday afternoon, we had a fantastic breakfast at my favorite place EVER, the 2 Cats Inn in downtown Bar Harbor.  The food is so delicious, and they have this strawberry butter that you can put on your fresh-baked biscuit that is just SO epic.  

Breakfast at the 2 Cats Inn

I love Maine.  (Granted, my blood sugars did NOT love Maine entirely.  If I wasn't low - hello, 2 am blood sugar of 29 mg/dl - I was cresting up around 190 mg/dl.  I couldn't adjust to the food/exercise mess for the weekend, but I'm thankfully settled back into range now.  More on that later, too.)  Chris and I are already planning our trip for next year!

October 12, 2009

The One Where I Don't Post.

We decided to spend an extra day in Maine. And that means I'm up here in the land of lovely foliage, kind people, beautiful landscapes, and what feels like Alaska-cold weather for one more day.

Which makes this the post I wrote from my half-dead Blackberry. Which also makes it the most boring post of all freaking time.

Tomorrow, recap of Maine (including a synopsis of how Chris and I went from two, normal adults to full-fledged, photo-snapping leafers who play Trivial Pursuit.)

And Wednesday, some news before heading off to BlogWorldExpo in Vegas.

Until then? I'm off to traipse around in Acadia Park for a little bit longer. :)

October 09, 2009

Ninjas in the Mail.

We had a package arrive in the mail on our second day in the new place.  A small, brown box without any descriptive markings.

Obviously this was the arrival of our housewarming Ninja.  Courtesy of one Ninjabetic, who spreads his yarny minions around the country.  (He's awesome, George.  We love him!)  And since his arrival, Ninja has been acclimating himself to his surroundings and becoming part of our new place. 

Ninja believes in the importance of exercise, and he's been using the ellipmachine day and night.  And then again in the afternoon.  Ninjas do not sleep.

He keeps his ninja muscles firm.

He's also environmentally-friendly, taking care of the banana plant in our bedroom.  

Ninja loves the greenery.

He's been an excellent influence when it comes to oral care, and he's been stealthily encouraging me to brush and floss ... sometimes threatening me with his ninja stars, but I can deal.  It's for dental health!

Ninja wants me to banish plaque!

Ninja has offered to handle the laundry folding, but he does NOT do the washing.  He doesn't like bleach.  I think he's scared the bleach will leave stains on his gi.

Ninja is good at keeping that one red sock out of the whites.

But his biggest battle so far has been against one formidable enemy, who apparently exists somehow without a brain.  Here, it looks like Ninja is about to be stalked by the Sausage.  But he knows she's there.  

You can't sneak up on Ninja.

He always knows.

Thanks again, SuperG, for this wonderful housewarming Ninja!!!  He's currently hanging out with Syn and plotting world domination.  Chris and I are thoroughly entertained.  :)

October 08, 2009

Needed More Diabetes Real Estate.

Wearing two diabetes devices has its mental hurdles, but sometimes the physical hurdles are the most irritating.  For the last two weeks, my husband and I have been packing up our old apartment and I've been closing out my office at dLife, so there's been a lot of physical lifting and moving of stuff.

Which means there's been a lot of Dexcom and insulin pump site set jostling.  Wearing the Dex and the pump full-time means plenty of little red dots on my thighs and lower back, and the physical movement of moving has made these areas even more irritating and inflamed.  

What's my point?  

My point is that my regular sites are sore.  And I need to switch things up a bit.  Again.  So last night, I opted for an arm site for my infusion set, instead of my standard thigh or hips.  I've worn the site here before, and it was comfortable, but it can be a hassle wrangling the tubing and shirts/bras. 

Needed some new diabetes real estate, you know?

So this round, I opted to use the longer tubing (43 inches) and I'm snaking that up my arm, down under the back of my bra, and then down to my hips where the pump clips to my pants.  The longer tubing gives me just enough room to accidentally pull on the tubing without jerking the site out.

It is a very different place for me to wear it, though.  So I reminded Chris to remind me.

"Dude, I'm showing you in case I forget.  The site is on my arm, okay?"

"Got it."

Now, as I sit here and write this, I can't feel the wire and it's undetectable underneath my long-sleeved shirt.  Hopefully wearing the site on my arm for a few days will help my other sites heal and give me a little breathing room on the ol' real estate front!

October 07, 2009

Flu Shots Suck.

I hate flu shots.I'm not a good PWD, because when I'm told to get a flu shot, I do whatever it takes to skirt the issue.

"I already don't feel well."
"I don't like needles."
"I think flu shots give you the flu?"
"They never help me avoid getting sick."
"Your mom should get a flu shot."
"No one likes flu shots and they smell." 

But a few weeks ago, I was at Joslin and they were prepping me for the worst that winter has to offer, namely the Regular Flu and then the ever-looming Swine Flu.  I have to be honest - even though I have a lot of faith in my medical doctors and I believe firmly in their fine training (especially at Joslin), I always second-guess these vaccines. 

But this year, with my health under careful watch by the Joslin Clinic and my eye on the prize of good control and good health, I let them coerce me.

"Do I have to get this shot?"

The nurse wrinkled her nose.  "Yes.  But I can't force you.  But yes."

"You mean you can't make me get it but you can guilt the hell out of me until I get it, citing all kinds of studies and risk groups and the benefits of vaccination?"

"Yeah, that's about the bulk of it."

So I rolled my eyes and then my sleeve, letting her inject the flu shot into my shoulder.  

"Next time you're here, you'll want to get the swine flu vaccine, okay?"

"Seriously?  Isn't it the first round of that?"

"Yes, but people with diabetes are on the high risk list, so it's going to be the same recommendation from your doctor as this one."

My response:  "Grumble, grumble."

Last year, I skipped my flu shot because I felt a little under the weather that day and they advised me to wait.  And I didn't go out of my way to follow-up.  The two years prior, I ended up in the line at work on "flu shot day" and received the vaccine, but reluctantly.  I don't like the idea of injecting myself with a dormant virus in efforts to make antibodies. (If that's how it really works ... don't quote me on that.  I'm sort of making this up as I go along.  See also:  not a doctor.) I don't like going out of my way to expose myself to different illnesses.  It just seems counter-intuative.

Am I the only diabetic who is reluctant to get their flu shot?  

October 06, 2009

Making Sense of Diabetes: It's So Literal, I Love It.

I have a lot to catch up on, but something I wanted to post about ASAP was the Making Sense of Diabetes contest that is happening at TuDiabetes, in preparation to raise awareness of World Diabetes Day (coming up fast on November 14th). 

According to the release, "We are seeking video entries that tell about the impact diabetes has on our lives through one of the five senses: sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell.  Diabetes affects our lives in ways we may not always realize. We smell insulin, savor glucose tablets, feel the poke of our lancing devices, react to our doctor’s words and see the life ahead of us."

They're looking for video submissions, and there are some really cool prizes on tap for winners.  Not to mention the emotional boost that creativity like this can provide - which, in my mind, is huge in helping us deal with diabetes.  For details on how, and what, and when, to submit, check out this entry on TuDiabetes.

I'm working hard to unpack and find my Flip camera so I can do a submission, but in lieu of my own video, here's a post from back in 2005 that touches upon this theme.  In re-reading it, now over four years later, it makes me happy, in that bittersweet sense, to see how many of these goals I've accomplished, even with diabetes:

 What does a diabetes cure taste, smell, look, feel, and sound like to you?

The Five Senses.

I want a cure tonight.

I want it so badly I can taste it tonight. It tastes like black raspberry ice cream from St. Claire’s Annex in Watch Hill, all creamy and cold. It tastes slightly salty, like my skin after a day at the beach. It doesn’t taste at all like airplane glue or sweaters on my teeth after a few hours of a high bloodsugar. It doesn’t taste bitter, like the chocolate flavor on the back of my tongue after sneaking Halloween candy as a child.

I want it so badly I can feel it tonight. It feels like his strong hands on my shoulders, easing out the stress of the day. It feels free and almost scary, like standing on the top deck of the Block Island Ferry and leaning over just that little bit as the boat cruises towards shore. It doesn’t ache, like my stomach as I drive to Joslin or the eye doctor. It doesn’t burn, like my conscience often does when I think of the unfocused, foolish choices I’ve made regarding my health.

I want it so badly I can hear it tonight. It sounds like Siah sleeping on my pillow at night, gently purring in my ear. It sounds like that first cry my nephew wailed, piercing the night with his brand new voice. It doesn’t sound like the beep beep beep of Charlene as she counts up the correction tally. It sounds nothing like my voice shaking as I admit to the precursors of complications to my doctor.

I want it so badly I can smell it tonight. It smells like Ivory soap. It smells like a dozen unexpected roses brightening a dreary office. The scent isn’t even reminiscent of that dentist smell emitting from a broken bottle of insulin. It smells nothing like fear.

I want a cure so badly I can almost see it tonight.
It looks like my healthy body.
It looks like my healed fingertips.
It looks like my smile.
It looks like my pump, tucked inside an old jewelry box for the rest of my life.
It looks like my wedding.
It looks like my child.

It looks like my future.

October 05, 2009


The move was epic, with my mother and her husband (bless their hearts) helping us wrangle in our mess of an apartment in Norwalk and cram a UHaul full of our earthy belongings.  My husband drove the truck up 95 north at the breakneck speed of 48 miles per hour (thank you, UHaul, for giving us a truck without the ability to accelerate or maintain normal speeds), and I served as chauffeur for three yowling cats, all lined up in the back of my Honda.

Exhibit A, for "Annoying, Yowling Beasts:"

Three cats is three too many.

We drove for hours.  And then unpacked.  For hours.  With the help of my mom, her husband, two of Chris's friends, and his dad.  Without the help of Siah, who decided last minute to pee in the cat carrier and then roll around in it, forcing me to spend the first fifteen minutes in our new place with her immersed in the bathtub.  (I SO WISH I had a photo of Siah post-bath, because she looked like a moody, gray Stuart Little.  But alas, I couldn't find the camera.)

Moving makes me low.  My two day blood sugar average has plummeted to 80 mg/dl (thanks to many, many 50's that cropped up while we were schlepping boxes), and I've eaten my fair share of these:

Yummy, but not by the dozen.

Our furniture has been delivered, we've unpacked at least our sweatshirt and shoes (still looking for the rest of our clothes, so we're dressed at bit oddly at the moment), and the cable guy came and hooked us back up to the Internet.  (YAY!)  Oh, and I found this pen, which I thought had been lost forever ago, but has since resurfaced in a box marked "SWEATERS:"

This is not a sweater.

I love our new place, we are settling in quickly, I'm exhausted, and I'm excited to move forward and see what's next. 

Oh, and Shoes?  I don't miss you one.  freaking.  bit.

October 02, 2009

The Friday Six: dLife.

The Friday Six:  Last day at dLife editionI will catch up on all the other stuff I have floating around in my blogger brain next week, after we move and have unpacked our alarm clocks and can find at least one of the three cats.  But today is my last day at dLife, so The Friday Six is in honor of this work place I'm leaving.

1.  I will miss having a six minute commute.  With the traffic on 95 (in any direction) being a nightmare, I've been spoiled for the last three and a half years with a six minute, door-to-door commute.  And I will sort of miss the weird things I've seen on that short ride

2.  I will miss the diner downstairs, complete with sassy, ball-busting waitress, delicious iced coffees that cooled me off for three summers, and piping hot coffees worth trekking through the snowdrifts outside the Westport train station for.

3.  I will miss the Chili Cook-Off, the JDRF Walk team, the Halloween contest, the Jim Turner visits, the Ceiling Cat, and the visiting baby chicks.

4.  I will miss working for a place where testing my blood sugar during a meeting never caused anyone to raise an eyebrow, because they all know what's what.

5.  I will miss my little cube, with my Larry Bird bobble-head, my shiny iMac (oh how I will miss the iMac), and having my fellow editors just a mutter away.

6.  Which brings me to what I'll miss most.  I will miss my editorial team.  I work with some wonderful people here at dLife, but the dLife editorial team is comprised of the kind of people you can only hope to meet in your lifetime.  I will miss their laughter, their tolerance for my bad jokes, their creativity, and all of their tireless support.  They've been with me since I came in here as "Kerri Morrone," and am now leaving as "Kerri Sparling."  But I will not miss their friendship, because I'm taking that with me.  :)  They are the absolute best team ever, and will never be duplicated. 

dLife, you've been a good home for three and a half years.  And I bid it a very fond farewell. 

Hey!!! Rest Of My Life?  I'm coming!!!!

October 01, 2009

No D-Day.

(Read George's post on The Bad Blog to see what the deal is, but I'm not talking about it today.  Nope.  Don't want to.  Taking the day off.)

No D Day.  Not today.

In the theme of not writing about mumble mumble today, I was talking with my coworker about what I'd like to write about instead of mumble mumble.  Like what did I used to write when I was younger, and before the last four years had become focused on a certain health-related theme?

I wrote my first poem when I was a dust bunny of a kid, barely able to reach the kitchen counter.  It was about my cat.  And it was not profound:

My cat is big and fat.
Can you imagine that?
It likes to purr
And lick its fur.
I wonder why it does that?

Epic.  And sad, because here I am, 20-something years later, still writing about furry animals.  (But that's a digression I can't, in pursuit of avoiding the "lady with the cats" stereotype for five minutes, make.)  But honestly, my first love was poetry.  I used to fill notebooks with sonnets and I wrote couplets on napkins.  I wrote about my middle school political leanings (I know.  It was a little weird.)  I wrote about the environment.  I wrote about falling in love with that boy who say behind me in 5th grade and stole my pencil box.  I actually used a feather pen at one point because I thought that's what "real writers" used.  And I wanted so badly to be a real writer.

Poetry gave way to fiction (Now I'm really letting my inner-nerd out:  Did anyone else read those DragonLance novels and wish they had a Tanis Half-Elven to tuck them in at night?  No?  Just me?), and the fiction I wrote in high school hit a serious range, too.  I did the "young adult romance" stuff, but it was really just me writing about what I wish my high school boyfriend would have said to me.  And I did the "fantasy fiction" stuff based on my aforementioned obsession with Mr. Half-Elven. 

But despite all this angsty, elvish, tree-hugging writing, I always ended up defaulting to humor writing.  My mom always liked Erma Bombeck and she would buy me the anthologies.  I thought Erma was pretty entertaining.  And then I found Dave Barry (I know - you might be rolling your eyes but he had a "back up dog" named Zippy, which made me laugh every time), and then I found Bill Bryson, who had a subtler sense of humor but is exceedingly clever and makes me want to smith up some words.

And then:  David Sedaris.

I think I'd like to be a humorist. I like to make people laugh, and I like allowing my pen to write the thoughts that are really colliding around in my head.  And writing about mumble mumble can be distressing at times, so letting myself laugh at it all, and at just about everything else, helps me live a more balanced existance.  Besides, some stuff is just too funny to not laugh at.

I would just like to laugh for a while. 

And that's what I'm thinking about on this day of not talking about mumble mumble, my second-to-last-day at work, and two days before I embark on a whole new mess of adventures in my life. 

(For more d-bloggers who aren't d-blogging today, follow the #nodday hashtag on Twitter!) 

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