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January 29, 2010

Looking Back: The Beginning.

I am SO itching to write my updates from Sundance, including posting photos and really describing how unreal this has been for my husband, but Internet access is pretty crap here, and I've had a lot of trouble keeping up with the online world.  Monday, I'm all over it. :)

What did dawn on me is how much has changed in the last 4 1/2 years, since I started this blog.  Back then, I had a different last name, lived in my own little apartment in South County, RI, and worked at a job that made my skin crawl.  I didn't know another soul who had diabetes, nevermind having access to hundreds of other people with diabetes who really "get it," you know? 

It's strange, chronicling life with diabetes and seeing how much has changed in the last few years. So much has happened, from moving to Connecticut and then planning a wedding and then marrying Chris, and then all the stuff with our respective careers and now little Ms. BSparl?  Some really tough times, some really triumphant times, and all the gray (like Siah) parts in between, many shared with you guys. 

And it started with one crappy little post back in May 2005, when I was just learning what the hell a blog ("blaaaaaaaaahgh") was, and how it could help me heal, emotionally, in the ways I didn't realize I was a little broken.

*   *   *

My name is Kerri.

I could go through the hassle of establishing a non de plume, but I wasn't thinking when I set this up and I signed in with my real name. Note to Potential Stalkers: Please don't.

The purpose of this is to make contact with other diabetics. It's one of those diseases (or maybe they're all this way, I'm not sure) where even if you have the mechanics of it completely mastered, the psychological battle is just as daunting. Every time I test my bloodsugar, the result stirs me up emotionally. If I'm high, I feel guilty. Or surprised. Or angry. If I'm low, I feel anxious. And slightly panicky. Or confused. A normal reading level might make me feel cocky. Or successful. But they all make me feel something. And it's not just physiological. There is so much involved in the daily maintenance of diabetes that a support network isn't just nice, it's necessary.

Reach out. Ask questions. Answer the litany I'm sure to ask. Network network network. And when that doesn't work, just repeat repeat repeat.

*   *   *

Funny how everything has changed, but absolutely nothing's changed.  (Thanks for the line, Eddie Vedder.) How long have you been blogging, and what made you decide to take the leap into the online unknown?

January 28, 2010

SEO Bloggy Bits.

More SEO for bloggy bits.I love, love, love the search terms that bring people to my blog. As I've mentioned before, most of the terms are related to diabetes, but there are some real ringers that come through ... and those are the ones I want to share today. 

first man to describe type one diabetes - I thought, at first, that this said "first man to walk on the moon with diabetes."  It doesn't actually say that.  It doesn't say anything close to that.  The end.

sexy infusion set placement - What's sexier than an insulin pump infusion set?  Not much, actually.  No matter where you stick it, it's proof that you're aiming for good control.  Rawr.

is martini good for diabetics - Yes.  So is proper verb/noun agreement.  Next question?

baked and fried diabetes brains - I can't even respond to this. 

nothing says lovin' like a bun in the oven - And nothin' says lovin' like leavin' off the apostrophe.  '

no one understands how much I love Yanni - I do, dear friend.  Testing 1 ... 2 ... Yanni?

should I marry a man with type 1 diabetes - Yes.  It would be sweet.  (PUNS!  Love them.)

up to my ears in cats - Don't I know it, sister.

... I'm sorry.  I can't get past the baked and fried diabetes brains ones.  I'm going to have to talk to Google and find out what the hell sent that search term here. In the meantime, what's the weirdest search term to lead to your blog?

January 27, 2010

DiabetesSisters Weekend.

I wanted to do my part to help get the word out about the DiabetesSisters weekend that's taking place this coming May 22nd and 23rd in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Here are the details:

DiabetesSisters Weekend for Women

The First Annual Weekend for Women Conference hosted by DiabetesSisters and TCOYD will begin at 5pm on Saturday, May 22nd (immediately following the TCOYD Conference) in Raleigh, North Carolina and end at 6pm on Sunday, May 23rd. The Weekend for Women Conference will take place at Marriott City Center in downtwn Raleigh, North Carolina.

I love diabetes conferences, and in particular, ones that recognize the different needs of different segments of the diabetes populations.  Women with diabetes come head-to-head with some very unique diabetes-related issues, from periods to pregnancy to emotional hurdles, and having a weekend just for "us" sounds awesome.

I wish this was an event I was able to attend, but I'll hopefully be spending the first few weeks of May adjusting to life with my daughter (!).  If you are going to be in the NC area for that weekend, check out the DiabetesSisters Weekend for Women Conference! 

January 26, 2010

BSparl: How on Earth Did THAT A1C Happen?

I've had a lot of trouble controlling my late second trimester blood sugars, as I've written about all over the place in the last few weeks.  But it's true!  While the first trimester was crammed with low blood sugars, this second bit has been plagued with 200's ... and some of them fasting.  (I hate the idea of waking up high.  Makes me feel like the day gets off to a miserable start.)

Baby girl Sparling, 25 weeks along

I have been working very, very hard to keep track of these numbers and doing what I can to keep any highs from hanging out more than an hour.  But still, there were highs.  And not as many lows.  

So how on Earth did my A1C go down again this month?  I'm confused!  

Last week, I called Joslin to get the results of my most recent bloodwork, and when the receptionist answered, I was braced for the worst.

"Hey, this is Kerri Sparling.  I was calling to see if my A1C result was back yet."

"Let me check," the receptionist B said.  

I couldn't keep my mouth shut because I was just certain that it had gone up.  "I'm pretty sure it's going to suck a little bit."

B laughed at me.  "What?  Well let's just see then."  I heard her clicking on things and shuffling papers.  "Okay, Kerri.  Well it hasn't gone up.  You're at 6.0%."

"What?  I don't mean to sound like a jerk, but are you seriously looking at my chart?  I've had some really rotten blood sugars this past month.  But it's lower now?  How the heck did that happen?"

"I don't know.  Maybe you're getting those highs down faster than you think."

"I'm shocked.  But I'll take it.  Whatever's best for the baby girl, right?"

We hung up the phone, but I didn't feel particularly proud.  Believe me, I'm not complaining at all about an A1C of 6.0%.  Not even close to complaining.  But I know that I've been doubting the accuracy of the A1C for a while now (wrote about it a few months ago, when I was up in the 7's and distressed about those results) and now, after getting the lowest result in my entire history with diabetes, I'm not sure how I got there.  A few weeks ago, I understood why my A1C was lower because my overall blood sugars were lower.  I wasn't over 180 mg/dl for weeks on end.  Now?  I've seen a pile of highs, yet my A1C is at the tail end of six.  I'm happy with the number itself, but not sure it's completely accurate.

It's weird, what being pregnant has done to my mentality.  Before BSparl was thrashing away in there, I wanted an A1C of 6.0% so badly that I was willing to do anything for it.  Now?  I'm sitting pretty with an A1C of 6.0% and wishing that it was definitively the result of steadier numbers.  I want what's best for this kid, and I'm hoping that this number is indicative of a safe little environment for my daughter to flourish.

Because God only knows how I'll manage to screw her up once she's on the outside.  ;)

January 25, 2010

What's Sexier Than Compression Stockings?

Thanks to the happy combination of Factor V Leiden and being pregnant, I'm rocking a higher chance than average for a blood clot while traveling.  Back in October, when I was just a few months along, a lot of my travel was on the Acela, cruising back and forth between Boston and Philly, in addition to some flights.  So I needed to take these clotting risks into account.

"You're telling me I should pick up some compression stockings, then?"  I asked my obstetrician, after we had discussed my upcoming travel plans.

Compression stockings are cool ... right?  :p

"Yes ma'am.  And wear them.  Not just for traveling, but as often as you can."

"Will do.  So I'll be potbellied and wearing compression stockings.  Hot!"

My feeble attempts at joking aside, these stockings are important.  Even though I'm working hard to get to the gym several times a week, I'm more definitively working hard on making money, so there's a bit too much time spent at the computer these days.  Heeding the advice of my doctors, I'm careful to keep my legs elevated as much as possible, and I'm sure to pop up and walk around every hour or so, in addition to staying hydrated.  (Note:  Staying hydrated makes getting up every hour easier, especially when BSparl is gnawing on my bladder.)  

And I'm also sporting these socks, purchased for $4.99 at my local CVS.  (Another note:  CVS takes too much of my money on a regular basis, from their clever selection of lip glosses - love me some Bonnie Bell - to their strategic arrangement of Hallmark greeting cards to their convenient pharmacy that's open 24 hours.  I have an intense love/hate relationship with CVS, as evidenced by their constant contact with my debit card.)  The socks aren't uncomfortable, they appear to be working well (no varicose veins yet), and they are black, so thankfully they go with my go-to flats of choice these days.  I'm safe, BSparl is safe, and CVS is safe because they will continue to get my money.

So what's sexier than compression stockings?

Nothing.

Because without these blasted old lady leg warmers, I'd be risking a blood clot and varicose veins, thank you very much.

January 22, 2010

Looking Back: Rage Bolus, Anyone?

Today, we're traveling to Utah for the Sundance Film Festival.  And yes, I will be photographing and videoing the hell out of the festival, because I am so excited to see how this week plays out for my husband.  But in the meantime, as I board the plane and head off to Park City, I'm looking back to this post from October 2005, where the term "rage bolus" first appeared on SUM

(It made me laugh to read this post, because this was pre-dLife, pre-Chris and I getting married, and pre-so much stuff that's in play right now that I almost forgot that I hated my job back when I lived in RI.  And how much I still want to know how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll pop.)

*   *   *

October 10, 2005:  Bit of a rantish post here. And there's no reason for this other than to vent frustration.

Last night, after I came home from the U2 show in Boston (more on that later), I was a little bit high. Rang in at 212 mg/dl. Okay, no problem. Bolus it up, go to bed. Woke up this morning at 200 mg/dl. Hmmm, no drop in the blood sugar levels. Not to worry, though, because it's a Free Shower - no infusion set - Day due to the fact that it's time to change the infusion set. Primed and inserted a new set with good ol' Charlene. She purred (beeped?) happily and I set about dressing for work.

RAGE BOLUS!!

Arrived at work. Hungry. Devoured one of those sometimes-delicious-but-most-often-just-gritty Kashi Whole Grain Granola bars. Bolused two units to cover, in accordance with the 1:10 ratio. Worked at my boring job for about an hour before realizing that I had already visited the bathroom twice in that time. Hmmm. Not normal. Tested, revealing 281 mg/dl. Whaaaa... I corrected this morning. I bolused for the crappy snack. And now I'm higher than before? Frustrated Kerri. So I Rage Bolus*. I just crank the shit out the pump, knowing full well that I only need about two units to come back down. I lace in 3.5 units. Sit back, satisfied.

Not done yet. I test again, an hour and half later, clocking in at 286 mg/dl. Fan-freaking-tastic. Good thing all that insulin made me higher. Because that makes f-ing sense. So I Rage Bolus again, sending 2 more units coursing through, Frustrated Kerri not really giving a shit that the "active insulin" tally on my pump is enough to cover dinner at Olive Garden.

So it's noon. I've been high all morning. I just changed my infusion set this morning. And I'm angry. I do not want to pull this set only to find that it's perfectly fine and I've wasted yet another expensive pump supply.

I'm riding this out. It's Me against the D. Who will persevere? How high will Kerri allow herself to rise before she pulls the set and starts over? How much Rage Bolusing will eventually catch up with Herself before Kerri bottoms out at 44 mg/dl? How many licks does it indeed take to reach the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop? If you say three, you and that f-ing owl can go screw. It at least takes 125. I'm going to find out as soon as my Rage Bolusing catches up with me and I'm Trick or Treating at people's desks here at work.

*Rage Bolusing: Taking an uncalculated amount of insulin to correct a frustrating high bloodsugar reading. Also see: Panic Eating.

January 21, 2010

Buried in Clips.

I'm shamelessly plugging Chris's movie, Buried, as we prepare to head out to Sundance tomorrow afternoon.  In case you missed it yesterday, here are the latest clips, borrowed from the MTV website (which explains why there are preroll adds in there - forgive in advance.):

I'm excited and proud, I'll admit it! Thanks for your continued support with this movie, and we're hopeful it will generate some serious buzz at Sundance.

January 20, 2010

:: Headdesk ::

No way can I create a cohesive blog post this morning.  Welcome to the alphabet soup mashup that is my brain:

  • Last night's Entertainment Tonight fiasco has left the Sparlings scratching their heads.  The clip aired in some places, not in others.  (We didn't see it at our house, but my brother and several of my friends in Connecticut did see the short clip.)  Apparently, Buried was bumped due to Golden Globes coverage and the clip will be airing tonight (so we're told) on Extra and on MTV.com, but I'm not saying anything until we have confirmation from A.C Slater himself.
  • (I have tried hitting the locker with my fist to make it open, and have never succeeded.  How on earth did he do that?)
  • The D365 Project is forcing me to take photos of diabetes-related items in my life, and I'm fast realizing, again, that this isn't a struggle.  Weird mindset.
  • We leave for Sundance on Friday afternoon and I'm still not sure I have enough clothes that fit to get me through the 10 days we're there.  I hope all those fancy celebrity types are ready for my potbelly and seeing the same Target maternity shirt more than once that week.
  • "What are you doing on Saturday night?"  "Oh, we're going to see the premiere of my husband's film at Sundance."  This conversation actually happened.  And I actually laughed my ass off because my life is starting to look weirder and weirder every day.
  • As exemplified by the woman at the bookstore bathroom the other day who, while I was washing my hands at the sink, said to her five year old son, "See that lady?  She's pregnant.  And why is she pregnant?  Because a man had sex with her."  The exchange that followed was a bit curt. ("Excuse me? A man? My husband. I believe that's an important distinction to make, lady," with me drying my hands angrily on the automatic hand dryer, which is hard to do because you can't rip the paper out angrily and toss it into the trash can with conviction because there is no paper and nothing to throw out so instead I just blew hot air at her, at my hands, and stormed out of the bathroom.  Holy.  Digression.)
  • BSparl either really likes or really dislikes the movies, because when we went to see The Book of Eli last night, she was wailing away in there whenever things got too loud in the theater.  Little Miss Ebert in there, all opinionated.  Or maybe she was just bored.
  • This video makes my husband laugh.  And when he laughs, I can't help but laugh.  So we've watched it about three dozen times and now I want to go practice writing my name.  Some cookies would also be nice.
  • While I was working in our home office yesterday, I could hear the cat snoring.  From like two rooms away.  I think she needs to exercise more.
  • I'm not drinking coffee, yet my body is so amped up I feel like I'm mainlining espresso.  (Or, as Rhode Islanders say it, "ex-presso."  I love the RI accent.  Love, love, love.)
  • Wait, I have deadlines today?  I have actual work things that are due?  

:: headdesk ::

January 19, 2010

Update!

We don't know what the heck happened, but Buried coverage was bumped from the show for some reason (so was the bit about Kirsten Dunst - wtf, Entertainment Tonight?).  It looks like Monday's show aired tonight, instead of the Buried one.  (Check out this website to see what I mean.)  Rumor has it that the clip is supposed to be aired on MTV and other news outlets, but that remains to be seen tomorrow night.  For now, sit tight - clips ARE hopefully coming soon!

But never fear!  There's still the premiere at Sundance this weekend!  (Phew!)

Registering for Stuff We Don't Yet Understand.

Snoopy's Breast Pump/Sno-Cone Machine?We prepared like it was war.

"Okay, so we have a print out of what we need the most, right?"

"Right."

"And we'll just go in and like jump right in?  Just grab that gun and beep stuff?"

"We're all over this."

And with that, Team Sparling stormed "Babies R Us" and tried to make sense of the chaos.

(Sidenote:  My best friend's water actually broke at Babies R Us.  Just goes to show you how much cute overload goes in that store.  Basically makes people give birth on the spot.  /sidenote)

We started with the big items, like car seats and pack-and-plays and a stroller, because those were items we knew that babies used.  (And we knew what these things were - double win.)  This very nice, old woman, Evelyn, helped set us up with our registry and gave us a "handy checklist" of items we'd want to add to the list.  And then she gave us the beeper gun thing, which we used to scan items and add them electronically to the list.  

"This thing.  I love.  Like from when we did the wedding registry," I said, trying to find some kind of familiarity with the words on the car seat boxes (like "key fit" and "bubble level indicators" and "OMG you're having a baby and you're going to put it in your CAR?"). 

"Yeah, but with that stuff, we knew what it was.  I don't know what half this stuff is."  Chris had the scanner gun in his hand and was brandishing it like an actual rifle.  

"Me, neither," I admitted.  

Aisle after aisle of intensely cute items that looked like bomb parts to me.  What is a boppy, and why do I need one?  How exactly is that little sock going to stay on her teeny foot?  How many bottles are we supposed to have?  Or burp cloths?  (Burp cloths threw me for a loop, because the burps I am most familiar with do not require wiping up afterwards.) Or little no-scratch mittens to protect her little face? 

After about an hour, we both needed a snack.  (My blood sugars were holding on the low side, thanks to walking around the store endlessly, and I think Chris's were too.  We snacked on protein bars and nuts, leaving a trail of crumbs as we meandered aimlessly.)

After two hours, we were losing our minds a little bit.  And then we ventured into the section with all the bottles.

"What.  On.  Earth.  Is.  That?"  I pointed to the machine that looked like a hybrid of Snoopy's Sno-Cone Machine and two megaphones.

"That's the breast pump.  Right?  That's the pump?"

"I do believe it is.  And we're going to have one.  In our house.  Another pump.  I love pumps.  Don't you?"  At this point, my mind cracked right open and started to pour out in a panic on the floor.  I went, in a hurry, over to where the shelves of baby powder were and started beeping the bottles.

"I know what to do with baby powder.  This is safe.  Let's get some of this."

Chris and I are bright people.  We both went to college, we are reasonably educated, and we can string a sentence or two together without sounding like we need a break.  But something about this baby has us completely tongue-tied.   After doing our best registering, we went to a nearby restaurant to grab lunch.

And we sat there for about fifteen minutes, not talking.  Just sort of glazed over. 

"She's going to live in our house.  We get to keep her.  Like, forever."  I said outloud.

He nodded and grinned.  "She's our friend.  Permanently."

We both stirred our drinks with the straws.  

"Holy crap, this is really happening."  BSparl gave me a quick kick in the bladder to make her presence known, and I rubbed my hand along the side of my belly.

"We love you, kiddo.  A lot.  Just forgive us in advance for having no clue what we're doing, okay?"

*kick*

January 17, 2010

BSparl Fights Back.

Last Friday, Chris and I were back up at the hospital for another round of doctor's appointments to spy on Ms. BSparl.  (This might be another long post, because I'm trying to include everything we're doing for this pregnancy, just in case someone else is looking for this info.  So thanks for bearing with me!)

Fetal Echocardiogram No. 2:  We started with a follow-up echocardiogram appointment at Children's Hospital in Boston, because last time we tried to see the structures of our little girl's heart, she was hiding out too low in her little uterine apartment to be properly found. This time, a full month later, she's over a pound and a half, and the size of an eggplant.  So hiding is a little harder.

The babies of type 1 diabetics aren't prone to every kind of complication, but are instead screened for everything under the sun, just to make sure.  The ultrasound technicians were looking for problems with BSparl's heart - ranging from a floppy valve to flow problems between the atria and ventricles, checking out the umbilical cord blood flow, too.  

"She not much of a cooperator, is she?"  the technician asked, pressing the ultrasound wand firmly against the left side of my uterus. 

"I guess not.  Bit of a shy one." 

(I love this kid already!! /sidenote)

"Well she can run, but she can't hide.  We're going to get these pictures today, whether she likes it or not."

The technician visually isolated BSparl's beating heart, looking at every chamber and pulse to make sure she was in one piece.  But as the technician worked to get the ultrasound images she needed, she was pressing pretty damn hard against me ... and against BSparl.

"Almost done.  Just one more image to capture.  You doing okay, Kerri?"

"No problem.  But I think our friend here is ... ooof!  Um, she's not very happy with you."

And when I looked down, I could see the baby kicking and fussing on my right side as the technician pressed the wand against my left.  Big kicks, clearly visible to Chris, who was sitting in a chair on my left.  BSparl was pissed - she didn't enjoy being bothered while she was trying to sleep during the day, apparently.

'Fiesty one, eh?"

I felt a little proud.

"Yes, she is."

(I guess if you poke at my kid, she fights back.  I like that.) 

The fetal echocardiogram came back without any red flags, so thankfully her little heart seems to be okay in there. 

Some orange flowers.  Not diabetes-related, but I thought they'd break up this long, boring post a bit.

OB/GYN: 
After that appointment, we had a quick visit with my OB/GYN who took some measurements of BSparl to see how big she's getting in there.

"Looks like she's about one pound, 12 oz.  She's right on track, so nothing to worry about with her size at this point."

I was relieved.  "I'm glad you're saying that, because I've had some really tough blood sugars these past 2 1/2 weeks.  I was afraid she was beefing up in there."

"No, she's in the 61st percentile, and we aren't going to worry about anything until she's in the 75th.  We're going to watch you to make sure she doesn't get too, too big in there, but at this point, she's doing just fine.  And so are you."

She printed some ultrasound photos for us (which will go into the baby scrapbook I've started but definitely need to catch up on) and then I met with my endocrinologist about my blood sugars.

Endocrinologist:  I am very, very thankful that I have a comfortable relationship with my endocrinologist, because the emotional toll of diabetes has really affected my ability enjoy being pregnant.  I've had some highs that wouldn't go away, and plenty of unexplained blood sugars that have made me feel so frustrated over the last few weeks.  I'm pretty sure my A1C will be up again this month (hopefully still under 6.5%) but I needed help fixing some of it.  And I also needed to be told that what's happening to me is normal.

"I'm high.  Like, crazy high, sometimes first thing in the morning.  And other times, I can't make my post-prandials come down under 160 mg/dl for at least two hours, no matter what I do.  Is this normal?  Is it normal for me to be experiencing such wild insulin increases at this point?  And is it normal for me to be sort of losing my mind at this part in the pregnancy, too?"

She assured me that this is the point in pregnancy when the placenta does, in fact, produce anti-insulin hormones, causing my numbers to elevates and my need for more insulin.  

"Anti-insulin hormones?  That's cruel.  Cruel irony."

She smiled as she worked to adjust my basal rates (now up to almost 20 full units of Humalog per day, in addition to bumping my insulin to carb ratio down to 1:8).  

"You're doing fine.  And you've been adjusting your own basals and going after these highs, so that's the right thing to do.  We just don't want you chasing.  I want to help prevent them in the first place."

I could have hugged her.

"Me, too.  I want to make sure she's safe in there.  I don't want to hurt her in any way, and the recent highs have me freaking out a lot."

"Don't freak out.  Just keep doing what you're doing.  Follow those numbers, stay as controlled as you can, and fax me any blood sugars that have you concerned.  I can review the changes you're making, or I can make changes for you from here.  Either way, we'll get her out just fine."

Building this baby is tough work, and these days, I feel like a full-time diabetic.  This baby, and by default, diabetes management, is my top priority and I am focused on keeping her as safe as I can.  But as my body changes and my insulin needs become less and less predictable, it's getting tougher to stay in good control.  And in solid spirits.

We're almost at the end of the second trimester.  Third trimester starts on February 8th, and after that, it's a fast track towards her arrival.  This is happening really fast.  We actually started registering for baby stuff this past weekend - holy crap.  Emotionally, I'm overwhelmed and excited and scared and trying to figure out how to just slow things down for even a day.

(More on that tomorrow, once I wrap my head around the whole concept.  For now, I need to go make some pancakes.)

January 15, 2010

Taking the Plunge.

My old school insulin carrying case.  In true blue!I'm from a very big family - my mother is one of seven and my dad is one of five, for starters - so I had plenty of relatives who used to babysit for me when I was small.  Overnight visits at my aunts' houses were part of the fun, and I always looked forward to them.  (Because - let's be honest - I liked that they let me put makeup on them and do their hair.  My pretty aunts were like living Barbie Doll heads to me.)

Things changed a bit when diabetes came into the picture.  Sleepovers weren't as easy to manage, because now we had to juggle insulin injections, blood sugar tests, and being on the lookout for high and low blood sugars - especially back in that first year when everything diabetes-related was so new to all of us. I was still a little kid, and now all this medical stuff, too?

When I was first diagnosed, I didn't do my own insulin injections.  At the outset, my parents did my injections for me, but after a few months, my extended family started to learn.  I think about it now, having baby-sat for my nieces and nephews and little cousins, and I can't even picture that learning curve.  I'm so grateful that my family came together to learn to deal with diabetes, instead of leaving my mom and dad as the only ones who were "in the know." 

One of my earliest memories with diabetes is of me waiting on my aunt's couch while my mother tried to explain to my aunt how to administer my insulin injection.  And every time I recall it, it makes me laugh.

"You need to uncap the syringe, check for any air bubbles one last time, and then pinch up where you're going to stick the needle.  Once the needle is in, you press down the plunger and pull the needle out.  No problem!"

My aunt was nervous.  "I pinch the skin and then put the needle in?  How fast do I put the needle in?"

"Pretty quickly," my mom responded.  "Don't think about it.  Just jab it in there, as gently as you can."

"Okay, so pinch, jab, plunge, remove.  Got it."

"Great, so are you ready to give it a try?"

(Mind you, the entire time they're debating this, I'm face-down on the couch with my pants pulled down, waiting for the insulin injection to be given into my seven year old butt cheek.  Another truly classy moment for me.)

My aunt came towards me, brandishing the syringe like a hot poker.  She uncapped it nervously, pinched up the top of my hip, and said (and I remember this clearly), "Ready, Kerri?"

"Yessh I amph."  I said into the couch cushion.

"Okay, here we go!"

She expertly stuck the syringe needle into my skin, and I barely felt the pinch.  And then she pulled the needle quickly out, letting out an "Oooh!  I did it!"

My mother sighed.

"You didn't push the plunger down."

"What?"

"The plunger.  To dispense the insulin?  You didn't push it down.  You just stuck her with a needle and then pulled it out again."  I could hear my mother trying not to laugh.

"Oh shit!" my aunt exclaimed.  

I laughed, despite the fact that they were about to advance on me again with that syringe.

"You shed de esh word."

January 14, 2010

Evicting the Hippo.

Yesterday's Diabetes 365 photo was this:

Blue hippo - BSparl is NOT a fan.

This little, blue, ceramic hippo came with a circus playset I received decades ago.  I can't even remember how long I've had it, but since college, this one creature has been living in the drawer in every bathroom of every apartment I've ever lived in.  It just refuses to be lost or misplaced, though its face is chipped and it's not the same vibrant blue it once was. 

Over the last few days, BSparl has been moving actively and visibly, poking her little legs and arms into my abdomen and dancing around in there.  Being the mature adult that I am, I wanted to see if she would respond to things being placed on my belly.  If Chris puts his hand on me, she reacts immediately.  (She loves her daddy best, I think.)  I rested a glass of ice water on my stomach for just a second the other day and she went after it like Siah after a pump cap.  And yesterday, a warm mug of tea made her jut her legs out aggressively.  (Someone on Twitter said this baby has beverage editorial going on.  I'm not shocked - she's my kid, so she's bound to have some strong opinions on stuff.)

Knowing BSparl is going a little stir-crazy in there, I wanted to give her a challenge.  So I placed the blue hippo on my belly and encourage her to go after it.  The first time (of course, not on video - blast!), she waited a few minutes quietly, then launched the damn thing right off my belly onto the bed.  Hippo got some serious air on that one, and I couldn't stop laughing.  So I set her up again, this time with the Flip at the ready.  Her attack isn't as solid as the first time, but you can see her moving in there.

Chris came home from a meeting and I was laying on the bed, shirt scooted up and belly swollen, with a blue hippo on my stomach and the video camera in my hand.  He put his computer bag on the floor.

"Um ... hey, Kerri."

(I can just imagine that split second, just as he's putting his key in the door, not quite knowing what to expect as he walks in.)

The last couple of days have been a diabetes and pregnancy nightmare, with very unpredictable numbers and an ever-increasing insulin resistance, but I'm very encouraged by your messages and am inspired every time BSparl moves to keep things under the best possible control.  And she's growing.  And moving. 

Diabetes be damned, pregnancy is amazing.

January 13, 2010

JDRF, Animas, and Dexcom Walk Into a Bar: Not a Diabetes Joke - An Artificial Pancreas.

Okay, so it's not a joke.  And it's not a bar.  But the JDRF, Animas, and DexCom have walked into a momumental agreement in efforts to create an artificial pancreas.

According to the press release, "The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation today announced an innovative partnership with Animas Corporation to develop an automated system to help people with type 1 diabetes better control their disease – the first step on the path to what would be among the most revolutionary advancements in treating type 1 diabetes: the development of an artificial pancreas, a fully automated system to dispense insulin to patients based on real-time changes in blood sugar levels."  

Alan Lewis, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of JDRF, is quoted in the release as saying, "JDRF will provide $8 million in funding over the next three years for this project, with a target of having a first-generation system ready for regulatory review within the next four or so years.” 

So what exactly would it mean to have an artificial pancreas?  More from the release:  “If successful, the development of this first-generation system would begin the process of automating how people with diabetes manage their blood sugar,” said Alan Lewis, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of JDRF.  'Ultimately, an artificial pancreas will deliver insulin as needed, minute-by-minute, throughout the day to maintain blood sugars within a target range.  But even this early system could bring dramatic changes in the quality of life for the 3 million people in the U.S. with type 1 diabetes, beginning to free kids and adults from testing, calculating and treating themselves throughout the day.'”  

Also, "DexCom, Inc., a leading manufacturer of CGM devices, will supply the CGM technology for the system to be developed by JDRF and Animas." 

I think this is a huge step forward for a new way of treating type 1 diabetes.  I've clocked over 204,360 hours with type 1 diabetes since my diagnosis over two decades ago, I've seen so many tremendous technological steps forward in treatment options for type 1.  Home glucose testing machines were "all the rage" when I was diagnosed, and there were only two or three insulin options for injection therapy.  Now, home meters are the norm, there are more insulin options and more insulin delivery options now than ever before, and continuous glucose monitors are part of my regular routine (versus before, if you had mentioned them to me as a kid, I would have thought you were from the moon). 

And now we're talking about an artificial pancreas?  A real one?  One that actually could be used in my lifetime, before I'm too old to care or too sick to benefit from it?  I believe this can happen, and I am so hopeful that these organizations and companies can make this a reality.

A cure is something I don't think much about.  It's something my heart has protectively hardened me against hoping for.  I know that reversing my body's inclination to attack its own islet cells could be a long time in coming.  What I do know is that I've been living with type 1 diabetes for almost my entire life, and I've battled hard to keep my body healthy and strong.  And now, I'm expecting a baby and have even more incentive to stay healthy for my child, so that I can be part of her life for a long, long time.  

If an artificial pancreas can help me minimize highs and lows in my blood sugars, that could help to protect my body from diabetes-related complications.  I could be safer.  My body could feel more "normal."  And my baby has a better chance of having me see her children born some day.

This press release has given me a reason to grin today.  And I'm excited to see how far these organizations can bring us all towards a better life with type 1 diabetes.

January 12, 2010

Some Calls for Diabetes Help.

Good morning!  I have a few requests from readers, looking for information from you guys.  First up is Wil from Life After DX.  He's writing another book and these are the detail about what he's searching for:

Diabetes author William "Lee" Dubois is at it again, writing a book to fill a niche that seems either un-addressed, or under-addressed. He's starting work on his next volume, this time a handbook written for "Type-3s," the non-diabetic loved ones of all of us who suffer from the various flavors of diabetes. Type-3s are commonly husbands and wives, but can be parents, siblings, other family and close friends. Both Type-1 and Type-2 diabetics often complain that our Type-3s just don't "get it" and don't "understand" us. This book seeks to address this, and Wil is asking for input.
 
Wil tells me, "People have been asking me for years to write something to help their loved ones better understand what it is to be diabetic, why we do what we do, what we need from our loved ones, and perhaps more importantly--what we don't need from them. I've got some pretty good ideas on what should be in this book, but I wanted to cast a bigger net. So what I'm hoping is that both people with diabetes and their loved ones will share with me their thoughts on the things that should be covered in this new book."

You guys can email Wil at riosdad@plateautel.net and send your feedback.  :)

Also, another SUM reader had sent me a question about finding a good diabetes doctor in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.  Here's her question: 

"I wanted to know if you had ANY recommendations for a good doctor in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area?  I live in Dallas but would be willing to commute a little ways if it meant someone who actually cares about my medical condition.  The doctor I go to know barely listens to what I have to say and I feel all alone in trying to manage my disease.  Any help or information you have in finding a good doctor would be much appreciated!!" 

If there is anyone reading who is from the Dallas area and can recommend a good doctor, please do in the comments section!

Thanks for all of your help, guys!!

January 11, 2010

Moody, Pregnant Mess.

(This is one of those posts I'll write, and then promptly wish I hadn't written, but then revisit in a few weeks and be thankful that I let these emotions out.  But for now, I want to hide in bed and stay there all day, even though I can't sleep because my guilt is keeping me awake.)

Pregnant Kerri worries about EVERYTHING.  Except these flowers.  They seem self-sufficient enough.

I am not sure what's causing what, but my emotions feel like they're in a tailspin today.  Over Friday and Saturday, I had blood sugars that seemed like they came straight from the store - shiny, flat, and steady, with the Dexcom showing me a straight line for over 24 hours (aside from one very small spike after pineapple and cottage cheese on Saturday morning) and with the meter confirming this anomaly every hour or so.  And BSparl was poking and kicking around in there, letting me know that she was alive and okay and having a good time floating in her safe, amniotic sea. 

And then, for absolutely no reason, I had two rotten lows in a three hour span.  Rotten as in sweaty, dizzy, Dexcom wailing at me, orange juice spilled on the kitchen floor due to downing it too quickly from the carton kind of lows.  Lows that left me needing a nap and feeling physically compromised. 

And I worried about her - this little friend I'm building.  

Of course, these lows were followed by highs.  Tricky highs - ones that made my mouth dry and my head hurt and my blood sugar average leap up by at least 20 points all on their own.  Highs that made me test, bolus, and then go into the bathroom and cry because I felt so guilty about what I was doing to myself and to this little kid.  (Granted, the crying part may have happened because of the hormone influx, but I can't tell what's causing what these days.)

I have these books that I bought after finding out about BSparl - volumes with titles like "What to Expect When You're Expecting" and "I'm Pregnant!" - and for weeks, I pored through them and read all about how the baby was growing from a little cluster of cells into a creature with arms and legs and a beating heart.  But these books all come with what I call the "scary chapters," about complications and all the crap that can go wrong during pregnancy.  I skimmed these chapters at the outset, felt completely overwhelmed and terrified, and decided to not read them anymore.  Then we had the scare with the bleeding back in September (where I was about 7 weeks along and there were no problems detected, but my heart remained in my throat for ... actually, not sure if it's come down at all yet), and I decided that I wanted to stick my head in the sand and pretend that nothing bad is even possible.  Every pregnant woman has a healthy, happy pregnancy, and that's it.  There are no other options.

I know that diabetics have healthy babies all the time.  And that in the grand scheme of things, it's not about each individual blood sugar, but the general gist of how my blood sugars are running.  But I've only read about other people's pregnancies.  I've never been pregnant before, and all of these feelings, both physically and emotionally, are so new to me.  Even though there are so many examples of families before me who have taken this journey and come out safely and happy on the other side, I've never done it before.  I don't know what I'm doing.  I'm scared a lot of the time because I don't want to hurt her.

This morning, after going to bed at a blood sugar of 119 mg/dl, I woke up around 5:45 am at 293 mg/dl.  I bolused, tested for ketones (none), drank a bottle of water to hydrate my sandpaper throat, and then climbed back into bed. 

(Mind you, this high was on the same basals that have had me waking up under 100 mg/dl for three days running.)  

And couldn't sleep.

My mind keeps freaking out, going back to the scary chapters.  And no amount of rationalization (it's just a few hours high, it's just one blood sugar, it's just one bad day, everyone has those bad days, the baby is okay, you're okay) could make my mind quiet. I just feel like a failure, frustrated to tears because no matter how much technology we have access to as modern-day diabetics, we still have diabetes.  And this obscene disease looks so quiet from the outside, but it rages on inside of me every day, even when I'm working so hard to pretend to be cured for my daughter.  

It's going to be better.  Now that I've finished this post, my number is back down to 131 mg/dl and falling slowly, and within the next 20 minutes or so, I'll be back in range.  And I'm hoping that I can stay on top of things today and keep her safe. 

Six months pregnant tomorrow.

I've never wanted anything more than this, in my entire life.  I might sound overly dramatic or obsessive or frantic, but I can't lie.  This baby girl is so important to me, and she may be the only child we have.  She's what I've been thinking about for years, and she just rolled inside of me right now, as if to say, "It's cool, mommy.  Stop freaking out.  Let's have pancakes!"  

I should make her some pancakes. 

(I feel better now.  Thank you for listening, you guys.)

January 08, 2010

BSparl: She's a Mobile Biscuit.

We're just over 23 1/2 weeks with Ms. BSparl, and she's an active little biscuit in there.  I know I mentioned it in my vlog earlier this week, but this baby is scooting around all over the place inside of me.  Last night, for the first time, Chris and I could actually SEE her kicking from the outside.  Feeling her kick is one thing, but seeing it?  Completely amazing.  When she shuttles and rolls from one side of my uterus to the other, I can see her moving.  My belly swells more on one side, and then I can feel and see the 'bulge' move over to the other side.  (I'm trying to get a video of her doing this, but usually when it happens, I'm too taken by surprised to grab the Flip!)

Baby Girl Sparling, 23 weeks along

On the diabetes front, my insulin resistance is climbing.  Daily.  Like a cat in a tree, howling from the top branch and refusing to come down.  (I need the fire department - stat!)  My basals, once at a conservative 12.4u today per day, are at an even 20u per day and I'm sure they'll need to be upped again sometime next week.  I feel like I'm chasing my tail right now with these blood sugars, but so long as I can continue to effectively stalk them, I'm confident that I'm not boiling BSparl.  This morning, after three days of waking up at 140, 155, and 203 (gah), respectively, my fasting number was 79 mg/dl and the Dexcom reflected a steady overnight, too. I'll take that, and hope it happens again tomorrow. 

But if it doesn't?  CRANK it up again!

A big hurdle I'm encountering is the exercise bit.  Honestly, I haven't had a good workout since before we went to Spain (and returned with Ms. BSparl).  In the first trimester, I was usually too exhausted to get to the gym (went three times a week instead of the five I was getting in before), and then we moved out of our apartment in Connecticut, so that whole transition sucked out my desire to work out almost entirely. 

Now, well into the second trimester, I'm trying to get to the gym but it's just so boring.  My exercise options feel so limited, and I'm not used to the whole "get on the treadmill, walk steadily for 35 minutes, END" routine.  No ab workouts, or I could smoosh BSparl.  No jumping rope, or all these new sticky-outtie parts of my body might leap off of me and my pelvic floor could be weaked.  (Kidding on the body parts leaping off but true on the pelvic floor concerns. I also can't imagine jumping rope being almost 6 months pregnant, nevermind the fact that the kid won't like it.)  And no strenuous weight lifting, thanks to compromised diabetic eyes. Those little five pound weights I have are borderline questionable, considering my retinopathy progression.  Booooooo.

So the treadmill it is, for long and awkward ambling.  (For now.)  And even though it's a whole lot of boring (I've watched that "build a six foot gingerbread house in 8 hours" challenge on the food network like seven times now), it is getting harder and harder to keep moving.  With BSparl expanding every week, my organs are getting a little smushed in there.  An expanding uterus puts pressure on my bladder, my diaphragm, and every other organ I have in there, leaving me short of breath a lot of the time and generally feeling like I'm going to tip over a little bit.  I guess these walking workouts are still exercise, even though they aren't even close to what I was doing before BSparl's creation.  

Every week is different, but I'm definitely not complaining.  Pretty damn grateful, actually.  I'm so happy to look in the mirror and see that my waistline has all but disappeared and has been replaced by this bump o' BSparl.  She's in there, she's doing well, and in just about four months, she'll be here.  

January 07, 2010

Zip the Cure: An Interview with Monica.

Zip the CureI'm not the first to mention Zip the Cure (nor do I have the cleverest title - that definitely goes to Saraaaaaaaaaa[no h]).  But like my fellow d-bloggers, I was contact by15 year old Monica Oxenreiter about her type 1 diabetes fundraising project, Zip the Cure

it's almost too simple!

"Zip the Cure has just one uncomplicated goal; raise $100 in every zip code for research to find a cure for juvenile diabetes."  One hundred dollars is a good amount of money, but it's not a bank breaker, especially if you get a few $10 donations from friends, coworkers, family members, cats ... you get the picture.  Doesn't take much to reach this goal per zip code.

I talked with Monica by email about her project, and wanted to give her an opportunity to raise her voice about Zip the Cure.  Take it away, Monica!

Kerri:  What's your connection to diabetes? 

Monica: I was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes on July 14, 1994, when I was thirteen months old. My older brother, John, was diagnosed three years later, on March 7, 1998, when he was eight. That means we have had diabetes for a combined total of twenty five years! We were immediately involved with the JDRF Walkathon, and were youth ambassadors. In addition, we were part of the Promise to Remember Me campaign.

Kerri:  What was the spark behind Zip the Cure, and how did you get started?

Monica:  My brother and I were both Pennsylvania delegates to the Children's Congress in 2005. While we were there, we met many people our age, from across the  country, who were dedicated to finding a cure. We wantedMonica of Zip the Cure to find a similar way to involve people from every state in the search for the cure. Zip the Cure is a national program that provides a fundraising opportunity accessible anywhere in the United States, on a local level. This is a way for everyone to contribute at their own level toward a much larger goal. Diabetes affects people in every zip code across the country; this is a way for people to work together to try to make a difference. We received approval from JDRF as a third-party fundraiser; we then obtained a 501(c) nonprofit status from the IRS and, with the help of John Coryat, developed an interactive map which went live on November 14, 2009. Since then we have sold 91 zip codes in 23 states.

Kerri:   How can other people get involved with Zip the Cure?

Monica: You can visit our website! The best way to get involved is to help spread the word or donate.  As with any grassroots effort, a donation of any amount is combined with many others to make an impact. People can collaborate with their communities to sponsor a zip code if $100 is too much for one individual. We are trying to work together to raise funds for a cure for diabetes.  Individually, the goal we have set may seem overwhelming, but with our efforts combined, it is within our reach.
 
Kerri:  What's your goal with this effort, and what can we, as a diabetes community, do to help?


Moinca: The goal is to raise $4.2 million for type-1 diabetes research, to find a cure. We would really appreciate it if you could sponsor your zip code or help us spread the word to others about our project. It does not matter where you are, because there are zip codes everywhere in the United States. Please visit our website, Zip the Cure, join our Facebook group, or email me if you want more information at monica@zipthecure.com.

Kerri:  Thanks, Monica, for sharing your story, and I'm hoping that you reach your goal!

January 06, 2010

If They Only Had a Brain. Or a Heart.

Quick post to the PR professionals in the healthcare sphere:

When someone dies, it is terrible tragedy.  That person leaves behind a family, loved ones, and - especially when they die young - their future.  If someone dies as a result of diabetes, or due to complications from diabetes, or from something else entirely but they happened to have diabetes, and you decide to exploit their death to gain pageviews for your website?  (See also:  Brittany Murphy, Casey Johnson)

Come on.

There's a difference between passing on information that could help people improve their lives, and then there's pure, TMZ-style exploitation.  Diabetes advocates writing about their lives with this disease, like the blogs that many of us write every day, actually do some good for some people.  People reading it could be helped to feel less alone.  People writing could achieve the same goal.

It's important to consider the source of your information.  And it's important to remember that there are PEOPLE behind every news story about someone dying or getting sick or dealing with emotional or physical pain.  Have we become so immersed in the gossip that we forget how to treat people kindly?  And compassionately? 

You're better than that.

(It's also important to not mess with a pregnant woman.  Please don't email me shifty press releases.  You know who you are.)

/rant

Teavana - It Blooms!

With all the highs and lows that have been floating around during the course of my days, I was in search of a snacky thing that wouldn't do a damn thing to my numbers. 

And that's where my friend Batman came to the rescue.  She introduced me to this fabulous store, which housed these fabulous teas:  Teavana.  

Don't get me wrong - this crap is expensive.  Eighteen dollars for nine freaking tea balls?  

Pre-bloom tea

"But they bloom.  Wait until you see how gorgeous they are, and how fabulous they smell, when they bloom."

So I made an indulgence purchase and bought a glass tea tumbler and some peach momotaro artisan tea.  (I can't even explain what that name means, but when I mentioned it to my former coworker, she immediately knew that Momotaro was a Japanese folklore hero who apparently arrives on Earth via a giant peach.  Some old lady finds the giant peach, brings it home, and she and her husband open it up to find a little boy inside.  Since they didn't have any children of their own, of course they adopted the Peach Boy and lived happily ever after.  I was a little surprised that this tea had a back story, but I checked Wikipedia and there is indeed the story of Momotaro and the Giant Peach [nod to Roald Dahl].  Imagine that.  /digression)

In bloom

And I have to admit - the Batman was right.  This tea is lovely to brew, beautiful to look at, and both smells and tastes great.  Nice and light, and interesting enough to keep my hands from reaching for leftover Christmas cookies.  Watching it go from the tight little ball of tea into the cup of blooming distraction is something else - so I video taped it so I could show you guys.  :)

Have any of you guys tried these blooming teas?  I'm itching to give the strawberry one a try - any other recommendations?  Would love to hear them!

January 05, 2010

BSparl and the Buried Poster.

It's been aaaaaaages since I recorded a new vlog post, and much of my delay was the fault of my old PC (and its magical, melting hard drive).  That and I lost the tripod for the Flip, so it's taken me a while to figure out how to wrangle in iMovie and all the Mac crap. 

Here's my first Mac vlog, touching upon that moment every mother-to-be experiences as her baby is growing in the womb ... when she realizes that the ultrasound pictures sort of look like her husband's film poster.

(Sundance in less than two weeks - I can't wait!!)

January 04, 2010

Roddy Pippin: Shannon's Take.

I wasn't aware of this story until Shannon (fellow d-blogger at LADAdeeda) emailed me and asked me to help her raise awareness of this story.  Apparently, Roddy Pippin stole cattle.  And is being held for eight consecutive years, without proper medical care.

Roddy has type 1 diabetes.

Shannon has contributed a guest post about this issue, but I wanted to also add a link to a post on Roddy's Ride 4 Life page, about the crime he committed and the punishment he is receiving.  Check it out and draw your own conclusions as to whether this punishment fits the crime, and please read Shannon's post below for her take on Roddy Pippin.

*   *   *

Many years ago, I watched a movie called Return to Paradise.  A thrilling premise, it centered on a young man imprisoned in Malaysia for drug trafficking.  He was sentenced to death by hanging unless his two friends, who also bought and used the drugs in question, returned to Malaysia and accepted their share of the responsibility – three years in prison if both returned, six years if only one returned.  The deal, while not in writing, was promised by the Malaysian justice department.  One friend ultimately complied.

But, in an unbelievable twist, an American reporter wrote a story about the young man, his sentence, and the “unjustness” of Malaysia’s justice system.  As a punishment for this negative portrayal of Malaysia, the judge on the case refused to abide by the terms of the agreement.  The first man’s death sentence remained, and the other was sent to prison.

Watching this film, I waited for the dramatic rescue of the man.  As he was led to the gallows, I waited for the last-minute stay of execution or other intervention.  None came, and he was hanged.

This movie was a fictional account, but it’s not difficult for us to imagine this sort of scenario happening in Malaysia.  It’s easy to picture it happening in China.  Or Indonesia.  Or even Mexico.  But, do we expect that sort of thing to happen here in the United States?  I never did.

Roddy Pippin is just twenty-six years old.  When he was nineteen, he committed a crime.  While it might not seem all that serious to me, I recognize that it is very serious to his victims.  His crime?  Cattle rustling.  He stole livestock from hardworking farmers in his Texas community.  At nineteen, he made a stupid, juvenile mistake.  One that he might pay for with his life.  Roddy has type 1 diabetes.

I think most T1s have thought about what would happen if we suddenly lost the tools we rely on to manage our diabetes.  I’ve even had the thought about what life in jail would be like for a T1.  It’s even worse than I thought.
As I’ve learned more about Roddy’s experiences, I know that being a T1 in jail is harsh.  Having your care managed by those who really don’t care at all is the reality.  Recurring hospitalizations for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) are common.  After all, people die from DKA all the time.  In fact, in a recent, highly-publicized Texas case, the parents of a sixteen-year-old girl are facing manslaughter charges in her DKA-caused death.  They took her insulin pump away, she became sick, and within days, was dead.

So, Texas recognizes that deliberately withholding insulin from a T1 diabetic is murder (or at least, manslaughter).  Yet, they care little for Roddy’s health.  Instead of giving him access to adequate medical care, Roddy has instead been moved to a facility that houses violent criminals, even death-row inmates.

Where is the justice in this?  How large should Roddy’s debt to society be?

*   *   *

Your thoughts?

Oh, High!

I hope BSparl is going okay in there.Back at the Diabetes 2.0 conference in Florida in November, I was talking to Manny Hernandez about how evenly  my numbers were running due to the pregnancy.

"Dude, it's like a cure.  It's creeping me right out, but I am NOT complaining.  Whatever keeps this baby safest!"

Oh how I wish that was still the case.

The lows chased me all around the house for about five months, helping my A1C drop like a rock and keeping highs out of the rotation for approximately twenty weeks.  A blood sugar of 150 mg/dl felt HIGH (which was a far cry from the 250's I was sadly bonding with this time last year) and my low symptoms weren't kicking in at all (see also:  the 29 mg/dl without a whisper of a hint). 

Tomorrow I'll be in the 23rd week of my pregnancy, and the highs are back.  With a freaking vengeance. 

It started innocently enough - with some spiky numbers in the middle of the night.  Nothing chaotic, but 120's where there were 80's the day before, and they continued to climb a bit every day.  For about four days straight, I was waking up at 4:30 in the morning between 120 - 140 mg/dl, correcting back down to 100 mg/dl, and then the creeping would start again around 10 am.  It was like my body wanted to incubate BSparl at a steady blood sugar of ... 180?  NO WAY. 

After a quick chat with my endocrinologist (who told me, in no uncertain terms:  "Pregnancy is completely different.  Two days is a pattern now.  You know what you're doing - adjust your basals as often as needed."), I starting hiking up my basal rates.  Before I got pregnant, my total daily dosage was around 24u per day, thanks to a low basal rate and a lower-carbohydrate diet.  Now?  Five months and 3 weeks into my pregnancy and 17 lbs heavier?  My TDD is 45u and climbing. 

I am wearing my Dexcom and testing very regularly, but it seems like full-out stalking is necessary for the next four months.  I'm also changing my insulin pump infusion set every three days, like clockwork, to keep absorption issues from adding to the pile of variables.  What's becoming challenging is avoiding basal stacking.  As in, if I'm 140 mg/dl and I bolus it down, I need to be patient and let the insulin do its work.  I can't freak out and take another bolus 35 minutes later just because I'm nervous.  Bolus stacking (and rage bolusing, too) are totally counterproductive when they result in a nasty low blood sugar that leaves me spinning.

So what's the moral of this story?  ... honestly, I have no idea.  All I know is that blood sugar management during pregnancy just went from literal cakewalk (as in, I'd take a step and would require cake to take another step) to a struggle that has me acting like an emotional wreck.  My last A1C came in a little higher than the one the month before (went from 6.1% back up to 6.3%), and I know this is because the lows are tapering.  But I don't want to crest back up towards 7% because I'm unable to wrangle in these stupid highs.  

There's a lot of guilt when it comes to diabetes.  I knew that before.  But what I didn't realize before becoming pregnant is how much I worry about this little baby while she's growing inside of me.  Every time I test and see a number above 130 mg/dl, I feel so sad and frustrated.  My hands immediately go to my belly and I want to feel her kicking, because that at least soothes my heart, knowing she's still okay in there.

Actually, she's rolling around in there as I type this.  My blood sugar is 96 mg/dl and holding, I hope.  I have every confidence that I can do this and that she and I will be okay, but these last few days have been really emotionally tough, and I've found myself praying more now than I ever have before.

(Thank goodness for cute baby girl clip art.)

January 01, 2010

You Say You Want a Resolution.

Yay!  2010!!(And based on that title, this song is stuck in my head for the rest of the decade.)  Welcome to 2010, my friends.  I couldn't be more excited for a new decade, with the promise of GOOD STUFF TO COME!!

Chris and I were talking about resolutions last night - about things we want to accomplish in 2010 and what we'd like to do in the next twelve months - but I don't often make the "list o' resolutions."  Setting goals for myself is one thing, but making them part of a New Year's Resolution campaign makes me feel cheesy.

... but then I realized that after almost crying with emotion when the ball dropped last night and then again when the baby kicked me in the belly button around one in the morning, I am cheesy.  So I'm making a goal list for 2010.  Some goals are private and won't be shared here on SUM, but there are a few I'd like to make myself held accountable for.  (Hey - it works sometimes!)

Resolved!

  • Take on the Diabetes 365 project again for 2010.
  • Answer emails more efficiently (I'm already laughing at this one, but I need to try.)
  • Become a more active blog reader (I need to leave COMMENTS!)
  • Learn to knit.
  • Get back in shape after BSparl arrives.
  • Take time to appreciate my friends and family, instead of burying my face in the computer for hours on end.

But my most important resolution for 2010?  

  • Have a healthy pregnancy that ends with a happy little baby girl, safe in my arms. 

It's going to be a great year.  And I'm really looking forward to sharing it with all of you.  Happy New Year!! 

(Siah, please get out of the Christmas tree.  We need to take that down today.  I hope she made some resolutions to be less annoying in 2010.)

Visitors since November 7, 2005