Guest Post: Project Greenlight.
I couldn't be more excited to be hosting Lindsay's guest post today. Even though she and I have yet to meet in person, she's definitely a kindred spirit. She's recently married, itching to start a family, and dealing with type 1 diabetes every day. She has graciously offered to share her words here today, about her quest for a little baby of her own.
The anxiety sets in the second I set foot into the building, just like it always does. There’s the all-too-familiar heartbeat that you can hear in your ears. It’s so loud that you wonder if everyone else is hearing it too. The stinging cold sweat that you can feel creeping up around you. You know the one I mean. I’m waiting at Dr. G’s office to find out the results of my latest A1c. But this time is different. This time, the result is going to tell me whether or not we get the green light to have a baby. Gulp. I hear her at the door. She walks in with her sassy heels and perfect hair. I can’t read the look on her face. Oh God, oh God…is it good or bad? GOOD OR BAD? “Lindsay I couldn’t be more proud of you than I am right now. Your A1c is 6%.” The grin on my face and tears in my eyes say it all and I cannot wait to bolt out of there so I can call my husband.
But…to really understand what an achievement this is for me, you might want to know a little bit about where I was just a few years ago and what got me here.
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on April 6, 2003, just a few weeks shy of my 27th birthday. I had been ignoring the signs and symptoms for far too long and had the weight loss and hair loss to prove it. I was scared straight just after my diagnosis and became what I like to call a “model diabetic.” I tested methodically, counted every carb and gave myself shots. I never did get used to the way the Lantus burned when going in, but my A1c went from 15% to about 7% in three short months. Great, right? Well, yeah, it was. But it didn’t last.
I had a very time-consuming job that had me traveling the globe and visiting countries with menus in languages that didn’t even use a familiar alphabet. How was one meant to count carbs in a country where you were not even remotely certain of what you were eating? After one too many experiences of fighting with Russian bartenders and Indonesian security guards screaming “I NEED JUICE RIGHT NOW” and them not understanding what I needed so desperately, I decided it was easier not to give myself insulin when I traveled. This is bad, but it’s worse if you knew just how often I traveled. And so my A1c climbed higher and higher. It reached about 12% which is where it stayed for a good number of years.
I was in the midst of that cycle when I met my husband, Mike. I was intensely private and protective about my diabetes, mostly because I was ashamed that I wasn’t taking care of myself. I certainly didn’t want to show him my biggest weakness, but he already knew something wasn’t quite right. He loved me enough to gently ask why he never saw me test or take a shot, and my fierce protective nature would bubble up and lash out at this wonderful man who was only trying to help me. Thankfully, he stuck with me and loved me despite this nasty habit I had gotten myself into. I realize now that because I didn’t WANT to have diabetes, I acted as though I didn’t.
After we were engaged, he encouraged me to give the pump a try. I had been adamant against it because I feared being attached to something 24/7. I had heard that the pump could truly be life-changing in gaining better control, so in May of 2008, I became a pumper. While my A1c would dip back down to the mid 8% range here and there, it would always wind up climbing higher. It was a roller coaster of management.
In the midst of wedding planning, I Googled “wedding dress” and “insulin pump” in the same thread and found Six Until Me. I read every single post of Kerri’s in the days that followed and forwarded the link to my family and close friends. I was overjoyed that I had found the DOC through her and that I found a whole community of bloggers who not only felt the way I did, but who were brave enough to put it all out on the table for others to benefit from. That kind of selflessness and courage is what changed my life. I’ll say it again, because it’s that important to know. The DOC, beginning with SUM, CHANGED MY LIFE.
My “cooler than the flip side of my pillow” husband and I have been married nearly two years now. And we want a baby (a lot.) About a year after our wedding, he said something to me that I will never forget. It was the last shove I needed on the road to gaining and maintaining better control. “There’s no time like the present. We both want this. If we’re going to have a baby, then we know what we have to do. We have to get that A1c below 7% together and I will do anything I can to help make that happen.” He used words like WE. US. For the first time, I realized I was no longer in this fight on my own. I had a partner in crime who was going to help me get to the place I knew I had to be. With Mike by my side and my army of DOC friends, I knew I could do this. I am really proud to say that I have. Green light? It’s on. (Right, Kerri? wink)