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Posts from the ‘No Diabetes’ Category

Eye Quit.

It’s like a patch of horrible road rash that you don’t bandage and instead throw the itchiest wool sweater over, then roll around in pine needles.  All day long.  Every time you blink.

This pretty much sums up what recurring corneal erosion feels like.

Friday night, I felt the twitchy, horribly familiar symptoms associated with an eye tear – the redness, the slight swelling, a little bit of blurry vision – but I assumed that a good night’s sleep and some eye lubricant would do the trick.

It did not do any trick.  Saturday morning, my right eyeball was a disaster, almost as badly injured as the first time it happened (six years ago).  It was swollen, razor-bladey, and super sensitive to light, very similar to what happened in San Diego several years ago.  Plans to bring Birdzone to a birthday party?  Delegated.  Plans to attend the Writer’s Guild awards in NYC on Sunday night?  Nope.  (Good thing I hadn’t taken the tags off my dress yet.)  Hopes of spending time away from the two kiddos and having fun?  Or reading a book?  Or even thinking about opening my computer and looking at emails?

Up in a puff of a cat turning into smoke.

… didn’t see that gif coming, did you?  Me neither.  But thar she smokes.

Because I was only 80% sure that it was a corneal tear and not an eyelash jammed up in there (the eye swelling was pretty tremendous, making me think there could be a foreign body stuck in there) and also because it was a Saturday morning and not a single eye doctor’s office was open in our area, I ended up at the local walk in clinic.  They confirmed my eyeball only contained eyeball and recommended I spend as much time healing as I could.

What best heals a corneal erosion is time with your eyelids SHUT.  Which translates into spending 48 hours straight in bed with the blinds drawn and a bunch of cold compresses and eye goop at the ready.  Which also translates into the kids going to my mom’s for the weekend and me asking Chris to go to the event in NYC so I could hole up and sleep without experiencing any mom guilt.  But with the house empty, I was able to rest and heal, despite blood sugars that went bananas in response to the pain (hello, 200% basal rate for two days).

It wasn’t until Tuesday morning (thanks, holiday weekend) that I was able to get to a proper ophthalmologist, who took a look at my eyeball and deemed it “incredibly swollen.”  He prescribed (in addition to follow up visits) some steroid drops for my eye that took effect within hours and by Tuesday night, I was able to properly see for the first time in three days.

I was eye-lated.  Eye’ll never take my ability to open my eyes without pain for granted again.  I hope I didn’t lash out at my loved ones when I was in pain and that they’re tolerant of my terrible vitreous humor.

Eye jokes are the worst.  But eye-related animated gifs are the best.

Iris my case.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, from our turkeys to yours.  xo

Talking About Trees.

So this week got a little crazy in a slightly unexpected way, with our son arriving a few weeks early via a planned-but-just-not-on-the-day-we-did-it c-section, and I’ve been in the hospital all week re-educating myself on how to care for a newborn and how to recover from surgery.  More on that on Monday, but for now, I wanted to duck in and say Hello! and also to post something that I never got around to posting due to chaotic arrival of our son.  

It’s about THE SEA OF TREES, written by Chris Sparling, which is being released theatrically and on video-on-demand today.  

*   *   *

Kerri:  We’re doing this again, the whole “you have a movie coming out so I ask you questions that are tangentially related to the movie.”  This time, the film is THE SEA OF TREES.  I put that in all caps because that’s what I’m supposed to do with movie titles, right?

Chris:  Right. And TV shows are in quotes.

Kerri:  I’ve learned so much already.  But I’m also familiar with the storyline of the movie, so can you fill my pancreatically-challenged readers in on what they can expect?

Chris:  A drama.

Kerri:  As a writer, you write a lot of stuff.  As an interviewee, you don’t say much.

Chris:  I just told you about using all caps for movies and quotes for TV shows; that’s interesting!

Kerri:  ARGHH in all caps, my love.  Moving back to the movie, can you give me a brief synopsis of THE SEA OF TREES?

Chris:  A man suffers tremendous loss and ends up on a journey of reflection.

Kerri:  It sounds a little heavy.  And also I have read the script so I know that you’re leaving some kind of important stuff out. Like the suicide forest.

Chris:  That’s a real place in Japan; it’s called Aokigahara, which is also known as “The Sea of Trees.”

Kerri:  Okay so now we’re getting somewhere.  So what’s the deal with this forest?

Chris:  It’s also referred to as the perfect place to die.

Kerri:  We’re not going there, right?

Chris:  We have a second kid now; we’re never going anywhere again.  Anyway, for whatever reason, about 100 people or so commit suicide in that forest every year.

Kerri:  Again, you’ve written a family film.

Chris:  Well it’s not exactly HONEY I SHRUNK THE KIDS, but it’s definitely not a scary movie, either.  It’s a drama.  It’s a story about a guy whose wife dies, and when he can’t go on anymore, he decides to take his own life.  Only he goes to The Sea of Trees to do it.  But when he gets there, he finds another man who is desperately trying to find his way out of the forest.  In agreeing to help the other man find his way out and survive, the main character undergoes a process of restoration and regains his own will to live.

Kerri:  I’ve been a fan of the script since you first showed it to me several years ago.  [Editor’s note, which is also Wife’s note:  I really loved this script.]  Is this one of your favorite scripts that you’ve written?

Chris:  It is, because it’s a step outside of my usual fare, where most of my stuff is in the thriller genre.  It was nice to do something that was more of a straightforward drama, and I was really grateful to see the script so well-received.

Kerri:  THE SEA OF TREES is a departure from that expectation of “Hey, is Chris creepy in real life?” sort of thing.  Are you becoming less creepy with time, thematically?

Chris:  If I can’t pay the bills with this drama stuff, I’ll go back to being creepy.

Kerri:  No, seriously.  Is this the kind of stuff you prefer to write?

Chris:  Yes and no.  It doesn’t matter to me, too much, what the genre is.  I just want to tell good stories.

Kerri:  So the movie stars Matthew McConaughey, Ken Watanabe, and Naomi Watts.  And your daughter had a chance to meet them, only she was less interested in their celebrity and instead immediately asked where the bathroom was.

Chris:  I remember that day on set.

Kerri:  That wasn’t awkward at all.  And obviously Birdy and I didn’t fly to Japan to bother you on set.  This thing was local-ish.

Chris:  It shot for a week in Japan, but I wasn’t there for any of that.  The rest was shot in various parts of Massachusetts, and I was on set for a lot of those days because I was a producer on the film as well.

Kerri:  Normally, you bust my chops during the course of these interviews.  Why are you being so well-behaved tonight?

Chris:  Because I want to think that I’ve matured a little bit.

Kerri:  I can wholeheartedly attest to the fact that you have not.

Chris:  That’s true.  Did you see my Tweet about the fart festival?

Kerri:  You really put that up on Twitter?

Chris:  Yep.

Kerri:  You’re an adult.  With a fancy movie with fancy people in it and …

Chris:  And I had a fancy tuxedo at the premiere at Cannes.

Kerri:  Yeah, but right now you’re not wearing pants, so …

Chris:  I’m wearing shorts.  That’s important to clarify.

Kerri:  It sounds more interesting if I say you’re not wearing pants.  But anyway, the film comes out very soon.  Like today, soon.

Chris:  Right … the movie opens today. August 26th. 

Kerri:  So where can people go to the theater and see it?

Chris:  Opening first in New York and Los Angeles, and then it may expand to other cities.  But people can catch it on Video on Demand and iTunes today as well.

Kerri:  So in the theater and on iTunes on the same day?

Chris:  Yup. It’s a release strategy called Day-and-Date. No idea why it’s called that, but it is. So yeah, it’s essentially available everywhere today.

Kerri:  Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Chris:  Can we watch “Vice Principals” now?  And that should be in quotes because it’s a TV show, not all caps.

Kerri:  Jerkface.

Diabetes Blog Week: Language and Diabetes.

Language and Diabetes:  There is an old saying that states “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. I’m willing to bet we’ve all disagreed with this at some point, and especially when it comes to diabetes. Many advocate for the importance of using non-stigmatizing, inclusive and non-judgmental language when speaking about or to people with diabetes. For some, they don’t care, others care passionately. Where do you stand when it comes to “person with diabetes” versus “diabetic”, or “checking” blood sugar versus “testing”, or any of the tons of other examples? Let’s explore the power of words, but please remember to keep things respectful.

(And for more on the topics of Diabetes Blog Week 2016, click here.)

Language matters.  The words we use matter.

Some words make me all fired up, like “consumer.”  I am a consumer when it comes to cars, or coats, or snow blowers.  When it comes to diabetes, I’m not a consumer.  I would never choose to consume these goods; they are chosen out of the desire to stay alive.  I don’t like “suffering from diabetes” because it makes me feel weak and compromised, which stands in contrast to where I prefer to anchor my emotions about diabetes.  And I totally hate the concept of “good” and “bad” blood sugars.  That whole ideology can fuck off in favor of “in range” and “out of range.”

I appreciate the word “complications” because its connotation is perfect for how I feel about diabetes-related complications; that shit is complicated.  I like the word “empowered” because it reminds me that I have a say in how this whole life maps out, diabetes or not.  I like any words and phrases that tie the physical aspects of diabetes to the emotional ones.  I latch on actively to “hope” versus fear.  And I like being called “Kerri” instead of “diabetic,” but hey, that’s just me.

(And I really like certain curse words, but I am trying to use those less, but it’s difficult.  I don’t make insulin, I do make use of curse words.  It’s a terrible habit, but one I am not changing.)

But it’s not about the words we shouldn’t use, or the ones that seem potentially loaded.  This morning, after hearing about the death of a fellow advocate (outside of the diabetes space), I’m spinning with thoughts of the words I wish I used more, the things I wish I said.  The things I should say.

Like “thanks for sharing this.”  I think this every time I read a blog post, or a Tweet, or a Facebook update from someone and it makes me stop and think.  The DOC is filled with voices that challenge what I thought I knew, and who teach me how to re-examine my chronic illness with grace and determination or perspective or humility … or all of it.  I like the way they think.  I like what they say.

And “How are you feeling today?”  I interact with a lot of people touched by illness – patients, consumers, caregivers … whatever word words for you in this way – and their stories touch me.  A lot of the time, I absorb what they’re saying and store it away in my head, but I want to reach out more, ask “how are you feeling today?”  I want the people in our community, and outside of it, to know how much I appreciate what it takes to share their stories, even when they are worn out by doing it, by living it.  A little ask goes a long way.

Or “You aren’t alone; how can I help?”  Because sometimes people share to get things off their chest (“I hate low blood sugars!”), but other times they reach out in hopes of someone reaching back (“I feel so alone with diabetes.”)  Words matter, and hearing, “You aren’t alone; how can I help?” might make a difference.

And “I’m sorry.”  Because I am.

But mostly “thank you” and sometimes, “I love you.”  Over the last few years, there have been people who have come and gone from my life that left lasting impressions, and I bet I didn’t tell them “thank you” and “I love you” nearly as much as I should have.  I know I thought it – thought it a lot after they were gone – but I should have said it then.  When they were here.  When they could hear me and understand the influence they’ve had on my life, the positive mark they’ve left on my existence, and the ways they’ve rocked my world for the better.

Words matter.  Stories matter.  People matter.  So thank you.  And even though you’re reading these words on a glowing screen and we’re communicating mostly through a digital medium, you are part of a community that has forever changed me.

 

Silent Infertility.

(You get a special prize if the title of this blog post made you think of this song.)

For two years, we wanted a baby.

When I first started lurking on infertility websites and forums, the acronyms were confusing.  I knew that TTC was “trying to conceive” but all of the other bits seemed as if someone poured out a box of Alphabits cereal on the floor and then let a strong breeze blow through.  The terms did not make sense.

But then, sadly suddenly, they did.

After a few months, I started tracking ovulation using at-home tests, and “OPK” (ovulation predictor kit) and “DPO” (days past ovulation) became common in our home.  Several more months gave way to an understanding of what “TWW” (two week wait) and “BFN on a HPT” (big fat negative on a home pregnancy test) meant.  The term “AMA” (advanced maternal age) came into play after a year.  I learned that Clomid tastes horrible and does crazy things to my blood sugars; Letrozole did not. After two years, I knew what an HSG was (hysterosalpingogram), had experienced IUIs (intrauterine insemination) and discussions about IVF (in vitro fertilization) were marked in my file, alongside “unexplained secondary infertility.”  Our insurance did not cover any of these treatments.  The stress on my family was tremendous.  The depression that came about as a result of this process was hard to describe but effortless to immerse myself in.

Last summer, I was pregnant, the result of an IUI. It was awesome, but briefly so. The baby wasn’t able to stay, for whatever reason, so they left when I was in the middle of a conference. Despite having friends to lean on and my family a phone call away, it was violently isolating.

I felt like my body had failed me.  Again, and this time in a way I had not expected. Not making insulin is standard fare after decades with type 1 diabetes, but not being able to make a baby broke my heart in a way that diabetes never could. Maybe it’s because I’m used to diabetes. Maybe it’s because the journey of having my daughter was almost effortless, by comparison. Maybe it’s because the miscarriage question couldn’t be answered, instead with doctors and friends alike only able to say they were sorry.

I feel guilty that I’m only sharing this now, with my growing belly as a comfort. Fifteen weeks pregnant with my second child and I’m still paranoid about every doctor’s appointment and ultrasound, still checking for blood every time I use the bathroom.  I wasn’t brave enough to talk about infertility and pregnancy loss over the last two years, and that makes me feel like a crumb because I should have been open about it then.  I wish I had been open about it then, because I would have benefitted from the support of friends and family. My mother and my best friends knew, but outside of that circle, this was an experience my family went through in silence.

People would ask, with kind intentions, if we were ever going to give Birdy a sibling and we should “Hurry up!”  Or they’d look at our independent five year old and say, “Aren’t you glad the days of diapers are behind you?”  And I became used to that feeling of my face settling into an expression of shielded pain, where I tried to make them feel more comfortable for asking.

It’s awkward to talk about, or at least it is for me.  Diabetes is something I am very comfortable sharing and discussing, but infertility was a shrugged-off, silent weight we carried, one we pretended wasn’t happening except every morning and every evening I documented this strange sadness on a spreadsheet that I brought to the doctor’s office with me every few weeks.

I’m sharing this experience now, despite still feeling vulnerable and nervous about my current pregnancy, because I found a lot of comfort in reading other people’s stories and raising my hand in a, “Me, too,” even if I did it in silence.  I never felt better that other people were experiencing a similar journey, but I did feel comforted, knowing I was not the only one.

I didn’t feel jealous when I saw pregnant women, because I had only recently learned what kind of struggle it can take to arrive at that moment.  And I would have shared this story whether I ended up pregnant or not, because the loneliness of infertility was suffocating.  I’m sorry I didn’t say anything sooner.  I wish I had, in case you were reading.  You, the one dealing with this, too.  I’ve been where you are, or at least my version of that experience.  I have no idea what any of our futures hold, but I know you’re not alone.

You are not the only one. You are not alone.

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