Skip to content

All Night Long.

Some nights just plain suck.

In related news, I brushed my teeth ten times last night.

Practice Turkey.

Chris and I are both from big families with piles of aunts and uncles and cousins at every birthday party.  Part of being part of a flurry of people means big holiday gatherings, and Chris and I are prepping ourselves to start hosting some of the holidays.

Problem is, I’m a terrible cook.  Or, better stated:  an inexperienced cook.  Cooking hasn’t ever brought me joy or satisfaction, and I’m not interested in the time it takes to perfect a recipe.  I cook for form and functionality (read: make sure my family doesn’t survive on garlic salt and overripe bananas), not for fun.  I’m not good at making the effort to learn.

But if we want to start hosting holidays, we need to learn how to prepare some of the main courses.  Which brings me to the Practice Turkey:

Practice Turkey is currently taking up residence in our freezer, and my goal is to use him to teach myself how to properly prepare a whole turkey.  (Sidebar:  Animal is in our freezer because Birdy is afraid of him, but refuses to let us donate him or throw him out.  She wants him in the house, but entirely contained.  So he lives in our freezer and has been there about a year.  I always forget that he’s in there, until someone comes over to visit, opens the freezer, and subsequently goes, “OOH!!”) In the next week, my plan is to practice my culinary witchcraft on Practice Turkey so that when we host holidays this year, I’m not in a huge panic because I can be all, “Oh, the turkey?  I know how to do that.  I’m all over that!”

I need to actually do it in order to make sure I can do it.

Same goes for technology hiccups in my diabetes management plan.  I use an insulin pump and a CGM (hellooooo, disclosures), and with that convenience and data comes an influx of autonomy and the sacrifice of my autonomy, if that makes sense.  The devices give me a lot of flexibility and freedom, but if I rely on them too heavily, I forget how to manage my diabetes on my own.

I need to be my own Practice Turkey, relearning the details of diabetes.  I need to make sure I know how to calculate a bolus, check my blood sugar regularly by finger prick, and finagle basal insulin doses if my pump ever breaks, or if I ever want to take a CGM break, or if my will to wear devices breaks a little.  And over the last week, I’ve been on a bit of a device break (thank you, winter skin issues), realizing once again that a refresher course on how to drive the stick-shift version of my diabetes (so to speak) helps me take better care of myself overall.  Taking an injection before I eat makes me think twice about the food I’m putting into my body, and also help me remember to pre-bolus (because it’s a process, not just the push of a button).  Using the treadmill instead of a correction bolus to fix a 180 mg/dL keeps exercise fresh in my mind.  3 am checks aren’t always necessary, but doing a few of them helps me spot-check my overnight basal rates.  I appreciate my devices, but I needed a reminder on what they do for me, and how to continue to do for myself.

Practice (turkey) makes perfect.

[Also, today has been unofficially designated as a “day to check in” (hat tip to Chris Snider) with the DOC blogs that we’re reading.  I read a lot of diabetes blogs, but I don’t often comment because I usually want to say something meaningful, instead of “I like your post.”  (But I do like your post!)  But instead of finding that meaningful comment, I usually roll on and forget to return to comment.  NOT TODAY!  Today I’m commenting on every blog I read, because that’s the name of the game.  I love this community, and today I’ll show that through comments.  So please – if you’re here, share what your favorite word is, or just say hello.  And thanks for being here.]

Sleep Cycle Your Face.

A normal sleep cycle:

Which is what I thought I had last night, until I woke up and saw evidence on the bedside table that suggested otherwise:

And then I remembered the whole thing:  normal sleep pattern interrupted by one very sweaty low, followed quickly by a  juice box, then another low a few hours later, and another juice box, and one moment to clean my teeth of the sugar consumed.

Making it look more like this:

Daylight savings time doesn’t have anything on a stubborn hypoglycemic event.

It’s a Good Tune.

“BEEEEP … BEEEEP… BEEEEP!”

“Mom, your Dexcom is making noise,” my daughter says casually, as we’re kicking the soccer ball around in the basement (because we’ll never, ever go outside again because snow).

“It is. Hang on a second,” I told her. A click shows that my blood sugar is over my high threshold, with a few yellow dots taking up residence on my graph. I’m not totally worried, though, because a check of my pump reveals some insulin still on board. I decide to let things play out and see where I land a bit later.

“I’m fine, kiddo. Let’s keep playing.”

The Dexcom has been part of my daughter’s life for as long as she can remember. When she was very small and figuring out her letters for the first time, I remember her running a tiny fingertip along the bottom of my receiver – “D-E-X-C-O-M spells … whaasat spell, Mama?”

“Dexcom. That’s the name of the machine.”

(Unlike most kids, my daughter’s list of first words included “pump,” “Dexcom,” and “diabeedles.” Maybe she’ll grow up to be a doctor? At the very least, this knowledge base has given her a leg-up on winning a few topic-specific spelling bees.)

As Birdy grew older, she started to understand some of the information that different diabetes devices provided. We’ve talked a little bit about how three digit numbers on my glucose meter that begin with “2” most often require me to take some insulin from my pump (same goes for the ones that begin with “3,” only those also come with some curse words), and how when the Dexcom makes an alarm sound, I need to check it and take some action.

“But that alarm – the BEEEEP … BEEEEP… BEEEEP! one – is one we can ignore, right Mom?”

“Ignore?”

“Yeah. When it goes BEEEEP … BEEEEP… BEEEEP, you don’t always look at it. But when it goes like this,” she raises her hands up in front of herself, like she’s sneaking up on something, “BeepBeepBeep really fast, then you look right away and get some glucose tabs.”

Funny how much she notices, how much of my diabetes self-care ritual has become a natural part of our time together.

“Kind of. The long beeps mean my blood sugar might be higher, but it’s not an emergency. The short beeps mean I have low blood sugar, and I need to get something to eat so it doesn’t become a big deal. Does that make sense?”

“Yeah.”

The sounds of the low and high alarms ringing out from my Dexcom receiver have become familiar, like a subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) soundtrack for my diabetes life, but I didn’t realize until recently that they are also sounds that remind my daughter of her mother.

The other morning, I heard Birdy walking into the bathroom to brush her teeth, and she was humming a little tune to herself, one that I recognized.

“Hey you. Are you singing a song?”

“Yeah. It’s the Dexcom beep song. It’s a good tune.” She grinned at me, toothbrush hanging out of her mouth.

Earned.

This morning, the Joslin Clinic shared a photo of Dr. C Kenneth Gorman, who was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for living 80 years with type 1 diabetes.  He’s one of five people to have received the medal, and the first Canadian (eh?).

Here is this wonderful man, medal and all:

joslin medalist

[From the Joslin Diabetes Clinic Facebook page]

Dr. Gorman redefines what it means to “earn” a medal, in my eyes.  Thank you, Joslin, for letting us know about Dr. Gorman and to Dr. Gorman for inspiring me to keep working towards my 80 year medal.


Old School Blogging.

Over the weekend, I saw a post from Stephen with the meme in it and felt this moment of, “Oh hell yes.  Something fun and kind of mindless that doesn’t involve being on a soapbox.  Want.”  So I did the meme post and it felt fun.  Like I didn’t give a shit and wanted to write something for the sake of the fun and connection of it, not to say something Important.

Reminded me of old school blogging.  I started writing online in May 2005 and back then, there weren’t a lot of people reading so it was kind of a don’t-give-a-shit-free-for-all.  Write whatever you want.  Don’t even spell check it HA HA you REBEL.  (But then go back and spell check it immediately, also giving it a grammar once-over because I am a lifelong English major.  In related news, never end a sentence with a preposition because it will give you forever-hives.)  Get to know your peers without self-editing and self-imposed deadlines and self-consciousness.

I don’t know what’s happened to my voice in the last year or two, but it’s harder and harder to write some days.

“Is it writer’s block?” asked Chris.

“Kind of.  But it’s more like rehashing the same topic all the time and while there’s always something new to say because diabetes is that way, sometimes I don’t want to talk about it at all.  Keeping my head straight while managing the disease itself doesn’t always leave room for editorial.  Sometimes the best way for me to deal with some diabetes stuff is to work it out privately, you know?”

It’s hard to share things as I’ve grown older.  I stopped sharing photos of my daughter (and have never shared her name) on this website because I wanted to protect her privacy, but after a while, I realized I wanted to protect some of my own privacy, too.  I chronicled my engagement and wedding and move from RI to CT (and back again, all Hobbit-style) and pregnancy and, and, and … and now I’m not sure what I want to share, but diabetes-wise, I’m more and more inclined to share less.

Logging on to write about a wicked low blood sugar, for me, is an easier story to share because it’s encapsulated in that moment of the low.  Writing about how it feels and what I did to treat it is therapeutic.  But it’s a little more challenging to write about the aftermath of lows like that; telling the story of how fears of hypoglycemia permeate so much of what I do takes longer to tell.  Do I write about how I have trouble going to sleep for weeks after a bad low, because I think about how morning might be a stretch to reach? Do I even want my brain to take that journey?

Nope.  Sometimes that answer can be a big, fat nope.  Writing about that stuff is a complete fuckery of my mind.  While I have been grateful, at times, for the ten years of archived writing here on my website because it can be good for me to see how far I’ve come, other times I am a little bummed out that ten years of writing about diabetes could easily turn into twenty (but maybe not fifty because What If and that’s the shit that makes my head spinnish).  It’s been a really short and simultaneously loooong ten years of blogging, and the same goes for 28 years with diabetes.

I miss the old school blogging, quite a bit.  I miss the small community feel that used to be in play, where people wrote in hopes of connecting instead of being “seen.”  (I’m not sure that makes sense written out as it feels in my heart, but I’m resolved to not delete anything from this post, kind of proving a point to myself that I can write without considering consequence.)  I appreciate all of the new information being posted and the innovation and reporting that’s taking place but I miss the people themselves.  I don’t give a shit about bylines.  I care about people.  The people are still there and sharing, but there’s a lot of Agenda permeating the community and I kind of miss when it felt more organic and PERSONAL damn it and a little less structured.  I, personally, am losing a bit of my grip on what motivated me to blog in the first place.  I want to return to the real “why,” which was to find community and make the journey with diabetes suck less.

So what’s the point?  The point is that I liked writing that post this weekend.  It’s the first time I’ve written (or at least listed) without thinking too much over the past few months.  The second time I’ve written without caring for consequence is today.  I’d like to return to that kind of blogging, for at least a while, because it feels good.  Fun is also a thing, and I want more of that.  Especially here on my website, where I’m proud have built my online nest.  Better than trying to create something “perfect.”  Perfect isn’t a thing.  Reality is, and this community has forever been rooted in reality.

The reality of life, of life with diabetes, of an imperfect life with an imperfect pancreas and an imperfect mouth that curses often but please forgive me for saying fuck so often.  It’s a curse of a curse.

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Happy birthday to Dr. Seuss!  He’s always been one of my favorite writers to read, recite, and then parody as needed.  In homage to the good doctor on his birthday, I’m revisiting a poem I wrote called A Human’s Resilient, One Hundred Percent! Because we are resilient, damn it.

*   *   *

Sighed Panky, a lazy panc deep in the gut
“I’m tired and I’m bored
And I’m stuck in a rut
From making, just making insulin every day.
It’s work! How I hate it!
I’d much rather play!
I’d take a vacation, or a long nap
If I could find someone to do all this crap!

If I could find someone, I’d kick back and chill …”

Then Panky thought, “Could Kerri be up for the thrill?”

“Hello!” called the lazy panc, smiling her best,
“You’ve nothing to do.  Does this sound too strange …
Would you like do the work I do for a change?”

Kerri laughed.
“Why of all silly things?
I haven’t islets or enzymes or things.
ME do your job?  Why that doesn’t make sense!
Your job is make insulin!  The thought makes me tense.”

“Tut, tut,” answered Panky.  “I know you’re not me
But I know you can do this.  Won’t you hear my plea?
Just pick up that needle and draw up the dose.
Once insulin’s flowing you won’t feel morose.”

“I can’t,” said the Kerri.
“PL-E-ASE!!” begged her panc.
“It won’t be too hard, kid.  Sorry to pull rank.
But I’m leaving regardless if you raise your voice.”

“You’re a jerkface,” said Kerri.  “Not to give me a choice.

I’m unsure how to do this. Details are the devils!
How do I keep steady my blood sugar levels?
What do I do? Can you leave me instructed?”

“You’ll figure it out,” and the panc self-destructed.

“The first thing to do,” murmured Kerri,
“Let’s see.
The first thing to do is to prop up this Me
And to make ME much stronger.  This has to be done
Because diabetes can weigh an emotional ton.”

So carefully,
Hopefully,
She searched, unimpeded
For the resources, tools, and support that she needed.

“I know that there’s life found after diagnosis.
It’s good and it’s worth it. That’s the prognosis.
I meant what I said
And I said what I meant …
A human’s resilient,
One hundred percent!”

Then Kerri, with peers and insulin by her side,
Well she tried
and she tried
and she tried
and she tried.

She kept at it for decades
Despite feeling perplexed.
It requires work one day,
Again on the next.
It sucks! Then it doesn’t!
But Kerri remained sure,
“My life’s worth this effort,
(Though I’d still love a cure.)
I wish Panky’d come back
‘Cause some days I’m so burnt.
I hope that my body thrives on the things that I’ve learnt.”

But Panky, by this time, was far beyond near,
And was dormant for good now. Diabetes was here
And was staying, so Kerri, for better or worse,
Had a pump on her hip, glucose tabs in her purse.

Diabetes is constant, day after day.
But the life in its wake is still good, plenty yay.
And even on days when the Stuff is Way Blah,
Life with disease is not life without Awe.
“It’s not always easy. Diabetes might test me.
But I’ll stay on task and I won’t let it best me.
I meant what I said
And I said what I meant …
A human’s resilient
One hundred percent!”

Some days it is simple. Some months are real hard.
Diabetes is something you can’t disregard.
But a panc on vacation doesn’t mean that you’re broken.
“You can still do this.”

Truer words never spoken.

 

[With apologies and thanks to Dr. Seuss,  this is in homage to Horton Hatches the Egg.]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers