Tuesday, December 19, 2006

ho ho ho, merry christmas.....

My most favorite day of the year is coming up. Besides my birthday and wedding anniversary, of course. Christmas is my favorite time of year. There is just something about the crisp air and the smell of pine and fireplaces. Luckily my family also loves Christmas, which, of course, just fuels my addiction. Amazingly enough though, 24 years ago, my mother thought Christmas was ruined forever.

I don’t remember too much about that year. My grandparents were over for the holidays and we were cooking in this great invention called a microwave because our kitchen was under construction. I do remember that Santa brought me a Barbie “wild stallion,” (an actual horse not a wildly inappropriately named ken doll,) red, white, and blue roller skates, and a make up kit. I was 6 years old and Santa was a God. We have photos of me skating around the house with enough early 80’s make up on to outfit an entire gaggle of models while holding my new horse.

But if you look closer at those photos you’ll see the pink footie pajamas hanging off of my skinny body. Through the rouge and blue eye shadow you’d notice the dark sunken eyes that were so glassy you’d think they were from a china doll. You would not see that I had run down past the Christmas tree and actually drained the water dispenser of our refrigerator and then was sick over and over again. You would see the worry and despair in my mother’s eyes, knowing something was drastically wrong, but was too afraid to do anything about it.

The next day I was in the pediatrician’s office before it opened, Barbie horse in hand. I remember 2 things about that visit with Dr. Eldridge. The blackness on the chemstrip indicating that my blood sugar was well above 400, and my mother crying and asking how long I had to live. I vaguely remember my mother defying the doctor’s orders and taking me home before we went to the hospital. She packed me a bag, her daughter would not be wearing hospital gowns that were for “sick children.”

I remember the sea foam green of the hospital room and the many nurses it took to hold me down to draw blood. I remember having to pee in the “hat” in the toilet and needing to let the nurse know every time I went. I remember family coming to visit, and lots of hushed voices and stifled tears. I remember a largest ginger bread house I’d ever seen, and being told that it was “not for me.” I am still mad that I was not allowed to bring my roller skates.

Our whole world changed that Christmas. Words like chemstrip and lancet were introduced. What I ate and who I played with became common family meeting discussions. I am sure my parents never thought we’d make it through. And most certainly, they never thought Christmas would ever be the same.

They were right, Christmas never was the same. It became less about things and more about family. We took the time to think of all of the things we are so grateful for and recognized the many ways in which we had been blessed.

I consider myself lucky that I was diagnosed at Christmas as it serves as a reminder to me, year after year, to be humbled for the many wonderful things in my life. Every Christmas eve, at our family party, I take a moment to myself to think quietly and remember. I try and renew my commitment to myself to do the best with what I am given. And then in a blink, it’s back to egg nog and talks about family and friends and my memories of diabetes are quietly tucked away in the corner of my heart for another year.

Merry Christmas everyone, I hope this time of year you are able to see through all of your obstacles and pain and remember to celebrate the joy in life.

24 down and many many more to go. I can’t wait to see what they hold.

“celebrate we will, for life is short, but sweet for certain”

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

mystery paper?

When I was first diagnosed, my mom was reassured that eventually for me, taking my insulin would be just like putting on my make up. Just something that I did. I was thinking about this today when I was changing my pump site. Next to the bubble bath and nail polish is a container of IV prep and infusion sets. I took off the old site, took a shower, got half dressed, put in the new site and went on my way. Of all the crazy things we were told in 1982 when I was diagnosed, that one just happened to be right.

I could not find my “Christmas time credit card” while buying some gifts online, so I had to clean out my purse. Often referred to as “the pit of despair” by my husband. Amongst potentially 200 used test strips and a check book covered with little blood spatters from the free roaming used strips, I found the crinkled ripped piece of paper below. An old grocery list? My Christmas card addresses? Nope, it’s my life saving basal rates. You know, just something thrown in with my 3 lipsticks and some empty gum containers. I thought, if anyone, you all would get a kick out of it!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Miss Jeckle and Mrs Hyde

I woke up at 198. Not ideal, but I had been at a holiday party last night and there was probably more in the things I ate than I thought. I corrected, weighed out my 32 grams of cinnamon life cereal and ate my breakfast. I followed it up with my standard cup of coffee on my ride to work. It’s about a 30 minute ride to work. I got in, sat at my desk and then started to feel anxious. I was feeling very unsettled. It had been about an hour and a half since my delicious breakfast, there is no way I could be low. I tried to figure out if I was worried about something or forgot to do something… did I leave the iron on? No way, I wear jeans to work and have not ironed in an embarrassing long amount of time…I have Christmas shopping to do but nothing critical. My husband was not on a business trip to some far away land. There really was nothing that should make me feel so unsettled.

So I checked.


Fifty-five?? How in the name of all that is good and holy in this world is that even possible? Of course, if I could answer that, I am sure we’d all be a lot happier.

So I ate my left over Halloween twizzlers that were in my purse. Hum… that didn’t seem to be enough. So I added a ½ bag of skittles…. By this time my heart was racing and focusing on reading or doing anything seemed to be an insurmountable task.

So I ran downstairs to 7-11.

“you don’t need anything else, just take a break and let the candy kick in” I told myself over and over. I stared at the ho-ho’s and the case of donoughts. All I really wanted in life at that moment of time was any kind of hostess snack cake treat. It was all I could do to not rip through the small wrapper that stood between me and my cream filling.

“get a diet coke and go back to your desk” I told myself. I walked to the soda case and had to focus like a high school kid taking the SATs. Diet coke. Diet Coke. I look around and start to think people are looking at me…

At the check out counter the woman looked at me funny when I bought a large diet coke at 9:02am. And then, as if it were an out of body experience, I grabbed a package of cookies and paid before my rational “non-low” mind could chime in.

“ I don’t care if I am high later I need these now now now now now!”

I ate the cookies and swilled the diet coke. It wasn’t worth it. By the time I got back to my desk I was feeling back to normal. That is until I started to sky rocket from the extra skittles and cookies. And then as soon as the bad feeling of being low ended, in rolled my nausea and crankiness that comes from being high.

A double-whammy morning. A panicky low and a nauseating high. It’s the mornings like this and the aftermath of chasing down that high all day that I think a lot of people miss when they talk about diabetes. On paper, diabetes is fairly easy. Insulin, food, exercise. Balance it and off you go…. Unless you’ve been on the diabetes roller coaster or sat next to a loved one who has, you’d never be able to read between the lines and see what makes having diabetes such a challenge.

Tonight when I restock my purse, I have have a mind to write- YOU JUST NEED ONE – on the wrapper. But my happily 132 mind knows that, it’s miss 55 that I need to worry about.