Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I'm Framing It!

I still can't believe it.

Yesterday, I had my quarterly endo appointment.  For the first time in a long, long time, I was actually looking forward to my appointment.

Yes, you read that correctly.  I was excited to go see my endo.  Crazy, right?

The last month has been going so well.  Not that all my bgs have been amazing.  Far from it (i.e. the week before my period.  Holy high blood sugars, batman!).

But it's been about a month since I started seeing my therapist.  It's quite freeing to talk about my life and the things I've been through to a mental health professional.  More than I thought it would be.  I didn't expect to see results in regards to my eating immediately.  But I have!

Not that my emotional eating is gone.  It isn't.  It's still there, lurking, every time I get upset or stressed out.  And I have slipped multiple times.  I'm far from perfect.  I know I have a long way to go, but I feel like I've made progress.  I still have high bgs, but when I'm not binge eating, I'm not running high ALL THE TIME.  It feels nice.

So I went into the appointment feeling hopeful.  Hopeful that my A1c would reflect how much better I was doing and feeling.  But I tried not to get too excited.  To remind myself that the A1c is just a number, and may not reflect my progress in such a short amount of time.

Walk in, sit down, nurse pricks finger, checks bg and gets sample for A1c.  The endo comes in and we chat as he looks at my CGM reports.  He seems pleased by the average line on the graphs.

The suspense is KILLING me!  At this office, they slide a card with the A1c under the door when the results come in.  As I talk to the endo, I keep looking at the door.  Come on, already!

My endo says, "So I hear you're seeing Dr. X.  How is that going?"  And I'm in the middle of telling him when the card slides under the door.


Say WHAT?  My A1c was 7.5 last time.  It's down to 7.1!  SEVEN POINT ONE, PEOPLE!  I can't even tell you the last time it was that low.  Seriously, I can't.  Again, I know that an A1c is only a number.  It does not reflect my worth.  It does not define me.  But to have tangible evidence of progress is incredible.

My endo was, of course, thrilled.  At the end of my appointment, I snuck down the hall to my CDE's office and peek in.  She's there.  I tell her my A1c.  And give her that hug.  And she is almost as excited as I am.  I feel so blessed to have such a supportive team in my endo, CDE, and therapist.  I wouldn't have reached this point without them.

Upon leaving, walking teary-eyed back to my car, I text my mom and call my husband, who share in my joy.  They have supported me always, through thick and thin.  I owe them so much.

I sat there in the car all teary-eyed because I could hardly believe it.  One year ago, I saw my endo in November, and my A1c was 8.0.  For me, that was the highest I'd been in a long time.  For me, that was rock bottom.  And then I found the DOC.  You all have inspired me to take care of myself.  You have taught me that I can do this.  Without you, I wouldn't have had the courage to ask for help.  And I wouldn't be sitting here with quite possibly the best A1c of my adult life.  Thank you.

Oh, and I almost forgot.  When my endo got up to leave, he handed me the card with my A1c.  "Here," he says, "you can put it on the fridge."  Are you kidding?  I'm framing it!

Monday, November 28, 2011

You Have Been Warned

Hi everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Ours turned out a little differently than we had planned.  I got sick, so Josh and I wound up spending Thanksgiving at home, with me a snotty mess on the couch.

I missed having a big Thanksgiving with my family, but it was quite nice to stay home for four days and not really have to do anything.  And a HUGE thank you to my wonderful husband for taking such good care of me while I was sick.

I have so very many things to be thankful for.  My family, friends, the DOC, my job, health insurance, my home, and that we are blessed enough to have everything we need.  I am so thankful, and feel so blessed.

By Friday afternoon, I was starting to feel better.  You know what that means, right?


Please ignore the speaker.  It is not part of the decor...

In case you couldn't tell, I LOVE Christmas!!!  I will listen to nothing but Christmas music between now and the end of December.  I will talk about Christmas in my posts and tweets A LOT over the next month.  You have been warned.

So Friday afternoon, I brought the boxes up from the basement and decked the halls while my husband was super-wonderful and put up the lights outside.

And Saturday, up went the tree!

This is the first year that Josh and I have had a full-size tree.  In our old tiny one-bedroom apartment, a big tree never would have fit.  We got this one after Christmas last year.

Words cannot describe how happy it makes me to have this beautiful tree in our living room.  I love it.

Also, we can finally hang this ornament that we purchased the first Christmas after we got married.

Isn't it cute?  Yes, I'm ridiculous, I know.

Whatever holiday you and your family celebrate this season, I hope you have as much fun preparing for it as I do.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to start wrapping presents...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Healing Power

I LOVE music.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you probably have figured that out.  My dad is a music encyclopedia, for rock and roll at least.  I was raised on the Beatles, Paul Simon, The Police, R.E.M (yes, I am in mourning), Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel (both in Genesis and solo), Stevie Ray Vaughn, The Who, Buddy Holly...

You get the idea.  I will forever be grateful to my father for this.  And I still listen to most of these artists.  But of course, I have artists that I love as well.

My three favorite bands are Switchfoot, David Crowder Band (also in mourning over their approaching split) and Jars of Clay.  I am a HUGE lyrics person.  It's the lyrics that draw me in and keep me.  These three bands have such intelligence and thought in their songs.  And I like their theology (which we won't get into--that's a whole 'nother blog post).

Yep, I bought a shirt.
Music brings me great comfort.  I listened to Switchfoot's album The Beautiful Letdown over and over again when my friend died.  DCB and Jars also have songs I listen to during "dark and twisty times," as Sara says.

Things have been kind of dark and twisty lately.  So when I saw on Twitter Saturday morning that Jars was playing in town that night, I knew we had to go.  Due to some general confusion, we missed the Jars VIP preshow.  I was disappointed.  But my wonderful husband scored us some AMAZING seats for the concert itself!

The concert was incredible.  I didn't even realize how badly I needed it until we were waiting in that inevitable line to leave the parking garage.  Music has healing power.  I firmly believe that.

I am SO HAPPY Josh and I were able to go to the Rock and Worship Roadshow.  We sat through multiple acts I'd never heard of, most of whom were not my cup of tea.  But seeing Matt Maher, Jars, and MercyMe made all the waiting more than worth it.

I recorded some video at the show.  Matt Maher sang Hold Us Together and MercyMe sang Mighty To Save, both of which I sang at church in worship choir Sunday morning.  What are the odds?

And Jars sang The Shelter.  Which I've shared and posted about before.  That song makes me think of the Diabetes Online Community.  Forgive the wobbliness of my recording.  I was crying and trying to hold the phone steady at the same time.

Also, I was reminded during the show that the lead singer of MercyMe, Bart Millard, has a son with T1 diabetes.  And I wanted to run up on stage and hug him and tell him all about the DOC and how it's changed my life.  But security would have thrown me out had I tried, I'm sure.

Josh and I paid for our tickets to the concert.  None of the artists or anyone else affiliated with the Rock and Worship Roadshow asked me to write about the concert.I'm just a Jars groupie avid fan.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thank You

Thank you to all the people in my life outside the DOC, who don't have diabetes, who wore blue yesterday.  Or on one of the Blue Fridays.  It means more to me than words can say.  Every time I got a Facebook notification that a person without diabetes (PWoD) was wearing blue for me, it made me want to cry.  To my friends and family members who supported me in that way, thank you.  From the bottom of my heart.

I somehow mustered the courage to send the Blue Fridays video to my coworkers and the parents of my students last week.  Their response was overwhelmingly positive!  Which makes me wonder why I was so nervous to send it in the first place..

Friday afternoon, I got a phone call from a parent.  He called to say that they loved the video, and wanted to do something to support me.  So they bought blue beads and sent them along so my class could all make blue jewelry that afternoon.

Wow.  I managed to eek out a thank you while holding back tears.  When I hung up the phone, I just sat there trying not to cry.  Such a small act, but it meant so much to me.

That afternoon, blue beads were brought forth from a backpack.  I hugged the student, and the student said, "Miss Jessica, there were a lot of kids at school wearing blue today for Diabetes Awareness Month, but they didn't know it!  So I told them!"

Again, cue me trying not to cry.

Blue jewelry was made, by the girls anyway.  Here's my creation, which I plan on wearing every day for the rest of the month.

Oh, and yesterday, another student came up and said, "Look, Miss Jessica, I remembered my blue necklace for World Diabetes Day!"

Thank you.

Excuse me while I go cry again...

Monday, November 14, 2011

What A Difference A Year Makes

Today is World Diabetes Day. And if you're reading this, then you likely already know it.

Image credit IDF

For me, today means a lot of things. It means that I am all decked out in blue. It means that some of my coworkers are also sporting blue. It means that I feel connected to people with diabetes worldwide. This is
our day.

Today also reminds me where I was one year ago. One year ago today, I had only discovered the DOC a few weeks before. I joined Juvenation. C is the very first person in the DOC I ever talked to. She messaged me to welcome me, and the rest, as they say, is history.

I also met Kim through Juvenation. Hers and C's were the first blogs I ever read. And only through their encouragement did I dare to start my own blog and join twitter. And I feel incredibly blessed to be able to
call both these ladies my friends.

One year ago today, I wore blue. I didn't tweet, I didn't blog, and I wasn't FB friends with anyone from the DOC. But I wore blue.

Today, I am wearing blue again. And I am proud to be a part of the family that is the DOC. Thank you all for changing my life.

What a difference a year makes.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: More Blue!

Josh wore blue with me on Friday! :)

And I'm trying to do the Big Blue Test every day between now and World Diabetes Day (Nov. 14th).  Every test means diabetes supplies for people who can't afford them.  Help us help as many people as possible!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I'll Hug Her Next Time

So yesterday afternoon, I had my second appointment with my mental health professional.  I still really like her a lot, and feel good about that decision.

I need to take a moment here and thank everyone for their support.  I knew that you all would back me up, but the amount of encouragement and love I received was truly overwhelming.  Thank you.

As I mentioned in my previous post on the subject, my CDE helped me find my therapist.  And I want to share about that experience so you will understand why I LOVE my CDE!

So because I am a total chicken, I called when I knew my CDE wouldn't be in the office and left her a voicemail.  I was so nervous, I don't even really remember what I said. Something along the lines of "I'm having a lot of trouble with emotional eating," and "can you please help me find a mental health professional?"

When she called back the next day, I didn't answer.  I let it go to voicemail.  Cause I am a chicken.

I was SO NERVOUS going to my appointment with her.  Now let me back up.  I've been seeing the same endo for almost 10 years now.  And I've been working with this CDE (we'll call her J) for at least five years.  If not longer.

I knew that she would be supportive, and I completely trusted her to help me.  But I'd never done this before.

SO nervous...

But I didn't need to be.  J walked me into her office and said, "Tell me what's going on."

And so I did.  About the stress happening in my life.  About the emotional eating.  About how it's been happening for YEARS.  About how it's why my A1c won't come down.

"This is a problem for more people than you'd think," she said, "and I've had other patients go through this too.  I'm so glad you came in.  We'll get this figured out."

And then she handed me a paper with the name of my now-therapist on it.  Experience with eating issues and diabetes?  Yes please!

We then spent some time talking about the DOC.  This was the week after Simonpalooza, so the impact of the DOC was hugely present.  I told her all about the amazing weekend.  About how the DOC has changed my life.  About how all of you is what gave me the courage to finally ask for help.

And she thought it was awesome.

I thought she was fantastic before all of this, but I love her even more now.  That meeting with J gave me hope.  It was the first glimpse of hope I'd had that I wouldn't be doing this to myself forever.  The eating.  There was no judgement; only support.

When I left, she said, "Keep me posted.  I will call if I don't hear from you."  I could see the worry on her face.  I wanted to hug her.  I should have.

I'll hug her next time.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Advocacy In Print

I was going about my business Wednesday afternoon, when I saw this tweet from JDRF CEO Jeffrey Brewer:

I'd heard there was going to be a full page ad regarding the FDA and the Artificial Pancreas (AP), so I was super-excited to see it.  So I clicked the link.

Image credit JDRF

Woah.  I was stopped in my tracks.  I sat there staring at the ad for several minutes, trying to process it all. My initial reaction was something along the lines of, "Holy effing shiitake mushrooms!"  Followed soon behind by, "That's so badass!"

I don't think I was the only one shocked by the ad, and I know there's a lot of varying opinions on the decision to run such an ad.  For what it's worth, here's my two cents.

I freaking LOVE this ad!  So.  Much.  Yes, the 1 in 20 statistic is quite scary*.  Every time I look at the ad, my stomach sinks.  Lows scare the living daylight out of me.


But I still love this.  I have never seen anything from JDRF be so blunt and aggressive in it's approach.  This ad is not aimed at those of us living day to day with type 1 diabetes, or caring for a loved one with T1 diabetes.

It's aimed at the general population.  At people who have no idea what it's like to live with T1.  That's it's a serious disease.  That it's 24/7/365 without a single break.  Ever.  That people are DYING from this disease.  We see the blue candles and live with the fear.  They don't.  This is not the time or place for delicacy.  For being worried about offending people.  For, forgive the pun, sugar-coating anything.

I can only hope and pray that this ad has made some people think.  Has changed some hearts and minds.  Inspired someone to find out more about T1 diabetes, or any kind of diabetes.

I don't place much stock in a cure.  I honestly don't believe I'll see one in my lifetime.  That's why I am so passionate about the AP.  That's where I place my hope.  

It's ok if you don't agree with me.  But we NEED the AP as soon as possible.  LIVES are at stake!

Edit to add: I came across this heartbreakingly honest post regarding the ad from Jessica Apple on A Sweet Life today.  You NEED to go read it.

*I contacted JDRF, and they said the statistic in the ad comes from "Several publications by Philip E. Cryer, MD on hypoglycemiacite estimates of death due to hypoglycemia in patients w/T1D, et al."  They also said to email for more information.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I Won't Be Wearing Mascara For A While

I'm not doing NaBloPoMo this go round.  I just don't have the energy.

I know I've been absent for a while now.  There's been some things going on in my personal life that have  been demanding all my time and attention.  The past few months have been hard.  The health of my grandparents has been declining, and that's putting a lot of strain on my family.  It's been difficult.

This might get rambly, but please stay with me.  I've posted a number of times about my food issues (see here, herehere, and here).  When things are going well, I feel like I have a handle on things.  But then something happens that knocks me on my ass, and I'm back to square one.

I've known for a while that I needed to get some help in dealing with my emotional eating.  I realize that diabetes (along with some other things I've been through) has totally effed up my relationship with food.  It's turned into something I use to attempt to cope with my emotions, and that is not a healthy thing.  My eating is why my A1c hasn't budged.

So with the full support of my husband, my family, and my friends, I finally did it.  I asked for help.

I called my CDE and asked her to help me find a mental health professional (sidenote: there will be an entire post about that conversation because my CDE is AMAZING!).  And just as I had hoped and prayed, she was able to help me find someone who specializes in eating disorders AND has experience working with people with diabetes!  Yay!

When I spoke to her on the phone, this mental health professional said, "My passion is working with people who are eating when they don't want to be."  Yes.  Just yes.  That is me.

I had my first appointment last week.  I really like her, and I believe that she can help me.  And as much as I wish there was a quick fix, I know there isn't.  It's going to be a long process, but I hope and pray that at the end of it, I will be able to cope with my emotions in a healthier fashion.

I'm still overwhelmed by everything, but I know I'm headed in the right direction.  And I have people who love me supporting me.  And this includes the DOC.

Thank you, my DOC friends.  I have read so many posts and heard so many stories from countless people in the DOC who have sought the help of mental health professionals.  Thank you for sharing.  Your courage has given me courage.  I know that like with the diabetes, I am not alone in this struggle either.  Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Oh, and since I doubt I'll make it through a session without crying, I won't be wearing mascara for a while...