Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Another Round in the Ring

Trigger warning: disordered eating.

I feel like I just finished a long boxing match. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

I LOVE the holiday season. The decorations, the carols, the family time, and the overall joy. But part of me is relieved that it's almost over. The part of me that deals with diabetes and disordered eating.

Since Thanksgiving, holiday goodies have been EVERYWHERE. Cookies, candies, pies, you name it. At work, at home, at family gatherings. And every time I encounter a batch of goodies, it feels like a boxing match. I can hear the bell ding.

Oooh, look at that. Yummy! But I really shouldn't eat any. Hm. Was is my blood sugar right now? If it's "in range," I don't want to ruin it. If I'm already high, I really shouldn't eat any more carbs. But maybe if I just have one...

My opponent is myself, and my flawed thinking. In a perfect world, I'd be able to eat one cookie/candy/whatever and be satisfied. But my thought patterns around food are still totally effed up. The more I think I shouldn't eat it, the more I want it. And the more likely I am to binge. It's usually actually best for me to walk away and not eat any, if I can manage it. I can't eat just one.

I am emotionally and mentally exhausted from all the boxing matches. That's not to say things went horribly all the time. They didn't. Mostly, it was similar to Thanksgiving. Could have been better, but definitely could have been worse.

There were moments I definitely binged. Hi there, chocolate chips cookies. And my blood sugars have been a good bit higher than I would like for the past couple weeks. But there were other moments when I was totally surrounded by yummy treats and was able to resist. I spent a lot of time with family, and that was wonderful. I wouldn't trade a second of that time for anything.

I love the holiday season. And I refuse to let diabetes and disordered eating still that joy from me. But I'm not ready for another round in the ring. I'm ready to hang up my gloves and get back to my regular routine. Bring it, 2014. I'm ready for you.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


Last week, I had one of those days. One of those diabetes days, to be more precise. I was stuck in the 300s all afternoon for no apparent reason. Multiple correction boluses and a set change, and that blood sugar WOULD. NOT. BUDGE.

Making things even more frustrating, I was headed to dinner that evening at my parents' house. I was frustrated beyond words, shedding a few tears in the car on the way over. Thankfully, the yummy dinner my mom had prepared happened to be quite low carb, so at least I still got to eat.

My frustration was fairly obvious, so of course my family noticed. My mom, dad, and brother all gave me a hug and did their best to encourage me. Like they always do. I'm so blessed to have such an understanding and supportive family.

My aunt was at dinner too. She's like my second mom, and has been there since my diagnosis. She's also been a nurse as long as I can remember. A cardiac intensive care nurse, to be more specific. I know she worries about me and my diabetes, because of what's she's seen at work. She's seen people with some of the worst complications I can imagine. So you can see why she worries.

We were discussing the stubborn high, and I was telling her that I try not to get upset about it. But sometimes I can't help it. She looked at me and said, "Well, I think you're remarkable."

Tears instantly sprung to my eyes. Coming from her, that meant more than I can even describe. I hugged her, and tried not to cry.

The more I've thought about it, the more I've realized that she's right. Living a life in spite of diabetes or any other chronic health condition is pretty remarkable. WE are remarkable. If you live with or love someone with diabetes or any other condition, YOU are remarkable. You really are!

Just getting out of bed in the morning and making it through the day is a big deal, especially with an attention demanding disease like diabetes. But we do it, day after day. Some days are better than others, but we do what we can to take care of ourselves. That is remarkable.

WE are remarkable.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday the 13th

Today is Friday, December 13th. I do not like Friday the 13th.

I realize that I am not alone in this. There are a lot of people who don't like Friday the 13th. Superstitions and bad luck and all of that.

But I'm not superstitious. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes on Friday, August 13th, 1993. So any time there is a Friday the 13th, I think about that day.

It was the day of my 10 year checkup. My pediatrician is the one that made the diagnosis of T1D. Thankfully, he caught it before I got any sicker. My blood sugar was only in the 500s at diagnosis. I know a lot of people get diagnosed with a much higher blood sugar than that. Thanks, Dr. N.

Since today is Friday the 13th, I've been thinking a lot about my diabetes. Hoping I don't see anything over 300, unlike the last two days. I think I will always dislike Friday the 13th. But the thing is, I know this date doesn't hold any real power. Or mean anything. It's just another day. And today, I choose to focus on the good things this disease has brought me--friends.

Bring it, Friday the 13th. You don't scare me.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Little Encouragement

I couldn't do this without you guys.

Thanks so much for all the support after my last post. It helps more than you can possibly know. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

So Friday was my endo appointment. Thursday night, I was due for a set change. Which I did.  Fast forward to 4:30 am. I wake up all sweaty and gross. And my stomach hurts. I immediately reach for my Dexcom, which shows me north of 300. Apparently the glass coaster didn't make the alarms loud enough that night. A fingerstick confirms a blood sugar of 308. The stomach ache tells me I probably have ketones. 

Into the bathroom I go, and yep, that square turns dark pink. Moderate ketones, and a definitely defunct pump set. And an endo appointment in 4 and a half hours. Of course. Oh well. I change my set, drink some water, and go back to bed.

When I finally manage to get myself out of bed at 8am, my blood sugar is 195 and the ketones are gone. Yay! But I'd better hurry if I want to get to my endo appointment on time!

If you read this blog on a regular basis, then you know how much I love my endo. He's amazing. I apologized to Dr. H for my scatterbrained state, explaining my overnight adventures. He shook his head: "Ketones are no fun."

And then he said, "Everything looks great! Your A1c stayed the same, which is a good thing."

Wait, what? Did he just say my A1c stayed the same? Even after Thanksgiving and my battles with disordered eating? My A1c is still at a place we both agree is fantastic? Wow. Was not expecting that one, but I'll totally take it.

As Dr. H shuffled through papers, I could see my Dexcom printouts. And the very high lines that I knew showed Thanksgiving weekend. As he looked at the graphs, I said, "Yeah, Thanksgiving was hard. The highs are my fault."

Dr. H looked straight at me, unfazed by the high numbers. "You really do a good job."

Those words stopped my self-deprecation. Broke through the guilt. He reminded me that rough patches don't undo everything.

I left that appointment with a spring in my step and hope in my soul. A little encouragement makes a huge difference. Thanks Dr. H.

Now to find some coffee...

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Thanksgiving was wonderful! I love the holiday season and all the time with family it brings. I spent Thanksgiving as I have as long as I can remember: at my grandparents' house. And I loved it. I am so blessed to have such an amazing family. And everyone survived all the togetherness!

There's another element to the holiday season that is my Achilles heel: food. Lots of food. Sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, rice crispy treats, pumpkin pie, apple pie--you get the idea. All this food, in the same house with me. And my diabetes and disordered eating.

If I'm being perfectly honest, things actually went ok. Yes, I ate WAY TOO MANY chocolate chip cookies. Seriously, way too many. It could have gone better. But it could have been worse too. It has been worse. I didn't overindulge much in the other sweets, as I have on previous occasions. My binge eating was limited to the chocolate chip cookies. Though my blood sugars still suffered, despite my attempts to bolus accordingly.

So though things could have been worse, it's the could have gone better part I'm stuck on. My old friend guilt is back with a vengeance. Oh hi there. I didn't miss you. It's been a week since Thanksgiving, and I'm still feeling guilty about my disordered eating patterns rearing their ugly heads. And I hate it.

I hate that I spend time thinking about the food I shouldn't have eaten rather then the amazing time spent with family. I hate that the guilt starts as soon as I finish eating. That part of me dreads the holiday season because of all the food.

Now Christmas is coming, and I'm still feeling guilty over Thanksgiving. More food. More stress. More guilt. And did I mention I see my endo Friday?  I feel so overwhelmed I want to scream!


That helps a little. Talking about it helps too. That's why I share all of this here. Spilling my guts on this blog helps with the guilt and shame. It takes the power away.

I'm also overdue for a visit with my therapist. Talking with her will help too. Especially with the upcoming stress and food of Christmas.  I mean, it's Christmas, for goodness sake! I want to be able to focus on all the joy of the season, not spend my time obsessing over food. I don't want the disordered eating and anxiety to be in charge. Or diabetes, for that matter.

I want to be in charge. Me, Jess. Those other things will still be present, but not the focus. It's Christmas, and I want to focus on joy.

I'm calling my therapist tomorrow. I can do this. One day at a time.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Extraordinary In the Ordinary

Diabetes never takes a break. Not even during a holiday like Thanksgiving. There are still blood sugars to check, carbs to bolus for, pump sets to change, and insulin reservoirs to refill (maybe a few extra reservoirs over Thanksgiving--pie and cookies, anyone?). These routine diabetes moments don't change much. It's just another day with diabetes.

But sometimes, there are extraordinary moments in that ordinary routine. I spent a lovely Thanksgiving at my grandparents' house. One of those routine moments popped up. I needed to put some Opsite Flexifix tape on my Dexcom sensor. The adhesive starts to peel after a couple days. I needed some scissors to cut said tape. So I rummaged around in my grandparents' kitchen till I found some. And I cut the tape.

Then I noticed something that made me pause.


The name on the scissors: Zola. That's my great grandma's name. Which means these were her scissors. She died several years before I was diagnosed with diabetes. I remember her, but not very well. Grammy never saw me live with diabetes.

And yet her presence is still here, making this ordinary moment of life with diabetes rather extraordinary.