Friday, December 2, 2011

I showed THAT tree! Yeah! So, there!

Who said being active meant doing the same old exercise? Try throwing a tomahawk for a  while (and the accompanying fetching of said objects). Or, or... you can shiver for a really long time because you just can't plan on this kind of activity when dressing for the day. However, you should ALWAYS wear your fabulous earrings and black patent ballet flats. ALWAYS. ;-D

What are you doing to stay active, now that the weather is turning chilly?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The One Where I Cry Over Milk

Yes, yes, cliche', I know, but it's the truth! I got all teary-eyed in the milk aisle. It isn't the milk's fault, really. The fault belongs to the cookies sitting right beside the milk. I haven't had any cookies for over two months, not that I have missed them. I'm not a big sweetie fan, preferring savory flavors any time, any day. Somehow, though, those cookies just wanted to torture me!

I was already feeling pitiful and edgy, so the inability to just eat some cookies just bowled me over. Any guesses as to what I did?

Yes! You, over there, you understand me!

I totally bought some jelly-bellies and animal crackers. Yes, I lined the animals up in a parade-style line and marched them into my milk. Yes, the jelly-bellies are gone. I love Every. Single. Bite.

Best of all, my blood sugar never went over 115 or under 65!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Telling My Parents

Long story short:

Told Dad= Win!
He didn't flip out at all! He actually commiserated, as he, too, can have pretty yucky lows. He is just glad that I'm doing something to take care of myself.

Told Mom= Win!
She just wants to make sure that I am healthy enough to try to start a family. I'm not sure if that will be a possibility for Hubs and I, but, hey, we won't know till we get my insulin under control.

By the way, it's all I can do not to double-space between my sentences!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

and now I'm verklempt...

This post is coming out of my experience with a class of soon-to-be CNAs (certified nursing assistants) that I had the pleasure of teaching this morning. The subject was dementia and Alzheimer's. We spent three hours discussing the pathology of dementia, when/if it is reversible, signs and symptoms, etc. Then we went over and over and over, again, that folks living with dementias are still unique and special people who need to be respected and treated with dignity and respect. Each student seemed engaged and I really appreciated that. At the end, I wanted to share my story about being a CNA and why I was so glad that they were doing such a yucky and, often, thankless job. Let me share a bit of it with you.

Right after I graduated from high school, I became a certified nursing assistant. It was a great fit! I adore older adults and am a natural "mother hen". I worked the 11pm-7am shift that summer. Talk about some great experience! I was able to hear some of the BEST stories and meet some of the most interesting people. Sure, most of the time the residents were asleep and I would tip-toe around their room, making certain they were safe, warm, and comfortable. There were the icky parts, but, well, that just goes along with it. No biggie. However, when the residents rose in the morning, they were usually so generous and patient with me. Yes, that would be fine to wear today. Yes, they liked how their hair was styled. Along with all the usual morning activities, though, they would often tell about their life when they had young children. They would regal me with stories of The War, trips they had taken, the first time they saw a television. I soaked all of it up! I really enjoyed having a chance to learn so much from them.

I paused after that to take a breath and then told the students the rest.

The most incredible part of my summer, though, came from many of the residents who were no longer able to speak. The residents who hardly ever left their beds. The residents who were preparing for the journey Home. I actually spent the majority of my time in the 4th wing, or the terminal wing. That is where I would ask to be placed every night. I had a calling, still do, to be with the dying.

This made the students sit back and some grimaced. Some of you are probably doing the same thing. That's okay, though. We each have our own unique strengths. I was influenced from a very young age by Mother Teresa (Blessed Teresa of Calcutta). I only knew of her obvious work in India and not of her internal work, but I have digressed. She was a woman that I felt was an example of how I wanted to live my life. I  even contemplated becoming a nun for many years. 

I found a great deal of peace in holding the hand of, really, a stranger, and loving them with all my heart as they took their last breath. This was especially important for those residents who hadn't any family to be with them, or whose family could not emotionally handle the passing of a loved one. I understood. I just had to be there, though, for that person. I had to hold their hand and stroke their arm. I needed to smooth their hair. I needed to let them know that they were cared for and loved. They needed to know that they could Go in Peace. I would hold their hand until they were officially pronounced. I would accompany the men as they bundled up their precious cargo and placed them in the van. Someone had to make sure that that person was treated with dignity, even if they were no longer breathing. They needed a "beautiful death".

I am no saint. I curse more than I should, if ever, really. I think mean thoughts. I have struggles just like you do. 

I ended my story and thanked the ladies, again, for committing to such an important task. One of the gals had started crying and I dismissed class. I had hoped to give her a big old hug, but she left before I could speak with her. I'll never know exactly why she was crying. I hope, though, that maybe she could relate. Maybe she will take on this task, of loving a dying stranger, and make their final moments meaningful. I hope. I pray.

Do you have a calling?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Just call me June

A few of you may be aware, by now, that I like to pretend to be "Little Susie Homemaker".


  • I wear pearl earrings and a pearl necklace. EVERYDAY. (Well, not on Saturdays)
  • I LOVE to bake. I am a pretty good baker, IMHO.
  • I HATE burning supper, or whatever I'm cooking, but it happens almost all the time. Ask Hubs.
  • I adore vacuuming. That is not an exaggeration. It's something about the pattern left in the carpet.
  • I think the best scent in the WORLD is the smell of drying clothes coming out of a home. I can always sniff out laundry day.
  • I also like washing clothes. (Just not putting them away)
  • I really enjoy knitting, even if I am TERRIBLE at it. It doesn't matter, it's just so neat!
  • I have more high heels than I should, but I love shoes. I really want this pair from Meredith. She has said that she will help me create my own pair!

  • I can't stand to have any form of trash in my car. None. Take it with you when you exit, please.
  • I wear cardigans... a lot. Nearly every day.
  • I drink hot tea with honey nearly every night.
  • I love making Hubs side of the bed. It's a compulsion.
  • I don't like to leave the house without mascara. The rest of the face can be bare.
  • I am a sock collector. 
  • I have a collection of gloves, hats, scarves, sunglasses, and coats. I proper lady must be bundled well when leaving the house. I share this obsession with my friend Anita.
  • I would home-school my children, if I had any. Dogs count, right?
  • I have a host of Southern sayings. Just let me know if you need to borrow one, such as, "Sweet butternut squash!"
  • Like the rest of you, I am sure, I have a well-loved collection of Jane Austen novels.

So, I suppose the rest of me is pretty zaney. I would have this hairstyle if it were acceptable in my line of work.

Exercise Really IS Medicine!

First, let me take this headband off... ahh, much better. Now my brain can get some much needed blood and oxygen. (Why do they make headbands so tight, anyway?)

Second, Oops, bgnow 177. Better get my BigBlueTest on. Be back in a bit.
Woohoo! bgnow 133! That's better. I'll do some more cardio when I finish this post.

You know what's amazing? Our bodies. I can't believe that 14 minutes of yoga/pilates, in my office no less, has the incredible ability to get my blood sugar back in check faster than a pill can. Exercise IS medicine! As least for me. I had a yucky headache, a tired back and bum, and slightly swollen feet before I exercised. You know what? I feel like 100% now! I barely broke a sweat!

Take 14 minutes. Do this for you. Whether you have diabetes or not, give yourself the gift of movement. Give yourself the gift of love. You'll be amazed!

P.S., You don't have to have diabetes to participate in the Big Blue Test! The first question asks if you have diabetes, answer "no", if you don't have diabetes. Your exercise and participation can help save someone's life!!!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Blue Fridays and Head Lice

Yes, this IS a schmexy post, indeed! NO, I don't have head lice. YES, I did wear blue today, as I will each Friday in November, to celebrate Diabetes Awareness Month.

I'll cut to the chase regarding the head lice. I've been busy zooming around different counties helping schools conduct flu clinics for the past month. Well, imagine my chagrin when I found out Wednesday that I would be in a lice-infested school one day this week! NOOOOOOO!!!!! Apparently, two of the schools had a quater of their student population suffering from these creepy crawly creatures. (In actuality, I find them fascinating, but I don't want to study them UP CLOSE and PERSONALLY.) So, the kiddos are cute and several of them want me to hold their hand or cuddle them on my lap whilst the nurse gives them their shot or nasal vaccination. I did it, OF COURSE, but... I felt terrible for trying to keep my hair as far away from them as I could. Some of them just melted my heart! Gah!  Okay, that's all I have for lice. Sorry, no terror story.  *Scratches head*

The fun part, I wore a blue streak in my hair, blue diabetes awareness bracelet (thanks to Kim), blue coat, blue sweater, and blue watch today. The sad part, well, I had to take it all off as soon as I got back from the clinic so that I could bathe and wash my clothes. I love you guys, but come on... I just can't get down with the lice.  *Scratches other side of head*

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Greetings from the Half-Sized Scribe!

I've struggled for a few months now trying to decide if I am really interested in creating and maintaining a blog. There is so much to write, but will anyone read it?!? A scientist by nature and an educator by trade, I have found the love and support of the diabetes online community to be such a welcome change from the experience I have had with the medical establishment. This entry was born out of my disturbing interaction with my primary "care" physician.

I've lived with hypoglycemia for many, many years. It was nothing for me to eat and be starving in an hour. My mood would change on a dime from happy and calm to, frankly, bitchy and anxious. The only resolution came from eating, again. Most often, I would absolutely feel sick at the thought of eating. Not emotionally, but physically. I was so tired! I wasn't sleepy, but my body felt as though it was made of concrete. Then the headache would set in, often lasting for hours. The shaking and trembling was unstoppable! I would try to hide my hands, but when I took a bite to eat it was obvious and embarrassing. Of course, my parents both "got the weak trembles" when they were hungry, so we never thought anything more of it. At least, they didn't.

I grew up and went into health care. I started educating folks in my community who live with diabetes. This is when I realized I could have an actual issue that could be serious if left untreated! First came the wait to see a new physician. It took seven months before a slot opened! I was so disappointed in myself on that day. I discovered just how much weight I had gained and my blood pressure was higher than normal. I felt defeated.

 ~Little did I know just how much farther down I would feel in a couple of weeks.~

I left the medical office that afternoon wanting to cry. I had been told to "buck up or quit my job", when I expressed that I felt my anxiety level was growing and I could no longer control it with exercise or meditation. I didn't feel like my concerns over having low blood glucose readings was taken very seriously, either, even though my A1c had risen from 4.1 to 5.0 in less than six months. I did, however, walk out with orders for a 2-Hour Oral Glucose Tolerance Test.

 Fast forward-->

My OGTT came back saying that I was prediabetic. Okay, now what? The advice delivered to me by my physician: lose all that extra weight, quit eating so many high-fat, high-carb foods, and start exercising. (Being blunt is overrated.) He kindly put me on metformin and told me to come back in six months. Let's just say I was less than enlightened. I wasn't given any written instructions or guidelines. I wasn't directed to any classes. Cue the #WTFructose response (thanks, Mike!) I know that I wouldn't have been as angry if I was already involved in diabetes education. Perhaps that's the problem, though. Did my physician feel threatened? Was this the standard response that everyone received?

So, I did what any good, SM-connected person would do: I turned off all my gadgets and gizmos and hid in my cave till I could bear to see the light.

I went from a Type-3 (someone who cares about someone living with diabetes) to a T0.5, I think is what Jeff called me. I don't have diabetes, but I do have "insulin issues". Right now, my pancreas doles out insulin like it's candy (teehee) and my liver grabs every bit of glucose it can and doesn't let it go. My body thinks I'm starving, but the scale says I definitely live in a well-fed country. This will probably change over the course of my life. It is highly likely that I will develop Type 2 diabetes. Here's the thing, though: I need to take care of myself regardless!

I can happily report that, while the metformin doesn't stop all of the lows, it has helped my liver start to let go of its storage room of excessive glucose. I have been exercising more and have started to lose some weight. I feel like I can safely lose up to 30 more lbs, but will be healthy if I lose 20 lbs. I don't expect to look like I did in my 20's, but I do want to feel good and lower my risk for cardiovascular diseases and metabolic disorders.

The sad part is... I still feel sad and alone. Hubs knows about my insulin-resistance, but I haven't been able to tell my parents or family. Only one of my friends knows and one co-worker. I fear that my mom will be overly-worried and my dad will get mad and blame it on me for gaining weight. My mom even tries to deny that her father had Type 2 and passed on from complications. I guess I am worried about the judgement that goes along with diabetes. I was raised in a home where weight was a constant issue and the person was always to blame. I understand that I am genetically predisposed to insulin issues, but the psychological side is that I somehow caused this. It's true that I wasn't as active as I need to be, that I was eating fast food too often, that I wasn't finding better methods of dealings with stress. Is this what I did to get glucose problems? Again, I know I'm on the right track, but I still feel so alone and guilty.

Let's add one more inane moment from my physician. Thanks to Scott I have a wonderful little monitor and some test strips to check my blood glucose levels. Thanks to Sarah Jane I know how to use the do-dad. However, those tiny strips aren't reusable. I asked the physician for a prescription to get more. I was then asked, in a rather incredulous tone, why I was testing? I don't need to test at all since I'm not on insulin. Why am I testing up to four times a day?!? He was certain that my insurance would not cover strips, even though I have a diagnosis of hypoglycemia.

*Pardon me, I need to bash my head into something hard.*

Let me get this straight, I am a PROACTIVE person who wants to PREVENT a progression of problems, but my physician just wants to sweep me under the rug? I am bothering him by trying to correct my lows, without over correcting and then bombing again? I don't need to test when I am trembling so badly that I can't eat or answer simple questions like what's my name? It's no big deal when I start to feel low and I'm out in the middle of no name county driving over twisty roads?

Screw you, physician. I pity any of your patients with issues.

Thank YOU, DOC, for picking me up and dragging me along, even when I'm cranky and hermit-ish.