Thursday, April 29, 2010

By the Glow of the Pale Pump-Light

I awaken to a shrill beeping sound. In my head, I know what it is. But I'm tired. I reach down and push the buttons on my pump to make it stop. Just like it was an alarm clock with a snooze button.

In my sleep-hazed mind, I know I should look to see if it is informing me of a high or a low. I unclasp my pump from the waist band of my pajama bottoms and lay it on my stomach. Almost too tired to even bring it up to my face.

I lay there drifting, I know, back to sleep. But I shake myself and push the "down" button, knowing it will turn on the pump back-light. My CGMS says 80. But I can tell from the drastically dipping trend line, that I'm probably much lower.

I could roll over and turn on my bed-side lamp. But I don't. I don't want to wake up. And I know where everything is anyway.

I grab for my meter. Using my pump as a dim light, I test my blood sugar. 64.

I don't even zip up my meter case. I just push it to the edge of the bed and grab the juice box that I know sits by my alarm clock.

I down it quickly and roll back over and drift back to sleep.

I wake up with my still unzipped meter next to me. I turn off my alarm clock. I test again. I'm 114.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Music Pick of the Week

This week's pick:

My new motto: I wanna go live in Glee-land.
Cause in have cool things this:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I Wonder....

I wonder..... if people see me and think of me as the diabetic who's name is Cara, or as Cara who happens to have diabetes

I wonder..... if people see me and think if I lost weight and exercised, my diabetes would go away.

I wonder..... if people think of me as sick.

I wonder..... if people pity me.

I wonder..... if I'll end up with complications that will drastically alter my life.

I wonder..... if I will ever not wake up.

I wonder..... if there will ever be a truly closed loop system so I can live my life with less worries and stress.

I wonder..... what it is like to work doing a job you love, and not a job that give you great health insurance.

I wonder..... if I'll ever meet all of my blogger friends.

I wonder..... if people that I love worry about me in regards to my diabetes.

I wonder..... if I can take that worry away from them.

I wonder..... if I'll ever get over the guilt of making my mother's cry.

I wonder..... if being my friend is harder that being someone else's friend.

I wonder..... what I would be without diabetes.

I wonder..... if I'll ever figure myself out well enough to know what I want to do with my life.

I wonder..... if diabetes will be part of that.

I wonder..... if there will ever be a cure.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Birthday Cuppies

Fourteen years ago, my life changed forever. I spent the first 15 years of my life with only a MUCH older brother in the sibling department. My half-brother was 19 years older than my and had already left the home when I was born. But fourteen years ago, as of Monday, I was blessed with a baby sister.
Rachel and I are as different as night and day. With so many years between us, we often disagree. And with so many years between us, there is a fine, fine line between sister and parent for me, which drives her exceedingly crazy.
But she blesses me so much. I'm so crazy about her. She's growing into a fine young lady. She has her moments (what 14 year old doesn't?), but overall she is smart, funny, out-going, and truly cares about people.
When I asked her what she wanted for her birthday cake, all she would tell me was that she wanted light blue and light pink and chocolate cake. So, I had to get creative. This is what I came up with:

My sister loves music.

She sings like an angel.

She has recently taken up bowling, and plans to be on the bowling team when she goes to high school next year.

And she ALWAYS has her crazy pink iPod stuck in her ears (and turned up WAAAYYYY too loud).

She loved the cupcakes and the other small gifts I got her. And I was happy I was able to make her birthday a little more special, just like she's made my life more special.
I love you, Rachel.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Late Post on Endo Visit....

I went to the endo last Monday. I was supposed to post this last week. But sadly, my week was spent doing nothing but working and baking/decorating cakes. So there were no blogs. Sigh.
I love my endo. I am a patient at Vanderbilt University's Diabetes Center. The office is huge. There are many doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, CDE's, etc. When I first transferred to this center, I was concerned that I might feel like a number, or like I never saw anyone I knew.
That was not the case at all. I am on my 4th (5th?) visit if I'm not mistaken. I have seen the same endo, nurse practitioner, and CDE every time I've been there. The office staff seems to been the same (I recognize faces when I go in). Every time I've had lab work done, the same guy has done it. Until this visit, the nurse who checked me in was the same lady. This time was the first time I'd had a different nurse.
I like that. It makes me feel like I'm part of something. Even though I'm sure the doctors and nurses may not remember me every time I'm there, I know that the chances of them remembering me are higher, simply because I see the same person every time. That in itself is a comfort to me.
At this visit, I was scheduled to see the CDE and my endo. I was looking forward to it. I had a list of question to talk with the endo about (one of which was Symlin) written down before I even got there.
For the past several visits (almost a year), my A1c has been stuck at 6.9. Everyone was really happy with that number, but having seen a 6.3 (and held it for 6 months), a 6.9 had been very frustrating to me. The first thing they do when they check me in is my A1c and vitals. It takes about ten minutes to get results back, so I was in the exam room waiting by the time the nurse got my results back. She knew I was anxious to know the results so she stuck her head in the door and said "6.6".
My joy knew no bounds. I'm quite positive I looked like a total idiot as I cheered for myself. But I really didn't care. And still don't. That 6.6 was so much nicer than the 6.9 I'd been glued at for so long. I feel like I had been working somewhat harder at getting that number down, so it was nice to see somewhat of a payoff.
When the doctor came in, I started off by discussing my morning spikes in blood sugars. Almost every day when I get up, my blood sugar is in range. I don't eat anything. I am not a "first thing" eater. I have to wake up some. So I get up around 6:00 and get ready for work. I usually grab something to eat as I'm walking out the door to work at around 8:00. And almost without fail, between 8:00 and 8:30 I start to spike. And it tops out in the 200s before coming back down.
It doesn't matter what I eat, when I eat, or even if I eat. It happens 95% of my work mornings.
Weekends aren't the same. I typically don't have that spike. If I do, it's rare, and not as violent increase or decrease.
This leads me to one conclusion: Work causes my blood sugar to rise. Or more specifically, the stress I feel when going to my job and while I'm working. Don't get me wrong, I'm beyond thankful for my job. But it's high stress, not something I enjoy most of the time, and not something related to my field. But, when a diabetic has great health insurance and a steady paycheck....well, let's just say I don't want to rock the boat.

*cue Glee version....*

During the discussion, I bought up Symlin. My doctor gave me some information on it and told me to think about it and we'd discuss it at the next appointment. I was glad she said that. I wasn't sure I wanted to go on it. But I did want to learn some more about it and wanted to know if she thought it could be something to help me. We also did some adjusting to my basal rate during the week. We increased my basal around the time that I am spiking in the morning and hoping this is something that will help take care of the spike so that I don't have to go on any other medications at this point.
I also asked her about my eyes. As I shared not long ago, my regular eye appointment showed some bleeding in both of my eyes. I was worried about what to do and how to handle the situation. My doctor immediately confirmed that I needed to not only make an appointment with a specialist, but that I didn't need to wait 6 months. She suggested that I make an appointment fairly soon. She basically said, just in case, it's better to have a specialist look at it now and to keep seeing a specialist in the event that I ever needed eye surgery. So, even though I've not done it yet, I will be making that appointment within the next week. I'm hoping to get in to see someone in the next month.
Next up was meeting with my CDE. I <3 my CDE. She actually listens to me when I talk. The first meeting we ever had, I told her flat out that I was NOT a record keeper. All my insulin info and blood sugars are in my meter and pump, so why bother? And as for a food diary, that's laughable. I might keep one for half a day. And then I forget to write something down, I get frustrated and I quit.
When I told her that, she listened. She, instead, worked with what my pump and meter had and talked to me about the types of foods I eat and when and what I snack on. I love that she didn't try to push me to keep records. It can be really frustrating when doctors or CDEs keep at you to do something that you know you aren't going to do anyway.
I shared with her what the doctor had said about my morning spike and she agreed that the spike was more than likely emotionally based.
Then we started looking at the few mornings when I have an above average blood sugar. Typically they only happen when I eat late at night. After she asked me some questions, she (and I) came to the conclusion that the high blood sugars aren't from anything other than me miscalculating doses and insulin to carb ratios because I'm afraid of dropping too low in the night (I live alone, after all).
All in all, she said that I didn't need to do much. But "if I have to pick on something, I'd say quit eating so late at night. It makes your blood sugars go crazy." :) See? I <3 her. Overall, I was pretty pleased. I have another appointment in a few months. Let's hope that these changes in basal rates take care of my morning spike during the week. If they do, maybe I'll be back at my 6.3 (ohhhh....happy thoughts!).

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Tomorrow night. I've been waiting for months for this. Now it's time.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

New Creation, New Method

You all know I live in the South. :) And while many of the things you hear about the South are nothing but myth (YES, we have indoor plumbing. And shoes. And some of us even have college degrees! LOL), other things you may hear lean more toward being truth, than myth.
One of those things (at least where I grew up) is the plethora of camouflage that takes residence in the closets of most of us in the South.
Hunting and camo are pretty regular things in my area. I even had a teacher in 8th grade that actually took the first day of hunting season off work. Totally not lying about that. :P
Anyway, for sometime now, I've wanted to do a camo cake. I had seen some that I liked and some I didn't, but I'd never had anyone to make one for. Most of the people in my family aren't hunters. We have more fishermen.
A couple of weeks ago, I had an "emergency" text from a friend requesting a last minute cake for a child's birthday. And by last minute, I mean VERY last minute. It was about noon on Saturday and they needed it Sunday morning. Luckily, I had a free evening and the desire to bake, so I said yes and asked what kind of things the child was interested in.
As soon as the word "hunting" came out of her mouth, I knew what I wanted to do. Camo cake, here I come!

I understood the basic concept of getting the icing on there. I have learned almost everything I know about cake decorating from the website CakeCentral. I highly suggest it if you are at all interested in learning the art that is cake decorating.
I made my 5 icing colors (I am missing one of the bags in the picture) and got started. Basically, after filling the layers, and adding a crumb coat (a very thin layer of icing that you decorate over), I put the cake in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
When I took it out, I took the 4 camo colors and iced over the whole thing. This is what it looked like at that point:

Not very pretty, huh? I didn't think so either. LOL. I then used a method called the Viva method to smooth the icing out all over the cake.
And no camo is complete without hunting orange accents. So I took orange decorator gel with a small amount of red gel to give it the proper color. A put an orange border and letters on the cake and this is how it turned out:

It was surprisingly easy to make and everyone seemed to be really happy with it. So, mission accomplished. :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Broken and Scraped

Yesterday was one of those days. You know the kind, right? The kind that makes you want to crawl in bed and suck your thumb and hold your blankie in the other? Yeah, that's the kind of day I had yesterday.

It started out with knowing that my car needs new breaks. In fact, I need them YESTERDAY. My mechanic (i.e. my wonderful step-dad) is currently under the weather, so for now I'm driving my car as little as possible. This isn't too difficult for me, considering that I live a total of 0.2 miles from work. The weather has been beautiful for the past couple of days, so I've taken advantage of that and I've been walking to and from work. It's really something I should do more often.

Then, work yesterday was pretty much stress to the max. I try not to complain too much on this blog about my job. I'm thankful for it, even when it's stressful. But yesterday I left work with knots in my back from being so tense. I hate days like that.

Monday nights is community choir practice for me. It's something I can do without being featured (since my voice isn't that great, but not horrible either) and it lets me explore my love of music. When I got to choir practice, I caught my pump on something and SNAP! I broke my pump clip. I use my pump clip all the time. In fact, the only time I don't use it is when I have a dress on and am using the thigh holster or storing it in my bra. And if you know me, my dress wearing is minimal at best.

My pump, and therefore my pump clip, have been through a lot with me in the past (almost) 4 years. I'm not the most graceful person. I even fell down the last couple of steps of my apartment and fell ON my pump one time. And the clip didn't break. But if you look closely at the picture below you can see the scratches where that happened.

But after last night, I was pretty sad about my clip. I can get by, most of the time, with sticking my pump in my pocket, but at night, I clip it to my pajama bottoms, and that's impossible without a clip. So last night I broke out the larger, more bulky holster clip. I hate it. So first thing this morning I ordered another clip. Thank goodness for speedy shipping, courtesy of MiniMed. It should be here by the end of the week.

Well, when I got home from choir practice, I logged onto Twitter to complain about my broken clip, but before I could do that I was tossed into the mix with the many of us in the D-OC who found out we'd been "scraped". Until last night, I didn't know this term, but basically, it means someone was taking out blog posts and posting them as their own with no credit or link back.

To me, this is the ultimate betrayal. It's stealing something from me that can't be replaced. It's someone stealing my WORDS. I was furious, as were many others in the OC. I was switching back and forth from Twitter to Facebook and talking with several other people in the OC. We were trying to figure out who to contact to report the problem. After a while, it was apparent that most of us had done all we could. But I was still upset and it was nearly midnight before I could go to sleep.

I could go into all the reasons why being "scraped" made me feel violated, hurt and angry. But I won't. I'm sure those of you who are reading were probably right there with me. I will just say that this morning, when I got up, the site had taken down EVERY post and posted an apology (in very poor English, but an apology nonetheless).

I had hoped it was the start of a better day. And it turns out that it was. Thankfully. After a day like yesterday, it was nice to have a more calm Tuesday.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Life Choices

A few days ago, Lee Ann, over at The Butter Compartment, posted a blog about being in the minority of people who have chosen not to have children. As I read her blog post, I got fairly emotional and wanted to comment. But then I realized how much I had to say, so instead I talked with her and decided to post my own blog on this very sensitive subject. And while my ideas may vary some from Lee Ann's, I understand her views and I encourage you all to read her post. It is truly moving.

I was diagnosed in 1986. I was never told (that I can remember) that I shouldn't have children, but it seemed to always be a silent understanding that I might not live a long life and that having children could be very hard on me (hello, Steel Magnolias).

I'm a kid person. I love babies. Even when I was 12 and 13, I was helping out in the nursery at church. I went to school to be a teacher. I worked in child care for several years. Even now, I teach a Sunday School class at church to get my "kid quota".
I always remember wanting children, but just automatically saying that I wasn't going to have them; that I would adopt instead. Adoption wasn't a big deal to me, since I was adopted. I never thought twice about it and never really felt like I was "missing out" on anything.

My mother didn't have a biological child until I was 15 and my baby sister was born. I never felt any different being adopted. And I just thought that I'd get my children a more non-conventional way.

When I was in high school, I was terrified of getting pregnant. Therefore, I escaped high school "unscathed," so to speak. It was always in the back of my mind. I had a dream when I was a senior in high school that I was married. I couldn't see who the person was, but I knew his name. And I was crying because I'd found out I was pregnant. I was so scared. In my dream, I remember Mr. Mystery Man telling me that everything would be okay and that we'd get through it fine.

For a girl who doesn't dream on a regular basis and NEVER remembers it, I can still tell you how I felt during that dream and after waking up. I wanted to be strong. I wanted to be happy. But I was scared. And for someone who is decidedly pro-life, my dream self even entertained ending the pregnancy (although I know I wouldn't do that now).

For someone who is fairly young and in decent health, I have seriously considered having my tubes tied. I haven't done it for the simple fact I've not felt the need to push it when I've not been in a serious relationship where I felt pregnancy could become an issue.

I'm creeping toward 30 (I say creeping, since I want to hold off on the big 3-0 for as long as I can ;P ) and as I've gotten older, I've thought more about having a biological child. Until the past 3 or 4 years, I didn't even entertain the idea of having my own child. But being an active part of the D-OC, and having friends who are diabetic and have had children with no problems, I let myself play with the idea a little more.

I don't have many of the health issues that Lee Ann has dealt with, but I share many of her fears. I spent a childhood with semi-decent care (not the best, not the worst). But my teen and young adult years were sketchy at best. I rang in several A1c's that would make any endo cringe. It wasn't until I got out of college that I really took control and made a serious effort to control my diabetes. For a long time, I thought I might have actually been blessed enough to avoid any serious complications from that time in my life. But with the occasional tingling in my feet and my recent eye doctor's visit, I realize that poor care or not, I'm 24 years into a disease that slowly damages every major organ of my body.

Currently, I'm glad that I didn't get my tubes tied when I first decided to. Mostly because I want the option there. But I'm not sure I actually want to have children of my own. And until I'm sure of how I want to do this, I don't want to make any life-altering decisions. My new endo's profile on their website states that she specializes in diabetic pregnancy. And while this comforts me, should the need ever arise, I still am uncertain about how I want to do things.

And I guess I don't need to make any decisions since I'm not even in a relationship at this point in my life. But so many things from Lee Ann's blog resonated with me.

How do you approach NOT having children in a new relationship? While I want to leave the option open, I also don't want to give anyone any false ideas about my becoming a biological parent, when I may chose not to take that route.

Why would I want to cause my body any more damage, risking leaving a child without a mother and a husband without a wife (and a single parent to boot)? Part of that fear may come from having lost an aunt due to uncontrolled T2 diabetes. This left my uncle a single father, and a small child without a mother.

And what if my child developed diabetes? I know you can't control that. To my knowledge, T1 diabetes didn't run in my biological family (although I don't know anything about my biological father). But it is still an increased risk of passing diabetes on. And to be honest with you, I don't know if I could live with the guilt of knowing my child developed diabetes. I had a friend who told me that my adopted child could get diabetes. After all, I did. But at least I would know it wasn't my DNA and my genes that were part of the reason.

Like Lee Ann, I've dealt with many well meaning people who think I've lost my mind. I have a very dear friend who has said to me on several occasions, "You should have at least one of your own. You should experience pregnancy at least once. It is so wonderful." And I'm sure it is. I have several close friends with children. They talk about the wonders of pregnancy. But I may not take that road. Does that make me "weird?" Maybe. Does that make me less of a woman? I don't think so. Because I choose not to have biological children of my own doesn't make me any less of a person. It simply means I've chosen another way.

People make their life choices for a variety of reasons. I've not made a set-in-stone decision at this point. But I believe people should remember that everyone should make the choices that are best for themselves. And that includes whether or not to have a biological child, or even to have children at all.