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Sunday, May 29, 2011

An Interview with My Teenage Son

J. and the Pom.

I decided to quiz my fifteen year old son about diabetes.  Does he have a clue what I go through on a day-to-day basis?  I was worried about the answers I’d get.  All in all, I think he rocked!

Me: What type of diabetes does mom have?
J-Man: *Rolls eyes* Type 3?  HA, HA, just kidding mom, type 1.

Me: What is Type 1 Diabetes?
J-Man: Type 1 means your pancreas stopped working, the other type you can get from eating too much I think.

Me: What types of problems can diabetes cause?
J-Man: Well, first off – that kit (Glucagon) upstairs?  I’d be worried.  I’d be paranoid, probably wouldn’t be able to sleep for like, an extra two hours.
 
Me: What do you think is hardest for people with diabetes?
J-Man: I eat everything in plain view.  My friend calls me the “Human Locust”.  I’d be very, very angry if I couldn’t eat what I wanted to, when I wanted to.

Me: Do you know what a “normal” blood sugar is for me?
J-Man: 90?
Me: Nice!  I’d love for my blood sugar to hang around the 90-100 range at all times.  Wish that was the case.  I try!

Me: Why do I sometimes get really silly? Other than the fact that I’m just really juvenile to begin with, I suppose.
J-Man: Um, you do that when your sugar is really high?  *Holds Pomeranian and makes her speak*
Rory the Pomeranian: NO! It’s because she is drunk off her arse. 
Me: Gah!  Language!  The dog does NOT swear thankyouverymuch.  Not even in British-American slang.  *Contemplates editing this out of the interview*
J-Man: Sorry mom!!!  *Smile*
Me: It is when I am very low that I act drunk off my arse…Geez.  

Me: How many shots do I take every day?
J-Man: One when you wake up right?
Me: Two.
J-Man: Okay.  *counting on fingers* Two before breakfast, one at lunch, one at dinner, and one at bedtime, so five right?
Me: Good job!!! Yes!!!

Me: Would you be able to give me a shot?
J-Man: If it was life or death, yes.  Otherwise, I don’t think I need to.

Me: How do you know if I need a shot from the red kit (Glucagon) upstairs?
J-Man: Ah, I know you told me this.  I honestly don’t remember, I think you’d be very unresponsive.  You’d be sweating right?
Me: Good answer J.  Yes, I’d be very unresponsive and sweating.  You would know that I needed help.  I may not be able to tell you though.  You can always call Grandma or Dad if you need help.  We will watch the video again on how to do the shot.  You are an AWESOME teen and I’m so impressed that you know SO much about my diabetes.  LOVE YOU J-BEAR!!!
J-Bear and I...many, many years ago.

On a side note, I wanted to share that several years ago J. happened to bust into my bedroom in a panic because he thought I might have gone low in my sleep.  His father had left for work and J. wondered why I didn’t wake him for school.  I explained that he was off school that day so I thought we’d sleep in.  I was amazed that he raced to my rescue!  He was shaking and scared, but he was totally ready to throw down against diabetes.  In an emergency, I have total faith that J. would be able to handle it if I went low.  I’m thankful to have such an awesome kid!!!   

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Walk in the Park

After my last post about exercise, or rather lack of – I decided to focus on being more active. 

It was GORGEOUS here today so I headed to a nearby park.  The birds, shocked to see me again no doubt, chirpily cheered me on – as if to say “LOOK AT YOU”!  I felt just like Snow White, if Snow White was a clumsy blonde in a mismatched outfit on laundry day. 
I did a few laps and thought about heading home.  I stopped for a moment in the shade of a giant tree, just staring out at the park, at nature.  I felt lucky to be there, I wanted to keep going.  I figured I could cut through the middle if I got tired of walking, or needed extra emergency sugar (which was in the Jeep at the edge of the park – just in case).  One more lap, I told myself.  I ended up so blissfully lost in thought (or distracted by all the singing birds) that I missed the exit path and kept walking.   
I walked for several miles.  It was a great walk.  Not a power walk, or a jog, just a walk – but it’s a start.  The fresh air made me feel happy to be alive, and the catcalls I received from a group of guys in a car made me realize…I still got it.  J

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Getting Back on Track


My embarrassingly dusty step benches, weights, and yes – even VHS tapes.  I swear it wasn't 1995 the last time I used these.  Though some of it has been around since then!
 
“I think you should exercise more “.  Lucky for my husband he followed that up with – “I’m not talking about your weight, I just think it would help your diabetes and I want you around for a long time”.  My response?  “Um, excuse me Mr. Perfect, didn’t you just see me doing the Running Man after I tested my blood sugar and declared a glorious reading of 92?” 
In his defense, Mr. Perfect works out 5x a week.  I generally cook, clean, read, write, or zone out online while he works out.  My exercise yesterday consisted of clipping my Pomeranian’s toenails.  This is not an easy task.  I might as well have been trying to put socks on an octopus.  Don’t get me wrong, I get activity.  I take the stairs at work, park further from the building, do laptop curls while I wait for my computer to boot up, that sort of thing, but the intensive “sweatabetes” sessions have gone M.I.A.     
About the time I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at eighteen, I was in the habit of taking two (two!!!) aerobics classes five (five!!!) days a week.  I was at my healthiest when the sugar hit the fan.    
Hubby’s comments got me thinking though that I really should be getting more exercise.  My diagnosis was almost seventeen (seventeen!!! Sorry, I’ll knock that off now) years ago.  I need to get back on track and stay on track.  I was doing well during the warmer months, but during winter in Chicago, I got lazy.  Who hasn’t?  Um, please don’t tell me if you haven’t.  J
Exercise for a diabetic consists of more than just tying on your running shoes and hitting the trail.  Worries cloud the mind.  Worries like – how quickly will my blood sugars drop?  Where did I put all my shiny medical I.D. necklaces?  Why am I not wearing one right now?  Will I pass out at the park and have some stranger trying to force feed me something until I choke?  How do I stash emergency fruit gummies or a juice box in my pocket-less workout getup?  Underpants gummies are just wrong and sports bra gummies or a third boob in the shape of a juice box isn’t much better.      
On the other hand, hearing my husband of nearly ten years (who’s seen me at my best and definitely my worst), say he wants me around for a long time.  It’s enough to make a girl get off the couch and brave the trail.  I want to be around a long time too.  Perhaps I’ll bring Mr. P. to help carry my snack arsenal and fend off strangers with choking hazards and good intentions.  He wants me around.  J  How can I argue with that?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

What We’ve Learned. Diabetes Blog Week Day #7

What We’ve Learned.  Diabetes Blog Week Day #7
I learned that…
Coming out of the closet this past year wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought it would be.  Don’t freak out (or get excited) Hubby, I’m talking about the Diabetes closet.  :D  I hid my diabetes for far too long, I’ll never do that again.
There are kids out there, tiny ones even, that make Bruce Lee look like a wimp.  Diabetic kids are the toughest little people, nothing but love and respect for those little warriors – and their moms!!!!
The Diabetic online community is SO tight knit.  I am thankful to have met you all and hope that we stay in contact…by the way, did someone say D-Prom?!?!?
I am already working on hairstyles for D-Prom…how about this one? 

Kidding!  The above image is from the Diabetic Living photo shoot…I will freak out at any moment and pull it off this wall.  Geez hubby, did you really have to zoom in so tight???  Yikes!
On a serious note, I have never experienced warmth from people I never met like I did over this past week.  As long as we are in this boat, it’s nice to know someone will toss a lifesaver, even dive in after us, if we should fall.  Thanks to EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU IN THE DOC for being such a lifesaver.  :)
                                                                                                   

Saturday, May 14, 2011

SATURDAY SNAPSHOTS! Diabetes-Blog Week Day #6

SATURDAY SNAPSHOTS!  Diabetes-Blog Week Day #6
BRET MICHAELS!!! The Arcada in St. Charles, IL in August of 2010. 
GREAT CONCERT made even better because he saw me holding up my Tour de Cure “I RIDE WITH DIABETES” ADA jersey and stopped, smiled, and waved.  LOVE HIM!!!  J

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Awesome Things I’ve Done Because of Diabetes!

The Awesome Things I’ve Done Because of Diabetes
D-Blog Week 2011 Day #5
Meeting AWESOME people that are just like me has to be number one.  Shout out to the D-Peeps!  I LOVE meeting each and every one of you!!!
Riding in Tour de Cure on my Birthday to Accept Diabetes…and being included in a magazine because of it – ROCKED.  

Not only did I ride, and have a kick ass time, but I wrote an article about my experience called Tour of Acceptance…that was featured in DIABETIC LIVING MAGAZINE!!!  *Insert teenage girl scream here*. 
The whole experience was one that I’ll never forget.  An amazing editor at the magazine surprised me by asking if I would be photographed at my next event, which was the “Step Out” Walk for diabetes along with my husband and sister.  Um, YES!!! 
A make-up artist came to my house, a photography team met me at the walk, and I got to sparkle for a day.  The photo shoot lasted about half the day, and I never felt stronger.  As we fell asleep that night, Hubby told me how amazing he thought I was.  It was one of the best days of my life. 
P.S. You can see the article and photos in the SPRING issue of Diabetic Living, or on their website link I have below.  YAY! J

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Ten Things I Hate About You, Diabetes D-Blog Week

Ten Things I Hate About You, Diabetes
2011: Day 4 D-Blog Week
1.      You made me feel defective.  I was embarrassed and ashamed of you and I started hating myself.  I felt weak and helpless.  Who knew you’d end up proving how strong I am?
2.     You hurt my loved ones.  You know my dad?  The football player-esque guy with the – don’t mess with me persona?  You made him crumble at my diagnosis.  He cried for the first time I can recall.  He said he wished he could take you instead of me.  It ripped him apart to watch you invade his daughter, but he was helpless.  You don’t make deals. 
3.    You cause me pain.  A lot of it. 
4.    You make me wonder.  Make me overanalyze every stupid little patch of dry skin, every funny little eye twitch, and every sharp pain in my toes.  You. Haunt. Me.
5.    You make it ridiculously difficult to lose weight.  Thanks for throwing those un-explained lows in there…that caused me to eat EVERYTHING in the house.  The “I’m not hungry” option doesn’t fly when you have diabetes and craploads of insulin in your system.    
6.    Ever since you and Glucagon spent that wild night together, I’ve been scared to sleep.  You made me seize, and lose consciousness.  I had to have total strangers rescue me.  The side of my tongue is still scarred from that night, all that pain and all that blood. 
7.    You want to take me away too young.  I am aware that, if I let you, you’ll rob me of my long life.  I want to grow old with my husband.  I want to watch my sons grow into less worrisome creatures.  Less worrisome creatures that have awesome kids and wives.  I. Want. To. Be. There.
8.    You didn’t come with any FREAKING instructions!  This diabetes product I got doesn’t work right, way too many kinks.  I’m SO calling customer service.  
9.    You invade Kids.  How could you?  They are just kids!  You are like the Boogeyman, creeping up when no one is looking.  You take away childhoods, cause discrimination, cut dreams short.  I get too angry thinking about this one.  Can’t continue.
10.  You nearly killed me.  More than once, I almost lost my life because of you.  I will not cower again.  I will not hide.  I will battle you.  I will work to spread awareness and empower others struggling with diabetes.  We. Will. Fight.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Diabetes Blog Week 2011: Day 3 – Diabetes Bloopers

My middle name might as well be blooper.  I walk into doors, trip over cords, etc.  My mom currently has a black eye from an incident with a car door so I’m thinking it’s hereditary.    
It was a gorgeous sunny day of vacation and we were getting ready to head to Great America, a theme park with some kick-ass roller coasters.  Fresh from the shower I realized my blood sugar meter was downstairs.  I wanted to test and correct if need be since I didn’t want a wonky blood sugar to get in the way of our big fun or make me have to pee during the long car ride, so I headed downstairs to get it wearing a towel.  Big mistake number one. 
We keep a dog gate on the stairs to corral the resident Pomeranians.  Yep, right there on the staircase, about four stairs from the bottom.  Smart – right?  Oh, and I should mention we have no railing.  Those are big mistakes number two and three.  In my hurry and excitement, I lost my balance and I fell/leapt over the dog gate and down the last four stairs.  In a panic I grabbed the face of the Grandfather clock on the landing and literally ripped it off the clock.  Big mistake number…?  I found myself naked, on top of the fallen dog gate and clutching the grandfather clock face.  Yes, (UGH!) naked.  My towel was still on the stairs.  Thank god my teenage son was still sleeping at the time.  Talk about scarred for life! 
There I was, hanging onto the clock face with a death grip.  For some reason I couldn’t let go.  I just sat there kneeling on the stupid plastic dog gate, naked and whining.  My husband paused his video game, came over, took away the clock face, picked me up and went right back to playing.  I should mention this fall-down-the-stairs thing is a pretty regular occurrence.  I’m trying to cut back.
I’m pleased to report that the grandfather clock made it through the ordeal with barely a scratch.  The dog gate is still perched haphazardly on the stairs, taunting me.  To this day, every time I visit, my dad asks if I have a railing (sadly, the answer is always no).  We like to live dangerously. 
The good news is that while I was scraped and sore, I was not broken.  My husband wasn’t so sure we should go since my ankle was a bit swollen.  If there is one thing about diabetics, it is that we are tough.  We push through pain every single day, it’s what we do.  We had our day at the theme park, and limp or not, it was epic.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

In honor of the 2nd Annual Diabetes Blog Week, the writing prompt today was “Letter Writing Day” where we write letters to our condition. Here goes…

Dear Diabetes,       
May I call you D.?  You and I have lived together for nearly seventeen years now.  Every birthday I cringe.  Not because of my advancing age you see.  I’m proud of my age (almost 35!) and I celebrate life with each birthday.  I cringe, because it is another year we are together.  It’s always there in the back of my mind.  Every birthday is a year closer to the possible complications we face.  I love my life and I want to be healthy for as long as possible. 
There are people that don’t think diabetes is that big of a deal, I beg to differ.  You never give me a break.  I cut you slack when you act up, but you never let me have an “oops” where I forget to take my medicine, never allow a miscalculation of carbs, never let me fall asleep without eating.  The worst part of all is that even when I do everything right, you get sneaky.  You and the flu virus get along about as well as Pit Bulls at a dogfight.  We literally almost died that year.  You know what I’m talking about D.  No one should ever know what it is like to have a blood sugar over 800.  The ER said it was the second highest blood sugar they’d ever seen.  What did I ever do to you?
With my grievances I will also give you credit.  It was good of you to leave me alone until I was eighteen years old.  Seeing young kids diagnosed makes me so angry.  It’s not okay for a young child to have to go through this.  At eighteen I sure wasn’t ready, but really, is anyone ever ready for you?
I won’t lie.  I’d do anything for a cure.  Though, we are similar to a married couple.  We can have a long and happy life together – despite our bickering, as long as we vow to honor, love and cherish each other, both in sickness and in health.  I, Meagan, promise to respect you in your successes and in your failures, to care for you in sickness and in health, to nurture you, and to grow with you throughout the seasons of life.
Yours Truly,                                                                                                                                      
Meagan 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Night of the Missing Glucagon


I’m a worrier.  As a worrier, I have a lengthy list of fears.  Spiders – check!  Zombies – check! Probable lack of hygiene among fast food workers – check!  But there is one fear, one that is definitely at the top of my list.  It’s directly above getting my hand stuck in a feminine product vending machine again.  Yep, been there, wasn’t pretty.  What can I say?  The machine ate my quarter. 
I digress.  I try like hell to stay on top of my blood sugars, but as any diabetic can tell you – sometimes stuff goes awry.  My biggest fear is having a low blood sugar episode in my sleep.  I generally run my sugars a little higher at night because of this fear, though, I know full well that this is not necessarily a good tactic either.  Here's the thing, I sleep alone more often than not.  The comfy king size is my favorite place to fall into at the end of the day, while hubby gets cozy  on the couch.  I like a quiet and dark sleeping environment.  He prefers video games, television and lights, not to mention – snoring Pomeranians.  Come to think of it, I have no idea how the man gets any sleep down there, but, I digress again.
I say goodnight as I head upstairs and tell him if my sugars have been lower than usual “Hey check on me in the morning okay?” “Uh” he’ll grunt as his avatar gets shot on Xbox and interesting language ensues.  “Um, I don’t feel like dying tonight so check on me!” I whine a bit, hoping the word “dying” will command some sense of urgency.  “I will Baby” he says without taking his eyes off the game.  Usually he does.  A majority of time he even throws in a nice backrub, sometimes a bonus foot rub.  Once in a great while he forgets.  I’m not blaming him for forgetting.  In the thirteen years we’ve been together, he’s never actually witnessed a hypoglycemic episode where I lost consciousness.  Life can be unpredictable and occasionally he finds himself in the midst of a chaotic morning with emergency work calls and Pomeranians with wonky stomachs.  Checking for a seizing, sweating, shaking wife can slip a dude’s mind. 
I know why I’m so afraid.  In all the years I’ve been diabetic there was one time that I lost consciousness during a low blood sugar episode.  It was while I was fast asleep, almost 15 years ago. I was living with a boyfriend who woke to a bed soaked in sweat and me shaking, seizing, and unresponsive.  We had no glucagon in the house.  My boyfriend tried putting syrup in my cheeks, sugar-free syrup unfortunately.  He soon surrendered and called 911.  The paramedics and the fire chief stood in my bedroom as I bit my tongue repeatedly and became, in their words – “combative”.  They transported me to the emergency room where I woke up vomiting from the glucagon.  I am truly thankful for life experiences that teach me lessons, but it was one hell of a lesson, one that seems unfair for anyone to have to learn.  Thanks to that night, I’ll forever remember to eat before going to bed and I own a vast supply of cute pajamas – just in case. 
I now sleep with a glucagon kit on my nightstand as well as a tube of frosting – my security blankets so to speak.  Once in a while I check the expiration dates on them and each time I do, I feel blessed.  Neither has ever been opened, and I hope never to need them.  The fears associated with my diabetes makes all my others pale in comparison.  Give me a questionably prepared fast food cheeseburger served by a zombie with a spider on his shoulder over diabetes any day.  
I know I can’t let fear consume me.  My family has had a few training sessions on how to administer glucagon, and we review every so often.  Visit www.lillyglucagon.com to view a video showing how to recognize and treat severe low blood sugar.  It's important to be prepared.  Lately, my husband’s car keys have been winding up in our room at bedtime, so he simply cannot forget to check.  If I ever need him to respond, I know he’ll be able to handle it.