Thursday, July 27, 2006

Caught Up in The Numbers

I had a nice day at work - focused and productive. I was happy to see one of my friends at the bus stop and we exchanged pleasantries about the weekend coming up. Then another person came along and said "oh, how can you stand it out here - it's 90 degrees!" Well, until then, I hadn't thought a smidge about the weather - no opinion whatsoever - it's July in Minnesota, no more, no less. But.......within a few seconds I started to feel a tad uncomfortable, and craned my neck to see the digital thermometer on the bank up the street. It said 96 degrees (in direct sun) and then I noticed that my face suddenly felt flushed, my hair was starting to frizz and my skin felt like the sweat was oozing out in big honking drops. All because of the numbers...............the numbers that dictate how we should feel at a certain temperature.
Since I started working on my control, I think a lot about numbers and sometimes they tell me how to feel. When I get on the scale and the numbers haven't changed, I feel like a big fat cow and hear "nothing's gonna make you look good today, so don't bother putting on anything nice". When I look at my pedometer at the end of the day and see 9950 rather than 10,000 steps, I hear, "you are lazy and undisciplined - why even bother". When I take my blood pressure and see 128/75 I hear "that's toward the top of the target range - I'd be really worried if I were you".
And when my dawn phenomenon is very active and I wake up with a blood sugar of 180, I hear "ha - your day is off to a rotten start so you might as well stop at Starbuck's and get a nice gooey cinnamon roll".
The numbers can change my mood in the second that it takes them to appear.
Yes, I am thankful for the wealth of information that numbers provide - when my meter tells me my blood sugar is 42, it's time to treat the hypo; when my A1C goes down .5 of a point, it's time for a pat on the back.
But, the next time the numbers threaten to throw me into an irational, undies in a bundle tailspin of shame, apathy, fear and depression, I'm going to calmly say, "you're not the boss of me" and walk away.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Them Bones.....................

Good golly, it took me awhile to get the hang of all this - templates, settings, formatting, editing, but I think I'm on my way.
About a year and a half ago I fell on the ice and broke my ankle, needing 2 plates and 2 pins and 8 weeks on crutches. Every time I went to the clinic I was upset and angry that the Dr.'s main focus was the diabetes -
"because of the diabetes, the bone might not heal", "because of the diabetes, the incisions might become infected", "because of the diabetes......blah blah blah". It was an endless tirade that remnded me of things that I knew were true but were tucked away in the back file. I even heard the nurses out in the hall whispering "she' diabetic". I felt like standng in the middle of them and swinging my crutch 360 degrees and whacking as many people as possible.
But, thankfully, I healed quickly and completely. The day I looked down and saw shoes on both my feet was fabulously liberating.
About a month ago I started having weird pain on the top of the same foot, and immediately went to the symptom checker websites (the hypochondriac's gold mine) and concluded that I should be evaluated for a stress fracture. Went back to the same clinic and this time the doc said, "we'll have to do a full set of xrays of the lower leg and foot, just to be sure your ankle's not falling apart - there's an uncommon complication callet 'Charcot's joint' and if you've got it you're in big trouble". Well, I'm familiar with Charcot - one of my cousins had it and was completely disabled. He left the room and that familiar gut wrenching cold sweat terror sank in, that primordial fear that leaves you pleading to whoever will listen, "please, not me". I hate that more than any of the other unpleasant emotions that accompany a health issue. It is paralyzing and send your common sense reeling away.
After many drawn out minutes, the xrays were taken and transmitted to my computer file. He pulled them up on the screen and said, "the ankle looks fine, and stress fractures don't show up on xrays". So, I am scheduled for an MRI and some physial therapy.
I am disappointed in myself, becaue I was so sure that I'd gotten stronger, much stronger in the last couple of years during my retinopathy experience, feeling that I could handle whatever else came along, but there I was, a near basket case in the ortho clinic.
I asked the PA if I could continue to walk on it and go shopping, (because I had taken the whole day off) and she said "sure" so off I went to the Mall of America and consoled myself with some picket fencing and sidewalks from LegoLand.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

My Maiden Voyage

Greetings to everyone in the circle. This is my maiden voyage in posting. I ran across an article by Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer in Yoga Journal and found she had written a book, went to her website, didn't know what a "blog" was and had to find out, went to Scott Johnson's page, found out he was a fellow Minnesotan, and here I am. Diabetes has led me down some rocky paths over the years and now I'm about to take a side trip.
I grew up in an extended family laden with Type 1's - my grandmother had 12 brothers and sisters and their grandchildren's generation was afflicted - 36 of us at this count. By the time I was diagnosed I had witnessed nearly every devastating complication and after a few months of "good-girl compliancy" said "f--k it" and decided that if I was gonna end up like one of them, I might as well have some fun along the way. I spent 25 years wandering around with a blood sugar of 350 or more, sometimes feeling smug that nothing bad had caught up with me. I ate what and when I wanted (and never gained any weight). The only sensible thing I did was convert to multiple daily injections when they became the treatment of choice - somehow that assuaged the guilt from the other stuff I was doing. But even with that aspect, I embraced self destruction like a crazywoman and reused syringes and injected through clothing.
About six years ago I nearly died during an episode of ketoacidosis, and believe me, I was ready to go. Yet ten days later I was on the sidewalk outside the hospital, waiting for a cab, thinking "now what"?
There was no big "aha" moment, but it was the beginning of the cleanup of my act. Since then I've had several A1C's under 7, and this last January learned that the microalbumin in my urine had completely disappeared. But facing the reality of the disease left me in a major state of clinical depression. When I finally found a med that worked, it was refueled by a stint with retinopathy.
But my life today is pretty okay. I work and do my job well; I'm a good friend and family member; I have many interests in diverse areas and thankfully the reasonable health that allows me to pursue them.
Spilling my guts in these few words has left me emotionally exhausted.
As I write this I still think it's about somebody else - no, not me. But, when I read everybody's wonderful posts and discover that other people with diabetes are extremely bright, articulate, compassionate and funny, I may come to see that it's not such a bad clan to belong to after all.
Build on the victories.