went for a walk today

May 4, 2012

I went for a walk today. By myself, with my iPod. That shouldn’t be a big deal, except it sort of was.

Background: About a year ago, I had to get some serious dental cleanings–underneath my gums, with laser treatments, because the gums had just begun to recede a little and possibility for infection was high. I have never had any cavities, and have always brushed and flossed, so I was surprised and not thrilled about my gums getting all sensitive (moody gums! who needs that?). That’s when I first learned about the connections between diabetes, heart disease, and gums. Criminey. Like we need one MORE diabetes-related complication to worry about.

My amazingly awesome dentist (I mean it, he’s wonderful) let me know that I couldn’t have the treatments while I was trying to get pregnant in case the fertility treatments actually worked, and by the way, all the fertility hormones I was taking were likely causing the problems with my gums and making the risk of gum disease even HIGHER. That’s JUST what I wanted to hear. EXCELLENT.

But I could appreciate the idea of not battling the hormone-intensive insulin resistance for 6-8 weeks, the amount of time needed for 4 extensive gum treatments and recovery. So I decided to pair the dental work and break from extra hormones/stress with some extra attention to my BG and taking care of myself, and thought what the hell, let’s throw some exercise in there as well just for fun.

I should explain–exercise has NEVER been fun for me. I have regularly exercised at a few times in my life, and the only time I didn’t absolutely hate it was when it was related to doing something else that I loved: marching band practice in high school, for example, or multi-day DisneyLand vacays, or other walking/touring vacations. I was doing those things because they were activities that I loved, and the exercise just came along with it. I could endure that as long as I had the other, better things to do for me.

Exercise to make my body more fit, healthier and feel better? Hell, no. I’ve also struggled through many a time period trying different exercise programs, plans, classes, videos, whatever, and hating the daylights out of it, and quitting almost immediately. I never enjoyed it. Ever.

So this decision to move my body through space and time with the only intent being “taking care of myself” was a big deal for me. I was prepared to hate it the same way I’d hated it all the times before. But I decided I was just going to try it, with no expectations and no big goals attached to it, other than just getting myself out the door and doing it.

I decided I would make it as easy as possible for myself. I would just walk, in our lovely cute neighborhood, in the morning before A. and Ms. Diva got up. I wouldn’t take either of our big dogs, because they sniff and ponder and pee and meander, and that’s annoying when I just want to move.  (did I just say that?) And I wouldn’t worry about how long or far or fast or anything I was going. I’d just go outside and start.

I loved it. LOVED it. That’s so cray-cray, I can’t even believe it. Truth.

So, I kept going! I walked about 30-40 mins. every other day, and then every day, and then I started going a little faster. Running? Sure. I was happy, so very happy. The endorphins lasted pretty much all day. I started losing weight. My insulin requirements kept going down, down, down. I was drinking apple juice for lows several times a day. Insulin resistance? Pretty much gone. I went through nearly 3 months like this, and was a changed woman.

Then sometime in mid-June, I woke up, put my feet on the floor and felt like someone was poking sharp knives up through my heel. Damn it. Hello, plantar fasciitis. Really? REALLY?!?

Hello, primary care doc. Hello, podiatrist. Hello, online searches for self-care. Hello, physical therapy and ice packs and stretching and new shoes and new socks and sleep splints and…and…for 6 months. Meh.

No more walks. I switched to a gym, rode exercise bikes, turned my iPod up really loud to drown out my pissiness at my right foot for hurting so much. Then I got bored with the gym, and the winter darkness and rain began, and life got back in the way and work got intense and so…the exercise stopped.

I walked for things I had to do, with Ms. Diva, with the family/dogs, to run errands, for events, etc. We went to Disneyland in the fall, and my foot made it through that okay. By this spring, it stopped feeling like it had shards of glass all up in it, and just ached sometimes. But I wasn’t walking for me anymore.

Lately, I’ve had enough of that. I’m not doing fertility treatments, it’s spring, the sun is out, the weather is gorgeous, and it’s time. I need this. I need to think again about taking care of me. Just for me.

So I went for a walk today. No running (although that would be my dream again someday), no expectations, just walked. Lady Gaga, Depeche Mode, U2, Joan Jett, and me. It ROCKED.

 


this morning I looked in the mirror and… #hawmc day 12

April 12, 2012

This morning I looked in the mirror…

And saw 39 years of me.

6:41am #bgthen 72

A tired mama who should go to bed earlier.

A professional researcher and writer who’s looking for her next big project.

Brown eyes. Tousled dark blonde hair that gets darker by the year, yet I still like it in its natural state. Summer sunshine will provide some fun highlights.

Hair that needs a haircut. (Check calendar for next appt.)

Wrinkles? Really? When did those happen? I still think I (and everyone else my age) looks young–like 30, if not 25.

Leftover continuous glucose monitor sensor stickiness in the shape of an oval, in the last 2 places where Dex was on my arm and midsection. Hate that it leaves behind its remnants. Glad that it sticks for so long. (7 days, medtech corps and FDA? C’mon, we can do better than that.)

Day 18 for this CGM sensor. Excellent. (Order more sensors.)

Nice teeth. Need to remember to use the waterpik thing the dentist is so crazy about…

Diabetes and gum disease. Have to stay ahead of it. Not one of the complications they yammered on about for the first 30 years of my type 1 D. No, they were more concerned with my “noncompliant” behavior causing my feet to have to be cut off. No one mentioned gums until recently.

But: no cavities ever! Sparkling smile! Fluoride, braces and headgear did their job too! Woot!

Even though I eat cupcakes. And Easter candy. And whatever the hell I want, and it works okay as long as I do the carb counting insulin dosing math right and remember to bolus.

And test, always test.

7:30am #bgthen 101

(No, I haven’t been standing here looking in the mirror the whole time. There are things to do and I’m doing them. Just thought it would be interesting to throw that BG in there.)

Love my brown eyes. They provide fun contrast to the blonde hair. I didn’t think that when I was pre-teen/teen/college. Blue eyes were the thing. I got teased a lot about the brown eyes when I was little. But I like them now.

Every time I think about my eyes: RETINOPATHY BLOOD VESSELS BREAKING BLINDNESS SCARY SCARY ALWAYS SCARY

Stop.

When is that next opthamologist appt? Check calendar. Need new glasses too, and while we’re there a new Rx for contacts. That’s a separate appt. Good grief, with dilating it could take a whole day. No idea when I can fit that in.

Hello, Ping (insulin infusion pump) site. When was the last time I changed you? How are you looking this morning? Red and inflamed? Painful, or do I have a few more days? Scar tissue? Probably.

I’m running out of site “real estate” and I use nearly every location I can find: stomach, hips, bum, back, arm, thigh…I haven’t tried calf or boob yet, and don’t think I will. But I know others who have. Whatever works–just like real real estate, it’s all about location. The more choices, the better.

I wish I could just look in the mirror and see what’s there. I wish all of these parts of my body didn’t have extra, not-so-subliminal thoughts that come along with them.

Tired mama. Tired woman. Tired woman with type 1.

Almost 32 years with type 1 would make many people tired, I guess.

8:01am #bgthen 111

Day 12 prompt for wego Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge: Stream of Consciousness Day. Start with the sentence “This morning I looked in the mirror…” just write, don’t stop, don’t edit. Post!

Check out many more posts from all kinds of amazing health activist writers at wego health’s Facebook page.


stronger (what doesn’t kill me…) #HAWMC day 2

April 2, 2012

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I don’t know who originally said this quote, but Kelly Clarkson is bringing it on nearly every radio station all day long lately. I love her rendition of it, and I’ve been hanging on to the song and the quote quite tightly lately. Belting it out at the top of my lungs right along with Ms. Kelly feels really good.

You see, living with type 1 diabetes is dancing on the edge with a killer, 24/7. That sounds really melodramatic and cheesy, and I don’t mean it to sound that way. That’s just how it is. From the moment I was diagnosed with type 1 in ketoacidosis at age 7, right before I fell into a coma for 4 days, both me and my family were inundated with information about the potential ways diabetes could (would?) kill me. As if the coma weren’t enough of a slap in the face, no, there was plenty more to heap upon us about how dangerous my new existence was.

There were the warnings/discussions/guilt trips about “diabetic complications.” The longer we live with type 1, the more likely we are to experience problems with our eyeballs, our kidneys, our blood vessels, our joints, our gums…. Those warnings were (are?) often used as pressure to fix or change my behaviors doctors determined were “bad.” It didn’t work, in my case. I spent many, many years out of anything close to control of my BGs. Denial? Maybe. Normal teenage rebellion plus pissedoffedness at a broken pancreas? For sure.

It’s another delicate balance between keeping blood sugars in the so-called “normal” range of 70-130 mg/dl and bottoming out to 30-40 mg/dl, becoming unconscious, having a seizure, getting hurt, not waking up. I’ve only had one experience where I was unconscious and had a seizure; I’ve had several where I needed someone else to help me. Many more than several. A sad consequence of me getting my BG into “good” (really tight) control is that I’ve lost any sensations of low blood sugar that would warn me at 70 or 60 mg/dl and prompt me to get some sugar by myself. Awesome. The risk of dying from low blood sugar is always there.

Oh, blah. My point with loving this quote is that enduring all that type 1 diabetes is trying to do to kill me, for the last 31+ years, has made me strong–much stronger than I would be without type 1. I’ve learned to manage the dancing on the edge, even when the edge moves and the killer plays dirty. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I’m thankful to diabetes, but I’m smarter than it is (even when I don’t feel like it), and stronger because of it. I’m dancing, all the time.

It’s been almost 32 years, t1d. Bring it. I’m still dancing. What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.

This post is in response to the wego Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge Day 2 prompt. Quotation Inspiration: Find a quote that inspires you (either positively or negatively) and free write about it for 15 minutes.


31 years and some cupcakes, too

June 13, 2011

Here’s the thing: Today is my 31st anniversary of my type 1 diabetes diagnosis.

It’s my 31-year diaversary, if you will. And while I hoped to offer a post containing all kinds of witty musings and tender lessons learned, complete with inspirational how-to’s and potentially-scary things gone awry that turned out to be funny and fine after some unexpected help…I’m not really feeling it. Sorry about that.

I’ve been trying to write this specific post in the few weeks since my last one. After I got all revved up and started with d-blog week 2011 (which was awesome, and quite the cool way to start this whole d-blog thing.Thank you, Karen!), I lost some steam. We had a ton of guests coming to stay at our house one week after another; lots of excitement with end-of-school-year and other special events; and just not a lot of time to actually sit down and type any of the things I’m thinking about D into a blog post.

However, I did have the opportunity to do a guest blog for Kim at Texting My Pancreas, and just finished another for Meredith at with a side of insulin that you’ll see on June 15.

Anyway, a lot has gone on. Other major life things happened, and lots of not-so-major life things too, that occupied my head and heart right along with D:

*Ms. Diva had her preschool “graduation” (Really? She’s five!) and kindergarten registration for August.

*Ms. Diva also had her first ballet performance, where she realized that she is meant for the stage with an “I belong here” look in her eyes as she promptly stopped doing much dancing so she could search the audience for her family and give us a huge smile.

*My mom traveled to visit us for the week of both of Ms. Diva’s events.

*My partner and I celebrated our 16th anniversary last week. And after a year in the new home/town, we actually found a wonderful SITTER(!) who lives just around the BLOCK(!) and whom Ms. Diva LOVES(!). Now we get to go to a movie next month, too! HALLELUJAH!!

*A good friend just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Hello, Baby M! Congrats, Mama and Papa!

*It was my nephew’s 2nd birthday this weekend. Happy birthday, adorable boy!

*My best friend finalized and accepted an offer for an awesome new job that will take her from Northern California to Rhode Island. I’m so. totally. excited. for her, and at the same time, sad that she’ll be so far away. Another of our supergood friends and I had a gorgeous farewell dinner with her, and then she spent a whole day with me, my partner, and Ms. Diva this weekend with all kinds of yummy treats (Sift Cupcakery and In-N-Out Burger, anyone? Yes, please!)

*I’ve been working on keeping up with 4-5 bouts of walking/running per week. I love this major life change, but it still takes a lot of my focus and attention in order to keep going and not slack off.

So…thirty-one years. That’s a hell of a lot of time. Most of my life. And what do I have to show for it?

So far, on one hand: A whole lot of not-too-much, for which I am insanely grateful and lucky. I’m not sure that I deserve not having much of any complications that my doctors and I are aware of at this point in time, other than recent root planing and laser treatments in all 4 quadrants of my mouth, combined with a grievance/appeal to my dental coverage to get an exception so they would pay the benefit.  Although it could change at any moment, I’ll take it and be thankful.

On the other hand, I have many many minutes, energy, dollars, focus, sweat, tears, concern, annoyance, anger, frustration, and ME to show for 31 years with D. It’s me testing the BG and glancing at the CGM throughout all of the special events above; chugging some juice before the ballet so that I can smile big right back at Ms. Diva while she’s on stage; SWAGing the carb count for the yummy Korean dinner with my BFFs; schooling the dental coverage provider that treatment of gum disease earlier than later is the standard of care for women with diabetes, so even though I didn’t have too terrible of gum disease YET, I needed the treatment; etc. etc. etc. It’s me thinking 24/7, making choices, balancing the best and the worst D-options and trying to come out with some solutions that work best for me, my loved ones, and the life that is ours.

After 31 years with D, I can’t spend 5 minutes with someone without showing them some small evidence of it. That’s okay. It’s how I need it to be. Diabetes is everywhere, a huge part of my identity, and unhealthy for me to ignore or deny.

D shows up all throughout my days and my life; but it is not the meaning of my day–or my life.

(Now, cupcakes, especially from Sift, could very well be the meaning of life! Or at least, the meaning of my 31st diaversary! I got a few to sample in honor of the day. Photos will be taken and posted soon, I promise.)


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