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What I Want Her To Know About Diabetes

After a tough low this morning:

I want her to know that she was wanted so much, well before she arrived, and that her parents went to great lengths to make sure her arrival was as safe as they could manage.

I want her to know that those moments when she has to wait while I test, or while I bolus, or the times when I have to set her in her crib and gulp down grape juice while she stands there with her big, brown eyes staring at me while her mouth tugs into an impatient smile, that I love her and I just need to deal with diabetes for a few seconds so I can be the best mommy I can.

I want her to know that if my eyes don’t get better, it’s not her fault. It’s not my fault, either. The fault lies with diabetes.

I want her to know that the reason I’ll sometimes frown at a soggy diaper or a voracious pull from the bottle isn’t because she’s being “bad” or doing something wrong, but because I’m worrying.

I want her to know that just because I have it, and because some of her best buddies have it, doesn’t mean that she will have it. But I also want her to know that if a diagnosis of any kind ever touches her life, we’ll manage just fine and take the best care of one another that we can.

I want her to know that when she smiles at me, it’s like a thousand online communities inspiring me all at once. That the hope of her was once the biggest incentive to improve my health, only to be superseded by her arrival in my arms.

I want her to know that regardless of what she may hear about this “diabetes,” her mommy is going to be just fine. Just fine.

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

10 Ways Life Tries To Mess With Diabetes Control

Life is trying to further mess with my diabetes control. (Or is diabetes trying to mess with life? Is a zebra white with black stripes, or a horse with black and white stripes?) I’m making efforts to get it together, but odd little things keep leaping in the way. Oh, efforts to thwart: Let me count the ways!

1. Recently, the jar of glucose tabs in my car was empty, so I was forced to stop at a random store and buy a regular Mountain Dew from the vending machine. But I had to open it and let it settle a little first before I could chug it, because draining a can of fizzy sugar would make me instantly ralph.

2. It snowed and/or was freezing on the days I went to the gym. But on the days I didn’t go? Sunshine and warm weather. Stupid weather wants me to be fat.

3. I lost my Dexcom receiver for about five hours, until I heard its muffled scream from between the couch cushions.

4. The sound of the clothes dryer finishing a load sounds like the happy tinkling of the chimes on an ice cream van, which spawns this borderline insatiable craving for ice cream.

5. During my meetings last week with PWoutD (people withOUT diabetes), my blood sugar cruised inexplicably into the stratosphere, forcing me to rage bolus in order to be able to eat more than the plate garnish during lunch. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

I See Pump People

A few weeks ago, Chris and BSparl and I went out to dinner. Dining out with our little bird is a bit of a tangled experience, and we don’t spend as much time people watching as we used to because we’re very preoccupied with the baby wrangling. 

That night, though, we were sitting and settled and throwing gluten-free puffs (yes, all of us) around the dinner table like confetti when I saw this woman walk in with her family. She settled her family in at the table, and then reached to remove her coat, revealing a beeper clipped to her pocket.

Only it was one of them fancypants beepers with the tubes and the buttons and the accompanying not-making-insulin pancreas. I reckon it was an insulin pump.

Immediately, I wanted to swing mine over my head like a lasso and say “OMG lady, me too!!!” I’ve had this feeling before, of wanting to sidle up next to someone and say, “I like your pump — want to see my pump?” but to me that sounds more like an awkward attempt to flirt instead of a moment of diabetes bonding. Living in a very comfortable bubble of diabetes advocacy makes me think that everyone who has a visible “symptom” of diabetes wants to talk about it. I have to remind myself that some people just plain don’t want to talk about it.

But since I still wanted to say something, I targeted Chris instead. “Dude, 12 o’clock. Actually, my 12 o’clock, your six o’clock. MiniMed pump on that lady.” I said to Chris without moving my lips, as if a pump sighting was a covert Navy Seals operation. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

My Pancreas Valentine

Oh rotting, feeble pancreas of mine,
Won’t you be my Valentine?
Won’t you wake from your long sleep
And make some insulin, you creep?

What makes you sit, all shaped like a wiener,
Lazy and dull, with a pompous demeanor?
What makes it okay, that for your enjoyment
You’ve spent twenty plus years filing unemployment?

We need to start over; we need to be friends.
We need this whole type 1 diabetes to end.
I’m tired of shots and I’m sick of the lows,
So I think we should talk about ending this row.

I could use a break, my corn-cob-shaped friend.
I’d love to have “old age” listed as my end.
I think that your time off has drawn to a close.
I’d like working islets, and plenty of those.

How ’bout it, old pal? Care to start working?
Care to start minding duties you’ve been shirking?
I promise to be an attentive best friend,
I’ll thank you each morning and as the day ends.
I won’t take for granted the hormone you make
And I’ll forgive you for the last 24 years’ mistake.

I’ve brought you some flowers and a Border’s gift card,
In hopes that when I bring milkshakes to the yard
You’ll be so inclined to jump start all those islets
Who’ve been holding their breath for so long that they’re violet.

So what do you say, oh pancreas of mine?
Won’t you be my Valentine?

(Image credit: I Heart Guts “Pancreas — Gimme Some Sugar!“)

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

Diabetes Bingo

Recently, I reconnected with a long-lost local PWD (person with diabetes) named Ryan. Last time Ryan and I saw one another we were talking about diabetes goal-setting and dealing with wicked bouts of burnout. And this week I received an email from him with a brilliant idea about how to stay motivated towards setting — and reaching — diabetes-related goals.

“I’ve had this ‘pyramid’ for about three months now. Just something that I keep near my desk to keep me focused on my diabetes. After completion of the pyramid, I have no clue what I will do but some kind of celebration will be in order,” he wrote, and attached a slide to his image. And when I opened it, I was like “whoa.”

He had created a pyramid of his diabetes goals. Tangible goals — real-life goals — that are both achievable and ambitious, all at once. I thought this was so clever because it is a constant but non-threatening reminder of what diabetes goals are most top-of-mind for him. (Also, having a celebration at the end of that pyramid completion sounds like a quality idea. Perhaps a Fudgy the Whale?)

I’ve been working towards gaining better control of my diabetes (and overall health) lately, and I love the idea of something I can print out, stick to my fridge, and remain inspired by. I liked the idea of a pyramid, but I kept picturing a huge bingo hall in my mind, with a whole bunch of PWDs sitting at the tables with glucose tabs and bingo markers at the ready. But the trick wasn’t getting four in a row, it was filing the whole card.

I thought about my own personal goals and created this:

Diabetes bingo.  Have at it, Google.

There are a few not-necessarily-diabetes-related goals on there (like “lose 6 pounds,” which is because I’m still trying to de-flump), but there are a lot of diabetes goals that aren’t unique to my particular circumstances. Since I’m trying to emerge from some diabetes burnout, my goals aren’t as tight as they were a few months ago (i.e. the slow progression from an A1C over 8 to one under 7.5). But these are real, and I’m hoping to fill the card within six months. Thanks for the fun idea, Ryan!

What would be on your bingo card?

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

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