Bedtime

My 3-year-old has recently made it her life’s mission to find as many reasons as possible to get out of bed at bedtime. I found this hilarious article, and I can sadly relate to most of the items on the list.

However, there are a few missing that my Lily, who, just to clarify, is NOT a diabetic, has tried in the past week that only a momabetic (or dadabetic) can really appreciate:

“My blood sugar is low.”

“I need chocolate. My blood sugar is low.”

“I need a juice box ’cause my blood sugar is very low.”

Do you see a pattern?

And we can’t leave out,

“I need my meter.”

Or

“I forgot my pump.” (Followed by frantic rustling through her toy-box until she finds her Paw-Patrol Calculator and attempts to put it in her shirt.)

Well, I guess maybe she’ll be an endocrinologist when she grows up.

 

 

 

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The Ups (Mostly Ups) and Downs of My Dude Ranch Weekend

My daughter will be 3 in January and I had never spent a single night away from her.

Well, actually I kind of did once. My husband and I went away for one night to a B&B 30 minutes from our house to celebrate our 3 year anniversary (Lily was 7 months old) and my mother-in-law stayed with her. However, plans were foiled when we got a call that the roofers came 3 days before they were scheduled to come, and they came at 6AM, and they need us to tell them what to do. So, we had left after Lily went to bed, and we got home before she woke up. I’m not sure if that counts.

Anyway, this past weekend was the REAL first time I was away from her. My husband and I spent three days and 2 nights at a dude ranch in PA to celebrate my 35th birthday, his 35th birthday, and our 5 year wedding anniversary, all which occurred this year. It was going to be a rejuvenating weekend, full of relaxation, laughter, nature, and each other. Apparently my diabetes felt left out and reared its ugly head.

Maybe it as the anticipation of leaving Lily for the first time, maybe it was a new schedule and environment, maybe it was the happy stress of the weekend, maybe it was the nervous excitement of going outside my comfort zone and shooting a gun and a bow and arrow, maybe it was the sheer joy of spending three days in a saddle, or maybe it was a combination of all three, but whatever the cause, my blood sugar refused to cooperate.

It was high (210). Then it was higher(290). The it was a little better, but still high (245). Then it was insanely high (440). And on and on and on it went, just like this. At one point, I got it to 199, which felt like a miracle to be in the 100s.

And yes, I tried everything. I changed my site. I adjusted my basal rate (3 times). I corrected. And corrected. And corrected. I ate and bolused for EXACT carb counts. But my body refused to cooperate.

When we finally got home late on a Sunday afternoon, I tested in preparation for dinner: 176. Before bed: 132. And Monday Morning: 102. I was back in the game where the rules were making sense again.

I can’t pinpoint exactly what happened, but I did realize/remember a few things; 1) even good stress is stress that affects blood sugar levels, 2) sometimes you just have to keep trying. 3) sometimes it’s out of your control, and 4) sometimes an amazing, rejuvenating, relaxing weekend trip is worth a high or two.

And my daughter didn’t even miss us.

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Picture Day

Today is picture day in my 2.5 year-old’s daycare.

This means that last night  I carefully chose an outfit that 1) wouldn’t blend in with the green screen, 2) was “fancy” enough, but which also 3) was comfortable enough, 4) had matching hair accessories, 5) wouldn’t show too many crumbs if this morning’s snack was messy, and 6) considered all weather conditions, including a cool morning and 30 degree warmer afternoon. Oh, and it also had to match her new sneakers that she insisted on wearing.

This small, unimportant task took A LOT of time. Much more time than I have spent on myself lately. And it was a reality check.

Today is a new day. Time to make some extra time for me. Time to take a few extra minutes reflecting on my bloodsugar and seeing where I need to tweak. Time to make a bigger effort to get that exercise in that keeps my levels steady most of the day. Time to get back to blogging, because THIS keeps me healthy, focused, centered, and realistic.

Friday is officially picture day for me; my faculty picture will be taken at the school where I teach full time. But TODAY is my fresh start to self care. I find that sometimes I need to stop, reevaluate, and move forward once again. This feels like one of those times.

I’m A Selfish Mom(abetic)…

… because I have to be.

My goddaughter’s mother once mentioned to me in passing that, “With kids, you can never think about you first. You know, if you are hungry when you get home, first you have to feed them and make sure they are taken care of. You have to come second.”

Now, the logical side of my brain knew that I was talking to a very healthy woman with a normal pancreas, one who COULD wait to eat without fear of passing out. But the emotional side of my brain, my heart to be exact, cried.

I WANT to be the selfless mom. I want to ALWAYS put Lily first. I want to get her food first, to engage in activities the minute we walk in the door regardless of my blood sugar level when I am lucky enough to be home with her from work, to spend the entire day outside never thinking about mealtimes and just following our stomachs, and to jump in the pool on a whim without disentangling an insulin pump first while she cries that the other kids are already in the water. But it’s not possible. For any of the above to happen, my body would have to take the responsibility of managing my insulin, and that is not going to happen.

My husband always, always, always jumps in when it’s my turn to take care of our child but a low or high blood sugar or equipment malfunction rears it’s nasty head. And I love him all the more for that, for being the perfect, supportive partner. But I still wish that I didn’t need the rescuing. I want to be the selfless mom, the one who doesn’t need the unplanned help.

I know what I have to do, I know what makes the most, logical sense: I should make the most of the moments I can enjoy (like the messy baking session in the photo above), and count my blessings that the times I need to focus on me when I was planning to focus on her are fewer than the times that things go as planned. This also gives me motivation to be a good diabetic–I know that if I work with my doctors to stay in the best control possible, I can be the mom I want to be more of the time than not. And I can be around a lot longer to support my daughter in all the ways she will need me as she grows.

And you know what, I think I have to deal with the fact that to make all of this happen, sometimes I HAVE to be selfish. I have to stop playing with playdough to test my blood sugar, and I have to leave the water park because my infusion set gets dislodged, and I sometimes have to guzzle a juice box (or two) as my screaming toddler demands one herself and I didn’t bring enough for both of us.

I hope, from the emotional side of my brain, and my heart to be exact, that when she is older she will appreciate that I was selfish and she will understand that because of this she still has me, a healthy me, with her to guide her through life.

To One Touch, or To Contour?

I have faithfully used a One Touch meter my entire diabetic life (25 years to be exact). I started with the clunky one in the picture above, which I’ve kept the way other people might keep cassette players–valuing their sentiment and nostalgia, never really expecting to ever use it again. This first meter of mine has the hard plastic case the size of two cell phones and test stips the size of a finger, and I had waited a grueling 25 whole seconds for each test result. I carried around an entire backpack for my diabetes supplies as a 10 year old, and no wonder: this meter itself would take up at least a quarter of it.

As years went by, my One Touch meters wore out and I purchased or was given the latest model; always smaller, always shinier, always faster. It wasn’t until I had an issue last month with my insurance company that I ever even thought about using a different meter brand. Insurance had  “forgotten” to tell me that I now had a limit on my allotted strips, unless I had the proper paperwork submitted from my doctor. Of course, this paperwork took the insurance company approximately two weeks to process, two weeks I didn’t have in actual strips.

So, what could I do? Well, first, PANIC. Then, think more logically. I grabbed the free Contour meter (with free contour strips) which had come as a bonus to my most recent pump upgrade.

And I loved it. It gave me the option to record whether I was testing before or after a meal, to add notes, and to charge it every night instead of worrying whether the crazy small, rare, and expensive replacement watch batteries in my purse would still work if my meter needed changing.

But this was hard. CHANGE is hard. It felt weird to use a different meter and TRUST it after 25 years of the same meter, the same way it had felt wrong and unnatural to rely on an insulin pump when I switched after 10 years of injections. I think only a diabetic can understand this. My meter, my pump…they are more than equipment. They are loyal friends who have SAVED me, many, many, many times.

So, I couldn’t just get rid of an old friend. Instead, I retired him. I have him sitting safely in my closet in case I need a backup. But, for now, he is resting, while his newer, more technologically savvy replacement takes care of me for at least a little while.

Bagels/Temptation

I had to deliver these bagels to some of my students this morning, and the ride to work killed me. I calculated about 3500 carbohydrates riding in my passenger seat.

I also bought my 2-year old breakfast (a mini-bagel with butter) when I picked these up, and I was reminded of a few things: 1) I love bagels; 2) Bagels make me feel like crap;  and 3) I am so lucky that my daughter can enjoy them.

My Carbs, Her Carbs, Our Carbs

I am in charge of the kitchen in our house. This makes sense for a variety of reasons: I love to cook; I love to try new recipes; I grew up with parents who cooked and parents who ran a deli/restaurant; I’m the most nutritionally savvy in my little family; I do the grocery shopping; after 25 years of translating every part of a nutrition label, I can understand a balanced diet upside down and backwards; and, of course, I am the one who has to count and calculate everything that goes into my mouth.

Being so in tune with every calorie I intake makes the way “normal” people eat seem strange, insane, disgusting, awe-inspiring, and weird to me. It also often makes me nauseous or brings on a pseudo-high-blood-sugar feeling, For example, when my husband enjoys a giant plate of pasta and sauce, with garlic bread on the side, I swear I get cotton mouth and a headache. It blows my mind when I see the high school students I teach eating an entire hot pretzel for lunch. Again, insta-headache and thirst. And is it even enjoyable to put a giant, sticky, cloud of sugar in the form of cotton candy in your mouth? I mean, I can’t wrap my head around lollipops either–sweet, sweet, sweet, headache, headache, headache…

I know the way I have to eat is healthy. I know the way I have to eat will benefit my little family as well in  the long run. But I want to be better about stopping and remembering that my husband and my daughter are NOT me. They do not have to count carbs. They CAN have an entire plate of pasta, no meatballs necessary, and not feel anything but full, and maybe a little sleepier than normal, when they are done. They can occasionally enjoy (ok, it does seem possible even if I don’t understand it) a lollipop or cotton candy treat at a summertime fair. But I am VERY bad at remembering this.

On a daily basis, I count not only my carbs, but my 2-year-old daughter’s carbs too. Why? 1) It’s my normal. This is how I eat, so this is how I feed her. 2) I’m scared. Yes, I am educated enough to know that too many carbs has absolutely NOTHING to do with developing Type 1 diabetes, but the non-logical part of my brain worries. This is why when my husband gives my daughter a sip of Kool-Aid, I freak out.

Ok, but I am getting better, I think. I want to get better. She is NOT a diabetic and she CAN enjoy an occasional sugary treat without life-or-death consequences. I mean, she can, and I of all people know that that is a gift, so I  want her to. I want her to experience all the great things in life, the not-so-healthy ones in moderation of course. I want her to learn to appreciate and enjoy everything, and that some things are treats, not necessities. But treats are OK.

Because someday she may have health restrictions too for any number of reasons–maybe physical limitations, nutritional limitations, or any other type of limitation. Or maybe she won’t. I have no idea. But right now, she is healthy. So I let my husband give her the Kool-Aid, and I try to only freak out a little, and only on the inside.