Saturday, April 28, 2012

Christmas in April

The holidays are such a busy time of year.  This past Christmas, my extended family (we're talking over 60 aunts, uncles, cousins, cousin's families) couldn't find a time for us to all gather for the family Christmas party, so we decided to have it in April.  You may have heard of Christmas in July, but we went with April... Gotta love my family for coming up with that one!  I'm not sure if there will be a tree, or presents, but the important thing is that we'll all get to hang out together for the afternoon.  And, the weather will be better than in December.

The tough part about parties for me, is "grazing" on food all afternoon.  I try my best to limit the appetizers and focus on the meal, but its really, really hard.  I'm tempted by chips, salsa, my aunt's seven layer dip, spinach and artichoke dip in a giant bread bowl, and tons of other snacks.  Sorry, celery, but you got nothing compared to a giant bread bowl filled with cheesy artichoke dip.

Then, there is the dinner. We usually have a big buffet of Italian type dishes: eggplant parmesan, ziti with Alfredo sauce and broccoli... you get the idea. My mom is also the BEST baker and she always brings cookies.  She tries to make them with splenda for me, but I admit, I still prefer her originals.  I struggle to count carbs correctly with this kind of meal, and usually underestimate.

I got my insulin pump last November and really didn't do a great job of using it to its best potential in managing my blood sugar. I didn't quite understand the square wave, or dual wave bolus, so I stuck with the normal bolus through Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Today, at this "Christmas party" I am going to try to set a square wave bolus that will last during the grazing appetizer phase of the party, and then bolus again when we eat our meal.  I'll make sure to fill up half my plate with salad but I know I won't be able to resist some eggplant parm and ziti. 

I'll post again about how I do with the square wave bolus and I'm curious to hear about how others manage their bg when at a family party or long dinner, whether its Christmas in April, or any other fun gathering.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

My diabetes story

For my first post, I'd like to share my diabetes story. 

I was diagnosed with type-one diabetes five years ago on Dec 1, 2006.   Up to that point I was a healthy and active 25 year old, with no prior blood sugar-related problems.  When I look back, I realize I started developing all the classic diabetic symptoms around Halloween of that year. I was thirsty all the time.  I lost weight despite eating like a pig. One night, I ate 10 pancakes for dinner and didn’t feel satisfied at all.  I’m sure all that maple syrup helped my symptoms, too.  I developed a white rash in my mouth, I was dizzy and fatigued.  The turning point came when I sat at my cube at work on a Thursday and drank an entire 2 liter gallon of (regular) soda in half an hour because I was so thirsty.  I thought to myself, this isn’t right...I would never normally drink that much soda… I don’t even like regular Coke…. 
That night, I went home (yes, drove) to my parent’s house to pick up some party supplies because I was hosting my first “grown up” dinner party for my friend’s 25th birthday on Saturday night.  While at home, I asked my mom if I could use her glucose monitor (she had type-2 diabetes since her early 50s.) I’m not sure how I knew to test my sugar, but I did anyway and the result was 455.  I was only a little surprised, but thought, ok, maybe this is due to the giant bottle of regular soda I just drank.  I’ll sleep on it and see how it goes in the morning.  The next morning I woke up and had a blood sugar in the 500s.  Ok, definitely not right. I remember not really being sure what to do.  I probably should have gone to the hospital, but I was interviewing for a promotion at work at the time, and didn’t want to take a day off (on a Friday) and be seen as a slacker.  So I went to work.  I called my primary care doc who recommended I go to a well-known clinic in Massachusetts.  They were able to see me later that day and started me on insulin right away. I learned how to use the flex pen, got my dose figured out, and went home.
I had fairly bad asthma a child and still took medication every day for it, so I thought I would just add another medication to my daily routine and that was it.  The next morning though, as I picked up my prescription from the pharmacy, reality hit.  I sat in my car outside the pharmacy looking at the box of needles and my flex pens, and burst into tears.  I felt overwhelmed, filled with dread, alone, angry, frustrated and wondering what I ever did to deserve having to inject myself 5 times a day for the rest of my life.  I called my mom (still in the car) and through my tears told her what was happening.  My mom is a wonderful woman, and has remarkable inner strength.  She gave me some great advice.  She said, "Elizabeth, life goes on.  Do what you need to do this morning, and then focus on the fun dinner party you are having tonight.  Take things a step a time and you’ll get through it. And, I’ll come visit you tomorrow to help you."
I have tried to heed her advice as I deal with life with diabetes, and starting this blog is one of the ways in which I hope to do so.  Diabetes can seem SO overwhelming at times.  It’s easy to get wrapped up in all the testing, beeps and tones coming out of my pump and CGM (High BG! Low Reservoir! Enter BG now! Enter it again!  Oh, now your Low!), AIC levels, grams of carbs… and my blog is a place that I hope will help me focus on the present, and the positive steps I am taking to improve my diabetes control.  I also hope to meet other PWD, so I welcome (and will hopefully return) your comments, rants and raves, insights and support.