Memorial Day Weekend

It’s Memorial Day, so it finally feels like summer!  A has been sick all weekend, but I’ve still had a pretty good one.  Saturday, I went to a brunch sponsored by a Meetup group in my area.  I joined Meetup when we moved to Houston six months ago, but had yet to make it to an actual event.  I’m not sure if it’s the fact that we’ve been pretty busy, the nerves, or what exactly, but every time I decided to attend an event, something happened and I ended up not going.  This brunch was really nice, small, fun, good conversation.  I couldn’t figure out how to take the next step toward creating friendships by exchanging contact info. with anyone or inviting anyone to something, but maybe it’ll be easier to go to another event sometime.

Sunday, I went with two friends to place flags on the veterans’ graves at the Houston National Cemetery.  It was hard work and my hands are blistered today, but it’s nothing compared with the sacrifice of all those soldiers.  It was an honor to put flags in their graves and remember them for a few moments.  The end result was beautiful.  After placing flags, I ended up deciding we needed lots of meat, so I went to the store and bought ribs, burgers, hot dogs, and some apples to make an apple pie.  Every now and then, it’s a holiday and you just have to give in and indulge in some good old-fashioned, unhealthy American classics.  To minimize the health effects a little bit, we ate the meaty meal at lunch and I had a light dinner followed by hot yoga.

I’m not entirely sure what today will hold.  I was thinking of going down to the pool, but it’s looks a little cloudy out.  I’ll also need to pick between spin class, hot yoga, and going for a run.  As I’ve been recovering from being sick and adjusting to the Houston heat, my running has taken a sharp downward turn.  I hadn’t felt able to work out for awhile, but now that I was able to do hot yoga yesterday, I’m well enough now that I can’t blame any shortcomings on being sick.  I’ll have to see how things go today!  I also need to plan the details for our trip out to California next week for my sister’s wedding.  We’re flying into SF and spending two days in SF, one day in Napa, two days in Santa Cruz and then heading to Yosemite National Park for the wedding.  We have booked our hotels but basically nothing else.  I love planning trips, so I’m not sure why I can’t seem to get myself to nail down any details for this one.  It’s been a struggle though.  If there are any Californians out there, let me know where we should eat!

I hope everyone had a beautiful weekend & that summer is off to a fabulous start.

P.S. Rainy holidays are best for climbing into bed and snuggling under the covers with your husband.

P.P.S. And sales.  I’ve resisted so far, but  the Nordstrom sale is great.

 

Advertisements

Dressing up ordinary love: contemplating the right speech for my sister’s wedding

My sister’s wedding is coming up very soon and I need to prepare a bridesmaid speech.  She and I are so different that it makes the task hard.  My life is an open book.  K’s life, well, it’s not that it’s a secret, but just that she doesn’t think many things are worthy of sharing.  Not that she wouldn’t share them, she just doesn’t think they’re big.

When she applied to college, she had a horrible time writing essays about herself that were more than a few sentences.  This, even though she had won numerous awards in the band, drama, tennis, and forensics.  This, even though she blew our physics teacher’s mind by being the first student in our entire school district to score a 5 on the AP Physics test.  He had her autograph her score report and it was still hanging in the physics room years later.  She was interviewed by the newspaper once, about her academic achievement.  They asked her to attribute her success to something.  She stared at them blankly before finally suggesting that she probably had decent genes.  She is brilliant and a hard worker who distinguishes herself, but she’s also everyone’s favorite because it’s like she doesn’t realize that she’s brilliant or that she’s worked hard.

A and I videochat with her and her fiance every Monday night.  But, really, A and I talk to ourselves and try to draw them out.  After having worked to cultivate this skill for awhile, we have varying degrees of success.  Unlike K, I am overjoyed whenever I do anything well.  Or, adequately, honestly.  I continually remind myself of my achievements, turning them over in my mind, until I am finally satisfied.  My excitement oozes and, although this certainly lacks virtue, I am jabbering a million miles an hour on an excited call to my parents.  Or, for example, posting pictures of my Texas-sized law license to my blog.  K definitely does not.  And her fiance is modest as well.

But, it’s not just success that K deprives of an oozing flourish.  As I look at her wedding website, I notice the description of the proposal.  “On our third anniversary, we decided to go out to dinner.  [Fiance] decided that he was going to propose . . . He set up a camera tripod and focused the camera on where he thought that proposal would take place.  During lunch, he went out and bought batteries for the camera remote so that he could take pictures of the proposal… [Fiance] dropped K off at her car and zoomed home.  He wanted to check the camera exposure now that it was dark, but he got stuck at a light.”  Spoiler alert, I guess he didn’t quite get home in time to check the camera exposure.

Image

 

Perfect, adorable proposal in their backyard.  Looks like the batteries and camera exposure cooperated.

 

This description is just like K and her fiance.  It really does give you all the details, but it deprives them of the pageantry.  This is your wedding website description.  This is the place where you describe the cute, sappy brilliance and specialness of your love and exaggerate it to show off to the rest of the planet.  Amiright?  This is where you post pictures, holding hands and walking off in the sunset, past a fence that conveniently has your wedding date splattered in white paint.  Instead, K is talking about buying batteries over lunch and camera exposure.  Can you imagine an “every kiss begins with Kay” television commercial of this proposal description?  No, you can’t.  Because, don’t you know that when you write a proposal section on your wedding website or write a college admissions essay you’re supposed to brag?  And if you did brag, in your proposal, and your college admissions essay, and throughout your life, then I could easily write a speech that caters to whatever you bragged about and we’d all be happy.

Of course, we’d all probably be lying to some extent.  And K is a realist.  She would be confused about that last paragraph that I wrote.  “Why would you be exaggerating and bragging if you’re happy?” she’d respond.  Because, K, PINTEREST.  But, no.  Her fiance’s proposal was special because of all the ways he planned the everyday details, because he went out to buy batteries over lunch to make it work, because he cared about the camera exposure, because those are the things you care about in real life where traffic is bad and it takes 90 minutes to get to the restaurant because you live in Los Angeles.  Because in real life a proposal is great because you love the person and you’re deciding to spend your life together and it’s official, even though it really isn’t that different than any other day because you already knew all of those things.  But, how do you write that on a wedding website?  And how do you put that into a speech?

I do really think K is special.  And I have some things to back that up.  Like, the airplane she built she was in school at MIT that won an award.  But, at the same time, even if she had won a nobel prize already, so have a lot of people.  And maybe she’s right that it’s kind of crazy to think that our stories or our love so supremely special.  Or that we actually make them any more special by exaggerating their significance in order to convey to people the significance of our stories to us.  In reality, by doing that, we’re really suggesting an unhappiness with what we have.  We’re making it less special.

There are lots of people with Ks for sisters and a lot of them have special fiances.  If we’re being honest, maybe K and her fiance don’t have a love that is that different from everyone else’s.  And why should that matter?  Most people are happy.  Maybe trying to pretend that there is something extraordinary to say actually diminishes the wonderfulness of the ordinary that is there.  Why does it need to be anything more than ordinary?  Why do I have this need to convey to everyone how extraordinary I think K and her fiance are?  After all, isn’t there something a bit dishonest in trying to explain that any of us are really that more extraordinary than anyone else.

But, K and her fiance are extraordinary to me.  Just because they are who they are.  And it’s my speech.  So, how to describe that?

 

Office Tips for Sick Days

I am on day 6, that’s right day 6, of what has become a horrible chest cough/throat/cold illness of some sort.  Unfortunately, I had some important, non-delegable tasks at work, so I could not call in sick no matter how much I (and some of my coworkers for that matter) wish I’d able to.  I highly advocate being humble and selfless and staying away from the office when you’re sick, but every now and then there are days where you’re sick and genuinely are not able to stay home.  Here are my thoughts on how to best power-thru and maintain some semblance or professionalism in the process.

The most important thing to quickly get over any idea you may have that your colleagues are going to admire you for coming to work in your condition.  Trust me, they are not looking up to you as a model of work ethic, they are annoyed that you think your presence is so essential that it’s worth exposing them to whatever you may have.  I recommend immediately agreeing with any colleague who suggests you should’ve stayed home to hack all day and quickly explain the reason you came in.

Keep your pack of all your sick-day essentials hidden away in a desk drawer rather than visible on the desk.  Make sure to have all the essentials, cough drops, cough drops with numbing liquid, vitamin c tabs for energy, tissues.

Bring a little extra make-up.  Looking fresh is always a struggle for me, but the struggle multiplies exponentially when you add in sickness.

Break everything up into small, concrete goals and then conquer them one at a time.  Everything is manageable in small steps.

And . . . get out of there as soon as you possibly can.  I hope this misery ends soon, I am so impatient to get back to working out!

The diabetic things started out well at the beginning of the illness, but I’ve been having trouble keeping my bloodsugars out of the 200s as things have continued.  I’m not sure why that is.  To make matters worse, the cgm cal errored, potentially because things were starting to get a little crazy.  I have to work up the resolve to put it back in again.

Dblogweek reflection

Last day linking up for diabetes blog week.  Today, the topic is supposed to be a reflection on the week, sharing our new favorite things we discovered.  I only discovered the host blog and the link up on Friday, so I haven’t had much time to surf through everyone’s posts, although I plan to go back and read all of them as I get the chance.  Given that I discovered all of this so late into the game, I haven’t had the chance to notice as much as I’d like.  I think for me the neatest thing was just discovering all the other diabetic bloggers out there.  This disease is isolating.  Blogging is actually kind of isolating too when you first start.  How do you find other people out there that seem like real people?  So many of the blogs I come across randomly are pretty weird blogs or business blogs, and all they’re trying to do is teach you how to make money from your blog.  It’s been so nice just to discover all these other blogs out there written by real folks about their experiences.  I can’t wait to keep reading.

Unrelated to diabetes blog week, I’m going to start posting some of my sugar waves and how I corrected for abnormal situations.  The interesting thing about these sugar-waves for non-diabetics is that they give you a glimpse of how a body responds to different foods.  The more insulin it takes a diabetic to get rid of the sugar in the bloodstream from a particular food, the more insulin it’s going to take a normal person.  The more insulin something takes, the more energy is being stored into your cells, so it’s a pretty good approximation for how different foods are affecting your body apart from their calorie indication. 

Dr. Stephen Ponder workshop on “Sugar Surfing”

Wow.  I learned some mind-blowing things from the workshop this morning.  So much, in fact, that I’ll probably have to divide it up into posts.  I’ll just write a quick, broad summary of my notes from the presentation, and then delve into interesting details of different tricks in different posts.  I think the main point of Dr. Ponder’s workshop is that nothing is truly predictable.  Even if we look up the number of carbohydrates in a particular meal, the portion size might be off, or our body might react to carbs from one source differently than it reacts to carbs from another source.  The idea, then, is that you keep things as normal and predictable as possible, but you know how to be proactive early on when you notice that things aren’t panning out the way you planned.  In order to be properly proactive, though, you have to have some baselines tied down.

Dr. Ponder began the workshop by giving some examples of the way traditional diabetes wisdom doesn’t always make the cut.  He explained, for example, that the amount of sugar in your body when you bloodsugar is 110 varies person to person based on weight and other factors.  Because of this, traditional wisdom, like 15 grams of carbohydrate per low doesn’t do the same thing in everyone.  He explained that by experimenting and varying, each individual diabetic can better learn how to react to her own life situations.  In order to do this, you need a cgm that is well-calibrated and a basal rate that you know works.  The cgm is imperative because different trends mean different things.  A bloodsugar of 125, for example, could be a quick stop at 125 en route to a spike of 400 or en route to a low.  You need to know which way your bloodsugar is moving and how quickly in order to take the correct action, if action is needed, when you see the number.  You’ve also gotta be able to isolate the variables by having a basal rate that isn’t affecting things.  To test your basal rate, skip a meal, or eat a few hours later, and check to see that your bloodsugar is stable.

Once you know you’re well-calibrated and the basal rate is accurate, you can begin to play with intervention.  Intervention may not look the same in each situation.  For example, if you’re rising and you’re already at 300, it may take you far more units of insulin to bring the number down than if you intervene at 160.  It’ll also take more time as inertia is at play.  You have to be careful, it takes awhile for the insulin to really be on board working, but you can eventually, by testing out different scenarios over and over again, learn the amount you need to react to any specific situation.  Because you have the cgm, you can observe how quickly you’re dropping and take action to prevent a low from an over-correction earlier.  The key to making this work, though, is accurate data, consistent data, and patience with your data.

The other big thing you can learn by analyzing the data is timing.  How long does it take your insulin to hit your bloodstream?  Insulin interacts differently with different foods, but it generally does not peak while the food you’re eating peaks.  By watching different patterns, though, you can learn when to take insulin for the ever-impossible pizza or sushi meal.

I re-attached my cgm after the presentation.  I think that basal rates are correct, but want to pay more attention to testing this around every meal for the rest of the weekend and noticing if my bloodsugar stays stable when I don’t eat.  My next goal is to develop a comprehensive system for recording.  If I want to know what to do when I eat a heavy breakfast and then go to spin class, I need to understand that type of breakfast independently and the effects of spin class independently.

Dr. Ponder has been diabetic for over 50 years and has been able to achieve A1Cs in the 5s.  My current goal is only to make progress on my current A1C, which is 6.9.  Let’s see how the experiment goes!

t1 snapshots

Another link-up with diabetes blog week.  Today’s topic is just snapshots from life with diabetes, a shout-out to the diabetes 365 project.  The photo I sent in for the 365 project is actually the photo that I snapped yesterday of my insulin pump and my wedding dress.  To avoid repeating, though, I have some everyday photos  from this week of my supply closet (a bit empty right now, supplies (and bill, ugh) are en route from Medtronic!)), my meter, a text after a run earlier this week, and then some photos from last year’s Tour de Cure.  A few days back the topic involved dealing with the inevitable mental blues of diabetes.  I’ve always been a fighter.  My answer to that is to try to fight for what I really want in the only way I know how – – fundraising for a cure.  A bit of an awkward task for sure, but it’s how I fight off the hopelessness.   In my last post, I mentioned the top “life hack” for dealing with diabetes is marrying a great guy.  As anyone who follow this blog knows, my husband, A, is battling leukemia.  As part of that, he’s developed avascular necrosis, which is very intense hip pain.  He’ll undergo hip replacements for both hips to end the pain, but he can’t have that surgery until he finishes chemo, which won’t be for another six months.  In the meantime, while on chemo, and battling cancer and hip replacements, he is going to ride in Houston’s Tour de Cure with me this year.  His page is here.  Help support us in our fight for the cure! Image48097_10100249330711082_188718576_n ImageImage

photophoto (1)

t1 life hacks

Okay, I’m linking up for diabetes blog week.  What a fun way to connect and share posts about diabetes.  Today the topic is “diabetes life hacks,” which are basically supposed to be non-medical tips & tricks for handling a life with diabetes.

My immediate thought is that I have no life hacks, but that must not be true.  Things that are natural to me I wouldn’t even think of as hacks.  Anyway, in no particular order:

Professionalism/clothing: Sometimes it can be hard to be diabetic and professional at the same time.  How to wear a suit?  What do I do when I’m in court and my bloodsugar starts dropping?  How to handle the business lunch or interview where I can feel my bloodsugar skyrocketing but I’m not sure how to get away?  I don’t have answers to all of this, but here are a few times where I won rather than lost:

1. My top clothing victory was probably my wedding dress.  As you can see, I had the lovely woman doing my alterations sew a pocket into the side of the dress for my insulin pump, which made everything accessible throughout the wedding, which was key.Image

 

 

2. I try to wear pants suits to business lunches and meetings rather than my typical dress suits.  I know that you can buy devices that allow you to wirelessly program your pump through your clothes, but I just want things to be simple and easy in business situations, so I opt for the pants suit and throw the pump into my pocket.

3.  When I’m wearing a dress or dress suit, I press the pump up flush against my boob and leave it in my bra.  I always make sure to turn the end where it connects to the tube closer up to my neck so that it won’t look like a nipple if the pump somehow moves around.  Yikes.

4.  When I’m running, I like to keep my insulin pump in a SPI belt.  This keeps it from bouncing around and the CGM works easily through the belt and there’s plenty of space for glucose tabs as well.

Inserting the pump/CGM:

1. For awhile I was tensing up while inserting and having difficulties as a result of it.  When my husband first suggested that I let him insert my pump and CGM I flatly refused.  But, after an episode of him chasing me around the bathroom, I finally relented and let him try it once.  Okay, so much easier/less painful.

Everything else:

1. Marry a great guy.

 

 

In anticipation of Dr. Steve Ponder’s workshop

I attending Dr. Steve Ponder’s “Sugar Surfing” workshop tomorrow.  At the workshop, he is supposed to present a new, controversial, according to my doctor who encourage me to attend, method of controlling diabetes using the cgm.  In anticipation of the workshop, I read up on Dr. Ponder’s general research and theories.  He makes some interesting statements.  He says that there is a very small group of diabetics who have lived with the disease fifty years without complications.  His hypothesis is that this group has retained its ability to make beta cells despite the war waged against the pancreas by the immune system.  He opines that maybe beta cells have some protective qualities that prevent complications and that they are effective independently of bloodsugar control.  He suggests that maybe a cure could come from evening out that balance in those patients by suppressing the immune system some.  One interesting point, although it isn’t clear how it’s related to the rest of this, is that diabetics who go 17 years without blindness rarely develop any worsening in their eyes.  I have hit 18 years so I guess that’s good news.  At the same time, reading how few people make it out of this disease without complications is a little bit depressing.

 

perfectly normal weekend

A is in the shower.  I’m in bed with my laptop propped against my knees.  We are ready to put another perfectly normal weekend to rest.  My friends send e-mail chains full of interesting updates, stories of intriguing dates, and new adventures.  I have nothing to write back.  I am doing nothing.  I have no new goals I’m pursuing.  I’m not making any life changes.  I’m not even trying to make new friends at the moment.  I am drinking in these normal weekends like they are the nectar of the gods.  I am doing nothing and I would not change that for the world.  I am so in love with stillness.  So in love with A.