Sunday, May 30, 2010

Watching an IVF show with the family

It was really weird watching this: with my Hubby and 3 step kids.

At first I was sitting there in my armchair, a bit nervous and shaky, cos I didn't know how they would react. My eldest stepson had an idea of why we wanted to watch it, but the two younger ones were just confused as we were missing a new episode of The Simpsons! :P

But then, when the show got to the part where they were showing Jay Jay getting brave and injecting herself with hormones, everyone laughed when I said "Oh come ON!". (As a diabetic, I find it really curious watching non-diabetics trying to inject themselves :P )

Hubby and I thought we might broach the subject with the two littlies, but they were pretty tired, it's a school night, and it just didn't feel right to tell them something like that when they go "home" to their Mum tomorrow.

Overall I feel really good :) Had a great day and learned quite a lot from watching the show. Thanks to Jay Jay and Dom for sharing their journey with us.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

If you're in NZ and you have a telly...

... and you're interested in IVF, then checkout the Sunday show, 7.30pm. It has an article about Jay Jay and Dom's journey through IVF. I will be watching, and my sixth sense tells me my parents will be too!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Soooo relieved!

Sweet Husband and I were discussing my blog the other night, and he mentioned that he has let his eldest son/my stepson into "the know" about our plans for IVF. I couldn't be happier :) It's not that we've been keeping it a secret, but it's not something that you just throw into a conversation with anyone, you know, just to spice things up! Yeah, na. It usually takes me ages to work up the nerves to discuss IVF stuff with my close family (Hubby, Mum, Dad, Sister), and they already know about it in general.

Apparently Stepson reacted quite well, he's happy. I am SOOOO relieved. I was really worried that the kids might be upset. I'm not sure why. But I hated the idea that they could ever be upset or worried. We do pretty well as a blended family at the moment, so the last thing I was to do is screw that up.

Hubby said he was asking about me, and the whole operation issue came up:
Stepson: "Yeah, but what's the operation for?"
Hubby: "It's... woman stuff"
Stepson: "Yeah, what?" He's more grown up than I thought. So he got a fair explanation about the hysteroscopy, and the background story about it being part of the prep for IVF.

I am proud. He's 15yrs, and the first thing he said was really down to earth:
Stepson: "Where will we put a baby Dad?"
Hmmm, yeah, our little house is empty most of the time, but every second weekend when 3 kids descend on us, it's suddenly WAY too full! But Stepson and Hubby were pragmatic as ever. The sleepout could be converted back into a bedroom (currenlty it's an office) and that would give us a little bedroom in the house back. Just one of the many considerations which need to be worked out.

We will be celebrating with all the family round for chinese food tonight, it's Hubby's birthday! Woohoo! That means kids, parents, grandparents, the works. Maybe we will also get a chance this weekend to talk to the two younger kids, and see how they feel. It gets awkward about there, as one is slightly too young to know about the birds'n'bees stuff yet. Perhaps we will "keep the talks high-level" for now :P

In other good news, Hubby has expressed an interest in contributing to the blog. That would be cool. Give a guys point of view to all my ramblings! But that would mean... dum dum daaaaaaa! A BIG REVEAL. Yes, I am currently considering "unveiling" who I am, so I can also post photos and videos of me and Hubby, as we go along in this process. What do you think? Do you want to know who we are? Do you care? Does it matter in the grand scheme of things? I would love to hear your thoughts...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Photos of my hands - after 8 cannula attempts

I asked Hubby to take a couple of photos of my hands... they are damn sore after all the IV cannulas the nurses and anaesthetist tried to put in when I was going low. I was in pre-op, before surgery, and of course that meant I hadn't eaten for about 7+ hours. So when I went low, I couldn't eat as that would cancel the surgery, so they had to rush to put an IV in. But my veins collapsed, with low blood pressure, low blood glucose, lots of stress, lots of bleeding!
This photo was taken 5 days after my operation.

My right hand is the sorest. Photo 6 days after op. The IV that I accidentally ripped out was in the upper right "quadrant"
Yes, I ripped the IV out when I went low, blacked out, and started a mini-siezure! I was given some Hirudoid cream (which I think smells vile) but it worked. I've run out now, and the bruising is really starting to show... I'm getting some "interesting" looks at work. I don't bother explaining cos it's such a long story!

Friday, May 21, 2010

My operation went well...

... or, How I ended up with puffy clown hands!

WARNING: this is a long one. Also, it has some icky bits which I don't recommend if you are not a fan of blood, needles, surgery etc. It also may not be the most wonderful piece of prose you've ever read, due to my feeling absolutely whacked, and having sore hands. You've been warned.

Today is Friday, and I've been relaxing and making feijoa relish with my Mum after my hysteroscopy operation yesterday.

Here is the story from Thursday morning...

I had to wake up at the unholy hour of 6.30am to eat my (tiny) breakfast of 1 piece of toast and cup of tea. Because my surgery was scheduled for 12.00 I was on strict instructions to limit food intake. I ate my brekky, take my normal dose of Lantus, and a smaller dose of Humalog, just 3.5u, and crawled back into bed with hubby and kitty.

Cue a rude-awakening by the painters who are doing a marvelous job of making our house look all pretty. I'm hungry. I don't normally get hungry, cos I eat pretty consistently at the same times every day. I watch my hubby as he prepares delicious looking marmite on toast for his breakfast. Oh that smells gooooood! I mix up a drink bottle of sugar water, the only carb I will be allowed to take should I go low. This follows me everywhere I go.

We go to town and do some errands, with me checking my blood sugar roughly every hour. I've never had such a stable day in all my life! I'm flatlining at about 11 mmol/L.

We get back home just in time to pack a few bits and pieces and head up to the hospital for my check-in. We walk up, cos we live that close :)

I'm first on the list as we check into the day ward, and the receptionist is bright and cheery. She tells me I have a list of people who will come to see me (like my anaesthetic team, my ob/gyn), and we are directed to a waiting area. I just have time to sit down and start doing a quick blood test when my name is called.

The nurse takes us into a little room where she takes my pulse (99 bpm), blood pressure, and checks my chart. She figures out I'm diabetic because I'm still in the middle of my blood test! Luckily, she has a bit of experience with "brittle diabetics" before, and everything she says is just what I want to hear: "You know your body and your diabetes best, so we will just follow your lead", "Hubby knows about your diabetes? Yes? Good, we will get him to stay with you.", "Yes, you can use your own test kit" :D I like this nurse :D She offers to tell all the other nurses of my situation, and then says "No, I will organise it so that I'm your nurse all day!" Yay! Someone who understands! (unlike my anaesthetist! more on that later...)

Oh yeah, and because I'm having "gynie" surgery, she asks me to take a pregnancy test. I mean, that's kinda why we're here! Getting ready for visiting a fertility clinic! haha :P

I have a shared room, but at the start it's just me. I have a gorgeous mumu of a hospital gown to change into, and lovely nurse brings me warm blankets to snuggle into. Hubby stays with me and we read crappy womens mags and wait and wait and wait. I'm testing my blood sugar about every 30 mins now. Sitting at about 8 - 9 mmol/L. Couldn't be happier with that.

I'm a bit apprehensive, but it's more the boredom of waiting. We find a half-done crossword in the back of one of the mags and get stuck into that when my South-American anaesthetist arrives to check on me. Then my ob/gyn comes by and I sign the surgical consent form. Everything is going swell. Everyone is happy. Apart from my surgery getting delayed due to an emergency cesarean, everything is going according to plan. My blood sugar is about 6.8 mmol/L when I hear my name called.

Suddenly it's all go. I meet what feels like 17 new people all at once. Everyone introduces themselves with their first name, which I immediately forget. I put on a hair-net, and get wheeled into pre-op. Hubby comes too, on special orders of lovely nurse.

It feels odd being wheeled about. I can walk fine. We go out the doors of day ward, though the lobby area, and into pre-op. I get put into a new cubicle, which is much more high-tech than the last one. Many more buttons on the wall behind me! There are people in the other cubicles who are in various stages of readiness for surgery.

I want to do another blood test, but a nurse grabs my left hand and begins to search for a vein to put an IV line in. Hubby is on my right, and I ask him to do my test for me. We had a little practice in the day ward. Nurse inserts the cannula. Wiggles it around a bit. "That's starting to hurt a bit" I say. Hubby can't get any blood out of my finger. I feel a bit sick. The nurse is still wiggling the cannula. The back of my hand swells with blu-ish coloured blood. "I feel sick" Hubby tries another finger. The cannula has failed. They can't get the line in. Another nurse, and my anaesthetist appear. Everyone is swarming around me. A test of 4.8 mmol/L. I'm dropping like a stone. They try my right hand. I am getting giddy and the room is starting to swim. They try vein after vein. I am going low. "Sugar!!!!" I call. And "Ow ow ow it hurts" as they put countless cannulas into the backs of my hands and wrists, trying desperately to get a line in so they can give me dextrose.

The room spins, I feel VERY sick. My head falls back. Black. The most comfortable, familiar dream. Then I fall out, fall back onto the bed. "Is it over?" No. I had blacked out, and woken with a start, I hear hubby say "I think she's having a siezure", the anaesthetist says "she can't be, she's only 4.8, that's not low enough to be seizing". I'm lower than that. At this stage I have about 5 punctures in my hands. I can't hold a finger-pricker, I can't bend my fingers, there is massive swelling and bruising.

Because I went hypo, and I was stressed, and cold, my veins just basically closed up. Each time they would get the cannula into the vein, there was no pressure to push blood into it, the vein collapsed, so the line would fail. When the cannula was pulled out, blood would suddenly gush under the skin, and puff my hand out all blue. When I awoke from my black out, hubby said I kicked out, and ripped cannula number 5 out of my right hand somehow. So at this stage, I'm still very low, just come back conscious, and still have no line in. Two more tries. One on my left hand, another on my right. There is intense pain in both hands. I think I throw up about here sometime. They don't get me a dish in time and I wear it. "Sorry, sorry" I say. I feel terrible. Absolutely awful. Like there is a buffalo sitting on my chest, and a magnetic storm in my brain, and custard and vinegar in my stomach. Hubby holds my head, he's all I see.

The anaesthetist takes a breath. Asks for a larger grade pink cannula. Puts in in my left arm, further up this time. "Protect this, wrap it up good. We can't lose this line" she orders. I am pumped full of the strongest dextrose they have. And a electrolyte/dextrose drip is installed. Cue spew. Well, I just had a hypo! Everyone breathes a sigh of relief. Hubby tests me again, I'm up to 8 mmol/L in less than a minute. Amazing stuff.

And then it's time for hubby and I say our "I love yous" and I get wheeled into the operating room. I still feel quite out of it. The OR is not far away, just across the corridor from the pre-op room. I remember the ceiling was grey, the room was cool and airy, there were blue flat panel displays on the right wall, and enormous gleaming white contraptions coming from the roof. Huge lights. I wasn't scared. These people were all friendly and professional. I say "I feel sick" (yes, I know I should be saying "I'm gonna be sick", but give me a break!), and again, I wear it. They get me a bowl, I apologise for making their lovely room smell so bad.

The anaesthetist explains that she is going to give me something to calm me down. She tells the others in the room that I am diabetic "and she's very emotional" I want to rip her head off. No, I'm not emotional. I've just had a f*cken hypo you b1tch! But I am all calm on the outside, and the sedative is so good. The nausea goes away, I regain full cognisance, it seems. I half sit up and see my ob/gyn at the end of the bed. He will be my surgeon today.

A nurse asks if I feel able to scoot across to my right, to the operating table. I get halfway, and the sheet covering me gets stuck. :P Cue various nurses feeling under me to get the caught bit free!

A pillow under my shoulders, lie down. A soft oxygen mask over my nose, but too low so the soft bit squashes my nostrils. I ask for it to go "up, up" and they move it off my face a bit. Soft eyes of the nurse to my right. A black padded extension on my left for my arm to be strapped to, with the IV line in it. It reminds me of the tables you see in movies with the lethal injection. But I'm not scared. Just calm.

The nurses want to know about one of their colleagues, who I know and said hello to in the pre-op room, before all the brouhaha. We went to kung-fu classes together I tell them. Didn't you know? Oops, looks like I've spilled the beans! "Was he good at kung-fu?" they ask. Yep. "Just think of something nice, like kung-fu maybe? Oh, no! Not fighting! Just think of something nice..." I think of my hubby and my kitty. Gentle soft thoughts.

That was at about 2.00pm. I awake in the recovery room, which happens to be the same cubicle as the pre-op. Hubby isn't there. He's supposed to be there. I can't get the energy to ask for him though. A male nurse asks if I have any pain? A little cramping. He gets me a warm blanket all folded up, and places it on my tummy. I've very impressed, since he's a guy and all. But I don't open my eyes. Another nurse asks me if I would like to do a blood test. Yes. It's 11.9 she says. Is that ok for you? Yes. The blood pressure cuff keeps automatically inflating, and stirring me out of sleep.

I don't remember the ride back across to the day ward, but I remember waking up and getting a kiss from hubby. He looks shattered. I'm sick some more. They say something about my pulse, it's down at about 65 bpm. Tests are hovering around 12 mmol/L. Feel yucky, drowsy, dozy. It's about 4.30pm.

All afternoon is spent sleeping and waking to do tests. The lovely nurse asks if I want to eat something, and suddenly I do. She brings two sandwiches, and gives me the wrong one, plus a cup of tea, one sugar. Don't feel like eating. If I move my head, bad things happen. If I don't eat, they won't let me go home. If I am sick again, they will keep me overnight. I nibble on the luncheon, relish and cheese sandwich. It is the most delicious thing I've ever tasted.

I ask Hubby if he's had anything to eat? Here, have my sandwich, you have to eat something! Lovely nurse comes back and thinks I'm making remarkable progress hehe :P

The afternoon is boring. Poor hubby stays by my side. I suddenly seem to get all better, and start talking sense. Lovely nurse agrees, and says that she will bring me some wash cloths. Hubby will walk home to get the car, and a coat for me, since it has started snowing on the mountain.

I am left alone to figure out how to get dressed with an IV still attached. I can't figure out how on earth I'm supposed to put my bra on with one hand. I am very pleased to be standing up and not too woozy. Just do everything slowly. Socks first. Pink t-shirt tangled in IV line. Jeans on. Sneakers. Hmm, can't do the laces with these sore hands. Tie some knots. Busting for a pee. Still attached to the bed!

Hubby returns, his footsteps are the best sound. He asks if I will be ok to go get some dinner. Burger King? Yep! Just what I feel like! He chases down the lovely nurse, and she comes back and untangles and unhooks me. IV out! Yahoo! I get bandages and cream for the bruising, and ice-packs. Coat on. Pit-stop, and then out we go to the car.

And that is my day in the hospital. We escaped around 6.30-ish.

Now I am sitting here typing this v-e-r-y slowly, watching American Idol, seeing Crystal singing I'm Alright by CaddyShack. (Did you know she's a T1?) And I feel fine. No cramps, no pain except for my hands. A bit tired. A weekend ahead of me :D

Morale of the story is this: If you ever EVER have to go in for surgery, and they ask you to stop eating before hand, ask for the IV to be installed as soon as you check in. That way, if you go low, or hypo, you can immediately get some dextrose pumped into you. In my case, something to calm me down wouldn't have gone astray either!

Thanks for reading, hope I haven't put you off your oats! Have a great weekend :D

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Diabetes police

Haha this is awesome, I'm sure you'll love it...enjoy!

I found it here:

Turns out Siah Sausage has her own blog! Miaow!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A week of insanity!

So first of I want to say a big THANK YOU to Karen from BitterSweet for organising Diabetes Blog Week. It's been fantastic to write every day, and then read what everyone else is writing too! Great fun, and I can't wait until next time. You can check out the other blogs here.

I'm afraid that's where the fun ends, as this week has seriously gone to hell in a handcart!

I had my appointment with my anaesthetist, a lovely South American woman who decided it was ok to lecture me on diabetes, and repeat everything like I was dumb or something. In the end I just sat there looking at her, waiting for her to stop. And then after my consult was over, she decided it would be ok to keep discussing my case IN THE CORRIDOR which is pretty busy with lots of people walking past, and basically tell me that she's seen a letter saying I need a pump, and I should do that cos my diabetes control is not good enough. Ungh. (Don't worry, my brain was thinking "Slap her! Slap her! Go on!) But I just got away from her as fast as possible.

I trust that she knows her stuff, which is anaesthesia, but that does NOT make her an expert in diabetes. Several times througout our discussion (lecture?) I had to try and correct incorrect information.

For example:
Her: "I see here you've had diabeetus for 5 years..."
Me: "No, 22 years"
Her: "No I read it in your chart: 5 years it says here"
Me: "No, I was diagnosed when I was five!"

Her: "Now your maximum blood sugar can be 17.1, and your minimum has been as low as 2.9..."
Me: "No, that's not right..."
Her: "I have it on good authority, it's written down here, perhaps you don't want to think you've been that high..."
Me: "Those numbers are incorrect, I have in fact been much higher, and much lower"
(hey, does she think I'm trying to disguise my blood sugar readings or something??!)


When I asked her what the cut off blood sugar reading was for proceeding with the surgery, she said she didn't have that data to hand. Transaltion: she has no idea what mmol/L numbers really mean!

I had terrible work stress yesterday as well. Like, earth-shattering, oh-mi-gawd, stress. A surprise meeting with the boss. Never much fun. He's too vague. I never know if I'm in trouble or not! :P

The situation has resolved itself now, and I'm feeling a lot less stressed, but what a start to the week!

Only one day of work left, and then I will be on leave to have my op on Thursday, and recover on Friday. It will be good to have it over and done with. To be honest, I'm no longer that worried about it. The procedure is really short, and I'm more worried about whether I will react to the drugs they give me and have vomiting afterwards. Not good!

Hubby has promised to hold my hand, and keep a watch over my diabetes control while I'm out of it. Which I really appreciate cos if they do decide I need a dose of insulin, if they give me the per-body-weight amount, I will go low! I'm quite sensitive to insulin, so I'm reassured he will be there.

I also found out that the majority of drug related mistakes in hospitals involve - you guessed it: insulin. I just don't want some know-it-all nurse elbowing her way in and upsetting my chi! :P

Bring on the weekend I say :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Dream a little dream - life after a cure

As my last post for Diabetes Blog Week, I'm gonna write about what I think my life would be like if my diabetes was suddenly cured.

To someone without a chronic illness, I imagine they must think that having your diabetes instantly cured must be absolutely fantastic. And don't get me wrong, I am quite keen to be done with all the blood tests and injections and lows and highs and all that other boring stuff. But to be perfectly honest, I think that if I woke up one day without diabetes I would be scared. I just wouldn't believe it.

I've been diabetic since I was five, and it's just about all I can remember. I only ate one chocolate bar before I was diagnosed. And I've only eaten 3 since. It has been a part of my life for 22 years, so for it to suddenly be gone would take a bit of adjusting.

I imagine that I would not stop testing my blood sugar. Perhaps the testing would dwindle away as the weeks passed and the tests kept giving me the "you're cured" result. Perhaps I would forget to get a prescription for test strips in time, and not fly into a tizz about it. Perhaps I would eat a whole bag of candy floss and not feel guilty, and not get a "high" headache afterwards. Perhaps.

Ever since I've been visiting doctors for diabetes, a cure has always been "10 years away".

But last year that changed (I hope) to 3 years away, and this year to 2 years. Would you like to know what I'm talking about? It's the pioneering work of Professor Bob Elliot, and his work with micro-encapsulation technology. In a nutshell, what him and his team have been working on is a way to implant insulin producing cells from specially bred pigs safely into humans without the need for immunosuppressant drugs.

They have figured out a crafty way to coat the pig cells in a seaweed-type substance which basically hides the foreign cells from the human body's immune system. This means that the implanted cells are free to produce insulin, without being destroyed by the recipient's body.

And where's the proof, you say? Well, the team is in the middle of human clinical trials right now, and they have already had 2 people come completely off insulin for periods of time. And I have been in the interesting position of saying NO to this treatment twice already (because you cannot be accepted for the clinical trials if you wish to become pregnant). My endo actually has another of his patients on the trial.

Here's the link:

So that's my thoughts about a cure. It's only a matter of time.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Diabetes snapshots

For Diabetes Blog Week Karen set us the subject today of "Diabetes Snapshots". I haven't taken any diabetes photos, so instead I chose a video :D Enjoy!

Having diabetes is a little like "whack a kitty"...

Forever correcting high or low blood sugars! Just not quite as cute :P

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Let's get moving

I grew up thinking that I was bad at sports. I'm a little bit uncoordinated, and I'm not too helpful in team sports, but I played hockey, like this:

(that's not me, BTW :P)

And I'm not that flexible or strong, but I studied kung-fu for 7 years, like this:

(Again... not I, said the fly)
I joined a gym for the year leading up to my wedding, and lost about 6 kilos, of which about 3 have returned since then, but I'm ok with that.

Most of the time now my exercise will be walking. We have a long promenade along the ocean front here, and at 10Km end to end, it's a good wee walk, or bike ride. I love biking. There's nothing better on a calm sunny day that pedalling and flying along on my bike.

I also do a bit of swimming, but it tires me out too quick and often causes me to go low. Having a low in a pool is no fun.

Most weeks I reckon I'd be lucky to get about 30 mins to 1hr exercise, but that goes up if you count gardening and vacuuming, which make me puff!
That's one good thing about being a growned-up, and not having to go to school anymore, is NO MORE PHYSICAL EDUCATION.
P.E., or Gym class always showed me up a someone who couldn't play netball, was scared of the volleyball-ball, and allergic to cricket. Being a kid, I would always forget to take emergency food with me, but I don't remember ever doing enough exercise at school to make me low :P
I did, however, have an awful low at the gym one time. I went with my sister, and we were just starting a new class with a new instructor. In the middle of doing warm-up stetches I blacked out and kind of slithered down the wall to sit on the floor in a heap. She went off to get me juice from the locker room. I remember watching her come back, walking quickly, but not running, so as not to cause a panic. I thought it was funny, it's a gym after all, you should be able to run sister! Get here now! :P
The poor instructor was terrified! He kept offering to call me an ambulance. And every time I showed up in the gym after that he would enquire if I was OK.
Ok, so I guess I've realised that I don't currently do enough exercise, really. It's coming towards winter here, and the weather is not much fun. I may have to look at some more organised form of fitness soon. :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

To carb or not to carb

I eat a pretty normal diet. An average of 150 - 170 grams of carbs per day. It's not a low carb diet, but it's getting close. It just happens to be the amount I eat which makes me feel neither hungry nor too full.

I tend to follow the advice of my Mum, and my first diabetes nurse educator, and dietician. They all recommend something like this:

It's worked for 27 years, and kept my weight at a healthy 60-65kg. Good for my height.

My only food problems came when I got really depressed. Unfortunately for me, my main symptom was nausea, so I stopped eating cos I couldn't face it. And lost weight... so much that I was diagnosed as anorexic, and sent off for counselling (and gentle anti-depressants, which moderate the lows, but also the joys, like putting a dampener on your emotions).

It worked, thank god, cos managing T1 diabetes with an eating condition was just awful. Now I watch myself carefully, if I get depressed, I take note that my eating is not gently dwindling away, and I can catch it in time. :)

My hubby is getting interested in vegetarian cooking, so I have been treated to some wonderful vege meals over the past couple of months :) Lots of chilli, tumeric, cumin, nuts, spice! Yummy! I don't mind not-eating meat, however I still say that the best vegetarian meals are the ones with bacon added! hehe

If food is in front of me, and I'm hungry, I will probably eat some. If I end up in a cafe, I always look for something with adequate carbs. If it's a restaurant for dinner, I might end up with a plate full of chicken and salad, but no carbs... that means I get to eat dessert too!

I don't count calories, but I have started logging the number of grams of carbohydrate I eat this year. Everything.

Food should be enjoyed, and I hate having to "emergency-eat" for lows, but on the whole I enjoy planting, growing, cooking and eating. Like it should be. I won't let diabetes ruin one of the great joys of my life. :)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A week of tragedy

It's been a sad week this week.

A good friend of mine had a very close family member pass away due to cancer. You just feel so helpless in that situation. There is nothing you can do except be there when they need you.

I found out today that JJ and Dom (local radio personalities) have had another failed IVF cycle. You can read their story here:

I've been following their progress, as they started roughly the same time I started this blog. To hear about their loss is heart breaking. 

And as if that wasn't enough bad news, a woman was killed in a fatal road accident very close to our house. The road has been blocked off for a while now as the crash experts examine the scene.


Strange goings-on

I’ve had lows this week like you wouldn’t believe.

Yesterday I couldn’t get up above an average of 3.8 mmol/L. For the whole day.

I would eat a huge amount of food and juice, and get up a bit for an hour, then it would fall back down and I’d be low again. And that is with a whole unit less insulin at each injection!

I put a pink highlighter mark on each test under 5.0 mmol/L in my logbook, and yesterday was just a stripe of pink. Surprisingly though, I slept through the night (after eating like a horse at bedtime) and woke at 4.8 mmol/L …. this morning I’ve cut my insulin dose by nearly half… see if that does the trick.

Weird thing is I’ve been averaging about 10 mmol/L for all this year, and suddenly to have a couple of days of constant lows makes me nervous…

My biggest supporter

Caring for my diabetes is a team effort, and I would like to say that no one is more important than anyone else on my "team". Sad fact is, there is one person who wins hands down as THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON. And that's me. If I'm not on board with the injections and the finger-pricks and the diet and doctor's appointments then no-one else can make much difference. I have to WANT to be better. I have to WANT to be healthy, and I have to be prepared to put in the effort to get there. :)

Having said that, my team of family, doctors, and friends who look out for me is absolutely awesome. By far and away my biggest supporter is my husband.

This man who I love with all my heart looks after me like no one else can. He is gentle and kind when reminding me I need a dinner-time test. He is forceful and strong-willed when he wants me to wake up and test in the middle of the night cos I'm making strange noises. He won't let me lay there in a half-sleep, he will roll out of the cosy bed to fetch emergency food. He has learned a lot in the 6 years I've known him, and he's never judged me or shown any preconceptions about my diabetes. He listens when I explain things, and he  understands when I can't eat something or do something. He helps me recover from lows, and will keep the conversation going when we're out together and I'm too high or too low to form a cohesive sentence.

He loves me and he cares for me. Because that's what we do. We look after each other. :)

Before I met my husband and moved out of my childhood home, my parents were absolutely amazing in tending to my diabetes. They never treated me as special, or different because I was diabetic. We just got on with things. They encouraged me to do what I enjoyed, and with their unwavering support I was able to grow up pretty "normal". Diabetes just happened to be a part of that.

My Mum did make some drastic changes to the family's diet, however, with a sugar-free diet introduced when I turned five, and a low-fat diet introduced when she got gallstones. So we grew up very healthy! Treats were just that - treats! :) I think that this is the main reason why my sister and I came out so slim in a family of non-slim folks hehe :P

I've had various doctors and endocrinologists over the years, and also diabetes nurse educators. There folks have been integral in monitoring and helping to control my diabetes. They have provided emotional support to us when we felt all alone with this thing, and they have never given up on the dream of me living a "normal" life.

Diabetes is a team support. One that never ends and has no winners. One that you just have to keep playing.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My heart is normal-ish

I'm not sure if I mentioned it earlier, but when I went to my pre-surgery nurse's appointment, she took my blood pressure, height, weight, etc.

Then she listened to my heart beat. For ages. "Are you aware you have a heart murmur?" she says. Um, no. That's a new one for me!

So I duly trotted off to see my GP, to get myself checked. My initial Googling confirmed what the doctor told me: it's very minor, relatively common, and I won't need any treatment. In fact, my doc said that the new definition of a normal heart is someone who has not yet needed an electro-cardiogram!

Funny thing was when he tried to replicate the noise my heart was making "luh, sssssdub" I nearly got the giggles. But it was a good explanation!

Making the low go

When I have a low blood sugar it can be scary, but most of the time I just get mildly annoyed.

A low slows me down and stops my brain, the most important part of me, from functioning. I can't think straight when I go low, my heart beats too fast like it's too big and restless for my chest, I get the chills, chills so cold that no matter how many blankets I curl up in just won't go.

I can't talk. The words are in my head, but somewhere the language gets lost. Or even worse, my mind goes blank, and I lose everything. No words. Ask me a question "Are you low?" and all you'll get is a dumb stare and maybe a frustrated moan.

I get grumpy. Grumpy as hell! Everything makes me annoyed when I'm low. I'm more likely to swear or lash out, even though I'm a gentle wee soul most of the time. hehe :P

I get tunnel vision, and sometimes my lips get tingly, or the back of my throat goes numb which makes it feel like I can't breathe.

I have collapsed, and blacked out.

I have had seizures so bad that I actually broke a vertebra. A compression fracture.

I've been to A+E.

I know what the inside of an ambulance looks like when you're lying down strapped to the stretcher, wrapped only in a summer sheet, listening to the medics talk on the drive to the hospital.

I know that weird feeling of being wheeled through corridors to x-ray and seeing light after light go over my head.

I know what it's like to hear my husband tell the medics that no, I don't want the glucagon, because I told him that it makes me vomit for 24hours. He's listened to me, and taken note of my wishes, but I'm SO hypo right now I NEED it, but too low to speak, so I end up not getting any glucagon. And when you don't have much of a natural reserve, it makes the ride back up none too pleasant. :(

But most of the time I can deal with a low well before it reaches anything nearing dramatic. Most people won't know I'm unwell, and only those who are really close to me will be able to spot anything wrong.

I carry fruit bars (15g carbs in an easy to chew form) and juice boxes (12g quick-drinkin' goodness). I prefer to have natural fast-acting foods, rather than lollies, to try and save my teeth. It also feels better to eat a banana, or a natural meusili bar, than processed sweeties or drinks. But I have a soft spot for jelly beans, so they are my emergency food of choice to live in the glove box of my car since they last ages and don't melt in the heat.

So yeah, that's all I gotta say about lows for now: They are a pain in the arse, and they can muck up my life, but most of the time it's not going to stop me from doing kung fu (studied for 7 years), or flying a plane (done that twice), or rock carving in the hot sun all day, or working a full time job, or marrying my sweetheart, or thinking of having kids, or playing backyard cricket with-walnuts-instead-of-a-cricket-ball with my 3 adorable step kids, or biking for 10Kms for a picnic by the lake, or driving my car between cities, or travelling overseas to visit my friends and family. It has never stopped me before, and I don't intend to ever, ever let it stop me in the future.

Awesome. Feels great to have written that. Enjoy your Tuesday :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Recommended reading

I've just "met" Saffy from and I recommend you pop over and read her blog. Very interesting reading, topics include diabetes (of course!), and lots of baby and parenting stuff. I know what I will be reading! :)

This just proves how random my diabetes really is

I thought I could best describe it with a picture:

Click to see a larger version

Notice the little "average" icon on the right. Yes, 8.7 - is that awesome or what!? (The green indicates my target range, between 4 and 8mmol/L).

I'm normally an average of about 10 mmol/L, so that little number makes me very happy to see :) (Thanks Log for Life!)

But it has come at a cost, as you can see from today's graph, I've been low three times already.
Trust me when I say I am starting to feel the effects of it. Getting tired, brain is just a constant fog and I can't concentrate on anything for more than a minute. I've been eating fruit bars like there's no tomorrow, and even switched to having sugar in my tea today instead of Equal, but I keep going low. Must be because I had a very light dinner last night - hubby is learning to cook vegetarian and he made a delicious cauliflower soup. Don't make that face! It honestly was delicious, with potatoes, celery and almonds. Yum! But not many carbs.

I normally eat about 150 - 170g carbs per day, and I don't know whether that counts as a low carb diet or not, it's just what I eat. I try to eat sensible food, but if you put something tasty in front of me, I will probably eat some of it. And test and inject to cope with it. No strict meal plans or anything. Which makes life...interesting. :P

And yes, I am blogging while low. haha. I will probably need to cull this post tomorrow!

A day in the life...with diabetes

I've chosen to share a day with you. The day I got my flu vaccination! (as if I didn't have enough needles already)

Starts off with me sleeping through my alarm, and having my cat walk all over my face in an effort to convince me to feed him. Get dressed, throw cat biscuits at kitty, and race out to my car. Since I live in a small city, it's only an 8 minute drive from my house to my office. Still, I have been known to cut it pretty fine sometimes!

Get to work and thank my lucky stars that there is an on-site carpark ready and waiting for me. Into the lift, down the corridor, and get settled into my office. It's open plan, with 6 other people. My computer takes ages to boot up, so I use this time to test, eat breakfast, and take my insulin.

Breakfast test: 8.3 mmol/L, 5u Humalog and 11u Lantus, 23g carbs

People in my office hardly notice me doing my blood tests and injections anymore. I think most of them have never actually noticed, and those who do generally don't seem to care anymore. It's only exciting to watch the first time!

I work until 10am, when a bunch of us head downstairs to the cafe for tea and nibbles. I have a box of raisins and a cuppa tea with Equal sweetner.

Morning tea test: 7.2 mmol/L, 20g carbs

Then it's back to work until lunchtime, when I usually head off home for lunch. Today I've got an appointment at my GP's for a flu shot. I get one every year, as I had the flu one year and it felt like I was dying! Flu + diabetes /= fun! The nurse gives me the shot and I have to sit around reading crummy waiting room magazines for 20 mins to check if I'm gonna have a reaction. Lunch at home is some peanut butter and honey toast with another cup of tea, and feeding the kitty cos he thinks I'm mean to come home without feeding him.

Lunchtime test: 10.2 mmol/L, 5u Humalog, 35g carbs

Oh, work is so boring! So every now and again we have to stop for some lolcatz hehe :D

Afternoon tea test: 14.3 mmol/L Hmmm I think, that's a bit high, so a correction of 1.5u should do the trick. Probably the honey on the toast at lunch time coupled with the fuss of having the flu shot.

Middle of the afternoon and I start to feel a bit off. Eyes can't focus, I start to feel cold and get all chilly, my brain is in a fog and I find myself reading the same stretch of text over and over without taking it in. A quick test proves that I'm only 3.8 mmol/L so I hunt around in my purse and desk for a fruit bar or juice box. 20g carbs later, and the full "yuck" of the low starts to hit. I usually get my worst symptoms on the way back up, so it's not unusual to see me just sitting at my desk staring into space.

Ok, so work is not all boring. I'm a web designer for an e-learning company, and I get to work with some awesome folks to create courses that will be delivered over the interwebs. I am mainly responsible for the design of the online enrolment systems and delivery websites. It's not flashy work, but it needs to be done.

Work finishes up and I make my way home, stopping at the pharmacy on the way to collect a prescription. To get my diabetes supplies I email my GP a list of what I want, with how much I am currently using per day so he can work out the maths of how much to order me. He faxes a prescription over to my pharmacy, I call to ensure it's ready, then go and collect it. At the most, it will cost me about $15, but normally it's closer to $3 just for the prescription charge. Some days I really love living in New Zealand!

Dinner is at home on the couch watching the news with my hubby, we have tortellini with homemade tomato, olive and bacon sauce, and neopolitan ice-cream for dessert. I like the strawberry stripe best, and somehow it always runs out first.

Dinner test: 8.1 mmol/L, 5u Humalog, 9u Lantus, 40g carbs

Because it's a Thursday and there are no after-work activities planned, I can loll about on the couch and watch telly and surf the interwebs. I will often spend this time working on some freelance web design jobs, or downloading and processing photos off my new camera. Love Canon :)

Whoa, look at that! It's nearly midnight! Time to test: 5.0 mmol/L That's too low for my liking at this time of night, I need to feel a bit safer before committing to sleep. So 25g of carbs and another test at half-past midnight of 5.6 mmol/L confirms my blood sugar is gently rising, not crashing. Off to nap-land.

And that is my day, well, one of them anyway. Remembered as best I could with the aid of my log book.

Monday, May 10, 2010

I will get to see my OWN anaesthetist, at least...

I got a message after work on Friday saying my Tuesday appointment with the anaesthetist had been moved back a day to Monday. Oh that's just great. I had booked annual leave off work to attend on Tuesday, and also booked another doctor's apointment for later in the morning to use up the extra time.

This morning, Monday, I woke up earlier so I could call the hospital and try to fix it. But I was too early; they don't start taking calls at the booking office until about 8am, by which time I will have to be at work already. So the I've-not-had-my-coffee-yet-sounding receptionist trasnferred me around to another department with someone I could talk to, who explained that the appointment change was due to the pre-admissions nurse noting that I was diabetic, and would need to see the actual anaesthetist who would be there at my surgery.

What? So you normally see just some random anaesthetist? Sounds a bit stoopid to me!

Anyway, her heart was in the right place, because although it has well and truly mucked my day around, that nurse picked up on the fact that I will need special care by MY anaesthetist before, during, and after my op.

For instance, I am not allowed to eat anything for breakfast or lunch... that's a minor inconvenience for most people, but for me that's a calamity. I cannot just not eat for that long. Who knows what my blood sugars will do? Stress will put them higher (I guess), but lack of food will put them low (I know), but a reduced insulin dose to cope with no food with could put them higher again (if I don't get the dose exactly spot on!).

The nurse also emailed my endocrinologist to get him talking directly to the anaesthetist, which is a good thing. I want everyone on the same page here!

Long story short, I have re-jiggled all my appointments, and cancelled my annual leave for tomorrow. My surgery is at the end of next week and they managed to squeeze me in with a new anaesthetist appointment early next week. Whew. I couldn't stand waiting much more!

Oh, for an idea of how anaesthesia can affect a diabetic, check out Kerri Morrone Sparlings account of her daughters birth by c-section.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Pre-admission appointment with the nurse

I took this morning off work so I could attend a nurse-led pre-admission appointment in preparation for my hysteroscopy operation later in the month. The letter advising me of this appointment said it could take up to 3 hours!

The day didn't start off well; I woke up with a wicked low and a raging headache. Or rather, I pretended I wasn't awake and fell back asleep, only to be woken by Mr Kitty in time to gobble some breakfast and rush to the hospital. I took my Lantus, but because I was only 3.3 mmol/L I decided to hold off on taking the Humalog until my blood sugar had come up to a more healthy level. I got to the outpatient's reception area just in time, and there was a long line of people waiting.

I was in the waiting room for over half an hour, and getting antsy cos I only had the morning off from work, and I was starting to seriously worry that I wouldn't make it back in time. But the lovely nurse came and got me, and did a thorough medical history. She was a bit bemused when I sat down and started doing a(nother) blood test, and injection :) Time for Humalog! Now! I had gone up to 14.4 mmol/L already!

She took my blood pressure, did weight and height (I only ever seem to get shorter these days :P), and listened to my chest. She listened a little longer. "Did anyone ever tell you that you have a slight heart murmur? Well, I think I can hear one anyway..." Me: "No, that's interesting." And it could also explain why I'm always so goddamn tired all the time. So I've booked ANOTHER appointment with my GP next week, to confirm or deny the lovely-nurse's diagnosis. We shall wait and see what happens....

* The rest of day is spent getting more blood tests, visiting my hubby at his work to help out on his film set, go to my work in the arvo and do prep for film shoot next week, go low twice in the afternoon, once in a meeting - oh what fun! Have my newly-diagnosed diabetic friend asking me diabetes questions all afternoon, go home have fish and chips for dinner YUM *

...but wait! What's this? I get home, after work on a Friday, and there is a message saying they've moved my Tuesday anaesthetist appointment to Monday! WTF? You tell me basically the day before, when I can't call either the hospital to reschedule, or my work to re-organise time off??!? What the hell, hospital-reception-lady!? That's not on! Grumpy now... I'm supposed to be working on a film shoot on Monday, so re-organising work and my GP appointment back to Monday from Tuesday is such a pain in the arse. Not a happy camper.

In other, happier news, I have joined the TuDiabetes community. I can't believe I didn't know about this "facebook for diabetics" before now! It's great! Pop over and have a look today :)

Have a great weekend! :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My friend is diagnosed with gestational diabetes

Today my friend was diagnosed with gestational diabetes after failing two glucose tolerance tests miserably. She's only got about 6 weeks before her due date, and doesn't seem to understand what her diagnosis means or what effects if could have on her or her baby.

She's been given a testing kit to check her blood sugars, and immediately started moaning that she couldn't wait for it to be over, at least she only had another 6 weeks of this!

At this stage I took to looking meaningfully at her! Come on! Don't give me that crap when you know I've got a far more serious form of this disease and have had it for 22 years! She's a sweetie, but complaining because you can't eat a bag of jetplane lollies per day just doesn't fly with me. (haha, that's a good one :P)

I think she only truly started to understand what I might be going through when we were emailing each other about diabetes, sharing our blood test results to compare, and checking on wikipedia to learn about gestational diabetes.

She asked me if I was still planning on babies and all that stuff.

So I told her. I sat at my desk at work and tried real hard not to cry as I typed how I've had so many fertility tests, and so many doctors appointments, and have more in the future, and an operation coming up because the fertility clinic won't accept us until I get the uterine polyp removed. I told her how my husband and I are facing IVF and ICSI, and that it's scary and that I've been reading blogs like crazy trying to get some information on what it's like.

As I said, she's a sweetie and I believe she means well, but when she responded that once I was holding my bundle of joy all the hard work would be worth it, that I would understand, it seriously took all my will power not to sniff and tear up. Of course I know that. Duh. Why do you think I'm even thinking of being hooked up to an insulin pump and a CGM? Why do you think I tolerate so many blood-draws (or vampire visits, as I like to call them), so many finger-pricks, so much OCD with carb counting and data collection? It's because when I see my husband with his three beautiful children and I see the love in his eyes, and I know I can hug them, but they'll always only be hugging a step-mum, I know deep down that I desperately want to be a mother. I have teenagers already, I want them right from the beginning. All mine. I absolutely know I can be a good mother cos I'm a mother of sorts already. So I know.

But she didn't and the stress sent me quite low. A juice box and a fruit bar later, and my brain came back from the clouds. I was able to get back to work, and try and enjoy the fact that revealing "my secret" was actually kind of liberating. I have another person besides my husband, my parents, my sister, and my doctors who knows a bit of what I'm going through.

The understanding my friend came to in one day, just about diabetes, was astounding. The whole office got involved, everyone wanted to know our blood sugars and what they meant. I think that's really positive. Now a few more people have a little window into my life and what diabetes is all about.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Diabetes Blog Week

So I've only just started blogging about diabetes and stuff, I'm pretty new at it all. But I really like Karen's (from BitterSweet blog fame) idea to blog together as a community for a week about set topics.

I will give it a try :) Should be very interesting to see what other people write about too. Here is the "agenda":
  • Monday 5/10 - A day in the life . . . with diabetes

  • Tuesday 5/11 – Making the low go

  • Wednesday 5/12 – Your Biggest Supporter

  • Thursday 5/13 - To carb or not to carb

  • Friday 5/14 - Let's get moving

  • Saturday 5/15 - Diabetes snapshots

  • Sunday 5/16 - Dream a little dream - life after a cure
Should at the very least get me writing a lot! :D

Found a couple of great blogs to read

I have been bored at work, so have been idly surfing the interwebs. I always find myself reading something diabetes-related, usually I'm looking at insulin pump stories, or seeing the flash products available in America. Today I found these two gems:

Hope you enjoy them! :)

Monday, May 3, 2010

So many forms!

I've just filled in a small forest of forms in preparation for my surgery on May 20th. All the pre-admission forms, and appointment cards, and scary-looking "patient-information" brochures.

Again, I've slipped a bit. I was supposed to send this stuff as soon as I got it, but I forgot so now I'm rushing around filling out paper work at the last minute. Sure it will be fine. Hope it will be fine. I really don't think I could handle having the op post-poned, the suspense is really doing my head in.

In other news, the wonderful Kerri Morrone-Sparling and her husband Chris have had their first child. You can read all about it here: sixuntilme

This morning my office had two pregnant women, one with twins, and a new dad, and pics of a new baby doing the rounds vis email. sigh. My colleague who sits next to me noted that there seemed to be pregnant people everywhere!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

So angry at myself right now

Because I was supposed to do a FSH test on day 2 of my cycle, and I completely forgot! Oh grrrrrrr! I've been so good with all the blood tests and appointments so far. I just woke up this morning, and thought, oh gee, now I've got to wait a whole extra month. What a dumb-ass.

This was supposed to be the last lot of fertility-related blood tests before going to visit the fertility clinic. I was supposed to take hubby along for his blood work as well. And I plain forgot. Day 2 was 2 days ago. I feel like a right idiot.