Category Archives: Health
The key word about type 2 diabetes in the eighth year since it branded itself upon me: STRUGGLE.
The second half was all about figuring out the next chapter of my life and finding some peace. And so, diabetes remained in the background.
I’ve been working out a lot lately, and while it feels good to exercise, I simply haven’t been watching what I eat. As a result, wild blood sugar swings are dominating my life right now. I’ll go from 180+ mg/dl after a meal to 80- mg/dl two hours later to 160+ mg/dl after treating, complete with emotions and other hormones all over the place, too. All in spite of being at the same stable weight, all in spite of lack of complications.
Getting back some sense of control instead of struggling all the time should be – NO, needs to be the theme of this next year with diabetes.
The Bloggess tweeted today:
“Every time something really good happens to me I immediately assume the plummeting downward spiral is right over the horizon.”
since I got back from London since I wrote this post, I wake up with a sense of dread. A sense of dread that something horrible is about to happen (or worse, it already has, and I have yet to hear about it).
It’s not fair. It’s not fair that I got to this place with an incredible sense of peace, and yet all the familiar doubt starts fucking shit up. Seemingly out of nowhere this afternoon, I noticed the signs of a panic attack on the horizon with the only good reason being that I consumed an unreasonable amount of caffeine before lunch. I noticed the signs, though, and I stopped them in their tracks.
Hoping and hoping that reading the following quote on my commute to work did not trigger something else entirely, that it did not touch me where it hurts, that it was just the caffeine.
“Depression be like a bruise that never goes away. A bruise in your mind. You just got to be careful not to touch where it hurts. It always be there, though.” – The Marriage Plot, Jeffrey Eugenides
I don’t know how I got here.
And it scares me. But not enough to stop heading on this path, but not enough to say it out loud.
There is plenty of stuff going on that could upset me, that could drain me. But I fight fight fight through it, like I always imagined other people did.
I never thought I would get here. Not at 13, or 16, or 21, or 33, or even five months ago.
I’ve had two panic attacks since the end of August. I’ve had bad days since then, too, but not ones that send me into deep dark spirals of depression, as hard as my mind sometimes seems to try to want to crawl back into them.
It doesn’t mean I’m about to toss aside the medication that got me here or that I don’t need the light box. It doesn’t mean I don’t still have work to do or that I won’t keep seeing the spectacular mental health professional. It doesn’t mean I have to be stop being mindful of triggers that would send me back months.
I got here. A mind at peace.
Woke up every half hour or so from 3:30 AM until the alarm went off at 6:00 AM this morning.
I am THAT excited about my endocrinologist appointment today. I will receive a number, an A1C reading. This time around, I am going into this appointment without any supporting documentation as to why it may be lower or higher than last time around.
While mostly sticking to the lower carbohydrate end of the spectrum and while workouts started again a few weeks ago after a nagging bout with patellar tendonitis, the meter has barely been used since the last appointment in September. It is test strip hoarding at its best, as orders keep getting placed with the mail order pharmacy even without much actual testing being done.
I cannot explain it. I used to be strict about checking blood glucose every morning, and after at least one meal per day. Did I get used to not testing when the supply of test strips was small in between insurance cards last summer? Have I burnt out on it? Does the fact I have yet to disclose at work play a role?
So even if the A1C is lower than last time (and oh, how I hope it is), there is still work to do.
Soon, I head overseas for a long-deserved week away. A regular pattern of checking blood glucose must happen before then, as the travel and walking and delicious European carbs will take a toll on the numbers. Without constant watch, there could easily be some nasty swings in blood sugar.
Of course, there is always work to do with diabetes…
What do you get a hypothyroidism diagnosis for its 8th birthday?
Another Thyroid Awareness Month, I suppose, which covers all thyroid disorders – hyperthyroidism (sometimes diagnosed as Graves’ Disease) and thyroid cancer in addition to hypothyroidism (sometimes diagnosed as Hashimoto’s Disease).
Having written a ton about my experience before, I will let the archives do the talking this year.
June 2009. Social anxiety, be damned. Eleven years here, and everyone I know locally is either a co-worker or one of his friends. I need to meet other people.
It takes a lot for me to gain the courage to walk into that coffee shop and meet a group of women bloggers, that up until a few days prior I never even heard of before.
Just like the day I moved into the dorms my freshman year of college and managed to set aside all the worry for awhile to meet neighbors, I end up enjoying myself.
It is only now that I realize how much I needed to venture out that day. It is only now that I realize the impact of that day on how the next couple years unraveled.
The thing is, I had been unhappy for awhile before that day, but the scariest part of trying to do what would make me less unhappy was knowing that a local support system outside of work and his world was lacking. As I got to know a few of the women I met that day, I started to feel like maybe I could do it after all, even after my health failed me for a few months.
Thank you, JoAnn and Jen and Jolene and Denise. (And also to Aimee and Tracy, who were not there that day, but still have been a huge part of my starting over.)
“Always something there to remind me…” – Naked Eyes
The scar runs from navel to pubic bone and is always staring back at me. In the shower, on the toilet, or in the middle of changing clothes – there is simply no escaping it, even as it slowly fades over the years.
The scar attempts to tell the story of the day they needed to cut me open to try to raise blood pressure, to drown the fever, to restore a white blood cell count to normal levels, to drain the growing abscess in my abdomen.
“Scars are souvenirs you never lose, the past is never far.” – Goo Goo Dolls
The scar only scratches the surface of an experience forever imprinted on my mind. It represents not just that day, but the subsequent series of events that changed the course of where my life was headed.
Sometimes I like to just look down at the scar, and then glance over at the word written on the inside of my left arm, and then back at the scar – just to remember how far I have come since that day three years ago.
“A scar simply means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you.” – Unknown
Friday night, and I am drinking glass of water after glass of water to quench a dry mouth.
All because of the 230 mg/dl staring back at me after a dinner of chicken, vegetables, and a smaller side of pasta.
I have not slowed down like I said I would, though the new thyroid replacement dose seems to be working. I ended up worrying more about the things I cannot control (work stuff), I ended up procrastinating more about the things under my control (finding a place to live in the city where I work), and I ended up taking on a new side project (studying for the GRE).
And, I thought I could go back to being mostly pescetarian, as I did briefly in my late teens. In fact, I thought I would be writing about my experience exploring lower carb vegetarian options, not writing about a blood glucose reading that really bites.
Clearly, I need to listen to the self who wrote that post six weeks ago. Slow down and stop complicating my life by worrying and procrastinating. It does not necessarily have to mean giving up on grad school or on trying to eliminate most meat and poultry. It does mean ignoring the things I cannot control and taking action on the things I can control. (But if I can rock the GRE and start developing a lower carb vegetarian recipe stack, all the better for doing the things I aspire towards.)
Because without slowing down, there is more opportunity for a Friday night high, which really crimps my style.
A good friend asked the Twitterverse today, “do you give yourself permission to slow down?”
It got me thinking.
I used to feel invincible, back in the day. Staying up until the wee hours, then waking up four hours later and functioning normally at school or at work. (This was before coffee and I were friends, mind you.)
Then my thyroid tanked and suddenly even ten hours did not seem enough. Once treated at a stable level, I said hello to the days of needing at least six, but usually eight hours of sleep in order to function day to day.
For over a year following the separation, I had a taste of that invincibility again. Insomnia was now to blame for staying up until the wee hours, but I could once again wake up four hours later and function normally at work (thanks to that friend named “coffee”).
Something changed recently, though. I started sleeping longer and better but I also found myself more depressed. So an adjustment was made in my happy pills.
Then last weekend happened. More familiar symptoms came rushing back – not just falling asleep at 7:30 pm Friday night and sleeping soundly until 6am the next morning, but walking around in sweats on a warm day to keep from shivering and realizing how much hair I was cleaning out of my shower and bathroom sink.
At yesterday’s endocrinologist appointment, fears were confirmed. While TSH levels would still be considered subclinical, they were higher than they had been since the last medication adjustment not long after the hypothyroidism diagnosis in 2005.
While I wait for a new dosage to arrive and start working, I need to do what my thyroid did – slow down. Give myself permission to slow down.
Stop worrying so much about what is out of my control. Stop procrastinating on the things that do need to get done. Stop taking on too many side projects.
Start being kind to my body. Start asking for help. Start focusing on the things that matter most.