30 September 2011

Fine Tuning



I have recently moved my infusion sight down to my outer thigh and have been having huge problems with it. I usually rotate the site locations depending on the season. Spring and summer, when I am in a bathing suit more than not, require that I hide the site under a bikini so it goes into my upper butt between where the pocket of my jeans is and the waistband. Fall and winter make it easier to put it into my upper thigh since I spend most of my days in jeans and skirts and the only place I get into a swim suit is at the Y to get in a workout so I am less concerned with my appearance. After three successful years of this, I have found my system faltering. My butt has developed scar tissue which hinders the insulin from getting from the infusion set to my blood stream where I can actually use it. I thought it might be time to make the switch to the upper thigh to give my butt some time to heal. 

As soon as I did I started pulling out sets when I changed clothes. I had to train myself to be careful of a new spot and then I would be fine, I told myself. After a week and ten different sites being pulled out, I got the hang of it and stopped  accidentally pulling out sites. But then I started to notice that the sites would go bad after only a day. When I first started using an insulin pump the sites I used, like mini IV's, would stay open and useful for seven to ten days at a time. I loved not having to poke myself or remember to change a set for a whole week or more. As time has worn on that period of time has been reduced greatly, mostly due to scar tissue. I have had to abandon using my stomach due to the scarring and now my thighs and butt are both showing signs of deterioration as well. I just wonder how many more body parts are viable options. Am I , in ten years, going to have to affix this thing to my ankle? Luckily my ankles have very little fat. But of course this means I can't use them as an infusion site. Maybe my chest will have to do, though, I am not sure how much Tony will like the looks of that one. So what are those other sites I have been overlooking, ones that I will not pull out easily,but have not scarred up ye?. Or maybe there's some new technological advance to erase the scar tissue so I could go back to the old reliable sites?

29 September 2011

More Days LIke This



I think paid sick days from work should be handed out on a sliding scale. Most jobs will come up with some arbitrary number of days that you can miss a year and still get paid. Maybe they should work on tightening up that formula. The standard person gets ten. Oh You're a diabetic, that's four extra days a year. So you have hyperthyroidism, that's worth three extra. You haven't seen a doctor in fifteen years and you haven't been sick a day in your life, you get two.

I have been teaching now for thirteen years. Each year we are given ten fully paid sick days a year. If we don't use them all they are carried over for the next school year. People who have been teaching as long as me usually have around fifty days stocked up by now. I have zero. I have not had a year yet in which I did not use each and every sick day I was allowed and a few extra, sometimes quite a few extra. There were the two high risk pregnancies which took me out for five and seven months. Then there was the year before I got meds for the hyperthyroidism that took me out for four months. But even on a good year, I have not been able to keep it under ten days. I suppose I should be grateful for the ten paid days, some jobs don't even offer that. But after a night like last night, I just wnaant to whine and complain and ask for more days off.

I went to bed at 9:30 with a blood sugar of 329 which I promptly corrected for. I should have been back to normal two hours later. So when Eli woke me at 12:30 after having a nightmare, I was surprised to have that high feeling. And not just a moderate high feeling, but the one where your whole body seems to be filled with that metallic taste. I tested and knew it would be bad. 404. Into the bathroom, shut the door and replace my infusion site. I've gave up on using my thigh anymore, the last fifteen tries there have been met by speedy failure. So again it is a shot in the butt to insert the infusion set and off to bed.

One- thirty comes and I am woken up by the sound of Eli walking down the hall. We have an old house and the upstairs creaks with every step. I can hear my kids the second their little feet hit the floor. So I wait for his entrance, but it never comes. If he's not the one who's walking around my house at O-dark-thirty in the morning, who exactly is it? I jump out of bed to look for the prowler that Eli has been having worried about the last few days, only to find a raccoon digging through the trash. I didn't even have the energy to scare him off, I just fell back into bed.

At two thirty Nick woke me to tell me my blood suaras were still high, 273. By now, with all this insulin on board he should only have dares wake me to tell me I had overshot the good zone and entered Low Land. But no, new site be dammed, I still was not good. More insulin. Nick has a two hour sleep button so he left me alone for a while, but right at four-thirty, he was on my case again. Still high. Damn, really?  240. More insulin, but not too much. There's nothing worse than spending a whole night at 400 and then waking up at forty.

Six a.m. comes way too soon and I curse the sun's punctuality and hop in the shower hoping to wash away the fogginess now firmly entrenched in my brain. I get out, dry off and get dressed and attempt to put on some make-up, but a whole night without insulin has done some damage on my body. My cells have not been able to get any sugar to perform any function and they are screaming about it now. I look at my makeup bag and cannot decide what to take out, so I grab the first thing I see, my eyeliner and for a moment or two I cannot figure out what to do with it. I just look at it like some sort of NASA space tool that I have never seen before. After a minute or two my mind has finished processing and brings up the right use for it and I proceed. I sometimes feel like my brain on mornings like these is working like a five year old PC that has never been cleaned out and is so crowded with programs and data that it takes ten minutes to boot up and fifteen to open any program you ask. And if you decide to open too many programs at once it will simply crash. This morning I was on my way to that very crash.

I made my way down the stairs and into the kitchen to make breakfast very slowly, dragging from the achy-ness that feels like the moment your flu aches actually become painful, when Tony comes in and gives me a big hug and asks what's wrong. It's great being married to him for so long because I have very little explaining to do for him to understand exactly what's going on. "I was high all night" I say. He holds off his teasing when it's this bad and is always the right amount of sympathetic.  I go back to trying to make breakfast for me and the kids so we can ll get to school on time, when Tony says, "Do you need to take a day?"

I usually will push through a morning like this one. I have to or I would never make it to work. I had been toying with the idea of taking the day off to recover.  I usually try to get ready for the morning before I make my decision to see if just getting up and moving around will shake the cobwebs out of my brain and body, but there are two things that make that decision very easy to make. The first is when I have to consider if I should go hang my head over the toilet because the high has now made me very nauseous and expelling the contents of my stomach is now eminent. The other is when I can't control the tears that stream at the thought of having to move my body enough to get the kids to school and then go teach 150 seventh graders all day.

When Tony asked if I needed a day, and the tears threatened to expose themselves, the decision was made, chalk one more up on that board. And everything gets easier. I can now drop the kids off and crawl back into bed by eight and sleep until ten. I can get up and eat the only meal that will do on a day like this, one that I am sure of its effects on my blood sugars, fish tacos. I can now try to find some Anti-fatigue caps from Hammer Nutrition, which are amazing at removing all the nasty metabolic by-products made by my body during a night like last night, at my local supplement store, The Nutrition Zone, and run into another active diabetic who is isolated from the diabetic community and share what Insulindependence has done for me in my diabetic life.  And  I can now write and try to find some amount of catharsis from this damned disease.
If only I had more days like this...

18 September 2011

The Lazy Man's Solution

I've been looking for creative ways to write more for this blog and I hear the lazy man will go to a meme when he is out of ideas. I have come up with some creative ways to inspire me, but as I am fighting off a headache and nausea from working in the fumes in my newly painted office, I thought a lazy way was warranted today. So here is the first meme I found (what's the point of being lazy, if it means havign to search for the best meme or one that is perfectly suited to the topic of this blog.)

1) Who is the last person you high-fived? Tony, when he finished his last tri

2) If you were drafted into a war, would you survive. I doubt it, unless I had some amazing people on my team.

3) Do you sleep with the TV on? NO WAY!!!

4) Have you ever drunk milk straight out of the carton?  I don't like to drink milk. Its only purpose is to turn chocolate for lows or to fill my cereal bowl

5) Have you ever won a spelling bee? i kant spell wurth crapp

6) Have you ever been stung by a bee? Nope. We used to catch them as a kid with dixie cups while they sat on the little flowers in the grass of our elementary school or sometimes we would catch them with tweezers as they sat on the shrubs in front of my cousins house, but I've never stung.

7) How fast can you type? not as fast as i can think which kills me when I write.

8) Are you afraid of the dark? Not unless I let my mind wander and picture that horrible, tall, skinny alien thing run behind a fence like in that movie Signs. Still creeps me out to this day.

9) Eye color: green

10) Have you ever made out at a drive-in? Nope, just a regular theater

11) When was the last time you chose a bath over a shower? This afternoon

12) Do you knock on wood? Only when I knock my knee on whatever wooden creation I am currently building which is usually followed by cussing and crying

13) Do you floss daily? I would love to say yes.

15) Can you hula hoop? Yep but not with any sort of finesse or beauty

16) Are you good at keeping secrets? Excellent. I take great pride in being trustworthy. Maybe it was having a very loose lipped friend as a kid that drove that message home.

17) What do you want for Christmas? a new wedding ring (not a new husband, mine's perfectly designed for me) just a new ring with some style.

18) Do you know the Muffin Man? huh?

19) Do you talk in your sleep? When I'm stressed.

20) Who wrote the book of love? God.

12 September 2011

Has It Really Been Six Months?

  My husband, Tony, has been doing triathlons for three years now.  He has come from a couch potato to placing very high in his age group.  Yesterday he went to pick up his race packet for yet another race, his fifth this year.  As he reached the front of the line he gave the lady behind the counter his name and the greatest thing happened. "Spineto? Is your wife that diabetic sailor girl?" she asked.
      "Yeah?" he questioned not knowing where she was going.
    "That's so cool. I follow her blog. I'm a diabetic, too." she said.
    (By the way, if you happen to be this lady, leave me a comment, I'd love to hear form you.)
     When he came home and told me this story, my first thought was of how guilty I felt for not writing in six months. well, that's not exactly accurate. I have written, I just haven't written a blog post in that long. Who knows the real reason why I haven't, maybe I am avoiding being so public with all of this, or I was rebelling against having to write on a deadline after doing it for a while.  I would like to think that maybe it was just because I was out living my life, storing up stories to write about at a later time. But which ever reason it was, I thought it was time to break the streak.
     I returned from my trip in February and took a week or so to get back in the rhythm of everyday life. In March I started construction on Come Monday, my twelve foot plywood and epoxy sailboat. Building a boat was one of those things on my "Someday I Will" list, but was never the right time mostly due to lack of space and lack of funds. Since we moved a year ago, I now had a little space in the garage next to the cardio training room, my writing studio, Tony's painting studio, the surfboard quiver and the laundry room to build a smallish boat.  My requirements were simple. The van could handle a boat up to 12 feet on the rack and I would need at least that much to float the whole family (with a little leeway if my kids ever decide to grow). So it would be a 12 foot boat. The epoxy could fix all the poor craftsmanship due to twenty year old tools and the fact that my only training was twelve weeks of seventh grade wood shop. Any pathetic cut I made just got filled in with epoxy. After two months and around sixty hours of labor Come Monday took her first voyage, across the Carlsbad Lagoon with Tony, Shea and Eli aboard. And she actually floated. Me being me, I forgot the oar locks so we paddled her with oars far too long to do it comfortably.  I am still working on her sailing rig, cutting down an old sail my friend, Craig, so kindly donated, and working on the mast and spars and rudder and leeboard.
    Come Monday showed she was seaworthy just as I was finishing up my thirteenth year teaching, which means I have been a teacher just as long as I have sat in those little desks before high school graduation. I also reached the point where I have spent as many years since high school graduation as it took me to get there. Summer came with the promise of finishing all of those projects I put off during the school year, but as soon as the days got long and hot and the kids were off playing for hours on end in the cul-de-sac, all I wanted to do was laze around by the pool and thumb my nose at my to-do list. I even dared to watch a T.V. show in the middle of the day, a true indulgence.
    My thyroid has cooperated with the meds and is getting back in line, no longer doing whatever the hell it wanted. It is listening to the rules of my body more and more which is great for my overall well being.  I have recovered enough to get back the desire to compete in triathlons again. So in June I chose one in October and began training. I had no idea though not only how badly out of shape I had become after being sick for 3 years, but of how slowly my recovery would be. My body just doesn't bounce back like it used to. Maybe its still recovering from the thyroid or maybe I'm just getting old, or maybe a little of both. Lucky for me I am good at dragging my feet at paying entrance fees, October is far too soon for a race. Instead I will shoot for the Carlsbad Half-marathon in January. Insulindependence has a team that does the race and they do it right with a whole weekend of events and parties and a great support tent out on the course. Even if I have to walk it, which I'm pretty sure my pride won't let me, (I finished the last one with a stress fracture in my foot from the obstinate thyroid) I want to be a part of it. And since there are so many great people doing the race, that same pride will drag my lazy butt out to the treadmill day after day to train so I won't have to walk it.  And my good buddy Michelle has been dragging my ass out to meet her to bike every week which has been doing wonders for my recovery. (Thanks, Michelle!)
   Although I haven't been writing for the blog, I have spent a good chunk of the last six months working on the book and it's really starting to take shape.  I figure I'm about two-thirds of the way finished with the first draft. and just as I am about to celebrate, I realize I haven't accounted for the time needed to complete my second draft and my third. I have lined up an editor, which, I am sure, is obvious I desperately need. I forgot to pay attention to these things in high school, instead choosing to spend most of the hours of my class asleep on my desk. Some days I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Other days I see that light receding into the abyss.
     I have had my fill of crappy diabetic days. Those days when a 300 that you cursed over at noon becomes your best blood sugar of the day. When the thought of spending some time praying to the porcelain god flits through your head and the only thing that takes away that thought is curling up in bed with your softest blanket and watching hours of a new TV show on Netflix. I have brought down my A1c's from an unacceptable range due to the thyroid and lack of exercise to a less shitty level. Still not what I want it to be or what I would be proud of, thus, why I have not mentioned any numbers. I did manage to hook up with Nick again (my Dexcom, not a sordid affair, I promise) after learning how to work my insurance plan. I have yet to get new A1C's done to prove his worth, but, I know it everyday he tells me I've exceeded my limit for sugar or when he gently nudges me in the middle of the night, telling me to storm the kitchen for some chocolate sludge.
    As for the future I have my plans, and on top of that list is to finish the first draft of the book, the second and third and get it into the hands of an agent or publisher any way I can, which of course means learning a whole new business and doing that work that goes against my own nature, self-promotion. But it will be well worth it to hear just one person say they found some thought they could use in life. Come Monday still needs her rig. I will celebrate my 35th birthday in a month and my 13th wedding anniversary to a man I am still completely in love with in a few weeks. I am determined to learn to run again. And I have started the thought processes on my next big adventure. One involves the Keys, a journey, a group of friends, kayaks, some running and swimming. One involves the family, a boat and the Intercoastal Waterway. Maybe a group of girls and a multi-part running journey bringing only the clothes on our backs, lots of sugars, and a credit card for a place to stay.  Then there's the Grand Canyon Part II, this time with running shoes and both walls of the canyon.  Or maybe flying a sixty foot hovercraft?  Then there's enjoying some football, hanging out with friends and doing a better job keeping up with this blog.  All in all it was a spring and summer well spent.