Saturday, June 29, 2013

Rugged Woman

For whatever reason, as a child I developed a habit of cleaning whenever I got stressed and that quirk, for better or worse, remains today.  I guess it all began with a desperate attempt to put some aspect of life in order when all else was out of hand, but now it's almost a cathartic distraction from whatever might be weighing me down.  Typically this means pulling out my magical Dyson vacuum cleaner, scrubbing the kitchen floors or sorting a large pile of donations for Salvation Army or Goodwill, but today was different; nothing short of renovation would do.

The last couple months have been simply overwhelming.  HB and I - somewhat randomly - decided to go house hunting and wound up purchasing a new home for our family in Virginia just two days before driving to Vermont.  Of course this purchase meant we needed to sell our current VA home and, much to my ignorant surprise, that meant so much more stress than any other simple ill timed move we've  done previously due to the necessity of showing the house...  Seriously, you try packing with two dogs, two kids and potential buyers under foot! Agh, what a nightmare!

Then, of course, we had the necessary shift in zip code for my six weeks of school in Vermont.  While this year our housing choice is far more stable (perhaps an ironic word) than either of the rental properties we experienced last year, this house of ours is 160 years old and, by and large, original.  So on one hand this means immense charm and fascinating history, the livable reality is that the word "project" thoroughly summarizes every inch of the place.

Thus, combining all of this and coming home to find an unfortunate oops of dog mess on the floor, I came to realize that no amount of windex or laundry folding would cut the stain of my stress.  Grabbing the hammer and handing my Mom a crow bar, I demolished several old, rotten shelving units from our rubble-floored basement and set her to the task of removing what we'd rather not clean: the carpet.

The thing about this old house is that somewhere along the line (likely in the unpropitious decades of decorating that were the 1950s -1970s) someone made choices to superficially add to the house things like a new ceiling here or a new carpet there without much effort.  Unfortunately, this means all of the completed "upgrades" weren't done well, but fortunately, this also means that most of the original house is still intact - including the random plank wood flooring!!  Talk about a best case scenario find! It's going to need a bit of restoration work (like everything else...), but that's for another time and another blog post...

Anyway, so with a gigantic roll of carpet, a disgusting pile of former shelving turned rubble and an old smelly couch thrown in for good measure, we call the amazingly accommodating local go-to hauler guy to arrange for a pick up.  Thinking that our front lawn would simply just need to look like some back woods place in Appalachia for the time being, I was blown away when he asked if I could give him a half hour before showing up... same day service? Who knew that still existed?! Sweet!

So thirty minutes go by and here comes LW with his huge flat bed truck.  Having exhausted herself with the crowbar and been unceremoniously handed a now wide awake baby, Grandmama supervised our efforts to toss the trash.  Sharing the load between us, LW and I tossed the bulk of the refuse over our shoulders into the bed of the truck.

Watching me hop up and back down with loads of rotten wood, LW turns to my Mom and says: "she's some sort of rugged woman, isn't she?"

To which she confidently replies, "Colorado women are made of stout stuff!"

Now, you might be wondering at this point what the heck this long rambling blog post about cleaning and stress and carpets has to do with diabetes?  Well, when this local Vermonter who has a) weathered a many frozen winter here and b) clearly worked honestly and hard his whole life bothered to pay me the compliment of being "rugged" my heart sang.

A lot has changed in my life since my diagnosis and I'd be lying if I said the self-pitying thought of being "sickly" hadn't crossed my mind a time or two, but today was like before.  I didn't look weak today.  I didn't appear diseased today.  I wasn't stuck sitting some place waiting for my blood glucose to stabilize today.  I was just as tough as ever and that, my friends, was way more cathartic than I could have asked for.  

Take that stress.  Take that diabetes.  Today, you don't get to win.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Let Marathon Training Begin!

Geography lesson: this is Vermont,
NOT Idaho.
So this past Saturday, after an 11 hour car ride in which we sang Jingle Bells 3,026 times, stopped for coffee 5 times and made word games of town names at least 17 times (seriously PA, "Lackawanna"?!), we made it up to Vermont in one piece.  GW was a great sport about it, like usual, and I am pretty sure GV would never like to see her car seat again... too bad for her we need to drive back to Virginia in August!  Never the less, we made it here and - given our immense to do list of house projects, course work and marathon training - hit the ground running. Literally.

With one week to go before our no-sh*t 16 week training program begins, I decided to take the first opportunity I had to get a little jog in.  Figuring that although there are some killer trails to run around Bread Loaf Mountain, being an unaccompanied diabetic I probably ought to stick to something "trafficked" (this is Vermont after all and far less populated than Virginia) just in case the worst happens and I pass out... because, face it, I'd rather have some random Subaru driving stranger find me than an opportunistic cougar!  So opting to run down Vermont Route 125, at high noon I strike out to finish the 3.8 miles from my campus to our place.

Talk about stupid.

Between the midday heat emanating from not only the golden orb directly overhead but the black, hot pavement beneath my feet, the intense humidity and the elevation change from 59 feet back in VA to 1,430 feet in VT, I was a pathetic pile of sweaty mush by the time I actually made it back to the house. For those of you who know that I'm from Colorado and that my home town is at 5,003 feet, this post is probably a gross disappointment, but having last lived in the Centennial State in 2007 I can honestly say that East Coast humidity felt more natural to me today than the slight change in elevation!

The only saving grace for this run - beyond having gone out for it at all - is that I at least made the correct decision to start my pre-training-training going down hill rather than making a round trip run or a one way trip up the mountain.  I think my future runs need to either be much earlier in the day or (prepare for immense vexation due to the gorgeous natural playground I'm in) on a treadmill...  I mean, seriously, I can't afford to fall behind on the 16 week schedule without running the avoidable risk of under training and injury.  Maybe when I get my feet back under me I'll attempt to hit the pavement again?  Or better yet, when HB comes to visit (for he couldn't come with... so sad), actually check out the Green Mountain National Forest trails that start just feet from the front door.


Whatever, I went running.  All for now.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Endo Check Up

It seems funny to me how our perception of time changes based on whatever it is that makes up "normal" every day life.   Last fall, when I was pregnant with GV, I had so many doctors appointments that my days, perhaps even my hours, seemed to be measured in trips up and down the I-95 corridor to Fairfax INOVA Hospital.  But now that I'm back to "normal," fireman rain coats and matching wellies accent my routine far more than white coats, which are soooo last season.  Doctors appointments now merely indicate the passing of yet another three months -- either in the form of a well baby visit for GV or a routine endocrinology check up for me.

The latter is what I did today. 

The past couple months have been ROUGH diabetes wise and, to be completely honest, I've been dreading this appointment for fear of the criticism I feel is entirely appropriate for my self care.  It isn't that I have been slacking on the job or purposefully blowing off my blood sugar (although, to be fair, I simply forgot to bolus once... yikes), it's just that I'll be going along just fine and then WHAM! my blood glucose is in the high 200s and there is no simple explanation for it.  My pump will indicate that I have enough active insulin in my system to cover the correction, but my glucose will have shot up like the insulin wasn't even there and, quite similiarly to when I was pregnant, come crashing down an hour or two later.  Without understandable rhyme or logical reason for this, I've just been rage bolusing and enjoying a few extra doses of whatever something sweet I'd happen to be craving at the time (currently pecan pralines).

Thus expecting an abnormal HgA1C, which if you remember is anything above 6.0, I brought my support group along for the telling finger prick that would inevitably quantify the amount of flack I'd justifiably be given.  Dispensing with the "oh what an adorable baby" and "you must be such a good big brother" comments and getting down to it, I held my breath and gritted my teeth as I waited for the results in the same manor I did while checking the mail box for my college acceptance letters...

Doctor Rogacz entered the room.  We exchanged our pleasantries and, with little ado, got down to my diabetic trials and tribulations.  Explaining that some things have changed - I'm running more, I've been under more stress and that I'd been sick without singular cause - but that most of my lifestyle factors remain the same, I blushed in embarrassment as I handed her my blood glucose logs for the last two weeks which included daily ventures into the 200s.

"Hmm, I don't know what to tell you," she said. "The timing of these highs are inconsistent and you've got a number of lows as well.  But your HgA1C is good at 5.8 - so you're doing something right even with these numbers."


Reading my face and plainly hearing HB's comments of "I told you so" (he relishes those opportunities), she then not only didn't give me a hard time about my hyperglycemic excursions she was incredibly encouraging of my dedication.

"You're never going to have perfect blood sugars, no matter how hard you try, so try to relax.  You're doing a great job!"

Frustrated with the medical recommendation "to relax" I professionally dodged her compliment with a question or three about my marathon training to which she merely said "do what you have to do to not pass out" which, in endurance running and diabetes management, I take as excellent advice.

So without jabs about my continuing lack of CGM, lectures about abnormal blood sugar ranges or prescriptions for whatever else might be ailing me, I felt like I dodged a bullet today as we walked back to the car.  I thoroughly expected my HgA1C to be in the high 7 range and I lost significant amounts of sleep last night because of anxious dread of medical criticism... but I guess all that worrying was for not.   My Nana, may she rest in peace, always said that the things you worry about never come to pass and until now I'd figured that was just her way of recommending I "relax" but, hey, perhaps she was right.

We'll see where I'm at in another three months.