Very Old, Very Healthy Diabetic

...or die trying.
I was diagnosed in 1998 at the age of 33 with NIDDM or Type 2 diabetes. I come from a diabetic clan. I even married a diabetic. Are you on the diabetes road, too?
This is my goal: to become a very old, very healthy diabetic by day to day choices regarding eating, exercise and medical management. Walk along with me...

Thursday, March 29, 2007

I hate my acupuncturist.

Just had my weekly acupuncture treatment for my feet. I wonder, who ever thought this was a good idea?

Each week, I voluntarily lie down for this person to shove needles into me. Then, after the needles are inserted, and I have stopped yelling, he attaches the electrodes. This time, he was trying some new needles--Japanese, he says, highly polished.

This time, also, he was going to try two points of electrical stimulation, one above the point where we think the nerve is damaged, and one below. So, he attaches 4 leads on each foot. Think jumper cables, but doll-house sized. These clips are attached to the needles in my tiny little (sore and tender) foot muscles.

Then the torturer-ahem, licensed acupunturist turns the dial on the electro-gadget. Sooner or later, the current flows and the muscles between the needles starts jumping. Together, he and I try to settle on a good level for the current. Remember, he can see the numbers on the dial. He wants it to be as high as I can stand it, without my shrieks alarming anyone who might be waiting in the front office. At a good level it feels sort of like an annoying muscle tic. At a high level, it feels like its going to charlie-horse at any moment.

Then he wanders off to do paperwork, etc, and leaves me to relax for several minutes. Like 30 or so. (He does come check on me once or twice during the rest portion of the treatment.)

Today, he hit several nerves directly. Very painful. I noticed that I sound just like my mother when I am saying "ow-ow-ow-ow-ow!" Acupunturist asked, at one point, "Are you part cat?" I must have been yowling.

I said to him, with narrowed eyes, "It's a good thing I like you."

Sometimes the acupuncture spots become bruised, after treatment. Others have said that they've found acupuncture treatment very relaxing. Fine. I believe them. I just don't find it so. My treatment is painful.

But my foot pain is much less WITH acupuncture treatment than without. Even though the treatments are painful.

But I'm still very limited in my standing and walking ability. I wore the pedometer last week and only got 2800 steps. Before this foot pain attacked me last summer? I could easily get 7000 steps, without trying very hard.

I keep going back to the L.Ac. I know he's very caring and concerned about my case.

But sometimes I hate him. Especially when he first walks in to the treatment room and chuckles.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Attention: The Old Girls Club

My tests all came back from my annual exam. All of my girly parts passed just fine.

Now, the husband, on the other hand....

His incision site is slightly infected. He went back to the doctor's office, but his doctor was on vacation, so saw one of the other ones. He's on antibiotics. His arm still looks better than it did in the photos, because the bruising continues to go down.

A little pre-emptive antibiotics. Something most of us with diabetes will eventually become familiar with.

I've fallen out of the habit of testing. Well, part of the problem was that both of my test kits were in my desk at work. And, believe it or not, I'm not there seven days a week, nor 24 hours a day.

So, I brought it home and it is sitting here, among the knitting, and the the debris of household life, and the animals, etc., ready for me to test first thing in the morning.

I still don't like being a diabetic. I don't like this disease. I feel like it amplifies my already too big tendency toward perfectionism. There's always something to work on, to improve, to perfect about my health, about my lifestyle management.

And I can get really tough on myself when I don't do what I planned to do or what I had said that I would do. Yuck.

In about the past month or so, either my eyes have experienced "the change" or I've noticed it. If you're over 45, you know what I mean. The muscles around the eyes, or the lens itself, I'm not sure which is the problem, but all of a sudden, I can't see things right in front of me, that I used to be able to see.

I'm wearing my reading glasses for my small gauge knitting.

Yes, I owned them before I needed them. But now I'm going to start a collection. Accessories are my life.

I knew there was a problem when I was reaching for my glasses in order to fasten a front-hook bra. I'm going back to the rear-fastening type. Those I can do without looking and noticing how old I'm getting.

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

My Bruiser

Warning: graphic photos contained below.

My dear husband, affectionately known as 'Dr. Parts' on the blogosphere, had a minor operation this week. An Excision, we could call it.
He's had this little lump on his right upper arm ever since I've known him, which is just over four years. When I first noticed it, he said that he'd had it for a while, but it didn't bother him, maybe a cyst, etc.

Lately though, it has bothered him. It's been sore & painful. So, he points it out to Dr. M. Dr. M says "Aha, that's a cyst. We'll remove it, next time."

Next time came around on Monday. I wanted to go with Dr. Parts to the appointment, just in case it was more painful than he thought, just in case it was uncomfortable to drive. But, my offer was refused. "Refused" is a term which here means "laughed off as if it were ridiculous for this particular woman to imply that this particular man might ever feel pain or discomfort or any other sissified notion."

He came home, still alive, but with a very big bandage. "Well, it wasn't a cyst."

"It wasn't?" I ask. "Well, what was it?"

It was a blood clot, something which couldn't be detected until Dr. M had his arm open. Dr. M thought it had reduced in size and almost tried to talk Parts out of having it removed. Parts held his ground. Dr. M removed it, noting that it was right next to the nerve-imagine that!-and that there was another one in the arm, but too deep for an Internal Medicine physician to remove. Also the remaining one was smaller. He speculates that the clot was a result of earlier trauma. Dr. M says "I've never seen something like this in a human before."

Which leads to another whole interesting set of questions, such as, "And just when did you practice veterinary medicine?"

So, Dr. Parts goes back to Dr. M next week to have the stitches removed. And yes, he will be asking questions about the implications of having such a large blood clot in his arm. It was as big as the end of a man's little finger. And how does this relate to diabetes? And does it put me at more risk? And activities I should avoid? Any further tests or meds we need to include in my regimin after this?

Here's the photo. This is three days after the excision.
Oh, and the med office sent a note saying "Excision is not a cancer." That's good news.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Books and Inspiration

I read Social Intelligence by Daniel Goleman. Loved the book. Very interesting, insightful, encouraging. Loved it.

Then, I went to his site and saw that the book was given an award by these folks at the National MS Society.

Then, at their site, I wandered around and checked out the other award winning books. You know, any book that's won an award called "Better Life", that's gotta be a good book!

So, the one that caught my eye was A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas. Great title, great photo, interesting life story. (Well, I was also interested in Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown, but my local library-may they be forever funded-has it in CD format and is loaning it to me.)

It's the memoir of a woman, Abigail Thomas, whose husband went out to the market and was hit by a car. Husband received a traumatic brain injury, which dramatically altered his memory. He became unable to live independently, and Abigail moved to live near him. The dogs came in, somehow, as part of her new life. I can't wait to read the book. Can't wait. Must have book. Must have book now.

The next link was to go to Abigail Thomas' website. There, I discovered, that she has an earlier memoir and a couple of children's books that I also want. And I discovered that she's a writing teacher.

And she has THIS PAGE about how to get started writing. It is delightful. It is inspiring. It's enough to make me want to try my hand at fiction again, after I just threw out box after box of reminders of my failed first try at fiction. [Please-don't ask. Is it just me, or do other poeple find their past as embarrassing as I find mine?]

And it is inspiring enough to remind me that I should write more...which, in my life, means writing more blog posts.

I hope you like it. I hope I do too.

Just as soon as I go out and get her book and finish reading it.

I read a lot about many different types of disabilities. It's sort of job related, because I do have to be a disability generalist. It also leads me, often, to the conclusion that I'm pretty happy with what I've got, because I sure wouldn't want to be up against what they've got. Diabetes Type 2 looks pretty good, compared to other things..

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Garage Updates

These are the 'after' pictures. I know, you can't see much difference. But I can!

Let me draw your attention to the tools mounted on the wall behind the bins. That wasn't there before!

Also, not pictured, is an overhead storage shelf thingy, ceiling mounted. Much of the camping furniture went there. It's great.

And, lo, what is that in the garage door? Could it be, a project underway? Why, yes. It IS a project underway.

And I'd like you to note that the stored items are in bins, not in secondhand, falling-apart cardboard boxes.

Dr. Parts has room to move around and do some work that he's wanted to get to for a long, long time. Here's he's sanding our two recently purchased bedside tables. We got them at our local unfinished furniture store. They are ash and beautiful.

He keeps asking, "How would you like me to finish them?"

I keep answering, "It's your project. You should finish them as you think best."

This is a going-back-in-time photo to Dr. Parts working in the garage last Saturday. Throwing stuff away. Isn't he fabulous!

And behind him, you can see all the Lori boxes that are no longer there. I must have gone through 10-15 boxes. I think I saved only 3 bins worth. I did great. He helped me carry a little more stuff than the previous Saturday.

He loaded up his truck and took it all to the dump. It's a hard process for me, but I do like the outcome.

I found lots of old boyfriend stuff. It merely confirmed the superiority of Dr. Parts over any other partner. I'm a very lucky woman.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Medium Old Diabetics

This is a photo of me and my mom, also taken at my grandparent's home in February 2007. (And that box-like thing in the foreground is a music stand with a hand-made light. It is not a box of stuff.)
I show you this picture because of the garage. What's the connection?
Well, the few comments that I got on the garage post, besides Uncle Pesky who says that that my mis-organized garage aint got nothing on his barn("yers is all in boxes!"), were either 'yes, my garage is full of my kids' stuff' or 'my stuff is still at my folks' home."
Well, this photo is of a woman who avoided that fate. My mom, 'E', has worked hard most of her life to keep her stuff organized. She had cataloged most of the boxes in the attic. Mine were clearly labelled with 'L' and my brother's were clearly labelled with 'W'.
She decided, at some point, perhaps when she and her counselor were working on the idea of healthy boundaries, that when her kids were old enough to live on their own, they were old enough to be responsible for all of their own stuff. Yes, meaning ALL of their own stuff.
She would come visit me, in my tiny blue 14 x 16 foot room, and bring one or two boxes, clearly labelled 'L', up on her handcart in the elevator of my building. As she found stuff that was mine, she would set it aside and ask me to take it with me when I left after visiting her.
I think this was very wise of her, and perhaps should be adopted by wise parents in many settings. Okay, so she waited until we were out of college, but not much beyond that. (Allison, you must show your parents this post. George, Scott & Chrissie, take notice. Yes, George & Scott, eventually they will move out.) Of course, it does mean that the stuff has got to be organized; #1 child's stuff in only these boxes, #2 child's stuff in only those boxes, etc. And you will probably need to be persistent and loving in your moving of the material into the proper home.
You may have to set a time limit. Such as, "Darling, you still have five boxes in the attic. I'll set them in the entryway for your Thanksgiving weekend visit. Anything that's still left in my house by Mother's Day will be going into the garage sale."
Of course with deadlines like this, it helps if you said it like this when they were in grade school: "Lori, I'm going to be going into your room at 3 pm on Saturday. If there are any books, toys, or clothing on the floor and not in their proper place, I'm going to throw them in the garbage." And, it helps if, when they were in grade school, you followed through and actually threw the items away. (In our case the items were only confiscated for a week, which was what she said, but she followed through and kept these consequences for us. At one point, she had to threaten to remove all the books from my room-except the Bible- if I didn't clean my room. I cleaned. I cleaned desperately. I loved my books. I still do, including my Bible.)
So, this is part of why I have all of my stuff in my garage, rather than hanging out at Mom's.
Wise Mom.
Thank you, Mom. I love you, even if you did threaten to take away all my books.
Dr. Parts and I will work on the garage again tomorrow. We got through weekend #1 without damage to our marriage. I have confidence that our continued shared work toward a shared goal will continue to strengthen our marriage.
I also have Percoset. That's for afterwards.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Annual Exam 2007

Got my annual exam, which includes a quick physical exam, a pelvic exam and pap smear. Mine also included a mammogram and an ultrasound of one of my breasts. Yes, this was planned. No worries. I've had this particular lump since my middle twenties.

When doc came into the room and saw the OHSU pain clinic referral forms, she said, "You know, this doesn't fit into your physical today."

She listened anyway. She's giving me the referral. I also got the exams.

She gave me a prescription for another 30 percosets. She also gave me a prescription for nortriptylene, which is an older anti-depressant which is sometimes used for pain control. I'm supposed to take one pill at bedtime.

We talked about pre-labs. In other words, next appointment, I can call in about two weeks ahead of time and she'll order what labs she wants, I get the blood work done about one week ahead of time, and we can have the results to discuss, rather than a little note containing my numbers.

So, this evening, after work, I was in pain. Dr. Parts made dinner, beef hamburgers for him, boca burgers for me. With all the fixings, including fresh tomatoes and lettuce. Great stuff. I got the presciptions filled. I took a percoset and a nortriptylene. I feel okay now. I can feel the foot pain, but it's very distant.

Physician also gave me some good advice about the pain clinic. She suggested that I focus on trying to get a clear diagnosis, not simply pain relief, just in case the problem is a solvable one. It's excellent advice.

Now I just have to wait for the results to come in the mail. And for OHSU to take my referral and fit me in. OHSU says 7-10 days. If I get in within 30 days, I'll count it good.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Garage Pain

This is what can happen when you let two persons marry at the age of (roughly) 40. Two sets of memories and momentos, stacked in the one-car garage.

Saturday, Dr. Parts decided it was time to organize this mess. He gave us a deadline of 10 days.


We've only had this mess at this level for roughly four years, and now we have ten days to resolve it? Oh, well, let's dig in and see how far we get.

We did great! Probably about one-third done. He got some shelves to hang from the ceiling and mounted them and put the camping chairs and cots up.

I carried my boxes (those are the boise cascade green & white paper boxes) and took them to the living room and sorted them out. I probably did ten, and saved only about one box worth.

We set aside donations and a lot of trash.

Downside? My feet have been killing me since Sunday.

I am so discouraged. I'm thinking that I'll have to quit my job because I don't perform at an adequate level when I'm in that kind of pain. It feels as if they just finished caning the soles of my feet. And if I can't bring in my salary, how will we sell the house? Or is there some kind of career change that I can do which will require less actual steps? And if I can't step as much as I used to what the **** is going to happen to my future, and my diabetes? No exercise? What kind of life is that? What's it going to do for my circulatory system? Maybe I should just go ahead and have the blanking surgery? And since the **** pain is bilateral, that means it's probably not related to my bones, or the structure of my feet. Bilateral pain is probably neuropathy.

I am doomed, doomed! I'm already on pain meds, I'm already on antidepressants; what more can they actually do for me? And it's a *&*(&^ invisible disability, because I look perfectly fine and healthy. Should I get a scooter/powerchair? And if I do, will it work with our vehicles? Those people are going to think I'm crazy...

And so go the voices in my head. Around and around they go, gaining speed with each lap.

So, on my annual exam visit to MD tomorrow, I will officially ask for a reference to the OHSU Comprehensive Pain Center.

I've printed out the forms my doc needs to fill out. I've also got the 22-page intake form that I have to fill out for my first appointment.

Here's hoping that they can restore my bank account of hope, related to my foot pain, because I'm all out in that area.

And I'm hoping Dr. Parts will give me more than ten days to finish up my part of the project. He's a good man.

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My Naivete

(And no, I don't know how to get the accent displayed on that last e, as it should be)

I continue to be dismayed by the Portland Police Bureau's use of a stun gun to subdue Ms. Brandi Hess, who was experiencing a diabetic episode. Yes, I know she was combative and striking the officers and medical personnel. Yes, I am very happy that she got the medical help she needed and is still alive. Yes, I am very glad that she was not beaten, nor sat upon by a 250 lb. officer, nor had ribs broken, etc. I am very happy that she was not shot. I am happy that she does not have brain damage.

I do not think the police were wrong to assist her in receiving medical aid. I do not think that Brandi was wrong in her management of her diabetes. I'm not blaming either of them. I wasn't there.

But I do wish it had happened differently.

After a little more research (maybe that should be the title of my blog), I learned that this sort of thing is not that uncommon. Probably every 6-12 months, some poor diabetic, behaving erratically as a result of diabetes, somewhere in the USA has an encounter with the police or authorities, where she or he is beaten or subdued in a manner which seems excessive to me. Sometimes, the diabetic dies. Sometimes, somebody sues. Here's a story about a driver who crashed, suspected of being drunk, was actually low. Here's another story. And another.

I learned that if you do searches for news including the words "diabetic" and "police", you will find some pretty sad things, such as this story about Hallie Shanklin's mother being convicted for Hallie's death. And that's not even going back very far.

I'm not sure what to think about finding out that I am, at nearly 42, still so naive and hopeful to think that a person with diabetes can receive good medical care without being beaten or tasered or blamed for poor diabetes self-management. I don't like to think that injury at the hands of the authorities is one of the possible side effects or complications of diabetes (type 1 or type 2).

I like my hope. I like to think that the world can be a good place to be. And I will continue to look for examples of people being kind and helpful to others. And I'll keep trying to be a wonderful person who is kind and helpful to others. Somedays I do it. Sometimes not so much.

I find, for me, that it's hard to be kind when my feet hurt. Maybe the police officers were responding out of their pain, rather than out of their compassion. Not unreasonable.

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Here's the story: Police use stun gun on woman experiencing diabetic crisis.

Here's a link to the story at KATU.

The person's name is Brandi Hess.

I do not know you, Brandi, but I send you good thoughts and support during this time.

I'd suggest that you find counseling or some sort of support system, as many people who experience something like this sometimes struggle with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). And who needs that on top of diabetes?

Knowing that a person experiencing a diabetic crisis may be combative, as Brandi reportedly was, and may not respond rationally to instructions, this is basic knowlege about diabetes. They were called to the house to assist, due to her diabetic crisis. This action, at this point, seems to be very, very bad.

I hope they investigate and take appropriate action.

Portland has had problems with use of deadly force. Now, remember, I've lived in Portland since 1970, off and on. I've lived in Portland steady since 1988. There have been two deaths of mentally ill persons at the hands of Portland police (one was inside a hospital) during that time. There are been two african-american persons shot to death at traffic stops within the past five years (the time since I've lived in a more ethnically diverse area of the city). Since the two african-american deaths, supposedly, the police department has reviewed its rules on deadly force and its policies on citizen review of use of force incidents.

And now this.

Please pray for Brandi and her family and friends if you're a prayer (I am). Please do whatever you feel is right to stand with Brandi as she goes through this time.

As a former boss used to say, more will be revealed.

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Portland Police used a taser to subdue a woman experiencing a diabetic crisis.

Just watched this on KATU news. I haven't located a link to the story yet. Here's a link to the TV channel website.

I don't know this young woman, but would guess that she has type 1.

She is still alive, but upset, obviously.

I'm usually a big fan of the police, even the Portland Police, who have made some shall we say...questionable decisions regarding use of force in the past few years.

But this. This I'm going to be following closely.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Seven Sevens

I'm not usually one for memes, those things that make their way around the internet.I'm not real sure why they don't appeal much to me....

We had a great dinner with Allison. She posted the photo and described the dinner very well. She did inspire both me and Dr. Parts to test more often. We're also reporting our numbers out loud to each other.

Seven Things to do before I die:
1. Visit London
2. Be a parent, or maybe not
3. Write a book
4. Get the house organized
5. Own a chihuahua or other teeny tiny dog (under 10 lbs)
6. Finally become a committed strict vegetarian (eat like a vegan)
7. Get a real career

Seven Things I cannot do:
1. Lie to my mother (Okay, I can do it, but I can't do it well. She always knows. )
2. Save money
3. Pass up an animal in pain or in need
4. Give up chocolate.
5. Give up PepsiOne, my current favorite diet cola. Diet Pepsi is a distant second.
6. Keep a kitchen clean. Heck, keep a house clean.
7. Drive a standard transmission vehicle

Seven Things that attract me to my man:
1. The whole matching disease thing is good
2. Wonderful blue eyes
3. Kindness
4. Christian Faith
5. Strength
6. Can fix things (like cars)
7. Very willing to help folks out

Seven Things I say:
1. "Deep yogurt" (that's a substitute for deep sh**)
2. "That is not a basis for granting paratransit eligibility."
3. "I'd be happy to do that."
4. "You're my favorite husband."
5. "Have the animals been fed, or are they lying to us again?"
6. "I love you."
7. "Life is good."

Seven Books I love:
1. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
2. Watership Down by Richard Adams
3. The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning
4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
5. Decision-Making and the Will of God by Garry Friesen (No, really. I do mean it. I'm not making it up. I love this book because the concepts in it changed my life and my relationship with God.)
6. The Bible. Wouldn't travel to a desert island without it. Lots of action and great human drama, lots of stupid human tricks, and lots of excellent words of wisdom, some of which I practice on a regular basis, some not so often. I have much to learn.
7. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling. AND A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. No, the books. Don't see the movies; read the books.

(They're going to have to take away my keyboard here. I could go on and on about books I love. I love many, many books. Currently finishing up book 2 of Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien. Wow! But I *have* to switch to Social Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, the same guy who wrote Emotional Intelligence Because ten other users at the local library want to read it, so they won't let me renew it. Curse them! Just let me have the books. I just want to hold it in my hand. Oh, that's another thing I say.)


Seven Movies I love:
1. The Princess Bride
2. Working Girl
3. Fly Away Home
4. White Christmas
5. Joss Whedon stuff: movie or TV: Buffy, The Vampire Slayer (TV), Firefly (TV), and Serenity (movie)
6. Alien (because of Sigourney, of course, and because they save the cat.)
7. Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile (both based on Stephen King stories. Green Mile features a guy who went to high school with my paternal grandmother, Dabbs Greer)

Seven people to tag:
I don't believe in tagging. If I should have tagged you, then consider yourself tagged. This kind of tagging is sorta like chain letters, which would fall under my 'Seven Things I Hate'...right next to emotional blackmail.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Very Old Diabetics

Here are my beloved grandparents, checking their blood sugars together, before dinner last saturday. Orville is facing us, and Betty is writing down the numbers. Orville is 89.
They don't have the most up to date meters. They take 30 seconds to display results. But, they can read them, with their limited eyesight.
They, like most of us type 2s, like their desserts. But they choose them carefully and they eat good portion sizes.
This photo is taken at their new apartment in a retirement community. Their apartment is coming together and they will get to move from the one-bedroom to a two-bedroom unit soon. They need the second bedroom, because Nana gets insomnia and needs an office where she can work in the middle of the night without disturbing Grandpa's sleep.
But they are still calculating their own insulin dosages. They still have good numbers and get good HbA1c readings. Nana's had diabetes since around 1980.
They're not on dialysis. They don't have any parts amputated. And look at that smile.
Life is good, even a good long life, with diabetes.
I don't know how long I'll have them in my life, but I am very fortunate to have had their good example.