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...

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Memorial Day

Another Memorial Day. . .

This Memorial Day, I remember in particular David Weisenburg. He was a son of our church family. You can see his photo here, and read the many things people have said to him and to his family and about him here.

My heart longs for peace, for no new wars, for no new widows, no new orphans, no mothers left to grieve over their children killed in conflict. No new despots.No new diagnoses of diabetes. That would be good war to end.Yet I must honor those who have died in service to their country, our country. Their sacrifice has been great. It is deserving of respect. I give it, with humility and gratitude.

It's been interesting to think about this Memorial Day in terms of becoming a mom. Many of these kids in the foster care system have the goal of serving in the military, something that I would not guide a child of mine towards. If my child chooses to serve, will I be able to respect that choice? I must, I think.

This next is probably more appropriate for veteran's day, but we just saw this fabulous movie about Desmond Doss, a WWII conscientious objector who was awarded the Medal of Honor. I was impressed with his principles, his faith, his bravery, his honor, and with the protection of God that seemed to be upon his service.

We'll be spending Memorial Day with my favorite veteran, Dr. Parts, Daughter A & her boyfriend, travelling to spend some time with Dr. Parts' brother, wife, and the World's cutest nieces. I'll try to refrain from taking pictures this time. Too much cuteness could ruin a blog, you know. I'll also try to make sure that we take enough diet pop for the day.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Drawerful of pills

Here is my left-hand bathroom drawer. It holds my medications & supplements. I fill up the two seven-day pill planners every week. The white one is for morning pills and the purple one is for evening pills. Each of those little compartments, white and purple, is full of pills.
(Carpenters and architects, note the poor planning. The drawer is stopped from pulling out its full length by the toilet tank. You can see this on the left of the photo. It is a consistent annoyance in my life. And yes, that is my roll of toilet paper at the top of the photo. Thanks for noticing.)
Most of my medications I get on a 90-day supply, through the mail from a Kroger-based pharmacy. Supplements I get on an as needed basis, either through my local drugstore (probably lower quality) or through the upscale almost-all-natural grocery store (probably higher quality). Some meds, as needed prescriptions, we get at the big-chain pharmacy around the corner from us.
And I have pretty-darned-good medical insurance, which covers a great deal of our medications. I haven't even gotten a prescription for Lyrica, just using samples, so I've no idea how much it costs. Even before I count in that cost, my current meds are costing us roughly $100 per month. I haven't figured out the cost of the supplements, because I tend to buy 60-90 day supplies, and they are staggered throughout the year.
What supplements do I take right now?
I take: Calcium Magnesium Zinc - it keeps my doc from flipping out about the fact that I consume very little dairy.
A high-end multi-vitamin - because I love the fluorescent colored urine that it makes.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid - may help with nerve pain
Garlic - may help with cholesterol and circulatory issues, and we know that diabetes makes that more of a problem.
Co-Enzyme Q-10 - suggested by the sweet neurologist who did my EMG tests this week.
Are these the right supplements for you? I don't know. You should talk to your own health professionals. Decide for yourself what is right for you.
I should probably be taking a cinnamon or other diabetes-targeted supplement (meaning targeted for type 2).
But all my little pill compartments are full. I can't possibly take any more meds. Well, if I do get new meds, they should be tiny little ones.
Let's see if the doctor goes for that one.
I get frustrated by spending all this money on my diabetes care. What could I do for myself if I had an extra $100 per month? What vacations might I have taken? Could I have donated that money to a ministry or charitable program and helped people here in my hometown? Might I have donated for research on diabetes, or on ALS, or lung cancer? Or to a scholarship fund for students wishing to become endocrinologists? They are unanswerable questions.
This week I get my first ever crown. Dr. Parts tried to de-fang me by freezing the chocolate. The tooth broke but did not need a root canal. Dr. Parts won't believe me that chocolate, most chocolate, is best enjoyed at room temperature, so it can melt into the mouth. Oh well. He makes excellent seviche, so who am I to argue.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007


I've been trying to wait until we could notify all of our closest family members, but let's make it official: Dr. Parts and I are pursuing adoption. (And that does not mean George, although I would adopt George and his scrumptious family in a minute.)

I promise: I will not make this an adoption blog. I find most adoption blogs a little self serving and dull(except for Starfish's and she's a knitter and an interesting person and she has an adorable little Seamonkey who was born in South America). It is each person's discovery of the wondrous emotions of what is a fairly predictable process overall. When I find adoption bloggers and adoption group members using the term 'siked' after some particularly good news, it makes me want to quit blogging for good and abandon adoption if this is the state of education in this country.

I have started a secret adoption blog for my own ranting about the topic. If you find that blog and leave a message, there or here, matching the two up, I will send you a prize. Yes, that's a challenge. I dare you to find it. What's the prize? Maybe Dr. Parts' Ceviche Recipe. I think I can sneak it out of the house. Maybe some LoriRode hand-knitted socks, if you can wait that long. And if you win the prize (one prize only will be awarded), you are truly a person who has a problem with obession and excessive down time.

Why adopt rather than try to conceive? 1) because I don't want you people to know that much about my private life. I blog, but I do not tell all. 2) because I am almost 42 and he is almost 45 and I am on many meds. 3) because he is greatly fearful of the increased risks to any child we would conceive. 4) because we're not sure we want to start at the beginning. (Come on, if you could skip sleep deprivation and diapers, wouldn't you?) 5) because I, having a delightful brother who was adopted, am aware that adoption does indeed form REAL families. 6) because the infertility/fertility path sounds like a big wobbly ferris wheel and I don't like ferris wheels. 7) because we are older, confident parents, who are willing to access any resources necessary (counseling, special ed, medical treatments) for a child we adopt. Dave is experienced, although he didn't always get to parent Daughter A, and I practically grew up at Camp and as a daycare assistant and with younger foster siblings etc. My parents were good parents, who consciously practiced good parenting techniques, and adapted as necessary. I learned to be a good person from them. I think they also taught me how to be a good parent.

What path have we chosen? Well, we haven't exactly chosen, yet. We are thinking one child or two siblings who should be the same gender. (We think we only have one bedroom available for child/ren right now.)

That being said, if I had my druthers, I'd adopt about a dozen children, any gender, many different types of 'special needs', from teenagers on down! I'd be chauffering and recitalling and parent/teacher conferencing every day of the week. Lori's Three Ring Life! Woohoo!

Ahem. Dr. Parts does his best to keep me sane.

There are many (thousands) available USA children who have been through the state system. Our state has great support for these kids and for their adoptability. If you're an Oregonian or up to considering adopting an Oregon Kid, here's a link and here's another one. (In Lori's 3-Ring Fantasy life, I'd head on down to Louisiana and get these guys, and, of course, Amy.)

There are also many (thousands) of children in orphanages and institutes in non-USA countries who need families. I'm thinking about Haiti, and Liberia, and China, and Kazakhstan, and the Ukraine, and Nepal, and Sierra Leone and many other places. But some of these countries will not permit us to adopt their children, some because of too many divorces in our past, some because of the diagnosis of depression and recent/continued use of antidepressant drugs. It is my great fear that our diabetes may prevent or make difficult this adoption. I hope not.

We have a niece (see the world's cutest nieces from a few weeks ago) who was born with a cleft lip and palate. My dad is a retired speech-language pathologist, although I think there's a new term for that profession now. This gives us confidence that we could parent a child with a cleft lip/palate. I don't think I can handle developmental disabilities or severe behavioral problems, such as FAS/FAE, Down's syndrome, autism, or ODD. I'm not imagining that the child/ren will be perfect, nor that every day will be conflict-free. Still, I'd really like a child who, at some point, will understand why I bristle at 'siked.'

So, in a perfect world, we would find a pair of male siblings, between the ages of 3 and 13, with one or both of them having a minor 'special need', such as cleft lip and/or palate, a limb difference (club foot, unusually formed hand, etc.), a birthmark, hepatitis B, or something like that.

We are sending this request out into the Universe to God. And trusting that the right path to these children will become clear.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007


It must be summertime. Dr. Parts is making ceviche!
The fish & scallops is in the bowl at 10 o'clock. The cantaloupe, tomato, and mango is in the bowl at 2 o'clock. And my dinner portion is in the bowl at 6 o'clock. Yum!
I have been testing in the mornings. I had a reading of 87, and then the next day it was 102. All over the map.
The foot pain has been good. I think the Lyrica is helping immensely. It could also be the increased dose of Effexor. I'm up to 225 mg per day. I got to wear my cute shoes a few days this week, without excruciating consequences.
I had my first session with Dr. D, who is the pain psychologist assigned to me through the OHSU Comprehensive Pain Clinic. Well, this is the first treatment session, after my intake session, where I kinda collapsed. Much crying. He had some excellent insights for me and assignments. OHSU CPC made a CD for guided imagery and reaching the relaxation response state. My assignment is to do this 20 minute exercise each day. I also have a copy of the book Managing Pain Before It Manages You by Margaret Caudill. I have certain chapters to work through in that book. I do recommend that book highly.
So, all in all, it's been a good week.
Dr. Parts got his latest HbA1c, which was 8.7. He had to have his thyroid medication adjusted, and he's hoping that his energy level will increase. His doc sent him home with samples of Januvia, but not with instructions to take it.
When, oh lord, when?

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day Weekend

I knew that my foot pain was much better this week, when I felt like I could stand during the singing portion of our weekly church service. I love singing with others. And, for us, the one chance per week to sing with others, is this portion of the church service.

I haven't stood all the way through it for some time. Perhaps over a year.

They handed out roses to all the mothers for Mother's Day. I am the correct gender and age to be a mom, so I graciously accepted one, without arguing the point with the teenager.

Dr. Parts and I hit the library and the grocery store after church. We shopped very nicely, with lots of produce and such. Warm weather has hit here, so we are thinking that it is time for some R-Family favorites, such as coleslaw, barbecued chicken, seviche (he makes the best ceviche, however you spell it!) and corn.

I got a little Tupperware gizmo which makes it very easy to make fresh salsa. Yes, it's probably that same thing that they sell at the state fair. It does make small batches. So night #1, we eat chips & salsa for dinner. Night #2, stop & buy another tomato, perhaps a small zucchini or summer squash, chop them, pull out good frozen corn kernels, add the rest of the homemade salsa, mix it up, leave it out on the counter for an hour (that corn has to thaw, silly), and eat for dinner. Yum!

It means fewer dinners of soup and interesting bread, less chili (not my favorite), less hot pasta dishes, fewer baked potatoes. Seasonal food is good food, usually.

I called my mother, who loves me very much. I called my grandmother, who loves me very much. I called my dad, who also loves me very much. It's a hard weekend for Dr. Parts, as it's only his second Mother's Day without his own mom. My mom would stand in, with a warm and loving heart, but it's not the same. We miss Karen.

My numbers are still higher than I'd like, running 100-130 in the morning. I can probably blame that on the 15 pound regained weight. The good news is: I am testing. It's hard to maintain that habit.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Bad night = Bad morning

I've been having some trouble sleeping lately. I've been staying up late, watching stupid TV, and eating bad things while I stay up late. I've been going to bed between midnight and one am, for most of the past two weeks or so.

Well, I'm not eating horrible things. They're Kashi granola bars. Sweet, but high in fiber. It's not like it's chocolate cake.

But, this morning my am fasting BG reading was 170. OOOOoooo-weeeeee!

The day before, the reading was 102.

My weight's been up this year, regained about 15 lbs (which was about what I had lost in 2006), so I am being careful, and watching the numbers -weight numbers- creep down.

So, again, back to basics.

(Again. How many times in our lives do we need to return to these lessons? For me, apparently, at least once more.)

What has worked for me in the past, regarding weight and health?

1. Record keeping, posted boldly, where I can see it daily.

2. Daily weigh ins. (not weekly, not monthly)

3. Pre-planning to have good food choices available to me. (As opposed to the chocolate muffins and egg-salad sandwiches from the vending machines and the breakfast burrito from the catering truck that visits us at work.) Meal replacement bars work well for me. I've tried Glucerna, which is targeted for diabetes, and Slim-fast bars.

Foot pain update...It's been a pretty good week. I find myself walking more at work. I did not cringe when I had to make photocopies of several complicated files, which requires standing for 10-20 minutes.

Pain Meds: We're decreasing the nortriptylene and increasing the Lyrica. I hope it doesn't increase my insomnia symptoms. I also bought more of the lipoic acid and bought a multi-vitamin with a great B-complex spread. Although I have stronger meds (percoset and oxycodone) I haven't taken one in the past two weeks.

Medical appointments: DIDN'T HAVE ANY PAIN RELATED MEDICAL APPOINTMENTS THIS WEEK! Well, except for the acupunturist, and I've been doing that weekly since the first of the year, it feels very normal. This week my treatment with my fabulous acupunturist was not very painful at all. It was as if the pain tide was out. Niiiiiice.

So, next week I gt to start with the psych pain appointments and the neurological tests (EMG). I am going to be pissed if they don't find something. In other words, we've been attacking this foot pain issue with a full-court-press since January. If some treatment that we've found (the acupuncture or meds or supplements) has been effective at correcting the problem, leaving nothing for the neurologist to diagnose, then I may lose a good chance at understanding the genesis of the foot problem.

We have to take our best shot in life, and work with the information that we have. That's all I can do here.

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Weekend with World's Cutest Nieces

These are the world's cutest nieces, the daughters of Dr. Part's brother.

The eldest is Maddy, and the twins are Abby (in green) and McKenzie (in blue). They are wonderful girls, with many talents, although each having her own set of talents. They are active, fun, bright. They are delightful. They are a source of joy to me and to their uncle.

We had a great weekend, just hanging out with family. No big projects. No weddings. No funerals.

We spent Sunday afternoon with my grandparents. Still diabetic, still wise, still learning, still loving and advising us. They've moved from a one-bedroom apartment to a two-bedroom apartment across the hall. It is much better and they seem very relaxed and comfortable.

And now back to your regularly scheduled life: work, medical appointments, housework, etc.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Numb Toes make for good books

Here's a shameless plug for the Numb Toes series of books by John A. Senneff on the timely topic of peripheral neuropathy. I'm only to page 57, and I'm loving it! ( Of course, the esteemed and pioneering David Mendoza has discovered them some time ago.)

These are sensible, specific, and direct. The books use enough technical language accompanied by enough explanation that I, with my high-school biology remnants tucked away in my brain, can understand it. And I may be able to talk to my physicians rationally. If only I had found these books last summer!

But I cannot dwell on what might have been. I must deal with what is.

I have an EMG study scheduled at the big medical school hospital in June. The descriptions I've read of EMG tests make them sound very similar to acupuncture. What fun! I hope I don't get a student.

The online description of the Mr. Big Neurologist, who I finally see in late July, does not mention peripheral neuropathy. Instead it mentions ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease or Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis-and I typed that all by myself without looking it up. Hope you're impressed.) which is the disease that took Dr. Parts' mom, Karen. I'm sure he knows what he's doing. But the coincidence, that he was likely involved in making her diagnosis or in her treatment plan, and that I'm now referred to him, makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

And having seen ALS and Diabetes Mellitus both close up, I'd still choose Diabetes Mellitus, even with Peripheral Neuropathy.

I feel pretty angry that neither my podiatrist, nor my internist raised the possibility of neuropathy when I presented with kinda classic symptoms: bilateral (or symmetrical) pain and pain that was worse in the evening or overnight and interfered with sleeping. Were they just being optimistic when they steered me towards finding a solvable mechanical problem with my foot? I don't know.

I don't like going to so many medical appointments, and neither does my employer. I'm having a fairly good week, pain wise. I'm a little concerned about how much money my medical care is costing our family this year, but this will all work out, I'm sure. Not treating my pain is not a good choice, and worrying about the cost of treating my pain is not useful. I'm worth it.

Thanks for letting me vent. I love being able to blog here, although I will admit to being somewhat self-editing, due to the fact that both of my parents do read the stuff I write here.

I know, in a perfect world, since we're all adults now, I could say ANYTHING to my parents and it would be okay. But I'm not perfect. They love me, and I love them. We're not too angry with each other. I like that. I'd like to keep it that way. And I'm sure they understand.

I love you guys. All of you.

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