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A Little Medical Talk…

28 Mar
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This is a clue …. not a running post and not a skirt post.

This past week was  a big one for me, medically speaking anyway… and, honestly, it might have a little too much information for you, so I’ll totally understand if you pass it by!  But there’s some good stuff in here!

Not only did I celebrate the first year of officially being on my insulin pump but I also had my first colonoscopy.

You can only imagine which of these events made me happier!!

In a year being on the pump, my A1c has dropped from 8.5 or 8.7 or something in that area (maybe even higher!) to 6.2. This is a pretty big deal, it means that I have good, or ‘tight’ control of my diabetes. I’ve had few problems and can’t imagine ever going back to taking several shots a day!

Now, the colonoscopy is another story entirely!! Everyone hears the horror stories and there is advice all over the internet there is loads of advice and how tos to make eat “easier”.

My procedure was actually rescheduled a few times – from last December to January to last week. It had to be an earlier appointment in the day to keep my sugars from getting too messed up so we ended up in late March!

I didn’t give it much thought until a few weeks ago. I got my ride lined up – since you are sedated in the procedure you shouldn’t / can’t drive yourself. NB you’re also supposed to have someone stay overnight but …that wasn’t going to happen!

One of the big pieces of advice I read, was to kind of clean up your diet at least a few days before the “prep” day! So, starting on Monday, I cut out meat (actually, that probably happened on Sunday!) and at all my veggies from the fridge so they wouldn’t go bad. My plan for breakfasts and lunches for the few days at work was yogurt and hard boiled eggs. And then soup for dinner. Plus LOTS of water – best to go in fully hydrated since the prep can be dehydrating.

And then Thursday rolled around. Starting Thursday morning until I was finished Friday I could only have clear liquids – non-red liquids. Jell-O is a liquid ya’ll! And so are gummy bears (they become liquid at body temp so go through your system as a liquid!) – again, not red though! I was all set!

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Why yes I *do* buy my soda at WalMart 🙂

The gastroenterology office had prescribed an “easier” prep solution – instead of having to drink a gallon of prep liquid, I only had to drink 2 5 oz doses. Wednesday night I made some lime Jell-O – that was my breakfast plan!! I actually only had a couple of bites of it before work. I brought some beef broth and a couple of bottles of flavored water to work and I was all set!

Throughout the day, I had a few pretty short moments of feeling hungry, but overall it wasn’t so bad. I called into the endoscopy clinic in the early afternoon and found out my appointment was at 7:10 the next morning. left a little early so I could get Phred walked before I took my first dose.

What I learned from my first dose was that it would be easier to handle if the water was cold! According to the instructions I had to have 45 ounces of clear liquid in the next 5 hours. Which is easy peasy for me! And I had to wait. Not as easy for me. I kept waiting for/dreading the onset of …well…After a couple of hours I started to think I had done something wrong. But eventually, the prep started working.

Now, everything you will read will say that you need to stay close to, if not actually *on* a potty so I was surprised that I managed to go to sleep for a few hours before my second dose at 1 am. Yep. 1 AM. Followed by 24 ounces of water in the following hour. Then once it was 3 am I was to put nothing in my mouth at all.

I fell back to sleep around 3 and my alarm was set for 5 so I could take a shower. By this time, the prep seemed to have completely, ahem, done it’s job. My colon was pristine-ish.  My first instinct on waking up was to take a huge drink of water and the bottle was in my hand before I remembered –NOTHING IN YOUR MOUTH!!

Got dressed and waited for my ride to arrive  – my running friend Kimberlee was the lucky winner in that lotto! I got signed in, and didn’t wait long before I was taken in to the prep / recovery room. Changed into a gown (open in back of course!) vitals taken, talked with the anesthesiologist, then Stephanie,  the anesthesiologist who was going to actually shoot me up and had an IV put in. Then waited. Finally Stephanie came to bring me in, and we chatted the whole way down the hall.

The procedure room was very bright (which you would hope!) and I met a couple more of the nurses who would be in the room. Stephanie got me situated then added the propofol to my IV, which burned like a mofo. THEN she said – “I just added the sedative” and before I could say “Yeah, I felt it” I was out cold.

The next thing I new I was being woken up and given something to drink. I moved from the bed to a chair and was able to get dressed while the doctor came in to tell me she had removed one small (1-2 cm) polyp and it would be sent to be tested. The results would determine if I had to come back in 5 years or 10.

Kim brought me home and I really did nothing the rest of the day.

All in all, the whole experience wasn’t nearly as horrible as I imagined. I think that my diet in the few days before made the prep easier and less stressful. The staff at Middlesex Endoscopy was awesome! The worst parts of the whole day Friday were the insertion of the IV needle and the dosing with the sedative. And the sticks to check my blood sugar (I hate those every day though!) – but, I have to say, I remembered them telling me they would check before I went in and before I came out – I was wide awake for the before and didn’t even realize the after had been done while I was still out til I saw the poke mark on my finger!

So, PSA – if you are 50 or older (yes, I know it’s so very hard to believe I fall in that category!) you really need to get this done. It’s a once every 10 years kind of event and as long as you’re prepared for it, it is not bad. And it can save your life. Really. And I want you to save your life!

Being a Responsible Adult….

15 Oct

It was a little over 10 years ago that I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes (ironically, to me, it was about 5 years after I started actually exercising and you know…moving). I was diagnosed with an A1C that was WAY above acceptable – I want to say it was around 12 or so. The target A1C for a diabetic is around 7. The average A1C for a non- diabetic is anywhere from 4.5 – 6. So, I was way out of acceptable ranges.

I had no symptoms, but had switched doctors and the new guy wanted to run full blood work – that’s how it was discovered. Up to that point my blood sugar readings at my regular primary care visits were completely within acceptable range…

At first I was pretty good at managing my numbers. I gave up many things I love 🙂 Oh, real, regular Coke – how I miss you!!

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And, of course they had just started opening Krispy Kreme shops in California…

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I hated sticking my finger so I found meters that let me do “alternate site testing” – which generally meant, for me, my forearm.

I found an endocrinologist. The only one covered by my insurance. And there was something like a 4 month wait. So I waited. I took the Metformin that my PCP had prescribed. I went to the Diabetes Education classes. Finally saw the endo and he really didn’t do much more than the PCP had…

Fast forward to later in 2004 – I had sold my house, quit my job and moved to the East Coast where I, eventually, found a job! With the job came insurance once more so I headed out to find a Primary Care doctor and an endocrinologist. First visit with the PCP and my numbers were once more out of control (no insurance = no medications) so he upped some dosages and added in Glimipiride (as well as blood pressure medication and cholesterol medication as stroke preventives…). I then visited my new endocrinologist and after hearing my history, she wanted to run a new test – a GAD Antibody test (Presence of these antibodies means that your pancreas is under attack and will eventually stop producing insulin.) When that came back positive, she told me that I had what they were starting to call Type 1.5 or Type 1X diabetes  Dr. B put me on insulin – a small dose at bedtime. (Feb 11, 2005 was my first time! — the dates we remember!!) as a start at reducing my morning numbers.

I did what I was supposed to, I ate decently most of the time, lost some more weight and my numbers started to REALLY improve! Time passed and it got more and more difficult for me to keep things under control. Which is very frustrating which would sometimes lead to a little “binge” on foods I shouldn’t eat much of…which would make the numbers bad which is a never ending cycle…

Late last year, I had to change my Primary Care doc since he was retiring. My new GP (who has since moved to Seattle!) decided I needed to get back to seeing an endocrinologist. But meanwhile she put me on a second insulin regimen – to be taken before meals.

Slowly things started to improve again. Very. Slowly. I finally met with the new endocrinologist and it has been quite nice to get real explanations of the “whys” behind why I need to do what I need to do. And I decided, once again, that I need to take this seriously. Plus with all the #Dopey15 training, I need to be sure to stay on top of things!! One of the big things we discussed was the results from that old GAD Antibody test, and what I have is now being called  LADA or Latent Autoimmune Diabetes of Adults.

Today I had my second visit with the endo and things are definitely improving! We’re even taking me off of one of my oral medications which makes me happy. I will never be completely off of everything, since I just don’t produce as much insulin as I need to, but it is VERY nice to be able to knock one off of the list! Now, the only medication I’ll be taking specifically for diabetes is insulin!

We also discussed adding a Continuous Glucose Monitor to my arsenal. This would be REALLY handy not only for running/training but also because I’m starting to become desensitized to lower blood sugars – not having any symptoms til my numbers get near dangerous lows. Eventually we may also look at combining this with an insulin pump to gain better control.

So things are definitely looking up, and the changes I am making seem to be working! My A1C is *almost* at target, my cholesterol is all good and all of my other numbers are pretty impressive 😉

And I still get to splurge every now and then – which is fine with me!! Cause we know I love me some cake!!

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Thank You Twitter

27 Apr

Sometimes I feel like I live in a vacuum. Not because everything sucks, no!! That’s not it at all (cause really, things are pretty darn good). But a lot of times I’ll throw stuff out on the internet just to get it off my chest – not thinking that anyone is really reading it or paying attention. I mean, *you’re* reading this now…but…Facebook and Twitter… you know how it is. Maybe

Anyway, last night I learned that there are some pretty amazing people hiding out here in my computer! And I’m going to tell you about them. But of course there’s some background first 🙂

As you know, I’m diabetic. I’ve been on insulin now for about 9 years.  I take an injection at night before bed (in addition to some new ones at meal times – but yesterday was actually a really good day – sugar-level-wise) and generally go to what passes for sleep these days and wake up and re-start my day!

For the uninitiated, insulin smells like bandaids. Go ahead. Go open a box and take a big sniff. I’ll wait…

To continue, about a month after I started the insulin routine, I did my usual injection and almost immediately could ‘taste’ the insulin in the back of my throat.  Went to bed, as usual. Unusually, about 2 hours later I woke up with my heart racing, sweating like I’d just walked to the starting corrals at Disney (haha!) and shaking. I knew something was wrong so grabbed my glucose meter. First indication that I was in trouble was that I couldn’t figure out how to use the meter. Eventually I got it together enough to test and my blood sugar had dropped to 25. Now, my doctor would get worried if I fell below 65 or so, so I KNEW this was bad. At the time I had small cans of real soda in my fridge so I drank one and waited for the magic. Then I had some milk and waited some more. I may have had some candy around at the time and had that as well. Slowly my numbers crawled back into normal ranges and I went to bed.

Since then, it hadn’t happened again. Until last night. I had that same taste in my throat as I went to bed so grabbed some leftover jellybeans from Easter. Just in case. And then a couple of hours later, it happened. I woke up, heart pounding,sweating, and shaky. This time I had more of my wits about me and tested and was low – 37.

The difference this time was social media. I made a random comment on the Twitters that my sugars were low and that I would call 911 if it didn’t come up. Then I put my phone down and started eating jelly beans. And waiting. And testing. And eating more jelly beans. And waiting. And eventually my symptoms went away and my numbers returned to low normal numbers. And I went back to sleep.

Until the door bell rang. And Phred started barking. And I looked at the clock and it was 1-ish in the am. The bell rang again. And then again. Finally I figured I should get up and see what was going on. Looked out the window and there  was a Middletown police car in my driveway.

My first thought was “oh shit”. Figured either they had the wrong house or someone’s dog was out.

As I was heading downstairs, they turned their big spotlight on lighting up my whole bedroom and rang the bell again! I opened the door to a young officer. After some initial confusion we confirmed that someone from Indiana had called and they were concerned – and THEN the lightbulb went on (I’m sure the handsome young officer saw it go on!) and realized that I should probably check back in on Twitter.

Special props to Kate and Patty for getting in touch with my local police department. And Jenn for, as always, being there even from Mexico.

As soon as I realized that these fabulous women were worried I checked in.

I don’t think I can apologize enough for making them worry — and there are no words to express how thankful I am to them and how much I appreciate their concern. And can’t wait to give both of them a huge hug the next time we are running Disney together!!

Thanks so very much Kate and Patty. Ya’ll are AMAZING and I’m very lucky to have ladies like you watching my back

xoxo

Doctor Doctor!

13 Dec

I was all ready to embed some Thompson Twins but remembered I’d already done that — and I surely don’t want to become predictable and repetitive 😉

Anyway, this week I met my new doctor. She’s a lady doctor – though I don’t really have a preference one way or another actually.

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She kind of looks like this…

It was a long appointment since it was the first one. And so she’s referring me to an endocrinologist – truthfully I should have been seeing one all along – and there’s at least a couple months wait to get in. Meanwhile we’ll be working on getting things where they should be, blood-sugar-wise (great time of year for that! What with the baking and candy making about to happen!!). I *am* headed in the right direction though. My A1C has gone down another 2 points so I’m almost back where I should be. – Yes, it was pretty awful earlier this year…

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Ouch!

I am feeling a new …I don’t know…dedication I guess, to getting and keeping this back under control. It will certainly help when I’m able to run and work out again!!

For the record though, I HATE the finger pricking and am so happy that most meters these days provide for alternate site testing. And I take full advantage of that!! Since I work on a computer all day I couldn’t stand to do finger pricks every day because…they hurt and the pain lasts !!!

On Pins and Needles!!

21 Nov

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So today I tried something new…

As I’ve mentioned once or twice (or too much!) I’ve been having some pain that I have self-diagnosed as piriformis syndrome (thank you Dr. Google.edu for the degree!!) but in the last couple of days it has gotten really bad. I feel like I have taken far too many anti-inflammatory drugs and don’t want to take more so decided to look into alternative medicine. Specifically, acupuncture and other naturopathic means.

A quick search with my friend Google and I found a couple of places offering Acupuncture and started calling. And leaving messages and getting “This number is not currently in service” messages. Finally, someone answered the phone and we had a great chat. Given the severity of my pain, she worked to fit me in first thing this morning. I answered a bunch of questions. Why yes, sometimes my legs and feet DO cramp at night! And no, gaining weight is not terribly difficult for me!

Turns out, that like most of the practitioners I found online, this particular woman does more than acupuncture – because “we need to treat the whole body, not just where you feel pain”. Which makes sense to me – but really I just wanted the pain to go away!!   A lot of what she was telling me made sense and I’m willing to go with it for a couple of months and see what happens.  So that means new supplements, and tracking what I eat and doing as well as I can on absolutely NO sugar and NO carbs (which means, no fruit too…) for 2 weeks. This will be tough seeing how next week is Thanksgiving – aka Carb Fest!!

We finally go to the actual acupuncture part of the visit and I was surprised that I couldn’t feel the needles at all — and after a few minutes, it did seem like the muscles in my leg were relaxing.  But, I wasn’t expecting miracles – I’d be very happy with one though!! After the treatment ended, I took my time sitting up and getting ready to go out of the room. I gave my leg a trial and..while it is still pretty painful, it takes longer for the pain to kick in.

I will take my supplements and watch my diet and go to my next appointments (and definitely do some research at the Google Library) and hopefully be back up and running soon. Though it looks like a 10k on Thanksgiving is out of the question, so there goes my new time for Princess Half Marathon!

And then? We work on reducing my need for diabetes meds and hormones.

What Up Wednesday!!

9 Oct

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Okay, I have so much catching up to do here and all I did today was catch up on my DVR!

There was “How I Met Your Mother”, that “Master Chef” with the kids…and maybe something else, but obviously it didn’t stick with me!

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Yes! My TV looks exactly like this!!

But What’s Up Today is that I learned that the doctor I’ve been seeing for the last 7 years or so, since I moved to Connecticut, is retiring in November.  Since I’m diabetic, my doctor is a pretty significant relationship. He is the only long-term doctor I’ve had since being diagnosed with diabetes – we were a pretty good team! And he’s got the greatest staff ever! They’re like family. Okay, some actually ARE his family!

This means I have to find a new doctor. And he likely won’t be a nice old Irish man will tell me “If you ever feel like you want a glass of wine or a drink, don’t say no” like my current doctor did. He wasn’t encouraging me to drink but was telling me that it wasn’t absolutely forbidden.

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I will miss him. Strange I never foresaw this happening. I’d sit and wonder what it would be like when I was 80 coming to see him which, of course, was completely unrealistic since he’s likely got children my age!

Hope you made it through your ‘hump day’ and are racing into the weekend!!

Who Do You Run For?

26 Jul

Who do you run for? What keeps you going when you feel like you can’t go any further?

Once upon a time, I ran a marathon for charity – the American Diabetes Association. Mainly I did this because I wanted to go to Ireland, not because of any interest in the organization. Little did I know that 4 years later I’d be diagnosed with diabetes and, well, get a little more interested in what they do! 

Fast forward 5 or so years. I was getting ready to run my, likely, last NYC Marathon. I’ve run this one about 6 times (I think) and had decided I needed to expand my horizons! I wanted to run for charity but wasn’t sure which one.

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Then, fate struck! I was at the Country Music Half Marathon expo and met some AWESOME people from the Tug McGraw Foundation and Team McGraw. Decided then and there that this was the charity I would run for! 

That was 5 years ago and they still have my heart – and my sole(s) – hah! Get it?! Anyway…when I run, I run for all the people who have come into my life through the Foundation and Team McGraw. I run surrounded by angels.

Recently someone introduced me to a group on Facebook “I run 4 Michael”. What the organizers do is match up runners with people who can’t run. So, always looking for motivation, I signed up. It wasn’t long before I was matched with my running buddy – Kylar. He’s got bilateral Schizencephaly and his parents were told that he would never walk, talk, smile, see, hear…lots of things that he can do now! He’s got an amazing smile and is a little fighter. Now, when I run, in addition to all of my McGraw angels I’ve got Kylar in my heart and on my mind. And hopefully one day I’ll get to meet him in person.

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So, who – or what – do you run for? What is your motivation to get out there when you don’t want to get out there?!

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